Press "Enter" to skip to content

MCT: Monday, January 14, 2018

* * *

CLOUDS WILL INCREASE with a few light showers across Mendocino county by the end of the day, while the rest of northwest California stays dry with more sunshine. Showers will increase Tuesday and Tuesday night as low pressure drifts northward over our area. A powerful storm system offshore will bring periods of heavy rain and strong winds on Wednesday and Wednesday night. (National Weather Service)

* * *


Last week the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors heard a report from the county’s transportation department about the condition of the county’s roads. To the surprise of no one, most of the county’s roads are in ‘poor’ condition, meaning they are just one tick away from the ‘failed’ category. We have hundreds of miles of roads that need something like $600 million in repairs. Well, we know that it will take decades to put that kind of money together and as we fix roads inch by inch at millions of dollars per mile, we will almost always be behind. Nothing new there. We can remember when people were shocked to find out only a dozen years ago or so that we had a $50 million road repair shortfall. The number just keeps going up and every year it gets more and more expensive to fix the roads. We went to the county’s roads website and found not much of interest about the conditions of our roads. There is a comprehensive list of county roads there but all it tells us is where the road starts and ends and how long it is. How about if the county adds to that chart, the condition of each road and the time frame for repairs to it. That would actually be useful information. While we were on that site however, we did find something we did not know. There’s a county road beautification program that mirrors the CalTrans highway litter collection program. You know, the signs you see along the highway that “ACME Uniform Cleaning” is cleaning this section of road. Well the county has the same thing. You can sign up for free to clean up your county road, or plant trees along it, or plant flowers along it, or take down graffiti along it and the county will put up a sign for you or your club, organization or business telling the world – or at least the people who drive that road – that you are the one(s) keeping it clean or pretty. It’s a nice idea. And, even if your road has potholes you could lose a bicycle in, at least it can be free of trash and the wildflowers in the spring might distract you from the bone-rattling trip to town.

(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

* * *


by Jim Shields

Note: On Sunday, three days after I wrote this column, PG&E announced that its CEO, Geisha Williams, had resigned after less than two years on the job. Analysts are estimating that the energy giant is now facing at minimum a staggering $32 billion in wildfire liability expenses. It’s also believed that PG&E employees could learn this week if the utility will declare bankruptcy given that its rapidly deteriorating financial position most likely will worsen now that a federal judge has indicated he will issue an order requiring it to “fire proof” its 106,000-mile electrical grid along with other mandatory “fix-it” directives.

* * *

Pacific Gas & Electric Company has walked itself into the biggest hurt locker that one can imagine — and they it did all by themselves.

Thank goodness there is one person in this state who is doing their job because PG&E’s enablers — the governor, the state legislature, and the California Public Utilities Commission — have been woefully derelict in their duties to protect the utility’s ratepayers who until recently have had no one looking out for their best interests.

All that changed in the past couple of weeks when a federal judge, who normally would not intervene jurisdictionally in state affairs stepped forcefully into the PG&E Wildfire dilemma.

Coming seemingly out of nowhere, U.S. District Judge William Alsup this past Wednesday, Jan. 8, told PG&E that he plans to order the company to inspect and fire-proof its 106,000-mile system of transmission lines because of evidence that its equipment was responsible for igniting deadly infernos in the 2017 Wine Country fires and this fall’s Camp Fire conflagration. He referred to PG&E’s “history of falsification of inspection reports.”

He also said the proposed order could include a requirement that PG&E “fix any other condition anywhere in its grid similar to any condition that contributed to any previous wildfires.”

Why is Judge Alsup now in the picture with the PG&E matter? Because he’s the judge handling the probation imposed on PG&E for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion where the company was found guilty of violating a half-dozen felony counts of federal pipeline laws.

Unbeknownst to the public, sometime last summer, Alsup directed PG&E to immediately report any incidents where its equipment may be the cause of starting wildfires. That order explains why PG&E self-reported equipment failures several hours after the Camp Fire ignited last fall, a practice out-of-keeping with PG&E’s history in such matters where they usually kept mum while fire authorities conducted investigations.

Part of PG&E’s history includes a decade-long foot dragging concerning its legal obligation to keep accurate maps of the location of its power lines in high risk fire areas. As previously reported in a Bay Area News Group story:

For the better part of a decade, California’s utilities have helped to stall the state’s effort to map where their power lines present the highest risk for wildfires, an initiative that critics say could have forced PG&E to strengthen power poles and bolster maintenance efforts before this month’s deadly North Bay fires.

State officials began working to tighten regulations on utilities and create the detailed maps after wind-toppled electrical lines in 2007 ignited catastrophic fires in the San Diego area. But nearly 10 years later, the state Public Utilities Commission — which initiated the process — still hasn’t finished the maps, let alone adopted strict new regulations.

A review of the mapping project by the Bay Area News Group shows that utilities have repeatedly asked to slow down the effort and argued as recently as July that, as PG&E put it, certain proposed regulations would “add unnecessary costs to construction and maintenance projects in rural areas.”

On Oct. 6, two days before the start of the deadliest outbreak of wildfires in California history, two administrative law judges assigned to oversee the project granted yet another delay at the request of PG&E and other utilities.

The timing of that 74-day deadline extension and the decade of seemingly endless debate about the maps has outraged lawmakers who have been pushing regulators for years to speed up a project designed to prevent catastrophic fires like the ones in Wine Country that killed at least 42 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes and businesses.

“The sad part is the future didn’t arrive before these fires,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-Redwood City, a longtime critic of PG&E and the PUC. “It’s an outrageous example of negligence by a regulatory agency.”

What’s PG&E’s response to Judge Alsup’s proposed order being heard in in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Jan. 30?

According to a public statement issued on Jan. 8, the company said, “PG&E’s most important responsibility is the safety of our customers and the communities we serve. We are aware of Judge Alsup’s orders and are currently reviewing. We are committed to complying with all rules and regulations that apply to our work, while working together with our state and community partners and across all sectors and disciplines to develop comprehensive, long-term safety solutions for the future.”

Meanwhile, PG&E’s legal and financial problems are growing daily.

The Sacramento Bee reported that, “PG&E, facing billions in potential losses from the Camp Fire and other wildfires, is reportedly exploring the sale of its natural gas division or a bankruptcy filing as it tries to deal with its staggering financial liabilities.”

National Public Radio, quoting anonymous sources, said last week that “PG&E might sell the gas division as well as some of its real estate, including its headquarters in San Francisco, to raise cash for wildfire claims. The entire effort is part of a strategy code-named “Project Falcon.”

And Reuters reported that PG&E “is again considering filing for bankruptcy as a way of dealing with its liabilities. PG&E’s chief executive, Geisha Williams, first publicly raised the possibility of bankruptcy last summer, when the Legislature was considering a bailout plan for the utility. The Legislature approved some protections for the company in September.”

As I said, PG&E has no one to blame but themselves for the dire predicament they’re in.  It brings to mind the old saying, “What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:


 (ms notes: After CEO Williams announced her resignation, PG&E followed up by saying their VP and General Counsel John Simon, an attorney!, has been appointed interim CEO while the Board looks for a new permanent CEO. It’s not clear what in her very ordinary, non-distinctive background qualified Ms. Williams for the position of CEO of a major utility company other than this silly note on her Wikipedia page: “In March 2017, she became the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company.” We have come a long ways down from when real executives like Louis Roddis Jr. ran utility companies.)


PG&E Reportedly Planning Bankruptcy Announcement To Workers As Soon As Monday

18 years after becoming one of America's largest bankruptcies, the writing is on the wall for California's utility giant after its cash-collateral-call triggering second downgrade to junk has led to reports that PG&E may notify employees as soon as Monday that it’s preparing a potential bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the situation.

* * *

OH NO! (Press Democrat headline): “Federal shutdown may delay annual California grape crush report.”

OH NO2! (Press Democrat headline): “Jury decides to strip Mongols biker gang of trademark logo.”

* * *

* * *


In Boonville in June. The Real Sarahs will be there.

May 31-June 2 at the Boonville Fairgrounds. “An outstanding music and arts festival enjoyed in in a safe, family friendly environment, free of drugs and alcohol. Supporting a sobser lifestyle through performing arts, music, meditation, physical activity and embracing the outdoors.”

Adult weekend pass $40. Kids: $20. $15 for single day passes. On site camping available for additional fee. For more information email or call 415/578-0125. Or write: Shakespeare at Stinson, PO Box 593, Stinson Beach CA 94970,

* * *

ST. ELIZABETH SETON CRAB FEED is only 3 weeks away! Feb. 2, 2019, 6 pm social hour and dinner at 7 pm. - $45 - tickets are still available. Mendocino County Fairgrounds. All you can eat crab & salad plus wine to drink. (Tickets: John Schultz 895-9552, Jorge Mejia 895-2778, Colleen Schenck 895-3053)

* * *

INTERESTING but unconfirmed rumor out of Willits, so like dude why publish it? Because we like it, and because we're inclined to believe it, although our Willits stringers told us they doubted it because Burton doesn't need the money, a position undermined by our experience with the rich who never have so much that they don't lust for more: "There's a rumor that the old Remco buildings in Willits are being converted into a rather elaborate marijuana grow facility. Normally this would likely not be news but, a former Willits mayor is the owner, and there was a time when he swore the devil weed would never be permitted in "HIS" town…just a tip. Check it out."

* * *

MENDO’S FIRE RECOVERY DIRECTOR, former Interim Planning Director Nash Gonzalez, gave the Board of Supervisors some seemingly encouraging information at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting, albeit not as rosy as Gonzalez lead the Board to believe.

GONZALES told the Board that the County had been awarded a grant to obtain, install and implement five fire cameras on the County’s five existing microwave towers. The cameras will be remotely controllable by an as-yet unspecified official, and can zoom in on a reported fire, allowing human monitors to predict the spread of a fire in real time.

THE ON-LINE camera system has been jointly developed by UC San Diego and Scripps Oceanographic Institute. They are already in use in several southern California areas and the Tahoe-Truckee area, and fire-ravaged Sonoma County plans to install eight of them starting in 2019. (We assume Mendo is piggybacking on the Sonoma County project, given the timing of last Tuesday’s announcement.)

MR. G told the Board that the County's fledgling Fire Recovery entity expects to set up Mendo’s first camera this year, followed by the other four as the system is built out and protocols are developed. The camera images are expected to include pertinent weather information including windspeed, temperature, and humidity and they will feed the images into a publicly viewable website.

NO SCHEDULING DETAILS were provided but local fire officials have said the full system will take well over a year to fully acquire, install, test and implement. One of the microwave towers will be the Cold Springs Microwave Tower on Signal Ridge west of Philo. It will be able to “see” over a radius of up to 50 miles in all directions, weather permitting.

IN OTHER FIRE-RELATED NEWS, Gonzalez said his disaster recovery team is “working on” submitting a grant called “The Mendocino County early warning sirens” grant to the State Office of Emergency Services paid for out of FEMA funds. Gonzalez didn’t provide any details about what the sirens would do, where they would be installed, who would run or operate them, etc. because the grant application is a work in progress.

LAST OCTOBER, Gonzalez said that the grant application was for a “siren feasibility study pilot program to determine the best siren types and power sources, and making sure they coordinate with existing alert systems during emergencies.” At that time, Gonzalez said they were thinking about maybe nine sirens with five in unincorporated areas and four in cities. So last Tuesday’s report implies that nothing much has changed since October.

AGAIN, given the timing, it looks like Gonzalez is piggybacking on a Sonoma County siren grant application which SoCo was reported to be “exploring” last fall, but with few details, other than there’s a substantial local/county match for the nearly $1 million grant (for up to 20 SoCo sirens) should it be approved. But Mendo’s Supervisors and several members of the public are so desperate to hear even the slightest hint of progress being made to upgrade Mendo’s sketchy disaster warning and notification system that they were overjoyed to hear of the possibility of a siren feasibility study pilot grant application — even if it is years away, not yet submitted or approved as a grant, and with no details to speak of.

* * *

SHERIFF ALLMAN looked around and saw what all of us see — unconfined, untreated crazy people wandering around behaving in unsettling and, often, criminal ways. Allman double-sees what we all see because law enforcement carries the burden of responding to complaints about the walking wounded, many of whom wind up in the County Jail for lack of an alternative. The Sheriff, consequently, took action, managing through his unique blend of charisma and salesmanship, to convince more than two thirds of us that we needed an in-County psychiatric unit — nothing fancy, nothing large. And just try getting any American community anywhere in these fragmented times to agree on anything! And we voted for the money via the Measure B bump in the sales tax to get that sorely needed psychiatric facility up and running. And ever since the desired unit has not taken so much as a first step toward existence. Self-interest of the unclothed type is silently resisting the Sheriff and the public will by the usual blathering, and uniquely Mendo oversight committee along with the silent, pass-aggresso opposition of the existing mental health apparatus which, natch, claim they want the unit but simultaneously resist helping it into reality. And here we are in the odd situation of spending somewhere well north of $20 million a year (!) in a county of only 90,000 people on mental health while the pure number of visibly deranged people increases seemingly on a daily basis. Let's hope the new blood on the Board of Supervisors can at least begin to move the Measure B psycho-center towards realization.

* * *

* * *


by Daniel Mintz

In what one Humboldt County supervisor described as a “super uncomfortable” action, county supervisors have approved pay raises for themselves.

The base salary for the position of Humboldt County Supervisor got a boost at the January 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.

According to the Transparent California website, HumCo supervisors now earn between $84,000 and $88,000 a year. That will be increased by four percent over the next two years.

The raise is also based on re-defining supervisors’ workweek from 37.5 hours a week to 40 hours and is tied to the salary increases that county employees get in their union agreements.

But newly-seated Supervisor Steven Madrone requested that the salary increase be pulled from the meeting’s consent agenda.

Saying that he’s not against the increase, Madrone aligned himself with the county’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers and their lobbying for wage increases.

He said he won’t vote for a Supes raise until IHSS caregivers get one. “They’re working at minimum wage doing some of the hardest work that you can imagine in this community,” he continued. “Working at minimum wage for this kind of work does not work for me.”

There was a peal of applause from the IHSS workers at the meeting when Madrone finished speaking.

Regardless of what supervisors do, the IHSS caregivers will be paid more along with other minimum wage workers. California’s minimum wage increased from $11 an hour to $12 an hour on Jan. 1 and state law sets yearly increases to 2022, when minimum wage will reach $15.

Only three people commented during a public comment period, including an IHSS worker who said she doesn’t want to deny supervisors salary hikes but urged them to do the same for IHSS care providers.

Noting that IHSS wage negotiations have been ongoing for two years, she said, “We are still asking that you be fair” and added that there are over 1,200 IHSS workers and “they do all vote.”

Stronger comments along those lines were delivered by self-described “public meeting enthusiast” and regular commenter Kent Sawatzky.

“This is a political decision that will end political careers,” he said, adding, “The consequence of this is that I can come here every single meeting and make someone’s living hell if they want to go ahead and do this totally unbelievable thing.”

But Supervisor Estelle Fennell described the decision as “a question of fairness and equity.” She said that all other county employees are getting raises and many department heads and managers earn more than supervisors do.

On the IHSS pay, she told Madrone that “when I first came on board, I had very similar sentiments to you and in fact, we got a raise for the (IHSS) because we changed the makeup.”

Responding to Sawatzky, Fennell said, “I don’t take kindly to bullying and threats, it just doesn’t work for me – bring it on, as far as I’m concerned.”

Supervisor Rex Bohn said he won’t be taking the raise, although he believes it’s justified.

Supervisor Mike Wilson acknowledged the uneasy situation of voting on one’s own salary.

“This is one of odd parts about this job – it’s super uncomfortable and weird,” he said. “Imagine yourself having to publicly talk about your wage in this context.”

He also commented on the demands of the position, which include being accessible whenever seen in public, working on weekends and the necessity of campaigning to get and keep the job.

“I’m not asking for sympathy, it’s just a very all-encompassing job – and it is a job,” he continued.

According to a written staff report, the total two-year compensation increase for the Board of Supervisors will amount to a $58,000 General Fund cost.

Supervisors approved the raise, with Madrone voting no. Supervisor Virginia Bass was absent.

HumCo Supes: Steve Madrone, Estelle Fennell, Rex Bohn, Mike Wilson, Virgina Bass

* * *

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED VIEWING: "A River's Last Chance," a documentary film by Shane Anderson on the battered Eel River in all its complexity. I thought it was fascinating, a real learning experience for me. As we all know or should know the Eel has been hammered by a series of heedless, man-made disasters beginning with the advent of pale faces who, among other crimes against nature, almost fished out the salmon before the twentieth century via large-scale canneries. The film, whose talking heads many of us will recognize, makes it clear that the new, much tougher logging rules, and the commitment by the new owners of timber tracts to guard the Eel from egregious damage, plus the truly commendable efforts by restoration groups, and a generally more enlightened awareness of the central importance of healthy rivers, have all combined to briefly bring back the salmon. Then the Green Rush onslaught set all this progress back as slob growers in their hundreds commenced draining the summer time Eel's watershed. The legalization of the stupid-making drug and its ensuing corporate-advantaged licensing rules mean the summer time Eel will continue to be drained by the unlicensed marauders given new life by marijuana corporatization. How? By selling dope cheaper than the corporate pot newcomers can sell it. The insatiable American Stoner market just might well spell doom for the Eel River watershed. The only fault I can find with the film is that it’s probably too optimistic, especially in its rosy assumption that the downstream wine lobby, profiting mightily from the diverted Eel, will ever agree to a reduction in the diversion to benefit the fishery. 

* * *

THE SEARCH for a missing Canadian hiker has been suspended following four days of intensive searching by crews from eight different agencies.

On Jan. 9, 2019, at about 7:50 p.m., Shelter Cove Fire personnel were dispatched by CAL FIRE Fortuna to a call for a solo male hiker with possible back injuries in the Miller Flat area of the Lost Coast Trail. The hiker, identified as 32-year-old Rick Raymond Eastep of Ontario, Canada, sent a text to the reporting party indicating that he had been injured while hiking the trail, possibly near the Miller Flat area. Due to the nature of the incident, it was soon determined that a search and rescue operation for Eastep was necessary. Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at about 9:30 p.m.

Due to bad weather, high tides and large surf, portions of the coast were impassable the first night of the search. Even with the worsening conditions, rescue crews were able to locate backpacking supplies and a backpack that appeared to have been washed up by the surf. Later it was confirmed that these items belong to Eastep. A United States Coast Guard helicopter arrived in the Spanish Flat area that night and initiated search operations from the air utilizing a “FLIR” camera.

Crews continued an intensive search well into the morning of January 10, only pulling off the beaches when high tide and large swells became a life safety issue for rescuers. Over the next four days, search and rescue crews from eight different agencies utilized helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, ATVs, ocean rescue boats and specialized search and rescue teams, including dog teams, to search over 26 miles of rugged water and coastline, and 16 miles of wilderness trails. During that search, several other items belonging to Eastep were located. No sign or evidence other than the items previously mentioned have been located as of January 12.

It is the decision of the command staff of this incident, which includes the Sheriff’s Office, Shelter Cove Fire and Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, to suspend the intensive search and rescue operations for Eastep as of 3:30 p.m. on January 12. The search area will be periodically patrolled over the next several weeks for any evidence that could lead us to the conclusion of what has been an exhaustive search and rescue operation on a very rugged coastline in very adverse conditions.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to recognize the many agencies who helped in this search, including Shelter Cove Fire Rescue, Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse, Shelter Cove CERT Team, USCG Sector Humboldt Bay, CAL FIRE and Bureau of Land Management.

(Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office)

THE YOUNG CANADIAN who has disappeared while hiking the Lost Coast alone has eluded an all-out search, meaning he probably got swept out to sea. His belongings were found on a beach, but an exhaustive inland search failed to find him. I've done that hike both ways (1) a straight slog down the shoreline sands from Petrolia to Shelter Cove, a trek the four of us did without checking the tide tables and, late in the afternoon, forcing us to skitter around boulders as the tide rushed in to regain solid sand. A wave of any size would have carried us off to Honolulu. That one took us two days, and was more grueling than pleasure, although its beauty was unsurpassed in perfect fall weather. A person doing that hike alone is tempting the fates. (2) A person doing the inland trail hike alone is also tempting the fates because it could be quite a while before anybody found you if you injured yourself on a trail that is not only up and down precipitous it's often barely a track. (A couple of spots we had to pull ourselves up by grasping brush.) Danger from outback lurks (psychos) is as remote as the Lost Coast itself because lurking in that wild area would require a strenuous effort beyond your run of the mill psychopath. At the Usal end of the inland Lost Coast Trail, however, there's often at least one nest of undesirables to be avoided. I'd like to do the beach route again some day but spend three nights out instead of one; one night out is too grueling and leaves little time to enjoy the unmatched scenery. 

* * *

THE RISING NATIONAL TIDE of pure viciousness touched down in Mendocino County last week when a Willits "man" shot his much younger ex-girlfriend and their 8 year old son. Over in Davis, a tin foil hat type walked up on a young female police officer, only 22 years old and new on the job, and shot her to death and then killed himself. He said he was "tired" of the police interfering with his brain waves, which he had probably fried years ago in methamphetamine. We don't yet know the backstories of the two killers, but the Davis shooter for sure belonged in a lock up mental health facility, which largely don't exist unless you can pay for it. The Willits killer, however, undoubtedly basted for months in self-pity, was merely one more monster of the type now common — "you don't want me, I'll kill you and everyone else in the house."

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, January 13, 2019

Cheek, Daniel, Johnson

BRYAN CHEEK, Tooele, Utah/Ukiah. DUI with priors.

NATHAN DANIEL, Fort Bragg. Addict with firearm, evasion by reckless driving, probation revocation.

DAKOTA JOHNSON, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Martinez-Rodriguez, Nunez, Perez

FRANCISCO MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

RUBEN NUNEZ JR., Laytonville. Disobeying court order.

DANIEL PEREZ, Manchester. Probation revocation.

Taylor, Verduzco, Westcott

SHARI TAYLOR, Ukiah. Forged/altered vehicle registration, suspended license failure to appear, probation revocation.

JOSE VERDUZCO, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.

CASSANDRA WESTCOTT, Willits. DUI, no license willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death.

* * *

NOBODY KNOWS if President Trump will be around for much longer, and the merest glance at the views of his putative successor – Vice President Mike Pence – recalls the famous picture of President Nixon with his vice president, Spiro Agnew, standing behind him. The satirical speech bubble had Nixon pointing over his shoulder and saying "nobody is going to shoot me with this guy next in line."

— George Galloway

* * *

IMAGINE that the human race wipes itself out and the only remaining artifact discovered by aliens who later visit the planet is the cover to this book. 

What the hell, there are worse ways to be remembered, right?  (Duck Baker)

* * *


An 8th grade drop-out, Jack London educated himself at the Oakland Public Library and eventually gained admittance to U.C. Berkeley. He dropped out of Berkeley after a single semester, finding college "not alive enough… a passionless pursuit of passionless intelligence". Then in rapid succession: factory worker, oyster pirate on the San Francisco Bay, member of the California Fish Patrol, sailor, railroad hobo, Klondike gold prospector, journalist, and Socialist Party candidate for Oakland Mayor.

And he wrote. He wrote and wrote and wrote… Jack London became the best-selling, highest paid and most popular American author of his time. Over 50 of his books and hundreds of his articles and short stories have been published in countless editions. His most notable books include "The Call of the Wild," "The Iron Heel," "White Fang,” The Sea-Wolf,” "The People of the Abyss," "John Barleycorn," "Martin Eden," and "The Star Rover," His story, "To Build A Fire," is regarded as an iconic classic of short fiction. His writings have been translated into several dozen languages and to this day inspire readers, writers, and social advocates around the world.

Along with Mark Twain, Jack London is the quintessential American author — a brilliant writer who thoughtfully and compassionately portrayed not only his life and times, but the age-old struggles between man and nature and between man and himself.

(Walden Pond Books)

* * *

WINTER READING CHALLENGE, Fiber Arts Drop-in, Virtual Reality, and Poetry Reading with Devreaux Baker

Ends soon! Pick up your Reading Log at the Ukiah Library. This Sunday, January 13th! Saturday, January 19th 1:00-3:00 pm We invite ages 13+ to come try our Oculus Rift and Oculus Go! First come first serve for 20 minute increments per person (more time given if no one is waiting in line). All adult participants, or legal guardians of teens ages 13-17, must sign a liability waiver. Saturday, January 19th - Poetry Reading with Devreaux Baker 3:00-4:30 pm Join us for a reading and presentation with Mendocino poet Devreaux Baker! Devreaux will be reading from her recently released book of poetry, Hungry Ghosts. Open Mic follows. Teens and Adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.

* * *

* * *



The lack of civility in modern public discourse will be hard to remedy in a world where texting and acronyms like “LOL” and “OMG” are commonly used. The key to getting us “to communicate as citizens rather than as propagandists” requires reflection and the ability to understand multiple viewpoints on critical issues.

Back in 1858, a series of debates on the issue of slavery was held between two Illinois senatorial candidates, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas and Republican Abraham Lincoln. The discourse between these two men helped to enlighten citizens about a highly contentions matter of that era. In 2019, Americans would greatly benefit from being able to view a new series of debates on a topic like immigration or gun control by two well-spoken, well-educated politicians with opposing views. Sadly, those types of leaders are in short supply these days, as is the attention span of too many citizens.

Henrik Lundquist


* * *

* * *


Out of step with Montana, the most expansive sky I have ever been under on land was in Louisiana, a couple of miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River, where a few of us from KMUD were building a radio station on the Houma reservation. The southwestern desert comes pretty close. Much of the Arctic, I imagine.

Under a sky like that, anything seems possible. Looking at the bit of sky I can see out my living room window right now, it is apparent that things have shrunken some. The sky at Wild River was somewhat shrunken, too, but there topography was the cause of the shrinkage. On Pearl Street in Eugene it is buildings. I almost wrote 'architecture', but that is not an apt description. Here it is the buildings which have been preserved more or less intact the course of America since the last great war, as have I. A bit disheveled, perhaps, but still standing. Not prime property any longer, but generally serviceable.

The sky I can see is just a piece of the old one, of what's there. I am also just a piece of what's here. Standing sometimes, but generally serviceable. And always with a ready opinion.

(Bruce Brady)

* * *



We built a wall. It’s made of wood. It borders my property and my neighbor’s property. Our wooden wall was not cheap. We had to split the cost. We are happy with our wooden wall.

We all have borders that we want respected. Our bodies need borders that we need to have respected. Our laws are borders for behavior. We don’t want others to violate these borders. Those who suffer from the effects of violated borders understand this better than people who are insulated from these effects.

If somebody came into my yard and camped there, I would call the police. I would expect the authorities to resolve this trespass. If it happened repeatedly, I would have to do something. Something is better than nothing. I would extend my wooden wall to include the violated border.

All countries have a responsibility to their citizens. We want our government to protect us via oversight and regulation of lenders, corporations, criminals and so on. No other country shoulders responsibility for us. That’s as it should be.

Our country recognizes our borders. That’s as it should be. Too many others have not respected our borders already.

Our country is not infinite.

Joe Aquila


* * *

* * *


“Do you really want America to turn into an extension of Latin America, or a country with no national identity at all?” 

YES. American identity is not static. It changes all the time. Millions of Poles, Germans, Irish, etc. … millions arriving every century and every century has more vigor, more innovation, more richness. The majority of immigrants pouring over the northern border are Canadians who overstay their visas. Now we are blessed with a variety of peoples coming over the southern border. I embrace this change and respect those who want to come here to work and care for their families, just as we do. 

Learn Spanish. You are not going to stop immigration.

* * *

* * *


by John Sakowicz

* * *



I recently received a request to complete a survey for alumni of the creative writing program at SF State, our old alma mater.

The first question asked concerned sex. I always thought I was a man, but I now must register as a Cis Man. Listed below were my choices. 

I chose “Other.” permanently pissed off XY

I most closely identify as..

[.] Cis Man

[.] Cis Woman

[.] Trans Man

[.] Trans Women

[.] Gender queer/Gender non-conforming

[.] Other (please specify)

[.] I most closely identify as..

[.] Heterosexual or Straight

[.] Gay or Lesbian

[.] Bisexual

[.] Pansexual

[.] Asexual

[.] Other (please specify)

What is a Cis man?

A non-transgendered male. A naturally-born man or boy whose psychological gender identity is socially male also.

A cis male is not necessarily macho, or even of average masculine persona. A cis male might have some or many characteristics that are feminine, effeminate, or female-like, but unless he seeks to project a female persona, he is still a cis male.

Cis Mike

San Francisco

* * *

THE SMALLEST ATOM of truth represents some man’s bitter toil and agony; for every ponderable chunk of it there is a brave truth-seeker’s grave upon some lonely ash-heap and a soul roasting in hell.

— H.L. Mencken


  1. Craig Stehr January 14, 2019

    “You are among the chosen few–one among thousands. Your life is geared to this steady upward ascent unto Divinity.” ~Swami Chidananda

  2. Lee Edmundson January 14, 2019

    The other day George Hollister wrote that our five past and present 5th District Supervisors
    ( de Vall, Peterson, Colfax, Hamburg and Williams) had/have ties to the marijuana industry.

    As Ted Williams campaign manager, I can respond unequivocally and without reservation: Ted has no personal or professional ties — direct or otherwise — with the marijuana industry, both pirate and legal, other than representing their interests as their Supervisor.

    Mr. Hollister ought to fact-check himself before uttering his misinformed nonsense.

    Lee Edmundson

    • George Hollister January 14, 2019

      Lee, I know where is Papa’s money came from.

      • Bruce Anderson January 14, 2019

        Gee, George, aren’t we being kinda Old Testament heret? Visiting the sins of the father on the son? Give the kid a break.

        • George Hollister January 14, 2019

          I thought of that. LOL

      • George Hollister January 14, 2019

        Lee, Mendocino County is tribal. Our tribal wars are at the heart of our dysfunction. We would rather use government as a weapon in our tribal wars, than see our roads fixed. A biggest part of our tribal conflicts are a result of a culture supported by the black market that was never able to integrate into the legitimate rural economy of Mendocino County. (Into tourism, they have.) Of course there were reasons for that. The only people black marketeers associated with were those who could be trusted, which meant other black marketeers. Very few from this black market marijuana culture, particularly in the 5th District, have been able to bridge the divide. Ted’s overt distain for the timber industry, can only be interpreted as a reflection of that. Where did that distain come from? That distain can be seen strongest in the black market culture he grew up in. I take Ted’s word that he was never a participant in the black market, that does not mean he is not associated with, and influence by it.

        Can Ted do better, than what we have seen from Supervisors representing the 5th District for the last 40 years? We will see, but if he is unable to form bridges, instead of divides, we will see more of the same. His support for Measure V pretty much has him beginning his term in a hole, if bridges are his mission. The basis for Measure V was a contrivance that he promoted. That defines the hole he finds himself in right now, and has those from other tribes wondering if we will see more of the same, and how to best respond. What is his position on the Potter Valley project? What is the basis? Who is he representing? Hopefully, it is not a fantasyland culture that fled urban America long ago, and was kept on life support by growing black market pot.

        • Bruce Anderson January 14, 2019

          You’re awfully provocative this morning, George, and about a quarter century behind the demography of the 5th District, which is no longer the old split between the longhairs and the ‘necks. All kinds of people supported Measure V, which was hardly, except to the timber extremists, a vote on the industry. I daresay most enviros — well, some of them — given the choice between logging and grapes would choose logging. A lot of people, me included, would at the least like to see the dams removed from the main stem Eel and the present monopoly by Sonoma County of the diverted Eel piled up behind Coyote Dam re-negotiated to get some of the millions enjoyed by SoCo, an issue Supervisor Pinches couldn’t even get a second to discuss from his cringing colleagues. I think Williams promises to be the best supervisor the 5th has had since Joe Scaramella, the only supervisor at the time to oppose the water deal with Sonoma County. The kid’s only been in office a week, for crying in a bucket. I don’t think it’s fair to pile old grievances on him.

          • George Hollister January 14, 2019

            I am waiting to see. The ball is in Ted’s court.

            Measure V’s popularity with people, many working in the timber industry, was driven by hate for MRC. That’s on MRC. “Whatever hurts MRC is good”, is common in the industry. And it does not matter if that hate sinks the ship, either. Hate for the Fisher family comes next. The basis for hating the Fisher family is out of county, and I see no local basis for it. The Fishers are marketers, which is important, but they are otherwise oblivious.
            Forest landowners with no, or minimal connection to the land is a whole subject into itself. It is a fundamental problem in commercial forestry in North America, for both small and large forest landowners. Aldo Leopold was a landowner, who embraced hard work, fell trees, and counted growth rings. He was connected to the land. With no connection to the land, there is no meaningful land ethic.

            Hate is not a legitimate basis for policy. It never has been. Hate is what drove Measure V. Bringing expressions of hate as a member of the Board of Supervisors is problematic as well. Needless to say, it fosters dysfunction.

          • Bruce Anderson January 14, 2019

            “Hate” is wayyyyyy too strong in this context, George. Differences of opinion are differences of opinion, not hate. Say what you will about this board of supervisors, none of them can be characterized as “haters.” There were certainly haters on previous boards, that’s for sure. Re MRC, maybe this new board will eminent domain the Fishers and local loggers like yourself can run the operation as a co-op. Oops. That would be socialism, and we can’t have that. Much better to have a family of loafers sitting in the walled palaces owning our forests than the people who depend on their sustained yield care for their livings.

          • George Hollister January 14, 2019

            So we hate Sonoma County now, along with the grape growers in Potter Valley. And we hate them so much that if we destroy the village in the process of trying to destroy them, so be it. That is the train of thought, here. And we wonder why this county is so screwed up. We are looking at it.

          • Bruce Anderson January 14, 2019

            George, really! You’re getting seriously in the way of my work here this morning. So, we destroy the entire Eel River watershed as a fishery to produce wine? Sonoma County owns 80% of the water generated in Lake, Mendo and HumCo, which they sell to downstream buyers as far away as Sausalito is fair to Mendo, Lake and HumCo? That a handful of Potter Valley grape growers get virtually free water forever at the expense of everyone else and the health of the Eel is reasonable? This is another long overdue discussion that has nothing to do with “hate.” And btw, some of those noble sons of the soil in Potter Valley hate with the best haters around.

          • james marmon January 14, 2019

            Potter Valley doesn’t really need the diverted Eel River water because of it’s high natural ground water table, in fact the valley’s naturally high water table increases the humidity in some vineyards and saturates the ground. That induces botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” in most varieties.

            Today, it’s becoming a common practice in the Valley for grape growers to use large holding ponds that siphon away water from the vineyards in order to prevent rot. There’s one next door to Carre Brown’s place that the Todd’s put in, it’s gigantic. It has a suction pipe that goes down 25 feet and dries the surrounding soils while providing storage water for frost protection in the spring and irrigation water in the summer.

            James Marmon (aka Jim Woolley)
            Former Potter Valley Pear Grower.

          • George Hollister January 14, 2019

            I don’t live there, and don’t presume to be an expert, but from what I have been told, before the diversion, “there was not enough water in PV to water a horse.”

          • james marmon January 15, 2019

            George, the families that settled Potter Valley depended on stock raising and dry farming (wheat, barley, and later watermelons) for their livelihood. I never heard anything about not being able to water a horse.

            James Marmon (aka Jim Woolley)
            Descendant of the Busch Clan (PV Pioneer Family) as in Busch Creek, and Busch Lane.

          • james marmon January 15, 2019

            At our orchard on Busch Ln. dad drilled deep below the bedrock and blessed us with an artesian well, plenty of water. A lot of marijuana growers are now drilling deep wells to maneuver past the strict water regulations.

          • George Hollister January 14, 2019

            Anyone listening to, and watching the pro-Measure V proponents screaming about the use of herbicides, the Fisher Family, and MRC would be have to be brain dead to not call that hate. What else would one call it?

            It was certainly not a logical, reasoned, on point discourse. Compromise was not an option, either. Of course with tribal warfare in Mendocino County, none of that ever is. The only option is, “I win, you lose.” And if we burn the village in order to save it, so be it.

        • james marmon January 14, 2019

          History regarding the diversion project (Potter Valley)

          “Initially, the project could only operate during the winter months, when there was enough water in the Eel River to divert without drying up the riverbed downstream. In 1920, Snow Mountain Water and Power began construction on a larger dam on the Eel River, 12 miles (19 km) upstream from Cape Horn. Scott Dam, which forms Lake Pillsbury, was completed in 1922. With its greater storage capacity, it provides water for the diversion during the summer months and also affords some flood control during winter storms. In 1930, ownership of the project was transferred to PG&E. In 1959, Coyote Valley Dam was built on the Russian River as part of the separate Russian River Basin Project (RRBP), forming Lake Mendocino, which provides additional storage of diverted Eel River waters. This reservoir serves a critical function during dry years as it is drawn down to compensate for reduced diversions from the Eel River system.”

          Before the projects, rivers just emptied into the ocean during the winters and went completely dry in the summer.

          James Marmon
          Rational Person

  3. Harvey Reading January 14, 2019

    Re: IMAGINE …

    The book would be an entirely appropriate, accurate, and informative artifact as well as a good portrayal of Homo sapiens in general. Would you rather they found a statue of George Washington and his fellow slave owners? Or a copy of the supreme law document they wrote to ensure that their kind would continue to rule as long as the undemocratic document remained in effect?

  4. Lazarus January 14, 2019

    Measure B’ness
    I think the Measure B committee is worried if not confused, with the exception of Madame CEO and outgoing Chair Allman of course. Worried about the ramifications of their selection, worried about the public reactions and confused about the money, I suspect some are not that familiar with spending large.

    If the BOS does go with the committees’ selection and if it were to be less than successful, the committee members could be tainted with the failure. Most of the Measure B members are either players or wannabe players of some kind, so public opinion matters to them.

    Then again it’s a sucker’s bet if the BOS really cares what the Measure B people have to say anyway. The BOS presumably has their own beholden’s and their own constituencies to deal with.
    As always,

  5. james marmon January 14, 2019


    “SHERIFF ALLMAN looked around and saw what all of us see — unconfined, untreated crazy people wandering around behaving in unsettling and, often, criminal ways.”

    What he and his followers don’t realize is that 99 percent of what the see wandering around will not meet 5150 criteria in order to be legally placed in a locked psyche unit, there are laws. And if they do it’s only for a short while. Allman thinks that if his criminals have any mental health diagnosis at all he can place them in a locked facility and make room in his jail. How come he never mentions the 25 million dollar medical/psyche wing that is supposedly being build on low gap any more? That’s what he should be focusing on.

    Furthermore, psyche Units have to be careful of who the admit so that they don’t place a serial rapist with poor Mrs. Jones who is just having a nervous breakdown.

    James Marmon MSW

    • james marmon January 14, 2019

      PHF Units are not licensed Detox Centers either. That is what you need to get people off the streets. I believe Allman believes Mendocino County can create their own laws and regulations, but they can’t.

  6. Kathy January 14, 2019

    PG&E will get Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to hammer out new regulations per SB901 Dodd. That new law requires regulators to determine liability based on whether equipment was reasonably maintained and operated. The new Law also allows PGE to issue bonds to help pay damages, with a surcharge on ratepayers’ bills helping to cover interest payments. PGE and SoCal Edison also want changes to California’s “inverse condemnation” rules which allow utilities to be held liable for fire damages if their equipment causes the blaze, even if they have followed all safety rules.

  7. Bruce McEwen January 14, 2019

    Haters, George?

    My, aren’t we getting versatile with the slangy labels. Why, it was only yesterday, if memory serves, you were lecturing me over my old-fashioned words, impatiently dismissing me along with whatever I had to say because you’d lost patience with my archaic diction.

    Is this a plea to youth, George, this baby talk?

    If it is, you can mark this day with one of those black ribbon loops that were so popular with lumberjacks and mill workers back in the 80s, mark it on your calendar as the day I lost a lot of respect for you, George.

    Not all, but a lot.

    A dismal and melancholy day, by my halidome, and whenever you find you can’t sleep without a sedative, and you’ve tried every setting on your Sleep Number Bed, and you get up in the dark, and go out to the garage and unpack that old fardel of memory, looking for the traps of morning that were so sure in your youth, and you find them so wanting, so lacking the chatty charm of youth, that you have to put on silly juvenile airs, and decorate your self-pity in the jargon of adolescence… Well.

    The black ribbon looped around a birdy-finger might just be the next new thing, Dude – Ooops, I mean, George.

    Fred Sternkopf could design it for you.

  8. Bruce McEwen January 14, 2019

    I’m going to give you the last word, George, as befits your advanced maturity, and I must say in deference to your polished manners, But before you take the podium, allow me to quote Jay Leonheart by way of intro,

    “Carbon monoxide is spilling from cars,
    It blots out the sun, and blots out the stars…

    Heating the atmosphere, so scientist’s say
    And melting the ice caps away…

    As the ice melts, it isn’t surprising,
    George Hollister keeps apostrophizing…”

    — W/ Deeply cringing apologies to Jay Leonheart, Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome George H.W. Hollister!

  9. james marmon January 14, 2019


    PG&E seeks bankruptcy protection over California wildfires

    A bankruptcy also would allow PG&E to raise cash by selling assets — such as its gas business and hydropower plants.

    I suspect with the mandatory order to build new fish ladders at Scott dam and intervention from the enviro-mentals like Friends of the Eel River, KymKemp, Bruce Anderson and the tribes, we can say good-bye to the diversion tunnel and both dams. That’s why PG&E want’s out. Besides the bankruptcy court will take over the sale now.


    “PG&E announced it would auction the project last May, and today’s action begins the marketing phase of the auction process. PG&E is using a “request for offers” type of auction process that is intended to meet the needs of both seller and buyer – and considers other factors in addition to price.

    “PG&E wants to find a new owner with the appropriate qualifications and experience to operate the project in a safe and compliant fashion. The project has unique characteristics and we believe they have the potential to yield significant value for the right owner,” said Alvin Thoma, Senior Director of Power Generation at PG&E.”

    Progress! PGE will not attempt to renew Eel River Dams License

    “…while Cape Horn Dam has a fish ladder, the larger Scott Dam blocks fish migration to about 100 miles (160 km) of habitat in the Eel River headwaters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *