THE GUN NUT fantasy is that idiot bad guys will holler “Here we come!” and lurch, zombie-like into the front yard so that they can be shot down. The fantasizer can stick his gun out through the front window or even, in a glorious display of manly courage, stride out through the front door, declare “Not today, bad guys” and then mow them down. And some bad guys, being idiots, will do that. But some bad guys are neither stupid, nor brave, nor honorable. All that a smart. Cowardly, dishonorable bad guy needs to do is choose a time when you don’t expect an attack, hide in the bushes some discrete distance from your house, and wait until you come out to tend your garden, empty your chamber pot, or whatever. From a safe distance he then shoots you dead. You could be the world’s greatest marksman and own a hundred guns, but there’s not a damned thing you can do about it. Life is not a video game.
OF COURSE I, like many Mendo residents, particularly residents of our vast outback, keep a gun or two handy. Much of the time, law enforcement is at least a half-hour away. With something bad happening and the forces of law and order far away and over the hills, a fall-back boom stick near at hand is only prudent.
THE MOTHER OF ASHA KREIMER has set up a gofundme account to raise funds to hire a private investigator to try to find her. "Our daughter, sister and friend Asha went missing from Rollerville Cafe in Point Arena, CA on September 21, 2015 around 9:30 am. She was in the middle of a mental health crisis. She did not have ID, money, credit card, phone or any traceable items. She was wearing black skinny jeans and a dark gray hoodie. She was also shoeless. We are incredibly worried for the safety of Asha. We have been searching non stop in the area where she went missing from and haven't got any new leads. She has been missing for nearly a month. We are trying to raise money to hire a private investigator. We have exhausted the beneficial assistance of the local authorities and need to expand the search on a national level. This can be a very expensive service but Asha deserves the best. We miss our daughter, sister and friend more than words can say. We just want to know that Asha is safe and not in any mental turmoil. We miss her loving kindness and quick humor. There is no shame in mental health issues. We are here with open hearts. Please help us find Asha and bring closure to this nightmare."
THIS YOUNG WOMAN, Asha Kreimer, in a state of extreme emotional meltdown, was "evaluated" at Coast Hospital by a representative of our privatized mental health services and pronounced good to go. She has been missing for nearly a month now. From here, looks to us like Ms. Kreimer's boy friend is up for a long, hard look from law enforcement. This troubled young woman sprints off barefooted from the restaurant near Point Arena without her cell phone while Boy Friend does what? Remains seated?
HILLARY, got to give it to her. She was the most impressive candidate up there in the first Demo debate in a weak field. She wouldn't have looked any more plausible than she usually does if it weren't for Bernie compelling her to move a couple of millimeters to the left, but there she was talking like she isn't funded by the Big Banks and she really is the champion of the "middleclass." Bern himself made all the correct statements about the true prob — corporate oligarchy set in comprehensive cultural decay — but he often looked surprised and a little bit too elderly to be prez, although his program would be a heavenly deliverance for a large majority of Americans if it were possible to deliver.
OUR POSITION here at the mighty AVA, and we know you can't wait to hear it, is that the only difference between the two parties — Green Party candidate Jill Stein is of course effectively non-personed — is that the Republicans will get the many rolling catastrophes we face rolling faster than the Democrats, but neither party's candidates, except for Sanders, seems to have a clue that the Big Picture is that dire.
HILLARY did well enough, I should think, to permanently shelve the repellant Biden, and she would easily defeat which ever of the lunatics the Republicans put up. Of those nutballs, Rubio might be tough, but only if he manages not to blurt out his cruel and stupid opinions on national television. As an obvious sociopath, Rubio can at least fake normalcy. Of all the Republicans, only he and Bush manage to at least not look and sound clinically deranged.
FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR, Martin O'Malley, lied his ass off about what a great job he did in Baltimore and, like Rubio, is so all-round Ken Doll-ish, he ought to be anchoring the evening news, not running for office. Totally superficial-type dude, and hardly the friend of black people he brazenly sells himself as.
VIRGINIA SENATOR JAMES WEBB is a tweener, not dumb or crazy enough to be a Republican candidate but way too conservative to be a more or less progressive Democrat. He hardly got to talk but when he did he was barely coherent.
FORMER Rhode Island governor, Lincoln Chafee, was simply lost. Claiming to be so upset at the death of his father he didn't know he was voting for the repeal of Glass-Steagal, a move led by the Clintons incidentally, the lame brain excuse Chafee made for his destructive vote was actually quite shocking in its pure childishness. Not that many viewers had any idea that the banking collapse (soon to re-occur with even more disastrous consequences) occurred largely because of the repeal of Glass-Steagel led, natch, by "liberals."
ALL-IN-ALL, not an impressive group of candidates, but ol' Bern clearly the pick of the litter. Forward to the Apocalypse!
ANIMAL RIGHTS PEOPLE have been complaining for years about the County shelter at Ukiah, but it's always a challenge to determine what is really going on there. Sage Mountainfire, shelter boss, was once the darling of the volunteers and rescue people, but some of them say it's past time for Sage to return to her mountain and tend her fire in full time retirement. The Supervisors get heat no matter whether pit bulls are adopted out or euthanized and, thanks primarily to the County's thriving dope trade, pits, deployed as watch dogs and often abandoned, are always in over-supply at the shelter. As one volunteer put it: "We stockpile animals until they go 'kennel crazy' and then we kill them. How compassionate is that? Me? I would let the Sheriff run the shelter, which would allow job training for female inmates, but any decision about the future of the shelter is likely to be driven by fear, not logic."
RE: EL NINO ESTIMATES. Caltrans and Fish and Game is not taking any chances, My 63 year old brother Steve is a laborer for Decker Landscaping Company on the Willits bypass. They have to have everything buttoned up around all the creeks by tomorrow, Oct. 15, 2015. For the past month the landscapers have been working from daylight to dark, 7 days a week. They have a massive job going on there due to their mitigation agreements and erosion control requirements. He plans on working all the way into December, rain or shine. (James Marmon)
THE PROSECUTION of Chinatown gangster, Shrimp Boy Chow, reveals that the Chinese couple found murdered execution-style off Highway 20 near Fort Bragg two years ago may be the work of Shrimp Boy. The feds are alleging that Shrimp Boy wanted to kill Allen Leung and Jim Tat Kong, heads of rival gangs. Leung was shot to death in his Chinatown store, Kong and his wife, for logistical reasons not yet known, were murdered in Fort Bragg. Why were they bumped off a 150 miles north of the Bay Area? Of course the people making the claims against Shrimp Boy are also indicted gangsters. Chow’s high-profile trial is now scheduled to start Nov. 2.
DEFINING THE COAST: Jon Carroll does it nicely in a recent Chron: "It is my contention that the Pacific Coast is, culturally speaking, one state — a long, skinny state, Chile-style, but a state nonetheless. We (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and many points in between) have many points of similarity, and many points of dissimilarity from towns as close geographically as Spokane, Weed, Reno, Fresno and Bakersfield. This is not an entirely good thing; Pacific Coastlines have their excesses, their fads and their unique belief systems unsupported by evidence. Perhaps we are a bit self-conscious, facile and passive-aggressive. On the other hand, we tend to be tolerant, progressive on social issues and very much interested in outdoor recreation, from strolling to free climbing. We understand the pleasures of pleasure. We like brunch more than we like guns. There's a particular subset of Pacific Coast land: the beach town. In general, they are laid-back, souvenir-rich, bars-with-a-seaside view sorts of places. There can be lots of rattan. Also, somewhere in town, a very large anchor. There's bound to be hardship, too. Most seaside towns depend on local water sources, and those sources are drying up. Severe rationing is the norm. Many towns used to depend on local industry — fishing, logging, agriculture — but now are looking for other sources of income. Marijuana farming is one answer, in places where that's possible; tourism is another. Tourism is the only way to monetize natural beauty. If that's all you got, that's what you push.
THE FOLLOWING paragraphs are by Linda Williams, editor and ace reporter for The Willits News and are reprinted here with her permission:
"The Fort Bragg City Council declared a serious drought emergency on Sept. 30 after the Noyo River flows became too low for use. The river supplies about 30 percent of the city’s water. Fort Bragg is now looking for options to augment its water supply. One of the possible scenarios being considered, at least briefly, relied upon help from the city of Willits.
"While Fort Bragg advised the city on Oct. 14, it was no longer seriously considering the Willits option, for the past week city staff had been looking into ways to send water to Fort Bragg. While this may not be the most cost effective choice for Fort Bragg in the short term, it is an example of potential emergency options for cooperation in the future.
"As Willits reservoirs are at 52% capacity, or about six months supply assuming no rain, the recent completion of a 500 gallon per minute emergency well water system has given it some level of cushion in this and future droughts. The new water supply has the potential to help out neighbors in Pine Mountain or Brooktrails if the inherent issues of payment, regulations and politics can be addressed...
"…Fort Bragg asked Willits to investigate what it would take to send the treated emergency well water to fill 25,000 gallon rail tank cars on the Skunk Train line. From there the Skunk Train would haul the cars to Fort Bragg’s Madsen Hole pump station off the Noyo River and next to the Skunk Train tracks. This pump station is on the Willits side of the out of service railroad tunnel near Fort Bragg. The tunnel is not expected to be repaired until the next summer season. The cars would offload and return for a refill.
"Assuming Fort Bragg water requirements are similar to the daily September use in Willits, it would take about nine rail cars per day to offset the loss of 30 percent of the water supply.
One of the key limitations to this solution, is that there are no water tank cars in the Skunk Train system at this time.
"Fort Bragg’s City Manager Linda Ruffing says 'We are also looking at the possibility of supplementing our water supply with water hauled by trucks from local wells. The costs for this are substantial as well. Perhaps the biggest challenge is ascertaining if and when we need to augment our water supply and getting the alternative source in place quickly enough. We very well might eke by with ongoing water conservation and dribs and drabs of precipitation over the next month. Or we might need to secure supplemental water.'"
MAJOR SCARAMELLA (a former logistics and industrial engineer) is skeptical. He doubts the idea is workable. “First, where will the tank car come from? What will its capacity really be? How many trips over what period of time? Remember, water is dense and heavy, over eight pounds per gallon. Modern full-size rail tank cars carry 20,000 to 30,000 gallons. So that’s upwards of 200,000 pounds or 100 tons of water per tank car. Next you have the condition of the track to consider. Will that aging track carry such loads all the way along the track? Then you have those wonderfully dramatic steep switchbacks on the Willits end up to the ridgeline. Will Skunk's locomotive be able to get up the switchbacks with 100 tons (plus the car itself) in tow? That’s a lot more weight than a few tourists. What about the brakes on the downhill side? Will they be able to keep the tonnage from overspeeding down the hill toward the collapsed tunnel? What about wear and tear on the tracks from such heavy loads? There are other such questions (very slow curve speeds, actual track configuration, compatibility of the car with the train, etc. ), but I’ll stop there. These are not trivial questions. If they by chance have a lower capacity tank car available somewhere, these problems would be mitigated somewhat, but then other questions would arise about total volume delivered. They might be better off considering a tanker fleet over Highway 20, but it would take at least 12 2,000-gallon water tenders to haul as much water as one rail tank car.”
ON THE OTHER HAND, FORT BRAGG might consider taking water lessons from Brad Lancaster, the Tucson water genius. This guy's innovations have resulted in Tucson presently enjoying a water surplus. I happened in on a riveting hour of Linda McElwee talking with Lancaster on KZYX some months ago.
TO ME, everything said in that hour was almost Biblically revelatory. And what was said had to do with the specifics of rainfall storage. I was aware of course that lots of locals capture some rainfall but I thought that was just a matter of downspouts and tanks from Jack's Valley Store. I didn't know you could store water in the ground itself that you could retrieve without the expense of pumps.
WE USED TO GET upwards of 50 inches of rainfall a year in Mendocino County, more than enough not to worry about conservation measures. But none of the lesser amounts of rain over the last few years are presently conserved in the inexpensive ways described by Lancaster, and all four of our four parched municipalities are now considering mandatory limits on use. The rain falls, runs off, we squander the little we capture in long showers, lawns other profligate practices.
LANCASTER talked about how those of us who live in Concrete Land, can, with a focus on a few simple innovations, NOT run out of water, as millions of us in California are presently doing. I listened and hoped Mendo's civic leaders were also listening. This man brought water to desert Tucson and his innovations were very inexpensive. Fort Bragg would never have to consider buying water again if the town took a few innovative catchment steps.
ATTENTION FRISCO VOTERS. Aaron Peskin should be elected 3rd District supervisor over Mayor Lee's auto-vote and appointee, Julie Christensen. Peskin has always opposed destructive projects — a massive housing development for the rich on the Embarcadero, the dumb plan by the Warriors to build an arena just down the street from the ballpark and so on. Lee and his majority on the SF Board of Supervisors, are all the way for dumb and destructive. Peskin, in contrast to Mayor Lee and Lee's surrogates, is a reliable vote for forward thinking generally, especially now in the new San Francisco context of berserk gentrification. There's presently a one-vote Lee majority on the board of supervisors, while every negative, grasping, power center in SF is opposed to Peskin, from the traditional voice of Big Money, the SF Chronicle, down through the tech billionaires supporting more of the same.
PESKIN is almost as routinely vilified in the Bay Area media as Sheriff Mirkarimi who has been a very good Sheriff. The Murk has enacted a whole lotta humane jail reforms, from an increase in visiting hours to more academic and training programs for inmates. But, you say, does it even matter who the Sheriff is? It certainly does matter even for those of you who don't ever expect to find yourself locked up. First off, a well-run jail is a safe jail for everyone locked up there, and a safe jail can only be guaranteed by the guy at the top, and Mirkarimi has run a good jail, an innovative jail that has helped more than a few people leave jail with some basic, marketable skills and some hope. Mirkarimi should be re-elected but he won't be. The hyenas ran him down and ate him when they painted him as a wife beater.
SEVERAL CALLERS have told us about a recent Ukiah sting by the State Contractors Licensing Board. The Licensing Board put out a call for bidders on a bogus job to show up at the El Azteca restaurant in Ukiah where, if they simply showed up, they were cited for contracting without a license. To catch the unlicensed, the Licensing Board was contacting people with obsolete business cards or people who'd simply tacked looking-for-work notices on local bulletin boards. Otherwise honest people looking for work will now have to defend themselves in court. You’d think that if they really wanted to catch fraudsters, they’d at least ask them to put a bid in writing before citing them for just showing up.
PROBATION. True story. Well known frequent flyer for drug and alcohol abuse pleads guilty (there was no dispute over the facts) and is given the choice of six months searchable probation or 90 days in jail. Knowing she'll violate probation right outta jail if she's placed on probation, the frequent flyer chose jail, knowing that she would not serve more than 45 days. So the frequent flyer went to jail — and stayed in jail for a total of eight (8!) days before she was released due to jail overcrowding. And there she was on the street using crank again but no longer on probation. Our source says, “So this person watches tv in jail for a few days, gets a few meals that are probably better than what they’d get on the street, and is then released. What’s the point of probation if a person can ignore it, call the court’s bluff, and be out of jail in just eight days without probation?”