- Hot Today
- FB Punts
- Rejecting Braxton
- Popcorn Clouds
- Oversight Proposal
- Poppy Mix
- Unconfirmed Rumor
- SoCo Lawsuit
- Usal Housing
- Ed Notes
- Covelo Bust
- Rider Gulch
- Scam Calls
- Skyhawk Clot
- Usal Mill
- Department Auditing
- Boonville Farmstands
- Yesterday's Catch
- Racist Thoughts
- Cottoneva Store
- Progressive Fight
- Arizona Protesters
- Politicizing Masks
- Losing Wetlands
- Rockport Town
- High-Speed Rail
- Found Object
HOT AND DRY conditions will persist through today across the interior, followed by a cooling trend this weekend. Morning cloudiness at the coast will give way to mostly sunny skies and possibly some warmer temperatures in the afternoons. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Boonville 97°; Yorkville 99°.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
by Andrew Scully
In predictable if disappointing fashion, the Fort Bragg city council voted late Monday night to punt on the issue of changing the name of the only California town from that honors a Confederate general. When presented with the opportunity to make a historic and bold statement, the council, after a marathon public meeting, instead voted to put the issue to a ad-hoc committee which will essentially study the issue further. No time frame, strategic goals, guidelines for structure, or composition of the commission were specified. Nor was there any dedication of City budget or staff to the issue.
Although the name change issue was officially listed as the number two item on the council agenda (item #1 was consideration of new Covid-19 guidance received from the county) no one familiar with local events hereabouts was fooled by the order of march. The hot-button issue for the night was undoubtedly the name change, which had turned this relatively small coastal hamlet into an epicenter of the national cultural debate on racism, symbols, and reckoning with the past. It was the name change, and not the Covid-19 announcements that brought more than 100 activists and local residents out with signs and placards, and that had prompted the city to close the main intersection in town, at Highway One and Laurel. The CHP had several units on standby for security.
The dubious distinction of being the only California city named after a Confederate officer came in a roundabout manner. The place was among the most remote of army outposts in the new state of California in 1857 when it was named after captain of the United States army Braxton Bragg, a West Point graduate who was considered by subordinates and superiors alike as a bumbler at best and a conniving fool by many. Bragg had in 1856 resigned his commission to take up the life of a Plantation Owner and Slaver in Louisiana, where he assumed ownership of a sugar farm along with more than 100 African American slaves. One of his former associates in the Army suggested the name, and thus the long march of tradition and history began.
The story took an inconvenient turn in 1861, when our honoree took up arms against those same United States in open rebellion and an act of treason against the government which he had sworn an oath to defend. Soon Bragg became a general in the Confederate army. One speaker at the podium last night suggested that the only good thing about Braxton Bragg was that his utter incompetence as a military commander undoubtedly hastened the defeat of the Confederate army by several months.
In the event anyone came expecting trouble, they were disappointed, as the crowd was peaceful and respectful. Upwards of 125 people had taken the time to show up, some carrying signs demanding Justice or an End of Oppression, and others sporting patriotic regalia, including a representative of the Daughters of the American West. One character even dressed up as a Confederate General – Bragg, one assumes - who was smirking and laughing, unmasked, on the street corner with locals. It occurred to more than one observer that the very appearance of a white man dressed as Confederate "General Bragg" in June 2020 might have sparked a race riot at other places in this country.
Most people had come to the site on Monday night to make their views known. But space inside the meeting hall itself was severely restricted to comply with physical distancing parameters. Only eight seats were available for the public, and two for press. Opinion on the issue seemed to be roughly split among three groups: 1. those that believe the name should be changed to one reflecting Pomo Indian origins; 2. a sizable group that favors the current name, and 3. a group that wants the name changed immediately to anything other than one honoring a dead confederate general.
Most in this remote working-class community have fairly strong views on the issue that brought Fort Bragg into the center of the national debate: Residents are engaged in an impassioned discussion about values beliefs and symbols.
People against any name change consistently cited simple respect for tradition and history, along with the assertion that a name change alone does nothing to address underlying and systemic racism. To these people, changing the name is a clumsy attempt to re-write history.
Those favoring name change point out that the people and events commemorated by “naming” are in fact elevated to honor by society. That each thing honored in this way is in fact a memorial, and as such are deeply meaningful symbols. And that symbols matter now too; not merely actions. One speaker compared Bragg to the biblical betrayer of Jesus, Judas Iscariot. He noted that Judas has currently no cities named after him in the United States.
Both sides pointed to costs associated with their opponents' proposals. The “changers” cited the chilling and negative publicity that the name controversy, and that the name itself has drawn unwanted attention to Fort Bragg. One contended that there many are offended enough by the issue to boycott travel and business to the city. Those against change pointed to renaming costs - from stationary to parks, to signs, to the School District.
The argument was made by many against name change at this point that further study and review - by as yet undefined groups - might produce agreeable options and maybe even consensus down the road. Perhaps. In the event Council decided to punt the ball downfield and buy more time. There were three options before the council that night, namely: 1. renaming the City then and there or voting to do so within a given time; 2. putting the question to a city-wide referendum vote of the people of Fort Bragg in November; and 3. the course actually adopted - to bury the issue in committee for further study. This decision will probably appease only the status-quo group. But the other two demographic components that together favor change, and that represent the majority of those present, is not likely to be silenced by referral to an ad-hoc committee with no budget, no staff, no reporting deadline, and no guidance from Mayor Will Lee other than to report their findings "sometime soon."
Although neither Mayor Lee nor Concilmember Norvell returned calls seeking comment, City Manager Tabatha Miller offered the official perspective in an extensive interview with the Independent Coast Observer. She argued that for those seeking a name change, more time, study, and consultation is needed. And everyone – at least publicly – supports an inclusive process that honors all viewpoints. But Ms. Miller acknowledged that the council missed an opportunity address the issue directly by publicly committing to name change on Monday night. The council could have made a bold statement by voting to change from a clearly inappropriate current name to one to chosen a citizen commission with a one-year deadline.
As it stands, only those who support the status quo find much to cheer in the council vote. And for those that see the name as an affront at worst and a inconvenient anachronism at best, delay is unsatisfactory. For this group, signs and symbols represent the collective values that a society holds. For these people, every moment that the name stands is an insult to those seeking to advance racial and social justice.
The council may have bought itself some time on Monday night. But a reckoning with the past of this place seems to be underway.
CITY COUNCIL TO CREATE TASK FORCE TO ADDRESS NAME CHANGE
The Fort Bragg City Council dedicated most of its Monday, June 22, 2020 regularly scheduled City Council meeting to considering how to address the widespread response it received on the topic of the City’s name and its connection to Confederate General Braxton Bragg. After listening to several hours of thoughtful and respectful public comment in favor and against changing the City’s name, the City Council made the following decisions.
The City Council asked staff to draft a proclamation disassociating and denouncing any tie between the City of Fort Bragg, California, Confederate General Braxton Bragg and racism. Council further directed staff to include in the proclamation a reminder of its commitment to embrace the diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences of all American people – both native born and immigrants as set forth in the 2017 City Council Resolution. Staff plans to add this proclamation to the agenda for City Council consideration at the July 13, 2020 Regular City Council meeting.
Mayor Lee appointed Vice Mayor Norvell and Councilmember Morsell-Haye to an ad hoc committee with direction to determine the best model for creating a Citizen Commission or Task Force that would not only provide a recommendation on the best path forward for the name change matter but also address the deeper systemic issue of racism. This ad hoc committee was also tasked with defining the scope of work for the Commission/Task Force, how citizen participants should be selected and the protocol for how the working group would function. The ad hoc committee will make a recommendation to the full City Council as to how to proceed with the Commission/Task Force at a future City Council meeting.
The City Council agreed that it was premature to place a name change ballot question on the November 3, 2020 general election. A ballot measure would need to be approved by City Council at or before its July 27, 2020 regularly scheduled meeting and Council felt that wasn’t sufficient time to truly address the complex issues and emotions surrounding the City’s name and a possible change.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
A MENDO POLICE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE?
by Mark Scaramella
Before the Supervisors discussed Supervisors Ted Williams’ and John Haschack’s proposal for some kind of civilian law enforcement oversight at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Williams had already backpedaled a bit, posting a follow-up note to his initial proposal with the full agenda text.
“It was my understanding the chair [Haschack] had approached the topic with Sheriff after public expression called for a citizens committee. Sheriff Kendall and I have been interviewed for print and radio on the topic. The item is a conversation starter, not a first reading. It can be shaped based on collective needs, including institutional insight. Inviting the public to offer comment no matter the perspective is not politicizing. As I've asked the Sheriff, I hope you'll join us in brainstorming how a citizens committee can build unity. I see bidirectional opportunity. Showing the public the challenges of public safety in a sparse and poorly funded county is a path to build support through empathy. Nothing can be as powerful in bridging understanding as asking citizens to contemplate the very problems you've faced first hand. Channeling public concern is a path to mitigate unanswered questions and solve problems at a local level. Some have suggested the state attorney general is the oversight body. I don't want complaints reaching the AG. The agenda summary explicitly enumerates intended limitations. Those who are voicing concern about investigations, politically motivated policies or "an inquisition" (which has come full circle) could not have read the text. The effort in no way calls for a new body to direct the Sheriff's office.”
Clearly, the Haschack/Williams proposal did indeed call for a “Citizens Police Oversight Committee” which would be “a new body,” but we didn’t see anything in it to “direct” the Sheriff’s office to do anything. However, the Sheriff’s Office would be directed to staff and support the Committee and deliver materials to them and respond to their questions, which would be direction, time-consuming direction, but the proposal did not describe any benefits that might accrue from this direction.
Nevertheless, Sheriff Kendall and DA Eyster both responded calmly to the proposal on Tuesday.
Sheriff Matt Kendall: “I believe the national narrative on this is probably a very good narrative. A lot of these things have been coming. We have been working extremely hard over the last several years on several pieces of legislation that deal directly with transparency in policing. All of these things have been very good for our communities and the sheriff’s office. The various Senate bills that came into play just last year address some of the vacuum of the things we do here. If we have a complaint on a deputy or a police chief has a complaint on an officer, until this time we have not been able to show the work that we have done to be able to correct these things. And that vacuum whether we like it or not is going to be filled by what the public believes and what their thoughts and experiences are.”
Translation: Some recent state laws and some new ones under consideration, un-enumerated on Tuesday, may have made or may make it easier for the Sheriff to release information about controversial incidents that may arise so that people can have facts in their hands rather than speculate on social media.
Kendall continued with his primary objection to the proposal: “I am absolutely not happy with the release of the agenda item before anybody spoke with me. That was not presented in a spirit of collaboration or transparency. It's one thing to speak about transparency, it's another to exercise it. I don't agree with the proposed ordinance. It is a carbon copy of what they have in Sonoma County which is antiquated as of July 2019. I also don't believe it covers anything outside the sheriff's office. If this is truly a systemic issue then why don't we look at all our county departments? Anybody who serves the public? We should be looking at it as a whole. I have heard Ms. Pagnoli [a local black lives matter activist] speak to the board and KZYX radio. I immediately invited her to come sit with me at the sheriff's office. The moment she walked in she said she was not here to complain about our department or our deputies. ‘I think you are doing a good job. I am here to help you accomplish whatever you need done.’ That's very rare to have someone walk in the door like that. I immediately contacted the other police chiefs and we have a time set up to meet with Ms. Pagnoli and hash over these things and begin making some headway. We need something that is much better than what we are looking at right now. Any changes made in the sheriff's office need to come from me. I have an absolute duty to speak with my people. I will never put anything out to the press before I've spoken with my staff. If we want to have any changes it absolutely has to come from the top. We can probably do a lot better than what we're looking at here. This will require time and conversation to move into something that will work for all of us. I understand with the national dialogue that people want to run out and see what we can fix right now. However, one week and a carbon copy [of Sonoma County’s] ordinance is not going to fix 400 years of disparity. I think we can move forward with this and build something for Mendocino County by working with the other police chiefs because whatever I do will eventually affect them. We have to work very hard to make sure 100% of the county is taken care of, not just the residents in the unincorporated areas. We also have to consider the folks in the cities. I return every phone call if a person leaves their number, and if I get an e-mail they get a response unless they give a phone number which I will call. These discussions constantly give me good ideas. The more collaboration we have with the community, the better off we will be. That said, when we have a plane crash we don't invite people who are not experts in investigating plane crashes to review them. Whoever we are working with on this needs to receive training so they understand the subtle differences in laws. There are things I speak to the district attorney about and he finds a lot of subtle differences. We have to be very concerned about that because if we don't look at these things than we violate people's rights. Whether we are violating the rights of citizens or deputies, these are still all our people. It is important that we come at this with eyes wide open, work together and find something that will truly work for our county. When it's raining in Los Angeles I don't get out my umbrella here.”
DA David Eyster commented: “Racism has no place in Mendocino County. In any way, shape or form. The Board processes should be deliberative, not legislated from the evening news. I think you are overlooking something. We have subject matter experts, the sheriff being one of the top ones in the criminal law area. If you have concerns, rather than imposing a panel or oversight, why don't you get him to respond in writing to what your concerns are. There's the 8cantwait program, why don't you ask him to address those eight [short-term law enforcement reform proposals]? Then if you're not sure about what's presented you can get more citizen input from the grand jury. You can ask the grand jury which is about to come into session on July 1. That is nothing but citizens from all districts of this county who get together and provide public reports on what is right and what is wrong. Has there been examples of racism in Mendocino County? Of course! Lashawn Davis was shot by a man over in East Ukiah. In my professional opinion that had elements of racism all over it. Mr. Ryan was 62 at the time and is serving 21 years in state prison. When it comes to police officers, I recall that probably in 1991 a Ukiah police officer by the name of David Richard was rolling drunk Hispanic men. Law enforcement does not tolerate bad cops. So that case was fully investigated by Ukiah police department and with the help of undercover agents from the Department of Justice he was convicted and he was put away. I've heard some supervisors say that they want to make decisions based on available data so I would like to have the local data points that are underlying this discussion from Chair Haschack and Supervisor Williams. Provide me the data points so I can review them in the context of my information because I have a very full database on all law enforcement actions in this county. I can either confirm or show conflict in those data points. If we are going to make decisions based on verifiable data then I want to know what that data is and let's have a discussion. The sheriff should also have the ability to discuss that also. We have to be careful. It's always proper to have this discussion. I see no reason not to have discussions about racism. But we have to also let the Sheriff have an opportunity to address your concerns at the outset and not install a bureaucracy before you are either satisfied are not satisfied with his answers.”
After a half an hour or so of rambling Board discussion and public input — which was largely in favor of the concept, but without giving any particular local rationale or slant — the Board decided to set up yet another ad hoc committee — John Haschack and Dan Gjerde — to explore the idea of some kind of oversight. Supervisor Carre Brown objected to the whole thing and voted no on the ad hoc proposal. We doubt anything will come of it beyond some local implementation of whatever new law enforcement direction comes out of the Governor’s office or the legislature, if that. And not much is going to change at the federal level, despite all the hoopla.
MSP'S 'UNCONFIRMED RUMOR' DEPARTMENT: SHERIFF KENDALL SAYS RUMOR IS FALSE
Well, this Facebook post has logged a LOT of inquiries here on MSP today - 15 so far asking if it's true. We have been listening to the scanner most of the day and have NOT heard of any law enforcement copter getting "shot down." One person said, "'There's still a lot of rumors popping out — they're saying that the helicopter was shot at by numerous people that is why they landed." We sent an email into the Mendocino Sheriff Office to see if this RUMOR is true or false. We heard from Matt LeFever @ 4:56 pm who messaged MSP: "Sheriff Kendall confirmed the rumors regarding helicopters being shot at or shot down are false." Thanks Matt.
SONOMA COUNTY SUED FOR POLICE MISCONDUCT AND BRUTALITY, Federal Civil Rights Suit Demands Immediate Reforms to County’s Police Cam Video Release Policies
Victim of police misconduct and excessive force sues seeking damages and changes to Sonoma County’s policies designed to “hide police misconduct, brutality and racism.”
SONOMA, Calif. – A recent victim of police violence filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the County of Sonoma, Town of Windsor, Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick, and individual officers, demanding monetary damages, as well as injunctive relief to alter Sonoma County’s illegal policies with respect to the release of police body camera video footage, according to Hagens Berman.
If you have been the victim of police misconduct and excessive force, contact Hagens Berman to learn more about your rights.
The suit, filed on June 25, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accuses defendants of violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as California’s Constitution and common law.
The action comes after the excessive use of deadly force during a welfare check, false arrest and imprisonment of La’Marcus McDonald, a 34 year-old African American male.
According to the complaint, on July 9, 2019, the Windsor Police Department responded to a welfare check of Mr. McDonald, who was sleeping in a legally parked vehicle. Police officers detained Mr. McDonald and used “excessive and deadly force by slamming Plaintiff head first into the ground while holding his right arm, breaking off Plaintiff’s two front teeth, knocking out a third, causing bleeding from the mouth, facial and arm lacerations, and rendering him unconscious,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit states that officers then unlawfully arrested Mr. McDonald, filed a false police report and falsely imprisoned him, with the cooperation of supervisors.
After reviewing the body camera footage, the Sonoma County District Attorney refused to prosecute Mr. McDonald. Sonoma County and the Sheriff’s office nevertheless refuse to release the body camera footage to Mr. McDonald, despite a new California statute (Cal. Gov. Code § 6254(f)(4)), requiring the release of such video within 45 days where use of force causes death or great bodily harm.
The Sonoma Sheriff takes the position that a concussion and the loss of three front teeth does not constitute great bodily harm, which in turn allows them to not report the incident to the California Department of Justice, as required by California law (Cal. Gov. Code § 12525.2(d)) and conceal the Sheriff’s Office wrongdoing.
“Hagens Berman demands justice for all citizens unlawfully targeted and attacked by the police, like Mr. McDonald,” said Steve Berman, co-founder and managing partner of Hagens Berman. “For far too long, members of our society have been victimized by the authorities and denied their civil liberties. Public transparency, including the prompt release of body cam video footage, is absolutely necessary for police accountability.” Berman added.
Find out more about the civil rights lawsuit against Sonoma County.
About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a national class-action and complex litigation law firm with nine offices across the country, fighting for the rights of consumers,whistleblowers, employees, investors and others. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.
(Press Release from HBSSlaw)
USAL WORKER HOUSING
MSP was listening to the scanner (11:44 am) and heard dispatch from a Willits Karen who read a long list from a person complaining about people not wearing masks & not social distancing - one was an adult at the Willits skate park. But the best was a business complaint against a "Message Parlor" (whose name we're withholding) where the person said they were not wearing masks, were not social distancing and were providing "sexual favors for money."
ENSUING COMMENT included several gents asking for the address and a price list. Another person wondered how this Karen knew what was going on inside. Another, calling itself “Walitina Peephole,” said the sin center "is the Ocean Blue Massage across from the Willits Charter School. They should move across from JD Redhouse to the old brothel next to the antique bookstore. Ocean Blue walls."
GIVEN THE GIVENS of the shrinking economy, crime, including prostitution, not that there's any evidence that Ocean Blue is selling extras, but sexual commerce is certain to increase, even here in the boondocks where prostitution flourished until World War Two. Anybody who's been here a while has seen that plaque in Ukiah commemorating Madge's, a popular brothel.
HAWK NEWSOME is described as the president of Greater New York Black Lives Matter. He said that if "meaningful change" doesn't result from the national protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police officers, the movement will “burn down this system. If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation. Let’s be very real,” the Hawk told Fox News, “Let’s observe the history of the 1960s, when black people were rioting. We had the highest growth in wealth, in property ownership. Think about the last few weeks since we started protesting. There have been eight cops fired across the country. What is this country rewarding? What behavior is it listening to? Obviously not marching. But when people get aggressive and they escalate their protests, cops get fired, Republican politicians talk about police reform. I don’t condone nor do I condemn rioting,” Newsome said. “But I’m just telling you what I observed.... this country is built upon violence. What was the American Revolution? What’s our diplomacy across the globe. We go in and we blow up countries and we replace their leaders with leaders who we like. So for any American to accuse us of being violent is extremely hypocritical."
THE DEMOCRATS being incapable of fundamental change, and the Republicans crazy and incompetent, and the economy falling down on the heads of the poor, Newsome is undoubtedly expressing the consensus opinion of a heckuva lotta people.
ADDITIONAL CONFIRMATION that revolution is in the air comes from the IMF, which announced Wednesday that this "crisis is like no other," and will wipe out $12 trillion in national wealth over two years. And 1.4 million more people have filed for unemployment insurance.
KAREN DEFALCO of Boonville called to say that back in the 1980s when she enjoyed morning walks with Valley old timer Delmar June, he told her that her home on Anderson Valley Way was something of a local landmark, that the Jeans family had lived there. Karen said she knew that her property had belonged to the Jeans, but hadn't known anything more about the Jeans family than that. I'd guess the Jeans owned the place up until '46 when Albert Jeans, the last Jeans of original homesteader Daniel Jeans died in Ukiah. Daniel Jeans, who died in 1920, is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, past which Karen and Delmar walked every day.
AND ANOTHER OLD TIMER NOTES: "I ran across some stories about the Boonville Indians in Grass Roots of AV. I will make copies and send to you. It is written by a Rawles, one of the first old birds to roost in AV. I was surprised to find out the Indians had a Rancheria close to where the Clinic is located. Frank Luff told me about the ceremonial site where the old Ornbaun house is located, The Indians burned the bodies so there is not much to find on that hilltop."
RUMOR OF THE DAY: "Flow Kana just notified all their growers today that they're cutting their prices by 25%. Big Big Big deal."
ANOTHER BIG RAID IN COVELO
On June 24, 2020, The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, along with the Major Crimes Task Force, County Of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team, the Mendocino County Probation Office, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and California National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force personnel assigned to High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), served two search warrants at two location side by side on the 77200 block of Crawford Road in Covelo, CA.
At the conclusion of the search, a total of 15,148 plants were discovered and eradicated, 2 firearms which include one AR15 assault rifle. Eight individuals were found on-site and detained, including a 17-year-old female juvenile from Salinas. One person fled the scene but was located by the helicopter crew and three more were detained after a high-risk felony stop off-site.
Because the juvenile was located on the property without any legal guardian, didn't know anyone else on the property, had no friends or family living close by, and didn't speak English, the juvenile was transferred to the care of the Mendocino County Child Protective Services Agency for her own safety. An investigation has opened to determine whether the juvenile onsite was a victim of sex and/or labor trafficking.
We'll be issuing a more detailed statement in the coming days.
RIDER GULCH, 1893
The Fort Bragg Police Department has been receiving telephone calls from residents stating they are receiving telephone calls advising the recipient is a prizewinner, threatening them with arrest or a utility cut off. The caller tells the recipient they need to go to a store, buy a prepaid card with a specific amount of money, and then call back with the card number. Once the caller is in possession of the card number, the money is gone, and there is no way to trace it.
We would like to remind the community that you should never release any personal information over the telephone if you did not initiate the call. If the caller requests a pre-paid card, this is a good indicator that the call is a scam. The Social Security office nor the I.R.S. conduct business over the telephone.
For further information, please refer to the Federal Trade Consumer Information website at www.consumer.ftc.gov and click on the Scam Alerts link. This site will provide you with detailed information on these types of scams.
Fort Bragg Police Presser
THE HAWK'S OK
Last night was one of the weirdest nights I have ever had. I checked myself in at the Fort Bragg emergency room because my left leg was swollen. It turns out I have a blood clot; it runs from my groin to my knee. They put me on the helicopter last night and flew me to Chico, where they will put a catheter up there to try and break up the clot. I went to Fort Bragg thinking after I get done I’ll get a bite to eat in Fort Bragg. I know that catheter idea seems like a drag, but I got a really nice helicopter ride out of the deal. It was lovely to fly so close to the stars. At 3 o’clock Friday afternoon they did the procedure, so good thoughts around that time were appreciated. Thank you so much. PS. Saturday night — the procedure went well. I’m completely exhausted. I don’t know what else to tell you. Thank you for all the love and the prayers. I’m a blessed man. (Chris Skyhawk)
USAL MILL HOUSING
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
Mendocino County departments could all use financial audits. Before I can support the Sheriff's budget proposal including $570k for 10 new vehicles (6 patrol, 2 K9, 1 command and 1 truck) next year at a cost of cuts to other departments, I want assurance that the timing is absolutely necessary. Our budgeting process makes ranking needs across departments difficult to gauge. These vehicles might in fact be necessary due to condition of existing fleet, but from the available reports and discussions, there is no way for me to be certain. We've talked about strategic planning. I'm now of the mind that audits are the first step. An audit sounds accusatory, but this is not the intent at all. The intent is to determine if we can structure contracts and purchases to facilitate a more robust local government, including public safety. Raw transparency: there isn't enough information on the table to make responsible decisions. All departments need audit.
LOCAL FARM STANDS
Velma's Farmstand at Filigreen Farm
First week of blueberries! The farm stand will be open Friday 1pm-5pm and Saturday 8:30am-1pm. We will be offering an array of vegetables including pre-bagged greens, New Girl tomatoes, sugar snap peas, spring onions, herbs and more. There will be fresh flower bouquets, frozen and fresh blueberries, dried prunes, and olive oil for sale as well. All products are certified biodynamic and grown by Filigreen Farm.
Please email Annie at email@example.com with any questions or more information. We can accept cash/card/check. Please respect social distance rules (maximum 3 people in the stand) and wear a mask at all times.
Brock Farms Stand, Highway 128 at Peachland Road
New to Brock Farms stand: summer squash, cucumbers and tomatoes starting to trickle in. Open 10-duskish
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 25, 2020
DANIEL BATTEN, Covelo. Tampering with vehicle, probation revocation.
JULISA HIGGS, Fairfield/Redwood Valley. Suspended license.
MICHAEL KING, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ROBERT MCKEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
BETHANY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
DANIEL TODD SR., Campbell/Laytonville. Child endangerment.
CHAD TURLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
by Marilyn Davin
When I was a general assignment reporter just starting out in Charleston, West Virginia, in the mid-1970s, one of my first news directors advised me to steer clear of debating either abortion or capital punishment with anyone who either opposed the first or supported the second. “Save your breath,” he said. “Almost nobody changes their beliefs on those issues. And if they do, it’s not because of any rational argument.” I’d add racism to that list of entrenchables, unpopular as that may be in our techy, high-speed times where reason takes a heavy back seat to the almighty outward appearance. Another athlete, backpedaling from a racist comment caught on some fellow party-goer’s Smartphone? There he is leading the next day’s news cycle, apologizing to the world that no, he’s no racist, it was an unfortunate but purely innocent slip of the tongue. Did getting caught change his beliefs? Of course not, but he’ll be sure to drive his racist beliefs deeper underground in the future and never, ever, talk about them in public where a cell phone lurks in every pocket. At least others won’t have to listen to his racist crap in public anymore. Public shame can motivate good behavior, and, so the theory goes, the heart will eventually follow, though it may take a few generations.
I was first introduced to the purely rational side of this story by another great mentor of my youth – my high school American history teacher. Ms. Cogan looked levelly out at our class and declared, “I don’t care if you’re a racist. But I care very much if you act like a racist.” She understood that actions can be monitored and regulated but that our emotions flow forever freely within us. My own liberal father, a U.S. Marines Corps fighter pilot in Okinawa, was shot down near the end of the war and spent its closing weeks in a POW camp. His later civilian life with my mom was a rainbow of religions and ethnicities and he was committed to fairness for everyone and nary a racist nor prejudiced word ever passed his lips. But…he refused to buy a Japanese car.
As human beings we are far more likely to act on our emotions than on reason – like the prudent car shopper who spends weeks studying comparisons of gas mileage, engine quality and the like before stepping onto the first car lot and impulsively buying something totally different simply because he fell in love with it on the spot.
The only way to overcome racism in the short term is to promulgate and enforce laws that prohibit its many visible manifestations until we have lived and worked with people who different from ourselves: ethnically, racially, sexually, politically, and economically. The most color-blind person I’ve ever known was a cameraman in the news department of a TV station where I worked years ago. He grew up in Detroit in the late 50s, early 60s, and went to the local public schools all the way up through graduation. His classes were roughly equally black and white, with many other ethnicities as well. He truly did not see a person’s color. Compare that with an experience my Turkish former mother-in-law told me about─that when Turkey first joined NATO and black American soldiers arrived in Izmir, Turks would approach them to cautiously touch their skin, wondering if the color rubbed off. Living in a homogeneous population decades before computers or even much television, most had simply never seen a black person.
Our pesky emotions, forged in our fallible human hearts in the crucible of our own experience, dictate that sometimes it’s hard to even recognize that we’ve backslid into the traditional beliefs of our tribes, even in light-hearted moments not intended to offend. I was chatting with my black co-trainer in San Francisco years ago and asked her to tell me a honky joke. Nervous and sensitive to appearing prejudiced, she made me promise to never identify herself as its source. She then told the story of how she recently walked into her house after work to find her father and his friends tee-heeing in front of a golf tournament on TV where Tiger Woods was winning big. Her father turned to her, laughing, and said, “It’s great to see a black man beating a bunch of white guys with clubs.”
PROGRESSIVES MUST FIGHT With -- and In -- the Democratic Party
by Norman Solomon
In the electoral arena, the goal is not only about winning elections. It’s also about replacing the top-down weight of entrenched politicians with the bottom-up power of grassroots activism.
After defying the odds and defeating corporate opponents on Tuesday, the strong progressives Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones are headed to Congress from New York—and there’s no way it would be happening if they hadn’t been willing and able to put up a fight in Democratic primaries. The same was true in 2018 with the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley as they beat the party establishment.
After three decades of contributing mightily to the blight of congressional militarism, Rep. Eliot Engel couldn’t be rescued by the high-profile endorsements of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Nor could Engel be saved by the eleventh-hour support of Hillary Clinton.
Other Democratic incumbents are being challenged by progressives in difficult and inspiring campaigns: intent on doing what, according to conventional political wisdom, can’t be done.
While the Republican Party has given "faith" a bad name, Barack Obama did the same for “audacity” and “hope.” Being an ally of the military-industrial complex and corporate power isn’t audacious or particularly hopeful. But progressives need plenty of audacious hope and insistence that political organizing must include insurgent election campaigns.
The obstacles are enormous. That’s usually true of social change worth fighting for.
In the electoral arena, the goal is not only about winning elections. It’s also about replacing the top-down weight of entrenched politicians with the bottom-up power of grassroots activism. A current example is the effort by progressive activists in California to make Congressman Ro Khanna the chair of the state’s delegation for the Democratic National Convention, instead of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
That would be appropriate. Khanna was a national co-chair for the 2020 campaign of Bernie Sanders, who won the state’s presidential primary by a margin of 8 percent over Joe Biden.
If Newsom allows a democratic process, Khanna could win. From all indications, Newsom doesn’t want to take the chance.
If raw political power is the metric, Newsom has a clear advantage in the lead-up to a decisive statewide “virtual meeting” of national-convention delegates set for Sunday. But in recent days, 130 Sanders delegates (including me) from congressional districts across the state -- 90 percent of all such Sanders delegates -- have signed a statement calling for Khanna to be the delegation chair.
The statement pointed out that “Ro Khanna has been a national champion on issues supported by California Democrats -- health care for all, national budget priorities based on human needs and opposing Trump on huge increases in military spending and endless wars, criminal justice reform, and a path to citizenship for immigrants.”
If Newsom allows a democratic process, Khanna could win. From all indications, Newsom doesn’t want to take the chance.
California Democratic Party rules are vague, saying only that “the Delegation Chair will be selected by the National Convention Delegates” on June 28. There’s plenty of room for top party officials to short-circuit actual democracy by refusing to allow a proper election process. The anticipated plan is to offer the delegates one big omnibus package that includes designating Newsom as chair.
Suspicion of the Democratic Party’s power structure has run deep among Bernie supporters. If the Democratic governor of the largest state is perceived as blocking a democratic process in order to strong-arm his way into becoming delegation chair, the ripple effects could extend throughout the country -- including the dozen swing states, where a robust turnout from progressive voters will be vital this fall.
At the moment, national polls are rosy for Biden. We’ve been here before, with media depicting Trump on the ropes. Few political pundits saw the demagogue’s prospects as anything but dim against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Four years later, razor-thin margins in swing states could tip the balance, notwithstanding the nationwide popular vote.
Politicians are not known for humility, and few are inclined to bypass a beckoning limelight. California’s delegation chair is apt to draw appreciable media attention in mid-August when Democrats convene a virtual convention. Newsom could do his party and his country a greater service by yielding that particular spotlight rather than basking in it.
Especially after events of 2016, when facts emerged showing that the Democratic National Committee put anti-Sanders thumbs on the scales, many progressives have become acutely sensitive to shortages of fairness in party proceedings. The last thing we need are fresh examples of powerful politicians opting for self-serving actions over democratic principles.
(Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of many books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The mask has been politicized.
Only by the far-right lunatic nut-fudge, knuckle-dragging red-hat-wearing, cave-dwelling troglydytes at the very shallow end of the Republican Party, Trump-cult, gene pool.
Sensible people – including Democrats and moderate Republicans – know that a mask is a huge factor in stopping the spread, and saving lives.
Yes, the curves will continue to rise until the entire world population has herd immunity.
Completely and utterly untrue – many countries in the world, often without the financial or technical resources of America, have kept their numbers extremely low.
Just because America is an abject and total public-health failure under the Trump-Republican regime, doesn’t mean we all are!
A FOOTBALL FIELD EVERY 100 MINUTES
"Louisiana is losing a football field of land every one hundred minutes, which is trouble, because 7.5 percent (or three million acres) of the lower forty-eight’s forty million acres of coastal wetlands are in Louisiana. So, we’re all losing the natural barriers of protection during hurricanes … And much of the region’s infrastructure, as scientists regularly point out, hasn’t been adequately rebuilt or reinforced since Hurricane Katrina.
ROCKPORT STORE & MILL
THE TRAIN TO NOWHERE
In the SF Chronicle:
“In an unprecedented move, a bipartisan majority of the state Assembly rebuked the agency’s plans for the Central Valley segment. The move, led by Frazier and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, was cosponsored by 63 of 80 members. The resolution demanded the High Speed Rail Authority not award contracts to build the Central Valley track and electrical grid until the Legislature signs off on funding. But the authority plans to push ahead with awarding those contracts, including a 30-year maintenance deal, this fall. It will ask legislators to approve $4.2 billion in funding, the remainder of its voter-approved bonds, early next year.”
[I've contacted the city's two representatives in the state Assembly---David Chiu and Phil Ting---to find out how they voted on the above resolution. If/when they respond, I'll let readers know]
The authority's arrogance won't go down well with the state legislature, which, along with the governor, appoints members of that board.
Chronicle editorial writers must also be disappointed that the end of the dumb project seems inevitable. The Chronicle has always supported the project editorially—as recently as this year—though its understanding of the project has always been sketchy.
Former Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders nailed the project way back in 2010 as the Democrats' way more costly version of the Bridge to Nowhere: The Train to Nowhere (see also this by Saunders).
Streetsblog has always supported the project, since they think trains, no matter how costly, are almost as good as bicycles in the anti-car campaign. Roger Rudick wouldn't have been hired by SF Streetsblog if he opposed high-speed rail.
The poorly-conceived and unfunded project has always been a Democratic Party project and a source of embarrassment to Democrats like me.
Democrats like Scott Wiener seem determined to validate the Republican charge that it's a party of reckless big spenders.
Governor Newsom's proposed budget in January included $2 billion for the project.
The argument that the wasteful project creates jobs is the last, desperate attempt by supporters to save it:
“Brian Annis, the authority’s chief financial officer, said the agency looks ‘forward to a discussion next year’ with state lawmakers about its bond funding. He said legislators would be remiss to pause construction, given the train will create jobs amid a recession. ‘The case gets stronger for high-speed rail for many reasons,’ Annis said. ‘We are supporting thousands of jobs in many areas around the state’.”
Not surprising from the project's CFO, though he doesn't cite other of the supposedly "many reasons." The jobs claim is essentially a political argument, since unions are an important part of the Democratic Party's base:
”Labor unions have been among the project’s most vocal backers, saying it would provide trade jobs and help a region left behind by the Los Angeles and Bay Area economies. ‘We should not forget that this type of project is exactly what workers in the construction industry need from their government in times of recession, like times we find ourselves in now,’ said Jeremy Smith of the State Building and Construction Trades Council.”
Which is nothing but a craven appeal to self-interest, a hogs-at-the-public-trough argument.
Even worse, supporters hope that a Biden administration will bail out the project:
“Dan Richard...said legislators must focus on the project’s long-term potential to re-imagine transportation and connect the state. He suggested that with a presidential election on the horizon, high-speed rail’s financial woes could be temporary. ‘Joe Biden is a train guy,’ Richard said. ‘If these guys can hold on until the cavalry comes over the hill, that would be good’.”
Yes, Biden has said some dumb things about high-speed rail, but the country's recession will still be hobbling the economy during a Biden administration and, like California, even a Democratic President, Senate and House seem unlikely to continue throwing money at the project.
— Rob Anderson, District5Diary