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GUSTY NORTHERLY WINDS will continue along the coast each afternoon and evening today and Tuesday. Otherwise, mostly clear skies with cool nights and mild to warm days are expected. (NWS)
ROBERT WATTENBURGER, SR.
Robert passed away on April 1, 2021, peacefully in his home attended by his sons Daniel and Terrence.
He is once again with Eleanor, his wife of 56 years, who preceded him in death in 2002. He is survived by his sons, Robert, Jr. and his wife Bonnie, Martin and his wife Janis, Lawrence and his wife Sheryn, Daniel and his wife Leslie, James and his wife Karen, and Terrence. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren, numerous great-grand children and great-great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Evelyn, and his brother James.
Robert was born in Fortuna, Calif., moved to Scotts Valley, Lakeport with his family at a young age and helped manage the family's walnut orchard and dairy farm. He attended Sacramento Community College and was third in track in the State's finals. He had great night vision, and if the moon was full whilecommuting home on the weekends would drive with the headlights off as he said he could see better without them. When World War II broke out, he volunteered for the Navy and applied to flight school. He was a natural flyer and was assigned to the first carrier based night fighter squadron on board the USS Enterprise, CV(N)-6. During operations in the western Pacific, he was credited with 2.5 enemy planes shot down. Once, while landing during the end of a typhoon, the ship's stern lurched up from wave action and flipped he and his plane onto their back, landing "wheels up". Unknown to him, while he was flying Night CAP over Iwo Jima, his brother Jim, a Captain of Marines, was fighting on the island below him.
When the Enterprise was knocked out of action, the ship returned to New York City for repairs, where he met his life mate and married Eleanor in 1946. After duty in Key West, Fl, as a test pilot for weapons systems and the early jets in Paxtuxent River, Md, Moffett Field, Ca., and four sons later, he was assigned to the USS Valley Forge and saw action in Korea where he was shot down by enemy anti-aircraft fire while supporting the Inchon landings. He was rescued by a destroyer and returned to action the next day. After Korea, he saw duty in Chicago, Ill and Coronado, Ca.
For his actions in World War II and Korea, Robert was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, the Air Medal four times, and numerous campaign and service ribbons. During his flying career, he flew over 35 different aircraft, from training in Wildcats, to the night fighter version of the Hellcat, to Corsairs, the early jet fighters and even trained in helicopters.
He left the service in 1956 and settled with his family in Ukiah, which now included six sons. He was active in the community; he served as a Ukiah Police Reserve Officer, he flew early COOP missions in Mendocino Co looking for fires, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus, helped run the early years of the St. Mary's Mardi Gras, was a manager of the Masonite South Ukiah Little League team for many years and then became an umpire. He managed one of Alex Thomas' pear orchards for many years, and when he retired from the pear orchards, he became manager of the Potter Valley Irrigation District until his final retirement.
At present, there are no planned final services; a family remembrance will be held later this summer when the distant family members can return to Ukiah. Robert will be laid to rest in the family plot in the Willits Cemetery.
I've been to the South of France and it is beautiful, but it is their culture, more than their landscapes that impress me. That is because I live in California and we have wonderful vistas that are at least equal to theirs.
I would put this view from Anderson Valley up against any other with some confidence.
FORMER SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN Answers Pot Permit Program Questions
What should the BOS do about enforcement?
Accepting the Planning Commission recommendation to “allocate appropriate resources to the Department of Planning and Building Services and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office for permitting, enforcement and oversight” would be a good start. When the BOS adopted the current ordinance in 2017 it was with the expectation that there would be adequate enforcement and oversight. As Sheriff Kendall says, it doesn't matter what the rules are if they aren’t enforced. The overwhelming majority of the 407 commenters to the Planning Commission (really only 290 after taking out the duplicates) want to see effective oversight and enforcement. This is true whether they support a Phase 3 ordinance or not. I think it’s very likely the Board will vote to adopt a Phase 3 ordinance, including some level of expansion. But it won't make a difference without adequate funding for oversight and enforcement. The meeting on April 12 is an opportunity to tell the BOS where you stand on enforcement.
What happens if the BOS does not adopt Phase 3 by June 30?
We will be stuck where we are now. We will not have a functional ordinance that aligns with State law, that results in State Annual licenses for legally compliant cultivators or protects the neighbors. We are in a brief window where adoption of the ordinance, if done before June 30, is exempt from CEQA. The State legislature has made a policy decision that the best way for local jurisdictions to satisfy the State requirement for site specific CEQA is to adopt an ordinance based on discretionary land use permits. Failure to adopt the ordinance now means it will be years if ever before a functional ordinance can be adopted. There is an interesting de facto alliance between people who think they are protecting the environment by preventing Phase 3 and illegal growers who benefit from the current dysfunctional system.
Sheriff Kendall says that what he sees today in Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Hopland and other areas is what he saw in Covelo 3 and 4 years ago. Everything that has gone wrong in Covelo has gone wrong under the current ordinance. Everything that is starting to go wrong in Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Hopland and other areas is going wrong under the current ordinance. The current ordinance is not working for applicants, the environment or the neighbors.
What will prevent an explosion of large cannabis grows all over the County?
Phase 3 applicants will be limited to specific zoning and will be subject to the Use Permit process which requires site specific environmental review with completion of an Environmental Checklist for 18 categories of environmental impacts, notice to about two dozen state and local agencies, notice to the neighbors, a Public Hearing where anyone may be heard, the ability to condition or deny the application in an open public process, the right to appeal the decision and the right to challenge it in court. None of these protections exist now. Every cultivation site will be subject to complete environmental review, including cumulative impacts to the watershed, to rangeland, to roads and many other issues. The CDFW presentation on the agenda for Monday makes it very clear that much of the rangeland in Mendocino County is steep, arid and in proximity to protected species or their habitat. The Planning Commission is not going to approve Major Use Permits for expansion if it will create negative impacts to the environment or to residential neighbors. Anyone buying a 40 acre vineyard with small residential lots on two or three sides is going to have a rude awakening if they apply for a Use Permit for 10%.
What makes you think a Phase 3 ordinance will protect the environment?
Unlike Phase 1, applicants will be required to obtain approval BEFORE they are allowed to cultivate. Every cultivation project will be subject to CEQA under the Phase 3 ordinance. It is a State requirement. Site specific CEQA is also part of the Use Permit process which includes an Environmental Checklist that covers 18 subject areas of environmental impact with multiple aspects of each of those 18 areas. The project will then be circulated to about two dozen State and local agencies for comment. After receiving the comments staff will consider additional conditions to address issues that have been raised. Notice will be given to neighbors and published in a newspaper of general circulation describing the project, where to get more information and the date and time of the Public Hearing where everyone may be heard. Staff will present the project to the Planning Commission (citizens who serve on a volunteer basis), the Planning Commission will hear from the public, will then deliberate among themselves and will then either decide to approve or deny the project or approve it with additional conditions. Anyone dissatisfied with the outcome can appeal the decision. If they still don’t like the result they can challenge it in court. None of these protections exist how. The neighbors have no say whatsoever in the current process. Applicants will also be subject to all of the State standards which are stringent to the point of being onerous and oppressive.
What’s wrong with the current ordinance and why can’t it be enforced?
There are many reasons. The County did an Initial Study and concluded that pre-existing cultivation sites limited to less than ¼ acre would not have a significant environmental impact based on mitigations in the ordinance. Later the State adopted a requirement for site specific environmental review which has created an impasse. It’s a complicated issue but after countless discussions and hours of staff time and after Supervisor Williams’ best efforts, the impasse remains. The ordinance has also suffered from ineffective administration. We have had 3 Ag Commissioners, a Director and Interim Director of P&BS and 4 Cannabis Program managers in four years. When the program started in 2017 the Ag department failed to develop a systematic way to track the applications, verify they were complete and process them. That never got better until the recently departed and current Cannabis Program managers came on board. Of equal importance, high turnover of staff and a unique only in Mendocino County ordinance has hamstrung the department. Because our ordinance is unique senior planning staff need to train new planners on how to administer it. Then the new planner leaves and the cycle begins again. The individual provisions of the Mendocino County ordinance do not create barriers to compliance but the overall ordinance is complicated enough that with high turnover it takes too much time to get new planners up to speed. We will never gain traction as long as we are tied to the current only in Mendocino County ordinance. In contrast, every planner understands the Use Permit process and how to implement it. Another problem has been understaffing. In 2019, over the CEO’s objections, I pushed the Board to approve full staffing for the Cannabis Program but the positions were never filled. Yes, recruitment and retention are issues but the bottom line is, the CEO controls hiring and frequently orders Human Resources not to fill budgeted and approved positions.
Administration of the ordinance has also suffered from political interference. Past attempts to clean up the applicant pool have stalled primarily because Supervisor Haschak has intimidated staff and used his influence to protect growers who are not in compliance. The Board has several times directed that non-compliant and non-responsive applicants be denied but according to someone who is no longer with the County, whenever staff sends out denial letters Haschak intercedes on the grower’s behalf. This has put staff in a very uncomfortable position and made them reluctant to do their jobs. In October of 2019 the BOS directed staff to study the Humboldt County program that uses aerial imagery for enforcement. Haschak abused his position as Chair to block the item from coming back before the BOS. He has also stalled consideration of a Phase 3 ordinance for nearly a year and is still leading the charge to block it from being adopted. You'll notice Haschak is not a co-sponsor of the agenda item discussing enforcement that is being brought forward by Supervisor Williams. We’ll see how he votes on April 12 but to this point Haschak has done everything he can to prevent enforcement. The irony is that Haschak has fooled people into thinking he is standing up for protecting the environment when he is really protecting non-compliant growers who will never be legal.
Where is the money coming from?
An ongoing blatant lie promulgated by the CEO is that there is no money for anything except her pet projects. (Like spending $5 million to buy a 3,000 acre ranch for only one example.) Failure to move forward with aerial imagery has been blamed on lack of funds. But there is an abundance of money available for cannabis enforcement if the BOS chooses to make it a priority. Lack of funds? How about $5.6 million in cannabis tax revenue for the last fiscal year with probably a similar amount this year? How about $22.6 million in unrestricted PG&E disaster settlement funds? And if all else fails how about the many millions in unrestricted County General Fund reserves? What is more important: spending $2.8 million on a collapsed roof on an unneeded dilapidated white elephant of a building or adequately funding cannabis oversight and enforcement?
Cannabis tax money is an obvious source of funding for cannabis enforcement. In 2016 the voters passed Measures AI, the cannabis tax, with 63% approval and AJ, an advisory measure, with 68.5% approval. The advisory measure told the BOS to spend a majority of the cannabis tax on: 1) Mental Health; 2) Fire and EMS; 3) Roads; 4) Cannabis Enforcement. Unlike cannabis enforcement, the other three functions already receive significant county funding. Mental Health is supported by Measure B. Fire Agencies receive dedicated funding from the TOT tax on campgrounds as well as Prop 172 funding. The Road Fund receives over $3.5 million annually in county discretionary funding. The County has been collecting cannabis tax money for three years including $5.6 million last fiscal year. The BOS has NEVER had a discussion about how to allocate these funds.
But what if the cannabis tax cupboard is bare? What other possible source is there?
In July the County received a $22.7 million dollar 2017 fire disaster settlement of unrestricted funds from PG&E. The CEO openly lied and blocked discussion of these funds by falsely asserting it was unknown what purposes they could be used for. Her pattern of lies is a story in itself. The fact is, the County did receive $22.7 million in unrestricted funds. I am sympathetic to the reasonable expectations of the victims of the 2017 fire that first call on these funds ought to be ongoing fire recovery efforts. I've always thought that a minimum of $10 million (it could be $15 million or whatever the BOS agrees to) ought to put into a Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Fund with all disbursements related to disaster recovery or mitigation and clearly shown. This could include such things as infrastructure, rebuilding assistance to homeowners, funding for prevention projects by the Fire Safe Council, funding for recovery and prevention projects by the Mendocino County RCD and others. But isn’t the ongoing degradation of the environment and safety of our neighborhoods caused by unregulated cannabis also a disaster? And some of the areas being hardest hit are Redwood Valley and Potter Valley.
The Disaster Fund (PG&E funds by any other name) could also LOAN money to cannabis enforcement to be repaid from fines collected from violators. We are all aware of the millions of dollars collected by Humboldt County. And we have appropriate fine schedules in place. All we need is an enforcement program. In October 2019 the BOS gave direction to P&BS to review the Humboldt County operation and return with a presentation on how to implement it in Mendocino County. But Supervisor Haschak, as stated above, abused his position as Chair to prevent that discussion from coming back to the BOS. The CEO also never thought protecting our communities from illegal cannabis was a priority, as witnessed by her shifting grant money away from the Sheriff's Office. In short, there is plenty of money to adequately fund cannabis enforcement. All that is lacking is clear direction from the BOS. It's time to stop Haschak from protecting the illegal growers and it's time to tell the CEO to quit hoarding money for her pet projects.
What would enforcement look like?
What is needed is a coordinated approach between the Cannabis Program, Code Enforcement, County Counsel and the Sheriff's Office. Areas of responsibility, responsible agencies and responsible individuals must be identified for each of several areas. We need to hear from the agencies involved but here’s one suggested approach: 1) Current Applicants - lead agency and responsible party would be the Cannabis Program & Cannabis Program Manager; 2) Illegal backyard grows in Sunset and Exclusion Zones - lead agency and responsible party would be Code Enforcement & Chief Code Enforcement Officer; 3) Unpermitted small scale cultivation outside of Sunset Zones - lead agency and responsible party would be Code Enforcement & Chief Code Enforcement Officer or the Sheriff's Office and County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) Commander; 4) large scale criminal operations - lead agency and responsible party would be the Sheriff's Office and COMMET Commander. Above all, there needs to be a coordinated effort so that the Cannabis Program; Code Enforcement; County Counsel and the Sheriff's Office are all working together to identify the most appropriate response. For many it will be a simple cease and desist letter with no penalty for those who comply. For others it will be forced eradication. Once people know the County is serious about enforcement it will be much easier to gain compliance.
It can’t be emphasized enough that without adequate oversight and enforcement it won’t matter what the rules are. Whatever the flaws of the current ordinance, the fatal flaw has been lack of accountability. After four years of local legalization, it’s time to adopt a fully functional ordinance and insist on oversight and enforcement.
GREASY PETE’S TREE SIT in Jackson Demonstration State Forest
CHIPPERDAY PROGRAM - There is a curbside pickup chipper program to select areas throughout the County on a rotating basis during the year. Please note; pickup will occur within 1 to 2 days of the stated pickup date, depending on volume and the number of reservations. Check it out - it is easy to sign up: chipperday.com/mendocino
DA’S AGILITY IS FINE
Dear Editor …
Respectfully, “failing agility?” NOT. Mendo Rose of Laurel (“Rosie”), our Welsh Terrier pup in the picture, is generally spending a significant amount of her time these days playing underfoot but my agility continues to prevent her from taking me down.
The same cannot be said for the ongoing construction-caused minefields and trip hazards being allowed to exist and spread across downtown Ukiah. I’m not the first to go down as a result of same and, unfortunately, probably not the last.
DA Dave Eyster
P.S. The medical folks at the Adventist emergency department were wonderful and took good care of me. Thank you!
WATER BOARD REQUESTS COUNTY-WIDE ELECTION ON PROPOSED POT EXPANSION; Haschak To Bring Before Supes
by Jim Shields
Last week, we talked about Supervisor John Haschak joining myself, former Sheriff Tom Allman, and current Sheriff Matt Kendall, plus many others in requesting the Board of Supervisors hold a countywide election if their proposed Phase 3 Cannabis Ordinance includes the 10% cultivation of total parcel acreage and opening up Rangeland to cultivation.
I told you Allman deserves credit for being the first to suggest the election, and I’ve called for it since then, and Kendall joined with his support earlier this year.
On Wednesday, April 7, the Laytonville County Water District Board that I manage, held a special meeting to consider sending a letter to the Supes requesting they hold an election on the two proposals.
On my Saturday radio show on April 3, on KPFN, I had Haschak on and we talked about the election issue and how we believed the other four Supes (Dan Gjerde, Ted Williams, Glenn McGourty, and Maureen Mulheren, who support expanding cultivation with basically no controls and apparently no concerns about the adverse effects it will have on watersheds and water sources. They’ve gone on record touting the super-sized economic cultivation model because of what they believe will be the resulting enhanced revenue streams.
Haschak said when the Board meets on April 19 to possibly approve the proposed new Cannabis Ordinance, he will request that a county-wide election be held on the 10% rule and opening up range land to cultivation.
Here’s the letter the Laytonville Water Board approved requesting the election.
To: The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
Subject: Voter Election On Proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance Provisions Regarding the 10% Rule and Opening Up Range Land To Cannabis Cultivation
Dear Honorable Supervisors,
Please be advised that the Board of Directors of the Laytonville County Water District (LCWD) met on April 7, 2021 and approved that the following comments and request be made to the Board of Supervisors.
There are two provisions in the Proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance that are of grave concern to most of the residents of Mendocino County.
Those two provisions are:
• The so-called “10% Rule” whereby cannabis cultivation would be allowed on 10% of the total land of a parcel with a minimum size of 10 acres on lands zoned as Agriculture, Upland Residential, or Range Land.
• Currently Range Land, with the exception of a limited number of cultivators granted so-called “Grandfather Rights” under the Phase One Cannabis Ordinance, is off-limits to cannabis cultivation. However, the Proposed Phase Three Ordinance would allow cannabis cultivation to occur on Range Land.
As the Board is well aware, these two proposed rules are opposed by what appears to be an overwhelming majority of Mendocino County residents.
Therefore the LCWD Board of Directors hereby requests that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, on its own motion and without a voter petition, submit the above-referenced proposed provisions regarding the “10% Rule” and the opening up of range land to cannabis cultivation found in the proposed Phase Three Cannabis Ordinance, to the voters for final determination.
Thank you for your consideration of this most important matter.
LCWD Board of Directors
DWR: Third Driest Year In State History
While four members of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors are pushing ahead with a proposed Cannabis Ordinance that will significantly and momentously expand cultivation in a county in its second year of drought conditions, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) declared this week that 2021 as the third-driest water year in state history.
California’s driest year on record was in 1977, when recorded precipitation was less than 35 percent the average.
This year rain totals are below 50 percent of average statewide.
DWR reports that the state’s water supply in its major reservoirs are at just 50 percent of overall capacity.
“There is no doubt California is in a critically dry year. State agencies, water suppliers and Californians are more prepared than ever to adapt to dry conditions and meet the challenges that may be ahead,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “With climate change impacting how precipitation falls in California, ongoing water efficiency and long-term efforts like recycling water, capturing stormwater, and planting water-friendly landscapes are essential to securing California’s water future.”
With dry conditions continuing to impact California’s water supply, DWR recently announced an adjustment to the State Water Project allocation for 2021. The department now expects to deliver 5 percent of requested supplies this year, down from the initial allocation of 10 percent announced in December.
Newsom Signs $536 Million Firefighting Plan
On a more positive note, Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week he has signed a $536 million funding plan found in new legislation to help improve California’s response to wildfires.
“With California facing another extremely dry year, it is critical that we get a head start on reducing our fire risk,” Newsom said. “We are doing that by investing more than half a billion dollars on projects and programs that provide improved fire prevention for all parts of California.
Newsom outlined key parts of the plan include such things as greater investments in forest health projects, improvements on defensible space, home hardening against fires, fire prevention grants, and prevention workforce training. The plan includes public and private lands vegetation management, community-focused efforts for prevention and resilience and economic stimulus for the forestry economy.
“Because we know that California’s fires are not limited to forested lands, we have built in attention to all kinds of vulnerable terrain and vegetation, with incentives for prevention that protects larger numbers of residents,” Newsom stated. “The $536 million funding packaging includes $125 million from Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds and $411 million from the General Fund. We also hope to draw federal disaster prevention grants to match money spent on home hardening.”
LAKE MENDOCINO, UDJ READERS COMMENT:
• I walk at the dam almost daily and all I can say is the lake could be full right now but all the water is being released at a high rate. All winter and spring it appears the gate are open wide. Why didn't they fill it when they could of, before the rains stopped!!!
• I think they did a poor job of managing the water they did get the previous year among other things.They are using an outdated water management system that needs updated. It was flooding the parking lot last spring and the water levels dropped really quickly last year. Now you can’t even launch a boat. It’s sad to see because it is such a great recreational asset to the area. Why aren’t the campgrounds open and being kept up better? The one by the dam hasn’t been open in years and the one on the east side of the lake is gated off most of the year. The boat launch iron rangers got torn out a couple years ago and haven’t been replaced. That’s a lot of money they are missing out on. At least there is a bunch of tree work being done to the northern campground.
• Time to find more water resources - and maybe investigate reconnecting the Russian River to Clear Lake.
• Just came from a walk on the dam and there is water pouring out into the river from the lake.
• So misleading! If you close the dam we been fine but no, sold the rights to santa rosa.
• Dig the lake out make it deeper then you can keep more water in it, and buy the water rights back from Sonoma county
• Time to clean the mud out.
• Fire season is upon us
• Rename it Lake Field new motocross spot
• I've been saying for as long as I can remember there should be no more water going out than is coming in except for flood conditions period. Let it fill and maintain it what comes in can go out nothing more or less
• We need to start conserving now.
• Been way less rain years ago... blah blah drought. Drought is something that doesn't normally happen. Selling but I ain't buying. Poor water management, fish management, but perfect alcohol management
• Hint: the ones who use the most water are rich. The same ones who destroyed the river and have screwed the climate. Maybe the rich should be responsible for fixing the problems they’ve created.
• And the city will raise water rates yet again!
• What Lake??? It's beyond tragic and empty of water.
• Save water for people don't let so much out Santa Rosa. I like fish but I believe people are more important
• When the dam was built in the 50s Mendo County could have put money up for the water rights but was too cheap so Sonoma County did!! Guess who owns the water rights?
• It’s not like this has never happened before. Quit crying
• I was shocked and saddened to tears when I drove by the lake a few days ago. They need to stop sending it south!!!
• Has anybody ever heard any thing about the level of asbestos that the bottom of the lake has? I was talking to a guy that was taking samples of it many years ago when the lake was low. He said that it was high and that if the lake ever went dry and we had a big wind storm it would be dangerous. This was many years ago. I am not sure if this is true or who this guy was. I have never heard anything else about it tho. He said the hills surronding the lake are full of asbestos?
• Maybe we should stop the mass production of wine since that’s the biggest water user.
• Everyone stop whining, we’ll get around to building new reservoirs when we’re done securing low cost and/or free housing and food for undocumented workers.
• Water skiing lake Sonoma this year! That sucks! Mendocino be DRY! Can you say grapes and weed!
BULLETS IN FIRES, AN ON-LINE COMMENT: When bullets burn, the projectile doesn’t leave the casing with the same force as if it were fired through a barrel of a firearm, in fact in most fires the projectile is found within a few feet if not inches of the case simply because there is nothing confining the gassed released from the powder burn behind the bullet, meaning most if not all of the potential force is lost. With the exception of any rounds that happen to be chambered in a barrel.
LYNDA HOPKINS, SOCO SUPERVISOR:
If you’re anything like me… if you live in Sonoma County and you work in/care about/follow local government… chances are you have spent some portion of the last few days wondering whether you should cry/scream/move to a remote village in Alaska/throw rocks at walls/protest/binge watch something/randomly hug your kids for the 20th time/go to sleep and refuse to get out of bed until the world has returned to a more sane and kind state.
It’s been a hell of a week. Emphasis on hell. Because actually, it hasn’t even been a week yet. On Thursday, four credible allegations of sexual assault emerged against Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli. This was followed by a fifth allegation yesterday (Saturday) — right around the time that former Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob was arrested for sex crimes involving a minor. Last night, a sixth allegation against Foppoli emerged from beloved councilwoman and deputy district attorney Esther Lemus. (And yes, I stand with Esther!) That allegation came out at approximately the same time that Foppoli released a temper tantrum of a statement, one which demonstrates that he lives in a reality of his own creation in which everyone and everything else is part of some conspiracy theory against him. In Dominic’s world, everyone is jealous of his meteoric rise to prominence. In his world, all women desire him. In his world, he is the victim of a culture that preys on perfectly good young men and destroys their lives for no good reason.
Reading his version of reality made me want to take a shower, throw up, and go punch pillows, all at the same time. But after my initial emotional response, I was reminded of a particular lesson from lifeguard class. When you train to become a lifeguard, instructors teach you how to protect yourself from a drowning person. Why? Because a drowning person, in their desperation to remain afloat, often tries to drown their rescuer. To be clear, I don’t know that there’s anyone capable of saving Dominic from himself right now. But his statement is clearly the act of a drowning person, desperate to stay afloat in a big cold sea, pushing down everyone else in his orbit in an attempt to gather his own lungfuls of air. Put simply: he’s now trying to take other people out to save himself.
The worst part? Actually, scratch that. It’s ALL the worst part. But it’s equally the worst that over the past six (6) months, THREE Sonoma County Mayors — current or former — are alleged to be sexual predators or pedophiles. (Recall that Former Sonoma Mayor David Cook was arrested in late October 2020.)
There are so many words I could use to describe this state of affairs. Pick your own adjective. For now, I’ll just say this is “despicable.”
But enough of the relentlessly exhausting news cycle. Here’s the most important question. What do we DO, y’all? How do we move FORWARD?
1. Dominic Foppoli needs to step down. Immediately.
At this point, literally anything I can think of would make a better Mayor than Dominic Foppoli. No, really, give this a try. Think of something, anything. I bet that the first thing that pops into your mind would be a better Mayor than Dominic Foppoli.
(Side note: you know who I WANT to see as a Mayor? A human being with a heart, a soul, and a conscience. Like the other eight Mayors of Sonoma County who immediately banded together to stand up and speak out against a sexual predator in their midst. Male and female Mayors from all around the County speaking with one voice in support of the survivors and demanding Dominic’s resignation.)
2. If Dominic Foppoli refuses to step down, we all need to do everything we can to support a recall effort to remove him from office.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter whether you live in Windsor. This isn’t “just” a Windsor problem. Having a sexual predator in power affects all of us, throughout Sonoma County and beyond. The lives of his victims don’t stop at the Town of Windsor boundary. Why should his accountability stop at the town’s borders? Support the recall effort. Donate to the campaign. Gather signatures. Rise up! Folks are already working on the recall, and I’ll share more information as soon as I have it.
3. We need to create a culture of consent.
Repeat after me: NO MEANS NO. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS YES WHEN A WOMAN IS UNCONSCIOUS OR TOO INTOXICATED TO CONSENT. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS YES IF YOU ARE AN ADULT AND THEY ARE A MINOR. DO NOT DRUG OR INTOXICATE OTHER HUMAN BEINGS, EVER. DO NOT USE PHYSICAL, CULTURAL, POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL POWER TO DO INAPPROPRIATE THINGS TO OTHERS.
Folks: When in doubt, keep your body parts to yourself.
To any and all perpetrators: What makes you think you have a right to someone else’s body? And what the hell is wrong with you that you can’t see the damage you leave in your wake when you disrespect another person’s bodily autonomy? How dare you do this to another person — let alone a child?
4. We need to create a culture of survivor support, and listening. We need to eliminate whistleblower fear, and create systems that hold powerful people accountable to their misdeeds.
5. We need to get rid of toxic jock culture in leadership circles. You should not have to work within an alpha male framework in order to get ahead personally or politically.
I want to be really clear: this does not mean opposing or hating masculinity. I don’t give a damn if you’re a wrestler or a pro football player or you bench press baby elephants or you shave your face with a sword every morning. You do you. But I shouldn’t have to participate in your culture to get ahead. That’s where masculinity becomes toxic. It’s not in its existence; it’s when it excludes others from participating — when it marginalizes people of different genders, cultures, backgrounds, or leadership styles. We need to create a culture in government and leadership that supports, accepts, and lifts up diverse leadership.
That, folks, is a short list of what I think needs to change. I have a lot more to say on all these topics, but I’ll stop there for now. What else do YOU think needs to change in Sonoma County?"
HEMINGWAY, JEEZ. Sailing along the PBS doc on the creative lit genius the other night, when it arrives at Part Three, where Hem begins to lose it. Or does he? Maybe he's just a lowdown, mean bastard who happens to have this great gift, but his slam at James Jones, also a great writer but one with only his first novel, the wonderful “From Here to Eternity” under his belt, gets an insult from Hemingway as vile as an insult can be. I'd never heard either of it or about it before and was shocked, at least as shocked as an ancient person who has seen pretty much what there is to see in base human behavior. And totally undeserved for Jones, a young man at the time, suddenly insulted in demented terms by the number one writer in the language. It would kinda be like YoYo Ma unloading on the cellist for the Ukiah community orchestra. PBS bleeped the N-word part of the insult but, yes, Hemingway went that low. He went on to write ‘The Old Man and the Sea,’ which is not the work of a crazy person, so how far off was he when he went off on Jones? Also, the great man's treatment of his four wives is additional evidence that he was a bullying oaf in his personal life. I felt like cheering when his third, Martha Gellhorn, up and left him.
AS BOONVILLE'S frost fans roared off about one in the morning, the ninth morning they've gone off over the past two weeks, I'd earlier happened on a news segment about heavily regulated French vineyards, some of which burn paraffin in rows of little buckets among their vines to save their grapes from the freeze. Some of us will remember barrels of burning diesel in orchards, mos def unhealthy for everyone except the fruit, and not acceptable for many moons. The Boonville weekly sued over the fans, a major impetus for our suit being that they made the last few weeks of Hugh Scaramella's life more painful than they needed to be. Of course we lost in the wine-soaked courts of Mendocino, but a good hunk of the wine gentry turned out to make sure the judge made the correct decision for them. The annual aural, sleep-destroying assaults on the Anderson Valley are an excellent, real life lesson in capitalism, which I doubt I need to spell out.
FROM A LETTER in Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal: “…I am urging Chief Justin Wyatt to follow the example of Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Within days of the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers of his department, Arradondo fired the men responsible. All the officers, of course, had recourse to their union for appealing any decision that they viewed as unfair. The police involved in the brutal gang attack on Mr. Magdaleno will enjoy the same recourse if Chief Wyatt does what’s right and expresses our community’s abhorrence of their depravity by dismissing them. Let Chief Wyatt set an example in this case: Ukiah won’t shield gang violence with police badges.”
THIS IS A NEAT local example of the national hysteria which assumes cops are driving around recreationally beating people up and murdering them, especially black and brown people. So in the above para we get the spectacular false equivalence of Magdaleno and George Floyd, and the Ukiah cops as a badged gang who jumped Magdaleno because the Ukiah cops are “depraved.”
IN FACT, Magdaleno, a young, large, strong twenty-five year old, was loaded on a pcp-like drug that gives its consumers much more strength than they usually have. He took his clothes off and, nude, proceeded to roar menacingly in the middle of South State Street.
THE UKIAH PD has been dealing with Magdaleno since 2015. He's one of these local mentals — there are at least a dozen of them — beyond the dubious abilities of Mendocino County's 31-agency “continuum of care,” which only cares for the “reimburseables,” and them only if they are more or less manageable. (They also are extremely attentive to their own funding and general welfare.) A big, strong, young psycho? In 1950, Magdaleno would have been sequestered in a state hospital until he got a grip, but America long ago lost its way, and there is no treatment or safe sequestration for the thousands of Magdalenos out there. He'll continue to be cycled in and out of the County Jail, and the Ukiah Police Department will be dealing with him for years to come.
ADMIT IT. SOMETIMES VULGARITY IS FUNNY: Bumpersticker on a Honda in downtown Ukiah: “Spiritual as Fuck.” And then there’s, “Fuckin' kids.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 11, 2021
BRANDI-JO ADKINS-CASEY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, fugitive from justice, failure to appear.
WILFREDO HERNANDEZ-RUIZ, Salinas/Ukiah. DUI.
WILLARD HOUSE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
THOMAS MADDOX, Willits. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
JOSE MORTES-MORENO, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
SALVADOR PEDROZA, Laytonville. Attempted murder.
HEIDI RAYBURN, Willits. Disobeying court order, Marshall’s warrant.
CHRIS TUGGLE, Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor/book&release.
MILTON VANCE III, Fair Oaks/Ukiah. DUI, reckless driving.
JONAH RASKIN WRITES:
I read with interest William J. Hughes's piece “In Search of Sacajawea” which turns out to be more about the author himself than about the Indian woman who aided Lewis and Clark. I wondered why Hughes omitted crucial information about her, but maybe that's because he says in his opening sentence, “I'm guessing we all know something about her.” I'm guessing that “we” don't. Hughes says she was more of an interpreter than a guide, but a close reading of the journals indicates that she was both an interpreter and a guide who led the way and set the pace. Speed was essential for her; moving through an area quickly so as not to attract undue attention and also with an eye on the weather and aiming to avoid storms. Readers might like to know that Sacajawea traveled at least part of the time with her husband, Charrponneau, whom Lewis dismissed as “a man of no peculiar merit.” She also carried her baby, Jean Baptiste, much of the time. Lewis called her “the Indian woman,” a “poor object” and a “child bride.” She was also known as “Bird Woman” and “Snake Woman” which suggests that she had an affinity for the animals of the forest and perhaps a kind of spirituality. When Sacajawea gave birth to Jean Baptiste, Lewis helped her. When she was in pain he administered opium: a doctor of sorts. Clark noted that she had been “of great service to me.” He and Lewis called her their “pilot” and the expedition a “voyage.” She walked at the head of the Corp because she knew better than Lewis and Clark how to read the woods. A woman with a child was also useful cover for a heavily armed group of men who engaged in combat with Indians when Sacajawea wasn't around. When the Corp held meetings to plan where to go and what to do next, Sacagawea voted, as did the African-American York. Unlike Lewis and Clark and the others she didn't have a gun. At times Lewis was attracted to Indian women whom he called ”tawny damsels.” When he saw the white cliffs made of sandstone along the Missouri River he described them as “scenes of visionary enchantment.” No doubt they were beautiful and enchanting. Perhaps he was also using opium. At the end, which was also a kind of beginning, Sacajawea disappeared into the woods. Clark went to work for the U.S. government and Lewis committed suicide. The two men were largely forgotten for much of the 19th-century. Teddy Roosevelt resurrected them when he created the Lewis and Clark National Monument. He helped to preserve and popularize the two men that Jefferson sent on a near-impossible mission. Native American author William Least Heat-Moon said that Indians “went downhill after Lewis and Clark.” Indeed, they were one of the first nails in the coffin that led to genocide at places like Wounded Knee and all over the bloody continent.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
My, my, a lot of negative thinking today. War will do us in, either the China-Taiwan war, the Russia-Ukraine war, or the Israeli-Iran war (I may be forgetting some other world-ending conflicts).
Or maybe we’ll all die in the new ice-age that’s coming, or are we going to fry in global warming? Or when we run out of oil, desertification, wide-area fires, and water depletion? The US is doomed, we’ve been taken over by communists, while this new situation – corruption – is taking us down. Oh, yeah, chem-trails will kill millions and God is preparing to end us, btw.
And looming over all this is mass death-by covid vaccines.
C’mon you guys, adjust your tinfoil hats and add more creative – if old – scenarios, like an asteroid strike, lizard-men created destruction, Yellowstone exploding, world-ending pole shifts, the sun turning off or giving us a CME hotfoot. Hey, I’ll even do my part and add the end-of-the-world coming at us when we approach a huge poisonous gas cloud region as we rotate around the galaxy.
I tell ya, why even bother! We should just lie down and die now to avoid all the worrying. After all, we will either be dead or spit-roasting rats, anyway, soon enough.
NOVELIST JAMES JONES SHOWED GRACE in the Face of Hemingway’s Cruelty
Hearing Hemingway’s famously nasty letter about her father read aloud in the new Burns and Novick documentary came as a rude shock.
by Kaylie Jones
Last night I watched Episode 3 of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Hemingway documentary on PBS. I’d watched the first two episodes the night before. The doc is very well produced and has interesting writers talking about Hemingway’s influence, Tobias Wolff and Edna O’Brien among them. But nothing earth-shatteringly new.
Already, in the two first episodes, the division between the man and the myth is starkly apparent. By Episode 3, Hemingway is unraveling. Drunk all the time, self-medicating with pills and rivers of booze. Trading in one wife for another, as if he were discarding old clothes.
Imagine my shock when suddenly, in Episode 3, appearing on our huge TV screen, was my father, dressed in his soldier’s uniform, the photo I love and often use when writing about him on social media. I heard the narrator saying... a young veteran... James Jones... and I instinctively sprang bolt upright on the couch.
Here’s the background on this: In 1950, the publisher Charles Scribner sent galleys of my father’s first novel, From Here to Eternity, to Hemingway, hoping for an endorsement. What Scribner got back was a letter so vile, so cruel, so ugly, it is still hard for me to believe Hemingway wrote it. He compares my father’s writing to snot, he calls him a phony and a coward (a wounded combat veteran of Guadalcanal!), and Hemingway ends by saying he hopes my father kills himself.
The screen cut to Tobias Wolff. My heart was pounding. I was afraid he was going to defend Hemingway’s actions. He did not. Looking bereft and slightly embarrassed, Wolff explained that Hemingway wrote many such letters, attacking old friends, writers, even his own family. But this is the letter they chose to illustrate Hemingway’s state of mind at the time. And how sad and unfortunate, says Tobias Wolff.
This was the first time I’d heard that abominable letter read aloud. I knew about this letter, I’ve read this letter. I can’t even count the number of writers, critics, students, professors, and friends who have asked me about this letter. How did my father feel about this letter?
How the fuck do you think he felt about this letter?
At the time the letter was written and sent to Scribner, I wasn’t born, wasn’t even a thought in my father’s mind. My father didn’t meet my mother until 1957, long after his first novel was a substantial critical and commercial success.
But years later, he did tell me that he’d felt sorry for Hemingway. The man had thought his own work was finished, that he would never recover from whatever malevolent depressive state had taken over his mind. “He was not well,” said my dad. “And who can blame a man for that?”
When my father was dying, and I mean literally dying, as he lay on the couch in a bathrobe, fighting for breath, he told me we were now going to read some novels together, to prepare me for college. I was 16 years old.
Three of the books we read together were The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He explicated the hell out of those books for me. He helped me learn what subtext is, and how emotion, sadness, grief for what is lost, bled from those pages. This, through Hemingway, is how my dad told me he was going to die.
This is what I remember most about my dad's last months, reading Hemingway with him. My dad explaining to me that dying isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a person, and my open-mouthed horror at this suggestion.
He still loved, truly loved, Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises, who carries the deaths of those he knew and lost in battle for the rest of his life, who writes about the poor steer in the bull ring, trying to calm the virile, wild bulls who know what’s coming—that’s him, my dad said, that is Jake Barnes, do you see?
He loved Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls, who knew all along that blowing the bridge was a suicide mission, and is too wounded to run and chooses to die alone, waiting for the fascist troops to come up the mountain—he’s going to slow them down, you see, he’s saving others, people he loves, and that is what counts.
And at the end of A Farewell to Arms, my father pointed out the subtle, exquisite use of imagery—the café where Frederic Henry goes three times while he waits for Catherine to give birth. Three times he goes, and three times he orders the daily special, and it is in the repetition of that daily special, which, in the morning Frederic eats with gusto, but then he returns to the hospital to very bad news; and by the time he returns to the café in the evening for the third time, after both Catherine and the baby have died, he can’t even look at the food. The emotional impact of Frederic’s loss, my dad explained, hits the reader here. Here. And my dad would allow one lone tear to roll down his lined face, still talking, still explaining why Hemingway’s work mattered to him.
This is why I still teach Hemingway, and why I still will argue and defend his work.
At the end of the documentary, when Hemingway committed suicide by shotgun in 1961, there is a short clip of some important television journalist giving a little speech about which of Hemingway’s stories and books might be remembered in generations to come. I wanted to punch him. He didn’t even pick the best stories, or novels. What the fuck did he know, that TV anchor, about writing?
And last night, this kicked the old, blind rage, the sense of injustice that fueled my young adulthood, loose in my heart.
(Courtesy, the Daily Beast)
THE WILLINGNESS OF AMAZON WORKERS in Bessemer, Alabama, to take on the wealthiest man in the world and a powerful company in an anti-union state is an inspiration. It takes an enormous amount of courage to stand up and fight back, and they should be applauded. The intense campaigning from union activists and Amazon ended with a decisive victory for the online retailer, as 1,798 workers voted against the union, and 738 workers voted for it. I agree with calls for an investigation into the tactics the company used in its efforts to defeat the organizing attempt. "The workers were up against a company that was willing to spend vast sums of money and use every kind of tactic there is to defeat them. The history of every struggle in this country tells us that we do not always win the first time out." But I believe, as a result of their courage, workers in Alabama will inspire significant growth in union organizing efforts around the country. … He has not shown up for a Congressional hearing. He is the wealthiest person in the world. Why is he doing everything in his power to stop his workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?
* * *
Jacobin’s Alex Press:
After the Amazon union filed for an NLRB election in November of 2020, Amazon held captive audience meetings, mandatory sessions where workers heard management tell them why they shouldn’t unionize. Managers lie in these meetings, and the ones in Bessemer are no exceptions. The company texted workers several times a day to urge them to vote no. They papered the facility’s bathroom stalls with anti-union flyers. They outfitted temp workers, ineligible for the union but especially vulnerable to management pressure, with “vote no” swag, ensuring they’d serve as walking anti-union propaganda on the shop floor. These are standard anti-union tactics, if amped up thanks to Amazon's effectively infinite coffers. All of this is permitted under U.S. law. And even if the company broke the law during the union drive, that is to be expected, given how nonexistent the repercussions are for violating workers’ rights, around 40% of employers are charged with violating federal law during a union election.
DEMONS DRINK NECTAR from the Skulls of the Murdered Masses — No Matter How High the Mountain of Bodies, Profits Come First!
by Dr. Nayvin Gordon
In the drive for profits, the World Bank in 1980 published a new health care sector policy advocating reducing public health infrastructure, opening the door to rampant privatization of health services, and pharmaceutical supply.
Treatment became primary, not public health needs, and disease prevention which require a robust, well-staffed national, public health infrastructure. This profit model spread to the US and many other parts of the world.
Since the 1980’s the US Public Health System has been neglected, defunded, and privatized under both Democratic and Republican administrations, damaging the science of Public Health and the ability to protect the people from infectious disease pandemics. A massive public health system with clinics, labs and hospitals fully staffed, ready to identify infectious diseases, then test, trace, and isolate, makes no short term profits. For Wall Street and bankers, disease prevention is a waste of money; they have abandoned the science of public health.
Vaccines and treatments make money, and limiting hospital bed capacity keeps profits high. For decades, pharmaceutical companies have been the most profitable corporations in the US, and Wall Street private equity firms have essentially taken control of the health care industry—pumping in $30 billion in 2018.
Accumulation of profits has become the basis for socio-economic life; most decisions are governed by Wall Street’s expected profits on new investments. The US government and the public, now own very little as the economy has been largely privatized.
The top 10% of the US population owns 88% of the value of stocks, and the top 1% owns 56%. The US Federal Reserve Bank is continuing to pour $150 Billion a month into the stock market, while 10 million jobs disappear and workers fall further into debt. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Enter the Covid-19 pandemic: The government is neither willing nor capable of protecting the people. A crippled, impoverished Public Health System, deliberately neglected in favor of treatments, can no longer protect the people from preventable disease and death. Witness the ongoing death toll, already over half a million US death sand millions more sickened from Covid-19. All of which could have been prevented with public health measures, to stop the spread of the virus. Strict public health science policy has successfully stopped transmission and eradicated the virus in several countries preventing many deaths. As of 3/24/21, Taiwan has had 10 deaths, Viet Nam 35 deaths, Singapore 30 deaths, New Zealand 35 deaths, and China with a population of over one billion has had 4,851 deaths. In the US and many other countries, when science gets in the way of making a profit, it gets thrown out the window. Vice President Mike Pence maintained that science should not stand in the way of opening schools.
Vaccines and treatments can never prevent a new pandemic. They can only protect after millions have sickened and died, as confirmed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The British Medical Journal has labeled this as social murder. Vaccines and treatment make huge profits for Wall Street at the cost of massive disease and death as the virus and its deadly variants continue to sweep through the land. Politicians are doing the opposite of what science requires, by removing limited public health measures and “opening up the economy”, while over 100 million people have not been vaccinated. A new wave of death and disease will keep profits high on Wall Street.
An economic system that consciously commits mass social murder for profit must be swept away and replaced by a society driven by the health needs of the people. An independent, direct action, mobilization of millions of employed and unemployed workers can stop the economy of death and demand science for the people by building a militant egalitarian movement that fights for social, political, and economic equality for all.
(Dr. Nayvin Gordon lives in Oakland and writes about health and politics: firstname.lastname@example.org)