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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018

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12:15pm, for Lake & Colusa County:

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12:45 pm, for Lake County:

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CALFIRE'S MENDOCINO COMPLEX UPDATE (Saturday 7am): 201,471 acres; 34% containment; 125 structures damaged or destroyed.

"Last night there was poor relative humidity recovery from the day and both fires continued to remain active overnight. Low fuel moisture and possible increase in ridge winds drive the fire. The Northwest portion of the Ranch Fire will progress further into the Mendocino National Forest and continue to establish itself in the drainages south of Lake Pillsbury and to the east of the current fire perimeter. The Northern portion of the River fire is continuing to burn towards Cow Mountain and Scotts Valley Rd."

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According to officials, 20,000 Lake County residents have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the fires a week ago. The two blazes have burned more than 150,000 acres, destroyed 41 homes and 47 other buildings.

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AS OF FRIDAY EVENING, the two Mendocino complex fires were up to almost 160,000 acres and with a wind shift moving more northwest than east, threatening areas to the east of Ukiah, including the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas which began evacuating Friday afternoon. The larger Ranch Fire was up to over 115,000 acres and at 28% containment, while the River Fire, burning over 43,000 acres to the northwest of Cow Mountain, was at 50% containment. As of 9pm was saying Ukiah area winds were blowing out of the northeast to the southwest toward Boonville at around 7mph. Winds are expected to turn back toward the east again on Saturday.

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MCSO has issued an EVACUATION WARNING for the area of Areas: South of Highway 20, East of Lake Mendocino, Russian River, North of Yokayo Rancheria Rd and West of the intersection of Cow Mountain Access Rd and North Cow Mountain Rd.

To include: McClure Creek Subdivision, City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Sanford Ranch Rd, Knob Hill area, Regina Heights, Vichy Hills, Vichy Springs Resort, Guideville Reservation, Sulpher Creek, Deerwood Subdivision, El Dorado Subdivision, Howard Creek, Rafello Dr, Vista Del Lago, Kings Ranch Rd, Elledge Ranch Rd due to fire.

Residents are advised to be ready to evacuate the area immediately. If residents feel unsafe, move to a safe location. Further alerts and follow-up notifications will be issued once information becomes available. Please avoid the EVACUATION WARNING area if possible and be aware of emergency workers.


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Mandatory Evacuation Order – Cow Mountain Area of Mendocino County (South of SR-20, west of the Mendocino/Lake County line, east of the intersection of North Cow Mountain Road and the Cow Mountain Access Road, and north of the current fire perimeter of the River Fire )

Evacuation Warning – East Ukiah Valley Area (south of SR-20, east of the east side of Lake Mendocino and east of the Russian River, north of Yokayo Rancheria Road, and west of the intersection of North Cow Mountain Road and Cow Mountain Access Road)

Public Information Line: 707-574-8261

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Cow Mountain on fire.

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Packed the car. Waiting for my wife. Saving the dogs. Saving the family photo albums. Bringing a knapsack. My computer. My cell phone and cell phone recharger. My passport. Two books (James Merrill's Collected Poems and Mark Strand's Collected Poems). That's about it.

End times.

Global warming did this. Our fossil fuel addiction. A world economy based on the extraction of natural resources.

Renewable energy? Too little, too late.

Greed did this. Runaway capitalism.

And overpopulation. Too little contraception. Not empowering women with control over their own birth control choices. Seven billion people on a tiny, fragile planet.

— John Sakowicz

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(Photo by Debra Keipp)

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More containment on Eel Fire, evacuations lifted

WILLOWS, Calif. - Firefighters have gained more ground containing the Eel Fire 10 miles east of Covelo. The fire is now 40 percent contained and approximately 1,000 acres. With the rise in containment, fire managers lifted the mandatory evacuations along the M1 North Road from Eel River Station to Indian Dick Station at 6 p.m. Friday. An evacuation advisory remained in place. There are more than 100 personnel assigned to the incident working to reinforce hand and dozer lines. Travelers are reminded to drive with caution and watch for personnel and equipment working in the fire area. Please watch Inciweb for further updates and check Facebook and Twitter.

Punky Moore, Public Affairs Officer, Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest

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SEEN IN UKIAH: A crew of Apache Indian firefighters from the White Mountain Apache Tribe Fire & Rescue out of Whiteriver Arizona (about 100 miles east of Phoenix on the Fort Aparche Reservation). Two young men and two young women in a very dusty older-style fire engine. One of the exhausted Indian women pointed to the smoke billowing up above the hills east of Ukiah near Cow Mountain saying, “Yup, we were right up there.”

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Ukiah, CA — On Sunday, July 29, Ukiah Unified (UUSD) bus drivers and mechanics and Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MSCO) corrections deputies assisted in the evacuation of 280 Lake County Jail inmates as the Mendocino Complex Fire roared toward Lakeport.

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Working in conjunction with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman called UUSD Transportation Director Gabe Sherman and asked whether school district resources and personnel might be able to assist in evacuating the inmates.

Sherman called drivers and mechanics, but because of the sensitive nature of the situation, he was not at liberty to share exactly who they would be transporting. He simply asked, “Would you be willing to assist in an emergency fire evacuation?” Every driver and mechanic he called said yes.“

Thirty minutes later, the evacuation order came through. I called the drivers and mechanics back and told them who they would be transporting. No one hesitated. They all showed up immediately, some in t-shirts and shorts because they had just dropped whatever they were doing to race to the yard as fast as they could,” Sherman said.

UUSD drove seven buses and a utility truck with repair tools and parts to Lakeport over Highway 20, with fire only a few hundred feet from the buses.“

The heat was intense at times,” Sherman said. Once there, MSCO corrections deputies worked with Lake County law enforcement to load inmates onto four buses for transport to Alameda County. One empty bus and the utility truck followed behind, and the two buses that weren’t needed returned to Ukiah.

Allman said, “I’ve been doing this for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this--we’ve never had to evacuate our jails in Lake or Mendocino Counties. When we brought the inmates out, they were scared. They’d heard about the fire but they couldn’t believe it when they saw their hometown getting consumed by fire.”

Sherman said, “The Sheriff’s Office had things under control the whole time. We had no concerns about security.” Two county corrections deputies were on each bus and the California Highway Patrol escorted the buses with vehicles in front, in the middle, and behind the bus caravan. Violent offenders traveled in a secure transport provided by Alameda County. With the CHP’s assistance, the caravan did not have to stop for anything, including red lights, stoplights, or railroad tracks. Allman said he appreciates the work of the “Dynamic Dozen,” the name he’s given to the twelve corrections officers who volunteered to assist with the jail evacuation and transport.Sherman said the UUSD bus drivers were on the road for 12 hours, leaving Ukiah at approximately 7:00 pm and not returning home until about 7:00 am the next morning. Many of them did not sleep for more than 24 hours that day. They had few provisions and almost no time to prepare, but they came when called and successfully transported the inmates safely away from the fire.“

I want to thank the Ukiah Unified bus drivers and mechanics for stepping up. All it took was one phone call and they were ready to go,” Allman said. Allman also thanked Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern for accepting such a large number of inmates. “It’s a big deal,” Allman said. “Greg’s a great sheriff and a great guy.”

Debra Kubin, Superintendent, (707) 472-5002,

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(Via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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THE HUMBOLDT COUNTY CORONER’S OFFICE has identified the body of a man found deceased near the Humboldt Hill exit off Highway 101 yesterday as that of 18-year-old Hunter Allen of Eureka. Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release

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BURIED DEEP in next Tuesday’s Consent Calendar are giant raises for two more of Mendo’s top officials: The Director of Planning and Building, and the Director of Health and Human Services. Both positions are being jacked up in grade from a “bi-weekly” mid-range rate (which obscures the actual amount because you have to do some math to get the annual pay) of the equivalent of $116k per year to $137k per year for Planning Director Nash Gonzalez, and from $124k per year to $153k per year for either (or both) Tammy Moss-Chandler and/or Anne The Inevitable Molgaard. Of course, no reasons are given for these gifts of public funds other than “it is the wish and desire of the Board of Supervisors to amend this resolution to meet the needs of County service.” And, “the various affected departments or agencies have agreed to incorporate the positions within their existing fiscal year budgets.” Translation: Gonzalez and Molgaard are allowed to give themselves their own raises simply by putting the raises in their own budgets. Presto! $21k per year more for Gonzalez and almost $30k per year more for Molgaard.

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SORT OF AS PROMISED on July 24, Ag Commissioner Harindar Grewal included a column on his pot permit summary chart for next Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting showing changes from the last report. There’s now a column called “+/- Prior Report” showing a whopping seven more permits applied for since the July 24 report. If this trickle of activity is somehow supposed to sustain all the costs of the pot program (admin, coordinator, inspectors, planners, vehicles, etc.) then the pot program presents an ongoing and growing (sic) black hole into which the County’s limited general fund dollars are being tossed to the detriment of everything else (on top of several other continuing deficits previously identified).

HOWEVER, on July 24 Mr. Grewal also promised to provide explanations for the 20 permits the County has denied so far. Perhaps Willits’s own self-appointed pot program watcher Ron Edwards will remind Mr. Grewal of his July 24 promise to provide that information.

TO DATE, of the 964 pot permit applications submitted only 226 have been “issued” (178) or “approved” (48). And there are still a nearly unbelievable 674 applications either “under review” (484) or “in queue” (190). No one has ever bothered to explain the difference between “issued” and “approved,” nor the difference between “in queue” and “under review.” Needless to say, whatever they mean, the County’s pot program is, for all intents and purposes, dead in the water, and an ongoing drain on the County’s budget. Will anyone in official Mendo ever ask about this? Or fess up? Or give up?

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YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN that Mendo has its own “Cannabis Marketing Working Group” being organized by, of all people, County CEO Carmel Angelo. According to the latest Working Group Status report, the Marketing Working Group (made up of 16 people!) is, “Inactive; transition to larger Countywide effort with tourism groups.” Which may at least partly explain why the entire pot program is collapsing. There are a total of eight working groups (two of which — “transferability” and “non-cultivation” — are “on waiting list,” pending formation). But there are dozens of people on the other six. One of them, a working group called “cycles/number of inspections” organized by County Treasurer Shari Schapmire, has been “closed out” apparently because they “need to define cycle to avoid penalizing cultivators who have plants in several stages or ‘cycles’ of growth at any one time,” and “define inspections; some are tied to ‘cycles’.” The “overlay zones,” “track and trace,” and “requirements for building use” working groups are apparently stumbling along in various stages of either “close out recommended,” or “active.”

(Mark Scaramella)

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “This kid says to me, ‘Wazzup, dawg.’ I'm a senior citizen, by gumbo, and I prefer to be addressed formally by the young, as in Mr. Little Dog. Got that? Someone's got to maintain basic standards, and in Boonville you're looking at him.”

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Fort Bragg, CA - July 25, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has announced they will conduct an informational meeting for members of the public interested in running for one of the open Board of Director positions. The meeting will be held on August 8, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the Redwoods Room at MCDH, which is located at 700 River Drive in Fort Bragg, CA.

The focus of the meeting will be to educate potential board members and constituents about the roles and responsibilities of a Hospital District Board member, and to outline resources available to help prepare candidates and future board members for what lies ahead. Chairman of the Board, Steve Lund and Bob Edwards, MCDH CEO will present information about MCDH and the role of a board member. The guest speaker will be Heidi Dickerson, Leadership Mendocino's Program Manager. Questions and discussion will be encouraged.

According to the California Special District Association (CSDA), "as a board member or trustee for a special district, you have committed to serve the best interests of the community, provide services that are essential to the community and represent the people who placed you into office. Being a special district board member is an important job and one that should be taken seriously. Clearly, the position requires that elected or appointed officials wear numerous hats and be knowledgeable in a wide range of areas."

Reminder. The deadline for applying to become a candidate for the November election is August 10.

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by Katy M. Tahja

Did you ever have that neighbor you’ve known for years offer a proposal for solving a societal problem that just blows you away? Practical or not, this person looked at the problem of homelessness and gave serious thought about what to do and how to do it. My praise, for what it’s worth, goes out to Joe Ayers, owner of Royal Redwood Ranch east of Comptche and a Mendocino County resident for 50 years.

Joe was upset, as a citizen and a Christian, about the homeless situation on the Mendocino Coast. He applauded the work of social service agencies that provided counseling, meals, transportation and extreme weather shelters for the needy, but they are not enough, he feels.

Getting the homeless off the streets at night and getting their possessions, shopping carts and vehicles to a legal secure location is Joe’s idea. This would appeal to merchants and the public. But how? Ayers would like to see a co-operative effort involving faith and social service communities and local government working towards reducing and eliminating homelessness on the coast.

Ayers offers the following possibilities. First, establish legal encampments on county, state, timber company or private lands with trash and recycling containers and portapotties or city water and sewer if available. Next, have tents and minimal low cost structures of salvaged, recycled and/or donated materials, built by volunteers and able bodied homeless. There would be legal off-street parking in this location for vehicles, RV’s and trailers running or not and licensed or not.

Open vacant city, county and privately owned buildings, with or without renovations, with or without utilities, but with trash service and sanitary facilities might be used. All locations would have rules, conditions, guidelines and contact info. posted. Who would be in charge? Responsible homeless folks would supervise cleaning and servicing the area and call for social service, mental health, and law enforcement as needed and those workers would get some kind of pay. Portable tiny houses made from recycled and/or donated materials could be built by able bodied homeless and volunteers. Supervised high school and college students could get community service credit for working in such a place.

In time minimal low coast and code compliant integrated housing in towns up and down the coast could be built. This action could provide an excellent working model for other communities and locals could be proud of taking care of their less fortunate neighbors.

Ayers suggests property tax breaks for large, medium and small landowners who allow encampments. Let’s have community water spigots and plastic jugs. Renovate and adapt abandoned buildings and old empty motels. While some readers will immediately think “Oh…that would never work…” I commend my neighbor Joe Ayers for thinking through a problem and coming up with his ideas for a solution. Joe is at P.O. Box 112 in Comptche. Let him know if you think this might work.

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My name is Ruben Alcala and I ask for your support in my bid to run for Fort Bragg City Council.

I am 43 years old. I’ve lived in Fort Bragg for 30 years. I graduated from Fort Bragg High. I have been employed locally for 23 years. I am married to my beautiful wife Lisa and we have two children.

I am a concerned resident who feels Fort Bragg’s potential is not being fulfilled.

We have a stagnant economy which stalls growth.

The lack of Housing has depleted our workforce.

We have nothing to offer our youth and they are forced to pursue a life elsewhere.

Our infrastructure is so deteriorated if not repaired soon, it will stall growth. Why keep building if we can’t maintain what we already have?

It is not fair that the police department spends over 70% of their time dealing with transients, but on the other hand if they don’t, then we deal with the loss of commerce in downtown Fort Bragg.

I am willing to listen and learn.

I look forward to talking and working with local community leaders to turn Fort Bragg into a more attractive location for commerce.

Life is beautiful on the coast let’s take care of it.

Thank you for your support

Ruben Alcala, Fort Bragg

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 3, 2018

Amundson, Elliott, Fairlee, Larsen

DAVID AMUNDSON, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, disobeying court order, protective order violation.

ALICIA ELLIOTT, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun. (Frequent flyer.)

SHELDON FAIRLEE, Lakeport. Entering closed disaster area.

JONATHAN LARSEN, Crescent City/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Long, Lovely, Lyons-Hamil

CURTIS LONG, Upper Lake. Entering closed disaster area, unauthorized entry into dwelling.

JAMES LOVELY JR., Oakland/Redwood Valley. First degree robbery, assault with firearm, armed with firearm in commission of felony, conspiracy, evasion.

BILLIE LYONS-HAMIL, Clearlake. Trespassing/refusing to leave.

Martinez, Mendoza, Moore

JORGE MARTINEZ, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

KATALINA MENDOZA, Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse, domestic battery.

JOHN MOORE, Petaluma/Ukiah. DUI.

Morales-Saldana, Newton, Quebedeaux

NATHAN MORALES-SALDANA, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

DAVID NEWTON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.


Samuels, Sanders, Schafer

WILLIE SAMUELS JR., Oakland/Ukiah. First degree robbery, assault with firearm, armed with firearm in commission of felony, conspiracy, pot possession for sale, pot sales, resisting.

THOMAS SANDERS, Fort Bragg. Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

BELINDA SCHAFER, Ukiah. Ukiah. Contempt of court, probation revocation.

Steely, Torango, Venters, Young

AARON STEELY, Clearlake/Lakeport. Controlled substance.

BENJAMIN TORANGO JR., Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, under influence, petty theft, probation revocation.

GOLDEN VENTERS IV, Pittsburg. First degree robbery, assault with firearm, armed with firearm in commission of a felony, conspiracy.

BRANDON YOUNG, Kelseyville. Entering closed disaster area.

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The real problem with global warming is that doing anything to make any substantial difference means such a huge dislocation to the way humans like to live. Overpopulation can be solved by either gelding every 2 out of three males, or spaying the same proportion of females. Everyone wanting to volunteer sign up here. That is the preventive approach, also the theme of the Inferno by Dan Brown. Other approaches are not too popular, euthanasia, murder, pandemics, etc. Not too many people will sign up to any of the above. Every single person on the planet requires an outlay of energy to exist. Again people lets see who will sign up to not driving, freezing in the winter, boiling in the summer to avoid using fossil fuels. Alternative energy sources will never get us to the point that we are at now. So all you volunteers to give up your fossil fuels, sign up here. Here is the rub! Peak oil is going to force the world to come up with something new. There will be a very unpleasant response to the decline in oil. Including a fall in population, how and in what form, who knows. It will not be pleasant. For now, everyone better learn how to adapt to higher temps. And some short term bad news may be that when the poles lose their ice caps, currently happening, the earth’s air conditioner will be gone. Mother Gaia’s ability to blow off heat will be vastly reduced.

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MCDH has partnered with NRC Health, a leading provider of patient insights and healthcare improvement solutions, to conduct text, email, and phone surveys about patient experiences at MCDH and North Coast Family Health Center.

NRC Health will be texting all patients within 24 hours of their visit or check-out with a targeted assessment about their experience with the provider and the organization. If NRC Health does not receive a response to the text, follow-up emails will be sent, and finally a phone call is made if the other efforts were not successful. The assessment takes about 5 minutes, and helps MCDH improve quality of care and the patient experience.

“If you were admitted to the hospital or had an appointment at North Coast Family Health Center, you will be receiving an invitation to take a survey after your care. Many of our community members may have already completed one of these surveys, and we want to thank you all for your valuable time. We realize that this can be an inconvenience but the data received will be invaluable for our improvement efforts,” commented Will Lee, Director of Medical Staff Services at MCDH.

Feedback gained will enable MCDH to:

  • Discover opportunities for improvement and service recovery
  • Enable providers and staff with learning opportunities
  • Empower consumer decision-making by converting insight from patient feedback into online ratings and reviews
  • Build meaningful relationships with patients
  • Increase knowledge of local patient needs

“Nearly 50 percent of patients are frustrated by their healthcare experiences, so it’s especially important for organizations to better understand these experiences and use that insight to drive improvement,” said Jhordan Elsberry, Customer Success Manager, NRC Health. “MCDH is taking proactive measures to better understand the people they serve and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them on their journey toward care excellence.”

For more information please call 707.961.1234.

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by James Kunstler

The Guardians of the Galaxy at National Public Radio were beside themselves Wednesday night reporting that “the lights are blinking red for a 2018 election attack by Russia.” Well, isn’t that an interesting set-up? In effect, NPR is preparing its listeners in advance to reject and dispute the coming midterm election if they’re not happy with the results. Thus continues America’s institutional self-sabotage, with the help of a news media that’s become the errand boy of the Deep State.

What do I mean by the Deep State? The vested permanent bureaucracy of Washington DC, and especially its vastly overgrown and redundant “Intel Community,” which has achieved critical mass to take on a life of its own within the larger government, makes up its own rules of conduct, not necessarily within the rule of law, and devotes too much of its budget and influence defending its own prerogatives rather than the interests of the nation.

Personally, I doubt that President Putin of Russia is dumb enough to allow, let alone direct, his intel services to lift a finger “meddling” in the coming US midterm election, with this American intel behemoth vacuuming every digital electron on earth into the NSA’s bottomless maw of intercepted secrets. Mr. Putin must have also observed by now that the US Intel Community is capable of generating mass public hallucinations, to the beat of war-drums, and determined not to give it anything to work with. That’s my theory about what Russia is up to. If you have a better one, let’s hear it?

Another curious incident played out on CNN earlier this week when Max Boot, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations (the Deep State faculty lounge) faced off against Russia historian/scholar Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton on Anderson Cooper’s prime-time show. “Russia is attacking us right now according to Trump’s own Director of National Security (Daniel Coates)!” Mr. Boot shrilly declared.

“I’ve been studying Russia for forty-five years,” Mr. Cohen replied, “I’ve lived in Russia and I’ve lived here. If Russia was attacking us, we would know it.”

“You’ve consistently been an apologist for Russia in those last 45 years,” Mr. Boot riposted.

“I don’t do defamation of people; I do serious analysis of serious national security policy,” Mr. Cohen rejoined. “When people like you call people like me ‘apologists for Russia’ because we don’t agree with your analysis, you are criminalizing diplomacy and detante and you are the threat to national security.”

Referee Anderson Cooper stepped in: “So, finally Stephen, you’re saying Russia was not attacking the United States?”

“Yes, I don’t think they attacked the United States,” Cohen said.

“You’re apologizing for Russia as we speak,” Mr. Boot inserted.

“This is low-level stuff that went on,” Mr. Cohen said. “It is not 9/11. It is not Pearl Harbor. It is not Russian paratroopers descending on Washington. This kind of hyperbole, ‘an attack on America,’ suggests that we need to attack Russia… I think Mr. Boot would have been happy if Trump had waterboarded Putin at the summit and made him confess….”

Notice how astonished Mr. Cooper was to hear the view that Russia did not attack the US. It’s inconceivable in the universe-as-known-to-CNN, so potent is the hallucination there that even the water-cooler is bubbling with angst. Oh, and by the way, do any of you readers actually know how the duties of the Director of National Security (Mr. Coates) differ from the Director of the CIA (Gina Haspel) or the Director of the NSA (Paul M. Nakasone)?

In case you are mystified as to why a considerable portion of the public is disgusted with the news media, it is as simple as this: they appear to be an instrument of that permanent government bureaucracy, doing its bidding, defending its criminal mischief, and covering up its dishonesty. Proof of that is the media’s conspicuous inattention to the now well-documented political depravity in another arm of the Intel Community, the FBI — a much more compelling story of villainy than 13 Russian Facebook trolls and the alleged (still unproven) hacking of the DNC.

Donald Trump, aka the Golden Golem of Greatness, may be an unappetizing and embarrassing president. But is the Deep State ready to start a world war just to shove him offstage? Or burn down the constitution? While CNN stands by with Jeri-cans of gasoline?

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

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The City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Project is entering the seventh week of construction. The contractor is ahead of schedule, with most of the excavation complete. At this time, there are concrete trucks entering and exiting the project site frequently. Construction takes place during weekdays and is suspended over the weekend. Trail users should exercise caution when on the portion of the trail that passes in front of the Wastewater Treatment Plant and watch for vehicles. The old runway (Jere Melo Street) is the only access point for construction traffic and is limited to City staff and contractors. This weekend’s Coastal Trail Celebration will use the runway as the main entrance to the event.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Jason Island, Construction Inspector, at (707) 489-8105.

(Fort Bragg City Manager Press Release)

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by Bruce Brady

To begin, let me make it clear that we're not going to be reviewing life's endlessly inventive slings and arrows here. Anyone needing more of that should just pour two fingers of some strong alcohol, pack a bowl, take a deep breath, and turn on the news. I have no idea how widespread are the patterns of cause-and-effect that are common -- even everyday occurances to me. I imagine such forces work in everyone who hasn't succumbed to the forces demanding that one just get along, in the sense of 'nothing to look at here.' Nor do I claim that their existence in me makes my existence somehow special. Emphatically, they don't, and it doesn't.

But what I do know is that, to have managed by the normal mix of breeding, training, example, and luck to remain here well into my eighth decade still find myself so moved by a guitar lick or a sunset at the seashore or an accidental circumstance that my eyes suddenly moisten and, sometimes, a silent tear or two may quixotically fall. Oddly, neither the real tears nor their number seem to have the faintest relation to the intensity of the experience.

I am not sure why this particular memory stands out from its many competitors, but a good example of what seems infinitely repeatable took place when I went with my oldest daughter and her oldest child (maybe twenty or so at the time) to see a local production of a dramatized version of Rachel Corrie's life-ending protest in front of an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza about six years previously. The small theater was filled with maybe thirty people, many of them doubtless the parents of those involved, seated two or three deep around a simple set. I think it was opening night. And there it was, that sudden experience of what may fairly be called magic. My daughter. My grandchild. Rachel Corrie. Grace, with moistening eyes. As I recall, my daughter at one point asked if I had been crying, but saw the pointlessness of the question before it was fully out of her mouth.

Again, I have no wish to over-dramatize the event. Truly, it held for me the emotional resonance of a sudden sneeze or unscheduled itch. But inside this aging body was a person who many years back once did a good deal of theater (actine and directing), and might well have lobbied to include this production in a coming season. Mom (my daughter) had been involved in some of these productions when she was in high school, and her daughter was entering the University of Oregon, probably as a music major. Norman Rockwell would have been rushing for his brushes.

I unexpectedly find tears welling up maybe four or five times in an average day. I have come to count these appearances as very good things. Certainly, the news can do it to me, especially stories like this morning's, of a man about my age, a great-grandfather too, who lived with his wife and great grandchildren on the burning suburban edge of Redding. He drove away to some quick task, and was interrupted a few moments later by his great-grandson calling frantically on his cellphone. He screamed that the fire was at the doors and would Grandpa come back and get them all out. The phone went dead, and so did his two great-grandkids and his wife. Yup, that one will do it, as it it likely will to most.

But so will a great host of other perfectly mundane experiences. Movies get me often, even though I am pretty aware that my emotions are being expertly manipulated in hundreds of inventive ways to feel the tears when the guy with the poorly-trimmed beard and the missing tooth rides slowly out of town after tossing her ring in the dirt. Suddenly witnessed (although not always expected) vista or views happen, I am pleased to say, nearly everyday, even on Thirteenth Street. It might be the history-saturated vastness of the Columbia River Gorge or the Seine winding through Paris, or it might be an oddly-canted garden gate on the house beside the Dairy-Queen. A Dostoyevskian scene of suffering and deprivation, building up for seventy pages. Almost any Dickens, sooner or later. Might be damned near anything.

Probably from many of the forces that led me to don headphones long before they became trendy and become a DJ, music, like good sex or a four-hundred yard drive off the first tee, does it over and over and over again. The music that brings all this on sometimes attains the level of release otherwise reached only by orgasm (or perhaps a good seeze). But not all music, mimicking the wider world, gets there. Marching bands, in my experience, don't go near. The territory seems unknown to the Git-Along-Little-Doggies strain of country music. Folk music, or pop, or Dixieland -- Nope. But symphonic music, often elaborately does; chamber music, opera, 'cool' jazz, blues, and rock-and-roll, all go there and the result can clearly change lives.

Pausing a moment here to inhale deeply, easily the most stirring live performance I ever witnessed took place with my teary eyes often closed. When Leonard Cohen launched ever so smoothly into 'Hallejulia' in the space usually occupied by the Portland Trailblazers, he brought the rapt audience to stand with him, as it were, at the precise spot of transcendence occupied by Carlos Santana and BB King and Jimi. The wonderful 'Leonard Cohen in London' was recorded exactly a week later. Even the steady rain as we waited for a cab to return to our hotel went nearly unnoticed. Emphatically, the Sympathetic Fallacy appeared inoperative that night in Portland. But two years later, Leonard Cohen was dead. But the band, for those of us left, played on.

Facing my limitations manfully, [!] I see a Picasso or a Michaelangelo, or perhaps a Renoir, and I strongly suspect that many are brought to this same humid place by these precious things, but they don't do it to me. Nor does mathematics, although one of my daughters might regularly go there, I suspect. I remember reading Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead as they primly worked around the subject at about the time I was graduating from college.

Part of me would like to indulge in describing some wild scene beside the surf on the Lost Coast, alone on a postcard redwood path, on the deck at Wild River watching otters. (As I write, Dar Williams furnishes the soundtrack through Bluetooth earbuds: 'The Christians and the Pagans,' at the moment. Meatloaf now. And now Miles Davis. The Loud Music Cure -- and there it is, again.)

Being able to reach these wonderful places, I imagine, makes no one an especially wonderful person. So far as I can see, the wet, maybe closed eyes are but the visible fragment of great spiritual sloshing, the bit we can see. But getting there holds the pleasure(s) of an accessible itch, there always for the scratching.

Thank you…

* * *

* * *


Planning Commission meeting Agenda for August 16, 2018, is posted on the department website at:

Victoria Davis, Commission Services Supervisor, 707-234-6664

* * *

* * *

MY WIFE KISSED ME in amazement that I survived a 3080 mile bike trip.

Observations in no particular order and of no particular importance unless you think they are:

One. Everywhere I traveled people smoke cigarettes far more than where I live. The poor smoke more than the well off.

Two. Obesity is rampant everywhere. (As if I even need to mention it.) When I left on my trip I weighed 198 lbs. I figured I’d have such shitty meals I might drop a couple of pounds but, nope, I’m back home and still at 198. At motels and Service Plazas I would see some of the most God-awful bodies you could imagine. Not quite as bad as the 900 and 1200 lb people they do documentaries about that have to be removed from their apartments by forklift, but baaad. The sight of these grotesque vacationers would stir up in my mind the meanest of mean-spirited thoughts. I imagined myself approaching one of these appalling figures with my cell phone at the ready and asking “Do you mind if I take your picture? I’m doing a piece for ‘Scientific American’ on obesity in America and (as I gesture with my hand in their general direction I say) well, um…” Of course I do no such thing because I like having my two front teeth.

Three. Tattoos are a growing blight, particularly among women. Men can look as stupid as they want but women should be held to a higher standard. My mean-spirited tattoo daydream goes like this: I walk up to a female with especially ugly and artless tattoos (WHAT was she THINKING?) and I say “I’m doing a piece for New York Magazine on (here I make quote gestures with my fingers) ‘the tattooed women of America’ (at this point my target smiles and is pleased to have been selected for this honor…such is the mindset of the generic tattooed woman). Holding a note pad and Bic pen, I begin an interview: “By what contortion of logic or perception do you imagine that these tattoos make you a more beautiful or interesting person?” “Do you own a mirror?” “Do your grandparents know you have these?” Because of a general dumbing-down of our society the target doesn’t know what to make of these questions and is unsure whether I’m being complimentary or contemptuous. And while I think of it, can some fashionista reading this please explain whut’s up wit ripped up jeans?

Four. There is a phenomenon at play, primarily but not exclusively among young adults, that I refer to as “Oh Geez, I’m not very good at that.” After crossing back into the US from Canada at Sault Ste. Marie and heading west, I was traveling for some time and wondering what the actual time was. Surely, I thought, I must be near or have already crossed from the Eastern Time Zone into the Central. I asked a coffee barista “What time zone am I in here?” She replied “Oh Geez, I’m not very good at time zones.” As if the time zone you live in were something difficult to know like quantum mechanics, or an obscure Jeopardy clue, or being skilled at, like juggling. Not to mock the young exclusively, on my trip back eastward to home I was in Indiana and asked a 40ish bartender what time zone I was in. He said “I don’t know from (sic) time zones but (and he looked at his watch) I can tell you it’s 8:35.” This sort of thing makes me worry about the state of our country.

Five. There is a minor little racket being perpetrated by some Canadian gas stations primarily against customers from the US who have only US dollars and coins in their pockets. The station employee will refuse to convert the C$ amt into the US$ amt at something near the current exchange rate. This effectively gains the station between 25 and 33% on such sales. They say “it’s too much hassle.” Procedures could easily be put in place which every station would become accustomed to in under a week but the attitude seems to be “let’s rape the stupid Americans.” The way around the problem is to always use a credit card. The card company, say VISA, does the conversion electronically in a nanosecond and the charge on your next statement will be 20 or 25% less than if you had paid cash.

Six. The filling of your gas tank: As of Jan 1, 2018 NJ is the only place in the nation where the customer does not pump his or her own gas. It used to be that way in Oregon and the town of Huntington, NY as well but they did away with this absurdity in January. So, when we New Jerseyans go anywhere outside our own state we are like idiots. We stare at the pump unsure what to do. The pump has a screen with directions but it seems so complex until you do it often enough that you get the hang of it. But it seems there are no two pumps in all North America that work identically. Some direct you to “go inside and pay before pumping.” I will not bother you with details. Every one in the world but New Jerseyans knows them.

Seven. Gone is my Air Base. Gone, the spiffy fresh lieutenants…all old men now if not pushing daisies. “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe; The RVs are parked, the 90 horse Mercs are reving. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Heraclitus.


* * *

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good night radio tonight!

Memo of the Air: Good night radio tonight! If tonight /is/ Friday night for you. You might be reading this on Monday or Thursday. You're smart; I'm sure you'll figure it out. Also you smell amazing (I'm told)! Friendly, like puppies, and minty, all at the same time. Provocative.

Anyway, Friday night, August 3, 9pm to about 5am, there's Memo of the Air, live from the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the iconic Tip Top bar. Your chance to shine. Arrive in a huff, head for the moderately brilliantly lighted room at the back (three classes of lamps: LED, fluorescent and incandescent; full-spectrum lighting for optimum mental health and luster), and show-and-tell and/or perform your [ahem] act, or talk about your project, or read your own work, or whatever. If you show up and somebody's already there, just sail in like the queen of England and assert yourself, or sit on the nice (clean) couch and wait for a little while. You will be sitting where the goddamn unamused queen of England has never sat.

But if you can't make it in person, the deadline to email your writing to be read on the air tonight is around 6pm; after that and I'll just read it on next week's show. Also the number in the Fort Bragg studio is 707 962-3022, so you can read your own work with your own voice right there on the phone. If there will be swears, please wait until 10pm to start that, otherwise it agitates the weasels, as you know.

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

Marco McClean

* * *

“Maybe they can finally afford a whole apple.”

* * *


Tom Ferguson’s stellar work has demonstrated, very conclusively, that for a long period, way back, U.S. elections have been pretty much bought. You can predict the outcome of a presidential or congressional election with remarkable precision by simply looking at campaign spending. That’s only one part of it. Lobbyists practically write legislation in congressional offices. In massive ways, the concentrated private capital, corporate sector, super wealth, intervene in our elections, massively, overwhelmingly, to the extent that the most elementary principles of democracy are undermined. Now, of course, all that is technically legal, but that tells you something about the way the society functions. So, if you’re concerned with our elections and how they operate and how they relate to what would happen in a democratic society, taking a look at Russian hacking is absolutely the wrong place to look.

— Noam Chomsky



  1. George Hollister August 4, 2018

    Society is just as capable of being hysterical today as it was 500 years ago. Proof is in today’s AVA.

  2. Bruce Anderson August 4, 2018

    Please elaborate, George.

    • George Hollister August 4, 2018

      Start with John Sakowicz “End of Times”. Really? But a common theme in the AVA for a while.

      Then the On Line Comment Of The Day, and the Trump Trojan Horse.

      But the hysteria about Climate Change and fires is beyond the pale. What we see is not new, and we can do something about it. We are not paying the price for our sins that need to be atoned for. We are paying the price for allowing huge fuel loads to grow in our landscapes, and not at least preparing for the consequences of this.

      • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

        I’m surprised at Ferlinghetti — there’s nothing in Homer’s Iliad about the Trojan Horse; that’s all in Virgil’s version — apparently he hasn’t read Homer. He’s probably referring to the Hollywood version.

        • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

          …and another thing — yes, I know it’s not nice to chip away at a NorCal icon like Ferlinghetti — but isn’t the Trojan horse just about the tiredest old nag the stable? the bluntest arrow in the quiver? The most shop-worn old cliche in the poet’s metaphorical kitbag?

          • George Hollister August 4, 2018

            No, Hitler references are number one. Trojan horse, is older though.

        • George Hollister August 4, 2018

          I didn’t know Ferlinghetti from squat, but now that I do, I need to backtrack. “Old men are always forgiven”.

      • Randy Burke August 4, 2018

        Dust storms in Phoenix? Only place I found out about it was in the AVA.

        • George Hollister August 4, 2018

          I spent some time in Arizona in the 1960s, and dust storms are part of the environment there. Like with tule fog in the Central Valley, drivers in Arizona drive too fast in big dust storms, and big wrecks happen. It is hard to believe, but thunder storms in the Arizona desert create the same traffic problems, along with flooding. I know, flooding in the desert, it must be “Climate Change”.

      • Harvey Reading August 4, 2018

        George, George, George … you poor, sorry, confused old thing. Sins? Did you get approval use of that term, used in your context, from your god? If so, old fella, I’m afraid you’re losing your mind.

  3. George Hollister August 4, 2018

    My personal case is typical for most of my neighbors living in rural Mendocino County. In 1985 I stopped running livestock and went entirely to timber production. This was an economic decision. The result is I now live in a landscape surrounded by tall grass and brush. I traded raizing cattle, at a loss, for an increase in fire risk. I look upwind from my house, and I see neighbors who have, de facto, made the same decisions, and now live in the same resultant fire prone landscape. (There is the exception for vineyards, which dramatically reduce fire risk. We should be thankful for vineyards, and hope they stay economically viable.)

    If/when there is a fire, should I blame “Climate Change”, or should I make sure I have a defensible space around my home? Should I blame “Climate Change”, or make sure I have a personal fire plan? Should I blame “Climate Change” or install a sprinkler system for the outside of my house? Should I blame “Climate Change” or make sure I have well maintained fire trails along my ridge lines, so a fire is more easily contained? Should I blame “Climate Change” or make an effort of maintain my road system which, in itself, provides a fuel break incase of a fire? Should I join the hysteria about “Climate Change”, or should I do something to reduce the risk of me becoming a fie victim?

    A parenthetical statement here; Like “Climate Change”, the hardwood snags in my forest are not a significant factor in any of this. The fine fuels, like dry grass and brush are.

    • james marmon August 4, 2018

      ‘log it, graze it, or watch it burn.’

      • George Hollister August 4, 2018

        There is some wisdom there. What we have done, going back to the first people coming to this continent, is manage the landscape. Annual burning was the primary method used in the past going back at least 10,000 years. We just abandoned all that. Now there is no management, and we act surprised at the consequences. We have catastrophic fires now, so we must have sinned, right? This is a classic human response that transcends history. The irony is that the anti-religion left is leading the charge on the sins of “Climate Change”. Of course it is not as ironic as one might think. Environmentalism is the religion of the left.

        Another aspect of this is the question of what was here before people showed up? Before people, it was the era of mega-fauna. The native flora environment of California, before people, was made up of essentially the same genetic stock we see today. This flora was adapted to mastodons and giant sloths. Hard to imagine, but it was only a short time ago. Fire was likely less frequent, and lightning caused. But the mega-fauna likely played a similar role in consuming grass and brush as sheep, cattle, and goats have done in modern times.(Yea, and the mastodons pooped the rivers, too.) Fires were likely less intense as a consequence. What we see now is a stretch to call “natural”, anyway you try to make it so. What we see today in California’s high fuel load landscape, for all purposes, has never existed before. it is not natural, and it is inherently unstable.

  4. james marmon August 4, 2018


    California’s Devastating Fires Are Man-Caused — But Not In The Way They Tell Us

    The issue was summarized by the Western Governors’ Association in their 2006 Biomass Task Force Report which noted:

    “…over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires, and the resulting loss of forest carbon is much greater than would occur if the forest had been thinned before fire moved through. …failing to thin leads to a greater greenhouse gas burden than the thinning created in the first place, and that doesn’t even account for the avoided fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions due to the production of energy from the forest thinnings. In the long term, leaving forests overgrown and prone to unnaturally destructive wildfires means there will be significantly less biomass on the ground, and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

  5. james marmon August 4, 2018


    by Katy M. Tahja

    Are you nuts ????

  6. Harvey Reading August 4, 2018


    Vasectomies and tubal ligations are just as effective. Might as well let folks enjoy themselves in the final days of the species. Provide the procedures at no cost, and make it mandatory on ALL classes of people, including the wealthy, even if they must be dragged from their bunkers forcibly.

  7. Jim Updegraff August 4, 2018

    Letter to the Editor:

    Re comment of the day:

    The effects of climate change are here now and by the year 2050 population is projected to reach 100 billion and food supply can feed only 60 billion – so we are looking at mass starvation over the next 30 years with mass migration, war, rising sea levels with good parts of the world flooded. Temperatures in southern Europe may reach 48 C. Some issue in other parts of the world – can people survive a life of temperatures of 125 degrees of 125 F?
    . Deniers of climate change like Trump have their heads stuck in the sand.

    Jim Updegraff

    • Jeff Costello August 4, 2018

      I wish we would stop saying “climate change” and go back to global warming.

      • james marmon August 5, 2018

        Global Warming is just a result of Climate Change.

  8. Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

    More lit. crit.

    Saco did a fine job eluding any personal blame for global warming as would devolve on his car and frequent trips in commercial airliners to visit his family and friends around the country and around the world, by fixing blame on that awful old bugbear, “Greed did this. Runaway capitalism” — NOT MY CAR AND PLANE TICKETS — Oh, yeah, and “not empowering women…”

    Well done, Saco. You get an A+ in euphemizing the pangs of conscience by means of vague generalities and gross oversimplifications.

    • George Hollister August 4, 2018

      It is inherent with human nature to place blame on the sins of others. When human sacrifices need to be made, it is with a maiden, or child from a neighboring tribe. So of course, blame the fires on someone else, because the sin is with someone else. I am not greedy, or a part of runaway capitalism, or drive too much, or fly too much either. Right?

      We have seen this movie before, many times.

    • George Hollister August 4, 2018

      Another truth; the people who are the most sanctimonious about their religious beliefs are the biggest hypocrites.

      • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

        Beautifully crafted epigram, George.

        Please to note: I say nothing critical of Ferlinghetti’s sentiments, only his poetic structure; and as for yourself and Saco, the same rule applies.

        But if you must ask (and I expect you to): My stance is that carbon monoxide, spilling from cars, has been heating the atmosphere since the 1950s and even though the appalling smog of the 1960s and 70s has been dealt with, the problem remains, and like the exponential growth of the population, the increase in car sales worldwide has compounded the problem by a ratio it would take a better math scholar than me to calculate — and, please, George, I’m not trying to recruit you for the project — to say nothing of the fact the commercial airliners have dwarfed the problem caused by cars.

        My problem is not with deniers like you and The Prophet Marmon, but with the those who quarrel with you guys, trying to shift blame, rather than park and walk, a predilection which I think betrays a state of denial which makes them, as you say, the truly colossal hypocrites.

        Like Pam Tillis’s “Cleopatra, The Queen of Denial.”

        • George Hollister August 4, 2018

          At the foundation of all religion is myth, and with myth there is usually some factual basis, and truth. I am not in denial that the Earth has been warming, or that we have been polluting. But I am in denial that there is a substantive scientific connection of the two. Too much scientific evidence indicates otherwise.

          But that does not mean there is no value in the myths of Environmentalism,or “living in harmony with nature”. There is value there. But let’s take it for what it is, a religion, with all it’s trappings including hypocrisy. And for the sake of humanity, don’t call it science.

          • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

            Please don’t lecture me, George.

            I’m not your student. And I refuse to go on a scripture chase throughout the internet to gloss common knowledge for the ostensible utility of prolonging a futile quibble — and that’s all it is — with a man who will never change his mind.

            And it is the same with every character who posts regularly on this page. In the dying words of Mr. Reading, “I stand by my comment,” and you will have to pry his cold dead fingers from it in the end, George — and he faces the same immovable obstinance with you.

            I venture in occasionally (sometimes to my regret) — having learned the hard way that none of you are open to change — only to critique the writing, in hopes of providing some small service for the lavish remuneration I enjoy as a reporter at this, the Greatest Newspaper in America!

          • George Hollister August 4, 2018

            One persons comment, opens the door for others to comment. Isn’t that good? But change? I am not going to change, and neither are you.

          • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

            Sir, I defer the last word to my elders.

          • George Hollister August 4, 2018


  9. Pat Kittle August 4, 2018

    Jim Updegraff,

    Your population stats are one order of magnitude too high.

    Not that it matters, over-breeding humanoids are as oblivious to population limits as are cancer cells.

    So we furiously debate how best to enable even more population growth.

    Carbon reduction, forest “thinning,” etc., etc. ad nauseum — all feel-good band-aids on the cancer of endless growth:

    — [ ]

  10. Bruce McEwen August 4, 2018

    Getting back to the Arizona duststorm, all the Phoenix suburbanite Republican housewives are gonna rue the day they voted to deport todas las Mexicana housemaids when they find their lazy offspring will refuse to get out a can of Pledge and a flannel rag to dust grandma’s pricey collection of hand-painted porcelain plates, all hung along the walls with pictures of Senator Goldwater, Interior Secy. Watt, President Reagan, Senator McCain, and Gov. Digby Dingbat, or whatever his name is…

    • Pat Kittle August 4, 2018

      Rhetorical questions:

      Will they also miss their beautiful wilderness being trashed by endless millions of over-breeding invaders?

      Will they miss becoming another territory taken over by cartels?

      (Don’t feel obliged to respond, we know the answer.)

  11. james marmon August 4, 2018

    Lake County Sheriff’s Office

    “On August 4, 2018, at approximately 1045AM, Deputies were dispatched to the Bartlett Springs Road area, in Nice. Fire crews were reporting three males in a Toyota pickup being hostile towards fire engine crews and refusing to leave the area.

    When deputies arrived they contacted the engine crew. The firefighters told deputies they were attempting to fight the front line of the Ranch Fire which was approximately 20 yards from them. The three males refused to leave causing the fire crew to divert three VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) passes. The VLAT was being used in an attempt to control the fire so it would not continue to travel to the town of Lucerne.

    Deputies contacted the males who were identified as Gary Thomas Wertheimer, 41, of Nice, Steven Marshall Bell, 59, of Redwood Valley, and Travis Steven Bell, 29, of Nice. The three were watering their marijuana plants when they were contacted.

    All three were arrested for Interfering with Firefighters During a Fire Operation and Unauthorized Person in an Evacuation Area and released with a citation.”

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