- High Pressure
- Boonville Survey
- Lauren's Takeout
- School News
- Safeway Shopping
- CSD Meeting
- Hoarder Trap
- Gualala Case
- Supes Agenda
- Accordion Run
- TP Thieves
- Lockdown Compliance
- Confirmed Cases
- Virtual Supes
- County Closures
- Paper Bunker
- Grand Jury
- Yesterday's Catch
- Criminal Capitalism
- Corporate Bailouts
- Blame Game
- Stop Shooting
- Very Model
- Sarah Streaming
- About Soap
- Cat Mother
- Isis Advisory
- 2020 Olympics
- Fading Superpower
- Thank O
- Inherent Fragility
- Honolulu Report
- Family Iso
- Groundwater Act
- Election Tampering
HIGH PRESSURE will build into the area through the weekend with moderating temperatures and some sunshine. There will still be areas of low clouds and fog during the overnight and morning hours, especially in the valleys. The next storm system will bring widespread rain and mountain snow along with colder temperatures during the early to middle portions of next week. (NWS)
BOONVILLE SHELTERS IN PLACE
Thursday Morning, March 19, 2020
Closed/Empty: Boonville Hotel, all of South Boonville, Philo Ridge Tasting Room, Lauren’s restaurant (but employees arriving, presumably for later opening), Uneda Eats restaurant.
Open: Anderson Valley Advertiser, Boont Berry Store, Redwood Drive-In, Mosswood Café (but closed in the afternoon), Rossi Hardware, Boonville Post Office, AV Market, Boonville General Store/Market (but closed in the afternoon), Disco Ranch. In fact, Boont Berry Store got a large pallet delivery of organic food from the “Unfi” (United Natural Foods Inc.) truck Thursday afternoon.
All the open stores had minimal traffic and customers.
The CSD Office/Firehouse looked closed with one vehicle out front and a sign on the door said “No in person Visitors; call or email…” etc.
Vehicles/traffic: Very light, but: a PG&E van came through, as did a Friedman’s delivery truck, a Home Depot delivery truck, and the aforementioned food delivery semi-truck, among a few others.
A couple of County Ag Department techs were conducting an annual gas pump calibration test at the Redwood Drive-In.
By 7pm Thursday evening most of Boonville had nearly turned into a ghost town. Only AV Market, the Drive-In and Lauren’s were open (take out only), but very few vehicles nearby, most probably belonging to staff.
Ricardo Suarez at the Redwood Drive-In said Thursday evening that he had had a very good winter season and was upbeat until the last few days which have fallen way off. “Most of the time we don’t realize how vulnerable we are,” Suarez mused as he barbecued a few drumsticks outside his local landmark. “But this is a pretty strong reminder. Makes you reconsider what’s really important. I hope it doesn’t last too long.” (—Mark Scaramella)
As I said yesterday, it changes every day and probably will continue to do so. The "shelter in place” order has put restaurants in a category where we can continue to provide takeout. As we started yesterday, we will be open tonight for to-go orders and curbside pick up only from 5 to 8:30. If you would like curbside pick up, please call 895-3869 and place your order with a credit card. Our dinner menu is available at our website http://www.laurensgoodfood.com/
We understand not everyone considers this an "essential business" that should remain open, but we are continually evaluating what's best for our staff, the continuation of this small business and the health of the community. We realize some people are choosing to stay totally home, and that is absolutely okay with us. I just hope people understand that we don't make any of our decisions lightly and we feel this is the right choice to make at this moment.
Our current pasta features sausage we made from Mendocino Heritage Pork and the last of the summer tomatoes we preserved.
EYES ONLY, BOONVILLE: The Anderson Valley School Board presently consists of Dick Browning, Saoirse Byrne, Kristin San Miguel, Erika Gatlin, and Justin Rhoades. All but Browning, have children in the local schools, which is as it should be.
THE SCHOOLS are closed but staff is being paid. Some staffers are working on-site (e.g., cafeteria workers), some working part-time on-site and part-time from home (e.g., teachers), and some are on call at home (e.g., child care workers).
STUDENT MEALS are available for pick up 11:00 - 12:30 each day outside the elementary campus (breakfast and lunch in one bag).
KATHY WYLIE posted some notes from Senator McGuire’s Press Conference Wednesday night on the Fifth District Supervisorial District facebook page. Here’s one note that caught our eye: “School Unions are communicating with districts. Attendance requirements have been completely relaxed. On site attendance calculated from Feb 29. Working out details of academic credits with the state. State will back fill any impact to ongoing school funding.”
FORT BRAGG SAFEWAY:
AVCSD BOARD: BUSINESS AS USUAL — ALMOST
by Mark Scaramella
The Anderson Valley Community Services District Board managed to conduct a more or less regular business meeting by teleconference Wednesday night, even with — almost oblivious to — the unfolding virus crisis.
They voted to spend almost $15k of reserves on a study set the stage for implementation of a developer’s (or “impact”) fee on new development in Anderson Valley. Details to come. Hopland Fire District board member David Roderick offered some background involving a large Sonoma County winery project in Hopland that was charged over $200k because of the estimated impact of the development on the Hopland Fire District. Roderick said that after some legal difficulties, the fee was implemented and is no longer facing any significant opposition.
The Board discussed the status of the water and wastewater projects which have now spent a large majority of the state’s original $1 million grant in planning and engineering work. Unfortunately, as the drinking water half of the planning is nearing completion, an owner of a Boonville-area parcel which was supposed to be one of the “well clusters” to supply water to the system, decided — after over six months of negotiations — that they wanted “more than seven figures” (over $1 million) for the water rights to their land. So the District has removed that land owner from their list of water sources and is looking at alternatives. At present it looks like there are three well clusters still in play, at the Health Center, the existing Airport Estates mini-water district and a private source on or near Lambert Lane.
The wastewater project is still stalled by the lack of a large enough property to install the semi-truck sized processing plant and distribute the processed wastewater. Apparently the Fairgrounds is still on the list of possible sites, but significant bureaucratic obstacles to that site involving the Fair Board and the County remain unsolved.
The Board also authorized spending another $20k from reserves for the local share of a possible state grant to cover several hundred thousand dollars worth of firefighter breathing apparatus, should the grant be awarded. Also the approved another $5k for a local match of a Community Foundation communications (radio equipment) grant.
Also approved was a $300 fee add-on for medical calls where the Fire Department is also involved. However, this fee would only apply to calls where the patient has private medical insurance. Locals who have ambulance service memberships or no insurance or MediCal or Medicare will not be affected.
Chief Andres Avila said he’d tried to contact the people who were supposed to be doing the rubble clean up in downtown Boonville but “they’re not answering their phones right now.” So the rubble pile clean-up is on indefinite hold.
Board member Francois Christen asked about plans for future teleconference meetings for the Board and the District’s standing committees. For now, the posted agendas will include a call-in teleconference number and email questions will be taken.
Christen concluded the meeting by telling his colleagues and staff on the conference line and in the meeting room, "Brace yourselves; this looks like it’ll be going on for months.”
PS. Thursday evening we noticed someone — perhaps Mr. Johnson, the property owner/contractor who lives in Sebastopol — driving a rented, tracked skip loader from the front of the rubble to the back where it was parked perhaps in preparation for rubble removal activity.
MENDO’S FIRST CONFIRMED VIRUS CASE and other Health Officer News
Besides the usual emphasis on precautions and social distancing, and a description of what’s considered essential, at Thursday afternoon’s health officer presentation, Mendo Public Health Officer Noemi Doohan was asked what kinds of steps would be taken if the current shelter in place order wasn’t effective enough. Doohan said that they would take direction from higher officials, but that it would probably involve further restrictions on what is considered “essential.”
According to Dr. Doohan, five people in the County are now in quarantine, not in general population; they are recent returnees from out of County.
The one confirmed case is being investigated for contact with others for notifications and additional home-bound quarantines.
That one confirmed case was from a South Coast clinic (i.e., Gualala). The patient is female, under 30, and has symptoms, but does not need hospitalization and is improving. She apparently had contact with a covid-19 patient. She is in isolation with close, active monitoring. She poses no threat to public health. Anyone who had contact with her that becomes sick will be tested.
Dr. Doohan expects more cases in Mendo, similar in proportion to Sonoma County, and the rest of the Bay Area, so they are taking these steps to slow the spread. Dr. Doohan added that they have closed down a restaurant business in Gualala because it did not follow the order to shut down and only offer food to go.
LOOKING GOOD SO FAR, MENDO! Our naturally dispersed population has so far seen only one verified plague case which, we learned today was detected in the Gualala area? Residents of that area can now profit from knowing and, we hope, become even more committed to staying home.
THE PRESS RELEASE DELUGE continues unabated. We get it. Everything is closed. If you need specifics, well, simply assume shutdown unless it’s on the short list of “essentials” — food shopping, healthcare, medications, pets. And how about one daily press conference at, say, 5pm broadcast on KZYX? As is, way too much repetition and, occasionally, misinformation.
NO ON-SITE DINING this morning at Sunny's Donuts in Ukiah. Chairs were neatly placed on table tops. Taking my BLT on a jalapeno bagel with me I hit the road south. Traffic was light, Healdsburg virtutally deserted, but the wonderful bakery on the square was open and doing a brisk business.
GOVERNOR NEWSOM'S projection of 25 million coronavirus illnesses in the state before the beast subsides may be in the ballpark and, I suppose, worth announcing if the intention is to scare people into social distancing. Otherwise, his guess is as good as the next guy's.
AN ACQUAINTANCE told me that his wife of many years suddenly challenged him, "Come to think of it, I've never seen you wash your hands." He says he replied, "You're welcome to accompany me on bathroom visits but I can't guarantee your safety."
WHAT IS “ESSENTIAL”?
BASED ON THE ATTACHMENTS to Friday morning’s special Supervisors “Virtual” meeting agenda (9am for you few who might be interested — google ‘mendocino county video’ etc.), subjects which are likely to come up include:
In home supportive services (essential), whether “cannabis businesses” are essential (not essential), whether grape growing is essential (not essential), what size public meetings should/will be allowed/prohibited, renter (and landlord) support and possible eviction bans, possible limitations on staff contact with the public in various social services offices, and various office hours and operations. (We have since heard that Social Services is not taking walk-ins as of Thursday. However, benefits will continue. New food stamp applications will be processed expeditiously, but applications have to be filed either by mail or on-line.)
Not on the list of subjects: what to do about homeless people who do not have shelter to shelter in place in. (In San Francisco, they have already started leasing spaces in hotels and motels with contracts with tourists serving facilities that are now empty due to shelter in place and travel bans. Shouldn’t Official Mendo be working on something like that?)
STATE OF NEBRASKA HOPES CLOSING SOME I-80 REST AREAS WILL ROLL BACK TOILET PAPER THEFTS
It appears some travelers, in their trips across Nebraska, have found in rest area bathrooms what they may not have been able to find on store shelves.
SHERIFF MATT KENDALL addressed some rumors going around the County on Thursday evening. He said he had heard that some people are not observing the Shelter in Place order, and that some people have come to Mendo to avoid shelter in place in other counties. He wants to avoid forcing compliance, but if he has to he will. So, just follow the orders, he said. Got that? Questions? Call the County’s call center at 234-6052.
CONFIRMED CASES of coronavirus in the United States (as of March 20)
WHAT ON EARTH WILL WE DO?
Suspension Of In-Person Board Of Supervisors Meetings
Pursuant to State Executive Order N-29-20, effective March 20, 2020, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meetings will be conducted virtually and will not be available for in person participation in the Board of Supervisors Chambers.
Meetings will be livestreamed and available for viewing on the Mendocino County YouTube page at www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo.
State Executive Order N-29-20 suspends the Brown Act requirement that members of the public access the teleconference location and that at least one board member be physically present at the location specified in the notice of the meeting.
In order to minimize the risk of exposure during this time of emergency, the public may participate digitally in meetings by sending comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, in lieu of personal attendance. All public comment will be made immediately available to the Supervisors, staff, and the general public as they are received and processed by Clerk of the Board staff, and can be viewed as attachments to this meeting agenda at https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.
For more information, please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo, Chief Executive Officer
MENDOCINO COUNTY DEPARTMENT CLOSURES
As of Thursday, March 19, the Mendocino County Elected Officials and Department Heads are authorized to close their departments to the public, as the most appropriate means of protecting the health of their employees while still providing essential public services.
Commenting on the closures, Board of Supervisors Chair John Haschak stated, “Essential services will still be open and serving the needs of our community. Non-essential services will be closed for the safety and wellbeing of County residents and employees. These are the right actions to take in these extraordinary times to keep us as safe and healthy as possible.”
Health and Human Services Director Tammy Moss-Chandler stated, “The Health and Human Services Agency provides vital services that protect the County’s most vulnerable residents. While our lobby and reception areas are closing to protect both our employees and the people we serve, we will continue to provide the emergency and critical services that protect and support our children, families and elders.”
Asked about property tax, The Treasurer Tax–Collector Shari Schapmire stated, “County Tax Collectors cannot change the April 10 deadline for the second Installment of secured property taxes because the delinquency date of Friday, April 10, 2020, is established by State law. All taxes, assessments, fines, or fees should be mailed to our office through the US Postal Service, electronically remitted on-line or over the phone, or placed in the drop box in front of the County Administration Building. Cash must be converted to money orders or cashiers checks.”
The Assessor – Clerk – Recorder Katrina Bartolomie, announced “At this time, the Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Office will be open by appointment with limited essential functions available to Mendocino County residents. Please call before coming in - Clerk Recorder/Elections 707 234-6822 or Assessor Appraiser's 707 234-6800 and Business Property 707-234-6815. The Elections employees are busy doing mandated tasks to complete the canvass to certify the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election. We are currently reviewing each Provisional and Conditional ballot that was completed on Election Day at the Polling Places. Once this is complete we will sort and count those ballots and begin counting the unused ballots to balance. The ballots that had mismatched or missing signatures, letters were sent out to each voter, those signatures are due in our office by 5 pm Friday, March 27, 2020. Once these are received and processed we will be able to complete our tasks to certify the election.”
Below are the office closures as of Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.:
Agriculture: Public counter will be closed. Customers should call for assistance. Essential permits will still be issued.
Air Quality: Public counter will be closed.
Animal Care Services - Ukiah: Closed to public, with staff working in the office. No volunteers allowed at this time.
Animal Care Services – Fort Bragg: Closed to public, with staff working in the office. No volunteers allowed at this time.
Assessor/Clerk-Recorder: Public counter open, however only providing essential services at this time:recordings; certifying elections; issuance of marriage licenses to County residences only (no ceremonies).
Auditor-Controller: Counter closed to public and departments.
Child Support Services: Closed to public.
County Counsel: Closed to public.
Cultural Services Agency: All library branches and services are closed. Staff is available to answer patron questions over the phone at branches and assist with online resources, from 10am – 5pm, Monday – Friday. Museum is closed.
District Attorney: Currently open for all services.
Executive Office: Closed to the public.
Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA): All HHSA reception areas will be closed to the general public.
Human Resources: Closed to public.Staff working in the office.
Retirement Association: Office is closed.
Planning & Building Services: Public counter is closed except for appointments arranged by telephone or e-mail for essential services. Public can call, e-mail or mail applications and documents for processing.
Probation: Front doors will be open to the public. Only essential or legally mandated appointments will be allowed into the Department. Non-essential appointments will be handled by telephone as much as possible.
Public Defender: Currently open for all services.
Sheriff-Coroner: Main office in Ukiah is closed to public. Staff are working in the office. Customers can use the night lobby phone to reach staff, who will determine if services can be provided. Fort Bragg office is closed to the public.
Transportation: Closed to the public except by appointment arranged by phone or email.
Treasurer/Tax Collector: Currently open for all services.
UC Cooperative Extension: Closed
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463 4441 or email@example.com.
PBS Cannabis Program Office is Closed to the Public Until Further Notice
March 19, 2020
To ensure the safety of the public and staff, the PBS Cannabis Program Office (the Planning & Building Services Counter) is closed to the public as of March 19, 2020, and will remain closed to the public until further notice, but will continue to respond to phone calls, email inquiries, and business related to your applications and permits as necessary.
During this time, no one will be penalized for failing to meet a deadline related to an application or renewal while our office is closed due to this health crisis. We will not change the good standing status of any Mendocino County cannabis cultivation application because of the health crisis and office closure. We will continue to report every applicant that is good standing to the State on a weekly basis as normal. A link to this report is available on the Cannabis Program website (www.mendocinocounty.org/cannabisprogram).
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your cannabis cultivation application or this closure, the PBS Cannabis Program can be reached by phone at 707-234-6680 or email CannabisProgram@mendocinocounty.org.
SHINING A LIGHT ON MENDOCINO COUNTY
by Carole Hester
It’s the time of year when Grand Juries are working hard on reports to present to County residents. It’s also a time for citizens to think about volunteering to participate in this very necessary part of the judicial system.
This year-long experience is rewarding and educational. There is no better way to get to know and understand your local government. Being a Grand Jury member gives you the opportunity to interview and speak with the Sheriff, CEO, members of the Board of Supervisors, the District Attorney and others important to our County and our lives. The reality of the challenges our County officers face is sobering. The grand jury experience creates citizens that are well informed regarding the major issues the County faces.
The opportunity to work with a team of people researching the facts on a current challenge and issuing a report with recommendations helps our county government improve.
Probably more important is the long-term friendships created by working many hours working with the committees on topics you have selected.
If you are a forward thinker, like to do research, have a computer, writing, and interview skills and want to improve local government come on down!
Application forms are available from the county website under Grand Jury
Contact information: Phone (707) 463-4320. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 19, 2020
JOSEPH LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
NANCY REYES, Sebastopol/Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
STEVEN RICH SR., Ukiah. Battery by gassing of peace officer, resisting.
COVID 19 CRASHES CRIMINAL CAPITALISM
Gorged on greed and debt the US zombie capitalist system is undergoing a massive collapse after being kicked in the nuts by a little virus.
Decades of sucking the life out of the Public Health Service-- hospitals, clinics, staff , the “Greatest and Richest country in the world?!” was unable to effectively protect the US public health after receiving at least two months notice about the developing pandemic.
With a robust Public Health system a rapid and effective force could have been easily mobilized to prepare for the infection: Labs to run tests, staff to track the infected and their contacts, beds for the sick. Our great leaders once again bailed out the capitalist profit makers, the banks and corporations, with $1.5 Trillion and then Congress could only manage to give 20% of workers some sick days.
We are where we are because this rotten capitalist system always puts profits first, that is the nature of the monster. This zombie is prepared to take down millions of workers as it goes into a reinforcing spiral to a major depression.
We can and must make a new world.
Dr. Nayvin Gordon
(Dr. Gordon writes about health and politics and can be reached at: email@example.com)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Who is to blame for the spread of the virus?
Trump? downplayed the advent of the virus at the beginning. Signed up with the folks that said it was just another flu. He did however stop Chinese and European immigration for the time being, much to the chagrin of the Libs. These two moves may limit the upward spike of occurrences. BTW, the Dem governors sound much like Trump trying to get the social distancing message out.
The government? Once the onset was understood, the CDC and NIH took over the running of the virus campaign and Trump moved to the background. The regulations within CDC limited the testing response at first. It took the pandemic and a declaration of national emergency to free up the private sector to finally start testing in needed quantities. Unfortunately, this has led to a reactive instead of proactive approach which right now, unfortunately is a characteristic of our government.
The health care community? Nobody better criticize these folks in my presence. Tireless, overworked, at high risk, these are our angels that will bail us out of this mess.
China? Read the above, then remember that China saw this monster first. Our government criticizing China for doing the same reactive thing it did itself is downright stupid. Yes, they tried to cover up the onset, maybe? Or maybe did not understand the scope of the problem. Or ran into reluctance from the people to isolate. The center of China was the perfect “Petri dish” for the infection to dig in. We, the world, needs to realize that national politics are senseless here, the virus just laughs at our political BS. This definitely includes Trump!
The real culprit? The people of these lands that have become clusters for this disease. Right now, I keep seeing articles showing how the people are thumbing their noses at the governmental agencies trying to get them to self-isolate or at least keep six feet from others and wash their hands. Pictures of crowded Miami Beach, pictures of St. Patrick’s in New Orleans, pictures of bars crowded, pictures of airports jam packed. Breeding grounds for viral production. Young people are indestructible in their own minds, a real recipe for destruction. What happens when the L strain starts clobbering them.
Whatever the cause, the Stupidification of the American public is really apparent right now. The government had put together a simple plan to super isolate everyone for 15 days to slow the advance of the disease. This is exactly what the Chinese and South Koreans did and it worked.
I doubt if the voluntary approach will work, the government is right now shutting down bars and restaurants as people just kept congregating. More closures coming. Italy has closed everything but groceries and pharmacies, everything. The US is close behind if we do not voluntarily shut this sucker down.
Watched Andrew Cuomo’s presser this AM. The man is getting his arms around the situation in New York. Same with Newsom in California. Who do they sound like? Trump’s team. Surprise! Maybe the guys in the trenches will just tell the political extremists to take a hike. And the media? Criminal! All points of the compass. They are sensationalizing everything and the public, just like every time, just absorbs the BS that is being broadcast.
Our number one priority? Stop the monster, stay home, wash up, be clean.
Number two? Stop the erosion of the economy. The US is critical to restarting the world when this all ends. Stimulus may help but it is up to the people to act wisely when the fear abates by going to work, buying, not hoarding.
Any one, anybody saying that this situation is good because it destroys Trump’s economy needs to be lined up against a wall and shot!
PUT YOUR GUNS AWAY!
Baltimore Mayor Begs Residents To Stop Shooting Each Other So Hospital Beds Can Be Used For Coronavirus Patients
THE VERY MODEL…
(lyrics by Eliza Rubenstein; performed by Sandy and Richard Riccardi)
I am the very model of effective social distancing!
I listen to the experts on the topic of resistance-ing;
I know that brunch and yoga class aren’t nearly as imperative
As doing what I can to change the nation’s viral narrative.
I’m very well acquainted, too, with living solitarily
And confident that everyone can do it temporarily:
Go take a walk, or ride a bike, or dig into an unread book;
Avoid the bars and restaurants and carry out, or learn to cook.
There’s lots of stuff to watch online while keeping safe from sinus ills
(In this case, it’s far better to enjoy your Netflix minus chills)!
Adopt a pet, compose a ballad, write some earnest doggerel,
And help demolish Trump before our next event inaugural.
Pandemics are alarming, but they aren’t insurmountable
If everybody pitches in to hold ourselves accountable.
In short, please do your part to practice prudent co-existence-ing,
And be the very model of effective social distancing!
(via Marco McClean)
SARAH SONGBIRD, LIVE ON LINE
Hey friends and neighbors. Join me for 5:30 pm virtual concerts beginning today (March 18) and continuing everyday until it feels right to conclude. I will be live streaming music from my home and invite you to tune in if you are needing it!
Music is medicine!
Go to Sarah Songbird’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sarah.larkin.355
HISTORY AND SCIENCE OF SOAP
(Ferris Jabr: Why Soap Works)
As a foundation of everyday hygiene, hand-washing was broadly adopted relatively recently. In the 1840s Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician, discovered that if doctors washed their hands, far fewer women died after childbirth. At the time, microbes were not widely recognized as vectors of disease, and many doctors ridiculed the notion that a lack of personal cleanliness could be responsible for their patients’ deaths.
Ostracized by his colleagues, Dr. Semmelweis was eventually committed to an asylum, where he was severely beaten by guards and died from infected wounds.
Florence Nightingale, the English nurse and statistician, also promoted hand-washing in the mid-1800s, but it was not until the 1980s that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the world’s first nationally endorsed hand hygiene guidelines.
Washing with soap and water is one of the key public health practices that can significantly slow the rate of a pandemic and limit the number of infections, preventing a disastrous overburdening of hospitals and clinics.
But the technique works only if everyone washes their hands frequently and thoroughly: Work up a good lather, scrub your palms and the back of your hands, interlace your fingers, rub your fingertips against your palms, and twist a soapy fist around your thumbs.
Or as the Canadian health officer Bonnie Henry said recently, “Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapeños and you need to change your contacts.”
Even people who are relatively young and healthy should regularly wash their hands, especially during a pandemic, because they can spread the disease to those who are more vulnerable.
Soap is more than a personal protectant; when used properly, it becomes part of a communal safety net. At the molecular level, soap works by breaking things apart, but at the level of society, it helps hold everything together.
Remember this the next time you have the impulse to bypass the sink: Other people’s lives are in your hands.
The Cat Mother & Mendocino Music Project
by Phil Hildenbrand
This is an update on the status/progress of the Cat Mother and Mendocino Music Project, which I have been pursuing for the last year. Per a suggestion from Lenny Laks, the subtitle is likely to define an era: From The Electric Circus to The Caspar Inn - a significant twenty-years, 1968-1988. Obviously, while we are all sheltering-in-place, I have put in-person conversations on hold. I absolutely appreciate the participation of everyone who has contributed to the growth of the project — sitting for interviews, sharing old photos and posters, contributing other photos and printed memorabilia, introducing new contacts, giving general encouragement, questioning my sanity. Actually, taking a break from interviews is not a bad idea. I have 25+ interviews and audio snippets to transcribe and organize. In those interviews, there is a wide range of local history reviewed and many inputs on a subset of topics — revered musicians and performers, significant events and places, the 60s westward migration and a beautiful locale are common themes. The physical part of the project is the archival data I’ve been collecting. I have about 300 press articles and another 300 pictures and graphics related to Cat Mother. There are about 250 items related to the Mendocino Scene. They are all uniquely identified in a database. I have a master set viewable in six binders but, have yet to create a website for presentation. The Kelley House Museum in Mendocino is retaining digital copies of the archives and raw interview footage for long-term historical purposes. Please feel free to contact me regarding any aspect of the project. I know folks who are using the Zoom application to do group meditation and virtual hootenannies online, so that might be an option for future conversations. I hope to meet you somewhere along this research journey.
ISIS ISSUES CORONAVIRUS TRAVEL ADVICE: TERRORISTS SHOULD AVOID EUROPE
The Isis terrorist group is steering clear of Europe because of the coronavirus. Having previously urged its supporters to attack European cities, the group is now advising members to “stay away from the land of the epidemic” in case they become infected.
WHY HAVEN’T THE OLYMPICS BEEN CANCELED YET?
by Dave Zirin
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics should be canceled. If this wasn’t already obvious, it should be now, after the Japanese Olympic Committee’s deputy chief, Kozo Tashima, revealed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. In fact, these Olympic Games should have been shut down a long time ago. It’s an absurdity that we are even still having this conversation. And yet, just this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, “I want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics perfectly, as proof that the human race will conquer the new coronavirus, and I gained support for that from the G-7 leaders.”
This is an irresponsible, borderline sociopathic response to the global pandemic that has shuttered the sports world. The NBA, NHL, MLB, and Major League Soccer have all suspended their seasons. The Masters golf tournament, Kentucky Marathon, and Boston Marathon have all been nixed. Even the NCAA put its cash-cow event, March Madness, back in the barn. On Tuesday, the Euro 2020 and Copa América soccer tournaments were postponed until 2021. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, has voiced approval for the postponements. Yes, even the notoriously ghoulish, ethically challenged FIFA is ahead of its fellow honchos at the IOC. Those tournaments were originally scheduled for June and July, close to the time frame of the Tokyo Olympics, which are slated to kick off on July 24.
So why haven’t the Olympic games been canceled? Each Olympic city is required to sign a host city contract with the IOC that puts locals on the hook for cost overruns. The contract also affords the IOC enormous latitude to withdraw the Games. One section of the 81-page Tokyo 2020 host city contract states that the IOC can terminate the contract and yank the Games “if the IOC has reasonable grounds to believe, in its sole discretion, that the safety of participants in the Games would be seriously threatened or jeopardised for any reason.”
The coronavirus certainly imperils “the safety of participants in the Games.”
This means that it is not Prime Minister Abe, nor anyone in the host country for that matter, who has the final word on whether the show in fact goes on. That responsibility—or “sole discretion”—rests on the shoulders of the International Olympic Committee and its president, Thomas Bach, and thus far, the IOC’s belief—even in this climate—is that the Olympics are too big to fail. Bach’s perspective on the situation is that
Nineteen weeks before the opening ceremony of the Games we are strengthened in our commitment by many organizations around the world taking significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
He was backed by the head of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, who dubbed the idea of delaying or canceling the Games “outrageous.”
This too-big-to-fail philosophy has not served us well. In the world of the Olympics, the ethos has been used to squeeze more funds out of local taxpayers to stage the Games. Let’s not forget that when Tokyo 2020 boosters say the Games cost a relatively modest $12.6 billion, the original cost listed in the bid book was $7.3 billion and the Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei estimated overall costs to be $28 billion. It’s time to jam a wooden stake in the heart of the vampiric too-big-to-fail paradigm, and the Olympics are a great place to make a statement.
Veteran Olympics reporter Philip Hersh recently wrote, “One of the IOC’s bedrock (but disingenuous) claims is that everything about the Olympics is done for the sake of the athletes.” The IOC’s persistence in staging Tokyo 2020 this summer puts athletes in a stressful state of limbo.
Yes, cancellation would be awful for the athletes themselves, especially from the lesser-known sports, for whom the Tokyo Olympics were their best chance at advancing their careers. Many Olympic athletes from lesser-known sports go into debt to realize their Olympic dreams—more than 100 athletes have set up GoFundMe pages in the United States alone. One US fencer recently revealed that the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee provides her with only $300 a month, which translates to around $9.67 per day. Meanwhile, that very same committee paid a whopping $2.4 million severance package to its disgraced chief executive Scott Blackmun, even after he botched his handling of the horrific pattern of sexual abuse that wracked the US gymnastics program.
But it would be far worse if the Olympic Village becomes a vector for the virus, not only infecting the athletes but sending them home as carriers, further imperiling others. Even traveling to Tokyo—sharing air in germ-incubating titanium canisters known as airplanes—is a sketchy proposition. With people traveling to Tokyo from countries with enfeebled health care systems—such as the United States—the Games become a ghastly recipe for contagion.
Athletes are realizing that. France’s Kevin Mayer, world-record holder in the decathlon, said, “I would really like them to postpone the Games.” His statement has made the front pages in France. The problem is not just the games in July. Olympic pole vaulting champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece made this point when she tweeted:
This is not about how things will be in 4 months. This is about how things are now. The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family’s health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in 4 months.
The IOC often talks about how athletes are their primary concern. If that is actually the case, the group should dip into its reserve coffers—nearly $2 billion—to directly help out competitors in need.
Thomas Bach and Shinzo Abe also talk as if the mere thought of cancellation is simply too much for the world to bear. But the historical reality is that the Olympics have—quite correctly—taken time off in times of protracted crisis. There were no Olympics in 1916, 1940, and 1944 because of World Wars I and II, for example. It’s also worth remembering that the Olympics cloaked themselves in shame when, in 1972, under the orders of IOC President Avery Brundage, they continued even after armed militants from a Palestinian group kidnapped 11 Israeli coaches and athletes, killing two of them before a grisly gun battle in which all nine remaining Israelis, five Palestinians, and a German police officer died. Afterwards, Brundage insisted, “The Games must go on.”
Brundage is now viewed with contempt for making this callous decision. Pushing ahead with the Tokyo Olympics in the coronavirus era would be that decision on designer steroids. Tokyo is not an option. Relocation not an option: if Tokyo is unsafe because of coronavirus, so is Rio de Janeiro and so is London. Plus, athletes are coming from around the world from places where coronavirus is raging. The United States, a key Olympic country, is lagging behind under laggard leadership.
The IOC’s foot-dragging also lays bare exactly why it is so insistent on the continuation of the games no matter the costs. This is about the money, the sponsors, and the billions invested in the project. It must be pointed out that the IOC and NBC have insurance, so this isn’t about their losing money. It’s about the money that they will not be earning. It’s about profits before it’s about the welfare of the athletes.
So, while the rest of the sports world wisely takes a time out, the IOC seems dead set on moving forward with the Tokyo 2020 Games. As Upton Sinclair famously noted, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
by John Arteaga
Well, Super Tuesday has come and gone, and it looks like it may be the beginning of the end for the nationwide outpouring of idealistic enthusiasm, the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Bummer.
As long as Bernie has been running for the president, the guardians of the status quo who people the editorial boards of so many of our news sources, have been relentless in their dismissal of Sanders' pragmatic proposals for improving the lives of the vast majority of Americans, as well as improving the lot of many millions of people in other countries who have been suffering for generations the jackboot of the worldwide US war machine on their necks.
Too radical! Unrealistic! They can only get away with using these kind of calumnies about Sanders' ideas here in the United States of amnesia; just a single brief generation ago, the people of what was then truly a great nation chose to retain FDR as their president for four terms! His New Deal organized the industrious, Depression-plagued American people to create some of the most beautiful and enduring artifacts of our young nation’s history; projects such as the mind-boggling masses of the Hoover and Bonneville Dams, the fine artwork of Coit Tower's frescoes, and a million other enduring points of local pride all over the country.
Here, we had the kind of clunky but endearing artwork that once graced the walls of the fine old post office (itself yet another example of such work, torn from the public by a Republican Party opposed to anything of public good and utility, unless it first fulfills their priority of enriching one of their members). Perhaps my favorite local WPA (Works Project Administration) creation is the rock arch wall that serves as a guard rail for so many miles of Highway 20 as it wraps around the shores of Clear Lake.
How were they able to organize so many people to do so many things? For one thing, they levied taxes on those fortunate few at the very top that would cause today's inheritance princes like Orange Man to collapse in a crying fit.
The more civilized countries, with their better educated people, who know about all those centuries of feudalism, where the common man was little but a slave to the class of lords and monarchs, long ago put two and two together and decided to tax away enough from the economic Royalists to provide for the essentials of life for everyone, freeing them from wage slavery. Republicans and their ilk would have you believe that such tax policies would make the US uncompetitive in the world; funny how many of these strong social safety net countries continue to eat our lunch on many kinds of export products.
When you see the incredible investment that countries like China and the Eurozone are putting into their infrastructure; the amazing advances in the construction of high-speed rail, the bridges and renewable energy production, It’s hard not to see the US as a fast-fading has-been superpower, tottering under the weight of a bloated military monkey on our backs; a nation of commuters, one-to-an-inefficient car, sitting for hours each day in parking-lot-like traffic, while their counterparts in other countries whisk to work in comfortable and convenient mass transit.
The generations of targeted propaganda efforts paid for by the biggest and greediest concentrations of wealth have paid off in confusing just enough people into thinking that taxation itself is the enemy, even though obviously increasing the taxes of people in the top 10th of a percent could dramatically increase the quality of life for everybody else without them having to pay any more taxes.
As we suffer through yet another weird weather event; summer-like conditions and not a drop of rain through the whole month of February, one has to wonder how many dupes of the Orange Man can still really believe that climate change is a hoax made up by the Chinese to undercut US competitiveness. One also has to wonder what exactly those unshakable 20-some percent of the country who make up his true believers, are getting out of his chaotic reign? Misogyny? Is their hatred of women so irrational that they’re willing to swallow the daily ration of misguided policies, lies, and appointment of depraved toadies to every available office, no experience necessary, just to see him appoint judges who will overrule women’s sovereignty over their own bodies and force them to bear children that they don’t want?
And what about those unwanted children? Perhaps born to single mothers without the wherewithal to care for them; he has already succeeded in cutting one of the few remaining strands of our threadbare social safety net, the SNAP program, which I guess is like the old food stamps. An incredibly tightwad, coldhearted, kick in the face of those most in need, coming from someone without the slightest concern for the trillions taken out on our children’s credit card and squandered on tax breaks for the richest few and corporations.
Like ripping babies from their mother’s arms to put them in cages, I can only conclude that the over-the-top meanness of Trump’s demented misadministration is, as they say about software, not a bug, but a feature; that to his base, his viciousness is something they like! God help us stave off Trump’s wholly-owned Republican Party cheating us into a second term!
FOR AMERICANS, A SECONDARY IMPACT of this latest epidemiological threat is the backgrounding of our concerns for global warming, for the apparent selection of a deeply flawed Democratic candidate for the Presidency in 2020, for the endless wars in support of Empire, and for all those other pressing issues that evaporate in the presence of impending death. The unfolding threat has already caused the cancellation of the American people’s other opiate of choice, national sporting events, disrupted travel, and will likely result in a broad economic recession. As we contemplate these trivial impacts, truly existential terror awaits.
We live in a world that is characterized by its epidemiological, ecological and political fragility. Its continued existence, our continued existence, is constantly at threat. Crises such as 9/11, Katrina, continent-spanning wildfires, and now COVID-19, that have so recently piled up across the globe, are not black swan events, appearing out of nowhere: they are manifestations of this inherent fragility.
— John Davis
REPORTING FROM HONOLULU….
Updated Message from Honolulu (March 19, 2020)
Warm spiritual greetings from Aloha Land.
In spite of "officialdom" attempting to close down America's 50th state, the strong survive! First off, The Plumeria Hostel Alternative on Pi'ikoi Street has vacancies. Due to the stupidity of both President Donald Trump and the Hawaiian Governor Ige, incoming flights are being banned. The Europeans assure me that they will simply fly to Australia first, and come in from there. I was at Shirokiya last night at the huge Ala Moana Shopping Mall, and enjoyed two well deserved Asahi beers, while singing along to the musicians performing popular songs, and clapping in time with the Hawaiians and Japanese who regularly congregate there. A Japanese tourist informed me that they "have no intention of obeying the edicts of Emperor Trump", and will continue travelling back and forth from Tokyo at their discretion.
Waikiki is NOT a ghost town. It is true that there are all manner of inconveniences around south Oahu…many businesses have closed, many restaurants have only take out available, "social distancing" is being encouraged in banks…food bars are changed at Food Land and Whole Foods, for example, to everything pre-packaged (rather than individually scooping out from pans), and thus one may still purchase the same items, but not self-serve. Obviously public transportation is continuing, with the bus drivers wearing a protective face mask.
Churches, temples, synagogues, and sacred groves are open. True, Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church only serves the consecrated wafer and not the consecrated wine at Mass now, and the missals have been removed from the pews, but everything else continues. The Buddhist temples are open. Everyone is welcome to visit and chant Na Mo Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa to the water-moon goddess of compassion who "hears the cries of the world". Although it is rumored that "officialdom" is going to close the beaches, there can be no restricting of individuals getting together and forming a circle and performing appropriate rituals in Hawaii. Don't even think of telling the Hawaiians that they can't socially gather at Ala Moana Park. [When turned around, the ukulele makes for a formidable clubbing tool.]
Lastly, I remain housed in my room in pod #7, which community kitchen my housemate Lynn has converted into a Daoist temple. I am being served healing teas and assorted vegetarian samplings to achieve immortality. Otherwise, in spite of the Hawaii Social Security Administration totally screwing up my account, (for which I have received a full apology and assurance that within three months I will get a reimbursement of what was this month withheld), I nevertheless do have $50 in cash and $65 in food stamps until the next round of Social Security benefits begins on April 1st (which, by the way, guarantees that my monthly Kaiser Permanente membership auto-payment happens).
Thank you to everyone who since December gave me free money via paypal. I did not shamelessly spend it on partying, but did for the most part use it to purchase food items. It is true that I have stepped out on occasion for a pint and some well deserved revelry. But then I have an excuse: I am sane!
I won't bore you by once again stating that I am available for front line peace & justice and radical environmental participation anywhere on earth where I would have normal housing and food available. And I promise not to ask you again what you would do in this world if you knew that you could not fail. Thank you very much for being you, just the way you are.
Craig Louis Stehr
Snail mail: P.O. Box 235670, Honolulu, HI 96823-3511
WILL THE RUSH TO DEVELOP OUR NEWEST WATER SOURCE DESTROY MORE STREAMS?
by Felice Pace, Policy Advisor
The first plans implementing California's landmark groundwater law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act or SGMA, have been submitted to the California Department of Water Resources. They are for portions of the state where groundwater is “critically over-drafted,” a situation the plans are supposed to reverse. Some of the plans call for diverting flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage as a means to comply with SGMA while allowing the maximum amount of irrigated and animal agriculture to continue.
Big Ag’s insatiable thirst is the #1 reason most California's groundwater basins are critically over drafted or at risk for critical over-draft. Big Ag is also the reason so many California streams are dewatered much of the year. Now, Big Ag and the water agencies that do its water will want to also divert streamflow during the winter wet season. For folks who believe that any water “diverted” to the ocean is wasted water, winter storm and snow-melt high flows have become the target.
While streams need periodic flood flows in order to remain healthy, hundreds of scientific streamflow assessments confirm that, if done properly, some portion of storm and seasonal peak flows can be diverted to groundwater storage in most years without further damaging stream ecosystems. To properly determine the safe amount, however, requires consideration of robust, year-around streamflow criteria.
The State Water Board’s California Water Quality Monitoring Council is coordinating an effort with universities and other agencies to develop streamflow criteria for all California streams. The Council’s Environmental Flows Workgroup has also developed or is developing Interim Regional Streamflow Criteria for use until stream-specific flow assessments can be completed.
Both the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board now have programs to facilitate and regulate the diversion of flood and seasonally high streamflows to groundwater storage. Unfortunately, neither DWR’s Flood Mar nor the State Water Board’s Water Rights for Groundwater Recharge require consideration of year-around streamflow criteria. Instead Flood Mar encourages comparing “surface hydrologic models to determine their relative strengths and weaknesses, including the ability to reproduce streamflow, snowpack, soil moisture, and other relevant hydrologic variables…” The State Water Board requires only that those seeking temporary water rights to capture flood flows for groundwater storage indicate on their application that they have consulted with local Department of Fish & Wildlife officials and that those officials did not have concerns.
Both approaches are inadequate: DWR focuses only on reliable water supply with no direction to proponents to consider streamflow needs; the Water Board relies on undocumented consultations with local DFW staff who may or may not understand stream ecosystem flow needs.
Year-around regional and stream-specific flow criteria are the proper tool to determine the portion of flood and seasonally high flows that can be safely taken from our streams for groundwater storage. That tool is now available in the form of Interim Regional and Stream-Specific flow criteria. DWR and the State Water Board should embrace flow criteria and require their consideration in all applications to divert high flows to groundwater storage. To do less will surely result in more damage to California’s stream ecosystems.
In 1989 the California legislature ordered the Director of Fish and Game to “prepare proposed streamflow requirements” for those California streams “for which minimum flow levels need to be established in order to assure the continued viability of stream-related fish and wildlife resources” (Public Resources Code Division 10). Thirty years later only eight have been completed. Now the Environmental Flows Workgroup offers a streamlined approach to streamflow assessment. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that the agencies working to develop California’s newest water supply will require their use. For that to happen, the California legislature might need to weigh in.
(Felice Pace has been involved in Klamath River and California Water Issues since 1980. He was prominent in the Ancient Forest struggles of the 80s and 90s. Currently Felice works on water policy for the North Coast Stream Flow Coalition. He also coordinates the Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California and represents the North Group Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club on water issues. Felice holds a BA in Economics and a MA in Education. He resides at Klamath Glen near the mouth of the Klamath River in far Northwest California.)
ELECTION TAMPERING IN THE USA