March 6, 2023

A Councilman's Misuse of an Official Logo

Ted Mayrhofen, newly elected Director of Mission Springs Water District, who was elected in a three-way race to the seat vacated by Steve Grasha who in turn was elected to the Desert Water Agency Board, has apparently told MSWD officials not to take or post his photo in the lobby along with the other Directors, or to put it on the MSWD web page either. His spot on the MSWD web page has an unnamed profile for a photo.


Which is why it was very surprising that his friend, City Councilman Russel Betts (who had formerly appointed Mayrhofen to the City Planning Commission) created a social media post using Mayrhofen’s photo. Mayrhofen’s photo was photoshopped with MSWD’s logo, and then posted on MSWD’s company Facebook page by Mr. Betts. That post was made to look like an official MSWD post because of the use of the MSWD logo. [BTW, the official logo of any City, Water District, or private business is property of that entity and cannot be used without permission.]


The post was up for a time on Monday morning 3/6/23, but mysteriously vanished later in the day. Whether Mr. Betts was asked to remove the post by MSWD staff or by Mr. Mayrhofen we’ll never know, but because nothing ever vanishes off the Internet, you can see it here.

Regardless, Ron’s Log wishes the MSWD director a belated happy birthday and we hope you’ll let MSWD take your picture for use on their website!

permalink | March 6, 2023 at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2022

Civil Discourse

permalink | October 31, 2022 at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2022

The Reading Of The Alex Jones Verdict

Nothing happens in the first 6 hours and 12 minutes of this video, but this link will take you to the point where the jury returns with their verdict.

Jones's' reaction:

permalink | October 12, 2022 at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2022

Arkansas Attorney General Unprepared to Discuss with Jon Stewart

Read here.

Full episode here.

permalink | October 8, 2022 at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2022

CPAC Tells The Truth

permalink | August 8, 2022 at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)

August 2, 2022

Kansas Votes To Preserve Abortion Rights 61% to 39% - KANSAS!

Results are preliminary, of course, but most of the vote for abortion rights came from the counties around Kansas City and Wichita (also that one county in southeast Kansas that has a college in it).

permalink | August 2, 2022 at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2022

The Message Is Clear

Don't get pregnant in Texas.

permalink | July 26, 2022 at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2022

MSWD Directors Grasha and Duncan

Here's a link to the video of the July 14 study session.

This link is to the video of the July 18 regular session.

Director Randy Duncan has submitted his resignation from the MSWD board because he lives outside the district. Director Steve Grasha is under investigation to determine if he lives outside the district.

At the July 14, 2022 MSWD Board Study Session

The board was in a discussion of item 7 "RESOLUTION 2022-17 - AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2021-18; REVISIONS TO MISSION SPRINGS WATER DISTRICT PERSONNEL RULES AND REGULATIONS" when President Martin recognized Director Grasha for comments. Mr. Grasha responded "I have no questions on this, but before you move on to the next item I have a point of order and request for clarification from legal counsel on the standing of one former director that seems to be still sitting on the board in violation of the District Attorney's determination that he vacated his seat."

President Martin pointed out that district counsel was absent from this meeting, which was surprising to me because they had to have expected this issue to be raised at this meeting. Mr. Martin asked him if he'd be willing to wait until Monday to ask his question. Mr. Grasha said he didn't have a question, but was seeking clarification. He went on, "We have a letter here stating that the office has been vacated. It's declared by the District Attorney. Apparently there's been multiple acts of perjury that are associated with it that haven't ben charged, and I'm wondering if his continually sitting on the board will activate those charges and smear the reputation of this district. And I think it's time, before we continue on with this meeting to address that as a board, and not pretend that this is not an elephant sitting in the room. I find it offensive that this is happening right now."

President Martin said that since there would be no voting at this study session it was a moot point, and he could address the issue again on Monday in the regular session.

Mr. Grasha offered to read into the record the letter the DA sent to the board of directors. Mr. Martin said he would not grant him time to read the entire letter. Mr. Grasha began to read.

The Riverside County District Attorney's office has received a request to investigate a substantial violation by Director Randy Duncan of his residency requirements of the Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors pursuant to water code 3050A. The complaint alleges that Mr. Duncan no longer lives in the division he was elected to represent. Such a violation may jeopardize the finality of actions taken by the board since the violation occurred which is nearly two years ago. According to the Mission Springs Water District website, Mr. Duncan was most recently appointed to the board in October of 2014 after having served on the board for a few years prior. The website also mentions that Mr. Duncan has lived in Desert Hot Springs for more than 25 years. Our office recently learned that Mr. Duncan no longer resides within the Mission Springs Water District, having purchased a home outside of California. While Mr. Duncan used to live in Desert Hot Springs within the district, we determined that he sold that residence upon purchasing a new home out of state. We also discovered that Mr. Duncan stays with a friend in Desert Hot Springs about four days a week, but that friend's residence is not within Mr. Duncan's water board district. Mission Springs Water board of directors must reside within their respective divisions. If the director moves out of their division, they are deemed to have vacated their position if they fail to establish proper residency within 180 days. This is codified in water code 3050A. If a director's place of residence, as defined in section 244 of the government code, is moved outside the district boundaries or outside the boundaries of the director's division where elected from a division, or within 180 days of the move of the effective date of this section, the director fails to re-establish a residence within the district or within the director's division, it shall be presumed that permanent change of address has occurred and that vacancy exists on the board of directors. A place where one remains for labor or special temporary purpose does not qualify as a place of residence, and a person may only have one residence. Therefore, neither Mr. Duncan's out of state residence nor his temporary stays at a friend's residence that's outside the district would constitute qualifying residence for purpose of compliance with water code section 3050A. Without a qualifying residence within the district, Mr. Duncan vacated his position as Director of the Mission Springs Water District, according to government code 1770. Mr. Duncan's position became vacant when he ceased to be an inhabitant of the district for which he was appointed and within which his duties of his position are required to be discharged. Based upon the facts as we understand them, our legal analysis has concluded that Mr. Duncan's current position as a Mission Springs Water District board member constitutes a clear violation of 3050A water code. The District Attorney of Riverside County is committed to the objective of insuring that the board of directors of public agencies are qualified to hold their position of office and uphold the integrity of the board's actions. To that end, we respectfully request the board comply with the law by officially vacating Mr. Duncan's position as of the date he moved outside his district which was nearly two years ago. We also request the board review prior actions that were taken during the violation period and to insure that you are in compliance with [unclear] majority requirements set forth in water code 30525 and 30523. Failure to appropriately remedy this matter may result in further action taken by the District Attorney's office.

President Martin said he wanted to make two points. He said Director Duncan had not been convicted of any offense, that these are just charges the DA looked at. Also, Director Grasha is facing a similar investigation from the Attorney General's office for a very similar offense.

Much later in the meeting, President Martin recognized district counsel Peg Battersby who was not present in the board room. She said she had been involved in the Duncan matter. She read the announcement that was made after the closed session at the board's prior meeting in June: "There was a motion in favor of filing a motion to initiate quo warranto proceedings on behalf of the district with respect to Director Duncan and Director Grasha to determine whether they satisfy residency requirements within the division that elected them." She said the documents for that would be brought to the Monday (July 18) meeting.

During Director Comments at the study session, Mr. Duncan had this to say:

Two things. This is, I think, installment chapter number four in my ongoing quest for a new home. Despite the best efforts of two very mentally ill stalkers, Diane and I have been able to stick to our plan, very methodically comb through the Coachella Valley, gosh I couldn't tell you how many times now, bumper to bumper through the valley, Fourth of July we found - and this might be good news/bad news - like I said before. Fourth of July we found the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, at the perfect price. So we are now getting ready to be homeowners again, okay. That's the good news. Bad news is this house is in Rancho Mirage. So I will be leaving the board. We're scheduled to close August 16, and despite Director Grasha's comments I will welcome the board to continue verifying my address within my division right now, because I do live within my division, and always did.

Second thing, and I'll make this statement and then I have a question to ask, so with all this I'm leading up to a question. My wife and I have owned property in Idaho for a very long time. It's never been an issue. In the year 2000 we bought a brand new boat. Since then, we've been going to Lake Havasu, spending most of the summers there. Sometimes renting a home; sometimes leasing a home long-term. Never been a problem. This last year in October, the developer or builder finished our house. We have a vacation home in Arizona which is totally legal, totally above board, didn't hide it from anybody, but we own property in Arizona. Director Grasha and Russell Betts got wind of it and decided to make it into something that it's not. They have complained, filed complaints, called every news agency, every political advocacy group, the DA's office. They have filed complaints with everyone they know of. I could personally care less. I know I'm in the right. The problem is every time a complaint is filed, every time a news report goes out, whatever the case may be, Mission Springs Water District now gets letters and phone calls which we turn over to the attorneys, and staff time. So what I would like to know, and this is not just for my own benefit, I think our customers deserve the right to know this, I know you can't get it by Monday, maybe by next board meeting, if you could tell me how much Steve Grasha and Russell Betts have cost this district on a wild goose chase that has gone nowhere, I would like to know that please.

At the July 18, 2022 MSWD Board Meeting


President Martin announced that the board would deal with all the other items on the agenda, then go into closed session, then come back and deal with item 17 in open session.

After item 6 (HUMAN RESOURCES REPORT) and before item 7 (RESOLUTION 2022-17 - AMENDING RESOLUTION NO. 2021-18; REVISIONS TO MISSION SPRINGS WATER DISTRICT PERSONNEL RULES AND REGULATIONS) Director Grasha requested permission to make a statement. President Martin said it was okay. Mr. Grasha said:

I wanted to put some fears at rest that members of the public might have over concerns raised by this board and their allegations that have already been investigated in detail and I'd like to read to you a statement from the Riverside County District Attorney in regards to the allegations that you made against me recently.

President Martin said this was not the appropriate time. Mr. Grasha insisted that the audience came only to hear this. As a member of that audience, I can assure you I did not go there to hear a self-serving statement from Steve Grasha. Mr. Grasha argued that his imaginary audience should control the order of the agenda. He kept trying to talk over President Martin until Mr. Martin ordered his microphone to be shut off.


President Martin read the resignation letter from Director Duncan:

Dear President Martin,
After today's board meeting I was told that my comments were either unclear or confusing to a few people, so I would like to clarify my announcement. As of Tuesday, August 16, 2022 I will be resigning my position on the board of directors for the Mission Springs Water District and vacating my seat due to moving out of Mission Springs Water District's service territory. I hope this clears up any confusion.

Director Grasha moved to accept Mr. Duncan's resignation effective June 13, 2021, "as outlined by the District Attorney's letter." The motion died for lack of a second.

Mr. Grasha then moved to accept the resignation as of August 16, 2022, and to direct the General Manager to determine how much the district had paid Mr. Duncan since June 13, 2021, and to try to recover that money from Mr. Duncan. That motion also died for lack of a second.

President Martin moved to accept Mr. Duncan's resignation as submitted. Director Duncan seconded. Approved 4-1 with Director Grasha voting against.

According to Attorney Pinkney, if the board decides to appoint a replacement, they have 60 days after the date of resignation to do so. The board must provide 15 days notice to the public before they appoint a replacement. Anyone appointed would serve for the remainder of Mr. Duncan's term; that is, until December 2024.

If the board decides instead to call an election, they have 60 days from the date of resignation to do so. The election would be on "the next established election date" that is at least 130 days after the date the board called for the election. I'm not completely sure, but that sounds like it would push the election to November 2024.

Director Grasha had a comment:

It should be clear to the public that this charade is all occurring so that the board of directors can avoid calling for an election as filing for this seat would have opened this morning. [It's only 113 days from July 18 to November 8. To get on the November ballot the board would have to have called for an election before July 1. - Ron] We would have had time to get this on the ballot for the November election and allow the electorate to decide on who should fulfill the obligations of Mr. Duncan. It's unfortunate that this board is up to shenanigans continually and it never ends and here we are going to be forced with another hand-picked successor picked by Nancy Wright and the regime. Thank you.

Mr. Grasha said the board could put this on the ballot in November 2022. Mr. Grasha can't count. He moved to put it on the November 2022 ballot. This died for lack of a second.

Director Duncan moved to choose the appointment process. Seconded by Vice President Wright. Attorney Pinkney pointed out the agenda item called only for the discussion of how to replace Mr. Duncan, so the motion was withdrawn.

When they got to item 26, Director's Comments, Mr. Grasha had something to say:

I wanted to take a moment to allay any concerns the public might have about these outlandish allegations raised for the third time by this board. These allegations were investigated thoroughly by actual law enforcement and I want to read you the statement that they issued in regard to those allegations. "The Riverside County District Attorney's office special prosecution sections received a complaint against you alleging residency violations based on your position as a board member of the Mission Springs Water District. Whenever we receive a complaint against a public official our office is obligated to determine if it is appropriate for action by our office. The public integrity unit investigates and, if appropriate, prosecutes criminal misconduct by an elected or appointed official in accordance with our legal and ethical responsibilities. To that end, our office conducted an investigation into your residency claims made against you. At the conclusion of that investigation we determined there is no evidence of criminal activity on your part. We have not filed any criminal charges against you and we will not take further action on this complaint. We hope this letter provides clarification as to the status of this investigation of this claim at this time. Please contact our office if you have any further questions."

President Martin said that Mr. Grasha missed the main point of the letter. The DA was investigating criminal conduct. The quo warranto procedure is a civil, not criminal, matter.

In his comments, Director Duncan said "I have to give just a word of caution - or, not caution - I don't know what the right word is. To any new hires that are still listening to this board meeting with the childish outbreaks, the crazy accusations that are going on, this is not the normal procedure for Mission Springs Water District and it will change as of November."

I don't know what meetings Mr. Duncan has been attending, but the behavior seen at this board meeting is normal and has been since Steve Grasha was elected.


Attorney Pinkney first reported on closed session. Both Directors Grasha and Duncan recused themselves from closed session.

The attorney explained that an application will be filed with the Attorney General's office. Notice will be given to Mr. Grasha who will have 15 days to respond and provide evidence, then the district will have 10 days to reply. Then the attorney general will make a determination as to whether there are grounds to proceed with the filing of a lawsuit in quo warranto.

He read a summary of allegations against Mr. Grasha:

  • On June 17 the district received a complaint from Russ Martin which he had filed with the DA in November 2020 regarding Mr. Grasha's residence.
  • When Grasha was elected he did not reside within the district.
  • Grasha gave an address of 14200 North Indian Canyon Drive.
  • That address is Two Springs RV Resort which prohibits permanent residence.
  • On January 24, 2020, the district was served with a wage garnishment order against Grasha giving his address his address as 1015 St. Lucia Circle, Palm Springs.
  • The garnishment order was served at that address.
  • Grasha owns two motor vehicles, one of which is registered to a post office box in Kneeland, California. [Kneeland is in Humboldt County.]
  • Grasha maintains a post office box in North Palm Springs, but he received all his mail at the St. Lucia Circle address.
  • Grasha's mother owns 1015 St. Lucia Circle.

The attorney also listed some of the documents that will be submitted with the complaint to the Attorney General:

  • Desert Sun article from November 13, 2018 "Desert Hot Springs elects Steve Grasha, a man with history of angry, sexist, racist tweets, to water board."
  • Two articles from "Ron's Log blog" in 2018. [I have no idea what these could be, since the only original content I have on Steve Grasha was the video of the board workshop where then-President Duncan called the police to have Grasha removed.]
  • An L.A. Times article from 1987 "Tossed in Jail for Contempt of Court: He Slams a Door; Judge Does, Too" [The 27-year-old Grasha, who now lives in Palm Springs, was charged in 1985 with four counts of perjury and one count of filing false statements on nomination papers. He was accused of falsifying his address on papers filed for the November, 1985, election. At the time, he allegedly did not live in Buena Park.]
  • Another L.A. Times article "Buena Park: Candidate Grasha Will Be Tried in Perjury Case" from 1986.

The attorney said the district's records reflect the following:

  • Grasha does not sign for mail delivery at his supposed North Indian Canyon address.
  • Grasha has attended no board meetings in person since February 2020.

Vice President Wright then read some of the lowlights of the 2018 Desert Sun article. I don't know why she chose this time to do so. That information has been available to everyone, including Ms. Wright, since 2018. She has had years and many opportunities to attack Mr. Grasha on his many faults, but she (and the other directors) have held themselves back. Now that we're nearly at the tail end of Mr. Grasha's term when her criticism will make no real difference, she decides to open up.

If you can't read the Desert Sun article, I have it copied here, on Ron's Log.

Ms. Wright encouraged Mr. Grasha to do the right thing and resign.

Director Duncan had comments:

You know, Russell Betts and Steve Grasha have been chasing me around because I own property out of California. It's not a sin; it's not a crime; not even fattening. It's okay to own property out of California. But the hypocrisy of what Grasha is claiming I do - I don't know why they think I live out of state because I own property out of state. They both are such hypocrites. I agree with Nancy. I think Grasha should resign now. He'll never get re-elected to this board. There's only a few months left. Save the money for this "quo wanto" I can't pronounce that phrase, but save the money for that.

Mr. Duncan did not explain what Mr. Betts's hypocrisy is in this matter.

Mr. Grasha was no longer attending the meeting.

President Martin agreed that it would be in the best interests of the district if Mr. Grasha would resign, saving the district money spent on attorney's fees.

Mr. Martin recognized Russell Betts who wanted to make a public comment.

I just wanted to explain a couple things here. My involvement regarding statements made against me by Randy Duncan. And my inquiry into this started with a simple public records request to the board, or to the district, asking for all the home addresses of all the directors. Which I don't think somebody who's doing a public information request should be referred to as a "stalker." That's a pretty darn bad attitude to have towards what is a legal and proper process in our system. The information that came back was that Randy Duncan, and all the directors' addresses came back. The district responded very quickly. But Randy Duncan's address came back as on Mission Lakes Boulevard where I know he doesn't live because he and I used to - I used to drive by and we'd occasionally talk, found he didn't live there anymore. So I asked the board about that and the response I got back was "we rely on the director to determine where they live." And I even talked to the attorney Pinkney, and he said, well, basically I'll get back to you, but we just rely on the director. And I said, well, I'm letting you know now that he doesn't live there. And the reply was "Well, we consider your public information request closed and nobody was interested in that." Now, Mr. Duncan most certainly does live in Arizona because that's where his license plate for his vehicle is, and you don't move to a state and change your license plate, unless you live there. You certainly have all kinds of indication as to why...anyhow, so I want to say when I found out that there was this discrepancy I did as i should have done and let the District Attorney know about it. The District Attorney looked at it, made their determination, and it is quite clear from the District Attorney that Mr. Duncan, indeed, does not live in the district and not once has Mr. Duncan - I invite him to tell us now - what is your address in the district? You told the District Attorney, apparently, that you were staying with a friend. [President Martin tried to cut him off as he had reached his 3-minute limit.] If I could just wrap up quickly. I'm following what is the legal and proper process for public record request and to be called a stalker because of that, I understand it's not nice to have to resign your position, but the public information process is a very integral part of our system of transparency.

I think his point about the plates on the vehicle is pretty weak. If Duncan keeps a vehicle in Arizona, there would be no requirement to license it in California. Now, if Mr. Duncan had gotten an Arizona drivers license or registered to vote in Arizona, we'd have something. But Arizona plates on a vehicle in Arizona indicate nothing as to residency.

Director Duncan said he called Mr. Betts a stalker not because of the public records act. The form provided to Mr. Betts was Mr. Duncan's campaign filing statement which was filed in June 2020. He still lived on Mission Lakes Boulevard in June 2020 and in November 2020, the date of the election. He sold his house "well after that." The truck with Arizona plates mostly stays in Arizona. He said he called Mr. Betts a stalker because he saw him filming MSWD directors and staff as they were leaving through the gate. Mr. Betts then followed Mr. Duncan for several blocks. Mr. Betts also copied a photo from the Facebook page of Mrs. Duncan showing their property in Arizona. He said Mr. Betts posted that photo and a photo of downtown Prescott, Arizona. Mr. Duncan said he didn't own any property in Prescott.

Suddenly Mr. Betts's voice re-appeared saying "It's outside Prescott, Randy, it's not in city proper." President Martin called him out of order.

Mr. Duncan continued saying Mr. Grasha had been taken into court on a stalking case. Betts's photos of Duncan's vehicles and properties, sitting outside the district's gates filming employees. "Betts, if you ever try something like that again I will file stalking charges against you."

Betts's voice appeared again saying "Go right ahead."

Duncan: "Don't tempt me."

Betts: "So what? File it. I can't wait 'til you do. Do it. Do it, Randy."

Finally, President Martin ordered Betts muted.

Vice President Wright moved to approve the resolution as presented. Seconded by Director Sewell. Approved 3-0 with Director Duncan recusing himself and Director Grasha absent. Directors Martin, Wright and Sewell each individually called for Grasha to resign to save the district money.

permalink | July 21, 2022 at 10:30 PM | Comments (3)

July 4, 2022

Slavery in 20th Century California

The story of a woman held in slavery in Coronado, California. The couple who held her were tried in federal court in 1947. Interesting to me is that from shortly after WWI until 1946, the couple and the victim, Dora Jones, lived in Boston. The couple had retired in 1946 and all three of them moved to sunny California.

Neighbors and visitors to the house [in Boston] told federal investigators that she did all the chores during 16-hour days that sometimes ended with her sleeping on the floor in the kitchen. They saw her outside in the winter, shoveling snow without gloves or a jacket.

Here's a photo of the husband, Alfred Ingalls, from 1929. It seems he actually lived in Lynn, not Boston. He was a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; a graduate of Brown University and Suffolk Law School.

75 years ago, slavery case in San Diego County riveted the nation

CORONADO, Calif. — Seventy-five years ago, in the summer of 1947, slavery was remembered vaguely as a Southern thing, vanquished by the Civil War nearly a century earlier and buried in the dust of Dixie.

Then Alfred and Elizabeth Ingalls got arrested in Coronado.

The white couple, both in their 60s and recently arrived from Boston, were charged with keeping their Black maid, Dora Jones, in involuntary servitude — forcing her for 30 years to perform menial tasks from morning to night, beating her when she complained, clothing her in rags, and paying her nothing.

It was believed to be one of the first federal anti-slavery cases since Reconstruction, a harbinger of a newly assertive Department of Justice seeking to expand the definition of civil rights, especially for African Americans and other marginalized groups. Newspapers and magazines from coast-to-coast paid attention to the trial.

In San Diego, it was routinely front-page news. Reporters for the morning Union and the evening Tribune-Sun provided gavel-to-gavel coverage almost every day for a month.

The public was engaged, too. On several occasions, hundreds of people hoping to sit in the courtroom got up at dawn and waited for hours in line. Frustrated would-be spectators chanted “Let us in! Let us in!”

It was, the Union declared after it was all over, “one of the most unusual lawsuits in the annals of American jurisprudence.”

The case resonates today in the ongoing work of a California task force exploring reparations for Black Californians whose ancestors were directly affected by slavery.

“Although progress has been made, Black workers continue to face discrimination today,” the group said in a preliminary report issued last month. “The badges and incidents of slavery have carried forward.”

Dora Jones knew that all too well.

Jones was born in 1890 in Athens, Ala., to parents who had been slaves. When she was around 12, she went to a missionary school not far from home and helped pay for her tuition by cleaning rooms. One of the rooms belonged to a teacher named Elizabeth Kimball.

A few years later, Jones was in the Washington, D.C., area, working for Kimball, now married and about to give birth. Later court testimony would disagree on whose idea the arrangement was, but Jones went voluntarily.

She was paid $8 per month, with half the money deducted in the early going by her boss — now named Elizabeth Harmon — as reimbursement for the train ticket purchased to bring Jones north.

Jones welcomed the work and enjoyed helping to raise the newborn. But in 1913 Jones became pregnant. The father? Harmon’s husband.

The way Jones described it under oath later, Walter Harmon forced himself on her regularly, a “kiss-less” relationship that went on for three years. “My part was just giving in to him,” she testified.

When a doctor suggested Jones go home to Alabama to have the child, Elizabeth Harmon objected. She didn’t want to lose her domestic worker. She suggested an abortion instead — illegal at the time — and made the arrangements.

After the operation, Jones remembered being told this: “You owe me your life now, because you have ruined mine.”

The Harmons soon divorced, and Elizabeth quickly got married again, to Alfred Ingalls, a lawyer, World War I veteran and future state legislator. They settled in the Boston area. Another daughter was born.

Jones continued to work for the family, now without pay. Neighbors and visitors to the house told federal investigators that she did all the chores during 16-hour days that sometimes ended with her sleeping on the floor in the kitchen. They saw her outside in the winter, shoveling snow without gloves or a jacket.

When she complained, she was beaten, the witnesses said. When she tried to run away, she was locked in the cellar.

In 1946, the Ingalls decided to retire and move to Coronado. They drove across the country in a new Packard and brought Jones with them.

They stopped in Berkeley, where their youngest daughter, Helen Roberts, lived. They stayed in a motel. When Roberts and her husband came by the motel for a visit, they found Jones sleeping in the car, crammed in among the suitcases in the backseat. She looked older than her 56 years, the daughter thought — frail, worn-out, neglected.

Police were called, and Jones left with Helen Roberts and her husband.

When the Ingallses discovered her missing the next day, they called police, too, and reported that she had been kidnapped.

Detectives brought everybody into the same room. Elizabeth Ingalls again told Jones how hard it would be for her to live on her own. She warned that Roberts and her husband wouldn’t have enough money to take her in.

One of the detectives asked Jones, if she was mistreated over the years, why hadn’t she left? “Because I came between Mrs. Ingalls and her first husband and I had caused her so much misery and trouble, I felt I should stay and make it up to her,” she said.

Police concluded this was a domestic dispute and let Jones decide what she wanted to do. She returned to the Ingallses, who continued on to Coronado, settling into the Hotel del Coronado for 30 days while they looked for a house to buy.

Jones slept in the Packard.

But the Ingallses’ troubles were just beginning. Someone had tipped off the FBI. A federal investigation ensued, one that fit into a broader campaign by the Department of Justice to expand constitutional protections.

On Feb. 24, 1947, FBI agents arrested the couple in Coronado and took the maid into protective custody.

A month later, the Ingallses were indicted by a grand jury and charged with violating the constitutional prohibition against slavery. They told reporters the case was absurd.

“Dora,” Elizabeth Ingalls said, “has always been very happy with us.”

A jury made up of nine men and three women was seated. None were Black. During opening arguments in late June 1947, the stage was set.

Lead prosecutor Ernest Tolin outlined 30 years of bondage, “a psychological chain of steel” forged in the aftermath of Jones’ pregnancy and abortion.

“Suffering another woman’s vengeance for 30 years was the price Dora Jones paid,” he said.

Defense lawyer Clifford Fitzpatrick said the Ingallses considered Jones a member of the family, “more of a protégé than a servant.” He blamed the case on overzealous FBI agents and prosecutors filling Jones’ mind with “scurrilous” allegations.

“This is not, as depicted by the government, a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of Dora Jones,” he said. “It has more suitably been a sword over the head of the Ingallses, hanging by the psychological thread of this primitive girl’s unstable mind.”

As the trial unfolded over four weeks, newspapers reported every detail of what was commonly known as “the slavery case,” often illustrating the articles with black-and-white photos of the key players.

Attorneys called some 40 witnesses to the stand, each offering a glimpse into the couple’s household. Daughters. Neighbors. Friends. Police. A postal worker. Psychologists.

Under questioning by prosecutor Betty Marshall Graydon, the first female U.S. Attorney in San Diego, Jones talked about how the “jail sentence hanging over me” kept her in the Ingalls household. She said she’d had one vacation in 30 years, a trip to Alabama paid for by her relatives there.

Graydon had Jones step off the witness stand to show jurors her gnarled and knotted fingers, encouraging the panelists to decide for themselves whether “they are hands of a person who was a member of the family, or whether they are the hands of a slave.”

Alfred Ingalls approached the jury box, too, smiling at Jones as he looked at her fingers. His wife stayed seated at the defense table, remarking out loud that she had already seen those hands for many years.

When it was her turn to testify, Elizabeth Ingalls was on the stand for parts of three days. The newspapers described her testimony as “exceedingly voluble.” Judge Jacob Weinberger admonished her several times to answer the questions without veering into soliloquies.

She’d already made an impression as emotional, openly sobbing when both her daughters testified against her. She’d followed another witness, a family friend, into a courthouse hallway, pushing her against the wall and calling her a “dirty, dirty, dirty little skunk.”

On the stand, Ingalls admitted that she “nearly dropped dead” when she learned that Jones was pregnant, and she was desperate to keep the information private lest it create a scandal. But she denied forcing the abortion. She said that was Jones’ idea, as was sleeping on the floor at home and in the car when they traveled.

The maid “had a heart of gold” and never cared about money, according to Ingalls. “Her main desire was to help,” she said. “Aside from bananas and candy, such as chocolate and gum drops, she really had no real wants.”

Ingalls blamed any beatings that happened on Jones, claiming that the maid taunted her about her first husband: “I know what men want and you don’t.”

She also blamed her daughters for the criminal case happening in the first place. “They had been working behind my back for six years to do this to me,” she said.

After likening Tolin, the prosecutor, to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, she said, “I hardly think the United States government ever intended that a citizen of my caliber should be treated this way.”

Her husband was more measured in his testimony, but he, too, blamed Jones for any mistreatment that occurred.

Jones was free to go whenever she wanted, Alfred Ingalls said, and her claims to the contrary during the trial were the result of “events, people and forces that entirely changed her. I’m sorry for her and I only hope we will be allowed to see her after this case is over.”

On July 18, 1947, after the lawyers on each side delivered three hours of closing arguments, Judge Weinberger denied a defense motion to dismiss the case and sent jurors off to begin their deliberations. His instructions included this definition of a slave:

“A slave is a person who is wholly subject to the will of another, one who has no freedom of action and whose person and services are wholly under the control of another, and who is in a state of enforced compulsory service to another.”

It took jurors 30 minutes to convict Elizabeth Ingalls. They deadlocked for acquittal on her husband, with a majority deciding over the course of several votes that he, too, had been unduly influenced by her.

Jones wasn’t there for the verdict. She’d already left for St. Louis to live with a brother. Reporters waited for her at the train station there and told her about the outcome.

“It’s kind of hard not to feel bad about Mrs. Ingalls,” she said. “I was with her such a long time.”

As prosecutors weighed whether to try Alfred Ingalls again — they ultimately opted not to — the judge faced his own dilemma: what to do with Elizabeth Ingalls while she awaited sentencing. She faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Her husband stood up in court, and with tears in his eyes said, “I urge it with every fiber of my being that this woman not be sent to jail. This is not the case of a hardened criminal, but a woman well past middle age.”

But prosecutors reminded Weinberger about testimony earlier in the trial from one of the Ingallses’ daughters. She said her father had told her that if they were convicted, he would kill his wife and then himself.

The judge put Elizabeth Ingalls in jail. The next day’s Union had a photo of her there, under this headline: “Steel Bars Cage Boston Socialite.”

She stayed incarcerated for 11 days, while reporters chronicled her fondness for fresh oranges and the details of a visit she had with her Episcopal priest from Coronado.

“Must I suffer until the day I die?” she was quoted as saying.

Weinberger fined her $2,500 and sentenced her to five years of probation with a requirement that she not harass any of the witnesses.

“She has been subjected to national disgrace because of the publicity and attention given to this trial,” he said.

He also did something unusual at the time, according to the constitutional scholars. He ordered the Ingallses to compensate Jones — back pay, in effect, to the tune of $6,000 (about $78,000 in today’s world). She reportedly took the money in an annuity.

Not long after the trial, the couple sold their home in Coronado and moved to Santa Barbara. Alfred died there in 1965. Elizabeth passed away in 1972.

Jones also died in 1972, in St. Louis. She was 82. She had resisted opportunities to capitalize on the notoriety of the trial, turning down paid speaking offers.

She told reporters she was glad to have her freedom, “but in many ways I’m not used to it.”

permalink | July 4, 2022 at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)

Newsom's Florida Ad

The hate states, many of which (but not all) were part of the Confederacy, are setting themselves up for another Great Migration where their more intelligent, discerning and able residents will leave to go live in states that still preserve rights and democracy. The result will be the same as that of the Great Migration itself: greater economic and intellectual vitality for the receiving states (like California) and deeper impoverishment for the hate states.

permalink | July 4, 2022 at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2022

Five Republicans - One Brain

permalink | July 1, 2022 at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2022

Oh, The Brutality!

The NY Post uses the words "slapped" and "hit." Giuliani himself said "All of a sudden, I feel this, 'Bam!' on my back;" and goes on to say "I feel this tremendous pain in my back." Fortunately, there's video accompanying the NY Post article.

The "hit" was the same sort of gentle tap you might make on any friend's back, just to let him know you are there. The words spoken were a lot stronger than the touch, but the words are covered by the first amendment.

permalink | June 26, 2022 at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2022

Front Page Of The Onion Today

The Onion - June-25, 2022
The Onion.

permalink | June 25, 2022 at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Supreme Court Six

Supreme Court 6
The Supreme Court has already ruled that we have a constitutional right to do exactly this

permalink | June 25, 2022 at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2022

Louie Gohmert Whines About The Rule of Law

permalink | June 3, 2022 at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2022

Thoughts & Prayers

permalink | May 29, 2022 at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2022

I opened up my Voter Guide

Joker Candidates For U.S. Senator From California

  • Obaidul Huq Pirjada submitted no text for the Official Voter Information Guide, but did list his contact information, including his website:
    So, yeah, you have to type that whole thing in (or copy it from me). How can a candidate for office not realize the importance of a short, easily typed URL for their website? was not taken. Go to his website and you'll see he lists his 19 goals and objectives. He includes no specifics for how he would accomplish any of these goals. For example, "1. To help Californians so that the grocery, gasoline and power (electricity) prices do not go up, rather to make sure the prices go down." Or, even better, "9. Help Central Valley farmers so that they may receive uninterrupted supply of water." Yeah, why hasn't anyone thought of that before? He's got a video on his site where he tells us he is an attorney. He reads his written statement badly, rarely looking at the camera. He seems to have difficulty reading, which is surprising considering he claims to be an attorney. What he reads is nearly the exact text that is displayed on his single-page site, so the only purpose of the video is to show what a poor, uncharismatic speaker he is.

  • Douglas Howard Pierce used to do someting, but now he's running for the Senate. He doesn't say what he used to do, but maybe he was a private investigator. "I took on the perils of solving homicides across the nation, including cold cases." He does not claim to have been with any law enforcement agency. Caution: something on his website triggers background music that I could stop only by refreshing the site. He has a "platform" with "SPECIAL MESSAGE BLACK-AFRICANS" which is blank except for a generic 17-second video that plays music and says nothing. It's the same for "SPECIAL MESSAGE REPUBLICAN" and "SPECIAL MESSAGE YOUNG VOTERS 18+" and "SPECIAL MESSAGE ASIAN AMERICANS" and "SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS" and "MILITARY SERVICE - PROTECTORS OF FREEDOM" and "GREAT NATIVE INDIAN TRIBES." For "LGBTQ PRIDE AMERICANS" it's the same 17-second video, but he also throws in a couple images with rainbow colors and a photo of the L.A. LGBT Center. For "SPECIAL MESSAGE LATINO-HISPANIC" he translates the statement on the front page of his website into Spanish. He's got two YouTube videos. In the first, the phone follows behind him as he slowly limps towards a helicopter. He stops before he gets there, turns to the camera, does a weak little wave and then reaches out to take the phone from whoever is holding it. The other video is nothing but still images, including selfies, of him in Mexico.

  • John Thompson Parker is the Peace And Freedom candidate as well as the Socialist Unity Party candidate, according to his website. He doesn't have a lot of info on his website, but he does have four "Statements." Three of those express his support for Russia and his opposition to Ukraine in the current war there. So much for peace and freedom.

  • Dr. Akinyemi Agbede is one of those candidates who doesn't understand what a U.S. Senator is. "I will be focusing on ensuring that we invest the state’s revenues in the right policies and programs that help the common man," he says. He should run for state treasurer or maybe governor. He claims to have a "Ph. D. in Mathematical Analysis from the world most prestigious Ivy League University, University of Cambridge England, United Kingdom." Here is the list of Ivy League schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale. You may notice that all of these are in the United States. They don't travel to England to play American football against Cambridge. But this is the best sentence on his site: "[S]ince being in the United States, I have tremendously used my super genius brain to the benefit of the American students by instilling in them skills, confidence and competence in solving ANY Mathematical problems."

  • Chuck Smith is a Republican and might be smarter than most Republicans. While he does support the usual things Republicans falsely claim to support like limited government, restraint in taxation and fiscal responsibility, he avoids any racist statements or dog whistles. He says nothing about Trump or immigration.

  • Dr. Cordie Williams is also a Republican...and a chiropractor. He mentions being a doctor frequently, but only specifies he is a chiropractor once. COVID seems to be his top issue, but he's not specific about what he would do. He opposes Critical Race Theory. He thinks there is voter fraud, but is not specific. "Cordie will work with his California colleagues to end the current vote by mail system immediately." That's outside the scope of a U.S. Senator's job. Maybe he wants to be a state senator. He claims to be "the only military veteran who volunteered for combat." Let's just call that an obvious lie. On the subject of homelessness "Dr. Cordie is committed to creating a task force to study these issues and finally help." Oh, a task force! Does that come with electricity, running water and a lockable door? He wants to restrict property ownership to citizens and legal residents. He is endorsed by the California Tea Party Caucus.

  • Don J. Grundmann is officially no party preference, but on his website he says he running as the Constitution Party candidate. His top issue seems to be homophobia - he's all for it. His website is not much more than bigotry and a lot of broken links.

  • Eleanor Garcia is also no party preference, but is the elected leader of the Socialist Workers Party. She has no campaign website, but simply points to where we learn that the SWP is supportive of Ukraine and opposed to the Russian invasion so, therefore, more sane than Socialist Unity Party.

  • Mark P. Meuser, Republican, fought to let COVID run rampant. He's got the Republican Party endorsement, so that tells you quite a bit. "Meuser is a prolific reader, on average reading one book a week." I'm not sure he knows the meaning of "prolific."

  • James Conn, Green Party. He wants us to stop using wood. Yes, really. "Before the abolition of slavery our country collected taxes on the sale of slaves. That money still exists in our federal reserves." Wow! The little I can find about a sales tax on slaves indicates that tax would have been levied by the state or local government, not the federal government. He supports free medical treatment for Type 1 diabetes (the kind one is born with), but he says nothing about Type 2.

permalink | May 22, 2022 at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2022

Disney PR Chief Out

Geoff Morrell has resigned after just three months as the top person in charge of public relations and government affairs.

“After three months in this new role, it has become clear to me that for a number of reasons it is not the right fit,” Morrell said in a Friday email to staff. “After talking this over with [Chief Executive Bob Chapek], I have decided to leave the company to pursue other opportunities.”

As chief corporate affairs officer, Morrell not only oversaw the company’s public relations but also was responsible for its dealings with government and its environmental and social responsibility strategies.

permalink | April 30, 2022 at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2022

Biggest Property Tax Hike In History

And it was approved by Republicans. You can still hear so many Republicans say they are Republican because they want smaller government and lower taxes, but those haven't been the policies of the Republican party since the 1920s. Bigotry is what that party has consistently stood for.

permalink | April 29, 2022 at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2022

Voting By District

Here in Desert Hot Springs the city is going through the same process that Mission Springs Water District and Desert Water Agency have already gone through; that is, switching from at-large elections to election by district after receiving a demand letter from whatever law firm that is taking advantage of this process. There have been those who have suggested the city should ignore the demand or fight it. Santa Clarita thought they could fight it, got sued, and have now agreed to settle by paying the plaintiff $370,000 and they still have to switch to voting by district. If they had simply gone along with the demand while also flushing $370,000 down a toilet, the result would be the same for the city.

permalink | April 14, 2022 at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)