- Dry Days
- Panthers Win
- Remembering John
- Allegaert Art
- Elderhome Viewing
- Healthcare Challenges
- Eureka Productions
- Data-Free Report
- Building Code
- District Map
- Greedy Priest
- Obviously Married
- Audit Loophole
- Disaster Planning
- Homelessness Workshop
- Third Party
- California Screamin'
- Yesterday's Catch
- Pharma Gouging
- Porch Pirate
- Senior Growers
- New York
- Laborious Life
- Bach Notebooks
- Foreign Policy
- Shithole State
- Thunberg Mural
- Marco Radio
- UVSD Madness
- Found Object
DRY WEATHER and above normal daytime temperatures will continue across the interior through next week. Coastal areas will continue to have occasional low clouds, however weak offshore flow tonight and Monday may limit cloud cover. (National Weather Service)
Today (Saturday), Anderson Valley boys soccer won the semi final CMC division match against Tomales 4-2. Goals were scored by Cristobal Gonzalez, Lucas Kehl, Alex Tovar, and Irlen Perez. We will be hosting the championship game against our rival school, Mendocino, on Wednesday, November 13th at 2:00.
REMEMBERING JOHN LEWALLEN
I am missing my father in law, John Lewallen, today, and wanting to share what I can, through words, of his life, with you all.
John passed away on Friday morning, after months of battling it out in the hospital, as the fierce warrior he was. In the years I have known him, he had been diagnosed and treated for, what it felt like, was everything under the sun. He always survived. He was a fighter. He moved forward.
When he passed, he was peaceful and finally at home with his beloved Barbara Stephens and their amazing kids. Barbara is an amazing and devoted partner and I love and appreciate her so very much.
My father in law taught me so many lessons--not by speaking them but by quietly and consistently living them, year after year, day after day. It would be impossible to sum them up here to ever adequately express what his life, example, and model for living meant to me, and to my children. But I can say, he always wanted me, and all of us, to know we have choice. A choice as to how we live, what we participate in, what we take on. He was the only adult and parent figure I have ever had in my life who looked at all I was doing and told me "I am proud of you, but if you stop doing all of that, I will still be proud of you. I want you to know you can stop."
This has been a season of loss for me and my family. In addition to losing John, I lost a pregnancy earlier this fall at 11 weeks. I guess things come in waves, when it rains it pours, Murphy's law, etc. Basically, sometimes life takes a huge shit on you. But we move on, we move forward.
I don't know why I am sharing this now, here, but heck, we as women go through a lot trying to bring life into this world, and we as humans do so much to support our family and loved ones through illness and death. Despite all we might do to run away from it, we all live at the mercy of this finite existence, doing what we can to make our lives meaningful in the face of our own mortality, an ultimate end that will take us away from our loved ones. And we are always vulnerable to loss and pain. But life is, and always will be for all of us who are lucky enough to breathe it in, so very, very beautiful.
The irony of trying to mourn John and this overall season of loss while jumping on a plane for work for the next two weeks and fundraising non-stop till end of year is not lost on me. I know I need to carve out some time.
I share this note to remind us all to, in John's memory, take things a little slower, cherish each other and life a little bit more, and to live in the present. He would have wanted that for all of us.
The greatest testament to John, and to Eleanor, mother, wife, and devoted fighter for ocean protection, who left us too soon as well, are their children. I have never seen a group of siblings more devoted to each other and to their parents. In these last few months, they loved and supported each other. They traded off in his care daily, weekly, monthly, along with Barabara--they worked as a team in all they do. If my children turn out only half as devoted, loving, responsible, caring, and wonderful as they are, I will have done my job. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have these three humans and their partners as my family. I am in awe of these siblings I have married into, and my own husband, dedicated, loving, and consistent to all of us who depend on him.
Thank you, John, for you wild, amazing, spirit and for sharing that with me for the last 15 years. I am sorry that my kiddos don't get to see their Grandpa in action by the seashore, harvesting from the ocean, for years to come, but as you said to us on our last visit, you will be there, and wherever we are. We love you.
When we have a set date/time for a service to honor John, we promise to update all of you. Thank you for your love and support.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Aurora is a beautiful 2 year old, spayed female Shepherd mix who weighs 71 pounds. She loves to play and chase tennis balls, and appears friendly with other dogs. Aurora needs a home with no other animals except perhaps a social canine friend. Her ideal guardian is someone familiar with the German Shepherd Dog breed, who has the time and experience to work with Aurora on her training needs.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. Visit our website information about our canine and feline guests, and all of our services, programs and events: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com. For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
ANDERSON VALLEY ELDER HOME will be hosting a mini open house of Cottage One right before the Benefit Dinner at the Hotel.
This viewing is open to the entire community. Sunday, November 10th from 2:00pm - 3:00pm.
The hospital challenges I heard Friday morning at MCDH echoed on the south cost this evening. Redwood Coast Medical Services presented the first of three town halls, this one packing the Manchester community center. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, there were $7.7m of expenses. Revenue was $3.1m for services rendered, $2.4m in grants and $200k in donations, leaving a $1m shortfall. What the board perceived as a chain of one time problems over recent years now appears rooted in the sustainability challenges facing rural healthcare everywhere. Provider shortages, electronic medical records (training, entry, equipment, software), loss of dental hygentist (today the two dentists do all cleaning and xrays), Department of Health Services take-back of payment overages from many years, two CEOs in a year and other realities result in a projected $250k annual loss. A plan to reach break-even includes hiring two part time psychiatrists and a dental hygienist, upgrading electronic health records to build efficiency, expense reductions (line by line) and a donation drive (targeted at $10/month). Mendocino Village Pharmacy (from Harvest Market/Mendosa’s location) presented state code allowance of (AB401) tele-pharmacy services, the 340b plan and a model to allow the clinic to generate revenue from pharmacy transactions. Medicines will be available for pick up at the clinic with video conferencing for questions.
The proposed solution is “more patient visits and donations.”
MCDH and RCMS are working through challenges within the current framework. Single payer would change everything.
LOSE POWER DURING THE FIRST PG&E SHUTOFF LAST MONTH?
Here’s how much money you’re getting back.
LOTTSA GREAT VIDEOS, FOLKS
MOST OF NEXT TUESDAY’S Health & Human Services Advisory Board presentation is simply a list of topics with no actual information — for example: “tracking challenges” with no list of “challenges”; “Increased awareness of navigating the system” — with nothing about what we’re supposed to be aware of; “vacancies” with no mention of the vacancy rate or the nature of the vacancies or the impact of the vacancies on the services that are supposed to be provided or what to do about it; “Census 2020-Support community wide participation and increase awareness and focus supports” which is irrelevant gibberish; “provided input to no place like home plan” (what input? Then what?); “Healthy Mendocino started as an initiative of the Advisory Board”; “Weaknesses and Challenges: Significant poverty rate, ruralness, vacancy rate for HHSA…” but nothing about what to do about any of it; under “opportunities” we find “Housing & Homelessness…Track progress and build on successes” but nothing about what “tracking” is proposed or when.
The only two things that mention actual data are: (1) “There are more than 41,500 Medi-Cal enrollees in Mendocino County.” (In other words, of Mendo’s estimated 88,000 residents, almost half of them are on MediCal. (And if you discount Medicare enrollees and those who might qualify but don’t apply, the percentage would be much higher than half of Mendo.
And (2) this marginally useful chart of MediCal Applications which doesn’t explain its terms or meaning (What is an “overdue application”?):
From the state’s Department of Health Care Services we found that: “Due to the large number of Medi-Cal applications received through the Covered California website and county human services agencies, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is providing this information to help ensure you can get the care you need.” … “The Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (PE) program provides adults, pregnant individuals, children, and former foster care enrollees with temporary, no cost Medi-Cal benefits for up to two months. In order to receive Hospital PE benefits, you must complete a simplified application online during a hospital stay. You will be notified immediately of your eligibility determination.” (But what if you’re determined to be not eligible?)
“You can visit your local county human services office.” Yes, but you will face a big backlog and your application will probably remain in the “overdue” pile.
“You can use your information to confirm your Medi-Cal eligibility and get a temporary identification card. This will allow you to get services until your enrollment is complete…” If it ever is. “Emergency Rooms: As stated above, if you have an emergency and you cannot find a doctor right away, you can go to the emergency room at any hospital. If you show your BIC [identity card?] to staff at the emergency room, Medi-Cal will pay for the services you receive.”
Not exactly — Only if they accept MediCal which only pays about 5% of the list price of the service — if you can get the treatment or something like it. Which is implied by their additional note: “If you need a prescription filled you can contact your local pharmacies to see if they accept Medi-Cal.” And if they don’t?
AS BEST WE CAN TELL, “overdue applications” are applications that have exceeded some arbitrary time alloted for processing and completion which means that the applicant has probably received a temporary approval. But there’s nothing in the Advisory Board’s presentation about why the applications are overdue —has the applicant failed to provide the necessary info or is the Department understaffed (it is, obviously), or both?
(NOTE: None of this would be necessary under the various single payer/Medicare For All options being discussed by Senator Bernie Sanders, et al.)
SOMEBODY SHOULD POINT OUT that a data-free report with nothing but a list of topics is not a report at all, and the “advisory board” should be sent back to the drawing board. But, of course, nobody will point that out.
— Mark Scaramella
MENDO is also proposing to “update” their building code — as if the current one is not complex enough. But the “update” description isn’t even in plain English and the updates are only listed by topic, not described or summarized:
“This Ordinance is making several updates, revisions and additions to various chapters of Title 18 of the Mendocino County Code regarding Building Regulations. Chapter 18.04 is being amended by adopting by reference the 2019 editions of the California Building Standards Code. These new editions of the Building Standards Code become effective statewide on January 1, 2020. Amendments to Chapter 18.04 will also make certain revisions to those codes to reflect local conditions and administrative practices, and will adopt non-required appendices [sic] related to agricultural buildings, flood resistant construction, signs, patio covers, existing buildings and structures, sound transmission, light straw-clay construction, strawbale construction, swimming pool safety act, recommended rules for sizing the water supply system, explanatory notes on combination waste and vent systems, sizing storm water drainage systems, installation standards, combination indoor & outdoor combustion and ventilation opening design, and the Ordinance will adopt local findings for those revisions as required by State law. The sections of Chapter 18.04 are also being reorganized to make it easier to read, understand and implement.”
“…easier to read, understand and implement” — that’s rich.
— Mark Scaramella
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S POLITICAL DISTRICTS
CHURCH RENT GOUGING?
I am a volunteer at Good Buy Clothes in Point Arena for over 19 years now. I’ll tell you a story. The Sisters (Maura & Celeste) were having their annual fashion show and I was asked to be one of the models.
It was great fun, after the show Sister Maura came up to me and asked if I would consider volunteering at GBC on Mondays. I told her I was not catholic. Her comment to me was we don’t care, you’re a hard worker and a good person. So I have been volunteering at Good Buy Clothes for 19 years now.
Going forward to 2019: GBC has been in operation for 25 years and during that period has given back to OUR local community over $500,000. Also the GBC was paying $900 a month donation/rent to the St. Aloysius for the use of Trinity Hall for our sale day and for storage of our merchandise and processing on Mondays.
The new Priest (GB) also told the meditation group in Gualala that there would be no change to their group location at the church, then three days later he kicked them out of Mary Star of the Sea.
(As I see it, the money that over the years was donated back into OUR community by GBC to support many worthwhile causes… Well that regular monthly figure is what the GB/Church wants to get there hands on, in my opinion, it’s all about money to him, NOT about giving back to our community)
Good Buy Clothes had a lease agreement with the Church through Feb/Mar 2020 but the present priest wanted more rent and more control, and thus gave us two options: He wanted $1800 per month and TOTAL CONTROL of GBC, or, he would charge us $2400 a month and GBC (which began as and still is a non-profit entity) would then be just a tenant. And we would remain in control of GBC and who the money would be donated to. But—
Both of these options are very difficult if not impossible to accept. For example, for most months we only bring in $2200-$2400 per sale day, and pleasantly, some months are at or above $3000. So, essentially, with these new conditions, ALL our efforts including the many grateful donations to us would be a wash.
Just so you know, after the LAST SALE (October 2019) we left a $900 rent check and gave a 30 day notice. Then we picked up everything and left. We had the right to go back to Trinity Hall to use it for the November sale, but the priest changed all the locks. This essentially forced our early move to a place in Point Arena.
So please be patient with us as we relocate. We are currently located at 243 Main St. in downtown Point Arena. We are trying to get a donation box made to place near the front entrance of the building. So if you have donations, please hold on to them for a little bit for us because, remember, our job is to give back to our community.
We are working hard to make this new situation a successful one. And if you can, please repost this info as much as possible as I want to get the word out.
DON CRAWFORD OF UKIAH WRITES: “For all candidates for supervisor. Please review the loophole that allows the county auditor to write and sign checks to the UVSD's [Ukiah Valley Sanitation District] lawyer without an annual audit of the documentation. Millions have been paid based on the assumed audit by the UVSD chairperson of these documents. It should make any auditor's skin crawl to sign checks based on this flawed assumption.”
A COMMUNITY INFORMATION EXCHANGE FOR DISASTER PLANNING
November 14, 4-6pm:
Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department is Hosting A Community Information Exchange For Disaster Planning
Planning before an emergency is the best protection for your family and community
Take care of you, your family, your neighbors, and your community
Everyone leaves the meeting with information
Join together to work for progress
Thursday, November 14th
Location: Station 840
44700 Little Lake Road
THIS CRAZY WEEK STARTED IN SACRAMENTO at the Homelessness Policy Workshop.
(Posted locally by Jessica Morsell-Hayes, Fort Bragg City Councilwoman)
Here are some highlights/takeaways:
Homelessness Policy Workshop in Sacramento
The workshop was stormed by protesters. As a din of voices rose outside the hall pounding shook the doors and adrenaline peaked. This is the tip of the iceberg. These are crazy times with the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression. My biggest take away from the protesters (who came in and spoke from the podium) was “Don’t talk about us without us.” Seems like a just request.
Cities and counties across the board echoed concerns about attracting more homeless by offering effective services/housing. Fort Bragg is not alone in this sense that vulnerable populations are flooding in.
Funding streams are skewed toward population density and urban centers. While that helps with quantifying/qualifying the impact of tax dollars, it means that Rural zones are left off the table. The examples of successful projects at the workshop were all from areas with high property values and substantial populations, where local government has ample resources to supplement grant funding. It’s more important than ever that rural areas raise a united voice and demand the same state support for infrastructure, housing and services as their urban & suburban cohorts
I was proud to see strong representation from our county and city. Both Vice Mayor Norvell and I attended as well as county supervisors Williams & McCowan, county CEO Carmel Angelo and Director of Health and Human Services Tammy Moss Chandler. We might be rural but we’re working hard toward big solutions”.
ms notes: Notice that this report is heavy on “funding” issues, but mentions nothing about actual housing, nor is there any reference to the Marbut report that the County paid $50k for but has ignored even though the Supes directed their well-paid homeless staff to implement it post-haste.
BLACKOUTS, FIRES, HIGH GAS PRICES: WHO WANTS TO LIVE IN CALIFORNIA TODAY?
One crisis rolls into another in parts of Golden State; ‘If I wasn’t as old as I am, I would pack up and get the hell out’
by Ian Lovett
Ukiah, Calif.—On the fourth morning without power, Carolyn Summers lay as still as possible in bed, trying to delay the moment when she ran out of oxygen.
Her power generator, which she had hoped would run her oxygen compressor, wouldn’t start. The local hospital said it couldn’t give her an extra tank.
“I guess if you run out, you just die?” Ms. Summers wrote on Facebook. Then the 62-year-old lay still again, conserving energy and hoping for a miracle.
Rampant wildfires—and the precautionary blackouts that utilities including PG&E Corp. have instituted to try to prevent them—are reshaping life across the Golden State and transforming the state’s reputation.
Long known as the home of easy living, with its beaches and year-round sunshine, California is increasingly seen as a difficult place, where the government and corporate institutions can’t reliably offer basic services. Some residents are questioning whether they should leave as a result.
California has the highest gas prices in the country. Housing prices are the second-highest in the nation, triggering a statewide lack of affordable housing.
Homelessness is surging in the state’s major cities, despite billions spent by state and local governments to combat the problem. A drought, which gripped the state for more than seven years, left some towns without clean water.
Now, more than two million people have lost their power in Northern and Southern California in the past month and hundreds of thousands have evacuated their homes to avoid fire danger, a number likely to grow before the year ends.
Many of those hardest hit live in poorer rural and exurban areas like Ukiah that haven’t benefited as much from the economic boom as cities like San Francisco that, due to denser housing, are also safer from wildfires. Ukiah’s median household income is about $43,000 a year.
“It’s like living in a third-world country,” said Marilyn Dalton, 78, a resident of Potter Valley, near Ukiah.
A city of 16,000 located two hours north of San Francisco, Ukiah exemplifies the new reality facing millions of Californians this autumn’s fire season and, experts predict, for many to come.
Although Ukiah escaped the first of PG&E’s intentional blackouts, the second and third ones rolled into each other here, with no break in between. Wildfires have come dangerously close, forcing residents just outside town to evacuate. Cell signals have faded; gas lines have been hourslong; and heat has cut out on freezing nights.
Two years ago, Ms. Dalton and thousands of others were forced to flee as a wildfire swept through Mendocino County, killing nine people. Last year, school was closed here for a week because of smoke from a fire 150 miles away. During the blackout last week, Ms. Dalton’s toilet, which runs on electricity, stopped flushing.
“If I wasn’t as old as I am, I would pack up and get the hell out,” she said.
Kerry Randall, a facility administrator for the city of Ukiah, estimated that 90% of the restaurants in town were closed during the blackout. The wait for pizza at one of the few restaurants that stayed open was more than an hour.
“People are getting testier,” Mr. Randall said on the third day without power. “No milk. People haven’t had showers, because their water heaters are out. Nobody’s had a hot meal.”
Ukiah opened up a city hall as a shelter. The first day, scores of residents sat around the city council dais, charging phones and oxygenators. City officials debated what to do about Halloween if the lights weren’t back on by then—they didn’t want kids roaming the streets in the dark with all the traffic lights out.
The lights came back on Oct. 30, but Mr. Randall said the expenses, both for the city and for businesses, would be considerable.
“Cities are property tax and sales tax oriented,” he said. “When you have some of your best restaurants not operating, you’re not getting that sales tax.”
Many residents are taking steps to prepare for the next outage already. Sales of generators are up 400% in California for Generac Holdings Inc., a major manufacturer.
Small businesses have been among the hardest hit. Pam Schmidt evacuated her Santa Rosa home on Oct. 25, as the Kincade Fire moved in. She was joined by a friend whose house burned down two years ago in the Tubbs Fire. That blaze killed 22 people.
The next day, PG&E cut electricity to both the laundromats Ms. Schmidt owns. Power didn’t come back to her business in Cloverdale for four days.
As she stood in her laundromat after the lights came on, trying to get ready to open the next day, she said her family was considering moving to Texas or Utah. The outage cost her a lot of money, she said.
“You can make it” in other states, Ms. Schmidt, said. “The cost of living in California…people are used to working so hard.”
John Corippo, an 18-year veteran of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, said there are fewer volunteer firefighters because the commitment involved is so much greater than in the past. For the 15 full-time employees—seven fewer than he said the department needs—the job is getting harder both physically and emotionally.
“We’re so understaffed,” Mr. Corippo said. “There’s been some people the last couple of years who we lost because they say, ‘I can’t see any more of this.’ I lost a couple to PTSD.”
During the blackout last week, he said call volume was more than three times as high as usual, with many calls coming from seniors whose medical devices had run out of power.
Ms. Summers and her family had worked hard to make sure she wouldn’t be one of those calls. She had survived lung cancer and a tumor on her heart, but the last surgery left her unable to breathe well on her own. For the past two years, she has used oxygen 24 hours a day.
When the second blackout started, she went to her granddaughter’s house, where she hoped the generator could run her oxygen compressor. But their generator wouldn’t start, and she had to use her emergency backup tanks, which only last a few hours each.
By Wednesday morning, Ms. Summers was completely out of oxygen tanks. She posted on Facebook in a panic, hoping someone could find one for her.
Then, around noon, the lights came back on. Her compressor worked again.
She said state officials need to rethink the blackouts. But she said she wouldn’t leave Ukiah, even if it meant potentially running out of oxygen during the next outage.
“I came here when I was five years old, and I’ve been here ever since,” Ms. Summer said. “My whole family’s here. I won’t want to leave. I love Ukiah.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 9, 2019
ROWAN GARDNER, Pahao, Hawaii/Potter Valley. DUI.
WILLIAM GARRETT, Santa Fe/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, fugitive from justice, resisting.
ROCIO GONZALEZ-LOPEZ, Redwood Valley. DUI.
CRYSTAL LOCKHART, Ukiah. Battery, contempt of court, probation revocation.
KRYSTAL MALONE, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.
RICARDO MEDINA, Ukiah. DUI.
KIM NORTH, Novato/Redwood Valley. DUI.
DANIEL O’BRIEN, Azusa (SoCal)/Ukiah. Grand theft, concealed weapon, loaded firearm in public.
CURTIS ROGERS JR., Lucerne/Redwood Valley. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, probation revocation.
COURTNEY SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Petty theft with priors.
CHUCK SANDERS JR., Escalon/Willits. Failure to appear.
ROBERT SCOTT, Laytonville. DUI, no license.
AOC ASKS PHARMA CEO WHY $2,000 HIV DRUG COSTS JUST $8 IN AUSTRALIA: 'People Are Dying For No Reason'
POTRERO PORCH PIRATE
ON LINE COMMENT — SENIOR GROWERS:
Decades ago, plants were grown camouflaged in the woods, no big greenhouses. Somehow, things organized themselves enough so that a market flourished. This was before big trucks & flat billed hats. Price was $1000 per pound. Now that it’s back to that price (+or-), it seems like we need a simple category (a poop) for us elders who never made growing the total center of life anyway. The over 65 crowd gets a few perks & privileges from both the gov’t as well as regular businesses. A PooP would be a simplified income supplement. The permitted buyers coop would be making taxable profits, while the growers would have the expenses to produce the small crop. In business, if a product catches on, it’s usually the creator/producer who makes a good fortune, but that’s not happening in Humboldt, due to lack of county planning vision. But, it’s time to let down the obstacles to plain old long time homesteaders & simple livin’.
10,080 NEW YORK MINUTES (MORE OR LESS)
by Jonah Raskin
EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT: A New York minute moves faster than a minute anywhere else in the world and New Yorkers move faster than anyone else on the planet when they want to catch a bus or a train and cross a street before the light turns red. Time is money. A second can mean the difference between cash in hand and waiting for a handout. But time can also feel like it slows down on the streets of New York. It can take detours, make digressions and go backwards in a place where the past is never far from the surface and where ghosts haunt buildings.
Once on a summer visit to New York, I met an archeologist, and while I don’t remember his name, I remember the artifacts — bits and pieces of pottery, and a clay pipe — that he showed me and my hosts, which he had unearthed in the yard behind the building on Avenue A where I was staying. I have never used a pick and shovel to dig in the earth in New York, but I feel like an archeologist when I wander night and day in a city where I lived from September 1959 to August 1964, when I was a student, and then again in the late sixties and early seventies when I was a teacher at the State University of New York and an editor, and a publisher, along with Robert Friedman, at University Review, a monthly magazine that was a cross between The New York Review of Books and Rolling Stone and that tried to stir up shit.
At the very end of October 2019, with fires burning near my home in Santa Rosa, I returned to New York to celebrate the 90th birthday of Bob Reilly, whom I met in 1968, and who was, along with his red-headed, German-born wife, Barbara, my apartment mate for several years. In 1969, Bob and I stirred up plenty of shit and had the shit kicked out of us by nasty New York cops.
On my last full day in N.Y., I went back to Sax Fifth Avenue, on 50th and 5th where I trashed four windows and was arrested and beaten. The store looked unchanged, as did St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the police waited until they got the green light to attack us protesters, more than a thousand people, armed with rocks and bottles.
Over the years, I have stayed with Dana Biberman — a retired lawyer for the city and later the state of New York, and now a grandmother — and her architect husband, Paul Gregory, who has remodeled many New York buildings, and who can make anything and fix anything that’s broken. For years, Dana battled the tobacco companies that wouldn’t abide by their legal agreements with the State of New York, and kept pushing cigarettes on kids.
Since she and Paul were remodeling their apartment in Brooklyn, not far from where I was born, I stayed with my cousin, David Aronson, a retired “Wall Street Quant” (short for quantitative analyst) at his two-story apartment at 400 Second Avenue, which he calls “The Aronson Hotel” and adds, “Five Stars.”
To get from JFK — where the signs always read, “I Love N.Y.” — to David’s five-star hotel I took the Air Train in Queens to the A train at Howard Beach, changed to the F train in Brooklyn, and then somewhere along the line, got off the F, climbed the stairs to the street and boarded the 23rd street crosstown bus to Second Avenue. There’s a new system for buses. Now, before boarding a bus, travelers have to buy a ticket from a machine on the sidewalk. In the past, one could use the Metro card that worked for the subway. Not anymore. An African American man showed me how to use the machine and said, “The city is taking more of our money and keeping more of it for itself.”
From the moment I arrived, until the moment I departed, I had a head cold, and, while I slept a lot I didn’t stay in bed. For a time, I got worse, and then I began to get better. Inevitably, David and I used much of our time together to share and compare memories of our lives in Huntington, Long Island, where we both grew up in the 1950s in secular Jewish families where learning and books were valued. David’s father Jake, who was a natural born comedian, and my father Sam, who had a bawdy sense of humor, were both storytellers who would get together and recount tales about their boyhood adventures.
Cousin David and I have followed different paths in life, but we have come to similar conclusions. We both live alone. Neither of us feels lonely, at least not for long, and neither one of us feels the need to be in a relationship with another person. When I mentioned to David, after our second day together, that we had much the same feelings about family, work, retirement and relationships he asked, “Are you surprised?” My one-word reply was “Pleasantly.” We both write in our journals, both like a slice of pizza, and both of us care a lot about our brothers.
Getting around New York can be a hassle, though maps of the city make it look deceptively simple, with streets running East and West and Avenues running North and South, the Hudson River on the western shore of Manhattan and the East River on the opposite side. There are at least a dozen different subway trains — the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, Q, R and more — some of them local, others express. On one occasion, David and I took an Eighth Avenue express train that didn’t stop where we wanted it to stop. Not to worry. We got out at the next stop, 125th Street, and took a local train South to the station we wanted. Some New Yorkers are helpful with directions. Others don’t make eye contact or say a word.
On another occasion, I got off the 7th Avenue subway, climbed up to 23rd street and couldn’t decide which way was East, the direction I wanted to go. I asked a young woman who said in a French accent, “Sorry, I’m French.
I don’t know.” I asked a middle-aged man who said with an English accent, “I don’t know either, I’m from London.” Help came from a young woman who looked overhead, noticed a sign with an arrow that read “West Side Highway” and pointed me in the right direction.
One night, David was disorientated on the street, and we had to backtrack. We walked and talked and the seconds flew by. There wasn’t a time when we didn’t talk, except when we were both asleep, David in his bedroom on the second floor and me on a comfortable couch in the living room. There was a lot going on during the roughly 10, 080 minutes that I was in New York: Halloween, with both kids and adults in costumes; the New York marathon with runners and spectators; the World Series which we watched on TV; news about the impeachment of Trump; and NFL football on the only Sunday I was in N.Y.
On my first full day in the city, I took the train on the Hudson Line from Grand Central Station, which can be a madhouse at rush hour, to Irvington to visit Steve and Anne Halliwell, whom I have known for 50 years and who were preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, which I couldn’t attend. I had committed myself to Bob Reilly’s 90th birthday party. If I was 40-years younger, I would have tried to do both, though it would have been madness to take the train to celebrate the Halliwell’s anniversary, then go back to Manhattan to join Bob and Barbara and their friends to honor Bob’s 90th.
The Halliwells are among my kindest friends, and also among the most hospitable. It’s fun to be in their home, to look at the art and the furniture and to go back into the past with them and remember the times that we have spent together, with FBI agents parked outside their apartment in 1970, on the lookout for Weather Underground fugitives. Steve and Anne were both in SDS and chose not to go underground. A wise decision. This time for the first time, as far as recollect, I asked Anne about her parents and the Holocaust. She described her father’s flight from Fascism and then his return to Germany, as a soldier in the U.S. army as part of the Allied effort to topple Hitler. No wonder that the Holocaust is rarely far from her consciousness, and, not surprising, either, that present day events trigger her gestalt with Fascism.
I've heard Anne call Steve a “Pollyanna.” Sometimes he is that. For years, I’ve heard him predict the imminent fall of Putin. I don’t know anyone more knowledgeable about Russian and Soviet history than he. For years, he worked in Moscow and got to know slippery Russian characters out to make a fast buck, or a fast ruble. I know very few people who are more optimistic about the possibility for democratic reform in Russia than Steve. But perhaps now in the Age of Trump, (or is it the Age of Putin?), he no longer sees reform on the horizon.
My cousin David didn’t go to Irvington with me. Nor did he go to the Upper West Side to see Dana and Paul, who were camping out in Dana’s sister’s apartment, while theirs was under construction. He did meet Dana and Paul at Bob 90th and he did go with me to have dinner, also on the Upper West Side, with Robert Friedman, a great, great newspaper and magazine editor, and Louise Yelin, a retired teacher who always came alive in the classroom. The four of us sat around their dining room table and ate the food that Louise made with lots of bread and butter — we devoured nearly a whole stick — and salad and desert, and talked about stocks and bonds and Trump and the Democratic Party candidates for the Presidency. Robert, who works at Bloomberg News, said that Wall Street doesn’t like Elizabeth Warren. Louise touted E. M. Forster’s novel, Howard’s End, which I read sometime in the 1960s and hardly remembered, but which was fresh in her memory.
On Saturday, November 2, Bob and Barbara’s one-bedroom apartment came alive with family members and friends, many of them teachers who had been on the faculty of George Washington High School with Bob, who looked frail, but who still has a big booming voice. For years, he was an actor on stage, in movies and in a guerrilla theater troupe on the streets of Berlin and New York. A dozen or so people, including nieces and nephews, shared memories. So did the inveterate New York novelist, Beverly Gologorsky, and the quintessential New York midwife and global traveler for health and well-being, Jennifer Dohrn. I read a short piece about the time that Bob and I were arrested in December 1969, five days after two Black Panthers, Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, were murdered. The cops beat us to a bloody pulp.
In 1970, I bonded with Jennifer when the two of us flew to Algiers to meet with Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary and tried to create an organization that would include Yippies, acid heads, Panthers and Weathermen. That was a pipe dream if ever there was one. I don’t know who was crazier: Leary with his LSD or Cleaver with his AK-47. Some of it rubbed on me, and took a long time to rub off.
On my one Sunday in New York, David and I had brunch with his older brother, Sam, who has worked as a physicist for much of his life. The three of us shared memories of boyhood in Huntington, and our thoughts about 2020 and the race for the White House. Sunday night David and I went out for chili. Monday morning he was up at 6 a.m. to see me off. I went back to JFK and boarded my JetBlue $265, roundtrip flight, with a New York fix and a new crop of New York memories. For most of my life in New York I put my friends in compartments that didn’t connect. This time I tried to link everyone to everyone else. Like David, I’ve discovered that it doesn’t pay to compartmentalize and keep secrets. As he said, “It's hard to conceal stuff. It just takes too much effort. Not worth it.”
THE HOUSE WITH THE MEZZANINE
"Dispensaries, peasant literacy, books with pathetic precepts and jokes cannot diminish either ignorance or mortality, any more than the light from your windows can illuminate this huge garden," I said. "You give nothing with your interference in these people's lives, you only create new needs, new pretexts for work."
"My God, but something must be done!" Lida said with vexation and from her tone it was clear that she considered my arguments worthless and despised them.
"The people must be free from heavy physical labor," I said. "Their yoke must be lightened, they must be given a respite, so that they don't spend their whole lives at the stove, the washed tub, and in the fields, but also have time to think about their souls, about God, to give wider scope to their spiritual capacities. Every man's calling lies in spiritual activity — in a constant search for truth and the meaning of life. Make it so that crude, brutish labor is not necessary for them, let them feel themselves free, and then you will see what a mockery these books and first aid kits essentially are. Once a man is conscious of his true calling, he can be satisfied only by religion, the sciences, the arts, and not these trifles."
"Freedom from labor!" Lida grinned. "Is that really possible?"
"Yes. Take a share of their work on yourself. If all of us, city and county dwellers, all of us without exception, agreed to divide up the work expanded by mankind in general to satisfy its physical needs, the portion for each of us might be no more than two or three hours a day. Imagine that all of us, rich and poor, work only three hours a day, and the rest of our time is left free. Imagine, too, that in order to depend still less on our bodies and to work less, we invent machines to work for us, and try to reduce the number our needs to the minimum. We train ourselves and our children not to fear hunger and cold, so that we don't constantly tremble for their health as Anna, Mavra and Pelageya do. Imagine that we don't get treated, don't keep pharmacies, tobacco factories, distilleries — what a lot of free time we would have in the end! All of us together would devote this leisure to the arts and sciences. As peasants sometimes get together to mend a road, so all of us together would seek truth and the meaning of life, and — I'm certain of it — the truth would be discovered very soon, man would be delivered from this constant, tormenting, oppressive fear, and even from debt itself."
"You contradict yourself, however," said Lida. "You say science, science, yet you reject literacy."
"Literacy, when a man can only use it to read hothouse signboards and occasional books that he doesn't understand — such literacy has been with us since the time of Rurik, Gogol’s Petrushka has been reading for a long time and yet the village remains to this day when it was under Rurik. What we need is not literacy, but the freedom to give wide scope to our spiritual capacities. We need not schools but universities."
"You reject medicine as well."
“Yes. It would be needed only for the study of illnesses as phenomena of nature, not for their treatment. If we are to treat something it should be not illnesses but their causes. Remove the main cause — physical work — and there will be no illnesses. I don't recognize the science of treatment," I went on excitedly. "The arts and sciences when genuine, aspire not to temporary, not to specific purposes, but to the eternal and the general — they seek truth and the meaning of life, they seek God, the soul, and when they are harnessed to the needs and evils of the day, to first aid kits and libraries, they only complicate and clutter life. We have lots of doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, there are lots of literate people, but no biologists, mathematicians, philosophers, poets. All our intelligence, all our inner energies have gone to satisfying temporary, passing needs. Among scientists, writers, and artists, work is at the boil, the comforts of life increase every day thanks to them, bodily needs multiply, and yet the truth is still far off, and man still remains the most predatory and slovenly of animals, and the tendency in the majority of mankind is towards degeneration and the permanent loss of all vitality. In such conditions an artist’s life has no meaning, and the more talented he is, the more strange and incomprehensible his role, since it turns out that, in reality, he is working for the amusement of a predatory, slovenly animal and supporting the existing order of things. But I don't want to work and will not. Nothing’s any use, let the earth go to hell and gone!"
— Anton Chekhov
ON COFFEE, CANTATAS & UNWED DAUGHTERS CROSSING THE THRESHOLD
by David Yearsley
Your Musical Patriot has returned from the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society, held this year in Boston—if you have the nerve to call the “redeveloped” harbor district where the meeting was held “Boston.”
This desert of overpriced glass and steel could be detached from the peninsula of the old city and dragged across oceans to any global hub, from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, without anyone being able to divine its provenance. Having flown in from around the country and the world, the musicologists didn’t pay much heed to their pre-apocalyptic surroundings. Instead, they busied themselves with scholarly inquiries that ranged across the centuries and the globe, from “A Genealogy of the Recital Encore” to “Rethinking the Vibrational Politics of Solidarity in the Anthropocene.”
There was business to be done, too: books to be pitched and launched—including my own! Surfing the wave of enthusiasm that surged through the carpeted corridors and faux-colonial ball rooms of the convention hotel, I offer this excerpt from one of the later chapters of my recently published volume Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks.
Bitter Bean and Loose Ließgen — On Coffee, Cantatas, and Unwed Daughters Crossing the Threshold
Anna Magdalena’s musical albums were precious personal belongings to be used alone as well as shared with other members of the family. The owner filled in many of the pages with dances and songs, while her husband contributed ambitious keyboard works, and her children and stepchildren their early compositional efforts. This fare was infused with music and ideas from beyond the home. Amongst the Notebooks’ fashionably cosmopolitan minuets and polonaises there were grand connoisseurs’ suites whose nationally-inflected movements made for a veritable travelogue through Europe. Along these imagined journeys, the traveler could fortify herself with pious chorales and devotional melodies, and also indulge in diverting reflections on the joys of tobacco, and by implication, other bourgeois pleasures enjoyed in the home and in public places like Leipzig’s many coffee houses. Galant songs of love and sadness charmed and consoled, gracing the private realm, but suitable, too, for informal gatherings in semi-public salons.
This musical mélange expressed refinement at the keyboard and away from it. The Notebooks reveal that the Bach family (with its Wilcke addition) was changing: the contents belong to a world different from that of their forbears, those countless musicians who had so long lived and worked in Thuringia and Saxony: galant culture molded the conception of music and the good life embodied in the albums. Notebooks like Anna Magdalena’s were an expression of elevated bourgeois living, like the coffee service and other fashionable accessories that graced the Bach home. The Notebooks were — and are — emblems of feminine accomplishment and improvement, both musical and social.
If, as so many enthusiasts and scholars have maintained, the Notebooks offer an intimate glimpse into the marriage of Anna Magdalena Wilcke and Johann Sebastian Bach, these collections also reveal much about relationships among the generations and, more generally, between the sexes. The Bach daughters must have used their mother’s Notebooks, too, even if, in contrast to the boys, no girl’s hand has yet been identified in their pages. All the children were musically talented and trained, though the quality and scope of their tuition was certainly determined by gender. The males were being prepared for professional careers in the family trade, but the females, too, learned to sing and play. The Notebooks would have helped the girls to develop their musical skills and in so doing to increase their attractiveness to prospective spouses. In this chapter I want to examine a constellation of concerns involving sex, love, marriage, consumer culture, and upward mobility, and follow these themes out across the threshold of the Cantor’s apartments into urban, Enlightened Leipzig. There we can learn much about the hopes and fears Anna Magdalena and her husband harbored for their female children. Contemporary debates about daughters and fathers, mothers and marriage, pleasure and obedience throw light back on to the uses and meanings of the music of the Notebooks and the woman they belonged to.
Fashionable female enjoyment of coffee, clothing, and song was both encouraged and contested by authors and composers in books, conversations, and music—words printed, spoken, and sung. Contributions to, and awareness of, these debates was both a sign of cultural currency and itself a form of galant delectation. The refinements of dress, deportment, and singing were practiced at home, but they were also performed in public, perhaps even by the musical Bach daughters. Four of these girls survived to adulthood: did they enjoy more than simply singing about, or listening to, songs like the Aria di Giovannini (BWV 518) inscribed in Anna Magdalena’s 1725 Notebook and devoted to the promise and perils of hidden love? Did its message speak to their own expectations and desires? Did the Bach girls delight in coffee, conversation, and courting, as well as in vocal and keyboard performance? All these questions were encompassed by the most important one of all: Would the Bach daughters be married?
As the Bachs’ library reminded them, finding a husband for a family’s young women and sending them safely out into the world was a basic duty of fathers—and sometimes mothers, especially when they were widowed. This parental worry is at the center of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Coffee Cantata (BWV 211) and demands attention, literally so when, at its very start, a tenor springs up from the midst of a noisy coffee house or somewhat less boisterous salon, to command the assembled company to:
Quiet down, stop jabbering,
And listen to what happens now:
Schweigt still, plaudert nicht
Und höret, was itzund geschicht:
The announced entertainment is not only to be watched by those gathered, but also to be participated in. The lines are delivered as recitative, direct musical speech in the present tense addressed to the audience, interrupting the din and inviting all to eavesdrop on a spat between the cantata’s two characters: the hapless father, Schlendrian, and his impudent daughter Ließgen. The text once again is by Johann Sebastian Bach’s main literary collaborator in Leipzig, Picander, who also wrote the libretto for the St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), but this coffeehouse tenor does not stick around like the persistent Evangelist does on Good Friday. After making his public-service announcement, the pop-up narrator withdraws as quickly as he had appeared to let the father-daughter pair spar and pout without him: their conflict over coffee is a family matter aired in public. There is no instrumental prelude or introductory snippet to clear the air. Instead this opening plunges the action into its social surroundings, reveling in performance in a vibrant Leipzig nightspot. It is a comedy not just staged in the public sphere but proudly, even obstreperously, part of it.
The Coffee Cantata was composed sometime in the first half of the 1730s during Johann Sebastian Bach’s tenure as director of one of Leipzig’s two Collegia musica. The ensemble he led presented its programs in Gottfried Zimmermann’s coffeehouse or, in the summer, in the owner’s pleasant garden near the city’s Grimma Gate. Given the subject matter, Zimmermann’s establishment has seemed to most historians the likely performance venue for the piece. More recently, however, Katherine Goodman has proposed that the piece could have been performed at sometime Bach collaborator Christiane Mariane von Ziegler’s salon, held in her grand house just down the Catharinenstraße from Zimmermann’s. The cantata could well have been presented at both venues: the piece has all the traits of a favorite that, like the beverage at its center, was ready for reheating wherever coffee was drunk—which was pretty much everywhere in Leipzig during the Bachs time there.
A 1725 guide to Leipzig by the Dresden auctioneer Johann Christian Crell writing under the pen name of Iccander—a moniker not coincidentally close to that of Picander since both belonged to a literary society called the Blumen– und Elbschwanorden whose members favored such Greekified pseudonyms—gives a vivid impression of the lively milieu into which the cantata’s opening lines were tossed:
The entertainment of both locals and outsiders of high and low standing belonging to both the masculine and feminine sexes is increased by the eight officially-sanctioned public coffee houses, which are rightly famous both on account of their lovely settings, view, and pleasant accommodations, as well as by virtue of the grand assemblies that appear there, since the people who gather find pleasant diversion partly in the reading of all kinds of newspapers and historical books, and partly in society games (Academie de Jeux)—ingenious and permissible amusements such as chess, ladies’ games, and billiards.
Not mentioned here is music, though along with the pastimes listed by Crell, we see this being pursued in the famous frontispiece to Sperontes’ Singende Muse, that defining image of galant Leipzig, and a publication contemporary with the Coffee Cantata.
Leipzig’s other Collegium Musicum also held its musical evenings variously in the town hall’s wine cellar (Ratskellar) and another of the city’s famed locales, Helwig’s Coffee House. To be heard at all these venues was cosmopolitan music well-suited to the galant set. That the lady closest to the viewer in the Sperontes’s image plays the clavichord conveys how porous the border was between private and public spheres when it came to feminine music-making. She appears to be reading from an unseen book, perhaps, one is encouraged to imagine, a must-have publication like the Singende Muse itself. Or maybe she has brought along her own notebook. A well-dressed man at her table is listening intently: is he a suitor, the woman’s music master, or both? As the satyr hiding beneath the pair indicates, the gentleman’s focused attention could well be motivated by romantic interest, but it also seems to demonstrate the importance of women’s music-making as something that participated in, and contributed to, fashionable topics and tastes.
The opening exhortation of BWV 211 seeks not only to quell the hub-bub as if from amidst its source, but also to frame the proceedings as a play within the drama occurring every night in a coffee house—a place of argument and gossip, games and flirtation, looking and being seen. From the start of the cantata the “grand assembly” described by Crell is directly involved, activated as auditors and viewers, and afterward (or perhaps even during the music) as commentators. They are not safely insulated from the action: the tenor makes them complicit in the entertainment because the story has to do with them, their foibles and follies, desires and fears. This is social comment camouflaged as comedy.
As was often the case in the repartee of coffee house conversationalists and gamers, the digs and swipes of the Bach/Picander intermezzo found their animating hilarity in contentious current topics. The potential divisiveness of these themes gives the humor its bite; the social implications of what was being laughed at impinged directly on the Bachs themselves, especially on the women of the family. In just a few printed pages, Picander’s libretto, along with the concluding reversal of the last two numbers added to the cantata by an unknown author, rattles off a veritable wish-list of galant accessories; these goods in turn signified other larger issues confronting a society ruled by a stern theocracy, yet increasingly being pried loose from religious control by the consumerist pull of modernity and the Enlightened ethics of personal pleasure. Coffee was then, as now, more than a trendy drink. For urban dwellers in the German states of the eighteenth century it was a steaming symbol not just of luxury and leisure, but also of women’s entry into the public sphere. Iccander’s account of Leipzig locales mentions both men and women seemingly on equal footing; alongside smoking, coffee-drinking, and making conversation, women might well have sung there, too, none more expertly than the one-time Cöthen Sängerin, Anna Magdalena Bach after her arrival in the city in 1723.
(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 email@example.com.)
It's a shame that the wonderful states of Washington and Oregon are now shitholes because of Democrat liberal policies. California used to be the nicest state to live in. Now it’s a shithole thanks to Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom. How can people gulp this down? Every state under Democratic control is a shithole. Believe me. It's the truth.
This whole impeachment thing is coming from a shithole — Nancy Pelosi and the rest of them. And of course Nancy Pelosi is Gavin Newsom's aunt. Jerry Brown and J. Paul Getty — big money. That's how they get elected, they buy the election, they steal and cheat and buy and lie. Then they get elected.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. The smart people at Calfire and our environmental agencies cannot figure out how to make a defensible area around towns built into timber. There's a surplus of equipment all around the country and they can't build a defensible area on the Windward side? I know people love their trees like up in Paradise. But those trees turn into Roman candles during a fire. And it can jump from tree to tree very fast. You just build a defensible area on the windward side of these communities, maybe 200 feet wide so they can prevent fires from getting into the structures. All these people get so much money and yet they are so dumb. They don't know how to construct a defensible area. My grandfather was 83 when he passed away. He was in forestry for 20 years. He could give people advice from the grave. It makes me sick to think that all the equipment and resources we have and mills buying logs and brush cutters and chippers and you can't build a defensible area on the windward side of a community?
PPS. The state of California is responsible for all these fires getting so out of control, especially in residential areas. I mean Jerry Brown and the liberal Democrat organization are to blame, not PG&E. How can PG&E defend 186,000 miles of line when it's running out into the forest for 50 or 60 miles where nobody's around and a limb falls out of a tree across the lines and then falls on the ground — how does PG&E manage something like that? For all the good they do and their people working all day and all night, giving up their home lives — don't blame PG&E, blame Jerry Brown and the state of California.
The state should have required fire trails and defensible areas around communities. All these forestry know-it-alls and big shots couldn't persuade the state to do that? Defensible areas are the only thing that works when a fire approaches. No other way. Maybe if the liberal Democrats running this country would stop hoarding our tax money for stupid things like gun laws and climate change and open borders and free medical for this and that and put it on infrastructure and protecting our communities from fires it would be a different situation, fewer lost lives, avoiding all the fatigue and work involved in fighting fires and rebuilding homes and the anguish of people who lost everything. And the state of California just looks around — "What the hell? We will just raise the taxes!" But that doesn't help anyone.
MURAL IN DOWNTOWN SF DEPICTS SWEDISH TEEN CLIMATE ACTIVIST GRETA THUNBERG
THE LATEST, and most desperate gambit is the UkraineGate whistleblower, a CIA employee blatantly playing errand-boy for his mentor John Brennan and deeply tied to 2016 election shenanigans emanating from Ukraine, featuring his former employer, ex-Vice-President Joe Biden. This shadowy figure, pegged as Eric Ciaramella, 33, may shortly find himself in a grand jury chamber answering for his role in this charade. Ciaramella has just been hung out to dry by his sponsor, Rep. Adam Schiff in a desperate attempt to dissociate himself from the huggermugger within his House Intel Committee that preceded the falsely blown whistle.
— James Kunstler
"Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!"
The recording of Friday night's Pre-Armistice Day Sale (2019-11-08) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here:
Besides all that, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you can find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Memorial to heroic self-sacrifice. (via FutilityCloset)
The jealous-girlfriend/unfaithful-guy meme played out with stock photos.
And do it yourself. How to watch the entire development of a chicken embryo into a live peeping baby chicken in your own kitchen. It involves a plastic cup, some vinyl food wrap, and calcium DL-lactate pentahydrate.* (I’m suggesting the obvious continuation of the project to the chicken salad stage. That isn't shown here.) (Whatever you do, don’t substitute in G-23 paxilon hydrochlorate, because the resulting chicken can become highly aggressive, committing unspeakable acts including cannibalism, rape, and self-mutilation.
"What'll happen if they take the ship?”
“If they take the ship, they'll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing. And, if we're very, very lucky, they'll do it in that order."
Anyway, read labels and use as directed in the proper quantities. And thank you for your service.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
THE CITY VS. THE UVSD: STOP THE MADNESS
I was appointed to the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District (UVSD) Board of Directors in 2017 to serve out the term of a director who had resigned. It was only for less than a year.
I think I was probably appointed because it was widely assumed I would be an "activist" as a director.
Why an activist?
Because years ago, I was a member of the grand jury that issued a report that was highly critical of the City's over-billing of the District.
The District board assumed correctly. I am an activist, and I was -- and continue to be -- outraged over the City's billing practices and other abuses.
The rest is history, as they say.
UVSD hired the law firm of Duncan James, sued Ukiah, won a mediated settlement, and signed a new operating agreement.
One would have thought that the situation was remedied.
So why is UVSD still paying the law firm of Duncan James at least $50,000 a month, fees that represent at least 60 percent of UVSD's monthly expenses?
Because implementation of the new operating agreement is apparently very difficult. Throughout the litigation, there were significant issues regarding the Equivalent Sewer Service Units (ESSUs). ESSUs were at the heart of the lawsuit. Now, both parties have to start at the beginning of their dysfunctional business relationship and recalculate everything.
Why have attorney Duncan James present for those recalculations?
Because City Attorney David Rapport is present. He is there at the table with a sharp pencil and a green visor representing the City. And he is doing what good attorneys do…he is aggressively representing his client.
Hence, the UVSD feels the need to also be represented by counsel.
UVSD board member Ernie Wipf, who took my place on the board, agrees.
“The basis of the lawsuit is the ESSUs, so I kind of feel like it is important to have (an attorney) involved until this is resolved,” Ernie said to Justine Frederiksen of the Ukiah Daily Journal in an article that ran on December 19, 2018.
UVSD Chairwoman Theresa McNerlin agreed.
“I need our attorney there (for the discussions) because the city’s attorney is trying to interpret the agreement a certain way, or wanting to inject something that’s not in the agreement, and it’s our attorney who needs to point out that that’s not in the agreement," said Ms. McNerlin.
Wipf concluded, “Unfortunately, those agreements aren’t falling into place easily. There’s different opinions.”
In its December meeting, the board voted 4-1 to have Wipf be UVSD Vice Chair…a good thing, a very good thing. Frankly, I don't know anyone more qualified than Mr. Wipf to be a watchdog over the city.
Keep in mind, a watchdog is needed.
For many years, the City exploited its relationship with the district for millions of dollars. In its lawsuit, the Sanitation District claimed the City had spent those millions to cover its annual structural deficit, or was hiding those million dollars of the district’s money in its “City Sewer Capital Fund” and other accounts.
The grand jury a look.
It took a forensic accountant hired by Duncan James to finally unravel the mess.
In September, 2018, the settlement agreement approved by the Ukiah City Council Friday had the City of Ukiah paying the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District $7.5 million to dismiss the lawsuit.
The agreement also had the City transferring $2.5 million of proceeds from the 2006 sale of bonds to upgrade the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant to the sanitation district.
But here's the rub.
The new operating agreement called for a considerable level of cooperation from the District and City, which is absolutely necessary to effectively run the wastewater program for our community.
And that, my friends, just isn't happening easily.
Don't believe me?
Ask former UVSD Chairman Jim Ronco.
I ran into Mr. Ronco at the County Clerk's office on Wednesday, November 6, when I was filling my candidate papers for 1st District Supervisor. He told me about very recent examples of the City's dysfunctional relationship with the District…which is very unfortunate.
Quoting last year's grand jury report:
“ Over $16 million has allegedly changed hands with neither side admitting any wrongdoing. The lawsuit legal and administrative bills have approached $9 million and continue to escalate. An estimated $14 million could have been saved by the ratepayers if the existing bond had been refinanced at a lower rate of interest. The refinance could not occur because the District failed to produce State required audited financial statements for 2014-2018.”
“Ultimately, the $23 million (combined legal costs and interest savings) must be paid by the citizens of the City and the District via their monthly sewer bills. The City and District are already engaged in arbitration which involves the additional expense of attorneys for both sides.”
Which is probably why my Sewer Basic Charge and UVSD Residential Usage jumped 50 per cent this year.
I'm left wondering: Is arbitration between the City and the District needed to stop this madness?
If elected Supervisor, I will advocate that new rates must account for the costs of the combined legal and administrative fees.
Customers, like me, want a rebate. And we want lower rates.
John Sakowicz, Candidate Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor