MCT: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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NEAR SEASONAL TEMPERATURES and dry weather will persist across Northwest California over the next seven days. Additional rounds of breezy winds will be possible most afternoons for both inland areas and along the coast. Otherwise, nightly bouts of marine stratus will continue to be possible at the coast and throughout the Eel River Valley. (NWS)

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MENDOCINO COUNTY COVID CASES, JUNE 30

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JAIL STATUS UPDATE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

by Sheriff Matt Kendall & Jail Commander Tim Pearce

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mendocino County, we’re thankful that we haven’t had an outbreak in our jail. Much of the credit for this goes to Captain Tim Pearce. He’s been the Commander of the Jail for 18 years and he had a plan in place long before most people became familiar with COVID-19.

He had already put together a Communicable Disease Treatment in 2008 to prepare for possible contagious diseases including aerosol transmissible diseases, blood borne diseases, bacterial infections, sexually transmissible diseases, and pandemic influenza. These protocols have already been tested by minor outbreaks of Measles, Chicken Pox and Hand Foot Mouth.

Fast forward to January 2020, and this same plan worked quite effectively for the COVID-19 pandemic. He started preparing in January of 2020, and by March he began implementing aggressive measures to not only prevent its spread within the jail, but to prevent it reaching inmates and correctional staff alike.

As you can see from his timeline below, Captain Pearce kept (and continues to keep) himself updated during the many phases and changes as the information on COVID-19 unfolded.


Coronavirus Action Timeline

· 1/28/20 – First conversation with Mendocino County Public Health about developing a strategy for the jail.

· 2/4/20 – NaphCare (an onsite healthcare contractor for correctional facilities) initiated the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) questionnaire on all intakes. We made the decision that any positives responses to the questions were not going to be taken into the jail. They would be referred out to the hospital.

· 2/12/20 – A meeting with jail administration, Kim Silva, a Physicians Assistant with NaphCare, Jen Banks of Coastal Valley EMS, Carly Sullivan of Coastal Valley EMS, and Dr. Doohan, the Public Health Officer of Mendocino County. The result of this meeting was that we understood more about the virus and the appropriate reaction to positive responses. We implemented that any persons who are suspected of having symptoms will be transferred to the hospital via ambulance. Dr. Doohan was given a copy of our Communicable Disease Treatment and Notification policy to review. Began concentrated cleaning protocols.

· 2/27/20 – Discussion with Sheriff’s Lieutenant Barney about creating a Sheriff Office wide preparedness plan.

· 3/3/20 – Rolled out American Jail Association/Centers for Disease Control (AJA/CDC) staff training on Coronavirus specific to correctional settings.

· As of 3/3/20, there have been no positive responses to the CDC Questionnaire or suspected cases at the intake of the jail

· 3/12/20 – Suspended all inmate programs until further notice. To re-assess on 4/13.

· 3/12/20 – Suspended all work crews.

· 3/15/20 – The jail stopped accepting prisoners charged only with misdemeanor crimes or warrants except those with Domestic Battery, Restraining Order Violations, and Stalking and people who require sobering that are truly a public safety risk.

· 3/17/20 – Started doing all Court hearing on video. Thermal screening of attorneys and interpreters that enter the jail for video court.

· 3/17/20 – Rolled out and trained staff on the COVID-19 Jail Plan.

· 3/17/20 – Purchased sprayers to aid in disinfecting the jail.

· 3/18/20 - Stopped all social inmate visiting for 15 days.

· 3/18/20 – Stopped all attorney and Probation contact visits. They will be done via video or by non-contact.

·  3/18/20 – Started taking temperatures on all employees entering the jail.

·  3/18/20 – All inmates from this date forward will get a 3-day early release.

· 3/18/20 - Deferred people coming in on commitments and those are in the process of being sentenced.

· 3/18/20 – Adopted a COVID-19 screening form for arrestees coming from other states or agencies. This form will be used prior to scheduling the transport.

· 3/19/20 - Edovo, the jail phone provider, began giving one 10-minute phone call per week for four weeks for each inmate and 20 free text messages per week.

· 3/19/20 – Stopped inmate commissary program.

· 3/19/20 – Started voluntary use of N-95 masks at reception. If a person is has cold or flu symptoms but cleared by NaphCare for booking or there community spread N-95 masks will be mandatory.

· 3/20/20 – Requested BSCC approve suspension of Title 15 1062 In-Person visits.

· 3/20/20 – Delivery of inmate mail and newspapers will be delayed 24 hours.

· 3/23/20 - Correctional Staff to self-report at temperature check-in: shortness of breath, a cough, encountered someone suspected of having COVID-19, or fever.

· 3/24/20 – Started temperature checks on inmate workers.

· 3/25/20 - Increased the number of staff temperature check to twice a shift.

· 3/25/20 – The inmate population reduction methods have worked and now we are shifting the population to eventually accommodate a quarantine-housing unit.

· 3/27/20 – Started COVID-19 screening on people prior to being released to ensure a safe release to the community.

· 3/27/20 – Redirected incoming corrections personnel to go through the Building Two lobby then to medical for their temperature check.

· 4/2/20 – Staff N-95 mask use is now mandatory at booking/reception.

· 4/7/20 – Staff N-95 mask use is now mandatory for all inmate contact.

· 4/7/20 – Restricted access of arresting agencies from entering the jail.

· 4/10/20 – Created inmate distancing in the three bunk cells. Directed staff to move one inmate use the top bunk and one use the bottom bunk, leaving the middle bunk open.

· 4/23/20 – Gave surgical masks to all inmates. They are to wear the mask anytime they are out of their cell.

· 5/4/20 – Issued washable cloth masks to inmates.

· 5/11/20 – Resumed commissary. Being passed by Corrections staff.

· 5/15/20 – Tested 70 inmates for COVID-19. All negative.

· 6/1/20 – Resumed receiving commitments.

· 6/15/20 – Re-starting family visiting, contact attorney visits, inmate service programming, and work crews. We will be resuming visiting and programs for inmates. Visiting will be in 45-minute blocks so that we can clean the visiting area between visits. There will only be one visitor allowed for each inmate so that we can allow the public to maintain social distancing as much as possible. All visitors and inmates MUST wear masks during the visit. We will have the Main Jail cleaners standby and clean the inmate side of visiting between visits. Staff will need to go to the public side and spray the counters, seats and phones with Lysol. We will provide a disinfectant wipe to each person coming in from the public so that they can wipe down the counter and phones if they so desire.

· We will also be accommodating attorney contact visits. Attorneys wanting to come into the facility will need to have their temperature checked and be wearing a mask at all times. Inmates will likewise be required to wear a mask.

· Inmate Services will reinstate inmate programs starting Monday, June 15. The Inmate Services Coordinator will be contacting providers and making arrangements to come in for their program. Inmates going to programs must wear masks as do the providers. Providers will need to have their temperature checked prior to any contact with the inmates. The classrooms will also need to be cleaned between classes.

· Outside work crews may be reinstated as of Monday, June 15, but with the low numbers of inmates in Wing Three, the implementation will be delayed. The job assignment officers will need to get a hold of the work crew supervisors once the number of inmates allows crews to go back out.

With the constantly evolving changes caused by COVID-19, more changes on how we operate are likely. We have every confidence Captain Pearce will remain vigilant in his efforts to keep the Mendocino County Jail safe as possible from COVID-19 for inmates, staff and the public.


ED NOTE: Captain Pearce not only maintained a disease-free jail under difficult circumstances, but he did it in a jail that is so old that it is requires the equivalent of bailing wire and bandaids to maintain and is not designed for anything like what it has become.

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AS CASES RISE ELSEWHERE IN U.S., WHERE DO WE STAND?

Miller Report for the Week of June 29, 2020

by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at MCDH

As we follow the news from the rest of the US, it is notable that California is one of four states that have the highest new daily cases, the others being Arizona, Texas and Florida.  A valid question is, “Do these actually represent a spread of the virus or just reflect an increase in testing?”  Also, how do you compare a state like Texas with 29 million to Arizona with 7.3 million.  Obviously, a larger state will be expected to have more total cases per day.    

There are two ways to address this.  The first, and perhaps most important, is to look at the rate of hospitalizations for COVID.  Afterall, that is what we are most concerned about, the number of people who are actually getting sick, not just the number of people testing positive.  The number of US hospitalizations for COVID had been steadily declining since it peaked in March, now with a notable upswing in the past two weeks.  

Unfortunately, in Arizona, Texas and Florida, the hospitalization rates are climbing significantly.  Projections for Arizona are that it may be as bad as New York in March in just another couple of weeks from now.   This suggests that the increase of cases in those states does represent a rise in actual infections as well as the rate of spread and not just expansion of testing.

In California, the overall hospitalization rate has been slowly trending down according to the CDCs COVID-Net website.  This, despite a significant increase in southern California counties.  In Mendocino County, we still have only a rare patient admitted to the hospital for COVID and none thus far in Ft. Bragg.  This argues that we continue to have an extremely low prevalence out here on the Coast and that this is not dramatically changing, at least for the time being.

The second way to look at the increase in cases is to adjust for the number of tests being done.  When we do this, we get the percentage of positive tests out of all the tests.  This should not change based simply on the number of tests done.  In other words, if 5% of a population are infected, the number of random tests that are positive should be about 5% regardless of how many tests you perform; provided you have an adequate sample size.  If the positivity rate is increasing over time, then the change represents an increase in the rate of infection, that is to say that the epidemic is accelerating,  and not a change in the availability of testing.  By this method, we can compare the positivity rate for these same four states.

The positive rate in Arizona has doubled from 12% to 24% in the past six weeks, while Florida has tripled from about 5% a month-and-a-half ago, to now 15%.   Texas also doubled from about 6% to now 14% in that same length of time.  This supports that the increases in Arizona, Texas and Florida represent actual acceleration in the spread of the virus and not simply an increase in testing.  However, in California, the positive rate has held steady at about 6% for the past six weeks.

Interpreting the data for California is less easy because the state has such a large population that is clumped into several different discrete regions. The largest clump is in LA, with one-third of our 39.5 million Californians living in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.  If we look at recent positivity rates for counties in that area we find Los Angeles County at 10.2%, San Bernardino County at 9.8%, and Ventura County with 5.4%.  This compares to Mendocino County with only 0.8% of tests being positive. Six weeks ago, LA County had an impressive 34% positive rate, San Bernardino was at 10.4% and Ventura about the same at 4.0%.  These numbers seem to argue that the increasing numbers of cases do not represent an escalation in the transmission of the disease.  In Mendocino County, our positivity rate has not changed over the past six weeks and remains at 0.8%.

To be sure, in southern California, new daily cases means the disease is spreading and that new daily cases most likely does represent new people getting infected.  However, I would argue that with the positivity rate decreasing or staying the same, there is not an exponential increase as being seen in those other states.  

Meanwhile, up here in Mendocino, we remain fortunate in having both a low prevalence as well as a low rate of spread.  I suggest we strive to keep it that way with continuing a strict policy of face mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.  

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WILLITS, 1930

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INDIAN REDWOOD MARATHON (REDWOOD EMPIRE RUN)

On June 14, 1927, eleven Native Americans stood in front of San Francisco's City Hall waiting for the starter's gun that would begin a grueling footrace. The finish line was 480 miles north in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The Indian Redwood Marathon was conceived and organized by Chambers of Commerce in San Francisco, Grants Pass, and other towns along the route. Their newly designated "Redwood Empire" stretched from San Francisco north on Highway 101 to Crescent City, then east on Highway 199 to Grants Pass. The purpose of the run was to attract visitors to the Redwood Highway, which had been built through the area, which was rich in natural beauty, with mountains, rivers, and redwood trees. 

The organizers of the footrace believed they could gain more media coverage if entrants were limited to Native Americans. Four of the competitors were members of the Karuk Tribe on the upper Klamath River. Three were brothers—John, Gorham, and Marion Southard. Believing the names too ordinary, race organizers gave them "real Indian names." John was called Mad Bull, Gorham became Rushing Water, and Marion was Fighting Stag. Another Karuk, Henry Thomas, was dubbed Flying Cloud.

The rules were simple: Each competitor had to run or walk all the way, and they could stop and rest or sleep whenever they wished. They also had to stay on the course, which went through Santa Rosa, Willits, Garberville, Eureka, and Crescent City, California, and then east over the coastal mountains through Cave Junction and into Grants Pass. Each was allowed a support car that carried food, drink, clothes, extra shoes, and anything else the runner wanted. Hotels in towns along the route offered a room and bed to the eleven men, but few of them accepted, preferring to sleep a short time along the road.

The eleven men stayed together for the first mile of the race, a short run to San Francisco Bay, where they were ferried to Sausalito. From the fourth day on, it became apparent that it was a two-man race between John Southard (Mad Bull) and Henry Thomas (Flying Cloud). Several of the others dropped out, and the rest fell farther behind. Southard was in the lead and determined to stay there. He later remembered: "I was resting when back down the road I saw Cloud come into view. I changed my shoes and took off. He never caught me."

Southard won in a time of seven days, twelve hours, and thirty-four minutes and claimed the first prize of $1,000. Thomas, eight hours back, took second and won $500.

John Southard (No. 5) passing through Willits

The race was so successful in attracting attention that it was held again in 1928. This time Henry Thomas won. A third race was being planned for 1929, but with the stock market crash and onset of the Great Depression, it was cancelled and never run again.

Sixty years later, in 1987, six alumni of Grants Pass High School ran the Redwood Empire Indian Marathon. When they crossed the finish line in Grants Pass, waiting to congratulate them was eighty-three-year-old John Wesley Southard.

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REGULAR MEETING OF THE ANDERSON VALLEY WATER PROJECTS COMMITTEE

July 2 Agenda:

Anderson Valley Community Services District

To be held via teleconference Phone # 669 900 6833 Meeting ID 845 5084 3330 Password 048078

Public comments or must be submitted by 10:00am on July 2nd, 2020 electronically to water.avcsd@gmail.com

July 2, 2020 at 10:30am

Agenda:

Call To Order And Roll Call:

Recognition Of Guests And Hearing Of Public:

Approval Of June 4, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes

Changes Or Modification To This Agenda: 

New Business

Old Business

Report On Drinking Water Project

Report On Wastewater Project

Public Outreach

Report On Technical Assistance With Rcac

Draft Drinking Water Information Letter

Concerns Of Members:

Adjournment:


The Anderson Valley Community Services District Board

  • Val Hanelt Chair (valhanelt@me.com)
  • François Christen (fogrover@gmail.com)
  • Kathleen McKenna (kmckenna@pacific.net)
  • Larry Mailliard (mmmyard@pacific.net)
  • Paul Soderman (psoderman@gmail.com)

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MENDOCINO RESTAURATEUR SHUTS DOWN CAFE INSTEAD OF COMPLYING WITH LOCAL HEALTH ORDER

by Mary Callahan

A Mendocino restaurateur faced with a second $10,000 citation for violating the county’s health order closed up shop over the weekend rather than require his workers to wear facial coverings or otherwise comply with his county’s health order.

Chris Castleman boarded up the windows at Fiddleheads Cafe on Saturday, a day after a Mendocino County code enforcement officer issued a formal notice of violation directing him to cease operations unless he was implementing required measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Instead, Castleman installed strand board in the windows and spray-painted the words, “Closed by order of Mendocino County,” a move which in itself violates the zoning provisions of the town’s designation as a Historical Preservation District.

Castleman, who did not respond to phone calls Tuesday, was cited June 16 after receiving a similar notice for failing to certify his 2-year-old business and pledging to follow the pandemic precautions.

He filled out the necessary form the next day but continued to flout mask and social distancing requirements that are part of both state and local orders. In fact, Castleman said at the time of the citation he had no intention of doing otherwise.

“I’m not going to tell my employees to do anything,” he said then. “That’s between them and the county. In general, the stance I have on all this is it’s about personal responsibility and personal choice. It’s not about me being a police officer.”

On a GoFundMe page designed to raise money for lawyers’ fees, Castleman wrote, “We have sustained 3 months of attacks from a small group of activist/bullies and overreaching politicians, and the time has come to fight back. We will never give in to an angry crowd of self-righteous and over-opinionated people.”

But Supervisor Ted Williams, whose district includes the picturesque coastal village of Mendocino, said he believes the majority of coast residents want to see compliance, particularly now, with cases going up, and especially for restaurant and business owners, who need the virus contained so they can remain in business.

The number of COVID-19 cases has risen by more than half in the 2½ weeks since Castleman was first cited, from 53 to 83 people, according to Mendocino County Public Health.

The county of about 87,000 people has had no known coronavirus-related deaths, but an ongoing nationwide surge and the increased presence of leisure travelers on the North Coast were enough that Mendocino County Health Officer Noemi Doohan announced Tuesday that she would be dialing back slightly on recent lifting of restrictions. Starting Friday, the county will require alcohol sales at bars and other establishments to end by 8 p.m., a measure aimed at hampering transmission rates and forestalling any state intervention.

“I do not want the state to step in and close us,” Doohan said. “I want to be able to keep the local health officer authority intact, and so therefore everything that I’m doing is in response to the data and the science but also to keep our local county autonomy.”

County officials also were quick to correct the misinformation on Castleman’s signs, saying they did not order the restaurant closed.

“We’ve done everything we can to work with the employer,” Williams said. “What I heard from him is he’s not willing to agree to the state’s requirements.”

Castleman, who kept his cafe open during shelter-in-place for curbside service, has made no secret of his disdain for requirements that people wear facial coverings, posting a sign in the window of his Lansing Street eatery early on that stated, “Our freedom doesn’t end where your fear begins.”

He has continued to urge would-be customers made uncomfortable by the tight space and lack of masking in his cafe to look elsewhere, even after getting dinged in mid-June by code enforcement.

Castleman has his supporters — enough that he’s raised $1,535 from 15 donors through the GoFundMe campaign — but many detractors, as well, some of them Tuesday variously calling him “ignorant,” “belligerent” and “childish.”

“With the boards he put up, he’s sort of stomping his feet and saying, ‘I’m going to do it my way,’ “ local real estate broker Scott Roat said.

The boarded windows, meanwhile, were a clear enough violation of the historic preservation provisions intended to maintain the 19th-century character of Mendocino that Interim County Code Enforcement Officer Trent Taylor began addressing it even before receiving what by Tuesday were two formal complaints, he said.

Liability for such matters rests with the building owner, who could be fined if it’s not corrected, Taylor said.

The building owner, Mike Huttleston of Newcastle, said Tuesday he had been trying to reach Castleman to get him to remove the offending boards.

One way or the other, he said, “We’re going to get it taken down,” he said.

(courtesy The Press Democrat)

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HANOVER’S HOT CAR

On Monday, June 29, at approximately 8:48 pm, UPD officers were dispatched to a report of a theft of a vehicle which had just occurred from Safeway, 653 South State Street.

UPD officers arrived on scene and learned that the victim of the vehicle theft had given a ride to a male adult and had left him in the vehicle while she went into Safeway. When the victim exited the store her vehicle and the male adult were gone.

During the course of the investigation, and with a description of the suspect provided by the victim, UPD officers identified the suspect to be 23-year-old Ukiah transient Thomas William Hanover Jr. Hanover was known to officers from prior law enforcement contacts. A BOLO (Be on the lookout) was entered for the vehicle (2003 Toyota Corolla) and sent to surrounding agencies.

Hanover

On Tuesday, June 30, at approximately 1:23 am, a UPD officer was on patrol in the area of 300 East Gobbi Street when he observed a vehicle that matched the description of the one previously reported stolen in the parking lot of 390 East Gobbi Street.

The officer noticed the vehicle was occupied by two male adults and as he got closer noticed that the license plate was a match to the stolen vehicle. The officer radioed for additional units and performed a high-risk stop on the vehicle. Additional officers from the UPD, MCSO and CHP responded and two male adults were taken into custody.

The male adults were identified as Thomas William Hanover Jr. (driver) and Anthony Christopher Rojas (passenger) age 34 from Ukiah. Hanover was placed under arrest for violations of 10851(a) CVC (Vehicle Theft) and 1203.2(a) PC (Violation of probation).

Rojas was found to not be involved in the original vehicle theft, but due to contraband found in the vehicle belonging to him, he was found to have violated the terms of his Mendocino County Formal Probation. Rojas was arrested for 1203.2(a) PC (Violation of probation). Both Hanover and Rojas were booked at the Mendocino County Jail.

The victim was contacted and the vehicle was released back to her.

The Ukiah Police Department would like to remind the great citizens of Ukiah that during the current COVID-19 pandemic we are still out in the city enforcing the law and keeping the public safe.

As always, our mission at the Ukiah Police Department is to make Ukiah as safe as possible. Additionally, the Ukiah Police Department would like to thank the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol for their assistance with this incident."

(Ukiah Police Presser)

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WILLITS AUTO PARK

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

A trusted medical professional shared with me that MediCal has been paying surveillance testing claims without question. We also have reports that private insurance has been paying claims for asymptomatic patients. I’ve reached out to Jason Wells at Adventist to collaborate on a partnership to test through hospitals/clinics using their existing billing infrastructure. If there is a remainder, perhaps it’ll be less than the cost of Optum expansion. It would certainly be more distributed, especially if we could include RCMS and other outlying providers. Test results are most useful if timely. Finding out someone was sick a week or two ago doesn’t benefit early isolation, somewhat negating testing value. No promises, just transparency on a rough idea in response to many of your comments. Keep the ideas coming.


I'm curious how much of the CARES Act financial support translated to testing. From April 9th 2020:

“Many of my constituents rely on community health centers for care, and this funding will support the testing, supplies, telehealth services, and staffing all needed to ensure we can care for the safety and well-being of the community.”

• $554,705 to Anderson Valley Health Center in Boonville

• $559,460 to Long Valley Health Center in Laytonville

• $699,215 to Mendocino Coast Clinics, Inc. in Fort Bragg

• $1,097,105 to Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Inc. in Ukiah

• $611,030 to Redwood Coast Medical Services Inc in Gualala


CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND ALLOCATIONS TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

"Based on the state’s population, California received a total of $15.3 billion Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) provided in the federal CARES Act, with $9.5 billion paid to the state and $5.8 billion paid to cities and counties with populations over 500,000. The Budget authorizes the Department of Finance to allocate $1.8 billion of the state’s share of CRF to counties and cities.”  

"The Budget authorizes the Department of Finance to allocate $1,289,065,000 to address the public health and public safety impacts of COVID-19, including homelessness. Cities will receive $500,000,000 for similar purposes. Federal law specifies that these funds may only be used for unbudgeted costs incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. All funds must be spent (not merely encumbered) by the end of the year."   

Sometimes I’m wrong, but my read of the situation:

Mendocino County - $8,967,000

City of Ukiah - $198,307

City of Fort Bragg - $91,702

City of Point Arena - $50,000

City of Willits - $62,625

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BROOKTRAILS BAR

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ED NOTES

IT'S BEEN A FEW YEARS since a majority of Mendo voters were compelled to mail-in voting, but then Trump and his lock-step Congressional yobbos began yowling that "ballot harvesting" could steal elections. That would take some effort and savvy organization but it's certainly doable. Obtain in various obvious ways X number of mail-in ballots, mark the circle opposite the name of your crook of choice, scrawl forged signatures on them and mail 'em on in. I don't quite see how mail-in fraud could be pulled off on the scale Trump will need to get himself a second term, or Biden would need to find his way out of his basement and into the White House, but right here in Mendocino County many local races could easily be swayed by five or six hundred harvested ballots — fewer in down-ballot contests for school boards and other purely local races are considered harvestable.

AN INTERESTING DOCUMENTARY FILM about the Oakland Police Department called "The Force" appeared on KQED Television the other night. Much of the focus was on the earnest and highly capable Chief Sean Whent who'd worked his way up from patrol to the top spot only to be removed by Oakland's highly irritating mayor, Libby Schaaf, because, it was alleged, Whent tried to cover up a "sex scandal" involving a number of his young officers. Schaaf, lips righteously pursed, made it sound as if the cops had gang raped and murdered the young woman involved, the oldest young woman, by far, in the entire Bay Area at the time. 

BEFORE AND AFTER WHENT, the Oakland top cop was here today, gone tomorrow, one guy lasting only two days before Schaaf, looking like her dog had just been run over, said the guy had "been involved" in an affair with another officer. Gasp! Yeah, yeah, cops should be as pure as fresh snow, but so long as they go about their jobs in the impossible context of an imploding society in a lawful, respectful-of-the-public manner, so bleeping what?

USED TO BE an interesting column on ethics in the old Esquire magazine where the author posed an everyday kind of moral dilemma of the type we all face at one time or another that required the reader to wonder what he would have done in the same circumstance. The col inspired lots of interesting answers, which inspires me to confess what I'd have done if I'd been mayor of Oakland during the sex scandal that got Whent fired. 

FIRST OFF, I would have considered the town fortunate to have someone of his caliber in the job, maybe "counseling" him to emphasize to his young officers that consorting with a prostitute, no matter how alluring, had got to stop. If they didn't stop, well, they'd been warned. The media, natch, played up the saga of Ms. Guap and the cops as if she was Snow White at age 8. Schaaf is still mayor, which seems to me an electoral miracle given her record, and I lost track a long time ago of how many police chiefs Oakland has gone through.

Guap

LOOKING at the old photographs of long gone Mendocino County, one photo that stuck with me was the arch at the south end of Ukiah announcing "The Gateway to the Redwoods," since moved north on 101 to Willits where, some years ago, I was involved in a stunt that didn't come off. 

Gordon "The Toe" Tovani, a former kicker for the Oakland Raiders, tried to get permission from CalTrans and the Willits City Council to boot one over the Willits Arch. I was going to be his holder and a girlfriend of Tovani's, outfitted in a bikini, would be the long snapper. "Wait 'til you see her bend over, Bruce. Hubba-hubba!" Tovani seemed more gleeful at the prospect of his girlfriend arrayed in the middle of 101 than the kick. I distinctly remember the hubba-hubba because it was antiquated even by the end of World War Two. The authorities, predictably, said No. Tovani was very disappointed. "Fug 'em," I argued. "Let's do it anyway. We can get the pictures and get outta there before the cops come." The Toe wouldn't budge. "No," he said. "We better not. CalTrans gave me some bullshit about any traffic interruption being a federal crime, and I'm too old to go to jail."

DR. FAUCI, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and as always swimming against a virtual outgoing tidal bore of nuts and naysayers, including the lunatic in the White House, announced this morning that the U.S. could start seeing up to 100,000 infections every day. There are currently about 40,000 infections daily. A hundred thou would be more than double the current infection rate. "I think it's important to tell you and the American public that I'm very concerned because it could get very bad," Fauci said.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 30, 2020

Anguiano, Barriga, Baselt

BASILIO ANGUIANO, Ukiah Shoplifting with larcenous intent, probation revocation.

JOSE BARRIGA-PADILLA, Ukiah. Protective order violation.

KIMBERLY BASELT, Gualala. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

Britton, Campos, Caradine

GERALD BRITTON, Covelo. Domestic battery, protective order violation.

ANTONIO CAMPOS-MENDOZA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, evasion.

LEARTIS CARADINE, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Corser, Hanover, Lindell

GREG CORSER, San Rafael/Ukiah. County parole violation.

THOMAS HANOVER JR., Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

JACQUELLINE LINDELL, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license, contempt of court.

Moreno, Raymond, Rojas

ROBERT MORENO, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

TREVOR RAYMOND, Willits. Suspended license, evasion by reckless and wrong-way driving, failure to appear.

ANTHONY ROJAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

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UKIAH COMMUNITY CONCERT ASSOCIATION 2020-2021 SEASON

Ukiah, California - June 30, 2020. Despite the persistent presence of Covid-19 Ukiah Community Concert Association is finding a way to make wonderful music available to their subscribers. The four live music concerts comprising the core season for 2020-2021 are cancelled, but the Professional Pianists Concerts, a decade-long marquee event for Mendocino County, is not cancelled - although it may have to be scheduled in spring rather than its usual January weekend.

“Providing great music to our community is what we do,” said Jim Dowcett, UCCA Board member and musicologist teaching at Mendocino College. “We can’t let the virus steer us off-course, but find alternative ways of providing concerts during these unusual times!” 

In place of the four live-music concerts, UCCA plans to negotiate with the artists to provide four mini-concert video performances specifically played for the Mendocino audience. An internet link to these will be available to UCCA subscribers on the previously planned concert dates and will remain available to them for an ensuing defined period of time. “Since we had booked a stellar lineup of artists for the upcoming season,” according to Board member Joel Cohen, “the Board of Directors were determined to find a way for those musicians to share some fabulous music with our members. These mini-concerts will serve as wonderful alternatives for the following concert season where we’re working to re-book these same artists to perform life for the 2021-22 music season. A two for one!”

Since UCCA specializes in bringing musical talent from outside the area, aligning artists touring schedules with theater availability requires a great deal of contracting lead time. Our hopes are that the same artists will be able to play here for the next season. 

The annual Professional Pianists Concert (PPC) series usually held over a weekend in early January is co-produced by Spencer Brewer and UCCA. This event relies on local artists, so the contracting and scheduling lead time can be relatively short, allowing a final “go or no go” decision to be based on public health realities in early 2021. Board member Elena Casanova vowed, “We will do everything we can within the bounds of public health safety to keep the PPC tradition unbroken.”

The Board acknowledges this plan of action does not satisfy the irreplaceable joy of celebrating great music together. This plan is our attempt to work within the bounds of public health realities, yet still provide some musical enjoyment to our members and stay connected to those interested in great music.

* * *

HOTEL WILLITS

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Just an elderly woman who has been protesting against injustice against people and the land for most of my long and interesting life. I went to my first protest in 1965 when the US set off nuclear test explosions in the Aleutian Islands, a protest where I was almost run over at the Canada/US border by someone who didn’t like us blocking the border and who really liked nuclear bombs. I’ve protested against every war since then, and I’ve never stopped speaking up when I see unfairness and injustice or inequality and corruption, or when I see the planet we all depend on being ruined for greed and to support the unsustainable lifestyles that most people seem to want. It breaks my heart when I think of all the good that could have been done in this world if trillions of dollars hadn’t been spent on war and weapons used to subjugate people who don’t happen to live the way other people think they should. I think everybody should have healthcare and a decent roof over their heads, and that three people shouldn’t be able to have as much wealth as the bottom 50% of the country. I live a simple life, grow a lot of food for myself and our local food bank, used to be an organic farmer before I got too old, and I’ve never been paid by a political party or George Soros or anyone else to go to a protest, even though it sometimes cost me quite a bit of money to get there. I donate whatever I can spare from my very modest income to help the homeless and support organizations that are trying preserve the earth from destruction. I’ve watched as the rich got richer and everybody else got poorer, while those in government of whatever party lived the high life and made sure their pals got to skim off the cream off while everybody else got the dregs. I’ve watched schoolkids go hungry while politicians flew around in private jets, and watched people living in the streets while others own multiple homes in different parts of the world that they fly to in their private jets. I’ve watched indigenous people and people of colour and people of various religions and sexual orientations be treated as second-class human beings by those who think they’re superior to them for whatever reason they can come up with. I’ve watched women fight for the right to vote and to be able to open a bank account and get a credit card and own property. I’ve watched a good portion of the planet and millions of species be destroyed for greed and power, and sometimes even just for fun. I’ve seen the human population go from a bit over 2 billion to 7.8 billion as humans have overrun this beautiful planet and claimed nearly all of it for ourselves, with complete disregard for the needs of the other species we share it with. It’s been a long strange trip and I’m at the point where I honestly don’t care if the human species survives because we are probably too stupid to make a go of it on Planet Earth without killing off everything else, and that really wouldn’t be fair or just.

* * *

ROAD PAVING, WILLITS, 1915

* * *

“[THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE] was, above all else, a document not of rhetoric but of bold decision. It was, it is true, a document of protest – but protests had been made before. It set forth grievances with eloquence – but such eloquence had been heard before. But what distinguished this paper from all the others was the final irrevocable decision that it took – to assert the independence of free States in place of colonies, and to commit to that goal their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

That Declaration, whose yellowing parchment and fading, almost illegible lines I saw in the past week in the National Archives in Washington, is still a revolutionary document. To read it today is to hear a trumpet call. For that Declaration unleashed not merely a revolution against the British, but a revolution in human affairs. Its authors were highly conscious of its worldwide implications, and George Washington declared [later] that liberty and self-government everywhere were, in his words, ‘finally staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.’

This prophecy has been borne out. For 186 years this doctrine of national independence has shaken the globe – and it remains the most powerful force anywhere in the world today. There are those struggling to eke out a bare existence in a barren land who have never heard of free enterprise, but who cherish the idea of independence. There are those who are grappling with overpowering problems of illiteracy and ill-health and who are ill-equipped to hold free elections. But they are determined to hold fast to their national independence.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln spoke in this hall, [paying] a brief but eloquent tribute to the men who wrote, who fought for, and who died for the Declaration of Independence. Its essence, he said, was its promise not only of liberty ‘to the people of this country, but hope to the world...hope that in due time, the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.’

The theory of independence is old as man himself, and was not invented in this hall. But it was in this hall the theory became practice; that the word went out to all, in Thomas Jefferson’s phrase, that “the God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time.”

— Edmund Ions, “The Politics of John F. Kennedy”

* * *

U-AUTO STOP, WILLITS

* * *

38% OF VOTERS THINK BIDEN HAS DEMENTIA

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 38% of Likely U.S. Voters think Biden is suffering from some form of dementia. Based on what they have seen and read, 48% disagree, but 14% are not sure.

rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2020/38_of_voters_think_biden_has_dementia

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HIGHWAY DIVISION HQ, WILLITS

* * *

MR. WARM & FUZZY

Dear Readers:

What's the name of that hot chick in the movie Suicide Squad? You know, the one who carries the baseball bat?

The reason I ask is that I have an ex who resembles her. Maybe not as hot, but certainly the same level and category of crazy as the hot chick in the movie!

My ex, the wonderful Miss Cristal Hoyt, from Fort Bragg, managed to hack one of my facebook accounts and under the guise of being me, she sent an onslaught of extremely disgusting messages to most of the people on my friends list.

So it is with my heartfelt and sincere apologies to all those affected and subjected to these messages. I can assume the readers and friends of mine know that between my incarceration in Las Vegas and Lake County, I have not communicated with anyone on this particular facebook since early 2018.

Moving on. There isn't much I can express that hasn't already been said in the pages of your wonderful publication. My prayers to all those affected by the virus. To Walter Miller who received a raw deal out of Mendocino County, stay strong my homeboy and know that every dog has its day! To my old buddy Flynn Washburne whose copious use of archaic words leaves me feeling as if I will never stand a chance of beating him in Scrabble, I have been cheering for Flynn since day one and will continue to do so.

Most important, to the underdogs, the inmates and the convicted, the judged, the addicts, the homeless and the poor. To all those who continue to be denied a place at the table, I love you with all of my heart! Be strong and one day I promise to see all of you at the table.

As for yours truly? I am tucked away in the Lake County Jail fighting a charge of pistol whipping a man in The Oaks. Absurd, I'm sure, to all those who know me to be an advocate of peace and all things warm and fuzzy!

All my best,

Alan Sonny Crow

Lake County Jail


Harley Quinn (Suicide Squad)

* * *

HAIKU FOR A JUDGE ABOUT TO MAKE AN UNPOPULAR DECISION

Put your reasoning
All into your Decision.
Then leave it. Be quiet.

Unless it’s reversed,
It must do all the work of
Deciding this case.

Trying to add more later
Would just weaken it,
Reducing it to comment.

Others do comment.
You do Decisions.
You decided a hard case.
They didn’t. You did.

—Jim Luther

* * *

FORT BRAGG CALIFORNIA ARSON FIRES 1987

by Jim Wagoner, Minivan Traveler

* * *

THE BOLTON TRAGEDY: How someone with such poor judgment and moral vacuity got anywhere near White House

Donald Trump disappointed John Bolton last year by refusing to strike Iranian bases in response to Iran destroying an American drone, because the strike would likely kill 150. "Disproportionate... Too many body bags," Trump said. Bolton writes, “This was the most irrational thing I ever witnessed any president do,” and says he nearly resigned. The author doesn't understand how frightening this story is, about Bolton himself.

mondoweiss.net/2020/06/the-bolton-tragedy-how-someone-with-such-poor-judgment-and-moral-vacuity-got-anywhere-near-white-house/

* * *

WE’LL KNOW when our disinformation program is complete, when everything the American public believes is false.

— Former CIA Director William Casey, 1981

* * *

PARADE ELEPHANT, WILLITS

* * *

AN OSPREY FOREST IN HUMBOLDT COUNTY BEING DEFENDED BY TREE-SITTERS

(CounterPunch News Service)

An osprey forest in Humboldt County is being defended by treesitters who are making demands in an open letter to the company to stop clearcutting and industrial logging as a global climate catastrophe looms.

Media contact: Karen Porter, Redwood Forest Defense, (949)705-8466; Meredith Dyer, Redwood Forest Defense, (707) 382-8005


– Open Letter to Green Diamond Resource Company from Redwood Forest Defense (see below)

A group of forest defenders have started defending another redwood grove a few miles north of Trinidad, CA. Green Diamond Resource Company plans to clearcut the forest under an active Timber Harvest Plan (THP). The 40.5 acres of the THP is almost entirely within the limits of the protection zone of two osprey nests (Pandion haliaetus). This bird of prey is a Species of Special Concern in California and is considered a key component of the ecosystem.

In an open letter addressed to the company, Karen Porter, a forest defender, commented, “Before colonization, old growth redwoods stretched across 2 million acres of coastal California. Now, a tiny fraction of that is protected in national and state parks, and the vast majority of it has been converted into tree plantations. Green Diamond’s management scheme – clearcutting every 45 years – is creating an ecological dystopia. We must allow these forests grow into the next generation of old growth habitat.”

While Green Diamond maintains two third-party sustainable certifications on their California timberlands, forest defenders call the company’s clearcutting unsustainable and say it directly contributes to the degradation of canopy connectivity, carbon sequestration and biodiversity.

Forest defenders have raised a treesit in a redwood tree slated to be cut that is seven feet in diameter and is located on a steep slope above McNeill Creek. This sit has been raised on another day of heatwave in the Arctic Circle. The treesitters say their actions are connected to broader issues surrounding climate change.

“Deforestation is a major driver of climate change worldwide, and because temperate rainforests such as this one are especially powerful carbon sinks, logging within the redwood bioregion has global implications. Green Diamond’s management is devastating for the species that call this ecosystem home – but it also affects other biomes worldwide. We are calling for a moratorium on industrial logging during this climate catastrophe.”

This forest lies just north of an area that has been protected from additional logging by treesitters for the last three months after forest defenders discovered active logging there in March.

The group states, “We call for Green Diamond to cancel these two Timber Harvest Plans, but more broadly, to take responsibility for the generations of harm they have caused – the legacy of colonization they benefit from and their profit-driven destruction of habitat. We also call on CalFire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop approving and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that destroy habitat for the threatened species they are tasked with protecting. Now is the time to realize the value of these forests and restore them rather then allowing further degradation.”


To: Gary Rynearson, Chief Communications Officer and Forest Policy Director, Green Diamond Resource Company

Forest Stewardship Council – US Board of Directors

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Board of Directors

Stefan Bergmann, Certification Forester, Technical Associate, Scientific Certification Systems, Inc

Dennis Hall, Forestry and Fire Protection Administrator, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Charlton H. Bonham, CDFW Director, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Pacific Southwest Regional Director of Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Steve Madrone, 5th District Supervisor, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

From: Redwood Forest Defense

info@redwoodforestdefense.org

Subject: An Open Letter to Green Diamond Resource Company from Redwood Forest Defense

Monday, June 29, 2020

Dear Mr. Rynearson, Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, department leaders in managing the State of California’s forests and wildlife, and international agencies certifying sustainable timber production,

We, a group of community members advocating for the health of the forests in the Humboldt County bio-region of Northern California, write to inform you that Green Diamond Resource Company is irresponsibly managing timberland in Humboldt County without adequately mitigating for climate change and biodiversity loss.

We are protesting Green Diamond’s forestry practices and, in Timber Harvest Plan (THP) 1-19-00215 HUM, have raised and are dwelling in multiple treesits throughout Unit A. In addition to the trees now actively hosting human life, several are connected with aerial traverses. It would be extremely dangerous to fall trees or operate machinery anywhere within the single, large unit in this THP. These actions are in addition to multiple treesits in the adjacent THP 1-18-00157.

Deforestation is a major driver of climate change worldwide, and because temperate rainforests such as this one are especially powerful carbon sinks, logging within the redwood bioregion has global implications. Green Diamond’s management is devastating for the species that call this ecosystem home – but it also affects other biomes worldwide. We are calling for a moratorium on industrial logging during this climate catastrophe.

We call for Green Diamond to cancel these two Timber Harvest Plans, but more broadly, to take responsibility for the generations of harm they have caused – the legacy of colonization they benefit from and their profit-driven destruction of habitat. We also call on CalFire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop approving and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that destroy habitat for the threatened species they are tasked with protecting. Now is the time to realize the value of these forests and restore them rather then allowing further degradation.

Overall this forest is remarkably decadent, especially compared to surrounding Green Diamond timberlands. Areas within this THP are of particular value and deserving of special protection. This unit displays ecological value not commonly found within second growth and contains what could be the next generation of old growth, if it is allowed to survive and thrive.

Our Demands

– Green Diamond to immediately file for Final Completion or Cancellation (as deemed appropriate) with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) for THPs 1-19-00215 HUM and 1-18-00157 HUM.

– Green Diamond to cease and desist across its holdings, all forestry practices such as clearcutting (even aged management) that compromise habitat connectivity throughout the forest canopy to less than 71% on average.

– Green Diamond to prioritize species habitat by retaining coniferous and hardwood trees, snags and stumps that demonstrate the following characteristics: broken-topped crowns, dead-topped crowns, half crowns, sparse crowns, upturned leaders, leaning holes, forked or multiple bole below breast height, conks on lower bole, conks on upper bole or crown, resinosis, fire scars, fire blackened-bark, fall scars, excavated cavities, mid-bole cavities, basal cavities, root cavities, reiterations (all types including immediate, delayed and traumatic), large lateral limbs, “cathedrals” or baseless sprouts, in addition to retaining any endemic tree and plant species.

– Green Diamond to pay annual reparations ad infinitum to local Indigenous tribes and be willing to offer any land within the Tribes ancestral territories upon their request for re-acquisition.

– Cal Fire, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to cease and desist approving, assisting, and supporting Timber Harvest Plans that include forestry practices such as clearcutting (even aged management) that compromise habitat connectivity throughout the forest canopy to less than 71% on average.

– Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative to remove Green Diamond’s sustainable forestry certification which exploits and misinforms the general public.

Green Diamond Falls Short On Its Own Policies And Manipulates The Public And Certifying Agencies

Green Diamond is unable to be hold itself to its own policies, which it uses as leverage to instill confidence with the public, state forestry departments, and agencies that certify Green Diamond as sustainable. Within the forest of THP 1-19-00215, especially in areas adjacent to the watercourses in the lower reaches of Unit A, we have surveyed trees displaying up to 7′ in diameter at breast height (DBH), complex crowns, reiterations, deeply furrowed bark, bole hollows, and large lateral limbs. We have found a plethora of large, old trees that meet or exceed Green Diamond’s criteria for Wildlife Trees, as described in Section V of the THP. Many qualifying habitat trees within the clearcut, the Watercourse and Lake Protection Zone (WLPZ) and Geology zone are slated to be cut.

Green Diamond Endangers Endemic Species And Performs Inadequate Botanical Surveys

Today, Green Diamond owns 373,724 acres of land in Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the majority of which is located within 20 miles of the sensitive Pacific coastline. As one of the major landholders within the broadly imperiled temperate rainforest of the Pacific Northwest, the responsibility Green Diamond holds to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem is hard to overstate. THP 1-19-00215 threatens a diverse second growth forest that is host to species that only grow in this specific bioregion. This THP threatens regionally endemic pricklecone pine (Pinus muricata), as well as the more broadly distributed coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and grand fir (Abies grandis).

This forest contains a varied understory dominated by species such as red alder (Alnus rubra), huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), swordfern (Polystichum munitum), and the rare stag horn’s clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum). These species will be severely disrupted by Green Diamond’s clearcut harvesting which will give way for invasive, non-native species like pampas grass (Cortaderia spp.) and French, Scotch and Spanish broom (Genista & Cystisus spp.) to dominate, which are already encroaching in previously disturbed areas. It is important to note that Green Diamond’s Botanical Survey for this THP, which encompasses 40.5 acres, lasted for merely one-hour and occurred in the late fall, a time of year when many rare, threatened and endangered plant species have passed their notable flowering periods.

Green Diamond Destroys Notable Wildlife Habitat And Sells The Lumber As Sustainable

Green Diamond consciously aims to profit from the destruction of endangered species habitat. THP 1-19-00215’s 40.5 acres is almost entirely within the .25 mile protective buffer zone of two Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) activity sites and they intend to clearcut it. Additionally, Green Diamond is complicit in the intentional destruction of the endangered Humboldt marten (Martes americana humboldtensis), of which there are less than 400 remaining. CDFW, who issued the “safe harbor agreement” to Green Diamond to destroy the marten’s habitat is being sued. The complex forest found in this THP, with its many large snags, is prime habitat for the Humboldt marten, and as short rotation clearcut logging continues across the species’ range, this habitat is becoming increasingly rare outside of state and national parks.

Green Diamond Clearcuts Forest Amidst The Collapse Of Our Climate

We would like to call attention not merely to the conservation value within this particular THP, but also Green Diamond’s failings which are ownership-wide. Green Diamond primarily uses clearcut, or, even aged management, which is incredibly destructive to canopy connectivity and habitat value. With 45 year rotations, Green Diamond is rapidly transforming vast intact forest landscapes into monocultural, low wildlife value tree plantations. We dispute the company’s claim that their management facilitates carbon sequestration. Only by allowing the next generation of old growth to develop will the most carbon be sequestered.

Green Diamond Is Complicit In A Harmful Legacy Of Colonialism And Exploitation

Before colonization, old growth redwoods stretched across 2 million acres of coastal California. Now, a tiny fraction of that is protected in national and state parks, and the vast majority of it has been converted into tree plantations. Green Diamond’s management scheme – clearcutting every 45 years – is creating an ecological dystopia. We must allow these forests to grow into the next generation of old growth habitat.

Green Diamond Resource Company’s profits were set in motion by clearcutting the forests within the ancestral lands of Indigenous people in Washington state. In California, Green Diamond continues to profit from the legacy of bloodshed, exploitation, and genocide that followed logging camps and rail lines. In 1948, Simpson Logging (now known as Green Diamond Resource Company), based out of Washington state, expanded and purchased forests in the Northern California area. From its Northern California timberlands, the company harvested redwood trees for lumber and pulp for paper products. With an economic boom and a high demand for timber from settler communities, logging intensified and further decimated wildlife populations and canopy connectivity. By the late 1960s, most of the old-growth forests in so-called Northern California had been clearcut at least once. Now second growth forests are being clearcut, and in some areas, third growth.

GDRCo is complicit in, and profits off of, the legacy of colonization and genocide here on the north coast. We know that industrial logging is a death sentence, for the Northern spotted owl, for the Humboldt marten, and for humankind as we rely on temperate rainforests in a multitude of ways. Forest defenders will continue to resist GDRCo’s extractive timber harvest plans in this area.

(Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)

* * *

THE RATE OF FATAL POLICE SHOOTINGS in the United States shows large differences based on ethnicity. Among Black Americans, the rate of fatal police shootings between 2015 and June 2020 stood at 31 per million of the population, while for White Americans, the rate stood at 13 fatal police shootings per million of the population.

statista.com/statistics/1123070/police-shootings-rate-ethnicity-us/

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RO KHANNA AND BARBARA LEE COULD DEFY ‘THE MADNESS OF MILITARISM’ AS CO-CHAIRS OF THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION’S BIGGEST DELEGATION

by Norman Solomon

One of the few encouraging surprises in the lead-up to the 2020 Democratic National Convention is that co-chairs of California’s huge delegation will include Representatives Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee. Progressive activism made it possible — winning caucus races to elect strong Bernie Sanders delegates in early June and then organizing a grassroots campaign for Khanna to become chair of the state’s entire delegation.

Now, for Khanna and Lee — two of the most eloquent and effective members of Congress on matters of war and peace — the upcoming convention offers an opportunity to directly challenge the Democratic Party’s default embrace of what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.”

Mainline media outlets have recognized the symbolism, if not the potential, of what just occurred. Reporting has explained that progressive clout prevented Gov. Gavin Newsom from becoming the chair of the delegation, with the result that co-chair positions went to Khanna, Lee and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

“For the past two weeks,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Sanders supporters have argued that his March 3 primary win in California meant a progressive like Khanna — an early endorser of the Vermont senator and a national co-chair of his presidential campaign — should be the face of the state’s delegation.”

The newspaper added: “The agreement is a definite win for California progressives, who got Khanna and Lee. While Lee backed California Sen. Kamala Harris in the primary, she’s an icon on the left for her history as an antiwar activist and her support for most of Sanders’ platform. . . . Progressives managed to block Newsom, who endorsed Biden in May, from a leading role. While Democratic governors typically lead their state’s delegation to their party’s convention, Newsom is persona non grata for California progressives.”

On Monday, Politico summed up: “Bernie Sanders may not be the Democratic nominee, but his followers are flexing their muscle in California.”

Politico pointed out that “the grassroots decision to sidestep Newsom was a clear departure from tradition — and a signal that progressives who backed Sanders don’t intend to be sidelined.” Along the way, “the vote underscored Khanna’s rise as a progressive wing leader to watch — and cements his role as the captain of the Bernie movement in California. . . . He has galvanized progressive support with his active legislative record to curb the president’s war powers and end U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, among other issues.”

Now, Khanna and Lee have a tremendous — indeed, historic — opportunity. Their full-throated voices for peace and justice should be widely heard in the context of the upcoming national convention.

This is a heavy burden of expectation to place on two members of Congress who are not in top “leadership” positions. Meanwhile, the burden should also be swiftly taken up by activists throughout the country.

Much is possible in a short time. As one of more than a hundred Sanders delegates elected in California a few weeks ago, I was inspired to see what we could achieve by working together to replace traditional power brokerage with genuine progressive leadership.

Warped budget priorities that have bloated the Pentagon’s spending are thefts from desperately needed funds for health care and a huge array of social programs — just as militarized police forces and bloated law-enforcement costs are continuing to drain the funds of local governments. In the midst of the pandemic, the need is vast and urgent for a massive redirection of funding, away from militarism and toward long-term measures to save lives.

Humanistic values insist that corporate Democrats must accommodate to progressive agendas, not the other way around. This certainly means disentangling the party from the military-industrial complex and multibillion-dollar health care profiteers.

While Dr. King condemned militarism’s madness, he also denounced the cruelty of inequities in funding that undermine health. “Of all the forms of inequality,” he said, “injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death.”

Moral positions on these profound issues are in sync with public opinion. Over the last decade, one poll after another after another after another has reflected substantial support for reductions in military spending. Exit polls during this year’s primary elections consistently showed overwhelming support for Medicare for All.

Understood broadly and deeply, the madness of militarism is not only the normalized frenzy of preparing for war and waging it. The madness extends to ongoing financial, social and psychological investments in routine institutionalized violence — from militarizing police to glorifying suppression of civil unrest to devotinghumongous resources to further military endeavors at the expense of vital social programs — methodically taking lives instead of saving them.

Such destructive patterns can’t be effectively challenged while deferring to hidebound party leaders. As co-chairs of the Democratic National Convention’s largest delegation, Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee will only have a chance to change history for the better if they’re willing to clearly and forcefully speak essential truths that powerful Democrats don’t want the public to hear.

(Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.)

* * *

LITTLE LAKE GARAGE, WILLITS

* * *

THE RIVER OF OUR LIFE

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Only one thing could make me want to be a child again: to travel once more by boat on the river Magdalena. Anyone who did not have the experience cannot even imagine what it was like. I had to make the trip twice a year -- up to Bogota and back -- during my six years at secondary school and the first two at university.

On each journey I learned more about life than I ever did at school, and in a better way. When the river was in full flow, the trip from Barranquilla on the Atlantic coast up to Puerto Salgar, the train link to Bogota, took five days. When there was little rain -- which was most often -- the trip could take as long as three weeks.

The train from Puerto Salgar wound its way up to Bogota for a whole day as if clambering from one rocky outcrop to another. In the steepest climbs it would roll backward to gain impetus, then charge forward again, puffing and blowing like a dragon.

Sometimes the passengers even had to get off and walk up to the next ridge to help lighten the load. The villages alongside the track were glacial and sad, with their eternal women at the train windows selling yellow chickens cooked whole, and creamed potatoes that smelled like hospital food.

The train reached Bogota at six in the evening, which ever since has seemed to me the very worst moment of life. Bogota was a dismal, frozen city, with clanking trams that sent up showers of sparks at every bend, and a permanent drizzle of rain mixed with soot.

Men dressed in black, wearing black hats, scurried along, jostling each other as though they had urgent business to attend to. Not a single woman was to be seen on the streets. We had to spend the whole year there, pretending to study, although in fact all we were really doing was waiting for December to come round again so that we could travel on the river Magdalena once more.

In those days the boats had three decks and two long funnels. At night they steamed by like lit-up villages, leaving a trail of music and fantastic dreams in the shut-off riverside hamlets. Whereas Mississippi steamboats had their paddles on the sides, ours had them at the stern, and I have never seen their like anywhere else in the world.

They had immediately accessible names: Atlantico, Medellin, Capitan de Caro, David Arango U. As in Conrad's stories, their captains were tough but soft-hearted. They ate like brutes and never slept alone in their remote cabins. The crew called themselves sailors as if they put to sea, but when they mixed with real sailors in the bars and brothels of Barranquilla, everyone knew them as "steamboatmen."

The journeys were slow and full of surprises. In the daytime, we passengers would sit out on the upper deck and watch the world go by. We could see alligators lying in the shallows like tree trunks, their jaws wide open as they waited for some prey to fall in. There were huge numbers of herons which flew up in alarm out of the ship's wake; flocks of wild ducks on the flooded marshes; endless shoals of fish; and on the sandy banks, manatees giving suck to their young with haunting cries that sounded like singing. We were woken in bewilderment each dawn by the screech of monkeys and the endless clatter of parakeets.

Nowadays, on plane journeys, it is hard to get to know anyone. On those river Magdalena boats, we all ended up like one large family, as we agreed to meet up each year for the journey. The Elijach family boarded at Calamar, the Penas and the Del Toros joined us at La Plata; the Estorino and Vinas families at Magangue, the Villafanes at El Banco.

Our lives mixed fleetingly with that of the stopover ports; more than once destinies became entwined forever. Vincente Escudero, a medical student, joined a wedding dance at Gamarra without being invited, danced with the prettiest woman there without asking permission, and was shot and killed by her husband. By contrast, during one legendary drinking bout in Barrancabermeja, Pedro Pablo Guillen married the first girl to take his fancy, and is still living happily with her and their nine children. The irreplaceable Jose Palencia, a born musician, got himself into a drumming competition in Tenerife, won a cow and sold it on the spot for 50 pesos, a fortune in those days.

Sometimes the boat would run aground on a sandbank for a couple of weeks; nobody minded in the slightest, because the fun continued unabated, and a letter with the captain's seal-ring imprint was enough to explain the delay in turning up for school.

One night during my last journey for 1948, we were all woken by a heart-rending cry from the riverbank. It was a cow manatee, which had become caught in the branches of a fallen tree. Our captain Climaco Conde Abello, who was one of the finest, ordered his men to train searchlights on the spot where the commotion was coming from. The men jumped into the water, tied the beast to a capstan, and succeeded in disentangling it. The manatee was a fantastical, strangely moving creature almost 13 feet in length. Its skin was smooth and pale, and from the waist up it looked just like a woman, with the swollen breasts of a loving mother, and huge sad eyes that shed human tears.

It was this same captain whom I first heard say that the world would come to an end if everybody went on killing the animals of the river. He forbade anyone to shoot at them from on board: "If people want to kill, let them do it in their own homes," he would shout, "not on my boat."

Unfortunately, nobody listened to him.

Thirteen years later, on January 19, 1961, a friend phoned me in Mexico to tell me that the paddle-steamer David Arango had caught fire and had been reduced to ashes in the port of Magangue. As I hung up, I had the dreadful feeling that my youth was finally over, and that all that was left of our river of fond memories had gone to blazes along with the steamer.

And so it proved.

Nowadays, the river Magdalena is dead, its water poisoned, its animals hunted to extinction. The conservation work the government has started talking about is nothing more than a comic diversion. It will only be possible to rehabilitate the river Magdalena through the strenuous efforts of at least four generations; in other words, a whole century.

People talk too readily of the reafforestation of the river Magdalena. What this in fact entails is the planting of 59 billion -- yes, 59 billion -- trees along its banks. Even so, the greatest problem is not the number of trees needed, but where they would be planted. Almost all the worthwhile land is privately owned, and a complete reafforestation would mean covering 90 percent of it. It is worth asking who the kind owners might be who would willingly give up 90 percent of their land just to plant trees, and in so doing also give up 90 percent of their current income.

Nor does the pollution affect only the river Magdalena. All its tributaries have become sewage systems for the riverbank towns and villages, carrying and accumulating industrial, agricultural, animal and human waste. For many years now, the people dwelling on the river Magdelena, especially in its lower reaches, neither drink nor use its water, or eat fresh fish from the river.

The task is staggering, but at least it is measurable. The full plan of what needs to be done is detailed in a study carried out some years ago by a joint Dutch-Colombian team. Its 30 volumes are now gathering dust in the archives of the National Hydrological and Meteorological Institute. The deputy director of the monumental work was Jairo Murrillo, a young engineer from Antioquia. He devoted half his life to it, and before finishing sacrificed the rest as well: He drowned in the river of his dreams.

(Courtesy, Environment and Urbanization magazine.)

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