- Showers Warming
- Koch Land
- Wildfire Legislation
- Killer Wave
- Salsa Secrets
- Los Angeles
- Fortune's Fool
- Cat Symposium
- Ukiah Drive-By
- Hippie Papers
- Rogers Case
- Open Firehouse
- Children Activities
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Sold Out
- Jazz Activism
- Red Arrows
- Improv Workshops
- First 9-11
- Mendo's Portfolio
- Found Object
LIGHT SHOWERS will be possible, primarily over Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties this afternoon and tonight. A warming and drying trend is expected to commence on Friday and continue into the weekend. (National Weather Service)
THE REX REPORT
by Rex Gressett
Mayor Will Lee is our happiest Mayor. He likes everybody. He loves you. Stay out of trouble and he will give you a plaque. There is no possible way that Will Lee would be fronting for the Georgia Pacific Corporation in the biggest rip-off of the people of Fort Bragg since the snake offered the apple to Eve. He doesn't even like the Koch brothers who happen to own the mill site. He would never bamboozle the people of the city on behalf of politically incorrect billionaires. No way.
At the recent community Mill site meeting, the people of Fort Bragg got to hear the schemes and dreams of Harvest Market and the Skunk Train Hotel & Entertainment Group — the new owners of the still unzoned property.
It was great to see the newbie Mayor step out in front of the issues. Up to now, it had looked like Will was trotting along like a besotted puppy in the wake of his predecessor ex-Mayor Lindy Peters.
Will Lee is out from under Lindy's shadow now, by golly, and has really spread his wings. Hotels and supermarkets are the wind in his sails. The Council listened, politely interjecting occasional skepticism, but Mayor Will Lee stepped out of the herd and blasted full-throated support for fired Development Director Marie Jones mega-mill site development plan.
We will get over 300 houses just out of the Skunk train proposal alone. We will get jobs and industry and economic development — exactly what Fort Bragg needs.
The all-day Saturday meeting was a theoretical exercise. By their own admission, none of the presenters had been to, talked to or even considered the crucial Coastal Commission. Possibly a mistake.
Let us recap briefly in light of the Mayor's enthusiasm for the LCP (Local Coastal Plan), or as it is also known, the secret sell out to GP.
Once upon a time, now-fired Development Director Marie Jones went up to Eureka to supplicate before the Coastal Commission on behalf of avid local economic development enthusiasts of the day (the City Council).
At that time, she confidently proposed developing 70% of the mill site. I fondly recall Marie Jones telling me she was feeling pretty damn "green" to leave 30% open space.
When the Coastal Commission staff had a look at Ms. Jones's color printouts and plans they wondered at the diversity of zoning options and made just one little correction.
They flipped the numbers and left her 30% of the land for development requiring 70% to be left open space. Flipped like a pancake. Marie Jones handled that annoying complication by not mentioning it to the City Council and adroitly packing every zoning category in her original proposal into the abbreviated space that the Commission left her — better 30% of a loaf than none at all.
The trusting souls at the Fort Bragg City Council never publicly acknowledged that they knew about any of it or cared. The subject just did not come up.
That means that 70% of the mill site required by the coastal commission to be open space will still be owned by GP. Who is going to buy that? GP will likely own it for another generation.
They are not required to clean up the concrete rubble and layers of asphalt that cover the abandoned mill even if by some miracle DTSC (The Department of Toxic Substances Control) makes them clean up toxic soil.
I am pretty sure they will fence it off. It is Marie Jones's plan for permanent desolation. When Ms. Jones, the acknowledged brains of the LCP, got fired for reasons, dear reader, that you as a mere employer of the city administration are NOT permitted to know, Will Lee stepped over her corpse and is now running hard with the GP-friendly plan.
The LCP puts Georgia Pacific (the Koch brothers, well the last one anyway) in the catbird seat, allowing them to duck cleanup and fence off the wasteland for another generation while they get to sell off the 30% that the Coastal Commission has agreed can be developed.
It’s a dream deal for GP. It seems like the mayor might want to offer some direct clarification?
"You can't bully me into an interview,” sayeth Will Lee when I asked him about the situation.
Now, it's nonstop posting from the mayor on my nonstop errors and general craziness. It's demoralizing to be targeted as public enemy #1 by such a beloved public figure — and yet, in spite of the Mayoral firehose of disdain, I still have a few humble questions.
Is the Coastal Commission mandated open space including the still-toxic ponds a city responsibility?
More honest members of the City Council than Will Lee have told me that they are not.
GP will have to do any cleanup - but they can't sell that land? Do I have that right Mr. Mayor?
Maybe GP will generously open their remaining 70% of the mill site to the public, haul off the rubble for free, pay for the cleanup themselves, plant trees and grass for free and even put in a few parks for kids.
Maybe they will feel obligated to Mayor Will Lee for the flexible, all-purpose, massive zoning plan the Mayor is pushing. It will let them sell off all the mill site the Coastal Commission will allow and give GP the highest possible rate of return. You would think they would be grateful.
To complicate the picture further, coming up is a new round of toxic cleanup negotiations with DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances Control).
The toxicity issue has returned like a baleful molecular boomerang about to hit the mill site project in the back of its head.
Will that affect the zoning? Apparently not.
Mayor Lee is leading the charge for the LCP. I’m sure GP appreciates it very much.
I guess it was unforgivable to ask him about it.
GOV. NEWSOM SIGNS 22 LAWS TO HELP CALIFORNIA WITH WILDFIRE PREPARATION
Nearly two years after the devastating North Bay wildfires, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed into law a hefty package of bills to help the state forecast major wildfires, oversee tree clearing around power lines and enhance disaster preparations for communities.
OVERWHELMED by your tomato, chile pepper, and tomatillo harvest from the garden? Have no fear! Secrets of Salsa is here! This bilingual cookbook with over 30 recipes shared by Mexican women from Anderson Valley can be found in stores throughout Anderson Valley (including Boontberry Farm, AV market, The General Store, and Lemon’s) or you can get it at the Boonville Farmer’s Market on Friday from 4-7 pm in the Disco Ranch parking lot. You can also get one directly from the Adult School. Call 895-2953 All proceeds from the sale of this book go to adult education in Anderson Valley, such as helping people with their HiSet and GED exam fees.
If you have a local business and would like to sell this book we offer it at a reasonable wholesale price. Contact us at 895-2953. These photos feature Angeles Segura's Red Salsa recipe and Priscilla Anguiano's Tomatillo Avocado Salsa.
LOS ANGELES 1950
WE PRESENT THE BOONVILLE QUIZ on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays. So no quiz today, October 3rd. We shall return to Lauren’s restaurant in Boonville next week - Thursday, 10th October. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quizmaster
SOLNIT: THE LONELINESS OF TRUMP
On the corrosive privilege of the most mocked man in the world
ATTENTION CAT PEOPLE!
DRIVE BY IN UKIAH
On Monday, September 30, at approximately 12:43 pm, UPD units responded to the 1200 block of South State St. for a report of shots being fired. Upon arrival, UPD units located a 19-year-old male victim, who had sustained a gunshot wound. The victim was flown to a medical facility outside of Mendocino County and has since been discharged from care.
Ukiah Police Department (UPD) Detectives responded to the scene and began interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage of surrounding businesses. Additionally, evidence of multiple shots being fired were collected at the scene.
UPD Detectives were quickly able to identify a suspect vehicle and disseminated the information to surrounding law enforcement agencies. A short time later, a deputy with the Mendocino County Sherriff’s Office located the vehicle in the 1200 block of South State Street.
UPD patrol units and detectives responded to the area and continued their investigation. The vehicle was determined to be the involved vehicle and the suspect(s) were determined to be in an apartment close by.
Due to the dangerous nature of the incident, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s SWAT Team was called and responded to the scene. Ultimately the two male suspects exited the apartment and surrendered to law enforcement without incident.
A search warrant for the vehicle and apartment was obtained and executed. Evidence connecting the vehicle and the suspects to the crime was recovered, including a semi-automatic handgun that was believed to be used in the shooting.
Both suspects were interviewed by UPD Detectives and statements were obtained confirming their involvement in the crime.
Ishmael Nash was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Conspiracy and Accessory to a felony.
The 16-year-old juvenile was booked into the Mendocino County Juvenile Hall for attempted murder and Conspiracy.
Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the Ukiah Police Dept. at 707-463-6262."
FRONT COVER FOR THE HIPPIE PAPERS: Notes from the Underground Press A Signet book. Editor, Jerry Hopkins (1968)
JUSTICE, FINALLY, FOR WESTPORT'S KENNY ROGERS?
OPEN HOUSE AT MENDOCINO FIRE STATION
Please join us for our annual Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department Open House on Saturday, October 12 from 11:00 to 3:00.
This family-friendly and free event includes:
Ride on fire trucks driving through town
Crawl through a smoke tent to learn how to safely exit smoke filled room
Spray water from a fire engine hose
See the “jaws of life” used to rescue people trapped in a car
Enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers and Frankie’s ice cream while listening to live music from local band Azul.
Meet representatives from other agencies, including REACH, CALSTAR, the Mendocino Coast District Hospital Ambulance Service and more. There is a special appearance of CAL FIRE’s Smokey Bear. The Sheriff’s office will host pumpkin carving.
Get to know your local firefighters, learn safety skills, and hear of future rescue, medical aid and fire prevention plans from your Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, an all-volunteer department. Talk with us about membership!
The Open House is held at the fire station located at 44700 Little Lake Road in Mendocino.
US ARMY AIR CORPS B-18 BOMBERS passing over San Francisco Embarcadero and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge ~ circa late 1930's - early 40's
A YOUNG MOTHER WRITES: "I am curious about the ways families here in Anderson Valley have made it possible to provide their children with extra-curricular activities. I am concerned that growing up here limits a child’s access to music, dance, art, and sports, particularly in group settings where inspiration, collaboration and teamwork can thrive. I am honestly concerned as looking back at my own youth, these were some of my most favorite experiences and treasured interests I still continue to explore today. Any perspectives on how you’ve been able to successfully include these elements in your child’s life here in the Valley? Thank you."
ED NOTE Why, yes I do, my dear. Happy to help out. We used to have pee wee football, basketball and baseball and 4-H and Scouts and whatever was on offer from Ukiah's bountiful cultural table. Ahem, when I was raising young 'uns, which I could not have done with even minimal success without my much better half, there were lottsa people around who gave art and music lessons at quite reasonable rates, the wonderful Valley music teacher, Lynn Archambault, to name one. Wifey and I did a lot of home instruction to supplement the public school programs, of course, because a small, rural school district can't off much more than the fundamentals. When the kids hit the 7th grade I left it up to them whether or not to go to school. Mostly, they wanted to go because if they stayed at home they had to read for a solid four hours and listen to my monologues on a smorgie of subjects I knew little about. I'd think the Anderson Valley is still a sound place to spend one's formative years, much saner than the frenetic Bay Area where ambitious parents have their kids engaged in a frenetic schedule of after school activities. Those years, the formative years, are nicely expressed in this famous poem by Phil Larkin which, I hasten to say, does not reflect precisely my views on this big subject:
This Be The Verse
by Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
SURELY one of the many debauchees reading this can help me out with this mystifying, perhaps new wrinkle, in pervery. Last weekend SF Gate, the feeble on-line edition of the enfeebled mother ship, the SF Chronicle, ran photographs from the Folsom Street Fair, mostly featuring fat people waddling around with their bare bums hanging out of leather apparatuses. But a couple of the photos featured naked people wearing carefully crafted black horse heads that looked as precise as chess set pieces. What "sexual" practice do these figures represent?
I THOUGHT AGE-ISM was solidly included in the PC catechism. I'm no Biden fan but I am a geezer and resent all the talk about him "losing it" every time he emits a garbled sentence. Which, granted, is often. Hell, when's the last time you heard anything approaching coherence out of a high school kid? Or, for that matter, local radio talk show hosts? Now, and I speak as a Berner — Bernie or Third Party, that's me — Bernie's had some heart trouble. So? He'll bounce back, no problemo. But the Democrat Super-Delegates and Wall Street grandees who anoint Democrat candidates, all of these grandees hostile to Bernie because he's the only Democrat they've got who stands for anything, will now pronounce The Bern as "too old." Of course they could live with Biden even if he becomes totally incoherent.
INTERESTING POST from a certain Coastie named Mr. Hannah:
These are the 2016 demographics for Fort Bragg, CA. With a median household income of $37,506 and a median home price of $308,578, home ownership is not possible for most citizens in the area. They simply will not qualify for mortgages, despite spending nearly one-third or more of their annual income on rent. What solutions do you have to create a path to home ownership for the citizens of the 4th district? What is your plan to increase job growth? How do you propose to close the growing gap between median household income and median home price in this part of Mendocino county? Thank you.
A COAST QUESTION THAT NEEDS AN ANSWER & SOLUTION
CATCH OF THE DAY, OCTOBER 2, 2019
RICKY BRACKETT, Willits. DUI.
DUSTIN JORDAN, Willits. Felon-addict with firearm, parole violation.
LEVI LAMOUREUX, Laytonville. Resisting, probation revocation.
JEFFREY MURRAY, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license (for DUI), renting vehicle to person with interlock device restriction, probation revocation.
ISHMAEL NASH, Ukiah. Driver permitting discharge of firearm from vehicle, assisting wanted felon.
CEDRICK PATTERSON, Oakland. Probation revocation.
DAVID SHIPMAN JR., Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Burglary, controlled substance.
DON WILTSE JR., Ukiah. Parole violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
How do the sides square off? Who cares? Why does it matter? The USA is becoming irrelevant to everyone except people unlucky enough to be stuck inside its borders.
For my part, it’s hard to see how it can be otherwise, its industrial backbone offshored and under the control of foreign people who do not even remotely dance to Washington’s tune.
If you want to be a world power, you need the economic wherewithal to do it, and in a move destined to give the trophy for history’s biggest laughingstock to the US and its elites, the decision was made that the done thing is to relinquish control of a major part of American productive capacity to men in Beijing.
And why? For the sake of oligarch fortunes by availing themselves of Chinese slave labor, no more, no less. The rationalization was long and convoluted, rooted in neo-liberal ideology, but the most oft-cited reason was to bring China into the fold, to liberalize China, to democratize it. Never mind that “democracy” isn’t on the list of what American oligarchs want, it SOUNDS good.
In the meantime, American capitalists kid themselves that they’re at the apex, that the world does their bidding. Maybe they’re deliberately blind, maybe they can’t see what we can see, that they made themselves errand boys for the fellas that really DO run the show, the guys that control legions of Chinese soldiers and police.
And so here we are. “Progressive” Americans descend to the depths of idiocy with preposterous border and bizarre sexual and nonsensical gender agendas, “conservatives” having long since beaten “progressives” to the bottom and abandoned there by their former followers.
It’s an astonishing thing that it took a blustering, incoherent buffoon with multiple business crack-ups on his CV to blow the lid off. Such was the intellectual bankruptcy of Washington’s political elites that he put the Republican Party in its well-deserved grave by mouthing a few phrases that GOP stalwarts had no answer to.
And, for that matter, neither did the Democrats. Trump won. It may be incredible but what can you do but believe your own eyes.
And so China takes the lead, without even a T-Y to the scabrous whores in Washington and Manhattan and Silicon Valley that sold themselves and sold their country out. I tried to think of better terms to describe them, I really did, but I came up empty. And this is hardly credit to the Chinese, for while China becomes the new power, it would never have got there without those same traitors and their business and technological know-how.
And Washington becomes a clown show. Lamentable, ridiculous and you want to avert your eyes.
JAZZ IS ACTIVISM
by David Yearsley
Jazz is activism: it requires training, commitment, belief, and action. It is brought to life through fire, resolve, imagination. Now practiced by peoples of all colors and tongues around the globe, jazz was born of African-American musical traditions and the lived experience of oppression. Music of the church and of the fields voiced hopes for a better tomorrow whether in the North or in heaven.
The explicit sounding of discontent and political demands came later. Billie Holiday’s singing of “Strange Fruit” or even Louis Armstrong’s version of the Fats Waller lament “Black and Blue” were indictments of racism (though the line “I’m white inside, but that don’t help my case / Cause I can’t hide what is on my face” was heard by some to ricochet right back at Pops, the greatest of jazz entertainer.)
Ellington’s Black, Brown, and Beige laid out the sweep of African-American history. A work of symphonic ambition, it was first heard in that citadel of high culture, Carnegie Hall, in 1943.
As the struggle for civil rights took to the streets and the courts, it was also waged on vinyl.
With magnificently poised insolence, Charles Mingus’s “Fables of Faubus” of 1959 mocked racist Arkansas governor Orval Faubus for deploying the National Guard to stop the integration of the Little Rock schools two years earlier. Issued initially without its lyrics, the song was recorded live in 1960 with the band’s ragged, grumbled singing a taunting send-up of fearful prayer. Mingus’s unruly, improvising congregation militantly refused to shuffle off into the shadows:
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em shoot us!
Oh, Lord, don’t let ’em stab us!
Oh, Lord, no more swastikas!
Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan!
(The claim, repeated on Wikipedia, that Columbia Records suppressed the lyrics on the original 1959 disc is a myth.)
Another radical amplification of the latent protest of Ellington, Holiday, and Armstrong came the same year as “Fables of Faubus” with the scalding intensity of We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Suite. As soon as the needle drops on the opening of “Driva Man,” Abbey Lincoln’s voice lashes at Oscar Brown’s poetry as she accompanies herself—hits herself—with the tambourine in a frightening evocation of the white overseer:
Driva’ man he made a life.
But the Mamie ain’t his wife.
Choppin’ cotton don’t be slow,
Better finish out your row.
Nothing is more terrifying and more beautiful than Lincoln’s lone work song, not even her screams on the middle section of “Triptych: Prayer, Protest, Peace” heard later on the record.
The following year of 1961 Art Blakey poured his high octane fuel onto the same fire with the seven-minute drum solo, “Freedom Rider” (released by Blue Note in 1964 on the album of the same name). His percussion sermon begins with cymbal crash and a volley of floor-tom thunder, then builds fiercely, its contagion spreading in all metrical directions. What is the sonic image of diversity, indeed democracy, if not Blakey’s polyrhythms, his four limbs seemingly independent beings able to agree in their sublime disagreements? The elemental Blakey growl—its own instrument, but also seemingly part of the bass drum or somewhere beneath it—wells up from deep inside, stoking the urgency. At the close, the freedom train chugs into the distance to the relentless locomotion of the Blakey hi-hat, then careens back for a final steam blast of fury.
From these musical monuments of percussive protest we come to a woman who by rights can be seen as the inheritor of the activist mantle: Terri Lynne Carrington. A drumming prodigy who at the age of ten played with famed trumpeter Clark Terry, Carrington went on to work with many other jazz legends, has won Gammy awards, and holds the Zildjian Chair in Performance at Berklee College of Music in her native Boston. She is now to be counted among the greats herself, and not simply because of her lone status as a woman in jazz—indeed at the drums, long the sole domain of testosterone-powered titans.
I heard Carrington at the Starlight Lounge in Boston’s Back Bay in 1987 behind venerable saxophonist James Moody. She was then in her early twenties. The night began with the trio—Kirk Lightsey on piano, and Moody’s long-time sideman, Todd Coolman, on bass—ripping through the swingingest “Stella by Starlight” on or off record. It was a group effort of unforgettable exuberance and charge, but it was clear to all that a surplus of sizzling energy was being given back to the musical grid by Carrington.
Thirty-two years on, Carrington brought her sextet to Bailey Hall on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York last Friday night to kick off the university’s main concert series, a prestigious program offering a varied line-up of soloists and ensembles of international standing.
Carrington calls her current band Social Science, which, according to the publicity for the concert, “uses their eclectic blend of jazz, indie rock, and hip-hop to explore critical themes impacting society. The band takes on topics such as social justice, racial equality, gender and sexuality, mass incarceration, and ongoing sociopolitical concerns. At its core, this project seeks to reflect conscious thought and interest in the human condition. More specifically, the music of Social Science looks to inspire and elevate a deep regard for humanity and freedom.”
That didn’t sound too specific to me, and in the event, the music wasn’t either. It ambled along to a rock beat at a more-or-less constant pace, unthreatening, almost amiable. There were occasional surges of intensity and moments of relaxation, but for the most part the ensemble reverted to an unthreatening default setting, numbing rather than galvanizing. This bland medley of shifting harmonies and slack improvisation was more a bureaucratic hymn than Blakeyian manifesto. A couple of Carrington drum solos, however impressive, did little to rouse the spirit of resistance or the musical imagination of the listeners, spread out sparsely and somewhat anti-socially through the vast neo-classical auditorium rather than clustered in shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity.
The evening began with a tender ballad sung by the evening’s most compelling performer, soprano Debo Ray. Her voice has a vast technical and emotional range—soaring effortlessly, nimble and clear, but also capable of expressing gritty defiance. The band’s keyboardist and musical director, Aaron Parks, is a subtle pianist and musical colorist. He accompanied Ray at the outset with finesse and sympathy: exceptionally on this evening of failed communication her words could be understood. Sung to imploring melodies came lines about “what may come from the Devil’s wisdom” and the unlikely—and seemingly redundant—assertion that “complacency has its place.”
After this promising prelude, the majority of the words were overwhelmed by an electronic haze emanating from large speakers to either side of the stage. The medium murdered the message.
Guitarist Matthew Stevens wasn’t oppressive with his chordal backings nor with his fleet and cutting solos, but the amplified aggregate was impossible for me to penetrate, what with Carrington’s relentless commentary, Parks’ chords and tuneful fragments grabbed at electronic keyboard or miked Steinway, the gravity and punch of Morgan Guerin’s bass lines, rapper and DJ Kassa Overall’s non-verbal sounds mouthed into his microphone and his lobbing of sampled speeches into the electronic melée. (I think I heard James Baldwin at some point.) A talented poet and on-stage presence who excels at the paradoxes of intimacy (“just to have good sex, we’d fake a fight”) and the randomness and precision of violence (“the officer’s gun on the interstate”), Overall’s rhymes were delivered with clarity, humor, and edge. Ironically, given Carrington’s avowed commitment to gender equality, it was Ray’s words that were rendered inaudible. The effect, though unintended, was like that of Lincoln’s textless flights on Max Roach’s “Prayer.” Undaunted, Ray’s song escaped its electronic shackles.
As the decibel smog thickened, I made my way through the program note, a bland cocktail of social justice and inclusivity bromides. The unobjectionable, but hopelessly vague claim that “music transcends, breaks barriers, strengthens us, and heals old wounds” was clinched by Carrington’s technocratic tag-line: “Music is Social Science”—as if Max Weber not a disciple of Max Roach were at the drum set, this one richly appointed with Zildjian cymbals.
More than once during the ninety-minute set did I want to rise from my seat and, Brando-like, shout, “Hey Stella! Stella!”
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
RED ARROWS OVER THE GOLDEN GATE
HIT & RUN
On Wednesday, October 16 Hit and Run Theater begins a series of 4 Improvisation workshops running Wednesdays, October 16, October 23, October 30, and November 6. The workshops take place from 6:30-8:30pm at the Community Center of Mendocino, 998 School St., Mendocino, CA 95460. Hit and Run’s newest workshop series is open to all interested students. The course will include basic improvisational games and acting exercises. No previous theatrical or improvising experience is required and mature teens are welcome as well as adults and seniors. A workshop contribution of $15 per night for Hit & Run Theater will cover the workshop fees. Wednesday night, November 6 will be set aside for a “workshop show” including all participants. What a deal! To register or for further information, please call 937-0360 or email Doug Nunn, email@example.com, or connect on Facebook. We look forward to seeing you there.
Last week, in a letter to both the Board of Supervisors and the Retirement Board, I warned of a big correction in the stock market. Well, today, Wednesday, October 2, the Dow fell by almost 500 points, and yesterday the Dow fell by 350 points.
Today, the MCERA portfolio is in a world of hurt.
My warning last week was based on the "repo spike" described below. The repo spike, coupled with the cut in rates recently made by the Fed, was a strong signal that the U.S. economy was slowing, if not stalling.
If I saw it from my desk in Ukiah, anyone could see it.
I would now put the chances of another recession in 2020 at about 25 %, if not greater.
Whereas expansion below 2% used to almost guarantee the economy would subsequently contract, a few economists now think the U.S. can wobble around 1%-1.5% without stalling.
The decline in the economy’s so-called stall speed is a relief after data released Tuesday signaled the weakest manufacturing sector in a decade. It still leaves the Federal Reserve under pressure to cut interest rates and President Donald Trump facing challenges heading into next year’s election.
Whether the longest expansion in history remains intact may ultimately depend on whether consumers are able to maintain spending enough to offset the slump in manufacturing amid the U.S.-China trade war.
Suddenly the idea of stall speed is much more important today than it has been for most of the expansion. The economy is running on only one engine, and that’s the consumer. But consumer debt is sky-high. The average U.S. household with at least one type of debt owed about $144,100 in 2018. That totals to more than $14 trillion — a figure nearly equal to all the money currently in American banks and in circulation that these Americans collectively owe lenders.
There's more bad news. Auto and student loan delinquency rates are rising. Student loan default rates are currently 11.5%. Auto loan delinquency rates of 4.3% are within 1 percentage point of their 15-year high.
At Commerzbank AG, currency strategist Ulrich Leuchtmann told clients (like me) in a squawk box call today that “the fact that stall speed is becoming an issue of common interest” may undermine demand for U.S. assets.
Taking a page from aviation, in which the stall speed is the slowest a plane can fly while still maintaining a level flight, the economic equivalent is the point at which growth is no longer self-sustaining.
So I ask again, how is Mendocino County positioning itself for a recession?
John Sakowicz, Candidate 1st District Supervisor