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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Sep. 27, 2017

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DOGWOOD TIMBER HARVEST PLAN LAWSUIT ENDS: logging permit vacated by CAL FIRE; most of 400 acres of Gualala River floodplain redwood forest left intact

The lawsuit to stop logging the Gualala River floodplain redwood forest tract in the “Dogwood” timber harvest plan (THP) is over.

CAL FIRE was ordered by Sonoma County Superior Court to vacate (revoke) the Gualala Redwood Timber Company timber harvest plan on April 18, 2017. CAL FIRE finally responded to the writ sending a “Notice of Director’s Decision Vacating Approval” to GRT’s forester Art Haschak on September 7, 2017, prohibiting any further logging in the Dogwood THP area. GRT must now file a new timber harvest plan if it seeks to log some or all of the floodplain redwood forest in the vacated “Dogwood” THP.

The Dogwood THP was shut down by the Court after logging on one tributary had begun. The five miles of riparian redwood forest along the main stem of the river in the Dogwood THP area has not been logged.

In March, the court also ordered CAL FIRE to “reconsider” its approval of the Dogwood THP within 150 days. The Court entered judgment against CAL FIRE on March 23, 2017, based on the agency’s failure to assess any cumulative impacts of another floodplain timber harvest plan submitted by Gualala Redwood Timber during the Dogwood timber harvest plan review period, the “German South” THP.

While environmentalist plaintiffs are celebrating their victory, and the fact that the century-old floodplain redwood forest in the Dogwood THP area will be spared for now, they remain concerned CAL FIRE has not improved or reformed its environmental reviews of floodplain forest logging.

The Court ordered CAL FIRE to “reconsider” approval of the Dogwood THP, including direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts to wetlands, rare plants, floodplain forest, and listed fish and wildlife species. But after being ordered to revoke the logging permit, CAL FIRE and GRT made a minimal, nominal effort to meet this order.

Rather than substantially reconsider or correct the many basic environmental flaws of the timber plan, CAL FIRE and GRT minimally complied with Judge René Chouteau’s order to “reconsider” its approval by submitting only a single supplemental page, three paragraphs long, with minor changes.

“CAL FIRE still isn’t taking seriously its own Forest Practice Rules to properly assess cumulative impacts to critical floodplain forests, as well as not adhering to the California Environmental Quality Act,” said Larry Hanson of Forest Unlimited.

GRT has continued to file multiple floodplain redwood logging plans on the Gualala River after Dogwood, and CAL FIRE has continued to approve them. There is no sign that the agency is reforming its environmental review practices by preparing meaningful cumulative impacts analyses of wetlands, floodplain forest, rare plants, and fish and wildlife, despite losing the Dogwood THP lawsuit.

“The real problem isn’t going to go away until the Board of Forestry and CAL FIRE follow their own rules, including CEQA. Until they do, we are not going away, either” said Charlie Ivor, president of Friends of Gualala River. “The Gualala River floodplain forest is going to be protected according to law, no exceptions.”

For more background information on the Dogwood THP lawsuit, visit:

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(Click to enlarge)

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by Turkey Vulture

I am taking a short break and have flown to the UK for a couple of weeks. That’s 6,000 miles away and my wings are really tired. Anyway, I have been here just a day or so and already I have been asked many, many times about what on earth is going on in Trump’s America.

For most of the last century or so, the UK, and much of Europe for that matter, but particularly the UK, was a country that greatly admired the US for its leadership in the world, its vibrant society that knew how to work hard and play hard, an enlightened view on justice for all, its positive attitude towards life in general, its spirit of adventure and independence, its willingness to step in to help (for the right reasons) impoverished nations or those faced with internal strife before anyone else, and its ability to successfully deal with a society consisting of so many diverse backgrounds, lifestyles, and cultures, arguably better than anywhere else on earth. However, in the eyes of many folks here in England, much of this is fading fast. The allies of the US are all confused/bemused at the current political climate in the States and cannot believe the way President* Trump conducts himself and deals with important world issues as if he is making deals to build hotels or indulging in a verbal brawl in a bar. I shared these thoughts with a Valley person earlier today and he bluntly replied, “Who gives a shit what they think?” That is scary and sad. More on this and other aspects of life across the pond next week.

Public Service Announcements. #543. The annual Flu Shot clinic is Tuesday, October 3 from 11am to Noon at the Senior Center in Boonville at the Veterans Hall. A good idea. #544. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will be here Thursday, September 28, 2-4pm at the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo. Best to turn up at around 3pm; you will definitely be seen. New customers can call 462-8833 and the vets will bring your pet’s charts with them! #545. The AV Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4pm, in The Little Red Schoolhouse next to the Elementary School on AV Way, a perfect thing to do on a weekend afternoon: “The Best Little Museum in the West.” #546. The  Bookmobile returns next Tuesday, October 3. Phone 463-4694 for confirmation. They are usually here on alternate Tuesdays for 45 minutes at: the Navarro Store 9am (for just 30 minutes before heading to Comptche); the Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville (Apple Hall) 2.30pm. #547. The Boonville Farmers Market continues Saturdays from 9.30am-noon, at the Boonville Hotel parking lot. Cindy: 895-2949. #548. On Sunday, October 8 at 4pm, the AV Village group has invited Maggie Watson, author of “A Graceful Farewell: Putting Your Affairs in Order” to discuss positive ways to prepare for the end of your life, regarding to finances, health, and after death. Something many of us could certainly benefit from knowing more about, I’m sure.

Now the menu for the Community lunches next week in the Senior Center at the Veterans Building in Boonville: The Center asks $6 from seniors and $7 for Non-seniors. Tomorrow, Thursday, September 28, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Amish Chicken with Chocolate Pecan Bars for dessert. Next Tuesday, October 3, the lunch features Meat Loaf and Mashed potatoes and gravy, followed by Peach Cobbler dessert. Includes vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade. The best value for money all week!. And ALL ages are welcome! PS. On Thursdays the Center offers a Diabetes Workshop. in English from 1-3pm; in Spanish from 5.30-7.30pm. Hosted by the AV Health Center. Register by calling 895-3477. Meanwhile, on Tuesday and Thursday at 9am the Center offers “Young at Heart Exercise” with Linda Boudoures. Thursdays at 9am it’s the Water Color Painting Group, with Kathy’s Easy-stretch Yoga class at 11am. The Senior Center Community Bus goes to Santa Rosa on the first Wednesday of the month. Sign up early at 489-1175.

Be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of the ditches; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; keep your windows cracked if you leave pets in your vehicle; Keep the Faith; try to not let life get in the way of living; may your god go with you, and may your dog go with you too. A final request: “Let us prey”. Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture.

Contact me through the letters page or at PS: Skylark: read any good books lately? Hi, Silver Swan: behaving yourself? Hopefully not!. Everything cool with you, OJ? Of course it is.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The Boss kinda went off on me today for barking at him. ‘I bark at everyone and everything, Boss, until they show me some ID, you included’."

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ON MONDAY Supervisors John McCowen and Dan Hamburg convened a meeting of their two-person Public Health, Safety, and Resources Committee to discuss the County’s Class K relaxed-standards building code which apparently hasn’t been looked at since the early 80s and is now out of date compared to California’s stringent new conventional building codes. Class K originated when early hippie settlers were turned in by local conservatives for their substandard hippie shacks. It more or less grandfathered in a lot of them, acknowledging that hippie shacks may not have been built to proper building standards but they needed to be brought into the sytsem so they could be assessed and taxed.

THIS LATEST “update” involves removing certain building code exemptions so that Class K is closer to conventional building codes than it used to be for public safety reasons. The County’s top building official, the extremely inflexible Mike Oliphant, told the Committee that from now on Class K Single Family Residences will require: An automatic fire sprinkler system; they will be limited to 2,000 square feet of habitable space; they will have to comply with all new applicable Wildland Urban Interface (fire prevention/protection) requirements; they will require a perimeter foundation, and will be limited to a minimum parcel size of five acres.

NO VOTE was taken. Several members of the public commented that the new requirements should not be imposed retroactively. A couple of pot growers trying to get permits said the requirements were too onerous for remote structures.

ON THE ONE HAND you have the Supervisors trying to restrict vacation rentals in the faint hope that it might produce a few additional residential rental units, but on the other hand they’re putting more requirements on new small residences. Granted the new requirements may make buildings safer, but, as pot grower rep Casey O’Neill said, if the new requirements can’t or won’t be met, primarily due to additional cost, the result will not produce any real improvements.

THERE’S LOTS OF SUBSTANDARD HOUSING in Mendocino County that presents a variety of health and safety hazards which the County doesn’t seem concerned with, so this latest exercise seems more like another bureaucratic layer on top of an already large pile than a genuine attempt to improve public safety.

MAYBE NOW people will stop blaming enviros and NIMBYs for the lack of various kinds of development in Mendocino County (they’ve been invisible for years now) and focus their complaints where the real problem is: the state’s construction industry and their increasingly expensive building codes and the dozens of local and state agencies that seem to pop up with new requirements to obstruct just about every construction project that comes up.

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I HADN'T HEARD the man's voice since we were boys sixty years ago, but I recognized it instantly as that of Don Johnson, "Donnie" Johnson, as I knew him then. We were good friends in high school. "I knew you were out there somewhere," he said. I said I'd always hoped he was out there somewhere, but other than him I hadn't thought about high school since I left it in 1957, probably the year my mother said to me one day, "A very nice colored boy came by looking for you," adding, "I didn't know you had any nice friends." 'Colored' or 'negro' was the term respectable white people deployed at the time. My parents were hardly cutting edge progressives, but to them only disreputable white people — today's deplorables — resorted to ethnic slurs. Racist terms were class indicators to them, and they were, they thought, solid members of the white middle class, although they struggled all their lives to hang on to its lowest rung. Don Johnson and I, besides our friendship, shared, and probably still share, an unprecedented sports distinction, one that hasn't been matched since in the Bay Area that I know of, perhaps because high school kids aren't allowed to pitch more than a few innings a week. But one glorious night, I had pitched a 13-inning, 1-0 shutout, and Donnie Johnson had knocked in the winning run, and we'd gone jubilant and kings of the world out into the spring night. A couple of months later, high school was over and I never saw Don Johnson again, or anybody else from that time. "Are you going to the 60th reunion," Don Johnson asked. I said I'm going if you are, otherwise it's like going to lunch with total strangers, and I have no reason to go. Everyone else on that '57 team is dead, a grim fact I'd received in the mail with the reunion announcement. Just thinking back on everything that's happened since 1957 is a kaleidoscopic blur of improbable people and events. Talking with Don Johnson again, and the wonderful prospect of seeing him again, feels like some kind of reverse time travel, but knowing that he made it through the longest game of all takes me beyond happy.

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HILARIOUS headline from this morning's Chronicle: "Fight breaks out in empathy tent." The empathy tent had been set up in Sprowl Plaza in anticipation of Yappo's visit, which turned out to be fleeting but upset a good portion of Berkeley as he undoubtedly sold a lot more of his cretinous books on-line. If the truth was known, Yappo's trip's real purpose was probably a visit to a debauch festival in San Francisco last weekend.

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AN AVA READER COMMENTS: "How will the proposed mental health facility improve the lives of a larger number of the people now walking the streets in Mendocino County? Is there a legal, reasonable way to involuntarily commit someone? Will drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation be available? Most of the homeless people I know of whose lives would benefit from a stay in a good facility would not go willingly. Unless there is a way to get them through the door, the situation will not improve for a larger number of people than those who are already sent to the hospitals for a 5150 or, with their consent, out of county. The county adopted Laura’s Law but doesn’t use it for some reason. How will the number of people helped increase? And who will man the facility? Adequate mental health care here on the coast is still nonexistent after millions of dollars have been spent. A dedicated mental health facility sounds great, but so did a homeless center in Fort Bragg. The reality of these types of ventures in this county is dismal. Mendocino County’s administration has shown time and again in recent years that their talent is spending money and obfuscation."

NOT MUCH I disagree with here, but I'll repeat that one large advantage of an in-county facility is to spare the huge expense of shipping our more intractable mental cases out of Mendocino County, and for that reason alone I think Measure B is worth supporting. I share the reader's skepticism about the abilities of our county's helping professionals. But missing from the discussion of the dilemma posed by increasing numbers of free range drunks, drug addicts and untreated mental cases is the grim fact that their numbers steadily grow larger while government, at all levels, shuffles the problem off to overwhelmed, under-funded non-profits. Homelessness, as this population is described en toto, can only be effectively addressed by the re-opening of state hospitals combined with a federal low cost housing program, and when's the last time you heard your elected reps even talk about what's got to be done?

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On 09-24-2017 at approximately 3:35 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a call for service of a burglary to a cargo container located in the 30000 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg.  During their investigation, Deputies learned the suspect(s) had forced entry into a person's cargo container.  The suspect(s) then removed multiple tools and equipment having an initial estimated $10,000 value.  The majority of the stolen property was found to be concealed in the brush near the cargo container and was recovered.  Deputies also developed information that Jacob Halloway, 39, of Fort Bragg, was possibly suspect to the crime.


At approximately 5:10 p.m., Deputies subsequently contacted Jacob Halloway in the 30000 block of Highway 20.  During that contact, Deputies determined Halloway was in possession of stolen property yet to be recovered.  Deputies were also able to connect Halloway to the burglary from other evidence discovered at the scene.  Halloway was ultimately arrested for Burglary of the Second Degree NS Possession of Stolen Property and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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On 09-23-2017 at about 3:38 PM a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for speeding in the 76000 block of Highway 162 in Covelo.  While the Deputy was talking with the driver of the vehicle, Mindy Pratt, 25, of Ukiah, Sheriff's Office dispatch advised the vehicle was reported stolen by Ukiah CHP.


Pratt was subsequently placed under arrest for Felony Possession of a stolen vehicle.  The California Highway Patrol was contacted and the vehicle recovery was turned over to them.  Pratt was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the listed charge and was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 26, 2017

Hansen, Hoaglen, Joaquin, Maxfield

CHRISS HANSEN, Lower Lake/Ukiah. DUI.

JOSEPH HOAGLEN, Covelo. Controlled substance, mandatory sentence supervision.

JOAQUINA JOAQUIN, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, failure to appear.

JUSTIN MAXFIELD, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Pickett, Rockowitz, Simarro, Torres

JASON PICKETT, Willits. Probation revocation.

DONALD ROCKOWITZ, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, stalking and threatening bodily injury.

SIERRA SIMARRO, Willits. Probation revocation.

RAMIRO TORRES, Willits. Domestic battery.

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I do not watch the NFL, and none of its players is among my heroes. They are certainly paid extravagantly – whether enough to compensate them for orthopedic and cerebral compromise is for each to decide for himself, I suppose. But, after seeing the way Kaepernick has been de facto blacklisted by NFL owners, I do think these guys deserve some respect for risking so much for a show of principle.

The point isn’t whether guys who get paid more per game than I have been in my lifetime have much to complain about; it is that they have a huge forum for getting the public’s attention, in this sports-crazed society. Eric Garner couldn’t get the cops to pay attention when he told them they were choking him to death. Public revulsion over police using excessive force against black miscreants has failed to get the attention of police review boards or of our judicial system. But a comparative handful of big guys in shoulder pads, enabled by a loud-mouthed knucklehead in the Oval Office, are damn sure getting everyone’s attention.

The problem is not unpatriotic football players, it is undisciplined police violence against blacks. I can imagine a more apposite solution than this brouhaha at NFL games, but I do not see one at hand. If America’s NFL gladiators can use their big stage to catalyze some change in American law enforcement, then good for them.

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The Symphony of the Redwood’s Opus Chamber Music Series will feature the Pajaro Hill Ensemble for the Opus 2017-18 opening concert on October 1st. In a program of lush strings and breathtaking melodies, the group will perform Souvenir de Florence by Tchaikovsky, along with the Ricercare from Bach’s Musical Offering and a new fantasy by ensemble violist Jeff Ives.

This string sextet is made up of violinists Tammie Dyer and Marcia Lotter, violists Jeff Ives and David Hill, and cellists Joel Cohen and Cory Antipa. All of them play professionally in the Bay Area; most of them are members of the Symphony of the Redwoods, and all of them love to make music on the Mendocino Coast. This is a musical event to lift spirits and soothe souls.

The concert will take place in Preston Hall next to the Presbyterian Church in Mendocino on Sunday, October 1st at 3 pm.

Tickets are available at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Out of this World in Mendocino, and online through Any remaining tickets will be available at the door. For information, phone Eva von Bahr, (916) 200-8749 or email

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by Max Crawford

They finally caught up with me today. It was only a matter of time. I was asking for it. Going around telling the history of the Downtown. And leading tour groups of the Downtown lot, this not long after Downtown had been paved over. And this was the old days. Before the coming of the Eastside Lot, that was next, and then the Northside Lot came and finally it was the Westside Lot to finish our little town.

There were others of us out leading groups in the other Lots. And there was still some guerrilla activity in those days as well. Old folks mainly who had been born and lived entirely on the Westside or Eastside or the Northside, and they'd come out with pickaxes and jackhammers and attack asphalt. And there was that one little silver-haired granny who went out into the Eastside Lot with a flower basket of TNT and blew a good crater where not only she but her parents before her had been raised, where the old family house had once stood.

But after the Forward Party canned the old technology — Robot Bloodhounds if you can believe it — and came up with the Movement Detection Device (MDD), our tours of the old Neighborhoods (forbidden word!) were doomed.

But some of us fought back, kept up the struggle, and went on to leading tours of our old Neighborhoods and there was no physical movement involved in them. We led these tours in our imaginations and when the Heat Perceptor took over from the antiquated MDD — and the Heat Perceptor was soon replaced by the Anger Locator, it can spot hot-under-the-collar and shooting off the mouth and tossing around old XX notions, such as “The Past Wasn't All Bad,” at 30 km — we went deeper underground and simply remembered. But of course the Forward Party's technology kept up and the Imagination Sniffer took over from the Anger Locator and now that the Memory Blaster has succeeded all of these — well it's all over, I'm afraid.

At least for an old XX38, as that's how they finally tracked me down. One day I just cracked and started walking all over the Downtown Lot in our little town, now I8OX206, and of course the Freeway Patrol immediately spotted that, walking, the oldest form of our rebellion. Then I found myself stamping and shouting, like we used to stamp and shout there at the Owl Bar when we first learned that the Downtown Post Office was to be moved out to the Freeway Interchange and no one would ever walk in and buy a stamp again — not only as walking had been made a felony but that stamps themselves simply did not exist. And then after the Heat Perceptor caught all that anger and rebellion, I went on further along my way to a life of crime and took to imagining I was back in my old Downtown apartment there on what was then Callender Street (illegal word! along with alley, lane, path, etc. ad inf.). And there I imagined once again gazing from those front windows out toward our fine old Downtown.

There across the street stands the old Library — and thankfully that fine institution met a peaceful end. With the disappearance of books it did not have to be shunted out to Mall I80X206, it just faded away. Let's go to the view looking down Third Street (bad boy!) and there's that nice blonde mail lady and it is summertime and she is wearing shorts and delivering the mail (the kids nowadays ask, the what?) in her nice loping gait. And now a young mother comes to the Library side door, the book return bin there, and she has a small child in her arms and she holds the slide door back and the child drops the books into the return bin one by one. And there's the old woman who comes out after every hard snow and freeze and brings along her ball-peen hammer and pounds away at the Library step ice, the look in her eye you'd think she was wishing for a blow torch.

And there down at the bottom of Third Street, just a block or so away, there run the railroad tracks and you can sit all day looking down that chute to the passing trains. Never seeing more than a couple three cars at a time and these cars are of every color and shape and size and they move past like a kaleidoscope along the rails, now where the new Freeway Annex has been built, the old rails torn up long ago and all their cars of many purposes, all are gone and no one knows where. Now the locomotives come, pushing or pulling, and they sing out their warning calls as they come up on the 4th Street crossing, and every locomotive has a call of its own and you listen to them deep into the night. You don't mind waking, as they call out to you as distinct and different as the voices of every woman you've ever known. Some shrill, some bossy, the sad and the abandoned and the forlorn, and there's the cheerful and there's the sassy and the brassy, and that one that’s husky and heavy and is welcoming you home.

Then from that front window you can see over the way the back of the old Murray Hotel, this before the Freeway Motel “They All Look Alike After We're Done” ReMod Squad came with a big red M and fixed that H forever. And it's a hard thirty-second slog to the Owl where much of the early organizing of our anger and making it rebellion began. Then on to the Empire, our last picture show, and its fine neon marquee. Let's stroll on along the way and there's Rainbo Bob's Print Shop, that is till Bob, Downtown's computer chef, and his concern were driven out to the Mall by the Internet Naughties n Nasties. Across the street there's that fine old stationer manned by John Fryer, one of our early leaders, and over the way you could come on Dan Bailey's fly-fishing emporium, and both these noble gentlemen and their shops and their clever assistants were either driven out of business or out to the Mall, yet again. There just didn't seem that much call for paper and envelopes and rods and reels, what with the coming of e-mail and the Fish Finger section of the Freeway Food Warehouse, Aisle 691J.

And not to forget Bill O' Byrne, he sold books and if that wasn’t bad enough, these books were old. And Jeff over at MounTunes, one day the CD SS caught him dealing vinyl 78s from under the counter and one was Mozart and the other Louis Armstrong, and Jeff has been sentenced to 20 years of Nouvelle Nashville and is said to be suffering terribly. And all the old Downtown eateries and watering holes! The Pastime (Mom's out to lunch!) and the Stock's (cheeseburger and don't hold a thing!), the Sport (ribs!), the Mint (Van!), Uncle Looie's (Tiff! calamari and a loaf of sourdough to go! and change the name!) and Russ's redone LivB&G (ambiance! cuisine to suit a Queen!). And there's Ricci's, the indomitable Downtown greengrocer, that must be remembered. And Olsen's Laundry too. Wash, dry, fold and deliver at a price and style unmatched anywhere in the world and that includes Chinatown. And last but far, far from least was Howard the Cabbie. He'd pick up you and laundry and deliver and wait to take you back home and all for three bucks and there were his tales of old XX Livingston (banned word!), they would be tossed in gratis.

That's what could be seen or imagined seen from my front window. Well there was the USWest Bunker just kitty-corner over, but as that was the last building to stay Downtown, after all else had been bulldozed and paved over, and served from a time as the Downtown Retention and Retraining Center (one can still hear the groans of boredom, the shrieks of ennui as the recalcitrant XX oldies were reprogrammed XXI models) don't care much to ponder that.

And now memory alone must serve us as we walk down toward the park and there are young people in this Memory Tour and a park must be explained to them with great care and from the beginning. There's grass to start and it is green and there are ponds for ducks and geese and these are birds and birds are like airplanes, sort of, and they are living things. And there are merry-go-rounds and swings and slides and seesaws about and children are playing on them. Play. Of all the old terms that must be defined that, play, is the most difficult to be described to the XXI mind.

And then on down to the river and it has yet to be boarded over and there are men and girls and boys and women there and they are fishing and define and explain as I will, I fear that noble art and pastime is lost to these XXI youngsters (see Dan Bailey and Fish Fingers above).

There our Memory Tour stops and we gaze out to the level horizon and one tries to explain mountains. That once mountains were all about I80X206, and these mountains were great extrusions of gray granite stone and they rose thousands of feet into the air.

But of course it has been decades since all the mountains were knocked down and their rubble carted to the sea. All to make way for the Great Freeway Plain.

That was the year that the Forward Party crumbled and gave over to the Freeway Empire and this Empire proclaimed there would be nothing but Freeway on our Land and that every Freeway would be straight and all obstruction to the new religion of the Straight Freeway should be eradicated. And all mountains were to be knocked down and all rivers boarded over and all lakes drained of water to irrigate Freeway ice plant and all woods were to be chopped to sticks. And these sticks were to become stanchions to our country's number one industry, the Freeway Sign. And there was a thicket of these. So many along the Freeway that there was nothing to see but them. And maybe this was just as well. With the Freeway Empire's coming to power it has become a capital offense to look away from the Freeway ahead. And what point is there anyway? The vain search over the Freeway Plain for the mountain and valley and river and forest that once had made so much of our XX land.

It is time now. They shall be coming for me soon. I have been tried and found guilty and the sentence shall be executed within minutes. Midnight. that's when the Freeways are near empty and at their most boring. Yes. I have been found guilty of the most heinous crime in the Freeway State: Walking. And now must face my dread punishment: Driving School.

I have been here at the Walking Detention Center for six weeks and there has not been a night that I have not waked to some poor Walker being taken away by the Driver Instructors. These poor souls, there lamentations of grief as they put aside their well-thumbed Pocket Guide to the Freeway, 89th Edition, and fold up their creased Freeways of the World: The Map, and are led out and strapped into a waiting car.

But I shall meet my end with a calm that will bemuse my Driving Instructors. Who knows, perhaps an old XX smile shall play over my face as the door to my cell swings open. Yes. A smile. For I know that the hall's conveyor belt has been on the blink these last few days and that I shall know that final moment of liberation. I shall be free to walk down the hall and out to my brand spanking new car. And it shall be a stroll, an amble, a saunter. May even take a skip and a hop there near the end. You can never tell.

— Pedestrian 4062228479

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by Gene Scaramella

At the beginning of World War II I joined the Navy as a Commander based on my experience as a professor of Dairy Science at UC Davis. After a two month introductory officer course our class got orders. Most of my classmates got orders to overseas ships or overseas Naval bases. Somehow, probably, again because of my educational background, I got orders to the huge Naval training station at Farragut, Idaho where they trained many of the ships’ trades: radiomen, quartermasters, electricians, gunner’s mates, navigation, etc. I had no idea what my assignment was going to be until I got there. I started out in charge of one of the training battalions.

One day I received a call from my commanding officer. He wanted to scold me because I had given permission to some sailors to go on liberty to Spokane, only 50 miles from Farragut. Meantime, they decided to go to Seattle on the train. And the Shore Patrol picked them up. Consequently they were disciplined. Of course part of the disicpline involved asking them why they were there? The commander of the Security department called my commander. Commander Fitzgerald called me and was scolding me for giving these sailors a permit.

I told him, Well, I have permission to give 2% of my battalion, the people assigned, merit or emergency liberty. Those passes were good for 50 miles from the base. If they went beyond that, it seemed to me that that was their responsibility, not mine. I was within my rights. So he called the other commander up and told him off about putting one of his officers, me, on the spot.

About two weeks later it was the same routine. I was called to his office. This time he was very friendly. He offered me a cigarette. He told me, “You know, I’ve got 400-600 people here who are supposed to be taking Shore Patrol instruction. They’re supposed to send a bunch of officers and enlisted men to train them. But none of them are here and I have to do something, so you’re going to go over to those barracks and start the Shore Patrol school.”

I said, “Commander, what in the hell is that?”

And he said, “You’ll find out.”

The next thing I knew I was getting the shore patrol school started with some fine professionals, and regular recruits. We got them as our staff and we turned out 200 people every six weeks trained in Shore Patrol duties.

Meantime the fellow who was running the brig got his orders to report to the Navy somewhere else. I was then chosen to be his successor to go over as Provost Marshall for the station. While I was there I oversaw the brig. We had some exciting times there. The people in the brig had it a lot easier than the people who were doing the training. Well, I changed all that. I got ‘em up at 6 o’clock in the morning for exercise just like they were over on the training fields. Soon I had cut the population of the brig down from about 100 to about 65 in a little over three weeks.

While I was there we had a big break out of the brig.

We finally got some prisoners who were supposed to go to general court marshal. They were supposed to be incarcerated at the general brig at the Navy Station in Seattle. But they were given instructions to keep them there until their trial came up. One night they decided they didn’t want to go ahead with their trial and about eight of them broke out of the jail, the brig. We had a big manhunt all over the place. It was pretty exciting. We had our whole security patrol searching the woods around the borders of the Naval station. We finally rounded up seven of them. But one guy we never did find. I guess he’s still loose somewhere in Idaho or Montana.

A friend of mine there by the name of  Joe used to like Martinis. When he went hunting he shot quite a few ducks so they would invite us over to their house while he was cooking a duck. His favorite saying was, “You can never overcook a duck.” Which of course gave him plenty of time for a couple extra Martinis. We usually wound up having dinner at around 10 or 11 o’clock at night when he finally declared the duck cooked and Joe was plastered.

While we were in Farragut, the officer’s club was the only place they could serve liquor by the drink. All of the clubs in town and at Hayden Lake were what they called “bottle clubs.” You would buy your bottle at the government store and leave it there and when you went into the bar and ordered a drink they would bring out your bottle and pour your drinks from your bottle, and just charge you for the mix and the service. As a consequence, liquor was rationed. You were only allowed so much a month. We got our ration. Of course, we weren’t using as much as we were allowed on the ration so we accumulated several bottles. We had them in the back of the car when we came back to California. I was kind of worried about going through the checkpoint at the border, but nothing happened there.

Gas rationing was also in effect. We were encouraged to ride the bus from our living quarters to the base. Usually we left about 7 o’clock in the morning and got home about 5:30 or 6 in the evening. There was an officer in charge of transportation. He was a Danish fellow. He encouraged everyone to take the bus. He said, “I ride the bus. You ride the bus. Save the gas.”

Farragut was a very bad place to be in the winter. A lot of the enlistees and apprentice seamen there came down with what was called “Cap Fever.” We were all ordered to take one aspirin a day at lunch. These were available at the officer’s club where we were having our meals. Nearly every week we would send a whole troop train of sailors who had come down with Cap Fever down to Riverside, the hospital down there, for training. The Indians used to call the area where Farragut was, Lake Ponderain, “Fever Valley.” I guess they knew what they were talking about.

At the end of 1943, into January 1944, the officers at Farragut were advised to send their families home. They were gearing up for the big push across the English Channel. Quite a few of the officers I worked with got orders in February and March and took off for Europe.

About the same time my wife was feeling ill. She had been working at the hospital and had to take some time off. They finally decided that she was pregnant. We decided that since I was subject to being ordered abroad that we should bring her home to California. So we bundled up everything we had in our 1938 Chevrolet coupe and headed for California. We drove as far as Grant’s Pass, Oregon the first day. Overnight a big snowstorm came up. We asked about the road conditions over the mountain to Crescent City and they said there was a lot of snow up there. They advised that we shouldn’t go.

But I didn’t want to go back the other way so we went ahead in spite of the warnings. We got through, but it was pretty scary. There were some heavy snow drifts. Luckily we didn’t have any incidents and made it over okay down the Coast and to Point Arena. We visited my mother, brothers Charlie, John and Joe, had dinner with them, and then went on to Menlo Park and Palo Alto where my wife Mary was going to stay with her mother at 519 Cowper Street. I then took the train after a couple of days and went back to Farragut.

Gene Scaramella, c.1946

Back to Portland and then to Spokane to Couer d’Alene. I arrived back at the BOQ awaiting orders. They finally came in July of 1944. I was still at the brig in charge of the security department. We didn’t have any more escapes so it was rather routine there. The only problem was some of the chief petty officers kind of roughed the prisoners up a little bit. I had to keep them in line. My commanding officer used to inspect the security department. We were supposed to secure our inspections by 5 o’clock, but he was still out there stirring things up at 8 or 9 o’clock at night. One night he called me up at the Officer’s club while I was having dinner and said, “What are we going to do about” some chief petty officer. He said this non-comm did something wrong and that I should discipline him — right away. I said, “Well I think it can wait until Monday.”

A few months later we were expecting Mark to arrive and I kept wondering why I never heard anything. I had sent a telegram but it had been delivered to some other Scaramella in the area. I never did hear about it. Finally I called. I didn’t know about Mark being born until about a week after it happened. It was quite an exciting time. I was disappointed I wasn’t in on the news earlier.

(Mark Scaramella notes: Transcribed from a tape recording my father made a couple of years before his death in 1999.)

* * *


by Manuel Vicent

translated by Louis S. Bedrock

illustration by Fernando Vincente

Around 1870, at the tender age of 25, when he closed his office every evening, Paul Gauguin would leave the Berlin Bank, where he worked as a liquidator, and cross the Rue Laffitte puffing on an English cigar. He wore expensive clothes: well-brushed, straight legged pants, polished boots, a velvet frock coat, and cravat. He was the model of the respectable bourgeois young man: respected, well fed, rosy cheeked. And thus, as the evening fell, he would arrive home, a hotel with a garden on Rue Carcel, and his wife, a Danish Protestant named Mette-Sophia Gad who had borne him five children, would give him a kiss.

In the bank, he was allowed to speculate in the stock market on his own. This brought him an additional 50 thousand francs per year.

This fortune of Gauguin afforded him the pleasure of buying paintings of some of the unholy artists who had been rejected by the jury of the Salon of the Universal Exhibition in 1867. In this respect, it is clear that Gauguin was not as bourgeois as other people.

For 15 thousand francs, he had decorated his walls with works of Renoir, Cézanne, Monet, Pissarro, Manet, Sisley, and other painters proscribed by the critics of the time.

Soon, a strange virus took control of Gauguin’s spirit. After working in finance all day, Gauguin would put on stained coveralls and begin to paint. At first, his wife considered this activity a mere hobby that she reluctantly tolerated—especially if on Sundays he opted to continue to soil canvases instead of taking her to the theater or going for a walk in the Bois de Boulogne with the children.

One serious problem with this strait-laced woman sprung up when the aspiring artist asked the maid, Justine, to pose nude for him one night. The incident worsened when it became known that one of the nude studies of Justine had been admitted to the Salon des Indépendants and had received an emotional favorable review by the great poet Mallarmé—a success that swelled the head of Gauguin.

One morning of January in 1883, Mette was surprised to see that her husband wasn’t getting out of bed to go to the office. She thought he was ill but he told her resolutely:

—I’m never going to work in the bank again. I’ve presented my resignation to the director. From now on I’m going to only be a painter. That day started him on his journey toward glory—reached only after crossing through the inferno. To satisfy this new passion, he depended on his savings. Very soon, he found himself without money. Gauguin tried Bohemia but his wife was not willing to put up with penury, left him alone in Paris, and fled to Denmark and to the house of her parents with their five children.

For his part, the artist retreated to Rouen where life was cheaper. He painted and he was hungry; and when he couldn’t bear it any longer, he went to his in-laws in Copenhagen with his tail between his legs. Those orthodox people, unsparing in their scorn and seeing him as a heathen, assigned him a room with one very small window and very little light.

There, he had no other alternative other than painting self-portraits—his face with his huge mustache, his grim expression as seen from a sideways glance into a mirror, his knife-edged profile.

In June of 1885, Gauguin returned with no money to his sordid life in Paris and lived between four walls, with a table and a bed; without fire and without anybody. He sought relief fleeing to Pont-Aven where there was a group of artists in a pension that gave credit to artists. Its landlady, Marie-Jeanne Gloanec accepted paintings in exchange for a bed and meals.

While feeding cherries dipped in aguardiente to turkeys and painting pigs different colors to amuse himself, he learned that one of his children had died and that his wife had cancer. The artist prayed for the dead child, hoped that his wife could find a good surgeon, and followed his destiny. Some models posed nude in the attic of his pension. He painted women from Brittany and green landscapes with cows without managing to sell a single painting.

A friend, Meyer de Haan, had built a very profitable cookie factory in Holland. Gauguin responded to his call and tried his luck working for him. But he soon got bored.

Without having shaken off the influence of the virus, he set off to Panama with the help of some relatives and worked on the excavation of the canal. Then he headed to Martinique and for the first time he experienced the savage wind and pure light of primitivism. It was a revelation.

He returned to Paris with a macaque, who would be his constant companion, and began slowly accumulating paintings that were ridiculed in galleries and auctions.

Gauguin was in love with the work of Van Gogh and went to Arles to work with him. This was a case of two kinds of madness that promptly collided causing continuous disputes, which at first were aesthetic disagreements, and later fistfights. After one of their fights, Gauguin abandoned Van Gogh. In the middle of this tumult, Van Gogh cut off one of his ears and sent it to a prostitute.

Gauguin put several oceans between himself and Van Gogh and wound up in Tahiti. There he found Tahura wandering through the forest and she became his ideal model. He painted her obsessively. He expressed his vision in synthetic symbolistic planes. With a magnificent cargo of new work, in which preternatural happiness and innocence are incorporated in indigenous bodies, Gauguin returned to Paris to exhibit his new aesthetics.

On November 4, 1893, he displayed 44 canvases and two sculptures in a gallery of Durand-Ruel on la Rue Lafitte. The bourgeoise took their children to the exposition so they could make fun of the monstrosities painted by one Paul Gauguin. It was rumored that he was a madman who had abandoned his job as a banker and his wife and five children in order to devote himself to painting.

The laughter got worse when the public saw paintings of nude Javanese together with the Spirit of the Dead. At one auction, a painting of a white horse was exhibited upside down. The auctioneer told the crowd that it was Niagara Falls. Amid the loud guffaws of the crowd, an astute art dealer, Ambroise Vollard, bid for the painting and walked off with it for 300 francs.

With the promise that the gallery owner would send him a monthly stipend so he could continue painting—a promise that was never fulfilled, Gauguin said goodbye forever to civilization to return to Paradise. The night before setting off for Tahiti, he was accosted by a harlot on a street in Montparnasse. He carried a gift from her—syphilis, to Polynesia where glory and torture reigned supreme.

Surrounded by the pleasures of the uncivilized world and the love of the natives, happy semi-nude adolescents under the coconut trees, his painting didn’t require any imagination. However, his body began to rot. First, he lost a foot; then a leg; and ultimately the disease reached his heart.

Gauguin was actually already a leper when he decided to advance further Into the wild purity and went to Hiva Oa, one of the Marquesas Islands, to live among cannibals. Here his canvases achieved the excellence that would make him one of the highest valued painters in history.

While on his death bed, he was cared for by several young Polynesian women while at their side one of the cannibals was crying inconsolably. When Gauguin died, the cannibal bit one of his legs so that Gauguin’s soul would return to his body in accordance with the rituals. The natives surrounded the hut and dressed the cadaver in the clothes of the Maori. They rubbed perfumes onto the body and covered it with flowers.

A Bishop from a mission rescued the remains and buried them in a Catholic cemetery. Under his mattress, Gauguin had only 12 francs in loose currency.

This occurred in Atuona on May 9, 1903. Gauguin was 54 years old. His life’s work consisted of about three hundred paintings. He is, without doubt, one of the most highly esteemed painters in the history of art.

* * *

THE WHOLE BUSINESS of your life overwhelms you when you live alone. One's stupefied by it. To get rid of it you try to daub some of it off on to people who come to see you, and they hate that. (Louis-Ferdinand Celine)

* * *



The Republican Party & Sociopathology

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, defines Sociopath by the following three characteristics:

Deceitfulness as defined by repeated lying—“Republicans have spent years routinely lying for the sake of political advantage.”

Reckless disregard for the safety of others—“The G.O.P. agenda…taking health insurance away from 30 million Americans.”

Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to having hurt another. — “Republicans…the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.” Profit over People drives the pathology of the failing capitalist system.

Dr. Nayvin Gordon, Oakland, a California Family Physician who has written many articles on Health and Politics



  1. Jim Updegraff September 27, 2017

    Comment of the Day: Right on!

  2. Russ Rasmussen September 27, 2017

    Interesting use of the word feint in regards to “hope”. I “hope” it was intentional.

    • LouisBedrock September 27, 2017


      If it were not intentional, I hope you won’t feint.

  3. sohumlily September 27, 2017

    Thanks for the Gauguin piece, Louis.

    • LouisBedrock September 27, 2017

      And thank you, Fair Lily.
      Positive feedback is always appreciated.

      • LouisBedrock September 27, 2017

        I don’t always respond to comments about the articles I write or translate. However, I read almost all of them.

        The AVA doesn’t pay me. My reward is to know that people read my pieces and appreciate them.

        I even appreciate corrections of mistakes I have made–and negative comments too because at least the people who write them took the time to read my article.

  4. Harvey Reading September 27, 2017


    “Calfire” (takeoff on CalTrans?), or CDF, was always there to do the bidding of timber companies, which helps explain the mess they made on the north coast, not to mention making more “habitat” for illegal pot growing.

    Re: SOCIOPATH, n.

    Trouble is, the corporate democraps are just as bad, especially those of the Clinton variety…

  5. Harvey Reading September 27, 2017

    Agree with Jim Updegraff.

    • LouisBedrock September 27, 2017

      “In 1888, Van Gogh rented a house in Arles in the south of France, where he hoped to found an artists’ colony and be less of a burden to his brother. In Arles, Van Gogh painted vivid scenes from the countryside as well as still-lifes, including his famous sunflower series. Gauguin came to stay with him in Arles and the two men worked together for almost two months. However, tensions developed and on December 23, in a fit of dementia, Van Gogh threatened his friend with a knife before turning it on himself and mutilating his ear lobe. Afterward, he allegedly wrapped up the ear and gave it to a prostitute at a nearby brothel…”

      This is one version of what happened.
      There are others.

      • LouisBedrock September 27, 2017

        Thank you.

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