NORML’s Deputy Director Speaks Volumes

The National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)— which was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup and that now has 135 chapters nation-wide and 550 lawyers ready to serve — is still going strong as the bulwark of the marijuana cause. There’s much more to do, though a great deal has been accomplished […]

1969 & All That Weird Stuff

When my friends ask librarians to recommend a novel by a local author that’s set in Sonoma County they suggest Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights and Jack London’s The Valley of the Moon. They rarely if ever point readers in the direction of The Girls by Emma Cline. Some of the settings are vague, but Cline mentions Petaluma, East Washington Street, Adobe […]

Ferlingetti at 100

Much of the spirit of City Lights Books and City Lights Publishing found their way into the pages of AVA, and the AVA found its way to City Lights on Columbus Avenue, the best little bookstore in the world. It felt good to see the AVA displayed along with newspapers and magazines from around the […]

Kerouac Meets McCarthy on TV

Think of the 1950s and it’s hard not to think of the bomb, blonde bombshells like Marilyn Monroe, Beat Generation writers and that all-American ogre, Senator Joseph McCarthy who burned himself up and burned out quickly, though not soon enough for those who feared him and detested him. Jack Kerouac, the King of the Beats, […]

The Promise & Perils of Hemp

Tony Linegar, the former Mendocino Agricultural Commissioner, is in his eighth year as Sonoma County Ag Commissioner. Not surprisingly, he’s not fading quietly into the sunset, not with yet another controversial crop on the horizon. “Solving the challenge of how hemp can fit into the agricultural landscape will be a balancing act with many opposing […]

What’s Eating San Francisco?

If you drive around San Francisco and go up and down its many hills, you will notice long lines of people standing on the sidewalk looking bored. Nine times out of ten, they are not waiting to get into a bank or a bordello, but into a restaurant, a bakery, a café, a taqueria, a […]

Mary Fuller: Knocking On Heaven’s Door

One day before too long, a journalist will craft an obit about the artist known as Mary Fuller who lived much of her life on Sonoma Mountain with her husband and fellow artist Robert (Mac) McChesney, an abstract expressionist, a printmaker and lots more. Also, one day a wordsmith will write a biography of Mary […]

Introducing Judge Faulder

Is there anything that Judge Keith Faulder can’t do in a courtroom? No, probably not. After all, he’s been a crusading lawyer for the defense and a crusading lawyer for the prosecution. For eight years, he served in the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, including a stint as the interim DA, after the death, in […]

MLK Day: The Legacy of the Man & the Myth

Long gone are the days when white American radicals turned their collective backs on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), and embraced Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. In those heady days during the late 1960s, King sounded, at least to young protesters against the War in Vietnam, like a reformer who belonged to the […]