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MCT: Tuesday, August 4, 2020

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AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH will bring a relative cooling trend to interior areas of northwest California through midweek, along with a deepening marine layer and more widespread and persistent coastal clouds. A stray thunderstorm might be found around the mountains of northeast Humboldt or northern Trinity County later today or Wednesday afternoon. (NWS)

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Milla Handley, founder of the acclaimed Handley Cellars, and a respected leader in the Anderson Valley wine community, died on July 25th. A pioneering winemaker, in 1975, Handley became one of the first female graduates in fermentation science from UC Davis. In 1982, Handley also became the first woman owner and winemaker in the United States to establish a winery in her own name. Throughout a career spanning almost 40 years, Handley became a role model for women winemakers in California. At the same time, her passion and commitment to the Anderson Valley influenced generations of vintners, while helping to establish Anderson Valley as one of North America’s most dynamic wine regions.

Handley was born August 17, 1951 in San Francisco, and grew up in Los Altos, California where she spent most of her time outside of school riding horses, both competing nationally in Pony Club and trail riding bareback in the then very rural Los Altos Hills area. She went to UC Davis because she could take her horse with her to school. She started as an art major and decided it wouldn’t make a good career, so she switched to veterinary sciences. Not being able to stomach dissecting animals, she switched majors again, this time to enology. She wanted a life in the country, and winemaking brought together both her art and science backgrounds.

After graduating from UC Davis, Handley honed her craft working with Richard Arrowood at Chateau St. Jean, and later Jed Steele at Edmeades, before deciding to start her own winery in the then largely undiscovered winemaking region of Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. Handley chose Anderson Valley, which had previously been considered too cold for growing winegrapes, because of the area’s independent spirit, and its untapped potential for making exceptional wines. Handley was captivated by the valley’s promise and possibility, and believed that she could follow her own winemaking path there, creating wines at Handley Cellars that captured the essence of the extraordinary region she loved.

Located in the cool “deep end” of the Anderson Valley, on the historic Guntly Ranch, with its ranch house, barn and iconic water tower, Handley Cellars cultivates 29 acres of certified-organic Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer at the Handley Estate Vineyard, with original plantings dating to 1986 and 1987. Handley Cellars also farms 7 acres of certified-organic Pinot Noir at the RSM Estate Vineyard, which is named after Handley’s late husband of 30 years, Rex Scott McClellan, who planted that vineyard in 2000 on a remote ridge top surrounded by redwoods, above the valley’s frequent fog line.

Throughout its storied history, Handley Cellars’ approach to winegrowing and winemaking has always reflected Handley’s love and respect for nature. A dedicated steward of the land, her commitment to responsible organic farming led her in 2005 to make the Handley Estate Vineyard the first California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) vineyard in Anderson Valley. In keeping with Handley’s hands-on approach and enduring commitment to environmental stewardship, all of the Handley Cellars wines are crafted from grapes grown in the Handley family’s Anderson Valley vineyards or by trusted Mendocino County grower partners whose viticultural practices are in keeping with Handley’s farming principles.

Handley loved the Anderson Valley community and participated actively in the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association. She was instrumental in starting the Alsace Festival (now Winter White Wine Festival) which highlights the white wine varietals grown in Anderson Valley. While Anderson Valley is known for Pinot Noir, Handley always championed the aromatic white wines that grow so beautifully in this region.

After 36 years of guiding the winemaking at Handley Cellars, during which time she earned a reputation for crafting soulful and impeccably balanced wines that embody the distinctive terroirs of the Anderson Valley, Handley retired in June of 2017. Handley’s long-time co-winemaker, Randy Schock, continues to make Handley Cellars’ wines in keeping with Handley’s style of fruit-driven, carefully crafted expressions of Anderson Valley.

“My mother was someone who fearlessly walked her own path,” says Handley’s daughter and now owner and President of Handley Cellars, Lulu McClellan. “She was passionate about making wine and working for herself, and never thought of herself as unusual or brave for pursuing these things at a time when it was rare to see women in these roles. My mom had an incredible ability to take life as it came, to respond with grace rather than an attempt to control what she could not. I think she learned this riding horses; she understood that nature was bigger than her, and she translated this through not only her winemaking but also in how she lived her life. She worked hard to create the life she believed in, but at the end of the day was able to let go of her ego and allow her intuition and connection to nature guide her. She taught me to be kind and generous, to always try to do the right thing, and to be yourself, not what other people expect you to be. Her shoes are impossibly big to fill, and I can only hope to honor her legacy by continuing Handley Cellars’ ethos to make wines of place, to take care of our employees, to encourage diversity and wellbeing, and to support the community of Anderson Valley.”

Sadly, Handley passed away from COVID-19. She is survived by two daughters, Megan Handley Warren and Milla Louisa “Lulu” McClellan, her sister, Julie Handley, and son-in-law Scott Peterson. A memorial service will be held at a later date when loved ones can come together to celebrate Handley’s life. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in the name of Milla Handley to the Anderson Valley Senior Center.


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Since we're left on our own with the "dashboard," MSP will explain what age and where the new cases came from:

***Ages 0 - 5: NO new cases
***Ages 6 - 12: NO new cases
***Ages 13 - 18: One new case
***Ages 19 - 34: Three new cases
***Ages 35 - 49: NO new cases
***Ages 50 - 64: Three new cases
***Ages 65-plus: Two new cases

***North Coast: NO new cases
***South Coast: NO new cases
***North County: NO new cases
***South County: NO new cases
***Ukiah Valley: Nine new cases

NORTH COAST - Caspar, Fort Bragg, Cleone, Newport, Westport, Rockport
SOUTH COAST - Mendocino, Little River, Albion, Elk, Manchester, Point Arena, Anchor Bay, Gualala
NORTH COUNTY - Willits, Brooktrails, Laytonville, Covelo, Dos Rios, Leggett, Piercy
SOUTH COUNTY - Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland
UKIAH VALLEY - Ukiah, Talmage, Redwood Valley, Potter Valley

Five of the new cases were women, four were men.
***Hispanics (59.5%) are the largest ethnic group testing positive for the virus.
***The 19 to 34-years-old age group has the most positive cases (30.8%) with the 35 - 49-year-old age group second (22.6%).

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by Sam Whiting

In 1949, Ruth Weiss was like any poet of the postwar era, typing her verse in a basement apartment that was painted black and lit only by a bare, blue light bulb.

One night, a friend grabbed a page of her work out of the typewriter and dashed upstairs, where a jazz trio was jamming at a party. Weiss gave chase, but it was too late. She was talked into reading her work, and as she did, a bassist started laying down a beat, added to by a pianist. In that moment was born the marriage of two distinctive art forms.

Weiss may not have invented what came to be known as “jazz poetry,” but she is credited with introducing it to San Francisco, when she came west from Chicago, by way of New Orleans, in 1952 as the vanguard of the San Francisco Renaissance. Later crowned “Beat Generation Goddess Ruth Weiss,” by Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, Weiss was a working poet for more than 70 years, still writing and reciting right up until her death Friday morning, July 31.

ruth weiss at a reading in North Beach in 1959

She died at home in her cabin in the redwood forest of Albion (Mendocino County). She was 92. She died of natural causes, said Melody Miller, a close friend and director of the documentary film “ruth weiss: the beat goddess,” which was completed in 2019 and has been making the festival circuit.

“Some people regard Ruth as the mother of the Beats,” said Jack Hirschman, emeritus poet laureate of San Francisco. “She wrote in jazz rhythms and her work was fundamentally experimental. All the other poets had great respect for her.”

Poetry was a crowded endeavor in San Francisco from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. There was Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Philip Lamantia, Bob Kaufman, Lew Welch — the list goes on, all men.

Until the arrival of Diane di Prima in the late 1960s, Weiss was often the only woman on the North Beach circuit, and she was the first Beat poet, man or woman, to read to the accompaniment of live jazz, according to Jerry Cimino, Beat historian and founder of the Beat Museum in North Beach.

“Jazz was the scene in the late 1940s and early ’50s, so by combining her poetry with jazz, Ruth created a whole new performance art,” Cimino said.

Weiss’ performance art usually happened in spontaneous fashion. It would be late at night at the Black Cat on Montgomery or the Cellar on Green Street. A combo might be honking Bebop or improv when out of the smoke would come Weiss, 5 feet tall, her hair cut short and dyed teal, after the war-orphan hero in the 1948 film “The Boy with Green Hair.”

One of her most popular poems was “Ten Ten,” describing her arrival in San Francisco, where she found a $10 room at 1010 Montgomery, later home to Ginsberg. Jack Kerouac would come by after midnight and they’d go up on the roof with a bottle of cheap red wine. Weiss drank only beer, and always took a bottle with her onto the stage, along with a lit cigarette.

Once up front, her poetry moved along like a locomotive, and the musicians would encourage it along.

“When you see it with the drama and the force of the music, it brings (the poetry) to life,” said Cimino. It was a style of cadenced riffing that Kerouac later took to New York City and took when he read from his novel “On the Road,” accompanied by Steve Allen on piano, during a famous episode of the “Steve Allen Show.”

“Kerouac got all the credit, said Cimino. “But the accepted understanding in San Francisco is that Ruth was performing her words to music even before before Jack was doing it.”

According to a biography posted on the Beat Museum web site, Weiss was born in Berlin in 1928, and with her parents, she narrowly escaped the Nazi purge, first to Vienna, then to Amsterdam and then to Chicago, where Weiss grew up. After graduating from Sullivan High School in Chicago, she attended college in Switzerland and wrote poetry in German, French, and English.

By the late 1940s, she was back in Chicago. She fell in with a Bohemian group called the Art Circle, and was living in a communal house when she gave that first impromptu reading. From there, she drifted to New Orleans and on to San Francisco, hitchhiking all the way.

In her 2004 collection “Can’t Stop the Beat: the Life and Words of a Beat Poet,” Weiss writes:

“One night I’m walking the dark streets. Looking for a light. I meet this big black cat and take him to my $10 pad. Few friends have ever seen. I show him some of my writings. Few friends have ever seen. His eyes get big. And he sez. You’re really on to the blues.”

She may have been onto it, but she could not get it into print. The first of her 20 books of poetry, titled “Steps,” was not released until 1958, and consisted of 50 mimeographed pages. She was mostly self-published throughout her career and her name was always listed as “ruth weiss,” lower case, the way she preferred it.

“The Beat Generation has been accused of being a boys’ club, and Ruth faced obstacles that men did not face,” said Cimino.

She left San Francisco in 1980 and moved first to Inverness, then up to Albion. She mainly sold her books at readings, which kept her moving across the country, across Europe and in Mexico.

“When I first saw her perform I was stuck to my seat, mesmerized,” said Miller, the documentarian. “I thought, ‘Who is this woman with the teal hair and this tiara crown and dragon necklace, talking in this husky voice?’ “

After Weiss turned 90 on June 24, 2018, a celebratory ruthFest was held at the Beat Museum. Agneta Falk Hirschman arrived with a poem called “Ruthful,” written for the event. It describes one of Weiss’ own readings: “… and you know something’s alive because the room’s swinging and your deep voice’s timbre rises from the floor, a steady beat, beating through all those false notes ever TRUTHFUL.”

Her husband, Jack Hirschman, described ruthFest as “the most significant poetry event in San Francisco in the last 20 years.”

Another significant event came last March. Weiss was given the Maverick Spirit Award at the Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival in Silicon Valley. The film was screened, and Weiss read pages from “Desert Journal,” a book-length poem published in 1977. Always a performer, she would ask audience members to give her a number, and she would turn to the corresponding page and read whatever was there.

“She had so much energy and love for the audience,” said Miller. It would be her last appearance. But she was still pounding away at her manual Royal, and a week before her death, Weiss told Miller she had the title of her next poem, “The Muse is Back,” but she never got to write it.

Weiss had no survivors. Though she and her parents escaped the Holocaust, all of her relatives died. She was married and divorced twice but never had children. A service is pending, as is a worldwide tour of the documentary film and a museum exhibit of her works.

“Her poems are her children and her life’s legacy, and that will continue her line,” said Miller. “It is up to her fans to keep her legacy alive.”

(Courtesy, the SF Chronicle)

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by David Wilson

The stillness of the night is striking, standing beneath the stars in the middle of a windless forest. The silence is complete, motion non-existent, a world frozen in silhouette around you. But it’s an illusion. You trust your senses, yes, but you cannot sense everything in a glance. 

Your eyes see much, but there is also much that escapes them completely, especially at night. A glance tells you the stars hang motionless in the sky above the treetops. But are they motionless? Of course not; that is poetry, and you know they move across the sky as the Earth revolves in space. Your eyes won’t see that motion, but watching for a long time might reveal some change in position of the stars relative to things on the ground — a star passing a tree, perhaps — or if you look periodically over time, you might note that they have changed their position from one glance to the next.

The camera can catch motion in either manner, whether watching with a single long exposure as the stars’ motion turns them to streaks across the sky, or by capturing their motion in a series of stills over time that can be played back as a movie, known as time-lapse. The camera shows the motion differently for each method. Particularly with night photography, the eye of a camera will see things in a different way, providing a view of the world that your eyes cannot see.

The time-lapse I’m presenting here was created from a series of still photographs I shot across a skyline of Douglas-fir trees on July 24, 2020, between 11:15 p.m. and 1:20 a.m. I was out at Sol Spirit Farm, a glamping outfit beautifully situated just outside of Willow Creek, California. In all, there were 282 individual photographs. When strung together like the frames of a movie, the series of photographs becomes a movie themselves, a time-lapse movie, that shows the motion in the sky over the two hours of elapsed time between the first frame and the last.

A meteor flashes by, the Milky Way extends into the sky from behind a Douglas-fir skyline, while Jupiter and the dimmer Saturn peer down from low over the treetops. This is a still from a time-lapse I shot while glamping at Sol Spirit Farm outside of Willow Creek, California. July 24, 2020.

Video Link: 

(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or purchase a print, visit or contact him at his website or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx and on Twitter @davidwilson_mfx.)

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Honorable Supervisors,

I. The State Annual Licensing Deadline Is Paramount And Is The Lens Through Which All Issues Must Be Evaluated

The Staff Memo of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors’ August 4, 2020 meeting agenda advocates for abandonment of the current ordinance and adoption of a land use-based permitting system, with a proposed “transition” timeframe for all current applicants and permit holders. MCA strongly believes that none of the recommendations put forth within the Staff Memo can be considered outside of the context of the urgent State Annual License deadline facing current cannabis permittees and applicants. This deadline MUST be the lens through which all other issues are considered.

Whether under the current Cannabis Permitting Program or under a new land use-based program, TWO items to fulfill CEQA requirements must be performed before a State Annual License will be issued: The Sensitive Species and Habitat Review (“SSHR”) and the site-specific review. Under both the current ordinance and the suggested land use program, the Staff Memo offers no assurance that the existing cohort of applicants and permit holders will have both of those processes completed prior to the deadline to obtain State Annual Licenses (January 1, 2022). While the Staff Memo focuses on that Department’s clear preference for switching to a land use-based system, it fails to address the paramount question of whether the County will be able to conduct those tasks for all applicants in time.

While specific issues regarding how to troubleshoot the mechanics of processing all of the applicants and permit holders is important, principal consideration must be given to the State Deadline issue. Applicants and permit holders MUST be able to know, with certainty, if the County is unable to conduct the necessary reviews before the deadline for State Annual Licenses. These applicants have poured their life savings, blood, sweat and tears into wrangling the complex and expensive regulatory process on the basis of believing that if they did everything required, they would be eligible for a State Annual License.

At this time, we cannot simply blame state regulatory agencies. We must act. We also cannot simply look to the California Legislature to rescue us. The legislative session for this year is ending in 5 weeks and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the current bills have inadequate time to proceed. Even if the matter is introduced next year, unless the County does everything in its power to try to resolve these problems before turning to the Legislature, the request is likely to fall on deaf ears. We cannot operate on the assumption that a bill extending provisional licenses will be introduced next year, and we cannot be certain whether such a bill would pass until at least 13 months from now. That is a gamble that is far too risky, and will most assuredly negatively impact licensed, tax-paying businesses. We must push forward with solutions at the local level.

II. The Specific Issues Are Complex And Require Much More Detailed Information That Would Be Best Managed By An Ad Hoc Committee Working With Staff And Outside Agencies

At this time, due to insufficient information surrounding key issues, there is no clear direction to take. Additionally, many of the issues to resolve are complex and interrelated. Individual decision points taken in isolation, before gathering missing information, could prevent many from obtaining State Annual Licenses and would likely result in additional unintended consequences.

Specific Issues for Resolution:

1. With respect to the SSHR: o If the CDFW Pilot Program is approved and implemented, how much time would each screening take and how would that impact the ability to get through all of the files in the current cohort?

o The threshold for referral appears to be quite low. Would CDFW have the capacity to process referrals?

o What happens if four months down the road, CDFW decides the Pilot Program is not working well enough to continue to have the County do the initial SSHR screening?

o The Staff Memo stated “there will be cultivation sites that will not demonstrate a ‘less than significant impact’ to Sensitive Species.” How do they know this and how many of the sites?

o How will the County and CDFW work out issues related to County Staff training, more articulable criteria to determine whether a review must be kicked back to CDFW, and clear criteria regarding when CDFW can require further studies?

o There are many detailed issues that arose in the Pilot Project materials which are too technical to detail in this memo.

2. With respect to the Site-specific review provided by Appendix G:

o The Staff memo makes the case for switching to a land use-based system, in part due to planners being practiced in reviewing project descriptions in the normal course of their work. If this is true, why did the time estimate to complete Appendix G increase from 2 hours to 11-40 hours when the only additional information requested by CDFA was related to the project description narratives? The March 2019 CDFA Guidelines were issued before the negotiated Checklist was drafted. Even still, the CDFA Guidelines (Attachment C), provide a very straightforward project description for a rural project. A professional who prepares much more complex and technical Project Descriptions for LSA and Water Board Site Management Plans have indicated that the likely number of hours is more in the 2-8 hour range.

o The Staff Memo lists only three possible options for completing the Appendix G Checklist. Are those options the most efficient and cost effective, and are they the only options? And will they result in completion of the Checklists in the timeframe required for all pending applicants and permit holders?

3. With respect to the transition of current applicants to a new land use-based system in some period of time:

o Presuming no changes in the applicant’s site or activities from the time the SSHR and Appendix G site-specific review is conducted under the current system, would the SSHR and site-specific review be usable when they apply for a discretionary permit later?

o If a current applicant or permit holder did want to take advantage of the 10-year discretionary permit by switching to a land use-based system, wouldn’t it create an unintended incentive for them to expand cultivation or non-cultivation structures to further develop their business to include on-site processing facilities, or other development?

o Staff has referred previously to creating a streamlined system to transition current applicants. What are the details of that streamlined system?

o If an applicant opted to switch to a land use-based system right away, can they be guaranteed to make it through that process before the State Annual License deadline? If so, how would that be guaranteed at the same time that those who opt to remain in the current system are not guaranteed to be processed in time according to the Staff Memo?

III. A Land Use-Based System Is Appropriate For Brand New Cultivation Or Expansion But Not For Legacy Cultivators

MCA believes that a land use-based system for brand new cultivation sites and for any expansion above 10,000 square feet for current or future permit holders could be appropriate. In fact, MCA submitted a memo in February of this year, outlining its recommendations regarding Phase 3 (new cultivation) and expansion beyond 10,000 square feet, which stated MCA’s support for limited expansion and accommodating new cultivation. In a more recent memo, MCA presented the current concerns regarding the delays in conducting the SSHR and site-specific reviews and refined its position, in light of those concerns, to address new and expanded cultivation once the crisis facing legacy cultivators is addressed.

We continue to support the limited expansion and new cultivation under those recommendations once the crisis concerning legacy cultivators is addressed. However, switching the current system for legacy cultivators at this point in time will compound the crisis they face with the State Annual License deadline. The current cohort of applicants and remaining legacy cultivators who qualify under the existing system must have a certainty that all resources are directed to processing their files before the State Annual License deadline. This must occur before a land use-based system is considered.

o A land use-based system will need to address zoning, size adjustments, articulate reasonable conditions, and requires other changes to address concerns regarding brand new cultivation sites or expanded cultivation on existing sites.

o A land use-based system will take time to develop and enact into law. Additionally, the site specific review and SSHR that must be done to satisfy CDFA, will still have to be done in a land use-based system, so there would be no time savings. The Staff claim that this work would be faster in a land use-based system is erroneous and must be verified.

o Reimbursable costs cannot be the basis for any decision made to switch legacy cultivators to a land use-based system when the failure of the current ordinance process was not theirs, and given the looming State deadline.

o PBS was already given the budget to hire 8 Planners, in part based on the need to continue to process Cultivation files. Both the site-specific review (Appendix G) and bringing the SSHR review in-house were being negotiated for more than a year. Therefore, the budget approval for 8 Planners must have included that scope of work.

IV. Re-Open Phase 1 In Light Of Equity Funding

Staff recommends against re-opening Phase 1, and also recommends closing Phase 2. MCA strongly disagrees . The Equity Grant funding awarded by the State was intended in part to allow insufficiently-resourced cultivators impacted by the War on Drugs to participate in the regulated market. If Phase 1 is not reopened now, while this grant funding is available, those cultivators will likely be shut out of the process. The Board has indicated a willingness to re-open Phase 1 for this reason. Additionally, Equity Funding should not be used to correct failures in program administration, but should be reserved to fulfill the intent of the grant. As stated in the Mendocino County Cannabis Local Equity Program Manual approved of by the State:

The Mendocino County Cannabis Equity Assessment (2020) established that Mendocino has been hit hard by the criminalization of cannabis, and a targeted, data-driven and well-funded equity program can help certain populations and neighborhoods, particularly small growers and those impacted from past policies that may be left behind, into a legal sustainable economic future .

A failure to embrace those legacy cultivators, who only now have an opportunity to receive financial and technical assistance to participate, would be tragic. To rob the Equity Grant funding in order to correct the failure to process applicants in a timely manner would be reprehensible. It would be preferable to use the mandatory Cannabis Taxes that have been levied against people who believed they would be eligible for a State Annual License.

V. Failure To Prioritize And Process The Last Two Steps Needed For Annual State Licenses Before The Deadline Could Be Worse For The Environment And Law Enforcement Resources

Cultivators who participate in a regulated system, which imposes rigorous local and State requirements and environmental controls, must not be discarded or dis-incentivized. To do so would only strengthen the underground market option and diminish the prospects of bringing more people into the legal marketplace. Full and robust support of existing permitted cultivators and applicants must be strengthened, regardless of which pot of money the County draws from to process the current files; admit Equity Grant-eligible legacy cultivators; and subsequently create a different system for new cultivation and expansion beyond 10,000 square feet.

Negative impacts to the environment are made more possible when cultivators are not regulated. Now, in these times of Covid-19, we can ill afford to further strain law enforcement resources to implement enforcement against an expanded group of illegal grows. Should the County not take responsibility for, and control of, the current looming State deadline crisis, cultivators will abandon the regulated system. These are high stakes requiring that the County do the right thing.

VI. Summary

MCA strongly supports the immediate creation of an Ad Hoc that can dig deeper into the issues that still need to be resolved, and obtain the information necessary for the Board to make wise decisions in this precarious moment in time.

The urgency of the situation must not be diminished, and the County must not wait to see if the State will rescue us. The County must rise to the occasion and fulfill its desire to provide local regulation in exchange for the ability of cultivators to secure Annual State Licenses, thus continuing their contributions to the economic health of our County through their considerable taxes.

MCA supports re-opening Phase 1 so that equity-eligible applicants can utilize the long-awaited grant funding that has been awarded to become compliant and participate in the legal industry.

MCA will be submitting additional memos addressing more technical issues concerning the proposals. However, before those issues can be fully analyzed, the preliminary question of whether the County can and will fulfill its commitments to locally regulate commercial cannabis cultivation in exchange for taxes and adherence to County-desired rules must be answered.

We look forward to working with the Board and Staff to find sensible solutions to difficult problems.

Thank you for your consideration.

Mendocino Cannabis Alliance

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Enclosed is our renewal check for another year. It's been great to see the AVA is back up to 12 pages! Your website is fine, but we still prefer the paper edition; and now that we have so much more time on our hands it's been a delight to sit down with 12 full pages of the good old AVA! In fact, you might say you're part of the MAGA crowd: you've made the AVA Great Again.

Particularly enjoying all the history articles, Malcolm Macdonald is always a pleasure to read. We have been amazed to see you run essays lately by Doug Holland! We used to read his zine, Pathetic Life, back in the day, but haven't heard anything about him in years. Good to see he's still going.

Oddly enough all your articles about the Board of Supervisors are massively interesting; I am hooked on reading every one of them now. The revelation of the ugly underbelly of local politics is endlessly fascinating, if gruesome. I keep thinking that this clown show of corruption, laziness and fumbling is being played out every day on every level of government and one can only imagine with stunned horror the machinations at the level of international leadership.

We seem to be in a pandemic of insanity, as well as a viral pandemic. So here's to the AVA, keeping the readers entertained and well informed during this crazy time.

Sheri Calkins

La Honda

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Mendo Rec & Parks Board Member Quits Over Park Sale

To Whom It May Concern:

I do not agree with and will not condone the direction the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District (MCRPD) board has taken in recent board and committee meetings. There has been no pursuit of adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic to provide recreation opportunities to the public and other board members have stated that MCRPD’s 'only solution' is to sell off the regional park property. Realistic solutions that will bring the MCRPD out of debt and provide a multi-use park for the public have been brought to the table by people that have volunteered hundreds, if not thousands, of hours to find rational reachable solutions, yet have been thrown away lest a decision have to be made.

My personality is one of action, not discussion and pontification. Members of the board have shown time and again that their direction is to ruminate rather than move towards a defined goal. MCRPD is at a pivotal time with the regional park property. Partners that have multiple avenues of resources have been brought to the table and repeatedly ignored due to bruised egos of board members.

MCRPD has become the “park district” that is willing to throw away it’s only opportunity to provide a park for the public it is chartered to serve because developing the park property is not simple and easy.

MCRPD has become the “recreation district” that will not provide recreational opportunities in tough times because it is too difficult to think outside the box.

I will not be part of a government organization that receives tax funds but will not provide the resources in its charter, recreational opportunities and a park, to the citizens that pay said taxes. MCRPD has become the epitome of “bad government” at the direction of the majority of its board members.

Effective immediately I resign my position as a board member of the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Park District.

I wish MCRPD luck in its future endeavors to provide recreational opportunities and park facilities.

John Huff

July 30, 2020

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Measure B Committee:

1. Why did you choose to siphon off over $6.3 million of Measure B funds for the Jenine Miller and Donna Moschetti “Measure B Program Funding Suggestions” when these funds are needed to hire: Crisis Residential Treatment (CRT) staff – Nurses, Overnight workers, Day Program teachers and others.

2. Wasn’t Measure B intended to fund urgently needed facilities and treatment programs to support people with mental illness with early intervention in CRTs and a psychiatric health facility (PHF)? Fortunately the 23-hour CSU (Crisis Stabilization Unit) idea has been dropped because the CRTs and PHF can handle the treatment needs.

3. Can you work with the Board of Supervisors (BOS) to get 2 CRTs up and running in existing buildings? In addition to hiring new staff, current mental health and substance abuse staff can work out of the CRT to do: counseling, case management, medication management, and crisis help.

4. Can the old Dr. Rohr office by Coast Hospital be acquired for a Fort Bragg CRT? Can you find a suitable place to lease for a Ukiah CRT? 

5. Can you work with the BOS to develop a partnership with Adventist Health for a PHF and only bring in a Crestwood (as Sonoma County did) if necessary?

6. Does law enforcement have to be involved with people who need mental health services and supports? Isn’t early intervention at a CRT a better option? The need for law enforcement will be rare and this will help decrease stigma and discrimination.

7. Are you aware that the Chair of the Measure B committee also chairs the Boards of Directors of: NAMI, Redwood Community Services, Inc. and Manzanita Services Inc., resulting in potential for conflicts of interest? The Kemper Report states, “Measure B funds are intended to supplement, not supplant, existing sources of funding for mental health and SUDT services.” The County already gives NAMI money so giving them $1.4 million of Measure B money is supplanting and unnecessary as NAMI has always provided education on mental illness, advocacy and support with volunteers?

The Kemper Report states that, “Measure B funds are intended to fund programs that address shortcomings in the service continuums for both Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment, … with an emphasis on community-based services that reduce the need for higher level services.” Kemper pointed out that we have “no meaningful alternatives to inpatient psychiatric care, and there are insufficient front-end services that support persons with mental illness and reduce the incidence of crisis conditions.”

Kemper said that a CRT can prevent crises from occurring in the first place and a good model may be the San Francisco County Progress Foundation walk-in voluntary Urgent Care Center with a CRT program.

Mental Health support and services through the CRTs can perhaps be extended to partnering with the clinics for satellite Day Treatment Programs in other communities. Day Treatment Programs can be available to help others who do not need to stay overnight at a CRT. Meaningful personal growth classes and self-help support groups are needed in every community. Supporting people with front-end services empowers people, avoids decompensation, and decreases stigma and discrimination. 

Until we’re on the other side of the pandemic and small classes and support groups can meet together, it is possible to create workbooks of self-help techniques, and have phone and computer connections to help people find their own self-management techniques. 

Sonya Nesch


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SIGNS AND WONDERS! Danilla Sands of newly renamed Mendocino Action News forwards this fire-related sky apparition.

We are California, even more, Northern California, so we can't have just regular smoke clouds. Our smoke clouds get to look like Dennis Hopper (my vote) or George Washington (WTF? people are insane) or whoever you see looming above the flames there. It's kind of become a pastime here, after watching cherished dreams go up in flames gets boring/depressing: Hey...Who's that in the sky??? Beats reality, yaknow?

So anyway, Attention! Danilla speaks! And she does not normally use all caps so just can it for a blessed second please!!!! Ahem.

— Chris Calder

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DR. BIRX said today that sixty percent of counties across the United States are now seeing an uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 infections, that the cases are "extraordinarily widespread." She said of the "3,141 US counties, 1,918 are currently experiencing an epidemic outbreak" which could be controlled if preventative measures were taken. Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Delaware and Maryland are seeing epidemic or spreading trends, while the number of infections across the country has surpassed 4.66 million and more than 154,000 Americans have died from the virus.

JOE BIDEN says he has delayed naming his vice presidential pick another two weeks out of concern that women are being pitted against one another, thus giving them two more weeks to knife each other, and if you believe that Biden gives a hoot, is even capable of giving a hoot, you're probably a Biden voter. Leading VP candidates include Kamala Harris, Karen Bass, Susan Rice, and even Elizabeth Warren have emerged as favorites, and one of them will be president because Biden is obviously non compos mentis.

NO TO SOCIALISM IN AMERICA. That slogan pops up on placards wherever rightwingers assemble. I wish every person who brandished the S-word in public had to also present a brief essay demonstrating his or her knowledge of the difference between communism, socialism and fascism. I'd include anarchism but that would be asking a little too much homework for the average bluster-brains whose heads, if you had their contents on film, would look like ten movies played upside down and backwards.

A NEIGHBOR alerted us to a guy rummaging through our re-cycling bin this afternoon. Paper was starting to blow down the street. I hustled out to monitor the scene. The man's pants had slipped down around his thighs presenting his bare buttocks to passing traffic, a gesture I sympathize with given the volume and speed of that traffic. Something tumor-like was wedged between his butt cheeks, a something which turned out to be a child's doll. Close up I recognized Jade Bennett whom I'd known since he was a toddler. "Hi, Bruce," he said. "How are you? I'm happy to see you." I said I was glad to see him, too, and I thought back, way back to a memory I had of Jade and his brother Josh when they were little guys roughhousing in the end zone of the Friday night football game at the Boonville Fairgrounds. As an adult, Jade began to have mental problems, and I'd see his booking photo in the morning's County Jail collection. Jade's been in and out of jail ever since, one more untreated free range sick person, in and out, in and out. He put all the stuff back in the bin and shuffled off towards Philo. I expect to see him in tomorrow morning's catch of the day. 


Strange question but does anyone monitor water quality of the Navarro River in dry summer months? 

A lot of us have been swimming at holes but I’m seeing a lot of ugly algae and muck in the more shallow places. Just wondering if there’s safety info out there? (Bill Kimberlin)

THE 60-YEAR-OLD YORKVILLE MAN who died of a heart attack on Wednesday, July 22nd has been identified as Richard Salazar. 

JARRING to see a Confederate flag representing treason and slavery flying with two flags that do not represent treason and slavery, the American flag and the California State Flag, on the westside of 128 between Boonville and Philo. Not sure of the property owner but a swastika banner wouldn’t be any less jarring or, as we say in Mendocino County, less appropriate.

ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOLS will start school online August 25. The district’s administrative assistant Wanda Johnson verified that instruction would continue online until further notice. On the July 22 board meeting, Superintendent Michael Warych recommended that the schools follow online learning, with the possibility of partial reopening later in the school year. The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday August 11.

AS THE GREAT historical re-write continues, it was inevitable that Luther Burbank's belief in eugenics would focus attention on his sordid intellectual misfires. It won't, however, be easy erasing Burbank from Santa Rosa. The famous inventor of many varieties of plum, including the treasured Santa Rosa Plum, Burbank is buried in the middle of town and his home and gardens also remain there. The local angle: Burbank was a frequent visitor to the Anderson Valley where he visited a gifted amateur botanist at that man's farm at Nash Mill where Wilbur Nash later made his home. What was the Nash Mill man's name? I asked Kathy Bailey whose present home is nearby:

“HERE’S WHAT I KNOW about the Burbank connection, but please recognize that this is from my ‘memory.’ I never had the foresight to write any of this down. I was quite friendly with Bob Glover, who was my neighbor over on the Gschwend Ranch and who taught me a lot about water systems over time. He worked on the water systems both on the Gschwend Ranch and here on Nash Mill Road. From my place you can see northeast to a grove of Eucalyptus trees further back on the ranch on the hill behind where Charlie and Cheryl Bass used to live. Bob mentioned on several occasions that ‘Luther Burbank himself’ planted the Eucalyptus trees. I do not remember the part about the local botanist, but that would make sense. I don't recall any name associated with that botanist. Perhaps someone at the Unity Club would have an idea. Bob's connection with Nash Mill Road was strong. His mother, whom he always called ‘Ma’ so I have forgotten her actual first name, was raised here perhaps 0.75 of a mile above the intersection with the highway. He showed me where her house had been, now an overgrown fir and manzanita grove, and where the barn had been, across the road from the house on the lower edge of the property below mine. Her maiden name was Michaelis, but I wouldn't put money on that spelling. The other interesting Nash Mill Road information Bob told me was that a slope instability caused a landslide into Mill Creek that formed a lake for many years before it blew out again. I think this was associated with an earthquake at a time his Ma still lived up here. The track of that hill slope failure is still obvious. Far away times now…" 

BRAD WYLIE also offered his speculation of Burbank’s Anderson Valley connection: “According to Betty Zanoni’s sister-in-law, Cynthia Modenesi, Burbank’s local associate was Hayward Scott, owner of the property prior to Wilbur and Buzz. She was the only person I ever heard mention his name. And only to say how respectful and kind he was to the Italian community in the Valley, particularly those who lived on the place and rented from him, offering financial assistance of various kinds when a family was on hard times. I bet he or an even older generation settler put together the ranch, which once went from the cattleguard at Highway 128 up over the ridge above Hungry Hollow where Steve Williams lived and abutted Masonite/MRC close to the South Fork of the North Fork. I bet he built the barn on the flat where Wilbur lived, wonder if he had a saw mill on the property? Alvy Price would have known. I wonder if Wes Smoot or Donald Pardini could help out.”

RESPONDING to a report of a vehicle parked in the northbound lane of the Albion Bridge, early the morning of July 27th, a CHP officer soon found the body of 72-year-old Michael Joseph Reilly beneath the bridge, an apparent suicide. Reilly was a resident of Albion.

WROTE to Supervisor Williams to ask if he was the unnamed Albion firefighter who turned the hose on the suicidal man that occupied so much police time Saturday. The Supervisor, usually quick on the e-mail draw, didn't reply, soooooooo I'm gonna take that as a Yes until I hear otherwise.

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On Friday, July 31, 2020 at approximately 12:00 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies received a radio call for service regarding a domestic dispute at a residence in the 23000 block of DeHaven Creek Road in Westport, California.

On their arrival Deputies contacted the involved parties and learned Dennis Day, 33, of Fort Bragg, and 32 year-old female were romantically involved with children in common.


During an investigation into the incident, Deputies determined a verbal argument had taken place and escalated into a physical confrontation, where Day reportedly pushed the adult female to the ground. Deputies observed the adult female had sustained minor visible injuries consistent with the reported assault.

Day was subsequently arrested for domestic violence battery and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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Many thanks to all of our family, friends, and well-wishers! Special thanks to our amazing crew and skilled local independent contractors! It has been a long growing season!

Wildflower Motel, Point Arena

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ANNA STOCKEL on Mendo tourism:

So here we go again.

Never had this problem before Mendocino County opened up to outsiders who don't care if they devastate a town and give the virus to people who will die a horrible death.

Non mask-wearing person in a local store.

Got the pictures.

Got the license plate.

How in the world do you expect to be able to enforce $100 fine? What what is the fine for the store allowing it to happen in the first place?

As long as Mendocino County keeps the campsites and motels open the rest of us are potentially screwed. Maybe we would get some religion if one of you got the virus but, I want to be clear I am not wishing it upon anyone.

We were doing so well until the motels and campsites opened.

Now we're on the California watch list.

Sadly, the local senior community has the virus and I think they're up to 6 deaths so far.

So all of the tourists are running around maskless and not distancing and all us locals are staying at home or getting curbside service and wearing masks. This particular store has allowed three out of the five times I've been there. I wait outside the door and look in and then wait for anti-maskers to leave. But the latest science says it doesn't just drop to the ground it stays in the air.

Which gives me plenty of time to try and work with you on solutions.

  • Dan Gjerde, 4th District Supervisor
  • Ted Williams
  • Will Lee
  • Mendocino Sheriff

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The Trinity County Agriculture Alliance (TCAA), a licensed cannabis trade organization, is proud to have completed a successful petition drive to place a fair, industry-informed county cannabis tax proposal on the November 3 election ballot. The Trinity County Commercial Cannabis Tax was created by industry experts and participants, along with input from community leaders and subject matter specialists, and was inspired by the craft beer and wine industry. The petition garnered the support of 1,260 signers in only 5 days, which represents 16% of Trinity County’s registered voters and was made possible through the efforts of dozens of volunteers who braved 100+ degree weather, hundreds of miles traveled and the risks of Covid-19.

A local, opposing, anti-cannabis group of individuals attempted to get their own county tax proposal on the ballot via a petition, which was rejected by the Elections Office due to a failure to comply with elections codes. Their proposal was unpopular with many in the community and industry for not being production based, arbitrary minimums and severe supply chain taxes that would eliminate many of the county’s small farms and impede future development, along with the potential for much-needed tax revenue.

The support by the industry to tax itself is unprecedented and a testament to the willingness of these licensed businesses to contribute to their community. If passed, TCAA’s tax, a production-based, flat rate, tiered cultivation tax on commercial cannabis, will serve as a model for other counties and states to follow. It was designed to support Trinity County’s small farms, encourage the high-quality production that drives demand for Trinity County cannabis, and provide long-term, sustainable tax revenue. The tax includes:

A 2.5% gross sales tax on retail cannabis businesses within Trinity County.

A tiered tax rate of $15.44/lb. for cannabis flowers, $4.59/lb. forcannabis leaves, and $2.16/lb. for fresh cannabis plant and tiered by a percentage of the full rate:

1- 100 pounds – 25%

100-400 pounds – 50%

400-1000 pounds – 75%

1000+ pounds – 100%

A bond in favor of Trinity County, or cash deposit, in the amount of$.50/sq. ft. of license type to insure the county can collect taxes due.

The Trinity County Agriculture Alliance is the first trade association of the county’s legal cannabis industry, with a mission to foster an ethical, sustainable, and prosperous cannabis industry in Trinity County by empowering members to advocate for their interests, promote their value, and support the communities they call home.

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MAUREEN MULHEREN RUNNING a 55 Mile Campaign for 2nd District Supervisor

There are 55 miles of roadway in the 2nd District of Mendocino County and current Supervisor Candidate Maureen Mulheren is planning to run every one of them to promote her campaign.

Thus far, a majority of Mulheren’s campaigning has been held virtually with a public Facebook Live every Thursday and Zoom meeting every other Sunday.

“I can’t knock on doors right now, so I decided I was going to physically run the entire second district,” Mulheren says.

As a city councilwoman, her dedication to past street projects has involved walking, running, or biking the work area both before and after the project’s completion to better witness the change firsthand. As a prospective county supervisor, she plans to adapt this practice and shift the focus to visible health aspects of the community.

“It’s an alternative to create a healthy community and also understand each neighborhood,” comments Mulheren.

Less than 100 days from the election, Mulheren is hoping to learn more about all of the neighborhoods by walking or running through them with local residents—safely and socially distanced. Residents are invited to call Mulheren at 707-391-3664 or email her at if interested in sharing their thoughts and stories about their neighborhoods with her.

For more information about the Mo4Mendo campaign including vision, complete endorsement list, and weekly campaign updates, visit and follow @Mo4Mendo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 3, 2020

Baker, Gardner, Guyette, Lucas

REX BAKER, Chico/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ROBERT GARDNER II, Ukiah. Controlled substance bad check, failure to appear.

THOMAS GUYETTE JR., Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.

MARC LUCAS, Point Arena. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, evasion, resisting, parole violation.

* * *


It is beyond obvious that we are now witnessing the historical dissolution of the United States of America.

Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations experienced the rigors of two world wars and the Great Depression, the crucibles which tested and honed the American Spirit which reached its apotheosis at the end of World War II.

Those of us of the Boomer persuasion have experienced the peak of the American experience — from 1946 to 1971 (when Nixon dropped the gold standard and sullied the Presidential office) — the Pax Americana if you will. 

And now we are sliding down the backward slope of the peak, and it seems to be accelerating by the day. In 20 years, you will not recognize the USA from what is was. It seems that the breakup of the nation into disparate regional countries is inevitable. 

The only question is, will the resultant society look more like The World Made By Hand or The Hunger Games?

* * *

THERE IS NO ESCAPE from yesterday because yesterday has deformed us, or been deformed by us. The mood is of no importance. Deformation has taken place.

— Samuel Beckett

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In mid-July California's regulators approved new fracking permits in the San Joaquin Valley. A day later, the California Department of Conservation quietly introduced a new ethics policy, indicating conflict of interest if any employee invests in the industries they regulate, a decision that drew praise from advocates of good governance. Because of this policy change, the very next day, oil and gas regulators at the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) divested oil stocks and other interests in the sector.

Later that same week, the California Resources Corporation (CRC), the largest oil and natural gas exploration and production company in CA, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, potentially leaving state taxpayers on the hook for cleanup - as if they haven't suffered enough from the industry's pollution. Illuminating the risks of living in proximity to oil and gas infrastructure, a new study from Environmental Health Perspectives shows the harmful affects to babies born near areas with natural gas flaring, and two new studies out of CA and one from a Texas community deduced that current setback distances between oil and gas wells and sensitive sites are inadequate to protect public health.

FracTracker -

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From it’s inception - what, 5-6 years ago? - you have been whining, though maybe not in print, about “Black Lives Matter”. So I feel your declaration that the “rote calls for BLM are starting to annoy you” is disingenuous.

But even before I got to that part of your online July 29 “Off The Record” I was already choking on your notion that right now we are experiencing “the rosiest ethnic relations we’ve ever had in our riven country”.

Rosy? My god!


When an unarmed Black man, Ahmaud Arbery is killed by two guys because he is jogging through their White neighborhood? And then prior to the BLM protests the powers that be refused to prosecute.

Or when Elijah McCain a Black teenager returning home from a convenience store at night through a white neighborhood with earplugs on and dancing is put in a choke hold and killed by police?

Or when a young white supremacist kills 9 members of a church Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina?

The Ors go on and on and on to undeniably point out that systemic racism is extant within the bowels of the legal, economic, social and law enforcement facets of American culture.

That you would describe American ethnic relations as rosy must be senility. The only two people I can think of that would agree with that obtuse sentiment would be Kanye West and Donald Trump. Oh! And maybe your local pal Jerry Philbrick.

Though I might agree with you relative to the phony Dems that take a knee before the camera I do wonder at the obvious bias that infuses your psyche, compelling you to designating Black Lives Matter protestors as “incoherent demagogues with no plan other than demonstrating their own virtue”.

Donald Trump’s racist views appear to have support from close to 40% of the American people who are bigoted to the point of xenophobia. That we in opposition to the ongoing racial injustice that has in fact been systemically embedded on this continent since the arrival of Christopher Columbus and feel that it is past time for it to change have no plan is no reason to put us down or belittle us. 

What is your plan? And in your 20 years or so as editor how effective have you been in changing the economic paradigm whose engine does feed at least in part on racial subjugation?

David Severn


ED REPLY: Oh bullshit. What are you talking about? "You have been whining, though maybe not in print." Whining to whom then, you in your senescent dreams. I said the Fort Bragg woman who led a couple of the demos up there was unhinged and unfair to the city manager and Lindy Peters. I also said protests against systemic racism without an emphasis on changing the system is just a lot of virtue signaling of the type you specialize in. And, in the world outside Philo, race relations ARE better, and now consist of millions of genuinely affectionate, loyal inter-racial relationships where few existed when we were young. Brush up on your reading comprehension.

* * *


by James Kunstler

These dog days of summer, an anxious stillness descends across the USA as the pandemic pulses through the land in fearsome new waves, and incomes vanish, and businesses roll over, and unpaid payments-due tip lives into the bardo of default, and the idle hours of no work, no money, no company, and perhaps no future weigh cruelly on the 99 percent of citizens not girded with portfolios of FAANG stocks. A collapse of just about everything is on all at once — economic, political, cultural, social — and the election looms yet more ominously than Covid-19.

The New York Times and its media co-seditionists insist that massive mail-in voting will do just fine despite plenty of evidence that it’s already a demonstrable fiasco — for instance in the recent New York primary where two congressional district contests remain undecided months later due to ballot irregularities. The boards of election “had operational issues,” as Governor Cuomo put it, “and we have to learn from them” — another teachable moment in the Democratic Party’s valiant struggle to morally improve America strictly on its own terms.

Over in Nevada, the state legislature passed a mail-in vote scheme that will send ballots out to everybody and his-or-her uncle, with no ID required, and a feature that permits ballots to be filled-out by someone other than the addressed voter. Nice! A “ballot-harvesting” model for other states. In California, where anybody with a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote via the 2015 “New Motor Voter Act,” ballots will go out to 600,000 un-documented non-citizens who were granted licenses under a separate act (AB-60) the same year. Do you suppose all of them will conscientiously toss their ballots in the trash while California’s mighty Democratic Party machine importunes them to vote early-and-often?

There’s your set-up for a 2020 election that can’t possibly be resolved, and a recipe for a Hieronymus Bosch style orgy of Lawfare litigation that would deliberately seek to confound the Federal Election Commission’s best efforts to untangle the mess — just as Lawfare is doing in the mess of a case against General Flynn — and effectively end 232 years of continuous, orderly four-year election cycles. Is that what you want?

Hieronymus Bosch: The Harrowing of Hell (Or USA Election 2020)

The other index of the Democratic Party’s desperation is the ongoing emperor’s-new-clothes charade posing the effigy of Joe Biden as a serious candidate for a rather important position in government. Everybody knows that they know — and we know that they know that we all know — that Mr. Biden is sailing into a fog-bank of senility, and more measurably each day! His every staged performance is an obvious embarrassment of fumbled phrases and things forgotten. They are going to have to find a replacement. It really comes down to two figures: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. What a predicament!

Mr. Sanders, though not demented, is just too old and his heart attack earlier in the year can’t be reassuring — not to mention the fact that as a declared “socialist” he automatically alienates enough voters in the old blue-collar swing states to render him a loser. Plus, the DNC hierarchy hates him, has plotted against him at every turn in the past two presidential primary seasons, and quite possibly rigged this year’s Super Tuesday vote to successfully dump him in favor of the phantom they now pretend is leading the party.

Hillary still owns the DNC — literally. Nobody knows how much of the Clinton Foundation’s ill-gotten moolah still underwrites the party’s national operations. The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, with new allegations about Bill Clinton’s capers on Epstein’s Pedo Island, is a strange twist with mystifying implications — especially the timing and the motives of those in the DOJ’s Southern District who stage-managed it. With the Clintons, intrigues always abound. But if ever there was a Lady Macbeth moment for wickedness to prevail, this is it. For now, the old warhorse is laying low on her yoga mat somewhere in the Chappaqua woods.

Who else is there? Andrew Cuomo, a longshot with that rap hanging over him about sending thousands of geezers to certain Covid-19 death in infected nursing homes, and Michelle Obama, a fairytale possibility that would have all the optics of an outright coup d’état.

In the meantime, the Dems have ginned up a soap opera over Mr. Biden’s supposed running-mate, starring several requisite POCs of the female persuasion, all unappetizing personalities, each in a distinctive way, none of them qualified to step into the main job when Mr. Biden is issued his 25th Amendment pink slip. The party has been half-heartedly hoisting their trial balloons in a predictable rotation following the dismally obvious affirmative-action script, just another hustle in the season of Black Lives Matter, the hallucination du jour in a year of neo-medieval mass psychosis.

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

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by Jocelyn Wiener

There’s an open secret among those who care for people with serious mental illnesses.

Judy Bracken first heard it a few years ago from a hospital social worker: If Bracken wanted her adult son, who has schizoaffective disorder, to receive long-term mental health treatment, she should get him off her private insurance, UnitedHealthcare, and onto the public system for low-income people in Contra Costa County.

Lucinda Chiszar figured it out when she tried to take her then 10-year-old son, who was insured by Aetna, to the only nonprofit agency in Merced County that offered the intensive wrap-around services the county’s behavioral health services said he needed.

“Oh, you’re not on Medi-Cal?” someone at the agency asked. “We can’t help you.”

Other families say they hear it whispered by well-meaning caseworkers, or even directly from the health plans themselves.

In dozens of interviews, families, attorneys, judges, therapists and public officials agree: People with serious mental illnesses often do better dropping private insurance and qualifying for taxpayer-funded treatment.

It seems counterintuitive.

“If someone was to develop lung cancer, it’s hard to imagine that one of the other insurers would say, ‘You’re going to need to get on Medi-Cal to get that paid for,’” said Dr. Tom Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, who has advised Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

Such stories provide further fodder for the debate about how to best enforce the state and federal parity laws that guarantee patients equivalent coverage for physical and mental health treatment. 

They also reveal the limits of those laws. In many cases, commercial insurers aren’t legally required to offer the intensive mental health services available through Medi-Cal. This open secret exposes troubling questions: What should private insurance cover? What should the state — and thereby taxpayers — pay for? Who’s responsible for ensuring people with serious mental illnesses get the treatment they need?

Counties that administer Medi-Cal are tired of it. “We’ve let the private commercial plans off the hook pretty significantly,” said Michelle Cabrera, executive director of the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. “It’s time for a come-to-Jesus conversation.”

As the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn puts increasing pressure on people’s mental health, she said counties have seen more privately insured individuals seeking crisis services.

The insurance industry denies there’s a problem.

Mary Ellen Grant, spokesperson for the California Association of Health Plans, said she surveyed the commercial plans represented by her organization and none were familiar with the phenomenon.

“We’re not aware of any existing evidence that long-term mental health care needs are better served by county mental health agencies, nor in which counties this alleged trend is happening,” she said.

Commercial mental health plans have been providing comprehensive coverage for severe mental illness for decades, Grant said, and some plans have begun to provide wrap-around services, in-home crisis intervention and intensive therapeutic behavioral programs.

“There’s a lot of great work that they’re doing,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s helpful to say county mental health plans are providing better services than commercial health plans, because commercial health plans are doing their best.”

And, yet, many insist that’s exactly what’s happening. Los Angeles attorney and psychotherapist Meiram Bendat says he’s seen, through cases he’s taken on, that insurers not only know about the issue — which he likens to “patient dumping” — but sometimes actively encourage it. He calls the practice prevalent, “simply inexcusable” and, in his view, against the law.

“It is not something that regulators in California are actively looking into,” he said. “As a result, they are not protecting the interests of the taxpayers and are allowing the insurance companies to enrich themselves by pawning off their most severely compromised and sickest members to the public welfare system.”

Some mental health services that counties provide, including wrap-around programs and case management, aren’t legally required to be offered by commercial health plans.

But Mary Watanabe, deputy director of health policy for the state Department of Managed Health Care, said state law usually requires commercial plans to cover medically necessary early psychosis intervention and residential treatment. She emphasized that patients who think they are being denied necessary treatment should file a grievance with their health plans and contact the department’s help center to request an independent medical review.

No one keeps data on how often people feel forced to abandon private plans because the public system for poorer patients provides better options. But Dr. Joe Parks, medical director of the National Council for Behavioral Health, calls it “a national issue.” 

Dr. Parks says private insurance historically hasn’t been set up to offer case management, help with transportation and other services to help people navigate to needed treatment.

“If you get old and sick or disabled and sick, then you leave commercial insurance,” he said. “It’s really Medicaid and Medicare that back up the commercial sector and allow them to have the profit margin that they have.” 

Many people with serious mental illness don’t intentionally decide to drop off of commercial insurance. Rather, the illness itself — especially if it’s inadequately treated — can lead them to lose their jobs, which then lands them on Medi-Cal.

But for some families and individuals, deciding to leave commercial insurance can be agonizing.

To meet Medi-Cal’s strict income eligibility requirements, families with children younger than 18 sometimes consider leaving their jobs or even relinquishing custody, advocates say.

Parents with children 18 or older often can just drop them from their private plan to make them Medi-Cal eligible. But that may entail giving up relationships with providers they’ve known for years, and forgoing easier access to specialists who treat other complex medical conditions.

And then there’s the question of shame.

Teresa Pasquini, a Contra Costa County mother whose adult son has schizoaffective disorder, moved him off of Kaiser Permanente in 2010 after years of fighting to keep him on it. By then, Pasquini said, her son had attempted suicide multiple times. On many occasions, she’d hidden in the back bedroom, calling 911 in a whisper, waiting for authorities to handcuff her son to keep him, and his family, safe. Doctors said her son needed to be in a locked residential facility — but his private insurance didn’t cover a long-term stay, so the county had to pick up the cost, she said.

“It’s traumatic to reread the desperate emails I was sending to Kaiser, the county, the conservator, literally begging, ‘What can we do? We don’t want to drop his private insurance, we don’t want to dump his care on the state and county,’” she said. “I gave up my career. We were paying outrageous amounts of money. We were trying everything. So we felt we had no choice.”

Suzanne Tavano, Contra Costa’s behavioral health director, said families have been making such decisions for decades.

“We’re used to it,” she said. “We expect it.”

People regularly call her agency and ask if they should drop private insurance to get into county programs. “Even with very good insurance, that continuum of care isn’t there for the most part,” she said.

Privately insured people have been treated in the county’s first-episode psychosis program, though Tavano is reluctant to broadcast that, given limited space. Others with private insurance come into the county’s costly crisis stabilization unit, she said, or get help via the county’s mobile crisis response team.

“We’re not going to turn people away,” she said.

But spending more on insured people leaves less to spend on people who are on Medi-Cal or uninsured and very low-income, she said. 

Other counties facing similar demand restrict their offerings.

Solano County initially accepted people with private insurance into their early psychosis program — until the program was “inundated,” and didn’t have adequate room to serve people with Medi-Cal. The county then restricted it, said Sandra Sinz, the county’s behavioral health director, even though “we know if you don’t offer it, people aren’t going to get help.”

In 2014, plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente alleged they were told to take their sons off of Kaiser to get them into locked residential facilities. That suit settled in 2018. Kaiser continued to dispute some of the claims.

Later that year, a Kaiser therapist in Solano County, who asked not to be named because she feared being targeted by management, received a message from the company that workers should not tell patients to drop Kaiser coverage and go onto Medi-Cal. 

“People with severe mental illness absolutely pay the price,” she said. “They suffer. They absolutely get better care through county mental health.”

She hasn’t voiced that to patients, though.

“It’s not something I’ve said,” she said. “It’s something I think.”

Stuart Buttlaire, regional director of inpatient psychiatry and continuing care for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, emailed that Kaiser “offersa full range of long-term, residential or inpatient treatment for members in need of more emotional or psychiatric help than is available in outpatient sessions.” These inpatient stays can range from days to a year or more, he said. He said Kaiser works closely with county mental health agencies through a “public-private partnership.”

It “might have been the case some years ago” that some families dropped commercial insurance to go onto Medi-Cal, Buttlaire said, but “federal parity laws are helping eliminate the need for this.”

Even those concerned about the private-public service gap acknowledge Medi-Cal is no panacea. County services vary, and they, too, face challenges.

A spike in demand for mental health services in recent years has left Medi-Cal and private insurance struggling to get the workforce and infrastructure they need.

Dr. Paula Wadell, medical director of the UC Davis Early Diagnosis and Preventive Treatment Clinic in Sacramento, said Medi-Cal offers many services to her patients that those with private insurance can’t access.

“There’s kind of no way to win for families,” she said.

Once children on private insurance turn 18, clinic staff explain to their families the broader services the clinic provides to individuals with Medi-Cal. Many then elect to move their children onto Medi-Cal.

But once they drop private insurance, Wadell said, “it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.”

For example, a 2014 law requires doctors to submit a treatment authorization request to the state before giving anti-psychotics to kids on Medi-Cal. That can lead to delays in getting urgent medication that don’t happen for privately insured kids, she said.

Young people with complex medical problems — seizure disorders, for example — can find it more difficult to secure a neurologist or geneticist through Medi-Cal, she added.

Katrina Gant, a San Bernardino County mother whose son was diagnosed with schizophrenia after high school, said she heard about a great residential program in the mountains nearby. It wouldn’t accept her private insurance — but it took Medi-Cal.

The catch: Medi-Cal patients had to wait nearly a year to get in. Instead, Gant’s parents sacrificed $8,000 a month for their grandson to attend.

“It was difficult, but to help my son they would do anything,” Gant said. Although her son remains with Kaiser, she plans to switch him to Medi-Cal — despite the waitlists.

So what can be done?

San Francisco Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 855 would require insurers to cover all medically necessary treatments for mental health and substance use disorders.

Dr. Henry Harbin, former CEO of Magellan Health, a managed behavioral health care company, said that some private plans lack the billing codes that allow payment for more complex mental health treatments. He’s working on developing a standardized billing code that first-episode psychosis treatment programs can use to bill commercial insurance, and says a similar initiative would do the same for crisis services.

Several California agencies that serve children have begun piloting partnerships with commercial plans. Marika Collins of Casa Pacifica, which serves children and families on the Central Coast and in Southern California, said her organization is working with Anthem and Kaiser to provide the same intensive mental health services to children with private insurance they’ve long provided to children on Medi-Cal.

“I’m just thrilled to say that we’ve done it,” Collins said. “I’m less quick to bash the health plans than I was three years ago. Some of them really get it.”

(This story was made possible by a grant from the California Health Care Foundation. Courtesy,

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RENT IS COMING DUE IN CALIFORNIA: ‘Two weeks to avoid complete catastrophe’

by Alexei Koseff

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature has less than a month left in its pandemic-shortened session to deal with one of the state’s worst economic crises in decades, and there’s no greater emergency than what to do about the rent.

Millions of residents who lost their jobs this spring as the state shut down to slow the spread of the coronavirus now fear they will lose their homes as well. One in 7 tenants in California did not pay rent on time last month, according a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, and nearly 1 in 6 doesn’t expect to pay on time in August either.

Several bills are moving through the Legislature to prevent what many worry could be a wave of evictions, potentially compounding California’s crippling homelessness crisis. But landlord groups and tenant advocates are divided, raising financial, legal and logistical concerns over the competing approaches.

An emergency judicial order that largely halted eviction proceedings for the past four months could end as soon as Aug. 14, heightening the sense of urgency in Sacramento.

“The clock is ticking. We only have two weeks to avoid complete catastrophe,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.

His AB1436 is one of two major legislative proposals to avert mass evictions. It would prohibit landlords from evicting tenants who cannot pay their rent because of a loss of income related to the pandemic before April 1, 2021, or 90 days after the end of the statewide state of emergency, whichever is sooner. Tenants would then have another year to make up the missed rent.

Homeowners experiencing financial hardships, including landlords, could seek a forbearance of up to 12 months for a residential mortgage.

The other bill dealing with evictions is SB1410 by state Sens. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, and Steven Bradford, D-Gardena (Los Angeles County). Under the voluntary program, landlords would receive tax credits to forgive the rent of tenants who cannot pay because of the pandemic. Landlords could use the tax credits, which would be equal to the amount of rent, starting in 2024 or sell them to another taxpayer sooner for cash.

Tenants would pay back their rent interest-free to the state over the course of 10 years, also starting in 2024, though California would be on the hook for any money it doesn’t recover. That could amount to billions of dollars.

Another measure that would have frozen evictions and set up a repayment period for back rent, AB828 by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, was held in committee without receiving a hearing. Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino (San Bernardino County), is also advancing SB915, which deals more narrowly with evictions from mobile home parks.

Tenant advocates prefer Chiu’s uniform statewide plan, which would protect residents regardless of what local regulations exist or whether their landlord is willing to enter an agreement. Anya Lawler, who lobbies on behalf of the Western Center on Law & Poverty, said the bill’s mortgage protections for landlords could help the state avoid a foreclosure crisis such as the one during the last recession.

“The eviction court is not the place to deal with the financial consequences of this,” she said.

Lawler said the Senate measure offering tax credits for landlords who forgive rents is creative, but that its voluntary nature would leave out many tenants. Any available money would be better spent on building housing, she added.

Many Californians are enduring financial hardships during the pandemic, Lawler said, and landlords shouldn’t be exempt.

“The state can’t possibly foot the entire bill here,” she said. “If we have a lot of money, is that what we want to spend it on?”

The Chiu measure is a nonstarter, however, for major landlord groups like the California Apartment Association, which represents owners and developers of rental properties.

Debra Carlton, a lobbyist for the association, questioned the legality of requiring out-of-state banks to provide mortgage forbearance for California homeowners. She’s also skeptical that landlords will ever recoup much rent, given the length of time tenants would be able to withhold payments.

“By the time April 2021 comes around, a tenant may have not paid for a year,” she said. “There’s no way to catch that up.”

Carlton said tenants should have to prove they were financially harmed by the pandemic, so benefits don’t go to people who participate in a rent strike when they can afford to pay. She called those strikes “so unethical.”

She said the Senate bill should also include more direct help for property owners, some of whom won’t ride out the downturn otherwise.

“These small owners, who use the rent as their retirement or to pay for their mortgage, just cannot wait until 2024,” Carlton said.

Neither bill is set to be heard again until Aug. 12, just two days before state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has said she wants to lift an emergency rule that the Judicial Council adopted in April freezing eviction proceedings unless necessary for public health and safety. If that happens, lawmakers are bracing for the possibility that tenants could be left for months without any resolution.

Even if the Legislature passes a bill before the end of its session Aug. 31, it would not become law until Jan. 1. Lawmakers could add an urgency clause that would allow a bill to take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, but that requires a two-thirds vote in both houses.

Legislators are also looking at the possibility of putting eviction protections into a budget trailer bill, which would take effect immediately with a simple majority vote. Such measures are intended to implement the budget, however.

Caballero said she is hopeful of passing something, noting that more than two-thirds of senators voted for her bill in June.

“There is an understanding in the Legislature that this looming housing crisis — and it’s on top of another housing crisis — would be devastating in every single one of our districts,” she said.

Tenant advocates, meanwhile, are pushing Gov. Gavin Newsom to take more sweeping executive action that could serve as a backstop while the legislative process plays out. Newsom issued an executive order to halt evictions in March, but advocates criticized it as too complicated and limited.

“Acknowledging that more must be done as the pandemic and its economic consequences continue, the administration is working with legislative leaders and stakeholders to craft further, balanced protections,” Jesse Melgar, a spokesman for Newsom, said in a statement.

The uncertainty, including questions about whether Congress will approve financial aid for landlords and renters as part of a coronavirus relief package, has everyone preparing for the worst-case scenario. Lawler said tenant advocates are already working to find lawyers to fight eviction cases in court.

“The whole thing is going to be chaotic,” she said. “There’s no way around it.”

(courtesy San Francisco Chronicle)

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[1] Fantasy and mania run rampant in the delusional republic, no more so than in the bastions of higher – cough – learning where derangement of emotion and disorder in logical processing mark the scholar and philosopher and self-proclaimed thought leader.

You can see it on the telly, in such shows as Amanpour’s gab-fest where self-congratulating participants laud themselves and the people that led the US and much of the world into this historical cul-de-sac where rules of nature and of such minor considerations as the march of history and its lessons are proclaimed to be suspended for no reason other than their inconvenience. Realty’s logic is iron-clad but its means are devious. If disease plagues the thought processes of an increasingly unfit “thinking” class, with the concept of a “borderless world” as one of its manifestations, Reality has the solution. It’s called the coronavirus. You hear about natural selection? This is natural selection. Most severely affected right now are the underclasses, those serving the physical needs of the intellectual, you know, people like farm workers, people in meat plants, but as economic and societal disruption spread, it becomes a matter of who has the means to provide for himself and his family i.e. guys with practical skills and not only that but means of self-defense, i.e. fire-arms. And intellectuals have got a severe deficit in both these departments. It’s a lesson of history, one of those buggery things that you see dotted throughout the written and archaeological record, elites are upended when they fail to get a clue. 

[2] America used to have a healthy and robust hobo culture. If you couldn’t get a job or find a way to get by in one place, you just hopped a freight and went somewhere else. Along the way you met lots of other nice folks just like you hoping to get by. Get a meal here or there. Sleep in a barn. Swing a broom a bit. Then move on.

Today, the rail lines have been decimated and the freights that do run carry what’s left of that cheap labor crap from that Land of the East. Today’s freight trains have been militarized and they run too fast to catch up to when you’re running on foot. That destroyed an entire successfully-working American culture.

If we’re really going to Make American Great Again, we’ve got to bring back the rail lines and hobo culture. Soon, we’ll ALL be hobos without jobs and places to live. Millions of us will need a way to beg a meal somewhere and to move about after our homes have been foreclosed on, our cars repossessed, our bank accounts seized, our credit cards cancelled, and our smartphone battery goes dead and we throw the damn thing into the ditch along the tracks.

Hobo Culture is America’s 21st Century Future. Get out those old hobo and railroad songs. Find your old harmonica and brush up. Tear some holes in your shirt and pants and socks if they don’t yet have any. Who says we don’t have a future?! We are Woke And We Are Broke™! Happy days are here again!

[3] There is a lot of misinformation about Muir. John Muir kept a journal for more than 50 years and recorded what he saw. By the time he arrived in California in 1868 the Yosemite Indians had already been removed during the Gold Rush. John Muir had nothing to do with it, and they weren't removed for the purpose of creating a national park. In 1868 the California Indians had suffered through nearly a 100 years of Spanish missions, European diseases, and genocide during the Gold Rush. Muir had nothing to do with that, and he could be excused for thinking that these Indians looked like a downtrodden people. Also, in his book "Travels in Alaska" he traveled by canoe with members of the Tlingit tribe, and wrote many positive things about them. If he was blindly racist about American Indians in general, then why would he praise this tribe? Also, Muir never said that wilderness should only be for white people. California had very few black people until World War II, and even now only 6% of the state's population is black. In the 1960's the Sierra Club started the Inner Cities Outings Program, which takes inner city minority teenagers on backpacking trips into the wilderness. About 15 years ago I assisted a leader on one of these outings into the Emigrant Basin Wilderness. The kids loved it. I think John Muir is being unfairly maligned.

[4] I have a hunch there will be no Bonaparte ruling in the US of A. There is one thing the Americans share with the Russians, and that is abhorrence of Bonapartism, and military rule in general. (Remind yourself that Trotsky meekly accepted his exile to the Kazakh steppe by Stalin in 1925, in preference of toppling him in a “bonapartist coup”, even though the Red Army he created was still very much loyal to him). The near American future is a dense fog, but a day in Brumaire with a junta led by a Corsican likely will not emerge out of it to save the day. The Democrats will sweep in November, (as abhorrent as the idea is), and after some wrangling the Great Imposter will disappear into one of his estates, heavily guarded but without his Twitter account. And that will be that. The riots will abate in exchange of a wagon of promises by the Dems to remake the U.S. into a Nanny-State-In-Toto. Open borders, universal health care, forgiveness of student debt, defunding the military, and reparation will be on the wagon, maybe even surtax on the rich (albeit calibrated to cause only a shrug.) There will be intense infighting among the Dems, with the GOP completely sidelined (I predict one or two assassinations of some leading GOP figures, after which the Republicans will become the Clueless Party of the Rich on the style of Mitt Romney). The “moderate” Dems will try to re-fashion the more inane planks of the platform which will likely cause new mob urban entertainment. Obscure “Grey Eminences” from the Deep State will run the show with little success. Biden and his heiress-apparent will be largely irrelevant. No counter-revolution will take place, because the Trump base is incapable of organizing around a political program and the fringe militia illiterates appeal to no outsiders. Trump himself sits in the WH only as a witness to the fact that the right-of-center politics in the US collapsed and have no substantive ideas beyond exciting the anti-social part of the electorate. If the Czech president Zeman estimated a one-seventh of the Czech electorate as brain-damaged, in the US it must be a majority. So, in my reckoning, there will be no counter-revolution. The U.S. will simply collapse as just another “granfaloon” (as Kurt Vonnegut predicted).

[5] I love salmon too. I store all of my water from the rainy season in water tanks. I have donated tens of thousands of dollars for creek restoration in my watershed. If you’re worried about water and fish, quit eating beef and supporting the wine industry. Those industries are way more harmful to our watersheds than cannabis. All water for cannabis farms should be stored from the rainy months and liquid fertilizer should be banned for the dry months. Those two steps would make cannabis harmless to the watersheds. Snitching should be a last resort, it’s cowardly!

[6] Re: Congressman Huffman: Even in the time of COVID-19 we cannot get our act together under this duopoly system except for illegal wars and their promotion of bad medical insurance and private companies wanting a tap into public education funds. All with an eye of course of taking the next round of campaign contributions.

U.S. Representatives voting for more military funding when accountability of taxpayer funds is virtually nonexistent. It is now 60% of the entire federal discretionary budget projected with the debt to consume your entire income taxes by 2030 by one Lt. Col.’s estimate.

Then they voted for $3.8 billion a year minimum to the Israeli state so they can put a knee into the neck of people whose lands they want for themselves and bulldoze their homes with little consequences from anyone not to mention killing and maiming protestors.

They voted for Land and Water Conservation funding only when tied to extreme profiting off the offshore drain America first of its resources oil and gas.

They voted for insurance companies to strip seniors of Medicare funds and needed care after a lifetime of work. Try for example to get good known effective treatments for diseases and they side with $300 a pop pillmakers and vaccine makers known by the FDA to place contaminants tumorgenic in with them.

Yes it’s really a mess. We see the rebellion against us and it is not in the streets, it’s in D.C. with their bad Acts. Vote third party with principles and values that are like yours. And give them some time and money at least they are out in front with all the People.

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Let’s be honest. They don’t actually believe they are the master race. They can’t. He can’t. He’s not even the master of that t-shirt. 

This is in Idaho yesterday.

At the root of white supremacy, is actually deep insecurity masquerading as confidence.

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by Grace Yarrow

Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo is changing its name, according to Tamalpais Union High School District officials.

An English explorer, Sir Francis Drake took a large role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and was a slave-owner himself. District officials made the decision to remove Drake’s name to reflect the school’s current values, school officials said.

The name Sir Francis Drake and the school’s mascot, the Pirates, has been a part of the school’s identity for 70 years. Now, the Board of Trustees is considering options for a new name.

The school has already begun removing or covering any symbols on campus pertaining to Drake or the Pirates.

“It is our hope that all sides can be heard and we can move forward with a new name that is unifying and inclusive,” the statement said.

Staff members at the high school began meeting in early June to discuss the name change.

They said that they hope to change more than just the name of the school by also addressing “policies, systems, and behaviors that have led our students and colleagues to feel unsafe, unwelcome, and undervalued.”

There will be three community input sessions on Aug. 12 and 25 and a final meeting on Sept. 8 to discuss the future of the high school’s name. More information will be available on the school district’s web page.

The name change comes as a 30-foot statue of Sir Francis Drake at Larkspur Landing in Marin County was removed July 29.

Officials from the city of Larkspur said they removed the statue in response to “unsafe” planned demonstrations to tear down the statue. The removal is temporary, the city said, while discussions about its future continue.

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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by Joel Ross

It has been quite the year so far, and at this point we have no idea what comes next. Despite all of this, the S&P is flat for the year to date, and Nasdaq is up 15.5%, and 24% for 12 months. In March the Nasdaq hit 6060, and today is at 10,363. Think about this. The entire world economy shut down for a month or more for the first time in world history, there is a pandemic, the US has a civil war of sorts going on and violent attacks in several cities. Crime is out of control in several cities, and yet the stock market is flat. What should we conclude. There is a giant Fed put. The problem is the Fed has now stepped in to save the world in 2008 and in 2020. They have put a floor under the capital markets which, in essence, guarantees when the stock market drops, the Fed will step in and then the market will be rejuvenated by the Fed pushing out trillions of new cash. Bond markets were also bailed out this time, and that eventually included the junk bond market That saved some companies that should have gone out of business-Zombie companies. Efficient free markets do not have Fed bail outs saving poorly run companies. It is bad for the economy long term as it means a misallocation of capital to inefficient uses. It also means an overall distortion of asset values, as near zero rates means capital goes to things that otherwise would not pass the hurdle test. Lastly, it has created the false theory that it is OK for the government to keep borrowing because it is almost free money at such low rates, the theory goes, deficits don't matter. Some also believe the pension crisis I have been forecasting will not happen because it will be able to be financed. I believe that is faulty and dangerous thinking. This works for a while, but one day it does not. It causes inefficiency throughout the economy, and lets governments dig a hole from which they cannot ever get out. Productivity declines as inefficient companies survive. Instead of local and state paring back wasteful spend and excess hiring, they just borrow even more, especially to cover pensions. Japan started this years ago, and we have seen now decades of stalling out. It is a conundrum for the Fed. Congress is useless except for the desperate $2 trillion CARES Act of which there is still $1 Trillion unspent. The government is dysfunctional now, so the Fed had no choice, but one day we will pay a big price. In the meantime it is what is underpinning the stock market, and that will not go away anytime soon. However, if Biden wins with a Dem Senate, the Fed cannot save what will happen with left wing policy that will destroy the economy. There is no possible way to fund all of the policies Biden has already announced without very high taxes on everyone, not just the wealthy, and a deep slashing of the defense budget, and he has just begun.

There is a vast amount of cash looking for a place to be, and the tech stocks is that place. It has become a very crowded trade. However, these companies continue to perform very well, they have huge cash balances to be able to survive anything, and they do not have big hard asset investments. Altering their product is done by some people sitting in a room with computers vs auto companies that must spend millions on factory changes to alter the look of a single model. It costs Amazon tens of millions to build a million sq ft distribution warehouse, but the product flowing through it is not theirs so they do not have to be concerned if the individual product is desired by consumers or not. They are just processors. Their cloud business costs a lot to build a server farm, but then volume just ramps up at little incremental cost to Amazon. The same goes for the other tech companies. They sell brain power and outsource any manufacturing and hard asset investment. Their margins on incremental revenue are huge because the marginal cost of an added customer is nil. Their costs are essentially mostly fixed once a new app or software product is created, or once a new server is added. The business model is great. The negative is it is very hard for a small start up to gain real traction. So often they sell out to the big guys who then have even more control of the social media, advertising, and cloud markets.

The position of the top tech companies is so commanding that they are in a true control position now, which has finally gotten Congress to look at that. The government tried to break up Microsoft once, and that did not go well for the government. I doubt it will be any different this time. If Biden wins and Warren gets her way, it will be a major battle, but I doubt the big companies will lose in the end. Bottom line, tech stocks may be over valued at the moment, but to me they are rock solid financially, and have the ability to continue to grow. They have strong management, and are very flexible to shift products to meet, or even create new demand. The Pandemic just makes them more in demand. You can buy and use their product even more while hunkered down. While ad revenue may take a hit in the slow economy, their overall revenue continues to grow. So, bottom line, while tech stocks might get hit in the short term, their cash on balance sheet, management skill, and ability to create new in demand products with no major capital investment will continue. Even Apple, with a physical product, has such a commanding position, and such a complete software infrastructure, that only Samsung and Microsoft can compete.

I have no idea about Tesla. I have been wrong about that stock all along, and I don't understand the auto business well enough to understand how it will compete effectively against all the others who are bringing out competitive products. I am told they are way ahead of everyone in battery technology, but that is another subject on which I understand less than nothing. Musk seems to me to be one of the greatest geniuses of all time, and maybe that is all it takes, but there is a major risk of what if he dies. It is not the same as Apple and Steve Jobs. There was capable back up management at Apple. Tesla is Musk.

So my conclusion is, at least until the election, the stock market is the place to be. There are no other good choices. If Biden wins, then cash, or maybe gold is the place to be. Paying cap gains taxes will be less than the decline in stock prices, and if you wait until the damage happens, and if you had been a long term holder with a low cost basis, you will still owe some tax plus have lost money. I do not want to own stocks or bonds if Biden wins and the Dems control the Senate. It really means the president is Bernie, and Pelosi runs Congress with Warren running the economy and regulatory agencies, destroying banks, tech companies, other large companies, and likely the real estate business with new environmental regs, restraints on rents and evictions, and a tax regime that will destroy the whole basis of owning real estate assets. They have already laid out the first pass at what they intend, and it is very bad for the economy. Just listen briefly to Warren who would run the economy, and that should be enough to get you to vote for Trump even if you hate the guy. Bernie now says defund the Pentagon. The bar tender from the Bronx wants to end opportunity zones - which area a potential boon to minority communities. China continues to race forward to try to have a more powerful military than the US, and the Dems want to defund the military. Without Trump, the US will be at the mercy of China in a few years.

If you have not realized the impact of the cancel culture, the latest poll shows 62% of all people are afraid to speak up at work. In college it is much worse. A growing number of highly respected professors have been stripped of their classes and ostracized for saying things that are not strictly in line with the orthodoxy of the moment, or which disagree with the actions of others. These people can't be fired due to tenure, but they also do not get to give students any alternate view on any subject because they are no longer teaching regular classes. In several cases their colleagues ostracize them because the other professors are either so far left, or they are afraid to be seen talking to them. Surveys show 95% or more of all professors today rate themselves as left wing or at least very liberal. The result is a loud message to junior professors and students- shut up and go along, or we will crush you. And now this is in corporations where you could lose your job if you say anything that is deemed out of line from the orthodoxy. It is a shame there are few deans or corporate leaders with the willingness to stand up for free speech. And now with the ability to dig back decades for what someone may have written or said, your whole life is subject to attack. They even will go after someone if their spouse posts something that is deemed by the thought police to be bad. Try going to a party in NY, San Fran, Portland or Seattle and say you are for Trump and see what happens. I just had this happen when I was attacked viscously by two of my old fraternity brothers because I made a comment backing free speech on campus, and supporting Amy Wax. I essentially told them to go stick it, and dropped out of a zoom call of the frat group. I can't be intimidated, and don't need to put up with that ignorant crap. In case you wonder what it was like in Germany on 1936, it is here now. If Biden wins and the Dems have control of Congress, you will see this get much worse with new laws that require affirmative action everywhere, and more speech codes, and more requirements in federal contracts for affirmative hiring. Merit will no longer be the criteria as is the case in many places already.

If Obama was president, and he said everyone has got to go back to school, the teachers union would say OK, instead now they are sacrificing the kids to try to achieve political ends. With the teachers, the kids are just pawns and collateral damage. The science is clear, the kids will suffer a lot of damage if not back in school. Almost none will get infected. The Dems say Trump is not listening to the scientists when it comes to the virus, but when the teachers union says no school unless they get more money, then science has no place.

The carnage in cities goes on, and it is all blacks who are getting shot. If there were as many soldiers in Afghanistan getting shot in one week as people in just Chicago, the press would be in an uproar, and Trump would be under attack. But what do we hear from Dems--- Federal law enforcement are storm troopers, secret police, gestapo, and go away. All of the anti-cop rhetoric just encourages the violence since they know the Dem mayors, governors and Pelosi have their back. So instead of getting help to stop the mass murders of blacks, and little kids getting killed, and communities being war zones, they attack Trump and the Federal cops. And then they wonder why kids growing up in these gang ridden dangerous localities don't learn and progress like white kids. They make cops the bad guys, but say nothing about the shooters who are killing so many people, and rioters who destroy local businesses, including black owned shops. They support the rioters in Portland and Seattle. The real question in Portland is - why does the city not send in the local cops to stop this. They just stand by and the mayor joins in and encourages it. Now there is even the use of explosive devices in several cities. But do you hear Pelosi or Schumer say anything other than attacks on Trump. It is hard to wrap your brain around this insanity. The more there are violent riots, the more the little ladies in the suburbs are going to get scared and vote for Trump.

Pay attention this week to announcements by Graham and Nunes. Brookings Institute and Perkins Coie, are among several who are in line for having information come out over the next month that will not be good for them. It is now clear that Mueller was just a mannequin that was stood up to front for what was a phony investigation. He did not even know who Fusion GPS was when he testified before Congress, yet they were a key player in all this. It is unclear if Mueller recalls his own name. Durham will be coming out in a few weeks, and you will be horrified by what is revealed. Indictments will be flowing. Maria Bartiromo has been the best reporter on all of this. Watch her shows week days and Sunday morning.

When you consider Biden recall Obama said the US is not exceptional, and his apology tour. Remember his famous line, "you did not build that". Biden just said the exact same thing. If you are a business owner who built a business with great effort and sacrifices, just recall that line and who said it.

I am reading a book about what really went on in the white House in 1939-41. FDR was responsible for thousands of deaths in London because he refused to lift a finger to do anything to help, other than promise but not deliver. It was the same for his refusal to help the Jews. In fact FDR was a terrible leader in the early stages of the war and his inactions led to maybe millions of deaths that might have been prevented. He refused to lead and explain to the country why we should not be isolated. FDR as portrayed by many is a myth.

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  1. George Hollister August 4, 2020

    David Severn, the question is what are you going to do? That same question should be asked of everyone who has a large enough concern about systemic racism and police brutality. Demonstrating, taking a knee, blaming others has it’s limits demonstrated by the history of those activities in the last 30 years. My suggestion is go live in areas where these problems exist. Not Mendocino County. Become a cop. Become a member of the community in these areas. Learn, live, and act. Complaining from afar has little or no meaning.

    America was not made great by complainers. It was made great by people who went out and dedicated their lives to actively make matters better.

  2. Marshall Newman August 4, 2020

    Rest easy, Milla Handley. You will be missed.

  3. James Marmon August 4, 2020


    “Are you aware that the Chair of the Measure B committee also chairs the Boards of Directors of: NAMI, Redwood Community Services, Inc. and Manzanita Services Inc., resulting in potential for conflicts of interest?”

    -Sonya Nesch

    Yes I am., I’ve commented about it several times in the last 8 months but no one here on the AVA felt it was important but me. I’m glad to see that there is a little war going on among NAMI members, it’s healthy.

    James Marmon MSW


    ‘do yourself a favor, ask questions, think for yourself, and evolve’

    • H. H. Heller August 4, 2020

      “IF YOU ELECT to join the herd you are immune. To be accepted and appreciated you must nullify yourself, make yourself indistinguishable from the herd. You may dream, if you dream alike. But if you dream something different, [you will not accepted].”

      — Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn (1938)

      The root cause of mental illness.

    • James Marmon August 4, 2020

      I didn’t think everyone would be happy about measure b money being wasted on a multi-million dollar 4 bedroom house next door to the Schraeders when there are all kinds of empty buildings and houses available. A CRT can be an ordinary house just like some of those group homes Camille owns and operates. She is already using a home in Redwood Valley as a CRT, even though they keep that pretty much under wraps. When they do refer to it they call it something else, but it’s a CRT, how else could they bill Medi-Cal for Specialty Mental Health Services? Miller and Moschetti are cooking up a scheme that satisfies both Angelo and the Schraeders. Angelo will do anything to make sure her “Privatization” of mental health is a success. Her reputation depends on it.

      It’s nice to see that Sonya has regained some mental clarity and is now able to see the big picture as it is. She had pretty much been in the Schraeder camp in the past, which requires blinders.

      James Marmon MSW

  4. Cotdbigun August 4, 2020

    David Severen, just wondering if you have any suggestions?
    In 2019 I had 330 million blackberries on my place and mixed in
    were 15 rotten ones (disgusting, foul, just awful, the worst of the worst). Do I declare the whole patch to be systematically rotten and eradicate it , even though 50 years ago I had hundreds if not thousands of rotten ones, or do i continue with the ongoing improvements?

    • Bob Abeles August 4, 2020

      “If you are cultivating blackberries, you are most certainly doing it wrong.”

      –Somebody’s Grandpa

      • Bruce McEwen August 4, 2020

        When it comes to fault-finding, the best policy is to confess your own, as candidly and bluntly as you would assess somebody else’s.

        –Grandpa McEwen’s Compendium of Epigrams No. cmic

  5. James Marmon August 4, 2020


    The County’s recent urgency to reform the Pot Permit Program is a big laugh, who are they trying to kid? They knew as far back as 18 months ago that their CEQA was inadequate and chose to ignore it so that they could bilk more legacy growers out of their money and eventually tell them to f**k off. This was in reference to the the last deadline, before it was extended. So what’s the rush now? just get another extension

    From MCT: Tuesday, February 26, 2019


    Subject: CalCannabis

    This happened this morning….

    So…..a very interesting call with CalCannabis this morning. Mendocino County (as in our local government & Ag Dept.) are very uncooperative. The Mendocino Co. CEQA provided is incomplete & does not meet the state requirements. Mendocino Co. has responded that they will not spend any additional $$ to complete properly. In lieu submit your license or provisional.

    Mendocino County won’t provide a list of Approved Applicants. We were asked what is going on in Mendocino County?

    In reference to CDFW plz submit receipt and copy of application if possible.

    The representative stated we are hearing from a lot of individuals referring to corruption & the Mendocino Mafia…. So this is our reputation with this state agency. Hopefully our new Board members will address these issues.

    James Marmon MSW

    • James Marmon August 4, 2020

      Take the above comment and plug it into today BoS discussion, they go together. I’m the one who forwarded the email to the AVA 18 months ago. Also I like how McCowen is acting like he didn’t know, Brown is taking the 5th, and “Silent Dan” may have just found his voice.


  6. Bruce McEwen August 4, 2020

    I spent the weekend in Chico where a minister of the Universalist-Unitarian non-denominational faith brought me up to speed on the proper use of the current phrase, “Systemic Racism.” The minister said that if she were to come to me and tell me I was a racist, whether I knew it or not, that I would then turn sullen and the conversation would be done; but if she were to tell me that our whole system was racist, I would say tell me more.

    This all seemed reasonable but didn’t quite go far enough in the desired direction. And I suspect Dave may have gotten in a bit over his head by pointing the indignant finger of shame at our esteemed Editor-In-Chief, instead of cataloging his own shortcomings in that regard.

  7. Lazarus August 4, 2020


    Hey look Honey, we’re in the AVA…!

    Be Swell,

  8. James Marmon August 4, 2020


    I found it interesting that one of the biggest hold ups is John McCowen’s “sensitive species” requirement. The State doesn’t require one. The Board will have to amend the ordinance for the section to be removed. That is one of the stumbling blocks. Growers have to prove to the State that the requirement has been met, and they can’t. Whether of not the County can gear up staff enought and review all 800 sites within the next 18 months will be the biggest question, otherwise it has to come out of the ordinance.

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