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Off the Record (Nov. 22, 2017)

A CYNIC might suspect, and the only way to accurately assess Mendocino County events is cynically, that the charges against the late Peter Keegan were delayed until he was terminally ill. Then it was simply a matter of juggling lawyers and court dates and otherwise stalling matters until the defendant was safely dead. If the case had proceeded as it would have promptly proceeded most places, it was going to be a wobbler — difficult to get a jury to unanimously agree that Keegan deliberately bludgeoned his wife to death because the initial police response was, how shall I put it, unprofessionally done. There was also a problem with contradictory post-mortems, and other errors by people who are supposed to know how to handle suspicious deaths. The DA can now say on his next campaign trail that he boldly followed the evidence where it led him as the death certificate was quietly changed to homicide — back in 2012. Five years later (!), a criminal grand jury concluded that there was more than enough evidence to indict the dead man, Keegan, by then confined to a wheelchair with only weeks to live, for murder, after listening to Keegan slander his late wife as a drunk and a drug addict, blithely revealing that he illegally prescribed drugs to her and friends of hers, another felony. The Keegan sons can claim that their father was never tried for murder, much less convicted. In this one, everyone got off except Susan Keegan.

SOME PROVOCATIVE but true remarks by TWK a couple of Sundays ago in the Ukiah Daily Journal aimed at Mendo's virtue signaling community. "Local Democrats have made Mendocino County (A) a Nuke-free zone, (B) a No GMO zone, and (C) a No Fracking zone. Also, they’ve banned plastic bags! Look for Ukiah eco-warriors to defeat global warming in the coming weeks. Daily Journal columnists, puffed up with phony indignation at imaginary enemies in faraway places, never find room for a paragraph, poem, sentence or semicolon to discuss atrocities in their own back yards… Our lefties aren’t worried about gardens that divert river water to marijuana crops and kill everything from fish to frogs. They save their outrage for contrails, Trump tweets, and insufficient bicycle lanes."

VERILY, VERILY. There's always been a lot of political posturing around here by unserious people who seem to think the “activist” honorific gives them extra cachet with liberals. Early on in "the movement," circa ‘67 — the only movement in the history of movements to move steadily backwards — marijuana was assumed as an essential part of the generic pwog's cool kit. The radicals of yesteryear, at least the males, with their cigars, whiskey, guns, and prostitutes — Big Bill Haywood, for example — would horrify and terrify today's “progressives” and would be comprehensively “unacceptable”   because of their “inappropriateness.” And the radical women of the early 20th century, intellectuals, mostly, would be shocked at the joyless, censorious hags who claim to be their descendants. The old rads were tough, and they weren't playing. That's the diff between then and now.

THE LEFT, broadly defined, is hostile to capitalism as social organization. ‘Left’ today has been deliberately conflated with liberal by the rightwing and their media, which is pretty much all mass media. Much of what is describes as ‘left’ in media is really Billery-style Democrats, not the left. The left mostly vanished with the demise of the old rads and the organized presence of the Communist Party USA. The diff between liberals and left is that liberals think a little fine tuning here and there will make capitalism fair. Left people think capitalism is innately unfair and should be destroyed. You never see anyone from the left on tv. Noam Chomsky has been non-personed for years by mainstream media, including The New York Times. Michael Moore and, for instance, Amy Goodman, are liberals, not leftists.  Ralph Nader is a liberal reformer, not a leftist. You can find left people at the CounterPunch website, although many of the people appearing there are liberals, not leftists.

PACE TOMMY WAYNE, there are lots of real environmentalists out there who do indeed complain mightily about the depredations of the pot industry — Supervisor McCowen, for one. And in the best tradition of actually putting his principles to work, McCowen spends much of his off time cleaning up after the bums who foul the Russian River and its tributaries. without erecting self-congratulatory banners to himself at the Mendocino Environment Center.

INCIDENTALLY, Supervisor McCowen owns the building on Standley Street, Ukiah, that houses the MEC. It's always been a kind of murk operation. In the Judi Bari days, Bari and her lethal husband, Mike Sweeney, used the place as free rent office space. The place always struck me as somewhere between an out-patient clinic and, at least during Redwood Summer, as a more sinister clearinghouse for federal agents pretending to be hippies. I think the bomb that blew up Bari in Oakland was shoved under her seat by Sweeney operating out of the MEC. The late Roanne Withers said that within hours of the 1990 event men nobody had seen before — tech guys — showed up to remove all the phones. That the bombing was never seriously investigated by the FBI tells you all you need to know about it. And the laughable fact that the "left," up to and including Democracy Now, passed the bombing off as the work of — pick your fave villain — timber corporations, the FBI itself, berserk misogynists (white male division), and so on, serves nicely as Exhibit A of just how utterly lacking in integrity what's left of the left possesses.


The [Richardson Grove] project is ridiculous, and trucking pure crap up the coast needs to end. The nightly parade of trucks on the 101 is disgusting, and the potting soil, the plastic water tanks, the used cars, and the complete garbage for Target and Wal-Mart is just not necessary. The rigs are destroying what is left of 101, and the constant wrecks are highly suspect and disturbing.

On the other hand, the Willits bypass was necessary, and quite overdue. Not having to drive through Willits improves MY life immensely. Nearly nobody really wants to go to Willits anyway. Caltrans should build a bypass of Richardson Grove entirely, or send ALL TRUCKS over 299. If there is a slide, then a limited number of rigs ONLY, could go up through the grove TEMPORARILY! Too bad if the truckers don’t like it, or YOU don’t want to pay for it!  101 is crumbling, and the future depends upon the development of efficient and modern transportation. The population on the north coast is growing rapidly! Caltrans needs a REAL plan to fix 101. The section between Ukiah and Willits is about due to slide down the hill completely, and is just about the most dangerous and poorly maintained piece of highway North of SF! Focus your complaints on the Governor’s office. YOU are paying for these projects with gas taxes, so let Uncle Jerry know your thoughts! Gee, driven the 210 from Redlands lately? Some Californians have good roads!

BRANDON JUNTZ, a juror in the Caleb Silver trial posted on the AVA’s website Friday night: “Trial finished today as mistrial. We voted 7-5 split. I happened to be on the jury.” So it would seem that “the Commodore” wasn’t the only dissenter…

BRUCE McEWEN replies: It appears from Mr. Juntz's comment that these five jurors -- and he neither confirms nor denies my supposition that the Commodore was the ringleader -- shirked their duty, sloughing it off onto the next jury when the case will have to be heard again, as Juntz notes, later this month.  Rennert's Auld Scottish Law gambit paid off and gave them an excuse to scurry away and avoid any personal responsibility for bringing this killer to justice.  I hope this isn't a trend— if so, we’re all screwed, as the streets, already filled with Prop. 47 probationers and parolees will also be full of homicidal felons as well — no wonder the judges want a new courthouse where they can come and go through an armored sally port!

JIM SHIELDS has neatly summed up the likely downside of Measure B, the tax bump just approved by Mendo voters to create an in-County psych facility. In a nutshell, except for Sheriff Allman, whose force of personality and political ubiquity got the measure passed, you've got the same people who have frittered away mental health millions for many years now in charge of many millions more.

WE SUPPORTED MEASURE B and continue to support it despite a fear that it will simply be a continuation of the present multi-million dollar mental health sieve through which millions disappear with virtually no questions asked. At worst, those millions will be disappearing into local pockets rather than distant ones.

THE PROMISED “politically independent” citizens’ oversight
committee "to ensure that the funds are used for the specific purpose of the voter-approved measure and not be spent for any other purposes," is about as independent as Stevie Wonder's seeing eye dog.

IT IS HIGHLY UNLIKELY that the oversight committee will contain a single skeptic, which, after all, is the time-honored Mendo way, from school boards to supervisors.

LOOK AT THIS THING and then tell me it's an independent oversight committee: "A Member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board; the County Mental Health Director or his/her representative; the County Auditor or his/her representative; the Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer or his/her representative; the Sheriff or his/her representative; and a representative of the Mendocino Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness."

"THE SUPERVISORS are "encouraged to include professional experts such as psychiatric and health practitioners, first responders and other mental health professionals among the five committee members selected by the Board."

WHICH nails the oversight coffin totally shut. The Sheriff will be surrounded by the self-interested. Assuming  he isn't bamboozled by the pure bafflegab of these thinly credentialed, mostly self-certified "helping professionals," the old lawman will have to shoot his way free of whole platoons of grifters. These people have already managed to wring millions of public dollars out of the doomed hides of the walking wounded, and now they have a whole new pot of dough to knead into big paydays for themselves. We can only hope the Sheriff insists that at least one or two members of this bogus body view the helping pros and the new facility through critical eyes.

IF THE SPENDING on mental health continues as it has for many years, the Supervisors will not demand accountability in any known sense of the term. Or at least as we would define it — monthly reports on cash paid and to whom; number of clients served; number of persons involved with each client and how much they're paid; rates of success however success is defined in the mental health context.

"REPORTING" on mental health to the Supervisors, historically, resembles a kind of bureaucratic love-in. “Tell us what a wonderful job you’re doing and, if there’s some time left, tell us what a wonderful human being you are.” Beatific grins all round. What the public is getting for the millions spent is never addressed. Everyone is doing a great job and trying their best. Etc. The reporting from the mental health bureaucracy varies only from laughable to pathetic.

THE LATE ROANNE WITHERS worked in the County's Mental Health apparatus. One winter, she was tasked with getting the Coast's homeless population sheltered for the rainy, cold months. Roanne rented a large tent and set it up off South Franklin, as I recall, complete with an outdoor shower. I think the tent housed 30-40 persons, with a separating curtain chastely between the men and the few women. Cots were neatly arrayed on a gravel floor. You weren't allowed to spend the night if you were under the influence, which radically reduced the number of persons who the tent was aimed at getting in out of the rain, suicidal drunks then comprising the bulk of the Coast's homeless population. The one time I visited to have a look at the tent program, most of the people waiting to enter were young men, and some young women, who were in Fort Bragg to take advantage of its renowned woodworking program. It was the most wholesome homeless crowd I'd ever seen. Then as now, rents were prohibitive. The tent was shelter of first and last resort. And Roanne ran a tight ship. Everyone had to be up and out in the morning, and no one was permitted to spend the daylight hours hanging around inside enjoying serial naps. The tent program didn't cost the County much. With some modifications it could be re-implemented simply enough, both on the Coast and in Ukiah. I'd erect two tents on each site — one for the drunks, one for the sobers, with a forceful male presence in the drunk tent to keep order. A large, forceful woman herself,

ROANNE didn't need male back-up for her tent, but we’ve got a tougher brand of transient out there these days, the kind of guy who only yields to superior force. Investing many thousands of public dollars in private property owned by opportunistic landlords, as Ukiah has done, to house the homeless is unfair to taxpayers and unnecessary into the non-bargain. I don't know what Fort Bragg will do this winter now that Hospitality House has bowed out of providing cold weather sanctuary. Maybe the city can re-visit Roanne's tent plan which, by the sad way, ended one gale-force windy night when the tent blew down on the sleeping woodworking students and a few backpacking Europeans. If Fort Bragg goes to a tent, somebody will have to make sure it's double deep-staked.

PERV STATS, local division. It takes some digging to find out the specifics of their actual crimes which reside in the police reports on the original outrages committed by registered sex offenders. Since there are so many of them in our porn-drenched, decadent country, it may be time to consider a kind of reservation and sorting center to permanently separate the worst of them from us normal, non-criminal pervs.  On the perv rez they'd all at least have a fixed address, from which they wouldn’t be allowed to stray.

PERVS VARY. Some people find themselves with registered status for statutory rape, for instance. And there's a big difference in potential harm between, say, a weenie wagger and a cho mo. The exhibitionist should of course be suppressed, but all he's doing is presenting an unappetizing visual to random passersby. The rapist, the cho mo, and the rest of the assaultive types should never get out. But here we are with all these on-line perv rosters that prevent the theoretically "cured" from maintaining a permanent address. Nobody wants the registered offender in the neighborhood. So he wanders around as a transient unregistered anywhere unless the cops, as they have in the case of the dead-eyed cho mo who has recently appeared in Fort Bragg, happens to learn of of them. Then he's driven back out on the road. I'm told there are presently 36 certified sex offenders in Fort Bragg alone, 16 of them with no fixed address.

THE SUPERVISORS are a'changin'. Hamburg is packing up his comfort dog and moving back to his pot patch, and we hear that Carre Brown also intends to retire. Ms. Croskey is heading off some place east of I-5. (Too bad, too. She’s smart and has shown she’s capable of bucking County CEO Angelo.) Gjerde and McCowen will be the holdovers, also a good thing. Ukiah business guy, Ross Liberty, is said to be mulling over a go for the 5th District seat vacated by Hamburg, and a Willits teacher has declared he intends to vie for Croskey's seat. The Democratic Party machine will, as always, try to install one of their pseudo-libs in all three seats despite the abysmal parade of hustlers and incompetents they've saddled the County with over the years. The 5th District especially, for many years,  has been written off by conventional Mendo as a kind of hippie set-aside, although hippie disappeared decades ago but lingers as shorthand for liberal-nutcase, many conventional Mendo people seeing the two as interchangeable.


Why aren’t the Womenfolk permitted to just slap a masher right across the kisser anymore? It’s an ancient extra-discursive communication that transcends all cultural boundaries. No drawing of blood, breaking bones or losing teeth. A plain old slap in the face ( like the one I once received at John’s Barn nightclub in Mt Home, Idaho, for being a tad too forward to a lady in tight jeans, Tony Lama boots and a Resistol hat.

That seemed both a ladylike way of repelling any aggressive advance while providing just enough negative reinforcement to prevent future naughty behavior. Al Franken , Geo. (wheelchair) Bush, Weinstein, indeed, all the mashers would have benefitted greatly from a well-deserved slap.

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