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MCT: Sunday, May 3, 2020

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AFTER AREAS OF MORNING FOG AND FROST in the interior valleys, a mild and dry day is expected today. A warming trend will continue through the upcoming week, with well above normal inland temperatures likely late in the week. (NWS)

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DOWNTOWN NAVARRO

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

by Chris Calder

National figures and national issues take up most of the hot air, but most actual government we experience is local.

Right now that experience is a state of shock.

Calling COVID-19 a stress test for local government is like calling Krakatoa a firecracker. State and local tax revenues have collapsed more drastically and suddenly than anyone has ever seen. So much so that it's a fair question, if not whether, at least how local governments will survive?

The Fort Bragg City Council, meeting weekly instead of bi-weekly during the lockdown, has started to come to terms with an estimated 90 percent collapse in Transient Occupancy Tax (motel bed tax) revenues over the past two months. That money makes up nearly a third of the city's general fund, which has to pay for everything from paved streets to a police department.

Fort Bragg's situation is in some ways easier to get than San Francisco's, Santa Rosa's, even Ukiah's, simply because of its size (pop. 7000 more or less). But every city and county government in the nation is facing a fiscal crisis like it's never seen before.

In Fort Bragg that means layoffs and furloughs. Last week City Manager Tabatha Miller was carrying out the grim task after the City Council gave the go ahead during a closed session on April 27 to job cuts intended to close an estimated $425,000-per-month hole in city finances.

Who will be furloughed or laid off wasn't released by week's end. When people's jobs are being ended or suspended abruptly, officials like to tell them first before announcing it to the public. But there is no question the cuts — which will not touch the essentials: police department's sworn officers or water or wastewater treatment plant crews — will be severe.

In an interview before Monday's meeting, Miller made clear that this round of cuts is likely not the last.

"That money just didn't show up," she said of the sales and bed tax receipts for March and April at least. "And the tough part…is that some of those businesses won't open back up.”

Miller said she's talked to a number of local proprietors who don't think their operations will be around after the lockdown lifts. And just driving through town and seeing all the empty motel parking lots and shuttered shops and restaurants tells a harrowing story, even if the ending is unclear.

Miller and city council members have taken a sooner-rather-than later approach to decisions, partly because there will be no hard data on tax receipts probably until the end of the summer. All they know is it's bad, and not addressing the fiscal fallout immediately could mean wheels falling off down the road.

Sworn police officers and workers in the city's water and wastewater treatment plants are off limits for cuts, Miller said, describing the council's direction to her. A water supply, a working sewer and a police department are about as basic as city services get. Fort Bragg's fire department, partly funded with its own tax base and basically overseeing itself through a fire district board of directors, will also not be directly affected by the plunge in sales and bed tax money. City government contributes half the Fire Department's budget and Miller said that funding will not change.

The water and sewer plants are funded by user fees, not taxes, so they are shielded from the immediate punch. But no part of local government's infrastructure will be unaffected in the long run.

According to the League of California Cities, "Cities anticipate a nearly $7 BILLION GENERAL REVENUE SHORTFALL over the next two fiscal years. This shortfall will grow by billions of dollars if COVID-19 stay-at-home orders extend into the summer months and beyond."

(Emphasis theirs.) They also said California's cities will need unspecified "assistance" to survive.

Though Miller gave no specifics, some of the cuts in Fort Bragg are likely to come in the city's Community Development (planning) department, and she did say it's likely most local development projects will slow down or be on hold in coming months. Still, she said, it's important for the city to keep up with what infrastructure for development it can. 

That was the thinking behind the council's April 20 approval of a contract to replace and relocate the water pipe running north across the Pudding Creek to Fort Bragg's northern light industrial reaches. That pipe is the key to a future water supply that could enable the proposed Avalon Hotel and other development in a part of town that a lot of people probably think is outside city limits.

But long range planning for the most part is at a standstill for now. Miller said she has heard no change of plans from any of the landowners of Fort Bragg's millsite. But the millsite planning process is frozen for now and who knows what new scenarios planners will face once lockdown ends.

The city's seasonal workers, who do a range of necessary tasks during busier summer months, have already been told they won't have jobs this year. A police sergeant on leave retired. Someone newly hired in Community Development was told to keep their old job — last hired/first fired means taking a new job with a city government right now is not a wise thing to do.

The next round of cuts will hurt a lot worse. Fort Bragg's smallness is a wonderful thing when it comes to local government — you run into city council people, the mayor, etc. on a regular basis. A cheerful bunch normally — and they still are. But when the subject of their (pretty much unpaid) jobs on the city council comes up, they look stricken. Words like “terrifying” are used. They are firing people on a moment's notice. They are firing some of their friends.

One can only guess what is happening in other City Halls and County executive offices. One thing's for certain: when it comes to COVID-19 carnage in local government, this is the opening round.

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AV HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR SPOTLIGHT

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TAI LEVENTHAL WRITES: How do we support local businesses and stop them from closing down permanently during this? I have spoken to many business owners and a surprising amount do not think they will survive past this summer of heavily reduced income. Three have already planned on closing. And telling them to "think outside the box" is not going to cut it, its HARD to survive on a good day, so ingenuity was already a part of their program. This is meant as a heartfelt question, through genuine concern for the town and people we love. If we all agree that tourism is the lifeblood of the town, then of course it will die without it. It’s not greedy of local business to point this out. Not putting economy over health, I'm putting community alongside health. How do we save Mendo?

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Early San Francisco Cable Car on Clay Street, 1878.

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WHISTLING IN THE DARK

by Mark Scaramella

Apparently Mendocino County’s crack financial overseers are not very concerned about the County’s increasingly strained fiscal situation stemming from the shutdown of major segments of the local economy for going on two months and counting. And counting. 

According to the third quarter budget update in next Tuesday’s Supervisors agenda packet, County Auditor Lloyd Weer forecasts about a $3.5 million shortfall in property, sales and transient occupancy taxes for this fiscal year ending on June 30, 2020. He is also forecasting a $1 million increase in cannabis taxes over the budgeted amount, if you can believe that. 

Auditor Weer: “The coronavirus impact will first be seen in next quarter’s data [“next” being January to March, 2020, after the last full reporting quarter of October through December of 2019] reflecting January through March sales. Based on recovery rates being reported in some Asian countries [?!], the virus’s disruption of supply chains will be deepest in the first and second quarter [i.e., January to June of 2020 presumably] and largely resolved by mid-summer [?!]. However, recovery from social distancing and home confinements could take longer with the deepest tax declines expected in the restaurant/hospitality, travel/transportation and brick-and-mortar retail segments. Layoffs and furloughs are also expected to reduce purchases of new cars and other high cost durable goods. Losses from the state’s high-tech innovation industries may be more modest while the food-drug and online retail groups could exhibit increases. Assuming that the virus is largest contained by the end of September [?!], HdL’s [a consultant] economic scenario projects that tax declines will bottom out in the first quarter of 2021 but with only moderate gains for several quarters after. Data from previous downturns suggests that the return to previous spending is not immediate and often evolves [sic]. Businesses emerge with ways to operate with fewer employees and more moderate capital investment. Consumers take time to fully get back to previous levels of leisure travel, dining and spending and may permanently transfer to newly discovered services, activities and/or online retail options.”

Even if Mr. Weer’s unlikely and relatively rosy picture were to happen, wouldn’t it be prudent to assume that the economic impact of the virus and its ripple effects would be worse than this?

Weer continues: ”Despite this strong growth trend [at the end of 2019] the onset of COVID-19 has impacted and will continue to negatively impact sales tax and room occupancy tax. The recovery from social distancing and home confinement is expected to continue through 1st quarter FY 2020-21 [July 2020 to September 2020]. As the Country emerges from this recession [?) it is expected there will be a delay in rebuilding consumer confidence. This delay will result in a continued downward trend through FY 2020-21 [until June of 2021]. In FY 2021-22 it is expected spending will begin to increase and build back to pre-COVID levels by 2024-25 as businesses find new ways to operate with fewer employees and more moderate capital investments.”

“Estimates assume a recessionary impact from the Coronavirus pandemic. HdL’s Consensus Forecasts [an economic consulting outfit] modeled sales tax impacts based on our analysis of previous recessions plus a review of industry, economist and news reports. Current forecast assumes shelter in place (SIP) continues through May 31 [some version of it will definitely continue well after that]; Forecast will be reevaluated as more is known about the progression of COVID‐19 related events. Business‐level sales tax data from the State reflecting the first weeks of this crisis arrives at the end of May; data reflecting the April‐June impacts will be available in August. …

”FY 2019‐2020: Reflects extensive # of retailers’ temporary closures through May 31 including restaurants, retail centers, auto related businesses plus SIP order which decreases point of sale activity; business investment is deferred or eliminated; unemployment spikes in 1q20 [July-September 2020]; continues into 2q20 [i.e., to December].

FY 2020‐21: COVID‐19 negative impacts extend into end of calendar year; recovery is underway in latter part of fiscal year [April-June 2021]; pace of improved revenues subject to businesses reopening, reemployment. Recoveries by industry group will vary greatly.”

Weer concludes, rather narrowly speaking: “This third quarter projection is reflecting a deficit of ($1,774,495)” — which is much lower than our review of his numbers. 

Nevertheless, CEO Angelo suggests some minor changes:

Accept the Fiscal Year 2019-20 Third Quarter Budget Report as presented; Hold 2000 expenditure series spending for supplies and service; Freeze all new non-COVID related contracts 

Implement a 5% reduction on all existing contracts; Freeze hiring at current level FTE; Take action, per Board of Supervisors direction, to collect service fees for Animal Care Services; Accept [minor departmental] adjustments as described in Attachment A and B; Adopt Resolution Amending the FY 2019-20 Adopted Budget by Adjusting Revenues and Appropriations. 

CEO Angelo concludes:

“The recession has begun with major impacts in FY 2019-20 and 2020-21. FY 2021-22 the economy is expected to begin a slight incline but will take until 2024-25 to pass FY 2018-19 tax levels. Businesses will emerge with new ways to operate with fewer employees and more moderate capital investment. It will take consumers time to fully get back to previous levels of leisure travel, dining and spending. Estimate 5 years to get back to pre-COVID tax levels.”

In other words, a few bumps in the road, a downturn, a recovery… Nothing much to worry about!

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KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH

The Excelsior leaves San Francisco for the Klondike. July 28, 1897. (University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections UW14504)

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SHERIFF KENDALL:

As Sheriff of Mendocino County, my first duty is the protection of the public. That includes the protection of basic civil rights. Included in the Declaration of Independence [edited] is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When the COVID-19 virus was first identified there were many unanswered questions, and there was real fear that it would devastate our country. With that fear and the unknowns, we enacted health orders and government restrictions that were extreme in an attempt to get ahead of the virus and flatten the curve. At this stage of the epidemic, I think we have had great success.

With any fight we must continuously re-evaluate the tactics in which we fight. Measured responses to what is occurring and where it is occurring are needed at this point. We now know much more about this virus and what it can do. As such we now must look at the progress of the pandemic in light of the unintended consequences of our tactics.

As your Sheriff, I see many problems that were not intended. These problems relate to people being restricted to the point they succumb to depression, violence, abuse within the home, and real fear about the inability to make a living. It is time to re-evaluate.

My staff and I are very appreciative of where our money comes from. We’ve had the luxury of having paychecks come in regularly but we can’t forget where those checks come from. With the stock market being down, people being out of work, people’s life savings are going away and their ability to retire, all those things are in question right now. We must keep that in mind as we re-evaluate going forward.

I’m encouraging the Public Health Officer to look at all of our businesses individually and make the best decisions balancing the needs of public safety and the economy.

Yesterday I initiated a remote meeting with other rural county Sheriffs who feel much the same as I do. We all share the concern with the rise in violence and restrictions on our residents.

I met with the Public Health Officer Friday evening and encouraged changes that need to be made in Mendocino County. Currently the Governor’s office has enacted shelter in place orders throughout the state. Some of these orders appear to me to be an attempt at making a “one size fits all” order. An order such as this, although convenient, I don’t believe takes into account the needs of all. The bay area counties look nothing like Mendocino County and their challenges are much different than ours. I believe we have reached a point where we need to think deeper and create a path that works for our rural communities.

I have encouraged the Governor’s Office to place the decision making back into the hands of our local government. Currently we can’t issue orders which are less restrictive than the orders of the Governor.

From the onset of the pandemic I have made it extremely clear enforcement of the Public Health Officer's orders would be conducted with an emphasis on education. I absolutely believe and see evidence on a daily basis we have intelligent reasonable people living within Mendocino County.

To this point, we have issued warnings to persons who needed them while the remainder of our residents have continually done the right thing. I can do this because the law grants me discretion to enforce laws in a manner that is reasonable and justified.

Going forward I encourage all residents to follow the guidance of the Public Health Officer to the extent they are able to do so. It is not my intent to criminalize otherwise good law-abiding people. I will continue to act on your behalf on what I believe to be right.

Thank you

Sheriff Matt Kendall

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Chinese immigrants in Canada, c. 1900. Image source

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ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE NEWSLETTER MAY 2020

We are a locally inspired and managed non-profit organization. Our mission is to help older adults remain active, connected, and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community. See what's new in the valley. 

AV Village Update 

We currently have 53 members and 50 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand — Thank you Anderson Valley! Important - Do you have a couple of people you can call if you need a ride in a pinch??: We want to make sure our members (and the community as a whole) are covered as much as possible in quick response situation, like a ride home from the ER or the side of the road if your vehicle breaks down (but not emergency situations*), so we are proposing that each of you: 

Have at least 2 local people that you can call directly if you, god forbid, find yourself in this situation where you need a ride with short notice. 

Or take the initiative and offer the service to another, without having to be asked. It can go both ways — you can agree to be each other’s rides. We hope this will take some of the worry and stress out of these situations. 

AV Village Members please continue to call the coordinator or fill out a service request online when you need a ride with at least 48 hours notice. Of course during the Pandemic we are limiting rides for members with our volunteers to urgent doctor or other medical appointments that cannot or should not for health reasons be rescheduled, we apologize for the inconvenience. 

Always have a plan B - If you are in need of a ride home and it is the middle of the night or you can’t get a hold of your “ride buddy” or they can’t give you a ride — then there is Redwood Taxi that runs 24/7 and can take you throughout Mendocino County (707) 462-9000. Special rate for AV Villages Members: Redwood Taxi gives a 50 ¢ discount $3 per mile instead of $3.50 if you mention you are an AVV Member, call for availability! With the discount, a trip from Ukiah to Boonville will cost about $60. 

Note: Of course this would not be a substitute for a 911 call for emergency medical attention or help lifting someone who has fallen. 

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THE AVA BUNKER lies literal feet from two excellent food sources, the Redwood Drive-in for excellent Mex, and Boont Berry Farm for, I dunno, fusion, eclectic, who cares? It's good. And not expensive. Both places have managed to stay alive during the Great Lockdown, keeping their people employed. The other day I shuffled across 128, keeping an eye out for the vehicles that hurtle through town at all hours, remembering the deaf old man in Yorkville mowed down by a log truck he never heard or saw coming as he tottered for the last time across the highway. I always imagine digging a tank trap in the middle of the road some night, but more likely could be roadblocks at Cloverdale in this odd time with none of us able to anticipate what's coming. A hundred feet portal-to-portal to buy a pint of a tasty tofu brew I at first mistook for chicken giblets and a couple of broiled chicken breasts at Boont Berry. Outside on the store's picnic table lay a box of books, one of them quality lit by Annie Proulx, as good a writer as any our doomed country has produced. I was surprised to see it there placed in a free box, I supposed, by Ms. Ballantine, proprietor of the nifty little book store, Hedgehog, to the rear of the box car complex. Annie Proulx is best known for the movie version of ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ which she wrote as a long short story for The New Yorker, and one of the few movies you'll see that's true to the fiction it's based on. She's one of the few fiction writers I go out of my way to read, meaning I buy her books but had somehow missed the free one on the table outside Boont Berry called, "That Old Ace in the Hole." Like all her work this one has everything from wildly funning passages to capsule histories of rough outback areas of places like Wyoming, Newfoundland and, in this book, the Texas Panhandle and rural Oklahoma. The story is based loosely on a young guy hired to scout out hog farm sites which, to the locals, are about as welcome as nuclear waste dumps. The fuzzy-warms — NPR, book chat roundtables and other feeb-a-thons — ask Proulx questions like this one:

"You have been criticized by some for overemphasizing the bad luck and failure of your characters—for not finding the mitigating factor in their lives, if only in the way you frame their stories."

Proulx: It is difficult to take this as a serious criticism. America is a violent, gun-handling country. Americans feed on a steady diet of bloody movies, television programs, murder mysteries. Road rage, highway killings, beatings and murder of those who are different abound; school shootings—almost all of them in rural areas—make headline news over and over. Most of the ends suffered by characters in my books are drawn from true accounts of public record: newspapers, accident reports, local histories, labor statistics for the period and placed under examination. The point of writing in layers of bitter deaths and misadventures that befall characters is to illustrate American violence, which is real, deep and vast.


FROM "THAT OLD ACE IN THE HOLE"

Down at the jail Sheriff Hugh Dough was taunting Coolbroth Frank who sat fuming in one of the two cells.

"So how come they named you Coolbroth? Why not Hotstew?"

"It's Irish. It was my great grand-uncle's name."

"Hell it is. Sounds Lithuanian to me. Or Chinese. Tagalog or Fuegian."

"Dammit, I told you it's Irish." 

"Don't swear at me, boy, or you are likely a be feelin depressed in a little while. And there's another thing I want to know. There is a kind a story going round about you and why you got tossed out a Texas Tech."

"I didn't get tossed out."

"The way we heard you was doing somethin pretty unusual to a bull they keep their on the experimental farm. They say you was pokin him up the ass with a piece a pipe. And the college wouldn't stand for such a perversion thing. Now just between us what was you trying to do to that bull? Are you queer or what?"

"You are a dirty minded old goat. Anybody in this place is queer it's you. I'll tell you but I know damn well you ain’t got the brain a understand it. Okay. I am not tossed out a school. I'm on a break, working on a project. And it wasn't a bull. It was a hog. Not that anything to do with art will mean much to you, but I'm a artist. A sculptor. Working on a project — ‘Cliches of Disbelief.’ You ever hear the expression ‘in a pig’s ass’?"

The sheriff nodded. "My sister collects stamps," he said, that being the only connection between the Dough family and art that he could conjure.

"Well, then, I am working on a sculpture a the inside of a pig’s ass. And I got a blue moon lined up, a tintype with nothin on it — ‘Not on Your Tintype — and a lot more. It's a kind a conceptual art. Now, what about my phone calls? Don't I get a couple phone calls?"

"You get one and you already had it when you called your mama a hour ago. Guess she's not in no hurry to get you out." The sheriff gave Coolbroth one of his hard stares. "I heard a few things about your other misdeeds too."

"What other misdeeds? And I don't think parking a bicycle on the sidewalk is a ‘misdeed’."

"Well, it is. And it is in Woollybucket. No, the misdeed I'm thinkin about is what you done with Dawn Crouch." He put his face near Coolbroth’s and hissed, "It was you knocked her up, wasn't it? It's you goin a be the unnamed daddy."

"I want a see a lawyer," said Coolbroth, whose face was red with anger.

"Well, why didn't you say so right off?" said the sheriff. "I would a made a call immediately." He went out to his office and Coolbroth could hear his voice rising and falling as he spoke on the telephone. After a long time the front door opened and Coolbroth heard the sheriff laughing with someone. Footsteps came down the corridor and an elderly man with a fleshy nose shambled past without looking at him, turned, walk past again and went up front. Again he heard the sheriff laugh, the front door opened and closed. The sheriff came to Coolbroth’s cell.

"You notice that fella?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"Well, that was a lawyer and you seen him. Lights out. You just ooze off to sleep now and have some sweet dreams a big-assed hogs and nameless little babies starvin a death because their daddies don't give a shit and let's not hear any more out a you."

Sheriff Hugh Dough flicked the light switch and twilight descended, though outside in the free blue air it was still two hours before sunset.

(Annie Proulx, “That Old Ace in the Hole")

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A READER WRITES:

The California Supreme Court ruled on the 5G proposal recently giving local control over small antennas. I hope the reader in Boonville who is concerned about permission being sought to put a cell tower across the road from an elementary school will find this useful.

California Supreme Court Sides with Cities in Small Cell Faceoff

Justices unanimously upheld a 2011 San Francisco ordinance requiring telecommunications companies to get permits before placing antennas on city infrastructure. The ordinance said special attention would be paid to permits in scenic and historic areas. (SF Chronicle)

govtech.com/policy/California-Supreme-Court-Sides-with-Cities-in-Small-Cell-Faceoff.html

PS. It's heartening that there's so much of this quiet heroism. Also, thank you for mentioning Sharon Shapiro and her quiet heroism. You have honored her, and also inspired the rest of us to do what we can to reach out and help each other. It's greatly appreciated.

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AT&T HAS BEEN GRANTED A CALTRANS ENCROACHMENT PERMIT for utility work from Philo School Road on Highway 128 to East Limits Philo beginning Monday, May 4. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Motorists should anticipate five-minute delays. (Caltrans)


TWO COPTERS IN PHILO SATURDAY

An MSP viewer who didn't want photo credit (thank you) sent along some photos of the two helicopters near Gowan’s Fruit stand this morning in Philo. MSP also received a message from a viewer about a copter over Philo this morning — but it doesn't show up on any "flight app:" "Do you know anything about a helicopter flying back and forth over Anderson Valley? It flew over us in Philo three times since about 8:03 am. I’m inside and it was super loud so I assume flying low."

ANOTHER MSP READER SOON REPLIED: Yes. They are setting new poles, nothing to be alarmed about!

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WHAT IS HAPPENING TO LOCAL NEWS in Northern California is a freaking tragedy. The newspapers are being gutted of staff at the very moment people need accurate local information the most. The Sacramento Bee publisher made an appeal for donations last week. Translation: they're going down. The newspaper of record in California's capitol, going down.

I don't know what you're going to do, people. Think about it: these towns and cities have never not had a newspaper. Ever. Do you think you even know what a newspaper does for a community? I don't. But once it's gone you will notice I think and you won't be able to get it back. For now, these people are busting their asses. Please support them and don't treat them like the enemy. They are so not the enemy.

— Chris Calder

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RHODODENDRON

(photo by Larry Wagner)

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ALBION’S SALAD DAYS

AVA,

Bruce Anderson's recent report on the never ending saga of Bari and Cherney brought back many memories. We awoke fresh from our dreams of the salad days of the Albion Uprising. The Albion Nation was young and vibrant as we rallied to save our beloved land. Anderson might have added that the uprising was backed by a solid core of fisherfolk and "wood dogs" who got up early and worked hard. The glory and magic of those days was that we all pulled together for the common defense. Bari and Cherney, Beth Bosk, Annemarie, Utah Phillips, Kay Rudin, the hipnecks from Boonville, Mexicans and Native Americans, allies, Bruce Anderson, Bill Heil, Linda Perkins, Val, Daphne (the Viking Princess), the Albion countrywomen. The uprising’s IWW-EF! ranks swelled with the active support of the Mendocino Coast lunatic fringe which was larger than the cloth. We also got a fair and decent shake from our good Sheriff Tony Craver.

With our bodies and lawyers we saved a few fish and trees. We remember great music and fabulous smoke. Redwood Summer brought IWW activity to the Fort Bragg mill and countless EF! demonstrations.

The clearcuts finally stopped, alas not from our efforts. The greedy timber companies clearcut their lands of marketable timber for their mills and the "shortfall" commenced.

Judy Bari could articulate the goals of the anarcho-syndicalism (IWW) with more humor and good sense than anybody else. She had an anarchist head but sadly Leninist reflexes. Nonetheless, she was often insightful. Bari told me her ex-husband was an "asshole but not a monster." My old pal and ordained Catholic priest James Patrick Donahoe stated, "The hottest hole in hell was reserved for a man who would kill the Jewish mother of his children."

God knows who blew up Bari and Cherney and we pray at His time and place. He will take care of business.

Alan Captain Fathom Graham

Albion

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(photo by Susie de Castro)

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THE PROBLEM

by Oaky Joe Munson

Immoral, even criminal neglect!

Deathly sick patients are not getting the medicine they need to improve their quality of life and to prolong their lives. There are very few real compassionate care programs in the medical marijuana world. Almost all of it is merely lip service.

The government is frustrating many health care providers and doctors with their uninformed policies and hyper regulatory actions. The only government officials who genuinely appreciate the astounding benefits of the marijuana plant are the ones who have been impacted by it on a personal level. (Tony Linegar, retired Mendo and Sonoma County ag commissioner, heart attack and near death experience, is a fine example!)

No mere mortal can afford to grow any kind of significant size compassionate garden. There is way too much financial burden to carry — lawyers, code enforcement, permits, testing, tracking and all sorts of other compliance requirements. On top of all that there are many in the government who, in spite of all the documentation (by real doctors) still believe that cannabis is just a placebo and has no medical applications. These government officials have sworn to keep their constituents’ best interests at the top of their priority list! This is not happening.

Sick and/or dying patients have no voice, no power and no influence at all! The media coverage of these individuals has been almost nonexistent. Shameful corporate jerks!

There are a number of reasons why sick people need help and these include: physically unable to grow, no gardening skills, no space in their living situation (landlord), conservative neighbors (for example Pervine Lane in Sonoma County), can't afford the very expensive dispensaries, can't drive, no money to grow, homebound, mental issues, etc..

Some solutions:

Ask the patients what we can do to help them now and in the future -- maybe a survey.

Tax-free, permit free, and only health regulations (to be under the Agricultural Commissioner's jurisdiction).

Create a screening program for potential donees (recipients.)

Make grants or funding a real thing as to attract experienced, competent, conscientious cultivators.

Implement a tracking system to prevent diversion and abuses of medical marijuana.

Free delivery to homebound individuals.

Shut down the pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly over the healing medicines available.

No more lies about the sunsetting of Proposition 215! Lies without basis!

Somehow change federal policy on medical marijuana — a huge part of the solution.

Medi-Cal and Medicare for patients’ medical marijuana costs.

Create a separate noncommercial medical cannabis "industry."

Create a foundation to supply sick patients with free medical marijuana until the time the government gets its priorities in order (probably never).

Do some good.

Oaky Joe Munson

Sonoma County

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 2, 2020

Alvarez, Langley, Martinez,Mora-Whitehurst

ARMANDO ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Under influence, suspended license (for refusing chemical test), false ID, failure to appear, probation revocation.

MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobying court order, probation revocation.

ANDREW MARTINEZ, Willits. Carjacking, kidnapping, controlled substance while armed with loadeed firearm, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, community supervision violation, suspended license.

ALEX MORA-WHITEHURST, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resistintg.

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OFFICIAL COVID-19 DEATH TOLLS STILL UNDER-COUNT THE TRUE NUMBER OF FATALITIES

April 16, 2020, The Economist

AS COVID-19 has spread around the world, people have become grimly familiar with the death tolls that their governments publish each day. Unfortunately, these tend to under-count the true number of fatalities that the disease has already caused. In many places, official daily figures exclude anybody who did not die in hospital or who did not test positive. Often the cause of death takes several days to establish and report, which creates a lag in the data. And even the most complete covid-19 records will not count people who were killed by conditions that might normally have been treated, had hospitals not been overwhelmed by a surge of patients needing intensive care. 

A better way to measure the damage caused by such a medical crisis is to look at “excess mortality”: the gap between the total number of people who died from any cause, and the historical average for the same place and time of year. The charts below use data from a network of epidemiologists who collect weekly reports on deaths from all causes in 24 European countries, covering 350m people. 

Compared to the baseline average of deaths from 2009-19, the flu seasons of 2017, 2018 and 2019 were all unusually lethal. But the covid-19 pandemic, which arrived much later in the year, has already reached a higher peak—and would have been far more damaging without social-distancing measures. EuroMOMO’s figures suggest that there were about 120,000 excess deaths between March 16th and April 19th. 

We cannot compare EuroMOMO’s reports directly to official covid-19 tolls, because the organisation does not publish absolute numbers of deaths for each country. Instead, we have gathered data separately from statistical bureaus around the world (see table below). Some Western nations began releasing regular updates in early April, as we first reported at the time. A few—such as Italy and the Netherlands—show an excess of deaths that is double the official covid-19 tally for the same period.

Full article: economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19-excess-deaths-across-countries

* * *

* * *

DNC: PLEASE VOTE FOR OUR LIAR, NOT THEIRS

One of the lesser-known Biden lies may not be as significant a lie for some journalists, but it is a lie that speaks loudly about Biden’s character—or lack thereof. Perhaps it is just me, but I find it especially pathetic when someone exploits family tragedy for political purposes with a lie that creates personal tragedy for someone else. Specifically, it is Biden’s lie about the horrific traffic accident in 1972 that resulted in the tragic death of his first wife and his baby daughter, as well as resulting in severe injuries to his sons. The truth is that Biden’s then wife was hit by a truck after she drove into an intersection in which the truck had the right of way, and the police investigation cleared the truck’s driver from any blame. To gain greater sympathy for himself, Biden repeatedly lied to the public saying that the truck driver, Curtis Dunn, was a man who “drank his lunch instead of eating his lunch.” This falsehood of course deeply hurt Dunn. His family made many attempts to get Biden to correct it, and finally in 2009, after Curtis Dunn was dead, Biden called Dunn’s daughter to apologize.

— Bruce Levine

counterpunch.org/2020/05/01/if-trump-is-a-pathological-liar-what-type-of-liar-is-biden/

* * *

SENEGAL WRESTLERS

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HOORAY, HOORAY, THE FIRST OF MAY. MOTA: GOOD NIGHT RADIO ALL NIGHT TONIGHT!

Deadline to email your writing for tonight's MOTA show is around 7pm. If seven comes and goes and you're not done, send it whenever it's ready and I'll read it on next week's show. 

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. Also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org and click on Listen. And any time of any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's show and shows before that. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's MOTA will also be there, in the latest post, right on top.

Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a worldwide labor movement of not-necessarily-radio-useful items to stand in solidarity with, such as, though not necessarily including:

Nerdwriter on comics and Alan Moore. theawesomer.com/how-marvelman-changed-superheroes/569547/

And Tin Tan & The Malagon Sisters - Cha Cha Cha. tinyurl.com/TinTanChaChaCha

Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

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* * *

OCASIO-CORTEZ: This is absolutely going to make income inequality worse. There is no question. And it did not have to be this way. This crisis could have ushered in an era of public policy that really healed. But we aren't doing that. What we are doing is that we are kind of responding to a fire instead of with water, we are responding to it with gasoline. 

Coronavirus presents an opportunity for the United States to actually catch up with the developed world, with the rest of the developed world in health care guarantees, in wages and jobs. But it is being squandered. When the stay at home orders were first issued, we saw a massive shift in the direction of progressive policy. You had Mitt Romney talking about a universal basic income. And then a couple of interesting things happened. It felt like once the racial data came out that showed that this was disproportionately impacting working class people and black and brown people, it was almost like within days a lot of those ambitions just fell. But when we didn't know who it was going to impact, when all of us felt vulnerable, we were ready to change. And I think that, at the very least, should be a moment of reflection for our country.

* * *

* * *

ANSWER THIS ONE, MIKE

Town Hall Question for May 6

 To: Senator Mike McGuire: <Senator.McGuire@Senate.ca.gov>

Per the recent UCLA Economic Forecast for California, the economy is heading into a recession with recovery estimated 2-3 years away. County tax revenues for those lacking thriving, recoverable industries like tech, entertainment/media, agribusiness, will likely collapse. In Mendocino, the tourist industry collapse due to forced closures for 2020/21 "pandemic" will likely result in business failures, unemployment and net outmigration, with a snowball effect on property valuation, etc. Apart from County elected offices like the Sherriff, Tax Collector, etc., are there statutory restrictions on Counties sharing the administration, operation and costs of functions like Health and Human Services, County Administration, Cultural, Child Services, Planning, Roads, etc? Could several Counties obtain such peripheral services from shared regional services function(s), reportable to the BOS' of those Counties sharing those services, setting measurable quality service delivery goals? The Counties could exit such a structure if quality is not maintained or costs escalate.. 

Economies of scale would lower overall costs and the less densely populated Counties like Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt, etc. could obtain improved, more professionally delivered services at a much lower cost for administration / management while maintaining oversight by the respective BOS's to assure quality is maintained or even improved. Set concrete, measurable goals and measure performance and reimbursement by goal achievement. Perhaps privatize service delivery (for example, Granite and others could bid on road maintenance for a set period and be paid based on how well those services are delivered)? 

Walter Watson <cyber_diver@prodigy.net>

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I agree … all the deep-state cultists and conspiracy-theory chasers just can’t accept the evidence from several authorities: it is a naturally occurring bat virus that jumped species in Wuhan – no deliberate human intervention at all.

Rather than jumping at nut-fudge shadows, people should be demanding that China implement serious food hygiene and animal welfare practices.

And enforce it with various economic and trade sanctions … but the Fox-watching zombies are too addicted to their cheap flatscreen TVs.

* * *

* * *

NO MENTION…

Subject: Mayday

Dear Editor (of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat),

Yesterday, May 1st, was World Worker Day 2020. I found it puzzling that there was no mention of this in The Press Democrat. In cities around the world and here in the US of A workers spoke out to demand safer working conditions, rent relief and fair pay. They are calling for a General Strike 2020 at places such as Amazon, UPS, meat packing facilities and other large Corporate hubs of commerce. 

Instead the front page (May 2nd, Press Democrat) shows the pudgy, pampered and mostly white flag wavers defying Governor Newsom’s quarantine mandates. No masks anywhere to be seen and certainly no social distance of six feet. These people are putting everyone around them at risk as we, and Gov. Newsom, know that science tells us that the virus can be spread by a-symptomatic individuals. 

Letter writer Tom Beto (May 2, 2020, P.D.) was spot on when he quoted Winston Churchill, “This is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” We are looking at a long overdue overhaul of the entire economic system where the needs and demands of workers and the environment are at the center of the stage not capital investment or Wall Street or the 1%. The tide is turning, the era of conspicuous consumption, worship of the market place and Wall Street and its dominance of our government and social priorities are about to be inundated as a new reality takes hold. It’s Mayday Indeed. Stay tuned, build community, grow food and support local farmers. 

Tim McClure

Fort Bragg

* * *

WOODRAT NEST

(photo by Annie Kalantarian)

26 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr May 3, 2020

    ~~Divine Anarchy: Solution to the Crazy Civilization and its Psychopathic Rulers~~

    Seriously, what is the appropriate response to a crazy civilization and the cast of psychopathic dictators, kings, presidents, and the occasional matriarchal authoritarian? Overthrow! There is no possibility of “reforming”, particularly by voting. The basic mechanisms are designed to take advantage of the individual. This is bad. It’s that simple. And worse, the imploding global ecological situation. What is your response going to be?
    As spring slowly turns into summer, our collective imperative is to organize to effectively defend against an insane globalized civilization based on materialism. It’s that simple. The way is to individually get spiritually centered and to act from there, and secondly, to form non-neurotic relationships with others for the purpose of taking direct action. It’s that simple.
    I am willing to forge realistic relationships with others for the purpose of radical environmental action, and also peace & justice for victims of the military-industrial machine.
    If you agree with me that it is “get real” time on earth, then contact me. What would you do in this world if you knew that you could not fail? It’s that simple.

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
    Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr
    Snail Mail: P.O. Box 235670, Honolulu, HI 96823
    No Phone😀

  2. Annemarie Weibel May 3, 2020

    Can the reader from Boonville who is concerned about permission being sought to put a cell tower across the road from the Anderson Valley Elementary School get a hold of me? Thanks, Annemarie Weibel

  3. Annemarie Weibel May 3, 2020

    Julia Acker Krog, chief planner Mendocino County Building & Planning Services Department, notified AT&T that all construction in preparation for the wireless communications facility at the Lord’s Land on Navarro Ridge Road in Albion must cease.

    There will be a full coastal permit development process which will take 6-8 months. It’s an “after the fact” discretionary permit, meaning that both the County and the CA. Coastal Commission will review it and make changes as needed with the CA. Coastal Commission having the final say.

    A total of 50 wooden poles that were placed on both sides of Navarro Ridge Road leading up to the site (3 miles from Hwy 1) and the cables strung from pole to pole can’t be removed just yet since they are evidence of the construction.

    There will be a public hearing and all residents who live in close proximity to these poles on Navarro Ridge Road will be notified by mail.

    There is no exemption from coastal zone regulations for this new construction which violates the protection of the highly scenic area, and must follow the Local Coastal Plan (LCP) approved by the CA. Coastal Commission.

    The County’s Building & Planning Services Department has also contacted the Coastal Commission.

    Annemarie Weibel

  4. Kathy Janes May 3, 2020

    Annie Proulx’s “Postcards” was the most harrowing novel I have ever read. The writing was beautiful but the story was heartbreaking. It still appears in my worst dreams.

  5. James Marmon May 3, 2020

    RE: FREEDOM MASKS

    If masks work, why can’t people go back to work? If they don’t work, why are people being required to wear them?

    James Marmon
    Mask Maker

  6. Joe May 3, 2020

    As Europe and North America continue suffering their steady economic and social decline as a direct result of imposing ‘lockdown’ on their populations, other countries have taken a different approach to dealing with the coronavirus threat. You wouldn’t know it by listening to western politicians or mainstream media stenographers, there are also nonlockdown countries. They are led by Sweden, Iceland, Belarus, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Surprisingly to some, their results have been as good or better than the lockdown countries, but without having to endure the socio-economic chaos we are now witnessing across the world. For this reason alone, Sweden and others like them, have already won the policy debate, as well as the scientific one too.

    https://21stcenturywire.com/2020/05/01/covid-why-sweden-has-already-won-the-debate-on-covid-19-lockdown-policy/

    • Brian Wood May 3, 2020

      “For this reason alone, Sweden and others like them, have already won the policy debate, as well as the scientific one too.”

      Obviously, this remains to be seen.

      • Joe May 3, 2020

        Let’s wait until our economy is a dead and we have 0 civil rights so we can be absolutely sure.

  7. Susie de Castro May 3, 2020

    High School Graduation

    “Exude positivity and calmness in crisis”

    Dan Crenshaw, Purple Heart Recipient, Navy Seal, Tufts and Harvard graduate, Texas U.S. House of Representatives.

    Dan and I grew up in Houston, Texas, graduated from the same bilingual American high school in South America, and attended university on the East coast.

  8. Joe May 3, 2020

    https://twitter.com/DocEvenhouse/status/1256765070245269505

    Meanwhile, regular doctors like me are using HCQ + Azithromycin and Zinc to good effect. One nursing home in NE Ohio had 30 cases – started everyone on HCQ, no deaths. Quick recovery. Why would the MSM hide this? Why would twitter block people who question the WHO?

    • Marilyn Davin May 3, 2020

      Dr. Joe?

      • Joe May 3, 2020

        No his name is Doc Evenhouse, Did you read his twitter?

    • Susie de Castro May 3, 2020

      MD Joe?

      Regular Joe?

      Average Joe?

      Ordinary Joe?

      • Stephen Rosenthal May 3, 2020

        More like Joe the Bartender, for fans of Jackie Gleason.

        Actually I think he’s Joe the Plumber, left over from the last election.

    • Joe May 3, 2020

      I like more info on his $1 billion dollar Chinese mask deal for which he offers no details.

    • Bruce Anderson May 3, 2020

      Yes. It’s very peaceful.

      • Joe May 3, 2020

        I guess if you don’t mind being surveilled , don’t own a restaurant or have a mortgage to pay it’s all very peaceful.

  9. Joe May 3, 2020

    But there is zero correlation:

    California: Heavy lockdown, 4.6 deaths per 100,000;

    Iowa: No lockdown, 4.3 deaths per 100,000;

    Texas: Light lockdown, 2.4 deaths per 100,000;

    Washington state: Heavy lockdown, 10.0 deaths per 100,000;

    Colorado: Inconsistent lockdown, 12.2 deaths per 100,000;

    Georgia: Late Lockdown now lifted, 10.0 deaths per 100,000;

    Maine: Heavy Lockdown, 3.8 deaths per 100,000;

    Massachusetts: Heavy Lockdown, 45.7 deaths per 100,000.

  10. Joe May 3, 2020

    SHERIFF KENDALL:

    Your oath of office is to the constitution not to unconstitutional orders from the Governor .

  11. Joe May 3, 2020

    Into this milieu, enter the tin-foil-hats, and things become inordinately more precarious. What we get is a type of three-body-problem writ large where the three independent forces can be described by three age-old adages, ( all of which are possibly apocryphal quotes):

    “Never ascribe to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity” (a.k.a Hanlon’s Razor, often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte)

    “Never let a good crisis go to waste” (Winston Churchill)

    “Never believe anything until it is officially denied” (Bismarck)

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