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Off the Record (Aug. 8, 2018)

AS WE GO to press this week, the Big Fires to the east are still raging but slowly being brought under control. Gratitude can’t be expressed often enough to all the firefighters who’ve done their bit fighting The Beast, and fighting it so effectively on the Mendo-Lake Front that the fires were kept from engulfing the small towns lining Clearlake.

SHELTER STAFF STEPPED UP, a reader notes: "Add to the list of county workers who stepped up to the plate during fire emergencies: Rich Molanari, Sage Mountainfire, and the entire staff of the Animal Shelter. These folks worked their butts off back in October last year, and again now. Also, Bliss Siefed, who during both emergencies was in charge of large animal displacement and aid. All the shelter staff have been amazing, working tirelessly to ensure that the Mendo community’s pets and animals stay safe." 

THE MOST STARTLING news on the week, at least to some of us who’ve known the guy for many years, is that Steve Schwartz is now Lucy Schwartz. This man of many parts, assuming he still has the crucial one, began adult life as a fully male communist, then an anti-communist, a book writer, the Chronicle's obituary writer, a convert to Islam, and now here he is in bangles and breasts as Lucy!

GIVEN THE PREVALENCE, and even the celebration of scumbaggery in our terminally dysfunctional society, and the pure number of free range scumbags loose in Mendocino County at any one time, Michael Trapper stands out. He's classified as a "high risk" sex offender who came to Fort Bragg from Illinois where he’d violated a five-year-old. Newly arrived on the Mendocino Coast, Trapper soon came to public attention for beating his 60+ year old girlfriend at her home on Highway 20, north of FB. Trapper regularly pops up in the Catch of the Day for this or that, and the Fort Bragg Police have him on their priority watch list. He's the kind of dedicated predator who will inevitably hurt or kill someone, probably a female someone. Trapper is young, too, so he's got another twenty to thirty years of predation ahead of him. What should be done? Permanent incarceration, now.


ON THE SUBJECT of the free-range undesirables roaming Mendocino County, a reader suggested we look into the background of Daniel Alonso, Fort Bragg, who was with Andrew Crowningshield’s former girlfriend, Autumn Johnson, the mother of Crowningshield's son, when Crowningshield shot and killed Ms. Johnson on February 4, 2018. The earliest reference we found to Alonso was as the victim of Oakland-based home invaders back in 2012, but he’s another guy always around trouble, as in….

FROM the May 28, 2018 edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal: “A Fort Bragg man was arrested recently for allegedly having sex with a minor, the Fort Bragg Police Department reported. According to the FBPD, officers began investigating the incident after family members reported a young girl missing on May 19. The following day, the girl’s father reported that she had been found, and officers responded to speak with her to make sure “she was safe and there were no issues.” Officers then learned that the girl reported being raped by a friend of hers, a 15-year-old boy, on May 19 on a beach near Pudding Creek. While officers were investigating that incident, the victim also reportedly revealed that a relative of the boy, a 35-year-old man, had sex with her at his home two days before she was raped by her friend. The adult, identified as Daniel J. Alonso, 35, of Fort Bragg, was then arrested on suspicion of having sex with a minor and booked into Mendocino County Jail under $20,000 bail. The teen was arrested on suspicion of committing rape and sodomy.”


FRONTIERS OF INSULT. I enjoyed this exchange on the LCO's comment line re a booking photo of a man arrested in Redding for looting:

(1) Aside from being the kind of scum who steals from hardworking families when they're already down on their luck, this guy has a threehead and looks like a dipshit.

(2) What's a threehead?

(3) The forehead hairline is only three fingerbreadths from his eyebrows.

(4) Like a forehead but smaller.

(5) He's also a plick. A plick is like a prick only smaller.

“FOLKS.” I missed the exact transition, but I was perfectly happy just to be a “people,” then suddenly we were all “folks.” "To all you folks disturbed by…" Etc. The great shift may have happened during ABC's Evening News with David Muir where he’s advertised as winner of an award named after Edward R. Murrow, a cosmic inflation of Muir’s scant abilities for sure. Muir’s the visual version of NPR's weekend empty suit, Scott Simon, master of faked emotion. Where do they get these people? WHY do they get them? I guess the assumption by the big shots of mass media is that we’re so dumb, so insensitive we don’t notice, don’t resent this steady drip-drip of false feeling, all these wedding cake chuckle buddies with their non-stop forced bonhomie and their Eyes of Laura Mars zomboized female co-hosts. It's all show biz, of course. Has nothing to do with informing people, er folks, or in helping us understand the context-free events they breathlessly “report” every night, but it’s a reliable guide to what fascism will look and feel like when the Koch Bros crack down.

ANOTHER THING WRONG with this country is Brandon Belt, the Giants sort-of first baseman and alleged power hitter. Belt's injured again. He pulled a muscle running the bases. A professional athlete who pulls a muscle simply running is a professional athlete in poor physical condition. You'd think a guy paid millions to stand around at first base and watch called third strikes would at least be able to run the bases without hurting himself.

TRUMP today called the media "the enemy of the people." Assuming he's talking about Muir, Wolf Blitzer, Fox et al, Orange Man is correct, but he picks and chooses. MSM is awful, no question, but Fox, Trump's fave, is the worst by any reasonably fair standard.

OBJECTIVELY, it seems from here that although a lot of County workers failed to appear for emergency duty when the Big Fires broke out last week, CEO Angelo, Heidi Dunham and other department heads got the emergency office and shelter going with positively military dispatch. If the whole gang had showed up they'd have been running into each other.

QUESTION: Many years ago, a friend of mine told me he was stopped near the site of a major fire in Southern California and forced onto the fire line. He said he worked for three days and eventually got paid but resented having been hijacked. I'm talking '62-63, thereabouts. I've always wondered if impressment was a common practice in those days or my friend was putting me on.


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


CLAP STATS: According to the latest statewide Health Department numbers, Mendocino County ranks below the state average for HIV and Chlamydia but well above the average for gonorrhea. Mendo’s syphilis rate appears to be well below the state average.


I predict that in a couple generations, when the “new dark age” and some truly biblical, catastrophic weather patterns become commonplace, the only “growth” industry will be constructing underground living and figuring out how best to grow crops in covered trenches where they won’t be handily destroyed by heavy weather. The only slightly dependable energy is going to come from that yellow ball that we spin toward each day.

Can we prepare our kiddies to be *mentally* flexible and curious about work-arounds that happen to be anathema to the current status quo? I don’t know, but it certainly would be worth a tiny bit of effort, even though the political structure will [self-protectively] do what it can to prevent this. (The first thing that’s got to go is this worship of celebrity and money; that’s just the epitome of counter-productive. Get their faces out of those screens and engage in some dangerous investigation of nature and alone-with-my-thoughts-and-wonderings time. Plunking your brats in front of “Dora the Explorer” ain’t gonna get it done, peeps.)

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