- Dry Day
- Noyo Suicide
- Boonville Cleanup
- Stimulus Checks
- Socialism Price
- Saturday Supper
- Balo Gates
- Local Fare
- Changing Light
- Ed Notes
- Touching Hands
- Crucial Questions
- Pill Monday
- Pandemic Guidelines
- Park Closures
- TP Tailgunner
- Big Rock
- Silver Linings
- Yesterday's Catch
- Networked Ninth
- No Guarantee
- Virus Q&A
- Money Power
ISOLATED SHOWERS may develop across interior Mendocino and Lake counties with daytime heating, otherwise dry conditions are expected today. A warmer system is expected to generate periods of mostly light rain Friday through this weekend. (NWS)
PRESS CONFERENCE CANCELLED:
Press Conference Canceled for March 26, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
Post Date: 03/26/2020 9:33 AM
Due to the Shelter-In-Place Order and to ensure the safety of our employees and the press, today’s press conference scheduled at 4:00p.m. is canceled. A video update on COVID-19 will be posted today on the County Website, the Mendocino County YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mendocinocounty/).
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MENDOCINO COUNTY TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON COVID-19 THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020 AT 4:00 P.M.
Mendocino County will hold a press conference updating the community on the COVID-19 pandemic in our community and region. In addition, the County will provide more information on the revised Shelter-In-Place Order, Order enforcement and the second COVID-19 case in our community.
When: Thursday, March 26, 2020, at approximately 4:00 p.m.
NOYO BRIDGE SUICIDE
On March 25, 2020 at approximately 1349 hours, Fort Bragg Officers were dispatched to a person who appeared to have jumped from the Noyo Bridge. Officer responded to the area of the South-West side of the Noyo Bridge and observed a deceased person lying on the rocks below. Officers made their way down the side of the hill, under the bridge and confirmed the person was deceased. Officers tentatively identity [sic] the persons [sic] as a known female adult with an approximate age of 67 years old.
Officers contacted the Reporting Person (RP) who told them they observed the person begin to crawl over the bridge railing as they drove past, the RP told the officers she honked at the person. The RP than observed the person lying on the rocks below.
Fort Bragg Fire and CHP officers responded to assist. Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner responded to this location to continue with the unattended death investigation.
(Fort Bragg Police Presser)
CENTRAL BOONVILLE CLEANUP UNDERWAY!
THE BAILOUT'S SPECIFICS: Although the final legislative language is still being hammered out, here is what was proposed and passed in regards to stimulus checks:
— Individual taxpayers with incomes up to $75,000 will receive a one-time $1,200 direct payment. If you make more than $99,000, you will get nothing. If you make between that range, you'll get less than $1,200, but the exact number has not been confirmed yet. An earlier version of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stipulated $5 would be subtracted from the $1,200 for every additional $100 in income.
— For couples, everything doubles. Combined incomes of up to $150,000 will receive $2,400; the cap is a combined income of $198,000.
— Families that qualified for the one-time payment will also receive an additional $500 per child.
— Annual income is based on your 2018 tax returns. If you did not file a tax return in 2018, you must file the 2019 return before qualifying for the stimulus check.
— If you're on unemployment, the bill increased unemployment insurance by $600 per week for four months (this is on top of what individual states pay out for unemployment). It has also been expanded to include freelance and gig economy workers.
— Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke of a desire to send checks regularly throughout the coronavirus pandemic, this ultimately didn't make it into the final bill. If Congress wants to send more than one stimulus check, it will have to separately authorize another payout.
As to when checks will arrive, that's still very much up in the air. The last time Americans got stimulus checks — in 2008 under George W. Bush — it took about three months for checks to arrive. Theoretically, Americans should get them faster this time, provided they're signed up with the IRS for direct deposit into their bank accounts (like how you get tax refunds).
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS fleshes out the fed bailout: "Federal proposal: $250B to expand unemployment to cover 100% of lost wages (for "average worker") for up to four months, including independent contractor and self employed are eligible. Loans to small business to cover fifty percent of payroll for eight weeks, forgivable to employers who keep employees working. Direct payments of $1,200 for up to $75k; $2,400 married up to $150k, $500 per kid; $500B to distressed companies; $350B for small business loans."
WE WANT TO COOK FOR PEOPLE, makes us all feel better. Offering up a meal this Saturday night for pick up! Perry is making Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Piment D’ville, Shaved Cabbage and Spring Citrus Salad plus some Cookies by Joansey. $20/meal + tax. We can also offer bottled beer and wine with a 25% discount. Give us a call to place your order 707.895.2210 extension #2. We’re going to try 20 orders this week, see how it goes. We’ll take payment over the phone. Pick up from 5:30-6 on Saturday March 28th! We hope to see some of you (from a nice social distance). Take good care everyone!
The Boonville Hotel & Restaurant
WHITE WINES ANYBODY?
PENNYROYAL FARM is offering a new pick up solution for folks wanting local fare! The Farm Box includes farmstead cheeses, free-range eggs, estate produced goods, fresh produce and an easy to make meal option. + Many options to add on and senior delivery in Boonville and Philo! Stay local + healthy.
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI is 101 today. I haunted Ferlinghetti's City Lights Book Store as a youth, lurking in the basement probably reading his poetry as I waited for the latest Ramparts, The Realist, the I.F. Stone Newsletter, Minority of One and whatever else I could find in subversive lit. Many years later, I met the man himself, a modest, humorous man who has always been good to the ava, making personally certain we weren't lost in the vastness of the shop's magazine rack. I can't think offhand of anybody more central, more important to the cultural and politically resistant life of San Francisco than Ferlinghetti, truly a great man.
MARSHALL NEWMAN: "Right now the coronavirus dominates our lives. But the winter rainfall total today in Boonville stands at 15.13 inches and the Navarro River is running at approximately 15% of the median flow for this date. Unless a deluge arrives (highly unlikely), expect serious drought conditions by summer, and high fire danger."
EARLY MORNING frost fans kicked us Boonville people awake about five Wednesday morning although it didn't seem quite cold enough to warrant the din. At two-twenty pm a brief hail spray racketed the tin roof of ava central, and before and after sun and rainbows and great cumulus sky sculptures. Beauty in the time of plague, to borrow from Marquez.
A NOTE AND QUOTE FROM a reader: "I got a response from my public health friend regarding nurses not doing anything. She is a RN but this is what taxpayers are paying her for. Her classification is one of the County's highest paid. ‘They're forcing us to go to work every day but we sit in our offices with the doors closed by ourselves they said they we’re going to start checking temperatures and scanning people before work but that has not happened as of this point yet that I've seen or experienced’."
THE PAPER-PAPER edition of the AVA will hold out as long as Healdsburg Printing does, and we send up weekly prayers that they stay well. We also remind paper-paper subscribers that they can get the daily on-line edition at no extra cost.
$1200 is not enough to keep wage workers housed and fed, nevermind wage workers with children. And if it's a one-time payout to adrenalize the ponzo-ronzo economy, a cruel joke on working people. Got to be five grand at least, and it's got to be monthly.
MENDO’S PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER DR. DOOHAN ought to tell us the general vicinity inhabited by the second person testing positive for the virus. "Inland Mendocino County" is everything east of the high tide line at the Pacific.
HIGHEST AMONG the stats I have a hard time believing is the one released this morning that says Trump's approval has jumped from 44% to 49%.
NOT GETTING THE WORD. The volume of misunderstanding and misinformation on the social media I see reminds me of what I first had literally beaten into me in Marine boot camp — in '57 beatings were still a routine part of the training, violence being a time-tested attention-focuser — that ten percent of the people had no idea what was happening. Ever. These days, given the internet, I'd say it's more like twenty percent.
SPEECH THERAPISTS to the fore! I find the constant iteration in formal speech of "to be honest" and "frankly" dropped into simple declarative sentences, as is routine on NPR, to have the opposite of the intended effect, if there is an intended effect other than to occupy dead air. If we have to be reassured by the speaker him/herself that he/she is honest and frank, well…Don't get me started on "like" and up talk.
DEPUTY PUBLIC DEFENDER ERIC RENNERT COMMENTS: "And what is the County doing about all the homeless people? Where are they going, other than walking around, with no health care, no access to hygiene-the shelter has cots placed relatively closely and people are there overnight… Where is the plan to get the money from the governor to pay for motel vouchers? Why is it that there are not enough C-19 tests to check to see if everybody with symptoms for 4-5 days that match this virus can be tested? Why did the department of health state that they could ‘stop’ the spread of the virus which they have to know is not possible, it can only be slowed down?"
CRUCIAL QUESTIONS every county is wrestling with. But as a practical matter, what is to be done with an anarchic, mostly impaired population? The social distancing edicts are full of holes, and this is a big one.
ANDERSON VALLEY AMBULANCE IMPLEMENTS “PANDEMIC GUIDELINES”
We recently obtained a copy of the Anderson Valley Ambulance department’s grandly titled “Pandemic Guidelines.” Like lots of stuff emanating from local government these days it’s extremely detailed and normally wouldn’t merit much mention. But in these hyper-senstive times, it does. In fact, it’s a glimpse into what medical service providers have to go through for calls that not long ago would have been somewhere between routine or canceled en route.
“If there is a suspected infectious disease determined by the ECC (Emergency Command Center) then they will prompt responding units with the acronym “EIDS”. The dispatch center will require the responding unit to acknowledge the hazard notification. Only the Duty Officer or senior officer responding should make the call for responding fire units. This will reduce calls to ECC and maintain a single point of contact for AVFD’s fire branch. The Ambulance Personnel shall also make a call to dispatch as they will be the lead EMS resources until the patient is transferred to a higher level of care.”
“The first-in responders should limit personnel entering the incident to those who are qualified and or essential to provide patient care.
“If it is probable that a patient will be transported, and it is known or suspected that the identified infectious disease is present, the responding ambulance crew and anticipated receiving facility should be notified. In addition, they shall:
Ensure all appropriate PPE is being worn during transport.
Limit the number of additional passengers to the patient and crew if practical.
“Upon termination of the incident, any responders that may have been exposed should discard any potentially contaminated items (including clothing) as bio-hazard waste. Potentially contaminated responders should decontaminate themselves by utilizing appropriated disinfecting agents. Potentially contaminated clothing or equipment should be decontaminated at scene if possible and transported in a secure container to an appropriate facility for further decontamination or disposal if required.”
The guidelines go on to lay out seven (7!) levels of possible virus related incidents from Level 0 (“no known or suspected”) to Level 6 (“More than three responders are infected”). Each level imposes additional restriction and requirements.
The guidelines also specify the required personal protective gear including N-95 masks, respirators, eye protetion, disposable gloves, and gowns. Different types of responders require different levels of gear. For example, ambulance drivers do not require the same level of gear as medical service staff.
If a patient has or is suspected to have the virus or is exposed or may have been exposed to it there are guidelines for how to handle the patient him or herself as well, all the way down to ventilation during transport, compartment isolation, and internal ambulance fan usage.
In other words, this virus puts an enormous extra burden on emergency medical staff from the time the call is made to the arrival at a medical center, where an yet another set of burdensome “pandemic guidelines” kick in.
ANTI-ELECTRICITY POSTER, 1889
MENDO (& FORT BRAGG) CLOSES ALL PARKS?
On Wednesday, March 25, the City of Fort Bragg “CLOSED” all their parks. No exceptions.
The closure came in response to the County’s recently revised order which, the City said, “provides stricter regulations on what Essential Activities and Essential Businesses include. Of note, the Order closes all parks and recreation areas in the County. Although the City of Fort Bragg had hoped to keep the Coastal Trail itself open, as of this morning the Coastal Trail and all City Parks are CLOSED. For the purpose of this Order, all recreational sites, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, navigable waterways for recreational purposes, and congregation areas in the same, such as picnic tables and canopy areas are closed.”
We understood the reason for park closures was to discourage tourists and out-of-towners from coming to Mendo to enjoy Mendo’s — and especially Fort Bragg’s many gorgeous — parks. The visitors were supposed to be the point of the closure.
“To be clear,” the Fort Bragg notice continues, “as of March 25, 2020, the following City of Fort Bragg public facilities will be CLOSED to the public: Pomo Bluffs Park, Noyo Headlands Park (Coastal Trail), Bainbridge Park (including Wiggly Giggly Park, Tennis Courts and Basketball Courts), Otis Johnson Park, CV Starr Community Center, and all School District Playgrounds and Fields. This includes the park facilities, restrooms, and parking lots for each of these sites.”
There you go. The last sentence of the above paragraph is what should be closed, not the parks themselves. Go ahead, close the parking lots, restrooms, facilities, etc. But why close the parks themselves to locals? Besides, who’s going to “enforce” this? Surely, nobody expects Fort Bragg’s thinly staffed police department to keep an eye on the Haul Road (aka “Coastal Trail”) to make sure nobody’s walking around out there.
We would like to think that cooler heads will prevail and the County’s order will be adjusted a bit to cover the closure of the facilities, not the parks themselves. Don’t they want people get their exercise and avoid the round the clock low-security prisons also known as their homes?
IN OTHER NEWS related to “Essential Businesses,” a reporter from LA asked Governor Newsom on Wednesday if gun stores were considered “essential businesses.” After saying he supported gun owner’s rights, Newsom smiled and said he was not the man to be deciding such things, so he said he was leaving it up to the State’s 58 County Sheriffs. Does anyone know if Mendo Sheriff Matt Kendall has decided if gun stores are “essential businesses”?
LISTENING TO GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S OVERLONG presser on Wednesday we started to get a little more understanding of the “modeling” the governor has been using to estimate the possible extent of the virus expansion in California. Newsom’s medical officer/spokesperson, Dr. Mark Ghaly, seemed to be saying that they were using the modeling to help predict the load and capacity needs of the state’s healthcare system, not specifically to estimate the actual number of expected cases. This is prudent because the State and the medical system need to have some idea what they might be facing in the next few weeks so they can plan for it. Ghaly said they are adjusting their “models” based on current experience and data. But to use those estimates as Supervisor McCowen did at Tuesday’s virtual board meeting to wildly speculate on 30,000 or 40,000 cases in Mendocino County doesn’t do anybody any good.
THE ROCK OF ROCKS
by Bob Dempel
A big rock, located on the far back of my property, has always intrigued me. You need to know where it is and how to get to it. The rock is a round mass of smaller rocks held together by what looks like some kind of mud or gray plaster. The diameter of the big rock is about eight feet and almost perfectly round. It is located about half way up on a hillside where no other rocks can be found. This leads me to believe that the smaller rocks are not indigenous to the area. The smaller rocks are held so tight that they have weathered many storms. No small rocks have fallen off of the big rock.
I have been reluctant to have an archaeologist come to inspect this rock on my property. I remember an article that appeared in the National Geographic Magazine many years ago. The farmer owned 11 miles of canyons that contained many prehistoric carvings and drawings. The farmer was also getting old and he thought it might be time to give this canyon area to a college that had an archaeological department. The farmer signed the papers and moved into town. Several weeks went by and with nothing to do the farmer drove out to the canyon property. To his dismay the college had fenced the property and installed NO TRESSPASSING signs. He saw no students working on deciphering the writings. In addition, the entire area was now designated an historical site and the entire 11-mile area restricted from public viewing. This is not what the farmer wanted. That article caused me a lot of concern.
On the opposite side of Sanel Valley is the Hopland Research and Extension Center, previously known as the University of California Hopland Field Station, a vast property of 5,300 acres. Most local people refer to the center as the acronym HREC. The university bought this historic sheep ranch in 1951.
I had met Kim Rodriques, PHD, while she was serving as Acting Director of the Center. I continued to follow the events that Kim arranged for the agricultural community in the North Coast. I served on the selection committee when she was hired as the Director. I learned that one of her areas of interest was the movement of the native Americans some 200 years ago across Sanel Valley.
I asked Kim if she would help me with the history of the Rock of Rocks that was on my property. I felt Kim would be no threat to me in disclosing her findings to any government agency. One afternoon I took Kim with me on an ATV to the back side of my property where the rock was located. Kim studied the rock and came up with several possibilities. The first was that the rock was a product of a giant explosion million of years ago and the rock was just deposited there. Her second thought was that an ancient civilization built this as a tomb for the remains of the dead. The small rocks appear they could have come from a creek some one-half mile away. They could have made the mud or plaster used to adhere the initial rocks to each other from water in a spring which is just a few yards away. As more rocks were added, the ball of rocks became bigger, until it became the size it is today.
Kim agreed that this was very interesting to her and would take just one of the small rocks back to the university for study. Weeks later Kim called me back to offer no solution to my Rock of Rocks. So, the Rock of Rocks will just sit there for my future generations to enjoy. They can ponder just why and when that Rock of Rocks wound up on our property. My late friend Bill McCarn took a picture of the rock.
After he passed, his wife Topsey gave me the picture. It hangs on the wall of my bedroom. I look at the picture every day…
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Anyway. Beautiful early spring day out west here yesterday. Highs near 60, crystal clear blue skies, and nary a CV case in sight. Talked to the lady down the street who works records up at the hospital. ZERO cases reported thus far, with life proceeding in pretty much a normal fashion, other than the mandatory business closures. As an added bonus, I get to skip an upcoming totally unnecessary doctor’s appointment so that we don’t unnecessarily overburden the local medical system, which is currently showing no signs whatsoever of being unburdened. Another plus. The local hiking, running, golfing, and biking communities are having a field day with their time “at home,” evidently interpreting the rules of work from home quite liberally in their favor. A paid spring every day exercise break – what’s not to love? The fact that we don’t live in NYC or Seattle I guess. Not that I would ever consider that in my worst nightmares, even under normal conditions.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 25, 2020
JAVIER ACEVES-LIZARRAGA, Willilts. Protective order violation.
DANIEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Resisting.
JOHN HILL, Laytonville. Probation revocation.
DAVID MEHR, Nice/Ukiah. Robbery.
ORCHESTRA PLAYS BEETHOVEN’S 9TH FROM THEIR HOMES
The Rotterdam Philharmonic teamed up with a Dutch healthcare provider to film the finale of Beethoven’s 9th with all the musicians playing their parts by video from their homes.
It’s an extraordinary achievement, overwhelming in the final minutes. If ever a video deserved to go viral, this is it.
QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT COVID-19 INFECTION RISKS by two health experts:
- Dr Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunology at Yale University
- Dr Julia Marcus, infectious disease epidemiologist and professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School
How long can the virus survive on surfaces?
Marcus: The New England Journal of Medicine just published a study that tested how long the virus can remain stable on different kinds of surfaces within a controlled laboratory setting. They found that it was still detectable on copper for up to four hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours.
But it’s important to note that the amount of virus decreased rapidly over time on each of those surfaces. And so the risk of infection from touching them would probably decrease over time as well.
Is there a risk of being infected by groceries and packages that we have delivered?
Marcus: It’s a low risk, but it’s possible that if someone is delivering a package to your house and they are sick, that may be a route for transmission. I would recommend that any time something new comes into your household, be conscious of washing your hands after handling it.
Iwasaki: The [virus’s] stability is pretty good on the cardboard. Once you get those packages, open them, quickly throw away the cardboard, wash your hands, and try to avoid touching your face. Take any measures that you can to minimize contact from the surface of the package to your face.
Is it possible the contents of a package could have been contaminated by whoever packed it?
Iwasaki: There’s definitely a possibility of contamination, but it’s much more likely that the outer cardboard itself will come into contact with a lot more people than what’s inside. And if it takes days to get to your home, whatever virus that was inside will be deactivated already.
Source: The Guardian, March 25th - link to read full article: theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/25/how-long-coronavirus-lasts-on-surfaces-packages-groceries
IF YOU REALLY LOVED ME, YOU'D DIE FOR ME
by Flynn Washburne
Love, it has been said, is a many-splendored thing. By Andy Williams and Han Suyin, anyway, who, respectively, sang the song and wrote the book that became the 1955 feature film.
How exactly you splendor something confused me, being unaware of any other instances of the word being employed as a verb. I consulted a (admittedly non-comprehensive) print dictionary and found only the noun definition. Further online perusal led me to a verb definition, claiming that to splendor something is to either make it splendid (really? like, this room is rather drab, what say we splendor it by festooning it with tinsel?) or to proceed with pomp or grandeur (as in, the graduates splendored across the auditorium stage?) Yeah, no.
I'm skeptical and suspect that this is yet another case of the lexicon compilers giving in to the lackadaisical usage of the rabble. Because the title of the film became a part of the collective consciousness (why, I don't know; it was a stupid movie), they shrugged and said what the fuck, guess it's a verb now. It's laxity of this nature that is leading to the degeneration of the species. I am fine with neologisms if you find existing verbiage unequal to your descriptive needs; been known to engage in the practice myself now and again, but for fuck's sake consult a dictionary before you start tossing words around willy-nilly.
So, love. Splendored or not, it's a thing, and no meaningless abstraction besides God ever incited so much discussion, debate, or disagreement. What is "true" love? What are the different varieties of love? Is it forever? Does it fade? Are the lesser animals capable of it? My own favorite qualifier is the ol' "I love you, but I'm not in love with you," which translates as "You're welcome to buy me things, but I still won't have sex with you."
I think, though, we can all agree that "love," and all the different feelings and behaviors arising from whatever we think it is, is a generally positive thing. I, for instance, love my phone. Any woman's magazine quiz would bear this out. I think about it when it's not around, I am obsessively concerned with its safety and health, I want to spend all my time with it, and I would sacrifice myself to extract it from the slavering jaws of an apex carnivore, should it somehow find itself in those unlikely straits. I am consumed with jealousy when anyone else touches it and I want it to be happy. If that's not love, I don't know what is. We are very happy together and will be right up until the moment I upgrade, but I will still recall it fondly and wish it well.
At least I'm not referring to it as "her." I know it's a machine and I know the feelings are not reciprocated but I'll put this love up against any marriage in the world and beat it by a full furlong.
One love I do not feel or subscribe to, either actually or conceptually, is love of country, or Patriotism. For one thing, I reject the very notion of countries. Every bit of matter in the universe is related, and I'm supposed feel superior to someone living a few hundred miles away because of an arbitrary line drawn in the sand, a different manner of communicating ideas, and a differently colored scrap of fabric fluttering over the courthouse? I don't think so. Every atom in my body was once something else, and when I am gone they will become lots of other things, and many of them were no doubt intermingled with atoms currently forming the physiology of people all over the globe. That knowledge alone is enough to convince me that borders, biases, and bigotry have no place in our enlightened age. We, and by we I mean every damn proton and electron in the universe, are all one. This does not mean you can borrow money from me, necessarily, but it does mean I recognize people as just that, not as Armenians or Canadians or Bahamians.
I find it curious that patriotism is only invoked by the powers that be when it's time to start killing people from other countries, or convincing the youth of their own to sacrifice their lives to some nebulous, abstract concept they don't understand, employing propaganda and emotional manipulation to exploit the natural tendencies of young men bursting with hormonal triggers to fight and seek adventure. These primal urges are in place to serve the biological imperative, find a suitable mate and propagate the species. Making young people believe that their interests are best served by sacrificing themselves to the needs of a rapacious government and the corporations that control it is criminal, immoral, evil, and unjust.
Why does "patriotism" not translate to wanting the best for your country and the people in it? If you really loved your country, would you not want there to be clean air to breathe and sufficient resources to enable the populace to exist in a condition of relative ease? Would you not want the streets to be clean and the people to be housed and clothed and fed? Is not a country composed of people? Is it defined only by borders and a flag, or is it the government you love? Is it "America" as a concept that makes your heart swell, or the manufactured history of noble action and the pursuit of happiness? Because this is, like every other claim shoved the throats of schoolchildren, a load of unmitigated bullshit, and if you really loved your country you'd be doing your best to make it more liveable for what actually makes it up, millions of strugglers and strivers trying to wrest what they can from the predatory billionaires and corporations using this country and its people as fodder to satisfy their pathological acquisitiveness.
Imagine for a moment that you are completely ignorant of this planet and its policies, practices, and people. Consider yourself a sentient, evolved alien from a distant planet as I present this playlet in half an act.
(Scene: Backstage at the auditorium of an institution dedicated to the process of education, acculturation, socialization, and indoctrination of the youth of a country called America.
Players: Valedictorian, the leading male student of the institution. He has just completed a 12 year program and excelled academically, socially, and physically, proven himself able and apt in regurgitating propaganda and moving different-sized balls from one place to another, and is pleasing to look at besides.
The Powers that Be, embodied in The General, a military chieftain charged with ensuring the safety and security of the country by murdering the occupants of other countries. He and the Valedictorian are having a private discussion following the completion ceremony.)
General: Son, you are the best and the brightest. You represent all that is great about America. Ready to go forth and reap the benefits of living in the greatest country on earth?
Valedictorian: I sure am, sir. Super excited. I love America!
General: You have no idea how glad I am to hear that, young man. So do I. You live in a land of unlimitited opportunity and a person of your gifts can achieve anything at all and rise to unimaginable heights of wealth and power.
Valedictorian: Awesome! I'm going to go drink beer and have sex. See ya!
General: Not so fast, boy. You have certain responsibilities before you can get started. You see, there are places in the world with customs and practices that are different from ours. They look different, they talk funny, and most importantly, they have things that we want. Problem is, they don't want to give us those things, and we even asked them nicely. Had the audacity to refuse and insist on being left alone to live their lives and pursue happiness on their own terms. We consider this an act of aggression and so we're assembling a team of go-getters like yourself to go over there and take what we want.
Valedictorian: Won't there be resistance? Will it be dangerous?
General: Well, yes. In fact, you may lose your life, or a limb, or your ability to throw balls around, but there is nothing more noble you can do that die in furtherance of the goals of your country. You will be remembered as a hero and your uniform will be bedecked with brightly colored ribbons and gewgaws. Most importantly, you will have given your life or legs so that your fellow Americans can live in peace and prosperity.
Valedictorian: All of them?
General: Certainly not. We're not communists, after all. No, only the ones that deserve it.
Valedictorian: Who deserves it? Who decides who deserves it?
General: (chuckling) Now, now. Let's not get into that, you wouldn't and don't need to understand. What's relevant here is that you love your country, there is no love without hate, and the people you hate are these other brown sumbitches on the other side of the world being selfish with their oil, which God said rightfully belongs to the people with the most cars. C'mon, now. You'll get a shiny new gun, new clothes, discipline, structure… And if you live through it, community-college tuition. Whaddaya say, son? Sign on the dotted?
Valedictorian: I don't know… Do I hafta? I kinda had plans, parties and stuff…
General: Parties? Patriots don't party. Patriots prove their love by fighting and dying for their country. Period. You don't hafta, but if you refuse you had better by damn be ready to face the Almighty after your life of leisure and self-interest and explain why you let your country down when it needed you.
Valedictorian: Yeah… No. I'm going to take a hard pass. I'll take my chances with God. I guess if those brown people show up here you can give me a call, but I'm going to let you guys work this out yourselves. Best of luck, though. Later, gator.
General: That's later, gator, SIR.
Sounds a little silly if you pretend no previous knowledge of the absurd notion of patriotism, does it not? I would say that patriotism is in fact a perversion of the concept of love, grounded as it is in exclusion and bigotry. I am not proud to be an American, as the patriots are forever trumpeting and singing and plastering on their T-shirts, hats, and vehicles. I am an American by accident of birth, by my mother occupying a specific latitude and longitude on July 7, 1960, and as it happened, Canada was just a few miles away. Why, Mom? Why could you not pop over the border when the labor pains kicked in so I could make fun of Americans? Not that I don't, but it would be much more convincing if I were sporting a red maple leaf.
No, I am proud of my accomplishments and those of the people I love, and the people I love are my friends and family, and in a more general way all the peoples of the earth. I don't love borders or governments or politicians, and I'd say the very best thing I could consider them as is a necessary evil. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go splendor off into the gloaming and pretend I'm in Manitoba.
‘SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET SHOT’
California tourist towns demand outsiders stay home.
by Ryan Sabalow & Jason Pohl
Stacy Corless opened Facebook on Monday and saw someone suggest it was time to start slashing visitors’ tires.
It was startling evidence to Corless, a Mono County Supervisor, that a frantic fear of outsiders had gripped some people in the ski resort community of Mammoth Lakes.
“I’m really concerned about the level of vitriol and xenophobia,” she said. “I’m worried someone is going to get shot.”
Mono County over the weekend banned most short-term vacation rentals in an effort to prevent tourists from carrying the new coronavirus into the isolated, resource-strapped community. The decision followed a wave of similar announcements that have derailed ski trips, hobbled backpacking plans, and landed a devastating blow to local tourism-dependent economies across the West.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide shelter-in-place order last week, longstanding tensions between locals and tourists have begun simmering in new ways. Hundreds of thousands of urbanites have crowded trails, swarmed beaches and holed up in vacation homes and rentals across the state. Newsom’s order said people were still allowed to go outside and exercise, but it didn’t set limits on where they could go.
Communities across the state have started fighting back. Marin County closed its parks. Truckee and South Lake Tahoe are considering plans to limit the use of short-term rentals. AirBnb and other online vacation rental companies are offering refunds. For the first time, tourism bureaus have found themselves urging visitors to stay home.
“Our locals have welcomed visitors from around the globe for generations but right now our community needs the time and space to protect our loved ones and health resources,” the official North Lake Tahoe visitor bureau website now reads. “The Sierra region will be ready to welcome visitors back when this crisis is behind us, but now is the time to stay put.”
For her part, Corless in Mono County supported action to shut the rentals down. But she said some constituents have told her it didn’t go nearly far enough. “They want us to be checking IDs on Highway 203, which is the entrance to Mammoth Lakes,” she said.
Across the state, residents in tourism towns say they were deeply troubled by the surge of visitors over the weekend.
“I’ve lived here for 50 years and Saturday was one of the top two or three heaviest visitation days I’ve seen out here,” said Burr Heneman, 78, who lives in Point Reyes Station near several popular parks, including the Point Reyes National Seashore.
“It was really amazing and kind of stunning given the context of the shelter-in-place rules we’re operating under in the Bay Area. The parks weren’t prepared for it. The stores weren’t prepared for it.”
Visit any tourism town’s Facebook group and chances are you’ll see locals begging — if not arguing with — visitors to take their recreation elsewhere for the time being.
“You live where you live. We are not supposed to be transporting our cooties all around, cross-contaminating, and keeping this thing going,” Bethany Kane, a paramedic who lives near Half Moon Bay, wrote in a private Facebook group. “When things go back to ‘normal’ people can visit our small, limited resource, limited access/egress community once again.”
In an interview, Kane said she and her neighbors were alarmed by a surge in visitors coming to their beach community over the weekend. They clogged roads, left litter everywhere, and overwhelmed the local grocery store, which was already struggling to keep supplies in stock.
Friends and family reported seeing visitors hugging and standing too close together, something that left many deeply troubled about the disease risks, she said. She felt compelled to speak out.
“It’s so hard to say that, so it doesn’t sound like we’re saying, ‘Get off my lawn’,” she said. “It immediately gets people’s defenses up because they feel like they’re being excluded, but that’s not what we’re trying to say.”
‘Love it from a safe distance.’
Resort towns normally have welcome arms during March weekends. Increasingly, they’re waving people away.
Truckee officials, in coordination with the county, on Monday were weighing whether, and how best, to restrict short-term rentals.
South Lake Tahoe took similar steps on Monday, citing a surge in complaints from people who noticed out-of-towners mingling amid a pandemic. Officials called on the lodging industry, including hotels and local renters, to help deter visitors for 30 days.
“This is something I thought I’d never have to say throughout my tourism career, but please stay home at this time,” said Carol Chaplin, CEO and president of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “Once it is deemed safe by the health experts, we can welcome you with open arms and will be joining you. The mountain town you love needs you to love it from a safe distance. Stay home, stay healthy and we’ll see you when it’s safe to travel again.”
Placer County was still exploring its options but planning some sort of action, a spokeswoman said Monday afternoon.
Newsom on Monday announced the closure of parking lots at several state parks across California. The decision came after people crowded beaches and packed trails on the first weekend of the statewide shelter-in-place order.
“One cannot condemn that,” Newsom said. “But one can criticize it.”
Additional restrictions are also possible if people do not obey the social distancing requirements, Newsom said.
Despite a drumbeat of warnings — and local officials’ pleadings — some in the Tahoe Basin have been slow to get the message, said Mike Stram, a retired civil engineer who lives full-time in Truckee. He and his neighbors were appalled when a local homeowner put a vacation rental online under the title, “‘Shelter in Place’ in a Sparkling Clean Luxury Home — Hot Tub & Steam Shower!”
“I know a bunch of people up here locally saw it on Facebook and just absolutely assaulted that woman (online),” he said. “She realized that was a bad idea.”
Stram, whose wife is a local nurse, said he knows Truckee’s 25-bed hospital couldn’t handle a surge of critically ill patients on a good day, let alone manage dozens of COVID-19 patients needing immediate, life-saving care.
Tahoe Forest Hospital District is one of 34 federally designated “critical access hospitals” with less than 25 beds in rural California. Experts say the small medical facilities could be among the hardest hit in a COVID-19 surge.
Many have just a handful of ventilators necessary to keep patients breathing, and they are particularly at risk of having a shortage of healthcare workers should they start to come down with symptoms of the disease.
“(The local healthcare system) is going to be quickly overrun shortly, and I think even with the local crowd they’re already in bad shape,” Stram said. “They couldn’t even handle what’s here, let alone if you put several thousand more people up here.”
Wendy Mastroianni, 49, has similar concerns. She’s lived full-time in the Truckee area for about 15 years. A nurse at the local hospital, she’s taken to heart recent warnings from health and elected officials.
She had a front-row seat over the weekend to people who aren’t doing the same.
The home across from hers is a short-term rental, she said, as is one a couple of doors down. Rentals are in the fabric of the local ski-town economy. But seeing jam-packed rental home driveways and car-loads of people on her street over the weekend was disconcerting.
“Maybe they think ‘OK, well it’s just four of us’,” she said Monday. “But if you multiply that by 50 houses or 100 houses, that’s a lot of extra people in Truckee Tahoe going to the grocery store, going to the gas station, going into atrial fibrillation and needing to go to our ER for something completely not related to COVID-19.
An adult who lives in eastern Nevada County contracted COVID-19 and was recently hospitalized, county health officials announced Monday. It was the county’s second confirmed case and believed to have been from community transmission with an unknown spread.
Cascade of rental bans
AirBnb is offering guests full refunds and hosts no-charge cancellations for reservations booked on or before March 14 with check-in dates April 14 or before. VRBO is offering similar flexibility, according to its website.
Many cities, counties and tourism boards are discouraging travel but steering clear of any authoritative bans. In a way, it follows what Newsom and others have done by hoping social distancing and stay-at-home orders are embraced so widely they don’t need enforcing.
Though they have not yet issued a ban on short-term rentals, city officials in Bishop, a world-renowned climbing destination in Inyo County, are asking spring break adventure-seekers to stay home.
“We understand our small town with a Big Back Yard is a lovely place to recreate, and further recognize that while trips here can be seen as ‘needed,’ they do qualify as ‘non-essential’,” officials wrote. (About a dozen weekend rentals were available on AirBnB midday Monday.)
The city has embraced the #AdventureCanWait hashtag.
But the Southeast Utah Health Department went a step further and issued far-reaching bans that all-but-shuttered tourism in the region, including slickrock strewn areas around Moab.
The month-long order that took effect last week blocks camping and overnight check-ins for people not in the area for work. It applies to hotels, motels, RV parks, campgrounds and short-term rentals. The city on its website threatens jail time and fines for those who violate the rule.
And in Colorado, Estes Park on Monday enacted a similar month-long ban on overnight stays at hotels short-term rentals. Like Truckee, the mountain community at the entrance to the now-closed Rocky Mountain National Park is heavily reliant on people making an hour’s drive from Denver or Fort Collins.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision made with the health of the people in our community in mind — our number one priority,” Travis Machalek, the town’s administrator, said in a statement. “We hope that the sooner we take these measures, the sooner we can celebrate the reopening of our businesses.”
Most restrictions announced thus far are in effect until mid-April. There’s no guarantee things will open up by then, and public officials have told people that hunkering down might be a monthslong endeavor.
The longer it goes on, the more people will be tempted to head for the high country, Mastroianni, the Truckee nurse, said. That makes her even more anxious.
“Don’t go anywhere, but especially not here,” Mastroianni said. “Stay home. We have to care for one another. That’s part of this message. It’s not about you and your selfish, ‘I want to get out of here and go up to Tahoe.’ It’s bigger than that. Your actions affect other people. And it could be adversely.”
(Courtesy, the Sacramento Bee)