- Energy Revolution
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- Pot Hole
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- Yesterday's Catch
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- Questionable Quote
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- Favorite Ride
PG&E FREE: REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY AT STONE EDGE FARM IN SONOMA
by Jonah Raskin
Pacific Gas & Electric has never had many loyal friends, not since 1905 when the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company and the California Gas and Electric Corporation merged to form the utility giant usually referred to as PG&E.
The company has been increasingly unpopular ever since gas leaks led to a big explosion and the death of consumers— eight people in San Bruno just south of San Francisco. Nor has the company made new friends ever since its power lines were found to have caused wild fires and huge property losses in California.
Earlier this year—to protect its profits and stockholders— the company filed for bankruptcy, though it still has citizens in a chokehold otherwise known as a monopoly. If consumers want electricity and gas in their homes and businesses they have little choice but to rely on PG&E, which owns and controls the power lines.
There are alternatives, including Sonoma Clean Power that sources clean energy from renewables: geothermal, water, wind, solar, and biomass. But Sonoma Clean Power doesn’t have its own power lines. PG&E has said it will cut off all power if and when there’s wild fire and high winds. That could save lives and protect property, but it also sounds like PG&E letting Californians know that it’s still the all-powerful boss.
With big bucks, access to the latest technology and technological wizards, citizens can by-pass PG&E. That’s what Mac and Leslie McQuown have done at Stone Edge Farm, a model of organic agriculture and a center for innovation in the field of energy. The farm is on Carriger Road, outside the town of Sonoma, where olives and grapes are grown. Not long ago, the visionary McQuowns had a big dream: reduce their carbon footprint. They’ve realized that dream and gone beyond it.
Now, Stone Edge generates electrical power on a micro-grid that serves all its energy needs. What the McQuowns and their team have done suggests that real innovation takes place in the private sector, without government funding or oversight.
“The bourgeoisie,” Karl Marx wrote in The Communist Manifesto (1848), “has played a most revolutionary role.” It still does. The micro-grid at Stone Edge Farm has created local and global buzz.
During the Sonoma County firestorms of October 2017, when some homeowners were without electricity and felt powerless, too, Stone Edge Farm, which was evacuated, went into “island” mode. For ten days, it operated on its own micro-grid, independent of PG&E. The system was monitored and controlled remotely.
Mac McQuown, who has an MBA from Harvard, was formerly an investment director at Wells Fargo where he made extensive use of data analysis and created equity index funds. Though he’s clearly a success story, Mac, as friends call him, understands the importance of failure, which he calls “the crucible of success.” He adds, “You must fail to learn.” Stone Edge’s success has come in part as a result of Mac’s mantra, though it has also helped to have lots of capital to invest, and be willing to gamble.
This morning when it’s 100 in the shade, Ryan Stoltenberg— the program manager for Wooster Engineering, the prime contractor for Stone Edge’s micro-grid system—uses a PowerPoint presentation to offer a crash course on the complex electrical system on the McQuown’s 16-acre parcel. Behind stonewalls there are elegant buildings, lush gardens, vineyards and orchards and the all-essential wells that pump water from underground and make everything else possible. Electricity + water = an oasis with trees, bees, insects, birds and happy people.
If PG&E lines were to go down today, Stone Edge could continue to function quite nicely on clean energy that creates fuel for the farm’s zero-emission vehicles and electricity for the house where the McQuowns live the good life. No wonder that Stoltenberg tells me, “This is the most complex micro-grid system in the U.S.” He adds, “We’re better positioned than anyone else that I know of in case of an emergency.”
The Stone Edge website calls the system “an independent paradise that can store energy indefinitely, access it instantly and export it to the grid.” In fact, it’s a paradise created with capital and labor. In January 2018, the farm received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) in recognition for its “advanced technology to generate, store and distribute clean energy to its property and beyond.”
Stoltenberg studied Environmental Science and Engineering at Chico State University where he learned about watts, amps, ohms and more. His advanced education didn’t really begin until he arrived at Stone Edge 5 & ½ years ago. “What we have here is way beyond Electrical Engineering 101,” he says. When Stoltenberg started to work at Stone Edge, he was employed as an electrical technician for Wooster Energy, a company founded and owned and operated by Craig Wooster until his death in October 2017, after a career devoted to building sustainable energy systems.
“The micro-grid system we have now is not how we pictured it when we started,” Stoltenberg says. “When we began, we had an idea, but not a full system design. We built out modularly. As a result, the system we have is more complex than originally planned.”
Trenches had to be dug in hard ground; a vast infrastructure had to be created, including the arduous task of laying a trunk line made of copper. “Irrigation lines are everywhere underground,” Stoltenberg tells me. “They made it challenging to dig trenches.” There’s nothing like hard labor to get a job done.
Today, five years after the project began the Stone Edge micro-grid has eight solar arrays, a gas micro-turbine, battery and hydrogen energy storage and a micro-grid “controller” developed by the Heila Company. The controller might be described as a “translator” that blends and unifies the different “languages” that the individual energy sources “speak.”
When school kids come to Stone Edge to learn about the micro-grid, Stoltenberg uses examples and metaphors they grasp. “I think of the micro-grid as a pool,” he tells students. “Solar arrays are hoses feeding into the pool. Loads are drains drawing from the pool. The batteries we have are like sponges that store and provide energy. The goal is to balance generation, storage and usage so you don’t overflow or go dry.”
Stoltenberg can monitor the whole system and each separate component. “It’s agile and decentralized,” he says.
One of the incentives for producing hydrogen from the surplus solar energy in the micro-grid is a recent program initiated by the California State legislature that says that for every kilogram of hydrogen produced, the state offers a credit of $2.17.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, as it’s called, is administered through the California Air Resources Board (CARB). A website describes LCFS as “a fuel-neutral, market based program” that aims to reduce greenhouse gases from transportation fuels in California.
Stoltenberg says that, “The hydrogen component of the the micro-grid is crucial because it provides for long-term energy storage. It can be generated from renewables, like solar, when they’re available, and brought back to electricity, instantly, via a fuel cell when renewable resources are unavailable.”
Hydrogen has the potential to play a huge role in the future, Stoltenberg argues, as electrical and transportation industries are de-carbonized.
Will private citizens and businesses follow the trail that Mac McQuown, Craig Wooster, Ryan Stoltenberg and the team have blazed at Stone Edge? The short answer is yes. “What we have here is a demonstration project,” Stoltenberg tells me. Stone Edge has worked with Électricité de France (EDF), a utility giant based in Paris, and funded by the French government. (EDF is one of the world’s largest producers of energy.)
Stoltenberg adds that “Representatives from PG&E have also come to look and see. PG&E is not the enemy. We want to work with them and help them understand that micro-grids can be integrated into their existing system and play a beneficial role.”
The Stone Edge micro-grid hasn’t been duplicated anywhere. Nothing like it is on the shelf and ready for purchase, but Stoltenberg says it’s coming in the not-too distant future. The threat of disaster— whether from fire, drought, flood or earthquake—and the desire to reduce the global carbon footprint, and have zero emissions, will drive the new technology.
“At Stone Edge, we’re on the cutting edge of the energy future,” Stoltenberg says. “People who come here today can see what tomorrow will bring.” Indeed, visitors are impressed with Stone Edge’s fail-safe system that guarantees a constant supply of power. In a world threatened by energy shortages, the Stone Edge system, Stoltenberg says, “is a model for grid-wide modernization that could provide resilience and reliability for all.” Currently, it’s a luxury few can enjoy. Meanwhile, it’s reassuring to know it’s possible to live PG&E free.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: "With board support gained yesterday for ambulance/fire funding exploration, Supervisor John McCowen and I continued working with stakeholders, this time at Coast District Hospital. Much of the discussion today was outside the box as we envision how the EMS system would look if built from scratch today, as opposed to simply funding the existing model. A greater role for Fire in patient transport seems key to overall improvement. In the time it takes for an ambulance to reach a rural patient, often fire apparatus could deliver the patient to the hospital, cutting the overall pre-hospital time in half (to rendezvous with higher level service in route for the best time and level care)."
COME AND PRESS APPLES AT THE MARKET!
Apple pressing this Friday at the Boonville Farmers’ Market, 4:00-7:00. Bring your fruit, jars for the juice and a container to take away the refuse from your pressing.
Apples and pears work well, but most other summer fruits are too soft.
There will be people to help you get started if you haven’t used the Foodshed press before.
There can be a waiting line, so please don’t arrive after 6:00 expecting to be able to get your pressing done.
If you have questions, please email email@example.com
Bucket Ranch Strawberries
Bucket Ranch strawberries are coming on strong and they are SWEET and delicious! We are picking about 40-80 flats per week in Boonville, usually on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 707 845 3851 if you would like to buy any number of overfilled flats for $30 each (there are 12 pint baskets per flat). We are proudly Mendocnio Renegade Certified and these berries were grown organically. Time to stock your freezer for smoothies all year long!
Visit Velma's Farm Stand!
Velma’s Farm Stand at Filigreen is awash in:
- Early apples: Red Gravenstein, Ribston Pippin, Gala, Swiss Gourmet, Pink Pearl
- Pluots: Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Homey Punch
- Cantelope melon
- Tomatoes: Early Girl, Blush, Sungold, Sweet 100
- Hosui Asian pear
- Onions: Walla Walla Sweet
- The last of the Blueberries: Ozark Blue
Thank you for taking the time to let me know your concerns. I reached out to our construction staff, who reached out to the contractor. They are aware that the trucking subcontractor has had issues with some of its drivers, and have tried to address them. It is unfortunate that the asphalt must come from Ukiah, but the paving is almost complete and they will not be using that company anymore on this project.
As far as the 45 minute delay: If it occurred on Monday when there were extra long delays due to a worker injury that required an ambulance, but other than that they are not aware of any delays longer than 20 minutes. If you experience long delays again please contact me right away so that our construction staff can address the issue with the contractor.
Feel free to contact me anytime.
Phil Frisbie, Jr.
Chief of Public Information and Legislative Affairs
Caltrans District 1
From: Kirk Vodopals
Dear Mr. Frisbie,
It has been an arduous commute lately for myself and my wife. I regularly commute from Navarro to Willits via Highways 128 and 253. It's usually fairly brisk in the wee hours of the morning, but, come 5 o'clock, it gets downright stagnant. I'm used to the normal slidework on 253 and 101, but the paving work on Highway 128 is really taxing. I get to follow the asphalt trucks all the way over Highway 253 from Ukiah (some are gracious enough to pull over), then we all pile up near the Navarro Store and sit… for a while. My wife, on her way home from Philo last night, sat in line for 45 minutes! On the one hand we do appreciate the attention being paid to our neck of the woods, but it is perplexing that many of these segments were already paved recently. Just hoping there might be some way to keep the traffic moving a little more rapidly during the rush hours.
from the Deep End
CORCORAN PRISONER/AVA reader Jeff Harnden sends these fine pen&ink sketches (click to enlarge).
Harnden can be reached at:
Jeff Harnden H31120
D3-111 Sat F Prison
PO Box 5246
Corcoran, CA 93212
WIZARD OF ID MATH, PART II
Thursday morning, Supervisor Ted Williams commented on our report of the upcoming pot permit expansion the Supes approved on Tuesday. Williams first quoted from our report: “Supervisor Williams — who voted for the proposal in the hope that expanded grows will somehow magically result in ‘economic development…”
Williams replied: “Our role should be to protect property rights, protect the environment, prevent subsidy and avoid government intrusion. Attempting to rig the supply side in a state wide (and soon to be national) market is silly.”
Your role should also include not digging the County further into the red.
A little history:
Two and a half years ago, in March of 2017, in the early days of the current pot permit program when it was obvious even then that the County was spending more money on the pot permit program than was coming in, we asked CEO Angelo and her then-deputy CEO Alan Flora for a run-down of the pot permit budgeting and reporting process. (Apparently no one on the Board at the time was interested.)
Mr. Flora, a reasonably intelligent budget guy, speaking for the County, replied: “Currently the cannabis program is budgeted in the Agricultural Commissioner's budget (Budget Unit 2710). The program is budgeted separately from the traditional responsibilities of the Ag. Commissioner’s Office (internally), but it is not reflected separately in the County Budget. The FY 2017-18 Budget will include a separate budget unit for the cannabis program so the finances specific to that program are more externally transparent. The Board has not provided specific direction on reporting applications and/or costs, however we would envision the Ag. Commissioner reporting on the program during quarterly budget reports.”
The subsequent reporting never addressed the cost of the program and the permit info was downright lame with nothing but an oversimplied snapshot of how slowly permits were being processed with limited information as to why. There was no separate budget and nobody knew or cared how far the County was going into the hole on a new program that screamed for close oversight and reporting.
FLORA CONTINUED, “The Agricultural Commissioner's Office has estimated that with 350 applicants the annual program cost would be $745,832. The Board adopted fees in January that would cover these costs.”
Those “estimates” and fees were way off, of course, and they never came close to covering the costs of the program which expanded without any reporting or board approval.
Flora: “Of course this is somewhat of a moving target and adjustments will need to be made if the number of applicants fluctuates significantly from that estimate. For example, if the County receives 500 applications, the fee structure should still be valid as far as the amount of time required to process a single application, but the County may need to hire additional staff to handle the increased workload.”
Mr. Flora’s (and the rest of the County admin apparatus’s) expectations never came close to happening. The “hire additional staff” turned out to be a significant understatement. Initial permit applications were more than double what they expected and the “fee structure” came nowhere near covering the County’s fast-growing pot permit staffing costs.
ON JUNE 2, 2017, we quoted from the Final 2017-18 County Budget: “…The Board has also directed increased enforcement efforts to be managed through the Code Enforcement Program in Planning and Building Services. Code Enforcement positions are not funded by permit fees and therefore discretionary dollars from the cannabis tax are used to cover the increased costs of this program, including the cost of a full-time Deputy County Counsel and a 0.5 FTE Legal Secretary in the County Counsel’s Office to support the Code Enforcement Program. Similarly a new position in Public Health and a contract for public outreach regarding cannabis education [sic] are funded from cannabis tax dollars…” (Those were in addition to the other already-overstaffed positions.)
IN THE 2017/18 BUDGET, CEO Angelo insisted that the County will “Utilize a conservative approach to budgeting anticipated cannabis dollars, recognizing we are budgeting a new and unpredictable revenue stream.”
TO CEO ANGELO, “conservative” apparently meant a lot of pot permit hiring with no idea how it would be paid for. By that time the County had assigned to the pot permit program: two code enforcement officers, 1.5 lawyers, a hearing officer, 0.5 of a Human Resources Tech, and two public health staffers (one a nurse). Plus six Planning & Building staffers, three more public health staffers, a legal secretary, another human resources staffer, and three “Ag/Measurement Standards Specialists.” Or 14 full time pot program staffers plus six in "code enforcement." This staffing alone (not counting all their new trucks and facilities and office equipment and software) probably represented another $2 or $3 million in gross expenditures. (The County later estimated that it was closer to $3 million.) There have been additional, unreported, hires since then (not to mention the revolving door of managers and coordinators). And none of those hires came before the Supervisors for review or approval. As far as we know that staffing is still in place. Every department and their brother piled on — just like at the state level where the bureaucracy ballooned out of control.
NOW we’re told that the County is going to front an additional estimated $1 million for an EIR paperwork exercise to (theoretically) allow more pot to be grown so that the pot growers who want to grow more pot can cover the cost of this grossly over-staffed program AND cover the additional cost of the EIR. All without even a prediction of how many people might apply, what the fees would be, how long it all will take, how many will be approved (by County and state officials), when the repayment will reach $1 million, etc.
THE WIZARD OF ID still applies: Why does the County keep spending money tinkering with a money losing program that is fundamentally broken? Where’s the analysis that shows that the County will even get the $1 million back (a $1 million they don’t have) — especially in light of how wrong they’ve been so far?
This postcard is a puzzler in terms of where the photograph was shot. I think the spot is just south and east of Philo, looking east towards the upper reaches of Indian Creek. If so, an amusing caption, as most of the resorts of the time (Ray’s, The Pines, Van Zandt’s) were in the opposite direction (to the west, near where Anderson and Indian Creek join Rancheria Creek to create the Navarro River).
WHAT THE HECK IS CALTRANS doing on the west side of Highway 128 opposite Lindsay Clow's place? Destroying a goodly swathe of Clow pasture, and that's for a visible fact not only to passersby who marvel at the destruction but to Lindsay.
IT'S COMPLICATED, but years ago Big Orange bought the property from Lindsay's dad, the late Jim Clow, for the purpose of adding another link in the couple of miles of expressway punched through from Boonville almost to the Clow place in the 1960s. But CalTrans halted construction of the expressway short of the Clow property. Jim and Bernice Clow tried to buy the parcel back but CalTrans wouldn't return the property to them, the rightful owners.
JIM AND BERNICE CLOW, Lindsay's parents, however galling it assuredly was to them, subsequently arranged a life lease with CalTrans for what had been their own property. "As soon as mom died," Lindsay recalls, "they essentially said the deal has ended, and now they're taking all the toxic dirt they can't use for landfills and putting it down across the road from me." And, Lindsay fumes, they're doing a sloppy job of it. "Where all those trucks are coming in and out, I can’t ride my bike on the oncoming traffic side of the road all the way to Morgan's [Morgan Baynham] because of all the rocks in the road."
WHICH is the least of the damage done. Lindsay points out that while the Clows still own the far half of the parcel, CalTrans has destroyed perfectly good pasture that comprises the front half of the property. "And it will all drain into the creek eventually," Lindsay laments, "because it was a good pasture they've put all that trash dirt on, and it all drains towards the creek."
LINDSAY concludes with half a joke. "You know what it takes to be a Caltrans engineer? You have to flunk at least two IQ tests." But he says, not laughing, "this is typical of CalTrans; they're too uninvolved in our community to give a rat's ass what they do to us here They get a free pass. A private contractor couldn't get away with it."
MY BRIEF HISTORY of early Mendo seems to have twanged more than the ordinary number of sensitivities. I think most of us understand that in the context of pure evil such as the state-funded extermination of the Indians of the Eel River Basin, and the untold numbers of other murders of the indigenous peoples of the Northcoast by the first wave of white settlers, there were also white people who behaved honorably, even courageously given the dominance of ruthless killers of the George White-Walter Jarboe types, not to mention Serranus Hastings after whom the illustrious law school is named. It was Hastings who arranged state funding for Jarboe's Eel River Rangers. But it was outraged white alarm that compelled the Lincoln Administration to send troops to Fort Bragg, Covelo and other remote areas of the Northcoast to protect Indians from the multiplicities of outrages being committed against them.
SOME YEARS AGO I received a sputteringly indignant phone call from an elderly resident of the Anderson Valley objecting to my characterization of the mission-era Spanish soldiers who raided the Anderson Valley for mission labor as, essentially, slave raiders, while the padres characterized it as the saving of souls. The caller said I was completely wrong, that the Spaniards had not only befriended the Indians but were also good friends with her ancestors! (The Spanish incursions into Mendocino County have gone, I believe, unrecorded, but there are faint whispers that their soldiers did visit the Anderson Valley, and we know they got as far north as the Ukiah Valley.) History can be painful, but delusion is dangerous, and it's the delusion represented by the Grace Hudson Museum, for handy example, that distorts the reality of what happened here. Generations of children annually herded through the Grace Hudson probably come away with the vague impression "That once upon a time the six miles of fast food franchises we've grown up in were occupied by clever brown people who didn't wreck anything and were real good at making baskets. Then, like, State Street happened."
FAVE BOOK REVIEW, from Field and Stream, November, 1959:
"Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been reissued by Grove Press, and this fictional account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is still of considerable interest to outdoors-minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savor these sidelights on the management of a Midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer's opinion, the book cannot take the place of J.R. Miller's Practical Gamekeeper."
REMEMBER THE SLIDES AT PLAYLAND AT THE BEACH
MY PARENTS used to leave my brother and I at Playland at the Beach for the day whenever we visited San Francisco in the 50s. They didn’t have any concern about leaving us alone there, even though there was some risk of injury on some of the rougher rides. Most of the attractions didn’t even have attendants. The funhouse was our favorite: The Hall Of Mirrors, the rotating cylinder you tried to walk or run through, the shifting stairs, the air steps, the giant slide, the spinning table, the laughing fat lady with the distorted voice, and on and on.
One time my brother and I were on the way out walking down the wide entrance/exit lane with giant attractions on both sides when we heard a barker yelling at a small crowd of men.
One of the attractions was the “high striker” where you’re supposed to swing a giant mallet onto a small board and if you’re strong enough you can shoot the metal block up a wire to ring the bell. We didn’t know that it was rigged at the time, of course. Several swarthy men were standing around as the barker taunted them to “Test Your Strength! Win a cigar!” It cost 10 cents for three swings, I think. The men were taking turns wailing away without success. I was about 12 or 13 at the time. The barker pointed at me as we passed shouting, “I’ll bet that kid can hit the bell! Hey kid, get over here. I’ll give you three free swings!” Why not? I swung as hard as I could and the block shot up the wire and hit the bell with a loud DING! “See how easy it is?! This kid can ring it! Come on boys, keep trying!” The barker handed me a large stogie as my prize. I hid it under my shirt and took it home. A few days later I went out behind the garage and lit it up and took several deep puffs, not knowing that you weren’t supposed breathe much if any of the smoke in. I nearly choked but kept on puffing trying to prove my manliness but only choking more. The next day I came down with a bad flu which I attributed to the cigar. I was sick for almost a week. That was the first and last time I ever smoked anything, pot included. Even the thought of intentionally inhaling smoke sickens me to this day.
I later learned, as the above diagram shows, that the “high striker” is rigged with an adjustable tension wire which can be tightened or loosened depending on where the barker puts his foot. The more the tension the less vibration as the block goes up and the easier it is for the block to hit the bell. Obviously, I was a useful prop for the barker, but I benefited from the experience by being permanently scared away from smoking for life. Maybe the anti-cig/anti-vaping brigades should bring back the high striker. Worked for me.
NO TO THIS LOCATION FOR CANNASEURS
Re: Wine Country Cannasseurs Waiver Request
(The Ukiah Planning Commission Wednesday considered granting a waiver for a cannabis microbusiness on Smith Street in Ukiah that would allow it to operate in the same building as a church near downtown Ukiah. The meeting at which the Planning Commission will consider the waiver for this business was at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 in the City Council chambers at 300 Seminary Ave.)
I am writing as I was unable to attend the meeting. I do hope the Ukiah Planning Commission will hear my concerns and include them.
I do not think the Cannasseurs are in a good location for their business, not only are they near a church but the only public library in town which is frequented by school children.
Liquor Stores and Wineries would not be licensed in this center of town location and the same deference should be used when Canna businesses apply.
More than this, the property in question is not even fully rented yet and the landlord has operated with some very unethical premises.
I have been a client of Headlines for 14 years and the owner is a single woman is a struggling small business owner trying to make a go of things.
She is an excellent and hardworking hairdresser and her landlord has done many things that appear to be illegal. For instance, he advertised her unit as a rental and promised it to the Wine country Cannasseurs, without telling her and she had absolutely no intention of leaving. She spent a great deal of money renovating a shoddy space and making it into a lovely salon.
At one time about 4 years ago, she and her partner tried to sell the business. At this time the landlord told her that if she sold it sucessfully, he would have to collect thousands of dollars in past rent (for rent he did not raise). This sounds very fishy and the type of thing a slumlord would try on a naive tenant. I was appalled.
She then pulled it off the market, but was shocked when Jay Donnelly walked in with his contractor with no introduction while she had customers and started measuring her space. He had been told by the landlord that he could rent her space. Ms. Gonzalves had never been notified. This invasion of her property space is certainly illegal.
Mr. Gitlan, the landlord has tried many ways of intimidating her into leaving her business and she struggles to remain. Apparently, a white car drives by several times a day, and the people in it have come up and watched through the windows. (not very professional ). He calls her and hangs up and also comes and looks through the windows constantly and stands by the door. It is obvious he is hoping the business is not doing well and she will have to move and leave the business which she spent 14 years building. Is it legal to try and rent a space that is occupied and the owner has not been advised without asking. I think not.
I can tell you if anyone is looking for a fabulous hairdresser, Eloisa Gonsalves is wonderful. She also does wonderful facials! I am distressed that a landlord like Gitlan can get away with all of this intimidation and illegal trespassing. The Wine Country Cannasseurs are applying for a license (major use permit) on a property they do not even occupy. How is this possible?
Mary J. Wilson
2020 CENSUS MENDOCINO COUNTS
The jobs will last for about a year. Salaries start at $16.50 to $18.00 an hour, with mileage reimbursement and flexible hours. You must be an American citizen, have a social security number, and be able to pass a background check for the past 5 years. Info and application at: https://www.2020census.gov/en/jobs
WILLIE GARRETT, a longtime educator, helped stage in 1962 Santa Rosa's first sit-in, helping to end segregation in Sonoma County restaurants.
BEWARE INTERNET RENTAL SCAMS
MSP received this press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff Office Thursday @ 3:06 pm:
“On Thursday, August 29th, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies assigned to the Coast Sector were dispatched to contact a resident in the 17000 block of Turner Road in Fort Bragg.
The resident, advised deputies that he had located an ad on the website Craigslist for an apartment rental in the Village of Mendocino. The price of the rental was more than reasonable and the victim responded to the ad. Once the response was initiated, the unidentified suspect sent the victim a rental/lease agreement that asked for person identifying information to include the victims social security number. The victim completed the agreement and sent it to the suspect via a cell phone messaging and outside the website that had the property listed.
The victim became suspicious and requested identification of the suspect to which the suspect sent an image of an Arizona drivers license.
After further suspicion, the victim conducted his own research and was able to make contact with the actual owner of the property for lease and learned it was not currently available. The victim then contacted credit agencies to place an alert on his credit.
Deputies were able to determine that the phone number used for communication was an internet based VOIP line registered to an unlisted person in Jacksonville Florida and the email address was fraudulent as well.
Upon researching the Arizona Drivers license, the license was altered and was found to be fraudulent.
Upon further research, there had been a similar incident on August 28th, where a resident of another county in California discovered that someone was using her rental property on Ward Avenue in the Fort Bragg area for a Craigslist scam as well. This person contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and this was documented under incident #2019-25851
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to remind the residence and visitors of Mendocino County to be very cautious in responding to online rental ads and providing personal identifying information on rental agreements, especially when communication is done outside the main website via text or email. For further information on Cyber Crimes and scams, please review the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/on-the-internet
In most cases, the suspects are from overseas and they are taking advantage of the relative ease of communication over the internet to obtain identifying information and or money fraudulently.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, AUGUST 29, 2019
ROBERT BASS, Ukiah. Vehicle registration tampering, suspended license (for DUI), no license, probation revocation.
DEANDRE BRAZIEL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
EMANUEL CALVILLO, Rohnert Park. DUI, probation revocation.
LAUREN FAUMUINA, Clearlake/Ukiah. Parole violation.
RENEE FOX, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
DAVID GRAY, Lodi/Covelo. Under influence, resisting.
JACOB HEATH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JOSEPH HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
DUSTIN MARKS, Hilmark/Willits. Parole violation.
ERIC MISKEY, Monterey/Ukiah. Assault on peace officer, evasion with reckless driving, resisting, offenses while on bail.
RYAN PADGETT, Laytonville. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
CODY WILLIAMS, Covelo. Probation revocation.
THE PRIMARY CONTRADICTION: Corporate Power vs. Progressive Populism
by Norman Solomon
For plutocrats, this summer has gotten a bit scary. Two feared candidates are rising. Trusted candidates are underperforming. The 2020 presidential election could turn out to be a real-life horror movie: A Nightmare on Wall Street.
“Wall Street executives who want Trump out,” Politico reported in January, “list a consistent roster of appealing nominees that includes former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California.”
But seven months later, those “appealing nominees” don’t seem appealing to a lot of voters. Biden’s frontrunner status is looking shaky, while other Wall Street favorites no longer inspire investor confidence: Harris is stuck in single digits, Booker is several points below her, and Gillibrand just dropped out of the race.
Meanwhile, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are drawing large crowds and rising in polls. In pivotal early states like Iowa and especially New Hampshire, reputable poll averages indicate that Biden is scarcely ahead.
“Bankers’ biggest fear” is that “the nomination goes to an anti-Wall Street crusader” like Warren or Sanders, Politico reported, quoting the CEO of a “giant bank” who said: “It can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders. It has to be someone centrist and someone who can win.”
But the very biggest fear among corporate elites is that Warren or Sanders could win—and then use the presidency to push back against oligarchy. If Biden can’t be propped up, there’s no candidate looking strong enough to stop them.
Biden, Warren and Sanders, as the New York Times reported on Wednesday, are “a threesome that seems to have separated from the rest of the primary field.” In fourth place, national polling averages show, Harris is far behind.
Biden’s distinguished record of servicing corporate America spans five decades. He is eager to continue that work from the Oval Office, but can he get there? A week ago, a Times headline noted reasons for doubt: “Joe Biden’s Poll Numbers Mask an Enthusiasm Challenge.” Enthusiasm for Biden has been high among Democratic-aligned elites, but not among Democratic-aligned voters.
While corporate news organizations—and corporate-enmeshed “public” outlets like NPR News and the PBS NewsHour—evade primary contradictions, Sanders directly hammers at how huge corporations are propelling media bias and undermining democracy.
Even though he has inspired media onslaughts—such as the now-notorious 16 anti-Sanders articles published by the Washington Post in a pivotal 16-hour period during the 2016 primary contest—the Sanders campaign is so enormous that even overtly hostile outlets must give him some space. In an op-ed piece he wrote that the Post published seven weeks ago, Sanders confronted Biden’s wealth-fondling approach.
Under the headline “The Straightest Path to Racial Equality Is Through the One Percent,” Sanders quoted a statement from Biden: “I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason why we’re in trouble.” Sanders responded, “I respectfully disagree”—and he went on to say: “It is my view that any presidential candidate who claims to believe that black lives matter has to take on the institutions that have continually exploited black lives.”
Such insight about systemic exploitation is sacrilege to the secular faith of wealth accumulation that touts reaching billionaire status as a kind of divine ascension. Yet Sanders boldly challenges that kind of hollowness, shedding a fierce light on realities of corporate capitalism.
“Structural problems require structural solutions,” Sanders pointed out in his Post article, “and promises of mere ‘access’ have never guaranteed black Americans equality in this country… ‘Access’ to health care is an empty promise when you can’t afford high premiums, co-pays or deductibles. And an ‘opportunity’ for an equal education is an opportunity in name only when you can’t afford to live in a good school district or to pay college tuition. Jobs, health care, criminal justice and education are linked, and progress will not be made unless we address the economic systems that oppress Americans at their root.”
Like many other progressives, I continue to actively support Sanders as a candidate who bypasses euphemisms, names ultra-powerful villains—and directly challenges those in power who’ve been warping and gaming the economic systems against working-class people.
Those systems are working quite nicely for the ultra-rich, like the giant bank CEO who told Politico that “it can’t be Warren and it can’t be Sanders.” That’s the decision from Wall Street. The decision from Main Street is yet to be heard.
(Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched independent Bernie Delegates Network. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.)
HOWEVER [POLITICAL PARTIES] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
— George Washington, Farewell Address, Saturday, September 17, 1796
via Harvey Reading: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/one-day-long-gone/
TRUMP'S NATIONAL SOCIALISM
Led by President Donald Trump, Republicans have repeatedly attacked Democrats as democratic socialists. But this past week, Trump leaped ahead calling for full-blown Soviet-style state socialism! A few days ago, he tweeted: “Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for alternatives to China …” Such core Republican axioms as free enterprise and free markets have been abandoned by Supreme Commander Trump.
Always claiming that he alone can make American great again, Trump has just replaced Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” of competitive market forces with his “invisible fist.”
Where are the Republicans who should be loudly decrying Trump’s embrace of state socialism as he orders American companies to immediately follow his commands? Perhaps those Democrats advocating for more democratic socialism, but not Trump-style command socialism, aren’t so scary after all.
SEPTEMBER 2019 FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK IN UKIAH
Art Center Ukiah 201 S State Street ”Well-Traveled Quilt Show.” Local artists share quilts inspired by travel. Art quilts or traditional, representational and abstract are represented. There is nothing like travel to stimulate the urge to do art. Opening reception Friday September 6 5pm - 8 pm, exhibit through September 28, 2019. Refreshments and music by Steve Winkle.
Enoteca Wine Bar 106 W Church Street will feature art by Chat Ko
Grace Hudson Museum 431 S Main Street If you’ve been looking for a reason to come see the Museum’s new exhibition, Stitching California: Fiber Artists Interpret the State’s People, Life, and Land, then why not plan to stop by during the September 6 First Friday Art Walk. The Museum will be open from 5:00 to 8:00 that evening and admission is free. The artwork in the show is truly stunning and explores the Golden State from many different angles: natural beauty, protecting the environment, threat of wildfire and other natural disasters, water, traffic, atomic research, outdoor recreation, the cost of housing, the politics of food, the state’s rich ethnic diversity. Try the Stitching California audio tour that you can access on your phone; you’ll get to hear each artist talk about their creation. Or purchase the fully illustrated exhibition catalog and follow the audio tour later in the comfort of your own home. All the Museum’s exhibit galleries will be open, as well as the Wild Gardens.
Craft Distillers 108 W Clay St Visit the Museum to see the featured one of a kind art pieces
Moonstonegold Studio 104 W Church Street — Open Studio
And much more…
HIT THE DIRT FIRST
To the Editor:
After listening to Sixty Minutes this evening and the recent Gilroy shooting news I can no longer be still.
“First of all, I am in total support verbally and financially of our brave cops on the street!”
But! I am totally embarrassed for the “Chiefs” to stand before the TV cameras with their shiny four stars on their collars, men and women by the way, telling us what they’re going to do.
It took General Patton, who spent his life in the Army, had but three stars on his collar, dirty and sweaty, and defeated half of Hitler’s army, before he was considered worthy of standing before the news people.
Not one of the “chiefs”, have I ever heard say, “When you hear that first shot ‘Hit the dirt, floor or whatever you’re at.’ Do not start running, or standing up, as the boyfriend of the girl that was killed said they did (on Sixty Minutes).
Ask any soldier or Marine that has been to war, one of the first things trained to do. Whether the bullets are going over your head or at your feet. You hit the dirt and see how small a target you can make yourself. And you hope and pray that there’s hole that can be crawled into.
You do a wonderful job Chiefs, assuring the people harmed that your men will catch the shooter and see to it that they are punished for what they did. “Dream on” the first words out of our new Gov. was “we will have no execution while I’m Governor.”
But what do I know, I was just a lowly corporal in the 1st Marine division that spent 22 months in the Pacific, during WWII, battling Japan Army all the way to Okinawa.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I pray you will never have to “Hit the dirt.”
Ed Busch, USMC, WWII
DEMOCRAT, REPUBLICAN, OR SOUTHERNER?
Here is a little test that will help you decide..
The answer can be found by posing the following question:
You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Kimber 1911 cal. 45 ACP, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.
What do you do?
Democrat's Answer: Well, that's not enough information to answer the question! … What is a Kimber 1911 cal. 45 ACP? … Does the man look poor or oppressed? … Is he really a terrorist? Am I guilty of profiling? … Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? … Could we run away? … What does my wife think? … What about the kids? … Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children? … I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus. … This is all so confusing!
Republican's Answer: BANG!
Southerner's Answer: BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG ! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click….. (Sounds of reloading) BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!BANG!BANG! Click. Daughter: “Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?” Son: “Can I shoot the next one?” Wife: “You are not taking that to the Taxidermist!”
GIVEN RUSSIA'S LONG, HEARTLESS WINTERS, its familiarity with famine, its rough sense of justice, and so on, and so on, it was perfectly natural for its gentry to adopt an act of definitive violence as the means of resolving disputes. But in the Count's considered opinion, the reason that dueling prevailed among Russian gentlemen stemmed from nothing more than their passion for the glorious and grandiose. True, duels were fought by convention at dawn in isolated locations to ensure the privacy of the gentlemen involved. But were they fought behind ash-heaps or in scrapyards? Of course not! They were fought in a clearing among the birch trees with a dusting of snow. Or on the banks of a winding rivulet. Or at the edge of a family estate where the breezes shake the blossoms from the trees…that is, they were fought in settings that one might have expected to see in the second act of an opera. In Russia, whatever the endeavor, if the setting is glorious and the tenor grandiose, it will have its adherents. In fact over the years, as the locations for duels became more picturesque and the pistols more finely manufactured, the best-bred men proved willing to defend their honor over lesser and lesser offenses. So while dueling may have begun as a response to high crimes -- to treachery, treason, and adultery -- by 1900 it had tiptoed down the stairs of reason until they were being fought over the tilt of a hat, the duration of a glance, or the placement of a comma.
In the old and well-established code of dueling, it is understood that the number of paces the offender and offended take before shooting should be in inverse proportion to the magnitude of the insult. That is, the most reprehensible affront should be resolved by a duel of the fewest paces, to ensure that one of the two men will not leave the field of honor alive. Well, if that was the case, concluded the Count, then in the new era, the duels should have been fought at no less than ten thousand paces. In fact, having thrown down the gauntlet, appointed seconds, and chosen weapons, the offender should board a steamer bound for America as the offended boards another for Japan where, upon arrival, the two men could don their finest coats, descend their gangplanks, turn on the docks, and fire.
— Amor Towles, 2016; from "A Gentleman in Moscow"
ATHLETICS PLAYER LIAM HENDRIKS SLAMS GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: 'THEY TREATED US LIKE SH*T'
MEASLES CASES ARE ON THE RISE in Europe, WHO Says
Europe has a bigger problem with dumb thinking than the USA has. And it's not just with imagined risks associated with being vaccinated. Resurgence comes as the U.S. faces the worst outbreak since it declared the disease eliminated in 2000
TRUMP 2020: BE VERY AFRAID
America is the first country to ever elect a Mad King, and the way things are going, we may be dumb enough to do it twice
FAVORITE RIDE: THE HEAD RIDE (PART 1 OF 4)
by Denis Rouse
It’s May 1, Sunday, May Day I think it’s called, the next Sunday if it comes in these tendentious times is May 8 Mother’s Day, but since my mother has long since gone to her early reward she didn’t deserve it’s this Sunday the first of May that is the subject of our current focus. Canadian friend Paul who lives 90 miles west in Redding, an intelligent pilot/mechanic/hockey puck to whom I’ve referred previously in a Favorite Ride piece I scrolled for you few of Rider’s sensitive intelligent discerning readers who still mourn the day I escaped from Rider Magazine’s publisher’s seat not before a certain unpleasant executive of the new corporate owners whose body language suggested that of someone named Lurch stood over me as I cleaned out my desk drawers, he observing the operation with professional if disturbing aplomb like I was guilty of something. In truth I was innocent but guilty of association with unsavory individuals at least one of whom was a member of my family. My father always told me this would lead to trouble. But this is getting afield of our favorite ride story. The point is its May 1 after a very long winter of immoderate drinking and short days and long dark nights of two qualities disappearing quickly in America as we speak, peace and quiet. The gender ambiguous weatherperson on TV says it’s going to be a beautiful spring day, “nice” it calls it. I want to scream at the TV, “What do you mean by “nice” jerkoff? Is this a weather report or a PR stunt to mollify the masses? Paul calls from Redding, the frenetic Shasta County seat on the Sacramento River where it is very clear, we, the sentient few who mourn what has been happening to this country for the last forty years, are doomed. Ride down here Saturday, he says, we’ll crash at my place on Poverty Flats, we’ll get up in the morning and drink my famous crank coffee and then I’ll show you some roads east of here that’ll be like medicine I need very badly. Paul needs medicine because his wife of sixteen years, who he loved totally, who he regarded as his best friend, she who rode as aggressively and adroitly as he does, suddenly recently left him with no explanation beyond “I felt like I was alone with you”. Paul asks me, “What did she mean by that?” I offer, “Yo Paul, Freud went to his grave trying to figure out what a woman wants and he never did figure it out and you want me, a very fucked-up neurotic Jewish guy who has failed with women forever to give you the lowdown? I’m in the dark as much as you are on this subject, bruddah, so where are we riding?
Turns out we are riding away thank God from Redding, east from contempo coitus interruptus golfer-friendly Wal-Marted Mall Land Redding where nice white people drive like they’re on speed or equally efficacious and quite legal brain-deadening drugs prescribed, mind you, by their fucking doctors, where a once coherent downtown is now a stifling maze of one-way streets, where Cypress Avenue, the main drag that crosses The River (O Sacramento to whom I have actually love-lettered in my previous work) is actually a terrifying elongated auto mall bordered by the gruesome overblown architecture of the New City Hall with that ghastly artless fountain out front, it perhaps Northern California’s grandest monument to our soulless Big Brothers (thank you G. Orwell) busily spiritually and economically vacuuming the lives of millions. Yes, we ride away from Redding into the grand green watershed of Mount Lassen where the road is the wondrous dipping diving rising curvaceous humping thing we know and love, where it crosses creeks still alive with rushing snowmelt, where the trees are bursting with May’s wet fecundity, where history pulls like a goddamn draft horse, where from a road shoulder perhaps two thousand feet above the Sacramento Valley a rider can pause, remove his helmet, and observe a staggering view of California’s mother river, her largest river (El Rio del Sacramento early Spanish explorers called her) and choose (or not) to mourn a little for her, she who has been left nearly bereft of her once profound natural state including one of the great riverine fisheries in the world, by a hundred and fifty years of human caused pollution. I’m not making this up; you can Google it on Wikipedia and remember Walt Kelly’s Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us”. I realize this is getting off negative in first gear but that’s the trouble with an article entitled “The Head Ride” because riding and thinking isn’t always a box of chocolates, it’s more often like a mixed bag of nuts.
Fear not, though. Your ex-publisher is merely older and wiser here, and the truth is that he rides and therefore he is. French philosophers aren’t usually your writer’s cup of cognac, but it’s indeed the thinking part that’s the bitch, especially here, because riding bud Paul is in obvious discord, and every time we pause, like on the little bridge over Ash Creek on Wildcat Road to observe the freshet, to fully inhale the organic vitality of it under a dripping emergent canopy of oak and alder and willow, there is the sense that Paul is preoccupied with something else, about why?, about the big question, the big Why can a woman who he loved and trusted like a soul mate run away like a deer in alarm? I try to tell him, Paul, she really didn’t run away like a deer in alarm, she’s been thinking deeply personal thoughts you had no idea about for years, while you’ve been acting things out like the man you are, like the responsible, impatient, cognitive, mercurial, analytic, conservative, maddening, thoughtful, rational, obsessive, dependable, compulsive, predictable, intolerant, capable, brilliant, fun guy you are. What was she thinking? Here’s all I know: She was unhappy with something connected with who you are down to your scrapple, and if you had a handle on what it is you would sigh in relief because you would then know there’s no fix for that, you aren’t ever going to be Mr. Beige Conventional Nice Guy if you reincarnate for four million years. Should she have been honest with you ten years ago when there were first shadows in the room? Yes, of course, but hear Professor Schlemiel: Women don’t do that. Instead they endure their woeful pain in private silence (usually when they’re bathing in candlelight in the bathroom with the door securely locked) and then they, in the parlance of obnoxious practitioners of pop psych, they “shut down”, they get solace from venal sources like Oprah or Trinity Broadcasting Network with Paul and Jan, and you’re as over and out as last year’s trashbag. Onward, bruddah, the road and the wind and that uber responsive machine between your legs and the bounty of nature is your solace, as well as is the fact there’s no shortage of other fine female company out there in Toonerville.
Ok, faithful readers, back to the ride even though I know you’re already fascinated by Paul’s issue. Maybe we’ll get back to it. The night before the ride at his house on Poverty Flats Paul turned a barbecuing chicken into a torch and then when ash blew into the house Paul immediately set to housecleaning with his Consumer Report’s top-approved CR-awarded vacuum cleaner and then didn’t feel like eating much chicken, for sure to my delight, because then there was more for me and despite the torching, hell maybe because of it, the chicken was a smoky crispy-skin juice ball, near the best I ever had, proving once again that O/C disorder has its upside. My 90-mile ride to Redding from home in Big Valley on Highway 299W, soaring up and over two mountain ranges as it does, and then snaking through one gorgeous riverine canyon wherein the road is so shaped, is always a thing of joy particularly amidst the bursting beauty of May although I must add quickly this May of 2011 has featured enough snow, rain, hail and sub-freezing temperatures to give the most ardent lib-lab global warming theorists to further reflect on the grand question, Are our puny asses affecting the eons-old weather patterns of the planet? See: Permian and Cretaceous Extinctions. We weren’t there then warming things up. As you can see by the photos herewith it’s not just weight gain and chronology challenge that has me looking like the Michelin Man, it’s because I’ve got everything I own on while knocking at the front door of summer.
Whenever I ride by Terry Mill Road on 299 atop Hatchet Mountain I recall the namesake of a big lumber mill that was falling trees up here in 1872 and shooting logs and lumber down an amazing wooden flume sometimes bridged ninety feet above the canyon floor for thirty two miles all the way down the mountain to another mill in Bella Vista in the Sac Valley. This strikes me as an achievement comparable to that of the engineers of the Roman aqueducts. One Big Valley elder here tells me there are remnants of the flume still to be seen “but it’s a hike”. Sadly, even though the thought fetches me, I’m too old to hike, especially if it’s too close to five o’clock. Further down the canyon there is this surreal little place signed on the highway as “Ingot, Pop 30” whereupon you see upstream of a dilapidated auto wrecking business where you might hear dueling banjos were you to arrive at the wrong time of day there is a sight that always gives me stoppage, the ruins across the creek of the Afterthought Copper Mine and Smelter that was producing the big mineral that replaced gold in 1897 in Shasta County. This haunting remnant inscribes a time when toxic smoke from the copper smelters was killing every green thing it touched for as far as thirty miles away. The farmers especially were freaking. Democracy finally kicked in. Public outcry closed down this environmental catastrophe in 1919, but look closely at the evil-looking tint of the chemical rivulet that’s running out of the mine right now as we speak into Cedar Creek that of course then inlets The Sacramento. Paul thinks I’m always overstating man-caused destruction of God’s green earth (whoops, sorry, I should also mention he’s a confirmed atheist) and invariably adds something like, get over it, we may be toast but the river will eventually be fine. He always makes me feel so much better with his overarching optimism. I’ve read of another manner in which logs were once delivered from the mountain here. It involved crews of courageous men who had to have balls the size of cantaloupes. They rode log booms down to the valley on the wild white water of the Pit River where there was no saving a man if he went into the drink. Hear this from the journal of Jim Carney, one of these tungsten tough white water buckaroos who lived in Montgomery Creek at the time: “We were raised in the north woods where fighting men grew thrifty and wild. I myself came from French and Irish descent, the devil’s own child along with the rest of the river drivers. They could all fight hard, drink whiskey like water. It was customary to fight in those days and a good many of the devils had a chip on their shoulders. The miners especially hated the lumberjacks and the jacks hated the miners. They would get into town and be drinking at the bar. Some miner would holler “timberrrrr!” as an insult and the fight would be in action right now. God, how they used to go at one another, the blood would fly and they would knock enough meat off each other to feed all the stray dogs in town”.
The morning Paul and I take off from his extremely tidy three bedroom home in Redding situated on a lovely hilltop cul-de-sac, hardly “Poverty Flats” as he terms it (chalk his faux negativity up to desiccated Vancouver Island humor), the weather doesn’t look promising, it’s fifty something degrees and a stiff southeast wind feels like it’s blowing in something cold and wet. Me, I don’t care, I’m not crazy about riding in a downpour, but the expectation of a fragrant May rain freighted with the unmistakable gravid scent of renewal? I say, Bring it on. Paul, however, is not so inclined; I know he’s not fond of getting himself and his surgically immaculate Suzuki SV 650 untidy. So there’s some anxiety at the start, I can feel his desire to get this ride done before the sky unloads. Thus when we approach a right turn to begin coursing a road named for the Millville Plains, a sprawling rolling grassland of haunting beauty, where the sensuous road dance of the ride, the one you live-to-ride-ride-to-live moto fruits know so well, begins to approach the ethereal, I turn left instead because first I want to check out the old Shasta County settlement of Millville that was lively in the 1850’s with hotels, saloons, shops, livery stables, a church, school, flour mill and of course at least two attorneys. I can feel Paul’s impatience but he caves kindly to my desire to see what’s left of old Millville, and what’s left isn’t “lively” but rather an enticing tableau of obviously unhurried peaceful country life, of old homesteads half hidden by burgeoning Irish greenery, and wind rush in the trees, and Old Cow Creek burbling under the bridge. And this fetching local remnant from Dottie Smith’s Dictionary of Early Shasta County History: “A bull and bear fight was held here during the early Civil War years of the 1860’s on a flat toward Clover Creek to which a large crowd of men attended (women were excluded). The bull was named Jeff Davis and the bear Abe Lincoln. The bull gored the bear to death. Betting was heavy and patriotism ran high. The crowd lined up on whichever side their sympathies were, and the fist fight that followed made the combat between bull and bear look like a very mild affair”. Ah yes, the Romans again. Miss Smith, take a letter to Professor Darwin. Dear Charles, are you sure you’re right about this evolution thing? Warm Regards, D.M. Rouse.
Millville Plains Road becomes Dersch Road (named for an early settler whose wife was killed by Indians in 1866 when she was 35, resulting in vengeance, according to Dottie Smith’s writings, resulting in “the killing of untold numbers of Indians at Jelly’s Ferry, Cottonwood and Millville Indian Rancherias in retaliation”), and then Millville Plains Road becomes Wildcat Road as it ascends higher into the great range of mountains that borders the Sacramento Valley to the east. Here it is clear what has replaced mining and logging in Shasta County for we see the world’s fattest cattle grazing on rangeland undulating with rich grass that’s up to their poopiks. The road courses through pastures lined with mile-long walls of lava rock, impressive walls three feet thick and five feet high, walls built by someone or someones who have mastered the art of freemasonry. These walls require more research in order for your writer to bring them to you more fully, but I believe they are the result of wealthy white back-to-the-land people hiring brown people who never left the land who are related however distantly to the brilliant rock masons whose art can be still be seen in many regions of highland Peru. The road rises, the road winds, the road hides in captivating fashion through copses of oaks, and then we reach the abbreviated hamlet of Manton, where the local head rancher shot the last Grizzly bear in 1894, where (more happily) there is the Manton Store that dates back to then, that was later run by Les and Lena Childs through two world wars and the Great Depression (1916-1945), during hard times when Les said, as is memorialized in stone at the front door, “No one will go hungry as long as I own the store”. Les, if Yahweh can deliver my message to you in heaven, it’s this: We need you in Washington like right now Brah.
Riding behind fifty-something Paul as he ascends the six mile series of esses of Wilson Hill Road that rises in challenging tight serpentine fashion from Manton up to Shingletown I see again what a smooth gifted rider he is. I know he’s considerately moderating his pace but I’m still at moments scaring myself to death trying to keep him in sight on a road that demands full attention, no sightseeing. I know from personal experience that the biggest mistake a rider can make is failing to maintain a pace within one’s own limits and so wisdom that comes from the pain of a past get-off I cannot forget kicks in and urges me to slow down a notch or two and ride within my comfort level, a pace that’s risky enough at my advanced age, 69 going on 70 physically, but 69 going on 21 spiritually, the latter condition especially dangerous and inimical to anything like moderation. In Shingletown I’m disappointed to see the giant horse and ox-powered big wheel logging machine that levered up and loaded logs six foot thick in 1902 when Shingletown mills were pumping out ten million board feet of lumber in a season, is no longer there, gone, a major symbol of the town’s history gone and no one I talked to there seemed to care a whit. Is this what this country’s coming to? When no one gives a whit about the past? Tell me when the train stops at Willoughby, I want off. Paul and I know from a prior that the Shingletown Café here is owned by a Mexican family and that their homemade tamales for breakfast are to scream for. I say, Paul let’s do it buddy. Paul declines, says he’s good, not hungry. Wait Brah, you were just on this bracing ride with me and you’re not hungry just looking over there at the Shingletown Café where you know Mama’s tamales are to scream for? But I know what Paul’s thinking, he’s seeing way too many vehicles in the parking lot there, he’s thinking, No way Jose can I deal with a dense crowd of tourists in there and overhear those unbearable conversations and those screaming kids and try to enjoy my meal in such cloying conditions. In this instance I deem it wise to defer to Paul’s mood and so we rode off.
From Shingletown Ponderosa Road juts north on a circuitous course that connects with Highway 299 where Paul and I will head home in separate directions, he west to (shudder) Redding, me east to (sort of shudder) Big Valley, but not before I get a pre-prepared tuna sandwich from the cold shelves in the old store at Whitmore where settlement began in the 1860’s and then apparently screeched to a halt thereafter no doubt pleasing to the Whitmore locals who presently apparently enjoy a lifestyle that makes Mayberry seem like Gotham City, nor before we ride what is obviously an old logging road narrow in places with no centerline, flying in wide open corridors where the meadows are deep green and maybe a cow on the road and then rising again into the oak shaded cuts and then into the higher country that’s like a rainforest this wet year what with the pines and the fir and the cedar dense and towering very much in fashion of what the old growth looked like when gold miner Abraham Cunningham arrived in the country around Whitmore and Manton in 1849 and described it as “a forest primeval consisting of the greatest stand of pine the world has ever known…“, this from Dottie Smith’s comprehensive Dictionary of Early Shasta County History. When Paul and I pause where Buzzard Roost Road meets Highway 299 to say goodbye and go our separate ways homeward he looks and sounds better, his grief obviously palliated by the brisk motorized two wheel flight we all know and love, and the weather god was kind, he and his machine never got wet. Late that evening at home he emails me one of his favorite quotes which coincidentally happens to be one of mine too, from Aeschylus, who was writing in Greece two thousand years earlier than Shakespeare in Stratford: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until in our own despair, against our will, through the awful grace of God, comes wisdom”. I think Paul’s going to be fine.