- Affiliation Resolution
- Rain Coming
- $3.3 Million
- Breakfast Ahead
- Mayor Grateful
- Black Cats
- Fort Bragas
- Walking Tours
- Maritime Exhibit
- November 1963
- Good Billionaire
- Strange Weekend
- Fight Recorder
- Price of Weed
- Yesterday's Catch
- Holiday Turkeys
- Alpha Fish
- Centrist Danger
- Safe Power
- Climate Tsunami
- Last Call
- Nuclear Waste
- Bogus Foundation
- Corruption Inc
- Square Root
- Rankled Choice
- Inspirational Prince
- Holiday Schedule
- Trump Supporters
- Cutting Trees
- Found Object
MALCOLM MACDONALD REPORTS:
At a November 22nd meeting of the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District's Board of Directors it took about two hours to come to a foregone conclusion. The Directors eventually voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution to affiliate with Stone Point Health, a subsidiary of Adventist Health. A second resolution, by the same vote (Director Amy McColley dissenting in each case), sent the affiliation agreement on to the county clerk to place it on the ballot in March for a simple up or down vote.
The ballot wording will be similar to the following:
"With no additional taxes to the taxpayers and to assure continuing emergency medical services, acute hospital inpatient services and outpatient services, with substantial investments by non-profit Stone Point Health to meet the needs of Mendocino Coast residents, shall the Mendocino Coast Health Care District enter into a lease agreement of Mendocino Coast District Hospital for up to thirty (30) years at fair market value to Stone Point Health, per terms approved by Resolution 2019-17 adopted November 22, 2019? YES ____ NO ____"
COLD RAIN GONNA FALL NEXT WEEK
Clear cool days, cold nights with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s through Monday. Chance of rain on Tuesday and into Wednesday, Thursday (Thanksgiving) and Friday accompanied by colder temps only into the 40s and low 50s during the day and down in the 30s overnight with snow likely in the hills. The National Weather Service doesn’t provide estimated rainfall accumulations, but accoding to other sources it’s not likely to exceed an inch for this first rain of the 2019/2020 winter season.
MENDO’S GOLD PLATED GIFT TO CAMILLE SCHRADER
by Mark Scaramella
Everyone involved knows that the new Psychiatric Health Facility and the Crisis Stabilization Unit to be funded by the millions of local sales tax dollars are going to be built on the vacant lot next door to Camille Schrader’s operation on Orchard Street.
Why do we have to go through years of expensive planning and delay for what is obviously a done deal?
Because Mendo can’t do anything without going through every conceivable costly hoop they can think of in a false concept of “the public process.” And even more laughably, "transparency."
And so it was that last Tuesday the latest chapter in that farcical process unfolded when the Supervisors were presented with a long-delayed yet somehow urgent proposal to hand over $3.3 million to a Sacramento architiectural consultant called Nacht & Lewis to evaluate and design the PHF, CSU and the third component, a Crisis Residential Treatment facility (CRT).
The presentation was typical of CEO Angelo’s most controversial projects: wait for as long as possible, arrange some kind of gold-plated, highly proper and grotesquely overpriced package — remember how the CEO once compared the process to building a $50,000 kitchen? — and then tell the Supes that even though she and her staff took months to get to this nebulous point, there’s now a deadline and gosh we’re running late.
Board Chair Carre Brown said as much, noting that she’s heard lots of complaints — particularly from the Grand Jury — about how the Measure B Mental Health Facilities project hasn’t done much and is moving so slowly to fruition. This convenient observation from Mrs. Brown played right into CEO Angelo’s hands.
To ramp up the pressure even more, Angelo and her staff told the Board that they risked losing about $500k in unrelated state Mental Health Grant funds if they didn’t submit some kind of plan to have a Crisis Stabilization Unit in place by October of 2021.
This far off, irrelevant threat was all Supervisor John Haschak, already a dependable study in credulity, needed to go along with the rush-job Angelo and her staff presented.
The consultant confirmed the pre-destined Orchard Street site by saying that they only planned to look at it and Old Howard Hospital in Willits during the “feasability study” portion of their $3.3 million contract. However, Willits is on record saying that if the County was going to consider Old Howard, they’d have to comply with all of Willits’s city planning and construction codes. Moreover, several Willits residents have openly opposed the idea of a mental health facility in downtown Willits at the old hospital.
Ukiah, on the other hand, has no objections and is likely to welcome the project since the Orchard Street property already has Camille Schrader’s existing service facility next door and it is not in the downtown or a residential neighborhood. (Everything and anything distressing to West Side Ukiah is placed on State Street or east of State Street.)
So at this point there’s no real need for a “feasability study,” is there? Ukiah will accept; Willits will resist, ergo: Ukiah/Orchard Street is “feasible.”
When the subject of the surprisingly large $3.3 mil feasibility/design contract came before the Supes on Tuesday, Supervisor John McCowen’s first reaction was, “I think it would be prudent to hear from the full [Measure B] committee on that.” — i.e., whether this $3.3 million proposal was what the Measure B committee had in mind.
But after CEO Angelo cannily pointed out that the next Measure B meeting won’t be until mid-December and the item wouldn’t come back to the Board until January — Oh the delays! (Never mind that the CEO and her staff can take months bringing the contract to the Board, no problem. But now, it’s suddenly urgent.)
So we assume the $3.3 million will go on the slo-mo Measure B Committee’s December agenda — with the pressure on them that the Supes already approved the $3.3 million kitchen, er. psych facilities.
Supervisors Dan Gjerde and Ted Williams tried to inject a little rationality to the discussion:
Gjerde: “If we are only looking at three residential homes as crisis residential treatment, any architect in Mendocino County could do that. We don't need a specialist and this should not be part of the overall project. If we need a specialist for the PHF unit and the CSU perhaps, then the process that was used makes sense. But we do not need to spend $375,000 to remodel three homes.”
Williams: “I think there is a structural problem here between the Measure B committee, the executive office doing some of the tasks, and the supervisors being at arm’s length from this process. It's another train wreck. Nobody wants to be holding the bag for this. We all want the services and we are all thankful that it's funded and there's public money available to solve these problems. But this is an area where we really need a strategic plan. The idea of losing potential funds because we delay this, doesn't appeal to any of us either. But I think that comes out of not having a strategic plan. Maybe that's what we need to look at before we start looking at a specific contract. We should talk about what the process is and make sure we all agree on who the parties are and the flow. The fact that this has come to us without going through the Measure B committee and that Measure B committee members are not here to voice opinions should raise some concern. At the same time that we collaborate with the cities, we should collaborate with the hospitals. I spoke to Adventist hospital. They have interest in the CSU even at the Coast Hospital which may become theirs to operate in the spring. They seem like an important partner to be at the table. Not having their input and not having them at the oversight committee meeting is another red flag.
Chair Carre Brown: “The biggest criticism I hear is that nothing is getting done, nothing is moving forward and that is all over the county and that's the people who are actually financing this through sales tax and they want to see something moving [no matter how stupid or expensive]. We used the term ‘contingent,’ for the CRT and I think we need to go forward.”
Williams: "Do you see a way to separate that from this $3.3 million? I would like to see the CRT [Crisis Residential Treatment] go forward today. Purchasing structures sounds great. Supervisor Gjerde is right that any architect in this county can design a remodel. This does seem inflated.”
Supervisor McCowen then suggested approving the $3.3 million contract "contingent upon approval by the Measure B committee."
Williams: “I don't think I'm comfortable approving $3.3 million without understanding the services, if we can afford those services, deciding the scope with the cities and the hospital — there are too many unknowns here.”
McCowen: “I don't necessarily disagree, that's what we would hope would come out of the feasibility study. But this package is before us. We are not sure if this is in line with what the Measure B committee had in mind when they said go out for an RFP. So that's the basic question we want to hear back from them on.”
Williams: “I'm not against the plan. I would like more detail. For example, what services will take place in the structures and can we afford those services? And what funds will be left for the coast? If the Measure B oversight committee comes back and says they have support for this and we ask what is left on the table for the coast and the answer is nothing, then no, I don't support it. There are too many unknowns.”
Supervisor John Haschak: “People want some action. We've been at this for a long time. Obviously it doesn't sit well with us as the Board of Supervisors looking at this process and having it not go back to the Measure B and come up with a recommendation to us. But we have to recognize that a lot of people put a lot of work into this and this is hopefully the best we can do at this point. We won't know some of that information until the feasibility study is done and all that. So I guess I support a motion contingent upon approval of the Measure B committee to proceed with this.”
Supervisor Williams tried suggesting that the Measure B committee convene a special meeting this week. But he was told by the CEO that that couldn't happen. “If we're talking about expediency,” said Williams. “We don't need to wait until January, we just need the Measure B committee to come back with some answers.”
Gjerde: “I think these figures are just way too high! I don't think we should be contemplating $375,000 in architectural fees for remodeling three houses. I don't think we should be contemplating $500,000 for “predesign conceptual services” and I don't think we should be contemplating $2.2 million for actual design of approximately 20,000 square feet of commercial buildings. I would only support going back to Measure B with the concept of up to $300,000 for design services. And leave it at that. Because we don't have to have specialty architectural services to redesign three houses. That could be a separate architectural firm locally sourced for a lot less money. Then, after we've had the conceptual planning done, we can decide if we need a new RFP for the architectural services which would be Phase 3.”
Gjerde also noted that if you apply standard multipliers to a $3.3 million design — in the range of 7% to 15% — you end up with a construction cost that’s more than Measure B can probably afford. (7% translates to $47 million; 15% translates to $22 million)
Brown then asked CEO Angelo: “When we go through these processes we do evaluate cost?”
Brown: “The evaluation committee is still coming forward with this?”
Brown: “So I'm assuming they have looked at the scope of work?”
Angelo then issued her ultimatum: “The evaluation committee has looked at this scope of work and we did have mental health input initially and the evaluation committee has agreed on this. So that's that. On this. We came to you this way because of the timeframe and this is a government process and if this board was not comfortable voting this up then you could do the recommendation that you just did which is contingent upon a majority of the Measure B committee. I appreciate Supervisor Gjerde’s comments and his recommendation on how to move forward. To do that, we would be going back to the drawing board and scratching all of this, scratching this particular contractor who could apply for another RFP.”
Williams: “I'm not against this plan. I just want to see the other half of the plan. I want to see that we can actually staff and operate the facility we're talking about building. And hearing that the $3.3 million is not capped is a great concern to me. What happens when we spend this money and work through the process and we run over? We build the facility and find that we can't staff it, the personnel are not available here, or we can afford them? That doesn't leave us in a good position. I want to see a strategic plan. We are doing this but there are other components we need to work out. If we can't fit this within the Measure B budget then we would have to come back and revisit this plan and scale it down.”
Haschak: “The whole problem with Measure B is we don't know if we are going to have the money to staff it eventually. But the idea was and always has been to build these buildings with a certain amount of the money and then with the other part that would go on afterwards and that's where the staffing is going to come from whether we can find qualified persons who want to come to Mendocino County and work. That's always been a big question mark. But to build the buildings, I'm willing to go along with this proposal at this point.”
McCowen: “To take the time to develop a strategic plan which we actually got an outline of that via the Kemper report over a year ago, to do more in the way of a strategic plan would just further delay the process. Would questions of staffing levels and sustainability be part of the Phase 1 feasibility?”
Nicely outfitted Nacht & Lewis rep: “We would work with the county and [County Mental Health Director] Jeanine Miller and her staff to determine the staffing levels for the facilities and review other facilities. We do have a mental health expert on our team to assist with that process.”
Williams: “I'm stunned that we are talking about spending $3.3 million of public money essentially as a blank check with no assurance that we won't have overruns without a financial plan, not even a one-page document about what it will cost to staff these facilities. So I can't support this even though I want to. I have the same pressure from my constituents that this has been too long a process — why isn't the county moving? Here's the opportunity to move. Etc. But I can't do it because there are too many red flags and I think what will happen is we are going to spend the money up to $3.3 million and then talk about going over that and then running into, Where do we hire the people? It reminds me of the CV Starr Center [The Fort Bragg Rec Facility which was built without much regard for round the clock staffing and continues to suffer from that]. We need a plan with a binder and a financial statement that gives us some theoretical picture before we get started.”
The Board voted 3-2 to approve CEO Angelo’s rail-roaded, gold-plated kitchen approach — “contingent on Measure B committee approval.”
Will the Measure B committee get on board Angelo’s train and vote to approve what the Supes already approved?
Will Gjerde or Williams stick to their principles and appear before the Measure B committee in December and attempt to derail Angelo’s gold-plated train?
Whatever happens, history tells us that the Measure B Commitee and the CEO and the Supes will pick the most expensive and therefore slowest option available, albeit with some grumbling from a few malcontents.
The only real question is whether Camille Schrader’s company will still be around to staff whatever may be built.
FORT BRAGG MAYOR ACKNOWLEDGES POLICE DEPARTMENT, SCHOOL STAFF FOR KEEPING STUDENTS SAFE
Following the Press Release from the Fort Bragg Police Department detailing the circumstances of an incident on November 19, 2019 involving a threat at Fort Bragg High School, Mayor William V. Lee issues the following statement:
I’d like to thank our school staff and our police department for their quick work ensuring that the scene was safe at the High School and the surrounding neighborhood. Following the protocols in place for handling criminal threats on a school campus kept our students, teachers and staff members from possible harm.
Our great police officers, acting very quickly, apprehended the suspect and placed him under arrest. I appreciate our police department’s dedication and law enforcement expertise in these times of increased threats to our community.
I respect Principal Bruce Triplett, our District Superintendent Becky Walker, and her staff for keeping our kids safe and implementing the school’s policies and action plans. Keeping our children safe and our community safe is one of our most important responsibilities and duties.
To view the PD’s press release, visit the City’s Website https://city.fortbragg.com/677/2019- Press-Releases and click on the release for 2019-11-19.
Questions regarding this information should be directed to Mayor William V. Lee, at (707) 961- 2823 ext. 149.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
AT HOME WITH THE BRAGAS
On November 19, 2019 at approximately 7:06 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies received a radio call for service regarding a firearm being brandished at a residence in the 19000 block of Olsen Lane in Fort Bragg. Deputies responded to the 18000 block of North Highway 1 where they contacted the 50 year-old African American male victim of Fort Bragg. Deputies initiated an investigation into the incident after learning the victim went to a residence in the 19000 block of Olsen Lane with the intent to collect personal property. After the victim arrived he was confronted by two people identified as Connie Braga, 60, of Fort Bragg, and Alan Garibay, 40, of Janesville, Wisconsin. Garibay, who deputies later learned was prohibited from possessing firearms, pointed a semi-automatic pistol at the victim and threaten to kill him. Fearing for his safety, the victim fled the location on a bicycle. After fleeing the location, and while traveling within the 18000 block of North Highway 1, the victim was approached by a vehicle, which had its exterior lighting turned off. The vehicle stopped behind the victim and a person identified as Christopher Braga exited the vehicle. Christopher Braga, 28, of Fort Bragg, approached the victim with a firearm in hand and told the victim he would kill him.
Christopher Braga then struck the victim in the head several times with the firearm before leaving the location. Deputies observed the victim sustained minor injuries to his head. Deputies responded to the residence in the 19000 block of Olsen Lane to further investigate the incident and contacted suspects Connie Braga, Alan Garibay, and Christopher Braga at the location. During that contact deputies developed further probable cause to prepare an affidavit in support of a search warrant for firearms at the location. During the service of that search warrant, deputies located two pistols with ammunition, a billyclub, and approximately 24.4-grams of suspected cocaine and other paraphernalia related to drug sales. At the conclusion of the investigation, deputies developed sufficient probable cause to arrest all three suspects. All three suspects were arrested and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they were booked on the following charges.
Christopher Braga was booked on charges of Assault with a Firearm, Criminal Threats, Armed with Firearm in Commission of Felony, Possession of a Narcotic for Sale, and Possession of a Firearm while in Possession of Narcotics. He is being held in lieu of $60,000 bail.
Alan Garibay was booked on charges of Assault with a Firearm, Criminal Threats, Armed with Firearm in Commission of Felony, Possession of Firearm by Prohibited Person, and Possession of Ammunition by Prohibited Perso]. He is being held in lieu of $55,000 bail.
Connie Braga was booked on charges of Accessory to a Felony and Possession of a Billy Club. She is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
WALKING THE KELLEY HOUSE
Kelley House Walking Tours Holiday Schedule
It's that time to remind you and your holiday guests of the Kelley House Walking Tour schedule for the Holidays.
Take a stroll with our Docents to learn about the many wonders of our Village and pick up bits of Mendocino history to share. It's a great few hours for some outdoor family fun. The tour is an appreciated $10 donation per person.
Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 11AM-4PM
Friday, November 29, 11AM-4PM
Christmas Day December 25 through New Years Day January 1, 11AM -4PM
NORM DEVALL REMINDS US:
Last Days Maritime Exhibit
The Maritime Exhibit at the Kelley House Museum ends on Saturday. Museum hours: 11 to 3 pm. Tools and equipment of Mariners sailing our coast 100 years ago.
WHERE WAS I the day Kennedy was assassinated? You'll be sorry you asked. I'd graduated from college at San Francisco State after three-plus years bouncing around from City College to Cal Poly to SF State in pursuit of a meaningless diploma during which I learned nothing in class but lots outside. I was a cross between an aspiring beatnik and lumpen-commie, an eager participant in the first Bay Area civil rights demos while hitchhiking up and down Highway One, with stops at Big Sur where I worked for a couple of weeks at New Camaldoli, now a Catholic retreat center, then an order of Benedictine hermit monks. I briefly considered becoming a Catholic, but as you can see my career trajectory was hard to discern.
I HAD NO IDEA what I was doing beyond a determination not to do what the culture thought I should do. I was broke with zero prospects. So I converted my objectively worthless diploma into a temp job as a junior high teacher. No exaggeration: The principal, or whatever he was, who hired me at San Luis Obispo Junior High School practically embraced me, he was that desperate for someone, anyone, to take the job. "I don't care what you do, just keep 'em in the room and out of the halls." Keep them from "roaming" the halls, he added. I soon learned from the little hormonal horrors themselves that I was something like the fifth sap in a month to take them on.
THERE were six classes organized as ability groups, at least that was the theory. I thought several of the 14-year-olds in the dummy class were smarter than any of the alleged gifted in the smart kid's class, and it was clear, from a "parents night," that the true organizational principle was social class. No parents showed up for parents nights except the parents of the two alleged gifted groups. Whatever the basis for the classification of this batch of our nation's future, they were all accustomed to a lack of classroom order. Their regular teacher, an older woman close to retirement, had completely wigged out, locking herself in the classroom with a fifth of whiskey and stripping down to her underwear as the "kids" cheered her on. The fire department had had to break down the door to haul the poor thing away.
I WAS ON MY OWN. There was zero supervision. In my two weeks as lion tamer no one checked to see what I was doing in the way of pedagogy, which was little more than six hours of mutual story telling with me as the lead entertainer. I recall the student stories — mostly of family pathology and their odd experiences in the world outside — as a harbinger of the mass estrangement coming up.
IT WAS a Friday morning about 11 when a disembodied voice over the intercom informed us that the president had been shot and we should all go home. It was only 9:30. I was even happier than the young scholars to get the rest of the day off — and away from them — but had no idea Kennedy had been killed until I got back to my tenement room downtown. As a wobbly liberal, I liked Kennedy and was surprised anyone would want to kill him. A friend of mine was overheard saying, "So what?" winning himself an interview with the FBI as a likely subversive. Which he was, but he remained unconfined. People took Kennedy's death very hard.
TWO DAYS LATER, as I and most of the country stared at black and white television screens, Oswald, who'd declared he was a "patsy," not the killer, was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas police station. That event seemed to me more shocking than the murder of Kennedy.
A LOT of people think the country veered off the rails with Vietnam, the assassinations of '68, hippies, and the rest of the improbable years of the later 1960's. I think Kennedy was the turning point because, in its way, it reminded Americans, after the bland social serenity of the 50's, that much was not as it seemed.
THE SCHOOL BOSS begged me to come back. He said I'd done a great job, that I had a wonderful future as a junior high school teacher. I told him I was leaving for Big Sur to become a monk.
THE DAY KENNEDY DIED
by Byron Spooner
November 22 — That I didn’t know what was going on wasn’t so odd; I’d been in my usual state of disengagement with my teacher, Miss Kitchen—‘Old Iron Tits’ my friend Glenn called her—when they made the announcement. Miss Kitchen always told Mother I lived in a dream world. I had to stop daydreaming and buckle down; stop doodling and take notes; read the assignment instead of whatever struck my fancy. That Mother went to all the parent-teacher conferences by herself didn’t keep both Mother and my old man from constantly trying to impress upon me the importance of grades and paying attention and getting into college and all that. Instead, I daydreamed of freak shows and drew dragsters in my loose leaf a la Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, all huge slicks and immense bloodshot eyeballs.
They called it daydreaming but that wasn’t exactly right; I was mostly just bored. I’d been openly ignoring Miss Kitchen all morning as she droned on and on in the background of my consciousness, something about the Erie Canal, listening with half an ear as she repeated the same stuff endlessly, trying to cram all this crap into us. Most if it seemed like stuff I somehow knew already. The whole classroom was bored—Miss Kitchen included—except a handful of girls and a couple of boys who were even bigger losers than Glenn and me, who sat in the front row.
The leader of the front row was Debbie Traill, the chief New Frontierswoman of the entire fifth grade, all gung-ho, squeaky-clean and determined to be the first woman astronaut or the next Joan Baez or something. Three months into the school year, Debbie was the recognized best student in the class, the girl’s chin-up school-record-holder, kickball team captain and a shining brown-noser for the ages. The Traills lived out on Allthorp Way, in a neighborhood everyone called the Heights, which featured semicircular driveways and columns next to the grand entryways. Glenn and I rode our bikes out there often. We were just rubbernecking; we never stopped for fear the cops would run us off or something.
Glenn and I snickered at each other across the room when the voice of Mr. Massa, our new principal, came over the PA to make the announcement. My Old Man considered Massa 'an idiot of the first water.' I figured Massa was announcing the usual idiocy—someone had parked his bike in front of a fire door again or maybe the volleyball that had gone missing had been found under Mr. Rappaport’s Corvair, none the worse for wear.
Instead, he sent us home.
I’d been so busy fooling around with Glenn that my other friend Robin had to explain what had happened to me as we walked home.
The president had been shot.
“Is he dead?” I said.
“Probably. I don’t think they’d send us home if he was only wounded,” she said in the annoyed tone she’d developed just for use on me.
On TV guys who were only wounded got up and went right back at it all the time, so I guessed she was right.
“What’re we supposed to do about it?” I said.
“Nothing,” she said.
“Then why’re they sending us home?”
“I don’t know,” she said, same tone.
When we got home Mother and Robin’s mother, who usually hardly ever spoke to each other, and a bunch of the other neighbors, were standing out on the sidewalk talking among themselves despite the chill in the air. I could tell by the way they were standing they were talking about important things. Some of them looked as though they’d been crying. Some still were. There was a sense that they were all stunned to one degree or another; all trying to comprehend what had just happened. Mother’s best friend Mrs. Kaplan from down the street was bawling, covering her face with her handkerchief. She’d lost it when she saw the announcement that had interrupted her program—the moment Cronkite peeled off his glasses and looked into the camera, tears in his eyes—and hadn’t been able to regain her composure since. Eccentric old Mrs. Greenhouse, who had painted her whole house purple and lavender, had her arm around her shoulders, trying to comfort her.
Even crazy Mrs. Hammersmith came out and hovered at the fringe of the little group, worrying a lacey timeworn hankie. Mrs. Hammersmith never left her house. Her husband had disappeared one Saturday afternoon and never returned. She still ran up and down the street crying and calling him sometimes, though less so than before. Her kids had moved away long ago.
"Far away," my old man would always say.
Old Lady Hammerhead, as we kids called her, would periodically call the police and ask them to chase the demons out of her upstairs hall while she would stand at the foot of the stairs and catch them in her apron. They would come, two or three, lights flashing the way she liked it, and act out her charade, returning calm and order to the neighborhood. The neighborhood kids avoided her house on Halloween but she made popcorn balls every year nonetheless. She hung them in the trees for the birds once the day had passed.
Mother checked on her once week or so and would pick up stuff she had run out of for her over at Foodtown. Mother had heard somewhere that Mrs. Hammersmith liked Sugar Pops and brought her a box or two every time she saw them on sale.
My old man was still in the city at work or looking for work, or, more likely, sitting in a bar somewhere.
“He’s on his way home right now,” Mother said as if to reassure everyone, “everyone in the city’s heard about it, probably before us. He called.”
Mother was even talking to Mrs. Borkovski from across the street. She never talked to any of the Borkovskis, except to berate Mrs. Borkovski about the latest crap her kids had gotten up to.
The Borkovskis were horrible bullies; a tribe of enormous shaggy lummoxes. Especially psycho was the youngest one, Robert, a lumbering kid whom every twelve-year-old on the block was terrified of. My old man said Leakey had found a ten-million-year-old fossil ape that was the spitting image of Borkovski. He was dumb as a drunken ox. He’d been left back three times and now inhabited the entire back row of Miss Kitchen’s classroom. Rumor had it they’d lived in Secaucus before discovering bipedalism and moving to Oritani.
Grandpa Elgin used to say, “If God was going to give the world an enema; Secaucus is where he’d stick the hose.” Which was about as bawdy as he ever got.
Mr. Borkovski worked in the city, like my old man, but instead of the Seagram’s building, he worked in the sewer.
“Like Ed Norton,” every smart ass on the block felt compelled to point out.
Except my old man.
“Listen, he’s making a living, doing what he has to do to support his family, give him a break,” he said.
The city had over the years, through attrition, replaced everyone who did Mr. Borkovski’s job. He was the last of breed; when he finally retired; there would no one left doing his job but dogs. All breeds. When the other kids in neighborhood heard about this—apparently Robert had let it slip in some moment of weakness—well, you can just imagine.
“No wonder he’s such a horrible bully,” my mother said.
“The little shit,” my old man said.
My standing instructions were to go in the house immediately if I saw any of the Borkovski clan out wandering around. This time, obviously, was different.
“My mother says Kennedy was a bad man and I’m glad he’s dead,” Carrie Flowers, another twelve-year-old who lived couple blocks away, said as she went past.
“No matter what you think of the man, you should never wish anyone dead,” Mother corrected her, taking her by the arm and detaining her for a second.
“That’s not what my mother says,” she spat. Her parents were the only people in the neighborhood who were more conservative than my parents.
“They’re not quite Nazi sympathizers, but damn near,” was how Robin’s father described them.
“Well, go home and ask her how she feels about it now, I’ll bet you get a different answer,” Mother said, letting go of her with a little admonitory shake.
“He was a baaad man,” she taunted over her shoulder as she headed for home.
Mrs. Borkovski bent over nearly double so she could look Carrie right in the face as she went by.
“Git outta heah, ya snotty little twat,” she snarled, bluffing a step in the girl’s direction and raising her right as if to deliver a backhand.
Mother shook her head in Carrie’s direction—Kids— and went back to talking with Mrs. Borkovski as if Robin and I weren’t there. Mrs. Fugarini, who hated the Borkovskis—‘Those darned galoots’—more than anyone else in the neighborhood came over and joined in.
“Poor Jackie,” she wailed, “and those poor, poor children.” She clutched her rosary beads to her bosom.
I tried to come up with a joke, something to lighten things up a little, but I couldn’t get anything that seemed to work. If my old man had been there he’d have come up with something and you could bet it would have been funny.
The weekend passed with the whole family in front of the TV, watching a series of events each more astounding and unimaginable than its predecessor. Mother never once yelled at us to turn the damned thing off. Life had stopped all over the country, said the reports, some people went to church Sunday but mostly everyone else—“The sane ones,” My old man called them— stayed indoors.
My parents’ friends Eva and Garnett were over, watching with us. Garnett was my old man’s business partner. They were ‘practically family.’
It turned out Eva had voted for Kennedy. Which came as news to my old man. He looked at her as if he was reconsidering the whole arrangement; business, social.
“I liked Kennedy,” she said brightly, as if he had just left the room, “So handsome and dashing. Nixon reminded me of my sister’s husband, I never liked the guy.”
“He’s is a shifty bastard,” Garnett said.
“Which one?” My old man asked with a laugh.
“Really both, though I was talking about my brother-in-law. I voted for Nixon, I didn’t care how shifty he was.”
My old man said, “This whole family’s been Republican, going all the way back, it’s part of our breeding. My grandparents and my folks all voted against Roosevelt despite his promise to end Prohibition.
“In those days one didn’t discuss religion or politics in polite company, instead one assumed general agreement and left it at that. One would never invite a Democrat to any respectable function anyway. ‘Democrats are Democrats’ my grandmother used to say, ‘the same way rattlesnakes are rattlesnakes. They den up together every fall to wait out the winter. That’s the time to properly deal with them—with a can of gas and a box of kitchen matches,’” he said, laughing.
Garnett laughed too, “They do den up.”
Eva squirmed in her seat, “Ooooh, all this talk of snakes is making my skin crawl,” she said with a shudder.
Mother was about to put lunch on the kitchen table. She was warming some pastrami in a double boiler and making sandwiches from a loaf of supermarket rye bread. We kids milled around in anticipation, smelling the meat as it warmed.
In the living room, my old man erupted “Oh, my God, they’ve shot him!”
We all tumbled back into the living room and reassembled around the grainy black-and-white image of the man named Oswald doubling over, over and over again. A few minutes later Robin came running in to tell us she’d seen Oswald get shot on the TV in her parents’ room. She was so obsessed with the whole thing they’d sent her upstairs so they could watch it in peace. It was comforting in some way to know Julie’s family, whom I considered ‘normal’ compared to my own, was watching the same thing we were.
“It was disgusting,” she said, “The most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.”
I told her we’d already seen it.
Mother didn’t have to invite Robin to stay for lunch; she just stayed.
“My mother buys our pastrami at Ratner’s,” Robin told her, “She says it’s leaner than the crap from Foodtown.”
“Well, we’re having the crap from Foodtown today. You’re welcome to some as long as you don’t feel it will compromise your high standards.”
We all ate around the cocktail table, something none of us could ever remember doing before. My old man liked to call it the ‘cocktail table’ instead of the ‘coffee table’ like the entire rest of the world. He said it sounded classier.
We watched all day Saturday and on into Sunday. Periodically Davey would play Mozart’s Requiem until my old man told him to give it a rest. At some point Robin wandered home, we didn’t notice when. We didn’t want to miss anything, even though they kept showing the same stuff over and over again: The President lying in state with a quiet orderly line filing slowly past; boots, backwards in the stirrups of a black horse; the boy, saluting.
I always thought people didn’t die until they wanted to. I figured Kennedy knew he was going to get shot when he went to Dallas and just figured there wasn’t anything anyone could do, so what the hell.
On Tuesday, after the funeral, Mother sat us in the living room. We were in our coats and mittens against the November weather, all ready to head off to school. My old man had left for the city twenty minutes earlier. We looked at each other; this was only the latest strange thing that had happened over an extremely strange weekend.
“Now, I want you kids to be careful for the next few days. I know you’ve heard a lot of things around the house, especially from your father, about what’s been going on. I want you all to remember—not everyone agrees with your father and the things he says. I want you to be careful what you say for the next few weeks. It would probably be better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing. I’m just saying take it easy, let people mourn and get over this. All right? Understand?”
We sat there glumly, getting hot and sweating in our heavy clothes.
“All right, give mommy a kiss.”
MEMO OF THE WEEK
Cannabis Tax Rates
The public is urged to call a department’s office number in advance to confirm the availability of services. Please visit the County’s website at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/ for departmental contact information.
Proposition 64, as approved by the voters, requires a 15% excise tax on the gross receipts of cannabis sales. That 15% excise tax rate remains unchanged.
When implementing the proposition, the legislature moved the incidence of the tax from the retailer to the distributor, requiring the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to determine the average markup rate to ensure that the tax paid is equal to 15% of the gross receipts as required by law. The purpose of the markup is to compute the Average Market Price and have the actual tax match the 15% gross receipts rate approved by voters.
After analyzing thousands of transactions in the state’s Track and Trace system, CDTFA analysts have determined that the required markup rate for the period beginning January 1, 2020, is 80%.
Here is an example of how the markup calculation works when the actual sales data shows that the average markup between wholesale and retail prices is 80%.
A cannabis retailer purchases cannabis from a distributor for $50. The distributor will calculate the 15% cannabis excise tax due from the retailer as follows:
Retailer’s wholesale cost $50.00
Mark-up ($50 x 80%) + $40.00
Average Market Price $90.00
15% excise tax (Average Market Price x 0.15)
Excise tax due $13.50
The distributor will collect $13.50 in cannabis excise tax from the cannabis retailer and remit that tax payment to the state.
If the 15% excise tax were on the retail sale, as provided for in Proposition 64, the 15% tax on a $90 sale would be $13.50, equal to the tax due under the markup method.
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) administers California’s sales and use, fuel, tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis taxes, as well as a variety of other taxes and fees that fund specific state programs. CDTFA-administered programs account for over $70 billion annually which in turn supports local essential services such as transportation, public safety and health, libraries, schools, social services, and natural resource management programs through the distribution of tax dollars going directly to local communities.
California Department of Tax and Fee Administration • 450 N Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 • 1-800-400-7115
WHAT THE CA. CANNABIS INDUSTRY SEZ
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 22, 2019
KELIE ADAMS-PENROD, Caspar. Domestic abuse, controlled substance, probation revocation.
CONNIE BRAGA, Fort Bragg. Aiding a wanted felon, saps or similar weapons.
ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JESSICA EWING, Philo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ALAN GARIBAY, Fort Bragg. Assault with firearm, felon-addict with firearm, armed with firearm in commission of felony, ammo possession by prohibited person, criminal threats.
SERJIO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ALFRED HUSARY, Potter Valley. Domestic abuse.
THOMAS JACOBS, Fort Bragg. Contributing, disobeying court order.
ALDEN LARVIE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSEPH LITTLE, Ukiah. Vandalism.
CHERYL MATTSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
VONNA PERRY, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).
ROBERT SANDERS, Lakeport/Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
THE STORMS OF DECEMBER
by James Kunstler
Finally, you’re left with that image of Adam Schiff sitting stock straight in the big chair with pursed lips and eyes bugged out, as in a very certain species of lunacy heretofore only seen in Canis latrans of Cartoon-land when, say, he has overrun the cliff’s edge clutching an anvil to his bosom. What was he thinking when he hatched this latest quixotic chapter in the ignominious crusade to reverse the 2016 election?
That he’d never get caught? On Wednesday he witlessly gave away the game on nationwide TV, telling the witness, heroic Col. Vindman, to not state which intel agency (of 23!) employed the one still-unnamed person he blabbed to about the epic Phone Call to Ukraine — because it would reveal the name of the “Whistleblower.” How could that be? Both Mr. Schiff and Col. Vindman claimed to not know the identity of the “WB”? If so, it would be logically impossible to reveal the “Whistleblower” by just naming an agency with thousands of little worker bees. Of course, he walked right into the trap set by minority member, Mr. Ratcliffe of Texas. Who doesn’t get that Col. Vindman knows exactly who the “Whistleblower” is because he was the “Whistleblower’s” accomplice? And Mr. Schiff knows, too.
If the Senate majority poohbahs were wise, they would warmly welcome a trial based on articles of impeachment, which would, of course, feature no artificial limits on the witness list, nor on questions that might be asked. The list might start with the UkraineGate “Whistleblower.” Among the many untruths uttered by Adam Schiff was the nonexistent law that gave that shadowy figure a right to anonymity. And besides, in any trial based on due process, the accused has an absolute right to face his accuser.
Oddly, a month ago Mr. Schiff was avid to stick his “Whistleblower” in the witness chair, and perhaps not with a black hood over his head. Then it was discovered that the “Whistleblower” had been consorting at least with Mr. Schiff’s staff members before blowing his fabled whistle, and that they had likely assisted in the assembly of his complaint, and in connecting him to the right lawyers in the Great Blue Okefenokee backwaters of DC lawyerdom, and, naturally, nobody from sea to shining sea over age nine who had paid attention to these antics believed that Mr. Schiff could not know who this “Whistleblower” was. Likewise, the brave Col. Vindman. Both of them deserve some time in a senate witness chair, and Mr. Schiff especially is due some sort of penalty for subjecting the country to his three years of dishonorable, seditious shenanigans — beginning with expulsion from the House and perhaps proceeding to a trial of his very own.
These UkraineGate hearings of the past two weeks raised some additional questions that have not otherwise been aired much in the public arena, chiefly, exactly how much does the US government seek to control the affairs of Ukraine? And how did we become the superintendent of this partially failed state? The parade of State Department diplomats in charge of this-and-that suggests that Ukraine is virtually an occupied territory. Do we realistically suppose that, in the natural course of things, we can shield Ukraine forever from the influence of its neighbor (and former sovereign), Russia?
It is also astounding to see media shills like Rachel Maddow still carrying on hysterically about Russia. She must have cried “Russia” twenty-seven times in the ten minutes of her act I caught on Thursday night. She’s far exceeded even the paranoid raptures of the John Birch Society a half century ago when they were screaming about communists in every broom closet of America. This incessant war-cry can’t be good for the country.
Now we’ve turned the corner into that enchanted season known as “the holidays” and a multi-dimensional showdown after three years of perfidious nonsense looms over the turkeys and silver bells and holy pageantry like a freak winter hurricane out in the dark ocean barreling landward. I am sincerely wondering how the public will process the storm of indictments coming down at the cabal of government employees who devised the RussiaGate persecution at the same time the Senate prepares to go to a trial that will humiliate and possibly annihilate the Democratic Party. No political faction in history has begged so persuasively to be put to death, or deserved it more.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
NOAM CHOMSKY: DEMOCRATIC PARTY CENTRISM RISKS HANDING ELECTION TO TRUMP — AND TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES
ON OR OFF IT STILL…
Several weeks ago, I wrote a letter suggesting patience with PG&E as it updates their equipment. I was a fool — worse, an idiot. Within a week we had a public safety power shutoff, and during that power shutoff the disastrous Kincade fire exploded. Evidence is suggesting it may have ignited from power lines that PG&E didn’t deactivate.
When is a public safety power shutoff not a public safety power shutoff? When they don’t shut off all the power.
We endure these power outages because they are supposed to keep us safe. That didn’t happen with the last power shutoff. Rather, it seems, PG&E’s equipment may have ignited another inferno. How much of this are we supposed to endure? I hope the California Public Utilities Commission is going to step up to the plate. I don’t know how many more times we can go through this.
CSPAN CALLER: "Howdy. I just want to apologize first & foremost for all the morons on the calls earlier, especially from Alabama. Secondly, I just want to say impeach the fucker. Have a great day!"
CSPAN HOST: "That's it for phone calls right now."
U.S. HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES DANGEROUS NUKE WASTE BILL: NUCLEAR WASTE TO BE DUMPED ON NEW MEXICO, TEXAS & NEVADA INDIAN REZ
From Beyond Nuclear -- www.beyondnuclear.org/
Screw Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas?! U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee approves dangerously bad nuke waste bill
H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019, was passed by the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee on Wed., Nov. 20, by voice vote. That is, there is no roll call record as to how each U.S. Representative voted. Voice votes are usually applied only to non-controversial matters, such as naming a post office. This dangerously bad high-level radioactive waste legislation should be among the most controversial bills Congress addresses. H.R. 2699 aims to open one or more dumps in the Southwest -- so-called consolidated interim storage facilities (CISFs), targeted at New Mexico and/or Texas, as well as a permanent burial dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, on Western Shoshone Indian land. If any one of these dumps open, large-scale shipments of high-risk irradiated nuclear fuel, by road, rail, and/or waterway, would travel through most states, past the homes of millions of Americans.
Considering their targeting for the nuke waste dumps, this bill could be called the Screw Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas bill. But when it comes to the high-risk transportation impacts, we all live in Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas! See the self-congratulatory press release by the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman, Frank Pallone Jr. (Democrat-New Jersey), here: energycommerce.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/pallone-on-committee-passage-of-nuclear-waste-bill
What can you do? Contact your U.S. Representative, and urge opposition to this dangerously bad bill, H.R. 2699! You can also contact both your U.S. Senators. Urge them to oppose H.R. 2699, and its Senate companion bill.
More information: congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2699
CHARITY CASE: INVESTIGATING PG&E-FUNDED REBUILD NORTH BAY FOUNDATION
On October 30, 2017, as thousands of Sonoma County homes smoldered in ruins from the Tubbs Fire, Darius Anderson established the nonprofit Rebuild North Bay Foundation. Anderson is a longtime lobbyist for Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation and owner of the Press Democrat.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I am waiting for some reporter to ask him what is the square root of 64 divided by 2 times 10.
To which the President would surely respond: “Well, sir, there are two possible answers depending on where the brackets are placed, and you have failed to provide that information.
One answer is 40 if we assume the problem is stated as (Sq root of 64/2)*10.
And the other answer is .4 assuming the problem is stated as Sq root of 64/(2*10)
Which did you have in mind?”
RANKED CHOICE VOTING RANKLES
To the Editor (of the SF Chronicle):
Regarding “Election takeaway: a mayor without coattails” (John Diaz, Nov. 10): Once again, thanks to ranked-choice voting, the second most popular candidate has won an election. Chesa Boudin, who according to political analyst David Latterman had “zero chance” of beating Suzy Loftus in a runoff, is now our City District Attorney.
An amazing result considering Boudin secured a little more than a third of the first place votes. “It would be the highest-profile, clear example of (ranked-choice voting) not delivering the results the city intended to occur,” said Latterman.
Isn’t it time to eliminate ranked-choice voting so the most popular candidate can actually win the election?
Now we have a district attorney who has vowed to limit, if not eliminate, prosecution for the type of street crimes that San Franciscans are up in arms about. Another item on Boudin’s agenda is to do away with gang enhancements. No wonder the San Francisco Police Officers Association spent more than $600,000 in an effort to defeat Boudin. Thanks to ranked-choice voting, they failed.
Rob Anderson comments:
Yes, the Ranked Choice Voting system also gave us Mayor London Breed, who was elected by a minority last year to finish Ed Lee's term.
If Boudin and Loftus had to campaign against each other in a run-off election, Boudin's political agenda could have been thoroughly debated. That kind of issue-based run-off election can't happen under the flawed RCV system, a bogus good government reform brought to us by city progressives.
John Diaz at the SF Chronicle got it right on the RCV system:
Boudin’s victory should cause the city to rethink the system, which was pushed hardest in 2002 by progressives who no doubt were dreaming of such a result in a city in which they are outnumbered in at-large elections. “It would be the highest-profile, clear example of (ranked-choice voting) not delivering the results the city intended to occur,” Latterman said before the outcome was decided. He was proved right.
MENDOCINO COUNTY WINTER HOLIDAY DEPARTMENT SCHEDULES
All County offices will be closed November 28-29, 2019, December 25, 2019, and January 1, 2020. The following offices will be closed to the public on the additional days identified below:
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
I have cut down a few trees. Made me sad and I’d rather have not but they were a danger to my house, being near and rooted in unstable land. Cutting trees in a wood is an education. You think, “Well, this one has to go,” then you become aware of the next one back. And the next one, the next. At some point you make the choice that here is where it stops.
For some people, where it stops is where there is no money to be made by going further. That turns out to be the edge of their ownership. For others, it’s not one for any reason. For me, it was “it’s possible but not likely to kill me if the top breaks off. ” All different values.
Living in a world of food banks, AFDC, Section 8 housing, emergency rooms, etc, even while not automatic in every situation, has made us forget that a hundred fifty years ago people died — their children died — their parents died — when work was not there. For all the complaining that goes on about how “Society” owes the “unfortunate” now, then a child abandoned by their parents could starve or end up adopted as child labor or simply get sick and die. The children or old people who did survive, did so in large part because they had family who were willing to work and work hard to take care of them.
So it’s easy to get all nasty judgy over the destruction of these woods that were so magnificent but there were people mostly working from dawn to dusk in great danger because it kept their families alive. It was never so easy for humans as it is right now and look where it has ended up so far — drug addiction, begging, determined oblivion. And stupid, stupid, stupid. People are like trees that way — take care of one and the next one one pops into view. Only trees are so much more appealing and useful.