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Off the Record 7/29/2009

THE CLINT SMITH case will be back in the haphazard Willits courtroom of Judge Clay Brennan on August 4th. Smith is the charter school teacher who has pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with one of his students, a 15-year-old girl. He's supported by a large bloc of morally blind Willits Nice People, pardon the redundancy, including elders of the Mormon Church, school teachers, a retired judge, and miscellaneous other persons who ought to know better. Smith has already gotten huge breaks. Multiple charges have been magically reduced to one, and Judge Brennan sent Smith home on his own recognizance. It now appears that Brennan is preparing to spare Smith prison time by sentencing him to probation. When Smith was in court for sentencing two weeks ago, Judge Brennan kept everyone waiting all day, finally declaring about 4pm that he was postponing sentencing because he hadn't read "all the letters" presumably from Smith's supporters.

DA MEREDITH LINTOTT is quoted in Monday's Washington Post story on Mendocino County's thriving pot industry as saying "…Quite frankly, I might benefit from a card. This is a high-stress job. It would probably do me good to go home and smoke some pot in the evening."

THE POST'S story is called "Suddenly Righteous Dudes," and goes on to claim that the hippies of yesteryear, those pioneer growers, "have now become the establishment." Well, kind of. But years ago, when the so-called rednecks understood that there was serious money to be made, lots of them made deals with "hippies," and now Mexican growers, that go like this: "You can grow on my place. I get half, but if you're busted I never saw you before and you're a gol durn trespasser."

WHILE WE'RE PASSING the bong around, Meredith might want to know that a cannabis issues strategy meeting will be held this Saturday, 6:30pm, Herban Legend, 17875 N. Highway One, Fort Bragg.

VOTERS IN OAKLAND have approved a pot tax by a whopping 80% margin, meaning the city anticipates $300,000 in additional revenues next year. Here in Mendocino County, ancestral home of the cannabis industry, local government does not tax an annual export crop of the stuff valued at, well, pick a number beginning with multiples of million.

I'VE OFTEN WONDERED if star thistle was Weed World's ultimate menace, a botanical juggernaut inexorably marching on the unsuspecting villages of the Northcoast, impervious to all efforts to extinguish it. Then I read a letter-to-the-editor from Robin Jeavons of the famous Willits gardening family, in which she says "land infested with star thistle is struggling to regain health," that the weed produces "an excellent honey," that spraying it with herbicides "kills off honey bees." Honey bees, as most of us know, is that crucial little creature upon which much of our food depends for pollination. Ms. Jeavons also recommends a couple of books she says caused her to view Weed World with the respect it deserves: How To Enjoy Your Weeds by Audrey Wynee Hatfield and Reading the Landscape of America by May Theilgard Watts.

A SALACIOUS press release from Sister Yazzle Dazzle invites all you libertines to "shake your groove thang" Friday night, August the 7th at Sign of the Whale, Point Arena. I used to be able to wiggle my ears, Yazzie, but the last time I tried to shake anything I threw my back out. Yaz (no relation to the famous ballplayer) says uncoolness is no bar to her events. "Cool or uncool, you're invited."

ED HOLMES of the Mime Troupe stopped by Monday to say the Troupe's show at Fort Bragg's Cotton Auditorium last weekend "went very well." Holmes, a pleasant, articulate man, has been with the Troupe for many years. He said of the Fort Bragg appearance, a fund-raiser for KZYX, "made a little money for them, a little for us." If you've never seem the MT, and I must confess I haven't seen them for forty years, but I can honestly say that in my dimming memory they're a great show. And you can see them yourself in Ukiah at Todd Grove Park on Wednesday, August 12th, 7pm and the next night at the Point Arena Theater, Thursday night, 8pm, August the 12th.

ECONOMIC COLLAPSE got me and the Missus a pair of nicely discounted plane tickets to Eugene over a long weekend where we enjoyed seeing the happy human consequences of what began unhappily twenty years ago in Mendocino County as an international sidebar of The Great Satanist Witch Hunt. Beelzebub, some of you old timers will recall, was allegedly ferrying toddlers from a daycare center north of Fort Bragg to a hellish but vague address near Westport where the kids were violated by The Big Red One in unspeakable ceremonies. The kids said a Georgia-Pacific helicopter was sometimes used for their commute to the demon's house. This evil nonsense came to be widely believed in Mendocino County, and you can read the whole story, including how Mendolib gave it all a great big boost, in Mendocino Noir, 16 True Crime Stories From Mendocino County now available at your local bookstore or on-line from Amazon.

AT THAT TIME, a Syrian national by the name of Tamman Adi was living in Albion with his Indonesian wife, Yeni Wiridereja and their infant daughter, Yusra. Adi, a Muslim, insisted that Yeni, also a Muslim, conceal herself in the full Bedouin head-to-toe wrap-around while he preached to her of the Wahabbi strictures on female modesty and carried on with a fog belt tootsie named Pat McKay, a 400-pound reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. (If all this seems improbably, you don't live here.) Adi, a linguist who earned his way doing translations of Arabic-language documents for our benumbed government, soon ordered Yeni and infant Yusra out of his Albion home to make room for McKay, who would also become a Muslim swathed head-to-toe for an overall sartorial effect of an ancient Spanish galleon under full sail when I happened on her once in an Oregon mall.

THE EXPELLED WIFE, YENI, spoke zero English. A kindly Albion person drove her to the then-Fort Bragg Women's Shelter who sent her on to the San Francisco Asian Women's Shelter where there was a native Indo-speaker who could help her and her infant daughter make a new life for themselves. But not before she was arrested, jailed, transported to Mendocino County in chains with her daughter placed in a series of foster homes, all the while having no idea of what was happening to her or why. In the meantime, though, Adi, a fluent English speaker, taking full advantage of the Satanist hysteria raging in Fort Bragg and the more credulous inland venues of the County such as Potter Valley and Ukiah, had told the cops that his wife had stolen little Yusra to rent her to Satan's Fort Bragg franchise, hence her mother's arrest. It took a full three years to unravel this one, no thanks to the cretins at the Mendocino County CPS office, one of whom looked me straight in the face and said, "Child molestation is quite common in Indonesia. It's part of their culture." This person could not find Indonesia on a one-country map, but that's what Yeni and her child were up against, and why shockingly stupid people are employed by Mendocino County to intervene in the lives of troubled people is simply one more war crime in the local class conflict. But all's well that ends well on the rare occasions that it does, and Yeni lives happily in her own home in Eugene and Yusra is an honors graduate of the UofO presently living with her husband in London where he's a student at the London School of Economics. Pat McKay died a month ago in Waldport, Oregon and Adi, who became the go-to-guy for Oregon multiculturalists seeking to understand Islam in the aftermath of 9-11, and with McKay not dead a month, has met an American Muslim woman on-line to whom he has proposed marriage.

AND THEY CONFISCATED my toothpaste at the Eugene Airport as we went through the inane "security" boarding procedure in the otherwise empty sprawl of the place. A terrorist, or a whole platoon of them, could of course jog in from the farms bordering the facility, grabbing whatever aircraft they chose as the two security men hauled off my tube of Ipana, but I guess airport security reassures some people that Dick Cheney never sleeps.

THAT ANONYMOUS HIPPIE who recommended back in '67 that we "let it all hang out" may have lived to regret the advice. In an encounter that would have won a consensus "odd" prior to that pivotal year, a woman sat down next to me in the Valley River Mall as I watched the passing parade from a well-placed observation bench. My simpleton's mug seems to inspire the confidences of strangers, strangers ranging on the Loon Scale from mildly unhinged to pop eyed bonkers. This lady of middle years was at the mild end of the mental illness charts although she was dressed as a teenager. "Hi," she said from the seated position, "Mind if I sit down here?" Without so much as an introductory sentence she told me that her daughter was 23 and had "never been kissed" but was now engaged to "a Catholic who goes to Mass every day and belongs to that secret society Magna Carta or whatever." I muttered an avuncular assurance that her daughter could do worse. "Now she's going to Mass every day and they're engaged. Next thing I know my little girl will be a baby factory! Why haven't they invented a birth control pill the Catholics approve of?" I said I didn't know but that I had every confidence in non-denominational medical science. "He's a rich Catholic, though," she said as she mimed a couple of vigorous overhead pulling motions accompanied by a couple of overly loud, "Ka-ching, ka-ching" exclamations. Because a Chinese family happened to be walking past I thought for a panicked instant my new friend was making an ethnic slur until I realized she was mimicking the ka-ching, ka-ching sounds of a slot machine jackpot. "At least they'll have the money for a lot of kids," she said, smiling, perhaps at the thought of her daughter in a velvet nursery. "Sorry, gotta go. Here comes my husband."

A READER WRITES: “According to the June 24, 2009, Sacramento Bee, Mendocino County’s Court Executive Officer Ben Stough made $169,463 per year plus benefits totaling $231,830 which apparently makes him the second highest paid public employee in Mendocino County after the CEO Tom Mitchell. According to the Bee the average salary for the 58 Court Execs in California was $155k and total compensation averaged $214k, making Mendo's court executive officer well compensated compared to counties of similar size. The Humboldt County Court Exec makes $130k, Lake $141k, Sonoma $188k, Glenn $112k, Del Norte $122k, etc.”

YOU CAN TELL how broken the California criminal justice system is by looking at the proposals being floated to save some prison money. If it takes a major economic depression to even discuss the following, can anybody seriously believe the leadership can right the ship of state? Here are some of the “prison reform” ideas that will allegedly save a billion dollars or so in annual prison expenses: 1. Petty thefts, writing bad checks and receiving stolen property would no longer be charged as felonies. This “reform,” of course, means more inmates in already crowded County jails. 2. Car thefts would not be considered automatic felonies. Thefts of cars worth less than $2,500 would be charged as misdemeanors. (Which also would mean more people in county jails.) 3. Some “low-risk offenders” would be put on ankle bracelet home detention or other tracking devices which the offender pays for. (This one would save some money.) Sick and/or elderly inmates and those with 12 months or less remaining on their sentences would be eligible for home detention. 4. “Low level” immigrant inmates would be turned over to federal Immigration officials for deportation. 5. Minor parole violators wouldn’t automatically result in return to prison as they presently are. 6. “Low or moderate” risk parolees would not be actively supervised by parole officers upon release from prison but would be subject to warrantless searches and seizures. 7. Also under consideration is release of some sick, elderly and disabled inmates to nursing care facilities. The trouble with this one is that there’s nowhere near enough places for aged outlaws, especially those who require costly care; the aged of all descriptions are being hurled overboard, and inmates, in conditions of economic triage, are low priority. All this should have been done years ago, but with PattyMike-Bro on "the left" and right-wing demagogues of the Fox News types keeping people in perpetual fear of the bogeyman nothing of substantive reform is likely.

YOU HAVE to give the Santa Rosa Press Democrat some credit for running a forum section on their website called “The Santa Rosa Press Democrat is a very poor newspaper.” Talk about asking for it. Anonymous posters gleefully piled on. “Every time I sit down to read it I can't help but think what a crappy newspaper it is. Literally no good content at all. Journalism? Forget it! From top to bottom, first page to last this newspaper blows. How can they stay in business? Can someone provide a link to even one story in the last month that would qualify as actual journalism? I'm not counting Lowell Cohn.” Anonymous Comment 2: “What was your first clue? It's been crappy for years, and since it is owned by the NY Times which is tanking due to unethical ‘journalistic’ practices (lies and slander) the PD can only print what the NY Times says is ok to feed you. That means regurgitated/censored and pabulum style articles that will only slant toward one political agenda. YOU decide which one.” Anonymous Comment 3: “That was GOOD!” Anonymous Comment 4: I canceled my subscription when they hired an out of town contractor to build their (now empty) palace in [Rohnert Park]. They actually paid some poor person to call me & ask why!” Anonymous Comment 5: “If that was you... sorry! lol.” Anonymous Comment 6: “I know I'm supporting them just by logging on here but I like to see what the community is up to– and I NEVER click on the ads.” Anonymous Comment 7: “Still no check! But I have ‘HOPE’!!! and ‘Change’!!! LOTS of change.” Anonymous Comment 8: “I don't see how we can be ‘supporting’ the PD by logging on to the website. Unless you click on the ads (which you nor I do), then they make NOTHING off us.” Anonymous Comment 9: “They do a pretty good job reporting on any awards they win.” Anonymous Comment 10: “You geniuses are waiting for the day when there are NO newspapers and you can feed your brain with blogs. I suggest you take your meds and suggest an alternative, and then PAY for it.” Anonymous Comment 11: “One thing to keep in mind is: yes, it's a lousy newspaper, but it never was a good newspaper.” Anonymous Comment 12: Why should we want newspapers that don't inform? If your idea of a quality news source is Pravda, then the PD is for you.” Anonymous Comment 14: “For your edification, I do not visit, read, nor write on blogs. Perhaps YOU do, I DON'T. Your PD is STILL a RAG.” Anonymous Comment 15: “Then why are you all here if you think it sucks so much?” Anonymous Comment 16: “for laughs.” Anonymous Comment 17: “Hey, wait, I need the PD! Bottom of the bird cage. Wrapper for dead fish. Kitchen floor for the puppy to pee on.” Anonymous Comment 18: “Here is a partial list of its symptoms: Owned by the NY Times, Biased, Irrelevant, Staffed by 20 year old kids who can't write, No investigations or research, No content on Monday! Ads are too expensive. Oh my. Why aren't they out of business? It’s a matter of time. All newspapers are going down the tubes – see the above list. I used to enjoy the morning paper (many, many years ago). It kept me informed and in the loop. I rarely missed a day. But now I usually don't bother. Oh, I buy a copy every now and then just to see how fast the industry is dying. Sad, really. There was an entire sub-culture built around the newspaper, from the delivery boy down the street to popular writers like Herb Caen. People would ask, ‘Did you see that in the paper today?’ just to start a conversation with their friends. All gone. What will take the place of the daily newspaper? Nothing. The culture will be gone soon, along with the drive in movie, and within a generation no one will remember what a byline or a soda jerk was.”

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