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SEASONABLE TEMPERATURES AND GENERALLY LIGHT WINDS will continue through Wednesday. The coast is expected to see areas of nightly marine stratus with afternoon clearing. Smoke is expected to remain near fires, flowing with daily diurnal winds. Later this week, a warming and drying trend is expected with marine stratus persisting. (NWS)
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 her family and friends.
A 66 year old Redwood Valley woman has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 57th 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 for combating the Covid-19 Virus.
The individual in question was not vaccinated.
MOUNT SHASTA, SNOWLESS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE ANYONE CAN REMEMBER
FIRE, WATER & BROKEN POT RULES
by Jim Shields
There’s hardly a person in Mendocino County who is not aware of the fact that marijuana cultivation is totally out of control.
There are four people however, Supervisors Gjerde, Williams, McGourty, and Mulheren who think that their proposed ordinance that allows unprecedented pot expansion is a fine idea.
Of course, their proposal is being challenged by a referendum that seeks to repeal the entire ordinance.
This county is coming apart at the seams because of the unchecked pot proliferation occurring during declared drought emergencies, town water supplies and private wells going dry, and rampant water thefts and illegal diversions.
On top of these calamities is the reality of what appears to be another record-setting year of catastrophic wildfires.
I want to talk about fire and water and people who aren’t getting the message regarding how those two things are related to the difficulties of operating a municipal water utility during these times and circumstances.
Here’s a quick look at recent events occurring with the Laytonville County Water District.
On my KPFN program last Saturday, Lauren Kaplan who also does a show on the Puffin, called station manager Kevin Marsh shortly before 2 p.m. to report a large column of smoke near the bottom of Bell Springs Road at Highway 101.
Kevin came into the studio with the information and on air I called Laytonville Fire Department Chief Sue Carberry and asked if she was aware of the situation. She said she wasn’t but would get right on it.
Turns out the fire broke out off Bell Springs Road near Foster Creek Road east of Leggett.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office eventually issued evacuation orders that forced some residents to flee the area.
Firefighters and air support from multiple agencies fought the fire and about 5:30 p.m. the wildfire’s forward progress halted.
Cal Fire Mendocino reported that the fire burned 50 acres all together. The cause is unknown but under investigation.
By 9:25 p.m., all evacuation warnings and orders had been rescinded and residents were allowed to start returning home.
As I write this, on Tuesday night (August 17), fire personnel are still mopping up the area, and using water from our District to make sure the fire stays out.
We are fortunate in the Long Valley area to have an aquifer that recharges itself even in times of drought. It’s a natural resource that all of us who work for the Water District know must be protected, safeguarded and watched over ever so carefully. We don’t take our responsibilities lightly.
It’s one of the reasons that the greater Laytonville area that relies on our water, has never been forced to take mandatory water cuts during recent periods of drought.
We have a proven reliable source of water that is properly managed by District employees. All of us who work for the District live here in Laytonville and we’re not about to shirk our responsibilities and not do our jobs when it comes to protecting this vital resource.
But we need help in doing our jobs from District customers.
For over a month now we have broadcast on the radio, in the newspaper, on social media, with leaflets, and sign boards how important it is for everybody to comply with a rule and regulation that has been in effect since 2016.
That rule forbids watering outdoors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, seven days a week. Customers may water outdoors all they want from 5:01 p.m. to 10:59 a.m.
There are penalties and fines for people who break the rule. But too many people are ignoring the regulation even though there’s a tremendous loss of water during the heat of the day hours of 11 to 5.
This must stop because we are not maintaining safe firefighting levels in our storage tanks.
We are in the peak of wildfire season. On the same day the Bell Springs fire broke out there were two other fires in or near town, that were quickly knocked down. But if any one of those fires had gotten away from firefighters, large amounts of water would very likely have been needed to successfully combat them. If storage tanks are depleted it becomes almost impossible to fight fires.
The cause of this problem is no secret. Two-thirds of the population of Laytonville live west of Ten Mile Creek, we call this area the “West Zone.” There are record volumes of water being pumped to the West Zone mostly because there’s record numbers of pot plants under cultivation. Water consumption has increased by 50% this summer in the West Zone. Our booster pumps run almost non-stop during the hours of 11 to 5.
Every drop of water that is pulled from our wells and treated at the plant is metered. Water used by people who live in town to the east of Ten Mile Creek remains normal. Likewise with the bulk water sales. In fact, water haulers are on schedule restrictions. Plus all the water they use is metered. Again, we know exactly how much water is being used by everybody.
Cal Fire recently reported that, “The length of fire season is estimated to have increased by 75 days across the Sierra and seems to correspond with an increase in the extent of forest fires across the state. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) predicts portions of the Coast Ranges, Sierra, and Cascades in California increasing to above normal fire danger in June and July and continuing through September.”
Cal Fire reported that as of Aug 12, 959,611 acres have been blackened by 6,347 fires. Nearly 1,700 structures are gone. No lives have been lost — so far.
But bad as they are, this year’s fires have not set a record — yet.
The record was set last year, when Cal Fire reported a total of 9,917 wildfires that blackened 6,653 square miles, damaged 10,488 structures and left 33 people dead. Cal Fire pronounced the 2020 wildfire season the largest recorded in California’s modern history.
If fire on any scale happens here, we’re going to need water immediately to fight it. We have plenty of water for everybody right now. We just need water to keep our tanks full, or as close to full as possible so that firefighters can do their jobs.
So please folks, follow this very simple rule:
Seven days a week there is no outdoor watering allowed between the hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If the Water District does not see immediate improvement in compliance with this regulation, we’ll institute our Two Day Rule, which only allows outdoor watering two days per week from the hours of 5:01 pm to 10:59 a.m.
So please work with us, we don’t want to impose another regulation. We have a good thing going here, it’s in all of our interests to keep it that way.
The most important responsibility that we have as a local government water agency is to keep our customers and community safe. We believe that and we live it.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
MARIO'S RISTORANTE ITALIANO CLOSES
La Vita e un Sogno (Life is a Dream)
It is with great emotion and heartfelt sadness that my wife Kris and I announce the closing of our restaurant after 35+ years.
The fact that we may have accomplished something special and unique by, 'bucking the trends' and keeping 'old traditions' alive had become a constant source of pleasure and satisfaction for us. However, without much 'left in the tank' we decided that now would be the 'right time'.
Over the years, our hope was to offer you that special 'romantic moment' or perhaps a family occasion for all to treasure.
Kris and I always tried our best to please each and every one of you.
It was our job.
It was our joy.
Love to you all,
Mario’s Restaurant (Redwood Valley) Presser
PERFECT WEATHER FOR ARSONISTS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
We should start asking ourselves what our limits might be regarding traveling criminals who have found Ukiah an agreeable place to squat.
I’ve not been keeping score but it seems on the one hand local citizens sacrifice quite a bit to make sure visitors drifting in from Biloxi, Battle Creek and Boston are fed and housed as best we can. And on the other hand we turn to Page Two of the Ukiah Daily Journal on any given day and see depravities that shock us, and that most would agree probably aren’t the work of locals.
Arson, for example. Some mornings I’ve scanned the Police Log and noted six or eight separate attempts to destroy portions, or all, of the town by strategically setting fires in various locations. Near the hospital for instance, or down Hobo Highway along the tracks, or the park at the foot of East Gobbi Street.
Or out near the gun range on Vichy Drive, where we came within a whisker, or a stiff wind, of losing a lot. A lot of homes in the Deerwood / Redemeyer / El Dorado developments, and a lot of lives. Firefighters say it was arson, no doubt about it.
My question: If this is how (some) act when we treat them as honored guests visiting town, what would they do if we gave them a bus ticket and a sandwich?
They defecate on our streets, bathe in public fountains, use drugs, sell drugs, break stuff and consume free food. We bought a big expensive motel in a prime location just for displaced people to settle in, get their lives back in order, and hopefully not set fire to.
A point that must be made: A few local program administrators and grant writers make tons of money from the homeless population in Ukiah, but when they go home at night it isn’t to a house on Thomas Street or Observatory Avenue. Those who make their living luring lost souls to Ukiah reside in far off lands like Potter Valley, Redwood Valley and other isolated places well-removed from the homeless mobs they create. They take the money, we deal with the effluent. “Homelessness, Inc.” is a big business bringing a lot of money to insiders connected to government revenue.
If a couple dozen houses and a few people had died in the Vichy fire would citizens have begun talking about this clear and present problem? It’s a question we should ask ourselves, and city council members.
Truly, where’s the upside for Ukiah? Our streets are more dangerous, graffiti is spreading, boarded-up trashed buildings line South State Street. Quality of life is sinking, and neighborhoods are at risk of incineration because a pyromaniac from Bakersfield who just came to town is angry at what Plowshares served him for lunch?
BLINKERS: With the downtown streetscape renovations nearly complete (and looking pretty darn good I must say, despite my early and ongoing doubts) let’s talk about traffic lights and stop signs.
Most would agree that under recent (unusual) circumstances north-south travel has flowed nicely. Smooth sailing means you can roll right through blinking red stop lights. But get stuck at the lights at South State and Gobbi and you’ll need to call the boss and explain you’ll be late coming back from lunch.
Let’s vote! I say keep the blinkers until they prove ridiculous, which might only take a week.
TEMPERATURE SOLUTION: Everyone’s talking about triple-digit heat, and California Democrats are set to unveil an aggressive strategy to combat soaring temperatures.
An innovative program offering immediate and permanent relief: recalibration of thermometers across the state of California. Beginning September 15, the new SmarTemp system will display temperature readings a full 20% lower than previously.
Example: A 104 degree temperature reading on obsolete thermometers will soon be shown at 20% less in SmarTemp, and thus show 83 degrees. Lower readings are expected to result in immense energy savings, beginning with reduced AC useage.
SmarTemp installation is expected to cost less than $12,000 per household.
Democrats say such bold thinking will also be applied to drought relief. The concept of “acre foot” remains, but starting January 1 will be measured and reported as 100 square feet by six inches deep.
“The water savings are almost beyond comprehension,” said Congressional rep Jared Huffman. “It’s clear from early projections we can start tearing down California dams beginning last week.”
SUNDAYS IN PARK: The 2021 city-sponsored concert series has been the best in memory, and we credit a single factor: Boomers have grown old, their sap has dried to dust and so has their vanity, and they’re no longer compelled to shake their booties and other flabby body parts at strangers in public.
SYCAMORE ALERT: I’m no treeologist but if what’s now lining State Street are sycamore trees it’s already time to replace them. No sane homeowner would plant a sycamore; even an insane homeowner, having planted one, would never plant another.
Sycamores are the weed of trees, the perfect choice if you can’t find some nice kudzu or poison oak to plant along sidewalks. Its leaves are toxic, its roots are relentless and big, and Ukiah already has way too many sycamores.
Of course they instead might be Flowering Dream Orchid-Bearing Lotus Bouquet trees, in which case I’m already apologizing to sycamore fans everywhere.
(Tom Hine lives in Ukiah and sometimes writes under the TWK byline.)
JENNIFER SETS FIRE TO BURGER KING
On 8/19/21 at 6:08 pm, Willits Police, Little Lake & Brooktrails Fire Departments responded to a reported fire near the Burger King drive thru.
As the fire departments actively worked to contain the fire before it could spread, WPD’s Arson investigator and patrol officers began their investigation.
During the investigation, Officers identified 39 year old Jennifer Smith of Fort Bragg as a primary suspect.
The investigation revealed Smith walked up from the nearby creek bed, stopped, lit a portion of the dry grass by the drive thru on fire and then walked away. WPD Officers were able to locate Smith a few blocks away and detain her.
After the investigation was complete, Smith was ultimately arrested for arson and a drug related charge.
Little Lake & Brooktrails Fire Departments were able to contain and extinguish the fire quickly before it was able to spread causing further damage.
(Willits Police Presser)
SUPERVISORS AGENDA NOTES
by Mark Scaramella
Mendocino BoS - 8/24/2021 1:00 PM
Discussion and Possible Action Including Presentation Regarding Increasingly Dire Drought Conditions and Abrupt Loss of Coastal Water Sale to Haulers; and Direction to Staff to Allocate Budget for Immediate Assistance Including the Implementation of a Water Hauling Assistance Program, Structured for Best Success in Future Reimbursement from State and Federal Partners
(Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)
Accept presentation regarding increasingly dire drought conditions and abrupt loss of coastal water sale to haulers; and direct staff to allocate budget for immediate assistance including the implementation of a water hauling assistance program, structured for best success in future reimbursement from State and Federal partners.
Previoius Board/Committee Actions
The Board of Supervisors declared a Local Drought Emergency on April 20, 2021.
County formed the Mendocino County Drought Task Force consisting of Supervisors Haschak and McGourty.
The Drought Task Force met with the Mendocino City Community Service District in June, when MCCSD explained the urgency of the situation. The county has been able to secure 6 port-a-potties to reduce water demands within the town, but mitigation efforts alone will not address the magnitude of dwindling water supply.
On August 17, 2021, the Drought Task forced expressed optimism in regard to coastal water hauling potential.
Summary of Request
Within 24 hours of the August 17, 2021 BoS meeting, Supervisor Williams became aware of imminent halting of offsite water sales from Elk, Irish Beach, Mendocino Unified School District and Westport, leaving coast residents and businesses without the ability to purchase water. Restaurants and hotels have begun cancelling reservations and closing a few nights per week due to the shortage of drinking water. The town of Mendocino has become the epicenter of acute drought crisis, but residents across our rural landscape are not immune to dry wells.
Water Operator Charlie Acker said, “never seen it this bad, there is no flow in Greenwood Creek” and he was here for the historic drought of 1976-77. Fort Bragg discontinued water sales on July 18, 2021. Westport will stop their two loads per day sales any minute. The coast is now left without an affordable place to purchase water.
Last week, Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department responded to a mutual aid request for a fire in Ukiah. Firefighters left their jobs and families, raced to the station and drove a water tender full of water from drought stricken Mendocino to Ukiah. Like fire, drought requires application of pooled resources.
Ryan Rhoades, Mendocino City Community Services District, will describe current conditions and immediate needs within the town of Mendocino.
Howard Dashiell, Director of Department of Transportation, will present short term concerns of all impacted communities.
Josh Metz, Drought Task Force staff, will share regulatory hurdles in regard to moving water from one basin to another.
Darcie Antle, Assistant CEO, will share possible grants, ARPA funding options/limitations, remaining PG&E funds and general fund options.
Supervisors should be prepared to discuss business, agricultural and domestic use as well as the county’s role in providing assistance. The town of Mendocino generates millions of county dollars per year through sales tax and transient occupancy tax (bed tax). Inaction will result in lost revenue and impact wage earners, the very people who have recently transitioned from post-COVID sheltering unemployment to the workforce. The crisis at hand demands State and Federal assistance, but the local economy and public welfare require immediate action which only the county can provide. While the town of Mendocino is leading acute symptoms of drought, it is anticipated other communities will follow. The board should provide clear guidance to staff and set public expectations. If adequate assistance cannot or will not be provided, guidance will allow residents and businesses can plan accordingly.
Time is of the essence. We must transition from brainstorming to action.
* * *
From the proposed attached resolution:
“Authorizes and directs the Director of Transportation to negotiate and enter into agreements for water storage and/or treatment that may be necessary to implement the Mendocino County Community Water Replacement Project, pursuant to acceptable contract documents by County Counsel and Risk Management, and report results to the Board through the applicable Director’s Report. … Authorize and directs Auditor Controller to appropriate funds in the amount of $960,000 from PG&E Settlement Funds …”
* * *
WE’RE NOT the only ones wondering who will actually bid this contract and at what cost. Most local licensed water haulers are already pretty busy. As Grape Supervisor Glenn McGourty has noted, however, the wine industry has (stainless steel, if potable) wine trucks licensed for food-grade content that could be used. None of the plans so far say whether they’re going to haul potable water or not. If not, more haulers might be interested. It will also be interesting to see where the water comes from, how much they’ll ship, what routes they’ll take, what the road conditions will be, what time of day they’ll drive, how the water will be offloaded on the receiving end, etc.
ALSO ON TUESDAY’S Special Meeting agenda is the continuing pointless legal exchange between the Supervisors, the CEO, County Counsel vs. The Sheriff. Case No. 21-cv00561.
FROM THE EVER-EXPANDING (partially available) Superior court file we have found that the Sheriff’s attorney now referred to the County’s proposal to consolidate the Sheriff’s computers with the County as the “attempted Takeover of the Sheriff’s IT Department.”
But the minutes from Judge Moorman’s August 4 hearing note that, “Court indicates that Board of Supervisors have rescinded the apparent takeover.”
We have not seen a formal vote on that.
As to the budget dispute:
“Extent of authority for county funds. Court does not believe there is a conflict. It [The Board of Supervisors) has to make a statement not indicate a policy. Court continues and indicates that the language came off as a threat.”
“Budget: Court seeks clarification. Counsel Curtis responds that the final budget has been approved but it is being amended.”
“Approved but being amended…” Classic Mendo. In other words: not approved.
Continuing, “… As of 8/3/21 budget was resolved with possible amendments. Court asks [Sheriff’s attorney] Counsel Losak to respond to the cited budgetary dispute.”
Then, a few days later, “Board took action to begin adding $1,386,110 to Sheriff’s budget from PG&E settlement money of approximately $22 million.”
If the Board “took action” it should have been in open session. We have not seen any such motion, resolution or vote on this, even though the amount is quite precise.
Last Tuesday, all the Board did on this subject was emerge from closed session with the standard, “Direction was given to staff.”
If the available court tea leaves are correct, though, the issue appears to be moving toward some kind of pro-Sheriff resolution with the “attempted takeover” of the Sheriff’s computer system rescinded, a large amount of (one-time) money added to the Sheriff’s budget, and the “threat” of holding the Sheriff or any other department head being withdrawn.
But the court case “continues” and the muddleheads have yet to make any clarifying or formal announcement.
The dispute is again on next Tuesday’s (August 24) special board meeting closed session agenda.
Item 5a: Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1) - Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation: One Case - Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Kendall v. Mendocino County Board of Supervisors - Case No. 21-cv00561
But if the above is true, nothing in the above discussion qualifies for closed session. And they should have a public discussion and vote on the three main issues in dispute.
PRELIMINARY INFORMATION EMERGES About Man Found Dead Behind Ukiah’s Ross Dress for Less Store.
“The decedent is a 43-year-old homeless male that is “known to law enforcement’.”
On Friday, August 20, 2021 at 6:25 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a reported domestic violence incident in the 1300 block of Old River Road in Talmage.
Upon arrival, Deputies contacted an adult male walking down the roadway southbound from the above location and Danielle Bloyd, 43, of Talmage, walking northbound in the roadway from the above location.
Both subjects were detained while the Deputies conducted their investigation.
During the course of the investigation it was learned the adult male and Bloyd were walking to the store when an argument started between the two subjects.
During the argument, the adult male tried to hug Bloyd in a conciliatory gesture. Bloyd in turn bit the adult male on his jaw.
Deputies observed visible injuries on the adult male's jaw.
Bloyd was arrested for domestic violence battery and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.
BIDEN appeared on television Sunday afternoon to say he is “working hard” and “as fast as we can” to get Americans and US allies out of Afghanistan, noting that 33,000 people have been evacuated from the country since July. Biden had set an evacuation deadline of August 31 but implied it may take some time before everyone's out. He said some 11,000 people were lifted out of Kabul in less than 36 hours, describing the evacuation as “hard and painful” and admitting “a lot could still go wrong.” “Let me be clear — the evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful. No matter when it started, when we began. It would have been true if we had started a month ago, or a month from now. There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss and heartbreaking images you see on television. It's just a fact.”
WHEN the histories are written of the Afghan fiasco, it will be even more obvious that the intelligence-military nexus will be found wanting. It was clear all the way to Boonville that the Afghan army could collapse any time, and when Biden announced a date for withdrawal, collapse was inevitable and, as it's turned out, rapid. Shoulda been enough troops left in-country to at least secure the airfields. Trillions frittered away on these old boys with chests full of medals… Etc.
ON JONAH RASKIN'S recommendation, I bought a copy of “By the Light of Burning Dreams — The Triumph and Tragedies of the Second American Revolution,” by David Talbot and Margaret Talbot. To a guy like me who was merely a foot soldier in the great civil rights and peace offensives of the 1960s, a foot soldier who found the leadership of opportunistic figures like Tom Hayden and that treacherous little weasel Rennie Davis highly suspect. Where did they get the money to fly around everywhere talking big talk about revolution? "O yea, Tom, Rennie. I'll talk my friends into going out there to commit major felonies. I know you guys will be right behind us all the way.” Way behind as it turned out. Hayden's rich friends funded him into an elected state sinecure and Davis hit the mystic trail for a second life as cosmic advice man.
THE TALBOTS’ book, despite a few too many hagiographic riffs on the clay-foots profiled for my taste, contains a lot of interesting stuff about “movement” people I haven't seen anywhere else. (The sixties movement is the only movement in the history of movements to march mostly backwards, but without even attempting to enumerate them I'd say the Women's and the Environmental movements were the only positive “movement” developments I can think of off hand. And America finally got good bread. (cf the Healdsburg Bakery and Henry Miller's essay, “Bread.”)
THERE'S this startling passage in an interesting section on John Lennon, a figure I knew nothing about beyond his being a key Beatle. I certainly didn't know anything about his murky assassin — Mark David Chapman — who, the Talbots suggest, may have been a kind of Manchurian Candidate programmed to murder Lennon by the Nixonians. J. Edgar, predictably, viewed the singer-songwriter as a major threat to The American Way of Life:
“AS NIXON'S offensive against Lennon had grown more aggressive, John's paranoia deepened. When the Lennons were visiting with Paul Krassner during their 1972 California trip, the underground publisher recalled, ‘I remember John said to me at one point, “If anything happens to me or Yoko, it was not an accident.” But writing in his journal in 1978, Lennon mocked the rampant fears of Krassner, who even warned John that his fellow Yippies, Rubin and Hoffman, were CIA double agents. Lennon also wrote dismissively of Mae ‘They're Coming Through the Windows’ Brussell — one of the commentators who later alleged that the musician was assassinated because he was a ‘threat’ to the forces of war and repression within the incoming Reagan administration.”
THAT WAS THEN and now is now, with daily warnings that we've irremediably over-cooked the planet, but darned if I sense any urgency from the leadership urging specific strategies of the painfully austere type that might get us off low boil.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
The past year and a half of the pandemic has been a great challenge to the entire community. However, it is gratifying that great resilience and creativity in keeping friends and neighbors safe has also been actualized during these hardships. Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC) is very grateful for the continuing support shown for their organization and the people that they support experiencing homelessness and other conditions related to poverty.
From January 1 to March 31,2021, despite many obstacles, MCHC was able to provide a three-month Winter Shelter for those living rough. MCHC would like to acknowledge and thank Trinity Lutheran and Coast Christian Churches for the use of their facilities; the Mendocino Jewish Community, Fort Bragg First Presbyterian, Grace Community churches and others for providing hot soups every weekend. Mendocino County and the Continuum of Care designated the funding for the shelter and City of Fort Bragg paid for a wage enhancement that helped motivate job seekers to apply. In addition, the loyal MCHC employees who have continued to provide all services of the organization all year also deserve recognition for their efforts and the vital nature of their work.
Historically, the organization is based on the idea that people have setbacks and challenges in their lives and find themselves in extreme poverty, houseless and hungry. The Hospitality House was established to help people with their basic survival needs while providing support and resource services to help individuals and families get back on their feet and off the streets.
Much of homelessness is fueled by economic conditions and lack of adequate housing, but also by despair, domestic violence, mental illness, and substance use issues. 365 days a year, the Hospitality House provides shelter, food, showers, and laundry facilities for those in need. MCHC has added services over the years including housing navigation, Specialty Mental Health Services, vocational training and group classes, access to phones, internet, mail delivery, 24 Transitional Housing beds, and a Street Medicine program. People who benefit most from these services are those who are able and willing to participate in a “path to personal wellness”.
Unfortunately, people with serious mental illness and/or addiction issues often do not have the capacity for “finding that path” without more assistance. Assistance that MCHC is not funded to provide. The need for sheltering those who experience protracted and short-term street level homelessness, but who are not able or willing to use the services of the Hospitality House or Center is an acute issue here and elsewhere, that is particularly critical during inclement weather. The Coast Winter Shelter has saved the lives of many of those individuals over the years.
This past season, the Winter Shelter served approximately 32 individuals – 19 of whom have utilized the Winter Shelter in more than one previous season. There was only one intake for Specialty Mental Health Services. All Winter Shelter guests have been assessed for Coordinated Entry with only a handful keeping a subsequent appointment with a Housing Case Manager. Most of those who utilized last season’s Winter Shelter have not been seen at the Hospitality Center since the program ended. It is very disappointing that the majority of those who use the Winter Shelter refuse all but the bare minimum required to receive shelter and the success rate for remaining off the streets long term when the Winter Shelter closes each year is dismal.
The cost for the Winter Shelter this past year was $103,473 for three months of operation. This is just under half of the annual operating budget for the Hospitality House for one year – a program that shelters 24 people year-round and that MCHC struggles to fund year after year. Additionally, the cost of the Winter Shelter was twice the cost of the Transitional Housing annual operating budget – a program, which is self-funded, operates on a shoestring budget, and shelters an additional 24 people year-round. The average nightly stays at the Winter Shelter this season were only 5 individuals per night.
Even pre-COVID, MCHC had trouble staffing the temporary Coast Winter Shelter. Every year, few ap applicants are qualified for this work. This season was no different even with the COFB wage enhancement. This creates a burden of additional duties placed on staff already working full time in their year-round duties.
The Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC) staff and board have seriously grappled with the issue of providing this temporary service for several years. The Winter Shelter has always been a very complicated and demanding program for the entire organization. This past year highlighted that extreme difficulty. After much deliberation and anguish, the MCHC Board of Directors has made the difficult decision not to operate the Winter Shelter for the upcoming season.
The statement from Executive Director, Paul Davis, states: “Between the ongoing uncertainty around finding staff and program locations, the extra demands on staff, safety and liability issues, and the disparity of expense and delayed payments between Winter Shelter and year-round shelter programs, we do not feel it is responsible for our organization to operate the Winter Shelter this season. MCHC has embarked on a new management structure, and we are working on strengthening our strategic goals. We intend to focus our funding and staff attention on the services and programs MCHC provides year round that support and help people in this community move forward with their lives. Those who suffer from untreated addictions and mental health issues resulting in intractable street level homelessness, need a different level of service than what is offered by the Winter Shelter or our other services. There must be another way or other types of services to address this critical need.”
MCHC is hopeful that a new coalition of interested community members will work together to consider other possibilities to address these unmet needs.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 961-0172 x1100 for more information.
YES, THE RUSSIAN DOES NOT FLOW INTO LAKE SONOMA
To The Editor,
In the latest copy of the AVA (August 18) there is a Letter to the Editor from someone named Temple O. Smith from Cloverdale concerning local water problems. At the end of the letter is an editor’s note that reads as follows: “Lake Mendo is dependent on the diverted Eel at Potter Valley: Lake Sonoma gets most of its water from the Russian River, which is also dependent on the diverted Eel”.
I totally agree with the first part of the Ed. Note regarding Lake Mendocino. However, in the case of Lake Sonoma, according to a Warm Springs Cultural Resources Study in Nov 1980, the two main sources of water for Lake Sonoma (Warm Springs Dam) are Cherry Creek and the misnamed Dry Creek which runs all year round, and, when water is being released from the dam, eventually feeds into the Russian River. These two creeks are themselves fed by many small feeder streams.
The Russian River is located a few miles east of Lake Sonoma, and no water from the Russian River goes into Lake Sonoma.
Ed note: Yeah, I thought I knew that, but I haven't got my Prevagen yet and find myself subject to, ah, slippage, I guess you could call it.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 21, 2021
FERNANDO ALVAREZ-DONATI, Garberville/Ukiah. DUI.
JAMES ANDERS, Fort Bragg. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily injury or death.
JENNIFER BURKE, Willits. DUI, child endangerment, resisting.
DARRELL ELROD JR., Willits. Domestic battery.
DAVID GIGLIO, Redwood Valley. DUI.
VENNESSA GUTIERREZ, Modesto/Ukiah. Arson during state of insurrection, possession or manufacture of device for arson, recklessly causing fire to structural or forestland.
TRE MALOY, Willits. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Under influence, controlled substance (Frequent flyer.)
HE DID SOME GOOD
Teaching school is hard, but especially difficult when children come to school hungry and with no lunch. I taught for 32 years in Sonoma County and saw many times, that even with the free and reduced fee lunch program, some children did not get lunch. Maybe their parents were behind in their reduced fee lunch payments, or maybe the child didn’t want classmates to know their family qualified for the free or reduced fee lunch.
Those days are over thanks to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature. Under SB 129, the Free School Meals for All Act of 2021, 6.2 million students have access to two free school meals a day, breakfast and lunch. California is the first state in the nation to permanently adopt free meals for all K-12 public school students.
Say what you want about Newsom and the Legislature, but this is one thing that they did right.
"I BELIEVE TOTALLY IN YOUR FREEDOMS, I do, you gotta do what you gotta do, but I recommend take the vaccines. I did it. It's good," Trump said, drawing boos from the crowd of supporters.
"That's okay, that's alright," Trump continued, brushing off the disapproval. "But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. But it is working. You do have your freedoms, you have to maintain that."
HEADLINE OF THE DAY: "Jennifer Lopez appears to scold one of her children while out with Ben Affleck" (Fox News)
BETSY CAWN WRITES:
RE: Cache Fire Refugees
There is a lengthy report on the Facebook page published by our online newspaper, Lake County News that depicts the dreadful treatment of the Cache Fire evacuees by our county CAO.
Lake County’s KPFZ (88.1 fm) has provided live coverage for most of the afternoon of the 18th, continued with two hours of interviews on Friday, the 20th, with the Lake County Sheriff and Chief Willie Sapeta of the Lake County Fire Protection District (area of the city that was affected), plus intermittent updates on various live broadcasts as news became available.
My sources clammed up on Friday afternoon until late Saturday with the revelation that the refugees would be moved to the City of Clearlake's senior center facility, as you will see. My normal stock of invective is insufficient to describe our dismay, but we'll resume coverage this afternoon at 2 pm, on the regular Sunday broadcast of the "Essential Public Information" hour.
FRENCHY CANNOLI (1956-2021); FAMED HASHMAKER NOW IN HASHISH HEAVEN
by Jonah Raskin
Everyone in the northern California cannabis world knew of Frenchy Cannoli who proselytized tirelessly for hashish and who provided a living link to Europe and to the world where hashish was born. Frenchy died in July 2021 in San Francisco, a long way from his birthplace in Nice, France on the Riviera and across the Mediterranean from North Africa, where hashish has been enjoyed for centuries. I met him long ago in Sebastopol at the now largely defunct Sonoma County Cultivation Group (SCCG), where he extolled the virtues of hashish and invited cannabis growers to use his hookah that had half-a-dozen straws. After he fired it up he took a long draw, disappeared behind a cloud of smoke and went on a coughing jag. It was powerful stuff, even for the master “hashishin,” or hash maker.
Born in December 1956 to French parents who named him Didier Camilleri, he left France at 18 and embarked on a long journey that took him to Morocco, Mexico, Japan, India and the foothills of the Himalayas. Everywhere, he lived with the locals and learned their lore, legends and craft. He was given the name Cannoli because he rolled his hashish like the creamy, cheese-filled Italian pastry that originated in Sicily.
What I remember most about Frenchy’s appearance in Sebastopol, aside from his hookah and the smoke-filled room, was that he told cannabis growers not to baby or coddle their plants, but rather to deprive them of water and to stress them. Stressed plants would produce potent cannabinoids and terpenes, he insisted. That evening, I met a cannabis farmer at the SCCG, followed him home and the next day watched him make hashish using an old cement mixer, ice, water and screens. The agitation of the cement mixer separated the trichomes (the resin glands) from the plant which were then filtered through a series of screens. Two pounds of raw cannabis yielded only two ounces of potent hashish, but those ounces went a long way.
Frenchy never published a book, but he’s featured in the forthcoming documentary “Frenchy Dreams of Hashish.” A two-minute plus trailer can be viewed on YouTube. “Mendocino could become the Bordeaux of the cannabis industry worldwide."
He never lost his French accent, which added to his mystique. Also, he might not have lost his wanderlust, but he settled down in northern California, got married and fathered a daughter. Hashish and Frenchy Cannoli will forever be linked in northern California, or for as long as growers remember their cultural roots.
FROM THE FRONT LINES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID
by Nicki Pulliam Zeisig
"I spent the last 7 days taking care of part of one of our COVID-19 units. I personally took care of 35 pts. Of those, 32 were unvaccinated. Their ages ranged 21-81 yo with 60% being 20-50 yo. (I am not a pediatrician, but yes the pediatric units are also getting hit hard with Covid-19.) Included were two unvaccinated pregnant women. Of my vaccinated patients, two discharged after 1-2 days with more mild illness. My third vaccinated patient was on lifelong chronic immunosuppressants. My personal sample size is small but happens to line up fairly well with the demographics for hospitalized patients being reported nationwide. They are much younger than they used to be and the majority unvaccinated.
I must admit I mentally prepared myself to face a lot of obstinacy, conspiracy theories, and mistrust from my patients during this surge—I mean this is a self-selected population who chose not to get vaccinated, despite it being recommended ad nauseam by the medical community for the last 8 months. Yes, I had a few patients like that this week, but I was surprised that was not the case at all for the majority. On the surface, the world appears so polarized, but at the end of the day, we are all human and want the same thing–health and happiness. These people are so sick and feel so miserable. They are terrified because they’re in trouble, and they have finally realized it.
A paraphrased compilation of the conversations I had at least 20 times per day:
When will my breathing get better? I don’t know. Every person is different. When will I get to go home? When your oxygen is better. (Thinking: IF it gets better. You might need a ventilator soon.) When will my oxygen get better? It’s difficult to predict—a few days, a week, two or three weeks—some patients have stayed for months. Am I getting better at all? Well, you’re not getting worse so let’s try to focus on that. Am I going to be ok? We’re doing everything we can to get you better. (Thinking: Maybe? Maybe not? I hope so?) But really, do you think I’ll be alright? It’s too early to say right now. We’re doing everything we can. Time will tell. Can I get the vaccine now? No, it’s too late. How soon can I get it? After you recover. When will that be? Again, I don’t know. Covid-19 takes time.
Doctor, am I going to die? You are very sick and that is a real possibility, but we are doing everything we can to get you through this. We have to take this one day at a time. What if I get worse? We’ll have to consider putting you on a ventilator. How long would I be on a ventilator?
At least 2-4 weeks or longer. What would be my chances of making it? If you’re sick enough to require a ventilator, the survival rate has been less than 20%. Can you check on my daughter? She’s in the ER right now. Yes, I can. Can you check on my husband? He’s getting intubated in the ICU right now. Yes, I can do that. Hello? Hi, Mr. So-and-so. Yes? This is Dr. Zeisig. I’m calling to tell you we just had to emergently intubate your wife and move her to the ICU. Her oxygen was dangerously low. Oh my God. (Hear tears through the phone). I’m so sorry. Hello? Hi, Ms. So-and-so. This is Dr. Zeisig. Your father went in to cardiac arrest. We couldn’t get him back. I’m so sorry. (Hear weeping through the phone). COVID-19 is a monster.
This week I was prepared to convince and educate my patients about any and every treatment we were giving. Again, there were a few who made helping them difficult. A couple patients became irate, yelling why have you not gotten me better yet?! I’ve been here two weeks and I was healthy before! Really? The nerve. Welcome to the pandemic. I don’t engage the nonsense or any degree of politicization (That’s like saying diabetes or cancer is political. Like what are you even talking about?) We don’t have time for ridiculous conversations right now. That being said, I found that the majority, unprompted, told me they “regret” not getting the vaccine and asked me when they could get it. These people passed up on a safe, non-experimental vaccine that is 95% effective in preventing hospitalization and death, and yet NOW they were eager to get it ASAP—AND—eager to try any and every possible treatment we could offer, no matter how experimental. Most patients did 100% of what we asked and recommended out of pure desperation. The looks of despair and regret on many of their faces will always be burned onto my brain.
I was prepared to have my emotional guard up this week so I could mentally endure the conspiracy theories and being second-guessed constantly. What made this week even more difficult than I expected is that I didn’t have to do that very often. Instead, my patients tapped into the little emotional energy I have left to keep offering empathy. I gave them everything I have, because that’s who I am and I actually don’t know how to turn that part of me off no matter how exhausted I am. I celebrated and cheered on their small victories when we were able to lower their supplemental oxygen after many days, and I shared in their misery when things were not looking good even when it just meant listening or being present in the silence. They told me how appreciative they were of all that we were doing and how thankful that I was their doctor. And that’s all fine and wonderful.
That’s why we all went into the medical field. This is what we do every day, without discrimination, because we took an oath to help every patient in our care to the best of our ability. But we are also human and allowed to have our own feelings. And quite honestly, I’m mad. I’m upset with patients for not listening when it mattered. I’m frustrated that society has gotten their “medical advice” from politicians and social media clickbait instead of medical experts for the last year and a half. Why did physicians and scientists spend their entire young adulthood getting an education if so many don’t care to listen? I’m mad that a small minority of (extremely vocal) physicians have gotten swept up into the political games, causing irreparable harm to the public. Above all, I’m mad I have to worry about my unvaccinated toddler’s health and social activities again. I’m left feeling more defeated for my patients, myself, and my coworkers than any other point in the pandemic so far. Know that my sentiment is being echoed loudly in almost every physician forum/meeting/Facebook group, hospital-wide email, and essentially every conversation between any two hospital healthcare workers right now. This was preventable.
As a full time hospitalist for the last year and a half, my colleagues and I have each personally taken care of hundreds of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. We are also 9 months into vaccinating about half of Texas. You know how many hospitalized patients I’ve personally cared for due to effects from the vaccine? ONE. An overnight stay for fever, dehydration, and body aches that all resolved the next day (indicating a vaccine that is doing its job). When cases were low before Delta, the decision for all of us felt like it was vaccine vs. no vaccine. The situation has changed. Due to rapid uncontrolled spread, the decision now is vaccine vs. COVID-19 infection. You’re going to want that vaccine. How each of us fairs COVID-19 is not something to roll the dice on, let alone during a time when there may not be a bed, nurse or doctor to efficiently take care of you.
So, I urge everyone—if you plan to rush to us when you’re sick, which to me means you trust us enough to try to save your life, just trust us NOW.
People of all ages are needlessly dying. Healthcare workers are breaking (and quitting). We’re not looking for praise or sympathy. Gone are the days of feeling like “healthcare heroes.” I feel we are more like captives of the pandemic at this point. What we want is action and changed behavior. This pandemic life we’re all living is not sustainable. We have to stop killing ourselves and each other, both figuratively and literally. We can do that by all getting vaccinated and listening to what the majority of medical experts/organizations/agencies have been and keep saying. At least for now, the vaccine is working extremely well to prevent severe illness and death, near miraculously. When a new variant comes along that requires us to adjust the vaccine, we will. But we have to start by simply trusting and being patient with the science and the process.
Please. Go. Get. Vaccinated. Stay safe. And wear a mask. (I promise it’s much more comfortable than the ventilator.)
—Hospitalist/Internal Medicine Physician
(This post represents my own vulnerable experience and does not represent any institution or organization. I share it because patients have taught me that we are more emotional than logical beings—more so than we want to admit. The data and statistics just don’t seem to be getting through, so I hope this does for someone. Out of respect for healthcare and public health workers who are working their butts off at the moment, please no debates on this thread. Thanks in advance for your respect.)
PEELING THE AMERICAN ONION
It Ain't Over 'Til The Last Burger King Leaves Kandahar
by Michael Moore
Most won’t say it, so I will: America has thankfully lost another war. Let’s make this the last.
This is nothing here to celebrate. This should only be a monumental gut-check moment of serious reflection and a desire to seek redemption for ourselves. We don’t need to spend a single minute right now analyzing how Biden has or has not messed up while bravely handling the end of this mess he was handed — including his incredible private negotiations all this week with the Taliban leaders to ensure that not a single enemy combatant from the occupying force (that would be us; e.g., U.S. soldiers and spies and embassy staff), will be harmed. And Biden so far has gotten every American and foreign journalist out alive, plus a promise from the Taliban that those who stay to cover it will not be harmed. And not a single one has! Usually a force like the Taliban rushes in killing every enemy in sight. That has not happened! And we will learn that it was because of the negotiating skills and smarts of the Biden team that there was no mass slaughter. This is not Dunkirk.
Dozens of planes have safely taken off all week — and not one of them has been shot down. None of our troops in this chaotic situation have been killed. Despite the breathless shrieks of panic from maleducated journalists who think they’re covering the Taliban of the 1990s (Jake Tapper on CNN keeps making references to “beheadings“ and how girls might be “kidnapped” and “raped” and forced to become “child brides”), none of this seems to be happening. I do not want to hear how we “need to study” what went wrong with this Taliban victory and our evacuation because (switching to all caps because I can’t scream this loud enough): WE ARE NEVER GOING TO FIND OURSELVES IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS AGAIN BECAUSE OUR DAYS OF INVADING AND TAKING OVER COUNTRIES MUST END. RIGHT? RIGHT!!
Just look at this:
There are two themes that run through this list of countries we’ve invaded since World War II.
One, none of them ever invaded us or posed any kind of threat to our lives — the only true justification to ever use armed force.
And number two, they ain’t white. Since May 8, 1945, for some reason, we only kill people of color. Probably just a co-inky-dinky.
As with the Viet Cong in Vietnam, we were defeated in Afghanistan by a rag-tag army that did not own a single helicopter, not a single jet fighter, no stealth bombers, no missiles, no napalm, no Burger King at the PX, not one air conditioned tent — not one! — not a goddamn tank in sight, just a bunch of guys with beards in pick-up trucks firing bullets into the air. Oh, and one other similarity with Vietnam — it was their country! Not ours. We were the invaders. In Vietnam we killed 2 million people. In Afghanistan, estimates of the dead go as high as 250,000. In Iraq we killed nearly a million (going back to Bill Clinton’s civilian bombing campaign).
We spent over $2.4 trillion in Afghanistan for 20 years while the poor in America went without food, medical care, decent schools. The water in the Black-majority city of Flint was poisoned by the Governor. A thousand people shot by the police in the U.S. each year.
We sacrificed over 2,400 American lives to invade a country where Bin Laden was nowhere to be found. Bush said early on he no longer had any interest in capturing him. In 2011, Obama’s seal team found him in a house just down the road from Pakistan’s “West Point”. Who woulda thought!
What a tragic mess. Defund the military-industrial complex, defund the NSA, defund Homeland Security. They sent our young troops to their deaths. For shame! No Afghan attacked the World Trade Center. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia! Not from Afghanistan, not Iraq, not Iran. How come “Bandar Bush” — the Saudi Royal Family’s tender nickname for their longtime friend, George W. Bush — why didn’t Bush attack Saudi Arabia? Oh. Right. They have something we need. Fill ‘er up!
So, yes, we lost this stupid, senseless war and I’m happy that it has finally ended. Our fake Afghanistan Army couldn’t wait for us to leave — and, as soon as we did, the Afghan soldiers stripped off their fake Army costumes we gave them, threw them to the ground and spit on them. They joined the Taliban in the streets in celebration. The Taliban did not shoot a single one of them. The Afghan interpreters and others who colluded with the enemy, the USA, for 20 years — yes, they might be in trouble (just like if Russia invaded Alaska and a bunch of Alaskans collaborated with them and after the Russians left some Americans might want retribution from the collaborators). You get that, right?
The pundits on TV wail: “We’ve abandoned our Afghan helpers! No one will ever trust us again! No one will ever believe us! Our word is no good!!”
EXACTLY! Correct! Yessss! We should never be believed! Note to the rest of the world: You see us coming? RUN! Nothing but tragedy awaits you. Do NOT help us. If we sign a climate agreement, we will not follow it! If we sign a nuclear deal with your mullahs, don’t believe it. It only means we’re getting ready to bomb you. And you should know that when it comes to we, the American public, there is not a single morning where we ever wake up thinking about you or giving a rat’s ass whether 80% of your people live in a state of oppressive abject poverty. It’s always only about us, baby — and what YOU can do for US, for our AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE!
And by the way, make sure there’s always a roof where we can land that goddamn escape helicopter when we need to get the F outta Dodge!
It’s always Saigon Time in America.
P.S. May our troops and the Afghan civilians someday forgive us. Much condolences and love to all families who lost loved ones in this disgustingly sad war. I can only imagine how you all have felt this week. Nineteen of our American veterans commit suicide every single day. Please, don’t leave us. I/we will not abandon you. (If you need to talk to someone, call 800-273-8255).
FAMED SAN FRANCISCO POET and activist Jack Hirschman dies, reports group he co-founded
Jack Hirschman, former San Francisco poet laureate, activist, and famed proponent of the Beat Generation, died at his home in the city on Sunday, said the organization in which he served as a co-founder and director. He was 87 years old.
Ed Note: Good guy gone. Volcanic, I'd say, to describe Hirschman, smart, very funny, a great mimic, easy to work with considering his personality. I won't be the only person missing him.
THE TWO WORDS
on the tip of the tongue of the soul
as crisis after crisis happens and cries
after cries at the end of the old year
and new change hoping not to be same-old.
Two words on the tongue-tip of the heart
but one finds one can’t pronounce them,
can’t announce them with confidence,
determination and the pride of courage.
Got a cell phone but why haven’t they called?
Got a blackberry but they’re not on the menu!
Got digital buttons for every kind of question,
but the answer to one’s being
a disaster like a market-crash or an invasion
or a bombardment of innocence eludes one.
We got a new President and as epoch-making
and image-changing his victory, with the joy of
the people whose forebears were slaves,
and therefore the joy as well of the people
whose forebears were their masters. For now
we all really can be free. But why aren’t we?
Because we won’t say IS, won’t utter the IS
that’s International Socialism and throw our
energies into the creation of it, into making it
the irresistible power that will end the woes
and the wails of the war-torn and the moaning
of the women and children of this world. So
what I wish for you is the IS of 2009 where
those two words, first whispers on the lips
then a river sounding the poem that’s the song
embracing you with the meaning of the future
with your brothers and sisters allover this world,
and IS you IS, and IS we be, all each other’s baby.
— Jack Hirschman (2011)
THE RECALL: A BAD PROCESS
As we share our position on the California recall attempt, we ask you to keep two numbers in mind:
First — 3.8 percent of the population.
And second — $276 million.
Got it? Here we go.
The rules of recalls in California are this: If you gather enough signatures in the required amount of time, we have an election. Period.
But — you need signatures representing just 12 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election. In California, the magic number came out to just under a million and a half people.
In a state with 39.51 million residents, that’s 3.8 percent of the population.
That’s it. That’s all that’s required to give the populace an up-and-down vote on whether or not to oust a governor — and replace him with somebody else, even if that person draws just a fraction of the support of the incumbent.
In California, we have 46 people seeking to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom; that means the leading vote-getter could theoretically get less than, say, 10 percent of the vote — but if the “yes or no” on the recall passes, that person would be the new governor.
Is it any wonder Republicans were so eager to get this on the ballot?
It is, by far, the best chance they have of getting a GOP governor in Sacramento again.
They sure can’t do it at the ballot box; in the 2018 election, Newsom creamed John Cox 61.9 percent to 38.1 percent. If a race were held today pitting Newsom against any Republican on the recall ballot, the outcome would be pretty much the same.
But this is a recall. This is different, and the fact a good number of people simply don’t understand how it works will only play to the GOP’s favor.
The Democrats haven’t exactly helped themselves here. At Newsom’s insistence, they didn’t put up a serious challenger in case the recall succeeded. That means if Newsom is recalled, there will likely be a Republican governor.
And make no mistake about it — based on the polling, and Newsom’s unpopular (some might even say misguided) positions on many issues, that’s a distinct possibility. And Newsom has nobody to blame but himself.
First, you can forget about those TV commercials labeling this a “Trump-Republican effort to steal the election.” It may have started out that way, but Trump Republicans are the least of Newsom’s worries right now. Remember, Republicans are outnumbered by Democrats in California about 2 to 1; there’s no way they can win any statewide election with a straight up-and-down vote.
No, the reason this recall has a chance is because Newsom has lost the support of so many people who voted for him in 2018 — notably Latinos, a fact you will never, ever hear Democrats bring up in their anti-recall ads. As is the case with so many things these days, COVID-19 may have a lot to do with it.
Latinos make up 39% of the state’s population. However, they comprise 55% of COVID cases and 46% of deaths from the virus, according to the California Department of Public Health. Many Latino leaders also say Newsom’s COVID policies impacted their businesses by a disproportionate amount.
Largely as a result, the polls show the recall is close and within the margin of error of succeeding.
Should it succeed?
We’ll be clear: For decades, the needs of our northern communities have been treated with contempt (if even noticed) by Sacramento, and that’s only gotten worse. The way he swoops into fire-ravaged communities unannounced, holds private press briefings to push his agenda with charred hills in the background and leaves before anyone even knew he was here hasn’t made him any friends either.
And if ever there was a poster child for “Do what the governor says, not what the governor does,” he cemented that legacy with his infamous dinner at the French Laundry.
But should he be recalled?
We think that’s a dangerous path best avoided, and here’s why: If it succeeds, what’s stopping the Democrats from doing the same thing?
Remember, there are twice as many registered Democrats in our state as Republicans. Think they’d have an easy time getting a million and a half people to sign a recall petition against Cox or Larry Elder or Kevin Faulconer — especially considering how angry they’d be if this attempt succeeds? They’d probably blow past that figure in less than a week and easily regain the governorship, all while taxpayers were stuck paying another $276 million or more for the process.
Yes, $276 million. That’s the official price tag the state has placed on the cost of this attempt. You can expect the next one (if this one succeeds) to cost even more.
We believe in elections, and we believe that at the end of the day, the voters get what they voted for. We think recalls should be supported only in the most outrageous of circumstances, and here — whether we like it or not — all Newsom has done is largely follow the will of the people who put him in office.
Elections have consequences. If they’re bad enough, the next election will turn out differently, and that’s the way these things should be decided.
So put us down for a “no.” If anything needs to be recalled, it’s the ease with which these things can get on the ballot.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal.)
* * *
ms notes: Voter turnout is expected to be low. Veteran Democratic strategist Katie Merrill of Berkeley said last week: “I think if the election were held today, we’d probably have a 30% turnout. That’s problematic.”
“When such a small percent of the electorate is turning out, that means that most of the voters are the ones that are most engaged in that particular campaign or that particular race,” Merrill said. “And every poll has shown that the voters that are most engaged in the race right now are the ones who want to recall Gavin Newsom.”
And, “It may sound silly to some people, but there is probably a large portion of the electorate that is quite uninterested in this election,” said Newport Beach-based pollster Adam Probolsky. “They heard something about a recall, something about Republicans being angry. But they’re not really engaged at all.”
The second question on the recall ballot is this: “If he’s recalled, who should replace him?” Data shows that in past recall elections at least some people who voted “no” on the first question don’t cast any vote on the second, perhaps thinking their choice won’t count. Activists say one of the most common questions they’re hearing from voters is whether they have to weigh in on both questions, or if a vote on one question cancels the other out. The answer to both of those questions is no, but the questions keep popping up.
(Quotes from a much longer Orange County Register article published August 19.)