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Off the Record (Sep. 19, 2018)

FOR THOSE OF YOU who want to really dig deep into the history of the Potter Valley Diversion in all its complications, please go to

MICHAEL SLAUGHTER has died, just as he said he was going to do in his final message to us. 

A long-time subscriber all the way back to the 1980s, Michael had sent us an email that said, "Today I die. Thank you for the decades together. Michael Slaughter.”

I TOOK HIM LITERALLY. Gave me a fright, it did. Then I thought Michael Slaughter of Pacifica, was kidding, but who's kidding who sends a message like that?

THEN CAME this clarification: "For years I have been saying that when my mother dies, I'm going to change my name. For me ‘Slaughter’ has been a surname only slightly less nasty than ‘Murder.’ (And ‘Michael Murder’ was at least alliterative.) My mother is now gone. And ‘Michael Allan Slaughter" is now ‘Michael Allan’ — at least informally. I'm not well enough to go to court to get it formally changed. I would like to change my Mighty AVA login to ‘Michael Allan’."

DONE, Michael Allan. RIP Michael Slaughter. Long live Michael Allan!

AND THEN we learned that Michael was gone, his name change being his last act.

$6,000 FOR A PERMIT TO REBUILD? A rightfully angry woman named Wendy Escobar, whose home in Redwood Valley burned down in last fall’s Redwood Complex Fire appeared before the Board of Supervisors last week to complain about the County’s treatment of her family.

Escobar: I am here because I am really disappointed with all of you people regarding the fire recovery program, especially [Supervisor Carre] Ms. Brown. I have called you several times and you never call me back. I find that really disrespectful to me and I don't really appreciate that.

Brown: I do not remember getting any calls from you.

Escobar: I left two voice mails.

Brown: What are voice mails?

Escobar: Well, that's what I have. Anyway, I am here because of the building permit costs which I find criminal. I was told that if we stayed and rebuilt that the county was going to reduce the building costs so that they would not charge us $6000 for a building permit. What on earth can you be charging $6000 for? That comes out of our rebuilding insurance money. By the time we do the code upgrades on the sewer, and by the time we do the stupid water system that's going to raise the insurance that everybody is turning off anyway because if you have a little jolt of an earthquake the stupid sprinkler system goes off and floods the house and it won't stop a wildfire from anything. You are talking about suicide today. I know of a person who killed himself over these fires because he didn't have enough insurance to rebuild. Then you guys want to go and rip us off for $6000? You are profiting off of our trauma. It's been a year old almost, next month it will be a year — and this County has done nothing for us, nothing at all. And I find you actually 50% responsible for the fire, for our houses burning down, because if you guys had any kind of plan in effect -- I was at the firehouse that night and I got news for you. They did nothing to stop our houses from burning. One of our neighbors at a water tender that ran around and sprayed some houses and saved them. But had we known about that fire coming we could have watered down our roofs and saved our houses. But we knew nothing! The fire department didn't even go back and save my husband who was asleep in his house. If I hadn't kept calling him and calling him and calling him he would have been victim number 10! So I want something done about these outrageous costs for the building permits. I got my blueprints in over there a month ago. I was told it would be one week before those permits were done and I could have it. It's been a month. Oh, well we are shorthanded they tell me at the building department… Well, I still don't have the permit! And I don't have $6000 to pay for it! If I want to rebuild I have to pay for all these upgrades. Window upgrades -- $2600! Forget it! What are you guys doing for us? You've done nothing! This county is supposed to be taking care of us and if we don't rebuild and stay you are not going to have any taxes or anything. A lot of people -- go around here, go around Redwood Valley and look at all the For Sale signs. People have walked away and left! What are you doing for us? Nothing except gouging us! You worry about contractors gouging us? What about your own Planning Department? And sanitation? It was $7200 for me to upgrade the stupid sewer system and I'm not even building as big a house as I had before. For one year I have been living in a 40 foot trailer on that property where I had to pay for a temporary power pole to go up and now there is another $84 over there, and $160 fee for the septic tank. I don't have any money left to rebuild! By the time I pay all your fees and all your upgrades and this and that -- how do you expect me to rebuild? I have to pay for the insurance. I had to go on state aid because my husband's business burned. He was a handyman. His truck burned down. Now I have truck payments. Now we have to go out and use the insurance money to buy him tools so he could get his business back again!

MS. ESCOBAR was probably subconsciously aware that she was addressing an apparatus containing not a single person who has ever lived with the wolf at the door, people who could write a check for six thousand no problemo. Redwood Valley is heavily blue collar. The Supervisors are securely upper middleclass. The twain hasn’t met in Mendocino County for many years.

Board Chair Dan Hamburg: Thank you Ms. Escobar.

Escobar: So that's what I have to say. I want to know what you guys are going to do about the fees.

Hamburg: I'm sure that Supervisor Brown is trying -- you know if she had heard from you she would have gotten back to you. She is definitely known for paying close attention to the needs of her constituents. I hope you will try again. We are doing everything we can as a county to respond to these issues. I believe our building department has been doing a good job getting permits out. But we are somewhat overloaded. I think you should work with our staff and not give up because there are a lot of efforts that are going forward. And thank you for coming and speaking though, appreciate it.

Brown: I want to talk about the claim that this county has done nothing to help people. This County has worked very hard. We had county staff that put in hours that are unbelievable. To me that statement was just not necessary.

Supervisor John McCowen: The board actually has been and county staff has been focused on doing quite a lot. We live in an imperfect world. Every individual situation is going to depend on a separate set of facts that go with it so we are not in a position to respond to see your to your specific comments but by direction of this Board the administrative permit for the trailer that you've been living in was waived so there was no cost for that. By direction of this board other fees associated with rebuilding can be deferred. The question of how much are they — that's up for discussion but you should inquire of the department what's the process for deferring those fees so that you can get going with your building without having to lay out that cash up front. That option should be available. The county was instrumental in seeking relief for people who were victims of the over excavations on dozens of properties. The county was able to get relief by pushing hard for that. The county with Supervisor Brown and [state senator] Mike Maguire and our CEO and Tammy Moss Chandler is pushing hard to secure significant funding to rebuild the water system in Redwood Valley to be something that was better than it had ever been. We all regret that you are not having a good experience at the present time. But it's a gross overstatement to say that the county has done nothing.

Escobar: But —

McCowen: We are not going to engage in debate but there's two sides to this story.

Escobar: That's right, but I did have to install a temporary powerful and—

Hamburg: Thank you.

Escobar: And I —

Hamburg: I'm sorry, I'm sorry we cannot engage in debate.

Escobar: I'm not debating with you. I'm just saying that OES did come —

Hamburg: I'm sorry, you are out of order.

Escobar: You guys can pat yourself on the back all you want, but you are losing all this money —

Hamburg: We are not patting ourselves on the back.

Escobar: Yes you are!

(Hamburg moved on to the next speaker.)

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: If, as Supervisor McCowen said, the $6000 permit fees are “up for discussion” why didn’t he propose that they be agendized and discussed? They seem ridiculously high for people who can show that their houses burned down in the fire. Ms. Escobar’s complaints are widely shared by fire victims.

A READER WRITES: “Excellent conclusion to the Supes and Ms. Escobar, concerning building permits. Why can't they think on their feet/or seats enough to agendize an obvious problem? As for Carre Brown, if she doesn't know what a voicemail is, it's long past time for her to retire. Way too entrenched in her own miniscule, out of touch, power world. Great job covering this.”

OVERHEARD AT THE NCRA (NORTHCOAST RAIL) MEETING: John McCowen came out of closed session, earlier today, to answer a phone call in a place where it was hard to avoid eavesdropping. It seems that it came from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. From what I gather, someone had accused McCowen of pulling a taser on them at a river, somewhere. Under a bridge. McCowen protested to the deputy that it was pepper spray, not a taser, and that he had it in hand because someone -- a different person, I think -- had been screaming at him from the other side of the river. As best I could understand it, McCowen told the deputy that he was walking back up to his truck with the pepper spray at the ready because of the screaming person, and the other person -- the complainant -- came up behind him and startled him.

WE EMAILED McCOWEN for his version of his interface with a homeless man (Presumably male). Did the 2nd District Supervisor let the guy have it in a sort of stand-his-ground face-off with an assailant? We do know that McCowen spends many, many of his free hours cleaning up after the transients camped along the Russian River and its feeder streams in the Ukiah Valley. We also know that McCowen has often been threatened by campers for merely asking them to clean up after themselves.


(AVA on-line comments)

MikeJ: Or, his activities might be illegal, in violation of section 10 of the state constitution. Don’t know. It is his opinion that even walkers along the river there are “trespassing” if they go beyond 100 feet on each side of the bridge there.

This is not Reno, or Sacramento, or Marysville, or Healdsburg, or Napa….where the people enjoy walking along the river, sitting by it, etc. In Reno there is a massive encampment along the Truckee, close to Sparks. The police visit for purposes of welfare checks only.

He should limit himself to day time clean ups. This is not safe for him. It has been a long time since I have gone down to the river in Ukiah but I used to see graffiti “news” posted about him down there. With one message encouraging he be slapped. PS. After that incident of being chased by the old man with a tree branch, he began carrying a wooden pole with metal overlay.

Bill Pilgrim: RE: McCowen Rumor. Depending on one’s angle of vision, McCowen’s activities around homeless encampments is either noble or heartless. Several homeless persons interviewed by KZYX during the past few months told the same story: he shows up mainly to steal away what few belongings they have in order to push them out.

James Marmon: One would think that after that incident where McCowen accidentally “butt dialed” that marijuana lady while in the commission of dismantling a screaming homeless woman’s camp, (under the bridge) he would have learned his lesson.

Rumors immediately spread that he was physically molesting her. They don’t like him down there, he needs to be careful.

Then there was that other guy that chased him up out of there with a stick. McCowen had him arrested.

Bruce McEwen: It’s all too easy to look down on poor Mr. McCowen, but keep in mind it was none of his doing, he just happened to be born, through blind luck, into a great huge inheritance of rental properties – that’s quite a responsibility, I should imagine; and think of growing up like that, with all the nice things, the best clothes, the latest fashions, the best toys, the newest cars, scads of spending cash — think how awful that would have been: having to suspect every one of your friends of being nothing more than a sniveling little lickspittle, hoping to share in your privileges! What a horror to contemplate the all too likely probability that every gal you ever courted only wanted your money!

You can see the kind of suspicious, defensive personality that would emerge, having been raised under such grievous conditions; and how certain filters would naturally develop. I have seen Super McCowen at these Thursday morning coffee klatches sponsored by the Daily Journal at Schat’s Bakery, and it is a marvel to behold how McCowen can utterly block out and talk right over anyone whose opinion differs from his own.

And now, with all these nice rental properties beset with filthy homeless bums camped around the rentals – well, how can you expect nice people to pay such high rents when these foul slobs are ruining the neighborhood? No-no, it’s more than the privileged should have to countenance.

A few years back some of the police officers at Ukiah P.D. mentioned how they thought McCowen was out of line harassing the homeless, and constantly calling them to come down on the poor beggars. Those cops are no longer employed by Ukiah PD.

Mr. McCowen is really a wonderful, wonderful, awesome, awesome nicey-nice, super nice guy! A great humanitarian and environmentalist – even though his idea of humanity is limited to those who can afford to pay his exorbitant rents, and the price of dinner a Patrona, and his sense of the environment means only the ersatz environment of a Mayberry-type hometown where Sheriff Andy Griffith and Opie can go whistle and fish along the creeks and riverbanks without encountering people who won’t pay his outrageously high rents or work for his miserably stingy wages, but would rather sleep rough, take their meals at Plowshares, and panhandle his tenants for beer money.

Mike J: A question just occurred to me, not for piling on purposes as I wish Mr McCowen a more jazzier and fun passage in life going forward (than this dreary hobby in the dark of night):

What is the basis for his authority to go out and roust people?

* * *

IN DEFENSE OF McCOWEN: 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen is taking some heavy incoming, as above, for his efforts to clean up after the homeless camps fouling the streams and the Russian River in the Ukiah Valley. Some of the slobs fouling the streams and the river resent McCowen's lonely clean-up campaign to which, incidentally, he devotes more hours all by himself than the average self-identified enviro devotes to Mother Earth's welfare in a year. The Supervisor is on a first-name basis with many of the Ukiah area's homeless, and it always has to be said that a large number of them are crippled by drug and alcohol addictions that place them way beyond caring if their feces and general detritus wind up in the Russian River. McCowen cares, and acts on his concern. If he occasionally has to pepper spray a derelict Earth destroyer, I say give him a stun gun, too.

ALBION RESIDENT Jim Heid reports: “The Albion River Inn and the Whitesboro Farm have filed suit in San Francisco to block the geotechnical investigation that was approved by the California Coastal Commission yesterday.” After which a wag named Craig Johnson commented, “When the bridge fails during a seismic event and injures and kills people, who do we get to sue?” Several other coast residents approved, however, one of whom added, perhaps sarcastically, “Maybe a bridge hugging is in order?”


(1) “Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West” by Christopher Knowlton. I hadn't realized that many of the large-scale cattle ranches were joint investments of Brit aristos, Brit as in English, Irish and Scot, but certainly aristocrats whose lives with American frontier types was often mutually unintelligible. Teddy Roosevelt, was also a cattleman in his youth and looked back at his days on the still wild Plains with great nostalgia; his story is included here. Knowlton's fascinating book also includes detailed accounts of the average cowboy's life — impossibly hard work for starvation wages — and much early history of cow towns like Wichita and Abilene.

(2) “Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped The South” by Curtis Wilkie begins with a chilling phone interview with Byron De La Beckwith, assassin of Medgar Evers and a founder of Mississippi's White Citizen's Council. (Murderously opposed to all races except the white one, Catholics including white Catholics, Jews and everyone else except dumb ass crackers.) The author is also a Mississippian who returns from a big city career in journalism to take a close look at his home state which, you shouldn't be surprised to learn, is not Mendocino, but given the choice, Mississippi is far more interesting. De La Beckwith, incidentally, was born and is buried in Colusa, of all places, where his father was postmaster. When his father died, De La Beckwith's mother, took him at age 5 to his parents' home state of Mississippi. How the Colusa connection was made is not known, at least to me. De La Beckwith was also a decorated Marine who fought in the South Pacific during World War Two. He died in prison when he was finally convicted after decades of acquittals by all-white juries of murdering Evers. Lots of interesting stuff in this one beyond De La Beckwith.

(3) “Titan, the Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.” by Ron Chernow. I got it from my fellow bibliophile, Tommy Wayne Kramer, illustrious Sunday columnist for the Ukiah Daily Journal and a native of Cleveland where the titan himself began his ascendancy as the richest man in the world. Contrasting the old mega-capitalists like Rockefeller with, say, people like Trump, and even gifted entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, is how grotesque the new titans seem alongside the old rags to riches fortunes like those amassed by Rockefeller, Carnegie, Frick, Morgan and the rest of them. I was surprised to learn that Rockefeller, even as a kid laboring for peanuts, faithfully tithed a portion of his wages to his Baptist church and was, all his life, a ruthless but generous man.

(4) “The Death Ship” by B. Traven, one of the great mystery men of world lit whose true identity is still the subject of much argument with most scholars concluding he was an American born to German parents who took him to Poland for his formative years between the great wars. Or vice versa. Whoever he was, and in the description that seems to fit him best, Traven was a man of the persecuted, non-communist left, an anarcho-syndicalist whose novels were always graphic, ground floor denunciations of capitalism told by the people on the receiving end of free enterprise. Traven had clearly put in his time as a prole and a stateless political person, finally landing permanently in Mexico. Death Ship describes the life of a penniless seamen whose ship sailed without him but with all his identification. He's expelled from one European country after another until he signs on to the death ship. Traven's fiction is sui generis, especially in its depictions of Europe and Mexico between the wars.

POSSIBLY IN RESPONSE to our recent item about all the retroactive consent calendar items on Tuesday’s agenda, Supervisor John McCowen attempted to explain why nobody pulled any of the five that we saw. After the entire consent calendar was approved unanimously McCowen commented: “There are a number of retroactive agreements on the consent calendar. However, at least most of them, meet the criteria that they were due to circumstances beyond the control of the county so the revenue agreements and so forth in HHSA — that's simply the way those have to be done based on the way funding is dispersed to cover those costs. So they are legitimate consent items.”

SO AT LEAST McCOWEN realized that they appeared to be violations of his “no retroactive agreements” “edict.” And McCowen may be right about the way the funding works in [Health & Human Services] HHSA. But if that were true the four HHSA items would have included an explanation about why they had to be retroactive to truly be valid exceptions from the “edict” and thus eligible for the consent calendar. 

BUT when it comes to the big bucks for outside lawyers the Board has been reduced to signing blank checks and not even asking any questions. Other questions might have been raised too, like, why didn’t we settle this early on? What’s been done to prevent these kinds of suits? Etc. Instead, all we get is irrelevant explanations of the wrong things. (ms)

ALSO at their most recent meeting, the Supes veered off into pure Uriah Heep when Supervisor McCowen began shower praise on former “Interim” Planning and Building Director Nash Gonzalez who has been transferred to Recovery Director now that Tammy Moss Chandler has been moved back to Health & Human Services Director, replacing Anne The Inevitable Molgaard, who apparently returns to her redundant but highly lucrative (for her) job of Assistant HHSA Director. A meeting of the Supervisors doesn’t pass without the following brand of group nuzzle-bumming among people who…..well, they’re lucky to have each other.

SUPERVISOR JOHN McCOWEN: As Director [Nash] Gonzalez transitions from Interim Planning And Building Services Director to the Recovery Director, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge your [Gonzalez’s] leadership and the dedication of your staff in working through as many issues as quickly as possible to expedite permit approval processes, so we are never going to do everything perfectly, but I think overall you have set a very commendable record for being responsive and timely in getting permit approvals out there so people can get on with their rebuilding and recovery.”

GONZALEZ puckered up and returned a big smackeroo to the Supes:

NASH Gonzalez: It's thanks to you, the board, that has given me the opportunity to move the department in that direction. But I also want to thank the department staff that also stepped up during the fires, that also stepped up during the recovery efforts and took it upon themselves to initiate protocols and processes basically without having to be told. They just did it. Mike Oliphant and his team did not need to be told. They just did it. Mike and his team started doing fire assessments while it was going on. So one of the things we started to do was engage as a department, the state offices, especially DTSC [Department of Toxic Substances Control] early on to be able to get them going out there in the field. We jumped ahead before Sonoma County was able to do their part to get people mobilized here in the county first. We were able to get the state agencies here first so that we could get ahead of the curve. It's thanks to the managers in the department that for their quick thinking on this. And also our CEO who provided us with guidance. This is what these people do best — congratulate each other for simply doing what they're supposed to do where everybody compliments everybody do but never produce any solid evidence that it’s gotten done. [Long Pause] And also our CEO who provided us with guidance.”

THIS is what these people do best — congratulate each other for simply doing what they're supposed to do, without producing any evidence that it’s gotten done. (— ms)

PAUL ANDERSEN neatly sums up the inland water situation: "Mendocino County has never been able to get a grip on water policy, so I don’t see how this is going to be very viable. The county water agency is, well, a joke really. I remember the early 2000’s when there was an effort to give the water agency more powers. It died on the vine. Too many little water districts with their own fiefdoms. Look at the situation between the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District as a prime example. More power to our leaders trying to effectuate change but there are some powerful interests opposed to it. No one has been successful as yet."

CHUCK BUSH, the gift that keeps on giving: An 80-page complaint filed with the Riverside County Superior Court has brought several allegations to the forefront of Palo Verde Unified School District (PVUSD), with former Palo Verde High School (PVHS) Principal Brandy Cox and former Yellow Jacket football coach George Dagnino named as two of seven plaintiffs (et al) charging the school district and Superintendent Dr. Charles Bush, among others, with accusations of institutional harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Bush is the former edu-leader of the Fort Bragg schools where his tenure was, to say the least, rocky.) The complaint also details instances of retaliation against those charged with protecting the District’s most vulnerable children after they raised concerns about whether the District’s Individual Education Program (‘IEP’) complied with applicable federal and state laws. The complaint further alleges that both the District and the County of Riverside were negligent in hiring Dr. Bush,” stated Donald R. Holben & Associates law firm, who represents the plaintiffs in the case. “Specifically, the complaint alleges that while conducting the search for a new Superintendent of Schools, the District and the County failed to properly investigate Dr. Bush’s June 2016 resignation as Superintendent of the Ft. Bragg Unified School District after he was named in a Petition of No Confidence that was signed by 95% of the District’s rank-and-file teachers.”

SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE, complimenting outgoing Interim Planning Director Nash Gonzalez at last Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, said that Gonzalez and Mike Oliphant, Building Department Chief, had prepared pre-approved generic plans for two different “modest” house styles. We’re not sure if use of these plans would save any permit fees. “The intent and hope of the Board,” said Gjerde, “is that those plans be available to all Mendocino County residents whether they live in a city or a county or are a victim of the fire or just want to build a house.”

ALBION CONTRACTOR ISHVI AUM was the first person to suggest this idea in our pages back in January. 

IT'S A GOOD IDEA. But this was the first we’ve heard that the County had taken steps in that direction. Usually, when the planning or building department does something genuinely in the public interest, even if it’s minor, they put out a press release saying so. But we have yet to see a press release with the details of this new development. Supervisor Gjerde’s casual mention of it for the 25 or so people who watch the Supes meetings hardly amounts to public notice.

SO on Thursday we of course called the planning department for more information. Of the four options mentioned by their machine we chose to leave a message for the “planner of the day,” whoever he or she is. (There was no option to leave a message for the new boss, Planning and Building Director Brent Schultz who was recently brought in for big bucks to replace Gonzalez.) As of the end of the day Friday, we have not yet received a call back.

WE’RE STARTING TO WONDER — given the absence of a press release and Gjerde's casual mention — if this has really happened or if it’s just something Gjerde was told had happened and he assumed it had been widely publicized. It hasn’t. There’s nothing about it on their website. If we ever get a call back with relevant info we’ll let you know. (— ms)

AN ON-LINE COMMENT re the death of the Utah firefighter: “So basically a call to clear the area that required acknowledgement was never actually acknowledged and the air tanker came in at 100 feet instead of the prescribed 200 feet. And the large blob of water knocked over a big pine tree which fell on the crew that hadn't acknowledged the call to evacuate. I am sorry that is just plain wrong, it should never have happened. The reason acknowledgement is required is to protect the crews, failure to acknowledge should have caused cancellation of the scheduled event. That failure falls directly on whoever was responsible for allowing the continuance of the scheduled drop in light of the non-acknowledgement. It may be that the air tanker was too low (100 feet is really low) and had to dump to be able to pull out, but that was not mentioned in the article. In any case actual mistakes were made that cost a life and resulted in severe injuries. There is almost no job more dangerous or more difficult than this one, which is why the "rules" are normally strictly enforced.”

A PARTISAN SMEAR produced by Democrats to derail the Kavanaugh nomination, came in to focus Sunday, when Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who wrote the letter accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, went public with her story, saying she thought he might kill her during an alleged drunken high school attack. "I thought he might inadvertently kill me," said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in Palo Alto told The Washington Post. "He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing." Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh's classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them and "sent them tumbling."

IF OUR high school years are going into our permanent Rectitude Record, I doubt many male Americans are going to get passing grades. Kavanaugh is your generic Catholic school rich kid trained from birth to salute power, hence his nomination. Reading some of his decisions I don't see anything particularly "brilliant" about them, but "brilliant" like "awesome" long ago wore out its meaning. I can remember rolling around with the girls as a high school kid — in fact we called the girls "rollers" in those pre-consciousness days before we knew enough to fake it, but I don't recall me or anybody else being accused of rape. Of course, there were still serious sanctions in 1957 coming at teen doofi from all directions. It wasn't until '67 that the restraints came off. I hope Kavanaugh is knocked out, but I don't think it should be because he had to be “tumbled” off a high school girl when he was a carnally tortured young papist, privileged division.

NOSTALGICS will want to know that we've got more than a handful of archive articles up. If you haven't noticed, you can take a walk down memory lane right here:

TWK… HANDOUTS DON’T HELP, he [Supervisor McCowen said. What we need is a central facility where people can obtain services and become productive citizens once again. To do it requires coordinated programs addressing common issues the Ukiah homeless population faces. Don’t give money to people who will use it to make more bad choices.

Bad point. John’s mostly wrong, even if I’m not sure I’m right. We’ve been shoveling money into all these programs and service providers for 30 or more years and what do we have to show for it? What have all these groups providing all these magical solutions done with Ukiah’s homeless population?

ANSWER: They’ve made it much, much worse. What the program administrators knew, and the rest of the citizens didn’t, was that there is a lot of money to be made running these programs. Looking down the road they knew solving the homeless problem would end the funding stream. Instead they found ways to generate more income by bringing more homeless people to town for more services.

We’ve given the “helping hand” nonprofits a lot of years and a ton of money, and they’ve all gotten rich and the problems have all gotten worse. Giving more money to the same organizations and expecting a different result is insane, especially when their goals are not the same as yours and mine. They’ve proven to us through the decades that they either don’t know what they’re doing, or that they know exactly what they’re doing and want to keep doing it because they haven’t yet paid off that second home in Palm Springs.

And the other answer to the question about handing 10 or 20 bucks to a poor bloke standing in the hot sun outside Safeway is that he needs the money. Everybody needs money. You need money, I need money and so does the guy pushing a shopping cart. So what if he gets some bonus dollars? This next bottle of vodka isn’t going to be the one that turns him into an alcoholic, makes him quit his job and stop supporting his family. And if he doesn’t get a bottle of vodka he’s not going to wake up sober and cured in the morning and decide to go back to school and earn that degree in aeronautical engineering.

(Tommy Wayne Kramer, Ukiah Daily Journal)


I spend a lot of time blathering about people not seeing what’s right under their nose, but this thing you write about, the betrayal by the Democrats of their natural constituency, the transformation of the party of the American worker into the party of Wall Street, is something that anybody with open eyes couldn’t miss, and congratulations, you didn’t let a generation of misdirection blind you.

You say “The current grievances of most people who call themselves liberals and/or Democrats are mostly mere distractions, designed by the Deep State to keep us from noticing that the world is being stolen from us.”

Environmental degradation, despite the noise and commotion, isn’t amounting to more than noise and commotion, because it’s one of those distractions. Say “climate change” and it’s to the barricades. But is anything of substance being done? Not a chance, because the ones doing most of the talking, the great bi-coastal intellectual class, being wealthy and comfortable, are the greatest environmental malefactors, and they won’t give up their comforts and privileges, least of all their air-conditioned SUVs and jet-powered air travel. YOU have to reduce YOUR carbon footprint, but not them. What they have they NEED, damn you, and besides they deserve what they have.

What comes out of this betrayal by the Democrats, that’s a big question. The Republicans similarly betrayed the trust of their constituents and Kansas isn’t buying their bullshit anymore, and the nomination and election of Trump is the result.

What comes of Democrat treachery? A new party? Will they be the candidates of bread and butter issues that affect the broad swathe of the population or will it be all about Hollywood nuts-n-sluts and sexual derangement? Can they resist Wall Street money?

In my view modern day “progressivism” is about as “progressive” as the expired German Democratic Republic was “democratic”. I hope the new party, if it comes about, re-focuses their energies.

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