- Scattered Showers
- Animal Evacuations
- Jim Jones
- Gorgeous Days
- Highway Fatality
- Driver Victor
- Creepy Biden
- Outage Preparations
- AOC Bashing
- State Street
- No Quiz
- Ruedrich Retires
- Yesterday's Catch
- Mueller's Statement
- Future Dread
- Worker City
- Coriolanus Saturday
- Pershing Square
- Chocolate Wrapper
- Lynching Italians
- Chop Suey
- River Theory
- Library Events
- Train Creep
- Childhood Misadventures
- Coming Revolution
- Big Tech
- FBI Interview
SCATTERED SHOWERS LIKELY on Thursday with chance of accompanying thunderstorms. Clearing Thursday night with mostly sunny days to follow, warming into the 80s and possibly low 90s by early next week. Lows in the 50s.
REFLECTIONS OF A RETIRED POT FARMER
“Sad, shocked, relieved and done.”
by Jane Futcher
Twenty years ago, in our rural subdivision south of Laytonville, a man bought three parcels from the same Los Angeles heiress who also sold us our land. Dave, as I’ll call our neighbor, didn’t live here; he drove up from San Francisco on weekends — camping, hiking, stopping by to chat, share cookies and give us the latest gate code to his parcel by the creek so we could swim.
For a few years, we didn’t know Dave grew pot. We learned from Ricky, his tenant farmer, a sweet guy from Humboldt, who told us about his operation one day when he passed us on the road in his turquoise pickup and invited us over to check out his “girls.”
We became pot farmers, too, when friends offered to bring us clones and teach us how to grow, harvest, cure and trim. I worried a lot, then figured why not?, since Prop 215 said it was legal to grow a few plants for medical use. My portfolio of nasty knee and disk X-rays in hand, I breezed through my exam at MediCann in Ukiah and got my medical marijuana card.
Yesterday, I hiked Dave’s parcel, the one where he camped and where Ricky had his garden. A bank now owns all three parcels and has put them up for sale. Apparently, Dave used his land as collateral on a business loan that didn’t turn out well.
It was sad to see the remains of Ricky’s garden hidden among the oaks and madrones. The fencing to keep out the deer and wild horses had collapsed; so had his fabric pots. It was not a sinister place like the grows law-enforcement agencies sometimes show the public — garbage-strewn landscapes where drums of diesel fuel and bags of rat poison leak into nearby streams. At Ricky’s garden, a few half-inch irrigation pipes came and went to nowhere, but the fabulous redwood combination shower and outhouse he built (and always intended to plumb) was still standing. Above the garden, an aluminum drying shed was holding its own in the clearing; rust and critters had invaded a propane grill, a wood stove and a couple of trailers.
The scene reminded me of the day my partner visited Billy to consult with him about a pest problem.
“You just missed the DEA,” Ricky called that afternoon. “Sixteen vehicles came and cut down all my plants.”
“Are they headed here?” Our driveway was a stone’s throw from his.
“They’re gone. You’re safe. They handcuffed me and my gerry crew, but they didn’t arrest us."
“Your gerry crew?”
“Geriatrics,” he laughed, despite his trauma. “They’re all retired. Don’t get enough from Social Security to live on, so I hire them to trim. Best crew I’ve ever had.”
“Are you OK?”
“I worked so hard on those girls, and all that’s left is nothing.”
Dave hired a big-time San Francisco attorney, and eventually everyone’s legal troubles went away. Ricky returned to grow at Dave’s for many more summers despite the brain injury he suffered in a diving accident. He was happy. He had fallen in love, had a wife and child and painted houses for a living. We weren’t sure that Dave, who was deep into his business by then and rarely visited, even knew Ricky still grew pot at his place. There were no more raids.
In 2014, as the California legislature debated new medical marijuana regulations, my partner and I joined dozens of small farmers in Mendocino County going public about growing weed. We attended meetings at the Grange and Harwood Hall, organizing ourselves and lobbying local and state politicians to consider the needs of small farmers. We stopped calling our crop by its street names, referring to it as cannabis to give it, and us, more legitimacy. We joined the Emerald Growers Association and a local farmers’ cooperative whose members shared information about regenerative farming practices, irrigation, distribution, manufacturing and permitting. The Laytonville Garden Club launched its amazing Cannabis Renaissance series, bringing a lawyer, a doctor, a lab owner, a plant breeder and soil and water scientists to share their expertise with local growers.
There was so much happening that I began covering our meetings for local papers, eventually convincing KZYX to host a cannabis talk show. In 2016, my partner and I proudly procured our first Mendocino County 9.31 program cannabis cultivation permit. Flow Kana distributed our newly legal buds, even filming a short documentary about our little farm, Wild Women Herbals. We hired an attorney and several consultants, created an LLC, and filled out endless state and county forms. We were poised to press “Send” on our 2017 California cannabis cultivator’s license application when we came to our senses.
We were gerries now. We were too old to raise, cure and trim enough cannabis to cover our farm expenses and keep pace with the ever-growing, ever-changing list of costly county and state regulations. There were rules and fees for everything: water use and discharge, track and trace technology, zoning, building codes, bookkeeping, taxes, payroll and more. We couldn’t wrap our minds around all the red tape. We would wake up in a sweat at night wondering what form we had forgotten or which agency might pounce on us. The black market was a breeze compared to the bureaucratic nightmare called compliance.
We were sad, shocked, relieved and done. We continued to raise a few plants for personal use, but, next to them in our garden that year, we grew watermelon, pole beans, squash, kale, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and cucumbers.
Today, the garden below our house looks a lot like Ricky’s: Our pots are overgrown with grass; the weeds come up to my chest. We hope to hire someone this summer with a backhoe to help us haul up all that wonderful dirt we made for the flower and vegetable beds by our house.
I don’t miss the backbreaking work and constant worries of cannabis farming. But I do miss the beauty of the buds bursting with resin and terpenes in the fall. I miss the community of farmers and friends we made in our growing years. I miss the feeling that we were on the cutting edge of a green revolution and an exploding industry that could bring healing herb to people who needed it and ensure our financial stability for years to come.
I love and admire our friends who are still fighting the good fight, growing beautiful organic cannabis, paying the fees and taxes, complying with the laws and working with lawmakers to revise the most onerous, costly and unnecessary cannabis regulations.
Meantime, there are a lot of us in the hills of Mendocino County who have abandoned our dream of becoming legal, respectable and profitable. Not all of us are old, but many are, and we pray we can survive on less. If the growing number of empty storefronts in Willits is any indication, the entire county must learn, and quickly, to survive on less.
I hope the bank sells Dave’s land to people we like. I hope the new owners are friendly, as Dave and Ricky were. I hope they will let us swim in the creek.
(Jane Futcher lives near Laytonville.)
JIM JONES & THE ANDERSON VALLEY
by Norman Clow
On the second day of classes in the fall of 1967 Jim Jones integrated Anderson Valley High School. Walking down the hall to our first period senior government class, a group of us were startled to see a black girl, Ava Cobb, talking to a teacher in room one.
Imagine our surprise when we got to room five and found another, Anita Ljames, sitting quietly at a desk waiting for class to begin. For us to put our money where our mouths were, those of us who professed a lofty world brotherhood colorblindness in racial matters had a big challenge. Those who professed one degree of bigotry or another had a bigger one.
Jones had been around the local schools for about three years when he brought Anderson Valley into the melting-pot mainstream. He had worked part-time at the elementary school and subbed at the high school. As I recall we had him fairly often one year in Spanish class. It took a while for us to realize he couldn't speak Spanish -- Portuguese was his foreign language -- but that class was our first real exposure to his charismatic personality. I remember quite vividly one girl who came from a family of meager means being just enthralled when he told the class that he had a "ranch" in Redwood Valley. Of course, we didn't know at the time that his crop was old people's Social Security checks and property deeds. This girl just sat there practically swooning at the sauve and handsome Reverend Jones who owned a ranch in Redwood Valley. Anybody who knew the harsh truths of trying to scratch a living really ranching in Mendocino County in the 1960s (the advent of the pot plantations) had a slightly different reaction. When he subbed at the high school it was always, "Oh, we're having Jim Jones today -- you know, Jim Jones." (Or maybe, "that nut.") His reputation and persona magnified daily but not all of us were favorably impressed. The unsubstantiated story has always been that Jones provided a dozen students from the Temple, and the ADA money they brought, in exchange for a full-time teaching position at the elementary school.
That second day of class in 1967 was the beginning of a strange experience at Anderson Valley High. All of a sudden local students were confronted with a dozen or so "different" kids, some with a skin color we had all heard about and seen in pictures but never really rubbed up against, from some offbeat church called "People's Temple." We had heard of it but knew very little about it. Supposedly it was some sort of Protestant sect, but those of us with strong Protestant faiths were a little skeptical when we talked to them and heard some of their beliefs and found out that admission to their church service was by invitation only and protected by armed guards. None of it sounded very biblical to us -- and we got the distinct idea they were actually worshiping Jim Jones, not the Lord. Indeed, as the year wore on I became increasingly convinced, and correctly so history says, that all of Jones’s parson’s garb Bible pounding was just a prop, a hook to snare in weak-willed believers. (That was also confirmed in the spring of 1968 in incident witnessed by one of our local classmates which I will describe later.)
The kids themselves were an interesting bunch -- polite, short hair, clean-cut and for the most part studious. They were not standoffish but there was definitely a "difference." Later we found out they were sort of "outcasts" at Ukiah, perhaps another motivation for Jones to produce them one morning in Boonville. Socially reserved, the ones in my classes were outspoken and took an active part in class discussion whether it was science, English or particularly government or history.
Even then the People's Temple seemed to have a fascination with the Soviet Union and a couple of fellows would go on and on about what a paradise Brezhnev’s repressive regime was. Some of us would ride them mercilessly about their obvious folly and they had very little to say when the Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia to crush out the last little tiny bit of freedom that flickered in that occupied country.
We tried hard to make them feel welcome and they appreciated it. While it seemed in a way that the kids wanted to really be part of the gang, there was this very apparent if invisible wall between them and us. It was also interesting to watch the changing attitudes of some of the local kids going from writing papers advocating the shipping back of all blacks to Africa "where they belong" to actually accepting people of another race as equals. I became very close friends with Ava Cobb and with the Joneses’ adopted Korean daughter, Sue. But only at school. There was nothing socially at all -- the wall was up. Anita Ljames, a black girl whose father served as one of the temple's assistant pastors, had a singing voice that would just knock your socks off. I play guitar along with Dave Knight in a half-baked rock band, but when Anita showed up with her Motown vocal cords, the band quickly became the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Aretha, the Supremes, that sort of thing, and her performance of "Midnight Hour" in one of the school variety shows brought down the house. She and I spent hours working out arrangements on the piano and talking about this and that but there was always this wall. My conservatism always kind of confounded her.
Others experienced the same thing. Except for the two variety shows that they organizes, Jones’s students took part in practically no extracurricular activities. At 3:30 they were gone, headed back over the hill to the sanctuary of "Father" in one of the cars provided by the school. About the only other exception was when we elected Faith Worely, who later defected from the movement, home coming queen.
I think it was Tom Rawles who planted a big smooch on her at the halftime ceremonies and Jones was furious. Afterwards, Jones denounced her in front of the congregation for her "loose morals and disgraceful public display." A year or so later he had forced her to be his mistress, apparently less concerned for "morals" than he had been at homecoming.
Jones and his kids seemed to be struggling with their relationship with him. There was an obvious but unstated adoration of "Father" but at the same time there was a subtle fear that they displayed and a distaste for the circumstances. Dale Parks, who would later watch his mother get murdered at the airstrip in Guyana when they tried to escape with Congressman Leo Ryan, would sometimes just sort of sigh when the topic would come up (always indirectly -- it was never discussed in the open). It was almost like he knew what he was going home to every evening and dreaded it.
Other times they would be fiercely defensive of Jones and the Church expressing great admiration and loyalty for the man who was revolutionizing social action in Mendocino County. If we had a class report to do in government you could count on Judy Stahl to make a presentation on the social welfare system in this country and Anita to expound on racism and now the Temple was working to eliminate all class barriers. Judy and I each took a turn at interpreting ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ of all things, and James Joyce in English literature and the differences in our analysis were startling, to say the least.
I always hear people remark that they can't understand how so many people would fall for Jones’s line, how they would just turn over everything they had to him and literally follow him to their deaths. I can. I don't understand all of it, but I was around him enough to recognize the terrific, terrible charisma he possessed. He was cool and calm and handsome and polite and could pull you right into the palm of his hand. In class he had a magnetic presence that came close to snaring a few local students. At a Thanksgiving assembly one year he gave the main inspirational message and Jim Bakker or some other charlatan could have taken lessons from him. I can remember vividly sitting there listening to him speak and thinking, "This guy is amazing -- and scary." His message was obviously a fake, but the power was certainly there. Nobody should ever fool themselves into thinking "it could never happen to me. I'm too smart for that." A lot of the 912 people at Jonestown were "smart" too, and I doubt that any of them ever had any idea what they were getting themselves into.
In the spring one of our local classmates visited the Temple. He and Judy Stahl had been a steady item at school but Jones had forced her to break it off. Dan went to Redwood Valley to try to negotiate some sort of arrangement with Jones, and left after being scared nearly completely out of his wits. Jones confronted him with a gun outside the Temple, ordered him off the grounds and to never associate with Judy again. Dan hung around, snuck back in, and observed an evening church service through the window. What he saw included a fake cancer healing, a beating, and Jones throwing his Bible to the floor and stomping it to pieces screaming, "I am your God!" over and over at the top of his lungs while the congregation roared its approval.
The next day, school authorities just pooh-poohed the story, telling Dan that he had an overactive imagination and to please not slander the good Reverend Jones anymore. Right. Of course, none of us could have predicted the carnage that was to follow, and nobody's boasting, but some of us, including a number of parents whose children were in Jones’s classes, had that guy figured out well in advance — but a fat lot of good it did anybody.
And so it went. Mike Bloomfield put a wrap on "Super Session," Anita sang "Up, Up and away," at our senior graduation, Robert Kennedy was tragically shot a couple of hours later, and we all went off to somewhere else. Jones pulled up stakes in Anderson Valley and his brood went back to Ukiah, the great ADA experiment was over. A couple of us would see Anita or Judy or Faith or Jim Cobb on the campus at Santa Rosa Junior College once in a while, but they were clearly in a different world. We might bump into them in a hallway or on the lawn, but there was never any going over to anybody’s apartment or anything, just hello, how are you, as we passed one another. And no, none of them showed up at our ten year class reunion just five months before the slaughter.
Jonestown and People’s Temple had been in the paper a little bit more and more by then and I kept looking for names. I started seeing them and it wasn't until then that we realize the depth of what was happening. We had no idea what our old friends had been into. It was amazing stuff, almost out of a movie, not real life. The last time I saw a Ava Cobb, one of the best friends I had in school, at least for a year, was in the parking lot in front of the Ukiah Purity store that summer after graduation. She didn't look too happy. She shouldn't have been. She was going to spend the next 10 years along with her brother Jim and sister Teresa trying to get the rest of her family -- parents, brothers, sisters -- out of the Temple and out of Jonestown. They didn't make it and the next time I saw her it was on television being interviewed the day after the massacre.
They had started a sort of halfway house rescue program that had been one impetus of Congressman Leo Ryan's trip to Jonestown. Judy and Anita and a whole bunch more of our classmates were dead. There wasn't much to say at that point except Holy Toledo, or I told you so, and there is no solace in that. We mostly just sat shaking our heads.
A few months later Dale Parks walked over to my desk at Crocker Bank and was amazed that I remembered him "from school." Like a dummy, I asked him how he was doing and he said fine. I had no way to respond to someone who could say "fine" after what he had been through and so for once I just shut up.
To this day, particularly after having lost a son of our own, whenever I think about this devil, this madman, this murderer, I want to either hold my own two boys as close as I can or go get the sledgehammer out of the shed and smash Jones's coffin to smithereens. The only satisfaction I get, and it is meager, is listening to Willie Brown or some other fool fumble around trying to explain their former undying support for that lunatic, but it's tempered by the fact that so many people tried for so long to get the government or the media to help them rescue their families from the horror of People’s Temple and got nothing but a deaf ear and a pile of corpses. It's a little late. People's Temple indeed.
Jim Jones integrated Anderson Valley high school. Eleven years later he proved to be the ultimate "integrator," leading hundreds of people of all races to their deaths. Death discriminates against no one and Jim Jones was Death.
JUMPING INTO SUMMER with some gorgeous weather – whether it's watching the ocean, hiking among the redwoods, or exploring the inland valleys, so far the season is off to a great start!
SQUAW ROCK FATALITY: The dead woman has not yet been identified by the CHP, but she is preliminarily described as a 69-year-old Ukiah woman driving a silver 1997 Mercury Tracer. She was southbound on 101 when her vehicle left the road and plummeted over the side, coming to rest on its roof on a sandbar adjacent to the Russian River. It is not known when the accident occurred, but the wreckage was discovered about 5pm Tuesday. (Some people prefer Frog Woman Rock as descriptive of the landmark site. Caltrans seems perpetually at work on that stretch of highway, which has been rough for years.)
NEED A LIFT around the vast Anderson Valley? "The Anderson Valley Experience, driver and hosted by Victor Presley at 510-612 1165." Mr. Presley is a pleasant young man who, I believe, is an Uber guy, but he's definitely the guide you want for wine tasting, short vineyard tours, even a garden walk.
WHEN PG&E CUTS POWER
If PG&E were to shut off power to your home this summer, would you be ready?
Such outages are expected to affect a number of homes this wildfire season in Northern California — the North Bay city of Calistoga is projected to lose power as many as 15 times, for instance — and decoding the best preparation options for your property and family can be confusing.
A backup generator seems like a logical place to start. But unfortunately, experts say, backup generators may not be a practical option for many homeowners in residential areas, especially neighborhoods where homes are relatively close together.
"Installing a generator in a residential application is expensive and difficult," explains Lisa Carter, general manager for Martinez-based generator company CD & Power. "Here's why.
"Number one, buying a generator usually entails electrical, putting in a natural gas line, usually entails putting in a concrete pad, and then there are the permits that go along with installation in the various cities and what their individual environments might be."
Then there are quality-of-life issues such a unit might create for neighbors: At their worst, standby generators can be loud, smelly eyesores.
"What we've found in properties that are located in residential areas fairly close together is, it's hard to put in a generator because of the noise challenges, environmental challenges, exhaust challenges," Carter said.
What does work? A portable generator might not be able to supply as much power, but it's likely to be less cost-restrictive and less of an installation headache. A 2,000-watt model is light enough to be portable, but still offers enough power to run an appliance like a refrigerator in an emergency. Prices range from $500 to $2,000.
The Honda EU2000i, named the best portable generator of 2019 by Wirecutter, runs about $1,000 at Home Depot. In testing, it supplied more power than its competitors, it was relatively quiet, and it started easily. The Honda also has a "reputation for reliability," Wirecutter wrote, a point echoed by Carter, who has one for her own home and plans to use it to power the refrigerator and freezer during a power outage.
There are drawbacks to portable generators, too. One must have fuel on hand to start it and the fumes pose a hazard. Users of such generators must take care to ensure they're not venting into the house or garage.
With the prospect of a power down on the horizon, combination solar power battery systems are growing in popularity among consumers, but the prices are steep: The cost of such a system averages $16,400 once sustainability incentives are factored in, according to Bloomberg.
If customers do see power turned off, they're on their own, somewhat; they shouldn't expect to see any compensation for the inconvenience on their bill, according to PG&E. Energy companies advise people who depend on medical devices like breathing machines to make sure they have a backup power option in place.
"In regards to the impact on customer bills, PG&E does not reimburse customers for losses, as power will be shut off for safety due to extreme fire danger conditions," PG&E spokeswoman Andrea Menniti said by email. "Because a Public Safety Power Shutoff could last for several days, we encourage customers to plan accordingly."
"Also, it's important to note, fully stocked freezers usually keep food frozen for two days after losing power (if not repeatedly opened)," Menniti continued. "And half-full freezers usually keep food frozen for about one day (if not repeatedly opened). Also, refrigerators usually keep food cold for up to four hours if the door remains unopened."
In some communities, PG&E will, however, be opening "resiliency centers" with backup generators available to power key services.
As concern about how vulnerable populations like the elderly and those who use electricity-powered medical devices would be affected by an extended power shutoff, some politicians are taking action at the local level to prepare their communities. Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning is exploring microgrids of solar panels and batteries, for instance.
Regardless of where you live and how your area is preparing for fire season, it's a good idea to make a safety plan, build an emergency kit with food, water, flashlights, a radio, batteries, first aid kit, cash, and medications, figure out how to manually open your garage door and charge your cell phone if you lose power, and make sure your contact information on file with your local energy company is up-to-date so you can be reached in an emergency. More preparedness tips from California energy companies are available online here.
CHEAP SHOT DEPARTMENT
The Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies have apologized for a 'misleading and offensive' Memorial Day tribute video that featured Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. The video, which was shown on the scoreboard between games during Monday's doubleheader, featured several images of United States armed service members. The footage included a voice over from Ronald Reagan's 1981 inaugural speech in which he warned about American 'adversaries' and 'enemies of freedom.' During that portion of the video, AOC's image was seen along with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and deceased former Cuban President Fidel Castro. According to a team statement: 'A pre-produced video… was supposed to be a moving tribute [but] ended with some misleading and offensive editing.’ The team added: 'We're embarrassed we allowed this video to play without seeing it in its entirety first. We unconditionally apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez'
A READER WRITES: “Today we overheard a cashier in a State Street business in Ukiah say the downtown road repair work is scheduled to begin at the first of the year, block by block, and will take five years to complete. The plan is to change State Street from four lanes to three, one lane in each direction with a passing lane in the center (AKA suicide lane). The sidewalks will be expanded and the septic pipes will be replaced (maybe other plumbing too, not sure). The goal is to recreate the look of Healdsburg and Cloverdale, but the cashier said as neither of those towns had competition with box stores like Ukiah does, he didn't think the new look would be a draw and the mess would probably kill all the small businesses. Also, the cashier said there was no info on how this work would be paid for. Sigh. Why does everything that happens in Mendo go so wrong?”
NO BOONVILLE QUIZ this week. We’ll be back on the 2nd Thursday of the month - June 13th. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
NORTH COAST BREWERY: Gratified with success, co-founder takes bow; Retired Ruedrich grew respected beer line with Scrimshaw, Old Rasputin
by Bill Swindell
Mark Ruedrich, who co-founded North Coast Brewing Co. in Fort Bragg more than 30 years ago and led it to become one of the most respected craft breweries in the United States, announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Ruedrich, 67, retired as president from the brewery he helped start in 1988. Sam Kraynek, a food industry veteran who had been the brewery’s chief operating officer, will become chief executive officer. The company employs 140 people and produces about 70,000 barrels of beer annually, making it the 46th-largest craft brewer in the nation, according to the Brewer’s Association trade group.
“Leading North Coast Brewing for the past 30 years has been one of the greatest joys of my life. The craft beer industry has changed so much over the years, and it’s gratifying to see our continued success as the company enters a new era,” Ruedrich said in a prepared statement.
A trained biologist, Ruedrich got interested in craft brewing after a trip to England, where he became a fan of the flavorful beers there compared to the light lagers of Budweiser and Miller that dominated the marketplace in America.
Along with Tom Allen and Joe Rosenthal, Ruedrich launched the brewery in Fort Bragg and steered its steady growth of craft beers that are now sold in 48 states.
In a 2016 interview, he said that starting a brewery in a Mendocino County coastal town far off a major highway “did not make good economic sense, good business sense necessarily. It was not the sort of idea that investors would break down your door to get you.”
But “our isolation has served us well,” he said, enabling North Coast to craft its own identity away from the pack of rival brewers.
Ruedrich first garnered attention for brewing Red Seal Ale, the year North Coast started. The copper-red pale ale was made with a then-new hop variety, centennial, which featured citrus and floral aromas unique to the beer marketplace. Red Seal Ale was one of the first brews that led the movement toward hoppy India pale ale beers that have become ubiquitous in the industry, especially in Northern California. The beer, an American amber ale with an alcohol content of 5.4%, is now considered tame by alcohol standards in today’s marketplace. The beer has won gold medals at the World Beer Championships.
North Coast, however, made its biggest mark in the U.S. craft sector by offering a wide variety of beers, so much so that it doesn’t have a typical flagship beer. Its Scrimshaw Pilsner is found in many taprooms across the country, though, and Red Seal Ale remains a steady seller.
In 1995, the brewery introduced Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout in a fourpack. The beer quickly became a favorite with online critics and was ranked as “exceptional” at the 2014 World Beer Championships. In recent years, North Coast also has branched into seasonal Berliner Weisse fruity tart beers.
The company, which also operates a taproom in Fort Bragg, added philanthropy to its brewing. It is certified as a B Corporation, meeting high standards for its environmental commitment, treatment of workers, its overall relationship with the local community and its business governance structure.
“We’ve continued to innovate and seek more and more ways to be environmentally and socially responsible. Those core pillars of our brewery are what I am most proud of,” Ruedrich said last week by email.
He will retain a seat on the company’s board. Doug Moody, a partner, will maintain his role as the brewery’s senior vice president and national director of sales.
Ruedrich said that North Coast “will continue its independence” despite consolidation within the U.S. craft beer sector.
(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, MAY 29, 2019
BRETT ADAME, Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.
KYL AYERS, Willits. Battery on peace officer.
ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JEREMIAH JUSZCZAK, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
AARON ORESCO, Ukiah. Suspended license, proation revocation.
JUSTIN POTTER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
TYLER ROWE, Willits. Probation revocation.
CORY SCARIONI, Gettysburg, Ohio/Ukiah. Parole violation.
TASHEENA SHANNON JR., Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHAD TURLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ROBERT MUELLER BREAKS SILENCE TO INSIST HE DID NOT EXONERATE TRUMP
by David Smith
Robert Mueller, the special counsel, on Wednesday reignited demands for Donald Trump’s impeachment by breaking his two-year silence to deny that the US president is innocent of a crime.
In a sudden and dramatic turn, Mueller, whose report on Russian election interference and Trump campaign links to Moscow was published last month, delivered a sombre nine-minute statement that many construed as a signal to Congress to act on his finding that Trump sought to obstruct justice.
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said from a podium at the justice department in his first public remarks since the investigation began. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”
Mueller explained that his decision was based on longstanding justice department policy, rather than lack of evidence.
“A president cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office,” he said. “That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view – that too is prohibited.”
The special counsel’s 448-page report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump election campaign and Russia. It did identify 10 incidents in which the president attempted to obstruct justice, for example by firing the director of the FBI, though it stopped short of charging the president with a crime.
His statement on Wednesday contradicted Trump’s claims that Mueller’s report awarded him “total exoneration” and also William Barr’s bald assertion last month that Mueller’s decision was not based on justice department policy.
Mueller explained: “The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and, by regulation, it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
Less than half an hour later, Trump tweeted in response: “Nothing changes from the Mueller report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.”
But others interpreted Mueller’s intervention as a not-so-subtle message that, while his hands had been tied by department policy, Congress’s are not. Calls for Trump’s impeachment, circulating for weeks, rapidly turned into a clamour, with several Democratic candidates for president leading the way.
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said: “We have one remaining path to ensure justice is served. It is our legal and moral obligation to hold those who have committed crimes accountable. It’s clear that the House must begin impeachment proceedings. No one is above the law.”
Senator Kamala Harris of California tweeted: “What Robert Mueller basically did was return an impeachment referral. Now it is up to Congress to hold this president accountable. We need to start impeachment proceedings. It’s our constitutional obligation.”
Mueller’s statement was “an impeachment referral, and it’s up to Congress to act,” Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted.
And Beto O’Rourke, another Democratic presidential contender, added: “There must be consequences, accountability, and justice. The only way to ensure that is to begin impeachment proceedings.”
But first the burden lies with the House of Representatives, where the judiciary committee is leading oversight efforts. Its chairman, Democrat Jerry Nadler, stopped short of urging impeachment or calling for Mueller to testify.
He said: “Given that Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the president, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump – and we will do so. No one, not even the president of the United States, is above the law.”
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has so far resisted calls for impeachment, a difficult strategic calculation. If passed by the Democratic majority in the House, it would almost certainly fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, leaving Trump in office and possibly strengthened going into next year’s presidential election.
Pelosi said on Wednesday: “The Congress will continue to investigate and legislate to protect our elections and secure our democracy. The American people must have the truth.”
For their part, Republicans were mostly silent, suggesting that Mueller’s intervention had changed nothing about their support for the president.
Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, said: “Today’s statement by Mr Mueller reinforces the findings of his report. And as for me, the case is over. Mr Mueller has decided to move on and let the report speak for itself. Congress should follow his lead.”
But one House Republican has recently defied the party line to emerge as an outspoken critic of the president. Justin Amash, from Michigan, tweeted: “The ball is in our court, Congress.”
Democrats in the House, whose subpoenas are being resisted by the White House, are pushing for Mueller to testify in person. On Wednesday Mueller made clear he has little desire to appear and, if obliged, he will have nothing to add to what is already stated in his report.
“We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself,” he said gravely. “The report is my testimony. I would not provide information beyond that which is already public in any appearance before Congress.”
Mueller, who is closing his special counsel office, also defended the FBI and the integrity of the investigation, which have been under constant assault from the president and his rightwing allies.
And he emphasised that the first volume of his report, which details Russia’s attack on American democracy, deserves urgent attention despite the Washington’s partisan firestorms and Trump’s repeated attempts to ignore it or play it down.
“There were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” he said, “and that allegation deserves the attention of every American.”
DEMOLITION OF HOMES in Santa Monica for parking lot construction, 1960. Photo Los Angeles Times Photo Collection.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, last November 2018 was when we got a taste of the hells to come, when the Camp Fire burned up over 18,000 structures, destroying the town of Paradise, California. We usually have fantastically fresh air in San Francisco, but for a two-week period, the city and surrounding counties choked on sooty poisoned air. I hunkered down at home and tolerated the heat as best I could (no air conditioning), but eventually I ventured out — foolishly, without an N-95 smoke mask. My eyes stung, my windpipe tightened and my chest hurt for days after that. And yet what could I do — I had to get on with life, work, family. It was then I realized that some of us may face a calamity where we die like beached fish, simply unable to breathe.
About ten years ago I had a marijuana-induced paranoid daydream, set in the near future. In the dream, I was at a party like the one where I had just gotten so untenably stoned, and we were talking about how hot it had gotten. “Remember when we were learning that global warming was going to change the weather?” “Yeah, and wow that happened really fast. Now it’s hot nearly all the time.”
After the climate chaos of the past couple years, I have only dread for the years to unfold. I don’t know how we’ll explain this mess to the young ‘uns in our midst… we burned up the planet so we could drive ourselves around in SUVs, fly ourselves around for cheap thrills, stuff ourselves full of cheap meat, entertain ourselves with glowing screens.
My 84 year old mother, born to East European immigrants on a North Dakota wheat farm but who eventually “made it” to the East coast post-war suburbs, hems and haws when we talk about the ecological bind we’re in. How strange it must be to know that her “upward” trajectory, from farm girl to college graduate to suburban household, was part of a pattern that leaves few options for those to follow.
STRATFORD FESTIVAL ON FILM PRESENTS CORIOLANUS
This Saturday at Arena Theater in Point Arena.
Contemporary Shakespeare production from the Stratford Festival "Coriolanus," this Saturday, June 1, at 1 p.m., doors 12:30 p.m.
The production is directed by genre-defying theater artist Robert Lepage and stars André Sills leading a stellar cast delivering “performances that send shivers down the spine,” according to The Globe and Mail. Lepage takes the story of the rise and fall of a legendary general who must face off against the angry Roman mob and infuses it with the energy of Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring.
"Coriolanus" was included in the “Best Theatre of 2018” lists in The Washington Post, the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and the Chicago Tribune’s critic said it was “the greatest contemporary staging of this play that I ever have seen.” The play has a runtime of 180 minutes including one intermission.
The second screening from the Stratford Festival will follow on August 24 with Shakespeare's "The Tempest." Located in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, the company has been described as North America’s largest classical repertory theater company, producing classics, contemporary dramas and musicals, with special emphasis on the plays of Shakespeare. Tickets for the show are $18, $5 youth (18 and under), available online at https://www.arenatheater.org/telecasts/telecast-specials/ and at the door. Arena Theater is located at 214 Main Street, Point Arena, California. Arena Theater is a member-supported community theater owned and operated by the Arena Theater Association, a 501 (c) (3) not for profit corporation.
For additional information visit arenatheater.org/telecasts/telecast-specials/
A MAN SURVEYS THE NEWSPAPERS available for reading at an open-air public library in Pershing Square, downtown Los Angeles. The Pershing Square outdoor library was opened in December of 1936, and was staffed by W.P.A. workers. Visitors to the library could choose to borrow a book by simply leaving their name. The library was quite popular, circulating 24,000 books in its first six months of operation, and spawning other outdoor libraries in Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Daily News, 1937)
CHOCOLATE, COFFEE, AND ROETHKE
Yesterday, on my way home from my yoga class, I stopped at King’s Supermarket to buy some fresh ground peanut butter and almond butter.
At the checkout counter there was a display of Chocolove chocolate bars—almonds and sea salt in dark chocolate. I couldn’t resist and bought myself a bar.
When I had gotten home and eaten a light lunch, I prepared a cafe con leche and decided to try some of the chocolate. It was orgasmically good.
To my surprise, on the inside of the external wrapper of the chocolate, was an excerpt of the poem, “I Knew A Woman” by Theodore Roethke:
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).
Good dark chocolate with salt and almonds goes very well with cafe con leche and poetry.
My old bones also measure time by how a body sways.
ATROCITIES AMERICA FORGOT
by Frank Viviano
On a sweltering July night in 1899, five immigrant Sicilian produce vendors were seized by a furious mob in Tallulah, Louisiana, and publicly hanged. The night before, Dr. J. Ford Hodge, the coroner of surrounding Madison Parish, had shot a goat that had wandered into his garden. When the animal’s owner, 54-year-old Pasquale Defatta, confronted him the next day over the loss of his goat, Hodge knocked him to the ground, pistol-whipped him, aimed the gun at Defatta’s head, and pulled the trigger, but it jammed. At that point, his brother Giuseppe, 34, ran out of the family’s nearby store with a shotgun and fired at the doctor. Hodge sustained superficial wounds—birdshot pellets in the abdomen and thighs. Rumors soon erupted that the doctor had been murdered, and a mob came after the Defattas.
Pasquale and Giuseppe were lynched first, strung up in a slaughter yard on a winch used to skin cattle. Their brother Francesco, 30, and their cousins Rosario Fiduccia, 36, and Giovanni Cirami, 24, were then dragged to a cottonwood tree on the village square. To the very end, even with a noose around his neck, Francesco believed that his American neighbors only meant to frighten him, to teach his family a lesson. “I live here six years. I know you all. You all my friends,” a witness recalled him saying. Then the rope was suddenly yanked.
No one was arrested for the lynchings. Three grand juries found that no indictment could be issued. It had been “too dark” that moonless night to identify anyone in the lynch mob, the local sheriff testified. The Tallulah telegraph operator had been put under armed guard to prevent him from tapping out news of the men’s seizure and calling for help. If he touched the wire key, he was told, “his brains would be blown out.”
In the epoch of political chicanery, behemoth industrial monopolies, and explosive demographic changes that Mark Twain dubbed “the Gilded Age”—roughly between the 1870s and 1900—the specters of immigration and race led to waves of extrajudicial killings, involving or covered up by law enforcement authorities and implicitly endorsed by the nation’s highest officials. Most of the victims were African-American. But there were at least 50 lynchings of Italians, most of them between 1890 and 1924, when the Johnson-Reed Act (also known as the National Origins Act) placed draconian limits on immigration to the United States from the Mediterranean Basin.
Ostensibly, Sicilians were white Europeans. But “they were a puzzle to white people” in rural Madison Parish, 230 miles north of New Orleans, wrote the Harper’s Weekly reporter Norman Walker, who was assigned to cover the lynchings. The Sicilian fruit vendors “were difficult to classify, and this was more difficult because they dealt mainly with the negroes, and associated with them nearly on terms of equality. They could, therefore, hardly be classed as ‘white men.’ Just how to treat them was a difficult problem.”
On July 20, 1899, in the cattle pen and on the cottonwood gallows of Talluilah, that problem had “finally been settled,” Walker concluded. “They are to get the justice awarded a negro — lynching, not a trial.”
(New York Review of Books)
“THE THEORY & PRACTICE OF RIVERS”:
The days are stacked against
what we think we are:
after a month of interior weeping
it occurred to me that in times like these
I have nothing to fall back on
except the sun and moon and earth.
I dress in camouflage and crawl
around swamps and forest, seeing
the bitch coyote five times but never
before she sees me. Her look
is curious, almost a smile.
— Jim Harrison
COASTAL STORYTELLERS PRESENTS CHILDHOOD MISADVANTURES
Thursday 30th 6:30 pm
Community Center of Mendocino, 998 School Street
This event will explore stories inspired by the theme of "childhood misadventures." Storytellers will share autobiographical tales that explore their personal interpretation of the phrase. Think back to those younger days. What are the big ideas, epic games, and learning moments that stay with you? What are your memorable moments of play that went awry?
Produced by Nicole Laumb and sponsored by the Community Center of Mendocino. Coastal Storytellers is a monthly storytelling event that serves to encourage oral storytelling in the community and also raise funds to benefit the After School Enrichment Program at CCM. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go towards the fundraiser.
The sound of grinding continues. It is the sound of a grumpy-son salvation. It is the soundtrack of our collective future. It will, in the end, save of the the future the lying hazards in charge have prepared for is. It is the force that will provide us with the strength to deny the gate they have decreed for us.
Adhered to over time, practiced in our private ways, it will help strengthen our resistance, provide us enormous strength in our education and in our resistance. In our rifles. Our numbers will continue to swell. We will march. We will subvert. We're will ignore their ludicrous productions. Doubtless, our numbers will continue to swell. We will arm ourselves. And, in the end, we will prevail.
Hope is the one emotion they cannot understand. But we do. It is our strength, and it is the deep source of our motivation. And its soundtrack is the sound of what is becoming the sound that prevails. The sound of knives being sharpened. Those who feed us our news want desperately to continue the fantasy that they spoon-feed us our news. That we continue to believe the lies that that feed us.
Grinding. What an unexpectedly lovely sound. The sound of coming revolution. The image of these nervous bastards looking for the source is a great one to close on. So I will happily do so. It is lovely. And it is the sound of the future.
HEROES AND PATRIOTS, MAY 2, 2019, Coleen Rowley, Retired FBI, Special Agent On KMUD Community Radio, May 2, 2019. The program is also archived at kmud.org.
Hear retired FBI, special agent, Coleen Rowley on Heroes And Patriots. Ms Rowley joins co-hosts John Sakowicz and Mary Massey for a one-hour broadcast that originally aired Thursday, May 2, 2019. The program is also archived at kmud.org
Heroes and Patriots is a program about national security, intelligence and foreign policy. The show is streamed live the first Thursday of each month, 9-10 a.m. at KMUD.ORG