- Thunderstorm Maybe
- Richard Bennett
- David Rounds
- Permit Denials
- Board Discord
- MCDH Meeting
- Dispatchers Honored
- FB Poll
- Quiz Night
- Assault Rifles
- Carillo Sentenced
- Police Reports
- Camp Host
- Lake Closure
- Sea Rancher
- Hippo Chariot
- Yesterday's Catch
- Retrying Mumia
- Mark Rothko
- Israeli Groveling
- Wildfire Prevention
- Bear Scenario
- Report Reaction
- County Line
- Bluff Vote
- Tax Cut
- Vaccine Choice
- Shoshoni Motel
- Mendo Ultramarathon
- Colon Whiff
- Human Race
- Arms Scorecard
- Museum Screening
SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE Thursday with possible thunderstorms after noon. Up to half an inch of rain. Highs in the 50s. Light winds. Rain tapers off over night Thursday with chance of rain Friday morning. A couple of mostly sunny days will be followed by another chance of rain Sunday night and Monday, clearing into Tuesday. (National Weather Service)
RICHARD M. BENNETT
April 15, 1939—March 24, 2019
Aka “Hammerhead” to the Boont codgy kimmies.
Richard M. Bennett, age “almost” 80, passed away peacefully on March 24, 2019.
Richard Bennett was born in Sacramento and grew up in Napa. He attended Santa Rosa JC, and transferred to Sonoma State University for his bachelor’s degree. He was a Registered Nurse.
During the Vietnam era, Richard worked as an Army Nurse at Walter Reed National Military Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, caring for wounded soldiers who came directly from overseas combat. It was an experience he described as rewarding, devastating and life changing.
After his military service, he returned to California where he continued his career in nursing, working at a variety of hospitals in different communities. In between jobs, he traveled extensively throughout Central and South America.
Richard moved to Boonville in 1984 where he lived with his wife, Judi and a variety of dogs. They could often be seen on their daily walks around the Boonville area and along Anderson Valley Way.
He had a great love of nature and was especially fond of hiking and exploring new areas. Frequent camping trips were a favorite activity.
He enjoyed his home in Boonville and spent many hours working in the yard, gardening or just relaxing in the hot tub.
Richard is survived by his loving wife Judi, his brother Bob and several nieces and nephews. He lived his life, laughing, loving and learning. He will be sorely missed.
If you’re wondering about the “Hammerhead” story, here it is.
When Richard first moved to Boonville, one of his new projects was to plant a garden. So out came the old rototiller. It wouldn’t start. No matter how hard he tried get it revved up, it just wouldn’t rev. For hours he tried to get the stubborn thing to start to no avail. Finally in pure frustration he grabbed a sledge hammer and along with a string of unrepeatable swear words, he just beat it to pieces.
When the tiller was sufficiently smashed, he looked up to find a couple of his new neighbors, both Boonville old-timers, Delmar June and Bill Witherell, standing outside the fence watching with amusement.
Bill turned to Del and drawled “Whhhy that guy’s a real hammerhead!” Bill then proceeded to ask if he could have the broken pieces of the tiller since he repaired small engines and thought he could use the parts.
I’m told that having a Boontling name bestowed upon you, especially to someone new to the valley is a real honor. Hammerhead became fast friends with these old-timers and he wore his new name with pride. We knew the name had stuck when, a few months later a schoolbus went by as we were walking. A kid stuck his head out the window and yelled, “Hey Hammerhead!”
And now, all these years later I am in hopes that Hammerhead has found his old friends again, laughing and joking in the big Dustys in the sky.
If desired, donations can be made in his memory to Hospice of Ukiah. www.hospiceofukiah.com, 620 So. Dora St. Suite 101. Ukiah CA 95482.
Husband, father, grandfather, Hotchkiss and Harvard alum, Yankee (though not a Yankees fan), Buddhist scholar, lifelong progressive Democrat, journalist, editor, novelist, essayist, high school English teacher, composer, translator, and poet – died March 24, 2019, after 21 years with Parkinson's disease. He was 76.
David, born in New York City to Stowell Rounds and Caroline Curtis Rounds, and raised in Wilton, Connecticut, graduated from The Hotchkiss School in 1960 and Harvard University in 1964. He thence moved to New York City to write his first novel. In 1965, he went on a blind date to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Sue Ashley, who impressed him with her knowledge of Dutch painting. They were married on June 24, 1967.
David and Sue moved to California in 1973 to study Buddhism, and they both were active with the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association for many years. David taught English for the Buddhist Council for the Rescue and Resettlement of Refugees – a program for refugees from the Vietnam War. He worked with others to translate the Surangama Sutra, taught at Developing Virtue Secondary School, and served as Editor of the journal Religion East and West.
After some years full-time with the Buddhist association, David found work as an English teacher at Anderson Valley High School. A generation of students, his son among them, remember him as mentor, writing tutor, college admission coach, and initiator into the life of the mind.
A lifelong writer, David penned two novels, a book of children's stories, books on the trucking industry and the string quartet, and numerous essays, poems, and musical compositions.
Further giving voice to his love of music, he sang with the Ukiah Valley Madrigal Singers and Hesperia, and co-founded the Deep Valley Chamber Series to bring classical musicians to Ukiah.
He is survived by Sue, his wife of 52 years, his brothers John and Tom, his son Nathaniel, his daughter-in-law Allison, his grandchildren Benjamin and Eleanor, and a large extended family. His family and friends remember his integrity, sharp mind, kind heart, and memory for a staggering array of facts profound and trivial, long predating Wikipedia or Google.
The family would like to thank the staff of Canyon View Care Home for the compassionate and loving care David received in the final two years of his life. A celebration of his life is planned for this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. arrangements under the direction of Eversole Mortuary.
RUMOR OF THE DAY has it that the County is preparing to send out about 200 pot permit denials. Low Gap staff is fearful that things may get ugly and are asking for enhanced law enforcement security in anticipation of trouble.
SOUTH COASTAL TRAIL
(Photo by Judy Valadao)
REDDING ACCUSES FELLOW BOARD MEMBERS OF UNPROFESSIONAL GOVERNANCE
by Malcolm Macdonald
For the first hour and fifty minutes the March 26th Finance Committee meeting for Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) looked like one of the best in years. Then committee chairman and MCDH Board member John Redding went into what he labeled “The Last Word” on the agenda.
Redding's concluding comments took about five minutes to complete. “As a board member I have become increasingly frustrated by my own board… I had an epiphany last week after a couple of contentious meetings with my colleagues… Maybe affiliation [with another hospital group, such as Adventist Health] is a good thing, It looks better to me now than it did before, not because the Adventists offer better, more professional management. I don't think that's the case. I think we have a great team here [he presumably means interim Chief Executive Officer and full time Chief Financial Officer Mike Ellis and other MCDH administrative managers]… but they [Adventist] would provide professional governance, which I don't think we have here.
“I'm sorry to have to say that so early into this, but this board does not meet my standards of professionalism. It just doesn't. We bounce from one thing to another. We started with the strategic plan then we jumped ship to affiliation. It was not properly introduced to the public or to the board. Now the switch is to an organizational review because of this fear that we're about to run out of money. You'll notice on the board agenda [for Thursday, March 28th] there's an organizational review. I wondered how is that different from what we've been talking about here, so I'm confused by my leadership, confused by my colleagues. What the hell is going on.
“One of the things I've become increasingly concerned about is the treatment of our management staff by some of our board members. There is no reason to distrust the professionalism of our team… It is my experience that Mike [Ellis] and his team have been more than forthcoming with information, more than cooperative. I can talk to any members of the staff [Redding referenced two in the audience] and get answers. Some of my colleagues apparently feel they can't do that. I don't understand that. It's wrong and it says more about my colleagues than it does about Mike Ellis and his team. I don't know what to do about it. I think it's a structural flaw in public hospitals where you have elected officials. We're volunteers, you get what you get. It's almost a random crap shoot.
“I like my colleagues. I know that they intend well. They do intend well, they are likable people, but good intentions don't translate into good actions. So, I needed to get that off my chest because I think the biggest problem facing the hospital right now is the board that I sit on.”
At that point there was applause from some in the audience. It's probably best not to name specific names because some might get left out some or others might be included accidentally, folks who were simply seated next to a clapper. One wonders if those who applauded Redding's comments would want to be disparaged by a colleague themselves without being present to accept or refute the criticism. Most likely, considering Mr. Redding's reference to contentious meetings with other board members, he has expressed some of these sentiments to his board colleagues either face to face or over the phone. However, that is a relatively closed door activity, as opposed to a public tossing under the bus. Anyone hearing or reading Mr. Redding's remarks has to conclude that he meant all four of his colleagues on the MCDH Board of Directors. He provided no evidence of exception(s).
At the opening of the meeting, Mr. Redding repudiated the analysis of a former long time member of the finance committee (as reported here in the AVA) whose financial study concluded that the hospital would run out of money by the fall of 2020. Redding stated that another longtime observer of the hospital had abandoned an analysis that MCDH would be penniless by the summer of 2020.
The highlight of the meeting was a fairly lengthy presentation by MCDH's Revenue Cycle Director Colene Hickman. She has been on the job since May of 2018. Ms. Hickman detailed several methods that will help to improve the hospital's bottom line. She stated that 60% of the information that later goes onto claim forms is gathered at a patient's first stop: registration. Hickman claimed that when she arrived at MCDH the quality of accounts were barely meeting accuracy rates of 50%. In addition, 25% of all mail was being returned as non-deliverable. Addresses for patients and their bills were not being taken down correctly or updated. The new MCDH goal for such matters is 95% or higher (95% being the industry standard). Hickman said that if errors such as incorrect addresses occur now, the source of the error, be it registration or elsewhere is sought out and the person who made the error must track down the correct information.
According to Hickman, MCDH has improved its financial assistance policies. What was recently being written off as bad debt can now be captured under the category of “charity care,” bringing back multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars to the hospital through Medicare reimbursement.
Hickman cited better up front collections, using the hospital's clinic, North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC), as an example. Her statistics show NCFHC going from $5,000 per month in up front collections to $20,000 per month in just a two month span of time.
The revenue cycle director said that many missing charges, out of date charges, or coding errors have now been identified. In other words vast amounts of money in coding or billing oversights or errors as well as passed over charges are being located. If this sounds familiar, check out the April 4, 2018, AVA for reference to the findings of MCDH's then interim CFO John Parigi: “Parigi uncovered millions and millions of dollars worth of legitimate charges to patients that have, until Mr. Parigi's brief tenure, not been billed for, nor payments collected. In just three months Parigi's small team found over $3 million from previously languishing accounts. The fault for this lies not on any specific employees in the billing and finance departments, but on the fact that the hospital has been operating for years on a three-way jury-rigged electronic system. Thus, coding for a specific patient's charges and the subsequent billing had to go through multiple, yet different, types of computer systems. Therefore, the chances for misplacing or losing charges or the entire bill were exponentially exaggerated at all times.”
A month after Parigi was prematurely fired and Hickman entered the financial fray, 95% of cases were still being returned to coding for corrections. Additionally, there was a backlog of 30,000 cases. Hickman stopped the use of outsourced coding companies and within a couple of months a MCDH team got more or less caught up.
Hickman went on for nearly forty-five valuable minutes detailing ways that have already been implemented to improve charge capture and reimbursement in surgery cases, swing bed revenue, and other areas of the hospital as well as those that can be enhanced once the new electronic health record (EHR) system becomes fully operational in July.
Hickman's detailed and no nonsense approach merited applause for her and her fellow financial department workers. Nevertheless, after Hickman's presentation, this writer asked if she or Chief Financial Officer Mike Ellis could tell the public if these improvements meant that MCDH could maintain enough monetary independence to avoid affiliation with an outside entity (such as Adventist Health).
Mr. Ellis took on the question, “We are certainly looking at that. The baseline is where we are now [a projected loss of about $1 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019]. We know that we will be more efficient in our processes and in our management applications of looking at where costs are and where the revenue streams are coming from [meaning from which specific departments and even inner-departmentally]…” His answer went on to essentially say that in the future more charges would be collected and collected faster, but as to how independent this would make MCDH, Ellis offered no definitive response.
If the meeting had concluded there an objective observer would have been buoyed by the preciseness of Ms. Hickman's presentation and encouraged by the news that Mr. Ellis is taking no additional salary beyond what he earns as CFO, though he has taken on the additional duties of CEO. That observer might retain some concern about the hospital's short to midterm ability to hold on financially (remember there are scads of required capital maintenance improvements required by California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development [OSHPD], at costs that most likely will run into the millions), but also hopeful that the institution's new board of directors (four out of five were elected for the first time in November) would find a positive path forward.
Then board member and Finance Committee Chair Redding let us know that a serious rift exists between himself and the rest of the Board of Directors. Next up, how will they respond publicly?
COAST HOSPITAL BOARD MEETING THURSDAY, MARCH 28
Tomorrow's meeting of the MCDH Board of Directors will be held in the registration lobby to provide more space for attendees.
SUPES & SHERIFF HONOR DISPATCHERS
Today, the Board honored our hard working dispatchers as part of the upcoming National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Dispatchers are first responders and true heroes. They convert panic and fear into actionable information for the responding units. These behind-the-scenes professionals are a major, but often forgotten, component of public safety. To all the dispatchers in Mendocino County, thank you for your dedication and public services!
AN INFORMAL FORT BRAGG POLL:
After having three shooting incidents in Fort Bragg, I'm wondering:
- Are gangs visible in Fort Bragg? Has anyone been able to see them on the streets?
- Are they visible in our schools?
- Do you feel enough is being done to get the situation under control?
- When I was in school I remember it. I lost a lot of friends over the gang stuff. And it was stupid because people would get mad about colors
- People in this area are so blind. "Our quiet little town, what is going on, how did this happen." I hear stories of 20 years ago gangs were highly active in these schools, carrying weapons, there was even an on duty security guard at the middle school. This has always been in issue in this town, for a really really long time.
- Oh, also as they fight for stronger gun laws. Notice, these people didn't abide by the laws that are currently set in place, funny how that works.
- Just so you know as a citizen or a witness once you come forward and identify someone you're put into a bracket and things can happen if you are worried about your safety this is definitely an issue there are certain implements that they have to use to provide you safety
- Anonymous Gang/Crime Tip Hotline 707-961-3049
- I think we need to forget the days when it seemed things like this were pretty much a "hush hush" issue because it might reflect badly on the City and keep people away. Thank you Bernie for speaking out about what is really going on. We as a community now need to step up and speak up. If you see something report it. Our Officers are not Social Workers they are here to keep our community safe from things like this. They can't be everywhere all the time, if you see something report it. The Police can only do something about things they are aware of and sometimes it is because someone speaks up that they find out where the problem is so they can act on it. And let’s not forget when there are weapons involved our Officers are putting themselves out there for us, the very least we can do is get involved by giving them any info we may have.
- If you can, install a security camera. Very helpful in many cases for law enforcement to help identify people and vehicles.
- If you ask the kids they would say yes they are.
- To be honest I’m not up late enough to see the nightlife, and the only time I see perhaps a gang related person is when they are walking , and I’m thinking, yo, pull your pants up . Add some color to your attire. I suppose that could be identified as me profiling but hey, if I see something I do say something. I’m pretty certain most gang affiliated stick together in and around certain areas.
- Gang activity happens 24/7 not just at night.
- Bring back 2011 when we had amazing people in authority at the FBPD — Chief Scott Mayberry and Lt John Naulty. Too bad our city management sucked back then. Sorry not sorry.
- God, I love you.
- I don't have to worry about hurting feelings or being politically correct ANYMORE and it's a true story! Not sure if our new city management has what it takes to make the turn around. Again we are rooting for them from our new state.
- I believe this area is always going to have gang related issues, along with white collar crime issues and just fucked up addiction issues. We are such a small community it’s a fish bowl.
- All questions. NO. I think most of the problems are swept under the rug. I'm sure our kids out there know what's going on, been happening for years. Drugs are like wild fire out there big time. Sad.
- Well, it sure looks like the police are on top of things from what I've seen around town today. The last thing the gang bangers are gonna want to do is mess with them.
- I think the Chief of Police should ask Scott Mayberry for input. Scott did an excellent job of putting gangs in their place while he was Chief.
BOONVILLE QUIZ TIME: What's a little more rain? Nothing, when it comes to a fun time at Lauren’s Restaurant with the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz. Yes, we’re back with another evening of brain teasing and grey matter exercise, not to mention libations and fine food, at 7pm tomorrow, Thursday, 28th March. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master
KNIFE-WIELDING MURDERER SENTENCED TO LIFE
Defendant Oscar Alvarez Carrillo, age 31, of The Forks, was sentenced to life in prison this morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court.
The defendant was convicted by jury last December of the April 2016 premeditated, deliberate, and brutal knifing death of 62-year old Salvardor Hernandez in the victim's apartment home.
The defendant was also convicted by plea last January of felony criminal threats while armed with a machete, said offense occurring in March 2016.
For the first degree murder conviction, the defendant was sentenced to the statutory indeterminate term of 25 years to life in state prison. An additional one year was ordered based on the jury's finding that the defendant personally used a knife in the commission of the murder.
For the criminal threats conviction, the defendant was sentenced to the aggravated term of 36 months, said sentence to run consecutive to the murder sentence. An additional one year was also imposed this case, based on the defendant's admission that he personally used a machete in the commission of the criminal threats.
The trial attorney who presented the People's evidence to the jury and argued for prison today on behalf of the People was Deputy District Attorney Scott McMenomey.
The law enforcement agencies that investigated the crimes and gathered the evidence that allowed for proof beyond a reasonable doubt were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, the California Crime Laboratories in Sacramento, Eureka, and Redding, and the District Attorney's own investigators.
The judge who presided over the December trial and who imposed today's sentences on the defendant was Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke.
On March 21, 2019 at about 12:50 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a theft of alcohol at a grocery store in the 900 block of School Way in Redwood Valley. Deputies searched the area for the suspect however did not locate him. The incident was caught on video surveillance at the market. Deputies viewed the video surveillance footage and observed a male adult in the video wearing specific clothing items. On the same day at about 2:20 PM in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy made a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Zebulion Couthren, 43, of Willits, for minor traffic violations.
The Deputy conducting the traffic stop had assisted in the theft investigation at the grocery market earlier and had observed the footage from the surveillance system at the grocery market. The Deputy recognized Couthren as the suspect in the grocery market surveillance system footage he had viewed earlier and further noticed Couthren was still wearing the specific clothing items as depicted in the video. The Deputy learned Couthren was on Mendocino County probation and was subject to search and also had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest. A search of Couthren’s vehicle revealed illicit drugs suspected to be methamphetamine and the stolen bottle of alcohol from the grocery market in Redwood Valley. Couthren was taken into custody for Petty Theft with prior conviction, Violation of Probation, Driving while license suspended/for DUI, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Couthren was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
LAKE COUNTY AMBASSADORS
On March 24, 2019 at approximately 3:00 P.M., a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on uniformed patrol in the area of Highway 162 and Highway 101 north of Willits. The Deputy observed a vehicle pass his location and noticed that the front license plate on the sedan did not match the rear plate affixed to the vehicle. The Deputy performed a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle to investigate further. The driver was identified as James Stricklin, 37, of Nice, and a passenger in the vehicle was identified as Andrew Green, 39, of Lakeport.
Upon further investigation, the Deputy noted that the front license plate on the vehicle belonged to the car he stopped, but had expired registration. The rear license plate on the vehicle belonged to another car, but had current registration. The deputy conducted a search of the vehicle and located numerous boxes of .22 caliber ammunition in the rear passenger area of the car where Green was seated. Green was determined to be prohibited from possessing ammunition due to prior criminal convictions. The deputy placed Green under arrest for Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person and Stricklin was arrested for Forge / Alter Vehicle Registration. Both Green and Stricklin were subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where they were both to be held in lieu of $15,000. bail.
GOOD DEAL FOR THE RIGHT PERSON(S)
The county is looking for a camp host at Indian Creek in Philo
Volunteer in Northern California, in the heart of Mendocino County wine country! Enjoy opportunities that abound nearby such as hiking, birding, food, wine and music festivals, sightseeing picturesque towns along the Mendocino coast, and so much more! For more information and to apply Online visit www.mendocinocounty.org/parks
Mendocino County’s Indian Creek Campground has a dedicated quiet spot for hosts with full RV hookups (water, sewer, electric) along with a land line telephone and a P.O. Box. Campground host duties would include: greeting visitors, clean up of 10 campsites and 1 restroom facility. In addition, an $100 stipend will be paid monthly April-October. Apply Online at mendocinocounty.org/parks
Kathy Wylie, M.S. Ed., firstname.lastname@example.org
MUELLER AT SEA RANCH?
Robert Mueller’s cap sporting The Sea Ranch logo sparks questions
“Now that Robert Mueller has released the findings of his team’s investigation into Russian meddling, attention turns to the special counsel’s cap.
Mueller has been photographed sporting an embroidered, billed cap from The Sea Ranch, the rustic-yet-refined, just-remote-enough seaside resort community on the northern Sonoma Coast.
The photos have most of the nation wondering, what the heck is The Sea Ranch? Those of us familiar with the storied and controversial development and its distinctive rams-horn logo are keen to know Mueller’s connection to it.
Rumors that the ex-FBI director owns or seeks to own a home on The Sea Ranch couldn’t be confirmed Monday.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 27, 2019
ANDREW BARROW, Sacramento/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
CHALRES BLUNT, Ukiah. Probation violation.
GABRIELA BOWES, Covelo. Parole violation.
CHARLES DAVIS JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CHARLES DUNCAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TRENT FOSTER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DAVID HAYDEN, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, suspended license (for DUI).
JONATHAN HOPPNER, Willits. Parole violation.
TAVION JOHNSON, Laytonville. Domestic battery.
CRYSTAL ODELL, Covelo. Controlled substance.
REBECCA PHIPPS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
GARY RANDAL, Potter Valley. Parole violation.
WHEN POLITICS EXCUSES MURDER
by George Dorner
One of my fellow students at Goddard College was a convicted murderer. He was enrolled as just another student, although one with a special dispensation about not appearing on campus. It seems he had a prior encagement.
How did this happen? Let me give a bit of general background. A white cop in a rust belt city's ghetto pulled over a black driver in a routine traffic stop. A scuffle ensued. The driver's brother ran up and mortally shot the cop. Before expiring, the patrolman managed to wound his assailant. When backup arrived, the policeman was dead and his attacker was sitting wounded on the curb, unable to leave. His pistol was found in the gutter near him.
Now, let's examine the specifics, 'cause the devilment is in the details. The murder occurred at about 4 AM on 9 December 1981 in Philadelphia. The deceased officer was 25 year old Daniel Faulkner. William Cook was traveling the wrong way on a one way street when stopped by Faulkner. Once out of his Volkswagen, Cook sucker punched Faulkner. The cop struck back and tried to arrest Cook. Cook's brother, taxi driver Mumia Abu-Jamal, ran up on the struggle and shot the policeman in the back. Faulkner spun about and returned fire, even as he fell to the sidewalk. Mumia finished him off with a shot to the face. Then, weakened by Faulkner's bullet to the belly, Mumia slumped to the curb. He dropped his revolver rather than returning it to his shoulder holster. However, he was still strong enough to resist the backup officers who arrested him.
Once at the hospital, Mumia screamed out a confession that was heard by a private security guard, as well as police officers.
So, there's an open and shut case, based on circumstantial evidence and a confession. The murder weapon's owner was the driver's brother and the discarded weapon was registered to him. The brother disclaimed any hand in the shooting, and there were eyewitnesses and the confession. A simple straightforward homicide for the court system. Convictions via circumstantial evidence are common. So are convictions via confession when corroborated by testimony. Celebrated prosecutor Lynne Abraham termed the case a slam-dunk. Cases are won all the time on this type of evidence. The circumstantial evidence and confession were backed by the scientific evidence of the bullets retrieved from the crime scene from Faulkner and Mumia.
The bullet dug out of Mumia matched Faulkner's Smith and Wesson revolver. No surprise there. It was the rest of the bullets that told the tale.
Mumia's .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver was retrieved with all five cartridges fired. Headstamping on the cartridge cases identified the ammunition brand as Federal. The bullets recovered were made with a hollow base; only Federal made such bullets, for a conclusive preliminary match. An examination of the retrieved bullets revealed eight rifling grooves on the bullets. Eight groove rifling is characteristic of Charter Arms revolvers, and no other pistols.
A final ballistic exam is a microscopic comparison of retrieved bullets with test fired bullets fired from a pistol. A match between the two is as distinctive as fingerprints. However, in this case, it could not be reliably performed due to the deformity of the crime scene bullets.
Perhaps it was this latter test that sparked the general claim around the Goddard campus that the ballistics had been faked. Let's examine the claims of fakery, and the real results of investigating those claims.
Claim: Mumia's hands were not scientifically tested for gunpowder residue. Reality: Mumia fought with arresting officers who handcuffed him. Then, after being taken to hospital, he resisted both arrest and medical treatment. All this struggle completely contaminated Mumia's hands, preventing any possible valid tests. Besides, the arresting officers were distracted by getting a court order for the medical treatment that saved Mumia's life.
Claim: A bullet recovered from Faulkner's corpse was a .44 caliber slug instead of a .38.
Reality: A medical examiner with no training in ballistics made a note to himself during the autopsy. In his rough notes, he guessed the slug was a .44. He was wrong.
Claim: There are millions of guns in existence with eight-grooved rifling. Reality: True testimony, but misleading. There are a lot of rifles in existence with eight groove rifling. However, Charter Arms is the only pistol maker using eight groove rifling.
The last claim is somewhat complex. It is based on a photograph of a section of pristine sidewalk. Mumia's appeal lawyer claims that since eyewitness testimony placed Mumia shooting down into Officer Faulkner, the sidewalk should be chipped by ricocheting bullets. Instead, bullets were found in the front of two nearby houses. Therefore, the ballistics evidence is faked.
The reality is, there is an unwarranted assumption that one or more bullets hit the sidewalk. A bullet that doesn't completely penetrate a body obviously can't hit the sidewalk beneath it, nor can a bullet fired away from the sidewalk. There is no evidence that a bullet went through Daniel Faulkner. Any bullets hitting nearby houses obviously were aimed away from the sidewalk.
Of further interest is the fact there are no bloodstains shown in the photo of the sidewalk, despite the fact that head wounds bleed copiously. If the photo is indeed of the death scene, it must have been taken post cleanup. In fact, any lapse in time between the actual crime scene and the photo being taken does lead to reasonable doubt — of the defense. Most telling of all, Mumia's defense ballistics expert declined to look at the recovered bullets. I can supply the reason for that from my own personal experience. Rifling grooves are readily apparent to the naked eye. If the defense expert laid eyes on the bullets and could count to eight, he would either have to confirm the prosecution's claim that they fit a Charter Arms pistol, or he would have to lie under oath.
In fact, the defense ballistics expert was unable to refute any of the ballistics evidence. This ballistic evidence by itself is proof of Mumia's murderous ways. Mumia must realize that reality. Faced with the probability of a poison spike in the crook of his arm, Mumia has to find some other way to save his life.
He found it in racial tension, and in politics. For him, they were linked. Certainly, there was ample racial distrust in Philadelphia at the time. A white majority electorate elected a hard nosed Police Commissioner to the Mayoralty just before the murder. Mumia, who was a member of the Black Panthers during his teens, had reported on racial conflicts in the city, including a homicide trial of nine black militants who murdered a police officer. Needless to say, Philadelphia police hated Mumia. This hatred led to subsequent claims of a conspiracy to convict Mumia.
In truth though, there was no need for patrolmen, homicide detectives, laboratory technicians, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and a private security guard to conspire against Mumia. By his actions, he delivered himself into law enforcement's grasp and the medicos' care. No doubt there was widespread rejoicing by the Philadelphia cops when Mumia fell into their hands, but there was no need for them to conspire against him. Mumia had saved them the effort.
Turning to his journalistic connections, Mumia claimed he was an innocent political prisoner being framed by a government conspiracy. This effort, however false, draws numerous leftwing adherents to his cause, including attorneys seeking publicity.
Mumia turned to 1960s style political activism for his trial. At every opportunity, he claimed racial injustice. He demanded a non-lawyer for his defense attorney, and was refused. He alternately fired, shunned, insulted, and undermined his public defender, as well as attempting to force him into perjury. When approved to represent himself, Mumia purposely demanded impossibilities of the judge. When overruled by His Honor, Mumia simply kept on yelling. As a result, he was removed from the courtroom 13 times.
During the trial, there was an attempt to blame a mysterious man running from the scene as the gunman. No explanation of how he got his hands on Mumia's gun. No reason given for Faulkner to shoot Mumia instead of his purported assailant. No mention that the running man might have been a frightened citizen sensibly fleeing from gunfire.
There were four major witnesses during the trial—two black, two white. Then Mumia was unanimously convicted and sentenced to death by a jury with two black members. There were no holdouts over his innocence to hang the trial.
The one thing Mumia did not do was testify. Of course, that was his legal right. Nor did his brother take the witness stand. However, this means Mumia never told his own tale, and that neither of them ever underwent cross examination.
Mumia Abu-Jamal has battled his conviction ever since. It's been a dual track effort. On one hand he has assiduously appealed his convictions. On the other, he continues to gather public support from gullible people with leftwing beliefs. College campuses are a favorite recruiting ground. He not only “attended” Goddard College on a low residency program, as did I, but he gave a commencement speech there, and at several other colleges. He also continues writing and campaigning for public support of his release. Certainly, his adherents seem to have used the internet to spread lies.
Over the years, Mumia has also appealed his conviction to courts up to and including the U.S Supreme Court. A couple of volunteer confessors popped up to claim they shot Officer Faulkner. Just as in the case of the “running man,” they don't explain how they mugged an armed Mumia for his gun, or why Faulkner shot Mumia instead of them. Another legal ploy was a claim of inadequate representation by the experienced lawyer Mumia sabotaged and wished to replace with a non-lawyer.
On at least four occasions, courts have declined to hear Mumia's appeals. He has had eight appeals considered and largely rejected, often by unanimous decision, although he did succeed in having his death sentence modified to life imprisonment without parole in 2001 by a single judge.
Then, on December 27th of last year, a judge decided because one of the previous judges had worked in the District Attorney's office during Mumia's original trial, Mumia deserves a redo. No mention of confession, false testimony, or ballistics evidence. No reason given why the previous 36 years of judges hadn't noticed this error.
Almost 40 years on, it is uncertain how many of the witnesses may still be available. The passage of time cannot have been beneficial to the old trial evidence and files. Some—or even all—of the witnesses or files may not be available for another trial.
One constant remains. The ballistics evidence is unimpeachable. The bullet holes' locations could not be faked. The ballistics linked Mumia's pistol to the murder bullets in two differing ways. And there was no doubt concerning the pistol's ownership; the sales clerk who sold it to Mumia presented the sales slip as evidence during the trial and testified to the sale.
And Daniel Faulkner definitely died. There's the case in a nutshell. The science does not lie, nor is it mistaken. It plays no politics, it has no prejudices, it shows no biases. It simply presents the truth of the matter. That truth may prove the final barrier to Mumia's freedom. Meanwhile, as the retrial pends, Officer Daniel Faulkner lies moldering in his grave, eternally 25 years old.
US GROVELS TO ISRAEL the same way ‘supporters’ fawned on Saddam
"The media, in its grovelling, cowardly, craven obeisance to Israel – and its absolute fear of being cast into the accusatory hell of “antisemitism” – has a lot to answer for. When Colin Powell told the US State Department to instruct its embassies to call the West Bank “disputed” rather than “occupied”, the American press and television almost at once switched nomenclature. And so when the State Department suddenly referred to Golan a few weeks ago as “Israeli-controlled” rather than “Israeli-occupied”, we all knew what was coming. Thank heavens, as I always say, for those brave Israeli journalists – and preciously few activists and politicians – who speak out against these insanities." - Robert Fisk
I beg to differ with state Sen. Bill Dodd when he writes, “Finally, it is clear utilities can’t be relied upon to remove vegetation around their power lines."
This simply isn’t true. I am a lifelong resident of California, and I have seen work by PG&E and the company it hires to inspect power lines.
The focus should be on homeowners who refuse to let PG&E inspect power lines. SB 209 isn’t going to do anything to remove the fuel causing wildfires. To quote Dr. Phil: Let’s get real.
The government (Gov. Gavin Newsom and Cal Fire) is now deploying real teams to remove the dead trees causing the devastating fires.
Get out of your office, recruit your family members and friends, and volunteer to remove the fuel.
Legislation isn’t going to prevent wildfires in California any more than a piece of paper for a restraining order is going to prevent domestic violence.
The Sea Ranch
ON LINE Q&A
You are sitting on your porch watching fireflies on a long, dark, summer night.
Fireflies! The first year of the total ban on gasoline and diesel cars, was the first year you noticed they were still around.
This year, though… So many fireflies! They create an ethereal moving tapestry of light and shadow across your unmowed lawn, and into the trees beyond, in every direction.
As you sat in your favorite chair, cradling the mug of mulled wine… Your eyes drifted from shape to shape, light to light…
It was so nice not listening to the radio, just… The katydids.
Suddenly a sound. Leaves rustle and the lights scatter around a dark shape at the edge of the trees.
You swallow and taste the trout on your lips… This is black bear country - probably a hungry bear after all this fish on my plate.
You slowly release the mug with one hand and wrap your fingers around the polymer grip of your Taurus Judge with the other. Putting the sights on the middle of the shape, you slowly cock the hammer.
The shape moves, and you lose it in the shifting and blinking lights. Confused, you swing your aim right, and then left.
“Shit…” you mutter. There - no, there - suddenly, a sound, low, on the grass… Too close!
You spring to your feet, knocking the chair back, squeezing the trigger in panic. The buckshot booms and the recoil causes the pistol to jump. You can’t see anything now. You hear glass breaking and the chair falling over. Your back is against the wall.
A) attempt to gain control of your weapon and fire again?
B) turn and try and run back into the house?
IF YOU’RE PRESIDENT TRUMP, what’s your best strategy for dealing with the Mueller report? It’s probably pretty simple:
Insist loudly that the report completely exonerates you and you’re totally in favor of releasing the whole thing.
Do not, however, actually order the report released.
Instead, leave it up to the attorney general, who will stall for weeks or months. Let him take the heat for playing bad cop.
Hope that by the time the report is finally released, Russiamania will be played out and it won’t get much play.
And guess what? So far, this is exactly what’s happening.
— Kevin Drum
U.B.N.C. HUMBOLDT-MENDOCINO COUNTY LINE RUN
Sunday, March 31st 10:00am sharp
The annual Humboldt/Mendocino County Line Run
The Battle Between The North (Humboldt) and The South (Mendocino) for the County Line Run Plaque
Sunday, March 31, 2019
This Is a Timed Event
The Last Sunday In March Every Year
Neither Rain-Nor Sleet-Nor Hail-Nor Snow (Remember the Bandit)-Nor Easter Sunday Shall Change It
The Side That Crosses The County Line (The “000” Marker) The Closest to 12 o’clock Noon Without Going Under (I.E. 11:59am or Earlier – For Each Early Minute Costs You 5 minutes) Gets The County Line Plaque For One Year
The Winning Side Will Have Their Name and Date Engraved On The Plaque Each Year
This Has Been Happening Since 1979
The NORTH: From Eureka
Meets: 76 Truck Stop – 4050 S. Broadway
Leaves: 10am Sharp – Heading South
The SOUTH: From Ukiah
Meets: Truck Stop
Leaves: 10am Sharp – Heading North
SENATE REJECTS OCASIO-CORTEZ’S GREEN NEW DEAL IN 57-0 VOTE BLASTED AS A ‘SHAM’ BY DEMS
The Green New Deal failed to pass a procedural vote in the Senate Tuesday, with Democrats slamming the GOP motion as a “sham” and with two exceptions voting “present” in protest.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the ambitious plan to create jobs and improve the environment to a vote to force Democrats to take a public stand on the measure and try to divide the party’s moderates and progressives.
The final vote was 57 against and no one for the plan, with 43 Democrats voting present.
Red State Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voted no.
”I could not be more glad that the American people will have the opportunity to learn precisely where each one of their senators stand on the ‘Green New Deal’: a radical, top-down, socialist makeover of the entire US economy,” McConnell tweeted.
Democrats, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, called the vote a political stunt.
“The GOP’s whole game of wasting votes in Congress to target others ‘on the record’, for legislation they have no intent to pass, is a disgrace. Stop wasting the American peoples’ time + learn to govern. Our jobs aren’t for campaigning, and that’s exactly what these bluff-votes are for,” the freshman lawmaker clapped back on Twitter this week.
HARVEY READING ON TAXES:
Comparing tax year 2018 with 2017, my overall tax decreased by about 1.6 percent (dividing tax by taxable income), not even noticeable in terms of the amount of “extra” money available to me over the course of a year.
My income is well below what would be considered middle income. What I perceive is that the tax rate changes targeted middle income people to pay for the huge cuts given the wealthy. It’s certain that people in my low-income bracket got next-to-nothing in terms of a tax cut. That isn’t surprising considering what a scumball con man we have for president, and more of the same in congress, from “both” parties.
I am reminded of a cartoon I saw somewhere earlier in the year that depicted a couple sitting in front of the TV discussing the major purchases they would make with their expected tax cut … the caption (or was it the TV announcer?) suggested that maybe they would be able to purchase a toaster.
Oh, by the way, I hate that new half-form 1040. They could fit the whole form on ONE sheet of paper. I was tempted to print one page of the half form on one side of a page, and the other page of the half form on the remaining side of the same page, as I did with the old 1040, which was printed on BOTH sides by IRS, back in the “good ol’ daze” when IRS mailed out the forms each year, but was afraid IRS would send it back and tell me to use separate sheets for each side.
HOW TO KILL THE KIDS: Experts say the anti-vaccine or vaccine choice groups, as they commonly refer to themselves, are becoming larger, better organized and funded in part because their prolific use of social media, as well as the rise of a group founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which has helped to coordinate their efforts to push back on new laws.
“Social media has given it a national presence. It’s no longer just a collection of different states, it’s now gone across the country,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician. “Right now you might call it a media empire—you have almost 500 anti-vaccine websites.”
BOOM & BUST
(Photo by Harvey Reading)
THE MENDO ULTRA
Volunteers Needed! Mendocino Coast 50K Trail Ultramarathon! Saturday, April 20, 2019
The Mendocino Coast 50K Trail Ultra is April 20, 2019 (it's 4th year!) and we're looking for volunteers! This is a super fun day--shifts include:
- start/finish (Big River beach) set up/take-down
- aid station help -- simply making sure food/drinks are stocked
- course directing -- there are a couple points that runners can go off course if not paying close attention to markings!
This year's race sold out in less than 2 hours and bringing runners in from 21 states. Please help show these runners how awesome our coast is!
E-mail Sid Garza-Hillman (race director) at email@example.com if you're interested or need more info. Thanks so much.
MENDO 4-H HUMAN RACE
Mendocino County 4-H Program is officially part of the Mendo Human Race 5k for the first time ever this year!!
The Human Race is a 5K Walk or Timed Run that takes place on May 4, 2019 starting at Alex R Thomas Plaza at 9 am. Early registration starts at 8am. The event is a collaborative community fundraiser that supports charities by raising funds and building community awareness.
NCO’s Hands On Volunteer Network provides the marketing, publicity, materials and experienced assistance. Charities and businesses provide the people power!
Prior to race day, local businesses and organizations form teams and collect donations in support of their charity. A small percentage of each team’s total goes to NCO to cover the cost of hosting the event.
On race day, the teams show up, many in outrageous costumes, to either walk or run the 5k that winds through the streets of Ukiah.
The Human Race is a proven fundraiser across the United States and continues to grow in popularity each year. It’s a fun and effective way to raise money for our local non-profits and support our community. Go online to sign up now!
Mendocino County 4-H is hoping to have supporters join them in 4-H colors (green and white) during the race/walk or welcome any fundraising efforts to support their program!
If you would like to get more information on how to help support your local 4-H, please contact Jessica via phone 707-972-8788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FIRST FRIDAY AT GRACE HUDSON--FILM SCREENING
Grace Hudson Museum will be open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. and free to all on this and every First Friday Art Walk. The Friday, April 5 First Friday will feature a screening of the film “Tim’s Vermeer” at 6 p.m. Produced by illusionists Penn & Teller, this intriguing documentary explores how optical technology may have helped Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer achieve his spectacular sense of visual realism.
The Museum is also showing “Gathering Light: The Photographic Visions of Aryan Chappell, Roger Franklin, Amy Melious, and Robert Taylor,” reflecting on the careers of these four established photographers with ties to Mendocino County and exploring their new work.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
THE POWER YOU CAN WIELD WITH A BICYCLE LOCK AND SOME IMAGINATION
I have been entangled in the entertaining web of one of the dozens and dozens of expertly produced page turners (of a sort) unleashed upon Americans to keep us watching, often furtively, as we continue on with our need for entertainment to keep our minds off now deeply the very rich are emptying the coffers.
I have just started watching comedians hoping to make the big-time in LA and New York. Last night, one of them (sorry I missed his name) observed that if someone with a proper lock just locked random bikes here and there and used some imagination that they would possess enormous power. I have always been attracted to these sorts of creative thoughts and to those who think them. These are the people who explore the edge, who first think of eating an oyster. Of adding an electric guitar to traditional blues. Who think, in fact, of everything. They are my friends. All of them. They have been in the New Yorker. Above the fold in the New York times. In the Paris Review.
My problem with expressing this observation is that it opens into everything. And everything heard talking about. You can start from anywhere at all. It simply doesn't matter. Baseball, freedom. Family, love and the usual. Our lives. Being here now. And what an utter joy here before dawn on Tuesday morning, writing this. Looking forward to some time with Eric Dyson. Listening to Judy Mayhan. Reading Moby Dick. Takes me to a place I haven't seen for some time. My life as a beer commercial. And I no longer drink beer. What a ride. Eh? At seventy-five, I truly love the life that has brought me here, drinking water. Loving you. And inhaling.