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MCT: Sunday, February 2, 2020

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SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE across the area into tonight, becoming more widespread in the afternoon. Snow levels will fall to around 1500 feet today, however snow amounts are expected to be minimal. Gusty ridgetop winds and coastal thunderstorms with small hail will also be possible through this afternoon. Cool and dry weather is expected Monday and Tuesday, with milder conditions thereafter. (NWS)

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AFFILIATION IS ESSENTIAL

Editor,

The vote on affiliation of our hospital with Adventist Health (AH) is around the corner. Mail-in ballots arrive in a few days and the polls open on Tuesday, March 3rd. I am writing as a local resident to urge everyone to vote in favor of this affiliation. I am also the Chief of the Medical Staff at our hospital. For full disclosure, I have not been offered any special position in the new, affiliated hospital and have never been an employee of AH.

The measure will appear on the ballot as “Measure C”, hopefully that doesn’t cause confusion as this has nothing to do with the previous Measure C parcel tax and will not effect taxes.

On the ballot, it is described as an affiliation with Stone Point Health, a subsidiary of Adventist Health. For all intents and purposes, this affiliation is with Adventist Health. It will allow the leasing of the hospital, clinics, ambulance service and home health from the Health Care District, which retains ownership. The lease is for 30 years.

There are several advantages to this affiliation. Being part of a hospital system brings more resources to help improve leadership, quality and safety of care. It will assist in recruiting primary care providers. It will facilitate more specialty clinics. Recruitment and retention of staff will improve. Patient and visitor experience in the hospital and clinics will also improve. Perhaps most important of all, it will help the hospital achieve financial stability without which the future of the hospital is uncertain.

The current financial situation is tenuous at best. Despite occasional upswings, the overall picture is one of decline. As a result, many required maintenance and equipment upgrades have been delayed. We repeatedly have to dip into savings to pay bills. We recently went through a round of layoffs. It is hard to imagine how we can avoid closure given the current trends if we do not affiliate. The problem is not one of mismanagement or failing to bill and collect. It is that the cost of providing health care is steadily rising while reimbursement is declining. This is affecting all small, rural hospitals in the US. According to a study by the University of North Carolina published in September 2019, over 100 rural hospitals have closed in the US in the last decade, nine of which were in California. The study goes on to state that 430 more are currently at risk of closing. A similar study by the University of Washington reported that the mortality rate in a rural community rises by 5.9% after its hospital closes.

Our hospital needs the edge provided by belonging to a hospital network. The principle financial advantages of joining a larger system are through better negotiating power with insurance companies, greater efficiencies and achieving savings through economy of scale. Our hospital is the largest employer on the Coast with over 300 employees infusing $24 million per year into the economy through salaries. The impact of loosing our hospital will be much greater than simply the loss of needed health care services, it will have a major impact on our local economy.

It remains to be determined how the affiliation will impact our ability to meet the seismic standards by 2030 and whether that will involve a new hospital or simply upgrading our existing hospital. A brand new hospital building is what we would all like to have, but the cost is around $100 million. Upgrading our existing facility to seismic compliance is less expensive at about $24 million, but doesn’t give us a more modern facility. Since the Health Care District remains the owner of the facility, the responsibility for these upgrades remains that of the community. The affiliation is expected to help meet those goals by off loading the current losses from the District which in turn will allow it to start saving money for the eventual improvements needed.

The ambulance service on the Coast will be maintained at the current level or be increased. Ambulances will not be reassigned inland at the expense of maintaining our current service levels. Additionally, we expect that home health and hospice services will be improved and expanded.

The hospital will come under a new Board of Directors appointed by AH. This Board will have local representation including members of the medical staff and one member from the District Board. Some will view this change away from a locally elected board to be a positive move while others will see that as a negative. In speaking with folks who live in Willits and Ukiah, where those AH hospitals are under the same governance model, it seems to work well.

Many have expressed concerns about AH being faith-based. To clarify, Adventist Health is not owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but the church is its primary sponsor. AH’s mission is to serve all members of the community. Like all health care organizations licensed in California, they are required to provide equal service to all. The issue of LGBT rights often comes up in these discussions and, honestly, was an initial concern for me personally. I was able to speak with several gay and lesbian health care providers at three AH hospitals including at both Ukiah and Willits. They related to me that their experience has been of being treated fairly and with respect and that they have never been aware of any discrimination against LGBT staff or patients.

AH, like other faith based systems, does not allow elective, surgical abortions to be performed in their facilities. However, unlike Catholic based systems, they do allow full range of birth control and contraceptives. With respect to a provider counseling patients regarding abortion services, referring for such services and prescribing medications to terminate pregnancy for whatever reason, I asked Robert Beehler, Vice-president of Mergers and Acquisitions at Adventist Health, to give me the official answer. He responded, “Adventist Health does not direct physicians/providers on contraception, Plan B, hormonal therapies for any purpose, birth control or management of a post pregnancy loss situation. All other clinical conditions not listed above are decided upon between the patient and the physician/provider as part of standard medical care.” In other words, AH does not place restrictions upon its providers with respect to these matters. Such medications to terminate a pregnancy are currently available through North Coast Family Health Center and Mr. Beehler confirmed that this will continue. Mr. Beehler is the senior AH officer involved in overseeing this affiliation from their side.

Similarly, questions have arisen around California’s Death with Dignity law which allows physicians, under some very limited situations, to prescribe a life ending medication to a patient with a terminal disease who wishes to end their life to avoid suffering. The law mandates that no health care facility shall subvert this legislation nor interfere with a person’s rights under the law. Adventist Health’s official stand on this is similar to that regarding women’s reproductive rights. AH does not interfere in the relationship between a physician/provider and the patient. On this subject, Mr Beehler stated, “California state law will be followed for prescribing and administering [all] medications.” Such medications are currently prescribed, when appropriate, through the North Coast Family Health Center and Mr Beehler indicated that this will continue.

In summary, our hospital is a wonderful asset for our community. I believe that this affiliation will not only help it remain viable, but give it the resources to grow and prosper. I strongly urge you to consider all of the advantages that this affiliation brings and vote “yes” to the current Measure C. Thank you.

William Miller, MD, FACP

Little River

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COAST HOSPITAL OPERATING ROOM REOPENED FRIDAY

And Fort Bragg Mayor Will Lee, who is employed at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital, added, "Great work by our Surgical Department and our leadership team in completing these required upgrades and process improvements to bring our hospital into compliance in a short 3 days. Our patients’ safety is our number 1 priority in maintaining a very low infection rate compared to other hospitals. Good work MCDH!"

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PET OF THE WEEK

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STEVE'S TIP:

Bay Area Revelations: Female Sports Icons

On this Super Bowl sports weekend, I thought some of you might like to watch this one-hour documentary on women athletes from the San Francisco Bay Area. It's the latest episode of the local NBC Bay Area Revelations series that I co-produce and co-write (3-4 of these documentaries a year).

nbcbayarea.com/news/local/bay-area-revelations/full-episode-female-sports-icons/2220423/

The original broadcast was last weekend. In the Bay Area, there's an encore presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 10pm.

This is what I do for fun when I'm not senior producing short docs for Independent Lens.

Steve Talbot

San Francisco

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THE COMPANY KITCHEN COMING TO PHILO

Sign spotted on the building formerly known as the Poleeko Roadhouse (and Libby's Restaurant before that):

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PREDATOR OPTIONS

To the Editor:

A few years ago I sat down on the bank of the Russian River with a UC Davis researcher who was trying to figure out where California farmers go to learn better ways to grow food. When I followed up with her about her polling data, the results were not surprising. By far, the main place farmers and ranchers go to learn…is other farmers and ranchers.

Unfortunately, the Mendocino Non-Lethal Wildlife Alliance has dealt a serious blow to progressive ranchers’ ability to influence our more conservatively minded colleagues when they opened up yet another divisive lawsuit against our under-funded county. This news surprised me because it followed a modest but potentially impactful win on the part of those who attempt to speak for our more-than-human world. Going forward in Mendocino County, non-lethal (what I prefer to pitch simply as “preventative”) measures will be promoted and hopefully even funded.

A quick google search presented me with the alternative case of Benton County, Oregon. There, instead of continuing the expensive and divisive lawsuits, their local “Chintimini Wildlife Center” fought for $35,363 in grant funding to help implement predation prevention measures. Personally, I would love some help from the larger community building a more fluid and dynamic network of livestock guardian dogs. These are difficult dogs to raise and to train, and when they don’t make the cut living with the sheep, they need to be carefully re-homed. Any efforts to promote the use of such dogs must be serious about the challenges that come from managing them, and if we believe that it is worth the effort to help reticent ranchers take on those challenges, there is plenty of work to be done. But let’s not kid ourselves. A good livestock guarding dog will occasionally bring a coyote leg home to impress you. They are not “non-lethal.” We are, after all, attempting to mitigate mesopredator release through the “re-”introduction of a wolf-analogue, no?

Listening to many of the arguments surrounding this issue, it is easy to start believing that we are deciding if animals will live or die. This, you will remember, is not the case. Those decisions are made day-to-day by private citizens on private land, and they will be made regardless of the future votes of the Board of Supervisors. The choice the county is making is whether to promote the involvement of professionals in these decisions and subsequent actions, or to leave them to amateurs.

Amateurs have a role to play. And I applaud the efforts of the Mendocino Wildlife Association to build a hotline and volunteer assistance network to help teach people to better coexist with their non-human neighbors. But amateurs are not enough. Bears, mountain lions, and most of all feral and semi-feral domestic dogs can be dangerous creatures whose management must involve professionals. A rabies-infected raccoon is well out of range of what is appropriate for even a well-trained volunteer network.

While we must promote the prevention of conflict at every turn, we must not abandon our tools to address conflicts when they arise. I appreciate the new blind spot sensors on modern cars and applaud some of the improvements CalTrans has made to certain intersections, but my volunteer fire department will not be pawning our jaws of life.

As a professional rancher, I utilize every preventive technique I can find. To prevent parasitic infections, I rotate my animals to new pastures, fence them out of riparian areas, and put goldfish in their water troughs. To prevent predation, I employ livestock guardian dogs, electric fences, fox lights, lambing-season-only night-penning, multi-species grazing, strategic paddock shifts, and carcass removal. Most of all, I try to follow the lead of wild sheep by tightening my lambing season and timing it to a seasonal abundance of wild food for predators. The latter approach, perhaps the most important of all, would be cost-prohibitive if I were selling lambs seasonally to auction instead of selling them directly to customers. There are no easy answers here. In my experience, people who make their living in agriculture employ preventative techniques whenever possible. The narrative of professional ranchers wantoning killing predators while ignoring effective preventative approaches is a strawman, pure and simple.

As a rancher, I also get to hear confessions that you might not get to hear. Let me tell you this much: In the neighboring counties where urban lawyers have successfully suspended Wildlife Services, animals are still dying. There is no longer a professional there to suggest ways to prevent conflict. There is no longer a professional there to make sure that when animals are killed it is done as humanely as possible. Those counties who have suspended Wildlife Services are not animal sanctuaries – the killings simply go deeper underground. They get messier. Those countries who have suspended Wildlife Services are not taking steps toward the just vision presented by the advocates. They have instead forfeited the opportunity to lead and innovate toward a more modern and humane future. In an era where our fellow Western states are redeploying the use of cyanide M-44’s, what we need most is moderate, rational leadership. Let us not be another of those ostrich-headed counties.

Emerging from this conflict over how to address wildlife conflicts, we are met with an opportunity. “To speak with Mendocino Wildlife Association, press 1. If you would like to be connected with Wildlife Services, press 2.” If the challenge is beyond that appropriate for a volunteer, incidents should be passed to the professionals. If a homesteader has not taken preventative measures to protect their chickens, Wildlife Services could suggest a consult with a MWA volunteer. If we could stop suing and start doing, I would like to be one of those volunteers. This is a model that could spread to other counties and states and bring sustained, functional change. Which is what we, and the coyotes, both need.

One more thing. If you care about wildlife, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/wildmendo and help Jesse Christensen meet a modest $5,000 goal to build a fawn rehabilitation site in Willits. This is exactly the kind of real-world work we need to be doing.

Kyle Farmer

Ukiah

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BRUCE ANDERSON, the spry octogenarian who edits Boonville's beloved weekly, the Anderson Valley Advertiser, aced the 12th Annual Marin Free Throw Contest at Drake High School this morning when he swished 6 for 10 free throws. The popular annual event is a fundraiser for the Arch Diocese of Marin County. Wondering aloud, Anderson asked, "Is there like a Father William trophy for my age group?" Anderson was politely informed that a San Rafael geezer, age 86, has won the over-70 age group sweepstakes for 12 consecutive years.


Father William

by Lewis Carroll

"You are old, father William," the young man said,

"And your hair has become very white;

And yet you incessantly stand on your head —

Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

. . .

"In my youth," father William replied to his son,

"I feared it would injure the brain;

But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again."

. . .

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,

And have grown most uncommonly fat;

Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door —

Pray, what is the reason of that?"

. . .

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,

"I kept all my limbs very supple

By the use of this ointment — one shilling the box —

Allow me to sell you a couple."

. . .

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak

For anything tougher than suet;

Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak —

Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

. . .

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,

And argued each case with my wife;

And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,

Has lasted the rest of my life."

. . .

"You are old," said the youth; one would hardly suppose

That your eye was as steady as ever;

Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose —

What made you so awfully clever?"

. . .

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"

Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!

Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?

Be off, or I'll kick you downstairs!"

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BEST FORT BRAGG POLICE DISPATCH IN JANUARY

There were a lot of odd calls the Fort Bragg Police had to respond to in the month of January - but none stranger than the call they took Friday night:

”9:13 PM - ANIMAL, 250 EAST CYPRESS ST, IFO (In front of) STATION 5// REQUESTING TO SPEAK WITH OFFICER REGARDING A LARGE NUMBER OF OCTOPUS THAT HAVE COME OUT OF THE WATER & ARE AROUND TOWN// RP COUNSELED ABOUT 11550 HS (Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance).”

(via MendocinoSportsPlus)

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DIFFERENT OUTCOME FOR THIRD WILLITS PHARMACY ROBBERY.

UKIAH, Saturday, February 1. – A state prison sentence was imposed Thursday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court on the last of the three Willits pharmacy robbers.

Dejoa Rayshawn Larue, age 23, of Oakland, was sentenced to 152 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for the February 2019 robbery, a felony, of Rite Aid in Willits, and for transportation of controlled substances for purposes of sale, also a felony.

LaRue

The defendant additionally admitted a prior Strike conviction charged as a sentencing enhancement -- a robbery conviction entered in the Sacramento County Superior Court in October 2014.

As some might recall, the first two robbers were earlier granted probation over the prosecution's objection by Superior Court Judge Faulder. That same outcome was avoided this time around because the prosecution required defendant Larue to stipulate to a state prison sentence, thus removing judicial discretion from the equation.

Defendant Larue also stands convicted of attempting to bribe an executive officer, a felony. This conviction stems from the defendant attempting to bribe a correctional officer in April 2019 to smuggle in drugs to the defendant while the defendant was incarcerated in the Low Gap jail facility.

Defendant Larue was sentenced Thursday to 36 months in state prison for this crime but the prison time was run concurrent to the greater time imposed on the pharmacy robbery case.

Because the primary robbery conviction is characterized in the Penal Code as a violent felony, the good and/or work time the defendant can attempt to earn in prison towards his early release is limited by current law to no more than 15 percent of the overall sentence, meaning he must serve just over 129 months before being released on parole supervision.

The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence to support all of the defendant's convictions were the Willits Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Justice crime laboratory, and the District Attorney's own Bureau of Investigations.

The prosecutor who handled all of the defendant's local criminal matters was Asst. DA Dale P. Trigg.

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FOR WHOM THE PHONE RINGS

AVA,

Looking out the window, my fear were confirmed. We saw the trucks of armed police arrive and start their search. They were searching for us. How could things have gotten to this point? We were just a group of teens having fun.

It all started with some innocent phone pranks. One of the kids in our neighborhood was an electronics nerd. He had a "laboratory" in his basement and had connected a speaker to a telephone so we could all hear what was going on. Our favorite was the nudist colony gag. We would dial a number at random and when a housewife answered, the pitch was: "Good morning, I represent the Fairview Nudist Colony. One of your friends recommended you to us as a likely prospect to join and I'm calling to see if you would be interested." At this point there would be one of three reactions: Some would immediately hang up. Many would demand to know who had recommended them. And others unwittingly or unwittingly played along.

There were other gags too, like the meat grinder one. I always thought that it went a bit too far and at that time I had no idea just how far this was all going. The genius kid discovered a metal box in his basement. Inside were hundreds of electrical contacts. Each pair was a telephone circuit and if you clipped onto the terminals you could tap into that line. We would clip around until we found a conversation and then listen in. The conversations were not all that interesting, but we occasionally caused paranoia. As we tapped in, it would make a telltale click and there may have been some breathing sounds. People noticed and would say, "Did you hear that? It sounds like someone is on the line."

These were the days when J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI agents were tapping phones and opening letters. When they found salacious material they would pass it up to the boss who might then pay a "friendly" visit to the rich and powerful to warn them about the intercepts. Most everyone knew about this and no one could stop it because no one knew what Hoover had in his secret files. Now we teens were unintentionally stoking the fires of paranoia.

Things were about to get even worse. The genius kid had discovered that one pair of terminals connected directly into the red telephone circuit. Red telephones were special. They had no dial and they connected you directly into the secret national network. One of the girls practiced her telephone operator voice and we set the ultimate prank into motion.

The moment the genius kid tapped into the red circuit a male voice on the other and said, "Pentagon Command Post." The girl then replied, "This is the long-distance operator; how may I help you." This caused confusion on the other end and, after a pause, the voice said, "This is the Pentagon Command Post." The girl then replied, "One moment sir, let me redirect your call," and we quickly pulled the wires. I just knew that we had gone too far and this was what caused the armed police search. Fortunately none of us had red telephones in our homes and this is what ultimately saved us.

As far as I know, no one was ever able to explain this mysterious security breach. But now you know.

David Ortiz

Watsonville

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(photo by Dick Whetstone)

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UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Back in 2016 when the Anderson Valley Community Services District surveyed a couple dozen local residential wells in downtown Boonville, they found elevated levels of nitrates and coliform.

WHEN these worrisome results were reported to the State Water Board, State staffers decided that Boonville's fouled agua made the scruffy little town eligible for substantial amounts in the millions, of grant/bond funds for planning and construction of municipal water and wastewater projects.

A STATE WATER bureaucrat who reviewed the contaminent information from the testing apparently decided it might be time to re-survey Boonville commercial establishments and public serving operations, including restaurants. As the wheels of bureaucracy ground on, the surveys — ordinary forms returned to the Water Board — revealed to the Water Board bureaucrats that some public serving establishments — public entitities — had to be re-classified due to increased numbers of customers, users or clients — NOT that there was any problem with the water, which was being monitored out of the County’s Environmental Health Department.

WITH THIS reclassification — a complicated “decision tree” exercise based on the survey results — local establishments fell into a higher level category of water monitoring, which required more frequent testing and oversight by the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board, not the County’s Environmental Health department.

UP went the costs for the local businesses. Simply on the basis of those original, innocent-seeming surveys local businesses and organizations now have to pay several thousand dollars more per year for monthly sampling and testing, the results of which must be sent to the state’s Regional Water Quality Board in Santa Rosa. Even though there was no indication of any contamination in water being used or served, the state compelled the much larger fees based on the state's mysterious, arbitrary calculations.

(Mark Scaramella)

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FROM TED WILLIAMS:

Candidates, the 60 second answers at the forum didn't give me a full sense of where you stand. Please provide unambiguous answers:

1) Did you vote for Measure V?

2) Would you vote to begin enforcement of Measure V without further research, studies, analysis, etcetera?

3) How would you have voted on the recent Wildlife Services contract? With me or with the majority?

4) What direction would you take cannabis cultivation and how?

5) How would you have voted on this past item related to respecting the voter initiative process? youtube.com/watch?v=Z-qYnuV-6Dg&feature=youtu.be

6) Describe your support for the Great Redwood Trail and explain your personal involvement to date.

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STRETCH OF GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL OPENS IN UKIAH

“…The new segments, totaling about 1 mile, are on opposite ends of an existing 1-mile pathway that runs parallel to Mason Street along the abandoned rail line. The northern segment runs north of Clara Avenue, passing by a grand valley oak tree and over a bridge spanning Orr Creek. The southern stretch takes off at Gobbi Street and continues to Commerce Drive. Together with the existing path, the whole project cost about $4.6 million, covered by state transportation and natural resource grants and other funds.”

pressdemocrat.com/news/10653204-181/first-new-segment-of-the

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TAXICAB MEMORIES

by Paul Modic

I can still remember that first fare in my New York taxi: an older white-haired woman standing at Union Square on 17th Street. I cruised to a stop and picked her up but had no idea where her destination was. She was irate. "Don't they train you people first? They shouldn't let you drive till you know where everything is," she said. Actually they did give us a little test about where points of interest like Shea Stadium were located.

When I got to New York and was looking for a job I hadn't seriously considered the taxi biz. It seemed too scary and dangerous although I had driven in Indiana the year before. I worked as a temp messenger, once pulling my little cart of business-related paperwork behind me high up into the World Trade Center, and then worked as a painter, baker, and in a couple of daycare centers, one in the Village and the other in Harlem.

When I started driving taxi it was the day shift for the month of May, then I went back to the hills of Northern California for the summer. I got tired of living off Humboldt's food stamps and Mendocino's commodities, big chunks of yellow cheese and packets of white flour, and returned to New York in September. I got a cheap place to live in a second floor walkup at 533 East 13th Street between Avenues A and B for $86 a month even though I had vowed not to live in Alphabet City which was more dangerous than the placid Westside of Lower Manhattan. In those days the city was giving away buildings on my block if you fixed them up—I remember seeing a hippie with a ponytail and a tool belt going in and out of one of the old tenements.

I drove taxi three nights on the weekends. There was a process called "shaping up" where you came into the cab company at around 1pm, signed in, and waited for a couple hours for a taxi coming in off the day shift. The cabbies sat around telling stories, putting each other on, downright lying, and insulting each other but with no real offense intended, a strange culture. They were all men except for Heather Schreiber who was forty-five and later became my roommate, along with her seven-year-old son Huggy who I recently figured out was the actor Liev Schreiber. (Heather fed her cat rice and vegetables and would chant, “Little black cat with little black paws and little black balls.” Huggy was a friendly little kid with shoulder-length blond hair under his baseball cap. His mother sent him walking across town everyday with his backpack full of books to PS. 41, the cool school in Greenwich Village.)

Driving a taxi in New York City meant cruising constantly along the avenues, then turning up the side streets to get back to an avenue where you might then be the first cabbie at the light when the arm or hand of a customer across the street went up into the air to hail you. (It got so instinctive that a pedestrian could reach up to scratch his nose or adjust his hat and I'd screech to a stop. Sometimes I would also swerve over to the curb only to be waved on by someone who wanted the more desirable Checker cab coming behind me. I drove a Dodge.) It was really all about hailing in Manhattan although the savvy veterans, the lifers, knew when the movies, etc, were getting out. I just cruised, although I would get into short lines at cabstands at fast moving locations such as Penn Station or Grand Central.

But mostly I drove for nine hours straight not even stopping to pee as you didn't want to disrupt the momentum. In the morning on a typical day I woke up in my slum apartment in the East Village, pulled on my pants and shoes, and dashed down to Thompkins Square Park a few blocks away to shoot hoops, then came back to the apartment where I drank a glass of home-made soy milk and began cooking my soy bean or black bean and sweet potato pie. When the pie was done I jumped on my bike, the Schwinn five-speed I had shipped from Indiana, or rode the subway up and across town to the cab company where I munched down while shaping up.

When it was getting time for dinner I stopped at a bodega, bought a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce, and sometimes a beer, and drove over to Grand Central or another cab stand where I could eat my scrumptious grub while waiting for a fare. Those bean pies were actually a step up from my previous lunches: sardine cream cheese mustard sandwich or the old hippie standby peanut butter and honey sandwich.

Finally I was making the big money, $40 a night for three days, $120 a week, and saving half of that, $60 a week. Friday was the big night and Saturday was almost as good. Sunday was kind of a throw away, lucky to make $40 on Sunday, no impossible. That first year driving taxi the cabbie got back 41% of the money brought in and it was supposed to go up to 43% the next year. What we did was steal or cheat the company a certain amount by driving some fares "off the meter". The first ten bucks a night I would do off the meter by making a private deal with the customer. He'd say where he wanted to go, somewhere that I quickly calculated was about a five dollar fare and I'd say, “How 'bout let's do it for four off the meter?" Those astute New Yorkers almost always agreed. It was a little stressful making these side deals which was why I got it out of the way every night at the beginning of my shift.

If we didn't turn the meter on the vacant light on the top of the cab would stay on and the roving hack inspectors could notice that the light was on while a passenger was in the back and you would be fined, about a day's pay. However, there were some tricky ways ways to turn the light off. The one I used was turning the ignition switch forward and jamming a pencil in to hold it in place. It worked well and after a while you saw all these pencil holes in the dash board. (Sometimes you would get a big fare like to New Jersey or Westchester which was worth 20 bucks or more off the meter. Once a fellow hack said he did an off-the-meter run to Philly and his taxi broke down. He broke a window, jumped on a train back to New York and reported his cab stolen. Or so he said, those cabbies were monumental bullshitters.)

Driving taxi in New York was really about driving taxi in Manhattan where the grid pattern of the city made it fast and easy to get around. I got out on the streets at around three o'clock to get in on the frantic rush hour business and then the dinner and entertainment fares. It was unfortunate to get a trip to Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx or the airport during rush hour as you had to waste all that time fighting traffic and then get back as fast as you could to Manhattan, though at the airport you could at least get in a line and get a fare. (I wrote a poem about it once, of which some of the lines were "Stuck in Brooklyn again and this time I'm running every red light to get out…Oh Manahatta, Manhattan, let me see your bright lights again, sew me in your rush-hour hem." And sometimes I did run every red light to get out.)

Normally you didn't develop personal relationships with your customers when driving taxi. I met Patricia Jambrina coming out of the TWA building one night at midnight. She was in her thirties and I was twenty. Just call me Jambrina she said. We hit it off and got to be friends somehow to the point where I'd try to pick her up every Friday night at midnight. It got a little crazy when I was in another part of town and dashing madly to get to TWA by midnight. Once she invited me up to her apartment and we smoked a joint and talked. It was a platonic relationship although she was hot in my fantasies. (I was a shy, clueless and innocent feminist and never made a move. Gore Vidal, who once said “Never pass up an opportunity to have sex or be on television,” would have been disappointed in me.)

After I'd been out in California about eight years I was doing a week at the Hippocrates Health Institute in San Diego ostensibly to try to deal with my pot addiction. It was a typical year: I was a stoned, addicted and lonely dirty hippie living in a depressing little cabin, ahh the good old days. So after harvest I went to Hippocrates, since that was all the rage those days, having no idea that their big deal was wheat grass enemas, oh how delightful. After a couple days there this woman was kind of staring at me and said she knew me. It was Jambrina. Her head was shaved as Hippocrates, I found out, was kind of a last chance cancer health stop. (I watched the 49ers and Cowboys championship game in a nearby bar till the last minute then abandoned the game to race to registration and missed seeing “The Catch.”)

After a weekend driving taxi I sometimes hitchhiked up to my grandma's house fifty miles north outside Newburgh for a few days of R+R. She rented a small apartment on the estate of the poet Hazel Brill Jackson and I got to stay in the gardener's cabin. I remember fondly the omelets she made me for breakfast with those finely cut mushrooms. When it was time to leave she'd drive me to a little mountain spring where I filled my bottles, loaded them in my Oaxacan string bags, and headed back to the city. Riding the bus across the George Washington Bridge Manhattan came into view like a vibrant sculpture and I had the great hopeful illusion that this time I would conquer the city, but that victorious feeling didn't last long and soon I was caught up in the taxi traffic flow again, dreaming of the promised land of Northern California I had discovered the previous summer: Whitethorn, Whale Gulch, and the ocean.

I didn't have famous people that I knew of in my taxi except once when I learned an important lesson from the restaurateur Toots Shor, a friend of Jackie Gleason who used to get mentions in Earl Wilson's entertainment column. Mr Shor was 85 at the time and he asked me to help him out of the taxi. I went around to the door, grabbed his arm and tried to pull him out.

"Don't pull my arm off!” he said. “Just give me an arm!"

Sometimes toward the end of my shift at around two in the morning I would smoke a joint, usually around Lexington Avenue and Sixty-first street for some reason. Boy would I see my cosmic place in the traffic pattern then with all the all the other taxi's headlights behind me and the red tail lights before me. I would invariably space out and take my customers past their buildings and have to circle back around the block, very embarrassing. (Once I got high near the end of the shift and got a fare to a bar deep into a Brooklyn ghetto with a black man. I started the conversation telling him I had just started my shift so he wouldn't think I had much money on me and not worth robbing. There was a thick plexiglas partition between driver and passenger but nothing preventing someone from putting a gun to the driver's side window.

We had a nice conversation across the Brooklyn Bridge and I was feeling bad that in my stoned paranoia and racism I had started off an interaction with a fellow human being by telling a lie. By the time we got to the bar on some deserted dark street I decided to make amends by going in with him for a drink. Inside were all black people except for one sketchy-looking white dude. I drank my beer and left unscathed, stopping at then running every red light back to Manhattan.)

I drove with my little map to the side of me and when I was told the destination I'd take off as if I knew where to go. Generally I did but at the next red light I'd surreptitiously scan thru the map to get the specifics, thinking that if I didn't have to ask the customer I'd get a better tip. In reality they usually told me how to get there and it probably didn't affect the tip. I was the hippy bamboo flute boy playing in the acoustical subway stations, in the taxi at red lights (only once was I told to stop), and stopping to jam in Washington Square Park and share a joint at four in the morning on my bike ride home to the Lower East Side from the West 49th street taxi company.

The cabbies ruled the streets, we drove as fast as possible breaking all the rules. For example while waiting to make an unprotected left turn at a light we always anticipated the coming green light and turned first before the oncoming traffic got their green. We just did it, part of the game to save a few seconds. Once I tried to make fourteen green lights on Park Avenue, around ten was the norm, and it was the only time a fare told me to slow down.

There were these Puerto Rican guys in my building, on my block, who liked to hassle me. (Did they know I was fantasizing about "their" women?) They would make unreasonable requests like "lemme drive your taxi" and when I didn't they kicked out the tail-lights. Once I was letting an Englishman stay over when Angel and his friend came by. They forced their way in and dumped the okara (soybean pulp left over from straining soy milk) on the floor. I was just putting mustard on one of my sardine cream cheese sandwiches and chased them outside with the mustard knife still in my hand. Quickly a crowd formed and the biggest Puerto Rican guy came over and punched me in the neck.

“Go home,” he said. Home? Where was that?

I decided to leave the neighborhood and arranged to move in with Heather and Huggy at the corner of First and First. I loaded a taxi with my stuff and as I got into the cab Angel came up and kicked me in the ass. Yes, grammar police, I was literally kicked out of my neighborhood.

I remember the Christmas tears driving during the holiday season, watching the happy groups of carolers, then behind the wheel on Christmas Day trying to sing a few myself. After that there were the accidents and soon I couldn't drive at all, fired.

Within the month I was on the road back to California, never to return.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, February 1, 2020

Agisotelis, Barrera, Bjorklund

MARK AGISOTELIS, Willits. Domestic battery.

HUGO BARRERA, Ukiah. Burglary, robbery, kidnapping, domestic abuse, DUI, damaging wireless communications device.

RAFE BJORKLUND, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

Bono, Casey, Christensen

CHRISTIAN BONO, Rockland/Gualala. Domestic abuse.

KYLER CASEY, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

KURT CHRISTENSEN, Willits. DUI.

Cogburn, Drosihn, Evans

JEFFREY COGBURN, Dos Rios. DUI.

MICHAEL DROSIHN, Novato/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, pot sales.

ANTHONY EVANS, Chester/Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Flinton, Gist, Jackson

SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

SKYLER GIST, Mendocino. Probation revocation.

JORDAN JACKSON, Ukiah. DUI.

Johnston, Owens, Pickett

MARTIN JOHNSTON, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.

WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

OHAROLD PICKETT JR., Jacksonville, South Carolina/Willits. Controlled substance, resisting.

Jose Dejesus Reynoso, Jose Delatorre Reynoso, Ronco

JOSE DEJESUS REYNOSO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSE DELATORRE REYNOSO, Ukiah. DUI.

AUSTIN RONCO, Willits. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.

Straight, Vanhorn, Vassar

GARRETT STRAIGHT, Covelo. Pot cultivation and illegal diversion of water, armed with firearm in commission of felony, possession of firearm after misdemeanor conviction.

NICHOLAS VANHORN, Caspar. Parole violation.

RUSTI VASSAR, Ukiah. Grand theft-vehicle with enhancements, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, burglary, child abandonment/neglect, willfully omiting to furnish necessary clothing, food, shelter, medical or remedial care for child, DUI.

* * *

STEALING

Editor,

Social Security is the most blatant theft of wealth from the participants. When my employer and I were paying the Social Security taxes, the over-the-year average of the price of an ounce of gold was $110.50. The price of an ounce of gold is now at $1,572.60. That means that each tax dollar going to my account was worth more than 16 times the value of each dollar I now receive. If the government didn’t want to steal from me, they would index the payout to the value of gold to make the Social Security value stable through the many years of the progressive devaluation of the dollar.

If the payout to me had been indexed to the value of gold, my monthly remuneration would be $21,000 instead of $1,500. That would honor the deal made with the Social Security Administration when I entered the workforce and significantly improve my retirement experience.

Our country’s foreign aid has made billionaires out of tyrants and despots all over the world without any consideration for the well-being of their people or assistance to the aging taxpayers now receiving, greatly reduced in value, Social Security “benefits.”

Kenneth Larsen

Santa Rosa

* * *

TRY TACKLING THIS GUY!

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

This impeachment is as oriented to reality as were the rituals of ancient Egyptian necromancers. This is an exercise in avoidance, procrastination in the very best case, in the worst case a smoke-screen of the sort they’ve been using now for decades.

So much urgency in the faces and manner of Pelosi and Shumer and Warner, so much stress in their voices, as if world-shaking issues were at stake, as if the lives of millions hang in the balance. But it’s a farce, an empty proceeding, irrelevant to the material issues affecting the polity.

No matter the deepest injustice felt by Gore and Kerry and Romney and Hillary who feel they’ve been robbed of their rightful place by imposters – an alcoholic frat-boy, an empty-suit, an outright fraud – the elections aren’t getting re-done and Trump isn’t going anywhere.

Romney has waking nightmares? Hillary has PTSD? Gore and Kerry are irrelevancies and nobody aside from a coterie of Clinton hangers-on plus Never-Trumpers still wearing black, give a shit. Oh, life isn’t fair? That’s right, it isn’t.

This is a long way of saying that these idiots in Congress are wasting valuable time.

* * *

FOR JIM LEHRER, DEAD AT 85.

Lehrer, MacNeil

The Tedium Twins

Tonight: Are there two sides to every question? Back to you, Jim.

by Alexander Cockburn (1982)

Robert Macneil (voice over): A Galilean preacher claims he is the Redeemer and says the poor are blessed. Should he be crucified?

(Titles)

Macneil: Good evening. The Roman procurator in Jerusalem is trying to decide whether a man regarded by many as a saint should be put to death. Pontius Pilate is being urged by civil libertarians to intervene in what is seen here in Rome as being basically a local dispute. Tonight, the crucifixion debate. Jim?

Jim Lehrer: Robin, the provinces of Judaea and Galilee have always been trouble spots, and this year is no exception. The problem is part religious, part political, and in many ways a mixture of both. The Jews believe in one god. Discontent in the province has been growing, with many local businessmen complaining about the tax burden. Terrorism, particularly in Galilee, has been on the increase. In recent months, a carpenter’s son from the town of Nazareth has been attracting a large following with novel doctrines and faith healing. He recently entered Jerusalem amid popular acclaim, but influential Jewish leaders fear his power. Here in Alexandria the situation is seen as dangerous. Robin?

Macneil: Recently in Jerusalem on a fact-finding mission for the Emperor’s Emergency Task Force on Provincial Disorders was Quintilius Maximus. Mr. Maximus, how do you see the situation?

Maximus: Robin, I had occasion to hear one of this preacher’s sermons a few months ago and talk with his aides. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a threat to peace and should be crucified.

Macneil: Pontius Pilate should wash his hands of the problem?

Maximus: Absolutely.

Macneil: I see. Thank you. Jim?

Lehrer: Now for a view from Mr. Simon, otherwise known as Peter. He is a supporter of Christ and has been standing by in a Jerusalem studio. Robin?

Macneil: Mr. Simon Peter, why do you support Christ?

Simon Peter: He is the Son of God and presages the Second Coming. If I may, I would like to read some relevant passages from the prophet Isaiah.

Macneil: Thank you, but I’m afraid we’ll have to break in there. We’ve run out of time. Good night, Jim.

Lehrer: Good night, Robin.

Macneil: Sleep well, Jim.

Lehrer: I hope you sleep well, too, Robin.

Macneil: I think I will. Well, good night again, Jim.

Lehrer: Good night, Robin.

Macneil: We’ll be back again tomorrow night. I’m Robert MacNeil. Good night.


Admirers of the “MacNeil/Lehrer Report”—and there are many of them—often talk about it in terms normally reserved for unpalatable but nutritious breakfast foods: unalluring, perhaps, to the frivolous news consumer, but packed full of fiber. It is commended as the sort of news analysis a serious citizen, duly weighing the pros and cons of world history, would wish to masticate before a thoughtful browse through the Federalist Papers, a chat with spouse about civic duties incumbent on them on the morrow, and final blameless repose.

The promotional material for the “Report” has a tone of reverence of the sort usually employed by people reading guidebooks to each other in a French cathedral: “The week-nightly newscast’s unique mix of information, expert opinion, and debate has foreshadowed an industry trend toward longer and more detailed coverage, while at the same time helping to reveal a growing public appetite, for informational television. Nearly 4.5 million viewers watch the ‘MacNeil/Lehrer Report’ each night during the prime viewing season.?…”

“A program with meat on its bones,” said the Association for Continuing Higher Education, in presenting its 1981 Leadership Award. “The ‘MacNeil/Lehrer Report’ goes beyond the commercial networks’ rushed recital of news to bring us in-depth coverage of single issues.…. There is a concern for ideas rather than video images … and they accord us the unusual media compliment of not telling us what to think, but allowing us to draw our own conclusions after we weigh conflicting views.”

And the handout concludes in triumph with some findings from a 1980 Roper poll: “Three quarters of those polled said they had discovered pros and cons on issues on which they had not had opinions beforehand.”


Robert Macneil (voice over): Should one man own another?

(Titles)

Macneil: Good evening. The problem is as old as man himself. Do property rights extend to the absolute ownership of one man by another? Tonight, the slavery problem. Jim?

Lehrer: Robin, advocates of the continuing system of slavery argue that the practice has brought unparalleled benefits to the economy. They fear that new regulations being urged by reformers would undercut America’s economic effectiveness abroad. Reformers, on the other hand, call for legally binding standards and even for a phased reduction in the slave force to something like 75 percent of its present size. Charlayne Hunter-Gault is in Charleston. Charlayne?

Hunter-Gault: Robin and Jim, I have here in Charleston Mr. Ginn, head of the Cottongrowers Association. Robin?

Macneil: Mr. Ginn, what are the arguments for unregulated slavery?

Ginn: Robin, our economic data show that attempts at regulation of working hours, slave quarters, and so forth would reduce productivity and indeed would be widely resented by the slaves themselves.

Macneil: You mean, the slaves would not like new regulations? They would resent them?

Ginn: Exactly. Any curbing of the slave trade would offer the Tsar dangerous political opportunities in western Africa, and menace the strategic slave-ship routes.

Lehrer: Thank you, Mr. Ginn. Robin?

Macneil: Thank you, Mr. Ginn and Jim. The secretary of the Committee for Regulatory Reform in Slavery is Eric Halfmeasure. Mr. Halfmeasure, give us the other side of the story.

Halfmeasure: Robin, I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. We are wholeheartedly in favor of slavery. We just see abuses that diminish productivity and reduce incentives for free men and women to compete in the marketplace. Lynching, tarring and feathering, rape, lack of holidays, and that sort of thing. One recent study suggests that regulation could raise productivity by 15 percent.

Macneil: I see. Thank you, Mr. Halfmeasure. Mr. Ginn?

Ginn: Our studies show the opposite.

Macneil: Jim?

Lehrer: Charlayne?

Hunter-Gault: A few critics of slavery argue that it should be abolished outright. One of them is Mr. Wilberforce. Mr. Wilberforce, why abolish slavery?

Wilberforce: It is immoral for one man …

Macneil: Mr. Wilberforce, we’re running out of time, I’m afraid. Let me very quickly get some other points of view. Mr. Ginn, you think slavery is good?

Ginn: Yes.

Macneil: And you, Mr. Halfmeasure, think it should be regulated.

Halfmeasure: Yes.

Macneil: Well, I’ve got you to disagree, haven’t I? (Laughter) That’s all we’ve got time for tonight. Good night, Jim.

Lehrer: Good night, Robin.

Macneil: Did you sleep well last night?

Lehrer: I did, thank you.

Macneil: That’s good. So did I. We’ll be back again tomorrow night. I’m Robert MacNeil. Good night.


The “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” started in October 1975, in the aftermath of Watergate. It was a show dedicated to the proposition that there are two sides to every question, a valuable corrective in a period when the American people had finally decided that there were absolutely and definitely not two sides to every question. Nixon was a crook who had rightly been driven from office; corporations were often headed by crooks who carried hot money around in suitcases; federal officials were crooks who broke the law on the say-so of the president.

It was a dangerous moment, for a citizenry suddenly imbued with the notion that there is not only a thesis and antithesis, but also a synthesis, is a citizenry capable of all manner of harm to the harmonious motions of the status quo.

Thus came the “MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” sponsored by public-television funds and by the most powerful corporate forces in America, in the form of Exxon, “AT&T and the Bell System,” and other upstanding bodies. Back to Sunday school went the excited viewers, to be instructed that reality, as conveyed to them by television, is not an exciting affair of crooked businessmen and lying politicians but a serious continuum in which parties may disagree but in which all involved are struggling manfully and disinterestedly for the public weal.

The narcotizing, humorless properties of the “MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” familiar to anyone who has felt fatigue creep over him at 7:40 Eastern time, are crucial to the show. Tedium is of the essence, since the all-but-conscious design of the program is to project vacuous dithering (“And now, for another view of Hitler…”) into the mind of the viewer, until he is properly convinced that there is not one answer to “the problem,” but two or even three, and that since two answers are no better than none, he might as well not bother with the problem at all.

The techniques employed by the show enhance this distancing and anesthetizing. The recipe is unvarying. MacNeil and Lehrer exchange modest gobbets of information with each other about the topic under discussion. Then, with MacNeil crouching—rather like Kermit the Frog in old age—down to the left and peering up, a huge face appears on the screen and discussion is under way. The slightest discommoding exchange, some intemperate observation on the part of the interviewee, causes MacNeil to bat the ball hastily down to Washington, where Lehrer sedately sits with his interviewee. By fits and starts, with Jim batting back to Robin and Robin batting across to Charlayne, the program lurches along. The antagonists are rarely permitted to joust with one another and ideally are sequestered on their large screens. Sometimes, near the end of the show, the camera will reveal that these supposed antagonists are in fact sitting chummily, shoulder to shoulder, around the same table as Lehrer—thus indicating to the viewer that, while opinions may differ, all are united in general decency of purpose. Toward the very end, MacNeil’s true role becomes increasingly exposed as he desperately tries to suppress debate and substantive argument, with volley after volley of “We’re nearly out of time,” “Congressman, in ten seconds could you . …,” and the final, relieved “That’s all for tonight.”

It’s even important that MacNeil and Lehrer say good night to each other so politely every evening. In that final, sedate nocturnal exchange everything is finally resolved, even though nothing has been resolved. We can all go to bed now.

And so to bed we go. The pretense is that viewers, duly presented with both sides of the case, will spend the next segment of the evening weighing the pro against the con and coming up with the answer. It is, in fact, enormously difficult to recall anything that anyone has ever said on a “MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” because the point has been to demonstrate that since everything can be contradicted, nothing may be worth remembering. The show praised above all others for content derives its attraction entirely from form: the unvarying illustration that if one man can be found to argue that cannibalism is bad, another can be found to argue that it is not.

Actually, this is an overstatement. “MacNeil/Lehrer” hates such violent extremes, and, by careful selection of the show’s participants, the show tries to make sure that the viewer will not be perturbed by any views overly critical of the political and business establishment.


Robert Macneil (voice over): Should one man eat another?

(Titles)

Macneil: Good evening. Reports from the Donner Pass indicate that survivors fed upon their companions. Tonight, should cannibalism be regulated? Jim?

Lehrer: Robin, the debate pits two diametrically opposed sides against each other: the Human Meat-eaters Association, who favor a free market in human flesh, and their regulatory opponents in Congress and the consumer movement. Robin?

Macneil: Mr. Tooth, why eat human flesh?

Tooth: Robin, it is full of protein and delicious too. Without human meat, our pioneers would be unable to explore the West properly. This would present an inviting opportunity to the French, who menace our pioneer routes from the north.

Macneil: Thank you. Jim?

Lehrer: Now for another view of cannibalism. Bertram Brussell Sprout is leading the fight to control the eating of animal fats and meats. Mr. Sprout, would you include human flesh in this proposed regulation?

Sprout: Most certainly, Jim. Our studies show that some human flesh available for sale to the public is maggot-ridden, improperly cut, and often incorrectly graded. We think the public should be protected from such abuses.

Macneil: Some say it is wrong to eat human flesh at all. Mr. Prodnose, give us this point of view.

Prodnose: Robin, eating people is wrong. We say …

Macneil: I’m afraid we’re out of time. Good night, Jim, etc., etc.


Trudging back through the “MacNeil/Lehrer” scripts, the hardy reader will soon observe how extraordinarily narrow is the range of opinion canvassed by a show dedicated to dispassionate examination of the issues of the day. The favored blend is usually a couple of congressmen or senators, barking at each other from either side of the fence, corporate chieftains, government executives, ranking lobbyists, and the odd foreign statesman. The mix is ludicrously respectable, almost always heavily establishment in tone. Official spokesmen of trade and interest groups are preferred over people who only have something interesting to say.

This constriction of viewpoint is particularly conspicuous in the case of energy, an issue dear to the “MacNeil/Lehrer Report.” “Economics of Nuclear Power,” for example, was screened on November 25, 1980, and purported to examine why a large number of nuclear utilities were teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Mustered to ponder the issue we had the following rich and varied banquet: the president of the Virginia Electric and Power Company; the vice president (for nuclear operations) of Commonwealth Edison of Chicago; a vice president (responsible for scrutinizing utility investments) at Paine Webber; and the president of the Atomic Industrial Forum. The viewers of “MacNeil/Lehrer” did not, you may correctly surmise, hear much critical opinion about nuclear power on that particular evening.

On May 1, 1981, the “Report” examined “the problems and prospects of getting even more oil out of our ground.” Participants in the discussion about oil glut included some independent oil drillers, and “experts” from Merrill Lynch, Phillips Petroleum Company, and the Rand Corporation.

At least on May 1 the viewers had more than one person saying the same thing (“regulation is bad”). On March 27 they were invited to consider the plans of the Reagan administration for a rebuilt navy. The inquiring citizen was offered a trip around the battleship Iowa in the company of MacNeil, and an extremely meek interview, conducted by both MacNeil and Lehrer, of the Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman. No dissenting views were allowed to intrude, beyond the deferential inquiries of MacNeil and Lehrer, both of whom, it should be said, are very bad interviewers, usually ignorant and always timid. By contrast, Ted Koppel of ABC’s “Nightline”—a far better show, covering the same sort of turf—is a veritable tiger in interrogatory technique.

The spectrum of opinion thus offered is one that ranges from the corporate right to cautious center-liberal. One should not be misled, by the theatrical diversity of views deployed on the program, into thinking that a genuinely wide spectrum of opinion is permitted. Moldering piles of “MacNeil/Lehrer” transcripts before me on my desk attest to the fact.

There is a decided aversion to storytelling, the sodden addiction to the mundane, that produced “MacNeil/Lehrer.” Like an Exocet missile, MacNeil can spot a cliche, a patch of ennui, and home in on it with dreadful speed.

This is the mind-set behind “MacNeil/Lehrer,”: “I have my own instinctive aversion to being snowed,” MacNeil writes. “The more I hear everyone telling me that some public person is wonderful, the more I ask myself, Can he really be all that wonderful? Conversely [for MacNeil there is always a “conversely” poking its head round the door], I never believe anyone can be quite as consistently terrible as his reputation.”

Hitler? Attila the Hun? Pol Pot? Nixon? John D. Rockefeller? I’m afraid that’s all we have time for tonight. We’re out of time. Good night.

* * *

* * *

ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE FEBRUARY 2020

We are a locally inspired and managed non-profit organization. Our mission is to help older adults remain active, connected, and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community.

See what's new in the valley. AV Village Update: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events

We currently have 54 members and 33 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand. Thank you! Discounts!

Special rate for AV Villages members: Redwood Taxi is giving us a 50Â discount at $3 per mile instead of $3.50 if you mention you are an AVV Member! With the discount, a trip from Ukiah to Boonville will cost about $60. They run 24/7 throughout the county Call (707) 462-9000.

Also, check out Silver Sneakers for possible free gym membership through medicare; there are a couple of participating gyms in Ukiah with classes for seniors. Interested in carpooling to classes? Let us know.


Feedback from the AV Village & Community Members From November 2019’s PSPS

What Worked?

What’s needed?

Communication:

KZYX Radio Station provided information at the top of the hour w/Ted Williams /Mendocino Voice/ shared info: open businesses, where to get gas etc. AVV web site: provide info on locations w/ gas and groceries sites

Preparation:

Rechargeable batteries

80 lbs of ice — then a generator

Portable radio- battery. crank, solar, AC, w/ USB port to charge items, flashlight

Generator shared between two houses- freezer, fridge, Internet, cell phones

Gas Stove

Heat (not from a wood stove)

Have hub sites with generators, food, information, social opportunities:

Fire House, Senior Center, Grange, Fairgrounds,

Locations to get water: Heidi

Neighbor to neighbor support — sharing a generator, resources, checking in on vulnerable neighbors,

Patrick McClure can set up generators, back-up batteries, solar lamps

Prepare appliances for use w/ generators, suitcase generators, fire alarm/extinguish/vent

Support:

Community support

My generous neighbor with a generator

Businesses offering charging

Neighbors checking in on vulnerable neighbors alone

AV Health Center provided generator to charge medical equipment

AV Market had “personal shopper” support,

*Set evacuation and communication plans for self and family members, with back up plans and contact people designated given limited/no phone/cell service etc.

*MAC — Municipal Advisory Committee or hub established in each town:

Navarro, Philo, Boonville, Yorkville

AV Village Support:

Connected/prepared community for disaster with volunteers, community members,

Held a meeting prior and during emergency,

If I was without my ingenious husband, I would have called the Village and/or neighbors for help.

Ask for volunteers with experience setting up generators, Tom Toohey, Pat McClure — generator set up

Create a FAQ from the Fire Chief with the following questions:

Is it safe to use a wood burning stove before it rains? What are the guidelines for safe generator use?

Organize a soup kitchen at the AV Senior Center for daily food.

“Informal” Emergency Preparedness Committee: Corey —Fairgrounds, Philip — Senior Center, Health Center — Heidi, Grange — DPP, AVUSD, Steph, Fire Dept. Paul

What didn’t Work?

No water, No Internet. No hot water. No lights. No 911

Info from PG&E was inaccurate

C-PAP machine

* * *

CORPORATIST DCCC WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO TAKE DOWN CENK UYGUR

16 Comments

  1. Eric Sunswheat February 2, 2020

    It’s all about billionaire big pharma supported autocrats instilling hysteria quarantines fear distraction, to further round out their dominion domination.

    ———> January 31, 2020, Preclinical studies of remdesivir and an older compound known as NHC indicate both are broadly capable of countering “every bat and human and animal coronavirus we’ve tested,” said Mark Denison, director of infectious diseases and a pediatrics professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

    Denison and colleagues used a National Institutes of Health grant to screen compounds that are capable of thwarting a broad range of coronaviruses. Their five-year study found two — remdesivir and NHC — seem to block virus replication by interfering with their ability to correctly copy their genetic material.

    Their studies found both are promising therapies for infections caused by SARS, mouse hepatitis virus, and bat coronaviruses, Denison said in a phone interview. He said he predicts they will also be effective against 2019-nCoV, possibly as a dual therapy to both prevent and treat disease.

    Combinations of antiviral treatments have shown to be effective at suppressing HIV while avoiding the emergence of drug-resistant strains.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-01/coronavirus-case-treated-with-gilead-drug-may-spur-wider-tests

  2. Marshall Newman February 2, 2020

    Re: Online comment of the day. Definitely NOT an empty proceeding or a farce. Rather an important proceeding mandated by our Constitution, but one that was sabotaged by the Republican Party for its own selfish purposes. President Trump is right about one thing: someone “has not yet paid the price for Impeachment.” That someone is the Republican Party, specifically Republican Senators. Every last one of them should be voted out of office as punishment for their putting party above country, and the Impeachment trial travesty they foisted on the American people.

    • George Hollister February 2, 2020

      There are somethings that never change. Congress is one of them. Look at what Mark Twain was saying about Congress 150 years ago:

      http://www.twainquotes.com/Congress.html

      The best case for federalism is the US Congress.

      • Marshall Newman February 2, 2020

        Twain’s jests are pointed. They also are jests.

        • George Hollister February 2, 2020

          I don’t think anyone, at the time, was going to disagree, and he was thought to be funny. Same as today.

  3. James Marmon February 2, 2020

    Most non-thinkers gauge the Schraeder’s effectiveness in providing Mental Health services by her children’s system of care. The County has been helping her build that infrastructure for over 20 years now, that’s why it works.

    For thinkers, In the years prior to privatization Angelo completely dismantled the adult system of care infrastructure. Ortner was brought in to do the heavy lift and was mischaracterized as the bad guy by local press and eventually quit. The Schraeders came in and took over where Ortner left off in 2016. Currently, they are using the same sub-contractors that Ortner contracted with, and have done absolutely nothing to improve the adult system since the day they took it over, as evidenced by the increase in Crisis situations and hospitalizations.

    James Marmon MSW

  4. John Sakowicz February 2, 2020

    02/02/2020

    Today, Sunday, is shaping up to be a unique day for reasons other than the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day: It’s also a rare palindrome.

    While various forms of palindrome dates are fairly common, 02/02/2020 has the unique distinction of reading the same backward and forward when written out in eight digits in multiple date systems.

    For starters, it’s an eight-digit palindrome: 02022020. Many palindrome dates are only symmetrical if you write the date with seven digits (1-10-2011) — or in some cases even fewer (9-10-19).

    But even more rare is that Sunday’s date is an international palindrome: It works whether you write the date as “Month/Day/Year” or “Day/Month/Year,” as many countries do.

    Such dates are called “ubiquitous palindromes,” and there won’t be another one for 101 years. After that, you’ll have to wait until March 3, 3030.

    The last such palindrome date to occur was 11/11/1111 – more than 900 years ago.

    Happy Super Bowl Sunday! Go 49ners!

    John Sakowicz, Candidate, Mendocino County 1st District Supervisor

    • Mark Scaramella February 2, 2020

      Oh yeah? I can top that! I graduated high school in the last upside down year!

  5. Harvey Reading February 2, 2020

    STEALING

    Typical conservative (fascist) hokum of the sort spewed by “both” parties. And, screw the “gold standard”. Cut the military budget and move the savings to the Social Security Trust Fund, which has been raided for decades to pay for wars based entirely on lies.

  6. michael turner February 2, 2020

    If Dr. Miller continues practicing in the community he will come to rue some of his unqualified assertions, as the reality of working in an Adventist system is quite different from that which is promised. Several of the “advantages” he cites are simply untrue. The Adventist hegemony in Ukiah has not resulted in better physician retainment and recruitment, in fact it’s much the opposite. The quality of specialty care was far better fifteen years ago than it is today. And there’s no basis to predict that “patient and visitor experience” will improve. Dr. Miller seems to accept these corporate talking points uncritically. And the reader should be on guard any time a writer extols the benefits of “economies of scale”, one of the more pernicious euphemisms of our time. Furthermore, real concerns about the ill-effects a faith-based organization can have on a community (particularly this faith-based organization) should not be so easily dismissed. Ultimately, Dr Miller’s letter advances the inevitability of a complete Adventist takeover of health care in Mendocino County ; he owes us a follow-up report after he’s worked for them for a few years. Michael Turner MD

    • Joanie Stevens February 2, 2020

      exactly – Thank you Dr. Turner

  7. George Hollister February 2, 2020

    “UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. Back in 2016 when the Anderson Valley Community Services District surveyed a couple dozen local residential wells in downtown Boonville, they found elevated levels of nitrates and coliform.

    UP went the costs for the local businesses. Simply on the basis of those original, innocent-seeming surveys local businesses and organizations now have to pay several thousand dollars more per year for monthly sampling and testing, the results of which must be sent to the state’s Regional Water Quality Board in Santa Rosa. Even though there was no indication of any contamination in water being used or served, the state compelled the much larger fees based on the state’s mysterious, arbitrary calculations.”

    Mark, The first lesson to learn here is they don’t care.

  8. George Hollister February 2, 2020

    PREDATOR OPTIONS

    Good letter by Kyle Farmer. I noted the paragraph toward the end about the myth of “non-lethal” predator control:

    “Let me tell you this much: In the neighboring counties where urban lawyers have successfully suspended Wildlife Services, animals are still dying.”

    • Harvey Reading February 2, 2020

      We need to stop subsidizing marginal livestock farmers, get livestock completely off public lands and dismantle Wildlife Services. I prefer predators to sheep and cattle and marginal livestock farmers who are too lazy to keep a close eye on their stock. Good herders would be out guarding their beasts at night, not depending on public subsidies. Besides, demand for lamb and mutton has been declining for decades.

  9. Craig Stehr February 2, 2020

    Has anyone seen him?

    Free Old Man

    His original way
    Is plain and simple
    Not caught up in things
    He preaches the Dharma
    At liquor stores
    And fish shops
    He pays no attention
    To sacred rituals
    Or secular conversations
    Thick white eyebrows
    In his old age
    Signs of enlightenment.

    Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

  10. Eric Sunswheat February 2, 2020

    RE: After I’d been out in California about eight years I was doing a week at the Hippocrates Health Institute in San Diego ostensibly to try to deal with my pot addiction… having no idea that their big deal was wheat grass enemas,… kind of a last chance cancer health stop.

    ———->. 6 Oct, 2011
    The marketing of wheatgrass as one of nature’s “superfoods” is all hype, a New Zealand food magazine has claimed…

    In the latest Taste magazine, health writer Shiree Schumacher says claims made by some New Zealand juice bars that one 30ml shot of wheatgrass is nutritionally equivalent to 1kg to 2kg of vegetables are “simply not true” and based on outdated research.

    “If you’re relying on wheatgrass as your sole source of greens, it’s not only costing you money, you’re also selling yourself short in the nutrition department.”…

    “That’s not to say wheatgrass doesn’t contain some good things – the juice is known to have an array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, for instance. But its nutritional profile is often lower than many common vegetables.”

    Two kilograms of peas provided 260 times the amount of vitamin C of a 30 ml shot of wheatgrass, Schumacher said.
    Dr Chris Reynolds, medical director for Australasian distributor Dr Wheatgrass, agreed the plant suffered from false marketing.

    He had spent 16 years researching its healing properties and said: “I have to say the myths regarding its nutritional content are just that – myths. But this doesn’t mean to say that wheatgrass doesn’t work in other ways and for other reasons.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10756871

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    What is the most important plant in the world? In terms of nutritive content, function within the ecosystem, and even medicinal properties, the answer to this question may very well be grass.

    In this wide-ranging survey of grass forages and pastureland, Charles Walters makes the case that grass is not just for cows and horses — that in fact it is the most nutritious food produced by nature, as well as the ultimate soil conditioner.

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    A must-read for anyone interested in sustainable, bio-correct agriculture, this information-packed volume is a comprehensive look at an essential family of plants.
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