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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018

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Acres Burned: 376,000. Containment: 67%. 3114 personnel.

Firefighters are making good progress on the northwestern portions of the Ranch Fire. Crews continue to build and reinforce containment lines and mop up. Firing operations continue in northeastern areas of the fire throughout the evening as weather conditions permit. The fire growth has been moving north/northeast for the past several days, and will continue to do so at a lower rate of spread due to more favorable weather conditions. The southern portion of the fire remains in patrol status as crews continue with suppression repair and mop up. (Calfire)

(USFS update Friday morning): On Thursday, crews mopped-up hot spots near containment lines in the Bloody Rock and Little Round Mountain areas. Felling teams with chainsaws cut down hazardous trees to make conditions safer for crews working in the burned area. Chipping crews removed vegetation that was cut to widen containment lines. Firing operations on the fire’s northern flank were completed. Crews will continue improving containment lines, removing vegetation near lines and felling trees. Firefighters are also mopping-up hot spots in the Pine Mountain area.

USFS Mendocino Engine 332 crew members and a water tender operator fill a porta-tank to supply firefighters with water for mop-up in the Pine Mountain area.

Engine crews are patrolling the Rice Fork Summer Homes and Pillsbury Lake areas. This area remains under a mandatory evacuation order. Crews are prepared to defend homes in Bonnie View/Happy Camp.

On the east side, firing operations are progressing from the north and the south. Very Large Air Tankers (VLATS) are supporting firefighters with retardant drops to strengthen containment lines. Firing operations will continue for the next several days as crews work to contain the fire. Increased smoke from this operation is likely to be visible to residents east of the fire and travelers along the I-5 corridor.

The fire grew approximately 7,390 acres in the last twenty-four hours. The fire is now estimated at 366,765 acres and is 67 percent contained. Currently there are 3,457 personnel assigned to the Ranch Fire.

A feller (tree faller) from southern Oregon saws into a hazardous tree in the Little Round Mountain area on the fire's north flank.

Fire Area Weather: A moderate marine influence will persist over the fire area Friday with lower than average temperatures and higher than average humidity. Temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80s with light southwest winds. Later in the afternoon winds are expected to be from the west and northwest.

CALFIRE'S MENDOCINO COMPLEX UPDATE (Saturday 7am): 426,177 acres; 76% containment.

"Weather conditions continue to be favorable on the Ranch Fire. Firefighters are making good progress on the northwestern portions and fire suppression repair efforts are beginning. Crews continue to build and reinforce containment lines and mop up throughout the northern portions of the fire area. Firing operations are expected to continue today, focusing on the northeastern areas of the fire as weather conditions permit. The southern portion of the fire remains in patrol status as crews continue with suppression repair and mop up."

(click to enlarge)


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44TH GREAT DAY IN ELK! Happens August 25, 2018

The 44th annual Great Day in Elk celebration will be held Saturday, August 25, from noon until 7:00 p.m.  This fun-filled family day is sponsored by the Greenwood Community Center.

Great Day starts with a parade through town starting at noon on Highway 1.  Festivities continue at the Community Center, with carnival games with prizes, face painting, and do-it-yourself craft projects for kids.  There's the famous $100 greased pole, a watermelon-eating contest, sack races, a silent auction, a crafts fair, a cake auction, a massage booth, and a raffle drawing.  The afternoon entertainment on the outdoor stage features live music with Gwyneth Moreland and others, along with Trillium Tribe belly dancing.  Go home with a T-shirt and/or hat to remember the day.

Daytime food includes old-fashioned hot dogs, fresh-baked focaccia bread, Moroccan lentil soup, Caesar salad (with chicken option), tamales and lots of homemade sweet treats.  Quench your thirst with fresh-pressed Greenwood Ridge apple cider, Elk's famous margaritas, local beer and wine, or a soft drink.  An outdoor BBQ dinner will be served from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., featuring grilled tri-tip with garlic mashed potatoes or a green chile-cheese enchilada with black beans, along with bread and salad.

For the comfort and safety of humans, please leave much-loved dogs at home – they will be happier and can avoid the stress of noise, crowds, odors.  Thank you.  Hope you enjoy the day!

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A Reader Writes: “Why has there been no follow up on the investigation and now demotion of former Chief/Captain Kirk Thomsen at the Ukiah Valley Fire Department? Accusation of sexual harassment and misconduct still just get swept under the rug in the gold old boys’ fire department in Ukiah? So much for the #metoo and AboutTime movement. No progress seems to be made in the small town of Ukiah. A six-month leave, an investigation costing over $10,000, and no accountability to the citizens who foot the bill for any of it. Deeply disappointed in the lack of transparency of our local officials when it comes to protecting one of their own. Years of despicable behavior and harassment toward female board members, employees, interns, students and junior firefighters all quieted for the sake of his dignity? Disgusting. Now he will be walking into each and every one of our homes at our most vulnerable times? I am deeply concerned.”

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ED NOTE: According to


Mr. Thomsen is listed as “Interim Fire Chief” in Ukiah with Kevin Jennings, Syd Dearborn and Justin Buckingham working for him. However, the Ukiah Valley Fire District webpage shows Dan Grebil as “Fire Authority Administrator.” But the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority facebook page says Mr. Dearborn retired in June, so the Ukiah info is apparently outdated. And none of the links to the Fire Authority meeting documents on the Ukiah webpage work so we can’t look any further into whether this subject has arisen since Thomsen was first put on administrative leave in January.


The only woman on the Fire Authority Board is an insurance agent named Jenifer Bazzani who describes herself as “business owner, woman, mom” on her twitter account. She was appointed to the Board in lieu of an election in November of 2017. Judging by the limited info on-line Ms. Bazzani doesn’t seem very interested in fire department activities in these days of high fire danger. However, she is an insurance business partner with Ukiah City Council member Maureen ‘Mo’ Mulhern. We do not know if they sell fire insurance.

Background: County Notes (Jan. 17, 2018)

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by Mark Scaramella

Under “Budget Update” in the August 21 CEO report:

“A Metric Dashboard has being [sic — could be ‘has been’ or ‘is being’ — we don’t know] created for each department to report on their progress each month to the Budget Team including such metrics as:

Adopted Budget to Actuals (detail vs summary)

Vacancy rate with department projected savings to the end of fiscal year

Three efficiencies from each department/division (this allows for sharing of best practices)

Grant funding opportunities explored/awarded during the month.

Other metrics will be added during the year such as Contract management and administration reporting.”

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Supervisor John McCowen explored the subject a bit further at Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting:

McCowen: “I see in the CEO report that data dashboards are being created for each department. I support all of that. I think it's something that the board has been asking for for quite awhile. The Executive office and leadership have been working to implement it. I would question — and I understand we have quarterly reports also — about the fifth or sixth paragraph down it says budget update reports will be presented to the Board of Supervisors every other month.”

[“Budget update reports will be presented to the Board of Supervisors every other month in addition to the regular quarterly and mid-year reports. The next Budget update reports will be October 16, 2018, and December 18, 2018, with the first quarter report being presented on November 6, 2018.”]

McCowen (continuing): “I would think we can put all of this information out monthly on the website so that it's out there all the time for everyone to see updated monthly. That would be a good practice to adopt. It doesn't seem like it would be a significant additional workload to do that.”

Janelle Rau (Deputy CEO, sitting in for CEO Carmel Angelo): “Supervisor, are you envisioning reports on the county's public website? With the metric information?”

McCowen: “Yes! On a public website that would have all of this reporting information. And I assume each department is submitting to the Executive office: here is our update. So I don't see why for each department that update couldn't be on the website. Or maybe it's just a link.”

Rau: “Correct. We can –”

McCowen: “By whichever means.”

Rau: “We completely agree. Transparency is definitely something we are aiming towards. This gathered information will inform not only the board but the public. We would be using the CEO report as a conduit to get you this information. But we can definitely make it available in multiple formats via the CEO report and also a link to a site on our budget website page of the county. The only clarity I would give you that is we work pretty much a month behind — the books close two weeks into the following month. So for the month of July for example it doesn't close until mid-August.”

McCowen: “Right.”

Rau: “We could put that clarification out and be just giving them the information, and by the way, as of x day. So I think the more we can provide the better. I do know that this has been — we have taken criticism in the past for not having as much information available and I think this would go to speaking to that transparency. So we can definitely work on something and we will inform the board where it can be found so that it's available and put some information out there.”

McCowen: “I think it goes to budget tracking as well as staffing as well as — I like including the efficiencies that departments are achieving and other grant funding opportunities so that the metrics are appropriate. I know the more information the better. It's all public information anyway.”

Rau: “Correct.

McCowen: “So unless there is any objection it sounds like the executive office is willing to —”

Board Chair Dan Hamburg: “…Willing to do it.”

Rau: “What we can do is commit to that. We will have something probably we can target by October. I wouldn't want to commit to having it available right this second until we can get a format. So that the board is aware, we will kind of work to that time frame and we will keep you informed as we are working on progress and possibly coming in here with a demonstration for the board and the public to show where they can find the information. And the easier it is to find the better. Sometimes I find myself trying to maneuver the county's website and it's a struggle. So we will be looking at the most efficient way to do that so that it's easily accessible and we will be working with our departments to understand that this is board direction that we are working towards implementing as well as it’s public information. The easier the better. The more information we put out there the less likely we are to have public requests for information if it's already made available.”

McCowen: “I agree completely. I also agree completely that we should take the time to do it right rather than rush it. I am very supportive of that.”

Rau: “Thank you.”

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Will anything even close to this happen in October? History says no. But we live in hope.

PS. Also on Tuesday, Supervisor Dan Gjerde asked about the Sheriff’s overtime budget which was supposed to be reported on monthly since last June when the CEO arbitrarily set it at $300k. Gjerde was referring to passing mention in the CEO’s “budget update”: “The Mendocino Complex Fire has most certainly added additional challenges to meeting the budget goals. For example, the Sheriff’s department has expended 45% of their budgeted overtime, working long hours to support the first responders while also performing their regularly assigned duties.” I.e., 45% of the overtime budget gone in less than six weeks, or about 11% of the year. As Supervisor Croskey said in June, the overtime budget should have been at least $1.6 million based on historical usage. Of course, this simple mention in the CEO report hardly amounts to “monthly reporting,” although it is better than nothing. A staffer told Gjerde that some of the overtime might — “might” — be reimbursable under the disaster declaration. But nobody seemed interested in what the status of any reimbursement was.

If this passing mention of the Sheriff’s overtime expenditures is what the CEO’s office calls “reporting,” we don’t expect much in the long-anticipated “data dashboard” in October — or whenever.

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The Jerry Brown Administration and Timber Industry lobbyists are pushing a last minute effort to shove major logging rule exemptions through the Legislature that would inevitably result in major damage from bad road building and logging.

According to the article in the San Jose Mercury News, “Under Brown's proposal, private landowners would be able to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter ‹ up from the current 26 inches ‹ on property of 300 acres or less without getting a timber harvest permit from the state, as long as their purpose was to thin forests to reduce fire risk. They also would be able to build roads of up to 600 feet long without getting a permit, as long as they repaired and replanted them.”

Although the proposed allowed tree cutting is alarming, it is the road building that is even worse. Un-reviewed road building will bring back the bad old days of random slides and crappy drainage sluicing mud into already sediment-laden streams. Goodbye remaining 4 salmon!

Although there is a need for fire resilience thinning, the parameters need to be done carefully and not jammed through at the end of the legislative session. The stuff around here that desperately needs thinning does not have a single 36-inch tree on it, and is unlikely to have even a 24-inch tree either.

What we really need is a non-polluting product for the thinned material.

Sure hope I wake up tomorrow with a good idea on that!

Please let your legislators know that this last minute effort will not provide a good result.  Rather it will bring more big problems.

Kathy Bailey

Wearing my Sierra Club Forest Conservation hat


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FLOW KANA'S PLANS to take over Mendo's pot industry.

From the Intro:

"Swimmy Mendo Owner LLC
130 Frederick St 102
San Francisco, Ca 94117

Applicant: Event Horizon Technologies Inc
1150 Bel Arbres Rd
Redwood Valley, CA 95470

Agent: Richard Knoll Consulting
1265 S Main St
Lakeport, CA 95453

Request: Use Permit to allow for a multi-use cannabis facility at the site formerly known as the Bel Arbres Fetzer Winery. Activities would include manufacturing (Level 1 nonvolatile and Level 2 volatile), distribution, and testing as defined by Mendocino County Code Section 20.243. These activities would be conducted in separate existing structures, in spaces totaling 21,100 square feet. The remaining existing structures (totaling ~46,300 square feet) will be utilized for future activities including expansion of cannabis processing and industrial storage for the aforementioned cannabis activities.

LOCATION: 3± mi. west of Redwood Valley center, on the north side of Bel Arbres Road (CR 238B), 1± mi. west of its intersection with Uva Drive (CR 239). Located 1150 Bel Arbres Drive, Redwood Valley (APN: 162-011-28; 162- 190-06, 162-221-11, 162-240-56; 162-160-08, 162-190- 09, 162-200-24, 162-240-55)."

Full (very large) permit application:

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My hyphenated name didn't work out. L. Little-Dog. The next door dogs just laughed at me. ‘How about Lord Don't Know My Daddy?’ one of them hooted. In fact, I'm the only canine in this community who's got his papers, and I go wayyyyyyy back to the royal family of Little Dogs, not that pedigree matters to these hell's spawn.”

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If there's something this coast has lacked it's a sports show over the airwaves. And don't get me started on what the coast radio stations offer up to the public on a daily basis.

Starting Wednesday, October 3rd from 3:00 - 4:00 pm the dynamic duo of Jim & Jerry Young will be on the air to give their view on LOCAL as well as national sports on public radio station KZYX (91.5, 90.7 & 88.1 FM on your radio dial).

And it's a "Call IN" show so listeners can express their opinions on the local & national sports scene.

We can't wait for this to start - great idea anchored by two knowledgeable personalities...


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For years, environmental chemist Susan Kegley has studied the effects of agricultural insecticides on bees. Her scientific research fed her desire to do something for these threatened pollinators on a more personal level.

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THIS SIGN, crafted and donated by Reliable Mill in Ukiah, in honor of Battalion Chief Matt Burchett who died in the line of duty fighting the Ranch Fire was received this morning by firefighters from Utah's United Fire Authority and is on its way home to Utah.

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Hello everyone,

I am the youth cheer coach here in Anderson valley. I am trying to get a squad together. I have one with paperwork turned in and two who want to do it. So, I am going to put this out there and hope for the best. The cheer squad is grades 2nd - 8th, you can contact me via Facebook. If I do not get at least 6 girls by August 29th, I will not be able to have a squad this season. They will need to have paperwork filled out, a copy of their birth certificate, payment in full and a physical all in by August 31st, because our first game is September 8th. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

All the best, Coach Kali Johnson

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Letter to the Editor

Mr. Anderson did not write Mr. Philbrick a blank check. He simply has a paper to sell, and with his equanimity of mind, recognizes good copy when he sees it. Mr. Philbrick finally loosened up enough to write an anecdote that is apolitical, and I hope he continues in this vein. He admits to a 50 year war with moles. He does not condemn the moles as being spawn of those goddam liberals. He even admits to firing his handgun at a mole from horseback. This does suggest a certain intemperance of mind.  Obviously he missed the mole, and as an old cowboy, should have known better than to surprise his horse so rudely.  I am not faulting Mr. Philbrick for having an erroneous view of his targeting abilities. I missed a ground squirrel at 5 feet with a rifle. I wonder if Mr. Philbrick is the same old cowboy who admitted that his biggest mistake was to rope a deer.  I hope he will lay off the politics and tell us more stories.

Jay Williamson

Santa Rosa

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 24, 2018

Alvarez, Arnold, Baumeister

ANDREW ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

MICHAEL ARNOLD, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, offenses while on bail, probation revocation.

RONALD BAUMEISTER, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

Becker, Counterman, Duman

JEFFERY BECKER, Redwood Valley. DUI.

TERRY COUNTERMAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, petty theft, vehicle registration forgery.

MARCUS DUMAN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Ellison, Garcia, Kirkland

TERRY ELLISON, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JENNIFER GARCIA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

WILLIAM KIRKLAND, Saint Augustine, Florida/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.

Nelson, Ruiz, Wiley

INESSA NELSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

AGUSTIN RUIZ, Lakeport/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ANDREW WILEY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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In response to a petition from conservation groups, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously today to protect the Humboldt marten under the state Endangered Species Act.

The Environmental Protection Information Center and Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for the secretive carnivore’s protection in 2015.

A relative of minks and otters that dwells in old-growth forests, fewer than 200 of the cat-like animals survive in California in Del Norte, Humboldt and Siskiyou counties. Humboldt martens have lost more than 95 percent of their historic habitat to logging.

“We celebrate the state’s decision to protect the marten and also plan to continue watchdogging unsustainable forest practices that the state could exempt from protection that would undermine the recovery of this special animal,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center.

“Humboldt martens are the wild heart of the Pacific Northwest’s ancient forests, so I hope state protection will be a first step toward their recovery,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Losing these fierce, incredible little creatures to extinction would be unforgivable.”

Humboldt martens were once common in the coastal mountains from Sonoma County north to the Columbia River in Oregon, but trapping and logging decimated and separated populations. Today there are just four small surviving populations, two on national forest lands in Oregon and two in Northern California. The animal is so rare it was considered extinct until it was rediscovered in the redwoods in 1996.

In California martens are threatened by ongoing logging of mature forests, loss of closed-canopy habitat to wildfires and rodent poison used in marijuana cultivation. They are at high risk of extinction because of small population size and isolation by unsuitable habitat as they are reluctant to cross open areas. Martens that try to cross clear cuts face high rates of predation from bobcats and coyotes that hunt in open areas.

Humboldt martens are under review for federal Endangered Species Act protection, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is under a court order to publish a decision on their protection by Oct. 1.

A slinky member of the mustelid family, martens weigh just a few pounds and grow to be 2 feet long with large, triangular ears and a long tail. They eat small mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and berries, and are eaten by larger mammals and raptors.

Press release from the Environmental Protection Information Center

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(Click to enlarge)

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Although I’m a resident of Santa Rosa, I view Petaluma as the gateway to the county, and I’m not thrilled with the idea of bathtubs representing the area.

At the very least, they could honor the well-known and useful egg industry with, perhaps, giant chickens or nice simple eggs that could, if it’s felt necessary, be painted garish colors. If greed is there, advertising could be sold on the eggs — perhaps both chickens and eggs to paint a clearer picture.

And there’s always the ever-popular grape industry. Giant bunches of grapes? Or go modern with giant cannabis leaves. But bathtubs?

June Hargis

Santa Rosa

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I stayed in a village of converted shipping containers for employees on the American Embassy compound in Afghanistan. Each container was a one-room bed/living room with a TV, a desk and an attached bathroom. Each had a window. Concrete walkways wound around them. While they all looked pretty much the same on the outside, some of the insides were elaborately decorated. Other containers served as offices. Surely a precedent for quick, cheap housing.

Virginia Foley


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(Bay City News Service)

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a complaint against a realtor and property owner for alleged price gouging on a rental property in Novato during the October wildfires.

The four-count misdemeanor complaint filed in Marin County Superior Court alleges Pamela Kelley, 55, a San Francisco-based realtor and property manager, and Scott Parke, 57, of Marin County and Vietnam, the owner of the property at 6 Terry Court, raised the rent of the property more than the 10 percent allowed during a declared state of emergency.

Before the wildfires on Oct. 8 the monthly rent on the property was $4,950. After Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Sonoma, Napa and several other counties on Oct. 9, the monthly rent rose more than 10 percent or $495 to $6,800.

A few minutes later the rent was hiked to $9,500 a month, nearly double the pre-emergency rate, according to the complaint.

On Oct. 11, the property was listed at $7,500 a month or 37 percent above the legal limit.

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Dearest Editoria,

I wonder if you could be so kind as to restore a long-appreciated minor feature of the daily upload, the loss of which is merely annoying but you might not realize is so helpful to this reader: A link to the previous day’s edition comments (I don’t really care whose) that enables me to jump to those comments quickly — as it is, having to go up to the search field (and ALWAYS having to insert the day and date — no biggie, but…) to get to the list of previous recent publications is at best tedious, as I ALWAYS read the comments as well as the day’s fresh forage.

Every now and then, Mr. Marmon’s vitriol is helpful to my understanding of Mendo’s mental health debacle, which is not mimicked over on this side of the Cow — chiefly because the county allows no information whatsoever to be uttered in the hallowed chambers of the uberlords, and the general flow of information about any disruption of the middle-class mediocrity that passes for “society” hereabouts is muzzled entirely. Nothing to see here, just keep moving along…

And, as always, tremendous thanks for your Kemper Report report.  Spot on, and as usual reflective of our counties’ mismanagement of ill-spent public monies.

Betsy Cawn

Upper Lake

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ED NOTE: A couple things might help...

Subscribers can click the speech bubble, at top of page, which leads to all comments (non-subbers can use the "Comments" link next to "RSS").

To see what was posted on any particular day, there is an archive calendar near bottom of right column (internal pages).

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That guy who got awarded all that money, that you seem to feel  proves that glyphosate is a terrible poison threatening us all, was a groundskeeper who drenched himself in weed killer every day at work.  After awhile he began to get skin problems, so he wrote to Monsanto to ask about that and they didn't write back. So he kept drenching himself in the same weed killer, day after day, week after week, and so on, and eventually he's sick unto death, and a lawyer convinced a jury that it's all Monsanto's fault, which wasn't hard to do because they should have written back and said something like, "If soaking yourself in our product for years gives you a rash, stop doing that."

The dose makes the poison. Modern instruments can find parts-per-trillion of anything in anything else. The most "organic" diet ever carries naturally occurring materials that are toxic as hell in macro amounts but entirely harmless to babies and puppies in amounts normally consumed. I say hurray for tasty mass-produced cheap nutritious packaged food products, and even hurray for Dollar Store bags of Fruitastic bubble gum, which is good for your teeth and jaws because it's stale and hard and requires vigorous chewing.

Living in the real world you have to learn to protect yourself from real harm. You learn young not to hold your hand in a flame, nor smoke anything nor drink alcohol nor run with scissors or poke the zoo lion with a stick. These things result in pain and damage and coughing and throwing up and stupid behavior and blood and if you have a brain in your head you learn fast enough not to do them at all. If you find you're allergic to something, don't eat it or wash your hair with it or swim in it anymore. Find something else to poke yourself in the eye with that doesn't hurt you, if you really need to poke yourself in the eye.

That poor guy. The problem is, he might have lost his job if he'd refused to use the weed killer they provided for him at work. If that was the consideration, he should have sued the school district or park he worked for too.

Marco McClean


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You left out the story of the comedian who told his jokes by numbers. He would shout out fourteen! for example, and the audience would erupt in laughter.

After going through many numbers and many uproarious guffaws, his protégé tried to follow his act by doing the same. Thirty three!, he bellowed, to dead silence. Forty two!, and dead silence still. More numbers followed, same result.

Dismayed and embarrassed, he asked his mentor, “What’s wrong, why aren’t they laughing?” And then he got his devastating answer: “You’re just not telling them right”.

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by Shepherd Bliss

Sebastopol, California — “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” French Nobel Prize winner Anatole France

Searching for a dog, I recently visited three animal shelters. At the final one, I saw a dog that I instantly connected to.

I consulted with my friend Debbie Melmon and decided to adopt her — one of the best decisions in my 73-years. Or was it she who adopted me, as we gazed deeply into each other’s brown eyes?

Loving and being loved by animals can be especially important for elders, as well as children and humans of any age.

I had been dogless for half a year and it was time to once again have a dog companion. My new side-by and I have grown quite close; it is hard to imagine life without her.

Daisie is playful. This old-timer has prayed for more play. She enjoys wrestling, as I do. At around 50 pounds, I can still pick her up, especially when she is a naughty girl. She gets jealous when I play with other dogs or give too much attention to humans, writing, or farm work.

We both like body contact. She is very visual. As I write this in my writer’s cabin, she looks out the window. She naps many times a day. She takes good care of herself and let’s me know what she wants. When I work on my computer, she comes over and puts her pretty face and pinkish nose in my lap, a welcome break.

When Daisie arrived home, I set up 2 doggie beds for her. She checked out both. When I went to my bed, she jumped in, and spent the rest of the night there. It was one of my best, deepest sleeps in a long time. She slept through the night. Daisie does sometimes snore, but not very loud.

Someone had taught her many good things — including commands such as the following: sit, stay, come, shake, down, roll over.

She is alert, embodied, and affectionate. She makes and holds direct eye contact, being relentlessly curious. When she wants to go out, she waits patiently at the glass door, which opens up to trees, flowers, my farm, and nature.

Daisie feels like an angel incarnated in a four-footed. Perhaps she was sent to this old-timer to bring love and stimulate my joy at still being alive, during our dark historical moment, and my own wounded knee.

My only other dog as an adult - a wonderful Catahoula Leopard Hound - barked too much for this sound-sensitive guy during our six years together. Daisie does not bark, though she does growl. She is also sound-sensitive; my foot massager startles her.

Our eyes often meet. She radiates a strong life force. Since wounding my knee half a year ago - by falling into a badger hole - my life force has diminished. Daisie is a delight to look at, and have her return the gaze. She has a strong presence and loves to be petted.

“She’s clearly been loved,” said Debbie. “Someone put their time and attention to train her.” She added that Daisie is “fit and athletic. You can see in her eyes and how much direct eye contact she makes that she is smart and curious.”

“Best Friend Forever” reads the bag full of goodies that the Sonoma County Animal Care shelter gave us. If you rescue a dog from a shelter, you may have a life-long friend.

A difficulty with Daisie has occurred, which I work to correct. When a couple of my friends extended their hands to greet me at the Sebastopol Farm Market, she became protective. No damage was done, but my friends were startled, as I was. Was she getting jealous?

Her main competitor for my attention is my computer. When I use it in my writer’s cabin, she does not hesitate to lay her head on my lap. I would rather cuddle her than be online.

Being childless, I sometimes think of Daisie as my child, for whom I must care and provide. Since she’s four-years-old and I’m 73, I think about which one of us will survive the other. I will soon add her to my will and think who among my friends would be the best person to leave her to. Love and death are deeply connected. What else is there at such depth?

Shelters are full of animals, waiting to be adopted and move into homes with two-footeds. They have a lot to offer. We humans have much to learn from dogs and other four-footeds.

(Dr. Shepherd Bliss { is a retired college teacher. He has contributed to 24 books and owns Kokopelli Farm.)

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by James Kunstler

History has a velocity of its own, and its implacable forces will drag the good, the bad, the clueless, the clever, the guilty, the innocent, the avid, and the unwilling to a certain fate. One can easily see a convergence of vectors shoving the nation toward political criticality this autumn.

Mr. Trump is like some unfortunate dumb brute of the ancient Teutonic forests with a bulldog clamped to his nose, the rest of the pack close behind snapping at his hamstrings and soft, swaying underbelly. His desperate bellowing goes unanswered by the indifference of the trees in forest, the cold moon above, and all the other furnishings of his tragic reality.

As these things tend to happen, it looks like the exertions of Robert Mueller have turned from the alleged grave offenses of a foreign enemy to the sequela of consort with a floozie. Down goes Mr. Trump’s private attorney, Michael Cohen, in his personal swamp of incriminating files and audio recordings. Enter, stage left, one David Pecker, publisher of the venerable National Enquirer — the newspaper of wreckage — on his slime-trail of induced testimony. And there is your impeachable offense: an illegal campaign contribution.

One way or another, as Blondie used to sing, I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha.

Some in this greatest of all possible republics may be asking themselves if this is quite fair play, given the hundreds of millions of dollars washed-and-rinsed through the laundromat known as the Clinton Foundation, and related suspicious doings in that camp of darkness. But remember, another president, Jimmy Carter, once declared to the shock of official Washington that “life is unfair.”

What I wonder is what these dogs of vengeance reckon will happen when they achieve their goal of bringing down the bellowing bull and pulling his guts out. Perhaps a few moments of tribal satisfaction, one last war dance around the fire, and when the fire dies out, they will find themselves under the same cold indifferent moon with blood on their snouts and an ill wind blowing in the tree tops.

After two years of fomenting hysteria, the “winners” will discern the reality behind all the melodrama: the financialization rackets that replaced what used to be the economy have come unglued, and institutions begin to fail left and right: banks, pension funds, corporations, state and municipal governments, federal promises to pay this and that, and, in general, the ability of the USA to carry on anything approximating what might be considered normal life.

It will be interesting to see how the impeachment of Donald Trump plays as all this goes down. My guess is that the people warning about a second civil war are not far off the mark. The final consequence of a political-economy based on the proposition that anything goes and nothing matters will be the rueful discovery that consequences actually exist, and consequently that anything can’t go and some things really do matter: like whether or not money is actually worth what it says it’s worth.

That issue will surely be determined by whether the borrowers of money can possibly pay back what they owe. The discovery that it’s impossible will coincide with whatever the legal fate of Donald Trump’s presidency might be. The result of all this is apt to be a political nightmare of bankruptcy and bloodshed that makes the first civil war (1861-1865) look like a tale of knighthood in flower.

Our national living arrangements are far too fragile. The players on both sides of this dire game must assume that the trappings of American life are sturdy, and they are quite wrong about that. Personalities are not in control anymore. Murphy’s law rules, and we’re about to find out how that law differs from the federal election statutes and the humdrum business of indicting ham sandwiches just because they’re out there on the table.

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

* * *

MARX AT 200: How Do His Theories Hold Up?

by Timothy M. Gill

This year marks the 200th birthday of Karl Marx. Activists continue to evoke his name in their struggles, academics continue to engage with his work in ways that are multidisciplinary and multivalent, and social scientists continue to test his empirical claims. Social scientists like, well, me.

Marx, in Brief

Marx’s writings are extensive and debate-worthy. That Marx wanted to influence real-world, political-economic change is obvious: while the front of his gravestone reads “Workers of All Lands Unite,” another side reinscribes his pragmatic vision: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.”

For academics, Marx is particularly notable for the central focus he placed on social class, defined by one’s relationship to the means of production. Briefly, Marx split classes into two camps: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie control the means of production, owning businesses, farms, fields, and mines, while the proletariat has nothing to sell but its own labor.

The Communist Manifesto, which Marx wrote with his comrade and financial benefactor Friedrich Engels, puts forth many direct, testable claims. Far from Marx’s only influential work, the Manifesto remains Marx’s most widely read work. Most believe it is also among the clearest presentations of Marx’s understanding of domestic and global dynamics. Because he primarily focused on Western Europe and the U.S. in this volume, let’s consider five of Marx’s Manifesto claims regarding these areas of the world.

  1. Societies are “more and more splitting up into… two great classes directly facing each other – Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.”

There are two ways to grapple with this claim. First, there is the surface-level assertion that capitalist societies involve a binary between a business class and a working class, and that the two are in inevitable conflict as the conditions of the working class deteriorate over time.

In many ways, this claim is inaccurate. We can quickly recognize that the U.S. and Western Europe contain a range of professions that defy working- and business-class categorization, particularly those middle-class professions now requiring a four-year college degree or beyond. Life expectancy rates have risen substantially and individuals (especially in Western Europe) have more access to health care, education, and technology and consumer goods than ever before.

Considering the proposition with regard to relative inequality, however, lends credence. Some countries allow for far more possibilities for their upper than lower classes. This is particularly true in the U.S., where finances directly confer opportunities for education and quality health care, even as the Gini coefficient reveals that pre-tax levels of inequality in the U.S. are nearly identical to those in Western Europe. The difference is made up in the social policies of Western Europe, which effectively reduce post-tax levels of economic inequality, paving way for less social inequality. Thus, social mobility is far more likely in Western Europe than in the U.S.

  1. History is progressive, and, contingent upon human actions, societies will move toward socialism.

Marx never presented a single, clear vision of a socialist society. Instead, he painted a picture in contrast to capitalism’s inequality, poverty, exploitation, and general misery. Within a socialist society, we would thus expect a radical redistribution of income and wealth, more power and enfranchisement of the working class, and public ownership and control of many important services and industries (education, transportation, and health care, among others).

Space constraints preclude a complete exhumation of social policies all across the world. Suffice to say, though, that since the turn of the 20th century, many countries have implemented social programs aimed at tackling social and economic inequalities. From public health care systems to public schooling initiatives, unemployment insurance, and social security programs, the U.S. lags behind its Western European counterparts in many areas. Even still, with social programs including Medicare and Medicaid, U.S. life expectancy (used here as a rough measure of quality of life) has risen across socioeconomic strata.

The conditions of the working class are supported, in Western Europe, through high levels of unionization. In contrast with the U.S., CEOs there receive lower compensation and employees receive higher and more varied benefits, including paid leave. Socialist, and even some communist, parties have occasionally thrived, even gaining executive power, while, across the ocean, the U.S. has begun to witness a surge of individuals expressing support for socialism, including politicians Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rising membership of the Democratic Socialists of America party.

All together, there is no doubt that history has edged toward more socialist-oriented policies. Neoliberal counter-movements rise and, at times, succeed, but the political terrain has invariably shifted since Marx’s heyday.

  1. The economic forces of globalization will edge out localization.

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”

Marx was right about this. Countries increasingly produce for the global economy, and the world is more economically interconnected than ever. Corporations, with cross-national boards of directors, cross-border mergers, and cross-cultural imports, have shuffled their production processes and economic reach to every corner of the world. Imported products, from food to music to clothing, are ubiquitous in the U.S. and Western Europe.

In recent months, U.S. President Donald Trump has championed certain protectionist measures, but these have received extensive pushback, both domestically and internationally. Even if Trump continues to push back against globalism, the world will move on — some countries have already begun to reconstitute their supply chains and export routes.

  1. Capitalism is prone to highly disastrous crises propelled by an inclination toward incessant profit-making.

“The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.”

Nowhere has this disorder been more evident than in the Great Recession. Without getting into all the messy details, this crisis primarily involved mortgage brokers and investment bankers bringing the global economy to the brink of destruction in 2008. In the U.S., they preyed on poor citizens by providing subprime mortgages, they bundled and sold these volatile loans to global investors, betting against these loans in newly created financial schemes and leveraging banks to the verge of collapse. The U.S. federal government had to intervene to bail out its banks and prevent financial collapse.

Ultimately, these voracious maneuvers had been designed to achieve wild, short-term profits, with no regard for the welfare of the community. It is precisely the sort of crisis Marx predicted, except now we have global crises threatening the global economic system.

  1. Working-class revolutions will unfold in the most industrialized nations, including France and Germany.

“What the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”

Even as Marx’s focal countries have developed some socialist-oriented policies, full-blown “socialist revolutions” have actually transpired outside this high-income, industrialized world. Albania, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam — these rural, low-income societies are quite the opposite of where Marx expected the “grave-diggers” to emerge.

For their part, many Western socialists have taken great pains to reveal the deficiencies of those now-shuttered “actually existing socialist” models and the few that remain, particularly that they lack democracy and often relied (and continue to rely) upon repression and state terror for their viability.

In the end, Marx remains relevant for many reasons. His vision of a more equitable future and his calls to action continue to inspire activists, and his claims provide theoretical direction to social scientists and other academics. Clearly, not all of his assertions have proved true, but they remain relevant after nearly two centuries: Marx’s work centralizes class to the detriment of other demographic factors (including race, gender, and sexuality), yet social class undeniably shapes life chances (especially in the U.S.) as it deeply intersects with these additional, demographic factors. Until these chances are seriously recalibrated, the long-dead Marx will be among the canon of modern social theorists.

(Timothy M. Gill (@timgill924) is an Assistant Professor in the Department Sociology and Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. This article originally appeared on Contexts. Courtesy,

* * *


What would absolutely be lovely is if Melania walked away and started divorce proceedings in the next few months. Why she hasn’t is a mystery. She already has enough money and her parents made it over and seem safe enough, although there is supposed to be an Omarosa tape about how Trump will deport her if she leaves him.

Orange Boy is going down because of overreach. If he had stayed in the gutter of New York Real Estate and crooked finance he would have survived, even thrived like crawl space fungus. But no, he went for the Prize and he doesn’t belong in polite company, (even if they are a bunch of fellow grifters). No one likes obnoxious. Trump has proven to be exactly what everyone thought he was. When he was a ‘30 something playboy,’ the chicks hung on to his arm for a photo. When he was 60 he started paying for sex with skanks. Now, he’s just a fat old guy too coarse for comfort; an embarrassment that reminds us of everything repulsive about being American.

* * *


Work on the Cannabis Overlay Zones continues and draft regulations are being prepared for Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors review.

Michael Baker International, the consultant assisting with this work, conducted four community meetings on July 26th and 27th. A summary of the workshop input as well as background materials and maps related to this effort may be found at:

Within this effort, the County will establish regulations for two new types of combining districts – Opt-In Districts that support cannabis cultivation where it already exists and Opt-Out Districts that would eliminate rights to conduct commercial cannabis operations. Proposed regulations would both guide the creation of future Cannabis Combining Districts and would establish the first Opt-In and Opt-Out Districts within the County.

The Board of Supervisors has determined that strong community support must be demonstrated before a Cannabis Combining District is established. To measure support, Michael Baker will be conducting a digital survey directed to property owners located inside or within 350 feet of each of the proposed Opt-In and Opt-Out Districts. Postcards will reach property owners of each affected parcel early next week directing recipients to a survey specific to their neighborhood/community and each postcard will provide a unique code that will allow one survey response.

The County is aware that many properties are occupied by renters/residents rather than owners. The County also recognizes that renters are in most ways equal members of the community, however, for the purposes of land use decisions and either the granting or curtailing of land use rights, it is necessary to consider the property owner’s wishes for the use of their property. As such, if you are a renter and either support or oppose creation of a Combining District, we encourage you to contact your property owner and ask that they take the few minutes required to respond to our survey.

Comments and questions on the proposed code amendments may be directed to: Due to the number of messages being received, we cannot respond to messages individually. Messages received at this site are being tabulated and consolidated, and a summary of comments/responses to frequently asked questions will be posted on the County website.

* * *


* * *


On September 15th, 2 to 6pm, Barn Party at Kenny Jowers ranch

I'm not one to send out invitations to political events.  So forgive me if you take offense to this email. But I'm excited by the speakers lined up for this event.

On September 15th our local Dems group is throwing a barn party at Kenny Jowers ranch on the corner of Hwy 1 and Mountain View Road with free food and a bluegrass band.  Prominent local and State progressive candidates will be there to speak including Ted Williams, candidate for county Supervisor, Congressman Jared Huffman, State Senator Mike MacGuire, State Assemblyman Jim Wood, State Controller Betty Yee, and State Senator and US Senatorial candidate Kevin DeLeon.

What motivates me most about this event is hearing Kevin DeLeon speak.  I heard him speak at a conference I attended last Spring and must say that he's one of the most inspirational speakers I've heard in the past year. This is not to say that all of the other candidates who will speak are not also wonderful, inspirational speakers.

If you are looking for some optimism and to be uplifted, especially given our current governmental state of affairs, you are encouraged to attend this event. Please also encourage your friends to attend. It is open to all.

Joel Chaban <>

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio

Friday, August 24, 9pm to 5am, there's Memo of the Air, live  from the KNYO performance space at 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar. Your chance to shine. Arrive on foot or by buggy, entre vous,  head for the pleasantly lit room at the back, 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 involved,  that's fine; pull a chair in and join us. Plenty of chairs, some with  cushions, some with splinters; that's freedom.

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. 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.

Speaking of swears, the scheduled old-time radio drama to close the show  (currently The Shadow) will be replaced this time by highlights of my  extensive Leroy and Skillet collection.

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

Bonus track: The golden age of record jacket art. "Relax. You're going  to lose weight."

–Marco McClean

* * *


The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is meeting in Chicago this week, 50 years after the gavel fell at the 1968 Democratic convention in that city. On the DNC’s agenda is a decisive vote on what to do about the party’s “superdelegates.”

* * *


West Virginia activist Selina Vickers, a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, is at the DNC meeting in Chicago to advocate for superdelegate reform. She has been fasting since last Saturday.

She said today: "This isn’t a hunger strike. It isn’t a religious or health fast. It isn’t even a protest. My decision to not eat is a physical expression of the hunger that I feel for change. I hope and expect to have my hunger sated by the passing of the superdelegate reform on Saturday... I’ve traveled, advocated, educated, started a blog, live-streamed -- all I can think to do to push the end of superdelegates.  Now, I had my last meal last Saturday and I won’t eat until after the superdelegate vote this Saturday. It’s all I can think to do to boldly underscore the importance of this critical issue.

"I’ve been waiting for the DNC meeting this Saturday since July 2016. That’s when the DNC (Democratic National Convention) delegates, of which I was one, unanimously passed a resolution to make major reforms within the DNC, most importantly to me, superdelegate reform. Many voters in the 2016 Democratic primary had their vote eliminated by a few very powerful superdelegates. My personal example, the West Virginia Superdelegate Disaster, is that even though Sen. Sanders won all 55 counties in the West Virginia primary, after the superdelegates weighed in, Clinton won West Virginia with only 36 percent of the vote."

John at

Link: Democratic Convention Delegate Fasting for Superdelegate Reform



  1. Craig Stehr August 25, 2018

    Okay, it is 1:08 a.m. in Honolulu, and Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a “tropical storm”. However, unreported is that a typhoon follows, and another hurricane is behind that. It’s been nervy here on Oahu, with lots of wind and a smattering of rain. Of course, the Big Island got hit hard. My friend Jesse Schultz with the IWW in Washington, D.C. just emailed me to say that capitalism is essentially the last twitch of this lost civilization. I replied that climate destabilization is the death knell. Have a nice weekend, everybody. ~Mahalo~

  2. Bruce McEwen August 25, 2018

    It would sure be nice if we could catch some of the moisture Craig’s enjoying in Oahu, some spin-off, spindrift or whatever they call it it when a hurricane changes into a typhoon.

    The last typhoon I saw — and I don’t mean to cue Craig’s pitch — was in Okinawa, c.1970. It filled all the freshwater reservoirs with seawater, and USMC truck drivers like me spent long hours hauling water buffaloes (a water tank on wheels) from water tankers sent from Japan to Naha Port and the USN Seabees warf at White Beach; and from there, on to all the little village town squares to fill the buckets people brought for their water ration …the only work I found truly rewarding in all these years! Since then, I feel I haven’t really earned my keep…

  3. George Hollister August 25, 2018

    Here is something interesting from last April, but still relevant:

    “Santa Barbara County and cities in its boundaries have received 799 permits to grow marijuana — 14 percent more than Humboldt County, according to CalCannabis, a division of the Department of Agriculture that oversees licenses for cultivators.”

    “Small growers might be leading the pack because there’s no limit on how many small licenses an individual grower can have. But businesses for now can only have one license as a “medium” grower, using between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet. That cap is expected to expire in 2023.
    Nowhere has this loophole been more profoundly exploited than in Santa Barbara County, where a half-dozen companies have scored hundreds of “small” cannabis grower licenses plus their token “medium” farm permit.”

    • Bruce McEwen August 25, 2018

      Sir, your are most accurate. I used to live on Michaletourena, in a splendidly airy apartment, right above downtown Santa Barbara, as the guest of a legal secretary who had her tabs on every lawyer in town. This was when Ronny and Nancy were often “in town” which was to say the presicent pres and the first lady were indubitiabily at their rancho above the city.

      You cannot imagine the fun we had, in those years, taking a picnic lunch and a couple of kids up to the Reagan’s Rancho Coast-a-Plenty, to do a little sport-fishing in one of their ponds —!

      This was the week — and please correct me if I’m mistaken, sir, for you of all people should be in a position to either confirm or deny the facts.

      May I refer you to the Kingston Trio’s song: “It Takes A Worried Man To Sing A Worried Song (try youtube, Geo…)

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