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Off the Record (May 23, 2018)


On May 29 it will be ten years since 22-year-old Katlyn Long was found dead of a methadone overdose in her basement bedroom at her parents’ house in Fort Bragg. She did not have a prescription for methadone and, according to Captain Greg Van Patten of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, “did not have a significant drug history.” Katlyn was also not alone when she died. Her on-again/off-again boyfriend Garett Matson spent the night with her. According to the official report he found her unresponsive early in the morning of May 29th and alerted her parents, who were sleeping upstairs. Her father John Long performed CPR on his daughter but she was DOA at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. It was then that the Sheriff’s department became involved due to the suspicious death of a young woman with no significant drug history and no prescription for the drug that killed her. No charges have ever been filed.


So that was then. The details of what has been learned since Katlyn’s death remain confidential since the investigation remains open. “We’ve exhausted everything and are waiting for any information that may develop,” Van Patten said. Asked what that potential information might be, he replied, for example, “If somebody had some knowledge or knows about him, or if he were to confess or have any admissions, that would be one way,” he said, of Matson. Contrary to some interim news coverage, he said that Matson has spoken with county sheriffs several times, though the details of those conversations are also confidential. The years have not been kind to Matson. Van Patten said, “he’s been in and out of the system.” He was last booked on Christmas Day in 2012 for grand theft involving a dependent elder and a parole violation. There is currently an active arrest warrant out for him for parole violation. So even though Van Patten said, “We’ve had stuff over the years,” the Katlyn Long case pretty much stands where it did ten years ago. “We’re hopeful that something else will be learned or revealed. There is still not sufficient evidence to determine whether it was an accidental overdose or someone else had a hand in her death. The DA just does not have enough of that hard evidence to proceed.” (Marilyn Davin)

TED WILLIAMS writes to deny he has endorsed anyone for County Superintendent of Schools or any other local office.

WE LIKED this note from Frank Hartzell to Tom Wodetski: "Thanks for putting this out. [voting recommendations] For me, Gavin [Newsom] is the worst of the Democratic Party. I have watched him since the big Dems came in to help him beat Green Matt Gonzalez in the runoff for SF mayor. He did ONE courageous thing with gay marriage and it was significant and not to be disrespected. But the rest… Geez. I watched him ridicule the soda tax, ridicule the old taxi industry and praise Uber and much more corporatist stuff from Plumpjack onward. No doubt he and Feinstein will both win big and the whole Bernie revolution totally ignored by CA Dems, who seem to be affirimg their allegiance to Wall Street over Main Street. The CA Dems have had a super majority and total control but have advanced the progressive agenda little. Single payer has been nixed — by the Democrats. De Leon is a better choice than Feinstein and maybe best considering but I want to put in a word for Allison Hartson, who is ready to join with folks like Tulsi and Warren for real change."

CONGRESSMAN HUFFMAN'S ENDORSEMENT of Chris Skyhawk for the non-partisan 5th District supervisor seat, has roiled the County's active Democrats: Huffman, feeling the heat for interfering, got off this weasel-lipped explanation: "Several of my trusted friends and longtime Dems are supporting Chris, including Rachel Binah who encouraged me to meet with him and consider an endorsement. I was not aware that the Club had endorsed another candidate. I wish I had the benefit of that information before I made the decision last week – it probably would have convinced me to stay neutral in the race. But Chris strikes me as an exceptional candidate, and while I have nothing against any of the others, I stand by my endorsement. I do apologize for the lack of communication though."

MIKE HORGER is a candidate for 3rd District Supervisor. For pure candor he rivals former Supervisor Pinches. Here’s Horger in the Willits Weekly on the psych center tentatively proposed for the old Willits Hospital: “Some people just need to talk to somebody, and some people just need to be strapped to a bed. We need to see what facilities we need for each, and I think if we have the funding and if we have the availability — with the county as spread out as it is — it would be nice to have smaller services in different areas. But, if the Jail is building their mental health facility, that would be the place for people who need to be tied down.”



FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, Big Mike has won himself the head therapist job. “That guy weeping to himself over there in the corner? Kick him in the ass and tell him to stop sniveling and act like a man. The tweaker hopping up and down like a goddam kangaroo? Double strap his ass to the bed.”

KIDDING ASIDE, Horger’s on to something here: smaller units in the different areas of our far flung county would certainly be more convenient to law enforcement, our front line mental health workers. Horger’s also correct about the basic split in the mentally ill: the volatile mentally ill have to be restrained, the non-volatile needs his meds juggled until he’s again more or less functional. A lot of the street nuts wandering around Ukiah and the Mendocino Coast, are only temporarily nuts via street drugs. Or alcohol. But the sad fact is that there are more and more disturbed persons of all types, and somehow, some way, these people have to be sequestered in safe places while they regain themselves, if they can or ever will.

NOTHING PERSONAL, but Chris Skyhawk’s slicko-spiffo Democrat mailer with names of supporters on it, strikes me as a kind of Who’s Who of Fuzzy Warms, none fuzzier or warmer than Congressman Huffman, the very apex of Billary-ism. The more clear-thinking sectors of local libs, most of whom supported Bernie, not Huffman and Hillary, are supporting Ted Williams, hence the in-house Democrat contretemps over Huffman’s intervention in non-partisan Mendo politics. The official Democrats inland and the Coast endorsed Williams, a fact the Congressman was apparently unaware of.

AND THE HAWK’S statement on his and Huffman’s mailer? (Warning! Full mawk ahead): “We live in a remarkably beautiful place with caring communities. There is no doubt that we can tackle the challenges we face if we set egos aside and work together….” (Egos? Translation. Agree with me, be like me, Albion’s ego-free Uriah Heep, and we will all pad up together to tackle head on beautiful places and caring communities. Something like that.

CALL ME SENTIMENTAL, but I still look nostalgically back to the days when words had meaning, but I give The Hawk full credit for his acute reading of the intellectual functioning of the fuzzy warm sectors of the electorate — his people! It’s also a kind of rhetorical heads-up that the vague Albion candidate will be a reliable contributor to ongoing County management dysfunction. Mendocino County’s deep state prays that The Hawk joins it in Ukiah.

VAL MUCHOWSKI is chief adjutant to the Democrat’s local herd bull, Rachel Binah. The other day, Val shrugged off 5th District Supe’s candidate Dave Roderick as, gasp! “a conservative Republican.” Roderick is a registered Republican running for the non-partisan Mendo Board of Supervisors. From his statements at candidate forums, any other place Roderick would be considered a liberal, but then he’s confined himself at these forums, as he should, to purely local issues. In any case, how would Val know what kind of Republican the guy is? The only real standard is this: Is the candidate likely to be good at steering the Good Ship Mendo? His party registration is irrelevant.

I’M A REGISTERED DEMOCRAT which, at his point, is only slightly less embarrassing than being a registered sex offender but, like most people, whatever their political registration, I’m an inconsistent mix of political opinions. Most Big Think issues I’m wayyyyyyy to the left of most Democrats, including Bernie. But on County management, especially the blithely irresponsible spending of the Supervisors, and the palsy-walsy management style of the CEO and her department heads, I’m with Republican Art Juhl — it’s not supportable.

AS ISRAELI snipers are again picking off unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, bulldozing their family homes, persecuting everyone confined to apartheid Gaza where two million Palestinians are confined to an area the size of the Ukiah Valley, permit this Palestinian partisan to say, that given that lots of reporting makes it seem like Palestinians are angry for no real reason at all and the bigger lie that Israeli’s are a united front for Netanyahu’s murderous policies, the truth is closer to this: Israelis, let alone Jews everywhere else, aren’t of one opinion on the Palestinian question. There’s a very good documentary film around (“The Gatekeepers”) featuring a half-dozen former chiefs of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, all of whom say the present hard-line approach to Palestinians is, in the long run, self-defeating given the neighborhood. Intelligent Israeli opinion wants a decent accommodation with the Palestinians, which used to be the two-state approach before the fanatics and racists took over the Israeli government. Trump, natch, has made everything worse. Uncritical support for Israel helps move the Doomsday Clock closer to the final noon. (BTW, to get a real feel for what the true state of Israel is, read Robert Stone’s excellent novel, Damascus Gate.)

A READER wondered at the following title on an MCRPD press release: “Beat Back Bushansky-ism!” That’s an inside joke between me and maybe one other person who knows that Bushansky is on the MCRPD board of directors. He's what I call an “indicator species” — genus Mendo Wackus. Wherever he appears, bad things are certain to happen. In the recent KZYX board elections, Bushansky was, of course, elected, damn near by acclamation to the KZYX board. When I insisted that the KZYX budget was unreadable and raised more questions than it answered, ol' Bushie said it was perfectly clear to him! Natch, KZYX has appointed him board treasurer.

Bushansky hawking his favorite newspaper

THE AGENDA FOR THE MEASURE B OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETING on Wednesday, May 23, includes a discussion of “a Separate Contract and Detailed Scope of Work for [Needs Assessment Consultant] Lee Kemper with Discussion and Possible Action,” and a “Needs Assessment Progress Report.”

SOME KIND OF “NEEDS ASSESSMENT” has obviously begun because earlier this month the Board of Supervisors authorized a $10k add-on to Kemper’s existing contract to begin a Mental Health Needs Assessment, but they also asked the Measure B Oversight Committee to prepare a detailed scope of work which, presumably and confusingly, will include the first $10k.

IN THE PAST, the Measure B committee has had some difficulty coming up with a “scope of work” for Kemper, with only one committee member, Jared Diamond of Willits, coming up with his own list of questions for the consultant at the last meeting, even though the Committee members had been asked to prepare their own at previous meetings. Now we imagine Sheriff Allman at a typical Mendo-easel/whiteboard with a felt-tip pen writing down ideas from his committee followed by a discussion of which ones they want in the “scope of work.”

WE CERTAINLY HOPE it includes an estimate of who is currently not being served because they are not insured, because it is those people who make up the majority of the people the rest of Mendo wants off the street.

AS THE SUPERVISORS belatedly discuss incompetent management at Juvenile Hall, not to mention the entire Probation Department, the kid prison in Ukiah should stay in Ukiah. But the Supe candidates, the less grounded of them anyway, are saying stuff like, "They're our children. We've got to keep them close to home and their families." First off, although technically children by the fuzzy standards of indulgent America, some of them are as dangerous as any adult you'll meet, especially the ganged up ones. The families? Depends, but on the off chance there is a family in any known sense of the term, they're a big part of the prob. That said, it's not helpful to intelligent resolution of Hall management to talk of the issue like you're talking about a 4-H Club. And it's dumb to sub-lease our delinquents to Lake County for their care and feeding when what we need is capable management of the Probation Department. It's probably asking too much of their majesties at the Superior Court who are in charge of the Probation Department and Juvenile Hall to step up here…

TROUBLE SLEEPING? Repeat the following headline from the front page of last week’s Independent Coast Observer: "PA Schools Board approves NTN contract amid price debate." You'll be in Dreamland half way through the second reading.

WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE the interchangeable supporter rosters mailed out by 5th District candidates Williams and Skyhawk. We enjoy them so much we've developed a card game called Trades. I'll trade Williams' Beth Bosk for The Hawk's Sherry Glaser; Steve Scalmanini (Skyhawk) straight across for Kendall Smith (Williams); Both Ackers (Williams) for Dave Severn (Skyhawk)

JULIE BEARDSLEY WRITES: “As a county employee, I think the people of Mendocino County would be better served if the structure of the county government went back to a department model. Some years ago the county went to a "super-agency" model. This model combined all the Health and Human Services departments into one super agency which was supposed to save money. I'm not sure that has been the case, as there are now more upper level managers than there were previously, and these individuals will be drawing from our pension system at commensurate rates when they retire. I would like to see the county return to model where there is a Chief Administrative Officer (instead of a CEO), who would handle the county's internal workings, such as HR, budgets, etc., and have the department heads report directly to the Board of Supervisors. We are a small rural county, and I believe this would save money, and make for a more responsive organization. Any thoughts candidates?” (via Kathy Wylie & Cathy Woods Fifth District Supervisors Race facebook page)

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Ms. Beardsley is correct about the “not sure that has been the case” in reference to saving money via consolidation. In fact it has cost a lot more money. When the county consolidated Mental Health, Social Services and Public Health into “HHSA” (Health and Human Services Agency) there should have been a two-thirds reduction in department managers and staff. Instead, we got an additional top management HHSA Director (Carmel Angelo) with her own staff of assistants and analysts on top of the existing department managers and their redundant sub-manager staffs. Angelo was then promoted to CEO when the County needed someone to layoff a bunch of people in 2008/2009 while her management pals in HHSA magically avoided the layoffs. In effect, the “consolidation” resulted in four top manager-directors, all with their own separate staffs, doing what one person should be doing with one staff, and all four ended up being paid more individually and collectively than the three department heads were paid pre-consolidation.

SUPERVISOR JOHN McCOWEN, close reader of fine print, informs us of an of an error in Marilyn Davin's recent article, "Legalization: A View from the Ground Floor."

"There is a major inaccuracy. It quotes Mendocino County Treasurer/Tax Collector Shari Schapmire as saying that there is a 2.5% tax on gross receipts, not just for cultivators which there is, but for pot processors and distributors. That is not true. For dispensaries it is 5% of gross receipts. Cultivators, 2.5% of gross receipts. All the other business types it's a flat $2500 per year, nothing about gross receipts. That makes a big difference if you are extracting $1 million worth of dope byproducts at your manufacturing plant. Again, there is no gross receipts tax on cultivators or processors. It's a flat $2500.”


I’ve been lucky to have felt reasonably safe most of my life. However, I did once have to run away from a young man in France (when I was also young). I heard his footsteps behind me, as I walked over a pedestrian area around where I lived at the time, in what had been the Olympic Village. It was broad daylight and I was headed for the local hypermarket. I was vaguely aware that there was someone walking behind me and vaguely waiting for him to pass me by. But he didn’t. He caught up with me and started very obviously walking in step with me. I started to be scared. Then he moved round in front of me and stopped me. I turned and ran and he ran after me. Fortunately he didn’t catch me up but I didn’t dare go out again for some time. To this day I’m quite conscious of men’s footsteps behind me in quiet places, although I don’t let it make me neurotic about going about my business. I like to stick to places where there are people, though. On a less scary note, I witnessed a sexual assault about a year ago. Some would call it minor, I suppose, if it didn’t happen to them or if they were male. I was sitting on the bus as it waited for people to get on and off. A young couple were standing waiting to get on while an old man with a walking stick carefully got off. Then, as the young woman stepped onto the bus, the old codger turned round and stuck his hand up her skirt. She and her boyfriend were aghast. But they both looked round and saw an old man with a walking stick and presumably thought ‘What are you going to do? Drag an old man to a police station?’ I felt for her. She got on the bus and I wanted to smile to her in sympathy but chose not to in case she misinterpreted it as something else. She must have felt humiliated as most of us had seen it – the bus driver had a prime view. So a short while later I logged the incident on the Everyday Sexism website, because I felt that was the least I could do. As I say, many would say that was ‘trivial’, but it lets a young woman know what her ‘place’ is in society, especially if it happens more than once. And it was interesting that they deferred to old age and its supposed fragility, even in the form of a dirty old man.

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