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INTERIOR TEMPERATURES WILL COOL somewhat through the weekend as an upper-level low pressure system passes by. This system will bring scattered showers and a few thunderstorms to portions of our area late Friday through Saturday. Coastal northwest California will continue to see periods of marine layer clouds and cool onshore breezes. (NWS)
8 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
DEATH ON THE WILLITS BYPASS
by Kathleen Coates
A motorist and a motorcyclist crashed head-on on Highway 101 on the elevated Willits Bypass Wednesday, killing the motorcyclist.
Michael Lee Confer, 30, of Crescent City, who was driving a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix, was arrested for suspicion of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, according to Rick Fowler, a Mendocino County CHP special duty officer, in a news release.
Confer was booked into the county jail on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter, the CHP said.
Confer was traveling north when he drove over double yellow painted lines separating north and southbound lanes, driving directly into the path of a 2007 BMW motorcycle going southbound, Fowler said. The two collided head-on, and the male rider and his motorcycle were ejected over the side of the bypass, the CHP said. It was not immediately clear how fast Confer was driving.
The force of the impact caused Confer's Pontiac to catch fire. Highway 101 was closed for about two hours for emergency services and investigation, he said
The rider, 68, died at the scene. His name is being withheld pending notification of relatives, according to the release.
Confer was taken to Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
(courtesy The Press Democrat)
COVID-19 VACCINE EVENTS FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 17-21, 2021
There are many opportunities next week in Ukiah to get a COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and your family.
Hay muchas oportunidades la próxima semana en Ukiah para recibir la vacuna para el COVID-19 y cuidar a nuestros seres queridos, nuestra familia, y nuestros amigos.
Ukiah Fairgrounds | 1055 N State St:
- May 19 | Moderna 1st dose | 4 PM - 7 PM
- May 20 | Pfizer 1st & 2nd dose | 3 PM - 5 PM
- May 20 | Moderna 1st & 2nd dose | 5 PM - 7 PM
Ukiah Unified School clinics:
May 21 | Pfizer 1st dose
- 8 AM - 10 AM (Eagle Peak MS)
- 11 AM - 1 PM (Pomolita MS)
- 2 PM - 5 PM (Ukiah HS)
May 22 | Pfizer 1st dose
- 8 AM - 1 PM (Ukiah HS)
Eligibility: All are welcome, including walk-ins. You do not need to be a Mendocino County resident. Pfizer clinics are age 12+, while Moderna clinics are age 18+.
The school clinics on 5/21 are open to students age 12+ and their families. Second dose appointments have already been scheduled.
Sign up at myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255.
Parents must print and sign the online consent form for minors age 12+, but are not required to be present at the vaccination appointment. The form can be found at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/
RED BEARD, the Elk-area burglar, almost got himself killed last night when the entire night shift of Coast law enforcement descended on him. Red Beard is a young man. Judging from his plaintive shout to "leave me alone" as a fleet-footed deputy closed in on him near the Cameron Road home he'd just robbed, or at least entered, he may also be mentally ill. But just after asking to be left alone Red Beard apparently fired several shots in the direction of the pursuit, meaning he's now the object of an area-wide manhunt likely to end badly.
THE LATEST lopsided fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians has followed the usual script; Hamas responds to an Israeli provocation, Hamas brings down hell on the heads of the people they say they represent. Whomever's the American president duly says something like scripted Biden said yesterday, “Israel has the right to defend itself.” And, as implied, Israel also has the right to operate an apertheid system for Palestinians more thoroughly oppressive than South Africa ever was, while Jewish fanatics, many of them of American origin, throw Palestinians out of their houses and off their land based on an Old Testament claim that they own the whole area.
CONSCIENTIOUS persons, aka ava readers, will want to inform themselves of these distant events, and might best do so by reading these two books, the first a brilliant novelistic exploration of the forces involved in Israel. Robert Stone's book, “Damascus Gate,” which might be more accessible, and certainly more entertaining, than Israel Shahak's, “Jewish History, Jewish Religion,” but the latter is also accessible and invaluable as an introduction to the ongoing wars between apparently forever implacable enemies.
JUST SAYIN' without the slightest criticism of the noble locals who've put together a few units of senior housing, but… But the new unit being advertised at $900 a month is not affordable for very many seniors unless they have more than a social security income, which many seniors do not have, me and my missus being two of them. And 62 isn't that old. So I say, move the qualifying age from 62 to 72 and make triple certain that local geezers and wheezers get first priority. Or simply modify your mission to rent to families with children, many of whom desperately need housing. Not to be a total traitor to my shuffling cohort, but all these special considerations for the elderly seem to me an emphasis on the wrong end of the age spectrum. Considering that the young ones will be stepping into the violent, chaotic world we've made for them, a nice place to live during their youths, a nice place like the nifty little Boonville Elder Home, might be the more charitable thing to do.
THE CONTROLLED BURN this weekend on Peachland, on a property described by its leader, Bob Vilms, as “The Land” has understandably inspired critical comment. Jeff Burroughs neatly sums up much local opinion:
“I remember when the fire dept. was run by local volunteers. They didn't have a paid fire chief, no property tax assessments imposed on AV property owners and a community that had little to no use for a ‘Community Service District.’ Nobody used scientific data to calculate the risk factors of whether to burn or not, they used common sense. And I remember that their control burns didn't get out of control like every single one has this year. These days there is a huge disconnect between big landowners and the community. These landowners simply do whatever they want and get away with it because they can. The fire dept. needs a local to be the fire chief, someone who understands the land and who won't even consider letting some moron set fire to woods when we are in a drought, the wind is blowing and it is 85° outside.”
TODAY’S (THURSDAY’S) PRESSER from the Sheriff’s office explains the police vehicles racing through Boonville Wednesday night around 10-11pm.
RED BEARD ON THE RUN
On Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 9:34 PM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report of a burglary occurring at a residence located in the 3000 block of Cameron Road in Elk.
The homeowner was away from the residence and noticed the presence of an unknown adult male inside the residence based upon live-time footage from a security camera (see attached black/white photographs).
Sheriff's Deputies were responding to the residence when the homeowner reported the adult male had exited the residence. The Deputies arrived approximately 22 minutes after the homeowner first reported the in-progress burglary.
Sheriff's Deputies encountered the adult male outside of the residence and a short foot pursuit ensued until the adult male discharged a firearm multiple times at one of the pursuing Sheriff's Deputies.
The Sheriff's Deputy returned fire and no one was injured as a result of the exchange of gunfire.
Several local law enforcement agencies responded to the “shots fired” radio call and assisted the Sheriff's Office in a search of the area for several hours.
The search was unsuccessful in locating the adult male.
The local law enforcement agencies consisted of the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, California State Parks, California Highway Patrol, Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force, County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team, Mendocino County Multi-Agency SWAT team, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Patrol Division, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Bureau and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.
Mendocino County District Attorney's Office Investigators are conducting an investigation into the circumstances of the Officer Involved Shooting while the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is investigating the reported burglary.
An active search in Elk continued on Thursday, May 13, as it is believed the adult male is traveling by foot and is still considered to be armed and dangerous.
Sheriff's Office investigators believe the adult male is the same person depicted in the color photograph taken in early February 2021 in connection with several vandalism/burglaries of cabins in the area of Pine Ridge Road and Low Gap Road in Ukiah.
The adult male is also suspected of committing an eye-witnessed burglary of a residence in 4000 block of Cameron Road in Elk on April 24, 2021.
The adult male is believed to be white, approximately 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing approximately 165-180 pounds and having a red beard.
Anyone who knows the identity or whereabouts of the person depicted in the photographs are urged to contact the Sheriff's Office by calling 911 (emergency) or 707-463-4086 (non-emergency).
INMATE & JAIL STAFF SAVE COVELO MAN ATTEMPTING SUICIDE
On Thursday, May 13, 2021 at about 12:14 P.M., an inmate called on the jail intercom system and told staff that an inmate across from him was trying to harm himself. Correctional deputies responded to the cell and found the solo occupant, a 32-year-old male of Covelo, hanging inside the cell. Jail medical staff were immediately summoned.
Correctional deputies were able to lift the man and relieve pressure long enough to untie a sheet that he had fashioned into a noose from around his neck. The deputies lowered the man to the floor and began checking to see if he had a pulse and was breathing. It was confirmed that he was breathing and had a pulse, just as jail medical staff arrived. Emergency medical services were called to transport the man to an area hospital, as jail medical staff continued with their medical assessment.
Once emergency medical services arrived, they took over treatment of the individual. The man was transported to an area hospital for assessment of any injuries.
We would like to express our gratitude to the inmate that reported the information to staff and our correctional deputies that worked quickly to save this man’s life. We would also like to thank the jail medical staff from Naphcare, our contract medical provider, as well as Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Medstar ambulance for their support in caring for this individual.
GARDNER, YOU STONERS, NOT GARDENER!
by Mark Scaramella
ON TUESDAY, the Supervisor's heard a description of the latest and greatest iteration of marijuana enforcement, which seems like an improvement, on paper at least.
BUT we've heard this before. Mendo has allowed — encouraged by default — the problem to grow unchecked, with unworkable pot rules and minimal enforcement for so long that it’s like they’re now only just starting to chase a boulder that started rolling downhill several years ago. As long as the County (and the state) make it nearly impossible to get legal — with the likelihood that even some of the attempted legals being declared illegal next year as well — there will be major hurdles to jump over to make even a small dent in the illegal pot landscape.
(AND WE’RE not even into the pending/applied for applications, the backdoor jobs where illegal pot is sold out the back door of a legal grow or licensed dispensary, the many unpermitted small grows, the unenforced permit terms, etc.)
DURING the enforcement discussion, Sheriff Matt Kendall told the Board that there will have to be a first things first approach and that enforcement still depends on “human beings,” i.e., cops:
“We know that there are various drug trafficking organizations in the county. We see where they go from year to year. Sometimes we catch them. Sometimes they are a step or two ahead of us. A lot of the Intel that comes in is fresh every year and every spring. We have heard from people who say they have heard machine-gun fire coming out of certain grows. We have to get our eyes on things like that because we don't want a code enforcement officer or someone else going in there unarmed and ill-equipped to deal with the folks we find in these locations. We also have a big foothold by some extremely dangerous people in this county. We need to get that toehold out of here as soon as possible. There will be arguments and issues about legacy growers and things like that. We can say that these folks have been doing it for years, but that means they have been breaking the law for years. We have to draw a line in the sand or we will continue to have a problem. And drawing that line in the sand will not be very much fun. If they are doing things in an area that is affecting the environment or they are conducting violent crimes or they are a drug trafficking organization — these are the things we are confronted with right now. We have to have a backbone and we have to stand up and say enough is enough. But as far as the Intel goes, there are a lot of locations that we are taking Intel on on a daily basis. When we confirm the location of these things the satellite imagery will be extremely helpful. But all it does is cut down on the number of recon flights that we need. That cuts down on a lot of the legwork that we do. But it still has to be confirmed by a human being.”
LATER IN THE DISCUSSION, Supervisor Maureen Mulheren said she thought it was unfair to pile “enforcement” on to people who garner the most neighbor complaints while others who are breaking the rules but not annoying the neighbors are allowed to grow pot without fear of law enforcement or code enforcement:
“I support using the satellite imagery program because that takes out of the equation these sort of – ‘I don't like Johnny. All the neighbors and I are going to get together and send in the most complaints until Johnny gets shut down.’ I don't think that's a fair way to do code enforcement. Johnny may not bring cookies to everybody, but he's got a legal, appropriate site and he's following all the rules. In my mind that is why we need to shift away from the complaint driven process. And I don't actually know anybody named Johnny. I'm just posing that.”
WEDNESDAY MORNING, a pot grower called in to Karen Ottoboni's “TKO” (The Karen Ottoboni) local affairs show on KZYX to say she (the caller) was legal and not a problem and was doing everything right and doesn't appreciate being bunched in with all the illegal pot growers. In response Ms. Ottoboni broke one of KZYX's most important unwritten rules by saying something negative about the grape/wine industry:
OTTOBONI: “I do not focus on the legal side of marijuana growing because KZYX already has a cannabis hour and I let them do that. My whole focus has been on the big, the bad and the ugly. There is a lot of that, and it's not you (the caller). But I need to say something else because I'm seeing this happen in Anderson Valley and I am appalled. I am angry. I do not know where to direct this. But I know there are people who are trying to be legal, who are working to get legal and you guys have had so many restrictions placed on you. I just passed a hill coming to the station today that is— They have ripped off all of the topsoil. They are terraforming this old beautiful hill right off of Highway 128 to do vineyards.…
"And I know for a fact that barely any dirt can even be moved for a legal cannabis farmer. But I have to tell you that I am enraged that a legal cannabis farmer is so much more restricted than wine grapes. I cannot believe it! Sorry, I am just upset.” Caller: “It's very hard to be a cannabis farmer and do everything legal and pay our taxes and try to make a living and see the vineyards that are on the creek bed and flowing all the pesticides into the creek beds. We are not even allowed to be within 150 feet of a creek on our own property. Even if we are farming 100% organic. There are so many things going into this unfairness.”
Ottoboni: “The inconsistency between grapes and cannabis is appalling. If anybody is on Highway 128 you see it right there in front of you. They are literally taking down this hill to put grapes in.”
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. Eco-atrocities by the local booze biz have been “appalling” for at least four decades, but it only comes up now in comparison with the hyper-regulation of a few legal pot growers.
* * *
COUNTY CEO NEWS
IN HER MAY 11TH CEO Report, CEO Carmel Angelo reported, more or less clearly, a few noteworthy recent developments:
For example, “Behavioral Health will offer a Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Training via Zoom on May 13th, from 1-3 p.m. Registration information will be posted on the BHRS Facebook page.”
And what, you may ask is “Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Training”?
Apparently it has to do with suicide prevention. https://qprinstitute.com
Who is being trained? Ms. Angelo doesn’t say. Who is paying for it? Ms. Angelo doesn’t say. Who will benefit? Ms. Angelo doesn't say. Perhaps it has something to do with the County’s “warm line” which involves Redwood Community Services or the County (we’ve never been sure who runs the warm line) offering semi-crisis advice to people in distress.
* * *
MS. ANGELO also give us an update on Live Oak Apartments (failing to mention that the Live Oak Apartments were until recently the Best Western Motel on Ukiah’s Orchard Avenue).
“ACTeam continues to work closely with community partners and the CEO's Office on the implementation of Project Homekey - Live Oak Apartments. Over 200 applications for prospective tenants have been received for this project so far, and 77 people have moved into the newly remodeled apartment complex, including adults, seniors, and children. A new website for this project has been launched at www.projecthomekeymendocino.org.
Staff is beginning to plan for Phase 2 of the building remodel, which will include installation of the remaining kitchenettes, with a possible solar array on the roof and/or parking lot.”
* * *
BIG NEWS on the Oral Health front:
“The Oral Health Program of Community Wellness is partnering with several clinics and a Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice (RDHAP) to provide oral health screenings in schools. Our program provided funds for the RDHAP to purchase a mobile dental unit, which will provide dental hygiene care to those with limited access to a traditional dental office setting. The communities of Laytonville, Willits, Point Arena/Gualala, and Fort Bragg will benefit from having their youth screened. Ukiah Unified School District was unable to participate in the screenings, given the limited time they have with students through the end of this school year. However, the district will have teachers show oral health education videos and distribute toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and ‘Potter the Otter Goes to the Dentist’ books to their students.”
* * *
APPARENTLY, PROGRESS IS BEING MADE by the County’s Information Services staff in automating the pot permit program process — never mind that the pot permit program itself is at a standstill.
“The Information Services Division has been commissioned to develop a web-enabled application for the submission of cannabis permitting documents. Although the scope and timing of this project has changed several times over the past few months [and probably will continue to do so — ms], the Information Services Division is committed to completing this application in a timely manner (i.e., maybe this year]. Additionally, the Information Services Division has been working in conjunction with Toshiba to scan and organize cannabis Phase One documents.”
Those “phase one documents” are a mess — the 1100-plus pending applications, most of which are not expected to get state licenses — but at least they’re being scanned so that the mess will be digitized and more easily ignored.
Mendo is also taking a few tentative steps toward partial work-at-home operations, although like almost everything in the CEO’s data-free report, the info services team’s report seems to be more of a tautology than a description of the level of work requests and activity.
“The Operations team has seen the number of work orders increase steadily over the past year,” they report. “Increases in hardware, phone, and network requests have risen as a direct result of teleworking staff. This shows that while the nature of the requests change, the volume of work orders has risen to meet the demand [“risen to meet the demand”?]. As the number of teleworking staff levels out, the Information Services Division will likely see a corresponding level out in teleworking related requests.”
CHUCK DUNBAR WRITES:
County Investigations and Money Wasted (Mark Scaramella today in MCT on “personnel investigations”)
Speaking as a former CPS supervisor for the County for 18 plus years: One of the adverse effects of a focus on formal investigations (which have their place in serious matters, but are over-used in the County workplace) was/is that mediation and counseling services to help staff and small units overcome and resolve differences were rarely, if ever, used by management. So, even if a costly, legalistic investigation ensued, staff members with conflicts often still worked together, or had frequent contact. Their human differences/problems had not been addressed and discussed, with the necessary apologies or new agreements made to work together amicably. You know—the kind of human engagement, led by a skilled, compassionate mediator, that truly makes a difference and brings folks together for a common purpose. So, perhaps legal issues had been addressed, and maybe a reprimand or punishment was pronounced, but the real human issues involved were generally ignored, a truly stupid way of running the workplace.
As I worked with the County over the years, this issue—one must call it a dysfunction—got worse and worse, and our work suffered because of it. But, once in awhile I had a decent supervisor who possessed common sense and who was able, within a small unit, to do some smart, effective interventions with staff in conflict that actually made things better. Bless their hearts.
FILIGREEN FARM — Velma’s Farm Stand — will be open this Friday between 2-5pm offering some vegetables (radishes, turnips, lettuce, spinach, garlic scapes, chard, kale, bok choy, fava beans, etc.) as well as fresh flower bouquets, our 2020 Olive Oil, quince apple butter, dried prunes and raisins. All items are certified biodynamic and delicious!
We will have limited hours as we begin the season but follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
ALBION FLEA MARKET
TWENTY VENDORS, starts this weekend and runs thru Mem. Day. 3.2 miles up Albion Ridge, right next to the school, from 9 til 4, there will be horsey stuff, saddles and tack, plus a small Jotul woodstove and all the usual, and unusual, things you'll find with so many vendors, garden, home, tools, books, music, movies, pic. frames, outdoor furniture, coffee table (inlaid), redwood burl clock-ready, and so much more !!!
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 13, 2021
BRIAN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Probation violation.
JEREMIAH BENNETT, Hendersonville, Tennessee/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
VICTORIA CATES, Vallejo/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ALICIA ELLIOTT, Ukiah. Parole violation, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)
CHRISTIAN FLORES, Mastic, New York/Ukiah. Robbery.
ELEVTERIO MONTALVO-PEREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation. probation revocation.
THE NAKBA CONTINUES
by Alice Rothchild
As my grief and outrage mount at the predictable escalations of violence in Israel/Palestine, I once again marvel at the chasms of misunderstanding and miscalculations in describing events as they unfold and the script that frames most mainstream media reporting. (Recently, The New York Times is a notable exception.)
The both-sides-have-their-reasons-but-Israel-is-the-victim stories follow an expected pattern. Israeli Jews, still living in the shadow of the Holocaust, return to their rightful homes and then fight for every inch of what is justly theirs. They are repeatedly faced with intractable Arab terrorists who attack innocent civilians and must be crushed with all the might the Israeli military has at its disposal. Never Again! Add “barely human” Hamas and Iranian militants, and armed and aggressive ultra-Orthodox Jews and settlers abetted by Israeli soldiers defending God’s promises and marching defiantly through Jerusalem yelling “Death to the Arabs!” and we have the narrative in place. The United Nations, a host of human rights groups, and the International Court protest, suggesting various crimes against humanity, while Israelis wring their hands and cry foul. Victim again. The US remains remarkably silent given that much of the weaponry is ours. Could both sides just de-escalate, please?
What is different this time?
While there have been uprisings of Palestinian citizens in Israel against land confiscations and other violations, as well as in support of Palestinians suffering in the territories (Land Day in 1976 comes to mind), now Palestinians in Acre, Haifa, Jaffe, Lod, Nazareth, and Ramle are protesting loudly and vigorously. The mayor of Lod may call this “Kristallnacht” but Palestinian citizens have reached a breaking point, unable to tolerate the 72 year history of racist and exclusionary policies by the Israeli government, its most recent attacks in Jerusalem, and ever-increasing rightward, tending toward fascistic, political parties.
The Israeli government may have miscalculated, although it is entirely possible that the wily Netanyahu thinks that a war would rally the fractured Israeli populace and improve his chances of reappearing Houdini-like as a viable candidate and of course staying out of prison. I suspect that most Israeli politicians believe that anything that causes a rift in the dysfunctional Hamas/Palestinian Authority relationship and provides an excuse to assassinate a few Hamas leaders is also good for Israel. Israel has already thrown a monkey wrench into the now cancelled Palestinian elections by denying East Jerusalemites the right to vote, thus increasing the distress of the already pandemic stressed occupied Palestinian population.
Although Israeli officials claim the usual Hamas-plot-to-destroy-Israel scenario which I would argue is an egregious attempt at distraction, the reasons for the current eruptions of rage are much more understandable as another spike in the ongoing Nakba that started well before 1948.
The families in the Sheikh Jarrar neighborhood in East Jerusalem were expelled by Israeli soldiers from their homes in Haifa and Jaffa in 1948. Twenty-eight families were settled in Sheikh Jarrar in the 1950s by the Jordanian government in coordination with UNRWA. They moved into houses built by wealthy Palestinian families who had escaped the crowded winding streets of the Old City in the early 20th century as well as into newly built homes. The area was named for the personal physician of the Islamic general Saladin, who settled there when Muslim armies captured the city from Christian crusaders in 1187.
In the 1960s, the families made a deal with Jordan (who controlled the area until 1967) to become owners of their homes; they received official land deeds in return for renouncing their refugee status with its international protections. The Jordanian government has repeatedly provided documents proving Palestinian ownership of their properties. After the ’67 War, the Israeli government developed a settlement plan for the area, called the Holy Basin, which involves building a string of settler units and parks around the Old City and the removal of Palestinian homes using outright confiscation and endless tortured legal battles. Employing Israeli laws that allow Jews to reclaim ownership of land lost in 1948 as well as a host of forged documents, settlers have challenged Palestinian ownership and repeatedly won in Israeli courts. For the Israeli government to call this merely a “real-estate dispute” is unfathomably dishonest. Needless to say, Palestinians who have lost homes and property in West Jerusalem or anywhere in Israel for that matter have no such legal remedy. Twenty-thousand Palestinian homes are currently at risk for demolition in the city.
As Palestinians faced new evictions, tensions mounted, Ramadan was coming to a close, and the Israeli government chose this moment to block Palestinians from outside Jerusalem from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque on one of their most sacred religious holidays. Violence erupted further on Jerusalem Day, a raucous nationalistic celebration of the Israeli capture of the city in 1967, pouring acid into the already seething wound. Israeli police stormed Al Aqsa, firing rubber tipped bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at praying Palestinians and others (not surprisingly) throwing stones, (the weapon of choice for the disenfranchised, enraged, and humiliated). Three hundred thirty Palestinians were injured.
It is not surprising that Hamas felt obligated to respond to these repeated provocations. I have to wonder if the provocations were indeed deliberate. Over the past few days, hundreds of rockets from Hamas have hit several Israeli cities, killing seven, and Israeli forces have repeatedly bombed the Strip, killing over 113, with 530 wounded. More death and destruction will undoubtedly follow as Israeli forces prepare for a land invasion, children will die, the tragic numbers in Israel will be dwarfed by the magnitude of horrifying death in Gaza. Mothers and fathers will weep and young men will vow vengeance. We know this story. The Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated “Israel is not preparing for a ceasefire. There is currently no end date for the operation.” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced that the rocket attacks would continue until Israel stopped “all scenes of terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque”.
Now protests have erupted in the West Bank in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilya, and Tulkarem.
The thing to remember is that this is not a battle between two equal parties; this is a struggle between one of the strongest military powers in the world, backed by the US, bent on disinheriting and humiliating a dispossessed people. This is a frightful example of ongoing violent settler colonialism, of the inability of the world to see Palestinians as equally human, traumatized, and deserving as their powerful Jewish Israeli neighbors and occupiers. If the international community does not force Israel to deal with the root causes of this disaster, the tragedy will repeat itself over and over again. The narrative of Jewish liberation and entitlement has been poisoned by decades of racist, unjust policies that have been called by many a slow genocide for Palestine. No one wins.
It is up to the international media, governments, human rights and grassroots organizations, and communities all over the world to make this story different this time.
Alice Rothchild is a physician, author, and filmmaker who has focused her interest in human rights and social justice on the Israel/Palestine conflict since 1997. She practiced ob-gyn for almost 40 years. Until her recent retirement she served as Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School. She writes and lectures widely, is the author of Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience, and On the Brink: Israel and Palestine on the Eve of the 2014 Gaza Invasion. She directed a documentary film, Voices Across the Divide and is active in Jewish Voice for Peace.
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
Cholula. Another day I became a time killing tourist and took the bus to Cholula, famous for its pyramid. At one time Cholula and Puebla were separate towns, with their own distinctive food, music, Saints’ days, celebrations and churches. Now with the sprawl Cholula is a Puebla suburb, a four-mile bus ride apart, past car dealerships and restaurants and department stores.
What was originally a pyramid of stepped and cut stone is now little more than a steep grassy hill, but it was once the highest pyramid in Mexico known as Tlachihualtepetl (Made By Hand Mountain). Its ancient remains are located in its interior, the labyrinth of tunnels in its base — low, dark corridors linking chambers and stairways, leading to humid grottoes and empty niches. Although my aversion to caves and tight spaces amounts almost to a suffocating nightmare of — perhaps — uterine fear, I bought a ticket and walked in.
Once in, I had to creep along, ducking through the whole complex of tunnels, subjecting myself to an anxious half-hour, eager for it to be over, nothing learned except that the guts of this pyramid were lengthy (five miles of them had been excavated). I was so relieved finally to exit the thing that I happily climbed to the church at the top, gasping so dramatically that a man laughed at my discomfort.
"But it's worth it!" he said. Pero vale la pena!
Yes, because standing on the steps of the 16th century church of our Lady of Remedies (Nuestra Seniora de los Remedios), I looked north and saw Popcatepetl in the distance, and Malcolm Lowry's words, "plumed with emerald snow and drenched with brilliance," looking in the fading sunset as simple and severe as Mount Fuji, like a pyramidal mountain drawn by a small child.
As with many of the most ancient and historic churches in Mexico, our Lady of Remedies was built to displace a temple to a potent deity, to rid the people of their old beliefs and insert new ones. "Upon its top there was found by the Spaniards a temple dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, which with characteristic promptitude, they threw down and substituted in its place a Christian temple," wrote Thomas Janvier in 1887 in his Mexican Guide. (One of Janvier’s other books is a strange but little known novel of disorientation, In The Sargasso Sea.)
Because Cholula is also noted for its highly decorated baroque churches, I made a little tour of them, guidebook in hand, admiring the Talavera tile inlays and the gold encrusted walls, the tortured saints and the gory crucifixions. But this was merely an interlude, a way of working up an appetite for another meal in Puebla, and stretching my legs for the road trip south.
NO OTHER MAN known to me [E. D. Morel] has had the same heroic simplicity in pursuing and proclaiming political truth.
— Bertrand Russell
TO HAVE A FEAR of speaking your opinion, for fear of being put on somebody's list and canceled? It's a frightening place for America to be. I'm not a big fan of the PC police. Is it PC to say to people who are 19 or 23 years old, have no job, no prospects and six children, “Find something else to do with that organ”? No. But where I come from, I've seen the ravages of that kind of neglect. If you’re a bad person, if you’ve done something wrong, you’ve got to be prepared to pay the piper. And there are people who have done just that. They’ve paid the price with their good name, their footprint. That’s a good thing.
— Judge Judy
IF DONE CORRECTLY
Regarding “Not keen on green: Organic farm criticized for harming land," this report did a wonderful job highlighting corporate abuse of the public perception of organic farming, but did not do enough to explore positive alternatives. The ending phrase implies that it is impossible to create large-scale organic farms without causing more environmental damage than conventional farms, yet earlier in the article, it is mentioned that Gunsmoke Farms did not follow either of the management plans provided to it by the USDA and Gary Zimmer. Yes, organic farming is extremely challenging, especially on a large scale, but no style of farming is easy.
Instead of decrying organic farming as an unrealistic marketing ploy, explore the costs and challenges of doing it right. In addition, a comment on why these plans were ignored for the most part would be intriguing. By expanding the article in this way, you show both the difficulty and potential organic/regenerative agriculture holds, while retaining the original expos of corporate faux environmentalism.
Convincing large farms to adopt environmental practices past appearances will require government action, which only happens with public support. People need to know how organic farming can and should work.
“Come On! We need to go wait hours in line to buy gas before the price goes back down!”
THERE IS NO ‘DROUGHT’; adjusting to the new normal
by Alicia Hamann, Friends of the Eel River <email@example.com>
Seeing the bigger picture of California's climate reality. Action Alert! Take the 30x30 Survey. Check out our new series on Dam Safety at Scott Dam.
How many times do we need to hear the term “new normal” before it’s no longer necessary to call out? Because of climate change, extreme dry conditions are our new normal. This is why referring to the current conditions as a “drought” is not exactly accurate. This is not a temporary state we must endure until the wet years return. This is what our foreseeable future looks like.
As this must-read editorial in the LA Times, There Is No Drought, points out, California’s infrastructure was designed for a time of different climate patterns. There are water years now, like in 2017, where we could receive more precipitation than nearly any year on record yet still experience devastating wildfires. Because of increasingly hotter and hotter temperatures, the patterns of snowpack don’t deliver reliable water supply like they used to. And more 20th century infrastructure like dams cannot provide a quick fix to restore these rapidly changing ecological processes.
And speaking of dams, PG&E is requesting yet another flow variance at the Potter Valley Project. As the utility explained to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), PG&E is cutting diversions to Potter Valley and the East Branch Russian River to roughly half those normally required by its federal license. Maintaining the scheduled diversion of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) would have left only 5000 acre feet of water in the Lake Pillsbury reservoir by as soon as mid-August.
Water levels that low, PG&E says, raise the risk of potentially catastrophic damage to Scott Dam’s only outlet, the ‘needle valve’ at the bottom of the dam. On the upstream side of the dam, the box that surrounds the inlet to the valve has sediment piled up to its brim. If — or more honestly, when — more of the sediment stacked against the sides of the reservoir falls down, the valve is likely to become irreparably clogged. This would leave no way to release water from Scott Dam for Russian River diversions or Eel River fish.
It is clear that this aging and poorly designed infrastructure can no longer serve its purpose. Why maintain a system that requires thousands of acre feet of water be kept in a hot reservoir to avoid catastrophic dam failure? For that matter, if extreme dry and hot conditions are our new normal, why should we keep diverting water away from the Eel River?
FOER has been hammering for years on the many reasons why Scott Dam is not only unsafe, but also unreliable. From its unstable foundation, to the active landslides adjacent to the southern side, our confidence in the structure is shaky at best. Plans for failure of various parts of the aging infrastructure are unavailable to the public at best, non-existent at worst. Over the next several months we will publish a series of short articles that detail the range of dam safety issues at the Potter Valley Project, complete of course with links to all the evidence we can get our hands on.
Did you catch the latest episode of the EcoNews Report last weekend? See below for a summary and link to our conversation with The Wildlands Conservancy about their efforts to acquire and protect the Lone Pine Ranch.
And finally, see below for an opportunity to contribute your voice (by tomorrow, Friday May 14) to California's 30 x 30 initiative which, in line with the nation-wide initiative, seeks to protect 30% of state lands by 2030.
For the fish,
PS. Did you know Scott Dam was originally designed to run straight across the Eel River Canyon? So why is there an angle in Scott Dam? How does this design impact dam safety? Scott Dam, as we see it today, is a result of the lack of information about the surrounding geology at the time it was designed.
MAY IS CHILD CARE PROVIDER APPRECIATION MONTH
Preschool provides solid foundation for future success.
Mendocino County, CA — In recognition of the essential role of early learning and care in the development of children and appreciation of the essential role of all childcare providers, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors recently proclaimed May 2021 to be Child Care Provider Appreciation Month in Mendocino County. For years, researchers have understood that the human brain undergoes as much as 90 percent of its development between the ages of 0-5 years of age, so it should come as no surprise that quality care and preschool for young children has a lasting effect on their development.
Early learning advocates are encouraged by President Biden’s recent announcement that he wants to extend free public schooling in the United States to include preschool. Kristin Hills, M.Ed., Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) Director of Early Learning and Care, said, “The truth is, people in the early learning and care field have been working tirelessly for more than a decade to get folks from outside the field to understand that care and education for the 0-5 set are completely intertwined with children’s future success. You cannot educate a child without caring for them and vice versa. Every interaction with a young child has the potential to build their communication skills. Every exploration has the potential to build their cognitive skills. Every time they hear music or move their bodies or play with playdoh, they are building their physical skills.”
Childcare providers who understand child development create preschool experiences that teach children how to recognize and manage their feelings, get along with others, and learn many other skills that will benefit them socially, emotionally, and academically.
On May 10, the New York Times published an article titled, “Life Outcomes, Not Test Scores,” highlighting findings from a recent study that showed the beneficial impacts of pre-kindergarten schooling. The study followed two cohorts: one with students who won a lottery to receive free preschool education and the other with students who began formal schooling at kindergarten. Although test scores did not show significant differences, “nearly 70 percent of lottery winners graduated from high school, compared with 64 percent of lottery losers, which is a substantial difference for two otherwise similar groups. The winners were also more likely to take the S.A.T., to enroll in college and — though the evidence is incomplete, because of the students’ age — to graduate from college,” according to the article’s author, David Leonhardt.
While the brain is developing most rapidly between birth and five years old, the brain is not fully formed until people reach their mid-twenties and having competent, compassionate childcare support throughout the elementary years helps children (and their families) thrive. During the pandemic, childcare workers of school-aged children helped children attend distance learning education, provided homework assistance, and offered educational enrichment activities that augmented school-based education.
MCOE’s Kristin Hills noted the important economic impact of high-quality childcare and free preschool education locally. She said, “A lot of families need two wage-earners to meet their basic needs in our county; if there are children in the household, this is not possible without outside childcare. Childcare also frees up adults for the local workforce.” In 2018, a Mendocino County Board of Supervisors’ proclamation stated that childcare provided the equivalent of $6 million of gross receipts to the local economy. Other estimates are higher.
Hills hopes more people will consider devoting their careers to the care and education of young children. Requirements to be a childcare provider vary. Head Start is a federal program locally administered through North Coast Opportunities and by three local Tribes that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and family involvement services to low-income children and families. Head Start lead teachers must obtain a bachelor’s degree in child development. The California State Preschool Program (CSPP) is a similar program administered at the state level. CSPP site supervisors and teachers must complete an associate’s degree in child development. Finally, home daycare providers must complete a minimum of 12 units of child development classes and must keep up on current health and safety regulations; no small feat during the pandemic.. All of these settings are considered “childcare” by the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division.
In Mendocino County, the Office of Education manages the State Preschool Consortium, a collaboration of ten school districts operating sixteen State preschool sites throughout the county. The programs serve income-eligible three- to five-year-old children for three hours a day, five days a week. Programs offer a rich classroom environment with well-qualified teachers.
Hills said, “I appreciate the Board of Supervisors recognizing the important contribution of childcare providers. These hard-working and often highly skilled educators are sometimes overlooked and underappreciated.”
In the words of the recent Mendocino County proclamation, “Childcare providers serve more than 2,000 children across settings, providing an essential service to families who need childcare to work, provide for their families, and contribute to the overall health of Mendocino County’s economy; and quality early learning and care providers provide a foundation in skills across developmental domains, including: social emotional, self-regulation, language, literacy and communication, cognitive including math and science, physical and arts.”