Light Showers | Forest Gate | 10% Referendum | Hwy20 Fatality | Grange Movie | Coastal Fog | Jury Duty | Ship Aground | Vista Point | Drivers Needed | Chicken Soup | Manager Wanted | Coast Biplane | AV Poetry | Rich Aunt | New Hip | Train Men | Missing Arlo | Costco Floss | Recommended Orthopedists | Early Ambulance | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Om Moo | Castles Burning | Must Watch | Garberville Ballad | Phone Etiquette | Backwards Judge | Great Job | Mall Trip | Quiet/Frenzy | Groovy Life | Drowning Risk | Internet Banking | Exhausted | American Poverty | Someday Soon | Pipeline Protests | Workplace Crew | Million Men
LIGHT SHOWERS are expected to end this morning, but will likely persist over Trinity County this afternoon. An upper level trough offshore will eject northeastward tonight, followed by building high pressure and warmer interior temperatures for the rest of the week. Triple digit interior heat is expected for the latter portion of week. (NWS)
INTRODUCING THE ‘SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL MENDOCINO’ REFERENDUM
by Jim Shields
Last week, I filled you in on a coalition that I helped form that will be circulating a referendum petition to repeal the 10 percent expansion rule approved on June 2 by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, with the exception of 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak who was the sole no vote.
The Expansion Rule allows cultivation to occur on 10 percent of the overall acreage on parcels that are at least 10 acres in size.
We call our group the “Small Is Beautiful Mendocino” coalition.
We believe it’s a fitting name for the referendum also because essentially what’s occurring here is a clash of values and economic models between most County voters and the Board of Supervisors. Most residents favor keeping cultivation on a much smaller scale, as has been the case in this County for decades.
There are four Supervisors advocating for the super-sized cultivation model as they believe, and have said, that County revenues will be enhanced with expansion. They argue that it’s not their responsibility to protect small growers through the mechanism of a Cannabis Ordinance. Yet they see nothing wrong with constructing a regulatory framework that favors industrial and corporate cultivators.
The vast majority of citizens recognize that the 10 percent rule, if adopted, will lead to unprecedented expansion of cannabis cultivation on a scale never imagined by anyone familiar with the history of marijuana in this area and era.
An overwhelming number of County residents and their elected Board of Supervisors now find themselves at impasse over a proposed ordinance that features this cultivation expansion provision.
Conservatively speaking, 70 percent of County residents oppose the 10 percent rule and its direct causal adverse impact on our most valuable natural resource, water.
The folks who are opposed to the 10 percent rule include growers, non-growers, ranchers, farmers, small business owners, workers from all sectors of our economy, a mix of community organizations and municipal advisory councils, and a former sheriff as well as the current sheriff.
Our referendum deletes just 38 words from the new ordinance. It’s a single sentence but it is the only line in the new ordinance that contains and thus creates the 10 percent Expansion Rule. It is found in the ordinance’s “Attachment A” entered as asterisk 6. It reads as follows:
“*6 Parcels in the AG or RL zoning district that have a minimum parcel size of ten (10) acres or larger may cultivate up to 10 percent of the parcel area with the issuance of a Major Use Permit.”
The vast majority of citizens are demanding the Supes remove the 10 percent rule from the ordinance. The board refuses to do so. That only leaves voters one option to rid the ordinance of the rule: The Small Is Beautiful Referendum.
The Small Is Beautiful Mendocino Referendum explicitly addresses what the majority of citizens want accomplished. Many of them have said they do not want the entire ordinance repealed as it includes a number of very critical protections not found in the old ordinance.
We agree with them and that’s why our referendum repeals just the 38 words that establish the 10% Expansion Rule.
Currently, there is another group of folks led by Ellen and David Drell, of the Willits Environmental Center, that are preparing to circulate a referendum that if approved by voters would repeal the entire Phase 3 Ordinance.
We believe that drastic act would just add to the chaos surrounding the Cannabis Program in this county for the past nearly five years.
* * *
Lew Chichester, of Covelo, did an excellent analysis of these issues we’ve been discussing:
I’ve read through the proposed cannabis ordinance enough times now to have a few reasonable comments. The intent of the ordinance, the scope, the restrictions, the description of administrative processes, and, for the most part, the allowable size of cannabis cultivation areas for the various types of grows and land use types seem to correspond with what I perceive to be the intent of the general public. Expansion of size of grows beyond what is presently allowed is on AG land and Rangeland. Both of these land use types are allowed up to ONE ACRE of cultivation with a major use permit.
Rangeland which can have a permitted grow must have demonstrated previous actual farming with tilling, ploughing, harrowing, etc. within the last ten years. No hayfields or grazing land would be considered as appropriate conversion to cannabis. This provision is for the grape growers who want to get into the cannabis business. Maybe that’s OK.
AG land with a one acre allowable grow, with a major use permit, might also be OK.
NOT OK is footnote *6 in Appendix A “Parcels in the AG or RL zoning district that have a minimum parcel size of ten (10) acres or larger may cultivate up to 10 percent of the parcel area with the issuance of a Major Use Permit.” This is the Ted Williams sponsored controversial item which has almost universal rejection by the public and the item which should be subject to a referendum ballot. I think the referendum should be limited to this one line, not the entire ordinance.
Yes, there are some land use zones which are being allowed some expansion in the new ordinance. The majority of the varieties of grows and land use types are staying at the existing limits.
What I like about the proposed ordinance are the restrictions which include a requirement for on site water source, no generators, no gas powered water pumps, no visible illuminated grows, security lighting on motion sensors and pointed downward, no cutting down of trees to clear a patch. I am not a cannabis farmer. My concerns have been with the lack of enforceable limitations on grows, legal, permitted or completely outlaw.
This new ordinance has flaws, limitations and doesn’t begin to address various mechanisms which will likely be utilized to get around the acreage limits on AG and RL. There are other shortcomings, but I presently see all this as a process. The county does not have much credibility right now, has done a terrible job of dealing with Phase 1 applicants, and a worse job in dealing with all the outlaw grows. I don’t know if the mess is from simple incompetence or a carefully orchestrated intent to sabotage the whole thing over the last four years. It doesn’t matter right now what was the reason this got so fouled up. I think we have to move forward. A referendum on just the 10 percent Expansion Rule, start using this proposed ordinance, stay involved, and get this cannabis thing moving along. It takes up way too much of the oxygen and there are a lot of other pressing issues. YES, we could have an initiative petition to require a cumulative impact EIR for all the proposed/possible cannabis cultivation, and that might be a good idea.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
HIGHWAY 20 FATALITY
THE ANDERSON VALLEY GRANGE is bringing back the DRIVE-IN Movies!
Friday, June 18th at dark — this very Friday night.
Our first offering is Oh Brother Where Art Thou…Fabulous old timey music, Coen Bros. whackiness, and George Clooney too. Things are opening up, we can be more together, hooray. Bring a mask and a chair, (or use ours), Sit outside or in your car. We'll have snacks available. Big fun. Next film will be the Fri. after 4th of July and hopefully every 2 weeks thereafter. Stay tuned for more info. Join the Grange for special perks. The Grange is back in action and we need you. If you want to get involved Call Laura Baynham 684-9340.
THAT WAS COOL - Former prisoner calls jury summons ‘one of the best days of my life’
by Justine Frederiksen
When I was picked to serve on a jury in Mendocino County Superior Court a few years ago, I immediately felt trapped and panicky as I realized I’d be spending the next several days in a stuffy courtroom full of strangers. Until I heard the voice of one of my fellow jurors describing how he felt seeing his jury summons.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” said the former prisoner, explaining that the letter was his official invitation back into society.
That was cool.
I had groaned when I got my summons. And I’m guessing most everyone else called in with me that week did, too.
But not the convict I will call John. To John, that letter meant he had successfully rehabilitated himself and reinstated his rights to vote and to serve on a jury.
He had waited years after his release from prison to apply for those rights. And once he did, “six months later I got that summons,” John said, adding that he’d never been considered for a jury before because of a criminal past that began in his teens.
But while our fellow potential jurors did everything they could to show resentment toward law enforcement, often relaying second or third-hand accounts in the hopes of being excused from service, John said he had no hard feelings toward the people who administered his punishment.
“I know the bailiff there because he arrested me,” John said of the handcuffs that had put him in prison for several years.
The first morning of the trial, I told John he had given me valuable perspective. Such as how sitting in comfortable chairs, being offered many breaks with the freedom to go outside and eat whatever we wanted during the day, then going home every night to our families and sleeping in our own beds was nowhere near like actually being in prison.
Except in one surprising way it was. When I asked John if there was anything he missed about being in prison, he described a culture of mutual respect he had appreciated. On the outside, he quickly noticed, people often give no thought to others they pass, not even acknowledging the presence of, let alone holding a door open for, someone they will likely never see again.
But since prisoners are crammed together day after day as they eat, sleep, bathe and use toilets within inches of the same people over and over, they quickly learn that even the smallest act of respect, and also disrespect, will be remembered and reciprocated.
And I felt such careful respect in every action of our judge in the courtroom, starting with how he greeted us every morning, and excused us every afternoon, by sincerely thanking us for carving time out of our lives to serve on a jury.
The judge was so considerate, in fact, he had water put on a table for us to access any time we wanted, even adding his own cough drops and chocolates for us to enjoy. And when my service was completed, I got a letter from the judge personally thanking me one last time for my time and commitment.
That was very cool.
HAPPY ENDINGS AT VISTA POINT (Night Light of the North Coast)
by David Wilson
After paying a second nocturnal visit to this Vista Point in two years, I can safely say that a dull nocturnal moment rarely passes at this viewpoint looking up the Eel River valley. I had come to the spot precisely two years before to make some nighttime photographs, and on both occasions the comings and goings of travelers tossed an interesting spice into the night.
When my friend Ryan and I arrived (in separate cars due to COVID), there was a vehicle already parked where I needed to put the camera for the angles I wanted. Pulling in behind them, we turned off our cars and headlights to await their departure. It was a short wait, for apparently, we had unintentionally crowded them sufficiently to cause them to scoot down the way a little.
Excellent! We fired up our cars and hastened to fill the spot they had just vacated… which was evidently again too close for them, for they soon left with what I believe was a cry of exasperation sounding from within their vehicle. Many apologies to you, good people — just trying to get the shot!
This time of year, the Milky Way is the star of the heavens, but a dark cloud hung obstinately in the nighttime sky and perfectly obscured it. While other clouds blew by, this one remained in front of the Milky Way. Is that even possible? Almost anything is possible when trying to get a nighttime photograph. We waited, hoping it would blow away, and used the time to make a few experimental exposures to test the evening’s lighting.
As we waited, another car pulled up not far behind us, bathing us in the glare of its headlights. Standing in their twin spotlights, it occurred to me that when I pull up in the dark of night when there are people about, my first impulse is to turn my headlights off as soon as possible. But the thought apparently never occurred to the occupants of the vehicle, as their headlights remained trained on us, casting extended shadows down the road and along the hillside behind us.
We couldn’t photograph while standing in their spotlight. I considered walking over to ask them if they would turn their lights off for us, but as we waited, sounds of merriment began to issue from their car, and it was soon evident that their attentions were entirely engaged within. After several cries and moans, I thought I knew what occupied their thoughts.
“Ryan,” I said, “I think they’re having sex in there.”
He indicated the hillside. “Yeah, look at the shadows on the hill.”
The long shadows cast by the vehicle’s headlights bumped and moved rhythmically on the hillside to the sounds of frolic coming from within.
Cast accidentally in their direction, the incautious eye might discern motion in the other car that would seem to corroborate our speculation. Occasional flashing displays of their hazard lights offered additional indication of their preoccupation. Their headlights were still trained directly on us. We waited.
Crescendos raised my hopes for their early withdrawal, but the couple remained determined even as the sky finally cleared and the Milky Way was revealed. But in the blaze of their headlights we still could not photograph it.
At last, the activity died down, and soon their headlights moved off down the road. The sideshow as over, and we were once again in darkness. The Milky Way was still visible between passing clouds. Finally we could take some photographs. It was a happy ending for all concerned.
To any new little lives who might have been conceived that night at that Vista Point, I dedicate these photographs.
(Find Ryan Freitas’ photos on Instagram at @rjf_photo.)
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or purchase a print, visit or contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx and on Twitter @davidwilson_mfx . David teaches Art 35 Digital Photography at College of the Redwoods.)
Introducing Happy Rides (medical Transportation for the coast)
This new business is looking for employees.
I was given your name and email address by a friend, who said to let you know who I am and what I am doing to help the Mendocino Coast with a long lingering problem. My name is Lori Enriquez and I created Happy Rides to provide rides to medical appointments, whether it be from Albion to Fort Bragg or from Fort Bragg to Santa Rosa, Ukiah or other destinations for medical appointments. I am struggling to find drivers to drive my vans. I have three vehicles and need to hire drivers that want a good job, I pay $18 an hour. The driver has to have a MCSA 5876 (DOT physical), CPR, clean abstract & a clean drug & alcohol test.
Please see my website and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. Have a nice day.
WRITERS ARE HIRING, TOO
The Mendocino Coast Writers' Conference is hiring
Date: Thu, Jun 10, 2021 at 12:08 AM
As some of you may know, our beloved Operations Manager, Amy Lutz, will be stepping down after this year's conference. Lucky for us, after a brief pause, she intends to join the board. While this will be a big transition for us, we are thrilled Amy will stay involved.
Lisa posted the job description to Craigslist this week, and we are hoping you can help spread the word and encourage anyone you know who might be a good fit to apply. We are looking for someone in the Fort Bragg or Mendocino area.
STEVE DERWINSKI WRITES: The AV Poetry book is available at the Mosswood market—$15.
KNEES & HIKES
Just read about you and your knees and if you can still do your (daily?) hour hikes in the hills then you are good. Last year when I could only walk three minutes without pain I knew it was time to get the hip replacement. I have to admit I was a bit envious that you went an hour daily when I've been about 40 minutes the last couple years, decades. However, after the new hip I am now up to 70-80 minutes five times a week including trudging up a mountain to boot, more active than I've been in years. Well, we all know that recovery from a knee is way more difficult than a hip, so there's that.
ARLO, THE SERVICE DOG, SORELY MISSED SINCE HIS DISAPPEARANCE
by Kathleen Coates
Arlo isn’t just any dog. The young sable German shepherd is special — so special that two women spend much of every day searching for him.
Nicknamed “Loo,” Arlo is trained as a service dog for Isabella Gentry, 26, who has had seizures since she was 8. Medication doesn’t help. And, doctors don’t know what brings them on, but believe they’re stress related.
The microchipped canine disappeared from his owner’s Hopland yard on Oct. 18.
Gentry’s former partner let him outside in the fenced front yard to go to the bathroom, accompanied by her two other German shepherds. When he opened the door to let the dogs back in, Arlo was gone.
“I can’t really go anywhere for a long period of time now,” she said. “ ‘Loo’ gave me a lot of freedom that I don’t have now. Not having him around has made things really difficult for me.
“It takes a really special dog to be a service dog,” she added.
Arlo will turn 3 in September without Gentry, unless someone notices the dog with a freckle in his left eye before then and returns him to Gentry. He was bought for $150 off Craigslist from a listing that read “puppies we can’t find homes for” when he was a 4-month-old pup.
Gentry would really like to have him back with her.
“He’s kind of wonky-looking, lean and tall and built like a racer,” said Gentry, a dog trainer by profession. “But he can do anything. He’s a pretty agile little guy.”
When she speaks of her missing dog, Gentry’s voice contains a lilt. She is happy thinking and speaking of him. But there are days when she just wants to give up, she said.
Gentry said she hadn’t planned to use Arlo as a guide dog, but he began naturally alerting to her seizures. She started training him in earnest. “I got the idea this could work with a lot more training,” she said.
During the time since the dog disappeared, Gentry has lost a partner but gained a friend. Sarah Struve of Ukiah, who saw the Facebook posts about the missing dog, reached out to her and has been helping her ever since. The two have become close friends.
“Evey day I wake up and say ‘Today is a good day for her to find her dog’,” said Struve. “I think everybody would like to have a good ending to this story.”
The women have searched the rural Mendocino County area where the dog disappeared, posted pictures on Facebook pages throughout the state and are in contact with every veterinarian and every pet store and animal shelter in the county and parts of Sonoma County about Arlo’s disappearance. The two visit pawboost.com, a free lost and found service, frequently.
“Sarah has been an immense help,” Gentry said. “At first she got in touch with me and went around putting up posters. She’s really helped me a lot on my bad days. She even bought a microchip scanner so she can scan German shepherds to see if they’re Arlo.”
One of Isabella Gentry’s posts about her lost service dog, Arlo, a German shepherd. (Isabella Gentry) One of Isabella Gentry’s posts about her lost service dog, Arlo, a German shepherd. (Isabella Gentry)
Struve said she purchased the chip scanner on eBay and has used it not only to find Arlo but for other pet owners whose animals have gone missing. A laid-off medical worker, she has three small children and spends time each day trying to unite people with their pets, she said.
The photos of Gentry and her dog have been forwarded more than 10,000 times on Facebook, the women said. Veterinarians, including Arlo’s veterinarian, Dr. Edward Haynes at Ukiah Veterinary Hospital, scan every German shepherd that comes in.
Animal control officials know them both well and will get in touch if he ever turns up, Gentry said.
“They all know me,” she said.
Gentry, who grew up in the rural Washington state town of Roy, moved to Hopland about two years ago. She is temporarily living with her father in Half Moon Bay. Every day she gets up and checks PetHarbor.com, a national pet lost and found database, she said.
“I search all the local groups on Facebook, Craigslist, the Humane Society, German shepherd rescues and look for sable German shepherds found online. Ill do that for hours.”
The dog doesn’t have a lot of monetary value, she said. She’s not sure why someone would take him. “He’s only valuable to me,” she said.
Gentry said if someone has the dog and wants to bring him back, they can drop Arlo off at any animal control location. “I want to give somebody an out,” she said. She pays for two phones in case someone gets in touch with her old number. The correct number to call if you think you spot Arlo is 650-346-9205.
Gentry has thought about getting a new service dog.
“I’m just not sure; I feel like it’s giving up on him to do that. It takes a lot of training. It’s an investment. You can buy one for $10,000 or get on a wait list and it could take years,” she said. “I really lucked out with Loo.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
To the Editor:
Recently I read a great letter to the editor about Dr. Bowen. We have known Dr. Bowen for many years. He is an excellent orthopedic surgeon in Willits and he specializes in total hip and knee replacement.
Ukiah has an excellent orthopedic surgeon who has a good track record for total hip and knee replacement. His name is Dr. Gherini. A few years ago my husband broke his wrist. Dr. Gherini took him to surgery and put a plate in the wrist. It healed with good results. I hope we can keep Dr. Gherini here in Ukiah.
EVERY MORNING, I HUFF AND PUFF over the WPA-constructed Con Creek bridge just north of the Elementary School. Con Creek runs east-west, flowing down out of Upper Peachland and on into Anderson Creek. Why it's called Con Creek I don't know, but I do know that conservatives of the Depression years regarded Roosevelt's New Deal as a con, hence, perhaps, Anderson Valley's Con Creek. It's a vigorous little year-round stream. It was a lot more vigorous year round prior to the vineyards in and around Peachland, but has always faithfully flowed through the dry months. But Con Creek is alarmingly low this June, as low as it usually is in late Fall. It's my guide to the severity of the drought in Anderson Valley. If Con Creek goes dry in the next two months, the drought may be even more severe than we anticipate.
BUT THERE was a little rain Friday afternoon, and again on Saturday night. Mike Kalantarian said he got an eighth of an inch at Rancho Navarro over the two, brief interludes of precipitation, both of them, perhaps, teases from the sky gods reminding us what rain looked and felt like.
MR RED BEARD lent the Elk-Greenwood area a bracing couple of weeks of menace but he seems to have eluded the full-press law enforcement search for him and departed the neighborhood.
IF YOU CAME IN LATE…
RED BEARD IDENTIFIED as William Allan Evers
40 year-old white male adult, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 180 pounds with brown eyes, brown hair and reddish facial hair. Skull or skulls tattoo on his right upper arm, “Demon face” tattoo on his upper left arm and unknown prominent tattoo on his chest. Currently wanted for an active No Bail arrest warrant by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Criminal Threats and should be considered Armed And Dangerous. On 05-25-2021 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigations Bureau, identified the suspect involved in the series of burglaries in remote areas of Mendocino County and the attempted murder of a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Deputy on 05-12-2021.
EVERY DAY, the many county chatlines contain a couple of desperate bordering on plaintive pleas for housing, almost all of them from employed people with the means to pay the exorbitant rents this area now demands. Tim McClure gets to the heart of the matter: "Don’t kid yourself, there’s plenty of housing but it sits empty and unavailable for occupancy because it is controlled by someone who already owns many houses. Solution, levy a hefty tax on the multiple houses crowd. I’ve heard that in Holland if a house sits empty you are within your rights to move in! Would that ever become accepted practice in the USA? Time will tell.” And then there's the B&B infestation. My old home on Anderson Valley Way rents for $600 a night and is owned by city yuppos. Believe me, anybody who would pay $600 for a night there is, well… Well, capitalism produces many miracles, and this is definitely one of them.
A PROPOSAL to ban the showing of pornography or any content encouraging gender change or homosexuality to anyone under the age of 18 has aroused (sic) the ire of gay groups. The proposal arises (sic) from Hungary where fascism, always popular in the East European country, is again on the rise. But do you have to be a fascist to see the proposed law as socially desirable? Does anybody want young people watching this stuff, much less considering a sex changes at ages when the young barely know their ding dongs from their ring a lings?
LOTS OF HEADLINES lately like this one: “Ready for a Bloody Summer.” Note the absence of a question mark as the stories promise fentynal, guns and murder. “Even in the suburbs and rural areas murder was up 15 percent,” a city police chief said. “Crime fell last year in America, but murder rose historically. So what are the most plausible explanations? One likely factor is a jump in the number of guns in America, which somehow has gotten even more out of hand. FBI data suggests nearly 40 million guns were sold last year, a 40% increase from 2019. New data from Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center found roughly 20 percent of those who bought guns last year were first-time gun owners.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 13, 2021
MARK ANASTASIOU, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance.
BRIAN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SAMUEL CAMARGO, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
KAMERAN CLEMONS, Myrtle Creek, Oregon/Ukiah. Unlawful possession of tear gas, saps or similar.
KEVIN CONNER, Eureka/Ukiah. Controlled substance.
JOHN FREULER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.
OWEN KENNY IV, Willits. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
ABEL LANDA-CASTANEDA, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
ELOY LOPEZ JR., Ukiah. DUI.
STEPHEN MAGISTRELLI, San Francisco/Ukiah. More than an ounce of pot, controlled substance.
SARAH NICHOLS, Eureka/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
RAYMOND SNYDER JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
MICHAEL TRAVIS, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license for DUI, failure to appear, probation revocation.
TIFFANY WHITE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DON'T LET IT BRING YOU DOWN
Old man lying
By the side of the road
With the lorries rolling by
Blue moon sinking
From the weight of the load
And the buildings scrape the sky
Cold wind ripping
Down the alley at dawn
And the morning paper flies
Dead man lying
By the side of the road
With the daylight in his eyes
Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning
Find someone who's turning
And you will come around
Blind man running
Through the light
Of the night
With an answer in his hand
Come on down
To the river of sight
And you can really understand
Red lights flashing
Through the window
In the rain
Can you hear the sirens moan?
White cane lying
In a gutter in the lane
If you're walking home alone
Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning
Just find someone who's turning
And you will come around
Don't let it bring you down
It's only castles burning
Just find someone who's turning
And you will come around
— Neil Young
GARBERVILLE'S LOCAL TREASURE
This is the ballad of the Community Park
the gem of the area which glows in the dark
I can't say enough about this beautiful place
sweating up this mountain or walking apace
Once was a cattle ranch and then got divided
young growers moved in and were very delighted
Steve Dazey and Bob McKee came up with the plan
they created a river park and then the fun began
Of course to the complainers it's never enough
for the cantankerous ones life can be rough
Everyone's welcome to come recreate
so many healthy opportunities await
Frisbee golf, ride horses, walk, run, and bike
fly your drone or kite or play whatever you like
Do a stoked sesh on the new skateboard ramp
or head over to the stage and practice your rant
Everyone's friendly out on the trails
as masks disappear, smiles prevail
And so once again we say thanks Bob and Steve
you had a vision in which we all can believe
— Paul Modic
Federal Judge Roger Benitez seems to have teleported himself back 200 years, as that is the only explanation for his decision to strike down California’s 30-year ban on assault weapons (“Ban on assault weapons reversed,” June 5). The Second Amendment is shrouded in ambiguity and consists of only one sentence: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” That’s it.
As far as national security is concerned, we haven’t been invaded by a foreign power since 1812, and even then, militias operated under the direction of the U.S. military. I think a defense budget of $733 billion a year makes such a concern laughable. Furthermore, Benitez said the AR-15 is a “perfect combination of home and homeland defense equipment, just like the Swiss Army knife.”
Unquestionably, the Founding Fathers would be horrified to see how an outdated concern has been manipulated to guarantee citizens the means with which to slaughter each other. How many workplace massacres would have been prevented if only the victims just had an AR-15 at home? Insanity.
Benitez might as well be wearing buckle shoes and knee britches to court.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Tuesday, for the first time in 16 months, I went to the South Shore Plaza, supposedly one of the very highest-grossing malls in New England to get a new iphone screen protector for my wife’s cell. The mall itself didn’t require masks, but about half the people there were wearing them.
What I get a kick out of are the ones who wear their masks only over their mouths and leave their noses uncovered.
However, when I went into the busy Apple store, they stated masks were mandatory, so I had to put my own on. The sales clerk was very nice. He stated the screen protector (just a small, thin piece of plastic) cost $39.95, but the kiosk in the center aisle opposite the store charged a lot less. I went over there and got the screen protector installed (took maybe 3 or 4 minutes) and was charged only $20. Apple is such a ripoff. I know they have a lot of overhead, but really, double the price of somewhere else? They have a lot of staff wandering around asking customers if they had any questions.
I thought the mall would have a lot of vacant stores, but it didn’t. It was mostly full with a several new businesses.
I AIN'T GOT NO HEART
Ain't got no heart
I ain't got no heart to give away
I said about those fools in love
There ain't no such thing as love
No angels singing up above today
Girl I don't believe
Girl I don't believe in what you say
I say you, you must be mine
I say you, you must be blind
What makes you think that you're so fine?
That I should throw away
The groovy life I lead
Baby what you got yeah
Sure ain't what I need
Girl you better
Girl you better go away
I said that life with you must be
Just not quite the thing for me
Why is it hard to see my way?
Why should I be stuck with you?
It's just not what I want to do
Why should an embrace or two
Make me such a part of you?
I ain't got no heart to give away
— Frank Zappa
I SPENT AN HOUR IN THE BANK WITH MY DAD, as he had to transfer some money. I couldn't resist myself and asked…
"Dad, why don't we activate your internet banking?"
"Why would I do that?" He asked…
"Well, then you wont have to spend an hour here for things like making a transfer.
You can even do your shopping online. Everything will be so easy!"
I was so excited about initiating him into the world of Net banking.
He asked "If I do that, I wont have to step out of the house?”
"Yes, yes"! I said. I told him how even groceries can be delivered at your door now and how amazon delivers everything!
His answer left me tongue-tied.
He said "Since I entered this bank today, I have met four of my friends, I have chatted awhile with the staff who know me very well by now.
You know, I am alone…this is the company that I need.
I like to get ready and come to the bank. I have enough time, it is the physical touch that I crave.
Two years back, I got sick. The store owner from whom I buy fruits, came to see me and sat by my bedside and cried.
When your Mom fell down a few days back while on her morning walk, our local grocer saw her and immediately got his car to rush her home as he knows where I live.
Would I have that 'human' touch if everything became online?
Why would I want everything delivered to me and force me to interact with just my computer?
I like to know the person that I'm dealing with and not just the 'seller'. It creates bonds of Relationships.
Does Amazon deliver all this as well?"
Technology isn't life.
Spend time with people, not with devices.
WHAT THE RICH DON’T WANT TO ADMIT ABOUT THE POOR
by Ezra Klein
I’m not going to pretend that I know how to interpret the jobs and inflation data of the past few months. My view is that this is still an economy warped by the pandemic and that the dynamics are so strange and so unstable that it will be some time before we know its true state. But the reaction to the early numbers and anecdotes has revealed something deeper and more constant in our politics.
The American economy runs on poverty, or at least the constant threat of it. Americans like their goods cheap and their services plentiful, and the two of them together require a sprawling labor force willing to work tough jobs at crummy wages. On the right, the barest glimmer of worker power is treated as a policy emergency, and the whip of poverty, not the lure of higher wages, is the appropriate response.
Reports that low-wage employers were having trouble filling open jobs sent Republican policymakers into a tizzy and led at least 25 Republican governors — and one Democratic governor — to announce plans to cut off expanded unemployment benefits early. Chipotle said that it would increase prices by about 4% to cover the cost of higher wages, prompting the National Republican Congressional Committee to issue a blistering response: “Democrats’ socialist stimulus bill caused a labor shortage, and now burrito lovers everywhere are footing the bill.” The Trumpist outlet The Federalist complained, “Restaurants have had to bribe current and prospective workers with fatter paychecks to lure them off their backsides and back to work.”
But it’s not just the right. The financial press, the cable news squawkers and even many on the center-left greet news of labor shortages and price increases with an alarm they rarely bring to the ongoing agonies of poverty or low-wage toil.
As it happened, just as I was watching Republican governors try to immiserate low-wage workers who weren’t yet jumping at the chance to return to poorly ventilated kitchens for $9 an hour, I was sent “A Guaranteed Income for the 21st Century,” a plan that seeks to make poverty a thing of the past. The proposal, developed by Naomi Zewde, Kyle Strickland, Kelly Capatosto, Ari Glogower and Darrick Hamilton for the New School’s Institute on Race and Political Economy, would guarantee a $12,500 annual income for every adult and a $4,500 allowance for every child. It’s what wonks call a “negative income tax” plan; unlike a universal basic income, it phases out as households rise into the middle class.
“With poverty, to address it, you just eliminate it,” Hamilton told me. “You give people enough resources so they’re not poor.” Simple, but not cheap. The team estimates that its proposal would cost $876 billion annually. To give a sense of scale, total federal spending in 2019 was about $4.4 trillion, with $1 trillion of that financing Social Security payments and another $1.1 trillion supporting Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Beyond writing that the plan “would require new sources of revenue, additional borrowing or trade-offs with other government funding priorities,” Hamilton and his co-authors don’t say how they’d pay for it, and in our conversation, Hamilton was cagey. “There are many ways in which it can be paid for, and deficit spending itself is not bad unless there are certain conditions,” he said. I’m less blasé about financing a program that would increase federal spending by almost 20%, but at the same time, it’s clearly possible. Even if the entire thing was funded by taxes, it would only bring America’s tax burden to roughly the average of our peer nations.
I suspect the real political problem for a guaranteed income isn’t the costs but the benefits. A policy like this would give workers the power to make real choices. They could say no to a job they didn’t want or quit one that exploited them. They could, and would, demand better wages or take time off to attend school or simply to rest. When we spoke, Hamilton tried to sell it to me as a truer form of capitalism. “People can’t reap the returns of their effort without some baseline level of resources,” he said. “If you lack basic necessities with regards to economic well-being, you have no agency. You’re dictated to by others or live in a miserable state.”
But those in the economy with the power to do the dictating profit from the desperation of low-wage workers. One man’s misery is another man’s quick and affordable at-home lunch delivery. “It is a fact that when we pay workers less and don’t have social insurance programs that, say, cover Uber and Lyft drivers, we are able to consume goods and services at lower prices,” Hilary Hoynes, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, where she also codirects the Opportunity Lab, told me.
This is the conversation about poverty that we don’t like to have: We discuss the poor as a pity or a blight, but we rarely admit that America’s high rate of poverty is a policy choice, and there are reasons we choose it over and over again. We typically frame those reasons as questions of fairness (“Why should I have to pay for someone else’s laziness?”) or tough-minded paternalism (“Work is good for people, and if they can live on the dole, they would”). But there’s more to it than that.
It is true, of course, that some might use a guaranteed income to play video games or melt into Netflix. But why are they the center of this conversation? We know full well that America is full of hardworking people who are kept poor by very low wages and harsh circumstance. We know many who want a job can’t find one, and many of the jobs people can find are cruel in ways that would appall anyone sitting comfortably behind a desk. We know the absence of child care and affordable housing and decent public transit makes work, to say nothing of advancement, impossible for many. We know people lose jobs they value because of mental illness or physical disability or other factors beyond their control. We are not so naive as to believe near-poverty and joblessness to be a comfortable condition or an attractive choice.
Most Americans don’t think of themselves as benefiting from the poverty of others, and I don’t think objections to a guaranteed income would manifest as arguments in favor of impoverishment. Instead, we would see much of what we’re seeing now, only magnified: fears of inflation, lectures about how the government is subsidizing indolence, paeans to the character-building qualities of low-wage labor, worries that the economy will be strangled by taxes or deficits, anger that Uber and Lyft rides have gotten more expensive, sympathy for the struggling employers who can’t fill open roles rather than for the workers who had good reason not to take those jobs. These would reflect not America’s love of poverty but opposition to the inconveniences that would accompany its elimination.
Nor would these costs be merely imagined. Inflation would be a real risk, as prices often rise when wages rise, and some small businesses would shutter if they had to pay their workers more. There are services many of us enjoy now that would become rarer or costlier if workers had more bargaining power. We’d see more investments in automation and possibly in outsourcing. The truth of our politics lies in the risks we refuse to accept, and it is rising worker power, not continued poverty, that we treat as intolerable. You can see it happening right now, driven by policies far smaller and with effects far more modest than a guaranteed income.
Hamilton, to his credit, was honest about these trade-offs. “Progressives don’t like to talk about this,” he told me. “They want this kumbaya moment. They want to say equity is great for everyone when it’s not. We need to shift our values. The capitalist class stands to lose from this policy; that’s unambiguous. They will have better-resourced workers they can’t exploit through wages. Their consumer products and services would be more expensive.”
For the most part, America finds the money to pay for the things it values. In recent decades, and despite deep gridlock in Washington, we have spent trillions of dollars on wars in the Middle East and tax cuts for the wealthy. We have also spent trillions of dollars on health insurance subsidies and coronavirus relief. It is in our power to wipe out poverty. It simply isn’t among our priorities.
“Ultimately, it’s about us as a society saying these privileges and luxuries and comforts that folks in the middle class — or however we describe these economic classes — have, how much are they worth to us?” Jamila Michener, co-director of the Cornell Center for Health Equity, told me. “And are they worth certain levels of deprivation or suffering or even just inequality among people who are living often very different lives from us? That’s a question we often don’t even ask ourselves.”
But we should.
(New York Times)
‘ACTIVISM UNCENSORED’: THE LINE 3 PIPELINE PROTESTS
by Matt Taibbi
In late May, Biden administration lawyers went into court to defend the Willow project, a huge oil and gas endeavor on the North Slope of Alaska. This followed an earlier decision not to intervene to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline that disappointed activists, who feel they’ve been getting mixed signals from an administration whose president made a lot of promises on environmental issues as a candidate.
In this segment of ‘Activism Uncensored,” Ford Fischer travels to northern Minnesota and films the arrest of dozens of activists protesting the Line 3 Pipeline, a $9 billion project run by a Canadian company called Enbridge that’s slated to bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through tribal lands. Activists say the development violates treaties and will have serious environmental consequences, and the Biden administration has been conspicuously silent about it.
Biden got a lot of kudos from environmental activists early on for canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, but in recent months has settled into a Star Trek-ian pattern of obeying the Prime Directive when it comes to energy deals. Protests of Line 3 ended in mass arrests, and reportedly, the use of a “crowd-dispersing sonic device” as well as bolt cutters and saws to cut down activists who chained themselves to equipment.
A MILLION YOUNG WORK MEN
A million young workmen straight and strong lay stiff on the grass and roads, And the million are now under soil and their rottening flesh will in the years feed roots of blood-red roses.
Yes, this million of young workmen slaughtered one another and never saw their red hands.
And oh, it would have been a great job of killing and a new and beautiful thing under the sun if the million knew why they hacked and tore each other to death. The kings are grinning, the Kaiser and the czar—they are alive riding in leather- seated motor cars, and they have their women and roses for ease, and they eat fresh-poached eggs for breakfast, new butter on toast, sitting in tall water-tight houses reading the news of war.
I dreamed a million ghosts of the young workmen rose in their shirts all soaked in crimson ... and yelled:
God damn the grinning kings, God damn the kaiser and the czar.
— Carl Sandburg