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MCT: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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A FEW LIGHT SHOWERS will linger across the area this morning. A warming and drying trend is expected for the remainder of the week, with the warmest day on Thursday. Light showers may return Friday and persist into the weekend. (National Weather Service)

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Spire of centuries-old landmark destroyed after flames burst through the roof

Thousands of Parisians have watched in horror from behind police cordons as a ferocious blaze devastated the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral, destroying its spire and spreading to the historic bell towers.

Firefighters battled to contain the fire, which began at 5.50pm local time (16.50 GMT) on Monday, with police saying it began accidentally and may be linked to building work at the cathedral. The 850-year-old gothic masterpiece had been undergoing restoration work to help it better withstand the tests of time.

“Everything is burning,” André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told French media. “Nothing will remain from the frame.”

Flames burst through the roof of the cathedral – one of France’s most visited places – and quickly engulfed the spire, which collapsed. The spire was made of wood and lead and was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century.

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. No deaths or injuries were initially reported.

Buildings around the cathedral were evacuated as the fire department launched a major operation. Police closed several metro stations and cordoned off roads by the river.

Late on Monday, the Parisprosecutors’ office said it had ruled out arson, adding that police would conduct an investigation into “involuntary destruction caused by fire”.

A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior of the 12th-century landmark was burning and was likely to be destroyed, and the city’s deputy mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire, said emergency services were trying to salvage artwork and other priceless items stored there.

“There are a lot of art works inside … it’s a real tragedy,” the Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, told reporters at the scene.

On the left bank of the river Seine, thousands of people gathered to watch the fire as orange flames towered from the roof. Fire trucks could be seen speeding towards the scene on the Île de la Cité, the island where the cathedral is located.

Some in the crowd were crying and others started singing hymns.

Alexis, 35, said he had hurried to the scene after seeing the first images on television. “I rushed down as soon as I saw what was happening. I never thought it would be this depressing.”

Over the course of an hour, he watched as the flames rose from the roof and sections of it collapsed. “When I got here, the roof was still there. I slowly watched it fall.”

Camille, 20, from Normandy, a history student at the Sorbonne, stood at the police cordon. “There’s a feeling of total sadness and also anger. It’s our heritage. People in the crowd have been singing hymns. Whether you’re Christian or not, part of our history is going up in smoke.”

Some in the crowd said they felt helpless, watching flames spreading across the building. The fire brigade used cherry pickers to spray the building with water from beyond the bell towers.

As night fell, the dull glow of the flames, dampened by jets of water from firefighters’ hoses, continued to flicker across the water on the Île Saint-Louis.

“We are staying just down the street and heard the sirens,” said a visibly distressed Fred Phelps, 72, from Sebastopol in Sonoma County, California, who was in Paris on holiday with his wife Diane, 71, and had booked a guided tour of the cathedral and tower for Wednesday.

“It’s one of the things I wanted to see before I died,” Phelps said. “We saw what was happening and we both welled up. It’s terrible, just terrible. And to see the face of the Parisians, and hear the emotion in their voices. We don’t understand French, but we understand this. We’re both very moved.”

Marie-Anna Ecorchard from Morbihan in Brittany, said she was on a cafe terrace when she saw the first plumes of smoke rise into the air.

“It’s dreadful,” she said. “We’ve seen people sobbing, tears pouring down their faces. This is part of the heritage of Paris, not just of Paris but of all France. It’s just terrible to see such a magnificent building go up in flames. You feel it almost physically.”

When the cathedral’s spire collapsed soon after 7pm there was “like a huge gasp, a collective cry” from everyone watching, Ecorchard said. “What can you say? Seeing it, just across the river, it’s almost like watching a person suffer …”

Alice Lohr, 26, a lawyer from Paris, said she was “immensely sad. This is a great historic monument, part of the beauty of Paris, part of the history of France. It’s literature, it’s Victor Hugo, musical theatre, the Hunchback – it’s just such a big thing in your life.

The cathedral dates back to the 12th century and played a role in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

Agnes Rechter, who lives in the Marais, a few hundred metres from Notre Dame said: “We have known the cathedral since our childhood,” she said. “It’s part of our personal history, too.”

She said she thought most of all of “the centuries of work, of craftsmanship, that went into that building … The men who worked on it down the years”.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, cancelled a planned speech to the nation in light of the “terrible fire”, according to an official at the president’s Élysée office.

He tweeted that his thoughts were with “all Catholics and all French people”. “Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.” The president attended the scene at the Île de la Cité on Monday evening, where he met senior police officers.

France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident. The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had started an inquiry into the fire.

Notre Dame, which attracts millions of tourists every year, was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, and bronze statues were removed last week for works.


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The wonderful people at Down Home Foods are NOT planning to go anywhere! They will stay open and continue to provide great food and service to our community.

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MEASURE B was a slight bump in the Mendo sales tax aimed at providing a local facility for the care and maybe even rehab of our in-county mentally ill. Sheriff Allman almost singlehandedly got the measure passed. An "advisory" committee of 12 persons, the twelfth a kind of secretary, was appointed to get 'er done. And then? More than a year-and-a-half of gridlock.

LAZ OF WILLITS COMMENTS: "Getting eleven people to agree on anything is near impossible. Then add the element that at least half of them are beholden to the County aka, the CEO. The Sheriff was looking for a quick fix for his department issues and figured ole Howard was a slam dunk for him. He could manipulate it through the process and have a place up and running within a couple of years. Let’s see, how’d that work out for you? 16 months in and the committee is hiring someone to tell them what to do next, unbelievable Mendo, check that, yes it is believable. The previous poster is right, disband the damn committee and move on. Get ahead of the issues instead of using the “lock’m up” mentality as James [Marmon] says. Personally, I don’t think they’ll ever fix what’s wrong. There are too many players and too little money to do what everyone wants, let alone needs. Even if you build it, how you going to staff it…? There’s not enough money to even hire a psychiatrist, even if they could get one to come here, which they can’t."

I THINK IT'S UNFAIR to impugn the Sheriff's Measure B motives. Like everyone else, he sees who's out there while he and the County's law enforcers spend large amounts of time dealing with the walking wounded. We all want people unable or unwilling to care for themselves off the streets and into mandatory, benign care, hence Measure B's passage by the always difficult to achieve two-thirds approval required for tax increases. There's nothing humane about letting people drink and drug themselves to death, but the very mention of compulsory treatment or sequestration here come the phonies, the loudest of them drawing fat public money, screaming stuff like, "The homeless have rights, too." Yes, but we're not talking about the legit homeless, who are likely to stay that way and grow in numbers given the present social-economic arrangements, we're talking about public suicides and free range nut cases.

USED TO BE, before America lost its way in 1967, drunks and miscellaneous incompetents, versions of whom are with us today in not only ever greater numbers but are ever more florid, were court-ordered to county farms, and every county had one, even this county out at Bush and Low Gap, Ukiah. And a state hospital out at Talmage for the more intractable cases. But now, to even do the simplest good for people who have lost their way, it's all just complicated as hell, and we need a whole bunch of specially trained people to….. drug the dependent into submission and keep them that way. Our dozen or so intractables are presently hauled to distant lock-up facilities where a psychiatrist and his Nurse Racheds juggle their meds and send them back to Mendo to do it all over again. If these dozen or so of the doomed could stay here it would not only save the county lots of money, some of them, with family monitoring their "treatment," might even be restored to more or less normal functioning. I thought that was the original idea of Measure B, but as soon as I saw the composition of the oversight committee I knew it would never happen in the way intended.

I AGREE with Laz that the oversight committee is not only overly-large with too many self-interested, professional doers of good sitting on it, but these entrenched interests, who have nothing else to do but go to meetings, are well on their way to sabbing Measure B, and the numbers of drop-fall drunks, career dopers and old fashioned bums busily destroying public morale and fouling public spaces as they go, steadily increase. Maybe we need a second, more candid Measure B, this one aimed at simply using the funds raised to expand the County Jail's psych wing to house the non-criminally charged mentally ill. And the habitual drunks and dope heads. And the transient lurks who refuse to move on because the helping pros give them enough to keep them drunk, doped and lurking.

AS THE MAJOR POINTED OUT early on in the now hamstrung process, the County could have rented or bought a mobile PHF with four or eight beds and set it up immediately on the Orchard Street property they already own and get it going. This would have been the shortest path to meeting the stringent seismic requirements imposed on such facilities. Then, in the unlikely event that they got a brick and mortar PHF, the Measure B Gang could return the leased unit or move a purchased unit to the Coast where such a (smaller) facility is already sorely needed as a holding or feeder facility for the Coast versions of the intractables.

AS IT IS, the project has been turned over to the CEO’s office where it will be bureaucratized like the CEO’s metaphorical $50k kitchen and never see the light of approval while the crisis units get built (without seismic requirements) in the meantime. By the time they get around to figuring out anything about the PHF, the Measure B funds are likely to be overcommitted to the crisis stuff and the more expensive PHF (even a small eight bed PHF) will be left to beg for what few funds remain. So the “services” people will get their way by default, not that it will do any noticeable good for anyone but them. And the Sheriff and the emergency rooms which were supposed to be the primary beneficiaries of Measure B will be left to deal with the chronic nuts, drunks and druggies like they always have.

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Carmel Angelo's incompetence.

It’s been nearly 3 and a half years since Kemper's first report and the subject of expanded SUDT services has still not been addressed.

Mendocino County Mental Health System Review (February 2016)

We recommend the County Executive direct BHRS to take the following actions:

• Develop and execute an MOU between the between the Mental Health and SUDT Branches and the ASOs that defines and describes service linkages and responsibilities between SUDT services and mental health services.

• Convene key stakeholders, including representatives of the two BHRS branches, the ASOs, and community health care providers, to begin discussions about opportunities under the State’s Drug Medi-Cal Waiver to achieve:

*Expanded SUDT services for Mendocino County residents.

*Expanded SUDT services for dually diagnosed residents, including those with serious mental illness and those with “mild to moderate” mental health conditions.

-Lee Kemper

Behavioral Health System Gap Analysis & Recommendations (August 21, 2018)

“With respect to the SUDT services continuum, as we discussed in this report, Mendocino County’s current array of SUDT services is limited to a small set of services. The near-term expansion of these services hinges primarily on the County’s determination of how it will proceed with the Drug Medi-Cal Organized Delivery System (ODS). If the County does not implement the new ODS, either through county administration or through Partnership Health Plan (PHC), then the expanded continuum of services will not be available to residents of the County. As of this writing, we do not know what the real viability of the PHC plan is, so we are not in the position to make a recommendation about this approach. However, we do know that county administration of the ODS would set a very high bar for the County because the County would be required to directly administer services under a managed care model that is similar in approach to that required for the County’s Mental Health Plan, which the County has contracted out to a third party administrator."

"In the near term, we believe it makes sense for policy makers to assess where Measure B funds can be allocated to expand access to SUDT services in the County, either through current service contracts or through new contracts with providers, so that more people can be served."

-Lee Kemper

James Marmon MSW

Former Substance Abuse Counselor/Case Manager

(Juvenile Drug Court)

Mendocino Superior Court/Mendocino Youth Project (1998-1999)

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AS THE SECOND MOST TALKED-ABOUT POLITICIAN in the country, any Democratic presidential hopefuls would love an endorsement from Rep Ocasio-Cortez. She's not let slip who she's backing yet, but has now made clear who she won't be supporting. In an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was asked which candidate she would back in the Democratic race. “I truly do not have one yet. I truly do not,” she replied, but added that the prospect of a Biden run doesn't “animate” her and that she has “a lot of issues” with a potential Biden bid. She was an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, and hinted that she may back him again. “I’m very supportive of Bernie’s run … I haven’t endorsed anybody, but I’m very supportive of Bernie,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding, “I also think what Elizabeth Warren has been bringing to the table is … truly remarkable, truly remarkable and transformational.” Asked if she would ever run for president, she replied: “I really don’t know … I think about it every once in a while, but … this is pretty hard already.”

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AN INTERESTING PIECE in the Independent Coast Observer about the 2020 Census. "The federal government will give the state of California $2,000 for each person counted over the next ten years…."

MENDO uses the money thus kicked back to support all kinds of good stuff, including education, unemployment insurance, highways, failed, featherbedding mental health programs and so on. But here's the rub: Mendo is under-counted. "According to Julie Beardsley, a senior public health analyst in charge of the County's census preparations, 'We have people in Mendocino County who have spent decades avoiding the government; the Census is an opportunity to bring them back into civic engagement’."

UH, excuse me Ms. Beardsley, what makes you think people who have dedicated themselves to avoiding government all their lives desire "civic engagement"? In 2010, according to Ms. B, "four census tracts" alone failed to return damn near half their Census questionnaires.

GUESS which four tracts? Think Laytonville, Spy Rock, Bell Springs, Covelo, way the hell out the Mina Road and all points east and west and you think correctly. These anarchists, these slackers, these armed and dangerous hill muffins, these estimated 11,319 misanthropes who turn their anti-social backs on civic engagement, have cost Mendocino County an estimated $226 million since 2010.

AND GET THIS. "The homeless will be represented by community-based organizations that work with them," and how's that for a grand opportunity for stat-padding, better even than the annual homeless count the doers of good (for themselves) conduct every couple of years in the pre-dawn hours in Willits, Fort Bragg and Ukiah.

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The new county superintendent has made it her first priority to ask for a raise. The links below are to the parts of the meeting in which the merits of the raise were discussed. (The board granted the raise on a 3/2 vote.) Sorry about the quality of the sound. It was taped by a private citizen. Thanks for the good work you do.

Donald Cruser, Board member, Mendocino County Office of Education

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

44th Anniversary

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,

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A READER NOTES: California gas prices have risen almost a dollar over the last month to reach an average of $4.20 a gallon — and analysts said it's going to get worse. Then, on July 1st, a 5.6-cent increase in the gas tax is scheduled to kick in. From my depressing weekly visits to the pumps, the grocery store and everywhere else prices continue to rise. And mainstream economists keep on saying inflation “is under control.” Every year about this time, as America hits the summertime road, oil industry “analysts” are trotted out to explain the extortionate fuel price jump: “Well, you see, we had a couple of refinery fires out there in the Gulf, the West Coast is down for maintenance, there were floods in the Midwest and, like, pay or walk.” Meanwhile, the U.S. has become an oil exporter for the first time in years.

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THE AV THEATRE GUILD’S production of “Early One Evening At the Rainbow Bar & Grille” (written by Bruce Graham) is coming soon to the AV Grange on Friday May 3rd and Saturday May 11th. Directed by Marcus Magdaleno and starring a recognizable cast of local thespians, doors open at 6 with curtain at 7pm. $10 admission at the door. “Mature Audiences.”

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CORRECTION: Last Friday's exciting high speed chase over the hill from Ukiah, through Boonville and up Greenwood Road ended when the bandido, a parolee out of Eureka named Robert Paul, whose stolen truck had blown a tire, ran into an embankment not far from the Signal Ridge junction. Our initial report said the chase ended when the thief inexplicably pulled over and surrendered. Of course if he hadn't blown a tire and run off the road, who knows what mayhem may have ensued.

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LIVING WITH WILDFIRE in the Navarro River Watershed, a free three-part series on consecutive Tuesday evenings at the Firehouse in Boonville, featuring experts from the Mendocino Resource Conservation District and the Fire Safe Council, as well as AVFD Chief Avila.

  • 4/30 - Fire Behavior and Home Hardening
  • 5/7 - Fire Behavior and Best Management Practices for your Property
  • 5/14 - Organizing and Communicating at the Community Level

Attendance at all three isn't required.

Learn what factors might affect fire behavior in your neighborhood and what you can to do to be prepared. Learn how to identify priorities, and how to leverage your neighborhood's organization for resources.

RSVP by email or 707/895-2020

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WILDFLOWER SHOW coming right up on May 4th and 5th, more than 300 flowers, grasses, and tree branches will be identified and on display at the Boonville Fairgrounds (June Building). The plants most beneficial to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds will be the focus of plants-on-sale this year. Lots of information will be provided, including which plants and trees host caterpillars that help songbirds feed their young. Plant talks will be given by naturalists; attendees are welcome to bring in plants for experts to identify. Some of Susan Gross’s striking botanical art pieces will be on site, and for sale -- two pieces will be offered on raffle!

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ANOTHER Do Not Miss event is Customer Appreciation Day at AV Farm Supply where, among many other attractions we’re promised, “Once again, Libby’s will be cooking tacos for our annual Customer Appreciation Day! May 10th from 12:00pm - 5:00 pm.”

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untitled Mark Rothko, 1947

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On April 12, 2019 at about 2:00 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a welfare check on a female and her children at a residence in the 2200 block of Oriole Lane in Willits. It was reported to the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center that one of the children had called a relative reporting a disturbance at the residence. Deputies arrived at the residence and contacted an adult female who answered the door. The Deputies immediately observed cuts, abrasions, bruising on the neck and dried blood on the female's face. The Deputies also noted the inside of the residence was in disarray which they could see as they looked through one of the windows. Deputies noted a chair on its side in the living room, a table knocked over and other items turned over around the interior of the residence. Deputies learned the female has been involved in a romantic dating relationship with her boyfriend, Loren Powers, 29, of Willits, for several years and they have one child together.

Powers arrived home at approximately 1:30 AM and was intoxicated. The female was upset that Powers came home intoxicated. There were some words exchanged between her and Powers resulting in him becoming angry. Powers started pushing the female and throwing items around the residence. Powers knocked over a kitchen table and pushed food items onto the floor. The female told Powers to stop because he was going to wake the children. Powers grabbed the female by the hair pulling her head backwards, causing her to hit her head on the wall. The female opened the front door and attempted to flee the residence. As the female exited the residence, Powers pushed her down causing her to fall on her back. Powers sat on top of the female and placed both his hands around her neck and started to choke her. The female tried yelling for help, but was unable to yell because she was being choked. The female scratched Powers in the face in an act of self defense but he continued to choke her to the point she almost lost consciousness. The female was able to get up off the ground and asked one of her children to call 911. The child called a relative instead, who then called the Sheriff's Office. The female was able to get away from Powers and went back inside the residence. Powers followed and grabbed her by the neck and started to choke her again. Powers soon after suddenly released her and then left the room. The female declined medical treatment at the scene and an Emergency Restraining Order was granted by a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge. Deputies located Powers sleeping in the master bedroom. Deputies learned Powers was on Mendocino County Summary Probation, with an obey all laws clause. Powers was arrested without incident for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, False Imprisonment, Criminal Threats and Violation of Probation. Powers was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the above charges where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.


On April 13, 2019 at approximately 3:00 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported disturbance located at the Lake Mendocino South Boat Ramp in Ukiah. A juvenile male was reportedly running around the parking area asking for help from bystanders stating his father was reportedly intending on killing him. A Sheriff's Sergeant and Sheriff's Deputy arrived on scene and located an abandoned pick-up truck in the roadway near the reported area and it appeared some type of altercation had occurred around or inside of the vehicle. A second Sheriff's Deputy, responding to the call for service located an adult male near the roadway, further west of the South Boat Ramp. The adult male, later identified as Conley Nicholas Butler, 34, of Ukiah, was sweating profusely, was agitated and appeared to have an injury to his head indicating he was possibly involved in the reported altercation.

Based on the nature of the call for service and observations made by the Sheriff's Deputy and Sheriff's Sergeant, they attempted to conduct a pat search of Butler while they furthered their investigation. During the attempted pat search, Butler, using his head, struck both the Sheriff's Sergeant and Sheriff's Deputy in the head causing visible injuries. Butler then proceeded to punch both deputies with closed fists as he attempted to escape. Butler ran westbound on Lake Mendocino as a Sheriff's K-9 Deputy along with his canine partner arrived on scene. Butler hit this Sheriff's K-9 Deputy causing serious bodily injury (broken tooth) and continued running westbound. Based on the nature of the violent assault against all three involved law enforcement officers the K-9 was deployed to assist in Butler’s arrest. Butler continued to physically resist all three Sheriff's Deputies, and the deployed K-9, necessitating the use of a “Taser” to prevent further injury to the Sheriff's Deputies and Butler. Butler was subsequently detained in handcuffs and transported to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for treatment and medical clearance. He was thereafter booked into the Mendocino County Jail. The juvenile male was located and identified as being Butler’s son. Sheriff's Deputies determined Butler became erratic after seeing a Sheriff's Deputy, on routine patrol, pass by his location. The investigation revealed the head injury was self-inflicted by Butler using a piece of wood after driving erratically and dangerously with the juvenile male in the vehicle. Based on the investigation, Butler was arrested for: Willful Cruelty to a Child with Possible Injury or Death, Resisting or Threatening an Officer, Battery with Serious Injury, and Battery Against a Peace Officer. Butler was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail. Any person with information concerning this investigation are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting hotline at 800-732-7463 if they have information which would assist with this investigation.


On April 11, 2019 at about 4:20 a.m., a Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputy was on routine patrol when he observed multiple trash cans upended in the area of Eagle Peak Middle School (8601 West Road, Redwood Valley). Believing crime was afoot, the Deputy investigated further and contacted a vending machine operator at the school complex who pointed to the discovery of two surveillance cameras on the ground. Based on the evidence located at the scene it appeared the cameras had been forcibly removed from the camera mounts. The cameras were collected and a patrol of the general area was conducted. The Deputy then located multiple mailboxes destroyed or damaged along West Road beginning near the 9000 block of West Road and continuing until at least the 12000 block of West Road. Mail was discovered strewn about the roadway. Deputies documented the damage to the mailboxes in preparation for future reporting by victims. Any recovered mail was placed in the appropriate mailbox and no suspect information was learned at that specific time. Based on the recent patrol of the area it appeared the incident occurred sometime between 3:00am and 4:20am. During the initial investigation, it appeared the circumstances concerning the mailboxes were related to vandalism only. No reports of theft have been received as of this press release. Later that morning, another Deputy made contact with Eagle Peak School Officials and through his investigation was able to identify two suspects associated with the vandalism. This in an ongoing investigation and the suspects’ identities are being withheld at this time. At this time the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is requesting any unknown victims of this vandalism to contact the Sheriff's Office and as to speak to either Deputy Jay Vanoven or Deputy Jose Avina at 707-463-4086 to properly document any suspected damage or loss. This is an ongoing investigation and the Sheriff's Office would like to remind citizens to be vigilant in collecting their mail at roadside mailboxes. Multiple sensitive documents and bills were recovered on the roadway which could make a victim vulnerable to identity theft.


On April 11, 2019 at about 9:10 p.m., the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a 911 transfer from the CA Highway Patrol regarding a 54 year old adult female requesting law enforcement assistance in the 3000 block of Road I, Redwood Valley. Deputies responded to the area and arrived a short time later in response to the call. Deputies contacted an adult female and Rutilio Escobar, 64, of Redwood Valley at the location.

Deputies learned the adult female and Escobar were involved in a verbal argument when Escobar struck the female causing a visible injury. The adult female exited the residence and called 911. After calling, Escobar took the adult female's phone from her person and destroyed the phone on the ground. Deputies observed the adult female had visible injuries consistent with the reported assault. Deputies also learned Escobar had a "peaceful contact" order issued by the Mendocino County Superior Court and was on summary probation for separate offenses. Escobar was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Violation of Misdemeanor Probation, Damage/Destroy Wireless Communications Device and Violation of a Court Order. Escobar was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was booked and held in lieu of $30,000 bail.


On April 13, 2019 at about 2:25 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a reported disturbance concerning an intoxicated adult male in the 1500 block of North Bush Street in Ukiah. Responding Deputies identified the adult male as being Dreven Dawson-Valencia, 22, of Ukiah, but he had left the area prior to the Deputies arrival.

Dawson-Valencia was located a short time later in the 1400 block of North Bush Street. Dawson-Valencia was determined to be unable to care for his own safety based on his level of intoxication and arrested for disorderly conduct. Dawson-Valencia was transported to the Mendocino County Jail. During the booking process, a controlled substance was located on Dawson-Valencia's person while inside the County Jail facility. Based on the discovery of the controlled substance, Dawson-Valencia was booked in to the Mendocino County Jail for Smuggling a Controlled Substance in to Jail and Disorderly Conduct-alcohol where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 15, 2019

(Unavailable due to “internal server” on booking log.)

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by James Kunstler

Anyone interested in glimpsing the Wokester media mentality in full intellectual-yet-idiot smuggery might check out Slate’s Political Gabfest (i.e. podcast) from this past Saturday, titled “The Wahoo Edition.” The Gabfest’s three regulars, David Plotz, Emily Bazelon, and John Dickerson go after Julian Assange as if they were three college dormitory RAs dissecting the character of an unpopular freshman.

Plotz kicked it off by introducing Mr. Assange as “the eminence greasy of Wikileaks,” a cute twist on the French phrase éminence grise (gray eminence, i.e. an elder statesman, pronounced eminence greez, and he knows it). Bazelon offered her explanation for Ecuador’s eagerness to be rid of Mr. Assange: “He was acting like a big jerk. They were tired of him skateboarding all over the residence and scuffing up the walls and not cleaning his bathroom. He wore out his welcome on hospitality grounds.” Note: Emily Bazelon is a lawyer. No one mentioned the fact that Ecuador was promised debt relief from the US-controlled International Monetary Fund within hours of expelling Mr. Assange.

Plotz quickly added: “He didn’t clean up after his cat, which, as a cat owner, that is grounds for expulsion.”

Dickerson weighed in: “The big problem is he’s not an appealing man… he’s clearly a narcissist. He’s unpleasant. In addition to messing with our election, he’s basically on Team Russia.”

Plotz said of Wikileaks: “It’s acting as an agent for a foreign government, as it has with Russia.”

Some people in this sore beset republic get hooked on opiates or crystal meth. Wokesters get hooked on The Narrative: That Russia “stole” the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails, with the collusion of the Trump campaign. The latter point has been authoritatively invalidated by Mr. Mueller, of course, but the Wokester’s cling to their hope that some as-yet-concealed mischief in the Mueller Report will somehow contradict Mr. Mueller’s own conclusions.

As for the alleged hacking per se, you realize of course that neither the FBI nor Mr. Mueller’s “team,” nor anyone in the DOJ before the retirement of Jeff Sessions made any effort to secure and examine the very DNC computer servers at issue. Rather, they relied on a private company called CrowdStrike, hired by Hillary and the DNC itself, to analyze the alleged hacking. Can you imagine anything more arrantly dishonest or more legally irregular?

The Slate Gabfest crew never engages in these dark issues. Nor do they mention the fact that the Mueller “team” (or any other US law enforcement agency) never indicted Mr. Assange for “collusion” with Russia, nor even attempted to interview him and hear what he had to say about it. On his own, Mr. Assange has stated that Russia was not the source of the DNC emails he received and subsequently released to the US news media, including The New York Times, The WashPo, and the Cable TV News networks, who happily ran with the story. There is a pretty good theory though, advanced by William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower, and other Intel Community associates, that the DNC data was “leaked,” not hacked, “by a person with physical access” to the DNC’s computer system. Meaning, someone inside the DNC downloaded the info onto a thumb drive. The data transfer rates prove that, they say.

There is probably a good reason that US government authorities did not essay to make Mr. Assange a witness on-the-record: because his testimony would have prevented Mr. Mueller from bringing his bullshit charges against the Russian internet trolls he indicted — who will never have to come to trial in the USA in any case, and thus never refute The Narrative so earnestly promoted by the Mueller team — until it all fell apart on March 24.

But these are not terms that the Slate Political Gabfest chose to follow in their analysis of Julian Assange and his activities. Rather we got the following, transcribed verbatim:

Bazelon: “Assange is so detestable it’s really tempting to get as far away from him as possible. One look at him and I feel that way about him.”

Plotz: “Do you think Joe Biden would get a little handsy with him?”

Bazelon: “He’s far creepier.”

Dickerson: “You don’t find that Dickensian beard alluring?”

Bazelon: “It’s awful. But I always thought he was clean-shaven yucky.”

Such are the Deep Thoughts of America’s leading Wokester political analysts. One also might ask why Mr. Assange has not been charged by the US with espionage, if that’s what their beef with him really is. In the meantime, behold the disgraceful episode of American journalists pimping for the leviathan state’s privilege to suppress the free flow of news and their own freedom of the press. Imagine them subjecting Daniel Ellsberg to such a hazing.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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by Norman Solomon

The current political brawl over next year’s budget is highly significant. With Democrats in a House majority for the first time in eight years, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and most other party leaders continue to support even more largesse for the Pentagon. But many progressive congressmembers are challenging the wisdom of deference to the military-industrial complex -- and, so far, they’ve been able to stall the leadership’s bill that includes a $17 billion hike in military spending for 2020.

An ostensible solution is on the horizon. More funds for domestic programs could be a quid pro quo for the military increases. In other words: more guns and more butter.

“Guns and butter” is a phrase that gained wide currency during escalation of the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s. Then, as now, many Democrats made political peace with vast increases in military spending on the theory that social programs at home could also gain strength.

It was a contention that Martin Luther King Jr. emphatically rejected. “When a nation becomes obsessed with the guns of war, social programs must inevitably suffer,” he pointed out. “We can talk about guns and butter all we want to, but when the guns are there with all of its emphasis you don't even get good oleo [margarine]. These are facts of life.”

But today many Democrats in Congress evade such facts of life. They want to proceed as though continuing to bestow humongous budgets on the Pentagon is compatible with fortifying the kind of domestic spending that they claim to fervently desire.

Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have reflexively promoted militarism that is out of step with the party’s base. In early 2018, after President Trump called for a huge 11 percent increase over two years for the already-bloated military budget, Pelosi declared in an email to House Democrats: “In our negotiations, Congressional Democrats have been fighting for increases in funding for defense.” Meanwhile, the office of Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer proudly announced: “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request.”

What set the stage for the latest funding battle in the House was a Budget Committee vote that approved the new measure with the $17 billion military boost. It squeaked through the committee on April 3 with a surprising pivotal “yes” vote from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who is now among the lawmakers pushing to amend the bill on the House floor to add $33 billion in domestic spending for each of the next two years.

As Common Dreams reported last week, progressives in the House “are demanding boosts in domestic social spending in line with the Pentagon's budget increase.” But raising domestic spending in tandem with military spending is no solution, any more than spewing vastly more carcinogenic poisons into the environment would be offset by building more hospitals.

Rep. Ro Khanna and Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal, who both voted against the budget bill in committee, have said they won’t vote for it on the House floor. In Khanna’s words, “You can't oppose endless wars and then vote to fund them.” Jayapal said: “We need to prioritize our communities, not our military spending. Progressives aren’t backing down from this fight.”

The New York Times described the intra-party disagreement as “an ideological gap between upstart progressives flexing their muscles and more moderate members clinging to their Republican-leaning seats.” But that description bypassed how the most powerful commitment to escalation of military spending comes from Democratic leaders representing deep blue districts -- in Pelosi’s case, San Francisco. Merely backing a budget that’s not as bad as Trump’s offering is a craven and immoral approach.

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ staff director, Warren Gunnels, responded cogently days ago when he tweeted: “How can we keep giving more money to the Pentagon than it needs when 40 million live in poverty, 34 million have no health insurance, half of older Americans have no retirement savings, and 140 million can't afford basic needs without going into debt? This is insanity.

Yet most top Democrats keep promoting the guns-and-butter fantasy while aiding and abetting what Dr. King called “the madness of militarism.”

(Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of He is the author of a dozen books including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

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Generally, kidnapping occurs when a person, without lawful authority, physically moves another person without that other person’s consent, with the intent to use the abduction in connection with some other nefarious objective.

Using the above definitions of kidnapping, Donald Trump, our president, organized a mass kidnapping by abducting children from their parents in his family separation actions carried out by ordering the seizing of Mexican children forcibly from their parents, not even having the humanity of documenting who their parents are or the location of their homes.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. Trump’s action is the worst case of child abuse of which I have ever heard. To support him is to condone a felonious atrocity beyond belief, regardless of anyone’s rationalizations or excuses.

I have been so sad for so long about Trump’s lack of compassion and racism that my sadness has now turned to anger, both at the weakness of our system to do anything about it and the pain in my heart which is breaking me down.

Craig Guptill

Redwood Valley

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* * *


by Patrick Cockburn

“Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards,” and “ha, ha, I hit them” say the pilots of a US Apache helicopter in jubilant conversation as they machine-gun Iraqi civilians on the ground in Baghdad on 12 July 2007.

A wounded man, believed to be the Reuters photographer, 22-year-old Namir Noor-Eldeen, crawls towards a van. “Come on buddy, all you have to do is pick up a weapon,” says one of the helicopter crew, eager to resume the attack. A hellfire missile is fired and a pilot says: “Look at that bitch go!” The photographer and his driver are killed.

Later the helicopter crew are told over the radio that they have killed 11 Iraqis and a small child has been injured. “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kids into battle,” comments somebody about the carnage below.

Except there was no “battle” and all those who died were civilians, though the Pentagon claimed they were gunmen. The trigger-happy pilots had apparently mistaken a camera for a rocket propelled grenade launcher. Journalists in Baghdad, including myself, were from the start skeptical about the official US story because insurgents with weapons in their hands were unlikely to be standing chatting to each other in the street with an American helicopter overhead. As on many similar occasions in Iraq, our doubts were strong but we could not prove that the civilians had not been carrying weapons in the face of categorical denials from the US Department of Defense.

It was known that a video of the killings taken from the helicopter existed, but the Pentagon refused to release it under the Freedom of Information Act. Plenty of people were being killed all over Iraq at the time and the incident would soon have been forgotten, except by the families of the dead, if a US soldier called Chelsea Manning had not handed over a copy of the official video to WikiLeaks which published it in 2010.

The exposure of the Baghdad helicopter killings was the first of many revelations which explain why Julian Assange has been pursued for so long by the US and British governments. The claim by Theresa May echoed by other ministers that “in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law” is clearly an evasion of the real reasons why such efforts have been made to detain him on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jeremy Corbyn is correct to say that the affair is all about “the extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.” But, within hours of Assange’s detention, it was clear that nobody much cared about innocent people dying in the streets of Baghdad or in the villages of Afghanistan and Assange has already become a political weapon in the poisonous political confrontation over Brexit with Corbyn’s support for Assange enabling Conservatives to claim that he is a security risk.

Lost in this dog-fight is what Assange and WikiLeaks really achieved and why it was of great importance in establishing the truth about wars being fought on our behalf in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.

This is what Daniel Ellsberg did when he released the Pentagon Papers about the US political and military involvement in Vietnam between 1945 and 1967. Like Assange, he exposed official lies and was accused of putting American lives in danger though his accusers were typically elusive about how this was done.

But unless the truth is told about the real nature of these wars then people outside the war zones will never understand why they go on so long and are never won. Governments routinely lie in wartime and it is essential to expose what they are really doing. I remember looking at pictures of craters as big as houses in an Afghan village where 147 people had died in 2009 and which the US defence secretary claimed had been caused by the Taliban throwing grenades. In one small area called Qayara outside Mosul in in 2016-17, the US air force admitted to killing one civilian but a meticulous examination of the facts by The New York Times showed that the real figure was 43 dead civilians including 19 men, eight women and 16 children aged 14 or under.

These are the sort of facts that the US and UK governments try to conceal and which Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly revealed. Readers should keep this in mind when they are told that Assange has narcissistic personality or was not treating his cat properly. If his personal vices were a hundred times more serious than alleged, would they really counterbalance – and perhaps even discredit – the monstrosities he sought to unmask?

The US government documents published by WikiLeaks are about the real workings of power. Take the Hillary Clinton emails published in 2016: much of the media attention has plugged into conspiracy theories about Russian involvement or, until the recent publication of the Mueller Report, the possible complicity of the Trump election campaign with the Russians. Many Democrats and anti-Trump journalists managed to persuade themselves that Assange had helped lose Hillary Clinton the election, though a glance at a history of the campaign showed that she was quite capable of doing this all by herself by not campaigning in toss-up states.

But look at what the emails tell us is the way the world really works. There is, for instance, a US State Department memo dated 17 August 2014 – just over a week after Isis had launched its offensive against the Kurds and Yazidis in Iraq that led to the butchery, rape and enslavement of so many.

It was a time when the US was adamantly denying that Saudi Arabia and Qatar had any connection with Isis and similar jihadi movements like al-Qaeda. But the leaked memo, which is drawn from “western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region” tells us that they really knew different. It says: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to Isis and other radical groups in the region.”

This is important information about the level of priority the US gave to keeping in with its Saudi and Qatari allies while it was supposedly fighting the “war on terror”. This had been true since 9/11 and remains true today. But in much of the British media such issues are barely considered and the debate is focused firmly on the reasons why rape charges were not brought against Assange by Swedish courts and his culpability in taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Anybody who highlights the importance of the work which Assange and WikiLeaks has done is likely to be accused of being light-heartedly dismissive of the accusations of rape.

Assange is likely to pay a higher price than Ellsberg for his exposure of government secrets. The Pentagon Papers were published when the media was becoming freer across the world while now it is on the retreat as authoritarian governments replace democratic ones and democratic governments become more authoritarian.

The fate of Assange will be a good guide as to how far we are going down this road and the degree to which freedom of expression is threatened in Britain at a time of deepening political crisis.

(Patrick Cockburn is the author of “The Rise of Islmaic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.”

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* * *


I’m afraid this “culture” of ours has many more depths of arrogant ignorance, from across the political spectrum, to descend before the downhill slide takes on rampant speed. Apparently one of the elements I seriously overlooked in my decade plus of studying collapse is how much embarrassment is involved. At first I was embarrassed by the anti-science, pro-idiotic political right through the Bush the Dumber years. Then, I became embarrassed by the political left during the “hope & change” Obama years. Now the gloves are off and both sides of our political duality are battling to be the supreme beings of embarrassment while not even noticing what losers they have become. In many ways the collapse already is well beyond the point of no return.

* * *

* * *


What do these companies have in common? They paid no federal taxes last year.

Thanks to President Trump’s 2017 tax law, the number of Fortune 500 companies that pay no federal taxes roughly doubled last year, to 60, according to an analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a research group. Some of them effectively paid negative taxes, because they received a refund.

The number of companies paying no taxes has risen for two main reasons. First, the Trump tax law expanded some corporate tax breaks, such as the one for the purchase of machinery and vehicles.

Second, the law reduced the top-line corporate tax rate, which means that some companies now have a low enough tax bill that they can wipe it out entirely with tax breaks.

Altogether, the law led to a 31 percent decline in corporate-tax revenue last year. That decline has helped cause an increase in the deficit. As the law professors Rebecca Kysar and Linda Sugin have written, the Trump tax cut is financed “on the backs of future generations”…

David Leonhardt

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* * *


(1) I’m sure people would want to know if their oncologist owned a mortuary. Or if their financial advisor had $200,000 in student loan debt and was in arrears. Or if their dentist was a paranoid schizophrenic with sadistic tendencies. Or if their son’s teacher was a convicted pederest. Or if their accountant was a tax cheat. But Trumptards would have us believe it is wrong, nay it is evil, that we should want to know if these things are true about our freakin’ president. Do you see how far out of touch they are? It’s out where the buses don’t run. It’s where the streets have no name. It’s where the rainbow ends. 1024 La La Land, Aurora Borealis, Milky Way.

(2) I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable in demanding that people either have paperwork proving vaccination or are vaccinated at the border if they wish to enter your country for whatever reason. Or indeed accept a period of quarantine (in decent conditions). We oblige people to do that with their pets, for goodness’ sake. I hitch-hiked to Tunisia in the 70s and got all my vaccinations before I left home. On our arrival back in Marseille we all had to queue to have our papers checked as there had been a cholera outbreak in Tunisia while we were there. In addition to the European holidaymakers on the boat, there were large numbers of Tunisian workers returning to France after their annual break home. Being students travelling on a shoestring, we were on the budget deck with the Tunisian workers and not on the top deck with the holidaymakers. The only racism in evidence was that the Marseille authorities shunted my friend and me directly to the front of the long queue to have our papers checked because we were European. It was embarrassing.

* * *

“Some Facebook friends YOU turned out to be.”


  1. Betsy Cawn April 16, 2019

    The “cost” (“loss”) of census resisters to the county coffers would be $22,638,000 — not $226M — still a nice chuck of change that would undoubtedly get buried in the “unfunded pension plan benefits” of the entrenched bureaucracy, rather than benefiting the residents.

    As for Assange and Manning, I’m with you, Mr. Cockburn. Our establishment knows no shame, and makes me ashamed to say I’m American. FTA, as we used to say, and now are all afraid to, but for the AVA.

  2. Betsy Cawn April 16, 2019

    Still too true: For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield), nothing much has changed in the last half century of American imperialism and world wide destruction.

    Yeah, the song’s pretty soft, but the accompanying photographic commentary is what propelled the public to demand an “end” to the Viet Nam “war.” Same shit, different decade, plus massively more destructive and amoral technology in the hands of maniacs at the top of the power structure. Yippie.

    • Harvey Reading April 16, 2019

      One thing you can say about Homo sapiens: they never learn, not from history, not from experience. They just keep repeating the past. Hope they never infect the rest of the universe. That would be a catastrophe.

  3. Eric Sunswheat April 16, 2019

    Perhaps don’t let Measure B temporary sales tax money burn a hole in the County pocket before fully collected and tabulated.

    There was much resistance in passage of earlier version that went down in defeat.

    Probably do not expect a sales tax te-authorization of the County Library sales tax to be an easy win, what with bastardized linkage to County Museum.

    In Ukiah, the Library maintenance staff cut down its large shade oak tree on north side instead of reconstructing the sidewalk and did not replant, depriving outdoor readers a cool spot connected to Library WIFI.

    City of Ukiah has done what it could to remove shade trees from enjoyment by homeless and exyreme heat exhaustion visitors alike, forcing hapless individuals, who don’t have air conditioned vehicle mobility to leave the heat sink city, to instead shelter in the library during hot weather.

  4. james marmon April 16, 2019


    Behavioral Health System Gap Analysis & Recommendations (page 34)

    “The rate of growth in Mendocino County’s utilization of inpatient psychiatric care between FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18 should alarm public officials and the public. (italicized)

    This high level of utilization and its associated costs are not in line with the BHRS Mental Health Department’s mission to deliver services “in the least restrictive, most accessible environment within a coordinated system of care that is respectful of a person’s family, language, heritage and culture.” Further, the costs associated with this level of care are not sustainable over time.

    These data reveal a serious weakness in the overall composition of the County’s mental health services continuum – there are no meaningful alternatives to inpatient psychiatric care, and there are insufficient front-end services that support persons with mental illness and reduce the incidence of crisis conditions. (italicized)”

    -Lee Kemper

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Mental Health Specialist
    Sacramento, Placer, and Lake Counties

  5. Julie Beardsley April 16, 2019

    $2,000 per person, per year, over the 10 year census cycle.

  6. chuck dunbar April 16, 2019

    Great credit to you, James, for again and again going back to the Kemper report to provide clarity regarding mental health service problems. The Kemper report quotation you noted today is the clearest direction in the world as to the preventive, upfront services the County should be providing folks in the early stages of their problems. The continued flailing around on these issues is inexcusable.

    • james marmon April 16, 2019

      Chuck, you should be leading the charge over there on the Coast, you of all people know what it was like to make due with services provided to the “extent resources were available.” The resources on the Coast were very limited, much more limited than the inland, and still are. Sending people for a 3 day stay in Willits, or 23 hour of 30 day stay in Ukiah, does nothing for your community. Kemper made several recommendations for the coast, but it is being ignored by the ASO, RQMC, the Board of Supervisors, and Nurse Ratched’s therapy group (aka Measure B Committee).

      “I don’t think you fully understand the public, my friend; in this country, when something is out of order, then the quickest way to get it fixed is the best way.”

      ― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

      “Where’s the money Camille?

      James Marmon MSW
      Personal Growth Consultant

      ‘don’t just go through it, grow through it’

  7. Harvey Reading April 16, 2019

    Hey folks, fascism is here, no hiding, or denying it, any longer … and ithe putrid corporate democats cheer it on (not surprising, since, as I recall, Mr. Hope and Change along with the lackeys serving wealth in congress wanted Assange arrested, too). Are you enjoying it? Or will you simply pop another antidepressant? And to think, most of you democrats support that scumball Biden. Talk about getting just what you deserve! Enjoy.

  8. Julie Beardsley April 16, 2019

    People may not want to deal with the government, but they still use roads, health clinics, schools, libraries, etc. It’s in their interest to be counted.

  9. james marmon April 16, 2019

    Sheriff Allman all but threatened to shoot anyone caught studying the Kemper Report so I decided to start a study group here on the AVA. He said the only thing anyone needs to know from that report is that 5150’s are going up. I’ve also been providing daily study lessons to the Board of Supervisors by email.

    James Marmon MSW

  10. james marmon April 16, 2019

    After I’m finished transitioning Mendocino’s Mental Health system into the model for all to follow my job will be finished and I will get my just deserts (appropriate reward).

    Bruce McEwen. suggested a larger-than-life equestrian statue of me out in front of the new courthouse, or an epic mural of me and Carmel Angelo locked in mortal combat on the windows of the old courthouse.

    I say, why not both? If I never said or wrote another word after today I will still win, everything is already in motion. I found my path to eternal life.

    James Marmon MSW (aka “the Prophet”)

    • Harvey Reading April 17, 2019

      You’re so modest, James.

  11. Harvey Reading April 17, 2019

    Jesus is a white guy? How odd.

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