As the Gentle Rain from Heaven

“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The thronèd monarch better than his crown.” These are the opening lines of Portia’s soliloquy begging […]

What Do I Know?

I know this: When it comes to Judi Bari and the oft-repeated assertion that Michael Sweeney wrote the Lord’s Avenger Letter, all I can say is this: that accusation is not true. For years, the editor of this paper and I have gone back and forth on this issue. The editor said Sweeney wrote it.  […]

Bre’r Rabbit & The Political-Media Complex

Forget about the famed military-industrial complex of the Eisenhower years. It isn’t what it was. Yes, we have a military, but the industrial complex was shipped to China years ago. In current times, the political-media complex is the danger that we face. Regionally, for instance, take Kevin Fixler, (media) who writes for the Press Democrat, […]

Homeboy Dave

On a scale of one to ten, I admit that when it comes to governance, my confidence in the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is zero. Nada cum zilch. For decades, county roads have equaled those of rural India. With our current board and county bureaucrats, county roads have morphed from a concern to a […]

Tax Party!

A black, stretch limo speeds west on Low Gap Road, careens into the Mendocino County government complex, and comes to an abrupt stop. Several laughing figures rush from the building with bottles of Dom Perignon. They pile into the limo. The door remains open with the engine idling.


By way of analogy allow me to exaggerate about how to rob a bank without a gun. First, you become an elected official—say, a Mendocino county supervisor. Thus, no need for a firearm. Use your mouth and guile. The bank is the County of Mendocino, essentially the citizens, who put their money into the bank […]

Chairman John

I’m beginning to know John. Not completely, of course, for who can entirely know another when we seldom wholly know ourselves? Nevertheless, when it comes to politicians, it’s best we give it a try. Like a cat that plays with a mouse, some of these people find pleasure while messing with our lives. Who’s John? […]

Know Your Snitch

The letter arrived in the mail. They turned me down. Mendocino County refused to issue me a business license for short-term rentals. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors must be high-fiving on that. Brown and Hamburg are pumping fists. McCowen and Gjerde are dancing cheek to cheek. (Metaphorically I assume.) They turned me down because […]

I Hope I Don’t Go To Jail

It was such a lovely summer. The novel I’m working on was already at 200 pages and more. I decided to take a break. We went to France—Finisterre and Brittany on the Atlantic coast. We visited Normandy. Standing on the bluffs overlooking the bloody sacrifice of Omaha beach, I saw where Americans landed without benefit […]

Why The Lights Go Out Again & Again & Again

Early January. Big storm, lots of rain; the electricity goes off for four days. I’m not home. I’m traveling. I return a few days later and there it is: the long puddle of putrid water emanating from the bottom of the refrigerator. Many people who live in the woodsy, rural areas of northern California have […]

At The End Of The River

Cattails. I saw them for the first time this summer. A patch was growing on the south bank, another at the end of the small island that lies near the river’s mouth that’s currently blocked by sand. Cattails exist on the periphery of ponds and marshes. They are abundantly seen in bogs. Cattails are often deliberately planted in slow, effluent-bearing streams flowing from wastewater treatment plants. Cattails remove nutrients—usually ammonia from animal waste or fertilizers. Ammonia accelerates algae growth. Unfortunately—as yet—there are not enough cattails to remove the nutrients in the estuarine mouth of the Navarro River.