- Hot Week
- Doohan Updates
- Germ Control
- Philo Postcard
- Ed Notes
- Pudding Beach
- Memorial Days
- Conservative Kubanis
- Yesterday's Catch
- Decoration Day
- Bad Causes
- California Welcome
- Insane Imperialism
- Alternative Voices
- Covelo Stables
- Rottenest People
- Coddled World
- Yolla Bolly
- Struggling Newspapers
- Ozarks Mingling
- LakeCo Update
- Found Object
DRY WEATHER and hot interior temperatures will persist through Friday as high pressure continues to build over the Northwest California. High temperatures will be in the 80s to low 90s today across the interior valleys and climb into the mid to upper 90s Tuesday through Friday. Onshore breezes will keep coastal areas seasonable cool, along with periodic episodes of overnight and early morning marine stratus. (NWS)
HEALTH OFFICER UPDATE – MAY 24, 2020
Post Date: 05/24/2020 11:04 AM
Number of Mendocino County COVID-19 cases: 21 (12 recovered; 2 hospitalized; 7 on home isolation).
Three people hospitalized in Mendocino County from the Redwood Valley outbreak stemming from the Assembly of God Church - Mother’s Day Livestream service with singing. Upon notification of the situation the Health Officer ordered testing to occur in Redwood Valley. On May 19, testing occurred with 337 individuals being tested. All results have been received and 6 more individuals were found to test positive for COVID-19. Each of these six were connected to this event. There are now a total of nine people who have tested positive for COVID-19 associated with this outbreak: 2 are Lake County residents and 7 are Mendocino County residents. While there are 3 hospitalized patients, 2 courses of Remdesivir (enough to treat 2 people), the only FDA approved medicine for COVID-19, have been received by Adventist Health Ukiah Hospital. The Blanket Isolation and Quarantine Orders of the Health Officer mandate that the 6 new cases (announced 5/22) who tested COVID-19 positive, remain in ISOLATION for 10 days from the date of their test (until 5/29). These Orders also mandate that the close contacts of the cases (being closer than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) must remain in quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with a case. Instructions for Isolation and Quarantine are contained in the Blanket Isolation and Quarantine health officer orders on the County website.
For community members both trained in the medical field and those that are not but who wish to join our team and volunteer to fight the pandemic THANK YOU! We are looking for volunteers to join the Case Investigation and Contract Tracing Team. This is a two-step process
Interested individuals will need to sign up as a volunteer through NCO. If you are medical professional please sign up as a volunteer through the Disaster Health Volunteers. You can contact NCO at https://www.ncoinc.org/ or (707) 467-3200.
Once you have signed up as a volunteer, please contact Donna Schuler at SchulerD@MendocinoCounty.org and share with her your availability for assistance.
Testing is ongoing. If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 from the Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church, please register for FREE testing at OptumServe by completing the online registration and booking your appointment through their website https://lhi.care/covidtesting. Appointments are currently available as soon as Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE ON TESTING: on Saturday, May 23, Public Health tested 36 people for COVID-19. These individuals were offered free testing due to their exposure to the Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church outbreak and/or to the industry workplace in Sonoma County associated with the 15th Mendocino County case. These results should be available by May 27.
OPTUM SERVE TESTING INFORMATION: The OptumServe testing site is open to the public Tuesday – Saturday from 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, 1055 N. State St., Ukiah CA 95482 in Carl Purdy Hall.Appointments can be made by calling 888-634-1123 or by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting.
As a reminder lodging (hotel, motels, campgrounds etc.) are closed for tourism and leisure for all people (for County residents and visitors).
Please See County Website For
Posters for Businesses: Stay Home when sick, wear a facial covering, stay 6 feet apart (https://www.mendocinocounty.org/business/business-resource-for-covid-19)
Infographic on Social Bubbles and Work Units (https://www.mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=35704)
For more on COVID-19: www.mendocinocounty.org
Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
HEALTH ORDER ENFORCEMENT, CONTINUED — WAIT, THIS IS THE SHERIFF'S ROLE
Enforcement has remained the preeminent topic in recent days. Concerned residents and businesses understand that we are in this together, as strong as our weakest links. Through direction to the County CEO, the Board of Supervisors have chosen to utilize Code Enforcement (under Planning and Building Services) and Special Investigations Unit (under Health and Human Services Agency) to ensure businesses implement the safety precautions detailed in industry-specific self-certification documents. Many would consider these requirements to be common sense. Basic sanitization, distancing and facial covering are intended to keep us safe and on a path to full economic reopening. Most businesses have been partners in the process and deserve our business. Any business struggling to meet Phase 2+ requirements is invited to collaborate with us. We care about your recovery and success. While I support protest, intentional violation by business is not the appropriate venue for such expression. Government is notoriously glacier slow, but I am certain, the county will not look the other way where intentional business violations create health and economic risk. Business licenses can be suspended for non-compliance. I’m hopeful that peer pressure and the free market will encourage voluntary compliance. Howbeit, laissez faire will not be our approach to continued complaints. Rules will be followed.
In California counties, the (elected) Sheriff does not take direction from the Board of Supervisors. Sheriff Kendall and I have a strong relationship and speak regularly. There is little daylight between our perspectives with conjecture flowing bidirectionally under a consistent theme of ensuring justice and prosperity for the people of Mendocino County. Sheriff Kendall is approachable and will consider input from the public. No amount of public opinion will influence him to veer from the Constitutions of the United States and California nor should it. While tourists often stand out, we cannot ask law enforcement to profile otherwise law abiding citizens. That said, despite various memes, courts do give government wide latitude when epidemics, like coronavirus, threaten public health. Under Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), Jacobson instructs that all constitutional rights may be reasonably restricted to combat a public health emergency. As the situation is continually reassessed, it’s important that these restrictions not continue with greater intrusion than necessary to meet objectives. Replacing economic arrestment with spread mitigation tools is appropriate, in essence asking each of us to keep our germs to ourselves to balance our rights with the rights of others. As a concerned resident, no matter your perspective on health order enforcement, I encourage you to establish dialogue with YOUR Sheriff: https://www.mendocinosheriff.com/administration/contact-us/
In closing, I’d like to share a note I spotted on social media this morning. It’s from Ross Liberty, owner of Factory Pipe in Ukiah, a manufacturing business that manages to pay living wage in our county while remaining competitive globally. Ross is my go-to for the libertarian perspective on all matters and I value his insight greatly. The optics of self promotion prompted me to hesitate in copying his text, but his point about the 26 lives wins out.
Ross Liberty: “Ted, you and the rest of the BOS, Carmel and Mimi deserve a great deal of thanks. Some rough back of the envelope calculations indicate great success in keeping coronavirus out of our beloved County and keeping us safe. The US is at around 97,000 deaths per 328 million population equals .00029573 deaths per capita. .00029572 times Mendocino County Population of 86,749 would be 25.65 people in Mendocino County succumbing to coronavirus but this far we have none. Contemplate that. Most of us would have lost a friend, a mother, a father, a spouse, a child if we followed the national average. Bless you, Ted.”
FROM MARSHALL NEWMAN:
Another old postcard, Ray's Resort in Philo. This one looks to be the early 1950s.
MEMORIAL DAY MEMORY. As a kid I always had a paper route. At the time, Frisco published several dailies. I remember delivering the afternoon SF Call-Bulletin and the morning SF Chronicle, whose sports pages were the only section of the papers I read, but read them religiously to the point of memorization. The newspapers of the forties and fifties came with a genius sales strategy — child labor, armies of young boys who not only delivered the news to the customer's door, but collected the subscription price in cash, most of which was turned over to an irascible adult-type guy who would brace his deficient juvenile delivery crew with this blanket denunciation: "You little bastards are enough to drive me fruit!" What he had against apples and oranges mystified me until, as an adolescent, I understood “fruit” as one of many unkind references to homosexuals who, at the time, were not only invisible but so far off the social radar they might as well have been Martians, at least until Liberace showed up on national television when you could almost hear a national cry go up, "Wha..wha.... what the hell?"
ONE of my customers was the Diebel family, although this many years later I'm unsure of the spelling. The old man had easily won me over when he not only paid his sub on time, he gave me a couple of extra bucks tip, a small fortune to a kid in 1949. I also remember a young Diebel who enjoyed a local reputation as a tough guy even before he joined the Marines to see heavy combat in Korea. He was also crazy, at least temporarily, because one night he and two other former Marines, one of them a guy named Bynum who'd lost an arm in Korea, invaded the Hallinan home in the posh Marin community of Ross, threatening to rape Mrs. Hallinan. (AVA readers know the Hallinans from the excellent series by Fred Gardner.)
THE OPPRESSIVE POLITICS of the time was dominated by anti-communism when there was still something of a viable American left in the form of a Communist Party, USA that made a lot of desirable political noise out of all proportion to its tiny numbers. The Diebel invasion of the Hallinan home was ignited by the Hallinan's prominent opposition to the war in Korea, that and the fact that they were prominent communists. It seems that in the Diebel view he'd fought communists in Korea and here was a nest of them right up the road from his house. It was an ugly episode which, in those smothering times, soon faded without, I've always assumed, Diebel and the two other invaders doing any jail time because popular opinion excused their felonious behavior as the understandable frustration of brave American patriots who'd been on the Korean front lines of the anti-communist crusade.
THE HALLINAN BOYS were not at home that night. Neither was their famous father, who was also handy with his fists, on one famous occasion slugging a legal adversary in court. If you have minority opinions, which in those days were definitely left-liberal, and you don't keep them to yourself, it's a good idea to take self-defense lessons, which all the Hallinan boys did from a professional fighter. Terrance Hallinan turned out to have a real aptitude for boxing, which he pursued at the college level and, as a high school kid, also at late night venues around the Bay Area. We've come a long way backwards from the days there was a proud, identifiable left in this country — "We oppose capitalism and we're committed to destroying it" — to the wuss-wamp kumbaya left of today, so steadily and effectively misrepresented by the neo-fascist political right that millions of deluded Americans think the left are Nancy Pelosi-Chuck Schumer Democrats.
THAT'S all I could remember of the Hallinan home invasion and Bill Diebel until I asked Deb Silva, the unstoppable Point Arena sleuth, to see what she could find. It was of course a big story at the time because the Hallinans were a famous family. Deb unearthed a fascinating trove on the case, which I've appended. I hadn't known that Diebel got a year in the Marin County Jail and had wept in court when his sentencing judge let him and the world know what a lowdown beast he'd been in the assault on Mrs. Hallinan. And that's another thing you don't see often from defendants in contemporary courtrooms — remorse.
THREE MEN WHO BROKE INTO HALLINANS' HOME IDENTIFIED
SAN RAFAEL – June 16, 1956. Charges of burglary and assault with intent to rape were filed Sunday against a 27 year old man in connection with the intrusion of the Ross home of Mrs. Vincent Hallinan late Friday night. Arrested late Sunday was William Diebel of nearby Corte Madera who had been identified by one of the trio who admitted entering the wealthy matron's 22-room mansion. Mrs. Hallinan, 44, mother of six sons, is the attractive wife of the San Francisco attorney who was Independent Progressive Party candidate for president in 1952. She told police she was expecting her husband home from a New York trip when the trio entered her home, one of them ripping her nightgown off. She said he grabbed her throat, struck her in the face and attempted to rape her but was talked out of it by the other two men. Deputy District. Atty. Roger Garety said Thomas Bynum,23, of Hilarita, admitted through an attorney he was one of the three who entered the Hallinan home and named Diebel as the assailant. Garety said Bynum identified the third man as Jim Jeffries, 28, Corte Madera gasoline station manager. He said Bynum's story was that he and Jeffries were only trying to stop Diebel. He said they had gone to the Hallinan house "to crash a party. Garety said no other charges have been filed pending further investigation.
Vivian Hallinan Fends off Rape Try in Ross Home
Marin Daily Independent Journal, San Rafael, June 16, 1956.
Mrs. Vincent Hallinan, wife of the controversial San Francisco attorney, fended off a would-be rapist who broke into her Ross mansion with two companions last night. The attractive Vivian Hallinan, mother of six, was stripped of her robe and nightgown by the assailant after the trio entered the house through an unlocked front door at 11 PM. After terrorizing Ms. Hallinan in her bedroom and kitchen, he and his companions left with cash and liquor. Ross police chief Joseph Regoni gave this account of Mrs. Hallinan's terrorizing experience:
Mrs. Hallinan was in her upstairs bedroom alone in the 22 room mansion except for a maid who was sleeping in a downstairs bedroom. She told police she heard footsteps on the stairs and thought it was her husband returning early from a business trip to New York City. She said she went to the bedroom door and called "Vince, is that you?" As she did she saw the would-be attacker duck into a bedroom door down the hall. She locked herself in the room but before she could call police on her bedroom phone the man kicked in her door and ordered her to remove her clothes.
According to police reports Mrs. Hallinan who underwent surgery last year pleaded with the attacker saying "leave me alone. I have cancer. I'm a sick woman." The assailant allegedly replied, "I don't give a rat’s ass what you have," and tore off her robe and nightgown. Mrs. Hallinan told police she succeeded in talking the man, who she said "looked like a thug," out of assaulting her.
By this time the attacker, described as about 25 years old, had ripped the phone off the bedroom wall. Mrs. Hallinan got him to go downstairs with her hoping she could use another telephone extension to call for help. In her kitchen she found two other men also between 22 and 25 years old and another phone ripped off the wall. Mrs. Hallinan told police that she was again threatened with rape while she was in the kitchen with the three youths, all of whom had evidently been drinking. She said the man who kicked in her door asked her to sit on his knee. When she refused his advances and again succeeded in calming him somewhat, he told her he had a wife and a two-week-old baby. According to the police report, the other men did not join in the rape attempts and remained quiet while Mrs. Hallinan talked except to address their companion as "Johnson" and say "Let's get going out of here or you'll have to walk home."
When Mrs. Hallinan told "Johnson" her name, he reportedly apologized and said he "didn't mean any harm." To get rid of the trio Mrs. Hallinan offered them money. She said they took about $30 from her wallet and six quarts of liquor and left. Mrs. Hallinan then used one of the remaining telephone extensions to call the Ross Police Department. Chief Joseph Regoni and Officer Leslie Flowers responded to Mrs. Hallinan's call and spent the rest of the night in the Hallinan home taking fingerprints and photographs.
After she called police Mrs. Hallinan succeeded in reaching their sons Terrence (Kayo) and Michael (Toughy) at a party celebrating their Sir Francis Drake high school graduation night at which Michael received his diploma. They returned home immediately and were with their mother this morning. The Hallinans’ oldest son Patrick (Butch) was away from home and her younger sons were reported to be staying at the Hallinans’ mountain cabin near Yosemite.
Mrs. Hallinan was not available for comment. She was reported in bed in a state of shock and extreme nervousness. According to Regoni Mrs. Hallinan could give only vague description of the three men. The first man sought on a felony charge of assault with intent to commit rape is described as about 6 feet tall with "dirty blond" crew cut hair, even features and wearing a tan tweed sport jacket.
One of the other two men who are wanted as accessories to the attempted assault was described by Mrs. Hallinan as about 5 feet seven with slim build and wearing dark rimmed glasses. The third man was described as about 22 years old, heavyset with broad shoulders, dark complexion and wearing a slip on sweater. According to Mrs. Hallinan he walked with a limp as if he had a sore knee.
An all points bulletin has been issued for the three men. All will be charged with breaking and entering.
The Hallinan home was relatively unharmed. Total damage was the broken bedroom door and the two telephones.
Mrs. Hallinan is the author of a book on her family, "My Wild Irish Rogues." Her husband, Independent Progressive Party candidate for President in 1952 has twice been sent to the federal penitentiary, once for his conduct during trial defense of longshore leader Harry Bridges, and once for income tax evasion. The State Bar Board of Governors has moved for his disbarment. (Later denied.)
Hallinan’s son Terrence ‘Kayo’ Hallinan was dissuaded from going out looking for Diebel after the assault on his mother with a warning "not to get into trouble."
Diebel later pled guilty to first-degree burglary after the assault with intent to commit rape charge was withdrawn. Jeffries pled guilty to vagrancy and Bynum pled guilty to simple assault.
PUDDING CREEK BEACH
MEMORIAL DAYS, from the AVA Archive:
 WILMA BRINK reminds me that it’s the local members of the American Legion who take the time to grace the graves of veterans buried at Evergreen Cemetery with the flag every Memorial Day. Like many of us, Mrs. Brink laments that not many people take the time to remember the many young men Anderson Valley has sent off to distant wars who now rest eternally in the tranquil beauty of Evergreen, but she and a few others do every Memorial Day, and thanks to them.
 SUNDAY'S UKIAH PAPER runs a feature that asks random locals an innocuous question then runs the answer with the local person's photo. (It's an ancient newspaper gambit to sell a few more papers.) Rarely does the random person say something interesting. But last Sunday, this kid Christopher Linton, student, Ukiah, was asked what he was doing for Memorial Day. He replied, "Go to the 101 Bar and Grill for the White Trash and Iron Assault concert. Plus some camping." The kid probably assumed he had to say something plausibly wholesome after honestly answering what his holiday plans were.
MEANWHILE, as the barbecues are fired up, the Bud and the Coors put on ice, and White Trash and Iron Assault tunes up in Calpella, in every graveyard in Mendocino County rest young men cut down in wars all the way back to the Civil War, many of them dead before they were old enough to enjoy a legal beer.
 STEVE SPARKS WRITES: “Many thanks to those who showed up at 10am on Monday morning for the annual Memorial Day Service at Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way. Our sincere apologies to others who heard or read that the event was at 9am or 11am and turned up for the service at those times. We were responsible for a series of poor communications that led to this confusion and we offer our sincere apologies to those folks who were inconvenienced. Redwood Empire American Legion — Branch 385.”
MEMORIAL DAY came and went without discernible pause from the beer and great hunks of grilled meat it has come to mean, but a few people did pay tribute to all those lost hundreds of thousands, most of them very young, who went off to do what they thought was the right thing and never came back. The three local vets I know best almost didn’t make it back from Vietnam. Two of them were shot up; the third returned physically unscathed but haunted, and unwell. I opposed that war and got in serious trouble for doing it, but I never once had anything but deep sympathy and respect for the people who had to fight it, and I'll always have an unending contempt for the third-rate men who made them fight it. I was lucky. I got in and out of the active Marines between the Korean and Vietnam wars, but I was young and raring to go at 17. If I’d been a few years younger or a few years older, Pvt. Anderson 1574007, MOS 0300 (mortars) would have been on the boat to Korea or the plane to Vietnam.
 THE VALLEY'S VETERANS honored fallen comrades Monday morning at Evergreen Cemetery, Boonville, with a simple ceremony of remembrance. Vietnam was the last war fought largely by a draftee army, and even the Marines were supplemented by draftees near the end of that one. Our local cemeteries are final home to quite a number of local boys who never came back from that war and all the wars preceding it.
MEMORIAL DAY doesn't mean much to most people anymore. With a professional armed services most Americans have nobody in the military, don't even know anybody in the military, and the day is just one more long weekend dedicated to beer and great slabs of beef.
A CONVERSATION WITH ALBERT (“AL”) KUBANIS
or… Wither the Future of Mendo’s Republicans?
by Marilyn Davin
Ukiah attorney Al Kubanis has a really cool office. Smack dab across from the county courthouse’s Perkins Street entrance, you can’t miss it from the street; just head for the building with the unapologetic Trump poster in the east second-floor corner window. Once you walk through the glass doors take a deep breath and trudge up the steep 27 stairs to the second floor and turn left. The jovial Kubanis greeted me at the door and led me back to his office, which is beautiful in the way that buildings more than a hundred years old are often beautiful: warm woods, tall windows, lots of light. Except for the window covered up by the Trump poster, of course. “It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter,” he laughed. “I love it.”
About the poster, Kubanis said, “I put the sign up there mostly to offend the Left. I’m telling them I’m not going to be intimidated by your threats and epithets,” which he says he hears early and often. “The Left isn’t about democracy, they’re about power,” he said, explaining how the Left and the Right have come to loggerheads and become so intolerant of one another (mostly, in his view, from the Left). “The Left is much more concerned about politics than the Right,” he said, adding that most of the Right is religious while most of the Left is humanist. “Their religion is politics, which is why the Left views the Right as evil. We sin against their politics; therefore, anything is justified.”
Kubanis didn’t always see things this way. “My parents were very pro-Franklin Roosevelt,” he said. “My dad was blue collar and worked in factories in East Pittsburgh.” Kubanis said that his schooling in California reinforced his parents’ liberal view of the world. “I was indoctrinated in left-wing politics. I never heard a conservative idea when I was in high school. I never heard a conservative idea when I was in law school.” Kubanis said he even voted Democratic back in the day. “In the first presidential campaign where I could vote I voted for Lyndon Johnson,” he said. “I’ll probably burn in Hell for that.” Kubanis believes that LBJ’s welfare program was racist and “did immense harm to the United States, particularly to blacks,” ultimately diminishing the power of black churches and other private local organizations that, in his view, more effectively helped the poor. “If you tell people they’re victims they’re not likely to make the effort to succeed,” he said. “The Left has a very difficult time holding minorities to the same standards that they hold whites. It’s wrong, and unfair to the minorities.” Given this philosophical dynamic, he believes it’s ironic that Democrats have so successfully courted black and Hispanic voters, especially since he says the latter are mostly Catholic and conservative. “The last Republican to get the majority of the black vote was Dwight Eisenhower,” he said.
In the mid-70s Kubanis was a prosecutor in Orange County trying to decide whether to either go into private practice or head north. He opted to head north and hired on as a county prosecutor in Ukiah in 1976. “I took a $17,000 pay cut to get up here, I wanted to come up so badly,” he said. “$17,000 back then was a good chunk of change.” He stayed with the DA’s office until 1985, when he went into private practice, where he still practices mostly criminal defense law to this day. He also ran unsuccessfully for judge and district attorney and served three 4-year terms on the county’s Republican Central Committee. About his tenure on the central committee he said, “Then Republicans were about 30 percent…when I left they were 33 percent of the electorate. Mendo is hopeless.” He blames the Democratic takeover of county politics on several trends. “Most conservatives go into business or maybe the professions,” he explained, "while the Left tends to go into teaching.” He added that when he moved to Mendo the northward exodus was well underway. “When I first moved here in ‘76, the people I call the Berkeley dropouts moved here and took over the Democratic Party. And being well educated and very serious about politics they took it all over.” Kubanis said that those mostly Democratic teachers then branched out to the media and politics, where they still dominate. He cited the AVA as an example. “I know Mr. Anderson’s politics,” he said. “When I visited [him] 30 years ago…he had a poster of Eugene Debs on the wall, a very serious socialist.” (Five-time U.S. presidential candidate of the Socialist Party of America, the eloquent Debs was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World [“While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free”]).
“It’s very hard to overcome a lifetime of education in particular beliefs,” Kubanis said, [even when they are based on] "a misunderstanding of human nature, a misunderstanding of history, a misunderstanding of what I call the human condition.” The Left’s newly awakened support of socialism is a prime example, as he sees it, of this fundamental misunderstanding. “If you know about human nature and the lust for power that doesn’t wash,” he said, adding that it’s also human nature “to want to be rewarded for extra work.” Kubanis believes that the Democratic Party has “lurched increasingly to the left,” forcing political accommodation of socialists like recently elected U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “O-C is a threat to Pelosi’s power but she has to accommodate her,” he said.
Despite this left-leaning trend, Kubanis said it’s way too early to write off a two-term Trump administration. Pointing out that the polls leading up to Trump’s 2016 election, “were all dead wrong,” Kubanis said there’s a lot to like about the president, which does not include actually liking him. “One of the things I like about Trump is that he’s not likeable,” he said. “He is a businessman. He wants results. And he doesn’t have much dogma.” As an example, Kubanis cited the president’s pragmatic views on the endless war in the Middle East as an example of what he sees as Trump’s results-oriented focus. “How long have we been there? What does it cost us? And what do we have to show for that?” are the kinds of questions Kubanis thinks the president asks himself, questions this reporter has heard many times in corporate board rooms about the pros and cons of business deals.
In prioritizing major issues dogging the country, Kubanis sounds a lot like a Democrat. The first he mentioned was income inequality, very much a talking point with Democrats though income disparity has steadily widened for decades through both Republican and Democratic administrations. “When I first moved here there was fishing on the coast, there was logging, they paid pretty well, now grapes have taken everything over,” he said. “The Left made it possible.” He added that the country’s corporate structure is partly to blame, another plank in the Democratic platform (though Democrats have been just as guilty as Republicans in enriching corporations and advancing their interests). “The board of directors is supposed to police how that corporation functions, but it’s gotten to where appointed members of the board virtually go along with whatever the executive says,” Kubanis said. “They could rein that in.” (According to AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch, in 2018, CEO pay at an S&P 500 Index firm soared to an average of 361 times more than the average worker, up from 20 times the average worker’s pay in the 1950s.) Hmmm…another stated Democratic priority though Democrats are every bit as guilty as Republicans in eliminating or blunting regulations that allowed this to happen. This led directly to Kubanis’s concern about the inequity of the tax code and the need for an escalated tax system. “Oh, boy, we know that most Republicans are against that,” he said, though he said that Republican opposition is largely because of loopholes that reduce tax burdens on corporations and the rich, to the extent that “even a huge corporation can pay virtually no taxes,” he said. “We have to increase the taxes to the upper segment where they can’t dodge them.” Kubanis believes there should be a flat tax, which he says would tax everyone at between 15 and 17 percent.
Kubanis sounds more classically Republican when it comes to education, another area that he believes needs drastic reform, starting with competition. “Competition is wonderful and forces excellence,” he said. “It works in business. It doesn’t work in government because there is no competition.” Kubanis believes that competition would ultimately reward good teachers (“…a very hard job”), get rid of bad ones, “destroy” the teacher’s union, allow vouchers, and fire half of school administrators. How would Republicans accomplish this? “They have to take an interest in education and get involved in the boards of education, and they have to insist that children be taught English, mathematics, and honest history,” he said. “That has to happen.” And he thinks that kids themselves will lead the charge to change things. “Children never listen to their parents,” he said. “They will revolt against the leftist ideas of their parents sooner or later.”
Finally, Kubanis told me that despite the country’s ills and sometimes wrong-minded thinking, he’s still an optimist. ”I am an optimist that if we can keep our values that we’ll get through and we’ll adapt and we can continue to be a great country,” he said. “Our strength is that we have an almost infinite ability to adapt. But it’s also a huge weakness, which is the way things go. The weakness is that we can tolerate nearly anything.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 24, 2020
RAMON ALCAZAR, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
COLBY CRITCHFIELD, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
JULIUS GRUBER, Willits. Fugitive from justice.
THOMAS GUYETTE JR., Nice/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
MADISON HEIBEL, Clearlake/Hopland. Grand theft, attempted car theft, grand theft of firearm during state of emergency, obliterating coloration or markings applicable to imitation firearm, conspiracy.
FRAUSTO MACIAS, Ukiah. DUI.
ALICIA MADERA, Carson City, Nevada/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
ANGEL MILLER, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JOSE MURILLO III, Hopland. Grand theft, attempted car theft, grand theft of firearm during state of emergency, conspiracy.
SOPHIA PICENO, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
SKYLAR VINCENT, Willits. Controlled substance, burglary tools, ammo possession by prohibited person, large capacity magazine, probation revocaiton.
FRANCISCO ZAMORA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
Originally called Decoration Day, it was first observed by the states that fought on the Union side in the Civil War.
On that day of remembrance, the graves of those who perished were 'decorated' with fresh flowers.
Some historians think Lincoln's Gettysburg Address embodies the true meaning and spirit of Memorial Day.
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
With all due respect to US veterans---where respect is due---this is crap. It reminds us that The Lincoln Project is an anti-Trump Republican project.
As someone who despises Trump---and the Republican Party, with or without Trump---I've posted some of their anti-Trump videos.
But this is a video too far for me. Veterans of American wars are entitled to respect and support when they return from the battlefield, but the notion that the US fights for "a higher idea" is toxic bullshit.
A lot of courage by young Americans has been wasted in dumb and immoral US wars, like the US attack on Vietnam and the invasion of Iraq, to name of few significant examples.
Men fight bravely for bad causes, like Confederate soldiers in the Civil War and German soldiers in World War II.
And it's hard to see a "higher idea" in the US and British aerial bombing of German cities in that war, not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Rethinking the Good War).
My favorite American veteran is fictional, the narrator of Johnny Got His Gun, which was understandably banned in this country during World War II.
— Rob Anderson, District5Diary
CARVING THE COAST
by Steve Heilig
Being a very fortunate guy, I’ve lived within sight of the California Coast my entire life. I’ve also been a reader and collector of books about and/or set in this fabled zone, and one of the greatest of all of them is being rereleased in a beautiful new paperback edition, after selling out in hardcover upon first publication five years ago. It is the third collaboration - and this author’s favorite, given the geographical subject - between two men at the very top of their fields - woodcut artist and onetime Fort Bragg fisherman with a Stanford PhD Tom Killion of Marin and renowned Pulitzer-winning poet Gary Snyder of, well, everywhere.
Killion first collaborated with Snyder on their book The High Sierra of California in 2002; in 2009, they produced Tamalpais Walking: Poetry, History, and Prints about Marin’s highest peak. Their third such collaborative work, first out in 2015, was California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Poetry, Prints, and History. Like the previous two, it is first a showcase for Killion’s striking, colorful and interpretive pieces, produced over four decades and portraying beautiful locales along the vast California coast. But it also contains Gary Snyder’s poetic prose, and carefully selected work from a stellar roster of California poets both living and gone, including Robinson Jeffers and Marin’s late great Joanne Kyger, plus Robert Hass and Jane Hirshfield, Kenneth Rexroth, and Snyder’s fellow “beat” icons Lew Welch and Jack Kerouac. The work of J. Smeaton Chase and Jaime de Angelo—wonderful if underexposed California writers—is also spotlighted: Chase rode his horse all the way up the coast more than a century ago, and de Angelo, a doctor and anthropologist who settled in Big Sur, wrote wonderful poetry inspired by deep Native American contacts.
But especially prominent in this book is the re-emergence in print of Killion’s original vocation as historian, in the form of a detailed yet sweeping history of the discovery of the coast by Spanish explorers, the oral traditions of Native American coastal dwellers and much more. It’s an illuminating, user-friendly narrative that even those who think they know coastal history will learn from, and that anyone can easily enjoy along with the images and poems.
Gary Snyder, just turned 90 years old, is a longtime California history buff as well, as his revered poetry has long evidenced. He’s spent a lot of time on the coast, too, from his early days in the 1950s Bay Area to now, even though he has long lived in the Sierra foothills. At a large event in Point Reyes Station to “launch” the original publication of this book, he reflected not only on his own lifetime of loving the coast, but went much further back—and forward—in time.
“We actually live on the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean,” Snyder noted. “The western coast of the United States is physically inhospitable compared to many others—it’s not surprising that it has taken so long for a real poetic consciousness to take hold there. It’s foggy and windy and chilly much of the time. Tom really knows what it took for early ships to find a decent place to berth—many of them sailed right by the Golden Gate in the fog. And in fact we are still learning our way around this part of the world. Human culture here is still fairly new, only 500-600 years old. There’s also no doubt that Chinese and Japanese fishing boats made it over here before the Westerners, and many probably never made it back. Our poems in this new book are really still the beginning—I’d like to see what they will be writing in 1,000 years.”
Snyder, born in San Francisco and a Mill Valley resident in the 1950s and 1960s, also recalls his own early forays to the Marin coast—”When I was living in Berkeley in the 1950s, I found that I could ride my bike to Richmond, put myself on the old ferry to Marin, and ride up and over Mount Tamalpais. When I was teaching grad students, drinking in a bar at night afterwards, I would sometimes say, ‘Let’s go out to Point Reyes!’ I needed a ride, you know. And usually somebody would go for it and we’d end up getting into the cold water, and then around a fire on the beach, as often as I could. And luckily I survived.” And in the book, he adds, “One of the things that baffles me a bit, is how was it I decided way back then that it was OK to go naked on a beach, even when there were other people there fully clothed that I didn’t even know?”
Snyder has done few collaborative books or other projects. But Killion’s woodblocks immediately won him over. “I had first met Tom in the 1960s I think, and he had given me a gift of his early book 28 Views of Mount Tamalpais,” Snyder says. “He’d become a passionate print artist fairly early on. After some years he got hold of me to do a book on the high Sierra, which was a wonderful project. And we’ve kept at it.” When reminded of his own status as a literary icon—a poetic signpost to countless readers, first immortalized—very inaccurately, he insists—in Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums, he shrugs, demurs and says of working with Killion, “Really, the honor is all mine.”
This trilogy of landmark books are all published by Berkeley’s Heyday Books, a longtime nonprofit printer of works focused on anything to do with California. Founder Malcolm Margolin is a hero to many western writers and readers, and is himself a longtime fan of both Killion and Snyder. “When I first met Tom, he brought with him what might very well have been the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen, his hand-printed, luxurious edition of High Sierra of California,” Margolin recalled. “It was a limited edition—something on the order of 100 or so copies—printed on paper so sensuous I couldn’t stop myself from running my hand over it and turning the pages for the joy of feeling these heavy pages settle into one another. These pages were interleafed with translucent rice paper that had patterns embedded in them. The printing, the binding, the size: It was stunning. He wanted to know if Heyday would do a trade edition. This may have been the most terrifying moment in my 40 years of publishing. He had brought us something of great, even transcendent beauty, and we were going to make it uglier.”
Obviously Margolin and Heyday did not make the book “uglier.” Margolin explains why: “I’m struck by the huge amount of time that goes into any one of Tom’s fully-rendered, multi-colored woodblock compositions—as much as 300 hours of what seems to me to be the most exacting, even tedious work imaginable. The miracle of these compositions is that the result of these efforts, rather than anything that looks overworked, are depictions of a world utterly alive, as fresh and vibrant as the earth on the first day of creation. He could have cut corners and gotten away with a lot less. His generosity of spirit is reflected in his rejoicing in the beauty and abundance of the world and his appreciation of the work of other artists. He brings out the best in everything and everyone he touches.”
Killion grew up in Mill Valley. He “never took any art classes” and is largely self-taught. His earliest woodcuts date from the ’60s, when he was a teenager making holiday cards for his family or working on similar projects. After much education and world travel, he settled in Inverness, where his woodblock printmaking studio is a productive source of the many colorful prints that have graced numerous books and countless walls and exhibits. He is an engaging man who does not seem to seek the limelight but who, once he gets going, becomes eager to share his thoughts and work. He says that his new book is an attempt to “find the song of the California coast.”
Is this book a new version of your early one, 1979’s ‘The Coast of California’?
Tom Killion: Well, yes and no. It has a lot of the pictures from that book but many, many more done since then. That book started as a hand-printed book with just a few images and my own poetry. It went through more editions and each time got a little more colorful with new prints. And then this time, after doing the first couple of books with Gary Snyder for Heyday books, Malcolm Margolin there said, “Let’s do another; what do you think you could put together in just a couple of years?” And I thought about it and told him I’d like to do another version of my coast book. And he just kind of mumbled into his beard about the poetry—and I don’t feel too good about that poetry either; it was, you know, kind of adolescent. So I said I knew Gary had some good stuff about the coast, and that I’d like to include some Robinson Jeffers and some other coastal poets.
Did you pick the poets and poems or have help?
Well, once we agreed this could be a good project, Malcolm sent out a query to all his literary friends about who they might pick for the best California coastal poetry. And they all came back saying Robinson Jeffers is the man. So I kinda concentrated on Jeffers, and went up to Gary’s place in the summers of 2013 and 2014, just sitting out under the ramada in the heat with him, just talking about this poetry. I learned so much from that and got ideas for poems to include, so while Gary himself doesn’t feature as prominently in this book as the previous two, he is still a big presence in it. And I worked on new prints specifically for this book over the past couple years, and I think some of those came out really nice—‘Muir Beach,’ ‘Tennessee Cove,’ and some little ones of areas I hadn’t explored that much before. This is probably the last one of this series, although I am going to work on a “treescapes of California” book for the next 10 years, and Gary of course has many poems about trees—his early book Myths and Texts, for just one example, is full of them.
And your own text in this new book, rather than adolescent poetry, is very different—you exhumed your inner historian for a full historical survey.
Yeah, that’s one of my other hats I used to wear—I was a history professor, focused on African history, but I did other work, too. At SF State I taught in the late 1990s classes on California and San Francisco history and culture. And I got some of my ideas about poems from teaching, and went off on two particular tangents that are in this book—Jaime de Angulo and J. Smeaton Chase, as well as the original journals of Juan Crespi, which were just translated and published in the early 2000s. Everybody knew about the Portola expedition through the rewritten and redacted older versions, with lots of interesting stuff cut out, such as their first encounters with coastal Native Americans.
This is the third volume in your series with Gary Snyder. How did you first wind up meeting and working with him?
Like many people of my generation, he was a hero of my teenage years. And I got to know him through some mutual friends in Mill Valley, and was first able to visit him in the Sierras when I was 21, and brought my first, handmade book along. I wanted his sage wisdom about his take on a big walkabout journey around the world I was planning. He just said, “Take along plenty of Kaopectate”—an old remedy for diarrhea!
Good advice. So, you grew up in Mill Valley, and went to UC Santa Cruz and were on the path to becoming a certified historian, but then got diverted into becoming an artist.
Yes, I did. After Santa Cruz I went to Stanford for a Ph.D. in African History—on a full financial ride, I like to say, as Stanford sounds hoity-toity but they actually paid me to do it. Then I went off and worked for a couple years in Africa in a refugee camp, and got very interested in Eritrean history, and wound up going with the Eritrean rebels and was with them when they won the big battle that got them independence from Ethiopia. After all that I got a teaching job back east at Bowdoin College, and then a Fulbright Fellowship to go back and teach in Eritrea for a year. By then I was married with a 1-year-old son, and we wanted to come back to California and I got a part-time lecturing job at SF State and started to do more art. Then Gary and I started in on the High Sierra book project in the mid-1990s and I had to get really serious, and this turned into a wonderful hand-printed folio book at first. That led to Malcolm Margolin getting interested in it and wanting to publish it.
The color prints you do seem very labor-intensive. What goes into them?
The big multi-colored prints can take upwards of 300 hours. The majority of that time is spent carving the wood block. I do a sketch out in the field, and then carve the first or key block, which becomes almost like a template as it has all the detail of the sketch, and the outline of where the different colors are going to go. I print that block onto acetate and use that to reverse the image onto as many color blocks as I’m going to need—sometimes I do as many as 15 or 20 different colors for one of these prints. I don’t have to have that many blocks though as I can print one block a lighter color, and then a darker color, carving away each time so that the blocks get destroyed in the process. Each block reduction print takes a whole day of printing, so as many colors as there are in the print means it takes that many days of printing. So I can end up spending three or four months on a big—color print. Actually one of the most elaborate prints I ever did is the opening diptych or two-page spread of this new book, called ‘Carmel Bay.’ It’s sort of a view from Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House as it might have been in 1915 when he was first starting to build his stone tower on Carmel Point, facing Point Lobos. It has 32 layers of colors and took me much of 2014 to do that one, along with writing the text.
Can you estimate how many images you’ve done?
In my life? You know, I’ve never added it up. I used to say 500, but it’s certainly 600 by now, including my smaller jobs.
The older, black-and-white ones must have taken much less time, right?
Oh yeah, but the funny thing is, when I was first starting, as a teenager, they could take longer, as I was much slower at carving. I wouldn’t want to have tackled these big multi-color ones until I was quite fast at it. I did it the right way, by chance.
Some of your prints are so detailed—you start with a sketch but do you take photos, too?
Rarely, and I don’t really use them when I do. Sometimes I get some ideas about color or mood from a photo I’ve taken at the same time I am sketching but usually I make a lot of the coloring up from notes I write with the sketches. I have done things from watercolors but they don’t turn out as good as ones where I have pencil or ballpoint pen sketches, because it’s the lines that really make the key block. The notes are also about time of day, and shadows, and such, and I make up the colors from there—that’s why they’re a little wild sometimes.
Well that would be part of the real art of it, right?
Yes, and it’s kind of the traditional Japanese way of dealing with color prints—they didn’t have photographs in Hokusai’s day, and I’ve said, If Hokusai didn’t do it, I don’t do it. That’s kind of bull, but it is also why I don’t use photographs.
So the Japanese woodblock artists were a prime influence?
Certainly in the beginning that was my big interest. But the truth is I am much more interested in the Japanese stuff now than I was back then, as I was using linoleum and didn’t have all the Japanese carving tools I do now and couldn’t afford the really good Japanese heavy paper. Now I do use Japanese tools, paper and wood. But I still use a little hand-cranked printing press when I put the ink on with rubber rollers, and it’s oil-based ink, mostly from Europe.
Your work all depicts the great outdoors, and obviously you love nature and wide open spaces. But it would seem that this career has kept you indoors, producing prints, much more than you might otherwise have done.
Yes, some people have always thought of me as Mr. Outdoors, but the only time I get out there is when I go backpacking on vacation or something. Because it is very time-consuming to make the prints, and I also have a lot of time researching and writing to do these books. There was a lot of material made available to me, about places like Big Sur and so forth, that was never used before in writing about California history, so there is original information in this new book.
As you said, you focused much on Robinson Jeffers’ poetry. Was there really anything new to say about him?
I found him fascinating to study; there’s a tremendous sort of fan club in the Tor House Foundation, and scholars still devoted to him. And I was happy to find how well-respected he is now among people I respect. One thing you find is that every Californian of note has read Jeffers, and many have to write some kind of take on him—some pro, some less so. Some of his poems are just fantastic—”He hit the old nail on the head,” as Gary says.
Jeffers’ reputation truly has been an up and down one; he was reviled during WWII when people thought he sided with America’s enemies.
Yeah … people misunderstood him. They thought he was a fascist, too, when really he was trying to get inside the head of some of the Nazis and such, and some people misconstrued that as sympathy for them.
Your book is about the whole California coast but you really focus more on the north. Is that just since it is so much better up here?
Umm, [laughs], yes, well, I put in a sentence about why that is—it’s just not my coast down there. It’s beautiful in places, no denying that. But it’s mostly so urbanized, and a lot of the poetry I could find was urban too, and I guess I just wasn’t that interested in that. I like the wild, and that’s why I called the book ‘California’s Wild Edge.’
I had not heard of the Sonoma Coast being referred to, as in your book, as the “doghole” coast.
You know, I’m really interested in that, as that is part of my own family’s history. My great grandparents came to the Eureka area in the early 1860s and were part of the logging there, and I lived up in Fort Bragg for a year and worked on a fishing boat—a dangerous job I quit pretty quick, as I was too worried about losing my right hand, I guess. But what a forbidden, impossible coast to try to take big resources from. But that’s what they did, from a wall of cliffs with a few openings in little coves they called ‘dogholes.’ They took huge lumber down the cliffs to the boats using these crazy iron rigs, some of which you can still see. I loved exploring that area when I was young, riding up and down Highway 1 on a motorcycle, and even by bicycle.
Here’s my toughest question for you: What are your three favorite spots of all on the Marin and Sonoma Coast?
Well, the short answer is … I’m not gonna tell you! But people already know these places, and most are portrayed in the book. The very end of Point Reyes is just wonderful, and it’s so well-traveled now you have to take a bus out there during a lot of the year. It’s spectacular. And around Muir Beach, the whole stretch between there and Stinson. Wildcat Beach, Alamere Falls and Double Point. On the Sonoma Coast, I think the way the mountains rise to the north of the Russian River north of Jenner is amazing, and the best place to see that of course is Goat Rock. Salmon Creek by Bodega Bay, and Fort Ross—I camped with both my kids there as part of a school trip and it was great. Basically, if there’s a print of it in the book, that means I really like it!
Peter Coyote, who lived in Mill Valley for decades, left due to both crowding and attitudes. You’re a Marin native, and while West Marin hasn’t changed nearly as much—thanks to some foresighted people—you must have seen some changes too?
There certainly are more people, and, as Coyote lamented, more traffic. Listen, we grew up here in a golden age, and it’s over. Nobody wants it to end yet, but there is just no way our world can support so many humans. We’re preserving some things, but change is coming, and it’s driven by overpopulation—one thing people still don’t want to talk about. We’re still in these crazy debates about abortion and sex education and saving every human life no matter what. As Gary says, we’re not really domesticated, we’re still a wild species, who if left to it, will create as many progeny as we want. People who are conscious of this have less children, but wild animals actually do better than us in controlling population for their environment.
But most people here certainly don’t want to leave if they can help it.
Things are still nicer here than most places, that’s for sure. And we can complain about how Marin has changed, but the people who did such an incredible job of preserving this place also made it so that, of course, the rich people who want to live here can live here. And some come with their own ideas of entitlement and their own obsessions, and those change a community. I just feel so blessed that by total chance I wound up growing up and living here. I worked in refugee camps and I couldn’t change anything—I never thought I could—and just learned from people there. So much of the world is just unbelievably hard to live in, urban shanty towns are growing all over much of the world. But still I never feel guilty about being here and just say, gosh, I was one of the lucky ones and I guess I just try to give back in some way, to celebrate it and remind people how much beauty there is. That’s about it.
AIMING MISSILES AT VIRUSES: A PLEA FOR SANITY IN A TIME OF PLAGUE
by Hugh Iglarsh
The point I am trying to make here is a simple and obvious one, or would be in a society not burdened with a two-pronged ideology of extreme militarism and extreme individualism. It is this: In feeding the military-industrial complex so richly at this time, we are starving ourselves of many vital things and weakening ourselves as a society, perhaps to the point of suicide. We are in effect sacrificing our future on the altar of American imperialism, which like some dark god of the past, is ever hungry and can be assuaged only by human life.
The coronavirus plague now sweeping the globe — sickening millions, killing hundreds of thousands, bringing normal life for the world’s masses to an unprecedented and indefinite halt — puts into sharper relief than ever before the distinction between what we refer to reflexively as “national security” and the safety and security of real human beings. The ability to grasp that distinction at this moment is the difference between sanity and insanity.
Right now, as at least 40 of the nation’s states still fail to test their populations at the benchmark rate set by the World Health Organization, the Pentagon continues to chew through its bloated $700 billion-plus budget, larger than the next 10 countries combined. At a time when states still scramble to locate and pay for basic protective equipment for doctors and nurses, when every level of government here in the so-called “richest country in the world” is trying to square the circle of escalating costs and radically diminished revenues, the great American war machine grinds on, fighting its forever wars and extending its intimidating presence into every continent. A quarter-million American troops and mercenaries are now deployed in at least 177 countries and territories, at last count. It’s easier to list the places not housing U.S. forces; those would be, by and large, the nations our military, intelligence and diplomatic services are attempting to subvert, sanction or otherwise bludgeon into proper submission to the geopolitical and economic agenda of the global leviathan.
What exactly are these soldiers doing in Australia, Norway, the Philippines, Mali, Bahrain, etc.? Who knows? Defense Department bureaucrats feel as much need to explain and justify the stationing of their legions as did the Roman emperors. It all falls under the convenient, no-questions-allowed rubric of “national defense.” The exorbitant spending on high-tech weapons against low-tech terrorists, or whomever this week’s existential threat is — this too is largely unaccountable. It is managed by the fourth and most efficient branch of government, the revolving-door lobbyists employed by weapons makers, whom I hope and pray are maintaining proper social distancing as they perform their essential work of channeling corporate largesse to the campaign funds of key congressional committee members.
What we do know is what our ubiquitous military is not fighting: the only enemy that matters at the moment, the novel coronavirus, the real red menace. No amount of gunboat diplomacy with oil-rich nations, or support for Saudi Arabia’s murderous and endless war in impoverished Yemen, will bring us one minute closer to a vaccine or useful treatment against COVID-19, the microscopic invader that within a couple of months since its arrival in the U.S. has produced as large a death toll as the Korean and Vietnam wars combined. No rattling of sabers against China or Russia, no chest-thumping assertions made to a bemused world of American greatness or exceptionalism will bring to heel a contagion that, thanks to the current administration’s total lack of preparedness and tardy and inept response, has overcome our feeble public health defenses and made America the world’s epicenter of illness and death.
DON'T MISS THIS ONE! An exhibit about San Francisco in the 1980s is presently online and will be a walk-in exhibit at the main branch of the SF Public Library when the plague recedes. The exhibit is about political protest, performance art and the punk scene, texts by Jonah Raskin, brilliant photos by Jeannie Hansen, as you can see for yourself at sfpl.org/exhibits/alternative-voices
Remember Hitler? Stalin? Mussolini? Tojo? The rottenest people in the world. But they could never be as bad as the liberal Democrats, by far the worst thing that has ever happened to this country. When he was the mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom absolutely ruined it. Now he is the governor and has almost ruined California. Jerry Brown helped that out also. Brown left office with $385 million missing, no receipt, no accounting, probably in his pocket. Nancy Pelosi got a champagne glass for being the worst person ever in Congress. Chuck Schumer got the stained coffee cup for being the worst senator ever. Adam Schiff got the cigar ash tray with ashes because he is a stupid ass.
God bless Donald Trump. He will win by a landslide.
ORGANIC KALE IN THE TIME OF PLAGUE
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Ours is the first generation in history unyoked from the burdens that defined life for those who came before us.
Our generation, ushered into a standing civilization in which all life’s bounties are provided and none of life’s difficulties are required, lives at a time like no other.
FOOD so plentiful we could throw it away and we do, laughing and often. Not one of us has ever encountered a single person who has missed a meal except in service to vanity.
WORK, at least work within the understanding of the people who performed it through the ages, has disappeared. We no longer labor in ways familiar, or even recognizable to those who toiled in the past.
There is none of the straining, back-breaking labor of the kind common to our ancestors. The term itself has been transformed into “employment” and involves what would probably be viewed 200 years ago as pleasurable activities. We “work” with desks, buttons, keyboards and ergonomic chairs. The few remaining brutes among us occasionally wear protective yellow headgear.
TRAVEL no longer involves harsh journeys through hostile territory in the company of oxen or camels. We drive to an airport and wake up in Brussels, dine on a beach, visit a museum, take in an opera and return home that evening to note our paycheck has been deposited.
MEDICINE has improved more in the past 100 years than in the previous 10,000. The world’s richest man, King Tut, died of tooth decay. In 1924 Calvin Coolidge Jr., 16, played tennis at the White House, got a blister on a toe, was dead within a week.
MEDIA allows us to communicate instant vapidities effortlessly, gorge on soul-choking entertainments long on violence and pornography but short to the point of hostility on truth, faith or courage.
We have spent our lives in idle pursuit of goals unnameable and unknowable, even to ourselves. Our baths are always hot and our houses always heated though not one of us knows how these miracles occur, nor have we ever wondered. If they were to disappear we would be unable to duplicate them, and nor have we wondered about that.
Now comes COVID-19, a commonplace visitor among many others like it to have swept the world and its inhabitants a hundred times before. In 2020 it is merely a rumor of a panic that has not yet touched you or me in a meaningful sense.
We personally know of no one to have died or even been sickened. We live on the far fringes of Coronavirus and we perform elaborate pantomimes, as if a backup chorus in a stage production. We drape hankies across our noses as we shop. We pick through blood oranges and heave half a ton of toilet paper into the trunks of big vehicles.
We tell each other we are stressed and anxious, or else the media purveyors of instant vapidities tell us we are stressed and anxious. We fret. We plead.
We imagine ourselves victims struggling through extraordinary times, as if huddled under thin blankets in burned out vacant lots behind where the garage once stood, fearing roving bands of plundering gangs. Will tomorrow be the day we kill the neighbor’s dog and eat it?
We imagine ourselves at the center of a dangerous, meaningful world (at last! at last!) that will permit us to perform heroics and witness horrors, such as watching someone else eat the neighbor’s dog.
But we’re not heroes. We’re not Anne Frank and we’re not the Donner Party, although if we were the dog would have been eaten three days ago. For us, “anxiety” means we’ve already watched all Netflix has to offer and there’s no sports on TV. An incomplete jigsaw puzzle is spread out on the dining room table.
A brave, creative woman on the next block is scrawling sentimentalisms in colored chalk on her sidewalk, and a determined man in Calpella is muscling his way through these hard times by reading a book. Yesterday Uncle Charlie built a birdhouse in the garage and tomorrow he’s going to make some shelves to store our surplus toilet paper. It’s all so grim and stressy.
Americans, uncoupled from the existential struggles that have defined life itself for so many and for so long, have come to believe a coddled world is our due. We want to be swaddled in ermine while nibbling cherries and sipping champagne, immune from suffering, or even from work.
An unexpected echo of thunder has caught us off-balance and our response has been to flinch and tremble.
Future flames, earthquakes, wars and starvation will not be met with heroics by those whose lives have been stress-free, painless and far removed from the toils and triumphs that have made us strong, resilient and powerful. That have made us human.
Celebrities keep telling us we’re all in this together, but we’re really six feet apart.
(Tom Hine wears furs and a loincloth made of mastodon hide, and lives in a Ukiah cave with his pet pterodactyl, a blacksmith buddy named TWK. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
SOME HURTING NEWSPAPERS GIVE UP PAPER, SOME FOLD
by Chris Smith
It’s a sad and scary time for community journalism and all who rely on it across America, and for sure in Sonoma County.
The Sebastopol area’s deep-rooted weekly newspaper and two of its three sister papers just halted their print editions.
The Sonoma West Times & News and its earlier iterations were in print for 131 years. Now and perhaps permanently, its readers and those of the Windsor Times and the Cloverdale Reveille will find the periodicals only online.
A fourth publication owned also by married couple Rollie Atkinson and Sarah Bradbury, the Healdsburg Tribune, which dates to 1865, continues to be printed on paper, but its future relies on readers ponying up with subscriptions and donations.
LIKE MANY OTHER newspapers across the nation, the four Sonoma County weeklies struggled mightily from declining advertising and subscriptions well before this pandemic caused many idled businesses to pull their ads.
“I am deeply saddened,” Atkinson told readers in announcements prominently placed in the final printed versions of the west county, Windsor and Cloverdale papers.
“Unfortunately,” he added, “a virus, a changed local economy and the loss of too many newspaper readers to Facebook, Google and elsewhere” put the papers “on unsustainable footing.”
Atkinson and Bradbury seem to be doing all they can to keep their four Sonoma West Publishers papers from suffering the fate of more than 2,000 U.S. newspapers that have shut down since 2004. The news industry’s harrowing losses have mounted dramatically since we first heard the term COVID-19.
THE PANDEMIC, we all know, has been brutal to many businesses. Newspapers certainly included.
A severe loss of advertising dollars from merchants and commercial services shut down or cut back by the crisis has forced many papers to cut staff, switch partially or entirely from print to digital, suspend operations or close the doors forever.
Many areas of the country now find themselves without a community paper or at least without one they can hold in their hands, or that retains enough reporters to have any hope of covering essential news.
The Press Democrat has held up better than many papers, but a steep drop in advertising resulting from the pandemic’s impacts on business has forced cost-cutting here that’s included some reductions in pay and hours.
FOR MANY YEARS, weeklies owners Atkinson and Bradbury have tested new approaches and practices to keep their weekly papers viable in a changing world. In 2018, they acted out of the box inviting readers to become co-owners by investing in shares of Sonoma West Publishers through a direct public offer.
That initiative helped and brought in $400,000. But in the face of withering ad and circulation revenue, Sonoma West Publishers still needed a new, sustainable business model.
Earlier this year, Atkinson and Bradbury announced they would transfer ownership and control of the four papers to a newly founded nonprofit, the Sonoma County Local News Initiative.
Among its founders are retired Healdsburg High School principal Dick Bugarske, Nancy Dobbs, co-founder of Northern California Public Media, operator of KRCB; Rick Theis, a pioneer of the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy; retired Press Democrat reporter Mary Fricker and marketing and public relations executive Marie Gewirtz.
The nonprofit has begun to seek tax-deductible donations and grants for sustaining the four Sonoma County weeklies and to prepare for the day it will assume ownership of them.
Things were looking up for the Healdsburg Tribune and its sister papers. Then the pandemic struck.
“Fourteen papers in California folded since March,” Atkinson said Saturday. Decisive action was needed to prevent his four from joining them.
JUST LAST WEEK, the Healdsburg couple bid farewell to newsprint and ink and went all-digital at the Cloverdale, Windsor and greater Sebastopol papers. Sorrowful, pleading and also hopeful editorials ran in the final tangible editions.
Heather Bailey, editor of the Windsor Times, wrote that her publishers tried to persuade the community to be more supportive of community journalism through subscriptions, investment and donations.
“All of the pleas and warnings have been met with little more than a shrug,” Bailey wrote, “so now the time has come for us to shift the model of how we deliver the news.”
Acknowledging that some readers “will never be comfortable” with the switch to digital-only, Bailey vowed that there are advantages to it.
“Print is limited,” she wrote. "Digital is not.”
In what looks to be the last hold-it-in-your-hands edition of the Cloverdale Reveille, a paper that has served its community for 141 years, editor Zoë Strickland wrote that she will miss print and she knows some readers will, too. But Strickland added, “I firmly believe that switching to digital means Reveille readers will get more news about their community ...”
In the Sonoma West Times & News, the headline on a column by editor Laura Hagar Rush reads, “The end of paper is not the end of the newspaper.”
Rush shared that she reads only online.
“I don’t even like print newspapers,” she wrote. “I don’t like the brittle, cheap paper they’re printed on or the way they make you want to wash your hands after reading them. Or the fuzzy quality of the photos.”
Still, she wrote regarding the move away from paper newspapers, “I don’t know why that makes me so sad.”
A GREAT IRONY here is that just now, with lives in this region and around the world menaced and stuck in distressed limbo by the pandemic, there is massive demand for what newspapers produce: status reports, investigations, human stories, insight, analysis.
Back in the day, if you wanted to catch up on a huge story, you’d drop a nickel or a dime or whatever it took to buy a paper. Today, though paid digital readership is growing at the PD and some other papers, many online readers ignore requests that they help support journalism by paying for a digital subscription.
Newspapers are trying all sorts of strategies to survive and to continue their work as government watchdogs and tellers of a community’s stories.
Having previously invited investors to help keep his four newspapers alive, Rollie Atkinson prepares now to turn them over to the nonprofit, online at localnewsinitiative.info, that’s dedicated to championing local journalism and seeking grants and gifts and such to keep it alive.
Atkinson implores traditional, printed-on-paper readers to give digital reporting a try. He asks also that supporters of community journalism consider whether it’s deserving of the same sort of financial support enjoyed by vital community institutions such as performing arts centers.
Atkinson was straight-up with readers of the Healdsburg Tribune in his commentary announcing that while his other three newspapers are going digital-only the Sonoma West Publishers team strives to keep the Tribune vital both online and in print.
“How long we can continue to do this depends on you,” he wrote. “We need your financial support and we need it now.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
MIRABILE DICTU - Lake County Coronavirus Update
In response to the Governor’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency on March 4, 2020, all of California’s county Public Health departments began developing Public Health Orders and deploying the state’s Medical Health Operational Area Coordination (MHOAC), program under the direction of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
CDPH, as part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), provided guidance to all county Public Health Officers to enable the authorization of local Public Health Orders, implemented by countywide Operational Area Councils — including both cities, both hospitals, all first responder agencies, and the usual mash-up of county officials (including, one presumes the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services).
And, for the first time in recent history (i.e., the last 30 years, at least), Lake County’s Public Health Department became the local lead agency for coordinating all efforts required to implement state-driven directives delivered by our county Public Health Officer, whose authority derives from the state’s Health & Safety Code, Division 101, Part 3, Chapter 2, Article 1 - County Health Officers [Â§101025-101070].
Initially, Lake County’s local residents accepted the orders to “shelter in place,” refrain from “social gatherings” (with some renegade exceptions), and practice “social distancing.” “Essential” government agency workforces developed online capacities to maintain operations from their homes, whenver possible, and preparations went into full swing to accommodate an anticipated wave of hospitalizations for persons infected by the “novel Coronavirus” called COVID-19 (so numbered for the year in which it was discovered, in Wuhan, China).
As the weather became more hospitable, and with major holidays approaching, a contingent of activists began campaigning for local access to Clear Lake, to which the County Sheriff responded by issuing a statement declaring that his department would not enforce the Public Health Orders as long as such violations were not accompanied by other types of punishable crimes. His statement was published in the local online press (Lake County News) and his Facebook page; the County of Lake perpetuated its dissemination using its social media, and non-conformists were thereby encouraged to defy local Public Health Orders.
In response to the state Public Health Officer’s May 7 orders, all California counties began to prepare for entering into “Stage 2” of the statewide response, as identified in the Governor’s “California Pandemic Roadmap” (https://www.gov.ca.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2020/05/5.4.20-Update-on-Californias-PandemicRoadmap.pdf
Lake County’s application to CDPH for allowing a “Variance” of our local Public Health Orders, to launch into Stage 2 early, in time for the Memorial Day Weekend, was submitted on May 18 and approved on May 21. And on May 19, the Lake County Board of Supervisors haggled at length with the Public Health Officer over whether or not to include an enforcement clause in the upcoming Public Health Order (Mandatory Facial Coverings) for qualified businesses to reopen before the popular recreational weekend.
The Public Health Officer had earlier recommended reopening Clearlake only to local residents, and mainstream press promulgated the message that non-residents were not welcome — along with their more likely ability to bring with them the highly contagious virus from areas with high numbers of infected persons and deaths.
Despite those efforts, non-local residents began reopening their vacation homes (lodging accommodations are still prohibited from accepting non-essential, out-of-county residents), and launching their watercraft into Clear Lake on the weekend of May 9 and 10, Mother’s Day. Also despite the Public Health Officer’s discouragement of vacationers from out of the area, the County’s Department of Water Resources distributed materials for compliance with our invasive species protection program (www.nomussels.com <http://www.nomussels.com/>), enabling their non-compliant but not-quite-illegal choices on that weekend.
Ramping up for the “early reopening” of businesses, the weeks-old Board of Supervisors’ ad hoc “Blue Collar Committee” advocated for allowing some non-essential businesses to reopen (once the county’s “Variance Application” was approved by the CDPH), and on May 19, a lengthy discussion of the anticipated May 20 Public Health Order for mandatory facial coverings was conducted.
Among the tactics chosen by the Board of Supervisors was the delegation of responding to complaints about non-compliant businesses to the Supervisors themselves, for which District 4 Supervisor Tina Scott requested a training module for the Supervisors to ensure “clear, consistent messaging” to be conveyed by all Supervisors engaged in providing “education” to businesses not following the new Public Health Order.
Not included in the May 20 Public Health Order was any reference to “enforcement” or any support for developing enforcement capacities, given the Sheriff’s earlier announcement of his position responding to PHO violations, which was a gnarly bone of contention during the May 19 Board of Supervisors hearing. Only two members of the public advocated for including what the other board members call “teeth” in the order, but Supervisor Scott did mention that the order could be brought back for modification if needed when results of the next two to four weeks are examined.
During the Board of Supervisors discussion of the merits of handling complaints about businesses unwilling to require facial coverings, and following general consensus that “messaging” needs to be “consistent,” District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown responded as follows:
“If I get a complaint I’m gonna handle it my way. I don’t know what ‘being on the same page’ means, but I’ll handle it the way I handle it and I’m not gonna criticize some other board member for handling it or not handling it. I get calls from other districts, from people in other districts that aren’t happy, and I’m sure you guys do too. But that’s the way it is. I’m not gonna go by some playbook that the Board of Supervisors think I should do to honor my responsibility as an elected official.”
Four days later, the Lake County Administration released a Press Release from the County describing Sheriff Martin’s issuance on May 22 of a “Directive authorizing temporary use of County-owned and private properties for modified business operations. Martin’s Order will be effective Tuesday, May 26, at 8am, and must be ratified by the Board of Supervisors at their Tuesday meeting.”
On May 23, the Lake County Record-Bee published the announcement that the City of Clearlake and the City of Lakeport have “issued similar emergency orders . . . “ but the Sheriff’s May 22 Order describes a process for permitting of alternatives for re-opening some businesses under the authority of the Lake County Department of Public Works Director Scott DeLeon (or designee) to “approve and issue these temporary permits without observing customary use permit noticing and hearing requirements. Determinations regarding proposed uses will be made on a case-by-case basis, and the County may impose Conditions of Approval, where necessary, to ensure property is safely used, and compatible with surrounding land use requirements.”
So after years (decades, really) of telling the paying public that their agencies/departments can’t take action — for a litany of reasons — suddenly they DO have power and are all wielding it like 1977 Star Wars light sabres, in the battle for the return to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that the Sheriff said was his highest priority to protect.
With the parallel announcements of greatly subdued Memorial Day ceremonies at Lake County cemeteries, commemorative parades and family gatherings a memory themselves, the great heyday of downtown dining is about to unfold and the rest of us will wait two weeks to see how many “confirmed cases” (not to mention deaths, heaven forfend) are found either with scheduled curbside testing or hospital diagnosis.
Such intimations of disharmony led me to contact the California Office of Emergency Services to inquire as to whether the Lake County Board of Supervisors are trained at the same level as responsible agencies in the operation of emergency management programs (NIMS and SEMS), and whether the state agency had any concerns about the seeming lack of a “Unified Command” system functioning under the County Public Health Department’s leadership. (The bizarre unspooling of that dialogue will be reported separately.
To be sure, most folks (other than the voluntary self-isolating residents) seem delighted with the activation of “independent” County and City authorities to facilitate the “recovery” of activity levels simulating their version of Happy Days are Here Again — which local boaters and solitary fishermen did not arouse, by the way — and get those cash registers ringing again. Cough, cough, ha ha.
Meanwhile the Governor cuts health care benefits for older adults, his restaurant rescue program has pretty much failed, and millions of immobilized older adults cannot get preventive care, public transportation, and other life-sustaining services. Coming up next? Emergency management of wildfire threats by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, during mandatory “shelter-in-place” conditions with vastly unplanned alternatives. But, hey — the Board of Supervisors hasn’t paid much heed to all the real disaster preparedness nonsense ever, so you might as well let them dicker with business owners like this one:
We understand the reason for the new order of wearing masks before entering any business, but we will NOT be enforcing it. We will not deny service to someone because they do not have a mask on. We appreciate those who are wearing them, and it is our policy for our employees, to wear them while at work, but we will not regulate the wearing of them by customers. That is not our job. We're here to serve and feed, and we wouldn't expect our employees to enforce temporary orders. That is not the definition of their job.
We've already had so much taken from us - no large gatherings, no County Fair, no Memorial day or Fourth of July celebrations, no Pear Festival. Enough is enough. This is a small stand, but we're taking it in support of our county, our friends and family, and the businesses that we love all around us.
How, pray tell, is anyone going to “educate” these people, if District 2 Supervisor Bruno Sabatier uses his Facebook account to “mediate” on behalf of non-compliant businesses and their civically disengaged clientele?
We are infinitely grateful to the supportive community members, businesses, and civic organizations in both Mendocino and Lake Counties for continuing to transcend this unfamiliar new world crisis, as we work together for a better future — tomorrow, next week, next year. Solidaridaj!
Upper Lake, CA