- Light Showers
- Diego Missing
- Gressett Piece
- Sterling Service
- Healthy Skepticism
- Pet Richard
- Coon Plea
- Crab Feed
- County Priorities
- Retroactive Housing
- Stray Bar
- CSD Meeting
- Opium Vice
- 2019 Books
- Yesterday's Catch
- Red Scare
- Existing Structures
- Jazzy Lady
- Food Banks
- Noel Update
- Public Breastfeeding
- Healthy Taxation
- Portagee Joe
- Real Craig
- First Reelection
- M'excuse Me
- History Rhyme
- Marco Radio
- Found Object
PERIODS OF LIGHT SHOWERS will spread across the region today. Drier weather will occur Monday, followed by additional precipitation Tuesday through midweek. (NWS)
WHERE’S DIEGO SANDOVAL?
“Diego Ceja Sandoval, a 14-year-old, Latino male, has not been seen by his family since the evening of Sunday, December 29th.
According to his family, ‘he’s 5 feet and 90-95 pounds’ and left the house wearing camouflage True Religion pants, a black Nike sweater, and white Nike Air Force 1 basketball shoes. The family believes Diego ran away and is with friends in Ukiah or Redwood Valley."
“As of now Diego is still a missing person and we have followed up on several leads that have been unsuccessful thus far. This follow up has included checking with Amtrak/Greyhound and attempting to locate mutual friends that Diego might be hanging out with locally. “
REX GRESSETT’S SCREED
Once again, Rex Gressett has chosen to drop into a Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Board meeting, come up with inaccurate information and open his screed with another slanderous attack on Terry Vaughn of Mendocino TV, just like he did a year ago!! This accusation was that Mendocino TV and MCDH had a “deal” that we would no longer cover the hospital meetings. As I pointed out to the AVA last January with his last attack, Mendocino TV has done years of MCDH coverage without receiving a dime from MCDH! And Rex cannot even get the name of the business or the hospital correct in his so called report!
I am proud of the extensive MCDH coverage we have provided our community with journalistic integrity over many years, because I thought it was vital that people see and understand the critical issues the hospital was facing. I wanted the community to wake up and be better prepared for the potential tragic scenarios we are all now facing. At the time we began, there were two expensive public surveys conducted that indicated only two top priorities, Obstetrics and the Emergency Department, and I do want people to remember that as we moved forward now.
Had Rex bothered to attend the meeting regarding Labor and Delivery Friday night, he would have heard me unleash a great deal of anger at the hospital, because I am the person who has covered all the Obstetrics meetings over the years, as well as watching or attending the rest until we decided not to be the overworked voice of MCDH.
Had Rex bothered to attend the November 2019 MCDH Board meeting, he would have heard me unleash my disappointment with the MCDH Board and why Mendocino TV was no longer videoing and reporting on the hospital, with the potential exception of the Obstetrics department issues. I decided not to video last night’s meeting because it appeared to be a typical MCDH dog and pony show, initiated by staff on short notice on a holiday week Friday night. I was shocked to see a standing room only passionate crowd, which included Supervisor Ted Williams and 4th District candidate Lindy Peters, although neither Rex nor supervisor Dan Gjerde could bother to attend.
If Rex is so concerned about seeing MCDH meetings covered, it appears he is aligned with the City Video studio, he should have them do it. Terry Vaughn restored Public Access TV for the City of Fort Bragg, after it was run out of business under the leadership of President Dan Gjerde with Mendocino Coast Television and lost its illegally acquired building. It has now literally turned into a Government access station, courteously provided by the Comcast TV customers, who pay over $50 a year to fund it.
After covering at least four different MCDH Boards, I can assure you that we have not been anything but criticized and treated poorly by the MCDH management staff and Board.
In fact, I was so traumatized by their treatment that I put myself in extreme danger because I waited over 36 hours to go to the Emergency Department last January, given the derogatory remarks several physicians had made that appeared to be directed at Mendocino TV for our critical coverage.
I was compelled Friday night, as a well informed observer, to correct many of the misconceptions regarding the Obstetrics issues and history that were being thrown about!
While I will report on the history of this issue, it will be covered on the Mendocino TV website.
Once again, please fact check any new attacks that Rex makes against Terry Vaughn, Mendocino TV or me. You may want to consult with Malcolm Macdonald, your reporter who actually attends all meetings, to check his accuracy because it looks like Rex is only trying to be controversial and is very careless with his alleged facts!
MALCOLM MACDONALD WRITES:
The second paragraph of Mr. Gressett’s piece is erroneous. The Financial Improvement Plan announced by interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wayne Allen, and passed out to anyone who wanted it at last Thursday’s board meeting, stated, “About 13 [not 14] Registry FTE positions and 4 exempt [not union protected] management positions will be eliminated.” Gressett fails to mention the next line from Allen’s plan, “There will be no effect on union employees.”
Gressett’s next paragraph is one line long: “Total losses for the year are $3,237,468.”
Gressett fails to understand the language of CEO Allen’s plan. It states “The annualized (Loss) would be $3,237,468.”
A word that should have clued Gressett in to asking a pertinent question include “would.” An “annualized” loss means projecting a full year’s financials based on a few months of actual numbers. If Gressett was actually at the January 2nd board meeting he should have heard CEO Allen and interim chief financial officer (CFO) Doran Hammett state that December’s financials should be in the neighborhood of break even. At the same meeting the coast hospital received a check of $605,000 for its successes in the Partnership Health Program (PHP) and Mr. Hammett announced a Medicare reimbursement coming in the next month and a half to the tune of at least $1.5 million.
Later in this piece Gressett asserts, “It might be that the chronically divided board of directors with Amy McColley and John Redding united in a permanent minority against the other three credentialed hospital professionals stymied a reform program.”
This statement alone should have been red flagged by the editor of the AVA. Anyone paying attention to Fort Bragg and/or hospital politics knows that the three board of directors Gressett seems to be referencing are not all “credentialed hospital professionals.”
Two paragraphs later Gressett doubles down on his mistake. “On the other side of the board divide, Karen Arnold and Steve Lund with their prim and polished health professional credentials…”
Lund is a board member at the coast hospital, but his profession before retirement was in education. He was at one time, not too long ago, the superintendent of Fort Bragg’s school district.
Apparently Gressett is so sloppily informed that he doesn’t even know the name of the fifth member of the hospital’s board of directors. That person was elected the new president of the board at the January 2nd meeting.
To describe Rex Gressett as clueless with respect to the actual state of affairs at the coast hospital is something of an insult to the folks who made the movie CLUELESS.
Publishing this error-riddled, to put it mildly, series of words, sentences, and paragraphs reflects poorly on the reputation of the AVA’s editor/publisher.
Distracted by other matters, we posted a piece by Rex Gressett on Coast Hospital matters that should not have appeared without basic revision. I intended to send it to our regular hospital correspondent, Malcolm Macdonald for a fact check but didn't, not having realized my dereliction until it was already up. Apologies all round.
Please join family and friends to celebrate and recognize the life of William Wallace Sterling who passed away December 1, 2019. Memorial Service will be held on January 19, 2020 at The Anderson Valley Grange: 9800 Hwy 128 Boonville, 95415. Service will start at 2pm. Light fare and refreshment will be provided.
There might be a significant plot twist coming in the tale of the seemingly impending affiliation of the coast hospital with Adventist Health. Or it might just be a tease to get you to read beyond the autobiographical meanderings.
I sometimes tell people I was born with a skeptical spoon in my mouth or with skeptical antennae attached. Clearly that was not literally the case. Perhaps because I entered the world of the Macdonald ranch as the youngest child, and youngest by a significant number of years, as soon as I could hook together words into fully formed thoughts and sentences, my mother spoke to and with me as if I were a fellow polysyllabic-spewing adult. As her only daytime companion on many weekdays I received some of the spoilage that often is bestowed on the youngest child as well as an inside look into the college student, whip smart, intellectual my mother had been when she married my father. Little did I know at the time, but my mother had already formulated a plan to return to the University of California at Berkeley when I reached school age. I suppose she prepped and honed her collegiate verbal skills on me while she was baking pies for the county fair or performing the everyday chores of a ranch housewife. She had been at UC Berkeley as an undergrad before she met my father and one particular story she told of that experience stuck like glue to my preschool, late 1950s, mind.
She entered UC in the late 1930s. Her first class was something akin to Sociology 101. It met in an auditorium-sized classroom with at least a hundred other students. Upon entering, each student was greeted by a teaching assistant with a clipboard. The clip on the board concealed a smattering of words typed on a sheet of paper. Below the clip, the paper was filled with blank lines. Some of these were already filled with the signatures of other students. My mother was handed such a clipboard and instructed by a teaching assistant that every student had to sign in. She dutifully complied and found a seat. When the professor strolled up to a podium to officially start the class the teaching assistants handed over their clipboards. The professor loosened the clip and read the words that had been largely concealed underneath: “We, the undersigned, proclaim our allegiance to the Communist Party.”
All but one or two of the seated throng had obediently signed. This was my mother's lesson to me in healthy skepticism. Elmer Fudd might have said, “Be vewy, vewy wary.” Of course, Elmer couldn't have pronounced the 'w' in wary either, but such are the vagaries of writing.
Skepticism, when it comes to researching or writing about the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District is a healthy attribute to have inherited. Yes, I get it, 'healthy' and 'healthcare.' Perhaps too close together. No pun intended, but there it is.
My skepticism doesn't always end up on the written page. During the run-up to the 2018 election of four new hospital board members, I experienced a dose of skepticism about candidates Karen Arnold and Jessica Grinberg having too many ties to Mendocino Coast Clinics, in Arnold's case, and as an independent contractor who does some business with the hospital, in Grinberg's case.
In the first month of 2019, the MCDH Board of Directors, with four new members, voted three to one, with one abstention, to release chief executive officer (CEO) Bob Edwards from his duties. The one board member who abstained was Jessica Grinberg. As far as I know that abstention has never been publicly explained. I have heard multiple reasons or even rumors about the reason for that abstention. This is the kind of place where skepticism gets tricky. In order to protect sourcing I have chosen not to reveal any of the reasons or rumors I've heard about that particular vote.
In the long run it is sometimes better not to reveal everything one knows. Speculating on Grinberg's vote in the short run might have seemed a minor reportorial coup. Waiting to see how she performed on the hospital board in the bigger picture appears to be more telling. As 2019 unfolded Ms. Grinberg proved to be the MCDH board member most likely to initiate innovative projects to benefit the hospital and its clientele. Some of this work was done behind the scenes and some as she chaired the hospital's planning committee. She has also been the only member of the board of directors to openly refuse to accept the failing financial figures. Along with some hard questioning of why next to nothing had been done to reduce losses, she voted, “No,” on the financial report month after month. This is a simple enough act, but no other director demonstrated the fiscal or fiduciary responsibility to do the same, to in effect say 'enough is enough,' we must stop this waste.
Get your plot twist and perhaps your skeptical hankies ready. At the conclusion of Ms. Grinberg's latest chairing of a planning committee meeting on December 30, 2019, John Allison, a long time member of that body read a statement that began, “As the financial condition of MCDH continues to deteriorate, affiliation with Adventist Health is the only viable option for saving our hospital and maintaining a broad survey of quality health care services on the Mendocino Coast. Yet affiliation may very well be in jeopardy.”
The gist of Allison's next few paragraphs includes a friend of his who was at the Ukiah Adventist hospital recently, where some of the staff claimed they hadn't been fully briefed on the affiliation with the coast facility because the affiliation had not yet been approved at the corporate level, located in Roseville, CA. Mr. Allison cited the difference between the original term sheet offered by AH, which provided for an annual lease payment of $1.5 million for thirty years. In November, 2019, what appeared to be some form of negotiation brought about a revised term sheet that promised $1.75 million payments from AH for the first couple years of the lease and nearly $3 million annually thereafter.
Under a theory that the corporate level Adventist Health board only meets quarterly, with their next meeting occurring in mid January, making the previous meeting at a similar point in October, well before those November negotiations, Mr. Allison went on to say, “I have seen nothing to indicate that the revised term sheet with the higher annual lease payments has been approved by the Adventist corporate board. The community has the right to know, now, whether Adventist Health has given its final approval to the revised term sheet.”
The implication being that if whomsoever negotiated for AH on a Mendocino County basis does not convince corporate, Roseville, AH to approve the nearly double annual lease payment then the whole affiliation matter could be derailed. At that point I put in queries with folks in the AH hierarchy, but due to the New Year's holidays definitive answers, as my mother liked to say, “were not yet forthcoming.”
As to the skeptical side of things: I have no reason to disbelieve Mr. Allison's friend's account of what they heard over the hill in Ukiah. John Allison presents statements to MCDH committees and to the hospital board regularly in what appears a clear and fairly meticulous manner. The mathematics of when the Roseville board meets seem to jibe with reality. In fact, more or less the entire scenario Allison laid out matched something told to me by someone else prior to Allison's Dec. 30th statement. The 'someone else' is a person I thoroughly trust.
And yet... my antennae are up because Mr. Allison essentially rested blame solely on MCDH Finance Committee chair John Redding for taking credit for the higher lease payment (the higher payment thus being the potential trip wire for corporate AH). Allison also blamed Redding for sponsoring a revised hospital budget that called for a net loss of $2.4 million for the fiscal year. Allison projected that the losses during the first three months of said budget would lead to a $4.4 million net loss for the year.
Allison claimed that the net losses for MCDH in November would be worse than the $947,000 net loss in October. If he had just waited a day or two to see the actual numbers, Allison would have seen the November net loss totaled a bit less than $188,000, not a good thing, but far less than $947,000. Both the MCDH interim CEO and interim chief financial officer (CFO) have projected a nearly break even net loss/gain for December. On top of that, on January 2nd, MCDH received a check for a little over $605,000 from Mendocino County Adventist Health President Jason Wells as part of a Partnership Health Program (PHP). There's a Medicare Cost Report reimbursement check coming in February for at least $1.5 million. So things aren't quite as bleak as Mr. Allison may have anticipated.
Allison's theory stated, “[T]he recent trend of dramatic increases in the net loss from operations may very well lead Adventist Health to walk away from affiliation." In theory that would appear true. However, in addition to the November and December upticks in net operation dollars as well as earned windfalls like the PHP check or the upcoming Medicare reimbursement, coast hospital interim CEO Wayne Allen has begun to implement a “Financial Improvement Plan.” He has asserted this will initially trim $2.1 million in expenses by eliminating thirteen registry (temporary) and four management positions. The second half of Allen's plan would cut an additional $2.1 million with the closure of the labor and delivery (obstetrics – OB) department. That closure requires board of directors approval. A meeting on that subject could very well occur later in January.
Once I was able to get hold of Adventist Health officials after the New Year had been rung in, two of them confirmed the mid January corporate meeting, which extends over several days. One of them said that AH would not have agreed to the nearly $1.5 million bump in the second term sheet “had it put the partnership in jeopardy.” That AH official did state, “The revised term sheet takes away margin for error.”
I asked if AH might pull out of the affiliation if AH came into that affiliation in a deficit running at about $8 million dollars. The response was, “Absolutely. We can't dig out of an $8 million annual loss hole. No chance.”
That AH official presented a financial scenario that starts with the $3 million dollar annual lease cost to operate the coast hospital. Add to that deficit the fact that AH will not receive the million and a half dollars from the parcel tax. It stays with the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District. That puts AH in a $4.5 million dollar hole. Year to date losses are at $1,348,000 for the coast hospital. That puts the hole at about $5.9 million. Then subtract CEO Allen's “Financial Improvement Plan” cuts that purportedly cut a total of $4.2 million (with half coming from the yet to come board enacted closure of OB), and the loss is much more manageable. This would be particularly true if December's projected break even bottom line continues through the time Mendocino Coast Healthcare District voters cast their yea or nay ballots on affiliation during the first week in March.
Mr. Allison and Mr. Redding have conducted a more or less public feud around the financial state of the hospital throughout much of 2019. Though I tend to agree with Mr. Allison some of the time on these matters, I can't escape wondering whether or not his scenario concerning corporate AH isn't part of a wish fulfillment to see Mr. Redding embarrassed as much as it is a warning about the shaky economic ground upon which he has projected affiliation to be treading.
Lessons in skepticism: Read under the clip if there is writing on a clipboard, not all rumors are fit to be printed, and sometimes two sources aren't enough. I know I'm skipping what appears to be obvious, “always listen to your mother.” Well, if it was your mother who ingrained skepticism in you then how much can you trust her?!
In the meantime, I am glad that antennae exist only figuratively in our brains and that I don't have to make any adjustments climbing onto the rooftop in the wind and rain.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Richard is an 11 year old, neutered male, mixed breed dog, weighing in at 105 pounds. Nope—that's not a typo. This guy really needs to shed some pounds. Richard would love to make a New Year's resolution to be your exercise buddy. Richard is a sweetheart, knows SIT, SHAKE, and…of course….he's very deft at catching treats tossed his way! Richard appears to want to be the only canine in the home, getting all the love and attention. Richard is eligible for the shelter's SENIOR DOG DISCOUNT.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, and adoption hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visit our website for information about our canine and feline guests and all of our services, programs and events: http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
UKIAH SUBWAY ROBBERY CASE RESOLVED
Criminal liability for a robbery case dating back to December 13, 2018 involving the Subway sandwich shop in Ukiah was resolved Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court.
Rather than have the prosecutor put on evidence at today's scheduled preliminary hearing (a prelim is a probable cause hearing to determine whether the prosecution has sufficient evidence to take a felony charge before a jury), defendant Dorian Michael Coon, age 21, of Willits, instead plead guilty to two felony counts of robbery in the second degree (one count each for the two owners of the business) and he also admitted as to each of those counts a sentencing enhancement for using a realistic-looking pellet handgun in the commission of the crime.
The defendant was also convicted by plea of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, on a customer that was in the business at the time of the robbery.
The defendant's matter was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation.
A sentencing hearing is now scheduled for March 5, 2020 at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse. Any person interested in the sentencing outcome of this case and/or this defendant is welcome to attend that hearing.
The law enforcement agency that developed the evidence underlying today's convictions was the Ukiah Police Department.
The prosecutors who have been working on this matter are Deputy DA Jamie Pearl and Asst. DA Dale Trigg.
After making sure the defendant understood his rights and the legal consequences of his guilty pleas and admissions, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted and entered into the court record the defendant's admissions. Judge Faulder is expected to be the sentencing judge in March.
A co-defendant, Alexander Donovan Romero, age 20, also of Willits, was convicted by plea in June of last year of being an accessory to robbery, a felony. In August 2019, he was granted supervised probation for a period of thirty-six months.
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS:
Ambulance coverage remains a serious concern county-wide. Late last night (Friday night, Jan 3), we were at “level zero” availability again on the 101 corridor (meaning units allocated, next call potentially queued with delay). As I look for places to trim, it’s with the intention of subsidizing ambulance services without another tax. Our priorities need to better reflect public safety. Ensuring 911 emergency medical response is the responsibility of the County, not fire districts or hospitals. When I hear our County finances are in good shape, I immediately flash on the services we're failing to provide. It'll take public demand to address the ambulance situation. To reach a minimum acceptable level of service without another tax, it'll take difficult decisions about priorities.
I've seen "LEVEL ZERO STAFFING" 9 times since Dec 23.
ALSO FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
MENDO TO “RETROACTIVELY” TURN THE CITY OF FORT BRAGG INTO A HOUSING “CONTRACTOR.”
Item 4g) (on next Tuesday’s Supervisors agenda):
“Approval of Retroactive Agreement with the City of Fort Bragg in the Amount of $3,000,000 on Behalf of the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care to Fund a Capital Development Project to Support Those Experiencing Homelessness in Mendocino County, Effective December 15, 2019 through June 30, 2021
“Recommended Action: Approve retroactive Agreement with the City of Fort Bragg in the amount of $3,000,000 on behalf of the Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care to fund a capital development project to support those experiencing homelessness in Mendocino County; authorize the Health and Human Services Agency Director or designee to sign any future amendments to the Agreement that do not increase the maximum amount; and authorize Chair to sign same.”
WE ASSUME the $3 mil will be to fund an “affordable housing” project written about in 2018 and 2019 by the late Fort Bragg Advocate reporter Kelci Parks.
But the terms of the County’s proposed “retroactive” (?) contract are so bureaucratic and vague that it’s possible that at least some of the state grant housing money will go toward “services” and not the Danco project mentioned in Ms. Parks’ report. Danco, btw, has done most of its prior “affordable housing” work in Humboldt County. But their website says they developed a 25-unit affordable housing project in Fort Bragg in 2014.
As usual, water and sewer for any large housing project on the Coast will be a significant hurdle, as will permits including those from the Coastal Commission.
REGULAR MEETING of the BUDGET COMMITTEE
ANDERSON VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
To be held at the BOONVILLE FIREHOUSE, 14281 Highway 128
Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 3:30 p.m.
Call to Order and Roll Call
Announcements/Recognition of Guests
Review and Approve Last Month’s Minutes
Correspondence Received – For Review
Changes or Modifications to this Agenda
General Manager’s Report – (Items a. through i. (4) available for review at the CSD Office) – Andrews-
a. Calendar of Events
b. CSD Financial
c. Fire Department Financial
d. Ambulance/EMS Financial
(1) Ambulance Billing/Projected Revenues
e. Airport Financial
f. Recreation Financial
g. Teen Center Financial
h. Clean Water/Drinking Water Financials
i. Oversight Review
(1) Cash/Checks/Deposits – Liddy
(2) Vendor Late Notices/Timely Payment – Liddy
(3) Bank/Credit Card Reconciliations/Payroll Taxes – McKenna
(4) Bills – Avila
(5) Reconcile Fire Department and Teen Center Petty Cash – Andrews & McKenna
(6) Review of Expenditures for Recommendation to Board
a. Draft Mid-Year Budget Revisions
b. Update Fee Schedule
Concerns of Members:
HUMCO’S 19th CENTURY OPIUM DENS
“There are some persons in town who have some of the first marks of the opium vice plainly stamped on their faces. There will be more unless the evil is corrected, and the remedy cannot be applied too soon.”
BEST BOOKS OF 2019 (from the Boonville book perspective anyway)
"THE FUTURE IS HISTORY: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia" by Masha Gessen. Lots of interesting but often dense Russian history leavened by the author's accounts of her and her family's personal experiences from Lenin to Putin. Not for everyone, and not even of burning interest to me, although the book held my feeble attentions thanks to Gessen's vivid accounts of what life was really, really like for even relatively privileged Russians like her family, most of them canny intellectuals who managed to survive the serial tyrannies that comprise modern Russian history.
"PILGRIM'S WILDERNESS: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier" by Tom Kizzia. My sister handed me this book with the warning, "You won't be able to put it down." And the book jacket blurbs from famous writers like Edward Hoagland and Douglas Brinkley saying the same thing. Yes, indeed, truth in advertising for once. I couldn't put it down — As a long time resident of the Northcoast, this riveting account of a vile Jesus fake calling himself Papa Pilgrim resonated with me, as it probably will many of you, as a familiar type of lunatic hippie, megalomaniacal division we used to see around here.
"MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: A LIFE," by Marshall Frady. As King's 80th birthday rolls around, it's dependably obvious that lots of people, especially the young, don't know much about him beyond his iconic status as a civil rights martyr and a day off from school. And few people will want to recall that King was vilified on a daily basis by the newspapers of the time. Then, presto! magico! millions of Americans were liberals! Still the best book on King, this one available in that nifty Penguin series whose biographies range from Elvis (also recommended) to DaVinci.
"RIOT AND REMEMBRANCE: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy," by James S. Hirsch. There's an oblique local angle to this appalling and, until fairly recently, unknown atrocity of 1921 during which white mobs destroyed the thriving black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, murdering as many as 300 black Tulsans during the rampage. The local angle? Mendocino County's renowned Pebbles Trippet's father (uncle?) was mayor of Tulsa during the 1950s and one of many well-placed Tulsans instrumental in discouraging any mention of the riots as bad for the city's image. Only in the 1960s did the depressing story begin to be told in detail, and the details, awful as they are, make fascinating reading.
"KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON," by David Grann is another tribute to the Sooner state in its formative early years, this one a detailed account of the systematic murders of wealthy Osage Indians to steal their oil rights.
"SHAMROCKS & SALSA, A MEMOIR," by Gerald F. Cox, is highly recommended reading for several reasons. (1) the author is known to most residents of the Anderson Valley where he was known much less formally as 'Jerry' Cox) whose imprint on Valley life was large, (2) it's the story of a most unusual man whose interesting, and often funny, account of moving through his youth to middle age as a Catholic priest before resigning to marry was not unprecedented but certainly unusual, (3) he almost offhandedly relates the significance of his work as a ground floor stalwart of the Farm Worker's movement led by Cesar Chavez, who Cox introduced to the crucial activist, church-related network then dominant in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“STALIN WAITING FOR HITLER, 1929-1941" by Stephen Kotkin. Highly readable history of relations between Russia and Germany in the run-up to WWII.
ALL BOOKS on NorCal history by Jonah Raskin. If anybody is better qualified than Jonah Raskin to capture the NorCal zeitgeist, I can't think of him or her. From his youth as a left radical to the most prolific writer on life in Northern California from its vineyards to its marijuana gardens, Raskin's remarkably diverse oeuvre reflects his remarkably diverse experience. Assuming someone will be writing a history of this unique place in this uniquely tumultuous time, it will all be right there in Raskin's many books from "Field Days: A Year of Farming, Eating and Drinking Wine in California" to a wonderful biography of Jack London to the best book I know of about the grass roots experience of growing marijuana prior to quasi-legalization.
"JERRY LEE LEWIS," by Nick Tosches. A fascinating, poetically-written, informal biography of Lewis, a man so far out of control that his survival into old age is simply miraculous. Married seven times, including to his 13-year-old first cousin who, when she was questioned about her matrimonial age, explained, "Down here [outback Louisiana] we can get married when we're ten if we want to," Lewis spent years on a diet of pharmaceutical speed and whisky. But all that time, which included a bizarre, drunken attempt to murder Elvis, who Lewis saw as his undeserving rival for king of rock and roll, and much truly awful behavior, the reader can't help but laugh and admire his survival.
"A WORLD LIT BY FIRE, the Medieval Mind and the Renaissance." The clearest account of the "Dark Ages" I've read, the others being so academically turgid as to be unreadable. The Roman Empire had brought a measure of order and civilization to the wild tribes to the east, but when the civilized Romans did a slow fade resembling the one we have going in America, the barbarians were soon at the gate, the diff between US and them being our barbarians are home grown. Anyway, and also like US, as dark as the Dark Ages were, they produced some great art and architecture.
"PICTURE" "by Lillian Ross, the justly renowned writer for the old New Yorker, gives us a complete account of the great director John Huston's sabotaged film adaptation of "The Red Badge of Courage." Must reading for all the young people writing film scripts and attempting to hit it big in Hollywood, this is a riveting portrait of Huston and simultaneously a depressing picture of studio bigwigs who simply don't get it. And still don’t given what’s playing these days in the walk-in theaters.
"LUCKY COUNTRY, Confessions of a Vagabond Cellerhand" by Darren Delmore. For a young man, the author has been around, having been a competitive surfer, an editor at Surfer Magazine, and has worked at every level of the wine business. Mr. D is presently national sales manager for the Hass family's Tabla Rasa wines. A former resident of the Anderson Valley where he worked for Goldeneye, this is the third in his series of rollicking books based on the hard facts of the wine industry thinly disguised as fiction.
"YOU CAN'T WIN," by Jack Black, the pseudonym of an old time hobo, cat burglar, safe cracker, and a veteran of some very tough jails. Black, addicted to opium, went straight in later years and became the rehab project of Fremont Older, a big name in Bay Area newspapering in the early 20th century who encouraged Black to write his memoir. Incidentally, when he was fresh out of jail, Black recuperated at Stanford, an unlikely berth these days for a man with his CV.
"VIETNAM, AN EPIC TRAGEDY," by Max Hastings, a Brit historian who, as a young journalist, worked off and on as a correspondent in Vietnam where his first-hand experience, some of it in combat, surely helped him grasp the true nature of the conflict as he recounts in this fascinating book events as seen from both sides. I also recommend Hastings' histories of the Korean War and "Armageddon: The Battle for Germany."
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 4, 2020
CRAIG DINDINGER, Lucerne/Ukiah. DUI.
RICARDO GARCIA, Ukiah. Failure to appear, parole violation.
DANIELLE GREELEY, Lucerne/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
COLE ICKES, Fort Bragg. Use of tear gas, failure to appear.
CITLALLI LOPEZ-PINEDA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JENNIFER MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
SEBASTIAN RABANO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
WILLIAM SEXTON, Ukiah. DUI.
DAVID SIMMONS, Hampstead, North Carolina/Ukiah. DUI.
CHEYENNE SPECIEDAY, Fort Bragg. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
GINA ST. CHARLES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TREVOR THOMAS, Elk. Domestic abuse, hypodermic needles.
STEPHEN WILLIAMSON, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
HOW ABOUT EXISTING STRUCTURES?
Sonoma County recently approved $12 million for emergency funding to address the increasing or more visually present homelessness population in Sonoma County. Is the reason we are securing the additional funding the fact that they’ve set up encampments in rural and residential areas?
I’ve got an environmentally friendly and fiscally responsible plan: utilize resources that are in place. For example, the Sonoma Developmental Center has housed up to 3,200 residents. The current estimated homeless population exceeds 3,000.
I understand that Mount Hood buildings, the developmental center and the county’s Chanate Road buildings aren’t entirely up to code, but you could have shelter residents sign a release of liability.
Does this make sense, or should we pour $12 million into new buildings and homes? People have been residing in these locations as recently as December 2018.
Our community clearly is supportive regarding those who are in need, whether it be food, or clothing, or other forms of assistance. Giving, should be done without expectations. You do not give a gift and only do it to expect a gift in return. In almost all circumstances, a simple thank you works wonders. But, I do see that for some that are receiving a gift, they appear to look a gift horse in the mouth. I will refer to those people as “takers”. They are the ones that do not even bother to give a proper response by saying “Thanks”.
Yes, this is a small percentage of the needy that are receiving support, but they are out there. We recently have been looking at what we can personally do for the Ukiah and Willits food banks, so we looked deeply into their “need” on Google. I see that one comment says, “What are they there for if they cannot help”?
Well, they are a food bank. They are not a hospital, doctors or nurses. They are not babysitters. They are not there just for you. They are there for “us”. The community. All of us. Some looking out for others. It does appear that for that small handful of malcontents, there is the “expectation” of everything from everyone, as if life owes it to them. We see many a police report that says that they were called to move people out of sleeping in the Post Office, or in business doorways.
They leave, and then come right back. We see that sometimes the homeless are now arrogant, abusive, and downright mean and destructive. Now, there should not be any kind of bias regarding ones “need”, but I would question those that do not understand common respect. I saw two people online give “one star”, because they were not provided with pizzas, cookies, and doughnuts. The phrase beggars can’t be choosers comes to mind. One comment states, “I can hardly get the motivation to even go now”. Well, my response would be, “well then, don’t come”. And, “They are sad to see how bad it is now”. OMG, what has happened? If you were a volunteer, then how would you feel? Just like I am feeling right now as I write this letter.
Hugely disappointed. Food banks are a blessing, the food that they distribute is a blessing, and the people that work and volunteer there are a blessing. They deserve to be thanked, and treated with respect and dignity. Now, we cannot change some people who just do not get the big picture here, but most of us do. So, here are my thoughts. First of all, do not just give out anything to beggars with signs on the street corners, unless you want more and more beggars on street corners. Your kindness will come back and bite you, and us, you know where.
Focus on the agencies that have control of what they dole out. Volunteer, and not just on Thanksgiving. We should all be giving thanks each and every single day of the year. Not just on a day with the word “thanks” in it. We limit the concept of giving thanks. Holidays seem to have taken over for the rest of the days, of which there are many. We just do not appear to be giving enough, or saying thanks enough.
It makes me question how many of the homeless say “thank you”, after they leave Plowshares after a meal. If it is many, then I would be quite thankful. Humm, do you get what I am saying? I would be thankful for people saying thanks. So, what does saying thank you cost? Well, it’s free. Yes, showing appreciation can be free, but still of huge benefit. So, maybe, after someone opens a door for you, don’t ask, but where are my doughnuts. Givers are not there for you. They are there for the act of giving. Because the reward is in the feelings of giving. Here is a quote from Og Mandino. “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster”.
Or Francis of Assisi says, “Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give”.
Both of these sayings are regarding “after death.” Well, how about now, while we are still alive.
Or Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life”.
Well, these quotes are there for all, and should be applied to all. The givers as well as the receivers. And the "takers" as well. So here are two sayings in closing.
"Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth".
"A horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care. Put your hand on your horse, and your heart in your hand".
And caring should be a two way street. Caring should be shared by both givers and receivers.
And yes, Put your heart in your hand. Support your local food bank. And give them "thanks" as well.
And for this, I thank you.
FAIR PLAY FOR PATRICK #2
My name is Patrick Noel #V8877. I'm currently in Mendocino County Jail awaiting transfer that to state prison at Susanville, level 3.
I previously wrote to the AVA, which was a great article by the way, called "Fair Play for Patrick." Thanks. I also sent a new trial motion that I presented to the court showing prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of counsel.
This is an update of my case. The system has railroaded me once again. I came back to court because of the public defender’s mistakes. So, how can the Court reappoint the public defender’s office? I believe that's a conflict of interest. I filed a Marsden motion to argue these facts and to have private counsel appointed instead of court-appointed public defender Jeffrey Aaron.
Mr. Aaron, I might add, was completely ineffective as my request for new counsel was denied twice.
On December 16, 2019, the Court held a new trial motion hearing where I had to argue my new trial motion by myself in pro per without the assistance of court-appointed public defender Jeffrey Aaron. It is clearly ineffective assistance of counsel and clearly a conflict of interest because how is he going to show the mistakes of his own office’s dirty laundry, mistaken decisions, corruption and inadequate assistance of counsel?
At the hearing I argued the prosecution is withholding exculpatory evidence that could exonerate me. District Attorney Scott McMenomey me admitted this on record. He located favorable exonerating evidence and filed a motion to dismiss charges PC 245 assault charges against me. But he still didn't disclose this favorable evidence to the defense. Judge Behnke turned a blind eye, basically looked the other way, regarding the corruption of the DA withholding exonerating evidence, and ineffective and incompetence of the public defender's office by denying my new trial motion.
On December 20, 2019, the Court held my resentencing hearing. The resentencing judge, Judge Behnke, had the authority to dismiss the strike for the 20 year gun enhancement previously imposed in 2005.
The victim for which the twenty-year enhancement was imposed came to court on my behalf and pled to the court for my release. He said that I should be allowed to come home and be given a second chance. If I was granted a new trial and a new jury of my peers who heard the victim impact statements I truly believe I would be acquitted and home and free.
I have also shown the court that I've rehabilitated myself since my incarceration and I am a completely different person. I was only 19 years old when these crimes were committed. I was young and addicted to drugs and alcohol, Over the course of my incarceration I have studied law, learned my constitutional rights and filed my own habeas corpus and have had some relief. I've also furthered my education by going to college and participating in self-help programs such as alternatives to violence, AA, NA, and substance-abuse classes to rehabilitate myself and change my ways, change my thought processes. My whole mentality has changed from when I was a youth and I believe I should have been given a second chance. Judge Behnke should have dismissed the 20-year gun enhancement and released me. But no, Behnke sentenced me to 37 years in state prison at 80% which is completely unjustified for the crimes and is a miscarriage of justice.
I recently I read in the AVA about a murder that was committed and the suspect was sentenced to eight years with a prior rape conviction. In my case no one was actually physically hurt and I received 41 years the first time. Now I have received a 37 year sentence with 17 years served and 12 to go which is totally BS.
It's time for me to come home. I'll be appealing this second miscarriage of justice by the Mendocino County Superior Court. I would like to thank the AVA for publishing my letter and for shining a light on this unfair and corrupt justice system.
Patrick Noel, CDC#8877
P.O. Box 2200
Susanville, CA 96130
c/o California Correctional Center
BILL GATES CALLS FOR INCREASING TAXES ON WEALTHY AMERICANS by targeting their bonds, inheritances and capital gains; says current system isn't fair on working people.
“The rich should pay more, and that includes me!”
Bill Gates is the latest billionaire to call for higher taxes on America's über-rich.
The 64-year-old Microsoft founder, the second wealthiest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $114 billion, penned a New Year's Eve blog post detailing various ways that the government could extract more revenue from the wealthiest Americans.
“I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me. Today the US government depends overwhelmingly on taxing labor—about three quarters of its revenue comes from taxes on wages and salaries. Most people get almost all of their income from salary and hourly work, which is taxed at a maximum of 37%. But the wealthiest generally get only a tiny percentage of their income from a salary; most of it comes from profits on investments, such as stock or real estate, taxed at 20% if they're held for more than a year. That's the clearest evidence I've seen that the system isn't fair. I don't see any reason to favor wealth over work the way we do today. I favor of raising the estate tax and closing the loopholes in it that many wealthy people take advantage of'. Changes enacted in Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 mean that only 2,000 estates are now liable for the estate tax, as a deceased individual can leave an inheritor up to $11.18 million per year with tax exemptions. A dynastic system where you can pass vast wealth along to your children is not good for anyone as it destroys incentive for hard work.”
Gates also proposed targeting wealthy citizens by removing the cap on how much income is subject to Medicare tax and taxing large fortunes that are being held untouched in the bank.
“Lawmakers need to make state and local taxes fairer, since they represent a large portion of Americans' tax bills.”
I also favor adopting a state income tax in Washington.”
Gates said he only pays the minimum amount to the taxman, despite calling upon the government to increase the revenue they receive from the rich. He said he funnels money into his Gates Foundation, which allows him to spend in more innovative ways that benefit society.
“In addition to fair taxes, Melinda and I think there's value to society in allowing the wealthy to put some money into private foundations, because foundations play an irreplaceable role that's distinct from what governments do well. In particular, philanthropy is good at managing high-risk projects that governments can't take on and corporations won't—for example, trying out new approaches to eradicating malaria, which is something our foundation is working on.
“One of the reasons that innovators flock to the United States is that this country makes it easy to start a business, invest capital, and earn a profit. We shouldn't destroy those incentives, but we're a long way from that point now. Americans in the top 1 percent can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs.”
Last June, a group of billionaires shocked lawmakers in the US by calling on the 2020 US presidential election candidates to raise the taxes for the super rich. An open letter signed by 19 of the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% of Americans called for the creation a wealth tax on them and their peers. Financier George Soros, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and heiress Abigail Disney were among signatories. The letter called for an increase in taxes on the wealthy to fund new investment in sectors including clean energy, universal childcare, student loan debt relief, improvements in infrastructure, and tax relief for low-income families.
“America has a moral, ethical and economic responsibility to tax our wealth more. A wealth tax could help address the climate crisis, improve the economy, improve health outcomes, fairly create opportunity, and strengthen our democratic freedoms. Others have put far more on the line for America. Those of us in the richest 1/10 of the richest 1% should be proud to pay a bit more of our fortune forward to America's future. We'll be fine — taking on this tax is the least we can do to strengthen the country we love.”
MAKING MOUNTAIN OUT OF MOLE HILL, INYO COUNTY
In Lone Pine, a lawyer fights to change campground’s derogatory name. The town pushes back.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN~
It's 3:44AM in Honolulu and raining, with a cool wind. Am sitting in the room comfortably without clothes on, by the window, at ease watching thoughts (which have been seen many times before)…careful not to get caught up in a net of imagined misery; and instead, witnessing the entire phenomenon of the mind and its bullshit. Adding a few quiet prayers because it is soothing to do so, this is the "heaven on earth" which the scriptures speak of. I wish you total spiritual liberation while living on earth…and forever and ever, laughing back at the spectacle, just as Jesus did before ascending, to the astonishment of all. ~HAPPY NEW YEAR~
PS. Beyond Postmodernism
Following the 15th time in Washington, D.C. speaking "truth to power", and being supportive of the anti-nuclear vigil across the street from the White House, and again participating in climate justice protestations, and then going to northern California for a memorial and many reunions and then running completely out of money, and then applying and getting maximum benefits from Social Security and Food Stamps and so on and so forth, and then friends in Honolulu said that I could return and pay my way on the "deferred payment plan", and then the day after arriving did transfer the California benefits to Hawaii, and then, paid retroactively for my small room at The Plumeria Hostel Alternative on Piikoi Street, and got it together to make the annual payments to keep the Honolulu Museum of Art membership open, the p.o. box open, the senior bus pass good until January of 2021, plus a timely hair cut, and then continuing to eat food on the planet earth, and of course there is the occasional beer at Suzie Wong's Hideaway in order to find out what is actually happening in Hawaii from those who do know, and then after all of that, went to Catholic Mass at Saints Peter and Paul just to be on the safe side, while identifying with the nameless formless Absolute of course; and so here we are on a balmy January 3rd, well beyond the meaninglessness of postmodernism, and ya I got the voter postcard in the mail verifying that what was my previous address is still current so that I can vote for Bernie Sanders, and here I sit tap tap tapping away and enjoying the Polynesian trade winds, so just one more time…before we leave this world forever, tell me: WHAT WOULD YOU DO IN THIS WORLD IF YOU KNEW THAT YOU COULD NOT FAIL? Talk to me, y'all!
Craig Louis Stehr
January 3, 2020
HEAR ME ROAR TWEET:
"Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt." -Sun Tzu
The recording of Friday night's Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is available by one or two clicks, depending on whether you want to listen to it now or download it and keep it for later and, speaking of which, it's right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0366
The deadline to get your writing on the show is about 6pm the night of the show. Whatever it is, just email it to me any time during the week and I'll read it on the air, and if it comes too late I'll read it on the air the week after that. If there are swears, that's okay, but I wait until after 10pm to read anything with swears in it, that's all, to avoid agitating the weasels.
Anyway, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering last night's show together. Such as:
This city has the right idea about what a city should be spending all the money on. It's clearly working. Do you see any homeless people sleeping in piles of plastic bags and trash in this city? Does anyone look even the slightest bit ill or lonely or hungry, tired, cold, dispossessed, disenfranchised, melancholy, regretful, oppressed, addicted to opioids, buyer-remorsed, footsore, ennui'd, etc.? It's like heaven-- unless it's like in The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas. That would be both unacceptable and hard to spot. https://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/11/les-machines-de-l-machines-of-isle-of.html
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. I didn't watch the film yet, but from the trailer I get the impression that 13-year-old Valerie is like Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz but instead she visits a weird city of sexy-dancing vampires who harmlessly burn or rather toast her at the stake and then have sex with her, or maybe it is all a dream, or maybe it's like in An Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge and she's hallucinating all this as she's dying in the stake-fire. I get a kind of The Fantasticks vibe from the trailer, or maybe Jodorowsky's El Topo, or Tarsem Singh's The Fall. http://www.weirduniverse.net/blog/comments/valerie_and_her_week_of_wonders
When we first see the woman she's so happy. This is leading up to a peak experience, the best day of her life. Suddenly, it's the worst, the absolute worst, and it switched in less than a second. He's tired, frustrated with his job, very old, probably hungry, maybe his back hurts under the weight of fifty pounds of robes. She went there hoping to see him; she never imagined she'd actually really be this close to him. He's moving along the line, slowly getting closer and closer. See, others are brushing his robe, his sleeve, even holding his hand, interacting with him. Oh, my God, it's going to happen! She will speak with the Pope! He will see her, touch her! For the rest of her life she will have this moment! But he turns, begins to move away. She grabs his hand, or rather her hand grabs his hand, and he lashes out, or rather his hand and mouth lash out… And I told Juanita the story of this. To me, I was excited to be telling something I learned about people, refining and reinforcing a story I could tell others, that might make me a little less likely to someday be any of the players in a similar story, might make others imagine themselves here and be better people, be more understanding and less fragile, more worldly and yet still able to feel. Learning to be a person. It's education, rehearsal, writing. But to Juanita, it sounded like I was japing at a helpless person's destruction, a person like her --she sees herself as the woman in the story (of course)-- and what's the matter with me that I will never fucking learn to not tell her that kind of story, and her head is down and she's crying. And I'm like, Oh, no. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm an idiot. I'm just like the snippy Pope, I can't help myself. And at the same time, I'm like the adoring woman, too, and you try to do the right thing and the other person doesn't react right and it's awful… This is like that… But… I just looked at it again, and it's the exact same video but this time it's all different from what I saw before. The woman doesn't look happy or anticipatory at all, the whole time. And I can't understand her language, but she might be angry. Yeah, she's angry from the start. Maybe she came there to kvetch at him about a church policy or child molestation or an infallible executive popely action of his whose repercussions devastated her family in some faraway place, and even if he couldn't understand her he sensed her ire and criticism, he looked right at her; maybe that's why he turned away, flinched away from her intensity… It's really true that our lived lives are more about the stories we tell ourselves, from limited snatches of perception, than about what's really going on, which we only find out later if even at all. Or maybe it's a third thing, or a hundred things, a different thing for everyone in the picture. Here's where I say out loud to myself, as I do several times a day, "Stop thinking about that," though this time it's more in a that's sorted out, next item now way than a mortified or a bad dog! way.
—Marco McClean, email@example.com