- B Fuddled
- Ed Notes
- First Ladies
- Rent Gouging
- Weed Opportunists
- Poetry Celebration
- Biloxi Loan
- Coastal Corruption
- Yesterday's Catch
- Elite Intransigence
- Cheating Culture
- Chainsaw Totem
- Art Photography
- Emotional Poetry
- Assange Warning
- Useless Billionaires
- CIA Talk
- America's Decline
- California Shame
- Customer Lost
- Worthless Advice
DRY WEATHER is expected through early this morning before another system brings rain and mountain snow to the area today. A few showers may linger through Tuesday morning, with a warming and drying trend occurring for the remainder of the week. Some light showers may return for next weekend. (National Weather Service)
TIME FOR MEASURE B COMMITTEE TO GET BACK ON TRACK
by Jim Shields
No surprise at all that the Measure B Oversight Committee has little if anything productive to show for its efforts after 18 months on the job.
In fact, the 11-member commission which is responsible for overseeing the expenditure of approximately $7.5 million annually in taxpayer funds, is currently at loggerheads over such fundamental issues as just what is its authority. The committee’s failure to make any sort of progress, coupled with alleged backdoor communications by some committee members with the Board of Supervisors, prompted Sheriff Tom Allman, former chairman and currently member of the committee, to send out a letter-to-the-editor delineating some of the problems and his frustrations with recent committee actions or the lack thereof.
Before going any further, here is the background on Measure B, the “Mendocino County Mental Health Treatment Act,” approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2017.
• A half-cent sales tax will remain in effect for five years and then be sunsetted.
• Upon sunset, a one-eighth cent will continue unless or until the tax is repealed by a majority vote in a general election.
• All revenue from this tax will be placed into a special fund to be used only for services, treatment and facilities for persons with mental health illness and addiction
• The measure requires annual audits.
• The measure creates a “politically independent” citizens’ oversight committee to ensure that the funds are used for the specific purpose of the voter-approved measure and not be spent for any other purposes. This committee shall also provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on the implementation of this measure.
• The committee shall be comprised of eleven members, including a citizen selected by each member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, a Member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board, the County Mental Health Director or his/her representative, the County Auditor or his/her representative, the Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer or his/her representative, the Sheriff or his/her representative, and a representative of the Mendocino Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is encouraged to include professional experts such as psychiatric and health practitioners, first responders and other mental health professionals among the five committee members selected by the Board. The meetings of this committee shall be open to the public and shall be held in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open meeting law.
As I warned back in 2017, one of the major potential problems with the Oversight Committee was the inclusion on the committee of the very county officials and bureaucrats responsible for providing mental health services who have been missing in action and derelict in their duty.
The Supes and the Mental Health bureaucrats have mangled, bungled, and screwed up mental health services. Starting 18 years ago when the Supes closed the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF or “Puff” Unit), a locked facility for the critical care of folks in severe mental health crisis, and continuing to this day when all adult mental health care is farmed out to a private sector corporation, mental health care is basically non-existent as a local service. Sheriff’s deputies and city cops are the first responders to the mentally ill who are in crisis and present a threat to their safety or that of the public, even though state law mandates that mental health professionals are charged with that responsibility. For nearly 20 years, adult mental health services have been contracted out to the private sector, and that experiment has been a nearly total failure, not to mention the subject of a number of scathing Grand Jury investigations.
As I said back in 2017, the Oversight Committee is going to have its hands full trying to implement the primary purpose of Measure B, which is to restore mental health services to this county, given the fact that those responsible for creating this mess are sitting on that committee.
It doesn’t take much effort to read between the lines of Allman’s public letter when he says,
“We will soon approach our 1 1/2 year benchmark, yet our accomplishments have been limited. I do not have any doubt that all eleven of us have a sincere concern and goal of improving the hundreds of lives that mental health has victimized. Our rural county is now in a position that no other county in the State has experienced. We are in the position of having the financial resources to start the process of improving the overall foundation of Mental Health Services but for some reason, I believe we are stymied.
“The question of putting the cart before the horse exists and is on everyone’s mind during our meetings. The question of who has the authority to start discussions with property owners exists and we must have this question answered. The Board of Supervisors is waiting direction for our committee to make decisions, and we apparently have had members approach the Board of Supervisors for direction. The paradigm must be changed. We, the Measure B Committee, must be willing to make very strong decisions and vigorously encourage the Board of Supervisors to follow our direction. The voters were very direct in supporting Measure B, with the caveat that our committee oversee the expenditures. If we make strong recommendations based on fact and fiscal responsibility, it is my belief that the majority of the Board of Supervisors will support our plan.
“Let us not allow others to do our hard work, and let us not accept the responsibility of doing other committees’ and boards’ duties. We can not shirk our mission and we only weaken other committees and boards’ responsiblities by spending our precious time with academic questions relating to things that are not on our list of duties.
“I am pleading with our committee to make some strong and uncomfortable decisions:
“Should we spend time and money on the old Howard Hospital building?
“Should we fully fund the Orchard Street Project?
“What can we do on the Coast to improve services?
“Let’s cooperate in the name of improving the quality of lives in our county, and at the same time, assist in reducing Public Safety’s massive time involvement with so many mental health contacts. Let’s work with our hospitals and reduce bed space currently allocated to long term mental health cases. If you have ever wondered if you can make a difference in Mendocino County, I assure you that now is your time. Let’s strive to make a positive difference that in the future will allow the mission and purpose of Measure B to be recognized and appreciated.”
Capturing the fundamental issue of some committee member’s lack of understanding of that body’s authority and jurisdiction, Mark Scaramella, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, reported:
Behavioral Health Board Chair Jan McGourty pointed out that the Board of Supervisors “encouraged” the committee to look at the Kemper report recommendations.
Allman: “That is not our job.”
McGourty: “But they said it was.”
Allman: “They are not our boss. They are the Board of Supervisors. They are not the boss of this committee! They can tell us they want us to swim in the lake and I’m not going to swim in the lake.”
McGourty: “But we are an advisory board, we can’t —”
Allman: “You’re right! We are not their boss and they are not our boss. But for them to recommend or suggest that we review and approve everything in the Kemper report before they do it, then I will tell each one of them individually: They Are Mis-Take-En. [Allman allotted one syllable per Supervisor.] Because that is not their role. Their roles is to run the County as the Board of Supervisors and the Behavioral Health board carries a lot of weight… I don’t care what the Board of Supervisors tells me what to do on this. Measure B was passed by the voters for the purpose of brick-and-mortar and improving services and it has nothing to do with whether Medi-Cal or Medicare is going to fund the Department of Mental Health adequately [for services] in what we build. We need services like a genuine, responsible county should have. We need buildings where we can provide those services.”
McGourty: “There were words in there about where he [Kemper] recommended that there be a strategic plan prepared; isn’t that something that our board [the Measure B committee] should be concerned with?”
Allman: “Please don’t put words in my mouth, Ms. McGourty. That’s not what I said. I’m saying that our primary responsibility is to provide direction and a very good recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for building mental health facilities to improve the quality of life for our patients and citizens. Please don’t put words in my mouth, I won’t put words in your mouth.”
McGourty: “I was asking a question.”
Alllman; “Well, your question was making an assumption which was a wrong assumption. If I sound frustrated it’s because a lot of people in this room on this side of the table from the podium [the McGourty side] are not willing to make a decision! It is time! We are in the 14th or 15th meeting of this committee and we still can’t hang our hat on any decision that was made! I hope we are not proud of where we are.”
It’s clear that the Oversight Committee has lost sight of its mandated objective and the process required to achieve that objective. The citizens of this county invested that committee with full authority and autonomy to oversee the expenditure of funds to restore mental health services to this county, and to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors that best accomplish that goal.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
JUST READ a rough draft of Katy Tahja's "An Eclectic History of Mendocino County." Ms. T is the first person to give it go — ever, and I think she's about to present us with an invaluable overview of this over-large, always tumultuous county, whose history previously has only been available in bits and pieces.
MY COLLEAGUE'S remark re McGuire's putative Rails to Trails scheme is worth repeating: "There will never be a trail. There was never going to be a train. It’s was and is a scam to pay Bosco back under the guise of something that sounds good to credulous politicians and a few key political saps who they’ve deceived for their support. It will be modeled after the train scam which only needed a few miles of track and a few trains moving a few times a month with no real passengers or freight just for appearances sake. There WILL be funding, of course, to support the usual gaggle of local Democrats who will manage the endless planning that will never produce any actual trail. Stogner or his political equivalent (Jim Mastin?) will be appointed and paid handsomely to oversee the scam. Remember when the Cultural Services Agency was formed it was supposed to upgrade the administration of local inland trails? How’s that going?"
THE NORTHCOAST is the perfect place to pull off a major crime like the one the upper echelons of the Democratic Party has pulled off here. Ask yourself this question: How did former Congressman Doug Bosco, a private party, get to be an owner of the defunct Northwest Pacific Railroad? How did Bosco and an insider group of Democrats get to run what was left of the Railroad? Why do they own the track from Santa Rosa to Eureka? How does the SMART train fiasco fit?
THIS MASSIVE SCAM is ongoing, its latest manifestation is McGuire's rails to trails sub-scam energetically promoted by Bosco's newspaper (and affiliated press release reporting up and down the coast) the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Yes, Bosco owns it, too. And, by extension, the organized Democrats of Sonoma, Mendo, Humboldt, and maybe even Lake County insofar as Lake County is organized in any sense of the term. The railroad theft doesn't even rise to the conspiracy level, just opportunists doing their thing behind a facade of fey liberalism.
THE NORTHCOAST is a one-party state mired in corporate liberalism of the Bosco cash and carry type about to go to a long overdue war with itself over the Bernie-Cortez threat to the Huffman-McGuire-Wood-Bosco types dominant since forever, or at least since Kennedy Democrat, Clem Miller, went to Congress from the Northcoast.
GOVERNOR’S FIRST LADIES IN HISTORY
by Katy M. Tahja
While praise and glory has been heaped on California governors and biographies written about them, standing behind almost every one of them was a First Lady supporting that man.
I picked up a self-published book recently called “The First Ladies of California” written by Lynn Cook and Janet LaDue, who were docents at the state capitol. Facts in this article are extracted from that book. Like many other authors they were interested in seeing women being written back INTO state history. Here are some of the historical tidbits I found, though very little is known about some of these women.
The first “First Lady” was Harriet Burnett, wife of the 1st governor Pete Burnett. Like many later First Ladies she traveled across the USA in a covered wagon with six kids. The state capitol at that time was in San Jose and they built a home in Alviso.
Both the 1st and 2nd First Ladies were brides at age 17. Second governor John McDougal had a wife named Jane. She kept detailed journals of their trip by ship in 1849 and those journals have been saved to this day for a great peek into the past. She died in childbirth at age 38. Third governor John Bigler praised his wife Eliza as a “constant companion and helpmate.”
Journalists of the time loved to write about celebrations and balls for dancing and what people wore. Mary Johnson, wife of the 4th governor J. Neeley Johnson, had the first governor’s inaugural ball in 1856, and it was described by the press in detail. She was reported to be “vivacious & charming.” John Weller, the 5th governor, chose Lizzie as his fourth wife after the first three died. Very little is known of her and after moving to New Orleans after John’s term of office her death details are unknown.
The shortest time a First Lady ever served was five days in 1860. Sophie Latham’s husband Milton was elected to the U.S. Senate five days after taking the governors office and he wanted to be a senator. They left town. Maria Downey, wife of 7th governor John Downey, came from a distinguished early California family and was educated and refined. She died in a train wreck at age 50 in the Tehachapi Mountains but her husband survived the wreck.
Jane Stanford, spouse of the 8th governor Leland Stanford, was wealthy enough to establish Stanford University in memory of her only child who died at age 15. She oversaw the university operations for 14 years. The Stanford Mansion in Sacramento became future governor’s home. Molly Low was wife of 9th governor Frederick Low. The press commented her hair turned white when she was of a young age and it gave her a striking appearance. She was able to travel the world when her husband retired. Anna Haight, wife of 10th governor Henry Haight, was described as a woman of “many excellent qualities.”
The 12th governor was Remuldo Pacheco and for 11 months in 1875 Mary was First Lady. She was an author, playwright, and wrote comedies. It was noted her husband lost a fortune financing her theatrical productions. There are no photos of Amelia Irwin, wife of 13th governor William Irwin, only a painting. A description of “Mrs. Governor Irwin” exists at a ball and it is known she hosted U.S. Grant at the state capitol.
The 14th governor, George Perkins, arrived in 1880 with seven kids and Ruth, who loved to grow flowers. Their 22-room home in Oakland had an arboretum. She was a progressive and wrote poetry published in magazines. Mary Stoneman, spouse of 15th governor George Stoneman, hated campaigning and wore eyeglasses. The family home in Pasadena burned down and she discovered George had never insured it and she left him.
Jane Waterman, wife of 17th governor Robert Waterman, would get request letters asking her to influence her husband in granting paroles for criminals in prison. After having one child die in Sacramento Mary Markham, wife of the 18th governor Henry Markham, moved her family back to Pasadena and would only visit the capitol.
Inez Budd, wife of the 19th governor, had no children but invented her own religion “Christ Doctrine Revealed & Astronomical Sciences Association.” The 20th First Lady, Fannie Gage, was another who married Henry Gage at age 17 and later in life hosted William McKinley and crowned heads of Europe at the capitol. The 21st governor, George Pardee, had a wife named Helen, nicknamed “Blaze,” for her red hair and flamboyant personality. She was a college graduate and a teacher. Isabelle Gillette, was wife of the 22nd governor James Gillette and was a pianist and composer.
Hiram Johnson, the 23rd governor, had a wife, Minnie, who refused to occupy the Governor’s Mansion until pest eradicators got the bats moved out. Teddy Roosevelt visited them frequently. Flora Stephens, spouse of the 24th governor, was never well and nervous after I.W.W. radicals managed to bomb the kitchen of the mansion. First Lady Augusta Richardson, wife of the 25th leader, was called “Ma.” The press would report “And so the Governor and Ma Richardson go…”
First Lady Lyla Young, wife of the 26th governor Clement Young, had a radio installed in the mansion and hosted Thursday Afternoon Tea that anyone in Sacramento could attend for free. And Annie Rolph, wife of 27th governor James Rolph, continued the tea tradition and was an accomplished musician. Jessie Merriman, 28th governor Frank Merriman’s partner, shunned publicity. First Lady Kate Olsen, whose hubby Culbert was the 29th governor, was a poker player and she liked to think of herself as “the powder behind the keg” influencing him. She was the only First Lady to die in the mansion.
Earl Warren, 30th governor, had his wife Nina live to be 100 years old! She would prepare meals in the mansion kitchen for needy families and have her staff disburse them. They occupied the mansion for 10 years. Goodwin Knight, 31st governor, saw his wife Virginia at age 36 be the youngest First Lady ever. She was a former model and TV personality and she liked to research earlier First Ladies.
Bernice Brown holds the distinction of being the only woman who was wife to the 32nd governor, Pat Brown, and mother to the 39th governor Jerry Brown. A popular public speaker she also had the first swimming pool installed in the mansion and was an avid golfer. Ronald Reagan, 33rd governor, had a wife Nancy who decided after four months that the mansion’s neighborhood was “unsafe” and moved the family across town. She fought against drug and alcohol abuse among the young.
Gloria Deukmejian, wife of 35th governor George Deukmejian, was known for her patience and sense of humor. Gayle Wilson, spouse of 36th governor Pete Wilson, was the first First Lady to establish her own office in the capitol and focused on early childhood education. The 37th governor’s Gray Davis’ wife focused on child health, safety and wellbeing while Maria Schwarzenegger, wife of 38th governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, supported Special Olympics. She was a Democrat and her husband was a staunch Republican.
Jerry Brown was a bachelor while the 34th governor but married to Anne during his second term and she was a business professional. There were two other bachelor governors…Newton Booth 1871-1875 and Washington Bartlett during 1867. The 40th governor, Gavin Newsome, has a wife Jennifer who suggests First Partner is a more appropriate tern for today’s governors wives. She is a documentary filmmaker.
So there you have it — 40 quick glimpses of the strong women who stood behind their men and helped to make things happen in Sacramento. I praise their spirit.
RENT GOUGING, FORT BRAGG BRANCH (from the MCN ListServe)
Virginia wrote: I heard La Bamba was closed for good. Anyone know why?
Anne Maureen McKeating wrote: I heard it was because of increased rent. That back room taqueria was a town treasure, This makes me sad. My kids and I walked in last Friday afternoon and the owner, whom we've become friends with over the years said they were closed. The landlord raised the rent too high. He said he'd been running the shop for 30 years. I mentioned tenants rights, but he replied, "I don't want to fight." I told him I was sorry and that we'd miss him. He said, "That's the life." There's some wisdom for you in a nutshell. He told us of his plans to rest and retire for some time. His kids are out of high school and have their own jobs to support themselves. We wished him all the best. He sent us out the door with a free bag of gingerbread piggies, cream filled empanadas, cherry jam almond cookies and rainbow sprinkled cookies. And you know, they tasted better than they ever did before, the perfect moist tenderness and full of flavor. I thought there were definitely rules to rent increases, unsure about business zones.
Corinne Pickett: "I thought there were definitely rules to rent increases." There are. They fall under the category of killing the goose that has been reliably providing golden eggs, in order to get all the golden eggs that the goose must have inside. This was a child's cautionary tale and, as decent and noble and intelligent children, we got the message right away. There are, however, people who were neither decent nor noble nor intelligent as children who missed the message then and who have only gotten worse as they've aged. This landlord may well be one. Without the restaurant paying rent, his building will have no value. I will go further. This landlord may be one of the types of building owners who watches a restaurant bloom in his building and decides that it looks so easy, he can do it, too! He decides to kick out the goose that has been laying the golden egg to get all the eggs himself. He opens up and fails. If this is you and you're reading this, you still have time to renew the lease. At a LOWER rate than you were getting, to show appropriate contrition and, also, most importantly for you a capitalist, to recognize that this country is about to slip into a long recession in which incomes will be off and rents will necessarily have to come down. Wake up. You're lucky to have La Bamba.
Bill Cornelius: I spoke with the owner of Down Home Foods who said he's planning to retire sometime in the not too distant future also. Down Home is a defining monument of the whole coast, it will be a disaster to lose it. Please pass the word. Albion has changed too since the Albion store sold, many Albionites (?) find it cheaper now to go to Mendo or FB. Same with the Albion Hardware but for different reasons. The problem is the original owners of these stores used them as a means to relate to the community. A new owner will be looking for a "business opportunity" which is often not the same thing.
ON LINE REACTION to Kym Kemp's story on Bulgarian criminals operating in the Emerald Triangle:
This is a great thread to read as a hippy who moved here in 1970 with the Back To the Land Movement and ended up Mom & Pop growing a little pot to buy the basics and give the good herb to family friends that wasn’t Mexican dust with seeds in it.
You can’t make the s!#t up!
It’s hard to align this much corruption with the “Good Old Days”.
F”’ Yeah those Eastern European AND Mexican cartels are scary as all get out. Nothing ever scared me living in the deep woods here until those folks showed up.
Dare I say, this is the Tip of an iceberg that has gotten way bigger than anyone in Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Del Norte, and Lake counties ever imagined. How someone can Blame just the HCSO [Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office] is a bit short-sighted. Plenty of blind-siding here for the past 40! And longer if we broaden our scope of the marijuana history in The USA.
The plot thickens.
BTW Kym [KEMP] – you did a stellar job on this one.
COMMENT 2 ON THE BULGO CRIMINALS
I landed in northern Mendocino county in ’77. Yeah- there’s lots more to blame than those two I named. We had big Mexican grows up on Cahto and I saw Mexicans blowing up their entire 40 acres - multiple 40s - on Island Mt. back in the heat of CAMP days. Were they cartel? Very possible. The Cahto scene was massive. Also yeah Willits and Covelo had that action. Sure we can also blame stupid hippies who harbored anybody coming along to grow under the idiot idea that we were all “on the same team”. We could point out greedy children of the original hippies who grew up entitled and w/o any real sense of community consequences. BUT…it really exploded with the green rush - post ’98. And it really exploded with massive mega-grows that were visible to many of us, lit-up greenhouses seen from county roads and non-stop generators, dewatering of entire creeks. That all blew up under the years of Gallegos and Downey. Sheriff Downey did basically nothing, DA Gallegos dropped charges if anything came his way…and the scenes consequentially got bigger and BIGGER. That is what happened. I saw people in disbelief call their crews back east to “c’mon out here you won’t believe it!”… I stand by my sketch of a disaster. The bulgies, like the mexican cartels are opportunistic. With pushback they would not have gotten so big and dug in here. But…they met little to zero resistance in Humboldt. Now we have a narco-state situation in many neighborhoods. For real. Yes, many factors made this but some much more so.
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION * MAY 12
Sunday, May 12, 2019
16th consecutive revival
Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration
at the Hill House in Mendocino town on the coast.
This event draws some 40 poets from northern California and beyond. Two open readings: afternoon and evening.
Noon: sign up and gather; afternoon reading at 1:00.
Break: enjoy the town, the sea and the headlands.
5:00 PM: sign up and gather; evening reading at 6:00.
Choice comestibles. Open book displays. Contribution requested.
All poems considered for broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX&Z.
Info: Gordon Black, (707) 937-4107, firstname.lastname@example.org
BLACK BULL AND STABS BY MISTAKE, Glacier Park 1915, TJ Hileman
BILOXI DAYS: THE LOAN
by Mark Scaramella
The last Friday of every month we threw a Field Maintenance Squadron party. At Keesler Air Force Base outside Biloxi, Mississippi, tradition required the Squadron Commander to buy the beer and Mr. Sid Forman, Field Maintenance’s paint shop foreman, would provide the gumbo.
Forman owned a commercial shrimp boat. His sons fished on weekdays; he fished on weekends. For the party, Forman brought in a huge stainless steel kettle full of hundreds of freshly caught and cleaned shrimp. Mrs. Forman contributed chopped okra, onions, celery, garlic and tomatoes, along with a pre-measured mason jar of bay leaves, cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.
Forman put the kettle on his propane burner during lunchtime. He’d light it up and dump a pound of butter into the brew and brown everything. Then he’d fill the kettle with a hose, dump in the spice, and let it simmer for the rest of the afternoon.
At 5pm hundreds of Field Maintenance technicians, civilian and military, would line up with their bowls and spoons to get a ladle full of first-class gumbo and a can of beer.
Beer at the base exchange was cheaper than downtown. For about $20 bucks I could get seven 30-can cases of 14-ounce Old Milwaukees. At lunch these were thrown into a 55-gallon drum of ice.
By 7pm that Friday night Chief Master Sergeant Johns and I had each had a few beers but he was in the mood for more.
“Hey Lieutenant. If you’ll loan me $10 bucks, I’ll buy the beer at Mac’s.”
This would be the first opportunity I’d had to talk to Chief Johns off duty, so I agreed and loaned him the $10.
Mac’s was an old-fashioned southern redneck beer-dive bar. We got there about 7:30. Chief Johns bought a couple of beers with my $10 and we spent the next hour and a half, drinking beer and chatting, mostly about his long career in aircraft maintenance going back to World War II when he enlisted in what was then the Army Air Corps, and about our opinions of the various branch and shop chiefs, who should be assigned to what, or who we might try to recruit from other squadrons and what strategies we might try. Johns always had his eyes on the best mechanics and supervisors. He made it a point to put them in positions well-suited to them. Or, when necessary, reassigning supervisors who weren’t measuring up to less demanding non-supervisory jobs.
At about 9pm, a country band came on, opening their set with a local favorite, “I Love You So Much I Could Shit.”
I was getting drunk and tired, and I was late for my 9pm band gig at another bar about a mile away where I played piano in a four-piece band with three other airmen on Fridays and weekends. I went out to the pay phone and called them to say I’d be late and to start without me.
Chief Johns and I couldn’t talk much after the loud band started, so we left around 9:30 and I drove to my band gig.
Arriving in mid-set, exhausted and fairly drunk, I sat down where I thought the piano bench was. That one got a nice round of applause. My bandmates picked me up and sat me on the bench until the end of the first set when I went out to my car and promptly fell asleep. I was roused for the second set. When somebody asked for a tune I didn’t know, I leaned back toward the drum-stand to grab a fake book at which point I lost my balance and tumbled over backward, kicking a couple of the cymbals onto floor with a loud crash. Another loud round of applause.
Again my bandmates helped me back to the piano bench and set the drums and cymbals back in place and we somehow finished the night a little after 1pm. I was too tired to drive so I went out to the car and fell asleep. Sometime Saturday morning I woke up and drove back to the beat up trailer on the Golden Gulf Coast that I called home.
On Monday morning I entered Chief Johns’s office and asked for my $10 back.
“What $10, Sir?”
“The $10 I loaned you Friday night.”
“That wasn’t a loan. You offered to pay, Sir.”
“No I didn’t. You invited me to Mac’s.”
“No Sir. I said I was going out to Mac’s and you said you wanted to come along.”
“Then why did I give you the $10? Why didn’t I just volunteer to pay for the beers?”
“Because you incorrectly thought it was my treat, Sir.”
”It WAS your treat.”
“No Sir. It was YOUR treat.”
Chief Johns insisted that I had remembered it wrong — that I had given him the ten bucks. I had no way to prove that it was a loan. Besides, it wasn’t really worth arguing about. I had learned a lesson and I had a good answer for Johns’s subsequent loan requests for the remainder of my Field Maintenance Squadron Commandership.
STATE TO PAY $1 MILLION FOR LEGAL FEES IN COASTAL COMMISSION LAWSUIT
Five Coastal Commissioners Ordered To Pay Over $959,000 For Attorney Fees And Court Costs In Anti-Corruption Lawsuit, More Than $1 Million Overall
On September 7, 2018, in a detailed 12-page ruling, the Superior Court rejected the defendants' request against SOCC (Spotlight on Coastal Corruption) to pay the Attorney General's Office in excess of $649,000.
In the same ruling, the Court ordered the defendants to pay in excess of $959,000 to cover SOCC's court costs and attorney fees. According to the Court, "[t]he main litigation objective pursued by plaintiff in this action was to shed light on lax ex parte disclosure practices at the Commission. This objective was met, with the court finding violations by each of the defendant Commissioners and awarding substantial penalties against each of the defendant Commissioners. Plaintiff's then-nascent lawsuit was likely an impetus for the 2016 changes in Commission procedures which were discussed in the [Court's final statement of decision]."
"We are grateful that the judge recognizes the extraordinary public service this all-volunteer organization has provided and the tremendous risk we took in doing so," said SOCC president Kathryn Burton. "Because the Attorney General's Office refused to enforce the law, SOCC had no choice but to act. Standing up to unethical public officials is never easy, but it was the right thing to do. And when we saw the Attorney General's Office take the defendants' side instead of the public's side, this confirmed that SOCC had done the right thing."
(from Spotlight on Coastal Corruption (SOCC))
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 14, 2019
DAVID BARRETT, Willits. Probation revocation.
FIORELLA BIANCHI, Willits. DUI.
RICHARD BOLTON, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
CONLEY BUTLER JR., Ukiah. Battery with serious injury, child endangerment, resisting.
RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. Recklessly causing a fire of structure or forestland.
JACK ELIAS, Fresno/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TERRY ELLISON II, Covelo. Felon/addict with firearm, assault weapon, loaded handgun not registered to possessor, ammo possession by prohibited person, manufacture/import of short barreled rifle, probation revocation.
FREDRICK FITCH, Ukiah. Concealed dirk/dagger, probation revocation.
SHAWN GOTT, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
JORDAN LUNA, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RONAL MAGANA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CONTANCE PRICKETT, Calpella. Probation revocation.
CASANDRA RAWLS, Calpella. Suspended license (for DUI).
ALEXANDER ROMERO, Willits. Kidnapping for robbery/rape, false imprisonment, second degree robbery, contributing to delinquency of minor.
ROGER SCHOENAHL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LEONEL VALENZUELA II, Talmage. Domestic abuse.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
What you see on one side of the pond, you see it’s like on the other. If the election of Trump is of a piece with the Brexit vote, then the obstruction and the attempted coup via the Mueller investigation is of a piece with the obstruction of an actual UK exit from the EU.
The election of Trump was portrayed by media mouthpieces of the discombobulated MICC as the product of racist-misogynist cretins. Pretty much the same on the other side of the pond with these purported Islamophobic Little Englanders. People on both sides of the water were portrayed as voting against their own interests, of not knowing what was good for them, of being intellectually and attitudinally inadequate for these wonderful modern times of open borders, of more for the bankers and scratching-by for everyone else.
Both Brexit and Trump came from economic arrangements that don’t work for a huge swathe of the North American and European populations. You have got the similar discontents, of life getting harder, of prospects diminishing, of homelessness a real possibility.
Mexico is in deep shit, Canada too, with their own elites as blind-as-bats to what’s underfoot with the Ford Nation phenomenon first in Toronto and then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the pestilence spreading to the whole of Ontario. It’s the same in France with the Yellow Jackets, and in Italy with Salvini and company and other countries in Europe.
It was futile giving Liz May the task of negotiating Brexit because she’s a Remainer, and because almost all the economic elites of the UK and Europe are all for current economic arrangements. If you give a task to powerful people who don’t want to do it, they won’t do it.
It ain’t gonna happen folks. It’s my bet that you may get Brexit without an actual exit (BRINO) and that consequently the shambolic political and economic and monetary apparatus we currently call the EU shreds itself out of sheer unworkability.
Given elite ineptitude, I think there’s also a possibility of a no-deal Brexit, but more out of inadvertence and misreads than of actual intent. They’ll fuck it all up IOW, with a result that they didn’t intend, that they tried to avert.
The same will happen with the commercial relationship between the US and China and Mexico. In Europe you won’t get the controlled demolition of Brexit with other countries then following along with their own disengagement, but rather you’ll get a catastrophic collapse. Same in the US and its relationship with China and Mexico. Instead of a reasoned recognition of reality you’ll get denial and then the inevitable; the tables of the money-changers overturned.
The Russia Collusion fable and the Mueller investigation farce are the counterpart to the “negotiations” over Brexit. That being elites digging in their heels, pretending to follow due process while actually doing nothing of the sort. What they’re doing is their damndest to subvert the popular will, of the 2016 election in the US and all that could portend for the status quo, and the referendum in the UK. The end of the Mueller investigation isn’t the end of it.
"There's a principle in game theory known as min-maxing, meaning that in any given system, behaviors will evolve that maximize gain for minimum effort. This means that a lot of thought has to be put into bulletproofing a new system against min-maxing. Take the internet, for example. The designers of the internet thought it was going to be this wonderful open community. They were expecting it to be nothing but unicorns shitting rainbows. But in come the min-maxers with their spam, bot nets, and viruses."
STUDENTS CHEAT, SO WHY ARE WE SURPRISED ABOUT PARENTS CAUGHT IN COLLEGE BRIBERY SCANDAL?
by Richard D. McCallum
The news that the wealthy parents were greasing the skids for their child’s entrance into elite colleges and universities made the radar of every Marin parent who has sent a child to college. In the land of merit based everything, the feelings are raw and intense: We played by the rules! They cheated! Throw the book at them!
Unfortunately, the focus on trials, bribes and dollar figures has kept us from looking at the bigger picture – the significant amount of “cheating” and corner cutting that occurs throughout kids’ K-12 experience. Does anyone really believe that this was the very first instance of fraud and corner cutting in these students’ lives? Hardly, it was just a natural next step.
As a parent of two boys who went K-12 through Marin schools I can tell you that fraud and corner cutting are baked in parts of the system. And you’d have to be blind not to see it. I can recall very clearly the first time I saw a second-grade student’s “professionally” designed project that was clearly completed by someone else. But that’s child’s play. Things really heat up in the middle school and then expand exponentially in the high school.
My boys taught me about Spark Notes as soon as they hit the middle school. Spark Notes are Cliff Notes (you remember those) online, with the added benefit of sample quizzes and other prompts and questions teachers might employ. In eighth grade, my son refused to read an assigned novel, one that had been the topic of complaints for years. Don’t worry dad, he told me, I have Spark Notes, I’ll be OK. We both had a good laugh when he brought home his quiz on the book (he got 100 percent) and it turned out to be the exact quiz from Spark Notes! Even the teachers are cutting corners!
Fast forward to high school and advanced placement literature, where the assignment was to find a poem with biblical allusions in it and interpret them in light of the larger poem. With some help, my son ended up finding the work of T.S. Eliot (very religious) and wrote his paper on the poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (which was new to him). I did edit it for grammar, but it was his paper. It didn’t contain any groundbreaking insight, but it was a good attempt from my perspective.
The next day my son got a phone call from his English teacher. I could hear her through the phone: Where did you buy your paper? As I felt my anger rise, I listened to my son calmly tell her about the poem and the argument that he made. Clearly, for the teacher to react this way, this was not the first time she suspected or found plagiarism or fraud in student work. How common must it be for her to go directly to that charge?
Kids don’t just cheat in English class. Math and Science are not immune to cheating. As my younger son taught me, the smartphone is an amazing way to share information (problem set answers, old tests) across a wide range of people. When I asked if he knew of anyone that was not cheating, he couldn’t think of anyone!
So, what’s the real problem? Is it rich people buying their way into elite schools? Or is it the broader and more pervasive problem of corner cutting and fraud that permeates not just schools but business, politics and almost all human endeavors? Ask your school aged kids: does anyone actually do the work assigned?
(Richard D. McCallum, Ph.D., lives in San Anselmo. He is a former Ross Valley school board member. He is a retired teacher and university faculty member.)
ALISEMARIE: EDGEWATER GALLERY'S MAY FIRST FRIDAY FEATURED ARTIST
Event: First Friday Art Opening
Who: Alisemarie/Fine Art Photography
Where: Edgewater Gallery, 356 North Main Street, Fort Bragg
When: Friday, May 3, from 5-8pm, continuing through Mat 31
Light refreshments served. Admission is free. Alisemarie will do a short presentation about herself and her art at 6pm.
Alisemarie came from a large family of artists and musicians. She discovered photography as her medium as a result of a one-way ticket to Paris at midlife, proceeding to soak up the beauty of the countryside. Alisemarie realized a dream when she moved from Albany, CA, to Fort Bragg. In her own words: "Nature's designs fascinate me. They capture my eyes and draw me in. They teach me their wisdom and bring me a deep sense of peace. This is an inner peace that I want to share. My hope is to share these gifts I've received with you."
SENTIMENTALITY is a kind of indulgence in emotion. You want men and women to be good to each other and you're very stubborn in thinking that they want to be. Sentimentality is a kind of indulgence in this hope. I'm not against sentimentality. I think you need it. I mean, I don't think you get a true picture of people without it in writing….It's a kind of poetry, it's an emotional poetry, and, to bring it back to the literary scene, I don't think anything is true that doesn't have it.
— Nelson Algren
THE FOLLOWING IDIOTIC REMARK was included in passing in a recent KCRA report (i.e., press release) about Paul Allen’s “world’s largest airplane” and why it was developed:
“The plane will land safely back at Mojave, while the rocket carries a satellite into an orbit ranging from about 300 miles to 1,200 miles above Earth. The rocket deploys the satellite before eventually falling back to Earth, burning up in the sky like a meteor. … The market for commercial satellite launch services is growing rapidly and is expected to reach $7 billion by 2024, according to Global Market Insights.”
Remarks like that were what launched Enron and Williams Communications and other giant global megabusinesses that went belly-up in the early 2000s. These billionaires can’t think of anything better to do with their giant piles of money than fund things that will do nothing but crash and burn while real needs (like housing) go unfunded on earth? The days of old-school billionaires like Shorenstein and Levitt who at least made their billions on useful stuff are long gone.
As Gil Scott Heron so colorfully said decades ago:
“A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey's on the moon)
I can't pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still.
(while Whitey's on the moon)
The man jus' upped my rent las' night.
('cause Whitey's on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
I wonder why he's uppi' me?
('cause Whitey's on the moon?)
I was already payin' 'im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
Junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
An' as if all that shit wasn't enough
A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an' arm began to swell.
(but Whitey's on the moon)
Was all that money I made las' year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain't no money here?
(Hm! Whitey's on the moon)
Y'know I jus' 'bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I'll sen' these doctor bills,
(to Whitey on the moon)
TALK ON THE C.I.A. AND ITS HIDDEN INFLUENCES
Author Phil Zwerling is a recent arrival on the Coast after a career in teaching at Ursinus College and the University of Texas. His work led him to write several books concerning the C.I.A., which he will discuss at the Fort Bragg Library Meeting Room, on Tuesday, April 23 at 6 pm. Admission is free.
See the titles of Phil's books and more at this link: fortbragglibrary.org/philip-zwerling/
THE LEGACY OF THE IRAQ WAR
by Matt Taibbi
The invasion is no longer just one of the great crimes of this or any age – it’s become a crossroads event in the history of America’s decline
ASHAMED OF CALIFORNIA
I am going to fight this Air Resources Board BS to the death. I'm looking for people to help me. It's unconstitutional. Cover-up. Alibis. Social media. No one knows what's going on. I will make a stand on this. I don't care if it comes to gunfire. When they come to my shop to get my truck there will be war.
How does a person who has paid taxes for 70 years try to speak to a representative If you are a Republican? For three weeks I have been trying to reach a representative or Congressman in our district. No chance. No reply. Nothing. Are they there? What's the problem? It's sick.
Are you sick and tired of this California dictatorship? Are you ashamed of California? Are you ashamed of living in the most rotten, filthy, illegal state in the union? We have the worst infrastructure, the worst leadership, the worst ideas, attacking the people trying to make a living. If you are not ashamed of California then I am ashamed of you because I am ashamed of California and sick and tired of it and so are thousands of others.
Here's what's wrong with California: open borders, high taxes, too many regulations, rotten bridges, highways, dams. Sanctuary cities. Abortions. Dictatorship. Air Resources Board. Stupid gun laws. Highest gas taxes in the country. Highest gas prices. The filthiest city in the world, San Francisco. Crazy, unAmerican politicians. Especially the previous and present governors. And a lot more.
Mendocino County is no better. The worst road system and infrastructure in a state which is already the worst in the country. County roads have brush way over the fog line and grass as high as the window of your car. Bumps. Potholes. Sickening. Where is our tax money going? Very weak government. And who would want to cut off the water to Potter Valley? Insane. Come on, people. Think about what we are doing and get this county back on its feet spending our tax money wisely.
God Bless Donald Trump.
BIG PHARMA 101
HARLEYS AND SPEED
A couple of decades ago I lusted after a Harley like the ultimate bowl, a bong hit from God. A Shady Nook double bacon cheeseburger, drowning in grease. By the time I could afford it, I didn't want one anyway. I lived five miles up a dirt road and then another few hundred yards to my rental. I could see the ocean. But I couldn't see neighbors, although I could hear coughing every morning as the passed the pipe. They were smoking what they had grown themselves. And trimmed.
I worked KMUD's coffee booth ever year. Got my first tattoo. Saw Little Feat. Fought with my wife. I think I even got laid. Snorted more cocaine than was good for me. Fought with my wife, who went back to the van to sleep. High on coke, basking in the memory of making anonymous love standing up. If I could've taken a selfie, I probably would've. Might even have posted it here. Got home and got laid again. Went to sleep smiling, I imagine.
Never bought a Harley, although I always admire them as they pass. I can't imagine a bike as one's only transportation. Nothing like the sound of 60 HARLEYS on 101. Listening to God. With bugs in my teeth.
PS. SECRETS The leaky raft of my unconscious ground its bottom on the rocks while I was doing Cheerios at one this morning. And ended up here. People have secrets. Many of these secrets have to do with themselves. And they don't know that they know them.
These profundities are diverse and ugly or they are beautiful surprises. But they are all kept secret. Incest. Murder. Addiction. Kinky sex. Watching. They are balanced by hidden musical talent. Artistic talent. The ability to play the piano. Always knowing the appropriate action.
We never expect to find these in people we know. That is, of course, why they are called secrets. And we should hug them close and welcome them. This gives us the texture of our lives. It makes us. If anyone ever discovers that we are murderers, we might become suicidal. Or worse. We might keep it all secret. The phone rings…
PPS. EVERYTHING'S CONNECTED TO EVERYTHING ANYWAY
Worthless advice from my worthless old chair: eat anything you want to at anytime. Any way. I am just finishing ice cream at five o'clock in the morning. Next is a small bowl of applesauce. When I get hungry again in an hour or so, there are still two Rustic Chickens in the fridge. Who cares? It all ends up in the same stomach.
Nor do I have a time I need to get up by. And why does it make any difference when I get up? It's not like I'm still working. So I get up when I want to and sleep when I sleep. Sometimes I sleep on my comfortable sofa and sometimes I sleep in my bed. Sometimes I alternate. Big deal. Sometimes I like what comes in the mail and sometimes I don't. But I always like whomever knocks. Even the cop who banged on my door at dawn a few weeks ago. I cooked a pork chop a couple days back. Put Worcestershire Sauce on it.
Got part of it down and dumped the rest in the garbage. It doesn't matter. I'll try the pickled beets next.
I am writing this. I have just finished off the applesauce. Do whatever you want whenever you want. Just be ready for whatever consequences are coming. Because whatever the consequences, you'll get 'em. And you'll handle them. And you know what? It doesn't matter.