- Cold Wet
- Coast Outages
- Toy Run
- Justice for Calum
- Tree Lighting
- Downstairs People
- Boonville Wastewater
- Custodian Case
- Doggie Buffet
- Hendy Hike
- Ed Notes
- Carlos Stop
- Covelo Sunrise
- PV Project
- Winter Shelter
- Mo Memo
- Yesterday's Catch
- Progressive Capitulation
- Car Hop
- Thanksgiving Prayer
- American Ancestry
- Assange Persecution
- Four Freedoms
- Rabbi Lerner
- Uniform People
- Rudy's File
- SMART Secrets
- Found Object
AN ONGOING WINTER STORM will continue to produce difficult travel conditions today in the form of heavy mountain snow showers and low elevation rain and small hail. Very cold temperatures are expected for Thursday and Friday, followed by another storm system this weekend. (National Weather Service)
A DARK AND PERILOUS NIGHT, Supervisor Williams reports:
I’m at a 12kv line down in Albion. I know there are other lines down along Hwy 20. It’s inevitable with the wind. If you spot a downed wire, treat it as energized, call 911 and don’t drive over it. I know, we’ve all seen people drive over wires, but it can cause instant death. Traffic control is one of the more dangerous tasks firefighters perform. We remind them to always have room to jump should a driver fail to notice or obey. Stay safe.
A tree down blocking Hwy 128 between Anderson Valley and the coast was just cleared.
There is an outage on Road 409 with reports of boom, potentially a transformer.
4:40pm: Cameron Rd and Greenwood Rd outage
Part of Gualala lost electricity, but is back on now.
5:45pm: Albion Fire released from scene; PG&E crew taking over.
JUSTICE 4 CALUM
by Andrew Scully
Mendocino, CA, November 25, 2019 — The vigil began in early August, on Fridays, in the dog days of summer. People arrived in Ukiah in their twos and threes, almost all of them from the coast, from Mendocino-town. Most in cars, some on the MTA bus. A long journey, no matter the mode of transport. They gathered at about 10 am, near the Mendocino County Courthouse, and then proceeded to demonstrate and rally outside the Office of David Eyster, The District Attorney. After the slogans and the signs and the chanting at Eyster's office, the group packed up and headed over the short distance to the CHP area office on Orchard Street in Ukiah. Again they formed up and demonstrated, with the same message: They wanted Justice for Calum Hunnicut, the 21-year old Mendocino resident who was killed by a hit and run driver on the Coast Highway at Little Lake Road in late July. They were pleading for it.
Their signs and their chanted slogans were demanding justice. Pleading really, for justice. For Calum.
The family and many friends of Calum maintained their presence in Ukiah every Friday for more than six weeks. But the vigil has stopped now. These people, like most working-class Americans, simply do not have the luxury of leisure time to protest anything, even the death of a loved one.
It takes a lot of sustained and focused energy to keep any group of people in action against the draining backdrop of work, and school, and medical issues and all the other things. That it lasted as long as it did is testament to the remarkable legacy that has formed around his memory.
Indeed the very notion of “justice” for Calum seems to be evolving among his people. Of course the simple passage of time has eroded some of the outright rage and disbelief that governed in the immediate aftermath of his death. His family members, and many others in the Coastal Community initially had high confidence in law enforcement that whomever hit Calum that night, and – critically – leaving him to die on the side of the road – would be arrested and held to answer.
But that did not happen. There was no arrest. There were many rumors, but facts — in the form of official press releases from the authorities — were few.
And they still are. As of this writing, there has still been no arrest made, nor charges brought against the person who fled the accident scene that night.
Yet many in Calum’s community have moved on to a considerable extent. This is in spite of — or perhaps because of — the indefinite delay in arrest and charges being brought against the person or persons who fled the scene. A view heard often in interviews with people close to Calum is that he would be the person most likely to oppose any prosecution of the person that hit him that night. The young man these people remember, without deviation, is one of forgiveness, reconciliation and compassion.
These are astonishing claims. America 2019 is not a place known for forgiveness, reconciliation and compassion. And indeed they are not the governing standards for law officers in the United States, including The CHP and DA David Eyster. Their job is to enforce the law and bring persons responsible for crimes to justice.
There are really two separate tracks to the official investigation into Calum’s death.
One is the investigation and inquiry, criminal and civil, that to date has been led by the California Highway Patrol detachment in Ukiah. The CHP analyzes, collects and develops criminal and forensic evidence and then presents its findings to the District Attorney for action. This process may ultimately lead to the arrest, conviction and punishment of the person who struck Calum that night and then fled the scene.
Sergeant Eric Parrsch of the CHP detachment in Ukiah is a 20-year veteran of that agency, and is in charge of the day to day oversight of the investigation. In an extensive interview with the AVA, he provided the following overview.
There are several suspects in an active criminal investigation into the events surrounding Calum’s death.
Multiple specialized assets within the CHP, including the Major Accident Investigation Team and The Collision Forensics Unit have been deployed in what he characterized as a high-profile active investigation.
It has been a very complex investigation. Many people have been uncooperative. The very nature of the crime itself — fleeing the scene of an accident — leaves many questions unanswered.
The CHP has concluded its extensive investigation as well as follow-up investigations on questions that David Eyster's prosecutorial staff has had.
The CHP report and its recommendations have now been delivered to the District Attorney. And it is upon his shoulders and in his hands that a decision now rests. The decision to hold the person or persons responsible who fled the scene that night, leaving a 21 year old to die on the side of the Coast Highway at Little Lake Road.
Several people interviewed for this story expressed utter confidence that Calum would not support any punishment for the person who hit him that night. Indeed it is remarkable how consistent the testimony is to his character, and his easy Grace. It seems that for Calum Hunnicut forgiveness was not just an abstract idea but something he actually practiced. They express certainty that Calum would not want this person to suffer in any way.
But in reporting this story it also emerges that, for many connected to the case, any notion of criminal sanctions or retribution is already a moot point. Because these people realize that the person who left that dark corner already faces the harshest judgment and penalty possible: Conscience has delivered its verdict, and will continue to exact its irreversible sentence.
THE BIG BOONVILLE HOTEL TREE LIGHTING will be December 5, 2019 at 5:30pm. The popular annual event will be accompanied by hearty soups and baked goodies provided by Hotel staff with live music by the entertaining local singing group, the Real Sarahs. $10 suggested donation. Funds raised will support the Anderson Valley Food Bank’s holiday food drive.
SMELLS LIKE MONEY
By Thom Elkjer
If you’re like most people in the valley, you get to Boonville fairly often. You eat in the cafes, you hit Rossi or the Drive-in, get some groceries at Boont Berry or AV Market. You’ve discovered, happily, that Disco Ranch has nothing to do with disco. Your budget might even include a splurge at the hotel now and then. Almost certainly you know folks who work in Boonville. Plus there are a whole lot of people who actually live there.
Add them all up, then include all of us who use the town, and you’ve got — a septic problem. A giant quorum of us depend on that town, but it’s jammed with tiny parcels hemmed in by creeks. So now there’s too many people for the available septic tanks and leach fields.
We could argue all day about whether Boonville should get “developed” or not, but that’s just pie in the sky. Boonville is developed already, to the point that wells are contaminated by septic waste (since 1974), kids are getting third-world diseases, and there’s no room to fix it with anything but a sewer system.
If you know any of the good people on the board of the Community Services District (CSD), you know they don’t like the term “sewer.” That’s because sewers smell like you-know-what. So the CSD board prefers “waste-water treatment system.”
But you can’t fight human nature, which considers human waste offensive. That’s why, when the CSD board had the very reasonable idea to put a wastewater treatment facility in a back corner of the fairgrounds, on county-owned public land, a neighboring landowner lawyered up and spooked the fairground’s board of directors into voting against it. Unanimously!
The neighbor did not do that out of spite, or lack of community spirit. Way too much evidence to the contrary to believe that. So why would the neighbor do that? Why would the fair board roll over? Because of what poop smells like. It’s hard to convince people otherwise. But that’s what we need to do now, because in our case, the sewage would not smell like that.
What it would smell like is money. $14 million, in fact. Coming from the state into our valley, to render our central town – the one we all use – clean and safe again. We would experience the rare and gratifying miracle of our own tax dollars coming home to improve our quality of life. Local property owners would pay nearly nothing to hook up to the new system. Their failing septic systems could be retired forever, eliminating replacement costs. Instead of paying a septic company a purse-shocking lump sum every few years to empty the tank, they would pay a modest monthly service charge.
All that state money buys more than pipes underground. The most important thing it buys is something called a “membrane bio-reactor.” When you see one, it reminds you of a PG&E power substation or a self-storage place. There’s a plain rectangular building with no windows, surrounded by a safety fence. And you smell pretty much what you would smell around a power station or storage facility: nothing.
That’s because the sewage – sorry, wastewater – never goes into an open pond to get “treated” by sunlight. It never sends its pungent vapors abroad on the breeze. No, it stays underground, where a grid of high-tech membranes converts the wastewater into ever more solid waste as the grey water drains clean out of it (just like in your leach field at home, which I am guessing gives off no odor at all). Every few weeks or so, a tanker truck pulls up, sucks out the solids, and drives away. Again, this is just like your septic system at home, when Silva Septic or somebody rolls up the driveway to haul your waste away.
Now, if this all sounds pretty sensible, then you’re tracking the story. People who live in town need a sewer system. Anyone who lives near Boonville wants that too, because according to geologists the water table is pretty much one big underground lake under that part of the valley, with Boonville in the middle. The county wants us to clean up the fecal contamination in Boonville’s wells, because it’s public record that the county is failing to address the problem. Even the state wants it cleaned up, because sick kids and bad water is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
Most importantly, California voters passed a bond issue in 2014 to fix broken rural water systems in communities just like ours, and millions of dollars are now on the table. If we blow this, we may never get another payday to clean up our mess.
Unfortunately, as the fairground episode shows, the local powers that be are struggling a little bit. I don’t say this in criticism, because I have good friends on both those boards. They are level-headed, community-minded people who are volunteering a lot of time on our behalf. But none of them have ever put in a public sewer system. They have to figure it out – at the same time they’re working on the water system for Boonville. (Fortunately, that seems to be going along much more smoothly, because fresh water smells so sweet.)
Part of figuring out the sewer system is just getting the facts straight, and when I talk to people involved, it appears that we’re not doing that as well as we could. There seem to be some basic misunderstandings about the waste treatment facility, how it would operate, and how the fairgrounds property – Our fairgrounds! Our county fair! – could benefit.
And let’s not pin this on the fair board. The fairgrounds is not the only place we could put a wastewater treatment facility. The CSD board also runs the airport, and there may be some options there. But the conversation about other options needs help. As long as people are thinking (a) it’s gonna smell bad, and (b) here come the lawyers, who wants to move forward?
So we need to do what we normally do at times like this: air this whole story out. Talk to your friends, neighbors, business owners and county supervisor about why Boonville matters to you and the community. Talk about why we need Boonville’s wastewater treated and returned to nature in a good way. Talk about the opportunity we have to clean up a central part of our local environment. Go to the CSD website (avcsd.org) and read the various documents posted there. Go to public meetings if you can.
Most practically, we need to debate the location and operating details of the wastewater treatment facility, out loud in public, so that everyone knows what’s at stake: cleaner drinking water downtown, higher property values, healthier children, and the $14 million that could rain down on Boonville, the town we all depend on, to save us from our shit.
FORT BRAGG CUSTODIAN CASE — FBPD CLARIFIES
“The Fort Bragg Police Department were informed that a potential threat had been made directed at Fort Bragg High School by a Custodian employed by the School District.
To clarify questions that have been raised by the Community, as to why the High School was not placed on lockdown, representatives from the School District Administration and the Fort Bragg Police Department assessed the threat and determined that there was no immediate danger to students or staff on any school campus. A few relevant facts that were considered in making that determination and not provided in the earlier Press Release:
The threat was limited to verbal statements.
The statements made by the Suspect to a co-worker were after school hours on November 18 and not reported to District Administration until the next day - November 19.
The Suspect never returned to campus after leaving work late on November 18.
The Police Department and District Administration confirmed the Suspect’s whereabouts immediately after confirming the threat and the Police Department then arranged for the “Felony” stop near his home.
No firearms were found in the Suspect’s vehicle during the “Felony” stop.
After the Suspect was taken into custody, the search warrant was served and the firearms, rounds of ammunition, high capacity magazines and ballistic equipment was discovered. The search was conducted late in the day on November 19 and it was late evening before the situation was fully assessed.
The School District Administration first communicated the incident to School District staff early on November 20. Parents were then informed, using several communication channels. The delay in the City’s initial Press Release was timed so that parents would initially learn about the incident directly from the School District and not social media.
Bail has been set for the Suspect, and it is not known at this time if bail will be posted. Please remember that this is normal course in our Country’s judicial system. The firearms, ammunition and equipment taken into custody during the search of the Suspect’s home remain in Police custody.
The case has been submitted to the District Attorney’s (DA) Office for consideration of filing for the appropriate criminal charges. The suspect is expected to be arraigned today (Tuesday, November 26). Any further developments on the case will come from the DA’s Office.
Anyone with information regarding this incident may contact Officer Chris Awad at (707) 961-2800 ext. 180, or the Fort Bragg Police Department (Anonymous) Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.”
An amusing illustration for the cover of "The Saturday Evening Post" magazine, January 5, 1957, "Doggie Buffet". By Richard "Dick" Sargent (American, 1911-1979). This wasn't created for Thanksgiving, but it could be. (Since it gets asked, the actor, Dick Sargent, from "Bewitched" took his stage name from this illustrator, Dick Sargent. They are not the same person.)
NEW DISCOVERY TRAIL SELF-GUIDED WALK BROCHURE at Hendy Woods
There is a beautiful new Discovery Trail Self-guided Walk brochure at the park – which was very much based on the original that served us well for many years. Pick up a copy at the entrance kiosk or next to the wooden map at the day use area. The walk starts at the Day Use Area and follows the .6 mile Discovery Trail Loop through the magnificent Big Hendy Grove. There are numbered sign posts along the way with corresponding text in the brochure that describes the coast redwood forest ecology and park features. This re-write/ re-design was undertaken by a team of dedicated Hendy Woods Community volunteers. The text was written by board members Kathy Bailey and Anica Williams, the stunning graphic design work was done by Tina Walter and the beautiful cover photo was by Jeremiah Kent. Thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly on this and thank you to Hendy Woods State Park for the inspiration!
MENDOCINO SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY or, to the bureaucratic cogniscenti, "Mmmmmmswmmaaaa." I bring it up because, for some reason, I thought they might be responsible for hauling off that junked car up on the Ukiah Road. Nope. Not Mmmmmmswmmaaaaa's responsibility. Put a call into the County's Planning and Building Department's code enforcement office — they are apparently responsible for “Abandoned Vehicle Abatement.” I await their call back and expect a long wait. The late night drunks have apparently exhausted themselves vandalizing that vehicle, but it's been there going on two months. Give it a year and the drunks may have pounded it into invisibility. The jarring presence of the wreckage is kinda symbolic of government these days, but still…
Code Enforcement: Mendocino County Code Enforcement is concerned with complaints pertaining to Planning and Building codes and ordinances in the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County. Code Enforcement also handles complaints for the Medical and Non-medical Cannabis Ordinance(s), the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement (AVA) program, and for Nuisance Abatement clean-up and removals as they occur.
860 North Bush Street, Ukiah, CA 95482
Phone: (707) 234-6650
Fax: (707) 463-5709
THE BEHAVIOR HEALTH FORUM in Caspar yesterday (Monday, November 25th) inspired nothing but frustration, best expressed by Measure B's lead proponent, Sheriff Allman, who remarked that if he had it to do again, he wouldn't have suffered an 11-person committee to get some mental health programs up and running. The B Committee… Well, they don't even manage an agenda or assign the committee members specific assignments. Allman also pointed out that of the 305 persons confined that morning to the County Jail, 124 of them were mental cases. And we're sure the Sheriff is aware that the County's three emergency rooms devote a large part of each shift dealing with the mentally ill.
BACK TO BASICS? Most people, I think, voted for Measure B to get the burgeoning street nut population off the streets via a revived Puff (“PHF” — Psychiatric Health Facility) Unit, a place where the volatile cases could be held and, presumably, stabilized unto minimal public acceptability. The second priority, which overlaps with the ever larger population of unconfined nut cases, was remedial treatment for substance abuse, including alcoholism which the mental health staff refuses to deal with on grounds that substance abuse is not mental illness. As of now, with $30 mil in the kitty, nothing is happening that's consistent with the intent of Measure B.
AS WE'VE SUGGESTED several times, do something Measure B. Now. Set up a Puff in a modular until the perhaps fanciful Taj 5150 can be erected. The mobile outreach vans are already funded but seems to be on hold for some reason. Get that going. And everyone seems to agree that a crisis van should be implemented, but nobody follows up. If we wait for $3-million dollar-plus architects to draw up plans to even begin the long, long journey to permanent structures, and wait for the Measure B Committee to act, well, nothing will happen in our lifetime.
AS MARK SCARAMELLA HAS WRITTEN before, most recently in response to Sheriff Allman’s and Supervisor Williams’s requests for specific steps that can be taken now:
ONE: GET A DAMN CRISIS VAN GOING!
Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt proposed pursuing this at the September Measure B Committee meeting and everyone seemed to agree that it should be explored and implemented in Mendocino County, but the idea was loosely pawned off on the local NAMI rep who expressed no real interest in it at the time and without even a deadline date to report back.
TWO: GET THE MOPS PROGRAM GOING AGAIN by having monthly status reports from Mental Health Director Dr. Miller about what they’re doing to staff this FUNDED program. Do not accept lame excuses about hiring difficulties, etc. If they can make the status of hiring a program manager a monthly reporting topic, they can certainly make the much more directly useful MOPS program status a monthly topic.
THREE: GET (LEASE/BUY) A COMMERCIAL MOBILE CRISIS MODULAR UNIT and put it on the vacant lot the County just bought back from RCMS. Then, if/when a facility is actually built there, move the modular to the Coast to reduce the ER crowding at the Coast Hospital Emergency Room.
THERE IS NO EXCUSE for not doing these three very specific things NOW. How can Mendo officials let the Measure B mandate be delayed for years when there are workable interim solutions like these available? It’s downright disgraceful! All three of these proposals would also serve as a useful pilot or training program for when the longer-term facilities finally open someday.
AND DON’T GIVE ME SHERIFF ALLMAN’S lame excuse that a mobile or modular facility is “not a long term solution.” At the rate the Supes and the Measure B Committee are going now there will never be a “long-term solution.”
STOP FIDDLE FARTING AROUND! Measure B has been taken over by the usual Mendo Meeting “WHENEVER” Mentality. Meetings are not action! People need these services. Get off your ass, Mendo!
THE CHRISTMAS WINDOW at Rossi Hardware is an absolute delight, and worth a trip to Boonville all by itself. A photograph, assuming we could manage one, doesn't do it justice. And brightening the sudden arrival of winter Tuesday afternoon, we have Christmas lights festooning Boont Berry Farm. (Has there ever been a more dramatic weather shift from the endless summer of Monday to rain and dark of Tuesday?)
FROM the Mendocino County Historical Journal of December 2019: "Ethel and William [Held] moved into the Perkins Street home in July, 1903. The new dwelling now under construction for Attorney W.D. Held on the corner just west of the Presbyterian Church is to be up-to-date in architectural style and will be an ornament to that part of the city."
IMAGINE THAT. In 1903 what buildings looked like mattered to Ukiah. I'd say it mattered right up until World War Two when it seems Americans were struck blind, that we'd forgotten how central it is to public morale that our structures and communities look good.
ATTORNEY HELD went on to become the County's sole Superior Court judge and served three terms as a State Assemblyman who initiated four lasting progressive laws:
- Capping the legal interest rate 10%;
- Provided indigents with free legal defenses;
- Established direct party primaries instead of the party boss system;
- Gave counties and municipalities the right of initiative, referendum and recall.
AS A BERNER I'm in regular communication with other Berners, and I can tell you that the consensus Bern feeling is this: If he's screwed again by the Obama-Clintonoid wing of the party, most Berners will go third party. Again. Which will mean another four years for Trump because there are millions of us, especially among the young who already understand how screwed they are. Obama himself is quoted in today’s media torrent as saying he will personally intervene to stop Bernie if it comes to it. (Obama has been loyal to his Wall Street funders, give him that. He also said Biden "doesn't have it," although Biden and Obama are political twins.) The Democrat ticket is shaping up as the nightmarish Mayor Pete and Amy Minnesota, which I, for one, simply don't get as beyond my admittedly simpleminded understanding. Who could these ciphers possibly appeal to?
CARLOS THE STRANGE RE-JUGGED
On November 14, 2019 at about 5:12 PM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic enforcement stop on a vehicle for traffic related violations in the 76000 block of Highway 162 in Covelo. The Deputy contacted the driver who was identified as Carlos White, 24, of Covelo.
The Deputy knew White to be on State Parole, with a search and seizure clause. White was asked several times to exit the vehicle, but refused and was acting strange [“Strange,” as in…? what was Mr. White doing?]. The Deputy approached the vehicle, opened the driver's door and verbally instructed White to exit the vehicle. White complied and was immediately placed in handcuffs and detained. A search of White was completed for weapons. During the search, a loaded .45 caliber handgun was found on his person, a digital scale, .45 caliber ammunition, and several baggies of suspected methamphetamine were also found. White was arrested and a State Parole Officer issued a pick up order for violation of Parole. White was charged with Felon in Possession of a Firearm), Possession of a Controlled Substance While Armed, Possession of a Controlled Substance For Sale, Violation of Parole, Carrying a Loaded Firearm-not the Owner and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held without bail pursuant to the Parole Hold.
COVELO SUNRISE TUESDAY MORNING
THE FIRST STEP…
Stillwater Sciences will study options for relicensing or removing dams, protecting native fish and protecting water supplies for users in both Eel and Russian River Basins
Sonoma County – The Potter Valley Project Planning Agreement Partners, known collectively as the Two-Basin Partnership, announced today they have selected a contractor to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate long-term options and a potential licensing proposal for the Project. Stillwater Sciences will conduct the study with the goal of pointing to a pragmatic way forward for the Project that meets the needs of water users that depend on Eel River water as well as fish and habitat in both the Eel and Russian River basins.
Factors in the selection of a contractor to conduct the study included the firm’s experience with the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) relicensing process, familiarity with the Eel and Russian River systems, and experience facilitating a complex comparative analysis of options and tradeoffs. Of the three firms that were interviewed to conduct the study, Stillwater Sciences was the unanimous choice among the five Planning Agreement Partner entities.
At stake are the health of native salmon and steelhead populations in the Eel River, many of which are endangered or threatened; the robust agricultural economy of the Russian River Basin; and the domestic water supply and water quality for communities in Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.
“I am committed to finding a realistic, sustainable solution that provides water to the people who rely on this project year-round,” said Janet Pauli, Chair of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, one member of the Two-Basin Partnership. “It’s a long-term, complex process, but the Partnership is committed to working together toward our shared objectives. The feasibility study is going to help us evaluate our options.”
The Partners anticipate the feasibility study will identify and evaluate various potential structures for a Regional Entity that will apply for and assume a new license, if one is issued; options for potential modifications to the Project; ongoing operations and maintenance requirements; a fisheries restoration plan; and a financial plan that specifies funding and revenue to support long-term water diversions and ongoing facilities operations.
“The feasibility study will allow us to move this project forward in an informed way where science drives our decision-making,” said California Trout Executive Director Curtis Knight. “Stillwater Sciences has the experience and qualifications to provide the partners with the critical information we need to identify a realistic and sustainable solution for all of the parties involved.”
The Potter Valley Project, currently licensed and operated by PG&E, consists of two dams and reservoirs, a hydroelectric facility, and a diversion tunnel that pulls water from the Eel River into the Russian River northeast of Ukiah. Though it no longer generates significant amounts of power, the Project continues to provide water for agriculture, industry and residential use in the Potter Valley and further south in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties. The Project’s dams block or inhibit passage for once-abundant native Eel River fish such as salmon and steelhead. These fish support the health of the entire Eel River watershed and serve as vital cultural resources for the Wiyot and Round Valley Indian Tribes.
Water from the headwaters of the Eel River is impounded by Scott Dam, which forms Lake Pillsbury, and the Cape Horn Diversion Dam. A significant amount of Eel River water is diverted south through a tunnel into the Russian River and is stored in Lake Mendocino. Salmon and steelhead are now completely blocked from their spawning grounds upstream of Scott Dam.
The Potter Valley Project is due for relicensing by the FERC in 2022. Earlier this year, current dam owner PG&E withdrew its relicensing application, citing the high cost of maintaining the Project. Meanwhile, Congressman Jared Huffman formed an ad hoc committee that included a wide representation of stakeholders from both river basins to pursue a solution that would serve the watershed and the fish as well as the diverse set of human needs for water, a healthy fishery, and recreation.
With relicensing by PG&E no longer an option, three public entities joined a local tribal nation and a non-profit conservation organization to form the Two-Basin Partnership to evaluate future options for the Project. The Partnership is committed to the concept of a “two-basin solution” that was identified through Rep. Huffman’s ad hoc committee.
Partners include the non-profit group California Trout, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, the County of Humboldt, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission and Sonoma Water.
(Press release from Potter Valley Project Planning Agreement Partners)
KRISTIN OTWELL of Fort Bragg writes: “I do a small art class each Monday at the Hospitality Center in FB. The notice about the storm warning this week was on a board in the meeting room we use. One of the artists, a woman I know only as Regan, asked me to take the photo of her response to the announcement and to send it in to the AVA. I did what she asked. I actually think the Hospitality House is doing a pretty good job of trying to help the homeless; but I also understand Regan’s frustration. Thanks.
MO MEMO, 11/25/19
One council members weekly update.
The Ukiah City Council met on November 20th, during that meeting we approved moving forward with the underground work in Downtown Ukiah on State Street. This work would include undergrounding the electric utilities between Seminary Ave and Mill Street on State. The City has been working to underground utilities throughout town. Perkins Street just a few years ago and this year Gobbi Street. These projects are something that it is easy to forget about after its done but its important to make these changes now. The costs continue to rise so we need to stay on top of it. Council members Scalmanini and Vice-Mayor Crane make up the Electric Grid Ad Hoc.
During our meeting we heard from several residents, as well as receiving emails since the October PSPS that urged the City of Ukiah to pursue creating a micro-grid so that we would not be reliant on PG&E. The Council agreed this is something that the ad-hoc should review so I look forward to hearing what they are able to come up with.
The Ice Skating Rink season is upon us! This week the frame work and tent will go up. The official opening date is November 30th. Thank you to the generous sponsors that make this project happen. November 30th also marks Small Business Saturday. A reminder to visit as many local shops as you can first before ordering online or shopping out of town. For every $1 spent locally 67 cents stays in our community. "You can't buy happiness, but you can buy local, and that's kind of the same." - Author unknown
Maureen "Mo" Mulheren
104 N School Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 26, 2019
RICK CAPORGNO, Hopland. Domestic battery, criminal threats.
ORLANDO ESQUIVEL SR., Covelo. Under influence with weapon, transportation of controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
SHAWN FENTON, Redwood City/Ukiah. Controlled substance.
DANIEL FLAMING, Laytonville. Parole violation.
JEFFREY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
NICOLE LABELLE, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
JESUS MACIAS-SILVA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
MARCUS MELOY, Willits. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death.
DAVID PETERSON, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.
STEVEN RICH, Clearlake/Ukiah. Parole violation.
ANTHONY TOLBERT, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
WHEN PROGRESSIVES IN CONGRESS LET US DOWN, WE SHOULD PUSH BACK
by Norman Solomon
Rolling back key aspects of the military-industrial-surveillance complex cannot be accomplished without putting up a huge fight.
Last week, the Democratic leadership put an extension of the Patriot Act into a “continuing resolution” that averted a government shutdown. More than 95 percent of the Democrats in the House went along with it by voting for the resolution. Both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, voted yes. So did all 11 of the CPC’s vice chairs.
It didn’t have to be that way. House progressives could have thrown a monkey wrench into the Orwellian machinery. Instead, the cave-in was another bow to normalizing the U.S. government’s mass surveillance powers.
“There’s no other way to spin this,” a progressive staffer on Capitol Hill told The New Republic. “This was a major capitulation. The Progressive Caucus has touted itself as an organization that can wield power and leverage the votes of its 90 members. And they didn’t lift a finger. Democratic leadership rammed this down their throats.”
A gag reflex was needed from progressive lawmakers, who should have put up a fight rather than swallow rationales for going along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s maneuver. With the Fourth Amendment on life support, basic civil liberties were at stake.
There were opportunities to push back—if CPC leaders had moved to throw down a gauntlet.
"You could go through and name any strategy for me, and I would tell you why it would fail,” Jayapal said. But if you don't put up a fight, you're sure to fail. And showing some strength on a matter of principle can build momentum while marshalling grassroots support in the process.
With a show of resolve, just a few dozen Democrats could have blocked the resolution. Instead, it passed the House on Nov. 19 by a 231-192 margin, thus extending the Patriot Act for three months instead of letting it expire.
“No” votes came from all four members of The Squad—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.
The list of “yes” votes from House members with progressive reputations was stunningly long. Here are just a dozen: Karen Bass, Raul Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Jim McGovern, Jerrold Nadler, Chellie Pingree, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters and Peter Welch.
One factor: Even the best progressives in the House spend a lot more time with congressional colleagues and leaders than they do with constituents. Call it an occupational hazard. Peer pressure and conformity tend to be cumulative. The power of the Democratic leadership is quite tangible and often stern, whereas the power of constituents is routinely diffuse and unrealized.
To the extent that progressives at the grassroots don’t effectively pressure members of Congress, party authorities like Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer maintain a tremendous advantage. To the extent that avoiding conflict with the Democratic leadership is more important than standing up for principles, even the best progressive incumbents succumb to the Capitol bubble. Given the strength of that bubble, it can only be burst with methodical intervention from the grassroots.
Congressman Pocan was on target when he commented a year ago: “People in D.C. think we’re the center of the universe, but we’re not—the people who elect us are the center of the universe. It’s when you have that kind of activism in the districts, you’re really going to be impactful.”
In the case of the Patriot Act-laden continuing resolution, which President Trump signed into law shortly after passage, the contrasts between avowed commitments and conformist acquiescence were striking among many progressive luminaries in the House. A few examples:
In his first House race, when he unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Tom Lantos in 2004, now-Congressman Khanna was emphatic in his opposition to the Patriot Act. He declared: “We have a chance to do something absolutely extraordinary in this election: to hold a congressman responsible based on his voting record. Mr. Lantos has had a distinguished career in public service, but his votes for the war and the Patriot Act don’t represent the will of this district.”
Congresswoman Lee has been denouncing the Patriot Act for the better part of two decades, as when in 2005 she issued a news release headlined “Barbara Lee Opposes Extension of the Patriot Act, Blasts ‘Big Brother Attack.’”
In 2015, Rep. Lofgren minced no words in opposing even a brief Patriot Act extension. She signed a letter with five colleagues that stated: “We will not vote to reauthorize this program, even for a short period of time.”
In autumn 2016, just before she won election to Congress for the first time, Jayapal told an interviewer “why I stepped up to fight back against the Bush administration, against the Patriot Act, against civil-liberties violations. It was very, very personal, in a way, but it was also very political. It was not just about me. It was, ‘Wait a second. We as a country cannot undermine the deepest values that make us who we are’.”
It’s telling that Khanna, Lee, Lofgren and Jayapal – and so many other self-identified progressives in the House — chose to take the path of least resistance last week when faced with a choice of whether to buck their party’s leadership or facilitate the extension of the Patriot Act that they have long opposed. Heightening the sad irony is the fact that the newly reauthorized provisions have enabled far more aggressive surveillance than was envisioned when the Patriot Act first passed — at which time Lee, McGovern, Nadler, Schakowsky, Waters and others who just voted for the reauthorization felt compelled to oppose it.
Last week, they followed leadership that was determined to merge the odious Act with the continuing resolution. An amendment, offered by independent Rep. Justin Amash, would have separated the Patriot Act extension from the resolution — but the House Rules Committee (chaired by McGovern), in step with Pelosi’s marching orders, killed that amendment.
If even 20 more House progressives had signaled a willingness to vote against the continuing resolution unless it was separated from Patriot Act reauthorization, they would have been in a strong position to demand standalone votes on each measure. That would have underscored serious opposition to the Act’s surveillance programs — enhancing progressive leverage in the House and increasing the chances of reform when the issue of further Patriot Act extension comes back to Congress in a few months.
Instead, leading progressive lawmakers chose to sidestep a historic opportunity to do the right thing by registering clear opposition to the Patriot Act. Such retreats end up eroding rather than building the power of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Rolling back key aspects of the military-industrial-surveillance complex cannot be accomplished without putting up a huge fight. Postponing confrontations with party leaders might seem prudent, but such caution has negative consequences. Sooner or later, grassroots activists become exasperated when Democrats in Congress don’t match progressive statements with actions. Just being a member of the Progressive Caucus is not enough.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
A THANKSGIVING PRAYER
by William Burroughs
Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts
thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison
thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger
thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot
thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes
thanks for the American Dream to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through
thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces
thanks for Kill a Queer for Christ stickers
thanks for laboratory AIDS
thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs
thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business
thanks for a nation of finks—yes,
thanks for all the memories all right, let’s see your arms you always were a headache and you always were a bore
thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.
CHOMSKY: PROSECUTION OF ASSANGE REFLECTS "EXTREME" USE OF STATE POWER
Without whistleblowers and investigative journalism, governments are free to abuse their power and keep the population in the dark about the atrocities they commit, not only to others, but also to the citizens they supposedly represent.
Seventy-six years ago, on 13 March 1943, Freedom from Fear, the fourth in Norman Rockwell’s series, The Four Freedoms appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell chose as his subject American parents tucking their children in for bed while thinking of the nightly bombings suffered by British civilians (as illustrated by the newspaper headline in which “Bombings” and “Horror” appear).
Rockwell spent seven months working on the series and lost fifteen pounds from his rail-thin frame in the duration. The Four Freedoms paintings were part of Rockwell’s personal collection, which he bequeathed as the Norman Rockwell Art Collection Trust to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
RABBI MICHAEL LERNER: THE PIED PIPER OF LOVE
by Jonah Raskin
Few figures on the American left have elicited more antipathy than Rabbi Michael Lerner, and few figures have elicited more admiration and even adoration. Over the past half-century, no American-born Jew has been a more polarizing figure among radicals and progressives than he. In part, that’s because he’s defended Palestinians and Muslims and criticized Zionists and the State of Israel. His own big ego has contributed to the syndrome that attracts people and repels them in about equal measure.
I saw the attraction in action at a recent dinner to honor Lerner that was sponsored by the International Association of Sufism (IAS), an organization based in Marin County that defines itself as “a model of engaged creativity.”
Michael Krasny, the host of KQED’s Forum, served as the MC and praised Lerner as “a warrior for peace” and as a “spiritual teacher.” Cornel West via video called Lerner “brother” and touted him as “a towering intellectual’ with a “universal vision grounded in Judaism.” Martha Sonnenberg, a medical doctor and an observant Jew, depicted Lerner as a mentor and a mensch with a messianic vision. Peter Gabel, once a colleague of Lerner’s at New College in San Francisco, praised him as a teacher who integrated the psychological and the spiritual. “We came to love one another,” he said. “We’re a couple.”
By the time that Lerner took the stage to accept his award, the event had turned into a kind of love-in with Jews on one side and Sufis on the other. Looking like an old hippie, or perhaps more aptly like an elderly rabbi, Lerner persuaded the audience to hold hands and sing, “into ploughshares beat their swords, nations shall make war no more.” He boasted of his friendship with Muhammad Ali, and while that’s was an exaggeration, it is true that he spoke at the memorial for Ali that was held in June 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky and where he urged the audience to “refuse to follow the path of conformity." Over the course of the last three years, Lerner has lost much of his vigor and energy.
Listening to him speak, halting, at the event in his honor I noticed that his language and phrasing isn’t original. Much what he says is a synthesis of cliches: the gap between the rich and the poor has increased, the earth is being raped, and we need to look at the world with a “sense of awe and wonder.” Lerner urged the members of the audience to buy copies of his new book, Revolutionary Love, which was on sale at the back of the room. Medea Benjamin, the cofounder of Code Pink, says in a blurb, “Anyone wanting to overhaul the inequalities and mean-spiritedness of our social system should read this book—and incorporate its message into the array of social-change movements.” That’s easier said than done.
What Lerner asks for—an outpouring of love, kindness and generosity— isn’t tangible nor is it measurable. He knows that. Not surprisingly, he urges readers of his book “not to be realistic.” Indeed, Revolutionary Love offers a fantasy of a future world that won’t and can’t be realized anytime, if ever.
Lerner explains that his manifesto “is not a detailed blue print,” but it has dozens of details, big and small, about the world he envisions. They include: an “Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution; the phasing out of the Fourth of July as a national holiday, and the creation of a “Global Interdependence Day.” Admission to college based “on evidence of a student’s ability to care both for the planet and for other human beings,” repatriations for African-Americans and Native Americans, fair wages for housework, the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” modeled after the commission in South Africa after the fall of apartheid, the foundation of “a national service corps” required of all graduating students, and the transformation of dating so that individuals seeking romantic relationship might meet one another without anxiety.
Lerner wants prison sentences to be abolished, whenever possible, though he also wants to “maintain a strong national defense.” Why that would be necessary he doesn’t say, though it would seem to be obsolete after the launch of his “Love and Justice Party,” the “globalization of generosity” and the creation of a post-socialist “Caring Society.”
Calling his program “post-socialist” seems to be based on tactics and philosophy rather than on economics and politics. In a long-winded sentence that goes on and on, Lerner explains why he uses the term “post-socialist.” I quote part of the sentence here: “because societies that called themselves socialist democracies in Europe often ended up either susceptive to authoritarian leaders or to bureaucratic governments — our movement — must differentiate ourselves by calling ourselves post-socialist or love socialists.”
What about the many outstanding contributions of socialists in Europe and the United States ever since the middle of the 19th century? What about the many socialist causes and socialist parties that fought for workers’ rights and for peace and justice? What about the contributions of Eugene V. Debs and Jean Jaurés? What about socialist intellectuals and writers like Emile Zola and Victor Hugo? Lerner has thrown out the socialist baby along with its bath water. He may have linked the psychological with the spiritual, as his followers insist, but he’s also abolished history.
I can understand why he has based his appeal on love, though he does admit in his manifesto that in the 1960s he detested much the same appeal. Half-a-century ago, he explains, he “hated being told by rock stars at anti-war rallies, ‘I love all of you’.” The use of the word “love” to sell products and services is even more disgusting today, as in slogans like “Love—it’s what makes a Subaru a Subaru.” As Frederick Engels noted in 1884 in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, “civilization covers the evils it necessarily creates with the cloak of love, to excuse them, or deny their existence.” These days radicals who make moral appeals based on “love” seem to be missing the need for rage and for protest in the streets.
Dozens of notable religious and political figures, and artists, too, have recently signed a “Declaration of Love” that’s posted online by “The Revolutionary Love Project.” They include the usual suspects: Elizabeth Warren, Van Jones, Eve Ensler, Ani DiFranco, Jane Fonda, and half-a-dozen U.S. rabbis, both men and women. They profess their love “for all who are in harm’s way,” including “refugees, immigrants, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, queer and trans people, Black people, Latinx people, the indigenous, the disabled, women and girls, working-class people and poor people.”
I understand why, with Trump and the Trumpettes spewing hate 24/7, progressives have embraced love. Still, it’s going to take a lot more than love to topple Trump and undermine his followers. “Only a full-scale embrace of revolutionary love will save our world,” Lerner insists. If only that were so! If only it was that simple. The Beatles were at their sentimental worst (or best) when they sang, “Love Is All You Need.” Love is never all you need. The Youngbloods offered a nice sentiment when they chimed in with “Try to love one another right now.” Yeah, brother and sister, try. By embracing the gospel of love, Lerner has made himself into a kind of Pied Piper leading his followers toward a destination from which there is no return.
I DO NOT LIKE UNIFORMS. I do not like people who are a professional this, that or the other. Professional writers, actors and singers are O.K., but I don’t like professional Jews, professional homosexuals, professional blacks, professional feminists, professional patriots. I don’t like people abdicating their identity to become part of some group, and then becoming obsessed with this and making capital of it.
— John Simon
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
And now Rudy Giuliani has announced he has a dead man’s switch — ie, a file information locked in his safe to be released instantly if he gets whacked or disappeared. He said the information, if and when it is released, will blow up the Democratic Party in an enormous scandal. This was part of Rudy’s interview with Fox News’s Ed Henry over the weekend.
One assumes Rudy’s file documents rank corruption by Joe Biden and his son Hunter in the Ukraine, but also (just spit-balling here) will spill the beans on John Kerry and Son, Nancy Pelosi and Son, and who knows how many other brand-name creatures of the Swamp.
This is bound to be a promising topic of conversation later this week, as you sit down to a splendid Thanksgiving turkey with Aunt Leopolda, her transgender daughter Ralphette and the rest of your happy clan.
WHAT SMART IS NOT TELLING THE PUBLIC
by Mike Arnold
(The following comments were submitted to the Marin Chapter of the Sierra Club in anticipation of their Executive Committee meeting, held on November 20, 2019.)
Here's what Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit is not telling the public:
Ridership is not growing. It is a bit down year over year. It has no impact on traffic congestion other than the traffic congestion caused by SMART in San Rafael.
It is the most inefficient (from a cost perspective) transit system in the Bay Area. This is calculated as the taxpayer subsidy per rider which is over $50. Golden Gate Transit buses, which are one of the more expensive transits, are $17/rider. This is based on published data.
They are increasing traffic congestion in downtown San Rafael, which is about to made far worse once the trains begin operations across 2nd and 3rd.
The "connectivity to the ferry" has been and is a hoax. In fact, Golden Gate Transit is eliminating the 31 route once the train begins service. Fewer people are expected to use it than are currently taking the bus. Why?
The buses depart downtown San Rafael, pulsed to meet the ferry departures. Commuters get off the bus in front of the ferry bldg. The train will take longer. It will leave passengers a 7-10 minute walk from the ferry bldg. and trains cannot be scheduled to meet the ferries.
Supposedly, Farhad will publish the new rail schedules, today. Be sure to compare those schedules with the published ferry schedules before you vote. It's not possible with trains arriving every 32 minutes.
SMART has way overestimated its sales tax revenue potential over the course of the next 39 years (2020 - 2059). Yeah, I'm one of the few that knows the underlying economics of how one does this. I tried to train Gary Phillips (along with David Schonbrunn) on how they should do this. But nope. They decided to make it up as they did in 2008.
They have overestimated their revenue potential by hundreds of millions of dollars. What does this mean?
They are in real financial trouble and their future operations will be squeezed. For this rail system extensions are a financial loser because they generate more cost than fare revenues. Ridership is that low. The Windsor now estimated to cost $65 million is an unbelievably uneconomic extension.
So what is this election really about? In 2012, they issued unbelievably risky bonds that contained a rising debt service payment schedule. Those payments are now consuming 42% of the sales tax revenues (just as I predicted they would in an Op-ed years ago). They want to refinance the bonds. But here's the catch: they can't until calendar year 2022 because that's when the call dates are.
This means the tax if it passes won't impact their sales tax revenue stream until April 1, 2029. And it won't impact their debt service expenses until FY 2023. Which in turns mean, they're lying to the public about what is likely to occur. A recession is quite likely before 2023. And when it occurs -- depending on its depth -- they'll be facing major cutbacks. Major. And there's nothing in this measure that will prevent those cuts.
If you want documentary evidence of how out of control the Board is, just take a look at the first 3 years of financials in the Strategic Plan. They're assuming that they'll be operating in the red for 3 years even with growing sales tax revenues. Is this responsible prudent management? Should they be rewarded with a 30 year extension?
All I can say is this is not your typical rail system. They have been misleading the public for years regarding its financials and ridership. It shouldn't be rewarded with your endorsement. Before they do get one from you, they need to "come clean" with the public.
I'll be happy to come a meeting and make the case, if the leadership is so inclined to want to hear what I have to say.
FOUND OBJECT [you supply the caption]