Archive for September, 2013

This is a story that meanders from Montmartre, the nightclub district in Paris, to Storyville, the historic red-light district of New Orleans, to San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin.

Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901) is, of course, famous for his post-impressionistic paintings of nightclubs and prostitutes (right) in Montmartre.

You may recall he broke his left leg when he was 12 and his right leg when he was 14. Neither healed correctly, resulting in his never growing beyond 4.5 feet tall.

Although he was mocked and bullied because of his stature, he was a sociable man, especially when drinking, and was well liked by his prostitute models.

The American photographer E.J. Bellocq (1873-1949) was a contemporary of Toulouse Lautrec, and by chance his growth too had been stunted.

Bellocq earned his living as a commercial photographer but is famous today for his photographs of prostitutes in Storyville.

He was a shy man, but the women considered him a likeable gentleman and quite willingly posed for him.

Prostitute, Storyville, New Orleans (right), c. 1912, by E.J. Bellocq

Only a few of Bellocq’s negatives survive. Long after his death, the photographer Lee Friedlander managed to buy and salvage them and finally made the Storyville photos public in a show and in book form in the 1970s.

A few years later, in August 1980, I had a couple of hours to kill in San Francisco on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I had just left brunch on Broadway with a friend, and as I drove away, I noticed a streetwalker making eye contact with a pedestrian. My camera was in the car, and I got a sudden inspiration: why not do a series on the streetwalkers of 1980 at work in San Francisco?

In the future, I reasoned, such a collection might have some of the historic interest of Toulouse Lautrec’s painted women in Paris or Bellocq’s prostitutes in Storyville. So I drove a few blocks and soon found myself in the Tenderloin — that rough neighborhood southwest of Union Square and north of Market Street.

Having stopped for a sign, I watched a white prostitute (at left) across the street pick up an Asian man and lead him around the corner to a shabby hotel on Eddy Street.

Eddy is a one-way street, and there was a parking space on the left curb almost opposite the hotel entrance. I parked, turned off the motor, and put a telephoto lens on the camera. I looked at my watch; it was 3:05 p.m.

After adjusting my sideview mirror so I could see back up the sidewalk and my rearview mirror so I could see up the street behind me, I lit my pipe and put a coat over my camera. Then I sat back to watch.

Almost immediately, I spotted a very drunk couple sitting on a doorstep with their feet on the sidewalk. Although they were less than 20 feet away, they were oblivious of me. The woman’s face was puffy — apparently from drink and physical abuse. The man had numerous scars on his face. A front tooth was missing.

For awhile, the couple cooed and flirted with each other. Then they argued. Twice the man shoved his companion back against a wall, but they remained seated, and she didn’t appear to get hurt. Soon they were cooing again. Then arguing. Then more cooing. Occasionally, each would take a drink from a bottle, but mostly they just smoked cigarettes.

Suddenly, a wisp of smoke made me notice that one of the woman’s green tennis shoes was beginning to smolder from a cigarette burn. Soon she noticed too and slapped at the ember a couple of times while remaining seated.

The man, however, did not see the persistent little burn and kept up his alternately aggressive and affectionate ramblings. Within moments, the woman had forgotten about her still-smoldering shoe and resumed her part in the arguing and cooing. Periodically, she noticed the ever-growing column of smoke and took a few more slaps at her shoe — the man still not noticing and she still sitting down. Nor did he notice when she finally pulled the shoe off and set it on the sidewalk, where it continued to smolder.

Up Eddy Street came another woman, also about 30 and apparently a resident of the neighborhood. She was pushing a baby cart, but when she saw the smoking shoe, she stopped and stomped on it a couple of times. At this point, the man finally noticed the shoe was off and made a clumsy attempt to put it back on his companion’s foot, still not noticing the smoke.

This bizarre drama was interrupted, however, by the jolt of a 40ish black man bouncing off the back of my car and landing on his backside in the street. He was drunk, and so was his assailant who had just knocked him into a traffic lane, a white man in his late 20s with his shirt off. The white reminded me of photos I’d seen of weightlifters in prison — pale skin over huge muscles. For some reason, he was furious with the black.

Two car lengths behind me, a long, brown sedan pulled abruptly into a vacant parking space. While I watched in my rearview mirror, a black man in expensive cowboy garb, dark glasses, and a white hat jumped out of the car. The white man wheeled around, and the black cowboy quickly held up the palms of his hands to him.

Somehow, the new arrival managed to calm the angry white and then curtly ordered the terrified man in the street to get up and into the sedan. The black men did not appear to know each other. It was a brother helping a brother get away from trouble — and done with great diplomatic skill, given the fury of the white man.

A century ago, she could have been a model  for a Henri de Toulouse Lautrec painting or an E.J. Bellocq portrait instead of a subject for a photojournalist on the street.

As my eye followed the sedan driving away, I saw the customer walk out of the hotel across the street. A moment or so behind him came the prostitute (above). For a few seconds, she stood in the doorway surveying the street as I clicked off a couple of photos. When she headed off up Eddy Street, I checked my watch; it was 3:20 pm. What a range of Tenderloin reality I’d seen in 15 minutes.

Pilgrim’s Wilderness, a True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier by journalist Tom Kizzia is easily one of the best books I’ve read in years. Extraordinarily well researched and very well written, the non-fiction story at times also bears an uncanny resemblance to recent events in West Marin.

Remember Marcus Wesson (in Fresno Police photo at right)? He lived halftime on a tugboat moored offshore at Marshall where he headed a cult-like family of 10 women and children, most of whom were kept below deck.

Although Wesson presented himself as a pious man, he was in periodic conflicts with the law and his neighbors. He also fathered two of his own grandchildren.

Things came to ahead in 2004 when Wesson shot to death nine family members — eight of them children — while in Fresno. A year later, he was found guilty of nine counts of first-degree murder and 14 counts of molestation and rape. He was sentenced to be executed but remains on death row.

I couldn’t help but think of Wesson when I read in Kizzia’s book about Papa Pilgrim, the head of a somewhat-similar family cult.

Pilgrim’s Wilderness is set in the small Alaskan town of McCarthy, which like West Marin is mostly surrounded by federal parkland. Where the Point Reyes National Seashore is trying to stop historic oyster growing within the park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is seen trying to stop inholders from reopening historic mining roads within the park to reach their property.

Of course, that’s only part of the story. Also having significance in the course of events are: the family of former Texas Governor John Connally; President Kennedy’s assassination; All-American offensive tackle I.B. Hale; the FBI; former Interior Secretary James Watt; the Pacific Legal Foundation; “the rural meth belt of the Palmer-Wasilla valley”; and Sarah Palin, the former mayor of Wasilla, governor of Alaska, and vice presidential candidate.

McCarthy in 1983 shortly after creation of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. The largest in the country, the park is bigger than Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey combined. (Photo from Pilgrim’s Wilderness)

Papa Pilgrim, his wife, and offspring arrived in McCarthy in 2002, looking like an Amish family and speaking in Biblical phrases. The few residents of McCarthy assumed the family was eccentric but pious. When the Pilgrims bought the old Mother Lode copper mine site in the backcountry, however, other people realized that maintaining access to it would be difficult because of Alaskan weather and the mountainous terrain.

But the Pilgrims insisted they were prepared for the challenge and won a measure of acceptance with public performances of folk songs and “hillbilly” hymns.

No one knew Papa’s real name was Bob Hale and that he had been briefly married to John Connally’s 16-year-old daughter, whom he either shot to death or drove to committing suicide. After he passed a lie-detector test, he was not prosecuted.

Bob Hale — later called Papa Pilgrim — in New Mexico during the 1990s. (Photo from Pilgrim’s Wilderness)

At 33, Hale found another 16-year-old bride and took her to a cabin in New Mexico’s wilderness where they began producing children, none of whom was taught to read or write.

Hale, who resumed drinking heavily, proved to be a brutal father. He regularly beat his wife and children, and they were often seen with welts and bruises. These would be explained away as accidents. When Hale’s oldest daughter, Elishaba, turned 18, he demanded she become his sexual partner. Only after he’d spent two decades in this family cult did one son come to wonder whether they’d all been “brainwashed” into accepting Papa’s cruelty.

Nor could Hale be trusted. In New Mexico, he often had family members cut neighbors’ fences in order to give his family’s sheep and goats more room to graze. When the neighbors complained, he could be threatening on some occasions and charming — but deceitful — on others. Eventually Hale and his wife Rose decided to start over in Alaska and began using the name Pilgrim.

Initially, the story revolves around the Pilgrims’ very public battle with the Park Service over Papa’s reopening an access road through the park.

Other McCarthy residents were also upset with rangers’ blocking another road into town, and thanks to widespread coverage in the press, the Pilgrims’ struggle for access to their home became a cause célèbre.

The struggle was joined by property-rights groups, who also provided the family with legal representation.

In the end, however, Papa Pilgrim’s dishonesty, brutality, and sexual abuse of Elishaba become the issue. These are grim matters, but the denouement is inspiring.

Nor is the book an attack on puritanical Christianity. In contrast to the evil hidden behind Papa Pilgrim’s histrionic piety, the author describes a truly pious family whose compassion helps save the day.

I should stress that all the above is merely a sketch of a few incidents in the book. Thanks to exhaustive research, the author is able to make sense out of the many unlikely events that accompanied an egomaniacal patriarch’s arriving in McCarthy with a cult-like family in tow — and then settling far from civilization in the mountains.

Pilgrim’s Wilderness is a captivating story, made all the more intriguing by being a factual account of life on Alaska’s still-surviving frontier. The book should have particular appeal to West Marin readers who will find in it echoes of their own recent history. (Crown Publishers, 310 pages, $25)

Writing last week’s posting required a struggle against paranoia. The posting criticized the Obama Administration’s then-proposed air attack on Syria, and every time I Googled “Syria” or “al Qaeda” or “Iran” or “Assad” or “chemical weapons,” I wondered if I had just triggered National Security Administration (NSA) scrutiny of my Internet use, as well as my phone calls.

Whether the Obama Administration likes it or not, Edward Snowden (right) performed an invaluable service when he informed Americans about the vast amount of domestic spying — most of it without court authorization — being carried out by the NSA.

Snowden, who had worked for an NSA contractor, is paying for his good deed by having to take asylum in Russia to avoid federal prosecution in this country.

Like former President Jimmy Carter, I am grateful that Snowden blew the whistle on the US intelligence community’s illegally spying on millions of Americans under the supposed excuse of looking for terrorists, and I wish him well.

“In the weeks after 9/11, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct a range of surveillance activities inside the United States, which had been barred by law and agency policy for decades,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes on its website. The foundation has repeatedly filed court challenges to the government’s invasion of the public’s privacy.

“When the NSA’s spying program was first exposed by The New York Times in 2005, President Bush admitted to a small aspect of the program — what the administration labeled the ‘Terrorist Surveillance Program’ — in which the NSA monitored, without warrants, the communications of between 500 and 1000 people inside the US with suspected connections to al Qaeda.

“But other aspects of the Program were aimed not just at targeted individuals, but perhaps millions of innocent Americans never suspected of a crime,” the foundation adds.

“First, the government convinced the major telecommunications companies in the US, including AT&T, MCI, and Sprint, to hand over the ‘call-detail records’ of their customers. According to an investigation by USA Today, this included ‘customers’ names, street addresses, and other personal information.’ In addition, the government received ‘detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.’

“A person familiar with the matter told USA Today that the agency’s goal was ‘to create a database of every call ever made’ within the nation’s borders. All of this was done without a warrant or any judicial oversight.

“Second, the same telecommunications companies also allowed the NSA to install sophisticated communications surveillance equipment in secret rooms at key telecommunications facilities around the country. This equipment gave the NSA unfettered access to large streams of domestic and international communications in real time — what amounted to at least 1.7 billion emails a day, according to The Washington Post.

“The NSA could then data mine and analyze this traffic for suspicious key words, patterns and connections. Again, all of this was done without a warrant in violation of federal law and the Constitution.”

Jameel Jaffer, the American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, said the pervasive spying on US citizens goes “beyond Orwellian.”

Before NSA’s widespread domestic spying was revealed, President Bush acknowledged the government was scrutinizing the international email and phone calls of Americans. As someone who communicates regularly with relatives in Canada and Guatemala, I probably was on the watch list early on.

But what really gave me the heebie jeebies was a comment on last week’s posting from someone — apparently in Australia — who provided the URL to a propagandist for the Syrian government. If the NSA wasn’t already spying on me, that was bound to do it, I reasoned but allowed the comment to go online anyhow.

Ho, hum, the naive will say, if I’m not doing anything wrong, why should I mind the government’s spying on me? First, it’s unconstitutional. Second, like most people I try to maintain some privacy. Third, the US government is increasingly causing trouble for journalists who criticize the administration.

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye spent three years in prison because of a phone call from President Obama.

The Sept. 8 San Francisco Chronicle carried a worrisome account of a journalist in Yemen, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, whom a Yemini antiterrorism court in 2011 convicted of aiding al Qaeda. Shaye, who wrote freelance articles for The Washington Post and other US news media, had previously interviewed al Qaeda leaders.

In addition, The Chronicle reported, Shaye “broke the story that a 2009 missile strike on a village in south Yemen, which Yemen’s government said it launched as an attack on an al Qaeda training camp, was actually a US bombing and that most of the victims were women and children.”

Following Shaye’s conviction, Yemen’s then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh (right) was about to pardon Shaye and immediately release him from prison, The Chronicle added, when Saleh got a personal phone call from Obama who convinced him to to keep Shaye locked up for three years.

Nor is Shaye the only journalist targeted by the Obama Administration.

In the name of counter-terrorism, the Justice Department last year seized two months of the Associated Press’ phone records and “seized phone records from several Fox News lines — and labeled one correspondent a criminal ‘co-conspirator’ in its successful effort to seize his personal emails,” Fox News reported.

Describing a correspondent for ultra-conservative Fox News as a “co-conspirator” for having had contacts with a government source is chutzpah so extreme it boggles the mind. Of course, the more the NSA — which is part of the Defense Department — pushes the US toward becoming George Orwell’s 1984, the easier it is for Big Brother to harass reporters.

“A new poll of Americans has found that though the nation remains wary over the prospect of becoming involved in another Middle Eastern war, the vast majority of US citizens strongly approve of sending Congress to Syria,” The Onion reported in its Sept. 5 issue.

“The New York Times/CBS News poll showed that though just 1 in 4 Americans believe that the United States has a responsibility to intervene in the Syrian conflict, more than 90 percent of the public is convinced that putting all 535 representatives of the United States Congress on the ground in Syria… is the best course of action at this time,” the satirical newspaper and website added.

In fact, the Obama Administration’s proposal to attack Syria to punish its ruler for attacking its own civilians with poison gas was a terrible farce. Thank God that idea seems to be fading. According to news reports, the Syrian government had moved its weaponry to residential neighborhoods, thus creating a human shield for its arsenal. As a result, the primary effect of air raids on Syria could well have been to kill hundreds, if not thousands, more civilians.

Fortunately President Obama on Monday announced that if there are adequate safeguards, he’s prepared to accept Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to head off a US attack: let the UN take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons and destroy them. The proposal, which has Syria’s blessing, comes only days before Congress was to vote on whether to approve an attack. That vote has now been postponed. To many people, Obama’s statements in preparation for the vote seemed downright disgraceful.

Former congressional candidate Norman Solomon of Inverness Park commented in the Sept. 8 Marin Independent Journal, “President Barack Obama is seeking authorization from Congress for use of military force against Syria — while asserting the right to ignore the decision by Congress if it doesn’t go his way.

“Blending tragedy and farce, this approach would destroy the meaning of congressional ‘authorization,’ turning Congress into an advisory body when it votes on whether the US government should launch a military attack on another country,” Solomon wrote.

“In matters of war and peace, the next step might be for the Executive Branch to provide all 535 members of Congress with juice, graham crackers and blankets for naptime….

Democrat Norman Solomon and his wife, Cheryl Higgins, campaigning in the 2012 Western Weekend parade.

“An American attack would also provide major help to ‘rebels,’ aligned with al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists, who are as repressively cruel as the Assad regime they seek to overthrow. The chilling parallels with massive US aid to mujahedeen forces in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan during the 1980s should be hard to miss….

“It’s crucial that Congress vote against attacking Syria. But the problems with the president’s approach go far deeper than his scenario for war, awful as it is. Without enormous pushback, Obama will succeed in establishing a political precedent that is antithetical to the separation of powers and the consent of the governed.

“As with the president’s atrocious support for the now-exposed surveillance programs that have put the National Security Agency in a Big Brother role, our country’s basic constitutional principles are at stake.”

So what should the US do? In a letter to the editor printed in the Sept. 5 San Francisco Chronicle, Pete McCloskey proposed one reasonable response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. A much-decorated Navy and Marine Corps veteran who served in Congress from 1967 to 1983, McCloskey wrote:

“Whatever might be the vote with respect to military action against Syria, it would be a good time for Congress to reassert its reliance on international law and the World Court’s jurisdiction to try national leaders for war crimes such as the use of poison gas….

“Declaring Bashar Assad a war criminal and suggesting that a tribunal be convened to try him might do as much to deter future use of poison gas by Assad as any ‘surgical’ military strike…. If deterrence of future use of poison gas is a primary goal of President Obama, it is entirely consistent with the goal that Assad know that he will one day face trial as a war criminal.”

Former Congressman Pete McCloskey at West Marin School in November 2011. Annoyed at the “new brand of Republicanism,” McCloskey in 2007 switched from Republican to Democrat.

If Assad loses his grip on Syria, it will, of course, be possible to put him on trial, so it’s worth remembering that the State Department for some time has predicted that his regime isn’t going to last too much longer. In July a year ago, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters, “The sand is running out of the hour glass… [It] should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime: the days are numbered.”

Assad’s government is a brutal one, the US government correctly declares, but that very brutality is the reason our government had a close working relationship with Syria until recently.

After 9/11, the CIA began a program of “extraordinary rendition” in order to use torture to interrogate foreigners we captured in the Middle East. Because it was unable to use “enhanced interrogation” techniques on US soil, the CIA began sending detainees to foreign countries. As The Washington Post reported last Feb. 5, the CIA often counted on foreign governments — “some of them quite nasty” — to do the torturing.

The Post quoted a 2005 New Yorker article that noted, “Syria was one of the ‘most common destinations for rendered suspects.’ [Syrian] government forces, according to [an Open Society Foundation] report, held some of the US-provided detainees in a prison known as ‘The Grave’ for its coffin-sized cells and subjected them to ‘torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine and beatings.'”

Interestingly, some of the other renditions were to Iran which, like Syria, is usually our adversary. So why did the two countries cooperate with the US? Syria and Iran, like the US, are enemies of al-Qaeda, The Washington Post explained, and it was a matter of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Whether President Assad ordered a poison-gas attack on his own people was still being debated as recently as last weekend. Assad was claiming the rebels did the gassing. The German press said government forces may have carried out the attack without his authorization. And the Russian press claimed the West’s account of what happened “doesn’t make sense.”

Is Syrian President Bashar Assad getting the message?

I personally believe that Assad did order a poison-gas attack and, like McCloskey, think he should eventually be held accountable.

In the meantime, is there anything else to be done?

According to the poll of Americans quoted by The Onion, “91 percent of those surveyed agreed that the active use of sarin gas by the Syrian government would, if anything, only increase poll respondents’ desire to send Congress to Syria.”

The Onion quoted a “survey respondent and Iraq War veteran Maj. General John Mill” as saying that sending Congress — or at least congressional leaders — to Syria “is the correct course of action.” But the US needs to take action “sooner rather than later,” Mill added. “This war isn’t going to last forever.”

Ironically, an actual poll by the Associated Press found public opinion isn’t much different from the tongue-in-cheek poll reported in The Onion. “Only 1 in 5 Americans believe that failing to respond to chemical weapons attacks in Syria would embolden other rogue governments,” AP reported Monday. The wire service described these findings as “rejecting the heart of a weeks-long White House campaign for US military strikes.”

I found it fascinating that the results suggest Democrats are significantly more hawkish than Republicans, at least in this case. “The poll indicated that 53 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents, and 73 percent of Republicans believe Congress should vote against the plan to strike Syria,” AP reported.

“Overall, 61 percent of people surveyed said they wanted Congress to vote against authorizing military strikes in Syria.” This gets us back to The Onion’s poll: if members of Congress ignore public opinion and vote for an attack, send them all to Syria.

Tomales was founded in 1850, and almost a thousand people showed up Sunday for the town’s annual Founders’ Day celebration. It was a huge crowd for a town with only 200 or so year-round residents. Attracting all the visitors were both a parade and festivities in the town park.

This year the parade route was shortened to just one long block of the main street, Highway 1.  The reduction allowed the Highway Patrol to reroute traffic onto Dillon Beach Road, Carrie Street, and Second Street instead of having to temporarily stop all vehicles on the highway.

Bystanders clapped as the US Coast Guard honor guard from the Two Rock Training Center marched past in the early going of the parade.

The middle of a long line of motorcycles that rumbled up the main street.

The Redwood Empire Harley Owners Group, affectionately known as HOGS, provided the riders. HOGS is based in Rohnert Park, and among its activities is raising money for Meals on Wheels.

A flowery float.

Hands Full Farm of Valley Ford is run by the truck’s driver, Anna Erickson, a fifth generation rancher. The farm has now gone “big time into eggs and lots of chickens,” she says but adds that she still finds time to make “jams and homemade goodies.” _______________________________________________________________

At the microphone.

From the balcony over Diekmann’s General Store, Bert Crews and Lena Furlong, both of Tomales, were the parade announcers. _______________________________________________________________

The Stair Builders float, a motorized mini go-cart, was entered by George R. Magan, whose business designs, constructs, delivers, and installs handcrafted staircases. The business, which previously operated in Petaluma, has moved into Tomales’ Cerini Garage building.

The Hubbub Club from Graton, Sonoma County, provided upbeat music and some lively dancing.

School spirit.

Tomales High cheerleaders sang out as they marched up the main street.

Dan’s Auto Repair of Tomales again this year entered a clown car that fell apart during the procession and had to be reassembled before continuing.

The Sam Brannan Chapter of E Clampus Vitus is an annual entry in the parade.

The Clampers, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage, has memorialized events in Tomales history. This Napa-based chapter has also contributed greatly to Tomales Community Park’s remodeling project.

District 3 Dairy Princess Francesa (Frankie) Gambonini (right) and first alternate Jessi Peterson are this year’s goodwill ambassadors for the North Bay dairy industry. They are riding in a 2008 Corvette driven by Bill Maestretti of Maestretti and Son Firewood.

Marshall sculptor Jason McLean drove a truck carrying his elaborate creation called “Got Art?” A skateboarder caught a ride by holding onto the rear.

Riding another McLean entry, which has appeared in a number of parades, is Shannon Hobbs.

A doodle, llama, and goat procession.

A 13-year-old llama named Crunch was led by Jeff Etemad of Tunnel Hill Ranch in Tomales. In front of Jeff, his son Cam led a golden doodle named Lucky. They were accompanied by Aidan Black. Following close behind the llama were the Barlas Boer Goats — great for clearing brush — entered by Nancy Barlas of Petaluma.

Rancher Al Poncia of Tomales rides on a 1946 International truck driven by Gary Thornton of the Thornton Ranch. Al’s son Loren was the grand marshal of the parade.

A 1950 Farmall M.

The sexagenarian tractor, which was driven by Johnny Sanchez, pulled a trailer carrying seven Sanchez grandchildren, who ranged in age from 2 to 10. The Sanchez family ranch is located on Fallon Road northeast of town. ________________________________________________________________

A prophet (Beth Koelker of Tomales) carried a “visual alert” that “The End Is Near,” the end of the parade, that is.

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After the parade, most of the crowd repaired to Tomales Community Park where booths sold food, drinks, crafts, and more throughout the afternoon.

Seven women sold tamales to raise funds for the Reading Book Club of Tomales. The private group is comprised of people who enjoy reading books published in Spanish.

Standing at center (from left) are booster club board members Debbie Becera, John Azevedo, and Missy Calvi.

Tomales Booster Club sold t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money for Tomales High sports. The group, which just put in a new scoreboard at the football field, also raises funds for scholarships and puts on sports banquets.

Festivities in Tomales are always grand fun, and the only serious problem I noticed Sunday was that the park’s two restrooms were about to run out of T.P. Unable to find any park personnel to restock the lavatories, I walked a block to the general store and bought a four-roll package. I then asked the first two people waiting in line for a door to open to each take a couple of rolls in with them. Both were more than pleased to do so.

“Well, I’ve done my good deed for today,” I told a friend from Marshall afterward. “So everything came out all right in the end,” the older man quipped.