Cold Front | 7 New Cases | Tax Extension | School Reopening | Lauren's Fare | Highway Fatality | House Fire | Tsunami Test | Inmates Vaccinated | SF Mayhem | 70s Chicks | Phone Scam | Police Reports | Buncha Buddhas | Booster Runaround | Barajas Pleas | Chipped Pot | Beach Clean-up | Questionable Decisions | Ed Notes | Willits 1900 | Phase 3 | Spring Ahead | Vile Messages | Yesterday's Catch | Saint Ronnie | Truth Beauty | Huge Deal | Phone Service | Pretty Soon | Funeral Clothes | Trickle Up | Good Whistleblower | Benevolent Millionaire | Progress | Disorganized Left | Stand | Favorite Giants | Alley Cats | Hiaasen Goodbye
GUSTY SOUTHERLY WINDS will be accompanied by rain showers and high elevation snow today as a cold front passes through. Some scattered showers, with cool and brisk conditions will persist through Friday night. A few showers may linger into Saturday, mainly north of Cape Mendocino, otherwise expect milder high temperatures with clearing skies heading into Sunday. (NWS)
7 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
TAX DAY FOR INDIVIDUALS EXTENDED TO MAY 17
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced today [March 17] that the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year will be automatically extended from April 15, 2021, to May 17, 2021. The IRS will be providing formal guidance in the coming days.
BOONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL, JIM SNYDER:
School is reopening in a hybrid schedule, with groups of students being scheduled to return to campus based on either grade level or designated need. Distance learning is continuing, and no student is required to return to in-person classes. The in-person classes occur in staggered groups, two days per week in stable groups, as defined by CDPH and local health orders.
The first phase started this week, with preschool through Grade 1 coming back in the mornings, two days per week.
The second phase will start April 5th, with Grade 2 through 8 coming back two days a week. Elementary grades will attend school in the mornings, and Middle School in the afternoons.
We will also begin bringing back high school students in designated cohorts based on either grade level or special need. Some of these groups will start April 5th, and there will be more to come. These plans are currently in the works, with some high school students returning on April 5th and more students returning hopefully mid-April. I will update you when I have more information.
* * *
The conditions in Mendocino County regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have been steadily improving. The State of California measures risk levels by assigning a county to a “tier” based on its positivity rate, adjusted case rate, and health equity metric. Mendocino County recently moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier, due to the steady decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases throughout the county. You can find more details about State and county risk levels by visiting California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy website at: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/
Improving conditions mean that we are beginning to bring students back to campus using a phased reopening plan. Some students will begin returning to campus under a hybrid schedule that combines distance learning with in-person instruction. No student will be required to return to campus, and parents may choose to continue with full-time distance learning. The school sites will be providing more information and details regarding cohorts and grade-specific schedules. Please see the schedule below:
● Starting Monday, March 15:
Mondays and Tuesdays from 8:30-11:30.
For questions regarding Peachland Preschool schedules, contact Anita Mendoza at 707-895-2761.
Anderson Valley Elementary School
● Starting Monday, March 15: Kindergarten and Grade 1
Group A: Monday and Tuesday, 8:00-11:00
Group B: Thursday and Friday, 8:00-11:00
● Starting Monday, April 5: Grade 2-6
Group A: Monday and Tuesday, 8:00-11:00
Group B: Thursday and Friday, 8:00-11:00
Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School*
● Starting Monday, April 5:
Grade 7: Monday and Tuesday, 1:00-3:30
Grade 8: Thursday and Friday, 1:00-3:30
Grade 9-12: To Be Determined
*Important: At Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School Distance Learning will begin one hour earlier, at 9:00am starting Monday, April 5. More information will be sent to parents of AVHS students. Announcements regarding reopening plans for Grades 9-12 will be coming soon.
In addition to the scheduled on-campus groups listed above, designated on-campus supports for students with exceptional needs will be scheduled at various times throughout the week. You will be notified by the school site if your student qualifies for one of these designated on-campus support services. For any other questions and information, please contact the site offices listed below:
Anderson Valley Elementary School: 707-895-3010. or email Belma Rhoades at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School: 707-895-3496. or email the AVHS Office at email@example.com.
Please contact the school site offices to enroll your child for in-person instruction. Transportation
Students will be provided with district transportation along the regular bus routes between Navarro and Yorkville. Your child’s school site will provide you with additional transportation information and schedules when you sign your student up for in-person instruction.
Our weekly meals for families will continue on Wednesdays from 11:00am - 3:00pm. On the first Wednesday of every month families will receive an additional box of fresh produce from the Food Hub for the first 80 families. Students who come to campus for in-person instruction or support will be provided with a meal or snack while on campus.
Health and Safety
As we transition back to in-person schooling, health and safety precautions are the highest priority. AVUSD is implementing district-wide health and safety policies and procedures based on State and local guidelines.
All students who come to campus for in-person instruction or support will pass through a health screening process before being allowed to attend classes. For the health and safety of everyone in the district, please keep your child home if they exhibit any of the following symptoms listed on the COVID-19 Screening Tool included with this letter. All students must arrive on campus with appropriate facial coverings and maintain a 6-foot distance from other individuals at all times. More information regarding health and safety protocols will be sent home with information from your school site.
For all other questions please contact the District Office at 707-895-3774.
Assistant Superintendent, AVUSD
Principal, Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School
Anderson Valley Unified School District
Post Office Box 457, Boonville, California 95415
District Office (707) 895-3774 Fax (707) 895-2665
SOMEHOW this morning [Wednesday] at 5:30am, multiple vehicles managed to collide at the 128-101 off ramp at Cloverdale. One person was killed, several others hospitalized. Both northbound lanes on 101 were closed for about four hours as emergency personnel sorted out the dead and wounded.
ETHAN VARIAN of the Press Democrat fleshes out yesterday’s accident at Cloverdale:
A 44-year-old Lake County man was killed in a collision heading north on Highway 101 in Cloverdale on Wednesday morning, the CHP said.
The crash occurred around 5:20 a.m. just north of the Highway 128 offramp, said CHP officer David deRutte. It blocked both northbound lanes of the freeway for hours until emergency personnel cleared the wreckage about 10 a.m.
The man who died lost control of his silver Kia Forte and hit a guardrail, flipping the vehicle, deRutte said. The car, which was carrying two male passengers, landed on its wheels but ended up facing northbound traffic.
A Kia Optima then sideswiped the Forte before pulling over to the shoulder.
Moments later, the CHP believes a Chrysler 200 slammed head-on into the Forte as the three men were getting out of the car, deRutte said. The force of the impact ejected the driver to the pavement, where he was later pronounced dead.
The name of the man who was killed, a resident of Upper Lake, was not released.
COUPLE HOMELESS & ONE BURNED AFTER FIRE DESTROYS THEIR ALBION HOME
Albion couple Bodhi Aum and Jen Waldrep’s world was flipped upside down in the last 48 hours when their Albion home burned to the ground and Waldrep was airlifted to receive medical treatment for third-degree burns she suffered on one arm.
ONLY A TEST
Tsunami Warning Communications Test
Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM (Noon)
Interruptions of TV and Radio Stations, and activation of NOAA Weather Radios and Outdoor Sirens.
Not all Cable and Satellite TV Stations may be able to participate
If you are watching television between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 Noon on Wednesday morning, expect to see a crawler at the bottom of the screen indicating that a tsunami warning has been issued, and hear a voice indicating that it is only a test. If you don’t hear the TV audio, please remember that this is only a test. If you are listening to the radio, you will hear alerting tones followed by a voice announcing that the test is occurring. If you have a NOAA weather radio with the Public Alert feature, the radio will automatically turn on and you will hear the same message as broadcast on radios. In some areas, you may also hear the sounding of a tsunami siren, an airplane testing its public address system, or receive other communication tests in some local jurisdictions. The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system that comes across smart phones will NOT be activated for this test.
Please help us by providing any feedback regarding this test by emailing:
When you hear or see the warning test on March 24 between 11:00 a.m. & 12:00 Noon:
• You do NOT need to take any action
• Do NOT call 911 or local authorities
• Do NOT evacuate your home or business
This Is Only A Test!!
Prepare: Find out more about preparing for earthquakes, tsunamis or any other disasters on the North Coast at http://humboldt.edu/shakyground, or contact the American Red Cross: Humboldt, Del Norte, Lake, and Mendocino counties – (707) 832-5480. America’s PrepareAthon! (http://www.community.fema.gov/), the Great California Shakeout (https://www.shakeout.org/california/), and The Tsunami Zone (https://www.TsunamiZone.org) are great places to get preparedness information for natural hazards.
The test is conducted by the National Weather Service, the California Office of Emergency Services, the Offices of Emergency Services for Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties, and Tribal Governments. For more information, contact: National Weather Service (707) 443-6484.
On Wednesday, March 17, 2021, the inmates at the Mendocino County Jail were given the opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. NaphCare, the jail’s contract medical provider, began giving vaccinations to those inmates wishing to receive it. The vaccinations, which were the Johnson and Johnson single dose vaccinations, were provided by Mendocino County Public Health. Extra nursing staff was brought in by NaphCare to give the injections. Correctional staff and jail nursing staff monitored the inmates and an ambulance crew from Medstar stood by in case there was an allergic reaction. In all, 111 inmates and two staff members received the vaccinations.
JUST IN from the streets of San Francisco: San Francisco Police said the suspect ran up to a 64-year-old man at 16th and Mission at 1:30 p.m. Monday and stabbed him in the face. The victim was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
About a half-hour later, witnesses told police the suspect ran up to a 59-year-old man and punched him multiple times in the head, knocking out the man on his lunch break.
At least one of the victims is an Asian man.
“At this time there is nothing to indicate that the incidents were motivated by bias,” a San Francisco Police spokesman said.
SOCIAL SECURITY PHONE SCAM
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has received a report of an ongoing telephone scam in Mendocino County.
The caller is identifying themselves as a representative of the Social Security Administration and is requesting personal information.
Person(s) refusing to comply with the request are being threatened that an arrest warrant will be issued for their arrest for non-compliance.
This is a SCAM and please do not given anyone your personal information over the telephone, especially during these types of telephone calls.
Please contact your local law enforcement agency prior to engaging in any similar requests to protect yourself against identity theft.
SHAREEN'S NIGHT OUT
On Sunday, March 12, 2021 at about 10:10 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies conducted a vehicle check on a suspicious vehicle in the 77000 block of Henderson Road in Covelo.
As Deputies walked up to the vehicle, they noticed an adult female in the driver's seat slumped over the center console. Deputies contacted the driver, Shareen Marrufo, 21, of Covelo and she was having a difficult time staying awake. The Deputy noticed an open alcoholic container inside the vehicle.
A records check was conducted on Marrufo along with Field Sobriety Tests. Sheriff's Dispatch advised Marrufo had a felony Mendocino County arrest warrant resulting in her arrest.
Marrufo's vehicle was searched and a container of pepper spray with no label was found attached with the ignition key. Also in the center console the Deputy located 2 used glass pipes commonly used to ingest controlled substances (methamphetamine).
The additional charges of possession of pepper spray, and possession of drug paraphernalia were added to the arrest.
Marrufo was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
NO AMMO FOR YOU, JER
On Monday, March 15, 2021 at about 6:30 PM a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle for a traffic violation in the 1000 block of South Main Street in Willits.
The Deputy contacted the driver, Jerry Degurse, 60, of Willits, and a female passenger.
A records check was conducted on Degruse and it was discovered he was on formal probation with a search term and had a suspended California Driver's license. He was also prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.
Sheriff's Dispatch further confirmed Degurse had two felony arrest warrants and four misdemeanor arrest warrants from other counties in California. Degruse was subsequently arrested pursuant to the arrest warrants.
The Deputy searched the vehicle and located an ice chest, which contained a large amount of ammunition in various calibers. This resulted in an added charge of being in possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.
Degurse was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $72,000 bail.
On Monday, March 15, 2021 at about 2:15 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 1300 block of Branscomb Road in Laytonville.
Deputies were told Levi Lamoureux, 32, of Laytonville, was causing a disturbance in the area and was armed with a knife. The Deputies confirmed Lamoureux was currently on PRCS (county parole) and had a term of no weapons including knives.
Deputies located Lamoureux in the 1300 block of Branscomb Road and contacted him.
Lamoureux was talking but not making any sense and was found to be in possession of a kitchen knife. Deputies were advised prior to their arrival Lamoureux was walking around the neighborhood into people's yards and appeared to be trying to intimidate them.
Lamoureux was placed under arrest and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for violation of the terms of his county parole. Lamoureux was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
MAYHEM MAN SUBDUED
On Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 12:23 A.M. a Deputy from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle code moving violation in the 6100 block of Central Avenue in Calpella.
The Deputy contacted the driver of the vehicle who was identified as Jose Villela, 37, of Kelseyville.
The Deputy requested Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch to check Villela for warrants, probation and drivers license status.
The Deputy was advised Villela had an active felony warrant for Mayhem for his arrest out of Lake County. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch confirmed the warrant with Clear Lake Police Department and Villela was arrested without incident.
Villela was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.
UKIAH RETAIL BURGLAR CAUGHT
On March 16, 2021 at approximately 7:08 AM, UPD Dispatch received a call from a business owner, at Barr Family Chiropractic (1252 Airport Park Blvd), reporting the business appeared to have been burglarized. UPD Officers responded and determined the business had been burglarized, vandalized and money was stolen. The investigation showed an exterior door had been forced open at some point during the early morning hours. The victim estimated $2,000 was missing and the contents of the business were scattered throughout the building’s interior.
Officers began checking other neighboring businesses and discovered exterior doors leading to two other suites had also been forced open. One of the businesses was Body Glow Tanning Boutique. This business had surveillance equipment that was functional. The interior of this business was also scattered about and it appeared someone had ransacked the merchandise. Officers reviewed the surveillance footage and saw a male, who was later identified as Donald Emil Morin, 74, of Medford, Oregon, entered the business at approximately 2:14 AM.
Morin utilized a crow bar to force open desks and cabinets and subsequently exited the business with stolen merchandise. Some of the stolen merchandise was clothing, which included a very specific style of sweatshirt and ball cap. The estimated damage and the stolen merchandise totaled approximately $1,000.
The third business that had an exterior door forced open was found to be a vacant building. UPD Detectives responded to assist with the investigation.
Following completion of processing the three crime scenes; Officers resumed patrol duties and an Officer observed a male, who was wearing a sweatshirt and ball cap that matched the stolen merchandise, walking in the 1000 block of S. State Street. The Officer contacted Morin and saw his appearance matched the images obtained from the surveillance footage from Body Glow Tanning Boutique. Morin was subsequently detained without incident.
During the investigation it was learned Morin rented a room at Motel 6 (1208 S. State St.) and Detectives obtained a search warrant for his room. During the service of the search warrant, stolen merchandise from Body Glow Tanning Boutique and Barr Family Chiropractic were located inside the room. Additionally, merchandise from Haute Mess was also located inside the room. UPD had taken a burglary report, the prior day, from Haute Mess during which an unknown person had forced entry into the business and stolen merchandise.
Based on the investigations, Morin was linked to the burglary of the four businesses and was placed under arrest for the burglaries. Due to the declared state of emergency, in California and the fact that the burglaries were committed during the state of emergency, Morin was also arrested for Burglary / looting during a state of emergency. Morin was booked at the MCSO Jail with a bail of $45,000. Morin was found to be on probation out of Oregon for a Burglary conviction.
These cases serve as a reminder of the value of surveillance systems, as well as alarm systems. These systems often prove to be invaluable to law enforcement agencies in solving crimes.
I just want to make you aware ... My daughter works in lodging and got her first dose on February 23rd. She tried making an appointment for the 16th via the myturn website but it said she was not eligible. She called the hotline, same thing. They suggested she just show up on the 16th with her vaccination card. The person she spoke with said they didn't understand why an appointment was necessary if she was already told when to return. Will she be turned away without an appointment? I'm assuming she won't be the only one with this issue, unfortunately.
SERIAL SEX OFFENDER HEADED TO STATE PRISON.
UKIAH - Zachary M. Barajas of Ukiah has entered guilty pleas to sex offenses and faces more than 12 years in prison.
Barajas, 24, avoided a jury trial that was scheduled to get underway Monday by entering guilty and no contest pleas to sex offenses involving two separate female minor victims.
Barajas was convicted in July 2019 of one count of forcible rape of a minor, a felony. That jury was unable, however, to reach a unanimous verdict on a separate count of forcible rape of a separate minor, deadlocking 11-1 for guilt.
Rather than face retrial before a new jury, Barajas admitted last Friday his criminal responsibility for an additional felony count of forcible digital penetration of one female minor and an additional felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse with another female minor.
To resolve the case, Barajas was required to stipulate to and accept a state prison sentence of 148 months.
The three convictions include two Strike convictions under California’s current version of the Three Strikes law. After the defendant’s eventual release from prison many years down the road, he can be charged with the two prior Strikes from this case and be exposed to a future prison sentence of 25 years to life should he again commit and be convicted of another serious or violent felony.
Also, because he has now been convicted of a violent felony, any early release credits the defendant has earned or may attempt to earn while in custody of the state prison authorities shall be limited to no more than 15% of the overall 148 months. Once released on parole and continuing for the remainder of his life, Barajas shall be required to register annually with local law enforcement as a sex offender.
The law enforcement agencies that investigated the crimes were the Ukiah Police Department, the California Department of Justice DNA Laboratory, and the DA’s own Bureau of Investigations.
Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg prosecuted the Barajas case. Superior Court Presiding Judge Ann Moorman accepted the defendant’s request to change his pleas last Friday. Judge Moorman will preside over the sentencing hearing and impose the agreed-upon state prison sentence on May 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Department G at the Ukiah Courthouse.
CLEAN UP VAN DAMME
Van Damme Beach Clean-Up March 22nd
Little River Environmental Action Group (LEAG) is sponsoring a beach clean-up at Van Damme beach on Monday, the 22nd of March at 10 am. LEAG has adopted Van Damme beach and is part of the Coastal Commission Adopt A Beach program which helps clean up all along the northern California coast.
So come and join us on Monday the 22nd for some fresh air and a good, round, warm feeling of having done a good deed for your community.
Covid precautions in place - masks and social distancing.
RICHARD HARRIS <firstname.lastname@example.org> for LEAG
ED NOTES: LOOKING BACKWARDS, VALLEY PEOPLE, JULY '97
LAST THURSDAY my brother and I hiked down Indian Creek from Helen Libeu’s on Peachland to the old Clearwater Ranch, a boulder-strewn distance of four miles or so, most of the trek being a clamber over huge boulders and old redwoods long ago slipped into the stream by the natural slides of portions of what is essentially a four-mile canyon. It’s too steep in most places to walk anywhere but straight down the streambed. There are lots of tiny fish in the creek, many of them new steelhead, but we didn’t see a single fish bigger than six inches in any of the many deep holes along the way seemingly designed for fish. The water seemed very warm the length of the stream we walked, a fact attributed to the desert-like condition of Indian Creek above Libeu’s where stream banks have been stripped of shade trees all the way to Indian Creek’s headwaters. For years I’d heard there was a nearly impassable knot of stone and winter-strewn trees just below the Libeu place, but there is little in the way of stream impediments there now. We were also relieved to note that recent logging in the area of Parkinson Gulch had been carefully done so as to protect the integrity of the stream bed— large shade trees, mostly redwood, had been left alone. Because the surrounding terrain is so rugged, there is little sign that this part of Indian Creek is ever visited apart from an occasional logger. There were no signs of pot growers or anybody else. At one particularly treacherous confluence of stone, rushing water and deep pool, I lost my balance and fell in, spraining my wrist, destroying my camera (I’d promised Helen some pictures) and somehow snapping the straps on my pack. But other than that one minor mishap, the hike was uneventful. The only environmentally threatening sight we saw was at the bend in the stream just before we reached Clearwater; there, on its north bank, someone has cut an obviously non-sanctioned thirty or forty yards of road just above the stream. The road deadends where the same someone is milling a few logs. The road is new and much of it will wind up in Indian Creek with the first heavy rains.
IT WOULDN’T take a lot of money and all that much labor to plant trees along the banks of the upper Indian Creek, the only trouble spot on its entire length. One doesn’t need a hundred experts and lots of money to do restoration work.
BRIAN AUGUST, son of Bob August of Boonville, has completed basic training at the Marine Corps Depot, San Diego. Brian is a 1992 graduate of Cardinal Newman High School, Santa Rosa.
A FORT BRAGG friend says she is experimenting with hop plants as gopher deterrents but the results of her experiments aren’t yet apparent. She says the gophers are so far mostly staying out of her garden this year, but she isn’t quite sure that it is the hops that have kept them out.
EMIL ROSSI told me once that the only certain way to stop gophers is to shotgun them early in the morning at the first sign of their movement. Since I live in a neighborhood, I’m afraid this particular method of rodent repellent would likely be misunderstood and certainly unappreciated. I’ll try hops.
A WILD TURKEY sauntered across my deck Sunday at about 9am, hopped the fence, and was last seen meandering through Mike and Patti Langley’s apple orchard. Turkey restoration is one government program that nobody can say hasn’t worked. I believe the turkeys were reintroduced into Anderson Valley in the early 70s and have since prospered to where they are now ubiquitous from Yorkville to Navarro.
DON’T FORGET the Sister Yaz Extravaganza this Saturday night at the Philo Grange, 7pm. Hot Summer Jam, the event is officially called, so bring your own sugar and plums. HSJ is aimed at raising money for KZYX, Philo public radio.
THE WELL-KNOWN ACTOR, Rene Auberjonois, hereinafter to be known as RA since his surname is far beyond our limited capacities to spell here at the AVA, and this spelling, we thought, was only an approximation, a guess at that, but turned out to be correct — phonetics, the gift that keeps on giving. (The point, you fool, get to the point!) RA has bought property in Anderson Valley up in Deer Meadow.
HIS JUSTIFIABLY proud teacher, Sonia Gill, passes along the poetry of one of her 7th-8th grade students, Darren Johnson:
A summer in Anderson Valley
is just like the one in an alley
small, hot with trash cans
everyone is in their houses with fans
air conditioners blowing
outside no one’s face is showing
fly swatters make flys go flat
that’s all I have to say about that.
PATRICIA BEVERLY, of Boonville, and a teacher at AV Elementary, has earned a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Dominican College.
A WHOLE LOTTA folks turned out at Lauren’s Saturday night to both celebrate the birthday and lament the departure of Maria Vilaboy, Anderson Valley’s multi-talented chanteuse and painter. Maria is off for the bright lights of Frisco where there is a larger audience for her gifts. Fortunately for her many local friends, Maria will only be two hours south.
EVERYONE in The Valley has received a flier announcing that “Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin is coming to Booneville.” There’s only one “e” in Boonville, Assemblywoman, and it ain’t after the “n.” S-M is in the tradition of that great friend of the workingperson, Dan Hauser, who managed to spend two decades in office without accomplishing a single thing — no legislation, no nothing. Strom-Hyphen will park something she calls a “mobile district office” outside the board room at AV Elementary between the hours of 2 and 4 pm next Tuesday to “discuss legislative matters and get assistance regarding any problems you’re facing concerning state government...or just come to get acquainted.” The only way to “get assistance” from state government is to show up in Sacramento with a great big brown shopping bag stuffed with untraceable hundred dollar bills.
I WONDER if my favorite Northcoast politico, Harry Bistrin, will be in town with Strom-Martin? Harry, the Willie Loman of local politics, has bounced from Barry Keene to Dan Hauser to Strom-Hauser, a misspent life by any standard. You’re better than this, Harry! You’re too good for these people. Break loose, Har. Break loose!
A READER WRITES: Mark Scaramella is right on the money with his pithy analysis of the “Water Resiliency Task Force” flim-flammery. Aside from not mentioning grapes, also nothing about Cannabis One Percenters, rangeland expansion, the proposed 10% rule, etc., with Williams and McGourty's as lead tub-thumpers. The Cannabis streaming town hall was a complete sham orchestrated by the Cannabis Business Association of Mendocino County with their annoying mouthpiece Sarah Bodner producing a panel crammed with some of the most obnoxious pricks, including McCowen and Williams, in the County.
ON LINE COMMENTS about the recent Cannabis Town Hall meeting
(1) This is an extinction event of existing phase 1 cultivators in Mendocino county. Phase 3 provides limited ways for phase 1 cultivators to comply. 15% slope or less, Major use permits. So most of these existing sites will never pass phase 3.
I have a Mendocino county annual permit. They have approved all the changes and building permits i have a signed LSAA, State Water Board enrollment and CDFA provisional cultivation permits. But the county did not follow through on state CEQA compliance with their MND Now they are going to leave me and the small group of other cultivators that have actually followed all the rules to hang. All while acting like us cultivators don’t have our shit together.
Good luck phase 3. Maybe you will get treated better.
(2) This is a perfect example of a County (intentionally or unintentionally) underestimating the difficulties of getting a new (to CEQA) industry through the CEQA process. Mendocino is one of many local governments who failed their constituents by attempting to take the easy route and failing miserably.
While overall, there was absolute negligence on the part of the County, the truth is that no matter how active the County had been, CEQA compliance is simply not in the cards for most Triangle growers. After more than 3 years, the success rate state wide is still less than 1 in 5 for cultivators. Any thought that this will dramatically change in the mountains (where the ratio is far worse) is wishful thinking.
From multiple instances of experience, CEQA compliance on AG zoned bottom land with well water, few “receptors” (what we call ‘people) and no enemies is a matter of a few months and very low 5 figures. Couple this with the fact that these locations come with all sorts of other advantages (economies of scale only one) and you have the current conspiratorial landscape where is appears to the little guy that the permit system favors the big guy.
While not dismissing instances of ‘pay to play’ which are real (but rare), what’s favoring the bigger players is that they have generally have had the luxury to choose their location from scratch rather than attempting to permit the homestead. Location, location, location.
I wish I had better news for my old stomping grounds, but it’s not there to be had.
(3) The program will be similar to Humboldt’s. Extract as much as you can from smaller growers through fees and taxes while pretending that they stand a chance in the future. Meanwhile welcome Big Players- like Flo Kana- to come and set up huge grows on rangeland. Meanwhile threatening everybody to get fully permitted in a “legalization” scheme where they can never succeed, eventually getting a satellite spy program to beat up all rural people in the county- first weed, then any unpermitted structure at all. All the time telling people that what the county government is doing is good for the county’s future and anyways this is what you all voted for- “legalization” so you could be “free” and “safe”. Kristin will do the same job down there that she did up here- encourage everybody to “step into the light” so they can hit you harder. There will be no resistance because people want to believe the game is not rigged and they will be so positive that they will not see the true colors until they are completely subjugated…Have a nice day!
EYE-POPPING INVESTIGATION in the Sacramento Bee uncovers a series of vile text messages sent between members one squad of Eureka Police Department officers led by Sgt. Rodrigo Reyna-Sanchez.
via Hank Sims (Lost Coast Outpost)
The messages, sent over a period of several months, include multiple vulgar references to women, demeaning comments about homeless people, fantasies of employing deadly violence against suspects and jests about people who have contracted COVID-19.
At one point, an officer is told of an upcoming anti-war demonstration at the courthouse and replies “I’ll beat those f_____ hippies down.”
The Bee reports that the text messages were confined to a group of six officers on the squad. The paper names only Sanchez and one other officer, Mark Meftah.
EPD Chief Steve Watson tells the Bee that an internal investigation has been opened into the matter.
There’ll be more on this story later today, and certainly more in the days and weeks to come. Read the Bee’s story here.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 17, 2021
KELISHA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
JAVIER CARDENAZ, Willits. Armed with fiream in commission of or attempt at felony.
DANIEL CONNERS, Rohnert Park//Ukiah. DUI, no license, suspended license for reckless driving, probation revocation.
JOHN ENDRESS, Ladera Ranch/Ukiah. DUI.
ANTHONY FRANK-FREMONT, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.
SAMANTHA MENDEZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.
DONALD MORIN, Medford, Oregon/Ukiah. Burglary, Burglary during emergency.
JOSE VILLELA, Kelseyville/Calpella. Aggravated mayhem.
JENNIFER YONKERS, Deerfield, Illinois/Fort Bragg. Criminal threats, contempt of court, resisting.
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING can be beautiful if you want to see it that way. It's just that our environment and temperament make us so that certain things appeal to us greatly, enthrall us, so to speak more than others. I suppose that “beauty is truth, truth beauty” is sort of the way I feel about it. That's the way I approach my work also. I'm not really sure about my motives. Sometimes it appears to be one thing and sometimes another. I guess it's both. Some people think the United States will turn to socialism. But they don’t know when. They think the United States is as sensible as the British in that they adjusted themselves to reality sort of. The switchover to socialism could be without violence. But most Americans are against socialism. Most of us in the United States hate socialism with a purple passion. We would rather die than live under communism and socialism which are all one and the same to most Americans.
— R. Crumb, Letter to a Friend, September, 1961
CONNECTING TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
My landline out Albion Ridge Road, with wildly iffy service -- sometimes okay for months, then I can't connect to dialup to get my email there for a few weeks and have to get it at work, then fine again, independent of wet or dry or temperature -- costs about $10 a month and no long distance service and the phone won't ring at all anymore when someone tries to call me, though sometimes the answering machine will take a message, and it's the same recording, for years, of some guy with a gently amused dog-food-commercial voice who says, “Marco? Marco?” and hangs up. It used to be a Mexican-accent woman would say, “Juanita?” and hang up. The dog-food-commercial-voice guy called me at Juanita's once not too long ago and I picked up. He wanted me to give money to a committee for the protection of police officers. The identical voice. I think he's a sophisticated robot.
At Juanita's, she has Comcast cable with no teevee service, just internet, and the wireless router has a place to plug your regular old phone into, and you keep your old telephone number, and you get free long distance. That phone service ads about $10 to the cable bill, with the rental of the fancy all-in-one modem/router/wifi/phone box also costing about $10 a month above the regular service of just plugging your computer into the modem. In any case, the Comcast service you just bought is on a new-customer schedule. In a year or two your already big bill will jump up $20 more and you'll have forgotten and you'll freak out and call them, and they'll explain that if you want to keep paying what you've been paying, that's fine, you can do that, but they'll throttle you back from 75mpbs to 25mbps. Estonia has faster, cheaper home internet. On the plus side, since Juanita got Comcast internet I've had zero trouble doing my radio show from there, if you don't count the sabotage of KMEC, but that's small-town politics, nothing to do with the connection. KNYO uses MCN and it's been great, a good relationship and good reliability in town.
The way things are now, when the power goes out in Albion, the ATT landline phone shuts off too. Maybe it's not like that everywhere, but if it is, then there's no comparative disadvantage to having the Comcast VOIP (Voice Over Internet Phone) service, that equally shuts off when the modem/router/wireless/phone box loses power, but you can plug that into a $100 Uninterruptible Power Supply and solve it that way. Or get an old UPS with a ruined battery for free from the electronics shack at the dump, attach it to a big external marine battery, and that will hold your laptop and router and a light or two up all night in a storm.
IN OTHER NEWS: I just sent my latest dream journal post to Medium. Here is that: https://tinyurl.com/MarcoDreams2021-03-16
“Pretty soon, it’ll be warm enough to do this exact thing sitting on a blanket on our fire escape!”
MR. POLLY'S MARRIAGE followed with a certain inevitableness. He tried to assure himself that he was acting upon his own forceful initiative, but at the back of his mind was the completest realisation of his powerlessness to resist the gigantic social forces he had set in motion. He had got to marry under the will of society, even as in times past it had been appointed for other sunny souls under the will of society, that they should be led out by serious and unavoidable fellow creatures and ceremoniously drowned or burnt or hanged. He would have preferred infinitely a more observant and less conspicuous role, but the choice was no longer open to him. He did his best to play his part, and he procured some particularly neat check trousers to do it in. The rest of his costume, except for some bright yellow gloves, a grey-and-blue mixture tie, and that the broad crape band was changed for a livelier piece of silk, were the things he had worn at the funeral of his father. So nearly akin are human joy and sorrow.
—H.G. Wells, 1910; from “The History of Mr. Polly”
DANIEL ELLSBERG TALKS ABOUT WHISTLEBLOWING, the Pervasiveness Of Official Lies, and the Dangers of the Espionage Act
by Matt Taibbi
“On Tuesday morning, August 4th, 1964,” writes Daniel Ellsberg in Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, “a courier came in my out office with an urgent cable for my boss. He had been running.”
A former Marine with a PhD from Harvard in Decision Theory, Ellsberg had joined the Pentagon as special assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense John McNaughton, who himself was perhaps the closest advisor to Secretary Robert McNamara. Ellsberg, in other words, was the right hand of the right hand, of the man who would become known as the chief architect of the Vietnam War.
Ellsberg’s first day on August 4th, 1964 proved to be a historic one. His boss McNaughton was down the hall with McNamara, so the panting courier handed Ellsberg the note and left. He opened it and found it was from Captain John J. Herrick, the commodore of a two-destroyer flotilla in the Gulf of Tonkin, off North Vietnam in the South China sea. Officially, the United States was not yet engaged in full-fledged military operations in Indochina.
Herrick said he was under attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats, and had opened fire in return. He was 60 miles from the coast, in international waters. The sonar operators on the Destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy, Maddox said, each heard torpedoes in the water. Ten minutes later, the courier returned with a new note. “Am under continuous torpedo attack,” he wrote, about an encounter that was taking place in total darkness.
For some time after, cables came in quick succession, as Ellsberg guessed Herrick was dictating from the bridge in between trying to maneuver his ships. “Torpedoes missed. Another fired at us,” read one. “Four torpedoes in water,” read a second. “Five torpedoes in water… Have successfully avoided at least six torpedoes…” According to Herrick, at least one attacking boat had been sunk. The action went on for two long hours, before suddenly the stream of messages cut short.
“Then, suddenly, an hour later,” Ellberg wrote, “a message arrived that took back, not quite all of it, but enough to put the rest of it in question.” The courier came in running again, handing him a cable with the highest clearance and urgency [emphasis mine]:
Review of action makes any reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonar men may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken…
It was a little after 2 p.m., Washington time. Ellsberg was dumbfounded by the latest communications. “In my mind, these messages erased the impact of the two-hour-long live drama that we had been following. This new information was a cold bath.”
Herrick later sent another cable: “Details of action present a confusing picture, although certain original ambush bona fide.” Ellsberg was now unsure of how Herrick was so sure, given that he hadn’t seen anything and was acknowledging, among other things, that one sonar man was hearing his own ship’s propeller. “It seemed almost certain there had been no attack,” Ellsberg wrote, certain the proper course was to wait to see what actually happened before acting.
Things didn’t go that way. Senior military officials scrambled to put together an immediate retaliatory airstrike. President Lyndon Johnson was so anxious not only to strike back, but to brief the public about doing it, that he asked the Pentagon’s permission to go on TV with details before the planes even reached Vietnam.
LBJ was on the air by 11:37 p.m. that night, telling the American people that “hostile vessels attacking two U.S. destroyers with torpedoes” constituted “open aggression on the high seas against the United States of America.” McNamara gave subsequent pressers in which he described “unprovoked” attacks of U.S. vessels on “routine patrols” in “international waters.” They described the evidence for Vietnamese aggression as “unequivocal.”
By the end of Ellsberg’s first day, he knew every single one of these claims was a lie. The two destroyers were on a special mission, penetrating deep into North Vietnamese waters and engaging in sabotage raids. In top-secret testimony to congress in the two days after the August 4th incident, McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk told congressional leaders the U.S. had nothing to do with the raids, which were entirely South Vietnamese operations.
Ellsberg soon learned this was a lie, too, that the personnel on the ships had been chosen by the CIA and that the operations were run jointly by the agency and the Navy. “Each of these assertions,” Ellsberg would later write, “was false.” You can still go back and look to see how these lies were reported with complete credulity and never corrected.
Ellsberg became famous years later for shepherding to the public a wealth of secret documents about the ugly history of failure, brutality, and ignorance in the Vietnam War, collectively known as the Pentagon Papers. He is America’s most famous whistleblower, a figure who single-handedly triggered a major constitutional crisis when the government of Richard Nixon tried to block publication of his material.
However, Ellsberg has remained an important figure in American culture and politics precisely because so little has changed since the events of the fifties, sixties, and seventies he described in such vivid detail.
In the Useful Idiots interview below, Ellsberg points out the similarities between Vietnam and our current policies in various countries around the world. He says our leaders are worried about “regime change in Washington,” which they believe would occur if they left other countries’ oil in the ground, or “stopped killing Afghans.”
More than anything, however, Ellsberg is an expert on the role of secrecy in American life. Both in his books and in his interview with Useful Idiots, he describes military and executive branch officials who don’t even figure “truth” as a variable in their calculations, since it’s irrelevant to what they tell the world.
He arrived in Washington believing the commonly held notion that nothing in the capital stays secret for long. Soon he learned that it’s actually quite easy to keep secrets. Ellsberg described a vicious cycle, in which leaders lie pervasively, then learn to have so much contempt for the public that swallows those lies, that they feel justified in lying more.
“My awareness of how easily Congress, the public, and journalists were fooled and misled contributed to a lack of respect for them,” he wrote. “That, in turn, made it easier to accept practices of deception,” and “their resulting ignorance made it all the more obvious that they must leave these problems to us.”
Ellsberg is adamant that our military and intelligence services don’t learn from even the bloodiest failures. However, when asked in the Useful Idiots if they’d at least learned something in a negative sense — like how to deal with whistleblowers and shut off pictures of war deaths — he concurred, explaining that he himself had been used as propaganda.
“It is now accepted that somebody can be a good whistleblower, and that’s Daniel Ellsberg,” he says, “in contrast with Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden. The appreciation that I’ve been getting since 2010, I can date very simply to the need to denigrate Chelsea Manning.”
He went on to describe a New Yorker piece written by Malcolm Gladwell that ripped Ed Snowden in comparison to him, Ellsberg, among other things quoting an analyst who wondered if Snowden “may have been the dupe of a foreign-intelligence service.” Ellsberg wrote a letter to the New Yorker calling the contrast ridiculous, and, he tells us, “They never published it.”
Overall, Ellsberg’s takes on nuclear safety, the implications of the use of the Espionage Act in the Julian Assange case, and continued misuse of secrecy and hyper-aggressive foreign policy in places like Afghanistan and Syria, still resonate. The most powerful part of his interview regarded the power of the secret state in modern America.
“They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we're on our way to the grocery store or not,” he said. “We could be East Germany in weeks. In a month.”
Excerpt from the interview:
Matt Taibbi: What you saw in Vietnam is similar to what people saw in Iraq, and then Afghanistan. What's the mentality that continues to think that these same kinds of policies will work, and why can't they get out of that mentality?
Ellsberg: You have to ask, who is it who actually bears the cost of these and who doesn't? Any of these wars were not bad for the people making weapons, and it's not only them. It's the banks that finance them and it's the congresspeople who benefit, as I keep saying, from the donations and the jobs and so forth. They did fine…
Are we actually going to get out of Afghanistan? It's scheduled, by Trump of all people, for May. Okay, that's very close. Is that going to happen? Let's see. Certainly not for sure… If we don't get out now, there is no reason why it will look different two years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. We'll still be killing Afghans and losing very few Americans, because it's all in the air and some special forces going to unarmed villages and whatnot. So very few American casualties, air power, a lot of things. The American public can live with that for a long time. They have lived for 20 years with that. Could be another 20 years.
Katie Halper: Can you talk about the role of the media in America’s aggressive foreign policy?
Ellsberg: With the Gulf of Tonkin, the Times did not say, “Here's what we said at the time.” The Times did not go back and say, “Here's who lied to us. Here's how we were lied to. Here's how gullible we were. Here's the pattern of deception.” No, that would blame themselves. They didn't need that, so they didn't do it…
In short, I think nations and institutions, we talk about why don't they learn, learning is not what they do, because learning involves seeing prior errors that you haven't met. Errors are an occasion for blame, for losing jobs, for being criticized, and they don't do that.
Matt Taibbi: Well, sometimes they learn in a negative way though, don't they? Do you ever think that the way they dealt with Snowden, and to a lesser extent Julian Assange and some other whistleblowers, was about making sure that there was never going to be a Daniel Ellsberg again who would live on and be a hero in the public consciousness?
Ellsberg: I misspoke when I say they don't do any learning… Definitely, they do learn.
Katie Halper: They don't become more moral, though.
Ellsberg: It's not as though they learn how to meet human values or improve human welfare in the world. That's not what they're into… But in terms of how can we get away with it better, they do learn….
They've learned to wield the Espionage Act, to criminalize whistleblowing much more than before. You said they didn't want any more Ellsbergs. Well, obviously, they did get Chelsea Manning, they did get Snowden. Chelsea was 39 years after the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers did have an effect, as you say, on people's understanding of the war. It didn't end the war, but it did affect people's attitudes. And really, it kept us out of more Vietnams for a couple of decades…
The NSA did not do surveillance on American citizens without a warrant for about 25 years or so after, so that was a change. But then 9/11 comes along, and it’s Constitution be damned. Since then, this is 20 years ago, we've had total surveillance of everybody, totally unconstitutionally.
It's created a situation where we're not a police state, but we could be a police state almost from one day to the next, if they act on all the information they have now about people who give them any trouble or people who protest. They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we're on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven't acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it.
We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth.
Matt Taibbi: Why aren’t more journalists worried about the use of the Espionage Act in the Julian Assange case?
Ellsberg: Because they have never been tried before. This is a first, so they thought they were immune… I've been saying for 40 years now, 50 years, I've been saying to journalists and judges, the wording of that law applies to you as well as your sources…
It is now accepted that somebody can be a good whistleblower, and that's Daniel Ellsberg, in contrast to Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden. The appreciation I've been getting since 2010, I can date very simply to the need to denigrate Chelsea Manning… This contrast is used all the time. So I'm appreciated in order to say, “Ah, but there were bad whistleblowers like Snowden or Assange.” And a lot of people do that.
PEOPLE USUALLY THINK that progress consists in the increase of knowledge, in the improvement of life, but that isn't so. Progress consists only in the greater clarification of answers to the basic questions of life. The truth is always accessible to a man...because a man's soul is a divine spark, the truth itself. It's only a matter of removing from this divine spark, everything that obscures it. Progress consists, not in the increase of truth, but in freeing it from its wrappings. The truth is obtained like gold, not by letting it grow bigger, but by washing off from it everything that isn't gold.
— Leo Tolstoy
THERE ARE MORE SOCIALISTS THAN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS
by Ted Rall
American leftists find themselves at a tactical crossroad. Will the 39% of Americans (and more than half of those under 30) who steadily oppose capitalism stand up for themselves? Will socialists, progressives, communists, left anarchists and left libertarians boldly fight to build a movement, thus inspiring other allies of the working class to join the struggle to abolish the vicious and vacuous capitalist system?
Or will leftists continue to tolerate and support a corporate Democratic Party that exploits them for their votes, financial contributions and labor while it contemptuously promotes everything they deplore?
Two out of five voters is a plurality. If the other three out of five split their votes between the Democrats and the Republicans, the Left wins. But those big numbers cannot win if they remain scattered. Tragically for workers and the environment, the Left has no organization. No party. No media. No voice inside the establishment.
Progressives and other leftists are powerless. The only “major” left party in the U.S., the Greens, received 0.2% of the vote in 2020. Celebrity-oriented Internet formations like the fake-progressive Movement for a People’s Party suck energy away from those who want to build a real grassroots party.
There isn’t a single newspaper, or even an op-ed columnist, or a television network, or a single commentator on a television network, that/who is a leftist.
The streets, churning with Black Lives Matter protests last summer, emptied after the defeat of Donald Trump.
Biden marks a new low for the post-1960s Left. Two months in, the new president has already abandoned the few progressive promises he made in order to con supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren into supporting his regressive policies. The promised $15-an-hour minimum wage quickly plunged by a third to $9.50, scaling up to $15 over four years, and now appears to be a dead letter. Student loan forgiveness went from $50,000 to maybe $10,000. The administration has announced no plans to add a public option to the Affordable Care Act. The number of progressives in the Cabinet is zero.
Yet, even now at this darkest of bleak times, there is hope. Hope lies in the Left itself.
“The general sentiment of mankind,” Frederick Douglass observed, “is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just.”
The political gains of American women over the last century offer a lesson for down-and-out leftists. Women convinced men to support equal rights. But first, women had to convince themselves that they deserved equality and that their cause was viable—that they could win after sustained struggle. As Douglass (who also supported suffrage) observed about the requirement that oppressed people fight first for themselves, women’s self-assuredness attracted male allies to their movement.
It is time for the 39% of American voters who hate capitalism to step up, speak up for themselves openly and repeatedly, and refuse to be shouted down.
I collect political buttons. I have one with a red dot in the middle surrounded by the words “against woman suffrage.” Think about it: Just over 100 years ago, not that long, men walked the streets of American cities wearing a pin that said they didn’t think women should be allowed to vote—yet they weren’t worried about being physically assaulted. Try doing that now! Now a woman is Vice President of the United States to the oldest president ever to be inaugurated, making it likely that she will become President.
Although a quick glance at a joint session of Congress reminds us that this country still has a long way to go when it comes to equal opportunity, that’s a lot of progress.
Most historians who analyze this cultural shift look at how and why the dominant white male power structure evolved during the 20th and early 21st centuries toward support for suffrage, women’s mass entry into the workplace, sexual liberation, the role of liberalized divorce in personal and financial emancipation, reducing discrimination by institutions like the military and corporate boardrooms and, after decades of resistance, women becoming viable candidates for the nation’s highest political office.
At least as important, however, is the change over the last century in the way that women view themselves. A 1903 article in The Atlantic documents the remarkable scale of opposition to American women’s own enfranchisement: “In 1895 the women of Massachusetts were asked by the state whether they wished the suffrage,” the magazine noted. “Of the 575,000 voting women in the state, only 22,204 cared for it enough to deposit in a ballot box an affirmative answer to this question. That is, in round numbers, less than 4% wished to vote; about 96% were opposed to woman [sic] suffrage or indifferent to it.” If a woman had wound up on the presidential ballot, most women would have voted against her because she was female.
In the early 1970s, just 40% of women told pollsters that they “favor most of the efforts to strengthen and change women’s status in society today.” 76% of women and 70% of men now support the Equal Rights Amendment.
Why were there so many, to reference the comedy troupe, Ladies Against Women? Some women were worried that the feminist movement would burden them with obligations traditionally saddled upon men, like becoming subject to the military draft and paying child support. Others thought equal rights would destroy the traditional family. Over time, however, the advantages of equal pay for equal work and the desire for respect swept those worries aside. Women know they can do anything that a man can do. Most men, all those who are not stupid, see it too.
American Leftists are in the same diminished psychological state as the women of the 19th century. We are marginalized from “mainstream” political debate in corporate media, whitewashed out of official histories, have few victories to celebrate and heroes whose lives are unknown to us. We have no self-confidence; how can we overthrow capitalism without believing in ourselves, our ideas, and our potential? When I tell people, including leftists, that 39% of Americans are leftists, that there are more leftists than Democrats, and more leftists than Republicans, they think I must be lying or mistaken.
Few women who lived at the time that my anti-suffrage political button was printed imagined how radically things would change in their favor over the next 100 years. Patriarchy was a seemingly impregnable colossus until it wasn’t.
Capitalism is weak. The system is in a classic crisis of overproduction, unemployment and underemployment are out of control, for-profit healthcare continues despite a pandemic and consumerism-caused environmental collapse is in full swing. Socialists, communists, progressives and other leftists should emulate the example of American women, take confidence in their numbers and the viability of their cause, and get organized.
(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for ANewDomain.net, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower.)
Dear Malcolm Macdonald,
Your Giants lineup inspired me to send my version. Shorting it to 25 greatest overall, not by position. Number one: Juan Marichal (partially because I know Juan personally and want to say here he is the nicest, humblest, most gentlemanly and funniest person I've ever met in life!) 2: Willie Mays. 3: Willie McCovey. 4: Barry Bonds (still clouded by the ’roids). 5: Darrell Evans (obviously most underrated) 6. Will The Thrill Clark. 7. Orlando Zepeda. 8. Gangling Gaylord Perry. 9. Bobby Bonds (martini anyone?), 10. Matt Williams. 11. Jack Clark. 12. Jim Davenport (most combined years as Giant at 20, 1958-1977). 13. Tom Haller (caught many Marichal and Perry shutouts). 14. Chris Speier (Willits ties) 15. Bengie Molina. 16. Robb Nenn. 17. Chili Davis. 18. Robby Thompson. 19. Buster Posey (he'll move up every year). 20. Tito Fuentes. 21. Matt Cain. 22. Sergio Romo. 23. John Montefusco. 24. Dave Kingman. 25. Jim Ray Hart. Runners up: the Alou Brothers, Randy Moffitt (Billie Jean King’s brother). Kevin Mitchell and Jose Uribe, like Kobe Bryant are wasted ink: Too many arrests or rape! Top five managers or coaches: Alvin Dark, Charlie Fox, Bruce Bochy, Roger Craig and Dave “Rags” Ragetti. Top announcers: Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons, Kruk & Kuip.
Would like to share one sad note with the AVA. It's been a lonely personal memory for 50 years now. In the summer of 1971 my pal Randy Silveira and I met Russ Hodges at the hotdog stand at Candlestick Park. Randy was another Fort Bragg High All-League in 3 sports. Russ was a cool old boy and we shot the breeze awhile. He said he was dying of cancer and in three months he was gone. Three months after that my pal Randy died in a hunting accident! I've get that memory in my heart all these years.
I would like to challenge you, Malcolm Macdonald, or any other baseball brainiacs to a “stat quiz.” Let's examine four Hall of Fame pitchers famous in the 60s for the Giants and Dodgers. We know from 1962-1966 the Dodger duo of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale were arguably the greatest one-two pitching punch in baseball “ever.” In those five years they won over 200 games between them (Koufax won the ERA title all five years), and shattered strikeout totals for teammates. They also finished the last four of those years winning two World Series. In 1962 they tied the Giants.
But hey, let's look at two other Hall of Famers of Giants 60s glory – Juan Marichal “the Dominican Dandy” and Gaylord “Spitball” Perry. Take their best five years of the 60s. Stat fans, please look this up: add Perry's number of shutouts from 65-69 and Marichal’s shut outs from 63-66 plus 68. Juan was out a half a year in 67 with a broken leg. Perry was younger and didn't have his spitball in tow until 1965. So total both our Giants stars number of complete game shutouts and compare them to Koufax and Drysdale total from 1962-66 when they were both very healthy and in their ultimate prime. Remember, just use these five-year totals for shut outs for all four and combine the total and watch Marichal and Perry come out on top! Then go an extra yard and add up Giants and Dodgers total victories from the years 1961-68 (an eight-year period) and my bet is the Giants come closer to 800 wins than the Dodgers! Go ahead fans, research up!
David Giusti #3979
951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.
PS. If anyone out there can help a Giants fan that can't even watch a game please mail me a baseball stat book. It has to be sent from the publisher.
WITH OR WITHOUT ME, FLORIDA WILL ALWAYS BE WONDERFULLY, UNRELENTINGLY WEIRD
by Carl Hiaasen, March 12, 2021
Let’s get it over with.
This is my last column for the Miami Herald. I didn’t plan to write about that because there’s actual news to be covered, but my dear friend Dave Barry told me I’d look like a jerk if I didn’t say some sort of goodbye.
So here goes. I grew up reading the Herald and what was then the Fort Lauderdale News, my parents holding this radical notion that being factually informed would help us develop into conscientious, fully functioning citizens.
I fell for newspapers and ended up at the University of Florida’s journalism school, still one of the best. The Herald shelved my first job application, but in the summer of 1976 I got hired as a city desk reporter.
Reubin Askew was governor, and a harmless fellow named Gerald Ford was president only because the paranoid criminal who preceded him had been forced to resign, and the criminal president’s criminal vice president had also quit after getting busted for taking bribes.
Those were the days when all of us wanted to be Woodward or Bernstein.
Meanwhile, South Florida was growing into an outrageously fertile news mecca — weird, violent, drug-soaked, exuberantly corrupt — and eventually I landed on the Herald’s epic investigations team.
Years later, my oldest son, Scott, was doing that same job for the paper. I wasn’t always good at telling him how proud I was, so I’m telling him again now.
I was equally proud of my only brother, Rob, a columnist and editor who was murdered with four co-workers when an angry gunman charged into the Annapolis Capital Gazette newsroom on June 28, 2018. Rob’s family and mine will be forever grateful to the hundreds of you who reached out to us after that heart-crushing day.
Most opinion columnists start out as street reporters, an experience vital to understanding how things really work as opposed to how they should. My own approach to the column — drawn from the incomparable Pete Hamill, Mike Royko and others — was simple: If what I wrote wasn’t pissing off somebody, I probably wasn’t doing my job.
Take a sharp-edged stand on any issue, and the other side seethes. Show me a columnist who doesn’t get hate mail, and I’ll show you someone who’s writing about the pesky worms on his tomato plants. The detestable first-person pronoun will likely appear in this column more times than in the archive of my last three decades combined.
Nobody becomes a journalist because they yearn for mass adoration. Donald Trump didn’t turn the public against the mainstream media; the news business has never been popular. We’re tasked with delivering information that some readers don’t want to hear, and will claim not to believe.
Lyndon Johnson blamed the press for turning Americans against the Vietnam War. Richard Nixon blamed the press for overblowing Watergate. Trump blamed the press for everything except his bronzer.
The internet has made it easier to wage war on the truth. Yet, as shown by the Capitol uprising of selfie-snapping Trump rioters, social media also serves to lure the dumb, deluded and dangerous into the open. Seeing them all offers important, if unsettling, clarity.
I’ve done this column since 1985. No idea how many. No particular favorites, no regrets. Slash-and-burn was the only way I knew to do it.
Even the satirical pieces could be scalding, but that’s what those who betray the public trust deserve. When somebody got caught selling their commission vote under the table, or stealing outright, I felt morally obliged to write something that would make them choke on their corn flakes the next morning.
Once I called Miami City Hall a “bribe factory,” and another time described Tallahassee as a “festival of whores.” Too subtle? Possibly.
One time, the Legislature authorized random drug tests for state employees. Lawmakers mysteriously exempted themselves, so I offered to personally pay a big lab so that every one of them, including the governor, could pee in a cup.
No volunteers. Wonder why.
Another time the then-publisher of the Herald, a very decent guy named Dave Lawrence, said he might run for governor. I wrote a piece suggesting he’d “lost his marbles,” and nicknamed him Publisher Loco.
I didn’t get fired, and Dave let the column run exactly as written. A different publisher once did try to kill one of my columns, failed, and soon departed for a new career in a new line of work.
That wouldn’t happen at most papers, which is one reason I never wanted to go anywhere else. Another reason: It’s hard to put your heart in this job if you don’t have lifetime roots. My friend Hamill never gave up on New York, and that’s how I feel about Florida.
Progress, if it happens, is slow. When I was a kid, hardly anyone running for office talked about the Everglades. Meanwhile, the part that wasn’t disappearing under pavement was being used as a free latrine by corporate agriculture and subdivisions.
These days, billions are being spent trying to save the besieged River of Grass, and every ambitious candidate — Democrat or Republican — waxes rapturously about it. A few of them might actually be sincere, but all of them know how to read the polls.
It would be lovely to report that other things have also changed for the better, but Florida’s wild places and clearest waters are still under assault from overdevelopment, opioids are killing more people than coke or street heroin ever did, racism thrives likes a fungal rash and corruption is more rampant than ever.
Millions of worried seniors are still awaiting COVID inoculations because they don’t live in gated communities full of rich Republicans writing checks to the governor’s re-election committee. Then again, who’s really surprised that a resort like Ocean Reef gets special vaccine shipments while regular folks in nearby Florida City get to sit in their cars for hours, praying the supply doesn’t run out?
As you read these words, some scrofulous tunnel rat in public office is busy selling your best interests down the road. It might be happening at your town council, zoning board, water district, or county commission — but it is happening.
Certainly there are those with guts and unshakeable integrity in both political parties, but theirs is an uphill slog — and often they don’t last long.
Retail corruption is now a breeze, since newspapers and other media can no longer afford enough reporters to cover all the key government meetings. You wake up one day, and they’re bulldozing 20 acres of pines at the end of your block to put up a Costco. Your kids ask what’s going on, and you can’t tell them because you don’t have a clue.
That’s what happens when hometown journalism fades — neighborhood stories don’t get reported until it’s too late, after the deal’s gone down. Most local papers are gasping for life, and if they die it will be their readers who lose the most.
The decision to leave now is mine. It’ll be strange not having my Thursday deadline, but I’ll never stop writing about this bent, beautiful, infuriating state. Fortunately, all the scammers and greedheads remain vastly outnumbered by caring, thoughtful people who fiercely love what’s left of this place.
Thanks to all of you who buy enough of my gonzo novels that I don’t have to depend on a pauperizing newspaper pension. Thanks also for the heaps of mail, including the letters with prison postmarks.
I owe a special debt to Bob Radziewicz, who retired from the newsroom years ago but has continued editing my column out of friendship and perhaps sentimental curiosity. Same goes for my op-ed page editor, Nancy Ancrum, who’s always been there to gently remind me this is a family newspaper — please calm down and keep it clean.
Finally and most important, I’ve got to thank the Herald and its streaming cast of talented, tenacious editors and reporters. Their superb, solid work always made my job easier.
Now someone else can come along and do it better.