- Crowningshield Arraignment
- Election Correction
- Quiz Night
- Over Excavating
- Candidate Juhl
- Pod Poppers
- Lost Democrats
- Little Dog
- Honey Exploders
- Beck Parole
- Soto Scoring
- Elly Wanted
- Seivertson Charges
- Candidate Forum
- Rethinking Celltowers
- MCDH Accreditation
- Kids Eat
- Yesterday's Catch
- Fading Facade
- NY Stories
- Reducing Abortion
- Youth Art
ANDREW CURTIS CROWNINGSHIELD was marched into Judge Cindee Mayfield's court, under close guard, with one corrections officer holding a fistful of the defendant's new-looking orange coveralls in a tight grip, and another officer clearing a path to the dock, at 9:00 sharp this morning. When the judge came out she called Crowningshield's matter first and as soon as it was over, the defendant was bruskly removed from the courtroom.
Crowningshield was quickly arraigned — partially — on charges of murder in the first degree of Autumn Johnson (Smith), with an unspecified number of special allegations. A defense lawyer, Jane Gastel, was present and Ms. Gastel said she was in the process of being retained by the defendant and would like to have the date of February 21st at set at 9:00 for further arraignment. District Attorney David Eyster said that would be fine with the caveat that the defendant be held until that time on a no-bail hold. Judge Mayfield granted both parties their requests, and Mr. Crowningshield was escorted out under tight security.
CORRECTION: SUPERVISOR McCOWEN WRITES: John Pinches was succeeded [as Third District Supervisor] by Tom Lucier who served a single term. When Lucier ran for re-election he was opposed by Wagenet and Pinches. Lucier finished third in the primary and Wagenet was elected in the run off in November. When Wagenet ran for re-election he was defeated by Pinches.
QUIZ TONIGHT! Yes, we are almost at the 2nd Thursday of the month so tomorrow, February 8th at 7pm, we shall have the General knowledge and Trivia Quiz at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. Fine wines and delicious food are on the menu as always, and I would suggest this will provide some mental exercise preparation for all of those intending to have an Valentine’s Day night out next week with loved ones who may need reminding how bright and informed you really are. Hope to see you there,
Steve Sparks/Quiz Master
THE NEW TERM “OVER-EX” to describe a phenomenon in the aftermath of the October Fire Catastrophes arose at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors in a discussion of fire disaster recovery efforts. Construction Specialist and Ukiah Gadfly Lee Howard told the board that dozens of parcels where houses had been burned down were “over-excavated” to where in some cases the housepads where houses had once been as well as the surrounding area looked like what Howard described as “a large swimming hole.”
HOWARD ADDED that restoring the ground to the point that the site could be rebuilt would cost tens of thousands of additional dollars, over and above the home re-construction cost. Howard also complained that some of the excavation crews did not provide the required ID when asked and some property owners don’t know who did what or who told them what. Howard said that he didn’t think there was enough oversight of the work and that “hundreds of cubic yards” had been dug out that did not need to be dug out in the burned areas of Redwood and Potter Valleys. “This is driven by tonnage loaded and gotten out and paid for, greed,” said Howard.
SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN reported that he knew of a case where five times the size of a house and shop had been excavated. “Perhaps there’s a reason,” said McCowen, “but it’s hard to belive that that big an area needed to be cleared to that depth. There’s a potential for fraud.” McCowen added that the over-ex represents a huge amount of unnecessary work for taxpayers to pay for and that there seemed to be a lack of controls to prevent it, noting that over-exed homeowners will face bigger excavations, more fill, more expense, etc., impeding their ability to rebuild. “It’s a very serious allegation,” McCowen concluded.
THE FEMA and CalOES (Emergency Services) reps replied that all such complaints will be reviewed for error or fraud, waste or abuse, saying that any excavation more than a foot deep is suspicious and should be looked at. They said they are talking to their contractor and they have a team looking at the problem.
CONTRACTORS responsible for cases where such over-ex is verified are subject to fines or non-payment for work. The FEMA rep (who was introduced nearly unintelligibly as what sounded like “Robert Pessopane”) said the problem is not just in Mendocino County. The CalOES rep (who did not introduce herself by name) said they were “committed to dealing with the situation,” adding that in some cases there are disagreements about how much excavation was necessary. In other cases, mistakes were made. They are dealing with the problem on a case by case basis, she said.
SUPERVISOR GEORGEANNE CROSKEY asked what can be done for homeowners, and the FEMA rep replied that (former) homeowners who have been harmed are eligible for replacement fill dirt or financial compensation “if indeed the government did irreparable harm to the property,” FEMA rep Robert P. hedged.
THERE WAS NO WRAP UP. The Board seemed satisfied that FEMA is looking at the allegations and the possibility of compensation — “if the government did irreparable harm” (in the government’s opinion) — but, as usual, nobody seemed interested in follow-up reports, or lists of affected parcels and determinations or compensation provided.
EARLIER in the meeting County Planning Director Nash Gonzalez had said that a couple of dozen building permits had been filed or approved in the burn areas so far, but that no work has begun because property owners are still waiting for insurance claims to be adjudicated.
FIFTH DISTRICT SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE JUHL COMMENTS:
"I just read the article that the Supervisor candidates were speaking platitudes, as a candidate I could not agree more. I have attended two BOS meetings, a mental health meeting and I never saw a fellow candidate! As a former CEO I had only to give the facts based on the budget, which as a candidate I still do. I am going to Vancouver to attend an Environmental conference and to make sure there will be no Oil drilling off our beautiful coast. I act, not react to the problems of Mendocino.
Arthur E. Juhl, candidate for 5th District Supervisor."
CANDIDATE JUHL, 75, thus breaks a long local tradition of Supervisors being elected with zero prior knowledge of the office they will be holding, less idea of their responsibilities. Very few candidates over the years have attended so much as an hour of a Supe's meeting prior to their elevation to that office. The present crop may be watching them on YouTube, but in years prior there wasn't a televised session of the Supes.
OF COURSE Mr. Juhl hasn't been elected yet, and he comes from the 5th District's equivalent of the Great Unknown, the South Coast of Mendocino County. He may be unaware that the 5th has been dominated by lib-pwogs clustered on the Mendocino Coast from Elk to the Caspar City limits, with a ton of hill muffins sequestered among the ridges in Anderson Valley and Comptche. It's that incestuous voting bloc The Candidate has to win over. For pure conscientiousness, though, Mr. Juhl is off to a great start, as is Candidate Rodier, 74, who has been canvassing the 5th District for a couple of weeks now. The hippies of yesteryear used to caution, "Don't trust anyone over 30." I haven't met anyone under the age of 70 I'd trust to hand me a glass of water, not that I trust my fellow Seniors particularly.
THE LAUNDRY-DETERGENT PODS that some teenagers apparently find so mouth-watering could soon be a thing of the past. A bill introduced in New York this week would ban tempting detergent packets in New York state and replace them with pods of “uniform color not attractive to children” and “not easily permeated by a child’s bite," reported the New York Post. Babies keep eating the tasty-looking packages and teenagers can’t stop daring each other to take part in the Tide Pod Challenge, with 86 teens reportedly sick after chowing down on detergent in January alone, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
THERE'S MUCH NATIONAL COMMENT advising the Democrats to specify what exactly it is they stand for. I'd say they can't and will continue to stand for nothing because they're lost in identity politics, big breaks for big bucks, perpetual war, and the limo lifestyle. They're also hamstrung because, basically, they're funded by the same kinds of big money the Republicans and Trump are. (On the Northcoast any candidate even expressing suspicion about domination of the vote by the Wine Industry cannot be elected to public office. Democratic fundraisers are held almost exclusively in the vulgar palaces of wine moguls.)
THE POLITICAL RIGHT gasped when Bernie said he'd tax the big fortunes at about 36 percent. Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower smacked the rich at over 90 percent, the proceeds of which hardly pauperized the oligarchs and was spent on programs that benefitted all ordinary Americans.
CONTRAST the Democratic blob's confusion with Harry Truman's first legislative agenda, his Fair Deal modeled on Roosevelt's New Deal: Increase in federal minimum wage; full employment permanent ("To the extent that continuing full employment cannot otherwise be achieved, the federal government should provide such volume of federal investment and expenditure as may be needed to assure continuing full employment"); Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC); public housing programs; public works spending; expansion of Social Security to include medical insurance; national health insurance (denounced by the AMA as "a monstrosity of Bolshevik bureaucracy"); crop insurance; school lunches; forest conservation; national science foundation; and highway rehab.
THE DEMOCRATS could coast to victory across the country simply by adopting Harry's old Fair Deal.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I knew it! Skrag's back. Been gone two full days and nights. I asked him where's he's been. ‘Been to places you'll never know, that's where,’ he says.”
TWO CANNABIS LABS EXPLODE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY IN FOUR DAYS
by Justine Frederiksen
There were explosions in at least two cannabis extraction labs in Mendocino County within the past week, and the Commander of the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force said the increase in activity has him concerned.
“I’m worried it is just going to get worse,” said Darren Brewster, explaining this week that he was releasing more details than usual regarding ongoing investigations in the hopes of alerting residents to the dangers that come with extracting THC from marijuana plants using extremely flammable gases.
Brewster said the most recent explosion occurred Friday around 10:30 p.m. when a barn-type structure being used for a large extraction operation utilizing ethyl alcohol caught fire on Mendocino Pass Road.
“That fire burned for 11 hours,” said Brewster, explaining that law enforcement found out about the fire because a woman inside the lab was badly burned in the explosion igniting the blaze and “two people took her to the CDF station (in Covelo).”
The woman was later transported out of the county for further treatment and Brewster said she is still in the hospital.
He said no suspects have been arrested in that incident and “we haven’t even been able to take lab equipment out of the barn because it is still too hot to touch.”
In addition to the safety risk that explosions present, Brewster said the environmental damage caused by such labs to the surrounding area is usually extensive.
Three nights earlier in Willits, Brewster said there was an explosion stemming from a Butane Honey Oil lab near a residence on Poppy Drive.
According to the Brooktrails Fire Department, crews responded to the residence in the 26000 block of Poppy Drive around 7 p.m. Jan. 30 and “found heavy fire from a shed that started to extend into the residence."
“The fire was extending 20 to 30 feet into the trees,” said Brewster. “Thank god it wasn’t summer, or Brooktrails would have really been in trouble.”
Brewster said no suspects were arrested in that explosion yet either because they all left the building before emergency responders arrived, “but we have some good leads we are following.”
At least two more labs have exploded in Mendocino County recently for a total of four in the past six months, he said.
Brewster said no labs that use either butane or alcohol to extract THC are legal in the county, and he urged residents to report suspicious activity that may be related to a lab either to his office at 707-463-4500, or to other law enforcement departments.
“We need to know why (callers) think it is a lab and where it is, and if they know any of the suspects,” he said, explaining that smelling a strong odor of gas such as butane or alcohol can be a sign, or “seeing people carrying in or discarding a large amount of butane, alcohol or even propane containers.”
Brewster said ethyl alcohol “comes in very large vats,” and there were three 270-gallon containers of it at the Covelo fire, “but luckily only one exploded.”
Another sign of a lab can be the large piles of marijuana plants discarded after the THC has been extracted, which he said “will look burnt.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
Thousands of people have signed a Facebook petition drive that is under way to block parole for Gregory Patrick Beck, a Mendocino County man convicted of dousing his girlfriend with lighter fluid in 2001, setting her on fire and then watching her burn. Sherry Carlton died in 2016 after being confined to a hospital bed for 15 years from injuries that left her mutilated and paralyzed.
A state Board of Parole hearing is set for Feb. 27 at Corcoran State Prison. Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Norman will attend and argue the DA Office’s opposition to Beck’s parole.
After the last parole hearing in 2011 DA Eyster submitted the following statement:
Parole Denied In Torture Case
A two-member panel of the California Board of Parole Hearings denied Gregory Patrick Beck’s request to be released on parole, on Tuesday, March 2, 2011 in Corcoran. Citing Mr. Beck’s “vicious and callous” attack on his victim, Sherry Carlton, and his continued lack of true remorse for the crime, the Board of Parole Hearings issued an order that Beck shall not be entitled to another parole hearing for 10 years.
Beck was convicted by a Mendocino County jury in 2002 of gravely injuring Sherry Carlton by means of torture, assault with caustic chemicals, and corporal injury on a cohabitant. Ms. Carlton was Beck’s then 32-year old girlfriend and the mother of their then 12-year old child.
After a tumultuous 12-year relationship, Ms. Carlton chose to separate from Beck and moved out of the home they had shared. On August 21, 2001, she went back to the home to retrieve some personal belongings and Beck came home while she was still at the house. He attacked Ms. Carlton by soaking her with lighter fluid and intentionally set her on fire. Ms. Carlton then ran from the yard and into the street screaming for help. A neighbor testified that Beck did nothing to help; instead, Beck went about “staging” the scene to make it appear as if Ms. Carlton’s burning body was the result of a BBQ accident. Despite her obvious agony resulting from severe burns, Ms. Carlton was still able at that time to tell responding law enforcement officers and medical personnel that Beck had intentionally set her on fire.
Unfortunately, the injuries and burns Ms. Carlton suffered were severe and caused significant permanent damage. She remains unable to care for herself as a result of the attack and must live in a convalescent hospital. Ms. Carlton cannot speak, walk, or otherwise care for herself without assistance from hospital staff.
The hearing, attended by both parents of the victim, as well as Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox, lasted five (5) hours at the prison in Corcoran, Ca. During the hearing, Beck answered questions by both the Parole Board and Ms. Cox regarding the circumstances of his attack on Ms. Carlton, his motivation, and the steps, if any, that he had undertaken to redeem and rehabilitate himself while incarcerated. Jeffrey Carlton and Phyllis Kline, Ms. Carlton’s parents, offered victim impact statements by describing the continuing agony Ms. Carlton endures and the ongoing heartbreak they continue to experience due to Beck’s “despicable” attack which left their only daughter with no hope for a meaningful life. Also presented were photos of Ms. Carlton prior to the attack, depicting a strikingly beautiful blonde woman in her early thirties. A video taken in January was submitted that memorialized Ms. Carlton’s current state of existence: horribly disfigured, blind, confined round the clock to a convalescent bed, and fed via a feeding tube. The Board also listened to the haunting 911 call Ms. Carlton frantically made immediately after she was attacked, in which she screams in agony, begs for help, and then cries that Beck had burned and tried to murder her.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Beck acknowledged that he purposefully set Ms. Carlton on fire as a sort of “revenge thing” because he was upset she had left him. Although he claimed he was sorry for his actions and that he had sought to rehabilitate himself through anger management classes while incarcerated, the Board determined that Beck was not remorseful for his actions and that he had little insight into why he did such a terrible thing to the mother of his child. One Commissioner noted that Beck ranked near the top of all prisoners who fail to show any emotion for the pain and suffering inflicted on a victim. The Commissioner also observed that Beck has yet to admit to the son that he purposefully attacked Ms. Carlton or demonstrated that he has attempted to make amends to his son for taking away the son’s mother. The Board also focused on Beck’s ongoing issues with women in general, noting Beck’s history of domestic violence against Ms. Carlton, his attempts to cast some of the blame for the attack on Ms. Carlton’s own actions, and his confrontational manner at Tuesday’s hearing with the all-female Parole Board panel.
District Attorney Eyster asked Shannon Cox attend the hearing to express his focused opposition to Beck’s release. As part of that focused opposition, it was argued during the hearing that Beck continues to pose an unreasonable danger to the community and that the original crime remains so shocking and atrocious as to deserve maximum punishment. As part of the hearing process, the Board was duly impressed by the almost 100 letters sent by various members of the community voicing outrage at the prospect of Beck’s release, as well as the hundreds of signatures on petitions opposing parole for Beck. District Attorney Eyster wants to thank those who responded to his call for action by writing those letters and signing petitions.
In finding Beck unsuitable for parole, the Board found that Beck was not credible in his explanation of the attack and the reasons behind the attack. The Commissioner further observed that Beck had failed to “internalize” anything he had been working on to rehabilitate himself while in prison, and, in fact presented to the Board as a “self-absorbed and self-centered” felon. Due to Beck’s gross shortcomings in rehabilitation, along with the highly callous, vicious and atrocious nature of the attack on Ms. Carlton, the Board found Beck unsuitable for parole and ordered that he not be eligible for another parole hearing until the passing of 10 years.
* * *
* * *
Parole denial request letter - Gregory Patrick Beck CDC# T61119
This is my letter requesting parole be denied for Gregory Patrick Beck. Thank you to the District Attorney’s Office for being a champion for keeping monsters like Beck behind bars where they belong.
The online petition has over 20,000 signatures now. Here is the link.
Thank you! –
Jill Francis, Petaluma
RE: Parole for Gregory Patrick Beck – CDC #T61119
This letter is to request that convicted torturer Gregory Patrick Beck be denied parole. He is a danger to society and has shown no remorse for the brutal attack he made on my friend Sherry Carlton in August of 2001. His attack left her mutilated, paralyzed, and confined to a hospital bed in pain for 15 years until the injuries inflicted by Gregory Beck ultimately killed her. Sherry was a beautiful person, full of life, until Gregory Beck doused her with lighter fluid, set her on fire, and then watched her burn. He took her life. Please do not let him out of prison.
SOTO LEADS COUNTY SCORERS
NCL III Basketball Scoring Leaders
AV's Soto Takes Scoring Leading From Baker
Anderson Valley may be languishing in fourth place in the NCL III ratings with a 7-4 record, but their "Big Man" Alejandro Soto has taken over the league scoring lead averaging 21.6 over 21 games - Mendo's Nakai Baker has had the top spot most of the season. Baker has a 19.7 points-per-game average over 22 games.
WEDNESDAY'S MOST WANTED
(Navarro resident, methamphetamine addict)
Elly Martini Is Wanted For
- PC 530.5(A) USE ID OF ANOTHER PERSON
- PC 1320 FTA ON FELONY OR AGREE
- PC 10851(A) THEFT OF VEHICLE
- PC 1320(B) FTA ON FELONY OR AGREE
- PC 1203.2 PROBATION REVOKED, NO BAIL
Age: 39 years old
Weight: 120 lbs
Height: 5' 2"
Last known town/city: Ukiah, CA
If you recognize this individual or have information which could lead to their arrest, please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4086
RACHEL SEIVERTSON TO FACE FELONY VANDALISM CHARGES
(Seivertson is the young woman who bashed in buildings and equipment at two Hopland fire stations with a baseball bat last month.)
IT'LL BE A HOT ONE!
Message from Ed Keller:
Notice to Board Candidates about On-Air forum
Dear KZYX board candidate,
Thank you for your interest in holding a seat on our Board of Directors. We are in the process of organizing an on-air candidate's forum. This will be held Monday March 5th at 7:00PM in Ukiah. Once the location is secured we will let you know. We look forward to seeing you then.
Election coordinator, KZYX
NOT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
Hi folks, just sent this email to the Mullens stating our opinion on this project of theirs. I hope we can stop this project and restore tranquility to our neighborhood.
Deanna Thomas wrote:
KPIX Channel 5 TV have a story regarding the effects of cell towers which are being installed at firehouses in Southern California. They are now showing X-rays of effects on brain after only 5 years of exposure and rethinking those installations. I attempted to share the article to this group last night. Not certain it worked. Check it out on line. This is NOT healthy!
MENDOCINO COAST DISTRICT HOSPITAL EARNS ACR ACCREDITATION
Fort Bragg, CA - February 7, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes magnetic fields to produce anatomical images of internal body parts to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
"This achievement was the result of diligent efforts on the part of Farshid Joubin, our MRI Radiological Technologist and the assistance he received from Dr. Russell Perry, our Radiologist, James Coupe in IT and Deborah Harris, our new Diagnostic Imaging Manager," commented Emmet O'Connell, Director of Ancillary Services and Infection Control at MCDH. "Thank you to everyone for this great achievement!"
The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report that can be used for continuous practice improvement.
"Thank you to our team that worked on this for their hard work, demonstrating our continued commitment to high-quality healthcare that improves the health of our community," said Bob Edwards, MCDH CEO.
The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care. The College serves more than 37,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.
Director PR & Marketing Communications
Mendocino Coast District Hospital
KIDS CAN EAT REGARDLESS
Anderson Valley Unified Schools Monday announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Each school and/or the central office has a copy of the policy which may be reviewed by any interested party. Under the Provision II option all school-aged children attending AVUSD are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 7, 2018
ADAM ALEXANDER, Sacramento/Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOHN ALVAREZ JR., Willits. Probation revocation.
JARED BOW, San Francisco/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ANDREW CROWNINGSHIELD, Little River. Murder, use of firearm, lying in wait, discharge from motor vehicle. (Repost with current booking photo and charges.)
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JESSE DUBOIS, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SCOTT FRANKS, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
DAVID GRAPPONE, Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
PATRICIA HENDRICKS, Potter Valley. DUI.
CHARLES HOLMES, Fort Bragg/Ukiah. Unspecified offense enhanced by multiple victims with bodily injury or death, prison prior, contempt of court, open container.
GULARMO MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JUSTIN MAXFIELD, Willits. Under influence, disobeying a court order, probation revocation.
CORT MILLER, Covelo. Probation revocation.
DOC MOTHERSHED, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SAMUEL SALDANA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
TIMOTHY SALO, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
BENJAMIN TORANGO JR. , Fort Bragg. Trespassing, more than an ounce of pot.
CHRISTINA TORRES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I don’t trust anyone. Not Trump, not Nunes or any Republican; nor do I trust the Democrats. This is all about power and influence and nothing more. Democrats had it and lost it. Republicans have it and don’t want to lose it. If Trump were impeached or forced out the Republicans would remain in power, but they know they would probably lose control of the Senate or the House this fall or in 2020. That is why there has been (and never will be) an attempt to invoke the 25th Amendment.
I’m not even sure I trust Bernie Sanders. Although political witch hunts are the order of the day.
We are only a facade of Democracy and more and more our elected leaders care very little about maintaining that facade. When the next emergency strikes I expect to see Donald Trump standing on a podium somewhere admiring a military parade with gold tassel shoulder boards and gold trim on his signature golf cap.
by Paul Modic
I was walking down the street with my friend and a guy asked us for money.
“I can give you some food,” I said. He walked on, then turned back and said, “You got a samwich?”
“I have some sunflower seeds,” I said. The guy groaned and moved on. I shouted after him. “Hey, I'm as broke as you!”
“You're more broke than him,” my friend said to me. “At least he has street smarts.”
Slum Living: 533 E. 13th Street, NY, NY
Back in 1975 the city was giving away buildings on my block if you wanted to fix them up to code--I remember some hippies with tool belts doing that. My old fat Italian landlady told me coke dealers had lived in the $86 a month apartment before me. “Cokaina, cokaina!” she said. On the top floor two old queens paid $25 for their rent-controlled digs. In the store front lived an odd, very skinny black guy named Calvin who who wore long curly wigs and didn't pay rent. The rest were Puerto Ricans.
The paint was peeling off the walls and there were so many cockroaches I didn't even bother to try to kill one. The kitchen was in the living room and the bathtub was in the kitchen. To furnish it I found a mattress on 52nd street and carried it on my head down to 13th. Someone gave me a refrigerator, which I wheeled across town on a hand truck. My radio was a box of tubes I kept permanently tuned to WBAI; it was the exciting era of Bob Fass, Steve Post, Julius Lester, Margo Adler, Paul Gorman, and other freethinking talk show hosts.
Once, with no apparent pride, shame or hesitation I invited my father to visit and the fifteen minutes he spent in that hell-hole probably confirmed his worst fears about me and my future. Another cabbie I knew was living in a really nice apartment for $289 a month which seemed very extravagant to me. I was making $120 driving taxi on weekends at night and saving half that as I plotted my return to California.
I hung out with some winos for awhile, fellow poets--back then low-life alcoholic panhandlers had places to live, similar to my $86 a month slum pad. Once I went back to JimJim's apartment, his girlfriend Maria was taking a bath and a cockroach skittered along the tub rim, across her brown body, and onto the adjacent wall.
Billy Dave was a champion panhandler, he would have you reaching into your pocket with his persuasive banter, I tried it a few times asking for a dime for my therapy. During one of our walks around the East Village I saw an easy chair outside a building and plopped down in it, not knowing that it was the Hell's Angels'. An irate biker soon accosted me but Billy Dave calmed the situation. “He doesn't know, he's from Indiana.”
While scribbling in my journal waiting for the subway on New Years Eve a young thug came up to me and said, "Are you writing about me? Don't write about me.” He put a razor knife to my chest then sliced up my notebook. We changed trains and at the next station he came at me again with fists raised, I raised mine also. Just then, like out of a movie, a policeman bounded down the stairs and said, “I don't want to be in court on New Years day.”
We got on the train and when midnight struck the passengers got up smiling, going around and shaking hands and saying, “Happy New Years!”
I saw my first Greta Garbo movie last night and it reminded me of the time I lived across the street from her in Manhattan when I was nineteen. Pam had taken me home to daddy, a retired stockbroker who made his own yogurt and had a flour tin full of Colombian smoke. I had met Pam a few days earlier at Cambridge Commons where I was lounging out in the grass with my pen and ink, drawing and writing poetry.
“Do you want to come back to my place to make a soy bean pie?” I said. She demurred but found me the next day in the same spot and said, “How about that soybean pie?”
We swam in the Atlantic with a couple more of her well-off Upper East Side friends, swimming intimately together in the sexy splash of new connection. Pam wanted to take me to The Path, a retreat in the Catskills called “The Center for the Living Force” where she was a member in good standing along with many other New Yorkers seeking something, a connection with their feelings was the party line, but I called it the Crying Cult.
When we arrived a naked volleyball game was in progress and we joined right in, had I arrived in paradise or what? After a memorable week there we went down to the city to stay with Pam's cool father on 52nd street but on the second night he found I'd crept into Pam's bedroom and kicked me out the next morning, home made yogurt and stash of pot notwithstanding.
I never did catch a glimpse of Greta Garbo.
When I was a taxi driver in New York I roomed for awhile with a fellow cabbie named Heather Schreiber in an apartment on the corner of First Avenue and First Street. The old Italian guys played bocce ball out front and the little Puerto Rican man sold the best egg cream in town for a dollar in his bodega downstairs. Heather fed her cat rice and vegetables and would chant, “Little black cat with little black paws and little black balls.” She was forty-five with a cute little seven year old with shoulder length blond hair under his baseball cap. She sent him walking across town everyday to PS 41, the cool school in Greenwich Village. She called him Huggy.
I first heard the word when Heather wrote me a year or so later. “I've reached the denouement in New York,” she said. “Can I come out and live in Whale Gulch?” About thirty years later I saw the name Leiv Schreiber in the entertainment news, he had just won a Tony award for best actor on Broadway. “Could it be?” I thought? I googled his name and Huggy and sure enough it came up that he never liked his mother calling him Huggy.
Slum Life: Problems With the Puerto Ricans
I was putting mustard on the sardine cream cheese sandwiches when Angel forced the door open and dumped the okara (soy bean grit left over from straining soy milk) on the floor. I chased him out with the knife still in my hand and a crowd quickly gathered on the street. The biggest one came up, punched me in the neck, and said, “Go home.”
I soon loaded a taxi with all my stuff to move in with Heather and Liev Schreiber at the corner of First Avenue and First Street and as I got into the back seat Angel kicked me in the ass. (I guess I was literally kicked out of my neighborhood.)
In her early 90's my grandmother went for a walk and was back in a minute with a smile on her face. What a concept: the one minute walk. I thought of her today as I took my minimal fifteen minute stroll to the river and back. When she was winding down I would visit by her bedside but I never knew what to say. Either I sat mutely or jabbered away about some experiences I'd had, not even sure if she heard me toward the end. One day after one of these sessions I gave her a kiss goodbye and went to hike for an hour on the Appalachian Trail, when I got back she was gone.
Elizabeth Doren was a librarian, a painter, wrote a column for years, reared four children, and was a cool grandma. She introduced us to nutrition and natural foods and taught me how to make miso-tahini spread. In 1970 when I was sixteen and living at home in Indiana I sent in for tickets to HAIR on Broadway months in advance. When August 26th was approaching I realized I didn't have what it took to get to New York so I sent the tickets to her and she took a friend to the show. Once I sent her a joint from Mexico and a year later when the family was visiting I found one in her parking lot. Hmm, could it be? It was slow-motion smuggling but it got the job done.
A few years later I ended up living in New York City for a couple years after coming east for a rock festival in Watkins Glen. For awhile I would drive taxis at night on weekends then hitchhike up and stay with her at her cool little caretakers cottage during the week, she had the old gardeners place and I had my own room nearby. I remember the delicious omelettes she made me for breakfast, those little cut up mushrooms.
When it was time for me to go back to the city she drove me to a spring where I filled up my plastic bottles, packing them in colorful Oaxacan string bags which I had gotten a couple years before when my cool grandfather, Elizabeth's former husband, took me and my sister on a road trip to Mexico. As I was traveling back toward Manhattan with the skyline like a majestic sculpture before me I was filled with hope and excitement that anything was possible and this time I would really make it in New York, but by April I was done and headed west to California.
WRONG ALL AROUND ON ABORTION
Columnist David Brooks isn’t the only one who is wrong on the abortion debate. Everyone on both sides is. According to the studies I’m familiar with, the best ways to reduce elective abortion are comprehensive sex education beginning in the fifth grade; universal access to health care, including birth control; a strong social safety net; a high minimum wage and generous parental employment benefits.
Banning abortion by law leads to unqualified providers performing abortions on the black market, resulting in harmful consequences for many of the women involved, including death, the birth of babies who for one reason or another will never be able to function in society and the birth of babies into family situations that are known to foster mental illness, social alienation and criminality.
The whole pro-life/pro-choice narrative is a destructive one. If the pro-lifers really were pro-life, they would support the effective policies noted in the first paragraph. And it is these same policies that will give the pro-choice people a real choice.
Hello Mendocino County Friends,
The Art Auction is back up!
I have linked the art show application. We are excited to see all the wonderful art from the community. If anyone has any questions please give us a call. I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Mendocino County Youth Project
776 S. State Street, Ste. 107
Ukiah, CA 95482
707-463-4915 Main Office. 707-463-4917 fax