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MCT: Friday, August 2, 2019

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NINETIES AHEAD. Inland Mendo is expected to fall short of the 100s for the next few days, with highs in the 80s by the middle of next week. Meanwhile, coastal temps are not expected to get above 70 as a persistent marine layer settles in.

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(Via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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ON JULY 18, 2019, the Fort Bragg CHP was called to investigate a hit & run collision on Highway 1 at Little Lake Road that tragically resulted in the death of Calum Hunnicutt. Our investigation has been ongoing since the crash happened and the diligent investigation work by our officers has led to a person and vehicle of interest. The vehicle was impounded for evidence on 07/19/2019. Due to the fact that the individual name has not been released at this time, we are unable to release any information regarding their identity (per government code 6254(f)). If an arrest occurs we will provide additional information at that time. We would like to thank the Coast community for their continued support of us during our investigation. We are very grateful for the tips and information that has been provided to help us piece together this investigation. We would also like to express our sincerest condolences to the Hunnicutt family during this incredibly difficult time in their life. We will continue to work diligently in our quest to bring the person/people responsible for Calum's death to justice. Anyone with known information pertaining to this incident is asked to call the California Highway Patrol Ukiah are office at (707) 467-4420.

CHP Press Release, 8/1/19

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From one of Ukiah’s business leaders

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(Memo to Supervisors for next Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting)

Admin Center Functionality through a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

The County Administration Center has an existing generator that functions automatically in the event of a power outage. The generator provides power to the Main Server Room, the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) Policy Room, security systems, emergency lighting throughout the building, and 1-3 power outlets in Planning & Building/Environmental Health, County Counsel, and Human Resources. The building remains secure, with critical technology infrastructure operable, in the event of a power outage.

Historically, maintenance of these core systems at the Administration Center has been adequate during unscheduled and short-term power outages. In a new environment, however, with intentional power outages of a longer duration, the County’s ability to provide basic services to the public in a blackout should be reviewed and potentially bolstered.

Today, there is not an efficient way to deploy portable generators that will supplement the emergency power available at the Administration Center. Facilities & Fleet recommends installation of electrical intersects at the southeast entrance to the building (by the Auditor’s Office) which would allow County staff to quickly deploy and connect portable generators for additional operating power in an extended power outage event. While these intersects would not power the HVAC equipment, they would allow the Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Assessor/Clerk/Recorder, Board Chambers, and the Executive Office to function normally through an extended blackout. The generator deployment location and the powered areas are depicted in Exhibit B. The total cost of these intersects is estimated at $50,000; the infrastructure would continue to provide operating flexibility into the future. It is not likely that these intersects will be installed and available for the current PSPS/fire season.

A plan is available to ensure the Administration Center has supplemental power during any PSPS events that take place this year. Five rental generators can be staged around the Administration Center for the remainder of this fire season. Upon notification to the County of a PSPS, heavy cabling would be deployed through doorways, hallways and even windows for connection by a licensed electrician to electrical panels inside the building. Cabling would be installed along the floor in areas accessible to staff and the public, and secured to minimize trip hazards. Access to the sub panels would be restricted for the duration of the connection. Maintaining security within the building after hours would require County staff to disconnect cabling from the generators every evening during a PSPS event so the building can be locked. Under this plan, generator deployment locations, cabling routes, and restricted areas within the Administration Center are depicted in Exhibit C.

Long Term

The County has backup power in place to serve core and emergency functions. However, the available power was intended to assist during unplanned power outages of the shortest possible duration. We have entered a new era, where planned, extended power outages may be experienced several times a year due to the threat of an emergency based on regional weather conditions. In this new environment, consideration should be given to the County’s ability to provide core services to the public without access to power. Longer term preparations are recommended to begin with the County’s Administration Center, as the operational base for foundational County services. An electrical engineer is available to provide an assessment that will help determine the type, size, and location of additional generators that would permanently augment the backup power available at the Admin Center. Separate scenarios will be requested, to understand the equipment and cost needed to fully power the Admin Center with HVAC and without. Consideration should also be given to the possibility of a hybrid system, consisting of photovoltaic panels, battery backup, and smaller generators that could augment power as needed or charge batteries.

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(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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Michael Potts, Caspar: Memo: “Climate change, whether anthropogenic or naturally cyclical, has been a deep concern of mine for more than 30 years. As a Board Member at Real Goods, and its Chief Technical Officer, I was asked to write a book, The New Independent Home, about "living under our own power," in other words, with a very small carbon footprint. Denis Hayes, founder of Earth Day, describes me as "a visionary with dirt under his fingernails" and an expert on self-reliance. As a founding member of Caspar Community’s Board, I learned the importance of consensus, the best means to generate it, and the ability of small communities like mine to develop resilience. Resilience in the face of inevitable and possibly catastrophic change – the incidence of large firestorms is an example – requires a level of awareness and readiness that is at the center of my work. I am eager to help my County integrate this awareness, readiness, and resilience into its everyday life.

Marie Jones, Fort Bragg: Memo: “I am the Community Development Director for the City of Fort Bragg. I have prepared a green house gas inventory and a Climate Action Plan for the City of Fort Bragg. I am also very knowledgeable about climate adaptation strategies and the impact of climate change on natural communities, sea level rise, sea acidification, agriculture, water availability, etc. I welcome the opportunity to serve on this board.

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WHEN WE SAW the photo of Richard Cauckwell accompanying Bruce McEwen's story on Mr. Cauckwell's jury trial, we thought the DA was wasting time and money prosecuting a hopelessly incompetent street guy. Cauckwell, a veteran of at least 9 local arrests, among them a parole violation, meaning he's also a veteran of the state prison system, had been arrested in Ukiah and tried for arson. His jury deadlocked 11-1 for conviction, but as everyone in the courtroom stomped around slapping their heads in disbelief that Cauckwell was going to get off, the veteran jail bird pled out, meaning he'll be out of circulation for a while. Which is a good thing for Ukiah.

Not only has the guy been arrested many times for being a drunken nuisance, he's a major pain in the civic buttocks, one of these mean, lowdown street drunks who will run up to passersby and shout obscenities in their nonplussed faces. Not quite as crazed and as pickled as he might appear, Cauckwell, as is his right as an American, demanded and got a jury trial for his latest bust, convincing one starry eyed juror that he really hadn't knowingly ignited a presto log on the wooden floor of the building he'd broken into. This guy's a walking argument for permanent sequestration in a state hospital program we no longer have for the thousands of people just like him.

THE GOOD NEWS. The first pink ladies are thrusting their optimistic heads through the summer-baked soil, an annual appearance that always seems so magical, so encouraging that beauty can so suddenly, so unexpectedly burst forth where one least expects it.

IF I COULD still be shocked by anything, I'd certainly be staggered by Connie Bruck's piece in the August 5th&12th issue of The New Yorker called "Devil's Advocate: Alan Dershowitz's long, controversial career — and the accusations against him."

If the annals of scumbaggery are ever compiled, Dershowitz just might be the number one all-timer. Not only has he driven his first wife to suicide, he's been named as prominent among the perps on Jeffrey Epstein's "Lolita Express," along with Clinton (natch) and Prince Andrew, among other high flying cho mo's, he's (natch) functioning as Epstein's lawyer. Epstein's cho mo vic is, predictably, being denounced by Dershowitz as "a serial liar, a prostitute, a bad mother" who could not be believed "against somebody with an unscathed reputation like me." All of which isn't the half of it. Scroll down for just a summary of the other half by the late Alexander Cockburn and Norman Finklestein.

KULTURE NOTES: Recommended reading — "Picture" by Lillian Ross, the justly renowned writer for the old New Yorker gives us a complete account of the great director John Huston's '50's sabotaged film adaptation of "The Red Badge of Courage." Must reading for all the young people writing film scripts and attempting to hit it big in Hollywood, a riveting portrait of Huston, a master, and simultaneously a depressing picture of studio bigwigs who don't get it.

I'VE AMASSED quite a collection of California history, among it a very odd book based on the direct Mendocino County experiences of anthropologists, Burt Agrinsky and Mrs. Agrinsky. The Agrinskys spent months in the middle 1930s talking with Pomo elders, some of whom remember their first exposure to the "goddams," as these first ravenously murderous white settlers were called by the Indians. Instead of writing a straight investigatory account of what must have been fascinating stories, the Agrinskys attempt to re-create native speech, in 300 pages of, "Yes, I, too, often think about these troubling stories. But what happened, happened far away. We all know that the creatures from the south are dangerous…." and on and on.

BUT IN THE BOOK'S INTRO, we get much more straight reporting of what an old man actually told the anthro-investigators as he emphasized the centrality of family to native culture, contrasting it to the rootlessness of ol' whitey. "….the white people were different from us. They wanted to take the whole world for themselves. My grandfather told me that the white people were homeless and had no families. They came by themselves and settled on our property. They had no manners….." (Still don't, but that's another story.)

STRAIGHT REPORTING on Mendo County's early days is always interesting, but when you write a whole book in dialect that reads like a bad Tonto and the Lone Ranger script…. well, the fascinating become unenduringly tiresome.

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Hello all -

My uncle Michael Connelly, a long time Mendocino coast resident, needs to move out of his current place ASAP (owners are selling the property) - he is looking for a 1 bedroom or studio apartment/cabin/house - 1 level, not stairs or just a couple with a railing… bathroom and kitchen in the rental…

He can afford $1000 a month give or take. He is clean, respectful and would be very grateful.

Please let me know if you have a rental or know of one.

Thank you so much!

Anica Wiggle, 684-9829

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by Alexander Cockburn (September 2003)

Let’s start with a passage from Alan Dershowitz’s latest book, The Case for Israel, now slithering into the upper tier of Amazon’s sales charts. On page 213 we meet Dershowitz, occupant of the Felix Frankfurter Chair at Harvard Law School, happily walloping a French prof called Faurisson, charged by the FF prof from Harvard U as being a fraud and a Holocaust denier: “There was no extensive historical research. Instead, there was the fraudulent manufacturing of false antihistory. It was the kind of deception for which professors are rightly fired–not because their views are controversial but because they are violating the most basic canons of historical scholarship.”

Let me now usher into the narrative an important member of the cast: From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine, a 601-page book by Joan Peters, published in 1984. Peters’s polemical work strove to buttress the old Zionist thesis that the land of Israel had been “a land without people, awaiting a people without land.” Peters’s book was soon discredited as a charnel house of disingenuous polemic. The coup de grâce was administered by Professor Yehoshua Porath in The New York Review of Books for January 16 and March 27, 1986.

Though neither Peters nor her book appears in the index to The Case for Israel, they both get a mention in note 31 of chapter 2, where Dershowitz cites the work of a nineteenth-century French geographer called Cuinct [sic], and adds, “See Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (Chicago: JKAP Publications, 1984). Peters’s conclusions and data have been challenged. See Said and Hitchens, p. 33. I do not in any way rely on them in this book.” “Them” clearly refers to Peters’s conclusions and data.

This brazen declaration is preceded in chapters 1 and 2 by repeated, unacknowledged looting of Peters’s research. I have before me a devastating comparative archive of these plagiarisms, compiled by Norman Finkelstein, author of The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering and Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. Here are but four from twenty thus far discovered in the first two chapters alone.

“In the sixteenth century,” the learned Dershowitz remarks on the seventeenth page of his book, “according to British reports, ‘as many as 15,000 Jews’ lived in Safad, which was a ‘center of rabbinical learning.'” Source cited by Dershowitz: Palestine Royal Commission Report, pp. 11-12. Turn now to page 178 of Peters’s book, published nineteen years earlier: “Safed at that time, according to the British investigation by Lord Peel’s committee, ‘contained as many as 15,000 Jews in the 16th century,’ and was ‘a centre of Rabbinical learning.'” Source cited by Peters: Palestine Royal Commission Report, pp. 11-12. Originality displayed by Dershowitz: downgrading “Rabbinical” to a lower-case r.

Same page of Dershowitz: “[A]ccording to the British consul in Jerusalem, the Muslims of Jerusalem ‘scarcely exceed[ed] one quarter of the whole population.'” Source cited: James Finn to Earl of Clarendon, January 1, 1858. Peters (p. 197): “In 1858 Consul Finn reported the ‘Mohammedans of Jerusalem’ were ‘scarcely exceeding one-quarter of the whole population.'” Source cited: James Finn to Earl of Clarendon, January 1, 1858.

Dershowitz (p. 20): “Nor could the Jew seek redress, as the report observed: ‘Like the miserable dog without an owner he is kicked by one because he crosses his path, and cuffed by another because he cries out–to seek redress he is afraid, lest it bring worse upon him; he thinks it better to endure than to live in the expectation of his complaint being revenged upon him.'” Source cited: Wm. T. Young to Viscount Palmerston, May 25, 1839. Peters (p. 187): “[T]he life for Jews described in 1839 by British Consul Young: ‘[…] Like the miserable dog without an owner he is kicked by one because he crosses his path, and cuffed by another because he cries out–to seek redress he is afraid, lest it bring worse upon him; he thinks it better to endure than to live in the expectation of his complaint being revenged upon him.'” Source cited: Wm. T. Young to Viscount Palmerston, May 25, 1839.

Dershowitz (p. 27): “J.L. Burkhardt [sic] reported that as early as in the second decade of the nineteenth century, ‘Few individuals…die in the same village in which they were born. Families are continually moving from one place to another…in a few years…they fly to some other place, where they have heard that their brethren are better treated.'” Source cited: John Lewis Burckhardt, Travels in Syria and the Holy Land (New York: AMS Press, 1983), p. 299. Peters (p. 163): “John Lewis Burckhardt graphically described the migratory patterns he found in the early 1800s: ‘[…]Few individuals…die in the same village in which they were born. Families are continually moving from one place to another[…]in a few years[…]they fly to some other place, where they have heard that their brethren are better treated.'” Source cited: John Lewis Burckhardt, Travels in Syria and the Holy Land (London: 1882), p. 299.

For those who, on the monkeys-writing-Shakespeare analogy, may speculate that Dershowitz somehow replicated Peters’s researches unknowingly, I should add that in two very long passages, one from a letter from Wm. T. Young to Col. Patrick Campbell (May 25, 1839), and the other from Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad, Dershowitz reproduces the quotes with ellipses in exactly the same places as Peters.

Amid this orgy of plagiarism, Dershowitz understandably gets confused about sources. Claiming to be inspired by George Orwell, Peters in her book coined the term “turnspeak” to signal an inversion of reality. Dershowitz is apparently so nervous of citing Peters in any way that he credits the term “turnspeak” to Orwell, accusing critics of Israel of “deliberately using George Orwell’s ‘turnspeak.'”

Over to Harvard president Lawrence Summers–or will the man so happy to dress down Prof. Cornel West be more timid when it comes to confronting the occupant of the Felix Frankfurter Chair? All you have to do is remind him of Dershowitz’s words about Prof. Faurisson.

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Bias, Gonzalez-Magana, Jacobsen

SHAWN BIAS, Fort Bragg. Under influence, failure to appear.

JUAN GONZALEZ-MAGANA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

MICHAEL JACOBSEN, Sacramento/Ukiah. Burglary, controlled substance, probation revocation.

Klein, Lincoln, Marrs

ERIK KLEIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

DORAN LINCOLN, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, protective order violation.

JULIE MARRS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, armed with firearm in commission or attempted felony, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, transportation of controlled substance.

Sanchez, Whipple, Williams

SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation.

ANTONIO WHIPPLE, Covelo. Unspecified offense.

EMMETT WILLIAMS, Fort Bragg. Saps or similar weapons, probation revocation.

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Biden’s record of words and deeds is "moderate" only if we ignore the extreme harm that he has done on matters ranging from civil rights and mass incarceration to student debt and the credit card industry to militarism and war.

by Norman Solomon

The comedian George Carlin liked to marvel at oxymorons like "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence." Now, as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination intensifies, reporters and pundits at corporate media outlets are escalating their use of a one-word political oxymoron—"moderate."

As a practical matter, in the routine lexicon of U.S. mass media, "moderate" actually means pro-corporate and reliably unwilling to disrupt the dominant power structures. "Moderate" is a term of endearment in elite circles, a label conferred on politicians who won't rock establishment boats.

"Moderate" sounds so much nicer than, say, "enmeshed with Wall Street" or "supportive of the military-industrial complex."

In the corporate media environment, we're accustomed to pretty euphemisms that fog up unpretty realities—and the haze of familiarity brings the opposite of clarity. As George Orwell wrote, language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

If Joe Biden is a "moderate," the soothing adjective obscures grim realities. The framing was routine hours after the debate Wednesday night when the front page of the New York Times began its lead story by reporting that Biden "delivered a steadfast defense of his moderate policies in the Democratic primary debate."

But, how are policies really "moderate" when they perpetuate and increase extreme suffering due to vast income inequality? Or when they support U.S. wars causing so much death and incalculable anguish? Or when they refuse to challenge the fossil-fuel industry and only sign onto woefully inadequate measures in response to catastrophic climate change?

Biden's record of words and deeds is "moderate" only if we ignore the extreme harm that he has done on matters ranging from civil rights and mass incarceration to student debt and the credit card industry to militarism and war.

Although Biden again tangled with Kamala Harris during the latest debate, she is ill-positioned to provide a clear critique of his so-called "moderate" policies. Harris has scarcely done more than he has to challenge the systemic injustice of corporate domination. So, she can't get far in trying to provide a sharp contrast to Biden's corporate happy talk on the crucial issue of healthcare.

Harris began this week by releasing what she called "My Plan for Medicare for All." It was promptly eviscerated by single-payer activist Tim Higginbotham, who wrote for Jacobin that her proposal would "further privatize Medicare. . .keep the waste and inefficiency of our current multi-payer system. . . cost families more than Medicare for All. . . continue to deny patients necessary care" and "fall apart before it's implemented."

In keeping with timeworn rhetoric from corporate Democrats, Harris repeatedly said during the debate that she wants to guarantee "access" to healthcare—using a standard corporate-friendly buzzword that detours around truly guaranteeing healthcare as a human right.

No matter whether journalists call Harris "moderate" or "progressive" (a term elastic enough to be the name of a huge insurance company), her unwillingness to confront the dominance of huge corporations over the economic and political life of the USA is a giveaway.

Whatever their discreet virtues, 18 of the 20 candidates who debated this week have offered no consistent, thoroughgoing challenge to corporate power. Among the contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, only Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are providing a coherent analysis and actual challenge to the realities of corporate power and oligarchy that are crushing democracy in the United States.

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It seems I am always reading about homeless people being driven out of one spot to another. Much money has been appropriated to build shelters for the homeless. This is a good and charitable thing to do. However, many chronically homeless people don’t feel safe or don’t want to be restricted to a shelter. Why doesn’t the county appropriate some of this money to buy and set aside a portion of land where RVs, trucks, cars and tents can be set up? It could be furnished with dumpsters, portable restrooms and water.

Then there wouldn’t be any excuse to be parking on the side of streets, along the tracks and under bridges. They would have their own place without being hassled. The dumpsters and restrooms could be serviced on a regular basis, and this would eliminate a lot of garbage in the streets and fields. Parking and camping laws could then be enforced.

Gene Marcinowski


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by Jake Johnson

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris inadvertently highlighted one of the key virtues of Medicare for All with their jumbled, vague, and at times dishonest healthcare discussion during Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential primary debate.

That was a major takeaway of progressives and health policy experts, who said Harris and Biden’s difficulty in explaining the details and benefits their respective proposals showed by comparison the simplicity — and, single-payer proponents argued, the superiority — of Medicare for All in both messaging and policy.

“This flailing discussion is a good demonstration of why Medicare for All makes for great messaging,” tweeted The Week’s Ryan Cooper. “All these complicated-ass half-measures are impossible to explain.”

Biden and Harris released their healthcare proposals in the days leading up to the second Democratic presidential debate, and both were criticized as inadequate to the task of overhauling America’s deadly, profit-driven status quo.

The former vice president’s plan would create a public option and expand Affordable Care Act subsidies. Harris’s proposal, which she misleadingly described as “Medicare for All,” would expand Medicare and preserve a major role for private insurance.

Analysts said the inadequacies of both plans were on display on the debate stage Wednesday night, just 24 hours after Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) forcefully defended Medicare for All from attacks by right-wing Democratic candidates.

“For all its other pros and cons, single-payer’s not-so-secret weapon is its simplicity,” tweeted The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein. “So clear and easy to explain: Everybody in; nobody out; no healthcare costs.”

By contrast, Stein pointed to Biden’s explanation of his plan, which — by his campaign’s own admission — would leave millions of Americans uninsured.

“They can buy into this plan,” Biden said of Americans who currently have employer-sponsored insurance. “And they can buy into it with a $1,000 deductible and never have to pay more than 8.5 percent of their income when they do it.”

Biden went on to bash Medicare for All in a way that showed, as Splinter’s Libby Watson put it, he “does not have a good grip on how healthcare works.”

“The fact of the matter is that there will be a deductible,” Biden said of Medicare for All, which would in fact eliminate premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. “It will be a deductible on their paycheck. Bernie acknowledges it. Bernie acknowledges it. Thirty trillion dollars has to ultimately be paid… I tell ya, that’s a lot of money, and there will be a deductible. The deductible will be out of your paycheck, because that’s what will be required.”

As Watson noted, “Biden seemed very confused about basic questions of health insurance.”

“He initially claimed his plan would limit co-pays to $1,000, then corrected himself later to say there would be $1,000 deductibles — but then said that Sanders’ plan has ‘a deductible in the paycheck.’ This, for a start, is not a thing — a deductible is the amount of money you have to spend on healthcare before the insurance company will chip in, not something that comes out of your paycheck.

“Presumably, he means a premium, but that’s not true, either,” Watson added. “Sanders’s plan has no premiums.”

David Sirota, Sanders’s speechwriter, said Biden’s plan would still leave families with large healthcare bills:

Harris, for her part, was accused of “appropriating” Medicare for All as a mere “brand” while advocating a plan that the lead House sponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019 said is decidedly not Medicare for All.

“The reality is that our plan will bring healthcare to all Americans under a Medicare for All system,” Harris said, remaining vague about the significant role carved out for private insurers under her proposal.

The California Democrat said she crafted her plan after “listening to American families, listening to experts, listening to healthcare providers.”

“I listened to the American families who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan,” Harris said, referring to the transition period proposed by Sanders’s legislation, “so I devised a plan where it’s going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan.”

Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, toldThe Washington Post after Wednesday night’s debate that, “A pure Medicare for All plan is much easier to describe than these complicated plans that try to thread the political needle.”

According to Watson, the debate provided clear evidence that “[n]o one up there gives a shit about whether Medicare for All happens.”

“Without Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren there to make a real case for Medicare for All, the debate meanders,” Watson wrote. “Since her mix-up on private insurance earlier this year, I’ve thought that the most likely outcome under a President Kamala Harris would be her getting into office and ending up supporting a public option at best. Tonight’s discussion did nothing to dispel that.”

Joe Sanburg, advisory board member with Business for Medicare for All, said in a statement Wednesday night that the United States needs “a true Medicare for All system — not something that sounds like it, but really relies on private health insurance companies.”

“A plan that would not remove health insurers, the middle men, from our healthcare payment system is not the answer,” said Sanburg.


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Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will continue to inspect power lines in Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties for the next couple of weeks, using helicopters equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. The inspections are part of PG&E’s expanded and enhanced vegetation management work, implemented following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires as one of many additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire risk.

In addition to ground inspections, the LiDAR helicopter inspections will help gather data to allow PG&E to identify hazardous trees that have the potential to fall into the lines. These inspections will take place across the approximately 25,200 miles of distribution lines in locations that have been designated as at elevated or extreme risk of wildfire based on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District Map. The data gathered will supplement PG&E’s ground inspections by capturing imagery that can be analyzed to take measurements, reveal patterns and identify any potential risks.

Helicopters will be flying along the power lines at an altitude of about 300 to 500 feet. PG&E will be making automated phone calls to notify residents ahead of the scheduled helicopter flight in their community. Flights will continue through mid-August.

For more information on the helicopter inspections, residents can visit or email PG&E at with questions about this work.

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Whooping cough on the rise in Northern California’s Humboldt County

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by Gary Kamiya

Today, the intersection of Fourth and Howard streets is an upscale spot where the Moscone Convention Center, Metreon and Yerba Buena Gardens draw thousands of visitors daily. It’s hard to imagine it was once ground zero for one of San Francisco’s most fascinating and leastknown populations: hobos.

For decades, thousands of hobos called San Francisco their parttime home. Living in cheap hotels and rooming houses south of Market or in the Tenderloin, these itinerant workers came and went with the seasons, sometimes returning to the same hotels for 50 years. They kept a low profile, and when they disappeared after the Great Depression, few people noticed. But they made up a significant part of the city’s working class. And their descendants are still present today.

Hobos were rootless or semirootless single men who worked seasonally, going where the jobs were, usually by jumping trains. From the late 19th century until World War II, the hobo was a fixture on the American landscape. In 1917, it was estimated that at any given time, 500,000 hobos were riding the rails around the country.

San Francisco was the most popular city for hobos on the West Coast, but they were found in most American cities. In rural areas they picked fruit or harvested grain, or they worked on the railroads, in mines or in logging camps. In cities they dug ditches, worked in factories, erected buildings and did casual labor. They lived in “hobo jungles” on the outskirts of town, and in cheap hotels or rooming houses in cities.

The hobo lifestyle may appear romantic: There was a freedom to it and a certain dignity. But it was a difficult, lonely and dangerous existence. From 1901 to 1905 alone, about 24,000 hobos were killed while jumping trains. Untold numbers of others died of disease. Few men chose to become migratory laborers without a permanent address or a family. They were the products of an economic system that exploited those at the bottom of the labor force.

Hobos were not the same as tramps or bums. In “Living Downtown: The History of Residential Hotels in the United States,” Paul Groth cites a saying that summed up the differences: “A hobo works and wanders. A tramp dreams and wanders. A bum drinks and wanders.”

As Groth writes, “All three groups of men appeared unattached to a family; they had few possessions, enjoyed recreational drinking, worked intermittently, and traveled often.” Bums and tramps gave casual laborers a bad name, but during the heyday of migratory labor, there were far more hobos than the other two groups.

Hobos were in San Francisco by the early 1870s. In “Factories in the Fields,” the social critic Carey McWilliams notes that in 1871 the economist and editor Henry George observed migrant workers in the wheat fields who, after the harvest, in McWilliams’ words, “disappeared — into the flophouses of San Francisco — to come back next season like so many ragged crows.” While walking across California, another observer witnessed “runaway sailors, reformed horse thieves, bankrupt German scene painters (and) old soldiers … all looking for jobs.”

The national Long Depression of 1873-1879 threw a million men out of work, increasing the hobo ranks, as did the Panic of 1893, which triggered a four year depression. That year many unemployed workers left San Francisco to seek work as “fruit tramps” — seasonal migratory workers who picked fruit.

Significant numbers of hobos were living south of Market by the 1870s, a fact demonstrated by the transience of the neighborhood’s residents. As Alvin Averbach notes in a 1973 article in the California Historical Quarterly titled, “San Francisco’s South of Market District 1850-1960: The Emergence of a Skid Row,” in each five year period between 1870 and 1900, only 21 percent of residents remained at the same address.

As Averbach notes, hobos were drawn to San Francisco because it had the cheapest rooms on the West Coast, established if often unethical employment agencies, and “a city lax in its morals.” By the early 20th century, one part of South of Market had become what sociologist and former hobo Nels Anderson called a “hobohemia” — a neighborhood where hobos, bums, tramps and other marginally or irregularly employed men lived and socialized.

By its nature this population ebbed and flowed, but it was sizable. Carleton Parker, an expert in migratory labor, estimated that 40,000 men were lying up in “pseudohibernation” in San Francisco during the winter of the 1913-14 depression.

So many poor men poured into San Francisco during the winter that police took special measures to deal with the situation. In October 1922, Police Chief Daniel O’Brien issued “winter orders” calling for a “cleanup of all suspicious characters and undesirables in pool halls, dance halls, cheap hotels and lodging houses throughout the city as a measure of precaution against the winter crime wave when the floating troublesome element flock into the larger cities and commit crimes because of being without money.”

Fourth and Howard was the heart of hobohemia. As Averbach writes, “Here grew up the hoboes’ institutions: the hotels and lodging houses whose proprietors acted as bankers so that men spending their regular offseasons in San Francisco had safekeeping for their money and would not spend it on a single spree; saloons which fed their patrons smorgasbord lunches for ten or fifteen cents and sometimes doubled as informal employment agencies; and pawnshops on Third, lower Market and the Embarcadero where a hobo might put up a tool or some clothing to pay for food, drink or shelter when he could not stretch his winter’s ‘stake’ far enough.”

Other institutions in hobohemia included no fewer than 51 secondhand stores, with 21 in 1920 on the single block of Howard between Third and Fourth. On that same block were seven employment agencies, mostly offering outoftown work. There were several barber colleges on Fourth between Mission and Howard, where men could get free haircuts from apprentice barbers. Pool halls and movie theaters offered cheap entertainment.

The community around Fourth and Howard was a functioning if ragged one. But larger societal forces would soon sweep it away. The decline and fall of San Francisco’s hobohemia will be the subject of the next Portals.

(Gary Kamiya is the author of the bestselling book “Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco,” awarded the Northern California Book Award in creative nonfiction.)

(The San Francisco Chronicle)

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  1. Mike Williams August 2, 2019

    Was the book you refer to “Deep Valley” from 1967 by the Aginskys?

    The were sent by Columbia University to study a native population in transition. They conducted a social science field laboratory in the ‘30s and again after WW2.

    Their methods were called into question as they interviewed native elders then excused themselves to record the information out of site of the informant.

    The book is also controversial in that it describes “poisoning”, ways of exerting social control over group members.

    It is a strange but interesting book.

    • Bruce Anderson August 2, 2019

      Yes, that’s it, and it does make it seem like poisoning and family feuds were central to Pomo life. Very odd book.

  2. Harvey Reading August 2, 2019

    Trae Crowder

    The church billboard reminds me of growing up in southern baptism…horrifying nightmares. By the time I was eighteen, I had rejected the hokum and hate they peddled.

  3. Harvey Reading August 2, 2019

    “From one of Ukiah’s business leaders”

    Of course. Part of why I have always despised the chamber, the union of the bosses.

  4. Harvey Reading August 2, 2019

    Of course. Military lingo is big these days (actually pretty much always has been here in freedomlandia where we like nothing better than a nice war, especially those based on lies). Makes men, and women, feel manly. Sort of like wearing, or carrying, or driving, anything finished in camouflage patterns. Or owning a “macho” AR-15 with a very long “magazine” hanging down from it..

  5. Lazarus August 2, 2019

    I kind’a like the homeless camp idea. Get the gov to pitch in some land, put in basic infrastructure and let’m have it…Of course, it will never happen, makes to much sense, would be too cheap, and might actually work.

    Similar to moving in prefab units for the mentals of the Mendo, makes to much sense, isn’t shiny and fancy enough, can’t have some stuff shirt politicians name on the building, etc., etc., etc.
    As always,

    • Shitbird August 2, 2019

      There have been a string of several of us proposing this idea in the AVA going back a ways now.

    • James Marmon August 2, 2019

      When my mom came to Ukiah in the 40’s she and her parents lived at a labor camp out on Low Gap Road. A lot of those folks found jobs in the Agriculture, such as logging and farming (field work). From there most of the immigrants from the dust bowl bought land in Oakey Flats (Redwood Valley) and housing in the metropolitan city of Ukiah. Ukiah Village and Empire Gardens exploded. Those who chose not to work for a living found positions out in Talmadge, at the State Hospital.

      James Marmon
      Born and Raise in Ukiah

      • James Marmon August 2, 2019

        that’s the sub-division’s, Ukiah Village and Empire Gardens, Westside Ukiah held their own against the invasion from the mideast.

      • James Marmon August 2, 2019

        “Those who chose not to work for a living found positions out in Talmadge, at the State Hospital.”

        Some got paid and others didn’t. It all depended on on the circumstances.


  6. Jim Armstrong August 2, 2019

    I had to go to the “index” of stories to see “Hank” for the pic to be sure it wasn’t Goebbels.

  7. Rick Weddle August 10, 2019

    ‘Homeless camps?’ …Not like the Commons, the Green, which were de facto evacuated and f*cking-A prohibited by the industro-revolution, moving us commoners (We, the People) from relative independence to labor-force ghettos – s.l.a.v.e.s. – in overpacked, soot-choked cities…? Stop calling these discarded People ‘homeless;’ instead, practice saying, ‘the legions of the disenfranchised, dispossessed and disregarded, who, each and all, could have used a little Human help, but who had the bad judgement to show up in Modern, MOBILIZED, SELF-APPALLED North America, where the United States used to be…’

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