MCT: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected in the interior through the week. Marine air and onshore breezes will keep coastal areas seasonably cool. Coastal stratus and patches of fog are expected this morning, over the Humboldt Bay region and in the Eel River Valley. Brisk northerly winds will clear out the stratus this afternoon. The stratus will reform tonight and expand on Thursday with slower clearing and less wind. (NWS)

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ED NOTES:

AS IF COVID WASN’T BAD ENOUGH

Q-Fever. Ever hear of it? 

Few people had until Guy Kephart got it. A 48-year-old native of Boonville, the married father of three children got it big time. 

“I was so sick I seriously thought about making out my will. I was sure I was finished.” 

Kephart came down with a fever on April 24th. 

“I immediately self-quarantined and assumed it was covid. I was tested three times and came up negative for covid all three times. But I was getting sicker and sicker. My body ached so bad it hurt to pick up my phone.”

The emergency room in Ukiah was the sick man’s next stop. 

“They told me to go home and sweat it out.” 

If Kephart had followed that advice, he might be dead.

“My wife and my mom took me down to Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t do anything. I’d lost my sense of taste, couldn’t smell. I was out.”

The patient was first parked in the covid tent in the Sutter parking lot before he was moved inside. 

“I was dead. I’ve been beat up and hurt a bunch, but nothing like this. I thought I was dying.” 

Puzzled doctors — “seven of them,” the patient remembers — discussed their stricken patient until Dr. Sidney, a specialist in tick-borne disease, said he was sure Kephart was a victim of Q-Fever.

Dr. Sidney was right. It was tick-borne and it was Q-Fever. 

Back in Boonville, Dr. Mark Apfel, Anderson Valley’s medical man for almost five decades, said Kephart’s Q-Fever was the first he’d seen.

Q-Fever is here, and it isn’t covid. There have been two confirmed cases in the Anderson Valley, including Kephart’s, and one suspected case. It is tick-borne but comes from infected farm animals, especially sheep and goats, and their dung. The ticks jump from farm animals to household dogs and cats and from them to humans. In people, it appears as either chronic or acute. Chronic cases can linger for years without the patient knowing it. Acute is what happened to Kephart, still not fully recovered two months later.

“My biggest concern,” the valley’s pioneer Q-Fever survivor insists, “is for the rest of us. If this thing is here, and it is, people should know about it.”

https://www.cdc.gov/qfever/index.html


TRUMP said today that the decision to fly the Confederate flag is "freedom of speech" after lashing out at NASCAR for banning the symbol of treason and slavery from its events. "You do what you do. It's freedom of speech. And NASCAR can do whatever they want and they've chosen to go a certain way and other people chose to go a different route. But it's freedom of speech."

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CASES ON THE RISE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY

by William Miller, MD – Chief of Staff at Adventist Health – Mendocino Coast Hospital

Mendocino County is beginning to see a rise in cases with 92 identified as of this writing, which is a 20% increase from two weeks ago. It should be noted that this represents all the cases thus far going back to March and that 85 of those have recovered. None the less, it looks like it may be the start of an exponential increase, and if so, would mean that the County is about to have a significant outbreak. Currently, most of the cases are in-land. This is probably occurring now because of the relaxed restrictions that happened around Memorial Day weekend. We can also expect to see a similar boosting in cases as a result of the Fourth of July weekend. If this continues, we will start seeing a rise in cases here on the Coast.

Sherwood Oaks is our community’s skilled nursing facility with 58 residents. One of their employees recently tested positive for COVID on Monday afternoon with the result coming back late Monday night. Will Maloney, Administrator of Sherwood Oaks, stated that immediately upon learning of the result he and his staff started working with the County Health Department to respond appropriately. “We are in the process of notifying all residents and their families of the situation and the steps that we are taking to minimize the chance that this will become an outbreak at our facility.”

According to Dr. John Cottle, Medical Director of Sherwood Oaks, this staff person last worked at the facility on Friday. An early assessment of the case suggests that this person most likely got infected from a family member and not from work. Dr. Cottle stated that at this time no other staff members or residents are showing any symptoms. “We are working with the Health Department to now test 100% of all of our residents and staff,” he said. “We have always followed the CDC and State guidelines regarding COVID and we shall continue to do so.”

While this person does not work at our hospital, the hospital is fully prepared to respond if there is an outbreak at our local nursing home. I have been in touch with the new Deputy Health Officer for Mendocino, Dr. Mollie Charon, so that the hospital can help Sherwood Oaks stay ahead of the situation. Adventist Health has recently responded to a request from Sherwood Oaks by donating to them 2,000 medical masks and 120 isolation gowns.

As cases continue to rise nationwide, with several hot spots in the South and Southwest, we are starting to see a shortage of COVID test supplies like we had a few months ago. We had made recent progress in expanding testing, both to people with symptoms as well as community surveillance. Hopefully, we will not see a falling back of that progress that had been made. 

What we are seeing happening in Northern California mirrors what is happening in many places around the US. It underscores the continued need for vigilant use of face coverings, social distancing and frequent handwashing.

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(photo by Susie de Castro)

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SUPES TO CONSIDER $100 FINES for not wearing a mask Wednesday afternoon

Board Of Supervisors Agenda, Special Meeting

July 08, 2020 - 1:00 PM

Item 5a) Discussion and Possible Action Including an Update Associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Including Possible Direction Regarding Essential Services in Mendocino County, Operational Preparation and Response, and Associated County-wide Economic Impacts 

5b) Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of an Urgency Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 4461, Regarding Administrative Penalties for COVID-19 Related Violations, and Establishing an Infraction Violation Regarding COVID-19 Related Facial Covering Requirements 

"The Board previously adopted Ordinance No. 4461 in order to allow violations of the Public Health Officer’s orders to be enforced through an administrative citation process. Although State law and the Governor’s Executive Orders already made these orders legally binding, the creation of an administrative citation process allowed an additional method of enforcement. Since that time, however, new facial coverings orders have been issued at both the State and local level, which have presented a different set of enforcement challenges.

This ordinance addresses the challenges in enforcing facial covering requirements by establishing a separate facial covering requirement punishable as an infraction. Although similar to the requirements in current State and Local orders, this ordinance differs in that it provides slightly more narrow exceptions and creates a penalty only after a person has been informed by an enforcement officer of the requirement to wear a facial covering but willfully or negligently fails to do so. The Sheriff’s Office believes that this additional tool will help in addressing the practical challenges inherent in ensuring enforcement of facial covering requirements.

This ordinance also makes a number of smaller changes requested by various departments involved in enforcement, including elimination of the 24-hour notice period of non-commercial violations and allowing the designation of enforcement officers to be made by the Chief Executive Officer in addition to the Public Health Officer."

Submit public expression to bos@mendocinocounty.org


From Code Enforcement Officer Trent Taylor:

Code Enforcement Health Order Enforcement And Investigation Update 

Since the adoption of the urgency ordinance that allows for administrative regulatory enforcement of the Covid19 Health Officer’s Orders, PBS [Planning and Building Services] Code Enforcement has been conducting in-depth investigations related to complaints of alleged non-compliance by businesses and vacation rentals/lodging. 

Complaints are received primarily from the Covid19 Call Center where they are first logged in and then distributed to either the SIU, Sheriff, EH Consumer Protection or PBS Code Enforcement for investigation and formal enforcement if necessary. 

Because of the non-peace officer status of Code Enforcement Officers, Health Order complaints involving individuals are handled by Law Enforcement Peace Officers, while regulatory enforcement in the County jurisdiction [i.e., not in incorporated cities], related to businesses and housing complaints, are handled by PBS Code Enforcement. It should also be noted that Code Enforcement is allocated 5 Code Enforcement Officers to cover the entire county. One position is vacant, 2 Officers are assigned to Cannabis complaints (which are up 31% over prior years), 1 Officer is assigned all Coastal complaints, and 1 Officer is assigned all inland complaints. 

As indicated in the Code Enforcement Health Order to date, the following breakdown is as follows: 

Code Enforcement has investigated 90 Health Order complaints as of 7/5/20. 

4 complaints are currently under investigation and 86 have been resolved with compliance achieved. 

72 complaints have been investigated on the Coast and 18 have been investigated inland. 

40 complaints were related to retail businesses, 49 were related to Vacation Rentals and 1 was related to a non-permitted camping on private land (Hip Camp). 

2 notices of violations have been issued by Code Enforcement, both related to the same business (a restaurant) and this business also received an Administrative Citation with a $10,000 fine. The business [Fiddleheads] has since closed. 


TO THE REAR, MARCH!

Supervisors:

Well, you folks sure got the attention of coastal residents for this weekend’s onslaught. Dick’s Place (bar) in Mendocino is closing until further notice (a very polite post was posted without malice). 

The Welcome Inn in Fort Bragg (the only open bar I think?) is closing for the weekend. 

Restaurants are cutting back on scale of operation to streamline flow of traffic etc. I know of one 20 year anniversary party that is now family only and tiny.

I know of a few live music events that have been cancelled.

I have heard of no plans to intentionally violate orders etc. 

I will be out on the coast trail Saturday afternoon for a look about and be keeping a close eye elsewhere of course.

We are well aware the state means business on taking us back to March. Thank you 

Stephen Dunlap 

Fort Bragg


MASKS: JUST ANOTHER ACCESSORY NOW

by Anne Fashauer

Here we are, post Independence Day, and things are just not feeling like normal, are they? We had our granddaughter and her parents here over the holiday weekend and it really felt different. There were no big gatherings at the Fairgrounds or in Mendocino. There were more people out and about and most were wearing masks when needed. 

We mostly spent time here at home. It was nice, with slow mornings and most everything revolving around her schedule - when she eats, naps or needs some time exploring. We took two car trips - one to the beach in Elk which was not crowded and the other to our family property at the top of Signal Ridge. We had a small BBQ on the 4th with our tenants and that was about it.

The Covid numbers keep rising; our “opening up” hasn’t gone smoothly. I guess too many people thought “opening up” meant act as if the virus is gone; oops, not so fast. I think wearing masks and standing six feet apart will feel normal long before “normal” ever returns. And I doubt this will be the last such virus we see, given our world now.

I don’t know about you, but I am really enjoying this cool but not cold weather. Sunny and gorgeous, all the windows open, working outside and it’s just fine. I continue to get contacted by folks wanting to move out of their current urban environment and move out here; if only there was more inventory to sell. Keep that in mind if you have been considering putting your property on the market.


THE THREE C'S

Editor: 

Everyone, and I mean everyone, I ask why wear a mask responds, “It is to protect others.” I would like to see all stores post the following: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No service. This statement is just common sense. Let’s remember the 3Cs — courtesy, common sense, and cover up with a mask.

Jim Duport

Santa Rosa

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STATE STREET @ SCOTT, UKIAH

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TECHNO DEMOCRACY IS NOT DEMOCRACY

Honorable Board of Supervisors and Ms. Dukett: 

Yesterday I expressed my dismay that this week's update from Dr. Doohan was only available on Facebook, and that the notice of the changed time was also only available on Facebook. I understand that the day was changed because no one is working on July 3, ahead of a holiday that is celebrated by activities that are completely illegal in Mendocino County right now. 

Aside from the fact that the public does not consist solely of people who have agreed to allow an unethical company to monetize their personal information, I would have thought the county would be especially concerned with reminding people to stay safe over the weekend. Instead, we have entrusted what should be a democratic, informational briefing to a company that has actively undermined democracy all over the world by sowing misinformation. 

Recently, I went to a public meeting that was actually open to the public, included hours of public comment, both in person and remotely, and where just about everyone observed safety protocols very closely. The June 22 Fort Bragg City Council meeting, where everyone weighed in on whether or not to put a name change on the ballot, was a model of a safe, successful democratic process. 

Almost everyone, inside and outside the Town Hall building, was masked. People who wanted to comment lined up outside the door to the courtyard, around the corner, and all the way onto Laurel street, standing on X's that were taped onto the sidewalk at six-foot intervals. They went in the courtyard door and stood at the podium behind plexiglass, under the microphone and at a distance from the Council members, who were also behind plexiglass and wearing masks. When they were done, they went out another door, onto Main Street. There were big electronic speakers on Laurel Street and in the courtyard, so people outside could hear what was going on. A few elderly people and a local reporter sat inside, at the back of the room and at a distance from one another. When the people who were physically present finished commenting, the Council took comments from the public remotely, which always has some glitches, but for the most part, people who didn't feel safe about coming to the meeting in person got to participate, too. 

The meeting was very responsibly handled, by the city staff, the elected representatives, and the members of the public, who were not treated like their opinions and their right to know what was going on only mattered if they were customers of a private company. The entire event was geared toward responsible, adult citizens of a democratic society, who are well aware of how to meet their health and civic obligations safely. 

We are becoming dependent on Facebook and an overall lack of transparency and participation. This fear-based reflex is completely inappropriate in what is supposed to be an advanced democracy where we have learned about how to protect ourselves from this virus. It will be a difficult habit to break, it will take courage and resolve, and I suggest strongly that we do it now. Thank you. 

Sarah Reith 

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NO NEED FOR POLICE OVERSIGHT

Dear Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, 

I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you are considering a citizen’s oversight committee for the sheriff’s department. I was perplexed to hear this, because I was unaware that our sheriff’s department has issues with police violence. Which from my understanding is why such committees have been put into place in other departments in our state, and country. Do you believe that our sheriff’s department has issues with police violence? 

I was also under the impression that the County already has policies in place to deal with this type of conduct. Having a redundant system in place for this non-issue, seems like a waste of tax dollars from a department that already has enough trouble with funding. In my 42 years as a resident of Mendocino County, I have yet to hear of a story of someone who was a victim of police brutality from our sheriff’s department. 

A quick Google search for “Police Civilian Oversight Committees” and about an hour of reading. Leads me to believe that on average they are expensive, and not very effective at dealing with the matters they are designed for. Article by Natalie Delgadillo May 25, 2017 quotes Tim Lynch, who has surveyed such bodies as part of his work as director of the Cato Institute’s project on criminal justice. “I tend to be skeptical of the track record of civilian review boards. I think they have several weaknesses – they’re very vulnerable to local political manipulations.” Frontline’s article by Priyanka Boghani July 13, 2016, states San Francisco’s Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) which was formed by a ballot initiative in 1982 in response to a series of allegations of police brutality. This vote made San Francisco an early adopter of civilian oversight, but the offices 33-year history has been checkered by ineffectiveness. I would suggest doing ones due diligence on this subject, before applying efforts and resources to something that is quite possibly ineffective. 

When you spoke to the Sheriff about this, what was his opinion? If this committee is implemented, what will the cost be and how many deputies will we lose from the department? My town of Covelo, is in need of more law enforcement personnel, not less. Please don’t let elected officials, public opinion, or policy makers from different states or cities, that do not reflect the views, circumstances, and issues in Mendocino County, affect your decisions on this. 

Sincerely,

Bill Williamson 

Covelo

References:

Natalie Delgadillo article May 25, 2017 https://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-civilian-oversight-police-charter-amendment.html

Frontline article by Priyanka Boghani. July 13, 2016 https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/is-civilian-oversight-the-answer-to-distrust-of-police/

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UKIAH POST OFFICE, 1920s

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FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: 

Local lineman for AT&T have received a letter announcing layoffs. AT&T plans to discontinue DSL service to Comptche (and perhaps other "legacy DSL" deployment areas). Repairs on landline outages have been in the weeks.

brown.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/brown-demand-answers-on-atandt-layoffs

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HOFMAN BUILDING, UKIAH

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UNBEKNOWNST to most Mendolanders, the County Grand Jury released four reports in June. In the past the media has received notices of their release. Not this time.

The four June reports involved:

1. Serious Problems with the County’s Emergency Communications System

2. The Teeter Plan Oversight, Declining Revenues and County Participation

3. School Safety

4. Parlin Forks Inmate Camp

SUMMARY of #1: “The Emergency Communications System in Mendocino County — Protecting Life, Health, Safety, and Welfare”

Every emergency this County faces creates a greater than expected risk for first responders due to the state of the Emergency Communications System (ECS). The Mendocino County 2019- 2020 Civil Grand Jury (GJ) reviewed the County’s current system and evaluated the plan for its replacement. 

Following the devastating wildfires in California, emergency preparedness is a phrase which has become all too familiar. Escape routes, go-bags, MendoAlert, and neighborhood FireSafe councils are now a part of everyday life. Mendocino County must be ready to deal with all emergencies efficiently and safely. 

The Board of Supervisors (BOS) is supporting efforts towards preparedness and recovery by partnering with local, state, and federal agencies to fund emergency services, disaster recovery and resiliency. Some of these mitigation projects can be clearly seen by looking east and west at the new fuel breaks in the hills surrounding the Ukiah Valley. An operational emergency communications system is also key to protecting the life, health, safety, and welfareof Mendocino County residents. The phrase ‘life, health, safety and welfare’ is used by County departments to prioritize projects and funding. 

October 22, 2019 at the BOS meeting, a presentation by ClientFirst, a technology consulting firm, emphasized the existing ECS has reached end of life (EOL). The system is experiencing an ever-increasing failure rate causing loss of communication between emergency responders. 

ClientFirst recommended a five-year, three phase replacement schedule for the ECS which had an estimated cost of $11.3 million. Of the total amount, $1.6 million for Phase 1 was approved by the BOS on April 20, 2020. 

During the October 22, 2019 presentation it was apparent that some members of the BOS were surprised by the current state of the ECS, although two previous GJ reports had recommended changes to strengthen it. Some of these recommendations appear to have been disregarded which highlights an absence of focus in this area by the BOS since 2007. 

. . .

Recommendations 

The Grand Jury recommends that: 

R1. the BOS commit funding for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Public Safety Microwave Replacement Project and replacement of the sheriff’s dispatch console. (F1, F5, F10) 

R2. the Executive Office classify structures housing ECS equipment with the same priority as buildings housing people to ensure the required maintenance issues are promptly addressed. (F3-F4) 

R3. both IS and Facility departments utilize the existing work order system for all maintenance and repairs of the ECS and associated remote sites to promote accurate forecasting and budgeting. (F7) 

R4. as part of Phase 2 of the ECS replacement, the Wiki and work order systems be replaced with a single, index-based system used by both departments which would create efficiency in tracking projects and work orders. (F8) 

R5. IS develop maintenance procedures for the ECS equipment and documented maintenance schedules. This would support efficiencies in equipment repair and maintenance and facilitate training of new technicians. (F9) 

R6. the County pursue co-location chargebacks for revenue as recommended in the 2009 Grand Jury report ‘Out With The Old And In With The New’. (F6) 

Full version of Communications System Grand Jury Report: mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=36010

And: https://www.theava.com/archives/111795

From 2007: mendocinocounty.org/home/showdocument?id=4406

Willits News, November 2007: https://www.willitsnews.com/2007/11/23/supes-approve-microwave-system/

MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: We can’t find any evidence that Mendo actually spent the $3.6 million they authorized in 2007 for the comm system upgrade as described in the Willits News article. Maybe the convoluted funding arrangements never panned out. But somebody dropped the ball on following-up, and, as is typical, the problem has only become worse in the intervening … 13 YEARS! PS. And as far as we can tell nothing has been done since they approved a Phase I $1.6 million upgrade back in April either. Covid did intervene, but again, where’s the status report? Where’s the follow-up? The system has been in serious need of upgrade since before 2007 and here we are in 2020 with a little-noticed Grand Jury report pointing out that nothing has been done even though funding has been approved — twice!


Report #2 concering the Teeter Plan (a state law/option which allows stable allocation of special district funds from the County while the County keeps whatever penalties and interest are received for slow- or non-taxpayers) says (without any actual numbers) that the County is not tracking Teeter Plan revenues and expenses adequately and that the County should consider withdrawing from the Teeter Plan because anticipated penalty/interest revenue is no longer enough to justify the Plan. However, the Grand Jury made no mention of the potential impact of such a withdrawl on Spacial Districts.


The other two June GJ reports released last month have to do with School Safety and (justifiable) praise for the Parlin Forks inmate/conservation camp. 

The rest of the June 2020 reports: mendocinocounty.org/government/grand-jury/2019-2020-reports

(Mark Scaramella)

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MCGLASHAN BUILDING

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PG&E FLYING HELICOPTERS OVER SONOMA AND MENDOCINO COUNTIES THIS MONTH

by Lori Carter

The whir of helicopter flights the next couple of weeks may help shorten power outages this summer in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, according to the region’s dominant utility.

Pacific Gas & Electric has started conducting preinspection flights over the two counties with the intention of making its “public safety power shut-offs” shorter and more focused this year.

The utility’s helicopters arrived from Sacramento on Monday and began reconnaissance flights to check line safety, company spokeswoman Deanna Contreras said.

PG&E will fly the choppers through August along electric distribution lines throughout the North Bay to practice its response during expected planned power shut-offs.

The intentional power shut-offs began in the North Bay in mid-October 2018, when PG&E used the preemptive outages to cut service to 17,000 customers in Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties as a defensive measure to minimize the risk of equipment failures sparking fires.

State investigators blame PG&E's electrical equipment for sparking 17 major fires in 2017 and others over the past few years, including the 2018 Camp fire in Butte County, which killed 85 people and destroyed more than 10,000 homes in and around the town of Paradise. The company last month pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges and a felony count of unlawfully starting the blaze.

Weather conditions dictate when PG&E determines an outage is prudent, Contreras said. So far none are planned for Sonoma or Mendocino counties.

The flights are designed to gather information that will help PG&E understand the amount of time it takes to safely complete a safety patrol after a shut-off and how long it will take to restore electrical service.

“If we do initiate a PSPS event, we cannot turn them back on until we inspect all the lines,” she said.

This year, the company’s goal is to restore power within 12 daylight hours or 24 total hours. Having pre-inspection data will help meet that goal, she said.

Last year, PG&E cut power to North Bay communities multiple times, in some cases for days at a time.

One outage last October affected 973,000 customers in portions of 38 counties throughout the state. Another days later affected 516,000 customers in portions of 22 counties.

The blackouts drew harsh complaints for being too wide, too long and not clearly tied directly to fire danger.

They also prompted the state Legislature to enact two new laws that require PG&E notify the state, public safety providers, health care facilities and telecommunications providers of shut-offs ahead of time.

A third bill that would empower the California Public Utilities Commission to develop regulations to require cell towers to remain energized during extended outages is in the Assembly committee process.

PG&E flights leave from the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport and will run from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but not necessarily every day, Contreras said.

Helicopters will fly low, roughly 100 feet, above the lines.

This week, flights are planned for Cloverdale, Geyserville, Fitch Mountain, Windsor, Sonoma, Penngrove, Lakeville and Santa Rosa east of Highway 101.

Flights will occur in Cotati and the West Sonoma County areas of Fort Ross and Monte Rio beginning next week.

Flights will also be conducted in Mendocino County.

Turning off power can help prevent wildfires, but also disrupt lives and can include its own risks, particularly for those who need power for medical equipment, Contreras said.

The company hopes to reduce the number of customers affected by planned outages by almost a third compared with last year and restore power within 12 daylight hours after the severe weather has passed, she said.

When power is shut off, crews must inspect de-energized lines to identify and repair damage before restoring power.

“We understand the impact shutting off power has on our customers, especially during these uncertain times,” Contreras said. “We understand it creates a different set of problems, especially for the medically fragile and the most vulnerable among us, but the sole purpose of a PSPS is to prevent a catastrophic wildfire.”

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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STATE STREET LOOKING NORTH, UKIAH

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ANTI-VAXXERS PUT ALL OF US AT RISK

by K.C. Meadows

Halfway through 2020, a disease Americans had never heard of at the end of 2019 is now one of the leading causes of death in the world.

It outpaces some of the other typical leaders — malaria, malnutrition, murder.

The global death toll just passed 500,000 people, with a quarter of those deaths Americans. About 10 million people are infected around the world; about 2.6 million of those cases are in the United States, and that figure is likely to be artificially low due to a lack of testing. Infection numbers are spiking in states throughout the South and West after a relatively successful spring of staying safer at home.

That’s very much true for California as some people at the beginning of summer bridle at the simple, if socially onerous, restrictions that are proven to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Sheltering in place can’t go on forever in an economy based on getting out into the marketplace, not hunkering down. The only truly safe way to return to our fully mingling culture will come through the development of a vaccine that will prevent those who get it from catching COVID-19.

The good news for the health of us all is that dozens of the best researchers are racing to develop a vaccine. They could be ready to bring one to market in 2021.

The really awful news for the protection of us all is that one-third of Americans polled say they would decline to take that vaccine once it’s available. Their reasons range from disbelief in medicine to, crazily, politics and misguided notions of personal freedom which entail the freedom to pose a threat to others.

Asked if two-thirds of the population getting vaccinated would provide the needed herd immunity to the coronavirus for us all, Dr. Anthony Fauci replied: “No — unlikely.”

The anti-vaccination crowd has already done enough damage to the public health, particularly here in California.

But in the midst of a devastatingly deadly pandemic, not taking a vaccine is not only nonsensical but counterproductive to any concept of liberty which recognizes the importance of protecting individuals from others.

President Trump’s HHS secretary says “the window is closing” on the U.S. ability to control the virus. When a vaccine becomes available, the smart move is to get one.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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ANYBODY’S STORY

by Marilyn Davin 

I hadn’t seen Natalie for a couple of years before her death. More and more, she was a no-show at family gatherings, and in any case avoided my then-husband’s harsh judgments and preachy, unwelcome advice – disguised as concern - about her slip-sliding life (“You have a son now, what are you thinking? Have you ever even considered marrying his father? You’re really gonna keep stripping in a bar to support yourself?”). And on and on, judgments so far from Natalie’s sphere of reality that all of those words just slid into background noise, an off-key repetitive tune that just pushed her away faster and faster on a river of shame before offering her up in a fetal position with bubbles of dribbled vomit running down her cheek on top of her filthy bed with her old zebra-striped throw (her signature pattern), dead of her last heroin overdose at 29. Parents, siblings, extended family and her dwindling roster of friends had all turned their logic and rational tongues to explaining – oh, so earnestly! - that Natalie just had to get over herself, take an unstoned inventory of her life, and turn over this bad chapter in her life to something better. All futile, all a waste of time, energy, and oxygen she wouldn’t even be able to recognize, let alone breathe in. 

So why Natalie? She had two sisters who do just fine, who don’t neglect their kids or stick needles in their veins or take their clothes off to grinding music for a bunch of leering men in down-at-the-heels bars for a living. She was born Catholic; in retrospect the guilt, even stoned and long fallen away from the Church, must have been bone-crushing. What were the first signs? Could we have somehow headed her off the path she was on before she travelled so far? These are the sorts of questions we asked ourselves as we picked music and flowers for her funeral. The words were different and each of us asked them differently, but they all came down to the same thing: Why couldn’t anyone save her? What could anyone have done differently, what could I have done differently, to give her a reason to live? 

The memorial was odd. Though her parents were Catholic neither had attended mass since Natalie was a toddler. So her service was essentially delivered by a chaplain nobody had ever met to a bunch of mourners who had never cracked a Bible. The same thing happened at her great-grandmother’s memorial. There’s something about the threat of eternal life that drives even the most committed heathens out from the unobservant shadows. About three-quarters of the way through the service, during a long passage about never walking alone because Jesus is at your side, there was a commotion at the back of the room. Natalie’s boyfriend Jeffrey, who had found her body and called 911, had slipped into a seat in the last row. He might as well have had a scarlet M for murderer emblazoned on his shirt as news of his arrival rocketed up and down the pews. In a sharp boomerang away from the Christian charity urged in pious tones from the pulpit, the mourners pointed at Jeffrey and whispered viciously. “It’s HIS fault that Natalie’s dead,” they hissed. “He did drugs with her.” Ah, we humans…always looking for somebody to blame for the unanswerable and inexplicable. Lost on these harsh judges were the facts that Jeffrey didn’t even see Natalie during the two days prior to her death, or that he paid for her (separate) apartment and cell phone so that she would have a place to live and the means to call for help once her family and friends had finally washed their hands of her for good. In the police report, he was also the only one who cried during his interview.

Then it was all over and everybody went home (Natalie lived and died in Tempe, Arizona). Being me, I had to order the police report, I was the only one interested in seeing it. In due time it appeared in my mailbox. There’s something comforting about police reports, though it could be because I’ve read so many of them over the years: the short, declarative sentences, the dry, matter-of-fact prose. (“I saw that there was purge coming from her mouth and nose area.” “Rigor Mortis was set and lividity was fixed.”) The report noted, chronologically, the legal markers along the bumpy road to Natalie’s fall: the aggravated DUI, the dangerous drug possession/use, the two counts of forgery of credit cards swiped at the bar where she was a stripper. Also noted was a month-long hospital stay a couple of years earlier for abscesses on her legs (from shooting up), and a rampant infection. The photos were hard for me to look at, even after a professional lifetime of seeing photos just like them in other places, at other times, as a reporter. The meticulous evidence collector listed four syringes recovered from Natalie’s kitchen trash can, the floor in her living room, the coffee table, and the trash can in her bathroom. Also collected were two glass pipes, several empty pill bottles, three blue straws on the bed beside her body, and a bottle of polyethylene glycol, which I’m told can hasten a clean urine sample if you’re being drug tested. The chaos in her apartment, described as “unkempt” in the police report, was especially poignant since she was extremely neat and organized since she was a little kid. We with messy kids marveled that a little kid could be so neat.

Nothing in the photos and descriptions of her apartment could prepare you for her bedroom, where she died. She’s wearing black socks and underpants, her left arm thrown across her chest. Her eyes are half open but strangely clear, much clearer than in her Tempe PD mugshots. Her beautiful, thick brown hair is a tangled mess on a red satin pillow, but the bright magenta highlights in her most recent police shots had grown out. Colorful tattoos, one probably self-inked, snaked up both arms from her elbows to her shoulders. The silver abalone-shell ring that we picked up at the police department in a zip-lock bag was still on the ring finger of her right hand, which curled up the side of her face where a single tendril of her hair snaked down into the frothy brown vomit from her purple lips. She seemed pared down to her essence; gone were her coquettish air, her heavy makeup, her short-shorts and sexy clothes. 

I had a last lunch with Natalie’s mom and two sisters before it was time for me to catch the flight at Sky Harbor that would bring me home. I tried hard to ease the guilt of their what-ifs and if-onlys. There was nothing they could have done to save Natalie aside from locking her up in a remote tower somewhere. In the eyes of the law she was an adult, a bitter legal pill that those of us with troubled 18-year-olds have learned the hard way. She was beyond the reach of all who loved her, beyond anyone but herself. I encouraged them to abandon the siren-call temptation of picking apart Natalie’s past, searching for clues that might explain how she chose the path she did while her two sisters avoided even a single step in the same direction. They’ll never figure it out. Had she survived, Natalie herself probably would not have been able to find the words to explain it. 

* * *

PALACE HOTEL, UKIAH

* * *

FIRST RESPONDERS SUPPORT

The Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (AVVFFA) has teamed up with the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service (AVAS) in an effort to provide critical funding to the Valley's volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel in response to the current COVID-19 Pandemic and California's statewide Stay At Home Order.

The Joint AVVFFA/AVAS COVID-19 Fund has been established to provide financial support to actively responding fire and ambulance first responder volunteers should they become sick with or experience financial hardship related to COVID-19 during the period of March 19, 2020 until such time as the public health emergency is over. 

If you need our assistance, if you have any questions about this fund, or if you want to donate to it, please contact the Committee Chair, Judy Long, at 707-895-2017 judylong@wildblue.net, or Dawn Emery Ballantine at 707-621-3227 keeper.ballantinebooks@gmail.com. 

We are grateful for the community's ongoing support.

(Dawn Ballantine)

* * *

EVERSOLE MORTUARY, UKIAH

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, July 7, 2020

Cisneros, Gilchrist, Humphrey, McKee

HENRY CISNEROS, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).

KEITH GILCHRIST, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, camping in Ukiah.

TRAVIS HUMPHREY, Redwood Valley. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, grand theft during declared emergency, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT MCKEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Olvera, Ornelas, Thompson, Worley

MICHAEL OLVERA-CAMPOS, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

TASHA ORNELAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.

KIMBERLEE THOMPSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

IAN WORLEY, Clearlake/Laytonville. DUI causing bodily injury.

* * *

JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR #16

by Larry Bensky

Berkeley, CA July 6, 2020


From: The White House (WH)
Department of State (DOS)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
Department of Justice – FBI (DOJ – FBI)


To: Everyone

In order to assure free and fair elections this November, we are providing you with information to help you participate in our most important civic duty, voting.

First, let me assure you that your government is doing all we can to make sure that voting is facilitated and reliable. In this connection, please feel free to consult our umbrella web site, GOTRUMP.gov which contains links to further resources.

God Bless America!

Donald J. Trump
President


1. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in all states and territories. If you want to be sure you live in an official jurisdiction, please go to TRUMPCOUNTRY.gov for an up-to-date list. If you require telephone assistance, please call 1-800-GODONALD during normal business hours.

2. Polling places will be established in each state and territory. In order to be certain that all citizens have access to voting, there will be one polling station for each state, and times (to be determined) of opening and closing will be uniform everywhere. For a complete list of polling places see DON’SHOURS.gov.

3. Please bring with you two official ID documents with color ID photos, issued or renewed within 30 days of the election. Duplicate copies are not accepted. For samples of acceptable documents see MAGA.AID.gov. Your official picture voter registration card is also required. You should also bring with you your “Virus-free Verification” document, issued to those who have been certified as post-virus or not at risk. (See WE.WON!.gov)

4. Voting by mail may be done under the following conditions:

  • A. Ballots must be filled out by the voter, without outside assistance.
  • B. A notarized statement, with fingerprints from all ten fingers should be included with your ballot.
  • C. The ballot envelope should have sufficient postage. For a list of rates see DON’S.VOTES.gov.

5. All mail-in ballot envelopes must be turned in by voters themselves at TRUMP.SENDS.gov sites (formerly USPS, UPS, FEDEX) during normal business hours.

6. Results will be available on Facebook (ZUCK.DON.com), FOX-TV, NY Post, Boston Herald, Chicago Sun Times (RUPERT.DON.com), Las Vegas Journal (SHELDON.DON.COM) and on radio (RUSH.DON.com) There may be delays if issues arise which require a Supreme Court decision. Justices have agreed to be in their chambers to issue immediate opinions as needed.

7. In order to facilitate voting, those eligible will be provided one hour on election day to cast ballots. Employers may arrange this hour so as to not disrupt business. Voters must request this accommodation on the official form and submit it 30 days in advance (DON’S.VOTERS.gov.) Note that childcare is not available at polling places. Also, due to budget constraints, the hour will not be compensated.

8. People with disabilities who require accommodations at polling places should request these 30 days in advance (DON’S.CRIPS.gov). If caregivers are involved they will need the same identification material as voters (see #3 above.)

9. Gatherings with signs, banners, leaflets, T-shirts, or hats bearing election-related material will not be allowed within 1,000 yards of polling places or ballot mailing facilities. Violators will be taken into custody for processing by police, sheriffs, National Guard or contract security officers. Those detained may be released with citations within 48 hours, or as soon as processing is complete. Further information at TRUMP.GULAG.gov.

10. People waiting to vote may bring reading material. It must be in English, and of a noncontroversial nature, so as to not cause disturbances. The Bible (New Testament) is suggested. All books will be prescreened by security personnel using lists established by distinguished scholars at Liberty University, Hillsdale College, Bob Jones University, Biola University, Texas Christian University and Pepperdine Law School (DON.READS.edu).

11. Although use of phones for texting or talking while in line is discouraged, except for emergency communication, phones may be used to follow special events scheduled on election day. These include official MLB, NFL, NBA games. For a complete list see: DON’S.JOCKs.com. Usual charges will appear on your phone or internet bill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: All of these measures must have significant costs. How are they going to be paid for?

A: A consortium of civic-minded corporations have agreed to share the costs, in exchange for tax arrangements concerning their untaxed corporate profits. These include Facebook, Amazon, Oracle, Twitter, Tesla and Microsoft.

Q: A police officer has told me that all days off have been cancelled for election day so that additional security can be provided. What can we expect to encounter?

A: Several “rings” of access will be established near polling places and mail ballot drop sites. Voters are expected to provide necessary identification at these “rings.”

Q: We are being required to wear masks everywhere now. If that requirement continues, does it apply on election day?

A. Masks may be worn outside the voting or ballot depository sites. Inside, they may NOT be worn while ID is being checked, because of possible interference matching faces with ID documents. (See: DON.IN.YOUR.FACE.gov.)

Q: I am a senior citizen transgender (woman-identified) person who fears discrimination. Am I likely to encounter problems when trying to vote?

A: In principle, no. But we have established a panel of medical experts from distinguished institutions (included are the University of Arkansas, Franciscan University, and Eastern Virginia Medical School) who will be available via Medx, Zoom and Skype on election day to help inspect gender elements.  X-ray images may be used and transmitted among government agencies (see DON’S.PERVS.gov). These will be maximally encoded to avoid theft and embarrassing internet use.

Q: How secure is the information we provide in order to vote and indeed how confidential is our vote? I’ve read that there are governments and individuals who are engaged in cyber-sabotage and are likely to target our system on November 3.

A: These are two separate issues. No details are available to the general public on the voter information issue, due to national security issues. The Department of Homeland Security and 15 other US government agencies have been working tirelessly on the second issue. We’ve had extensive cooperation from Israel’s Mossad, England’s MI5, and the governments of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Hungary, Poland and the Philippines. On election day we will be on full alert. We have distributed a fullscreen picture of the late terrorist czar Osama bin-Laden with a large letter caption, “Are YOU Next????” We hope the message is taken seriously!

May The Best Man Be Re-Elected! 

Donald J. Trump
President


P.S. Finally, although voting should be a time for communal rather than commercial activity, I have decided that a one-time “reward” stimulus bonus will be paid to all eligible voters who do their civic duty on election day. A simple form is available (DON’S.BRIBE.gov.) which may be dropped off at your polling place or mail location (see #5 above). Be sure to have the form validated. The amount of your reward-bonus will be calculated by the Internal Revenue Service when it has finished processing last year’s tax returns. The amount you receive will be determined by the total money available divided by the number of claimants. In addition, there will be “premium” divided among winners of a competition for “Best Essay” on the topic, “Why I’m Proud to Be A White American!” Winners will be chosen by the same distinguished scholars from the institutions cited in #10 above.

* * *

(collage by Violet Ray)

* * *

ROOSEVELT had been waiting for the question. He smiled. “You heard it all right,” he answered. “I meant it. Huey is only second. The first is Doug MacArthur. You saw how he strutted down Pennsylvania Avenue. You saw that picture of him in the Times after the troops chased all those vets out with tear gas and burned their shelters. Did you ever see anyone more self-satisfied? There’s a potential Mussolini for you. Right here at home. The head man in the army. That’s a perfect position if things get disorderly enough and good citizens work up enough anxiety.” Roosevelt explained that he knew MacArthur from the World War. “You’ve never heard him talk, but I have. He has the most portentous style of anyone I know. He talks in a voice that might come from an oracle’s cave. He never doubts and never argues or suggests; he makes pronouncements. What he thinks is final. Besides, he’s intelligent, a brilliant soldier like his father before him. He got to be a brigadier in France.” Now he saw his opportunity in America. “If all this talk comes to anything—about government going to pieces and not being able to stop the spreading disorder—Doug MacArthur is the man. In his way, he’s as much a demagogue as Huey [Long]. He has as much ego, too. He thinks he’s infallible—if he’s always right, all people need to do is to take orders. And if some don’t like it, he’ll take care of them in his own way.”

— H. W. Brands, ‘Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’

* * *

GIMME SHELTER: THE BRIEF & STRANGE HISTORY OF CHOP (aka Chaz)

by Daniel Beaumont

“Rape, murder—it’s just a shot away, it’s just a shot away”

—“Gimme Shelter” the Rolling Stones

The end has come for CHOP—or CHAZ. At first the six-block area just east of downtown Seattle was called CHAZ. The area was occupied by protesters on June 8th after it was reluctantly ceded to them by Seattle Mayor Jennie Durkan and the police. That was the day that the Seattle Police Department vacated and locked up its East Precinct building on 12th Avenue. When the police left, the occupiers painted “People” over the “Police” in the sign, “Seattle Police Department, East Precinct.” Then they declared the surrounding area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, soon referred to simply as CHAZ. Whatever exactly it was, it had a name. Then some black community leaders suggested it be called Capitol Hill Organize Protest. Hence, CHOP, although CHAZ was still being used. Whatever you call it, as of the First of July it was no more.

In general, I’m against renaming things. Why rename the West Indies? It will forever remind us of Columbus pulling up in front of the wrong address. As my nephew said, “He get lost and he gets a holiday named after him. I get lost all the time.” My nephew lives a short walk from the area that briefly was known as CHOP or CHAZ.

In any event, the lack of agreement as to what to call themselves was not a good sign—it seemed to suggest the lack of a clear idea among the protesters as to what they were doing. And finally the protesters’ confusion was just about the only thing clear about the entire exercise. That confusion is the subject of this essay.

The next day June 9th one of the protesters posted on a blog a list of thirty demands. That’s a lot of demands. Soon four more would be added. For a nation used to the brevity of text messages and tweets even reading them was demanding. Among the demands foremost were the defunding or possibly the abolition of the Seattle Police Department and even the court system, the release of all protesters who had been arrested. then things followed like free health care, free college, free housing—I’ll stop there. The shopping list of demand is really only germane to this essay as an indication of the confusion that was to follow.

The reaction of the right wing to all of this was predictably hysterical. Trump tweeted that “Domestic Terrorists” had “taken over Seattle.” A bit of overstatement there. Since the six blocks under terrorist control lay in the middle of an urban area stretching more than 90 miles from Everett in the north to the state capital Olympia in the south. Of course, Trump’s grasp of geography is none too sure and his love of hyperbole is well known. The president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild Michael Solan actually outdid Trump in his geographical magnification of CHOP. Solan told Fox News, “This is the closest I’ve ever seen our country, let alone the city here, to becoming a lawless state.” The day after that on “Cavuto Live,” Solan said, “This could metastasize across the country.”

Solan need not have worried. There was—at that point—nothing going on in CHOP that would’ve upset his Aunt Bea.

The Guardian’s lead story on Friday, June 12th provided the best description of it in its youthful exuberance:

The space has both a protest and street fair vibe, with a small garden, medic station, smoking area, and a “No Cop Co-op”, where people can get supplies and food at no cost. There’s also a trio of shrine-like areas filled with candles, flowers and images of George Floyd and many others who have been killed by police…

For days, the area has been filled with all manner of speeches, concerts and movie nights, including “13th,” the Ava DuVernay documentary about racial inequality.

Protesters have described the site as a safe and peaceful place, where the vast majority of people wear masks to protect each other against coronavirus and offer whatever skills or supplies they have. On Wednesday, people could be seen handing out masks, hand sanitizers, snacks and water.

Designated smoking areas and movie nights aside, most of the description of the scene in CHOP made me think of the Sixties, especially of Woodstock in August of 1969. One statement of a CHOP protester in particular stood out. The protester, Dae Shik Kim Jr., said, “I think what we’re seeing in CHAZ (sic) is just a snippet of a reality that the people can have.” [1]

Kim’s words reminded me at once of something Mick Jagger said during the Rolling Stones tour of the States in the fall of 69 after Woodstock. Jagger was answering a question at a press conference not about Woodstock, but about a free concert the Stones had proposed to be held at the end of their tour. Of the concert, then still in its planning stages—‘planning’ is a misnomer—Jagger said, “It’s creating a sort of microcosmic society, you know, which sets an example to the rest of America…” Well, it did that.

That concert was Altamont, a name known by anyone who is a Stones fan or has some knowledge of the history of rock ‘n’ roll. When the Altamont concert is mentioned fifty years later terms like “disastrous,” “notorious” and “infamous” still precede it. Hells Angels were at the concert either hired or not hired to provide security. They sat on the edge of the stage with their bikes parked in front of them, and from almost the beginning began to scuffle with the part of the crowd of 300,000 closest to the low stage. Shortly musicians were also fighting with the Angels. Four people died at the concert, three by various misadventures. The fourth, a black man named Meredith Hunter, pulled out a pistol in a melee while the Stones were playing and was stabbed to death by a Hells Angel.[2]

Woodstock and Altamont took place in an era of mass protests like CHOP, though neither as part of a mass protest as CHOP is—though they were not unrelated to the protests of that era by any means. They could be thought of as sort of contrapuntal events.

I went to mass demonstrations against the Viet Nam War in the late 60s and early 70s. I was then in my teens and lived in Seattle. The biggest demonstration was in 1970 after Kent State and Jackson State. The participants in the anti-war demonstrations reflected the various other causes that after 1967 were part of the anti-war movement, black civil rights, the Chicano movement, women’s rights, the environment—there were more—so that soon one spoke of The Movement whose goal was social change well beyond simply ending the Viet Nam War.

When Nixon campaigned for president in 1968, he said he had a “secret plan” to end the war in Viet Nam. The secret turned out to be that he shifted the war in Viet Nam from the ground to the air, thus reducing the number of ground troops—and casualties—and at the same time he replaced the draft with the lottery. The result was a large reduction the war casualties among American forces and also in the number of draftees. The net effect of these moves was seen by 1972.

The last mass demonstration I went to was in 1972 and it was the smallest. They had been growing smaller. Young white males, no longer threatened by the draft, stopped protesting. I remember one of speakers at that protest was a man named Roberto Maestas the leader of a Chicano group called, I think, La Raza. His speech was somber. Maestas began, “I’ve been coming to these demonstrations for years. The war is still going on and these demonstrations are getting smaller.” Then he talked about needing to find another way forward.

By 1974 no one any longer spoke of The Movement except in the past tense. Eventually we all found our several ways forward. By the Eighties Jerry Rubin of the Chicago Seven and Dennis Hopper of “Easy Rider” fame were Reagan supporters. And there followed the long domination of the right. We are still living with the way Nixon reshaped American politics.

CHOP is about half a mile from Swedish hospital where I was born. My sister lives now about twelve blocks southwest of CHOP. One of her two sons—the one who gets lost—lives a short walk north of it, the other a similar distance east of it. While they’re all sympathetic to the BLM protests both in Seattle and across the nation, CHOP seemed to them a more motley and less focused group than the larger mass of BLM protestors.

While all of the protesters agreed about the cause of Black Lives Matter, many people in CHOP brought with them many other causes that were not embraced by the larger mass of BLM protesters. There was also, more critically, a difference between the organization of the larger BLM protests and CHOP. Black civil rights groups and community groups provided some organization and cohesion to the larger protests—which was seen in how the initial instances of looting soon diminished. CHOP on the other hand really had no organization whatsoever. I read of a protester at CHOP saying its organization would grow “organically”—another Sixties buzzword that after 1972 was mostly used with regard to tomatoes.

Initially some of CHOP’s neighbors were enthusiastic. Lisa McCallister, a thirty-year-old case worker in Seattle who had attended the protests, described CHOP as “…amazing. It’s the retaking of a space that was covered in violence for no reason. They were teargassing and flash-banging at 12:30 at night for hours. And then to kind of completely retake this space with peace and love.”[3]

The Woodstock peace and love ambience was to last twelve days at CHOP. It took four months for the Woodstock peace and love thing to crash to the ground at Altamont. But things happen faster these days.

The first week of CHOP’s existence my sister complained of the disruption even in her neighborhood. Her younger son visited CHOP and he told her, “It’s like a poorly organized street fair.”

But even before CHOP came into being there were bad signs of things to come. The first took place not in the neighborhood where CHOP would be located, but across Lake Washington in the wealthy suburb of Bellevue.

On May 31st, somewhere between 1000 and 2000 people raced passed the security guards at the upscale suburban Bellevue Mall, smashed through plate glass doors and windows and looted the stores. Some of the looters had guns which they used to shoot out the windows of shops. While some headlines mistakenly linked it to the George Floyd protest, the event was nothing of the sort. Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett said that it was the work of gangs. He had evidence in the form of cellphone conversations that gangs, whose main line of business was drugs, coordinated and timed the raid so as to be camouflaged under the George Floyd protests. Mylett said, “I can’t emphasize enough how repulsive it is that people would take and exploit the homicide of George Floyd to further their criminal intention.”[4]

Then in the week after the birth of CHOP, my sister’s youngest son heard on the street where he lives the sounds of intermittent gunfire for a few nights. Likely it was the sound of a gun or guns being fired in the air by someone who wanted to make his presence in the area known to those who lived there. But who would that be? The most likely suspects were either rightwing militia members or gang members. The gangs as we’ve seen had already exploited the general confusion for their own ends. At the same time that my nephew heard gunshots in his street at night, rightwing militias made their presence known.

On June 15th and 16th a probation officer in Portland, Oregon received calls that a man in her charge had been in Seattle in CHOP and the area around it—simply being of the Portland area was a violation of his probation. The man, Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, a resident of Vancouver, Washington across the Columbia River from Portland, was associated with the rightwing group the Proud Boys and had been convicted of 4th degree assault for an incident in Portland in the summer of 2018. Video shot near CHOP surfaced showing Toese with a group of men getting out of an SUV and confronting a protester. Toese throws the man on the pavement and then Toese and his fellow thugs kick and beat him.

A few days later on the afternoon of Thursday June 18th, a 37-year-old protester lured a 25-year-old deaf woman into his tent with a promise of free food and tried to rape her. A passing medic heard commotion in the tent, wrested the woman away from the man and got her out of his tent. After the medic got her out of the tent, the man tried to pull her back in.

Then, two days later on Saturday June 20th, two men were shot in two different locations though both were in or near Cal Anderson Park that was part of CHOP. Some of the confusion was caught on City security cameras that monitor the park. When the police responded they were met by a crowd. The police said the crowd argued among themselves about letting them in. But finally would not let them get to the sites of the shootings.

Omari Salisbury, a freelance journalist, had shot video documenting CHOP from its beginning. His video shot in the early hours of Saturday morning shows a tumultuous scene as he describes how one of the victims was receiving CPR by CHOP volunteer medics. An article by Seattle Times journalist Mike Carter was based on Salisbury’s video and what Salisbury told him. The following is excerpted from Carter’s article:

Salisbury described a scene of “pandemonium” at the medic tent when one of the victims was being treated there, as the medics and others argued over whether they should call Medic One or transport the victims themselves. “There was a lot of confusion,” he says on the video. Salisbury said the CHOP area “emptied out pretty quickly” after the shooting. “The population got real small, real quick,” he said.

Former nurse Alex Bennett said she was walking her dog with a friend when a passerby told her about a shooting. She was leaving, she said, when she turned the corner at 11th Avenue and Pike Street and came across the second victim on the hood of a car, bleeding from a wound in his arm. Bennett said she used her sweatshirt as a tourniquet to try to stanch the bleeding and asked someone to call 911. When a volunteer CHOP medic came by with a first aid kit, Bennett said they examined the man and found another wound in his chest. The man’s skin was turning clammy and his breathing was shallow, she said, and when it became clear an ambulance wasn’t coming — or wouldn’t be there fast enough — she and others loaded him into a van and raced to the hospital, where a medical team was waiting outside. They found at least one wound on the man’s chest. Afterward, she said, she was questioned by a police officer, who she said “told me that when they responded to the first victim they were chased out of there, which is why they didn’t come for the second one.”[5]

The hospital where the victims were taken was Harborview, about a five-minute drive from CHOP. How long it was exactly from the time the second victim with the chest wound was shot until the CHOP medics got him to Harborview is difficult to determine, but it seems it took at least twenty minutes. In any event, by the time he got to Harborview ER he’d lost too much blood to be saved and he died minutes later.

The next two nights there were two more shootings in or near CHOP. The victims were only wounded.

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat dropped by CHOP on the 23rd, the day after the last of the three shootings. Westneat wrote: “We can police ourselves!” a man was still insisting in one of the CHOP’s intersections on Tuesday when I stopped by. “The hell we can,” a woman responded under her breath.[6]

Whether the perpetrators of the shootings on Saturday and Sunday were gang members or rightwing militia members is unknown. The first night June 20th it appears there were actually two separate shootings that happened close together. The first victim of the first shooting, DeJuan Young, who was wounded, was shot by different people and a block away from where Lorenzo Anderson was shot and mortally wounded only minutes later. Young said his shooting was motivated by racism. “So basically I was shot by, I’m not sure if they’re Proud Boys or KKK,” said Young from his hospital bed. “But the verbiage that they said was hold this ‘N—–’and shot me.”[7]

The end of CHOP seemed in sight. On Monday June 22nd, Seattle Mayor Jennie Durkan said, “It’s time for people to go home.” To finally help CHOP go gentle into that good night, the mayor called for help from leaders of the black community in Seattle. Early the next morning June 23rd, another man was shot and wounded near the northeast corner of Cal Anderson Park.

The next day, Wednesday June 24th, a tweet from a group called “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest Solidarity Committee” said, “Few people remain in our beloved CHOP…The CHOP project is now concluded.” That same day some Capitol Hill residents and businesses filed a class-action suit against the City of Seattle for damages caused by CHOP. By Friday June 26th, probably less than a hundred people remained in CHOP.

In the meantime, Seattle City Council member Sawant, a socialist and member of the Seattle City Council had issued a new demand. Of the homicide she said, “Our movement should demand and insist that the Seattle Police fully investigate this attack and be held accountable to bring the killer(s) to justice.”[8] Since CHOP was a “police-free zone” the police would presumably in her view need to obtain a special dispensation from people in CHOP to conduct an investigation in it—and that might have to await the “organic” development of some organization. Once they have permission they will need to speed up their investigation before they are defunded. It begins look like “Duck Soup” with real bullets.

Over the weekend of June 27th and 28th, city crews began removing some of the “Jersey barriers” that the mayor had ordered set up when the occupation began, and the mayor announced the streets in CHOP would soon be reopened. But as soon as the crews removed the jersey barriers, protesters threw up new barriers made of more homely materials—sheets of plywood, trash cans and old sofas. Some of the press thought the City might somehow finally clear CHOP of the remaining protesters over the weekend, but it didn’t happen.

What did happen was that on Sunday June 28th, hundreds of the protesters who had left CHOP gathered at Warren G. Magnuson Park on Lake Washington, and marched from there past the house where in 2017 a black woman, Charleena Lyles, called 911 to report a burglary and she ended up being shot dead by the two police who responded to her call. The two policemen claimed they found no evidence of a burglary and that Lyles suddenly turned on them with a kitchen knife. Lyles had a history of mental illness and that case is still under investigation. From there the protesters marched to the wealthy district called Windermere where Mayor Jenny Durkan lives. How they learned of Durkan’s address would become a sub-plot in the CHOP story since Durkan’s address is protected under the state confidentiality program because of her law enforcement background as a US attorney.

The next day Monday June 29th in the early hours of the morning, there was yet another shooting in CHOP, the fourth and final one. This time the shooting apparently culminated in front of the still vacant police precinct building. Two young black men in a Jeep Cherokee were shot and were taken to Harborview Hospital where one man died. It seems that armed members of an Antifa group in CHOP shot them. There is video showing the vehicle driving wildly around in Cal Anderson Park and someone in it apparently shoots at people in the park or houses next to it. Then there is more video showing what are apparently the Antifa people running towards gunfire, possibly on 12th Avenue where the precinct building is located, and someone can be heard to shout, “Anyone without a gun, hit the ground!” By the time the police reached the bullet-riddled vehicle, homicide detectives said it was clear the vehicle had been cleaned of evidence, presumably by the armed Antifa group.

The mayor’s patience with CHOP was inexplicable to some or written off as weak-kneed liberal appeasement by others. But my sister told me of rumors that the FBI told the mayor that they had an informant in CHOP, and, on the basis of what their informant told them, she should not do anything about CHOP because it was so disorganized and so many of its factions were at odds with one another that it would disintegrate all on its own.

The mayor’s call for help from black community leaders to help end CHOP seems significant. It points to a difference between some of the black leaders and many white protesters. At some point if all of the protests across the country are to become an organized political movement that can bring about real change, the white protesters who are not organized will need to follow the lead of black organizers and leaders.

Regarding all the chaos, the violence and deaths Kshama Sawant issued a Trump-like statement. She said the violence was due to capitalism. Therefore, she and the protesters at CHOP bore no responsibility.

It’s true that Seattle shows some of the most egregious features of capitalism per Marx. It is the city of Jeff Bezos’ global colossus Amazon and it is also a city where a full-time employee of the US Postal Service lives in a tent under a freeway ramp because she can no longer afford the lease on her apartment. But Sawant cannot blame capitalism for the naiveté of many in CHOP who were oblivious to the possibility that criminal gangs and rightwing militias might exploit their social experiment with fatal consequences, nor can she blame capitalism for the attempted rape of the deaf woman by one of her confederates. That they are still debating what to call themselves as CHOP was disintegrating and being dismantled speaks to how ill-suited most of the protesters were to organize anything. Even movie night. The first film they should have screened is the Maysles Brothers documentary “Gimme Shelter.” That might have given them pause. Or maybe not.

The police chief, Carmen Best, at a press conference in CHAZ on Monday June 29th said, “Enough is enough.” Kshama Sawant has called for the mayor to resign or be impeached. Mayor Jenny Durkan has called on the Seattle City Council to investigate Sawant, noting the City Council may “punish or expel a member for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior.”[9] Durkan is said to suspect that it was Sawant who leaked her address to the protesters who marched to her residence Sunday. Durkan also wants Sawant investigated for letting protesters into City Hall when it was closed due to the pandemic and for encouraging the illegal occupation of the police precinct building.

On July 1st, Seattle Police in riot gear cleared CHOP with the help of the Bellevue Police. At 4:58 am Mayor Durkan issued an order to clear the area. At 5 am the police entered CHOP and ordered everyone to leave within eight minutes or they would be arrested. They arrested at least 32 people. Policemen also reentered the precinct building though they did not move back in. City workers at the same time began to clear the last few barricades. Police also began investigating several vehicles without license plates that had been observed circling CHOP while the police were clearing it. The people in the vehicles had firearms and were wearing body armor.

That morning my sister flew to Palm Springs. There had been barely any police presence on her street the last few days. Junkies shoot up on her street now during the day, and the night before she left she could hear the shootings in CHOP. Last week a gang managed to distract the guard downstairs and break through all the high-tech security to get into the building where she lives. Residents can only use the elevator to go to the floor they live on, the business center, and the gym. The gang unlocked the apartment next to her and took everything, even the appliances.

My sister went to Palm Springs to look at a condo in a gated community. She and her husband who died last fall swore they would never live in a gated community. But she lives alone now and times have changed.’

Notes.

1) Kim’s remark and all the preceding excerpts are in the same article https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/11/chaz-seattle-autonomous-zone-police-protest For the sake of clarity with one or two exceptions I have changed CHAZ to CHOP in the quotes that follow. ↑

2) Mick Jagger, an intelligent man, no doubt regretted his fatuous words soon after the concert. Jagger is also filmed in the documentary watching the Maysles brothers edit the footage of the interview. To his credit he didn’t ask the Maysles to cut his foolish remark. ↑

3) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/11/chaz-seattle-autonomous-zone-police-protest ↑

4) https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/cellphone-video-leads-23-arrests-bellevue-square-mall-looting-frenzy/6YLITHLO4ZB5JIIUNLPHDZPBR4/ ↑

5) All of the following material is taken from an article written by a Seattle Times journalist, Mike Carter. I have altered the wording of his article in places. Where there are direct quotes, they are in Carter’s article which may be found at https://www.policeone.com/officer-safety/articles/seattle-police-release-video-of-response-to-autonomous-zone-shooting-that-left-one-dead-rc1XiwMtgt7T9vjk/ ↑

6) https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/the-irony-of-the-no-cop-chop-it-showed-how-much-we-still-need-the-police-after-all ↑

7) Horne, Deborah (June 23, 2020). “Man critically injured in CHOP shooting says he was the victim of a racial attack”. KIRO-TV Retrieved June 23, 2020. ↑

8) https://komonews.com/news/local/seattle-council-member-kshama-sawant-calls-on-mayor-durkan-to-resign ↑

9) https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/durkan-asks-seattle-city-council-to-investigate-sawant-for-contemptuous-behavior/

* * *

DONOHUE HOTEL, UKIAH

* * *

HE HAD DREAMED that the whole world was doomed to fall victim to some terrible, as yet unknown and unseen pestilence spreading to Europe from the depths of Asia. Everyone was to perish, except for certain, very few, chosen ones. Some new trichinæ had appeared, microscopic creatures that lodged themselves in men's bodies. But these creatures were spirits, endowed with reason and will. Those who received them into themselves immediately became possessed and mad. But never, never had people considered themselves so intelligent and unshakeable in the truth as did these infected ones. Never had they thought their judgments, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions and beliefs more unshakeable. Entire settlements, entire cities and nations would be infected and go mad. Everyone became anxious, and no one understood anyone else; each thought the truth was contained in himself alone, and suffered looking at others, beat his breast, wept, and wrung his hands. They did not know whom to judge or how, could not agree on what to regard as evil, what as good. They did not know whom to accuse, whom to vindicate. 

— Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1866; from "Crime and Punishment"

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THE STRUGGLE TO ENTER CALIFORNIA’S CANNABIS MARKET: ‘SO MUCH HEARTACHE, SO MUCH PAIN’

by Laurence Du Sault

Despite state programs, low-income and minority applicants struggle to break into legal cannabis market.

Linda Grant sold weed in the streets of East Oakland for 35 years before California legalized marijuana in 2016. She’s been “going through hell” trying to open a licensed business ever since.

Five years and two frustrating partnerships later, Grant still has to get a loan to pay for a business storefront before she can even apply for a license to operate. “It’s just ridiculous,” Grant said. “So much heartache, so much pain.”

The process is daunting: business plans, tax returns, seed money. Even with state programs designed to close the gap, experts and advocates say the cost of entry and long list of requirements are still keeping people of color and low-income applicants from entering the state’s lucrative legal market.

“We allowed people who already have money and position to jump on this new business opportunity,” said Dr. FloJaune Cofer, senior director of policy for the nonprofit Public Health Advocates. “And the people who were underground are still underground.”

To reduce the barriers to entry, California’s cannabis law, Prop. 64, created equity programs to give licensing priority to members of low-income and minority communities disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The programs receive 20 percent of state tax revenues from marijuana sales.

In Oakland, Black people were 25 times more likely to get arrested than whites, according to a report analyzing California marijuana arrest data from 1996-2016 by Public Health Advocates. That’s despite Blacks making up less than 15 percent of illegal drug users. The city had the third-highest disparity rate in the state, the report found, after Sacramento and Palo Alto.

“It was terror in East Oakland,” recalled Grant, 51, who was briefly incarcerated for possession in the 90s, a conviction since dismissed.

But equity programs are administered locally, and experts say their degree of success varies greatly from city to city, depending mostly on community activism. A handful of success stories, such as the Black-owned dispensary Farmacy Berkeley, arose from Bay Area equity programs, but state officials say it’s too early to tell whether the programs have helped shape the racial makeup of the legal industry.

Even through an equity program, breaking in isn’t easy. A license can cost between $5,000 and $100,000 a year, and that’s after start-up costs and investments.

“A middle-income person, someone making $60,000 a year today, with no financial backing? No way on Earth,” said Dr. William Armaline, assistant professor of sociology and the director of the Human Rights Program at San José State University.

Marc Matulich, founder of Airfield Supply, California’s self-proclaimed largest single-site dispensary that boasts a fleet of delivery Teslas, said that even with a business degree, the framework to operate legally is intimidating. “If you don’t have an attorney helping you, if you don’t have the funds to hire the right resources to get you started, it’ll be very difficult,” said Matulich, who is white and wasn’t part of an equity program.

Sean Kali-Rai, lobbyist and founder of the trade organization Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance, said Matulich invested nearly $3 million before he could open.

Today, opening a cannabis retail shop is virtually impossible in San Jose. In 2016, applicants were given a short window during which they had to secure a retail space in specifically-designated zones. Only 16 firms succeeded in getting a retail license. Few, if any, are majority-Black-owned, but it’s hard to tell since the state does not gather data on the race of its cannabis licensees.

The City of Oakland took a different route. It amended its medical cannabis regulations so half the permits issued by the city would go to equity program applicants. Grant qualified because she’d lived for more than 10 of the past 20 years in one of the neighborhoods with the most disproportionate number of marijuana arrests. Applicants could either start their own business, partner with larger companies, or both. Grant, who didn’t have the money for her own license, paired up with two incubator companies who reached out to her through the program.

“When wealthy people found out about the equity program, it was like a wave of vultures came into Oakland,” said Grant.

The deal was simple: Grant’s name would be on the business licenses as a co-signee. That way, investors could open without having to compete for limited non-equity licenses. In exchange, she would receive monthly payments and mentoring to open her own dispensary.

Four years later, Grant said she has barely set foot in the businesses whose licenses bear her name, although the monthly payments help her get by. And she still hasn’t secured her own license, a task she says the incubators didn’t help nearly enough with. One declined to comment; the other is no longer operating.

“She’s not just a poor person on a piece of paper. She’s an asset,” said Laura Herrera, an independent cannabis consultant and researcher at the UC Berkeley Cannabis Research Center who’s helped many applicants obtain licenses. Herrera says Grant isn’t the only one struggling. Although she believes Oakland’s equity program is among the best in the state, Herrera said few feel they’ve gotten the help needed to successfully start their own business.

Now, those operating without licenses have one more thing to worry about: the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s new enforcement unit.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget was approved, and with it, a proposal allocating $9.6 million to a new 87-officer police force under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Cannabis Control. Its mandate: cracking down on California’s $8.3 billion underground market. The enforcement unit includes 75 sworn officers. Although most are being shifted from the Department of Consumer Affairs, 29 positions will be brand new.

Alex Traverso, spokesman for the state’s cannabis bureau, said that complaints by licensed retailers against their underground competitors are the main driver behind the new force. “Those folks want them gone,” Traverso said.

Until now, he said, unlicensed sellers had been treated rather diplomatically — with a warning letter. But with that “grace period” over, the bureau will be responding to calls for tighter enforcement. Traverso said it is unlikely applicants like Grant will be targeted, but specific policies have yet to be laid out.

“We don’t need more oversight,” said Cofer. “What we need is to make sure that we’ve removed all the barriers for those folks who are underground operators to become part of the legal economy.”

Grant hasn’t given up but she’s decided she can’t count solely on a career in weed. So she’s also applied for a food truck license. She hopes breaking into that business won’t burn nearly as much time.

(Laurence Du Sault is a reporter with The Mercury News. This article is part of The California Divide, a collaboration among newsrooms examining income inequity and economic survival in California. Courtesy, CalMatters.org)

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* * *

SOUND

by John Sakowicz

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü

Tonight, camping on Chirpchatter Mountain in the Shasta National Forest, I hear Mongolian throat singing, and I don't know where the singing is coming from.

I have come to Mount Shasta to escape the Covid-19 pandemic, the next Great Depression, Trump, and the coming war with China.

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü

I started my July 4th weekend with a hike. I began at the Old Halcumb Stage Station on Fender Ferry Road and hiked for miles to Pit River.

The road crossed Pit River at the site of Fender's Ferry on a bridge which was completed in September 1941.

As I crossed the bridge, I traveled through time. I saw those men from the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the bridge.

Unemployed men. Unmarried men. Men, ages 18 to 25.

Young handsome men. Stripped to the waist. Sweating in the summer heat. Men working in mechanical unison in a kind of splendor, like an army of angels.

Focused men. Men who took direction from the work superintendent.

There they were. On the bridge.

Building the bridge.

Men in work pants. Men with shaved heads. Men with strong muscles. And strong libidos -- stiff every time a woman looked at them.

But a few of had the look of undecided sexuality. Vague sexuality. Puzzled eyes. 

And how many of these workers who built the bridge died in the terrible world war that was soon to follow?

How many beautiful boys who built this bridge would be buried in faraway military cemeteries? Eight boys? Nine? Ten? 

How many boys would be buried far from their mothers? Buried in any of the 25 American military cemeteries located in 10 foreign countries? France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Tunisia?

But almost remembered elsewhere.

The Saipan Memorial at the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The Guadalcanal Memorial at the Solomon Islands.

The Marker at Papua New Guinea. 

The Western Naval Task Force Marker in Morocco.

And would any of their names be recorded on the Walls of the Missing? Once-beautiful boys, now remembered only as rosettes on a wall, their remains never recovered, never identified?

One or two boys, maybe?

In this work crew that built the bridge, what was the total of those Killed in Action?

In September 1941, who would have known their days were numbered? That there was a German or Italian or Japanese boy, who was just as young, just as handsome, living in a parallel universe, who would kill them? And kill them soon?

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü

From the bridge, the road followed Potem Creek. Somewhere there was a trailhead. I stepped off the road, took the trail, and hiked northwest up to Potem Summit where I had a wonderful view of both Potem and Squaw Creek drainage.

After crossing Squaw Creek, I continued on Fender Ferry Road which followed southwardly along Squaw Creek nearly to Chirpchatter Mountain.

Again I left the road. I hiked up Chirpchatter Mountain where I had the best view of Mount Shasta.

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü

There are only five camping sites here at Chirpchatter Campground, a small, remote campground managed by the U.S. Forest Service. It's where I find myself alone tonight on this July 4th holiday weekend. Above my campsite, the moon is full and beautiful.

I am alone.

But I am not alone.

Nobody is here.

But I hear Mongolian throat singing.

SAKONOTES

An illustration of the harmonic series in musical notation. The numbers above the harmonic indicate the number of cents difference from equal temperament (rounded to the nearest cent). Blue notes are flat and red notes are sharp.

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü

Are Buddhist monks singing?

Invisible monks? 

Are ghosts singing?

The ghosts of the beautiful boys in Civilian Conservation Corps in Shasta, California, in September 1941? 

Or is Mount Shasta singing? 

Is there a secret monastery hidden deep inside the mountain?

It would help to know what makes me hear them.

And I do hear them. 

I hear a choir singing a type of throat singing called Khöömei. Two distinctively audible pitches sung at the same time. One lower pedal tone and a higher melodic note.

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü 

Tonight, I stroll out of the campground in the direction of Mount Shasta. It's like I'm sleepwalking. I'm guided by the singing. The singing gets louder. I'm getting close to where I need to be.

I hear a Tantric choir of monks. 

I hear trills, like birds. Or trills like traveling water. Water traveling from a mountaintop to the sea. 

I hear pulsating, like the rhythms of horseback riding. Or pulsating, like lovers convulsing in orgasm. 

I hear the chirping of crickets. 

I hear throat humming. It cleanses my aura and the space around me. 

And I hear all these sounds at the same time.

Хүн Хүртү Khün Khürtü 

O Heaven! Your brightness is growing. 

O Summer Moon! Full and beautiful. Silver and round. Immense and silent. 

O Mount Shasta! O Ghastly Phantom!

Could this be the place where we survive the end of the world?

— John Sakowicz 

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Talmage

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FOUND OBJECT

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