ONLY IN MENDO: Former 5th District supervisor, Dan Hamburg, is moving to Oregon, where he and his latest wife, Sarah, have bought property, Hamburg having sold his Boonville Road 80 acres out from under his children. While sitting as Supervisor, Hamburg was also married to Lauren Sinnott of Point Arena, apparently to qualify Ms. Sinnott for County medical coverage. Hamburg has been mentally ill for some time, unable to appear at County meetings without a small dog described as his "comfort animal." Over the last twenty years, the County's supervisors have included three adjudicated mental cases with several other supervisors merely behaving as if they were mentally ill.
RACHAEL WREDE, the swamper at the Forest Club, deserves a plaque and a cash award for cleaning up after the homeless – one in particular, the legendary Charles Hensley, who often camps in the alcove of the vacant building next door to the Forest Club, and who recently defecated there in a drunken stupor and smeared the tiles and glass with feces, scattering broken dishes and other litter from people who give him food. Ms. Wrede says she does this extra work, disgusting as it is, because otherwise locals point the indignant finger of accusation for the mess at patrons of the Forest Club, and Wrede, as well as the barkeepers at the popular hot-spot want to make it clear to the public that is not the case: Mostly, it’s Mr. Hensley, and one or two others who will remain nameless (for the time being). At any rate, it is Rachael Wrede who deserves the recognition for her labor in cleaning up after these odious louts. (Bruce McEwen)
THE FOLLOWING responses came back from women replying to our question: Is Joe Biden a Creep?
 I thought he was totally creepy during the Anita Hill stuff (especially with his new hair plugs).
 Someone got an awful lot of photos of his Roman hands and Russian fingers. Perhaps he's just a very touchy feely type guy. I don't care for the guy, but it's very easy to take a perfectly innocent photo and put a caption on it that completely changes the meaning of the photo. Given that there are so many videos actually capturing his touchy actions I do think he's a creep. Makes one wonder what on earth he does behind closed doors if he does this in public? He isn't breaking any law that I know of...with the exception of my Dad's law when I was a little girl... Don't touch my daughter. One would have to ask what do the parents of these little girls think of the videos? There may be a perfectly acceptable explanation but it doesn't change my mind... he's a creep.
 Good lord! No! I knew men like him in my early years. He’s just exuberantly positive. That woman who got upset because he kissed the back of her head! Give me a break! This Me Too thing has gone off the rails.
 I lean toward no. I think there still needs to be space in this world for "Uncle Joes" that are a bit too goofy and friendly; not all touches are sexual; some people are just too affectionate and physical. We're not robots. Usually the most "creepy" men are completely silent and don't approach you at all.
 YES! Obviously.
 Not sure of about that, but am sure he's a fool. He's too old and too baggage ridden to be running. The old should be advising not running. Same goes for Bernie. My fav is Buttigieg - the "intellectual" (sorry about the dirty word) that some philosopher (was it Socrates or Plato or ?) said societies should have as their rulers. We've been reduced to being happy if he/she can read and speak in full sentences. Buttigieg is waaay more than that and he's young, one of the many who will be destroyed soon by our present way of life, so he has skin in the game.
 Ha! You mean with the whole touchy feely stuff? I saw him in person when we lived in DC. I like Uncle Joe. No creepy vibe for me.
 All men are creeps, so what else is new. But Biden's so arrogant he creeps on national television!
 The Biden hullabaloo is a perfect example of how we're not thinking about things in clear, nuanced ways. If ever there was a topic bristling with pitfalls and ripe for such fuzzy thinking, it is, of course, the infinitely complex relations between men and women, which includes centuries of repression and exploitation but also "liberation."
We're witnessing what I call "broad-stroke payback" (BSP) for historical wrongs. Understandable, but not particularly defendable.
An example: the O.J. verdict. The spontaneous eruption of joy among many black people when the verdict was announced, even though plenty of them knew quite well he was guilty, was the purest BSP, for a couple of centuries' worth of extrajudicial lynchings, burnings, and so forth.
When "offenders" like Al Franken, Garrison Keillor (though it was kind of a relief to be rid of him, wasn't it? Kidding, kidding) and now Joe Biden are caught in the MeToo juggernaught, which, ideally, would be addressing genuinely criminal acts like pussy-grabbing, drugging and raping, groping on the street or the subway, and so on, we're seeing BSP carried to a level of near-hysteria. And it seriously muddies the waters of what is a genuine and egregious problem. Women fought for a long time to break free of the old "virtue and purity" bondage, which cast women as delicate, sexless creatures with no lusty desires and no sexual initiative. This overreaction to essentially harmless incidents of contact — Biden smelling what's-her-name's hair — recasts women as frail, prudish flowers. Places like Saudi Arabia segregate the sexes and forbid touching. Do we really want to emulate that fucked-up society in any way? Do we want some form of Sharia Law? Do we want to set back the sexual liberation of both women and men? What happened to sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll? Yes, some men need to rewire their attitudes, and learn the difference between flirtation and assault, but so do women. To put Biden on even the same spectrum as Bill Cosby is lunacy. Especially with president Pussy-Grabber in the WH.
In the particular case of Biden, it would be far better to take him to task for his smirking, condescending, old-time male chauvinist piggish treatment of Anita Hill, which, among other things, helped give us Clarence Thomas.
 Yes, I do think Biden is creepy. But not a pussy grabber.
BIDEN'S DEFENSE: "I Tried to make a human connection, but I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space. I want to talk about gestures of support and encouragement that I've made to some women and some men and I've made them uncomfortable. I always try to be in my career, always tried to make a human connection. That's my responsibility, I think. I shake hands, I hug people. I grab men and women by the shoulders and say you can do this, whether they're women, men, young, old. It's the way I've always been and tried to show that I care about them and I'm listening."
RECOMMENDED READING, which I got into accidentally when I found it in a book store, started reading it, couldn't stop reading it, shelled out forty bucks for the Penguin edition. My wife jumped my bones for "spending so much on one book," as I kept on reading because, well, because (1) it covers in detail lots of stuff I didn't know — Kirov's murder by the man whose wife he stole, not the insider Stalinist hit I'd always heard it was, complete with the full details right down to what everyone involved looked like, while I reminded myself that few people reading this gives one hoot about Stalin and never heard of Kirov and many of the rest casually conflate Stalin's socialism with Hitler's as do television's chuckle buddies as they include Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez in both bags, and finally I don't mention Kirov to show off my own vast store of random facts and miscellaneous misinformation but as an example of how interesting and detailed this book is, and because I'm sick and tired of hearing socialists (because I am one) lumped in with two entirely aberrant forms of socialism, Stalin's and Hitler's, with Stalin's being a hurry-up industrialization of Russia under a corrupted form of Marxism-Leninism that expropriated the rich and often murdered them while Hitler's was a full-employment war state fully supported by Germans of all classes and Germany’s business class and also supported here and there by American icons like Henry Ford and Charles Lindberg. And, believe it or not, I learned that Hitler did a very funny imitation of Mussolini while Mussolini said Hitler was a “clown” and an “idiot” who would only last a couple of years. It annoys me no end to hear socialism constantly linked to monsters at the head of monstrous states. If you're even going to get into the socialism conversation you ought to at least know the diff and something of its history, for instance the fact that many towns in the United States, including nearby Eureka in 1915, elected Debsian socialists as mayor and to city councils. (There were many socialists on the Northcoast in the early 20th century among loggers, millworkers and miners especially.
FROM A REVIEW of the book: "Dictators lend themselves to caricature. We label them sociopaths, paranoiacs or just victims of bad childhoods. We flatten them in order to explain our own times. Saddam Hussein is Hitler; Vladimir Putin is Peter the Great; Donald Trump is Mussolini. Sometimes, we are told, they simply defy explanation. In a 1939 radio address, Winston Churchill conceded defeat in his efforts to understand Stalin’s Soviet Union. “It is,” Churchill said, “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
Stephen Kotkin demolishes such simplicities in his monumental “Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941,” the second part of a projected three-volume biography of the Soviet leader whose reign of cruelty stretched from the mid-1920s to his death in 1953. Drawing on an astonishing array of sources, Kotkin paints a richly variegated portrait, delving into Stalin’s peculiar personality even while situating him within the trajectories of Soviet history and totalitarianism more generally.
This multilayered analysis has a downside: The densely packed, 1,154-page tome — roughly a page for every four days of the period it covers — is no easy read. (ed note: not that hard, either) Yet the book unquestionably rewards the patience that it demands. Slowly but inexorably, Kotkin teases out his subject’s contradictions, revealing Stalin as both ideologue and opportunist, man of iron will and creature of the Soviet system, creep who apparently drove his wife to suicide and leader who inspired his people." (Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 by Stephen Kotkin. Illustrated. 1,154 pp. Penguin Press. $40.)
TRIP, a national transportation research group, found in 2016 that 71 percent of major Bay Area roads were in poor shape, the worst in the nation. The state is trying to remedy this with Senate Bill 1, a legislative package that allocates $54 billion over the next 10 years to fix roads, freeways and bridges. Nearly $2 billion is being set aside for "maintenance and rehabilitation" of the state highway system, while $400 million will be used to repair bridges and culverts.
WEDNESDAY'S INQUEST into the awful Hart Family murder/suicide last year near Westport was efficiently managed last week by Sheriff Allman at the Willits Justice Center. This link to the Oregonian nicely sums up the reasons for the inquest, the first in Mendocino County for many, many years and, we are compelled to speculate, probably aimed at exempting Mendocino County from claims that Mendo was somehow negligent in this or that area of what was clearly the work of two deranged women.
I DON'T GET a lot of things, probably as a consequence of age, but I especially don't get these frenetic morning television shows. Not that I'm a regular viewer, but I get glimpses, and the glimpses I get make me wonder, Why all the hilarity and everyone talking over each other like a bunch of speed freaks? What's so funny? Why do they act this way? As an experiment, I've watched three entire segments of Good Morning America, whole minutes of madcap laughter over topics which, among the sane, would elicit maybe a smile. In three hours of viewing I didn't hear anything interesting, let alone funny. Then there's David Muir on the ABC Evening News, each issue of which ends in pure bathos — an autistic kid helped by his teammates to shoot a hoop; a soldier re-uniting with his kid at a school assembly; a cop saying goodbye to his police dog; a little kid with cancer singing a song; a waitress giving a homeless guy a sandwich. All this pure mawk, I suppose, is to finish the thirty minutes of no context visuals of mayhem and catastrophe on an up note, but all it manages is to do is offend, deeply offend, and Muir, obviously some kind of cyborg, invariably wraps up by dropping an octave or two like he's really moved.
WORSE, the frenetic verbal delivery, the hyper-animated gesturing seems to have infected the general public. In any social gathering these days other than senior centers, the burble-gush of fragmented speech prevails.
YEARS AGO, maybe all the way back in the late sixties, there was a Bay Area news reader who resigned on the air. Maybe somebody else remembers him, and remembers him saying he just couldn't fake it any longer, that the phoniness was killing him, killing him in his soul. And that was before it reached the perfect pitch of phony we suffer today. Into the early 70's, the Chuckle Buds would occasionally have an intellectual on, a real one, not Deepak and these other charlatans we see kicking it around with Oprah. I won't forget Norman Mailer rousing a whole audience of sleepwalkers with hard truths about Vietnam, but when's the last time you saw a serious person on television? Maybe the BBC, but turn on KQED Television? There's Deepak!
PG&E'S NEW BOSS will make $6 million a year, an announcement we got this week along with the news of the latest additions to the — cough-cough — public utility's Yes board of directors, all of them plucked from other corporate board rooms and the higher rungs of academe. We also learned that PG&E paid out a couple of billion in shareholder dividends just before last summer's fires, as always putting private interests ahead of tree-trimming and other safety measures.
READER RESPONSE to "news" that Visit Mendocino has a new office in Ukiah:
Seriously? "Find Your Happy" sounds more like a slogan for a lobotomy clinic in a dystopian sci-fi. ... or a strip club. We need to promote tourism in the county since thousands of growers with absolutely no employable skills won't be throwing their money carelessly around anymore. People aren't going to drive so many hours for a dilapidated train that crawls a few miles into the woods and crawls back, an old railway that homeless people live on, and wine that takes an extra hour and half to get to. Fishing, hunting, winter kayaking, and biking - I can see that. But the real beauty of Mendocino is in all the private land. We should be promoting private getaways and rural resorts (for rich recovering junkies and silicon valley nerds searching for their inner raccoon).
THE COMPTCHE WORD SCRIBE sent along a battered paperback called "The Great Bay — Chronicles of the Collapse" by Dale Pendell. Ms. Scribe said she liked the first third of the book better than the rest of it, which applies to me, too, when the narrative veers off into Game of Thrones territory. I get asked if I'm a Doomer, and it seems Ms. Scribe assumes I'm one. Not exactly, but I certainly don't see things getting better any time soon, if ever. But the novel begins with a total, global collapse that reduces America's population to 4 million people arrayed over the sea-to-sea ruins of what were the United States. The survivors are arrayed in self-selecting and mutually suspicious bands of the resourceful. Everyone is heavily armed. Looking back a couple of hundred years later at what's called "Pre-Col Society" (pre-collapse), one of the novel's quoted scholars writes: "It was called democracy but it wasn't at all what we mean by that: it was really an oligarchy. Representatives weren't even required to do what people wanted them to do. The whole society was based on accumulating money, but the money wasn't really money, it was more like a scorecard in a big game run by the corporations, but an utterly ruthless game, impoverishing the majority of the population, and most of the world." Survivors look back incredulous at Pre-Col America's disastrous organization: "How stupid could they have been?" The global destruction, however, was wrought by lethal pandemic and mysterious explosions that took out the world’s cities, all of it perhaps ignited by Mendocino County's anti-vaxxers and their intellectual equivalents. (The anti-vaxxers are my preference as villains. For pure, smug idiocy the anti-vaxxers win going away.) Most interesting, however, in this fictionalized account of World’s End is the imagined ecological changes wrought by climate change as the author ties those changes to California geography, with the Sacramento Valley becoming a great inland sea and so on. "By 2023 the population of Bakersfield and the outlying areas was down to ten thousand...." And people were raising dogs for emergency protein, much as Indian tribes once did.
IN POINT ARENA, Tor, of the Point Arena General Store, touted the World's Greatest Sandwich. The owners of the family business, the Holdberg-Olsens, were as Norwegian as lutefisk. Their father had been an actual sea captain in Norway. Their mother, a well-respected teacher in San Francisco. They had two boys who grew up in Point Arena: Lars and Tor, the younger of the two, who died just a few years ago.
Tor's brother, Lars, returned from Hawaii to run the family business for his mother who was also in failing health, having reached nearly 100 years in age at the time of her death a year or two after Tor's passing.
I had lived in Point Arena since 1993, and had never met Lars Holberg-Olsen. However, there were two things you could depend on in Point Arena: Whenever I would complain about Tor Holberg-Olsen, locals in Point Arena would incredulously say to me, "Yah, but, have you met Lars?" Always that same response asking me if I'd ever met Lars.
(Similarly with Sister Yasmin. If I would call her by her newer identity, "Sister Yasmin", the locals mock her and correct you with their collective response, "You mean Judy Jackson?" The entire town who knew her, refused to call her anything but "Judy Jackson.")
Granted, there were a lot of folks in town who did not care for the likes of Lars Holberg-Olsen. For instance, at the time of the death of Mrs. Holdberg-Olsen, who attended St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Point Arena, Lars held a BBQ-like reception in the parking lot of the general store. Not even a funeral service for his devoutly Catholic mother. Back to business as usual.
There were running beefs with the employees at the Liquor Store and the Whale Bar across the street, both owned by the Suddith family. Lars Holberg-Olsen, vying for a similar customer base, wasn't easily welcomed in town.
Finally, this last week there was a sign on the door of the Point Arena General Store that said " Closed, thank you for your patronage."
Steve Suddith, of the Point Arena Liquor Store and Hotel, said that Lars sold the store to the people who bought the old severely deteriorated Seashell Inn, which is still under renovation after several years work thus far.
"Hopefully there will be a quicker turn around on the re-opening of the Point Arena General Store than there has been for the Mormon couple who are still renovating the motel. ...The new owners really can't run the store any worse than it was after Tor died", griped an old local.
As far as old families go, the Gilmore family is also liquidating their Point Arena properties: Two remaining homes on Port Road and 215 Main, a former bar in the heart of Point Arena's historic main Street business district.
RE COAST HOSPITAL, Jeff Fox notes: "Since I’ve seen this written in two different news articles, I’ve decided to correct the record. Wayne Allen’s history at MCDH is incorrect as stated in the article. I’m retired from MCDH, I reported to Wayne for his entire tenure there. He was never CEO during 2006-2008. He was initially brought in as interim CFO to replace Jacob Lewis, who resigned shortly after his boss, CEO Bryan Ballard was fired. When Ray Hino was hired, Wayne agreed to become a permanent CFO and served under Ray until 2008 when he left for another position in Hawaii. Wayne later returned in early 2012 to again work as a permanent CFO under Ray Hino. It was only when Ray was fired in October of 2012 did Wayne assume the CEO role until his departure in 2014."
FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA, a left-progressive before he became President and a multi-millionaire, says he’s worried about progressives in the Democratic Party becoming too focused on “purity.” “One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States, maybe it's true here as well, is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues. You have to recognize that the way we’ve structured democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you, and that by definition means you’re not going to get 100 percent of what you want,” Obama said.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 Few things infuriate me, but one of them is seeing a polio-crippled child here in Indonesia. My God, during the Suharto era the message was carried on all electronic media and in the press and the imam blared it out from the mosque and the community health services were reminding mothers over and over to get their child immunized against polio.
‘I forgot’ the mother mumbles.
Not good enough, lady, not at all.
Those who were around in the 1950s can remember the mass panic: swimming pools closed, all kinds of theories in the air, people in iron lungs.
We won’t even get into tetanus, smallpox or rabies.
This is when my inner SS Colonel rears up and attempts to impose his will. It’s not going to be just nuts like me, either: when the food / health / environment / security situation gets real grim just watch how promptly folks will embrace a totalitarian regime.
 What happened to the California drought? What’s a comin’? Answer: same as what come before.
Not only is there the problem of the existing army of homeless that has no hope in hell and the coming army from south of the border that also has no hope in hell, carrying who knows what diseases, but also American anti-vaxxers that never saw the aftermath of a polio outbreak and wrecked kids in wheelchairs and leg-braces.
We haven’t seen the likes of diphtheria in these parts for a long while but, given the stout resistance to the idea of immunization, maybe we’ll make a re-acquaintance.
And there’s measles. They say that in its hey-day it killed more kids than polio. I had that shitty disease when I was a little kid before they had a vaccine and all I remember is being sick as a dog for about ten days during which I would gladly have expired. Nothing noble about not immunizing the ankle-biters and nothing smart about it.
But, in the end, failure to deal with reality usually ends with reality dealing with failure. Nobody cancelled natural selection as a force in human affairs. Anti-vaxxers say their stance comes from a position of knowledge. Hokay, we’ll see.
 The trouble with anti-vaxxers is that they destroy carefully fostered herd immunity – they can kill other people, not just their own children.
There are tiny numbers of children who genuinely can’t be vaccinated because of pre-existing conditions – the ‘herd’ can cope with them if their numbers are not added to by healthy children with dozy parents, and THEY utterly depend on the herd immunity that other more fortunate children give them.
Apparently it takes around a 95% vaccination rate to be safe – there’s no further safety margin against the selfish idiots. Since they tend to spend vast amounts of time scouring the internet for anti-scientific drivel, how come they manage to miss all the articles about current measles epidemics in anti-vaxxer strongholds?
A $50,000 KITCHEN? Re-reading my notes from the March 27 Measure B Advisory Committee meeting, I couldn’t help but focus on the metaphor that CEO Carmel Angelo used to try explain how complicated the process is for building whatever mental health service facilities Measure B may (or may not) fund. CEO Angelo blithely remarked, “This is a major project. Think of all the people that come in and all the people you have involved in something like a $50,000 kitchen.” Ms. Angelo said this as if everybody has the $50,000 kitchen experience (or the million dollar one we saw recently in Philo) and therefore everybody would appreciate how she’s moving forward (so far) with just one project manager when in fact there should be an entire team of managers and consultants and planners and designers and architects, just like she presumably had with her $50,000 kitchen.
THIS MENTALITY infects Mendo’s entire political and official class: The assumption that bureaucracy, at any cost and however long it takes, is Mendo’s top priority and whatever that bureaucracy takes and whatever it ends up recommending is what Mendo will try to do, no matter how expensive, no matter how much overkill, no matter how much they try to be perfect. If Sheriff Allman and the rest of the well-meaning people who supported Measure B had had any idea that this was the way their dream would be pursued, we’d probably not have supported it.
COMPARE THIS to the County road crew’s highly efficient installation of the Bailey Bridge over Robinson Creek on Lambert Lane in Boonville. Here was a major installation taking about three weeks (not counting planning) which involved major construction on a flowing blue-line creek. No sooner had Fifth District Supervisor Williams announced it that the work began and in three weeks, done! Traffic (albeit light) could resume. No EIR, no consultants, no kitchens, just a good workable bridge in a short amount of time. Maybe Sheriff Allman should suggest that the County’s Transportation Department handle the Measure B construction.
SCIENCE FAIR! We recently got a huge press release about all the “young scientists” who participated in Mendo’s annual Science Fair. The roster was implausibly lengthy, creating just a teensy bit of suspicion about what kinds of science projects made the cut. According to Mendo’s County Office of Education’s meticulously detailed handbook, the participants were supposed to apply the “scientific method” to their projects. (It also promises sample subjects for projects, but provides none.)
SOME of the science projects qualified as bona fide science projects: “Lipids and Latex-How Common Lipids Affect the Elasticity of Medical Grade Latex.” Another was, “What are Some Methods for making Buildings Safer in an Earthquake.” And, “Impact Of Mixing Engine Oil.” And, “The Effects of Wildfire Ash on Soil Nutrient Levels.” Not bad at all.
BUT there were also, “Fizz Fun,” “Developing Virtue,” “To Eat or Not to Eat,” “Tweaking Texts to Help Dyslexics,” and our favorite this year, “Dancing Fish,” in which a fourth grader “got fish to dance while testing which genre of music excited the fish the most.” The kid was awarded “third place in his category.” (We wonder what kind of project was fourth place?)
A FEW YEARS AGO when we judged a Boonville science fair, a couple of sixth grade soccer players set up an “experiment” where they threw a soccer ball at a wall at different angles. At first we thought, Oh, ok. Geometry. Angles. Friction on different surfaces…” But then one of the kids said, “So we threw the ball at different angles and Jose here kept track of how many people watched when we threw it straight against the wall versus how many people watched when we threw it at an angle.” Er, proving what? The team of young scientists concluded that it didn’t make any difference. They had a large cardboard display with titles and photos and counts of observers and I was supposed to grade the project on how well they presented it, not on whether it had any basic merit.
ANOTHER TEAM of local young scientists wanted to determine if ice in an ice tray froze faster if was colder when first put in the freezer. They did a grand total of two “experiments” — one with warm water from the tap and one with cold water from the tap. Apparently, they opened the freezer up periodically to see if the water had frozen and concluded that they couldn't tell which froze faster. Nobody asked about thermometers. Nobody knew what temperature they were starting with or how different they were. Nobody asked whether opening the door time and again had any effect. They got a Bronze Ribbon.