- No Sierra Nevada Festival
- Remembering Jeff Costello
- The Willits Perspective
- It's Real
- And Counting…
- Affiliation Is Crucial
- For Whom The Phone Rings
- Ups & Downs
NO SIERRA NEVADA FESTIVAL
Dear SNWMF Family:
We hope your year will be rewarding, even despite the turmoils of our times.
We have struggled for many months now to make tough decisions about the future of SNWMF, but have been forced to again conclude we cannot adequately present it this year. Time has flown, and despite great effort to move 2020 forward, we just are not at a point where we can do so.
Our founder and guiding light Warren Smith’s health will not allow him to put in the time and energy required to pull together the “best fest in the West” as we have always aimed to present it. He is at home, relatively stable, but it is a very challenging situation requiring constant attention and too unpredictable for us to commit to all the many months required.
Epiphany Artists has always been a very small team. We have conferred with veterans of our and other festivals, including exploring possible new partnerships and/or a smaller event, but have been forced to this sad
conclusion. It is one which Warren fully supports and in fact proposed some time ago - although all of us have hoped against hope to still be able to pull everything together.
As we noted last year, nobody wishes for SNWMF to continue more than we do - for 25 years it was a joyful and proud highlight of our lives - truly a labor of love and music. But alas, we cannot in good conscience or health put on an inferior version of the festival, even though we still so wish to gather in June and see you all.
We trust and hope you understand this difficult decision. Your support and patience thus far has meant the world to us. We will keep our website, phorum and Facebook pages open for the community to continue to be in touch. While we hope to return in 2021, we cannot with confidence say yet if that will be the case, based on what has happened this year. But we will think, hope, and act with as much positivity as we can. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and blessings to all.
Yours in music and unity,
With great respect,
Gretchen Franz Smith for Epiphany Artists
REMEMBERING JEFF COSTELLO
I just got my January 15 AVA and read “The Night of the Apocalypse.” I love reading your stuff, especially like your renaming people talent, but what prompted me to write this is the memory it brought back of where I was that last day of 1999.
I was hanging out in my Waikiki condo with not much to do, so I wrote Y2K. It’s a song to the tune of an old sixties hit that goes, “Each night I ask the stars up above/ why must I be a teenager in love.” I forget who sang it, but I might remember before I finish this.
My refrain goes, “Each night I ask the beer in my mug/why must I be afraid of Millennium Bug.” That’s about all I remember, so I went to my song collection and couldn’t find it. I was wondering if it was ever in the AVA, so I looked through my yellow pile of old AVA’s that go back into the 20th Century to 1988. I even found a Mendocino Grapevine from 1976 with a piece I wrote called Tai Chi: The Chinese Cure for Slouching. I used to loved doing tai chi barefoot.
Then I recalled that Jeff Costello came to visit for a few days back then. Not really sure, but I think it was just days before Y2K. Ido remember he had his Fender guitar, and my son had given me a tape recorder for Christmas, so I talked him into accompanying me on his guitar while I sang a few of my songs. I happen to have the tape stored somewhere in this house, which means it’s possible I could hear it and digitize it. Of course all I have is DVD and VCR machines, and I recall it being the small 20th century kind of tape.
Anyhow, now I feel like writing about Jeff who, as you know, died last year of throat cancer. He’s been a friend ever since he showed up at Gate 6 in Sausalito in 1971 to play lead guitar with The RedLegs, the local rock n’ roll band. He soon hooked up with Maggie Catfish, the “chick singer,” and they had two kids, Annie and Jake.
The bad news was he got into coke aka cocaine, and became a serious addict. In fact, he inherited $20K from an aunt and spent a lot of it on the drug. He also gave a hunk of it to Joe Tate, the band leader, to spend on his boat, the Richmond, with plans to sail with the band down to Costa Rica and then to Hawaii.
Joe eventually made that trip, but without Maggie and Jeff because Tate didn’t want any kids along. At some point I went to visit Maggie sometime after she broke up with Jeff. She was anchored out on her boat, don’t recall the name. I had been living in the Mendocino Hills near Willits, but would return to the waterfront on occasion to catch up with old friends. She was cooking something in the galley while we chatted. I picked a book from a small bookshelf, and as I was leafing through it I found a few twenties. I waved them at Maggie and her eyes lit up.
“Oh, Gibbons,” she exclaimed, “I wondered what happened to that money.”
She then told me those few bills were all that was left of the money Jeff inherited from his aunt. She said he didn’t even buy the kids new shoes. He had spent most of it on drugs and restoring Joe Tate’s boat.
I also found in my old pile of newspapers, the AVA’s Special Edition of Jeff’s waterfront story, The Redleg Boogie Blues: A Memoir of the Sixties. It’s a really good read about life on the waterfront during mostly the early seventies, because as Jeff said, “Thesixties lasted until 1973.”
Back in the mid-nineties Jeff came to visit. I showed him some of my articles in the AVA and he liked the paper and wanted to write about his days on the waterfront. He knew I had written a weekly column for The Willits News, and asked me for some advice on how to write. Said he never really wrote much but letters and songs.
“Just write like you’re telling a story. Just like you talk,” was about all the advice I had to share.
I introduced him to editor Bruce Anderson, and before I knew it he was spending several days in Boonville writing his story. The Special Edition came out in October, 1997. Too bad it was never a book because it wouldn’t smell so bad. I believe it is still on the AVA website with Mendocino Noir, The Mendocino Papers, and Behind the Green Curtain. All must reads for anyone living in Northern California.
I could go on about my times hanging out with Jeff, but some of my favorite memories don’t make either of us look that good. What he used to say about himself and the Redlegs I also think applies to me: We have The Built-in Failure Factor.
THE WILLITS PERSPECTIVE
Reading Paul Gullixon's column in the Press Democrat the other day I was reminded again that there must be one hell of a lot of people who are much smarter than I am. Perhaps millions. Yes, I have a head full of useless information, new ideas, and the ability to solve problems. Gringos are struggling to find answers to problems I have already solved. Add a $1 bill to all of the above and you can get a back issue of the ACA at the Book Juggler!
Maybe a dose of education would help me. Let's see. Since 1935 I have read 3,000 books, starting with "A Child's Garden of Verses," "In summer it’s just the other way — we have to go to bed by day." I have read The New Yorker each week for the past 60 years. I've found the fiction by Indian and Irish writers readable, the rest of the fiction is the shits. Due to poor editing, most articles are 30% to long.
I am now listening to three or four audio books from the Library of Congress each week. Has any of this made me any smarter? Hell no! It isn't even worth a pitcher of warm piss.
I would like to know why Asians are usually at the top of their graduating class? I assign this question to Scaramella and I’m anxiously waiting for an answer. Asians seem to have more than their share of the smart people.
Now for each of us not so smart folks there must be an equal number of dumb, ignorant and stupid people out there. How should they be dealt with? As Bill Bryson likes to say, "Place your hand under the elbow and gently lead them out to a concentration camp in Sikang Province, western China where they will be re-educated along with the Chinese Muslims.
Who wins the 2020 el Stupido Gringo award? It's Mike Bloomberg! Mike has been running 30-second ads during NFL games. How about them Niners? Wedged between other 3 second ads. The caption reads "Mike will get it done." Get what done? 95% of the football watchers have no idea who Mike is and 99% of the viewers don't even notice. This is the way the wealthy spend their money. Me and Rex Gressett — we don't suffer fools gladly.
Now we shift to the newspapers of Mendocino County.
It will become obvious that I don't have the Bruce Anderson get along go along policy with regard to the other papers besides his own. I can visualize the Editor’s bottom lip starting to curl. During the past couple of months the Laytonville paper has printed seven of the letters I sent them because they were interesting and entertaining even though I severely criticized them for having the worst layout in the entire world with the exception of one newspaper in South Sudan and the other in Tibet. I suggested it would be better to decide which stories, starting out on the front page should line up — not starting until the previous one ended all the way to the end of the paper just like a third-grade school book. I also suggested that the Laytonville schools should receive a broadcast every afternoon at 1 PM from MCOE of a 15 minute summary of the news from the Press Democrat starting in grade 7. By the time students graduated from high school they might reach parity with the Boonville schools.
An anecdote follows: both Jared Carter of Ukiah and Montana Podva formerly of Willits clerked for William O. Douglas. Isn't that interesting?
Over the past 10 years I have sent a dozen interesting and entertaining letters to the Ukiah daily Journal. None of them were printed. I have always thought that KC Meadows was highly overrated as well as Tony Wayne Kramer. She puts out the dullest, most boring paper in the history of the county. If the fault lies with Digital First then she should have resigned.
To address the sad state of the newspapers in this County I have long advocated for a county weekly where each community can have as much space as they need for news, features and advertising. Put an ad in the Times and Boston Globe and see if there is a rich young person who always wanted to own a newspaper and who has the money to start a famous enterprise.
It could be done even though most people would be skeptical. "Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one." — Jeff Bezos.
NPR reports that 14 million people listen to their morning news program. 20 million regularly listen to Rush Limbaugh each morning. Isn't that interesting? Remember when a group of Ukiah residents met each morning in a North end restaurant, closed the door and listened to Rush Limbaugh? Maybe they still do. I don't know.
I believe that the CCC and the WPA were successful programs in the 30s.
With the large amount of money spent on the homeless which is not working why hasn't the state of California started a similar program?
The answer is because the homeless would resist. Nothing that has been done to solve the homeless situation has worked. It looks like we need to get tougher. No able-bodied person who is receiving food and shelter can continue to receive these services unless they work. The unable-bodied must enter a rehabilitation program until they get straightened out and go to work. Those who refuse to work can continue to sleep in bank entrances. Maybe the bankers will take care of them.
In response to a recent letter by Jerry Philbrick, I want to draw attention to a remarkable document on climate change and national security. Sixty-four senior US military and security leaders have endorsed "A Climate Security Plan for America." It's signed by more than 20 admirals and generals, including Rear Admiral David Titley, former oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, and General Gordon Sullivan, former chief of staff of the Army.
This comprehensive report states that increases in extreme weather “can devastate essential energy, financial and agricultural centers that undergird U.S. and global economic viability and the well-being of our populations.” It calls for initiatives to improve the resilience of our critical infrastructure and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the US and globally in order to avoid “catastrophic security consequences.”
It's important to look to independent organizations like the military when evaluating the threat posed by climate change. Because our armed services depend on scientific evidence to assess risk, they are less amenable to politicized science.
The US military has expressed concern about climate change since the George W. Bush Administration, and dozens of Defense Department documents on this issue can be accessed at climateandsecurity.org.
Urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and funding adaptation should be top priorities for every politician who is concerned about national security and global stability.
Hales Corners, Wisconsin
They say Trump's a liar, a con-man, a cheat and a rapist. How do we know what's true?
Well, I went to the online Fact Check Database, at Washingtonpost.com, that's now verified 16,241 lies of Trump in the past three years. Anyone can scroll through and clearly see all of Trump's crazy damn lies, nicely catalogued and verify for yourself that yes, he's in fact a psychopathic liar.
Then I read the book “Trump U,” that verified first-hand, that Trump's a con-man criminal, who paid $25 million in fines only two years ago, for his failed and fraudulent Trump University scam. True and very current and relevant.
The book “Trump Nation” by Tim O' Brien also based on first-hand account knowledge, shows clearly that Trump's a liar, con-man and cheat as well. Trump sued the author for $1 billion and lost!
Buried in the news, this past week.. Trump's still fighting rape charges, working their way through court. He has 22 different charges of sexual crimes, including multiple rapes. True!
So when they accuse Trump of being a liar-con-man, a cheat and rapist, there's the truth — all easily verifiable, by anyone.
Also I got the dirt on Biden. That is, our "pal" Rudy Giuliani said he'd provide "compelling evidence" revealing the very bad dirt on the Bidens, a week ago. But so far the Ghoulster has failed to deliver anything other than unhinged, rambling debunked conspiracy theories and fuzzy assertions. He even got the bums rush off the Fux & Fiends" show, the other day so… Dirt? Maybe, but probably not.
Ok, so next week. The Trump administration, the most criminally corrupt in US history, with an unprecedented 2,310 conflicts of interest verified, so far!
All true, all verified.
Remember a trial with no witnesses or documents allowed is a Fraud and Scam!
AFFILIATION IS CRUCIAL
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
DR. MICHAEL TURNER RESPONDED:
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 the “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
A READER WRITES: “I completely agree with Michael Turner in regard to the Adventist “Health” system. There are now almost no private doctors in practice, a real pity. (I am looking into the Laws Avenue Clinic, which has no affiliation with Adventist.) And so many doctors have opted out of Adventist and retired, or have been given the heave-ho, etc. My doctor was recently fired by Adventist, and in her place was the newest iteration of Adventist “Health” doctors: the traveling physician. I have never felt less like an actual human person than I do now as a patient in the AH system. I am an electronic money unit, and that’s about it. I don’t know what the answer is, but I am no longer a fan of the Adventists. The only positive thing I can say is, thankfully, they seem to have discontinued their on-hold God and Jesus messages. And also, their accounting system is the devil’s spawn.”
FOR WHOM THE PHONE RINGS
Looking out the window, my fears 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 to, 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.
UPS & DOWNS
Jimmy Carter was a disgrace to the American people. I don't know how we stood the time he was in office. But we did. When Ronald Reagan came along my interest in the United States government returned and I had some pride in America. George HW Bush was a good president and he kept my feelings up. Then Bill Clinton made my pride take a dive.
What happened to the courage and pride of the American people? When George W. Bush came into office it was so-so. America was coming back but not all the way. Then, oh my God, here comes Obama and it got so bad I didn't even want to hear the words, the United States. I was depressed and sorry for that we'd lost the courage in the United States like we used to have.
Then Mr. Trump and my feelings for the United States reached an all-time high. I'm proud to be an American again. I can look around and see people feeling good about the United States. He is the best thing that ever happened to the United States.
But these stupid rotten Democrats trying to lynch him and get him impeached are so rotten there's no words to explain it. He will not get impeached. He will be taken off the impeachment list on Wednesday free and clear. He can continue his good work for the United States.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. I can't count all the great things President Trump has done for us. He has more to do. But he has to crush and stamp out the New York administration and how they treat law enforcement. And California and sanctuary cities and Gavin Newsom? Get rid of them. I don't know how but Trump has to do it. We can't go on with people like that and what they're doing to us.
PPS. Something has to be done about the way the Democrats are treating law enforcement without respect. They are stopping them from doing their job. If law enforcement keeps getting shot and killed and people being let go for murdering innocent people then the people must take the law into their own hands and get rid of these rotten bastards who are creating this unlawfulness like the district attorney in San Francisco. He should be brought out to the middle of the street and tied to a large car and burned right there and let the people watch. We don't need people like him.
PPPS. Democrats don't care about law enforcement, don't give a hoot. It's really bad. Each state should be allowed to handle these bad situations themselves. Let the citizens take care of business, vote them out of office or shove them out of office.
PPPPS. Michael Bloomberg, the multimillionaire from New York, is taking money out of his presidential campaign and putting it behind the impeachment to get rid of President Trump. I just found out that Mr. Bloomberg got castrated at the age of 12 and he never forgot it so he hates the American people and he has billions of dollars to spend on hating the American people. I guess things like that happen. But President Trump will never be impeached and he has this year in four more years to perform his wonderful duties.
PPPPPS. When we get attacked by some other country the civilians of California and other states will be the first line of defense. And we are being attacked by the Liberal Democrats under cover of law, sometimes blatantly. When you are attacked you must vote them out of office or get rid of them physically, one way or the other. The next time a law enforcement officer is shot dead for performing his duty, I think it's time for civilians to do something about it.
PPPPPPPS. Liberals are taking away our First Amendment rights and our Second Amendment rights and they are interfering with the Constitution. They don't respect the Star-Spangled Banner or our infantry or law enforcement or the military. They don't respect nuthin'.