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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, May 12, 2018

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A gofundme relief fund has been set up to help David Norfleet recover from the tragedy he experienced from the Signal Ridge fire that killed his long-time companion Paula Kesenheimer and destroyed his home.

Please help him and take care of a valued community member.

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UKIAH, Friday, May 11. A Mendocino County Superior Court jury completed its deliberations late Friday afternoon and returned a guilty verdict against the defendant charged with the late 2016 killing of a young black man.

After first having found the defendant not guilty of murder in the first degree and then having found the defendant not guilty of murder in the second degree, the jury returned a guilty verdict for voluntary manslaughter against defendant Steven Patrick Ryan, age 63, of Ukiah,

Ryan, Davis

The jury also found true the special allegation that the defendant personally used a firearm to cause the unlawful death of 20-year old De'Shaun Patrick Davis, age 20. This crime occurred just before noon on November 21, 2016 on a ranch close to the Oak Manor area of Ukiah.

Under California law, voluntary manslaughter is a lesser included crime to that of murder and another form of unlawful homicide. As entered, the guilty verdict and true finding today carry a possible sentence of up to 21 years in state prison.

After the jury was excused, the District Attorney's motion to have the defendant's bail status converted to no bail was granted pending judgment and sentencing.

The defendant's case was referred to the Adult Probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. Anyone interested in the sentencing outcome of this case is welcome to attend the sentencing hearing now calendared for June 15, 2018 at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department H of the Ukiah courthouse.

The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence at trial was DA David Eyster. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the Ukiah Police Department, and the District Attorney's own investigators. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke presided over the four day trial and will be the judge who pronounces sentence on the defendant in June.

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Steven Ryan’s Wrist Slapped for Murder of Black Kid

(comment by Bruce McEwen)

Friday afternoon, as the mother and grandmother of the late De’Shauwn Davis looked on impassively, long used to, it seemed, inured, even, to the gunning down of their children, two grieving black women in a predominantly white area, watched a white jury of nine white women and three white registered Democrat males – you could tell by their cool-guy ponytails and beards – found the defendant, Steven Patrick Ryan, innocent of murder in the first degree; and innocent of murder in the second degree. Ryan had shot and killed the boy of 20, armed with a saltshaker, shot the kid down with three separate shots, for no justifiable reason. Even the cops found his “self-defense” claim ludicrous. The jury was three days in deadlock whether to set Ryan free, but somehow, apparently, they knew better. So they found him guilty of being a little too trigger-happy, perhaps, but no fault, just voluntary manslaughter. A slap on the wrist. Perhaps a sentence of time served, perhaps serious prison time. The trial was scarcely any different from the prelim we reported earlier. (Reposted below from the Preliminary Hearing in February of 2017.)

And the issues were the same, that is whether you would believe an eyewitness, a young woman — a friend of the accused — who witnessed the killing, or the desperate prick who shot the unarmed boy down, having been practicing with his new pistol for months and wondering – "Whoah, Dude, how fun would it be to shoot some poor black kafir down – Huh?"

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AVA, January 31, 2017

STEVEN PATRICK RYAN was held to answer on first degree murder charges at the close of his prelim last Friday. He will have to convince a jury he shot and killed DeShaun Davis, a former Mendocino college student and football player, in self defense. Ryan is white, Davis black.

The questions his defense attorney posed to homicide Detective Clint Wyant failed to convince Judge John Behnke that the shooting was self-defense; and, in fact, showed Mr. Ryan to be something of a gun-nut who indulges himself in vivid fantasies about shooting people.

Ryan demonstrated that he is thoroughly versed in the all jargon of police officers and hit men, and seemed to be showing off his firearm knowledge repertoire when interviewed by Detective Derek Wyant. Assistant Public Defender Carly Dolan asked the detective if her client had mentioned his knowledge of how important it is not to shoot an attacker before he comes within 20 feet, for instance. Wyant answered, Yes, he had said that; and, Yes, it was considered crucial to do something when a suspect came that close. But the detective stopped short of saying he would have shot her — the hypothetical Q&A had somehow been framed in the second person, so Wyant was saying, “I wouldn’t have shot you in those same or similar circumstances.”

Ryan had also used phrases like, “a double tap to the chest and head,” and other crime novel language in the interview with Detective Wyant, making it plain he was well read in the genre, as well as lots of terminology from gun magazines. It seemed clear to this reporter that the guy had an itchy trigger finger and was eager to act out some of his fantasies.

Ryan told the detective that the late Mr. Davis had threatened his life before throwing down his bicycle and charging Ryan, that he was grabbing at his baggy clothing like he was going for a gun; that Davis had claimed to have been in the Marines; that he was coming within the danger zone of 20 feet; that he had no choice but to shoot.

Yes, Ryan had told the detective all this, but there was an eyewitness, Elvia Valencia, and she heard none of the threats — supposedly shouted by Davis in anger — and said that Davis merely laid his bike down and was walking toward Ryan when Ryan shot three times, the first two in rapid succession (the “double tap”), then a third shot. Davis’s body was 63 feet — three times the danger zone — from where Ryan was standing.

There had been some commotion the day before when the police had chased a fugitive through the neighborhood just off Vichy Springs Road, Ukiah, and on November 21st, the next day, Ryan was on his back porch drinking coffee when he heard someone shouting out front. As he went through his house to the front he picked up a .45 automatic and stuck it in the back of his waistband. He then went out on the front porch and said to Davis, “Can I help you?”

Ms. Valencia told the detective she was getting her children out of her car at her mother’s house, next door to Ryan’s, when Davis and Ryan began arguing. She heard Ryan accuse Davis of trespassing before Davis began walking toward Ryan and she heard two shots. She looked up and saw Davis on his knees. Then Ryan fired again. This third shot would have been a mistake even if Davis had broken into Ryan’s house — invaded his castle, as the saying goes — but Valencia said that at no time did Davis come on to Ryan’s property.

A jury will have to decide now, and it doesn’t look good for Ryan. Ms. Valencia considered herself a friend of Ryan’s and Ryan himself attested that her testimony could be believed. No trial date has been set as yet, but Ryan will be back in two weeks for arraignment.

Given the presentation, Ryan will be lucky to get a plea bargain for less than life-without.

(Bruce McEwen)

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The Albion River Bridge benefit sponsored by Albion Bridge Stewards held at the Albion River Inn on May 6 was a big success. The community members intent on preserving the historic Albion River Bridge filled the dining room. The music, poetry, auction, drawing, and refreshments were enjoyed by all. The views of the bridge and ospreys flying over the Albion Cove imprinted on us anew the iconic setting this historic bridge and the environs offer.

Albion Bridge Stewards would like to thank the Albion River Inn; Butch Kwan, Steven Bates, Pilar Duran, Hal Davis and ruth weiss for music and poetry; Sharon Garner for the baked goods; and Laurie York and Carmen Goodyear for sharing their short film about the historic Albion River Bridge with us. The Albion Bridge Stewards would also like to thank the community who attended the event and Rex Smith from O Bar 11 for providing transportation.

The Albion River Bridge is one of our community’s most emblematic -- and threatened -- historic treasures.

Annemarie Weibel, for Albion Bridge Stewards

(Click to enlarge)

Photo by Douglas Hunt

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Enjoying another brilliant Boonville early morning with my coffee, and what do I see on the news? This!"

"I'm tellin' ya, these two are at the very top of my Please Go Away and Stay Away list. Enough to make a communist outta any dog."

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Matthew McCarthy

The long and tortuous legal proceedings against defendant Matthew Thomas McCarthy, age 49 (previously of Westport and the Spy Rock area), proceedings that began in February 2016, were finally concluded today in the Mendocino County Superior Court. He was sentenced to state prison for 35 years to life.

As partial background, after a jury was selected in late January 2018 to decide his fate and after the DA had completed his opening statement of anticipated trial evidence to the jury, the defendant, serving as his own attorney, asked for and was granted permission to change his plea to guilty to various child molestation charges. He belatedly accepted the District Attorney's prior one-and-only offer of 35 years to life. Such a sentence is possible because the current case had two separate victims and McCarthy was previously been convicted in 2001 of felony child molestation of a third victim. (The defendant was granted probation in that prior case following an apology wherein he promised to never re-offend.)

As required by law, the defendant's guilty pleas were referred last January to the Adult Probation department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. A sentencing hearing was calendared for March 9, 2018.

However, rather than proceed to sentencing on March 9th, the defense, through newly-retained counsel, requested time to research and prepare a motion to withdraw the January guilty pleas. The request for additional time was granted and a hearing on the motion to be filed was calendared for today's date, May 11th.

Following an hour-long hearing this morning, the Court denied the defendant's motion to withdraw from the plea and sentence bargain, again the same bargain that the defendant had asked for and accepted -- both orally and in writing -- in January.

When the matter was called again during today's afternoon session, the Court then heard from one of the defendant's molestation victims when that now adult young woman read her impact statement in open court. In a strong and assertive voice, the woman offered advice to other molestation victims and explained to the Court the negative impacts she had experienced physically and emotionally due to the over four years of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of defendant McCarthy. She asked any future parole board considering the defendant's release to heed her warning that the defendant will continue to be a significant danger to children and animals now and into the future because he has no sexual boundaries.

When all was said and done, the Court proceeded to impose sentence. The defendant was sentenced to the expected 35 years to life in state prison.

The defendant intends to appeal...


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WHEN POTTER VALLEY WAS EVACUATED during last year’s fire, the threat was not the fire but the chance that the diversion tunnel, made of redwood, would catch fire and flood the entire valley floor.

The fire crews in training this last winter were told this by the CalFire trainers. This surprised us all, and I believe the potential liability of the diversion’s failure played into PG&E’s decision.

If so, who would accept that liability and buy it?

I know how much money is at stake with the potential failure, and I doubt even Warren Buffet’s ability to absorb the loss.

It’s the water, not the power, which will decide this issue; the water is gold.

(Anon Forest, Potter Valley)

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Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the utility that owns Scott and Cape Horn Dams on the upper Eel River, announced yesterday that the company is moving to auction the dams to buyers who would want to keep them in place to maintain the diversion of Eel River water into the Russian River.

Friends of the Eel River Conservation Director Scott Greacen said, “We welcome PG&E’s recognition of the fact that the Eel River dams don’t make economic sense, and we’re encouraged the company is moving to accelerate a process that could too easily be subject to almost endless delays. But what’s good for PG&E is not necessarily what’s best for the Eel River or for the region. There’s room to talk, but we really need to talk about removing Scott Dam.”

In its letter to the Eel-Russian River Commission announcing its plans, PG&E states that “the project has key environmental attributes and provides important regional benefits including recreation opportunities and a significant contribution to the Russian River water supply.” Here, PG&E is doing what any rational seller would – seeking the highest possible price for its property by emphasizing its notional benefits, while playing down its many drawbacks. Potential buyers would be wise to carefully investigate these claimed benefits, as well as the costs PG&E is less eager to discuss.

PG&E’s acknowledgment that the Eel River dams are not an economic asset for the company is the most significant fact to emerge from this announcement. If the dams made money, PG&E would be keeping them.

The Eel River dams are in fact not assets, but environmental and economic liabilities. The math on both ledgers is only going to get worse over time. Similarly, while diversions from the Eel River have been convenient for managers of the over-appropriated Russian River, they are very likely to continue to decline in volume, and very unlikely to ever return to the last century’s levels. Though the dams do provide benefits to Russian River interests in the form of water diversions, those benefits pale against significant costs to Eel River fisheries.

PG&E is doing what we expect any American corporation to do – seeking both to protect its shareholders from reasonably foreseeable risks and to maintain the value of its assets over time. Having recognized that the Eel River dams don’t make economic sense as a way to produce electric power, PG&E has suggested that entities interested in both electrical power production and water supply may want to continue operating the dams and diversion to the Russian River.

However, any new owner will have to shoulder the same burdens PG&E has decided are not worth the trouble. These liabilities include the relicensing process now underway before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A new license is likely to result in additional reductions in the volume of Eel River diversions, as well as substantial costs to comply with mandatory license conditions for fish passage over Scott Dam and water quality protection – not to mention the costs of relicensing itself.

Any potential buyer will also face significant risks and costs associated with dam safety. FERC is refusing to address dam safety issues in relicensing, but that only increases the uncertainty associated with seismic and geotechnical threats, particularly to Scott Dam, which will be a century old when its current license expires in 2022.

PG&E has been investing for years now in geologists’ investigations of the Bartlett Springs Fault, a branch of the San Andreas Fault system which runs only miles east of Scott Dam, but was completely unknown when the dam was built. This work shows the Bartlett Springs Fault is larger and more active than previously thought – and that the area around Gravelly Valley, now the Lake Pillsbury reservoir, shows the most evidence of recent activity along the entire fault. This information only adds to longstanding concerns about the construction of Scott Dam itself and the stability of the southern bank above and behind the dam. We will be interested to see whether potential purchasers will be provided full access to PG&E’s internal assessments of the seismic and geotechnical threats to Scott Dam.

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by Kelci Parks

The Fort Bragg City Council held a special meeting on May 2 to discuss possible impending litigation surrounding the election system used locally.

A letter sent from attorney Jacob Patterson, on behalf of a group called the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation, requested that the city change from an at-large to a district election system in accordance with the California Voters Rights Act. Patterson was not present at the meeting and no one from the CCRR spoke.

Although none of the at-large California jurisdictions that have been charged with alleged violations of the CVRA have prevailed in court action, the council unanimously agreed to push back against the demand.


City Manager Tabatha Miller said she and city staff had spent a lot of time in the previous two weeks trying to understand the issue and its impacts. The CVRA became effective Jan. 1, 2003 and applies to cities, counties, school districts, hospital districts and others. It was implemented to provide equal protection and the right to vote to “protected class voters,” who are defined as members of a race, color or language minority, said Miller. It expands on the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier to bring a suit against districts and limit at-large elections in the state. For example, plaintiffs do not have to prove intent of the elected officials to pursue a case under the CVRA.

One of the reasons city staff has taken the potential lawsuit so seriously is, to date, no jurisdiction has successfully defended a CVRA action. Prevailing plaintiffs are granted reimbursement from the jurisdiction – in this case, the city. The courts then impose by-district elections. Miller said some cities have paid millions in attorney’s fees, spent years in litigation, and still were eventually changed to at-district elections.

Safe Harbor

To protect jurisdictions from paying extreme litigation expenses to plaintiffs, a provision was recently added to the law requiring the prospective plaintiff to provide written notice asserting violation of the CVRA (the letter Patterson sent to the city). If the city adopts a resolution within 45 days outlining intent to transition to a by-district election system, an additional 90 days are given to implement they system. If done, the prospective plaintiff is limited to $30,000 in compensation (as opposed to possible millions).

In order to meet the criteria for the safe harbor route, Miller estimated that about $100,000 would need to be spent — $40,000-$50,000 to hire a demographer and then complete the redistricting process, $30,000 in prospective plaintiff’s fees and about $20,000 for counsel from the city attorney and additional staff time to look at the issue.

Plan To Fight

The Council and most of the public speakers were against the idea of transitioning to district elections, especially under such hastened circumstances. Those who didn’t speak against it were still uncomfortable with a rushed transition and wanted time to study whether or not it would be an improvement for a community of only 7,000 people.

Vice Mayor Will Lee announced on behalf of the Finance and Administration Committee that the city is on target to have a balanced budget — the first in about a decade — and expressed his frustration that spending this $100,000 will “totally throw us out of whack.”

The council directed staff to hire a demographer to conduct a racially oriented voting analysis. Staff and the ad hoc committee will review the demographer’s analysis and legal options prior to the May 29 City Council meeting, at which point the council will have to decide whether or not to pass a resolution outlining the intent to transition. Drafting a letter of intent in order to buy more time was discussed by council members, but Miller advised getting legal counsel first.

“It would be putting in writing your intention to go to district elections so that’s something legally you should discuss with the attorney — whether or not you would want to just buy yourself the 90 days and then back out of it...he may not like that idea,” she said.

The action taken May 2, however, was simply to hire a demographer to assess the allegations made in the 45-day notice letter and conduct a voting analysis for the past four city elections, a cost of about $8,000. Miller was confident that the demographer would be able to follow the very short timeline. The ad hoc committee, consisting of Lee and Councilmember Bernie Norvell, was directed to meet with Patterson and the committee he’s representing as soon as possible to discuss options and try to get the letter rescinded.

Council Thoughts

“This demand letter was not brought to us by the Latino community in Fort Bragg. This action is brought to us by the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation. We don’t know who that is,” said Lee. “We don’t know who’s on the committee and why they’re forcing us into a decision that could cost this city over $100,000. This is brought forward by a person who has just returned to Fort Bragg, working out of a P.O. Box as an attorney. I support trying to fight this as best we can.”

Councilmember Michael Cimolino agreed, commenting on the absence of Patterson and the group he represents.

“If I was a member of a committee and I wanted to bring hard change, I would make sure that myself or my attorney was here providing facts to make sure I got change. I didn’t hear anything from the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation and that really bothers me because there shouldn’t be any secrecy if you really believe in a good cause.”

“When they don’t show up, they’re doing it in the shadows,” added Norvell. “Someone suing me from afar while hiding in the shadows doesn’t scare me at all. I’m willing to bow my neck on this one and make somebody prove that we’re wrong. I think somebody has seen an opportunity and they’re running with it. And they’re putting it on the backs of the taxpayers of Fort Bragg.”

Mayor Lindy Peters said he was also on board with “bowing his neck” and fighting.

Public Comment

Local resident Andrew Gerhold asked that members of the Coast Committee for Responsive Representation engage in a public conversation about the letter.

“I do not think that those who take such extreme action as to force the hands of others should hide behind this plaintiff,” he said. “As we’ve seen in our current political climate, now is not the time to hide in the shadows. We should encourage conversation with our community.”

Susan Nutter said she lived in San Francisco both before and after district elections were instituted.

“It worked very well there, but here in Fort Bragg I think it would be very unrealistic.”

She said she’s part of a committee that has been searching for candidates to run for City Council with very little luck, reporting that the requirement that candidates live inside city limits has been a major hindrance.

Cesar Yunez said he didn’t believe the local Latino community was underrepresented and is in favor, at this point, of sticking with an at-large election system.

“I have been asked in the past to run for council, but there are business reasons and personal reasons why I didn’t at the time. I definitely feel like the chance is there, I have the opportunity as a Hispanic or Latino, or whatever you want to label me, to run. I just haven’t yet.”

A few attorneys in the audience chimed in, both asking the city to take things to court.

“We have to take this on,” said Timothy Perry. “The letter has no factual basis in it. It’s entirely a matter of assertion, arm-waving and threats. That isn’t a way for a member of our city to behave. If there’s evidence, let’s see it. Where is Mr. Patterson’s evidence? The test is not how many Hispanics are on the council. The test is if there is racially-polarized voting. Mr. Patterson has provided you absolutely no evidence of that. If you roll over on this, you give up your credibility and our rights.”

Attorney Ryan Perkins weighed in as well.

“Local attorneys and local business owners are people who donate to Little League, get involved in Rotary, get involved in the school board, their kids grow up together,” he said. “I don’t think a local attorney would pursue this because we know this community is not divided in a manner that requires this. I think it’s important to not be afraid of the litigation costs. I know the city has spent plenty of money on litigation over the years, but this is something that is really worth it. This is a fight definitely worth having.”

(Courtesy, the Fort Bragg Advocate)

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(Puts a big part of the blame on the big raises the Supes and Top Management gave themselves.)

The 2017-18 Grand Jury Final Report, Mendocino County Juvenile Hall is now available to the public on the Grand Jury website at:

The county is proposing to spend only $1.1 million for juvenile detention for fiscal year 2018-19. This level of funding would require closure of Mendocino County Juvenile Hall and housing our kids out of county. It would forfeit the responsibility for our juveniles to a distant county. An additional $1.2 million net county cost in the budget, returning to prior funding levels, would enable a safe and efficient operation of our juvenile hall and fulfill the county’s duty to care for and protect its juvenile wards.

The possibility of Mendocino County Juvenile Hall closing is a reality. This would entail significant costs to other county departments and the children’s families.

In 2015, Lake County closed their juvenile facility after signing a two-year agreement to house their juvenile wards in Mendocino County Juvenile Hall. The Mendocino County Juvenile Hall program received very favorable reviews by the Lake County Grand Jury and the Lake County Superior Court Judge assigned to juvenile court. In September 2017, Lake County chose not to renew the agreement and instead contracted with Tehama County for a much lower bed rate.

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Excerpt: In late 2017, unbudgeted raises were granted to elected officials and some department heads. Increases in salaries also increases the cost of benefits and retirement payment obligations. Elected officials and department heads are entitled to the county paying matching funds up to 4% of their salary into a deferred retirement account. The maximum amount must be budgeted. This benefit is in addition to regular county retirement contributions. The grand jury has not found any budgetary analysis of this impact. County administration stated that the beneficiaries of these raises were asked if their budgets could sustain the increased costs, and they answered in the affirmative. It was known at the time of the raises that the county was facing significant costs due to the October fires and the cannabis revenue shortfalls. There was no public discussion on whether or not these salary increases were sustainable.

Note: Elected officials raises ranged from 5% to 22.6%, county supervisors raises were 39.7% with the exception of the 4th District Supervisor who refused this amount and accepted an 18% raise, and some department heads received raises from 14.1% to 15.3%.

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Backfill of the Over Digs

To All: This is the FIRST in California (Attached)

(Click to enlarge)

It looks like as many as 40+ more.

The contractor is Sukut Construction from Santa Ann Ca.CSLB # 3985106Is on site today.. and start cleaning up some of the US Army Corps of Engineer & FEMA over-digs.

A huge win for the fire victims of Mendocino.

Lee Howard, Rep
North Coast Builders Exchange

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Cleanup of debris from the North Bay wildfires is 99 percent complete, but federal, state and local officials said Thursday there is still much reclamation work to be done in the wake of October infernos that destroyed more than 6,000 homes.

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FOOD RUNNERS (We could use them in AV)

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We deliver food from your local favorite restaurants right to your doorstep as efficiently as we can, Going the extra mile to ensure your experience with us is as smooth as can be.

Order Online Or Call & Order: (707) 205-3004

Delivery Charges do apply.

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Sunday, June 10th: Jane Anne Staw reads from her new book, "Small: The Little We Need for Happiness," and talks about how she learned to overcome overwhelm and anxiety--from 3:30-5:00, in the Gazebo, at the Boonville Hotel.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 11, 2018

Andrews, Angenette, Gomes

MATTHEW ANDREWS, Mokelomne//Ukiah. Battery.

JOSEPH ANGENETTE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

RYAN GOMES, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

Hoaglin, Larvie, McCloud

FARAND HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.

GERARD LARVIE, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

DONALD MCCLOUD, Hopland. Parole violation.

McNeely, Rockey, Taylor

MILES MCNEELY, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

DANIEL ROCKEY, Willits. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run with property damage, probation revocation.

DANIEL TAYLOR, Ukiah. Under influence.

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by James Kunstler

How many of you were wondering, as I was, what the suddenly former New York Attorney General, Mr. Schneiderman, might have looked like in a leather bondage get-up with a ball-gag stuffed in his pie-hole? Not the preferred courtroom attire, of course, and a less appetizing image of justice than, say, a blindfolded, half-naked lady holding a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. But that’s how our boy rolled, even while heaping censorious opprobrium (and indictments!) on other big shot alpha dogs for defiling the honor of women.

I sense that with Schneiderman we’ve reached the zenith in this comic phase of American cultural collapse. The same week, Vanity Fair Magazine ran this item about the pop star Rihanna:

Rihanna’s lingerie collection will drop on Friday [today], and there’s one very special addition that is making people lose their minds: her line, Savage x Fenty, will feature handcuffs. [Fenty is Ms. Rihanna’s surname.] Just days after she reimagined the Pope at the Met Gala, Rihanna is reminding us that this is still her week. She told Vogue that it was only natural that Fenty Beauty, which launched last fall, feature a lingerie line for women who want to express agency over their own looks and bodies…. ‘Women should be wearing lingerie for their damn selves,’ Rihanna [told Vogue]. I want people to wear Savage x Fenty and think, I’m a bad bitch’.”

Well, handcuffs are fashion accessories for entering prison… and the Marquis deSade did pen much of his personal philosophy in prison… and the women’s penitentiaries are full of bad bitches… so therefore let America celebrate incarceration and sadism! And especially women expressing their personal agency by advertising themselves as… evil? Apparently, a fellow such as Mr. Schneiderman, an avatar of justice, would wish to strike a blow against evil. Thus, beset by one bad bitch after another, he laid the blows of righteous judgment upon the women in his life…! Or something like that.

Forgive me here. I’m trying to imagine how the proverbial Man From Mars might interpret doings in America these days from reading our popular press.

Frankly, the part I like best is “reimagining the Pope,” as though it was a great feat of innovation, akin to one of the triumphs of Elon Musk, or Innocent III’s rewrite of canon law — when it was just an act of dress-up. The Met Gala, by the way, an annual costume party thrown by New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, proclaimed its theme this year as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” — an invitation, if there ever was one, to mingle the sacred and the profane.

The Martian in me sees America turning into something like a Fellini movie, a panorama of fabulous excess and sinister fantasy, with the more malign forces of commerce propelling the garbage barge to ever darker extremes at the edge of a flat earth. On one part of the edge stands President Trump, all greatness and little goodness; and on the other edge stand characters like Eric Schneiderman and Harvey Weinstein, deposed champions of social justice — now cultural blood-brothers in the Sexual Predators Hall of Infamy.

Mr. Schneiderman was all set to drag Mr. Weinstein, figuratively speaking, over several miles of broken glass and old Gillette blue blades in the state courts, and now it looks like the former NY AG himself may submit to a death of a thousand cuts by civil litigation, or maybe even a trip to one of his old criminal courtrooms, if the ever-vengeful Governor Andrew Cuomo has his wicked way.

If America were an X-rated billiard parlor, I’d think it had run the table on political sex stories, with nothing but the eight-ball of doom left on the table, and a wrathful deity — the Pope’s boss, shall we say — standing there chalking up his cue stick. When He sinks that last shot, a new game will get underway. I believe it will have to do with financial markets and currencies, and a lot more will hang on the outcome. The break itself should be a doozy — all those colored balls banging into each other and dropping into oblivion.

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

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by M.G. Piety

My father said he had no memory of his mother, none that is, except for one very vague, shadowing memory of being held by a woman who was standing at a stove, cooking something. He was the third of what would eventually be five children. His mother was seventeen when he was born.

Alice Eugenia Farrar liked to write poetry. She never finished school, though, because she was forced to marry her teacher when she became pregnant by him. Her husband, Austin LeGrand Piety, protested in a letter to one of his children that he had not seduced her. He was twenty-seven when they married. She was thirteen.

Thirteen is too young, of course, to begin having children. Five children in rapid succession ruined her health. She contracted tuberculosis and was sent to the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium when my father was still a toddler. Her husband was unable both to earn a living and take care of five children all by himself, so he deposited them in the Working Woman’s Home and Day Nursery in Little Rock. That was sometime in 1934 when my father was three years old.

As far as I can make out, he never saw his mother again. She had brief periods when her health improved, but she never fully recovered. She died of tuberculosis when my father was twelve. He told me several times that I looked like her, but that judgment must have been based on photographs rather than memory. We had a few photographs of her when I was a child. I didn’t know they were photos of her, though. I didn’t know who the subject was. They were just old photos of someone I didn’t know.

My father never talked about his mother when I was a child because he had no memories of her to share. I didn’t even know her name until I was in my thirties. It just never came up. She must have been a very good mother –– an extraordinary feat for someone who was herself still a child –– because all her children turned out well. And by “well” I don’t mean they became successful professionals, though they did. I mean they were kind and caring people, sympathetic and empathetic with developed social consciences. Research has shown that the first two to three years in a child’s life are crucial to its development, more crucial, perhaps, than any subsequent years. A child who isn’t held enough, during this period, who isn’t nurtured and coddled enough, cooed over and talked to enough, will not develop normally in an emotional sense (see, for example, Hildyard and Wolfe, “Child neglect: developmental issues and outcomes”). I don’t mean to suggest that it is impossible for children who received insufficient attention in those crucial early years to develop into happy, well-adjusted adults. I don’t know that that is something anyone could ever know. What we do know, however, is that achievement is more difficult for them.

Alice Eugenia Farrar Piety must have been an extraordinary person. It is almost impossible now, however, to learn anything about her. There is no one alive anymore, so far as I know, who knew her when she was alive. Among my father’s papers, there is one heart-rending letter from her to her sister-in-law begging that her children not be put up for adoption. They were all she had, she explained, and she loved them dearly.

There are also a couple of her poems. They’re unimpressive, though, compared to those of her more intellectually accomplished husband. But then, she was not allowed to become intellectually accomplished. An early pregnancy and subsequent poverty killed whatever dreams she may have had of that sort.

She doesn’t look poor in the photo here. She looks, in fact, very middle class, sitting in the backyard of a nice middle-class house, coddling a baby that her apparent age suggests she is looking after for someone else. She isn’t the child’s baby-sitter, though, she’s its mother. No one even knows anymore who the child in the photo is. The writing on the back reads simply “Alice with one of her babies.” The photo was likely taken early in her marriage, before her husband’s pay was cut in half, before he began to lose one job after another.

My father was a life-long contributor to Planned Parenthood. He was a kind-hearted person with a soft spot for children. He didn’t like the idea of abortion, but he liked even less the idea of children being forced to become mothers, or worse, driven to acts that might end their own lives as well as those of their unborn children. Many people associate Planned Parenthood with abortion. Most Planned Parenthood clinics don’t provide abortion services, though, but only contraceptive services (see their website where they state that only “some” Planned Parenthood clinics provide abortion services), as well as more general healthcare services. (I received treatment for a bladder infection at a Planned Parenthood clinic when I was in graduate school.) Such services, my father thought, were essential to a humane and properly functioning society.

My mother married at nineteen, much older than my paternal grandmother, but still too young, in her case anyway, for such a commitment. She did it, she said, so that she could have sex. I wouldn’t have called my parents’ marriage bad, but they divorced as soon as it seemed to them that we were old enough that we would not be irrevocably damaged by it, and my mother complained frequently when I was growing up that marrying early had kept her from being able to have the kind of life she would ideally have liked to have had.

James Agee wrote in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men that the inability of the sharecroppers he studied to control how many children they had was one of the main reasons they were unable to work themselves up out of poverty. How many people, men as well as women, have been forced into marriages simply as a result of the fact that they could not control whether they would have children if they had sex? How much alcoholism, drug addiction, and child abuse can be traced back to unwanted pregnancies? How much violence more generally can be traced to anger at feeling trapped in a life over which one has no control?

How many women’s lives have vanished, like Alice’s, because they became mothers too young?

My father was adamant about continuing his monthly contributions to Planned Parenthood, even when, late in retirement, he could ill afford them. I never asked him if this was in part because of his mother. It seems to me now, though, that she has to have been there, in the back of his mind, the shadowy figure, balancing his tiny form on her hip as she stood at the stove.

(M.G. Piety teaches philosophy at Drexel University. She is the editor and translator of Soren Kierkegaard’s Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs. Her latest book is: Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard’s Pluralist Epistemology. She can be reached at:

* * *

“YOU GIVE ME A WATER BOARD, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”

— Jesse Ventura

* * *

IMPORTANT QUESTION, Sean. Perhaps you can score an interview with Tinky Winky the Teletubby and finally get to the bottom of this existential threat to American youth… (Jeff St. Clair)

* * *


For the first time since humans have been monitoring, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have exceeded 410 parts per million averaged across an entire month, a threshold that pushes the planet ever closer to warming beyond levels that scientists and the international community have deemed “safe.”

* * *


There is a real social conundrum here.

Women are starting to exert power on the social sexual stage. What do they want? RESPECT! They want men to take on responsibility relative to sexual behavior, i.e. Fight down their instinctual propensity to breed. In today’s world, this is a noble cause. Men have a long way to go, as evidenced by the daily updates of abuse and harassment.

HOWEVER LADIES. With freedom comes responsibility. Our host is scratching his head over the behavior of women. If you want men to be more restrained sexually, then quit dressing, acting and merchandizing like sexual objects. You want respect, quit glorifying a whore like Stormy Daniels just because her lawyer wants to use her against Trump. You want restraints, restrain your own tendency to let it all hang out. The clothes I see many women wear are called advertising. Think about it, cleavage exposing tops, high heels to make your legs look sexy that ruins your feet lifelong, skirts and shorts so short your butts are visible, Rihanna’s lingerie, etc.

Mothers, teach your daughters feminine restraint, women in power or in the public light, be modest. Men may be much more restrained without the constant visual reminders that some women are “for sale”. And it is a real statement of our society that these women are given credence.

* * *

HOW TO SILENCE RT (Russia Today)

"Allow leftist and antiwar perspectives to be voiced on western mainstream media. That’s it. That’s the whole entire recipe for RT’s destruction. If western media simply ceased deliberately excluding leftist and antiwar voices from mainstream discourse, there would no longer be any demand for RT’s output, since the only reason anyone outside of Russia watches RT is to get perspectives they can’t get anywhere else."

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(Click to enlarge)


Jim Luther, Mendocino

* * *



Two years ago in May of 2016, I attended a California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Lobby Day in Sacramento focused on legislation that would address important infrastructure issues. For Mendocino County the focus was on the deteriorating conditions of our roads and the lack of funding needed for repairs. This is a very important issue to all County residents and has been a top priority of the Board of Supervisors.

Mendocino County’s ranking for road conditions is one of the worst in the State of California, according to a state Pavement Condition Index report updated every three years. Our County maintains 660 miles of paved road, and has a backlog of $602 million in deferred maintenance on those roads. Funding continues to decline and hasn’t kept up with inflation.

We resolved to do something about it, and supported legislation, SB1, that raises money through gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to improve our transportation infrastructure—highways, roads, bridges—to good condition. SB1 passed in November, 2017. Since then the new funds started to come in and have been used for road improvements in Covelo, Willits, Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Point Arena.

Now I ask that you vote in favor of Proposition 69 on the June 5 ballot, which ensures that ALL of the money raised by SB1 taxes and fees is spent on transportation improvements. Currently, the state legislature can divert up to 40 percent of those funds for other expenses.

It’s important to vote yes for Prop 69 because approximately half of the money raised by SB1 goes to upgrade city and county transportation infrastructure, and we need every dollar. Our County transportation department estimates Mendocino County will receive $100 million for improvements over the next 18 years if no money is diverted by the State. The funding would also help improve public bus transit and bike/pedestrian paths.

On Feb. 27, 2018, the Mendocino Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a resolution to support Proposition 69 on the June ballot and oppose a repeal of SB1 that is now circulating for signatures to qualify for the November ballot. We want better roads for our citizens and assurance that ALL money you are paying for transportation improvements will be spent for that purpose.

I urge the voting public to vote YES on Prop 69.

Carre Brown, First District Supervisor, County of Mendocino

* * *

* * *


Taiko Drummers return to the Kelley House Lawn, this Saturday, May 12, at 3 p.m.! Students from Miasa, Japan, Mendocino's sister city, will perform in front of the Kelley House. Don't miss it! Free, and sponsored by the Mendocino Sister Cities Association.

(Click to enlarge)

* * *


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Cities and counties would receive $359 million from surplus state revenue to help California's growing homeless population under the proposed budget Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday.

* * *


Cannabis Tax Revenue for First Quarter 2018

California’s excise tax on cannabis generated $32 million in revenue for the first quarter of calendar year 2018.

The cultivation tax generated $1.6 million in revenue.

Sales tax on cannabis generated $27.3 million in revenue.

News release to follow.

Paul Cambra
Information Officer I – Office of Public Affairs
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration
450 N Street, MIC: 86, Sacramento, CA 95814
Direct: 916-324-2720 | Office: 916-327-8988
Email: |

* * *

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio on KNYO and KMEC.

Friday night I'm doing it by live remote from Juanita's apartment, not from the back room of the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, so make plans to show-and-tell there next week. Or get custom airtime for a show or series of shows entirely of your own-- contact Bob Young: and he'll get you on the schedule tout de suite (say: toot sweet). Not at all like that multimillion-tax-dollar smily-face Nice People private club they have over at KZYX where you have to wait literally fricking decades and then you're an undesirable troublemaker because you finally got fed up about being treated like a bug and said something about it.

I have a wild overstuffed kaleidoscope of material for tonight's show. Here, just let me get a word count... 43,000 words and I haven't finished frosting the latest announcements around the ferrule yet.

Even so, right now you still have a little time to email your writing to be read on MOTA. (Deadline is always around five or six p.m. the night of the show, and I'm at Juanita's so tonight it's even later because I don't have to drive anywhere.)

Just paste your poem or essay or kvetch or conspiracy theory or harrowing MeToo story into the body text of an email, check that it's going to me and not also to the whole group, unless that's what you want, and press send. And even if you're reading this after about 6:30pm, it's really never too late; send it anyway and I promise to read it on a future show. Or come in and read it yourself next week, see above.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via

And then Saturday night you can get the recording via as well as literally zillions of other entertaining and educational resources to squelch around up to your fine white thighs in there. Or whatever other color. I don't care if you have legs like an Edwardian grand piano, you're quite welcome.

Marco McClean



  1. Eric Sunswheat May 12, 2018

    REGARDING: WHEN POTTER VALLEY WAS EVACUATED during last year’s fire, the threat was not the fire but the chance that the diversion tunnel, made of redwood, would catch fire and flood the entire valley floor. The fire crews in training this last winter were told this by the CalFire trainers.
    —-> Fact or fiction, seems to be an all wet joke, for a dry season of rye humor. Reality check please, to the bar stool, next to McEwen muttering under his breath, calling names about killer Patrick.

    • George Hollister May 12, 2018

      I was wondering about that myself. From what I have been told, and inferred by those people there at the time, the thinking did not get beyond, “Get people out, save it if you can, and get help”. The possibility of the tunnel catching fire, and an ensuing flood were not even remotely on anyone’s mind.

  2. james marmon May 12, 2018


    The hall would be the perfect place for a locked mental health facility, even local Measure B cult leader Tom Allman is giving it some serious consideration after being embarrassed with the Old Howard Memorial Hospital debacle during the last couple of weeks.

    It only makes sense that we ship our kids out of County so we don’t have ship our adults out. God Bless Mental-cino County.

    City of Willits looks to assert control over mental health facility

    “After saying they felt left out of recent discussions by the county’s oversight committee on mental health and specifically in regard to placing a psychiatric facility at the old Howard Hospital in Willits, city officials directed staff to come back with a resolution addressing the city’s right to control decisions regarding what happens with the facility at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.”

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Allmanite

  3. Lazarus May 12, 2018

    Howard Hospital…
    From yesterdays Ed Notes, AVA…

    “NEIGHBORS envision squads of escaped lunatics rampaging through their homes, kicking their household pets, setting fire to their barca-loungers.”

    Really Mr AVA…? that’s your opinion of Willits residents…?
    As always,

    From todays The Willits News, who apparently was actually at the meeting…

    By Ariel Carmona, Jr.,, @AOCarmona on Twitter
    POSTED: 05/10/18, 4:08 PM PDT | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO 0 COMMENTS
    After saying they felt left out of recent discussions by the county’s oversight committee on mental health and specifically in regard to placing a psychiatric facility at the old Howard Hospital in Willits, city officials directed staff to come back with a resolution addressing the city’s right to control decisions regarding what happens with the facility at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
    City Manager Stephanie-Garrabrant Sierra said Frank R. Howard Hospital Foundation President Margie Handley came to her office recently and discussed at length what she knew about the proposed psychiatric facility for the old hospital.

    Garrabrant-Sierra said Handley also provided information on the progress of a Measure B subcommittee meeting regularly on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Officials expressed concern over not being kept apprised of the committee’s plans about possibly moving forward with the old hospital location.
    “This was apparently happening very rapidly and the city had not been contacted,’ said Garrabrant-Sierra, adding that 3rd District committee representative Jed Diamond committed to come and give a report to council after every Measure B meeting to keep city officials updated on the committee’s actions moving forward.

    “I feel really good he is committed to this process,” she said.
    Another issue discussed said Garrabrant-Sierria is the county conducting a needs assessment of services of mental health services with consultant Lee Kemper.
    “We also found out that if it is a critical care psychiatric facility, it is likely to be used by people outside of the county because there is a great need for this,” she said. “Apparently there is an underutilized facility to the north of us and there’s a huge need to the south of us.”

    The city manager said she heard that Marin County is looking for places to send people on an emergency basis, adding that people are talking about an emergency facility for critical care for patients who are a danger to themselves or others or who are severely disabled.
    Garrabrant Sierra added that she had a lot of questions about the old building and the construction issues associated with the facility.
    She said she called the state office of hospital construction to determine if they were aware of the proposal.

    “Normally state agencies are in charge of construction of projects such as this,” she explained during her report to the council. “They were not aware of this project or the consideration of this project, however they said if it were a hospital they would need to be involved and it would need to comply with their standards.”
    Garrabrant-Sierra noted the even if the state hospital construction agency was not required to intervene, a local jurisdiction could ask they be involved and could call the state office at any time.

    “I do support using that facility for its intended purpose,” said Councilman Ron Orenstein, but added he was highly disturbed about what he had been hearing about the city’s involvement in the project.
    Orenstein questioned the fact the city does not have a primary role in the process.
    He said that the council has the responsibility to be in the forefront of the discussions to make sure that the requirements that the city laid out for the facility are met.
    City Attorney Jim Lance said he has done preliminary research on the issue of whether or not counties must comply with a city’s building and zoning ordinances for county projects located within a city.

    Lance told the council that part of the government code states that each local agency shall comply with all applicable building and zoning ordinances of the county.
    “These (code sections) have been interpreted to mean that the county is exempt from city zoning and building ordinances and there are several court cases that confirm that,” he said.
    Lance said he came across another law which regards the licensures to operate psychiatric facilities dealing with the state’s requirement for environmental impact and local fire safety, zoning and building ordinances. “While it is generally the law the county is exempt from a local city building and zoning ordinance, in the case of a state licensed psychiatric facility, the code specifically requires compliance with city laws,” said Lance.

    Orenstein said the property is not the only property in the county that is suitable for this purpose.
    “I am not looking for a battle, I am not looking to make it difficult to do this thing,” he said. “But there are certain concerns that have been expressed by citizens. These are the concerns that the city needs to quantify, they need to be satisfied before this facility would be permitted to be open.”
    Residents also voiced their concerns regarding the proposed facility’s proximity to schools and regarding discussions about placing a fence around the building.

    Others urged the council to consider conducting their own study regarding problems with staffing the facility, homeless being attracted to the area and how people are medicated and dispatched after being released following treatment.
    Other residents expressed confusion about a perceived double standard regarding discussions from the committee about disqualifying a facility in Ukiah from consideration because of its proximity to a school, while seemingly not being worried about placing the facility at the old Howard Hospital location.

    Willits resident Debbie Clark lives next to the old hospital. She said there are many concerns that she has and one of them has been due to the direction that the Measure B advisory committee has been taking.
    “Statements had been made (at a meeting in March) that they were going to be a fast moving committee and at that point in time they were looking at Howard Hospital and they wanted to make decisions,” she said. “So that’s why we felt very strongly about getting our city involved and making sure that all of you understood the direction the committee was going.”

    Clark said at a previous committee meeting CEO Carmel Angelo said she did not believe that any seats needed to be extended on the committee to anyone else.
    “I’m very concerned about our business community as well,” said Clark. “While Willits tries to re-brand itself and our business owners are trying to survive, I think that having a 32 bed mental health facility in the middle of our community with a security fence around it is not very good imaging as people enter the Gateway to the Redwoods.”
    “All of these questions need to be asked and have some answer to them,” said councilman Larry Stranske. “They have been having these meetings since January and nobody knew about it. I am not surprised at the county because they work that way quite a bit of time. I think that it ought to come out that they have made a mistake this time. I am very upset about it.”

    Stranske stated people have been coming to him for the past six months saying that they have heard the rumor around the community about Howard Hospital, especially people that live up on the hill. “We need to say this does not need to be here.”
    According to councilman Gerry Gonzalez, Arnie Melo of the Howard Foundation indicated to him they want what’s good for the community.
    “I think what threw us back is the discussion seemed like they were picking up speed and we weren’t involved,” said Gonzalez. “It’s hard to criticize a plan that we haven’t actually seen.”

    Garrabrant-Sierra said that in her meeting with Diamond, one of the many concerns expressed by officials was the financial impact to the city and whether there was any money in measure B allocated to mitigate those impacts to the city.

    • james marmon May 12, 2018

      Laz, you should be ashamed of yourself, the AVA, Carmel Angelo, and Margie Handley have been working on putting this deal together since 2010. All this Willits City Council business puts the future of Bruce Anderson Behavioral Health Center (aka BABH Center) in great peril. Show some compassion man!

      James Marmon MSW
      Personal Growth Consultant

      ‘don’t just go through it, grow through it’

    • Bruce Anderson May 12, 2018

      Laz old boy, I could not possibly have a higher opinion of Mendocino County’s most attractive population. I was simply trying to make the basic point that mental patients are not a menace to the neighborhood because, unlike ordinary Willits residents, they are supervised.

      • George Hollister May 12, 2018

        Give credit where credit is due, BA does have a sense of humor.

  4. Bill Pilgrim May 12, 2018


    In case anyone is curious… the (Frederico) Fellini film Kunstler alluded to is titled “Roma.” It’s a semi-autobiographical film released in 1972.
    It’s a kind of tribute to Rome as Fellini experienced it in his youth.

    One segment of the film – my favorite – is an ecclesiastical fashion show that takes place at the vatican. Hilarious… and poignant.

    Hence the reference to Fellini regarding the Met Gala fashion extravaganza.

  5. Jim Updegraff May 12, 2018

    MLB yesterday: Pirates 11 Giants 2 No pitching and no hits

    A’s 10 Yankees 5 Graveman went 6 innings and gave up 1 ER. A’s batters hit 4 HRs.
    – – – – –
    Fatboy Trump’s nomination for head of CIA torture queen Haspel confirms the stupidity of this administration
    – – – –
    Chief of Staff Kelly’s comments about immigrants exhibited profound ignorance of the immigrants in our country.
    – – – The attacks by the Quds on the Golan Heights could will be the first phase of an all attack by the Iranians and Hezbollah with support from Hamas on Israel. I have my doubts about the ability of the IDF to withstand such an attack. I have a deep concern if things go badly for Israel Fatboy Trump will commit U. S. troops in support of Israel.

    • George Hollister May 12, 2018

      That is OK, Jeff Samardzia pitches tonight.

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