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Off the Record (Nov. 7, 2018)

SHOULD FORT BRAGG ANNEX NOYO HARBOR? That question has arisen many times over the years but never pursued so far as we can recall. Noyo's a natural part of civic Fort Bragg certainly, and clearly generates lots of tourist dollars, but would it pencil out, as the green eyeshade boys put it after extension of City services? All of the Mendocino Coast is a big dollar net plus for the County of Mendocino so it's unlikely the County would let Noyo go without a major fight.

THIS COMMENT on life in the Northcoast outback: "So many times people way out there, here and there, get drunk & high, then fight, shoot and stab each other, and end up sitting together on the stoop for an hour waiting for the ambulance to come. Really gives you time to reflect." Yup, and a lot of it goes unreported. If all the bodies buried in the hills of NorCal got up from their remote, unmarked graves and started walking down Highway 101 they'd stretch to Palo Alto.


Subject: Next Meeting of the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club on November 8 at 5:30



KZYX’S CURRENT  FUNDRAISER, and as a paid-up station member I feel free to comment, is, like all “community” radio station fundraisers, way too heavy on the forced enthusiasm, the self-congratulation, the desperate appeals to “support great radio.” KZYX wouldn’t have to do much fundraising if it weren’t operated like a cult; if it were truly more inclusive; if it didn’t maintain a lunatic enemies list; if it combined the invisible and under-worked station manager’s “job” with the programmer’s position; if its hiring weren’t so incestuous, if its board of directors weren’t so self-selecting; if its eternal programmers kicked back $20 bucks a month for their life audio slots (two grand a month right there); if the station budget clearly stated who gets how much for doing exactly what; if the true function and pay of that ubiquitous, un-elected EST lurk were precisely defined; if Mendolib weren’t so totally, oppressively liberal in the worst sense.

HEADLINE from the 26 October edition of the ICO: "Point Arena City Council reminds town to turn wheels to curb."....." Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey said that curbing vehicles' wheels — the practice of turning the downhill edge of vehicles' tires toward the curb rather than away from the curb — is the biggest issue the city is facing, and it’s a safety issue." I think, Barb, most of us know what curb wheels means. But don't laugh. A young girl was killed by a runaway car in front of the post office back in '78, and PA is still traumatized by that terrible event.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, Both on NetFlix: (1) The Code, an Australian thriller pegged to autism, computer wizardry, political corruption, with interesting side trips to life in the Australian outback. (2) The Body Guard, another political thriller produced by the BBC, almost always a sign that a movie is going to be smart and well-acted, and The Body Guard is in the tradition, a good one about a young Secret Service-like guy responsible for the security of top officials. Also on NetFlix is the latest developments in the famous Making of a Murderer saga, a follow-up documentary about the all-time frame job of an ordinary Joe for a second murder he did not commit after being framed a first time for a murder he didn't commit.

“WE WILL KILL YOU, that’s the Proud Boys, in a nutshell. We will kill you. We look nice, seem soft, we have boys in our name, but like Bill the Butcher in the Bowery Boys, we will assassinate you. Fighting solves everything. We need more violence from the Trump people. Trump supporters: Choke a motherfucker. Choke a bitch. Choke a tranny. Get your fingers around the windpipe.” — Gavin McInnes.

McINNES is a Canadian who has gone from liberalism to fascism in the space of a few years. He seems to appeal to lots of estranged white boys, and the goddess only knows how many of them there are, but there are lots. It’s depressing that statements like the above appeal to anyone, but apparently they do.

THE FASCISTI SHOCK TROOPS seem to be on the move, but the kind of twisted young ginks who've shown up in Portland, Berkeley, Charleston, and a few other places are probably the iceberg, not its tip. Which may be too pessimistic, but given the number of websites that cater to the stupid and the vicious, not to mention Trump, it’s no wonder the influence of groups like the Proud Boys seems to be increasing. Here in Mendo? No signs yet of an organized fascist presence. Friendly fascists? Mendo? Lots and lots.

THE PASSING of the great Willie McCovey reminds me that I was blessed to have seen the golden age of Bay Area sports — McCovey, Mays and Marichal at Seals Stadium, Y.A. Tittle and Hurryin' Hugh McElhenney at Kezar, Wilt and the Warriors at the Civic Auditorium and the Cow Palace, and never more than five bucks to get in to see any of them.

MORE RECOMMENDED VIEWING, Frontline's two-parter called "The Facebook Dilemma," confirming that Facebook's idealistic beginnings aimed at community and enhanced communications were quickly subverted by commercial cash-ins and the use of Facebook by unsavory political forces to create less community, more chaos, Egypt, Burma and the Ukraine being the bloodiest examples. All-in-all, though, I thought the examples the documentarians produced of Russian interference in American elections was kinda thin and, to reasonably informed citizens, laughable. Hillary barking like a chihuahua? Trump in full Nazi regalia? Most of it was merely the Republican fascisti insulting the  Billarys. Speaking as a geezer, and probably for a lot of my fellow wheezes, I wouldn't miss the internet if it went away today at noon, but it and Facebook are here to stay, and from now on it's buyer beware.

THE U.N. has declared San Francisco's homelessness equivalent in pure inhumanity the equal of the other global catastrophes the UN tracks. Meanwhile, BART reports that its SF escalators are disabled by human feces, a guy revved up a pair of  chainsaws on one of its trains as he muttered Chainsaw Massacre threats, the usual assaults (one sexual), and a bleeding man who left so much of himself in another car that the train had to be stopped for an hour while it was cleaned up. And about one in three riders are hopping the turnstiles to avoid paying their fares. How many years has it been since “the city that knows how,” knew how?

OF TELEVISION'S political ads I'd say Mark Burling speaking for NO on Prop 8 was the most effective. "If I don't get dialysis, I die." I've probably seen it 30 times and Burling, a dialysis patient, not an actor, gets me every time. The most annoying, and totally untrue, were the ads opposed to rent control (Prop 10), especially the one featuring a retired female Army colonel who claims 10’s passage would hurt homeowners like her particularly. Please. Ever meet a broke retired colonel?

PAID your credit card bill lately? Interest on most of them is now up to 17%, thanks to the Federal Reserve's increase of the prime rate, which is the rate smaller financial institutions borrow at. The following is presented as a public service from the Boonville weekly: The Federal Reserve is a privately-owned consortium of big banks who own our money. And our government, for that matter. The Fed raises or lowers prime interest rates according to.... ta da... the private welfare of the people who own them. If inflation gets out of hand, meaning the stuff you buy at the grocery store is more and more expensive as it is and has been for years now, the big banks lose money because currency is worth less, hence the Fed's periodic interest hikes “to keep inflation down,” hence the 17% on our credit cards passed on down the line from our owners to you, the citizens of Bank Land.


Agenda Item 5f on Tuesday’s Board of Supes agenda: Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of Informational Presentation of the County Leadership Initiative by Representatives of the County Leadership Team (Sponsors: Executive Office and Human Resources) Recommended Action: Accept the informational presentation of the County Leadership Initiative by representatives of the County Leadership team; and provide direction as appropriate.

ALTHOUGH we’re promised an “Informational Presentation,” there’s no “information” in it at all. It’s just a bunch of lists of County employees who have been assembled under the subject heading. Under “Work of Leadership,” we find that the “work” is:

•Leadership Reading Group

•High Performance Organization Training

•Leadership Development Regional Training

•Expanded Leadership Quarterly Meetings

•Leadership Webpage

•Development of Mendocino County Executive Leadership Team (MCELT)

•Development of 7 Work Teams

•Keynote Address- David Marquet

BUT THE LEADERSHIP has forgotten:

•Leadership Leadership

•Leadership wine tastings

•Leadership Lunches

•Leadership Promotions and Pay Raises

•Leadership Retirement Planning

•Leadership Benefit Packages

•Leadership Travel Expenses

•Leadership Responsibility Avoidance

•Leadership Buzzwords

(Mark Scaramella)

MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS filmed the Thursday meeting at the Manchester Community Room where Sheriff Allman and County Transportation Director Howard Dashiell appeared. At one point MSP’s Paul McCarthy, calling it a “rumor” — not attributing it to Third District Supervisor candidate John Pinches (who made the claim), asked Dashiell if it was true that the County had raided the road budget to make up the cannabis permit program deficit (the program is at least $1 million in the red). Dashiell replied that “core” road funds cannot be reallocated to any other purposes, but that perhaps some “discretionary” funds provided for road maintenance previously were not being provided this year because of the several budget deficits that the County has incurred (not just in the pot program). Dashiell said that Mendo gets 0.003% of the gas tax which must be spent on road maintenance, adding that if State Proposition 6 passes next Tuesday Mendo would suffer a cut of as much as half of that. (Mark Scaramella)

A READER WRITES: “I still prefer clocks with arms on them, powered by little batteries, and those I must change. I do hope we stop this back and forth time now. I'd prefer being on real time all the time (high noon always being high noon), but would concede to switching to Mountain Time permanently if that gets us off the infernal switching. It's crazy: the day is the day, and time is time, and we should just leave them alone.”

TRUMP'S CONTRIVED election specter of dangerous invaders pouring over the southern border is calculated to scare his fraidy cat supporters, whose own European ancestors voluntarily stuffed themselves into emigrant ships in the middle of the 19th century for a sea passage to America much more perilous than the peasants today walking a thousand miles north from Central America. Can you imagine five thousand random Trumpians walking a thousand miles to preserve their citizenship?

HERMAN MELVILLE'S "Redburn — His First Voyage" describes the passage of thousands of European emigrants: "How, then, with the friendless emigrants, stowed away like bales of cotton, and packed like slaves in a slave ship; confined in a place that during storm time must be closed against both light and air; who can do no cooking, nor warm so much as a cup of water; for the drenching seas would instantly flood their fire in their exposed galley on deck?… the emigrant passengers are cut off from the most indispensable conveniences of a civilized dwelling.... that no wonder fevers and plagues are the result… We had not been at sea one week when to hold your head down the fore hatchway was like holding it down a suddenly opened cesspool."

MELVILLE'S masterpiece, Moby Dick — memorialized these impious days as industrial-sized sandwiches and a gay bar in San Francisco — describes life on a whaler, certainly a harrowing way to earn one's way, but to pay one's way to America, as 400-500 people at a time did in the time of sailing ships, was paying one's way to 30-90 days of enforced torture, but once you got here you were an American, no questions asked other than if you'd also shipped with cholera or other contagions. Often, whole shiploads of emigrants would be quarantined until they were declared non-toxic.  But that was it. If you made it here in 1850 you were in. It goes without saying, or should, that conditions on slave ships were much worse.

MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: For a video re-enactment of what it was like to ride third-class “steerage” in the hold of a transport ship from Europe to Ellis Island in the late 1800s, the fine Italian movie produced by Martin Scorcese, “The Golden Door,” comes as close as we’ve seen to the way my Uncle Joe Scaramella described his immigration trip from Italy in 1906 at age 8. (And this was on a steamship with slightly better accommodations than the old sailing ships.)


(Q) Is Scott faking emotion in this linked segment from NPR?

(a) He's always phony, so why are you asking?

(b) I'm still crying a day later.

(c) Any human being would be moved by that great poem, like what's wrong with you?

(d) Is gross sentimentality a fascist precursor?

(e) Would you trust Scott Simon to babysit your children?

(f) Which Mendo supervisor is most likely to be moved by Scott Simon's emotional reactions?

Thank you for your participation.

THE FOLLOWING LETTER appeared recently in the SF Chron under the title “Concept of Whiteness”:


The thing about the white supremacy/white nationalism theme that most concerns and disturbs me isn’t the lone assassins. It’s how the delusional concept of whit race has again become an expanding international cultural phenomenon waiting to flare into wildfires and conflagrations. Less than a century ago, Adolf Hitler’s Aryan supremacy doctrine whipped the German people into a frenzy that led to the massacre of uncountable millions of people around the world in World War II — many of them Europeans — with the same nonsense. I call lit nonsense not only because science insists there is no such things as distinct human races, but also become my family goes back so many Jewish generations in Europe. Though I’m expected to answer that I’m white on all sorts of applications, surveys, and census documents, even American history didn’t think I quite fit that picture until the Civil Rights era.

The whole whiteness idea morphs continually according to cultural dominance. Most unfortunately, journalists and other communicators, in the way they cover the growing fascist movements, tend to help objectify and reify the delusional racial identity jargon, making the ideas seem other than an ideological construct promoted by and for ruthless manipulative elites.

(Marc Sapir, Berkeley)

NOTHING there I disagree with, but fascist delusions have plagued America from its beginnings. So far, though, the bully boys of the hard right don't seem organized well enough to fall out for the specific purpose of doing violence to their perceived enemies in anything like worrisome numbers. That the ones who have — the militia yobbos heading for the border, for instance, are the tip of a very large iceberg is undeniable, hence our president. But Mr. Sapir is right; the fascisti started out in Germany and other European countries as relatively small groups of street thugs, but picked up enough momentum in short periods of time to take over their countries. So far, though, in this country, I don't see them having a plausible leadership other than, maybe, Bannon. Trump, if he went all the way with his instincts, could be even more dangerous than he is. But all this weepy talk from mainline Democrats about "bringing us back together" and "healing," is pure delusion. There is no bringing us back together because we haven't been even more or less together since World War Two. This sucker is irreparably broke. The jackboot is out of the box. I just hope there's more of us, than them.

YOUTH WANTS TO KNOW: "Chief, one of the best questions I've heard in recent years was when you asked Kate What's-Her-Name where the money was coming from to the start the Mendocino Voice online news service... She snapped back, "Where did you get yours!" as I recall, and nothing more was ever offered by way of explanation. How you got yours and started the AVA is a matter of record -- so that was merely rhetoric on Kate's part -- whoever she is, and whatever agency she works for. Over time, I've come to suspect it's a government front, a facade, or foil to the Mighty AVA. The spooks who came up with it, in my mind, concluded that since Alexander Cockburn was interested in the AVA, and instrumental in expanding its circulation, that they would try and steal Cockburn's fire, by making their false front an echo, as it were, of the Village Voice, which would appeal to the AVA's readership, and hopefully lure readers away to this new, ersatz Voice. You will have read my article on the Settler murder by now, and be familiar with the basics of my reason for thinking the Mendo Voice is a front. You Sir, have studied as many upstart publications as anyone I know and your perceptions into the field (dare I call it "conspiracy theory") of speculation would be quite welcome to Your Trusty Admirer, B. McEwen

ED REPLY: The Mendo Voice is only a couple of years old, I believe, but I was reliably informed some time ago that pot money funded it. I don't see it often enough to venture a critique other than to say from what I have seen it's your basic press release re-write operation, a kind of prose version of KZYX's news. I wouldn't be so vain as to think other local publications were consciously inspired by opposition to the ava, but kinda wish they were so we could have some fun with them. Myself, out of professional obligation I read all the local paper-papers, but the only on-line pages I consistently enjoy and learn from are MendocinoSportsPlus, Kym Kemp's Redheaded BlackBelt and Lost Coast Outpost. Local journalists I admire, in no particular order and, except for Shields, are unaffiliated with the AVA, include Jim Shields, KC Meadows, Jennifer Poole, and Tom Hine. The AVA's journalo-stable is as good as you'll find anywhere. (Your Courthouse reporting, my son, deserves serial Pulitizers.) The internet has pretty much destroyed journalism in its traditional sense, what with everyone owning his own paper via FaceBook and the rest of the electronic din. But if a lot of these instant chloroform websites weren't free they'd soon be dead.


 (1) RE POT BROWNIES at South Fork High School (Humboldt County): "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!

 [2] The Guardian ran a story recently that explored who these migrants are. What they found is that many of them are people whose small family farms were failing due to climate change. They were forced off their farms because of repeated crop failures. Moving to the cities they fall victim to gang violence and poverty. Many said they are struggling to adequately feed their families. They have made the choice to migrate north. Both the UN and the Pentagon have projected that large scale climate based population displacement is a looming problem as the world's climate changes. The major media outlets focus on gang violence and poverty for the migrant caravans. But the Guardian article digs deeper into the facts behind why poor, small scale farmers are losing their land, along with the ability to feed their families. Welcome to the brave new world.

 [3] It’s a good life, just don’t weaken. When that drunk driver T-bones you at 80 mph after running a stop sign or you incur some horrid, incurable disease that surfaced after being submerged in your genetic code no matter how healthy your previous lifestyle was, you will find you are truly alone in the oligarchical jungle called America. You are a consumer and don’t forget it, otherwise you’re of no value to the system.

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