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MCT: Friday, January 4, 2019

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A WET AND UNSETTLED WEATHER PATTERN will return to northwestern California this weekend, with the first in a series of systems set to impact the area on Saturday. (National Weather Service)

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Clearlake, Bloody Island and the Native People

by Jeanine Pfeiffer

At the northernmost tip of California’s largest freshwater lake stands a small hillock that used to be an island. The island, known in Before-time as Bo-no-po-ti, was encircled by massive clusters of blue-green tule reeds, their feet submerged in clear waters, their heads tipped with starbursts of copper flowers. Towering over most humans, the tule marshlands embraced all manners of aquatic life: dense clusters of endemic fish, waterfowl, tule elk, tule perch, and the world’s largest garter snake.

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(Photo by Dick Whetstone)

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The repercussions of the partial federal government shutdown have begun to emerge along the North Coast as the stalemate between Democratic congressional leaders and President Trump over his insistence on a border wall entered its 12th day on Wednesday.

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On Saturday, December 28, 2018 at approximately 11:22 AM, Deputies contacted Erin Winkler, 31, of Fort Bragg, while conducting an unrelated investigation in the 19000 block of Babcock Lane in Fort Bragg.


Deputies knew Erin Winkler was on active probation, with a term that she submit her person and area under her control to search and seizure. This search revealed credit cards bearing the name of the 71 year-old female who was a relative to Winkler. The investigation revealed that Winkler had unlawfully entered the 71 year-old's residence and had stolen the credit cards. Winkler was also found to be in violation of an active Criminal Protective Order, issued by a Judge of the Mendocino County Superior Court, which prohibited her from being within 100 yards of the residence. As a result of the arrest, Winkler was also charged with violation of her probation. Erin Winkler was transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail, where she was to be held in lieu of $55,000 bail.

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"It's that time of the year again and I'll be sitting in my broken camp chair at the corner of Redwood & Franklin Streets in Fort Bragg, starting at 11pm. The New Year’s celebration in Fort Bragg's central business district is always fun to watch, with three bars within 200 feet of each other. I don't drink alcohol (I do partake of cannabis) and don't go to bars, but want to be out around people when the New Year starts. Being alone on New Year’s doesn't have to be a drag; last year, it was a fun mix of folks from all walks of life, a real positive community experience. Everyone is friendly, if not a bit inebriated, stopping by to say hello and have a short chat, it's pretty darn cool. Perhaps I'll see you there, and if you come, bring a chair and warm clothing. Wishing everyone positive happenings in the coming year.

—Derek, Celebrating my 20th year as a resident of Fort Bragg."

HERE IN BOONVILLE there were two large gatherings, one at Lauren's for Taunia Green, the other the annual bash at Bert Cohen's, Bert as in Boont Berry Bert. My colleague, The Major, who holds down the night shift at the ava, said he heard several muffled explosions coming from SoBo (South Boonville), "which were either gunshots or cherry bombs." Used to sound like the Battle of the Somme on New Years back in the day, but we're a much tamer population any more. When I arose before dawn to greet the new year a celebrant was slumped in his car next door, his headlights on, radio playing. I lit out for a brisk walk along AV Way where I met the other two early risers and regular exercisers, Alicia Perez and Jan Wasson Smith. It occurred to me to that the ladies, devoted as they are to strenuous movement, might be interested in a Christmas gift I received called, "Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health & Training." The old boy was always male oriented, but I could blot out "Manly" to bring the advice up to date. Walt recommended lots of beef, walking, swimming, fresh air in the morning, an assault on a punching bag for an hour or so in the afternoon. As the great poet put it, "To you, clerk, literary man, sedentary person, man of fortune, idler… Up! The world (perhaps you now look upon it with pallid and disgusted eyes) is full of zest and beauty for you, if you approach it in the right spirit!" All in all, not bad advice, although the price of beef being what it is you might have to substitute another protein.

A HARD FREEZE overnight didn't unfreeze the water line to the office until 2pm.


"Loved your lottery big-win fantasy in this morning's 'Ed Note' — the 'Who's Laughing Now' Palace....

About a year ago there was a big jackpot (over $500 million, if I remember right) and I bought a lottery ticket. Being a virgin, it was a memorable experience. I brought the ticket home and had a day or two to run through all the what-if-I-win fantasies. What surprised me at the end of that process was some very real trepidation about how it could change one's life in not-so-nice ways. So when the drawing finally occurred and NONE of my numbers even came close to matching, I was both disappointed at such a poor showing (two bucks down the drain) but also relieved that I had my old life back."

I'LL TAKE A CASE: A drinkable drug cocktail that shows promise for blocking Alzheimer's-related decline and even restoring memory has allegedly been discovered by researchers at Yale University. An estimated 44 million Americans suffer dementia or signs thereof, but those signs are purely in the biased eyes of the beholder. A lot of us oldies fake it. "Oh, well, you know he's old," they'll say as you get them to leave you alone rather than repeat a dumb question, or persuade them to carry something you're perfectly capable of carrying, blurt out insults, pull off little manipulations simply to get your way. By any truly objective standard most of us are Alzheimer's cases all our lives. Like, whatever, as the young people say, but the Yalies are claiming the magic ingredient is an old antibiotic called Suprax, or cefixime. This stuff apparently has elderly lab rats reciting the Greek alphabet backwards.

STALINIST RUSSIA did have a few attractive features, among them summary execution of economic criminals, by which standards top management and all shareholders of our pharmaceutical industry would be put up against a wall and shot. This year's prices for all drugs, including the life saving ones, are estimated to rise an average of 6.3%. Even their pal in the White House asked them to cool it, but they've ignored him.

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MSP saw the following posted to the MCNList Wednesday @ 5:40 pm:

"Three wildlife trail cameras were stolen from wooded private forestlands in the Little River drainage basin north of Van Damme State Park near Gordon Lane. Stay alert for trespassers in the area and possible thefts."

Trail camera prices vary from $25 to $140 — or more.

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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The C'mon Home to Eat raffle winners are: Nadia Berrigan, who won four entrees at the Bewildered Pig; Maggie Von Vogt, who won dinner for two at the Boonville Hotel/Table 128; and John Leal and Jennifer Lopez, who each won $50 gift certificates to the farm stand of their choice. The basket held 415 tickets from purchasing local food during C'mon Home to eat in October at the farmers' market, featured dinners, and the farm stands. The drawing was held at the Holiday Community Dinner at the Grange in December.

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AV Foodshed and the Grange have continued the tradition of filling the entire Grange for the Community Holiday Dinner. The grange and the Woodshed share the cost of providing local turkeys, meat, potatoes, and gravy, and the rest of the feast is an incredible potluck. The excellent turkeys were from Sisters' Ridge Ranch in Redwood Valley -- local, but not as local as they could be. Boont Berry helped us get potatoes sourced from Northern California. For next year, we are hoping both the turkeys and the potatoes can be purchased from an Anderson Valley source. Please send an e-mail to if you are willing to raise 80 pounds worth of turkeys and/or 50 pounds of Anderson Valley-grown potatoes.

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Boy, did MSP get an earful this morning about the Mendocino State Parks lack of attention to Greenwood State Beach — everything from trash not being picked up, filthy restrooms oozing excrement, half-done mowing down the trail to the beach letting poison oak take over… you name it and it’s being ignored. A tourist thought it must because of the “government shutdown!” But, as we all know, that’s a state, not federal, beach. The shutdown has nothing to do with it. This is pure unadulterated negligence. It’s a pity, this is one of the best beaches around.

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 3, 2019

Barry, Hoaglin-Pike, Marshall, Walker

WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

LEONARD HOAGLIN-PIKE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

WILLIAM MARSHALL, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, probation revocation.

CLAUD WALKER, Willits. Parole violation.

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From Thursday’s NY Times:

…“Much as people are now wary or even unhappy with the outsized power held by Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc., they are simultaneously quite dependent on the services they provide,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

“The government doesn’t have a good clue,” said Mr. Bajarin, the consultant. “They’re not even asking the kind of questions that would drive to regulation.”

Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

“For Facebook to have a better year in 2019, it needs to be more upfront and transparent,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer. This was also the advice Facebook got for 2018, to little avail.

All this could change if the anti-tech mood continues to swell or the economy hits a really rough patch. On the other hand, the last recession tended to work in Big Tech’s favor by giving smaller competitors even more to worry about.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Amazon’s North American media sales increased 20 percent. Borders, one of its biggest book-selling competitors, saw revenue drop 9 percent, reported a record loss and was soon defunct.

With so little to really worry about, Big Tech is planning for a future far beyond any present-day turmoil. Google, which has 3,500 job openings, says it is too early to say what the thousands of employees will do. But Jonathan Taplin, director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California, has a good idea: everything.

“They’re in the transportation business, the medical business, every business,” said Mr. Taplin, a frequent critic of how Big Tech took over a decentralized, independent internet. “There is no aspect of your life that they will not be involved in”…

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“We’re going to get this year off to a great start as soon as we figure out what day of the week it is.”

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Trump is neither undermining institutions, nor is he “authoritarian”, nor is he fascistic, nor is he in the pocket of Putin, nor has he colluded with Russians in winning the election. All this is nonsense that covers in dishonor those cretins making such accusations.

Trump’s problems are much more mundane; is Trump competent in the areas his office requires? No, not to my eyes. This means he’s like the vast majority of us, he hasn’t got the intellectual capacity, nor the executive experience, nor the legislative, nor the communications skills.

This all means he hasn’t got the ability to effectively twist arms in private and public like LBJ, nor the ability to make hideously tough decisions like Truman, nor the combination of character and intellect and experience to take on a world gone mad like Roosevelt did in his time.

IMO Trump falls short in all these critical areas. There’s no objective yard-stick you can use, just your own eyes and ears to take the measure of the man and make the call.

Having said all this, he did openly talk about issues that the others refused to acknowledge and act on – for decades. This is to the others’ discredit. But has Trump thought things through?

But Trump’s most dire need is in having “bench strength” ie a body of competent, cabinet-level executives that he can call on, that are on board with his broad agenda, as well as support in the embedded and non-elected institutions we call the “Deep State”. This is the source of the ludicrous Mueller investigation, the preposterous Comey cover-up of Clinton malfeasance, the tooth-and-nail Pentagon opposition to withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Middle-East where day-in and day-out American presence solves nothing and wastes lives and money.

And it’ll be a while before we see extraction of the monumentally incompetent foreign affairs establishment from positions of influence. And it will similarly take some time before Wall Street’s slithery, vampire squid-like grip on organizations like the Treasury is loosened, similarly the Fed and other agencies where regulatory “capture” makes a farce of the very notion of regulation.

It’s like Herb Stein said, if something can’t go on forever it won’t. But you’ve also no doubt heard the saying that the market can stay irrational a lot longer than you can stay solvent. This goes too for irrationality in the bodies entrusted with governing for the commonweal. They’ve got a built-in momentum. You can point to the human tendency to group-think, institutional inertia because of size or complexity or collective laziness, the effect of money, the inherent hierarchical top-down nature of these bodies. You can theorize all you want, it isn’t going to help. If they don’t change direction, Herb’s Law will apply and they WILL go over a cliff.

The issue is one of time. For example, Europeans and Asians had been impoverished and abused for centuries. And Marx offered a conceptual alternative. He did his writing in the mid-1800s but it wasn’t for generations that adherents to his ideas took power. And then it turned into a bloody mess ie in Russia, China, Cambodia etc. I would urge those looking to maintain the status quo to look to history, to take into account the interests of people currently disparaged.

They might also look to people like the NSDAP and the paramilitary organizations allied to them. All these had a long incubation in the collective misery of ordinary people. That’s not to say that communism and fascism will re-surge. But if you don’t listen to the mass of common people, if you abuse them and call them deplorable, there will be hell to pay. Events will go pin-balling in directions nobody could foresee. This is what history teaches us. But we know they won’t listen.

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STUDYING PLUTO tells you about Pluto. Studying Ultima Thule might yield a greater prize in unlocking the secrets of how planets, in general, grow.

Undisturbed since the very earliest days of the Solar System, it is a left-over brick, part of the rubble from a construction project which finished more than four billion years ago.

Ultima Thule, a trans-Neptunian object from the Kuiper belt located in the outermost regions of the Solar System.

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HIT & RUN THEATER presents Will Durst January 25 & 26

Dear Northcoast Comedy, improv and political analysis fans,

Hit and Run Theater presents famed political comic, Will Durst along with veteran improv act “Deb & Mike” on Friday and Saturday, January 25 & 26 at 7:30pm at the Matheson Performing Arts Center, at Mendocino High School, 45096 Cahto St., Mendocino, CA 95460. “Durst Case Scenario” features Will Durst, a comedian the New York Times calls “quite possibly the best political comic working today”. The show also includes famed improv double act “Deb & Mike”, comedy stalwarts who have been delighting audiences since the late 1970s. General Admission tickets will be $20 and are available at the door(cash or check). To reserve tickets or for more information, please write Doug Nunn at or on Facebook or call Doug Nunn at (707) 937-0360.

The New York Times has called WILL DURST, "quite possibly the best political comedian working in the country today." He writes a nationally syndicated humor column and is a frequent contributor on CNN, MSNBC & Fox News, has performed for 3 presidents, a Mayor’s Convention and a Governors’ Conference. In 2016, “Elect to Laugh” ran for 41 weeks in San Francisco and his new one- man show “Durst Case Scenario,” is currently touring theaters across the country and beyond. He is also one of the titular characters in the documentary “3 Still Standing” which can be seen on Amazon Prime. His 800+ television appearances include: HBO, The Today Show, Letterman, Inside Politics, GMA, Jon Stewart Show, Showtime, Comedy Central, CBS Morning News and many more. Durst has told jokes in 16 countries, is author of 4 books, 5 CDs and has been fired by the San Francisco Examiner twice, PBS three times and he once ran for Mayor of San Francisco, spending $1200, pulling 2% of the vote, meaning on a dollar per vote basis, he is mayor of San Francisco. His heroes remain the same as when he was 12… Thomas Jefferson and Bugs Bunny. And despite blistering reproach he continues to thwart convention by squeezing ketchup onto his bratwurst.

Called by some “the wildest and most creative comedy team ever to emerge from San Francisco”, Debi Durst & Michael Bossier (DEB & MIKE) have been regaling audiences with their wacky zany antics since the dawn of time. Forged in the crucible of the influential San Francisco comedy scene of the early 80s, the two improvisers extraordinaire, have been stalwart members if not founders of such comedy groups as The Committee, The Comedy Store Players, Femprov, The Comedy Underground, National Theater of the Deranged, The Dinosaurs of Improv and The Holy City Zoo Players.

As a duo, the two have appeared on numerous television shows including “People are Talking”, “Evening at the Improv”, “Comedy on the Road”, and are in development for Disney’s “Pigs are People Too!” And individually, they have acted in movies such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “James and the Giant Peach”, “Monkeybone” and “Harper Valley PTA”. These days when not traveling across the country hosting corporate humor seminars, they are active teaching, writing, acting and producing industrial films.

See you on January 25 or 26!

Doug Nunn and Hit & Run Theater

ms notes: Will Durst is the least funny “funny” person we’ve ever heard. Unless you ask Will Durst. He thinks he’s hilarious. Example? Try this if you can stand it:

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Addendum: 1970

Eleven years later. Numbers have dehumanized us. Over breakfast coffee we read of 40,000 Americans dead in Vietnam. Instead of vomiting, we reach for the toast. Our morning rush through crowded streets is not to cry murder but to hit that trough before somebody else gobbles our share.

An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children who will never be born. (The last we can afford: there are too many starving children in the world already.)

Do we scream in the night when it touches our dreams? No. We don't dream about it because we don't think about it; we don't think about it because we don't care about it. We are much more interested in law and order, so that American streets may be made safe while we transform those of Vietnam into flowing sewers of blood which we replenish each year by forcing our sons to choose between a prison cell here or a coffin there. "Every time I look at the flag, my eyes fill with tears." Mine too.

If the dead mean nothing to us (except on Memorial Day weekend when the national freeway is clotted with surfers, swimmers, skiers, picnickers, campers. hunters, fishers, footballers, beer-busters), what of our 300,000 wounded? Does anyone know where they are? How they feel? How many arms, legs, ears, noses, mouths, faces, penises they've lost? How many are deaf or dumb or blind or all three? How many are single or double or triple or quadruple amputees? How many will remain immobile for the rest of their days? How many hang on as decerebrated vegetables quietly breathing their lives away in small, dark, secret rooms?

Write the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Army and Navy Hospitals, the Director of Medical Sciences at the National Library of Medicine, the Veterans Administration, the Office of the Surgeon General - and be surprised by what you don't learn. One agency reports 726 admissions "for amputation services" since January, 1965. Another reports 3,011 amputees since the beginning of the fiscal year 1968. The rest is silence.

The Annual Report of the Surgeon General: Medical Statistics of the United States Army ceased publication in 1954. The Library of Congress reports that the Army Office of the Surgeon General for Medical Statistics "does not have figures on single or multiple amputees." Either the government doesn't think them important or, in the words of a researcher for one of the national television networks, "the military itself, while sure of how many tons of bombs it has dropped, is unsure of how many legs and arms its men have lost."

If there are no concrete figures, at least we are beginning to get comparative ones. Proportionately, Vietnam has given us eight times as many paralytics as World War II, three times as many totally disabled, 35% more amputees. Senator Cranston of California concludes that out of every hundred army veterans receiving compensation for wounds received in action in Vietnam, 12.4% are totally disabled. Totally.

But exactly how many hundreds or thousands of the dead-while-living does that give us? We don't know. We don't ask. We turn away from them; we avert the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, face. "Why should I look, it wasn't my fault, was it?" It was, of course, but no matter. Time presses. Death waits even for us. We have a dream to pursue, the whitest white hope of them all, and we must follow and find it before the light fails.

So long, losers. God bless. Take care. We'll be seeing you.

Dalton Trumbo
Los Angeles
January 3, 1970

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27th August 1955: A model operating the 'Electronic Housewife' at the Radio Show in Earl's Court. The 'Electronic Housewife' is expected to be in every home by 1990 and will revolutionize housework.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2019 6:00pm

Willits City Council, Conference Room

111 E Commercial St, Willits, CA 95490

Elizabeth Salomone

Fish and Game Commission Secretary

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Saturday, January 26 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM in the Education Center at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens Learn to capture those mycological wonders from one of the premier mushroom photographers in the nation! This full-day workshop will teach you the best techniques for capturing mushrooms in all their glory. We will discover tricks on composing photos, how to best utilize lighting in often dark places, and finding the perfect specimens to photograph.

Instructor Noah Siegel’s field mycology skills are extensive — he has spent over two decades seeking, photographing, identifying, and furthering his knowledge about all aspects of macrofungi. Noah is one of the premier mushroom photographers in the nation, having won numerous awards from the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) photography contest. His technique and attention to detail are unrivaled, arising from a philosophy of maximizing utility for identification purposes while maintaining a high degree of aesthetic appeal. His photographs have appeared on the covers and have been featured in articles of multiple issues of FUNGI Magazine and Mushroom (the Journal of Wild Mushrooming), the primary mushroom enthusiast magazines in the United States, numerous mushroom books, as well as many club publications. He authored, along with Christian Schwarz, Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast, a comprehensive guide for the Northern California coast.

Payment Information: Class cost is $25 for members and Master Gardeners; $35 for non-members. Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. SIGN UP by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

What to bring: Any camera will work, a DSLR camera or compact digital camera with macro capabilities is preferred. Bring your tripod if you have one. This workshop will be both indoors and out; wear appropriate clothes for two hours of fieldwork, likely in cold and damp settings.

Roxanne Perkins (Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens)

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NOWADAYS there’s a lot of speech that ends in a question even when there is no question intended. One of the worst forms of it is speech where there’s a vocal punctuation which consists of either a literal or implied “O.K.?” or “okay?” And this speech is the present property of various young people and minorities who are seeking some kind of liberation. The speakers are invariably seized by a grand emotionality, a terrible intensity, and are so nearly unread, so nearly indeed illiterate, that it is impossible for them to put into words what they want to say with the result that they keep asking, for no reason at all, “okay?” And they keep answering that okay? with another okay. “Okay? Okay.” Let’s dispense with all the okays. Okay? Okay.

— William Saroyan

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by Dan Bacher

In the wacky world of California water, you never know what outrageous claims a water diverter might come up with.

Just ask the State Water Resources Control Board, who recently reached a $10,000 settlement agreement with two Trinity County property owners over allegations that they “deliberately made misstatements” in reporting water diversion and use for diversion years 2009 through 2015. The two first reported using monthly amounts of storage and/or beneficial use of over one trillion acre-feet, greater than the volume of all the water on earth, according to a statement from the Water Board!

The settlement was approved by the State Water Board and incorporated as an order last month.

Louis and Darcy Chacon claim a riparian right on Price Creek, a tributary to the Trinity River, the Klamath River’s largest tributary. They use the water for irrigation of 15 acres of mixed crops, stockwatering, and domestic use.

“As required, the Chacons filed Supplemental Statements of Diversion and Use,” according to a Water Board press release. “However, for diversion years 2009 through 2013, they reported monthly amounts of storage and/or beneficial use of over one trillion acre-feet, which is greater than the volume of all the water on earth.”

The water board’s complaint, filed in February 2018, went into more specifics on this claim:

“The Diverters filed Supplemental Statements for S000042 for the diversion years 2009 through 2013 on or before June 20, 2014, and they initially reported instantaneous rates of direct diversion up to 1x1020 cubic feet per second (cfs) and monthly amounts of storage and/or beneficial use of 1x1020acre-feet (af). The reported quantities are not physically possible; 1x1020 af is orders of magnitude larger than the volume of water on planet Earth. In addition, diversion and use under a riparian claim for right such as the Diverters’ does not extend to storage.”

In response to receiving a notification of a reporting violation, the Chacons revised the reported amounts to 21,383.04 acre-feet, “still orders of magnitude greater than reasonable,” the Water Board stated. The Chacons continued reporting this inflated diversion and use amount for years 2014 and 2015.

Julé Rizzardo, Assistant Deputy Director of the Division of Water Rights, Permitting and Enforcement Branch, said the settlement “sends a strong message to individuals who trivialize this important reporting requirement by declaring deliberate misstatements about actual water used.”

“Inaccurate water use data impacts the division’s ability to effectively regulate water diversions and undermines the public’s trust in the water rights system. In high resource value watersheds like the Trinity River, accurate data is essential to ensuring senior water rights and the environment are protected,” said Rizzardo.

The settlement agreement assesses a penalty of $10,000, with a portion of the penalty to be suspended and released upon completion of several corrective actions by the Chacons.

The corrective actions include hiring a qualified individual to advise the landowners on reporting accurate diversion amounts, revising the Supplemental Statements of Diversion and Use that contain deliberate misstatements, and installing a measuring device to ensure accurate diversion reporting in the future.

Once these corrective actions are completed, the Chacons may reduce their fine by up to $7,500, according to the Board.

The Board noted that the California Water Code defines the making of a “willful misstatement” in a Statement of Diversion and Use as a misdemeanor. The State Water Board may impose an administrative civil liability for this violation in an amount not to exceed $25,000, plus $1,000 per day that the violation continues.

“The state’s water use data is critical to water right permitting decisions, developing instream flow requirements, assessing compliance, and issuing notices of unavailability of water. Diverters can contact the State Water Board with questions on how to accurately report their diversions,” the Board concluded.

In my over 30 years of water reporting, this one trillion acre feet of water use claim is the most outrageous one I’ve heard yet from a water diverter or contractor.

The order approving the Chacons’ settlement agreement, along with the two supporting documents, is available online. None of the three documents provided on line provide a clue as to why the two landowners submitted such over-the-top water use claims.

While the Chacon’s claim of using monthly amounts of storage and/or beneficial use of over one trillion acre-feet is the most absurd one I’ve encountered, it brings to mind the many problems with “paper water” that we find in California water politics.

“Paper water” is water that exists as water rights claims in legal documents but not in the real world, according to the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) website, There is far more water promised “on paper” to stakeholders than there is in California’s waterways.

“For every acre-foot of real water in the Central Valley watershed, 8.4 acre-feet of water on paper has been promised by the state where only 1 acre-foot may actually be diverted, according to the State Water Resources Control Board,” the website notes.

“The fact that this discrepancy has languished for decades is a sign of magical thinking on the part of water industry officials and regulators in California. It's far past time for this practice to stop,” C-WIN states.

For more information about “paper water” and what we can do to end this practice, go to:…

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by Dave Smith

(A career in banking, small-business operations, finance, and marketing gave Larry Judson Butler a view of business by the numbers. He shared his perspective in a modest consulting practice and in his university classroom. An early retirement provided his real education — traveling the country for more than a decade living with his wife Carol in their RV. He saw for himself the rising economic inequality around us. A growing appreciation of American history and the political science that shaped it helped illuminate the people, places, and things he explored. During this period a friend described him as a "recovering CFO." Studying the roots of economic inequality, and researching for the six books and more than fifty articles he has published led inevitably to the realization that big-money interests have tainted every institution from which they could extract an advantage with their influence. During his travels, he had met dozens of poor people and observed hundreds of others all over the country. Poverty, like economic inequality, is real, it's growing, and it's a threat to the economy. — DS)

I was born on the plains of Colorado, into a fundamentalist Baptist family consisting of mom, dad, and an older sister. When I was six, my father decided to study toward his divinity degree in California, so we moved. Southern California was a pretty good place for growing up, but we moved around the area quite a bit. I pursued a career in banking, married at twenty, attended college, and worked in finance and marketing for a small manufacturing company.

A divorce in 1991 closed some doors and opened others. Several opportunities in finance, marketing, and technology heralded the advent of our current gig economy. Meantime, a mid-career MBA added to my wonder of life, if not my professional skills. Carol and I married in 1994, and maintained a conventional lifestyle — for Orange County, California — in a guard-gated community, a few friends and family, lots of stress, and way too little time to enjoy ourselves.

Our fantasies about jumping out of the squirrel cage were stoked when we rented RVs for a couple of vacation trips. We decided to buy our own weekender — a small, used, inexpensive motor home. While looking around, our heads were turned by a 40-foor Foretravel, and we just had to buy it. Before long, we realized that this big coach was much better suited for full-time travel than for weekend duty. Meantime, we had ridden our Harley on every good road within a day’s travel from our home. We were getting the itch.

So in 2004, the stars aligned. We were both at professional exit points, and the home we’d bought ten years earlier had appreciated to an incredible value. We sold the house, gave away most of our stuff, put the rest into storage, loaded the Harley on the back of the coach, entrusted the cars into the gentle custody of friends, gathered up the beagle and the parrot, and headed out.

Our initial plan — if we can call it a plan — was to travel for six months to a year. During this time we thought we might seek out and purchase that perfect RV resort to own and operate. We observed, however, that it’s a lot more fun and a lot less work to be a guest than it is to be an owner. So we began to husband our resources a little more carefully and we just kept on traveling.

And we really did achieve a degree of freedom. But a couple traveling together and living in 300 square feet must necessarily redefine what freedom means. Shared freedom is quite different than individual freedom, and the latter inevitably requires a bit of compromise. Each of us, for example, has power of veto over travel strategies, routes, destinations, and activities. Also, alone time is a necessity for most of us — and we each get ours with staggered sleeping schedules.

The most common question we hear when people learn of our lifestyle is, “What is your favorite place?” We’ve traveled through 49 states, so the answer can come from an enormous breadth of choices. If we’ve played our strategies correctly, the answer — whether winter, spring, summer, or fall — will always be, “Right here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

What have I learned from living and traveling in an RV? Above all, a love of motorcycles and an urge to ride can override the practical aspects of not having a car. Cars can be handy, but if the weather’s good, a bike can be a lot more fun. It can also be a great substitute for sightseeing and routine errands. I’ve also learned that it’s more comfortable to ride when it’s snowing than it is when it’s raining.

I’ve learned that I can buy anything I can afford, but must be prepared to throw something out to make room for it.

I’ve learned that local history — no matter where — can help us understand the events and people that shaped the area. Every place has its local heroes, both living and dead. Some of them might even be sitting at the local coffee shop on any given morning.

I’ve learned to keep a journal to help remember people, places, and events. After years of traveling, it’s easy to conflate one place with another, and people and events from one place with a completely wrong time and place. I’ve recently learned to take a photo of our rig in each campsite we visit to jog our memory later. And a surreptitious peek at the journal can help win any little arguments that might arise.

When we first hit the road, it was clear that we would be confined to the coach from time to time. Rainy weather and extremes of heat and cold can frustrate plans to get out on a motorcycle, even for routine shopping trips. Television, even with hundreds of programming choices, gets old and it’s hard on the eyes. The solution is obvious — reading books and articles.

At first, I read for escape, much in the way I’d done when I actually needed the escape. Clancy, Cussler, Baldacci, Patterson had been my literary companions, and remained so for a time. Then, as we started visiting National Parks and historic sites, I began to enjoy books set in such locations by novelist Nevada Barr. Likewise, I enjoyed Michael Shaara’s, Killer Angels while visiting Gettysburg; Peter Matthiessen’s, Shadow Country while visiting the Everglades; Peka Hamalainen’s, Comanche Empire while visiting Oklahoma; William Faulkner’s, As I Lay Dying while visiting Mississippi; Dee Brown’s, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee while visiting the Dakotas; David McCullough’s, 1776 while visiting Pennsylvania.

While the preceding list is location specific, other readings of a similar ilk were more strategic. After traveling throughout the Old South, Tony Horwitz’s Confederates in the Attic illuminated my own observation that the Civil War isn’t over. James Loewen — linguist and sociologist — helped me understand the pervasive cultural myths that distort our own national identity. Lies My Teacher Told Me explains the historical narratives used to develop our nationalism, our religious fervor, and even our regional divisions. Lies Across America is an expose of the many monuments and memorials used to deify heroes and commemorate misguided movements throughout the country. We can see these historical distortions almost every day as we travel.

As I read more, I began to rediscover my own life experience in finance and business management — particularly with respect to the theory and processes of capital investment. Realizing that my experience bore directly upon economics and public policy, I studied Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society, and Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. This background, together with studying numerous economic monographs and commentaries, led me to a sharp awareness of America’s extreme and growing economic inequality. I’d seen it in our travels, noting the contrast between wealth and poverty, and I began to sit down with poor people to hear their stories.

That’s when I began to write. First, I wrote short articles on Facebook and later I published them on Internet news sites like Op Ed News. Then I wrote a book on how to save capitalism from itself. Five books later, I guess I’m an author. There’s nothing more challenging and enlightening than writing about a technical subject if you adhere to the discipline of attribution.

My favorite movies are a four-way tie between Princess Bride, Lincoln, The Post, and Free State of Jones. We also have a couple dozen videos, recorded, mixed, and produced during our own travels. Because we’re part of these productions, and they’re a part of us, we value them more than any Hollywood blockbuster.

We depend on Internet access via a hotspot to stay in touch with friends and family, to conduct routine family business, to manage investments, and to exchange information about what’s going on in the world. I once considered myself technically proficient, but when the telephone became the focal point of technological convergence, I got left behind. Most of my reading material comes from e-books and online resources, but my go-to toolbox still consists of local applications on a laptop.

We have cellphones, of course. And we subscribe to satellite TV. This is a dilemma for me because I do my very best to avoid patronizing companies that have abused their market power by influencing public policy. It’s getting harder to avoid even the worst offenders.

We don’t have solar on our rig so you will usually find us parked in campgrounds and RV parks. We’re frankly addicted to our amenities so hooking up to electricity and water is a function of the fact that we’re living in our coach — we’re not just camping in it. There’s almost no location in the country that can’t be accessed from a full-hookup campsite.

If I was to advise anyone contemplating this lifestyle it would be to get an e-reader and give away that stack of books. A Kindle takes up a lot less room and has access to millions of titles whenever you wish. If your budget is limited, check out for public-domain literary works of all genres.

If you want to meet your neighbors, get a cute dog — perhaps a beagle or a Labrador retriever. You’ll meet your nicest neighbors — and their dogs too!

If you and your spouse or traveling companion don’t get along well, stay with a stick-and-brick house. An RV is not the solution to any issues that may be between you. Living together in a few hundred square feet can present challenges that might not arise in more spacious quarters. You may find that tight spaces aren’t necessarily intimate spaces.

Get lots of sack time and begin each day by remembering and exploring your dreams. Bendedict Carey, in How We Learn, observes that sleep states are when our daily experiences are integrated together with the values, beliefs, and attitudes we’ve formed over a lifetime. Traveling exposes us to a torrent of new experiences and observations on a daily basis, and personal growth might depend upon this process of reconciliation. Free yourself to allow new experiences to challenge the old you. Lifelong learning and personal growth go together for those who can tolerate change.

Connect with traveling friends who share your values. Your dog may have introduced you to some of them — keep in touch. You may have met others on social media — don’t hesitate to reach out. Try joining online affinity groups to see if their members are simpatico — and if they are, get involved and meet up. Facebook, with all its flaws, has given me some of the best friends I’ve never met. Yet.


  1. George Hollister January 4, 2019

    Is Larry Judson Butler doing his part to make the world a better place? Or is “inequality” someone else’s problem?

    • Harvey Reading January 4, 2019

      Is George Hollister?

  2. Harvey Reading January 4, 2019

    Re: “This stuff apparently has elderly lab rats reciting the Greek alphabet backwards.”

    A sure sign of senility, or stupidity.

  3. Harvey Reading January 4, 2019

    Re: ” ms notes”


  4. Harvey Reading January 4, 2019

    Well, I see the putrid democrats once again chose Pelosi (republican lite) as speaker, just as expected. Why do fools keep voting for them? They don’t give a damn about common people. The Obamacare gift to health insurers and their love of killing brown people are their only legacy.

    • George Hollister January 4, 2019

      Nancy Pelosi can raise money better than any Democrat in the House. Probably better than anyone, of any party, in the House. To her Democratic Party detractors, remember, money talks and BS walks.

      I know, just another story MSM has failed to report on. Sorry MSM, Pelosi is not where she is because of her charisma, her good looks, her national political base, or political leadership skills. She keeps her caucus together by doling out money. The newcomers seem to figure that one out in pretty short order, too. It helps, as the AVA has pointed out, to represent a monied district where she runs unopposed.

  5. Kirk Vodopals January 4, 2019

    Whoever wrote the ONLINE COMMENT OF DAY deserves some kind of award. I don’t think I’ve heard a better summary of the current state of affairs. Cuts right through the annoying hyperbole of both the left and the right. Gold star!

    • michael turner January 4, 2019

      Yes, the first paragraph was striking, but a list of things that Trump “isn’t” doesn’t mean much, if it ignores the most important question – is Trump batshit crazy, or not?

  6. james marmon January 4, 2019


    Why the lies of ‘Trumbo’ matter

    “The movie “Trumbo,” currently in Bay Area theaters, makes a hero of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and others of the Hollywood Ten, and villainizes their political opponents in Hollywood, including actors John Wayne and Robert Taylor and columnist Hedda Hopper.”

    “Far from being in favor of free speech, Trumbo in his role as editor of “The Screen Writer,” the publication of the Screen Writers Guild, went out of his way to silence critics of the Soviet Union and anyone he deemed against workers’ interests.”


    James Marmon MSW

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