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Off the Record (Dec. 19, 2018)

THIS SENTENCE from the Press Democrat: "A customer halted a holdup at a Subway sandwich shop in Ukiah on Wednesday night, shooting a man accused of attempting to rob the restaurant at gunpoint, authorities said."

THE "AUTHORITIES" might have said that, but what exactly happened is still being sorted out. Another version says the armed customer, still unnamed, shot the unnamed robber three times in the buttocks as the robber fled. The bandit, age 20 according to the Ukiah PD, carried a replica handgun. He was helicoptered outtahere for treatment. His wounds were described as serious but not life-threatening. 

THE SHOOTER, who we understand is a firefighter, has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, which lots of County residents possess, although most counties issue concealed carries only to people regularly carrying large sums of money or otherwise have a valid reason to go about their business armed.

THE MIGHTY AVA AGREES with Chuck Dunbar, who wrote:

"That Ukiah Subway robbery where an armed citizen shot the robber…. This one nags at me so I’ll say this: Maybe there is more to be revealed about this event that would make me see things differently, but with the details given, I hope the shooter is charged with a serious crime. This is the very circumstance that makes me cringe about folks carrying guns around in public, many of whom lack the sense, judgment and training to safely intervene in such events. Was this a safe or necessary intervention? Doesn’t seem so, with the given facts. The burglar’s got his money, he’s leaving the premises with his gun that turns out to be a BB gun that looks like the real thing. The guy with the concealed carry permit shoots him 3 times in the butt. Self defense, protecting others? Doesn’t sound like it. Did the dumbass burglar deserve to be arrested and jailed? Sure. Did he deserve to be shot and seriously injured, at risk for being disabled or killed? No way. Protect us all from such interventions. Once in awhile they may go well, but the risk of harm to bystanders or even the criminals themselves is very high. There are way too many guns out there, way too many folks who use them stupidly, as this guy did."

MEANWHILE, in the great world beyond the treeless desolation of the Pear Tree Shopping Center, the number of gun deaths in the U.S. in 2017 climbed to almost 40,000 people. The numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 39,773 people lost their lives after being shot or shooting themselves in 2017. That represents a total of 12 deaths per 100,000 people—up from 10.1 in 2010 and the highest rate of gun deaths since 1996. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that compares with rates of 0.2 gun deaths per 100,000 people in Japan, 0.3 in the U.K., 0.9 in Germany, and 2.1 in Canada. Suicide is by far the greatest killer, accounting for about 60 percent of all gun deaths. Almost 24,000 people, or 6.9 per 100,000, killed themselves with a gun in 2014—that's up from 6.1 in 2010 and 5.9 in 2000. 

THE BAN on abalone fishing has been extended another two years. “There’s no positive news,” said Sonke Mastrup, environmental program manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the lead NorCal expert on abalone. “We’re still seeing starving abalone this last season during the surveys. We’re still seeing fresh empty shells.” Even most ab divers seem to be for a time out, and some said they hoped it would be extended indefinitely to bring the endangered delicacy back. But a combination of poaching and overfishing has just about finished the species off on the Northcoast, not to mention the sickness of the seas.  

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE DEMOCRATS, REASON 1,200,655: The international media reported that Hillary Clinton took to the dance floor Monday night at the wedding of billionaire heiress Isha Ambani, the daughter of India's richest man. In video footage a beaming Mrs. Clinton was seen shaking her hips and waving her hands in time to the music alongside Bollywood king Shah Rukh Khan and John Kerry, while her fellow debauchees cheered her on.

FENTANYL, our local drug informants tell us, has been obtainable in Mendocino County for at least a decade. Some of us recall the fentanyl-death of a Ukiah High School student who obtained fentanyl patches from the drug addicted son of Dr. Marvin Trotter of Ukiah. Trotter was successfully sued by the dead boy's family who said Trotter had carelessly stored the drug at his home.  Fentanyl has become the most common drug causing American overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. 

SEAN CONNELL of Planning and Building is the latest person to be sacrificed, er, appointed, as boss of Mendocino County’s hopelessly complex Cannabis Program,

NOBODY LAUGHED when, at the congressional hearing last week, congresswoman Zoe Lofgren asked Google's CEO, "If you Google the word 'idiot' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. How would that happen? How does search work so that that would occur?" Google's chief, Sundar Pichai, said some 200 math calculations produced Trump as the winner of the idiot images, that the math was not tampered with to arrive at Orange Man. The hearing was ostensibly about privacy and data collection. 

THE SUPES have issued a proclamation “honoring” Georgeanne Croskey for her short term as appointed, interim Third District Supervisor. Funny thing is Croskey was honored for merely being appointed, for serving in the Air Force, for being a mother of three, serving on the Willits School Board, for going to some meetings, for “passion and concern,” none of which has anything to do with being a Supervisor. Did Croskey actually do anything of note? Did she take a stand on anything? Did she even try to do anything for the County besides vote to raise the pay of herself and every official whose pay came before her? The bar for being “honored” is now down to going to meetings while having been in the military and raising some kids? That said, little as she did for as short a time as she did, Croskey managed to outshine 4th District predecessors like Tom Lucier and Hal Wagenet. PS. Croskey’s draft proclamation leaves the signature blank, saying only “Chair,” because “Chair” Dan Hamburg walked off the job a few months ago although he continues to be paid.

THE SUPES will also “honor” Clerk-Recorder-Assessor, Sue Ranochak:

“Proclamation Of The Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors Honoring Susan Ranochak For Her Years Of Service As Assessor/Clerk-Recorder For The County Of Mendocino.” The only comment to be made here is that the claim that “under Sue’s guidance, Mendocino County improved the ballot counting process, including improvements associated with posting results on the Assessor/Clerk- Recorder Department's website within moments…” flies in the face of anyone who follows local elections. Ranochak’s steadfast refusal to take even modest steps to speed up the vote counting or to re-institute at least some of the precinct polling stations after they were forcibly closed by former Clerk Marsha Wharff was an embarrassment to the County, with final results always dragging out for weeks after the election, sometimes leading to unnecessarily annoying reversals in initial outcomes. All other neighboring counties do a much better job at counting and posting election results. We know that Supervisors Gjerde and McCowen have publicly complained about Ranochak’s sludge-like vote counting even after their attempts to offer more money to hire some temps to speed up the count. Will they sign off on a proclamation that directly contradicts their experience?

NATCH, HAMBURG’S DISAPPEARANCE will not prevent his colleagues from honoring him with one of their fantasy proclamations: “Proclamation Of The Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors Honoring Supervisor Dan Hamburg For His Years Of Service On The Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors And His Service To The County Of Mendocino.” Which is standing Hamburg’s opportunistic record exactly on its head.

TO TAKE ONE OF THE HAMBURG WHEREAS’s, “in 1992, Dan was elected to the US House of Representatives as California’s First Congressional District Representative; and while in Congress, authorized the Headwaters Forest Act, a bill that passed the House overwhelmingly; worked for single-payer health care, cuts in military spending equal rights for the GBLT community, rail transportation, and salmon restoration….”

IN FACT, Senator Feinstein steered about three quarters of a billion public dollars to Charles Hurwitz, the owner of Pacific Lumber. Hurwitz is a friend and occasional business partner of Feinstein’s husband. Hamburg, other than expressing what a swell deal it was, was a non-factor in the negotiations, and was not a participant in any of the environmental struggles of the 80’s and 90’s. Single payer remains in the distant future, gay rights was achieved by others, rail transportation, like the salmon, has disappeared. 

THE SUPERVISORS might be taken a little more seriously if they only issued proclamations to people and organizations who deserve special recognition. Supervisor Hamburg is the most egregiously undeserving public official in recent County history, and if true accountability still existed, he would be stripped of his pension and given a quick boot in the arse as he departs public employment. But he'll get a rosy send off, count on it. Anyway, supervisory "honors" only exist in theory; in reality, at any one meeting, and on a well-attended day, maybe 30 people will tune them in. Because the supervisors operate mostly unobserved (except for the ava) only ava readers have any idea of how pathetically dysfunctional they've been lately. Will Ted Williams and John Haschak help restore credibility? Hard to say. Haschak seems stuck in Platitude Land and almost comically earnest. We'll soon find out how earnest he is. Williams hasn't said much that's relevant to his new position, but the new blood might unfreeze Gjerde from his cryonic state and embolden McCowen to again make the supervisors independent of the apparatus they allegedly supervise. 

SUPERVISOR HASCHAK? What kind of supervisor will John Haschak be? A taste of Haschak’s views was provided by Willits Weekly reporter Mike A’Dair in last Thursday’s edition. Haschak told A’Dair that he wants “the economy to work for everybody.” He’s for emergency preparedness and more access to the Sherwood corridor. He will "pay attention to climate change and how that's affecting the environment where we live." Seeming to arrive late to the party, as Haschak wants to make the County’s pot permit rules “work for small growers.” He's also for career and technical education and broadband — things over which the county has little control or authority. He's big on what he calls “cannatourism” and "the wellness industry" — "We have a lot of healers around here, herbalists, things of that nature. They do it in Ojai. They do it in Sebastopol. They do it in Sedona. We could do that here too." Haschak said he wanted to find out what's holding up all the pot permits — if he does that he’ll have done what the other supervisors have been unable to do for months. On climate change, Haschak says, "we need to talk about how we are managing our forests, about access routes and emergency evacuation routes -- things that will help us survive if there is a devastating fire." The County of Mendocino has essentially no authority over "how we are managing our forests." 

STEPH CURRY, the world's greatest basketball player, is taking a lot of flak for allegedly saying he thinks the moon landings are faked. I listened to a tape of a section of the podcast wherein Curry says that, but it seems to me the entire context was jocular, as Curry and some other hoopsters kidded around. Maybe he does believe the moon walks were faked. So what? As we all know, millions of people believe the same, faith being the same as fact to many, many millions more. Why, would you believe that right here in Mendocino County probably a thousand or so young mommies and daddies disbelieve in the efficacy of vaccination? Curry later was compelled to apologize to some astronauts for making light of their accomplishments.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town" by John Grisham is the only non-fiction the prolific Grisham has produced. He also partially funded this fascinating 6-part Netflix documentary about four men falsely imprisoned for two separate murders of young women. An unscrupulous DA, partnered with a slo-mo police department in Ada, Oklahoma, a town with a history of extra-judicial violence, teamed up to frame all four falsely imprisoned men. 

ACCORDING to the essential Innocence Project, roughly 90,000 Americans are falsely imprisoned today. Here in "liberal" Mendocino County? I'd say Kenny Rogers of Westport is falsely imprisoned, and I'd say Tai Abreu of Fort Bragg was convicted of being involved in a murder he did not commit but, because of his incompetent public defender, Linda Thompson, Abreu received a sentence of life without the possibility of parole after a one-day "trial." Abreu had just turned 19 when Thompson buried him alive. (Recent legislation may get Abreu's conviction re-visited. Mark Sprinkle insists on his innocence for a conviction that he molested three underage girls, a molestation consisting of 90 seconds of sexual touching. Sprinkle got 45-to-life, and remains in state prison. There was no evidence whatsoever produced in court that Kenny Rogers ordered a man who worked for him to shoot up the Westport front door of a political rival.

TRUMP should get credit for cooling out North Korea, a move the libs still find inconceivable, and he has revealed our intelligence agencies as the often wrong and partisan, tenured, deep state hacks they've always been. Orange Man also deserves credit for at least stating the obvious — sentences in this country tend to be out of all proportion to the crime committed. "Sentences are too long," spaketh The Trump. Sprinkle is Exhibit A: Three junior floozies, clearly put up to it by Sprinkle's vindictive ex-girlfriend, voluntarily take their clothes off in his car.  They said in court they did it as a joke. Sprinkle didn’t coerce them into disrobing, didn't rape or assault the girls. Did he touch them? Who knows? If he did, by their own unreliable testimony the touching lasted a minute and a half. His denials that he didn’t touch the girls have kept Sprinkle from being released. Most people in his situation would say whatever the Parole Board wanted to hear simply to be set free.


[1] So….this is it huh? This is the state of the “leadership” in the most exceptional country ever, huh? And, we still have people wondering when collapse/decline is going to happen. Looks like all of the opioid, alcohol, porn, TeeVee and sports addictions/distractions coupled with shitty, meaningless wage slavery have created a whole nobody gives a shit anymore environment. The fact that the distracted, overly propagandized patriots of freedom in this country consider the military one of their most trustworthy institutions while they can’t pass an audit and always need more money even though having an open checkbook under the current idiot in office is one more sign of major decline. In my younger days it never occurred to me that this country could kill itself off due to pure stupidity, but here we are. It’s those things you don’t even expect that get you.

[2] Subsequent to a spacewalk, a Space Shuttle astronaut said that seeing the stars below his feet as well as overhead was consciousness expanding. Unfortunately, here on the secure, hardened crust of Earth humanity loses its sense of wonderment about the beautiful planet we are fortunate enough to living on. Instead, with the utilization of our miraculous, reverse entropic three-pound blood soaked sponge of a human brain, “a dog’s breakfast” (Vonnegut), we develop nuclear weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarines, biological toxins, etc. in order to kill each other and everything else on the planet. On top of that a few of the brighter dog’s breakfasts have figured out a system that entitles them to the world’s riches at the expense of the others. Unfortunately, upon acquisition of these riches they become bored and tired looking for new thrills like power. The Dog’s Breakfast is insatiable!

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