Marine Clouds | 19 New Cases | Hering Home | William Kramer | Furnace Creek | Boonfire Appearance | PO Move | 123' Tall | Lumber Camp | Coastal Cases | Industrial Candles | Slugger Vaughan | Gualala Hotel | Caspar Dump | Yesterday's Catch | Aging Hippies | Slavery Chapter | Soul Summer | Good Books | Branson's Check | Billionaire Kings | 64 Rounds | AC | I Like Men | Music Teacher | Frack Water | Texas Politics
THE GRADUAL COOLING TREND will continue for the inland areas with Friday and Saturday seeing the coolest temperatures. Sunday and into early next week the heat starts to build back in. At the coast the marine clouds are expected to continue to dominate, although as there is better chance for some afternoon clearing late in the week. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 104°, Yorkville 96°, Boonville 88°, Fort Bragg 58°
19 NEW COVID CASES (since last Friday) reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
DIANE HERING IS HOME. Her many friends in the Anderson Valley and beyond are happy to see Diane out of the hospital and back where she belongs.
WILLIAM L. KRAMER
Captain USMC Retired, 1935 - 2021
A guiding light to many, William Lovell Kramer, Captain USMC Retired, passed away on Saturday, July 3, 2021 at the age of 86.
He was born January 8, 1935, at the Point Arena Lighthouse in Mendocino County. His grandfather, Lovel Hamilton, was the lighthouse keeper. Bill spent his early years on the Mendocino Coast with his parents, Helen Arline Hamilton and George William McMillen.
After graduating from Healdsburg High School in 1952, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps. After graduating from recruit training, he became a drill instructor. Bill is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. He served honorably in the Marines for twenty years, earning several awards and medals. Bill's experience in the Marines played a very important role in his life. He frequently pointed out that the Marines taught him the value of discipline, teamwork and investing in a cause larger than himself.
While home on leave, he met and married Betty Lou Frye in 1957. They had three children: David, Christina and Stephen and settled in Windsor, then in Santa Rosa.
After Bill retired from the Marines as a Captain, he obtained a BA Degree from Sonoma State University with a double major in Physics and English. He worked for Weigh Tronix as the Manager of the Postal Division and retired in 1997. Bill also taught electronics courses at SRJC. Although he and Betty divorced, they remained close. Bill married Joan Kramer in 1989 and they moved to Hidden Valley Lake in 1998.
There was nothing Bill liked better than making (and eating) sourdough pancakes with his family. The gatherings were a huge joy. He loved photography and built his own darkroom. He was an avid golfer for many years and a legendary cribbage player. Devoted to animals, he loved his German Shepard "King." A voracious reader, he enjoyed Shakespeare and historical nonfiction. Sports was another passion and he loved watching his children and grandchildren. Bill was a very kind and brave man and will be missed by many.
Bill is survived by former spouses Betty Kramer and Joan Kramer; daughter Christina Kramer (Justin Reilly), sons David (Tammy Durston) Kramer and Steve (Amy) Kramer, six grandchildren and many other family and friends. We are thankful to Lena, his caregiver as well as the Middletown Senior Center for their assistance.
A public service with full military Honors will be at Santa Rosa Memorial Park Shiloh Annex, 1750 Shiloh Road, Windsor on July 15 at 2:30 p.m. Afterwards, family and friends are invited to a reception at the Windsor Grange, 9161 Starr Road, Windsor. The family suggests memorials to The Wounded Warrior Project.
Funeral Home: Eggen & Lance Chapel - Santa Rosa, 1540 Mendocino Ave. Santa Rosa, CA
Upcoming Service: July, 15 2021, 2:30p.m. Santa Rosa Memorial Park Shiloh Annex
YOU THINK UKIAH'S HOT?
BOONFIRE! Hey there valley beer &/or music lovers...Boonfire’s performing this Friday afternoon at AVBC 4:30-6:30pm! Come at 4 for the farmers market then hang out for great music & beer with friends!
AV OLD TIMER JOAN BURROUGHS WRITES: "You and the Major are to be complimented for the great ava daily and the AVA news!! The recent interview by Steve Sparks with Don Shanley was one of Steve's best; he has done a whole lot of great interviews. Good job all around and now coming to us in color, too!! The county information is very interesting. Rather disturbing but not surprising. Good stuff.
Also, Marshall Newman's stories are well done - his pictures are very interesting. I think that Comfort Resting Area was on Mountain View at the Hanes Ranch. John Hanes would know, that is where that murder took place over a fence. Hanes killed Crispin because he forgot to close the gate between their properties on more than one occasion. The fence weighed 400 pounds (another exaggeration), Crispin was described as pretty small and thought Hanes built it to weigh a ton just to cause trouble.
I remember my grandmother mentioning how the building at the bottom of Mtn. View heading up the hill (where the old Anderson place was situated) was a stable available to travelers to get fresh horses for the route to the coast and stop for a little comfort. Hmmmm. Katheryn Eubanks and her husband remodeled the old stable into a house, it was once owned by a Babcock who was at least 123 feet tall. Not a typo. He is in one of the pictures in the Boonville box.
I need to get that info back to you so it will be preserved and shared. I need to scan the stuff, my old scanner quit a long time ago but I think my printer will get the job done so I can email you some of it before too long. The job is on the list - sort of dangling out there..."
BUT NONE AT WALMART OR ANY OTHER BIG BUSINESS
Public Notice: Positive COVID-19 Cases Identified among:
Chowder House and Tap Room June 27th – June 28th
790 Port Rd, Point Arena
Trinks Café June 28th – July 3rd
39140 S. HWY 1 Gualala
Cove Azul Bar & Grill June 28th – June 29th
Cypress Village, 39102 Ocean Dr, Gualala
With these confirmed cases, members of the public who have attended these locations might have been exposed to COVID-19, and are advised to seek COVID-19 testing if unvaccinated, or to seek testing if exhibiting symptoms while vaccinated.
Public Health is prepared for the possibility of outbreaks due to increased close contact during the summer months. Public Health still urges members of the public to exercise their best judgment when making decisions that might affect their health and the health of the community. We appreciate the cooperation of the above local businesses to find those who could be exposed, and Public Health only publishes their names when we are unable to specifically identify everyone in the public who could have been exposed.
Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren would like to emphasize the importance of staying home from work when exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell.
We ask that the community stay vigilant and follow the guidance outlined by the California Department of Public Health and Mendocino County Public Health. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and masking, contact the Mendocino County Public Health COVID19 Call Center at (707) 472-2759 or visit our website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19.
The following are statements from the affected restaurants:
“As a fourth generation Mendocino County resident the health and safety of my community is always of utmost importance to me. We have, and will continue to, follow all health and safety protocols. I would also like to urge everyone to get vaccinated so that business disruptions like we have experienced on the south coast will end.”
Tracy Du Pont
The Pier Chowder House & Tap Room
“Trinks Café in Gualala has always taken the safety of community to heart. Recently, we closed because an employee tested positive for COVID19. We immediately followed all the protocols set out by the Mendocino County Health Department. After complete sanitization, we re-opened but shutting down our business adversely affected so many aspects of so many people's lives. Our staff, our customers, ourselves and our wider community. We encourage everyone to get completely vaccinated so that we can all live on without fear and anxiety.”
“Cove Azul Bar & Grill recently had one of our employees test positive for the Covid19 virus. The restaurant was closed and all sanitation protocols were put in place. We value our community and its safety is very important to us. We hope that everyone in our community and our valued visitors stay safe and healthy. Vaccinations are very important to ensure that this is possible.”
Cove Azul Bar & Grill
A UKIAH RESIDENT WONDERS...WTF IS THIS?
HIS DAD WAS RAISED IN BOONVILLE! PRESENTING ANDREW VAUGHAN!
The Chicago White Sox had a rather stressful win on Sunday afternoon. The Baltimore Orioles were down to their final out before Trey Mancini hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Liam Hendriks is an All-Star closer so we don’t see these things too often. Adam Engel bailed him out with a three-run home run in the top of the 10th and the White Sox hung on to win 7-5.
It was close in the end but that isn’t the biggest story from this game. Of course, Dylan Cease had a nice start, Tim Anderson is on a 12 game hitting streak, and Michael Kopech had another inning where he struck out the side but Andrew Vaughn is the story. He hit two home runs in this game to give the White Sox a chance to win the ballgame in the end.
Each home run was to a different part of the field which tells you that he is starting to spray to all fields. They were his ninth and tenth home runs of the season to wrap up his first rookie half. Being on pace for around 20 home runs as a rookie isn’t a bad place to be at all. He might even eclipse that if he starts to get even hotter as the year goes along.
Vaughn was penciled in as a potential DH before the season began but nothing was guaranteed. When Eloy Jimenez injured himself, Vaughn was pegged as the guy who could replace him in left field. Not only has he played the position well enough to keep that job, but he has also excelled.
The fact that he was able to hit two out to end the pre-All-Star portion of the schedule is good for everyone involved. He will be an All-Star-caliber hitter in short order which is going to look really nice in a lineup with other All-Star-caliber hitters. He has the potential to be one of the best hitters on one of the best teams.
When they resume after the break, you can expect Vaughn to start a run. He is starting to really polish off as a hitter which is great. He was already crushing left-handed pitching so it was good to see his second home run of the game come against a righty. If he can continue to hit the way he has been lately, he will be a big part of a deep playoff run.
GUALALA HOTEL SOLD
The iconic Gualala Hotel has sold again. There was a public notice in the current ICO for the intent to transfer of the liquor license and bulk sale of the fixtures, furnishings and equipment. The sales price of the liquor license was $100,000, the fixtures, furnishings and equipment $34,400.
The buyer is Shammas Enterprises LLC in Vacaville. Shammas Enterprises LLC is owned by Milad aka Milo Lou Shammas. Milo Shammas is the owner of Dr. Earth products. They have a line of organic fertilizers, herbicides and soils. The products get good reviews in the usual places.
It's unclear if the real property has also been sold to Shammas Enterprises but the for sale sign is gone. Real property sales do not require a public notice, generally we learn about new owners of a commercial property in news articles. We will need to wait until the ICO catches up with that information.
CASPAR AT THE CROSSROADS
Prepared for the July 19 meeting of the Caspar Transfer Station Coordinating Committee meeting staff.
Background And Overview
The Caspar Transfer Station Coordinating Committee (Coordinating Committee) met on March 25, 2021 to review the status of the Central Coast Transfer Station, take public comment, and provide direction to staff. Briefly, issues regarding the ultimate location of the transfer station, its operations, and how to minimize its impacts were discussed. Three locations are presently under consideration: Pudding Creek (Waste Management) site, the existing Caspar site, and the proposed site along Highway 20. If the Highway 20 site is to be pursued, then the previous land swap is desired to be recreated. Operational issues include investigating alternatives to a traditional transfer station that trucks solid waste to a distant disposal location. Impacts of the various sites initially discussed were those involving traffic as well as effects on nearby neighbors.
The central coast of Mendocino County is served by two primary solid waste handling facilities. One is the transfer station and buy-back location located on Pudding Creek Road in north Fort Bragg which is owned and operated by Waste Management. The other is the transfer station and recycling location owned jointly by the City and County operated by Solid Waste of Willits (SWOW). Smaller collection sites can be found elsewhere along the coast. From these two transfer stations, solid waste is consolidated and transported to the SWOW transfer station in Willits for further processing. After additional diversion and recycling of the solid waste there, the remaining waste is transported to the Potrero landfill near Suisun City/Fairfield in Solano County.
Solid Waste collection, diversion, and disposal are regulated in the State of California by the Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 (IWMA) starting at Section 40000 of the Public Resources Code (PRC). It is also referred to as AB 939. A short review of some of the definitions used in the Act will help contextualize solid waste terminology as implemented by the IWMA. The full text of relevant definitions are attached as Exhibit A.
Three sites are being treated as the primary options for providing consolidated solid waste services to the central coast. A fourth alternative would be the “Status Quo” choice with the handling of curbside pick-up at the Waste Management site. Self-haul trash with some solid waste management at the Caspar transfer station before hauling everything to the SWOW facility in Willits for intermediate processing with ultimate disposal at a landfill.
o Pudding Creek Site (Waste Management - WM - transfer station)
This is the existing WM transfer station and collection point for all curbside garbage, recycling, and green-waste pick-up along central coast. It does not accept self-haul waste at this time; however it does take some self-haul recyclables. It would need significant upgrades to bring it up-to-date. There are approximately 63 residences nearby. There appears to have been only minimal complaints. This site and the transfer station at Caspar have substantial overlap in services provided. It would make sense to eliminate this duplication.
Increasing the amount of activity at the Waste Management transfer station on Pudding Creek Road could also potentially trigger the need for upgraded traffic control at its intersection with Highway 1 (N. Main Street), (e.g.. the installation of traffic signals). This intersection is approximately 400 feet north of the Highway 1 bridge over Pudding Creek. There are not any expected conflicts between the bridge and a signalized intersection at Pudding Creek Road. There are concerns over the amount of truck traffic through downtown Fort Bragg. With the previous discontinuance of “pods” in favor of transfer trucks, truck traffic has since decreased significantly. It is estimated that should this be the long-term transfer station location, transfer truck traffic would increase by one or two trips a day. Waste Management has been contacted and is willing to work with the County/City to further develop their Pudding Creek site, “contingent on WM being the solid waste provider for the City of Fort Bragg or Mendocino County”.
The Hwy 20 EIR concluded that this site was inferior due to truck traffic through downtown Fort Bragg, proximity to residences, and was not immediately available for public ownership.
o Caspar Site
The Hwy 20 EIR concluded that the Caspar site is inferior due to aesthetics, energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and transportation safety. There have been no major regulatory or permit compliance issues.
Litter control needs to be improved. Caltrans is concerned about the left turn pocket on southbound Highway 1 on to CR 409 and waiting traffic backing up on to Caspar Creek bridge.
The Caspar transfer station site is presently zoned Public & Semi-Public Facility with a Use Permit for “major impact services and utilities” (solid waste handling facility). Expansion or modification of operations would involve revising a number or permits. The southwest area of the transfer station site is within the coastal zone. Substantial environmental review can be expected. There is sufficient open or disturbed area to preclude any loss of sensitive habitat.
The Caspar neighbors have been informally promised that the transfer station would be moved from the current site to the Hwy 20 site assuming its successful development. This assumption is questionable without a successful land swap.
o Highway 20 site
As originally proposed, this site was intended to be a Design-Build-Operate project to be incorporated into the next solid waste management franchise agreement. Access and traffic circulation were considered to be relatively easy to handle. There are approximately 13 residences within 1,000 feet of the site.
Can the land swap be revived or possibly recreated elsewhere? JDSF’s participation was authorized by an act of the State Legislature as found in PRC Section 4659 (Exhibit B). The essence of the State Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) concerns are that they are not receiving land of equal value to that they are offering. They also did not want to be party to a land swap that could harm pygmy forest/Bishop Pine habitat.
At the time of the collapse of the original three-way land swap, DPR management concluded that these obstacles could not be overcome and withdrew from the land swap. Since that time, management has changed and may reconsider the land swap if all their concerns can be addressed and mitigated.
Staff is contacting neighboring timber companies for any interest in providing land for a two-way exchange or acquisition. However, it does not appear that there is much timberland available to the City or County that could be exchanged. In addition, public agencies are strictly limited in what they can offer of value in purchasing land.
The following timber companies have responded. At one time, Redwood Empire Sawmills of Cloverdale expressed an interest in providing some land toward the transfer station project in exchange for the County rezoning approximately five acres elsewhere suitable for some sort of development. They have recently stated that they are no longer interested in this transaction.
The Mendocino Redwood Company of Windsor is still willing to work with us regarding a more complex land exchange. They currently have limited easements along numerous logging roads within the JDSF. They desire permanent rights of way along Forest Roads 50, 800, 1000, and 250. In exchange, they will extinguish their rights to all other roads in JDSF. More importantly, they are willing to offer JDSF a parcel of land that in turn would equal the value of a parcel of land which JDSF could give to the County/City.
JDSF has stated that the land exchange authorized by PRC 4659 cannot be modified. Otherwise, they are willing to review once again any proposal consistent with the original land swap. PRC 4659 very specifically spells out the three pieces of land being authorized for the three-way land swap to those that were originally contemplated. A land swap involving Mendocino Redwood Company would appear to be excluded and a change to the language in PRC 4659 would likely be required.
Primary concerns regarding the proposed Hwy 20 site included, proximity to residences, habitat loss (pygmy forest and Bishop Pine forest), and potential contamination of City’s water supply. Ultimately, the land-swap collapsed before it could be completed. It was concluded to not pursue this site as direct acquisition would be too costly. The Hwy 20 EIR was certified in 2016 and would need to be updated, sections requiring attention include, biological/botanical, and potentially others. Modifications to the proposed design may also trigger other updates; potential sources of design changes could be SB 1383 compliance or new storm-water regulations. Choosing a new site along Hwy 20 would require a new EIR.
The proposed site on Hwy 20 is presently zoned Timber Production Zone (TPZ), it would need to be re-zoned, probably to Public & Semi-Public Facility (PF) as well as a Use Permit for “major impact services and facilities”.
Alternatives to trucking coastal solid waste long distances inland were examined. Section 40051 of the IWMA encapsulates the policy goals for solid waste management in California. The intent is to maximize source reduction, recycling and composting while minimizing transformation and land disposal.
Source reduction is intended to reduce the creation of waste avoiding anything even entering the waste stream. In this context, transformation is specifically and statutorily excluded. Recycling is a form of waste diversion that returns materials back into the economic mainstream for other beneficial uses. Again, transformation is specifically excluded. Finally, composting is the biological decomposition of organic materials as long as a hazardous waste is not created. Closely related is biomass conversion. It allows for the production of heat, fuels or electricity through thermal conversion that may include combustion or non-combustion. However, use of these technologies is limited.
Transformation of solid waste is considered to be: incineration (thermal combustion), pyrolysis (a thermal process without combustion), distillation, or biological conversion other than composting. Gasification, EMSW conversion, and biomass conversion are specifically excluded. Gasification is a technology that produces a fuel without relying on a combustion process. This technology cannot produce air contaminants (including greenhouse gasses) or hazardous waste(s). EMSW conversion refers to “Engineered Municipal Solid Waste” conversion. It must meet similar safety requirements as a Gasification process in addition to other prescriptive standards for moisture content, energy content, and a limit on conversion capacity.
The definition of solid waste disposal brings together landfill disposal, transformation, and EMSW conversion as the end-of-life management of solid waste. They are essentially all treated equally. Under Section 41781 of the IWMA, waste diversion excludes landfill disposal, transformation, and EMSW conversion from diversion calculations. Any technoloy or technique that is considered a transformation or EMSW conversion is not a practical alternative to landfill disposal.
There is still the possibility of utilizing some sort of biomass conversion technology. Aerobic/anaerobic digestion (biological decomposition) of biosolids (organic waste) is a composting technology per PRC Section 40116. The upgrade or development costs are likely similar for all three sites. There are significant hurdles to be overcome that would require substantial, additional investigation.
Solid Waste operations are also required to follow the requirements of “SB 1383 – Organic Waste Regulations”. The next round of regulations become effective January 1, 2022. They are primarily:
- Reduce landfilled organic waste
- Recover disposed edible food
The best understanding at this time is that SB 1383 will involve diverting organics out the waste stream before they reach a transfer station and increasing the use of recycled materials.
Mr. Jerry Ward of SWOW has proposed various improvements to the Caspar site to increase the efficiency of operations there. He most recently summarized this proposal in a memo the Joint Committee dated March 31, 2021 (Exhibit C).
Initial, temporary improvements are underway and include a transition from the use of debris box collection system to “possum belly” trailers that collect waste and recyclable materials in larger loads. These trailers allow for fewer trips to SWOW’s Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Willits and are easier to process. This of course reduces greenhouse emissions and fuel usage.
Other, longer term improvements are envisioned:
a) Increase the height of the ramp area by raising the ramp and/or lowering the base of the loading area for transfer trailers. The top of the ramp becomes a tipping floor for self-haul household and bulky waste. This will allow for larger trailers/containers to further reduce trips.
b) The ramp area dedicated to self-haulers will be increased in size to allow faster unloading and shorter waits.
c) On-site equipment will push this material into the adjoining trailer. Additionally, the equipment operator will be able to inspect the waste before it is moved into the trailer and not rely solely on a self-hauler honor system. This will decrease the contamination of solid waste with recyclables or hazardous waste. Furthermore, with on-site inspection in Caspar, this waste no longer needs any more inspection or processing. It can then bypass the Willits MRF and go directly to the landfill saving time, and greenhouse gas emissions.
d) The self-haul potion of the ramp will be paved in concrete, the rest in asphalt. The trailer loading area on the other side of the ramp will also be paved.
e) This loading area will be enclosed on three sides and roofed over. The various paving improvements plus the enclosure will reduce litter and improve the control of potential spills.
f) Adjacent to the office and pay station is a small covered area with small bins for household garbage. It will be replaced with a larger, covered structure sized to hold standard trailers. Several of the recycling stations currently in the open will be relocated here. Again, this upsizing will reduce trips and reduce litter/spill risks.
g) Similar to self-haul household trash, the new tipping floor at the top of the ramp will be used to inspect self-haul recyclables and then transfer actual recyclables into a walking trailer for transport to the Willits MRF.
A Financial Analysis of the three options plus “Status Quo” would be a useful tool in completing a full review of the merits and shortcomings of the four possible choices under consideration. The County’s contract solid waste manager has estimated a cost of $20,000 to $25,000 to perform this analysis. Biomass conversion technology can also be an added choice for this analysis at additional cost.
Full report with exhibits & attachments: cityfortbragg.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=9611692&GUID=2D89D024-6F88-45ED-B25E-65DD6AE75FC3
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 12, 2021
JOSE AYALA, Ukiah. Controlled substance/narcotic/organic drugs transportation/for sale/sale of while armed with fiream in commission of felony, loaded firearm in public, smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail.
RICARDO CAMPOS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JESUS CHAVEZ-MARTINEZ, Fortuna/Ukiah. DUI.
JESSE CONNOLLY, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear.
CARRIE CORDOVA-DALSON, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KEIYARA JOHNSON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
LEE LONG, Ukiah. False personation of another, community supervision violation, county parole violation.
ISAI LOPEZ, Eureka/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ROBERT MCKEE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DANIEL OLMSTEAD, Ukiah. Domestic battery, child endangerment, probation revocation.
MELINA SALAZAR, Fort Bragg. Stolen vehicle, grand theft, stolen property, resisting, probation revocation.
BIG SALAD / LITTLE LIFE
From cardboard tortillas and Rosarita can beans
to munching huge salads with copious greens
My cabin was a playground for mice, rats, and skunks
and finally the raccoon took over the upper bunk
I came out of the woods and saw smiling women around
then back over the mountain on the lonely road out of town
How did I end up in the middle of nowhere anyway
the easy times seduced me and then I just stayed
Have you ever found yourself in a whole different life
then thirty years later wake up trapped in paradise
Friends told friends and naked hippies filled the hills
growing veggie and weed gardens without any frills
Just by accident we established an industry
harvesting our crops and getting paid generously
Stoners everywhere loved the taste of Humboldt weed
that name kept the state high without stems or seeds
There were plenty of joints rolled up all day long
it didn't seem like there was anything wrong
When the munchies kicked in my belly got fatter
no one ever said hey big guy what's the matter?
Hippie mamas got pregnant and births were like parties
we celebrated new life with our six packs and fatties
We were all free to make our own silly choices
many mistakes were made and other odd noises
Why do we want to look so far back in time
our lives as dirty hippies wasn't always sublime
What did we really want and where were we going
the weed-farming life was interesting and boring
Watching the huge plants grow was exciting
and the cool river swims always inviting
Under those waters it was like back to the womb
submerged in placid isolation with no algae bloom
Now all the rustic hippies are older, maybe wiser
many have left us and we're the survivors
Yeah I finally got a clue and made a medicinal stew
my plate piled high with beets, parsley and kale too
— Paul Modic
THE SUMMER OF SOUL: MUSICAL RACE THEORY ONSTAGE
by Steve Heilig
There are so many worthy movies and documentaries available for watching that I very rarely look at one more than once. But “The Summer of Soul” has only been available (in theatres, and online via Hulu) for about a week and I’ve already seen it three times, each time with different companions, and will likely force yet another friend to see it. It’s that worthwhile. And could teach much that even the best sort of theory or pedagogy might miss.
At least a decade ago I had a CD by the legendary singer Nina Simone with a short-lived gimmick – on one side was the main album of songs, and on the other, added bonus material, including even videos. In this case the video was from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which, despite being a music journalist and semi-historian of modern popular music history, was one I’d never heard of. The footage of Simone was riveting and powerful. But until this new film arrived, I never heard of that festival again. Turns out that wasn’t very surprising.
As it turns out, it was an historic event, not just musically but culturally. Besides Simone, the lineup included blues master B.B. King, soul stars Sly and the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Chuck Jackson, The 5th Dimension, Gladys Knight & the Pips, the greatest gospel singer of all time Mahalia Jackson, The Staple Singers, and pioneering comedienne Moms Mabley. Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach, Pharoah Sanders and Sonny Sharrock, Herbie Mann and others represented modern and oft-politicized jazz and Mongo Santamaria and Ray Barretto fired-up Latin music. Hugh Masekela came from Africa. Black ministers such as a young Jesse Jackson brought political and spiritual messages to the stage as well.
This lineup, to a modern music fan, is fairly astonishing. The festival producers had so much talent that they turned down Jimi Hendrix, who heard about the forthcoming event and asked to appear with his new all-black band for a blues set – in effect tailoring his psychedelic mastery to the event. But they didn’t need him, so he went on to close out the fabled Woodstock festival that same summer instead. Still, about 300,000 people attended the weekend of shows in Harlem, about the same size as the Woodstock crowd. The Harlem fest was free from the start.
Much if not most of the festival was professionally filmed, and then the footage sat in a basement for half a century. That wasn’t intentional, or even a mistake – they couldn’t sell it to a major film company to produce an edited, produced, marketable film. This despite the producers accurately and also desperately trying to market their show as the “Black Woodstock” – that paler festival’s movie and album soon sold millions. Decades past and the event faded from memory until the drummer of hip-hop band The Roots, Questlove, saw and heard some of it and got the film rolling again. He’s produced some great music and books and serves as bandleader for The Tonite Show with Jimmy Fallon, but producing this film so expertly and movingly seems to me to be his greatest contribution yet.
To feel the power of the music you just need to watch and hear it yourself. Some of these acts have never been among my favorites but here it seems they all brought their best and then some. Some, looking back now in short interviews, confess to being very nervous heading onstage. But there are no weak links in the whole film. The huge audience, mostly but not all black, all ages, receive them all with joy. The gospel duet featuring Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples – singing without advance warning with her ailing idol – is frankly astonishing even to a heathen savage. Seeing two if the Fifth Dimension, derided as “too white” by some black listeners, look back on their own performance decades later while holding back tears, is frankly beautiful. Witnessing the multi-racial, male/female Sly and the Family Stone close things out by working the masses into a joyful frenzy is doubly poignant given that Sly was soon to melt down into paranoia and self-destruction (after also giving the best set of the Woodstock Festival too). The unlikely #1 hit “Oh Happy Day” sung by the San Francisco Bay Area’s Edwin Hawkins Singers gave me goosebumps. So did Nina Simone, whose talent, training – she wanted to be classical concert pianist and was good enough to do so, but was denied conservatory training as a nonwhite person – and righteous anger simmers with almost frightening passion. And so on, and on.
All this took place in a heated year following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and more. Nixon had taken office, sealing the bad deal on any sixties idealism still floating around. An American astronaut landed on the moon during the festival, prompting not only outburst of weird patriotism but, as evidenced in interview snippets here, a fair amount of speculation that the cash could be much more humanely spend on poorer people of whatever color (and by 1971 Marvin Gaye would sing “Rockets, moonshots/spend it on the have-nots” while Gil Scott-Harem was even more to the point with his poem/song “Whitey on the Moon”). Harlem was gripped by a heroin scourge that left dead bodies in the streets. Sly and the Family Stone were such a huge and combustible act that the NYPD refused to show up for security, leaving the Black Panthers (!) to step in - and unlike at the Rolling Stones’ free festival at Altamont a few months later, where the Hells Angels provided that service, mayhem and murder did not ensue.
One might expect the then-predominantly white political leaders of the city to be in hiding far from Harlem those weekends, but then Mayor John Lindsay, a “moderate Republican,” is warmly presented and received onstage. Things soon changed in that regard, as New York City devolved into the bankrupt, dangerous almost-failed city of the 1970s and 1980s (try and imagine, say, mayor Rudi Giuliani there). Still, there is some speculation that the festival was a semi-cynical effort to diffuse rising tensions in a hot summer, much as James Brown did the year before in Boston when MLK was murdered. The images of the abandoned post-festival Harlem park and seeming purge of the historical memory of the festival might lend some credence to that. But Questlove found some attendees of the concerts, and their moving, marveling memories, however fuzzy, are powerful stuff. The 50-something man struggling not to cry after seeing the filmed evidence of the historic events he attended as a five-year old kid and marveling “I’m NOT crazy!” had me teared up too.
Addendum: As a bit of a counterpart, I also watched “Soul Power,” the 2008 documentary of the 1974 Soul Festival in Zaire, the Congo, intended to accompany the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle” world heavyweight championship bout between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. Foreman’s minor injury while training there delayed the fight, but no matter, the show went on, and it too was a mind-blower. The previous movie “When We Were Kings” functioned more as a documentary of the fight itself, with bits of the music, and hardly any of the local, African sounds. Here, in addition to Ali at his humorous, caustic best, we get much more; in addition to headliner James Brown and American soul stars like Ike and Tina Turner and the Spinners and the queen of salsa Celia Cruz with the Fania All-Stars, some of Africa’s biggest legends performed, including Franco and Tabu Ley – their brief appearances alone warranting a watch by international music aficionados, and as with the Harlem Festival, their names were not big enough in America to warrant inclusion in the first film. These films demonstrate how black music, both in America and abroad, flowered in unprecedented and still-unmatched ways in the midst of turmoil.
Unless some sort of another cinematic miracle surprise arrives in the next six months, “Summer of Soul” is the movie of the year. You don’t even have to call it critical race theory or whatnot, just watch it and feel it and learn, and be moved.
Now for something entirely different:
I ordinarily consider myself a good judge of my fellow human beings but on one occasion I made a forgiveable mistake. It was 1970 and I was in London before departing for Northern Ireland and then for Lebanon and Jordan. Somehow or other I was put in touch with a young Brit with a terrible case of acne who had just started a magazine called "Student" (which didn't excite me) who was interested in using photos of mine of the Black Panthers and an interview I had made in Paris the previous year with the French filmmaker, Jean Luc Godard (who I had met in Berkeley in 1968 and who I had hooked up to the Panthers). Student seemed a low budget operation which I felt needed to be encouraged so the young editor and I agreed on a low figure for which he wrote me a check which I thought I had better quickly cash.
I was not prepared for the elegant opulence of his bank, Coutts, which looked like something from a BBC set which, if you search for the name, as I just did, you find "Coutts offers private banking and wealth management services for high net worth individuals and their families."
Well, they probably don't have any clients with a higher net worth than that young man today who no longer has a trace of acne, showing that money will accomplish wonders. His name was Richard Branson and I should have kept the check."
WHAT HAPPENS AT SUN VALLEY, the secret gathering of unelected billionaire kings?
Here, America’s wealthiest mega-billionaires gather with the chief executive of America’s most powerful companies, the director of the CIA, and America’s most worthless pseudo-journalists (hello, Anderson Cooper) to develop the social and business connections that allow the top 0.00001% of earners to continue to accumulate a share of our nation’s wealth that already exceeds the famously cartoonish inequality of the Gilded Age of Rockefeller and Carnegie.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Jeesuz, how was Chicago rapper KTA Dre shot 64X? That’s a sustained barrage! High cap magazines were banned in Chicago eons ago. Somebody had a personal grudge against Mr. Dre, that much is clear. For decades the St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929 was held up as a watershed event in Gangland Chicago. 8 dead, which would be a slow Friday night in 2021. Al Capone's shooters used Tommy Guns on Bugsy Moran’s boys on that fateful winter day, but how many of the Moran gang caught 64 rounds? Chicago is easily outdoing itself.
I LIKE MEN
Maybe he has sandy hair
Or maybe his eyes are brown or blue
Maybe he has a fault or two
But I like men
If he has a gentle way
Then maybe he'll make me feel so frail
Well, that's my favourite kind of male
I like men
I like the masculine, I like the mind
And I like any other kind that I can find
So the way that I feel, it's not hard to decide
I'll take Southern hospitality or Northern pride
Maybe he's a millionaire
Or maybe he's poor, I just don't care
Why, he can even lose his hair
'Cause I like men
So the way that I feel, it's not hard to decide
I'll take Southern hospitality or Northern pride
Maybe he's a millionaire
Or maybe he's poor, I just don't care
Why, he can even lose his hair
'Cause I like men
They can be big, they can be small
They can be short, they can be tall
But bless 'em, bless 'em all
I like men
I like men
Yes, bless 'em, bless 'em all
I like men
— Peggy Lee / Jack Marshall
YOU CAN’T DRINK OIL: 1.8 billion gallons of freshwater were used for fracking and drilling in CA since Fall 2018
In a new report, Food and Water Research reveals that since Governor Newsom was elected, from Fall 2018 to June 2021, the oil and gas industry used 1,804,566,792 gallons of freshwater, nearly 2 billion gallons, for drilling operations that could otherwise have supplied domestic systems.
For a comparison of what that looks like, the nearly 2 billion gallons of water used to drill oil and gas wells in the state would fill about 2,732 Olympic-sized pools or supply local California households with over 72 million showers, according to the report. It also exceeds the amount of water that Californians are recommended to use on a daily, per capita basis during drought, 55 gallons/day.
“The freshwater sucked up by the oil and gas industry since Governor Newsom’s election could have provided everyone in the city of Pasadena with the recommended amount of daily water for more than 7 months, or everyone in the city of Ventura for almost 10 months,” the report also found.
By year, the oil and gas industry used 362,772,984 gallons of water in the fourth quarter of 2018; 694,417,962 gallons in 2019; and 646,682,190 gallons in 2020; and 100,693,792 gallons through June 2021.
Oil and gas operators continue to use these hundreds of millions of gallons of freshwater for drilling operations annually as California suffers from a major drought and enters a climate change-fueled wildfire season. “It’s a vicious symbiotic cycle: fracking and drilling contribute to climate change and suck up finite water resources, then drought and wildfires worsen from climate change,” the report stated.
Although Governor Gavin Newsom pledged on the campaign trail to “oppose fracking and other unsafe oil operations” and to shut down the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Los Angeles — the group said he has “yet to make his promises a reality.”
“At the same time, oil and gas development pollutes and threatens California’s finite freshwater resources. making it unusable,” the group stated. “When oil and gas corporations want to discard the toxic wastewater produced during drilling, underground injection is their most common disposal method.”
“In California, some corporations have routinely injected oil wastewater directly into aquifers. This toxic wastewater contains fracking fluids, contaminants, brines and radioactive materials. Injecting toxic wastewater into underground wells puts drinking water at risk and is linked to increased earthquake activity,” the report continued.
On top of all of this, the increase in frequency, size and severity of wildfires associated with climate change can have huge impacts on water sources in burned areas, according to the report. These regions have more soil and stormwater runoff, increasing the amounts of sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus and trace metals present in the water, as well as causing higher turbidity and more organic material to enter the water.
“Fossil fuel extraction not only hastens climate change and endangers the lives of frontline communities,” said Alexandra Nagy, director of Food & Water Watch’s California campaigns. “It also takes water from Californians struggling through one of the hottest and driest droughts on record. Regions like the San Joaquin Valley are bracing for a dry summer that will leave many without drinking water, a devastating prospect for a predominantly rural, Latinx region already suffering from decades of pollution from factory farms. Based on the recommendations provided by the state to Californians for water usage in a drought, the freshwater used by the oil and gas industry during Newsom’s term could have provided everyone in Ventura with more than a year’s worth of water.
Nagy noted that oil and gas companies routinely inject drilling wastewater into freshwater aquifers, rendering their water supply undrinkable. One study estimated that groundwater in the Central Valley Aquifer has the potential to decrease by 21 trillion gallons in the next 30 years without significant management and policy changes.
“Governor Newsom has set the date for phasing out oil drilling in 2045. The research also notes that as greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel extraction rise and fuel climate change, California will continue to see drier droughts and more widespread wildfires. Should the average temperature increase by 1 degree Fahrenheit, water supplies from the State Water and Central Valley Projects are expected to decrease by 4%,” she stated.
“This is not a problem to be solved decades from now,” Nagy concluded. “20 years is too late for the communities on the frontlines going thirsty because the fossil fuel industry is sucking up their freshwater and leaving polluted aquifers in its wake. Governor Newsom must end all fossil fuel extraction not only for the sake of our climate, but also for the sake of Californians who depend on water resources that are already dwindling. Our state will burn and our rivers and aquifers will dry up unless Gov. Newsom displays the climate leadership he has long claimed to prioritize: ban oil drilling and all fossil fuel extraction now.”
As California entered the current drought year, state regulators continued to approve new permits for both oil and gas wells, although they have sharply decreased from previous years.
Oil permit approvals for new drills of both oil and gas production wells plunged 90% to only 100 permit approvals in the first quarter of 2021, according to the latest CalGEM data crunched by FracTracker Alliance for Newsomwellwatch.com. “The pandemic suppressed demand for oil and oil company permit applications,” the Alliance and Consumer Watchdog noted.
This is not a drill.
“Run for the nearest exits?”
That can’t work for long.
— Jim Luther