- Marie DeSantis
- Skyhawk Reflections
- Oil Tanker
- San District
- Ed Notes
- Potrero Hill
- AIDS & Marijuana
- Hollywood Freeway
- Tai Testimonial
- Chinese Californians
- Departing Philly
- Intentional Blackouts
- Lena Horne
- Idiotic Plan
- Flawed Utility
- Yesterday's Catch
- Dem Debates
- Socialism Scares
- Colbert Christmas
- Barbecuing Veggies
- Pushing Back
- Yes Zima
- Fascist Memorial
- Spiritual Mojo
- Found Object
MARIE CECILE DESANTIS
Marie DeSantis was born March 24, 1945. She passed away from a prolonged illness on Thursday, June 20, 2019. She is survived by her brother Martin DeSantis and brother Daniel DeSantis and sister-in-law JoJo DeSantis. She leaves behind countless friends and colleagues all over California, the United States and the world.
Marie was passionate and she was powerful. She once described herself as a "living legend," and left behind an enormous legacy of work. She is the author of four books, "Molly, The Longlie Fisher, "Neptune's Apprentice," "California Currents," and "Starfish Detectives." Her written works reflect her years as one of the first women to fish commercially, chasing the fish from Colombia to Alaska. Affectionately known as "The Captain," she never lost her love and respect for the Pacific Ocean, continuing to fish in Anchor Bay, sharing her boat and her knowledge with her friends. She performed environmental testing work locally and is well-known to the older fishing community as a champion for the rights of fishermen, demanding fair pay and many regulations on fishing safety.
Subsequent to fishing commercially, Marie became a major figure in the fight for women's rights as the Director of the Women's Justice Center in Santa Rosa. From the 1990s until recently she focused on helping women and girls who were victims of rape, domestic violence and child abuse. The service was provided free of charge. The organization was involved in grassroots efforts toward improving the criminal justice system and with a large percentage of Latina clients, the Center was simply known as "Justicia." The website will continue as an archival resource — justicewomen.com. Until very recently she worked behind the scenes providing emotional support to victims and their families primarily in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Her unflinching tenacity earned her the nickname "Bad Ass Angel" — Marie loved this moniker and lived up to it. She helped put away many perpetrators of violence against women and girls. Marie said, "Because I believe the problem is completely solvable and that the liberation of women's energy from violence will change the world."
Marie's awards include: State of California Legislature Woman of the Year 2001, Jefferson Award 2006, and just two months before her death, on April 25, 2019, Congressman Jared Huffman honored her life's work with a certificate of special Congressional recognition. She was unable to attend the event due to her illness.
A celebration of her life will be held in Anchor Bay later this year.
THE ROAD BACK: One year of stroke recovery
by Chris Skyhawk
Although my supervisorial candidacy ended abruptly in calamity as I was struck by a near fatal hemorrhagic stroke on June 26 of 2018, as I approach the anniversary of the event I reflect back at the time I spent on the campaign trail and realize that I have no regrets as I learned more about this county and the place that I have made my home for nearly 30 years. To the unions that endorsed and worked with me I was so honored, you are the very essence of what democracy should be and the keepers of the commons during a very bleak and amnesia-filled period in our history.
A side tale… One day with union and campaign volunteers we were going door-to-door in the Ukiah area and we were on the Pinoleville Rancheria. Since the homes were spaced out a bit we were conducting what we called stop and drop, where a driver drops off the volunteer to go knock on a door. I spotted a drive with a green metal gate partially open across the driveway with an older gentleman working in the front yard. I motioned to my driver and she dropped me off, and I walked into the area. I hailed the gentleman who was wearing a baseball cap that said 'Native Pride' with a scattering of artistic eagle feathers as part of the cap and I gave him a quick introduction.
He scowled at me fiercely and asked if I always trespassed across locked gates. I directed his attention to the partially open gate, saying I would not have come over it if it were locked. “So” he says, fixing me again with a fierce gaze. “Looking for votes, huh?” He then pointed to a pile of gravel and said that if I wanted his vote, I had to spread that gravel on his driveway. At that point I was pretty sure that he was just enjoying messing with me, but I was still on unsure territory. I could see my driver parked at the top of the drive; her window was down and she was watching nervously. I joked that if he helped get me elected maybe I could get a county crew to come out and work on his driveway.
At this point he was looking over the campaign placard that I handed him, “Skyhawk, where did you get a name like that?” he asked in a hostile and skeptical tone. I gave him a very brief explanation of my self-chosen name.
Then I asked, “What is your name?”
“White man hater” he said with conviction. At that moment I fell absolutely in love with this audacious outrageous old man and whether he was serious or just messing with me I cared not.
“Where did you get a name like that?” I repeated his previous question to me. I quickly interrupted myself. “Oh. Never mind. There is plenty of material,” I said.
Suddenly there was a raspy, crackling, scolding female voice calling from inside the home: “Old man, you leave him alone!” An older woman burst out onto the porch, obviously my friend’s wife. She repeated her scolding when she got outside, “Old man, you leave him alone!” My friend looked at me, gave a little chuckle and a slight shoulder shrug. I spent a bit more time talking with the couple, just visiting in their front yard.
Talking a little politics, they explained to me a bit about the social structure of the Rancheria and who the various players were.
At any rate as I traveled around the county and the Fifth district I was constantly impressed and emotionally touched by all of the ad hoc structures that arise due to our inherent remoteness.
So Mendocino County, although my efforts concluded with my stroke, I am so glad that I got to know you better. Your quirky spirit, your maddening contradictions are a full and worthy reflection of the human spirit. As for me, I spend much of my time in various therapies, I still can not safely walk without use of my quad cane, I also do not have use of my left hand, although both of these things are slowly improving. I am learning a lot about patience, I have always retained my long term memory. (My short term is the most affected — it is improving but I sometimes have a hard time remembering what happened in the morning.) I have always remembered my past and who I was and am, I have a lot of time to reflect on my life and my love for it. I have learned to be very quiet, maybe that is just my brain injury but I am actually enjoying the quiet and learning how to stay in it as my brain heals and re-wires. I have a deeper appreciation and understanding for how powerful a place silence can be. I also have recognized that due to my reduced state I understand the realities of being a child again. I cannot drive or work, since way back at the time of the stroke I have had to learn to walk and talk, eat and use the toilet all over again. At first, like a baby, I could not even sit up on my own, so I get to be born twice in one life. It is not an experience I would ever recommend, but it is truly extraordinary.
Samantha and I also want to thank you for how much you have cared for our family. After some arduous circumstances during the campaign that was very healing for us. The stroke hit me at the end of June and they flew me down to Castro Valley. I needed brain surgery to relieve the pressure from the bleed or else I would probably not be here anymore. I have no conscious memories until around mid August and did not get home until September 15th, when I understood how much love cradled my family during that time I was gone.
I was deeply touched that many of you donated time, labor, love and money to the GoFundMe account that was set up thus ensuring that this calamity would not leave us homeless. What was a very dark and scary time for Samantha and our girls was also a time filled with love and light thanks to so many of you.
Thank you Mendocino County, I love you and I will see you around.
Thank you for reading this if you made it this far: organizing my thoughts is still not my strong suit and I have to type with one hand which is frustrating.
GRAND JURY RIGHT ABOUT SAN DISTRICT
The Mendocino County Grand Jury issued a report last week that confirms what many observers already knew. The Ukiah Valley Sanitation District is being mismanaged, is about to stick it to their ratepayers, violates the Brown Act and has acted irresponsibly over its lawsuit against the city.
After taking a look at the San District’s actions — without the assistance of the San District which refused to sign needed confidentiality agreements allowing the grand jury to proceed and denying Public Records Act requests from the grand jury — the investigators saw a district woefully in over its head financially.
Here are just some of the things the grand jury found:
Due to limited staffing and high turnover, the District has not demonstrated the capability to responsibly manage its business and financial affairs. Failure to provide audited financial reports for five years (2014-2018) further demonstrates this lack of capability. In the absence of staffing continuity with technical and financial expertise, the District has used expensive attorneys and consultants to conduct day-to-day business and negotiations with the City.
The District claims the funds paid to them by the City are for damages. This is misleading. Of the $16,415,296 paid, $11,431,986 were from existing District reserves held by the City on the District’s behalf. To avoid further legal expense, the City agreed to pay the District $4,984,310 over five years. This amount is substantially less than the legal costs of the lawsuit to the District. The difference will be paid by the District’s ratepayers.
The City no longer holds any of the District’s reserves.
The District’s claim that it can save over $1.5 million per year by assuming responsibility for the billing, maintenance and sewage treatment for its ratepayers is not supported by any documentation.
Future changes allowed in the settlement could trigger redundant expenses to be borne by all ratepayers. These include detachment of the overlap areas by the City and the District’s assumption of their billing, maintenance, and sewage treatment.
The MOU/JPA proposed by the City is intended to provide a cost effective solution to the ongoing disputes between the City and the District by operating as a single system with the same rate structure applying to all customers.
The District has violated the intent of the Brown Act which has reduced transparency for District ratepayers.
The $23 million combined legal costs and lost opportunities to refinance the bond will be borne by the City and District ratepayers.
The grand jury made it clear that it is the San District’s fault that the sewer plant bonds were not refinanced as the city wanted to do, which is now costing the ratepayers. They also point out that it makes no sense for the San District to continue to try to duplicate services — like billing and expensive management — that the city already provides. And, they note that since the District has used up much of its reserves on legal fees, they stand a chance of not being able to pay their bills moving forward, which will also hike rates over and above whatever rate they may agree to with the city.
The San District’s path is clear: agree to the offer from the city to operate as a single system with uniform rates. The majority on San District board has done enough damage. It’s time for them to stop whining about the city and start thinking about the ratepayers.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
A FEMALE READER on movie sex scenes:
What i find most ridiculous in the sex scenes from the last 20-ish years is the sudden leap of hormones just seconds after two sets of eyes entwine. How many people, in real life, throw each other around and rip off their clothes and fling the cooking utensils off the kitchen island chopping block, the staplers and laptops from their office desks, the dirty dishes from the kitchen counter, etc etc ad nauseam. I was no prude in my younger days, but this kind of choreography just doesn't happen. I think it makes most folks watching feel they've really missed out. I find most sex scenes totally gratuitous, even if they’re well filmed. I applaud the films that fade away after its been made clear that some action is gonna ensue. We all basically know the mechanics, no need to see any more women shoved up against the wall, thank you very much.
TOTALLY AGREE. The only two I can remember are Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr rolling around in the surf in "From Here to Eternity" and the truly shocking rape scene in "Last Tango In Paris."
ON LINE AD: "Westfall Property Concierge is looking for two hard working, detailed, meticulous diligent and responsible house cleaners. I have a lot of business And my standards are high."
WE PITY the pair who responds to this one.
ON POTRERO HILL above the freeway
HOW THE AIDS EPIDEMIC CATALYZED THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA MOVEMENT
by Fred Gardner
Dennis Peron was the Rosa Parks of the medical marijuana movement, the one who would not move to the back of the bus. Dennis refused to accept that anybody —any cop or DA or judge— could tell him he didn’t have a right to smoke marijuana. “And the right to smoke it means the right to get it,” he would argue, “which means people have to have the right to grow it and sell it.”
Dennis was a Vietnam vet. During the Tet offensive in February, 1968, he had stacked body bags and come out as a gay man. Back in San Francisco at the start of the '70s he said, “I want to dedicate my life to world peace.” A hippie who meant it. He believed that marijuana was inherently an anti-war drug due to its relaxing effect on the individual and the sharing ritual associated with its use. In the ’ 70s and ’ 80s he was busted for selling pot more than a dozen times. During a raid in 1977 he took an SFPD bullet that splintered his thigh. And after every bust he would resume selling. How the narcs hated him.
Dennis did not fancy being an outlaw, so after the 1977 bust he drafted and collected signatures for an initiative —aptly named ‘W’— whereby the people of San Francisco instructed their law enforcement officials not to press any marijuana-related charges. It carried, and Mayor George Moscone notified the police that possession of an ounce or less should henceforth be ignored. Moscone would soon be assassinated.
As the '80s ended, Dennis's longtime companion Jonathan West was dying of AIDS. “Jonathan was taking many prescribed drugs,” Dennis explained, “and there were severe side effects, from nausea to loss of appetite. Marijuana was the only drug that eased his pain and restored his appetite and gave him some moments of dignity in that last year. And of course I had hundreds of friends with AIDS who relied on marijuana for the same reasons: appetite, relief from nausea, relief from pain, to be able to sleep.”
On the night of January 27, 1990, a squad of SFPD narcotics officers raided the house on 17th Street where Dennis was taking care of Jonathan. This is a mix of his recollections: "The police broke down my door, came storming in and found four ounces of Thai weed in the house… Jonathan was very thin and he had KS [Kaposi’s Sarcoma] lesions on his face. The cops made AIDS jokes and they made a big production of putting on their rubber gloves before tearing up the place. When they saw the picture of me and Harvey [Milk, the supervisor who had been assassinated] they went into a harangue about 'that fag.' They put everyone on the floor including Jonathan —they had him spread-eagled on the floor. Well, that was their undoing, because Jonathan told the district attorney and the narcs that the four ounces was his, for medicinal purposes, because he was going to chemotherapy and it helped him with his nausea and helped him in other ways. That took away their 'marijuana-for-sale' basis against me. They tried to link me to 27 pounds found in another house, but had no proof."
Dennis said he recognized one of the raiders as a former bodyguard for the late Mayor George Moscone. “I told him, ‘Great job you did protecting George.’"
A vision of the cannabis buyers club came to him later that night, Dennis says, as he was lying on a cement slab at the Mission Station. “The cops were coming by and banging with their nightsticks and yelling, ‘Hey, Peron, we’re gonna get you!’ And I was thinking about Jonathan all alone and without any marijuana. And I was thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place where he could go and be among friends?’ Jonathan had the KS on his face and I was thinking, ‘He wouldn’t be ashamed here.’ And the place in my dream was the buyers club.”
Jonathan West died in September 1990, soon after testifying at Dennis's hearing that the confiscated pot belonged to him. At the end he was down to 90 pounds. “Doesn’t that tell you something?” says Dennis. “He lived to testify at my trial and then he let go of life.”
After Jonathan died, Dennis shifted his approach from advocating marijuana legalization to promoting its medical use. In 1991 he drafted and organized support for the aptly named Proposition P, whereby “The People of the City and County of San Francisco recommend that the State of California and the California Medical Association restore hemp medical preparations to the list of medicines in California. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for or restricted from prescribing hemp preparations for medical purposes to any patient.”
Prop P carried San Francisco with 80% of the vote. The Board of Supervisors then passed a medical marijuana resolution introduced by Terence Hallinan—which Dennis cited as “the authority by which the buyers club will supply cannabis and other hemp byproducts to those who can benefit by it.”
In designating his marijuana emporium at 873 Sanchez Street a "cannabis buyers club" in late 1992, Dennis was tipping his hat to the nearby Healing Alternatives buyers club, which had been established to lower the cost of vitamins, supplements and drugs rumored to slow the progression of the virus (such as AL-721, an Israeli egg-yolk extract that was commercially unavailable in the U.S. and had not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration).
Healing Alternatives was a truly non-profit organization that provided products at wholesale prices not just to HIV-positive men but to thousands of Castro district residents determined to bolster their resistance. At the SFCBC, Dennis provided discounts as needed to AIDS patients, but would not abandon the buy-low, sell-high model he had used for years as a dealer. He saw the club as part of an entourage of caregivers —Healing Alternatives providing vitamins, Project Open Hand providing food, the SFCBC providing marijuana and a comfortable setting where it could be used and shared.
Dennis's longtime ally, Tod Mikuriya, MD, wrote an admissions protocol for the SFCBC and interviewed members for a paper, “Cannabis Medicinal Uses at a Buyers Club” that never got published in the medical literature. The historically significant manuscript is part of the Mikuriya collection at the National Library of Medicine, and can be found online here.
While 41 of the 57 patients Mikuriya interviewed were HIV+ (and 16 "presumed HIV-"), his questionnaire documented that cannabis was being used to treat a wide range of other problems, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, arthritis, pain, and alcoholism. His study would provide support for the sentence in Proposition 215 authorizing physicians to approve marijuana use in treating anycondition for which it provides relief.
Rick Gerharter of the Bay Area Reporter photographed Mikuriya conducting interviews —with help from Dennis and SFCBC staffer Mary Rathbun (“Brownie Mary”)— in January, 1994. The BARran a weekly list of people who died from AIDS — the toll was 33 one week at the height of the epidemic. The effective "cocktail" wasn't available until 1996 (the year Californians voted to legalize marijuana for medical use).
Response to the AIDS epidemic laid the groundwork for the medical marijuana movement in other ways… (Text continues below contact sheet
The Compound Q Saga
Today, with protease inhibitors greatly extending the lives of HIV+ people, it is hard to convey the level of fear and factual confusion (could the virus be transmitted by saliva?) that prevailed in San Francisco in the 1980s and early '90s. See Epidemic Memories and The Party for David M.
As the death toll rose, people with AIDS —as individual citizens and in groups such as Project Inform and Act-Up— demanded with increasing urgency that the FDA accelerate research and allow access to unapproved drugs. The drug that got people's hopes up most dramatically was "Compound Q," a Chinese cucumber extract that researchers at SF General Hospital confirmed could kill the virus in the test tube. In May 1989 a clinical trial led by Paul Volberding, MD, was begun at SFGH. That very month, activists obtained a large quantity of Compound Q from China (where it was used to induce abortion and to treat certain types of uterine cancer). The trial they planned would not require people with AIDS to be treated with a placebo in a control group. The Compound Q saga is largely forgotten, but this being Pride Month, we'll recount it, starting with a report published August 1989 in Synapse, the UCSF weekly. Author Kim Grahl, then a second-year medical student, is now an MD practicing in Chicago.
Meetin' at the Buildin'
In September 1989 Project Inform organized a meeting at the Women's Building in San Francisco to bring the community up to speed on Compound Q, the drug many were pinning their hopes on. A standing-room-only crowd —almost all young men, some visibly ill, all intensely interested— filled the large auditorium and its balcony to hear Dr. Larry Waites explain:
"Compound Q, which has been known in its present form in China for about 20 years, had been known in the US for about 2.5 years. The trials at SFGH started this summer and it was estimated that they were going to need 9 to 12 months to complete. This lengthy approval process frustrated patients and physicians. Very frequently Al and Marty and I would be together talking about early intervention and treatment. In March we realized that there were at least hundreds of doses of the drug coming into the Bay Area. We perceived an impending crisis. It was obvious that the phase 1 trial planned at SF General couldn't possibly answer the questions about the safety and efficacy of compound Q in time to either avert or guide community use. Martin asked us if a program could be devised that was faster and yet as safe as the FDA approved trial. The dilemma was: should we wait passively for people to treat themselves. literally in their kitchens, and patch up things when they went wrong, or to take a more active stance and set up a carefully controlled monitoring situation to answer the questions about the safety and efficacy of this drug. The decision seemed obvious then and it seems obvious now that we really had to act.
"The next two months were spent in literature research, consulting Chinese physicians and even Genelabs and Mike McGrath at SFGH to write the protocol. We knew that the Chinese used 1 to 2 vials --1.2 milligrams per vial--- to safely induce abortions. We knew that they used a vial per day for five days to treat cancer. We knew that in the test tube studies, cell death occurred for up to four days after the drug was given. That meant that there would be period of relative immune suppression after the drug was given --because even an infected cell may have some function and may help to fight infection. So if you kill off all those infected cells, you would have a relatively suppressed immune system. We calculated that it would take at least three doses or maybe more to possibly kill all the infected tcells and macrophages. Thus we decided to treat people once a week for three doses, to start at 1.2 milligrams --17 micrograms per kil0. We decided on very intensive monitoring of patients.
"Our first three patients were our very sickest patients. they'd exhausted all other avenues of treatment. We saw them just about every day. The protocol called for following patients overnight after they got the infusion, seeing patients the day after the infusion, then each week of the first month, then monthly thereafter. We had very extensive lab work consisting of complete blood counts, panels to check liver and kidney function, urnialyses, blood work done weekly, then monthly, as well as checking p24 antigens and antibodies. Cost of lab work alone for first 6 weeks was over $42,000.
"Was this all legal? Our lawyers said yes. We now have 7 lawyers. The FDA does not interfere in the right of patients to obtain medicines from any country for their personal use, nor does it interfere in the doctor patient relationship. Our treatment program differed only in its intensity of monitoring and the lengthy informed consent process, which started three days before the infusion."
Compound Q failed. The unauthorized trial showed that the cucumber extract did not, alas, fend off the AIDS virus in the body. But the episode focused the gay community critically on the FDA drug approval process, and reminded us, the people —and our rulers— that drug prohibition could not be enforced on those who felt they had nothing to lose. By the start of the 1990s, increasingly large demonstrations and street actions* signaled that the demand for AIDS support services (the virus had pushed thousands into poverty) and research leading to effective treatment had become a mass movement.
Including a march on Trump Tower in New York, staged by ACT-UP on Halloween, 1989. "The Trump Tower protest was organized by ACT UP’s Housing Committee, which hoped to draw attention to the lack of housing for homeless people with AIDS," wrote Stephen Vider in Slate. "Through the rain, protesters maintained a picket line, carrying a range of printed and handmade signs: 'Silence Equals Death,' 'In NYC 10,000 Homeless PWAs, 64 Beds,' 'Money For AIDS Not For Malls.' Two participants hung a banner, '10,000 Homeless With AIDS,' from the windows across the street."
A Not-so-Proud Memory
It's Pride month, but we owe it to history to recall an embarrassing, tragic twist in the relationship between AIDS activism and the medical marijuana movement.
By 1998, ACT-UP San Francisco was being led by a small group of men who refused to acknowledge that AIDS was caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. They were desperate, militant, and not interested in treatment because they thought the virus wasn't causing the epidemic. They cited a UC Berkeley molecular biologist, Professor Peter Duesberg, who contended that people were being killed by use of recreational drugs and AZT, an early FDA-approved treatment that turned out to be ineffective.
Several leaders of ACT-UP San Francisco worked at Dennis Peron's cannabis buyers club, and when the state and federal governments finally succeeded in closing him down in 1998 —as a nuisance!— these staffers knew how to run the operation and knew all the growers. They launched a club of their own further up Market Street —more a sales outlet than a place to socialize— and were soon bringing in $100,000/month. The money from marijuana sales at the ACT-UP club was used to fund a big denialist PR campaign. Denialist literature packets were dispatched to government agencies worldwide, and Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, took the ACT-UP/Duesberg line seriously. The distribution of effective p otease inhibitors in his country was delayed as a result.
The moral of the story is relevant to pot partisans today: Don't totally turn your back on Western Medicine!
That said, the list of FDA-approved drugs that have turned out to be ineffective and/or harmful is mind-blowing. An O'Shaughnessy's article about FDA reversals will run when we can pay the printer again. The AIDS denialists were crazed, for sure, but the abysmal record of the pharmaceutical industry gave their worst paranoid suspicions a germ of plausibility.
PS June 28
No sooner did I write the above than the July Scientific American arrived with a letter by virologist John P. Moore, MD, on the subject of AIDS denialists. Moore attributes an estimated 300,000 deaths worldwide to their influence. Asked for his source, he explained in an email, "There were two articles published in the peer-reviewed literature sometime around 2005. One was from a group at Harvard Medical School and received fairly wide publicity at the time, the other was from Nicoli Nattrass of the U of Cape Town. Both were quite concordant in their estimates, which were made independently."
"The AIDS denialists are still around," according to Moore. "Their damaging effects have diminished in recent years, but many of them are now active in the 'anti-vaxxer' movement, peddling the lies that compromise vaccine uptake by a significant number of people, with adverse public health outcomes that are all too apparent."
I asked Moore, "Was almost all the impact in South Africa? It seemed like the denialists made a lot of noise but didn't deter people from going on the protease inhibitors when they became available in '96."
He replied: "it’s a highly complex and lengthy topic that can’t easily be summarized on an iPhone email from home. In the developed world the denialists did not affect national policies but did damage individuals who were persuaded to make very poor choices about their health or their children’s health. But in South Africa in the early 2000s the Mbeki administration was persuaded to take some catastrophic policy decisions on drug availability that led to those estimated 300,000 unnecessary deaths. Books on the topic include ones from Nicoli Nattrass, Seth Kalichman, Jon Kay and Michael Specter if a longer version appeals to your reading list."
ME? YES. TAI? NO.
I can't believe what's happening to Tai A. I won't spend a lot of time taking space up ranting and raving about the unfair tactics in the District Attorney's office. Some guys deserve life in prison. I can admit today that I am one of them. The counties of Sonoma, Mendo, Humboldt, Lake, Napa, Solano are better off with me in here. I admit that I took a minute, but I am a bad guy through and through. It's in my blood. But Tai? Let him go. A lot of guys fake the groups and the self-help and manipulate staff and the system. I see it every day. In the five years I've been gone: three assaults, two batteries with great bodily injury and conspiracy to introduce drugs and distribute.
They finally kicked me out of High Desert and that's a place for “bad guys.” Tai doesn't fit in. He helps people. He is always trying to pass on a positive piece of advice. I should have listened. I don't think he's ever been in a fight or said a cross word. What planet did he come from. This is prison. Where is the justice in keeping him in here? I just don't get it.
My "brother" Chris Skaggs is out on the streets. He promised he would take care of me when he got out. Ha ha. I will be holding my breath — not. Someone will give him a hot shot before he ever does anything for me. And that's fine. I don't need anything from him.
My family loves me and visits me but even they are probably somewhat relieved that I am in here. They don't have to worry about some cop killing me or some tweaker blowing my brains out. It's crazy how I can adjust, adapt and overcome.
Anyway, to my brother Tai: I will see you again. I am level 4 again and don't plan on dropping my points. Just know I got love for you and an undying hate for your oppressors. You will be free some day even though you are already free inside. My advice to you is something you already know: you are a good man, stay that way, you deserve good things, freedom, love, family, happiness. Don't let them take that from you, brother. You are really someone who doesn't belong here, so they just have to let you go. Keep the faith.
Walter Miller AE 5304
Box 4610, Lancaster, CA 93539
CHINATOWNS OF CALIFORNIA
For the current exhibition concerning Chinese people on the Mendocino Coast, the Kelley House Museum has a large book of maps that shows what Mendocino City looked like 130 years ago. This is the 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, one of the richest resources we have for showing what things were like back in the day. Its pages contain the outlines of saloons, houses, stores and stables, all drawn to scale and labeled.
If you look closely, you’ll see some of those handwritten labels note where the Chinese people lived and worked, as the late 1800s was a period of time when this population was of special interest to Californians. There were five places around town where clusters of buildings were shown as “Chinese” — on Main, Kasten, Albion, Lansing, and Ukiah Streets. Mendocino City’s main “Chinatown” was west of Kasten Street on the south side of Main, but we were not the only small community in California with an Asian area.
The Chinese had been on the west coast of North America for some time as adventurers, priests, and merchants. In fact, there were early Chinese immigrants to Mexico before those in California, and a number of Chinese were in California during Spanish rule, according to the book “Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California,” published by the National Park Service.
But it was the Gold Rush that really swelled their numbers. My research revealed 54 men arriving by boat in 1849, 789 men in 1850, and then a huge leap of 4,018 men in 1851. That number jumped to more than 11,000 in 1852. The newspaper Alta California claimed there were 7,000 to 10,000 Chinese men here by 1853.
American miners in the gold fields almost immediately tried to make it difficult for Chinese to work. In 1850 the state legislature fixed a $20 a month license fee for foreign miners. This law was later repealed, but initially it had Chinese abandoning the mining areas for urban places like San Francisco.
An 1870 law, later deemed unconstitutional, charged a $1,000 fine for bringing subjects of China or Japan into the USA. But some Americans saw them as cheap, reliable labor for the railroads and agricultural interest. By this time, urban Chinese were shopkeepers, laundrymen, and restaurant owners, and rural Chinese were woodchoppers, freight haulers, and railroad construction workers. China Camp in Marin County on San Pablo Bay was home to Chinese fisherman. Mining camps of any size might have a “China Town” for Chinese workers who remained in that industry. In many of these places, a temple or “Joss House” might be erected for the worship of Chinese deities.
Eureka in 1885 had a China Town and others existed in Ventura, Fiddletown, Grass Valley, Monterrey, Fresno, Sacramento, and Loomis. Santa Rosa in Sonoma County had a China Town on First and Second Streets. Chinese temples that exist to this day were built in Yreka, Oroville and Weaverville, along with Mendocino City’s 1854 Kwan Tai temple.
The Sacramento — San Joaquin River delta had lots of Chinese laboring to build flood control levees. This was an agricultural skill brought with them from China and put to work on California rivers. The towns of Sherman, Twitchell, Brannan, and Grand Island had levees 15 feet wide at the base, 5 feet at the crest, and varying heights to protect productive farmlands. Rio Vista, Courtland, Isleton, Walnut Grove, and Locke all had Chinese communities.
Today, travelers any place in California — from big cities like San Francisco to tiny former Gold Rush towns — might find reminders that the Chinese were once there. Though many tried to exclude them in our past, the Chinese remain a significant part of the state’s heritage.
The Kelley House Museum’s current exhibit, “The Story of Look Tin Eli: Exclusion and Citizenship on the Mendocino Coast,” is up until July 22 and shares the story of Mendocino’s Chinese and what happened statewide. Catch this great display Fridays through Mondays 11 a..m to 3 p.m. Call 707/937-5791 for more information.
(Courtesy, Kelley House Museum)
PG&E WIDENS SCOPE OF POWER SHUT-OFFS TO PREVENT WILDFIRES
PG&E ready to cut power to prevent fires in hot and dry conditions
by Guy Kovner
With the onset of wildfire season, North Bay residents are bracing for the prospect of calamities along with a new concern: intentional blackouts aimed at preventing fires but also posing threats for people who are caught unprepared.
Hot, dry and windy conditions — the primary ingredients for devastating fires — are also the criteria for PG&E to preemptively shut off electricity in power lines running through areas at high risk of catching fire.
The embattled utility, driven into bankruptcy early this year by billions of dollars in liabilities for 17 Northern California wildfires that broke out in October 2017, has significantly augmented the public safety power shut-off program it launched in 2018, aimed at about 10% of its customers.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. boosted the program this year to potentially disrupt 31,000 miles of power lines in high-threat areas and all 5.4 million customers. People need to be prepared for blackouts lasting more than 48 hours, the utility is now warning in a major public outreach campaign.
Once a shutdown has been implemented, PG&E must wait until extreme weather has passed and the power lines have been visually inspected before restoring electricity.
“This is a bold move. We understand the impacts,” said Deanna Contreras, a PG&E spokeswoman. “It’s very difficult for our customers to be without power.”
The last two years, she said, “made it overwhelmingly clear that more must be done to address the threat of wildfires in extreme weather.”
About 16,500 fires scorched more than 3 million acres statewide in 2017 and 2018, claiming 146 lives and damaging or destroying more than 36,000 structures, according to Cal Fire.
Rick Barr of Santa Rosa gave the power shutdown program a hearty endorsement.
“If the power is on and you get 100 mile per hour winds whipping those lines around, it’d be real nice to have it turned off,” he said last week at an open house hosted by PG&E to promote its fire safety program.
Barr was essentially describing the conditions that propelled the Tubbs fire from Calistoga to Santa Rosa in four hours the night of Oct. 8, 2017. The inferno that killed 22 people and destroyed more than 4,600 houses stopped 150 feet from his home in the Mark West area.
“I’m scared to death of another fire,” said Karen Allen of Santa, also one of about 220 people who attended the open house at the Finley Community Center. “I think it’s a good time to be proactive.”
Allen lives a half block from Annadel State Park, part of a large swath of high fire-threat territory.
A retiree, she shrugged off the challenge of living without electricity for two days.
“To save our homes, you bet we can,” Allen said.
There are more than 4,000 miles of power lines in high-risk fire areas in Sonoma, Lake, Napa and Mendocino counties, and more than half of PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area from Bakersfield to the Oregon border is in territory with an elevated or extreme fire threat.
In Sonoma County, there are nearly 1,500 miles of power lines in high-risk fire zones that cover the hilly areas outside of the Highway 101 corridor and Sonoma Valley, largely excluding the nine cities. High-risk zones in the Mayacamas Mountains and on Sonoma Mountain hug and intrude into Santa Rosa’s eastern flank.
Parts of the city could be included in a power outage, if they are served by a line that runs through a high-risk area, Contreras said.
PG&E, California’s largest utility, had no power shut-off program in 2017 and did not announce that it was developing one until March 2018, according to the California Public Utilities Commission, which sets the standards for shut-offs.
San Diego Gas & Electric pioneered shut-offs after its power lines ignited 2007’s Witch fire, which killed two people and destroyed 1,100 homes.
Chris Godley, Sonoma County’s emergency management director, said the agency is working on responses to the potential shutdowns, which will impact public services, including emergency response, as well as people’s lives.
A blackout affects traffic signals and could reduce water pressure, he said.
People may not be able to call 911, access the internet or buy gasoline for their cars, and a shutdown could be life-threatening to those who depend on power to operate medical devices or keep medicines refrigerated, Godley said.
“These deenergizing events may challenge us more than we care to admit,” he said. “We need to be ready to take care of ourselves and help others. It could be a very long summer.”
PG&E said conventional phones linked to copper lines generally operate during an outage, while internet telephone systems may be operational but won’t work if a customer’s router shuts off. Cellular phones may or may not have service depending on whether backup power is installed at cell sites.
Solar power systems do not work during a blackout unless they have a backup battery.
“We know how much our customers rely on electric service and that there are safety risks on both sides,” Contreras said. “We understand and appreciate that turning off the power affects first responders and the operation of critical facilities, communications systems and much more.”
In terms of notifying customers about shut-offs, PG&E intends to issue alerts 48 hours and 24 hours ahead of time and finally just before shutting off power, when possible.
Customers are advised to check pge.com/mywildfirealerts and enter their email address, telephone and cellphone numbers enabling the utility to send alerts to all of them.
PG&E will use whatever contact information it has on file to reach customers, Contreras said.
When an alert has been issued, customers are advised to check pge.com/eventmap and enter the location of their meter to get information on whether it will be affected by a shutdown.
PG&E has implemented two shutdowns so far this year, both on June 8:
Power to close to 21,000 customers in Butte and Yuba counties was turned off about 9 p.m. and restored by 6 p.m. the following day.
A shutdown affecting about 1,700 customers in Napa, Solano and Yolo counties started at 6:15 a.m. with restoration at 6 p.m.
PG&E said it expects to turn off power “several” times this year, without being more specific.
The National Weather Service office that covers Sonoma to Monterey counties last year issued 10 red flag warnings of imminent fire threats, which are based on criteria similar to the utility’s power shut-offs.
Utilities have an obligation to provide safe and reliable service to their customers, including proactive power shutdowns, Terrie Prosper, a spokeswoman for the Public Utilities Commission said in an email.
Intentional blackouts should be a “preventative measure of last resort” if a utility thinks there is an “imminent and significant risk” of strong winds that may topple power lines, she said.
Michael Wara, a lawyer and Stanford University scholar who served on the state’s Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery, disputed the consideration of shut-offs as a “last resort.”
“It’s the solution we have now that can dramatically lower risk,” he said in an email. “That’s why utilities are pursuing it now — because they have no other real options this year. And likely not for several more years.”
Power shutdown criteria
There is no algorithm for initiating a public safety power shutoff, but it generally involves the following factors:
• A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service
• Low humidity, generally 20% and below
• Forecasted sustained winds above 25 mph with gusts over 45 mph
• Dry fuel on the ground and low moisture content in live vegetation
• Observations from PG&E field crews and other information fed to PG&E’s wildfire safety operations center
How to be prepared
PG&E recommends the following steps to be ready for extreme weather and potential power shutoffs.
• Update your contact information to receive shutoff alerts at pge.com/mywildfirealerts
• Identify backup charging methods for phones and keep hard copies of emergency numbers
• Plan for medical needs such as medications that need to be refrigerated or devices that require power
• Plan for needs of pets and livestock
• Build or restock emergency kits with flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies and cash
• Know how to manually open garage doors
• Ensure any backup generator is ready to operate safely
— Pacific Gas & Electric
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO LENA HORNE - sensational beauty, singer, actress, and humanitarian. Born June 30, 1917
PG&E'S SUMMER OFFENSIVE
PG&E’s announced plan for shutting off the electricity is the most spectacularly stupid idea I have ever heard. The amount of deaths that will occur among seniors and infants will dwarf the 85 deaths that happened in last year’s Butte County fire. The monetary loss from food spoilage will be in the multi millions of dollars. How do you stay cool, not everyone has transportation? My guess is that it would happen only one time because the public outrage and attendant lawsuits would be overwhelming. I can’t believe that the governor and the rest of our politicians are dumb enough to let PG&E go through with idiotic plan, but you never know.
Wednesday June 19 at the Ukiah City Council meeting the audience, including the council and staff, were treated to a dire alert by two PG&E representatives. When certain environmental risk factors reach red flag conditions PG&E will unilaterally shut down electrical service to wide geographical areas. These blackouts will last for indeterminate periods as long as five days or even more repeated as factors dictate.
The implied message to everybody is “prepare for it, get used to it, and get over it.”
The stark collective facial expression of city officials was sad resignation. The City of Ukiah staff guaranteed that they will do everything they can to ensure the safety of their public; and be assured there will be additional community heroes doing all they can, as usual. One official attempted to sugar-coat this potential unilaterally imposed catastrophe by lecturing the public to treat this as practice for the real thing. Condescending and insensitive as this comment was, it slaps us all in the face that there are no other choices while at the same time begging many questions.
Five-day blackouts will rain down misery, medical risks, and possible business mortalities on communities served by this flawed monolithic utility. What additional liability is PG&E bringing upon itself?
In the life-span of this company our country has witnessed incredible advancements in technology. An American has golfed on the moon, self-driving cars are a reality, Siri is in our living rooms, and AI driven technology surrounds us. It’s the 21st Century. Is it too much to ask that our power grids move beyond being fire hazards? How far in the future are power grid infrastructures made of new stronger space age materials with instantaneous safety shut-offs?
Maybe the most important question should be: is PG&E’s business model of prioritizing executive bonuses and happy stockholders over investment in safety research and development fatally flawed, risking public safety? Is reality finally knocking on their door?
CATCH OF THE DAY, JUNE 30, 2019
JOSE ACOSTA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ALANI AKHTAB, Fort Bragg. Assault, battery, assault with stun gun, probation revocation.
ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
LAURA CASSIDY, Willits. DUI, Failure to appear.
BRITTANY CLINE-RODRIGUEZ, Clearlake/Willits. DUI causing bodily injury.
LISA DWYER, Ukiah. Buying or selling or possessing a vehicle with an altered number, tampering or forging vehicle registration, resisting.
NOE FLORES, Redwood Valley. DUI.
CHRISTOPHER GARCIA, Ukiah. Defrauding an innkeeper.
CHAD HAKE, Willits. Battery on peace officer, resisting.
SHAWNTEL HOAGLEN, Laytonville. Domestic abuse, evasion, probation revocation.
ANTHONY LOPES SR. Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ANTONIO LOPEZ JR., Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
STEVEN LUNA JR., Covelo. Vandalism.
LAMAR MANUEL, Ukiah. Parole violation.
SAMANTHA MAUS, Rohnert Park/Hopland. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
DENICO PERRY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, unlawful possession of tear gas.
KEVIN RAY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JUSTIN ROBINSON, Lucerne/Ukiah. DUI.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation.
CHRISTINA TORRES, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
A READER WRITES: Saw the second Dem debate, which I thought was more mind-numbing than the first, partly because de Blasio wasn't there dropping his verbal bombs. He's a weird dude but he did say some surprisingly wonderful things during the first debacle.
The biggest problem, besides the curious slate of candidates, is the context of these things. NBC's owners don't want a real discussion about our condition to take place, so we instead are subjected to endless droning about immigration, "socialism," how in the world can you possibly pay for single payer?, Mitch McConnell, Trump, China…topics around the periphery. That's where the moderators want to keep the discussion, and it seemed like they were instructed to reign in the off-script bombshells that managed to slip through the first night.
The measure of how lost this party is was the number of references to Russian meddling in the 2016 election, as if this fantasy were still true. It would have been exciting if one of candidates had addressed it.
Overall I thought Lizzy Warren was the biggest winner, demonstrating a coherence and passion that surprised me. Bernie, I thought, at least managed to hold his own. Those two now look like the frontrunners to me. I wish Tulsi had started better (she found her voice later) and it is a shame Mike Gravel didn't make this first cut. He would have been fun.
In spite of all the drawbacks, it was still interesting to see these twenty on stage, and get a sampling of who they are. The moderators did a terrible job of giving candidates equal time, and they should have cut the mics on some of the boors as they kept trying to cut in. The good news is that these debates may have signaled the end for knuckleheads Biden and Beto. Time to start clearing the deadwood!
RONALD REAGAN FAMOUSLY WARNED that Medicare would lead us away from freedom and toward socialism. Barry Goldwater considered Jack Kennedy a socialist and called Lyndon Johnson one as well. America did not lapse into a collectivist dystopia with access to Medicare nor embark on the road to serfdom under the tenures of Kennedy and Johnson. Reagan’s fears and Goldwater’s fancies serve to remind us that “socialism” is in the eye of the beholder.
The specter of “socialism” has served as a convenient bugaboo for the right to invoke whenever its interests are threatened by progressive legislation or liberal advocacy, a pejorative to smear a broad swath of economic reforms that challenge the corporate status quo. With the resurgence of a democratic left, it has become common parlance in conservative circles to tar the entire spectrum of liberal opposition with the broad brush of “socialism.”
— Jack Schwartz
CLAUDETTE COLBERT and her Christmas wreath on Sunset. 1932.
Here are 10 reasons for barbecuing veggie burgers and hot dogs this Independence Day:
Focusing on traffic and fireworks safety, rather than food safety.
Giving your eyes a break from reading government food warning labels.
Not sweating nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs, if temperature is too low.
Not sweating cancer-causing compounds, if barbecue temperature is too high.
Not wondering about what’s really in that burger or hot dog you’re chewing.
Giving your body a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.
Not sweating the animal cruelty and environmental devastation guilt trips.
Not having to explain to your kids why we feed Rex and eat Babe.
Distinguishing your Independence Day menu from your friends’ and neighbors’.
Celebrating a day of independence from the meat industry.
God bless the Oregon people who stood up for their rights and squashed the bill the Democrats are pushing up there to have a CARB situation like the California Air Resources Board. It has ruined Northern California basically as far as truckers go. It's okay to have pollution control in cities and congested areas but not all of Northern California. If you go from Petaluma across the state to the Nevada border above Sacramento then down the east side of the valley all the way to the Mexican border including the good people in the Sierra Nevadas there is no pollution. Never will be. It’s is a smog free area.
The rotten California Democrats and Mary Nichols exclusively have shut all the trucks down except the ones she thinks should stay. The new trucks with the newfangled bullshit on them are running down underpasses on Highway 5 and killing all the animals on the edge of the road. Nothing left. Sickening. God bless the Oregon people. Maybe somebody in California will wake up and do something about it like Oregon did, but I doubt it.
California citizens are weak compared to other countries and other states. California could have pushed back like Oregon did on the second amendment and the screwed up Democrats gun laws that destroyed the lives of lots of people. In other countries if something is wrong they do something about it. In California they just lay down and lick their chops. Oh, I will get welfare and I will get this and that and free medical for illegals and free this and free that and free heroin shots for dope addicts. Oregon showed what people can do if they rise up. Not make threats about setting the whole state on fire or doing something like but to retaliate and use ourselves and push back against these sorry bastards.
If I was 30 or 40 years old again, I would be willing to risk my life to push back against the rotten Democrats who are trying to do away with the Second Amendment and attacking the Constitution and our God-given rights. They sit up there looking at the bent over Californians who continue to work and pay the taxes that are outrageous and do the things that these rotten Democrats have control over. A couple thousand could rush the capitol and demand they change some things that would be good things. Yeah. Huh? I'm sure some of you think I'm crazy but I'm not. I'm just sticking up for my rights and I wish other people would stick up for theirs.
That rotten school in San Francisco wants to erase a mural of George Washington from the wall. They had 100% vote on and it passed including Gavin Loosen Gruesome Newsom. And Nancy Pelosi okayed it and all the Democrats okayed it. Isn't that something? The father of his country taken off the wall. That's sad. Anti-Americanism to the most.
The Republican Party of California is a joke. They have about $350,000 in their account. The Democrats have $11 million. Sad. There must be at least 1 million Republicans in California. If they would put $10 toward the Republican Party that would be $10 million. But the Republicans are so out of touch with reality that it's no wonder that the liberal Democrats have the upper hand. I'm not sorry to be an American. But I'm sorry to be a Republican.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. Open borders. Illegal aliens. Sanctuary state. Driver’s licenses for illegals. Medical care for illegals. Liberal Democrats want illegals flocking over here by the thousands. Open borders. Every illegal alien that can get in the United States. For the votes. They don't care that some of those people want to kill us. They come in by the thousands from all different countries. Some of them want to kill us. It’s a matter of time. Not if, but when. A suicide bomber straps on a suicide belt or two or three and they get in a busy street in New York or San Francisco. Maybe the Capitol building in Sacramento. That would be worth considering. It's going to happen. The Democrats will be responsible. I want to see what the American people do when about 400-500 people get killed in some bomb blast. Huh? Think about that. Liberal Democrats will be responsible. From now on. They believe in that kind of stuff. Illegal borders sanctuary aliens and everything that will go wrong for America. What's stopping someone who wants to kill infidels which they say we are from going into a Safeway in Fort Bragg, Willits, Ukiah, no security, with their belts on on a busy day when people are crowded in there. Hundreds of people. Boom! Huh? How bout that? I always look around when I go in there but I can't see everywhere. Someone can come in and set a backpack down and walk out and dial a number. There wouldn't be a 2x4 left. That's what lots of these border crossers want to do to us infidels, kill us. Thanks to the Democrats they might succeed.
JULY 8, 1940 — In the darkened auditorium of Fugazzi Hall, 300 San Francisco Italians stood for a minute in silence last night before a spotlighted picture of Marshal Italo Balbo, dashing hero of young Fascisti, who was killed last week in a plane crash in Libya. Fisherfolk, laborers, bankers and merchants alike bowed in reverence to the great flyer who attained international popularity as a leader of the Italian mass flights of 1931-33. Antonio Toscani-Millo, acting Consul General for Italy in San Francisco, arranged the memorial and was the sole speaker. With hands on hips, thumbs forward, an attitude often assumed by Il Duce, Toscani-Millo, delivered a eulogistic account of Balbo’s life that drew periodic bursts of applause form the audience. At the close of his tribute, Toscani-Millo raised his hand in the Fascist salute. One Italian Legionnaire answered. The meeting ended with the playing of the American and Italian national anthems.
— SF Chronicle
REDWOOD VALLEY GABFEST
Bringing in the Spiritual Mojo Creating Divine Anarchy
Today we are having the "mother of all conversations" at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, CA. I have been here since the spring equinox on March 20th, following my 15th time in Washington, D.C. on the front lines of radical environmental and peace & justice direct action. After 40 years of activism, organizing, and writing about it all, the conclusion is that "bringing in the spiritual mojo" is necessary for further effectiveness. Period!
I am willing to return to the District of Columbia, and also be present at the U.N. compound in New York City, with my last 5k of money. I require a housing base! If you are sufficiently convinced and in agreement with my own conclusions, then go ahead and contact me. My interest in forming a group is always good. Indeed, what are we waiting for?
Craig Louis Stehr
The Magic Ranch/Redwood Valley, CA