Cool Coast | Pet Pups | Forest Rally | Boobs Protest | Ordinance Repeals | Water Issue | Double Elimination | Outage Fire | Noyo Fireworks | Fiddleheads Finale | Hopland Pastoral | Mileage Mistake | Frontier Days | No Answer | Ukiah Fjords | Eel Diversion | Albion Mill | Mental Contract | American History | Caspar 4th | Ed Notes | Velvet Bandit | Sonoma Water | Yesterday's Catch | Wooden Carousels | Drought Data | Tattoo/Do | Building Socialism | Major Hub | Large Font | Eviction Moratorium | Too Boring | Creepy Joe | Homicide Spike | Weapons Biz | Ivermectin | Knight Riders | Backyard Oil | Not Freaks | Dem Meeting | Gualala 1937
AN EXCEPTIONALLY STRONG DOME of high pressure will persist over much of the western United States through next week, resulting in dry weather with hot interior temperatures. Coastal areas will remain seasonably cool with persistent marine layer clouds and only partial afternoon sun. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 107°, Yorkville 100°, Boonville 91°, Fort Bragg 59°
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Meet adorable puppies Biscuit & Gravy. These two boys are 3 months old and 40 pounds. Both pups are happy, friendly dogs and love to play with squeakies, stuffies and all toys. They greet everyone they meet with unbridled joy. You can learn more about Biscuit & Gravy at mendoanimalshelter.com
While you’re there, check out 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: For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
MARCH FOR THE FOREST, Monday June 28, 11am, Fort Bragg
The Coalition to Protect Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) is calling for a march and rally in Fort Bragg Ca. on Monday June 28 at 11am. Participants will convene at 11am at the corner of Oak St. and HWY 1. People will then march north through town to the CalFire office at 802 N. Main Street for a rally to demonstrate their concerns.
Contact: Chris Skyhawk, (707) 409-4789, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: (This background synopsis has been compiled by an individual member of the coalition and is not meant to speak for every member and organization within it. It does speak broadly to the numerous concerns of its coalition members)
CalFire is responsible for approving the hotly contested Caspar 500 Timber Harvest Plan (T.H.P.). In response to this approval the group Mendocino Trail Stewards (M.T.S.) arose which called attention to the THP and the extensive logging plans throughout this 48,652 acre publicly-owned state forest. Pointing out that recreation is likely a more economically profitable and sustainable purpose for this public forest, MTS originally called for a 20,000 acre preserve along the western edge of JDSF. However, due to an intersection of many issues, several groups and individuals joined these efforts and became a Coalition that is calling for the entirety of JDSF to become a reserve.
Foremost among the issues that came to expand the coalition was the recognition that 2nd growth redwood forests (nearly the entirety of JDSF) are the most efficient forests in the world for carbon sequestration. In this time of climate crisis in California, Gov. Newsmen issued an executive order, 30x30, wherein Ca. is to protect 30% of its land base by 2030, to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. JDSF has no current input into its management plan with regard to climate mitigation and fire risk. Activists are calling on Newsome to align with his own order. The intensity of the drought crisis has further galvanized opposition to the logging of JDSF. Timber harvesting exposes previously shaded lands to desiccation, and tall redwoods create tremendous amounts of hydration through fog drip.
Increasingly we see that the dominant culture is awakening to the historical traumas that colonization of these ancestral lands has caused displaced tribal peoples. In response to this recognition there is a collective desire to acknowledge and repair these historically imbalanced relationships by opening these lands for cultural renewal, and shifting the government to government relationships that currently exist from one of legally required consultation to legally required consent.
Yet another factor that is increasing the size and scope of the Coalition is that it is becoming a lens through which many citizens are re-affirming their personal connection to nature. At a time when the human disconnection from the natural systems of earth that foster life has us possibly on the brink of mass extinction, local citizens are re- claiming this relationship. This was demonstrated by a large community ritual that was publicly conducted by dozens of people: citizens created an altar within the THP of their personal offerings to reinforce their personal and collective relationship to the interconnected forces that create and sustain life. As further demonstration of community commitment to keep these trees standing there has been a tree sit that has been continually occupied since early April.
This issue has also become a focal point for children and families to informally express their concerns around climate change, with a once-a-week gathering at the tree sit, called families for forests: accompanied by supportive adults, children are chronicling the flora and fauna of the area, as well as expressing their concerns through art, spoken word, and music. Further demands of those opposing timber harvesting in JDSF are that state and local governments provide a just transition economic model for all workers who might be displaced from any resource extraction job as our economy transitions to more climate-friendly models. Parents who are concerned about the health of their children’s environment are no longer willing to be pitted against parents who are concerned about providing their children with shelter and a home.
— Chris Skyhawk
MEANWHILE, IN FORT BRAGG YESTERDAY, THERE WAS THIS DEMONSTRATION FOR WHATEVER...
CANNABIS ORDINANCE CONTROVERSY!
by Madge Strong (Willits City Council Member)
In early June the Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved a “Phase 3” Cannabis Ordinance on a 4-1 vote, formally ratified on June 22. John Haschak was the sole NO vote. This culminated several all-day hearings, back and forth to the Planning Commission, and an unprecedented over 500 public comments. The BOS rushed to finalize this ordinance before July 1 to utilize a temporary State exemption to the requirement for an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
Among the 500 commenters, the vast majority opposed key provisions in the new ordinance. A major objection is allowing up to 10% of property acreage (for parcels over 10 acres) to be developed for cannabis growing. This includes rural residential, ag, and rangeland zoning districts — tens of thousands of acres of the County — though there are some added restrictions on the rangeland areas. Most permits would require a minor or major use permit.
Two groups have launched referendums to overturn either the whole Phase 3 ordinance or just the 10% provision. Either referendum would require approximately 4,000 signatures within 30 days after the June 22 adoption date. If qualified, such referenda would then go to the BOS which can either adopt one or both of them OR can schedule a special election to be brought to the voters. It’s possible both referenda could be approved (over 50% voting yes); so far the County has given no guidance on what would happen in that case.
The two groups call themselves “Small is Beautiful” to repeal just the 10% provision; and “The People’s Referendum to Save our Water, Wildlife & Way of Life” to repeal the whole ordinance. In brief, the former group is concerned that throwing out Phase 3 would make getting legal permits going forward very difficult. Some also prefer a 1-acre cap (allowed with site-specific EIR under the new Phase 3) rather than the current limit of one-quarter acre on grows (expandable to 1 acre only after a county-wide EIR).
The “total repeal” group feels that an EIR is essential to understanding the impacts before any major expansion of cannabis grows, in acreage and through new permits in rural zoning districts where it is currently prohibited. Without analysis or EIR, they argue, the County has no idea how many acres of grows they’re talking about, nor how much water those grows would be pumping from our aquifers (not to mention impacts on roads, wildlife corridors, etc.). Based on John Haschak’s extensive work with involved agencies, they believe that existing small-scale operations CAN be successfully permitted — that the County has (intentionally or incompetently) held these “heritage” growers hostage for years with its failures to process permits or to enforce.
Already, we are seeing “small” grows, legal and illegal, proliferating at an alarming rate, people’s wells running dry, hoop houses, lights, roads over-used, land prices sky-rocketing, etc. Phase 3 seems likely to exacerbate these problems!
Bottom line: BOTH referenda would be an improvement over the BOS action, so feel free to sign both if you wish. If they both end up on a ballot, you can also choose to vote YES on both. But I personally strongly prefer repealing the ordinance so we can have a proper EIR. This would stop all expansion until & unless we know the consequences and enforce the rules! I believe rejecting the BOS Phase 3 ordinance is the appropriate remedy. Then all of us can fight together for solutions going forward, including legalizing our responsible heritage growers.
To volunteer for the “People’s” (total repeal) petition, contact email@example.com; for the “Small” (No on 10%) petition, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To the Editor:
I listened to District 1 Supervisor Glenn McGourty at a neighborhood meeting here in the uplands of Redwood Valley, and I heard Karen Ottoboni interview District 3 Supervisor John Haschak on KZYX’s TKO (available online kzyx.org/jukebox 6/23/21, 9:03 a.m.).
Mr. McGourty had been invited to talk about our Supervisors’ plan for industrializing cannabis cultivation and why he was supporting it. Ms. Ottoboni gave Mr. Haschak a more wide-ranging portfolio.
The BoS’s voted 4-1 against Haschak to approve “Phase 3” (their cannabis ordinance opposed by about 70% of their constituents). The one Haschak had articulated a first principle for any new agricultural expansion: “We should first find out what our watersheds can support.”
There it is. Common sense. About a mile or so from where I write and can see Lake Mendocino diminish by the day, a (grape) grower decided he needed more water. He found it, at 850 feet down. “We should find out,” Haschak says, “what our watersheds can support before we approve new & industrialized grows” …“Of any crop,” Ottoboni rightly inserts several times during her interview with Haschak..
As Ottoboni candidly says, it’s her opinion that the current debate about agricultural development is weighted against cannabis. She (and I) think the same standards for water usage and watershed damage should apply both to grapes and to legal pot cultivation.
McGourty is of course not on Ottoboni’s show, but his comments the week before refract the water issue through a wine guy’s glass. “I have priority water rights,” he slips in, as an aside to a discussion of water allocation. Having said that, he’s in favor of new, large-scale cannabis cultivation and its enabling Phase 3 ordinance: 2 acres of cannabis/20 acres of rangeland and other once-protected parcels; 10% rule for larger parcels. He believes we have enough water.
The L.A. Times recently reported credible evidence that our drought is a return to normal. It’s neither an anomaly nor a new normal. Rather, the last 100 years have been abnormally wet. Our entire western water system of dams, reservoirs, canals, and the Pulgas Water Temple is watered by that abnormal interruption of many centuries of aridity.
“We should find out what our watersheds can support,” Haschak tells Ottoboni. He’s been out-voted, 4-1.
Our 4 concurring Supes have found their herd immunity to the clear wishes of their constituents, and our Supes’ performance on 22 June shows their slippery contempt for us voters. They will “phase in” their “experiment,” I believe over 4 or perhaps it’s 5 years. Then, as Board Prexy Gjerde said, there’ll be a commission or something to “report” on where “we” are.
We know where “we” will be: The camel will have followed his nose under and into our tent, as we’ll be able to tell by the smell of dead or unspawned fish in our rivers and the stench of big, shady money sent to New Jersey & Texas & Florida LLCs.
What to do?
First, if there’s a referendum repealing “Phase 3,” vote for it!–If there are 2 referenda against Phase 3, vote for both and may the better one win! Four or 5 years from now will be too late to Stop the Steal of our county!
And, who knows? The referendum virus may mutate into recall.
Jonathan Middlebrook (and Nick)
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL Mendocino referendum petitions available tomorrow. Call 984 6223 or email@example.com for info.
John McCowen: On Tuesday the BOS agreed to strike the 10% and cap cultivation at 2 acres max (the Planning Commission recommendation) until January 1, 2026. Is it worth an expensive special election to eliminate something that is already going to be eliminated?
DEB SILVA WRITES:
PG&E outage and fire — Our power [on the South Mendo Coast] went out at about 3:45 Saturday afternoon, after a call about 40 minutes later from PG&E we fired up the generator. The call said that 51 customers were without power and it would be restored at 7:45. Once the generator was fired up and my wifi rebooted I checked the Point Arena Update FB page. Apparently, the outage caused a small roadside fire. I'm attaching a picture from the facebook page.
It doesn't look like the fire caused the electricity to fail, it's too small. The fire is out. PG&E simply said the outage was caused by equipment failure. I also get emails from PG&E. The first at 4:01 pm said the power was out affecting 51 customers. The second at 4:28 pm said the outage was now affecting 111 customers. The third at 4:37 pm said the cause was "an equipment issue" and they were working on it. The customers affected was back down to 51 and the power would be back on at 6:30 pm. PG&E is trying hard to improve their image but the small roadside fire is scary and shows that they need to put more effort into maintaining the lines properly, including trimming, than they spend on PR!
FORT BRAGG FIREWORKS SHOW 2021
Fireworks will start when it gets dark on Saturday, July 3 over the outlet of the Noyo River.
FIDDLEHEADS, the small diner in Mendocino that garnered national attention for defying mask rules and later charging an extra $5 to customers who entered wearing masks, is going out of business. Owner Chris Castleman says his last day will be the Fourth of July. The closure has nothing to do with his refusal to follow masking orders. The building which houses his tiny food business and a bunch of other small tourist oriented operations in the "village," has been bought by a Marin County investment group who terminated Castleman's lease and refuses to negotiate an extension. Like many retail and restaurant businesses during covid, Castleman's business was already down, which only added to Castleman's financial problems. Castleman's popular sandwich shop was grossing what he says was upwards of $1 million a year before covid, but volume dropped precipitously as tourists disappeared. Castleman doesn't know what he's going to do next, but for now Fiddleheads will close at its present location on freedom day, July 4. Castleman's resistance to the mask orders had its roots in Castleman's strong belief in independence and freedom.
MAYBE MS. ANTLE CAN HAVE A LOOK AT REDWOOD QUALITY'S BOOKS
(ms notes: A minor typo at the County Garage (a department of the Executive Office, not the Sheriff) concerning vehicle mileage somehow morphed into an implication that the Sheriff had overstated his patrol vehicle mileage in his budget request for replacement vehicles. This in turn lead to Supervisor Williams posting on facebook: “$53k vs $2k, your public money. This might have been caught with an audit.”)
WHILE MEETING with the Executive Office staff last week, it was brought to our attention that there was a significant discrepancy between the EO’s calculation of the number of reported miles driven by the Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles during the fire events and the miles noted on the Garage’s billings paid by the Sheriff’s Office. After the meeting, the Sheriff’s Fiscal Manager instructed her staff to audit the Garage’s billings line-by-line during that time period to check for any mileage discrepancies. When the September 2020 Garage Billing was compared to subsequent and previous months, an odometer error was noticed for SO Vehicle 23-503. The ending odometer reading was recorded on the billing as 154,707 miles when it should have been noted as 58,707 miles (a difference of 96,000 miles). Journal entry for this billing was consequently in error and resulted in the Sheriff’s budget being overcharged $50,000. The Sheriff’s Office relied on the mileage data supplied in the Garage Billings to relate information about patrol vehicle usage during the fires. This was in error and it should be noted that there were 96,000 less miles driven than originally though in the month of September (original mileage quoted was 200,000 miles). Total Garage mileage billed for September compared to the correct mileage charges are shown in the charts below:
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From: "Darcie Antle" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June 25, 2021 at 9:36:42 AM PDT
To: "Carmel Angelo" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Garage Billing Error.docx
SO reported they put over 200K miles on vehicles during the 2017 and 2020 fire. Apparently they based this on a bill from garage for 100K miles. Garage had a billing error, either a data entry by a deputy at the pump or by the garage billing for fuel. The SO never audited the large one month bill. At the budget meeting with Undersheriff and Juanita, I stated my records from 214 reports only support 20K miles per each event. So if they actually did 200K miles we have a documentation error with deputies. That prompted Jaunita to go back and review the garage billings. [which by the way should be done each month]
* * *
Sheriff Kendall replied:
Good afternoon Darcie. You were correct when you indicated the mileages didn't match the 214's you had been provided from the Oak and August Complex. Juanita provided me with the attached details, explaining after she had met with you, she had staff go line by line to see where the discrepancies were. We will continue to go over these and see if there are any other mistakes. The discrepancies reported to us by the garage (which appeared to be some type of a typo) were off nearly 100K miles. I will need to advise the board and the public as we had reported this out based on the wrong mileage numbers we had received for billing.
Matthew C. Kendall
Mendocino County Sheriff's Office
To the Editor:
My response to Jim Shields.
Your swipe of me in your most recent opinion column was uncalled for. In the Observer you have printed a quote from Mark Twain – Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.
It is good advice that I have taken through many, many years of public life. I didn’t respond to your opinion a number of months back because it would have been a “fight” and as a publisher/editor of a newspaper “you do buy ink by the barrel.”
Furthermore, other comments you made in your column about the Laytonville County Water District selling water to water haulers struck me as an advertisement for the District you run, especially during this drought. The UDJ should charge you for the ad space. Pay up, Mr. Shields.
* * *
ED NOTE: Here’s the offending reference from Shields’ column:
“Remember a couple of years ago, when most likely in response to several columns I had written about ‘you can’t grow weed without water,’ Supe Carre Brown said, ‘We have enough checks and balances on water.’ I then wrote a follow-up column asking, ‘Just what exactly are these checks and balances?’ The question, of course, went unanswered.”
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Mark Scaramella adds: Obviously, former Supervisor Brown doesn’t appreciate anyone pointing out that her statement that “We have enough checks and balances on water,” is not the case. “We,” the Farm Bureau, not the County, probably does think that are enough checks and balances. But since there are no gages on inland wells and, until recently, Potter Valley grape growers and ranchers can have as much essentially free water as they want from the Potter Valley Diversion, there’s no real checks and balances to provide — hence Ms. Brown’s inability to provide an answer to Shields’ question.
YOU’RE GETTING TO BE AN OLD TIMER IF YOU REMEMBER FJORD’S IN UKIAH
LIMBO FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY WATER TRANSFER CLOUDS OUTLOOK FOR KEY RUSSIAN RIVER SOURCE
by Mary Callahan
The Russian River’s sprawling, manmade delivery system for drinking and irrigation water has for decades relied on a share of the flow in the Eel River, miles to the north in Lake County.
In years past, up to 22 million gallons have been siphoned from the Eel through a system of pumps, pipes and reservoirs and sent south into the East Fork of the Russian River through a mile-and-a-half tunnel blasted into a mountain more than a century ago.
But the future of that cog in the Russian River machine, long seen as critical for farmers, ranchers and rural residents reliant on the river in Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County, is now in limbo.
The water transfer also has generated hydroelectricity as it passed through a small powerhouse in rural Potter Valley and on into Lake Mendocino near Ukiah.
Efforts by federal fisheries regulators to bolster declining salmon and steelhead runs in the Eel River have slashed those diversions in half since 2007. And the drought cut those diversions by another fifth this year, as water regulators seek to maintain supplies in Lake Pillsbury, formed by a dam across the Eel River.
They may be eliminated permanently in the future as a result of PG&E’s decision not to renew its license for the 113-year-old Potter Valley powerhouse when it expires next year, leaving the state of all water transfers from the Eel River uncertain.
A coalition including government officials from Sonoma Water, the environmental group Cal Trout, agencies in Mendocino and Humboldt counties and the Round Valley Indian Tribe, have agreed to work on a “two-basin solution” that would allow for some continued water diversions while shoring up habitat for imperiled migratory fish.
Part of their plan, to remove 99-year-old Scott Dam in Lake County and drain Lake Pillsbury, would result in the largest dam removal project ever in the region to restore access to salmon and steelhead spawning grounds in the upper Eel.
It would take a host of state and federal approvals, extensive technical studies, new diversion infrastructure and costs estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with no clear guarantee on outcome.
“It’s extremely unpredictable,” said David Keller, Bay Area Director of Friends of the Eel River, and a longtime proponent of dismantling the river’s dams. “Somebody’s going to have to figure out who pays for it and what that looks like.”
Even then, diversions would only be made in the winter months, forcing Russian River consumers to change how they store and use water, he said.
Grant Davis, general manager of Sonoma Water, the wholesale supplier for more than 600,000 people in Sonoma and northern Marin counties, called on the state to recognize the historic connection between the two watersheds.
He also wants support for some $3 million in studies needed to determine if a new project can be developed to divert water in an environmentally safe and smart manner.
“Whole communities have become dependent and come up on that system,” so losing the Eel River transfers would be “a dramatic change in events” for those who get their water from the Russian River, he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RQMC’S $17.4 MILLION MENTAL HEALTH CONTRACT
“the Board voted 4-1 to approve RQMC’s $17.4 million contract renewal, Williams dissenting.”
Supervisor Williams: In response to good faith requests for aggregate patient outcome documentation, it’s been suggested Supervisor Williams go pound sand. I voted against the contract perhaps for the same reason my colleagues supported it: our county has fueled a monopoly. Outcome data has been as elusive as bonafide negotiations.
Sadly Despite the Mendocino County Voter's approval of Measure B. It appears that after receiving several year's of the Measure B tax proceeds very little has changed and Mental Health Services continue to be a monopoly that lacks any accountability. Our Elected Representatives have failed in their promise to Mendocino County Residents.
Measure B was run without a financial analysis. All sorts of promises were made, most which cannot be satisfied with the money raised. Recent board direction to construct a Psychiatric Health Facility will likely consume the remaining revenue.
Mark Scaramella notes: That — the PHF will likely consume the remaining revenue — does not need to be the case. If Supervisor Williams and the County had pursued the Adventists’ offer to provide a PHF, at least in the interim, there wouldn’t be a need for a new facility built to hospital specs. But CEO Angelo, on her own, declared that developing the Adventist option “wasn’t in the public’s best interest” and none of our elected officials questioned that presumptuous unilateral claim by one senior unelected official. Further, there’s been no discussion of facilities with fewer than 16 beds because Dr. Miller says that’s the way to maximize billing and bring in clients from outside Mendocino County. For all his rhetoric about needing data and supporting information before making big decisions, Supervisor Williams has not provided any supporting information for his claim that “a Psychiatric Health Facility will likely consume the remaining revenue” — unless, of course, he has no interest in pursuing less expensive options.
* * *
Facebook comments continued:
Although a psych facility will aid in not having to send patients out of county it truly is not the answer! Psych hospitals only stabilize … often the person is released without complete stabilization! Still psychotic and manic, draining a multitude of resources, mainly police! When mental health service providers could actually be addressing issues in the field in the community — they do not! That is one reason the mobile crisis team is needed. We need a whole infrastructure. It’s not there!
* * *
Is there anyone reaching out to Mendocino College to begin a med tech program? If we do not have local people to staff this facility we definitely can not afford it. We need people invested in our community to be trained to run it. A med tech program would be a nice first step.
* * *
$17.4 million? So they can continue to provide shitty non service? RQMC=RCS same entity, different name! The Supes who voted Yes obviously are not well informed on the truth of mental health services but why would they be? They get their info from the entities making money off of suffering families! There is no accountability! Let’s change that!
* * *
I agree 100%. The families are suffering and they are making money hand over fist.
RQM sucks rocks. They make it very difficult to access services. The services they provide are not effective treatment for severe mental health crisis. The crisis center is absolutly laughable. I'm happy to share my personal experiences. That place SUCKS!
* * *
I agree wholeheartedly. Data that just shows how many patients were seen and not how many patients got better isn’t too much to ask especially for that amount.
* * *
Also no one is addressing the different mental health issues SMI or Serious Mental Illness is much different than depression anxiety and PTSD! Serious Mental Illness is Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, schizoaffective and major depression. There is a big difference!
* * *
It goes beyond not being too much to ask. The ONLY justification for a service delivery contract such as this one is documented improvement in the quality of the lives of those receiving services. So, it would seem the ultimate responsibility for this travesty lies with those who were thoughtless enough to approve a scenario where all that was expected was evidence of the contractor being busy. The net effect: wasted money.
JULY 4TH FAMILY CELEBRATION AT THE CASPAR COMMUNITY CENTER
On Sunday July 4th KNYO/The Noyo Radio Project will host an outdoor/indoor 4th of July Family Celebration at the Caspar Community Center from 12:30 to 8:30. We will have food, drinks, beer and wine, a Kid Zone with fun and games for the Kids, and lawn games for the Grownups. But most exciting, we will have LIVE MUSIC for your listening and dancing pleasure. Our lineup includes The Seaside String Sisters w/ Lori Wardlaw, Paka G, Cyrus Clarke from Santa Barbara formerly with The Cache Valley Drifters, 2nd Hand Grass, The Hot Club of Comptche, the debut of The Bon Ton Rulers, Tommy Brown's hot new zydeco band, and to finish it with dancing style, Mama Grows Funk w/ Ui Wesley. $15 gets you into this party, with Kids under 16 free. Come join us and your neighbors in celebrating Life, Love, and LIVE MUSIC ! Enjoy the great vibes and Community spirit that resides at The Caspar Community Center, and help support your local homegrown, all volunteer, nonprofit radio station, KNYO. Many thanks to Lea, Jeff, Joe, Rosa, and all the wonderful Volunteers and folks who have made this happen. I will see you there!
-- Bob Young <email@example.com>
ADD to the endless list of things I didn't know, the fact that CalFire has a police force of its own, as fully trained as the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department. And now I'm wondering if it will be the CalFire cops tasked with the looming mass ritual arrests at Jackson State Forest where something's gotta give because logging is on hold with protesters vowing it won't resume.
FLORIDA HIGH RISES undermined by rising seas did not surprise the many engineers who predicted it — the New Yorker covered the prob in depth several years ago — but the Florida story I've never been able to off-load is the revelation that so many non-native species, originally purchased as pets, now thrive in the Everglades, everything from Burmese pythons to feral hogs.
BAY AREA police departments, especially San Jose, Frisco and Oakland, are short officers to keep our imploding society from further implosion. According to the KPIX News, 129 emergency calls had to be put on hold last Thursday night in Oakland. Older cops are getting out, young people aren't applying to do this impossible work. No surprise that gun sales are up everywhere.
HOUSING IN ANDERSON VALLEY, two on-line comments:
(1) So, as someone desperately looking for a house to be able to remain in Anderson Valley and also as someone who walks AV Way quite often, I'm curious who owns all the empty houses and how is it acceptable to just leave them sitting empty while there is a housing crisis in our community and long term AV families are constantly having to move away? I need answers and solutions.
(2) I'd like a situation in Anderson Valley as well but I wanna pay no more than $450 including utilities. No more crappy apartments either. That's why I've been living in a 1978 rv for 6 years. Unless I pay up the nose or want to have roommates I can't afford anything better. All across the country. This first happened to me soon after graduating from St. Helena high back in 1976. Not into crying poor. I made my choices. Make them still but for crying out loud! When is it going to stop?
THE TWO COMMENTS above are common everywhere in Mendocino County and have been voiced for years in the Anderson Valley. One major prob here in AV is county zoning; there aren't many parcels on the valley floor where, say, a trailer park might be installed. (Years ago, when one was proposed for East Fitch Lane, the haute bourgeosie rose up to defeat it purely on a class basis.) Most of the county is zoned 20 acres and up, the idea being to keep Mendo largely rural. But houses kept vacant or available only to well-heeled transients are a major prob in the Anderson Valley and especially out on the Mendocino Coast.
I ALSO WALK on Anderson Valley Way, even breaking into what might indulgently be viewed as a jog on especially exuberant mornings, and I lived on Anderson Valley Way for forty years and can't believe my former home now rents for $600 a night, or whatever extortionate price the city yuppos who own it charge, and so I have witnessed first hand how working people have been priced outtahere. I count at least six vacant but habitable dwellings on AV Way, one on lower Lambert Lane and up in the hills? Who knows, but I suspect lots and lots. It's also obvious to us locals that many of our friends and neighbors do not live in First World conditions.
ANOTHER OBSTACLE to local housing is the County of Mendocino, which I've experienced first hand with the tiny, two manufactured houses I've placed on my acre in central Boonville. I won't re-bore you with the details, but the County, to put it gently, complicated every which way what should have been a simple process. I even felt it necessary, as others have, to pay a guy as a kind of expediter to get 'er done, and even he was often mystified by the arbitrary obstacles placed in his path.
THE LATE MIKE SHAPIRO, bless him for the houses he was able to get built in The Valley, but he was often thwarted in his valiant efforts to build affordable housing in the Anderson Valley, and declared before he died he wouldn't even try to do new projects. Just too frustrating.
UPBEAT ART ATTACKS ON HWY 101
"The Velvet Bandit stalks the Highway 101 corridor looking for her next victim. Using the anonymity of modernity, where the average citizen is too busy 'staring at their phones,' in broad daylight, the Velvet Bandit will use wallpaper adhesive and a paintbrush to plaster her amusing and lively paintings for the community to see.
The Velvet Bandit hails from Willits. She told us in the wake of a 23-year-marriage and subsequent divorce she sought art as a refuge and release. Living in Santa Rosa, last year she was positioned to show her art in a gallery when the pandemic forced it to close. She said, 'I have been an artist my entire life' so she decided to make public spaces her new gallery.
Her alias, The Velvet Bandit, originated from a green velvet couch she purchased after her divorce which she characterized as a 'symbol of independence.' She told us she began acquiring more velvet items around her home and when it came time to create a street artist name, her friend suggested the Velvet Bandit."
(Matt LeFever, Mendofever.com)
NEEDS A FLUSH
According to Sonoma Water’s monitoring data, the lower Russian River is loaded with excessive levels of phosphorus that, when combined with the hot sun and low flows, cause extensive algal growth that gets worse as flows decrease. Sometimes toxic algae is hidden under or on nontoxic varieties. Most people don’t know it when they see it, including experts who usually rely on its being tested in a lab. While it’s a natural outcome of environmental circumstances, it’s also a health concern for humans and pets.
Sonoma Water’s temporary urgency change petition, recently authorized by the state water board, acknowledges the extreme drought with which we are faced. That order says minimum flows at Hacienda Bridge can go as low as 25 cubic feet per second, rather than the 60 cfs we had requested. The lower amount could cut off tributaries from the main stem and cause bald spots in the main, etc.
Lower river residents helped pay for Warm Springs Dam, but Sonoma Water refuses to release adequate stored water to keep downstream pets and humans safe this summer. Sonoma Water customers will have first dibs on the supply. Half of the water Sonoma Water sells goes to out-of-basin customers, including some people fighting to cut off the Eel River supply.
Russian River Watershed Protection Committee
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 26, 2021
IRVING ACEVES-LIZARRAGA, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
TRAVIS BONSON, Ukiah. Parole violation.
THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
ANTOINETTE FLOREZ, Fresno/Ukiah. Getting credit using another’s ID, probation revocation.
JASON FRYMAN, Willits. DUI, suspended license for DUI, child endangerment, priors within ten years, probation revocation.
JACK FULLER, Willits. Domestic battery, resisting.
JOSE GASCO-GONZALEZ, Buenos Aires/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
VARINA KELLY, Fort Bragg. False reporting of planting of bomb, criminal threats.
MICHAEL LOCKETT, Laytonville. County parole violation.
SANDRA LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, burglary.
JONATAN MENDOZA-BACILIO, Covelo. Rape by force, violence, duress, menace, fear or bodily injury.
KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JOSE QUINONEZ-RECIO, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.
PEDRO ROSILLO-PAREDES, Ukiah. DUI.
LARRY WOLFE, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
In a world where conversations about science often get mired in pointless, bad-faith arguments, pitting cynical science denial against overheated science-based panic, it’s sometimes helpful to stare at tables of raw data. And the public hydrological data for California—to name just one state caught up in the drought—are horrifying.
Look for yourself, and you’ll see that, well, the water supply is down, no matter how you measure it. Measurements of reservoir storage, snowpack, and precipitation are all low in the dozens of places they’re measured (Yosemite, which saw low rainfall this season, but more than it saw last year at least, seems to be the lone exception that proves the rule).
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s drought monitor map is even scarier: blobs of “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought cover nearly three quarters of the western United States. And experts say the numbers are exactly as ominous as they might appear.
“Am I scared? You betcha,” said James Holland Jones, associate professor of Earth system science at Stanford whose research focuses on human ecology, or the ways humans interact with their environments.
For starters, he, too, is worried about fires. “It’s hot and dry and it’s only June,” Jones told The Daily Beast.
“YOU GET A TATTOO like this and a ’do like this, and wear a shirt where the tattoo shows, and you walk into a room of people and feel the animosity, the disapproval, the how-dare-you. You can feel it coming off them like heat off a stove. And the thing I want to ask them is, how have I deserved this, what have I done that so offends you? I have not asked you to cut your hair this way. I have not asked you what you thought of it, or to approve it.
So why do you feel this way towards me? If you can’t get past my ‘too—my tattoo—and my ‘do—the way I got my hair cut—it’s only because you have decided there are certain things that can be done with hair and certain things that cannot be done with hair. And certain of them are right and proper and decent, and the rest indicate a warped, degenerate nature; therefore I am warped and degenerate. ‘Cause I got my hair cut a different way, man? You gonna really live your life like that? What’s wrong with you, man?”
(Harry Crews, Getting Naked With Harry Crews: Interviews)
BECOMING A HUB
Am I the only one who is concerned about the increase in air traffic at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport? Two recent articles described planned flights: three additional flights to Southern California (“Alaska adding three flights at county airport,” April 16), and Avelo Airlines joining the other carriers for an unspecified number of trips (“County airport gains airline,” Press Democrat, April 9).
Are we not in danger of creating a major hub, such as in San Jose or Orange County, with all the accompanying noise, traffic and growth-inducing activity? What exactly is the status of the Sonoma County Airport Comprehensive Plan? I can find no currently adopted plan under which we are supposed to be operating.
Let’s get a grip on this activity before it turn into something we do not want or need. What would Charlie Brown say?
Jan A. Tolmasoff
CALIFORNIA’S EVICTION MORATORIUM EXTENSION: WHAT’S IN IT FOR TENANTS?
by Manuela Tobias
California renters, who are still struggling to pay the rent even as the pandemic wanes, will be shielded from eviction through Sept. 30, under a last-minute deal announced today by Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders.
The agreement, which more fully opens up $5.2 billion to pay full back rent and rent going forward, could become law as soon as Monday if approved by the Assembly and Senate. Newsom said he is eager to sign the bill before the existing protections expire on June 30.
In statements, Newsom and legislative leaders who negotiated the new protections said they would keep families from falling through the safety net as California reopens from COVID-19 and the economy recovers. “This proposal avoids a massive eviction cliff, allowing us to keep tenants in their homes and get landlords the financial support they need,” said Assembly Housing Chairperson David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat who put together the initial moratorium.
While advocacy groups representing tenants and landlords said they were shut out of the negotiations — similar to the last two rounds of negotiations — both sides managed to get some key provisions they wanted. Here are some key components of Assembly Bill 832:
Tenants would have a defense in court should their landlord evict them over non-payment of rent through Sept. 30. They still have to submit a declaration saying they are unable to make full rent, and pay at least 25% of their monthly rent between Sept. 1, 2020 and June 2021, or in bulk, by Sept. 30, to avoid eviction.
“If you are served with a 15-day notice and do not provide the declaration form to your landlord before the 15-day notice expires, you could be evicted,” the bill says.
Additional documentation, such as a bank statement proving a decrease in income, could be required in cases where a landlord has proof the tenant makes over a certain income.
Tenants will still need to abide by their lease in order to avoid eviction for reasons other than non-payment of rent.
Evictions over non-payment of rent could resume on Oct. 1, but people who make less than 80% of the area median income and were financially affected by COVID would have another six months to apply for rental assistance funds.
If the rent relief application goes through, the eviction process will be blocked, and landlords will be able to receive compensation for missed back rent. If the tenant is ineligible, however, the proceeding will continue.
Lupe Arreola, executive director of Tenants Together, said while the additional legal protections sound good in theory, they may not work in real life. “We’re saying that’s wishful thinking. We’re saying that’s not going to happen.”
So what about the money? The bill says tenants, as well as their landlords, will be able to apply for 100% of back rent and up to three months of forward rent. Previously, without landlord approval, a tenant was eligible for only 25% of missed rental payments.
That was a key ask from tenant advocates, and a source of worry for landlords, who said the provision would be abused. Tenants who receive rental assistance will acknowledge under penalty of perjury they will use the money to pay missed rent.
If the landlord still tries to evict the tenant over non-payment of rent, the court will be able to check whether the tenant received state dollars. If they paid the full amount to the landlord, the eviction will be blocked.
The bill also shields evictions over non-payment of rent from appearing on a tenant’s record, which hampers the ability to rent in the future.
Who is eligible for relief?
The tenant’s household income must be at or below 80% of the area median income during 2020 or 2021. Those income brackets vary by region. Tenants with an income below 50% will be prioritized. Assistance is available to tenants regardless of their immigration status.
Local jurisdictions distributing rental relief might have different rules, however; during the last round of funds in Los Angeles, for example, a two-person household couldn’t make more than $45,050.
The bill expands eligibility to tenants who may have moved out of their home during the pandemic, who were not covered previously. They can now apply for back rent owed to a previous landlord.
What does this deal mean for landlords?
Landlords will be unable to evict tenants over non-payment of rent through Sept. 30. To file an eviction lawsuit after that, the landlord must provide evidence to the court they applied for rental assistance. The case can only proceed if the tenant does not complete their application or qualify for aid.
Landlord groups, which hoped the protections would not be further extended, are frustrated by this provision.
“While there is some recognition of this distress in the deal by providing 100% in rent assistance and requirements for the tenants to use the funds to pay rent, we are very concerned as to when this moratorium will actually end,” Christine LaMarca, president of the California Rental Housing Association, which represents more than 20,000 landlords, said in a statement.
Landlords will still be able to evict tenants for a substantial remodel only if that is necessary to comply with health and safety standards, and if the owner of the property is selling it to a buyer who intends to occupy the property. They cannot, for example, sell to someone who intends to rent out the place.
Those restrictions might be tighter in certain localities, like Los Angeles, which passed a local moratorium earlier this week. But under the bill, other cities would not be able to enact stricter rules through March 2022, a provision supported by the California Apartment Association.
Landlords would be able to apply for 100% of back and forward rent. The previous law said a landlord could apply for 80% of missed rent payments and would have to forgive the remaining 20%; the new bill means that even those who applied for only partial refund will be receiving the missing funds.
If both a landlord and a tenant applied for funds, the money will go directly to the landlord. It will only go to the tenant if the landlord declines to participate in the program.
But the California Apartment Association said the state’s moratorium extension, and the federal extension through July announced Thursday, would not be necessary if the rent relief money was getting out to landlords and tenants.
“It is frustrating that the state of California and numerous local governments have not quickly disbursed funds to those in need, especially to mom-and-pop rental housing providers who have not seen any rent payments yet must still pay the mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance and other expenses,” association President Tom Bannon said in a statement.
What about the money?
The protections are tied to dollars; and lots of them. The state approved an additional $2.6 billion of rental assistance, plus an existing $2.6 billion, all from federal relief funding. That’s $5.2 billion available to cover the missed back rent and up to three months of forward rent.
An analysis by PolicyLink, an Oakland-based research group, suggests that about 758,000 households in California are behind on rent and owe a total of $3.5 billion.
“The linchpin in all of this is the billions of dollars we have from the federal government. We have got to urgently fix whatever has slowed the flow of that money to a trickle.”
Brian Augusta, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
That money has gone out at a snail’s pace. While billions have been available since January, the state has distributed from its pot only $61.6 million in relief to a little more than 5,000 households so far.
“The linchpin in all of this is the billions of dollars we have from the federal government,” Brian Augusta, legislative advocate for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, told CalMatters. “We have got to urgently fix whatever has slowed the flow of that money to a trickle.”
And to accelerate the rent relief rollout, the deal includes deadlines. According to Senate Democrats, the proposal says that state agencies, cities and counties that received the first $2.6 billion round in January 2021 must spend it all by Sept. 30, 2022. They have to spend the full second round of $2.6 billion by Sept. 30, 2025.
That all means that while tenants will be protected from eviction, the full amount of rent relief doesn’t have to reach tenants or landlords for several years. But to protect from evictions, tenants must apply for the funds as soon as possible.
Several cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, have reported demand for rental assistance far outweighed availability. The bill says that unspent funds will be redirected to those places with the highest need.
The bill also grants larger cities and counties the ability to administer their own rental funds, instead of having to rely on the state to administer a portion of those. That was a major request from local governments.
‘EVERYBODY KNOWS he’s out of his mind': Joe Rogan slams Biden for whispering during press conference
by Lawrence Richard
Podcast host Joe Rogan renewed his criticism of President Joe Biden, saying he is not a "real leader."
"Everybody knows he’s out of his mind," Rogan said during a segment on the Joe Rogan Experience with comedian Iliza Shlesinger.
Rogan, a veteran color commentator for the UFC, said history would not be kind to the 2020s or Biden’s presidency.
"In the future, they’re gonna be saying it's one of the most tumultuous periods in the history of the country," he said as Shlesinger agreed.
"We’ll look back, and it will be scary,” Shlesinger said. “Everybody was afraid of getting canceled, people were eating each other, nobody was listening to science."
“We are coming across as f****** idiots," Shlesinger added.
"Well, we’re unhinged, in a lot of ways,” Rogan agreed, because “we’re not anchored down by a real leader. You know, we don’t really have a real leader in this country anymore."
"You can say Joe Biden is the president, he’s our leader, and you’d be correct on paper but, I mean, everybody knows he’s out of his mind. He’s just barely hanging in there," he continued.
The duo then shifted their focus to fake news and cancel culture.
“Cancel culture doesn’t even want an apology in many cases. They just want to see someone burn,” Shlesinger contended. “It’s like medieval times. It’s like the Middle Ages. It’s a dark period.”
Rogan followed up: "There is a disconnect between other people, right? That’s happening when you’re attacking somebody online. They’re not near you, you’re not talking to them, they’re not a human, they are the other, and you can attack them in that way."
“If they get taken down, they lose their job, people like it. It’s like you scored a point, you’re playing a video game, you killed a bad guy," he concluded.
Rogan’s criticism comes just a day after Biden whispered during a press conference, prompting the phrase "creepy Joe" to trend on Twitter.
NO CRIME WAVE
One more time: there is no epidemic of crime.
There is an epidemic of homicide, but that's a very different thing. Violent crime rates have been essentially flat for the past five years and property crimes have continued their long-term decline.
OK, so what can Biden do about the outbreak of homicide? The answer: Nothing.
First off, crime is primarily a local problem, and there's very little the federal government can do about it. Second, nobody even knows why homicide spiked up last year, and there's no real way of addressing a problem like this until we have some idea of what caused it....
(Kevin Drum, Mother Jones)
IVERMECTIN: CAN A DRUG BE "RIGHT-WING"?
by Matt Taibbi
On December 31st of last year, an 80 year-old Buffalo-area woman named Judith Smentkiewicz fell ill with Covid-19. She was rushed by ambulance to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville, New York, where she was put on a ventilator. Her son Michael and his wife flew up from Georgia, and were given grim news. Judith, doctors said, had a 20% chance at survival, and even if she made it, she’d be on a ventilator for a month.
As December passed into the New Year, Judith’s health declined. Her family members, increasingly desperate, had been doing what people in the Internet age do, Googling in search of potential treatments. They saw stories about the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin, learning among other things that a pulmonologist named Pierre Kory had just testified before the Senate that the drug had a “miraculous” impact on Covid-19 patients. The family pressured doctors at the hospital to give Judith the drug. The hospital initially complied, administering one dose on January 2nd. According to her family’s court testimony, a dramatic change in her condition ensued.
“In less than 48 hours, my mother was taken off the ventilator, transferred out of the Intensive Care Unit, sitting up on her own and communicating,” the patient’s daughter Michelle Kulbacki told a court.
After the reported change in Judith’s condition, the hospital backtracked and refused to administer more. Frustrated, the family turned on January 7th to a local lawyer named Ralph Lorigo.
A commercial litigator and head of what he calls a “typical suburban practice,” with seven lawyers engaged in everything from matrimonial to estate work, Lorigo assigned one of his attorneys to review materials given to them by the family, which included Kory’s Senate testimony. The associate showed Lorigo himself the the material next morning. “I was so convinced by what Dr. Kory was saying,” Lorigo says. “I saw the passion and the belief.”
Lorigo immediately sued the hospital, filing to State Supreme Court to force the facility to treat according to the family’s wishes. Judge Henry J. Nowak sided with the Smentkiewiczes, signing an order that Lorigo and one of his attorneys served themselves, and after a series of quasi-absurd dramas that included the hospital refusing to let the Smentkiewicz family physician phone in the prescription — “the doctor actually had to drive to the hospital,” Lorigo says — Judith went back on ivermectin.
“She was out of that hospital in six days,” Lorigo says. After a month of rehab, his octogenarian client went back to her life, which involved working five days a week (she still cleans houses). Her story, complete with photo, was told in the News, causing Lorigo’s phone to begin ringing off the hook. Doppleganger cases soon began dotting the map all over the country.
One of the first was in nearby Rochester, New York, where the family of Glenna Dickinson went through an almost exactly similar narrative to the Smentkiewiczes: they read about ivermectin, got a family doctor to prescribe it, saw improvement, only to later have the hospital refuse treatment. Again Lorigo intervened, again a judge ordered the hospital to treat, again the patient recovered and was discharged.
Hospitals fought hard, hiring expensive law firms, at times going to extraordinary lengths to refuse treatment even with dying patients who’d exhausted all other options. At Edward-Elmhurst hospital in Chicago, a 68 year-old named Nurije Fype was admitted, put on a ventilator, and again, as all other treatments failed, her family got a judge to order the use of ivermectin. Lorigo claims the hospital initially refused to obey the court order, which led to the filing of a contempt motion, which in turn led to a pair of counter-motions and another confrontation before another befuddled Judge named James Orel.
“Why wouldn't this be tried if she's not improving?” the Chicago Tribune quoted Orel as saying. “Why does the hospital object to providing this medication?”
“He basically said, ‘What do you have left?’” Lorigo recounts.
“No one would administer the ivermectin. It’s as safe as aspirin, for Christ’s sake. It’s been given out 3.7 billion times. I couldn’t understand it.”
Stories like these aren’t proof the drug works. They don’t even really rise to the level of evidence. People recover from diseases all the time, and it doesn’t mean any particular treatment was responsible. Short of the gold standard of randomized controlled trials, there’s no proof. However, anecdotes have a power all their own, and in the Internet age, ones like these spread quickly. Lorigo estimates he now gets “10, 15, 20” calls and emails a day. At this level, at the bedside of a single Covid-19 patient who’s already received the full official treatment protocol and is failing anyway, the decision to administer a drug like ivermectin, or fluvoxamine, or hydroxychloroquine, or any of a dozen other experimental treatments, seems like a no-brainer. Nothing else has worked, the patient is dying, why not?
Telescope out a little further, however, and the ivermectin debate becomes more complicated, reaching into a series of thorny controversies, some ridiculous, some quite serious.
The ridiculous side involves the front end of Lorigo’s story, the same story detailed on this site last week: the censorship of ivermectin news that, no matter what one thinks about the evidence for or against, is clearly in the public interest.
Anyone running a basic internet search on the topic will get a jumble of confusing results. YouTube’s policies are beyond uneven. It’s been aggressive in taking down videos containing interviews with people like Kory and doling out strikes to independent media figures like Bret Weinstein, but an interview with Lorigo on News containing basically all of the same information is still up, as are clips from a just-taped episode of the Joe Rogan Experience that feature both Weinstein and Kory. Moreover, all sorts of statements at least as provocative as Kory’s “miraculous” formulation in the Senate still litter the Internet, many in reputable research journals.
Take, for instance, this passage from the March issue of the Journal of Antibiotics:
When the effectiveness of ivermectin for the COVID-19 pandemic is confirmed with the cooperation of researchers around the world and its clinical use is achieved on a global scale, it could prove to be of great benefit to humanity. It may even turn out to be comparable to the benefits achieved from the discovery of penicillin…
There clearly is not evidence that ivermectin is the next penicillin, at least as far as its effects on Covid-19. As is noted in nearly every mainstream story about the subject, the WHO has advised against its use pending further study, there have been randomized studies showing it to be ineffective in speeding recovery, and the drug’s original manufacturer, Merck, has said there’s no “meaningful evidence” of efficacy for Covid-19 patients. However, it’s also patently untrue, as is frequently asserted, that there’s no evidence that the drug might be effective.
This past week, for instance, Oxford University announced it was launching a large-scale clinical trial.
The study has already recruited more than 5,000 volunteers, and its announcement says what little is known to be true: that “small pilot studies show that early administration with ivermectin can reduce viral load and the duration of symptoms in some patients with mild COVID-19,” that it’s “a well-known medicine with a good safety profile,” and “because of the early promising results in some studies, it is already being widely used to treat COVID-19 in several countries.”
The Oxford text also says “there is little evidence from large-scale randomized controlled trials to demonstrate that it can speed up recovery from the illness or reduce hospital admission.” But to a person who might have a family member suffering from the disease, just the information about “early promising results” would probably be enough to inspire demands for a prescription, which might be the problem, of course. Unless someone was looking for that information, they likely wouldn’t find it, as mainstream news even of the Oxford study has been effectively limited to a pair of Bloomberg and Forbes stories.
Ivermectin has suffered the same fate as thousands of other news topics since Donald Trump first announced his run for the presidency nearly six years ago, cleaved in two to inhabit separate factual universes for left and right audiences. Repurposed drugs generally have had a hard time being taken seriously since Trump announced he was on hydroxychloroquine last year, and ivermectin clearly also suffers from its association with Republican Senators like Ron Johnson. Still, the drug’s publicity issues go beyond the taint of “conservative” news.
The drug has become a test case for a controversy that’s long been building in health care, about how much input patients should have in their own treatment. Well before Covid-19, the medical profession was thrust into a revolution in patient information, inspired by a combination of Google and new patients’ rights laws.
Should people on their deathbeds be allowed to try anything to save themselves? That seems like an easy question to answer. Should the entire world be allowed to practice self-care on a grand scale? That’s a different issue. Some would say absolutely not, while others would say the corruption of pharmaceutical companies and the medical system unfortunately make it a necessity. The world is increasingly divided along this trust/untrust axis.
CALIFORNIA WAS SUPPOSED TO GET PROTECTION from backyard oil drilling. Another missed deadline.
by Dan Bacher
On June 21, the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM), the agency in charge of regulating oil and gas operations, missed yet another deadline to draft public health regulations to protect people living near oil and gas wells.
This is the second major delay in the release of a “discussion draft” of the rule, after the agency failed to release a rule by the end of 2020, according to a statement by VISION (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods), a coalition of frontline, environmental justice, and public health and safety community groups focused on the impact of oil and gas extraction on communities in Kern and Los Angeles Counties:
The deadline of “by the end of Spring 2021” passed as the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Prediction Center forecasted that a “record-breaking and dangerous heatwave” is coming to the West starting this weekend as a severe drought, combined with poor water management, has resulted in dramatically low water conditions at reservoirs throughout the state and massive fish kills on the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers. “Over 80 sites are forecast to break daily high temperature records starting this weekend. All-time June monthly records could also be broken in some locations in the Pacific Northwest,” a tweet from the Service stated.
Unlike other oil and gas producing states, including North Dakota, Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania, California has zero setbacks between oil and gas wells as homes, hospitals, child care centers and other facilities. Unlike in other states, the fossil fuel industry can build and oil or gas well right next to your home in California. Yet California politicians continue to still portray the state as the nation’s “green” and “progressive” leader.
“CalGEM was tasked with developing a proposed oil and gas buffer rule by Governor Gavin Newsom in a November 2019 directive,” according to VISION. “The directive, which was applauded by environmental justice communities and advocates, required the Department of Conservation to establish a transparent set of rules to protect residents living near oil and gas extraction sites. CalGEM, however, continues to drag its feet.” More than five million Californians live within a mile of active oil and gas operations, according to VISION. Proximity to oil production sites increases exposure to toxic chemicals and byproducts of California’s industrial oil operations that take place just feet away from homes, schools, parks, and hospitals.
“For years, affected frontline residents and environmental justice advocates have called on CalGEM to consider the health impacts of neighborhood oil and gas drilling, including: preterm birth, low birth weights, asthma and other respiratory diseases, hospitalization for heart failure, fatigue, stress, severe cases of COVID-19 and cancers. In California, neighborhood oil and gas extraction threatens life expectancy and overwhelmingly affects low-income communities and Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other communities of color, a clear form of environmental racism,” the coalition stated.
“This summer, those same residents left unprotected from neighborhood oil and gas drilling are also facing increasingly dangerous air pollution, wildfire smoke, and heat,” the coalition wrote. In early 2020, CalGEM convened a set of pre-rulemaking public health workshops, and the agency later received an executive order from Governor Gavin Newsom that set a deadline for a draft rule on setbacks by December 31, 2020.
“Thousands of frontline community residents and environmental advocates attended in-person and online webinars hosted by CalGEM to urge the agency to develop a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer to protect communities,” VISION stated. “Over 40,000 public comments overwhelmingly in support of a minimum 2,500 ft setback were submitted, the most received in the agency’s history, yet CalGEM missed the December 2020 deadline to produce a health rule.”
The group noted that the agency then took months to contract academic public health experts to weigh in, though the state’s own scientists already identified the health threats posed by proximity to oil sites six years ago. The results of the public health expert panel’s recommendation have not been made public, nor has a draft rule been released. Frontline community members and VISION member organizations commented on their dismay with the delay, regarded as just another in a long line of delays that reinforces California’s legacy of environmental racism and injustice that is sustained by Deep Regulatory Capture by the oil and gas industries.
“This delay is sadly unsurprising,” said Anabel Marquez, President of the Committee for a Better Shafter. “For communities like ours that live in these conditions every day, we are forgotten and never prioritized. We are told our lives and well-being do not matter as much as their political ambitions. The public supports this, scientific evidence supports this, and we continue to see that our loved ones are dying. We have seen both the California legislature and the Governor continue to fail us and view us as expendable. How long will we have to wait for our lives to mean as much as theirs?”
“How much longer are our communities supposed to wait?” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Coordinator, Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods (VISIÃ“N). “This delay is just another in a long line that reinforces California’s legacy of environmental racism and injustice. VISIÃ“N will keep fighting for setbacks and to protect all residents from the possibility of Big Oil setting up shop across the street to pollute our homes and schools. We are dismayed that CalGEM has further delayed critical public health protections and relief from fossil fuel pollution for frontline communities by not releasing the draft rule. The science is clear: 2500 ft or greater setbacks between communities and oil/gas production sites can reduce exposure to carcinogens and other air toxics. There is no excuse for the delay nor for withholding the public health panel’s recommendations, while continuing to expand fossil fuel operations that endanger the health and safety of communities of color.”
“For our communities, this delay is more than just a bureaucratic misstep,” said Dr. Catherine Garoupa White, Executive Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition (CVAQ). “For us, it means more emergency room visits, more cancer diagnoses, and more missed days of school and work from asthma attacks and other health impacts. Despite the epidemic levels of sickness in the San Joaquin Valley caused by being one of the most polluted air basins in the nation for particle and ozone pollution, our state and local governments refuse to do the bare minimum to protect people from the oil and gas industry’s harmful pollutants: We demand 2,500 setbacks now.”
“Dangerous air has set environmental justice communities back for long enough. Putting off the long overdue protections shows Californians that CalGEM is still willing to sacrifice low-income communities,” said Cesar Aguirre, community organizer with Central California Environmental Justice Network. “It is clear CalGEM does not respect the urgency needed to prevent further damage and inequity in our communities. Living in proximity to oil operations causes birth defects, respiratory damage, and exposes Californians to cancer causing chemicals. The science is clear, lack of action is disrespectful to environmental justice communities. We deserve better.”
“Public health leaders have been ringing the alarm about the adverse health impacts of living near oil drilling for decades,” said Martha Dina Arguello, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles. “There is a growing body of evidence that living near oil and gas wells adversely impacts health including increases in preterm birth that can have lasting negative impacts on both mother and child. The delayed health and safety rule is another disappointing failure of leadership. Elected officials and regulators must do their jobs and protect the health of people living next to this inherently dangerous practice.”
“Our communities cannot wait any longer. Our lives and health cannot be overlooked for the sake of the oil industry. This delay will continue to affect the health of thousands of frontline communities who live in close proximity to these sites,” said Wendy Miranda, Wilmington resident with Communities for A Better Environment. “We don’t deserve the constant headaches, nosebleeds, and asthma attacks that we get on a day-to-day basis. We deserve to breathe clean air. We need a minimum 2,500 ft setback now.”
VISION is a member of the Last Chance Alliance, a broad coalition that sent Newsom an open letter on June 21 urging him to:
1. “Direct CalGEM to issue a public health rule that includes at least a 2,500-foot setback between new and existing fossil fuel operations and all sensitive sites.
2. Issue a moratorium on all new oil or gas permits within 2,500 feet of homes, schools and other sensitive sites until the rulemaking process has delivered equal or stronger protections for new and existing permits.” Last Chance Alliance describes itself as an alliance of more than 750 public health, environmental justice, climate, and labor organizations united to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to end fossil fuel extraction across California and build a just climate future where every community can thrive. Uduak-Joe Ntuk, California’s oil and gas supervisor, was not made available for an interview with the Associated Press at press time on Tuesday. However, Lisa Lien-Mager, a spokeswoman for the California Natural Resources Agency that oversees CalGEM, told the AP that the issue is complex and requires more time.
Regulators “continue to work toward developing science-based health and safety regulations to protect communities and workers from the impacts of oil extraction activities,” she said in an email to AP reporter Kathleen Ronayne.
I have written hundreds of articles on this website documenting the reason for California’s failure to protect the public from oil and gas drilling — capture of the Governor’s Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies by Big Oil.
On April 27, Amy Moas of Greenpeace began a series of pieces profiling some of the many ways that the fossil fuel industry exerts pressure across California’s government with a well-written and well-researched piece, “California’s Fossil Fuel Friendships — Part 1. Votes for Polluters over People.” These reports confirm the results of my extensive research over the past decade.
“Through lobbying, insider influence, campaign spending and more, the fossil fuel industry has secured friends within the Governor’s office, and at the legislative and regulatory levels resulting in cuts to public health and climate ambitions,” she wrote: www.greenpeace.org/
In her first piece, she reported on the 4 lawmakers holding up crucial health protections for more than 2 million Californians living near drilling, focusing on two bills — AB 345 in 2020 and SB467 in 2021- that would have required health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells for the first time.*
Official findings compiled by Moas reveal that those four lawmakers — State Senator Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg, Senator Ben Hueso, Senator Susan Eggman and Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins — received a total of $288,607 in donations from the oil and gas industry.*
COAST DEMS IN-PERSON MEETING WITH TED WILLIAMS
Caspar Community Center Back Deck
Thursday, July 1, 2021, 5:00 — 7:00 PM
All Politics Is Local — Let’s Talk With Ted
District 5 Supervisor Ted Williams
Come For A Candid Discussion And Sharing Of Ideas
Climate - Grassroots Institute Projects' Funding
Can we count on it?
Why are we requesting an audit of the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office?
What questions do you have for Sheriff Kendal?
Redistricting - Our Representation
Status of State process
Status of County process
Stop The Trump-Republican Recall Of Our
How you can help?
No mask required for fully vaccinated. Otherwise, please mask up
To Reserve a Chair: RSVP to Karenbowersu2@gmail.com or bring your own
Drinks & snacks provided. Please bring your own water bottle.
Dems Vote 2020 Tee Shirts & Wine Glasses - Free!