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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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VETERANS! Memorial Day ceremonies commence at 10am at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville, Sunday. May 27. We understand this year’s remembrance will include a bugler.

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LINDA BAILEY writes: Our county-wide library system, as it currently exists, was created over time by the separate actions of five local governments: four cities and the county. Is it proper for the county to unilaterally change the structure? Or change the duties of the County Librarian from those detailed in state law?

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CHRISTINE LOPICCOLO died last week when she piled into some trees near the Navarro Store at a little after 4 in the morning. A long-time resident of Rancho Navarro, Ms. Lopicollo was driving her distinctive ancient Honda towards home when, at the curve near the historic Navarro sign, and for unknown reasons, she careened off the road, hit a light pole, plunged through a blackberry patch, and on into a redwood tree, her car tumbling much of the way before it landed upside down on its roof and burst into flames, causing the portable propane tank and gas can in the car to explode, and almost instantly incinerating Ms. Lopicollo. Preliminary estimates have it that Ms. Lopicollo was traveling at a suicidally high rate of speed, perhaps as great as 90 miles per hour. Ms. Lopicollo's only known relative is a nephew in the LA area. I remember her as a friendly but troubled lady in her middle 60’s who had clearly suffered great losses, including her home in Navarro to fire several years ago.

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A BATTLE IS RAGING between the Boonville superintendent of schools, a woman, and a female posse of Elementary School staffers who don't approve of her for, it seems to me, purely subjective reasons. I know men aren't supposed to make this observation, but  here’s my opinion. Ready? Women often find it difficult to work for women. Most would prefer a male boss, at least that's the answer I got from women to my recent, hurry-up survey.

AND Ms. Hutchins’s campaign signs have been vandalized and, in my case, disappeared from my property which, by the way, is a crime which, also by the way, I daresay our DA would prosecute if someone can be caught in the act of defacing or stealing one.

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DAVID SEVERN WRITES: The System Cost Me More Than The Thief!

In any parking lot my 1991 rusting, cracked windshielded, unlockable, unsmogable Subaru would stand out as the prime beater. At about 3:15 last Wednesday I pulled into Friedman Brothers, Ukiah, for a quick purchase, placing my key in a non-visible location as I ususally do. 20 minutes later I returned and my car was gone. A Ukiah Police officer responded in a dog catcher truck and in short order had a BOLO out. (Be On the LookOut). In determining loss amount the officer reckoned that a two year old iPad I hardly ever use was worth more than the $300 value I placed on the vehicle. I hitch-hiked home.

At 11:30 that night I got a call from an officer with the Cotati Police saying he found my car in the Lowe’s parking lot — could I come down and get it? I wasn’t about to wake friend or family so I tried to get Triple A to tow it but they wouldn’t without me at the car with a photo ID. The officer regretfully told me he couldn’t honor my request to just leave it there in the parking lot and would have to have it towed to a secure lot — “liability” issues. Oh well!

In the morning my daughter Glad and I had a pleasant two and a half hour conversation on the state of the world on the way first to the Cotati Police Department for a release form and then back to Santa Rosa to the tow yard where I was charged $260 for the tow and $45 for storage.

Everything except the key was present in my car, the iPad and even two packages of unknown contents that I was to return to the Post Office for a friend. I always keep a spare key in my wallet so I was good to go.

Because the gas gauge doesn’t work I keep track by the trip mileage and fill up every 300 miles. On the way back home with the trip odometer saying 220 miles I stopped to get gas to get the out-of-Valley lower price. When the tank would only take 5 gallons I realized the thief had put in about 4 gallons or $10 worth so he wasn’t completely broke.

Except for the $305 outlay the whole affair was a somewhat humorous event. I got to spend time with my daughter and I got to meet a nice guy Chris who lives up on Signal Ridge who gave me a ride back home. The thief did no damage to my beat up old car and took nothing — he just seemed to be desperate for a way out of town.

Part of any amusement I got out of the situation was how so many, many people heard about it — I guess from Facebook. While itself rather funny, too, I feel somewhat violated, kind of naked in front of a global security camera and wonder if there are people in France who now know of that stupid guy in Boonville who left his key in his car and without locking it.

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SONIA GILL WRITES: “I invite you, your staff and all the wonderful residents of Anderson Valley and beyond to visit my current one-person shows of art at Yorkville Cellars and the Yorkville Market. I have this unusual but very fortunate opportunity to show my work in our tiny town of Yorkville. At the market I have 19 oil paintings of our Yorkville orchard. And at Yorkville Cellars I have 23 paper collages of my family, friends and pets. Please stop by. I would love to share these with you and everyone else in the Valley.”

ED NOTE: Ms. Gill’s art is quite beautiful, as I can verify having seen it myself at the Yorkville Market, assuming you trust my aesthetic judgement.

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THE 16TH ANNUAL "Anderson Valley Open Studios Tour," and can it be 16 years already? An abundance of talent in the Anderson Valley, isn't there? And here are 14 artists, all of them known to us as our friends and neighbors, opening their homes to us and to total strangers over the long Memorial Day Weekend (May 26-28) where we can view, and even buy, an array of life-enhancing art. We count our blessings.

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OPEN HOUSE, BBQ, AND FARM TOURS, SUNDAY MAY 13. (Boonville, off Lambert Lane)

Free farm tours @ 10 AM and 2:30 PM with a focus on soil building and alternative garden preparation methods.

Farm-to-(picnic)Table BBQ lunch, by chef Farmer Tim, featuring AVCF meat, vegetables, eggs, and olive oil. Lunch served from 11:30 A.M.-2 P.M., $ by donation.

Free gift from the farm for all Mothers on their official day of recognition.

This is our favorite season on the farm, it May be at its most beautiful right now in mid-spring: lush green and flowers everywhere, veggie fields planted and getting prepped, and days warm and perfect. Sounds like time for a party. We hope you can make it!

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Made me sad but I had to pack Skrag's kids off to the orphanage in Ukiah. In a world of irresponsibility, it's up to us dogs to do the right thing!

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AN EXTORTIONATE threat from a young, homegrown lawyer to balkanize Fort Bragg to achieve ethnic electoral balance, inspired a nice bit of well-deserved satire by the much read Facebook page called MendocinoSportsPlus. Predictably, the reading impaired sectors of the Appropriate Police denounced the satire as “homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic, etc……”  Etc? Like a catechism?) The upshot? Sensitivity training for Fort Bragg City Hall staff and the vilification of the town clerk for the crime of commenting “inappropriately” on the satire.

THIS ATTEMPT to shakedown Fort Bragg reminds me of that Jack Silver character out of a phony West Sonoma County environmental organization consisting of Silver and his immediate relatives. Silver has become a multi-millionaire by going around NorCal suing and threatening to sue municipalities for minor violations of the Clean Water Act, violations typically in the process of being remediated. Silver says, "Pay me and I won't sue.” The rare public entities who have resisted him have had to spend many thousands defending themselves, and many have chosen not to spend the money to do it, figuring it's cheaper to pay him off than going to court with the guy.

WILL FORT BRAGG reorganize their small town into electoral districts, which is preposterous to consider on the face of it given the town's size, to avoid bogus litigation? I hope not, but FB has already allocated 8 thou to study the issue. Given the litigious tenor of the times, not to mention the many criminals with law degrees roaming the land, the FB City Council will probably roll over, and this Patterson kid will get himself a big pay day.

Roberts, Patterson

PATTERSON'S MOM, not so incidentally, is running for the FB City Council, or planning to run. It might help her candidacy to call off her kid's suit. A family shake down of the city doesn't seem like much in the way of a vote getter. In fact it seems downright inappropriate.

WHY NOT SIC Sonny Boy to sue Mendocino County or Ukiah or Willits or even Anderson Valley where there are many more non-English-speaking immigrants than there are proportionately in Fort Bragg with zero Hispanic representation on any of their public bodies. Anyway, so what? Can anyone cite so much as a single case of race-based persecution of any ethnic in Mendocino County over the past forty years?

YES, I CAN, but it only happened once, and that was in Ukiah what? thirty years ago? when a pair of crumb bum city cops were caught rolling Mexican drunks. Who were the crooked cops caught by? Other cops.

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NOBODY CAN SAY there's an apathetic lack of interest in the 5th District Supe's race. I can't remember as many candidate's events as there are this election. And even up there in the outlaw regions of northeastern Mendo there have been several candidate nights. From here, the 5th District looks like a run-off between Roderick and Williams, with Chris Skyhawk running a strong third, Juhl a longshot, Rodier even a longer shot. But candidate Juhl, I’d say, has the best sense of the County’s managerial dysfunction: “My short comment for the day is why are we paying for a needs assessment for Measure B? We have a director that earns a lot of money so she should be able to know what is needed, or why pay her! We have to stop wasting money on issues that our county people should solve, or get qualified people that can! Accountability has been the issue in my campaign. If one does not pay attention the waste will continue until the county is really broke!”

IN THE THIRD DISTRICT, the Democratic Party-style lib-labs seem massed behind the blandly platitudinous Haschak with Pinches, as always, running strong across the political spectrum, right to left. Our Willits sources say that Mike Horger, a popular Pinches-like guy, and Shawna Jeavons, a Willits school teacher, are running surprisingly strong. Our informant says he also thought Suzy Barsotti of Laytonville and Tony Tucker of Covelo have “presented well” at recent candidate’s events. Pinches may not be a shoo-in this time around.

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Matt Barnes writes: I have no side to take on the school situation. I don’t have kids. I don’t know local school politics, but it’s pretty rich when the AVA calls out perceived meanness. In the 13 years I’ve lived in Anderson Valley, the worst displays and highest frequency of meanness I’ve experienced are at the hands of your publication. While I’ve seen your publication soften over the years, it’s still the height hypocrisy for your editorial to be calling anyone mean, unless it first comes with an apology to the many, many people who have been slandered by the AVA over the years.

Mark Scaramella replies: Name one person who has been “slandered,” please, and the nature of the “slander.” PS. Boo-hoo. PPS. Our records show that your name has never been mentioned in the AVA in anything other than a positive, complimentary way.

George Hollister adds: What is libel? The definition is so narrow that no newspaper, that I am aware of, has ever been successfully prosecuted for it. At least not in the USA. In the name of the 1st amendment, anything goes. As it should be. Of course, there is a potential price paid in terms of the credibility of the subject newspaper. But credibility of media is always in question, anyway.

Mark Scaramella replies: Sorry George, but we can think of some successful defamation cases against newspapers or media organizations. Boilea v. Gawker, Burnett v. Inquirer, Lesher v. Topix, to name a few. It’s true it can be hard to win, especially if the alleged “defamation” involves a “public figure.” There are hurdles, yes, but if you can prove actual malice, intentional or reckless falsity, and demonstrable damages, and can afford an attorney, there’s a good chance you’ll either win or settle out of court. Generally speaking, “opinion” is not actionable. Another difficulty some people have is with notice. You have to first notify the person or entity you feel has libeled you of the specific offense (date, time, quote, source, etc.) and you have to specify exactly what offended you about it, something our critics seem incapable of. Then the media organization has an opportunity to respond, clarify, correct, retract, etc. Just casually claiming “libel” (or incorrectly “slander” which is not libel) without particulars is borderline libel itself. Not that such niceties stop people like Mr. Barnes from tossing the terms around irresponsibly.

Matt Barnes continues: My apologies, the word ‘slander’ lends itself to a technical definition. I should use such a word more carefully. To clarify, I am referring to the many selective ‘hit pieces’ I’ve read over the years. Calling out people in this Valley while letting favorable others slide for similar perceived offenses.

Furthermore, I’m not sure how the paper has or hasn’t treated me personally over the years has anything to do with my point, but since we’re on the subject…I once wrote a rebuttal to just such a selective ‘hit piece’ where the author not only replied to my rebuttal with an admission that he was, in fact, targeting a wealthy Valley resident because he didn’t like the wine industry (and w/o any recognition of all the charitable work he’s done or choosing to ask his side of the story) and you then let him publish his response to me with my full name, address and name of my business. None of which had anything to do with the conversation at hand. That was not common practice for your paper. The point was clear…’say something we don’t like, and we’ll throw you under the bus too.’

I’m a regular reader of the paper. I have an online subscription and often buy hard copies at Lemons. I enjoy the paper, but I’m hardly the only member of this community that shares my perspective.

Mark Scaramella replies: You must be referring to Balo’s Barn. Which was not a hit piece. It was a legitimate complaint that clearly did not need to include any alleged charitable contributions. If someone wants to mention any, they are free to, of course. Just because you and your wine friends didn’t like the piece or the writer hardly rises to the general “point” you seem to want to make, much less slander. It’s typical of wine people to react like this. I remember a planning commission meeting here in AV at the Fairgrounds back when they were updating the General Plan. One of the mild recommendations from the women who prepared AV’s input was that tasting rooms require minor use permits. Predictably, this very reasonable suggestion was met with a parade of wine people in opposition. But one wine guy in a nice hawaiian shirt rose to the podium and asked the Commission Chair (another wine guy from Hopland Greg Nelson), “Why do they hate us so much?” The wine people in the room all cheered his question.

Or, how about this? When my wind fan lawsuit appeared in court a couple of years ago Judge Henderson opened by saying that he assumed many people in the room were there because they were upset about being kept awake all night. And before he could even finish his sentence, about how others were worried about their crop, the wine people in the room, Supervisor Carre Brown among them, all rudely bellowed, “NOOOOOOOO!”

Need I go on? The wine people are so precious and self-admiring that even minor complaints about their activities are described as “slander,” or “libel,” then ratcheted down to “hit pieces” when their hyperbolic thin-skinned language is corrected.

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Each year, the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival strives to bring our faithful audience music from the four corners of the globe. While we certainly haven't forgotten about places like Korea, Ethiopia, Australia, Jamiaca or England, SNWMF25's lineup has a healthy dose of Latin American music as well. Mendocino County Fairgrounds, June 22-24, 2018.

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Residents, state at odds over fate of iconic Albion River Bridge

by Mary Callahan

A group of Mendocino Coast residents working to save the historic Albion River Bridge is intensifying its efforts amid plans by Caltrans to conduct drilling and seismic exploration in the area this fall to aid site selection for a new span.

Though no official decision has been made to replace the iconic trestle bridge, Caltrans representatives said recent inspections show the existing 1944 structure is deteriorating quickly, resulting in areas of timber rot, splits in the wood, and corrosion of steel bolts and internal connectors that can only be replaced if the bridge is dismantled.

The bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places last year, is entering a phase of “exponential decay,” exacerbated by the harsh marine environment, Caltrans officials said.

“It was never made to last this long,” said Caltrans engineer and project manager Frank Demling. “We recognize that it’s very personal, very unique and defines the community. But it’s reaching the end of its service life and just becoming very expensive to maintain, and quite frankly, it’s getting to the point where it’s not possible to justify the amount of funding that we’ll be spending to maintain it.”

Preservationists in the community distrust Caltrans’ assessment of the situation, and argue the agency should do what’s needed to retrofit and maintain the bridge for as long as it can be made to last. They are focused on thwarting disruptive geotechnical studies that Caltrans hopes to complete over about eight weeks this fall to assist with the surveying and design for future bridge rehabilitation or replacement.

The bridge is crossed by about 3,100 vehicles per day.

Caltrans has a pending permit application with the California Coastal Commission for the work.

It would involve removing about 155 bluff-top eucalyptus trees, some with multiple sprouts, grading bluff-top land and establishing drilling platforms — some of them set in place by helicopter.

The plan is to bore holes up to 125 feet deep at six sites to determine subsurface conditions at various locations.

The project also covers site restoration that includes replacement of soil, regrading, seeding and other mitigations.

But Annemarie Weibel, a leading Caltrans critic, said the work would turn Albion into “a war zone.”

She hearkened back to archaeological surveys and related trenching conducted on the flats below the bridge last year that Demling conceded were mishandled by a contractor and had to be called off.

Peter Wells, co-owner of the Albion River Inn off the north end of the bridge, said replacing the span would spoil the visual character of the coastal village with a population of about 170. But even the preconstruction work would be a blow to the picturesque town and its economy, hitting his bluff-top hotel and restaurant, which looks onto the eucalyptus trees slated for removal, particularly hard.

“We have weddings on the bluff there, all within sight of that same area or right next to the dining room, and it’s a total disaster,” Wells said.

Built during World War II, when materials like steel and concrete were diverted to the war effort, the wooden trestle bridge is a unique landmark 150 feet above the Albion River, its airy gridded framework imbuing the view of the headlands at the river mouth with a sense of grace and nostalgia.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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JAMES MARMON with the story behind the booking photo

Re: Emery ‘Big E’ Ellingwood, Catch Of The Day.

Poor old Emery or as he likes to call himself “Big E,” is an old family friend. He’s been at this every since he lost his job when the mill closed down in Fort Bragg, the one and only job he ever had. He receives a check from GP’s retirement fund but it isn’t that much because he opted for early retirement when the mill actually closed.

Saws Fall Silent as Fort Bragg Faces Loss of Its Lumber Mill

Culture: Impending closure will transform life in small coastal town, which derived its identity from Georgia-Pacific.

“A long, solitary whistle sounded as the last log went to mill. The piercing shift-change whistles used to be so clockwork, people all over town used them to tell time. Now fewer than 100 workers remain, most just a few years from retirement, to close down the mill.”

I’ve tried to help Big E over here at my house in Clearlake, but he’s pretty fried at this point, I couldn’t get him sober. He does pretty good when he’s in jail, cleans up pretty good, but as soon as he’s out of jail he goes back hanging out with the homeless who he refers to as his friends. A few years ago he had an apartment in Ukiah but lost it because he kept bringing in homeless and getting drunk with them and ended up causing all kinds of hell. They beat him half way to death one night and stole all his money. Women always get to him as well, he’s an easy mark, I can’t count the times he’s called my brother and asked him to loan him money because he gave some woman his credit card to go buy some beer and she disappeared. Along with Charles Hensley, Emery too has a story, born and raised in Fort Bragg, spent his adult life working at the mill while paying taxes, only to be discarded as trash.

When GP closed the mill, not only did Fort Bragg lose their identity so did “Big E”. Both of them are all F**ked Up.

P.S. Big E is also a frequent flyer here in Lake County, MCT subscribers miss out on half of his incarcerations.

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Vote By Mail (absentee) Ballots are beginning to be mailed out to voters on Monday, May 7, 2018 and will be available in the County Clerk's Office, for the STATEWIDE DIRECT PRIMARY Election to be conducted on JUNE 5, 2018, according to Susan M. Ranochak, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder.  The County Clerk's Office is located in Room 1020 of the County Administration Building located at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah.

Susan M. Ranochak would like to remind voters that the last day applications may be received for a Vote By Mail (Absentee) Ballot is 5 p.m. on May 29, 2018.  If for any reason a voter will be unable to appear at their polling place and vote on June 5, 2018, they may apply for and vote a Vote By Mail Ballot.

The last day to register to vote in the June 5, 2018 Statewide Direct Primary Election is May 21, 2018.  If you have moved or would like to change your party affiliation, you must re-register – the deadline for re-registering is also May 21, 2018

It is not necessary for one to receive their sample ballot before requesting a Vote By Mail Ballot.  A voter may apply in person at the County Clerk's office and receive their ballot.  If this is not convenient, a voter may submit a written request to the County Clerk, Room #1020, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.  Such request must contain the voters residence address, mailing address where the Vote By Mail Ballot is to be mailed, if different from residence, and must be signed by the voter.

For additional information please contact the County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 7, 2018

Barajas, Cornejo-Olvera, V.Cornejo, Jacobson

JOSE BARAJAS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JOSE CORNEJO-OLVERA, Ukiah. Participation in criminal street gang, conspiracy.

VICTOR CORNEJO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, participation in criminal street gang, conspiracy.

JACEY JACOBSON, Willits. Resisting/threatening peace officer.

Juarez-Zambrano, Kenyon, Kidd

EDUARDO JUAREZ-ZAMBRANO, Potter Valley. DUI, no license.

JEREMY KENYON, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, transportation of controlled substance.

JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

Lina, Madson, Mitchell

JENNIFER LINA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

TATE MADSON, Willits. Domestic abuse.

SERETA MITCHELL, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, fugitive from justice.

Stanton, Torango, Verduzco

KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

BENJAMIN TORANGO JR., Fort Bragg. Under influence, controlled substance, probation revocation.

JOSE VERDUZCO JR., Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

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(Click to enlarge)

(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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by Jonah Raskin

The performance artist and jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron was wrong when he said in 1970, “The Revolution will not be televised.” But perhaps he was only wishful thinking and expressing what he wanted and not what he actually saw and heard around him.

More likely, he was being ironical and commenting on the wacky world of mass communication.

You can still appreciate Scott-Heron’s irony in lines like “The revolution will be brought to you by the Schaefer Award Theatre and/ will not star Natalie Wood and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia/ The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.”

Scott-Heron died seven years ago at the age of 62. His many fans still revere him and appreciate his unique artistry on albums such as Pieces of a Man and Winter in America.

In fact, the cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, from Selma, Alabama to Woodstock, New York, were taped, filmed, recorded and broadcast. Those who were alive in 1968 and who were glued to their TV screens saw the “police riot” in the streets of Chicago. They also heard the demonstrators chat, “The whole world is watching.”

That was an exaggeration. The whole world wasn’t only or just watching Chicago. It was also watching Prague and Paris and other hot spots of rebellion around the globe. But Americans often like to think that they are at the center of the world and that everyone in the world watches the U.S. Just how fallacious that notion is, is apparent to anyone who travels in Europe, Asia and South America and sees that the news isn’t only or just about Donald Trump and the White House.

In 1789, revolutionary Parisians stormed the Bastille because it had guns and ammunition. In 2014, pro-Russian forces seized the TV station in Donetsk, turned off Ukrainian TV and replaced it with TV channels from Moscow. They knew that TV today is far more potent than a tank or a jet plane.

Yippies such as Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and Paul Krassner had that insight 50-years ago.

It wasn’t just the major television networks that captured scenes of the revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. The rebels photographed themselves. Newsreel, the radical filmmakers’ collective, documented the protests of the 1960s, and distributed their movies around the country.

In Santa Barbara, after a screening of The Columbia Revolt protesters burned down a branch of the Bank of America. No doubt about it, film and TV helped to ignite riots and rebellions. That’s why the Yippies, also known as the Youth International Party, staged irreverent events at the N.Y. Stock Market and elsewhere for the purpose of being filmed and then aired on TV. To Abbie Hoffman images alone, without words, conveyed powerful messages.

To the Yippies, Chicago in the summer of 1968 was a scenario in which everyone played a part in accord with an unwritten script that followed a logical sequence. Indeed, Chicago in 1968 was the culmination of the Theater of the Absurd.

The TV networks and the politicians learned from Chicago in 1968, and from televised images from Vietnam. They got smarter, and learned not to broadcast atrocities of war that helped to generate anti-war protests.

Fifty years after Chicago, everyone with a cell phone is a cinematographer. Citizens routinely capture on film police officers beating, shooting and killing unarmed black men. Phones and their photos have educated millions, and not just in the U.S. but in Egypt, China and Russia. No wonder the powers that be want to control the Internet and to censor words and images.

Of course, images alone won’t stop the police from lawlessness, though they can save lives.

If you have not heard Gil Scott-Heron perform “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” or if you want to hear it (and see it) again, you can find it on online. It still works as satire and as a brilliant piece of the spoken word that inspired a generation or two of rappers and hip-hoppers.

The names have changed since the 1970s when Scott-Heron sang, “The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon/ Blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Mitchell/ General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat/ Hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.” But his sense of moral outrage still rings loud and clear. Substitute new names and the piece is as relevant as ever before.

Televised or not, revolutions will not be denied.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

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by James Kunstler

It was refreshing to read the response of Federal Judge T. S. Ellis III to a squad of prosecutors from Robert Mueller’s office who came into his Alexandria, Virginia, court to open the case against Paul Manafort, erstwhile Trump campaign manager, for money-laundering shenanigans dating as far back as 2005. Said response by the judge being: “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud. You really care about getting information that Mr. Manafort can give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump and lead to his prosecution or impeachment or whatever.”

Judge Ellis’s concise summation was like a spring zephyr clearing out a long winter’s fog of unreality in our national politics — the idea that Mueller’s mission has been anything but the Deep State’s ongoing crusade to nullify the 2016 election. In the meantime of the past year, Mueller has been additionally burdened by obvious misconduct in the FBI and its parent agency, the Department of Justice, which makes Mueller himself look like the instrument of a cover-up, or at least a massive organized distraction from the misdeeds of the Deep State itself.

I was never a Trump supporter or voter, but it seems to me he deserves to succeed or fail as President on his own merits (or lack of). It’s much more disturbing to me to see the runaway train that federal prosecution has turned into, along with orchestrated intrigues of FBI and DOJ officials at the highest level. These are of a piece with the creeping surveillance of all Americans, and the collusion of multiple intelligence agencies with social media companies and what used to be the respectable organs of the news, especially The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and CNN — all of which are behaving like Grand Inquisitors in a medieval religious hysteria.

Judge Ellis’s remarks also speak to a growing consensus that the Russia “collusion” or “meddling” story is a phantom, if not a fabrication of the FBI itself, and that Robert Mueller’s appointment to investigate it was illegitimate from the start. In any case, it seems, for now, to be going nowhere, except maybe ricocheting back at itself — because more and more it looks like Mueller is there only to defend the reputation of the agency. Also, for now, the FBI and DOJ are engaged in a war of wills with both houses of congress. Senator Charles Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and members of the House Intelligence Committee are battling Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for official documents that he refuses to produce. It only makes the FBI and DOJ look like rogue agencies.

Now Judge Ellis is asking to see unredacted memoranda spelling out Mueller’s exact commission as Special Counsel, to determine just where his authority begins and ends. Ellis is apparently familiar with the stratagems casually employed by overzealous federal prosecutors that can look like dirty pool — for instance, turning witnesses with janky charges, setting perjury traps, or, in the separate case of General Flynn, threatening to bankrupt a person for lawyers’ fees to defend himself against Mickey Mouse charges.

The Deep State — and when I use that term, I mean the swollen, entrenched, permanent federal bureaucracy and their water-carrier corps of lobbyists, policy wonks, contractors, and media mouthpieces — may not get away with this inquisition. It’s possible that Judge Ellis may, at least, send the Manafort case to a different jurisdiction, the US Attorney for the Eastern District Court of Virginia, if he doesn’t throw the case out altogether on the grounds of prosecutorial overreach. The latter would be a blow against Special Counsel Mueller. It ought to be grounds for his dismissal. And what’s left of the Russia case after that? General Flynn’s guilty plea for lying to FBI agents about whether he had a conversation with the Russian ambassador?

Behind the disintegrating RussiaGate campaign is a much deeper, darker swamp of official misconduct at the FBI and DOJ, for which there is already a ton of evidence that has been made public and which seems worthy of prosecution.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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THERE IS ALSO SOMETHING incredibly vulgar about status-worship, about the spectacle of it all. The whole culture industry, in particular, is farcical, premised on the exaltation of inauthenticity (not to mention, in most cases, mediocrity). To take a rather subtle example, I recall years ago attending a writers conference that featured, one night, readings by some famous authors, including Ravi Shankar, Josip Novakovich, and the liberal feminist Katha Pollitt. Later I reflected on the experience:

At the celebrity readings the audience is duly appreciative, basking in the presence of fame, applauding the sometimes idiotic selections on display. (For example, Katha Pollitt read a piece that related her experiences with a small group of Marxist activists; most of it was devoted to glib jokes at their expense, which duly elicited laughter from the audience.) The whole charade, with all the glamor and self-congratulation and two-minute-long introductions of each writer, repulsed me. Such artificiality! Any of the poems and stories written by us students could have been read and would have received the same applause; people would have been clamoring to buy the book, would have wanted autographs — although, actually, those reactions might have been relatively justified, since some of the students’ work was better than the celebrities’. Only in the later, sparsely attended student readings could one escape the snobbery and credentials-worship.

Bourgeois culture, of which this typical event was a microcosm, is little more than artificiality and stupidity deified.

— Chris Wright

* * *


My mother watches CNN so I am often subjected to their shocked rants. I’ve noticed with amusement the increasing stridency of their bated-breath reporting of the latest scandal. It's as if they can’t quite figure out why the public hasn’t risen up and demanded Trump's removal. Apparently, they are absolutely convinced that if they just speak louder and faster and add more voices we will get the message, and move in the direction they want us to go. I expect they will degenerate into hysteria if we don’t get off our butts soon. But not even Stormy Daniels, an admittedly sordid story, raised many eyebrows.

* * *

* * *

INEVITABLY, this day results in some memorable Quotes of the Week. First let’s hear from President Kennedy who once observed, “Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don't want them to become politicians in the process”. And a thought from his wife, Jackie Kennedy, who said, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well really matters very much”. And there is a Jewish proverb that states, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers”. Here’s one to “set the cat among the pigeons” from the Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own”. And on the lighter side, from Milton Berle we have, “If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”. These are the thoughtful words of journalist and author Maria Shriver, “Our mothers give us so many gifts. They give us the precious gift of life, of course, but they also leave treasured lessons that can guide us along our journeys even when they are no longer with us”. And I will finish with perhaps, given today’s world, the most relevant quote of this week, from British novelist E. M. Forster, who wisely commented, “I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.”

— Steve Sparks

* * *

* * *



Reasons why Trump will win again in 20.

Its what the Democrats are doing about it. Nothing!

There’s a “huge” homeless population like “never before in history” to the point where local governments can’t handle it. What are the Democrats doing about it? Nothing. Our county even paid someone $50K to fix it and it still didn’t work. School shootings; not only are they doing nothing about gun control, they’re not doing anything at all.

Cities like Flint still don’t have clean water. Democrats, nothing. Puerto Rico still in shambles, Dems, nothing. Detroit looks like a third world country. Dems, nothing. Vast parts of the country losing their industries to global corporates. Dems, nothing.  Trump working on deporting thousands of Hondurans who have been here legally for 20 years. Dems nothing. Etc.

What Democrats are doing about Trump getting elected:

Blaming it on the Russians. Getting a porn star to go public with her affair with Trump. Suing Trump.

Investigating how the Russians got almost half of the voters to vote for a man revealing himself to be racist, islamophobic, mocking handicapped, bragging about grabbing women, bragging about himself, climate change denier, lying, etc. The Russians even got the Evangelicals to vote for a man like that.

The voters voted for Nixon the second time and Cheney Bush the second time, and they didn’t even need any help from the Russians.

P.S. Ask Jerry Philbrick if the Russians got him to vote for Trump.

John Rensen

Potter Valley

* * *



In the upcoming election for governor we have a guy named Gavin Newsom running. He is probably the worst SOB that anybody could ever ask for as governor. He is a top-flight politician. He only says what he wants to hear and what the liberals want to hear. He promises this, promises that. He wants gays to keep on getting married. He wants gun control. He wants open borders. No more national anthem. No more salute the flag. No more of anything to do with our historical. He has his eyes set only on the presidency. That's what he thinks his loud voice and his big high haircut is going to make such an impression on the United States people if they elect him as governor. Unbelievable. Of course we have the one down in LA that I won't even talk about.

We have a couple of Republican guys, one named Travis Allen and a guy named Cox. They probably don't have a chance because most conservative people sit on their asses and watch the liberals keep on taking over because they win because of the numbers, not because of who they are. Just the numbers! So conservatives and Republicans better take a deep breath because you are looking at pure hell if you don't do something about this next election. I promise you that. In the 82 years I've been here and seen what's going on I can tell you that we are now in big f-ing trouble.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


* * *

* * *


Remember when the days were long

And rolled beneath a deep blue sky

Didn’t have a care in the world

With mommy and daddy standin’ by

But “happily ever after” fails

And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales

The lawyers dwell on small details

Since daddy had to fly

But I know a place where we can go

That’s still untouched by men

We’ll sit and watch the clouds roll by

And the tall grass wave in the wind

You can lay your head back on the ground

And let your hair fall all around me

Offer up your best defense

But this is the end

This is the end of the innocence

O beautiful, for spacious skies

But now those skies are threatening

They’re beating plowshares into swords

For this tired old man that we elected king

Armchair warriors often fail

And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales

The lawyers clean up all details

Since daddy had to lie

But I know a place where we can go

And wash away this sin

We’ll sit and watch the clouds roll by

And the tall grass wave in the wind

Just lay your head back on the ground

And let your hair spill all around me

Offer up your best defense

But this is the end

This is the end of the innocence

Who knows how long this will last

Now we’ve come so far, so fast

But, somewhere back there in the dust

That same small town in each of us

I need to remember this

So baby give me just one kiss

And let me take a long last look

Before we say goodbye

Just lay your head back on the ground

And let your hair fall all around me

Offer up your best defense

But this is the end

This is the end of the innocence

— Bruce Hornsby, Don Henley

* * *

* * *

I DON’T THINK they pay cops enough. I don’t think they pay police enough. And you get what you pay for. Here’s the thing, man. Whenever the cops gun down an innocent black man, they always say the same thing. “Well, it’s not most cops. It’s just a few bad apples. It’s just a few bad apples.” Bad apple? That’s a lovely name for murderer. That almost sounds nice. I’ve had a bad apple. It was tart, but it didn’t choke me out. Here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. I know being a cop is hard. I know that shit’s dangerous. I know it is, okay? But some jobs can’t have bad apples. Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like… pilots. Ya know, American Airlines can’t be like, “Most of our pilots like to land. We just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains. Please bear with us.”

— Chris Rock


  1. Craig Stehr May 8, 2018

    Please know that Garberville resident Andy Caffrey is once more running for the District 2 congressional seat. His recent interview, available on You Tube, is compelling. And he is, regardless, the much more radical environmental candidate than the essentially liberal incumbent. Contactable at:
    ~This is NOT a paid political announcement.~

  2. Betsy Cawn May 8, 2018

    Judge Ellis’s positions limned in Mr. Kunstler’s lovingly caustic essay (“WHICH HUNT?” in today’s AVA) are beautifully elucidated in George Frobisher’s May 4th editorial (“Judge T.S.Ellis III just embodied what Article III Judges are all about”), although I have James to thank for explicating what the “deep state” is to someone with a much larger perspective than mine. Here’s the link to Frobisher on ART VOICE:

    Likewise, thanks to John Rensen, over in Potter Valley, for the reminder that only a few “conscientious objectors” take the time to seriously oppose bad policy and worse actors — in fact, as the decades go by, it seems that the worse the acting the better the marketplace, for vulgarity, for hubris, for crass self-aggrandizement as a way of life (as though “Tweets” are actual communiques with functional meaning?).

    As a regular reader, I am once again moved to acknowledge the importance of this forum to support local debate of issues that arise among us — with no “special prosecutor” to search out the facts of County administration misfeasance or malfeasance (considering the absence of a legal meaning to the term “collusion”* and the obvious willingness of politicians to utter statements that certainly appear to be lies and/or deliberately obfuscative misdirection) — this online opportunity to shape a non-state consensus on local civic priorities is deeply appreciated on this side of the Cow.

    *According to Judge Andrew Napolitano in an essay titled “Mr. Trump, don’t help Robert Mueller destroy your presidency” (

    Napolitano’s interpretive advice to Trump, based on the difference between “collusion” (which he says “does not describe anything in the law”) versus “conspiracy” — which he deems illegal — calls for the protection of “his presidency,” which recalls vividly the rationale for all the President’s men to collude to cover up the then-Commander in Chief’s petty crimes in the late 1960s.

    The inevitable rehashing of our now 50-year (plus or minus) legacy of American oppression of the opposition (Kent State, sure — but not ever, it seems, even in the hip press, Jackson State), Watergate, the White House Plumbers, re-tuned to the current devolution of “main stream media” in perfect harmony with “deep state” self-preservation hysteria and bureaucratic buffoonery, provides a helpful context for understanding the questions asked every day in the AVA.

    That we have covert organizations with internal oversight (maybe) by the elected “representatives” is apparently accepted by left and right, homogeneously; that the “people” must struggle to discern the actions of their local government apparatus — run by “administration” with no obligation to follow the same laws by which the “public” is required to act — is treated as a social byproduct (of “incompetence” or “short staffing”) rather than a constitutional mandate for accountability for public spending.

    As our shouts of outrage dwindle to whispers, in polite letters to the editor and occasional sign-carrying “marches” outside the edifices of the military-industrial complex, the cries of new victims arise but we can’t hear them now, there’s no “app” for that.

  3. Betsy Cawn May 8, 2018

    “I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.”

    — Steve Sparks

    True that, and thanks for the bouquet, Steve.

  4. Jim Updegraff May 8, 2018

    Phillies 11 Giants -0-
    Houston 16 A’s 2

    It is is going to be a long summer

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 8, 2018

      One game Jim. Blowouts happen. Both teams have been playing well of late, but yesterday’s starting pitchers don’t belong on their respective teams.

  5. BB Grace May 8, 2018

    Only because you asked it bares (2.without addition; basic and simple) correction, YES?

    House of Representatives is the title of most, but not all, of the lower houses of U.S. state legislatures, with the exceptions usually called “State Assembly”, “General Assembly”, or more rarely, “House of Delegates”.

    • BB Grace May 8, 2018

      Hey now Susan! :)

      I understand your feelings because there is no one elected, or even on my local ballot in Mendocino County, that represents my support for President Trump. The Mendocino GOP only sustains to assure RINOs run unopposed on our ballots (least we forget RINOs HATE Trump more than Democrats).

      Native American’s democracy was incorporated into our US Constitution and why our Constitution is so special.

      Here in Mendo we went commie and have consensus government

      It might as well be as you say with consensus government, that we are not being represented. But still I think representative government it is something to strive for. I think the only good protests do are street art and entertainment for MSM profits.

      In other news you might use, I couldn’t believe what I heard Pompeo tell Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray yesterday, but things are going to drastically change between the US and Mexico because the US just made an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation with Mexico. We’ve become best amigas again! Amazing what a little plutonium between friends can do.

  6. Jim Updegraff May 8, 2018

    Trump today violated the Iran nuclear deal by withdrawing from the agreement. A stupid action by a very stupid person that will have dire consequences.
    Plus North Korea will surely take note that commitments by one administration may not be honored by the following administration.

    • George Hollister May 8, 2018

      Sort of the way it has always been. Every president’s policies can be reversed by the next president. To make a policy more long lasting requires the consent of Congress.

  7. Jim Updegraff May 8, 2018

    Representative is a title and a job description. Doris Matsui is my representative.

  8. Arthur Juhl May 8, 2018

    Betting on a long shot you win a lot. Bet on the common, you are lucky to get your money back. As a candidate that seems to be a long shot you will get an excellent return. And who knows and can read the budget, who thinks that the CEO should take orders from the BOS, not the other way around. And who wants accountibilty of all departments and make dam sure that they earn their pay! A long shot I am, but look what you get for your vote! Arthur E. Juhl, candidate for the 5th district Supervisor

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