On Racism

When I was a general assignment reporter just starting out in Charleston, West Virginia, in the mid-1970s, one of my first news directors advised me to steer clear of debating either abortion or capital punishment with anyone who either opposed the first or supported the second. “Save your breath,” he said. “Almost nobody changes their […]

Policing the Police

Ukiah isn’t Detroit. Or Chicago, where two years ago the city spent more than $113 million on lawsuits involving police misconduct. But neither is Mendo an island, as shown by residents who, in spite of the fact that blacks make up a scant .07 percent of the county’s population, recently turned out to peacefully protest […]

A Conversation with Al Kubanis

Ukiah attorney Al Kubanis has a really cool office. Smack dab across from the county courthouse’s Perkins Street entrance, you can’t miss it from the street; just head for the building with the unapologetic Trump poster in the east second-floor corner window. Once you walk through the glass doors take a deep breath and trudge […]

AV High Copes with Virus

Friday, March 13, was the last day that Anderson Valley Junior/Senior High School’s 213 students physically went to class. Social distancing regulations were tightening as the corona virus spread, and Principal Jim Snyder said that he spent a lot of time that weekend talking with county school superintendent Michelle Hutchins and other school principals about […]


When I was a knock-kneed bobby-soxed fifth grader I remember the big deal that my teachers made about the equality of all Americans. It was a kind of innocent strain of nascent American exceptionalism that would reach full flower over 55 years later with the election of Donald Trump. Back then we put our hands […]

Gimme Shelter

As we wake up to Old Man Winter’s icy mornings to pull on our coats, hats, and gloves to scrape the overnight ice off our windshields, the issue of the county’s homeless naturally grows more urgent, as it does around this time every year. Different groups with vested interests or divergent philosophies take up their […]

Choosing your Death

After passage by Californians at the ballot box, legal challenges, religious opposition, then finally the support of long-time opponent the California Medical Association, the California End of Life Option Act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015, and took effect the following year.  On a recent November morning in 2019, […]

Introducing Judge Pekin

When I first saw Patrick Pekin walk out of the Mendocino Volunteer Fire Station as I pulled into the parking lot I didn’t know what he looked like and guessed he was some college kid visiting the station for a term paper or something. Up close with his grayish hair and short straight-across bangs he […]

Who Will Save My Sole?

Walking into Ralph’s Shoe Repair on North State Street took me all the way back through the years to my five-year-old self listening raptly as my mom read Pinocchio to me. I imagined Master Geppetto, working in his cozy shop, whittling the wooden boy who would one day become his living son. The similarity is […]

Your Government, Not at Your Service

Project Sanctuary has never been awash in cash since a handful of locals started it up as a grass-roots domestic violence center in Ukiah in 1976. But over the years the scrappy little non-profit shelter has gotten by, cobbling together grants from the feds, the state, the county, and the fruits of its own fundraising […]

It Sucks To Be Duped

Journalists are drawn to their underappreciated profession for the same reason all artists are—by a compulsion that has to be wrestled to ground in long hours of solitude between the afflicted and a mess of paper and ink. Journalists are individuals, of course, and no cookie-cutter profile uniformly fits us all. But after decades of […]

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