- Cooler Weather
- Outage Video
- Scary Book
- Humboldt Commute
- Measure B-ing
- FB Rodeo
- PG&E Lobby
- Tintin Brexit
- Asphalt No
- Zoot Stop
- Ed Notes
- Tarentino Movie
- Agronomist Interview
- Yesterday's Catch
- Four Apples
- Young Stones
- Ward Stories
- Schwab's Pharmacy
- Fake Pres
- Navarro Crawdad
- Tech Doom
- Free Shrugs
- Brother Paul
- Iran Obsession
DRY WEATHER WITH NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected through the week. Sea breezes and occasional marine cloudiness will keep coastal areas seasonably cool.
The other lingering concern for the next few days will be smoke drifting southward into the area from the Milepost 97 fire in SW Oregon and potentially a couple of new, smaller wildfires in Siskiyou County.
(National Weather Service)
CEO CARMEL ANGELO has a new video out on the County’s “mendocino county video” youtube channel about what to do when PG&E shuts everybody’s power off. It seems more like an obligatory warning than any kind of real suggestions. The CEO suggests you plan for schools and daycare being closed (but no action suggested action), food spoilage (no actual suggestions). She also suggests topping off your gas tank, keeping cash on hand, have some water stored. She also points out that without juice, the AC will be off and oxygen machines for those who need them will not work. Oh and traffic lights will be out and work sites may be closed. The CEO mentions the possibility of generators, but if not she thinks you should have a plan b and a plan c, whatever they might be. See, without the CEO pointing it out, we’d never know that things like AC might be out if PG&E shuts off power.
THE CEO concluded by suggesting that viewers go to:
www.ready.gov and www.prepareforpowerdown.com. …
Ms. Angelo said she “hoped” the advice was helpful.
NO, Ms. Angelo, not helpful.
AN OLDIE BUT GOODIE
by Katy Tahja
I’m sure readers everywhere pick up a book they remember reading a decade ago, are interested enough to read it again, and remain firm in their belief that it’s STILL a great read.
For example “The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California” by Curt Gentry written in 1968. Combining the history and culture of the state, north and south, politics, and seismology the book is an obituary for a state destroyed in an earthquake at an undisclosed future date.
As a retired librarian I love documentation of random facts I never knew about the state that fill the book. When written in the mid-60’s author Gentry proclaimed “California led the nation in divorce, crime, auto fatalities, venereal disease and alcoholism people smoked 142.7 packs of cigarettes a year and housed the world’s largest bank and led all the states in bank stick-ups and bankruptcy filings.”
Gentry explores how Reagan beat Pat Brown for governor, and the student protests at UC Berkeley and the Watts riots. His chapter on the Central Valley reports that four counties there alone grew more agriculture produce than 43 states. The chapter on California South looked at the growth of the Farm Workers union and fringe religions.
Paradise Lost, the last chapter, has an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault that makes the 1906 earthquake look like a wind ripple on a puddle. This new quake triggers quakes all over the southland. The story line of what happens when the Oroville Dam splits open and unleashes a 100’ tall wall of water down the Sacramento River, through the delta and out the Golden Gate makes the whole book worth reading. What the “new” California looks like after the dust settles defies description.
Yes, the book is 40 years old, and the state has more people, more industry, and more too lose. Readers just mentally multiply all the statistics to today’s realities. The book states, “It will never be possible to determine the full extent of the loss.” In human terms this quake kills three quarters of the states residents, then a figure of 15 million dead. And it’s not just people who are gone. Things that make our culture like art and architecture and educational institutions disappear in the blink of an eye. The mountains remain but lowlands; coastal areas and valleys are underwater.
A poignant image at the end of the book was a pilot flying and observing large flocks of swallows circling over the Pacific until, exhausted, the fell into the waves. It was March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, when the swallows returned to the San Juan Capistrano Mission.
“The Last Days of the Late, Great State of California” is an interesting history and “what if” lesson and a serious look at what a major quake would do to the state and we’re overdue for one. It’s scary. To find a copy try the library, a thrift or used book store, or go to www.abebooks.com.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: A Humboldt Commute
by David Wilson
I was where I wanted to be, out beneath the moonless night sky overlooking the Redwood Highway, watching others passing through the night on their separate journeys to their own destinations. What a wonderfully beautiful commute they had, I thought: Redwood forests, clear air, the rivers, perhaps the rugged coast. Lucky we are to live here.
Sometimes you have to stop and get out of the car to see it. It was a shame the travelers couldn’t see much of this amazing night from inside their bubbles of light. The stars were crystal clear, pinprick sharp against the black backdrop of space. The giant of our solar system, Jupiter was the brightest point in the sky. Not far away rested Saturn, the second largest of our sister planets. Between them stretched the great Milky Way.
But if they couldn’t see much of the world’s beauty beyond the lights of their vehicles, the people passing in their cars were active participants in my own view of the night’s magic. Every car or truck streaking past cast its stroke of light upon the canvas before me. Now the bright beams of a truck, next a small car’s weak lights, but each filling the foreground with light and detail in different ways. They were painting my scene in with light, spreading their illumination and color upon the landscape like paint onto a canvas.
There was otherwise very little light on the landscape in the moonless night. But far to my right, out of view beyond where the Redwood highway curved around a hill, was the glow of human habitations. It cast a faint light on the farthest forested hillsides in the image. It was so subtle I didn’t notice it at all until I looked at my long exposures in the camera and saw that the forest was dimly lit on the far mountainside. The camera’s ability to see things differently from our own eyes in such low light situations is unfailingly fascinating to me.
People don’t feel the stillness from inside their vehicles, slicing through the night like darts of light. But at times for me there were no cars at all for minutes at a stretch, and the still night would settle about me. The grasses rustled softly in the breeze. From far beyond the freeway the distant bark of a dog carried across the night, that particular excited bark of a dog who has actually discovered a real critter. I imagined a bear or mountain lion foiled in its plans. At least it was far off… right? With that thought I shone my flashlight around me; I had no desire to be any part of their plans, and I hoped it was likewise. Don’t think I don’t think about lions and tigers and bears, oh, no! Well, I figured I probably had enough photos anyway. I packed up.
Folks were going places late one night in Humboldt County, California. I watched them go by. I had no place to go especially, for I was there already. They were illuminating my foreground, painting it in with their strokes of light as they traveled down US 101, the Redwood Highway. At the far end of this visible stretch the road passes over the Eel River.
The celestial dance, of which we are such a minute part, continued around the us on our little dustball unperturbed by any considerations of us.
(To read previous entries of “Night Light of the North Coast,” click on my name above the article. To keep abreast of my most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact me at my website mindscapefx.com or follow me on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx .)
LAZ OF WILLITS COMMENTED SATURDAY: I just viewed the latest Measure B youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS5zLEObTHE
It may have been the most painful one to watch so far. With the exception of the new Chairperson, sitting in for Dr. Barash (she moved the meeting along quite well), the meeting was dreadful. Now they’re guessing February before they have any real answers, that will be two full years since they started the meetings. And it looks to me the coast could likely get screwed. Their Sup was there and I didn’t hear much support/lobbying from him.
ms notes: Not much to disagree with there, although the word “painful” may be a stretch. The meeting was, as usual, devoid of much real information as they debated whether they needed a “strategic plan” and related absurdities. I don’t know where Laz got next February or what “real answers” means. Deputy CEO Janelle Rau said she expected to have the RFP for a project architect to the Board of Supervisors in October. The County is still in negotiations for re-acquiring the Orchard Street property from Redwood Quality Management Company which somehow ended up with ownership via prior grant funding that never went anywhere. Why this transfer is taking so long is a mystery and nobody knows how long it will take. For now the plan is for the prospective architect to “evaluate” the Old Howard Hospital in Willits and whatever ends up on the Orchard Street parcel — even though Sheriff Allman said recently he had given up on the Old Howard Hospital site. Toward the end of the meeting former Mental Health Board Chairman John Wetsler recommended that the Committee/architect consider use of modulars rather than new construction, citing a new 16-bed Psychiatric Health Facility in Yolo County as an excellent example. Wetsler noted that the contractor handled all the bureaucracy and the process was simple and streamlined. Committee reaction: Blank stares.
THE PD & THE PG&E BAILOUT
"Despite some claims to the contrary, this bill isn't a bailout for PG&E or the state's other investor-owned utilities, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric," the PD's July 11 editorial argued. "It does offer them some protection so long as they follow the rules, including spending $5 billion of shareholder funds on fire prevention and submitting wildfire safety plans annually for state approval. … There's no reason to wait any longer."
In its editorial, the paper did not disclose that Darius Anderson, managing member of the paper's parent company, Sonoma Media Investments, is a registered lobbyist for PG&E. Nor did the Press Democrat's board of editors, which includes Sonoma Media Investments CEO Steve Falk, disclose that the Rebuild Northbay Foundation, the nonprofit founded by Anderson to receive funds for "rebuilding" fire-devastated communities—is almost entirely funded by PG&E.
Public records reveal PG&E regularly hands out tens of millions of dollars to law firms, lobbyists, and community, business and political organizations as it strives to guide the conversation around the besieged energy corporation's future, not to mention California's future in the age of climate disruption.
— Will Caruthers, North Bay Bohemian
Full article: bohemian.com/northbay/juiced/Content?oid=9026523
WILDFIRES, EARTHQUAKES AND ASPHALT PLANTS
To the Editor:
Wildfires and Earthquakes are facts of life if you live in California. Wildfires are driven by capricious winds and abundant fuel from thousands of acres of grasses and trees; which can be ignited by an errant ember, a spark, downed power lines, a lightening strike or conceivably — by a malfunctioning or exploding asphalt plant.The most recent example — the catastrophic California wild fire named ” Camp Fire ” allegedly caused by sparks from downed power lines, eventually covered 240 square miles, incinerated 153 thousand acres, consumed 18 thousand buildings and killed 85 people. It has been called the” deadliest and most destructive fire in California history.” Most of the damage occurred within the first 4 hours!
A 2005 report on the same area by the, then perhaps prescient, California Department of Forestry and Fire protection had warned: ”The greatest risk to these communities is a wind-driven fire that originates above the communities and blows downhill through developed areas.“ The report continued: ”A ‘Jarbo Wind‘ which is a hot, katabatic wind that has been heated by compression as the elevation drops, could exacerbate a fire-storm.” This is precisely what happened. A Cal Fire report noted, “When the fire reached the town of Paradise, an urban firestorm began to spread from building to building independent of vegetation.”
It is most important that we note here an alarming development: Some members of the Mendocino Board of Supervisors are advocating for, and have voted in favor of “fast-tracking” approval of an asphalt plant at the Harris Quarry, at the top of Ridgewood grade, with striking similarities of elevation, topography and vegetation. A false sense of security is inappropriate in all directions. So few people could one day be responsible for the misery of so many.
This Ridgewood summit, at 2,000 feet, is the highest elevation on Hwy 101 between Mexico and the Canadian border. It is also the highest point between (on the one hand), Ukiah - twelve miles to the South, with an elevation of 633 feet and (on the other hand), Willits - seven miles to the North, with an elevation of 1,381 feet. Taking into account how the “Camp Fire” destroyed 240 square miles- a wild fire originating approximately mid-point between Ukiah and Willits would be a relative hop-skip and jump to either city; not to mention the utter destruction in-between, and in all directions.
A Church, a school and a 200-plus senior citizen housing development are practically at ”ground zero” of this project. A senior assisted-living facility has already been planned in the immediate vicinity! How can leaders who have sworn to protect the citizenry of Mendocino County be so dismissive of our concerns, and behave so callously in the face of such potential devastation? How can they look the other way? It is simply unconscionable.
While the reader is pondering these questions, there are more unsettling details: According to the Geology section of the Environmental Impact Report discussing the Harris Quarry Expansion, the site is in very close proximity to the active quake fault Maacama - which is therein classified as a potential 7.25 magnitude on the Maximum Credible Earth Quake scale. The recent July 4, 2019 quakes in the Ridgecrest area of Southern California, by comparison, were 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude. Those quakes sparked numerous fires,and tipped buildings off their foundations. The Kern County Fire Dept said it was” working on more than two dozen incidents of structure fires.” Even though the quake was centered around Ridgecrest, shaking was felt as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno and Baya, Ca.
The Maacama fault runs between Ukiah and Willits, roughly parallel with the 101 corridor. The fact that the asphalt site would be located within less than one-third mile from the fault’s epicenter is an ominous prospect indeed. Considering the inherent volatility of asphalt production; combined with unstable geology and a highly combustible environment - the idea of placing an asphalt plant there is ludicrous.
Defenders of this folly will point to mitigations, restrictions and rules that seek to minimize dangers or ignore possibilities of human error. Unfortunately, the record of habitual non-compliance by this applicant demands that we view their history as predictive of future behavior. For example - based on an aerial survey that was performed with aerial photography from a Cessna 310 mapping plane equipped with a GPS controlled Wild-Leica cartographic camera — Comparison with the earlier based topographical mapping showed they had over-extracted an average of 45 million pounds of rock per year for 14 years. An ownership, that has exhibited what some characterize as chronic, risky, non-compliant behavior measured in hundreds of millions of pounds of unpermitted extraction asks that we trust them as conscientious stewards of chemicals and carcinogens whose lethality is poorly understood and measured in parts per million. They ask our Supervisors to ignore the fire dangers documented earlier. They ask the citizens to meekly accept what they are trying to visit upon this community. Our answers have been clear and unwavering: The short answer is NO. The long answer is HELL NO.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. LAPD officers question African-American zoot-suiters, Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA, early June 1943. I believe the white hat band on the officer at left indicates that he is in the reserves; regardless he seems ready to put that billy club into action. Note "Mission to Moscow" advert at center rear; the movie opened on May 22, 1943.
AS WE POST SUNDAY NIGHT, the latest account of a slow moving "hundred-acre fire" at Usal suggests it has been contained, but one account by Kym Kemp said there was considerable confusion on the narrow, cliffside access road as campers tried to leave the area and fire trucks tried to get in. Last time I was at Usal that road seemed harrowing even though I was driving a 4-wheel drive pick-up. Beautiful site at the south end of the Lost Coast Trail that begins at its north end near the mouth of the Mattole River.
LEAD STORY in all the outside media today is about two kids from my high school alma mater, Tamalpais High School, in Mill Valley. The two yobbos apparently stabbed an Italian policeman to death. How a couple of 18-year-old dope heads could get to Italy in the first place is a sign of the Marin times these days. A trip like that was inconceivable in my day. All the stories about the awful event cite the school's student body as privileged young people from privileged homes in the privileged community of Mill Valley. And all the stories imply, "Look at these rich punks murdering a young Italian policeman. Let's see their money get them out of this one." Well, it's complicated. The Tam High student body did indeed have a fairly large sector of rich kids in my time, but they were more than offset by the children of working parents. (My mother was a nurse, my father worked at whatever he could find.) Unlike any other high school in Marin at the time, Tam High School also boasted a large number of black students from Marin City, the sons and daughters of World War Two shipyard workers. And there wasn't the kind of money around then that there is now, and dope wasn't even on the social horizon. There wasn't even much drinking, at least in my relatively chaste circle of friends, which derived from team sports and included no wealthy kids whose preferred competition was swimming because, I guess, they enjoyed swimming pools at home. Some time in the late 1950s, the school district was gerrymandered to create a brand new all white high school in Larkspur called Redwood High School, which drew students from the truly posh communities of Ross, Belvedere, Kentfield, Tiburon, Corte Madera, and Larkspur. Corte Madera and Larkspur were still not particularly posh but headed in that direction, while Ross, Belvedere, and Kentfield were home to serious money then and now. Only from the middle seventies on did Marin become synonymous with money, most of which was new and had settled in Marin as the economy boomed for the more nebulous professions of finance and lawyering. These days, of course, and as we all know, people struggle to find affordable shelter even in Ukiah and Boonville, and rich cities like San Francisco are overwhelmed by the walking wounded and the homeless, and even Marin has plenty of both, and Marin also has the Canal area of San Rafael where immigrant families crowd into laughably over-priced and ill-maintained apartment buildings built on Bay fill certain to liquify in the Big One.
PAUL McCARTHY, Master of the eclectic, posted the above on his always interesting website. It was clearly a great event probably killed by "liability concerns." Lots of great shows have been similarly finished off. Right here in Boonville we had the Beer Run at the Boonville Fair, Hugely popular with both spectators and participants, but the lawyers said, "Oh no. Way too dangerous." And that was it. Way back, as a 12-year-old, I attended a country fair at Hillsboro, Illinois. As a curious child in both senses I suppose, I paid a quarter to see a hermaphrodite, a viewing as sordid as anything I've seen since and doubly sordid as it was accompanied by a graphic patter as to the function of both organs I was too young to understand, but the show went over boffo with the assemble yokels. I desperately wanted to stay late enough to watch an ex-professional pugilist, as he was advertised, "take on all comers," meaning he effortlessly knocked out the local tough guys for a few bucks a head. Imagine paying to get beat up! When I complained to my mother that serial fights were a much more wholesome show than the "half man, half woman" she'd allowed me to see, although I'm sure she had no idea of what the exhibit involved, as a 12-year-old there was no winning an argument.
TARENTINO DOES HOLLYWOOD & THE MANSON MURDERS
“A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.”
The reviews on line – and I’ve read about a hundred, by now — all trash Quentin Tarentino’s new movie about the Manson murders — “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” — as a frightfully tedious irony. To be sure (TBS) all these peckerwood critics long ago labeled Tarantino as a hopeless ironist, much like the British novelist (whom I suspect he admires) Ian McEwan, so nobody takes Quentin seriously, even when he brings in Leo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt
Leo has to play a ham, a gunslinger in a 1960s version of a dashing cowboy, a forgettable fellow, a cliché of a name, and not very effectually disguised as a B-movie stage prop. His stunt-double, equally forgettable, played by Bradley P, tells him, tells Leo, during one of Leo’s recurring moments of doubt, a moment of self-abusive critique, usually brought on by the Al Pacino character, a career counselor/producer, the beloved director of these horse-operas our leading man stars in, and as such a pertinent question arises as to his worth as an actor, and it turns into a qualm quieted with Brad’s lovingly delivered, ‘My God, man, Leonardo himself couldn’t have possibly done it any better!”
Admiral Lord Nelson could not have tied a bowline any better either!
The movie is stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, a Christmas goose, a soused hog with jokes like this and anybody who has seen it once, on a critic’s press card, or even twice, like as if they saw some trailers first – even then, you’d miss more than half the clever jokes; in point of fact, on a third viewing -- I should think you’d have to see it twenty times at least, at the very least, to get half of Quentin’s jokes; nor yet the spin such fellows as Bradley P. and Leo Di Capp would put on ‘em!
If you see it, in other words, you’ll become addicted!
AGRONOMIST JOHN KEMPF on KZYX today
Jaye and I will interview John Kempf, founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, who has the goal of making regenerative agriculture (with its healthy food, profitable farming, and carbon sequestration) the norm by 2040. Learn how to distinguish healthy and unhealthy plants by leaf color and shape, regularity of fruiting clusters and blooming, and why sap analysis is more relevant than tissue testing. Also discover why reduced (in the chemistry sense) nutrients are generally better than oxidized ones, and how anaerobic conditions can be useful at times.
On KZYX just after the 11 AM National Native News, at 11:05 AM, Monday July 29, 2019, 90.7 and 91.5 FM and 88.1FM Fort Bragg, streaming at kzyx.org, jukebox.kzyx.org for up to 60 days, or media.kzyx.org/mp3 for past shows (for shows prior to 2018 look at media.kzyx.org/mp3/farm).
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 28, 2019
EVERARDO ALVAREZ, Potter Valley. DUI, probation revocation.
TRINITY AMADOR, Willits. Domestic battery.
GRANT ANDERSON, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Honey oil extraction.
GONZALO ANGULO, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DILLON BLESI, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, pot possession for sale, transportation of pot, driving without a license, “possession of money for use.”
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
JAMES COX, Ripley, Mississippi/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SAMANTHA FULLMER, Fort Bragg. DUI, child endangerment.
JAILINE GONZALEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Willits. Domestic abuse.
JUAN GUTIERREZ-SILVA, Philo. DUI.
JOHN HARRIS, Willits. Honey oil extraction.
JUAN JACINTO, Willits. DUI.
BRETT KELLY, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ADAM KESTER, Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger,
JORDAN MATTHEWS-DEDIEGO, Willits. Honey oil extraction.
ANTHONY MCCOY, Willits. Domestic abuse.
JEREMIAH SANCHEZ, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ALMA SOLEADA, San Cristobal, Mexico/Ukiah. Resisting.
CARLA TAYLOR, Willits. Under influence.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
THE FRUIT STORE
by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis Bedrock)
Our culture has been determined by four apples. The first was the one dangling from the tree of science in the earthly Paradise and marked the moment of evolution in which, symbolically , after biting it, the human brain was granted the use of reason and free will. The serpent offered this forbidden fruit to Eve as a challenge to the gods, a challenge which continues and is transmitted through the genes in the form of original sin.
The second apple was the one which, according to tradition, fell on Newton’s head and led to the development of the law of gravity, the key to modern physics which has permitted the recognition of the forces which govern the universe. Thanks to this apple, space probes are paving the way so it will be possible one day to abandon the earth and live on other planets.
The third apple sits on top of the most successful company of our century.
With pride Apple exhibits its universally recognized logo, an apple with a small piece bitten off, whose meaning aludes to the new computer technology that is opening an unlimited potential for liberation and dominance in the human brain. The promise of the serpent in Paradise, “You will be like gods” is at the point of being fulfilled. Genetic manipulation and the arrival of artificial intelligence augur an impending immortality which could be a punishment worse than Hell.
But before the monsters of the laboratory and the robots take over the earth, there is within our reach, a form of salvation—the fourth apple. It’s not the apple of Eve, nor the apple of Newton, nor the apple of Steve Jobs: it’s the one in the neighborhood fruit store—a ripe, fragrant apple. This apple can lead us to the achievement of true wisdom which is the wisdom of the senses. Breathing in its aroma will be enough to us to see once again the open gates of the Paradise of our childhood where we felt happy and immortal.
by Fred Gardner (June 12, 1991)
A joint called Polo's on Mason near Market, needing another bartender, put an ad in the paper the other day. Fifty applicants showed up.
Polo's is seeking to make it as a sports bar/restaurant. Several of the employees used to work for Enrico Banducci, who left them holding thousands in uncashable paychecks when his place on Broadway folded in 1988. Enrico wound up paying them off at 35¢ on the dollar. "A toast to Enrico," said Dave, the cook, raising his shot glass: "Up yours."
"He screwed the wrong people," added Manny, the bartender.
But next morning Ward Dunham, who works the 6 a.m.-1 p.m. shift behind the bar, scowled when he heard the others had been badmouthing Enrico.
Ward was owed money, too, but says, "There was nobody saying 'You can't leave, you gotta work here.' Any of us could have left and gotten another job. If we didn't, then we have nothing to complain about. We made the decision ourselves to stay. There were no guarantees. Enrico did the best he could. His back was up against the wall."
Ward started working for Enrico in '68 and poured the last drink 20 years later when the place closed due to bankruptcy. "A long run," he sighs.
Enrico Banducci took over the hungry i nightclub from Eric "Big Daddy" Nord in 1948 and soon moved it from the basement of the Sentinel building at Columbus and Kearny to the basement of the International Hotel a block away. Its heyday was the beat period, mid-'50s to early '60s, when comedians including Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory used it as a political forum. In the Fall of '58 Enrico leased the restaurant at Kearny and Broadway and turned it into San Francisco's first sidewalk cafe. A decade later he sold the hungry i name to the owner of a topless joint, declared bankruptcy and focused all his energy on the restaurant, which was in the name of his wife, Susie.
Ward wasn't around for the hungry i glory days, but he was always hearing about them. Barbra Streisand used to show up occasionally and she and Enrico would joke about how she still owed him two weeks at $250 a week. In 1963, while booked at the hungry i she had a chance to accept a much bigger gig in LA and Enrico encouraged her to do so. "He did that for a lot of people," Ward says. "If he didn't pay it's because he couldn't pay."
I recalled that in '68 I worked briefly for an entrepreneur of that type a few blocks down Broadway: Warren Hinckle, the publisher of Ramparts. When there was money he was freewheeling and generous, giving inexperienced writers advances to do stories on spec. "Great idea!" Warren would exclaim, "Go do it! Whataya need?" Then when things were tight the staff wouldn't get paid and it didn't matter that you had a family to support.
"Enrico was a brilliant guy," Ward resumed. "And it was the most amazing place. Everybody went there. Enrico's informal rule was that you could do or be anything you wanted to be as long as you didn't step on anybody else's toes. You could look any way you wanted to, you could dress any way you wanted to. We'd have cops and pimps in there, the social elite, Bukowski was in there all the time. It was kind of like neutral ground; an oasis."
Ward came to San Francisco in 1965 when he got out of the Army (Special Forces). A huge man who knows how to handle himself, he worked as a bouncer in a couple of beer joints, then got hired as night manager at The Roaring '20s (where beautiful Magi Disco used to work as a barker, standing out front in tails and a top hat, greeting the passerby with smiles and intelligent patter). "It was still kind of fun back then," Ward reflects. "San Francisco had the best strippers during the late '60s and the early '70s. Before that strippers were just street broads, some of whom may have graduated from high school. But then the hippy thing came along and it became kind of an in trip for a while for college girls to be strippers --topless dancers, actually, that was the new wrinkle. At that time it paid real well and they had great rock 'n roll groups. When I was at the Roaring '20s the Charlatans were the house band and the girls were absolutely gorgeous. We had a concert pianist in there… San Francisco was, for a while, the only place that really had topless dancing. Everywhere else it was the tired old end of the burlesque scene. San Francisco was the place to go in the late '60s because they had Haight St and they had topless. The world just beat a pathway to our door. It was new and fresh, the girls were gorgeous and everybody was making money hand over fist."
And now we've got AIDS and streets full of strung-out people…
Ward analyzes the decline from his behind-the-bar perspective. "It got to the point where you could see topless dancing at a beer joint in Iowa --there was no reason to go to San Francisco to see topless anymore. So the club owners started going into bottomless and the quality of the women just dropped like a stone. Instead of dancing to good music in a G-string you were dancing to a juke box and guys were looking up your pussy. Then there was the heat from the ABC, so some guys gave up their liquor licenses and concentrated on selling pussy --encounter studios and so on. The other thing that happened was high quality pornographic movies, and then videos. Why would you go to a sleazy dive in a bad neighborhood with junkies strewn all over in doorways and panhandlers and assholes and pimps, when you can just rent a pornographic movie and watch it in the comfort of your own home and get closer and see more?"
As the technology changes, so does the economic substructure and the cultural superstructure. Didn't somebody say that?
Ward was originally hired at Enrico's as a bouncer/bartender. "Broadway was overrun by pimps and hookers. Some middle-aged guy would be a little drunk, five or six girls would surround him and he'd wind up getting his pocket picked. Well, that's just bad for business. So they wanted to get rid of these guys and they hired me to be behind the bar --I wasn't a great bartender in those days-- and my half-brother was hired just to be around and act like a customer. Some guy would get out of line and he would grab him and take him outside and kick the living dogshit out of him and then wander off. The cops would show up --of course they knew exactly what was going on and they loved it. We'd say, 'Well, we don't know, two customers got into and it didn't happen in here, they went out on the street…' And there would be one getting thrown in the meat wagon and the other one, well, he just wandered off…"
Ward laughs at the memory. "We'd tell them he was a black guy, a white guy, sometimes Chinese. The witnesses could never agree on a description. 'Great big guy. About 6' 7". Kind of skinny.' 'No, he was a fat guy.'"
After a couple of years of ousting undesirables from Enrico's, Ward's brother got into some legal trouble and had to leave the state. He still works as a bouncer on Bourbon St. and every once in a while he catches a ship or works on the oil rigs as a steward. Currently he's in the Persian Gulf on a jet fuel tanker. "Can't make an honest living any more than I can," Ward comments.
Ward lived with a woman named Mary in a house on Telegraph Hill and they had three kids. When they broke up in the early '80s they threw a big party for all their friends, to show that there was no animosity. Ward helped Mary buy a house in the Excelsior district and stayed close to the kids. He moved into his studio above Enrico's --for which he paid $50-- and supplemented his income with what he calls "thug work" (mainly collecting debts), for which he generally got $5,000 per assignment, and by teaching calligraphy, at which he is a master. Because the studio didn't have a shower, he rented a hotel room on Battery St. When Enrico sold the building in '85 and the new owner raised the rent on the studio, Ward gave up the hotel room and accepted Duke Skinner's invitation to shower and do his laundry in one of the massage parlors on Broadway. "It worked out great," he recalls.
It was pretty loose. The girls would be in and out… I asked Ward if working on the edge of the sex industry had resulted in his getting a lot? "Not really," he replied. But it's resulted in me getting some. Most of 'em, you know, you have to talk to 'em and they drive you crazy. In San Francisco the sex scene pays so badly that you get drugged-out freaks and others you'd be afraid of, what with AIDS and everything. Even before AIDS they were a scarey bunch --tattooed, mindless, cracked out, totally fried by the time they're 30, the absolute dregs. It's frightening."
After Enrico's closed Ward went to work as a bartender at Capp's Corner in North Beach. "That really wasn't a very good house for me," he says. "It was very busy, the owner's making about $300,000 a year, the waitresses make a lot of money, but as a bartender you'd kill yourself working but you couldn't make any money. People come there from the Peninsula looking for a little bit of Italian whatever. Kind of a low-strolling crowd. They come in, they're there for the dinner, they don't want to sit at the bar but it's real crowded so they sit at the bar and they're pissed about it and either they nurse a drink or they'll have two or three drinks while they're waiting for their table and then they'll tell you to put it on their dinner check and the waitress ends up getting the tip. And they don't kick back. So from a bartender's point of view it was a bad house."
His next job was at the Chez Paris on Mason. "That was an ideal job for me. I was making three or four hundred a week and working five nights, which is more than I like to work, but I could sit there and write letters or write in my journal… They'd been having trouble with street toughs --idiots, kids, punks, junkies, the scum that you get down here. They were coming in and making it hard for the girls in there to do business." After six months' of Ward's presence behind the bar the problem diminished. "Three or four of these idiot junkies are not a problem. They'll shove a waitress around, but anybody even near their size, they'll make a little noise and back right down. I would just immediately shove them out and slap them around a little bit. I never broke any bones or anything like that but I kicked a couple of shins pretty good. Well, I did break one nose, but that was by accident.
"Same thing in here. Three weeks ago I hit a guy and my hand was swollen up like a catcher's mitt. I'm not sure now that I didn't get AIDS
from this idiot. He was this huge guy with a very bad attitude. As wrecked a human being as I've seen that young. This guy had to be in his early 20s and he looked like he was 50 and busted up pretty good. He just not gonna leave. I'd been downstairs getting ice and I came back and he was scaring the customers. So I just started walking up on him and pushing him out. He pushed back so I backhanded him and I guess I hit a tooth or something."
Ward shows me the scab on his hand and I try to reassure him that the literature on HIV transmission reveals no cases of transmission by punch in the mouth. We talk about medical students getting needlesticks all the time… His friend who's a paramedic in Mendocino and can't help being afraid, getting splashed with blood… Dental hygienists' hands sweating inside their gloves…The conversation comes back to Polo's longshot chances of making it.
"Polo's has been here for 52 years," says Ward. "The old ownership got tired of seeing the neighborhood go downhill. A few years ago they sold out to a couple of Iranians, one of whom had a ferocious temper, was known to throw dishes at customers. They just buried the place."
The Iranians sold out to partners who have divided the bar and restaurant side of the business. Magnolia Thunderpussy, a renowned caterer who was most recently maitre d' at Capp's Corner, has been put in charge of the restaurant side. Her reputation, Ward thinks, will bring customers. "But at Capp's," he observes, "about half the people who would come to see us lived right there in the neighborhood. For those people, coming down to the Tenderloin means going out of their way.
"These streets are nasty. You've got people sleeping in doorways and panhandlers and junkies who are basically pretty harmless and a lot of mental patients who are on SSI and are staying in all these hotels. They're going down the street, manic depressives displaying what appears to be violent behavior --talking to themselves real loud. These people are totally harmless but they terrify people. And you get some guy who lives down on the Peninsula and he sees a guy like this and he says 'Hey, I don't need to bring my wife and kids down here, they don't need to see this.' That hurts. It killed Broadway."
Ward's view of the world is informed by two decades of removing people from restaurants. "Back when I started I was working weekends as the bouncer at a joint on upper Grant called the Rickshaw. Kids would come in, 17 or 18 years old trying to get into a place where you had to be 21, and I'd tell them they'd have to have this, that and the other thing as an i.d. And they'd give me all kinds of shit. Finally I put up signs listing what you had to have. And that worked. They wouldn't believe me but they'd believe the signs.
"Of course there were a few who'd give me shit anyway. I used to take more shit in the old days," he says. "I was pretty much of a liberal type guy, I didn't hate anybody. And because of that, I used to take a lot more shit than my partner. He'd tell somebody they had to leave and they'd say, 'You're prejudiced.' And he'd say, 'Yeah, I hate you fuckin' niggers, get out.' And they'd turn around and leave. But me I'd say, 'Oh no, don't think that, I'm not prejudiced, I'm just trying to do my job.'
"They'd say, 'Well if I was white you'd take this i.d.'"
"And I'd say, 'No, I wouldn't.'
"Finally I got to the point where I'd see a black guy with an Afro coming down the street and I'd instantly just sort of dislike him. I talked to a friend of mine --a black guy-- and he said the best thing for you to do is get out of that joint. Because you're gonna end up with a permanent sort of attitude and that's not healthy.
"You know, if a certain type of person gives you shit enough times, you get to the point where if you see a guy like that, you just don't like him. It happens to cops. And then it becomes a perpetuating situation."
ONLY CIVIC DRIVEN TURNOUT CAN DEFEAT TWITTER TRUMP
by Ralph Nader
Does the Democratic Party know how to defeat the foul-mouthed, bigoted, self-enriching crony capitalist Donald Trump? Trump pretends to be a populist. In reality he does the bidding of Wall Street instead of Main Street and weakens or repeals governmental health and safety programs.
Defeating corrupt, disgraceful, disastrous Donald should be easy. He is, on many documented fronts, the worst and most indictable president in U.S. history. Moreover, Trump is personally obscene and is a walking tortfeasor against women. He is a politician who doesn’t read and doesn’t think. He doesn’t know anything about government and doesn’t care about the rule of law. All he seems to know how to do is stoke the war machine with taxpayer dollars and shut down law enforcement agencies designed to protect the health, safety, and economic well-being of citizens from today’s Big Business robber barons.
Dumb as he is on the matters of public policies, Trump is a cunning schemer and a master of deflection. For Trump, every day is a reality show, in which he must dominate the news cycle with his destructive, personal politics of distraction. The mass media, looking for ratings and readers, can’t get off its Trump high. He even taunts them with this conceit.
In our autocratic two-party duopoly, the country is left with the anemic, corporatized Democratic Party establishment to save the country. Every day the Democratic National Committee (DNC) feverishly calls big donors. Most candidates are addicted to the narcotic of campaign money and think their pathetic political consultants will solve their electoral problems.
Then there are the twenty or so Democratic presidential candidates exhausting themselves by trying to stand out from one another while fitting into the straightjacket of the DNC’s rules and debate format. Some are advancing major changes and reforms, such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The DNC apparatchiks, however, would rather have Joe Biden. Even so, some party bosses worry that his age, gaffes, and past record could make him a Hillary redux, should his current makeover not stick.
None of the presidential candidates are taking on Trump directly. A few glancing ripostes, sure, but most Democratic candidates think attacking Trump is a distraction from their proposals for America. They don’t seem to be listening to viewpoints such as those stated by Ana Maria Archila, of the Center for Popular Democracy: “Don’t just condemn the racism and the language but use it as an opportunity to argue for a vision of the country in which we can all be included.” In reality, the Democratic candidates all fear taking Trump on daily in this way, because of his intimidating personal smear tactics supinely reported by the mass media, which rarely allows rebuttals to Trump’s trash talking.
Now comes the possible crucial third factor in the race. Well-funded, vigorous voter turnout drives in ten states that are driven exclusively by the civic community. Freed of the shackles of the serial loser DNC, this independent civic drive can easily turn the tide in these key electoral swing states. Based on past elections, there will be 120 million non-voters in 2020. Bringing out 10 million non-voters in states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana could swamp Trump, who is stuck with greasing his minority base of frenzied supporters. Getting out the voters who stayed home four years ago is also a priority.
An independent civic initiative, funded by small and large donations, can also jettison the Republican control of the Senate and end the Republican stacking of the federal judiciary with corporate right-wing ideologues. The DNC can help ensure a Democratic Senate by convincing some tractionless presidential candidates to return to their states and run for the Senate. Governor Steve Bullock of Montana will be more valuable in the Senate than clinging to the debate stage.
Then there is the prospect of Trump defeating himself. He never recognizes any boundaries and is convinced that he can get away with anything because he always has. He is a repulsive loud-mouth and has been a serial fugitive from justice since his years as a shady businessman.
Trump knows that the Democrats don’t want to get down in the mud with him. So he makes the mud their quicksand, with the media dittoheads replaying his reality TV show monologues. If there are any Democratic Party activists who know how to goad Trump regularly, they had better step forward. The sum of Trump’s electoral strategy is lying by the hour, creating false scenarios, false achievements, and phony promises conveyed by relentless intimidation. His Achilles heel is being goaded by mockery and accusations symmetrical to what he is dishing out. That’s the way overreaching bullies are brought down.
His vanities are the roadmap. He is sensitive to charges of having a “low-IQ,” of his presidency being characterized as a “disaster,” of being anything other than “a stable genius,” of being nicknamed, of having a snarling visage with unattractive bulging body parts, of being a racist, a tool of Wall Street, wasteful of taxpayers’ money, and of not creating infrastructures, jobs he promised. The Trump presidency has brought us the first ever reduction of life expectancy in the U.S., the stagnation of wages, and an avalanche of cancerous particulates into the water and air of our country. Including his coal country base!
He gives his crowds verbal “red meat,” while giving Washington away to the big bankers and the “greed hounds” of big business. He is a flatterer and flummoxer of people who let their emotions displace what is best for the communities where they live, work, and raise their children. People are being battered by record-breaking intense heat, storms, floods, tornados, droughts, and Trump tells them the climate crisis is a hoax. All while his programs worsen the situation.
It is time to persuade a large majority of voters that Trump is the Fake President destroying the best in America and bringing out the worst. But he has to be directly confronted on all fronts. No more free rides for the Tweeter.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
MODERN TECH DOOMS US
Modern technology will be the downfall of civilization as we know it. Everything is done with technology now. Humans have forgotten how to live. At some point it will fail and human beings won't know what to do. Children are raised by smart phones and don't know what's going on in the outside world or on the sidewalk or driving a car unless it's on the smart phone. When it fails, and it will, people will stumble around wondering what to do. Banks will close. It will be all over. People don't steer automobiles anymore or apply the brakes or give it the gas or shift. Hospitals are full of robots. It scares me. Banking is done by technology. Try to deposit a check at a drive-through window. There's a machine looking at you. Scary. I saw a picture of a couple parked at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Mom and dad were looking at the spectacular view. But the kids were in the back seat looking at their smart phones. That's the way it's going nowadays. Kids don't know what a horse is, never seen a cow or chickens. A cyber attack will wipe this all out and human beings will be screwed. Democrats are against the Constitution, the American flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the military, law enforcement, religion and Christianity, the Declaration of Independence, the national anthem, and everything else that's good for America. Democrats have no feelings, they are stupid, dumb, hypocritical. Open borders, criminals rushing in unchecked. They better find a place to hide. Americans are waking up. Good old boys are waking up. Liberals and Democrats better run and hide.
God bless Donald Trump
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
My older brother Paul passed through Elk last week and proceeded to trouble my mind by his parroting of establishment slogans that condone the up and coming US military attack on Iran. He’s an affluent born again Republican who apparently doesn’t know about all the lies and crimes recent Republicans in power unleashed on Afghanistan and Iraq. Not to forget Democrats.
It’s quite sad to think of all the brainwashed fools in our society who cheer mass murder, state terrorism, criminal hubris, and yet more environmental devastation. It’s really hard to watch good intelligent people being turned into slaves of jingoism by the blatantly obvious disseminators of war propaganda. No truth, no freedom.
I’m very saddened when I see good intelligent people being brainwashed by liars who run our government and the evil Pentagon-arms industry-cabal. Talk about a country that’s in need of regime change!
In case you haven’t noticed US foreign policy from the very beginning of the cold war has aligned itself with the worst dictators, mass murdering madmen, and terrorists in the world. The record is atrocious in every corner of the world. Millions and millions slaughtered because of some twisted anti-communist hysteria and the endless hubris of militarized world dominanating belligerence.
Iran poses exactly zero threat to the national security of the US. However as with our folly in Afghanistan to trap the Russians in which we created the Taliban, US foreign policy is the Number 1 threat to our security as a nation. US global militarism and our evil arms industry have destabilized the world.
I challenge you to face the facts and make a list of all the countries where our glorious warriors and economic warfare have supported death squads, antidemocratic tyrants, and criminal madmen. It’s a long and shameful list and you won’t find any honest commentary on it in the corporate “news” media or the doctrinal centers of popular opinion.
Our ignorant government is about to destroy another land and its citizens, people just like us who just want to be left to their ways. Another war criminal president in a long list of them wants to order mass murder, destruction of ancient culture, and environmental devastation for reasons that amount to nothing but the psychopathological tantrums of an arrogant bigoted empire on it’s last legs.
The Bible talks about knowing the truth and being set free. Being influenced by liars and thieves and mass murderers and their massive propaganda system is the opposite of freedom. I hope you can tap into the large body of excellent scholarly work available that isn’t part of conformist apologetics. There are things called facts and the hideous facts of the old and new cold war are well known to everyone except Americans. The documentary record on the crimes of US militarism and state sponsored terrorism is overwhelming, only blind patriotism and a fear of peer pressure could obscure the dreary repetitive record.
Misinformed people will say “love it or leave it!” They’ll say I’m anti-American. Of course all of that is just the standard fare of those who can’t face the facts, and people who don’t realize that the real anti-Americans are those who’ve off-shored all the jobs and tax burdens, ruined our education and health systems, and gutted the republic’s wealth in endless contrived war games. The US State department and the Pentagon are the real anti-Americans and work every day to make us more loathed and hated in the world. The Pentagon is a terrorist creating self perpetuating monster that harms our country more than all the terrorists in the world combined.
After WWII when the Pentagon building was being built Senator Vandenberg questioned the purpose of such a thing. He was startled by its implications of no future peace and endless wars. Too bad nobody was listening. Instead they were listening only to all the hysterical lies and inflated intelligence that fit the phantasy of a Global Communist Conspiracy.
Time passes and scholars access files and the “Russians are coming” was total fabrication useful for population control, arms proliferation and the destruction of any social revolutionary governments in the world that threatened US domination and resources essential to America’s gross and greedy capitalist consumer culture.
The Growing Obsession With Linking Iran to Terrorism
Iran has not posed a serious terror threat to the United States since the 1980s. Sunni terrorism, on the other hand, has.