Rain Coming | 16 New Cases | MRC Logrolling | Forest Degradation | Westport Octoberfest | Captain HazMat | Mendo Towers | Hit/Paused/Ran | Police Searching | Trent #5 | Fir Sit | Dust Maker | La Nina | Bad Jose | Bushansky Sez | Yesterday's Catch | Meeting Che | Phone Scam | Leadermobile | Antietam Diary | Bridge Building | Cobain | Country Immunity | Rise Up | Dwarf Tossing | Ashli's Birthday | Babbitt T | Forward Party | Jack Unmasked | On Capitalism | Spurs | Popular Resistance | Redistricting Concerns | Plunder Code | Marine Protection | Elon Monk | Fire Scientists
ONE MORE DAY OF DRY WEATHER with above normal daytime temperatures are in store for today. A robust cold front will bring rain and cooling Sunday, followed by showers Sunday evening. Another storm will generate more precipitation Tuesday night through Wednesday morning. Additional periods of precipitation are forecast for the latter portion of the week and next weekend. (NWS)
16 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
TYPICAL COURTHOUSE COURTESY: JUDGE NADEL’S CONVENIENCE TRUMPS TREES
The TRO hearing was not heard yesterday in Superior Court as scheduled. When we reached Ukiah at noon our attorney E.D. Lerman, had just been informed by a court staff person that Judge Jeanine Nadel was busy with a trial and didn't have time to hear our TRO motion until the 24th or 25th of October.
The court staff person also said James King, Mendocino Redwood Company's attorney and former Ukiah Superior Court Judge was agreeable to continuing the TRO hearing until after 10/25.
The court staff person was also instructed to tell us no other judges were available to hear our TRO motion. Because of the emergency situation of trees being logged adjacent to our nature preserves, E.D. asked if Judge Nadel could order a TRO until the time of the hearing, but was refused.
At this point in time we are still trying to get a TRO hearing and MRC continues to log and this week imported an additional crew of loggers to speedily deforest the Enchanted Meadow environs.
If anyone can assist with protecting the boundaries of our nature preserves please contact email@example.com
We desperately need ground support on our lands to prevent further degradation to our lands.
Friends of Enchanted Meadow
MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY (MRC) DEGRADES WILD AND SCENIC ALBION RIVER AND ENCHANTED MEADOW WETLANDS SANCTUARY
The first photo is from May of 2001. The location is the south side of the Albion River opposite the confluence of Deadman's Creek from the north side of the Albion River (Enchanted Meadow Wetlands Sanctuary).
The second photo shows the same location and is from October of 2021.
If you look at these two photos side by side you can see the degradation MRC caused to this portion of this designated Wild and Scenic Albion River.
If anyone wants to contribute to the Friends of Enchanted Meadow's legal fund please donate online at http://friendsofenchantedmeadow.org/ or send a check to Friends of Enchanted Meadow at P.O. Box 271 in Little River, CA 95456. Your contribution is tax deductible. For questions e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Annemarie Weibel, Albion
DON GRAVES came to Anderson Valley five years ago after 41 years in the fire service. He retired as a Captain HazMat specialist with 36 years on the Mountain View Fire Department spending the entire time on an engine company. He's been in the fire service since 1976, when he got into wildland firefighting as a young man because he enjoyed backpacking and outdoorsmanship.
His first position was in Ukiah with the California Division of Forestry, now Cal Fire, but due lack of permanent hiring his career led him to city firefighting.
When Don and his wife Dawn moved to Rancho Navarro, they were surprised to learn there was only one active volunteer firefighter in the neighborhood. After expressing interest in joining the fire department he found out that there was even more need for EMTs. He says he didn't feel good about having the ability to help out and not doing it so "what the heck." He and Dawn knew they wanted to participate in the community when they moved here; his experience made emergency response one of the easier ways for him to contribute.
After all these years, Don still enjoys helping people who truly need it. He's adjusted to a change in work style, going from drilling and working with the same couple of people on the same crew to working at the scene with the people who show up.
He's come to realize that even though the AVFD roster is long "we really are understaffed. It's not about the number of volunteers, it's about the response times. You see an engine going down the highway and think things are being taken care of but that engine could be 30 to 40 minutes away [from the incident]. That's just too long to wait."
To anyone thinking of volunteering, Don says, "People don't think they have what it takes but in my experience people can step up when they need to." He added that for him it's been a cool way to meet a lot of people.
He wrapped up with this emphasis on the self-reliance in our rural emergency response system: "Part of why I joined is self preservation."
POLICE, FAMILY OF DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED FORT BRAGG MAN PLEAD WITH HIT-AND-RUN MOTORIST TO SURRENDER
by Mary Callahan
Except for three very bad occasions, Brandon Bazor usually makes the mile or so walk between work and home in Fort Bragg easily.
People along the route from his job at Mendo Mill & Lumber on South Main Street to his parents’ house on the east side of town know to look for him heading through downtown at the end of his shift around 11:30 a.m.
But Tuesday, as he crossed South Main at Oak Street, a left-turning vehicle ran him down in the crosswalk, leaving him with a smashed-up face, a profound sense of unease and not even the satisfaction of an apology.
Police say surveillance footage from nearby businesses shows the culprit turning into a nearby parking lot and waiting five minutes or so — as if debating whether to accept accountability and turn back to where a crowd had gathered to help Bazor, Capt. Tom O’Neal said.
Instead, the vehicle, a white mid-size SUV, possibly a Subaru, left the scene. And though by Friday authorities were increasingly hopeful they would be able to track down the driver, they were pleading for them to come forward and begin the process of healing for Bazor and his family, O’Neal said.
“It’s extremely unfortunate,” Mayor Bernie Norvell said, “but we need this person to do the right thing and come forward.”
Bazor, 40, has developmental disabilities. He doesn’t drive and has for more than two decades made the commute to his custodial job at Mendo Mill on foot, racking up miles and the kind of recognition that makes his well-being important to many in the community.
So, many were upset when he was assaulted two years ago. A knife-wielding man beat Bazor up when he refused to give the stranger money for cigarettes, his mother and others said.
He was able to pick his assailant out from a photo lineup, his mother said. Still “nothing really ever came of it, which has been very frustrating, especially for Brandon,” his sister-in-law, Grace Potter said.
“He should feel safe being able to walk around town just like anybody else,” she said.
Several years before that, Bazor was struck by a car just a block from this week’s incident, when a motorist at a four-way stop at Oak and South Franklin streets waved him across a crosswalk, but a second driver went across the intersection and hit him in the crosswalk. Bazor suffered a broken collarbone, his mother, Jackie Bazor said.
Tuesday, he started east across Main Street at 11:18 a.m., when the pedestrian signal told him it was OK. Bazor didn’t realize a car was coming toward him on westbound Oak Street would be turning directly into him moments later without any attempt at braking, O’Neal said.
Bazor was thrown to the ground, though his injuries were mostly in his face, which took the brunt of his fall, his mother said. He broke an orbital bone and several teeth, though he did not require hospital admission, she said.
There were numerous witnesses, but they saw the vehicle slow at it traveled south on South Main Street, hang a left and turn into a CVS parking lot, where it stopped for several minutes, so they turned their attention to Bazor, not realizing the driver would soon leave the scene, officials said.
His face was too swollen until Friday for him to put on his glasses and see, and he could still eat only ice cream and lick oatmeal from a spoon, she said.
Potter, the sister-in-law, said he’s really upset and agitated, too. For the first time in his life, he wants a night light to sleep, and she’s worried that walking — his means of achieving independence — may prove difficult when he’s healed.
But his family support system is strong, and he’s well connected to a job coach and programs that will support him, she said.
“So many people have been reaching out and sharing information,” Potter said. “We’re all looking out, and I think we’re all counting every white SUV and Subaru that we see.”
O’Neal said investigators have continued to collect images from surveillance video to try to track and identify the vehicle, and say it likely has damage the front right corner.
They are asking any witnesses or anyone with unchecked surveillance cameras in the area to contact police Officer Lopez at 707-964-0200. Reference case number FA21001047.
Jackie Bazor, meanwhile, is trying to imagine how to get her son’s mouth fixed, given the cost and the fact that the specialized work that will be needed is not available in Fort Bragg.
“The fact that he got hit is awful, but the fact that you would drive away, just makes me sick,” she said. “I just don’t get people.”
FORT BRAGG POLICE SEEKING INFO on Hit and Run Involving Serious Injury
To the driver of the vehicle that struck and injured the young man at the intersection of Oak Street and Main Street on October 12, 2021 at 11:18am, the Fort Bragg Police Department would like to offer you the opportunity to come forward and take responsibility for your actions.
We know you almost stopped and returned to the scene, that you drove around the block and sat outside CVS Pharmacy, contemplating returning.
Today, we are contacting the auto dealerships in the area to obtain a list of all local vehicles matching your vehicle’s make and model. We will be using this information to go to each residence and check each vehicle. We also have multiple images of your vehicle from multiple surveillance cameras. We are following your vehicle both before and after the collision across multiple cameras throughout our community, assumedly back to your home or place of work. Those images from those cameras have been forwarded to local, State, and Federal agencies in an attempt to identify the license plate on your vehicle. In short, we are confident that we will have you identified by the end of the weekend.
When we identify you, it will be too late to apologize for your actions or to ask the community to forgive you. You will have no moral recourse as to why you chose to hide, and there will be no defense that you did not know you were involved in a collision. While we are unable to promise you leniency during the prosecution process if you do come forward, we can offer you the moral defense that you made a bad decision and panicked, but you are now coming forward to make things right.
The young man that you struck with your car was seriously injured and will likely be scarred for the rest of his life, both physically and emotionally. Even more disappointing is this same young man was the victim of a violent crime recently, and the faith this victim and his family have in this community is still healing. We are certain that you coming forward will assist in that healing process, both for them and yourself.
Finally, to the community of Fort Bragg, we would ask you to share this press release, both digitally and in person. Copies of this press release are available at the Police Department to be shared with those community members that may not regularly access the internet or social media. We also will have printed images of the suspect vehicle for release. Our hope is that someone will recognize their family member or neighbor’s vehicle and reach out to them to come forward.
All members of our Department are working on this case, and you may reach out to any of them at 707-964-0200 if you have information related to this investigation. Anonymous tips may be left at 707-961-2800 ext. 135.
FORMER COP TRENT JAMES LATEST VIDEO, October 15, 2021
PRESS RELEASE, EARTH FIRST!
Last night a local resident slept on a small platform in the crown of an old growth douglas fir in Humboldt Redwood State park. The tree, which is five feet wide and 150 feet tall, is marked for removal by PG&E.
The tree sitter, who goes by Mander, is one of several concerned locals and supporters who have been monitoring the power-line cuts.
“This is a healthy old growth tree, and it’s far from the power lines. They’re not just trimming it, they’re trying to cut the whole tree. Every previous power line cut left it standing, why is it suddenly a risk now?”
The occupied tree is one of many threatened old growth trees in the State Park, which are being cut with no opportunity for public input. ”We know that this area, near fox camp road, is an important migration corridor between the Eel river and the King’s range. There have been a number of pacific fisher sightings right here. It’s near a northern spotted owl nest site. There are two active sonoma tree vole nests in the tree with me. The first time I climbed it, I saw a Humboldt’s flying squirrel, and heard a pair of spotted owls in the canopy nearby”
Mander plans on remaining in the threatened tree until the danger has passed.
“The state park has a mandate to protect habitat. They need to be out here contesting PG&E and protecting the remaining old growth in their care. Cutting trees isn’t the only way to do this. The state park should be demanding that PG&E install underground power lines through areas rich with old growth and late seral habitat.”
Q&A: LA NINA'S BACK AND IT'S NOT GOOD FOR PARTS OF DRY WEST by Seth Borenstein
For the second straight year, the world heads into a new La Nina weather event. This would tend to dry out parts of an already parched and fiery American West and boost an already busy Atlantic hurricane season. Just five months after the end of a La Nina that started in September 2020, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a new cooling of the Pacific is underway.
La Nina's natural cooling of parts of the Pacific is the flip side of a warmer El Nino pattern and sets in motion changes to the world’s weather for months and sometimes years. But the changes vary from place to place and aren’t certainties, just tendencies.
La Ninas tend to cause more agricultural and drought damage to the United States than El Ninos and neutral conditions, according to a 1999 study. That study found La Ninas in general cause $2.2 billion to $6.5 billion in damage to the U.S. agriculture.
HOW STRONG AND HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
There’s a 57% chance this will be a moderate La Nina and only 15% that it will be strong, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. He said it is unlikely to be as strong as last year’s because the second year of back-to-back La Ninas usually doesn't quite measure up to the first.
This La Nina is expected to stretch through spring, Halpert said.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE WEST?
For the entire southern one-third of the country and especially the Southwest, a La Nina often means drier and warmer weather. The West has been experiencing a two decade-plus megadrought that's worsened the last couple of years.
But for the Northwest — Washington, Oregon, maybe parts of Idaho and Montana — La Nina means a good chance rain and drought relief, Halpert said.
“Good for them, probably not so good for central, southern California,” Halpert said.
The Ohio Valley and Northern Plains could be wetter and cooler. La Nina winters also tend to shift snow storms more northerly in winter while places like the mid-Atlantic often don’t get blockbuster snowstorms.
WHAT ABOUT ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON?
During last year’s La Nina, the Atlantic set a record with 30 named storms. This year, without La Nina, the season has still been busier than normal with 20 named storms and only one name left unused on the primary storm name list: Wanda.
The last couple weeks have been quiet but “I expect it to pick up again,” Halpert said. “Just because it’s quiet now, it doesn’t mean we won’t still see more storms as we get later into October and even into November.” La Ninas tend to make Atlantic seasons more active because one key ingredient in formation of storms is winds near the top of them. An El Nino triggers more crosswinds that decapitate storms, while a La Nina has fewer crosswinds, allowing storms to develop and grow.
WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD? Much of both southeast Asia and northern Australia are wetter in La Nina — and that’s already apparent in Indonesia, Halpert said. Central Africa and southeast China tend to be drier.
Expect it to be cooler in western Canada, southern Alaska, Japan, the Korean peninsula, western Africa and southeastern Brazil. (AP)
ANOTHER MANLY MAN (and walking argument for summary execution)
On Sunday night, October 10th, Willits Police Department (WPD) officers responded to a call of a “man down, unresponsive with blood everywhere” at the Evergreen Shopping Center, 1718 S. Main St., behind the Grocery Outlet. Upon officers arrival, they discovered the victim was actually a woman, 61 years of age, bleeding and unconscious. Medical assistance was procured and the victim was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital, and subsequently airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center due to the extent of her injuries. Because of the nature of the investigation, the victim’s name is being withheld.
The officer’s investigation revealed the woman had been severely beaten as well as sexually assaulted. Through numerous follow-ups of investigative leads, officers were able to positively identify the suspect as Jose Perez, 23 years old, from Willits.
On October 14th at approximately 3:30 pm, WPD officers, with the assistance of Mendocino County D.A. Investigators, Mendocino County Probation Department, and the UC Davis Police Department, a warrant was successfully served at Perez’s residence in Willits, where he was taken into custody without incident.
Perez was eventually transported to County Jail and booked for:
Attempt Murder (Penal Code 664/187)
Attempt Rape (Penal Code 664/261)
Kidnapping with bodily injury (Penal Code 209)
Violation of Probation (Penal Code 1203.2)
His bail was set at $500,000.
Anyone having any further information on this case is urged to contact the Willits Police Department at (707) 459-6122, Sergeant Raymond Brady or Officer Cody Pearson.
BUSHANKYISM, THE EARLY YEARS
Bob Bushansky on how he got a program on KZYX
“John Coate, former General Manager of the station, was left alone during the week while his wife Hillary worked down in Vallejo for Sutter and she had suggested when we socialized one time, why don't you invite John to dinner during the week because he gets very lonely. So we did. He was in Little River. So we had a few dinners and a few conversations. And in one of them he said, This is a very left leaning county. Our member of Congress won with about 72% of the vote. What about the other 28%? Who is going to speak to, with and for them? He said that market segmentation is a good thing to think about but we have nobody to do a more conservative conversation and he said, What about you, Bob? Why don't you write up a proposal? And I did. And I submitted it to Mary Aigner and she said, You know, that sounds like a very interesting idea. How would you like to have Friday morning at 9 o'clock? I said, Um… Okay! My first guest was Paul Kemp, brother of the late Jack Kemp who was a vice presidential candidate along with Bob Dole. So that's how we started. Things have changed now. Jared now gets about 78% of the vote. So it's harder to find locally people who can speak well and explain their positions. So at one point I was kind of stuck vamping and a former programmer, Stuart Campbell, said, Why don't you speak to the publicist for Princeton University Press who has a lot of political books. So he put me in touch and I started getting books. I get books now from Harvard, Yale, Columbia and the University of Chicago, plus now I'm getting books unsolicited by book publicists I worked with in the past. So I try to pick out some that are a little bit more conservative but it's getting harder and harder to do because all the interesting books are done by people who are either in the middle or more to the left. So that's how I got started. In 2016 I expected there would be an 11 month show and after the election there would be nothing much to talk about. But after all the candidates were chosen, the Green, Libertarian, Republican and Democratic parties, I asked a representative of people who lean that way to come on the show. I had Dan Hamburg, he was the Green Part…. No, he's… Yeah. No, the… No, he was the Libertarian person, I had somebody from the Green party, and then I asked Paul to be the Republican speaker and he said, I'm sorry Bob, I can't do that. I said Why not? He said the Republican candidate is somebody I could never vote for. He said, in addition, I just want you to know this, but I'm raising money for Hillary. So there has been an evolution in many ways, not just with me, but with important and interesting topics, not necessarily those on the right unless you are talking about what's happening on the right which is not good for democracy."
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 15, 2021
WARREN BECK, Ukiah. Failure to appear, suspended license, probation revocation.
KELSEY BROWN, Willits. Cultivation of marijuana in violation of fish and wildlife code with over 8 plants, renting with intent to distribute substances.
ELIJAH ESQUIVEL, Willits. DUI.
ALICIA GALLUPS, Willits. Failure to appear.
LATEEFAH GLOVER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.
VINCENT HERNANDEZ JR., Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
ELIAS HERNANDEZ-LOPEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, no license.
TRAVIS HUNTER, Willits. Cultivation of marijuana in violation of fish and wildlife code.
DEVIN KESTER-TYLER, Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.
JESSICA OLIVER, Covelo. Possession of machine gun.
JOSE PEREZ, Willits. Attempted murder, kidnapping for ranson or extortion, probation revocation.
JACOB PETERSON, Arcata/Piercy. DUI-alcohol&drugs, probation revocation.
FELIPE RIOS-LOPEZ, Salinas/Ukiah. DUI, Marijuana transportation of over 18 plants, concentrated cannabis, suspended license, probation revocation.
JOSE SANTOS-CHAVEZ, Yuba/Ukiah. DUI.
EDUARDO TAPIA-TORRES, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
NATHANIEL WADDELL, Entelope/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has recently received reports of a phone scam targeting local PC 290 Registrants.
As part of this scam, the caller claims they are from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and tells the victim that due to “new laws”, they are now out of compliance with current PC 290 registration requirements. The scammer tells the victim that they must purchase a pre-paid debit card and make a payment over the phone to come into compliance, or face arrest.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like the community to know that this is a scam. The HCSO does not charge fees for PC 290 Registration. While law enforcement may contact you regarding a warrant or investigation, we will never demand payment in exchange for dropping a warrant or stopping an investigation. Additionally, no government agency will ask you to mail large sums of cash or pay with gift cards or pre-paid money cards.
Remember these tips to help protect yourself from fraud:
1. Spot imposters
Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity or a company with which you do business. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request – whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email.
2. Do online searches
Type a company or product name into your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
3. Don’t believe your caller ID
Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
4. Talk to someone
Before you give up your money or personal information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a friend.
5. Don’t rely on personal information
Living in the digital age, access to information is easier than ever. Scammers are often able to get their hands on very personal information, providing it to their victims to make their scam look more legitimate. Don’t trust a scammer who is able to provide your personal information. If you followed the above tips and still aren’t sure, call back at a publicly listed number for the organization from which the scammer claims to be or contact your loved one directly.
Sign up for the Federal Trade Commission’s scam alerts at ftc.gov/scams.
(Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office)
Sunday Sept. 21, 1862
On the 8th we struck up the refrain of “Maryland, My Maryland!” and camped in an apple orchard. We went hungry, for six days not a morsel of bread or meat had gone in our stomachs - and our menu consisted of apple; and corn. We toasted, we burned, we stewed, we boiled, we roasted these two together, and singly, until there was not a man whose form had not caved in, and who had not a bad attack of diarrhea. Our under-clothes were foul and hanging in strips, our socks worn out, and half of the men were bare-footed, many were lame and were sent to the rear; others, of sterner stuff, hobbled along and managed to keep up, while gangs from every company went off in the surrounding country looking for food . . . Many became ill from exposure and starvation, and were left on the road. The ambulances were full, and the whole route was marked with a sick, lame, limping lot, that straggled to the farm- houses that lined the way, and who, in all cases, succored and cared for them. . .
In an hour after the passage of the Potomac the command continued the march through the rich fields of Maryland. The country people lined the roads, gazing in open-eyed wonder upon the long lines of infantry . . . and as far as the eye could reach, was the glitter of the swaying points of the bayonets. It was the first ragged Rebels they had ever seen, and though they did not act either as friends or foes, still they gave liberally, and every haversack was full that day at least. No houses were entered - no damage was done, and the farmers in the vicinity must have drawn a long breath as they saw how safe their property was in the very midst of the army.
– Pvt. Alexander Hunter, Company A, 17th Virginia Infantry
I just fell in love with a bad bitch
Told me that she love me too, baby, I'm not havin' it
Sniffin' cocaine, 'cause I didn't have no Actavis
Smokin' propane, with my clique and the bad
Bitches call me Cobain
She can see the pain
Look me in the eyes, girl, we are not the same
Bitch, I'll make it rain on my side bitch, shout out to my main
Fell in love once, and I never been the same
Lil Tracy, I used to rob, but I shop now
Comin' up, I might get recognized when I walk around
Coolin' with Lil Peep, let's hit the mall tomorrow
I'ma mix American Eagle with some Ralph Lauren
I got a bad bitch who is good to me
Baby, I see passion in your eyes, when you look at me
I'ma show you off, like some Louis V
Coke lines on the mirror, snort a line for me
— Lil Peep (Dylan Mullen, Gustav Ahr, Jazz Butler, Michael Kinsella)
WE LIKE TO BLAME OTHERS for the world sucking... the big, bad, greedy, rotten bast@rd who means us ill... it would never occur to us that we have any say in the matter or the capacity to pull the brake on this thing and demand to get off right here, right now. Just as enough people can put Monsanto in the ground by growing victory gardens, we can let Apple know we don't appreciate them filling up our landfills with freaking phones, because they chose to make them impossible to repair... on purpose so we'd have to drop another grand and change, because the 3 cent power plug is broken. Cut their profits by 95% and see how fast they discover Jesus and the ethical model.
Shout this from the mountain tops. We own them, not the other way around. Make a stink that Gawd almighty can smell all the way up in heaven. Put the fear in our political leaders the likes of which hasn't been seen since General Cornwallis was catching American cannon balls. And for the love of all that's holy, put a price on the head of every ass hat, who thinks they can get away with kissing Trump's ass to keep their political base. We need to burn that crap to the ground and salt the earth.
— Marie Tobias
ACTIVISM UNCENSORED: DONALD TRUMP ADDRESSES ASHLI BABBITT CEREMONY
The former president commemorates "a truly incredible person," saying, "I offer my unwavering support to Ashli’s family."
by Matt Taibbi & Ford Fischer
Last Sunday, friends and family of Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran shot at the Capitol on January 6th, gathered in Freeport, Texas to celebrate what would have been her 36th birthday. A surprise guest spoke by recorded video: Donald Trump.
TK partner Ford Fischer of News2Share has the wider story on video above, including the heated speech of Babbitt’s mother Micki Witthoeft, a video greeting from Arizona congressman and staunch Trump supporter Paul Gosar, as well as a note from her husband Aaron, who addressed “that person who shot my wife” — later identified as Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd — saying, “he took my soul.”
Trump’s decision to address this crowd was fairly heavily scrutinized in the mainstream press. Outrage that Trump chose to lionize Babbitt was universal, but the reasons differed from outlet to outlet, as did the intensity of the disgust.
John Berman of CNN’s AC 360 represented the most common response, expressing disgust that Trump would “try to make a hero out of a member of a violent insurrectionist mob,” while he termed January 6th “the worst act of political violence since the Civil War.” MSNBC’s Steve Benen wrote a companion piece to a Rachel Maddow segment that focused on Trump’s changing language with regard to January 6th, noting that he’d previously described the riot as a “heinous attack” by people who’d “defiled the seat of democracy,” but was now using terms like “innocent” to describe people like Babbitt. New York berated Trump for winding up Witthoeft.
Fischer, whose pictures were used for many of these segments, shows the event in longer form above. He also interviews some of the principals, including Witthoeft and Texas Independent gubernatorial candidate Eric Braden, who takes a shot at Trump for not standing by the family earlier.
ANDREW YANG AND RADICAL CENTRISM
Andrew Yang’s new Forward Party is the latest in a long line of efforts that seek to shake up American politics by leaning into the status quo.
ON LINE EXCHANGE OF THE DAY
Tom Tetzlaff wrote:
It is the free market and capitalism that has produced the highest standard of living for the most people and creates the most goods and services. Not to mention generating innovation. Your alternative to capitalism is what? Socialism? That has never ended well over the course of history. How is socialism supposed to all of a sudden work better this time?
Carol Mattessich replied:
We've been through this song and dance many times during the years, and you always repeat the same paean to capitalism and free market ideology. To fully appreciate the damage the relentless pursuit of profit has done to the world, you would have to see it from a perspective outside Mendocino and outside your conditioned self -- although I don't think you should have to mow lawns when you are sick, and why does anyone in Mendocino need a lawn anyway? All that aside, Marx would agree with you that capitalism has created wealth, although the "market" has never been free. Governments have been necessary allies every step of the way. Marx would insist that it is the workers who created the wealth, and the capitalists who appropriated it. You know as well as I that most of the wealth has been accumulating at the top, creating greater inequality than ever before in our history, possibly returning us to a kind of feudalism. It was not the generous capitalists who created the middle class. "Power yields nothing without demand. Never has and never will." The history of class struggle has been long and violent, and it has made you and I possible. (Was it worth it?) Certainly not, if the capitalist wordsmiths can convince the slave he is free and that there is no alternative. The problem with the middle class is that they identify with the rich instead of with those who brought them to the table. The kids addressed how capitalism manipulates our minds brilliantly. I am heartened by young people who can deal rationally with the idea of post-capitalism and by the vast number of "workers" who are waking up and making demands right now. You should be too. We all do better when everyone does well. What would life be like, what would you and I be like, in a just and peaceful world society?
"The ultimate hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make and could just as easily make differently." — David Graeber
STOP THE MACHINE! CREATE A NEW WORLD | FACEBOOK (via Betsy Cawn)
From today's edition, I read the essay "Empty Words and Colonialism, or Treaty Rights and Self Determination?" from whence this page link was provided: https://www.facebook.com/PopularResistanceOrg/
After wearying of all the "Facebook jail" whining, this is a truly refreshing find that certainly seems not to have been censored by Zuck. How can that be?
MENDO INTO FORT BRAGG?
Time Sensitive Redistricting Issues That Are Concerning
Redistricting changes under consideration At congressional, legislative and county levels Have Some Seriously Negative Impacts UNLESS More Residents Speak Up About Our coastal community of interest
Please go online and follow the link to leave comments for the California Redistricting Commission about the need to retain the North Coast as one contiguous community of interest based on climate, demographics, industries and agriculture. We care about environmental conservation and protection of coastal and marine life as well as being uniquely dependent on the coastal industries of tourism, fishing and cannabis. We are not well-served by being combined into a district with inland counties.
Go to this page to see all of the configurations under consideration that could change our congressional district; you will need to reference the particular map you want to comment on.
Then go to the Visualizations Feedback Form to comment.
The last day for public comment is tomorrow, october 15, 2021! we will have another email soon On concerns about the county redistricting commission process Meanwhile, There are several ways to participate and provide input that are all accessible from the Mendocino County Redistricting Website.
Maps are being drawn based on community input before Monday, October 18, 2021
WE TOLD YOU SO
California's ocean waters and coast still aren't protected from big oil spills!
by Dan Bacher
In 2010 I warned of the consequences of not protecting the ocean from oil spills, oil drilling, pollution and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering in the "marine protected areas" created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative. This article warned of the consequences of allowing a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives to oversee "marine protection" in California in a classic example of Deep Regulatory Capture.
As Sara Randall, then the program director of the Institute for Fishery Resources and Commercial Fishermen of America, said so eloquently at the time, "These marine protected areas, as currently designed, don't protect against oil spills. What's the point of developing marine protected areas if they don't protect the resources?"
There have been two major oil spills off the Southern California Coast since this was written. And none of the reporters covering the current Orange County Oil Spill will discuss how the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) in Southern California, under the leadership of a Big Oil lobbyist, still is not enforced as written when it was signed into law by Governor Gray Davis in 1999.
After a major oil spill from a ruptured pipeline devastated 9 miles of the Santa Barbara County coast on May 20, 2019 and as yet another spill from another ruptured pipeline is currently killing fish, birds and other marine life on the Orange County Coast, we can see now that the very thing that grassroots environmentalists, Tribal leaders and fishermen warned about has come to pass. Ironically, four "marine protected areas" created under the helm of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) were fouled by the Refugio Beach Oil Spill of 2015.
Also as forecasted in the article, California regulators have expanded oil drilling in recent years. California oil and gas regulators have continued to approve new and reworked offshore oil well permits under existing leases off the Southern California Coast.
Governor Jerry Brown approved over 200 offshore oil well permits in state waters from 2011 to 2017, according to data analyzed by Food and Water Watch and Fractracker Alliance.
*Governor Newsom’s oil and gas regulators have continued granting offshore oil well permits also. As of October 1, 2021, there have been a total of 150 reported permits issued for offshore wells since January 1, 2019, according to a new analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021 and posted at www.NewsomWellWatch.org <https://consumerwatchdog.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=16fdf633d6cc08468a8275737&id=30ffd0651a&e=012a06ab40>
by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.
“Five of these permits were for new drilling and the remaining 145 for reworks (including sidetracks and deepening operations). Half of the total were issued for idle wells that should be plugged and properly abandoned to reduce the risk of blowouts, leaks, and other accidents. Over the first three quarters of 2021 there have been 17 offshore permits issued,” according to the groups.
The bottom line is that California’s federal and state waters are NOT PROTECTED from oil spills as offshore oil drilling continues unabated in federal and state waters.
In addition, Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 onshore oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019. The groups said Newsom should immediately cease approval of more oil permits to avoid hitting the 10,000 mark.
'SELF-SERVING GARBAGE.' WILDFIRE EXPERTS ESCALATE FIGHT OVER SAVING CALIFORNIA FORESTS
by Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee
As the Caldor Fire roared into the Lake Tahoe basin more than a month ago, Brian Newman took some comfort in the surroundings.
An operations section chief with Cal Fire, Newman knew that thousands of acres of trees and brush had been deliberately removed from around the basin in recent years.
He and other firefighters said the work helped level the playing field, turning imminent disaster into one of the most dramatic success stories of the 2021 wildfire season. On the night of Aug. 30, as the fire exploded in Meyers and Christmas Valley, firefighters saved hundreds of homes and businesses. No buildings were lost.
"Obviously, the fuel reduction and the thinning played a part — a large part," said Newman, who patrolled that night in a Cal Fire pickup.
But Chad Hanson, an influential environmentalist with a Ph.D. from UC Davis, looked at the Caldor Fire and drew a different conclusion: Forest thinning didn't work. In fact, it probably made things worse, by removing shade and exposing more of the woods to the ravages of climate change. A thinner forest meant less of a natural "windbreak" that could have slowed the fire's progress.
"This is not stopping fires, because they're mostly driven by weather and climate," Hanson said. "You can't fight the wind with a chainsaw."
Hanson, who runs an organization called the John Muir Project, is a published author who's often featured in news stories on fire and forestry issues. He's also spent decades pursuing lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service over plans to cut down trees to reduce fire dangers. His efforts have sometimes prompted delays in thinning projects and even forced the government to leave more of the woods untouched.
"We go to court to stand up for science," Hanson said.
But over the past few years, as California has endured record-breaking wildfires, a legion of fire scientists is delivering a blunt message to Hanson and other environmentalists who oppose forest thinning: Get out of the way.
In an extraordinary series of articles published in scientific journals, fire scientists are attacking Hanson's and his allies' claims that the woods need to be left alone. These scientists say the activists are misleading the public and bogging down vital work needed to protect wildlife, communities and make California's forests more resilient to wildfire.
"I and my colleagues are getting really tired of the type of activism that pretends to be science and in fact is just self-serving garbage," said Crystal Kolden, a professor of wildfire science at UC Merced and co-author of a journal article that rebutted Hanson's arguments.
"If a lot of these environmental groups continue to stand by these antiquated and really counterproductive viewpoints, all we're going to see is more catastrophic wildfire that destroys the very forests that they pretend to love."
Battles over the management of America's forests have been raging for more than a century, starting when President Teddy Roosevelt set aside millions of acres of public land in 1905 to be managed by a new agency, the Forest Service.
For decades, environmentalists fought the agency for allowing timber companies to pillage huge stretches of the national forests for profit. Hanson says thinning projects, performed in the name of fire safety, are simply an excuse for more of the same commercial logging.
But climate change is making the forests hotter and drier — at the same time they're getting increasingly populated with humans. That has sharpened the debate over how best to manage California's woods. And with another 2.4 million acres burning in California this year, on top of 4 million in 2020, many other environmental organizations have embraced thinning as a means of saving America's forests.
In July, a coalition of 15 groups, from Defenders of Wildlife to The Nature Conservancy, urged new Forest Service chief Randy Moore "to markedly increase ecologically-based forest treatments."
Momentum is building among elected officials. Congress is debating whether to hand the Forest Service billions of dollars for aggressive forest management, as part of President Joe Biden's stalled infrastructure plan. The California Legislature recently appropriated nearly $1 billion toward thinning and pre-planned "prescribed fire" to clear undergrowth.
"When you just see what's happening out the window right now, with the number of fires we're experiencing ... there's a real political movement to (act) on some of this decisively," said Scott Stephens, a UC Berkeley wildfire scientist and one of Hanson's critics.
Spotted owl habitat burned by red tape
Few forest thinning battles illustrate the problem better than a 9,310-acre forest-thinning project planned for the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border.
Environmental groups spent a decade objecting to the proposal, labeling a portion of the project as a thinly disguised "timber grab" that would destroy spotted owl habitat.
Amid objections from the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and others starting in 2011, the Forest Service produced more than 570 pages of environmental reviews, botanical reports and other planning documents for the so-called Pumice Project.
While tied up in environmental red tape and other bureaucratic delays, the Antelope Fire in early August burned through the site before a single chainsaw touched a tree, destroying the owl habitat that the environmental groups were trying to save.
"We're putting our limited time and resources into kind of bulletproofing these documents," said Drew Stroberg, a district ranger in the Klamath forest. "On the Pumice Project, we've worked hard on a lot of those documents and gone around and around and around. And, now, they might as well be in the trash can."
Hanson and other environmentalists continue to fight other forest thinning projects around the state.
In June, Hanson submitted a written declaration in a lawsuit protesting the Forest Service's plan to remove "hazard trees" — conifers damaged by drought, bark-beetle infestations and a 2002 fire — along miles of Sherman Pass Road in the Sequoia National Forest, one of the main thoroughfares through the region.
The agency said the dead, dry trees could ignite a major wildfire. They could fall on power lines, the ignition source for many of California's most deadly fires in recent years. Arguing that there was "an urgent need for this project," the agency had bypassed the usual in-depth environmental reviews and swiftly approved the project.
But Hanson, citing some of his own published studies, argued that the project would ruin extensive habitat that was teeming with "Pacific fishers, spotted owls, black-backed woodpeckers and other species." He added: "I enjoy being in forests in a natural state, and a logged environment ruins that enjoyment."
In July, a federal judge in Fresno granted a temporary restraining order that has prevented the Forest Service from cutting down some of the trees. Judge Dale Drozd limited the agency to removing trees "within striking distance" of the road until environmental studies can be conducted.
Those studies could take years — a period in which Forest Service officials say the forest will grow hotter, drier and more dangerous as climate change intensifies.
"Leaving excessive fuel load along Sherman Pass Road would cause the next wildfire to burn more intensely — making it more difficult for firefighters to suppress," the government's lawyers said in a written court filing.
'Agenda-driven science' and misleading conclusions
In the polite, jargon-filled world of scientific literature, it was an astonishing attack.
Two years ago, in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a group of academics wrote an article titled "Agenda-driven science? The case of spotted owls and fire."
The piece accused Hanson and two of his collaborators of abandoning scientific norms as Hanson's group argued against the need to thin the forests to reduce wildfire risks. Hanson's group also opposes the harvest of timber killed by wildfires.
In this case, the authors said Hanson; Derek Lee, a professor at Penn State University; and Monica Bond, a biologist with the Wild Nature Institute; used "agenda-driven science" to create misleading conclusions about the harms that wildfires do to spotted owl habitats.
Among other things, the authors said Hanson and his colleagues excluded data that didn't support their beliefs — and pushed a scientifically unsupported narrative that could lead to more harm to the owls if fires are allowed to rage unchecked through their territory.
"Ignoring negative effects of severe wildfire could compromise the ability to conserve this species and restore forest ecosystems that are experiencing increasingly large and severe fires as the climate becomes warmer and drier," the nine authors wrote.
This summer, a different group of academics went after Hanson. In three recent articles in the journal Ecological Applications, Kolden, Stephens and other co-authors made the case for more forest thinning, and in the process ripped Hanson and his allies' methods and results.
Hanson's group has "garnered substantial attention and fostered confusion about the best available science," they wrote.
All told, Keala Hagmann, a research ecologist at the University of Washington and a co-author of one of this summer's articles, said at least 111 scientists have co-authored at least 41 scientific papers that rebut Hanson's and his colleagues' arguments.
Susan Prichard, a University of Washington fire ecologist and lead author of one of the recent articles that rebut Hansen's positions, compares Hanson and his allies to early climate change deniers.
The deniers, she said, received outsized media attention, and made it seem as if there was a scientific debate when in reality an overwhelming majority of scientists insisted climate change was a pressing threat.
"It's jaw-dropping," Prichard said. "Because for those of us that are in the field, we have this sense of everyone's in pretty close agreement, and that the science is settled."
Hanson said he isn't surprised by the attacks. He denies the allegations about using data improperly. He says his critics are beholden to the Forest Service, which funds some of their research, and they're upset that his work brings to light information that exposes the agency's shortcomings.
"We're producing objective, highly credible, really inconvenient data with regard to the Forest Service's logging program," he said.
Forest Service 'legacy of distrust'
California is home to 33 million acres of forestland. Each year, between state, federal and local agencies, about 500,000 acres of forest is treated with some combination of logging, chipping small trees and brush and deliberate burning.
Fire scientists are careful to note that they're not advocating for returning to the destructive forestry practices of decades past, when the Forest Service effectively handed the woods over to the logging companies to cut down the largest, most profitable trees without thought to the ecological consequences.
And they say the thinning projects they want to see done on a much larger scale aren't appropriate for every habitat. For instance, they say there's not much you can do to prevent fires from raging through much of fire-prone Southern California, where powerful winds push flames through brush and chaparral.
Nor will so-called forest "fuels treatments" keep fires from burning.
"The goal of these treatments is not to stop wildfires in their tracks. It's to change the behavior where we can," said Dan Porter, the California forest program director at The Nature Conservancy, which has worked with the Forest Service on thinning the projects in the Sierra.
But fire scientists say that in much of the Sierra and in the other forests elsewhere in dry inland Northern California, the woods are in terrible shape, due in large part to a century of aggressive logging and fire suppression.
Before the Gold Rush, California's forests were dominated by trees large and sturdy enough to survive wildfires that burned through the woods every decade or so — started by lightning or the region's Native American tribes.
The fires burned with far less intensity than today's infernos. They cleared the undergrowth, and the downed limbs and pine needles.
All that changed when white settlers arrived. First off, they extinguished native peoples' practice of setting fires. And then, in the early 1900s, the newly-formed Forest Service implemented a hardline policy bent on putting out all wildfires as quickly as possible to protect the timber that loggers were sending to the mills. The agency reigns over 20 million acres of national forests in California, about one-fifth of the state's total landmass.
Across California, much of the sturdy old-growth was cut down, and what grew back in its place were dense stands of small trees and brush. The stage was set for an era of catastrophic fires like the sorts California is experiencing every summer.
The sorts of clear-cut logging that ravaged California's forests under the Forest Service's authority last century has given environmentalists plenty of reasons to question the agency's motivations.
"There's a legacy of distrust," said Prichard, the University of Washington fire ecologist.
Prichard said Hanson and other environmentalists are exploiting that history — and fears of a new era of clear-cutting — to sell their misleading arguments.
"They're kind of taking a page out of the fake news playbook," she said. "I really feel like they're preying on people's hunches."
When today's fires strike, they hit dense stands that have been dried out by drought and a warming climate, sending flames ripping through the undergrowth to turn even the tallest, healthiest of trees into torches.
To restore the forests, fire scientists say California needs to begin aggressively sending crews into the woods to clear out the smallest trees and brush below what big timber is left. And then the state needs to embrace what the Indians did: Set fires every few years or let the fires that ignite naturally do the work of thinning the brush and small trees that grow back.
Some say the Forest Service has been slow to adopt this model. During a recent visit to the Mendocino National Forest with Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized for the Forest Service's practice of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" — taking money from forest management projects to pay for firefighting. He said the agency will do better if it gets more funding from Congress.
The Karuk Tribe, in the Klamath region near the Oregon border, is among the Native American groups with a long list of complaints about fire and forestry management. In a letter to the agency last fall, they said the Forest Service was dragging its feet on conducting "prescribed fire" — pre-planned burns aimed at clearing out brush and undergrowth. And they said the agency was denying tribal members the right to become "burn bosses" — the people who oversee these pre-planned fires.
A year later, tribal leaders see some progress. Bill Tripp, the Karuk Tribe's natural resources director, said Forest Service officials have agreed to use Karuk members as burn bosses, and pledged to permit more prescribed burns.
Kolden, the UC Merced fire scientist, has this to say about the environmentalists who argue for a hands-off approach to the forests:
"This suggestion that we shouldn't manage anything because the forest takes care of itself is a completely racist and very, you know, colonial viewpoint that ignores the thousands of years of extensive and intensive indigenous landscape management across California and the West."
Forest management tied up in court
Hanson co-founded the John Muir Project in 1996. The organization is based in Big Bear City, east of San Bernardino, and operates under the umbrella of the Earth Island Institute, a Berkeley nonprofit that took in $16 million in donations and other revenue in 2019.
The 54-year-old Hanson holds a law degree but isn't a lawyer, sometimes leaving the legal work to his wife, Rachel Fazio, the staff attorney at John Muir. He's become a prominent advocate on the environmental left, authoring numerous scientific journal articles of his own.
Hanson says he has plenty of allies in the scientific community. He cites a letter he and 200 other environmentalists, ecologists, biologists, botanists, climatologists and other scientists sent Congress last year opposing logging as a solution to major fires. The group also included a forest ecologist from the University of Minnesota and fire scientist at the University of Idaho.
"Reduced forest protection and increased logging tend to make wildland fires burn more intensely," they wrote.
His critics dismiss the letter as evidence that Hanson isn't really in the mainstream. Among those who signed it, it's lacking "key people in this area of fire and forest science," Stephens said.
What's more, they said the timber industry-supported proposal to which Hanson's group was objecting had little to do with the sorts of work needed in California's fire-prone forests.
Kolden said "the logging industry has co-opted the word 'thinning' " to describe its desire to "cut down big trees that don't burn much" in the damp forests of the Pacific Northwest. "Fuel treatments for restoring forest health and resilience are completely different," she said.
Hanson's recent writings are an acknowledgment that his crusade against the scientific establishment is a somewhat lonely endeavor. In a chapter written for an environmental book published earlier this year, he and two of his allies said any scientist who challenges the status quo will be attacked by people wanting to "smear or discredit you." A semi-autobiographical book he published this year is titled "Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate."
Hanson argues that thinning removes a lot of thick, old-growth trees that are fairly resilient to fire. What's left is small trees, saplings and seedlings that ignite like kindling.
True fire safety, he says, is largely about making homes and communities more resilient through strict building codes and "defensible space" regulations that require homeowners to clear their properties of vegetation. He said defensible space, not large-scale forest thinning, saved Christmas Valley and Meyers from the Caldor Fire.
'An honorable thing to work to protect wildlife habitat'
Federal laws — particularly the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act — give Hanson and those who share his views the ability to delay projects for years.
Some critics say the environmental review process has been weaponized by activist groups to drag out worthwhile projects, even if a judge eventually sides with the government.
Few are more effective than Denise Boggs, a 61-year-old white-haired environmentalist from Rohnert Park who lives part-time in Montana because, she says, she can't afford to live year-round in California.
The head of a group called Conservation Congress, Boggs isn't as well known as Hanson but is considered a tenacious advocate against forest thinning.
"To me, it's an honorable thing to work to protect wildlife habitat," she said.
She spends as much time as she can in the forests — "they're all so beautiful and they all have something to offer," she said — and she's diligent about filing detailed written protests with the Forest Service over thinning projects.
When she can't get the agency to cooperate, she sues — a total of 15 cases since she founded Conservation Congress in 2004.
"I hate lawsuits," she said. "I only file them as a last resort."
Indeed, lawsuits against the Forest Service are rare. Of the 126 thinning projects approved in the past three years in California, "the vast majority of our vegetation and fuels projects are at various stages of successful implementation and are not involved with lawsuits," said agency spokeswoman Regina Corbin in an email.
Nonetheless, the agency listed seven lawsuits filed in the past three years over proposed thinning projects, from the Klamath National Forest on the Oregon border to the Los Padres outside of Santa Barbara.
Sometimes the litigation can last years.
In 2013, Conservation Congress sued the Forest Service over the Pettijohn project, which was designed to thin out a 21,000-acre parcel of the 2.2 million acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest about five miles northeast of Weaverville.
Soon after, the agency got the court's permission to put the lawsuit on hold while it could re-examine the project's potential on spotted owl habitat.
Five years went by, while the Forest Service studied the owl population with the federal Fish and Wildlife Service. Finally, the Forest Service acknowledged that the owl population in the Pettijohn area was larger than originally believed. It agreed to downsize the project, leaving about 1,200 acres of woods untouched.
Boggs continued to litigate over the remainder of the project, but earlier this year a federal judge in Sacramento gave the Forest Service the green light.
Even though she ultimately lost the case, Boggs was pleased that the Forest Service shrank the footprint of the project.
"That is a win," Boggs said. "It looks like you lose even though the work you're doing is forcing them to make better decisions, and sometimes that is the best we can do," she said.
The fact that the lawsuit delayed the project for years? Boggs said the time lag wasn't her fault; it's up to the Forest Service to observe the nation's environmental laws.
"If they had done those things in the first place, I wouldn't have had to file the lawsuit," she said. "Sometimes the only way you can get them to do the right thing, to follow the law and protect the species, is to file a lawsuit."
Boggs said she regularly receives hate mail and death threats. Conservation Congress took in just $74,478 in donations in 2019, according to the nonprofit's IRS filing. Boggs, the organization's lone paid employee, earned $47,000.
"I'm not getting rich off of this," she said. "I've been poor my whole life and I don't expect that to change."
Conservation Congress' finances could be getting even thinner. After the judge dismissed her lawsuit over the Pettijohn project this year, the federal government petitioned to have Conservation Congress reimburse the government for $16,614 in court costs.
The costs reflect the stunning amount of paperwork that had to be retrieved, reviewed and indexed for the lawsuit: 19,193 pages.
Boggs pleaded with the judge to turn down the request. "Granting an award of this size for a small public interest group would have a chilling effect on groups such as the Conservation Congress, and would likely put us out of business," she wrote in a court filing.
A decision is pending on the court costs. In the meantime, Conservation Congress is still fighting over the thinning project itself: Based on new data about disappearing owl habitat, Boggs said she's demanded that the Forest Service re-examine the planned work. Depending on how the agency responds, Conservation Congress could sue the agency again.
Oases of green in a scorched forest
If thinning is so effective, Hanson argues that the Caldor Fire, for example, wouldn't have reached Tahoe in the first place. Before pouring into the basin, it roared through areas throughout the Eldorado National Forest that had been thinned over the years.
But fire scientists say Hanson, who makes similar claims about other recent California fires, including the Dixie Fire, is again being misleading.
They say that these thinned areas often hadn't been treated again after they were cut — a necessary step to ensure the woods stay in balance. Plus, if the treated areas were surrounded by miles of dense overgrown woods, there's little hope for them when fire is raging on all sides, said Prichard, the University of Washington scientist.
"If we have a lot of fuels on broad landscapes, sometimes these little postage stamp treatments have no chance," she said.
Experts say reducing fire danger usually requires multiple strategies, including making sure the woods are maintained in the years after they've been thinned. Defensible space immediately around properties helped save homes around Tahoe, said Cal Fire's Newman.
And while it's true that the Caldor Fire raced through areas of the Eldorado National Forest that had been thinned, Newman said that proves more work must be done.
"It does work, it's just a matter of we're needing to do it on a much grander scale," he said.
The results of a successful fuels treatment project can be striking.
Around the small Siskiyou County community of Tennant, the Klamath National Forest is a wasteland of scorched trees, a place where no green can be seen for miles. But a few small oases look very different after the Antelope Fire scorched the dry landscape in early August.
In these tiny parcels of federal land, the pines are still mostly green, though they're surrounded by the skeletons of scorched trees that died as 150-foot flames climbed up from the dense thickets of small trees and brush underneath them.
These green pines that survived the 145,632-acre Antelope Fire were no accident.
In those parcels, loggers with chainsaws more than 20 years ago thinned the dense stands of trees that grew back after the pines were almost all cut down in the 1920s and 30s.
The loggers in 1998 left the biggest pines standing, leaving ample space between groups of trees.
Then, after their log trucks pulled out, crews with drip torches set two fires, years apart, to the pine needles, downed limbs and small trees and brush that grew up underneath the timber the loggers didn't cut.
The thinning and burning was part of a years-long research project aimed at seeing how local wildlife responded to thinning projects and prescribed fire like the Karuk and other tribes had practiced on the Klamath before white settlement.
To Eric Knapp, the standing green timber was proof positive that more treatments need to be done across California and the West.
Knapp, a U.S. Forest Service research ecologist, is a co-author of several studies highlighting the benefits of more aggressive fire fuels management.
"To me, it just really illustrates that if you change the fuels," Knapp said, "you change the fire behavior."