- Mildly Breezy
- Driest February
- Variety Show
- Dem Dropouts
- EMS Update
- Cabrillo Lighthouse
- Mental Providers
- Local Races
- Ballot Problems
- Endorsement Excerpts
- Apache Scout
- Ed Notes
- Smoking Weed
- My Ukiah
- Touchy People
- Killing Budget
- Bernie Stickered
- Yesterday's Catch
- Pariah Cruise
- Alma Spreckels
- VMC Dismissal
- Tough Times
- AV Village
- Grammer Nazis
- No A
- Eye Contact
- Crazy Class
- Pollution Clearing
- Titanic Chain
- Dark Age
- Found Object
MILD, DRY, AND BREEZY conditions are expected today. Winds will lighten up Tuesday, but warm and dry conditions will continue through Thursday. Widespread light to moderate rain will arrive sometime late Friday and continue through at least early Saturday. (NWS)
As climate scientist (and author of the Weather West blog) Daniel Swain noted: "Well, it's official: most of California just experienced driest February on record. Locations like Ukiah, Sacramento, Redding, & San Francisco recorded no rain at all during a month at peak of the rainy season." Here in the Anderson Valley we weren't completely shut out as both Yorkville and Boonville recorded 1/25" rain during the month.
MONTHLY PRECIPITATION for the 2019-2020 rain season, thus far:
- 0.04" Yorkville
- 0.04" Boonville
- 4.76" Yorkville
- 3.97" Boonville
- 12.96" Yorkville
- 7.28" Boonville
- 3.12" Yorkville
- 2.19" Boonville
- 0.04" Yorkville
- 0.07" Boonville
YTD (Oct 1 - Feb 29) TOTALS
- 20.92" Yorkville
- 13.55" Boonville
EYE-OPENING 2020 VARIETY SHOW IS A-COMIN!
The excitement is building. The Anderson Valley Variety Show only happens once a year and this year's show is right around the corner (March 6&7). The buzz is on, your friends and neighbors are getting ready, rehearsing, cobbling together costumes, the grand piano will be freshly tuned, and the hall is getting spruced up as well.
Over the 28 years the Grange has done this show, there have been many, many memorable acts. We watched kids grow up on stage. We saw people we know do things we never imagined they could. There are no tryouts for the show; we don't call it a "talent" show on purpose. What it is is uniquely ours, an expression of the Valley. And guess what? We are way cool and we know how to have big fun!
This year's show promises to be another ringer. Some of our old favorites and some new faces too. We DID chase down a couple of highly trained animals to add to the mix!
Join us, March 6th and 7th (different acts each night!), show starts at 7pm, doors open at 6:30pm. Come early, have a picnic and tailgate in the parking lot! Enjoy food and beverages provided by AV High School Juniors on Friday — pazole and tamales! Saturday night are Jay Newcomer's famous ribs, plain and simple. And don't forget the giant 50-50 raffle! Ah yes, the excitement is indeed a-buildin’!
A GRATEFUL NATION THANKS MAYOR PETE…
Pete Buttigieg drops out of presidental race after coming in fourth in South Carolina as speculation mounts that he will back Joe Biden who called him when the news broke. … expected to officially announce the end of his White House bid during a speech in his home city tonight.
AND THANKS TO BILLIONAIRE TOM…
Billionaire Tom Steyer dropped out of the presidential race after he finished behind Joe Biden in South Carolina on Saturday. "Honestly, I can't see a path where I can win the presidency," Steyer told supporters during an election night party in Columbia, South Carolina, adding he would continue to support grassroots causes. "This has been a great experience. I have zero regrets," Steyer said. Steyer reported spent 17 million on ads in South Carolina alone. According to a CBS poll on Sunday a majority of Steyer’s supporters preferred Biden to Sanders.
CLAY EUBANKS, Anderson Valley’s Emergency Medical Services Officer (formerly AV’s Ambulance Manager) reported last week that: “Overall there has been great shift coverage the past two months. We have several new folks who have been taking shifts including two from Albion and one from Comptche. … We have a new recruit still in the pipeline. He is a nurse at the clinic and lives in Yorkville. I suspect he will be a great addition. … The next training will be focusing on the Corona Virus. Jen Banks from Coastal Valleys (EMS) will be coming to give us the latest update. Several crew members have expressed some concern about it and I felt it would be good to get our LEMSA’s (Local Emergency Management Services Agency) perspective."
POINT CABRILLO LIGHT STATION
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE PROVIDERS LIST
In case you wondered (pls share) - a list of Mental health providers on the Mendo coast, compiled by Supervisor Ted Williams: ted.net/w/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/mental_health_providers_mendocino_coast_north_march_2020.pdf
(via Kathy Wylie)
LOCAL ELECTION PREDICTIONS:
Given the difficulties that No Party Preference (NPP) voters are having with their ballots, and the likelihood of an increased number of provisional ballots requiring time-consuming verification, and adding in the usual Mendocino County Elections office delays, we don't expect to have any reliable election results any time soon after Tuesday's election.
The three supervisor races could be close, although the Fourth District race between Dan Gjerde and Lindy Peters will obviously not require a runoff. (Reports from Fort Bragg claim that Peters’ signs are being stolen. If so, the Gjerde campaign is showing signs of desperation. Gjerde’s supporters are drawn from the ranks of Middle-of-the-Road Extremist variety, i.e., lock-step Democrats of the type dominant on the Northcoast, and people like former mayor Dave Turner, Meg Courtney, Linda Ruffing, and Bob Bushanksy. Peters, also a liberal but of the non-chain gang type, would seem to have the broader base of support, but we’ll see. We think the election will be close.)
The other two supervisor races will likely go to a runoff between the two top vote getters whoever they end up being.
In the Second District (Ukiah) district it looks like Mari Rodin and Maureen Mulheren are playing to the same voter base, while Joel Soinila is appealing to the non-Rodin/Mulheren voters. So, a runoff is likely between Soinila and either Rodin or Mulheren. Early election results, like we used to have when the vote was tallied on a chalk board in the County Courthouse, are not likely to be enough to know who’ll be in the runoff if that election is as close as we expect it to be. It could be weeks — probably close to the legal maximum of 30 days — before we know for sure who's in the runoff.
Similarly, in the First District (Potter Valley) we expect the top vote getters to be McGourty and Kennedy with wildcards Green and Sakowicz taking some unquantifiable votes out of both. But probably no one will get over 50% meaning that race will probably go to a runoff as well.
Whatever the outcome, the current Board of Supervisors, made up of two or perhaps three outgoing supervisors, will hand over a budget to the newcomers which the newcomers will have to live with, but not until at least January of 2021 when they take their seats and start finding out how bad things may be.
The newcomers will also have to live with what ever garbled overblown pot permit program the outgoing supervisors and staff bequeath them.
It will also be interesting to see if the front runners in the First and Second District races demonstrate a stepped-up interest in county affairs in the ninth months (!) between the March election and their first day on the job in January of 2021.
Either way, it’s a formula for even more power being put in the hands of CEO Angelo and her executive staff, since it will take a while for the newcomers to “engage,” as they say, if they ever do.
Of all the prospective candidates for the three open positions, only Mr. Soinila has expressed any interest in the County’s budget; incumbent Supervisor Dan Gjerde seems more interested in claiming credit for a few minor items that the board approved in the last few months than in seriously reviewing the county’s operating departments and budgets, blithely joining the chorus of admiration without any real data to back it up. Gjerde has snoozed through two terms in office, and only came alive when Lindy Peters announced that he’d oppose Gjerde.
VOTE BY MAIL BALLOTS NOT RECEIVED & BALLOTS TO BE COUNTED AT CENTRAL LOCATION
We are receiving reports from voters that they have not received their ballots for the PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY Election on MARCH 3, 2020, according to Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder. If you did not receive your ballot, you can go to a Polling Place closest to your residence and vote a provisional ballot, or you can come to our Ukiah office located at 501 Low Gap Rd., Room 1020.
If you have any questions please call our office at (707) 234-6819.
All polling place ballots will be counted on election night at the central location – and not at each individual polling place. There will not be result tapes posted at the polling places. Each polling place will also have at least one ballot box for the voters to deposit their voted ballots into. Once the polling places close, poll workers will seal the voted ballots and get them ready to be transported to the County Election office in Ukiah for counting.
The County’s website will be up-dated on election night after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. with election results as often as we receive the polling place ballots. The County’s website address is: www.mendocinocounty.org
For additional information contact: Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder, 707 234-6819
Tuesday is Election Day across California and here in Mendocino County we have some really important decisions to make.
Among the most critical is who to pick for our next 2nd District, 1st District, and 4th District supervisors. These are the people who make decisions about our county’s housing availability, our mental health system, the condition of our roads, the water supply, and much, much more. There are some really good candidates on the ballot (inland we recommend Maureen Mulheren in the 2nd and James Green in the 1st).
Voters will also face ballot measures from just about every major school district in the county including Ukiah and Willits, asking permission to issue millions of dollars in bonds for school building improvements. In Ukiah Measure A would allow the Ukiah Unified School District to issue $75 million in school bonds which will mean an extra 5 cents per $100 of assessed value in additional taxes for local property owners.
In Willits the Measure G bond issue would be $17 million, adding 4 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Countywide, voters — on Measure D — will also be asked to raise the transient occupancy tax now at 8 percent, to 10 percent and to add TOT to the rates at campgrounds and RV parks (except state parks). The TOT is charged now at all hotels, motels and other lodging. The new higher rate would also apply at all these generally tourist venues as well. The approximately $1 million this extra tax would raise is intended to be spent for local fire services.
On the coast, besides the 4th District race, voters will also be asked to approve an affiliation between the coast district hospital and Adventist Health.
And of course, voters throughout California will be choosing their favorite candidates for a Democratic challenger to President Trump in the November election.
Lots to decide. Ballots went out in February and while many people have already voted in this county we know that lots of people wait until the last minute and turn in their mail ballots at polls. If you haven’t mailed in your ballot yet, make sure that it is postmarked by March 3.
Or drop it at your local polling place or in the handy ballot box in front of the county administration building on Low Gap Road.
However you deliver it, just make your vote count.
K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal. (Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
HERE’S AN EXCERPT from a letter to the Ukiah Daily Journal endorsing Glenn McGourty for Supervisor in the First District from Randy Dorn of Redwood Valley. It effectively summarizes the candidate’s primary qualifications for the position: “I have considered all the candidates for 1st District Supervisor and am going to cast my vote for Glen [sic, it’s two nns] McGourty. I have been a building contractor with a small three acre vineyard and whenever I needed advice about my grapes I would call Glen. The personal way in which he responded to my very small and relatively insignificant needs proves to me he will be sensitive and caring to anyone and work hard to find fact and build consensus to help our county with intelligent management and decisions. He will pursue solutions to repair our roads and the need for affordable housing.”
GET IT? He helped ME with my winegrape problem, and that’s the entirety of my knowledge about a candidate whose name I can’t spell. Ergo, he’ll fix the roads and build low-cost housing! With that kind of support, “Glen” is a shoo-in!
AND HERE’S ANOTHER ONE from Marta Cruz, Councilmember, City of Cloverdale: “Her commitment to the Latino Community has been demonstrated by inquiring about the challenges and seeking solutions. She has made Spanish meetings a reality regarding Ukiah’s General Plan.”
SPANISH MEETINGS are in Ukiah’s General Plan according to a Cloverdale councilwoman? Finally, something fun to do in Ukiah! Let’s go! Oh wait, where are they?
THIS EXCERPT is from an endorsement of Mari Rodin from the highly placed Assistant Health and Human Services Director Madelin Holtkamp of Ukiah: “She [Rodin] is a supporter of Measure B and mental health services in our county.”
TRANSLATION: She won’t jeopardize the giant but invisible mental health services bureaucracy of which Ms. Holtkamp is a leading member. But, um, are there any candidates who don’t support Measure B and mental health services?
KATE MAGRUDER likes Ms. Rodin too because, “she invited me to share with other council members and the broader community the storytelling and placemaking work that I have been engaged in for the last couple decades.”
BY THAT LOGIC, since Ms. Rodin never invited me to do anything having to do with my personal hobbies and tastes, I’m not voting for her.
EVERYONE VOTES BLIND for Supervisor because very few people pay attention to what they do. Or don't do, absence of intelligent effort having been the norm for years now. Fact is, Mendocino County has one fully functioning Supe — Williams who, by the way, is being sniped at by his somnolent colleagues simply for doing the job the way it's supposed to be done. If it weren't for Williams, Supervisor McCowen's attempt to install his tenant and pal, Alicia Bales, in a specially created admin job paying upwards of $70 grand a year overseeing the McCowen-created boondoggle called the Mendocino County Climate Action Advisory Committee. This thing is still funded at $7500, all of it going to a consultant to get it organized. Because the Supe's candidates know little about county business, the elections resemble those we all experienced in the 4th grade — "I like Debbie because she's nice, but Tommy let me ride his new bike." Of course the debate is hardly more edifying at the national level, as we've seen in the run-up to 2020, The Year of Living Dangerously.
KYM KEMP at Redheaded Blackbelt deserves all praise for her dogged reporting on the Rohnert Park Police scandal. As the excellent reporter she is, Ms. K just kept after it, although I think it's obvious there were more people and police agencies involved. You telling me that Rohnert Park cops could set up their little shakedown ops at Squaw Rock without other cops knowing about it, and do it for several years? The badged crooks had a simple plan: stop any southbound vehicle that looked like it might be transporting dope, and take the dope and whatever cash the transporter might have. But unless one of the now fired cops talks — one of whom was paid thousands of public dollars to go away — we're not likely to get the whole story.
AMONG our many distinctions, Boonville also managed to linger for some years on the Super Fund clean-up roster, a distinction lasting for seemingly interminable years. Recognition that there was a prob began when drinking water at the Elementary School tasted suspiciously of gasoline, and fire breathing not being part of the curriculum, investigation soon revealed the culprit as leaking fuel tanks installed near the bus barns at about the same time as students abandoned their one-room school houses from Yorkville to Navarro for the centrally-placed school at Boonville. Those leaking tanks had been in place since the early Jazz Age. A seemingly endless (and often comic) clean-up commenced, paid for by the heavily indemnified school district and other large pots of public money eagerly drawn upon by all manner of cleansing expertise for what? Twenty-five years? The ancient tanks were removed, a great pile of earth dubbed Mount Fuma was piled up to the rear of the school grounds for a quarter-century of alleged fumigation, and finally hauled outtahere. But to this day neighbors continue to have their ground water tested. You might call their eternal trepidation, The Curse of Mount Fuma.
BLOOD IN THE WATER. The rumor that a local school administrator's contract won't be renewed seems, from all furtive accounts, to be true. The schools anymore are more peripheral to the life of this community than they once were, and one reason for that is that many of the people working in them don't live here, and the reason they don't live here is because they can't afford to, and even if they could afford to live here there aren't the available rentals or the affordable properties there once were. When I arrived in the glorious year of 1970, people of ordinary means could buy in, which I did for a thousand down and a $300 a month mortgage for a two bedroom one bath house on a half-acre on Anderson Valley Way — total price, $23,500. That place sold a few years ago for half a million dollars to a coupla Bay Area vultures who immediately put it up on Air B'nB, although continuing to rent two outbuildings to locals, probably at extortionate prices.
HOW TO TRY to sound smart when you don't know yer arse from a hot potato and throw in a lie, too, this one from the Wall Street Journal: "If Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee for president, he’ll have to secure the votes of people like me. He won’t have a chance. A man who sings the praises of Fidel Castro’s Cuba and promises to dismantle the most productive economy on the planet won’t win over America’s moderate middle, even running against an ill-mannered, ignorant and demagogic Donald Trump."
BERNIE hasn't sung the praises of Castro, having made it clear for years that the good stuff the Leninists accomplished in Cuba were erased by the island's being a police state. Even if the "moderates" fail to derail Bernie before he gets anywhere near the White House, universal health care might be unachievable given the composition of the billionaire-funded Congress. Ditto for a Green New Deal. We're already getting a lot of the above from "moderates" in full panic that ordinary Americans might get their first breaks since FDR.
BIDEN'S GREAT VICTORY in South Carolina? About 200,000 Demo votes cast in total, he gets not quite half of those, and the United States has a population of 300 million-plus.
‘PLAN FOR THE WORST AND HOPE FOR THE BEST’ from the Press Democrat.
…AND the government as crazy panic buying commences everywhere in the land. Absolute mob scenes at the SF Bay Area's CostCo's where a single scream could set off death trampling. Panic is setting in for residents on the West Coast as California becomes a coronavirus hotspot, Washington state reports the first death from the virus and Oregon officials announce that an elementary school employee has tested positive for the disease. Anxious shoppers descended on California supermarkets, stocking up on supplies like bottled water, canned food and Clorox wipes. The state has become a coronavirus hotspot, with more than half a dozen residents diagnosed with the disease in recent days. Late last week, two Northern California residents were revealed to be confirmed cases despite having no known contact with anyone else who was infected.
WHY PEOPLE SMOKE WEED TO TREAT DEPRESSION
Smoking weed to feel less depressed is a well-known phenomenon—but does it actually work?
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH — MOTELS ARE FULL, TOURISTS ARE RARE
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Recent news that motel occupancy rates spiked in 2019 should not be interpreted as a tourism marketing triumph, nor should anyone assume Ukiah has blossomed into a fashionable destination for out-of-towners.
Local motels have been packed for many months by workers doing jobs that locals are not competent to perform, and Ukiah remains high on the list of places tourists do not want to visit. Let’s take the second topic first.
No one ever comes to Ukiah for fun and relaxation. Not twice, anyway.
There is nothing to do in Ukiah that takes longer than lunch. I sometimes leaf through slick PR magazines listing all the wonderful things to do on your action-packed Ukiah vacation, and the list is always the same:
1) Local wineries. Bizwow. Like you have to drive to Ukiah to find a winery.
2) Orr Hot Springs, 10 miles west of town and home to redwood trees so tall you can’t see their tops. Last time wife Trophy and I visited we encountered more nasty big flying swarms of attacking insects than we’d ever seen anywhere in our lives. Be sure to pack a picnic basket.
3) Grace Hudson Museum. OK, it has a nice little art gallery but its board of directors, in a spasm of politically correct lunacy, had the lush shady lawns torn up a few years back to install “indigenous” plants and landscaping.
Today the grounds are indistinguishable from any dry, weed-choked vacant lot down by the airport, except it costs money to visit the so-called park. Most visitors are captive herds of school kids marched through on allegedly enlightening field trips, the poor things.
And that’s it. Those are Ukiah’s destination hot spots.
People don’t come here to dawdle around and gape at cute shops, but that’s not a bad thing. Do you really want more traffic? Do you want to be stopped five times a day by SUVers rolling down windows and asking directions to the nearest cannabis outlet?
Take a moment to pity a driver on Highway 101, perhaps exhausted, who takes a freeway off-ramp into town. What unwary soul would not be stunned by any of three potential introductions to Ukiah?
North State Street: A broken down abandoned bowling alley surrounded by gas stations, or
Perkins Street: A McDonald’s across from a Denny’s surrounded by gas stations, or
Talmage Road: A Jack in the Box, Walmart, Applebee big corporate franchise trifecta.
The horror, the horror.
Now let’s address Topic One, the 26% increase in transient occupancy tax which city officials called “staggering” and fetched nearly $2 million extra in 2019.
An honest assessment shows this is solely the result of out-of-town workers here semi-temporarily to do the work Ukiahans are incapable of doing for themselves. Like fix local communication networks, for instance. Or PG&Ers thrashing away in nearby hills to prevent the fire next time.
A few months ago our home laptops got sick and no longer responded to threats and beatings. My wife got on the phone and appealed to AT&T to come fix the problem. “Appealed to” is a nice way of saying Trophy badgered AT&T until it sent a repair crew to our house.
What was odd about the crew? Every single person was from LA. They are routinely sent here for weeks at a time because there aren’t enough skilled locals to fix problems. When assigned to Ukiah they lodge at the Hampton Inn near Walmart.
Any government official with sufficient initiative to drive north on State Street to the Travel Lodge will sees scores of big, white identical pickup trucks in the parking lot, not one of which arrived due to ad campaigns bleating “UKIAH: Far Out, Nearby.” (The city paid a Bay Area consultant tens of thousands of dollars for that inspired bit of genius.)
An enduring myth is that clever marketing will lure unsuspecting tourists to Ukiah. Many decades of futile programs and silly slogans have proven otherwise.
Numerous employees at the Mendocino County Tourist Commission, Visit Ukiah, the Main Street Program, Chamber of Commerce and all the other groups overlapping one another while divvying up the tourism pie would like you, me, and their funding sources to believe their efforts caused that 26 percent spike. Nonsense.
Our only visitors are those who got a late start and are too tired to drive all the way to Fort Bragg. If lucky enough to find a room in Ukiah they’re at the Voll Motel, PG&E having booked all the others.
In related news, longtime, bigtime manufacturing anchor Retech is moving the remainder of its operations to Buffalo, in large part because there are more skilled workers in upstate New York than around here.
Add that to the fact we have to import workers from hundreds of miles away in order to get things done and it makes us all proud of the terrific education job being done by our local schools.
Vote No on Measure A.
Tom Hine is certainly retired, possibly retarded, and lives in Ukiah with his imaginary playmate, Tommy Wayne Kramer.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
BONSAI BY TAKANORI AIBA
THE GREAT WIPE-DOWN
Dear Safeway, Raley's, Kohl's, Home Depot, and any and all food handlers, stock clerks, and people that touch things that we purchase.
May I please have your attention. California has the most cases of coronavirus of any state in the U.S. They are currently monitoring over 8,400 people here. I believe that it is now time for you all to be more proactive in helping to curb the spread of this virus. All employees touching food or putting cans on shelves should be wearing nitrile gloves.
Restaurants, please clean and disinfect your menus and your tables more frequently. Encourage all employees including cashiers to wash their hands much more frequently.
All stores, please hand out clean-wipes at your entrances, as well as hand sanitizers made available. Don’t just stock it in the front for purchase. Put it in the front for public usage.
Look, how would you feel if your dentist started reaching in your mouth with his hairy hands, right after he saw the patient before you?
Well, the stock person that put out the lettuce today at a local food store was not wearing any gloves, and as far as I am concerned, his hands touched my mouth via the lettuce. Gross. Sure I rinse it off, but I am asking for a higher degree of concern and protection for the general public, from you all.
And the stock clerk that might unknowingly be infected that puts cans up on the shelf one by one, could be infecting shoppers one by one.
One of the hugest issues around coronavirus is how easily it gets transmitted. I am asking for your help in this.
And customers, if you see some employee touching food or other stuff without nitrile gloves, I’d speak up.
Be nice when you suggest to them to wear gloves. You’re helping them as well as yourselves, and others.
We must all be on the lookout for things that improve the degree of our personal safety as well as the general public's safety.
DEFENSE SPENDING COMPARISON
UKIAH TRUMP ATTACK
Upon leaving Home Depot Saturday with a purchased countertop hot plate I noticed across the parking lot a guy with a woman walking away from the back of my car with what looked like a shit eating grin on the youngish man’s face.
Hmm? My trajectory would have taken me across the front of my car but I veered left to go around behind expecting to maybe find some form of vandalism to my Bernie 2020 bumpersticker.
It wasn’t a key scratch or marking pen overscore, but a Trump bumpersticker large enough to completely overlay my man Bernie.
Hmm! Again I thunk and without saying anything I started trying to peel off the offense. “Hey don’t take it off,” I hear and look up to see the guy heading back toward me with that same ear to ear grin. “Fuck you!” I spouted somewhat dismissively without any real thought or anger that I might have had if I was younger.
For his part the guy’s body language didn’t signal anything violent but after just a few steps he hesitated, twirled and rejoined his female companion. I didn’t hear anything but I suspect that she said something to him that turned him around.
Darn it. It took probably 15 minutes for me to get that plague of a man’s name off my man Bernie with me hoping that a cop would come along so I could charge the guy with vandalism.
What can I say but:
Bernie Sanders for president. Please!
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 1, 2020
CHARLES BARTH, Deerfield, Florida/Ukiah. DUI.
DAVID DORMAN, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
MARCOS FERMIN-GARCIA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICHARD GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Felon with firearm.
ROBERT GOTT, Redwood Valley. Suspended license.
ADAM LAFLIN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSE LUCERO, Ukiah. Resisting.
CARLOS MARTINEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, resisting, probation revocation.
JOSHUA MEDINA, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
DYLAN MILLER, Redding/Ukiah. Battery.
AUSTIN PHANOUVONG, Modesto/Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
MIGUEL RANGEL, Boonville. Failure to appear.
PATRICK SCHUETZ, Ukiah. County parole violation.
TERRY SMITH, Somerset, Kentucky/Willits. Stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property.
HEAVEN KNOWS WHERE WE ARE GOING
Coronavirus hijacks local couple’s dream cruise
by Jane Futcher
Sure, my wife Erin and I had some challenges on our recent month-long cruise through Asia on the Holland America ship Westerdam.
We were caught at sea in the eye of a storm — COVID-19, coronavirus, which can produce a deadly form of pneumonia.
Despite assurances from Holland America that all passengers were healthy — 1,455 guests and 747 crew — many countries on the itinerary refused to let us land, including the Philippines and Japan. Taiwan allowed us to dock in Kaohsiung for one night but then sent us packing. Shanghai and South Korea were apparently scratched by Holland America before we began leg two of our journey.
News media called us the “Pariah Ship.”
Even the American territory of Guam turned us away.
The timing of our cruise was bad. On Feb. 1, after a great two weeks in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, our ship stopped in Hong Kong, as planned, to let off about one third of the passengers and board new ones for the second leg of the cruise. Because Wuhan, China, was Ground Zero for the virus, Hong Kong was also apparently viewed by some countries as a possible vector for the virus.
By Feb. 4, the much larger cruise ship, Diamond Princess, was forced to quarantine in Yokohama, Japan, as hundreds of its 3,711 passengers tested positive for the virus. Sadly, two of the ship’s passengers have since died.
Since then, virus hot spots have sprung up in South Korea and Northern Italy.
To date, 67 countries have reported COVID-19 cases.
China reports nearly 80,000 cases and 35 deaths from the virus.
Although President Trump announced last weekend that the US has only 20 cases, public health officials say the total is closer to 70.
Washington State has reported the first American death from COVID-19.
In Northern California, two “community” cases of “unknown” origin have been identified.
Despite it all, Erin and I had a blast on our trip.
After boarding in Singapore Jan. 16, we snorkeled in Koh Samui, Thailand; bowed to the golden Buddhas of Bangkok’s Royal Palace; watched the sun rise over the haunting temples of Angkor Wat, and toured the “Hanoi Hilton,” the infamous prison where Senator John McCain spent five nightmare years and the French colonial government held countless Vietnamese political prisoners from 1886 to 1954.
We were traveling with close friends — Holley, a retired nurse, like Erin, and her partner Liz — whom we don’t get to see often. We danced to live music in the ship’s B.B. King Lounge; dined on great food while the crew treated us like royalty; attended shipboard parties like the Academy Awards pajama breakfast on the Main Stage; took classes on the history and culture of Asian countries we could not visit, taught by an engaging retired dentist and Tai Chi master from Tucson, Dr. Ping Wing Kam.
If we tired of cable news in our stateroom or couldn’t stomach another minute of the Senate impeachment hearings or the election caucuses, we could walk laps around the promenade deck or read on our balcony, seas churning below.
So what if the ship’s kitchen ran out of Nutella for crepes and fresh fruit for our stateroom? We took such deprivations in stride, especially after the ship’s captain announced that Holland America would be refunding our fares, giving us discounts on future trips and paying for our flights home. If we could get flights home.
Half laughing, half crying, Holley taught us the lyrics to an African song that captured our situation as we zig zagged through the South China Sea seeking a port in the coronavirus storm.
We are going,
Heaven knows where we are going…
And we'll get there.
Heaven knows how we will get there.
But we know we will.
We practiced a lesson Buddha taught: Stay present, in the moment, and breathe.
Sometimes the cruise got weird, like when a Thai military cruiser with a cannon on its foredeck circled the ship. Soon after, the captain announced that Thailand would not allow us to land but that Cambodia had approved our disembarkation, provided everyone on the ship was healthy.
On Feb 13, after nine days of roaming, the Westerdam landed in the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. With much fanfare, Cambodian Prime Minister Hu Den helicoptered down alongside the ship’s birth, and with TV cameras rolling, welcomed us, having presented all passengers with Cambodian silk scarves, then offering bouquets of flowers to the first passengers to disembark. Most of us stayed on board while we awaited instructions from the captain and crew. It could take days, the captain said, for Holland America to book flights home for all of us. Cambodia is not a big international flight hub.
On Feb. 14, I enjoyed a cappuccino on the observation deck and talked to a couple of passengers about their experience on the ship. Jan Kennedy of Yorkshire, England, loved the first leg but wished Westerdam had never landed in Hong Kong.
“When Holland America decided that we were going to go to Hong Kong,” Kennedy said, “we were all quite alarmed because by that time we already knew that there was a [COVID-19] problem brewing there, so we were quite shocked that they were going to take us to Hong Kong and let a lot of people on potentially bringing on the virus with them.
“And then after that there was very poor communication. The ship itself is wonderful, the crew have been fantastic and looked after us, but we’ve been very disappointed with Holland America for the communications or lack of communication. I know they’re trying to rectify that but of course it will have spoiled the cruise for most people, I think.”
Raunaq Shaik, who lives in Toronto but was born in Pakistan, enjoyed the cruise despite the surprises.
“They are taking care of us so nicely,” Shaik said. “Everybody’s been so patient, and everybody is so nice. The service is excellent. They keep us entertained. So many classes, so many things of our own interest so we can just select and go.
“I am not disappointed at all. We couldn’t go places because of the virus, but it’s nobody’s fault. Of course, I wanted to visit so many ports that we didn’t go, but what can you do? What they say is, ‘This is life and it’s up to you to enjoy it.’ We have already booked another Holland America cruise, to Alaska.”
When I returned to our cabin after speaking to Jan and Raunaq, Erin was agitated.
“Where have you been? We’re leaving for the airport in an hour and flying to Kuala Lumpur. Hurry up and finish packing!”
“Where is Kuala Lumpur?”
“Malaysia, I think.”
“What about San Francisco?”
“Hurry!” she cried. “We’ll figure that out later.”
Sitting close behind us on the bus to the airport was a man in his eighties with a wracking cough and his fragile-looking wife. They were also on the flight to Kuala Lumpur.
As we landed in Malaysia, airline agents dashed down the aisle, rushing away with the coughing man and his wife and spraying the rest of us with insecticide. Erin covered her head with a blanket.
Instead of going right to our hotel, guards who did not speak English herded us into a cold transit lounge without explanation. Some of us missed our flights. Others were inexplicably allowed to go to theirs. No one said why they were holding us.
Miraculously, out of nowhere, a retired nurse and passenger took charge of the weird situation, calling Holland America as well as the American consulate as she sorted things out with airport personnel. After each of her phone calls, she would report to us over the P.A. system.
“Someone from the consulate will be coming soon to help us,” she announced.
Suddenly, blankets and pillows and airline dinners materialized.
More forlornly, the nurse announced: “We won’t be getting our luggage tonight or tomorrow because it has gone to customs and immigration, and we are not going there. We are in transit, and we will only be able to get our luggage when we reach our final destination.”
I kept thinking of that Bill Murray movie, “Lost in Translation,” where he gets trapped in an airport.
“We don’t have a final destination,” Erin told the nurse. “Our ticket stops in Singapore.”
“I’ve got a similar situation,” she said. “My ticket stops in San Diego, but I live in Denver. I’ll talk to them.”
“What about our hotel?” Erin asked.
More delays and phone calls.
“No one will be staying at a hotel tonight,” she announced over the P.A. system. “But the airport is trying to find us a more comfortable place to spend the night."
After several hours, bedraggled and clutching pillows and blankets, the sixty or so passengers remaining traipsed through the airport and took a short train ride, guards eyeing us all the while, and arrived at last in the promised land, a cavernous room called the Golden Lounge. It was warm, had free Wi-Fi, a free 24-hour buffet, beverages, bathrooms and showers. Tucked away in a small alcove, Erin stumbled across a woman’s “napping lounge” and nabbed two couches for us. We showered and set our alarms for 5 a.m., when a Malaysian airline representative would escort us to the transit ticket desk.
Someone from American Consulate in Kuala Lumpur did show up the next morning.
“I don’t usually help with airline tickets,” said the nice woman from the consulate. “But this is an unusual situation.”
“Why did they hold us here?” we asked.
“I’m trying to sort it all out,” she said vaguely.
When our turn came in the ticket line, we were thrilled to find we were flying not to Singapore but to Tokyo, and from there to SFO. Life was good.
In Tokyo, no one seemed to know or care that we had been on the pariah ship, we dashed across the airport with barely enough time to call Holley, now in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where Holland America had flown several hundred passengers on charter planes to await flights home. They’d been booked into a luxury hotel; about 200 other guests were still on the Westerdam with the crew.
Erin and I were a wreck when we arrived in San Francisco airport the next day. We took BART to El Cerrito, where we planned to spend the night with a friend, also a registered nurse, before driving home to Mendocino County.
On Wi-Fi at last, we freaked out on BART. We’d both received texts saying that the elderly woman rushed off the airplane had tested positive for the coronavirus; she and her husband, who was negative, were now in a Kuala Lumpur hospital.
Erin texted our hostess. “We may have been exposed to the coronavirus.”
At our El Cerrito BART stop, Erin and I and our friend stood awkwardly on the curb trying to figure out what to do.
Our friend decided she would rather we not stay with her.
“We understand,” said Erin. “But we can’t drive home. We’re too tired.”
“What about a motel?”
“No problem,” I swallowed. Our brains were mush.
“Let’s treat ourselves to a nice place,” Erin said.
It was Saturday of Valentine’s Day weekend. Every decent hotel or motel in the Bay Area seemed to be booked,
In Novato, we found the free last room in the Bay Area. I was freezing. My down jacket was in my suitcase. My suitcase was in Tokyo.
Erin called UCSF Emergency Department from the motel, hoping we could quickly settle the question of whether we were positive for coronavirus.
“Is there a test we can take if we’ve been exposed?” she asked the ER.
“Do you have symptoms? Fever? Cough? Difficulty breathing?”
“We both feel fine,” she said.
“No need to come in. We won’t test you.”
She called Marin General ER. Same thing. If we didn’t have symptoms, they didn’t need to see us or test us.
I was now staring at a new text on my phone.
“What is it?” Erin said.
“That woman from the cruise I was talking to in the Sihanoukville airport? She just texted that her brother is in Phnom Penh at that hotel where Holley is and says the woman’s positive test in Kuala Lumpur is suspect. Malaysia refused to allow the CDC and the World Health Organization to retest her. It could be a false positive.”
Erin called Phnom Penh and reached Holley, who said the 83-year-old woman’s positive test had freaked out the airlines and other countries, and their new tickets home had to be cancelled until every passenger and the crew could be tested for the virus, which would take several days. No one could fly home until everyone, including the crew and passengers still on the ship were found virus-free. If not, everyone might be quarantined for two weeks. As it was, they were allowed to leave the hotel but stay close by.
I had a very restless night wondering if I had the virus.
“How do you feel?” I asked Erin as we drove north to Mendocino County the next day.
“Feel fine,” Erin said. “We don’t have the coronavirus. I’m sure of it. That woman’s test was bogus. That’s why even her husband who was much sicker than she was tested negative. It was a false positive. We’re good.”
Erin is better at staying in the moment than I am.
The dogs yelped with glee when we walked in the door. The air in Mendocino was delicious and pure.
On Monday, Mendocino County Health and Human Services called us. A public health nurse said that as far as she could tell, the CDC guidelines said we were at “low-risk” for the disease and did not need to be quarantined.
“Can you test us?” we asked.
“Only if you have symptoms."
She called back later; she’d talked with her boss and we were actually considered at “medium risk.” The county would like us to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. That sounded good to us after five weeks of being on the road.
“Do you need anything?” the nurse asked. “I don’t live far away. Can I bring you groceries?”
“We’re fine,” we said. “But thank you.”
Neighbors brought us our mail and fresh veggies.
The county nurse called every day to check on our temperatures and symptoms. We had nothing to report. We felt great.
On Sunday, Feb. 23, we received an e-mail from Holland America’s President Orlando Ashford. He apologized for any inconvenience we’d been caused and closed his letter with very good news.
“Based on information provided for the reported single confirmed case of COVID-19,” Ashford wrote, “the U.S. CDC does not recommend isolation or quarantine for guests returning home from Westerdam. If for some reason you have been asked to self-quarantine by your national, state or local health authority, please let us know.”
We e-mailed the letter to the county. Our coronavirus storm was over.
The world’s, it seems, was just beginning.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered his nation’s schools closed until late March to help control the spread of the virus.
Stock markets in the U.S. and around the world have plunged.
International supply chains have drawn to a halt.
Airlines, including British Airways, Delta, American Airlines, United and Air France, have suspended flights to mainland China; dozens of flights to Asia’s biggest cities have been cancelled.
Meanwhile, here in Northern California, two “community” virus cases of have been reported in people who have not traveled to COVID-19 hotspots or been in contact with anyone who has.
President Trump suggested that the coronavirus was a “hoax” drummed up by Democrats to smear him. His son told reporters Democrats hoped “millions” of Americans would die from the virus so his dad wouldn’t be reelected.
Trump has placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the US coronavirus response team, a dubious choice in light of Pence’s handling of a spike in HIV crisis in Indiana in 2015 when he was governor. Asked about a needle exchange program to slow the infection rate, he told reporters, "I'm going to go home and pray on it.”
Last week, the California Nurses Association criticized the state’s medical facilities when a Solano County patient tested positive for coronavirus. Many staff had already come in contact with the patient. As a consqeunce, U.C. Davis hospital asked 36 nurses and 88 medical staff to self-quarantine as a precaution.
“A total shit show” is how a registered nurse friend of ours in the Bay Area described the scene at her hospital as word came that the hospital would soon be admitting patients with COVID-19. She said nurses and floor staff had not been adequately trained on handling COVID-19 patients or been provided with enough protective gear.
The CDC reported last week that many of its testing kits are producing flawed results; those that work are in very short supply.
The Westerdam, has cancelled its next four cruises.
Meanwhile, Americans are told that to prevent the spread of disease, we must wash our hands frequently and for 30 seconds (the equivalent of two rounds of “Happy Birthday to You”); avoid touching our faces and mouths with our hands; cover our mouths or wear masks if we cough, and stay at home if we are sick.
Is that enough to combat the coronavirus storm?
We wash our hands maniacally and are trying to practice the Buddha’s great lesson: Stay in the present, and breathe deeply.
Just for today, it’s working. We are great. I pray you are, too.
But what a long strange trip it’s been!
PS. Cambodia, the only Southeast Asia country that would allow Holland America’s ship Westerdam to land, rolled out the red carpet, then got worried when a passenger appeared to get coronavirus after landing in Kuala Lumpur. Jane Futcher, who was aboard the ship and the flight to Kuala Lumpur, tells the story.
A Thai naval vessel pulled up alongside Holland America’s Westerdam Feb. 12 as passengers on the cruise ship thought they were headed to a port near Bangkok to disembark. Turned out the Thais, scared of coronavirus, didn’t want the ship, which finally landed in Cambodia. All passengers were virus-free when they disembarked.
Jane Futcher lives seven miles south of Laytonville.
ALMA SPRECKELS GOT HER SUGAR DADDY
There were a lot of colorful characters in early day San Francisco. "Big" Alma Spreckels was one of my favorites. From an early age she knew what she wanted and she pursued it; in her wake she left behind a beautiful museum, an historic mansion, and a legend.
Alma Spreckels spent a lifetime trying to influence the city she so badly wanted to accept her. In the process, the 19th century San Francisco heartthrob left behind several monuments and an enduring legend.
“Big” Alma (she was six-feet tall) knew what she wanted and she went after it. She had aspirations of glamour, which she vigorously pursued and often obtained through determination, imagination, and sometimes just dumb luck.
Born in 1881 into a family with a father who claimed he was of royal heritage and didn’t need to work, Alma de Bretteville dropped out of school to help her mother support the family. She studied art and used her wholesome beauty and well-sculptured body to find work as a model, posing (sometimes naked) for artists, and for the bronze statue atop the peace monument in Union Square.
She sought a rich husband, saying she would rather be an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave, and she succeeded when (after years of effort) she talked Adolph Spreckels, a sugar baron, into marrying her. She took his name and spent his money.
Publicly, Alma referred to her husband, who was 24 years her senior, as her “sugar daddy.” When he died, she became the richest woman in the West. Not generally accepted by San Francisco’s high society, she threw lavish parties (that were often not well-attended), drank and smoked, and cussed like a sailor.
Alma used her wealth to travel and build a villa in the north end of San Francisco that is still known as the Spreckels’ Mansion. She loved art and wanted to appear cultured, so she bought sculptures and paintings and with her sugar daddy donated funds to build the Legion of Honor art museum that is still an attraction for locals and tourists.
Alma spent a lifetime social climbing, but she never reached the top. Her later years were lonely; she donated to San Francisco causes, drank pitchers of martinis, swam in her private indoor pool, and mourned her declining social status. Although her ambitions had exceeded her attainment, she had led the life she wanted, left a legacy to the city she loved, and above all else she got her sugar daddy.
(San Francisco: Legends, Heroes and Heartthrobs)
A CASE FOR ALISON DE GRASSI and a call for action to let the VMC board know how the organization affects your tourist related business.
For those of you who don’t know, one of our most valuable (if not the most valuable) team players in the effort to promote tourism in Mendocino County has been dismissed, let go, fired. Alison de Grassi has worked tirelessly to promote our lodging and tourist stakeholders and has done more than anyone I know to insure we are a top destination in our State. Alison has worked with countless board members as well as six executive directors during the nine years she has served the county. As we all know from organizations like this, all it takes is a change in management, behind the scenes power play or political dynamic in a jockeying group of board members to end the career of someone who is so well loved and valued in our business community.
Please join me and let the Visit Mendocino County board know your experience in working with Alison and how she has impacted your business. She was our boots on the ground, the one who knew our story and shared it with the media and visitors alike. From what I have been able to uncover, this decision could have easily been avoided if management and a board of eleven people simply made an effort to seek out other solutions. Draft a letter in a word document, attach it to an email and send it to the VMC chair, Cally Dym: firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be review by them prior to their meeting in March. Also copy your own district supervisor or the board of supervisors as a whole: email@example.com
It is important that they hear from us this week and it is also an opportunity to let them know how they can help your lodging establishment or hospitality business in the future. We collect the dues that fund VMC and we should have our voices heard.
— Jim Roberts
I THINK PEOPLE GET BY
and that is good
through tough times and rough
to help find
to help find
to help find
to help find
to help find
before they smile
and die cynically
. . .
you say what?
. . .
let corporate industry win.
let it be hope and chaos.
let it be your angry.
let it be your cry.
let it be your die.
. . .
you say what?
. . .
I just can't
— Quincy Steele
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE - WEEKLY UPDATE for 03/01/2020
Calendar events for the next two weeks 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:
To the Editor:
I am urging all citizens within the Ukiah Unified School District to vote No on Measure A for the following reasons:
-Taxes Increase when local bonds are approved. Property owners are already paying on a previous UUSD bond. Measure A would increase taxes paid to UUSD by over 35 percent!
-Rents increase when local bonds are approved. Although renters do not pay property taxes, property owners do pass along increased costs to their tenants. When renters vote for local bonds, they are not getting something for nothing!
-If the schools have leaking roofs and other deterioration, why did the administration of UUSD decide to spend money on a new office building for themselves instead of prioritizing the health and well-being of our children/their students?
It seems to be a characteristic at all levels of government to spend taxpayer money on things that would not pass the bulletin board test and ask for tax increases on things for which the average citizen has sympathy. The case seems pretty clear with Measure A.
D. E. Johnson
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The mind is poorly understood, hence, its diseases are poorly understood, psychology as much a crap science as its sister “ologies”, economics and sociology, the practitioners of all three posing as serious academics but regularly taking flight into realms of the unreal, positing arguments that only intellectuals could embrace, but nobody else of sound mind and body.
How else do we find ourselves in the fixes we find ourselves in? Open borders? Seriously? Only the serious man-of-learning, someone who sports degrees and diplomas and high honors could seriously embrace such lunacy.
What are borders for? Well, for starters, for laying claim to a patch of land and the resources sitting on it and under it, whether of the agricultural type or the hydrological or the mineral, and others too, but also because borders are the basis for nationhood.
But also as barriers to many types of contagion, for example, those of a biological variety, especially those that spread person-to-person, but not only those, but also those of the ideological sort. Do you want ISIS firebrands trespassing on your turf?
And financial contagion. Yes, yes, I can hear the sneers and jeers from those committed to neo-liberal theory with the EU and NAFTA and other such crack-pot arrangements as real-world manifestations, but let’s compare notes when DBank goes tits and starts bringing down contractual counter-parties in daisy chains of defaults and insolvencies and half the banks in the formerly developed West start looking titsy and you start to fear for your savings and livelihood.
You’d be excused for thinking of our allegedly educated class as being crazy, because that’s exactly what they are, because if they’re not that, adopting nonsense as the idea of the elevated in mind and morality, then what exactly are they? Three years of Russia-gate is not the work of healthy, rational minds. Call it kuru or whatever diagnostic label you see fit, but crazy is crazy.
CORONAVIRUS: NASA IMAGES SHOW CHINA POLLUTION CLEARS AMID FACTORY SLOWDOWN
ILL TO YOU LIBERALS
Governor Gruesome Newsom has taken our 10% tax money which was supposed to be for infrastructure and roads and bridges and dams and put it in climate change of which there is none. Another sneaky way for Democrats to take money for other situations. It makes me sick to my stomach that a man like that could be our governor. He hides criminals in our own state defying law-enforcement from doing their job; he wants open borders; wants to give liberal aliens driver’s licenses and medical care at our expense.
Climate change is the biggest joke that ever hit the United States just like global warming. Newsom's not just a dictator, he's a tyrant! The people of California failed to recall him because they couldn't get enough votes in on time because the Democrats hindered people from casting their votes. I hope President Trump spends the next four years of his term getting even with Gavin Newsom and straightening California out. I hope Republican votes are not robbed and stolen by the dirty rotten illegal Liberal Democrats. They are foul people just like the media, dirty and foul. Sad.
The rotten lying media and liberal Democrats have accused President Trump of being responsible for the so-called coronavirus and starting a great big panic attack on our president. The coronavirus is just the flu, which kills thousands of people every year but that's never brought up. The flu attacks old and weak people with low resistance. It kills them! It kills people who don't take care of themselves, like drunkards and dope addicts who get sick and die from it. It's ugly that the media and the Liberals start rumors like that. President Trump did everything he could to corral the so-called coronavirus, which is no problem at all and yet they still attack him!
It's sad that law enforcement can't do its job because of liberals. Federal judges are rotten to the core. President Trump’s administration is suing the rotten liberal miserable no good New York Times, a bunch of lying rotten people with low morals. I hope he puts them in their graves along with the other liberal newspapers. It would be great if he crippled them so they couldn't lie anymore.
God bless Donald Trump, God bless Donald Trump, God bless Donald Trump, God bless Donald Trump.
PS. The governor takes the law into his own hands and vetoes what people vote on like when they voted not to let death row inmates live out their terms. He vetoed that. People lost their loved ones. These animals on death row can now live out the rest of their lives in luxury. It's a shame. Of course a lot of you people don't care, you could care less what he does as long as you get your beer and your food and other stuff, you're happy.
PPS. Mary Nichols at the Air Resources Board has taken our trucks from us. Anything before 2012 is outlawed. We paid taxes and weight fees for years and spent thousands of dollars and now we can’t use our trucks. Sad. Sick. Nothing wrong with any of these trucks in Northern California. No problem. It’s sick. Shame on the CHP for enforcing it and the Motor Vehicle Department for not licensing our trucks. I wish the rotten Democrats running California the worst luck in the world. I hope they and their loved ones all catch the coronavirus or worse and suffer for the rest of their lives.
FORGING THE ANCHOR CHAINS FOR THE TITANIC
THE NEW DARK AGES
by Victor Davis Hanson
Many of the stories about the gods and heroes of Greek mythology were compiled during Greek Dark Ages. Impoverished tribes passed down oral traditions that originated after the fall of the lost palatial civilizations of the Mycenaean Greeks.
Dark Age Greeks tried to make sense of the massive ruins of their forgotten forbearers' monumental palaces that were still standing around. As illiterates, they were curious about occasional clay tablets they plowed up in their fields with incomprehensible ancient Linear B inscriptions.
We of the 21st century are beginning to look back at our own lost epic times and wonder about these now-nameless giants who left behind monuments that we cannot replicate, but instead merely use or even mock.
Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years?
Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up. The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.
Who were those giants of the 1960s responsible for building our interstate highway system?
California's roads now are mostly the same as we inherited them, although the state population has tripled. We have added little to our freeway network, either because we forgot how to build good roads or would prefer to spend the money on redistributive entitlements.
When California had to replace a quarter section of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco Bay Bridge, it turned into a near-disaster, with 11 years of acrimony, fighting, cost overruns — and a commentary on our decline into Dark Ages primitivism. Yet 82 years ago, our ancestors built four times the length of our single replacement span in less than four years. It took them just two years to design the entire Bay Bridge and award the contracts.
Our generation required five years just to plan to replace a single section. In inflation-adjusted dollars, we spent six times the money on one quarter of the length of the bridge and required 13 agencies to grant approval. In 1936, just one agency oversaw the entire bridge project.
California has not built a major dam in 40 years. Instead, officials squabble over the water stored and distributed by our ancestors, who designed the California State Water Project and Central Valley Project.
Contemporary Californians would have little food or water without these massive transfers, and yet they often ignore or damn the generation that built the very system that saves us.
America went to the moon in 1969 with supposedly primitive computers and backward engineering. Does anyone believe we could launch a similar moonshot today? No American has set foot on the moon in the last 47 years, and it may not happen in the next 50 years.
Hollywood once gave us blockbuster epics, brilliant Westerns, great film noirs, and classic comedies. Now it endlessly turns out comic-book superhero films or pathetic remakes of prior classics.
Our writers, directors and actors have lost the skills of their ancestors. But they are also cowardly, and in regimented fashion they simply parrot boring race, class and gender bromides that are neither interesting nor funny. Does anyone believe that the Oscar ceremonies are more engaging and dignified than in the past?
We have been fighting in Afghanistan without result for 18 years. Our forefathers helped to win World War II and defeat the Axis Powers in four years.
In terms of learning, does anyone believe that a college graduate in 2020 will know half the information of a 1950 graduate?
In the 1940s, young people read William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pearl Buck and John Steinbeck. Are our current novelists turning out anything comparable? Could today's high-school graduate even finish "The Good Earth" or "The Grapes of Wrath"?
True, social media is impressive. The internet gives us instant access to global knowledge. We are a more tolerant society, at least in theory. But Facebook is not the Hoover Dam, and Twitter is not the Panama Canal.
Our ancestors were builders and pioneers and mostly fearless. We are regulators, auditors, bureaucrats, adjudicators, censors, critics, plaintiffs, defendants, social media junkies and thin-skinned scolds. A distant generation created; we mostly delay, idle and gripe.
As we walk amid the refuse, needles and excrement of the sidewalks of our fetid cities; as we sit motionless on our jammed ancient freeways; and as we pout on Twitter and electronically whine in the porticos of our Ivy League campuses, will we ask: "Who were these people who left these strange monuments that we use but can neither emulate nor understand?"
In comparison to us, they now seem like gods.
(Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author of "The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won," from Basic Books. You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh[at]gmail.com.)