Off the Record (Jan. 30, 2019)

A NICE LITTLE SCANDAL is brewing in Willits involving two sons of Willits High School principal, Michael Colvig. The Colvig boys allegedly took sexual liberties with two girls during a drunken teen "party." When one of the girls reported the episodes to their father, a legally mandated reporter, he is said to have replied something like, "I'm responding to this as a parent, not as a principal; I'm putting them on restriction, getting them counseling" and so on. 

THE PRINCIPAL'S FAILURE to act on behalf of the violated girls has him in serious trouble, so serious he's been charged and will soon appear in Superior Court to try to explain away a pair of misdemeanor charges for failing to report "child abuse." Rape, though, if rape is what occurred, is a lot more serious than a technical "failure to report child abuse." It will be interesting to see how our local justice system handles this one.

May

THE CHP is investigating a hit-and-run that killed 68 year old Stuart May, a resident of Covelo. May was found dead Monday evening near his damaged Huffy bicycle on Highway 162 north and east of the town. The CHP is asking for help in finding the person responsible for May's death. 

RE: PG&E BANKRUPTCY. Bad idea. There’s a strict order of priority to bankruptcy creditor claims that usually leaves employees, suppliers, shareholders, fire victims and random claimants holding a depleted if not empty bag as “unsecured creditors,” while giving first dibs to creditors higher on the food chain, whether the bankruptcy is reorganization or going out of business. As we understand it, the first people to get paid is the IRS. Next is the lawyers who are handling the bankruptcy (who, surprise, are in the prime position to know just how much the company’s assets are worth). Next are executives with formal contract buyout provisions. Then come the “secured creditors,” i.e., banks, insurance companies, the state of California, and any other lenders who have some kind of legalized collateral attached to their claim. Employees are entitled to actual wages for hours worked, but not to severance, pensions, healthcare or other non-wage debts. Everyone else (mentioned above) is considered an “unsecured creditor,” including employees with claims. So, if any assets remain after the “secured creditors” are paid off (frequently there are none), they are divvied up among the unsecured creditors usually at pennies on the dollar. And in PG&E’s case, the unsecured creditors would likely include any compensation ordered to be paid to fire victims via successful lawsuits. I have not seen a single useful assessment of PG&E’s proposed bankruptcy filing that covers these skewed provisions, leaving the public at large to think that maybe PG&E deserves to go bankrupt because of their criminal mismanagement. They certainly do deserve to go bankrupt, but not if it means shorting everybody who needs to be paid back. (Mark Scaramella)

UKIAH MAYOR Maureen Mulheren has announced that she will run for the 2nd District Mendocino County supervisor seat (representing the City of Ukiah and environs) currently held by John McCowen. Also up for election are the 1st District supervisor seat (Potter Valley) held by Carre Brown, and the 4th District (North Coast) seat held by Dan Gjerde. A bill signed by Jerry Brown in 2017 moved the state’s primary election from June to March, so the election date for the supervisor seats and three Superior Court seats will be March 3, 2020.

MULHEREN hasn't distinguished herself as a Ukiah solon, and she comes from an equally undistinguished city council that has turned over all responsibility for managing our scruffy county seat to a wildly overpaid apparatus of "professionals." Moving from the Ukiah City Council to the Board of Supervisors would seem to be more of a lateral move in terms of organizational responsibilities for “Mo,” as she’s informally known around town. As currently performed, the Supe’s job consists of drawing a fat salary and fringe package for showing up for a couple of meetings a month and congratulating staff on what great jobs they're doing. We’ll have to wait for the candidate’s platform before we have any idea what kind of supervisor Ms. M might make, and exactly what kind of an improvement she might be over McCowen.

ELECTIONS in the County are often child-like affairs, with voters casting ballots on purely subjective grounds, not to mention a significant voting bloc of Unhappy Mendo Women who would vote for a female serial killer before they’d vote for any male up to and including Abe Lincoln. Mulheren has that vote going in. And when it comes to the supervisor job few people pay any attention whatsoever to county functioning and consequently voting blind for all sorts of reasons unrelated to the task. So, Mulheren has her gender and the pure ignorance of most voters going for her. (Uh, it occurs to me the same blank-brained voting is characteristic of voters everywhere in my doomed native land.)

McCOWEN has had the misfortune to sit on laughably dysfunctional boards, but despite this handicap has managed a few triumphs. He can legitimately point to his singlehanded reform of the Teeter Plan, a complicated in-house borrowing scheme that had cost the County a lot of money. He was the primary force behind the county’s sensible 9.31 pre-legal (medical) pot plan and he helped unseat two of his crooked colleagues, Colfax and Smith, by painstakingly showing the world the lush pay and benefits received by supervisors not enjoyed by the county’s line workers. Colfax went publicly off his nut at McCowen’s candor, which helped the general public understand Colfax’s unfitness for office. Smith had to be threatened with indictment by DA Eyster before she reimbursed the public money she’d chiseled. Colfax, an experienced scammer, wisely left no paper trail.

McCOWEN'S DOGGEDNESS deserves high marks, especially in the context of the lazy, often uninformed, disinterested boards he's served with.  Of course he can also be uniquely irritating with, as we have unkindly noted, droning on in a voice that sounds like a weed whacker with no off switch.

BUT, as we've also often remarked, McCowen is the only elected official in Mendocino County to spend his off hours cleaning up after the homeless slobs fouling inland streams and other public areas.

FLYNN WASHBURNE totaled his vehicle last week near Petaluma when he fell asleep at the wheel driving north on 101. No one else was involved in accident. He suffered some minor injuries and was briefly hospitalized. Flynn was on his way back to Ukiah from an Oakland-area rehab, which he apparently didn't like. He said he had informed his parole officer in Ukiah that he'd suffered another mishap in a life time of mishaps. His parole officer merely informed Mr. W. of his next appointment. As of Monday morning, Flynn was recuperating in the County Jail. 

THE APOCALYPSE is on so many people's minds that an article in the New York Times Style section has detailed survivalist must-haves for the "swelling class of weekend paranoiacs." If you've got apocalypse on the brain, you're not alone. For company, just head over to Reddit and check into dozens of "prepper" threads. Getting ready for total social meltdown and the ensuing chaos depends, of course, on where we live and what we can afford. For the real preppers, stocking up on canned goods is only the beginning. You need to be seriously ready when the government fails and total anarchy ensues. Do you know how you will take care of yourself? For the wealthy, that can mean buying a renovated missile silo, land in New Zealand and perhaps a private plane to get you there. Some of the uber-rich in Silicon Valley are getting kind of obsessed with their doomsday prep.

FOR THE BOONVILLE PERSPECTIVE on the End Times, read on. So, what do you do when you run out of Spam? Nothing, because collapse won't come all at once, and things will go on until they can't or don't. And all the while, the natural world is being altered in lethal ways the scientists tell us can't be reversed. In the interim before chaos we'll get a liberal fascism, someone like the Clintons but quick to use force, which will be necessary to protect Bill Gates, metaphorically speaking. A semblance of order will be achieved, but only a semblance, and the natural world will continue to crumble even if by some miracle sensible people are at the controls.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, like most of us, is operating on the assumption that a fix here and there will straighten things out, make life better for people generally. For seeing the interim problem clearly, she has brought down all the opprobrium Fox News and most of the mainstream media on her head. For what? Optimism. She has suggested a return to a 1970's wealth tax of 70 percent. Roosevelt put it at 90 percent, and for a while capitalism never worked better. The return to a fair wealth tax would apply to people with incomes of ten million a month and up, meaning it would apply to exactly no one in Mendocino County. The trillion raised would establish the social floor many of us say we want — housing, fully funded education, rapid transit, single payer, and the rest of civilized life. We don't have those amenities now because the money is moving steadily upwards where it's concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, starving the social amenities. Mainstream economists all agree with O-C's diagnosis and her prescription for a cure. The millions of people feeling the unease unto dread described above, intensified and sped up by Trump, are making futile doomer plans like building fortresses in places they think are inaccessible. There's no escape. It's too late. 

POVERTY WITH A VIEW, A COAST READER WRITES: “The new Zero tolerance toward the houseless on the Mendocino Coast reaches a new low. This punishing of the poor is increasing everywhere on the coast including Fish & Wildlife, Sheriff and Parks hassling tourists, travelers and anyone else who is pulled off the road at night, a complete waste of manpower and resources. I am beginning to think that the powers that be want Mendocino as a private gated tourist destination for the land swindlers and developers to squeeze profits from their shady deals without regard for the underpaid workers that keep the whole thing running. Many seniors and working folks are living in their cars because there is zero housing here on the coast. This must be part of the new policy based on the horrid study on homeless that Fort Bragg’s elite paid $50,000 that emphasizes ZERO TOLERANCE for the houseless when that large sum could have been used to actually HELP PROVIDE SHELTER or a parking area for folks who need a safe place for the night. The cruel, gleeful way that these public servants are treating citizens is shameful and wasteful.” 

I MET KAMALA HARRIS at a jazz event in San Francisco maybe ten years ago. The Missus and I were gifted the tickets by my nephew, a jazz aficionado. We were seated at a table with, among others and of all people, Willie Brown and his Russian girlfriend. Brown didn't seem happy to see me. I thought maybe he remembered a night in Mendocino in '85 or so when I was on a bullhorn outside a Democratic Party wine fete for the state’s legislative boss at the Mendocino Hotel. A mob of enviros was outside trying hard to wreck the party inside. The local Democrats, led by a character called Luke Breit, were entertaining Brown, nevermind that he'd just cancelled an attempt by Mendo to locally regulate the aerial application of herbicides. Big Ag objected, and when money talks, Willie Brown listens. I was seated next to the Russian girlfriend. Every time I tried to talk to her she said, "Vat's that you say to me?" and variations on that theme. She and Brown were carping at each other like a pair of high school kids. I'd hope for a chance to argue with Brown but out of deference to Nephew, I didn't. Charlie Musslewhite and his wife Henrietta were seated on my other side, fortunately, because they are always pleasant and fun. Kamala Harris, then San Francisco DA, was going from table to table introducing herself. When she got to us, I mentioned that my cousin worked for her. "He does?" Yes, I said, Jimmy Rowland. "Well, I can tell you I love James Rowland. He's head of my domestic abuse department." I replied that our family suspects that Jimmy is himself a victim of domestic violence, explaining that his wife had recently thrown him out of their car somewhere deep in the desert down by the Mexican border. Kamala took a closer look at me to assess just what kind of crank she was dealing with and quickly moved on. "Nice meeting you Mr. and Mrs. Anderson." I must say I liked Kamala's vibe, as they say, but the only Democrat I have any enthusiasm for is Ocasio-Cortez. The music that night? Knocked me out. Beautiful. The company? Except for the Musslewhites, to be avoided.

TELL ME AGAIN that the FBI is not a political police force? The pre-dawn FBI swat team that arrested that windy Trumper, Roger Stone, arrived with the live feed CNN truck, obviously tipped off by the feds that ol' Rog was going to be taken down. So the FBI mounts an armed raid worthy of El Chapo, and just in time for breathless commentary by the morning's Chuckle Buddies to kick around. Stone, incidentally, sports a tattoo of Nixon on his back. (Nixon?) Say what you will about Orange Man's clown show they’re lively copy. Turns out, the CNN team conveniently outside Stone’s house when the raid went down was led by a former FBI agent. As the late Lenny Bruce commented about Chicago, “It’s so corrupt it’s thrilling.”

NOW WHAT for the Potter Valley Diversion? An on-line comment: 

"This just got real for Sonoma and Mendo on so many levels....

First is the water issue. With PG&E abandoning the license, that means whoever assumes the facility has to go through the FERC Relicensing process from the start ($$$). Plus, whoever assumes the facility, also has to install all the upgrades that were required of PG&E ($$$), in order to continue operating and keep water flowing. Also, a new license would affect water rights as well, particularly if no one assumes the facility and PG&E is required to decommission and tear down the site. No diversion, no water to Sonoma / Mendo.

That means that Sonoma and Mendo would want ownership of the facility, if they want their water rights guaranteed into the future. But with the recent announcement that PG&E was not responsible for the Tubbs fire, a lot of the cost Sonoma was banking on has now evaporated; so that puts a strain on any funding for purchasing the site. They would have to float bonds, which means huge rise in water rates for those folks ($$$).

This PG&E bankruptcy has had a huge trickle effect… ($$$)"

AT LAST TUESDAY SUPES MEETING, Supervisor John Haschak pulled the item on the consent calendar to retroactively hand $144k worth of Office of Traffic Safety money over to North Coast Opportunities (NCO) to “education” kids on how to walk and bike safely. The wasteful giveaway had been handed over to NCO last fall, but was just now appearing on the consent calendar. If the Board had wanted to change the way it was spent by giving some or all of it to another organization (like the County Office of Education) they had no chance because NCO already had it.

Haschak: My understanding from my time on the other side of the panel was that the Board wasn't going to do retroactive agreements. So I wonder why this is coming up now? I'm totally supportive of the Walk and Bike Mendocino program. I'm just wondering why it's retroactive?”

Health and Human Services Director Tammy Moss Chandler: “This particular contract is with one of our state and federal partners that routinely provides agreements to us after the start date. We have a few of those. Those are beyond our control. So they have to be retroactive agreements. We bring forward all those possible within our control but this one we didn't receive from the State Agency until late. Therefore it's retroactive, but ongoing for years.”

Haschak: “Okay, I'm fine.”

Supervisor John McCowen: “Given that it is ongoing, it does cause me to wonder what took nearly four months from the contract award until now that the item is before us for approval? It says the agreement with NCO was drafted shortly after the grant award. So it seems like there has been quite a lag time in getting that to us. I think that's been an issue in some instances. So whoever was involved with that particular item, maybe a little review of, did it get stuck somewhere in the process or were there so many other things going on with higher priorities that it didn't get dealt with? We have been gradually updating our practices and our contracting and tightening them up and we didn't say no retroactive agreements will be approved but if they are retroactive they have to be noted as that and typically they would appear as a regular calendar unless it was due to some unavoidable circumstance.”

End of discussion. No complaint, No explanation for the delay. No discussion of alternate grant recipients. No follow up on “whoever was involved” who took so long. No explanation about why it was on the consent calendar. Just McCowen’s idle speculation on what may have happened. 

Haschak moved to approve the item and it was approved unanimously. (Mark Scaramella)

WEISS WATCH — SORRY TO HEAR that the well known Beat poet, ruth weiss, ground-floor beatnik writer and poet and long-time resident of Albion, is at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital room 448-1 where she is undergoing a battery of examinations. She has suffered strokes and complications therefrom. The Albion artist goes all the way back to the halcyon days of North Beach when poetry first began to break loose from the academic strait jacket.

ruth weiss

BETSY CAWN WRITES (re: last week’s article ‘Situational Awareness’: "Beautifully done, Mr. Patterson. All of my brothers have “served” in the military, but only one lost everything but his “life” — his body came back, he walks and he talks, but his spirit was eviscerated just like that gut-busted sacrificial lamb. Numb and dumb (infinitely, internally furious but outwardly “pacified” — the real objective of mass “culture”). Baaaaaaa not, bleat always, and bite back the impulse to stifle ourselves. Over here (all the way from “Over There,” where my dad did or saw something so despicable in the Battle of St. Lo that he forever hence wrestled mournfully in silent agony, even to his last cancer-addled moment) the “Lake County Syndrome” — so named by the former medical director at Napa State Hospital — of mental/physical/social dementia drives the multi-million-dollar “helping” industry sucklings, NCO and Redwood Community Services (Mr. Marmon’s favorite, Camille Schraeder).

The process of bastardized bureaucracy being the substitute for responsible governance everywhere, our Boards of Supervisors are at the mercy of hirelings who are as impervious to morality as the big puffy monster in charge.

After a lifetime of fighting the likes of Kissinger, Westmoreland, Cheney, Reagan, Nixon, all of them, including the warmongering women, we can see the fruits of all labor turned to glitter and gauze, and sigh, but the work goes on forever. Solidaridaj."

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] The issue that I at least have with the seemingly endless hang up on sexual issues is the distraction factor. Sexual deviants may be being beaten up on every street corner of the world, but I for one have never seen a single instance, so yes, I question the gravity of the “problem”. I do however see a huge, glaring problem with the theft and fraud of public wealth being sucked out of Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and every other scam our corrupt government can dream up to increase their net worth at our expense. How about our decaying infrastructure, the lack of decent paying jobs, the rip off of higher “education”, you know all of those “other” issues? Why do they take a back seat to penis problems? I just don’t get it and apparently neither do the distractors. But then, that is what they do, right? “Just a little touch of make-up, just a little touch of bull, just a little 3-chord trick embedded in your platform soul”, eh?

[2] Well, America is burdened by an aging dying population that is doing its best to break the back of the “healthcare” system on its way out. It also has a large population of talentless, non-motivated and outright lazy young people who were so poorly raised that they fall to the ground and cry like babies when their cars don’t start. Americans are the most indebted people in the world with sharply declining incomes. Our population consumes almost all of the world’s supply of opioids:

cnbc.com/2016/04/27/americans-consume-almost-all-of-the-global-opioid-supply.html

…and are so stupid that they go have to attend “higher” education institutions to understand what sex is, not that they get it right afterwards anyway.

You don’t have to be much of anything to be better than that. As I understand it, the IMF requires that almost all investments in other nations must be made in US dollars. When this changes, and it will, the floodgates will open because every other country has central banks that can print up as must paper crap “money” as the supply of paper (or digitals) allows. Oh yes, they will take over sooner rather than later and not because they are so good, but because we are fat, lazy, greedy, and stupid.

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