Home Main Category Opinion Missive From Mendocino: Looking For Left And Right On The Lost Coast

Missive From Mendocino: Looking For Left And Right On The Lost Coast

Finding America's direction on its Lost Coast.

I learned Donald Trump had pulled off one of the most stunning political upsets in this country’s history from a former Army helicopter pilot and newfound drinking buddy deep in the wooded canyons of Mendocino County.

We were sitting around a fire pit on a former hunting estate, draining the supply of 18-year-old Scotch Eric had brought in with him from Los Angeles earlier in the week, a small group of us  watching a slow-moving herd of does graze in the meadow below us – coastal fog drifting in to moisten our faces. We were miles away from the nearest cell tower, thankfully, which was my reason for coming to this part of my home state in the first place. But Eric must’ve had a sat phone or something because he took a call sometime before 1 a.m., putting the device away to lean over and clink my glass with his.

“We’re in,” he said, his face bright by firelight, flushed after an afternoon of abalone diving and exposure to the sun I’ve been lucky enough to have had this whole trip.

At first I thought he meant we were in for a long night of indulgence with a great single malt, but then I realized Eric was talking about Donald Trump.

I came down out of the hills Wednesday morning, slightly hung over, in need of coffee and some WiFi.  I needn’t have worried about being cut off from news and information up here on the North Coast, because everyone was talking about the election. “Hey, we have televisions up here,” scolded Lani, the barista at Gualala’s Surf Market, and the political discourse continued from her coffee counter to Ron’s barber shop next door. Ron has a million-dollar view of the booming 15-foot surf crunching the beach a short distance away from his back door, along with a steady stream of customers who were all talking about our future as a nation.

Ron carefully cut around Ed’s impressive ponytail, as much a local landmark in this little town as its beach. Ed grew the thing in support of Ron when Ron was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years back. He survived that but Ed (ex-military with five languages and a balanced right/left view) kept it going in his honor. They have a pact for Ron to cut the braid when Ed passes so it can be made into a remembrance fly swatter for Ed’s family. I only mention that because it is an example of the sort of forward thinking you see in these parts.

“All my kids called to ask me where they should go (post election) and I made a few suggestions,” said Ed, who has been pretty much everywhere except Kowloon and Singapore (“Never made it, heard good things…) “I’m staying here though. I don’t think there’s anything Donald Trump can do to me here unless he shows up and starts taking my trees.”

Everyone at Ron’s this morning was worried about what the new president would do with the EPA, Supreme Court, and the nation’s oil and banking industries. All seemed resigned to his appointment. Most seemed willing to accept the results of the election, while recognizing the depth of the national anger.

“I hear he won because a whole lot of angry, uneducated white males turned out to vote,” Chris Sanders said, “and that seems like a hell of a way to pick a president to me.”

I will seize this opportunity to point out that while I did not predict a Trump presidency, we did say that things could very well go to hell in a hand basket as soon as we left. From what I’m hearing, from people like Eric and Ron the Barber and our own stalwart tech dev Spencer McClennan – I guess you could say things have lived up to our expectations.

Stay cool in the 24/680, I just wanted to check in. Be nice to Spencer (we understand he has developed a slight twitch and now talks about helicopters in his sleep.) Hang in down there. We’ll be back when we run out of beach, gas, or Scotch – which ever comes first.


  1. Have fun… and try not to run out of gas or scotch. Or at least gas. Spencer is doing an excellent job!

    Everyone is talking about the election here too…

  2. Blaming the election results on angry white guys is only scratching the surface. There is much to examine before real change can come about. I am fairly optimistic that people will find their way in all of this. Glad you are enjoying a well deserved break. Spencer is doing a great job by the way so all is forgiven.

    • Hi and thanks for writing Pamela. Where do you think his base of support came from? We’re interested!

  3. Wouldn’t it be nice if you kept your politics to yourself. I stumbled on this local news site
    and thought to myself, ‘Wow! how nice it is to find a seemingly neutral local news source
    that simply reports the facts. No editorializing from the left or right, no political correctness just the facts. Well there it is, the curtain has been drawn back, and there’s the progressive. Sorry I donated. There won’t be any more donations and the bookmark is gone. And remember, left or right, keeping your mouth shut about your personal politics is good for business.

  4. B’bye! A “seemingly neutral local news source that simply reports the facts” has been revealed as the “other”. Welcome to an alternate reality. Something HAS been revealed.

  5. Although it was a little more diverse than that it just isn’t relevant to my point. Each candidate was perceived as a gamble and there was a lot of nose holding on both sides of the aisle. I’m not going to tiptoe around the likely truth that if Bernie Sanders had been the Democratic nominee Trump probably would have lost.

  6. To elaborate, people were given a choice between voting for a racist (who played on people’s fears to get votes) or voting for Wall Street (who also played on people’s fears to get votes) in a climate where financial security has become nonexistent. Are you really that surprised that half of those people thought voting against Wall Street was safer than voting for a racist? Let’s just say that both candidates used fear and fear won. http://mynews4.com/news/local/donald-trump-did-better-than-romney-among-black-and-hispanic-voters-according-to-exit-poll

  7. Yeah, well I don’t know hoo spencer is, but free speech can be hard. The first rule of free speech is to never upset anyone, so congratulations spencer.
    11:18 pm

  8. Keep going JD. Judging from most of the comments so far there is precious little evidence of intelligent life down here, though I found Pamela’s comments well reasoned and thoughtful.

    • JD says it’s On to Oregon! for him – especially now since they’re hunting progressives in the 24/680! He didn’t know he was a progressive until someone here called him one, but he has warmed to the label!

  9. I wish I was up there with you right now! Mebbe not WITH you but you get the idea. As for us, we were glad to see the market come back as it did and now all the politicians lining up to kiss his…. ring!! Crazy days.

  10. David this piece was not written by Spencer and I like news 24/680 because they aren’t afraid to shake it a little even if it upsets some of us. It’s the nature of the beast. Also, given all the childish articles I’ve seen published by the MSM, JD has shown admirable restraint and still rocks in my book.

    Thank you Barbara, I’m glad that someone likes what I had to say.

    Everyone have a great day and try to stick around and work things out peacefully. This site fosters community like nothing else out there and I for one an sticking around.

  11. How dare you write your thinly disguised progressive propaganda hidden behind seemingly innocent stories of haircuts in the redwoods. This is a new day in America pal and we have our eye on you! Opinion is not allowed. Where do you think this is? Canada? Go there and get your free health care and maple syrup and let us make America great again. We’re coming for that guy’s trees too!!!

  12. Love is but a song to sing
    Fear’s the way we die
    You can make the mountains ring
    Or make the angels cry
    Though the bird is on the wing
    And you may not know why

    Come on people now
    Smile on your brother
    Everybody get together
    Try to love one another
    Right now

    The Youngbloods

  13. Spencer I’m sorry you weren’t around for the good old hippie days. Life was pretty good back then. Tell JD I enjoyed the video. I expect he’ll be homesick before long and then you’ll be able to go back to doing what you love best. Don’t be surprised though if you find yourself missing us every now and again.

    • Hi Pam and thanks for posting! Glad you enjoyed the vid link – I thought it was….. groovy! JD pushing north to see if Oregon will let him in, fading in and out of cell coverage along the way. I should have reinforcements here by Friday and although trying to cover news this week was a challenge, it was also a lot of fun. You all are not shy about writing and that’s a great thing!

  14. I think the state gets redder as you move further up the coast. We are in Fort Bragg now. Both here and in Willits, where we stopped yesterday, the locals seem pretty fired up about Trump. Sitting in a restaurant that Yelp called a “local’s favorite,” we heard a happy group of otherwise decent seeming people saying “at least now we can keep our guns.” I mean, I love my guns about as much as a hate HRC, but come on people. Trump? WTH? I’m pretty sure HRC is well right of Obama on 90% of stuff, and the world didn’t end over last 8 years.

    @Bill: I’ll bet I’m more conservative than you, but I enjoy dialog with folks who disagree with me. Let me know how much you donated to the site and I will PayPal you that amount and give double to the site.

    • Cool – that you are up north. JD said it was sunny and warm with big surf, great food and people so enjoy! I have to confess I missed the last part of your post during my first reading. Very funny! Great to have you with us!

  15. @Chris – Have they finished the Willits bypass? It looked close last time I was up there. I’m hoping it improves the Sunday afternoon commute home traffic. That part of the trip can be disasterous.

    Also, try Caspar if you’re up near Fort Bragg. Great area.

  16. I’d add the people on the Lost Coast can be very friendly. I take the RV & always pull out or pull over so they can pass me. The Bay Area folks rarely acknowledge, but the locals give a honk & a wave to thank me for being mindful to let them scoot by on those winding roads.

  17. Chris: JD said you were a man of your word. We have noted your very kind follow up to this particular instance and while we take it as a token of your faith and trust in this site JD says you two will have to talk when – you both? – return. We want to make sure you are covered here….

  18. @Tom: The Willits bypass is open, but GPS Nav didn’t get the memo– we overshot the turn to the 20 and had to double back! We’re at the new Newport Ranch Inn north of Fort Bragg. Zero visibility fog has so far prevented us from enjoying the alleged “ocean view” accommodations, but are otherwise enjoying ourselves up here in TrumpLand.

  19. It’s good to see that more people are starting to talk to each other since Trump became our President Elect. What I’m learning is that people who voted for him to keep Hillary out are nonetheless a little scared of him. I was involved in a facebook conversation last night that included Republicans, Democrats and Independents. As facebook friends we were all being very polite to each other. Only one Republican of three actually believed that Trump would be a good President despite voting for him. When I woke up this morning I saw a comment from a Republican that really gave me hope. He wrote “Nobody really liked either candidate. Viva la resistance? Band together, rather than fight each other?” Anyone else seeing this kind of interaction?

  20. First, I’m glad that Bill guy is gone because I found his position just a little bit south of crazy. If he wasn’t an overt troll and genuinely felt that way I believe it is better that he left. Second – as Pamela is asking good questions I say we vote her in as class leader. Me? I’m a conservative but believe I can find (and steal) good ideas wherever I can find them. I feel the machinery is in place for real change here and while our overall situation is still perilous we may be able to get some good things done if we can get past the combover and the bombast and examine the man’s POLICIES. This week has shown us that it’s not going to be easy or without rancor, but maybe we can pull this off and make it something good for all.

  21. Pick your extreme position …. there are so many floating around out there right now. I voted and my candidate did not win and I get that but I am having a hard time digesting the still seething sense of resentment in the country. It was almost as if they were just waiting to make their move and if things didn’t go the way they expected this time they were headed to their gun cabinets. I found the we’re in comment from the guy in Mendocino very interesting. There’s another country out there San Francisco knows nothing about.

  22. I doubt Bill even read this. I read it three times looking for a sign of what he says pissed him off so much and can’t find a thing.

  23. @Bette, a lot of us believe that the person who gets the most votes should become President. Gore in 2000 and HRC in 2016, for example. The current system is antiquated and undemocratic. Try explaining our “democracy” to a foreigner. The electoral college may serve to protect rural voters from the domination of more liberal urban voters, but to what end. We have a Constitution to protect the various religious, racial, and ethnic minorities when it is allowed to work. Someone has to win the election and lead even in a politically divided country. The fact that the stakes are huge doesn’t alter that. I would prefer a democratic process. The one who gets the most votes should lead for 4 years.
    Of course, there are other reasons to be upset about the nature of this year’s winner but I won’t beat that dead horse here.

  24. Nice to have you back. As for that Bill person he was either a troll or just completely out of touch with our Constitution.

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