A UKIAH RESIDENT called to complain, with more than ample reason, about the gang presence in her neighborhood. She wondered if the Ukiah Police Department had ceased paying close attention to the gangs, citing the recent shooting murder by a 17-year-old of another gang mope. The shooter, for no valid reason at all other than his age, has not been named. (I was in the Marines at 17 and have never agreed with the arbitrary notion that a 17-year-old is somehow equivalent in ability to tell right from wrong to a 12-year-old. Of course I was a sanctioned killer...) Sorry for the detour, but you may agree that in our mawk-drenched society we don't have to look far for abdications of personal responsibility, and this is one example — pretending a 17-year-old is a child. Anybody over the age of 14 who's driving around looking for someone to shoot ought to at least be publicly identified.
THE CALLER SAID that gang mopes, post murder of their comrade, created a shrine to him at the corner of Empire and Bush, where they'd assembled in vivid red for a group-send-off. The caller pointed out the shooter was a student at Ukiah High School, or one of its ancillary revenue-generating programs, same as her 14-year-old, which would give any parent pause.
I REMEMBER VISITING the Ukiah PD several years ago where a whole wall was dedicated to tracking gangbangers, complete with photos and addresses. It was obvious that the police were making gangs a high priority. Which is as it should be, because wherever they get established they make life a perfect misery for other young people. (We're in the process of putting together a story on the gang situation throughout the County.)
WHILE I'M VIOLATING the PC catechism here today, I hope that Mendo doesn't set up needle exchanges or medically supervised shooting galleries for hard drug users. San Francisco, of course, is actively considering storefront "clinics" where drug addicts can inject themselves with har de har illegal drugs. The starting point for any discussion of hard drugs ought to be strategies for stopping people from using them, not making it easier for people to destroy themselves.
A COMMUNITY of long-time residents who live along the Irmulco Road running north off Highway 20 not far from Willits is on high fire alert. These Irmulcans, as they might be called, have been unnerved lately by a series of late night blazes, the most spectacular of which occurred Saturday night (July 21-22) that burned three buildings to the ground at the Skunk Train's Northspur station, a cluster of structures that has served as a rest stop for the Skunk line out of Fort Bragg and Willits. Lately, though, Northspur seems to have become a kind of outback gathering place for lost people addicted to methamphetamine, perhaps invited to Northspur by the couple employed by the Skunk Train as property caretakers. The most recent fire that took down three of the rest stop buildings was called in at 2am. The two caretakers said they awoke to discover the blaze, which subsequent investigations have revealed seems to have ignited from butane used to manufacture the concentrated marijuana drug called honey oil. CalFire and the Little Lake Fire Department are investigating. Irmulcans complain that Robert Pinoli Jr., president of the Skunk Line, has met with them but defends his two Northspur caretakers, dismissing neighbors' complaints that the round-the-clock, drug-fueled activity at Northspur, and the character of the people involved, imperil the entire area, especially in a time of high fire danger.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: The landmark Gualala Hotel has reopened only to be met with this. Management explains the recent decision to close at midnight: “We make it a point of listening to our community and have learned that there is some grumbling about our closing at midnight on Saturday. This decision was made intentionally. Over the last few months, many of our community members reached out and donated their time & talents to help bring this beautiful, historic building back to her grandeur. Thank you to all for the outpouring of support! However, on the second day of opening, we experienced guests that sprawled graffitti in the bathroom and started fights in the parking lot. This happened in the later hours of the evening. We will not be a location where this type of behavior is condoned. Our mission is to create a place that our community can come to relax and enjoy. Our intention is to stay open later, but if the experience is not enjoyable and safe, we will modify our hours to close earlier. We love this building. We love this community. And we are committed to being a good neighbor to our fellow establishments. Thank you for your support.”
THE DA IN FORT BRAGG — “After handling all the prosecution's morning and afternoon legal matters Tuesday in Fort Bragg (and enjoying the bonus of the cooling coastal fog), it was eventually time for dinner. Where to go? What to have? Decided on Jenny's Giant Burger on the north end of Fort Bragg. Double regular cheeseburger (mayo and lettuce only), order of fries, chocolate shake, and glass of water. Yum! Also picked up another Jenny's t-shirt … the old one is past ready for the rag bin.” (David Eyster)
CANNABIS HOUR: THURSDAY, AUG. 9, 9 A.M., KZYX. This year, California cities that approved legal cannabis sales will net hundreds of millions of dollars in combined local sales tax revenues. Meanwhile, most of the state, which banned cannabis sales, will forfeit their millions to local street dealers. Tune in to the KZYX Cannabis Hour, Thursday, August 9, at 9 a.m. when freelance journalist David Downs will explore this and many other cannabis industry trends with host Jane Futcher. Stream it live or hear the archived version at jukebox.kzyx.org
THE BODY FOUND at the base of the Albion Bridge a week ago Wednesday, has been identified as that of Kathleen Zuelsdorf, 50, of Nevada City. An investigation into her death is underway.
BACK WHEN, a reader writes: "The young don't remember the San Francisco we grew up in back in the day. This was before the homeless 'population explosion.' The streets of our city were relatively clean and Market Street wasn't riddled with mentally ill drug addicts littering the sidewalks. One could drive around the city and the Bay Area without the constant traffic congestion of today. Parks in the city were filled with kids playing baseball on dirt and grass diamonds. Today, many ballparks have been turned into dog parks. Why not, because dogs outnumber children in this town? I can remember a working class San Francisco in which you didn't have to be a millionaire to buy a house or even rent an apartment. Residential neighborhoods were filled with families and children played everywhere. Now, San Francisco has the lowest percentage of residences with children living in them in the entire country at pathetic 13 percent."
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
The U.S. has been a youth obsessed culture for decades. It appears we have reached the pinnacle of that obsession by having no adults to speak of in any role of significance, public or private. The few adults we do have are like people over 30 in Logan’s Run. Hiding. Disgusted. Embarrassed. Scurrying to become an expat before they get locked into the asylum. Adults fully realize that this will get worse, a lot worse, before it ever gets better. If it ever does.