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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018

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THE RANCH FIRE near Ukiah has is now up to over 352,000 acres, making it alone the largest single wildfire in modern California history, more than half the size of the state of Rhode Island. The containment percentage on the Ranch fire has actually gone down as the fire increases in size over the remote wilderness area of the Mendocino National Forest faster than containment lines can be set. The accompanying River Fire north of Hopland has burned an additional 49,000 acres. The previous record holder was the Thomas Fire in SoCal in December of 2017 which burned about 270,000 acres, an area the size of New York City. Five of the ten largest wildfires in California history have occurred in the past five years, an indication of the extreme environmental conditions prevailing these days. Remember that “containment” does not mean “out.” So these huge blazes will continue to burn and smoke internally for who knows how long after 100% containment, now expected some time in September. And fire season isn’t even close to being over, nor is any significant precip in the forecast. These fires will also demand sizable mop up, clean-up, and repair crews who will continue with their work to repair the damage done by the firefighting effort itself (and all the backfires that were set). The fires come at the end of a five year drought (interrupted by one decent rain year that only made the fuel load worse) and conditions remain hot, dry, windy and dangerous with resources spread thin all over the west coast.

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A firefighter died last week from falling tree debris after thousands of gallons of retardant were dropped on the area where he was helping battle the blazes, according to a preliminary report.

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UPPER LAKE, Calif. – Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists from the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior recently completed their data gathering and field work of the Ranch Fire burn area. Their focus was to verify and finalize the soil burn severity map. Soil burn severity is classified into levels between unburned and high.

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Due to the size of the fire, its activity, and the team’s inability to visit the northern portion of the fire, the BAER team assessed the southern portion of the fire, an area 191,068 acres in size. The northern portion will be mapped at a future date once activity drops and the specialists are allowed into the burned area.

The analysis indicated that approximately seven percent of the area in the fire perimeter is considered unburned or very low (14,090 acres), 27 percent low (51,633 acres), 59 percent moderate (113,344 acres), and six percent high (12,000 acres) soil burn severity.

BAER post-fire assessment teams use the soil burn severity data to identify if there are areas of concern where increased soil erosion, accelerated surface water run-off, and debris flows have the potential to impact human life and safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from rain events. BAER teams typically consist of scientists and specialists that consider emergency stabilization options for those critical resources. The soil burn severity map is not an erosion risk map, but generally shows increases in the rates of erosion and run-off that are expected from steep hillslopes with high and moderate soil burn severity. Areas located downstream from moderate and high soil burn severity, even within unburned areas, may experience increased rates of erosion, debris flows, and surface run-off due to cumulative effects.

Information about the BAER team’s work can be found on Inciweb:

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The next MH Treatment Act Citizen's Oversight Committee meeting (Measure B) will be next Wednesday, August 29, 1-3pm, Mendocino County Admin Center (501 Low Gap Rd) Conference Room C.

There is no meeting today.

Thank you

Dora Briley
MCSO - Measure B Committee Clerk

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GERALD ORTH, 63, Ukiah. 8/20/2018: Attempted murder, reckless possession of explosive device on public street, ammo possession by prohibited person. (Previously arrested for failure to register as sex offender.)

THIS GUY would seem to be an all-purpose, multi-faceted, free-range menace. So far, nothing more on him beyond this notice that at least he's confined for the time being. Not that murder or attempted murder is uncommon in the Redwood Empire, but it's still not so common that we won't hear much more about Mr. Orth. (We're assuming Orth is not related to the well-known Willits couple, Tony and Janet Orth.)

MY COLLEAGUE, Flynn Washburne, has first-hand fresh info on the disposition of imprisoned sex offenders, and he'll correct if I'm wrong, but there are so many of them now that there are whole units of them in today's prisons. The myth is that the mainline tough guys will take care of the pervs as soon as they hit the yard. Maybe that used to be the case, but no more. Maybe Flynn will elaborate.

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AT THE END OF THE SUPES first three-hour closed session Tuesday, Board Chair Dan Hamburg announced that they had given “direction to staff on item 9a.” Nothing else. County Counsel Katharine Elliott then noted that the other three items scheduled for closed session were “continued” to later in the day. Hamburg didn’t even bother to mention that Item 9a was “Appointment of Public Defender,” even though it’s a closely followed question and the subject is right there in the agenda packet. But the public was left not only not knowing what “direction was given,” but even what subject the direction was given on without being forced back to the agenda to see what Item 9a is. So much for “transparency.” We don’t know if the direction was “get more names,” or, “give x an offer,” or, “she wants how much?”, or, “find out when can she start?” or, “Ok, but only if Linda Thompson approves,” or what. If an announcement is made soon, we can probably assume they picked somebody. If not, we can assume the direction was to get more info or names.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “During the day, Skrag either ignores me or insults me. But at night, when the foxes come out, he comes running. ‘Get them outta here. Little Dog. They're eating my food.’ Like the sucker I am, and because I'm a professional, I have a word with my wild cousins and they leave peacefully. No gratitude from the deadbeat cat, of course.”

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THE PEACHLAND ROAD REPAIR PROJECT, to fix the washout during the December 2016/January 2017 rains is the Mendo transportation highest priority active project, according to Transportation Director Howard Deshield on Tuesday. Deshield said the project was suspended as his crews had to attended to the fire emergency, but they’re back on it and they expect to be finished before winter. (But fire season is, unfortunately, not over.)

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(More on the contents later this week.)

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CONFIRMING....Regarding the Great Redwood Trail Act

Tom Wodetzki wrote Friends of the Eel River:

“Re the Great Redwood Trail Act, I’d like to support it but I’ve read in the AVA that it’s partly a boondoggle for Doug Bosco, since our taxpayer money will bail him out of his failed investment in the railroad. Is that so?”

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Reply from Friends of the Eel River <>

“Unfortunately the NCRA borrowed money from Doug's company NWP Co, so yes, paying him off is part of the state settling the debts of its rogue agency. It is very frustrating, but those debts will likely need to be settled with or without this bill.”

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Labor Day Monday, September 3rd, 10:00 to 4:00 at the Yorkville Post Office/Fire Station and Community Room. Come early, socialize, meet new friends, stay all day!

Every year the Yorkville Community gathers for the Yorkville Ice Cream Social. We celebrate the end of summer, the kids all going back to school and the beginning of harvest. What highlights summer better than an ice cold Root Beer Float or a huge bowl of ice cream with friends. There will be lots of yummy food, a Farm Stand full of local fruits, flowers and veggies, and a Bake Sale chock full of delicious pies, cakes, cookies and sweets. One of the main attractions is the HUGE book sale, every kind of book imaginable! Rumor has it will have some great kids books this year.

We also like to share news about upcoming community events. Once again, the Galbreath Preserve folks will be present with lots of educational and fun things for the kids to do (creepy crawly bugs included). There will also be a booth all about Fire Safety that you won’t want to miss out on.

The Social is a fundraiser for the Yorkville Fire Station and there are several fun ways to participate! My favorite is the Cake Walk, it’s like musical chairs but each winner takes home an ENTIRE cake (or maybe a pie). There will also be an incredible raffle for all sorts of great local stuff- wine, cheese, olive oil, art and cool activities. And…. there is also a Silent Auction featuring air tours, flights of wine, more local art and gift certificates for interesting adventures and experiences. We top all of this off with socializing (like the name says) with our friends and neighbors while listening to live music. Sounds like a great way to spend the day. Come early, socialize, meet new friends, stay all day! See you on Labor Day Monday, September 3rd, 10:00 to 4:00 at the Yorkville Post Office/Fire Station and Community Room.

This year all the proceeds will go to the Yorkville Fire Station Water Tender Building Addition Fund. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila wants Yorkville to have a water tender and the Yorkville Community Benefits Association is actively fundraising the nearly $90,000 we will need to accomplish this. Please come help us!

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A FLYING VISIT to Fort Bragg to visit an old friend, a fisherman during his working years, who encouraged me to visit Princess Seafood down in the Noyo Harbor, an inspirational business begun and staffed by young women who not only sail out to sea to bring home a daily array of fresh fish but operate a pleasant sea food deli, on this day, a Tuesday, staffed by another versatile old friend, Amy Katz, whom I last encountered at Chapel by the Sea where she oversaw, with perfect tact and aplomb, my sister's remains. Ms. Katz is also a talented writer, and if any writer has packed a more varied experience into her uniquely various employment, well, I can't think of one.

I took my muy perfecto crab sandwich out to McKerricher to gaze at the Pacific while enjoying a peaceful lunch, hoping to watch dramatic waves batter the shore, but saw an absolutely flat sea only periodically viewed by peering around the ocean-blocking mounds of barely mobile tattooed flesh shuffling through my viewshed. I remember when the only four hundred pounders on exhibit were in the circus, but as Phillip Roth noted when he announced he was giving up fiction writing, "I turn on the tv and don't recognize my country," or words to that effect, words most of us 70-plus people would nod in rueful agreement.

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I WAS THINKING of sticking around for Congressman Huffman's jive Fort Bragg presentation later in the afternoon. It was billed as a "town hall," but The Huff's staff wanted townies to let them know who they were beforehand, a kind of soft rsvp, never ever mentioning that all questions are screened for "appropriateness" prior to reaching his majesty. I have fond memories of a real town hall thrown back in the day by Congressman Doug Bosco in the state building in downtown Santa Rosa. People lined up to tee off of on ol' BoxCorp as we called him, and by the third or so denunciation, with the packed hall hooting at his gross evasions, Bosco got mad, and began matching insults with his audience. It was great theater, but our people's tribunes, at least the federal ones, have never risked an unscripted public event since, meeting select and/or carefully vetted groups at wineries and other safe venues. Huffman's a great one for holding "town halls" while most people are at work, as today's in Fort Bragg.

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I'VE NEVER SEEN the Navarro River looking so sick, so algae-scabbed. Of course it's backed up as it is every year at this time by the sandbar at its mouth, this year a sandbar that looks like it'll take the Big Rains of '64 to blast free. I've also never seen so many pink ladies, whole beds of them, from Albion all the way through Fort Bragg. Post lunch, and headed back to Fort Bragg, I spotted the mother of all deals — three crab pots. Free! But I had no way of transporting them to Boonville. I've always wanted one of those things. Not sure what I'd do with it, but… And there were three of them piled on the side of road for the taking. Those three crab pots will haunt me!

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BACK at my work station, I dialed up the global village where I saw that Paul Manafort had been convicted of what thousands of people and many corporations, including Apple, do without sanction — hide money overseas to avoid taxes, which are barely 30 percent if I remember correctly. And here's where no one is likely to agree with me. The Manafort prosecution is obviously aimed at Trump, as is much insider (Deep State) scheming, as is pretty much the entire media, including Boonville's beloved weekly, and even a large swathe of the Republican Party. So, I hope Trump immediately pardons Manafort, thus hastening the inevitable showdown with what amounts to the entire American establishment, especially the Deep State "intelligence" apparatus, the same tenured clowns whose unrelieved bungling has gotten us into an eternal and entirely avoidable war with Islam, the same clowns who said Saddam Hussein had nukes, the same clowns who failed to figure out that fanatics were learning to fly airliners without learning how to land them, the same clowns who brought us the truly insane (and endless) war in Afghanistan, and on and on and on, all of it signed off on by the mainstream media. Given who Trump is up against, I'm for Big Orange.

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PETALUMA'S BATHTUB ART should not get a dime of public money. The problem with this kind of thing — Frisco suffers a bunch of eyesore "art" — is it might be funny the first time, but years of it? It's like hearing the same joke over and over again. Now, Cristo's Fence, to my highly refined eye (I'd better say I'm joking) was truly beautiful, a magnificent white ribbon winding through the Sonoma County hills.

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But all Cristo needed was permission from landowners and local authorities to do it, not a public subsidy which I would have been for in his case. But Soup Can Art? Petaluma's nuts if it goes for it.

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HIDEOUS OR CREATIVE? Debate rages over bathtub public art project in Petaluma.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 21, 2018

Anderson, Brunk, Canepa

AUSTIN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation.

JOHN BRUNK, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

RANDALL CANEPA, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Fausto, Gitchel, Higgins, King

ESTEBAN FAUSTO, Ukiah. Brandishing.

ANDREW GITCHEL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

MICHAEL HIGGINS, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.

WILLIAM KING, Little River. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Kummer, Malugani, Orth, Silva

KATE KUMMER, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.

JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.

GERALD ORTH, 63, Ukiah. 8/20/2018: Attempted murder, reckless possession of explosive device on public street, ammo possession by prohibited person. (Previously arrested for failure to register as sex offender.)

MANUEL SILVA, Willits. Domestic battery, contempt of court, probation revocation.

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To the Editor:

I am writing this letter because of reports that are gaining currency, and possibly buy-in by both government regulators and corporate risk managers.

Basically, to reduce responsibility and liability for accountability and massive shifting costs to regulated public utilities, there are discussions about one or a combination of many of the following:

  • Temporary in terms of hours/possibly extended in terms of days, allowing the interruption or shut down of electric power in areas designated as high fire risk during high wind events;
  • Making public utilities legally and financially responsible as a causative agent for wild fires that start anywhere near utility equipment and easements;
  • Making public utilities invest in undergrounding electrical power lines without a public subsidy or partnership, essentially making a regulated public utility subsidize expensive infrastructure investment that isn’t cost effective under any known business model; and,
  • Holding a regulated public utility responsible for tree maintenance on private property, whether existing or planted by a private property owner on an easement or adjoining the easement where the arc of fall or wind whipping will damage transmission lines.

The above concepts, seemingly well intentioned, are a recipe for creating an unreliable utility service suited for a Third-World country. And, the transfer of private responsibility to a regulated public utility will, ultimately, lead to bankruptcy for a necessary utility. Then, lacking a reliable electrical service, and to protect customers with refrigerator/freezers who keep perishable foods at home, or others with medical needs requiring power, there will be a rush to do one of the following-

  • Install whole house battery backup systems that many utility customers cannot afford;
  • Install solar panels with whole house battery backup systems that are expensive; or,
  • Install gasoline or natural gas fueled whole house generator backup systems.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to have owned a home on a street with curbs, gutters and sidewalks knows that they are almost universally responsible for maintenance and replacement, even when such things are not within the lot boundaries. Following this legal precedent, the following should be considered:

  • All utilities that pass through private property are situated on an easement.
  • Property owners are required to contact #811 when excavating, even planting deep root vegetation on any utility easement.
  • As it is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain or replace public service investments, like curbs, gutter and sidewalks on local government easements or property adjoining and providing access to private property, the owner of private property should likewise be expected to properly maintain their property so that it does not damage or endanger a regulated public utility service that is necessary for the health and welfare of the community- their neighbors, who should not be injured or deprived of an essential life service or support. All of this translates into an easy concept of individual responsibility and accountability:
  • A property owner who buys or has owned property and plants trees on a utility easement that are of a height to interact with electrical transmission lines above, or whose arc of fall will damage electrical service equipment, must be required, at their expense, to remove the trees in question.
  • Either inspectors with the utility or the PUC must photograph the involved trees and notify the property owner to remove the trees in question. If there is no compliance within 90-days, a show cause order must be used to condemn the trees, and the property owner should be billed via his/her/their monthly utility bill in an amortized 2-year payment schedule for their removal, or a lien should be put on the property. Egregious refusal should prompt legal action for removal and collection of costs.

Failure to maintain private property represents a public nuisance which, in this example, can have devastating consequences for everyone in a community, and, in the current examples of firestorms, can devastate a region across county lines. Trying to single out a regulated public utility may offer selfish satisfaction because no one likes paying ever increasing bills. But, doing so will have broader, long term negative effects for everyone in California. Owning property carries with it obligations beyond oneself and family, and there are risks, consequences and obligations to and for others. We live in community.

David W. Dippel

San Francisco and Redwood Valley

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I think we read the old writings without realizing what it is we’re reading. Like what you said, the Flood story being an account of environmental calamity. As you said, rising waters from a vanishing Ice Age. Where do we find evidence of same? Why, right under our noses as it turns out, the north-west US devastated by gigantic lakes of glacial melt-waters as they burst their banks. Not only there but the Black Sea as a rising Mediterranean Sea burst through the straights, a trickle of a waterfall turning into a deluge that turned a small lake at the bottom of the basin into a sea expanding at the rate of a mile a day. Many peoples have got stories of disastrous floods, the question being what accounts for them? Maybe 6 or 8 million cubic miles of glacial ice melting in a couple thousand years that raised sea levels by 300 feet. I’ve read that some Native Indian tribes have got legends of walls of ice – glaciers?

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WHEN PEOPLE DECRY how “the PC police” are throttling free speech, I always want to ask them: “What is it you want to say that you feel you can’t say today? I mean, really, what is it? After all, you can take the most extreme political positions and be given a national platform by vastly powerful media empires, or by the political party that controls all three branches of government and most states as well. You can start a gutter news site, spewing lies and hatred about minorities, and be given millions of dollars by oligarchs like the Mercers. You can refuse to serve somebody in your store or even give them a prescription if they somehow offend your ‘religious sensibilities.’ And so on and so forth. So again, I ask: in what way – in what specific way – do you feel throttled or thwarted or oppressed in expressing yourself? Again: what is the specific thing you feel can’t say?”

And I think it comes down to this: they want to say the n-word. They want to be able to call black people that word, in public, in print, on the web, wherever, and not face any consequences for it. That seems to me to be the very core of “anti-PC” ideology. (And of course, if they could use that word again, then all the other racist, sexist, ethnic slurs could come back as well.)

I’ve always felt this was a key element to the wide-eyed adulation we see at Trump’s rallies. He’s already licensed them to express so many other nasty, brutal, primitive feelings they used to bottle up in polite company, and they sense that one day he will finally give them permission to use the n-word. Then they can throw off the last restraints of empathy, reason and decorum, and let the beast that lives in each of us run free, rabid and ravaging, soothing all their anxieties, self-loathing and doubts with the false certainties of hatred, the false promises of “supremacy,” the false self-regard of “specialness” – and the powerful intoxicant of projection, putting everything that’s wrong in your life, and in the world, onto the back of a Judas goat to be mocked, rejected and sacrificed.

— Chris Floyd

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The banning of right wing controversialist Alex Jones from multiple social media platforms recently was a cause of celebration for many liberals, but should those on the left really be so complacent about creeping censorship? So far, the evidence suggests that there is indeed plenty for the left to worry about when it comes to corporations like Facebook and Twitter and their alliances with government censors.

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The Inland Mendocino Democratic Club will hold their next meeting on Thursday, September 13, at 5:30 pm, at their new HQ, 1030 N. State St., Ukiah. Let’s all join together to make our county an oasis of Justice and Peace. Together, in coalition, we can take progressive action and protect our county from the incoming Conservative nightmare. Come lend a hand.  All are welcome.

See us on Facebook and at

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“FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS GUIDE, we’ll refer to the vagina as the “front hole” instead of solely using the medical term “vagina.” This is gender-inclusive language that’s considerate of the fact that some trans people don’t identify with the labels the medical community attaches to their genitals.”

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FREE EV TEST DRIVES at Ukiah Farmers Market on 8/25

Media and the public are invited to take free electric test drives with no sales hype during the Ukiah Farmers Market this Saturday, 8/25. BMW and Honda models will be featured. Visit the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project Drive Clean booth to sign up. The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project <> promotes clean vehicle adoption in California by offering rebates of up to $7,000 for eligible electric vehicles.

EV Test Drives: 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Alex Thomas Plaza, School Street &amp; Clay Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

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"As some have noted, the editorials in question will likely help Trump whip up support among his base against a monolithic press. Just as clearly, the establishment media can draw attention away from their own failures, corruptions and falsehoods, simply by focusing on Trump’s."

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“One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Russian troll farm.”

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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is looking for donations of Amaryllis belladonna bulbs (Naked Ladies). If you would like to donate your extra or unwanted bulbs, please bring them by the nursery at the botanical gardens. If you have any questions contact the Nursery at 964-4352 x 12 or



  1. Marco McClean August 22, 2018

    I agree it’s not a good idea to give hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money to some fake artist to plunk shapeless masses of metal or stone down by a pathway and call it Woman, when they should go on and finish it and actually make it look like a woman, as in the New Yorker cartoon. But I can’t help but admire the precarious spindly walking bathtubs lit from beneath in a mist, in a frozen moment on their way from here to there for some purpose of their own. That’s exactly the magical sort of thing that I remember staring at when I was little, fascinated by it, imagining all sorts of situations because of seeing it. The Space Needle in Seattle was like that. A rock path over a stream in Fern Dell. A line of power transmission towers. A house on a cliff, cantilevered out over the freeway. Chesley Bonestell paintings of rocketships and alien landscapes. Sweaty, bloody horses fighting like demons seen in a flash as we passed by on 99 on the way to Fresno. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Every Tesla coil I ever made, playing with it with Juanita in the kitchen, with the lights out so that, as well as the lightning blasting from the coil, you could see a spray or nimbus of blue around every metal thing in that little pink house in Caspar.

    There was a big naturally formed metal meteorite on a plinth in the Griffith Observatory, and the greatest thing in the world when I was five years old was to stand there and look at it, that had come from literally outer space, and push my hands and arms into the holes in it. And for some reason I loved images of Saturn, and every time they took me to the Griffith Observatory I insisted on going to the souvenir counter to see the /photographic slide/ of Saturn that they had used the telescope on the roof to take. They probably made thousands of copies of them, but I didn’t know that; I just knew that it was expensive and we probably couldn’t afford it. But one day after many visits my mother or my grandfather secretly bought that little slide and gave it to me when we got home and I was fucking ecstatic and fell asleep with it pressed against my eye.

    Art is art.

    Marco McClean

  2. Bill Pilgrim August 22, 2018


    Next time your up in Fort Bragg take a walk on the new coastal trail. I think they’ve done a great job with layout and reclaiming native flora.

  3. SN August 27, 2018

    Perhaps Item (9a) may also be about the immediate re-hiring of Chelsie Thurmond, PD Dept. attorney as well the New PD. She was covered by her union’s collective bargaining agreement and was summarily and very wrongly fired by the former Assistant Public Defender Christiane Hipps. She rightly filed a grievance and should be re-hired.

    Also wonder if Hipps is filing a wrongful termination suit herself since she is dumpster fire crazy and litigious (See San Mateo Superior Court Probate case files).
    Basically forced out of SF PD office

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