MCT: Saturday, July 11, 2020

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HOTTER WEATHER is expected in the interior this weekend and next week as strong high pressure aloft sets up across NW CA. Ocean breezes will keep coastal areas seasonably cool and cloudy at times. However light offshore looks possible toward the middle of next week allowing coastal areas to see sunnier skies and warmer daytime temperatures. (NWS)

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HOW TO CATCH A GLIMPSE OF THE COMET NEOWISE DAZZLING THE SKIES RIGHT NOW

For any early birds who have ventured outside in the US this week, you may have seen a tiny — yet spectacular — sight in the pre-dawn sky. A comet with a bright, opulent tail has been gracing the skies in the wee morning hours before sunrise, and it’s been giving photographers quite the show for the last week.

theverge.com/2020/7/10/21318478/nasa-f3-comet-neowise-see-watch-astrophotography-space

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RENT-A-COPS TO GUARD COUNTY ADMIN OFFICES

Heather Corell Rose, Senior Risk Analyst in the County’s Executive Office, reported to the Board on Wednesday afternoon: 

“Recently in the past week on Thursday before the July 4 holiday we had a threat to our staff guarding the entrance, a threat alluding to gun violence, basically that one of the members of the public would come back with an AK-47 and take care of all of her problems. She apologized afterwards, but this was many in a long line of hostile incidents that the individuals who were working at the front counter have experienced during this crisis. We also had an incident the previous week where a member of the public entered the executive office when he was told that he needed to wear a mask and to call for an appointment. This is kind of an ongoing issue we have had. This crisis is affecting everybody. Government is really an easy target. Those staffers were under so much of the abuse that we have had. We are in the process of getting a security guard by Monday. These staffers are not trained or appropriately vetted to be able to handle these kinds of security issues and enforce these masking policies. These are just regular staff. We want to make sure that the Board is aware that it was for the protection of our staff that we had to shut our doors for a while and regroup. Right now there is just a lot of unrest among the public and among our staff. They are very uncomfortable. Right now we just need to take those extra precautions to protect our staff.”

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YORKVILLE Post Office

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CEO ANGELO SELF-QUARANTINES, and directs that any employee who leaves the County and comes back for any reasons do the same.

CEO Carmel Angelo, Wednesday, July 8, 2020: 

“I am home in quarantine. This is the first time that I have done this from my family room. I will be on quarantine for another few days and I will have a second Covid-19 test and then I should be able to actually return to the office. This is part of the protocol we are using to keep our staff and our members of the public that actually we serve to keep them safe. Anyone or any county employee who leaves the county for over 24 hours, the direction to the department head is to work with that employee and have that employee work from home for seven days and if they are without any symptoms and they choose to take a Covid test, they can, they may do so, and then come back to work. So I will be taking my second test and hopefully getting out of quarantine within the next few days.”

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NAVARRO RIDGE POSTCARD HISTORY

1867 August 7, Post Office established as Navarro Ridge, Mendocino, California located approximately 8 miles northwest of Philo. Spanish language application to Pomo Indian word. Early local records spell "Navarro" as "Nevarra."

Robert A. Smith, First Postmaster.

1868 April 2, William R. Griffin, Postmaster.

1869 January 5, Abner C. Squires, Postmaster.

1869 August 13, Charles Wintzer, Postmaster.

1888 November 23, "Ridge" dropped from Post Office name. Joseph F. Clark, Postmaster.

1893 November 11, Frank B. Severance, Postmaster.

1902 March 31, Navarro Post Office discontinued.

1902 December 2, 4th Class Post Office established as Wendling, Mendocino, California located , when founded, 4 miles northwest of Christine. Named for Shingle Mill owner, Mr. Wendling.

Alvin R. Clary, First Postmaster.

1905 May 27, Edwin E. Cherry, Wendling Postmaster.

1906 June 16, Augustus G. Stearns, Wendling Postmaster.

1910 December 21, Sherman A. Bishop, Wendling Postmaster.

1912 January 19, Arthur F. Moulton, Wendling Postmaster.

1914 March 19, Due to confusion with another Wendling Post Office in Oregon, the Wendling, Mendocino site was discontinued and the name changed to Navarro.

1914 March 19, Navarro Post Office re-established at the site of the Wendling Post Office, 14 miles east. Hubert A. Rothgarn, Postmaster.

1918 March 15, William A. Witherell, Postmaster.

1940 February 1, Allen P. Barnes, Postmaster.

1955 January 31, Mrs. Hazel F. Barnes, Postmaster.

1965 December 29, Mrs. Violet E. Salmela, Postmaster.

1967 March 10, Changed from 4th Class Post Office to Contracted Rural Branch of Philo.

— Jo Giessner

http://historyandhappenings.squarespace.com/mendocino-county/2017/5/5/navarro-ridge-navarro-wendling-navarro.html

(Info/link courtesy Debra Silva)

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EARLY YORKVILLE

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A READER WRITES:

Sierra Wooten, a Fort Bragg resident the L.A. Times described as a spokesperson for MendoCoast BIPOC (Black, Indiginous and People of Color), posted the following on June 7th.

Seemingly, she would apply this to Fort Bragg as well as Minneapolis. Her preamble to the quote was – “YAASSSSSS! This is how we do it!”

Here’s the quote: “Because we never talk about protest from the position of what power the protest gives you. The end result is justice. And if we seek justice. And if we put the government on its back and you bankrupt it, you put money on the line you will see white politicians cave quicker than you can ever imagine from some corny meeting you had where people are just playing games (or Dancing!). But if you are costing the city money you are gonna start having people say “we need to get these people out of the street.

“As long as we are in these streets, these police can’t go to their families and sleep.

“And in the time of Covid-19, when city and state governments are pinched because they are already allocating resources to healthcare and unemployment that they were not planning to allocate. You could break a system and bankrupt it right now. You could literally bankrupt Minneapolis. You can bankrupt the city by just standing (or Dancing!) in the street.

“Think people. Think people.

“Use their greed against them. Use their greed against them.”


https://www.gofundme.com/sierra-fights-for-justice-amp-equality

MS. WOOTEN'S deranged vision isn't likely to catch on in Mendocino County, and like, credentials please? Who exactly are you? What's your idea of justice? Do you ever argue outside the lunatic echo chamber of you and your friends? Did Bob Bushansky put you up to this? 

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COMMERCIAL AVE., COVELO

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UKIAH STREETSCAPE: Construction Update for July 10-17 — Just a few disruptions so Ukiah can have fewer lanes downtown.

Did you know that some of the water and sewer lines being replaced are over 100 years old? For decades now, our downtown buildings have been plagued with plumbing problems due to the aging pipes...not after this!

The construction crew has begun the work of replacing water lines between Church Street and Henry Street. (Check out the picture below!) This work will continue throughout the next four-five weeks; then, the crews will shift to the south end of the project between Mill and Church. 

Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained at all times. Please note that, while we make our best effort to forecast construction impacts, this is inherently messy work that is subject to change based on conditions in “the field.”

Where will the work occur? 

Replacement of water lines and other related construction activities will occur on State Street between Church and Henry Streets.

What are the construction days/hours? 

Next week’s construction days/hours are scheduled for Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

Will there be night work? 

No. There is no night work scheduled this week

Will there be dust and noise? 

Yes. There will be ongoing dust and noise due to the water line trenching and truck and equipment activity in the construction area. 

Will there be any disruptions to parking access or streets?

Yes. Through traffic will be maintained on State Street, but will be reduced to two lanes with limitations to parking on South State Street between Church and Henry Streets.

Perkins Street will be reopened starting Saturday, July 11th (with possible reopening happening as early as Friday, July 10th).

Standley and Smith Streets will be temporarily closed between Friday, July 10th-July 17th.

Church Street is expected to reopen by Saturday, July 11th. 

More information can be found online on the City’s website at ukiahstreetscape.com, or follow our Facebook page for updates and photos at facebook.com/UkiahStreetscape/. 

Reminder: New extended parking options!

We’ve just added 165 new 5-hour spaces in the downtown! These spaces are ideal for employees of the downtown…no more shuffling every 90 minutes, and the prime spaces are saved for our customers!

These were formerly two-hour spaces that were underutilized. The new spaces are primarily on the west side of State Street, with the exception of additional spaces on East Standley Street. New signs have been installed at all locations:

• Pine Street

• Oak Street

• West Henry

• West Smith

• West and East Standley

• West Church

• West Stephensen

• West Clay

• Seminary Ave (median)

• School Street (south end)

Business Owners: Please share this information with your employees and encourage the use of these spaces. Particularly with parking impacts on State Street as a result of construction, this is the single most important thing you can do to help make it easier for your customers to visit you.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly. Otherwise, have a great weekend!

Why do we have to keep closing the side streets? Here's a look at what's being installed at each intersection:

Shannon Riley

Deputy City Manager

City of Ukiah

300 Seminary Avenue

Ukiah, California 95482

w: (707) 467-5793

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DEPT. OF EMPTY THREATS: 

"Dear Mr. Lee & members of Ft Bragg City Council, I urge you to mirror Mendocino County's order re the wearing of face coverings--immediately.

This is an urgent matter. If possible, I ask that it be put on the agenda for the meeting Monday 7/13.

Though we regularly patronize restaurants, gas stations, hardware, grocery & other stores in Ft Bragg, my family & I do not plan to visit or spend a nickel in the City until Ft Bragg's measures to protect the public from Covid19 are at least as stringent as the County's orders.

Respectfully, Liz Helenchild, Mendocino." 

(What's next? Roving bands of self-deputized old hippies pummeling the unmasked?)

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NORTHWESTERN LUMBER MILL, WILLITS, 1890

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MEETINGS, LOTS OF LONG MEETINGS

Julie Beardsley comments:

…in 2020, so far, the County has held nearly 3800 (!) virtual meetings taking up almost 11,000 hours of meeting time with a total of about 20,000 “participants” — about 350 people averaging 57 participants per meeting (208 of the 350 were ‘active users’).

"I’d like to respectfully point out that many of these meetings were with the State of California, Emergency Management, other local governments, the CDC and other entities to craft a coherent response to the pandemic. Why anyone would think these meetings were somehow gratuitous or meaningless just shows a lack of understanding of how your local government operates."


Mark Scaramella replies: It might show that. It might also show that Mendo can’t do anything without a bunch of meetings despite all the redundant local mini-fiefdoms and high paid bureaucrats who should be able get most work done without so many meetings. My observation was about the magnitude, duration, frequency of the meetings, not that all the meetings were gratuitous. Ms. Beardsley would probably have said the same thing if the number of meetings was 8,000 or 2,000. Whatever the County’s bureaucracy does will always be uncritically defended by a few of its participants.

Take three high profile subjects lately: The pandemic, as Ms. Beardsley notes, the pot program, and food stamps.

In all three cases, little Mendo could have simply used State guidelines with a few local tweaks, instead of re-inventing the wheel using meeting after meeting only to end up with an overkill of unnecessarily detailed rules and regs requiring constant update and further meetings and adjustments.

Cannabis: An overkill of meetings and local regulations is killing the very (pot) permit program it was supposed to encourage.

Mendo has a redundant local mini-bureaucracy on top of the state and federal bureaucracy (with accompanying meetings) which makes no real difference in the issuance of benefits, Mendo has no unique food stamp characteristics besides an extremely high percentage of people who qualify for them.

Permit me a personal recollection: In my (now bygone) bureaucratic days, when issues arose that required a response they would be handed to a knowledgeable lead person (frequently me) who would work up the framework of an approach, talk to a few people involved, prepare a white paper with two or three alternatives, and circulate it among those involved for comment. Only then would a meeting be called, and only absolutely necessary (meetings use up a lot of idle time for most participants), to go over for final approval. In Mendo, on the other hand, because nobody takes the lead and nobody wants to take any flak about a first draft, the first knee jerk response is to call a meeting just to decide who should be responsible and how they should proceed. The process then drags out aimlessly for a few weeks with a few more meetings with no deadlines imposed (within Mendo anyway) followed by the occasional update that “we’re still working on it and we hope to have something soon. We’re kinda backed up…”

PS. We couldn’t help but notice that Ms. Beardsley is a senior analyst in the Health and Human Services Department.

NEVERTHELESS, Ms. Beardsley deserves credit for considering the question and coming forward on the subject. Not many do, other than the occasional retiree. We hope she continues and wish more County staffers would do the same so that we can all get a better understanding of how our local government operates.

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EL RANCHO MESON

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ED NOTES

JUST when I thought Democrats couldn't possibly go lower, the leadership marched on stage in kente shawls to take a knee, Pelosi in color-coordinated pumps, Nadler too fat to kneel without doing a permanent face plant, so he just kinda tilts forward. 

Friends of mine say, "So, Mr. Negative, you're going third party again to give Trump another four years?" Well, Trump got his first four years because the kente shawls put up the only person in their flatulent party who could lose to him, and this time around they've managed to put up the only other candidate who could lose to him, although I think even Biden, by November forced out of hiding, his full senescence unmistakable, will probably eke out a win in November only to preside over what? The overall situation here in Liberty Land is like every crisis we've ever faced, but all at once, with crazy people and incompetents at the power levers. The high anxiety out there derives from the deep down conviction that it's all going to get worse, a lot worse. Hold my nose and vote for Biden? Not even in a virus-proof hazmat suit. 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT will soon resume executions of federal criminals after years of no executions, apart from the annual thousands who get it overseas, of course. So three irremediable scumbags will be hauled out of their cells at midnight and strapped to gurneys, and in walks a medical doctor sworn to do no harm with a big syringe of elephant tranquilizer that he plunges into the impenitent's arm, and we the people learn exactly what from this secret death ceremony? 

FOR capital punishment to do what it's supposed to do the executions should be fully public, because they're supposed to deter the rest of us from committing similarly heinous crimes. But how can we be deterred if we don't see the deterrent in the act of getting deterred? A much more productive way to deter would be public executions with admission charged, the proceeds going to the victim's family. And to be totally fair about state-sanctioned murder the victim's family must not only approve the execution but must carry it out themselves with a weapon of their choice, no torture allowed. There are plenty of other arguments against capital punishment and no plausible arguments for it, other than the particular person being executed will definitely be gone. 

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. 

PS. The original article can be found here: https://www.theava.com/archives/128911

HAM CANYON. I'll get it right yet. Joan Burroughs writes: 

"In the AVA you mentioned you thought the Ham family probably did not live on the property near the Jeans Place. My grandfather told me about the Ham homestead when we visited the site sometime in the 40s. It is north of the Jean's place and had a very dramatic view of the valley. When we were there the old cabin was still visible, although collapsed. The road to the house was in really good shape at that time and probably is still visible. One day we were cutting firewood close to the site many years later and the outline of the cabin was still visible - it was pretty large, huge compared to the Jean's cabin. Behind the Jeans cabin (south) toward Mountain View Road was another homestead (Petrie) and there was a rather large ‘home’ there, too. I have a picture of the Petrie site with one of the Boonville old timers standing in its midst. That Petrie area behind the Jeans Place (southwest) was heavily logged. A logging company owned a large portion of the area. They logged it a couple of times through the years before Harwood June bought it.”

JEANS bought in in 1880. To learn that the area west of the Elementary School had been inhabited before Jeans means the early settlers, as they descended on the large native population of Anderson Valley, arrived in fairly large numbers (for the times) during and right after the Civil War. Apply a palimpsest to Anderson Valley and find distinct populations of wildly disparate populations, one spilling over into the next over a relatively brief period of time, and obliterating the original peoples who'd lived here since the beginning of time. First there were the Native Americans, the last of whom spoke some Spanish, having been abducted by the padres at the missions in Sonoma and San Rafael; then stragglers from the Gold Rush and the Homestead Act that gave away land to anyone who'd make it productive; then Civil War veterans and their families; then what I think of as the Boontling people, old timer families like the Junes, Clows, Hiatts; then came Italians and the Pardinis, Pronsolinos, et al, and with time always seeming to speed up, the Arkies and Oakies of the timber boom, followed by the hippies of the late sixties and early seventies, and then the wine takeover and Mexicans, all of the above intermarrying, with the Anderson Valley schools serving as matchmaker.

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CAMP SHANGRILA, NORTH OF WILLITS

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MAYBE PG&E IS SERIOUS THIS YEAR…

On Monday, July 13, 2020, several large generators will be transported to the PG&E substation at Walnut and Grove Streets to provide emergency power. Temporary closure of Grove Street may be necessary to maneuver them onsite but will be of limited duration. No parking will be allowed on Walnut or Grove in the vicinity of the substation during this period, to provide additional room for the transportation equipment. 

Questions regarding this information should be directed to Chantell O’Neal, Assistant Director – Engineering, at (707) 961-2823 Ext. 133. 

(Fort Bragg City Presser)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 10, 2020

Avendano, Dewitt, Flores, Fontaine-Tucker

OSCAR AVENDANO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

KENNETH DEWITT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

MARIBEL FLORES-ROMAN, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, child endangerment, probation revocation.

HEIDI FONTAINE-TUCKER, Willits. Under influence.

Ladd, Leard, Ramirez, Thomas

VICTORIA LADD, Clearlake/Ukiah. False ID, probation revocation.

STEVEN LEARD JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, community supervision violation, county parole violation.

NALLELI RAMIREZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

JESSE THOMAS, Redwood Valley. DUI.

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DOWNTOWN COVELO

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TRUMP COMMUTES PRISON SENTENCE OF LONGTIME ADVISER ROGER STONE

by Julia Wong, Joan Greve & Martin Belam

Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of Roger Stone, a longtime friend and former campaign adviser who was to spend three years and four months in jail for crimes related to the Russia investigation.

Trump called Roger Stone to inform him of the commutation on Friday, the AP reported.

Stone had been convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction. He was due to begin a three years and four month prison sentence next week.

By giving Stone a commutation rather than a full pardon, Trump has spared his old friend and reporter a prison sentence without erasing the felony convictions the way a pardon would, but it allows Stone to avoid setting foot in prison for his crimes.

In a statement released on Friday evening, the White House denounced the prosecution of Stone on charges stemming from “the Russia Hoax” investigation. “Roger Stone has already suffered greatly,” the statement reads. “He was treated very unfairly, as were many others in this case. Roger Stone is now a free man!”

Stone, 67, was convicted in November 2019 of obstructing a congressional investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. He was sentenced in February to 40 months and was due to report to prison on Tuesday.

Echoing the language that Trump has used in tweets and speeches, the official White House statement attacked the “witch hunts” led by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who was investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Stone had been openly lobbying Trump for clemency for months.

“The president told me he thought my trial has been unfair,” Stone told the Associated Press on Friday from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

While not unexpected, Trump’s move to spare Stone from prison will only increase alarm among critics concerned that the Trump administration has interfered with the justice system in order to shield the president and his friends.

In February, Trump commuted the 14-year sentence of Rod Blagojevich, a former Democratic Illinois governor accused of trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. He also offered clemency for allies including the Maricopa county, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, who disobeyed a judge’s order to stop racial profiling immigrants, and the conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza, who was convicted of campaign finance violations.

Last month, Trump fired Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney who had prosecuted the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and was investigating Rudy Giuliani – another Trump lawyer. And in May, the justice department dismissed its case against the former national security adviser Michael Flynn after Trump complained that prosecutors were acting unfairly.

“With Trump, there are now two systems of justice in America: one for Trump’s criminal friends and one for everyone else,” said Adam Schiff, a Democratic US representative of California and the lead prosecutor in the president’s impeachment trial, in reaction to the news.

“Regardless of our political parties or differences, we all know this is disgraceful,” said Val Demings, a Democratic US representative of Florida. “Pray that our republic will endure.”

The commuting of Stone’s sentence comes after the US attorney general, William Barr, revised prosecutors’ original recommendation that Stone serve seven to nine years in federal prison. Trump had railed that the conviction “should be thrown out” and called the justice department’s initial sentencing recommendation “horrible and very unfair”. Following the reversal, the entire prosecution team working on the case resigned.

Although the White House did not dispute that Stone had committed the crimes for which he was convicted, its statement argued that Stone would not have been charged “if the special counsel had not been pursuing an absolutely baseless investigation.”

Stone was celebrating in Florida with conservative friends, according to the AP. He told reporters there were “too many people opening bottles of champagne here”.

(theguardian.com)

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ODD OLD NEWS: THE TRAGIC WRECK OF THE COLUMBIA NEAR SHELTER COVE

by David Heller

Tragedy struck on a foggy night off the coast south of Point Gorda a little after midnight on June 21, 1907 when the steamer Columbia bound for Eureka collided with the lumber schooner, the San Pedro, and in eight short minutes quickly sank.

This photograph of the SS Columbia before the wreck was dated between 1900 and 1907. [Image from Washington Rural Heritage]

Passengers rousted from slumber had little or no time to make their way up to the decks before being cast into ocean. Some who survived made it into lifeboats and rafts, many were hauled aboard the damaged San Pedro, and one lifeboat made it to the safety of Shelter Cove.

After a long cold night the fog cleared at dawn, and much to their relief, the approach of the steamer George S. Elder was sighted in the distance, offering hope of rescue. The Elder picked up all of the survivors and towed the San Pedro to Eureka where local officials organized a community effort to help the living. Later it was determined that 88 people had drowned in one of the worse losses of life in a long list of maritime accidents off the North Coast

The cause of the accident was initially attributed to the dense fog and confused signaling, but later investigations revealed that the maritime practice of ships going at normal speed through the fog in order to stay on schedule was a major factor. The Columbia crew apparently behaved admirably under Captain Doran’s direction in getting many passengers onto the deck and into lifejackets, but some male passengers thought only of themselves. It was reported that men on the San Pedro heard Doran order, “The women and children must go first. You cowards, give the women and children a chance.” His admonition was in vain for Doran had to witness the four lifeboats overturned by the weight of men caring only for their own chance to live. He had done all he could and with his last words, “Well, boys, I did all I could for you, and I can do no more. She’s a goner. Goodbye,” Captain Doran perished, going down with his ship.

SS Columbia Sinking [Image from the San Francisco Call vol 102, number 53, 23 July 1907]

After the Elder had brought survivors in to port, the steamship Pomona left Eureka for San Francisco with some of the remaining crew members and the one woman survivor aboard, a Mrs. Leidelt. Upon disembarking, she was questioned about the collision and cried out,”O, GOD, I CANNOT FORGET IT!,” and told her graphic story bringing tears to many who listened. She confirmed the cowardly behavior of some of the men at a time of crisis.

Newspapers across the county picked up the story, and later added more details following subsequent investigations of the accident. In this week’s Odd Old News post we will show only a few articles from our local press with survivors’ stories of the terrifying night.


Blue Lake Advocate

July 27, 1907

STEAMER COLUMBIA, WITH SCORES OF PASSENGERS, LOST IN AWFUL DARKNESS

On Her Trip North Bound Collides with San Pedro at 12:20 Sunday Morning

Sinks in 11 Minutes

OVER ONE HUNDRED LIVES PERISH IN THE MOMENT OF MIDNIGHT TERROR

Catastrophe Off Shelter CoveGeo. W. Elder Appears and Rescues Many from Watery Grave–Brings San Pedro in Tow to Eureka—Capt. Doran Dies on Duty

In a collision about 16 miles below Point Gorda Sunday morning at 12:20 o’clock between the steamer Columbia, bound from San Francisco to Portland, and the steamer San Pedro, bound from this port to San Pedro, 90 lives were lost, and the Columbia with her master. Captain Doran after barely eight minutes, went down beneath the waters. Dense fog and a misunderstanding of signals are to be attributed as causes for the great marine disaster, which is probably the worst that has taken place on this coast since the Valencia was lost.

The San Pedro several hours after the collision with the Colombia. [Photo from the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad and Historical Society]

SAN PEDRO STANDS BY

Following the collision, the San Pedro stood by and she was made the Mecca of all who were thrown into the waves. Boatload after boatload was taken to the lumber schooner, which had been badly injured itself, and stood out of the water only above her deck lines. Finally she became so heavy with between 60 and 80 people aboard, huddled at the stern and on the wheel-house, that no more were allowed there, and the remaining lifeboats remained alongside until the morning. Thus was the situation when the steamer George W. Elder, Captain Jessen, hove in sight, bound from San Francisco to Eureka. The wreck lay directly in the path of the Elder, and the fog having lifted at dawn, allowed the unfortunate passengers to see her approach when she was still four miles distant Second Mate Agerup of the Columbia afterward stated, the “Elder looked good to us”.

ELDER TO THE RELIEF

The Elder took aboard all of the shipwrecked and then took the San Pedro in tow, arriving in this port yesterday morning about 10:30 o’clock The Columbia had in her passenger list for Portland 190 people, but the purser lost all papers, and it is thus a little difficult to ascertain all those who had secured berths. The purser had no more than time to get up, dress and jump into the boat which was being lowered in front of his room. Incoming on the Elder were 107 of the passengers and 38 of the crew, according to the report of Second Officer R. Agerup. This makes a total of 145 from the Columbia who were brought to Eureka. A boat from the ill fated ship succeeded in making shore near Shelter Cove in charge of Quartermaster Hinner and bearing 11 men and 4 women. This additional 19 makes the total known saved 160.

RELIEF COMMITTEE WORK

On arrival of the Elder at the dock, a relief committee appointed by Mayor H L. Hicks, took charge of the survivors of the wreck, and placed them in various hotels or hospitals as their respective cases warranted. The men for the most part were taken to the Grand Hotel, and the women to the Hotel Vance. A number of those were injured were placed in the Sequoia hospital, among them the stewardess of the Columbia, Mrs. Harris, who jumped from the hurricane deck of the steamer into a lifeboat. The crew of the Columbia were placed on the steamer Pomona for San Francisco early in the afternoon, so that it was not necessary for any plans to be made for them, other than to see that they were provided with dinner, which was done.

SAN PEDRO WATERLOGGED

The only other sign of the wreck now in port is the deserted San Pedro, which lies waterlogged in the harbor south of the Bendixsen shipyards, and opposite the mill of the Holmes-Eureka Lumber Company. After the arrival at the scene of the marine catastrophe early Sunday morning the steamer Elder made fast two or three hawsers and finally succeeded in bringing the steamer into this harbor. Captain Jessen sent his first officer, Thomas McTague, on board the San Pedro. He sawed off the starboard anchor, and secured the anchor chain as a towing line. Then he remained on the steamer until nightfall, when he returned to the Elder, where Captain Hansen had been given quarters. Yesterday morning First Officer McTague went aboard the San Pedro again and took her helm while the Elder was towing her over the bar. Now the North Pacific Steamship Company has stationed three men as watchmen on the wreck, and refuses to allow anyone on the ship except the sailors of the crew who have since called to get what they could of their personal belongings. The watchmen are J. J. Nolan, Captain J. A. Johnson and T.Thompson. They took their orders from C. P. Doe at noon yesterday.

CONFLICTING VERSIONS

As to the manner in which the wreck occurred, there is told a story which is very conflicting. S. Pedersen was the lookout on board the Columbia. He says the wreck occurred about 15 minutes past 12 o’clock, when the ship was below Shelter Cove. He states that ten minutes before the collision he heard a fog signal. At the end of five minutes two blasts were blown by the Columbia. Then followed the collision, the San Pedro striking the Columbia on the starboard how, the Columbia sinking at the end of eight minutes. Second Officer R. Agerup was on the bridge with Captain Doran at the time of the disaster. He had come on his watch about 15 minutes before He gave no statements in particular as to signals. At first there were two whistles blown on each side, then the danger signal was blown, four blasts, by both ships. The Columbia blew three whistles to show the signal blown by the San Pedro was misunderstood, and next there was a confusion of whistles. The Columbia went down in 6,000 feet of water with her whistles blowing to the last, and the captain standing on the bridge. First Officer Agerup was ordered by Captain Doran as soon as the collision occurred to go below and see if the ship was taking water, Agerup came up with the report that there was nothing to be seen, but in another minute the engineer sent up word that the water was coming in with a rush at the bow. The captain’s first order was to take the women and children in the small boats He tried to calm the panic-stricken, and was cool to the end. Just before the Columbia went down, he ran along the hurricane deck to the stern and ordered Second Officer Agerup to cut away the stern life rafts. Then he returned to the bridge, and the ship plunged downward into the depths. Every boat had been gotten off of the starboard side and also all of the life rafts. One or two of the boats on the port side had been taken from the davits before the steamer disappeared.

GOES TO HER GRAVE

When the Columbia started to her grave, her stern went into the air a distance of 50 feet and a great crashing and roaring and hissing sound issued from the mass. A 2,000 ton ship was going to her doom. The mainmast was ripped in two, and the waters were in a few minutes covered with broken bits of wreckage so small that some believe the boilers must have exploded after the inrush of water. However, the strength of the waters striking into the ship, was sufficient to have torn her all to pieces.

JUMPS FROM STERN

Second Officer Agerup and the carpenter, McKay, jumped from the stern as the Columbia went down, and the second officer reports having been carried a long distance into the sea before he was released from the enormous suction of the ship. After he came to the surface he had to swim and take care of himself as best he could for three quarters of an hour. There were no boats in the vicinity for a long time. Then he picked up one of his crew rowing by himself in a deserted section of waters and looking for swimmers and floaters. He was taken aboard, and after twenty minutes rest was able to give commands and to assume a part of the work of life saving. The rowers picked up several women and took them to the San Pedro, and worked long and hard until it was declared there were no more in the waters.

FIRST MATE’S VERSION

From Bendix Hendriksen, first mate on the San Pedro, who was on the bridge at the time of the accident, the following version of how the collision and wreck occurred is given: “It was about ten or 15 minutes past 12 o’clock Sunday morning when the lookout, E. Sodberg, told me that there was a whistle ahead on the port bow, and I ported the helm a couple of points. And as the sound came nearer, I told the man at the wheel, Swansen, to port the helm again I continued to sound the fog signal. The approaching vessel answered the fog signal. Then came two blasts of the Columbia’s whistle, when I saw the lights on the Columbia. Then I gave four rapid blasts of the whistle, that is the danger signal. The engine was stopped before I gave the danger signal, because I gave the engineer two bells to stop before blowing the danger whistle. “The Columbia was crossing the San Pedro’s bow. The San Pedro struck the Columbia on the starboard side about 25 or 30 feet from the bow. The Columbia was not very far away when I first saw her lights, and when I saw the lights I blew the whistle I saw there was no show for us to starboard the helm. Our only salvation was to port the helm, which I did.”

MAN THE LIFEBOATS

The San Pedro lowered her three small boats. The first boat, in command of Second Mate Shaub, picked up 20 passengers, returned to the San Pedro, made a second trip and brought back 12 passengers A third trip was made, and 12 more were brought to the San Pedro On the fourth trip the boat relieved one of the Columbia lifeboats of nine people, the boat being overcrowded. First Mate Hendriksen also took out a lifeboat and made several trips. He picked up one life raft with nine persons aboard. The boats continued to pick up the survivors until there were between 75 and 80 people on the San Pedro.

WOMEN SHOW BRAVERY

During all this time there was no wind on the sea, but the waves were choppy to a certain extent. The cries of those in the waters could be plainly heard from all directions. It is said that the women and children behaved much better than the men, who would not obey orders, and continued to impede the efforts of those who were endeavoring to alleviate their suffering. The women, too, were the more unfortunate. The collision, coming as it did in the middle of the night, caught everybody in bed. The women in many cases were unable to get more than their night clothes. Some secured a blanket, but that was all. There were several cases where they had nothing more than an undershirt. Then they were plunged into the cold waters, where the wonder is that they did not die of exposure. As in all wrecks, there were innumerable heartbreaking stories, of loved ones lost. When they were placed on the San Pedro there was no place for them to get warm. They were forced to huddle on the stern of the ship and shiver. The wife of Capt Hansen gave away every stitch of clothing she had in five minutes. One woman was furnished a man’s overcoat to hide her nakedness.

Finally the lashings that held the deckload of lumber on the San Pedro began to break and the lumber to wash off. Some of the passengers were then compelled to leave the vessel. The water began coming in through the open seams at the bow, and it was but a short time before the ship was at the water’s edge.

ELDER REACHES EUREKA

It was between 5 and 6 o’clock when the Geo W. Elder arrived on the scene, and the passengers were transferred, almost six hours after the collision. The passengers naturally were very anxious, and the sight of the approaching vessel gladdened them exceedingly, inasmuch as but a little while before another vessel had been sighted to seaward about four miles off, but could not be hailed even by four sailors who had left the ship in a boat to get her attention. The passing vessel was thought to be the Buckman. There were also the steamers Norwood, the M F. Plant and the Meteor, which passed. They signaled to lend assistance, but their offers were declined, after the Elder came alongside. The steamer Roanoke going to San Francisco stopped for a short time, but continued on when informed that the Elder had the situation well in hand. Second Mate Agerup, who was left in command of the Columbia crew after the death of Captain Doran, and of First Officer Whitney, stated that he would probably have taken his men on the Roanoke to San Francisco if the time had not been taken up in making fast the San Pedro to the Elder. The steamer Signal also came alongside.

THEY DID THEIR DUTY

The crews of the San Pedro and the Columbia are said to have behaved themselves as true seamen in every sense of the word. No complaint was heard of their actions. They bravely did their best to save the passengers, and worked hard. Some harsh words, however, are spoken of the acts of Third Officer R Howse of the Columbia. This is the first wreck that Captain Hansen of the San Pedro has experienced. He was sleeping shortly before the collision, but arose at once when he heard the danger signal from the whistle. He came on the bridge Just as the San Pedro was entering the bow of the Columbia. “There was no noise to speak of,” he says; “the San Pedro cut right through the bow of the big liner as easily as could be imagined. This talk of a great crashing racket is not true. It was a comparatively noiseless. A great hole was made in the Columbia big enough for a wagon to drive through, and the water surged in.

THE COLUMBIA

The Columbia was built in Pennsylvania in the year 1881, and was brought around the Horn to this coast shortly after her launching. She has been in the coast service therefore almost all of the time, and had always plied between San Francisco and Portland. Her length was about 318 feet, and her carrying capacity was 2700 tons gross. She was equipped with powerful engines, and is said to have made an average speed of 16 knots. Her passenger accommodations were for 180 people cabin, and 80 steerage. On her last trip she had aboard a valuable miscellaneous cargo.

She was owned by the San Francisco and Portland Steamship Company, which recently purchased the interests of the O R and N(Oregon Railway and Navigation Co.), that formerly operated the big steamer. At the time of the earthquake the Columbia will be remembered as one of the vessels at the Union Iron Works, which was sunk on the ways and badly damaged in consequence.

The wreck of the Columbia has indeed proved a calamity to little Madora Spark of Little Rock, Arkansas. In the wreck of the ship the little one left her father, who with her was on a pleasure trio to Portland. The young lady had the misfortune to lose her mother a short time ago which makes the loss of her father doubly hard. Until word can be received from her relatives in the East, she is being cared for at the home of F. W. Georgeson, of this city, who was a business acquaintance of her father.

Emil Silvo, heartbroken over the loss of his wife and two children, left on the Elder last evening, en route to Aberdeen. The story of this man was more than sad and he wept as he narrated it. “When the vessels collided,’ he said “my wife and I jumped up and I commenced to dress. We went on deck, Mrs. Silvo having our three-months-old boy on her arm and I holding our little girl who is little over two years of age. I went back to the stateroom for life preservers, but the water had covered it. I then implored a man who had two to give me one, but he said: “Wait a while.”

When the vessel began to careen we jumped into the sea. It seemed to me I was under the water ten minutes and the suction from the sinking ship was so great that I lost the baby. When I arose I yelled for my wife, but received no answered. I was finally picked up and taken aboard the San Pedro.”

Much uncertainty still exists as to those who were lost and those who were saved from the Columbia. A number of the survivors who yet remain in Eureka are eagerly waiting some word of loved ones, and they are keeping a steady watch on telegrams from San Francisco, as well as of any news which may develop here. The number saved has been increased somewhat by the arrival at San Francisco of a life raft in tow of the steamer Daisy Freeman.

In this city, Frank Ulf and Miss Sarah Roberts, have been discovered as two more who were aboard the Columbia and succeeded in reaching shore.

The Roanoke picked up no survivors, but brought to San Francisco a life raft with the body of a man.

At Shelter Cove no more boats have come to land. A patrol is being kept on the beach, as The Times was informed last night, but so far not even wreckage is said to have come ashore. Where it has drifted is not known.

Captain Hannah of the Topeka, who passed the locality of the collision yesterday, says there was nothing to be seen on the sea. Purser Byrnes of the Columbia is unable to give an estimate of the number of children who were on the ship at the time of the catastrophe.

STRUCK A LOG

Ingels of Oakland in telling of his experience on the Columbia, said that when the collision occurred the officers of the ship came around and assured him that there was no danger as they “had only struck a log” and advised that he keep to his stateroom. The noise and confusion, however created the fear that something was amiss so he got into his clothes and with his wife and daughter hurried to the deck, where boats were being lowered. He felt confident that if the advice of the officers had been heeded he would now be at the bottom of the deep with the bones of the Columbia.

LUCKY SMITH

Fortune was particularly kind to Fred Smith, one of the waiters on the Columbia. He had not time to get away from the ship before it went down, and had Just time enough to put on his life preserver. He was in the act of climbing into a boat when the ship sank with a rush. He says it seemed as if he must have been taken clear to the bottom of the sea. As he struggled his life preserver became fastened to one of the davits and he could not release himself for a few minutes. He soon began to strangle and swallowed much water. Then the davit was disengaged and he arose to the top of the waters.

LOSES BROTHER

Among the missing of the Columbia’s passengers, George Smith, a San Francisco rigger, is mentioned. He and his brother William Smith, who was rescued, and is now stopping at the Hotel Vance, were traveling north to Portland on a business trip. Not a word has yet come through as to whether or not he succeeded in making shore in safety. William Smith last remembers his brother, when he had placed him in a boat with a life preserver, the brother not being able to swim. Then the Columbia went down and both were carried deep into the sea. After coming to the surface George was missing. William began a search in the water, and in so doing rescued four or five women whom he placed in lifeboats before becoming exhausted to the extent that he was forced to climb into a boat himself.

George Smith and Captain M. A. Brandt of this city were old shipmates on the steamer Compeer, which was built at the Bendixsen shipyards, and which was operated between the Sound and San Francisco in the year 1877. Both Smiths are sons of a well known rigger, a resident of San Francisco until his death some years ago. They have taken up their father’s vocation, and have been very successful in it.

SALVAGE QUESTION

Nothing more has developed in the matter of the steamer San Pedro, which is yet guarded by three watchmen in the employ of the North Pacific Steamship Company. One consultation took place yesterday between C. P. Doe and representatives of the Metropolitan Lumber Company, but as to its results nothing is given out. Captain Hansen of the San Pedro refuses to state just what conversation he had with Captain Jessen of the Elder after he came aboard the Elder. He does say, however, that he was given a very cold reception, and that it appeared to him that Captain Jessen did not desire to recognize him. When asked if he stated to Captain Jessen that he wished to return to the San Pedro after the third trip to the Elder, Capt. Hansen would say little. “Well, maybe I did, but that will all come out later.” Why Captain Jessen should have treated him so Captain Hansen is unable to understand. He says that for 20 minutes Sunday night he stood on the bridge of the Elder with Capt. Jessen, during all of which time no word passed between them.

Relative to the significance of his act in taking all his men from the San Pedro on the third trip to the passenger ship, Captain Hansen stated that it was necessary in order to man the boat, and look after the lines. He had only his two mates and four seamen. When questioned concerning the insinuation that has been made that the San Pedro was out of her path, the master of the lumber vessel stated that he was not out of his proper course. To back up his assertion he called attention to the fact that the next morning nearly a dozen ships passed by on the very path in which the San Pedro lay. As for different courses for north and for southbound ships, he said there was nothing definite recognized by skippers. In foggy weather it was natural that ships would keep farther to seaward that any mistake by the man at the wheel would not come to a disastrous end through landing on the rocks. Captain Hansen claimed that in foggy weather he generally kept the bridge with the officer of the watch, but that at the time of the collision his trust was in the first officer, Hendrikson, who has master’s papers, and was to have taken command of the steamer Rival when that vessel should leave Field’s Landing, where she is at present tied up. He said that he had just held the bridge with the second mate before First Mate Hendrikson came on. He could give nothing certain as to the signals that were blown by the San Pedro for the reason that he knew nothing of what was happening until he got on deck after the danger blasts had sounded, and just as the San Pedro crashed Into the Columbia.

It was suggested to Captain Hansen that the San Pedro might have stayed in the hole that was made in the Columbia, and thus have prevented the sinking of the ship. The captain replied that the force of the impact was sufficient to swing the San Pedro around and out of the hole to a distance of possibly 300 yards. All that could be done then was to come as close as possible in answer to a call from the bridge of the Columbia to lay alongside. Captain Hansen said that the two ships could not have hung together because of the great rebounding force incident to the collision.


Another account:

Humboldt Times

September 30, 1907

HENDRICKSEN TELLS STORY SAN FRANCISCO AND PORTLAND STEAMSHIP COMPANY FURNISHES THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WITH STATEMENT REGARDING THOSE LOST ON THE STEAMER COLUMBUA WHICH WAS RUN DOWN BY THE STEAMER SAN PEDRO THE 2IST OF THIS MONTH.

By Associated Press. SAN FRANCISCO. July 30.

Testimony of the officers of the San Pedro, before Captain Bermingham today demonstrated clearly that the habit of coast shippers, said to be practically universal, of running their vessels at full speed regardless of fog, was mainly responsible for the wreck of the Columbia and its terrible consequences.

Chief Mate B. Hendricksen, who was in charge of the San Pedro at the time of the collision testified that when he first hear the fog signals of the Columbia, he did not slow down and that when the passenger vessel loomed out of the fog it was too late to do anything but to try and make the collision as light as possible. He appears to have acted with dispatch and good judgment when he sighted the Columbia but at the time, according to his testimony, the ships were not more than a boat’s length apart and not much … as possible. There was no time to go to starboard. He therefore blew a danger signal, four short blasts, ordered the engines slowed and throw the helm hard aport. He did not order the engines reversed he explained, as he hoped to throw the San Pedro around so as to strike only a glancing blow and in order to do this it was necessary to keep sufficient speed in her. The San Pedro had been making eight knots and was probably making five knots when she struck the Columbia.

The mate said it was customary to slow down when fog signals were heard, but that the Columbia’s signals seemed far away.


Historic aside: Edison’s first commercial order for the incandescent light bulb was placed by the owner of the Columbia shortly after it was built in 1880. Despite reservations, a dynamo was built to power the lights that were installed on the Columbia, thus starting a maritime trend.

Wikipedia has an excellent webpage with a more in depth coverage of the Columbia and the results of follow up investigations into the accident.

(Courtesy, Redheaded Blackbelt / Kymkemp.com)

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THE CANCEL CULTURE

To the Editor:

What is it with the Cancel Culture? Why is there this consuming drive to silence voices whose ideas run counter to yours? We have been watching this unfold for at least thirty years on college campuses as speakers are shouted down, professors deemed sufficiently “unwoke” are attacked by students, as scheduled commencement speakers deemed insufficiently liberal see their invitations withdrawn. Teaching positions suddenly hinge on an errant word or sentence on Twitter and all but a few bold conservatives are hesitant to share views in classrooms. These extreme leftist sensitivities have gone into overdrive whenever there were alleged incidents of rape, sexual harassment or symbolic acts of racism.

In the service of these sensibilities, due processes were regularly denied students accused of sexual offenses. College administrators, almost universally picked from the progressive tree, backed these charges with little or no evidence to support them. Though accused students usually paid the short-term penalties, the longer-term damage was usually inflicted by these same students who took the universities to court for clear, even egregious violations of due process. They won most of those cases and continue to win them. Racial offenses, ostensibly committed in secrecy, were seldom brought to these forums, but reports of alleged abuse brought waves of rage which could last for days, even weeks. Amazingly often, they were discovered to be misinterpretations at best or, at worst, hoaxes perpetrated by the aggrieved victims themselves. Jessie Smollet and the recent false charge of the NASCAR driver come to mind. Look these race hoaxes up on Google. The number is mind blowing.

The mistake conservatives made (and it was a doozy!) was that this cancelling would be confined to the college campus. We could call these sensitive students “snowflakes” because they couldn’t abide opposing ideas which hurt their sensibilities. We assumed such folks would surely be brought up short by the tough-minded corporations which would not abide their whining. To the contrary, corporations like Nike and sports franchises have fired employees for observations on Twitter so inconsequential that it would make an angry college coed blush with pride. Want to keep your job? Hunker down and keep your mouth shut. Oh, and kneel!

So the snowflakes have grown spikes and have blown everywhere, even to the hamlet of Ukiah. Tommy Wayne Kramer stands accused of expressing ideas in his columns which are apparently not in lock-step with the dozen or so columnists who appear in the Journal. Good for him! When did such conformity of thought ensnare this community? When has one’s decision to simply forego reading a column proven so impossible? When I first “came out” as a conservative years ago, I wrote a letter congratulating Governor Kristie Noem of South Dakota among others for their victories. Susan Sher’s letter of outrage in the Journal was expressed in personal terms. Nice to see that linear history has its little circles as well.

Mark Rohloff

Redwood Valley

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OLSEN'S PLEASURE CAMP, NORTH OF WILLITS

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The appalling things about all of these BLM “protests” is how they are largely populated by nihilistic college educated white millennials, and how they are aided and abetted by liberal politicians. The elephants in the room are the police unions. Lots of people talk about “bad apples” but they likely don’t appear that way until they’ve been on the force a few years. By that time it’s too late to get rid of them because their union will back them to the hilt. Pols of both parties know this of course, but they’re not about to rein in those who back them politically and financially. As soon as they did that they’d be at risk of losing to the opposing party. These ongoing protests are really a giant game of chicken and a larger version of the dramas that ended in the deaths of unarmed black men. Almost all of them follow the same script of petty crime, resisting arrest, and escalation of conflict resulting in death. The protests are similar. What starts as a peaceful demonstrations turns into destruction of property, looting, arson, assault, and sometimes murder. There hasn’t been much serious pushback yet, but it’s not out of the question that eventually the cops, National Guard, or simply someone defending themselves or their property over-react and protestors end up dead. If that happens you might have a bunch of white millennial “martyrs”. Where that leads is anyone’s guess, but none of it will be good.

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O YEA

Special Point Arena City Council Meeting - July 14, 2020

Below is a link to the agenda for this Tuesday's July 14, 2020 Special City Council meeting.

It can be viewed at: https://pointarena.ca.gov/notices/2020-07-14-city-council-meeting/

The full agenda summary packet is available here: https://bit.ly/3gL3Bhe

Stay safe,

Paul Andersen

Admin Assistant/Deputy City Clerk

City of Point Arena

707-882-2122

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COVELO HIGH SCHOOL

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FREE ONLINE COMMERCIAL CANNABIS PERMITTING WORKSHOP, JULY 22

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Food and Agriculture’s CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division and State Water Resources Control Board are hosting a free online commercial cannabis cultivation permitting workshop.

lakeconews.com/index.php/news/business/65977-free-online-commercial-cannabis-permitting-workshop-offered-july-22

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EDWARD SANDERS: POETIC PACIFIST UP NEXT

by Jonah Raskin

Ed Sanders, the irrepressible poet and pacifist, rises early every morning, reads CounterPunch, writes verses and works on his glyphs (rhymes with cliffs) which combine images and texts and that have a long history that goes back to the ancient Egyptians and perhaps before them. A student of both Greek and Latin with an innate curiosity about U.S. and world history, Sanders is a kind of walking/talking glyph who receives dozens and dozens of requests for interviews to talk about Charles Manson, the Fugs (the band which he cofounded in 1964 with Tuli Kupferberg), sex, drugs, Jimi Hendrix, Neal Cassady and much more.

If he wanted to, he could talk about the past all day and all night, for days on end and not deplete his vast storehouse of memories and recollections. He could also talk almost without end about his own life: growing up in racist Missouri, running the Peace Eye Bookstore on the Lower East Side, trying to stop the deployment of American nuclear submarines, publishing the magazine, Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts, protesting the use of toxic chemicals like glyphosate to destroy weeds around telephone poles and along the highways that run through Woodstock, the nearest town to his own house in the woods where he lives with his wife, Miriam, of 59 years and where he maintains a vast computerized archive that some libraries would pay millions of dollars to acquire.

Sanders could look back all day long, and, while he does peer now and then into a kind of rear view mirror, he’s also always peering into the future. The operative word in his vocabulary, he explains, is “next.” He adds, “Every time I finish a book, I do a little dance in my driveway, walk back to my house, and immediately the word “next” enters my mind.”

The little word “next” has prompted Sanders to write poetry, fiction, biographies, histories, manifestos, and many of the environmental laws for the town of Woodstock. “I write everyday,” he tells me. “A lot of what I write is poetry.”

On August 17, 2020 he will celebrate his 81st birthday. There’s lots to celebrate. Edward Sanders is still very much alive and well and determined to survive COVID-19 by wearing a mask and gloves whenever he goes out, which is rare these days. “My wife and I live like hermits,” he tells me. “We’re on the edge of a state forest so social distancing isn’t an issue for us.”

There’s no point in asking for trouble from the pandemic, though Sanders has asked for trouble again and again over the past half century, and all through the Cold War, the many hot wars the U.S. has fought, along with dozens of invasions and occupations when he helped to give birth to the counterculture and the movement and the cause of non-violent direct action. Sanders is still birthing trouble.

“We’ve got to push back against white supremacy,” he tells me early one morning when it’s not yet dawn in California and already eight a.m. in New York. Sanders adds, “We’ve got to obliterate racism from public discourse.” He knows that Trump and his followers are very bad news, but he also knows that bad news has been at the core of the American story from the very beginnings of the nation that emerged from a revolution and soon morphed into an empire.

“Thomas Jefferson and John Adams made all kinds of horrible accusations against one another,” he says. “The U.S. has a long history of violence toward minorities and the Republicans have been stealing elections for a long time.”

While Sanders helped to found the Yippies and later the Youth International Party (YIP)—“I was part of the pacifist wing,” he tells me—he doesn’t linger long over the days of Yippie glory. “I was close to Abbie in 1969,” he remembers. “Jerry Rubin, we called him ‘pizza street’ because he wanted a reenactment of the Cuban Revolution in the U.S. and then couldn’t deliver. Both Abbie and Jerry are long gone, but two Yippie women, Judy Gumbo and Nancy Kurshan, are still active.”

I didn’t meet Sanders until six months or so after Abbie Hoffman’s death in 1989. “The Yippies were greatly imperfect human beings,” he told me then. That view didn’t stop him from mythologizing Abbie and company in his 1970 novel, Shards of God: A Novel of the Yippies. Years later I read and reviewed Sanders’ novel Fame & Love in New York which explores two subjects he knew a great deal about from his own personal experience. Life magazine put him on the cover on February 17, 1967.

Sanders doesn’t go out much these days, but the world comes to him. He recently read poetry via Zoom to 750 people in Buffalo New York, and also joined with John Sinclair, the founder of the White Panthers, for another Zoom event. Publishers all over the country are clamouring for Sanders’ glyphs. Indeed, he now has thousands of them. While he had made doodles and drawings for most of his adult life, he didn’t start to make glyphs until he found himself in Florence, Italy in 2008. Steve Clay published a facsimile edition.

In his “Hymn to Glyphs,” which he wrote for an exhibit of his work in Woodstock in December 2019, Sanders explained that “A Glyph has the power to shake the spirit. It emblazons shapes, lines, colors, space and words into an intense zone of enhanced visualization.”Sanders’ glyphs, which make dramatic use of color and line, texts and drawings, may be one of his most valuable contributions to American and world culture. Strike that last sentence. They are and will be a testament to his seemingly infinite gift of creativity plus his political passions that he had fused to the discipline of art!

His glyph of the burning of Newgate Prison, a pivotal historical event which took place during the Gordon Riots in London, England in 1780, combines an image of the notorious building engulfed in flames with the text, “Which one was William Blake?” It was published in CounterPunch on July 7, 2020.

Blake is one of Sanders’ role models. So is Allen Ginsberg, the Beat poet and author of Howl, Kaddish and Wichita Vortex Sutra, an anti-war epic that helped to fuel protests against the U.S. invasion and occupation of Vietnam. Like Blake and like Ginsberg, who were both moral crusaders imbued with a sense of the avant garde, Sanders has been a visionary and a creative force who has managed to steer clear of the pitfalls of fame and notoriety. Like Homer, the author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, he aims to write poetry that offers the latest news about war and peace.

Surely, it’s a good thing that he declines to give interviews to the dozens of filmmakers and biographers who want him to talk about the past. If he were to accept those invitations he wouldn’t have time to express himself and to communicate to readers and viewers.

“I have too many glyphs,” he tells me. Indeed, his glyphs seem to have a life of their own and to go on multiplying whether their creator wants them to appear or not. Clearly, the glyphs have prompted Sanders to summon his talents as artist and as writer and to speak to a world on fire and in upheaval. William Blake would cheer.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

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NOW WHAT? 

by James Kunstler

Tired of getting mau-maued by the Woke Inquisition? That’s what it is, of course: a supercharged shakedown operation utilizing all the medieval tools of maximum mindfuck to hustle the USA out of its own existence. The animating principle of Black Lives Matter is not justice but coercion, and not just coercion, but the sadistic pleasure of inflicting pain, injury, and humiliation in the process of extracting money and power.

The tools are violent insurrection, bad faith, and unconditional dishonesty, applied like thumbscrews, strappados, and red-hot irons to a nation reeling from the dislocations of a pandemic virus and a financial implosion. Now, several weeks out from the June uproars of looting and burning, the true shape of this racist jacquerie is plain to see: they are the shock troops of the desperate and demented Democratic Party. The smoldering ruins of Minneapolis and Santa Monica are the Party’s policy platform. The Seattle CHOP is its shining city on a hill. Not everybody in the land has gone insane, of course, and not everyone will keep going along with the hustle.

The news media war chiefs of the Woke Inquisition — The New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC — are working overtime to terrorize the public into renewed Covid-19 hysteria, with the bonus of further destruction to America’s daily business by instigating new lockdowns. The nation’s economy was already in enough trouble. The question now is: how will a responsible political establishment manage contraction? The Woke Inquisition’s answer is simply to extend looting operations to whatever isn’t nailed down. The Woke Inquisition is like the parasitic wasp larva trying to eat its way out of a plump caterpillar, leaving nothing but a husk behind. It goes for the brain first and then for the guts.

Who is not impressed by the mindlessness of this vicious rabble? There’s no evidence at the core of their complaint that police nationwide are “hunting down black men.” If anything, black men are hunting each other down — and are oblivious to the collateral damage of infants and children blown away in their shoot-ups. Defund the police and tie their hands behind their backs? Well, the results are already in for that: huge increases in homicide rates in Chicago, New York, Houston, Baltimore, Kansas City, Newark, Nashville, et cetera, overwhelmingly black-on-black crime.

Leading, naturally, to the linchpin of Wokesterism: it’s Whitey’s fault. Whitey is racism incarnate. White Fragility makes redemption impossible. No amount of penance, apology, or remediation can fix it. Which raises another question: why even bother entertaining reparations for slavery? It will never be enough. Which may be exactly why the Woke Inquisition’s real aim is to undermine all of America’s institutions and then bust up the republic.

The petulant “Resistance” that dug in after Hillary’s shocking 2016 election loss did the groundwork by enlisting the FBI, CIA, NSC, DOJ and other federal agencies into seditious intrigues that made the federal apparatus of justice look (and act) corrupt and untrustworthy. Everything about the Mueller inquiry was an exercise in bad faith and perfidy, leaving the engines of official justice so broken that their misdeeds can barely be corrected, let alone prosecuted. To this day, the Lawfare cadres sponsor the continued persecution of General Michael Flynn, months after the DOJ formally dropped its case against him. Do you suppose these turpitudes don’t rankle the substantial number of citizens who still refuse to be driven insane by the Woke terror?

And who is the figurehead leading this Democratic Woke party wrecking crew of coercion? The empty shell of Joe Biden, a bumbling senator turned grifting vice-president, now a mere hologram of a candidate. The renewed campaign of Covid-19 hysteria in the Woke press may be just a psy-op to stuff poor Joe back in his basement and make sure he stays off public view. They took him out for a brief airing yesterday in Pennsylvania, a low-grade fiasco. In a formal speech, Mr. Biden said, “So today, I’m releasing a brewplint [sic] — I think the press had — how to create millions of good-paying union jobs, using Protestant technology [say what?] that we need now, and in the future.” Hmmm. Protestant technology? What could that be? Sounds like another one of Whitey’s endless tricks.

After the speech, some media cornered the candidate beside a campaign limo. He managed to decline taking any questions and waddled stiffly away, glassy-eyed, his hands strangely splayed like seal flippers (another symptom?). Who are they kidding with this pathetic wind-up mummy, this bare ruin of a crooked old pol? What treacherous game are they playing now? What’s next…?

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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