Mike Geniella’s incisive voice and watchful eye have been aimed at Mendocino County for many decades as a long-standing reporter for the Press Democrat and the spokesman for Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. Now retired, Geniella finds the writing habit hard to shake. We’re excited to host a column from him sharing his thoughts, comments, and concerns about life here in Mendocino County.
Okay. Upfront I will tell I am on a rant. By day’s end, there was a lot of gray but no substantial rain. Hopes for a good soaking were dashed.
I get cranky when expected outcomes do not materialize. Cynicism sets in.
As an old-school newspaperman, I obsessed with any given subject. I research the hell out of it, and then laboriously sort through the puzzles of information to reach my own conclusions. Yeah, my thoughts are usually no better than anyone else’s, but I work hard to base them on solid information.
Today, my thoughts are random.
Sometimes I swear out loud at the television when I hear bozos like Tucker Carlson defend all things Russian including former President Trump’s dealings with Putin, a former KGB agent is described as a ‘cold lizard’ by an individual who worked with him.
I damn near weep when I see the daily examples of the bravery and courage of the Ukrainian people in the face of the Russian terrorism that is being unleashed on their country and their culture.
I never served in the military. What do I know about the on-the-ground horrors of war? Or for that matter the grinding violence and substance abuse and mental health that local law enforcement deals with every day? Nothing. What I do understand is the good people of Ukraine are battling a beast. I cringe at the thought of the harsh realities that greet them every single hour of the day.
So please excuse me while I rant about a few local matters:
I hope the hell some of the flag-waving ‘Mendocino Patriots’ on Saturday ran out of gas during their so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ up to Willits and back. Mask mandates and other such infringements on their individual freedoms pale in comparison to what millions of people are facing around the world. Get a grip. Grow up. I hope you have to pay Mendocino village gas prices to fill your rigs back up, after wasting gasoline that working people, farmers, and others in need of affordable fuel could have used.
And then there seems to be a brouhaha over a Willits High School student, and a post online of something that was perceived by authorities to be a possible threat of violence. A defense attorney claimed to represent the 15-year-old who was taken into custody after an investigation and placed in Juvenile Hall for 2.5 days. She contended the District Attorney’s Office had cleared the teen, which led to his release and return home. Prosecutors are not going to talk about details of any case involving juveniles, as state law requires. So, who knows what if any determination was made?
What bothers me is the rush to blame Willits school personnel for their role in the teen’s arrest. Actually, it is astonishing. School administrators every day in this country are faced with the possibility of gun violence on their campuses. Dozens of students, teachers, and other innocents have been slaughtered on site. Should not we expect teachers and school administrators to be sensitive to any possibility? Should not we support them in those efforts?
Lastly, Matt LaFever’s piece about this guy amused me for a moment. Then I started thinking about Editor Bruce Anderson’s observation that in Mendocino County some people tend to reinvent themselves every day.
In Matt’s online MendoFever report:
“In the strange happenstance way Mendocino County seems to attract the unexpected, yesterday, a Game of Thrones villain was ordered to pay restitution for faulty contracting work he did almost four years ago. In 2018, 59-year-old Dan Hildebrand (AKA Kraznys mo Nakloz, a rich slave-trader) was charged with a series of misdemeanors associated with unlicensed contracting work he conducted on two Willits homes.
Fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones will recognize Hildebrand for his role as Kraznys mo Nakloz who became wealthy from training and trading the Unsullied, a race of warrior-eunuchs that would later become loyal to Daenerys Targaryen, the Dragon Queen.’
I Hope Hildebrand is pulling in the Hollywood royalties. He was ordered to pay nearly $75,000 for “faulty work he and his hand-picked associates attempted to undertake in 2018 for two Willits area homeowners,” according to a post by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.