Homeless In Paradise

It’s that time of year again. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is busy tabulating the nation’s official homeless count following January’s nationwide one-day point-in-time count, a task it has undertaken since 1987. Required by HUD and reported to Congress, the homeless count is planned, coordinated, and carried out locally by volunteers armed […]

The Way It Works

A ragged 10-year-old boy is picking barefoot through an ocean of trash, patiently searching for anything of value that his family can turn into food or shelter. He steps on what turns out to be a fragile crust near the top of the heap, which collapses under his weight, breaking his leg in three places […]

Jeb Bush Comes To California

Jeb Bush was in town lecturing last week. Remember him during the Republican presidential debates? The guy on the left with the hip rimless glasses and the perpetually stunned look on his face? At first blush his appearance at my local downtown theatre was a miracle; he must’ve figured some way to tack 50 points […]

But It Was Suicide

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Investigative Services Office reports that, save for one final ongoing review by two county homicide detectives, the final cause-of-death report for pot grower Leo Hartz, owner and manager of Shine On Farms in the Upper Peachland, north of Boonville, is almost complete. Hartz, 39, a native of Pennsylvania, died at the […]

Behold Lake-Mendo Mobile Home Estates!

Truth and integrity, like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. Behold Lake Mendocino Mobile Home Estates, a senior (55-plus) mobile home park north of Ukiah’s city limits and one of at least 60 mobile (or manufactured) home parks in Mendocino County. Touted as a 5-star park on its out-of-area owner’s website, many of […]

Then & Now

A couple of months ago at a family dinner party, a high school sophomore from my son-in-law’s side of the family walked into the room, taking time out from her texting long enough to say ‘Hello’ to everyone. She was wearing her underwear. Really. There’s just nothing else to call it: thigh-high tight sheer skirt […]

Free Speech

Last week I grabbed my cell phone, pen, and a notebook and trudged up University Avenue to the Berkeley campus’s west entrance. I was there to check out the kick-off day for Berkeley’s Freedom Speech Week. I counseled myself as I wound up to the center of campus to resist falling victim to geezerhood and […]

Healers In The House Of The Ill

When you walk into the reception area of the Mendocino County Jail on Low Gap Road the room is lined with photographs of county sheriffs going back through the 19th century. Looking back through time the sheriffs look more and more like the black-and-white studio portraits you’ve probably seen of your great or great-great grandfather: […]

Abortion 2017

In 1968 I was a 17-year-old philosophy major living in the dorms at U.C. Riverside. Along with all the usual adjustments to living away from home, like eating dorm food, one incident is nearly as vivid today as it was all those years ago. One of my dorm mates became pregnant. Five years away from […]


Donald Trump is a living, walking ad for the importance of the humanities. He’s too old to have coasted through the 1960s untouched by any of its idealism and issues of social justice, but there you have it. The president exemplifies all that a successful businessman aspires to be: a single-focused, short term, ruthless champion […]

When There Was Some Compassion…

As the teenager of liberal, civic-minded parents in the mid-1960s I spent every other Saturday afternoon volunteering at Napa State Hospital. Those mornings I piled into my Dad’s Mercury with two friends and drove the 45 minutes or so to the hospital gate. Those were the days before patients had to be some version of […]