- Warming Interior
- Smoking Vehicle
- 107 Cases
- Risky Activities
- Free Testing
- Unmasked Fines
- Philo Produce
- Doctor Zoom
- Police Reports
- Ukiah Yesteryear
- Ed Notes
- Red Star
- Animal Exploitation
- Unwanted Strokes
- Seventeen Syllables
- Yesterday's Catch
- White Fragility
- Redwood Auto
- Mass Psychosis
- Elephant Walk
- Intellectual Liberty
- Incoherent Rambling
- Service Station
- Ghost Newspapers
- Cannabis Safety
- Found Object
NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected for the interior today. Temperatures will warm up on Friday and then remain above normal through the weekend. Marine air and ocean breezes will keep coastal areas seasonably cooler. Stratus will be more extensive and persistent for coastal areas of Humboldt and Del Norte counties today. The Mendocino coast will enjoy more sunshine, however some stratus will be possible near the shoreline. (NWS)
VEHICLE OFF ROADWAY, ON FIRE, DRIVER TRAPPED. NO FIRE - JUST SMOKE FROM VEHICLE
Wednesday evening — The location of the vehicle that went over the embankment on Indian Creek Road is about a half-mile from Highway 128. This vehicle may have been the object of a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) by law enforcement earlier. A full CalFire wildland response (air, ground, inmate) has been dispatched as well as the Anderson Valley Fire Department. Anderson Valley Fire said (7:06 pm) there is NO fire - the vehicle is smoking. The wildland response was canceled but they wanted the medical response to continue. In addition to the ground ambulance, CalStar 4 medevac was also dispatched to this incident. “Sufficient fire personnel on the scene - continue the medical,” was a dispatch @ 7:09 pm from the scene.
HEALTH OFFICER COVID-19 UPDATE – JULY 8, 2020
Number of Mendocino COVID-19 cases: 107 (85 recovered; 0 hospitalized; 22 on home isolation; 78 close contacts in quarantine).
Region/Number in Isolation
- North Coast: 2
- South Coast: 1
- South County: 2
- Ukiah Valley: 10
- North County: 7
Mendocino County has experienced an increase of 16 cases over the last 5 Days. Included in the recent positives are an employee at a skilled nursing facility and an employee of facility which provides homeless services. These two cases each involve the employee acquiring COVID-19 from a close contact outside of the workplace. Public Health provided testing resources to the facilities to test all the employees and residents/clients to contain the situations.
Mendocino County is informed based on recent disclosures from the family that the 14th case from the Redwood Valley Assembly of God outbreak, who tested positive on May 15, died on July 1, after a hospitalization and subsequent treatment beginning June 9, at an outpatient rehabilitation facility in Marin County. Mendocino County is awaiting the official death certificate from Marin County and cannot confirm this death is COVID-19 related until receiving further official information.
The County has received a number inquires requesting clarification on what the term “recovered” means on the County’s COVID-19 statistics and dashboard. A case is considered “recovered” when the individual is released from isolation order. The County Isolation Order requires the following criteria to be met to be released from Isolation:
a. Individuals with a positive test who never develop symptoms must isolate for 10 days from date of test sample collection OR
b. Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 must isolate until the later of the following three conditions:
i. At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, defined as resolution of both fever without anti-pyretic (the use of fever-reducing medications) and improvement of cough, shortness of breath and other symptoms; AND
ii. At least 10 days have passed since the date of test sample collection; whichever is later. AND
iii. When cleared by individual’s health care provider and/or Public Health.
Whether someone is released from isolation and is "recovered" also reflects the decreased/diminished/viral shed such that their contact with others will not result in additional cases. All individuals have unique personal experiences with recovery and may take more time than others to fully recover from all of the effects of COVID-19.
Governor Newsom and State Public Health Officer announced, July 2, 2020, revisions to the Places of Worship Guidance effective immediately statewide for all counties, including Mendocino County. Specifically Places of Worship must discontinue singing and chanting activities, limit indoor attendance to 25% building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower, and all must comply with the facial coverings order. An updated Religious Services Summary reflecting the State changes is available for review on the County website.
Consolidated Tribal Health Project in collaboration with Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Mendocino County is offering FREE COVID-19 testing to the communities in Hopland and Willits. Please wear a facial covering when you arrive.
a. Hopland: July 10 from 8am to 11am at the corner of Hwy 101 and 175
b. Willits: July 11 from 8am to 11am at the Sherwood Valley Tribal Office
Remember, to help our community stay safe, slow the spread of COVID-19 and continue reopening, everyone, should avoid the three C’s:
Confined spaces – especially with poor ventilation. Outdoors is better than indoors.
Crowds and gatherings – the more people the higher the risk.
Close contact – staying further apart is safer than being close together.
Every resident can take simple steps to reduce their risk of COVID-19 by washing hands often, wearing a cloth face covering around others, avoid touching your face, avoid sharing food, drinks, toys, sports equipment, keep interactions with others outside of your home or stable bubble short and give yourself space from others (6ft).
FREE DRIVE-THROUGH COVID TESTING every Thursday in July at the AV High School! 1st come 1st serve. 9:30 to 11am.
MASK UP OR ELSE!
(via Supervisor Williams)
Facial covering infraction urgency ordinance passed unanimously. $100 first offense, $200 second, $500 third or subsequent. Linked draft was modified to include "mask" in types of facial coverings. Urgency Ordinance-Admin. Penalties for COVID-19 Related Violations:
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM
- Just harvested these delicious Santa Rosa Plums
- Cherry Tomatoes, Early Girls & a few Heirlooms
- Padron & Jalapeno Peppers, first sweet peppers
- Walla Walla Onions, Lettuce, Basil
- Zucchini & Patty Pan Squash
- Santa Rosa Plums, Strawberries
- Sunflowers & Zinnias
- Bulk prices on Plums & Onions
- Tomatoes & peppers are just coming on still in short supply.
3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo 95466, (707) 895-2071
DR. ZOOM, WHITE COURTESY TELEPHONE, PLEASE
I want to know why our public health officer is in San Diego instead of on duty here in Mendocino County. As a taxpayer I have to demand that County officials live and work in-county, not in some remote part of the state 600 miles away. Dr. Doohan reports to us weekly via zoom, using expressions like “We here in Mendocino have to do better..." and so forth, pretending like she's in-county, when by now everybody knows she is not. I was informed by the Call Center this morning that the State appointed another interim public health officer to assist our absent Dr. Doohan. This person was hired a week or two ago, but no apparently no announcement was made by the County. This is not transparency.
I further want to complain about the general incompetence and neglect in the county's reaction to this pandemic. The public health department issues its updates via Facebook, and a clunky website. Facebook is an untrustworthy app at best, that many people have refused to use, and many others have recently deleted. Having your primary information channel a Facebook page is not only unprofessional, it's irresponsible and negligent. If you look at every other county in Northern California - and I've looked at Humboldt, Del Norte, Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Lake - any County - will have separate links on their webpage with graphs, statistics, dashboard and data, all laid out very clearly and transparently. Meanwhile Mendocino has a dark, black, jumbled and inarticulate dashboard on Facebook, along with a seven line, thirty word paragraph for basic statistics that appears sporadically on their website. This is unacceptable.
Worse, the Public Health Department has so far misleadingly and falsely reported on at least two cases in this pandemic. Our county experienced its first death on July 1. State law requires a cause of death to be declared by the attending physician within 15 hours, yet our public health department not only failed to list this as a COVID death, it also, unbelievably, has this deceased man listed as "recovered." A visiting nurse who tested positive in Fort Bragg but lives in Oregon was similarly wiped from the county’s public records on Covid-19.
And again, I have to ask - where is the daily testing on the Coast? Fort Bragg did 200 tests in all of June. This county has run out of excuses for not getting even the bare minimum of tests needed on the Coast.
Finally, this board needs to order wastewater testing for the town of Mendocino, and for other unincorporated towns and communities in our County.
THE BELL SPRINGS BATTERER
On Saturday, July 4, 2020 at about 8:10 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to contact an adult female regarding a physical assault in Laytonville.
Upon their arrival Deputies located the adult female being treated by Laytonville Fire personnel. The adult female had visible injuries to her face and body which were bleeding, consistent with being physically assaulted.
The Deputies learned the adult female was in a romantic dating relationship with Aaron Gomez, 50, of Laytonville, for numerous years and the incident took place at a residence in the 59000 block of Bell Springs Road.
On Saturday, July 4, 2020 in the early morning hours, the adult female and Gomez got into an argument wherein she tried to leave the residence.
Gomez attempted to prevent the adult female from leaving by grabbing her arm. The adult female got in her vehicle and attempted to leave but was followed by Gomez on a dirt bike.
The adult female stopped her vehicle and Gomez reached inside and grabbed her by the hair. Gomez then struck her with his fist.
The adult female fled the area in her vehicle and drove to Laytonville for medical assistance.
Deputies also learned of an unreported domestic violence incident between the couple.
Reportedly in June 2020, Gomez got upset because he could not find his duct tape. There was a verbal exchange and Gomez pushed the adult female into a wooden railing on the porch of their residence.
Gomez pushed the adult female down onto her back where he put his hand on her neck and choked her. The adult female fought back and Gomez struck her one time with each of his hands causing her to lose consciousness.
When she woke up Gomez's boot was on her face and Gomez threatened to hit the adult female's dog with a shovel. The adult female got between the dog and Gomez and he hit her in the right side of the body with the shovel.
Gomez then took the adult female's cellular telephone so she could not call law enforcement and later took her car keys so she could not leave the residence. Gomez told her that she was not allowed to leave the property and it took about a week before Gomez returned the cellular telephone and keys.
The Deputies noticed injuries on the adult female's body consistent with the reported physical assault from June 2020.
On Sunday, July 5, 2020 Deputies were able to locate Gomez at his residence and placed him under arrest on charges of Domestic Violence Battery, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Criminal Threats, False Imprisonment.
Gomez was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
TRESPASS GRO, AND THE TRESPASSER MOVED IN
In June 2020, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted regarding an illegal trespass marijuana operation occurring on private property located in the area of mile post marker 13.07 on Highway 162 in Willits.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Division began an investigation, where they ultimately contacted a male subject sleeping in a travel trailer in the immediate area. The subject was identified as being Jason Bacchi, 39, of Covelo, who claimed to be the owner of the property, but was unable to produce any legal documents supporting his claim.
During research, the Sheriff's Office was able to confirm the property did not belong to Bacchi, but in fact, found that Bacchi was actually trespassing on multiple pieces of property that he was accessing by all terrain vehicles [ATV's].
At the time this incident was first reported to the Sheriff's Office, the marijuana gardens were in the preliminary stages. As a result, at the request of the property owners, Bacchi was simply asked to vacate the property/area.
The Sheriff's Office was re-contacted a few days later, learning Bacchi refused to vacate, again claiming he had supporting documents showing the particular piece of property belonged to his family. When asked to produce such documents, Bacchi became defiant with Deputies and was once again unable to produce supporting documentation.
On Friday, July 3, 2020, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET) conducted aerial surveillance of the properties in question, where two separate marijuana cultivation sites were discovered.
One cultivation location [not yet planted] was on private property owned by the Shamrock Ranch, with the other being on Coastal Forest Lands LTD. While conducting aerial surveillance, several hundred growing marijuana plants were observed.
On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, COMMET with the assistance of a Cal-Fire Prevention Officer, and a Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden, responded to mile post marked 13.07 to make contact with Bacchi, who was still on the property.
Upon arrival, Bacchi was contacted where he was informed as to the reason of law enforcement's presence.
Bacchi was shown documentation proving he in fact was not the property owner. Bacchi was verbally confrontational and was detained at the scene. Bacchi was later arrested for marijuana cultivation and criminal trespassing.
A total of 630 growing marijuana plants were located and eradicated.
In order to remove his personal property and vacate the property, Bacchi was released at the scene on his written promise to appear in the Superior Court of Mendocino County at a later date.
STALKED ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE FROM VANCOUVER
On Monday, July 6, 2020 around 9:47 AM the Patrol Division of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) received a report, from a 58 year old female who lives in Redwood Valley area, that she had been receiving threatening messages from a family member. This family member was believed to be living as a transient in the Vancouver, Washington area. The female victim indicated she and other members of her family, including a 27 year old female and 15 month old child living in the Fortuna (Humboldt County) area, all had a domestic violence restraining order prohibiting the suspect, Casey Woida, 29 years of age, of Vancouver, from having any contact with them.
The victim indicated the threats came via text messages and phone messages at her business, starting on the 24th of June. The messages were repeated and included numerous death threats. Due to the suspect's past violent outbursts the victim expressed great concern for her and her family’s safety.
On 7/7/2020 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Detective Unit was assigned to assist with this case. The victim then related the female family member, living in Humboldt County, was also receiving death threats from the suspect. These threats included he was enroute to California to follow through with the death threats towards this young woman and the 15 month old child. Both family members indicated the suspect also threatened persons, with harm, at their places of employment. The investigator was then able to get an exigency track on the suspect's phone, which showed he did appear to be travelling south bound through the state of Oregon. A vehicle description was obtained and a warrant, requesting charges against Woida with a felony county of stalking, making terrorist threats, and violation of a domestic violence protective order was written. The investigators were then able to contact the 27 year old female in Humboldt County to warn her the suspect might be in her area. They also confirmed that she had also received threats from the suspect. The woman was encouraged to report these threats to the Fortuna Police Department immediately, which she did. MCSO made contact with both Fortuna Police Department and the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) to make them aware of the pending warrant for Woida's arrest and that he might be enroute to that County after making threats of violence against the woman and child.
Around 6:25 PM the 27 year old female, living in Humboldt County, contacted HCSO and advised the suspect just sent her a message that he was at her place of employment looking for her. Around 6:45 PM the female called HCSO again advising the suspect sent a message that he was at the Bayshore Mall in the City of Eureka. Around 6:50 PM the warrant, authored by MCSO was authorized by a Mendocino County Superior Court Judge. A HCSO Deputy responded to the Bayshore Mall and spotted the suspect parked in the parking lot. As the deputy approached the suspect drove his vehicle, turning south bound on Highway 101, failing to stop as required at the intersection. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle which fled south bound on Highway 101, reaching top speeds of 80 miles per hour. The suspect called 911 during the pursuit where he made threats that HCSO would "have to kill him". The pursuit lasted approximately 15 minutes, covering approximately 20 miles, when the suspect pulled over and surrendered without further incident. He was arrested in Humboldt County for open counts of felony vehicle evasion and violating the domestic violence restraining order as well as the arrest warrant secured by MCSO. His bail on the warrant was set at $100,000.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and the Fortuna Police Department for their coordinated effort in making this arrest and avoiding any further violence being committed.
UKIAH, WHEN IT WAS BEAUTIFUL
ASSUMING RACISM where none existed, I managed to libel 19th century Boonville in my story about Anderson Valley's black pioneer, Daniel Jeans. Jeans homesteaded a 160-acre parcel locals still call Ham Canyon. I falsely assumed the property's name had been inspired by the Biblical reference to black people as the children of Ham, that because Jeans lived there his property was called Ham Canyon. Turns out there was a settler prior to Jeans called Ida F. Ham who had been deeded the area in 1878 by a William Fry, but no evidence either of them ever lived there, at least as far as can be determined by the record. Ham Canyon was named after Ida F. Ham. Daniel Jeans and his Native American wife, known to history only as Miss Brown, raised five boys in Ham Canyon on land converted by Daniel to a prosperous and family-sustaining farm. You've got to trespass to see it, but the Jeans place can be reached by walking due west through the Elementary School, across Con Creek, through an old vineyard once worked by a crusty old boy named Phil Wasson, and there you are, assuming the present owner, Janese June, heavily armed and a crack shot, hasn't picked you off before you reach Jeans' ancient orchard. PS Wasson, one of the valley's great curmudgeons, once wrote a letter to the Boonville School Board threatening to arrest any teacher or child who stepped onto his property! Wasson was responding to a polite written request from the school to explore the creek area behind the school bordering Wasson's vineyard. I still think that Wasson's letter was positively exhilarating in the slobbery mawk of the school context where the mere mention of "the kids" (aka funding units) causes all present to dissolve in cooing piles of fake regard.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY, like all the so-called elite colleges, sits on a huge endowment (upwards of 15 billion), but claims a looming budget deficit exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic forces the school to axe 11 of its 36 sports programs after the 2020-2021 academic year. The school had Zoomed the bad news to student-athletes and coaches of the affected departments. The programs being cut are men’s volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, men’s and women’s fencing, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, and synchronized swimming. (Which two mos def aren't sports?)
WE OCCASIONALLY get requests to purge our website of booking photos, which we do if the request is reasonably polite. We don't aim at complicating lives, and since everyone with an income under $50k gets booked at least once during his or her lifetime — I've had my share — we take the merciful approach; ask nicey-nice and down it comes.
BUT ONE GUY, a serial screw-up with a dozen bookings, had the nerve to demand by telephone that we take his picture down "or else." Leaving us no option but to publish all his photos, all the way back to when he had teeth. Soon after Mr. Or Else had given us his ultimatum, a big, shirtless kid came hurtling over the fence from the Redwood Drive-In next door, running straight at our office like some kind of wild mustang fresh outta the Nevada desert. And me without my gat! Turned out to be a friendly dude but seemingly tweeked to the max, hence his highly athletic arrival at our office door. For a panicked moment, though, I thought "Or Else" had arrived to do some serious elder abuse. I can handle anybody over the age of 70 — anybody, you hear me! — but these young psychos…
THE OTHER DAY, I received an implicitly threatening e-mail from what I presumed to be a young woman — confirmed by her facebook photo — who said she "represented" a guy who often appears for morning portraits at the County Jail. (The booking photos are minor works of art, and, of course, a highly popular feature on our website of the lowly schadenfreude type.) She wanted us to take this guy's photos down. I told her sure, but she shouldn't represent herself as an attorney, and she shouldn't lead off her request with an implied threat. She wrote back to say, "I didn't say I'm a lawyer, but I am his agent."
ANIMAL EXPLOITATION WILL KILL US
To the Editor:
This is a quote from the summer issue of AWI, the newsmagazine of the Animal Welfare Institute:
"In just the past 40 years, the worst pandemics and epidemics -- including SARS, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, the H5N1, avian flu, the H1N1 swine flu, and Covid-19 — have all happened against a backdrop of increasing trade and destruction of wild habitat and an increasing number of farm animals warehoused in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). So while the origins are sometimes shrouded in mystery and subject to scientific sleuthing, the answer as to which species is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other disease outbreaks, is clear: It's us."
I'm no ethnobiologist, but I would bet that there's been no time in our history that so many deadly viruses have emerged in a 40 year time period.
International travel, everyone and everything being interconnected, wildlife trade and consumption and eating factory farmed animals all allow viruses to spread like wildfire. Our lifestyles, food habits and exploitative relationship with animals will only further pathogen transmission.
It won't be a nuclear bomb that kills us off, it will be a virus and our resistance to changing our ways.
EYES WIDE OPEN
My Dear Valley friends and left-wing wobblers:
This will not take up much of your time. Yeah! Right! Documented: your morosis governor G. "Nuisance" has sent letters to the California court system requesting judges show leniency when sentences are given to those perps, 25 years and younger.
Some way! Somehow! Nuisance and his brain trust have determined that the human brain at 25 and younger is not fully developed therefore they, the perps, are not responsible for their crimes. What? Wait! Perhaps their parents should have pulled out. My my! Not very nice! But factual! Get over it!
Allow me to finish with a loud insult to injury.
I surely misunderstood a news report. I think they said our legislators are considering lowering the voting age down to 18. What? What a stroke of genius.
Don't we have our hands full with mentally challenged now attempting to run this country? Oh hell! Pile it on!
Wake up America, open your eyes wider. This country’s towns and cities are on a fast track to total traitorous anarchy, an implosion caused by those pushing the overkill on correctness. And what are we/they doing to correct the obvious? Reduce the police departments? Well now, isn't that another stroke of temerity! Just how many of these strokes can we live with? We are shooting ourselves in the foot and looking for someone else to blame! That be us!
God bless America, the Donald, and Jerry Philbrick,
Still old and very very angry!
HAIKU FOR A WRITER
Just five syllables.
Then seven. Five more. And stop.
Those are your limits.
Start with a hundred.
Boil it down to seventeen.
That’s boiling, Baby.
If you can’t say it
In seventeen syllables
It ain’t worth saying.
— Jim Luther
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 8, 2020
MAURICIO DELGADO-GARCIA, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
DANIEL HEATH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
GARRIE HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Parole violation.
DONITA THOMPSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-lodging without owner’s consent, vandalism.
ON "WHITE FRAGILITY"
A few thoughts on America’s smash-hit #1 guide to egghead racialism
by Matt Taibbi
A core principle of the academic movement that shot through elite schools in America since the early nineties was the view that individual rights, humanism, and the democratic process are all just stalking-horses for white supremacy. The concept, as articulated in books like former corporate consultant Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility(Amazon’s #1 seller!) reduces everything, even the smallest and most innocent human interactions, to racial power contests.
It’s been mind-boggling to watch White Fragility celebrated in recent weeks. When it surged past a Hunger Games book on bestseller lists, USA Today cheered, “American readers are more interested in combatting racism than in literary escapism.” When DiAngelo appeared on The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon gushed, “I know… everyone wants to talk to you right now!” White Fragility has been pitched as an uncontroversial road-map for fighting racism, at a time when after the murder of George Floyd Americans are suddenly (and appropriately) interested in doing just that. Except this isn’t a straightforward book about examining one’s own prejudices. Have the people hyping this impressively crazy book actually read it?
DiAngelo isn’t the first person to make a buck pushing tricked-up pseudo-intellectual horseshit as corporate wisdom, but she might be the first to do it selling Hitlerian race theory. White Fragility has a simple message: there is no such thing as a universal human experience, and we are defined not by our individual personalities or moral choices, but only by our racial category.
If your category is “white,” bad news: you have no identity apart from your participation in white supremacy (“Anti-blackness is foundational to our very identities… Whiteness has always been predicated on blackness”), which naturally means “a positive white identity is an impossible goal.”
DiAngelo instructs us there is nothing to be done here, except “strive to be less white.” To deny this theory, or to have the effrontery to sneak away from the tedium of DiAngelo’s lecturing – what she describes as “leaving the stress-inducing situation” – is to affirm her conception of white supremacy. This intellectual equivalent of the “ordeal by water” (if you float, you’re a witch) is orthodoxy across much of academia.
DiAngelo’s writing style is pure pain. The lexicon favored by intersectional theorists of this type is built around the same principles as Orwell’s Newspeak: it banishes ambiguity, nuance, and feeling and structures itself around sterile word pairs, like racist and antiracist, platform and deplatform, center and silence, that reduce all thinking to a series of binary choices. Ironically, Donald Trump does something similar, only with words like “AMAZING!” and “SAD!” that are simultaneously more childish and livelier.
Writers like DiAngelo like to make ugly verbs out of ugly nouns and ugly nouns out of ugly verbs (there are countless permutations on centering and privileging alone). In a world where only a few ideas are considered important, redundancy is encouraged, e.g. “To be less white is to break with white silence and white solidarity, to stop privileging the comfort of white people,” or “Ruth Frankenberg, a premier white scholar in the field of whiteness, describes whiteness as multidimensional…”
DiAngelo writes like a person who was put in timeout as a child for speaking clearly. “When there is disequilibrium in the habitus — when social cues are unfamiliar and/or when they challenge our capital — we use strategies to regain our balance,” she says (“People taken out of their comfort zones find ways to deal,” according to Google Translate). Ideas that go through the English-DiAngelo translator usually end up significantly altered, as in this key part of the book when she addresses Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” speech:
One line of King’s speech in particular—that one day he might be judged by the content of his character and not the color of his skin—was seized upon by the white public because the words were seen to provide a simple and immediate solution to racial tensions: pretend that we don’t see race, and racism will end. Color blindness was now promoted as the remedy for racism, with white people insisting that they didn’t see race or, if they did, that it had no meaning to them.
That this speech was held up as the framework for American race relations for more than half a century precisely because people of all races understood King to be referring to a difficult and beautiful long-term goal worth pursuing is discounted, of course. White Fragility is based upon the idea that human beings are incapable of judging each other by the content of their character, and if people of different races think they are getting along or even loving one another, they probably need immediate antiracism training. This is an important passage because rejection of King’s “dream” of racial harmony — not even as a description of the obviously flawed present, but as the aspirational goal of a better future — has become a central tenet of this brand of antiracist doctrine mainstream press outlets are rushing to embrace.
The book’s most amazing passage concerns the story of Jackie Robinson:
The story of Jackie Robinson is a classic example of how whiteness obscures racism by rendering whites, white privilege, and racist institutions invisible. Robinson is often celebrated as the first African American to break the color line…
While Robinson was certainly an amazing baseball player, this story line depicts him as racially special, a black man who broke the color line himself. The subtext is that Robinson finally had what it took to play with whites, as if no black athlete before him was strong enough to compete at that level. Imagine if instead, the story went something like this: “Jackie Robinson, the first black man whites allowed to play major-league baseball.”
There is not a single baseball fan anywhere – literally not one, except perhaps Robin DiAngelo, I guess – who believes Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier because he “finally had what it took to play with whites.” Everyone familiar with this story understands that Robinson had to be exceptional, both as a player and as a human being, to confront the racist institution known as Major League Baseball. His story has always been understood as a complex, long-developing political tale about overcoming violent systemic oppression. For DiAngelo to suggest history should re-cast Robinson as “the first black man whites allowed to play major league baseball” is grotesque and profoundly belittling.
Robinson’s story moreover did not render “whites, white privilege, and racist institutions invisible.” It did the opposite. Robinson uncovered a generation of job inflation for mediocre white ballplayers in a dramatic example of “privilege” that was keenly understood by baseball fans of all races fifty years before White Fragility. Baseball statistics nerds have long been arguing about whether to put asterisks next to the records of white stars who never had to pitch to Josh Gibson, or hit against prime Satchel Paige or Webster McDonald. Robinson’s story, on every level, exposed and evangelized the truth about the very forces DiAngelo argues it rendered “invisible.”
It takes a special kind of ignorant for an author to choose an example that illustrates the mathematical opposite of one’s intended point, but this isn’t uncommon in White Fragility, which may be the dumbest book ever written. It makes The Art of the Deal read like Anna Karenina.
Yet these ideas are taking America by storm. The movement that calls itself “antiracism” – I think it deserves that name a lot less than “pro-lifers” deserve theirs and am amazed journalists parrot it without question – is complete in its pessimism about race relations. It sees the human being as locked into one of three categories: members of oppressed groups, allies, and white oppressors.
Where we reside on the spectrum of righteousness is, they say, almost entirely determined by birth, a view probably shared by a lot of 4chan readers. With a full commitment to the program of psychological ablutions outlined in the book, one may strive for a “less white identity,” but again, DiAngelo explicitly rejects the Kingian goal of just trying to love one another as impossible, for two people born with different skin colors.
This dingbat racialist cult, which has no art, music, literature, and certainly no comedy, is the vision of “progress” institutional America has chosen to endorse in the Trump era. Why? Maybe because it fits. It won’t hurt the business model of the news media, which for decades now has been monetizing division and has known how to profit from moral panics and witch hunts since before Fleet street discovered the Mod/Rocker wars.
Democratic Party leaders, pioneers of the costless gesture, have already embraced this performative race politics as a useful tool for disciplining apostates like Bernie Sanders. Bernie took off in presidential politics as a hard-charging crusader against a Wall Street-fattened political establishment, and exited four years later a self-flagellating, defeated old white man who seemed to regret not apologizing more for his third house. Clad in kente cloth scarves, the Democrats who crushed him will burn up CSPAN with homilies on privilege even as they reassure donors they’ll stay away from Medicare for All or the carried interest tax break.
For corporate America the calculation is simple. What’s easier, giving up business models based on war, slave labor, and regulatory arbitrage, or benching Aunt Jemima? There’s a deal to be made here, greased by the fact that the “antiracism” prophets promoted in books like White Fragility share corporate Americas instinctive hostility to privacy, individual rights, freedom of speech, etc.
Corporate America doubtless views the current protest movement as something that can be addressed as an H.R. matter, among other things by hiring thousands of DiAngelos to institute codes for the proper mode of Black-white workplace interaction.
If you’re wondering what that might look like, here’s DiAngelo explaining how she handled the fallout from making a bad joke while she was “facilitating antiracism training” at the office of one of her clients.
When one employee responds negatively to the training, DiAngelo quips the person must have been put off by one of her Black female team members: “The white people,” she says, “were scared by Deborah’s hair.” (White priests of antiracism like DiAngelo seem universally to be more awkward and clueless around minorities than your average Trump-supporting construction worker).
DiAngelo doesn’t grasp the joke flopped and has to be told two days later that one of her web developer clients was offended. In despair, she writes, “I seek out a friend who is white and has a solid understanding of cross-racial dynamics.”
After DiAngelo confesses her feelings of embarrassment, shame and guilt to the enlightened white cross-racial dynamics expert (everyone should have such a person on speed-dial), she approaches the offended web developer. She asks, “Would you be willing to grant me the opportunity to repair the racism I perpetrated toward you in that meeting?” At which point the web developer agrees, leading to a conversation establishing the parameters of problematic joke resolution.
This dialogue straight out of South Park – “Is it okay if I touch your penis? No, you may not touch my penis at this time!” – has a good shot of becoming standard at every transnational corporation, law firm, university, newsroom, etc.
Of course the upside such consultants can offer is an important one. Under pressure from people like this, companies might address long-overdue inequities in boardroom diversity.
The downside, which we’re already seeing, is that organizations everywhere will embrace powerful new tools for solving professional disputes, through a never-ending purge. One of the central tenets of DiAngelo’s book (and others like it) is that racism cannot be eradicated and can only be managed through constant, “lifelong” vigilance, much like the battle with addiction. A useful theory, if your business is selling teams of high-priced toxicity-hunters to corporations as next-generation versions of efficiency experts — in the fight against this disease, companies will need the help forever and ever.
Cancelations already are happening too fast to track. In a phenomenon that will be familiar to students of Russian history, accusers are beginning to appear alongside the accused. Three years ago a popular Canadian writer named Hal Niedzviecki was denounced for expressing the opinion that “anyone, anywhere, should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities." He reportedly was forced out of the Writer’s Union of Canada for the crime of “cultural appropriation,” and denounced as a racist by many, including a poet named Gwen Benaway. The latter said Niedzviecki “doesn’t see the humanity of indigenous peoples.” Last week, Benaway herself was denounced on Twitter for failing to provide proof that she was Indigenous.
Michael Korenberg, the chair of the board at the University of British Columbia, was forced to resign for liking tweets by Dinesh D’Souza and Donald Trump, which you might think is fine – but what about Latino electrical worker Emmanuel Cafferty, firedafter a white activist took a photo of him making an OK symbol (it was described online as a “white power” sign)? How about Sue Schafer, the heretofore unknown graphic designer the Washington Post decided to out in a 3000-word article for attending a Halloween party two years ago in blackface (a failed parody of a differentblackface incident involving Megyn Kelly)? She was fired, of course. How was this news? Why was ruining this person’s life necessary?
People everywhere today are being encouraged to snitch out schoolmates, parents, and colleagues for thoughtcrime. The New York Times wrote a salutary piece about high schoolers scanning social media accounts of peers for evidence of “anti-black racism” to make public, because what can go wrong with encouraging teenagers to start submarining each other’s careers before they’ve even finished growing?
“People who go to college end up becoming racist lawyers and doctors. I don’t want people like that to keep getting jobs,” one 16 year-old said. “Someone rly started a Google doc of racists and their info for us to ruin their lives… I love twitter,” wrote a different person, adding cheery emojis.
A bizarre echo of North Korea’s “three generations of punishment” doctrine could be seen in the boycotts of Holy Land grocery, a well-known hummus maker in Minneapolis. In recent weeks it’s been abandoned by clients and seen its lease pulledbecause of racist tweets made by the CEO’s 14 year-old daughter eight years ago.
Parents calling out their kids is also in vogue. In Slate, “Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill” wrote to advice columnist Michelle Herman in a letter headlined, “I think I’ve screwed up the way my kids think about race.” The problem, the aggrieved parent noted, was that his/her sons had gone to a diverse school, and their “closest friends are still a mix of black, Hispanic, and white kids,” which to them was natural. The parent worried when one son was asked to fill out an application for a potential college roommate and expressed annoyance at having to specify race, because “I don’t care about race.”
Clearly, a situation needing fixing! The parent asked if someone who didn’t care about race was “just as racist as someone who only has white friends” and asked if it was “too late” to do anything. No fear, Herman wrote: it’s never too late for kids like yours to educate themselves. To help, she linked to a program of materials designed for just that purpose, a “Lesson Plan for Being An Ally,” that included a month of readings of… White Fragility. Hopefully that kid with the Black and Hispanic friends can be cured!
This notion that color-blindness is itself racist, one of the main themes of White Fragility, could have amazing consequences. In researching I Can’t Breathe, I met civil rights activists who recounted decades of struggle to remove race from the law. I heard stories of lawyers who were physically threatened for years in places like rural Arkansas just for trying to end explicit hiring and housing discrimination and other remnants of Jim Crow. Last week, an Oregon County casually exempted “people of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling” from a Covid-19 related mask order. Who thinks creating different laws for different racial categories is going to end well? When has it ever?
At a time of catastrophe and national despair, when conservative nationalism is on the rise and violent confrontation on the streets is becoming commonplace, it’s extremely suspicious that the books politicians, the press, university administrators, and corporate consultants alike are asking us to read are urging us to put race even more at the center of our identities, and fetishize the unbridgeable nature of our differences. Meanwhile books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird, which are both beautiful and actually anti-racist, have been banned, for containing the “N-word.” (White Fragility contains it too, by the way). It’s almost like someone thinks there’s a benefit to keeping people divided.
REDWOOD AUTO, UKIAH
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
With the economy collapsed, the stock market reaching record highs, the young people out partying on the beach and pulling down statues, and a psychopath with dementia waiting to take the reins of power, I’ve got the terrible, foreboding feeling that there is some kind of ignorant, flippant, obtuse evil spirit leading us into the dark deep abyss? It’s a kind of dark mass psychosis…. It’s like the face of one of those ancient Hindu gods on one of those Angkor Wat temples in the jungle in Cambodia….
IN AMERICA, SPEAKING FREELY IS IN DANGER
Before the Fourth of July gets too far past, it’s worth taking stock of the state of freedom — and of our attitudes toward it — at home and around the world.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin just won a “plebiscite” ratifying his right to stay in power until the year 2036. In Hong Kong, a new security law came into effect that effectively put an end to the right of peaceful protest. In Poland, a runoff election will decide if the country continues its slide toward illiberalism.
In the United States, these stories barely make a dent on public consciousness. Conservatives and liberals alike have ceased to care very much about the denial of freedom to others.
We also have our own problems with freedom. For once, the main problem isn’t Donald Trump. The president may be an instinctual fascist, a wannabe autocrat. But, after nearly four years in power, he’s been unmasked as an incompetent one. Trump may have privately praised Xi Jinping for building concentration camps for Uighurs. Congress still passed legislation to impose sanctions on China for them. He may want to bring Russia back to the G-7. The other six won’t let him. He may have sought to abolish DACA for the Dreamers. John Roberts decided otherwise. He may call the press an “enemy of the American people.” That enemy still operates without restraint when it comes to slamming him.
To adapt the Lloyd Bentsen line, Donald John Trump, you’re no Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The more serious problem today comes from the left: from liberal elites who, when tested, lack the courage of their liberal convictions; from so-called progressives whose core convictions were never liberal to begin with; from administrative types at nonprofits and corporations who, with only vague convictions of their own, don’t want to be on the wrong side of a PR headache.
This has been the great cultural story of the past few years. It is typified by incidents such as the New Yorker’s David Remnick thinking it would be a good idea to interview Steve Bannon for the magazine’s annual festival — until a Twitter mob and some members of his own staff decided otherwise. Or by the Washington Post devoting 3,000 words to destroying the life of a private person of no particular note because in 2018 she wore blackface, with ironic intent, at a Halloween party. Or by big corporations pulling ads from Facebook while demanding the company do more to censor forms of speech they deem impermissible.
These stories matter because an idea is at risk. That’s the idea that people who cannot speak freely will not be able to think clearly, and that no society can long flourish when contrarians are treated as heretics.
That idea, old as Socrates, formerly had powerful institutional defenders, especially in the form of universities, news media, book publishers, free-speech groups and major philanthropies.
But those defenders are, on account of one excuse or another, capitulating to people who claim free speech for themselves (but not for others), who believe all the old patriarchal hierarchies must go (so that new “intersectional” hierarchies may arise), who are in a perpetual fervor to rewrite the past (all the better to control the future), and who demand cringing public apologies from those who have sinned against an ever-more radical ideological standard (while those apologies won’t save them from being fired).
As in so much else, George Orwell was here before us. In connection to the recent vandalism of monuments and destruction of statues, a line from “1984” has been making the rounds — “every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered.” But the Orwell essay to which I keep returning is a little jewel from 1946, “The Prevention of Literature.” Orwell's concern then was not just with Russian totalitarianism, but with the arguments used by much of the Western intelligentsia to justify repression.
“What is sinister,” he wrote, “is that the conscious enemies of liberty are those to whom liberty ought to mean most.” He was particularly calling out Western scientists who admired the Soviet Union for its technical prowess and were utterly indifferent to Stalin’s persecution of writers and artists. “They do not see that any attack on intellectual liberty, and on the concept of objective truth, threatens in the long run every department of thought.” Every department of thought.
Right now, all the Twitter furors, the angry rows over publication decisions, the canceled speeches and books, the semantic battles about which words take an uppercase and which don’t, may seem remote to those who care about more tangible issues: depression, disease, police abuse, urban decline. Yet the issue that counts the most is whether the institutions that are supposed to champion liberal ideals will muster the moral confidence to survive. In the days surrounding this July 4, it’s very much in doubt.
ALL OF A SUDDEN
In his own words, here’s what to expect if the president gets a second term.
Sean Hannity: “What are your top priority items for a second term?”
Donald Trump: “Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know, the word ‘experience’ is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I’ve always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It’s a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington I think 17 times, all of a sudden, I’m the president of the United States. You know the story, I’m riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say, ‘This is great.’ But I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like you know an idiot like Bolton, all he wanted to do was drop bombs on everybody. You don’t have to kill people.”
Incoherent rambling. And about not having to kill people, how many have died from his bungled response to COVID-19?
YATES SERVICE STATION, UKIAH
THE END OF THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER
by Thomas Klikauer & Norman Simms
Since the birth of the Word Wide Web in March 1989 (at 00:00PT/ 08:00 CET) and the rise of Facebook and the like, the preferred business model of newspaper has been in steep decline as advertising revenue shifted from print media towards the Internet with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the largest winners. This meant that many newspapers are under severe financial stress while others have closed up shop all together. American readers are faced with a tremendous decline of printed newspapers. Perhaps the decline of local newspapers started even earlier than the arrival of Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
It may have started when local papers began to replace trained and experienced journalists with recently graduated MBAs who had only limited knowledge of local affairs to run newspapers, writes PEN’s Ayad Akhtar. How far the degeneration of American papers is illustrated by Pulitzer Price winner Akhtar, Since 2014, nearly 1,800 newspapers have closed while TV and radio stations continue to see widespread consolidation. Consolidation is the code-word for monopolisation, a tendency in capitalism detected by Karl Marx in the mid-nineteenth century and explained in Das Kapital (1867).
The decline of local newspapers also means that fraudulent news is spreading. It happens in the echo-chambers of Facebook and elsewhere as the mass-extinction event of print media continues. It also means that poorer communities and communities of colour suffer the most. Perhaps for too long, the viewing of local news as a public good has not determined our perspective on news.
This is despite the fact that 67% of Americans trust their local TV news while 73% report that they trust their local newspaper. Interestingly, there is a direct link between the reporting of local news and cost. When local journalism disappears, government cost increases. In other words, each dollar spent on investigative journalism generates hundred of dollars in benefit to society.
It was, for example, The Desert Sun’s exposure, in 2018, of the Nestlé Company’s illegal access to water resources in San Bernardino, CA, for nearly 20 years that started the ball rolling. The decline of a local press is also associated with a corresponding decline in the competitiveness of local mayoral elections – fewer candidates will run. Beyond that, the closure of local newspapers is associated with greater political polarisation. Many people read – and believe – what they find on Facebook.
Some local newspapers have been failing to provide aggressive accountability coverage for a long time, especially in rural communities. This is not surprising when local newspapers depend on advertising revenue paid by, for example, the biggest employer in town. Perhaps the often cited separation between the newsroom and the marketing department has always been a bit of a myth. Cash-strapped newspaper tend to replace journalism with PR press releases even more than financially viable newspaper already do.
In a United States still unable to deal with the discrepancy between a popular vote and a vote through the Electoral College, where who you vote for matters less than where you vote, the susceptibility to technical discrepancies and social inequalities is vital. Not all US citizens get to vote in presidential elections, such people living in Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the American Virgin Islands. In addition, recent reapportionment of the number of Representatives to the House and therefore of Electoral College votes, has seen larger states, such as New York, lose out, while others have gained, such as Florida and Arizona.
The tendency to relay on ready-made corporate press releases will only increase given the fact that 47% of news staff has been eliminated since 2004. Perhaps one of the biggest enemies of local news is not even corporate PR but Facebook – the medium of 2.5 billion people, many are young. Meanwhile, 81% of Americans over 65 turn on the TV for news by contrast only 16% of Americans between 18 and 29 report getting their news from TV. While this might be bad news for Murdoch’s FOX network and other conservative media moguls, it might also be bad news for democracy. Overall, Google and Facebook’s algorithms have prioritised click-bait over news, the sensational over the informative.
In addition to these challenges, more than half of all US newspapers have changed ownership in the past decade which is perhaps an indication of an industry in severe retreat. The overall deterioration has also let to ghost newspaper these are papers whose reporting staffs are so significantly reduced that they can no longer provide much of the breaking news or public service journalism. They are an easy target for the aforementioned corporate PR press release. Worse, of the surviving 7,200 newspapers in the United States, at least a thousand qualify as ghost newspapers.
It does not get better when considering that Sinclair Broadcasting Group that reaches 40% of US homes. Its chairman, David Smith, has publicly announced to the Trump Administration, We are here to deliver your message. Meanwhile, at Murdoch’s FOX, journalists follow the order from above. Despite Trump getting only 63 million compared to Clinton’s 65.9 million, the Republicans were able to top the vote in the Electoral College. This shows that it is not the total number of ballots won that counts, but the spread of votes in key states. Putting aside the interference by Russia, the main factor in the election was where non-college-educated white males gained their news to form political opinions. Trump gained a relatively high rural vote precisely in the areas most deeply impacted by the decline of small, local and independent newspapers.
Today local papers operate on shoestring budgets compared to what used to be a whole boot. They are the disappearing heart of rural and small-town America. Meanwhile there are five major US newspapers that seem to have survived the digital revolution: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times. Those big-city national papers are mostly unread by people living in rural areas and lower middle-class suburbs. Trump calls these big five, especially The New York Times, a failed press, and labels them enemies of the people.
But while they have declined in circulation in the last two decades, they have nevertheless benefitted from the deep resources their new owners have invested to stem the tide of layoffs. These are also newspapers that might still deserve the title watchdog journalism, to some extent at least. The big five can afford top-notch journalists and serve an educated national audience, The decline continues, however, with many major American cities having only one daily newspaper, a monopoly on local news.
There might be a number of solutions. These are expanding philanthropic giving, impact investment, reorienting the FOC (Federal Communications Commission), protecting journalism, limiting consolidation, strengthening public interest programming, addressing the destabilising impact of tech giants (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, etc.), taxing digital ad revenue, expanding public funding, government support for media, and a congressional commission on public support for local news.
Overall, this is a rather grim assessment of local newspapers and local news media (TV and radio) in general in the USA. If anything and given the monopolistic behavior of Facebook (almost 3.0 billion users worldwide), its domineering power, its polarising if not manipulative impact, the future is not looking good for local news.
COVID-19 SAFETY FOR CANNABIS CULTIVATORS
(State Water Resources Control Board Presser)
As we continue to adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Water Boards’ Cannabis Cultivation Program would like to share some workplace safety resources to help our cannabis industry thrive and keep Californians safe:
- CDC Guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employers
- CDC Agricultural Employer Checklist for Creating a COVID-19 Assessment and Control Plan
- State agricultural guidance
- State checklists for agricultural industries
Our partners at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have made resources available to the agricultural industry through their COVID-19 Resources for Food and Agriculture website, particularly in the Worker Safety section.
The Water Boards’ Cannabis Cultivation Program continues to process and issue water quality and water right permits, respond to questions, and conduct online outreach. Please continue to coordinate with your local Regional Water Quality Control Board, or contact DWQ.Cannabis@waterboards.ca.gov for assistance.