- Missing Men
- Richard Herr
- AV High
- Plant Sale
- FFA Whitely
- Pacific Cove
- Board Fail
- Doohan Day
- Albion People
- Office Space
- Ed Notes
- Yesterday's Catch
- Hack Wilson
- Blue Birds
- Lost Husband
- SIP Logic
- Geezer Gardening
- Joe Memories
- Marching Backward
- Orange Pickers
- New Depression
- Narasimha Temple
- May Strike
- Drink Up
- Dictator Dictation
- Inquisitive Mind
- Pare It
- Found Object
A WEAK COLD FRONT will bring increased clouds to our area today along with some scattered showers, mainly around Del Norte and portions of Humboldt County. Interior areas will heat up Tuesday as high pressure returns, while the coast stays cool with onshore breezes and areas of marine layer clouds. A cooling trend will commence across the interior later this week, with a chance of rain next weekend. (NWS)
THREE MISSING MEN ON MINA ROAD, COVELO
DEAR FRIENDS OF GENE AND RICHARD HERR,
As some of you may have already heard, my father Richard Herr passed away on the morning of 4/22/2020 from Covid 19.
My sister Serena was with him at his bedside (in full protective gear) for most of the night, and reports that he was being well cared for, with oxygen and morphine, and that he was not in great discomfort, despite the breathing difficulties. That night Serena put me on her speaker phone so I could talk to Dad, and she said he could definitely hear and understand and "perked up a little" during the call. Later she set up a face-time call for Mom, so she could talk to Dad as well, and she and Serena sang some songs together.
For the past two years, my father had been living in a small nursing home in San Rafael, where he was receiving care for Parkinson’s disease. This facility was hit hard by the corona virus, and we were informed of my Dad’s positive Covid test on 4/15/2020.
Initially, his symptoms were mild, and we were hopeful that he would be able to fight off the virus, as he had overcome many other health challenges in recent years and had always been strong and healthy during the majority of his long life (he turned 91 last month). But Tuesday night his condition got suddenly worse, and despite the nursing staff’s best efforts, he did not survive. At least we can take some comfort from the knowledge that in the end, he passed away peacefully.
As of now, our family has not yet developed plans for a memorial service (and of course under the current corona virus conditions all gatherings would be impossible), but we will let everyone know if some sort of celebration of our Dad's life can be pulled together in the future.
I have included my Mom's contact information below, for anyone who would like to get in touch with her (please forward to others who knew my Dad that we may have missed). As soon as the corona virus threat diminishes, we are looking forward to resuming our regular trips back to my parent's property on the Holmes Ranch, so my Mom will hopefully be able to visit with some of you in person at that time.
Eugenia Herr c/o The Redwoods
40 Camino Alto Apt. 5205
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Take care and stay safe,
ANDERSON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL, 1926
AV UNITY CLUB PLANT SALE
For over 60 years, on the last weekend of April, the Garden Section of the Anderson Valley Unity Club has been presenting the annual Wildflower Show at the County Fairgrounds in Boonville.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Wildflower Show is not happening this year.
The women of the Garden Section, beginning in October of last year, began propagating the plants which would normally have been for sale there.
The proceeds from the Wildflower Show plant sale and raffle enable the Garden Section to fund a scholarship for a graduating AV High School Senior each year.
At the Boonville Farmers’ Market, which begins Friday May 1st, the Garden Section women will begin selling the plants. This Plant Sale is our attempt to bring in part of the funds for our scholarship. Those who don’t need plants, or would like to donate further, please take advantage of our donation bag.
Due to COVID 19, the summer Farmers’ Market will be a “mask required event.” It begins Friday May 1st and will happen every Friday, 4-6 pm, in the Disco Ranch parking lot.
The Unity women will continue selling the plants through the month of May, but the best plants always sell first. Thanks for your support in helping us fund a college scholarship for a deserving graduate.
THERE'S COVID 19, THEN THERE'S LYNELLE AND CAROLE: THE EBB TIDE FIASCO
by Malcolm Macdonald
Covid-19 is scary, but have you ever dealt with Lynelle Johnson, Carole White, and Hospitality Center?
I was asked that question today and I will leave it somewhat to you readers to judge what is the scariest proposition. All I can do is lay out what's been happening recently at ye olde Hospitality Center based at 101 North Franklin Street in Fort Bragg, our county's second largest municipality. Hospitality Center (HC) is supposed to be a subcontractor providing mental health services on the coast. Lynelle Johnson and Carole White are the President and Vice-President of HC's Board of Directors. Carla Harris is the executive director of HC.
When the Covid-19 pandemic precipitated the shelter in place order from the public health officer, Hospitality Center staff looked for a place to house the homeless after scheduled funding and sites for the winter shelter ran out. They found that in Fort Bragg's Motel 6. A goodly number of folks, down on their luck, found a place to shelter at that motel. Ms. Harris, the executive director at HC, possessed a list of a handful or so of other people who had worn out their welcome multiple times with HC and its subsidiary, Hospitality House (which provides a roof over the heads and meals to as many as twenty-four homeless people each night). Due to misdeeds, this same handful of people were banned from staying at Motel 6.
Along came Lynelle Johnson and Carole White, the leaders of HC's governing board, to contradict the ruling of their executive director. Johnson and White made their own deal to house the otherwise banned people at the Ebb Tide Motel in Fort Bragg. Of course, this didn't sit well with the executive director, who is paid to make such decisions on her own. It didn't sit well because Johnson and White's actions violated HC's own rules established in a document called “Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center Covid-19 Shelter Protocols.” Quoting from those protocols, under a section labeled "Intake":
“The Wellness Center Coordinator screens for eligibility and if the person is deemed eligible by the Wellness Coordinator, the Executive Director is contacted to make the final approval.
If the Executive Director approves of the referral, the Wellness Center Coordinator contacts the Motel staff to ensure the person is not on the banned list.”
A little background for HC Board President Lynelle Johnson. Let's briefly look at a November 20, 2019, AVA piece about a meeting of that board. “You didn't hear about it before hand, you say? No surprise. The leadership at Hospitality Center, specifically the Board of Directors leadership under the eye of one Lynelle Johnson, doesn't like to expose decisions that effect the public to… Well, let's just say, the public.”
The gist of that November, 2019, article was about the failure of HC to get the winter shelter going in time. It did not open until December 15th and only then through last minute financial backing from the City of Fort Bragg and the county despite the fact that HC had been offered adequate funding in July. The delay from the July funding offer to HC going begging for money in December was mostly due to Ms. Johnson's desire to locate the winter shelter at a single spot on Main Street despite the willingness of the faith based communities to house it on a rotating basis. Ms. Johnson's desire for a single location apparently derived from the fact that said locale would not be subject to the city's permit process. No permit process meant no public input needed.
The November, 2019, piece went on. “Ms. Johnson lives on an isolated road south of Little River, a protected enclave far removed from the [day to day life of Fort Bragg's central business district]…"
Ms. Johnson is out of touch and has been for some time. She has repeatedly told falsehoods to city officials and business owners as well as inquisitive souls like yours truly. Readers familiar with the AVA's online archive should check a November 16, 2016 piece in which Ms. Johnson features somewhat prominently.
“More information on Ms. Johnson's failings at Hospitality Center and Hospitality House can be found in a February 1, 2017, AVA piece and perhaps most tellingly in a February 22, 2017, article, which concluded that 'the truth is not in Ms. Johnson…'"
That November, 2019, article alluded to worries about there being no homeless winter shelter growing so widespread that at least one Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) board member discussed the matter at an August, 2019, MCDH Board of Directors meeting. Indeed, the idea of the hospital exploring the possibility eventually landed on the agenda of MCDH's Planning Committee on the next to last day of the year. HC Vice-President Carole White is a member of that committee. When the agenda item came up, including how it might change HC's role in the winter shelter process, did Ms. White recuse herself from the discussion? Simple answer: Carole White did not.
Supervisor Ted Williams and Fort Bragg City Council member Bernie Norvell participated in the discussion about the city and county's potential expanded roles in running the winter shelter. Fort Bragg's City Manager, Tabatha Miller, was present in the audience and added a couple of comments. Remember, the agenda item concerned the seemingly innocent process of the hospital, or hospital district, merely exploring the possibility of taking on some role in the winter sheltering of homeless people.
Apparently, Carole White felt so threatened by the potential concept that before most people had returned home after the Planning Committee meeting adjourned she was raging, according to a reliable source. Reportedly, White told staff at Hospitality Center not to speak to Supervisor Williams, Councilman Norvell, nor City Manager Tabatha Miller under any circumstance.
That pretty much gives you the idea who we are dealing with here. This pair of HC Board members decided they knew better than their paid staff, ignored directives to not house certain persons deemed unmanageable, yet went ahead and put those same people into the Ebb Tide Motel during the Covid-19 crisis. In their world view, they know better than the HC staff, they know better than the motel business owners who would be effected, they know better than the entire community.
It only took a matter of a few days before reports popped up about multiple methamphetamine deals going down in those Ebb Tide Motel rooms as well as other problems. The problems were mentioned by the city manager and police chief at the next city council meeting. They also showed up in police logs of April 8, 9, and 13, citing individuals who were on the Motel 6 banned list.
In mid-April HC held a board meeting (you can bet the general public was not made aware of it). According to further sourcing, the executive director wasn't provided an agenda. At the time the Ebb Tide problem was ongoing. The management of the motel wanted the troublemakers out. Supposedly, around this time, county Health and Human Services officials as well as leadership at Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) were made aware of the Ebb Tide situation. Folks like Tammy Moss Chandler, at Health and Human Services, and Camille Schraeder of RQMC, who essentially control the funding stream that goes to Hospitality Center for mental health services, have not made public statements on the matter. However, logic and common sense tells us they can't be too happy with HC board members who contravened their own paid staff's orders, especially when that override turned into the fiasco at Ebb Tide.
On April 15, having learned something about the Ebb Tide situation, I sent an email to Lynelle Johnson, which read, “Can you explain what is going on at Ebb Tide Motel, keeping in mind that I am getting multiple reports about it from multiple sources who are all at least fairly reliable to impeccably reliable. Part of that includes multiple meth dealings at the motel, managers/staff asleep at the wheel while other shenanigans occur, belying the 24/7 watchdog staffing claim of HC - not to mention that some of placements at motels were made at yours and/or Carole’s insistence, overriding decisions made elsewhere.”
I also included an inquiry about a meeting Ms. Johnson reportedly had with city officials several weeks earlier. “Topping that off is the rumor that multiple weeks ago you were requested to resign by city officials, yet no such action has taken place. Part of that rumor included you removing Carole [White] from [the HC] board as well as yourself and possibly [another board member] too. If there is even some truth to that then you are essentially defying a City edict. I would think that would have far ranging ramifications regarding HC and/or HH [Hospitality House] funding from county as well as making all deals with City problematic.”
The next day, Lynelle Johnson responded via email, “I have forwarded your email on to Tabatha and to Carla so that they can address these issues for you.”
Perhaps Carla Harris could add some insight, I considered contacting her, but held off awhile. I needn't worry, Ms. Harris contacted me. She sent a text on Wednesday, April 22nd, time stamped at 11:12 pm. “Do you want a real interview? Based on real facts?”
I considered the possibilities, yet texted back the next morning, “When would you like to speak?”
The Harris response, a little while later, “Maybe tomorrow. I'm exhausted today.”
I replied, “Tomorrow is good. Pick a time and let me know.”
Friday morning, Harris texted, “I'm going to have to hold off on that talk for today.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Harris was texting someone else. As you read her communication it will become apparent how and why this is available for the public to peruse. Here's the HC executive director's recent communication referencing the interference of HC board leaders Johnson and White. “[P]lease talk to Camille [Schraeder of RQMC]. I need her to talk to my board and get Lynelle and Carole and Jerry [HC board treasurer – not the other HC board member referenced earlier] to resign.”
At this point I have to interject to point out that Harris' communication contains many typos and errors of all sorts. Where needed I have omitted confusing wording. Harris goes on, “Our rqmc contract [is] on the line… I need a replacement board… otherwise I can't do this job.
“Okay, I am going to be transparent here and feel free to put this out publicly [emphasis added]. I have worked [in] nonprofits and social services for over 30 years. As a result I have determined that enabling folks is not the way to help people. The mchc [Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center – 'HC'] is a culture of enabling due to the current leadership… meaning Lynelle Johnson and carole white whom reside in little river. I as the current executive director will not move forward with this organization in good faith knowing that these leaders are not cognizant of the fort bragg business community and the fact that people are continuously being enabled in their addictions as well as their mental health issues. Based on my 30* years of experience I am absolutely opposed to how things are being handled in behalf of MCHC leadership and staff. I have tried continuously to make solid recommendations and directives to mchc staff in an attempt to clean things u[p] and ensure an end to homelessness in fort bragg and only been met with retaliation by this board and to be faved [sic] with constant undermining techniques.
“Has left me no choice…
“This is why I think we have a high percentage of homeless in fort bragg and I personally held the mchc board of directors responsible for that. They fail and have failed miserably in holding folks accountable…
“And this makes me mad and frustrated as the executive director… The mchc board fails miserably.”
As of April 26th, the miscreants had been removed from the Ebb Tide and reportedly behaviors there have returned to normalcy. As of this writing, Lynelle Johnson and Carole White remain in their positions atop the Hospitality Center Board of Directors.
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - NO SPEECHES, HOLD THE AWARDS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Some day when Covid-19 is behind us and de facto martial law is no more and it’s once again legal to go outdoors, we will laugh and joke and make up stories to tell our grandkids about all the heroics we performed in the great social distancing fundemic of 2020.
But right now we’re still learning things.
1) I’ve learned not to worry about toilet paper shortages. You wouldn’t either if you knew how many books my wife has on shelves upstairs.
2) I’ve learned you can not have fun and still drink.
3) It’s suddenly OK to cross the street to avoid people you don’t want to talk to.
4) And, sadly, I realize it would have been better to have taken the advice of all those RV bumper stickers and spent our children’s inheritance rather than let the stock market sneak off with three million dollars we had invested. Or three thousand.
Meanwhile, sitting back and doing nothing for all these weeks I’ve begun to ponder the day when, inevitably, the county gives a standing ovation to Dr. Mimi Doohan in recognition for all the amazing things she did as Chief Health Official.
There will be proclamations and plaques and speeches and a day in her honor, and maybe a building and a statue. And when that day arrives I will suggest, loudly, that there were far more worthy heroes than Dr. Doohan, and that the true warriors were the cops, the clerks running gas stations and the cashiers at Grocery Outlet and Walmart. They were on the front lines, interacting with potentially contagious strangers minute after hour after day after week.
Dr. Doohan? Not even a little.
Dr. Doohan’s contribution to Mendocino County’s health and well-being has been to simply follow the lead of every other health official in the land, and to tell local residents to do whatever officials in Sonoma County were telling their residents to do. Or Butte County. Or Dade County, Cook County, Wayne County or Cuyahoga County.
She broke no new ground, offered up not a single suggestion unique to our county and our citizens, and in fact instituted policies that, while justifiably mandatory in Denver or Las Vegas, were a poor fit in Mendocino County.
Whatever health officials told Cleveland to do Dr. Doohan told Comptche to do. If it made sense to shut down every beauty shop in Wichita, she shut down every beauty shop in Willits. It wasn’t so much leadership as followership.
Let me remind Dr. Doohan’s admirers, and there are many, that it wasn’t like she was fighting in the trenches. She washed no leper’s feet, sang no songs to sick children, visited no elderly housed on South Dora. Dr. Doohan never strode around Todd Grove Park to determine if it actually needed to be closed, and she never paused at a homeless encampment to take some dude’s temperature.
Dr. Doohan never walked down School Street, which means she never saw the dark shuttered shops. It couldn’t have occurred to her that with a little imagination she might carve out some reasonable, controlled, Ukiah-centric economic practices to bring trickles of money into our parched economy.
Because, you see, Dr. Doohan spends her time as Mendocino County’s Health Officer while living in San Diego. She could not be further from Ukiah and still be in California.
Thus, she never visited The Broiler Steakhouse to see if cautious steps might be taken to safely allow limited dining. Steps, for example, similar to the ones taken to allow Plowshares to serve meals.
She’s yet to explain her rationale in shutting down every restaurant in the county except ones that serve the homeless. Maybe they’ve opened the dining rooms in San Diego homeless shelters.
It’s top-down politics. If they close all the golf courses in Hilton Head, SC, then we better close all the golf courses in Ukiah. If all the saloons in Poughkeepsie are shut down then all the saloons in Potter Valley should be shut down.
Why was Ukiah’s remote shooting range, where social distancing is both mandatory and the norm, forced to close? Well just because, that’s why.
Some counties have tons of Covid-19 cases and piles of dead. Mendocino County has five Covid-19 cases and zero dead. Different counties, different populations and different circumstances argue for different safety regulations. Louisville and Laytonville aren’t the same; Detroit, Dubuque and Dos Rios aren’t even similar.
Mendo’s economy has fallen through the floor. Shopkeepers can’t pay rent on the store, so they can’t pay the mortgage on the house. How many of our shoe stores and clothing boutiques, our restaurants and repair shops will never reopen?
How many mom ’n’ pop businesses are doomed? How many shopkeepers’ lives are shattered?
Meanwhile Mimi Doohan picks out wallpaper for the upstairs bathroom in her new San Diego house.
(Tom Hine says it will be really hilarious when, after all the drugs, alcohol, crazy driving, barroom brawls, sex with strangers and jaywalking your obituary reads“…died last week due to complications from touching his own face.” TWK thinks he’ll start wearing two masks. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
ALBION PEOPLE’S FAIR, 1975
OFFICE SPACE FOR RENT
“Safe” office in Boonville at SoBo!
Need to get out of the house?
Rent your own small private office building.
Opening rent during pandemic $225.
($300 after) 707-895-3979
THE ROLLING DISASTER rolls on. The number of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings rose 18 per cent in March from a year earlier, a dramatic swing from the 20 per cent decrease in February. A month later… No stats yet for April, but even if the Great Sequestration ended tomorrow, the damage to millions of Americans, many of them already on the edge of insolvency, has been huge. Seems from here, nerve central Boonville, that the left economists are correct in saying we should go big, very big, and get cash-money directly into the hands of people, not filtering it through banks and bailouts for large businesses.
SWEDEN, population ten million, didn't shut down. As of Sunday, 18,640 Swedes were infected, 2,194 Swedes have died, and like here in America, the deaths were overwhelmingly elderly and/or obese. Healthy people of whatever age, survived. Of course the Swedes are an orderly, antiseptic people who have done a lot of social distancing on their own without orders from Dr. Doohan, rather a calm head health honcho who decided at the outset Swedes would do the right thing anyway. They did and the plague is on the downswing in Sweden.
MEANWHILE, here in Liberty Land, President Trump seems wackier by the day. He was complaining about The New York Times on Sunday for reporting he's "angrily" eating hamburgers and drinking Diet Cokes in bed, a diet that would make anybody crazy. Trump said, oh no, he's often working late at night. "The people that know me and know the history of our Country say that I am the hardest working President in history," Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon. "I don’t know about that, but I am a hard worker and have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history. The Fake News hates it."
THE DAY BEFORE (Saturday), still smarting from the international har de har he got for suggesting Lysol as a virus cure, Trump unleashed a twitter fusillade, slamming "fake news" and cancelling the White House press briefings. "What is the purpose of having White House News Conferences when the Lamestream Media asks nothing but hostile questions, & then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately. They get record ratings, & the American people get nothing but Fake News. Not worth the time & effort."
REMEMBER NIXON wandering around the White House late at night talking to the paintings of the Founding Fathers? He was so out of it on booze and psychotropic drugs, it was subsequently revealed, that any impromptu orders he might issue — he'd muttered about "nuking that bastard Castro" — had to be counter-signed by at least two other officials, Kissinger and Haig, as I recall. (Haig was also crazier than hell, and Kissinger? Should die in prison but he'll get the big lying in state sendoff, for sure.) Biden isn't 5150 strictly speaking, but he's obviously penetrated the frontiers of senility so… competing for captain of the Good Ship America, we have the two craziest-functioning people in the country.
A READER WRITES: "21.7% return rate for Point Arena. A nearly 60% return rate in the USA. No wonder no Federal or State support comes to us here on the Coast. It looks like no one actually lives here based on the census data we submit (or do not submit). We have only ourselves to blame."
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 26, 2020
STEWART CONLEY, Ukiah. Second degree robbery, habitual criminal, conspiracy, resisting.
PEARLIE JIM, Covelo. Domestic battery.
JADEN LUNDY, Fort Bragg. Contempt of court, protective order violation, probation revocation.
DANIEL MEINECKE, Leggett. Parole violation.
MOTECUHZOMA VAUGHN, Ukiah. Second degree robbery, conspiracy.
MICHAEL VICKERS, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
by J.W. Grimes
One day, three months into my first job out of college, my boss called me into his office.
I was selling advertising space in a low circulation trade magazine.
“Take a seat, William,” he said. “You know what a blue bird is?
He wasn’t a guy with much sense of humor. Nor did he seem like a bird watcher.
I said, “No, I don’t think so, other than a bird, Mister Baker.”
“I’ve told you, have I not, to call me Bob.”
I nodded nervously, trying to think what I’d done wrong.
“And, no, I’m not talking about a bird.”
I sat at attention waiting to hear what a bluebird is in business lingo. Bob wasn’t known to converse in matters not related to sales quotas and performance.
“You’re lucky. You got a blue bird today.”
Lucky. Sounded good.
“A blue bird is what we call it when a dormant, near-forgotten one-time customer calls in a sales order. Completely unexpected. Out of the blue. No sales contact in ages.”
He paused, piercing my eyes, seeking the level of my sentience.
“Today a bluebird flew in over the phone. The company’s location happens to be in your territory, William. So you got a bluebird. A commisionable bluebird.”
I got the drift. It was better than blue skies. “Thank you, Bob.”
“Very fortunate for you, William. Now go out and make a sale to one of the many companies in your territory who are not doing business with us.”
April 16, 2020
Every day the same routine. Sleep. Eat. Read. Write. Walk. Sleep. My days marked by opening the curtains in the morning, closing them at bed time.
Like all Americans, and much of the world, I’m a prisoner of social distancing. My community in lock-down. In times of national stress new words and terms enter the patois. Like social distancing, Covid-19, flatten the curve, asymptomatic, and hand hygiene.
The thing about this is it isn’t much of a change for me. I live alone in a small cottage. Kids grown and gone. Friends out of touch or dead. No wife or boss to grumble in my ear. What has changed is the bars and restaurants are closed.
It was noon and 87 degrees when I set out upon my walk. I had developed two different routes, each about two miles, to insure moderately different topography. Today I decided on the one which took me to the town post office where I stopped to pick up my mail. The recent sign on the open door read: “Only Five People Admitted At One Time.” There was only one other person in the space where the individual mini mailboxes were located. She was wearing the popular C-19 mask. I was mask-less and did not reciprocate the strained glare in her eyes. I was pleased not to see her mouth and nose.
I felt hunger coming on and had a new idea. If I could hold up for about another half mile I would reach the food market in the next town. It was there I could have my favorite sandwich: sliced turkey, usually off the bone, on mixed grain bread with lettuce, tomatoes and plenty of Dijon mustard, and grab a Diet Coke.
A twenty minute walk along Kent Avenue and I was there.
Mission accomplished. Every employee masked-up and two-thirds of the few customers too.
Outside the market adjacent to the sparsely populated parking lot is a sitting area with fifteen metal mesh tables and chairs for customers to sit and enjoy their sandwiches and snacks. It was also a good spot to watch the now occasional traffic on Kent Street consisting mostly of tradesmen trucks, a few automobiles, and threesomes and foursomes of bicyclists gliding by. Because of the beautiful blue sky and the emergence of a gentle breeze I looked forward to having my lunch there.
Not today. Not in this reign of Covid-19. On each table was a polyethylene sign, about the size of the menus at Mel’s Diner. “No Sitting Until Further Notice.” No need to tell why.
And so sack in hand with lunch and drink I began walking in the same direction I had come. About thirty yards ahead I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. A few feet off the sidewalk partially hidden by bushes was an unoccupied limestone settee with room for two.
Most pleased with my good fortune I sat down and began enjoying lunch. As good as the sandwich was the bread was a a little thicker than I’d remembered and the crusts a little larger and chewier. I began removing small pieces and tossing them side arm across the sidewalk to a three feet wide island of grass separating the sidewalk from the street on which stood a tall thin deciduous tree with a few leafless limbs along its bottom. I was able to land at least a dozen thumbnail sized pieces of bread between ten and fifteen feet from where I sat.
I was hoping a bird might find a nice meal. Any bird except the large loud overfed ravens who seemed, like pigeons in the city, to be everywhere here bullying their smaller feathers creatures.
My thoughts turned to the unfinished story I was writing and the bottle of Pinot Grigio I’d have with the baked salmon tonight. The pandemic had honed my mostly neglected cooking competence.
In a moment of no pedestrian or vehicular traffic I heard a rustling sound above me and looked up to see a blue bird perched on a branch of the tree looking down at me or his meal.
I didn’t move nor remove my eyes from the bird. I thought it was a Blue Jay and not a blue bird because he was larger, more sleek than plump.
After a long moment he fluttered down from the branch and skipped over to a a piece of bread, actually a hunk of crust, a piece farthest from me. He seemed to take a good look before snatching it in his beak and flying up to the same branch where he took a bite placing the other half on the branch.
He repeated this activity, moving each time to grasp the bread nearer me. Finally he was no more than five or six feet away, pausing to examine me more closely. I had a good look at his plumage, his cobalt blue feathers with with a spot of gray on his back, his skinny pronged cows of his feet near his tail, his near purple beak, and his BB sized slate eyes. I sat as still as I could fascinated by the beautiful bird as he bent down grabbed the last bit of crust, devouring it this time.
In an instant he was gone, flying into an opening in the tree line, soaring into the blue yonder.
I sat there wanting to capture the moment, a picture retained in my mind.
How long had it been since I thought about feeding birds? Was my semi-consciousness to do so today driven by thoughts of my mortality, my sense humanity was in an early stage of long-time dystopia?
Had I forgotten we share this planet with animals and plants? We primates one chromosome away from a chimpanzee. That they too have a life and were we helping them as we help ourselves through this pandemic? Through this life which ends sooner or later in death for all living things?
Today, at this moment, I consciously felt connected with this bird. What a world it would be if we could learn their language, their tweets and they understood a modicum of ours.
In this time when human activity is quelled, when we homo sapiens with our large brains don’t know what tomorrow will bring, here was the Blue Jay, fellow living animal, one who never exploited nor took Nature for granted sidling up to me and enjoying a meal I had fixed for him.
I was happy.
The presence of the Blue Jay was a blue bird.
Kind of like what Bob Baker described more than 50 years ago.
To the Editor:
What am I missing? Golfing and trail hiking, two activities where social distancing and small grouping standards can easily be met, are prohibited because our County Public Safety Officer doesn’t want people from the Bay Area bringing infections here. Meanwhile, the Streetscape/Street Diet Project will commence bringing people from outside the area to do the work. On top of that, our Public Safety Officer, working from San Diego County (which currently has 2,087 cases and 63 deaths) plans to travel here from time to time. What is the logic?
Frequent washing of hands, social distancing, minimizing gathering sizes, self-quarantine of ill people and those with compromised immune systems; yes, we get all of that. Businesses, organizations, religious groups and individuals know how to comply without 13 pages of prescriptive detail. Let’s open things up and get people back to work. We can do this!
D. E. Johnson
SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO GEEZER GARDENING
I'm going to summarize the responses to my article in the hope that other geezers will benefit.
One man places chairs and sits down when he feels tired of working and recommended an overturned bucket to help get up from being on the ground. That wouldn't have helped the times I ended up on the ground unless I carried around a bucket all the time. But that reminds me to carry something into my work area--a bucket or a small bench.
Another person encouraged watering in the garden without turning it on and rushing away. It's the case that folks who do this stay in better touch with their gardens and soothe themselves.
Someone hoped that folks who "became turtles" will start posting again. That will be easier without someone casting insults and berating posters. But we can't count on that.
Another gave a laugh. "Don't pick up anything you drop on the floor. You'll need it when you fall down there."
I like the idea of spreading chairs throughout the work area. Those who had one or two word responses did not send them to every list subscriber! Thanks for all& the responses. There are a lot of other geezers out there.
"IF TODAY you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind."
—Clarence Darrow, Scopes trial courtroom remarks (July 13, 1925)
NO QUICK FIXES TO VIRUS AND ECONOMIC PANDEMICS
by Jim Shields
With the exception of an ever-dwindling number of Americans, this is the worst economic free-fall any of us have ever seen.
The only national economic collapse in history that compares to it is the Great Depression that started 91 years ago, and I just said, I don’t think many of us were around to see that one.
Unless things change real quick for the better, we’re going to find out what those earlier generations experienced. And keep in mind the Great Depression started in 1929 and we didn’t come out of it until 12 years later when WW II began.
No matter where you stand on these COVID-19 stay at home orders and busines shutdowns, I believe most people would agree that they have been destructive economically, socially, and constitutionally.
There are those who believe the cure has been so much worse than expected and the disease not nearly as bad as predicted. I don’t subscribe to that assessment but I certainly understand how one can come to that conclusion.
The irony with this deadly virus is that while we’re doing the right thing on the health and life-saving front, we’re driving our economy to the verge of collapse, another very real kind of death.
I don’t have a quick fix to this dilemma of attempting to strike the right balance between health fears and economic fears, other than to continue mostly what we are doing presently.
But it comes with a price.
We cannot afford — morally or financially — to abandon workers and the middle class who are locked down in their homes computing checkbook balances they will not be able to balance for much longer.
So elected officials at all levels of governing in this country best be prepared to save not only the potential victims of this viral plague, but also all of those who through no fault of their own now find themselves probable victims of an economic plague. These are the forgotten and unseen folks who are bearing the brunt of the virus-caused economic plague that is sweeping the nation.
They are the ones at the greatest risk of not surviving if this shutdown lasts another 60-to-90 days unless there is an ongoing economic stimulus plan to see them through the duration of shelter-in-place/shutdown orders.
Three in four worried about finances, family illness
The Public Policy Institute of California PPIC) released a poll this week looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 sate and local orders that have resulted in millions of Californians being forced to stay at home and and allowed to work at their jobs because they are considered “non-essential.”
PPIC is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit research institution based in San Francisco, and they are one of my many primary research sources.
Accordiing to the poll, as the number of known COVID-19 cases statewide continues to grow, overwhelming majorities of Californians are worried about a family member getting sick or about their personal finances worsening due to the coronavirus.
Asked how worried they are—if at all—about themselves or someone in their family getting sick from the coronavirus, more than three in four Californians say they are either very (41%) or somewhat (37%) worried. Latinos (60%) and Asian Americans (41%) are more likely than whites (28%) and African Americans (22%) to be very worried.
“Most Californians are worried about a family member getting sick from the coronavirus, while Latinos and Asian Americans are especially likely to say they are very worried,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO.
At the same time, three in four Californians say they are either very (41 percent) or somewhat (34 percent) worried about the pandemic having a negative impact on their own or their family’s finances. Half (50 percent) of Californians with annual incomes below $40,000 are very worried, compared with 42 percent of those earning $40,000 to $79,000 and 32 percent of those with incomes of $80,000 or above. Californians with children at home are much more likely to be very worried (55 percent) than those without (35 percent).
“Most Californians are worried about the negative financial impact of the pandemic, while half of those with lower incomes and those with children at home say they are very worried,” Baldassare said.
Asked whether worry or stress related to the coronavirus has affected their mental health, 27 percent of Californians say it has had a major negative impact and another 23 percent report a minor negative impact. Adults ages 18 to 34 and ages 35 to 54 are more likely to say it has had a major negative impact (31 percent of both age groups) than are those age 55 and over (18 percent). Renters (34 percent) are more likely than homeowners (21 percent) to report a major negative impact on mental health.
“Half of Californians say that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health,” Baldassare said. “Younger adults and renters are especially likely to report feeling worry and stress having a major impact.”
PPIC’s survey highlights a steep drop in optimism about California’s economic outlook. Only 19 percent expect good times financially in the state during the next 12 months. This is down from 49 percent in January 2020 and is lower than at any point since the Great Recession.
“The recent decline in consumer confidence as measured in expectations of good economic times is unprecedented in the history of the PPIC survey, dating back to the late 1990s,” Baldassare said.
Since the start of this Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve learned that prisons are high-risk contraction spots and pose a big threat to locked-up populations.
No one has a good explanation just how an inmate at the California Institution for Men in Chino, who was exposed to coronavirus, was transported 500 miles north from Chino to Ukiah without being quarantined and without Mendocino County officials being notified on prior notice.
Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall said it was like “throwing sparks in the dry grass.”
Mendocino County District Attorney C. David Eyster referred to the release as “state prison inmate dumping” on his office Facebook page.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said the inmate was screened for signs of illness before being released.
“The formerly incarcerated person was identified as meeting the criteria for expedited release as laid out in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation plan,” CDCR press secretary Dana Simas said in an emailed statement. “He was asymptomatic in a comprehensive screening by institution medical staff before his release on April 8, and was provided a facial barrier to wear while in-transit to his county of release.”
What the hell kind of non-explanation explanation is that?
What would ever make those prison bureaucrats think that sending an asymptomatic, non-quarantined person on-the-sly to a county where no one knew anything about it, was a good idea.
Whoever made that decision should be fired.
Post Office needs bailout
U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week in a video statement, that unless the U.S. Postal Service gets a federal bailout it will run out of money by the end of September.
Mail volume has fallen steeply in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and the federal agency is expecting the same downward turn in revenues.
President Trump believes that higher rates for internet shipping companies likke Amazon, FedEx and UPS would solve the problem.
Trump threatened to veto the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, if the legislation contained bailout money for the Post Office. The Postal Service now projects it will lose $2 billion each month through the coronavirus recession while postal workers maintain the nationwide service of delivering essential mail and parcels, such as prescriptions, food and household necessities.
The Postal Service, which employs 650,000 people, is asking for $75 billion in aid from the government, and, according to the New York Times, another $14 billion to pay off debt related to a retirement benefits program totalling some $89 billion total.
“At a time when America needs the Postal Service more than ever, the reason we are so needed is having a devastating effect on our business,” Brennan said in the statement. “The Postal Service relies on the sale of postal products and services to fund our operations, and these sales are plummeting as a result of the pandemic. The sudden drop in mail volumes, our most profitable revenue stream, is steep and may never fully recover.”
“The USPS and the mailing industry it supports ($1.6 trillion in sales and 7.3 million private sector workers) is every bit as important as the aviation industry,” National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando said in a statement.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
STRIKE, SICK OUT, SLOW DOWN: THE GENERAL STRIKE AND YOU
by Richard Moser
The strike, sick out, and slowdown are among the most effective weapons in the arsenal of class struggle. They disrupt production and interrupt the flow of profits. But the most effective weapons are also the most demanding. Strikes require discipline, sacrifice, and struggle. Strikes are short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s not a coincidence that as strikes fell out of use over the last few decades the US working class fell too.
Striking for Life: Protect the Front-line, Not the Bottom Line
The most dramatic examples of the General Strike are the many wildcat strikes across the country. Follow the action at On The Picket Line or check out this interactive map of strike actions, or the “Dual Power” map by Black Socialists in America. Get in the loop and get connected at General Strike 2020.
The most dramatic examples of the General Strike are the many wildcat strikes across the country. Follow the action at On The Picket Line or check out this interactive map of strike actions, or the “Dual Power” map by Black Socialists in America. Get in the loop and get connected at General Strike 2020.
If you are an essential worker and risking your life — talk to your co-workers. Form a clandestine strike committee and speak to, and listen to, everyone in the shop. A strike, sick-out, or slowdown can last a few hours, a day or indefinitely. Don’t hoodwink the workers into thinking it will be easy, but when life hangs in the balance the choice becomes clear.
Wildcats are strikes led by the rank and file workers, not union officials. This is a hidden strength. The kind of actions that were the backbone of the general strikes during the 20th century are now illegal — here in the land of the free. “Sympathy” or secondary strikes where workers strike — not out of a specific grievance with their own boss — but in solidarity with other strikers were made illegal. Russia-gate’s forerunners — the anti-communist purges of the Cold War and McCarthyism gave us the 1947 Taft-Hartley “slave labor act” that tamed the labor movement. Until this day, union officials that call sympathy strikes are treated as criminals — but the wildcats strikes have no official leaders.
In all those years since 1947 Democrats made not a single serious attempt to repeal Taft-Hartley. Maybe we can repeal it through direct action. Anyone who knows this history knows that Russia-gate and China-hate is no friend to the US working-class.
How can we help strikers?
Local efforts may be best. You can support your local strikers by setting up a “gofundme” account for them. Mask up and observe physical distance, but show up at picket lines with food and beverage. Join your local Mutual Aid team and help back up strikers.
Learn from our new leaders. Do what the strikers ask you to do. They know best.
Strategic boycotts in alignment with strikers are an important way to slow profits — the main form of leverage strikers have. Boycott Bezos for starters.
Sick Out and Slow Down
For at-home workers, the sick out and slow down are tailor-made for you. Call in sick sometime in the first week in May. Mild symptoms; a day or two, severe; a week or more. How sick are you? Only you know. Get it? Or, take a sick day, go back for one, then take another sick day. Can’t take the whole day, take half a day. Can’t take half a day just slow down — cut your production in half or more.
Almost all stuck-at-home workers I speak with are having symptoms due to isolation and confinement. Time for a mental health day? You owe yourself one.
One of the classic slowdown tactics is “Work to Rule.” Workplace rules are usually the product of the Human Relations department meant to put a liberal face on exploitation. But these rules often slow down production and are routinely ignored by management and worker alike. Study your “handbook” and find the weakness. Sometimes you can actually slow down by following the rules.
Working people have always resisted. Unfree workers, like slaves, developed forms of resistance to oppose slave owners. We can use the same kinds of resistance to oppose corporate power.
Pilfer. “Steal” it back to reclaim value the boss stole from you in the first place. Let the bosses pay.
Sabotage. Break your tools. Delete paperwork. Use stealth and cunning. Don’t get caught.
Shamming. Bullshit them. Behind your smile is the strike.
Show solidarity with the general strike. Wear red on Friday. Have a strike poster in your apartment window. Wear a red or black or lavender bandana. Change your Facebook cover image.
We have to rely on the creativity and power of the people. I am confident we will figure it out. The general strike has no central committee and that is probably a good thing since no one has all the answers. Let the people decide. You can best determine the kind of action you can take.
Just remember: whatever small step you take, you are part of something bigger. And the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
No one can do everything but everyone can do something.
(Richard Moser writes at befreedom.co where this article first appeared.)
STOP THE DICTATOR
Millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on illegal aliens instead of fixing the slums in San Francisco and Los Angeles where we have two of the rottennest, dirtiest cities in the United States. Millions are also wasted on bullshit climate change and global warming. And half a million an hour for the train to nowhere. Why isn't it being spent on roads and dams and bridges? The next time we have a major flood Oroville dam will burst and so will Shasta dam. They have to drain both of those dams to fix them and that won't happen. So millions of people will die. I hope Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom are both sitting in their private office watching pornographic films when that happens. They deserve it. Money is not being spent for medical aid for our people in California, a good medical system. Instead, billions of dollars is invested in Communist China that we will never see again. That's Gavin Newsom who is running this state. He is a bigot, a Marxist, a communist, a liberal and his whole administration sucks canal water. Why do the American people in California stand for this? How long can we take it? We have a dictator running this country spending our tax money on crazy stuff! Unbelievable!
God bless Donald Trump.
PARE IT DOWN THERE, DOC
Hey Dr. Miller, thank you and no worries! We can totally fix that on this side. By the way, I wanted to mention that I've noticed that you've been doing about two pages worth of writing on your part, and I was wondering if we could pare that down to about 1.5, at most? The column has been running pretty long, and I'm loath to edit anything out because I know it's all pretty important.
— Robin Eppley, Editor, Fort Bragg Advocate