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HIGH PRESSURE ALOFT will provide dry weather and above normal daytime temperatures through Friday. A trough will likely bring cooling this coming weekend with a slight chance for rain. (NWS)
EXCERPT’S FROM NEXT TUESDAY’S COUNTY PARKS NEEDS ASSESSMENT of Anderson Valley
Anderson Valley lacks public land and walkable space.
Tourism businesses are concerned about the limited number of public outdoor recreation locations, which limits the length of visitors’ stays in Anderson Valley.
Faulkner and Indian Creek Parks have the only “public” restrooms in Anderson Valley.
Indian Creek Park is one of a limited number of places with water access to a creek or river.
Faulkner Park, Boonville
This 40-acre parcel sits on both sides of Mountain View Road, winding through the hills west of Boonville above Anderson Valley. The park includes picnic tables, a small parking area, and restrooms. The park's most distinctive feature, the Azalea Discovery Trail, was built in 1975. This trail passes through the heart of the park, where large native azalea shrubs grow under the canopy of second-growth redwoods. Its beautiful redwoods and natural spaces provide opportunities for potential enhancements, and could serve as a refuge area for fire personnel and trucks.
Faulkner Park is located just outside of the small community of Boonville. This 40-acre parcel sits on both sides of Mountain View Road, which winds through the hills west of Boonville above Anderson Valley.
On October 15, 1930, the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company granted the parcel of land to the county of Mendocino. The land was to be used as a park, to be named the E. O. Faulkner Park, after a vice-president of the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company who died in 1928. The park went undeveloped until 1966, when money from the 1964 Park Bond Act was used to put in a water system and public restrooms. No additional development took place until 1973, when the Mendocino County Parks Department was formed. At that time, picnic tables were installed, and a small parking area was developed.
In 1977, a small playground was created using 1976 State Park Bond money.
Improvements to the restroom facilities, septic system, and parking area continued to be made from the late 1970’s through the 1980’s. In 1990, the county discontinued overnight camping in the park, due to problems experienced in collecting camping fees from guests and in providing regular maintenance for the camping areas.
68 people responded to survey questions about Faulkner Park. Almost 70% of respondents cited enjoying nature as the reason for visiting the park. Other popular reasons, noted by at least 30%, were quiet/ relaxation, hiking, and exercise/general wellness. Some identified Faulkner Park as a place to take a pause on their trips along Mountain View Road, between the coast and inland areas.
68% of respondents felt that Faulkner Park is good to excellent in meeting their needs. In response to “Are there changes you would like to see in Faulkner park?,” 47% checked “I am not sure,” which may indicate that respondents were aware of the park’s existence, but not very familiar with its amenities. One respondent noted that “Currently Faulkner is frequented by the occasional picnicker and lover of redwoods who find a little respite from their travels.” 20 written comments were submitted. Primary concerns included the need for more and improved trails, and more parking. Maintenance concerns were cited. Respondents noted that providing better informational signage would be an improvement. One respondent discussed the possibility of designating the park as a temporary safe harbor location for local residents evacuating from their property during an emergency.
Faulkner Park is in a beautiful location with impressive redwoods, access to nature, and quiet.
• Its remote location results in most people not knowing of its existence and there is a general sense of disrepair/lack of maintenance.
• The vegetation is not being managed in this fire hazards area. The trails and park as a whole is underutilized and the picnic areas are in poor repair.
• The parking and access areas are minimal and need improvement. The park bridges the road and there are no crosswalks or signage to help visitors navigate the site.
• There could be an opportunity to allow overnight group camping with a reservation and/or summer camp to bring people and revenue to the park - but in a managed way.
• There is potential to establish the park as a refuge for firefighters in partnership with Anderson Valley Fire and CalFire.
• The natural areas, stream, and nature trail need to be restored.
Make the park area more walkable – create an easement along Mountain View Road from the high school to Faulkner Park (approximately 2 miles). A high visibility crosswalk is needed at the east end of the park.
• Shaded fuel breaks are needed for fire safety. Faulkner Park is a location for possible group camping, but with campfires prohibited.
• Create a “Friends of Faulkner” group under an existing non-profit umbrella. Partner with Fire Chief and community for mitigation and fuel reduction projects.
• Make the park more of an inviting destination. Education could be a draw if the Discovery or Azalea Trails were re-done with updated interpretive panels. Partner with outdoor groups for educational opportunities.
• The park is known as a location for drug deals – security should be improved.
• Trash cans and restroom signage is needed at the pullout roundabout.
Indian Creek Campground, Philo
Since the County's acquisition of the land in 1973, improvements have included paving of the entrance road and parking lot, installation of restrooms and a water system, creation of a nature trail, and establishment of a campground. The park accommodates day use and overnight camping on the bank of Indian Creek. It is situated in beautiful redwoods, with trails and access to a swimming hole.
Indian Creek Park is located one-half mile southeast of Philo on Highway 128. It is beautifully situated in a grove of large old-growth redwoods on the south bank of Indian Creek, near its junction with the Navarro River.
Indian Creek Park has been a public recreation area for many years. Previous to the County’s ownership of the property, the State of California had jurisdiction of the property and under State ownership, little or no development took place. Prior to the State’s ownership, there had been a log cabin and small shed on the property.
In 1973, the County of Mendocino traded land at Westport-Union Landing to the State for the Indian Creek property. Since the county’s acquisition, developments have included paving of the entrance road and parking lot (1975), installation of restrooms and a water system (1976), creation of a nature trail (1981), and establishment of a campground and access road (1987) and caretaker’s living area (1987). Most of this development was accomplished with State Park Bond funds; however, the campground was developed with County General Funds.
There are fire safety concerns regarding unattended campfires. The Fire Chief suggests that campfire burn permits be required, and that campfires should be prohibited during the high risk portion of the season.
• Increased law enforcement presence is needed. Squatters/transients are using the park to camp and are not paying fees.
• Consider “Adopt a Park” or “Adopt a Trash Can” programs.
• Install more interpretive signage within the park.
97 people responded to questions about Indian Creek Park. The most common reasons for visiting Indian Creek Park, noted by at least 50% of respondents, are day use, to enjoy nature, and quiet/ relaxation. Other popular reasons, noted by at least 30%, included river access and hiking.
81% of respondents felt that Indian Creek Park is good to excellent in meeting their needs. Over 30% felt that the park should be left as is. It was noted as “a beautiful campground” and “a valuable asset to our community.” 34 written comments were submitted regarding changes that respondents would like to see in Indian Creek Park. Again, a majority of comments addressed deterioration of the park and its facilities. Comments concerned maintenance issues, particularly the need for a clean, working restroom. There were several suggestions that a campground host/ manager be brought in during the camping season. Many respondents noted the need for signage and information, including park entry signage visible from the highway, trail signage, informational signage, and clarification regarding whether campsites are reservable. Several respondents expressed the desire for improved creek access and trails.
This is a beautiful spot for car camping with access to swimming hole, a moderate length hiking trail, and short nature trail.
• It is underutilized and is not well known by potential campers in the County or by visitors, in part due to lack of any online presence or reservation system.
• It has the highest revenue of all parks, although it is likely that there are many fees that are not paid due to lack of staffing.
• The lack of any oversight has resulted in a range of impacts on the park. There are a lots of social trails and erosion areas. Illegal fires are a major concern. Fencing along the creek and along property boundaries is in disrepair.
• The amenities are in good shape generally, but there are inadequate bathrooms for campers.
• The County should evaluate ways to maintain and monitor the park to reduce fire danger and improve fee collection, enhance stream access, trails, and interpretive signage.
(Photos by Dick Whetstone)
BERNIE'S HISTORIC MARCH
WHEN the news broke earlier this week that those pesky Rooskies were again trying to hoodwink us honest Americans, this time on behalf of that dangerous old bolshie Bernie, I turned immediately to CNN's Situation Room for confirmation. Sure 'nuff, Wolf Blitzer was fairly spinning in his big chair, confirming this latest treachery by the potato-faced tricksters with a fancy babe with big white teeth who claimed expertise. Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was practically hyperventilating, claiming in essence, "First they bring us Trump, now this radical socialist!" And Chris Matthews at the same address went completely nuts, warning that a Sanders presidency would see mainstream pundits like him being executed in Central Park! (And if that vision won't get you feelin' The Bern, you need another VisionQuest.) The Democrat's neo-Nixon, Mayor Pete, spokesman for middle-of-the-road extremists everywhere, declared that Sanders “believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.... That is the choice in front of us. We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new and broad and big-hearted American coalition." (Add Mayor Pete to your Central Park wish list.)
WHATEVER the Russians come up with by way of misinformation, they'll have a hard time topping the above. Face it, folks, for pure bullshit it's US going away. And as the sage said, there's truth and untruth. If you can't tell the diff you're either a Republican or a Democrat.
ON THE SUBJECT of middle-of-the-road extremists, we've got the National Women's Political Caucus, Mendo branch's 2020 Endorsements. This is another front for the Mendo Democrats and, specifically, consists of Val Muchowski and Joe Wildman. Although the NWPC supposedly advances female interests, for Mendo purposes they endorse male Democrats as the two-person party did with Dan Hamburg, a male-type guy, over fellow Democrat Wendy Roberts, from all accounts a female-type female. This time around the membership (hah!) voted to endorse:
- Glenn McGourty Supervisor, District 1.
- Maureen “Mo” Mulheren for Mendocino Supervisor, District 2 plus made a financial contribution to her campaign
- Dan Gjerde for Mendocino Supervisor, District 4
HMMM. Who do you suppose county CEO Carmel Angelo wants elected supervisor? Gjerde for sure in the fourth district; Green in the first, but McGourty looks like he may go all the way without a run-off, although Angelo may be over-estimating McGourty's stooge potential; and the CEO would be pleased with either of the two ladies running for the second district seat over Joel Soinila. The CEO and her entire apparat would leap off the Noyo Bridge if John Sakowicz were to be elected, certainly an excellent reason for voting for him, but Sako is the longest of long shots. It's quite likely that this election will give us more of the same, but if Lindy Peters manages to eke out a win over Gjerde, and Soinila noses out a victory in the Powder Puff Derby, there will be a little less rubber in the CEO's stamp. BTW, as the Farm Bureau candidate, McGourty has one primary obligation, which has been faithfully carried out by all his modern day predecessors, and that is real cheap water forever for Potter Valley ranchers and grape growers and their downstream comrades, cheap water for them which means ever-higher water rates for everyone else.
CERTAIN PERSONALITIES, even though they're so remote from my daily experience they may as well not exist, annoy me beyond reason — Sean Hannity, the insufferable Fox News neo-fascist; Scott Simon of NPR, whose audio falsity is so blatant it's got to nauseate even the most insensate NPR listeners; and David Muir, the soulless ABC News anchor who concludes his every hyper-excited telecast with the pure mawk that's also a dependable harbinger of pure fascism. All three of these characters deal in falsity but Muir's is the most egregious because it diverts attention in the feebleminded (faithful listeners and viewers like me) from the realities outside their front doors, some of which, in everyone's life, include moments of Nice, but not enough of them to believe that the false feeling spread by sentimentalists like Muir and Simon can obscure the true fact that sentimentality encourages passivity, that if you believe Muir, life as he depicts it every night with a mawkish wrap-up — a woman handing a real koala bear a koala care bear, an autistic kid hitting a three-pointer, a boy with diabetes saving up for a dog he finally gets, a kid surprised by his Army mother or father at a school rally — the daily deluge of catastrophes large and small, life is really that autistic kid hitting that three-pointer.
LAMBCHOPS, Highway 128
MOVIE NOTES from our commander-in-chief:
“By the way, how bad were the Academy Awards this year? You see it? ‘And the winner is a movie from South Korea!’ What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea out with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year. Was it good? I don’t know. You know, I’m lookin’ for like – can we get ‘Gone with the Wind’ back please? ‘Sunset Boulevard.’ So many great movies. ‘The winner is from South Korea.’ I thought it was best foreign film, best foreign movie. No! Did this ever happen before? And then you have Brad Pitt, I was never a big fan of his. He got up, said a little wise guy statement. Little wise guy. He’s a little wise guy.”
— D. Trump
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE - WEEKLY UPDATE
Below is a link to the calendar events for the next two weeks that are hosted by The Anderson Valley Village as well as events in our community at large. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us:
ANDREA ARENAS, commenting on the Mendocino County Fifth District Facebook page:
In my experience Redwood Community Services uses an assessment tool and determines if a client qualifies for mental health treatment based on their CANS [Child and Adult Needs and Strengths] score. I have seen scores of children dismissed from treatment based on their CANS score but they definitely continued to need counseling services. In addition, RCS is supposed to provide counseling following a 5150 [danger to self or others] hospitalization for 60 days, I have witnessed children who get 1 follow up counseling session in that 60 day time period. So we need metrics besides just numbers of people "served" and outcomes based on CANS scores. It would be optimal to obtain data from clients and parents of clients who are minors.
Ed note: Here’s the standard CANS assessment form she’s referring to:
And the accompanying assessment manual:
According to the assessment manual:
“Many users of the CANS and organizations complete the CANS every 6 months to measure change and transformation. We work with children, adolescents, and families and their needs tend to change over time. Needs may change in response to many factors including quality clinical support provided. One way we determine how our supports are helping to alleviate suffering and restore functioning is by re-assessing needs, adjusting treatment or service plans, and tracking change.”
JESSICA MITFORD WROTE The American Way of Death, an eye-opening mid-century classic that examined, not favorably, our society’s funeral industry. Greed and exploitation were the book’s themes and I doubt there’s been much improvement in mortuary parlors through intervening decades.
But today we add a layer of loneliness atop the cynical practices of those who tend to our dearly beloved. Yes, we all die alone, but here we are, well into the 21st century. and many of us live alone, eat alone, comb our hair alone and watch TV alone.
We don’t go bowling or to church or play bingo or hang out at the local tavern anymore because those small, fragile social crossroads are mostly missing from today’s world. Friends have dwindled. Friendships are frayed. What replaces them?
We text and scroll and pretend we’re in good company as we plow through Facebook.
We whistle in the dark while strolling past the graveyard, alone.
— Tommy Wayne Kramer
WHERE’S THE RAIN?
by Jim Shields
You don’t need a weatherman to tell you that this is a very dry winter.
We’re now just a week or so short of February being a bust for wetness. In fact, it hasn’t been wet at all in February, nary a drop of hyperscopic nuclei to be found.
Precipitation everywhere in Northern California is well below normal, and there’s little indication that wet weather fronts are going to visit us anytime soon.
We started the beginning of our rain season with an extended dry spell. We only had light rains through Thanksgiving week totaling 3.53 inches when the historical average is 17 inches.
Then in December and January we experienced several big storms that made it appear we were getting back to more of a normal rain-packed winter, but a persistent high-pressure ridge over the Pacific is keeping wet weather at bay, just as it did during the recent five-year drought, shunting most storms north into Oregon and Washington leaving Northern California stuck on dry, mostly sunny weather. The average jet stream track since the beginning of December has kept temperatures warm and precipitation far below average.
To date, the Laytonville area’s rainfall remains static at 26.62 inches, which is 57.7 percent of the historical average. The months of November, December, January, February, and March all average 10-plus inches of rain annually. So the last big wet month of the rain year is March, and it would take a “Miracle March” with record amounts of rain to bring us within reach of our annual preciptation total of approximately 67 inches. It’s too early to tell what March will bring us, but long-term forecasts indicate there won’t be much of a change from present conditons.
With this week’s update from the U.S. Drought Monitor, more Californians are in a moderate drought than at any time in the last year, in terms of population. They categorize California as “Abnormally Dry” in 46 percent of the state, and 9.5 percent being rated as in a “Moderate Drought.”
Much of Central California has yet to see a drop of rain in February, typically one of the state’s wetter months. If San Francisco stays dry through the end of the month, it will only be the second February in 170 years with no precipitation in the city. The same situation holds true for Sacramento.
Some spots in coastal Northern California and the Sierra Nevada are more than a foot behind in rainfall (or the water-equivalent of snow) in the last 60 days.
All reservoirs in Northern and Central California are currently filled to near- or above-average levels for mid-February, while levels in Southern California are slightly below average.
The Sierra Nevada now only has about 58 percent of its average snowpack. In contrast to last year with above-average snowpack, snowstorms have been in short supply in 2020.
The old saying is “snowfall during the winter months is like California depositing money into a bank to be used later.” The more snow that falls during the winter, the less likely we’ll have water deficits later in the year.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center doesn’t offer much hope for more rainfall. They forecast drier-than-average conditions through the end of February, and potentially through April.
The center says Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the “persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest.”
Because of a paucity of rain, the National Interagency Fire Center warns that wildfire season might begin in early April, which is a few weeks ahead of schedule.
Proposed insurance guarantee law to harden homes against wildfire
Speaking of wildfires, this week proposed legislation (AB 2367) was introduced that would require insurance companies to write or renew policies for existing homes in communities that meet a new statewide standard for fire-hardening. The bill also would authorize the Insurance Commissioner to require insurance companies to offer financial incentives for homeowners to do the work to make their homes more fire-safe.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblywoman Monique Limón, and state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, are jointly sponsoring the bill which they say focuses on insurance companies that have been writing fewer homeowner policies and sharply increasing non-renewals of homes with wildfire risk across the state—a response to several years of devastating wildfires. They correctly assert that a lack of insurance has sparked a wildfire “domino effect” that disrupts real estate markets and threatens the property tax base that local communities rely on to fund emergency services and more.
Data released by the California Department of Insurance in August 2019 showed that insurance is becoming harder to find for communities across the state, with six counties from the Sierra to San Diego seeing a greater than 10 percent increase in non-renewals in 2018 alone. This data does not account for the full impact of insurance companies’ non-renewal response to the Camp Fire and Woolsey/Hill Fires—catastrophic wildfires that killed 89 people, destroyed 13,000 homes and businesses, and cost more than $11.4 billion in damages—in addition to all fires in 2019.
Under AB 2367, the Insurance Commissioner, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the State Fire Marshal will develop statewide standards for home and community hardening, in consultation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Hardened homes in communities that meet this standard would receive a guaranteed offer or renewal of insurance, contributing to community resilience while ending the cycle of lost home sales, falling prices, and declining property values negatively impacting communities across the state.
AB 2367 has support from the California Professional Firefighters, California State Firefighters’ Association, Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Federation of California.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 23, 2020
BRANDY ADKINS-CASEY, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, transportation, paraphernalia, smuggling into jail.
WILLIAM BOGGS, Covelo. Battery.
ERIK BURGESS, Covelo. Failure to appear.
SCOTT CHAPMAN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
JEFFREY CROSSLEY, Costa Mesa/Ukiah. Pot cultivation over 6 plants, illegal discharge into waterway.
SONYA GALE, Willits. Attempted murder, assault with great bodily injury, harboring wanted felon, hiding/destroying evidence, conspiracy, resisting.
SARA GODFREY, Leggett. DUI.
CULLEN GROOM, Arcata/Ukiah. DUI.
DENISE HALE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JOSEPH HOAGLIN, Ukiah. False personation of another, resisting, probation revocation.
TAVION JOHNSON, Willits. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, probation revocation.
JESUS MACIAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MATHEW SPENCER, Willows/Ukiah. Attempted 2nd degree murder, battery with serious injury, domestic abuse, controlled substance.
LACRETIA TADEO, Ukiah. Toluene or similar substance.
CHRIS MATTHEWS LIKENS BERNIE SANDERS’ VICTORY IN NEVADA TO FALL OF FRANCE TO NAZIS
“Incredibly offensive thing to say about someone from a family of holocaust survivors,” Justice Democrats says of MSNBC host’s comment
LOVE IN THE TIME OF WUHAN
by Larry Livermore
Valentine’s Day is not as big a deal here in Singapore as it is in the West. Still, strolling past the neighborhood restaurants, I spot more than a few couples canoodling through their facemasks.
It’s the first night since the Wuhan virus arrived that restaurants look semi-crowded. The ubiquitous malls, typically central to Singapore life, remain barely half-full. Quite a change for a town where, it’s often claimed. there’s little to do besides eating and shopping.
Heaven, as the Talking Heads song had it, is a place where nothing ever happens. If that’s true, Singapore must be pretty close to paradise. Conveniently situated out of the path of earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones, and tsunamis, blessed with never-ending summer, with, thanks to its equatorial location, sunrise and sunset times that hardly vary all year, the days can glide by almost indistinguishable from one another.
Singapore hasn’t always been this tranquil, of course. A few folks are old enough to remember the Japanese invasion and occupation of the 1940s, and people my age experienced the former colony’s tumultuous and not always peaceful path to independence, first from Britain, then Malaysia.
Since then, however, it’s been onward and upward, with the ensuing 55 years having seen a sharp, steady rise from a poverty-stricken backwater riven by racial tensions to one of the richest, most stable and successful countries in the world.
It’s not an easy place to categorize or characterize. Touted by American and British right-wingers as the embodiment of laissez-faire (cutthroat if you prefer) capitalism, Singapore also guarantees health care, housing, and excellent public transportation to its citizens. 80% of the population, in fact, lives in public housing, much of which looks like luxury condos compared with the often nightmarish projects and council estates in the US and Britain.
It quickly becomes evident that Singapore’s government is motivated less by ideology than by the more obvious metric of “whatever works.” Some things look very much like socialism, others like the most ruthless form of capitalism. As with the various religions (discrimination or intolerance is not merely discouraged here; it’s illegal), differing philosophies of governance co-exist side-by-side, and often in close cooperation with each other.
But (you knew there had to be one coming, didn’t you?), Singapore has its critics. My friend Han, a lifelong, passionately loyal Hong Konger, gives a little sniff when I mention coming here. “Don’t you,” he’ll ask, “find it a little … boring?”
Personally, I don’t, but that might be because at my age, I can get by with far less upheaval and menace than I thought necessary as a young man. As a 20-something, I was eager to live in cities where violence and urban decay were an inbuilt part of daily life; now, in my 70s, I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for simple joys like being able to walk to the store without worrying about getting shot.
For example, a friend in Baltimore complained the other day that his city was being put in a bad light by media reports that, with less than a month and half gone by in the new year, there had already been 40 homicides. Singapore, with almost ten times Baltimore’s population, and which is even more racially diverse, has had, as far as I know, zero.
“But isn’t Singapore a police state where they whip people for graffiti and execute them for chewing gum?” Americans ask. That’s slightly – ok, more than slightly – overstating it, but it’s true that law enforcement here is a bit more serious than what you’re used to in the USA.
Mostly, though, people police themselves. It’s not unusual to see cops on the subways or in other public places, but it’s rare – in fact I haven’t seen it happen yet – for them to question, let alone arrest anyone. There’s virtually none of what we in New York might call random assholeism: the guy sprawled across three subway seats playing a loud radio and cursing anyone who looks at him, or who pushes his way through crowds yelling obscenities and racial epithets, or who seems to go out of his way to make life miserable for his fellow citizens anyway he can, just because he can.
True, the police would swiftly intervene if anyone did behave like that, but it’s almost never necessary. Some Americans might find this stifling; their idea of “freedom” includes the right to be an obnoxious jerk. But Singaporeans, especially younger ones who’ve grown up in a largely crime-free environment, seem to have concluded that life works better for everyone when people simply show a decent amount of respect for each other. For the few who haven’t learned that lesson yet, yes, penalties can be pretty harsh.
If you’re a foreigner concerned about running afoul of the law, however, I offer the same advice I give to people visiting China: “Don’t do drugs, don’t try to overthrow the government, and you should be fine.”
Singapore differs from China in many ways, but the two places have one thing in common: citizens are willing to cut the government a lot of slack because they trust it to deliver a constantly improving quality of life. Another common feature is that in a conflict between individual rights and the collective good, the collective usually wins out.
Coming, as I do, from the land of anti-vaxers and crystal healers, I wondered how Americans would react if they were forced to have their temperatures taken before entering public buildings or could be involuntarily quarantined, as is currently the practice here. “What would happen,” I asked a Singaporean friend, “if someone refused to be vaccinated or to be tested for the coronavirus?”
He regarded me with the slightly bemused expression he reserves for any mention of American peculiarities. “They would be taken for vaccination or treatment, of course. We can’t put the public health at risk because someone got some bizarre ideas from the internet.”
With that in mind, a few weekends ago I started feeling like I was coming down with something, not a pleasant sensation when you’re in the midst of an epidemic. It was mostly the sore throat and general lethargy that precedes a cold or the flu, but having had a cold only a few months ago, I didn’t think I was due for another (my average is once every year or two).
I didn’t feel bad enough to see a doctor just yet; nor did I want to risk being quarantined or deported. At the same time, I didn’t want to take a chance on infecting others, so I stayed indoors and avoided contact with people for a few days until my symptoms disappeared as rapidly and mysteriously as they arrived.
When I ventured out again, the temperature-takers were everywhere. You could hardly enter a public building without being checked. Even though I felt fine, I worried that my temperature might suggest otherwise, so I stuck to the streets, until one night I decided to attend a lecture in a small community center.
There was nobody at the gate, but when I got into the lecture hall, a government functionary was recording everyone’s details (name, phone, have you been to China?) and taking their temperatures. Mine came in at 35.6° (96.1° Fahrenheit), which means I’m either exceptionally cold-blooded, or that the guy wasn’t too adept with a thermometer. I don’t think a low body temperature is a sign of good health the way low(ish) blood pressure can be, but I decided to interpret it that way, and relaxed and enjoyed the lecture.
Since then I’ve resumed a more or less normal life. I haven’t begun wearing a facemask, though my Chinese landlady called to reassure me that there was a box of them in the cupboard (they’ve been sold out in the shops for weeks). Long before the epidemic, the facemask was widely worn by Chinese and Japanese people, not just, as I assumed, for self-protection, but by the sick, out of consideration for others. It’s a good feeling, a sense of “we’re all in this together,” that is often lacking in America except during times of natural disaster or 9/11.
I’ve postponed, maybe canceled, my trip across the river to Malaysia for fear a sudden change in the rules might not allow me back into Singapore. In the meantime, I’ve been watching a lot of Chinese TV. Contrary to what you might have heard, their coverage, even if obviously controlled by the government, is more thorough and reliable than what you’ll get from American sources.
Supposedly respectable outlets like the New York Times or CNN hardly let a day pass without some version of “Virus crisis shows the intrinsic weakness of the Chinese system.” Trumpocrats like the odious Wilbur Ross crow that by damaging the economy, China’s epidemic could be good for business in America.
Why, I wondered, do they never run headlines like “Puerto Rico hurricane / Flint’s poisoned drinking water / disease-and-crime-ridden shantytowns / tens of thousands of gun violence fatalities reveal the flaws in America’s system”?
Whether or not mistakes were made (in the early stages of a crisis, they almost invariably are), you don’t kick a person or a country when they’re down, let alone try to exploit their misfortune for your advantage. From what I’ve seen, China is doing the best it can, and (knock on wood) seems to be turning the corner.
It would be interesting (and/or terrifying) to see how the anti-science, anti-expert Trump administration would handle a similar outbreak in the United States. It would probably depend, too, on whether the virus took hold in a Democratic or a Republican state. Let’s hope we never have to find out.
Though I’m much closer to ground zero of the epidemic, I feel safer here than I would back home in New York, and have more confidence in the government’s ability to deal with whatever happens. Singapore’s system, though not nearly as pervasive and powerful as China’s, leans more in that direction than toward the chaos and corruption Trumpism has unleashed on the United States.
I’m not allowed to march around with a “Down with the government” poster (you literally need a permit to protest here), and while there are multiple-party elections, only one party ever wins. Yet I can count on being looked after by a medical system that is available and affordable to all, and my chances of not being murdered or assaulted on the way to the hospital are astronomical compared with most American cities. A couple of freedoms not to be sneezed at, even by someone who, like me, was born and bred in the so-called land of the free.
It’s not a bad feeling during a time of danger. I’d feel similarly if the crisis involved a military invasion or a hurricane or earthquake.
It’s also, at the risk of sounding sentimental, an example of actual love. Ensuring that the fewest possible people are harmed while the overall society is protected is what you expect of parents, who do what is best for their kids whether or not the kids like or agree with it. That’s not to say that adult citizens are the equivalent of “kids,” but when it comes to knowledge of medical science and public health systems, yeah, they kind of are.
Anyway, that’s me signing off from Singapore. If you don’t hear from me again for a while, I may have been carted off to the internment center, or, more likely, am lounging down by the pool.
REMEMBER THE ALAMO
The November election will be the most lopsided victory in favor of Donald Trump in the history of the United States. If you don't agree go hide under your bed or commit suicide. We would not miss you. After those four years there will be another Republican, maybe Trump's son or Mike Pence. If another Liberal Democrat gets in there as president young people will be up shit creek without a paddle.
President Trump: Keep on keeping on, drain the swamp, cut off federal funding to liberal college students, make them respect the flag and the Constitution. Stick it to Gavin Newsom so deep he will squeal for months, make him fix California's infrastructure and homelessness. Make him stop wasting our tax money for crap we don't need, Bolster law enforcement, there's more lawlessness now and more coming in the future.
Conservative Republicans need to be proud of America, the flag, the Constitution, our forefathers who made this a free country, not what the Democrats believe in but what President Trump believes in like the rest of us who think the way Americans should believe. It is sickening to see colleges disrespect the flag, the Constitution and the pledge. People in the Midwest and the South have more respect for the country now that we’re taking it back from the Liberals and we will win.
We need to get rid of or control these multi-billion billionaire scumbags trying to dictate what goes on in the United States like George Soros, Tom Steyer, Mike Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos. They’re so rich that they fart $1000 bills and use their money to influence lots of programs to take down the United States. Something has to be done about them. Maybe the CIA or some civilians need to handle them roughly. We don't need rich people causing as much trouble as they do. And getting away with it. It's sad and makes me really mad.
Remember the Alamo? About a month after that General Houston tracked Santa Ana down on the San Jacinto River and wiped him out. Revenge is sweet. Liberals better take note for all the crap and corruption and misery you have caused in the last 24 years. There will be revenge and you people will pay big time! Remember the Alamo!
God bless Donald Trump
JOHN'S NOT A SQUEALER.
"When secretly pyrokinetic co-ed LaTawndra, shy heiress to the Hot Pockets fortune, hires very ripped swoon-worthy time-traveling fireman/spy/luthier-apprentice Zack to protect her against an undead dragon-shifter horde, will their scorching sexual chemistry break all the rules? [6 upvotes]"
The recording of last night's (2020-02-21) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg and KMEC-LP Ukiah is right here:
I've been told that I'm too cryptic and that I should explain things more. Okay: I remembered a magazine ad from my youth for a then-new kind of toilet valve designed to be quiet, to turn the water on full-blast until the toilet tank was all the way full and then quickly shut off, to not squeal the whole last third of filling. Across the top of the ad it said, "John's not a squealer," and that stuck in my mind. I just searched for it from several different searchical angles, to see the ad, and apparently it's too obscure even for Google. There's a bunch of material in last night's show about plumbing and toilets. And every show I read a couple of BookBub's recommendations for books, where I checked the boxes for 1. children's literature, 2. erotica, and 3. science fiction, so the result is always either a book about a little boy or girl duck, lizard, robot or dinosaur learning to tell time or cross the street, or a chesty-cover-art romance novel about vampires or werewolves (or werebears or weredragons, called dragon-shifters) (or firemen or Navy Seals or cowboys) in space and the human librarian, hand model, waiter/waitress or attractive young congressperson who they have to hire to protect them or pretend to be their wife or husband for an important space, um, thing, whatever, but they end up falling in love for real and always, in every case, /breaking all the rules/, so that explains the title, the goofy fake pull-quote and one minute of an eight-hour show. If there are no further questions.
Next week the whole first part of the show will be a brand-new live radio drama put on by Kylie Felicich's Community Center of Mendocino theater group of kids, and I don't know the title of the show or anything about it yet, except that it might be in Italian. Why don't you come in and be in the quiet but appreciative studio audience for their show and hang around after to recite poetry or show off your accordion chops or roll out your standup schtick? Mark it: 9pm Friday Feb. 28 in KNYO's storefront performance space, 325 N. Franklin, Fort Bragg CA, next door to the Tip Top bar. You don't have to get permission or arrange things in advance or even put on a clean shirt, or a shirt at all; this is radio. That’s the beauty of real radio. You don't know, but in the old days a lot of radio people performed in nothing but socks and shorts and a cigar between the fingers, or they wore pyjamas and a bathrobe, or an animal suit, whatever they were comfortable in as long as it didn't muffle their mouth or pose a danger hazard or create what the law calls an attractive nuisance, like when tourists climb up a stupidly designed sculpture and fall and hurt themselves. A lot of those shows, the audiences too came dressed, or undressed, like the later beatnik hippie freaks, like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, for example, which was written by fans of Jack Benny, Joan Alexander, Korla Pandit, Arthur Godfrey, Rosa Rio, and so on. All their normal-in-the-bank but on the radio stage weird-with-a-beard (or the other way around) heroes.
Also at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Ze Frank — The mating dance of the peacock spider.
The Boing 377 Stratocruiser. Scroll down for color and for the cutaway diagram.
Choose a genre and mood, suggest a topic, and this A.I. will write decent song lyrics for you, and then all you have to do is form a band and practice in your buddy’s garage for awhile and attract a neighborhood following, and pretty soon you'll be playing at school events, and weddings, and in park bandshells on holidays, and then get scouted and get a record contract. Avoid alcohol, heroin and bad management, don’t sweat the small stuff, get enough sleep even when on the road, and that's all the advice I have for you. You're just coming into your power and this is an exciting time, kid.
One more wisdom: An x-ray of why never to ride with your feet up on the dashboard.
—Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com