- Chilly Dry
- Quiz Tonight
- Little Hopper
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- Candidates Statements
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- Vision 2020
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DRY CONDITIONS AND CHILLY OVERNIGHT LOWS are expected the rest of the work week. Light rain will be possible the latter part of the weekend. (NWS)
QUIZ TONIGHT: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous Kwanzaa, Hanukkah Sameach, etc… The final Quiz of 2019 takes place today, Thursday, 26th December, at Lauren’s in Boonville. It will be a special holiday/end-of-year Quiz. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
THIS IMAGE was drawn on the back of Edward Hopper’s third grade report card dated October 23, 1891, when Hopper was nine years old.
Marshall Newman writes:
…and a slightly bigger one near Point Arena.
MENDOCINO COUNTY 1ST DISTRICT SUPERVISOR CANDIDATE STATEMENTS
Jon moved to Mendocino County in 1998, where he and his wife, Tiffany, began their journey of raising their 3 boys, Connor, Carter and Aaron—recent addition includes Kenzie and their grandson, Carson (Carter and Kenzie's son). Jon and his family have been integral members of our community, since first arrival.
Jon has more than 25 years of combined experience in county politics, community involvement, conflict resolution, project management and financial service businesses. Politically, he is a fiscally conservative and socially liberal non-partisan leader who is committed to doing the right thing for our community. Jon is a critical thinker with proven problem solving abilities under some of the most difficult work conditions.
Jon is extremely passionate about public service and the needs of our communities. Jon's professional career has been largely spent in the private sector, both in private business ventures and in high-level management positions. Despite his experience in the private sector, he's no stranger to the local government scene. When Jon and his family decided to relocate to be closer to he and his wife's family in the mountains over a decade ago, he was elected County Supervisor for Plumas County. Jon was a successful leader with a keen sense of budgetary responsibility. When it came time to seek an additional term, Jon and his family decided to instead, return to their home and their children's roots—Mendocino County.
Jon and his son run a local insulation business, but where you'll mostly see him, is out and about helping families who lost their homes in the recent wildland fires. Jon started a Non-Profit Corporation, Rebuilding Now, Inc. where they help property owners who were uninsured or severely underinsured, who can't afford to hire a contractor, rebuild their homes. This is just one example of how Jon is putting Mendocino County first.
Vote for Jon Kennedy, trusted local who will put your needs first.
James Green is running for first district supervisor in Mendocino County because he cares deeply about ensuring that Mendocino County continues to be a healthy, safe, and supportive community we are all proud to call home. As a member of South Ukiah Rotary, the Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce, the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, and the Mendocino County Firesafe Council, he stays informed and engaged in community affairs.
Recently, issues surrounding water rights and the availability of housing have come to a crisis point, inspiring James to run for office so he can take on the challenge of helping steward our scarce resources—to help shape Mendocino County’s future. He and his wife, Kristin, are raising their son Henry here, and they want him and all the other District 1 residents to benefit from the kind of thoughtful and pragmatic leadership James will provide. As a California native, James grew up spending time outdoors hiking, camping, and playing sports. This helped him develop a deep appreciation for the environment and small-town life.
When he and Kristin were looking for a place to raise a family, surrounded by nature and caring, hard-working people, Mendocino County seemed like the perfect fit. “I’m not originally from Mendocino County, but it has become my home and I am dedicated to doing all I can to help local residents live and work here in a sustainable way,” he said. James has used his Business Administration degree from Cal State Long Beach and his knowledge of Apple computers to build a successful computer consulting career. The problem-solving skills he uses every day to help clients are the same ones he would love to put to good use shaping public policy. He works from home and cares for Henry, and given the opportunity, he’d like to put his considerable energy and passion toward helping Mendocino County thrive.
— James Green
To the Editor:
I learned a new word today, “pwog”. Meaning: “A derisive term for a political progressive. First appeared in the 1960s as a term for old guard leftists of Jewish background. Derived from the tendency of Jews of Eastern European heritage to pronounce ‘R’ as ‘W’, in keeping with Yiddish pronunciation.”Used in a sentence: “The Vermont pwogs can feel a virtuous glow that they have ‘our Bernie in Congress’, even though Bernie is accountable to no one and represents the antithesis of what the Progressive Coalition was intended to achieve — the establishment of a third party in Vermont.”
I’m not sure I would describe myself as a “clearly lib-pwog”, as I was in the AVA’s Mendocino County Today, October 7. I don’t think of myself as “lib” or “not lib”. I don’t think of myself as “pwog” or “not pwog”…although it’s very nice to be in the same company as Bernie Sanders.
I do, however, think of myself as fiscally responsible. And I think of myself as devoted to the health and well being of Mendocino County’s people.
My campaign slogan? “Leaders should lead.” We’ve had too little leadership. But things are changing with Supervisors Williams and Haschack. I’ve been encourage by their election to also run for the Board of Supervisors.
My hot button issues in the upcoming campaign?
- Mendocino County is headed toward a deficit budget in 2020-2021. Because of new contracts, payroll will rise in the coming years, even while the number of county employees stays the same or falls. Also, services, like roads, will continue to deteriorate.
- Currently, county cash reserves are only about two weeks of operating budget. This is shocking…and recklessly irresponsible.
- The de facto “hidden subsidy” in the county budget is its high job vacancy rate. The Board of Supervisors needs to review the county job chart, and either fill open positions, or eliminate them.
- Monthly financial reporting and performance metrics to the Board of Supervisors should be required of all county departments. Currently, the County CEO hoards information.
- The “wealth gap” among county employees is shocking. County executives and department heads get pay packages, including benefits, of upwards of $300,000–$350,000 a year. See County CEO’s four-year contract. Meanwhile, home health workers get minimum wage, $12 hour, and no benefits.
- MCERA (the County pension system) has a negative cash flow of more than $1 million a month, and an unfunded pension liability of more than $200 million. Although, by law, pensions must be paid before any other contractual obligation, the possibility exists that the county could void those contracts in a bankruptcy proceeding. We must act to ensure that “promises are kept” and our retirement system remains solvent.
- We need an alternative to “corporate cannabis.” Right now, Flow Kana (FK) has a monopoly on the “supply-chain”. The owners FK are outsiders, not local people. Most of FK’s funding, $175 million, comes from Wall Street vulture capitalist, Jason Adler, who has investments in GMO cannabis (Trait Bioscience and Pebble Labs) and who sits on the board at the Cronos Group with Big Tobacco (Phillip Morris Companies). Many people fear that FK’s plan is to make sharecropper/tenant farmers out of our small, independent, family farmers. They’re probably right. There is an alternative. With economic development help from the county, cannabis farmers can collectively own and operate its own “supply-chain”, and sell direct to consumers.
- “Water equity” should be ensured by the new Potter Valley Dam Project. Cannabis farmers should be encouraged to join the Farm Bureau and take their seat at the table as water rights are discussed and negotiated.
- The Board of Supervisors should re-evaluate the CEO vs. CAO management models. Our current CEO has too much power, particularly over the budget process.
- Measure B monies, currently $9 million, should be spent on its intended purpose — a small Psychiatric Hospital Facility (PHF). Meanwhile, the county should audit the finances and performance of both Redwood Community Health (RCS) and the county’s own Behavioral Health Services (BHS).
These are my positions on just ten important issues.
It is my hope and prayer that the 1st District election season will focus on issues, not personalities. The issues are too important. Our county is at a crossroads.
Besides, negative campaigning is toxic. We have too much of it in national politics. We can do better as a county.
Leaders should lead!
John Sakowicz, Candidate, 1st District Supervisor
Hey Everyone! I’m running for 1st District Supervisor in Mendocino County. I hope that you support me, and if you’re in the 1st, please vote for me. Facebook isn’t my native habitat, but I’ll try to check in here periodically and I’m always available for a call. Onward! Glenn 707-468-8632
ED NOTE: If this is Round One for the 1st District Supe's race, and judged only by specificity, it's Sako by TKO as he knocked McGourty clear out of the ring, had Green out on his feet, Kennedy battered but upright.
My wish for ALL in 2020 is to have 20/20.
20/20 refers to vision, and the clarity of what can be seen close-up as well as at a distance.
And good vision is so very important in our ever changing world.
Vision means range of view.
Vision is as far as one can see, measured in both feet and yards, as well as how clearly one can see ahead in time.
And we need a strong positive vision of what lies ahead in time. Our future.
Gandhi says, “the future depends on what you do today".
So therefore, having vision is hugely dependent on what is being done today. Now. Right now.
And right now is the time to be looking ahead.
Today is just a stepping stone towards tomorrow, and tomorrow is in the future.
So, how do YOU view the future? The future of Ukiah? The future of Mendocino County?
Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
Johnny Keyes says, “The best way to predict your future is to envision it, and start right at this very moment in creating it, while using the past to guide you and influence your judgement.”
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality, and in reality, we appear to need better vision. 20/20.
Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision WITH action can change the world.
Now, my eyes can clearly see that to change the world, we need to start here, locally. Ukiah, and Mendocino County.
And in Ukiah and Mendocino County, I see that an election for Supervisors is coming up in the near future.
Helen Keller said “Knowledge is love and light and vision." So, what do you "know" about the "vision" of the candidates for this upcoming election? And how do you know it? Personal connection? Media ads? Word of mouth? Facebook?
My advice is this. Ask all of the candidates what their vision is regarding our future. All candidates have websites, access to podcasts and newspapers. I'd encourage all candidates to clearly state what your vision is, what your goals are, what your plans are, how you will execute your plans, and where does the money come from.
There is a huge difference between dreamers and visionaries.
We need strong leadership here if we are to prosper. We need to elect GREAT supervisors to lead the way.
"The qualities of a GREAT man (or woman)(or supervisor) are VISION, integrity, courage, understanding, the power of articulation, and profundity of character.” — D. Eisenhower.
Notice that Ike put vision first.
Now, which candidate does this best describe?
Which candidate has the best vision?
My suggestion is for all citizens of Mendocino county to do your due diligence and get to know the candidates up for election. See for yourselves why you believe that they should be elected. Vote!
Seeing is believing and I believe that our future, if we expect to succeed and prosper, needs to be in the most capable and competent hands.
I hope that you see this with clarity as well, and yes, with 20/20 vision.
NOTES FROM NEXT DOOR
Sutter Lakeside Hospital entered into an investment scheme whereby surrounding parcels “ripe for development” were acquired and then “donated” to its “Wellness Foundation,” that its staff were encouraged to donate to via automatic payment deductions from their hard-earned paychecks, circa the mid-aughts of the new century.
In 2007, at the height of the real estate “boom,” Sutter Lakeside administration reduced the number of licensed beds, lied to the public (by saying the change of status was only being reviewed while it was already a done deal), and entered into a development deal with a pop-up non-profit corporation called the North Lakeport Water [group, system, something along those lines], itself comprised of a handful of major developers seeking to expand the capacity of the North Lakeport water system run by the county.
The system being at maximum capacity, the entire North Lakeport area was under a moratorium, and land holders were eager to transform their plots to profits, including Sutter. Two subdivisions on Robin Hill, a preposterous resort-time share-condominium complex plus hundreds of mcmansions were proposed on adjacent rolling hills, and Sutter submitted plans to erect outpatient operating theaters, office suites, and laboratories on its 11 acres adjacent to the existing campus.
Removal of “general acute care” capacities left both local hospitals and surrounding areas with no on-site dialysis services, in an area with two full-time dialysis clinics (indicative of the patient load), so that if a dialysis-dependent patient with something as simple as a broken leg arrived at the ER, that patient had to (has to) be transported to some center of concentrated services — Santa Rosa, Napa, or UC Davis.
Adventist Health Care West’s Napa Region invested in multi-million dollar upgrades in St. Helena’s Deer Park cardiac care center, for which the payback plan depends on 40% of Napa’s hospital revenues coming from Lake County, requiring strenuous travel regimens for those who can endure the hazardous highways.
Meanwhile, Adventist Hospital Clear Lake — under a contract to purchase former Redbud Hospital from the Redbud Health Care District — is required to maintain general acute care services, for which the management has fought the Napa Regional Board of Directors and continued to recruit bonesetters and internists while quietly installing preventive and chronic care clinics in Kelseyville, Lakeport, Middletown, and Lucerne. Another clinic is planned for Upper Lake.
The County’s public health department continues to flog the misfortunes of my generation (give or take a decade) whose “bad decisions” include investing in modest homes that were within economic reach, at a time when the County of Lake was launching its 20-year Economic Development Strategy — forecasting tourism-based expansion of high-end retirement resorts (the antiquated golf-course centered luxury/leisure and shopping focused model of the post-war wannabe middle class aspirations, rewarded to uncomplaining industrial white collar slaves) while neglecting hodge-podge infrastructure and extremely hazardous natural environment conditions.
Burdened also with infestations of unstoppable drug manufactories and distribution systems (in Lucerne, there is rumored to be a daily delivery from northern Mendocino county of every kind of ingestible, smokable, and intravenously introduced cock-eyed compound known to man, at the locus of homeless/deadbeat denizens — a meticulously maintained public park), never-ending retail recruiting to fill vacant storefronts in its two “cities” (the larger being commonly viewed as a heartless penal colony, the lesser dependent on the occupation of the county government and its miserable management systems), and the beneficiaries of unchecked vineyard operations that have destroyed thousands of acres of fragile natural watershed terrain for private gain, the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty” have succeeded in poisoning the common weal and human aspirations for peace and prosperity. From coast to coast, the embitterment and despair ravaging inglorious work places and workers, family farms, irreplaceable natural resources, and “community-based systems of care” turn otherwise normal human beings into trapped rats assuming that their tattoos and flags and hats and weapons of mass destruction will serve them in ever-worsening conditions.
Hysteria seems to have become the norm, slaughter of school children and unwanted non-white persons commonplace, and degenerate enervation the passive response of a defeated populace.
Meanwhile, kindness and comity endure in our ex-urban enclaves where new waves of “alternative” culture and ageless “communal entrepreneurs” refuse to give in to mainstream mandates of the social climbers. We struggle but persist in our refusal to conform to consumption-based life styles, volunteer in thousands of ways, and nurture the old reliable social fabric of fraternities, families, and friends.
Don’t give up, old sods, the “end of days” has always been the badass bogieman used to darken humble hearths, and the broken biosphere will heal itself when all is said and done. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, whose syphilitic perversions plague us all in a world gone mad. Love is not, as it turns out, “all you need,” but a little goes a long way, as evidenced every day in the AVA.
Good Christmas to you all!
GIRL WITH HER TOAD. At the Pet Fair in 1936
LOOKS LIKE COMMERCIAL CRABBERS GETTING RIPPED OFF…
For you California crabbers getting $3
I needed a little more than the 700 pounds we set aside off our boat for our Christmas orders so I had to buy some from CalShell. I was charged $8.50 for whole cooked crab. It is absolutely insane that we are willing to put $3 crab in Pac Choices freezer. Literally every single buyer is willing to pay more for our crab, but with one caveat…they will not do so if Choice boats are fishing for less. And you can’t blame them. They know they can be profitable buying at higher prices, but not if the competition is getting the same product at lower prices. PacChoice single handedly determines market price. Period. Every small operation needs to think about the impact Choice has in our district now. We have very unique opportunity in this district to service the holiday needs of the entire country out of our small region. Not a single district 10 crab should be sold at $3…EVER. You, the crabbers of District 10, control the only available resource for the holidays in the entire nation. Don’t give it away.
FORT BRAGG MAYOR WILL LEE:
Delivered Christmas Meals on Wheels to local elderly and disabled cooked by Lion’s Club
Santa Mayor and Elf delivering nice Christmas Dinners to our elderly and disabled shut-ins.
Lions Club prepared 289 deliverable meals and many meals served in Hall.
A CHRISTMAS STORY OF THE 1964 FLOOD
"Then out of the water at one corner of the barn, one of the support beams shot out of the water like a missile, or a whale, upward, then slapping back down into the water. Then as we watched another beam shot out of the water. Then another, and another, then one corner of the barn caved in."
THE DAY THE LIGHTS WENT OUT
by Lloyd Sinclair
It was Tuesday, October 8th at 1:00 a.m. when the power went out in Arcata, California. The prediction was that it would be out for a couple of days because high winds to the east were threatening to blow down power lines and start fire in the arid part of the state. Looking back on it, this might have been a good thing for this small coastal town. When I woke up on Wednesday and walked my way into town, there was a very unique energy. People who normally scrambled around trying to coordinate projects or get to work on time were now congregating at the handful of places that were still open. The town square had an extra hop to it and, because many cell phones were dead, it was now acceptable again to ask a passerby for directions, or say that you were just hanging around because you didn’t have ability to make other plans. Frankly, it was a throwback to another era and a welcome break from the format of modern society.
It may have helped that the timeline of the power outage was unknown, but I don’t think I was the only one who enjoyed the change in perspective. Many of us are rarely given time to work in our backyards due to distractions or restrictions. Or we drink our coffee inside a coffee shop because it seems better lit than the turning clouds of a warm sunrise. But on this day people drank their coffee in the town square and tasted the texture of the morning air. Then when they went home, they had no power in their dimly lit houses, so they worked in the garden, or went to the beach.
After returning from my late morning coffee, I read a book in the backyard before going to the forest for a run. Here I found an unusual amount of people lounging in the grass of Redwood Park and playing with herds of little kids who had the day off from school. Plans were not constantly being made and unmade, and the progression of the day felt as if governed by an older set of rules that many of the younger generation has never experienced.
On Wednesday I meandered between running, reading, and playing the piano; I realized I was not going to be able to work on Thursday, dragging brush for the local arborist, because I couldn’t call him without my phone. So as it got dark and the lights never came on in my house, and the TV wouldn’t blare at me, I found myself wandering to Everett’s, the local bar.
On my arrival, the lights were out there as well, but they had a several lanterns burning to set the mood and a crusty grey-haired man with a steel guitar was playing songs from a time gone by. There was also a young man at the bar for his 21st birthday, and without the jukebox blaring, he and the old guitar man had a long conversation about the expression of art and what the young man would have to do if he wanted to properly share his opinions through the medium of film, which he was studying at university. Again it seemed as if information was being shared under a different set of rules, while the lanterns sat to nearby an always-open cash register, shooting a sideways yellow light across the room.
Around 10:00 p.m. I left the bar to walk home. The streets were dark and verging on ominous, but when I listened, I could hear laughter in the air. Following the joyful sounds, I landed at a taco truck where I was met some friends who had an extra ticket to a show at the Arcata Theater Lounge. This is when I was certain that we need the power to go out more often. The theater is an amazing venue and if you ever get the chance to see a show here, you should, but on this night it was packed with people who had nowhere else to go. Aside from enjoying watching two bands, Rising Appalachia and The Human Experience, I realized that the concentration of people was a good thing. Instead of having the lights on across the city and people scattered around looking for a good time, only one place was open, so you went there – and a good time was had. The two bands were supposed to play at different venues, but one was closed, so they played together at the theater, and the two audiences that would have been separate, were able to meet one another.
I could go on about why I enjoyed this day, but more then anything I felt a perspective emerged that has been missing, and now I feel we should be implementing “Lights Out Fridays.” Think about it – we don’t need to be working as much as we do, if the energy bill isn’t as high. It’s a little more complicated than that, but not really. And for many of us who don’t feel we have time to have a productive home life, if the power was out once a week, you would have nothing to do but work in your backyard with a shovel, and possibly have a fruitful garden, or actually read a book, or letters your father sent you long ago. Then if you still have some energy when the sun sets, one of the venues in town will surely put out some lanterns or fire up a generator, so you could go have a drink or hear some music.
Maybe it would be appropriate if we let our modern way of life take a backseat once a week. We could go back to asking the person next to us for directions, or stop changing our plans every five minutes with each new text. Maybe we should learn from the ways of our ancestors one more. “Lights Out Friday.” Think about it.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 25, 2019
ELYASHIYB DEVINE, Willits. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.
RICK DICKERSON, Covelo. Protective order violatioin, probation revocation.
GEORGE JOHNSON III, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, failure to appear.
JEREMY KELSAY, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MATASHIA LILLY, Willits. Domestic abuse.
CHASE LOUCKS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MARCO OCHOA-SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
VINCENT SIMS, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery.
JESSICA SPEERS, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license for refusing chemical test.
JULIE WINKELMEYER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
CRESCENT CITY: MARKETING CATASTROPHE
by Hailey Branson-Potts
Alex Fallman sucked down a martini and sliced into a ribeye steak, greeting fellow diners at the Good Harvest Cafe by name.
Three years into his job as a city councilman, Fallman's take on this Northern California harbor town was not that of a civic booster. His words unspooled like a dirge.
"Cool, worldly things don't happen here," the 23-year-old said.
Crescent City is a land of wild beauty, where towering redwoods meet quiet, foggy beaches. It's also a place of economic despair. As with many small California towns, its downtown is marked by empty storefronts. Homeless men shoot methamphetamine in the beachfront park.
Nearly one-third of residents live below the poverty line — double the state and US average. The median annual income of $27,029 is less than half the state median.
But city leaders have not given up hope. The future of their isolated town lies not in fishing and the long-gone logging jobs that once defined it, they say, but in tourism — even of the dark variety.
And so they have embraced their boogeyman: tsunamis.
Forty-one tsunamis have smashed into Crescent City since 1933, according to Humboldt State emeritus professor of geology Lori Dengler.
In 1964, Crescent City earned the nickname Comeback Town, USA, after a tsunami killed 11 people and destroyed 29 city blocks, forever transforming downtown. Some say a comeback never really came. Since then, tsunamis repeatedly have wrecked the harbor and the economy.
There are several reasons the town is uniquely susceptible to tsunamis, Dengler said, including exposure — it is low-lying and juts out into the Pacific — and the bowl shape of the continental shelf, which traps tsunamis' energy and bounces waves back and forth.
"It does sort of get you on the map, sort of like Tornado Alley," said City Manager Eric Wier, who has a sign in his office for Tsunami Way, a nonexistent road name he thinks would be catchy. "When you are here, you need to be aware of tsunamis. We have a great history. Come learn about it. But also know, if something happens, where you should go."
Already in existence are the Tsunami Lanes bowling alley, SeaQuake Brewing and Tsunami Games video game shop. Murals of crashing waves adorn buildings.
There's an official Tsunami Walking Tour of downtown. But it can be bleak. One metal kiosk has pictures of people gathering at a creek in 1964 as bodies are being recovered.
At the Crescent City Harbor, which was damaged by a tsunami in 2011, the harbormaster is trying to fund the building of a Tsunami Experience Center, which would function as a vertical evacuation center — and tourist draw.
Some city leaders see hope in Crescent City being designated last year as an economic "opportunity zone," qualifying it for federal tax breaks meant to spur investment in poor communities. But so far the program has not brought investors, city officials said.
Fallman believes one of the city's best opportunities is its sister city relationship with the similarly tsunami-prone Japanese city of Rikuzentakata, which has spawned a children's book and trips by local politicians and students to Japan.
The partnership formed after a barnacle-covered fishing boat from Rikuzentakata, which had been bobbing in the Pacific Ocean for two years after a tsunami, washed up on Crescent City's shores in 2013.
The relationship will be featured in an NBC Sports segment set to air during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Last month, the City Council and Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, believing the feel-good segment will send visitors flocking, agreed to help fund a $59,000 marketing consultant to help, among other things, train the public for "what to do when media show up in town."
An exasperated Fallman said people had complained about the sister city partnership, saying it was a waste of money.
"This can be a pretty stuffy, conservative, why-are-you-bothering me town," he said. "People are very much set in their ways, and that comes out in their politics."
Fallman has juggled being a councilman with being a student at Humboldt State, driving 160 miles round trip to classes. He ran for office because the problems here were personal: His mother was addicted to painkillers and sometimes used methamphetamine. She couldn't get addiction treatment resources here, so she moved to Oregon, where she got sober, he said.
"She said, 'If I stay in Del Norte County, I'm going to die'," Fallman said. "A community shouldn't be a place where people go to die. Nobody should ever say that about my home."
The population of Del Norte County declined 2% in from 2010 to 2018, according to a Times analysis of census data. In Crescent City, inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison boost the population to about 7,000.
Del Norte County Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen, 67, grew up here, in an era when "it was really unusual not to see a logging truck on the road." The psyche of the community, he said, changed after the closure of most mills in the 1970s and '80s, following the creation of Redwood National Park.
"People had a purpose," Hemmingsen said. "They had a better feel of themselves. We've gotten away from that. We're turning more to a tourist-type industry, which I'm not saying is bad, but I don't think it's a sustainable economic thing to have year-round."
Hemmingsen was 11 when the March 1964 tsunami, triggered by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake in Alaska, smashed into Crescent City, cresting at nearly 21 feet and washing scores of buildings off their foundations. Victorian-style downtown buildings were replaced by drab 1960s-era storefronts. Empty lots remain to this day.
Getting to Crescent City, a 6.5-hour drive north of San Francisco, can take some doing. Most visitors either fly into Medford, Ore., and drive at least two hours through dense redwood forests, or fly into the Humboldt County Airport in McKinleyville and travel a 70-mile stretch of Highway 101 that includes a segment called Last Chance Grade, which is crumbling into the sea.
Wier, the city manager, sees promise in the sleek new terminal at tiny Del Norte County Regional Airport, which opened in February. A $20-million airport improvement project was about 95% funded by federal grants, Wier said. The Federal Aviation Administration now subsidizes flights between Crescent City and Oakland through its Essential Air Service program for rural areas.
But there's a balance, Wier said, to both wanting to draw people in and maintaining the special quietness of rugged, uncrowded beaches and ancient redwood forests.
"Remoteness is a huge benefit, and it should be a huge attraction," Wier said.
On a recent Tuesday, Wier led a town hall at the Crescent City Cultural Center, with some 50 attendees sharing ideas for a makeover of Beachfront Park. The city, he said, is vying for grants from Proposition 68, which authorized $4 billion for state and local parks and water projects last year.
People were optimistic about a possible amphitheater, a labyrinth and events with food trucks and music by the water. But one woman said she kept finding needles in the park. Another said she stopped taking her four young kids because it felt unsafe.
James Lovett came to support the building of a biking pump track, which he thinks would keep young people active and draw mountain bikers. His family travels five hours round trip to Bandon, Ore., to ride trails.
"There's trails outside of Eureka and Shelter Cove," he said. "We're kind of in this dead zone in the middle where we really have nothing going on. Our community's kind of closed-minded by nature. Just inherently. None of them want much change."
Charlie Helms is one of the people who wants to find a way to change the town's fortunes. The harbormaster is trying to get funding for a $10-million to $12-million vertical evacuation center with open construction and breakaway walls on the lower levels and a helicopter pad on the roof. Evacuees would be at least 48 feet above ground level, he said. The building, he said, would doubly function as a Tsunami Experience Center, with a museum, 4-D theater and coffee shop.
Helms said he recently got scolded by someone trying to recruit doctors to the city who told him to stop talking about tsunamis. But Crescent City, he said, is at a "weird crossroads of disaster prep and drawing people in."
"If I can get the tsunami center, there would be 15 to 20 decent jobs and a reason for people to stay in town," Helms said. "Because, you're young, you go away to school, what are you going to do with your degree when you come back here? Nothing. It's sad."
Mia Dawn Ansell opened a boutique gift shop downtown this spring. She called it Tsunami Beach Company. Her store sits in the inundation zone, but she tries not to think about it. In fact, she thinks Crescent City should change its name to Tsunami Beach to draw visitors.
There's no reason this shouldn't be one of the charming beach towns California is known for, like Monterey or Santa Cruz, she said. As rain pelted the windows of her shop, she pointed to two empty buildings across the street.
"I can just see a little deli. Or a little bistro. Can you imagine? With little benches and with Christmas lights strung across. … Some day, somebody will step up and do something. … If I put it out to the universe, eventually it'll come back, right?"
(Courtesy, LA Times)
(CHRISTMAS TREE, 1959/Salvador Dalí; 1904-1989)
DECK THE HALLS!
Twelvetide, the twelve days of Christmas, starts today, December 26, and runs through January fifth. Have your partridge and pear tree handy.
The earliest known version of the mysterious carol was in a 1780 children's book called “Mirth With-out Mischief.” A first edition of that book sold for $23,750 at Sotheby's auction.
PNC, which is a giant bank and financial services company out of Pittsburgh, calculates the cost of the gifts from your true love in the Twelve-Days-of-Christmas song at $39,094.93. The “calling birds” are a rewrite of the original “colly birds,” which are European blackbirds, so called because they are black as “coll” (coal).
We’re already into Hanukkah, day three of eight. It started this year on December 22. Hanukkah takes you to December 30 this year, New Year’s Eve eve.
Between Christmas’s twelve days, Hanukkah’s eight and New Year’s Eve, you can pretty much rock the Yule, especially if you’re my sister Sandra. She turns eighty-five New Year’s Eve.
She’s in Ocean City, Maryland, which is a strange place for a visitor at this time of year. It’s been a long time since I was there in winter, but my daughter Molly went not too long ago, and experienced the same odd spectacle: the cold, grey Atlantic crashing on the empty beach, the boardwalk, miles of it, abandoned to the blowing sand and snow, the summer attractions boarded up tight—weird, agreeably weird.
Brain science is looking into our brains like when we were kids and radios still had vacuum tubes in them. You’d peer in there and see all manner of tubes, lit up. It looked like a cityscape in there. Brain researchers wire us up so they can watch different parts of the brain light up according to whichever task is going on in there. I bet the lighting in the brain is unusual when you’re bundled up and strolling the OC boardwalk at this time of year. You don’t feel quite like yourself, in an interesting way.
So happy holidays, Facebook frenz. 2020’s going to be a wild ride. I wish us all the best—most of us, anyway.
I took a drive around this little town of Mendocino (excuse me: “village”), which looks like a Christmas-garden village all year. They should install a little train for this time of year. It’s nice, with all the lights, but I passed a few businesses and a few more houses that had no decorations, and my mind supplied the aw-screw-it message I imagined the inhabitants saying or thinking. Reminds me of a picture I saw of a madly decorated house. The one next door was undecorated except for a big sign pointing at the brilliant neighbor that said "DITTO."
I understand that sentiment. The child’s anticipation of Christmas, waiting at the head of the stairs for mommy and daddy to rise and give the signal—I only remember a couple of those. There was a war on. You were not permitted too many years with the Santa Claus fantasy, particularly if you had two older sisters, happy to wreck it for you. Then, barely sentient, you were conscripted to the Christmas-Eve labor — the tree, lights in the windows, wreath on the door. The family tradition was to do it all on Christmas Eve, my father giving orders.
The goddamn “icicles,” stringy lengths of aluminum foil, were to be placed, singly and carefully, one at a time, and they’d cover every branch, every shiny ball and glowing light. It was always a good-looking tree when we got finished, at some godawful hour in the morning.
I do not remember my father as a sadistic man, but Sandra, Judy and I, the first batch of Clogg kids, remember that long, wretched task as an ordeal. It seemed to me like payback of some kind. We were the recipients of plenty of Christmas goodies and generally well cared for throughout the year, but it seemed my father wanted us to know that prosperity doesn’t grow on trees. Or some damn thing.
Anyway, happy holidays, everybody. There’s trouble in the land, and the dark shops and houses seem to signal it. There’s trouble everywhere, and the advances in modern communications keep it in our faces 24/7. It takes a slightly manic mood to pretend it’s a normal Christmas or Hanukkah, but whaddayagonna do?
I can sneer at tradition all I want, but it has its place. Having been a solo dad for so long, it gives me enormous pleasure to mostly ignore the holidays I was compelled to observe with my kids, year in and year out. Christmas was the biggie. Jesus--Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, birthdays--I was under the scrutiny of their school, the neighbors, my kids and their friends--everybody. Is he going to provide for those poor little motherless children? Oh, yes; overandoverandoverandoverand…
I do not mail one single Xmas card and buy few gifts. Mighty grinchy, I. I change the station or the channel if it’s blabbing at me with chipmunks or reindeer or supposedly sacred noises. I keep this up until Christmas Day. Then I let it all in, the celebration, the cheer, the old, trite greetings and wishes. If I’ve successfully held them off until Christmas Day, it restores the fun when I open my gates.
Greetings, you Muslim friends. I don’t know what’s up on your calendar at this time of year, but I don’t doubt it’s good. The interiors of some of your mosques are like funhouses on a carnival midway, gorgeous, glittering, mysterious—WOW!
It’s a serious religion, Islam. It’s as serious and omnipresent as Christianity ought to be. It demands what I felt, as a youngster, Christianity ought to demand. If there’s an all-powerful, all-loving god, thought young Mitchie, I have no purpose but to glorify Him with every breath I take.
What a relief to discover there’s no such god! Anyway, Muslims, go kiss a Sunni, if you’re Shia, and vice-versa. The great beast Saddam put a serious lid on the battling that’s killing you now. In Baghdad, Sunni and Shia lived side by side and inter-married. That was before we came and fixed everything for ya.
Ditto you Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, you conservative Jews and reformed ones, you Hindus and Buddhists.
'Tis the season. Let’s all get together and love one another right now!
CAMPAIGN AGAINST SANDERS ON ‘ANTISEMITISM’ FOR HIS CRITICISM OF ISRAEL BEGINS IN EARNEST
by Philip Weiss
In recent days, a group calling itself Democrats Against Anti-Semitism has begun an earnest campaign to inject the discourse with the idea that Bernie Sanders, historically the leading Jewish politician ever to run for president, is an antisemite because of his positions on Israel. That group joins New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss and others in seizing on the urgent task of vilifying Sanders. They evidently aim to “Corbyn-ize” him, by parroting smears used effectively against the UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Sanders is a target because he has taken the strongest stances in favor of Palestinian human rights that any major candidate for the presidency has ever adopted. He has denounced the killings of Palestinian protesters in no uncertain terms, he has repeatedly called for the end of the Gaza siege so as to end a humanitarian disaster in the strip, he has said that he would condition military aid to Israel because of its unending settlement project and disrespect for Palestinian human rights, he has called Netanyahu a racist, and, worst of all, called for an “evenhanded” U.S. policy with respect to Israel and Palestine. All this, while saying that he is proudly Jewish, lived on an Israeli kibbutz as a young man, and supports Israel’s existence/favors a two-state solution.
Here, from Democrats Against Anti-Semitism, a new group, are some of the supposed bases for the slander, which involves the twisting of Senator Sanders’s words. Notice the Anglicism, “Whilst”:
“Sanders may be ethnically Jewish, but his rhetoric, voting history and associations have not reflected the values of a friend of Jewish people…
“Speaking of anti-Israel dogwhistling, Sanders himself, much like his comrades, has preached anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian and, at times, blatant anti-Semitic talking points…
“In 1971, whilst giving a speaking outside a synagogue, Sanders stated his support for ‘no guns for Israel.’ This just two years before the Yom Kippur War, where Israel came close to destruction, only surviving from American arms and aid shipments…
“In 1988, Sanders reaffirmed his beliefs, quoted as saying ‘it is wrong that America provides arms to Israel.’…
It was also in 1988 that Sanders stated that he ‘wholeheartedly agreed’ with Presidential Candidate Jesse Jackson’s plan for Israel. His plan, if you don’t know, was to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews in order to build a Palestinian State…
“In 1990, when Sanders was elected as a Representative, he called Israel ‘the American administration’s mercenary’ in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz, and spoke about his ‘greatest wish’ was to see ‘the US press Israel harder’…
“In 2004, a resolution was brought into the House of Representatives defending Israel after a resolution passed by the International Court of Justice condemned a security wall over ‘problem areas’ in the West Bank. Sanders, naturally, opposed it…
“In 2015, Sanders accused Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu of ‘overreacting’ in the Gaza War. Whilst terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah were committing terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Yikes.
“Finally, in 2019, Sanders voiced support against blocking support for the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions Movement, a group that is built on attempting to bankrupt Jewish-owned companies and weakening the Israeli economy and government.”
Bari Weiss of the New York Times spoke out against Sanders earlier this month at the JCC in Manhattan. She said that many Jews, including her father Lou, a prominent member of the Israel lobby group AIPAC, are “Trump curious or Trump supporters.”
“I’ve been traveling all over the country talking to ‘the Jews’ and … the number of people that say to me, I will vote for Trump over Bernie Sanders– it’s really unbelievable actually….
[The term Trump curious] describes my dad and a lot of other Jews that I know. It’s a very real thing. We are talking about Israel, and in certain ways Trump has enacted policies that have been the fantasy of many conservative Jeiwsh pro-Israel supporters, and there’s no way around that.”
Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic responded that Sanders wasn’t going to win the nomination but that no matter who is the Democratic nominee, s/he will get about three-fourths of the Jewish vote.
“Not if it’s Bernie or Elizabeth Warren,” Bari Weiss said, while, once again, equating white nationalists who shoot up synagogues to the anti-Zionist left.
Norman Finkelstein told me that progressive defenders of Palestinian rights need to mobilize to oppose the campaign against Sanders, even if they don’t support Sanders’s presidential ambitions. He pointed to several new organizations taking on “the new antisemitism” (including this organization lately founded by Israel supporter Ronald Lauder) and said some of this energy is aimed at Sanders. That gives Jews a special responsibility.
“This is a huge occasion for progressive Jews to rise to the occasion. There has got to be already now, a repudiation by the whole liberal Jewish community of the campaign that’s starting up against Bernie. And you have to remember this. Our situation is very different in the UK. In the UK, only 15 percent of Jews support Labour. UK Jews are overwhelmingly Tory. Yes, but here is a huge contingent of Jews who will not like what’s happening in particular, young Jews: The attempt to sabotage Bernie’s campaign. Yes. And you know, Bari Weiss is already that…
“We have to create a firewall for Bernie, a very vocal, large Jewish presence, saying regardless of what we think about Bernie Sanders’ candidacy, there is no evidence to suggest that he is an anti Semite. And after 40 years in politics, there’s every good reason to trust his judgment about whom he chooses to associate with.”
The last is in part a reference to Sanders endorser Linda Sarsour and the effort by conservatives to smear her, ala Jesse Jackson, because of her support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.
TOY SHOP WINDOW by Timoleon Marie Lobrichon (1831-1914)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I am almost 70 years old and have lived in Los Angeles for the past ten years. This place has no soul. My friend and I want to leave here and buy a small house in a nice town with normal people. The only problem is that any of these towns that might exist are filled with depressed people, some slumped over their steering wheels dying of heroin overdoses while their toddler children sit in the back seats of the cars freezing, screaming and starving.
Starving for food, warmth and affection.
Too old to fight the snow and frozen roads and sidewalks. Wish I had a pretty lake to swim in Spring, Summer and Fall with a nice mild Winter.
And the quaint town of my childhood back again.
I wish it wasn’t so, but I will probably die here in this hell hole with nothing but my memories of swimming lakes and pretty gardens with bluebirds and robins and cardinals singing.
And in my memories I can hear my grandma saying, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
ED NOTE: Well, Willits has the Boy Scout Lake and that mini-lake at Brooktrails.
"I NEVER UNDERSTOOD WIND. You know, I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody I know. It's very expensive. But they're manufactured tremendous - if you're into this - tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere."
— Donald Trump
AI AI AI
Greetings one and all.
I was going to say that I composed this yiddish poem for a special Bay Area Christmas but actually I got a yiddish dictionary for xmas, participated in some holiday cheer, read the A section of the dictionary and got the feeling that this was definitely the language needed to express my opinions about gentrification in the Bay Area. Here we go….
Ai ai ai, aleichem shalom to these amhaaretz allrightniks. Their averah is evident and their apikoros apparent. They are just alter kockers if you ask me, alav ha shalom, amen.
Loosely translated, Ay ay ay (complete dismay), peace be upon these ignorant upstart yuppies. Their shortcomings are obvious and their cluelessness is apparent. They are just useless and opinionated if you ask me, peace be upon them, so be it.
All is well, hope everyone is having fun despite…
DEMOCRATS CAVE IN SECRET BUDGET DEAL WITH TRUMP
by Ralph Nader
While attention was focused on the House of Representatives’ impeachment of Donald J. Trump, legislators from both parties were secretly huddling with White House aides to seal a $1.4 trillion budget deal to fund the government until next September. They were rushing to do this to avoid a partial government shutdown starting December 21, 2019.
Had the budget been deliberated in open Congressional hearings, the media would have reported on this backroom deal and the people of this country would have had a chance to weigh in during the proceedings. Instead, a degraded Congress pulled a fast one on the citizens. This obfuscation is especially unacceptable considering that these lawmakers work only three days a week at best — when they are not in recess altogether.
Astoundingly the Democrats also caved in on Trump’s wall! After blocking Trump’s funding demand for the wall for three years, the Democrats approved $1.4 billion for the wall and even allowed Trump to divert funds from the Pentagon to that porous, wasteful barrier. In so doing, the Democrats legitimized one of the egregious, impeachable offenses Trump committed earlier this year when he seized $3.6 billion from the Pentagon’s budget in money not approved for the wall. The Washington Post reported that former secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus tweeted “As hurricane heads for Camp Lejeune Trump takes $3.6b from military for needless wall. Same amt Marines say needed to fix Lejeune after last storm.”
Trump usurped the Congressional “power of the purse,” to use James Madison’s phrase, under our Constitution. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi declined to charge Trump with this and other similarly impeachable spending violations. Now we know one reason why—the ongoing secret budget deal.
Just as astonishing was that the Democrats caved on the funding for Obamacare. Year after year, Democratic leaders defended Obamacare, rather than support more efficient full Medicare for All (with free choice of doctor and hospital). See H.R. 1384 for the most recent version of Medicare for All.
With the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals just deciding against the individual mandate in Obamacare, what does the House Democratic leadership do? They go along with the Republicans’ demand to repeal the medical device and health insurance taxes that were helping to fund Obamacare’s expansion of health insurance coverage for twenty million people.
It gets worse. The House Democrats approved a huge increase of $22 billion to the already bloated, wasteful military budget in return for Trump approving paid family leave for federal government employees. The Democrats made this deal instead of just pushing for paid maternity leave, a right provided in all other Western democracies and numerous dictatorships in the world!
“No problem,” say the feeble Democrats. It is just more of the terrible practice by the Democrats of giving equal increases for the military budget, demanded by the Republican illegal war hawks, as the price for social service funds for low income families and children. What a grotesque way to spend taxpayer money!
To what level has this Congress lowered itself? Allowing the Trump dump to contaminate Congress even extends to cruel bigotry. They allowed Trump to extend his racist discrimination against the American citizens of Puerto Rico by reducing the Medicaid funds from $12 billion over four years to up to $5.7 billion over two years. The higher sum and longer term already were endorsed by Republican and Democratic leaders on two Congressional Committees.
Robert Greenstein, director of the highly respected Center on Budget and policy priorities, declared that “with another funding cliff looming in two years under the new agreement, Puerto Rico may continue to lack the certainty it needs to commit to long-term increases of its very low payment rates to health care providers [vendors] to stem their alarming exodus to the mainland, to provide coverage for such key health treatments as drugs to treat Hepatitis C, and to cover more poor, uninsured residents.”
Over the years, Congress has weakened its exclusive constitutional “power of the purse” by giving presidents waivers. As with the war powers, Congress has delegated more of its constitutional authority to the Executive Branch.
Just days ago, the racist President Trump bragged before a large campaign rally that he has cut off “six hundred million dollars” in aid for Palestinian relief, including aid for suffering children. This was a long term assistance program, under past Republican and Democratic administrations, to help provide the barest necessities to displaced and impoverished Palestinians whose territories are blockaded or militarily occupied by the Israeli government.
Washington justified such expenditures for both humanitarian and security purposes. No more, says the imperial Trump, exercising his Congressionally-granted waiver.
Congress has also long abandoned its constitutional authority over tariffs to the imperial presidency. Constitutional litigator Alan Morrison has challenged the White House’s unilateral imposition of tariffs—now involving tens of billions of dollars—on imports from foreign countries. In January Morrison will argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that the authority to impose tariffs belongs to Congress.
What is Trump doing with these tens of billions of dollars deposited in the U.S. Treasury? Congress has not approved spending them for any programs or objectives. When I asked a staffer with the House Budget Committee what is being done with loads of money, she replied that “we have it under study.”
Secret government has its direct consequences for the American people, and abdication of congressional checks on the Executive Branch is harmful and cowardly.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
On Friday, I was driving home on Highway 101 and saw members of the illuminati and intelligentsia on almost all the overpasses holding up banners warning of the evils of vaccinations. I thought, By gosh, they’re right. A tiny portion of 1% of people have a severe reaction to vaccines. It isn’t worth the risk.
Let’s bring back polio wards and hundreds of children in iron lungs. Let’s bring back smallpox wiping out entire towns. And the joys of measles and chickenpox epidemics.
Do away with the influenza vaccine, too. After all, we only have 30,000 to 90,000 deaths a year now from influenza. We can push that to the hundreds of thousands every year by doing away with vaccines. And just think about how much all those deaths would reduce our carbon footprint.
Yes, it’s time to put Big Pharma in its place and stop all vaccinations to fight global warming.
by Valeria Luiselli
Louis Bedrock Notes: Now that Valeria Luiselli is becoming famous, I can't help reminding friends that I was among her first fans when she wrote a regular column for El País.
And I can't help reminding the AVA that I sent you all my translations of her columns and that the AVA published all of them. Some of them were "corrected' by Ms. Luiselli. We exchanged a few e-mails back in the day. I'm not kidding—just bragging. Her English is perfect; she liked my translations; she suggested a few changes.
So, maybe it's time to dig out a couple of those old Luiselli articles. This one is my favorite, but they're all good.
Monday. Conversation with a Dominican tailor:
—Where are you from, señora?
—You’re the first Mexican woman I’ve met that’s not a dwarf.
I wondered if I should respond, “Thanks for the compliment” or “You’re a pig”—or a more sarcastic variation of the first or a more aggressive one of the second. I say nothing.
Tuesday. Conversation with a female merchant from Mexico at the fruit stand:
—How have you been? —she asks.
—Bad. My bike was robbed.
—Sons of bitches. It was probably a moreno.
By the standards of the New York City, she and I are morenos, so it’s not clear which group she’s accusing of being thieves.
Wednesday. With a Ghanaian cab driver:
—And where are you from?
—Good. I like Mexicans. I don’t like people from the Caribbean.
—They’re racists. They discriminate against us because we’re black and most of them are black.
—Good, I hope Ghana wins their game against the United States —I say.
Thursday. I’m taking my daughter for an audition. I have to fill out a form. The second question, after her name, is: “What race does your child belong to?” A strange question for a ballet school.
Friday. I enter a café. The owner is Arab. He is behind the cash register and is singing a beautiful song.
—How nicely your boss sings —I say to the Mexican kid who’s preparing my coffee.
—There’s nothing nice about that crook —he tells me.
I think, “Here it comes.” And I prepare myself like a dazed goalkeeper to attack the racist comment.
—For example, do you know how many kids that lout has?
At that moment, interrupting his song, in a recently acquired but correct Spanish, the owner says:
—Twenty-seven. You’re jealous, Ivan, because you are a dwarf.
They laugh like old friends.
I pay and leave.