MCT: Sunday, June 16, 2019

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SEARCHING FOR LIMB CASTS

by Katy Tahja

“What’s a Limb Cast?”

Any geologist or rockhound can tell you. If you bury any or all of a tree in hot volcanic ash the wood will burn away but leave a cast, or impression, that then fills in over the ages with agate. The agate can come in a variety of colors and the tree casts eventually break up and fall apart after a millennium.

Central Oregon has places where rockhounds can find Limb Casts with pink, yellow, green and blue interiors. Hubby and I were out looking for the blue and green variety in the true middle-of-no place in Crook County. Between Post and Paulina is the geographic center of Oregon and an area known as Congleton Hollow.

It had been a decade since we last visited, and it is and has been thoroughly picked over, but there are acres of BLM land to wander over and a nice primitive campground along the river. GPS coordinates can direct you to where an earlier rockhound found colored Limb Casts and we did indeed find green materials…but not blue.

To get to the blue limb cast area we were following our GPS unit driving our aged Subaru. There are limits to where a Subaru can go and we looked down one declivity where blue materials were supposed to be and said, “I don’t think so…” and turned around. When you’re miles off the pavement you don’t want to get yourself stuck.

Like California, Central Oregon got tons of rain last winter and wildflowers were lush and streams surging. Snow still covered mountain peaks and butterflies filled the air. Camping was fun, but staying in small towns was too.

Being a journalist, I love small town newspapers. What’s “news” in them covers many things. The Lake County Examiner was founded in 1880 devoted to the agricultural, industrial and civic progress of Lake County, Oregon. Stories about the Honkers and the Cowboys, the local high school teams were featured. Archery shoots offered prizes for the longest distance an arrow was shot and a peewee contest for archers under age eight.

Obsidian collecting was opening for the season in the Warner Mountains of the Modoc National Forest. Yes, there is a season, even for rock collecting. Feed stores were offering bargains if you bought your supplies by the ton. A classified ad offered summer ranch work fencing and haying and “will train an ambitious youth…” And, in wonderment, a three bedroom one bath house was for sale for $119,000. A dinner of good burgers and a coke cost $15.49 for two diners.

Another night we stayed in Burns, home of the Burns Times-Herald founded in 1867. Rural Broadband issues filled the front page along with new fish and game rules on hunting elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats. An archaeology road show at the city park promised to showcase traditional skill keepers. Artisans, silver workers, leather tooling and saddle making, rawhide braiders, basket makers, obsidian knappers and beading on deerskins would also be sharing their skills.

What amazed me was a solid page top to bottom of fishing news. Listed were 33 reservoirs, lakes and rivers, what fish were being caught or stocked at each location, access, and what bait and lures to use. “People were hauling in fish hand over fist…at Lefton Reservoir and large olive wool buggers (lures?) were working well."

Rural Oregon is a sign by the road saying “Next Services 90 Miles.” It’s seeing real honest to goodness cowboys riding horses and fence posts made of cylindrical baskets of wire fencing filled with rocks because there’s no wood for fence posts in the high desert. Open Range means livestock has right-of-way and cattle guards are painted on the highway. (Cows are not real bright and can’t tell the difference between real metal and empty space in a real cattle guard and the painted image on asphalt.

I doubt in California you could post a sign offering squirrel poisoning and your phone number along the side of the highway. On rural Highway 395 a tractor truck unit can pull three cargo trailers. Most smaller trucks were hauling hay, cattle or powerboats. Both Abert Lake and Goose Lake have no visible roads along their west shores, because nobody lives there…and these are BIG lakes that stretch for miles.

Empty central Oregon I highly recommend for unwinding and appreciating Mother Nature…and did I mention gas was $3.07 a gallon and they pump it for you. If you ever want instructions to find Limb Casts let me know.

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SOUTH COAST RIVER SCENE

(photo by Randy Burke)

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YESTERDAY IN ALBION — Captain Fathom Looks Back

[Ed note: The Captain's wavering script made us guess at some the terms he used.]

AVA,

Tami-Diane and Raven and Captain Fathom arrived in Albion in 1970. Giants walked the earth in the form of the Albion and Comptche Shandels. The Albion Nation was sprouting multi-forms of cooperative and uncooperative living arrangements. Teachers, friends and fellow workers kept us alive except for the "Albion Gro" and Corners of the Mouth grocery stores.

The below mentioned have departed: Ray Barth and his typewriter shop. The great writers Roy [illegible, looks like Marungo], Chester Anderson, Paul Williams, Bobby Markels and Alexander Cockburn are gone. Thank heaven Bruce Anderson and Mark Scaramella at the AVA still survive.

Passed away are Kay Medley (former Queen of the Albion Gro) — the Uncommon Good (the UG), Hostile Dostal’s laundry in Mendocino. Alfonse (tobacco and music), Robert Colombi Sr (Colombi Market), Bill and Jerry Grader, Nat and Kathy Bingham, Jim Cummings, the Salmon Trawlers Market Association (STMA), Sabina, founder of the Lord's Land. Grandpa Webb and the Foursquare Church — thank you God for the above. We were blessed.

Our dear, but alas departed Barry Smith, a student of Bucky Fuller had invented the ply dome. Barry, Neal and assorted hippies constructed. Fathom came up with some cash for materials and expenses (beer and lunch), and lots of encouragement. Tami-Diane had all the construction skills in the world and fitted and made the plastic windows.

We did what we could — worked on an Alaskan mill with Ned. We cut slabs out of fallen redwoods for a handsome deck, the ply dome nested on the slabs. We had a great Ashley stove from our previous house in Mendocino. We were warm and Captain kept us in fish, abalone and firewood. The community of Bo’s Landing all showered at our communal sauna and ate together at the main house. The main house was the Albion primary school in the 1930s. A visiting friend, Red John, remarked, "We were making our own concentration camp.” However, we did survive. So it went.

Bo left and the remaining community took over the mortgage payments and the taxes.

It gets complicated now. Let's try a real short summary. After many moons Bo’s Landing has become Spring Grove. Court case. Our great lawyer from the free speech movement in Berkeley arrives, George Lydon. In an epic court case Ron, Nancy, Tami and me and the community win a large chunk of cash. Bo sells to Bill Shandel of Comptche. Shandel does a great job of selective logging and then sells the property to the Spring Grove community.

Let's rest Spring Grove and look at greater Albion in the 1970s. Albion had a real gas station and garage on Highway One. A World War II veteran and hippie admirer Walter was the manager. He was later followed by a real deal hippie Terry O'Flaherty (also now departed). A large grocery market with a coin operated laundry was next to the gas station. Sad to say the grocery and laundry burned down and the gas station closed, never to reopen. So it goes.

However, other enterprises flourished. Tim Skully operated and founded Aquarius Electronics, employed Bernie McDonald, Ed Stanley, Nancy Magic, Kay Rudin and many others. Tim also produced top of the line acid and got busted. He received a Ph.D. in prison. Voted "Man of the Year," and is still shining.

In Albion Village the “Gro” passed onto K's family. The Doug Hendrick clan slightly up the ridge. Frank Bakeridge and his prodigy son Eric rebuilt cars, fixed electronics and bred tiny Mexican dogs. A bit further up the road "Amigo" Joe fished and repaired motors and boats.

The Albion flats and fishing village were alive and quite active. The Grader Fish Company ran the major dock and another fish company from Noyo operated up the river. A fine gentleman, Sam White, managed the flats. Later Jerry the German and Blanche (all passed away).

My pals Dory Dan and Shadow and Paco, Nate Bingham, Larry Miller, Smiling Bob, "Bugs" Barlow, Mikal Riley, Nomad Bob, Eric, Rick, Charles, Doug, The Frenchman, the bookie, Diver John, Bear’s garage and countless others. We fished and frolicked in the 1970s and 80s and beyond. The Albion Nation’s prize star, youngest highliner and great diver Sam (Salmon), son of River, died on a vacation dive in Baja. A heavy blow!

Many have gone -- Billy Walsh, Paco, Rainbow. The Walsh boys. Willie and Wesley and Bill’s everloving wife, the artist Laura White still live and prosper at Spring Grove. Paco and our Linda's son Aaron Ford has become a superlative music man and is much in demand.

We miss other great ones that have passed. Judy Bari, Utah Phillips, Paul Tulley, Donald Sprinkling, Alan Toffer, Jim Noyes, Patterson Kelsey, David Alba — let's cherish the living on — Bill Chase, Gary Moraga, Helen Jacobs and the Albion countrywomen. Dobie Dolphin, Pal Joey, our Linda — Table Mountain's founder, Walter Snieder, gone but alive in our hearts. Still breathing, the Saint — Brother Marshall, the past principal of the Whale School. Pam Able, the great Ishvi Aum, the great potter Leslie — solid son Willow. The living and vital Bill Heil and Queen of the Forest Linda Perkins. We will never forget our great neighbors the Elbers and the Ayres, The Albion uprising, Earth First, IWW, Sheriff Tony Craver and the victory over offshore drilling.

All recorded in the AVA, the Albion Nation's favorite weekly.

Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham

Albion

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THE UKIAH THAT WAS

Editor,

Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

I am the ghost of Ukiah’s future. Allow me to reminisce over the good times before the name Ukiah was removed from Google Earth, and the area was renamed Northern Uke.

I remember when we had a music store, and stores that sold cd’s and records. We had a bowling alley, and a boys and girls club, and concerts in the park. Boy, those were the good old days.

What a shame about what happened. What a shame that people were just not strong willed enough and lacked the vision to see what was ahead.

I remember how the decline started years ago. No one ever suspected that the rats that had built up in such huge numbers in the thousands in the Palace Hotel would all leave in search for food on the same weekend, that one warm month in May.

I remember all of the police in their hazmat suits going up and down State Street posting all of those red “infectious disease” signs on businesses. It was hard for people to understand why Ukiah now had a wall in between North Ukiah and South Ukiah.

Unfortunately, there was no choice. The hazard area needed to be contained, and there had to be a safe zone created for the healthy. The city had little choice to do this. It was just far too little far too late. Sure, some people felt bad about the homeless population being sealed off from the general public, but there was no choice at that point. Originally there were options and choices but the wrong ones kept being made, repeatedly. Things spiraled downhill rapidly.

The 3,000 person homeless encampment ran up and down both sides of State Street from Talmage to Perkins. Foolhardy property owners had let the homeless squatters stay on their properties, hence tying up the hands of the UPD so that they couldn’t do squat.

Street beggars had stopped all traffic from moving, so the UPD had no other option but to shut down all traffic mid town dividing Ukiah in half.

There were no more concerts in the park. The park shut down after 20 children became infected with HIV after stepping on tainted needles. I felt so badly for the kids, but no one seemed to understand how serious things were. The bleeding hearts and ambivalent politicians just refused to take the firm and appropriate actions to curtail and intervene.

The status quo was fine. No one wanted to make waves. No one wanted to accept their share of responsibility. Everyone blamed everyone else, as things got worse and worse.

Sure, there was a handful of Paul Reveres riding through town ringing a warning bell that no one heeded.

What a shame. What a loss. Needles were given out freely with the rumor of some restrictions, but in reality, there were never any restrictions. They were given out freely on an as needed basis, and the need was unlimited.

How people did not realize that that eventually there would be a holocaust from infected needles everywhere because they were thousands upon thousands of needles given out for free, wasn’t realized until it was much too late. The damage had been done.

Sure, there were many kind citizens doing what they thought was best at the time, but all should have seen the signs up ahead.

One donor donated 7,000 pair of socks to what used to be Plowshares. Plowshares was supposed to help provide free meals to those that could not afford to eat, but they ended up just a uncontrolled free-for-all and gave them all out within 6 months.

What went unrealized was that the socks were being worn once, and then used as toilet paper and then thrown in the woods or in the river. The banks of the river were laden with dirty clothes, junk taken from unlocked dumpsters, infected needles, and other garbage. Then, another kind hearted bleeding heart stepped forward, and funded $10,000 towards the cleanup of the filthy socks left in the woods, and rivers and streams. This pattern went on and on for years, until finally, all public drinking water became infected, and kids got sick and died by the dozens. The boys and girls club shut down due to so many deaths.

The citizens of Ukiah just didn’t get it. The politicians didn’t get it. Oh yes, some did, but there were too many sticks in the mud.

Sure, citizens were told to not hand out money to beggars. Sure, they were told to not duplicate services, but they just didn’t listen.

The homeless kept coming and coming because they were provided an existence that required nothing from them in return.

Why wouldn’t they come here? Free meals. Free clothing. Free shelter. Free needles. When Ukiah officials decided that free heroin and meth with free needles and free shooting up locations were good ideas and were approved, the bleeding hearts cheered. Many of those same bleeding hearts are now in the obituary column in the old UDJ archives online, since the paper shut down years ago.

It really didn’t have to happen this way. But Ukiah fell into the same “make no waves” trap that many large cities fell into.

Too many people died. There just were not enough doctors or nurses to care for all of the ill and dying. No one acted to figure out how to work on developing the proper housing needed to support a positive influx of professional help. There were no more doctors in Ukiah. There was just a handful of nurses. Indeed, there were not even any doctors in Santa Rosa, because Santa Rosa went down the same path before Ukiah did. The devastating California fires had destroyed thousands of homes, and the price of existing homes rose so high that no one could afford to move here.

What a shame about Ukiah. It had so much to offer. There were so many caring people. But inaction, complacency, lack of motivation, lack of will, and just plain stupidity led the way.

Some thought that the bad water was damaging brain cells in the general public. People cared more about having a bowling alley than in children possibly being infected by tainted loose needles.

Sure, attempts were made by some to help further the needs of the mentally ill, but efforts just continued to fall through the cracks. Finally, all efforts to truly help the mentally ill were shut down due to a disagreement between two powerful local politicians, who have since passed.

Even now, it is hard to believe that one of them went mad, although many suspected this before any diagnosis due to the insane policies that he helped put into place, and the other died from a meth lab explosion in the house next door. People questioned how could he not have known.

They were both buried in Grove Park Cemetery, which used to be called Todd Grove Park before it was repurposed and the name was changed.

When I look back, I remember that Ukiah was once voted the best small town in which to live with less than 15,000 people.

Now, it makes me wonder what the last 200-300 people left here in Northern Uke think about what happened.

It didn’t have to be this way. Ukiah was lacking. Lacking in vision. Lacking in guts. Lacking in will. I wish that I would have written an article long ago in the local paper to forewarn others, but it would have probably done little good. Ukiah seemed destined to stay on the ill-conceived path it was on, and not look at its future, just like other major cities in California.

Indeed, I am the ghost of Ukiah’s future. I died years ago. I died of exhaustion trying to illuminate the path, but people and politicians simply refused to see the light. The light now just flickers a little now and then from those that remember how it could have been.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Johnny Keyes

Ukiah

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ED NOTES

KLAY THOMPSON was injured when he came off an attempted dunk, reminding me of the great Rick Barry's observation, and I paraphrase, "Dunks are dangerous. The object is to score two points, not get on ESPN's highlight reel. Dunks also use up finite energy." Barry also and correctly complains about the pathetic NBA free throw percentages, and not just the NBA, at all levels of basketball. Barry put 'em up underhanded, the very, very old fashioned way, the "uncool way," as Barry characterized the resistance to underhand free throws, at which he was absolutely deadly. The NBA sets the styles of play, though, all the way down the line to pee wee hoops little kids imitate what they see on TV. My grandson, a seven-year-old, tries all kinds of fancy moves, by himself and especially on gramps, including the reverse slams he practices on a little kid's hoop he put up on his door. Bringing the ball up court at one of his peewee games he rolled the ball to half court because, as he explained, "That's the way Steph does it."


TOM HANKS, an Oakland native of austere beginnings, remembers the Oakland Coliseum: "I went down to sell peanuts and soda, and thinking it would be like in a TV show where you saw the young kid trying to make a thing," Hanks recalls. "Well, first of all, I got robbed twice. Note to self: Hide those wads of cash. Don't be walking with a wad of cash in your pocket. Then, I came across professional vendors, who did not like the fact that kids were there."

I WISH Oakland would have sued the Warriors to stay in Oakland, the team's true home. The Warriors never really caught on in San Francisco. You could walk in at game time and get a good seat at the Cow Palace or the Civic Auditorium in SF without taking out a mortgage. In their new palace in San Francisco, the ordinary fan is priced out, and just try and drive to a game. Oakland had literal acres of parking, a huge advantage. The Missus and I went to lots of games at the Coliseum in the Al Attles-Rick Barry years of the 1970s. My late brother had season's tickets to the Warriors, which he generously distributed among his poor relations. One season ticket goes for what? a mil at the new area near the ballpark?


NPR'S MAWK-BASTED SCOTT SIMON, THE AUDIO KING OF FALSE FEELING, WAS POSITIVELY ORGASMIC THIS MORNING OVER A BOOK CALLED, 'I Wrote This Book Because I Love You,' which was nauseating enough all by itself, but a few minutes later, one of Simon's colleagues pops, "I just want to say how grateful I am that my daughter allows (sic) me to be her father." Simon of course can't resist adding, "I feel the same way about my two daughters."

I REMEMBERED that Updike story about a writer who tracks down his critics and murders them, shoving one of them in front of a subway train. I fantasized about stalking prominent phonies like Simon to finish them off in ways that would mystify the police because, to most people, the victims would have no apparent link. Simon, of course, would go first, David Muir next then, at apparent random, even people who admired them like, for instance, KZYX's board of directors. "But…but why are you shooting me?" You wouldn't understand, Scott, and I don't have time to explain it you. Blam!

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HOME INVADERS GET SAN QUENTIN

UKIAH, Friday, June 14. – Indiana-Based Marijuana Robbers Now Ready To Depart Town.

The sentencing hearing for two convicted out-of-state marijuana robbers was concluded Friday afternoon in the Mendocino County Superior Court.

Convicted by jury this past March of six separate felony charges, co-defendants Christopher Deuane Bradford, age 25, and Diontae Stephvon Wright, age 25, both of Indianapolis, Indiana, were each sentenced to an identical sentence of 104 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the men were ordered returned to the custody of the Sheriff for transportation to San Quentin to begin serving their time.

Because the primary conviction – robbery in concert of an inhabited dwelling – is characterized in the Penal Code as a violent felony, the credits each defendant may attempt to earn in prison towards his release are limited to no more than 15% of the total sentence imposed, meaning each of these defendants will be required to serve over 88 months in a state prison facility before becoming eligible for release on parole.

This case involved an armed nighttime home invasion marijuana robbery in the Brooktrails area of Willits, which grew to include a dangerous vehicle pursuit of the crooks by the Willits Police Department through the streets and roads in and around Willits.

A third co-defendant [Michael Taylor] was previously sentenced to 144 months in state prison back in April 2018.

Wright, Bradford, Taylor

District Attorney David Eyster noted after leaving court that all Mendocino County law enforcement agencies and he and his prosecutors will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute each and every robbery case – marijuana and otherwise – to the full extent of the law.

Eyster said he is hopeful that making it known that almost every marijuana robber convicted in Mendocino County has been receiving a lengthy state prison commitment averaging 9 to 12 years may act to deter "the smart ones" from being talked in to participating in such crimes.

(District Attorney Press Release)


Background:

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SKUNK RAILROAD SAYS 'ESCROW CLOSED' FRIDAY ON 77 ACRES OF MILL PROPERTY

The Fort Bragg City Council learned this morning that escrow closed on 77-acres of the mill site by the Skunk Railroad Friday.

They also learned the railroad was in talks with "several hotels" about building on the property.

Of course, the Coastal Commission will have a lot to say about the development of the property.

(MendocinoSportsPlus)

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MEASURE B, PLAN 3

Editor,

County uses Measure B money to buy one ready-to-go hospital modular unit for the Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) and works with Adventist Health to place it at the Ukiah or Willits hospital site. County or Contractor staffs the PHF.

Prior to this, County rents a space and Contractor staffs a Crisis Residential Treatment Center (CRTC) with Day Program where people in early stage crisis can stay and receive support to stop a relapse and recover. This can also be used for people to step down from the PHF as they recover and are no longer in advanced stage crisis. County or Contractor hires Drivers who will transport people to and from these facilities.

When the PHF is built, the modular unit can be used as a Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) alongside the PHF if one is needed, or can be used in Fort Bragg.

Experience with this will likely show a need for a CRTC in Fort Bragg and on South Coast to help people in early stage crisis.

This gets people in crisis the support they need, offers good jobs for people, unloads the ERs, and removes most of the involvement of law enforcement who will rarely be needed. Working with Mendocino College to get 1 and 2 year Psych Tech Programs is important for training staff.

Sonya Nesch

Comptche

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THE MENDOCINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS will be honoring the following people - including Betty Harmon who has logged 30 years in the Information Technology Department!

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USEFUL INFO FROM RONNIE JAMES: "I recently took a call from someone with wildlife under their house, it occurred to me that this information might be helpful to a lot of other people as I seem to get these calls daily, so here is my response:

If you have an animal under your house right now, it has a nest of babies there too. All wildlife have babies right now. DO NOT try to trap and remove it now or you will have a bunch of noisy starving babies and then a bunch of smelly bodies under there stinking up your house.

Contact Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. They have a Humane Exclusion program that will advise and help you, see their web site https://www.scwildliferescue.org Call their hotline (707)-526-9453.

They do not answer email. Best thing to do is look around your house and see if you can find where they are getting in. That will tell you how big an animal is in there--could be a skunk, opossum, fox or raccoon. If you can wait them out a few weeks, they will leave on their own, especially if you make it uncomfortable by tossing some cotton balls soaked in mint oil (grocery store is fine--cake baking department) around or get some raccoon-remover-stuff at the hardware store that you spray around and also soak cotton balls or old sock and put it around under there.

Mothballs work very well also, but they are poisonous and you might be able to smell the fumes in your house.

By the end of July, the babies are up and following mom around, so you might consider a one-way door so they can get out, but cannot get back in. It can be made of scrap wood or cardboard.

You can call Fish and Wildlife and they might help you contact the county trapper who will come out and trap mama and kill her--no matter what he tells you about letting her go--leaving you with the babies to cope with somewhere under your house. It is illegal in California to relocate wildlife, which is why the trapper is required to kill what he traps and the babies if he can find them also.

FAWNS: If you are lucky enough to find a fawn--do not touch it, leave the area and keep all dogs away. Mama leaves the fawn(s) alone in a nest as much as possible because she has a strong scent and the fawn has none. Instinct tells the fawn to snuggle down flat and just wait there until mama comes back. This protects if from predators.

She returns for only a few minutes 3-4 times in a 24-hour period to feed and clean it, then she leaves it again. Check your meadows before mowing the tall weeks so you don't run over a fawn. Pass the word, help educate your neighbors and new people in our area about fawns."

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A READER WRITES:" I was saddened to read Saturday's back and forth between the AVA and Supervisor McCowen. I don't know enough about the Brown Act to make even a stupid comment. What I do know is McCowen, as my Supervisor, has ALWAYS responded to my concerns quickly and with sincerity. He actually seems like one of the few public servants in a sea of highly paid Bureaucrats to give an actual crap about problems—-large and small."


ANYBODY who leaves an insulting, highly debatable message on our telephone recorder, drunk or sober, can expect a response. McCowen's message particularly contained statements we found demonstrably false, hence Scaramella's demonstrably true response. Which isn't to say Supervisor McCowen doesn't have his virtues. We've always admired his commitment to the environmental health of the Ukiah Valley. Other local politicians have shown up for photo ops showing them posing with an item of trash during an annual clean-up of the Russian River, but as soon as the cameras were off they were gone. McCowen has devoted much of his free time cleaning up after the drug and alcohol-saturated Thanatoids who camp on Ukiah's waterways, and he's done it unheralded for years. As a Supervisor McCowen has suffered in a context of incompetent, and in several cases, crazy colleagues in an overall structure run by a CEO whose Borgia-like tendencies often seem to overwhelm her. County government staggers along from crisis to crisis making each more confused, a little bit worse — Planning and Building; the marijuana licensing fiasco; a stymied Measure B; a murky, privatized and ineffective mental health "system"; the hiring of consultants whose expensive findings are ignored; the Supe's own mercenary pay raises while stiffing line workers, and so on. We can't recall McCowen objecting to any of these disasters. So, when he pops up with a proposal for his tenants at the Mendocino Environment Center to take on, of all things, global climate change, our suspicions were naturally aroused. Given his association with the MEC he should have conflicted out of the discussion, which there would have been none if McCowen's attempt to sneak through a highly paid position for a MEC-er via the consent calendar hadn't been brought to public attention by the ava. And here he is in an insomniac snit calling us to tell us how wrong and corrupt we are, which he may or may not get around to in the form of a public letter. Please. The climate change committee is a total boondoggle. Put it to a public vote and the public would slam dunk it. As most people know climate change is real but requires a national and international effort to reverse, which means political effort at those levels, not Mendo where most people already want radical national and international action on the climate crisis, a fact made clear at recent elections with the overwhelming vote for liberal officeholders. Take a couple of Advils, Supervisor, and get your sleep.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 15, 2019

Ayala, Baker, Blanchard

MYCHELL AYALA, Talmage. DUI, child endangerment.

CHEYENNE BAKER, Fair Oaks/Willits. Domestic abuse.

NEIL BLANCHARD, Santa Rosa/Hopland. Shoplifting, petty theft with priors, stolen property, conspiracy.

Delgado, Faber, Golyer, Hunt

JESUS DELGADO JR., Fort Brgg. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.

SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Under influence, stolen property, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

DUSTIN GOLYER, Ukiah. Controlled substance.

KELLY HUNT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Johnson, King, Klinges

TAVIO JOHNSON, Willits. Resisting.

STEVEN KING, Santa Rosa/Hopland. Shoplifting, petty theft with priors, stolen property, conspiracy, probation revocation.

STANLEY KLINGES JR., Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probatioin revocation.

Magallon, Massey, A. Oresco, D.Oresco

CLEMENTE MAGALLON, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.

AARON MASSEY, Hopland. Controlled substance, protective order violation, probation revocation.

AARON ORESCO, Ukiah Suspended license (for DUI), no license, disobeying court order, failure to apepar, probation revocation.

DANNY ORESCO, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order, probation revocation.

Piceno, Sansen, Voris

SOPHIA PICENO, Talmage. Petty theft.

GREGORY SANSEN, Hopland. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).

MICHAEL VORIS, Sacramento/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

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’69 & ALL THAT WEIRD STUFF

Emma Cline’s The Girls, Charles Manson & Woodstock

by Jonah Raskin

When my friends ask librarians to recommend a novel by a local author that’s set in Sonoma County they suggest Greg Sarris’s Watermelon Nights and Jack London’s The Valley of the Moon. They rarely if ever point readers in the direction of The Girls by Emma Cline. Some of the settings are vague, but Cline mentions Petaluma, East Washington Street, Adobe Road and a few other local landmarks. Cline belongs to Sonoma as much as Greg Sarris and Jack London. She grew up in Sonoma, though she apparently lives in New York now and keeps a very low profile.

The Girls was published three years ago in 2016 and became a runaway bestseller. Rumor has it Cline received $2 million from her publisher, Random House. If you haven’t read The Girls, now would be a good time to do so. Much of the book is set in 1969, the year when the 1960s ended if you count chronologically.

Some cultural historians do. Others don’t. John McMillan, who has written about the underground press in Smoking Typewriters, has argued that The Sixties, as an era of protest and as a state of mind, began in 1955 when the Civil Rights movement flexed its muscle, and ended twenty years later, in 1975 when the U.S. finally pulled out of Vietnam. McMillan and others refer to the “Long Sixties.”

My own personal Sixties felt like it ended in ‘69. My marriage crashed and burned when my wife joined Weatherman. In the fall, I was arrested and beaten by a dozen or so New York City cops after a demonstration in midtown Manhattan, where I, and hundreds of others, protested the murders of two Chicago Black Panthers, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, who had been in bed and asleep.

Earlier that year, Berkeley police shot and killed James Rector in the battle for People’s Park, which Ronald Reagan used to lambast hippies and catapult himself into the Governor’s office in Sacramento. A young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne drowned at a place called Chappaquiddick, and, thousands of miles away, a patriot, a nationalist and a communist named Ho Chi Minh died at the age of 79 in Hanoi. Astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, CBS canceled the Smothers Brothers Show and oil spilled all over the Santa Barbara Channel.

There’s nothing about Black Panthers, Weatherman, Civil Rights or Vietnam in The Girls. There is some sex and some violence, though not a lot. There is a great deal of weirdness, which came to define the end of that era. Indeed, it was alive and well at the Altamont rock concert, which took place December 6, 1969 and that was described at the time as the flip side of Woodstock, which had taken place in August.

The Rolling Stones performed at Altamont; the audience numbered 300,000 and an African American man was stabbed to death while people stood by, watched and did nothing. The Stones album, Let It Bleed, which was released in December, seemed to sum up that moment in history.

1969 was the year when Charles Manson’s weird crew invaded the LA home of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Manson didn’t participate in the bloodbath that took place on August 8 and 9. He merely directed it. Polanski wasn’t at home, but his wife, Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant, was. She was stabbed 16 times and died instantly agonizingly, begging for her life and the life of her unborn child. With Tate’s blood, one of the cult members wrote the word “Pig” on the front door. It was a bad time for the Sixties, the counterculture and hippies.

I knew people who were part of the radical fringe who thought that the murder of Sharon Tate was way cool. I thought the fringe people had gone over the edge and into nihilism and tried to ridicule them. It was as crazy as any other time in the Sixties.

For The Girls, Emma Cline borrowed from the Manson cult the home invasion and murder of Tate. But she set her tale in Sonoma County, which gives it an eerie feeling especially if you live here. The main character and narrator, a young woman named Evie Boyd, grows up bored in an upper middle class white family, which Cline depicts as rather cult-like. Indeed, her novel is almost as much an outcry against prosperous, but deadening suburban life, as it is an outcry against a utopian counterculture that turned degenerate and murderous.

The first part of The Girls is the best part. There are memorable phrases such as “cosmic boredom” and “the after burn of the sixties.” Cline has a keen eye for the rites and rituals of American girlhood and what the narrator calls “the dull stream of adolescent life.” At the back of the book, Cline thanks her own sisters and brothers. No doubt, they were helpful in more ways than one. The author seems to draw on her own experiences of family life and sibling relationships, though they’re also souped-up.

When Evie (a modern day Eve) stumbles into the cult, The Girls loses much of its traction and verbal power. Indeed, the language suddenly goes largely slack, and the fictional cult leader, a man named Russell Hadrick, is rather tame and disappointing as the incarnation of evil. Evie gives him a blowjob that’s anti-climactic from a narrative point of view. It’s the attraction/repulsion between the girls that interests Cline, especially the relationship between Evie and an older woman who is part of the cult’s inner circle.

Evie offers some valuable insights into male behavior. “When men warn you to be careful, often they are warning you of the dark movie playing across their own brains,” she says near the end of the narrative. I never met Manson or came close to meeting him. But a few years ago, when visiting Wavy Gravy at the summer camp he ran for kids in Mendocino, I heard what felt like a confession about Manson. In 1969, Wavy and his back-to-the-land friends were living on a commune called The Hog Farm in Tujunga, near LA.

“This yellow school bus pulls up to the farm, and this wiry, hippie looking guy gets out and asks if he can hook up to water and electricity,” Wavy said. “The guy pointed to a bunch of girl inside the bus and said I could have any of them anytime I wanted. I looked inside and shook my head. ‘No thanks,’ I said.” The guy went back into the bus and drove away. Shortly after that, I saw his picture in the paper. It was Charles Manson. I’m so glad I didn’t allow him to hook up to water and electricity.”

I can understand why librarians might not want to recommend The Girls. The story is gruesome. The narrator is nauseated much of the time and her nausea spills off the page.

There’s talk of making The Girls into a movie, though there already have been several films inspired by the Manson cult, including The Haunting of Sharon Tate, which was released in April 2019, and didn’t make a big splash. The second and more promising movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, is scheduled for release on July 26, 2019. Quentin Tarantino directed. The cast includes Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dakota Fanning, among others. The soundtrack includes songs by The Mamas & the Papas and “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” which Neil Diamond recorded in 1969.

You could avoid Tarantino’s movie, stay home, play rock ‘n’ roll from 1969, and read Emma Cline’s The Girls. Or maybe watch Woodstock, the 1970 documentary directed by Michael Wadleigh, starring Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, The Who, and a cast of thousands who gathered for peace and love and music.

* * *

* * *

FROM GLASTONBURY ABBEY, date unknown:

"Give me good digestion Lord.

And also something to digest.

Give me a healthy body , Lord,

With sense to keep it at its best.

Give me a healthy mind , O Lord,

To keep the good and pure in sight

Which seeing wrong is not appalled

But finds a way to put it right.

Give me a mind that is not bored,

That does not whimper,

whine or sigh,

Don't let me worry overmuch,

About the thing called 'I'

Give me a sense of humour, Lord

Give the grace to see a joke,

To get some happiness from life

And pass it on to other folk."

(via Randy Burke)

* * *

AL GETS IT DONE!

Looking for any kind of steady work…

Anything as long as it's not too backbreaking. I have some of my own tools to get most done and I use them well. I live in the Casper area, anything near by would be great. I'm 59 years old and I'm light as a feather :-)

AL Nunez 707-409-4147, allymotocat@gmail.com

* * *

PUBLIC BANKS?

Editor:

The state Assembly passed AB 857, the Public Banking Act; the bill now heads to the state Senate for approval. Ten years after the financial crisis, this legislation would finally empower cities and regions to create their own democratically controlled banks, providing a safe alternative to unaccountable Wall Street megabanks and reducing the exorbitant bank fees and interest rates that drive up infrastructure costs.

Public banks are locally controlled and accountable to the people. That’s why AB 857 is endorsed by major unions including the California Labor Federation and California Nurses Association and cities and counties from Eureka to San Diego. The Santa Rosa City Council will consider endorsing this bill at their meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

We encourage readers to attend and ask for the city’s endorsement and to contact state Sens. Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd and urge them to support AB 857.

Shelly Browning

Friends of Public Banking Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *

THE MENDO CONNECTION

Redwood Forest Burial

Would you spend forever in one of these trees?

Silicon Valley startup offers forest burial as final resting option

by Nellie Bowles

Death comes for all of us, but Silicon Valley has, until recently, not come for death.

Who can blame them for the hesitation? The death services industry is heavily regulated and fraught with religious and health considerations. The handling of dead bodies doesn’t seem ripe for venture-backed disruption. The gravestone doesn’t seem an obvious target for innovation.

But in a forest south of Silicon Valley, a new startup is hoping to change that. The company is called Better Place Forests. It’s trying to make a better graveyard.

“Cemeteries are really expensive and really terrible, and basically I just knew there had to be something better,” said Sandy Gibson, the chief executive of Better Place. “We’re trying to redesign the entire end-of-life experience.”

And so Gibson’s company is buying forests, arranging conservation easements intended to prevent the land from ever being developed, and then selling people the right to have their cremated remains mixed with fertilizer and fed to a particular tree.

The Better Place team is this month opening a forest in Point Arena, a bit south of Mendocino; preselling trees at a second California location, in Santa Cruz; and developing four more spots around the country. They have a few dozen remains in the soil already, and Gibson says they have sold thousands of trees to the future dead. Most of the customers are “preneed” — middle-aged and healthy, possibly decades ahead of finding themselves in the roots.

Better Place Forests has raised $12 million in venture capital funding. And other than the topic of dead bodies coming up fairly often, the office is a normal San Francisco startup, with around 45 people bustling around and frequenting the roof deck with a view of the water.

There is a certain risk to being buried in a startup forest. When the tree dies, Better Place says it will plant a new one at that same spot. But a redwood can live 700 years, and almost all startups in Silicon Valley fail, so it requires a certain amount of faith that someone will be there to install a new sapling.

Still, Gibson said most customers, especially those based in the Bay Area, like the idea of being part of a startup even after life. The first few people to buy trees were called founders.

“You’re part of this forest, but you're also part of creating this forest,” said Gibson, a tall man who speaks slowly and carefully, as though he is giving bad news gently. “People love that.”

Bring your dog forever

Customers come to claim a tree for perpetuity. This now costs between $3,000 (for those who want to be mixed into the earth at the base of a small young tree or a less desirable species of tree) and upward of $30,000 (for those who wish to reside forever by an old redwood). For those who don’t mind spending eternity with strangers, there is also an entry-level price of $970 to enter the soil of a community tree. (Cremation is not included.) A steward then installs a small round plaque in the earth like a gravestone.

When the ashes come, the team at Better Place digs a three-foot by twofoot trench at the roots of the tree. Then, at a long table, the team mixes the person’s cremated remains with soil and water, sometimes adding other elements to offset the naturally highly alkaline and sodium-rich qualities of bone ash. It’s important the soil stay moist; bacteria will be what breaks down the remains.

Because the forest is not a cemetery, rules are much looser. For example: pets are allowed. Often customers want their ashes to be mixed with their pets’ ashes, Gibson said.

“Pets are a huge thing,” Gibson said. “It’s where everyone in your family can be spread. This is your tree.”

“Spreading” is what they call the ash deposit. The trench is a “space,” the watering can is a “vessel,” the on-site sales staff are “forest stewards.” When it comes to both death and startups, euphemisms abound.

It’s all pretty low-tech: mix ashes in with dirt and put a little placard in the soil. But there is a tech element: For an extra fee, customers can have a digital memorial video made. Walking through the forest, visitors will be able to scan a placard and watch a 12-minute digital portrait of the deceased talking straight to camera about his or her life. Some will allow their videos to be viewed by anyone walking through the forest, others will opt only for family members. Privacy settings will be decided before death.

Death industry growth

As cities are running out of room to bury the dead, the cost of funerals and caskets has increased more than twice as fast as prices for all commodities. In the Bay Area, a traditional funeral and plot burial often costs $15,000 to $20,000. The majority of Americans are now choosing to be cremated.

“The death services market is very big — $20 billion a year — and customer approval is low,” said Jon Callaghan, a partner at True Ventures, an investor in Better Places. “The product is broken.” The firm’s other investments include Blue Bottle, Peloton and Fitbit, and Callaghan sees consumers of those products as ones who would be interested also in Better Place trees.

“Every industry seems to have its time when things get wild,” said Nancy Pfund, the founder and a managing partner at DBL Partners, which led early funding. “It’s been mobile apps, it’s been cars, it’s been fake meat and now it is death care,” she said.

“But we have to come up with a better name than ‘death care.’ Maybe it’s legacy care,” she added. “Maybe it’s eternity management.” Around 75 million Americans will reach the life expectancy age of 78 between 2024 and 2042, Better Place suggests. The company’s pitch is that tree burial is good for the environment, the location is more beautiful than a traditional graveyard — and it’s cheaper as well.

“You remember them dying, you remember the memorial service and you remember the image of their final resting place,” Gibson said. “A lot of investors laughed at us when I first pitched this.People don’t really like thinking about this.”

Startup Better Place Forests is offering forest burial at locations such as this one near Santa Cruz. The company is buying forests, arranging conservation easements and then selling people the right to have their cremated remains mixed with fertilizer and fed to a tree.

(The New York Times)

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I need to find a new place to settle down after traveling for a while and living overseas. I’m torn between my own rural very white but cold snowy state versus someplace warmer such as NC or VA. I want to live in a rural locale far enough away from large cities. I have to confess I also want a place that’s fairly white but not full of meth heads with jacked up cars in front of their trailers. Looking for a place with some decent conservative political and social values but not neo-Nazi sorts (who would hate me anyway). Gotta be affordable too.

I’m starting to feel the urgency of finding a place to call home again, starting a big garden, stocking up the woodpile etc. Trying not to let panic set in but it’s feeling really unsettled in the world these days. I want to have a place that’s a refuge for my son if he needs it too; living in a studio apartment and just shopping for groceries isn’t going to work if things get bad.

* * *

“Thank goodness we finally have an Administration that speaks for those of us who don’t care what happens to the planet in a hundred years because we’ll be dead.”

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2

Estmated US population, 2050, 400 million. China and India headed to 1.5 billion each.

The reason I am cynical is, I don’t think any govt in the world is going to reduce energy usage or carbon emissions, and switch to renewables, if it even remotely means mass unemployment, starvation, lower living standards, or political instability within its own borders. It would be suicide.

To enforce reduced energy usage, it would take a repressive international governing body with a brutal police force not answerable to anything or anybody save the ‘Climate Change’ mandate. I don’t see that happening. The idea of nuking coal fired power plants in Russia and China probably won’t work either.

* * *

CORRECT & CURE

Dear Katherine L. Elliott, County Counsel:

I am writing to you in regard to a possible violation Gov’t Code § 54954.2, among other violations, by Supervisor John McCowen.

On Friday, June 14, the Anderson Valley Advertiser reported the following in its blog, "Mendocino County Today":

“LOOKS LIKE SUPERVISOR JOHN McCOWEN, as we expected, has indeed been working on his colleague Supervisor Ted Williams about his pet Climate Action Committee proposal which narrowly failed in a 3-2 vote to get more than minimum funding a couple of weeks ago.

"In his Supervisor’s report on Tuesday, Supervisor Williams said he had participated in a 'climate ad hoc committee' with Supervisor McCowen and had concluded that the current proposed funding of $7500 'may not be adequate.' Williams wanted to 'fine tune' the proposal 'and bring back something acceptable,' that would cost more and, preferably, be voted on unanimously.

"Supervisor McCowen added grandly: 'More will be revealed,' adding that, 'We will probably have some options before us on June 18.'

"CEO Angelo said that the Climate Committee item was not on the June 18 agenda, but was set for July 9.

McCowen replied, 'Yes, but a related item is on June 18.'

"Besides the obvious shady back office maneuvering that’s going on here, this kind of pushing also demonstrates that Supervisors could do a lot of advocacy for much more important things if they wanted to — but they don’t.

"The agenda for next week’s Board meeting was posted late Thursday, June13, and the only item we could find that McCowen might be referring to is: '6a) Supervisors’ Reports Regarding Board Special Assignments, Standing and Ad Hoc Committee Meetings, and Other Items of General Interest.'

"Which should be an illegal Brown Act posting because Boards are not supposed to be able to use generalities like 'other items of general interest' to keep the public from knowing SPECIFICALLY what they plan to discuss. But that’s never kept Official Mendo from blathering about topics that are way off topic before. And County Counsel, who claims to be so assiduous in instructing local government bodies about the requirements of the Brown Act, lets stuff like this go on all the time without restraint."

— Anderson Valley Advertiser, "Mendocino County Today", June 14, 2019


The key question, Ms. Elliott, is generally whether an agenda listing would give sufficient notice to a reasonable person that a particular matter would be deliberated or discussed -- and not necessarily acted upon -- at a meeting. If that is the case, there may be a violation of the Brown Act, as interested members of the public might have been deprived of an opportunity to observe and comment on the deliberations.

See: Carlson v. Paradise Unified School District, 18 Cal. App. 3d 196 (1971).

In Carlson v. Paradise Unified School District, the Court of Appeal held that an agenda item called “continuation school site change” was insufficient to give the public notice that the board would take action to close the school at issue.

Although the agenda requirements in that case were imposed by a provision of the Education Code, the analysis should be similar under the Brown Act. The court concluded that although the item listing was not deceitful since the board actually discussed a school site change, it was “entirely misleading and inadequate to show the whole scope of the board’s intended plans.”

The court went on to state that “[i]t would have taken relatively little effort to add to the agenda that this ‘school site change’ also included the discontinuance of [a school site].”

One may therefore conclude, Ms. Elliott, when it comes to transparency and accountability in government, as required by the Brown Act, the spirit of the law is as important as the letter of the law.

Appearances matter.

For further legal guidance, see also: Shapiro v. San Diego City Council, 96 Cal. App. 4th 904 (2002).

It is my conclusion, and the conclusion of others, that the Brown Act requires that agendas include “a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted, or deliberated, or discussed, at a meeting, including items to be transacted, deliberated, or discussed in closed session. A brief general description of an item generally need not exceed 20 words.” Gov’t Code § 54954.2

Therefore, Ms. Elliott, at this time please find attached my "Cure and Correct" Demand Letter. I have standing in the matter as I have been a resident of Mendocino County for more than one year.

I shall mail you a certified copy of this cover letter and the demand letter.

Sincerely,

John Sakowicz

Mendocino County 1st District

c/c Bryan Cave LLP, general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition


Carre Brown, Chair

Supervisors Williams, Haschakj, Gjerde, and McCowen

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

Dear Chair Brown:

This letter is to call your attention to what I believe was a substantial violation of a central provision of the Ralph M. Brown Act, one which may jeopardize the finality of a future action that may be taken by Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

The nature of the violation is as follows: In its past and futured noticed meetings in June, 2019, the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee took, or will take, action, or will deliberate or discuss, a "proposal" or an “approval in concept,” or some other reflection of a consensus, that the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee would act, or not act, in a certain manner in the future.

The actions, deliberations, and discussions of the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee are not in compliance with the Brown Act because it occurred, as the culmination of deliberations and discussions, a matter which the Act requires to be noticed. There was no adequate notice to the public on the posted agenda for the meeting that the matter would be acted, deliberated, or discussed, and there was no finding of fact made by the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee that urgent emergency action, deliberation, or discussion was necessary on a matter unforeseen at the time the agenda was posted.

Specifically, the funding levels of the proposed Climate Change Committee were deliberated or discussed at a past meeting in June, and, I fear, will be discussed further at a future meeting. Neither meeting gives proper notice of what a reasonable person may conclude are important agenda items.

In the event it appears to you that the conduct of the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee specified herein did not, nor will not, amount to the taking of action by the Climate Change Ad Hoc Committee, I call your attention to Section 54952.6, which defines “action taken” for the purposes of the Act expansively, i.e. as “a collective decision made by a majority of the members of a legislative body, a collective commitment or promise by a majority of the members of a legislative body to make a positive or negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a legislative body when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order or ordinance.”

As you are aware, the Brown Act creates specific agenda obligations for notifying the public with a “brief description” of each item to be discussed or acted upon, and also creates a legal remedy for illegally taken actions—namely, the judicial invalidation of them upon proper findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Pursuant to that provision (Government Code Section 54960.1), I demand that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors cure and correct the illegally taken action as follows: 1. redress the illegality, and 2. provide the public the awareness and opportunity to comment of which it was deprived, e.g. the formal and explicit withdrawal from any commitment made or proposed, coupled with a disclosure at a subsequent meeting of why individual members of the legislative body took the positions — by vote or otherwise — that they did, accompanied by the full opportunity for informed comment by members of the public at the same meeting, notice of which is properly included on the posted agenda.

Informed comment may include the provision of any and all documents in the possession of the local agency related to the action taken, with copies available to the public on request at the offices of the agency and also at the meeting at which reconsideration of the matter is to occur.

As provided by Section 54960.1, you have 30 days from the receipt of this demand to either cure or correct the challenged action or inform me of your decision not to do so. If you fail to cure or correct as demanded, such inaction may leave me no recourse but to seek a judicial invalidation of the challenged action pursuant to Section 54960.1, in which case I would also ask the court to order you to pay my seek court costs and reasonable attorney fees in this matter, pursuant to Section 54960.5.

Respectfully yours,

John Sakowicz

Ukiah

* * *

KNOW YOUR OLIGARCHS (#13)

$54,000,000,000 (Larry Page)

13 Responses to "MCT: Sunday, June 16, 2019"

  1. James Marmon   June 16, 2019 at 1:56 am

    RE: MENDOCINO COUNTY TODAY (MCT)

    WOW! I think everyone needs to take a chill pill.

    James Marmon MSW

    Reply
  2. George Dorner   June 16, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Sharon Tate died instantly? Not even! Anyone familiar with those notorious murders knows she died a prolonged tortuous death. She died begging not for her own life, but her unborn child’s.

    Reply
  3. Bill Pilgrim   June 16, 2019 at 9:47 am

    RE: Ukiah That Was.

    City managers signed a slow-suicide warrant when the first strip malls and big box stores were allowed to be built.
    Go to any smaller city that kept them out and one can still see fairly thriving and colorful business districts with a variety of local shops.
    In central Ukiah more and more stores are empty, the sidewalks are empty, yet the streets are packed with traffic. Why? Everyone is driving through on the way to someplace else.

    Reply
    • Bruce McEwen   June 16, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      The Car Culture Rules!

      The “Walk & Bike Ukiah” boosterism fell flat — splat, I should say — on it’s face as more and more people have been rundown in the crosswalks, and sometimes the sidewalks are not so safe (which pedestrians have to share w/ cyclists and skateboarders because it’s suicidal to ride your bicycle on the streets), and I have a photo of the chalk outline of an elderly couple, where their bodies landed, corner of State & Perkins, knocked out of the crosswalk, rolled up over the hood, hit the windshield, when the driver finally put down her phone and hit the brakes, dumping the oldsters in the street, this from an eyewitness who was just in front of UBC when it happened. I got there with my camera “after the ambulances had gone” (to borrow a line from Nobel Laureate Dylan), but I’ve nearly been hit many times, and, along w/ many others who have been hit, including one woman who was knocked completely out of her high heels!

      Reply
  4. chuck dunbar   June 16, 2019 at 9:56 am

    Here are two recent quotations about current events that I found interesting, one pretty mind-blowingly stupid, and one humane and reasoned:

    From a NYT article on anti-vaxx parents and their reasoning at an expensive Waldorf school in suburban New York (where more than half of the 300 students are not vaccinated): Citing her Buddhist viewpoint, one parent reported, “We’re taught to live in the present. Right now my children are healthy.”

    NYT columnist Nicholas Kristoff, who writes often about migration issues: “There are no easy solutions to migration–not a wall, not tariffs, not diatribes, not family separation and not aid. But let’s remember that migrants are simply fellow human beings like Cano Gomez (of Guatemala) trying to do the best for themselves or their children..the most effective approach seems to be not a higher wall or meaner policies, but smart aid offered with a dose of humanity.”

    Reply
    • James Marmon   June 16, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Here’s a quotation I found interesting.

      “You taught me to be nice, so nice that now I am so full of niceness, I have no sense of right and wrong, no outrage, no passion.”

      -Mort Walker

      Reply
      • Harvey Reading   June 16, 2019 at 1:23 pm

        The Beetle Bailey cartoonist?

        Reply
        • James Marmon   June 16, 2019 at 3:25 pm

          Harv, I would appreciate it if you didn’t send anymore pictures of Riverton Wyo. I put that place behind me 44 years ago. Bad place dude, a lot of bullshit, like Mental-cino.

          Reply
          • Harvey Reading   June 16, 2019 at 7:03 pm

            But it has a Walmart with a grocery section and a Kroger-empire grocery store (King’s Super), the only other grocery store in town since Safeway went under. Sadly, it lacks a Costco. I have to go there only about once every two or three months, whenever I run out of perishables, which is far more often than I would prefer.

            The alternatives are Lander, which adds another 40 miles to the round trip, or Casper, which is 100 miles away, or Thermopolis, where the prices are sky-high. As you might imagine, I buy most of my dry food items from Wally World on line.

            The damned Wally World store in Riverton recently quit stocking Diamond’s dog food in the 50-poumd bags, so the poor old FedEx guy has to deliver it to me. Free shipping on orders over $35, though.

            By the way, you still haven’t answered my question regarding Mort Walker.

            Reply
    • Mark Scaramella   June 16, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      How about not dumping cheap excess corporate corn crops on Mexico at below market costs, forcing campesinos off their land because they can no longer pay Mexico’s high property taxes?

      Reply
    • Eric Sunswheat   June 16, 2019 at 7:44 pm

      Of course pro vaxxer propagandists are going to publicize wingbat comments from some of the anti vaxxer crowd, not have a critically reasoned discussion of informed health immunity prevention and risks, so harp on with twit comments to roast and toast.

      Reply
  5. Eric Sunswheat   June 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    RE: I am the ghost of Ukiah’s future. I died years ago. I died of exhaustion trying to illuminate the path.

    ———> From the award-winning journalist Katherine Eban, an explosive narrative investigation of the generic drug boom that reveals fraud and life-threatening dangers on a global scale—The Jungle for pharmaceuticals.

    https://www.katherineeban.com/

    ———->. The president, not surprisingly, wrongly claimed drug prices decreased in 2018. They did not. According to an Associated Press investigation, drug prices increased, on average, six percent last year. They found that for every drug with a price decrease, 96 drugs had price increases.

    (Last year’s six percent increase was better than 2017’s nine percent increase, but a smaller increase isn’t really the same as a price decrease. By comparison, inflation was 2.1 percent in 2017, and 1.9 percent in 2018.)

    The issue is important because we Americans love our prescription drugs. In fact, though we represent just six percent of the world’s population, we consume more prescription drugs than the rest of the world combined, including a stunning 80 percent of the world’s opioids.

    We like our psychiatric drugs, too. Forty million of us take them, including 12 percent of our children under 16.

    We are apparently very sick, very distressed, and in considerable pain. And we pay for it.

    According to our Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Americans spent $470 billion on prescriptions in 2017, way more than the rest of the world.

    The cost argument drugmakers have always made is that the research and development required to create, test, and bring to market a new drug is so expensive, drug pricing reflects those costs. That sounds logical enough on the surface. Politicians and our Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approves new drugs, certainly believe it.

    In reality, they spend more on advertising and promotion, a tidy $30 billion last year, than they do on research. Of our top 10 drug makers, only Roche managed to spend more on research than it did on advertising. Most of that money is spent trying to convince doctors and other medical professionals to prescribe their drugs; only about 35 percent is spent advertising to the general public.

    Intrepid researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York decided to test the cost-of-research theory a bit deeper. Specifically, they wondered how much more Americans were paying for the same drugs as the rest of the world and how that margin compared to money spent on research.

    They compared the cost of the 20 drugs most commonly prescribed here to the cost of those same drugs outside the U.S. The result? The difference between how much we pay and how much everybody else pays is actually greater than all the money spent on drug research by all the drug companies in the world combined. We’re subsidizing everybody else.

    Many of the most outrageous price increases we read about have nothing at all to do with research. More than 60 percent of those egregious price increases of 1,000 percent or more have been made by companies that didn’t even develop the drug; they simply bought the company that did.

    The best example, and the current king of drug prices, is Novartis. The FDA recently approved its drug, Zolgensma, for treatment of an especially nasty condition called spiral muscular atrophy that impacts children under two and is almost always fatal. Zolgensma, one of the new categories of gene therapy, can correct the affliction with a single treatment. It’s a tremendous breakthrough that has applications to other inherited diseases. But it’s a little pricey.

    The cost for that single treatment? $2.1 million. And Novartis had nothing to do with creating the drug. A company called AveXis developed it; Novartis simply bought AveXis and the drug patent last year.

    Novartis says the price reflects the potential value of a life saved at such a young age. (If that’s the new standard, it’s bad news for the cost of childhood vaccines but should be great news for older Americans.)

    The drug companies keep the money flowing with help from their friends in Congress. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) reported $27 million in lobbying expenses last year. But according to Open Secrets, a non-partisan research group, individual drug companies spent an additional $184.3 million on top of that. And their political action committees (PACs), super-PACs, and employees contributed more than $40 million to political candidates in 2016 and 2018.

    We take far too many drugs and pay way too much for what we do take. We’re captives of the pricing whims of drug companies. The old logic for high prices — the cost of research and the costs of drugs that never make it to market — was always specious. The reality is drug companies overcharge us for the simplest reason: because they can. It’s enough to make us sick.
    JUNE 15, 2019
    https://www.northernexpress.com/news/opinion/because-they-can/

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  6. Betsy Cawn   June 17, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Another Lake County reader called me this morning to remark on the editorial choice of language describing Mendocino County’s CEO (“Borgia-like tendencies often seem to overwhelm her”).

    On re-reading your response to the “Reader Writes” above it, I am moved to pass along our shared delight and appreciation for the exquisite prose in your comments.

    The Major’s fearless criticism of the “incompetent, and in several cases, crazy colleagues in the overall structure” is so, so . . . how can I say this . . . comforting (?) to those of us who ponder the madness on both sides of the Cow.

    All hail the Mighty AVA!

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