- Balmy Highs
- Outage Roadshow
- Pinoli Retires
- Fun Pecker
- Sales Tax
- Escher Beach
- Meyer Jailtime
- Debate Recap
- Scout Waiver
- Prop 13
- Yesterday's Catch
- Say Anything
- Drunk Uncles
- Ratepayers Pay
- Huff Puffs
- County Closures
- Plowshares News
- Garden Tour
- Killing Healthcare
- Pitchforks Rising
- Banning Deforestation
- Choosing Sides
- Mural Options
MODERATE TO BALMY WEATHER for the next week with inland temps in the 70s and 80s through next Friday. Overnight lows in the 50s. Breezy at times, with gusty winds expected Sunday night and into Monday.
"STILL GAZING ..."
PG&E SHUTDOWN ROADSHOW
Representatives from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will be presenting to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors at the July 9, 2019, Board meeting about PG&E’s Community Wildfire Safety Program which the company is implementing in response to the devastating wildfires California experienced in 2017 and 2018.
The Community Wildfire Safety Program is made up of three categories: real-time monitoring and intelligence, new and enhanced safety measures, and system hardening and resiliency. PG&E will also be providing a presentation on their Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) program to reduce wildfire danger by turning off electric power during forecasted extreme weather conditions.
Interested parties and the public are encouraged to attend. The presentation will begin at 1:30 or soon thereafter.
Tuesday, July 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Board Chambers, 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1070, Ukiah, CA 95482
This presentation will be streamed live on the Mendocino County YouTube Channel.
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
ANDERSON VALLEY ATHLETIC DIRECTOR PINOLI RETIRES
MSP screen-grabbed this post from Laytonville Athletic Director Josh Firks Friday morning showing a recent little "get together" for longtime Anderson Valley High Athletic Director Robert Pinoli (far right) who retired. He'll be missed for sure.
Mr. Pinoli will continue to be a Commissioner for the North Coast Section though, so he'll still have "skin in the game."
I made a new friend in the yard. This woodpecker, variety unknown by me, has become bolder and bolder. Today was very funny. When I went to take his picture on a stump using the zoom lens he actually flew right next to me and landed on a 7 foot bamboo fishing pole, then went ratt-tatt-tatt-tatt not more than two feet from my head. The fishing pole didnt have any bugs on it. He seemed to be playing. Then he flitted back to the fence, firing off a bomb as he left me (I missed him on the bamboo but I got the poo-poo shot). He was catching spiders and their prey and got lots of spider web tangled on himself. The swallows also dive bombed me. They love to dive and snag bugs off the pond, often splashing into the water on their way back up. They are one of the fastest of birds and too fast for me. I missed those pictures.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT just got word from the County Auditor that this year’s Proposition 172 sales tax “public safety” allocation to local fire departments will be about 18% less than last year. So either they’re spreading the allocation over more fire/ambulance departments than last year (less likely), or the County’s sales tax revenues are down, as we predicted, well below the rosy forecast the Auditor previously provided to the Supervisors at their June budget hearing (more likely). If they are down by 18%, that would mean that the $6.5 million in sales tax revenue that the County Auditor forecast will be closer to $5.5 million, about a million less than forecast. Humboldt County previously reported that their sales tax revenue was down by 7% so we expected a similar decline in Mendo. We await an announcement from the CEO or the Auditor to the Board as to what the actual sales tax revenues are and if any adjustments will be made to the budget to absorb the apparent million-dollar shortfall.
DR. MEYER GOES TO JAIL
Jail Term Ordered As Part Of Probation
UKIAH, Fri., June 28. -- A Potter Valley man convicted by plea of shooting his neighbor's two dogs while the dogs were inside of a fenced pen was placed on supervised felony probation Friday in Mendocino County Superior Court.
Defendant Benjamin Hanna Meyer, age 67, a local Ukiah physician, was convicted by plea in April of two counts of felony animal abuse. He also admitted his personal use of a firearm in the commission of those felonies.
As part of his probation, Meyer on Friday was ordered to serve 180 days in the county jail, with a surrender date of Aug. 29. He will also be prohibited for the remainder of his life from possessing firearms and ammunition.
The prosecutor who has been handling the Meyer case is Assistant DA Dale P. Trigg.
The law enforcement agencies responsible for gathering the evidence in support of the prosecution were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, including the Sheriff's Animal Control Division, and the District Attorney's own investigators.
The sentencing judge was Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke.
(Mendocino County District Attorney Presser)
RANDOM OBSERVATIONS. Off Thursday night's "debate," I'd say Trump is 2-0 so far, with Bernie and Elizabeth Warren looming large over the rest of an unimpressive Demo mob. Thursday's introduction of ten more Democratic candidates translated to us here at the Boonville bunker as a panel of moderate, misplaced Republicans. Bernie was on message as always and did manage to look spryer and less confused than Biden, but got lost in much of the cross talk. But Warren, a Republican until she was midway into her forties, but woke all the way up when she finally awakened, has so far outshone the rest of the Demo pack, a lackluster crew tending to the laughably wacky.
BUT WE'LL SOON be down to Liz, Bern, Biden, Harris, Booker, maybe Gillibrand, with longshot Mike Gravel, the Alaskan wild man hopefully somehow included.
SEATS for the two events went for $1700 and up, not exactly people's prices but designed to keep the rabble out of what is now a for-profit event that used to be put on free by The League of Women Voters.
BIDEN was on message as Trump Lite, Swalwell obviously cuckoo, the rest of them were simply tiresome, even Bernie who tends to seem he's on auto-pilot because we've heard the same message from him for so many years, the correct message, however, that finally seems to be penetrating the daily din as the only rational path forward. Whether or not he (or Warren) can beat Trump or even have a real shot at the nomination with all the middle of the road extremists and the big money ga ga over Biden, well, as Lenny Bruce famously said about Chicago, "It's so corrupt it's thrilling." Our politics is Chicago squared.
I MANAGED to feel the first pity I've ever felt for Biden when Kamala Harris teed off on him like he was the Klan's candidate. Not that he doesn't deserve it, but I remember Kamala, just before she announced as a candidate, saying, "I love Joe Biden," that she would never attack him, which, I'd say, indicates a rather large character deficit in Ms. Harris. "I love you but I have to kill you because I need the votes." She also lied about integrating the Berkeley schools, which were already fully integrated by the early 1960s when she went to school there. Biden did the only thing he could do in that situation by denying Kamala's charges as a "mischaracterization" of his record. Which it wasn't, but then Biden is synonymous with untruth.
NOBODY, including Harris, pointed out that poor people of all races would be much better off with the socialist programs Bern-Liz are putting forward, especially in the context of a badly, nay irretrivably, balkanized country, seemingly organized to drive its citizens 5150. Biden, along with most of the Democrat candidates, really belongs in the Republican Party. Nixon was better on the issues than most of these self-alleged liberals.
ODD that climate change went virtually unmentioned, given that the debate was held in Miami, a city on-schedule to slip permanently beneath the waves in another decade. And of course illegal border crossing should be decriminalized, but what's wrong with standing up for orderly borders with humane treatment for everyone detained for violating the rules? Denounced as hopelessly nuts in the post-debate comment on-line, Williamson broke through the rhetorical fog with this reality-based question, "Where have you been guys? I haven’t heard anyone on this stage talk about the consequences of American foreign policy in Central America.”
PANDERING to the Hispanic vote by speaking Spanish during the debates is so obviously phony it manages to insult everyone, and couldn't be better designed to help Trump to another four years, which another four years worth just may bring down the curtain on the whole show.
GILLIBRAND talks a pretty good ball game, but she was inserted into national life by Hillary who anointed Gillibrand for Hil's old New York senate seat. Ms. G comes out swinging against the One Percent while taking heaps of money from Wall Street.
WHEN KAMALA said climate change is an "existential threat," a claim the other candidates seconded, it translated as climate change as an abstract threat, not the real, existing threat it is. Biden would address extinction with "500,000 electric charging stations."
SWALWELL managed the most mawkish comment on the evening with, "When I'm not changing diapers I'm changing America," going on to make the windy, pandering generational claim that he and it are "the can do generation."
CANDIDATE Bennet, another obvious crackpot, began one of his dubious statements with "My mom…"
HICKENLOOPER said he has "transformed Colorado" into a model state, emphasizing that socialism, i.e., the tax reforms to pay for public services, would destroy the country. Socialist programs saved capitalism under Roosevelt, but Bernie's probably the only candidate familiar with American history.
YANG, the tech wizard, wasn't bad, and his ridiculed idea to send us all a cool grand a month from the stolen stash of the One Percent is a good idea that has worked out on an experimental basis, but an idea unlikely to be endorsed by anybody except him. Yang's characterization of the economy as "trickle up" was also right on.
BUTTIGIEG was vague on the issues but he's coolly glib under pressure. Every other place I've seen this guy or read about him he was talking about how smart he is. So? There are millions of smart people in this country who have specific, viable ideas about how to right the sinking ship while Buttigieg says cliched stuff like, "We need climate solutions instead of endless war…" Of course, but Bernie and Liz are the only candidates likely to get us there.
BERNIE closed perfectly: "These [the other candidates] are good people but how come nothing ever changes? We have got to have the guts to take them on or we'll have plans but nothing changing."
THERE was the usual Trump bashing, especially by Biden, whose final shot was a Trumpian, "We must restore the soul of this nation, the backbone of America. God bless you all and may God bless our troops."
EXCEPT for the always smart and gracious Lester Holt, the debate moderators were awful unto offensive.
THE PROP 13 TAX DODGE
Once again the BS is arriving in the mail, this time in the form of "Protect the Proposition 13 tax cuts which have saved elderly home owners." In this self-congratulatory plea for funds, there is no mention made that the primary beneficiaries of these "save the homeowner" tax cuts are multi-national and other corporations, owners of apartment buildings and LANDLORDS. If the Proposition had been written to protect homeowners, it would have excluded non-owner occupied homes, but it does not.
I bought a house in San Francisco in 1968, but moved to Mendocino County in 1969. Years later my taxes on that house were, if I remember correctly, about $400/year. Not only did the more recent buyers of duplicate Victorians on either side of me, owner occupied, pay over $3000/year, but the rent on my house (35% BELOW market) had increased 10-fold. It is true that when I sold the property, I paid taxes, but that was at a capital gains rate. As a landlord, I reaped the benefit of this so called "help the poor homeowner's measure.” Imagine someone who owns multiple properties or an apartment building/complex!
But the major beneficiaries are the corporations. When they sell themselves or are bought out (think Pacific Bell becoming AT&T or the corporation that owns the Mendocino Hotel), Prop 13 allows them NOT to be re-appraised because the real estate is not changing hands, the assets of the corporation are changing hands.
Sweet deal, hey?
So the California government at every level has lost tax revenue which has led to our crumbling infrastructure and the proliferation of parcel taxes, an end run around Prop 13, where the burden falls on the individual parcel owner equally whether the parcel is a vacant, unbuildable (perhaps) lot or the Transamerica Pyramid or a Hilton Hotel.
Oh, I forgot to mention the diminished services, like roads, fire protection, libraries, health care — thank you Mr. Jarvis for your help. (This is sarcasm).
Taxpayer relief indeed! And these f***ers want us to send them money.
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 28, 2019
MATTHEW BARKER, Ukiah. Attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, burglary, “vehicular collision or accident caused for financial gain which resulted in death of any person.”
SARAH CASSELL, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
MARCY COHEN, Bellingham, Washington/Fort Bragg. Evasion, resisting.
JENNIFER CRAM, Ukiah. Petty theft, resisting, probation revocation.
STEVEN FRYMAN, Willits. Evasion.
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER GOODWIN, Fort Bragg. Suspended license, failure to appear.
GEORGE JOHNSON III, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
JOSEPH LEGGETT, Willits. Suspended license, probation revocation.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
DORIS MCCONNELL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, suspended license.
JAMES NORTON, Willits. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MIGUEL RANGEL-CEJA, Ukiah. No license, DUI (under age with greater than 0.01%).
WILLIAM RYAN, Ukiah. Refuse disposal in state waters, probation revocation.
JEREMIAH SANCHEZ, Hopland. Vehicle tampering, resisting.
AMANDA SIZEMORE, Willits. Pot possession for sale, pot sales, controlled substance, tear gas, probation revocation.
JOSEPH SMITH, Willits. DUI, DUI test refusal.
AARON STILL, Willits. Resisting, probation revocation.
JESSE TAYLOR, Laytonville. Trespassing.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Ammo possession by prohibted person, trespassing, probation revocation.
by James Kunstler
My favorite moment in the Wednesday night “B” Team installment of the Democratic primary debates was Julian Castro’s “defense” of transgender abortion rights. Say what…? I almost dropped my bag of Dinamita Mojo Criollo Doritos. Did that really come out of Little Julian’s mouth? Apparently so. But how does it actually work?
Like, say, in theory, someone “transitioning” from female-to-male gets inadvertently knocked-up after a (perhaps mistaken) romantic encounter with an actual man and has to, you know, get rid of the little problem zhe has acquired? Could be… but is this a relatively common occurrence down San Antone way? And how might it apply in male-to-female trans cases of merely hysterical pregnancy? Sounds like something that the auteur Guillermo Del Toro might have fun with. Such are the thorny issues of “reproductive justice” that dot the arid terrain of Progressive Thought — like unto the poisonous fruit of the sacred datura bush in the Sonoran Desert.
More insidiously, Mr. Castro’s main immigration reform idea is to repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which is the federal law that makes casual “undocumented” entry to the USA a crime. In other words: an open border. Just pile on in y’all! Makes sense for a political party that has basic boundary problems with every other element of American life (see above). But something tells me it won’t poll so well in the places where misty notions of national sovereignty still linger and English is nostalgically preferred.
Mr. Castro was entertaining for sure, when he wasn’t over-speaking every other candidate on the rostrum, but the prize for pendejo de la noche must go to that other Texan, long-tall Beto O’Rourke of the flapping arms and bobbing head, who virtually serenaded the audience in Español to represent his bona fides as the Party’s official El Zorro. Cory Booker gave the loving tongue a brief workout, too, later on, but he came off more like a broken piñata than Don Diego de la Vega.
Apart from the colorful homage to all things Mexican, the signal event of the night was Elizabeth Warren’s stealth political suicide when the popular question of Medicare-for-all came up and NBC’s Lester Holt asked the candidates for a show of hands as to who would abolish private health insurance altogether. Up shot Liz’s hand. Only New York’s mayor, the feckless Bill DeBlasio joined her. If the contest was a game of “Survivor” both would have thereby voted themselves off the island — except Big Bill was never really on the island, just circling around it like a wayward jellyfish blown hither and yon by Progressive winds.
The only “B” Team figure onstage who appeared to be a serious candidate was Hawaiian congressperson Tulsi Gabbard, a major in the US Army Reserve with tours-of-duty in Iraq and Kuwait — especially impressive when smacking down cretinous Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, who mistakenly asserted that the Taliban were behind 9/11. Uh, no, Tulsi informed him, it was al Qaeda (sponsored by our “friend” Saudi Arabia). I predict Tulsi will make the cut to the “A” team, despite the news media’s desperate efforts to shove her off the playing field.
And, of course, the “A’s” dutifully marched onstage Thursday night for the heavyweight division mouth-off, with Jumpin’ Joe Biden at center so everybody could get a good shot at him, and the two designated wing-nuts, Rep. Eric “Collusion” Swalwell (CA) and New Age swami Marianne Williamson at the left and right margins, to protect against any sound ideas actually entering the arena.
Swalwell touched off the main event by tossing a hand-grenade at Uncle Joe for failing to relinquish the torch that he has selfishly not passed to the next generation (of politicians) — the catch being that said torch may be used to burn down what’s left of the republic. The attack seemed to give front-runner Joe the vapors. He insisted he has more torch songs yet to sing. That cued Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), playing Shiva Destroyer-of-Worlds, to jam the torch right into Uncle Joe’s smiling puss, saying that the ex-Veep’s recent remarks about making nice with the senate’s staunch segregationists of yore was “hurtful” to her personally. For a moment, I thought she was going to belt out a rendition of that old tearjerker, “Feelings.” Uncle Joe will now have to wear the scarlet “R” on his forehead until his campaign whirls down the drain — without even having to answer questions about just how come his son, Hunter, came up with zillion-dollar payments from Ukraine and China well before the advent of Mr. Trump.
The other fossil onstage, redoubtable Bernie Sanders, re-committed to his full-on socialist proffers, that is, free stuff for all, with no excuses. Sounds like a sweet deal until you are reminded that the USA — the rest of the world too — has never been so deep in hock before, meaning that whatever admirable free stuff systems were set-up in Sweden and France decades ago may be running on fumes now, and the USA just missed the boat on all that, alas, when the getting was good. Yet, it did not stop all the candidates from chiming in on Medicaid coverage for illegal immigrants — another booby-trap waiting to blow up under them in the general election. And both Sens. Sanders and Harris joined Liz Warren on the sinking ship of abolishing private health insurance.
The immigration issue provided prime sob-story material for all concerned, ignoring the blatant fact that the Democratic Party has done everything possible to stimulate illegal border crossings and overwhelm our facilities by sending out the message loud-and-clear that they will stymie every attempt to enforce the current laws or reform them. There was much a’do about the “cruelty” of making children sleep on cold, hard floors — the very week that the party’s new Captain Marvel, AOC, joined a move to block shipments of mattresses from the Wayfair furniture company to detention centers in Texas. (Time Mag Report here.) Smooth move, Dems.
Ms. Williamson, off in her distant orbit and largely ignored by the referees, lobbed a last-minute grenade about reparations for slavery, inducing a visible cringe response among her rivals, who nonetheless all pretended to agree, lest they be branded with the scarlet “R” on their own foreheads.
A few capsule comments on the rest of the gang. Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) projects a doleful intelligence, as if he is ashamed to find himself among such a pack of panders and scallywags. Sen. Michael Bennet may have anger management problems. Gov. John Hickenlooper is obviously too sane to remain in the party much longer. Sen Kirsten Gillibrand will say anything to get elected (we know her well here in upstate New York). Rep. Swalwell is a dangerous head-case. Andrew Yang gets points for eschewing the necktie, but he’s a one-trick pony (Universal Basic Income) and it’s not much of trick. Ms. Williamson will be touring the primary states on a magic carpet, bringing news of spiritual awakening to the beaten-down denizens of Flyover Land. Namaste and good luck!
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
GOV. NEWSOM’S PROPOSAL TO PAY FOR WILDFIRE CLAIMS: LET UTILITY RATEPAYERS PAY, NOT THE COMPANIES
by Rick Baum
A proposal put forward by California’s Gov. Newsom to deal with liability claims arising from California wildfires caused by utility companies was reported on in a recent New York Times article. In the words of the reporters, “the key element” of Governor Newsom’s proposal is a $21 billion fund used to “shield the utilities’ ratepayers and the companies themselves” from liability claims.
How will this fund be financed? From the reporters: “Half of the $21 billion wildfire fund would be covered by the utilities; the other half would be financed by bonds paid off by utility ratepayers.” This essentially means that ratepayers get to pay for both halves of this fund.
1. The half paid by the utilities: To pay for the fund, the utility companies’ rate of return which is “typically” 10.5 percent may decline.  However, the companies get all of their money from their customers or ratepayers paying their utility bills.
2. These same ratepayers will cover the other half of this $21 billion fund by paying-off the bonds used to raise funds to finance it. That amount will presumably come to much more than $10.5 billion since those who buy bonds expect to receive interest payments and/or for the bonds to increase in value.
According to a report in The Sacramento Bee, Newsom said that his proposal “treats wildfire victims fairly and protects California consumers.”
If this is how Governor Newsom protects consumers, they would probably be much better off not being protected by Newsom unless they believe paying for damages they were not responsible for is a form of protection.
(Rick Baum teaches Political Science at City College of San Francisco. He is a member of AFT 2121.)
Check out my new website!
As your Representative in Congress, I’m always working to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Washington and at home in California.
That’s why I’m glad to share the launch of our new, user-friendly website. With a streamlined menu and a display of all the services available within a single scroll, you won’t have to navigate far to read about priorities and perspectives in Congress, or simply reach out to share your opinion on how I can better advocate for you on the national level.
On the new website, you will able to:
- Get help with a federal agency
- Seek help regarding lost or expedited passports in cases of emergency
- Request congressional commendations
- Schedule Capitol/White House tours and other visits in Washington or California
- Apply for internships
- Request flags to be flown over the Capitol in celebration of special occasions
- Solicit grants and other financial assistance
- Find other congressional resources including help with immigration, presidential greetings, and additional services
You can also:
- Read about new legislation, votes in Congress, and review committee and caucus assignments
- Connect on social media
- Track public events and learn more about the congressional district on a new interactive map
As always, please don’t be a stranger. You’re always invited to attend a community town hall, and don’t forget to check out the “Off the Cuff” podcast to hear interviews and commentary on pressing policy questions.
With Best Regards,
Congressman Jared Huffman
ALL COUNTY OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED on July 4, 2019. The following offices will be closed to the public on the days identified below:
Agriculture: Closed July 4; open for normal business hours on July 5
Air Quality: Closed July 4 and 5
Animal Control: Closed July 4; open for normal business hours on July 5
Auditor-Controller: Closed July 4; open for normal business hours on July 5
County Counsel: Closed July 4 and 5
Executive Office: Closed July 4 and 5
Health & Human Services Agency: All emergency services will still be provided 24 hours a day. Some divisions will remain open during the above dates. Please visit HHSA’s website for specific division schedules at: mendocinocounty.org/government/health-human-services-agency
Human Resources: Closed July 4 and 5
Library (All Branches and Bookmobile) : All branches closed July 4; Round Valley and Fort Bragg branches open on July 5 (all other branches closed on July 5)
Retirement Association: Closed July 4 and 5
Museum: Open for normal business hours on July 4; closed July 5
Planning & Building Services: Closed July 4 and 5
Probation: Closed July 4 and 5
Public Defender and Alternate Defender: Closed July 4 and 5
Sheriff-Coroner: Closed July 4; closed at noon on July 5
Treasurer/Tax Collector: Closed July 4 and 5
UC Cooperative Extension: Closed July 4 and 5
The public is urged to call a department’s office number in advance to confirm the availability of services. Please visit the County’s website at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/ for departmental contact information.
NEW STAFF & SUNDAY SUPPERS AT PLOWSHARES
A new Executive Director has been promoted in-house: former Office Manager Michelle Shaw is stepping up to the director position, with the advantage of already being familiar with almost every aspect of the organization, and the people involved in it.
"I'm excited about taking on the challenges of this new role," Michelle says. "I look forward to working with the board and staff and volunteers and donors in helping Plowshares fulfill its mission!"
Plowshares has also re-hired its longtime previous Program Manager Rhonda De Los Santos, and promoted Will Allen to the position of Facility Manager. North Coast Opportunities' Garden Project is also providing a year-long VISTA worker, Michelle Hablitzel, as Garden Coordinator to help plan for the future of Plowshares' garden. And a new Office Manager will be hired soon to fill that vacancy. Interim Executive Director Mary Buckley says, "Lots of changes are happening here, but they all look like pretty good ones!"
Plowshares also announces a trial period of serving Sunday Suppers, from 4:00-4:30 - the first time that its Community Dining Room will be open to the public on Sundays. For four months, on the last Sunday of each month, a volunteer team led by Carrie Brigham of The Hunger Express will prepare and serve a free hot meal for all in need, with no questions asked. The Community Foundation of Mendocino County has provided a grant to help support expansion to weekend meals, and volunteers from the Adventist Community Ministry are already serving weekly Saturday Sandwich meals at Plowshares.
For decades, volunteers of the Interfaith Network have been distributing sack lunches behind Social Services and other locations. Some of those teams have agreed to start preparing and serving food at Plowshares instead, where guests will have access to seating, bathrooms, trash cans, a roof and climate control, and information and referral to other services. Carrie Brigham will be coordinating scheduling for these teams, and expects to begin a regular weekly Sunday schedule in August. She says, "It has always been a goal to have the doors of Plowshares open seven days a week. It is regrettable that is has taken so long to achieve this goal, but with the collaboration of faith-based organizations, service groups, other nonprofits, private citizens and local donations, we are now taking the first step towards achieving this."
Sunday Suppers represent the first time in Plowshares' history that Sunday meals have been offered. If these can be sustained as a regular ongoing weekly service, Plowshares will be serving free nutritious meals seven days a week at last. This exciting expansion of services also means that continuing support will be needed in the form of cash, food, and volunteer donations, to help Plowshares fulfill its basic mission "that no one in our community go hungry."
And during the month of July, a matching grant challenge from the T.R. Eriksen Foundation will effectively double every cash donation made to Plowshares. For more information, or to donate or volunteer for Plowshares, call 707-462-8582. Donations may also be made at: plowsharesfeeds.org/donations
MENDOCINO COAST GARDEN TOUR
Mendocino Art Center
A Diamond Jubilee Event | 1959-2019
Saturday, June 29, 10 am - 5 pm
Order tickets online at MendocinoArtCenter.org/Garden.html
or call 707.937.5818
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of a diverse selection of five of the Mendocino Coast's most magnificent private gardens - situated from Caspar to north of Fort Bragg - on this self-guided tour. Also, savor a gourmet box lunch prepared by Ravens Restaurant at The Stanford Inn by the Sea (with three options to choose from) and browse a Garden Shop & Plant Sale at the Mendocino Art Center (June 29, 9 am - 5 pm). In addition, the “Members’ Juried Garden-Themed Exhibit” will be showing through June 29.
View photos and descriptions of the gardens on the tour: mendocinoartcenter.org/Garden.html
The 2019 Garden Tour is a fundraising benefit for the Mendocino Art Center.
The Mendocino Coast Garden Tour is generously sponsored by The Stanford Inn by the Sea.
THE REAL REASON ELITES KEEP KILLING SINGLE-PAYER
"A bill to establish single-payer healthcare in the state of California, SB 562, has been killed. The man who officially stuck the knife in it, Democratic Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, has assured Californians in a statement that the bill is not dead but merely sleeping while further “discussion and debate” is had over the bill and its merits. He is lying. Possibly to himself, and certainly to the people of California, but on one level or another Anthony Rendon is aware that SB 562 has been deliberately killed, and is choosing to lie about it.
How can I be so certain that Rendon is lying? Easy: he’s taken a tremendous amount of money from powerful corporate entities that officially and unofficially oppose the bill. He killed the bill on purpose, and he will do everything within his power to make sure it stays dead. He will do so while tooting the horn of progressivism, he will do so while pretending to support universal health care, but when it comes down to actually making it happen he’ll act like a keyboard warrior on a martial arts forum who suddenly finds himself challenged to a fight in real life. In a nation where money fully dictates government policy and congressional candidates who outspend their opponents almost always win, you only need to follow the money.
This isn’t about pathetic establishment toadies like Rendon, though. He is surely culpable, and he has chosen to earn his living in a way that makes me hope the Christians have it right just so that hell can be a real thing, but he is not the driving force behind the death of SB 562. The architects of that depraved act of sabotage are the oligarchs who funded it."
TRUMP INVITES DEBATES OVER OMNIVOROUS CRONY CAPITALISM
by Ralph Nader
Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election strategy is to connect his potential Democratic opponents with “socialism.” Trump plans to use this attack on the Democrats even if Senator Bernie Sanders, who proudly calls himself a “democratic socialist,” doesn’t become the presidential nominee (Sanders has been decisively re-elected in Vermont).
Senator Elizabeth Warren is distancing herself from the socialist “label.” She went so far as to tell the New England Council “I am a capitalist to my bones.”
Sanders and Warren are not what they claim to be. They are both updating Roosevelt’s New Deal and more closely resemble the Social Democrats that have governed western European democracies for years, delivering higher standards of living than that experienced by Americans.
The original doctrine of socialism meant government ownership of the means of production – heavy industries, railroads, banks, and the like. Nobody in national politics today is suggesting such a takeover. As one quipster put it, “How can Washington take ownership of the banks when the banks own Washington?”
Confronting Trump on the “socialism” taboo can open up a great debate about the value of government intervention for the good of the public. Sanders can effectively argue that people must choose either democratic socialism or the current failing system of corporate socialism. That choice is not difficult. Such an American democratic socialism could provide almost all of the long overdue solutions this country needs: full more efficient Medicare for all; tuition-free education; living wages; stronger unions; a tax system that works for the people; investments in infrastructure and public works; reforms for a massive, runaway military budget; the end of most corporate welfare; government promotion of renewable energies; and the end of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power.
In my presidential campaigns I tried to make corporate socialism – also called corporate welfare or crony capitalism – a major issue. Small business is capitalism – free to go bankrupt – while corporate capitalism – free to get bailouts from Washington – is really a form of corporate socialism. This point about a corporate government was documented many years ago in books such as America, Inc. (1971) by Morton Mintz and Jerry Cohen.
Now, it is even easier to make the case that our political economy is largely controlled by giant corporations and their political toadies. Today the concentration of power and wealth is staggering. Just six capitalist men have wealth to equal the wealth of half of the world’s population.
The Wall Street collapse of 2008-2009 destroyed eight million jobs, lost trillions of dollars in pension and mutual funds, and pushed millions of families to lose their homes. Against this backdrop, the U.S. government used trillions of taxpayer dollars to bail out, in various ways, the greedy, financial giants, whose reckless speculating caused the collapse.
In May 2009, the moderate Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said: “The banks – hard to believe when we’re facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created – are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”
Is there a single federal government agency or department that can say its most powerful outside influence is NOT corporate? Even the Labor Department and the National Labor Relations Board are under more corporate power than union power.
Who better than Trump, on an anti-socialist fantasy campaign kick, can call attention to the reality that Big Business controls the government and by extension controls the people? In September 2000, a Business Weekpoll found over 70 percent of people agreeing that big business has too much control over their lives (this was before the horrific corporate crimes and scandals of the past two decades). Maybe that is why support in polls for “socialism” against “capitalism” in the U.S. is at a 60 year high.
People have long experienced American-style “socialism.” For example, the publicly owned water and electric utilities, public parks and forests, the Postal Service, public libraries, FDIC guarantees of bank deposits (now up to $250,000), Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.
What the public is not sufficiently alert to is that Big Business has been profitably taking over control, if not outright ownership, of these public assets.
In the new book, Banking on the People, by Ellen Brown, readers can get an idea of the way large banks, insurers, and the giant shadow banking system – money market funds, hedge funds, mortgage brokers, and other unregulated financial intermediaries – speculate and shift deep risk and their failures onto Uncle Sam. These corporate predators gouge customers, and, remarkably, show a deep aversion for productive investment as if people matter.
Moreover, they just keep developing new, ever riskier, multi-tiered instruments (eg. derivatives) to make money from money through evermore complex, abstract, secret, reckless, entangled, globally destabilizing, networks. Gambling with other people’s money is a relentless Wall Street tradition.
The crashes that inevitably emerge end up impoverishing ordinary people who pay the price with their livelihoods.
Will the Democrats and other engaged people take Trump on if he tries to make “socialism” the big scare in 2020? Control of our political economy is not a conservative/liberal or red state/blue state issue. When confronted with the specifics of the corporate state or corporate socialism, people from all political persuasions will recognize the potential perils to our democracy. No one wants to lose essential freedoms or to continue to pay the price of this runaway crony capitalism.
The gigantic corporations have been built with the thralldom of deep debt – corporate debt to fund stock buybacks (while reporting record profits), consumer debt, student loan debt, and, of course, government debt caused by drastic corporate and super-rich tax cuts. Many trillions of dollars have been stolen from future generations.
No wonder a small group of billionaires, including George Soros, Eli Broad, and Nick Hanauer, have just publicly urged a modest tax on the super wealthy. As Hanauer, a history buff and advocate of higher minimum wages, says – “the pitchforks are coming.”
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
NORWAY is the first country in the world to ban deforestation; more countries need to follow suit.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Now, it case somebody thinks things can’t possibly turn kinetic, we have the spectacle in Oregon, where a Democrat governor is threatening to have state police do a round-up of recalcitrant Republican state legislators. And, guess what, militia groups are giving the Republicans armed protection.
Don’t say I didn’t tell ya, because I did tell ya, that these armed fellas out there in the vast expanse between the coasts would become a factor to be reckoned with. And now it appears they’re taking their first tentative steps out of the shadows. It was just a matter of time. People don’t get gunned-up because they’re happy campers, they do it because they’re not. For one thing, moving people’s livelihoods overseas and ruining their lives and then pissing on them and insulting them is just a sure-fire way to get trouble of the high-velocity type.
So, where does this take us? It takes us to a place that was easily avoidable, but wasn’t avoided. As I’ve been saying, economic class is one fracture line, another is the age-old fissure between North and South, but we have to give reality its due, so is the racial divide lovingly stoked lately especially by “wokesters” for the purposes of their own self-glorification but especially their own power.
It really is like somebody said not long ago on this site, sooner or later you’ll have to choose sides. And it won’t be a surprise that I have one in mind but I would prefer that it not be racially segregated because that falls into the hands of people that would divide and conquer, people that I have no time for given that they ruined not only the US but much of the formerly prosperous West.
You can’t replay history. It would have been better that slaves weren’t taken. The conquest by Mexico of the west and southwest happened and so did the conquests by the USA of 1848 or thereabouts. All these things left effects still evident today, none of which can be wished away. All you can do now is make the best of it. But choosing sides based on race is in my view making the absolute worst of it.
SOME MURAL OPTIONS FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH
Since the philistine members of the San Francisco Board of Education don't want real art or real history that might disturb the kids and their moronic parents, here are some options for a new George Washington High School mural that's more in keeping with San Francisco values:
Or they could get Jim Swanson (below) to do a mural lauding bikes and Critical Mass, the monthly, city-sanctioned disruption of the commute on the last Friday of every month. I bet the kids would like that (And don't forget, kids, it's tomorrow!):
Or they could get Bary McGee (below) to do a mural along the lines of how he defaced Supervisor Gonzalez's office in City Hall in days of yore:
If he got the job, Lennart Gabel (below) would surely come up with something that has contemporary relevance:
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)