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MARINE LAYER CLOUDS will mix with afternoon sunshine along the coast, while dry, mostly sunny and warm weather will last through Tuesday across the interior. Cooler weather will follow for the rest of the week, with a limited chance of showers around Wednesday or Thursday. (NWS)
ANDERSON VALLEY WAS NERVOUS Saturday afternoon as dark thunderclouds moved through the area and a few thunderclaps were heard. We didn’t see any lightning in AV, but for a few minutes the strong smell of smoke set everybody even more on edge. The winds were very light. A trace of rain fell, but evaporated almost as soon as it hit the ground.
A STRONG STORM SYSTEM that brought lightning, hail and rain to west central Lake County was headed south through Mendocino County Saturday. It had the potential to cross over to northwest portions of Sonoma County by about 6:30 p.m., bringing light “pleasant” rain, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Brayden Murdock in the Monterey office. “It’s a fairly strong cell over Lake County and it is a bit of a lightning producer,” Murdock said. He said the low-pressure system formed Friday in Lake County. Radar showed the size of hail to be half-inch to 1 inch and brought 1 inch to 1½ inches of rain to Lake and Mendocino counties according to Jonathan Garner, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Eureka. He said the storm was weakening. “This storm formed over the mountains in Lake County and once it gets away from that favorable environment it begins to quickly dissipate,” he said. (Kathleen Coates, Press Democrat)
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Although Pearl was a stray, we can tell she’s had puppies. Those days are over, and from here on out, Pearl gets to focus on herself! When she came to the shelter, Pearl was covered with tick bites—maybe she’d been out on her own for a while. She has great indoor manners, and a home where she is welcome inside with her new family is a must! Pearl is very social with people and enjoys their company, but is unsure of other dogs. She’s OK in a room with another dog, but does not want a dog in her personal bubble. Pearl tested positive for heartworm, which we are treating. She will need 30 days of strict, limited activity following treatment. Good looking Pearl is a Lab X, 5 years old and a svelte 58 pounds.
Visit us at mendoanimalshelter.com to see all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19, as it impacts Mendocino County Animal Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/ For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
TOM ALLMAN ON MEASURE B
Mark Twain is credited with apologizing to a friend for sending a long letter because he didn’t have time to write a short one. With that in mind, I would like to apologize to the reader for a long chronology of Measure B, because a short letter would not give justice to the genesis of what Mendocino County possesses.
In 2009, during the economic downturn, CEO Angelo and I had a public display of emotions where I showed dismay at her for suggesting that I lay off 25 Deputy Sheriff’s to balance the budget. Such a far-fetched suggestion was beyond reasonable and I clearly and publicly denounced such a recommendation. After some board room bantering, the chair of the BOS recommended a 15 minute recess, and directed the CEO and I to privately discuss our differences. This turned into our “Monday Morning Meeting,” every Monday at 8:30. This created a much better relationship between the CEO’s office and the Sheriff’s Office. As we all know, communication makes better relationships.
I had worked for MCSO since 1985, prior to the demise of the Psychiatric Health Facility (referred to as a PHF, or “Puff”) and I experienced the 1991 dismantling of the County PHF wherein the Mental Health Department tacitly transferred additional duties to law enforcement, after the State of California decided to “realign” mental health services. History has shown that this realignment has increased law enforcement’s role in emergency mental health crisis and has relieved the very agency which is trained for this, the Department of Behavior Health.
No additional funding was transferred to law enforcement, just the transfer of some basic duties which formerly were performed by the Dept. Of Mental Health (presently referred to as the Behavioral Health Division of Social Services).
In 2014, after eight years of frustration with the expectation that law enforcement deal with the day-to-day mental health crises throughout our county, I sat down with the CEO on a Monday morning and asked a simple question: ‘Why don’t we have a PHF?”
I saw this as a reasonable question, with the intent of removing law enforcement from the crisis driver’s seat, and allow law enforcement to return to enforcing laws. The CEO’s answer was short, poignant and direct: “Sheriff, we can’t afford to build it and we don’t have the funds.” That was a fair answer, and the answer which drove me to personally collect 3,000 signatures and have other supporters collect over 1,500 signatures to get Measures AG and AH on the ballot.
This county-wide measure failed by approximately 100 votes. The BOS then put Measure B on the ballot for the next election, and I personally collected contributions and campaigned for the passage of Measure B. As you may remember, over 160 signs were put up throughout the county and a letter-writing campaign was started to our newspapers so we could pass “Measure B, for Better Mental Health.”
I was joined by a small group of citizens who met weekly with one goal in mind: to improve the mental health of our county and get a PHF facility up and running. 83% of the voters agreed with us, and passed a small sales tax which will build a brick and mortar PHF and will forever add additional funds to the Department of Mental Health to improve Mental Health Services. The CEO’s concern(s) of not having the necessary funds had been eliminated. A bright future was forecast for allowing our hospital emergency departments to have beds freed up and a PHF was forthcoming.
Now for the reality. Almost four years later, we have no clear direction on building a PHF and the Behavior Health Department continues to rely on law enforcement to handle the majority of mental health crises. As I said during the initial campaigns, “You wouldn’t call a plumber when your house is on fire, so why do we call law enforcement when a mental health patient is having a crisis? We need to send a mental health professional.” My words continue to ring true and unfortunately, I will follow up with “I told you so” when a true crisis strikes.
Sheriff Matt Kendall and UPD Chief Justin Wyatt have implored the Measure B committee to fully institute a street response for mental health professionals, and they have both agreed to have a paid responder to join these professionals. Why hasn’t the county hired the others? Why are law enforcement officers continuing to be asked (demanded) to respond to mental health crises? Many times, there are no laws being violated yet the Behavioral Health Department has no professionals ready to respond, even during the work hours M-F, 8-5.
This has to change. Unless the BOS wants to put the Behavior Health Department under the tutelage of the Sheriff’s Office (I’m not encouraging this), I don’t see a vast improvement. Let’s be clear, marijuana is NOT the Number 1 problem in our county, the lack of Mental Health services is our Number 1 problem.
Please read that sentence again.
It is time that all five of our Supervisors put Mental Health services as the first item on every agenda they have. The more we discuss our problem, the closer we are to a solution. We can’t ignore it and then scream at law enforcement for merely doing someone else’s job.
While I am concerned about the cost of liability, my primary concern is the improved care of victims of mental illness. I write this as a brother of a mental health victim who chose to take his own life in 2005 (not in Mendocino County).
As I said at the beginning of this, I’m sorry for the length of this letter. It is time that we start seeing letters from citizens who are supportive of the Behavioral Health Department taking the reins of all behavior health crises in every corner of our county. Simply saying that a change is in the future is no longer believable. Action is what we need, and don’t blame the Measure B committee for this failure. The Supervisors and the Behavioral Health Department can make a difference. Law enforcement will be there to help, but not to be the sacrificial cow when something goes wrong.
Concerned Citizen Member of Measure B Committee Sheriff, Retired
CODE ENFORCEMENT NEWS (reposted for comment)
Redwood Valley - Non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation in non-permitted structures
Post Date: 05/14/2021 5:00 PM
Action Date: 05/07/21
Location: 8900 Block of West Road in Redwood Valley
In August of 2020, The Mendocino County Code Enforcement Division conducted an investigation regarding non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation at the listed location. As a result of that investigation it was confirmed that the violator was commercially cultivating cannabis without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License. The cultivator abated the violations by removing 1,065 cannabis plants.
In May 2021, regarding the same address, Code Enforcement confirmed that commercial cannabis cultivation was occurring in non-permitted structures without a County Cultivation Permit or State Cultivation License. The responsible party refused to abate 500 cannabis plants being cultivated and Code Enforcement subsequently issued Administrative Citations with penalties as follows:
$390 per day for non-permitted structures used for cannabis cultivation.
$2,000 per day for violations of the Mendocino County Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance.
A $100,000 (onetime)“per plant” penalty for non-permitted commercial cannabis cultivation.
Code Enforcement intends to take additional action as needed to achieve compliance.
The Code Enforcement Division receives all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints in the unincorporated areas of the County. Complaints can be made in person at our offices or by visiting our website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/code-enforcement to file an online complaint. Cannabis specific complaints can also be filed by calling the Cannabis Complaint Hotline at: (844)421-WEED(9333).
CHRIS CALDER: What's 500 x $100,000? Fifty million bucks, right? That's how much Mendocino County's Planning Department just fined a Redwood Valley weed grower who “refused to abate” 500 of the 1,065 plants they were growing illegally. That must have been an interesting conversation.
Now the county says the outlaw grower owes $50 million, plus various cumulative fines that will probably tack on another mil.
So, why is the county going to the trouble of fining people amounts they could not pay in a thousand lifetimes? To make a point, apparently.
That point being: “We've failed at every aspect of cannabis enforcement. It's cost to local government is far more than the weed taxes ever brought in. So we're quitting. We're going to let state government regulate a handful of large, multinational growers here in Mendocino County and let the mafia continue to run wild in the boondocks. And let the people who built weed into the global cash cow that it is today go to hell, because there's just too many of ’em to keep track of. So one plant that does not comply with all the regs will cost you $100,000. Enforcement, as always, will be highly selective. Happy farming. Don't call us.”
It's called covering your retreat.
Ed Note: The $100,000 per-plant penalty in this Redwood Valley case is the fine total (500 plants x $200). The other case listed yesterday, in Ukiah, had a $20,000 per-plant fine for 100 plants (100 x $200).
RED BEARD UPDATE
by Kathleen Coates
A burglary suspect who shot at Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies in Elk may be the same man wanted in connection with several Ukiah burglaries in February.
Sheriff’s investigators are searching for the suspect, whom deputies encountered Wednesday during a burglary in progress on Cameron Road, Sheriff’s Capt. Gregory Van Patten said in a news release.
The suspect, spotted outside the house, shot at deputies and they returned fire, but no one was injured. 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, Van Patten said.
Investigators believe the man is traveling by foot and consider him armed and dangerous, according to the release. They also suspect he is the same person shown in a color photograph taken in early February in connection with several vandalism and burglary incidents at cabins in the area of Pine Ridge Road and Low Gap Road in Ukiah.
Anyone with information about the identity or whereabouts of the man in the photographs is urged to call the Sheriff’s Office by calling 911 or 707-463-4086.
RED BEARD, last seen on Cameron Road near Elk last week where he initiated gunfire with deputies pursuing him on foot, is reminiscent, in this early stage of his saga, of Aaron Bassler. Red Beard apparently roams the vastness between west Ukiah and the Mendocino Coast, and seems to know the area fairly well. He could be out there for a while, but if he comes up shooting again we could have a reprise of the Bassler affair.
IN 2011, Aaron James Bassler was shot to death a little after noon on a perfect fall day not far from Sherwood Road, Fort Bragg. The 35-year old Bassler had shot and killed two Mendocino Coast men before disappearing into the woods north and east of Fort Bragg where, for 36 days, he successfully eluded a multi-agency police noose that slowly, inexorably tightened around his doomed neck. Bassler was spotted as far north as the southern edge of the Lost Coast and, to the south not far from Sherwood Road.
ON HIS FINAL DAY at his last hour, the troubled Fort Bragg man was walking south on an old logging road, not two miles from his mother's house and about four miles east of downtown Fort Bragg, when a three-man specialized police hit team from Sacramento ended Bassler's life with seven shots to the fugitive's upper torso, and at least two high powered rounds to his head.
RUMOR awaiting a yea or nay from the KZYX politburo says the semi-public radio station is leaving Philo for new headquarters in Ukiah. At its murky beginnings thirty years ago by a hustling Boonville Republican called Sean Donovan, and staffed mostly by pliable liberals from Anderson Valley handpicked by Donovan, Ukiah backers of Donovan's enterprise wanted the station placed over the hill with them at Ukiah, the logical site for a radio station offering prudent news and prophylactic interviews with local luminaries. But Philo won out, Donovan collected a hefty $30 thou fee for bringing semi-public radio to Mendocino County and moved on, and here we are, Liz Cheney.
THEY SAY the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but Liz Cheney never fell from the get, always her father's political daughter, magically become a liberal heroine lauded by the NPR-CNN-MSNBC Axis. Political talk having been shoved so far to the neo-fascist right, a medium warm fascist like Liz is held up as a beacon of principle.
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY * DEADLINE MAY 23
Tune in today, Sunday May 16 at 3:00 pm West Coast, for Dan Roberts and RhythmRunningRiver at KZYX.org.
46th Anniversary * 16th consecutive Revival Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration
Open reading! Now accepting your audio poetry via smartphone recording & email for broadcast in June, on Dan Roberts' RhythmRunningRiver, KZYX radio, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting.
Act now! Deadline May 23. Send up to four minutes of your poetry or prose to Outfarpress@saber.net
It's easy! Use your recording app! (Or download one.) If you don't have a phone, ensorcel a friend! Then simply email the file, same as with a photo.
(Info: Gordon Black, (707) 937-4107, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let's hear it from you!
IT’S PINOT WEEKEND!
by Mark Scaramella
Did you know that this weekend is Pinot Weekend in Anderson Valley? Purple banners strung out along 128 heralded the event, and it was promoted on their website where we learned that huge swaths of the valley floor have been converted to grapes.
In this picture, for example, we see that the grapes they chose to plant on the Valley floor are subject to “fog and frost,” which means they planted their grapes knowing they’d have to either dump huge amounts of frost protection water on their vines, or, if there’s not enough water, keep everyone awake on cold nights with helicopter size wind fans.
During the on-line Anderson Valley Wines “master class,” former Greenwood Ridge owner Alan Green admitted, “We are the coolest wine-growing region in California.” (Green’s Greenwood Ridge Winery was sold to the scofflaw Wilson Family out of Santa Rosa a few years ago.)
Then we get a very misleading chart about how many acres are “under vine” and the “average vineyard size.”
They claim that Anderson Valley is almost 58,000 acres while “only” about 2500 acres are “under vine.” A more realistic calculation would be how much of the much smaller valley floor is “under vine,” because much of that 58,000 acres is timber and other unsuitable non-ag land.
A more realistic “average” would note how many of those 2500 acres are in the hands of the big five: Roederer, Goldeneye, Kendall Jackson, Ken Wilson, Ted “My grapes are more important than your sleep” Bennett and their collected contracted (supplier) vineyards. And what percentage of those are organic.
Another interesting percentage would be how much acreage is dry farmed. (Hint: Not much.)
If the standard 80-20 rules applies, as it probably does, then 80% of the acreage is owned by 20% of the vineyards companies. So 80% of 2500 is 2000 and 20% of 90 is 18. Therefore probably 15-20 large companies own vineyards that average several hundred acres each.
Then we’re told that the entire valley floor is peppered with tourist-friendly wineries and tasting rooms.
Here’s another average: It’s about 12 miles from Pennyroyal on the south end of Boonville to Lula at the foot of the Holmes Ranch at Navarro, and there are (at least) 23 tasting rooms, for an average of a tasting room approximately every half-mile.
Alan Green, who founded the festival before selling to Wilson and retiring, also said that most of the plantable acres in Anderson Valley already have grapes. Which kinda undermines the 2500 acres out of 58,000 argument. Yet in answer to an on-line question, local wine writer Thom Elkjer contradicted Green, saying, “There’s no restriction from any political authority that would limit us.” However, this in turn was contradicted by Green who said “You can’t just clearcut the forest to plant grapes anymore.”
We agree with Elkjer: “There’s no restriction…”
Twenty-five years ago when Anderson Valley had about 1200 acres “under vine,” local vineyard manager Steve Tylicki said the same thing. “This is it,” Tylicki told us. “There's no more room for more vineyard.”
Since you can scrape every bit of life off a hill like V.Sattui just did on the east side of Highway 128, then the number of acres “under vine” will continue to increase because there are no rules, no limits and no requirements besides geography, money, and, maybe, water.
PS. Also on their website, the local wine people say, “We are grateful for the relationships we cultivate with our choice partners that have become part of our community. These individuals and businesses operate with integrity and provide us with a foundation to do our important work.”
Most of the “choice partners” are in it for the wine money, of course: Suppliers, vendors, admin, vineyard management outfits, etc. But we were somewhat surprised to see Mendocino County Public Radio KZYX listed as a “choice partner.” We knew the “public radio” station has always been cozy with the local wine industry, but we didn’t know it was an official “partner.”
PPS. When we looked up frost protection on line we found this quote by Ann Kraemer, who is a “master vineyard manager” for Yorba Wines in Amador County where they also experience cold night-time temperatures. Kraemer has a different way of dealing with frost: “The longer we can delay pruning the longer we can delay bud break,” said Kraemer, “giving us added protection against frost. We don’t use frost protection, just good old Mother Nature. Cold air runs downhill like water, so at the low spots we don’t plant vines.”
CALTRANS ROADWORK: U.S. 128 (34.5/36.2) — Emergency work from Shearing Creek to Maple Creek will begin on Monday, May 17. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 20-minute delays.
LAUGH OF THE DAY, a reader writes:
There's a property for sale at Ebay that is on Covelo Road in Willits. They are asking a cool $1,999,999 for a house on 1.21 acres. The big selling hook is that the property can be used for marijuana related business, not growing but a dispensary, lab, distribution or volatile manufacturing. Mind you the permits are not in place, you would have to go through the permit process yourself. But they do show a wrinkled application!
It does not say that the permit process in Mendocino County is a labyrinth, inside a maze, wrapped in a riddle.
The house looks like a major fixer-upper and sits nearly on the road. The property next door looks like a used car lot.
The Ebay listing: ebay.com/itm/153677580757?hash=item23c7e5c9d5:g:CnsAAOSwk~VcXJsL
The Google street view of the address. Drag the arrows around to see the true splendor of the property.
LAUREN’S RESTAURANT BUILDING FOR SALE OR LEASE
Restaurant property with 2 houses, garden, garages, parking and more. One of the houses 1B/1Ba (Green) is currently rented out. The other house 2B/2Ba (Yellow) needs to be repaired due to fire. Great opportunity to make this your own. Possible Owner Finance With Down Payment. Across from Boonville Fairgrounds. By Appointment only.
Txt Tamara Baxman 707-972-4706
MORE TREES THAN GRAINS OF SAND
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
The biggest favor Mendocino County could do for itself is revive the long dormant logging industry.
A well thought-out program to utilize our abundance of trees makes as much sense as growing and harvesting corn in Iowa. Mendo County is home to vast tracts of trees planted by Georgia Pacific and Louisiana Pacific in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. The trees are now 40 and 50 years old and were never destined to be anything than lumber for a backyard deck, sheathing for a roof, or fancy, expensive wainscoting in some high-ranking Chinese Communist official’s palace.
A smart, efficient logging industry makes sense at every level, but we know before we start that a significant, ignorant percentage of locals will oppose any logging anywhere for any purpose. These people are opposed to everything from highway construction to cell towers to vaccinations, housing, wheat, tourism, cars and any reference to “oil” except the Hash kind. So what? Who cares?
Waiting for thumbsucking bullies to approve any / every civic or economic improvement means we have to wait until they die, and then hope they didn’t infect their kids with the same selfish, myopic outlook. Screw ‘em.
Mendocino County has more trees than it has grains of sand along the coast. Let’s start with a project that will both jolt the economy and reduce the risk of fiery catastrophes as summer rolls along. Let’s bring in crews to cut quarter-mile wide fire-prevention swaths around the county’s vulnerable towns, cities and communities.
That’s a lot of trees and a lot of welcome relief to anyone who’s been awake the past few years and realizes what fire season means around here, even without a drought.
Harvest all trees posing a potential firestorm, plus the trees L-P and G-P planted. Bring ‘em to market. One stone, a pair of big birds bagged.
Did you know lumber prices right now are up 300% from just a few months ago? Are you thinking of buying some plywood? You’re in luck; I know a guy who knows someone who can get you one (1) sheet for $68. True dat. At least that was the price last week.
What’s the opposing view? What’s the argument against plucking a hundred trees per thousand to build homes and bring money to county coffers? Let’s sum it up: “Mother Earth, sacred trees, noisy chainsaws, our fragile planet, nature, big icky men who drink beer and drive pickup trucks, butterflies, soil erosion and streams. Also, rasta music. And spotted owls.” That cover it?
And I say: Unless you’re on the record loud, clear and for a long time in opposition to huge, illegal eco-destructive marijuana cultivation in the north county, you got nothing to say. If you’re too afraid or hypocritical to stand up for trees, Mother Earth, streams, bears and birds when under siege by Russian and Mexican cartels, your opposition to harvesting trees by American loggers is shameful.
Now, did someone say “tax money to county coffers”? We talk and talk some more about windfall tax money marijuana will soon bring the county (total dollar amount thus far: zero) and then we look at the long and impressive record of tax monies lumber companies have brought in.
Timber companies are law abiding corporations that pay taxes without quibbling. They are mindful of streams and other resources because it’s A) the law and B) in their best interests.
Look friends, it’s not 1920 and no one (NO ONE!) has the same attitude about logging that were the norm 100 years ago. Trees are valued differently, logging practices and technology have leaped into the 21st century and the county’s longterm economic plans should sensibly advance into the 2020s.
Or at least not be stuck in the 1970s.
And Help The Homeless.
And the sharp thinkers at local nonprofits should develop plans to enroll the large and getting larger number of street wanderers as deputy fire prevention specialists.
Why oughtn’t able-bodied homeless contribute to fire suppression? It will help the community and also help the free-range loafers with nothing to do all day except absorb benefits.
Working on a fire crew will improve their self-esteem and provide something positive to list on their resume in addition to Addict, Walking Tattoo Exhibit and Shopping Cart Pilot.
A job on a fire crew will give would-be arsonists we read about in the newspaper an opportunity to marvel, up-close and personal, at the fiery object of their perverted whims.
The Burning Bridges Hostility Center down on South State could identify dozens of recruits to assist the town that’s done so much to help them with all the benefits they receive. Plus: Free helmets! Free transportation to worksite! Free lunch! Photo with Smoky the Bear and a letter of commendation from the Mayor of Ukiah!
Sign up now at a Rehab Center near you.
To the Editor:
Why I Support a Referendum to Repeal the Entire Proposed New Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance, and Not Just the 10 percent.
The rush to adopt the proposed new cannabis cultivation ordinance is about two things – expanding the size and locations of cannabis cultivation in the County, and taking the opportunity to allow this expansion without an environmental impact review. These are the two things that the majority of Mendocino County residents, including myself, adamantly oppose!
The existing cannabis cultivation Ordinance caps cultivation size at 1/4 acre, while the proposed ordinance would allow, at minimum, a 400 percent increase, and far more in Ag and Rangeland zones. The existing Ordinance closed the County’s Rangeland districts to new grows. The proposed ordinance would open an unknown number of acres across this dry and fire-prone landscape to new grows and associated commercial development.
We are in an epic drought. Does it make sense to encourage new non-essential irrigation-dependent agriculture when established farms, ranches, residences and even whole water Districts are experiencing water shortages and beginning to institute rationing? Does it make sense to open the County’s rangelands – the drier, more remote, most fire-prone regions of the County, to commercial cannabis development, which, with the proposed new cannabis facilities ordinance, could include farm tours and events, sales and sampling, and “bud and breakfasts”, as we prepare for one of the driest fire seasons on record? Does it make sense to invite hundreds of new applications while there are still over 200 tax-paying permittees waiting for the County to complete the required paperwork for State licensure under the existing Ordinance, and while hundreds more growers “in the system” continue to operate without County or State licenses because the County has failed either to approve or to deny those applications? Does it make sense to announce that Mendocino County is “open for business” while illegal grows continue to mushroom out of control; while unscrupulous growers chainsaw and bulldoze new grow sites in defiance of current and proposed laws with the knowledge that Mendocino County has little to no enforcement? Isn’t it time to give the sheriff, residents and neighborhoods, and small growers who complied with the law, a break? Those of us who support repeal of the whole Ordinance say, Yes it is!
The existing ordinance is fundamentally sound. It caps existing AND NEW cultivation sites at 1/4 acre. It allows for new (Phase 3) cultivation, but keeps new grows out of the more remote, drier, wildfire prone rangeland zoning district and directs new grows into agricultural zones and industrial and commercial zones as appropriate. Does the existing ordinance need changes? Yes. Ag land soils need special and immediate protection from the proliferation of hoop houses and other semi-industrial cultivation techniques which are inappropriate on valuable agricultural land, as well as protection from sky-rocketing land prices that prevent food farmers and ranchers from buying or keeping agricultural land. We need to phase out the use of hauled water. We need a rigorous analysis of water availability and sustainability at every new site, including on agricultural zoned land. We need a funded and proven enforcement regime.
Some Board members and County staff have been repeating the misstatement for months that the proposed new ordinance is about getting Phase 1 growers (the pre-2016 growers applying for a permit) through the alleged “unworkable,” “broken” permit process of the current ordinance. In reality the existing Ordinance has never been allowed to work. In fact, it has been sabotaged. Why do I say this?
From the very beginning, the CEO expressed disapproval of the vision of a legal cannabis program comprised of many small cultivators that would form the backbone of a new legal cannabis industry in Mendocino County. Instead, the preferred vision was one of large corporate enterprises that would bring in more revenue and presumably be less costly to regulate. As a result, County staff failed to seriously enforce the provisions of the new ordinance. Legitimate applications were accepted but then allowed to languish “in review” for years. Along with serious applicants, hundreds of applications, many in clear violation of the ordinance, were also allowed into the program and to begin operating. Over a thousand incomplete applications have piled up in the County offices. At one point the former Planning Director told the Board it would take staff five hours to even find an application! In May, 2019, the State sent Mendocino County a memo detailing the information it would need from each applicant to issue a State annual license. This memo included a sample document so that each applicant would know exactly how to comply with the State’s request. Mendocino County did not forward or inform applicants of this memo, kept silent, and allowed the clock to keep ticking on the deadline for applicants to supply the needed information to the State. As a result, the serious applicants are now panicked about getting their state licenses, and most still don’t have County permits. Those who never intended to come into compliance with County or State laws continue to operate under what amounts to a “protection racket” of having an application “in review” by the County, and are therefore not a priority for local law enforcement. Despite staff’s claims of State-imposed barriers, there is no evidence that the State ever rejected the permit requirements or the supporting environmental documents of the County’s existing Ordinance. In fact, a July 2020 memo from the State found the “environmental commitments, approvals and required permits” of several County applications to be “sufficiently covered”.
All this plays very well into the hands of staff and advocates of the bigger-is-better proposed new ordinance. Legitimate applicants are being held hostage to support the proposed new ordinance as the only path to a State license.
If the new ordinance were about helping the legitimate applicants get through the system, and about better environmental protections through use permit process, why wouldn’t the Board adopt Supervisor Haschak’s proposal to adopt the new ordinance but without the unpopular expansions? Because the purpose is expansion. And, with the County failing to enforce the environmental and neighborhood protections of the existing ordinance, why should we trust the same County department to protect the environment or the character of our neighborhoods through enforcement of individualized, multi-conditioned use permits? We shouldn’t. That’s why I urge you to join me supporting the referendum to repeal the proposed new ordinance, in its entirety! It’s a Trojan horse – threats disguised as gifts.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 15, 2021
SHAWN BIAS, Fort Bragg. Arson during state of emergency, paraphernalia, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MARTIN CEJA-VALENCIA, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
THOMAS CHRISTIE JR., Fieldbrook/Ukiah. Assault weapon, manufacture/importation of short barrelled rifle, vandalism.
ALICIA ELLIOTT, Ukiah. Parole violation, resisting.
HUGO GUZMAN-URIOSTEGUI, Modesto/Ukiah. Cultivation of more than six pot plants, pot possession for sale, pot sales.
MICHAEL HASELIP, Eureka/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MIGUEL MACIAS-ESCARENO, Covelo. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
ELEVTERIO MONTALVO-PEREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation, probation revocation.
DERIAN PALMERIN-CHAVEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
KAYLA SALLIS, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ERYCKA SMITH, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
LARRY WOLFE, Ukiah. Suspended license, unlawful display of registration, parole violation.
Well I taught that weeping willow how to cry cry cry,
Taught the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.
Tears I cried for that woman are gonna flood you big river,
And I'm a gonna sit right here until I die.
I met her accidentally in St. Paul, Minnesota,
She tore me up everything I heard her drawl, that southern drawl.
Well I heard my dream went back downstream, cavortin' in Davenport,
And I follow you big river when you called.
Well I followed her down to St. Louie, later on down the river,
Trader said she's been here, but she's gone, boy, she's gone.
Well I followed her down to Memphis, but she just walked off the bus,
She raised a few eyebrows and she went on down alone.
Well I've gotten on down to Baton Rouge, River Queen roll on,
Take that woman down to New Orleans, New Orleans.
I give up, I've had enough, followed my blues on down to the gulf,
She loves you big river more than me.
— Johnny Cash
WHY NO WATER INVESTMENT?
Our tech humanity seems to be able to plan, invest in and intend to have a “jump off” space travel base on the moon, where space travel without having to blast through Earth’s atmosphere each trip to the stars can proceed with less destruction to our environment.
Yet living on a mostly saltwater planet, we are unable to have desalination plants cleaning ocean salt water and filling reservoirs for agriculture, communities and industries. Massive amounts of water.
Why is this not a goal? Perhaps because this may cost as much as going to Mars or a high-speed train system. It probably costs too much.
Thinking like that is this planet’s biggest problem. Accepting Wall Street’s and wealth’s philosophy of profit and damn the environment, poor people pay taxes and can clean up after we take the profit. This is draining the life out of the people and economy of the world.
Billions from the government infrastructure fund should put a start on filling reservoirs in California with desalinated ocean water. Global consumption of seawater might even slightly slow the ocean rise and land flooding.
WOW! LOCAL DEMS CALL FOR SHERIFF DEPARTMENT AUDIT
In the interest of keeping the membership informed about the Club’s activities, here is a summary of our busy meeting on May 6th when the Club hosted several guest presenters and took the following actions:
Adopted 2021 Budget and elected our Leadership Team: Karen Bowers, Chair; Lee Finney, Vice-Chair; Jim Havlena, Financial Liaison; Jane Persons, Secretary; Ken Fennell and Susan Savage, Central Committee. Liaison; Phoenix Trent, Tech Support
Voted to send a letter to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) in support of SCORE’s request for a comprehensive audit of the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office.
Here is the link to sign on.
Voted to join the Grassroots Institute in a letter to the BOS to allocate funds from the American Rescue Act and the PG&E settlement for specific climate-related projects.
Here is the link to read the letter.
Voted to send a letter of support for the Mendocino Trail Stewards to Senator Mike McGuire to end logging with the Jackson Demonstration State Forest and create the Mendocino Coast Redwoods Reserve.
Here is the link to the Trail Stewards’ petition.
The next Club meeting will be Thursday, June 3 at 6 PM
BILL ALLEN OF PHILO WRITES:
Here’s another excellent piece by my cyber-pal Billy Cox. He was a features writer at the Herald-Trib for fifteen years. The gradual evisceration of news staff along with profit-sighted editorial policies (dictated by hedge fund overlords) compelled him to leave in disgust - as so many fine reporters all over the US have done, or been forced to do.
SOUTHERN MAN, better keep your head.
Don't forget what your good book said.
Southern change gonna come at last.
Now your crosses are burning fast.
I saw cotton and I saw black.
Tall white mansions and little shacks.
Southern man, when will you pay them back?
I heard screamin' and bullwhips cracking.
How long? How long?
Southern man, better keep your head.
Don't forget what your good book said.
Southern change gonna come at last.
Now your crosses are burning fast.
Lily Belle, your hair is golden brown.
I've seen your black man comin' round.
Swear by God, I'm gonna cut him down!
I heard screamin' and bullwhips cracking.
How long? How long?
— Neil Young
BERNIE SANDERS: THE U.S. MUST STOP BEING AN APOLOGIST FOR THE NETANYAHU GOVERNMENT
“Israel has the right to defend itself.”
These are the words we hear from both Democratic and Republican administrations whenever the government of Israel, with its enormous military power, responds to rocket attacks from Gaza.
Let’s be clear. No one is arguing that Israel, or any government, does not have the right to self-defense or to protect its people. So why are these words repeated year after year, war after war? And why is the question almost never asked: “What are the rights of the Palestinian people?”
And why do we seem to take notice of the violence in Israel and Palestine only when rockets are falling on Israel?
In this moment of crisis, the United States should be urging an immediate cease-fire. We should also understand that, while Hamas firing rockets into Israeli communities is absolutely unacceptable, today’s conflict did not begin with those rockets.
Palestinian families in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah have been living under the threat of eviction for many years, navigating a legal system designed to facilitate their forced displacement. And over the past weeks, extremist settlers have intensified their efforts to evict them.
And, tragically, those evictions are just one part of a broader system of political and economic oppression. For years we have seen a deepening Israeli occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a continuing blockade on Gaza that make life increasingly intolerable for Palestinians.
In Gaza, which has about two million inhabitants, 70 percent of young people are unemployed and have little hope for the future.
Further, we have seen Benjamin Netanyahu’s government marginalize and demonize Palestinian citizens of Israel, pursue settlement policies designed to foreclose a two-state solution and pass laws that entrench systemic inequality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
None of this excuses the attacks by Hamas, which were an attempt to exploit the unrest in Jerusalem, or the failures of the corrupt and ineffective Palestinian Authority, which recently postponed long-overdue elections.
But the fact of the matter is that Israel remains the one sovereign authority in the land of Israel and Palestine, and rather than preparing for peace and justice, it has been entrenching its unequal and undemocratic control.
Over more than a decade of his right-wing rule in Israel, Mr. Netanyahu has cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism. In his frantic effort to stay in power and avoid prosecution for corruption, Mr. Netanyahu has legitimized these forces, including Itamar Ben Gvir and his extremist Jewish Power party, by bringing them into the government.
It is shocking and saddening that racist mobs that attack Palestinians on the streets of Jerusalem now have representation in its Knesset.
These dangerous trends are not unique to Israel. Around the world, in Europe, in Asia, in South America and here in the United States, we have seen the rise of similar authoritarian nationalist movements.
These movements exploit ethnic and racial hatreds in order to build power for a corrupt few rather than prosperity, justice and peace for the many. For the last four years, these movements had a friend in the White House.
At the same time, we are seeing the rise of a new generation of activists who want to build societies based on human needs and political equality. We saw these activists in American streets last summer in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. We see them in Israel. We see them in the Palestinian territories.
With a new president, the United States now has the opportunity to develop a new approach to the world — one based on justice and democracy. Whether it is helping poor countries get the vaccines they need, leading the world to combat climate change or fighting for democracy and human rights around the globe, the United States must lead by promoting cooperation over conflict.
In the Middle East, where we provide nearly $4 billion a year in aid to Israel, we can no longer be apologists for the right-wing Netanyahu government and its undemocratic and racist behavior.
We must change course and adopt an even-handed approach, one that upholds and strengthens international law regarding the protection of civilians, as well as existing U.S. law holding that providing U.S. military aid must not enable human rights abuses.
This approach must recognize that Israel has the absolute right to live in peace and security, but so do the Palestinians. I strongly believe that the United States has a major role to play in helping Israelis and Palestinians to build that future.
But if the United States is going to be a credible voice on human rights on the global stage, we must uphold international standards of human rights consistently, even when it’s politically difficult.
We must recognize that Palestinian rights matter. Palestinian lives matter.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I've supported the science all along, and will continue to do so. Now we're divided into those who are protected (vaxxed) and those who just don't give a shit. At this point just open it all back up? Options are to continue to require masks due to the stubbornness of some, or have vaccine passports. Neither option works. I'd definitely be in favor of higher insurance cost/deductible for those who simply refuse, and then become sick. That's a way to have the rest of us med insurance payers not indirectly bear the cost of vaxx-deniers through overall higher premiums.
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
Intact Oaxaca — A dead cat lay on the sidewalk. This was in Oaxaca city, on the corner of Calle Tinoco y Palacios and a narrow lane with an unreadable name on a broken sign near my posada. The cat was large, not a mere gato, but what Mexicans call a gatazo, a big cat -- a flattened, half inch high carcass, like a fluffy scrap of carpet, recognizable as a ginger tom, frowning and toothy in death, a bit flyblown but dried out, stiffened and beginning to mummify. Because the streets were so similar I used this cat as a landmark -- "turn left at the dead cat" -- and always found my way home, never having to humble myself by asking directions.
It was another lesson in the Mexican idiom too, because dar el gatazo -- show the big cat -- is slang for making yourself look good.
Poor but complex and handsome, like so many of its people, and dignified in its poverty, indescribable in its simplicity, Oaxaca was a proud place too. As for its name, to the antihero of Under the Volcano -- Malcolm Lowry at his most florid and hyperbolic -- Oaxaca “was like a breaking heart, a sudden peal of stifled bells in a gale, the last syllables of one dying of thirst in the desert.”
To me the name was clunky and familiar, because it was my home for the weeks ahead. The city was orderly and joyous without being recklessly licentious, like other Mexican cities I'd seen. But in the harmonious symmetry of its old-fashioned layout, one antique street looked to me much like another. It took me a while to see that an old, unremarkable, one-story corner house at 600 Pino Suarez, which I passed every day on my way to Spanish class at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca, had been occupied by DH Lawrence when he lived here with his wife, Frieda. On the inner patio he wrote the final version of "The Plumed Serpent" and some of the pieces in "Mornings in Mexico."
It is worth remembering the way the latter book begins: "One says Mexico: one means, after all, one little town away South in the Republic and in this little town, one rather crumbly adobe house built round two sides of a garden patio: and of this house, one spot on the deep, shady verandah facing inwards to the trees, where there are an onyx table and three rocking chairs and one little wooden chair, a pot with carnations, and a person with a pen. We talk so grandly in capital letters about Morning in Mexico. All it amounts to is one little individual looking at a bit of sky and trees, then looking down at the page of his exercise book."
Thus, Lawrence in Oaxaca, at his best, seeing things as they are. And it was pretty much how I spent many days in my posada in Oaxaca, dibble dabbling with my pen in my notebook.
ON THE HYPOCRITES AT APPLE Who Canceled Antonio Garcia-Martinez
by Matt Taibbi
I’m biased, because I know Antonio Garcia-Martinez and something like the same thing once happened to me, but the decision by Apple to bend to a posse of internal complainers and fire him over a passage in a five-year-old book is ridiculous hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem.
Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance. A one-time high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler:
Facebook is full of true believers who really, really, really are not doing it for the money, and really, really will not stop until every man, woman, and child on earth is staring into a blue-framed window with a Facebook logo.
When I read Chaos Monkeys the first time I was annoyed, because this was Antonio’s third career at least — he’d also worked at Goldman, Sachs — and he tossed off a memorable bestseller like it was nothing. Nearly all autobiographies fail because the genre requires total honesty, and not only do few writers have the stomach for turning the razor on themselves, most still have one eye on future job offers or circles of friends, and so keep the bulk of their interesting thoughts sidelined — you’re usually reading a resume, not a book.
Chaos Monkeys is not that. Garcia-Martinez is an immediately relatable narrator because in one breath he tells you exactly what he thinks of former colleagues (“A week before my last day, I had lunch with the only senior person at Goldman Sachs who was not an inveterate asshole”) and in the next explains, but does not excuse, the psychic quirks that have him chasing rings in some of the world’s most rapacious corporations. “Whenever membership in some exclusive club is up for grabs, I viciously fight to win it, even if only to reject membership when offered,” he wrote. “After all, echoing the eminent philosopher G. Marx: How good can a club be if it’s willing to have lowly me as a member?”
The irony is that if Garcia-Martinez has a failing as a writer, it’s that he’s too nice. Universally, the best writers are insane egomaniacs obsessed with staring at the great mirror that is the page.
Garcia-Martinez, on the whole, would rather be sailing. I believe the reason he decided to go back to tech is that he preferred a quiet life of flying a desk to make mortgage payments to the never-ending regimen of self-salesmanship that the literary life requires (and which, again, is the easy part for most egocentric writers).
Anyway: Chaos Monkeys contains scenes from Antonio’s private travails. Characteristically, they’re painted as comedies, where his personal life is depicted as an unpredictable third party over which he has little control — only occasionally, it seems, does it even listen to his suggestions. He meets a woman via Match.com whom he calls British Trader, “an imposing, broad-shouldered presence, six feet tall in bare feet, and towering over me in heels.”
He’s enthralled, but everything about her is a surprise that keeps him off balance, from the fact that her “strapping and strutting” South African ex-boyfriend docks a boat next to his not long after their first date, or that she sleeps on “a cheap foam mattress about the width of an extra-jumbo-sized menstrual pad” above a floor covered from detritus from a recent renovation. She does such work herself because, Antonio explains, “she made Bob Vila of This Old House look like a fucking pussy.” Even this side of her life has him tiptoeing. “Postcoitally it was all I could do to balance myself on the edge of the pad and off the drywall dust,” he noted.
At one point, as a means of comparing the broad-shouldered British DIY expert favorably to other women he’d known, he wrote this:
“Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit. They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism, and ceaselessly vaunt their independence, but the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they’d become precisely the sort of useless baggage you’d trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.”
Out of context, you could, I guess, read this as bloviating from a would-be macho man beating his chest about how modern “entitlement feminism” would be unmasked as a chattering fraud in a Mad Max scenario. In context, he’s obviously not much of a shotgun-wielder himself and is actually explaining why he fell for a strong woman, as the next passage reveals:
“British Trader, on the other hand, was the sort of woman who would end up a useful ally in that postapocalypse, doing whatever work—be it carpentry, animal husbandry, or a shotgun blast to someone’s back—required doing.”
Again, this is not a passage about women working in tech. It’s a throwaway line in a comedic recount of a romance that juxtaposes the woman he loves with the inadequate set of all others, a literary convention as old as writing itself. The only way to turn this into a commentary on the ability of women to work in Silicon Valley is if you do what Twitter naturally does and did, i.e., isolate the quote and surround it with mounds of James Damore references. More on this in a moment.
After trying the writer’s life, Antonio went back to work for Apple. When he entered the change on his LinkedIn page, Business Insider did a short, uncontroversial writeup.
Then a little site called 9to5Mac picked up on the story and did the kind of thing that passes for journalism these days, poring through someone’s life in search of objectionable passages and calling for immediate disappearance of said person down a cultural salt mine.
Writer Zac Hall quoted from Apple’s Inclusion and Diversity page:
“Across Apple, we’ve strengthened our long-standing commitment to making our company more inclusive and the world more just. Where every great idea can be heard. And everybody belongs.”
Hall then added, plaintively, “This isn’t just PR speak for Apple. The company releases annual updates on its efforts to hire diversely, and it puts its money where its mouth is with programs intended to give voice to women and people of color in technology. So why is Apple giving Garcia Martinez a great big pass?”
From there the usual press pile-on took place, with heroes at places like The Verge sticking to the playbook. “Silicon Valley has consistently had a white, male workforce,” they wrote, apparently not bothered by Antonio’s not-whiteness. “There are some in the Valley, such as notorious ex-Googler James Damore, who suggest this is because women and people of color lack the innate qualities needed to succeed in tech.”
Needless to say, Antonio never wrote anything like that, but the next step in the drama was similarly predictable: a group letter by Apple employees claiming, in seriousness, to fear for their safety. “Given Mr. Garcia Martinez’s history of publishing overtly racist and sexist remarks,” the letter read, “we are concerned that his presence at Apple will contribute to an unsafe working environment for our colleagues who are at risk of public harassment and private bullying.” All of this without even a hint that there’s ever been anything like such a problem at any of his workplaces.
Within about a nanosecond, the same people at Apple who hired Antonio, clearly having read his book, now fired him, issuing the following statement:
”At Apple, we have always strived to create an inclusive, welcoming workplace where everyone is respected and accepted. Behavior that demeans or discriminates against people for who they are has no place here.”
The Verge triumphantly reported on Apple’s move using the headline, “‘Misogynistic’ Apple hire is out hours after employees call for investigation.”
Other companies followed suit with the same formulation.
CNN: “Apple parts ways with newly hired ex-Facebook employee after workers cite ‘misogynistic’ writing.”
CNET: “Apple reportedly cuts ties with employee amid uproar over misogynistic writing.”
Apple by this point not only issued a statement declaring that Antonio’s “behavior” was demeaning and discriminatory, but by essentially endorsing the complaints of their letter-writing employees, poured jet fuel on headline descriptions of him as a misogynist.
It’s cowardly, defamatory, and probably renders him unhirable in the industry, but this is far from the most absurd aspect of the story.
I’m a fan of Dr. Dre’s music and have been since the N.W.A. days. It’s not any of my business if he wants to make $3 billion selling Beats by Dre to Apple, earning himself a place on the board in the process. But if 2,000 Apple employees are going to insist that they feel literally unsafe working alongside a man who wrote a love letter to a woman who towers over him in heels, I’d like to hear their take on serving under, and massively profiting from, partnership with the author of such classics as “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and “Lyrical Gangbang,” who is also the subject of such articles as “Here’s What’s Missing from Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up.”
It’s easy to get someone like Antonio Garcia Martinez fired. Going after a board member who’s reportedly sitting on hundreds of millions in Apple stock is a different matter. A letter making such a demand is likely to be returned to sender, and the writer of it will likely spend every evaluation period looking over his or her shoulder. Why? Because going after Dre would mean forcing the company to denounce one of its more profitable investments — Beats and Beats Music were big factors in helping Apple turn music streaming into a major profit center. The firm made $4.1 billion in that area last year alone.
Speaking of profits: selling iPhones is a pretty good business. It made Apple $47.9 billion last year, good for 53% of the company’s total revenue. Part of what makes the iPhone such a delightfully profitable product is its low production cost, which reportedly comes from Apple’s use of a smorgasbord of suppliers with a penchant for forced labor — Uighurs said to be shipped in by the thousand to help make iPhone glass (Apple denies this), temporary “dispatch workers” sent in above legal limits, workers in “iPhone city” clocking excessive overtime to meet launch dates, etc. Apple also has a storied history of tax avoidance, offshoring over a hundred billion in revenues, using Ireland as a corporate address despite no physical presence there, and so on.
Maybe the signatories to the Apple letter can have a Chaos Monkeys book-burning outside the Chinese facility where iPhone glass is made — keep those Uighur workers warm! Or they can have one in Dublin, to celebrate the $13bn tax bill a court recently ruled Apple didn’t have to pay.
It’s all a sham. The would-be progressives denouncing Garcia-Martinez don’t seem to mind working for a company that a Democrat-led congressional committee ripped for using “monopoly power” to extract rents via a host of atrocious anti-competitive practices. Whacking an author is just a form of performative “activism” that doesn’t hurt their bottom lines or their careers.
Meanwhile, the bosses who give in to their demands are all too happy to look like they’re steeped in social concern, especially if they can con some virtue-signaling dink at a trade website into saying Apple’s mechanically platitudinous “Shared Values” page “isn’t just PR speak.” You’d fire a couple of valuable employees to get that sort of P.R.
When I was caught up in my own cancelation episode, I was devastated, above all to see the effect it had on my family. Unlike Garcia-Martinez, I had past writings genuinely worth being embarrassed by, and I felt that it was important, morally and for my own mental health, to apologize in public. I didn’t fight for my career and reputation, and threw myself on the mercy of the court of public opinion.
I now know this is a mistake. The people who launch campaigns like this don’t believe in concepts like redemption or growth. An apology is just another thing they’d like to get, like the removal of competition for advancement. These people aren’t idealists. They’re just ordinary greedy Americans trying to get ahead, using the tactics available to them, and it’s time to stop thinking of stories like this through any other lens.