Warm | 36 New Cases | Vax & Test | Sally Gearhart | Barn Sale | Rich Padula | Mendo Outbreak | Immunization Registry | Sunflowers | JDSF Balance | Haiku Walk | Lange Talk | Water Curtailments | Buffalo Bill | Bearproofing | Record Drought | Cannachat | Grant Workshops | Philo Farm | Produce Exchange | Foil Wrap | Crop Drop | Undercover K9s | Ed Notes | Undercover Cop | General Government | Ammo Love | 5 Felonies | Yesterday's Catch | Carpool Lanes | Zoomerang | Louis Firetail | Political Extremes | Last Claim | Redtail Hawk | Recall Election | Frikkin Love | Mexico Sues | Shareholders First | Tethered | Small Skulls | Republicans Bad | Autograph | Nuclear Bailout | Sacto Salmon | Suffrage Parade | Useless Parties | Trapeze Swinger
DRY WEATHER AND WARM TEMPERATURES are expected through Saturday. A weak trough will bring slightly milder temperatures on Sunday. Warmer temperatures will return next week as high pressure builds in. (NWS)
36 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
ANDERSON VALLEY HEALTH CENTER: Let's protect each other, those vulnerable, and children by wearing masks and getting vaccinated! Delta variant is here and its very contagious, please have these important conversations with your friends, family, and colleagues. Vaccines at the clinic for all those 12 years old and up. Give us a call, 707-895-3477 ext 261
We encourage everyone vaccinated or not to go get tested tomorrow 2-5 at the fairgrounds apple hall. We have positive cases in the valley, getting regularly tested along with masking and vaccination is an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Sally Miller Gearhart, educator, author, scholar, lover, and activist died peacefully on 14 July 2021. Born in Pearisburg, Virginia, on 15 April 1931, Gearhart studied rhetoric and theater, leading a conflicted life as a lesbian in three closets: the 1950s, academia, and the American south. She blew those doors off their hinges by moving to California and became the first openly lesbian tenured professor in the US while teaching at San Francisco State University. She was a trailblazing political activist, working with Harvey Milk to defeat Proposition 6 and advocating for lesbians, animals, and the environment throughout her life. Her writings include science fiction (The Wanderground, Earthkeep Trilogy), theology (Loving Women/Loving Men: Gay Liberation and the Church), the esoteric (A Feminist Tarot), and many significant articles. She was featured in films including Word is Out: Stories of Some of our Lives, The Times of Harvey Milk, Last Call at Maud's, Framing Lesbian Fashion, No Secret Anymore, A Great Ride, and the upcoming documentary, Sally.
Gearhart's dream of a community of women, which she imagined into being, existed for decades north of Willits in her beloved redwood forest. She entertained friends with a kind of joyful pagan panache and welcomed cats, dogs, raccoons, deer, birds, and the occasional bear with her music-making and her imaginative appreciation of the diversity of nature and the human experience. Willits was a sanctuary for her which she extended to many beings. The town offered her both welcome and growth, as she delighted in the company of free spirits of all sorts, loggers and ranchers, left-and right-wing thinkers, actors and reactors. She learned yoga, piano, and became fluent in Spanish at an age when most people are satisfied with the leisure of retirement. Her sonorous speaking voice, her open heart, and her ready laughter drew others to her, and she relished having the seclusion of her life on the land while still connecting to the many communities that Mendocino County nourishes.
While Sally's presence will be missed, her influence continues, not just as ripples on the surface of a pond, but as the pattern of ripples caused by a skipping stone. She referred to death as 'dropping my body,' and saw it not as an end but as the next step on her adventure. Sally is remembered by many who love her, many who learned from her, and many who only know her by her words--but those words, like Sally, reach toward eternity. In lieu of flowers or donations, "go out and love more."
BARN SALE: Saturday, August 7, 10 am - 3 pm and Sunday August 8, Noon to 3 pm. Furniture, records, DVDs, linens, kitchen items, tools, garden, camping and more. 12761 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville.
Richard Louis Padula passed away with family by his side at his home on the St. Francis Ranch in Willits, on July 27, 2021 at the age of 66. Rich was born in Santa Rosa on April 29, 1955 to Elmer and Lorainne Padula. He graduated from Willits High School in 1973 and went on to excel as a student at the University of Washington. Rich returned to Willits, where his heart belonged, and started on his long-term visionary goals to preserve and protect the Mendocino County inland forests.
He loved spending time outdoors amongst the redwoods hiking through the meadows and forests. His appreciation for the outdoors led to his lifelong ambition with land and wildlife conservation through sustainable forest management and preservation of environmentally sensitive habitats. Through his efforts, the Eel River Peninsula Project will protect 60,000 acres by limiting subdivision and conversion to non-forest uses. Just before his death he completed his cherished San Hedrin project that protects the tule elk habitat and opens up thousands of acres for the public to enjoy.
Rich was a very generous and highly ethical man who was passionate about always taking care of others. He will be truly missed by his friends and family. He was a loving father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. Over the years he loved traveling with family and playing golf.
Rich is survived by his son, Logan, and daughter-in-law, Shannon; grandchildren, Finn and Kai; brother James; sister Nancy (Warren) Coffman; nephews Justin (Krystle) Coffman and Kevin Coffman; and niece Allyson Coffman. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Larry.
A Rosary will be held at Anker-Lucier Mortuary on Thursday, August 5 at 6:30 pm. A funeral mass will be held at St. Anthony's Catholic Church at 1 pm on Friday, August 6. Donations in his memory can be made to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, PO Box 8249, Missoula, MT 59807.
TRACKING THE COVID OUTBREAK IN MENDOCINO COUNTY - LATimes
Here are some eye-opening stats on the current Covid outbreak in Mendocino County. Our outbreak is significant enough for the LATimes to cover it. Here’s the link: latimes.com/projects/california-coronavirus-cases-tracking-outbreak/mendocino-county/
SO FAR, 59.5% OF MENDOCINO COUNTY RESIDENTS have received at least one dose and 51.6% are fully vaccinated.
To date, 94,273 vaccines have been administered in Mendocino County. Over the last seven days, an average of 137 doses per day have been given out.
State data show roughly 77% of the County’s seniors have received at least a single shot, or 16,766 people.
The race of about 13% of people who have been vaccinated is unknown, leading to an undercount of the totals below. Regardless, the tallies offer the best available view of racial disparities are:
As of August 5, were 15 patients admitted to county hospitals with a confirmed case of COVID-19, a change of 25% from two weeks ago. Of those, 3 are in an intensive care unit. More information about the strain placed on local hospitals can be found on The LA Times’s hospital tracker.
DEB SILVA ALERTS US…
For those who want to access their COVID vaccine records online here's the link-https://myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov/
Some establishments are requiring that you be vaccinated before entering and this is the way you can bring up your record on your phone and not need to use the card you were issued at the time of vaccination.
LARRY SHEEHY'S HOUSE, UKIAH
JACKSON STATE: MORE BALANCE NEEDED
Forest “Demonstrators” have an element of selfish elitism generally associated with the filthy rich.
In an area with thousands of acres of State Parks Forests these folks (mostly pale people like myself) have not participated in the public comment component of the project but after the fact done their utmost to stop projects.
Our area has a wealth of public forests dedicated to recreation. Stopping approved projects which took years of planning is self-serving. Unsaid is our Forest Global Imperialism will involve importing forest products from other areas.
People come to the Coast to cool off and have fun and the argument that preservation of the State Forest will provide economic benefits is specious…ask the good people of the economic powerhouse that is Orick California…home to Redwood National Park.
Most of the men who work in the woods are Spanish Speaking Men who are paid a living wage for arduous seasonal work in the woods. These men are hard workers and good citizens. Timber Harvest keeps men working in manufacturing in Fort Bragg, Willits, Ukiah and Cloverdale.
Is including the JDSF and Cal Fire people and having a civilized conversation a reasonable position?
A HUMAN FACE: Curator Drew Johnson talks about the photojournalism of Dorothea Lange
by Roberta Werdinger
On August 12, from 7 to 8 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum presents a virtual illustrated talk by Drew Johnson, Curator at the Oakland Museum of California, on the life and art of Dorothea Lange. The Oakland Museum has a large collection of Lange imagery as well as her archives, which can be accessed at Dorothea Lange Digital Archive. A link to the talk is at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/635011805, or you can easily find it on the Museum’s website.
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was a leading figure in the emergent field of photojournalism, the art of documenting the news of the day using still photos. Employed by the Farm Security Administration, one of the New Deal agencies formed by Franklin Roosevelt, Lange began documenting the displacement and suffering of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Her photos of farmworkers and Dust Bowl refugees--many of them abandoning their farms in the South and Southwest and heading to California--placed a human face on the millions displaced and impoverished by ecological and economic catastrophe.
In 1941, Lange gave up a Guggenheim Fellowship she had been awarded to document the forced relocation of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, photographing their boarded-up homes and businesses, families waiting for transport, and life in internment camps such as Manzanar. A survivor of polio, Lange walked with an altered gait, which, she said, "formed me, guided me, instructed me, and humiliated me."
Lange's 1935 photographs of fieldworkers in Southern California's Coachella Valley puts her in close proximity to the desert town of Mecca, and to its postmaster, Susie Keef Smith. Smith and her cousin Lula Mae Graves were both active as photographers of the desert during this period, with their work on display currently (and in person) at the Grace Hudson Museum in an exhibit titled "Postcards from Mecca." The exhibit, which documents the women's lives and adventures in the Coachella Valley and other parts of the vast Southern California desert, is on display until August 22.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main Street in Ukiah. For more information, visit the website at www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
THE 33-PAGE LIST OF WATER RIGHTS CURTAILMENTS in the Upper Russian River: waterboards.ca.gov/drought/russian_river/docs/urr_list_of_recipients.pdf
(via Kathy Wylie)
ms notes: The list also includes Supervisor Glenn McGourty, the same guy who sits on multiple water boards affecting the Russian River.
BEAR PROOF GARBAGE CANS, an on-line comment:
Once again, a lot of garbage cans along Little Lake Rd. and Surfwood Dr. have been overturned, presumably by a bear, and trash spread all over the road. The solution doesn’t lie with changing the bear’s behavior but with ours. How about this: instead of plastic trash cans for each household we ask Waste Management to provide steel, bear-proof dumpsters, perhaps one for each 5-10 properties? It might take real community action, some pressure on WM, and placement of the dumpsters could be an issue, but we need a change. Regular feedings of garbage to bears is bad for bears and us both.
LAKE MENDOCINO REACHES SECOND-LOWEST LEVEL IN HISTORY
by Mary Callahan
Historic drought has reduced Lake Mendocino to its second-lowest level since it was built, leaving reservoir storage in startling condition with months of likely warm, dry weather still ahead.
The lake on Thursday held just more than 24,000 acre feet of water — a result of critically low rainfall totals that, combined, make 2019-21 the driest two years on record, the National Weather Service said.
Storage in the reservoir, completed in 1958 with a flood storage capacity of 122,400 acre feet, has dipped below 25,000 acre feet only three times before and below 24,000 acre feet only once — by half, according to Sonoma Water.
In Nov. 1977, it registered a terrifying record low of 12,081 acre feet in the days before the rainfall returned after two punishing years of drought that brought a combined 35.6 inches of rain to Ukiah, according to the National Weather Service. Ukiah is just a few miles from Lake Mendocino and the best measure of inflow available to the reservoir.
So far this year, Ukiah has received 13.48 inches of rain, for a total 28.23 inches between this year and last. The rainfall year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 for weather service record keeping purposes.
The improved storage level in Lake Mendocino now compared with 1977 is due to modern, forecast-informed reservoir operations that allow water managers to deviate from stringent, wintertime flood control protocols when there is no sign of storm activity in the forecast.
This year, the new guidance allowed managers to hold back 11,000 acre feet of water behind Coyote Dam that otherwise would have been released to make room for stormwater that never came.
An acre foot is almost 326,000 gallons of water, or enough to flood most of a football field one-foot deep. Though water usage varies from community to community, in part based on climate and housing density, an acre foot is about what’s needed to supply almost 3½ water-efficient California households for a year, according to the Water Education Foundation.
State and local water managers have been reducing withdrawals from the Russian River to slow releases from Lake Mendocino in hopes of ensuring the level does not drop below 20,000 acre feet before Oct. 1, in case another dry winter lies ahead.
(The Press Democrat)
CANNABIS EQUITY GRANT WORKSHOPS
The County of Mendocino Cannabis Program in partnership with Elevate Impact Mendocino will be hosting two Equity Grant Workshops. Registration is required and must be submitted prior to the start of the webinar. If you are interested in participating in one of the webinars please click the link below for the date that works best for you:
August 12, 2021 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. PST
August 19, 2021 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. PST
A question and answer session will take place toward the end of each session, time allowing. We hope to see you there!
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM
One thing the heat was good for - ripening heirloom tomatoes!
Heirloom, Early Girl, Roma & Cherry Tomatoes
Padrons, Jalapeños & Sweet Peppers
Italian & Asian Eggplant, Zucchini,
Walla Walla Onions, Cucumbers, Basil, Parsley
Sunflowers & Zinnias
— Blue Meadow Farm, 3301 Holmes Ranch Road, Philo, (707) 895-2071
FREE PRODUCE EXCHANGE!
Calling all home gardeners, fruit tree enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys eating local produce!
Do you have extra fruit, herbs or veggies in your garden that you would like to share? Maybe you don’t have a garden, but you would love to get your hands on some locally grown food? The AV Wellness Coalition and the Anderson Valley Health Center will be kicking off a free community produce exchange on August 24th, from 5-6 pm. Starting that evening, and then every other Tuesday evening through October 5th, we will be setting up in the Community Park, by the Health Center. We invite you all to bring any extra produce you have and/or bring a bag to fill up on produce you can bring home.
If you have any questions about the produce exchange, if you would like to be involved, or if you just want to let us know you are interested in participating (this will be helpful in setting up tables, etc.), please reach out to Rachel Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-303-5950) or Cyd Bernstein (email@example.com or 707-367-1831).
Please help spread the word! We look forward to sharing with you all!
BECAUSE OF DROUGHT, one of Sonoma County's best Syrah vineyards will bear no fruit this year. The grapevines at Griffin's Lair Vineyard in Petaluma are parched, said owner John Flynn. Unlike the typical lush, full, green canopies that you'd expect to see this time of year, as harvest approaches, the vines look haggard and weak. Some leaves are already turning brown. With no water available to give them, Flynn made the decision this week to drop the entire crop, which in a good year would supply Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes to eight wineries including Pax and Spottswoode. It's the best way to ensure the crop's survival, he said.... The drought is affecting many aspects of life in California beyond just vineyards. The state has already cut off water to many farmers in the state, and this week, regulators voted to further restrict water access to thousands of Central Valley farms. Drought conditions can also make land more vulnerable to wildfires, an issue that's top of mind for the wine industry right now as peak fire season approaches.
(Esther Mobley, wine writer, SF Chron)
MAYBE SHE'S a little more sophisticated, a little more humane, a little smarter than she was when I dealt with her, but Bekkie [sic] Emery as director of Mendocino County Social Services, gives me pause. Check that: Gives me a panic attack. Mendo Social Services hasn't been a bastion of humane, sensible social workers over the years in my fortunately limited experience with them, but my encounters with Ms. Emery when she functioned as a Children's Protective Services agent always left me enraged. Throw in a cast of rotating county-assigned attorneys who would starve to death (and deserved to) without their lucrative county assignments, I found myself involved in a custody case so obvious that everyone outside it looking in, including two clear-headed women working at Project Sanctuary, agreed it was the worst miscarriage of a custody case they'd ever seen. Long story short, and long-time readers will remember it, a Syrian, fluent in English, married to a non-English-speaking Indonesian woman he'd forsaken for a 300-pound reporter for the Press Democrat, accused his wife of renting their daughter to Satanist child abusers. The accusation occurred at a time when twisted pockets of Mendo hysterics, inspired by a Mendo social worker named Pam Hudson, were claiming Satanists were preying on daycare children in Fort Bragg. Only in Mendo, you say? Nope, it was a national hysteria, and further evidence civilization is always only a half-step away from the tom-toms and fortune tellers rattling chicken bones in rusty coffee cans. This case of the Indo mom separated from her young daughter bumbled on for a preposterous year as the child was bounced around foster homes and mom tried to fathom the accusations against her and defend herself against them. One cretinous colleague of Ms. Emery blithely commented to me one day, “Well, you know, Mr. Anderson, child molestation is common in that part of the world.” Having spent four years in that part of the world and speaking the language of that part of the world, I said child molestation was unknown, unlike here in Perv Central. I got a “Whatever” dismissal. It was constantly frustrating to have to argue with really, really limited people somehow invested with the legal authority to intervene in the lives of people but them being people with no commonsense, no ability whatsoever to suss out truth from untruth. Anyway, that ugly matter, no thanks to Mendo Social Services, ended justly, with mom at last getting the custody of her daughter she should have had very early in the idiotic process. One high moment in the case occurred when two San Francisco cops, un-subpoened, appeared in Mendo Superior Court on behalf of mom because they were so outraged that they'd had to physically separate mother and child on the basis of the father's lies at the SF Greyhound Depot. Anyway, as the world turns it turned to justice in this case, no thanks to the County of Mendocino. Daughter graduated college with honors, mom met a good man, and mother and daughter are living happily ever after.
I'VE ALWAYS SYMPATHIZED with James Marmon's beefs against Social Services based on his experience with the CPS unit especially. I know they regularly slander him as a nutcase, but I've always felt that Marmon's assessments coincided with my experience of them, that they were duplicitous, unfeeling, arbitrary, conniving, and not at all the kind of people who should be doing the work they're doing.
GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE MEETING, Monday, August 9, 2021
Community Partners, Colleagues, and Interested Parties:
The General Government Committee Meeting Agenda for the Monday, August 9th, 2021, meeting is now available on the County website: https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx
Please contact Clerk of the Board at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
CLOVERDALE MAN JAILED on $250,000 bail following violent confrontation with deputies
by Alena Minkler
A 38-year-old Cloverdale man is being held at the Sonoma County Jail Thursday on $250,000 bail, accused of threatening to kill a woman before leading sheriff’s deputies on a chase and subsequently using an SUV to repeatedly ram pursuing patrol cars, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.
In order to arrest Christian Andersen, the Sheriff’s Office said, a deputy had to shoot him with a “less-lethal round” and a K9 from the Windsor Police Department, which was assisting in the incident, bit him.
Andersen was checked out at an area hospital and medically cleared, officials said, adding that he was arrested on suspicion of committing five felonies: false imprisonment, death threats, felony evading, resisting arrest, assault with a deadly weapon, and a misdemeanor of domestic battery.
Shortly after 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, authorities received a 911 call from a woman who said she was involved in a domestic violence incident and that Andersen had “threatened to kill her,” according to a post on the Sheriff’s Office’s official Facebook page.
“Dispatch could hear Andersen telling the victim he would not go out without a ‘bang’,” according to the post, which added that the woman was believed to be with Andersen in a silver SUV.
The SUV was spotted in downtown Geyersville and a deputy attempted to stop it, however, the driver sped away. The deputy gave chase with speeds reaching as high as 90 mph, according to the post.
Andersen, who was driving the SUV, according to the Sheriff’s Office, stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Highway 128 and Alexander Valley Road. The woman got out and ran to a deputy.
Other deputies used their patrol cars to box the SUV in to prevent Andersen from fleeing again, according to the post.
“Andersen began ramming his SUV into the deputies’ patrol cars ... At that time, a deputy used a less-lethal round and broke out the rear driver side window of Andersen’s SUV,” officials said, adding that Andersen refused to leave the vehicle.
He told deputies “they would have to shoot him” and he “continued ramming the patrol cars,” the Sheriff’s Office said, adding that not long after this a deputy shot Andersen with a “less-lethal round” and a K9 was deployed and “bit Andersen inside the SUV.”
Officials said that as Andersen was being taken into custody he told deputies “they should have killed him and that now he would kill them,” according to the Facebook post.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 5, 2021
WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Burglary, probation revocation.
GRANT KLOEWER, Veneta, Oregon/Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
JOHN MARKS JR., San Francisco/Ukiah. County parole violation.
JOSE MARTINEZ-LUCAS, Ukiah. DUI.
ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
MARK PALLEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WILLIAM RYAN, Ukiah. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, protective order violation.
EDWARD STEELE, Ukiah. Burglary. (Frequent Flyer)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Metal knuckles, probation revocation.
END CARPOOL LANES
I think that carpool lanes should be eliminated. First, is there any factual documentation that they actually serve the intended purpose — namely to reduce the number of vehicles on the road by encouraging carpooling? The impact can hardly be significant.
Second, by my observation, it seems like more than 50% of vehicles illegally have only one occupant. Enforcement is infrequent, and risk of apprehension is extremely low. Why else risk a $271 fine?
Third, restricting the use of an entire lane during the heaviest traffic periods adds to congestion of the remaining lanes. As all drivers know, the number of available lanes has a marked impact on the flow of traffic. Increased congestion in remaining lanes increases fuel consumption and air pollution and incentivizes illegal use of carpool lanes.
So, if carpool lanes don’t reduce the number of vehicles on the road, increase congestion for other drivers and aren’t enforced effectively, why have them? A more practical alternative, which already exists in some high-density areas, is express toll lanes, which are enforced by cameras. This creates revenue and eliminates cheating.
If you agree, let Caltrans know.
HUMCO SUPERVISORS TO RECONSIDER Planned Return to In-Person Meetings Due to This Delta Variant Nightmare
Since the board last met, on July 20, 576 new cases have been confirmed among county residents, 21 more people have been hospitalized and an unvaccinated man in his 30s died with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
LOUIS FIRETAIL (Sioux, Crow Creek), wearing tribal clothing, in American history class, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia, 1899 or 1900
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“It’s been said here by a bunch of commenters that the political center has been displaced by the extremists on both left and right.”
Actually I have noticed for a long, long time that the artificial two-party system in the USA means that millions of citizens cannot find a channel for meaningful political participation; they cannot find or create a party that reflects their views and for which they can work to get their candidates into government.
This is not the case in a parliamentary system, where small parties can fight their way to the fore by gaining enough votes (say, 5% of the votes) and then forming coalitions.
(Of course what happens after that is still up for grabs—viz. the Green Party in Germany.)
But note the creation of a new party in Germany, Die Basis—hopefully they will be able to get a few candidates into local govts and start to influence the political landscape.
There seems to be no chance of that in the USA.
IMO—or, it is my speculation that— it is this two-party stranglehold that has driven more and more movement to political extremes.
THE REDTAIL HAWK
The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky,
There's music in the waters flowing by,
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs,
In the golden rolling hills of California.
It's been so long love since you said goodbye,
My cabin's been as lonesome as a cry,
There's comfort in the clouds drifting by,
In the golden rolling hills of California.
A neighbour came today to lend a hand,
As I fixed the road as best as I can,
It's just something that needs another's hand,
In the golden rolling hills of California,
In the golden rolling hills of California.
The redtail hawk writes songs across the sky,
There's music in the waters flowing by,
And you can hear a song each time the wind sighs,
In the golden rolling hills of California.
In the golden rolling hills of California.
— Kate Wolf
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW About the Newsom Recall Debate (CalMatters)
After months of build-up, California voters got their first prime-time glimpse at the major candidates vying to become governor in the upcoming recall election.
A READER WRITES:
Mexico Sues US Gun Manufacturers
A novel lawsuit. This particular link contains the court documents. If nothing else it might get states like Texas and the others where you can buy a gun with no waiting period to change their laws. I have no problem with the waiting period, it allows cooling off period for those buying a gun to use in anger and it weeds out those who are not mentally stable. No laws are going to 100% effective in curtailing gun violence but having responsible gun laws will hold people accountable for their actions.
We all know how commonly PG&E’s lack of sufficient annual maintenance to its equipment has played a role in wildfires. It would be interesting to see The Press Democrat do some investigative reporting on why the costs of increased maintenance and vigilance that should have happened as part of PG&E’s daily priorities for many years have to continually be paid by their innocent customers instead of from shareholder profit and reserves.
It seems that senior management’s focus has been on shareholders, not the communities PG&E is supposed to serve. We just got a notice of yet another possible increase in our bills of over 18%. It’s understandable that their deliberate negligence has cost them mountains of cash.
After the United States atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, Shinoe Shada began to write tankapoetry in order to never forget the attack. Since the US Occupation censored work such as hers, Shada had a Hiroshima prison guard mimeograph 150 copies of this book, which she then hand delivered to survivors of the blast. Amongst those poems is this short, piece of brilliance:
Since so many small skulls
are gathered here,
these large bones
must be the teacher’s.
— Frank Scott
Letter to the Editor:
The pandemic is spreading again, the climate crisis is worse than we expected, and our democracy is under attack. All three crises are exacerbated by Republicans.
Trump and his Fox Lies mouthpiece said Covid was a hoax, don’t get vaccinated. 600k Americans have died, and today’s big surges are mostly in — Surprise! — red states.
Likewise, the GOP has long denied that their funders’ fossil fuels cause global heating, despite steadily increasing temperatures, wildfires, flooding and droughts. Yet they still stymie efforts to reduce carbon emissions and relieve those most affected.
Thirdly, most Republicans support Trump’s Big Lie that he won the election and are working to increase voting restrictions, gerrymandering and dark money funding of elections.
A party with this terrible record, that relies on divisive culture wars and hot-button issue and doesn't have a program to better Americans, is a disgrace and deserves an indecent burial.
$6 BILLION BAILOUT
Infrastructure deal to subsidize old reactors
Bloomberg reports the bipartisan U.S. Senate infrastructure bill includes $6 billion in taxpayer subsidies for dangerously degraded reactors. Exelon reactors in Illinois -- at Byron and Dresden -- reportedly qualify. Dresden Units 2 and 3 are more than a half-century old, and of the same design as the reactors that melted down at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. Byron's work culture is so toxic, it has reportedly driven some control room operators to commit suicide. Energy Harbor (formerly FirstEnergy) reactors in Ohio and Pennsylvania also reportedly qualify. This includes Davis-Besse near Toledo (which has had many close calls with catastrophe, and a severely cracked containment), Perry near Cleveland (on a faultline), and Beaver Valley west of Pittsburgh (Unit 1 is severely embrittled).
RECORD SPRING SALMON RUN on Sacramento River tributary turns into disaster as most fish die before spawning
by Dan Bacher
In an extreme drought year where nearly all juvenile Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon are expected to die before spawning due to alleged water mismanagement by the state and federal governments, the return of a record run of adult spring run Chinook salmon on Butte Creek this year was welcome news.
But it didn’t stay that way.
A record run of over 18,000 spring Chinook has returned to Butte Creek, a Sacramento River tributary, the second largest since 20,000 fish ascended the creek in 1998, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW. Allen Harthorn, Executive Director of Friends of Butte Creek, estimates the size of this year’s run to be even larger, around 25,000 fish.
Yet this has all changed recently. The potential of a successful spawn becomes increasingly dim as thousands of adult spring run salmon on Butte Creek die before spawning.
“Disaster is really hitting home on Butte Creek, where over 12,000 adult spring run salmon have died prematurely,” said Harthorn. “There may be only a few thousand left to spawn if we’re lucky.”
The CDFW detailed in their latest snorkel survey report on the creek that 12,370 salmon have died before spawning from June 1 to July 27, 2021.
“The water is so turbid and they are so busy counting carcasses they can’t get a good estimate of how many fish are left,” noted Harthorn.
The fish deaths were caused by heat-related oxygen deficiency and the outbreak of two fish diseases, ich and columnaris, as a result, according to the CDFW pathologist report. These two diseases were the same ones that killed over 38,000 adult fall run Chinook salmon on the lower Klamath River on the Yurok Reservation in September 2002.
Spring run are a distinct run of Chinook salmon that have evolved over millions of years to ascend the high elevation tributaries of the Sacramento River to spawn every spring. They are river-maturing fish that don’t spawn until fall.
Some of the last best habitat for wild spring Chinook salmon exists in the eastern tributaries of the Sacramento River, including Battle Creek, Mill Creek, Deer Creek and Butte Creek, where they spawn up to 5,000 feet in elevation. These fish have been for decades protected from recreational angling once they enter the tributaries, but they still face other key stressors, according to California Trout.
At this time, since a number of dams have been already removed on the creek, the key factor leading to the fish kill and stopping the restoration of the wild Chinooks is the continued operation of the PG&E hydroelectric project and other water diversions.
PG&E’s De Sabla/Centerville project brings West Branch Feather River water over the mountain from Phillbook Reservoir and Round Valley Reservoir to Butte Creek to be used for hydroelectric power.
“I’m still processing this fish kill,” said Harthorn. “It’s mind-boggling. The agencies’ refusal to hold PGE&E’s feet to fire is pathetic — they need to get this hydroelectric project out of the way. They have been pussyfooting for years about installing a temperature control device at DeSabla Reservoir. We have to seriously talk about getting fish into cold water upstream and PG&E out of the way.”
The solution is to get the salmon into the upper creek habitat all of the way to Butte Meadows, according to Harthorn.
“We have to allow fish to swim into the upper watershed and make sure that the water is cold by not diverting it out of the stream,” stated Harthorn. “What a tragedy it is to lose so many fish when there’s available habitat and available water and a failing PG&E hydroelectric system is the only thing in the way.”
He added, “If we get PG&E out of the way — and release the full flow of Butte Creek, now about 75 cfs at Butte Head Dam — that habitat may very well support hundreds if not thousands of spring salmon. Water temperatures are much colder upstream than where they are holding.” Over 18,000 endangered spring run Chinook salmon moved up Butte Creek this year. This photo shows a huge school of salmon in just one small area of the creek on April 15, long before the fish kill. Photo by Allen Harthorn, Friends of Butte Creek.
Harthorn noted that PG&E is diverting 90 percent of the flow at Butte Head Dam for “very minimal” hydroelectric production.
On February 2, 2017, PG&E announced that it was withdrawing its application for a new license for the project from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, citing “California’s changing energy landscape and rising operating costs” at the Desabla-Centerville facility.” In a statement, the company said the facility is “no longer economically viable for PG&E’s electric customers.”
PG&E has been trying to sell the project since then — they have an energy company, Toll House, with a subsidiary, Deadwood Hydroelectric, in mind for taking over the project. Friends of Butte Creek is suggesting that another hydroelectric company take over the project, decommission the hydroelectric project and bring water from the West Branch directly to Butte Creek, preferably in a tunnel.
“This is real spring run habitat, with real wild fish and real protection,” Harthorn stressed. “When it comes to expanding habitat, this is probably the best path possible to expand salmon habitat in California. Prior to the fish kill, we had over 18,000 fish knocking at the door, with no trucks involved and no recapturing of juveniles needed. It’s a wild system that operates the way it should, but we have to get the hydroelectric project out of the way.”
The record year for spring run Chinook salmon was in 1998, when over 20,000 spring chinook entered the creek, making this the second biggest year, according to the CDFW.
Harthorn has a theory for why Butte Creek saw such a big run this year — the added sediment in the runoff from the Camp Fire gave the salmon smolts cover from predators as they moved downstream into Butte Slough, Sutter Bypass and the Sacramento River on their journey to the ocean.
“Most of these fish are three-year-olds, the juvenile fish that began emerging from the gravel in November 2018,” he explained. “That was the year the Camp Fire broke out and raged across Paradise and the Butte Creek Canyon, destroying over half of the homes in the canyon. Because of the destruction, 150 homes were reduced to toxic rubble. We were wondering what would happen to the juvenile fish when the stuff washed into the creek.”
He went on, “There was an organized effort to distribute and place erosion control materials along 75 homes burned out on Butte Creek. Despite these efforts, there was a tremendous amount of toxic runoff. Most agency people feared all would be destroyed. But instead what we saw is perhaps the largest run in memory.”
To get to their spawning grounds, spring Chinook swim up from the Sacramento River through Sutter Bypass into Butte Slough, which runs into Butte Creek. A major fish kill in Sutter Bypass took place this March, when over 100 springers died when the water into the bypass was shut off.
The spring Chinook also swam upriver to the Butte Slough outfall gate below Colusa on the Sacramento River. They bashed their heads against the outfall gates for weeks before the Department of Water Resources opened the gate in late March, under pressure from the NorCal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association. “Once the gates opened, we saw fish with scars on their heads by the hundreds,” said Harthorn.
The temperature gage at Butte Creek near Chico is about four miles above Highway 99, one mile below the covered bridge, downstream of where most of the fish are holding. Temperatures at the gage have generally been running between 70 and 80 degrees.
Conservationists hope the creek will recover from this year’s avoidable disaster, and this will spur the agencies to get serious about protecting endangered fish.
“If anybody is looking where to expand habitat for spring Chinook, they need to look at Butte Creek. We have the habitat and we have the wild fish,” emphasized Harthorn.
“We are stunned to learn that over 12,000 adult spring run salmon have died pre-spawn on Butte Creek. We are hoping some hardy fish will make it through; the water is getting cooler,” he concluded.
Friends of Butte Creek is currently conducting a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help secure additional water rights for Butte Creek. Eventually that water will be given back to the ecosystem, mainly for conservation of the endangered spring Chinook. You can help by going to ButteCreek.Org and making a donation.
VACCINE SUCCESS, MEDIA MISERY: IS GOOD NEWS TABOO IN THE TRUMP AGE?
by Matt Taibbi
“A doubloon to anyone who catches Trump using Twitter dummy accounts.”
Last week’s headline above a New York Times column by Ezra Klein read:
What if the Unvaccinated Can’t Be Persuaded?
I hate that I believe the sentence I’m about to write. It undermines much of what I spend my life trying to do. But there is nothing more overrated in politics — and perhaps in life — than the power of persuasion.
It is nearly impossible to convince people of what they don’t want to believe.
The column followed a predictable path: tales of the unvaccinated writhing on deathbeds as they repented too late, reminders about the positive history of vaccine mandates, and a somber conclusion: “I urge those who object to vaccination passports as an unprecedented stricture on liberty to widen their tragic imagination.”
Even though I ostensibly persuade people for a living, I no longer believe persuasion works. Here, have some authoritarian solutions was the basic gist. Whatever happened to Yes We Can? “Nothing to fear but fear itself”? “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro?” So much for the American’s celebrated can-do spirit.
As with the mask and lockdown stories last year, public sneering has also become an important cultural signifier, e.g. this tweet from the editor of the intel community’s favored house organ, Lawfare:
Most everyone who’s heard about the recent upswing in Covid-19 cases has come away believing one of a few versions of events. In one, Republicans presented a wall of resistance to the national vaccination program, converting only recently under the heroic shaming efforts of Democrats and defenders of science in the media. The hesitancy of Trump followers, described by as the Washington Post as an “emblem of conservative identity, a way to own the libs,” is the primary or even the sole cause of the new wave of death. Hence, the “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
In another tale, found on right-wing sites and in the statements of people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and North Carolina Republican Madison Cawthorn, Joe Biden’s “door to door” vaccination efforts are pretense for “medical brown shirts” to take guns and Bibles and perform experiments using dangerous untested medicines. Here the Nazistic state hopes to forcibly sell disfiguring drugs straight into the arms even of children on behalf of rapacious pharmaceutical companies. I don’t read a lot of far right media, but these legends are apparently out there (they’re for sure lovingly described by the misery-hounds at papers like the Washington Post and New York Times).
A third, less-publicized version of reality is that the vaccination program developed under the Trump administration via Operation Warp Speed, and subsequently administered by the Biden administration, has been an incredible accomplishment we should all be… happy about?
A year ago we were all going to bed at night wondering if we’d wake up drowning in our own pleural fluids. Now, 346.9 million doses of a vaccine have been administered as of this week, with 164.9 million Americans fully vaccinated overall. A full 191.8 million Americans have received at least one dose, including 70% of the population above 18 — we missed Biden’s target of 70% by July 4th by weeks — and an amazing 89.9% of the population above 65. The sheer breadth of the achievement, for which both parties can rightly take credit, is a big reason Covid-19 looked to be in retreat as recently as a month ago.
Now the pandemic is on the upswing again, thanks at least in part to the appearance of a new, more contagious “Delta variant” that doctors warn can be contracted “as easily as chickenpox.”
In the latest of what’s becoming a long series of awkward message “adjustments,” federal officials also noted the new strain may perhaps be transmitted “just as readily” by the vaccinated. The CDC, whose director Rochelle Walensky not long ago described breakthrough infections among the vaccinated as a rarity, leaked a document noting officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.” Some of the resurgence might also be seasonal, as experts were predicting even in May when Biden administration officials were celebrating and the disease looked beaten. We went through something similar last year. But because Donald Trump said a triggering thing along these lines last year — “You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat” — seasonality has since been a bit of a no-no subject in media, leaving some people both overexcited about this spring’s decrease and perhaps unprepared for the disease’s possible late-summer return.
It’s also true that the resurgence of Covid-19 has hit the unvaccinated harder, meaning those people absolutely bear responsibility and should be a focus going forward. But the overall story, of an unprecedented pandemic threat answered with a vaccine rapidly developed and administered across two administrations and implemented aggressively by both Republican and Democratic governors, saving hundreds of thousands of lives at home (and millions more overseas) during a period of utter disunity and political chaos, is the version heard least of all.
The narrative barely interests people. Ask most Americans about the pandemic and they’ll either rage out on some theoretical unvaccinated person in another state — grr fuck him derp! loser! — or they’ll shake their heads in despair, like the hopelessness of everything has just been revealed to them.
Are they angry American scientists didn’t solve the biggest health crisis in history more quickly? Was under a year not fast enough? Of course, it’s not hard to see the frustration — here we are, eight whole months after the first shots were administered, and they have to read about a setback? Outrageous! The whole thing recalls Louis C.K.’s “Everything is amazing and nobody is happy” routine, about Americans who sit in airports with scrunched noses, furious they have to wait a whole second for their cell phones to get signals from space:
What gives? In a political atmosphere in which the most impenetrable taboo is the social problem that doesn’t belong solely to one or the other party, any explanation for the recent resurgence that we can’t stress out and blame someone for has to be downplayed. So we stay steeped in the same orgy of bitching and fault-finding that’s dominated our lives since 2016.
Covid-19’s comeback is Exhibit A for why America needs sweeping changes in the way we organize our lives and our politics. We have the worst and most useless political parties in the world. Neither of our reigning brands is capable of articulating a positive vision for the country, because neither has any identity anymore apart from tireless slander of the other. Democrats, worse on this front, are a rat-hair away from describing the whole GOP as a terrorist organization in need of outlawing. They’re perpetually miserable because being visibly happy while Trump still walks the earth is “normalizing.” Republican leaders meanwhile may still be caught between the Sophie’s Choice of backing Trump and appealing their post-2016 firing as Washington’s most trusted handmaidens of corporate influence, but they at least seem happier in public, probably conscious of how lucky they are to be in office despite a total lack of coherent message.
For all America’s multitudinous problems and injustices, its two political factions were once always able to “manufacture consent” toward optimism in an emergency, whether of the self-created variety (e.g. the invasion of Iraq) or of the unexpected sort (e.g. Hurricane Katrina, or the Deepwater Horizon disaster). Our policy responses in these moments ranged from incompetent to criminal to, at times and especially at the ground level, heroic — think the firefighters after 9/11, or the first responders during this pandemic — but until now, the corresponding propaganda effort never malfunctioned to the point where political leaders stressed defeatism and mutual hatred as a patriotic imperative in the middle of a crisis. Yet this is happening now.