- Fee Outrage
- Cardiologist Pleads
- Real Kana
- Sandwich Duo
- Address Signs
- Ed Notes
- Lynda Fundraiser
- SF House
- CAAC Complaint
- AV Ambulance
- Yesterday's Catch
- CEO Pay
- 2020 Candidates
- Redneck Trap
- Dangerous Stretch
- Doomed Forest
- Haight Fire
- Restoration Project
- Beware Busybody
- SF Street
- Senior Center
- Gray Hawk
- Planning Agenda
- Gaza Bomb
- Utter Failure
- Earp's Saloon
- Bradd Online
- Hot Mama
- First Wife
WILLITS CANNABIS NURSERY OWNER COMMENTS ON INCREASED POT PERMIT FEES
Dear Board of Supervisors
I was outraged when I saw the chart on the proposed fees. I would be there to publicly speak against this if I did not have to get my Mom on a plane to fly my dad's body back to Virginia.
I know the government is not a business but where does the buck stop? We have a Board and a County CEO that are responsible for running the county on budget and efficiently. I have been attending meetings for three years and have watched this drag on with LOTS of Industry comments and a bit of listening. I feel that interest has fallen off but that is because we were not able to come up with an ordinance that works. This point of view was going to be difficult from day one as there was no advisory committee. There was also a strong push back from the public, who thought legal was the same as the black market.
A reduction in Cannabis Crime does not sell newspapers or create a lot of public support.
We also can't forget we had a disrupted BOS for quite a bit of this process. So as a result of continuing to try, AND, also spending money we are in a big HOLE.
What did I continually present to you in comments?
Track and Trace?
High Paid Program Manager (when we did not have an established program, $100K plus)
Payout to Manager Kelly [Overton] for retirement?
Recruiting Program Manager $10K?
Payout to a Recruited Ag commissioner?
Opt In/Opt Out (Which seems only the Op OUT people are happy.)
With my rough calculations, this would have saved the county $300K and my advice was free. My time to research would have cost the County $0. I have not been the only voice on this.
The program has been in Three different Departments in Three years, There is no way to upload all documents online so they don't get lost. But the Cannabis program participants have to cover this cost.
What Manager was responsible for this? Not the Cultivators.
After starting the AP permit process and stating that the BOS was eliminating the requirement Building and Planning was burning through county time and MY money, I got a $43 refund from my AP payment. REALLY. I pointed out the work was not needed two weeks after I paid. Ironically to Avoid a fee increase. BUT to add insult to this my permit was held up based on no site plan which was submitted for the AP. This is driving me close to pulling the plug, as fees to entry continue to climb. This is not the only experience like this.
We spent countless hours talking about hoop houses when if you would have just said it's ag we would have a lot more income from the program.
Or better yet just have a simple registration fee of $X per hoop.
I suggested an incubator program or a tiered program where ADA and all regs kick in at say 3 employees, not the first. With all the regulations you need a hand with things. By not allowing this you are dooming the really small farmer. For those of you with an Ag background, how would your have family survived if you could only help the family when you were 21?
I believe the proper approach is to find out HOW we got here, not penalizing those who came forward.
A wise person once told me that Government is good at Regulating those who walk through the front door."
Would you PLEASE look at will higher fees and determine: will it bring in more compliance or less? If it brings in less it will further the hole the program is in. We know from the Economic report the County is hemorrhaging money due to the decrease in Cannabis Dollars coming in.
The sad part is those who fought hard for greater limitations, are partially responsible for the lack of participation. Are they not somewhat responsible for the reduction to the county coffers? Why must the Cannabis cultivator bear this brunt alone? I would like an explanation and will ask for one at the very Next BOS meeting and public comments. I will ask this question on Social media. I will ask this quest to as many Mendocino residents I can. Because a Comment does not always get an Answer at a BOS meeting.
IF you get to this point you have to realize I want a program that works for both the County and Cultivators. It's frustrating as more money keeps getting spent. That I agree with, I just want to see a different solution.
UKIAH CARDIOLOGIST PLEADS
With potential jurors gathering in the basement of the Ukiah courthouse in response to jury summons, upstairs on the top floor of the building a trial defendant waived his right to the jury trial that was to begin Monday morning and withdrew his not guilty pleas and denials. In their stead, the defendant entered guilty pleas and an admission of wrongdoing.
Defendant Benjamin Hanna Meyer, age 67, of Potter Valley, plead guilty Monday morning to two separate counts of unlawfully and maliciously killing one of his neighbor's dogs, and unlawfully and maliciously maiming another, both counts as felonies. The defendant also admitted that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the attack.
The dogs were shot just outside the neighbor's residence while both dogs were confined in their separate doghouses inside locked pens. While nobody witnessed it and there was no physical evidence of any involvement by the dogs, the defendant thought it possible that the dogs had somehow contributed to the death of his horse found earlier trapped in a cattle guard on the neighbor's property.
The defendant was ordered to return to court for formal sentencing on June 12th at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department H of the Ukiah courthouse.
The prosecutor who has been handling this matter and prepared the case for trial is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's own investigators.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke accepted the defendant's guilty pleas and the firearm use admission Monday morning. Judge Behnke will be the sentencing judge on the 12th.
THE SUBWAY SHOP SHOOTING
Two men are in custody in Ukiah, suspected of a December fast food restaurant robbery with a BB gun that left one of them seriously wounded after being shot by a customer.
Ukiah police arrested Dorian Michael Coon, 20, and Alexander Romero, 19, saying the Willits men were involved in the Dec. 12 robbery at the Subway restaurant on North Orchard Avenue.
Coon, armed with a realistic-looking BB gun, went into the restaurant, where an employee gave him a bag of about $200 in coins, police said. As Coon was leaving, a customer pulled out a handgun and fired three times, hitting him twice in the back, police said. Coon dropped the bag, ran to a nearby store and collapsed.
The customer had a legal gun permit and told officers he’d feared for his safety and the safety of others, according to police.
Coon initially wasn’t arrested due to his critical injuries — law enforcement agencies arresting an injured suspect are responsible to guard the person at the hospital. He was hospitalized for weeks at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and then left against medical advice, but still needed medical treatment and continued returning for outpatient services, Ukiah Police Lt. Cedric Crook said.
An investigation led detectives to Romero, whom they say assisted Coon just before the robbery.
Detectives this month got arrest warrants for both men. They picked up Romero on April 13 and Coon four days later.
Both men were booked into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of five felonies, including kidnap for robbery, false imprisonment and seconddegree robbery. Bail for each was set at $450,000.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707521-5412 or email@example.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.
(Randi Rossman, Courtesy, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
GET YER STREET SIGN. Ronnie James writes:
911 street signs
I just got the information on where to order the green and white address signs so thought I'd pass it on to the list servers.
The company to find the sign is at www.smartsign.com/911-signs
The Fire Department favors the green signs with white lettering, horizontal orientation is preferred.
The signs are 1 or 2 sided, reflective, and easy to install. Cost for 18" X 6" (recommended size) is $23.99.
For those of us who live on side streets, it was pointed out to me that having an address sign out on the main road isn't enough, we should also post one at the location of our house.
RECOMMENDED READING: If anybody is better qualified than Jonah Raskin to capture the NorCal zeitgiest, I can't think of him or her. From his youth as a left radical to the most prolific writer on life in Northern California from its vineyards to its marijuana gardens, Raskin's remarkably diverse oeuvre reflects his remarkably diverse experience. Assuming someone will be writing a history of this unique place in this uniquely tumultuous time, it will all be right there in Raskin's many books from "Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California" to a wonderful biography of Jack London to the best book I know of about the grass roots experience of growing marijuana prior to quasi-legalization. In between, the prolific professor has produced a steady stream of journalism on everything from Healdsburg bread to the vivid adventures of Oaky Joe Munson, a legendary pot grower, Raskin has now managed to produce "Dark Day, Dark Night, A Marijuana Murder Mystery" that grabbed me from its opening line: "Two helicopters, salvaged Black Hawks, came out of the sky, hovered over the field and landed together, the wind from the propellers bending but not breaking the bright green marijuana plants…" to its last, which I won't relay here for obvious reasons of genre. Along the way, the finely attuned author gives us a kind of wild side tour of wine country. A fun read that tells it like it is, from the hilarious to the mayhem synonymous with the love drug.
ADD to the long list of annoying verbal tics — "going forward" from people fully committed to rearward march.
THE EARNESTNESS of today's parade of pot people vainly appealing for commonsense from our supervisors was, as always, poignant. At the moment, Supervisor Williams is the only county solon who seems to fully "get" what a laughable mess the permit "program" is, and when Williams offers a commonsense modification of the mess, Board chair, Carre Brown, seemingly in a panic, breaks in to say, "Oh no. That would take a three-person majority vote." Citizens might as well go out to their backyards and appeal to their plum trees.
KUDOS to Supervisors Haschak and Williams today for voting against county fee increases. Of course their sensible arguments against the increase failed to say the other three Angelo-dependent Supes.
SOMETHING I'VE always wanted to do popped up (where else?) at crucial MendocinoSportsPlus — Noyo Harbor Tours with Captain Dan — “We have tours available. Call Kristin and book your tour. 707/734-0044.” I've canoed Big River to its headwaters, but have yet to take the Albion cruise, assuming the guy still offers them.
SIGNS OF THE TIME: The Yorkville Fire Department building has been dumped by its insurance carrier because it’s in a likely fire zone. The structure itself is the usual impregnable bunker and about as flammable as Lake Mendocino. If that thing can't get fire insurance this county's innumerable hill muffins would seem to be un-insurable.
GOT A LAUGH out of the Fort Bragg item that said the Council was going to "evaluate" its city attorney. The guy lives in Arizona. I hope they skype him rather than fly him in on the usual tax-funded all expenses magic carpet.
THE LOVE FOR LYNDA FUNDRAISER dinner is this Saturday April 27th. 5pm till 9pm. At the Elk community center. Entertainment line up. Trillium Dancers group from the Mendocino Women's Choir, Alicia Little Tree Band, "wild Elk" Band, "So Y Do" Darryl Cherney.
OLD SF HOUSE
Chair Brown and respective Supervisors:
I would like the following letter entered into Sent and Received Correspondence to be filed with CEO Angelo''s office as an official complaint. My attached letter below was distributed to several newspapers. In addition to my comments in my letter, I will further add that this initiative is poorly thought through and disturbing in that a seasoned supervisor would propose one position to take $110,000+ funds from Mendocino County, the second poorest county in our state. $94K+ base/benefits and $10K to collaborate with staff of an existing County department. + $104,000+ of the entire budget. $3000 is a one time expense for equipment….that leaves $3000.
There is opposition to house the initiative by the very group of start up members, under the leadership of Alicia Bales, the current president of the MEC board. I am a former member of the MEC board but was purged as were several others, nearly all men, by Ms Bales for "not being a good fit." This occurred when I objected to Ms Bales overlooking the gatekeeping of KMEC's radio technology by one individual and his mother. In truth, the radio station is an integral part of the MEC. In other words, I pushed for correcting the problems and was asked to resign. Ms Bales is an actress and a voice coach, and by her own admission knows little to nothing about government agencies. Much of her public activities involve 'drama' and the need for an audience.
I'd also like it to be on the record that the MCCRD is an existing county department fully capable of collecting community data and disseminating it to the BOS/CEO. Megan McClure, in her formal presentation indicated that her department is in line with the CAAC idea, but cannot advocate due to its funding stream at present. All of the startup committee women who spoke at public comments, OPPOSE the proposal of the CAAC falling into the workings of the MCCRD as proposed by Supervisor McCowen.
A better model, and there are several around the country, would be to have steps taken by the MCCRD to conduct the info gathering, perhaps with a modest budget, actual job descriptions and a way to measure success. The women who oppose the current structure can remain as volunteer advocates. These women are volunteers activists by career and it would appear a good fit. Unfortunately, until now, the MEC, which is decades old and has very few members, has not been involved in implementing climate change. In truth, one key feature could be their activism as volunteers to support MCCRD for all to benefit.
My concern is not only reinventing the wheel, duplication of efforts, but the asinine suggestion by a Supervisor to propose a fool's errand to benefit one person financially with $94,000+ with salary and benefits. It's a poor use of the county's money for a start up with no tangible way to measure goals, objectives, and outcomes for county government.
Finally, as a resident of the county for 8 years this month, no one is against the idea of preserving the environment, nor halting climate change. No one. This letter is not about addressing these issues our state faces, but the inane proposal before you. It smells bad.
Again, please enter this letter in the record of the CEO's office.
April 19, 2019
To the Editor:
I was unable to attend this week’s BOS meeting, but viewed it online. Regarding the Climate Action Advisory Committee (CAAC), a few points stand out:
By its very name, the group is advisory. This means that while the structure is designed for CAAC members to ADVISE the BOS, there is no specific mechanism to effect change nor to measure CAAC’s performance and outcomes.
The CAAC’s organizers are, by admission, activists. This principally includes Alicia Bales (Littletree is her former CB radio handle.) She is not Native American.
Ms. Bales is the self-aggrandizing president of the Mendocino Environmental Center (MEC) which, for the most part, stages demonstrations, i.e., banging pots and pans on the courthouse steps or playing an out-of-tune guitar at Alex Thompson Plaza. The MEC, which has existed for decades, has not organized itself nor raised funds to halt climate change. And yet. It's exists to protect the environment.
Other CAAC organizers are Pauline Girvin, a former attorney who is no longer licensed to practice law; Naomi Wagner and Ellen Faulkner, current board members of the Mendocino Environment Center (MEC). The MEC was a start up of the late Judi Bari and other hardcore anarchists. These four women (during public comment) unanimously *opposed *the idea that CAAC operate under the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD) and its staff.
In her formal presentation to the BOS this week, Ms. Bales stated she is “more familiar with throwing herself in front of a bulldozer than having an understanding of how government agencies work.” (See BOS video.)
Supervisor John McCowen is the MEC’s landlord, located at 106 Standley Street, Ukiah. He is also the sponsor of the CAAC initiative and has proposed that it fall under the purview of Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD).
Take a look at his proposed budget for the CAAC as a start-up:
Under item 6b on the BOS agenda items, the first year of operation for CAAC will cost the county $110,512. Of that total, $94,812 is for one person, with $10,000 earmarked for MCRCD Staff Collaboration.
A resolution to accept the CAAC going forward will be on the May 7th BOS meeting agenda. Please, contact your supervisor directly to voice your opposition to this flagrant waste of $110,512 for work currently being done, at least in part, by the MCRCD.
As a footnote, several state agencies work specifically in the area of controlling carbon emissions and fighting global warming through area businesses and schools serving as resources to our counties.
JOIN THE AV AMBULANCE
Annual Membership Opportunity
Dear Community Members,
It’s that time of year again. Our ambulance membership program year begins July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2020. If you decide on membership, your benefits begin immediately only if you renew before August 1, 2019. After that date, your membership is considered “new” and benefits take effect 14 days after receipt. Membership rates are not prorated and cost the same whether you join now or anytime during the next 12 months. We offer an online join and pay option at andersonvalleyfire.org NOW is the best time to join!
We offer AVFD ambulance only, or in combination with air ambulance REACH/CALSTAR (AirMedCare Network). Our rates include you and your immediate family members living in the same household.
Combined membership in AVFD Ambulance and REACH for $125.
Membership in AVFD Ambulance only for $70.00
AVFD Ambulance is utilized in most emergency responses and it is often all that is needed. When REACH/CALSTAR air ambulances are dispatched, AVFD Ambulance is generally needed to transport patients to a safe landing site for them.
Our membership programs have been approved by the California Dept. of Managed Health Care (DMHC). This approval results in the consumer protections described in the “fine print” of our Membership Agreement and makes it legal for us to accept the payments made by the insurance company (including Medicare) as payment-in-full. As a member you will not be billed for any of the co-pay and/or deductible amounts. Given the charges for pre-hospital care (a trip with AVFD Ambulance can be up to $2,500 and an air ambulance flight averages over $20,000), the savings to you could be very significant.
AVFD Ambulance is a non-tax supported service and exists only because of the commitment of many dedicated volunteers who respond day or night to help our community. When you become a member and/or make a donation, you are supporting our incredible volunteers and investing in the quality of life in Anderson Valley. We need your support…so please become a member, make a donation, and volunteer.
On behalf of the Ambulance crew and the AV Fire Department, thank you for your continued support!
Mark your calendar: Annual Ambulance Tri-tip BBQ
Sunday, August 25, 2019 4 – 7 p.m., Mendocino County Fairgrounds
Have questions? Want to volunteer? Contact us at 895-2573 or EMSmembers.firstname.lastname@example.org
The link to an online application is below but requires payment by credit card: https://www.andersonvalleyfire.org/payments/reach/
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 23, 2019
STEPHANIE BROWN, Ukiah. Vandalism.
CHRISTIAN CAMPOS-ESQUIVEL, Ukiah. Trespassing, false ID, failure to appear.
RODOLFO GONZALEZ-ALVAREZ, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
JAZPUR LEIGH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
CALEB MACARTHUR, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BRADLEY SHEEHY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, Probation revocation.
GM CEO MARY BARRA'S COMPENSATION was $21.87 million in 2018, 281 times median GM worker
CRAZY UNCLE JOE & THE ‘CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG’ DEMOCRATS
by Geoff Beckman
I have a suggestion for PPMB, the right-wing consulting firm whose CEO is running for president–and also Crazy Uncle Joe, who is apparently going to announce his run next week.
You nitwits think you can run on the “I’ll bring everyone together. We’re not blue states or red states – we’re the UNITED states” message?
Good luck with that. The Rock has been trying to do that for nearly three months. He’s getting crushed.
“Right now what this country needs is not people having a race to the gutter, not a party that’s going to show the worst of who they are, not when they go low we go lower, not fighting fire with fire,” he said.
What voters are looking for is someone who lives by the rules Sean Connery lays down in THE UNTOUCHABLES.
After eight years watching Bill Clinton hand Republicans what they wanted most (shredding regulations and the safety net) and then watching Barack Obama roll over on his back and expose his tummy – hoping Republicans would scratch it – nobody is in the mood for saying “We’re all in this together.”
As H.L. Mencken put it, “Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” The 2020 election cycle appears to be such a time.
The people in power separate families, put children in cages, and then allow them to be raped. Everyone who follows Team R is supporting that.
Team R supports neo-nazis and white nationalists. They have 100% support from their elected officials and base.
Team R supports people who steal your data and sell it – or just use it against you.
Team R supports right-wing paramilitary hate groups that kill unarmed people for the ‘crimes’ of holding cell phones, toy guns and sleeping. Nobody opposes them.
Team R wants to disenfranchise everyone except white male property owners. Again, no exceptions. No one is standing up against them.
There are no good people. You can’t work with people who do these things. Or the ones who support these things. Or the ones who don’t want to stand against them. People who want to defend their positions by making up facts – or claiming that Team D is worse in some way – are not people you can work with.
Talking about how Team R has good and decent people and Team D needs to quit being mean to them – given what Team R has been doing and how Team D has been reacting – won’t win votes.
Democratic primary voters – at least right now – seem to be asking, “What, PRECISELY, do you plan to do about our problems?” and, “Exactly how hard do you intend to fight for them?”
It’s early right now. A comparatively small number of people are following the 2020 election, and they tend to be the most committed.
Maybe, over the next six months, a flood of moderates – people looking for candidates who want to get along with Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy – will pour into the campaign.
Right now, the voter mood seems to be, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore!” As the truth about Bootie O’Rourke has made people realize that he’s not a progressive icon (which is entirely their fault; he hasn’t pretended to be anything but a Texas Democrat), his campaign has collapsed.
PPMB and Crazy Uncle Joe can, I think, expect the same thing.
One last point. It’s not that everyone loves Birdie Sanders so much. It’s that voters are sick of politicians who lie to them – who say one thing and do another. They’re realizing, belatedly, that candidate Obama suggested he was much more progressive and forward-thinking than President Obama ever was.
They’re looking for a candidate who says what he or she thinks – as opposed to saying what big donors want to hear, or what pollsters say people want – and who can be counted on to keep campaign promises.
Being a socialist would not normally be an asset. But in this race – where every other Democratic candidate is trying to disavow the positions they held for decades – where both the House and Senate leaders say one thing and then do the opposite – being a ‘socialist’ shows voters you are for real.
Look, Sanders isn’t a socialist. I know people who are socialists; they hate him. Socialists are convinced Bernie Sanders is a tool – bought and paid for – of the elites. They use him to pretend that he supports the issues that matter to voters – then sell out when push comes to shove. (Yes, they’re nuts. This is why socialism has gone nowhere.)
But voters know the term has always been poison. NOBODY calls themselves a socialist in order to win elections. So anyone who says it must be saying exactly what he thinks.
Which, right now, is catnip to voters.
Elizabeth Warren, who crossed over 20-odd years ago, can probably pass the genuine test. Had he run, Sherrod Brown could have. Most of the rest of these people were saying entirely different things ten years ago – or five. Or even three.
The Rock – who wants everyone to like him – can’t get away with it. If he wants to stay in the race, he’ll need to rebrand as a progressive… and hope voters believe him.
(Geoff Beckman is a strategy, technology, management and technical consultant living in the Cleveland Ohio area. He retired from Democratic political consulting in 2006.)
REDNECK BOOBY TRAP
ON LINE COMMENT: The area south of Garberville and north of Willits has become Dead Man’s Alley. There are so many accidents. I don’t know if speed is causing it or not paying attention is causing it. I feel very sorry for all the people involved. People have got to learn to watch that area through there — it really is dangerous.
EARTH DAY, 2019
by Cody Petterson
SAN DIEGO — For the first time in 15 years, I sat down in my car the other day and broke down sobbing. On the side of a dirt road, surrounded by mountains. Waves of sadness, frustration, rage, and despair welling up.
I’d spent the day planting and watering seedlings, which I’ve done for half a decade now. We have 300 acres on the north slope of Volcan Mountain, between Julian and Warner Springs. The property got hit by the Pines Fire in 2002, which killed two-thirds of the conifers. I grew up hiking in Cuyamaca, before the fires, and I got it in my mind to restore the conifer forest on the property. It took months to figure out what was what, heading up to the mountain once a week, taking pictures, coming home and trying to identify all the species, reading late into the night about botany, and forestry, and silviculture. I collected thousands of cones. I learned how to get seeds out of them and to stratify, germinate, and pot the seeds. I started growing seedlings in the backyard. I put together a working group with US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife, CALFIRE, and the US Natural Resource Conservation Service. We collected and sent 30 bushels of fresh cones up to the USFS nursery in Placerville, and I eventually got a thousand seedlings from those seeds.
I planted every which way I could, learning something new each time, year after year. The first year I planted in the open. The seedlings baked. Next in the shade. They baked. I learned to water every two or three weeks, which isn’t easy across 300 acres of steeply sloped terrain. The pocket gophers ate them from below. I caged the bottoms. Rabbits severed them at the base. I caged them above ground. Rodents climbed up and down into the cages and defoliated the needles. I caged the tops. The rodents ate the needles on all the branches that protruded from the cage, and the hardware cloth cages heated up in the sun and the metal killed all the branches and needles that were in contact with it.
And all the time, the relentless heat and dryness killed any seedling left without watering for more than two or three weeks. Winter rains are good, but there’s no snow-melt anymore, and a winter rain doesn’t help a seedling survive in October when there hasn’t been a drop of rain in 8 months (the second half of 2017 was the driest on record here). In spite of thousands of hours of thought, and worry, and work, and care, I’ve lost probably 650 out of the 700 seedlings I’ve raised from seed and planted with my own hands over the last 5 years.
That day, after a long, dirty, hot day of planting, I walked to one of my favorite spots, a ring of granite boulders sheltered by a huge, gnarled Canyon Live Oak. There, lying shattered and rotting in the middle of the ring, was half the 60 foot tall tree. The other half was still standing, but covered in the telltale, tiny D-shaped holes of Gold-spotted Oak Borer (GSOB), a beetle that gets into the phloem, xylem, and cambium of our native oaks and kills them rapidly. GSOB arrived in San Diego on firewood from southeast Arizona fifteen years ago and has been slowly advancing north, laying waste to our native oaks. It’s killed maybe 80,000 so far. I wandered around to a dozen nearby trees, all big, ancient oaks. The trunks of every one were spotted with GSOB holes. I stood there stunned. The whole millenia-old forest was dying, as far as the eye could see. I wandered back to my truck, numb.
I sat down in the driver’s seat, staring out the window. At the oaks, dying in mass. At the stately, hundred-foot-tall Bigcone Douglas Fir, towering above the oak canopy. Each Bigcone drops maybe two hundred to a thousand cones, depending on size, every three to five years. Each cone has around 100 viable seeds in it. Maybe 40,000 seeds on average per tree, every few years. Times a few hundred trees. An average of somewhere around a million seeds a year fall on our stretch of mountain. And yet there’s not more than a dozen saplings growing naturally on the entire property, 300 acres. I sat there thinking about what that meant, year after year, a million seeds dropped and maybe one or two survive, and those only on the dampest, darkest parts of the mountain. It meant the days of the Bigcone are done.
I sat thinking about those thousands of oaks on all those slopes, and ridges, and hills. Dying. I thought of the Shot Hole Borer, working its way up through our canyons, killing all San Diego’s Coast Live Oak, and willow, and sycamore, and cottonwood. I thought of the Bigcone pushing their way up through the oak canopy. Last of their kind. I thought of all my seedlings. The hundreds I’ve planted over the years and the hundreds filling my patio and yard. I’ve lost too many to count, but I can somehow remember the moment I first saw each one had dried out, or been pulled under by gophers, or stripped bare by rodents, or gnawed by rabbits, or trampled by cattle from the neighboring reservation.
I’d thought about it all a thousand times. I’ve lain in bed so many nights trying to wrestle with it. I don’t know why, but that afternoon something in my mind buckled under the weight of it. I thought, ‘How do I tell my kids?’ and I started to cry. They’ve grown up with me storing seeds and acorns in the refrigerator, germinating seeds, potting seedlings, watering them, five hundred at any given time in the backyard, working in the greenhouses, unloading all my dusty tools and empty water bottles from the truck when I get back in the evening from the mountain. Their dad working in any spare moment on reforesting is all they’ve ever known. I thought of this photo we took a couple of years ago, sitting in front of all our hundreds of seedlings. So happy. How do I tell them that I don’t know what to do with the six hundred seedlings in the backyard? That if I keep them potted in the yard, they’ll get root-bound and slowly die, and if I try to outplant them on the mountain, they’ll die even faster? That there’s no place left in the world for these trees they’ve grown up with?
And then the question that was probably there the whole time, waiting to surface: How do I tell myself? I think of all the love I’ve put into saving that forest. All the years. All the thousands of hours. All the thought, and worry, and hope, and faith. How do I tell myself that it’s all gonna die? I’ve spent so long among those trees. It’s not like trees in a park you visit. I don’t go to a different trail or campground or mountain every week. I go to the same mountain, every time. I know every corner of those three hundred acres. I can see the whole forest when I close my eyes. Those trees are like friends to me. I know their peculiarities, their personalities. I can identify some of those trees by their acorns alone. It’s honestly too much. To know they’re all doomed. And if my forest is dying, the same thing is happening everywhere on earth. My mind leapt back 20 years to when I was doing fieldwork up in Kenai, Alaska. I remembered driving past hundreds of miles of conifers dying from Spruce Bark Beetle, which had exploded without the cold winters to keep its population in check. I must have blocked it out for twenty years. But it was right there, just below the surface of my consciousness, foreshadowing.
The sadness, the fear, the despair comes over me in waves when I think about it. The whole biosphere, sixty-six million years of adaptation and speciation, is dying. I took personal responsibility for repairing, conserving, stewarding my half-mile square of it, and it finally hit me--what I’d been wrestling with unconsciously for a long time--that I can’t save it. No amount of wisdom, or sacrifice, or heroism is going to change the outcome. It’s been wearing on me for years, but when you’re raised on Star Wars and unconditional positive regard, you think that no matter how long the odds, you’re somehow gonna pull off the impossible. It’s been years of working, day-in, day-out, against odds that were unimaginably long. Only, they weren’t long. They were impossible.
And at the crescendo of sobbing and loss, the saddest thought I’ve ever had came to me: I wish I didn’t know. What else can you say, when faced with a catastrophe of such vastness, with the unravelling of the entire fabric of life on earth? I mean, we need to fight to save what we can, but the web of life as we know it is done. All the beautiful things we saw as kids on the Discovery Channel. The forests I grew up in. The mountain lions, and the horned owls, and the scat and the tracks in the washes. We’re so early in this curve, and the changes that are already baked in will be so profound. I don’t think humans are headed for extinction. We’ll survive, though many of us will suffer and many die. But all this life with which we’ve shared the planet, much of it won’t make it. I wish I didn’t know. I wish I didn’t know those ancient trees dying up there on the mountain. I wish I’d never hiked through Cuyamaca before the fires. Wish I’d never looked beneath rocks for lizards in the canyons before the bulldozers came. Or heard the frogs singing.
Some of us have seen what’s coming. Some of us feel, deeply, the oneness of all life, feel its fabric fraying. On the first of April, 2019, just after 3 o’clock, some faith--some fantasy inside me--died, and I felt despair for the world I’ve known and loved. We will not save what was. The world, the systems, the interrelationships, the densely woven tapestry, the totality we were raised to love will collapse. My responsibility now is to my children--to all our children--and the world that will remain to them. To rescue as much as we can from that global conflagration, from the catastrophes of famine, and flood, and fire, and conflict, and exodus, and extinctions that await. To end our dependence on fossil fuels, immediately. To dramatically change our food production, our transportation, our land use. Our way of life. To defeat anyone and anything that opposes or hampers that work. If there were ever a truly holy war, this struggle--to save the whole of life from ourselves--is it. There can be no compromise. No increments. No quarter. There is nothing left, but to go forth--with the grief, and desperation, and granite-hard determination--and transform the world. Utterly. Immediately.
Earth Day, 2019.
IN SEPTEMBER OF 1988, as I was preparing to leave my home town San Francisco for college "a five-alarm arson fire roared through San Francisco's colorful Haight-Ashbury district before dawn on Thursday, destroying a controversial convenience store development project and damaging 10 other structures." I lived on Shrader Street at that time, around the corner more or less from the fire, and as the sun came up I walked around taking photos. There were no panoramic devices at that time, nothing I had anyway to capture the immense devastation I was experiencing, so I just kept taking a photo, shifting the view in the viewfinder and then taking another photo. I went off to college the next day and had these rolls of film developed several months later. The photos fit together awkwardly, but I think it gives a good sense of what it was like to be there.
(Ethan Bryson, SF Remembered)
BRAZILIAN PHOTOGRAPHER Sebastian Salgado and his wife Lélia decided to rebuild their deserted piece of land of 600 hectares in Aimorés, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Together with their friends they planted on their land more than 2 million tree saplings. As a result, the site was 293 species of plants, 172 species of birds and 33 species of animals, some of which were on the verge of extinction, returned, water resources were restored. Look what happened in 18 years!
ANYBODY NEED A HELPFUL GUY?
Message from Craig Stehr April 23, 2019
Am presently at Andy Caffrey's in Garberville, CA being supportive as he makes environmentally related videos. He is concerned that a neighbor called "the busybody" might complain to the landlord that I have stayed here beyond the two week guest limit. Therefore, I am sending out this message to say that I am available to go elsewhere and be helpful. I would need a guest stay from you to show up. Please let me know.
P.S. Andy's telephone number for messages is: (707) 923-2114.
Craig Stehr, email@example.com
VOLUNTEER AT FB SENIOR CENTER
Redwood Coast Senior Center is a very busy place with all the activities and meeting held each day. Volunteers are needed in the Dining Room, serving all that come to lunch every day. Also, the Centers thrift store needs volunteers with many days and hours to choose from. Come down if you haven’t already and see for yourself what a great place to spend a few hours helping where you feel most comfortable. Redwood Coast Senior Center has opportunities in the Dining room and the Thrift Store. If your passionate about community services, care about people and have the time and energy, we’d love to have your help. Being a Volunteer is a privilege and a responsibility. To become a valued member of our volunteer team please contact Jodi by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 961-4307.
Event / Volunteer Coordinator
The May 2, 2019 Planning Commission agenda has been posted to the department website at the below link:
NOTHING TRUMP IS ACCUSED OF from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump that the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”
Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.
Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.
There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn’t prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters! There’s an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and…
Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.
For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.
The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so.
— Matt Taibbi
"SECOND CLASS SALOON…The saloon that Wyatt Earp and wife owned in Nome, Alaska between 1887-1901
FACES IN THE FIRE, VOICES IN THE STREAM
The tall ladders
Harvest time in the pear orchards,
and every night
we boogie down on the Redneck Riviera
to Bowser the Hound and his Foxes.
When you live out on the edge, you're life goes in cycles and at this particular moment, it's time to look for subscribers for what I do, patrons, if you will. It's time now to move into reality. I would like to bring internet services into my cabin and, with the help of my web designer, expand my web footprint. Across the board.
THE SOURCE, AND I HATE IT
It would be churlish in the extreme to withhold at least a kind of grudging appreciation for my first wife -- my kid's mother. After all, it was she who gave my dream a shine. Or, more accurately, gave it a spin that heightened my already optimistic mood. My first English class would convene at in exactly two weeks. Two weeks earlier, I had offered to spare her father the grief of identifying his middle daughter's battered body. She had been killed instantly when her boyfriend's Volkswagen collided with a free-market range cow in the middle of night near Salt Lake. They had gotten into an argument at Thanksgiving dinner over the treatment of young people protesting the idiocy of the Vietnam war.
He was also as near to a Nazi as I had ever known. I was nineteen. The chair was now empty. And her Nazi father never escaped the guilt. And my future wife absolutely loathed her father. Still does, along with me. Good taste.
I have told her I love her still, as I did when she phoned a couple of months ago when she phoned me one night just after I had gone to bed to explain to me how much she hated Leggett. Hated, therefore, much of her life. We had lived there, raised our kids there, for twenty-six years. I am amazed and appalled at this attitude. I really can't believe that she passed it on to my kids.
But she has her admirable side. She is a fine watercolorist, with an obvious sensitivity toward wild nature. The unkempt. Her watercolor of the ephemeral waterfall out my kitchen window hangs in my graddaughter's trailer. A hovering supermom, she passed her core creativity to all of her kids. And she brought that to Wild River. And then she didn't come. But a couple of months later we made love for the memory at Wild River. And we came and we came. And we came. I cannot be churlish. Virginia, I love you.
BY GOD, IT'S ANOTHER BEER COMMERCIAL!
My friend from New Braunfels is asleep in Eugene in the bedroom. No wonder. She hasn't slept since leaving San Antionio. Flew to PDX. Then drove here. Where we finally got her parked. I just called the office which someone there had told me to do if she would be there more than overnight, and they advised moving the car again. Soon. They are certain that the women's counseling center will have the car towed. This is how everything gets complicated, and it is also how this particular geezer gets so much exercise.
Then I phoned the rental office and told the sweet thing who answered the phone how much I love living here. How impressed I have so far been by the maintenance staff and what competent work that they do. I love living here. I expect that it will be my last stop before that final hospital room and the morphine. And I hope that my last words will be thank you if I can muster talking. As it is here. Thank you. Carry on. Tick. Tick Tock.