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OTHER THAN A CHANCE of showers tonight and Saturday morning, dry and breezy weather will prevail through the weekend. (NWS)
4 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
GARRY ALLEN FLINT
October 5, 1934 — April 8, 2021
Garry, an internationally known author and psychologist, passed peacefully at home cradled by his wife Jane Wakefield-Flint in Vernon, B.C. Canada. He was 86.
Garry was born to Carroll Willard "Bud" and Amy Elizabeth "Bettie" (Blanton) Flint in Oakland.
In 1962, Garry married his college girlfriend Sandra Clopton and the couple moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where their daughters Dana and Susan were born. He completed his PhD in psychology at Indiana University in 1968.
After a stint at UCSF Langley Porter, Garry and his family moved to Redwood Valley, California. He was employed by the Mendocino State Hospital. When it closed, he co-founded a group home and later went into private practice.
Garry's passions were his family, skiing, computer programming, running, brainstorming ideas with friends and colleagues, and peace and environmental activism. He engaged easily with everyone. He loved coaching track and cross-country at Ukiah High School.
Garry was a fourth generation Californian. He moved to Canada in 1994 to marry Jane Wakefield.
His family remembers him as a creative man of deep, unfailing love, faith, and hope; a singer and musician; a potter; and a fixer-upper. Garry was a member of his local Toastmasters chapter, a barbershop group, and his church choir.
He will best be remembered as a psychologist dedicated to the treatment of trauma survivors. He cared much for people who suffered, and developed techniques to assist them. He is the author of four books on that topic, two of them used internationally.
Garry also had an incredible sense of humor. When asked about death, he would say, “I'm dying to find out what it's like,” and now he knows. Garry will be deeply missed.
He leaves behind his wife, Jane Wakefield-Flint, first wife Sandra Linn, sister Carol Kepler, daughters Dana Flint, Susan Flint, and Jennifer Ko (Nick), son Matthew Wakefield (Lin Bao), grandsons Brennan and Markus Ko, ten nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and two grand-pups.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Garry's name may be made by check to Ukiah High School Student Activities Track and Cross-country Fund, 1000 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, CA 95482.
A livestream celebration of Garry's life will take place on Saturday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m. and can be found at www.allsaintsvernon.org under Upcoming or Current Service or on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmF7GEEiKDg
To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE names coast insurance agent Ray Alarcon as the previously unnamed Coast Chamber of Commerce Board member as the reason former Director Sharon Davis resigned with complaints about “harassment” and “intimidation.”
…“When Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Davis announced her resignation, she said her decision to leave was due to “the constant harassment and discriminatory behavior by one of the board directors.” Since Davis’ announcement via newsletter, sent the morning of April 22, the Advocate-News and Beacon have learned Davis was referring to the Chamber’s Board President, Ray Alarcon, an insurance agent who lives and works in Mendocino.…”
WILLITS DOUBLE MURDER, THE CHARGES
PENNYROYAL FARM IS HIRING! We are seeking a part-time creamery worker as well as part-time and full-time tasting room sales associates. Email all questions and submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please no calls or in-person applicants.
Creamery Worker: Assist with daily cheesemaking. Part-time to begin, full-time possible; must be available weekends (1 weekend day per week). Bilingual English/Spanish is desired but not required though must be able to read English.
Tasting Room Sales Associate: Friendly, outgoing professional; sales, winery or hospitality background preferred. Must have strong computer skills, ability to multitask in a fast-paced tasting room, and be age 21+. Part-time offers a flexible schedule and full-time offers medical, dental, and paid vacation.
THE BOONVILLE FARMERS’ MARKET IS BACK!
Join us every Friday afternoon from 4-6pm starting May 7th in our new location at the Andersen Valley Brewery, 17700 Boonville Rd, Boonville, CA 95415.
Enjoy drinks from the taproom while you support your local food producers. Come get your veggie starts and locally grown produce, meats, eggs, mushrooms and more. EBT accepted
THE UNITY CLUB GARDEN SECTION is having a Plant Sale at Disco Ranch in Boonville to raise funds for our college scholarships. The sale will take place the first two Saturdays in May, 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. May 1st and May 8th we will be in the Disco parking lot with a variety of native, veggie, herb and flowering plants for sale.
THANK YOU, AV
The staff of the AV Health Center would like to thank the community from the bottom of our hearts for all the appreciation that has been showered upon us lately. We have gotten flowers, meals, donations, thank you cards and more and just want to say that we feel very fortunate to care for our awesome community. You are the best!!
BOB ABELES WRITES: The worst case of road damage I’ve seen lately is the destruction wrought by Cal Trans contractors hauling rock over highway 253. The scars remain visible on many of the turns where overweight loads deformed the newly paved surfaces, plus a huge gouge in the road surface near mile marker 11 where one of their trucks tipped over on a tight turn.
KIRK VODOPALS WRITES: Nobody regulates water trucks, not even in the timber industry. There is apparently one legal water truck operator on the Mendo coast who gets their water from the surplus flushing of the Fort Bragg municipal system. The rest get from wherever they can: their own wells mostly, I presume, but who knows. It’s all business that the gubmint shouldn’t stick their nose into, cuz it keeps the cash flowing in this county. No one would want to infringe on that.
THE CITY OF UKIAH has hired a former Santa Rosa police lieutenant as a consulting expert in the Magdaleno episode. Cop bashers are already complaining that the Santa Rosa consultant is the same guy who defended the SRPD in the shooting death of Andy Lopez, a controversy still hot in the Rose City.
MENDOCINO COUNTY has been hauling cops up from Sonoma County for years to investigate a variety of Mendo police-involved episodes. Farcical, really, given the cozy police relationships with not only SoCo law enforcement but law enforcement throughout the Northcoast. How about an independent police consultant from somewhere other than the immediate neighborhood.
THAT SAID, I'VE WATCHED the Magdaleno episode four times now. Sorry, I don't see excessive force. A large, strong, young man cranked out of his skull is running around naked in the street? Not good for him, not good for the neighborhood. It took half the department to subdue him and, by the way, he was not injured.
MAGDALENO and his family used to live in the Anderson Valley. Nice people. The kid himself played sports at Boonville High School then, post high school, seems to have gotten heavily into drugs and the consequent mental illness that come with prolonged drug use. When he's not on street drugs he is not a police problem but, it seems, also not a client of one or another of the county's 31-agency continuum of care.
BOTTOM LINE? Mendocino County, despite the annual millions spent on mental health, does not have an effective mental health apparatus.
FOR A REAL UPD scandal, try this one from 2007 about an incident in 1998:
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO MARVIN NOBLE
by Mark Scaramella, October 24, 2007
Remember the Marvin Noble case? Noble was shot dead by Ukiah Police back in 1998 when he tried to walk back to his Ukiah apartment after the Mendocino Mental Health department dispatched the cops because he wouldn't take his Haldol. Noble, a 300-plus pound black man, was enrolled in California's "CONREP" (Conditional Release) program, an involuntary outpatient mental health program for people with psychiatric disabilities who enter the program through the criminal justice system. As a condition of his CONREP status, Noble was required to take monthly injections of Haldol, an anti-psychotic medication, and keep all of his appointments to the satisfaction of his Mental Health Department treatment supervisor. By July 16, 1998, Noble had missed one (1) group therapy appointment and was two days late for his injection. His tardiness turned out to be a capital offense.
A bizarre and inexcusable escalation of events ensued culminating in Noble's being shot and killed by Ukiah Police officers after Noble stabbed the police dog that had been sicced on him, the dog being regarded as the equivalent of a two-legged officer, hence gun shots to save a fellow officer.
The shooting occurred at the end of a grotesque death walk as Noble, routed from the Foster's Freeze on South State Street where he'd been peacefully sipping an ice tea on a hot July day, tried to get back to his nearby apartment at the corner of State Street and Gobbi. As the police, a cadre of whom surrounded him, repeatedly doused Noble with pepper spray, and police dogs lunged at the blinded man as he stumbled towards his home, Noble slowly, determinedly, walked on, the macabre procession witnessed by countless aghast onlookers both on the sidewalks and from their halted vehicles on State Street. It's about two long blocks from where Marvin enjoyed his last iced tea to his apartment. When the bizarre show disappeared into Marvin's apartment building the inevitable gun shots were soon heard, and the next anyone saw a wounded Officer Dog was carried out onto the sidewalk by his Ukiah Police handler. An ambulance appeared, and Officer Dog was rushed, sirens screaming, to a veterinarian where Officer Dog expired. Meanwhile, Marvin was breathing his last upstairs. Emergency medical people tried to save him but he was too seriously wounded. The next ambulance came for what was left of him. The police were later excoriated for their emergency services priorities that put Officer Dog first, Marvin second. But the police explained that moving the shot-up Marvin down the stairs to the ambulance would have finished him even faster than the futile labor by the paramedics to save him.
It was obvious that Noble's death was due to the Mental Health Department's failure to deal competently with his situation. Soon after Noble's death the State Department of Mental Health did an evaluation of the case and issued a report, but the County Supervisors and their then-CEO, Mike Scannell, blacked out almost all of the publicly-released version of the report, leaving the public to assume that the County had something serious to hide. A wrongful death civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court by Noble's family a few months after his death, but the ill-prepared suit, filed by Ukiah attorney Phil DeJong and San Francisco attorney Dennis Cunningham, was tossed by the federal court.
Unbeknownst to most Mendolanders (including us), a highly respected Oakland-based disability rights organization called Protection & Advocacy Inc. commissioned a study of the Noble killing in May of 2000. We ran across it by chance recently while looking into the Mental Health Department's recent budgetary problems. The very senior researchers, Paul B. Duryea and Colette I. Hughes, evaluated the Noble case and a similar death in Monterey County. Both of the experts have extensive law enforcement and mental health resumes. Their report was entitled "Precipitous Use of 5150 by Mental Health Ends in Shooting Deaths of Disabled Men."
Noble was put into the CONREP program, a sort of permanent parole from the state hospital system, after an episode about 17 years earlier in which he'd taken his ex-wife and his own children hostage. During the kidnap and ensuing standoff, Noble raped the former Mrs. Noble. He refused to come out with his hands up until he'd exhausted everyone, including the police, in the now familiar hostage situation. Noble was clearly a difficult case, but he'd managed to live out his subsequent heavily medicated 17 years without any further incident and was not considered to be a serious threat to anyone while in the CONREP program. But Noble didn't like the side effects of his meds and he didn't like some of the Mental Health department people who were paid to stay on top of his case. He had begun to balk at taking his Haldol. Because of Noble's clinical paranoia he was known to use bravado and intimidation at the drop of a hat as a defense mechanism. He'd regularly say things like, “You touch me, I'll kill you.” But none of his therapists took him seriously. You say that to a cop and you've got a good chance of summary execution.
By July 16, 1998, according to the researchers, “Mr. Noble had missed one group therapy appointment and was two days late for his injection. Instead of exercising other options, such as further negotiations with Mr. Noble, mental health staff instructed the local police to pick up Mr. Noble and take him to the local psychiatric facility against his will. [ms notes: This was before Mendo’s PHF or “puff” unit was closed.] Although the issue of Mr. Noble's failure to comply with outpatient treatment requirements was clearly within mental health staff's scope of responsibility, CONREP program staff did not accompany the police.”
Mr. Noble had been complaining that the Haldol made him fat and lazy, and that he'd had enough of it. He had begun to resist the medication regimen and refused to come in, telling his county workers, “I guess you'll have to send The Man out to get me.” Mr. Noble's primary mental health worker at the time, Laurel Bleess, seems to have received the brunt of the blame for Mr. Noble's death, but she's more of a scapegoat than anything else. Ms. Bleess didn't run the lucrative Con-Rep program Noble was enrolled in at a large profit to Mendocino County, but she seems to have been the one shoved forward as Mental Health's sacrificial therapist, insofar as anybody anywhere has been held responsible for the Noble tragedy.
Until the Oakland-based group's comprehensive study, the public was not privy to the numerous government evaluations and reports surrounding the case. But the researchers quote those reports extensively and it's now quite clear why Mendo authorities didn't want to release their report at the time: Practically everything that could be done wrong was done wrong.
The Mental Health Department told the researchers that they didn't accompany the cops to pick up Mr. Noble for his med treatment because they said they believed their presence would make matters worse. (!) According to Mental Health's own explanation of the incident, “As a result of Marvin's statements about resisting and warning CONREP not to come get him, we decided that the presence of mental health clinicians would incense and inflame Marvin more and create more danger. Therefore a clinician did not accompany the police.”
Trouble is, as the researchers point out, they had just been out looking for Mr. Noble to tell him to take his meds the previous day and obviously didn't think their presence would be a problem then. In addition, as it turns out, Mr. Noble's case was set to be reviewed by the court the day after he was shot. Mental Health could have easily brought up his failure to take his meds at the hearing; they would have then had the court order they needed to check Noble into a hospital facility.
Instead the cops were dispatched. “The usefulness of mental health staff going out with police to apprehend a patient would typically be determined by protocol (there was none),” reported the experts, “prior working relationships and training (none existed), and police decisions (whether to collaborate with mental health workers or to ‘take charge’). One must note that the minute the patient produced a knife in the crowded restaurant, the role of the mental health worker would have ended and the encounter would have followed its course as a police matter. Instead of addressing the reasons underlying Mr. Noble's recent refusals of treatment or attempting to negotiate a less drastic solution by enlisting the assistance of family or friends, mental health personnel helped escalate these rather marginal and common mental health situations of treatment refusal into dangerous confrontations with the police.”
According to the researchers, Mendocino County Mental Health had no reason to declare Mr. Noble 5150 and have the cops come to get him. He wasn't a danger to himself or others, and he wasn't unable to care for his basic needs. In addition, the researchers noted, the police are required to exercise their own independent judgment in these cases about whether the person is genuinely and objectively 5150. Mr. Noble was sitting in the Foster's Freeze drinking some iced tea when the cops arrived. He was not in a psychotic state.
The researchers faulted Mendo's Mental Health Department for declaring Noble 5150 and not accompanying the cops, and, secondarily blamed the cops as contributing factors for not exercising good judgment. The report concludes, “PAI's investigation found that mental health and law enforcement personnel acted precipitously and without adequate regard for their respective responsibilities under Section 5150. … The intervention by mental health and law enforcement personnel helped to create the circumstances resulting in this death.”
Continuing, “It is evident that the overwhelming reason for involuntary hospitalization was [Mr. Noble's] refusal of treatment. This is a mental health matter, not one for law enforcement. Instead of working with Mr. Noble to address his recent refusal of medication, mental health staff chose the most expedient and potentially dangerous course available to them — calling the police.”
“The most disturbing question regarding this case is why there was a rush to 5150 Mr. Noble on July 16, 1998. There is no substantial evidence that imminent hospitalization was necessary. In fact, during interviews with PAI investigators, one staff member noted that the use of Section 5150 was more expedient than following the Penal Code procedure for revoking Mr. Noble's outpatient treatment.”
In a footnote to the report the experts put their finger on the basic problem at Mental Health: Then-Director Bob Wolf. “Note 10. In statements made to the press, the Mental Health Services Director (Bob Wolf) indicated that he could not discuss the specifics of Mr. Noble's case, but stated that his department ‘will call police if it has reason to believe the patient is looking for or may cause trouble. … It has to do with whether the person will cooperate,’ the Mental Health Services Director said. ‘In general, there's always room for improvement but I wouldn't say there's any blame in this incident. People did what they had to do.’ These statements indicate a lack of understanding concerning what constitutes probable cause for a 5150 and under what circumstances the police should be called. That the patient may cause trouble or not cooperate is too vague and speculative to justify the intervention of law enforcement.’
(The entire report by Protection & Advocacy Inc. is at www.pai-ca.org/pubs/701601.htm)
MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: This story is about a real independent study done by an Oakland-based disability rights outfit but with law enforcement experience and background. If Ukiah and/or its Police Department were serious about doing a genuinely independent evaluation of the Magdaleno incident, they’d hire an outfit or consultant with mental health/crisis response experience like the Protection and Advocacy people referred to above — because there’s strong evidence to indicate that Mr. Magdaleno’s deteriorating situation was at least in part the result of mis- or non-medication and/or mis- or non-mental health treatment. Of course, this would involve a review of his medical records which either Mr. Magdaleno or his family (or his lawyer?) would have to release. Unfortunately, the hard-charging cop-complaining lawyer the family has hired has said nothing about Mr. Magdaleno’s mental health experience, preferring instead to blame the entire incident on cops and their “excessive force.”
ULTRA-LIGHT FALLS FROM THE SKY into Lake Mendocino.
On Thursday, April 29, 2021 at approximately 9:57 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call of a reported aircraft crash near the south boat ramp at Lake Mendocino in Ukiah.
Upon arrival, Deputies contacted the 71 year-old male pilot who was located approximately 600 yards east of the south boat ramp on exposed land near the decreased lake water level.
Deputies learned that at 9:50 AM an ultralight airplane, piloted by the 71 year-old male, took off from the Ukiah Municipal Airport with a destination of Potter Valley.
Approximately ten minutes after takeoff, the plane began having engine trouble that resulted in the plane losing power.
The plane eventually crash landed in Lake Mendocino and the 71 year-old male was able to escape the sinking plane with only minor injuries from the crash landing. The 71 year-old male declined medical attention upon EMS arrival.
Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, along with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the Army Corps of Engineers personnel responded to the scene.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and spoke with the 71 year-old male by telephone.
The airplane is believed to be submerged in approximately 15-30 feet of water and recovery efforts had to be postponed until Friday, April 30, 2021, as specialized personnel and equipment are needed for the recovery.
“Don’t be afraid; we’re fully vaccinated!”
IT’S IN THE OAKLAND A’S DNA
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Disturbing news suggests baseball has grown delirious from ill-considered changes made by owners unfamiliar with the game’s history and traditions.
Alarmed, son Lucas and I launched a 250-mile roundtrip journey to Oakland to assess baseball’s health and take its temperature; I’m happy to report a day spent watching a ballgame remains as enjoyable as ever.
But some molar-grinders remain:
Prices for instance. Tickets were $70 purchased through a bewildering online maze that tacked on a $20 per seat surcharge, and $30 (!) for parking.
At the stadium a nonstop avalanche of noise, plus shrieking announcements from a new public address screamer (“Now batting! Jeddd LLOWRRIEEE!!!”) as if introducing a Rolling Stones concert on the pitcher’s mound.
And concessions. Beer is $100 a thimbleful with a $20 recycling fee for the plastic thimble. Hot dogs are $65; mustard, ketchup, napkins, shipping and handling is extra.
Be aware your money is literally no good at the Oakland Coliseum. Everything, as in e-v-e-r-y thing, is paid by credit card or smartphone, despite wording right on your dollar bill that U.S. currency is “legal tender for all debts public and private.” Choose between being a crypto-cyber citizen or starving.
The usual Covid regs are in place about washing hands and keeping your distance, except when jostling about in men’s rooms and concession lines. And “social distancing” is a foreign concept to outdoor tailgate party-people.
We heard the National Anthem while walking across the parking lot and sat down precisely as the first pitch was thrown. Visually, the game is just plain pretty, with seven players defending acres of ball diamond in a shimmering emerald green Sherwin-Williams couldn’t match. Oakland uniforms are wedding cake white and bring a complementary decorative flourish to tubby clouds floating on a bright blue sky.
It was the first game Lucas and I have attended together in about 10 years. Differences? Ubiquitous masks, better seats and the A’s opponent.
There was a time, not long ago, when I bought cheap tix, came mostly to see the visiting Cleveland Indians, and masks were only needed for liquor store holdups. But now it’s an upscale, down-close seat ($70 plus $20 surcharge, remember?) and I’m suddenly a lifelong diehard hardcore Oakland fan. I sported a fresh-off-the-rack A’s cap to prove it. The masks are just kinda semi-optional once you’re in the park.
In addition to my new cap other sartorial marvels were on display, such as the two ladies directly across the aisle. They arrived festooned in A’s gear I couldn’t afford unless I sold all my other clothes. Gaudy? Hoo boy.
Husky lasses in their 70s, they had matching gold satin jackets with every option but a Hemi engine. They wore what Elvis might have worn or Liberace might have designed. Also, matching A’s socks, shirts, hats and, dearest of all, one gal clanked the innings away by tapping a wooden drumstick on an old cow bell. It was a 1970s Monte Moore redux-orama.
Other patrons were in standard t-shirts and shorts, just like Ukiah Walmart. One section over, a pair of cheerful young drunks displayed their enthusiasm for the home team via boisterous shouting and occasionally stood, turned ‘round and led fans and an invisible orchestra in arm-waving ”Let’s Go Oakland!” medleys.
The Game: The closer to the field, the quicker and more intense. These are the best players in the world and didn’t get that way without hawk-like concentration, great big speed, strength, and impossible reflexes.
Minnesota’s third baseman, Josh Donaldson, consistently hits the ball harder than anyone I’ve ever seen. At the peak of my quite modest baseball career I would have positioned myself behind the centerfield scoreboard.
The A’s are perennial underpaid overachievers, going head to head and toe to toe with the best in baseball despite always rebuilding for tomorrow while winning today. No other team does it so well, nor is forced to do it so often. It’s in the Oakland DNA.
They trailed much of the afternoon, then scored three runs in extra innings. Major Leaguers commit approximately two errors per hundred plays, and the Twins coughed up both of theirs in the 10th inning along with two walks, gift wrapping a 13-12 win for the A’s. I’ve never known a game to end like that, but I’ve only been watching baseball for 60 or 70 years. It extended the A’s improbable win streak to 11 games.
The Coliseum itself remains pleasantly shabby and utterly out of fashion, the lone survivor from a best-forgotten ‘60s era of multipurpose stadiums. There’s a loose friendly vibe and, Covid aside, there’s always plenty of space for you and your friends to stretch out and take over nearby empty seats and rows.
They hope to replace it with something like PacBell Park, but the decision rests with Oakland’s city council. These cats recently waved bye-bye to both the Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors and I’m not betting they won’t go 0-for-3.
Go see the A’s this summer because who knows where they might be in 2023. The current slogan is “Rooted in Oakland” and the owners might even mean it, except we all know that in recent years they’ve tried desperately to move to Las Vegas or San Jose.
Bring a friend. Make sure he’s got a credit card.
(Tom Hine lives, worked and writes in Ukiah, and is assisted by his longtime invisible imaginary playmate, TWK.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 29, 2021
JACK ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance, drinking/possession alcohol in public.
ELISA CERVANTES, Boonville. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail.
JOSE GOMEZ, Philo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
GREVOR GUNBY, Ukiah. Domestic battery, mayhem, assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
MILTON HOAGLEN, Covelo. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing bodily injury, special allegation: great bodily injury in commission of felony, enhancement for multiple victims with bodily injury or death, great bodily injury during commission of felony.
SHANE JONES, Kelseyville/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LEVI LAMOUREUX, Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, protective order violation, probation violation.
MICHAEL LEWIS, Ukiah. Parole violation, criminal threats.
AMELIA RAMIREZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, no license, forge-alter vehicle registration, child endangerment, probation revocation.
TYLER STUTSMAN, Cloverdale/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, paraphernalia, false ID, probation revocation.
RAVEN YOUNG, Covelo. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, paraphernalia, loaded handgun not
Worker Needed Today!
I live near Anchor Bay, California on the South Coast of Mendocino County, between Pt. Arena and Gualala:
Yes, it's me still seeking a Great Worker for Gardening, Weed Eating, Firewood, Brush, Land Cleanup and other land work. Please have transportation and be nonsmoking. Land line only at 707-884-4703, let ring five times. $25 an hour for hard work. 1-2 days per week, flexible hours. Thank you.
Yasmin Solomon <email@example.com>
IN DENMARK, FARMERS MUST PLANT SOME ACREAGE IN FLOWERS FOR THE BEES
REFLECTIONS ON FORESTRY when Confronted with the First Timber Harvest Plan of the Year in My Watershed
by Ellen Taylor
Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) are like demure invitations to dance. A timber company sidles up to Cal Fire, which extends its soft hand. The music is an ancient minuet, its steps designed almost fifty years ago. The cadences repeat themselves, harmoniously, as the Agencies partner up and take their places, stately, in the still, ethereal atmosphere. Then, after a few fleurets and some courtesies exchanged, the logs start rolling out of the forest.
The minuet, made famous by Louis XIV of France, used to have meaning: it was metaphor for the serene, hierarchical architecture of society, where every character played a discrete part in time and place. In the modern world, however, timber harvest plans are an oxymoronic metaphor for chaos. Outside the ballroom, chunks of Antarctica the size of New York are falling into the sea. The Gulf Stream vacillates uncertainly. Scientists grasp at fantastically expensive and risky schemes to sprinkle the stratosphere with sunlight-reflecting particles. And, as Earth warms, a quarter of its people face dying of thirst while others are swept away by floods or freezes.
The skies are emptying, one third fewer birds now than when the California Forest Practice Rules were written almost 50 years ago. According to the World Wildlife Fund, taken together, mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians have declined 70%. The insect apocalypse is hurtling along 8 times faster.
The agent of this chaos is the still-increasing concentration of carbon-dioxide in earth’s atmosphere, caused by human activity. We have returned the carbon, sequestered by ancient vegetation, in oil and coal, to the atmosphere. As for the contemporary, still-actively sequestering vegetation, we destroyed 80% of it before 1990.
Amidst the wreckage the minuet, choreographed by the revered California Forest Practice Rules, proceeds with inviolate composure. Biomass of all sorts is conveyed to the mills: the US is by far the largest wood exporter in the world. Slash and small trees are made into wood pellets, the rest for lumber. “Old growth” is now extremely rare. Trees such as doug firs and redwoods, which can live thousands of years, are now harvested at 40 to 70 years old, leaving no generation to replace their falling elders.
Any concern about global warming is finessed with phrases such as “there is a natural variability in earth’s climate” and “considerable debate regarding its causes”. Fear of catastrophic fire, founded on rising temperature and wind velocity, and loss of moisture in logged-over areas, is met with the entrenched dogma that fuel load reduction is critical for fire protection. Calfire asserts this despite comprehensive studies that “timber harvest, through its effects on forest structure and local microclimate, has increased fire severity more than any other human activity” (US Fish & Wildlife Service:1996).
In fact it makes no sense to combine commercial timber harvesting and forest management into the same agency. Logging companies are interested in fire prevention from the perspective of protecting their assets. As they have said many times, biodiversity and forest health are not their responsibilities (viz. Robert Fisher, owner of HRC: “we are a business, not a charity”) except insofar as legal compliance is concerned. Forest management is a public trust, and therefore must concern itself with public safety and its corollary, ecological stability. The axiom of commercial interests, to extract the most profit at the least cost, is antithetical to this trust. Cutting down big trees, which are fire resistant and have been demonstrated to reduce forest temperatures up to 4.5 degrees compared with plantations, increases fire risk.
The fact that Calfire plans to log its own Jackson State Forest flies in the face of its public trust mission: fire safety, protection from the effects of climate catastrophe, and the defense of biodiversity.
The preservation of the last stands of planetary forest are our last best hope for curbing carbon emissions in the shortest amount of time. If all logging were stopped today, and the forest allowed to grow, our remaining trees could remove 1/7 of the world’s carbon-dioxide exhalations annually. Redwoods and, to a slightly lesser extent firs, sequester carbon at a rate 2.5 times the rate of tropical rainforests. And the older the tree, the more efficiently it can sequester carbon. Although they may grow more slowly, they produce more photosynthesizing leaves/needles. But as forests are logged, this sequestering engine is lost, and forests will no longer be sufficient to mitigate climate change.
The UN Council on Biodiversity reported last year that 1 million species are at risk of extinction, “which paints an ominous picture with serious consequences for humans as well as the rest of life on Earth”.
Here in the pacific northwest there are many indigenous species whose populations have been, and continue to be, decimated by human activity. The problem can be compared to the human housing market: as we know unhoused human lives are shortened by 25 years due to the of hardship of living rough. The housing, or habitat, market for wildlife, is already tight. Then, four months ago the US Fish & Wildlife Service redefined critical habitat, which by law must be allocated to a threatened or endangered species at the same time it is listed. By stipulating that habitat must be intact, ready and able to support an endangered species, without the need of any restoration or alteration, it excluded the candidacy of millions of acres, and invited the destruction of millions more.
In January, US Fish & Wildlife Service opened up 3.4 million acres of northern spotted owl habitat to logging.
In order to keep a roof over their heads, that is, to save their habitat from logging, animals must stay home 24/7 and make sure to be noticed, as the Forest Practice Rules have no respect for untenanted housing. Instead of keeping and recruiting habitat for northern spotted owl, Green Diamond Timber now shoots their competition, the larger and less specialized Barred Owl, and is rewarded by USFWS with being allowed to harvest the habitat the owls have vacated. The resultant take of NSOs “is more than offset by the value of information gained from this experiment and its potential contribution to a long-term Barred Owl strategy”(FWS).
This expresses a deranged form of goal obsession, worse than the archetypal “Bridge Over the River Kwai”.
Although the public submitted questions, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife declined to participate in the preharvest review team meetings of either of the last two THPs I examined. But they are paid by the public, by us, to be guardians of our wildlife! a public trust.
They report that they are understaffed and underfunded. This represents a sharp decline from the days of Pacific Lumber/MAXXAM, when their biologists, such as Armand Gonzales, fought valiantly for wildlife.
But the Agencies are snowed by the status of “certifiably sustainable” timber harvesting practices achieved by our three dominant timber companies, who, significantly, pay for their own certification, and are rewarded with a premium for their products. The Agencies appear to believe that this dissolves their own public obligations.
However, the certification process has been comprehensively tested, by the public, a group of whom complained to the certifying organization on several grounds: cooperation with local communities and tribes, use of herbicides, and protection of ecologically valuable forest. Needless to say, the timber company in question, HRC, did not change their ways. In fact, just a week ago, after offering property-wide access to the Bear River Tribe for habitat typing, lead bullet collection and toxin identification for an EPA study being conducted by the tribe, preparatory to the release of the Pacific Condor in Humboldt County, the company slammed the door in their faces.
Certification is just another masquerade: sheep’s clothing.
Meanwhile the owners of the timber companies are as unreachable as the gods on Olympus. Regarding their power over our lives, climate and forests, these billionaire gods seem to have some kind of ataxia, like multiple sclerosis, and their multifarious empires have, unlike the Olympians, the common denominator of profit.
It is suicide. We must end this fatal minuet, and retire the senile forest practice rules. Measured carbon sequestration achieved by our forests, that is, letting them grow, in a practice called “pro-forestation”, should be defined as a “high quality timber product” and recognized as achieving the goals of 14 CCR933.11, “maximum sustained productivity”. Timberlands are called “working forests”: well then, let them work, sustaining life on earth, instead of providing pellets for Swiss stoves.
And, let the industry instead invest in and market a different building material, one that doesn’t impose the death penalty on the planet.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m so tired of all the energy and time our board of supervisors spends on marijuana.
We have a plethora of other problems in this county – a public health emergency that has stricken two large parts of the economy (restaurants and tourism), water shortages and a regional drought, ever increasing wildfire threats to the entire county and every city and locality within it, unaffordable housing, a severe and worsening opioid problem, increasing crime, major gang activity, environmental degradation, a lack of parks and trails inland where most residents live, etc.
The list is long.
One of the best things about this county was our quality of life – you didn’t need a lot of money to be able to enjoy the lake or the forest or the sea. Today the lake is empty, the forest is primed for fire, and the urchin/kelp problem is killing shellfish in the sea. The last time I was in the Mendocino National Forest I heard sporadic automatic gunfire all night long. Not exactly a pleasant place to hang out.
All of these problems do not lie at the feet of this board of supervisors. But the main issue they seem concerned with is pot.
Some signs warning residents and travelers on our highways to be fire safe and to check their vehicles and trailers to make sure chains are secured this summer could help stop a dozen fires. Can any of our supervisors make something simple like that happen, or do we need to have a 9 hour meeting and an environmental review and a safety consultation with Caltrans?
IN FACT, OSWALD IS INTERESTING because he was, at least by his own rights, a strongly political man, who not only defected to the Soviet Union but tried to assassinate the right-wing figure General Walker about seven months before the assassination of President Kennedy. I think in that seven months his life unravelled. I think he lost his grip on his political consciousness, and on almost everything else around him. And I think he became the forerunner of all those soft white young men of the late sixties and early seventies who went around committing crimes of convenience, shooting at whatever political figure or celebrity happened to drift into range.
— Don DeLillo
THE COWS THAT ATE POINT REYES
by George Wuerthner
Fences. Everywhere I went during a recent trip to Point Reyes, I encountered fences. Why are there fences in a national park unit? They exist to facilitate the private use of public lands for a personal profit with the full blessing of the Point Reyes National Seashore administration.
Fences are symbolic of the controversy surrounding this park area. There are over 300 miles of barriers in the park. The controversy surrounding private ranching in a national park illustrates the problems created when personal profit and “cultural” preservation trumps the other values national parks are supposed to preserve.
Livestock grazing in the park significantly degrades natural values, which the NPS is supposed to protect. This includes damage to streams, pollution of waterways, and harm to native fauna and flora.
Like zombies rising from the dead, every time the grace period for ranchers to operate on these public lands has ended, another grace period is initiated. A controversial new management plan by the NPS calls for renewal of rancher’s grazing privileges in the park for another 20 years, expansion of agricultural crop growing, and the killing of Tule elk, a rare subspecies of elk found only in California, so they do not compete with domestic livestock within Point Reyes. It would also permit installing a four-mile fence to separate elk from domestic cattle using OUR public lands. Allow ranchers to convert grasslands to commercial row crops. And expand the number of livestock permitted to graze the park.
The National Park Service considers the fences part of the “cultural heritage” of the area they suggest needs to be protected. The NPS is protecting private use and the degradation of public assets to benefit a small but vocal group of ranchers and their urban supporters.
It is evident when you travel to the park where the NPS stands with regards to ranching. Interpretative signs tell you that ranching is “historical” (so was slavery in other parks, but we don’t maintain slaves for “cultural” reasons), and we are told how much milk or meat is produced to “feed the nation and other “facts” designed to put Ag use in a positive light.
CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION
Recently the California Coastal Commission (CCC) issued a tentative approval to an NPS plan to expand livestock grazing in the park under the guise of preserving the “cultural heritage.” The CCC 5-4 vote for the “conditional concurrence” did put some sidebars on its approval.
The NPS must come up with, in one year, a plan to reduce (but not eliminate) water pollution in the park. It specifically halts final approval of the NPS plans to extend grazing privileges until the CCC approval of the water quality proposal. And it only allows a five-year period to implement and improve water quality rather than the ten-year proposal made by the NPS. The NPS must also produce a climate action plan.
The Superintendent of Point Reyes objected to the amendments but finally agreed to produce the materials in the timeline required.
Several proposed amendments failed, including one that would have prevented the Park Service from killing Tule elk. Another amendment offered would have prevented the Ag interests from diversifying their operations with other crops. A CCC member from Marin County opposed both.
Point Reyes is one of the few places where native Tule elk are found in California. In 2020, approximately 300 elk were fenced in at Tomales Point, and another 300 or so free-reining elk concentrated at Drakes Beach area and Limantour-Muddy Hollow-Glenbrook area. More than 5700 cows in OUR park. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture when domestic animals outnumber native wildlife species nearly 10 to 1 in a national park?
When you drive to Point Reyes, you pass dairy and cattle farms almost continuously. There is no shortage of cattle/cows in Marin County or Sonoma County, or California. California is home to more than 5 million cattle- the 4th highest in the entire country. Why should we allow private individuals to graze domestic livestock, a commodity abundant on private lands throughout the state and nation, in a national park unit?
Ironically, most of the support for continued livestock grazing in the park comes from liberal Marin County residents who believe there is no place else in California to produce dairy products or beef except in a national park.
POINT REYES HISTORY
Controversy over livestock grazing in the park has existed since its inception. When the National Seashore was first incepted, the entire Point Reyes peninsula was originally private farmland.
Point Reyes National Seashore was created in 1962 after years of lobbying and effort by environmentalists, including Conrad Wirth, who became National Park Service director in 1951. Before he was appointed director, Wirth led an NPS survey of the peninsula to assess its potential as a national park unit, which had recommended it be protected as a national seashore.
The peninsula’s outstanding biodiversity and scenic values were the prime motivation for protection efforts. Point Reyes is home to 460 species of birds, 876 plants, and many different marine and terrestrial mammals. The Seashore harbors a hundred listed rare, threatened, and endangered species, an incredible diversity given the Seashore’s relatively small size.
This biological diversity prompted UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere program to designate Point Reyes as an international biosphere reserve. California also gives the marine environment special recognization through its designations of the Point Reyes State Marine Reserve & Point Reyes State Marine Conservation Area, Estero de Limantour State Marine Reserve & Drakes Estero State Marine Conservation Area, and Duxbury Reef State Marine Conservation Area.
Beginning in the 1960s, the federal government acquired the private lands that occupied the peninsula. As might be expected, the ranchers and Marin County Supervisors opposed the creation of the Seashore. Nevertheless, ranchers were paid a substantial amount of money for their properties, often millions of dollars per ranch acquisition.
In a generous concession, the occupants of these buildings and ranchers were not required to leave the Seashore immediately. Indeed, they were given a reprieve of twenty-five years or upon the death of the primary owners (whichever came first) that allowed them to continue grazing and residing in the public’s property. However, the intention was to sunset Ag production at the end of that period.
But once given a reprieve, the entrenched ranchers successfully lobbied to remain on the Seashore, and the twenty-five-year grace period was extended several times.
This plan is in direct violation of the law creating the national Seashore. The legislation requires that Point Reyes National Seashore “shall be administered by the Secretary without impairment of its natural values, in a manner which provides for such recreational, educational, historic preservation, interpretation, and scientific research opportunities as are consistent with, based upon, and supportive of the maximum protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment within the area.” Permitting continued livestock operations in the park unit is not consistent with the stated legislative goals.
The word “shall” is essential. “Shall” does not give the NPS discretion to favor the ranchers’ interests over protecting the natural environment.
About one-third of the 71,000-acre national Seashore is designated a “pastoral zone,” where 15 ranch operations graze approximately 5700 cattle (more than 10 times the number of Tule elk) on 28,000 acres of parkland as well as 10,000 acres in the adjacent Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A total of 24 ranches operate on these public lands.
Also, the buildings, homes, and other structures used by the ranchers (which we own) are within the Seashore. We, the taxpayers, pay for the maintenance of fences and roads on these properties. The NPS (i.e., taxpayers) receives about $500,000 in revenues from the ranch leases—less than half the Park Service’s spends to maintain them. These leases do not include the grazing of livestock, but the occupation of homes, use of barns, and other buildings. When you consider how much housing in Marin County costs, the 24 ranch operators are getting a substantial public subsidy.
This lease arrangement with ranchers came to a head when drought conditions from 2012 to 2014 caused the death of half of the elk population who were trapped behind a fence constructed to keep elk confined to a small waterless 2000-acre parcel of the Seashore. Most of the native Tule elk are sequestered on 2000 acres, while domestic livestock is given free rein on over 38,000 total acres between the two park units (Point Reyes and Golden Gate NRA).
NPS PROPOSED MANAGEMENT PLAN
Fast forward to 2020. The NPS released its final plan, which would give ranchers another twenty years of grazing, allow them to expand livestock operations to include chickens, pigs, goats, and sheep. Also, for the first time, ranchers will be permitted to operate B and Bs using our property as well as farm stands—using our property.
And finally, in another concession to private business interests, the NPS plans to shoot Tule elk annually to maintain a population that will not compete with livestock operations or antagonizes ranchers.
The collateral damage from livestock operations includes pollution of the park’s waterways. Indeed, one stream in the park has some of the highest coliform bacteria counts found along the entire California coast. For instance, a recent survey found E. coli bacteria concentrations up to 40 times higher than state health standards. Enterococci bacteria were up to 300 times the state health standard at Kehoe Lagoon.
A 2013 Coastal Watershed Assessment asserted that the principal threats to water quality on Point Reyes were bacterial and nutrient pollution from ranches and dairies. In particular, the Drakes Bay, Limantour, Kehoe, and Abbotts Lagoon areas were significantly polluted—remember, these are state-protected marine zones.
The ranch operations also help spread exotic plants (weeds), and livestock consumes forage that would otherwise support native herbivores, including the Tule elk.
Another NPS study confirms that the livestock operations at Point Reyes are responsible for the vast preponderance” of greenhouse gas emissions” at the park.
In 2016 three groups—Western Watersheds Project, Resource Renewal Institute, and Center for Biodiversity–sued the Park Service, alleging that an environmental impact statement was needed to address the impacts of livestock production in the Seashore. As part of its settlement, the agency agreed to do an environmental review.
As I explored Point Reyes encountering fences all over the national Seashore, I kept thinking about Ronald Reagan’s admonishment about the Berlin Wall to Mr. Gorbachev to ‘tear down this wall.’ I feel compelled to shout to the Point Reyes Superintendent, “Mr. Kenkel, tear down those fences.” Like the Berlin Wall, park wildlife should be free to roam. Something is wrong when native animals like elk are given second priority to maintain private operations in a national park.
(George Wuerthner has published 36 books including Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. He serves on the board of the Western Watersheds Project. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
AMERICANS SOMETIMES LIKE TO DISMISS POLITICS as a grubby business that is disconnected from the things that really matter — science, health and everyday life. And while politics certainly can be grubby, it also remains the most powerful mechanism for human progress.
— David Leonhardt