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WARM AND DRY conditions will continue today and Friday as winds gradually diminish in the interior areas. Coastal areas will continue to see breezy to windy conditions. For the weekend some cooling of inland temperatures is expected and the coastal areas will likely see a return of the marine clouds. A very gradual warmup is then expected Sunday into next week. (NWS)
54 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
PUBLIC NOTICE: Mendocino County Public Health has been notified of another Mendocino County resident who has been lost to the COVID-19 Virus. We send our condolences to his family and friends.
A 49 year old Ukiah man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 56th death. At this time Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to exercise caution when placing themselves in situations that could expose them to COVID-19, especially considering the new more infectious Delta variant. Mendocino County Public Health asks that you follow all CDC and CDPH guidance’s at this time. Vaccination, masking and social distancing remain the best options forcombating the Covid-19 Virus.
The individual in question was not vaccinated.
CACHE FIRE IN LAKE COUNTY: At about 4pm CalFire’s Incident Commander reported that forward progress of the Clearlake/Lower Lake fire had been stopped. But evacuation orders remained in effect. By Wednesday evening, reports were that dozens of homes had been destroyed in the outskirts of Clearlake and over 1500 people had been displaced by what was then estimated to be an 80-acre fire at the time. Calfire reported 20% containment of the wind-driven fire.
JAMES MARMON AT 5:30 FROM NEARBY CLEARLAKE: “Got pretty close again, burned up a big mobile home park just south of Walmart. It started at the Apartments again and jumped dry cache creek into the trailer park. All kinds of air and ground support. Over a hundred acres and still burning. My power was off most or the day, came on at 5:00. A lot of seniors lived in that Park, very sad.”
SUNSET IN A SMOKEY COAST SKY (photos by Dick Whetstone)
GET TESTED AT THE BOONVILLE FAIRGROUNDS
In addition to vaccines, using masks, getting tested frequently REGARDLESS of VACCINE STATUS are important ways to keep our families and community safe from COVID-19.
We highly encourage everyone to get tested routinely as it is available. This Friday at the AV fairgrounds from 2-5 is next testing option. It is easier if you pregregister at https://lhi.care/start and get your ID number, you do not have to make an appointment, just get the ID number. If you are frequently gathering, going to concerts, rodeos, parties, working harvest, or your children are in school PLEASE get tested routinely. Delta variant is VERY CONTAGIOUS, please do your part once again. Thanks so much.
UNIVERSAL PERSPECTIVE ON KZYX THURSDAY NIGHT 7PM
Forestry and (de) forestry issues; tribal cultural healing
KZYX Host Chris Skyhawk presents Universal Perspectives Thursday Night, 8-19-21 at 7 P.M. on KZYX. His first guest will be local forest activist Kent Graney, Kent will discuss the daily Action Camp that has been instrumental in temporarily stopping logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest.
His next guest will be Jeanne Jackson of Friends of The Gualala River. She will discuss the recent logging of the “Dogwood” Timber Harvest Plan and their ongoing efforts to protect the Gualala.
Final guest will be Kelda Britton, a Round Valley teacher who recently published an article entitled “Return of the Ancestors” which commemorates Pit River Survival During Forced Military Marches. She will discuss past genocidal injustices endured by tribal peoples in Northern California, and current efforts to heal from the inter-generational trauma from these events.
BACK TO SCHOOL!
VEG SWAP: Everyone is welcome to the Community Produce Exchange. Bring any extra produce you have growing in your garden to trade or share. All extras will be donated to the foodbank. Starts Tuesday, August 24th, 5-6pm at the Community Park next to the Health Center.
SUPES CANCEL TRAPPER CONTRACT
Dear Friends of Mendocino Wildlife,
We are elated to be able to report that on Tuesday evening at 6:00 pm, by a 3 to 2 margin, Supervisors John Haschak, Ted Williams, and Maureen Mulheren voted to terminate Mendocino County’s contract with the cruel and ineffective Wildlife Services agency to manage wildlife in Mendocino County.
This is a great victory for the people and wildlife of our county, and we have a lot of people to thank for helping to make this happen. Thanks to all our supporters who showed up time and time again to raise the voice of the public loud and clear. Thanks to Camilla Fox, Michelle Lute, and Keli Hendricks of Project Coyote who lent shared their invaluable expertise in exposing the inefficient brutality of Wildlife Services. Thanks to the three supervisors who listened to the public and the established science, and found the courage to go against the influential Farm Bureau.
Now that Wildlife Services has finally been vanquished in Mendocino County, we turn our attention to creating a non-lethal wildlife exclusion service that will enable humans and wild animals to peacefully coexist in this magnificent county we all call home. We’ll keep you posted on further developments as this new exclusion service takes shape. In the meantime, let’s all take the time to celebrate this great victory we share for the wildlife in Mendocino County.
For the wild,
Mendocino Non-lethal Wildlife Alliance steering committee: Rosebud Ireland, Carol Lillis, Don Lipmanson, Carol Misseldine, Jon Spitz
A READER WRITES:
HISTORY RETAINED - For years this marker was in front of a Church Street building, a quiet reminder that Ukiah has a streak of naughty in its long history as the commercial hub of an agricultural and timber region. Then it was removed, much to the chagrin of some fans of local history. Now, thanks to a facelift of the downtown area, the marker has found a new home just down the block at the corner of Church and State streets.
Look what’s back!
The plaque has been incorporated into Ukiah’s Streetscape design. Its new home is on the SW corner of Church and State Streets. We will have a full history of the plaque up very soon!
A huge thank you to Mo Mulheren, Elias Laughton, Shannon Riley, the City of Ukiah for their collective effort to get the plaque remounted.
BOTHERED BY THE STATE OF AFFAIRS?
Milano Family Wines of Hopland has the solution!
“With debates among the contenders scheduled throughout August; Newsom’s controversial strict, early-on pandemic guidelines; the recent surge in COVID-19 cases; cash-infused campaigns; California’s ever worsening homelessness crisis; and the unsteady temperament of the American electorate, it’s anybody’s guess as to how this election will turn out but it just might be the perfect time to take a break from the news and sit back and relax with a bottle of Recall Red.”
Clerk of the Board has calendared an Emergency, Special Meeting of the Board of Supervisors to convene Tuesday, August 24th at 1:00 P.M. to address the issue of the acute water shortage in the town of Mendocino. I’ll share the agenda later this week with public comment instructions.
Offsite sales from Elk, Irish Beach and Mendocino Unified are ceasing.
I'M LOOKING for loopholes.
— W.C. Fields, when caught reading the Bible
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED to support our local seniors - become an AV Village volunteer today!
Hello Anderson Valley Village members, volunteers and perspective volunteers,
Do you have a little time in your schedule and room in your heart?
Please join our team of much needed volunteers to support our elders as they age in place! Hours are flexible and dependent on your availability; every little bit helps.
There are a variety of volunteer opportunities, with our biggest need being rides to medical appointments (usually in Ukiah), tech support, friendly visits or calls, light help around the house and garden. Again you choose what you feel comfortable doing and how often.
There is some paperwork and a short training, that can be done on Zoom if need be, but your contribution is much needed and greatly appreciated!
Because we are working with a vulnerable population we do require our volunteers to be vaccinated - thank you again for the support!
Contact the coordinator for more info or click below for the application and handbook - (I can always send you hard copies in the mail as well)
Anica Williams, Anderson Valley Village Coordinator, Cell: 707-684-9829, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mailing address: Anderson Valley Village, P.O. Box 576 Boonville, CA 95415
WINE MOB SUSTAINS ITSELF
by Mark Scaramella
You’ve got to hand it to Mendo’s wine mob. Their record of staying entirely unregulated is perfect. They have escaped any serious criticism, let alone regulation, for their sleep-depriving, loud, noise generating frost fans; they’ve nearly pumped Lake Mendocino dry in an historical drought before any reduction orders had a chance to take effect; they’ve convinced most Mendolanders that their hundreds of ponds and large scale land-scrapings are somehow proof of their environmentalism; they’ve avoided any restrictions on the applications of unregulated pesticides and tons of noxious sulfur; they’ve viciously fended off the one miniscule farmworkers union foothold a couple of decades ago; they’ve kept any form of ag-related grading ordinance from being enacted; they’ve kept their water costs at a bare minimum, they’ve avoided any kind if environmental impact requirements; and they’ve quietly taken over every water board and agency in the County.
And while doing all that, they seem to have even convinced the general public and the few remaining self-described “environmentalists” that pot growers, not their 17,000 acres of water-sucking grapes, are responsible for most of the current water shortages!
It’s an impressive accomplishment — for them.
To help seal the deal they — the wine people who dominate the Ukiah Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency (UVBGSA) — have now prepared the most wine-friendly “Groundwater Sustainability Plan Draft” possible, making sure that this backwater agency created by a drought-driven 2014 state law does absolutely nothing to restrict or impinge on the interests of Mendo’s inland grape growers.
On August 16 their draft “plan” was released for public review, giving the public until September 24, 2021 to comment, after which their draft plan to do nothing about groundwater sustainability will be official policy.
According to their press release, “A Groundwater Sustainability Plan is a 20-year plan to ensure the sustainable use of groundwater within a groundwater basin. The Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency (UVBGSA) is required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to develop a GSP by January 31, 2022. The goal of the GSP is to establish a standard for ‘sustainability’ of groundwater management and use, and to determine how the basin will achieve this standard.”
How can we be so sure that the plan will do nothing but assure the “sustainability” of the current wine-dominated status quo?
Simple: by reading the contents of the draft plan.
Take for example “Projects And Management Actions (PMAs).”
“In developing PMAs, priorities for consideration include minimizing impacts to the Basin’s economy [i.e., grape growers], maximizing external funding [for grape growers], and prioritizing voluntary and incentive-based programs over mandatory programs.”
Translation: Nobody will be required (mandated) to do anything. In fact, they hope to be aided and abetted in their continuing water demands.
What about metering or end-user gages?
“The Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District intends to conduct a feasibility study to replace old meters and calibrate existing meters to improve tracking of surface water diversions and assess the possibility of telemetry instrumentation. This project would provide data regarding surface water diversions amount and location, and help improve water budget calculations and re-calibrate the integrated hydrological model.”
The grape-grower dominated Flood Control District “intends” to conduct a study to replace “existing meters” (not add any) none of which monitor grape grower usage or pumping. But they do “plan” to “install new streamgages on both the main stem of the Russian river and along key tributaries.”
Those gages should have been in place decades ago!
And what will they do with their “new” gages?
“Changes in streamflow entering the Basin will be monitored and evaluated through existing and proposed new streamflow gauges and through statistical analyses of acquired data.”
Translation: The wine people in these local water agencies will “monitor” themselves to make sure they're getting all the water they can get.
What about conservation? Surely, there’s at least some lip service paid to conservation, isn’t there?
“Conservation Programs and Green Infrastructure — The objective of these types of projects is to increase water yield from the watershed through green infrastructure.”
You read that right: The “conservation plan” is to “increase water yield.” There is nothing in the “sustainability” plan about actual reduction in water demand, voluntary or otherwise. NOT — A — WORD.
Don’t believe us? Think we’re exaggerating?
Read the plan for yourself: mendocinocounty.org/government/affiliated-agencies/ukiah-valley-basin-gsa/groundwater-sustainability-plan
PS. Need we even mention that this pathetic excuse for a “sustainability” plan was prepared and ushered to completion over the last five years under the auspices of wine mob herd bull Glenn McGourty who made sure that neither he nor his grape growing pals and supporters will be bothered by any pesky, but irrelevant, “sustainability” planning documents.
PPS. Daryl “I’m An Environmentalist” Sattui’s Latest Wine Grape Project In Anderson Valley:
YESTERDAY, we implied that the pot permit referendum known as the “Save Our Water Wildlife and Way of Life (SOWWW)” (Not to be confused with SWOW, Solid Waste of Willits) might be on the September recall ballot. It is not. But the timing is interesting. The county’s election office has until September 1, to verify the signatures. The Supervisors then have the option to adopt the proposed referendum. They could also choose to call for a hurry-up special election (at significant extra cost) on a short deadline but otherwise the referendum will be on the ballot at the next mid-year election in June of 2022. Either way, a lot could happen between now and next June. The Supes and the County in general are, of course, proceeding apace with their current program plans — with a controversial phased in cap — so the impact if SOWWW passes — and it well could given the unpopularity of the Supervisors and the ongoing water shortage alone — months more “progress “on the existing permit program would be undone if it were to pass in June. Remember that the voters passed Measure V years ago and Mendocino Redwoods’ bogus threat to sue was all it took to get the Supes to ignore the voters’ wishes. As far as we can tell, the Board has given no consideration to what they’d do if the SOWWW referendum were to pass. Of course it’s early, but since the impact would be enormous locally, the Supes would be well advised to at least start thinking about what they’d do if the dissenting SOWWW referendum does pass.
WHEN I READ that New Zealand reported panic buying and empty supermarket shelves after the country went into a nationwide lockdown, I worried that Peewee the Kiwi, and former American resident of Ukiah, and former Mendo trash czar, and author and sole actor of the local best seller, "How to Car Bomb Your Ex-Wife and Get Away With It" had enough to eat far, far away from, so to speak, the scene of the crime, and wondered if Mike Sweeney had second thoughts about leaving his furtive life on the Westside, not to mention his old girlfriend, journalist Glenda Anderson, who faithfully promoted the diminutive psychopath's recycling prowess on the front page of the Ukiah Daily Journal, and later ran interference for him at the Press Democrat where epistolary evidence related to the car bombing conveniently disappeared, and then got dumped by PeeWee when he left the scene of his many crimes for a new life west of the sun.
A READER WRITES: “I was reading about millennials, kids born from around 1985-2000. They voluntarily read books at a rate down about 60% from past generations. And reading comprehension skills have deteriorated massively as have deficiency in English writing skills. We place 15th of 31 industrialized nations and the number of 12th graders who have never read for pleasure was 20%! Books are anathema I guess. The other obvious change (given our shallow materialistic culture) is that 45% of Baby Boomers consider wealth a very important attribute compared to the millennials in which 75% consider wealth to be a very important attribute. Obviously, moving in the wrong direction if we want to begin to deal with the rampant consumerism which feeds the global warming beast. Another survey compared interest in staying abreast of political affairs — 50% baby boomers down to 35% millennials! It also showed in a category called ‘developing a meaningful philosophy of life.’ This measure decreased from 73% boomers to 21% millennials. Millennials came of age when the internet was taking precedence. It will be interesting to see how the pandemic generation turns out… If you and I are even still around! Ha!”
THE ONLY PEOPLE I know under the age of 70 are immediate family members. I think it's obvious there's been a significant cultural falling off, but in defense of the Like Dudes and the Up Talk Girls, they've been raised on psycho-visuals, depraved tunes, and cyber-gadgetry, not to mention bad food and dope in a culture not known for its reverence for learning, and in an imploding society on top of all of it, a society flagrantly indifferent to their welfare. I doubt the poor things ever see a book after they complete their 12 years of irrelevant education. I'm surprised most of them, and the rest of us, function as well as we seem to, bombarded with lunacies all day every day. Myself, I've always felt I was adrift in an alien culture, which and but, in terms of the scholarly life, the percentages of participants don't seem to have changed much, if at all.
ANOTHER REASON for lamenting the purchase of the June Ranch by minor league coastal timber magnate Roger Burch is both its significance as the site of Native American habitation for thousands of years and, latterly, the once upon a time homestead of a former slave, Daniel Jeans who, married to a Native American woman whose name is lost to time, raised a family in Ham Canyon, as it was known at the turn of the century. Daniel Jeans was and is important to the history of Anderson Valley. He cleared the land for The Valley's first school — the little red school house, as it's known today — which he also helped build. I doubt Burch bought the place out of nostalgia for its history, and am surprised the timber on the 800-plus acres is worth the several million dollars Burch paid for the property.
NOTE to coach Toohey from an old Boonter: "If Toohey wants another suggestion for the AV Panthers in Boontling he might consider Bahl tomkers: Good Cats or Plenty Bahl tomkers for really good cats. Tomker seertle is Boontling for cat fish, seertle being fish."
THERE'S CHICKENBLEEP and then there's the Supervisors' refusal to extend to former Supervisor McCowen the pro forma honor of public recognition for his many years of service, which includes many hours of donated time cleaning up the banks of the Russian River after the bums, er, homeless. Every other retiring Supe has gotten the rote Whereases, even the several recent criminals and nut cases who “served.” I know from long personal experience with the garrulous Ukiah solon how excruciatingly annoying he can be, so annoying to me that I spent several years dreaming of beating him severely about the head and shoulders. The five present Supervisors should be able to collectively suck it up and ignore CEO Angelo's personal dislike of McCowen and give him the recognition he deserves.
CONTRAST nada for McCowen with this Mawk Fest for Supervisor Jim ‘The Hippies Are After Me’ Wattenburger
(From our Supes meeting coverage in December 2008):
Supervisor Colfax recited a resolution recognizing his colleague Jim Wattenburger for his years of service. Colfax rattled off a list of the various boards, councils, commissions, districts and agencies one-term Wattenburger was on, concluding that Wattenburger had demonstrated “leadership” by showing up for all these meetings. Colfax chuckled as he congratulated Wattenburger for bringing “levity and a sense of humor — Jimisms, the creative use of the English language” to the boardroom. Wattenburger certainly did that, however unintentionally.
Colfax then joked that it came as a “great relief” that Wattenburger had not chained himself to the Mill Creek Dam to keep the state from taking it out for the sake of the fish a couple of years ago. “This short, fat, bald guy made a lasting impression,” Colfax joked, referring to Wattenburger's self-description at a meeting last year.
Outgoing Supervisor Delbar piled on. “It's been an honor to work with Jim Wattenburger for these four years, a joy working with somebody of Jim's caliber. His heart is with the County of Mendocino. He always had fatherly advice for me and he made the last four years enjoyable. Thanks for your service. It was remarkable.”
All of this saccharine bonhomie was entirely self-referential, bearing no relation to county business. …
Wattenburger declared he had “hope for the future,” that he was passionate about County business, and that he had initially run because he wanted to “bring back government efficiency.” (We haven't heard a word from him since on any subject, let alone county matters.)
When Wattenburger mentioned his wife he paused, sighed, and choked back tears between sputters, sentence fragments and occasional eye-daubings. He referred to “after-meeting regrets, ranting, and the crap that comes with the job,” then shook his head saying, “Wait a minute. … This is the passion I talked about. My wife got several death threats because of my actions,” Wattenburger claimed, patting his eyes again. “I thank her.”
Last year (2007) Wattenburger said that he had received death threats aimed at his wife which were supposedly related to his positions on marijuana enforcement and/or the Masonite re-zone, saying that the threats, however they were expressed, included a description of his wife's daily itinerary, causing him to carry an unpermitted hand gun to Supervisor's meetings in case “the hippies” ambushed him. After several more pauses and whimpering false starts, Wattenburger changed subjects: “I didn't think I was worthy to be the chair,” he gurgled — more tears, more eye-daubing. “I apologize.” He handed out copies of his “principles of board conduct.”
And then read them.
“Hope, not fear. Solutions, not conflict. Education, not litigation. Science instead of emotion. I failed that one...”
“I'll leave you with one quote which is why I did not run for re-election,” said Wattenburger. “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. I decided to get the hell out of the way.” Wattenburger is a former Calfire firefighter. He's gone back to work for Calfire while also drawing Supervisor pay at $65k a year plus bennies.
After Colfax read a proclamation commending Wattenburger for his four years of service, the other four Supervisors perfunctorily voted, “Aye.”
Wattenburger, through his tears, voted “No. I don't think I deserve it,” adding, “I apologize for that show of emotion but that is my passion.”
KELLEY HOUSE: STAY TUNED
Guest House Museum
The museum had a general deep cleaning for the first two floors. However, due to the upswing of COVID cases, the mostly elder docents are understandably reluctant to put themselves in a vulnerable position. Therefore, open hours will be extremely limited due to limited docent availability.
It will be open the next two Fridays (11-2) and Saturdays (10-4). Stay tuned for September, etc.
Julie Parker <email@example.com>
STOP THE PREENING & THE POT OUTLAWS, SUPES
We have had legal marijuana cultivation in Mendocino County for several years. As a resident of Covelo, I have watched hoop houses and gardens sprout all over town. As a teacher at the school, I have watched the students start the year full of enthusiasm only to drop off in their attendance and motivation in October when the crops ripen, filling the air around the school with skunky odor, and filling the bodies of the students with disinterest in anything but being stoned.
Legalizing this plant was inevitable, but it only increased the illegal and dangerous climate in our home towns, because frankly, regulations strangled legitimate growers, and enforcement of the law is barely existent. If you were going to be afraid to enforce it, you had no business legalizing it.
We run cows on various properties. These properties are covered with illegal grows, too many plants, illegal generators, lights, poorly constructed illegal roads and pesticides.
Now, they, since many are growing on rangeland that has no water source, are pumping water out of the valley and hauling it up the mountain to the tune of hundreds of thousands of gallons a day. The trucks are illegal as are the sellers of water. The Cartel thinks the law is a big joke.
Our wells are going dry, but their plants and crime are flourishing. Our legitimate businesses are struggling, but illegal growers, most of them residing outside the county, are sailing around, destroying our roads with their speed and heavy trucks. The lights from the grow houses are brighter than the regular lights from the town when viewed from the mountain. Now, individuals are sucking our water out of the ground as fast as they can, endangering the rest of the population’s ability to create defensible spaces around their homes and have water for fighting fire, not to mention destroying our ability to live here.
This is an emergency situation you need to address. You are responsible not for the Cartels’ well-being, but for the well-being of those of us who are legitimately paying taxes on our products. We did not elect you to preen before the small population of legitimate farmers, but to look out for the well-being of all your constituents. If there is not enough money available to shut down the illegal water pumping and thus protect the rest of our residents, then you had better find the money.
Please help us!!! We are, at this point, beyond desperate!!!
Retired teacher, Rancher, citizen of Covelo
CORRECTING GUN CLUB'S STATUS
I'm writing just to point out what I think is an error in the item below in the AVA's Mendocino County Today, 18 August 2021.
The lease was not at issue. At issue in yesterday's BOS meeting, Item 4e, was a Joint Powers Agreement between the corrupt Mendocino County and the even more corrupt City of Ukiah to share building code authority.
I quote from the agenda item: "Approval of Agreement with the City of Ukiah For Shared Exercise of Land Use and California Building Code Authority on Mendocino County Assessor’s, Parcel Number 178-210-01."
I use the word "corrupt" to describe the County and the City because in their abject corruption neither the County nor the City have regulated the Ukiah Gun Club since 1982.
In fact, the Ukiah Gun Club is not even a "club". It is a business -- an unregulated business with 2,000 members constantly firing guns from sunrise to sunset in a wildfire zone.
This is to say nothing of the lead dust from the millions of spent bullets and buckshot since 1982 that blows in the air and leaches into the aquifer.
Think of the Pomo kids at the federally-recognized Guidiville Rancheria next door to the gun club.
Think of the kids at the Vichy Springs Community Homes across the street from the gun club.
The Ukiah Gun Club has created Ukiah Valley's own version of Flint, Michigan.
On Monday, August 6, 2021 at approximately 9:14 PM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to contact an adult male regarding a reported brandishing of a firearm in the 1600 block of Highway 20 in Willits.
Deputies contacted the adult male who reported that approximately 2 hours earlier he was walking his dog down the railroad tracks in the area of the 2500 block of Highway 20 when he was confronted by Michael McCallion.
McCallion reportedly told the adult male he was trespassing on his (McCallion’s) property and told him to leave. The adult male and McCallion became engaged in a verbal argument and McCallion brandished a firearm and discharged one round.
The adult male was unsure if the firearm was discharged in the air or in his direction. The adult male fled the location and later contacted the Sheriff’s Office by telephone to report the incident.
Deputies located McCallion on a parcel in the area of the 2500 block of Highway 20 in Willits. Deputies obtained information that McCallion had discharged a firearm up in the air near Highway 20 where several homes were located. Deputies also found a Sig Sauer 9mm semi-auto pistol and ammunition inside a tent McCallion was living in.
McCallion was arrested for discharging a firearm in a gross negligent manner. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
2AM DELIVERY MAN
On Monday, August 16, 2021 at 1:58 A.M. a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on routine patrol when he observed a vehicle traveling southbound on Highway 101 in Redwood Valley.
The Deputy observed a traffic violation as the vehicle exited Highway 101 onto Highway 20. The Deputy performed a traffic stop and contacted the adult female driver and the adult male passenger (Maric Arriaga, 28, of Ukiah).
The female driver was found to be on formal probation with terms to include a fourth amendment waiver (Search). A search of the female revealed a commercial quantity of blue pills, which the Deputy suspected were counterfeit oxycodone pills. Other Deputies arrived on scene and continued the investigation.
Through their investigation, the Deputies developed probable cause to believe the pills belonged to Arriaga.
It was also determined Arriaga possessed a commercial quantity of suspected methamphetamine concealed in his clothing. The Deputies attempted to arrest Arriaga for possession of the illegal drugs.
When the Deputies attempted to handcuff Arriaga, he squared off into a fighting stance and began physically resisting.
The Deputies eventually gained control of Arriaga and wrestled him to the ground where he was eventually handcuffed. Arriaga was not injured during the altercation and the female was released from the scene with the vehicle.
Arriaga was arrested for Felony Resisting Arrest Threatening Officer, Felony Possession Controlled Substance/Narcotic For Sale, Felony Transportation of Controlled Substance/Narcotic For Sale, Felony Possession of Controlled Substance For Sale, Felony Transportation of Controlled Substance For Sale.
Arriaga was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
THESE GUYS ALWAYS SEEM TO BE DRIVING AROUND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
On Sunday, August 15-2021 at 11:04 P.M. A Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was on routine patrol when he observed Jesse Connolly, 34, of Redwood Valley, driving on North State Street in the area of Pinecrest Drive in Redwood Valley.
The Deputy knew Connolly from prior law enforcement contacts and knew there were two active felony warrants (Failure to appear in court) for Connolly's arrest.
The Deputy conducted a traffic stop and contacted Connolly, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
The Deputy arrested Connolly pursuant to the arrest warrants and he was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of $230,000 bail.
MALE ALA CARTE
On Monday, August 16, 2021 at approximately 0758 hours, Officers responded to the area for a welfare check on a male subject lying on the ground. Upon arrival, Officers contacted Steven Carte, who did not require medical attention.
Upon a records check, Officers were advised Carte is a Sex Registrant with prior convictions for failing to register in Texas, and Tennessee. Carte provided multiple false statements to officers including when he returned to California, when he last registered, and that he had been informed he was no longer required to register. Carte was arrested without incident, and transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Fort Bragg Police Officer Ferris at 707-961-2800 ext. 126 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
STATE OF THE NATION, EXHIBIT 65 TRILLION
On Sunday, August 8, 2021 at about 3:55 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to motel located in the 75000 block of Highway 162 in Covelo, California.
Deputies were advised a person named Paulino Calihua, 32, of Yuba City, was highly intoxicated and was soliciting females for sexual acts. Deputies were also advised Calihua had a 4 year-old child with him.
Deputies arrived and contacted Calihua, who advised he was from Yuba City, California. Calihua had the objective signs of being under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, to include having trouble maintaining his balance.
Sheriff's Office Dispatch advised Calihua was on active probation for an alcohol related offense. Deputies located a large amount of open and unopened alcoholic beverage containers in his possession.
Deputies learned Calihua had arrived in Covelo on 08-07-2021 and had made numerous attempts to pay females for sexual acts and asked strangers to babysit the 4 year-old child.
Deputies determined the child had not eaten for about 24 hours. As a result, community members and Deputies provided the child with food and water.
Calihua was arrested for willful cruelty to a child and violation of probation. Calihua was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was be held in lieu of $27,500 bail.
Child Protective Services was contacted and the child was reunited with a family member.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 18, 2021
STEVEN CARTE, Fort Bragg. Failure to register.
KEVIN DELCAMPO-VELASQUEZ, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.
RANDELL GAISBAUER, Rancho Santa Margari/Ukiah. Protective order violation.
ANTONIO LOPEZ JR., Hopland. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury or death, vandalism, probation revocation.
TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JACK POLLOCK, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SHAWN POTE, Willits. Trespassing, contempt of court. (Frequent flyer.)
CHRISTINA TORRES, Hopland. Failure to appear.
COURTNEY VESSEY, Lakeport/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
HE ASKED FOR IT
Contrary to what Elizabeth Warren and Gavin Newsom think, the recall isn’t about Trump Republicans. This is about Newsom’s air of superiority. It’s about telling everyone else to mask up and social distance while he dined as he did at the French Laundry. It’s about giving out Golden State stimulus checks to everyone except those who needed it the most — those on disability and Social Security (because they didn’t have “earned income”). It’s about giving Medi-Cal to illegal immigrants, young and old, while citizens have to wait forever to be approved for it. So, Newsom can’t blame anyone but himself. This is all on him.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Interesting update from the Taliban (translated) on their plans here: https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en.125cc7a1-611d0c2e-01a600e5-74722d776562/https/cont.ws/@Colonel-Cassad/2063845
“The Taliban in Kabul gave the first official press conference on behalf of the new Afghan authorities. In addition to reading out statements, the Taliban also answered questions from journalists.
The main speaker was Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
According to him, Mullah Baradar, who is to become the president of Afghanistan, has already arrived in the country.
1. Women will be able to receive education up to the university level.
2. Women will have the right to work.
3. The Taliban will ask all women to wear headscarves, and the burqa will not be required.
4. The Islamic Emirate does not threaten anyone and is not going to be hostile to anyone. Revenge is not the Taliban’s way.
5. The leaders of the Islamic Emirate have ordered a general pardon. The Taliban ends its enmity with all those who opposed it in Afghanistan.
6. The Taliban is proud to be the force that was able to liberate Afghanistan from foreign occupation after 20 years of struggle.
7. The security of foreign embassies and international organizations is a priority for the Taliban. The Taliban’s special security forces will provide perimeter protection for both those departing from Afghanistan and those staying behind.
8. A strong, inclusive (!) Islamic government will be formed in Afghanistan.
9. The Taliban is not going to attack American citizens at the airport in Kabul. None of the American citizens or citizens of other countries will be harmed.
10. Foreign media will be able to continue working in Afghanistan. The opportunity to criticize the activities of the Taliban Government and make public statements about its work will be preserved.
11. Freedom of speech in Afghanistan must be consistent with Islamic values. The media should work for the unity of the nation, so that all Afghans live peacefully, like brothers.
12. Civil servants should continue to work for the benefit of the State and society. The general amnesty also applies to them.
13. And again about women. All women’s rights will be guaranteed within the limits of Islamic law. The Taliban considers women a key part of society, but they must abide by the norms of Islam.
14. The Taliban will not pursue Afghan translators who worked with the occupation regime. They will not be harassed or attacked out of revenge. There is no need for them to leave Afghanistan.
15. The Taliban assures, including the United States, that the territory of Afghanistan will not be used to attack other countries.
16. All Afghan military personnel who worked directly with the occupation forces will also receive an amnesty.
17. The Taliban wants the recognition of the international community, which should not be afraid of the Taliban. The Taliban does not pose a threat to other countries and it is ready to discuss all possible problems in relations within the framework of bilateral or multilateral negotiations to resolve problems.
18. The Ghani government was weak and deceived the Afghans. It didn’t keep its promises and ran away.
19. The Taliban will ensure the safety of the people of Kabul and prevent looting, looting, theft and other crimes.
20. A Taliban spokesman boasted that the Taliban took over all of Afghanistan in 11 days.
21. Regarding the violence during the war, the Taliban states that it was not out of revenge, but they had no choice, since there was a war. Now is a different time, so the approaches will be different.
22. The Taliban promises to change Afghanistan very soon. This will be a positive change, because every Afghan wants to have a better life. The Taliban will take serious steps to improve Afghanistan’s economy with the help of other countries.
22. The Taliban has very good relations with Pakistan, Russia and China. But the Taliban has no allies and is not part of any military-political bloc.
23. From the Taliban’s point of view, the Afghan War is officially over. The Taliban wants war to be a thing of the past, and Afghanistan to cease to be a battlefield for Afghans and foreign powers.
24. The Taliban has extensive experience in various fields that will help in the process of changing Afghanistan for the better.
25. The Taliban aims to ensure that the Government of Afghanistan is open to the people and includes representatives of various groups.
26. The Taliban says they will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for international terrorists (a thick reference to ISIS).
Those present at the press conference note that the Taliban were not so sure about the answers to 2 questions-regarding women journalists and the situation with drug production in Afghanistan, although they stated that women’s work will be carried out within the framework of Sharia law, and they intend to stop drug production.”
The Western press want a bloodpath in Afg. That would at least give them a pathetic bottom-line “we told you so”
If there is no bloodbath and things go smoothly then it places a much bigger question mark over the whole endeavour, rightly or wrongly.
“First of all, don't vote Republican. They cause an INCREASE in abortions and an increase of unintended and unwanted children every time they get into power by cutting aid to international family planning clinics.”
That is a sentence from a letter I sent to the Editor a week or so ago. The editors changed the words “an increase” to “an decrease" making the sentence absurd and untrue. The Republicans “buy” votes from the anti-abortionists by claiming to be against abortion. They withdrew US support from any family planning clinic and its sponsors that even mentions abortion. The result is that families are cut off from their contraception resulting in an increase in abortions and unwanted children. So if you are against abortion the last thing you want to do is vote Republican.
Ed note: Our apologies for the error.
WE FAILED AFGHANISTAN, Not the Other Way Around
MSNBC rails against the "fantastically corrupt elite" on the ground that ruined the Afghan mission, but the real corruption was our own
by Matt Taibbi
On MSNBC the other night, Rachel Maddow told a story about visiting Afghanistan a decade ago. She described being taken on a tour of a new neighborhood in Kabul of “narco-palaces,” what she called, “big garish, gigantic, rococo, strange-looking places” that hadn’t existed before the Americans arrived. This was said to be symbolic of the “fantastically corrupt elites” among the Afghan political class who put themselves into position to siphon off big chunks of the “billions of dollars per month” we sent into the country.
Noting that, “the U.S. effort and expenditure in that country did build some stuff, roads and waterways and schools,” Maddow decried the fact that “so much of what we put in by the boatload was shoveled off by a fantastically corrupt elite.” She showed video of Taliban conquerors lounging around in the tackily-furnished homes of former Afghan officials in Kabul, pointing out that, “dictator chic is the same the world over.” In a not-so-subtle dig at Donald Trump, she added, “And they really like gold fixtures.”
From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, the pattern of American officials showering questionable political allies abroad with armfuls of cash is a long-established practice. However, the idea that this is the reason the “missions” fail in such places is just a continuation of the original propaganda lines that get us into these messes. It’s a way of saying the subject populations are to blame for undermining our noble efforts, when the missions themselves are often preposterous and, moreover, the lion’s share of the looting is usually done by our own marauding contracting community.
The MSNBC criticism ignores the massive amounts of corruption that were endemic to the American side of the mission, where contractors made fortunes monstrously overcharging the taxpayer for everything from private security, to dysfunctional or unnecessary construction projects, to social programs that either had no chance for success, or for which metrics for measuring success didn’t exist.
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) some years ago identified “$15.5 billion of waste, fraud, and abuse… in our published reports and closed investigations between SIGAR’s inception in 2008 and December 31, 2017,” and added an additional $3.4 billion in a subsequent review. All told, “SIGAR reviewed approximately $63 billion and concluded that a total of approximately $19 billion or 30 percent of the amount reviewed was lost to waste, fraud, and abuse.”
Thirty percent! If the overall cost of the war was, as reported, $2 trillion (about $300 million per day for 20 years), a crude back of the envelope calculation for the amount lost to fraud during the entire period might be $600 billion, an awesome sum. It could even be worse than that. SIGAR for instance also looked at a $7.8 billion sum spent on buildings and vehicles from 2008 on, and reported that of that, only $343.2 million “were maintained in good condition.” They added that just $1.2 billion of the original expenditure was used as intended. By that metric, the majority of the monies spent in Afghanistan might simply have gone up in smoke in bogus or ineffectual contracting schemes.
Worse, many enormous expenses that wouldn’t have been described by inspectors as outright fraud or waste were dubious anyway. As detailed earlier in this space in an interview with former Captain Adrian Bonenberger, the military spent an astonishing $50 billion just on one failed program, the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, or MRAP. They spent nearly a million dollars per vehicle and scrapped 2,000 of them just six years after introducing them into the field in Afghanistan. How many stories like this were there?
In Afghanistan, SIGAR found problem after problem:
— $70 million in proceeds lost to a scheme in which a former translator worked with Special Forces members to embezzle and divert funds from a trucking company;
— $6 million lost when “a contractor defrauded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on a food services contract utilized specifically by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) entities and personnel in Afghanistan”;
— The US Agency for International Development spent $800,000 to collect data about its Promote program, designed to support the involvement of women in governance, but the survey designed didn’t collect the requisite data;
— “$1.6 million worth of equipment spent for a water-filtration system at the Afghan National Army’s Camp Commando facility… failed after only two months.”
A major delusion of American war efforts anywhere in the world is that the missions are undertaken for the reasons given: to hold the line against communism, to build democracy and arrest poverty in places like Iraq or Afghanistan, or eliminate security havens for antagonists like al-Qaeda. Our presence may begin under the auspices of such excuses, but what happens almost every time is that the missions assume bureaucratic lives of their own, and contracting becomes an end in itself. This was a major revelation of The Afghanistan Papers expose in the Washington Post, which contained the following passage:
One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: “He said hell no. ‘Well, sir, that’s what you just obligated us to spend and I’m doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.’ ”
All of the locales for our foreign adventures become boondoggles in large part because they’re so many levels removed from anything like oversight. The entire Pentagon is not audited, could not pass an audit if there were ever to be one, which means the $700 billion military budget is already an unguarded trough for contractors like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. Overseas theaters are simply more inaccessible plunder zones within that already impenetrable black box of over-spending, for missions whose justifications are often so inscrutable that the public has a hard time immediately converting knowledge about waste or fraud into outrage.
How would the public have looked at practices like bringing billions of dollars in cash on pallets to pay bribes, or multi-million-dollar construction projects to nowhere, or millions spent on hired guns for phantom deliveries or security exercises, during the Battle of the Bulge? Much differently than it did for the endless war in Afghanistan, which on some level every American understood was a massive welfare program for contractors.
That’s corruption on a level so deep that we can’t even speak of it ruining the chances for a successful mission, since spending was the mission, and we succeeded at it on a grand scale. Given that reality, pointing the finger anywhere but at ourselves for failure in a place like Afghanistan is absurd, and just continues the practice of lying to ourselves about the motives underlying our military misadventures, which keep ending the same way, and not by accident.
CALIFORNIA ENACTED A GROUNDWATER LAW 7 Years Ago. But Wells Are Still Drying Up — and It’s Spreading
Called the Sustainable Management Groundwater Act or SGMA, the laws gave local groundwater agencies in critically overdrafted basins 26 years — until 2040 — to achieve sustainability and stop impacts of overdraft from worsening. …
But, somewhat predictably, this drought arrived much sooner than the laws’ safeguards: As a result, echoes of the last drought are now sputtering from people’s faucets and knocking through their empty pipes.
IN PRAISE OF JOE BIDEN
by Stan Goff
Never thought I’d put that in a title.
I don’t like Joe Biden. I think his working class shtick is as phony as a street corner Rolex. He’s a liar. He’s a corporate sycophant. He’s a masher creep around women and girls. And he’s kind of an asshole in general (I know, takes one to know one). His political record is one long disaster. But . . .
. . . Joe Biden did not fuck up with Afghanistan. He made the cleanest getaway possible, and this was altogether the right thing to do, no matter the fallout. There was no other way. For twenty years, we’ve been “turning the corner” in Afghanistan. It may not have occurred to many Americans — immersed as we are in militarism and American exceptionalism — that the American/NATO presence in Afghanistan was making things worse for Afghanis and more dangerous for the world.
The fallout — those dramatic images we are seeing of the Taliban re-establishing its authority — was built into the whole enterprise. Those who are chagrined by the Taliban takeover may not realize that ever since the US took over, the country has been run by thieves and a potpourri of militias. The ordering principle of the whole occupation has been a great river of US cash flowing through Kabul and out to America’s Afghan clients. Without that flow, the whole thing collapses . . . has collapsed. The Taliban will reassert control, because they always had control and popular support or it wouldn’t have been that easy, and Afghanistan’s state of struggle — a constant for a good long while — will shift from the foreign occupier to an internal ordering which none of us can yet see . . . and which is not the privilege or responsibility of the US to decide.
This is still better than the alternative — the US stays for another twenty years waiting to turn that damn corner — a Betty Crocker recipe for perpetuating war. You know why some of us oldsters know this? We remember Vietnam. We’d seen this movie.
The US is not morally, socially, or politically fit to run the affairs of people halfway around the world. Forgotten — in the plethora of images being pumped into the fires of public outrage by the military-industrial-media complex — are the atrocities of “our side,” of the state of extreme exception that has been normalized since 2001, of the expansion of the war into seven countries by Obama, of the torture and execution black sites, the drone strikes against civilians, and the fascist Patriot Act. Unreported were the day-to-day humiliations and abuses that are committed by ALL occupying forces everywhere and throughout history.
I’ll tell you who made out like bandits, though. War industries and their politicians. Mercenary “contractors.” Cable news.
I completely understand, even if I disagree with, the sentiment of veterans and military families: “Can this all be for nothing? Did all those people spend all that time and effort, some losing life, limb, or eyesight . . . was all that treasure spent ($2.26 trillion conservatively) . . . for nothing?”
It’s an important question, because its the question that will become a campaign slogan soon enough, even though the answer is far less satisfying and politically effective than attacking Joe Biden for this affront to the nation’s masculinity. To those veterans and military families — from a retired Army veteran who belongs to a very military family — I say, yes, it was all for nothing . . . like a tragic accident, only one that someone did on purpose. It was all for nothing . . . if we let it be; that is, if we fail to learn from this. That’s how we make it “worth it,” as if such an accounting weren’t part of the bodyguard of lies that accompanies all wars.
I’m praising Joe Biden. This departure took guts. It takes guts in a culture so steeped in simulacra, manufactured myth, and incessant political maneuvering to do a thing that’s simultaneously necessary and sure to produce unsavory results. Whatever else Biden does that pisses me off in the future — and that’s a sure thing — he deserves credit, not all this hand-wringing and blame. He has confronted the Archons of the military-industrial-media complex, who are writhing and raging now across the screens of cable news — an industry taken over by the same ideology that got us into Afghanistan in the first place: neoconservatism, an arrogant and clueless late imperial ideology now spouted on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC.
Biden is not to blame for a “debacle” in Afghanistan.
This exercise in mortal stupidity started with George W. Bush, and cheered on by the media. It was extended and expanded by Bush II (Obama). It was denounced by Trump, but allowed to go on, because even Trump didn’t have the guts to risk a hit to the very performative masculinity that fueled his popular appeal. The occupation was not wine, improving with age. It was a wound festering to gangrene, and now there had to be an amputation. And none of them, not Bush, not Obama, not Trump, had the guts to say, “Stop!” Only Biden, at long last. Praise be!
Politicians won’t be kind to Biden. His fellow Democrats are exhibiting a craven cowardice as this is written, piling on the bash-Biden train while that sense of a wounded national masculinity is inflamed by the bellows of cable news and their weapons manufacturing sponsors. Remember them. Republicans — who would have backed Trump if he’d have had the courage to leave Afghanistan — are already sharpening their knives for 2022. Remember their chicken-livered, opportunistic asses, too. History will pour shit over their memories long after they have their little opportunistic day. Biden will be remembered — in spite of his many character defects and his sordid political history — as the President who had the guts to confront them all.
I remember 2001, right after the September 11 attacks. The national hysteria was at a peak, the thirst for Muslim blood palpable in the street. Black people I knew who never flew US flags in their yards felt intimidated into displaying them as a defense against the surge of bloodthirsty patriotism. A few of us — on the left, naturally — opposed the imminent invasion of Afghanistan. I was part of a panel at UNC that opposed it; and we were put on Lynne Cheney’s little “enemies list.” Throughout the population at large, around five percent would go on record in those days just after the attacks and say they opposed an invasion. We were isolated, just as Joe Biden is isolated today, but we established an island of resistance where more and more people could take refuge from the delirium.
Now, twenty years hence, we are seeing the end of that war. And again, we are hidden in the fog of manufactured outrage for a time. Please join us again — this time to defend Joe Biden’s withdrawal. Establish an outpost of sense for the days to come, from where we can resist the cable-news sirens, and from where we have to begin pushing back on these well-financed narratives of America’s “emasculation,” of American exceptionalism, and of yet another “stabbed-in-the-back-by-politicians” fascist myth.
I don’t like Joe Biden. I think his working class shtick is as phony as a street corner Rolex. He’s a liar. He’s a corporate sycophant. He’s a masher creep around women and girls. And he’s kind of an asshole in general (I know, takes one to know one). His political record is one long disaster. But . . .
God bless Joe Biden for ending this obscenity.
(Stan Goff retired from the US Army in February 1996. He is a veteran of the US occupation of Vietnam, and seven other conflict areas. His books include Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti (Soft Skull Press), Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century (Soft Skull Books), Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex, and Church (Cascade Books), Mammon’s Ecology: Metaphysic of the Empty Sign (Cascade Books), Tough Gynes: Violent Women in Film as Honorary Men (Cascade Books), and Smitten Gate (a novel about Afghanistan, from Club Orlov Press). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org.)
HOW CALIFORNIA’S TOP DEMS PAVED THE WAY FOR A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR THIS FALL
by Norman Solomon
Four weeks from now, a right-wing Republican could win the governor's office in California. Some polling indicates that Democrat Gavin Newsom is likely to lose his job via the recall election set for Sept. 14. When CBS News released a poll on Sunday, Gov. Newsom’s razor-thin edge among likely voters was within the margin of error. How this could be happening in a state where Republicans are only 24 percent of registered voters is largely a tale of corporate-friendly elitism and tone-deaf egotism at the top of the California Democratic Party.
Newsom has always been enmeshed with the power of big money. "Gavin Newsom wasn't born to wealth and privilege but as a youngster he was enveloped in it as the surrogate son of billionaire Gordon Getty,” longtime conservative California journalist Dan Walters has pointed out. “Later, Getty's personal trust fund -- managed by Newsom's father -- provided initial financing for business ventures that made Newsom wealthy enough to segue into a political career as a protégé of San Francisco's fabled political mastermind, Willie Brown." In 1996, as mayor, Brown appointed Newsom to the city’s Parking and Traffic Committee. Twenty-five years later, Newsom is chief executive of a state with the world’s fifth-largest economy.
Last November, Newsom dramatized his upper-crust arrogance of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Photos emerged that showed him having dinner with a corporate lobbyist friend among people from several households, all without masks, in a mostly enclosed dining room -- at an extremely expensive Napa Valley restaurant called The French Laundry -- at a time when Gov. Newsom was urging Californians to stay away from public gatherings and to wear masks. The governor’s self-inflicted political wound for hypocrisy badly damaged his image.
After deep-pocketed funders teamed up with the state’s Republican Party to circulate petitions forcing a recall election, initial liberal optimism gladly assumed that the GOP was overplaying its hand. But the recall effort kept gaining momentum. Now, there’s every indication that Republicans will vote at a significantly higher rate than Democrats -- a fact that speaks not only to conservative fervor but also to the chronic detachment of the state’s Democratic Party from its base.
Newsom’s most fervent boosters include corporate interests, mainline labor unions and the California Democratic Party. Just about every leader of the CDP, along with the vast majority of Democrats in the state legislature, is pleased to call themselves “progressive.” But the label is often a thin veneer for corporate business as usual.
For instance, the CDP’s platform has long been on record calling for a single-payer healthcare system in California. Such measures passed the legislature during the time when Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor from 2003 to 2007, and he surprised no one by vetoing the bills. But the heavily-Democratic legislature has obliged the latest two Democratic governors, Jerry Brown and Newsom, by bottling up single-payer legislation; it’s been well understood that Brown and Newsom wanted to confine the state party’s support for single-payer to lip service.
In the same vein, the CDP’s current chair, Rusty Hicks, signed a pledge that the state party would not accept fossil-fuel money. But he went on to do exactly that to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars.
As an elected member of the California Democratic Party’s central committee during the last decade, I’ve often witnessed such top-down maneuvers. Frequently, the CDP’s most powerful leaders are in a groove of thwarting the progressive aspirations of the party’s bedrock supporters -- and blocking measures that would materially improve the lives of millions of Californians.
“This is what happens when the culture of high-priced consultants and cult of personality meets a corporate-controlled legislature and party,” said Karen Bernal, a Sacramento-based activist who chaired the CDP’s large Progressive Caucus for six years. She told me: “The campaign promises and vows of support for progressive policy are revealed to be nothing more than performative, while the hopes and dreams of the party’s progressive base are sent to die in committee and behind closed doors. The end result is a noticeable lack of fight when it’s most needed.”
Now, with the recall election barreling down on the state, the routinely aloof orientation of the state party’s structure is coming back to haunt it. Overall, the CDP’s actual connections to grassroots activists and core constituencies are tenuous at best, while Newsom comes across as more Hollywood and Wall Street than neighborhood and Main Street. No wonder Democrats statewide are less energized about voting on the recall than Republicans are.
If Newsom loses the recall, his successor as governor will be determined by who gets the most votes on “part 2” of the same ballot. In that case, you might logically ask, isn’t the “part 2” winner a safe bet to be a Democrat in such a heavily Democratic state? Actually, no.
On the theory that having any prominent Democrat in contention would harm his chances of surviving the yes/no recall vote on the ballot’s “part 1,” Newsom and party operatives conveyed to all of the state’s prominent Democrats: Don’t even think about it.
The intimidation was successful. Not a single Democrat with substantial name recognition is on “part 2” of the ballot, so no reasonable safety net contender exists if the recall wins. As a result, Newsom’s replacement looks as likely to be an ultra-right Republican as a Democrat. And if the replacement is a Democrat, it would almost certainly be a highly problematic fellow -- a financial adviser and YouTube star named Kevin Paffrath, whose grab bag of ideas includes a few that appeal to Democrats (like marriage equality, higher teacher pay and promotion of solar and wind farms) but features a lot of pseudo-populist notions that would do tremendous damage if implemented.