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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018

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CULTIVATORS HAPPY, ENVIRONMENTALISTS ‘SHOCKED’ by County’s Proposed Cannabis Regulation Changes

BOS will address new regs Nov. 16

by Jane Futcher

At a special community meeting in Willits on Monday, Oct. 19, the Board of Supervisors’ Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee surprised the audience with proposed changes to “Phase Three” of the county’s cultivation ordinance for 2020. Many farmers thanked the board. Local environmentalists were stunned.

Pot Advocate Ron Edwards addresses McCowen (Click to enlarge)

Speaking for the board’s Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen announced possible revisions to county cultivation regulations in 2020 allowing:

New permit applications on rangeland (RL) subject to a use permit requiring environmental review;

Up to one acre of cultivation for conforming parcels in RL, agricultural land (AG) and upland residential (UR), but only for outdoor cultivation in order to limit proliferation of hoop houses and greenhouses;

Transferability of agricultural permits, provided the farm has a use permit and complies with cultivation requirements;

Four acres of cultivation by more than two permittees provided no single permit exceeds one acre; and

Track and trace limited to the state-approved system once the system is online.

Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg, who chairs the board’s Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee, was a “no-show’ at the Willits Community Center, where about 75 farmers and several county chiefs of staff were on hand.

McCowen’s committee recommended a total of 23 changes, including: elimination of the prohibition on garden visibility from the public right of way; alignment of county generator requirements with state regs; deletion of wildlife exclusionary fences; matching county nursery requirements more closely to the state’s; reducing the number of annual inspectors; reopening the application submission process for six months after adoption of both the Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations and the new cannabis overlay districts.

“I really do want to thank you,” said cultivator Nikki Lastreto, co-founder of Swami Select in Laytonville. “You have blown my mind tonight and I can feel hope for the first time in a long time.” Many other farmers who spoke during the hour-long public comment period also thanked the board for “listening” to their pleas and suggestions.

Lastreto said the committee’s proposal to allow four-acre grows worried her because the change could allow “really big corporations to come in to ag land and do really giant grows.” That, she said, could be a problem for the county’s many small craft farmers.

Dozen’s of farmers who spoke during the hourlong public comment period expressed concerns about confusing advice and long permit back-ups at the county’s Building and Planning Dept.; failure of distributors to pay legal farmers for product; high and/or redundant county taxes; setbacks that are more strict than the state’s, and the need to expand square footage of patient grow sites.

David and Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center expressed outrage at the cannabis committee’s recommendation to allow four-acre grows and to give new permits on rangeland. Rangeland is currently off limits to new permits after 2020, due in part to the Drells’ lobbying efforts and those of the Black Tail Deer Association and the Mendocino Wildlife Association.

“I am stunned and shocked and discouraged that you would open up to new permits in 2020,” David Drell said. “You’re going into new bigger grows.” He implored the county cancel Phase Three and “figure out who’s growing or who’s growing illegally first.”

Ellen Drell told the committee it was “irresponsible” to allow expansion of cannabis cultivation with the current regulation program in “such chaos.”

Traci Pellar, co-founder Mendocino Wildlife Association, said she opposed rangeland expansion, at least until the county can thoroughly assess “who’s legal and who’s not” and determine how the county’s small farmers are doing.

At the end of the meeting, McCowen took a straw poll of the audience on his committee’s 23 recommendations. The plan to open rangeland-zone properties to new permits in 2020 was by far the most popular with the audience.

The supervisors’ Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee will present its recommendations and discussion points to the entire Board of Supervisors on Friday, Nov. 16.

(Jane Futcher is the host of The Cannabis Hour, every other Thursday at 11 a.m. on KZYX.)

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(Click to enlarge)

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Another No for Mo and Jimbo

Ukiah voters should be asking what the incumbents on the Ukiah city Council have done in the last four years. What is their record of accomplishment? How about squandering millions of dollars fighting the Sanitation District lawsuit? This waste of millions of dollars in public money must be laid at the feet of the Ukiah city manager and his rubberstamped City Council including Jim Brown and Mo Mulheren.

For the last four years the city manager and City Council have stonewalled the district and tried to browbeat them into dropping their lawsuit against the city. Jim Brown, Mo Mulheren and the rest of the council tried to shame the district into dropping the lawsuit, constantly whining about the waste of public funds spent on lawyers and claiming the lawsuit was baseless.

The city even tried packing the District Board of Directors by backing a slate of candidates that included Mo’s close friend and business associate Andrea Reed. Three incumbent board members were voted out and three new ones, a majority, were voted in. Except one of the new board members was persuaded that the lawsuit was valid and refused to cave in to demands to drop the suit.

After failing to get the lawsuit dropped the city has agreed to a settlement that will pay the district over $16 million with $6 million going to pay off the district's lawyers. The city will also pay millions more for its own lawyers. Despite all the claims to the contrary, the district lawsuit was valid. But by dragging the case out for years and only settling as the case was going to trial, it was the city wasting millions of dollars on attorneys instead of coming to terms.

In four years, Jim Brown and Mo Mulheren have gone along with whatever the staff puts in front of them. Now it has cost us, the taxpayers, $16 million plus attorney fees. But that is not all. Every Ukiah public works project results in huge cost overruns but no one on the city council ever asks why or tries to hold anyone accountable. Now the voters have a chance to hold Jim and Mo accountable by voting in a new city council.

Name Withheld


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Election Results 2018 view at the Mendocino Hotel

Looking for the live election results? Come down to the Mendocino Hotel on election night and watch them with your friends and neighbors. Will be showing results on 4 TV's with a different channel on each. Hope to see you there.

Front Desk, Mendocino Hotel (707) 937-0511 (800) 548-0513

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Pot brownies? Never touch the stuff myself, but Skrag? He's always under the influence, sleeping all day and listening to Grateful Dead music and other stoner tunes. You gotta be loaded to listen to that stuff.”

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Willie McCovey, the Hall of Fame first baseman who played 19 of his 22 seasons with the San Francisco Giants and slugged 521 career home runs, died Wednesday at age 80.

The Giants said McCovey died "peacefully" after battling "ongoing health issues."

"San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken," Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. "Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched.

"For more than six decades, he gave his heart and soul to the Giants -- as one of the greatest players of all time, as a quiet leader in the clubhouse, as a mentor to the Giants who followed in his footsteps, as an inspiration to our Junior Giants, and as a fan cheering on the team from his booth."

The Giants paid tribute to McCovey on Wednesday afternoon by flying the flags at AT&T Park at half-staff.

Nicknamed "Stretch" because of his 6-foot-4 frame, McCovey teamed with Willie Mays to create a formidable 1-2 punch in the Giants' lineup for the 13 seasons the two played together.

McCovey retired in 1980 with the most home runs ever by a left-handed hitter in the National League, a mark that stood until 2001 when Barry Bonds, another Giant, broke it. He finished his career with 18 grand slams (second only to Lou Gehrig at the time), and led the league in home runs three times and RBIs twice. He was a six-time All-Star who finished his career with a .270 batting average, 521 home runs and 1,555 RBIs.

McCovey made his major league debut in 1959, going 4-for-4 in his first game. He hit .354, with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in 52 games that season and was named Rookie of the Year.

One of McCovey's best seasons came in 1969, when he won MVP honors. That year, he led the league in home runs (45), RBIs (126) and on-base percentage (.453).

McCovey was traded by the Giants to the San Diego Padres in 1973. He played in San Diego and Oakland before returning to San Francisco as a free agent for his final four seasons. He won the Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year award his first season back with the Giants in 1977.

McCovey is one of seven players in history to win a rookie of the year award, a league MVP and an All-Star Game MVP award. The others are Cal Ripken Jr., Mays, Mike Trout, Frank Robinson, Fred Lynn and Ichiro Suzuki.

One honor that eluded McCovey was a World Series ring. He came close in 1962, coming up short in a nail-biting seven-game series against the New York Yankees. McCovey went to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, his team down 1-0, with runners on second and third base. McCovey sliced a drive toward right field that looked like it could drive in the winning run but instead was caught by Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson to end the game and the series.

The Liner To Remember

The moment was so iconic that it was featured in a Peanuts comic strip.

"I still think about it all the time," he said in 2014. "I still think, 'If I could have hit it a little more'."

McCovey's legacy in San Francisco has endured past his career. Home runs hit over the right field wall at AT&T Park splash into the water of McCovey Cove, and the "Willie Mac" Award, voted on by players, coaches and training staff, is awarded by the Giants every year to recognize the team's most inspirational player.

McCovey had spent the past 18 years in a senior advisory role for the Giants. He had been getting around in a wheelchair in recent years because he could no longer rely on his once-dependable legs, yet was still regularly seen at the ballpark in his private suite. He had attended games at AT&T Park as recently as the final game of the 2018 season.

"Every moment he will be terribly missed," said McCovey's wife, Estella. "He was my best friend and husband. Living life without him will never be the same."

McCovey had a daughter, Allison, and three grandchildren, Raven, Philip, and Marissa. McCovey also is survived by sister Frances and brothers Clauzell and Cleon.

The Giants said a public celebration of McCovey's life would be held at a later date.


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NO QUIZ THIS WEEK. Sorry, folks, but tomorrow is the 1st Thursday and that means a Quiz-less week in the Valley! We shall return with a brand new fresh and exciting edition on the 2nd Thursday of the month - November 8th. There will not be a second Quiz in November as the 4th Thursday, November 22nd, is Thanksgiving and I shall be stuffing myself with Turkey, etc, etc, and probably in bed by 7pm. As will be many of you, I hope. Steve Sparks, Quiz Master.

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The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, honors Matthias Gafni of the Mercury News/East Bay Times as Journalist of the Year for the 33rd Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The chapter honors Gafni for his tireless pursuit of public records and relentless reporting to get to the bottom of systemic problems. His work revealed the contribution of downed utility lines to Wine Country fires last year, exposed how governmental failures led to a toddler’s death from methamphetamine poisoning while she was in foster care, and showed how an Air Canada jet barely missed crashing into multiple airplanes at SFO on a landing approach.

The SPJ NorCal board honors Carolyn Tyler, who recently retired from ABC7, with the Career Achievement Award for Broadcast. Tyler spent 32 years chronicling many of the Bay Area’s major stories as a reporter and weekend anchor. She was part of the team that won a Peabody Award for coverage of the Loma Prieta earthquake, and she snagged interviews with personalities from Willie Mays to Oprah Winfrey. She also relentlessly covered the region’s political stories, from homelessness to the fight for marriage equality.

The board also honors Gary Richards of the Mercury News/East Bay Times with the Career Achievement Award for Print. His low-key but determined approach to addressing readers’ problems with the region’s transportation network has consistently made his eight-times-a-week “Roadshow” column the Mercury News’s most popular feature. And when physical problems left him unable to drive, he conscripted traffic engineers, CHP officers, and even his life partner, now known as “Mrs. Roadshow” into the column to be his eyes and ears. Also: when he contacted the powers-that-be, things that were broken got fixed.

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Kym Kemp receives the Unsung Hero Award.

She is a Southern Humboldt blogger who covers hyperlocal community news and crime, which sometimes evolve into much bigger stories. Kemp’s initial reporting about multiple drivers who said Rohnert Park police pulled them over on minor pretexts and then seized their marijuana and cash under asset forfeiture led to a collaboration with KQED. Further investigation showed that the seized items were not properly logged by police. The city began an administrative investigation and subsequently put two of the officers involved in the incidents on leave.

KZST receives the SPJ NorCal Board of Directors’ Distinguished Service to Journalism Award. Staff at the Santa Rosa radio station pitched in and used their own cars to move nearby patients to safe locations when they heard their station was likely to be consumed by last year’s Wine Country fires. Once they got the all-clear, staffers — only one of whom had a journalism background — returned to work and rolled up their sleeves, changing the station format from music to news to serve their community’s immediate need for information about the fires.

The Silver Heart Award goes to Alexis Terrazas of El Tecolote. His in-depth research and fearless interviews with white nationalist proponents uncovered a nationalist who subsequently was terminated from employment and exposed a Ku Klux Klansman who was hiding his Catholic and Jewish heritage. His reporting has been used by KQED for its investigation into white nationalist groups implicated in the attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, and aired by Univision in Spanish for a report that won a Northern California Emmy.

Dr. Derek Kerr is honored with the board’s John Gothberg/Meritorious Service to SPJ Award. Kerr is a member of the chapter’s Freedom of Information committee and a whistleblower who won a legal fight against San Francisco’s Laguna Honda hospital for firing him after he exposed their misuse of funds that were intended for patients. He has worked tirelessly in favor of sunshine laws and policies ever since, and has been a crucial supporter of SPJ NorCal’s work in this area.

The 2018 winners will be honored at SPJ NorCal’s 33rd Excellence in Journalism Awards Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Delancey Street Restaurant in San Francisco. For details and to purchase tickets, please see

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The California, Fair Political Practices Commission, requires candidates to submit Form 460. The Form, 460 is a financial statement of donations and expenditures over $2000, received by candidates and committees, during a calendar year. It also includes money, that the candidates have contributed to their own campaign as well. The form is public record and may be viewed or obtained at the Mendocino County Recorder’s Office.

For the purpose, of this report, I will include the total amount reported during, 2017 and 2018.

John Haschak, has a total of $54,971, of which, $31,600 are from out of county donations. Out of the $31,600 that Haschak has received, from out of the county, $22,750 was received from Unions that are out of Mendocino County, including, Los Angeles, Alameda, Sacramento, San Jose and Santa Rosa.

Total amount of expenditures, $41,553.00. A total of $29,151.00 was spent out of Mendocino County. This includes, $11,676 on printing, at Santa Rosa Printing and $16,275 at Green Dog Campaign Consulting in San Rafael.

John Pinches has a total of $8,221. John Pinches has spent $5,818.94. All of which was spent in Mendocino County.

Another fact that I would like to mention: John Haschak has said that he will not take the 40% raise that the Supervisors have decided to give themselves. He says that he will use this money to give scholarships to local students.

If Mr. Haschak does intend to use this money for scholarships, Then he will, in fact, be taking the 40% raise!

Michael Ann Prickett


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Re: Voting place for Little longer at the Woods?

The Woods Clubhouse IS still a polling place. They have already moved in the voting booths. I understand your confusion. I looked and didn't see it listed.

Greg Schellhase, Mendocino

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Saturday night promises to be a rollicking good time at the Kelley House Museum with the return of last year's smash hit "Bars, Bordellos & Mushrooms" -- this time with Ale! The evening begins at 5pm with complimentary wine and artisan mushroom appetizers. Then, aficionados Alison Gardner and Fern Tahja will introduce you to the pleasures of wild mushrooms found in the area, including the Candy Cap properties that incited carnal appetites. Next up is the exclusive opportunity to taste the new Frolic Ale — Scottish Wee Heavy, custom crafted by Drew’s Brews. Yeast sediment from the 1996 Frolic Shipwreck Ale, created by the now defunct Mendocino Brewing Company, was included in the making of this beer. The Frolic Ale, a blue ribbon winner at this year's Sonoma Harvest Fair, will also be available in very limited quantities via a Silent Auction, along with one premium package containing both the original rare 1996 Frolic Shipwreck Ale and the 2018 tribute Frolic Ale.

Then prepare to laugh until you cry as Madame Kate escorts you into the bawdy world of “soiled doves” and saloons where “companionship for a price” was a way of life in 19th century Mendocino. This ribald performance will take you back to the wild days when Mendocino was a rough and ready logging town with 20 bars. Most doubled as bordellos, offering “sporting women” for hire in the upstairs rooms. Admission for adults only is $25 and includes mushroom appetizers, a glass of wine, the beer tasting, silent auction bidding, and the show. Advance tickets are suggested. For more information or to order tickets, call 707-937-5791.

Bars, Bordellos, Mushrooms & Ale, Saturday, November 3, 5-7pm

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To the Editor:

This is a comment about the recent article in the UDJ about Mendo College’s decision to pass on the money given by the State for COLAs to be given as one-time bonuses instead. This decision is obviously a move to save money for the college at the expense of lower paid employees. A bonus would not raise the base pay upon which future raises would be determined. At the same time a raise for top administrators was proposed on the trustee’s agenda but then removed (for a later, more opportune time?). In what universe is this fair?

Cuts at the bottom in order to pay administration more are unfortunately a growing trend. For years colleges have hired instructors part time in order to avoid paying benefits.

Another example of nest feathering by administrators: “…according to U.S.Department of Education data, college and university administrative positions grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009 – ten times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.” This statistic from “Squeezed—Why Our Families Can’t Afford America” by Alissa Quart.

Wouldn’t it be a nice world if those “at the top” considered those who actually execute the mission?

Janet Freeman


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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 31, 2018

Abreu, Casebolt, Castaneda

JOHN ABREU, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol.

HAROLD CASEBOLT III, Ukiah. Parole violation.

JOHNNY CASTANEDA, Redwood Valley. Resisting, probation revocation.

Cunnan, Foote, Hendricks

JOHN CUNNAN, Covelo. Probation revocation.

DOUGLAS FOOTE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

LYNN HENDRICKS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

Johnson, King, Poole, Spitsen

EDWARD JOHNSON, Ukiah. Probration revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

WILLIAM KING, Mendocino. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

RICHARD POOLE II, Fort Bragg. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.

MARK SPITSEN, Incline Village/Ukiah. Controlled substance.

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RE POT BROWNIES at South Fork High School: "It’s bad enough that people smoke it and eat it, and now, they cook it into a crystalline powder and, do, what(?) with it…

To the uninitiated: do not eat home cooked treats, chocolates, hell, anything at all just being handed out at school!

Crazy people kill each other every day! Teach your children to be cautious!

Marijuana addicts want to get everyone high! They think it’s normal to be AFU!

Emergency rooms are overwhelmed with people who have taken marijuana. The weed grown in Humboldt/Mendo/Lake/Trinity and Oregon has ridiculously high THC levels, and, hell, I certainly know better than to smoke it!

Don’t get uninformed people high! If you never teach your kids anything else, tell them not to give powerful drugs to others!

Intentionally feeding drugs to others, that’s assault! Poisoning kids with toxic marijuana will get you a jail cell!

This story has an ending, and the student who handed out pot-brownies should be placed in Juvenile Hall, his parents need to be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, at least, if not attempted murder. Their pot-farm should be ripped and chipped!

Kids, don’t fool with drugs! Look around at the society of stoners, the streets full of hippies and trimmers, the folks in downtown Eureka and out front of the Ray’s in Willow Creek and Garberville!

Taking drugs is not a joke, and is a pretty poor lifestyle-choice!

Plan a future, work for it! Don’t do drugs, and be aware!

Marijuana is a dangerous drug, not an innocuous herb! It is certainly not medicine, and strong dope can be neat poison!

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KNOW YE that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very near to the Terrestrial Paradise, which is peopled with black women without any men among them, because they are accustomed to live after the fashion of the Amazons. They are of strong and hardy bodies, of ardent courage, and great power. In this island called California, because of the great ruggedness of the country and the innumerable wild beasts that live in it, there are many Griffins such as are found in no other part of the world.

— Garcí Ordóñez de Montalvo, 1488; from “Las Sergas De Esplandián"

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IN CALIFORNIA HIGH RENT has gotten half a million low-income people to leave the state in the last 11 years and thousands to lose their homes to go live on the streets. According to U.S. Census Data, rent prices in California are so high they are the major factor so that 1 in 5 Californians live in poverty. Rent control has been getting increased support in California because middle- and working-class people face soaring rents.

Proposition 10 on the November, 2018, California ballot means ending the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a pro-landlord passed in 1995 that limits rent control in the state. The Costa-Hawkins Act limits cities in two ways. First, the Costa-Hawkins Act stops cities from passing rent control on apartments built after February 1, 1995 or on single-family homes or condos. Some cities have dates that are earlier: apartments need to be built before October 1, 1978 for the city of Los Angeles; April 10, 1979 for Santa Monica; and July 1, 1979 for West Hollywood. Secondly, cities with rent-controlled apartments can now let landlords raise the rent as much as the want after a tenant leaves. Costa-Hawkins Act is a boon for landlords but harsh on renters. Proposition 10 doesn’t directly affect rent control laws at all but allows cities if they wish to pass stricter rent control measures.

Landlords and developers have spent $45.5 million to defeat Proposition 10 while pro-Proposition 10 forces have spent almost $24 million or $69 million has been spent on this proposition. During and after World War II when there was the last huge apartment shortage, cities passed very strict rent control laws. Stephen Barton, Berkeley’s former housing director, said that rent control wouldn’t make up for 40 years of too little building of rental housing but right now it is “pretty much the only thing on the table …. “According to UC Berkeley’s Hass Institute, rent control gives stability to tenants, helping them to live in and to invest in their communities in the long-term while “build[ing] savings that facilitate upward mobility.”

The anti-Proposition 10 ads have often been dishonest, often saying that renters, seniors, veterans, or the disabled will gain no protection from it. Yes on Proposition 10 doesn’t claim that it protects renters but says that if this proposition passes, cities if they wish can then past protective control laws. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. in its No on 10 TV ads says that Proposition 10 allows unelected bureaucrats to raise government fees on housing—another untruth. Only elected governments officials and voters can raise fees, not unelected bureaucrats.

— Julia Stein

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It’s hard not to feel both depressed and outraged about the massacre in the Pittsburgh synagogue. At least some columnists are connecting the dots between last week’s violence (including the pipe bombs) and Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric.

The president himself, of course, is in denial that his words could ever incite one in a million listeners, as is the CEO of the social media site Gab, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and many others in positions of power.

The “leader of the free world” reads a few conciliatory sentences from a teleprompter, then goes right back to calling the press the enemy of the people and whipping up hysteria about Central American refugees. Trump won’t change — can’t change — but a change of Congress would better contain him.

In 2017, the Anti-Defamation League logged a 57 percent jump in anti-Semitic crimes, but all sorts of other minorities are affected in Trump’s America. Please vote like your country depends on it, and encourage family and friends, including young people, to do the same.

The quickest, most efficient way to turn the tide is to elect leaders who will stand up to hate rather than stoke it.

Matthew Gollub

Santa Rosa

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by Jonah Raskin

Can churches and organized religions counter the noxious force of Trump’s America, a country pushed toward fascism by Evangelicals, racists and anti-Semites? The answer is “Yes,” though religious men and women on the Left usually don’t make it into mainstream media.

Greta Ronningen is one of them, and she is not alone. For much of her life, she was an unlikely candidate for a Christian monastery, where she lives in a cell, and an unlikely candidate, too, for the kind of work she does in the jails of L.A.

Geographically speaking she’s not far from Hollywood, where she once lived and worked, but she’s also in a very different place.

In the 1970s, Ronningen wanted to make movies that would “change the world.” She met and married Bert Schneider, who had produced Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces and who won an Oscar for the Vietnam War documentary, Hearts and Minds.

Ronningen didn’t get far with the studios or the movie patriarchy. She left Hollywood, divorced Schneider, and entered the world of yoga, which looked good for a long time, but that she found to be “male dominated, greedy and myopic.” It’s less so now, she believes. Yoga wasn’t the way for her, though she still practices yoga in a cell that has a single bed and a window that looks out on a yard.

In 2008, Ronningen joined the Episcopal Church, co-founded a monastery in the Benedictine tradition and became a monk. Her religious order is called “The Community of Divine Love.”

For the past decade, Ronningen has spent roughly thirty-hours a week inside the jails of L.A., where she has served as a chaplain to thousands of women inmates, many of them young, poor, black and suffering from trauma as a result of rape and sexual assault.

17,000 people are incarcerated in L.A jails. That’s a lot of damaged souls.

“The inmates often have super-charged, fiery memories,” Ronningen says. “When they share them they often let go of stress, and allow the divine to come into their lives.”

Ten years after she began to listen to women prisoners, the walls and bars have not come tumbling down. Ronningen isn’t a miracle worker and doesn’t claim to be one. Women without self-respect and few survival skills are repeatedly locked up. Still, Ronningen has made a difference in the lives of inmates. She has also been able to reinvent her own life, which began seventy-one years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan in a family of privilege.

Her parents attended a Presbyterian house of worship, and so did she, though she didn’t feel a connection to the church or the Old Testament.

At 17, Ronningen’s Kalamazoo world came unhinged. Her parents divorced, her mother remarried (an alcoholic man), and her stepfather’s best friend raped her. The church didn’t save her and no priest came to her rescue, either. She dropped out of school, ran away from home, tried drugs, went to New York to study acting, became a feminist and aimed to bring women’s untold stories to the foreground.

Ronningen tells some of her own narrative in a spiritual autobiography, Free On the Inside: Finding God Behind Bars (Cathedral Center Press), which was published in 2016. It’s dedicated to the women prisoners who took her classes at Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynchwood, California, where they had the opportunity to learn parenting skills and resume writing and carve out their own spiritual paths.

Recently, a woman who was incarcerated for six weeks in Lynchwood wrote a “review” on Yelp.

“I am still in shock that in these United States of America inmates are treated so reprehensible,” she explained. “The living conditions are inhumane. The deputies absolutely do not care or show any concern for the inmates living conditions. This facility is filthy and filled with diseases that go unreported or even treated.”

Ronningen knows that’s the gospel truth.

“Jails are warehouses for human beings,” she told me.

What troubles her soul, even more than the physical suffering she sees, is the injustice of the “criminal justice system.” As she points out, people are charged with crimes they haven’t committed. Public defenders don’t confer with inmates they’re supposed to represent in court. And there’s little if any help for people with PTSD.

Unlike Rachel Kushner, the author of the 2018 prison novel The Mars Room, in which jails are hellholes, Ronningen sees “jails as holy places.” Then, too, she says that she “loves the work” that she does behind bars, and that there is “nowhere I would rather be.”

Ronningen works closely with Brother Dennis Gibbs, a fellow monk in the Community of Divine Love. Once an inmate in L.A. County jails and an alcoholic, Gibbs is the founder and director of “Prism Restorative Justice,” as well as the author of a new book, Oblivion: Grace in Exile with a Monk Behind Bars.

Two big goals of the “Prism Restorative Justice” project, Gibbs explains, are “to be with people behind bars who have been silenced; and to educate the public about mass incarceration.” Then, too, Prism aims to “return all people to the love of God.”

Gibbs calls inmates “Our friends in exile.” He maintains connections to them long after they’re released from prison. He also prepares the volunteers who aim to work in jails.

“We have a vetting process,” he says. “We bring people into the jails to see whether or not they can be in that environment. Some weed themselves out.”

Fifty years ago, a great many 1960s rebels, protesters and revolutionaries would have dismissed Gibbs and Ronningen as starry-eyed do-gooders.

Huey Newton, the co-founder, along with Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party, might have tried to save Ronningen from her crusade. Before he turned to cocaine and was shot and killed in 1989 by a drug dealer, Newton and Ronningen were friends.

These days, she remembers that Newton talked about “revolutionary suicide” and “dying for the people.” Newton’s way isn’t her way. “I’m not doing revolutionary suicide,” she says. “I’m doing revolutionary resurrection.” She adds, “I think Huey, the Black Panther, would be proud of me and the journey I’ve undertaken.”

Some New Leftists, including Michael Lerner at Tikkun, have returned to the folds into which they were born, and after rejecting organized religion. Lerner is now a rabbi. Others have become Buddhists and Hindus, born again Christians, and even pagans, though Karl Marx, who was born a Jew, warned the workers of the world that religion was “the opiate of the people.” Later, the Industrial Workers of the World (the IWW) ridiculed the notion of “pie in the sky when you die,” and, on the subject of the labor leader, Joe Hill, they sang, “Don’t mourn for me, organize.”

From time to time, American radicals have depicted Jesus as a workingman who stood with the poor and against the wealthy. Think of Art Young’s 1921 cartoon with a caption that reads, “Jesus Christ Wanted—for Sedition, Criminal Anarchy—Vagrancy, and Conspiring to Overthrow the Established Government.”

Ronningen calls Jesus an “organizer of refugees, immigrants and a condemned criminal.” Her Christ is a forerunner of Dorothy Day and The Catholic Worker, Che, the Berrigan brothers, and further back in time, the Beguine, the Christian women mystics of the 13th-century who cared for lepers, wrote poetry and used the feminine pronoun for God. Ronningen wrote her M.A. thesis about them.

Sister Helen Prejean, the author of the book, Dead Man Walking, which became a movie with Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, describes Ronningen as a “first hand witness to God’s grace” and who has “lived in the trenches of human suffering.”

Ronningen spends much of her time behind bars bearing witness to suffering, and listening to the stories that women tell. Because she’s not connected to law enforcement, she’s viewed as a kind of soul sister. Many young women feel safe in the “loving environment” she creates, and in her “loving gaze.”

Years ago, American radicals in Hollywood, like Bert Schneider and Marlon Brando, worked for the release of political prisoners. In the 1960s, black and white protesters aimed to “Free Huey,” “Free Bobby,” “Free Eldridge” and “Free the Panthers.” Long after that era ended ended, white radicals, like Nancy Kurshan — once a Yippie — have decried solitary confinement, though on the whole they haven’t been affiliated with religious groups and organizations.

Kurshan wrote about the newest forms of cruel and unusual punishment in the U.S in her book, Out of Control: A Fifteen Year Battle Against Control Unit Prisons in which she argues that federal penitentiaries, like the Coleman Federal Correctional Facility, where Leonard Peltier is held, “are tantamount to torture and an abuse of state power.”

Angela Davis, who was briefly incarcerated in 1970s, has called for the abolition of prisons. Malcolm Gladwell, the best-selling author of The Tipping Point, and a contributor to The New Yorker, has said that most of the men and women behind bars ought to be released.

Ronningen doesn’t campaign for freedom for all prisoners, nor does she call for the abolition of all prisons.

“Some inmates are violent, have issues with drugs and mental illness and have to be locked up,” she says. “But prisons can be far more humane. We need programs for mental health and for detoxing.”

Sometimes the stress behind bars gets to Ronningen. That’s when she turns to her own support system and “talks it out.” She also goes to the movies and for walks. Meditation and prayer help.

She’s not planning to leave the Community of Divine Love or give up the work she does in jail. In fact, she’s in the process of ordination for the priesthood, and proud that in the Episcopal Church LGBTQ people can serve as priests.

Once she’s ordained, she’ll be able to baptize, take confessions, perform wedding ceremonies and celebrate the Eucharist. As a priest, she’ll have more latitude than she has had as a monk. She knows that jails aren’t going to go away, even if and when there are reforms, like those that are talked about for L.A. jails.

“They have to tear down the rat-infested central jail for men,” Ronningen says. “L.A. wants to get off the putative incarceration thing and into something more progressive. The ACLU has been very good.”

Still, spokesmen for the prison-industrial-complex clamor for more prisons and right-wingers demand more mass incarceration.

“Reform is slow,” Ronningen says. “There’s racism in sentencing and there are a lot of people who should not be locked up. Still, healing can take place behind bars. Some prisoners develop a spiritual life that helps them survive in a world that aims to rob them of their self-respect.”

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

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Friday, November 2nd, 2018 -- 10 am - 12:00 noon

At the Community Foundation of Mendocino County

204 S Oak St, Ukiah, CA 95482

Call in Number: 641-715-3341, Access code: 108 1131#

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On 10-26-2018 at approximately 8:38 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received a call for service for someone brandishing a firearm at another person at the Wildwood Campground (29700 Highway 20) in Fort Bragg, California. After Deputies arrived they were able to identify the suspect as Christopher Lee Doty, 37, of Fort Bragg.

Deputies learned Doty had fled the location by vehicle prior to their arrival. Deputies also confirmed Doty was in possession of a shotgun or rifle. After the reported victim of the brandishing disclosed he did not desire prosecution, Deputies departed the scene on the lookout for Doty and his described vehicle. At approximately 10:36 p.m., Deputies observed Doty’s vehicle traveling on Highway 20 towards Wildwood Campground. Deputies initiated a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle as Doty was making a turn into the Wildwood Campground. After Doty stopped his vehicle in the entrance of the campground, Deputies provided several verbal orders to Doty to shut off and exit his vehicle. Doty would not comply with the Deputies directions and made the decision to flee. Doty drove into the campground at a high rate of speed in a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property therein. Based on Doty’s willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons present and an outdoor party taking place in the campground, Deputies did not pursue Doty. As Deputies exited their patrol vehicle and traveled into the campground on foot they overheard multiple people yelling and screaming. Deputies then encountered Doty driving towards the exit. Deputies observed Doty was now driving his vehicle with the headlamps and all other exterior lighting turned off. After seeing Deputies approaching on foot, Doty drove his vehicle in reverse at a high rate of speed, almost colliding into another vehicle. Doty then fled the vehicle on foot and into a wooded area out of Deputies’ sight. Doty was located minutes later and arrested without further incident. Deputies observed that Doty had drove and abandoned his vehicle at the same location where the outdoor party was taken place. Deputies also learned from residents in the park that Doty’s operation of the vehicle was reckless and that numerous people were present on foot in the area. Deputies conducted a search of Doty’s vehicle and located a loaded 12-gauge double barrel shotgun on the front passenger seat. Doty was found to be in possession of 12-gauge ammunition when he was searched incident to his arrest. Deputies confirmed that Doty was a prohibited person due to past criminal convictions and could not possess firearms or ammunition. Doty was also confirmed to be on active summary probation for driving under the influence. Doty was booked into the Mendocino County Jail charged with Felony Evading, Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Convicted Felon in Possession of Ammunition, Carrying a Loaded Firearm in Public, Armed in the Commission of a Felony, and Violation of Probation. He was to be held in lieu of $40,000 bail.

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On 10-26-2018 at approximately 7:24 A.M., Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported domestic disturbance at a residence in the 76000 block of Henderson Lane in Covelo, California. Deputies responded and conducted an investigation wherein they learned an adult female was reportedly assaulted by her boyfriend. Deputies learned Kenneth Whipple, 43, of Covelo physically assaulted the adult female multiple times during the morning of 10-26-2018.

Whipple had also threatened the female during the incident. The female had multiple injuries (face and leg) as a result of the assault, which required medical treatment. The Deputies contacted Whipple and learned he was on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and probation in Mendocino County. As a part of this investigation, Whipple's probation officer issued a PRCS hold for his arrest. Whipple was ultimately advised and placed under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Criminal Threats, Violation of PRCS, and Violation of Probation. Whipple was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his PRCS violation.

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On 10-25-2018 at approximately 11:23 P.M., a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on uniformed patrol in downtown Willits. The Deputy observed a vehicle traveling southbound on South Main Street committing a traffic offense. The Deputy initiated a traffic-enforcement stop on the vehicle in the area of South Main Street and West Valley Street. The Deputy contacted the driver, Stian Schwindt, 50, of Willits, and provided his name to MCSO dispatch for a records check.

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On 10-25-2018 at about 8:45 PM, A Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and a member of the Multi Agency Gang Suppression Unit (MAGSU) conducted a traffic stop in the 700 block of East Perkins Street in Ukiah, California. The Deputy contacted the driver, Michael Jordan Montano, 18, of Ukiah, and the passenger who was a 15 year-old juvenile male.

The subjects were wearing gang attire and known to be affiliated with a local street gang. The juvenile male was on probation with gang terms which include not to associated with other gang members, and no wearing gang attire. A search of the vehicle was conducted and inside a backpack in the vehicle, the Deputy located a loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. In the center console of the vehicle the Deputy located two masks that could be used to disguise a person's facial features. The Deputy arrested Montano for Carrying a loaded firearm in vehicle, Carrying a loaded handgun (not registered owner), participation in criminal street gang and Violation of probation The juvenile male was also arrested for gang participation and probation violation. Montano was booked into the Mendocino County Jail ($15,000 bail) and the juvenile was booked into Mendocino County Juvenile Hall.

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On 10-27-2018 at about 7:40 AM, a Sergeant with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office noticed Dean Michael Stevens driving southbound in the 800 block of North State Street in Ukiah. The Sergeant knew a Be-On-the-Look-Out (BOLO) had been issued for Dean Michael Stevens, 52, of Ukiah.

The Sergeant conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle on South State Street and Perkins Street. The vehicle yielded and Stevens was contacted. Stevens gave the Sergeant a false name and date of birth. While conducting the traffic stop, Stevens started the car and accelerated away from the traffic stop. The vehicle traveled southbound with Mendocino County Sheriff's Office personnel in pursuit. The vehicle committed numerous traffic violations, to included running stop signs and speeding during the event. The vehicle slowed and then stopped in the 800 block of South State Street and Stevens was arrested without any further incident. Stevens was arrested for felony evading, violation of parole, and providing a false name to a Peace Officer. Stevens was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status.

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The National Archives on Wednesday released the Watergate Road Map, a document that details former President Nixon’s efforts to cover up the Watergate scandal, for the first time since it was sent to the House Judiciary Committee in 1974. The release comes after Chief U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell unsealed the record in early October at the request of George Shepard, who served on Nixon’s legal defense team. The document, formally titled “Grand Jury Report and Recommendation Concerning Transmission of Evidence to the House of Representatives,” does not provide much new information—but it does provide an inside look at the criminal investigation into the scandal. According to the National Archives, the 62-page record contains “a two-page summary, a set of 53 numbered statements of fact, and 97 supporting documents corresponding to each statement of fact.”

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"What is racist?" Megyn Kelly asked. "Because you do get into trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface on Halloween. When I was a kid, that was okay as long as you were dressing up like a character."

When Megyn Kelly pondered aloud why it's considered so wrong for white people to blacken their faces on Halloween to portray famous black people she was hounded from all quarters, knifed spectacularly in the back by her own co-workers on air, and fired in abject disgrace. NBC Nightly News, hosted by black anchor Lester Holt, devoted considerable airtime over several nights to the saga. Yet a day after Kelly was fired, a photo emerged of the same Lester Holt dressed up as singer Susan Boyle for Halloween, including his face painted white. Now, I fully understand and accept there is a difference between the two, and that 'blackface' is unacceptable in modern society for all the well-articulated reasons African-Americans rightly feel it is. But just as I don't think black people should use the N-word, I don't think they should whiteface themselves on Halloween either. If something is racist and wrong, then nobody should do it.

— Piers Morgan

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An economic vitality meeting will be held on November 6, 2018, from 1:30-3:30 pm at the County Board of Supervisors chambers at 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah CA. The County of Mendocino Executive Office partnered with the Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC) and West Business Development Center (formally West Company) to coordinate informational presentations from a variety of businesses and industries.

The meeting is designed to provide information on the current business climate and insights from industry leaders in the area of wine, agriculture, cannabis, tourism, real estate and technology. “As we approach our budget planning cycle, it is important for us to get a clear snapshot of economic changes occurring in the county today”, states Dan Hamburg, Chair of the Board of Supervisors.

This meeting is part of a series of gatherings to better understand how Mendocino County can use limited resources to invest in future economic growth. “There is no doubt our county is in transition,” says Mary Anne Petrillo, CEO of West Business Development Center. “Preparing our local economy for the rapid changes brought on by ongoing disaster preparation, evolution of the cannabis industry, the housing crisis and the need for secure, robust technology integration will be a collaborative effort.”

The Economic Development and Financing Corporation (EDFC) coordinates’ economic development for Mendocino County has put together valuable data that will be shared during the meeting. EDFC Executive Director Heather Gurewitz stated, “I think we all know that the economy is changing, but we need current data and feedback from local businesses in order to make good decisions.” The kick-off workshop is the first step in bringing business, industry, and government leaders together to focus on fact-based assessments of the opportunities and barriers to economic prosperity for the county.

For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463 4441.

10.31.18 Economic Development Report

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“I can’t believe some jerked carved this face into my ass.”

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Dear community,

For those of you who do not have little fairies, robots, dinosaurs, and super heroes ringing your doorbell this Halloween, consider donating some sweetness to Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund. Treat community children to needed diapers, toothbrushes, hygiene items, warm clothing, and shoes. More than ever, local kids of all ages need your help. MCCF is all of us making life kinder for coast children in need. You can donate on our website by cPayPal us a donation at or mail us a check.

Your board and volunteers,

Mendocino Coast Children's Fund, P O Box 1616, Mendocino, CA,

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WE HAVE MADE so many improvements in the name of getting things done fast that we forget how much of life happens in the waiting around, in the anticipation of pleasure, rather than in its instant gratification. People arrive at the bagel stores and rush in with cabs waiting, when one of the pleasures is to be IN the bagel store, checking out everybody’s Saturday morning outfits, smelling the good smells, feeling the weekend waiting, like a present still unwrapped.

— Adair Lara


One Comment

  1. Marco McClean November 1, 2018


    “Wouldn’t it be a nice world if those at the top considered those who actually execute the mission?”

    Yes, and this applies aptly also to KZYX, where a tiny handful of people in the office suck about $300,000 a year out of the station for themselves and pay the airpeople nothing to beg for all that money for them, not to mention all the local airpeople showing up on time and doing all their shows all year long all put together. If they’re happy to do it and it’s a labor of love, then what kind of labor is it for the bosses who take all the money? I’ve said it before and it still fits: even /pimps/ give a little of the money back to the workers who are out there busting their butts to produce it in the first place.

    Just the so-called manager of KZYX, who has no history in radio and knows nothing about radio and does /nothing essential/, removes the equivalent of 1,200 fifty-dollar yearly memberships from the station for his own personal cushy life. He pays out /other people’s/ money, good tax-derived money, for canned shows from thousands of miles away, so I know he believes radio work is worth paying for; he just must not think local airpeople are worth anything at all. Because a real manager will pay the workers before he pays himself. That’s the manager’s job.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been waiting for almost seven years now for my excellent, proven, innovative local show to be scheduled on KZYX. I had built a recording studio and two whole radio stations, where one of them would automatically answer the phone and put callers on the air, and I taught radio production, and staged live radio drama before studio audiences, and I ran well over a hundred two-hour public access variety shows on teevee, and completed several other relevant projects , before the current so-called program director at KZYX was even born. I’ve been doing Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio since 1997, on KMFB and now on KNYO and KMEC, with zero problems generated for any of those stations, and my show always pays off for the station. I have never missed an airdate for either television or radio, and never missed a deadline either writing for or publishing newspapers. I have always got along swimmingly with managers and the other airpeople at every radio station I’ve ever had anything to do with /but/ KZYX. KZYX’s management model was rotten from the beginning, and it has stayed rotten.

    I just bring it up now because yet again the bosses at KZYX are running their seasonal unlistenable two-week pledge drive to try desperately to somehow drag in $600,000 by the end of the fiscal year. That’s fifty times the entire yearly budget of KNYO and all of KNYO’s remote studios. And that can only be because the management of KZYX, both on the surface and underneath in the shadows, is corrupt /and/ incompetent. All MCPB Corp’s transmitters and studios and computers and microphones and mixing boards switched on and all pumping at once, no matter how many people shuffle in and out the door, cost less than a dollar an hour to operate. $600,000 is an obscenely inflated amount of money to run a little radio station. The least they can do is give $1000 a year to each of the 60 to 80 regular local airpeople. Make it a Christmas bonus. Clear out the corruption at KZYX and free up some money to pay the right people for a change.

    Keep all this in mind over the next two weeks as you hear voices on KZYX lying to you that the station needs your donations and pledges and membership dollars to “keep the great shows on the air.” In the real world, if the current pledge drive brings in $60,000, which is the usual amount, none of that goes to fund the station in any way; every penny of that $60,000 goes into the manager’s personal bank account. He has a program director to direct the programs, an operations manager to manage the operations, a bookkeeper to keep the books, a business underwriting coordinator to coordinate the business underwriting, and if anything breaks there’s a real engineer a phone call away. What is left for a manager to do? What is the point of him? What is he doing for the station that’s worth $60,000 more than all the local airpeople actually putting all the great shows on the air?

    If you want to give money to radio stations that really need it and aren’t fully funded nor funded at all by tax money, and that run my eight-hour live show every Friday night week after week after week, consider KMEC-LP in Ukiah and KNYO-LP in Fort Bragg. All of the money they take in goes to pay for rent and electricity and water and phones and internet and equipment and maintenance and music publishers’ fees and streaming fees. None of it goes to pay cynical bosses to pretend to be in charge.

    Marco McClean

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