- Covelo Grows
- Judy Moon
- Drought Looming
- Palace Hotel
- Departmental Reports
- Home Garden
- Responsible Recreation
- Test Machine
- Farmers' Market
- Plant Sale
- Tourism Needed
- Riverbank Crowd
- Skittish Buyers
- Ed Notes
- Asparagus Conundrum
- Bogota Building
- Motorcycle Thugs
- Yesterday's Catch
- Alcatraz Baseball
- Dem Done
- Bundy Poll
- Boost Immunity
- Bacteria Reject
- Counterproductive Economy
- NFL Reelection
- Breaker Boys
- Prison Letter
- Mendo Protest
- Bridgette's Story
- Quicksand Tip
- Davis Book
- Strapped In
- Responsible Behavior
- Bernie Delegates
- Turkey Moon
WELL ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES will continue today and Saturday with inland valley areas expected to reach the upper 80s to mid 90s again. Some cooling is expected Sunday with a significant pattern change expected Monday. A cooler, wetter pattern will arrive Monday and continue through the middle of the week, bringing widespread precipitation to much of the area. (NWS)
WHAT’S GOING ON AT THE OLD GRAY WHALE INN?
by Chris Calder
The Redwood Coast Inn is looking shabby these days, but it has a special place in Fort Bragg's heart.
Partly that's because, even now, a fair number of Fort Bragg people were born there. The place opened in 1915 as the town's first modern hospital and operated continuously until 1971, when Mendocino Coast District Hospital opened its doors.
That's why it was...ironic? Hopeful? Disturbing? It's hard to tell yet… that on the day of the pretty momentous handover of Coast Hospital to its new Adventist Health managers, that Fort Bragg's very first hospital seemed to be coming under new outside management as well.
But while Adventist Health heralded its takeover with balloons, prayers, and Sister Sledge playing in the parking lot, the Redwood Coast Inn's (formerly the Grey Whale Inn) transition so far has been marked by furtive bong hits on the back porch and, as we shall see, angry tirades on the front.
Someone was definitely moving in by the first weekend in May, in the middle of the County’s Shelter In Place. Among the new cars and new faces was a burly, ponytailed gent who was soon spotted and photographed hitting a king-sized bong on the back steps.
After an on-line post by local business man Jim Britt, which included a photo of the bong-hitter, Fort Bragg Facebook swung into action. Who were these people moving into a downtown landmark when we were all supposed to be staying home?
In Locked Down Fort Bragg, inquiring minds wanted to know.
Until last summer, the Redwood Coast Inn had been part of Living Light, a deluxe vegan cooking school based in Fort Bragg that went belly up last summer, less than two years after its founder Cherie Soria sold it to a Santa Barbara-based organization called Communities Moving Forward. The dissolution of Living Light as a functioning business, though not as a legal corporation, was acrimonious, with rumors of nervous breakdowns and skulduggery — all related to the new proprietors — rife.
According to county parcel data, the Santa Barbara-based Communities Moving Forward, which also operates five addiction rehab facilities in San Diego, now owns the Redwood Coast Inn. Living Light remains an active Limited Liability Corporation and still owns the former Colonial Inn, a gorgeous Craftsman-style home/inn, now also in shabby state, a block from Fort Bragg Middle School in what is known as Fort Bragg's Snob Hill neighborhood.
Living Light is now somehow associated with the non-profit Communities Moving Forward.
It turns out the man hitting the bong on the back steps of the Redwood Inn is named Jacob Lawrence. He's from Willits. He asks some people to call him Big Jake.
Big Jake and his associates started moving into the Redwood Coast Inn around the weekend of May 2, as far as the neighbors could tell. Jake told one curious observer that he plans to open a halfway house for veterans recovering from drug addiction there.
That would jibe with what Big Jake has told Planning Departments in both Fort Bragg and Willits city halls, where he has asked about what it would take to open a halfway house in both towns. According to staff at both departments, Big Jake has not gone past asking.
It would also seem to line up approximately with the purpose of the nonprofit mutual benefit corporation that Big Jake — identifying himself as Jacob Matthew Lawrence on the paperwork — has registered with the California Secretary of State's office.
Med Vets, according to its incorporation papers, "is a non profit mutual benefit corporation… The specific purpose of this corporation is to spread awareness and facilitate care through activities to prevent suicide for war veterans."
Big Jake could have explained all that on Monday afternoon when I knocked at the front door of the Redwood Coast Inn. There was a “closed” sign in the window, but seeing as the place is a public lodging facility on Main Street and it was the middle of a workday, I figured it might be OK to ask the new occupants what their plans are.
There are actually two front entrances to the Redwood Coast Inn, probably having to do with its days as a hospital. At the main entrance that afternoon, a big bull terrier lay inside on the stairs, visible and friendly through the glass doors. A walking stick and a couple other items indicated current occupants, but no humans were visible.
At the second front entrance, Big Jake was visible through the glass, along with two associates, hard at a game of cards on a Monday afternoon.
Big Jake was not nearly as friendly as the bull terrier. Without a word, he jabbed his finger angrily at the main entrance.
Complying with his mute but clear instructions, I walked back over to that entrance to find him standing, arms akimbo, at the top of the steps. Jake is indeed big, that part is certainly true.
Menacingly, he demanded to know my "business.” After I explained I had come over to ask what the new activity and people were about, and after pointing out that I was doing so in a neighborly way, he asked if I was "giving him shit.” I gave up trying to be diplomatic and told him I guessed I was.
Big Jake descended the steps and proceeded to tower over and bellow at me.
But towering and bellowing aren't as effective when you can't manage to tell the truth about yourself. Big Jake told me, twice, that he is the owner of the Redwood Coast Inn.
A quick check of County property records show he is not the owner, that Communities Moving Forward is, and Jake is not an officer of that entity.
Jake told me he has permits for transitional housing or a rehab center or whatever it is he plans to do at the Redwood Coast Inn.
A quick check with Fort Bragg City Hall revealed Jacob Lawrence has no permits for anything in Fort Bragg.
According to the Fort Bragg Police Department, Big Jake has asked to file charges of Criminal Trespass and Criminal Threats against me, based on the five minute conversation/shouting match he and I had on the front steps of the Redwood Coast Inn last Monday afternoon.
We'll see how that goes.
So, Fort Bragg and Big Jake are getting acquainted. As one observer put it, "the interesting part is probably what happens next."
A READER NOTES: "On Jim Britt’s post regarding this issue, shared May 5th on the Mendocino Sports Plus Facebook page, there is a photo of 3 men at the location. The person on the left in that photo, smoking the big bong, is Jake Lawrence, CEO of an organization called Med Vets. The purpose of the organization keeps changing but its goal seems to simply be to get someone to support them financially. The person on the right, in suspenders, shorts and flip-flops, looks to be the secretary of the organization, Mr. Edward Senior. And the man in the middle, wearing a black hat, can’t really be identified but he resembles their CFO, Mr. Darryl Lynn Kauffman. The IRS suspended Mr. Kaufman’s CPA license indefinitely in a disciplinary action, effective October 30, 2019. The State of California shows his license was revoked last June. They started out in Yuba City and may have learned that Mendocino County is a pushover when it comes to setting up shop and obtaining financial support via taxpayer money for a supposed “helping” entity when you don’t want any sort of vetting or oversight. As busy as City staff and the City Council are right now, I hope they find the time to conduct due diligence on this Med Vets scam and shut down their 'operations' at the Grey Whale Inn pronto."
ENCROACHED, ENDANGERED, AND IN NEED OF ENFORCEMENT: Mendocino County Sheriff On His Agency’s Response To Round Valley’s "Invasion Of Illegal Marijuana Grows"
by Matt LaFever
A video posted on the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page Tuesday featured Sheriff Matt Kendall describing an “invasion of illegal marijuana grows” propagating in Round Valley and vowed to increase efforts to eradicate them. The video explained the case of a missing San Jose man Victor Medina, who was last known to be working on a grow site near Covelo, prompted a search warrant being served on a Round Valley farm resulting in the arrest of two workers, detainment of 8 more, and the eradication of 22,148 plants.
Yesterday, Sheriff Kendall spoke with us about his agency’s responsibilities to protect Round Valley’s residents and resources.
Kendall explained how illegal growers are displacing and intimidating Round Valley residents from their tribal lands. He described prospective growers finding “a distant relative of someone that has ties to the reservation” and paying that person to use their tribal lands “even though it’s not their land because there are 300 other names on it.” The grower will then “set up a grow” on that land and “any native that goes up there, they run them off.”
Sheriff Kendall expressed concern that “there has been a lot of violence associated with these grow sites.” He described over the last fifteen years, there being thirteen homicides in Round Valley, and “about 10 of them are directly related to illegal grows.”
Kendall also candidly spoke about a dramatic disparity in wealth now observable in the town of Covelo between the outsider growers and the locals. “They are people who have come from out of the area who have come up to make money,” he explained. “To be honest with you, when you drive through Covelo now, you’ve never seen so much money surrounded by poverty.”
Environmental degradation caused by these illegal grows, Sheriff Kendall explained, included: “water pumped out of creeks…herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers being spread all over the ground.” Sheriff Kendall added, “There is no doubt in my mind” that massive algae blooms in the Eel River are directly connected with fertilizer usage. Kendall celebrated Round Valley’s stewardship of its natural resources “hoping they’ll be there for future generations” but feared trespass grows could compromise those resources.
Sheriff Kendall addressed MCSO’s limitations when attempting to mitigate the rise in illegal marijuana grows: “We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. It used to take a couple of hours to chop down a 500 plant grow. Yesterday, we were just under 23,000 plants which is an all-day event and it takes a lot of manpower to get it done.”
To bolster his agency’s efforts in combating the illegal grows, Sheriff Kendall emphasized the importance of seeking resources for support: “We’re going to seek out every resource that we possibly can. I’ll ask for resources from the US Forest Service if these grows touch the forest. I’ll be asking for resources from CAMP and the California Department of Justice, DEA, DOJ, and FBI. Any resource that I can use to help take care of the problem without putting the burden too much on the taxpayers.”
Addressing the jurisdictional challenges MCSO navigates when enforcing marijuana laws in Round Valley, Kendall explained, “Tribal lands, for the most part, are federal lands. The tribe can allow members to grow 25 plants but if the federal government shows up, they don’t care.” Sheriff Kendall expressed trust in the Round Valley Tribal Council in determining what is right for their tribal members and said he knew that when “they started calling us and saying ‘we’ve got a problem’ if we don’t be good partners to them, they won’t be good partners to us.”
MCSO’s support of Round Valley’s law enforcement efforts is legally mandated by Public Law 280 which “compels county sheriffs to enforce the laws on tribal lands,” Sheriff Kendall explained. According to Kendall, tribal law enforcement has a limited toolset to mitigate these illegal marijuana grows: “They’ve been running around kicking …non-tribal members off tribal property” and then tribal police can “make a citizen arrest and then the sheriff has to go and accept that arrest.
Sheriff Kendall assured the increased eradication of illegal marijuana grows will not infringe on those following the law. “We’re not going to mess with anybody that’s legal,” he explained. “It would be a waste of our time. This work is not cheap. I cannot afford to waste money on people who aren’t breaking the law.”
Kendall argued that increased enforcement against illegal marijuana grows could incentivize these growers to consider crossing the threshold into the legal market. He asked, “If we just go after the ones that are just doing the damage and being illegal, how long will it be until we don’t have to deal with it anymore because everyone moves into the legal market?”
As to any illegal marijuana grower, Kendall simply said, “If they’re breaking the law, they are breaking the law.”
GOT DROUGHT? AN UPDATE
by Marshall Newman
Back in late January of this year, I wrote an article for the Anderson Valley Advertiser expressing my concern that Anderson Valley would be looking at drought conditions by mid-summer unless a lot of rain arrived before the end of the rainy season. At that time, the rainfall total for Boonville was 13.39 inches. The end of the rainy season is now at hand and the conditions are even more dire than anticipated.
As of May 6, the rainfall total for Boonville stands at 16.40 inches, barely 3 inches more than the total on January 27. The total is only 1.23 inches more than the 15.17 inches that fell during 1976-1977, the driest year of the past 50 year. Predictions call for chances of rain early in the week of May 11, but that rain probably will not change the current situation.
Anyone with doubts regarding the pending serious water situation in Anderson Valley should look at the Navarro River. Currently the Navarro River is flowing at 30.2 cubic feet per second at the gage, situated just below the confluence of the south and north forks of the Navarro. The 69-year median flow for the Navarro on this date is 117 cubic feet per second, which means current flow is slightly more than 25 percent of the usual flow on May 6. By comparison, Navarro River flow on this date last year was approximately 121 cubic feet per second, slightly more than the 69-year median.
The Navarro River flow today also is approximately the same as in the first week of June 2018, another dry year, but one in which Anderson Valley received 24 inches of rain. Navarro River flow is currently dropping at a rate of approximately 8 cubic feet per second each week, which suggests its flow in early June, even with a likely slowing of the decline, will be less than 10 cubic feet per second. Yes, the situation is bad now and will get much worse before the end of summer.
Based on the previous very dry year in Anderson Valley – 1976-1977 – there will be stretches of the south fork of the Navarro River and its tributaries that will cease flowing by mid-summer. Ground water levels will drop as local folks and local agriculture pump from their wells. Some springs and wells will go dry and others – though continuing to produce - won’t provide enough water to supply a household.
The options for locals are limited. Additional storage tanks will help. So will low-flow toilets, showers and faucets, and drip irrigation in gardens and vineyards. Grape growers should consider dry farming this year. Level sensors in wells that shut off submergible and centrifugal pumps while there is still water above the intake won’t help the water situation, but will keep those pumps from burning up. Building a relationship with one of the local water haulers also may prove to be a lifesaver later on.
There always is a chance we will see lots of rain in the next month or so. Cross your fingers. Such rain might hurt local agriculture, but would be preferable to the current looming drought summer.
PALACE HOTEL, Ukiah, 1920s
THERE’S LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF buried deep in Mendo’s departmental reports, most of which goes unnoticed and always un-acted upon. For example in the April 28 CEO report there was this notice from the County’s Building Division (in Planning and Building): “We typically issue 70-80 permits per week and we are now down to 8-10 permits issued per week. People are not able or are unwilling to pay for the permits, although staff has notified numerous applicants of permits ready to issue.”
You’d think our well paid officials would want to know WHY after going to all the trouble of applying for a permit, “People are not able or are unwilling to pay for the permits.” Could it be the exorbitant cost? Could it be that the permit has taken so long to be processed that they have given up and no longer want to proceed? Could it be that the corona virus has caused people to withdraw their projects?
The “Cannabis Division” had little to report: “We continue to process active phase I applications (approx. 900) and renewals and permit transfers.”
Which is pretty much the same as it was last year. The program is so dormant nobody even cares about it anymore. Again no interest from any managers.
However, that didn’t stop the Supervisors from engaging in a pointless discussion on Tuesday of an upcoming phase (3?) of the cannabis program during which Supervisor John McCowen claimed that recent aerial surveillance and enforcement being conducted in Southern Humboldt County has pushed some illegal pot grows from there down into Mendocino County. That was followed by a discussion of whether Mendo should do its own version of aerial pot grow surveillance and enforcement. Supervisor McCowen thought that, basically, letting too many illegal growers go unenforced is unfair to the few growers who are trying to go legit. Supervisor Ted Williams opined that there wasn’t much point in enforcement if the County didn’t have a functioning permit process that the illegal growers could enter. Williams also thought that enforcement alone would cost money the County doesn’t have right now.
The discussion also drifted into Mendo’s implementation of the state’s newly approved “cannabis equity program,” which offers financial and technical assistance to growers who, allegedly, have had trouble entering the legal system for financial or technical reasons.
Mendo is of course fully on-board with this program because it will translate into more money for Mendo — not because it will improve anything cannabis-wise. The program is so unwieldy and unworkable that no amount of “assistance” will help. But it will funnel more money into the county’s cannabis bureaucracy after being laundered through a few recalcitrant growers which seems like the program's unstated goal. If they wanted to actually bring some of the bureaucracy for finance-challenged “legacy” growers into some kind of “compliance” they’d make the program more workable. Without simplification, the more than $2 million in equity “assistance” will not bring any illegal growers in from the cold — especially when they can still make more money in the black market without all the hassles of the legal cannabis program.
TED WILLIAMS SAYS:
Personal responsibility as we attempt to open parks for locals. — Mendocino County residents, I have a favor to ask. When State Parks lifts restrictions, transitioning from hard-close to soft-close, perhaps as early as Friday, please keep proper distance. Every effort is being made to enable our residents to recreate, but an Orange County style display of disregard for distancing could set us back. Further, it will not help if we're known as a place to get away during COVID-19. The immediate goal is to allow locals to enjoy their favorite parks, trails and beaches. It's incumbent upon us to protect access by demonstrating personal responsibility. We can't legislate personal responsibility -- it's up to each of us to make this transition a success.
GET THE MACHINE
Okay friends, Mendocino County needs your help. Please contact the governor (below link) to request a machine to complete Covid-19 tests.
As I understand it, we are able to attest to and meet all the criteria for gradual reopening except for testing. We can perform the tests, but cannot process enough to meet the criteria (150 a day). This is because we lack our own machine and we have limited access to out of area processing labs. Humboldt County was given one machine by the state, Sonoma County was given two, and we got zero. Until we can process enough tests, no nonessential businesses will open to foot traffic, and we will be limited in other ways also. I wrote to the governor and requested a machine for our county. If enough of us do this, he may understand our dilemma and I am hopeful we may be given a machine.
Write Governor Newsom here - thank you!: govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/
STRAWBERRY SEASON! AT THE BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET
Join us at the Boonville Farmers' Market this Friday from 4-6pm in the parking area of Disco Ranch.
Please remember to wear your mask and (not or) maintain a 6' distance from others. I have extra masks if you need one. Last week's market was awesome! It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves but we need to get better at maintaining a 6' distance. I know it's weird but we need to work together to keep our community safe and healthy, and to keep our market open. Please self-manage.
We'll have a vibrant array of fresh local goodies. Petit Teton will be joining us with fresh spring veggies and other delights, Inland Ranch has pastured, organic meat and eggs, Angel will be offering natural body care, Unity Club will have an assortment of beautiful perennials Bramble Family Farms has award winning organic olive oil, Natural Products of Boonville will have a variety of tomato starts as well as other veggie starts and, the Boonville Barn Collective will make their debut with.....strawberries! Need I say more?
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 Darling)
BYE BYE TOURISM
I am Capt. Cass Forrington, owner of the Sea Glass Museum near Fort Bragg.
I was on Sen. McGuire’s conference call last night and was extremely distressed to hear the public health officer say we are “no longer a tourist economy until there is a vaccine.”
I find this to be completely naive and off base. On the coast, ALL we are is a tourist economy, pandemic or no. What if there is never a vaccine? We still don’t have one for AIDS or the common cold.
If you folks do not allow tourism June-August, even if it is limited, you will completely destroy the local economy.
This will have severe repercussions that could last decades.
We could lose the Skunk Train and the Botanical Gardens.
If the economy collapses, we will probably also lose our struggling hospital, which means retirees will have to move out.
The problem is, the public health officer does not trust people to do the right thing, even though the whole world now knows about mitigation procedures.
People can follow those procedures here just as well as at their home town.
Motels can hold a room for 2 days, or 3, before renting it again so they know there is no virus. Non-adjacent campsites can be utilized. There ARE other options.
What is the point in opening restaurants when there is no one here to eat in them?
Restaurants already run on slim margins. There are, by necessity, a lot of employees. If they can’t sell enough meals to cover costs, they will not open and fold up.
Property prices will plummet. Foreclosures will eventually ensue. You can forget about developing the GP land.
Domestic violence and divorce will go up.
We haven’t lost a soul to COVID yet, but if our economy doesn’t open up, we will lose a lot of people to suicide, drugs, alcohol, etc.
You folks need to wake up and get public health on board. I am also disturbed to see public health does not have an email address. Why not?
NAVARRO RIVER SCENE
A reader from Philo writes: "Thursday at 3 pm there were at least twenty vehicles parked at the Philo-Greenwood Road bridge over the Navarro River. The crowd along the riverbank looked almost as dense as in the photos we’ve seen from Orange County beaches. Social distancing? Masks? Negative on both counts."
PANDEMIC MAKES WINERY BUYERS SKITTISH About Buying Grapes During Upcoming Harvest
The disruption triggered by the coronavirus pandemic adds uncertainty to a domestic wine sector already grappling with an oversupply of grapes and bulk wine, making regional wineries even more skittish to commit to buying fruit during this year’s wine grape harvest, a top industry analyst said Wednesday.
ADVANCE NOTICES claimed that Michael Jordan doesn't come off too well, personality wise, excuse the un-grammar, but the episodes of The Last Dance bio I've watched depict him, unsurprisingly, as a super-competitive jock not any different than a million other super-competitive jocks except he was in a class by himself as a basketball player. The controversy apparently arises in an episode to come that discusses Jordan's gambling addiction. Jordan responds that "I never bet on games. I only bet on myself, and that was golf. Do I like playing blackjack? Yeah… The League called me and asked questions about it and I told them I didn't have a problem because I could stop gambling. I have a competition problem, a competitive problem." I agree with Jordan. If you can stop, you don't have a prob.
WHICH got me thinking back to my sports days when I played all the sports in high school but was only good at one of them — baseball, which I played for a couple of years at the college level because it got me a free meal ticket, a free room, and a phony job in the college library where I could hide in the stacks reading and napping. All us jockos were housed separately from the legit students, which was a good thing because a lot of the jocks were engaged in what otherwise would be considered criminal activity — fighting and late night hijinks of all kinds. Ted Tollner was a baseball teammate, and Fred Wittingham, who went on to become a dominant linebacker with the LA Rams was a friend of mine because I wrote papers for him, an employment I couldn't refuse. All these years since I had deluded myself that although I was a pitcher and occasional outfielder I was a pretty good hitter. Nope. I also thought my pitching record was better than it turned out to be when I looked it up after a friend told me it was probably on-line. In two seasons, often pitching in relief, I was 4-6 with one win over UCLA, which was probably a fluke. I peaked in high school where all you had to do was throw strikes to get most people out. But I did throw — dramatic pause here — a 13-inning shut out against San Rafael High School, a record that will stand forever since high school kids are now limited as to how many innings a week they can pitch. By the time I got to college-level sports I'd lost interest in endless bus rides to Fresno with guys farting on each other, giving each other hot foots and arguing about whose high school team was better than whose. To pass the hours I'd start arguments with the head coach, saying something provocative to him then taking the opposite view of everything else he said. He always rose to the bait, but he was probably as bored as I was. Looking back, though, I know now if I'd worked at my game I could have been pretty good, but then all us old guys say that.
THE HOUNDS YOWLED, sirens soon heard, emergency vehicles sped past and… take it away, MSP:
'BABY BLUE' VEHICLE 'FULLY INVOLVED, HWY 128, MILEPOST 8.6
The Anderson Valley Fire Department & CalFire are responding to this incident - the vehicle reportedly went over the embankment and is 200' from the roadway. It's unknown if it is occupied so a medical response (ground & air - CalStar 4) was also dispatched.
An updated location was mile marker 8.5 on Highway 128.
According to State Parks personnel, there were two occupants who "self-extricated." There are no injuries. The air ambulance was canceled and the ground ambulance was told to respond "Code 2" (no lights/siren).
A report from the scene said the vehicle WAS fully involved with a minor spread of the fire to the wildland. It is "well off the road." The occupants refused medical treatment and the ground ambulance was also canceled.
AS PREDICTED, Secretary of State Pompeo said Wednesday that "every tool" would be used to secure the release of Luke Denman and Airan Berry, the special forces boys detained in Venezuela after their daylight mini-invasion was foiled by the police waiting for them to wade ashore. This transparently provocative scheme will lead to wider action against Venezuela to enhance Trump's re-election chances.
BETTER HURRY. The Democrats, in the form of Pelosi and Schumer, announced Thursday that they intend to get a massive, FDR-like New Deal going for the millions of Americans whose lives have been upended by the corona virus. Estimated at three trillion, the bill would include more direct cash, expanded unemployment offices and additional relief for those filing for unemployment — 33 million as of today — plus rent and mortgage suspensions and expansions of the food stamps program.
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE! (And probably already has.) The San Francisco Department of Public Health has announced that "limited quantities" of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco are being delivered to "addicts" being quarantined in hotels. But not to worry, "the substances are administered with the guidance of licensed physicians." … "Managed alcohol and tobacco use makes it possible to increase the number of guests who stay in isolation and quarantine and, notably, protects the health of people who might otherwise need hospital care for life-threatening alcohol withdrawal," SFDPH said in a statement.
THE LABOR DEPARTMENT says an additional 3.2 million Americans requested unemployment aid last week, adding to the roughly 30 million people who have already filed since the coronavirus lockdown began. Although the weekly figure is still historically high, it has dropped from 3.8 million claims filed the previous week. Couple mil more will put US at Great Depression levels.
COSTCO is now limiting customers to just three packages of meat per shopper, while Burger King has run out of burgers for their burgers. Tyson Foods, which had closed a number of plants last month after employees had become ill with the coronavirus, said the pandemic will disrupt the meat supply chain for many more months despite an executive order from President Trump to keep processing plants open. Virus trackers showed this week that six of the nation’s worst pandemic hot spots were in locations with meat-processing facilities.
In the Chron: "Wine's Asparagus Conundrum" by Esther Mobley
Ed Note: Hmmm, I thought the problem with asparagus was…
ALBION PEOPLE'S FAIR: AN OPPOSING VIEW
As one of the naked hippies splashing around in the clear clean warm pond on Albion Ridge we remember a different view of the fair than Mr. Anderson. Booths of handmade items of wood, leather, clay — all sorts of clothing! Lots of tie-dyed t-shirts, bright face and body paint. Lots of music, dance and, yes, the aroma of the :”Love drug.” The one thing that Catpain Fathom and Bruce Anderson agree on was the kids of Anderson’s group home and Albion Nation children loved the fair. The fun and fair ended when the event became a destination for bad ass motorcycle thugs. The locals stayed away. That ended it.
Alan Captain Fathom Graham
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 7, 2020
SEAN BELL, Ukiah. Hit&Run resulting in great bodily injury, great bodily injury in commission of felony, fugitive from justice, probation revocation.
FREDERICK FITCH, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, violation of probation, probation revocation.
NIALL VANUCCI, Ukiah. Elder abuse resulting in greadily harm or death, vandalism.
DON’T STOP PHILBRICK
I disagree with the reader who objects to the printing of Jerry PhullaBS’s rants in full. It's good to know what these right wing nuts are thinking. Plus, it’s mildly entertaining and even slightly amusing in small doses.
Fortunately, he's a talker not a doer. Besides, it's unlikely that his intended incitees are readers of the mighty AVA.
To the Editor:
Why I changed political parties:
I have served on the Democratic Central Committee, I was a political leader and an officer for my union. I have helped several Democratic people get elected. Mike Thompson being one of them. I have worked the halls of both the State Capitol and Congress.
I am 89 years old and I have seen many things happen including where people have overthrown the duly elected heads of state. I never thought it would happen here.
There were the Black Shirts, the Brown Shirts, the fascists, the Nazis, and now in the United States we have the White Blouses and Nancyism.
Just like Hitler she has her own gang of five yelling, I hate Israel, kill Jews. Their leader is a perfect fit. She comes from a religious group who likes to crash airplanes into buildings and set off bombs killing women, children and innocent men.
Maybe they should look in the Koran which I have read — the Hadith. It says in Jihad innocent women and children must be spared. I am not a racist. I have no problem with Muslims. I think the Koran is a beautiful book.
As far as hating Israel, that land was the land of the Jews long before Arabs and Bedouins moved in. Nancy, read the Bible. Jesus’s parents were Jews and the land has been conquered many times by other countries.
I can no longer support the Democratic Party. Their members spent three years trying to overthrow the president who was duly elected.
I did not vote for him. I do not like a lot of the things he has done. But I agree with and like a lot of things he has done.
I will find another party which will be hard because I think both parties are corrupt and only work for themselves.
The very old Union Bum,
Redding, formerly Fort Bragg
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Petra Schulte, Nutrition Educator
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It should now be apparent to anyone past 3rd grade that the system does not care about people, and cannot/will not help them.
The center (Wall St/DC axis) cannot hold, as the social contract is beyond broken. Before, the implicit deal was: you pay your taxes and we pocket a third, give a third to our buddies and give a third back to you dumb taxpayers. Now it is ‘we keep it all, and then go and print more and give all of that to ourselves and our buddies’.
It really amazes me that people are not rioting in the streets over this. The elite should keep in mind that every revolution in history was carried out by the middle class, once they realized that they were no longer getting any benefit at all from the dominant system. They won’t, though, because the elites – including all of those that I have ever met – are idiots, just like the 99.99% that they look down on. Even the holy Oracle of Omaha is an idiot, as shown by his recent massive losses in the airline sector.
I know my perspective is not one shared by many, but I actually am feeling that this crisis is in many ways the best thing that has happened to our world/planet/species during my lifetime. I say this because I see the virus as the planet/Mother Nature/Gaia giving us humans a very gentle ‘Please knock it off!’. The next warning won’t be so gentle, I am afraid.
Anyway, the fear of dying from this (largely harmless) virus has caused us to give the Earth a very small, but well-deserved break. It has taken down several unneeded industries already (e.g., airlines, cruise liners), and will hopefully take out a few more before wrapping up in 2 years or so.
Really, when I think of our ‘economy’, I feel that 90% or more is really not only nonproductive, but enormously counterproductive (i.e., greatly reducing our chances to survive as a species), including the above named, as well as the military-industrial-Congressional complex, Wall Street (which serves no purpose in the ‘economy’, if it ever did), Hollywood, Government, the Health Insurance-Pharmaceutical-Hospital racket (of which I occupy a tiny corner), advertising, marketing, higher education, social media, Real Estate, industrial agriculture, the legal industry (esp. corporate law), lobbying, fracking, the tax preparation industry, the prison system, law enforcement (i.e., the War on Drugs), the Space industry, the interstate highways system, meat-packing plants,and so on. All of it needs to go yesterday. Seriously.
If we want to have a chance at survival as a species, and as individuals, we need to focus on the basics, and only the basics, as we cannot afford more. The first focus should be on assuring a supply of clean water to all. Then, helping people grow their own food, using whatever means they have. Those who live in crowded urban areas will need to relocate. There is a ton of empty land out there in flyover country. At $12K per acre of good Iowa farmland, everyone could get an acre or two for a fraction of what the Fed vomits up on Goldman Sachs over a 6-hour period. Next, helping people set up some basic shelter that will keep them alive through winters. No Wi-Fi, no rec rooms with billiard tables, nor 3-car garages. Just the basics. That is about all the inhabitants of the former United States can afford at this point, given that most have no savings and those that do are about to lose almost all of it.
I truly do believe that the US is done, toast, gone. We just refuse to accept it. But the world will be so much better off for it, once we do. If we don’t (and we most assuredly won’t), then the result will be that those aforementioned basics will not be attainable, as we will have missed the window of opportunity. I know that is offensive to 99.99% of Americans, but so be it. Reality is not pretty, and accepting it is painful.
We also need to immediately devolve all power from centralized, ossified, and corrupt central governments. In the (former) US, that would mean first to the states as a transition, and then to cities and counties, then maybe even further. I really doubt that cities will continue to exist as they do currently. Even now, people are abandoning not only NYC, but also LA, Chicago and other large cities in favor of living in the countryside or smaller places at least. This trend long predates COVID-19, but it has acted as a major accelerant.
If people can do their meaningless jobs online instead of in a skyscraper, then they will have no reason to live in cities, given the massive costs inherent in doing so. Flight (and not the kind we do in an aeroplane) to mid-sized affordable, low-tax cities like Tulsa, Des Moines, and Texarkana will be a megatrend in the 2020s. After that, the trend will be from those cities to even smaller places that are even cheaper and that enable people to grow their own food.
We are heading off a cliff, and that we have actually been off a cliff for over a decade now, awaiting our Wile E Coyote moment when we look down and see there ain’t nothing down there…
THE NFL IS NOW PART OF TRUMP’S REELECTION PROJECT
by Dave Zirin
Donald Trump wants the NFL on the field this fall and he wants it bad. “We have to get our sports back,” he says. Why is this such an issue for him amid the deadliest pandemic in a century? The obvious answer is his reelection, which hinges in large part on whether people feel like we are re-approaching some sense of normalcy in our post-Coronavirus world.
Even though Trump hasn’t done any of the hard work to make sure we can reopen, he has to sell the illusion that things are back to something near normal. You can go to your salon. You can get a beer. You can watch football.
Culturally, there is no greater sign of normalcy than the NFL coming back into the routine of our lives. It’s the country’s most widespread entertainment obsession. It’s absence tells voters, particularly Trump’s base, that after all these months, we are still in an unconscionable and unnecessary death spiral.
Trump of course has allies in this project. Many NFL owners are billionaire Trump supporters. They handed him millions in 2016 and are prepared to do the same in 2020. Trump’s “reopen sports” committee includes no union reps, no health reps, no women, and no people of color, but does include friends of Trump like the execrable Jerry Jones, owner of the Cowboys, and scandal-marred Bob Kraft of the Patriots. He and his cronies want the games back, even if it means watching from hermetically sealed bunkers while the players risk their lives.
For his part, Commissioner Roger Goodell, has proven over the years that he cares little for the health of the players, 70% of whom are Black. Some players joke that NFL stands for “Not For Long” or “N—- for Lease.” Most players are in a terrible situation, with the average career lasting only three years. If they don’t play, they will lose their jobs. They only have a small window to earn a hefty NFL salary, and aren’t in a position to tell the franchise owners that they can take their celebrity death match and shove it. The NFL owners hold all the cards, the only thing stopping them from opening prematurely would be their consciences. In other words: nothing.
It doesn’t even matter to them if they play the games in front of empty stadiums. The billions of dollars at stake are in the television rights and they are going to put games on the field, even if the games feel like they are being played in a massive, publicly funded crypt.
As for the sports networks like ESPN, there is not even the pretension of covering this critically. They are in a multi-billion-dollar partnership with the NFL. All of their daily yak-fests are dependent on the NFL for new content. They can only argue about whether Michael Jordan, who retired almost 20 years ago, is the greatest player of all time for so many segments. So instead, ESPN will air a three hour special where they go over the NFL’s release of the schedule with a Coke and a smile.
Meanwhile, the word from Roger Goodell, according to a memo obtained by Pro Football Talk, is that no team executives are even allowed to discuss hypotheticals when it comes to the coming season. No one can wonder what happens if players start to get infected. No one should opine about the motivations of the league. No one can say anything. Only Roger Goodell can speak on the reopening of the league, and Roger wants these games played by any means necessary. Their slogan should shift from, “NFL is Family” to “Bury Your Head in the Sand And Shut Your Mouths.”
The NFL and ESPN are now party to the Trump reelection strategy. Any pretense of journalism is gone. They are taking the desperation of the players to get on the field, and the desperation of fans for some sense of normalcy and entertainment, and making us complicit in this project. It stinks to high heaven. The players, the fans, and the very game of football all deserve better than Roger Goodell and Donald Trump.
IT’S OUR PLANET
This damn crap is crazy. The world is such an awesome thing. All the living bodies that are on this planet. All the toxic pollution we create. All the wrongs we have done to Mother Earth. The filth and grime we bury in landfills. The sewage we dump in our oceans. I could go on and on about the crap we have done wrong to our awesome planet. But I won't because I feel it is everyone's problem and everyone should really take the time to look at how much bad crap we have done to our planet.
Then each person should focus a small amount of energy to make a change. If you don't think you can do the earth of favor, look what this earth is done for you.
Come together people. Save our planet. Protect our forests. Save our streams and our critters and creatures. Save the ecosystems that provide life to us all. Stand up to greedy oil companies not only in America but in the world. Reduce waste. Do something big or small. But do it. Our planet needs our help. If you ask me the way we have hurt the world, it's karma for us things like the corona virus are doing what they are doing. We should be thankful mother nature has not struck out at us worse.
I'm not a tree hugger or hippie. I'm a dumb ass who is opening my eyes and mind to the problem. If I can, so can you. Love our planet. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. Do something positive for our planet. I challenge you.
If you read this and do nothing to help then know that you are not worth the air you breathe and I would hope you choke.
To all who read this and try to make the slightest difference, good job. I love you. To those who have been trying to help our planet, good job. I love you even more.
I'm an inmate at the Mendocino County Jail. My release date is March 3, 2023. As I said I'm a dumb ass. But change is never too late. I would love to hear from you. Write to me about this.
Chris Brockway #4680
951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
SPOTTED IN MENDOCINO...
WHAT HAPPENED TO BRIDGETTE?
To whom it might concern:
I have been asked by an acquaintance for my help in composing a letter about a serious situation that occurred here in Covelo.
Bridgette Frank explained to me that she wanted her side of what happened on that day of March 27, 2020 to be known.
After getting some basic facts about what went on, I began this document.
Bridgette and her seven-year-old son Isaiah had been living happily at their home since 2016 with no major difficulties. But all that soon took a dramatic turn for the worse.
There has been an ongoing conflict of some kind between Bridgette and certain members of the Round Valley Housing Board. It appears this disagreement has been simmering on the back burner for quite some time resulting in the very unnecessarily physical eviction of Bridgette. I saw her facebook post the unbelievable BS that was actually happening to her! Members of the Covelo tribal police and even the infamous sheriff's office had some input. (Trent, we still need to do breakfast.)
Give me a break! Does it take all of these men of so-called authority to verbally and physically force this one woman, kicking into screaming from her and son's own home?
It is a small wonder that the SWAT team didn't show up! I'm just glad that the her seven-year-old son Isaiah wasn't there to witness the shame and degradation his mom was put through in the name of justice. Screw these heartless bastards.
A few names have gone to my attention concerning the outcome of these outrageous acts: Laura Betts (sorry Laura) whom is a member of the Covelo Housing Board and also a clerk at the tribal police office. A couple of other names need to be recognized with his injustice: Bill Whipple and Carlos Robano who are also on the housing board.
The latter happens to be the director/dictator of the Covelo housing complex.
Mr. Robano used to be a tribal cop himself. At one time he lost that position because of issues concerning domestic violence against a spouse! And he is in the position to judge how someone should live? It's none of my business, but I'm just saying.
The dude who replaced him goes by the name of Michael Henry. This man is a piece of work along with his troubled life.
Anyway, back to the reason for this letter. I had never heard of anyone in the housing projects here in Covelo being manhandled in such a manner as what happened to Bridgette Frank. I guarantee this. One look at her facebook post in anyone with a sense of compassion can see who the bad guys are in this situation.
Why is she being singled out? Was all of this the result of the past personal vendetta against her? Did certain people who assume they have power and control over the residents of Covelo and the housing committee direct this? Did they somehow get themselves on the board to abuse their authority? Power and control to can sure screw some people up. Look at Trump.
It is a good thing I don't have to depend on these guys. I would have been kicked out a long time ago.
Here are some additional obstacles that crossed Bridgette’s path in order to get her house back.
As the tribal council meeting held on April 24 when it was Bridgette’s time to appear before the Board they chose to move to executive session. Three board members got up and walked out in the middle of the executive session!
They were asked to come back in and to help make a decision as to whether or not Bridgette could move back into her home. But these three men refused. Not only is their response highly unprofessional but also extremely childish. One can only come to the conclusion that there is some kind of personal vendetta against Bridgette Frank. What sort of pattycake crap is that? It reminds me of Donald Trump having government shutdowns until the Democrats bow to his demands for $5 billion to build his ego wall. I mean come on. That is some serious expensive racist crap right there.
Anyway, get this. While the tribal housing served Bridgette with the eviction notice they maliciously had the PG&E shut off her electricity. They are not supposed to shut off her electricity with her son Isaiah's breathing situation! That shows where their priorities stand. There are 13 homeowners in the housing projects and she for some reason is the only one being harassed to this extent. It has been mentioned that one reason was that she had a weed garden. To the best of my knowledge Bridgette is the only person living in the housing project who does not have a marijuana garden!
What is the real intention for these haters? Don't they know or even care that the coronavirus is in effect here in Covelo? The audacity of some people!
Concerned tribal member,
MIKE DAVIS’ NEW BOOK, THE MONSTER ENTERS
by Jonah Raskin
I read Mike Davis’ tour de force, The Monster Enters (O/R Books), when I was sick and in bed and thought that I might have COVID-19. Originally published in 2005, the book has just been reissued with a new, nifty wham bam introduction that lays the blame for the current pandemic where it rightfully belongs on the doorstep of the noxious nexus that has brought about monstrous slums, industrial farming, corrupt political regimes and the collapse of public health services in the U.S. and many other countries of the world.
Subtitled “COVID-19, Avian Flu and the Plagues of Capitalism,” The Monster Enters, offers a rich historical tapestry, going back to 1918-1919, and before that, plus scientific information, eye-opening prophecies and a wealth of metaphors that keep a reader entertained. Davis also sees a way out of the mess and suggests that what the world needs now is universal health care, the end of poverty, and research and development of antibiotics and vaccines.
An essay titled “The Monster Enters” was published in the March April issue of New Left Review and is available online.
Casting himself as a kind of detective who aims to solve the mysteries of the pandemic that has moved from China to the United States and every continent except Antarctica, Davis traces the ways that twenty-first century diseases have jumped from species to species: from bats, chickens, chimps and pigs to humans. He points out that scientists have long predicted the pandemic that now ravages the globe.
He offers quotations from scientific journals, like Lancet and from activists/politicians like Ralph Nader who warned long ago about a “world war of mutant viruses taking millions of casualties.” Davis, the author of several contemporary classics such as City of Quartz, Ecology of Fear and Planet of Slums, seems to have enjoyed writing The Monster Enters. Page after page he writes ahout the “perfect epidemological storm,” influenza as “an accessory to murder,” “stealth epidemics” and “the influenza underworld.”
Like any dogged detective, he reveals the criminals, like John Bolton—the arch-conservative and war monger—finds good guys to honor and praises grass roots democracy in China even as he lambasts the Chinese “Orwellian culture of secrecy and deception.”
Right before I finished The Monster Enters I went to one of Sutter’s clinics in Santa Rosa where a young, hip doctor named Gabriel Dianes checked my vital signs, listened to my heart and lungs and inserted a “nasal stick” up my left nostril to test for COVID-19. I won’t get the results for another 3-4 days. “Go home, rest, drink plenty of liquids and take Tylenol,” the good doctor told me from behind enough gear to protect him against all kinds of monsters. I did what I was told to do and more. I got into bed and finished reading The Monster Enters. By afternoon I felt like I was mending. I have the feeling I don’t have COVID-19. I’ll know for sure soon enough.
WENT FOR A WALK
I went for a walk. There were a lot of people not wearing masks — particularly bicyclists — and not concerned how close they came. People want to go to beaches and parks, and they don’t even keep 6 feet apart. Particles from a cough can travel 12 feet.
Particularly ironic are the protesters. No masks. No distance. Milling about. They create a mini-petri dish, not unlike meatpacking plants, prisons or nursing homes. Protesters show why not to open up. One infected can make many “infectees.”
Nobody will know until people start falling sick. Sure, families need feeding. People want to get out. These things can happen with little penalty. But people need to be responsible and considerate. Don’t play Russian roulette with other people’s lives.
People blame it on Donald Trump or China or the media. It doesn’t matter whose fault. What matters is the 72,000 people dying and numbers growing. We are all responsible.
THE FIGHT FOR BERNIE DELEGATES IS ESCALATING -- AND COULD HELP BEAT TRUMP
by Norman Solomon
The Presumptive Nominee seems to be in trouble. Reuters just released a national poll showing that “Joe Biden’s advantage over President Donald Trump in popular support has eroded in recent weeks” -- and the contest is “essentially a toss-up.” In a half-dozen key swing states, Biden is only up by an average of 4 percent. Even among the Democratic faithful, enthusiasm for Biden is low. Among the young, it’s been close to nonexistent.
The myth that Trump will defeat himself expired the night before Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech. Yet it persists as Democratic Party power brokers and many pundits go easy on Biden and humor his repeated boast that “I’ll beat him like a drum.”
Biden remains firmly stuck in a mindset that makes it highly unlikely he can incentivize the big turnout of progressive voters that’s needed against Trump. That mentality goes unchallenged in standard corporate-media framing, which evades basic political realities of economic inequality.
Using a common bromide from mainline journalists, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that “Democrats have been split since 2016 over whether energizing black voters or winning over some white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest represents the best shot for the party in November.”
That kind of either/or framing was rejected – and somewhat transcended -- by the Bernie 2020 campaign. For good reason. As pollster Stanley Greenberg has emphasized, the Democratic Party doesn’t have a “white working-class problem” -- it has a working-class problem.
The perception that the party is in the pocket of the rich has damaged support and undermined voter turnout from working-class people of all races. As a thoroughly corporate politician, Biden is ill-positioned to change that perception.
But if the 2020 Democratic National Convention (likely virtual rather than in-person) can move the party in progressive directions, the chances of effectively deflating Trump’s phony pseudo-populism would improve.
That’s where Bernie delegates can come in.
Of course, the Biden team would like the national convention to be a smoothly corporate affair without appreciable leverage from progressive forces in terms of deciding on party rules and the platform. Whether Biden can stifle those forces may depend on whether the Sanders campaign can win enough delegates in upcoming primaries to reach the 25 percent threshold that’s required for bringing proposals to the entire convention.
Right now, with 20 primaries still to come, surpassing the 25 percent mark is certainly within reach. While the official Sanders campaign has nearly disbanded, some grassroots Bernie supporters are continuing or restarting their work.
In many states, the Our Revolution organization is assisting local activists to get out the Bernie vote. The potentially historic significance of such efforts got a boost this week when a federal judge reinstated New York’s Democratic presidential primary set for June 23. The court reversed a state board of elections decision to cancel that primary -- a decision widely understood to be at the behest of the state’s establishment-oriented Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
The court ruling, U.S. News & World Report noted, “allows Bernie Sanders to secure more delegates -- and more influence -- ahead of the Democratic National Convention.”
Meanwhile, three groups -- People for Bernie Sanders, RootsAction.org (where I’m national director), and Progressive Democrats of America -- have just launched a new campaign called Once Again. The goal is to help activists mobilize in upcoming primary states and win a new wave of Sanders delegates.
“Bernie’s campaign has suspended, but the movement to fight for the Bernie platform must go on,” said Claire Sandberg, who was national organizing director for the Bernie 2020 campaign.
Sandberg added: “People who recognize the urgency of issues like ending the wars, canceling student debt, and enacting Medicare for All and a Green New Deal must work together to ensure progressive voters make their voices heard in the remaining primaries. It’s also vital that Bernie supporters rally behind down-ballot progressive candidates, whose fortunes may be determined by small margins. For those reasons, I support this effort to mobilize Bernie supporters to cast their ballots through the end of the primary.”
Former Bernie 2020 national co-chair Nina Turner, who also spoke on a Once Again kickoff livestream on May 5, summed up: “We have had enough of the status quo policies that do not change the material conditions for the poor, working poor and middle class in this country. We intend to keep pushing for a government that works for everyone.”
Corporate media and powerful Democrats are eager to portray the 2020 Democratic presidential race as a thing of the past. But progressive activists have some very different ideas.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national director of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”)