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COOL AND CLOUDY conditions will persist along the coast for the next few days. Interior locations will remain sunny and warm, although slightly cooler than in recent days. A passing disturbance will bring patchy drizzle to coastal areas tonight into Tuesday morning, with a few showers possible inland through Tuesday afternoon. (NWS)
JUST IN: Fire currently burning off Hwy 253 in Mendocino County, S/W of the Ukiah area. Size and rate of spread is currently unknown but Calfire resources are on scene fighting the fire. It is currently unknown if this was a prescribed burn before hand or not. Drift smoke is blowing into Lake and Sonoma Counties.
THIS REDWOOD WONDER, a couple of miles from my place, years and years (centuries?) ago a lightning strike set it afire and burned out its core but did not kill it.
One of these days I'm gonna have a formal lunch for six inside it!
— Paul Meilleur (Philo)
YOU THINK YOU KNOW BOONVILLE?
Quiz: How many rooms are available for rent at the Boonville Hotel?
MENDO MISSING PERSON: Chad Kirkendall
Chad Richard Kirkendall of Caspar was last heard from on May 29, 2004. He was born Oct. 12, 1980. He is a white male with brown hair, brown eyes, five feet 9 inches and 215 pounds. He drove his roommate’s vehicle to their mailbox and has not been seen since. His roommate located the vehicle in a ditch and called police. Kirkendall’s shoes were found in the vehicle and someone matching his description hitched a ride and was dropped off at the Mendocino Elementary School.
On May 29, 2004 at approximately 1800 hours Chad Richard Kirkendall left his Caspar, California residence located in the 42000 block of Caspar Little Lake Road. Kirkendall left the residence in his roommate’s vehicle with his destination being a mailbox located a short distance away from the residence.
Kirkendall failed to return to the residence after an hour and the roommate initiated a search, which resulted in the vehicle being found in a ditch on Road 408 near the Woodlands Camp. Investigators recovered Kirkendall’s shoes with the vehicle that appeared to have been crashed into the ditch. Through investigations, it was learned a person matching Kirkendall’s physical description had been provided a ride, by a Woodlands Camp employee, to the general area of the Mendocino Elementary School soon after the crash.
A Search and Rescue operation was conducted of the vehicular crash site and Kirkendall was not located. At this time the current whereabouts of Kirkendall are unknown.
Anyone with information in regards to the possible whereabouts of Kirkendall are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.
Age at time of disappearance: 23 years-old
Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Weight: 215 pounds
Eye color: Brown
MCSO Case #04-2327
IN THE FACE of the Sheriff's warning about today's warm weather and brisk winds, Danilla sands posted a Facebook note: “Fire in your area?”
ESCAPED CONTROL BURN, 8000 block, Hwy 253, approx. 1 acre, Boonville IC, 11:14am, April 18, 2021. “Control burn jumped the line. Same location as yesterday.
Comments: “Again?” “Yes.” “Not even sure why burns are permitted.” “They need to redefine ‘control burn’,” “Uncontrolled burn.”
Betsy Cawn adds: I have no scanner, take Danilla’s word for it but know not what this means (“Boonville IC”)
Mark Scaramella adds: IC is Incident Commander, probably a reference to the Boonville Calfire Station that probably was conducting the burn.
Mark Scaramella notes: Presumably, control burns are to burn out overgrown or dangerous areas that might present a fire hazard later in the year. They’re supposed to be done under strictly defined conditions which are supposed to include light to zero winds. But sometimes winds pick up and embers float and… Theoretically, a safety crew is supposed to be stationed downwind to protect against any embers. Maybe that’s why it was reported as one acre.
THE OTHER TWO PERPS ARE OUT
I had my initial parole suitability hearing on April 8, 2021. I was found “to represent an unreasonable risk to public safety” by Commissioner William Sullivan and Deputy Commissioner Nora Loza. They gave me a list of self-help programs that they recommend I take, asked me to finish my associate’s degree, and want me to continue my vocational training in computer science.
To be honest, I expected a denial, so it wasn't as bad a blow as it could have been. The commissioner was exceptionally strict and a recent 115 disciplinary action was cited as one of the main reasons I was unsuitable. Incidentally, that 115 is one I am still contesting, as there is clear video evidence that the officer was lying. I'm going to take that one to court if I have to to beat it. Now that I've been denied parole specifically for that false disciplinary record, I'll probably be able to sue both the issuing officer and the reviewing lieutenant who failed to review the video evidence.
Although I am sad and depressed, I will continue to slog on and make my way through the stacked-against-you, unfairly-prejudiced system and find my way home. As far as the parole board is concerned, the word in the probation report is holy writ, so I essentially have to admit to things that never happened because August Stuckey (who I guess is Theresa now?!) lied.
Anyway, I remain strong and continue on.
As ever -- onward!
Tai Abreu, T61118
High Desert State Prison A5-205
P.O. Box 3030, Susanville, CA 96127
The whole story (in 5 parts): www.theava.com/archives/tag/abreu
A shorter version: "Is L-Wop Truly Forever? The Awful Injustice to Tai Abreu"
POPPY EXTRAVAGANZA at the AVA back lot
RALLY FOR THE REDWOODS
JDSF NEXT Sunday
It’s clear that our Community understands the importance of protecting the old trees in Our State Forest. Wonderful turn out for the spontaneous rally to support the Forest and the tree sitters, held last Friday at Town Hall. At one point there were 51 people making their position known,"Keep those old Trees in the ground."
Anna Marie Stenberg
Big Rally for JDSF! Noon Sunday April 25 at Town Hall at Main St and Laurel, Ft Bragg. Guest Speakers, Music, Bring signs and your friends. Only We Can Save Our Public Forest!
ED NOTE: The ominous phrase “guest speakers,” attached to any local demonstration, is a beware warning. Names of speakers are withheld because....well, not to be tooooooo unkind, but there are "activists" who dream of captive audiences.
The seismic shift approaching for Mendocino County’s weed industry is starting to blow up local message boards. Many claims and counter claims being made. Here is something county supervisor Ted Williams said that kind of puts it all in perspective. Many of the arguments are moot because the age of the small grower is already over. They just don't know it yet:
“Today we have 16,500 acres of grapes and 147 acres of legal cannabis. Come January 1, with the state sunset of provisionals, that 147 acres will drop to about 16,” says Williams.
Apparently he's arguing that the new rules will be enforceable, where the old ones were not, because they're only going to have to enforce them on 16 acres. Plus the vast weed plantations that high end coroporate real estate agents are already carpet-bombing the county's rangeland owners with money for. But the state, not the county, will probably handle (i.e., get handled by) them.
What it looks like to me is the BOS is gladly getting out of piecemeal cannabis enforcement and throwing their small-grower constituents and the county's ag tax base to the wolves.
Par for the course for our elected representatives these days: Mum on the “stolen election” Big Lie when it counted. Ceding all power to the county executive (in the BOS's case) so they won't have to take the blame for various slo-mo catastrophes on their watch. They will take the blame anyway. Everybody will just know they tried not to. This cannabis thing looks like it's shaping up to be a sellout for the ages.
Plus thousands of acres of illegal grows, a large part of that acreage run by full blown organized crime. Nothing hippie about ’em. Corporate and the mafia will own the weed market here in five years. What could go wrong?
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS on Phase 3 Cannabis expansion:
The Phase 3 amendment takes the ministerial phase 3 already on books and gives site specific review to the planning commission. It doesn’t mean a single large farm will be approved. The proposal is about deciding project by project based on the specifics of land, neighbors, water, etcetera, instead of a one size fits all. Would the PC allow small farms in residential neighbors to relocate to shared Ag land, if water and environmental conditions can be met? Perhaps, but it’ll be a tough approval process.
Maintain status quo and we’ll see the existing problems continue.
SUPERVISOR MAUREEN MULHEREN:
There are a couple of scenarios that affect cannabis on Rangeland. Mostly I’ve heard from people that would have been Ag land but their granddad wanted to raise cattle and get a tax break and now they’d like to switch back to Ag to expand their cannabis cultivation but the hoops are too cumbersome and they’d like to try to get a Phase 3 expansion permit in rangeland. This is a bit of a different perspective and one that some people are not happy about but we need to talk about it. Besides hearing from people that are currently cannabis producers the BOS is hearing from people that waited and now that it’s legal want to get in to the industry. Many many things are in play for Mendo on Monday. Just offering a different perspective for you to consider.
I have a pretty strong reaction when people say that “they” are only in it for the money or say “we” are greedy politicians. My opinions on cannabis are no secret, it is a legal regulated industry and those businesses have every right to thrive in Mendocino County just like anyone else. It’s time that this County treated licensed legal operators of cannabis on the same level as all agriculture. I’ve not changed any opinions about that since 2016 when Prop 64 legalized cannabis in California. When I was on the City Council I was on the cannabis ad hoc and we allowed cannabis operators to use the Use Permit process to apply for a permit. Dispensaries and facilities didn’t “blow up” in the City of Ukiah. The Use Permit process is lengthy, extensive and gives the neighbors and residents the opportunity to weigh in and improve (or deny) applications on a site specific basis. The CoU Cannabis Ad Hoc was first asked to investigate a “zone” where we would place cannabis businesses but after review we determined that these businesses are not one size fits all, or one size fits most and that having a zone didn’t make sense. I’m not getting rich off of anyone and certainly not taking pay offs of any kind. I want for the businesses that chose to operate in a legal regulated market to be successful. And illegal operators out of our County ASAP. It’s really that simple.
SUPERVISOR GLENN MCGOURTY
Memo to: Chairman Dan Gjerde
RE: Cannabis Ordinance
I believe the following guidelines will help us in deliberations concerning crafting the cannabis ordinance and its implementation:
1. Our first step is an enhanced active code enforcement similar to Humboldt County’s to stop illegal grows. There are too many of them, particularly in rural residential areas and they need to be abated. We need to be sure that both our Code Enforcement Program and the Sheriff’s Office are adequately staffed and funded to make a measurable difference in this coming year.
2. Given drought conditions, there should be no expansion of actual growing during the 2021 season. According to Dr. Sam Sandoval, UC Extension Hydrologist, the biggest negative impacts on surface water and fisheries occur when water is diverted in the upper reaches of a watershed. We definitely do not want expanding growing in those regions this year.
3. This is a good time to “get our house in order” with the Phase 1 program. A thorough review of applications should be made to find a pathway to compliance that will enable applicants to obtain a use permit and a state issued cannabis license. We need to complete the electronic application submission portal. I support additional staffing to review the applications and make final decisions. Applications that have no path forward due to inadequacies of the site to meet regulations or other disqualifying issues should be rejected.
4. Phase 3 should be opened as a pathway for some of the Phase 1 applicants to complete mitigated CEQA compliant permits. Under a CEQA compliant process, they may have the ability to mitigate issues that would otherwise disqualify their projects.
5. Additionally, I recommend a pilot program of new applicants on parcels more suited to conventional agriculture. I see a selected cohort of 30 existing resident Mendocino County farmers who are presently locally in business producing crops other than cannabis who wish to enter the cannabis business. Required classes should be held to ensure that their applications are properly assembled and complete upon submission. We need to be sure that the Cannabis Program has adequate staffing to review new applicants. An orderly roll out of the new expanded program is the goal of this effort.
6. In this expansion, the permits will be for sun grown cannabis only. No greenhouses, hoop houses or other growing structures would be permitted. A small (maximum 1000 square foot) structure would be allowed to propagate or harden off seedlings and starts.
7. No expansion of cannabis into Rangeland, TPZ or other areas unless there already exists non-cannabis crop land that has been cleared and has a legal reliable water source.
8. No operations should be considered for permitting that require internal combustion generators or pumps, water to be trucked in (except in emergency situations,) extensive grading or tree removal.
9. No fencing that block views are allowed in any newly permitted plantings. We want to maintain our pastoral vistas and an open feel of the region.
10. In order to allow direct sales for very small producers, a microbusiness option should be implemented similar to regulations allowed under state licenses. The one presently allowed in our ordinance is too small in square footage to be practical.
If we are going to have a cannabis business in Mendocino County, let’s have a well-run one that makes a contribution to economy, community and farm based rural culture. There has to be a value proposition that makes its presence a net positive for Mendocino County. I won’t support anything less.
DA EYSTER, medical update:
Was back in the ED for 6 hours on Friday. Apparently my fall also gifted me with a condition called Trochanteric hip bursitis.
The good news? I got a pair of very stylish red hospital socks and was well treated (again) by hospital staff.
Note (from the Cleveland Clinic):
“Trochanteric bursitis is inflammation of the bursa (fluid-filled sac near a joint) at the part of the hip called the greater trochanter. When this bursa becomes irritated or inflamed, it causes pain in the hip. This is a common cause of hip pain. Trochanteric bursitis can result from injury to the point of the hip. This can include falling onto the hip, bumping the hip into an object, or lying on one side of the body for an extended period.”
Fine art for sale
I have an abundance of fine art collected over many years. However, with 27 on my walls and more in storage with lack of space I want to sell some of them. Three have been appraised at $3,000 (a Millard Sheets print from the 1950s, an E. John Robinson oil seascape, and one done by my late father that depicts Little River in the 1890s, done from photographs from that era). My father sold over 45 paintings in his artist days, and I had many of them perfectly copied professionally at an art show after his death, that folks brought from their collections to be appreciated and copied for me (digitally and in high-res film that Braggadoon can reproduce perfectly). The reproductions I can sell at very low cost. If you would like to view some of them, email me and I will send you an attachment.
I also have a collection of antique pocket watches, all dating before the 1930s. All are in working condition. If interested, email me
Robert Zimmer, email@example.com
ONE CAN NEVER be quite sure around here where reality ends and self-parody begins, but I think the following from a quarter century ago takes the Emerald Cup: “From an ancient fragment found in a hollow redwood tree near the holy village of Willits. And lo, we heard the men and their sons and their fathers were gathering for the third time, each from his own tribe of Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Humboldt, and their wise men, the holy rabbis, the tzaddikim, were coming, from Eugene in the North to Palo Alto in the south. They have been coming, so it is said, for three years from the holy cities of San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Rosa, and so we went to see for ourselves. They again held convocation in the heart of Mendocino County, only this time it was to be in the Redwoods and the Hot Springs and the Rolling Hills near Comptche. They were observed to have spent 3 days and 2 nights celebrating shabbos, kabballah and Torah. They were singing, schmoozing, telling stories and even drumming around a campfire! There was also observed some splashing in the water, (sometime after we head the word ‘mikveh’), schvitzing near a Lakota sweat lodge, boating on a river, swimming, and hiking on the 140 acres. We saw davening, learning, healing together. If you don’t have a father or son, bring somebody else’s. Indoor accommodations for 30. Nearly limitless camping accommodations. Register early for best selection. Friday, August 22nd, 2pm until Sunday the 24th, 6pm at the Shambhala Retreat Center, Orr Springs Road between Ukiah and the Coast, 2 hours or so from the Golden Gate Bridge. $150 suggested donation.”
RECOMMENDED READING: “News of a Kidnapping,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Marquez gets lumped in with “magical realists” much his inferior — writers like Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Isabel Allende, and twenty-five years worth of graduate students who publish one effete book then move on into seminar land where they destroy the occasional talented person who wanders onto a campus. Nothing obscure or precious about “News,” which is not only a gripping narrative of people taken as hostages in Colombia’s drug wars, it’s a terrific guide to the sociology of Colombia itself.
FROM NOTES & QUERIES by Joseph Harker of the Manchester Guardian: “What is the difference between erotica and pornography?” Terry Victor responds, “The height of the book shelf.” Jane Carnall responds, “It’s one of these irregular nouns: ‘they’ read pornography, ‘you’ read erotica, ‘I’ read stimulating adult narratives.” And Vincent Finney responds, “I would suggest that ‘erotica’ is used by bookstores to disguise the fact that they are selling what most people perceive to be ‘pornography.’ The distinction lies in the psyche of the purchaser (or retailer): if you feel guilty about what you buy (or sell) then you call it ‘erotica.’ A colleague once claimed a book full of pictures of naked bodies is art, so long as it is only available in hardcover.”
FROM THE ARCHIVE, 1997: You probably missed the $100 per person dinner July 21st “honoring Attorney General Dan Lungren.” Lungren wants to succeed Pete Wilson in the state’s top spot when Wilson moves on to serial corporate directorships, the reward for his brand of public service these days. The unspeakable toasting the unthinkable at “Jack London’s favorite resort” — Vichy Hot Springs in Ukiah — included Mike and Maribelle Anderson; Gilbert and Marjorie Ashoff; John and Marge Baird; Aldis and Nancy Baltins; Tecy Banta; Charles and Martha Barra; Al and Pat Beltrami; Ed and Donna Berry; Louis and Carre Brown; Marilyn Butcher; Jack and Barbara Daniels; Dennis and Pat Denny; Alan and Ruth Dunn; Ken and Betty Foster; Georgia Pacific (she wore a low-cut 2x4 and her conversation was wooden); Margie Handley; Fred Keplinger, (Ukiah Police Chief); Al and Maria Kubanis; DA Susan Massini and husband Jerry; John and Sandy Mayfield; Judge Tim O’Brien and wife Frances; Carrol Ornbaun; Charles and Julia Preisig; Max and Joan Schlienger; Sherell and Glenys Simmons; Mary Snyder; Jeff and Kathy Spharler; Sheriff Jim and Bonnie Tuso; Mark and Kory Welch; Duane Wells.
DA MASSINI, whose social circle is drawn from the grisly crew just listed, blandly declared on KZYX’s Karen Ottoboni Show on Thursday that “the DA isn’t political. It’s not a partisan office.”
1997 was the year Richard The One True Green Johnson, publisher of the Mendocino Country Environmentalist, pointed out to the City of Ukiah and to “the Christian community” that allowing Alex Thomas Plaza to be used for mass prayer violates the separation of church and state clause of the American rule book. Since Johnson’s letter complaining about the church services on public property appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal, the “Christians” — with their typical charity — have demanded that Johnson not be allowed by the Journal to express his opinion on the matter while also arguing “For one country under God, the separation of Church and State does not exist and is a worn out cliche.”
WELL! First off, the Thomas park was partly funded by the City of Ukiah when the [Catholic] family money gave out and quickly got into cost over-runs. Because it’s now fully supported by tax money, Thomas Plaza, legally speaking, is a public facility and thus is supposed to spare the rest of us from the sight and sound of the practice of ritual superstition by the local Taliban. The “under god” clause, by the way, was slipped into the pledge of allegiance in 1955 (not the Constitution or the Bill of Rights, as one victim of Ukiah’s public schools recently incorrectly explained it in the UDJ), the same year the illegal phrase made it on to our currency.
THE TRUE HISTORY is that the Founding Fathers, almost all of them aristocrats tending to agnosticism and atheism (fuzzy deists at best) educated in Greek and Roman traditions of humane secularism, saw that all kinds of Christian cranks were making their way into our new land and, to avoid the religious slaughters of the Old World, wisely wrote into law that Americans could worship whatever and however they liked on their own premises. Emphasis here on the word OWN. The rest of us weren’t to be bothered. Mutual tolerance was the idea. I here direct my Christian brothers and sisters to the Parable of the Closet where they will discover that God Himself recommended keeping it indoors. (Mathew 6:5-8)
THE FANATICS weren’t satisfied, of course, and, having their own personal hotlines to the Big Guy, have ever since demanded that their unsupported views be made into law. And Ukiah being a veritable hotbed of ostentatious piety it isn’t surprising that the town’s so-called Christians have about as much understanding of American history as they do of the message of the Prince of Peace.
TOOK A CALL from an English guy the other day who was trying to sell me some opera tickets. “As a great supporter of the San Francisco Opera, Mr. Anderson, I thought you might be interested…” I felt like Lord Rothmere or somebody, seeing as how I’ve seen exactly two live operas in all my days. Anyway, the salesman mentioned that he’d just been in Boonville where he “tasted the best beer I’ve had in America,” which is quite a tribute to our hometown brewery considering that it comes unsolicited from a citizen of a country where beer is taken very, very seriously.
A READER WRITES:
Thanks for alerting me to Paul Theroux’s new book on Mexico. I spent a lot of time in Mexico when I was younger, including a summer in Mex. Cty. when I attended UNAM and had a charming apartment that was part of an old family hacienda. On different trips I traveled around a lot, mostly on buses but sometimes getting rides, and never, ever had any trouble or felt I was in danger, although reconsidering, I do think I was naive and on two or three specific occasions just plain lucky! But it was different in the 60s & 70s. This was before Drugs. I’ll get it from our library.
I read Theroux’s Deep South last year and thought it a good examination until I read a review pointing out all the cliches I just excused in my desire to further understand that horrible part of our country. Have you read it? I think I prefer Chuck Thompson’s Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession. Certainly funnier.
Maybe you’ve read Eileen Jones’ column on the Hemingway doc? Did you watch it?
We were intrigued but I never could read him and now dislike him even more, but I guess I understand him better.
Ed reply: I like everything about Theroux, including his novels and, yes, Deep South is a fine book, much better than the one by his former friend, V.S. Naipul. Just finished his travels through Oceana (including battered Hawaii), a book which is positively relevetory against the tons of dreck about “island paradises.” (Local note: As Theroux's flying into the deep Pacific, he mentions a seatmate called “Hap,” which has got to be the wonderful Hap Tallman, formerly of the Anderson Valley, last I heard a resident of Hawaii from where he also sailed throughout the South Seas.) On Hemingway, the novels read to me now like period pieces, but his short stories are among the best ever in the language. They oughta be taught, but lit, from what I can gather, at least as taught in high school and the colleges I'm familiar with, is now pretty much didactic stuff in line with the contemporary liberal catechism. I thought the Hem documentary was interesting but, as Ms. Jones points out, left out the basic fact that Hemingway was a man of the (independent) left all his days. As a kid, I associated with some old CP guys, esp Alvah Bessie, who'd curse Hemingway up and down for his role in Spain, which seems all these years later, totally honorable. Also the doc could have made it clearer that the guy was mentally ill and in great physical pain from his war injuries for a long time before he shot himself.
A ROMANTIC DATING RELATIONSHIP
On Friday, April 16, 2021 at approximately 1:09 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic violence incident in progress in the 2000 block of South Dora Street in Ukiah.
Upon arrival, Deputies contacted a 32 year old adult female and an eyewitness standing on South Dora Street. The male subject, Derrick Ridenour, 39, of Ukiah, had left the scene prior to the Deputies arrival.
Deputies learned Ridenour and the adult female had been in a romantic dating relationship. Ridenour was on probation for a prior domestic violence incident with a term of no contact with the adult female. Ridenour was also the restrained party in a served Criminal Protective Order with the adult female being the protected party.
Ridenour was giving the adult female a ride to her family member's residence when they became involved in a verbal argument.
The verbal argument escalated between the two, which resulted in Ridenour refusing to let the adult female out of the car as she had repeatedly requested he do. When the adult female tried to exit the car, Ridenour would grab her by the hair and pull her back into the vehicle.
As the argument continued, Ridenour stopped the vehicle in the 2000 block of South Dora Street. There, Ridenour took the adult female's phone away from her so she could not call 911 and he began choking her by placing his hands around her neck as they stood outside the vehicle.
It was during this time, an eyewitness was jogging by and saw what was taking place between Ridenour and the adult female.
The eyewitness began shouting at Ridenour to stop and dialed 911. This caused Ridenour to leave the scene in his vehicle.
Deputies observed visible injuries to the adult female's neck and face.
Ridenour was located a short time later in the 1400 block of South State Street in Ukiah.
Ridenour was placed under arrest for domestic violence battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, violation of probation, and violation of a restraining order.
Ridenour was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $110,000 bail
2:20 AM NIELSEN
On Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at about 5:30 P.M, a vehicle pursuit in the Redwood Valley area led to a large scale search of the area for the suspect, who was later identified as Mark Andrew Nielsen, 33, of Nice.
Nielsen was not located on that date. A Be-On-The-Lookout was issued requesting Nielsen be arrested for multiple Felony offenses if located/contacted. Throughout the following days, continuous follow-up and attempts to locate and arrest Nielsen were conducted.
On Saturday, April 17, 2021 at about 2:20 A.M, a Deputy observed a vehicle known to be associated with Nielsen in the area of Calpella.
The Deputy noticed the male driver and solo occupant of the vehicle ducked down, possibly attempting to conceal his identity. The Deputy noticed several lighting equipment violations on the vehicle as it drove past his patrol vehicle.
The Deputy conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the male, who was positively identified as Mark Andrew Nielsen.
Nielsen was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the following charges:
Reckless Driving while Evading a Peace Officer
Driving in Opposite Lane of Traffic while Evading a Peace Officer
Armed in the Commission of a Felony
Carrying an Unregistered, Loaded Handgun
Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person
Possession of Ammunition by a Prohibited Person
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Violation of Probation
Due to the severity of the crimes and risk posed to the community, a bail enhancement was requested by Sheriff's Deputies. The request was granted and Nielsen was to be held at the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $125,000 bail.
The positive identification and ultimate apprehension of Nielsen was the direct result of cooperative effort between the community and the Sheriff's Office. This type of teamwork is vital to the continued protection of our community against violence and disorder.
MR. WOLFE OF DUSTY ROAD
On Sunday, April 18, 2021 at about 5:30 A.M, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies served a felony arrest warrant in the 1000 block of Dusty Road in Redwood Valley.
A Mendocino County Superior Court Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Jonathan Wolfe, 45, of Redwood Valley, for failure to comply with the terms of his Post Release Community Supervision.
Upon arrival at the residence on Dusty Road, Deputies located Wolfe and he was taken into custody without incident.
Wolfe was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000.00 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 18, 2021
MARTIN BISHOP, Ukiah. Trespassing, pollution near state waters.
AUSTIN DALBALCON, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER GILES, Sebastopol/Ukiah. Controlled substance, suspended license for DUI, county parole violatioin, probation revocation.
ROBERT LEVEAU, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Suspended license for refusing chemical drunk test.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
BRENTON MICHELS, Kennewick, Washington/Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury, controlled substance, paraphernalia, interference with police communications.
LUIS PINEDA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, bad check, paraphernalia, conspiracy, probation revocation.
PETER ROSE JR., Point Arena. Burglary, unlawful possession of tear gas.
FRANCES TREADWAY, Willits. DUI, suspended license for DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
MELISSIA TURNEY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Protective order violation.
MONIQUE VALADOR, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, bad check, paraphernalia, conspiracy, probation revocation.
JONATHAN WOLFE, Redwood Valley. County parole violation.
PADEN WRIGHT-SMITH, Covelo. Misdemeanor hit&run with property damage.
HEMINGWAY'S MOCKING the Lord's Prayer in A Clean Well Lighted Place was missing from the PBS documentary: “Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.”
EVERY TIME I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed.
— Albert Camus
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
One of my earliest memories was a very close encounter with maybe 5 or 6 elephants when I was somewhere around 3 years old. I remember being frustrated by not being able to complete my sentences out loud - although maybe it was from being overly emotional.
My mother brought me to the zoo. I was absolutely fascinated by the elephants and noticed that the big iron fence containing them was just above a gutter and the fence was lifted a little bit off the bottom of that gutter. Just enough I thought. Yes! I can do that! I waited and as soon as my mother turned her back I rushed over and quickly scooted underneath the fence and into the elephant cage. “Elephants!” I said, and lifted my arms up.
Luckily for me those bored caged elephants were equally fascinated by the little baby human who had come so close. They very slowly crowded all around me and gently lifted their trunks out to touch me oh so carefully. They touched my dress but didn’t touch my skin directly with their trunks - only the hairs of their trunks. They softly breathed in my scent and then they smiled. The rest of their bodies were perfectly still and they were calm. I kept still but was elated and crying. They were so beautiful. They felt beautiful. I swear to this day they were the most loving beings.
Our little world was then suddenly ripped apart by the zoo keeper who ran into the pen and beat the elephants off of me with a short whip. At least, that was what he was doing in his mind. He was frantic. So sad and unfair I thought. Only then did I hear my mother outside the pen screaming. The elephants had completely surrounded me and no one could see what they were doing. I later wondered if they would have understood if they were able to see it.
The zoo keeper yanked and dragged me out of the pen and curtly handed me in my filthy dress to my screaming mother. Boy, was I ever in trouble. It was so worth it. I will never forget how beautiful and intelligent they felt. I was in heaven all the way home and barely even heard my mother’s admonishments and threats “if I ever did that again". It was a long time till we went to the zoo again.
Don’t try this at home.
DESPITE the impact of the American idea upon the world, the "American" himself has not (fortunately for the United States, its minorities, and perhaps for the world) been finally defined. So that far from being undesirable this struggle between Americans as to what the American is to be is part of the democratic process through which the nation works to achieve itself. Out of this conflict the ideal American character — a type truly great enough to possess the greatness of this land, a delicately poised unity of divergencies — is slowly being born.
— Ralph Ellison, 1953
FOPPOLLI: WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT
I strongly believe that a man who sexually assaults a woman should be punished. I also strongly believe that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty.
Memory experts tell us that we cannot rely on our memories. They are not copies of what actually occurred. A memory is influenced by our state of mind, our emotions, our previous experiences. When we relate our memory to others, it is already distorted. In the listeners’ mind it undergoes editing according to their perception and is distorted some more. With the passing of time it is further from reality.
The women’s allegations against Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli, without detailed investigation, cannot be taken as evidence. He may well be what they accuse him of being, but he may be innocent.
It is deplorable that so many have accepted a reporter’s article as proof of guilt without waiting for the result of a detailed investigation.
ED NOTE: This guy's case serves nicely as a sign of our hysterical times. He hasn't been arrested, only charged in newspaper stories, but his chances of a fair hearing are nil on the “liberal” Northcoast.
GEORGE MCLAURIN, the first black man admitted to the University of Oklahoma in 1948, was forced to sit in a corner far from his white classmates.
But his name remains on the honor roll as one of the three best students of the university. These are his words: "Some colleagues would look at me like I was an animal, no one would give me a word, the teachers seemed like they were not even there for me, nor did they always take my questions when I asked. But I devoted myself so much that afterwards, they began to look for me to give them explanations and to clear their questions."
Lesson: Forcing yourself to be accepted by people is a waste of time. Just focus and add value to yourself and people shall come seeking your help...
KEN BURNS’ VICIOUS HEMINGWAY SMEAR: PBS series totally ignores writer’s lifelong leftist politics. Ernest Hemingway was a lifelong anti-fascist persecuted by the FBI. New miniseries erases that history entirely
by David Masciotra
Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961. Judging by the mean-spirited, petty and lazy PBS documentary series “Hemingway” that Ken Burns made with collaborator Lynn Novick, that’s the same year in which Burns’ brain is permanently frozen. The master of the PBS yawn appears to live in a world where the mentally ill are worthy of hatred, little is known about how severe concussions damage the brain and alter personality, and Google, does not exist.
While documenting the legendary American author’s descent into paralytic depression in the third episode of the series, Burns and Novick fail to even mention that many medical experts and literary scholars believe that Hemingway suffered from untreated hemochromatosis — a condition causing the body to produce excessive amounts of iron. Symptoms include debilitating pain, exhaustion and memory loss, all of which Hemingway displayed, and made worse with his heavy drinking.
While chronicling the years leading up to Hemingway’s suicide, the documentary series drops several references to the nine concussions that Hemingway endured throughout his life, but never interviews a neurologist who might have explained what is now common knowledge, especially in the wake of disturbing studies of the brains of deceased NFL players — chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, often caused by repeated concussions, can lead to loss of cognitive function, and often transforms its victims into abusive malcontents.
Instead of considering how anyone might feel and behave while struggling with hemochromatosis, depression, brain damage and alcoholism, all while receiving little to no medical intervention, Burns and Novick are content to cast Hemingway as a narcissistic bully.
Crucial to their presentation of Hemingway as a loathsome and delusional figure is the inclusion of his intense concerns that the FBI was surveilling him. Hemingway’s suspicion that two men in a Ketchum, Idaho, restaurant were federal agents, and that men working in the local bank after hours were scrutinizing his finances, are treated as nothing more than the psychotic ravings of a lunatic.
On the issue of the FBI, and Hemingway’s politics more broadly, Burns and Novick manage a surprising achievement — they outperform the dishonesty they exercised when presenting Hemingway’s health problems.
In the 1980s, Jeffrey Meyers, a Hemingway biographer and professor at the University of Colorado, filed a Freedom of Information request for the FBI’s file on Hemingway. He received more than 100 pages of documents, 15 of which were redacted. The file included longtime FBI director J. Edgar Hoover’s order to monitor Hemingway, details of plans to tap his phones and even information on how Hemingway’s doctor at the Mayo Clinic was reporting on the author’s condition to the FBI field office in Minnesota. There are also memos from agents offering proposals for how the bureau could destroy the beloved writer’s public reputation.
In an appalling act of journalistic malpractice, the Burns and Novick series never even mentions the FBI file. Meyers is alive and well in California, but does not appear in the documentary.
Burns did interview the late A.E. Hotchner, a journalist and longtime friend of Hemingway who wrote three books on the author, but never acknowledges that Hotchner expressed remorse over not taking Hemingway’s claims of FBI surveillance seriously. The exposure of the FBI file led Hotchner to write that he “regretfully misjudged” his friend’s fears, and that the FBI’s persecution of Hemingway contributed to “his anguish and suicide.”
In fact, Hemingway first drew the attention of the FBI decades earlier, because of his support for the Republican (i.e., socialist) government in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. Hemingway collaborated with left-wing filmmaker Joris Ivens to make “The Spanish Earth,” a 1937 documentary rallying support for the democratically elected Republicans. Hoover denounced Hemingway as a “premature anti-fascist” — a bizarre but accurate label of the author’s lifelong political commitment to the destruction of fascist forces.
Three years later, Hemingway signed a public letter protesting the FBI arrest of Americans in Detroit who were violating the Neutrality Act by encouraging enlistment for the Republican cause.
Contemptuous of dissent and unable to distinguish between anti-fascism and pro-communism, Hoover and Raymond G. Leddy, an FBI agent stationed in Cuba, described Hemingway in internal memos as “dangerous” and likely to “stir up trouble.” For his part, Hemingway referred to the FBI in 1942 as the “American gestapo.”
Hemingway put his life on the line several times in service to democracy: First as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in World War I, where he was shot and sustained his first concussion, and next as a wartime correspondent in the Spanish Civil War. Hemingway also reported on World War II, and while in France took up arms alongside U.S. soldiers against the Nazis. Even though it is illegal for a noncombatant to join wartime fighting, the military awarded Hemingway the Bronze Star in recognition of his courage. Burns and Novick never mention this.
They also never discuss the “Crook Factory” — an anti-fascist spy network that Hemingway organized in pre-World War II Cuba to discover whether any influential Cubans were secretly sympathetic to fascism.
That might sound like the premise for an implausible thriller, but in fact the U.S. embassy in Havana paid Hemingway a monthly stipend to lead the effort. When he began reporting on their results, the FBI grew livid. Meyers, after reviewing the extensive FBI documentation, writes that Hoover and other FBI leaders saw the Crook Factory as a “rival company” that should be “put out of business.”
Moving forward to the late 1950s and early ‘60s, anyone with even a cursory knowledge of 20th-century history understands that the U.S. government wanted nothing more than to put Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution “out of business,” after the rebels drove out the corrupt pro-American regime of military dictator Fulgencio Batista. Hemingway, on the other hand, was a passionate supporter of the revolution.
The Burns documentary mentions only in passing that Hemingway saw hope and promise in the Cuban revolution, but his political engagement extended much further than that.
According to Nicholas Reynolds, the author of “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961,” Hemingway provided financial aid to Cuban revolutionaries, and gave Castro meticulous advice on how to handle the American press. Castro and Hemingway met just once, in May of 1960, but numerous photographs of that encounter are available with a brief Google search. None appear in Burns’ documentary, nor is Reynolds among its sources.
Burns and Novick also failed to interview Norberto Fuentes, a journalist and friend who wrote the 1984 book “Hemingway in Cuba,” and who claims that Hemingway eventually hoped to write a book about the Cuban revolution. He certainly told reporters on several occasions that he supported Castro’s revolution, and refused to denounce the Cuban leader when the U.S. government demanded he do so.
Just as Burns and Novick diminish Hemingway’s heroism in the face of fascism, and provide cover for the FBI’s violation of his civil rights, they also distort his larger political history. While “Hemingway” includes the author’s declaration that “all the state has ever meant to me is unjust taxation,” making him sound like a right-winger, it never mentions that he supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs for president in 1920, and often told friends that Debs was the only candidate in his lifetime worthy of such a vote. He did, however, tell friends that of all the politicians in the 1932 presidential race — including Franklin D. Roosevelt — he was most favorable to Norman Thomas, another socialist.
Burns and Novick recycle the familiar claim that Hemingway’s first writing job was as correspondent for the Kansas City Star. This is also untrue. Before writing for the newspaper, he accepted a job with the official publication of the Co-Operative Society, an organization that aimed to build solidarity between farmers and urban workers in support of the labor movement. David Crowe writes brilliantly about Hemingway’s politics, focusing mainly on his early years, in “Hemingway and Ho Chi Minh in Paris: The Art of Resistance.” Crowe is also missing from the Burns farce.
The program devotes all of 30 seconds to Hemingway’s only novel set in the U.S., the overtly political “To Have and Have Not.” No one would claim it’s among Hemingway’s best books (the film adaptation starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is far better known). But the story of a dispossessed worker desperate enough to run contraband from Cuba to the Florida Keys does provide insight into Hemingway’s politics, particularly the protagonist’s excoriations of capitalism and his dying condemnation of individualism: “No matter how a man alone ain’t got no bloody fucking chance.”
I’m not suggesting that Hemingway deserves hagiography. He was undeniably a complicated and difficult man. But in failing to demonstrate any compassion for his physical ailments and mental illness, lying about the FBI’s desecration of his civil liberties and distorting his lifelong leftist politics, Burns and Novick are effectively carrying water for J. Edgar Hoover.
A truthful look at Hemingway’s life would examine the genius accessible in his writing, document the tragedy of his decline and death and wrestle with his numerous flaws. It would also illustrate his public devotion to human freedom, and his eternal literary alliance with the underdog. The evils of the U.S. national security state, ever zealous to monitor, defame and destroy anyone it viewed as dangerous or uncooperative, would emerge as dark contrast.
“The most essential gift for a good writer,” Ernest Hemingway once explained, “is a built-in, shock proof shit detector.” He also asserted that a “writer without a sense of justice and injustice would be better off editing the yearbook of a school for exceptional children.” Given the total absence of a “shit detector” in their miniseries, perhaps Burns and Novick should seek out a new occupation.
(David Masciotra is the author of “I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters” (Bloomsbury Publishing) and “Mellencamp: American Troubadour” (University Press of Kentucky, 2015). Courtesy, Salon.com.)
VERY FEW PEOPLE set out to be professional boxers except for emotional reasons. People take up boxing because they associate it with personal manliness. But once a boy begins boxing he may find that he has an unusual aptitude for it and gets involved in it and then he says to himself, “Well, what else can I do?” I never urge a boy to take up boxing professionally. I never suggest it to him even. Because if he doesn't suggest it himself he doesn't have the urge and he'll never amount to anything anyway. It is the best sport in which a man can learn personal control. He learns to control himself, to make himself do what needs to be done.
— Cus D'Amato
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2
Good grief … can you imagine America without Black Culture? Eating like Germans, dressing like the English, dancing like Russians, and singing like Belgians. And the humor of the Swiss, the football prowess of Bulgarians, and the basketball skill of the Scots. Thank goodness they stayed. Anyway after 240 years as Americans they had (and have) as much right to be on their “native soil” as Sergy Kowalski, Lars Larsen, Giuseppe Carboni or Sean McBride.
JACKSON FOREST IS A HEALTHY TIMBER AREA
by Thom Porter, State Forester and Director of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
A recent article in this newspaper described an effort by the Mendocino Trail Stewards to turn the western one-third of Jackson Demonstration State Forest into a preserve on the premise that the state is jeopardizing the natural wonders of Jackson through excessive timber harvesting. Perhaps you have driven Highway 20 across Jackson and been amazed by the deep shade offered by large mature redwood trees forming a closed canopy overhead even on a bright sunny day in the middle of summer? Or perhaps you have explored the Forest on horseback, mountain bike or on foot, and been awed by the cathedral-like forest, the deep silence and the verdant undergrowth. Jackson does not look like it does today by lucky accident. Jackson exists in its current condition not in spite of the state’s management, but because of the state’s management. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), has grown and nurtured Jackson from the clear-cut remains it acquired in 1947 into what you see today.
I would like to present a few facts to provide a more nuanced picture of Jackson and CAL FIRE’s approach to stewardship of this beautiful working forest. The Governor’s recent Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan highlights managed, working forests and timber harvest as an essential tool to restore the wildfire resiliency and carbon sequestration potential of California forests. California’s Demonstration State Forests, including Jackson, are working forests that provide research and demonstration opportunities to answer some of the most difficult questions about managing forests in the face of climate change, while at the same time providing public recreation opportunities, preserving fish and wildlife habitat, and protecting key watersheds. Jackson is the largest of CAL FIRE’s nine demonstration state forests. Prior to state ownership, this area of the forest had a long history of industrial logging activity, which began in 1862 and continued under private ownership until the State’s purchase of the property in 1947. Today, more forest growth occurs each year at Jackson than is harvested — in fact, we harvest less than one-third of the growth on the forest in any one year.
Roughly half of Jackson’s 49,000 acres is set aside or restricted from timber harvesting. Old growth trees in particular are protected from harvesting. Jackson’s forest managers grow old growth trees from second growth trees as part of their management of the Forest. Over many decades, the state has deliberately nurtured a mature second growth forest into a significant contingent of large trees some of which will be old growth in the future. If a large tree is logged, it is because we have grown an adjacent, nearly as large new tree ready to fill in behind and take its place. This is the very definition of sustainable forestry. By allowing most trees on the Forest to grow and cultivating a wide range of size, age, and structural classes of trees and other vegetation, we have nurtured Jackson into the natural wonder you see today. Jackson managers are committed to this management philosophy. CAL FIRE’s current and future timber harvesting will continue this longstanding approach. By careful deliberate harvesting, we are building a healthy, climate change, and wildfire resilient forest. Aesthetically, just three to five years after a harvest operation, it is hard to notice it took place. The trees and other vegetation, and much of the wildlife that depend on them flush with new life and vigor during that period.
It may seem tempting to conserve forests by preserving them from timber harvest and let them grow unmanaged. In the current situation of a rapidly changing climate, drought, tree mortality, and increasingly intense and destructive wildfires, this is a risky strategy. The highly destructive CZU Lightning Complex fire in the Santa Cruz mountains last year destroyed numerous old growth redwood trees that had survived centuries of past fires of lesser intensity. Much of this forest had not been thinned for decades and was overly dense, resulting in conditions that intensified the numerous lightning fires beyond the point these trees could endure.
There is broad consensus from the Governor, legislature, academia and professional forest managers that sustainably managing our forests through timber harvesting, thinning overly dense forests and reducing fuel loads, is essential to moderating future wildfires to a level we can coexist with. The Governor’s Wildfire and For
est Resilience Action Plan, available at https://fmtf.fire.ca.gov/, specifically calls out sustainable timber harvest as an essential part of our toolkit. However, given the rapid pace of climate change, many of our traditional forest management techniques are rapidly becoming outdated, and it is not clear what kind of forests will be the most fire resilient given an uncertain climate future.
This is where Jackson comes in. It plays a vital role as one of the few forests in the state where we can experiment with and demonstrate the kinds of forest thinning and forest management techniques that can enable our forests to better withstand future wildfires and moderate their intensity to a level the forest can survive through and we can coexist with. Trees are harvested on Jackson to maintain it as a working forest in order to meet its legal mandate as a managed research and demonstration forest. By maintaining Jackson as a working forest where timber harvesting occurs regularly, it is representative of the management situation faced by forest landowners and managers in California. The research results from Jackson are therefore directly portable to similar forest conditions on private and in some cases federal lands. There has never been a greater need for research and demonstration forests like Jackson.
In addition to providing clean water, climate benefits, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities, working forests also provide lumber and plywood for the homes we live in and a myriad of other forest products. When harvested trees are turned into lumber and used in houses, the carbon is stored in the wood, thereby serving as a carbon sink. Timber harvest followed by reforestation combined with wood products in houses can have a carbon footprint less than other construction materials such as steel and concrete. Jackson is one place where research and demonstration of sustainable forestry can help inform optimal carbon sequestration strategies for California’s forests.
Revenue generated from timber harvesting on the Demonstration State Forests by law is required to be spent on the Demonstration State Forests. It cannot be spent on other things such as firefighting. The revenue from timber harvesting on Jackson comes in handy for funding a quality and quantity of recreation experiences well above what you will typically find on public lands. The revenue from timber harvest on Jackson allows us to fund a much higher level of recreation offerings than most other public lands.
Getting involved in the management of Jackson is easy. The Jackson Advisory Group meets twice a year and is open to the public. This group reviews all timber operations on Jackson and provides input on other issues, such as research and recreation. Jackson regularly conducts tours for the general public and stakeholder groups on a variety of issues. All timber harvesting and other activities on Jackson must conform to the Forest Management Plan (http://www.fire.ca.gov/media/ncejt2mz/2016-jdsf-mgmt-plan-final_ada.pdf), which is approved by the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection through an open and transparent process that allows for public input throughout the process.
Getting the upper hand on wildfires in California will not be easy. It will require rethinking our social responses to forest management. We will have to embrace increased timber operations, accept more smoke from prescribed fire, and adapt residential communities to tolerate fire as a natural ecosystem process. Casting Jackson forest management as a choice between conservation or commodity production is a false choice, as demonstrated by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s 70-plus year history of managing this wonderful resource from the clear-cut it was in the 1940’s into what we see today. California cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past and allow unnaturally dense forest conditions to develop and potentially destroy our forests. Maintaining Jackson as a living laboratory to research and demonstrate the wildfire resilience and safe carbon storage of managed, working forests is integral to learning how to restore California forests.
A FABLE FOR OUR TIMES
Guido Calabresi, a federal judge and Yale law professor, invented a little fable that he has been telling law students for more than three decades.
He tells the students to imagine a god coming forth to offer society a wondrous invention that would improve everyday life in almost every way. It would allow people to spend more time with friends and family, see new places and do jobs they otherwise could not do. But it would also come with a high cost. In exchange for bestowing this invention on society, the god would choose 1,000 young men and women and strike them dead.
Calabresi then asks: Would you take the deal? Almost invariably, the students say no. The professor then delivers the fable’s lesson: “What’s the difference between this and the automobile?”
In truth, automobiles kill many more than 1,000 young Americans each year; the total U.S. death toll hovers at about 40,000 annually. We accept this toll, almost unthinkingly, because vehicle crashes have always been part of our lives. We can’t fathom a world without them.
It’s a classic example of human irrationality about risk. We often underestimate large, chronic dangers, like car crashes or chemical pollution, and fixate on tiny but salient risks, like plane crashes or shark attacks.
One way for a risk to become salient is for it to be new. That’s a core idea behind Calabresi’s fable. He asks students to consider whether they would accept the cost of vehicle travel if it did not already exist. That they say no underscores the very different ways we treat new risks and enduring ones.
I have been thinking about the fable recently because of Covid-19. Covid certainly presents a salient risk: It’s a global pandemic that has upended daily life for more than a year. It has changed how we live, where we work, even what we wear on our faces. Covid feels ubiquitous.
Fortunately, it is also curable. The vaccines have nearly eliminated death, hospitalization and other serious Covid illness among people who have received shots. The vaccines have also radically reduced the chances that people contract even a mild version of Covid or can pass it on to others.
Yet many vaccinated people continue to obsess over the risks from Covid — because they are so new and salient.
To take just one example, major media outlets trumpeted new government data last week showing that 5,800 fully vaccinated Americans had contracted Covid. That may sound like a big number, but it indicates that a vaccinated person’s chances of getting Covid are about one in 11,000. The chances of a getting a version any worse than a common cold are even more remote.
But they are not zero. And they will not be zero anytime in the foreseeable future. Victory over Covid will not involve its elimination. Victory will instead mean turning it into the sort of danger that plane crashes or shark attacks present — too small to be worth reordering our lives.
That is what the vaccines do. If you’re vaccinated, Covid presents a minuscule risk to you, and you present a minuscule Covid risk to anyone else. A car trip is a bigger threat, to you and others. About 100 Americans are likely to die in car crashes today. The new federal data suggests that either zero or one vaccinated person will die today from Covid.
It’s true that experts believe vaccinated people should still sometimes wear a mask, partly because it’s a modest inconvenience that further reduces a tiny risk — and mostly because it contributes to a culture of mask wearing. It is the decent thing to do when most people still aren’t vaccinated. If you’re vaccinated, a mask is more of a symbol of solidarity than anything else.
Coming to grips with the comforting realities of post-vaccination life is going to take some time for most of us. It’s only natural that so many vaccinated people continue to harbor irrational fears. Yet slowly recognizing that irrationality will be a vital part of overcoming Covid.
“We’re not going to get to a place of zero risk,” Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, told me during a virtual Times event last week. “I don’t think that’s the right metric for feeling like things are normal.”
After Nuzzo made that point, Dr. Ashish Jha of Brown University told us about his own struggle to return to normal. He has been fully vaccinated for almost two months, he said, and only recently decided to meet a vaccinated friend for a drink, unmasked. “It was hard — psychologically hard — for me,” Jha said.
“There are going to be some challenges to re-acclimating and re-entering,” he added. “But we’ve got to do it.”
And how did it feel in the end, I asked, to get together with his friend?
“It was awesome,” Jha said.
(David Leonhardt, The New York Times)