- Sunny Day
- René Auberjonois
- Fire Recovery
- Ed Notes
- Overwhelmed Methodists
- Disaster Planning
- Sandbar Breach
- Nightscape Images
- Services Consolidation
- Wrong Number
- Insurance Moratorium
- AV Village
- Bed Tax
- Dumb Dems
- Held Corrections
- 2008 Collapse
- Navarro Flooding
- People Flushing
- Courageous Caroler
- Yesterday's Catch
- Russian Homeless
- Medically Bankrupt
- Cockamamie Schemes
- Long Island Sound
- Braindead Followers
- Found Object
MORNING LOW CLOUDS and areas of fog will give way to sunshine today. A weak front will bring light rain to northwest California Tuesday, followed by a brief period of high pressure on Wednesday, before an extended bout of wet weather begins on Wednesday night. (National Weather Service)
IN A WEEK of unhappy events in the Anderson Valley, we now learn that Rene Auberjonois has died at age 79. He and Mrs. Auberjonois were part-time residents of the Anderson Valley near Boonville. The couple often enjoyed nights out in Boonville and were known to many of us as friends and neighbors. The following is from the Associated Press.
RENÉ AUBERJONOIS, ACTOR FEATURED IN ‘STAR TREK’ AND ALTMAN FILMS, DIES AT 79
by Andrew Dalton
René Auberjonois, a prolific actor best known for his roles on the television shows “Benson” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and his part in the 1970 film “M.A.S.H.” playing Father Mulcahy, died Dec. 8 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 79.
The cause was metastatic lung cancer, said his son, Rèmy-Luc Auberjonois.
Mr. Auberjonois worked constantly as a character actor through several periods and forms, from the dynamic theater of the 1960s to the cinema renaissance of the 1970s to the prime period of network television in the 1980s and ’90s — and each generation knew him for something different.
For film fans of the 1970s, he was Father John Mulcahy, the military chaplain who played straight man to the doctors’ antics in “M.A.S.H.” It was his first significant film role and the first of several for director Robert Altman.
For sitcom watchers of the 1980s, he was Clayton Runnymede Endicott III, the hopelessly highbrow chief of staff at a governor’s mansion on “Benson,” the ABC series whose title character was a butler played by Robert Guillaume.
And for sci-fi fans of the 1990s and convention-goers ever since, he was Odo, the shape-shifting Changeling and head of space-station security on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
“I am all of those characters, and I love that,” Auberjonois said in a 2011 interview with the “Star Trek” website. “I also run into people, and they think I’m their cousin or their dry cleaner. I love that, too.”
René Marie Murat Auberjonois was born in New York City on June 1, 1940, the son of Fernand Auberjonois, a Swiss-born foreign correspondent for U.S. newspapers, and the grandson of a Swiss postimpressionist painter also named René Auberjonois.
Mr. Auberjonois was raised in New York, Paris, and London, and for a time lived with his family in an artists’ colony in Rockland County, N.Y., whose residents included the actors John Houseman, Helen Hayes and Burgess Meredith.
After graduating in 1962 from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon), Mr. Auberjonois hopped around the country joining theater companies, eventually landing three roles on Broadway in 1968, including as the Fool in a long-running version of King Lear.
The following year he played Sebastian Baye opposite Katharine Hepburn in “Coco,” a play on the life of designer Coco Chanel that earned him a Tony for best actor in a leading role in a musical.
He later received Tony nominations for 1973’s “The Good Doctor,” 1984’s “Big River,” and 1989’s “City of Angels.”
In 1970, Mr. Auberjonois began his run with Altman, playing Mulcahy in “M.A.S.H.”
In his most famous exchange from the movie, Sally Kellerman’s Margaret Houlihan wonders how such a degenerate doctor as Donald Sutherland’s Hawkeye Pierce could reach a position of responsibility in the U.S. Army. A Bible-reading Mr. Auberjonois deadpans, “He was drafted.”
“I actually made that line up when we were rehearsing the scene,” Mr. Auberjonois said on the podcast “The Gist” in 2016. “And it became a kind of an iconic line for the whole film.”
He also appeared in the Altman movies “Brewster McCloud” (1970), as an off-the-wall ornithologist; “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” (1971), as a saloonkeeper; and “Images” (1972), as the husband of an unstable children’s-book author.
He spent much of the rest of the 1970s doing guest spots on TV shows before joining the cast of “Benson” in its second season in 1980, where he would remain for the rest of the show’s seven seasons, playing the patrician political adviser and chronic hypochondriac Endicott.
Much of his later career was spent doing voice-overs for animation, most memorably as the French chef who sings the love song to fish-killing, “Les Poissons,” in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” (1989).
He played Odo on “Deep Space Nine” from 1993 until 1998 and became a regular at “Star Trek” conventions, where he raised money for Doctors Without Borders and signed autographs with a drawing of Odo’s bucket, where the character would store himself when he returned to his natural gelatinous state.
Mr. Auberjonois was also a regular on the ABC law-firm dramedy “Boston Legal” from 2004 to 2008.
Late in his career, he worked with independent filmmakers including Kelly Reichardt, for whom he appeared in “Certain Women” (2016) and “First Cow” (2019), his final role.
In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Judith Mihalyi; a daughter, Tessa Auberjonois; two sisters; and three grandchildren.
2011 INTERVIEW OF RENÉ by Steve Sparks: theava.com/archives/10019
ANDERSON VALLEY STEPS UP!
This morning a group of people affected by Thursday's fire in Boonville (or liaisons representing them) met to discuss their immediate and short term needs. Some families lost all of their possessions and some did not, but all have to relocate.
Surely other needs will come up as they assess damages and losses, but at this moment, here are some things we can do to help:
Donate money and ask others to do so
-Cash and check donations can be made to Sueño Latino and dropped off at AVFD & AVCSD
-Electronic donations can be made online via this webpage.
Help these families find housing
If you or someone you know can offer short or longer term housing options, please follow this link to provide more information. If you know someone who has temporary rentals or empty buildings on their property, please encourage them to help out.
You can provide us with information to relay to the families through this form.
The group of community members and families impacted by the fire will be meeting regularly at the Adult School. If you have other information or other relevant resources that might be helpful, please feel free to contact the Adult School at 895-2953 or email@example.com
Principal, Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School
THURSDAY'S DISASTROUS Boonville fire has left a large physical hole in the middle of town, huge losses to our friends and neighbors and generations of vivid memories associated with the old bar, the Boonville Lodge, site of everything from the hilarious to the tragic. If those ashes could talk!
THE Anderson Valley Fire Department got lots of help battling the fire, which began at 12:30 Thursday afternoon and saw firefighters still working at 11pm. In addition to Cal Fire, Anderson Valley was supplemented by the Elk volunteers and firefighters from Ukiah, Comptche, the South Coast Volunteers, Hopland and CalFire.
HELPING THE DISPLACED PERSONS FROM THE FIRE, on-line comments:
 We came here from a village in the SoCal mtns where everyone wishes to live but there’s few homes. Even tho we’re close to Disneyland and beaches, Airbnb isn’t as popular as monthly renting to young folks who want to enjoy raising families in the wild. They’ve revived our community in so many great ways; enriching our school, non profits, emergency services, and old houses are nicely repaired!
 Would it be helpful to state how many people are in each of the households?
 I wish we had people who could help, like a nonprofit or better. I have three spaces (small houses) that need repair but I'm barely holding on to my land much less invest in making them more livable. I've been to the shanty places in the valley and I was shocked at first but it's so hard to find a place here. We need farm people and workers but seeing the big picture of lowpaid jobs and cost of living is untenable. Any ideas other than the usual bandaids and temporary situations?
MOSTLY AGREE, especially about B&B's, all 62 of them in the Anderson Valley, including my old place on Anderson Valley Way, once home to as many as a dozen persons, all of whom paid what they could, which wasn't much, to maintain the property at a reasonably safe and sanitary level. I've argued for years for a local ordinance that required winery and vineyard owners to erect housing proportionate to their minimum labor requirements. The booze juggernaut has totally restructured the Anderson Valley, and I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not the restructuring has been good for our community.
TO BE FAIR to the local branch of the wine industry, several of its local stalwarts have provided worker housing, usually for its year-round employees. And the County doesn't make industry housing simple to achieve, as several wine business owners have explained to us. The March election might, just might, bring us a fully functioning board of supervisors, the first one in years, if ever. If that were to occur, sensible housing policy might at last be adopted.
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: I am aware of a couple of local vineyard owners who indeed have tried to do the right thing by applying for permit to build worker housing, but the County’s (and the state’s) onerous construction and permit rules, restrictions and requirements for ag land apparently make it very hard to navigate the process.
MEANWHILE, on the race front, the San Francisco 49ers suspended radio color commentator Tim Ryan last week for a dumb comment Ryan made about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ryan said Jackson's "dark skin color" and his "dark football and a dark uniform" made it hard for the 49ers defense to figure out the dude's play calling. The professionally offended had immediately denounced Ryan as if the old jock was a night-riding member of the Klan. Fortunately for Ryan, black athletes who know him, including Niner defensive back, Richard Sherman, said he wasn't offended by Ryan's gaffe while conceding it was a howler, and went on to say he knows Ryan and knows he's not a racist.
TOO MANY GROSS mismatches in the 62nd annual Redwood Classic over the fraught Boonville weekend just past, but Kaitlin Espinoza was more than a match for the complicated logistics of a multi-team, 4-day basketball tournament. A student at Boonville High School, Ms. Espinoza, tournament director, did the most efficient job in the history of the affair, which I've seen 55 years of. She got the day's scores and scorers to us and the Press Democrat in the timeliest manner possible and also took efficient care of the innumerable little hassles inevitable with an event this large. No adult director of the Redwood Empire's oldest hoops event has ever managed the tournament with the aplomb of Ms. Espinoza. This kid is going places.
SPORTS FANS might disagree, but Garappolo to Kittle, and Kittle's inspirational run once he had the ball today, for me, is right up there with The Catch, Montana to Clark. What a game! The Niners are back!
ALBION WILD LAND FIRE PLANNING & PREPARATION TUESDAY
Community Fire/Disaster Preparedness Organizational Meeting
Albion-Little River Fire Protection District and volunteer firefighters invite you to join us on Tuesday, December 10, 7PM at the Albion School, 30400 Albion Ridge Road, Albion with the intent of identifying and forming a community led group to prepare and plan for how we will respond and evacuate in the event of wildfire or natural disasters.
As many of you know, the Albion/Little River communities are in a unique situation, being both connected and separated by bridges as well as having many inland roads that are at high risk in the event of wildfire or disaster. The purpose of this meeting is to identify people and resources who are willing to lead and/or contribute to a preparedness and evacuation plan in conjunction with our Fire Protection District.
You many not be aware, but insurance ratings are affected positively with community participation in planning and prevention of such disasters. We hope you'll all join us next week Tuesday, December 10 for this vitally important community meeting.
NAVARRO RIVER SANDBAR 1 HOUR AFTER IT BREACHED SATURDAY (2:30 PM)
THE NEXT DAY (Sunday afternoon)
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: 2019: The North Coast at Night
With the year drawing to a close, I looked back through the pile of nighttime images of the North Coast that I’d taken during this final year of the 2010’s. I should write about them as a body, I thought; I could tie them all together somehow. But it wasn’t flowing. I decided I should just show them and let them tell their own stories. I’d already written stories about most of them, after all, and you can find those articles elsewhere on this site if you’d like.
The fifty-five nightscape images from 2019 were too many to lay out in an article on the page, so I made a tidy slideshow out of them. They’re arranged chronologically from Winter in January through late Fall in December, with the season changes noted in the show. I have to hang my head a little and give you this spoiler, though: there are no nighttime snow pics. I know. I don’t know. It’s cold. I’ll try not to let that happen again.
My son Jerren Wilson made the music for the slideshow. Set it for full screen, put on some headphones, kick back and enjoy.
To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx.
HOPING SOMEONE WILL STEP FORWARD
Last month a member of the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board tendered her resignation as she was moving to Colorado. That leaves an opening on an important board in the valley that has had its share of troubles and still suffers from some conflict among board members, but remains critical to the needs of the ratepayers.
We are hearing that some members of the community have been approached to fill the seat but no one seems to want to take it on. It is disheartening to think that there isn’t anyone out there willing to step up to help make this a full board.
There will be an election next year for at least one other board seat and we’re thinking it will be equally as difficult to find anyone to run.
Given this challenge — and it’s not always just the UVSD, but other small boards around the [Ukiah] valley that have trouble finding people to serve — we think it’s time to push for more swift consolidation of all our water and sewer authorities valley-wide. Russian River Flood Control District, Inland Water and Power, the City of Ukiah, the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District and all the small local water districts like Redwood Valley, Willow, Rogina and Millview should be consolidating into one organization to handle water and sewer issues.
Having but one consolidated entity with one board would allow everyone in the valley to more closely follow the water issues we face, would allow more transparency in how our water is being appropriated among us, free up funds now being paid to a variety of district managers out there, and give the Ukiah Valley a much stronger voice about water needs when faced with huge organizations like the Sonoma County Water District.
We know that the idea of consolidation among water districts is under way now but we’d like to see it moving more quickly and think it’s time to look at something far more comprehensive, that will also include the sewer districts as well. It will take time, but in the long run our resources could be better managed and it might even result in increased stability for the ratepayers.
KC Meadows. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal
MORATORIUM ISSUED ON WILDFIRE INSURANCE CANCELLATIONS
by Jim Shields
Really good news regarding insurance companies cancelling homeowner policies in areas devastated by wildfires.
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Thursday, Dec. 5, issued a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies non-renewing policyholders — helping at least 800,000 homes in wildfire disaster areas in California.
Lara’s action is the result of Senate Bill 824 — ironically, authored last year by Lara while serving as state senator — in order to give temporary relief from non-renewals to residents living near a declared wildfire disaster. This is the first time the department has invoked the new law, which took effect last January.
The California Insurance Commissioner has been an elected office position in California since 1991. Prior to that time, the Insurance Commissioner was appointed by the Governor.
Because the homeowner insurance crisis extends beyond the wildfire perimeters and impacts residents statewide, Lara went a step further and called on insurance companies to voluntarily cease all non-renewals related to wildfire risk statewide until December 5, 2020, in the wake of Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration of statewide emergency due to fires and extreme weather conditions. The Commissioner said a statewide moratorium would allow time to work on “lasting solutions, help reduce wildfire risk, and stabilize the insurance market.”
“This wildfire insurance crisis has been years in the making, but it is an emergency we must deal with now if we are going to keep the California dream of home ownership from becoming the California nightmare, as an increasing number of homeowners struggle to find coverage,” Lara explained. “I am calling on insurance companies to push the pause button on issuing non-renewals for one year to give breathing room to communities and homeowners while they adapt and mitigate risks, give the Legislature time to work on additional lasting solutions, and allow California’s insurance market to stabilize.”
The mandatory one-year moratorium covers more than 800,000 residential policies in ZIP Codes adjacent to recent wildfire disasters. While existing law prevents non-renewals for those who suffer a total loss, the new law established protection for those living adjacent to a declared wildfire emergency who did not suffer a total loss—recognizing for the first time in law the disruption that non-renewals cause in communities following wildfire disasters.
“Home insurance is not a luxury — it’s a necessity. Yet for hundreds of thousands of Californians it’s become almost impossible to find and afford. This puts people between a rock and a hard place, and communities up and down the state are hurting,” said Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders. “At United Policyholders we are doing all we can to help consumers deal with this situation and we thank Commissioner Lara for authoring the moratorium bill and agreeing to take further action with a statewide voluntary moratorium.”
Following Newsom’s emergency declarations in October, the Department of Insurance partnered with CAL-FIRE and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to identify wildfire perimeters and adjacent ZIP codes within the mandatory moratorium area. Today’s bulletin includes seven of the 16 wildfires within state-declared emergency areas, and CAL-FIRE is working to identify perimeters for the remaining nine fires, which the Department of Insurance will announce in a separate bulletin.
In August, the Department of Insurance released data revealing insurance companies were dropping an increasing number of residents in areas with high wildfire risk. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 3.6 million California households are located in the wildland urban interface (“WUI”) where wildfires are most likely to occur.
A Tale Of Two Counties’ Pot Enforcement
A reader sent me a web link to a Modesto Bee story about how Stanislaus County in California’s Central Valley hopes to discourage illicit marijuana cultivation by imposing a $1,000-a-day fine per illegal plant.
According to the Bee, the Board of Supervisors approved amendments to the county’s marijuana ordinance last month creating a new administrative citation process. The fines take effect on Dec. 19 but do not apply to the six pot plants allowed under state law.
Under the county’s plan, an illegal 3,000-plant operation that didn’t remove all its illicit plants in a day could face a $3 million fine. The Stanislaus sheriff’s department hopes the hefty fines will do more to dissuade illegal growers than the current threat of state misdemeanor fines.
According to the code amendments, the $1,000-per-day fine will be assessed between the time a citation is issued and the growers remove the plants from the site.
For a 3,000-plant operation, the fines could literally amount to more than $90 million over a 30-day period. Failure to remove 3,000 plants in a day could result in a $3 million fine, or $9 million if the plants are not removed in the required three-day abatement period.
“This is going to put some teeth in what we are trying to accomplish,” Stanislaus County Board Chairman Terry Withrow said.
The Sheriff’s Department targeted numerous cultivation sites in the past year, but charges were misdemeanors under state law and officials believe that is not enough to dissuade black market growers.
Sheriff Jeff Dirkse noted that deputies shut down a west Modesto illegal grow with thousands of plants in April and returned to the same property in September, finding 3,000 plants.
“For us to use the search warrant process takes many manhours and there is not a lot of teeth behind it,” Dirkse said. “We hope that with the administrative process, we will be able to abate more (illegal grows) more efficiently and effectively.”
The Stanislaus get tough policy stands in stark contrast to Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman’s hands-off dictum on unlicensed grows.
Allman recently announced a non-intervention policy that in effect nullifies Mendocino County’s pot ordinance. Responding to a “60 Minutes” interviewer’s question about why law enforcement doesn’t arrest unlicensed growers whose product is presumably pipelined to the black market, Allman explained that “If I took someone in front of a jury for growing 1,000 plants illegally —no permits, no anything— I am telling you there is no way in hell I’m gonna get a conviction on cultivation of marijuana. Marijuana on its face is part of our social fabric. But if that same grower was stealing water and using pesticides and rodenticides and taking water from the river, that jury’s going to hang them.”
Needless to say, these are two entirely different approaches to administration of local pot regulatory frameworks. I prefer Allman’s approach because it will quicken the death of a fatally flawed pot ordinance that has resulted in creating total chaos in licensing marijuana cultivation and the destabilization of economies in unincorporated areas where 75 percent of the population lives and works.
The only criticism I’m aware of regarding Allman’s policy is from some of the less than the 10 percent of growers who have applied for permits and already paid fees, in some instances ranging from $50,000 upwards.
As one North County cultivator put it, “Why didn’t the Sheriff tell us he wasn’t going to do this (raid and arrest unlicensed growers) before I spent $15,000 that is not refundable. Is anybody going to fix that?”
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE - Weekly Update for 12/08/2019
Anyone interested in meeting up for coffee with other Village members, volunteers and supporters? Let me know and we can help connect people!
Below is a link to the list of all of the calendar events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. Plenty to keep you busy!
COMMENTING RECENTLY on the Fifth District facebook page, Supervisor Ted Williams wrote: “Reallocating the bed tax for emergency services on the coast would mean cuts in county services. I’m more concerned about representing the county as a whole. We all drive through areas away from our homes and we should be looking out for all county residents. Further, our coast ambulances have been requested to respond over the hill. We need a county wide solution. What are we willing to give up in exchange for solid ambulance service?”
JULIE BEARDLSEY AGREED: "I’m not sure what you could cut without seriously affecting services. There are General Fund positions and non-General fund positions that are funded by State and Federal dollars. It’s general fund positions that are at risk. [CEO] Carmel [Angelo] suggests closing the juvenile hall and saving a million dollars a year."
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIED: "There would be no need to cut any county services to re-allocate some of the Bed Tax Money. Reallocate some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on the Promotional Alliance. If they were effective there would be an increase in bed tax revenues over sales tax revenue rates for the same period. And there is no incremental improvement. Of course that would require some political courage by the Supes because they are afraid to say boo to the Wine-Tourism Brigades. Obviously, tourists are a significant demand on Ambulance Services so it makes sense too."
FIFTH DISTRICT PAGE HOST Kathy Wylie added: "I tend to agree that looking at promotional alliance funds should be on the table if it preserves mandated and life-saving services."
CORRECTING THE RECORD:
Re: Judge Held
Thanks for mentioning the article on Judge Held which appears in the most recent Mendocino County Historical Journal. I am writing to point out an error on your part and confess to one (or more) of my own.
The bearded fellow shown in Off The Record is not William Held but, rather, his father Wilhelm, who died in 1904 as described in the article. (I tried to scan and email you a photo of the young Held but found myself overcome with "old and in the way" syndrome.)
The woman pictured is, in fact, the lovely Ethel Poage Held. My own possible errors have to do with the list of Held's achievements in the Assembly. I should first mention that the bills were described (correctly) in the article as having been "sponsored or supported" by Held.
He was good but not that good. This list comes from secondary sources at best and I suspect they are over-simplified. For example, I've now learned that the Penal Code in California was enacted in 1872 (borrowing from the New York Penal Code) not in the early twentieth century. So I assume this referred to substantial amendments. Nevertheless, I'd say it's not too shabby a record for a dude in his twenties.
And an interesting life he certainly had. One element that is particularly striking is how progressive Held's Republican Party was in comparison to the Democrats of those years. Which only confirms dear old Dad's comment: "It's all fixed. Don't trust any of them."
THE NAVARRO SANDBAR: Why not dredge the Navarro sandbar?
Last year's Navarro sandbar behavior was unusual in that it opened and closed again several times. That was largely because there was a gradual start the rainy period, where a few widely spaced storms dropped enough water to raise the water level behind the sandbar enough to briefly flood the westernmost 1/4 mi. of 128, and enough to naturally breach the sandbar, but not enough to sustain enough flow to keep it from filling in again. I think it opened and closed at least 3, maybe 4 times over the 2017-2018 fall and winter, beginning in October and ending in February (based on my memory).
This year the rains kicked off with a strong storm that dropped 3" or more in the Navarro watershed in 24 hours. That resulted in a rapidly rising river flow and level that flooded the lower part of 128 for about 24 hours, then quickly blew out the sandbar and drained out the backed up water in the estuary. There was way more than enough water to do that, as shown by the river gauge chart, which showed an initial drop in level at the gauge 5 miles upstream when the breach happened just after noon Saturday. That was followed by a resumed steep rise to nearly twice the level at which the sandbar breached. Even though the river level rose even higher than when the flooding occurred, the breached sandbar quickly drained away the flood water over the highway.
This link to the NWS Navarro River gauge chart is a live link that will work only for the next two days to illustrate my points about the most recent sandbar breach. It is updated every hour and will show most recent figures then, not as they are now or the past two days. https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=nvrc1
As the river began to rise sharply, there was a point where the sandbar breach caused the level to drop briefly before resuming its upward climb. You can easily see that point on the left side of the curve.
In my opinion based on direct observation and knowledge of the past 50 years logging history, the reason the Navarro gets plugged up more than before and more than any other main river on the coast, is that LP moonscaped much of the steep forest land on the North Fork Navarro, triggering massive landslides that dumped millions of tons of former forest soils, sand and clay into the watercourse. This solid material moves gradually downstream over the years, especially when there is heavy rainfall and runoff.
Right after a major flood last year, I drove up 128 and looked at the 4-5 mile section of the North Fork that parallels the highway from Dimmick campground to Flynn Cr. Rd. and observed that it is carrying a huge burden of mud and sand that has built up big sandbars and debris piles that are easily seen from the highway if you're aware and looking for it. That is precisely the section of 128 that gets most often flooded during high flows after heavy winter storms. It was easy to see why the water overflowed the highway, because its normal channel was clogged with solids and debris.
The sandbar at the mouth of the river is made of sand and other solids carried down the river during high flows. The coarser solids settle out when the river broadens and slows near the mouth. Surf action churns up sand from the bottom just off the beach and carries it up onto the beach, where much of it settles out as the wave stops and then returns to the sea. That's the reason there is a sandbar.
So what has changed in recent years? My opinion is that there is a much heavier load of sediments coming down the river as a direct result of accelerated clearcut logging in the watershed that took place over the past 40 years or so. It can take years or even decades for that sediment to migrate many miles from its source to the river mouth.
You'll notice that the mouths of the Albion and Big Rivers don't get blocked by a dry season sandbar. In my opinion the main difference is that they haven't been as heavily logged in recent decades compared to the Navarro. I'm not saying they weren't affected by the logging that did occur under GP and LP; recall the "Chocolate Albion" that Bill Bottrell's song described a few years ago. But the brown water that flows out to sea and colors the waters brown for a mile or so offshore is filled with the finer silt and clay particles that don't settle out as rapidly as the coarser sand that settles out in the estuary and the mouth of the rivers.
To the best of my knowledge the Navarro mouth has never been dredged. It wouldn't be practical to dredge it and maintain and open channel without putting in jetties like at the Noyo. There is no economic motive or justification for the major expense of building jetties at the Navarro mouth, unlike the Noyo with its major port and fishing industry. Beyond the multi-million dollar cost of jetties, there would be a recurrent multi-million dollar cost for dredging. And to what end? To avoid a temporary inconvenience to travelers?
When you wrote "stopping the sandbar dredging" I think you must be referring to people digging a channel through the sandbar with shovels, or in the past with a bulldozer or excavator. That's not what is commonly understood as dredging.
That practice of hand digging a channel is still advocated by sport fishermen and women who argue that salmon and steelhead are blocked from entering the river by the sandbar, and they are getting slaughtered by seals and other predators offshore while they gather and wait for the sandbar to breach. They argue that it is helping nature to manually open up a channel.
A year or two ago a biologist published an article in a local news outlet explaining why unnaturally breaching the sandbar is actually harmful or fatal to many bottom dwelling critters in the estuary. That's because the estuary is a mixture of salty ocean water and fresh river water, caused by tidal flow in and out of the river mouth. When the sandbar blocks the outflow, the saltier water, being heavier, gradually settles toward the bottom of the estuary, forming a briny layer that is fatal to fish, clams and other estuary dwellers.
When the sandbar naturally breaches there is enough river flow to quickly flush out the salty water. But when well-intentioned humans jump the gun and try to dig a channel before there is enough river flow, it makes a shallow channel that soon fills in again. But meanwhile, that shallow channel drains off the fresher water near the top layer of the estuary, but not the briny water at the bottom, making the situation worse for many species.
I documented an effort last year by several young men who tried more than once to make a shovel-dug channel. Every attempt to get the flow started failed, because that's not how the river breaches the sandbar. The water doesn't start the breach by getting deep enough to flow over the top of the sandbar. It starts by infiltrating through the sandbar and gradually eroding it from below, with the sandbar then slumping to fill the void left by the sand carried away by that flow. When I observed it last year, the infiltrating river water was emerging on the ocean side about 6 to 8 ft. below the surface of the bar. It dug a branching-out pattern of mini-channels similar in appearance to a river delta. That process was accelerated when the surf at high tide reached high enough to help carry away the dislodged sand and further erode the ocean side of the bar. I took drone videos and stills that documented the process.
Let me point out that there are two very different kinds of flooding that affect the lower Navarro River downstream from Flynn Creek:
The first kind is the major flooding that has happened for over a century, and probably many centuries, is caused by high river flows that happen well into the rainy season when the hillside soils are already saturated and can't absorb any more rainwater. Those heavy flows are impeded by narrow places in the river, such as the rocky bluff on the north side about 6 miles up. So the flood water and the sand builds up behind those choke points and can put 10, 20, 30 feet of water over the highway upstream.
Those heavy floods are the main reason why the original highway from Anderson Valley to the coast left the riverside at Flynn Creek and followed the top of Navarro Ridge to the ocean. It wasn't until the 1930s (maybe 40s) that the "MacDonald-to-the-Sea" highway was built along the river valley floor, and that's the section of 128 that has been used ever since.
The minor, shallow flooding caused by the sandbar blockage only affects less than 1/4 mile of 128 just east of the 0.18 mile marker. This short section of roadway gets no more than about 6" of water over it, and it is usually clear, still water that is free of mud and debris. Any normal car could drive through it safely if they would just slow down to 5-10 mph. Many do just that when the road is partially flooded but is still open to traffic. But I have been there and watched while some drivers hit the flooded stretch at full highway speed, throwing up great plumes of water in a childishly pleasing display. But they risk dangerous hydroplaning and possibly complete loss of control, endangering not only themselves but other traffic as well.
That's why CHP has decided to close the highway, even during daylight when drivers can usually see the road surface through the few inches of clear water, but especially during darkness, when drivers can't usually see the pavement through the water. This kind of flooding is usually brief, like the most recent episode that lasted a little less than 24 hours. In most years this kind of minor flooding happens only once. Last year was an exception.
It's only the second type of minor flooding that could be alleviated by making a permanent, jetty-flanked, dredged channel through the sandbar. The sandbar is always naturally breached long before the first type of major flooding occurs.
I hope this little essay helps you see why manually opening the sandbar is not a good solution.
Ken Davis comments:
That seems to leave us with the idea that the best course regarding the river, is to pretty much leave it alone to self-heal; as well as trying to mitigate further damage to it through more appropriate handling of the watershed. So we still need to deal with the needs of travelers during the flood stages. Currently there are no really great alternatives to using 128. Way too long a drive to head over to. And the two local roads are awful. Comptche Ukiah is pretty scary with wind and rain in a storm. Greenwood Ridge is basically one big pothole. And both of them become littered with various sizes of tree bits during a storm, adding to delays and danger. So if we are going to throw some money at this problem, I would think that some road and tree work along those routes would make them safer and more agreeable to use during the periods when they are the only way to traverse, and is probably a good idea anyway. Cell phone coverage would be nice, that way if someone ran into a problem they could actually call for help.
"ENJOYED," if that's the word, a 2014 HBO documentary on the Nixon Tapes recently re-aired on CNN. In the louche circles I've always traveled in it was simply assumed that Nixon was first evil then, as reports leaked from the White House after his re-election, nuts and evil, careening drunk and on tranqs talking to pictures of presidents past. Nixon's inner circle — consensus opinion — would have been at home in any of the World War Two fascist governments, as would the collection of crackpots and incompetents comprising the Trump Gang.
BUT as a kid I knew lots of Nixons. That whole generation of the 1940s and 50s was teeming with them. A lot of them even looked like Nixon with their weirdly pomaded haircuts and ill-fitting suits. Nixon seemed like a departure because he couldn't seem to contain his self-pity, whining publicly how the media relentlessly pilloried him, him the man who shook hands with Chairman Mao and founded the EPA. Most bigots at the Nixon level don't tape their private remarks. Nixon did.
THERE aren't many surprises in the Nixon Tapes, but there were a couple of episodes that surprised me, the first one slam-dunk seditious, that one a character called Robert Newbrand planted in the Secret Service by the Nixon Gang. Nixon told Haldeman that he wanted to "catch Teddy Kennedy in the sack with one of his babes," probably for the dual purpose of his own titillation and to derail Kennedy from becoming a serious presidential candidate.
IN A TRANSCRIBED TAPE of a September 8, 1972 among Nixon and his aides Bob Haldeman and Alexander Butterfield, Nixon asks whether Secret Service chief James Rowley would appoint Newbrand to head Kennedy’s detail:
Haldeman: “He's to assign Newbrand.”
President Nixon: “Does he understand that he's to do that?”
Butterfield: “He's effectively already done it. And we have a full force assigned, 40 men.”
Haldeman: “I told them to put a big detail on him (unclear).”
President Nixon: “A big detail is correct. One that can cover him around the clock, every place he goes.” (Laughter obscures mixed voices.)
President Nixon: “Right. No, that's really true. He has got to have the same coverage that we give the others, because we're concerned about security and we will not assume the responsibility unless we're with him all the time.”
Haldeman: “And Amanda Burden (one of Kennedy’s alleged girlfriends) can't be trusted. (Unclear.) You never know what she might do. (Unclear.)”
Haldeman then assures the President that Newbrand “will do anything that I tell him to … He really will. And he has come to me twice and absolutely, sincerely said, ‘With what you've done for me and what the President's done for me, I just want you to know, if you want someone killed, if you want anything else done, any way, any direction’…"
President Nixon: “The thing that I (unclear) is this: We just might get lucky and catch this son-of-a-bitch and ruin him for '76.”
Haldeman: “That's right."
THE FILM includes a wonderful interlude featuring, of all things, the Ray Conniff Singers in a special White House concert when, just after the cornball group is introduced, a thrillingly brave woman, one of the singers we later disovered was named Carole Feraci, suddenly steps forward and announces to the audience that includes everyone from The First Family to the "Christian" bomb blesser Billy Graham, that… Well, here's the full story we found in a Canadian on-line magazine from 2016:
When Cabbagetown-born Carole Addesso (née Feraci) attended the Reader’s Digest 50th anniversary party at the White House as one of the Ray Conniff Singers in January, 1972, she defiantly challenged Richard Nixon to his face over his ongoing war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Addesso, by then a Hollywood veteran who had appeared frequently on The Smothers Brothers Show and sung with everyone from Johnny Mathis to the Doodletown Pipers, had been invited two weeks earlier to join the Conniff singers for the unpaid White House gig.
She originally turned it down, because “I didn’t want to sing for a man who’s killing people. But after thinking about it, I thought I should go and say something.”
Planned protest in mind, she found herself on a pre-show tour of the White House. Recalling the incident by phone from her home in Temecula, California, Addesso says, “We were in the Oval Office, and Nixon and his gang were next door in the war room planning their next moves in Vietnam, and I thought, ‘Man, I am so glad I am here.’ Thinking about what they were doing gave me a lot of courage to do what I was going to do.”
As the singers in elegant gowns filed onto the stage, Addesso pulled a handwritten banner from her dress that read “Stop the Killing.”
She then said: “Mr. President, stop the bombing of human beings, animals and vegetation. You go to church on Sunday and pray to Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ were in this room tonight, you would not dare to drop another bomb. Bless the Berrigans and Daniel Ellsberg,” Addesso added, referring to two Catholic priests then in jail for destroying draft records and the whistle-blower who leaked the Pentagon Papers, the Edward Snowden of his day.
“I looked at him the whole time. Nixon was sitting there with a frozen smile, and he never bloody moved a muscle.”
The star-studded gala included Bob Hope, American jazz legend Lionel Hampton, preacher Norman Vincent Peale, Charles Lindbergh, Rev. Billy Graham and the complete cast of what would later be the long-running TV saga known as Watergate.
After the first song, Conniff apologized to the audience, saying to Nixon, “I guess I’ll have to make sure from now on that my singers listen to your speeches. They don’t seem to know what’s going on.”
As cries of “Throw the bum out” filled the room, Martha Mitchell, the wife of U.S. attorney general John Mitchell, shouted out that Addesso should be torn “limb from limb.” Conniff asked Addesso to leave, and with typical Canadian politeness, she replied, “Certainly.”
She was taken downstairs to a room where secret service personnel, White House counsel John Dean and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman were waiting for her.
“Dean and Haldeman were just freaking out, and they kept saying, ‘It’s an incident, it’s an incident! We have to be careful how we handle this,’” she laughs. Both men would soon be facing their own questioning over illegal actions in the Watergate scandal.
“Then they started questioning me. Is there [mental] illness in the family? Did I plan to kill the president? All kinds of dumb shit. I told them, ‘You didn’t hear a word I said’.”
The interrogation eventually ended and they called her a cab, even though that went against White House protocol.
“I was very calm throughout,” Addesso says. “I knew what I wanted to say, and nothing was going to stop me. I would do whatever I could to stop the war.”
Addesso became the subject of almost daily conversation at the White House, as we know since the release of the Nixon tapes.
“For the next three months, every day when they had their Oval Office meetings I was talked about. What is she doing? Is she going to sue us? They were worried I would start an even bigger problem.”
She found herself the target of the FBI and was constantly hounded by the press. Job offers dried up, and when she faced deportation to Canada, she received calls from the era’s leading civil rights lawyers, including Mark Lane and William Kunstler of Chicago 7 fame.
She has no regrets. She remembers being just outside Selma, Alabama, during historic anti-segregation demonstrations while on tour in the mid-60s with Johnny Mathis and the Young Americans, a racially integrated singing group.
“We were at a truck stop where they refused to serve the two black members of the group, so I said, ‘We’re not eating here,’ and we got up and left. A short time later, a big truck caught up with us and tried to run us off the road.”
As Addesso surveys the current American scene, she despairs at the widespread obsession with celebrity in American politics.
“I don’t get it. How could they go and feel like it’s an honor to be there when they’re sitting in a den of killers? It’s just crazy.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 8, 2019
ROUCHANN ALLRED, Willits. Disorderly conduct-solicitation of lewd act.
THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Robbery, resisting. (Frequent Flyer)
TEVIN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Disobeying court order, violation of protective order, probation revocation.
LEONARD HOAGLIN-PIKE, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, vandalism, parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
JUAN MAGALLON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
LUIS MARTINEZ-MARTINEZ, Napa/Ukiah. DUI, no license (suspended for DUI).
STEVEN RICH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.
SETH RICHARDS, Mountain View/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BRANDON SMITH, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person.
GREGORY THOMPKINS, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
HOMELESSNESS IN RUSSIA, an on-line comment:
During the Soviet era, homeless people were prosecuted under anti-begging laws.
Their number boomed during the 1990s with the economic collapse that followed the fall of the USSR.
Now there are six such shelters -- Lyublino and five smaller ones -- in the capital, and NGOs working in the field have largely praised Moscow's progress on the issue.
But some criticise a policy that removes a group still facing lingering social stigma from the centre of the city, as Moscow continues a wave of development that accelerated leading up to last year's World Cup.
"The current policy is to put homeless people out of sight," says Darya Baibakova, of the Nochlezhka NGO, that works with those without permanent accommodation.
She believes that Moscow should have facilities in every district, rather than in "remote industrial areas".
And she underlines the lasting impact of the "long years of stigmatisation" of homeless people.
In October, Nochlezhka had to drop a plan to open a launderette for homeless people near the city centre under pressure from residents.
"Some locals threatened to beat up our staff, set fire to the launderette, and even kill the homeless people," says Baibakova
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The Democratic Party is an arrangement without a future but mainly because supporting it are even more arrangements, none of which have a future, which points to a future with no discernible arrangements, or at least some gaping voids which will take some time and elbow grease to fill.
The modern-day economy is a pyramid of preposterous propositions, WeWork one of those based on even more preposterous propositions, for example as a magazine writer said, that your work is your life, that work is 24/7, that you live where you work, that your co-workers are your friends, in short a proposition pretending to be a viable arrangement but which, given about thirty seconds worth of reflection, looks pretty darn thread-bare from a workability point of view.
But it’s not the only cockamamie scheme out there, Silicon Valley, based pretty much on the same idea, that it’s possible to create a self-replicating society with no off-spring, NONE, where citizens have no time for anything but work. You work at work, you work at home, you work at the grocery, you work when you stroll with your chick, your eyes and ears glued not on the delightful babe but on work, you work when you’re boinking her ooh, baby, baby. That’s IF you boink her, which, given what I’m hearing, happens more and more rarely nowadays, because it takes time and effort and who has time and since when do gals want dweebs with the habits and proclivities of 12 year olds, ah, how do I put this delicately, jacking off to moving images on a screen instead doing it with real-live females who come with the odd sexual need and preference of their own.
And so, guess what, it don’t work. It can’t. Silicon Valley, and the rest of the economy where the allegedly educated work, does not want people that mate, that raise kids, because it distracts from what’s important, the stock price and the CEO’s bonus. This points to a society that, if it doesn’t go extinct outright from lack of reproduction, will be overwhelmed and driven to extinction by folk that DO. In fact, I’d be hard put to call this is an arrangement without a future, because it has so little of what normal people call an “arrangement”, you know, planning, forethought, logic, but has rather a lot of the opposite, with hardly a present, let alone a future.
Which brings us back to the Democratic Party, a mis-arrangement that lurches one day to the next, with no directing plan or agenda unless you consider a grab bags of distractions – you remember, tranny washrooms, Russian collusion, Russian meddling, Russian hacking, drag-queen story time, and now this who-knows-what-for impeachment stuff – an agenda. It ain’t.
A generous view would be that the Democratic Party has got one foot in the grave and one on a banana peel. But this is as dead a proposition as the businesses that the Party works for, the laughable part is that none of them know it yet. Even more laughably neither do Democrat voters.
LONG ISLAND SOUND
for Frank Avallone and his daughter, Rita
As a girl my mother fished with her father
each bent over with drop lines
in an old boat
flounder striped bass bluefish
dropping the braided twine of the lines
into the grey-blue blankness
their hearts beat quickly
lub-dub lub-dub lub-dub
the lines flew right through their fingers
fast and steady
into waters that were full of fish.
In recent years the western part of the sound
has become increasingly deficient
of marine life
what is called dead water
more than 8 million people
now live within its watershed.
But in the 1930s when my mother was a girl
there was nothing but fish in Long Island Sound
and my mother and her father caught
a lot of them
there was no fillable limit.
My mother and her father cleaned their own fish
back at the pier
nailing the fish to wood to scale them
scraping scraping scraping
reversing the fish on the wood
scraping scraping scraping
lopping off their heads shaking out their guts
an icy briny brightness fills a zinc pail.
if I could only go back 80 years
there you are
out on the Long Island Sound
beyond the farthest lights to the south
Queens the Bronx
there you are
beyond the farthest lights to the west
Baychester Co-Op City Eastchester
there you are
beyond the farthest lights to the north
Pelham Manor New Rochelle Larchmont
and to the east?
from the East River in New York City
along the North Shore of Long Island
to Block Island Sound
freshwater from tributaries
saltwater from the ocean
a tidal estuary of the Atlantic Ocean
there you are
in a rocking boat as a cold grey fog rolls in
and a harsh wind kicks up --
a little girl all bundled up in winter clothes
a spot of rosiness on each cheek
there you are in a rocking boat
rocking rocking rocking
you say nothing
as you watch the waves the undulations
lick the boat lapping
lapping lapping lapping
and suddenly your father's hands
apport from out of nowhere
from the edge of the boat
before you plunge good as dead into the water.
Back at the pier
a little girl who is totally in love with her father
who is cleaning fish
feels the tips of her ears start to freeze
her father will give these ears hundreds
thousands of kisses
in a lifetime that is never entirely ending
never entirely dying even as everything is dying
as he cleans the fish
no one is saying it is too late in the afternoon
nor too dark to clean fish
no one is saying anything.
As if in a dream possibly dreaming
this is the moment
when the world seems like one single thing
a single shimmering harmonic
the girl will remember this moment forever
she draws back
it is the moment of "presence"
it is the moment
when she first feels poetic wishfulness
when she first feels she cannot explain herself
when she first feels the shift into the eternal.
The girl is unable to speak
in love-time in the full-moon light
the girl is singing singing singing in silence.
—John Sakowicz, December 2019 (for my 90-yr old mother in hospice)
It's terrible about the Boonville Lodge burning up. Many good times with my friends there over the years: Dave Wallace, Skippy Bloyd, Tony Pardini and many more. Sad to lose an old place in Boonville like that. Glad nobody got hurt.
Nancy Pelosi took about 11 of her braindead followers back to Spain to study climate change on our tax dollar. I have never seen the likes of it. California will pass a bill in the next year or two, it’s on the table, requiring all Californians to buy oxygen tanks to save the air. Can you believe the stupidity and ridiculousness of these people? Boggles my mind that people like this are on the earth.
Braindead rotten stupid liberals are trying to impeach President Trump but they will never do it. If they were to come close the American military would turn turn on them because all the branches love president Trump. Instead of helping the United States the liberals are ruining it. I wish I was
president for a day or two. I would clean house, including some of the rhino Republicans.
Gavin Newsom should have his sanctuary state shoved right up his you know what. If anyone in this county gets raped or killed or murdered or tortured by an illegal alien some of us citizens will take action. And I don't mean maybe.
God bless Donald Trump for four more years.