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Mendocino County Today: February 9, 2012

A UKIAH MAN, whose name hasn’t been released, is being treated for rabies after he tried to nurse a sick bat back to health. There hasn’t been a rabies case in Mendocino County since 2008, probably because most country people know that if otherwise nocturnal critters are staggering around like they’re drunk during daylight hours they are probably rabid. Domestic cats are the creatures most often infected with rabies because they are most likely to come into contact with rabid wild things — skunks, bats and foxes, which is why you should vaccinate your cat against the disease.

THE LATEST BUG to throw Mendocino County grape growers into a tiz is the European grapevine moth (EGVM). According to the USDA, 100,959 adult moths were found in California in 2010, including 36 in Mendocino County. In 2011, only 143 were found statewide, a 99.9 percent reduction over the previous year.

NONE OF THE YURP moths were found in Mendocino County last year, meaning the Hopland area escaped a quarantine and Ukiah may have its lifted. A quarantine means all “movement and handling of grapes” is strictly regulated. To battle the moths, growers and their Ag Department helpers, put up 2,000 traps in vineyard areas along with “pheromone confusion” traps, which emit the scent that female moths use to attract male moths. And, in a couple of instances, vineyards were sprayed.

A DECADE or so ago the Glassy Wing Sharpshooter allegedly menaced the vineyards. We advertised for mating pairs of the ravenous little beasties hoping to retard the conversion of Mendocino County’s hills and dales to grapes, but no one seemed to have any for sale and, as it turned out, they were also invisible in the vineyards (although lots of taxpayer dollars were wasted looking for them).

LA DI DAH propaganda aside, the wine industry is a chemically dependent, industrial enterprise heavily reliant on cheap immigrant labor, for whom, the labor that is, the industry assumes virtually no responsibility. The wine biz is often a major tax write-off for mostly wealthy people who seem to get major thrills holding their wine glasses up to their cocaine-numbed nostrils. The industry also gets a lot of tax-funded assistance from Ag departments and grape gofers at places like UC Extension in Hopland.

CALIFORNIA’S Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, has given no explanation for omitting two of the four Peace and Freedom Party presidential candidates from the primary ballot, but here’s the explanation: it’s all part of an ongoing effort to exclude third parties from the Corporate Two Party Super Bowl every two and four years. Peace and Freedom Party State Chair C.T. Weber of Sacramento P&F calls the latest assault on what’s left of our fragged democracy "unlawful," and the omitted candidates are protesting the decision.

IN THE CANDIDATE’S LIST announced Monday night, Bowen included Stewart Alexander and Rocky Anderson on the ballot, but Peta Lindsay and Stephen Durham — the socialist candidates — were left off.  Weber was unable to get an explanation for the omission when he went to the Secretary of State's Sacramento office the next  day.

IT DOESN’T TAKE lots of computers

To count the glassy-winged sharpshooters

The numbers are so low

That even McGourty would know

That it’s better to count the polluters


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