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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, July 8, 2018

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Ex-Rohnert Park sergeant under investigation earned reputation with Highway 101 stops

Hue Freeman, 60, prunes plants on his state licensed cannabis farm above the Alexander Valley. Freeman claims now-former Rohnert Park Sgt. Brendon "Jacy" Tatum wrongly seized 47 pounds of cannabis from him during a traffic stop south of Cloverdale in December 2016. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

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Tikki is 3 month old, neutered male, gray and white kitten. He is a social, playful little guy. His favorite toy so far is anything with feathers! Tikki is also a little cuddle bug, and we can see him snuggling up and wanting to sleep with members of his new family. Can't adopt? Volunteers are always needed to come play and socialize with our many kitten and cat guests.

The photographer and assistant fell in love with Harley during his photo shoot. He is a delightful dog, with beautiful kohl-rimmed eyes and a sweet and calm presence. Harley is a 3 year old, neutered male, mixed breed dog who weighs 68 pounds. He LOVES playing fetch and keep-away, and did not guard the tennis ball or toy, but dropped it for the next throw. This guy is nimble and athletic, and he might do best in a home with a "job" --which could be playing, fetching, or taking training classes. There's lots more about Harley here:

The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday from 10 am to 6:30 pm. To see photos and bios of the shelter's adoptable animals, please visit online at: or visit the shelter. Join us the second Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for socialization and exercise! For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.

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by Mark Scaramella

WE NOTED this pointed sentence in the Library Advisory Board’s report to the Supes on next week’s Board of Supervisors agenda: “Apparently the County was unaware until last year that the Museum had a problem with its director, staff morale and a deteriorating collection.”

THE LAB repeats their opposition to combining the Library with the Museum and Parks functions by saying, “In order for the Museum to thrive it needs a fulltime dedicated and experienced director to actively safeguard its collection, plan new exhibits, prepare publicity and supervise staff. The proposed Cultural Services Agency (CSA) with a 10-25% director would abolish the validity of the Museum as a County Department and forfeit its ability to shape itself as a tourist and public entity.”

(WITH THE CASUAL cruelty our boorish leadership is famous for, Russ and Sylvia Bartley's request to stay on at the Museum was simply ignored. They brought a knowledge and sophistication to the collection work the County is unlikely to see again.)

THE LIBRARY ADVISORY BOARD also says that “the County has improperly charged the Library for A-87 reimbursement on fully depreciated equipment. The Fort Bragg Branch insurance funded facility and the Willits Branch’s grant funded facility are two examples of improper charges to the Library. It took two Grand Jury Reports and two years for the County to refund $24,000 for building use charges and $31,000 for equipment charges to the Fort Bragg and Willits branches. Additionally, the County refuses to even consider that the Library Director’s salary should be paid by the County as explicitly stated in the Education Code. Prior to the passage of Measure A, the Board of Supervisors considered closing the Willits Branch and the Bookmobile. The Library had no budget for materials. The branches were open only three days per week. Measure A, approved by 75% of the voters, reversed this dire condition.”

THE ABOVE CRITICISM of the County’s bad management by the Library Advisory Board is what annoyed the Supervisors the last time the combined agency was discussed, with Supervisor McCowen accusing the Library people of spreading disinformation and hurting their own chances of renewing the 2011 Measure A Library sales tax increment which sunsets in a few years.

THE LAB adds, “It is likely that what the CEO means by [the combined agency] will have ‘greater access [to] shared resources’ is that the Museum and Parks will have the potential to utilize Library funds through ambiguous accounting and unspecified co-mingled costs of admin and A-87 expenditures. The County’s opaque accounting practices, past attempts to inaccurately assess A-87 charges and refusal to consider following state law regarding the proper source of the Director’s salary are reasons to doubt the intentions of the County in its attempt to combine the Library with the Museum and Parks into an agency.”

OH BOY. This is impressively blunt. The Library Advisory Board doesn't trust the CEO or the Board's frequent assertions that the Library won't be affected by the consolidation. These borderline mutinous statements (bureaucratically speaking, of course) clearly won’t sit well with the famously vindictive CEO Angelo and her lockstep Board, which is already on record as resenting the Library people's "griping" and has unanimously (of course) approved the consolidation of the Library with the Museum and Parks functions. Tuesday’s discussion of the LAB’s report should be very interesting.

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ALSO ON TUESDAY’S BOARD of Supervisors Agenda is what seems to us like a rather obvious conflict of interest, not that anyone in Official Mendo is likely to care. After all, Official Mendo had no problem with a former Ortner employing steering millions of dollars in privatized Mental Health dollars to his old employer in Marysville. Under “recommended appointments” for the Health and Human Services Advisory Board is: “Ms. Camille Schrader” to be appointed to the HHSA Board’s “Children System of Care” position. OK, she’s “qualified” for the position, but her role as Mendo’s biggest HHSA contractor should disqualify her for any position with influence over the agency which she contracts for (to the tune of over $25 million a year approved on the consent calendar). Besides that, it looks bad.

ANOTHER ANNOYING APPOINTMENT is Supervisor Dan Hamburg’s re-appointment of Third (not Fifth) District resident Marilyn Harden of Willits to the Civil Service Commission. Yes, I am choking back black bile.

BACK IN 2010 when Dan Hamburg was first running for Supervisor he assured me that he would appoint me to the Civil Service Commission which was established in the early 60s by my uncle, Supervisor Joe Scaramella, who also wrote Mendo's first civil service rules to try to ensure fairness in County employment. A few weeks after he was elected Hamburg notified me that he’d changed his mind and was going with Colfax’s old appointment, Ms. Harden, who also happened to be the Willits City Clerk and Human Resources Manager (since retired), an insider with a record of rubberstamping everything the County’s Human Resources department puts on the agenda.

HARDEN'S current re-appointment notes that the County is waiving the requirement that she live in the Fifth District, which is also interesting because back when I applied for the Civil Service Commission, then-Supervisor John Pinches told me he’d appoint me but was told that he couldn’t because I didn’t live in the Third District.

I HAVE LONG suspected that the Civil Service Commission not only doesn’t question anything Mendocino County HR requests, but they don’t follow the Brown Act in their agendas so that it’s impossible to tell what kinds of personnel actions are coming to them and impossible for members of the public to participate in any meaningful way. (Go ahead, try to look up their agendas on-line. One we found at random actually says: “The County is committed to making its Commission meetings accessible to all citizens.” Hah!)

ONE OF the Civil Service Commission’s most spineless moves ever was back in 2007 when they screwed over Deputy Orell Massey who simply requested that his obviously biased Sergeant’s promotion essay score be reconsidered:

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Is answering an official question honestly "borderline insubordination"?

by Mark Scaramella

Close followers of last fall’s Sheriff’s campaign may recall when candidate (now Sheriff) Tom Allman said, “I have to discuss and talk about the people that he [then-interim Sheriff Kevin Broin] says he’s hiring. In the last debate we had in Fort Bragg’s Town Hall [Broin] openly said he’d hired two of his son’s best friends to work in the jail. Since then he’s hired the brother of a Lieutenant that’s supporting him to be a dispatcher. Since then he’s hired a cousin of a deputy who’s supporting him. I’m not exactly sure how far we’re going to go with this good old boy system until the whole family is hired. I don’t know.”

Interim Sheriff Kevin Broin replied, “This good old boy system? I find it laughable that he’s calling this a good old boy system. We’re talking about hiring people that are friends and relatives? Um, gee that’s a shame. We live in a small community. Who are all these people that work and live with us? They’re friends and relatives. These are the people I went off and hired. And to make it like I haven’t hired anybody else? Hal Wagenet, who was his [Allman’s] supporter and a supervisor tried the same thing during the budget hearings. I came back with all the facts. Gee, that ended his conversation.”

Allman then said, “I’ll let the facts speak for themselves. Has he hired relatives of supporters? Of course he has. That’s absolutely a mistake. There’s no way to excuse it. These people are out there doing their job and they know they’re friends with the boss. I think that what he said was… he sure didn’t deny it. He just said we have to because that’s the only people out there. Hogwash. We need to go out and we need to recruit from every possible location we can.”

Then-Sheriff Broin wanted to continue the dispute, but he was cut off by the Fort Bragg forum moderator.

From this exchange we can infer that 1. The hiring of friends and relatives is going on in the Sheriff’s Department. 2. Allman is against hiring people from a “good old boys system." And 3. Allman would presumably want to know if such hiring was going on so that he could do something about it.

Even though Allman worked for Broin at the time, Broin didn’t dispute the examples Allman gave, nor did he declare Allman’s description of the department’s hiring practices to be “borderline insubordination.” That would be a preposterious claim because 1. Allman’s statement was patently true. And 2. It’s a legitimate problem that the Sheriff’s Department should go out of its way to avoid. In theory, anyway.

Although Mendo is indeed a small place with a relatively small number of candidates for any given job, to the maximum extent possible, public jobs should be filled with open postings, with no wired friends or relatives getting insider or preferential treatment. It looks bad, even if the friend/relative is qualified. It also unnecessarily complicates discipline problems because the perception of favoritism is hard to avoid. Just because it’s common across almost all government jobs in Mendocino County doesn’t mean that we should do it, or approve it.

But if you’re a candidate for promotion to Sergeant in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department, pointing out that the Sheriff's Department is hiring from “a social clique” (aka "the old boys system") has recently been declared to be “borderline insubordination.”

The Oxford English dictionary defines "Insubordination" as, "Not submitting to authority. Disobedience to orders. Defiance of authority."

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Besides the obvious pragmatic personnel problems associated with the “old boys system,” at least at the County level it’s also a violation of the County's Civil Service rules.

Civil Service Rules are in Section 3.16.120 of the County Code. Enforcement of those rules is the duty of the Human Resources Department, and, after that, of the Civil Service Commission. The first part of the hiring and promotion process is the examination phase where candidates take a written exam devised by the Department. Generally, passing the examination qualifies an applicant to proceed to the next step: an interview with department managers where applicants are ranked and hirings or promotions are made. According to Civil Service Rule 5 (“Examinations”) the examination is supposed to “fairly test the qualifications of candidates.” (Emphasis added.)

In the Sheriff’s department examinations can take the form of true/false, multiple choice and/or essay questions. In the recent round of promotions for the position of Sheriff’s Sergeant the test asked candidates for an essay on one of four subjects.

The subject (or “project”) that Deputy Orell Massey chose for his application for the position of Sergeant was “Staff Project #3: Inconsistency in Law Enforcement Supervision, Providing Service to the Community and Selecting People within the Sheriff’s Office for Special Projects or Assignments.”

Here is Massey’s essay response on that subject:

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Subject: Staff Project #3: Inconsistency in Law Enforcement Supervision, Providing Service to the Community and Selecting People within the Sheriff’s Office for Special Projects or Assignments.

Inconsistency in law enforcement supervision has been a long-standing challenge for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. This inconsistency originates from a breakdown in the basic organizational structure and resulting in inadequate attention to individual employees by leaders and managers at the highest level of hierarchy within the Mendocino County Sheriff’s organization.

The most effective remedies for law enforcement inconsistencies are: effective communication, aggressive supervision by first level supervisors (sergeants) and strict accountability at all levels in the chain of command. I believe members of the Sheriff’s Office can best perform their jobs if they clearly understand their expectations.

To restore order, discipline and integrity within the Sheriff’s organizational structure, I recommend that the Sheriff, along with his executive officers (lieutenants and captains) and sergeants meet regularly to reestablish lines of authority and responsibility. The Sheriff could communicate to his executive officers and sergeants his expectations that all employees are to be held accountable for job performance and conduct and how that will occur. Participation by sergeants in these meetings is crucial because sergeants (first-line supervisors) hold key positions in any organization. Sergeants are tasked by management with coordinating the efforts of organizational units including leading, directing, controlling and training subordinates. Though Sergeants are responsible for the training of subordinates, inconsistencies in law enforcement supervision continue to exist among rank-and-file.

Consistency and supervision is obtainable if one can appreciate and use the Sheriff’s office operational chain of command. Within the operational structure, the chain of command channels authority and responsibility in a direct line from top to bottom.

Consider the following example: The District Attorney’s Office has recently rejected an inordinate number of domestic violence reports, citing insufficient evidence and needed follow-up investigation (deputies application of incorrect penal code sections and failure to record conversations or take photographs of the injuries). These problems are relatively easy to correct by using the chain of command structure. The problem should first be identified by management and communicated either verbally or in writing to all sergeants (first-line supervisors). Supervisors are tasked with and held accountable by area commanders (lieutenants) for the performance of their subordinates (patrol deputies). Supervisors must also ensure that their subordinates fully comply with state laws and adhere to departmental policies and procedures regarding domestic violence. Supervisors or their designees can accomplish their task by conducting one or several in-service domestic violence training sessions for their subordinates. In any event, supervisors should monitor their subordinates, to ensure that training meets the criteria set forth by applicable state laws and that their subordinates are in compliance with the Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures.

To further ensure compliance with procedures, nothing prevents a supervisor from appearing at the scene of domestic violence calls for service and monitoring their subordinates’ actions. Using the chain of command, the above procedure, to include calls for service in the community, can be implemented to correct any supervisory inconsistency within the sheriff’s office.

A good community relationship is vital to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office requires the cooperation of members of the community both in solving crime and keeping the peace. For deputies to be truly effective in a given area, they must be familiar with and understand the culture of the people in the area. A Sheriff’s Office must be a part of the community, not apart from the community. Deputies should strive for quick responses to calls for service within the community and to generate a feeling of availability to the public. Currently, law enforcement responses to the community has been inconsistent. These inconsistencies of law enforcement can be minimized significantly by proper use of the Sheriff’s Office internal organizational structure (chain of command).

For example, suppose that the community is experiencing repeated problems with unsupervised juvenile parties where alcohol is consumed by minors. Management must first identify the problems associated with the juvenile parties and clearly communicate to all sergeants a course of enforcement actions. Second, management may direct deputies to enter the premises and identify the owner of the dwelling or identify the person responsible for the party. Management may also direct deputies to arrest/site and disperse the party immediately.

Supervisors should be held accountable for the execution of management’s orders and directives and to ensure deputies consistently enforce applicable state laws, county ordinances and the Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures. Supervisors can further verify compliance of laws and procedures by responding to the scene of unsupervised juvenile parties and personally monitoring their deputies’ actions.

I believe there is always room for forthright friendship between the Sheriff and his employees. The extent of the respect and friendship will vary among individuals. However, respect and friendship alone should not become the basis for preferential treatment.

Currently, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has no precedents or written policy dictating guidelines in the selection of people within the organization for special projects or assignments. Special assignments are commonly filled by those individuals who belong to a particular social clique. Not only is this long-standing practice discriminatory in nature, the precept causes discord which has had an enormous negative impact on morale. Deputies feel a sense of betrayal and the cohesiveness within the Sheriff’s Office has been dissipated.

Special assignments billets should be filled based upon individual merit and the ability of one to do one’s job. It should not be based upon a friendly relationship with the Sheriff or management. The previous selection process for the position of Detective (Special assignment) consisted of the following procedure: notification of the position was disseminated countywide. An eligible candidate submitted a resume with his background and qualifications in law enforcement. The candidate’s request was submitted to the candidate’s immediate supervisor who documented a written evaluation of the candidate. Subsequently, all candidates appeared individually before a board. The board selected a candidate based upon a point system. The board forwarded a candidate list, along with the recommended candidate’s name, to the Sheriff who promptly rejected the candidate if the candidate wasn’t a close friend of his or the family. The Sheriff also deleted the names of candidates he did not wish to consider for the position. The Sheriff returned the list to the board for further recommendation. Though it’s the Sheriff’s prerogative, he eventually selected the candidate of his choosing even though the candidate might have been less qualified for the position.

The above procedure is arbitrary and inherently flawed. The process is particularly unfair to those applicants who may be better qualified for the position. However, an impartial candidate selection process can he achieved by implementing the following procedure: 1. management promulgates guidelines and procedures, establishing the criteria for selection to special assignments and billets. 2. Special assignment boards should be composed of least three members, one of whom should be from the unit in which the candidate applied and the other members should possess an intrinsic knowledge in procedural law. 3. Applicants should also should be selected by the criteria set forth in the Sheriff’s directive. 4. Board members’ recommendations should be forwarded to the Sheriff for final selection. And 5. Final selection is based upon the candidate’s merit and ability to perform the job.

Uniform supervision throughout the Sheriff’s organization cannot be stressed enough. If supervisors train and properly supervise their subordinates, the Sheriff’s office can achieve and maintain a high level of consistency and supervision to include calls for service within the community. I also believe that a fair and just selection process for special assignments can be ascertained by promulgating and adhering to written guidelines and procedures. Fair treatment and recognition by management and supervisors are strong motivators among subordinates.

My ideas are pragmatic, cost-effective and can be implemented immediately. A well organized and efficient Sheriff’s Office engender’s “esprit de corps,” which enhances morale, increases performance and productivity and decreases disciplinary actions. In the long run, management, first-line supervisors and subordinates objectives will be identical.

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By an amazing coincidence Deputy Massey got the exact same score from the three “independent” reviewers of his examination: 67 — just three points below the qualifying level of 70.

Deputy Massey appealed his highly suspicious unanimous score to the Mendocino County Civil Service Commission which heard the appeal last month, April 18th, 2007.

Massey told the Commissioners that one of the reviewers — two of whom were top officials in the Sheriff’s Department and one was a “subject matter expert” who is “not currently in the Sheriff’s Department” — wrote on his paper, “This is borderline insubordination.”

Apparently this response was a reaction to one of several critical comments that Massey made in his examination response to a pointed question _— that “special assignments in the Sheriff’s Department were based on whether or not you belonged to a certain social clique. You were eliminated from the list if you were not friends with the person doing the assignments.”

Massey told the Commissioners that he had spent 22 years in the Marines, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant. “I learned that when someone asked my opinion they wanted my opinion,” said Massey, “not somebody else’s opinion. … If they wanted frank comments and constructive criticism that’s what I gave them. It’s important to be truthful whether the questioner agrees with you or not. To not be truthful does an injustice to the command.”

Massey added that he had discussed the question with a ranking officer in the Sheriff’s office before preparing his response.

“All three raters gave the same score, even though they were supposed to be independent,” said Massey. “How could that happen? It’s an amazing coincidence. They all graded it as 67, which is a failing grade.” (70 is the passing grade to proceed with the promotion process.) “I believe there was collaboration between the raters. I spoke to two other deputies with similar experiences. My score was based more on my negative comments than whether the answer was responsive to what was asked. The question solicited those types of comments. … I don’t think there was anything personal in the scoring. But the method was flawed. Reviewing these papers is supposed to be independent.” (According to the Civil Service rules, examinations are numbered so that the reviewers don’t know who wrote them.)

Massey asked that the Commission arrange to have his examination paper re-evaluated by three different law enforcement reviewers to see if they also come up with 67, or anything close. If they did, Massey said, then he’d drop the matter.

Ms. Linda Moore representing the County’s Human Resources department told the Commission, “He made some pretty strong comments about present and past administrations but gave no examples to substantiate them. You need to explain to justify or persuade. That portion of the test was worth 50 out of 100 points. All the raters agreed and made specific comments. … There were no explanatory statements or sources. He didn’t say if it was his opinion or the perception of the department. All three raters said it wasn’t clear and was directed at department management.” Ms. Moore added, “There were other flaws. He was not clear and concise. There were a couple of confusing paragraphs on page 2.”

Massey replied, “I gave examples. I made recommendations. I did not make it up from my own opinion.” Massey waved a copy of his exam and offered it to the Commissioners. Nobody wanted one.

Even a casual review of Massey’s exam shows that there were at least three examples given addressing all three parts of the “project.” There were also very specific recommendations. Although the phrase “chain of command” was used fairly often (not surprising coming from a former Marine master sergeant), the exam was written in clear, understandable prose with specifics. It is certainly at least as good as a lot of the text that we get almost every day in Sheriff’s press releases.

Commissioner Mitch McFarland (Point Arena Harbormaster) asked Massey, "Would you have answered this way if they’d asked you face to face?”

Massey replied, “Absolutely.”

Then Mendo's familiar sideways shuffle began.

McFarland: “This is tricky. He’s asking us to review his evaluation.” (Not true.)

Commissioner (former Willits City Councilman) Ron Orenstein wanted to know what the question was. When told what it was, Orenstein said, “Boy. That’s a loaded question. … But you have to know your audience. There are different ways to say something. I have 30 years in management in private life. You can smack somebody up side the head or you can coddle them. It can affect your desired result. It’s tricky when you’re telling the boss he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I appreciate your military experience, but maybe that’s not what the raters were looking for.” (Orenstein, like the rest of the commissioners, hadn't bothered to read Massey's paper.)

Commissioner Robert Clark (who also hadn’t read Massey’s exam) said, “The answer showed a lack of tact.”

Commissioner Teresa Haase said, “Human Resources already did an independent, objective review [of the review process]. I’m not sure this is in our purview.”

Commissioner Terry Poplawski began by saying he was a “union rep.” “This could border on a grievance,” said Poplawski. “You must submit evidence and testimony in a grievance. Were the graders not adequate for the test? It looks like one of the raters took offense with something but all three concurred. This is not really an employment issue. It’s complex.”

McFarland: “I don’t want to be the examiner, but if the process was biased…”

Commissioner Robert Clark seemed annoyed that he even had to deal with the issue and clearly didn’t want anything to do with Massey's appeal. All he wanted to know was “Did Human Resources assess the process? It’s hard to believe there was some big conspiracy.”

Or course, Massey wasn’t alleging anything like “some big conspiracy,” only that the scores were suspicious.

Moore told the Commission that “all three raters were confused by the intent of the page 2 paragraphs.”

Haase: “All candidates should be treated equally and objectively. The process is not perfect and part of the criteria for promotion is this evaluation. But if Human Resources is comfortable that there was equal treatment and criteria… I don’t want to get into an independent review. I can’t agree that it was ‘borderline insubordination.’ That’s a concern. The criteria should not be that the raters didn’t like what he said. It should be, Was it accurate? Was the solution appropriate? Was it implementable?” (Haase hadn't read the paper either.)

Orenstein: “The purpose of the question is subjective. The answer depends on human nature. But was it insubordination? Was it pointed and personal or was it general in nature? … I don’t want to review the reviewers. There’s a lot of trust involved that [the reviewers] made an independent decision.”

McFarland. “I’m bothered by the ‘insubordination’ remark, but I don’t detect any bias.”

Clark: “I have faith in Human Resources.”

Moore: “I have confidence in the raters. They made independent remarks to back up their scores. They are encouraged to confer if their ratings are significantly different.”

However, Ms. Moore never stated specifically whether or not the raters' ratings were significantly different or if they conferred in the review of Massey’s exam.

McFarland wanted to know, “Have there been other appeals like this? I don’t think this has ever happened.”

Moore said that not many appeals make it to the Commission because if Human Resources “granted” the appeal “because we thought the process was flawed, the Commission would never see it.”

Clark then abruptly moved to uphold Human Resources. Clark offered Massey perfunctory empty thanks, saying, “This is the same thing I’d do in your situation.”

Haase seconded. The Board quickly voted 5-0 to deny Massey’s appeal.

Orenstein felt compelled to try to sugar coat the denial: “This is a hairy place where we’re going. Perception is everything. The higher you go in management the less casual you can be with remarks.” Gray-haired Orenstein then drifted back to the early 60s giving the completely irrelevant example of Barry Goldwater having to retract a statement he made about the use of military force. To Orenstein, this proved, “You just can’t make off-hand remarks. I was on the Willits City Council and we had to be careful with our remarks. It seems like you are a capable deputy with considerable ability. The next time you take the test you’ll have learned the political reality in Mendocino County. And unfortunately that’s what it is, the reality. You’ll do much better next time.”

Poplawski felt like patting the experienced deputy on his head too: “We are denying your appeal but we hope it does not keep you from furthering your career or improving your situation, nor that it shuts you up. Consider it a learning experience.”

Orenstein couldn’t shut up: “We deal with things in a special way in Mendocino County. We hope it’s not discouraging. I appreciate your demeanor.”

Massey closed his folder and walked out.

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At no time did any Commissioner ask to see Massey’s paper or to review the applicable Civil Service Rules.

Even though Ms. Moore made several remarks about Massey’s paper which Massey clearly disputed, none of the Commissioners wanted to see if Ms. Moore’s comments or descriptions of Massey's paper were accurate.

At no time did the Commissioners ask any questions about what would be involved in finding three different “independent” raters.

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What is the public to draw from this hearing? What is it that Orenstein was suggesting that Deputy Massey "learn from the experience"? What are the political realities that Orenstein was referring to?

We learn that the Civil Service Commission, whose job it is to ensure compliance with Civil Service Rules, has no real interest in doing their job. They have no interest in verifying what Human Resources says or if Human Resources has made a valid or correct assessment of the appeal.

Massey — and by extension the rest of the County's employees — learns that there’s no point in appealing Human Resources rulings because Human Resources and the Civil Service Commission are all part of the same “social clique” Massey was talking about.

And we learn that the political realities in Mendocino County are that you don’t give honest opinions to your boss — even when specifically asked. You simply ask the boss what he or she wants to hear and you write it down for them as if it was your own.

And you don't waste the Civil Service Commission's time by asking them to do their job and enforce the Civil Service rules.

The public should not be surprised when people of very limited skill and ability make it into management ranks in Mendocino County.

(PS. As of 2018, Massey never applied for Sergeant again.)

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Dear Editor:

The Willits City Council's "no action" decision on June 27 to not help the 67 families (240 people) who did not sign the long-term lease gives the okay to all landlords in Willits that a $110 a month or more rent increase for people who earn $25,000 or less is now protocol for Willis.

All of the facts that were presented to the City Council were ignored:

68% of the 500 residents at Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park earn $25,000 a year or less and cannot afford a $110 a month increase and will lose their home.

Over 100 other cities in California, both large and small, have passed rent stabilization ordinances in their mobile home parks to protect their low income communities.

Only 46 people — not 68 — signed a long-term lease (which is exempt from any rent stabilization).

On April 23, 2018 the Ninth District Court of Appeals in California ruled in favor of rent stabilization and Carson, California (60 miles from Los Angeles) against a mobile home park owner. This sets a huge precedent for rent stabilization in mobile home parks, as cities no longer have to be afraid of lawsuits from millionaire park owners!

And Willits Mayor Madge Strong's "excuse" about the cost just reveals that the council didn't read the material provided thoroughly. A rent stabilization ordinance passes the cost on to the residents, a small fee of $2 or $3 a month for every lot in Willits which at $3 per 130 spaces per lot would generate an income of $490 a month for the cost and I'm sure residents would rather pay $3 a month instead of another $110 a month!

The Willits City Council members also did not take seriously the fact that while at Kort and Scott Financial Group in 2016, manager Abe Arrigotti and Drita Brunkey (now BoaVida managers) were responsible for 714 seniors and disabled people in Reseda mobile home park in Reseda, California being priced out of their homes, at risk of becoming part of the ever growing homeless population. This is how they do business and they are now in Willits and they were given the green light by the City Council to continue this evil.

Cheryl Abney


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(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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by Katy Tahja

Ever heard of a wine block or a grape brick? While working on the history of Mendocino County I’m writing I was trying to establish if any wineries in this county tried producing these objects. It does not seem so but they were made in Sonoma and Napa counties and their story is fascinating.

Prohibition in the USA had laws after 1920 that said you could not sell, produce or transport alcoholic beverages, but you could make 200 gallons of wine for home consumption yearly. The Vino Sano Company made dried grape blocks in several flavors: Tokay, Sauterne, Burgundy, Port, Muscatel, Claret, and Riesling. The company provided detailed instructions on how to make your non-alcoholic, unfermented grape juice and Heaven Forbid you didn’t make a mistake and let it ferment and it turned into wine. They claimed their bricks were for grape juice and nothing more. Right?

You dissolved the brick in three-fourths of a gallon of warm water in a crock and they suggested making five gallons at a time. “If the juice is not intended to be consumed in five days it will gradually turn into wine.” What a waste of good grape juice! Add 0.1% benzoate of soda to prevent that fermentation. Stir once a day. Strain through a linen cloth and place the juice in a keg. Close the jug to prevent impurities with a cork with a “V” cut in it to allow gasses to escape. Sugar should be added to customer’s taste. Let it sit three weeks and stir contents occasionally.

“If Benzoate of soda was not added in time the liquid may now be in fermentation, and turn to wine.” Keep liquid in the refrigerator, sterilize it by boiling before bottling, avoid that yeast — or fermentation could happen. The Vino Sano Company claimed they worked hard instructing their customers how to prevent their fruit juices from turning into wine — or vinegar. They were helping farmers sell surplus grapes and doing the American public a favor by producing inexpensive and easily transported grape bricks.

The instruction brochure ended with “…we condemn anything in excess… However to legislate what people should eat or drink in their homes is obnoxious to thinking people, which we have to admit, are rather in the minority of a people, which therefore is governed by the unthinking, ignorant majority.”


While wine sales were illegal between grape bricks and sacramental wine some vineyards flourished in California. Beaulieu, Concannon, Martini and Beringer vineyards sold sacramental wine to priests and rabbi’s around the country. In 1924 a ton of grapes was worth $375, a 3,847% increase from the pre-prohibition price of $9.50 a ton.

So there you have it: your wine industry history tidbit for the day. Let’s praise those “Bacchus Bricks” and the “liquid Poetry” they produced.

* * *

IF IT’S SUMMER, it must be BBQ season. So here is another shameless plug for our great volunteers in the Elk Fire Department and their outstanding BBQ. I even attached a photo for the hell of it.

Meanwhile, we continue to enjoy the AVA - getting enlightened and entertained. And we hope you and the family are doing well.

Thanks, Cindy Johnson

Elk Fire’s Annual BBQ is Coming!

The Elk Volunteer Fire Department invites you to its 14th Annual Summer BBQ to be held Saturday, August 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Greenwood Community Center on Highway 1 in downtown Elk.

Once again, department members and friends are preparing to serve up grilled tri-tip, smoked chicken and portabella mushroom entrees, along with beans, garden salad, bread, homemade dessert and coffee. Enjoy all you can eat for a donation of $20 for adults and $10 for kids 7-12 (6 and under free). And, as always, Elk’s famous Margaritas will be available, along with beer, wine and soft drinks.

Emergency vehicles and equipment will be on display at the BBQ. Kids can meet Smokey the Bear and play in the portable pond. Weather permitting, you can inspect CalStar and REACH helicopters and greet their crews. And throughout the day, music by Wild Elk will keep things lively.

There will be a raffle featuring items donated by local inns, merchants and community members. Raffle tickets are a bargain at $2 each or 6 for $10 and are available now at the Elk Store, the Elk Garage, Queenie’s Roadhouse Café, Greenwood Pier Restaurant and at the BBQ. You don’t need to be present to win.

(Click to enlarge)

Serving the Elk community and providing mutual aid to Anderson Valley for 62 years, the EVFD has small but dedicated roster of 15 volunteers, 4 of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). The department maintains a fleet of 7 firefighting vehicles of mixed type and an ambulance located at 3 stations spread out over a large, 55 square-mile service district.

As the department’s only fundraiser, the annual BBQ generates critical funds to maintain the department’s facilities, vehicles and equipment. Please support the volunteers who help you in emergencies. But kindly leave the dogs at home.

* * *

LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Still no ac in my igloo, but these guys let Skrag and Mrs. Skrag cool off in the industrial-strength ac of their office!”

* * *

A WOODLANDS WILDLIFE Exhibit is featured at the Little River Improvement Club & Museum, this weekend from 11-4. There will be Mountain Lion safety information available along with other natural history displays and exhibits. The Pomo Indian Exhibit has free maps to historic Pomo trails located within walking distance of the Museum. We have numerous local artifacts dating to 1885 when Little River's early settlers constructed the building for the Independent Order of Good Templars. Interior architecture of this modest 1-story cottage features a rare 2-story dome ceiling built to the Golden Mean. Admission is free. 8185 N Hwy One, Little white house with the red geranium in the window on the east side just south of Glendeven Inn and north of Van Damme Beach.

Ronnie James

* * *


A Reader Writes: Seen at the Corner Gallery: "No Further Explanation Necessary," by J. Lolich, T. Keller & K. Shearn

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 7, 2018

Brown, Filbert, Jackson

JAMES BROWN SR., Redwood Valley. Burglary, check forgery, stolen property, conspiracy.

CHRISTOPHER FILBERT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.


Legendre, Ostrander, Oswald

JULIE LEGENDRE, Ukiah. Check forgery, conspiracy.

PATRICIA OSTRANDER, Hopland. Controlled substance, vehicle registration forgery.

ARLEY OSWALD, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, criminal threats.

Partridge, Plemmons, Schaefer

DONOVAN PARTRIDGE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

SARAH PLEMMONS, Kennewick, Washington/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

JUSTIN SCHAEFER, Lakeport/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

* * *


The reason I’m no longer a doomer is simply that I got tired of being wrong. And I started to feel contempt for other doomers who shamelessly made the same wrong predictions year after year. And you have to make precise predictions because otherwise what does “collapse” even mean? Do you think we’re still going to have internet? Container ships? Large scale grain farming? Banks? Taxes? Electrical grids? Hospitals? Stock markets? Elections? These are all different subjects that require different specialized knowledge. Even something like “manufacturing” could have vastly different answers for different products. And for each thing that’s going to go away, how long will it take, and by what chain of events?

Everyone wants to be right, but people who persist in being doomers want to be right in a different way than I do. I want to say what’s going to happen, and then it actually happens. Some people want to feel like they understand the mechanism for how things happen. But the real world is much too complex for any one person to understand, so we make simplifications. In the context of collapse, the simplest idea is business as usual plus sci-fi extrapolation. The next simplest idea is total collapse: every one of the above things goes away, because they’re all part of the same One Big Thing, and some of the conditions that made the One Big Thing possible are disappearing.

Everyone is stupid, but smart people know how they’re stupid. I know that modern civilization is only One Big Thing inside my head, and out in the world it’s billions of people I don’t know, their knowledge and habits and intentions, plus trillions of physical objects and all the connections between everything. I know that you can’t have perpetual economic growth on a finite planet, that renewable energy is not coming online fast enough for a smooth transition out of fossil fuels, and that presently fertile regions will become deserts; but it would be arrogant to think that large complex high-tech society cannot adapt to these conditions, just because I can’t personally imagine how it can adapt.

* * *


Our homeless problem has been out of hand for a long time. It predates the fires. If there has been an increase of homeless people in SoCo post-fires, it is probably due to them wanting to come to our area to further exploit resources and take advantage of lawlessness. Go talk to some homeless people, NIMBY’s and liberals. These homeless people aren’t from the area.

I have some good news for Sonoma County. I have two flawless solutions to solve this problem for good.

1). All liberals should voluntarily take one homeless person to live in their house. I will volunteer to deliver a homeless person to any lib willing to open up their as long as they give me their address. I will voluntarily use my own money to pay for the gas to ensure that every last homeless person gets a dignified home (in a liberal’s home). There are 9,000 of them in the county. There are probably 250,000 libs. less than 2.5% of libs need to participate.

2). Now that we have found homes for these homeless people, we can use that positive to solve our illegal immigration problem and put our homeless friends to work. We are all on the same page that illegals do jobs that Americans won’t do. It is 100% because we pay so many Americans to stay at home and not do anything all day, but I just ate a few paint chips, so I am going to think like a liberal and ignore that fact. We can deport all of the illegals picking grapes and put the homeless people to work as grape pickers. I will also volunteer my time and money to drive the illegals back to whichever part of Mexico they came from (including Guatemala and El Salvador)

Dignified homes, dignified jobs. The ball is in your court, liberals.

What is the next problem that you would like for me to solve?

* * *

ED NOTE: Versions of this comment are routine among the blowhard sectors of the population, as if homelessness is somehow a liberal project, that libs like seeing a rising tide of hopelessness all around them. Homelessness has specific causes, none of them "liberal" in origin. (Reagan's dismantling of the state hospital system, for one, was and is a huge factor in putting people unable or unwilling to care for themselves on the street.) But liberals and most conservatives are for getting people housed. The nut of the prob, or at least a big part of the prob, as we see it, is the non-profit mafia that has grown up around homelessness, feeds off it, resists doing anything about it that threatens them, the helping professionals. Right here in Mendocino County we have a midget version of San Francisco where the non-profit axis is so large and influential that "liberal" officeholders are afraid to take them on and, of course, the non-profit czars and czarinas, like the liberal officeholders, are all liberals of the active Democrat type, hence the rightwing windbags pinning the prob on generic liberals although it's only a sliver of libs, or pseudo-libs responsible. (Get between a non-profit honcho and a fat homeless grant and you'll find out how "liberal" the non-profit honcho is.) Right here in Mendocino County, as we meet here today, the non-profit axis, supported by the supervisors, are actively avoiding putting into practice the irrefutably sensible homeless recommendations of the expensive consultant the County hired to make those recommendations. And on and on it goes.

* * *

THE BIG RED TRUCK, Part 3 — Epilog

by Jeff Costello

After all the attempted thefts and failed installation of cameras and night lights - including a motion sensor that activates an obnoxious flashing light on the front bumper, and now, in the middle of construction of a fence behind which to hopefully, finally, conceal the Big Red Truck, the truck is wrecked, totally.

The irony of it all is that Big Red was hit by someone else's Big, very similar Truck.

What I get from hearsay is that the second truck jumped a guardrail or other barrier of some kind and slammed into the Big Red Truck. Both trucks, I hear, are total wrecks. The neighbor with the Big Red Truck spent a night in the hospital but apparently came out in one piece. The other guy, I don't know, but wonder - if either of them saw the irony in the wreck of their fabulous vehicles - and if the other guy had a similar obsession.

Two nights ago - maybe he didn't come out in one piece after all. It was still light out when a fire truck and an ambulance pulled up in front of his house and he was wheeled out, put in the ambulance and taken, apparently, back to the hospital. I'm not curious or nosy enough to explore this in depth. I only know what I see.

Last night - he's back, limping but mobile, but this is degenerating into neighborhood gossip. He's obviously not too badly hurt. That's something, anyway. I doubt the Big Red Truck will be back.

* * *


by Dan Bacher

As California Governor Jerry Brown nears the end of his fourth term, his administration continues to march full-speed ahead on trying to lay all of the groundwork necessary to build his Delta Tunnels project before he leaves office in January 2019 In response to a state legislative informational hearing regarding the extension of State Water Project (SWP) contracts requested by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Delta Counties Coalition (DCC) on July 3 called on the Legislature to halt funding a DWR contract for financing the construction of Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels project, AKA the California WaterFix.

DWR is the lead state agency promoting the California WaterFix. The Coalition called the contract extension a pretext for the Delta Tunnels financing.

Opponents, including conservation groups, Tribes, environmental justice advocates, family farmers, Delta residents and elected officials, consider the project to be the most environmentally devastating public works project in California history.

"There is little question that DWR is calling for this contract extension as a pretext for California WaterFix, which is estimated to cost SWP contractors tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades,” Don Nottoli, DCC Chair and Sacramento County Supervisor, said in a statement. “DWR wants to characterize this as a routine course of doing business. It is not.”

"As Delta area leaders, we request that the Legislature demand accountability and transparency from DWR before even considering their request. DWR is legally obligated to provide important information (required by Section 147 of the Water Code) that will shed light on this process, which right now is veiled in secrecy. As a part of today’s hearing, we ask that legislators require that all legally obligated information be forwarded to the appropriate legislators and their staffs without delay,” said Notolli.

"The consequences of legislative rubberstamping of these contracts would be harmful for generations of Californians. That is why major statewide environmental groups, Delta businesses and residents, and elected officials oppose this underhanded attempt to subvert the process. We respectfully ask legislators to apply the strictest oversight possible over DWR’s requested action,” he concluded.

On the same day, the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), Planning and Conservation League, Restore the Delta, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA), AquAlliance and other organizations sent a letter to Senator Hertzberg outlining their concerns regarding the State Water Project contract extension amendments.

“On behalf of the ratepayers and taxpayers represented by the undersigned, we write to request greater transparency and reliable answers regarding the impacts of proposed State Water Project (SWP) Contract amendments, including the proposed 50-year SWP Contract Extension amendments and other as-yet-unspecified Delta Tunnels (California Water Fix) Contract amendments. At present, the proposed amendments are poorly defined and explained and have potential adverse impacts far beyond their apparent scope. We urge your Committee to request that the Joint Legislative Budget Committee not schedule its hearing on the SWP Extension Contract Amendments while major questions noted below remain unanswered,” they wrote.

Their concerns include:

DWR has not completed CEQA requirements; The amendment would obligate taxpayers and ratepayers without a vote; Basic planning and financial feasibility analyses required by California and federal engineering guidelines are not provided; and There is no viable plan for financing the Delta tunnels project. You can read the full text of the letter here: PCL et. al._SWP Contract Amds_ July 3rd Senate Nat. Res. Info Hearing


Additional information supporting the above letter are available in this memo: RBM Letter Re SWP contract extension hg


In other Delta Tunnels news, a California Public Record Acts (CPRA) request by Restore the Delta reveals that the Metropolitan Water District and other water agencies are complicit in Congressman Ken Calvert’s rider banning judicial review of Delta Tunnels lawsuits. While Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris are officially opposing the dangerous rider, Governor Jerry Brown, Attorney General Xavier Becerrra and Department of Water Resources officials have been silent on the rider.

“He (JerryBrown) is holding a climate change conference in September to cement his legacy as an environmentalist,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “Yet, he allows California WaterFix to drag on, without demanding environmental and economic veracity, and allowing the sacrifice of due process rights for Delta communities, judicial review, and the rule of law. He is poised to sacrifice his moral principles just so he can build his tunnels.”

The documents contained in a Public Records Act Request (PRA) from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD or Metropolitan) that indicate respective staff members from MWD, Kern County Water Authority (KCWA), and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCWVD) reviewed the extent to which the House Appropriations spending bill met their previously planned needs for the CA WaterFix project, including the Calvert rider €”a legislative provision that would ban further judicial review of the Delta tunnels project.

In addition, some documents confirm that MWD and Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) board director Brett Barbre worked behind the scenes to pursue the passage of the Calvert rider despite MWD General Manager Jeff Kightlinger’s best efforts to distance MWD from any political backlash associated with the Calvert Rider.

The rider would set a dangerous legal precedent if approved by Congress. “The elimination of judicial review foreshadows a regressive slide from a government controlled by laws to a government controlled by rulers,” summed up Bob Wright, Senior Attorney at Friends of the River.

For more information, go to:


The California WaterFix consists of two massive 35-mile long tunnels that would divert Sacramento River water to the South Delta pumping facilities to be diverted to agribusiness interests on the West Side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods.

The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species. The project would also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

Restore the Delta Action Alert:

The Next Step to Stop the Calvert Rider? Get Governor Brown and the Department of Water Resources to Stand Up for Due Process

Your calls, tweets, and emails encouraged Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris to voice their opposition to the Interior spending bill rider that seeks to end our legal fight to protect the Delta from the CA WaterFix debacle.

Now its time to ask the father of the tunnels, Governor Jerry Brown, what he supports more €”his pet project, or the preservation of the rule of law, the right to representation, and due process.

When contacting the Governor, please remember to be respectful. In this instance, we are more likely to be heard when speak from a calm, collected place of concern, rather than a place of hatred and contempt.

An example of a call or email to Governor Brown’s office might look like this:

“Hello, my name is ________, and I live in _____, CA. I am calling today to express my disappointment that Governor Brown has remained silent about the Interior spending bill rider that seeks to ban all litigation on the CA WaterFix project. Congressman Calvert’s rider in addition to Representative Valadao’s rider that would exempt litigation for the State Water Project and Central Valley Project are flagrant attempts to undo due process and proper representation for Delta communities.

Why is California’s “Green Governor” capitulating with anti-environmental House Republicans to secure a project that he claims will improve conditions for fish, restore the Delta, and help the state sustain water supplies as the impacts of climate change intensify? Moreover, if Governor Brown champions himself as an ethically conscious leader motivated by social justice, why are environmental justice communities in the Delta not given the same consideration?

I urge the Governor to stand up against these destructive riders and to prioritize the rule of law and due process over his tunnels project. Thank you for your time and consideration.”

Governor Brown’s Office:
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Twitter handle: @JerryBrownGov
You can email the Governor’s Office via this online form:

* * *

THIS WEEK’S LIBRARY EVENTS NOTICE contains five items that have nothing remotely library related: Ukeleles, pet rocks, a kids concert by “Andy Z,” “Dare to self-care,” and something about rattling and rolling.

So if you want to know about these “library” events you’ll have to poke around at their website. (We receive very few notices from the Library that have anything to do with adult literature. And those few never address books, new titles, authors, new book services, or, gasp, actual book summaries or reviews.)

* * *

SOMETIMES – not very often, but sometimes – I regret not being quite able to believe in magic. I have friends, for example, who are pleased to argue for hours about the deep truths of astrology or the energetic power of crystals. I was once married to a firm believer in homeopathy, ear candling, and flower essences. Everywhere across the world, the vast I-Wish-It-Were-So Industry peddles nostrums intended to overturn the conclusions of thinking clearly. A particular combination of intelligence and inclination seems to lie at the root of this. In my experience, people who claim to believe this crap do not appear to be particularly stupid people; for example, most seem to have families and jobs and all the rest of it. They integrate with the stream of life about as well as the rest of us, except for the fact that they have somehow preserved their childhood belief in pleasant-sounding fairy tales. By themselves, the proportion of these folks would probably be fairly negligible in most places outside of Santa Fe and Ojai and Mendocino County, but their numbers are swelled enormously by religious believers of all stripes who fall victim to similar fantasies.

It is clear that as soon as a person determines that it is selectively permissible to deny proven fact, the world can be what you make it. All of these folks also appear to revel to one degree or another in their chosen and special knowledge, and so are constantly exuding, or at least trying to exude, a smug and generalized superiority – I know something that you don’t. After all, it is not everybody who understands the special power of the fourth chakra. Much is made of the demotion of reason to second-class (at best) status. To ‘think’ with the heart or the gut (or whatever) becomes somehow to think and to act more purely than those who remain stuck in the old-fashioned left brain. Indeed, the strength of one’s belief has pretty much replaced the strength of one’s reasoning for a good number of those folks at the mall as well as, ominously, for the many who vote.

— Bruce Brady

* * *


  • The cult of tradition. “One has only to look at the syllabus of every fascist movement to find the major traditionalist thinkers. The Nazi gnosis was nourished by traditionalist, syncretistic, occult elements.”
  • The rejection of modernism. “The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.”
  • The cult of action for action’s sake. “Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, any previous reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation.”
  • Disagreement is treason. “The critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge.”
  • Fear of difference. “The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus Ur-Fascism is racist by definition.”
  • Appeal to social frustration. “One of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups.”
  • The obsession with a plot. “The followers must feel besieged. The easiest way to solve the plot is the appeal to xenophobia.”
  • The enemy is both strong and weak. “By a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak.”
  • Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. “For Ur-Fascism there is no struggle for life but, rather, life is lived for struggle.”
  • Contempt for the weak. “Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology.”
  • Everybody is educated to become a hero. “In Ur-Fascist ideology, heroism is the norm. This cult of heroism is strictly linked with the cult of death.”
  • Machismo and weaponry. “Machismo implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality.”
  • Selective populism. “There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.”
  • Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak. “All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning.”

* * *


(by Hunter Thompson)

There is a line somewhere between democratizing journalism and every man a journalist. You can't really believe what you read in the papers anyway, but there is at least some spectrum of reliability. Maybe it's becoming like the TV talk shows or the tabloids where anything's acceptable as long as it's interesting.

I believe that the major operating ethic in American society right now, the most universal want and need is to be on TV. I've been on TV. I could be on TV all the time if I wanted to. But most people will never get on TV. It has to be a real breakthrough for them. And trouble is, people will do almost anything to get on it. You know, confess to crimes they haven't committed. You don't exist unless you're on TV. Yeah, it's a validation process. Faulkner said that American troops wrote "Kilroy was here" on the walls of Europe in World War II in order to prove that somebody had been there -- "I was here" -- and that the whole history of man is just an effort by people, writers, to just write your name on the great wall.

You can get on [the Internet] and all of a sudden you can write a story about me, or you can put it on top of my name. You can have your picture on there too. I don't know the percentage of the Internet that's valid, do you? Jesus, it's scary. I don't surf the Internet. I did for a while. I thought I'd have a little fun and learn something. I have an e-mail address. No one knows it. But I wouldn't check it anyway, because it's just too fucking much. You know, it's the volume. The Internet is probably the first wave of people who have figured out a different way to catch up with TV -- if you can't be on TV, well at least you can reach 45 million people [on the Internet].

* * *


"Yes, trust them not, for there is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that, with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide, supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and being an absolute Johannes Factotum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrie." -Robert Greene

The recording of last night's (2018-07-06) KNYO Fort Bragg and KMEC Ukiah Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:

IN OTHER NEWS: Also at you'll find a fresh batch of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, things where just hearing it wouldn't be enough. Such as:

First, I was so worried about Simone Giertz. I didn’t know she came through the brain surgery just fine. It turns out that she's happy and healthy and walking around, being clever, getting back into her life. She's not crippled or impaired or blind, which were all possibilities.

She’s just cured. Yay, science! On the other hand, for some reason I can't fathom, the photographs don't show up in Firefox, just big blank spaces. Opera works fine. I don't know about Chrome; I don't like to let Chrome in my computer anymore; it's always doing things and sucking up resources whether it's on or not. Like a brain tumor. Hmm.

This short video is a great learning tool for a young person with his or her first guitar. Fullscreen, find the part you want to learn, play it at .75 or .5 speed, over and over, and learn it.

"She was a little taste of Heaven, and a one-way ticket to Hell."

The situation in Syria is like a bunch of small neighbor children crashing around knocking everything over and smashing things where someone’s trying to clean up or build something or just live, and the children are all happily screaming, "I helping! I helping!" 500,000 Syrian civilians have been killed (!) in the fighting, over a million injured, and over 12 million – half the entire country’s prewar population – have been displaced. (The U.S. has been bombing there since 2014. Israel’s been doing trash-and-dash raids. Assad may be an asshole, okay, he is an asshole, but.)

"Sartre himself took a number of drugs to experiment with perception, most notably mescaline. He hallucinated crabs for years after he took the drug, even when he was sober, which isn’t so much known as a side effect of that, so we might imagine that Sartre took other hallucinogens aside from the mescaline. Either that or he was just so smart that he saw reality, like, as it really is or something."

And the thrilling history of the Saturn V rocket, a literal flying skyscraper, with photographs and diagrams with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

-- Marco McClean

* * *

* * *


by Mehdi Hasan

Is Democratic Socialism now in the “ascendant” in the Democratic Party? That was the question posed by a reporter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week, in the wake of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shock primary victory in New York’s 14th Congressional District.

And Pelosi’s response? “No.”

Elaborating a bit, she qualified that “it’s ascendant in that district perhaps. But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now.”

Who is she kidding? Ocasio-Cortez, a “Democratic giant slayer” (New York Times) who “rocked the political world” (CBS News), is now a household name. From the pages of Vogue to the studios of ABC’s “The View” and CBS’s “Late Show,” the Democrats’ newest star has been eloquently explaining — and detoxifying — democratic socialism to millions of apolitical Americans. “No person should be too poor to live,” she told Stephen Colbert, to cheers and applause, when asked to define her ideology.

Then there’s Bernie Sanders. Who’d have imagined that a self-proclaimed democratic socialist from the state of Vermont, who was pilloried for going on “honeymoon” to the Soviet Union, would become the most popular politician in the United States?

Not Pelosi, that’s for sure. Democratic leaders of her generation are accustomed to seeing political messaging from a defensive posture only. So it wasn’t surprising that Pelosi would reject democratic socialism as a “characterization of our party presented by the Republicans,” when the characterization is being presented, in reality, by Democrats themselves.

So here’s a question for the House minority leader: If socialism isn’t “ascendant” in her party, why did 16 Democratic senators join with Sanders in September 2017 to introduce his Medicare For All Act, a bill “enthusiastically” endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America? Lest we forget, only four years earlier, Sanders introduced a similar bill in the Senate that had zero Democratic co-sponsors.

Here are a couple of other questions for Pelosi to consider: If socialism isn’t “ascendent” in her party, why did nearly six in 10 Democratic primary voters in 2016 say it has a “positive impact on society” and four in 10 Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa describe themselves as socialists? Why did the New York Times publish a piece in April that was headlined, “‘Yes, I’m Running as a Socialist.’ Why Candidates Are Embracing the Label in 2018”?

Of course, this isn’t socialism of the totalitarian or even Marxist variety. Even by European standards, it’s pretty tame: Neither Sanders nor Ocasio-Cortez is echoing British Labour Party leader and proud socialist Jeremy Corbyn’s call for the nationalization of public utilities. “Many socialist candidates sound less like revolutionaries and more like traditional Democrats,” acknowledged the New York Times. “They want single-payer health care, a higher minimum wage, and greater protections for unions.” (Although Ocasio-Cortez did pay homage to Corbyn in her viral campaign ad, intoning that “a New York for the many is possible,” a phrase Corbyn himself borrowed from Percy Shelley.)

Nevertheless, leading Democrats have, for many decades now, run a mile away from the socialist label. “We’re capitalists, and that’s just the way it is,” Pelosi told a CNN town hall audience last year, when confronted by a student who asked her if the Democrats “could move farther left to a more populist message.” An anxious Barack Obama once called a reporter who had asked him whether he was a socialist to say it was “hard … to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.” Hillary Clinton recently complained that her embrace of the label “capitalist” during the campaign “probably” hurt her in the 2016 campaign among Democrats.

Yet the modern, liberal, progressive America that is so cherished by Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the Democratic Party elites might not exist today — were it not for socialists!

Take the New Deal. “FDR’s borrowing of ideas about Social Security, unemployment compensation, jobs programs and agricultural assistance from the Socialists was sufficient to pull voters who had rejected the Democrats in 1932 into the New Deal Coalition that would sweep the congressional elections of 1934 and reelect the president with … the largest Electoral College win in the history of two-party politics,” writes John Nichols in his book “The S Word: A Short History of an American Tradition…Socialism.” Elsewhere, Nichols cites a 1954 New York Times profile of Norman Thomas, six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America, which described him as having made “a great contribution in pioneering ideas that have now won the support of both major parties,” including “Social Security, public housing, public power developments, legal protection for collective bargaining and other attributes of the welfare state.”

How about the war on poverty?

In 1962, socialist intellectual Michael Harrington — who would later go on to found the Democratic Socialists of America — published “The Other America: Poverty in the United States” and it became an instant classic. “Among the book’s readers, reputedly, was John F. Kennedy, who in the fall of 1963 began thinking about proposing anti-poverty legislation,” wrote Harrington’s biographer Maurice Isserman. “After Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson took up the issue, calling in his 1964 State of the Union address for an ‘unconditional war on poverty.’ Sargent Shriver headed the task force charged with drawing up the legislation, and invited Harrington to Washington as a consultant.”

Then there is the civil rights struggle.

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, at which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, was organized by proud democratic socialists Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph. King himself would later remark that “something is wrong … with capitalism” and “there must be a better distribution of wealth.” “Maybe,” he suggested, “America must move toward a democratic socialism.”

Go beyond politics, too.

“It’s kind of ironic,” Nate Silver once remarked, “American sports are socialist.” Consider the NFL, which operates a strict salary cap for players, while also ensuring that each NFL team receives an equal share of the league’s revenue from TV deals. To quote Art Modell, the late owner of the Cleveland Browns, the league is run by “a bunch of fat-cat Republicans who vote socialist on football.”

To recap: The most popular politician in the United States today is a socialist; the most admired American of the 20th century had a soft spot for socialism; and the most popular sport in the country is basically a “government-sanctioned socialist utopia.” So much for socialism, then, being somehow un-American or some sort of foreign import.

It is also worth noting that while the “s-word” may still bother a majority of Americans, especially older Americans, socialist policies are pretty popular across the board — including with plenty of Republicans. Writing for New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer, and citing a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Eric Levitz points out that “a majority of voters in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania would all support a socialist takeover of the health-insurance industry (so long as you didn’t put the idea to them in those terms).” He also observes that the “most radical economic policy on Ocasio-Cortez’s platform — a federal job guarantee — meanwhile, actually polls quite well in ‘flyover country’.”

So, what is Pelosi so afraid of? The way in which Republicans have turned “socialist” into a smear and a slur? Who cares? They’ve done the same to “liberal” — yet that hasn’t stopped Pelosi from identifying herself as one.

At the very minimum, even if the House minority leader doesn’t agree with the chair of the Democratic National Committee that democratic socialist Ocasio-Cortez represents “the future of our party,” she should stop being so defensive. Perhaps Pelosi could learn a lesson from President Harry Truman. The conservative Democrat and proud Cold Warrior was dubbed — yes, you guessed it — a “socialist” by his GOP opponents in 1950. “Out of the great progress of this country, out of our great advances in achieving a better life for all, out of our rise to world leadership, the Republican leaders have learned nothing,” responded a defiant Truman. “Confronted by the great record of this country, and the tremendous promise of its future, all they do is croak, ‘socialism’.”




  1. George Hollister July 8, 2018


    “But the real world is much too complex for any one person to understand,”

    or for any group of people to understand, regardless of how educated or enlightened they think they are.

  2. james marmon July 8, 2018

    Tatum Investigation

    I have to commend Zeke for not backing down, he made this story come to light. Former Mendocino County District Attorney Jill Ravitch (aka “Rat Bitch” out on Low Gap) now Sonoma County District Attorney must be shitting herself about right now. I wonder how many cases are going to be overtured now because of this dirty police department in her county. Current Mendocino DA Eyster and Sheriff Allman are probably making a smelly mess as well, after they tried to cover for those cops and dismissed Zeke’s allegations. The Grand Jury investigation of Flatten’s case should be interesting too.

    “We were provided with Zeke’s information, that’s why the name and date got messed up. It’s because we were provided the date and the name from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office,” Tatum said. “That was the only stop that we remembered dealing with anybody with a similar vehicle.”

    “On February 13, two days after the stories were published, former Mendocino County Undersheriff Randy Johnson who was in charge of investigating Mr. Flatten’s allegations because it occurred in their jurisdiction sent us a press release he said showed that Mr. Flatten had actually been pulled over legally by the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety (Rohnert Park’s police force). He said the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department would no longer be looking into Flatten’s incident, because as he told us in a later interview, “Our investigation showed [the stop] was done by a legitimate agency.”

    “ANATOMY of a rumor. Sheriff Allman called last week to refute (and justly resent) the suggestion by an embittered Potter Valley crone — there’s no meaner creature on God’s earth than a flower child past her pull date — that local cops were involved in the theft of marijuana from a HumCo filmmaker.”

    “A BARRAGE of comment ensued, including that of the embittered old Potter Valley hippie, claiming, with no supporting evidence, that the cops steal dope all the time.”

    -The AVA

  3. james marmon July 8, 2018

    “Right here in Mendocino County, as we meet here today, the non-profit axis, supported by the supervisors, are actively avoiding putting into practice the irrefutably sensible homeless recommendations of the expensive consultant the County hired to make those recommendations. And on and on it goes.”

    Mr. AVA, the homeless population is responsible for bringing in millions of Federal and State dollars each year to our county’s economy. If you solve the homeless crisis you inadvertently solve the mental health crisis which would be devastating to our community’s coffers.

    James Marmon MSW

    • james marmon July 8, 2018

      I would like to see some statistics on how many mental health crisis assessments and hospitalizations are attributed to the out of town homeless. Those numbers should be readily available.

      James Marmon MSW

    • George Hollister July 8, 2018

      Just a thought on this: Look at how much money is spent on the homeless and compare what is needed to buy, and run a county farm. The county farm may suddenly look like a good idea. It would get the homeless off the streets, and cost less, too. San Francisco might think same. At $300,000,000 a year for homelessness, SF could buy a pretty nice place in the economically deteriorating Emerald Triangle, staff it, and run it for far less.

      But hey, it is not our money so what difference does it make. Right? And if money can be made from this money that isn’t ours, make money first.

  4. james marmon July 8, 2018

    At a local level a county farm out on Low Gap where the old county poor farm used to be wouldn’t be that bad of an idea. By George, it could work. I think Dr. Marbut would agree as well. Unfortunately Carmel Angelo might get a little miffed with the prospect of that idea.

    Mendocino County Poor Farm

    “In 1882 Ukiah’s Dispatch Democrat announced the county paid $4,000 for the Tom Gibson 155 acre ranch at Low Gap Road and Bush streets. Today everything including the Board of Supervisors chambers and the county jail complexes cover the land that was once the county poor farm. Twenty acres was deemed first class garden land and the rest good rangeland. The county directed that suitable buildings of sufficient capacity be erected and that inmates who could do such work as their health permits would contribute activities towards their own support. One dollar in taxes of every male resident over the age of 21 yearly would support the poor farm and hospital.”

    • George Hollister July 8, 2018

      “Unfortunately Carmel Angelo might get a little miffed with the prospect of that idea.”

      If the source of the money was the same as today, maybe not. Congressman Huffman, would likely need to help in redirecting funds. The key is the County would need to run it, and not the current hogs at the trough. Put a retired military officer in charge. Separate the boys from the girls, no drugs or alcohol enforced with drug testing, church on Sunday, and everyone has to work. There will be graduates who go on to do better things, which is the objective.

  5. George Dorner July 8, 2018

    Previously, I remarked that the new Cultural Services Agency would serve as a disguise for the illegal redirection of Measure A funds designated for the library to some other cause. Today’s AVA confirms this has already happened. However, the thieves were allowed to make restitution without consequence. Why? How about prosecution as a means of clarifying that thefts like these cannot be tolerated?

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