- Lingering Showers
- Daily Updates
- Testing Results
- Ed Notes
- About Spinardi
- Leaf Lizard
- Confirmed Cases
- Defer Tax
- Storm Clouds
- Penalty Waiving
- Police Reports
- Yesterday's Catch
- NY Report
- Mask Dammit
- F-35 Order
- Newspapers Crucial
- Symptoms Chart
- Boomer Bummer
- Financial Impacts
- Resnick Kingdom
- Fireside Tweets
- Crisis Management
- Mask Briefs
- Virus Exception
- Pandemic Warning
- Petitioning Power
- Testing Shortfall
- Red Crossers
- Pretty Day
- Hell Empty
- Major Transformation
- Pox Credit
- Water Stress
- Pigeon Spotting
- Found Object
A FEW LINGERING SHOWERS are expected today and Tuesday afternoon. Another chilly morning is expected Tuesday morning but temperatures are expected to gradually warm through the week as high pressure builds in bringing warm and dry conditions. (NWS)
LAKE COUNTY HAS REPORTED ITS FIRST CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASE
On Sunday, Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace said the first positive case of COVID-19 in Lake County has been confirmed.
DAILY REPORTS NOW
There is an unconfirmed rumor our county now has 8 positive COVID-19 cases. No credible news entity has confirmed this thus far. Here's the rub: You have a county website which purports to provide current COVID-19 news. And yet up to date news is not being provided.
County COVID-19 website news needs to be updated DAILY. Providing news of: Tests (woefully low at last reading at merely 250), Positives, Negatives, Pending, Patients Recovered, Other Patients Status, etc.
We have a county with a population of almost 90,000 souls. According to the latest County reporting, we've had but 250 +or- tests. In short, we have no idea from this extremely limited testing data what the current, real, infection rate for Mendocino County is. County government has to be at the forefront of disseminating accurate data, I.E. News and Information about this prospective plague. Therefore, the County's website needs to, and should, post the aforementioned updated data DAILY on its website.
What prevents this happening?
Where are our tests?
Where is our County Health Officer?
We have been leading on shelter in place. Let's not fumble the testing ball now.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
PS: Just get it done for the ease and presence of mind for your constituents
PAGING DR. DOOHAN. Mendo's chief medical officer, or a surrogate (Dr. Drew Colfax?) ought to be appearing daily to update the county on the plague. If there's nothing new to report, take questions. As it is, we're all left to pick up reliable information where we can, which means lots of people are picking up unreliable info. Five o'clock, every day. Also, why are so many county workers still going in every day and doing nothing when they get there? Essential personnel only should be required to report.
IN LIEU of testing, it's impossible to say how many Mendo people have the virus. We're still at four say the same sleepy reports. Forty in Humco, but they have a third or so more people.
INTERESTING speculation in the current Atlantic, which we've linked and extracted a para from elsewhere in today's on-line edition. It's called, "The Revolution Is Under Way" by Rebecca Spang, a professor somewhere whose speciality is the French Revolution. The prof draws some correct parallels, I'd say, and Trump in his bloated incompetence resembles Louis XVI, with Louis having a big edge in smarts, but the USofA is both more volatile and also comes with a capable military, not to mention militarized police forces. The French military turned their weapons on their officers, and the aristos were left undefended. Prediction from the ava: When the food banks run out, as some of them in urban areas already are, and supply lines start to break down as "civil disorder" breaks out, we'll see the military running things in large swathes of the country because the federal government, under Trump or any Democrat I can think of, will be incapable of holding US together. The coronavirus is truly revolutionary, but what kind of revolution we're going to get remains to be seen, but it's going to be rough for sure. (Like what do you know, Mr. Outback Editor? Nothing more than you but please argue with my opinion.)
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL says More than one-fourth of the American economy has come to a standstill. According to a study from Moody’s Analytics, the daily output of the U.S. economy has fallen about 29 percent compared to the first week of March. While more than 40 states have ordered some businesses to shutter due to COVID-19, the chief economist at Moody’s stated that many businesses in U.S. counties will re-open before the summer—resulting in about a 30 percent decline in the second-quarter GDP. The study also found that the U.S. economy was disproportionately tied to urban areas, with a tenth of the U.S. drop in daily output being tied to three counties: Los Angeles, New York County, and Chicago’s Cook County, Illinois. While current daily output has fallen more than the annual output during the Great Depression (1929-1933) and quarterly output during the last recession (late 2007 and mid-2009), chief economist Mark Zandi said the current economic situation was more like a “natural disaster” or the 9/11 terror attacks rather than the Great Depression.
- Manhattan and Hamptons' wealthiest are hiring armed guards for their luxury properties, fearing a coronavirus 'zombie apocalype' with desperate criminals trying to break down their doors
- The one percent are stationing former cops outside their luxury properties fearing a coronavirus doomsday overrun by robbers and thieves.
- Rural America is now experiencing 'disaster gentrification' as wealthy Covid-19 evacuees from the hotspot cities flock to the 'safety' of small towns in the flyover states
- From Maine to Washington, rural areas are seeing hundreds of thousands of affluent city dwellers with the ability to work from home heading to their seasonal homes or renting properties.
DA DAVID EYSTER REPLIES TO JOHN SPINARDI:
Sunday Update on John Spinardi and his criminal justice woes:
Defendant John Robert Spinardi, age 33, reported to be a transient in and around Ukiah at the time of his arrest by the Ukiah Police Department, entered pleas of no contest on January 22, 2020 to a January 7th attempted vehicle theft with a prior conviction for vehicle theft, a felony, as well as a separate petty theft, a misdemeanor.
He was eventually sentenced on March 20, 2020 to a Realignment County Prison (RCP) sentence of 18 months. That RCP sentence was split, between 9 months of incarceration (meaning 4 1/2 actual jail time) and 9 months on mandatory supervision, a New Age form of local parole.
— District Attorney David Eyster
AARON SAWYER REPLIES TO WILLIAM SELF
The number of confirmed cases, as displayed on the maps you referenced, bear little resemblance to the true number of cases present in any one area due to a lack of testing. In our county there hasn’t been significant testing of the population, just the higher risk individuals who meet certain criteria. Also we don’t have information on how many of the reported tests have been done on the same high risk individuals, such as ER personnel or first responders who may have been exposed multiple times. I know of two families, eight total people, who have been told by MCDH that they likely have to virus due to the symptoms they are reporting, but to avoid coming to the hospital unless they seriously fear they will die. They were not offered tests but told to stay home if possible. The number of tests that have been done to date, especially here in the hinterlands, is not enough to have a statistically significant sampling of the population on which to base decisions about where the virus is or is not. We need to make informed decisions which recognize the shortcomings of the information of our current dataset which is what I believe the Public Health folks are doing.
I had a thought the other day that few countries have a health system that is prepared for an epidemic until after an epidemic.
The human population growth we’ve experienced the last century and a half has always seemed unlikely to just reach some predetermined “carrying capacity” and then just taper off (approach an asymptote, if you’re into math). A more probable outcome, from this hill muffin’s view, is that the human population would reach an inflection point where numbers would drop; maybe precipitously, maybe just a little. Maybe the drop in population experienced depends on where you are on the globe?
(Photo by Larry Wagner)
ELK COVE INN (& MANY OTHERS) GOING UNDER
To: Mendocino County Supervisors,
I always kept Property Tax and TOT Tax funds separately as reserves. This year, also like previous years, just before dispatch of these checks COVID19 happens. Now I am dealing with bookings cancellations and refunds of more than $110,000 and I am not even half way in refunds and I have used all my tax reserves. I used to get about $2500/day booking advance from my guests for future bookings and that has stopped too.
I do not see any way of coming out of it unless County/State defers these taxes and comes with any plan to save us. Federal and SBA initiatives will take time. SBA website is choked and so far I have not been able to register even.
Owner | Elk Cove Inn & Spa | elkcoveinn.com
STORM CLOUDS COMING
CALIFORNIA COUNTIES WILL WAIVE PENALTIES FOR HOMEOWNERS AND SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS STRUGGLING TO PAY PROPERTY TAXES
California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the California Association of County Treasurers and Tax Collectors issue the following statement regarding the COVID-19 crisis and the April 10th property tax deadline.
Taking care of Californians is our top priority, and counties, cities, and schools are burning through local reserves to do so. Any delay in payments beyond the April 10 property tax deadline, for individuals or businesses that can pay, will tip local governments into insolvency at a time when our residents need us the most.
Counties will use all existing authority to cancel penalties and other charges for homeowners, small businesses, and other property owners that are unable to pay their property taxes due to circumstances caused by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis. However, property owners who can pay or that haven’t been directly affected by COVID-19, including international corporations and out-of-state landlords, still need to pay on time to keep critical government services running. Assisting taxpayers in this way is not new to Tax Collectors, who most recently worked to help those who were affected by the Camp and Woolsey fires.
Property taxes only go to local governments—schools, counties, cities and special districts—not to the state or federal government, and directly fund education, health care, hospitals, welfare services, fire protection, and homelessness efforts, to name a few.
Delaying the April 10 property tax payment would take tens of billions of dollars away from local government, create cash flow problems, and cause some to default on their loans, which would have significant long-term effects on all local agencies in California.
California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is the voice of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level.
(via James Marmon, via KymKemp.com)
On Friday, 04-03-2020 at about 10:45 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a physical assault in progress in the 2200 block of South State Street in Ukiah.
Deputies were advised a female subject, later identified as Layne Cassidy, 37, of Ukiah, was armed with a knife and was assaulting a 38 year old male subject at the location.
On arrival, Deputies contacted Cassidy and her fiance (an adult male) who both lived at the location together along with numerous witnesses.
It appeared Cassidy and her fiance got into a verbal argument which thereafter escalated.
Cassidy went to the kitchen and obtained a knife and began to attack her fiance.
The fiance picked up a coffee table and used it as a shield as he backed down the hall and out the back door, while Cassidy was trying to stab him with the knife.
The fiance dropped the table and jumped over a wooden fence into the neighbor's yard to get away from Cassidy.
Deputies located numerous knives that were believed to have been used during the assault in and outside the house.
Cassidy was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence battery.
Cassidy was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
OLD SPICE JUST FOR MEN
On Saturday, 03-28-2020 at about 9:50 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to an assault that had occurred in the 1400 block of South State Street in Ukiah.
While Deputies responded, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and an ambulance were dispatch to respond to the area.
When Deputies arrived they found an adult male laying next to a bike on South State Street. He had a laceration to his head and was bleeding from the laceration.
The adult male advised he and Jay Michael Hire, 57, of Ukiah, had been in a verbal argument at a nearby residence. The argument between the two started because Hire believed the adult male put on too much cologne after taking a shower at Hire's residence.
When the adult male tried to leave and was walking down a set of stairs, Hire picked up a cider block sized concrete brick and threw it at him striking him in the head.
Deputies responded to Hire's residence and corroborated the previously obtained information regarding the incident.
Hire was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for assault with a deadly weapon where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
OUR NATION'S FUTURE
On Saturday, 03-28-2020 at about 3:15 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call from a citizen reporting hearing numerous gunshots in the area of Tehuacan Road in Ukiah.
The reporting party advised they then heard a vehicle leaving the area.
Deputies responded to the area and they noticed an old Honda sedan leaving with numerous people inside.
Due to the fact the vehicle was leaving the area of the reported shooting, the time of day, and the current status of the Shelter in Place order, Deputies suspected this vehicle was possibly involved in the call for service.
The Honda turned onto Oak Manor Drive and Deputies lost sight of the vehicle for a few seconds but located it at the end of East Gobbi Street by the Little League Baseball Complex.
Deputies contacted all the occupants which were identified as all being juveniles.
Deputies located a loaded short barrel .22 caliber semi automatic rifle with a sawed off stock on the passenger side floorboard of the vehicle.
In the driver's door, Deputies located an approximately 20" steel pipe. Also in the vehicle, Deputies located numerous items used to consume nitrous oxide, which individuals inhale for intoxicating effects, along with evidence of marijuana usage.
The 16 year-old male juvenile driver was found to be on formal juvenile probation. He was arrested for possession of a billy club and violation of probation.
The 15 year-old female juvenile who was the front passenger was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle and carrying a loaded firearm..
The 14 year-old female juvenile and the 14 year-old male in the back seat were arrested for possession of nitrous oxide.
The 15 year-old male juvenile also in the back seat was arrested for possession of nitrous oxide. This juvenile was also found to be missing person/runaway.
All five juveniles were taken to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for a medical clearance prior to being released to the Mendocino County Juvenile Detention Center.
TAKE THIS, CUZ
On Sunday, 03-29-2020 at approximately 3:10 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported assault that occurred in the 1700 block of Talmage Court in Talmage.
Deputies responded to the scene and located evidence of an assault. Witnesses on scene reported a male, Jose Verduzco, 40, of Ukiah, had assaulted his cousin (a 34 year-old male) causing severe injury to the cousin's head.
Verduzco fled the scene in a vehicle prior to the Deputies' arrival. The cousin was transported prior to Deputies' arrival by his girlfriend to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for treatment.
Deputies responded to the hospital and met with the cousin which resulted in Verduzco being identified as the assailant. Deputies obtained a description of Verduzco's vehicle and issued an order for his arrest.
Shortly thereafter, a Deputy working in the Willits area located Verduzco's vehicle and conducted an investigative stop.
It was learned that Verduzco was on formal probation for a prior violent offense. A search of the vehicle pursuant to the terms of Verduzco's probation resulted in the discovery of the blunt object Verduzco used to assault his cousin.
Based on the Deputies' investigation, Verduzco was arrested for 245(a)(1) PC (Assault With a Deadly Weapon) and 1203.2 PC (Probation Violation).
Verduzco was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status due to his probation violations.
LURKS IN THE OLD LADY'S DRIVEWAY, LAYTONVILLE
On 04-02-2020 at about 1:29 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a welfare check on an elderly female at a residence in the 39000 block of old Sherwood Road in Laytonville.
As the Deputy drove down the driveway he observed three Hispanic adult males. Two of the subjects were standing by a blue colored Polaris RZR off road utility vehicle (UTV).
The third subject was standing by a tan colored Polaris Ranger UTV, which had a small trailer attached to it. Upon the subjects observing the Deputy driving down the driveway, they fled the location.
Two of the subjects fled on foot down the hillside towards Highway 101, described as wearing dark colored sweatshirts and blue jeans.
The third subject got into the Polaris Ranger UTV and started to drive away. The subject drove about 50 yards and exited the vehicle and fled on foot into the woods.
The Deputy put out a description of the subjects on the radio and requested assistance from additional law enforcement personnel.
Personnel from the Cahto Tribal Police, California Highway Patrol and Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to assist.
As the Deputy was waiting for additional personnel to arrive, he located a rifle sitting on the Polaris RZR UTV, which he quickly secured inside of his patrol vehicle.
The Deputy approached the Polaris Ranger UTV and noticed the ignition was tampered with and noticed a screwdriver was used to start the vehicle.
The Deputy remembered obtaining information from a briefing regarding a vehicle fitting this description as being reported stolen from a ranch in Willits the week prior.
While the Deputy was looking at the Polaris Ranger UTV in an attempt to locate the identification number, he heard foot steps approaching him in the woods approximately 15 yards east of his location.
The Deputy could see a subject walking towards his location and immediately announced “Sheriff’s Office” and drew is department issued service weapon.
The subject ducked out of sight of the Deputy and the Deputy started issuing verbal commands in both English and Spanish ordering the subject to come out and show his hands.
The subject came out of hiding turned around and placed his hands behind his head without being instructed by the Deputy.
The Deputy detained the subject and during a pat search located a fully loaded firearm magazine belonging to a .45 caliber handgun and some suspected methamphetamine.
The Deputy was able to identify the subject as being Javier Madrigal Sanchez, 46, of Laytonville, through prior Law Enforcement contacts.
As other Law Enforcement personnel arrived on scene, the Deputy was able to search the area where he first observed Sanchez in the woods.
The Deputy located a loaded Colt .45 caliber model 1911 handgun.
Sanchez exhibited signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance and was evaluated, resulting in his arrest or being under the influence of a controlled substance.
The Deputy was able to confirm through Sheriff's Office dispatch that Sanchez was a felon and was a prohibited person from possessing a firearm or ammunition.
The Polaris Ranger UTV was confirmed to be stolen and was turned over to the California Highway Patrol for recovery.
Sanchez was arrested for Felon in possession of a firearm, Possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, Under the influence of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm, and Possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm.
Sanchez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.
Deputies completed the welfare check on the elderly female and determined she was not in need of any assistance.
On Thursday, 04-02-2020, at about 10:41 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Howard Memorial Hospital in Willits.
Howard Memorial Hospital staff per law called to report a 43 year old felmale patient who was involved in a domestic violence incident.
When the Deputies arrived they contacted an adult female sitting in a hospital bed holding a bag of frozen peas on the right side of her face.
When she removed the bag of peas, Deputies noticed the right side of her face from the cheek area to her nose was red in color and swollen. She also had purple bruising and swelling around her right eye and her nose was slightly curved to the left.
Deputies learned the adult female and Jaren Nunnemaker, 46, of Willits, got into argument when he became agitated about her spending too much time on the phone.
The adult female ended the phone call she was on at which point Nunnemaker grabbed her phone and walked out the living room onto the second story balcony. The adult female followed Nunnemaker onto the balcony attempting to get her phone back.
As she attempted to get her phone back, she caused a small scratch to his face. The adult female was not sure what happened next but remembered that her vision went blurry.
Deputies received information that suggested Nunnemaker head butted her in the face which caused her to seek treatment at the hospital.
Deputies responded to the couple’s residence located in the 3800 block of Canyon Road in Willits where they contacted Nunnemaker.
The Deputies discovered the couple have been in a romantic dating relationship for about nine years and have a child together.
Deputies learned the couple had been drinking alcoholic beverages during the incident but that neither were intoxicated.
Deputies confirmed information obtained at the hospital that Nunnemaker was upset with the adult female because she was spending so much time on the phone.
Deputies further learned, Nunnemaker took the phone from the adult female and she attempted to get it back scratching him in the face causing a minor scratch.
Nunnemaker then head-butted her resulting in her leaving the residence.
Nunnemaker was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery (273.5 PC) and subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.
WIND FANS AND WINERIES
I have been confined at home since March tenth. We have plenty of food and other supplies. Yet, boredom is getting to me and I'm sure to most every American. But, It’s beginning to look a lot like spring. The ground is getting warm. Some days we enjoy 70º temperatures. The birds sing. But with every spring comes our Anderson Valley annual spring event. No music is offered and no one is asked to BYOB. It is not that kind of event. No. As the fans turn, we start the annual Spring Fan Wars.
It has become an annual event here in Anderson Valley. Actually in most all agriculture valleys. Seems that places like Anderson Valley are both great for growing and most get that damn spring early morning frost. In most non-agriculture places no one cares. Worse case scenario is you need to scrape your car windows. But frost in an agriculture area is reason for concern. New budding plants and freezing temperatures do not work well together.
I have a friend in the valley who has PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Many military veterans suffering from PTSD. A friend of mine that is a Viet Nam vet, and suffers from PTSD, tells me when the fans start he has trouble controlling the fear that returns. From frost fans. They do sound a lot like helicopters. The fans have gone off for a number of years now and as he knows the sound is coming and he is doing better when the helicopter sound arrives. He understands the need for the fans. Before retirement he, as a private contractor, helped feed his family working for several wineries.
But damn they are loud and they go off early. Many other friends actually work in the wine industry and they tell me about the same time the fans go off they usually are waking up to go to work. They say for them it is sort of like an alarm clock. I also have logger friends. They tell me the same thing. I also have a lot of old friends like me. We just can't sleep. So often I give up trying to sleep and drink my first cup of coffee.
This is the perfect area to grow grapes and that is why they grow here. Growing grapes here means growing them in an area that has frost. Having grapes means having fans. Having grapes means having wineries. And having wineries means having jobs. Simple on paper (the stuff we used to write on.) Yet that they are loud and they go off early is not what concerns me. In Anderson Valley we must put up with it for maybe 7-12 days a year? But I also think the wineries could do more to show us we all live here and they are thankful for being part of our lives. Maybe something like happened in the early days of wineries in Anderson Valley.
Most every early winery was owned by someone who also lived and raised their family here. They understood the value of being a good community member as their children were raised here. These winery owners made a good living having their wine grown here and found ways to give back to us. Do you remember back in the early days winery growth and the parties and concerts they had? Some bottled wine was produced and priced for sale to local valley friends. They realized it was their duty to give back to their community.
The Kobler family was one of the original wineries in Anderson Valley. Hans was a waiter in the San Francis area. He sold wine and felt he could do a better job at making wine. He purchased land in Anderson Valley. His wine was excellent. While the Koblers sold their wine in the general market for a high price, he bottled wine designed to be sold and drank by Anderson Valley locals. As I recall, he sold his house wine at under $10 a bottle.
The Edmeades grapes were planted in 1963 by Doctor Donald Edmeades. Ten years later, in 1972, Edmeades son Deron, started the winery. In the late 80s the business was purchased by Jess Jackson making Edmeades the first winery to join the Jackson Family Wines portfolio. But Deron Edmeades loved a good party. And on several occasions he partied with the valley. On a number of occasions Deron had concerts at the winery and the whole valley was invited to join him. For free.
As the wine industry grew, we soon found dozens of wineries in the valley. Roederer opened a large winery. The company was from France. Yet the local winemaker Michel raised his children here and made sure the winery joined the valley family. For a number of years they had a large party on Bastille Day for all winery workers, their families and their friends. Several hundred people attended. Pallets of sparkling wine was offered as well as great food and music. All for free.
So yes sure we must put up with the fans every spring. It is a must. No fans, no wine. And sure many wineries donate their wine to fund raising events. But could they do more? Our valley struggles as do most small communities trying to raise money to better life in their valley. An annual Pino Festival happens in the valley each year for the betterment of the wine industry. Hundreds of people visit the Vally to drink our wine and enjoy the valley.
I'd love to see our wineries create and support a community fund that could be used for our many local groups currently offering help to our people. Perhaps an annual concert to happen along with the festival. The proceeds to be given back to the valley. So sure give us the sound of fans. But along with it also give the annual sound of music. Like in the old days. Really what goes better with wine than music?
— Russ Emal
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 5, 2020
TIMOTHY CHAPMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICHARD HILLIARD JR., Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
WILLIAM MEDERS, Willits. Controlled substance, vandalism, unauthorized entry into dwelling without owner consent, county parole violation.
NOTES FROM THE PLAGUE #2
by Gib Appell
Greetings from the epicenter. A capital of culture is a nice place to be, but not the capital of a virus—or so you would think. Yet it’s sometimes better to be in the middle of a crisis than to watch it unfold from afar. Death is a drag, but the anticipation of it is even worse, so it’s a relief to draw straws and get the waiting over with. There’s a comfort that comes from being at the forefront. While the plague continues its spread across the country, the peak of infection here may have passed.
Besides, the situation looks different on the ground than from a distance. My faraway friends call up worried, responding to reports of mobile morgues and hospital ships. Harrowing developments for sure, but they don’t accurately reflect daily life here. Neither do photos of an empty Times Square, since it’s a place New Yorkers studiously avoid, as central to the life of our city as Ghirardelli Square and Pier 39 are to SF. An empty Zabar’s would be news fit to print.
The streets have, however, emptied noticeably since last week. Union Square is down to one chess player, and most of the subway musicians have fled their posts. Sadly, the we’re-all-in-this-together spirit has also faded as fear has taken hold. Instead of cell phone cases, the sidewalk vendors are selling surgical masks. Paranoia seems rampant everywhere, whether it’s pedestrians keeping a twenty-foot distance on the street, or columnists in the AVA predicting the oncoming police state. Just as important as washing hands, it seems to me, is safeguarding our mental health, and striving to keep depression and conspiracy—not just each other—at arm’s length.
I remember disasters in earlier eras, with crowds huddled around transistor radios on street corners waiting for news. Strangely, radio served just as crucial a need here in the first weeks of the COVID outbreak. DJs were the only voices offering calm and comfort to the masses while keeping the message upbeat. They acknowledged the public’s fears, yet soothed them with humor, kind words, and rousing tunes—and by delivering simple, homespun truths. DJs were the unsung heroes playing the role that government mostly left unfilled.
Which is why, when they too began to disappear, it was a very bad sign, the proverbial canary in the coalmine. The radio personalities didn’t die so far as I know, yet one by one they were removed to “undisclosed remote locations” for their own good—playful wording that had an unintended chilling effect. Prerecorded airchecks took their place, with none of the warmth or charm.
And that’s the feeling this week in the city that never sleeps: Life goes on, but with the hope at half-mast and a lot of the vigor gone. Pets are the only thing thriving in this crisis, as WCBS’s Broadway Bill Lee pointed out before he was unceremoniously whisked away. Cats are getting the attention they crave, and canines are being walked by their owners for a change, instead of the professional dogwalkers who shepherd whole packs at a time.
People compare the deserted landscape and boarded-up storefronts to a zombie apocalypse, but to me it’s like living in Delaware in the 80s, which was even worse. Still, the city is unchanged in some respects. At 4:00 AM bodegas and a few restaurants have always been the only places open, and most people you meet are crazy or drunk. The change is that now 4:00 PM is no different. The city’s hidden, dark side is in plain view. The can collectors and homeless are still on every block, but the daytime population is sequestered around-the-clock, and commuters and tourists are nowhere in sight.
The trains I mentioned running with regularity in my last report? They are few and far between now that the MTA trimmed everything but “essential services.” The predictable result is packed subway cars that make social distancing a joke. Trains are one of the few crowded places to be found, along with the plazas in Midtown which legions of young skaters have taken over now that the security guards are gone. The same goes for Washington Square, where the legendary fountain has become a skatepark, and the drug dealers are out in greater numbers than ever before.
Besides the day-long wait outside the Park Slope Food Co-op, the only steady lines I’ve seen lately are in the Village, and not for the staples you might expect. Grubhub freelancers on bikes queue up at St. Vincent’s Triangle every afternoon for homecooked West African meals served by an enterprising woman with a van. In New York, even the delivery guys order delivery! Meanwhile on Broadway a crowd of weary people stand outside the Strand—not to get into the shuttered bookstore, but to line up single-file for the beauty supply shop next door. I braved that line myself, and it was worth the wait. Being called “baby” by the counterwoman was probably the only affection I’ll receive this week.
One last thing. Are you ready for some good news for a change?
If you’re reading this, you’re alive—and it’s good to be alive.
And in New York City, for the first time ever, you can hear the birds sing.
The Pentagon Just Bought a Bunch of F-35s
NEWSPAPERS’ ROLE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Over the last two months, concern over the spreading COVID-19 virus has increasingly gripped our nation. In this public health crisis, people need access to accurate and authoritative information so that they can make decisions about their health and safety. Hearsay, half-truths and supposition don’t cut it when our lives may be at stake. That’s why this newspaper — and thousands of others in our state — are on the front lines of the pandemic. We are there to inquire, authenticate and report facts so you know what’s going on and what to do.
At The Ukah Daily Journal, we take that responsibility very seriously.
Our staff is working around the clock to provide our readers with the latest information on how and where the virus is spreading and what health experts are recommending to protect the public. Further behind the scenes, dedicated employees in production, subscriber and delivery services are doing their best to make sure that our digital and print editions reach our readers with the information they need in these turbulent times. Here at the Daily Journal and at our sister newspapers in Willits, Fort Bragg, Mendocino and Lakeport are publishing our coronavirus-related stories in front of our paywall so that all readers have access to that information.
We live in an era when information is fingertip-accessible, but so is misinformation. Newspapers provide the relevant details on the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on our local hospitals and schools. Every day, we’re here focused on delivering critical information to you, our readers, about the things that matter most to you: business, quality of life, elected officials, events, local schools, entertainment, crime, transportation and more.
We strive for complete accuracy — and when we err, we hold ourselves accountable and strive to do better in the future.
In the face of this great responsibility, newspapers are operating under increasing financial pressure. Over the past 15 years, more than one in five papers in the United States has closed down, and the number of journalists has been cut in half, according to the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. So if you appreciate the hard work of our journalists during this crisis, please let them know by sending them an email through us at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are on the front lines, sharing the critical work being done by first responders, health care professionals, public health experts and many others.
In times of challenges, we’re reminded that we’re all in this together, sharing acts of simple kindness and community cohesion: neighbors helping neighbors, young families making sure seniors have plenty of food, and businesses temporarily closing their doors but paying employees during the shutdown. Although it may be a frightening time, the worst trials can bring out the best in Americans.
We’re proud to tell these stories of our times.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal)
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - BOOMER GENERATION (SOB, WEEP) SUFFERS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
If sitting around eating ice cream and watching TV is the toughest thing my generation has ever had to endure, it’s all you need to know about the last 75 years.
This COVID-19 plague is unsettling of course, and on top of it is the whole ’We-lost-our-entire-life-savings-because-Wall Street-hiccuped’ thing. I feel your pain. It’s either “I might die, or I might get lucky and just be broke and homeless.”
But don’t worry, be happy. Overall the new Shelter in Place order is no worse than House Arrest. Make the best of it. Keep in mind you are getting to be part of a big historical event and someday your grandkids will be asking “Gramps, what did you do in The Plague of ’20?”
We have a lot of free time on our hands. If you’re A) listening to the experts and B) have access to a calendar, know we’re going to have a lot more free time. It’s a perfect opportunity to accomplish things you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, such as:
1) Teach yourself French.
2) Set realistic goals. Promise yourself you won’t start drinking tomorrow until after breakfast, or see if you can gain 30 lbs. by May 15.
3) Come to my house and clean the garage.
4) Be grateful. At least you’re not homeschooling your kids. If I was homeschooling mine I’d phone in a bomb threat.
5) Count the number of squares in a roll of toilet paper. Compare total with two other brands, then determine which has more layers, which is softest, strongest, etc. Write a cost / analysis paper about your findings, publish it, win a Nobel Prize in economics. Why not? Paul Krugman at the New York Times has one.
6) Laid off? Apply for a job at the local toilet paper factory.
7) Take out a half-page ad in the Daily Journal and explain how to get through these dark days with an open, loving heart and a realization that each day is a gift and to focus on helping others and giving back to the community. And throw in some crap about healing and stuff.
8) Now is the time to restore a ’57 Chevy BelAir, just like you’ve always dreamed. Yeah, it’ll be a lot of hard work, but it will also be exciting because the first thing you’ll have to do is steal somebody’s ’57 Chevy.
9) In the bad old days the guy who sat upstairs drinking alone while looking out the window was a depressed loser, but in the Coronavirus era he’s heroic and an inspiration to us all.
10) And depending on your age and health, it’s a good time to check into various programs and services offered by Eversole Mortuary.
The big picture
Has anyone tried to get a grip on what these regulations are doing to our economy and the wellbeing of residents everywhere?
Here’s what I think: Ukiah’s JC Penney’s and Kohl’s department stores will never re-open. Mac Nab’s Menswear is crippled and staggered even before the city launches its big streetscape plan to close downtown. Area motels will all become the Palace Hotel.
There is a strong streak of stupid in some county measures. Big Nurse (aka Noemi Doohan) demands Ukiah’s golf course be closed. She’s OK with people bumping into one another at Safeway, then picking up an apple that a dozen other people have picked up in the last 10 minutes, but won’t allow guys to swing golf clubs within 200 feet of each other? Hint: Suggest a “One person per golf cart” rule. And it makes no sense to close Todd Grove Park to pedestrians, then watch the same neighbors congregate outside the rock wall. All Ukiah bookstores are closed but Big Lots is open??
Permitting Plowshares to serve meals indoors to its homeless population is a sour joke to people who work (uhh, used to work) at Denny’s, Cultivo, Eddie’s Cocina, El Azteca, Crush, Mountain Mike’s Pizza and Patrona.
Why not a safe, cautious approach that protects the populace but doesn’t kill the economy and destroy businesses? For instance:
Let the Forest Club (hand sanitizers everywhere) admit up to a total of 10 patrons at a time, all sitting at least three stools apart at the bar, or else alone at tables around the room? Order a Coors, she sets it at the end of the bar, you pick it up and go to your table. Now leave a big tip.
Allow restaurant dining via reduced numbers of tables and chairs, greatly expanding distances among patrons. It keeps Slam Dunk Pizza and Club Calpella alive to fight another day.
The present approach is overwhelming and suffocating and may not be the nuanced strategy needed in Mendocino County. I’m not saying they’re using a shotgun to shoot a fly, because COVID-19 is not a small thing.
What I’m saying is that the policies currently in place may stop the virus but still kill the patient.
(Tom Hine lives, coughs and sneezes in Ukiah but maybe it’s allergies. TWK, his longtime invisible friend, is perfectly happy staying at home years at a time.)
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
A STIMULATING SUBJECT
by Jim Shields
Here’s some thoughts on this lethal virus.
The White House COVID-19 Task Force is led by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, true no-jive experts on the Coronavirus front (don’t pay any attention to President Trump when he’s verbally free-associating on the subject), who this week gave a very sober briefing that included the projected deaths of 100,000 to possibly 200,000 Americans in the next few months .
Trump warned about “the hard days that lie ahead,” and said, “We’re gonna go through a very tough two or three weeks.”
Dr. Birx displayed modeling charts that showed where the nation stood at the end of March with mitigation efforts so far such as stay-at-home state and local orders, compared to the horrific projections of one million-plus deaths if those measures had not been enacted.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on Thursday, April 2, that will restrict water shutoffs to homes and small businesses while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The water district that I manage, the Laytonville County Water District, instituted the very same policy a month ago. As does ours, the Governor’s order protects customers who may not be able to pay for their water service from shutoffs. Already, over 100 public and private water systems across California have voluntarily suspended water shutoffs for non-payment as a result of COVID-19. Under the order, the State Water Resources Control Board will issue best practices and guidelines on support for the state’s water systems during this time.
“This executive order will help people who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by ensuring they have water service,” said Governor Newsom. “Water is critical to our very lives, and in this time, it is critically important that it is available for everyone.”
Additionally, the executive order will restore water to residences that have had their water shut off as of March 4, which is when the Governor issued a state of emergency due to COVID-19.
Newsom also unveiled a series of new aid packages for both small businesses and California workers who have lost work due to COVID-19.
Effective this past Friday, April 3, small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can apply for a loan from the federal government for up to $10 million. The relief program is first-come, first-serve so all eligible small businesses in Mendocino County need to contact their banks to learn more about the program.
The Governor also announced that the state is allocating $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses to help those who do not qualify for federal funds, including “low wealth and undocumented immigrant communities.” The state is also allowing small businesses to defer payment of sales and use taxes of up to $50,000, for up to 12 months. He also signed an executive order further helping small businesses, granting them a 90-day extension to pay sales taxes.
Also this week, the Newsom presented the latest California coronavirus numbers. As the state grapples to slow the spread of the virus, 1.6 million workers have applied for unemployment insurance, with a record-setting 150,000-plus filing on Monday, March 30.
“We’re going to have to do more to meet this moment for employees and employers,” Newsom said. “Process this moment, get through it, then get this economy back and growing.”
A few days later, the Governor announced $17.8 million in new state aid to support California workers impacted by COVID-19. The allocation will come from Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds with $7.8 million going to the Los Angeles region and $10 million made available statewide.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having cascading effects for millions of California families and small businesses,” Newsom explained. “Through no fault of their own, more than a million Californians have lost a job and countless more are seeing their businesses fail. California will emerge from this crisis stronger than before, and until then, the state will work overtime with the federal government and private sector to get families the help they need.
The Feds were also busy this week kicking off the $2 trillion-plus Coronavirus Stimulus Bill, which according to many economists actually totals over $6 trillion when you factor in Federal Reserve efforts to goose the economy with an additional $4 trillion.
Small businesses have been earmarked with $350 billion to prevent layoffs and business closures while workers have to stay home during the outbreak. Companies with 500 employees or fewer that maintain their payroll during coronavirus shutdowns can receive up to 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance. If employers maintain payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
For out-of-work employees, the federal program’s $250 billion extended unemployment insurance program — “unemployment on steroids,” as Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer calls it — expands eligibility and offers workers an additional $600 per week for four months, on top of what state programs pay. It also extends UI benefits through Dec. 31 for eligible workers. The deal applies to the self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers.
Call it what you want, a bailout or stimulus plan, the hopefully not too late effort is literally a vital life-saving plan to get cash into the hands of hard-pressed workers and beleaguered small business owners’ hands. Yes, I know the cash is also flowing to Big Biz, but we’ll talk about that next week.
Meanwhile in Mendocino County, on Tuesday, March 31, the Board of Supervisors “virtual” meeting ended abruptly after less than two hours in session.
Board Chairman John Haschak announced that a “medical emergency with key personnel” necessitated adjourning the meeting. No other details were given but the “key peronnel” referred to is believed to be the Clerk of the Board. If that’s the case, hopefully she’s going to be ok.
By the way, the meeting was entirely oriented on various issues related to the Coronavirus outbreak.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
A KINGDOM FROM DUST
Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in the United States, a fact he has tried to keep hidden while he has shaped what we eat, transformed California’s landscape, and ruled entire towns.
THE GREAT DEVOLUTION
I recall a president responding to one of the great crises of our time with a broadcast that changed how we think of presidents.
At a time when the nation was on edge, when millions became unemployed and the future looked grim, he started his comments thus: “I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, why it has been done, and what the next steps are going to be.”
That simple, clear statement was a watershed moment. It gave people confidence because it was direct and allowed the populace to assess the progress for themselves, based upon reason and logic.
It was a measured and thoughtful response to the disaster of the times. It didn’t solve the nation’s troubles, but it made clear that what was being done was done so as to benefit the nation. It was not about making the president look good, or congratulating himself, or attacking his enemies, or belittling the legislators on the other side of the aisle. This is how to inspire confidence.
It is clear to me while considering Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first fireside chat why Donald Trump is failing to inspire confidence at this critical moment.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Well, I’ve decided to do my bit and pitch in to help my neighbors get through these troublesome times. I’m at home sewing sanitary masks. I searched around for some material, but I really couldn’t find much, so I was forced to improvise. I gathered some of my old Haines briefs, and started cutting away. I had some trouble at first, because the front had a slit in them, but I sewed that up, and they seem to work just fine. I was able to make two masks per brief, one from the front, and one from the back.
Some people might not like that slit in the front, even though I sewed it up, they might not feel protected enough. For those people, I recommended that they use only the ones made from the back side. Figuring out which ones are which shouldn’t be a problem, however, as the ones made from the back side are clearly marked. Just doing my best to help folks out through these trying times.
THE MILITARY KNEW YEARS AGO THAT A CORONAVIRUS WAS COMING
The Pentagon warned the White House about a shortage of ventilators, face masks, and hospital beds in 2017—but the Trump administration did nothing.
FRUSTRATED NEWSOM CALLS ON TASK FORCE TO FIX CORONAVIRUS TESTING SHORTFALL
California Gov. Gavin Newsom takes ownership of California's COVID-19 testing backlog — and announces new plans to fix it. The effort will include five to seven testing "hubs" throughout the state.
a pretty a day
a pretty a day
(and every fades)
is here and away
(but born are maids
to flower an hour
o yes to flower
until so blithe
a doer a wooer
some limber and lithe
some very fine mower
some jerry so very
(and nellie and fan)
some handsomest harry
(and sally and nan
they tremble and cower
so pale ale)
for betty was born
to never say nay
but lucy could learn
and lily could pray
and fewer were shyer
than doll. doll
(— ee cummings)
FEAR SWEEPS THE LAND. Many businesses collapse. Some huge fortunes are made. Panicked consumers stockpile paper, food, and weapons. The government’s reaction is inconsistent and ineffectual. Ordinary commerce grinds to a halt; investors can find no safe assets. Political factionalism grows more intense. Everything falls apart. This was all as true of revolutionary France in 1789 and 1790 as it is of the United States today. Are we at the beginning of a revolution that has yet to be named? Do we want to be? That we are on the verge of a major transformation seems obvious. The onset of the next Depression, a challenge akin to World War II, a national midlife crisis—these comparisons have been offered and many more. But few are calling our current moment a revolution, and some have suggested that the coronavirus pandemic—coinciding as it has with the surge in Joe Biden’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and the decline of Bernie Sanders’s—marks the end of any such possibility. “The Coronavirus Killed the Revolution,” declared the headline of a recent essay in The Atlantic by Shadi Hamid, who argued that the COVID-19 crisis makes people crave “normalcy” over deep structural change. As a historian of 18th- and 19th-century France, I think claims like these are mistaken.
— Rebecca Spang
WE AREN'T FINE. In five years time, two thirds of the world population is going to be living in a state of "water stress," according to the United Nations. Either we won't have enough or it will be dirty or we won't be able to access it without difficulty. 33 cities in the world are currently suffering "extremely high" water stress, which is another way of saying that they are using most of the water they have. This will only get worse as the effects of climate change intensify. Rising temperatures will encourage the flourishing of bacteria and other pathogens. Rising sea levels will salinate freshwater sources, rendering them unusable. More drought means more hunger, but it also means more violence, according to the growing body of research that indicates an "overt" correlation between acute water stress and violent conflict. (Recent studies have also pointed to the strong connection between resource depletion and violence against women.) More flooding means more damage to already compromised sanitation infrastructure as well as contamination of the remaining supply. In 10 years time, India will have half the water it needs, as will Zimbabwe, although in its case 10 years is an optimistic timeframe, given the unwavering severity of the drought there. 40% of Beijing's water supply is currently too polluted to use, and Mexico City is draining its aquifers 50% faster than they can be replenished.
— Rosa Lyster, London Review of Books
NEW YORK CITY PIGEON SPOTTING IN THE 1950s
by Jim Luther
To even an unpracticed eye the kid would have looked out-of-place, walking alone in a dawdling way, generally up toward the Park. It was cold, but he wasn’t wearing an overcoat; might not have even had one. What he was wearing stuck out: A gray sports coat with pads in the shoulders. Brown slacks with pleats. He didn’t look at all city-smart, seemed too curious about things, looking up to marvel at how high the buildings were, walking uncertainly, stopping a lot to pause and look around.
Now me, I’ve got a practiced eye. Once I spotted him I kept looking down at my paper till he passed by and then when he got about half a block away I started following him. He walked north to within a couple of blocks of the Park and then turned and turned east over to Madison. Then he walked back downtown a couple of blocks and crossed the street and walked back up north to about 56th Street. He stopped for a minute to look all around some more and then he went back west into the West side. He was looking for a job, I figured, but the only places with jobs up there were the employment agencies and he wasn’t stopping at any of them. He didn’t even have a paper. He wasn’t from New York. He didn’t know Manhattan.
While I followed him, still sizing him up, I checked myself over: Brown topcoat, business-like, tie, brown felt hat, shoes scotch grain with a nice conservative shine, suit trousers with just a little break in them. And remembering my face could be too wise if I don’t watch it, but I’ve got a way of creasing it up that turns it from Wise Guy into Forlorn Hope. I’m short, skinny and middle aged; I knew I wouldn’t scare the kid if I didn’t forget and act too aggressive.
He had just turned north to walk up toward the Park again when I came up close behind him. There weren’t any cops around.
He stopped and turned around.
I screwed up my face and said, “I’m terribly embarrassed to stop you like this, gee you looked so stiff and stern when you went by, but I’m just in an awful fix and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
It’s right here that they usually make their first quick decision, either break it off angry or stay to hear the rest. This kid just stood there, so I kept talking.
“I’ve lost my wallet. I was eating breakfast in a restaurant and I reached in my pocket to pay and it was gone. I can’t imagine where I lost it, but I went back over all the places I’ve been since I got here yesterday afternoon and I just can’t find it. This is just an awful fix.”
His eyes were moving around, he was getting nervous, so I hurried the next part: “I just landed a job up in Worcester and it starts tonight and if I don’t get back up there I’ll have lost it for sure and then I’ll really be stuck.”
“What do you do?”
He seemed relieved when he said that, like he’d been holding back until something intelligent occurred to him to say or ask.
“I’m a vaudeville entertainer.”
Now you might think that’s too much, that it’d tip a guy off, and sure enough the kid’s face got a little incredulous. But strangely enough I’ve found that something like that, played right, does the trick better than something typical and dull. Maybe it’s because people want to believe you, believe that they’ve just met somebody different and interesting. I don’t know; it just seems to work.
Of course you have to be able to back it up.
“Don’t you believe me?” He had kind of turned way and started to walk on slowly, so I walked with him at his side, laughing nervously and looking forlorn.
“How can I prove it to you, Mister, oh how can I convince you?” I stopped and spread my hands out wide:
“I’m certainly no bum as you can see . . .
“A gent like me keeps high class company . . .”
He stopped to see what the hell was up so I kept it going:
“Under Lady Luck’s approving glance . . .
“We always strive to have a chance . . .
“But out of favor sometimes fall . . .
“The finest, truest, of us all . . .
“Of these, kind sir, there are too few . . .
“Among them I count me,” touching my hat, “and you.”
And I did a little bow. And he smiled and said that was pretty good.
“That’s nothing, Mister,” I said, and started walking on and he walked too. “Please tell me your name and where you’re from and I’ll show you what I can do.”
He hesitated. Then he said, “My name is Arthur. I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah.”
The way he said Utah, you’d have thought there were forty-eight Salt Lake Cities.
I looked up at the sky for a minute while we walked, and then I said, “OK, Arthur.”
“From out of the valleys, across the plain . . .
“Through snow and hail and sleet and rain . . .
“Traveling cross-country all night and day . . .
“Came a man called Art from Utah way . . .
“Came a man named Art with a dream so tall . . .
“The Great Salt Lake couldn’t hold it all . . .
“As he headed east, it grew and grew . . .
“Till in New York City it was bound to come true!”
I cut it out then. A little of that goes a long way.
But the kid was truly amazed and said so, and as we walked he asked me what I was in need of. It’s always best to do that, of course, let them ask what they can do for you. Sometimes they won’t ask but usually, eventually, they will.
I stopped walking and turned to him, scrunching up my face again. “Arthur, I’ve got to have the fare up to Worcester, or else I’m out of a job.”
He stood there a minute with his eyes looking everywhere but at me, and then asked me how much it was. The way he asked he might have thought it was just a cross-town bus ride away, maybe twenty-five cents.
“Cheapest way is by Greyhound. Seven twenty-two.”
He smiled uncomfortably and his face started to get all red, and I knew he was embarrassed because he wanted badly to call me a liar or something but he couldn’t figure out a way to do it politely.
“It’s the truth! Don’t you believe me? Seven twenty-two! Worcester, Mass! You can call the bus depot!” He could have too, because that’s what it is.
His face was still red and he was still smiling like it hurt. He said he didn’t have that much. This can be a tough part because if you start asking for part fare they can get suspicious. But by now you’ve guessed that with this kid I didn’t think that would be a problem.
`”Oh,” I said. “Well, Arthur, if I just had part of the fare, maybe I could borrow the rest someplace else. Because that’s what it would be. A loan. With interest.” While I was talking I had sort of turned him in against the wall of a building so that he had backed slowly up into it without realizing it, I’m sure.
“Couldn’t you call your employer up in Worcester and ask him to send you the money?”
“Now, Arthur, how would it look if I did that? Before I even start working for the guy?”
“But you must have some friends in the show up there. And don’t you have any friends here in New York?”
“Arthur, I’m a single, and I happen to have very few friends. None as a matter of fact in Worcester or New York. I came down here last night just to see the sights—I was so happy, I’d just got the job—I had been out of work such a long time. And then the impossible happened.”
I really started giving him the face then.
“Somebody’s got to help me or I’m a goner. Please, Arthur, won’t you help me? Loan me what you can and, I don’t know how, but I’ll manage somehow to get the rest of it and buy a ticket and report to my job up there at Worcester tonight. Please, Arthur, I’ll pay you back, honest I will, I’m an honest man. And I’ll pay you interest besides.”
“No,” he said quietly. “No. No. I wouldn’t want any interest.”
He was leaning back against the wall, without any idea of my having cornered him there, I’m sure, and he had this strange determined look in his eyes like he was really concentrating. “I don’t have the cash,” he said. “But I do have a twenty dollar traveller’s check.”
I know when to shut up. I stood there a minute looking at him, keeping my awful face going at him while he stood with his back against the building staring intently at something that might have been across the street.
So then I got it. Oh boy, then I knew what he was staring at. I mean I knew what it was. I knew then that I was supposed to be part of this kid’s grand experiment. That I was going to prove for him that it pays to have faith in your fellow man.
In my profession, this is what you rarely find but always look for. And when you do find it you just want to pounce on it, destroy it. Douse that light. And see and enjoy their disappointment.
It sics you on.
So I waited a little more and then I said, “Oh gee, Arthur, if you could only help me with the fare to Worcester, I’d be ever so grateful. I’ll send it back as soon as I get paid, with a little extra for your trouble.”
“No,” he said, just like I figured he would. “I don’t want anything extra. Just what I lend you today. So now we just have to find a bank. Come on,” he said, and I stepped aside to let him lead the way.
A block farther on we found a bank and I went in with him as far as one of the writing tables in the middle. He took out his little green checkbook and opened it and I could see that it was his last traveller’s check. He took it up to a teller and in a minute came back with the money. He gave me a five and two ones and two dimes and two pennies and I gulped and looked forlorn like I couldn’t say anything for a minute. Then I gurgled for him to give me his address. He wrote it out on the back of a deposit slip and gave it to me, and we went outside. It was one of the avenues, Sixth I think, late in the afternoon, and the sidewalk was crowded. I turned to him in front of the bank with my face all screwed up horrible and cried real tears. Not just welling up in my eyes either, but actually streaming down my face; it’s not easy, but it can be learned. “Oh thank you! Thank you!” I cried, taking his hand in both of mine and wringing it. “Goodbye! Goodbye! I’ll never forget you!” and I turned, wiping my eyes and covering my mouth so he wouldn’t hear me laughing out loud walking away into the crowd real fast.
It sics you on. So I didn’t let it die there on the avenue outside the bank.
The kid still had almost thirteen dollars left of the traveller’s check. He had written on the back of the deposit slip that he was staying at the William Sloane House YMCA at 34th Street and Ninth Avenue, so the next morning I got one of my pals and we stationed ourselves just off the sidewalk in an alcove of an office building on 34th east towards Eighth Avenue.
My pal is young and big, just learning. He’s pretty stupid, still dresses like a thug and comes on too strong. But I thought this would be good practice for him so I told him about the kid and what I’d been able to do the day before and that I didn’t know what would happen but that we’d split even if he was able to pull anything off.
Just before nine the kid came out of the Sloane House and started walking down our way. I pointed him out to my pal and stepped back into the alcove. When the kid got almost to the entrance of the building, my dumb pal ran out, just rushed out—he’ll never learn—and stopped him with both hands on his shoulders and bellowed into his ear, “HEY FELLA CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THE FARE TO BUFFALO?”
Even with that big bozo in front of him the kid hardly stopped moving, but I had time to see his face go redder than it ever had the day before. He plunged his hands into my pal’s gut and snarled “get out of my way god damn you,” pushed him out of the way and kept going without looking back, on down the sidewalk and across Eighth Avenue against the light.
Now if it had been me, I’d have been able to make something out of it. When he pushed out like that, I would have flattened myself right out on the pavement and screamed agony and he would have had to come back. I would have threatened to call a cop and conned the kid out of at least a few bucks taxi fare to the hospital. But my dumb ox of a pal just stood there gaping, probably wondering whether to run after him and sock him. I don’t think he’ll ever learn.
Well, maybe the kid didn’t get had as bad as he could have. Seven dollars and change was all he’d lost, and if I’d been really wise to him I probably could have got most of the twenty. But when I think back to the expression on his face when my pal rushed up the way he did and grabbed him that morning, I figure I screwed the kid up just about as good as I could.