- Cliche Blizzard
- Rapist Convicted
- Grocery Strike
- Big River
- Housing Element
- Bay Rent
- Pot Guy
- Heroic Hen
- Ed Notes
- Great Exposure
- Yesterday's Catch
- Missing Piglet
- Capturing Germans
- Homeopathic Firefighter
- SF Earthquake
- Nixon Visits
- Parenting Advice
- Not Afraid
- Getting Help
- Found Object
WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S debate among another batch of Democratic candidates saw the same moderators, same format, but was disrupted twice by hecklers, one group chanting "I can't breathe" aimed at candidate DeBlasio, mayor of New York where Eric Garner was choked to death by a muscle cop, another small group demanding an end to deportations. And again less than five percent of the pummeled American people tuned in to watch. The commercials cost $300,000, about a third of Superbowl slots.
LIKE TELEVISION AUDIENCES for game shows, this live audience clapped and cheered on cue as the event began with a senior color guard clomping on and off before a nice rendition of the national anthem. The candidates each were introduced like guests on a talk show followed by "a short break" featuring ads for a movie about a dog, another ad for big pharma, another ad about some product that caused people in doc smocks to hug each other, an ad for an ancestry business, and finally a voice intoned something about "visionaries creating the future" that turned out to be an ad for the Postal Service!
JIVE-O moderator Jake Tapper came back after the commercial lies to recite the debate's rules, and De Blasio kicked off with, "I bring a message of hope" and a prolonged self-congratulation about the great job he's doing as mayor of New York, then rips Biden and Kamala Harris. Candidate Michael Bennet, a shockingly obnoxious panderer who apparently functions as governor of Colorada, began, "I love America" and also rips Trump in all the cliched ways now rote among millions of Americanos, and concludes by saying he'll end "the three ring circus in Washington."
THE CLICHED RHETORIC had already reached blizzard conditions.
INSLEE, Governor of Washington state says "Democrats are the last best hope for humanity," translating to many of us as, "We're totally, hopelessly screwed." Says his priority is clean energy. Inslee's a big, earnest-looking guy reminiscent of the Crumb cartoon Whiteman.
GILLIBRAND, a nasal whinny-ing blonde who was Hillary's heiress to Hil's New York senate seat, said her mom was her inspiration, said she stood up to the Pentagon over don't ask, don't tell, and concluded by saying she doesn't know the meaning of impossible. (I do, and you're impossible, Ms. G.)
TULSI GABBARD: "I love this country. I'm a patriot, Trump isn't." Strings out a series of ancient turnips about fighting for freedom, justice and equality and promises, "I'll bring a unifying spirit to America."
THIS VIEWER was already feeling slightly punchy from the predictability of the rhetoric as candidate Julian Castro yelled, "Public service is about you and your family! I'm for you!" He thunders on about being raised by a single mom and all good things, stopping short of a vow to guarantee eternal life for all of us.
I THOUGHT Andrew Yang was the pick of this particular lib-litter but he was ignored in all the after-debate babble. But Yang was articulate, didn't pander much and made a strong case for his impossible dream — guaranteed income for everyone pegged at a thou a month and how he would pay for it — taxes on the rich. "Unlike Trump, I'm an Asian man who likes math."
CORY BOOKER was interrupted by anti-police hecklers, the claim being that he hired "Guliani's guy" to institute stop and frisk in Newark, a reference to Guliani probably lost on most of the tv viewers. Booker's another guy heavy on uplift rhetoric. "Who are we as a people? We have deep wounds, deep challenges" and "We need to heal as a nation." Etc.
KAMALA HARRIS took a beating all night. She's got to tighten her arguments because she too often gets lost in the weeds of her plans, losing the audience as she rattles on. And she's way too heavy on the bullshit. "We've got to look in the mirror and ask who we are. We gotta fight for the best of who we are," and so on.
BIDEN, did well all night if you accept him as a plausible human-type being and candidate to preside over the accumulating wreckage of late capitalism. The old hack, his perfect teeth flashing neon white, has said the rich won't have anything to worry about with him in the White House. And they won't. He's definitely a back-to-the-future guy. I will restore the soul of this country!" Which in Biden's case is unfortunately true. "Trump is destructive but we're too good for him to get away with it....." And, "We love it and we're not leaving it and certainly not leaving it to you, Donald Trump." Christ save us all.
ON IT WENT with few variations on their opening themes, through unimpressive and endless promises to reform health care, the justice system, military adventurism, global warming, immigration (pure mawk from all of them on the last).
BIDEN AND HARRIS got big blocs of time because CNN set it all up that way, but all-in-all the event held my interest throughout as the first debate with the other ten did not. And there was much unintentional humor. DeBlasio thundered that "Americans know they're being scammed!" Uh, if Americans fully grasped the extent of The Swindle there would be blood in the streets.
DEBLASIO SAID that any immigrant with a Phd should get a green card for 7 years right away. The ponderous Inslee called Trump a white nationalist, Booker became the first person, I believe, to say "shithole" on national television when he castigated Trump's reference to the "shithole countries" of the world. Gillibrand says first thing she'll do is clorox the oval office.
Everything promised over the three hours would require dictatorial powers to accomplish. We're probably headed for a dictatorship of some kind, but it won't be an altruistic one.
I WAS GLAD to hear DeBlasio yell, "We have to tax the hell out of the rich."
UKIAH, Wed., July 31. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday with a mixed bag of results against the trial defendant.
Defendant Zachary Macel Barajas, age 23, of Ukiah, was found guilty of the first count charging forcible rape of a minor, a felony. On the second count involving the same victim, the jury was hung 9 for guilt to 3 on the charge of digital penetration of a minor by means of force, a felony.
On two separate counts relating to a second minor victim, the jury was hung 11 for guilt to 1 on the charge of forcible rape of a minor, a felony, and 10 for guilt to 2 on a separate felony charge of oral copulation of a minor by means of force, also a felony.
After the jury was excused, the defendant was remanded into custody on a no bail hold. A hearing is now scheduled for Friday for the attorneys to discuss whether a resolution of the three unresolved counts can be achieved short of a new trial.
The attorney handling the prosecution of this defendant who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
The law enforcement agencies that gathered the evidence underlying today's conviction was the Ukiah Police Department, the Department of Justice DNA laboratory in Redding, the District Attorney's own investigators, a sexual assault expert from Adventist Health, and an expert witness from California State University at Fullerton.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the seven-day trial and will continue to handle future proceedings in this case.
BARAJAS CASE: Not guilty & Mistrial
UKIAH, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. — A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations this past Thursday, August 2nd, with two out of four verdicts.
Zachary Macel Barajas, age 22, of Ukiah, was found not guilty of forcible rape and assault with the intent to commit rape in two felony counts stating crimes that were alleged to have been perpetrated against two separate victims.
In counts alleging forcible rape of a minor and unlawful sexual penetration with a foreign object by means of force alleged to have been perpetrated against yet a third victim, the foreperson announced that the current jury could not and would not be able to reach unanimous verdicts on these remaining two counts. A mistrial was declared as to those two counts.
Once the jury was thanked for its service and excused, the Court set August 20th as the date for selecting a new jury to hear the available evidence with an eye towards resolving the two unresolved counts.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Assistant District Attorney Rick Welsh. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Ukiah Police Department, and the California Department of Justice forensic crime laboratories in Redding, Eureka, and Sacramento.
The bench officer who presided over the nine day trial was Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield.
ED NOTE: We could find only one reference to Barajas being arrested for rape which was back in January of 2017. So we assume this recent conviction was a retrial after the earlier trial had resulted in a hung jury.
LOOKING NORTHEAST FROM FORT BRAGG ON WEDNESDAY
BAY AREA GROCERY WORKERS SET TO STRIKE AT MIDNIGHT SATURDAY
More than 3500 workers at 71 Lucky and Save Mart stores throughout the Bay Area are set to walk off the job at midnight Saturday over a contract dispute with members of United Food & Commercial Workers Union Locals 5 and 648.
Late last week, after nearly eight months of negotiations, union and management negotiators were prepared to sign what was characterized as a complete tentative agreement when Save Mart unexplainably pulled the deal off the table according to Local 5 president and chief negotiator John Nunes.
“We had an agreement and an historic one at that, with well-deserved significant wage increases and a restoration of concessions that workers accepted to return the company to financial stability after the great recession. Reneging on the deal at the last minute is not only wrong but it’s a classic case of illegal bad faith bargaining that our members will not stand for,” said Nunes
The unions have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. Workers have already voted to strike by a 99 percent margin and authorization to walk out this weekend has been granted by the UFCW International Union. Absent the previously agreed-upon settlement being put back on the table, a strike is imminent, according to Nunes.
UFCW Locals 5 and 648 represent nearly 30,000 grocery workers throughout Northern California and are currently negotiating new agreements with a number of other food retailers including Safeway.
NO QUIZ THIS THURSDAY, August 1st. It's the first Thursday of the month and we exercise brains on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. We shall therefore return on Thursday, August 8th at 7pm at Lauren’s Restaurant. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quizmaster.
BIG BEAUTIFUL RIVER
NOTICE OF INTENT TO PREPARE UPDATED HOUSING ELEMENT
Notice of Public Meetings
The County of Mendocino is starting the process of updating its Housing Element and, as a result, will be providing several opportunities for County residents to participate in the process.
Placeworks, a planning, design and environmental consulting firm with offices throughout California will be preparing the Housing Element Update with input from County residents and other interested individuals and, along with County Planning staff, will provide details to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors at a regular meeting in December of this year. It is hoped that the County can have the updating process completed by this same month.
Two workshops have been scheduled for County residents to provide input, ideas and comments on the proposed goals and policies in the Housing Element. The dates and times for these meetings are below:
August 7, 2019 starting at 6:00 p.m.
Fort Bragg: Fort Bragg Veteran’s Hall
360 Harrison Street, Fort Bragg
August 8, 2019 starting at 6:00 p.m.
Willits: Willits Veteran’s Hall
189 North Main Street, Willits
If you are unable to attend either of these meetings, comments may be submitted to the Planning and Building Services general email at email@example.com.
The Housing Element is intended to address changing county wide community housing needs. As such, this requires regular updating of this document by the local government entity. Additionally, the Housing Element contains an overview of the housing needs in the unincorporated area of Mendocino County. The Element includes an analysis of both the constraints that may impact housing development as well as the resources available to facilitate the Element’s intended goals and policies.
For more information about the Housing Element Update process please contact Mendocino County Planning and Building Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Keith Gronendyke at (707) 234-6650.
COP’S POT STORY: (This short encounter happened in 2007).
Deputy Orell Massey saw a guy at Lake Mendocino with so many pot plants in his car the weed’s branches were literally coming out of the windows of the guy’s Camaro. The guy himself was sticking his head out the window to see where he’s going because there was so much pot in the car.
Massey: “Hey, what’s with all that marijuana?”
“I bought it,” comes the reply.
“Where’d you buy it?”
“From a guy.”
“Yeah, I didn’t get his name.”
“Can I see your license and registration?”
The guy has no license. The registration is in a woman’s name.
“What’s your name?”
Pot guy said his name but Massey couldn’t understand it because the guy seemed half-looped.
“Would you mind writing that down?”
The guy wrote his name on a piece of paper. Massey looked up the name in Motor Vehicle database. The license was suspended. The pot guy was also on probation. Massey asked the pot guy to blow into a breathalyzer. Pot guy blew a 0.06, not enough for drunk driving.
Family members arrive and immediately complain that Massey is being too hard on the pot guy. Nevertheless Massey arrested the pot guy on the probation violation, adding that he’s going to have to have the car towed.
“No! Don’t tow the car!” the pot guy’s family yelled.
Massey asked the family members to please not tell him how to do his job, but the family members insisted on offering their advice, piling on complaints and pleas to go easy on the pot guy.
The pot guy claimed to have a medical condition. Massey finally relents and lets the family keep the car and the pot, saying (to himself) that the whole thing was a large pain in the ass anyway.
The next day a family member registered a formal complaint that Massey had been too hard on the pot guy. The complaint was heard by the Shift Sergeant on duty who said that as far as he was concerned Massey had done things by the book.
FRANK HARTZELL WRITES: Mother of the year here. This MendoMeatie, who has the great Malay line in her along with Industrial meat bird reminded me of how silly and great chickens can be. She raised a whole brood of babies. Then when another mother left her babies too soon, she took on those too. They all slept in a pile on the floor. This went on too long. Mom would not cut the apron strings and did not teach them to roost. So Sandra, Joel and I intervened. We put the babies up on the roosts, while mama attacked my leg, although it was the middle of the night and she was supposedly sound asleep. So the next night Sandra put her in another house away from her babies. Indignant does not begin to describe her. We put the grown up babies back on the roost. Last night I discovered she had escaped and was back in the house where she reared them. Everybody was up on the roosts, but mamma had her wings fully extended over the too old "babies". Below her was her first brood, the one she actually hatched. She never chased them away, which is common and traumatic every time for baby chicks, but considered part of life. Not so in her world. We have had great chicken mothers and those who killed their babies. Many quit. We should at least name this heroic mom…
WHEN candidate Marianne Williamson said, "We need a politics of love," you could almost hear a soft sigh of assent go up from Albion Ridge, the Westside of Ukiah, many Mendo hill muffins, and the purple-oriented generally, "At last we have a candidate." Good vibes Marianne was asked by a little kid post-debate if she had a cat. "No," she said, "my cat died."
ABOUT 4 PERCENT of us Americanos watched Tuesday's debate, which isn't a big number in a country that says it wants to remain a democracy. Of sorts. I didn't see anybody on the stage likely to defeat The Sun Lamp. Our ruling class, broadly defined as roughly 10 percent of our plump, uncomprehending people, own damn near everything and, as Elizabeth Warren pointed out, have rigged the system to protect themselves. (She's by far the smartest, clearest candidate. When some oaf laughed at her story of the young family man who died because he couldn't afford his insulin, Liz snapped, "It isn't funny." Smart and tough, and just what we need.) Getting back to the RC, it counts on the great mass of us not understanding how our country works, and depends on us faithfully voting against our true interests.
A CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT FRIEND, asked who won the debate, replied: "No one. I think this crazy far left agenda is going to kill the election for the Democrats. It’s not the right time. I liked the fact that the few more conservative democrats took on the crazies. They made some very relevant points. Elizabeth Warren seems the most solid. Bernie yells too much and seems like an old curmudgeon with an attitude. We already have an old guy with a big attitude about himself. Too much like Trump….seems extremist. I think the majority of the people in this country want a break from a 24/7 political maelstrom and hope we elect someone to come in who will bring us back to balance. Trump has exhausted everyone with treating his job like he’s running a reality TV show and can just do or say whatever he wants in any moment because he’s the BOSS and who’s going to stop him. And it’s pretty damn clear, no one can stop him. He truly is running the White House Above The Law. It’s frightening actually. The whole Republican Party is acting like a Mob, with McConnell and Barr doing the Boss’s dirty work. It’s all about money and power…the hell with anything else. If anyone thinks it’s anything else, they are listening too much to the lamebrains on the networks. Just follow the money trail. Look at foreign policy….Trump’s quiet little deals with the Saudi’s. It’s all about the money. Everyone I know is sick of the whole thing and wants it to go away….all the focus on the President every minute of every day and his cockamamie BS. So I don’t know. People tell me they have stopped watching and stopped caring. The racism and division strikes at the heart of everyone and yet we all look the other way and sigh. I thought that guy Ryan….he was the most balanced. Mayor Pete sounds too vanilla. My own predilection seems to moving toward Kamala Harris, which is surprising because for a while I really did not like her much. Now I think she has “the stuff”. And my gut tells me Biden and Harris would be a winning combination. All that matters is getting Trump out. We need less drama and no massive changes in the next 4 years so this country can calm down and recover from the intensity of his malefic rhetoric, calamitous decisions about almost everything (getting rid of Food Stamps??? geez and rolling back every single environment protection on earth) and his dirty old man screaming red face."
MILLIONS of more or less liberal people say the same. The nut of the prob for the Democrats is that they've become synonymous with everything gone wrong in the country, which Trump exploits to the max, although it's been a bi-partisan effort to screw things up all the way. Maybe you know an optimist, but I don't. Given the magnitude of the problems, and the quality of the leadership, I'd say we're doomed as a species.
WHEN I produced a red handkerchief to mop my worried brow the other day, this guy says to me, "You know, Bruce, that's a gay signal flag." No, I replied, I didn't know that. "Droop it from your back pocket, big boy, and see what happens." Uh, at age 80, I believe I'm safely past the age of sexual assault. Of course if the assailant is blind and/or has some kind of geriatric fetish….
CATCH OF THE DAY, JULY 31, 2019
ETHAN BAUER, Clearlake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, concealed dirk-dagger, receiving stolen property, obtaining personal ID without authorization.
JEFFORY DECKER, Willits. Probation revocation.
THOMAS GALINDO JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
HEIDI HORNSBY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEREMY JENSEN, Ukiah. Sale of access card with intent to defraud, suspended license, mandatory supervision sentencing.
EDEN LIBBY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
DENA MORRIS, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
RACHELLE MUNOZ, Covelo. Receiving stolen property, resisting.
JOEL NEELY, Willits. Domestic battery.
LEONCIO PRECIADO, San Leandro/Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
ROXANNE SCARIONI, Willits. Probation revocation.
GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Harboring a wanted felon, probation revocation.
AT THE FRONT
by Emil Rossi (January 2000)
Since we put the Veterans window in at Rossi Hardware’s display window in Boonville on Armistice Day and, apparently because of the impact of the movie “Saving Private Ryan,” I have had a number of people say I should write an article on what it’s like to be a combat infantryman.
First of all, if you have a choice, take the North Pole. The infantry is only 10% of the Army. But it sustains 70% of the casualties, and a good part of an infantry company are cooks, supply people, motor pool drivers, office personnel, the general, and other high officers who do not actually go to the front during combat making those figures more startling. Taking nothing away from other combat service people (tankers, flyers, medics, etc.), it is only the infantry that lives in the mud, snow and heat. When one sees a fierce battle like when they stormed Normandy Beach, you have to realize that the battle goes on only for a short time. The amount of shrapnel and ammunition flying around is unbelievable, and if it went on very long there would be nobody left on either side. But when you’re on the front or near the front you never know when artillery or gunfire will come at you.
All the training on how to hit the ground is wasted. It’s automatic. It isn’t at the first artillery shell that one hits the ground and looks for some sort of low spot — it doesn’t send a telegram that it was coming. It’s the ones that follow. And if you are in trees you hope it doesn’t burst in a tree sending wooden shrapnel down on you.
Then there was the cold. Think of the coldest night of the year, when you are going from your warm car to your warm house. Instead, you are going to dig a hole in the ground. Enough to get you and your partner below the surface (a fox hole). Once in a while you have to use a small charge of dynamite to break the frozen ground. You have five or six layers of clothes on but no blankets or sleeping bag. They’re on the half-track ten miles back. Armored infantry moves fast and light. Your hands with gloves on could be kept next to your body, but your feet, with only regular boots, would freeze. About March or April the Army finally issues what they called snow packs, when they were no longer needed.
Enough of the merry stuff. I have to tell how Lyle Guyer, a coupla privates and I captured thousands of German soldiers unassisted.
Armored infantry have about 13 men to a half-track (a truck with tracks on the back instead of tires). These halftracks stay about ten miles back at the front. But when a breakthrough occurs they pick up their infantrymen and dash to surround the enemy soldiers, or towns, etc. The Germans called them panzer units.
Toward the last days of the war we were ordered to make a dash to the Danish border. Since the European high command this time did not confide in two privates, I have to speculate that we were sent to secure areas that had been agreed upon — which was American territory and which was Russian territory. I don’t think we really trusted the Russians.
Our Sergeant put the two of us and our machine gun on this road and left, telling us nothing, mainly because I don’t think he knew anything (a very common circumstance in the Army). Apparently our company was stationed over a large area. Maybe half a day went by when down the road coming toward us were German soldiers as far as the eye could see. To this day I can remember Lyle’s words: “Holy shit! What do we do now?” It was apparent that someone was going to surrender to someone. The question was, Who?
As they got closer they saw we were American soldiers and it was the training of German soldiers that when they were going to surrender to put their rifles down, take off their helmets, and put on their gray caps. Having no idea what to do with thousands of German prisoners and since they didn’t leave us a cellular phone, we herded them into this big field. Apparently they didn’t want to be captured by the Russians. They would point back and say, “Ruskie, Ruskie.” They came all that day and far into the night.
In the morning it looked like Woodstock. The 7th Armored Division captured 117,000 German soldiers. Thousands of those belonged to me and Lyle Guyer and I never fired a shot, which is different than the thousands of rounds I did fire in the previous four months. I don’t know if I ever hit anything, as we seldom saw much of the enemy up close. I always had a certain sympathy for the German soldiers as I figured those poor slobs didn’t want to be there any more than I did and for every shell that came at us five went back to them.
I know those German soldiers were sure happy to be captured by two 20-year old privates. Even the German officers didn’t mind taking orders from two privates. Which isn’t the general rule in the Army.
Old men make wars and young men get killed and wounded. If old men had to fight their wars, it would end wars.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE OF 1906
by W.W. Lyman
In the spring of 1906 I was finishing my junior year at the University of California at Berkeley. I was living on College Avenue about a block from the university. On the morning of April 18, I was awakened by a loud banging and clattering in my room, which came from the windows and the pictures on the wall. I then realized that my bed was swaying to and fro. “This is an earthquake,” I thought, “and the real thing.” In the course of my 21 years I had felt many small earthquakes and enjoyed the sensation. This time I felt thrilled but not the least alarmed. The clattering and banging and the swaying of the bed went on for some 30 seconds and then subsided. I made an attempt to get out of bed. Then in the hall outside my door I heard a woman’s voice saying, “Isn’t this terrible?” That was the first intimation I had that there was any cause for alarm. But since it was only 5am and I did not need to get up until 7:30, I thought I would go back to sleep. However, this intention was frustrated by the continual passing and talking of people on the sidewalk outside my room. I thought to myself, “I wonder why so many people are out so early.”
Then after an hour or so, I got up and walked out on the street. I walked down College Avenue as far as Derby Street on the left-hand side. What attracted my notice was that the chimney of each house on the east side of the street had been deposited as a pile of bricks on the front lawn. This seemed to occur without exception.
I had put on my best clothes, a black suit, because I had a ticket to the opera that afternoon in San Francisco, Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro.” At breakfast that morning, which came about eight o’clock, we talked about rumors of a big fire in San Francisco. There was no radio then. Presently came word over the telephone that college classes were suspended for that day. About nine o’clock, I went down to Berkeley Station on Shattuck Avenue to see if I could get news about what was happening in San Francisco. A Southern Pacific local train came in carrying a crowd of people. One of them was Dave Parry, one of my classmates. I noticed that he was very pale. I said to him, “What about the fire?” and he said, “There is no water, and the city is burning up.” I said, “I had intended to go to the opera this afternoon.” He said, “There won’t be any opera or any opera house.”
After that, news came in rapidly about the appalling situation in San Francisco. All of us young people wanted to go over there but the Southern Pacific would not take anyone over to the city, only from it. After a peaceful lunch, I went back again to Berkeley Station to get the latest report.
About 4pm a three-car electric Key System train came into the station. This was the first one of the Key Route because the brick chimney near the works of the Key Route had fallen into the main power plant and smashed things up. This three-car train seemed to be receiving passengers, and I got on thinking I might go as far as the Mole. Indeed the train went to the Mole, and there was a boat waiting for it, and presently we were crossing the bay to San Francisco.
The western horizon was a wondrous and awesome sight. Almost up to the meridian the sky was a bank of smoke of various shades of gray, purple, brown and white with jagged edges. At intervals along it was a sort of white cauliflower bloom. These I learned later were caused by the dynamite explosions. As we neared the Ferry Building, we could see the coal bunkers on each side of it flaming up, but the building itself was unharmed.
When we landed and I went through the building and looked up Market Street, there was another remarkable spectacle. The whole scene was draped in a haze of smoke of various densities and, in the distance, flickering flames. Market Street for at least a block was in shallow waves marked by the rails of the cable cars. Along the curb in front of the Ferry Building, I noticed three or four shapes wrapped in cloth. These may have been dead bodies, but I did not investigate. Complete silence came from all around, except now and then a far off boom, which I knew to be that of the dynamiting of buildings.
I walked along the Embarcadero to the north seeking a street by which I could go up into the city. The first one clear of smoke and fire was Broadway, up which I went. At this time I was quite alone. There was nobody in sight anywhere. As I walked up Broadway and looked down on the lower city it reminded me of what might be the visions of Dante in the underworld. There was no sunlight but only smoke, various shades rising straight up into the sky with flames flickering through it, and over toward the California Market were sheets of flame. By that time, the fire had reached almost to Montgomery Street north of Market, and south of Market to about Fourth. As I came abreast of Kearney Street, I looked over and saw the Call Building at the southwest corner of Third and Market, at that time one of the tallest buildings in the city, with flames shooting out of the upper windows.
My first objective was to visit some relations who lived on Jones Street near Clay. I arrived at their house and found the family sitting looking out the windows at the city burning below. They expected their house to burn, which it did, and they were unable to save anything as there was no means of transportation. The daughter of the house, being more enterprising than the others, cut the family portraits out of their frames and carried them off under her arms.
It happened that my father had come down the day before to attend a meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Royal Arch Masons, and I knew he was staying at the Cosmos Club. This was a building facing Union Square in the middle of the block where the St. Francis Hotel now stands. Intending to see him, I walked down Jones and California Streets to Powell. As I walked along, I noticed that groups of people were standing at each intersection looking down at the fire. They just stood there as if spellbound. I passed the California Art Institute with a sentry stationed out in front. I thought to myself, “Isn’t it a pity I can’t go in and help save some of the paintings.” When I arrived at the Cosmos Club I found my father there. He was much concerned for the safety of my mother up at our ranch in St. Helena as there was no means of communication. He was much relieved when I told him that the Napa Valley area had not been hurt. There were a number of club members, mostly elderly gentlemen, sitting in the Club but saying not a word. Sitting with my father was an old friend of ours, Mr. Sampson Tams, who was quite deaf. He questioned me about what had happened across the bay. I had to shout my answers and found my voice echoing through the silent room in a most eerie fashion. Mr. Tams, with great effort, had brought a box of family silver to the club for safety. Of course, it was later burned.
About eight o’clock, I left my father and went out west to visit some other family relations, four maiden ladies who lived on Webster Street near Washington. By that time, it was getting dark and a lurid light from the fires was coming and going from the east and the south. As I remember it, I went out Sacramento Street where I passed Lafayette Square and Alta Plaza. Both of these were a strange sight for they were covered with people, mattresses, blankets, tents, and household articles of every description, with sentries walking around. It was a strange sight, which I will never forget. The people were quiet. I heard no complaints or laments. Even the children were quiet.
When I arrived at the house of my relatives, the four maiden ladies were overjoyed to see me and to have a man in the house. They asked me to spend the night there, which of course I did. I might add that this part of the city escaped the fire. I remember that later they told my mother how I had gone to bed and slept soundly all night while they remained awake.
Next morning after breakfast, I set forth again to see San Francisco burn up. When I reached Van Ness Avenue, another strange spectacle greeted me. The whole street from curb to curb was filled with household goods of every description. I should say that a good part of them had been abandoned. I suppose later they were burned. Then I heard a peculiar sound. Down such streets as Clay, Washington, Jackson and Pacific came streams of people. Some of them, men of course, had ropes around their shoulders fastened to trunks which they dragged along the sidewalk, making a peculiar shrill scraping sound, almost a shriek, as they were dragged along. In a few cases, the trunks had been placed upon the rollers of roller skates and were trundled easily. I noticed also the great number of pets that were being carried along; parrots, birds of various kinds, cats, dogs and even monkeys. Most of these people, I judge, came from the closely packed region near Chinatown, which was being burned at that hour. I walked down Van Ness Avenue to the City Hall, which was a ghastly sort of wreck from the earthquake. The fire was then approaching Jones and Market, and the boom of dynamite was frequent. In the hub-bub of Van Ness Avenue, I met an old friend of mine who lived in Alameda. He had secured a rowboat and had rowed across to San Francisco that morning. It was odd that of all the thousands of people, we should meet. He seemed very much surprised that I had been able to get across.
The question of food seemed to be prominent in people’s minds, and an order had been issued that no stores, such as were left, could put up their prices. I remember buying a couple of chocolate bars and thinking, “Maybe this is all I will get to eat all day.” That afternoon, I went back to my relatives’ house again, passing the parks, which were completely covered by human beings and their goods. The news had come that people in the east bay would take in refugees and that the ferryboats would carry them free. The four maiden ladies had a number of close friends in Berkeley, and decided to go there, abandoning their house, which they expected to be burned. They decided to take nothing but food with them. Naturally, courtesy demanded that I act as escort, something I very much regretted later as I was not able to return. So about five o’clock on Thursday, April 19, I left the burning city, which continued to burn for a day and a half longer.
After a couple of weeks, when travel to San Francisco was again freely permitted, I often visited the ruins, taking pictures. One site I observed made a particular impression on me. On Hyde Street above O’Farrell, five or six cable cars had either been taken there or abandoned, and all that remained of them were the wheels and the steel trucks still on the tracks. When I visited my relations’ home on Jones Street I found a number of pieces of their chinaware, which had melted together. I gave these to them as souvenirs, and I assume the family still possesses them. I also obtained from vendors on the streets some pieces of china from Chinatown, some with sand melted into them, and some with their colors changed by heat.
Lyman Ranch, St. Helena, California
March 21, 1964
ED NOTE: According to his obituary: William Whittingham "Jack" Lyman died of advanced pneumonia at St. Helena Hospital at 1:30 p.m. on November 8, 1983. He was 98, possibly the oldest living native of the Napa Valley. Lyman was a noted academician, educator and poet. Mr. Lyman taught high school and community college English for most of his academic career, retiring to St. Helena in 1950.
WHEN NIXON’S SUMMER OF ’69 VISITS TO SF DREW POLARIZING REACTIONS
by Bill Van Niekerken
“Those who travel most usually have two cities they really love. The one they love second to their own is San Francisco — and that’s the way we feel.”
Who is this smitten tourist? It’s none other than President Richard M. Nixon, on one of two trips to The City in 1969.
While Nixon loved San Francisco, the city had much different reactions to his trips that year.
A visit from a newly elected president was big news, so The Chronicle sent out several photographers. A trip to The Chronicle’s archive turned up hundreds of photos — many of them previously unpublished — of his 1969 visits.
President Nixon and first lady Pat Nixon arrived in San Francisco after midnight July 23, 1969, the first stop in an 11-day, seven-country trip that included a visit with the Apollo 11 astronauts after their return to Earth on board the aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
The Nixons spent the night at the St. Francis Hotel on Union Square. There were no official public appearances scheduled, but, after shaking hands with well-wishers outside the hotel, the Nixons hopped onto a passing cable car, as the Secret Service detail scrambled to keep up. They chatted with fellow passengers as the cable car made its Fisherman’s Wharf journey. A well-wisher gave Pat Nixon flowers.
“The president was clearly delighted by his reception,” reporter Michael Harris wrote. “A traditional San Francisco protest demonstration in Union Square had been promised, but it did not take place. Instead Mr. and Mrs. Nixon were greeted by a friendly crowd of 2,500.”
At the airport later that day, the Nixons were met by Mayor Joseph Alioto, Police Chief Charles Cahill, and San Mateo County Supervisor Bob St Clair, a former 49ers player. Nixon talked Giants baseball with Alioto and, turning to St. Clair, asked if the former lineman found politics tougher than professional football.
“St. Clair didn’t answer the question, but laughed like the dickens,” Cahill told Harris.
Less than a month later, President Nixon was back in San Francisco for talks with South Korean President Park Chung Hee. The reception was quite different.
After a rare West Coast state arrival ceremony at the Presidio — including a heckler who said he regretted voting for the president — Nixon and Park drove to the St. Francis, where a demonstration had been planned outside by an antiwar group from UC Berkeley.
Protesters gathered in Union Square and, growing impatient with delayed speakers, began chanting “obscene slogans,” according to The Chronicle.
Later in the evening, protesters clashed with police, who had set up barricades along Post Street. “One demonstrator was arrested for throwing a milk carton filled with dirt at a police officer. A cherry bomb, tossed from the crowd, exploded not far from where Acting Chief Alfred Nelder was standing,” The Chronicle reported.
Inside the hotel, where both presidents were staying, security was tight.
Charles Howe reported that a businessman summed it up to Al, a bartender at the hotel’s Terrace Room bar: “They got G-men and T-men and CIA men, I can’t even go to the john without some guy in a cheap suit following me.”
The Nixons went by limousine to the airport the next morning. On their way out of the city, Nixon removed the car’s bubble top, and he and Pat stood up in the limo and waved on their way out of the city.
Richard Nixon would be back to the city he loved — but that didn’t feel the same way about him — before the end of his presidency.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Sounds like the parents enabled this behavior. (Murder of Italian policeman) Not surprised the murderers are from San Francisco of all cities in the US. What kind of parents allow their 18 and 19 year old sons with major alcohol and drug problems to travel unaccompanied to Europe? How about rehab and counseling? How about getting a job in the summer to earn money? This area is such a bubble, within a bubble, within a bubble. Total fantasyland with absolutely no basis on reality. No work ethic. No parenting..neglect… zero supervision of boys….but they are always "from a good family" I have news for you parents do your job…helicopter your boys from birth to 18. If there are problems get help early in kindergarten/grammar school, be involved. Do not depend on the schools to do anything…it is 100% up to the parents….
WE CAN’T CHOOSE A CANDIDATE we don’t believe in just because we’re too scared to do anything else. And we can’t ask other people to vote for a candidate we don’t believe in.
WITH THE RED MAGA HATS and the beer-stained sweats, with their stupid little flags and loud, stupid voices, Trump supporters are easy to spot, right?
It’s not just skinheads and numbskulls for Trump. There are lots of people who feel left out of the party in America, and they damn sure are not all at Trump rallies, but they like Donald because he speaks for the Little Guy—right?
He speaks TO the little guy because the little guy & girl’s vote counts as much as the Koch brothers’. Citizens of “fly-over” states—of any unglamorous, uncharismatic, unenvied place—constantly see the coasts, or the monumental stretches of the great southwest, or the purple mountains, on their smartphones, TVs and magazines, in ads and news coverage, OTHER places, celebrated, desirable places, not theirs.
They get the daily message they don’t matter much, but Trump assures them they do. He tells them they’re winners, and they’ll get so tired of winning, under him, they’ll get happily stuffed with it.
That he actually sneers at little people, “losers,” doesn’t make it past the warm glow they get when he stands before them and pets them as you quiet an animal, with soft strokes and words. That’s one cohort that doesn’t attract much attention, the plain, quiet guy & gal. Call it the Kansas Cohort, though its members are distributed throughout the states.
Then there’s another, also-quiet bunch of trumpians, quiet and deadly. These are people who don’t give a hang for Donald J. Trump. They agree he’s obnoxious, stupid, lazy, tasteless and incompetent, a predator and a clown, America’s Boris Johnson, BUT: he delivers! He has stripped our oversight agencies of power, put the foxes out to “guard” (feed on) the henhouses, eliminated any form of regulation (like banning unsafe foods, protecting the crucial biosphere, restraining reckless finance practices, etc. etc. etc.), He has stuffed the federal courts with troglodytes, long-lived ones.
That means money that used to be spent on meeting government standards goes instead into the pockets of the owners and shareholders (HALLELUJAH, LAWD!).
These are the predatory One Percent, to whom the addictive game of Who Makes the Most has become the only game that matters. These people played with Trump-About-Town when he was merely a silly playboy with a taste for ridiculous extravagance. Now they connect him with greed as well as glee, because they are his primary cohort, small in numbers, big in cash, his peepill. They’re never at his rallies, but they quietly approve. He’s a One-Percent Messiah, never forget it. Giants like the Koch brothers, and many who are not outed as public enemies (even though they are), will spend fortunes to keep him in the sunless and malodorous Oval.
To this small, select company, little people are precisely that--ants, drones, worker bees, taxpayers--the cash base that consumes the China-made, Amazon junk and keeps the registers ringing, that scrubs the toilets and takes out the trash, whose names are never heard past the reach of their stupid little homes and hoods.
(Somebody reacted to this blog. I accidentally erased it, sorry!)
— Mitch Clogg
BACK TO THE COUCH
Two days at the Sherwood Forest motel in Garberville, CA has provided necessary seclusion to contemplate the entire matter of our postmodern situation on the planet earth. You might think that this is an enormous topic to focus on, but it is not so. Sitting comfortably in the room, doing nothing at all except just being there. The subject of misery, (particularly related to being attached to the crazy political circumstances in America, the specter of global climate destabilization, and of course binge drinking to assuage the mountain of fear that is arising) has been steadily watched dispassionately for the past two days. My conclusion is that the real solution is to let go of it all, and then let God take action through the body and mind without interference. Tomorrow I am scheduled to return to Earth First!er Andy Caffrey's apartment guest couch. There is a doctor's appointment on Tuesday at the Redway Rural Clinic to discuss everything. What's really curious about all of this is that there isn't anything seriously medically the matter with me, other than reaping the result of the choices that I made. And the hangover has gone away. On August 12th there's a telephone appointment with social services in Eureka, CA with whom I have applied today for Food Stamps. I don't have any idea where this is all going to go. For certain, the way to be is to let go and let God. That's my Truth. ~Peaceout~
Craig Louis Stehr