Cooler Today | 56 New Cases | 76th Death | Critical Care | Kenneth Clark | Wonder Sometimes | Harvest Dinner | Circus Weekend | Body Found | Parade Seating | Eatery Signs | Livestock Auction | Survival Skills | Grand Jury | Temptor | Equity Grant | Peace Vets | Hopkins Damage | King John | Museum Gala | Eel Canyon | Yesterday's Catch | Ankle Wear | Great Peril | Tiny Minority | Oil Wean | Autumnal Equinox | That Question | Whipped Cream | Taliban Rule | Organize | Bootleg Hospitality | Painting Cheeze
SEASONABLE TEMPERATURES are expected today, followed by warm temperatures and quite a bit of sun at the coast as well. No rainfall is forecast through the weekend. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 98°, Boonville 98°, Ukiah 97°, Fort Bragg 88° (!)
56 NEW COVID CASES and another death reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
ANOTHER COVID DEATH
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 96 year old Fort Bragg man has been confirmed as Mendocino County's 76th 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 vaccinated.
KENNETH ALLEN CLARK
…also known as; Ken, Mr. Clark, Coach Clark, Dudley and many other aliases, was born in Ukiah on October 2, 1946, and left this earth unexpectedly on August 17, 2021. Ken was raised in Potter Valley where he attended all twelve years of school. Ken was taught by his parents, Norma and Curly Clark, that in order to make it in life you must know how to work hard. Following high school, Ken attended Chico State and then returned to Ukiah where he began his career of teaching and coaching kids, which ultimately became his passion. Ken enjoyed hunting, fishing, diving, gardening and anything having to do with the outdoors.
Ken will be remembered for his love and loyalty to his family and loved ones, his ability to talk to anyone open-mindedly and whole-heartedly and the way he could make a friend any place he was.
He is survived by his daughters, Stacey Clark Caico (husband Ken) and Katie Clark; his sons, Michael Clark and Robert Clark (wife Holly); his sister, Judy Carter (Richard); his brother, Scott Clark and his grandchildren whom he was so very proud of: Ashlee, Trevor, Alexis, Liam, Layah, Alec, Lindsay, Liam, Reid and Eleanor.
The family will be hosting a Celebration of Life on Sept 25th, 2021 from 1-5 pm at the Blue Oaks Barn at the Pauli Ranch, 12550 Hawn Creek Road, Potter Valley CA 95469
HARVEST DINNER at Yorkville Market
This is a last reminder to RSVP for our harvest dinner this Friday, September 24. There are just a few spots open and it is sure to be a fun-filled evening with live music and delicious, locally sourced, homemade food. If you can’t stay for the meal, join us at 5:00pm for some fun music from the High-Rollers.
The schedule for the evening is:
5:00pm - Music begins with Happy Hour Wine and Beer
6:00ish- Seating for dinner, appetizers served.
The dinner is a Harvest Feast celebrating local producers and the bounty of late summer. It is 5 courses and $60.00 per person with an optional $20.00 Yamikiri Wine pairing. There is a Vegetarian option available. Call (707) 894-9456 for more details or to reserve your spot.
Saturday, Chef B is making a hearty beef chili for eat in or take-away.
Thank you all for your continued support of the Yorkville Market!
FLYNN CREEK CIRCUS will be performing at Anderson Valley Brewing Company from September 30-October 3rd!
BODY FOUND UNDER HIGHWAY 101 BRIDGE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
by Matt Pera
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after two people who stopped to stretch their legs during a road trip on Monday afternoon reported finding a decomposing body below a raised section of Highway 101, authorities said.
The body was below the Highway 101 bridge over Outlet Creek, near the intersection with Underpass Road. The site was about 1.5 miles south of the intersection of Highways 101 and 162, between Willits and Laytonville, said Capt. Greg Van Patten, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“We can’t say at this point whether it was a homicide, suicide, accidental death or natural death,“ Van Patten said Tuesday.
The body was found on the ground and appeared to have been there for two to three months, Van Patten said. He said there was evidence of a homeless camp at the site.
Investigators couldn’t definitively say whether the body was a man or woman, but they guessed it was a man based on clothing and shoe size, Van Patten said.
A forensic examination was planned to determine the cause of death and investigators were working to identify the body.
“We’re actively going through all the recent missing persons reports to see if there’s any commonality between clothing or what physical description we can get from the body at this point,“ Van Patten said.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
BILL KIMBERLIN: “Times change and we change. However, families can still sit on the steps to the porch of the Boonville Hotel with their children and watch a small town parade.”
With the urgent need to reduce transmission of the aggressive COVID-19 Delta variant in Mendocino County, the Public Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren has announced a new Health Order. Businesses that serve food or drink indoors, where the virus is more easily transmitted, will display one of three signs that explains what precautions that business is taking to limit the spread of the virus.”
The Order requires that owners post the signs to inform their patrons by November 1, 2021. Of course some businesses may choose to post their signs immediately. If they do not, law enforcement could impose fines for non-compliance.
FUR & FEED
by Bob Dempel
For many years a Junior Livestock Auction has been held during the Redwood Empire Fair in Ukiah. The community supports the auction buying all sorts of species of livestock that are raised by 4-H members, FFA students, and independent juniors. Preceding the auction, a committee of local people put on a luncheon for prospective buyers. This lunch is held where what we call the Grange Park. The park is home to several shade trees, some permanent barbeque pits, and set up with tables and chairs. The idea is to feed the prospective buyers before the auction so that they will bid “often and high”. For many years the community has responded well, spending somewhere around $500,000 for an array of swine, sheep, goats, rabbits, and recently chickens.
I served on the Board of Directors of the Redwood Empire Fair for several years. I have a great interest in the Junior Livestock Auction, always held on Saturday afternoon of the fair. The luncheon brings the prospective buyers face to face with the exhibitors. These young people are in their respective uniforms. The 4-H members are in all white with a green tie and cap. The FFA members are not only in white, but are wearing the official blue FFA jacket. Their duty at the luncheon is to serve the food and drink.
The whole event reminds me when I was a 4-H and FFA member. I still know many of the prospective buyers, so I usually mingle among the crowd until it’s time for everyone to walk over to the judging arena, where the auction takes place.
One year while I was attending the luncheon, I visited with old friends so long, I was the last one to get a plate of food. I sat at a table by myself to eat my food. Soon I was joined by what I remember was a young 10-year-old all dressed in a 4-H uniform. He came over to my table and said that I looked lonely, and would I like some company while I ate? During the conversation he revealed that he was Otto Fraser, a member of the Boonville 4-H Club. He went on to tell me he exhibited rabbits, and later that afternoon he was going to auction off a pen of his rabbits. He had time to talk to me since the sale order showed that it would be later in the auction when his rabbits would be sold.
About this time a woman approached the table identifying herself as Saffron Fraser, mother of Otto, and concerned that he was bothering me. I assured her that I welcomed his company. I learned that his father worked at Handley Cellars in Navarro. I knew Milla Handley, owner of the winery, and had helped her establish her vineyards some many years ago.
After lunch we all said goodbye. Otto sold his rabbits at the auction and he continued in 4-H with a rabbit project. I would periodically send Otto a check for rabbit feed, and always received a thank you note. Time went by and I lost track of Otto, but his name would often appear in the Advertiser. It always made a warm feeling inside.
Then most recently an article and picture of Otto was published in the Advertiser. Otto had graduated from the US Coast Guard aircraft mechanic school. He looks like a fine young man and I would like to think that raising his rabbits contributed to his success in his chosen profession.
2021 MENDOCINO COUNTY GRAND JURY
The 2021-22 Mendocino County Grand Jury was sworn in to service by Judge Jeanine Nadel last Friday, 9/17/21, at the Superior Court in Ukiah Ca. This year some members were also sworn in via Zoom. Members of the 2021-22 Mendocino County Grand Jury are:
Ukiah residents David Bennett, Darline Bergere, Jerry Cardoza, Phyllis Dockins, Diana Frediani, Betty Hook, Fred Nickel, Chris Philbrick, Tim Prince, and Carol Rosenberg; Petra Buchanan, Laytonville; Pam Hudson and Kathy Wylie, Albion; John King, Redwood Valley, Dan Lowden, Mathew Isaac, and Janice Winters, Willits; Barbara Ortega, Fort Bragg. Kathy Wylie was named Grand Jury Foreman.
The County Grand Jury operates under various California Penal and Government codes, and its oversight is generally limited to local government activities such as county departments and agencies, cities, special districts and school districts. Court operations and Federal or State governmental agencies are outside the scope of local Grand Jury review.
Each year the County Grand Jury must perform oversight on county correctional facilities as well as examine the operations of at least one county department. A series or reports is issued to the public and findings and recommendations are listed in the reports. Grand Jury report recommendations require departmental responses under PC §933.05.
Last year’s Grand Jury report and responses can be found at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/grand-jury/2020-2021-reports
Investigation topics are generated internally via committee work, or via Citizen complaint.
Each of California’s 58 counties swears a new Grand Jury in to service each year. The Mendocino County Grand Jury has existed over 100 years, and must operate under a strict code of confidentiality required by law. Under misdemeanor penalty, Grand Jury members are forbidden from divulging identities of complainants or those providing information to the grand jury, nor to name any sources in any public reports.
The 2021-22 Mendocino County Grand Jury will be busy training, considering new citizen complaints and reviewing the various departmental responses from last year’s Grand Jury reports in the coming weeks.
EQUITY GRANT WORKSHOP - September 23, 2021
The County of Mendocino Cannabis Program in partnership with Elevate Impact Mendocino will be hosting an Equity Grant Workshop on September 23, 2021 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Registration is required and must be submitted prior to the start of the webinar.
To register for this event please click the following link: www.mendocinocounty.org/cannabiswebinar2.
Mendocino Cannabis Program Staff
VETERANS FOR PEACE, Chapter 71 (Santa Rosa) - International Day of PEACE
HOPKINS FIRE - SEPTEMBER 2021 ASSESSOR Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity
Katrina Bartolomie, Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder would like property owners who have experienced damage to their home(s) and/or structures due to the Hopkins Fire earlier this month, to file an “Application for Reassessment of Property Damaged by Misfortune or Calamity”. You may obtain an application located on our website: mendocinocounty.org/government/assessor-county-clerk-recorder-elections/assessor-services-forms/assessor-services-forms;
Or, by calling our office at (707) 234-6800 and requesting an application be mailed to you. To qualify for a calamity adjustment the property must have suffered more than $10,000 worth of damage and the owner must file a claim form with the Assessor within 12 months of the date of the calamity. The completed application should be mailed to: Mendocino County Assessor – 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020 Ukiah, CA 95482. We are available Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm to answer questions, or offer assistance completing the application.
The Assessor’s office will review the information you provide and an appraiser will contact you.
There Is Not A Charge To File The Application For Reassessment Of Property Damaged By Misfortune Or Calamity
Important: If your mailing address has changed, please notify the Assessor by phone (707) 234-6800 or email https://www.mendocinocounty.org
For your convenience, there is a Notice of Address Change located on our website if you prefer to download and mail to: Mendocino County Assessor – 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1020 Ukiah, CA 95482
For Additional Information Contact:
FORT BRAGG TEEN IN SAN FRANCISCO, NOW A 23-YEAR-OLD MAN, FACES FEDERAL CHARGES OF COERCION AND ENTICEMENT OF A MINOR
Nearly two years ago a Fort Bragg teen made national news when she went missing in San Francisco after meeting up with an adult male that she had been communicating with on Instagram. The Northern District of California’s Department of Justice announced in a press release yesterday that the man the Fort Bragg teen was found with, 23-year-old King John Baylon Asuncion, stood in front of a federal judge in San Francisco facing a criminal complaint charging him with the coercion and enticement of a minor.
VIRTUAL GALA AT GRACE HUDSON MUSEUM
Please join us on Saturday, September 25, at 6:00 PM for a livestream broadcast of our 2021 Virtual Gala. This one-hour program will feature local artists both in performance and conversation, and will embody the theme, "Curiosity, Creativity, Community," three of the Grace Hudson Museum’s key values that inspire and animate everything we do. Our guests will include Ukiah poet laureate Melissa Eleftherion Carr, musician Clay Hawkins, photographer Tom Liden, sculptor Mac Magruder, and distillery artists Jack Crispin Cain and Tamar Kaye. And, of course, we will be appealing to you to support our work through your donations. Watch us on YouTube by clicking
or find the link easily on the home page of our website.
Many thanks for our generous sponsors, the Eversole Family, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Dave's Bike Shop, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, Fuller Digital Media, and the City of Ukiah.
(Grace Hudson Museum Presser)
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 21, 2021
JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license, protective order violation.
CARINA CARRILO, Covelo. Harboring wanted felon.
SEAN FAHERTY, Willits. Sexual penetration by force-fear-etc., domestic battery, assault weapon.
JOHN FRANCIS, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs w/blood-alcohol over 0.15%, no license, paraphernalia.
BRANDON JOHNSON, Willits. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, suspended license for DUI, second offense in ten years.
SHAWN LANE, Ukiah. County parole violation.
MICHAEL LANGLEY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MIGUEL MARIN, Ukiah. Protective order violation, resisting.
JAMES MORRISON, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JORGE SILVA-PENA, Sacramento/Ukiah. DUI.
ALWOOD SMITH, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Why Is Santa Going to Drop A Bomb on Biden?
So this is the insanity of the last 40+ years... Why HW Bush called Supply Side "Voodoo Economics" when running against Reagan for President in 1980. Every time this recipe had been used, the economies of the nations employing it went into ever bigger and bigger Boom-Bust Cycles until those economies imploded. Have you been paying attention to What has happened to the American Economy like clockwork since 1980? How many more cycles do you think America has before we go belly up? I'd be deeply surprised if the next Bust leaves an America we recognize.
Moreover, this is precisely how the wealthy have been bleeding America dry for 40 years. Invest, Boom... harvest the cream, stick it in offshore accounts... Bust, buy up assets 5 cents on the dollar... Boom, make a killing, harvest the cream, stick it in offshore accounts... Wash and repeat. Until, the dollar is toilet paper, and there are only two classes... trillionaires and peasants.
Add to that, every TV Station, Radio Station, Magazine, Newspaper, and neighborhood bird cage liner, has been bought by a media syndicate. They've been changing what you can hear, Who can talk, and What people can say in a public venue. The Government has been trying hard to lock down the internet in exactly the same way. So far to no avail, but moneyed interests keep trying to turn it into just another pay per view channel owned; lock, stock, and barrel by the very same group of media moguls.
The failure of American Education isn't a mistake or accident... The biggest threat to any despot is an informed electorate. Since the 60s and the hell Government paid fighting well educated young people, there has been a quiet strategy to dumb America down, to keep us in check, prevent us from being able to demand our birthright, or even appreciate that it had been stolen from us. Let's be clear, Half our nation now runs on "Faith Basis", which is doublespeak for superstition handed down from a man of religion cuz Gawd Said So. No critical thinking, no rigorous checks on power, less than no holding our representatives to account. Just two big fat Sock Puppets duking it out for our tribal delight and entertainment pleasure, as they just keep stacking the deck against us.
I don't know how this ends. I do know that our freedom and our world are in peril, and the people who call the shots these days, don't care about either of those things.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS APPROVES MOTIONS TO PHASE OUT OIL AND GAS DRILLING
by Dan Bacher
On September 15, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two companion motions that will put Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the nation, on a path to ban existing oil drilling and transition fossil fuel workers to careers in clean energy and other climate-friendly industries.
There are approximately 1,600 active and idle oil wells within unincorporated communities of LA County. Over half of those wells are within the 1,000 acre Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the nation, located in Los Angeles County’s Second Supervisorial District. Sentinel Peak Resources, a Denver based Quantum Energy Partners portfolio company, owns and operates the oil field.
The motions were authored by Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell with co-authorship from Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Janice Hahn, according to a press statement from Mitchell’s Office.
Mitchell’s motion, titled *Protecting Communities Near Oil and Gas Drilling Operations in Los Angeles County *and coauthored by Sheila Kuhl, updates the Department of Regional Planning’s (DRP) Draft Oil Well Ordinance for unincorporated LA County to prohibit all new oil and gas extraction wells in all zones and designates all existing oil and gas extraction activities as nonconforming uses in all zones.
This motion also requests a report back from DRP in 120 days on the financial cost to phasing out oil operations with actionable steps the County can take. Read the full motion here <http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/161681.pdf>.
Despite California’s “green” and “progressive” image, thousands of County residents live in close proximity to an oil well and nearly 73 percent of those residents are people of color, according to the motion.
The motion states:
“A substantial body of national and California-based scientific research documents evidence the harmful health impacts resulting from living in close proximity to oil drilling operations, including asthma, cardiovascular disease, low birth weight, and reproductive health impacts. A study of oil drill sites in South Los Angeles published by the scientific journal, Environmental Research in June 2021, documents a significant decrease in lung and pulmonary function associated with living near both active and inactive oil wells. A 2018 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Report found that even at a distance of 1,500 feet, oil wells still pose a safety risk to nearby communities.”
After the passage of the motions, Mitchell stated, *”*”We have an opportunity and responsibility as the home of the largest urban oil field in the nation to lead by example in creating an equitable path for phasing out oil drilling. Collectively, the motions that passed today center the needs of the communities and workers most impacted by oil drilling and build on LA County’s momentum in fighting climate change and sunsetting oil and gas operations.
“I applaud the Board for continuing to move the County forward on this critical issue and the countless advocates that have helped get us to this point. Our work is far from done but this is a promising step for environmental justice,” Mitchell concluded.
“Urban oil drilling isn’t safe,” noted Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “People who live near active oil wells suffer high rates of asthma, with an even greater impact on people’s lungs than living next to a freeway. For the health and well-being of our families and children, we need to end this practice as soon as possible. This motion gets us one step closer to that goal.”
The California Independent Petroleum Association, a trade association representing approximately 500 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners, and service and supply companies operating in California, opposed the measure.
“In a letter to the board, CEO Rock Zierman said a phaseout of oil and gas production would threaten hundreds of jobs, raise gas prices and make California more dependent on oil from foreign countries,” according to Drew Costley in an Associated Press article:
Mitchell said chasing out oil drilling will require an intentional plan for transitioning workers on these sites into jobs and industries that are safe and provide family sustaining wages. This is the focus of Mitchell’s motion: *Developing a Comprehensive Strategy for a Just Transition Away from Fossil Fuels, *co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn.
This motion helps operationalize the recommendations from the County’s Just Transition to Clean Energy Task Force which includes centering the needs and perspectives of workers and frontline communities in workforce transition strategies that include all sectors of the fossil fuel industry.
“We don’t have to choose between the environment and good jobs—we can, and we should have both,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “But we need to be intentional about creating those jobs and investing in new opportunities for workers.”
In a related development, Culver City voted in June to phase out oil production and require the cleanup of well sites in the city’s portion of the Inglewood Oil Field within five years. The City of Los Angeles is also working on developing its own policy to phase out oil drilling.
Environmental justice, climate, faith, labor, and public health groups have long called for an end to neighborhood oil drilling in Los Angeles, citing serious health risks for nearby communities and the need to stop fossil fuel extraction to avert the worst of the climate crisis. Ahead of the vote, groups submitted letters signed by 150 organizations and more than 4,000 petitions and comments to the Board urging them to protect Los Angeles communities by supporting the phase-out of dangerous oil drilling, according to Mitchell’s Office.
Representatives of labor, environmental justice, community, public health and environmental groups applauded the passage of the two motions.
“Responsibly phasing out oil drilling and cleaning up old wells is critical to ensuring we protect public health as part of a just transition in LA County,” said April Verrett, President of SEIU 2015. “We applaud the Board of Supervisors for taking this historic vote, and hope that it can represent a model for the rest of the state to protect both workers and public health.”
“The oil industry has threatened the health and safety of Los Angeles’ communities of color for decades,” said Martha Dina Arguello, Co-Chair of STAND-LA. “We are grateful to the LA Board of Supervisors for this important first step toward protecting frontline communities from toxic air in their neighborhoods, and bringing about a future free from fossil fuels that we all deserve.”
“In Wilmington, we are no strangers to oil drilling and the negative health impacts that come with living near so many facets of this industry. This oil drilling phase out is a huge step towards health and racial justice for thousands of Angelenos,” said Wendy Miranda, Wilmington Community Member and Intern for Communities for a Better Environment. “We have been waiting for action, and our lungs are ready for this change. I can’t wait for the day that all of us will be able to breathe clean air, regardless of our zip code.”
“For over 10 years, Community Health Councils (CHC) has been working with the community to bring attention to and eliminate adverse health, safety and environmental risks and impacts from oil drilling and reimagine these spaces into lands that can build the health and well-being of the community,” said Sonya Vasquez, Chief Operating Officer of Community Health Councils. “Today the Board of Supervisors brings us much closer to this reality and ensures that our most vulnerable residents are prioritized and cared for.”
“Angelenos have been forced to live with dangerous oil drilling in our backyards for far too long, putting our families’ health at risk and adding to the climate chaos we’re already experiencing. This historic vote is the direct result of communities coming together to demand better,” said Sierra Club Campaign Representative Nicole Levin. “Ending oil drilling in our communities is possible, and for the sake of our health and our climate, we must do so immediately. We look forward to working with the County to follow through on this vote by phasing out existing drilling as soon as possible, and we urge the rest of Los Angeles to follow suit.”
“Today’s vote not only symbolizes the path forward for LA County, it represents the path forward for the entire state and country,” said Josiah Edwards of Sunrise LA. “It says to young, Black and brown people like me, ‘You deserve to have a future and we are going to take the action necessary to ensure that happens’. It represents the beginning of the end for fossil fuel corporations who have long benefited from environmental racism by deliberately perpetrating harm against our communities, seeking profit at our expense.”
“This historic vote builds on years of work by frontline communities who refused to be discarded as sacrifices by the oil and gas industry,” said Food & Water Watch Senior Organizer Jasmin Vargas. “Today, we applaud the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and also pay tribute to these climate champions. For too long Los Angeles communities have struggled with the toxic pollution that accompanies neighborhood drilling, only made worse by the pandemic and recent climate disasters. Today’s vote signals a new path forward for the Board of Supervisors and all other legislators faced with the growing calls for a just transition for jobs, health and the environment.”
“L.A. County’s vote makes it a national leader in responding to the code red climate emergency,” said Liz Jones, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute. “Now the rest of Los Angeles and California need to phase out oil production as fast as possible, or the hottest summer in California’s history will be the coolest of the rest of our lives.”
“We have heard the cries of residents across Los Angeles about the terrible health and neighborhood impacts they have suffered for years from oil drilling operations next door and nearby. Now, these same communities are leading the fight for their health, safety and our climate. We applaud the Board of Supervisors for taking this bold action on this urgent issue. We look forward to implementing a Just Transition for workers and communities to ensure they have their rightful place in the new clean energy, green and sustainable economy of the future,” said Shane Murphy Goldsmith, President & CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation.
“This historic vote improves the lives of thousands of L.A. county residents, who have been burdened for generations by oil and gas operations,” said Damon Nagami, senior attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “This Board has shown tremendous leadership for others to follow as we transition to clean energy and away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.”
In 2019, the Board adopted the Our County Sustainability Plan that included a comprehensive strategy for a more equitable LA County and two key directives for protecting communities from oil wells: (1) addressing the proximity between oil and gas operations and sensitive land uses and (2) developing a sunset strategy for oil and gas operations.
“The motions passed today build on the County’s progress over the recent years to better regulate oil drilling and prioritize the public health and safety of its residents living near oil wells,” according to a press statement from Sierra Club California.
“As someone who lives in close proximity to oil drilling, seeing motions introduced to begin the process to phase out oil drilling in LA County is exciting for frontline residents,” concluded Ashley Hernandez, Advocate with Communities for a Better Environment. “Our County has the opportunity to right the wrongs of racist land-use decisions such as redlining and expedited oil drilling permit approvals and has the power to step up for vulnerable families living, playing, and praying right next to oil drilling.”
In a tweet, Alexandra Nagy, California Director of Food & Water Watch, noted that the vote was a “HUGE WIN, but just the first step. We will fight on to ensure the @LACountyBOS vote is implemented, the @LACityCouncil passes a phase out motion after 7 years of stalling and Gov. @GavinNewsom stops all new drilling permits, phases out drilling.”
*1,019 oil and gas permits approved in first 6 months of 2021*
The vote took place as the Department of Conservation’s CalGEM continues to approve new and reworked oil and gas permits in Kern County and elsewhere in California, although the approval of fracking permits has declined dramatically in recent months, with the agency denying another 42 fracking permits in August.
The overall number of oil and gas permits approved under Newsom now totals 9,014 since he took office in January 2019, according to a website run by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance that maps all California oil wells. CalGEM approved 1,019 oil and gas permits in the first six months of 2021.
Total permit approvals to drill or rework new oil wells fell by 64% in the first six months of 2021 over the same period last year, “giving Governor Newsom an excellent opening to more decisively transition off of fossil fuels,” according to the two groups. The number of permit applications filed by oil and gas companies also fell by 52%.
“Overall, rates of both permit approvals and counts of permit applications to drill new wells have dropped in 2021,” said Kyle Ferrar, Western Program Coordinator at FracTracker Alliance. “While the market traditionally drives permit application counts, Governor Newsom now has the opportunity to reduce the expansion of oil extraction. Starting with a responsible setback for Frontline Communities of at least 2,500 feet from drilling operations, Newsom can limit new drilling and begin California’s transition away from the stranglehold of big oil.”
“The market is the single most important factor suppressing permit applications, but Governor Newsom is also sending the oil industry the right signals by rejecting fracking permit applications and announcing an end to fracking by 2024,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “Governor Newsom now has a golden opportunity to seize the moment and come forward with a decisive transition plan off of fossil fuels that includes switching oil workers away from production toward desperately needed well remediation.”
For more information and maps on oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles County, please read Kyle Ferrar’s piece, “It’s Time to Stop Urban Oil Drilling,” https://www.fractracker.org/?p=65832
(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher firstname.lastname@example.org.)
AUTUMNAL EQUINOX - Autumn begins today at 12:20pm - sunrise 6:53am, sunset 7:03pm
Day and night throughout the world are nearly the same length right now, as close to perfectly equal light as we get. At this time, the apparent path of the Sun crosses the celestial equator (the Earth's equator extended out into space) on its way south. As the Sun crosses this line, night begins to overcome day in the north. From this moment of equilibrium, the Sun drops toward one of two culmination points in the year, its southern extreme marked by the December solstice. Here, north of the equator, we are entering the coldest, darkest half of the year, while the south is rolling towards summer.
THE LONGEST YEAR IN YOUR LIFE is probably when you're 15, waiting to get your license. And as you grow older, a year is like six months, then three months, then one month. And then it's over. I mean you're 70 years old, and you've lived a fairly good life and raised your kids, and you have some money in the bank for the children and grandchildren... Your grandchild comes and sits on your knee and says, “Grandparent, what did you do with your life?” ... And you're thinking “How am I going to answer this?” You're thinking... what are you going to say. I developed an advertising campaign for Geritol? I built up a chain of manicure storefront shops? I represented mergers and acquisitions to make investment bankers and golden-parachute-laden executives richer than the dreams of their avarice? And then, in the mergers and acquisitions, all kinds of workers were laid off? How are you going to answer that question?
— Ralph Nader
PROMOTING VIRTUE & PREVENTING VICE
by Sadakat Kadri
At a recent press conference, a written statement attributed to the Taliban’s “commander of the faithful,” Haibatullah Akhundzada, said that the incoming government of Afghanistan will “work hard to uphold Islamic rules and sharia law.” In Arabic, “sharia” implies a path to salvation, and ultra-pious Muslims don’t abandon that road willingly. But the rules to be upheld are less obvious. They’ve been contested for at least twelve hundred years. Some jurists have been tolerant and inclusive; others not. One prolific scholar popular in Taliban circles, Ibn Abiʼl-Dunya, a stern tutor to several princes in late ninth-century Baghdad, wrote seven tracts on prohibition alone. Among the frivolities he thought hateful to God were stringed instruments, chess, pigeon-fancying and sitting on seesaws.
Akhundzada leans heavily towards intolerance. In the late 1990s, he worked closely with the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which outlawed activities from beard-trimming to kite-flying. He went on to write a legal justification for suicide bombings. Among those apparently persuaded by it was his 23-year-old son; in July 2017, he drove an explosive-laden Humvee into a Helmand military base.
With spiritual guidance that fierce, there’s little the Taliban can’t authorize itself to do. Isolated verses of the Quran can easily be cited to justify the disadvantaging of women and minorities. Ninth-century texts condemning pursuits that distract from God are reason enough to outlaw frivolities from soap operas to Snapchat. And brutal punishments can always be labelled divine: symbolic floggings, amputations and executions excite the Taliban’s supporters as much as they appal its critics.
The Taliban’s pick ʼn’ mix approach to jurisprudence shouldn’t be underestimated, though: its sharia courts are an established feature of Afghanistan’s legal landscape. With a view to delegitimizing politicians in Kabul, over the last 15 years the movement established a three-tier judicial structure in territories it controlled. And according to an Overseas Development Institute survey published in May 2020, which drew on several earlier analyses, the system was typically seen “as more accessible and easier to navigate than state courts, as well as quicker, fairer and less corrupt.”
Taliban judges in those courts didn’t need to be impeccable. All they had to do was inspire more confidence than the alternatives – courts sanctioned by the state or tribal authorities – and they were flexible enough to do so. Rather than suppress local customs, sharia courts tended to accommodate them. Harsh punishments were exceptional. Rulings that honorably resolved potentially poisonous disputes were usually respected, even by the losing side.
The cleric who oversaw that wartime effort, Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, has been appointed minister of justice. Now that the Taliban looks set to establish an entirely new state judiciary, the fiction that hardliners maintain about the sharia – that it benefits everyone, all the time – is about to come under unprecedented strain. Will Afghanistan’s new courts be “quicker, fairer and less corrupt” than the old ones – or just more spectacularly repressive?
The signs aren’t good. With a humanitarian catastrophe looming, Taliban ministers have failed to engage with international agencies and started feuding among themselves. Even the fate of Haibatullah Akhundzada is unclear: he’s not been seen since the Taliban takeover, and rumours of his untimely death are rife. Such gossip isn’t worth much but it reflects widespread unease. Ordinary people, braced for sectarian violence since Islamic State’s vicious bomb attack at Kabul Airport on 26 August, aren’t confident that lasting legal order is at hand. Far from calling for the Taliban to go easy on repression, some have been demanding that it step up its security patrols and make its enforcers wear uniforms.
Even if the Taliban’s efforts to realize heaven on earth are doomed to fall short, the calls in Afghanistan for implementation of sharia law aren’t about to end. In a war-torn country mired in poverty and starved of opportunities, dreams of stability are intense. Any movement that claims to know God’s eternal laws – and how to give them effect – will always have its appeal.
(London Review of Books)
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— Al Capone
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