- Mild Dry
- Medina Missing
- Grad Quintanilla
- Blood Drive
- Grad Ferreyra
- Plant Sale
- Grad Martinez
- Lockdown Questions
- DA Request
- Closed Sign
- 1925 Bookmobile
- Lucky Owners
- Honey Pie
- Egg Stand
- Strong Man
- Wifi Concern
- Big Fir
- Farmers' Market
- Bearded Iris
- Ed Notes
- Sea Hawk
- Superhero Logic
- Silver Lining
- Clip Art
- Filmmakers Respond
- Comfortably Smug
- Beach Wood
- Historic Drop
- Shill Biden
- Shopping v Camping
- Big Shots
- Found Object
MILD AND MOSTLY DRY conditions are likely most of the day today. Light to moderate rain is expected in many areas Saturday morning into early Sunday. Warmer and drier conditions are expected next week. (NWS)
SAN JOSE MAN EMPLOYED IN COVELO’S MARIJUANA INDUSTRY MISSING SINCE 4/20
Victor Medina, a 30-year-old man from San Jose, California, was working on a marijuana grow in Covelo. He video-chatted with his family on the night of April 20, 2020. The following day Medina’s friend and fellow plantation worker Benjamin Chavez Reynoso arrived in San Jose, California dropping off a vehicle to Medina’s wife. Curious as to where her husband was, Medina’s wife inquired about his location, and Reynoso said, “He’s on his way. He was driving behind me.” Medina never came home that night and the following day a police officer arrived at Medina’s San Jose home to inform his wife that his truck had been found smoldering on a rural road outside Hollister, California. The missing man’s family’s concerns mounted when, on the morning of Wednesday, April 29, they were contacted by Spanish-speaking men demanding a $10,000 ransom for their loved one.
FORT BRAGG BLOOD DRIVE SET FOR JUNE 12
The Mendocino Coast Community Blood Drive is scheduled for Friday, June 12, 2020, from noon to 4 PM in the Fort Bragg City Gymnasium, 213 E. Laurel Street, Fort Bragg. The drive is being coordinated by Vitalant (formerly Blood Centers of the Pacific) and sponsored by the City of Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Coast District Hospital/Adventist Health Mendocino Coast.
Giving blood is essential and you are allowed to leave your home to do so. Blood drives are not “gatherings” but essential healthcare activities. Dr. Jerome Adams, U.S. Surgeon General, recently encouraged healthy Americans to go out and give blood.
To reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19, the following steps will be taken:
• Appointments are encouraged to reduce crowding.
• Appointments are limited to reduce waiting.
• Walk-ins will be accommodated only if space allows. Otherwise, the person’s contact information will be taken and they will be called when/if a space opens up.
• Social distancing requirements will be maintained.
• Vitalant staff will follow rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at blood drives and donation centers.
• Temperatures will be taken upon entry of the donation center/blood drive.
• Donors are asked to self-defer if they:
- have been outside the 50 United States or traveled via a cruise ship;
- have lived with or been in close contact with individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection;
- have been diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 infection;
- are a health care worker who has been caring for a patient diagnosed with or suspected of having COVID-19 and have not consistently been able to use recommended personal protective equipment (face mask, gown and gloves).
• Donors are required to wear facial coverings to their donation appointment.
To learn more, visit https://www.vitalant.org/COVID-FAQs. To make an appointment, visit the Mendocino Coast Community Blood Drive Appointment page. All Donors should review Blood Donor Qualifications prior to making an appointment. Please Click Here for donor eligibility information. If you have eligibility questions, please call 1-800-289-4923 or email email@example.com.
AV UNITY CLUB PLANT SALE
At the Boonville Farmers’ Market, which begins Friday May 1st, 4-6 pm, the Garden Section women will begin selling the plants. Due to COVID 19, the summer Farmers’ Market will be a “mask required event.” It 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.
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. 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.
Thanks for your support in helping us fund a college scholarship for a deserving graduate. (Cindy Wilder & Mary Daring)
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS GRILLS DOOHAN on health order relaxations in the next few months.
Supervisor Ted Williams asked Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Doohan a series of questions about the prospects for relaxing virus-related health restrictions in a number of business categories last Tuesday. (Paraphrased/edited):
Williams: Fourth of July?
Doohan: We have to wait to see what the governor says on the size of gatherings to be allowed. It's hard to imagine the governor allowing gatherings over 18 people to occur.
Williams: The county fair?
Doohan: It's hard to imagine that would occur. It would involve tourism and visitors.
Doohan: I expect more small group live streaming with others participating from a distance.
Williams: Music, sports events, etc.:
Doohan: I doubt we will see contact sports occurring.
Williams: Wine tasting? Small tasting rooms along Highway 128 with ample outdoor space? Could those businesses bring protocols forward?
Doohan: I see wine tasting as a tourism activity which would bring visitors in from outside the county. If it could be done without visitors from outside it might be possible. You could have some activity with social distancing, but I doubt it, if it involved tourism.
Williams: Should those businesses prepare for not reopening this season?
Doohan: If they could open without it being related to tourism it is possible for wine tastings to occur along with social distancing etc..
Williams: Maybe with bookings from county residences only?
Doohan: That would make sense.
Williams: Restaurants? Removing half the tables?
Doohan: That seems like a good idea. I'd like to see restaurants open under the governor's guidance with spacing and no shared condiments and move toward deliveries and preparing and delivering food in other ways.
Williams: Lodging? Do you see lodging opening in the next three months?
Doohan: As much as we can open up businesses for people in the county because we need to keep them open for essential workers and others who live in the county. Especially for extended stays. But we are worried about transmission from tourism.
Williams: I hear that you are saying we don't want to focus on visitors, on tourists. If we know there will be no tourism related lodging opening this season and we don't tell this industry, it will be a worse outcome because they won't be prepared for what's to come. So are you saying don't anticipate lodging opening for tourism?
Doohan: That's a difficult question most rural counties are asking. What do we do for communities that rely on tourism where we don't seem to have widespread community transmission at this point. It's a difficult issue. We want to limit tourism and survive the pandemic. It will take creativity from the industry. What do they suggest? If they have family coming from the Bay Area and they spread covid in the motel or hotel then everyone will be sick. So I'm sure they are as concerned as we are. But I am eager to hear from leaders in the lodging and tourism industry. The only thing I've heard is the idea of quarantining first but that means long-term stays. Maybe the testing will improve and visitors could show they don't have covid and then stay for an extended stay. It's hard to imagine anyone coming from the Bay Area for a couple of days and go back and be safe.
Doohan: I would hope to see bookstores open in some manner. And art stores and craft stores as well. With social distancing and other protocols.
Williams: Personal services like hair and nails and massage where precautions can be taken but it’s hard to accomplish distancing?
Doohan: That is controversial. I want to see what the governor does. Maybe limited clients, fewer people at the same time and maybe temperature checks. But temperature checks are not very effective because people can be asymptomatic for some time without knowing. I think we need to wait on these businesses.
Williams: Church gatherings?
Doohan: Depends on the gathering size stated by the governor. I expect some allowance and expanded live streaming. But it would be very risky for frail elders to attend a church service.
Williams: Schools and children's services?
Doohan: We want to see activity for children resume because they do not seem to be as seriously affected by the virus, but they could be carriers to infect elders. Perhaps some accommodation could be made for stable groups.
DR. DOOHAN said she plans to release the next revision to the Shelter In Place order around May 8 to May 10. Whether it will reflect any of the above is anybody’s guess.
CalTrans COVID-19 sign just north of the 4th and 5th district line.
I hope CalTrans is able to reposition at county line. (“CLOSED DUE TO COVID19” is clear to human eye, not camera sensor)
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS CONTINUED:
As discussed on Tuesday and raised by many of my neighbors on the coast, visitors continue to arrive in significant numbers. We made progress in directing our Department of Transportation to begin an effort to place signs at county entrances with polite, but firm language. This discussion now involves state partners and was moving forward this afternoon. I believe the signs will help, but this alone is unlikely to completely mitigate the concern. Law enforcement cannot simply see a foreign license plate and ask visitors to leave. The public health intention is clear with a goal of facilitating greater reopening for local residents, but the implementation is problematic due to limited enforcement models. This is why the parks originally closed and we still don’t have a solution. All ideas are welcome, especially best practices from other counties, ideally California counties. If it were as easy as a placard, checking ID or any of the many other suggestions in comments, it would have already been implemented. The challenge is illustrated by identical unresolved concern in visitor destinations across the state. We have asked the Governor’s office for assistance. No matter how important Mendocino County feels to us, we represent 0.2% of the state population.
Reopening will take place in phases. At each phase, we’ll pause to collect and assess impact. As discussed a number of times, the county cannot be less restrictive than the state. In most regards, we do not have local control of the reopening. The State continues to follow the lead of six bay area counties working in alignment (and often in closed session, without pre-release of details to Mendocino). Phase 2 is anticipated to begin the limited reopening in early May with the updated Mendocino County order anticipated between the 8th and 10th. There is no question that the COVID-19 response is divisive with the community split. Some demand immediate restoration to full normal. Others urge for patience and precaution. My effort is to reopen as quick and as safe as possible, mitigating regression. The Board of Supervisors does not actually approve or reject the health orders. By state law, the appointed Public Health Officer creates the order in cooperation with the state. Where I can be effective is in highlighting local knowledge, unforeseen circumstances, unanticipated consequences, uneven application and as a liaison for review of reopening proposals. A transition of health officers in the next month or so is quite likely, but I do not imagine this will shift the strategy.
Locally and on the national stage, the reopening has been framed as a debate about how to weigh public health against economic destruction. This is not how I see the situation. I’m hopeful we can avoid expressing animosity with those who hold an opposing view from our own. Try looking through the lens of someone with vulnerable health, who could die as the result of COVID-19 exposure. Try looking through the lens of a business owner, life savings at risk due to the shut down. Both perspectives hold merit. Both situations are extremely stressful. Pandemics are dreadful. We will not come out unscathed, yet somehow we must dig out of the mess together. A component of our success in pandemic recovery is how we treat one another along the way. I see the economy and public health not at opposing ends, but on the same side of the scale. I recognize the hardship of all who are impacted. Please help us to steer away from personal attacks on social media, statements catalyzed by situational frustration and inevitably later regrettable.
More than flattening the curve in California, it seems we postponed the wave(s). Lifting all restrictions abruptly, it would not be a surprise to see a surge of cases, one that would put us back into severe sheltering with a more pronounced and longer order. Across the county, we have 2539 lodging rooms and hundreds of vacation rentals, with a strong concentration on the coast. Try doing the math at 70% occupancy. The number of unique visitors over a month competes with our coastal population. Public Health has not been specific about restrictions on tourism, but it’s been unambiguous that tourism is seen as an insupportable risk for phase 2. Ideas about throttling exposure are being discussed, but nothing has been decided. I fully grasp the financial impact on lodging, restaurants, retail, fishing tours, kayak lessons, massage, weddings, caterers and every other intertwined business. Nobody can express precise next steps in detail at this point. We can only talk in probabilities and conditionals. I will be surprised if tourism related businesses significantly open in phase 2. The state has suggested phase 2 will last for perhaps three months.
The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8% annual rate in the January-March quarter, but this was only a glimpse of the impact and our county will be disproportionally impacted. ( https://tinyurl.com/yctxfas2 ) County staff feels trepidation about forecasting out of fear of being wrong and setting businesses up for failure, but silence also induces business and personal risk. I’ll do my best to convey expectations according to what I’m able to absorb from daily meetings. My day began with a conference focused on drafting the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, an exercise fraught with unknowns. For the moment, every path leads to covid recovery.
ON LINE READER JOAN RAINVILLE ASKS: Who’s the lucky property owner of 131 Whitmore Lane in Ukiah? Long vacant rest home getting a contract for $32,000 a month for 6 months or longer?
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES: We should have included that info in the item, but time was short. The owner is a pair of doctors from India based in Modesto who apparently own a chain of California nursing homes, Dr. Joseph Pallivathucal and his wife Dr. Teresa Pallivathucal. We can’t tell how many of their nursing homes are active. Their base nursing home in Modesto, Acacia Park Nursing and Rehab Center, is state licensed for 99 beds. The US News ratings website gives their Modesto unit a below average score: health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/area/ca/acacia-park-nursing-rehabilitation-center-055011
The lease agreement requires the Pallivathucals to upgrade, remodel and maintain the building, with several substantial repairs and remodels. It looks like Mendo is obligated to pay the $31.5k per month no matter how much the place is used or not used for virus case isolation purposes, but CEO Angelo did include an equivalent $415 per bed-per day rate in her note about the item (for 76 bedrooms), perhaps implying some kind of usage rate, although there’s no reference to any other payments in the lease besides the $31.5k per month. Presumably, Angelo also expects at least 75% of the cost to be reimbursed by FEMA or the state whether it’s used or not. But from here it looks like Mendo is paying for upgrades and repairs that will make the building much more marketable to the Pallivathucals in the future. Unfortunately, none of the Supervisors expressed any interest in this high cost item or what lead to it, what options were considered, or how it will be paid for.
EGGS & THE COUNTY
MSP'S 'Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions' Department
The Glendeven Inn on Highway 1 in Little River has chickens and since they no longer have guests, offered their eggs to the public for $5 a dozen. Then someone from the county showed up and started wandering around - so they stopped selling eggs thinking they might be in violation. Then a woman emailed them SHE was the one in the white vehicle wandering around looking for eggs - and for a reason known only to herself - she videotaped the chickens.
After hearing that, the eggs went back on sale to the public - until today. We saw this posted to the MCN Listserv Wednesday:
So many have asked about the resolution to our County inspector question from the weekend. So here it is for what it is worth.
Monday we called Environmental Health, the Health Department, the Mendocino County Covid Hotline (to see if they sent someone out to ensure our inns were closed), and we were directed to call Planning and Building just in case. None of them had any record of a representative coming out. We have a screenshot from the security video of the man who was here and his license plate. We can follow-up later or wait for a letter in the mail.
Because it seemed the visit was unrelated to egg sales we placed the 'eggs for sale' back on the road and had an honor-system basket with money for change. Unfortunately yesterday and today people came to get eggs and two were not honorable. Eggs were taken without payment, and today the last dozen eggs even had someone's specific name on them. We also have security video of that so we're certain of it too, sad to say.
So we are ending our egg sales yet again to the general public. Sorry to share that bummer news, but we wanted to make sure no one made an unnecessary trip here looking for eggs.
Please do not come to the reception door, there will no longer be eggs left there for purchase.
If you are interested in eggs from now on, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make arrangements directly with you.
Have a wonderful day, and stay well!
CELL TOWER CONCERNS
Boonville Cell Tower
Thank you for printing the letter from the concerned Boonville reader about the cell tower that's been approved to go across the highway from the Elementary School.
Even though the building department told the reader that the final approval isn't in yet, my fear is that it will be.
This reader is right to be concerned, especially since Mendocino County has passed the Precautionary Principle, which was written by Dr. William Stewart, the science researcher who reports to Queen Elizabeth, and expressly states that cell towers should not be installed near schools.
This is very important, because children, because their skulls are much thinner, absorb 10 times the radiation that adults do. Installing a tower right across the road would violate that Principle in every way.
The scientific community has known about the hazards of electromagnetic microwave radiation - WiFi - for a long time. But, because the wireless industry pumps so much money into government entities, it's gotten away with creating an EMF smog that affects all of us. And they want to introduce more and more into our everyday living because of the profit involved. Literally trillions of dollars.
For a succinct five minutes of information about what is known about WiFi, here is Dr. Devra Davis speaking in connection with proposed Michigan Senate Bill 637:
I urge you to get informed on WiFi and what it's doing to us. Those of us who are sensitive already know all too well what it does. But the majority of people still don't feel it. Yet.
An EMR consultant my husband hired to help us shield our house against WiFi and get rid of dirty electricity had studied EMR extensively. He told us WiFi affects everyone, whether they can feel it or not. And that, with enough exposure over time, everyone will become sensitive to one degree or another.
I shudder to think what 5G will do. It was developed by the military as a crowd control weapon. My husband, who was in aerospace for 40 years, confirms this. It's 10 to 100 times stronger than 4G, depending on what's installed at the base stations. The Sierra Club says it's going to kill all the bees and pollinators. Everywhere it's been installed, people are getting very ill.
Thank you for your good work. All good things to all of you. Stay safe during this challenging time.
A BIG ONE
BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET STARTS FRIDAY!
Happy spring everyone! Market will begin for the season on Friday May 1st from 4-6 in the Disco Ranch Parking Lot in downtown Boonville. Things will be a bit different, for now, given our current situation. You will still be able to pick up fresh local veggies, meat, eggs, mushrooms, olive oil, body care and plant starts. Music and kids area will be on hold until further notice and the sitting area at Disco Ranch will be closed (but you can still go inside to purchase your favorite wine!).
Please wear your mask and abide by the social distancing protocol while at market. A hand washing station will be provided. Please use it!
We look forward to seeing you there and continuing to provide the healthiest, freshest food to our community!
CHECKING AROUND mostly deserted Boonville, I couldn't find anybody who'd gotten a stimulus check. The government, such as it is, says the $1,200 stimulus checks are on the way.
THE Sonoma County Fair has been canceled for the first time since WWII. The Mendocino County Fair, Boonville's largest annual draw, hasn't formally announced that it, too, is off, but it probably is. Dr. Doohan told Supervisor Williams on Tuesday that she didn't see any chance of the County Fair happening this year. But she hasn't made an official announcement.
GOVERNOR NEWSOM floated the possibility of a resumption of school in July. AV High SchooI principal Jim Snyder joined a statewide chorus of public school administrators to say, "I don't see opening in July as a viable option for our district. I think that his statement makes it clear that it's a possibility for schools to choose to go that route, but the decisions to do so are still up to the local governing boards. At this time the school does not have any plans to modify our start date for the 2020-2021 school year, but we are going to be looking at what kinds of accommodations we will need to make based on the current situation at the time. We have to plan for a wide range of scenarios, but it's still far enough out that I have no idea what the reality will be. We have not made any staff changes at my school site."
ANDRE IGUODALA, the great Warrior's forward from the recent championship years, also has a sharp eye for investments. He got into Zoom early, multiplying his investment by factors of a lot just as the plague got millions of people working from home. Zoom has said it had 10 million daily free and paid users in December and that the health crisis skyrocketed that to more than 300 million in April —a mixture of business, schools, government and individual users. “All my investments are pretty standard in range and terms,” Iguodala said. “The earlier you invest, the less you invest because of the risk involved. As you get later, the checks get bigger.”
A SLIM RAY OF HOPE: DR. FAUCI said on Thursday that "hundreds of millions" of coronavirus vaccines could become available as soon as January.
THIRTY MILLION Americans have filed unemployment claims; coronavirus deaths are closing in on 60,000; about 250,000 people have recovered from the beast.
JOHNNY SCHMITT at the Boonville Hotel is “cooking up a take-out meal this Sunday—salad, main course of duck breast and dessert, details tbd.. $30/meal + tax. Call the hotel restaurant line to reserve your meal… 707.895.2210 extension 2. We can also offer beer and wine at 25% off regular pricing. We’ll give you a call back to confirm your meal. Enjoy and take good care everybody, we’ll see you soon.
THE "INTELLIGENT COMMUNITY" has reached a consensus opinion that while this round of the plague began in Wuhan, it didn't escape from a lab and certainly wasn't deliberately inflicted on the world, news certain to disappoint Sino-phobes and the millions of conspiracy nuts. One visual I can't remove from my memory bank, however, is a trendy-looking young Chinese woman chowing down on a deep fried bat.
FRIEND OF MINE has a mortgage from Redwood Credit Union, which has given him a three-month break from his payments. Banks really have no choice since so many people are suddenly unable to pay for shelter. But mortgage holders can get a 12-month payment break with the payments simply tacked on to the end of the payment schedule. Check the federal Cares Act. And you may have seen the report that insurance companies are not paying "interruption of business" claims that many small businesses pay through the nose for.
MEANTIME, we get a clip of Nancy Pelosi jabbering about how she couldn't live without her $13 a pint ice cream. Flashback to the French Revolution as the starving poor broke into the homes of the bourgeosie, beating to death whoever they found, including children.
MAY DAY FRIDAY will be marked by one-day walkouts of thousands of Big Box labor. An angry squad of Amazon workers tore up a street leading to one of Bezos's mansions.
SEA HAWK, NOYO HARBOR
A READER WRITES: MY THEORY about the lack of cognitive reasoning among the humans of the USA is simple: after being fed years of endless stupidity via Hollywood and television, where problems arise but are all neatly resolved in half an hour to two hours, people have become incapable of processing actual, real, live, multi-faceted emergencies. Most people have little to no patience, because, hey, their action heroes always win in the time it takes to scarf down a ginormous-sized buttered popcorn and soda. We are a country of whiney and spoiled babies with no capacity for critical thinking. And personally, I believe a lot of folks would like to continue this way. Thus, the Orange One, global climate crisis, the ruining of the ecosystem. NO WORRIES! We’ll get it all worked out. Harrison Ford or Batman or another marvel comic character will fix it all up.
IN THE DEPTHS OF GLOBAL DISASTER, it’s way too early to make detailed predictions about the energy landscape of future decades. Nonetheless, it does appear that the present still-raging pandemic is forcing dramatic shifts in the way we consume energy and that many of these changes are likely to persist in some fashion long after the virus has been tamed. Given the already extreme nature of the heating of this planet, such shifts are likely to prove catastrophic for the oil and coal industries but beneficial for the environment — and so for the rest of us. Deadly, disruptive, and economically devastating as Covid-19 has proved to be, in retrospect it may turn out to have had at least this one silver lining.
— Michael Klare
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKERS RESPOND to criticism of new bombshell environmental film
Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore and associates discuss their new documentary, 'Planet of the Humans,' a documentary that says we are selling out the green movement to wealthy interests.
OF ALL THE PREPOSTEROUS ASSUMPTIONS of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.
— Herman Melville
STUDY FINDS “HISTORIC” DROP IN MATH, READING SCORES Since Adoption Of Common Core
Reading and math scores in the US have suffered ‘historic’ declines since most states implemented the Common Core curriculum standard six years ago, according to a new study from the Pioneer Institute.
JOE BIDEN NEEDS AN INTERVENTION: An Open Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez
by Norman Solomon
Whatever our political differences, vast numbers of Democrats and others agree that it’s imperative to defeat Donald Trump. But with scarcely five months to go before the voting starts, Joe Biden is not helping to assemble a broad tactical alliance. Instead, he’s ignoring the wisdom that Jesse Jackson offered at the Democratic National Convention in 1988: “It takes two wings to fly.”
Right now, Biden is idling in the cockpit of a political aircraft with one wing.
As chair of the Democratic National Committee at a time when the party’s presumptive nominee for president seems likely to crash and burn, you should be openly working to fix the problem rather than merely proclaiming that Biden is a great candidate.
Indications are profuse that Biden is proceeding with a business-as-usual campaign while elevating establishment figures. His rhetorical nods toward Bernie Sanders supporters have been notably superficial, while the nitty-gritty of policy is being placed in corporate hands.
On April 27, The Nation summed up one of the latest ominous signs: “Larry Summers is a dead albatross around Biden’s neck. Why should we believe Biden’s promises of progressive reforms, when he seeks out the advice of this plutocrat-loving economist?”
I have often heard you talk about the “north star” of party principles. Surely that must involve democracy. Yet the cancellation of the New York presidential primary is a flagrant Machiavellian maneuver by that state’s Democratic Party leadership.
“This means that our campaign will receive no delegates from New York, weakening our ability to fight for a progressive platform and progressive rules at the Democratic convention,” the Sanders campaign pointed out in a statement on April 29. “It also means our voters are less likely to turn out, which will hurt progressive New York candidates who are still facing primaries.” Using the pandemic as an excuse for the cancellation was clearly bogus, since the entire New York election on June 23 could be conducted by mail.
The corrosive ill will created by such machinations—heightening progressives’ distrust of the Democratic Party—will weaken support for the Biden general-election campaign across the country. As the Sanders campaign put it, what Democratic Party power brokers did in New York “is an outrage, an assault on democracy.”
But where is your voice to challenge this “assault on democracy”? The corporate cats seem to have your tongue. With silence, you’re an enabler of this travesty. You should firmly declare that New York will be stripped of all its national-convention delegates unless this decision is reversed and the state’s presidential primary is reinstated.
A related situation looms in California and some other states, threatening to deny Sanders his statewide allocation of delegates beyond congressional districts. The threat involves undemocratically depriving Sanders of delegates that he—and millions of people who voted for him—are entitled to. But again, your voice is silent.
You might think it’s all well and good for you to claim a “hands off” approach of deferring to decisions by state party leaders. But in mid-March you didn’t hesitate to flatly proclaim that Illinois, under a Democratic governor, should go ahead with an in-person presidential primary election, thereby aiding Biden’s momentum to widen his delegate lead over Sanders. To the detriment of public health, you publicly and emphatically sought to influence a state decision about a Democratic primary.
But now, your enabling silence is conspicuous as hundreds of duly elected Sanders delegates are in jeopardy nationwide.
As in New York, the bogus pretext in various states is that Sanders is no longer a candidate—even though, when he announced the suspension of his campaign three weeks ago, the senator explicitly stated that “I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates.” And, he added, “we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”
The committees and delegates of the national convention will make key decisions on crucial platform issues, such as healthcare as a human right, student debt, immigration reform, institutional racism, the climate emergency, economic justice and much more. Also on the line are major choices about whether the party will democratize or slam the door on internal reforms.
In a mass email that the DNC sent out last weekend, you declared with ample self-congratulation: “Today, the DNC looks massively different than it did in the wake of the 2016 election. That’s a good thing. In early 2017, we were rudderless… [I]t was obvious we had to rebuild our party from the ground up.” You wrote of “rebuilding trust with Democrats across the country”—and asserted “that is exactly what our new leadership did.”
But whatever trust has been rebuilt over the last three years is now being damaged by your refusal, as DNC chair, to speak up for party democracy in the states where it is now under threat.
Biden is a weak candidate in grave danger of losing a decisive number of progressive votes in the fall. Consider the latest polling data that has just appeared under this USA Today headline: “Nearly 1 in 4 Sanders Supporters Not on Board Yet with Voting for Biden.”
That’s what happens when a presidential campaign is all set to fly with one wing.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)
THE SHOT HEARD ‘ROUND THE WORLD
by J.W. Grimes
1. Ten-year old Robert, “Bobby B,” so-called, because there were two other Robert/Bob’s in his third grade class, was seated in the first row in Miss Fritz’ classroom. He was particularly fidgety that third day of October, 1951, so much to think about, so much to do, so soon. The teacher was winding up whatever she was talking about as he looked up at the wall behind her where the small hand on the Timex wall clock rested between numbers 3 and 4, and the longer hand, which looked like a pointer finger, moved exactly at that instant, one minute dot lower, three dots from the number 6 at the base. 3:27PM. Why there was a clock in school classrooms he didn’t know, thought it a distraction, if he ever thought about it at all.
His two classmates, Carl and “Pinky,” the latter so-called because his hair was carrot orange but they couldn’t call him “Orangey,” or they didn’t, were seated two rows behind him and he knew they were fidgety too.
In three minutes the bell would ring, ending school for the day.
The three boys had planned exactly what they would do when that bell rang. Walk together, silently in line with their classmates, out of the classroom, slightly increasing their pace down the hall, and out through the front door. Then, removed from the school’s jurisdiction, they would run with all they had, the block to the intersection of Lincoln and 16th Street where they would have to wait for the crossing guard to halt incoming traffic and flag them across.
By then it would be maybe 3:35PM, and the game could be over. Bobby B thought it had a 1:30PM start time. Maybe it was two, he hoped.
Bobby B, a lefty, was carrying his first baseman’s mitt. The other two clutched their fielder’s glove. Crossing the street, the three raced another block, past the car wash, over the bridge of the rock-ladened creek, past Boopka’s barber shop, dodging a lady with two bags in her hands coming out the entrance of the tired IGA, and to their destination: the soda fountain at Thompson’s Pharmacy. To the kids at school, it was “Tommy’s,” and for many, mostly the boys it was once or twice a week after school the home of either a fizzy chocolate soda or the syrupy chocolate sundae with two scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with a maraschino cherry produced by the perky waitress, Madeline, behind the counter with her flaxen pigtails trailing her every turn of head. She always added a straw. Twenty-five cents.
Mr. Thompson, the proprietor who to the kids in school looked a hundred years old worked in the back section of the premises filling prescriptions and counseling customers but he was not hesitant to express his opinion with a scowled face, raised voice if too many kids at the counter were clamoring for this or that.
It was important for the three boys they get to Tommy’s before other kids. And they had an advantage being third graders. The fourth through eighth grade kids—-it was the boys they worried about—didn’t get out of school until 3:45.
October 3, 1951. A Wednesday. The first time in Major League baseball history there would be a one-game playoff to decide the National League championship. The season pennant race had ended in a deadlock between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. The winner today would go uptown (the Dodgers) or cross town (the Giants) to play “The Damn (Bronx) Yankees,” as Carl’s father called them in an all-New York City World Series. Today’s game would be on national television, on the CBS Television Network which was lucky because their small city had but one TV station—and its programming was half CBS and half NBC. This afternoon, of course, was all CBS.
The boys’ favorite team, or at least Bobby B’s and Pinky’s favorite team (Carl rooted for the American League Indians) was the cellar-dwelling Pirates whose night games could be heard on that clear channel Pittsburgh radio station. Didn’t matter anymore with the regular season behind them. This was a historic day and anyone who loved baseball would be watching, listening to the game. Having thought about playing hooky, the trio rejected it because where would they watch the game? Couldn’t sit here in Tommy’s for a few hours while school was going on Carl argued and he was right.
If grades were given in school for baseball knowledge the three would be honor students. They diligently read The Sporting News, the weekly bible of baseball information all year in fact. It included in-season box scores of every game the previous week as well as current batting and pitching stats. Even minor league team and player highlights. Carl’s dad subscribed. They were the third grade leaders in the popular activity of baseball cards collection. Arguably they would be the entire elementary school leaders since by the time boys reached seventh or eighth grade the card fad usually waned. Nonetheless, at least half the boys in the school were B-card collectors of some fashion. Many, like our boys here, collected vigorously because it was competitive to have the “best,” the least produced cards of any star player by its maker, The Topps Baseball Card Company. Others, usually little, short guys, collected just to show they weren’t fairies; and still others who faked baseball expertise, or tried to, because they thought it gave them an advantage with the girls when they wore a pouch containing a few dozen cards attached to their belt—a show of macho, maybe like what else could be in that pouch?
But it was only a dozen or so, including our three boys today, who throughout the season like once a week purchased for a nickel at the IGA store, a wrapped pack of Topps Double Bubble gum, three juicy hunks of a cavity-creating, chewy sugary substance with five baseball cards tucked within. It would take a week or so of handling, trading, and flipping before the cards would lose the sweetener smell from the wads of the bubble gum.
On one side of the card was a color picture of a Major League player in uniform. If he was a hitter, a good hitter, he’d be shown swinging a 44 inch Louisville Slugger, a mean “I’ll-kill-your-fastball look in his eyes.” If the face on the card was one of a weak hitter, a guy with a batting average under, say .225, he would be shown as a fielder, crouched, head down, eyes up at you, preparing to snatch a non-existent grounder. A pitcher, those God-blessed players who saw action only once every three or four days, would be pictured on the mound, leg stretched skyward, in windup motion, peering at the unseen catcher’s mitt, or maybe having just released the ball in follow-through pose leaning plate-ward. The all-star lefty, Warren Spahn’s picture showed the best windup of any pitcher in either league, the three boys agreed.
On the other side of each card was the player’s previous year statistics, as well as a career summary of everything he did offensively and defensively: number of at-bats, BA, hits, runs scored, stolen bases, RBI’s, BOB’s and K’s, and fielding chances, errors, assists, and put-outs. A pitcher’s stats would include Ks, BOB, ERA, complete games, innings pitched, W-L record. It was all there on a piece of cardboard 2.8 inches wide and 3.75 inches high.
The boys traded cards. “I’ll give you a Musial and a Kiner for a Mays.”
The three boys and a few others played a card game which entailed flipping with their hands a card towards a wall, usually ten feet or so away on some kid’s front porch. The card closet to the wall won and its flipper took the runner-up cards. Cards were currency. Cards were hard facts, mucho data in your pocket nearly a century before the silicon chip. The boys had found leather pouches in which to house their card collection, and they attached it to their belt. Never know when a trade or game of flip might materialize.
Baseball, with its daily newspaper box scores, its nightly clear channel radio live game coverage, its nationally distributed baseball cards, and now a tad of television coverage was as much the American culture as the nightly railroad whistles, the outdoor drive-in movie theaters, and the Chevy fin-tailed convertibles. It was The Great National Pastime, and it had particular resonance that day for the three boys because of the one-game playoff, the TV, and, in no small part, because combined, Bobby B, Carl, and Pinky owned a card or two of every starting lineup player on both the Dodgers and Giants. So many All-Stars too: Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Gil Hodges, Don Newcombe on the visiting Dodger team. Willie Mays, Monte Irwin, Alvin Dark, Sal “The Barber” Maglie, and a third baseman named Thompson. History on deck for three third graders in Thompson’s Pharmacy, two plus blocks from school. They could watch the game and look at the card of the player batting or pitching for more information than any announcer could possibly deliver.
At the door of the pharmacy Bobby B, Carl, and Pinky slowed their base-stealing pace, knowing a nonchalant, slow gait entrance would not attract attention from Mr. Thompson. To their concealed delight, only two of the ten seats at the counter were occupied. Two elderly ladies were nibbling on toasted cheese sandwiches with a pickle on the plate and a glass of Coca Cola from the soda fountain.
The boys scored seats on the Naugahyde, revolving metal stools as close as possible to the TV set, which was neatly lodged on the wall behind and high above the counter.
What they saw on the black and white, thirteen inch screen, periodically populated by white dots, which were called “snow” in those early days of broadcast television, excited the boys. There was Pee Wee Reese, the Dodger shortstop, facing the camera in his white uniform with a large black number 1 on his uniform chest. He was standing on what appeared to be a chalked baseline between home and first, Pinky said, speaking to a tall, paunchy man in a short-sleeve shirt. There were palm trees in the background. None of the boys had ever seen a palm tree, just photos in a magazine. Must be in Florida, Carl observed. A foot maybe taller than Pee Wee, which Bobby B commented was why he was called that. Pinky plucked the shortstop’s card from the batch in his pouch. Harold Peter Henry Reese, five-nine, 145, b. 1918 in some small unpronounceable named town in Kentucky.
Pieces of snow drifted past the towering man who, without holding a microphone could have been your neighborhood plumber or patrolman Duffy if he wasn’t wearing his policeman uniform. The audio from the TV was just loud enough for the perfectly positioned boys to hear the voice from above but not so loud to bother the two women several seats away, who, Carl noted enviously, were now “chowing down on a piece of pie with a scoop of vanilla on top.” Pinky said envy gets you nowhere. He’d heard his mother say that a hundred times.
Carl’s dreaded thought, which he could not refrain from sharing, was that this could be a post-game interview with Pee Wee, meaning sadly, horribly, they had missed any of the live action. Game over. Unknown National League Champion.
“No way,” said Pinky, “there’s no palm trees in New York City. Even I know that.”
The man with the mike, call him Announcer:
Announcer: "Pee Wee, tell us about your activities with young boys in Brooklyn. The good work you do in the community."
PW: "There are a lot of young boys who love baseball and don’t have the means to get any training. Gil and I have a clinic, actually several during the off-season here in Florida during which we give them advice on baseball, and yes, Al, on life."
Announcer: "Does that include grooming advice, Pee Wee? I think everyone knows the better you look the better your prospects in life are."
PW: "You got that right, Al. I tell them to wear clean clothes, speak respectfully to all and tell them when they begin to shave be sure everyday to have a clean-shaven face. Your face is your calling card to the world."
Al (now): "And do you tell these young men to shave with the best razor in the world, the Gillette razor and its ultra-fine blades, Pee Wee?”
It was a stretch to call it a question, Bobby B said. No kidding, said Carl, it’s an ad.
PW: "You know I do, Al. I use the Gillette razor every day, sometimes twice. The best shave goin.’ Major league shave." He used his gloveless hand to caress his face. "Smooth as silk, Al."
The second half of the commercial featured a hard-sell pitch from Al looking in a mirror shaving cream on half his chubby face; the razor looking like an extension of his hand, poised to snugly finish the job. Clean as a whistle, smooth as silk. Aren’t TV ads silly, mused Pinky to no one in particular.
The boys still didn’t know whether the game was over or not. No sense asking Madeline. She was the bobby-sox type, probably didn’t know the game was on. They’d know in an instant as Al was wrapping up the Gillette pitch. The screen went black for a long second. Then—Oh, shit, Carl said—another ad, this one showing a couple—-young marrieds according to Pinky, like how the hell would he know—sporting satisfied grins on two well-fed faces, sitting on a living room couch watching a console TV. The jingle rang “With Zenith TV don’t bother to turn the lights off.” Pinky said that’s why he wouldn’t buy the set—ha, ha—what’s the point of not turning the lights off when watching moving pictures on a screen like in a movie theater?
Two chocolate sundaes with the cherry on top and Pinky’s chocolate soda arrived just as the screen brought into view the long lens shot of the Polo Grounds. Black and white specks in the upper decks some three hundred feet from home. Players in gray uniforms hustling to their field positions. A batter in the batter’s box taking practice cuts. Bobby B heard the melody in his head, the one played by the beer company that sponsored the Pirates on radio.
Take me out to the ballgame,
Take me out to the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks
I don’t care if I ever get back.
He knew the additional four stanzas and remembered it was Pabst Blue Ribbon, the beer that made Milwaukee famous, a point he was about to make when he heard the voice from above, “Bottom of the ninth. Dodgers lead 4-1.”
The boys slapped happy. “Game aint over, buddy,” said Carl to his two buddies. Pinky said no team ever comes back down three runs in the ninth. A half inning, three outs, said Pinky. Better than nothing, Carl said. Think if the game were at Ebbs Field, he added, we’d be out of here. Carl was one of the smartest kids in class.
The voice of the announcer from above. “Al Dark will lead off against Newcombe who has been virtually un-hittable—-three singles and a scratch double, one run for the home team.”
Carl said we gotta root for the Giants. Keep this game going.
The boys agreed on that as Alvin Dark ambled to the plate. “He’s a hitter,” Pinky said, already studying the Giants’ shortstop’s card which showed him grimacing in the batter’s box, .291 last season, twenty-two homers, thirty doubles.
The announcer says Newcombe waves off the catcher’s call. Crowd noise increasing, the boys up on their haunches.
One strike, one ball pitch. Dark makes the smooth swing, connects solidly. They watch the white dot sail though specks of snow over the second baseman’s glove, an opposite field single.
Pinky says, “Not so fast.” Carl says not a lucky soul has left the stadium.
Don Mueller follows with a first pitch single. Dark slows into second, not wanting to risk taking third, ending what could be a rally. Drum beats in the upper decks, says the announcer. Fans spewing new noise.
Monte Irvin pops up. A can of corn.
Whitey Lockman, known as a tough out, on an 0 and 2 count, lines a double to left that outfielder Andy Park momentarily bobbles. Dark steps on home. Mueller slides into third, injuring his leg and is removed for a pinch runner.
“Second and third occupied, one out, bottom of the ninth,” reminds the voice above. Carl, eyes fixed upon the screen, standing tip-toed now says, “Holy shit! What do you guys think?” He was thinking wouldn’t an extra inning game be great.
Bobby B says, “Look, the manager’s yanking Newcombe. Going to the bullpen.”
Behind them now is the sputter of late arrivals, the older boys streaming into Thompson’s for a view. Look at these lucky little shits, hogging the good seats Bobby B thought they were thinking. What’s the score? What inning? Who’s up? Anyone on? Speak up, little shits.
Reliever Ralph Branca strolls out of the bull pen shadows. Pinky says “I don’t have Branca’s card. You guys?” Carl says he’s a reliever. Doesn’t pitch that much, not a hot card, you know. I traded him with a bunch of other non-starters after the All-Star game. That’s that.
The announcer, who the boys learned later was named Russ Hodges, had found his voice, come to life. “Two on, one out, down by two and Bobby Thompson coming to the plate. We’re still alive. The Polo Grounds has erupted. Branca’s got the call. Righty hurler versus righty hitter. People standing throwing paper, confetti of some sort from the left field bleachers spilling over outfielder Andy Pafko who looks distracted,” says the now-invigorated, Giants-rooting announcer.
“What the hell,” says Pinky, “throwing stuff on the field!”
The older boys behind them pushing, bodies on their backs, vying for the best possible view.
Dodger first baseman, Gil Hodges, was a few steps off the base protecting, said Russ Hodges, against a game-tying double down the line. Couldn’t be brothers or cousins, could they, said Carl, not interested in anyone’s response. Not that anyone heard him.
“Branca stares at Campanella behind the plate. Gets the sign. No runner on first and he winds up, no stretch. Runners taking careful leads off third and second. The pitch.” The screen shows Thompson swing, but the TV transmission freezes at that instant, and no viewer knows whether he hit the ball or not. A long moment, maybe 1.5 seconds of silence and no visual movement just Thompson’s bat on hold like it was on his baseball card, though now, here in black and white, fighting snow.
Then, it’s back, live. “There’s a long drive…I believe it’s…I believe it’s…..The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
Nothing but crowd roar, confetti streaming from every corner of the stands. The picture totally a snow blizzard. Fans hurtling over the fences onto the field. Hodges screams, “The Giants tackle Thompson at home.” Bobby B shoots a little fist at Carl. Carl, the larger of the two, returns the favor with a mini-Indian wrist burn. Pinky doesn’t even notice; he’s on the set, in the set, at the game.
Russ Hodges again. “The Giants win the pennant!” And again.
Gil Hodges drops his mitt on the bag and walks into the dead dugout.
The boys erupt, struggling out of their seats, big boys behind clamoring over and on them.
Chaos at the counter.
Mr. Thompson, at the other end of the counter wearing an irritated, confused look unknowing another Thompson has just hit a pennant winner on his RCA TV set in his pharmacy four hundred miles away from the stadium in New York.
Out on the street, Pinky shouts,” I got three Bobby Thompson cards.” Carl says, “You lie,” and the boys chase each other, grabbing, hugging, happy as if they were there in the stream of happy and sad fans at the stadium. Thanks to baseball the boys knew Brooklyn and the Bronx were neighborhoods in New York City. Not that it mattered very much. Not like knowing George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River getting set to beat the British out of America.
Bobby Thompson’s three-run homer became known in sports parlance as “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Those millions of baseball fans who recited that assertion thought little about whether Thompson’s homer was heard around the world. Who wanted to think that hard?
Bobby B, known now in his adult-age as Robert Bellinari, knew the phrase was initially coined to describe a more important shot: the first musket fired in Concord, Massachusetts, the shot that ignited our War for Independence. But that was no reason to denigrate that moment years ago when he, Bobby B sat with two friends he had lost touch with after high school, forgetting to finish their sundaes and soda as the rain of paper and noise on the small TV screen etched in his mind forever, the fervor and the fever of that day.
The day at Thompson’s, the game-winning homer, the joy and heartbreak it created in all America had an importance to Robert Bellinari that was irrevocable. An eidetic memory. The sound of Russ Hodges repeating the concise declaration, The Giants Win the Pennant, in his mind when his mind went unconscious. Earworm forever.
Until he died last year Robert Bellinari had become a sort of “The Shot Heard ‘Around the World” baseball expert, scholar, researching everything that happened that day, not only on the field, in the stands, in New York, but reactions of fans throughout the country. He met with people who said they were at the game, got their memories down on paper. He interviewed nearly every player on both teams and many of their stories he narrated were published in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He was a frequent and popular radio talk show guest. He sought out several people who claimed they had the ball Thompson hit. Grabbed it and ran. “60 Minutes” did a segment with Robert on this story.
Most interesting, Robert learned from reading Don DeLillo’s great American novel, ‘Underworld,’ that on that heroic day there was a group of four high-profile men who sat in an owner’s box along first base. Toots Shor, the proprietor of a legendary and eponymous saloon next door to the CBS building on 52nd Street; John Herbert "Jackie" Gleason, a Brooklyn-born brash comedian, actor and TV star in the ‘The Honeymooners’ series who was supposed to be in his studio back in Manhattan rehearsing for the next episode; Frank Sinatra who was Toot’s best customer when he was in town and a hanger-out with Jackie who he referred to as “the missing Rat Pack rat.” All three had sudsy cups at their feet and one in hand. Incongruous as it may seem, the fourth member, a short bulldog mug of a man was the widely-feared director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the man who Toots said “knows everything,” J. Edgar Hoover. Little known is the fact, confirmed by Bellinari forty years later via a document from the Freedom of Information Act that during the seventh inning stretch an FBI agent arrived at the box, whispered something in Hoover’s ear and led him to an isolated spot down a long ramp where the special agent recited the details of his message.
The President wanted Hoover to know that on this day about the time the first ball had been thrown out by Acting New York City Mayor, Vincent Impellitteri the Soviet Union had conducted an atomic bomb test at a secret location inside its border. They too now had the Bomb. The Cold War would become quite hot. This news would not become public for forty-eight hours. It was the unheard shot around the world on a day when America’s eyes were on the television screen, their hearts set on boys’ play. When Bobby Thompson slammed the three-run homer, called “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” when Bobby B, Carl and Pinky grabbed the first row seats at Thompson Pharmacy, and when the best chocolate sundae in the world cost a quarter.