MY DATE WITH DEB
Late on February 6th Secretary of State Debra Bowen's office released her list of candidates for President of the United States who would appear on the primary election ballots of the various parties in the presidential preference section. Breaking the precedent of the previous 36 years, this list for the first time omits many or most of the candidates reported to her by the state chairs of some of the political parties, including two of the four candidates that I reported to her were found by our State Executive Committee to be serious seekers of the Peace and Freedom Party nomination. (While Stewart Alexander and Rocky Anderson were listed, Stephan Durham and Peta Lindsay were omitted.)
Visiting her office yesterday, I found that her staff was determined to keep secret the criteria used by the Secretary of State in selecting her choices for the ballot, refused to tell me who attended the meeting at which the criteria were determined, refused to tell me whether Bowen was present at that meeting, and refused to justify in any way her omission of candidates who are clearly serious about obtaining the Peace and Freedom Party nomination, and generally considered serious candidates by party activists (and by their opponents). I was told, to my astonishment, that Bowen could list any names she pleased without any logical criteria at all. This is not what it says in the elections code.
In fact, the Elections Code (section 6720) states that the Secretary of State shall include the names of candidates recognized throughout California as active candidates for the Peace and Freedom Party nomination for President. All four of the names submitted are in fact those of candidates who are recognized, and have some support, from all areas of California, as well as various other parts of the country. This may not be apparent from reports in the commercial media, but Peace and Freedom Party activists have never depended on the commercial media for their information about presidential candidacies, as the commercial media rarely mention our candidates at all. The publications of various groups on the left, the blogs and websites and e-mail lists used by those on the left to communicate with each other, and communication at meetings and rallies through word-of-mouth and leaflets, are the “media” used by Peace and Freedom members to learn about the various candidates who seek our presidential nomination.
It appears possible that the Secretary of State may have unlawfully developed a list of criteria for selecting recognized candidates that is the same for candidates in all parties. In fact, the criteria in the election code differ for each party. For example, coverage in the news media is a legal criterion in the American Independent Party (EC section 6520), but is purposely omitted in the Peace and Freedom Party section of the code. Qualifying for funding under the Federal Elections Campaign Act is included in the criteria for the Democratic Party (EC section 6041), but is purposely omitted in the Peace and Freedom Party section of the code. The unjustifiable secrecy being maintained around the Secretary of State's list of criteria may conceal the mistaken and unlawful development of a common list of criteria for all parties, and if this is the case, the Secretary of State should come clean, and admit the mistake, while adding the improperly omitted candidates to the list for the ballot.
The Elections Code (section 6721) provides that the Secretary of State shall ask the State Chair and the County Chairs of the Peace and Freedom Party for information regarding presidential candidates, and states that any information they wish to submit “will be considered by the Secretary of State.” In fact, in 2012, the Secretary of State failed to make this request of the various County Chairs, although their names and contact information are available to her, and obviously failed to consider the information submitted by the State Chair on behalf of the State Executive Committee of the party. This is not a choice available to the Secretary of State under the law, but is a lapse and a failure to follow the law.
While those omitted may circulate petitions among Peace and Freedom Party voters to have their names added, this is a serious burden that is not supposed to be imposed on generally recognized candidates. It is highly unfair to list two of the recognized candidates, but force the other two of them to put in substantial work and money to obtain the primary ballot access the first two have without this work and expenditure.
The Elections Code (section 6722) states that the Secretary of State may add to her announced selections after the announcement is made. I strongly urge Secretary of State Bowen to consider the information now being submitted to her office to demonstrate that all four of the candidates reported to her by our party as serious candidates are indeed serious candidates, and announce at the earliest possible date the addition of the two omitted candidates to the list of those who will appear on the ballot.
I further urge Secretary of State Bowen, who was elected and re-elected as the candidate who would make the functioning of her office more transparent, to release her criteria for selecting candidates for the presidential preference primary, the names of those present when those criteria were developed, and how those criteria were used to select two but omit two others on the list submitted by the Peace and Freedom Party's elected leadership.
C.T. Weber, California State Chair,
Peace and Freedom Party
A fellow who is doing time, makes a lousy Valentine.
For surely no girl wants a mate who cannot take her on a date.
Whose promise of connubial bliss, is never vouchsafed with a kiss.
And never rushes, footsteps fleeting, to long anticipated meetings.
So, rather than romantic stuff that only would invite rebuff
I'll bring my doggerel to an end and dedicate it “to a friend.”
PS. To my fellow internees: please feel free to plagiarize this little ditty: you're going to anyway.
WHO BETTER THAN…?
At the Point Arena School Board Meeting held February 8th there were agenda items I wanted clarification on which were given to Board President Nick Scanlon-Hill prior to the meeting. So, when it came to Item C-4: “Accept the Point Arena School Measure E Bond Audit Report for the 2010-2011 School Year” which I wanted clarification on, I was informed by Hill that no comments or questions can be asked once it is on the consent agenda and the board passed the agenda “as is.” Thus, the board approved everything on the consent agenda without questions.
Hopefully, the taxpayers will be able to obtain an answer regarding the above “audit report.” The Measure E Bond was passed by the taxpayers in 2003 with the district receiving $3.7 million. By January, 2011 the Gualala School Bond had dwindled to $1,848,250. Also, January 2011, the board approved returning this stated amount to taxpayers. The above amount was returned, after deducting defeasance costs of $33,500 to retire the bond.
However, an “audit report” performed by Christy White states, “The Citizens’ Oversight Committee has been disbanded, as of June 30, 2011, due to a defeasance of bonds in the fiscal year of 2010-2011 of $1,615,000.” My question was simple — where is the rest of the money, $237,250? Taxpayers deserve an answer and, perhaps, you may have better luck than I.
My next agenda item of concern was under “Discussion with Action” (Item 7.1) stating, “Approval of the MOU between Point Arena Schools and AT Construction to provide Project Management Support for the feasibility study of adding a portable at Arena Union Elementary. (Cost $55 per hour plus mileage at IRS rate).” However, what was actually in the board packet (the public is permitted to go over the board packet prior to the meeting which I do each month) was not a “feasibility study” but actually a “Statement of Agreement” between the district and AT Construction for bringing in a new classroom (modular unit) and setting it up. I explained to the board that I did not understand how it was possible to have a contract in the board packet (again, not a feasibility report) without any prior discussion regarding the need. I went on to state, “Someone had to authorize AT Construction to send them a contract. … They wouldn’t just do it on their own.”
There was no public notice in the local paper for local contractors to bid on this project (a local contractor, Joe Riboli, actually came to a board meeting a few years ago and requested the board consider local contractors when bids are needed on district projects). The one and only bid they received was from AT Construction out of Albion. The owner’s wife actually sits on the Facilities Committee at the district. I told them I believe this to be a conflict of interest because the owner’s wife does receive (at least when ex-superintendent Iacauniello was in office she did) reimbursement expenses and it is not just merely volunteering to serve on a committee.
I believe there had to be “serial meetings” (this is illegal per Brown Act Law 54952.2 b) regarding this contract for it to be in a board packet for approval without first going through the “feasibility study,” prior discussions or public notice for bids. Hill stated, “thank you” and moved on with the meeting. Trustee Sandoval stated that there should be “a cap” on this contract and it should not be “open ended.” Wow, do you think? This will be back on the agenda next month.
Then came a teacher wanting to comment on an action item regarding her employment at South Coast which is about to be eliminated. Hill allowed her to comment but only after stating that he “did not have to take comments or questions” it was his “prerogative” to do so. I’m not sure whatever happened to Brown Act Law 54944.2 (b) which clearly states, “the public must be given the opportunity to comment before or during the legislative body’s consideration of the item.” Yet, not one board member stepped up and said a word. Not even Trustee Susan Sandoval who was very quick to scold a young reporter from the Independent Coast Observer who tried to ask the elementary school principal, Paula Patterson, a question duly informing the reporter it was not the time to ask questions and should do so after the meeting.
This amazes me. Just when I believed there was NO WAY the Point Arena School Board could possibly get any worse, it does. Perhaps, Nick Scanlon Hill was not in attendance at the illegally held “Special Meeting Board Superintendent/Retreat” in January. It was illegal because the board combined a “Special Meeting” with a “Board Retreat.” At this meeting under Section 5 (the retreat part of the meeting), County Superintendent of Schools Paul Tichinin “reviewed Brown Act.” This in and of itself is truly laughable because the County superintendent is at an illegal meeting reviewing Brown Act Law?! Obviously, Tichinin needs to be going to a refresher course himself and not instructing a board in a Law he does not follow or enforce.
First and foremost what this board should have reviewed is they work for the public and not the other way around — Law 54950: ‘The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them.” The board didn’t pass this one! “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know.” They didn’t pass this one either. “The people insist on remaining informed to retain control over the legislative bodies they have created.” Sorry, they really got this one wrong. It also states in this policy declaration, “It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.” They blew this one big time! In other words “Serial Meetings” are illegal. The community does have the right to speak on action items. They should welcome open communication with the public.
If a board cannot seem to get the Brown Act Law under control perhaps if they just listened and learned from the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag said prior to each and every board meeting “with liberty and justice for all” they just might be able to conduct themselves accordingly. Now the question is, Do you think they could learn those six small but powerful words and the meaning of them?
Truthfully, I am much better off not being on a board that continually ignores State law and gets away with it. I couldn’t live with myself and, truthfully, I am not sure how they do.
California’s state park system was established in 1926. Ranging from San Onofre State Beach in Southern California to Del Norte Redwoods in the north, California’s 270 state parks include historic treasures such as California’s missions, Fort Ross and our first state Capitol, as well as natural wonders like Lake Tahoe, the redwood forests and Castle Crags. Our parks provide summer vacation sites for families, as well as destinations for tourists from all over the world.
Our parks belong to the people, and the people have loved them and invested time and money in them. While I applaud The Press Democrat’s support for keeping our state parks open (“State parks need allies mot rivalries,” Sunday), I am dismayed that The Press Democrat fails to recognize the real problem: the state is actively undermining ongoing negotiations with local nonprofits.
Nonprofit supporters were in the process of developing operating agreements for several beloved North Coast parks — Hendy Woods, Russian Gulch, Standish-Hickey, Westport Union Landing, Austin Creek and Sugarloaf Ridge. Local citizens were actively engaged in developing these operating agreements to save their local parks. However, the state has delayed its negotiations with these nonprofits, while at the same time developing requests for proposals aimed at private, for-profit companies.
Fortunately, the state backed off its proposal to privatize 11 parks in their entirety after being faced with stiff opposition from myself and others and with increased media scrutiny. However, the state is proceeding to seek bids for concessions from for-profit companies to take over some operations in these parks.
The terms of the state’s requests for proposal are nebulous. The criteria have yet to be made public. What we do know, however, is that the state is seeking only a minimum of 3 percent of the revenues — an alarming and indefensibly low share. Administrating and overseeing the concession agreements will likely cost taxpayers more than 3 percent. On the other hand, non-profits signing operating agreements with the state are required to return 100 percent of their revenues to the parks. Obviously, this undermines the ability of nonprofits to compete with for-profit bids. Nonprofits are rightly concerned that well-financed private concessionaires can carve out the most profitable concessions, making it impossible for the nonprofits to earn enough to sustain their operations.
For years, I have been fighting proposals to close and privatize our parks because we fail all Californians when we sell off our state’s most important, most iconic assets. The purpose of a for-profit company is to maximize profits.
According to the website of the state Department of Parks and Recreation, the mission of our state park system is “to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.” Privatization raises a host of important issues, including commercialization of natural spaces, as well as transparency and accountability. Privatization challenges the very mission of our state park system.
I am dedicated to the long-term challenge of restoring sufficient funding for our parks. I am working on several pieces of legislation that seek to delay the closure of state parks and find a sustainable source of funding for them.
As a lifelong Californian, I have always enjoyed the magic and majesty of our beautiful parks. Five generations of my family has camped every year for more than 50 years at Standish-Hickey State Park. Never, in the long history of our state have we closed a state park — not even during the Great Depression. We should all work together to prevent closure of these state treasures and to keep them in public hands.
But, when state bureaucrats privatize our public parks without public participation and oversight, they place yet another lock on the gate.
Noreen Evans, California State Senator
I very much enjoyed Marcy Fleming's ranting against “old left agitprop,” “blackophilism and political correctness,” and “brain-dead lib-dems who haven't had a new idea since 1932.”
However, I must disagree with her on a few points.
I don't think it's fair to call FDR a war monger. Of course, I am biased, as Hitler clearly planned to enslave my father's people, the British, and to exterminate my mother's people, the Russian Jews. But Hitler also planned to build eventually both nuclear bombs and long-range missiles. Hitler ruling Europe and possessing nuclear weapons when we didn't yet have them could have been a real threat. It also may have been wise for Harry Truman to take steps to keep that other big monster, Stalin, out of Western Europe and Japan. Certainly all our presidents since LBJ have engaged in purely unnecessary war mongering.
I also disagree with Ms. Fleming that though drugs should be legal they are all, including pot, “not good.” Every human culture except the Eskimos at one time abused alcohol (even Muslims and Mormons have widespread cheating), and nearly every culture has used at least one other drug. (The Aztecs used five.) Aside from coffee and tea, pot is the most benevolent.
And finally I can't agree with Ms. Fleming about Ayn Rand. Rand's economic views, so deeply loathed by liberals, are more or less right, but she was also a fanatic atheist and hated all forms of religion and she had a weird sort of sexual mysticism. She said who we sleep with reflects our deepest values. I think we've made some bad choices in that area.
People who feel sorry for poor Mitt Romney because Newt Gingrich picks on him sound insane to me. I'm only for Newt now because I know he'll lose to Obama, and the devil we know for another four years may be the lesser evil. I couldn't bear eight years of Mitt. He'd probably be exactly like all our other presidents for 30 years, chosen by the unholy alliance of Wall Street and our supposedly liberal media, but eight years of that false smile would be torture. And for God's sake let's not have a Mormon! Yes, I went there!
Michael Bear Carson
PS. “The one state solution” means the death of Israel due to the higher Arab birthrates. I agree with Ron Paul that America doesn't need to give Israel a penny of money, but to stop criticizing her. Jews three times in 13 years were entirely driven out of our country and three times returned.
PATCHES OR BADGE?
Regarding the Valley People in the Feb. 8 edition of the AVA, I would like to make some clarifications and corrections.
The “fellow called Stringbean,” my son Michael, was using a shared driveway to egress our property in Navarro on January 22, 2012, not on December 24, 2011 as stated in the paper.
The dog called Patches was known in Navarro as Badge.
Shortly after moving to our present location in November-December of 2010 I was attacked and bitten by Badge, treated with a tetanus shot and was bandaged and at the Anderson Valley Health Center. In the interest of neighborly harmony I chose not to report this attack which also occurred while I was using my driveway. Her house is right next to the common driveway.
The people at the Anderson Valley Health Center who treated me after this first bite urged me to report the incidents and have the dog put down.
In the year following Badge attacked my son and his dog on two occasions while he was using our communal driveway.
In September of 2011, the pitbull, Badge, came onto our property and attacked my son's dog again.
The owner of Badge continued to keep this dangerous animal unrestrained, off-leash and uncaged.
The day of the attack on Michael in February, Badge's owner, Pam Cartwright, came running over with bandages and hydrogen peroxide. I can only assume she had them readily available. She announced, “I'm taking him to the pound.”
When my son was treated at the Ukiah hospital, the treating physician told him that it was the worst dog bite he had seen.
I was ready to let this pass again in the hopes of neighborly harmony, the same hope which kept me from reporting all previous attacks by this obviously dangerous animal. The very next day after the attack on my son I was in my yard next to my truck when Pam exited her residence accompanied by Badge, off leash again, and he charged at me. I yelled, “That's it! I'm calling Animal Control!” and I ran for my house.
I do not know the reasons for these attacks. It could be that the dog reacted badly when I was near Pam's house and called her name before the first attack. Badge is simply an unrestrained dangerous dog which the owner chooses not to deal with.
Animal Control was called on January 22, 2012, the day of the attack on my son. They responded on January 23. The Animal Control officer knocked on the dog owner's door and received no response besides a barking dog inside. The officer called me the next day and asked me if I would be willing to testify. And I said I would. I assume that sometime after that she was notified by the officer and she turned the dog over to Animal Control.
I am very sorry that she has lost a beloved pet. I feel deeply for her. But I consider her to be an irresponsible pet owner who failed to take responsibility for the danger that this animal obviously represented. Most of the time the dog stayed in her house, but whenever she let it outside, it was unfenced, off leash, unrestrained and dangerous. There are no outdoor restraints.
I have tried to get along with Ms. Cartwright by being courteous and neighborly, but she always reacts coldly toward me.
I'm getting ready to exercise my right as an American citizen to not vote. You always hear, “If you don't vote, you can't complain.” On the contrary, I most certainly can. No one I've ever voted for won. Considering the state of politics as it's been since I came of age, there is no question that I was right. And being right today, along with $2.00 or more, will get me a cup of coffee. The price of coffee has gone up, the quality of politicians has gone down. Otherwise nothing has changed.
Romney is little more than a Ken doll with a string in the back, a Chatty Cathy for the 21st century. Pull the string and he makes the same speech again. Although, he may be emptier than a talking doll. At least it has a mechanism inside.
Peggy Shaw writes:
“I don’t vote because I don’t believe They (whoever They are) really count the votes. It’s an exercise in futility, designed to make people think they have a say about which bozo gets elected.”
She adds: “As Chatty Cathy aged, her record began to wear out and she talked more and more slowly in an ever-deepening voice. Finally, she couldn’t talk at all. Too bad that won’t happen to the politicians.”
We will be called apathetic by some. But there is so much to be apathetic about.
I read Bruce McEwen's article with interest on “The Little Ladies of the Hatchet” and felt like I was in the courtroom experiencing another episode of Harry's Law. To someone not there the apparent injustice done to Maricruz who was only defending her child from the nortenos could be puzzling.
Mr. McEwen's omission that prosecutor Stoen proved the altercations occurred at least two blocks from the Jeep negating a defense posture plus Mericruz told a coworker at Safeway that she did indeed take a hatchet to Ms. Colter would have better informed your readers and corrected his blatant underreporting of the full trial.
All the facts, all the time.
Bruce McEwen replies: Yours is a unique reading of the story, which in no way so much as implies that Maricruz is innocent. As you say, and as I said in my piece, Maricruz's claim that she took a hatchet to "Fort Bragg's dominant female" to defend her infant son was belied by the fact that Maricruz turned her vehicle around to deliberately confront her enemies, then chased Dom Fem down the street two blocks from where the undefended infant sat out the ensuing mayhem in mom's car. As our grandmothers might have said, “So sad. They have such pretty faces.”
RURAL COMMUNITY COLLAPSE
The headlines announce another lumber mill closure, idling 200 workers. From San Diego to Sacramento the general consensus is, “so what?” Los Angeles loses three times that many jobs in a normal week. What's the big deal with a mere 200 jobs?
The “big deal” is that whenever anyone loses a job through no fault of their own it should be news. The crisis created for workers and their families is real and frequently tragic. Numerous studies have documented that unemployment is associated with increased marital problems (including divorce), suicide, substance abuse and crime.
These symptoms occur in Palo Alto as well as in Fort Bragg. When individuals are subject to extreme stresses and economic uncertainty they do not always adopt ideal coping strategies. When an individual's occupation has been their primary linkage to the community and principal source of social connectedness, it is even more difficult to deal with job loss since more has been lost than economic security.
As difficult as job loss is for any worker it is more difficult when an entire community is disrupted. The scope and scale of economic loss is what differentiates the consequences of 200+ jobs in a timber dependent community from 2000 lost jobs in San Francisco.
When the single largest employer in a timber community shuts down, what is lost is not only the job, but the community's entire economic reason for existence. When 33% to 75% of a community's wages are lost, the very future of the community is placed in serious jeopardy. It is not possible for a dislocated woodworker to hop on the number six bus and get a job across town. There are not many jobs across town to get and usually no public transportation system to get them there.
What occurs when rural communities face massive economic dislocation is that every aspect of life in that town is adversely affected. The value of homes in the community drops by about 50% placing many families in extreme debt. The family can either default on their mortgage or, if they're extremely lucky, sell their home for a price close to what they still owe the bank.
As the economic driven dispersal accelerates the basic infrastructure of the town begins to disintegrate. Usually a grocery store will close, followed by the exodus of the community medical clinic, branch bank offices, and various other retail and service businesses.
Within six months, the largest source of income for the community becomes some combination of unemployment insurance checks, food stamps, and/or Social Security. Funding for local government and schools drops dramatically. In short, the entire community is thrown into crisis.
For many workers their entire vision of the future is abruptly disrupted. No longer can their children expect to graduate from high school, get a job in the mill, knowing that at least in the union mills every year they would get a raise, gain increased job seniority, have fully paid health insurance and be able to raise a family in a wholesome and healthy community environment free from crime, pollution and and congestion as had their parents and grandparents. A way of life and entire communities with traditional social structures cease to exist exactly at the time that the workers and their families need the support these institutions and relationships used to be able to provide.
In urban areas it is rare for such a high percentage of workers, incomes and families to be in crisis at one time. This in no way diminishes the pain or hardship these workers face. It does however help place in perspective the quantitative difference facing rural communities and dislocated workers throughout Northern California.
So the next time the headlines announce another rural mill closure, spend a second or two contemplating the loss, not only for the workers and their families, but for a way of life that once formed the very backbone of this country.
I was so pissed off by Pamela Aylen‘s letter (AVA, January 25) calling one of the most magnificent cities in the world the “Big Empty” that I wrote pages and pages praising urban living (San Francisco and nearby cities) and then realized I should just run a list by you of the pros: Baseball; theater, dance, live music and comedy; first run foreign and independent films on big screens (at our local theater you can enjoy wine/beer and pretty good food while you watch); chances to see favorite speakers in person rather than on You Tube, and with wacky Bay Area audiences (in the past few months: Peter Singer, Sam Harris, Richard Wolff (!!!), Thomas Frank, and coming this month, Michio Kaku, and Dave Zirin in March) (Alex C., where are you?) (and we buy our tickets at independent bookstores still doing fine in the Bay Area) ; five (5!) great pools within!) to enjoy: Chinese, S. Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin, Indian (for fresh, cheap spices); easy access to excellent medical care for older folk: Lifelong Medical Care is a Bay Area treasure, especially its Over 60 Clinic in Berkeley; AND, great art IF you know where to look: not museums, but small galleries and neighborhood venues like the Richmond Art Center, Pro Arts where hundreds of studios around the Bay are open to the public twice a year, and First Fridays in Oakland, which are like multi block parties of openings.
“Empty”?? Empty? I’ve lived in the “Country” and in several cities and for me there is no contest. The “City” is minutes from many Bay sites where you can sit (on shore or in a kayak) and contemplate the beauty of the water, the sky, the bridges, and gorgeous San Francisco lit up and floating on the horizon like Oz. Which it is!
People devoid of wonder, curiosity, appreciation for the diversity, the color, the rhythm of city life should never leave their bucolic Big Empties. Stay the hell home and don’t add to our traffic!
PS. We and friends only have cell phones for emergencies; being wired and plugged in is generational, not geographical.)
FLYING UNDER THE GAYDAR
My youtube video SINGING TOILET MAN exposed not only homophobia but deliberate mental anguish against a senior, a misdemeanor in California. My latest experience is a target for the computer dating site justhookup.com.which you can check for yourself the many times I was contacted. firstname.lastname@example.org, plunger4u is password for both my emails as well as logging in to justhookup. At age 75, naturally I wasn't expecting anybody to be physically or romantically interested but hoped to make some new friends locally. As you can see, stiff-meister asked for a photo and then there is the message he liked my photo. This really surprised me that a handsome young man had expressed further interest. Up to that point, jh had not suckered me into buying a membership. But to respond, I had to pay $10.95 for a month's membership, which I did. I kept getting generic responses from stiff-meister and a couple other “local” guys but NONE of them answered any of my questions. In checking other profiles, one guy said, “This is fake! I'm outta here.” Then I realized he was right and kept doing a jh log-in just to confirm it.
When I googled Gay Dating Scams I learned that generic responses can be generated from anywhere in the world and that computer dating scams is a million and possibly a billion dollar rip off in the straight community as well .I certainly got an education in that respect and encourage all LGBT people to do likewise. If anybody knows of any legitimate ones, I appreciate their feedback. A couple questions asked by jh was what was your most exciting sexual experience and what is your favorite sex toy, both of which I ignored, but could be very embarrassing for those who were very explicit.
My ongoing struggle began a year ago. Lowell D. Houser, D.C., my life partner of 46 years, and I were married July 25, 2008 and tobacco claimed another victim when he left me still gasping for one more breath August 16, 2008. Lowell was a 33rd Degree Mason and received his 50 year pin from them. Both Lowell and his father had contributed financially as well as serving in various capacities with the Masons. Legally I am entitled by my rights as a widow to receive financial assistance from the Masons since that is one of their pledges. If I was a woman, there should have been NO hesitation in coming to my assistance. My letter addressed to the Phoenix Lodge and a copy sent to Joseph Alfano III officially requesting it to be presented to their Board of Directors for financial assistance have been completely ignored! As a result of this neglect, I didn't even have enough money for a security deposit and was homeless for over three months with my vehicle for shelter. When I met Molly McKay, ex-wife of Davina Kotulski, author of LOVE WARRIORS, she said she felt they could help me with the Masons, but I've never had any response from her and don't have any contact information.
www.bilerico.com has my story in Dr. Kitolski's BEGGING FOR EQUALITY and still leaves me begging for help.
If I live long enough, which is doubtful, I will tell my life story as a pioneer in the gay movement in FLYING UNDER THE GAYDAR. Brokeback Mountain was no exaggeration and you could easily be arrested for even being in a gay bar when I was 21. I will also be sharing about further discrimination against me in my blog, SINGING FOR MY SUFFER and why I did SINGING TOILET MAN, GLENAKI and GLENAKI SINGS STAR OF THE EAST on youtube.
If you read a recent front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spiderweb of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around as she was thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude. I pass this on to you, my friends, in the same spirit.
FROM BAJA WITH LOVE
Neva and Kent arrived in Baja California on December 9, 2011 after a two and one half day trip by car from Anderson Valley. The sun was shining, the ocean was blue but the temperature was lower than usual, especially at night. Almost like the weather we left in the valley. Neva has had a home down here in a gated complex called Las Gaviotas (the Gulls) for over 30 years. It's located on the Pacific side of Baja a few miles south of Rosarito and about one hour drive from the US/Mexican border. The Baja peninsula extends from the US border south about 800 miles to the tip at Cabo San Lucas with the Pacific on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the east which separates it from the mainland of Mexico.
Mexico is rich in history and the Baja peninsula is no exception. Before the Spanish arrived, the Baja peninsula was inhabited by three major ethnic groups and archaeological artifacts suggest that these tribes inhabited the Baja and Cedros Island as early as 9,000 to 10,000 years ago. Descendants still live in Baja primarily in the northern most part. After the Spanish conquered the Mexican mainland early in the 16th century, they began searching westward for a fabled island of ORA (gold). In 1532 the conquistador Cortes sent two fleets of ships to look for the island, but this venture failed. In 1535 Cortes lead a search and landed north of LaPaz where he found black pearls but no gold. Other expeditions occurred in the 1540's but didn't find the sought after gold and so they stopped exploring for some 50 years. Later in the 1650's the Jesuits and Franciscans established the regions first permanent Spanish settlement and in the next 70 years constructed a total of 23 missions all part of the peninsulas religious administrative capital.
The Mexican-American war (1846-1848) began after Mexico refused the US's offer to buy California, Nevada, Utah,and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. In the treaty ending the war, Mexico gave into the US and ceded this territory for $15 million. The original treaty included Baja California in the sale but for some reason the US agreed to omit the peninsula. Good thing because it would probably look like Miami beach with solid high rise condos chocking the coast. Today the states economy consists of agriculture, manufacturing assembly plants, mining and tourism. And, oh yes OIL. Mexico is the second largest supplier of oil to the US, Canada being first. Because of it's countless beaches and proximity to the US, Baja is well known as a tourist destination. But we all know how tourism has been drastically reduced by the drugs, guns and terrorism tactics of the drug cartels. We haven't had any reason to think we should not continue to come down to spend winters in Mexico, but that's another subject for another time.
Las Gaviotas is a community of almost 300 homes in a guarded gated area with guard service 24/7. There are also a dozen or so maintenance workers taking care of the community areas and repairing streets, walls and so forth. The homeowners pay a monthly fee which allows them the use of a computer room with telephone that lets you to call anywhere in the US. They also have a tennis court, shuffle board court, swimming pool, hot tub and a small fitness center with weights, machines and the like to stay in shape. Mail service is thru a PO box in San Diego where mail is picked up and put in your mail box. The ocean is beautiful this time of the year with high tides and big waves crashing against the sea wall. Surfing is very good and holiday weekends brings US folks down to enjoy the surf and the Mexican way of life. There are about 30 US families living down here full time time and most say they can live here for about 70% of the state side costs. Since it's only about an hours drive from San Diego many come down and rent a house for the weekend. If you're interested our friend, Carol, handles several rentals here. She can be reached at email@example.com .
Check it out. There are also some good home buys here what with the depressed economy.
The many pleasures of Mexico include food and drink. We can't help but mention two of our favorites and those are Margaritas and fish tacos. I was wondering the other day how the Margarita got it's name and found the answer in one of the local papers. One of the oldest cantinas in all of the Californias is Hussongs in Ensenada, a beautiful city about 40 miles south of us. In 1880 Johan Hussong and his two brothers immigrated to New York form Fosham, Germany. After ten years of big city life, Johan moved to the west coast and found the fishing village of Ensenada where he changed his name to John and opened a restaurant and stage coach stop in 1892. Today Hussongs is still thriving and very popular with good food and the best people watching on the Pacific Coast. In October 1941 the famous Margarita was invented by, Hussongs bartender, Don Carlos Orozco. His original recipe was tequila, lemon juice and Damiana…..a native Ensenada plant. At that time, the daughter of the German Ambassador lived in Ensenada. Her name was Margarita Henkel and was the first to try Carlos' new concoction. So, in her honor, he named the drink Margarita. There are many variations for making this famous drink but the recipe we like is 1/3 fresh lime juice, 1/3 tequila, 1/3 Controy & lots of ice. Controy is a Mexican orange liqueur made and sold only in Mexico. Once you've tried this truly Mexican Margarita you'll never use a mix again. But be careful, as one drink is enjoyable, 2 drinks numbing and three drinks are paralyzing.
Searching for the real fish taco! On the elementary level fish plus tortilla equals fish taco. Somewhere in Baja in the last 40 to 50 years, someone concocted this humble delicacy which consists of lightly battered mild white fish that is deep fried or grilled, then served in a corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, a bit of thin sour cream, some salsa and a vital spritz of lime. We've made a point of trying several places and found a small open air Mexican restaurant in Rosarito that we think is the best. Two fish tacos for lunch costs about $2.00 and is most satisfying. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Kent Rogers & Neva Dyer
Boonville, Yorkville, Baja
To the Editor,
More and more people are opting toward humanely produced food. They watch what they eat, and they like to be able to watch it grow. That means eating local, and the locavore movement is growing.
There is a good reason for this. With livestock such as cows that become meat there is intensive inbreeding on factory farms (CAFO’s). For example, with hogs they are bred to be so long that the backbone can no longer support their mature body weight; modern turkeys have breasts so large that they can no longer mate naturally and must rely on artificial insemination; dairy cows cannot carry the weight of their udders, and become lame much sooner than unhybridized dairy cows. These hybridized cows are then sold for meat after having, on average, fewer than two calves, whereas traditional-breed pasture cows have ten or more calves during a natural life span.
The pigs raised in huge CAFO’s (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are born to sows confined in gestation crates. These crates prevent the sow from turning around or moving, other than to stand up or lie down. They cannot see or nuzzle their young. The piglets are taken from the mothers a few days after birth and packed tightly into feeding pens on wire floors until slaughter or of breeding age. Their tails and ears are cut off and their teeth are clipped (to keep them from biting other pigs out of frustration, while standing on concrete floors. They spend their entire lives in a steel crate, unable to move.
The chickens are kept in stacks of cages, each less than a foot square. They cannot turn around or walk, or peck. They peck at the birds in the adjacent cages to relieve their anxiety. To minimize injury they have their beaks and toes cut off. Until their face heals they are unable to eat or drink for several days. They are fed a concentrated diet, including chicken litter. They never touch soil or grass or see sunlight. In factory farms raising chickens for eggs, the male chicks are discarded alive. Hens are kept in constant artificial light and routinely starved to promote “molting” so they think it’s spring and thus produce more eggs. Laying over 250 eggs a year the hens get severely calcium deficient and lame, often with broken bones and few feathers. Turkeys raised on factory farms get the same treatment.
Humanely produced milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy products comes from cows that eat grass, lie down, suckle their young calves, eat enough nutritious food, drink when thirsty, and have access to shelter. Factory farm dairy cows are constantly fed diets which are deficient in calories, vitamins and minerals, so that the cows are effectively starved and must take from their own bones and tissue in order to make quality milk for their calves, which they never see after birth. They are fed diets which contain subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to try and maintain their productivity despite a deficient diet, immune-suppressing synthetic hormones and overcrowding. They are injected with genetically engineered growth hormones to stimulate excessive milk production, which damage their joints, as does their standing on concrete all day long, without any exercise. All of this decreases the average life expectancy to less than four years, whereas cows living in a humane natural environment can live to be twelve years old or older and have ten calves or more in a life-time, not just two calves.
The seafood is caught by trawling with a net attached to a boat. The net is dragged at a specific depth and catches everything in its path. The fish within the national quota are kept; anything that is over-quota is tossed back, dead. That is as much as 90% of what is caught in the net. Industrial fishing practices have wiped out 90% of the stock of tuna, sea bass, swordfish and cod.
Half of fish eaten world-wide is grown on fish farms. Many countries do not regulate seafood farming practices; they pollute the environment, disease enters the food-chain, and escaped farm fish harm the wild environment.
Last but not least are the sheep. The young calves are not allowed to grow to maturity, since they will not yield quality meat if allowed to do so. The young lambs are given brutally minimal care, taken from their mothers after two days and raised tied in crates on an iron-deficient diet of milk only. They cannot lie down or turn around. The diet causes anemia and produces “white veal” meat which is inferior to the rosy meat that comes from naturally raised lambs.
All in all it’s a dim picture. How did this happen? How did we go from humane, naturally raised food to the above? There are a few reasons that jump out. We have too many people in our population to feed them all naturally. We are now at 308 million people in the U.S., and the optimal sustainable level would be 130 million.
Mass propaganda by the factory farm industry has conditioned the American people to uncritically believe what they are told. Advertising is mass propaganda, and it works. Americans are emotionally plugged into “the good life”, which by most people is defined as eating as high on the food-chain as one can afford. Meat is a staple for most people, and many eat it three times a day. For every vegan restaurant in any good-sized town there are three or four steak houses.
Further, walk into any American supermarket and you will be mesmerized without knowing it. The organization of traffic flow, the packaging of the products, the sheer overwhelm produced by the variety and amount of food, the music; all of these combine to produce a zombie-like trip through the aisles.
But, underlying all of that, is the demonstrable fact that most Americans want food fat, salt, and sugar more than they want good health. They are diseased, over-weight, and depressed in staggering numbers. Could it be that the food we eat is not good for us? Oh god, no way! We are the best country in the world they tell themselves. It just be o.k.; the government protects us from the bad stuff, right?
Sorry if I wrecked your dinner, but reality screams loudly.
Far ‘n Away Farm, Virginia.
THE LONELIEST NUMBER
We are no longer the giant colossal nation that we were. Simply put, most of our country has eliminated competition, the backbone of our greatness. We are a nation of many monopolies. Why do monopolies create higher prices and poorer services? Because in a monopoly the drive is to make the job or work longer and more expensive, making more wealth for everyone in the monopoly. If new efficient methods come along, they are ignored. It’s the way they advance in a monopoly. Why would anyone do otherwise in a monopoly?
In the private world with competition there is always some other person or company biting at one’s heels with constant pressure to improve price and performance or it’s bankruptcy, which is a very real part of our system. It is necessary to weed out those who do not perform as good. In that process it improves everyone’s standard of living.
The biggest monopoly of course is government. You have only one federal, one state, one county and one local government and if you don’t like something, too bad.
The Smart train from Cloverdale to Sausalito was passed by the voters and since has been cut in half in length, gone way over the promised money, way over time to do it, and has not even been started. The superspeed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles was passed by voters with promises that are also completely wrong.
These and money other contracts with the public are wrongly promised and no one is held accountable. For these broken contracts, in the private sphere they would go bankrupt and those who made promises that were clearly false could face criminal charges as Congress in now doing to some private financial firms that gave misleading information. These are typical examples of government monopolies and there are thousands more.
Take the Bay Bridge approach that never gets complete. Another monopoly is the medical monopoly which is caused by campaign contributions by doctors and hospitals. A procedure that cost a certain amount 40 years ago would cost ten times as much today. Instead, it costs 50 times as much. With today’s technology, computers can store and retrieve so much information it’s unbelievable. But if you ask the hospital to explain your bill you will end up with no answer. Every possible procedure can be put on a computer and should be made available. But no, they keep it a secret. Secret is another word for fraud. That’s the power of a monopoly.
Then we have corporation heads and their boards of directors who give generously to campaign contributions. By law, public corporations must have annual elections by the shareholders (the owners of the corporation) on a few subjects. These subjects are limited and only advisory no matter what the outcome of the election. Result? They give themselves unbelievable amounts of money, even if they ruin the company. That’s the power of monopolies.
Then we have lawyers who give big time to campaign contributions and lo and behold we have 2, 3 and 4 times as many per thousand population as any other country in the world. That's the power of monopolies.
All these monopolies are allowed by your benevolent government which also has laws against monopolies.
When we have a surplus of anything the price goes down, and when there is a shortage the price goes up — a marvelous system that keeps prices in balance.
Jobs should be the same. If too many people apply the price should go down and the opposite way if not enough people want a certain job. Everyone will justify their job. Too dangerous, bad hours, need education, etc. etc. We have gotten away from this rule in government and many unions, but the world goes by this rule and it’s killing us.
TURN OFF, TUNE OUT, OPT OUT
Recently the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) accepted PG&E’s SmartMeter Opt Out proposal verbatim (ignoring 50 counties and cities plus a dozen concerned activist groups.) The proposal allows analog meters, requiring those opting out to pay a $75 initiation fee and $10 a month for each meter (a gas and electric meter equals one meter.) The opponents including Fort Bragg, Willits and the County of Mendocino want the Opt Out to be free, and would really like entire community opt outs. Most complain of double charging. Why should we pay for something that already exists while simultaneously paying for the SmartMeter system in higher electric rates, which citizens Opting Out are not using. Some people self read and report their meters where meters are hidden within houses or hard to get to. Email digital photos of meters allow for rapid and accurate documentation. PG&E has trusted its customers previously. Why not use this non-meter reader approach, removing all costs? The $75 initiation fee appears excessive as Delay List power users already have analog meters.
If you have a SmartMeter, then you should watch for these common problems and symptoms. 1) Health concerns have manifested in sleeping disorders, ringing ears, headaches, nosebleeds, nausea, heart arrhythmia and cognitive problems. Often removing SmartMeters stops the symptoms. 2) Significantly higher bills and report them. 3) Damages to appliances with digital equipment including heaters, AC, kitchen gear and TVs and disruption of GFI outlets (which must be reported to PG&E.) The common band wireless used by SmartMeters can interfere with WiFi and cause slower downloads. Any disruption of 220 appliances should be inspected immediately and a repair call made. This can lead to fires.
What can you do? First, opt out. Be careful to not sign away rights when opting out. Wait until the last day (May 1st) to pay.
Opting Out is cheaper than joining the problematic SmartMeter system. With a SmartMeter your rate cost may be significantly more, as some have experienced rate climbs of 2, 3 and 4 times the pre SmartMeter amount. Opting out protects your privacy, your families health, those with health implants (heart, diabetes and brain,) and eliminates worries that SmartMeters may damage your appliances and computer.
One resident I know lives in a remote large ranch with four meters. Multiple meters allow her to save money by distributing use for pumps and secondary housing/barns. She has self read her meters for years, phoning in readings. Now she must pay four initiation fees and $40 extra for nothing! She is the meter reader. PG&E has not considered this exception, nor has the CPUC.
Anyone can opt out. The SmartMeter system remains seriously challenged by opponents mentioned and the rates may be eliminated with your help. For more detailed information go to: www.emfsafetynetwork.org or www.stopsmartmeters.org . SmartMeters are unfairly being imposed on citizens. They need not be wireless (Italy has a wired version,) and the Federal request for Smartgrid is not a mandate. Several states avoid them, finding them expensive and inadequate in saving power. Industry reports show that power-saving tips, via mail and news, slightly trail the SmartMeter induced educational power savings.
To protest these extra fees and demand community opt outs, please call PG&E (866-743-0263) and write to the CPUC (RE SmartMeter Opt Out 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102 or complaints online https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/cimsapp/ .
Dissenting ratepayer response has gotten us the analog meter option.
Protect yourself and avoid extra charges, Opt Out.
Refuse Smartmeters Mendocino
KUDOS & CONDOLONCES
Kudos to those that produced and attended the Roadhouse Romancin’ Dance last Saturday night. Dean Titus and the Coyote Cowboys along with Wild Oats did it again. Wild Oats played the first set with “Toe Tappin’ music” that pulled some couples to the dance floor and set the mood and sparked memories with their Bluegrass melodies played true to type and style.
Then Dean Titus and the Cowboys took the stage. Their “Boot Stompin’ Country Western Music” seduced even more folks to the dance floor and kept them there for three hours straight. That’s means no breaks in the music, or rest for the wicked. Oh glorious shame! Dean sure knows how to work and pleasure a crowd. The two bands, and all their music, time and talent was donated to the AV Senior Center members to use as a benefit headliner. Ah folks! You should have been there. Thank God for musicians, especially those assisted by a sound engineer like Dave Martin. What an ear that man has for mixing sound.
The Dance Hall was decorated by the AV Senior Center folks under the artistic talents of Sheri Hansen, Gina and Eddie Pardini. They did the set up and clean up plus the table decorations. The local historical pictures Sheri printed and placed on each table were a nice touch along with the typical event bunting of the 50’s that decorated the walls. The billboard used as a backdrop for the band sure worked to complete the frame.
The God of Light, Dennis Hudson, lit the house and the entertainers. Dennis created a romantic atmosphere by the use of warm romantic colors, a mirror ball and gobos that suggested overhead foliage filtering light. Sure appreciate that and the price was right. His time, all donated.
The Slide Show on the east wall was a homespun treat. Michael Crutcher, video computer top hand, put together half-a shoebox of “ole timey” pictures of some of our seniors, the places they built and the machinery they used to build them. Those pictures brought tears to the eyes of some. Judy and I apologized. Sheri Hansen and Wes Smoot let Michael Crutcher poke around in their historical picture files for material to put up on R-Wall to be viewed by all those who paid. Ah, folks! You should have been there!
I feel obliged to bring to your attention the gratitude we owe and give to the technical crews but also to the production crews. These folks too, worked overtime without pay. The ramrod for the donated services of the Lion’s Club was Judy Long along with her sidekick, assistant cork puller, Christine Clark. They volunteered to be the designated bartenders. They brought $450 to the cash box. We “Do Feed The Lions!” with thanks. And where did all that “liquid dance courage” come from? The local winegrowers of course, giving something back to the community. A touch of class, for sure. Merci!
From up-wind of the bar, one was draw to the sweet smells of pastries. Pastries? Nay, thy name be Hussies! And what a cornucopia of sinful temptations they were, spread across the counter top, just waiting to be purchased. All this tasty pleasure was homemade and donated by local women. The Grange Ladies and some of those other fine-tuned ladies at the AV Senior Center brought in treats to sell. Just being neighborly by helping the senior folks that helped shape the valley. Maybe it will help make their life a little more comfortable by putting some money in the kitty for the bus, internet service or a computer. You know, simple stuff like that.
Judy Nelson was the Roadhouse Cook and is the Cowboy’s most loyal fan she even has a picture of Dean above her stove. Judy was assisted by retired cheerleaders Jo Gardener and Debbie Wineteer. All three women teased me with succulent morsels like Coconut Truffles, Twin Lemon Tarts, Cowboy Toffee and that biggest food tease of all, Cookies Galore. But I just said, No To Sweets. Yeah, right. The ladies labors put another $345 in the cash box. Folks you’re too late, I told you to come to the dance.
Tacos, wonderful tacos of beef, chicken and carnitas were sold indoors by Alicia’s Restaurant. She donated 50 cents for each taco sold. That added another $50 dollars to the cash box.
There was a 50-50 split raffle where the pot was split between the event benefit and the winning ticket holder. That lucky winner was Linda Baker. Linda, angel that she is, donated her half of the winnings of $95 back to the AV Senior Center. That put another $190 in the cash box. That little sucker was putting’ on some weight.
Advance publicity was done by the Basehore family with Pearl Basehore designing the Grange billboard. Pearl has her own graphic and web design business and donated her time and talents. Truly, Pearl Handled.
The two promoters ticket takers/ bouncers, Rod and Judy Basehore, turned in a gate receipt of $800. However, they subbed out their house duties to Maureen Hochberg a few times so they could stretch and retrain a leg with the two-step. And folks you missed it, bummer.
The AV Grange graciously donated the use of the Grange #669 for the dance and extended their donation to the Historical Society for their gig the next day. Pure country, everybody helps everybody, that’s why we country folk tend to be happy and content despite a few tender spots on body, mind and purse.
I must comment on the dancers, those that took time for a little quality time, for a little foreplay with their loved one. They came, saw, danced and enjoyed. All together the effort brought satisfaction to many and netted the AV Senior Center a grand total of $1835 dollars.
So kudos to the community and condolences to those that missed it. Ah! Folks you should have been there! It was a hoot. Next time, cowboy up, open the gate and get ’er done while you’re still this side of the dirt.
Thanks to all, Rod and Judy Basehore, seniors but don’t know it.