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DRY WEATHER with above normal daytime temperatures are expected all this week in the interior. Low clouds and fog will keep coastal sites chilly again today. Coastal fog and low clouds will diminish on Tuesday. Clearer skies and warmer daytime temperatures are expected for the North Coast on Wednesday. (NWS)
REGULATE SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTALS?
by Jim Shields
What do you think of the idea of Mendocino County restricting and/or regulating so-called short-term rentals (STRs), rented mostly by vacationing tourists?
What about the right of property owners to rent housing units?
As most folks know, affordable housing has been in short supply for at least four decades in this county. State, county and city housing policies as well as local government general plans, emphasize the goal of creating, expanding, and maintaining low-to-moderate income housing.
This past September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed what I believe is a record-setting 28 housing bills.
One of these new measures is AB 787 the “Workforce Housing Law.”
According to its author, SoCal Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D) explained that, “Too many communities across California have become unaffordable for ordinary folks. This legislation will help to ensure that working people — including the nurses, teachers, firefighters and grocery workers who’ve helped us through the pandemic — can afford to live in the communities where they work and serve.”
AB 787 offers an incentive for local governments to adopt a financing program that converts market-rate complexes into middle-income housing in exchange for property tax breaks.
While the bulk of affordable housing programs are aimed at poor and extremely poor households, middle-income workers like office staff, teachers, health care, government, restaurant, and retail employees, often are forced to live in communities long distances from where they work because they can’t afford or there’s no available housing closer to where they work.
In the north county, what once qualified as “affordable” housing is now oftentimes sold or rented at inflated rates, because the property can be converted to marijuana cultivation.
The Mendocino Coast’s economy is mainly fueled by tourism, so the conversion of affordable housing to short-term vacation rentals comes as no surprise.
At the BOS meeting on Nov. 16, the Supes took up the issue due mainly to some Coasties arguing for regulation, if not outright banning of STRs.
The area with apparently the greatest number of STRs are the Coastal 4th and 5th Districts, whose Supervisors are Dan Gjerde and Ted Williams, respectively.
Williams said, “I see the need for the county to re-evaluate how it regulates short-term and vacation units in residential neighborhoods. We don’t need to get into the details today. This is just to form an ad hoc (committee) to look at the issue and bring back facts and options for the full board. I want to state that my preference is not to infringe on the rights of folks in their primary residence, meaning if they have an outbuilding that’s under-utilized, say their kids use it some of the time so they can’t rent it long-term, they bring in revenue at other times of the year. I don’t want to step on their rights. But I think companies, for example a corporation in Santa Rosa buying up housing stock in our county for the sole purpose of creating quasi-hotels is a risk to our community. So I’d like to bring back options and look at how we can better balance the rights of individuals and the rights of community.”
Gjerde noted several times during the redistricting process that his 4th District saw a decrease in population to some degree because of the conversion of housing units to STRs. He called it, “one of the contributing factors to escalating the rental prices on the coast, is the loss of rentals or just options to buy a home on the coast.”
Among those calling for the Supes to regulate STRs was Anderson Valley resident Kathy Borst who in a written statement to Williams, said:
Thank you for taking on this important issue. Short term rentals need to be limited, regulated and the rules strictly enforced as soon as possible. This county, and Anderson Valley in particular, is losing workers because of scarce and expensive housing. There are no rentals.
Property prices are ridiculously high. And with STRs, people are operating businesses in residential zones. PLEASE include these things in the regulations:
• Limit the number of STR licenses to what we have now with an eye to decreasing that number over time
• Limit the location of STRs so they can’t be in neighborhoods
• Require on-site managers
• Limit the number of guests and impose strict time limits on noise
• Require adequate parking off the street
• Impose strict fines for violations and enforce the regulations
• Create a website showing where legally licensed STRs are located and offer an easy way to report violations
• Limit the number of STR licenses any individual or business can have to ONE
Please begin to solve this problem that is impacting our communities in a most negative way.
John Gorman reminded the Supes that some property owners rely on short-term rentals for income, saying, “You don’t want to kill the golden goose here, just screaming, deny all rentals.”
Johanna Jensen, a member of the Housing Action Team, explained her group had surveyed employees. She said, “From the employees’ survey, a full quarter of them said that they are impacted by short term vacation rentals … Some of the stories they talked about were quite heartbreaking, things like, ‘vacation homes are destroying our community, my employer has enormous difficulty employing and retaining employees because of the lack of housing, and vacation rentals are not contributing any skills or benefit for anybody, and the bed tax collected is only diverting from the established lodging industry. The number of vacation rentals on the coast is absolutely disgusting. People moving here from the Bay Area are driving prices up and local greedy landowners and homeowners are cashing out, displacing local service workers, including medical and first responders.”
The Supes voted unanimously to create an ad hoc committee to review policy considerations for STRs and bring back a recommendation(s) for the full Board sometime in early 2022.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
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JIM SHIELDS ASKS: “What do you think of the idea of Mendocino County restricting and/or regulating so-called short-term rentals (STRs), rented mostly by vacationing tourists?”
What do I think? I am reminded of Mahatma Ghandi’s famous answer to the question, “What do you think of Western Civilization?” Ghandi replied, “I think it would be a good idea.”
Similarly, I think regulating short-term rentals is not only a good idea, but a necessary one.
But this is Mendocino County. And the regulation will be worked on by the same people who brought us the badly broken byzantine pot policy, a second unit ordinance for the Coast that is hundreds of pages long, a water agency proposal that requires $400k worth of consulting, people who can’t draft their own strategic plan without $80k worth of wine-drenched Sonoma County boilerplate, who won’t even consider regulating frost fan noise, who have picked a fight with the Sheriff over absolutely nothing, who can’t get their own CEO to give them an ordinary monthly budget report, who can’t (or won’t) follow their own rules on their two dozen or so still pending ad hoc committees, who can’t staff just two important crisis van positions but can hire new deputy CEOs at the drop of a hat, who spent $5 million to build a gold-plated new four-bedroom crisis residence in Ukiah when they could have bought one for $1 million, who after taxing the public for over $30 million for a Psychiatric Health Facility still don’t even have a site after more than four years, who have never asked for an inventory of empty buildings in unincorporated areas of Mendocino County, and who have yet to approve, much less build, even one multi-unit housing proposal in unincorporated Mendocino County.
In short, I think regulating short term rentals would be “a good idea.” But will these people actually do something about short term rentals? No, of course not, it’s pure rhetorical posturing. If they were serious about addressing Mendo’s housing problem, they’d start by asking their own much more competent Planning Commission to work with staff to draft some options with pros and cons. Instead, they arrogantly think that after all their other abject failures, they can somehow form an ad hoc committee of a couple of themselves and magically pull some reasonable regulations outta their ass.
Can we say entropy?
THE OLDEST LAKE IN NORTH AMERICA
From northern Alaska down to the south of Mexico, one lake stands out as the oldest and most geologically unique in all of North America. In Lake County, California, just north of Sonoma and Napa counties, is Clear Lake with a ripe, young age of 480,000—yes, nearly half a million years old—the oldest lake on the continent.
The average lifespan of a lake is usually about 10,000 years. What commonly happens is the depression of the lake fills with sediment, water levels go down and wonderful wetlands are created. While Clear Lake is only estimated at about a half a million years old, geologists figure that lakes have existed on this particular patch of land for nearly 2.5 million years.
How has Clear Lake remained intact longer than any other lake in the US, Mexico or Canada? A geological fluke. There is molten rock deep beneath the lake from long-dormant volcanoes—volcanoes also responsible for the stunning mountains that surround the lake. The molten rock tilts a little bit every year, allowing sediment to seep into the gaps, causing the water level to remain relatively unaffected for a very, very long time.
A half of million years of sediment has deposited enormous amounts of nutrients into the lake, which encourages the abundant growth of plant life. This in turn creates a rich environment for fish and wildlife. In fact, almost half of all species of birds find their way to Clear Lake at one point or another throughout the year.
This fertile environment sustains more fish per acre than any other lake in America. In fact, Clear Lake is known as the best bass fishing lake in the west, and was recently named the No. 2 Bass Fishing Lake in 2014 by Bassmaster magazine, the premiere bass fishing publication in the US. But Clear Lake is not only home to the “monster bass,” it’s also home to the monster catfish. And carp, crappie and blue gills can also be found, and fished for in the lake.
The volcanic activity still manifests itself in the form of frequent “geysers,” which are not really geysers. They’re really fumaroles and boiling hot springs, and they’re responsible for the vibrant system of spa resorts and hot springs from Lake County’s colorful resort past, which included numerous “pleasure palaces.” Today, Harbin Hot Spring near Middletown maintains a successful spa resort, even utilizing natural warm spring waters from the ground in their soaking pools.
Clear Lake is not named Clear Lake by accident. But it wasn’t given its name because of the water, either. Clear Lake was named by settlers in the late 1800s because of the astonishingly clean air found in the region. And the air remains clean to this day, with the California Air Resources Board certifying Lake County as having the cleanest air in California for the last 23 years.
Interestingly, Clear Lake does not get any of the fog associated with Northern California locales like San Francisco. Thanks to the mountains and the midpoint location between coastal California and Central California, Clear Lake enjoys an average of 265 days of clear skies a year.
Combine lots of warm sunshine with volcanic activity and shallow waters and you get a comfortable and warm lake for sport and recreation. The water temperature of Clear Lake averages 76 degrees in the summer, so water sports can be comfortable without the accompanying brain freeze.
It’s no secret that plenty of California’s lakes and reservoirs have suffered in this historic drought. Although Clear Lake is also seeing lower water levels, there’s still plenty of warm water waiting to be enjoyed, whether it’s fishing, jet skiing, bird-watching, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. Check out this North American treasure, and see for yourself what 450,000 years looks like.
DURING THE TIME OUTS between wildly glutinous indulgences over the recent holiday, I watched Oliver Stone's two-hour documentary on the Kennedy Assassination. Like Oliver, I can't help myself thinking, reading, watching, writing about that pivotal event, pivotal because things seemed to go seriously awry after it, at least it has seemed so to those of us of the Boomer generation.
UNLIKE OLIVER, I tend to be persuaded by whatever I've read last. Oliver's theory has remained the same as first revealed in his famous movie, JFK.
AND THAT THEORY is that the same nefarious forces which have gotten US into a permanent state of war ever since — the CIA and generations of big shot generals with big assists from, natch, the FBI, murdered Kennedy because he was taking the country in a more peaceful, rational direction. Maybe, but whether or not he was is debatable, but the basic assumption that Oliver has always made.
ME? I don't know. If the assassination was a conspiracy it would have had to involve several hundred people, but the history of conspiracies tells us that two people can rarely pull off even a low level plot, and no way can three or more do a conspiracy without one of them ratting the other two out. The Kennedy conspiracy, as alleged, requires a whole bunch of people to keep quiet. Not likely.
THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION was for sure a highly suspicious event, and it and related events have always seemed implausible to me, but I'd need to devote full-time and ten computers to keeping all the theories and allegations straight.
OSWALD never made sense to me, and when he was shot to death by an equivalently implausible man in the Dallas Police station, well, my credulity was severely put upon.
I WAS in the Marines at the same time and place as Oswald, Camp Pendleton 1958. If I'd re-upped they said I might qualify for embassy duty because I met the height requirement. Had to be over 6'3", I think it was, but for someone of my cohort to want to defect to, of all places, Russia, was unimaginable. But here's PFC Oswald who not only wants to, but does! And comes back married to the daughter of a KGB colonel. (Stone says there was a roster of fake defectors and Oswald was one of the fakes as he went on to be a tool of the CIA, an Ivy League institution at the time, btw.)
AND HOW MANY TIMES have we read, “Lee Harvey Oswald, trained by the United States Marines as a sharpshooter…” To qualify with the M-1 at the time you needed to fire 190 out of 300 points. I squeezed by with a 195, Oswald a 215 which, believe me, was only mediocre. The boys who fired a lot better qualified as the “experts” they truly were and came from gun families, had grown up with guns. They fired right around perfect.
BUT THE CONSPIRACY people always make it sound like Oswald was Deadeye Dick himself. Fact is he shot Kennedy with a pretty good scoped rifle from a couple of hundred feet above the motorcade. Your basic arthritic grandmother could have made those three shots.
BUT PEOPLE heard shots from other directions, and how could one bullet go through two people and emerge undamaged on the floor of the hospital, and LBJ immediately escalated the War On Vietnam, and Trump and Biden both have delayed full release of the Kennedy Assassination files which were supposed to be released by now.
WHY the delay in releasing the full assassination archive? Because it was a conspiracy to kill the president and agents of our government were involved, that's why. Oswald was probably only one of the shooters and, as he said before he was assassinated himself, “I'm only a patsy.”
FRIENDS OF THE EEL, among others who have never hiked in the Eel River Canyon, seem to have bought into state senator Mike McGuire's saving us from the danger of hauling coal from the Bay Area to Eureka. You're much more likely to get hit on the noggin from space debris than the likelihood of a vague and probably non-existent Indian tribe will haul coal along the sixty miles of destroyed track in the Eel River Canyon. It would cost billions to again run a train from the Bay Area to Eureka, and the possibility of the money becoming available to do it is about as likely as the senator's fanciful Great Redwood Trail, the coal train's twin fantasy. The Trail, incidentally, benefits one grasping man, former congressman Doug Bosco who owns what's left of the old Northwestern Pacific.
ME TOO. A reader wonders, “I thought we voted against poisoning the watershed? And leaving dried up, dead tree fire hazards? I saw this sign today, Nov 28, posted in Maple Basin." (Signal Ridge area, Philo.)
HIGHWAY ONE'S LACK OF FACILITIES
Public restrooms at public beaches
I complained to the folks at CalTrans nearly 2 years ago about the lack of public restrooms on Route 1 north of Fort Bragg. This sign is their response to a major problem where dispersed camping is a common practice.
At present there is an abundance of toilet paper and human feces at multiple locations, especially at the vista point at Kibbisila Key. Why is it so difficult for CalTrans to address this problem? CalTrans must provide public restrooms (a local business could provide and service porta-potties) at convenient intervals along the coast Route 1.
THE CYNICAL AND DANGEROUS WEAPONIZATION OF THE "WHITE SUPREMACIST" LABEL
by Glenn Greenwald
Within hours of the August 25, 2020, shootings in Kenosha, Wisconsin — not days, but hours — it was decreed as unquestioned fact in mainstream political and media circles that the shooter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was a "white supremacist.” Over the next fifteen months, up to and including his acquittal by a jury of his peers on all charges, this label was applied to him more times than one can count by corporate media outlets as though it were proven fact. Indeed, that Rittenhouse was a "white supremacist” was deemed so unquestionably true that questioning it was cast as evidence of one's own racist inclinations (defending a white supremacist).
Yet all along, there was never any substantial evidence, let alone convincing proof, that it was true. This fact is, or at least should be, an extraordinary, even scandalous, event: a 17-year-old was widely vilified as being a white supremacist by a union of national media and major politicians despite there being no evidence to support the accusation. Yet it took his acquittal by a jury who heard all the evidence and testimony for parts of the corporate press to finally summon the courage to point out that what had been Gospel about Rittenhouse for the last fifteen months was, in fact, utterly baseless....
WHEN NATIVE AMERICANS WERE FORCIBLY REMOVED FROM A MENDOCINO INDIAN RESERVATION
In the course of our team's research for the "California Coastal Trail" episode that focuses on MacKerricher State Park in Mendocino County, we learned that the land that is now the park was once part of the Mendocino Indian Reservation, a swath of land ten miles long and three and a half miles wide. The Native Americans who lived on that reservation, which was established in 1856, included people of the Pomo, Salan Pomo, Southern Pomo, Yuki, Wappo and Whilkut tribes....
ASSIGNMENT: UKIAH - BE SURE TO LEAVE THE LIGHT ON FOR US
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
I’ve been in this Carolina town about 15 minutes (couple months, actually) and already I’m more knowledgeable about its roads and streets than after 100 (40, actually) years in Ukiah.
Here I can give you directions and shortcuts to the police station, the welfare and unemployment offices and probation headquarters. I could draw you an accurate map of downtown with the courthouse in the middle.
Ukiah? I still don’t know where Mohawk Drive is, and I can’t name a single street in El Dorado Estates. San Jacinto (or is it Jacinta?) is somewhere up on a hill not far from a canyon across from a meadow, but I only sound like I know what I’m talking about because I’m making it up.
Even the west side, where I’ve lived since around 1980, is a dense, impenetrable forest, a rabbit warren of places named Calvert Court, Doolin (Doolan?) Canyon, Live Oak and North Oak and Oak Park and Marwen Drive. Do Hope and Spring Streets intersect with Stephenson? Standley?
Here I already know where I am and have a fair idea of how to get back, even without the google thing. I know Parker Street runs alongside the cemetery, and if you go north it cuts into Jefferson; go left and you’re at the Old Charlotte Highway. Running parallel to my two lane road is Church Street, with all those triple-tiered wedding cake mansions, and it cuts perpendicular across Hudson and Houston Streets. Either will take you over to Maurice Avenue.
Compare and contrast that with my being lost and confused at the corner of Perkins and Hortense which for all I know don’t come within three blocks of each other. I’m not the only guy unable to navigate Ukiah’s wilderness.
Mike Rogers, for instance, moved to Ukiah as a toddler. Back then the roads were dirt and livestock grazed around the old courthouse, a one-story shed with a tarpaper roof. He’s lived here ever since, and yet Mike Rogers still can’t name the four streets that surround the courthouse, and would have to call 9-1-1 if he was abandoned on Jackson Street.
He’s not alone. We aren’t alone. On second thought, yes we are. We’re all alone, confused and wandering blind among neighborhoods where street signs seem to change overnight.
Ask someone the quickest way to get from Fairway to Fairview and you’ll wait a long long time for an answer, which could be right, which is just another way of saying it could be wrong. Then ask how to get to Anton Stadium; you’ll end up at Burger King.
What is it about the streets of Ukiah that produce a massive fog clouding our near-term memory bank when we try to hack our way through the unexplored jungles enroute to Giorno Drive?
Through the years I’ve written about it, talked about it, and thought about it, especially when lost down on Irvington Street doing u-turns on Burlington and Arlington until finally marooned at Vinewood Park. The survival kit (Sextant, compass, snowshoes, provisions) brings us to within spitting distance of Frank Zeek Elementary. Maybe we’ll be home for Christmas after all.
I know no one whose experience is contrary. Everybody admits to being adrift, looking for the street signs to try to figure out which way to go in a town—no, a neighborhood—we’ve travelled hundreds of times before, three times this week alone. How can it be we can’t remember whether Freitas runs this side of Observatory or dead ends at Oak?
It’s personal amnesia shared collectively, concentrated within a few dozen square blocks where we live, the very epicenter we should all know best because we are most familiar with it. Bah.
A couple years ago a few of us who meet daily to walk around Todd Grove Park all heard fire trucks and ambulance sirens. It had been a few minutes earlier and a few blocks east of where we were standing.
One lady said the commotion started behind the house she’d been living in for 60 years, but couldn’t remember the name(s) of nearby street(s). Nobody else could help pinpoint it because no one knew whether Hazel crosses Dora Avenue or runs next to Grove. What’s north of Walnut anyway?
It might as well have happened in Fresno.
In the late 1960s I worked as a police reporter for the Cleveland Press. My shift went midnight to 9 a.m. and I covered the entire city and whatever suburb interested me that night.
I can still remember many of the streets of Cleveland, at the time the ninth biggest city in the USA, more accurately than I remember the pattern of streets named for wines out north of Ukiah High.
My wife can direct you around San Francisco as if she has a map glued inside her eyelids, all because she worked and lived there for five years, 25 years ago. But neither of us know where Morris Street is. (Note: I looked it up. Morris dead-ends about 40 feet from the front door of the house we lived in on North Oak.)
Once again, don’t let me die in Ukiah; I’d get lost trying to find my way to the cemetery.
(Tom Hine thinks that since everyone is so hot to tear down monuments, re-name cities and in general raise havoc across the land, why not change the name of every Ukiah street to Road A, Road B, Road C, etc., crisscrossed by others named 1st Street, 2nd Street, 3rd Street? TWK says it works in Redwood Valley and look how nice life is out there.)
A RECENT ARTICLE in the PD by Peg Melnik was entitled: “How the man who put California wines on the map is helping others deal with climate change.”
The article is mostly a tribute to an aging award-winning Napa winemaker named Warren Winiarski, a former midwestern Philosophy professor, who has been making wine in Napa County since the 70s and now belatedly thinks that perhaps Professor Maynard Amerine’s famous 30s-40s era classic about where to plant which wine grapes in northern California should be updated to address climate change — despite most of the damage/planting already being done.
Mr. Winiarski donated almost $500k to UC Davis’s enology department to develop ways for the wine industry to adjust to 21st century drought conditions. Ms. Melnik goes on at great length about how great a guy old-Mr. Winiarski is — as you would expect from the wine-friendly PD.
But the article is light on drought resiliancy ideas — just like Mendo’s drought task force which is focused mainly on grant applications. (Under “conservation” their recent report proposed more water storage (!), for example.) One brilliant idea the $500k UC Davis people have come up with so far is “a guideline could be a recommendation to harvest earlier.” No one but an academic could devise such a brilliant “guideline.” If we were Mr. Winiarski we’d demand our money back, immediately.
Nevermind that Napa and Sonoma counties alone constitute over 100,000 acres of pricy vineyard with grape varieties and systems that are subject to drought, fire, market fluctuations etc., and can’t easily be “uprooted.”
And guess how many times the word “water” appears Ms. Melnik’s lengthy report allegedly about “drought”?
Answer: Once. When Mr. Winiarski says he rebuilt a barn that had burned down in the Atlas fire: “In its place stands a new barn, equipped with sprinklers to douse the wood building in water to protect it from flying embers.”
That’s it. Nothing else about water or conservation or the drought in Melnik’s long tribute. Maybe for another $500k or so Mr. Winiarski might get some ideas about replanting SoCo’s vines in Canada or somewhere cooler, at least for a few more years before “Climate Change” catches up to those areas too.
The UC Davis researcher, a woman named Forrester, is quoted saying, “Winemakers and growers are receptive to participating, and I'm amazed at how helpful they've been. They want to understand what's happening and how to continue to make excellent wine and be responsible, too."
But not so “responsible” as to propose fewer grapes or dry farming or water use monitoring and regulation.
Another “expert” idea from Professor Forrester is to “focus on widely planted varietals that may be better adapted to future climate conditions, for instance those that are heat-tolerant because of the drought.”
The UC Davis expert didn’t name the varietals that “may be” better adapted. Nor did they mention dry-farming the old-fashioned way, the only serious way the wine industry could adapt to drought.
But neither Mr. Winiarski nor the academics are capable of thinking about cutting back on their most at-risk acres or switching to dry farming — as the original Italians did. Those Italians didn’t plant grapes in frost prone areas requiring scarce water for frost protection either. And then whine about a few of their grapes freezing.
Whenever an academic says “may be” they mean that they need a lot more money to “study” the problem to be more confident in what “may be” better.
And sure enough, a few paragraphs later Ms. Melnik reports that “Forrester expects the extensive research to cost in the millions of dollars.”
So climate change is good for the wine-academics at least. By the time they milk Mr. Winiarski and his pals and California’s wine-soaked Democrats for millions of dollars over lots of years, much of their precious “crop” will have died on the vine.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 27, 2021
JULIO DELVILLAR-ACEVEDO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
LATEEFAH GLOVER, Ukiah. Brandishing a deadly weapon not a gun, resisting.
SALVADOR PARRA-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license, child endangerment.
JORDIN ROGERS, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI.
AT THE DENTIST
by Paul Modic
The last thing I wanted to do was piss off my dentist. As usual whenever I get in trouble my lament is: “But I didn't do anything!” Nonetheless here I am six months later with this ill-fitting crown on my tooth and the office is not returning my calls to see if anything can be done. It's odd because all the other crowns were fine but this one has been a problem since the beginning. I think it all comes down to communication: Me clear, everyone else blurry. Here's what happened.
I got to the dentist office on time and waited, the dentist was late. It was a stormy day and there were road delays even in late May. The dental assistant came up to me and said, “The Doctor is late but I can prep you up now.”
“Oh, how long will that take?” I asked.
“Just a minute,” she said.
“Well, if it's just going to take a minute I'd prefer to wait out here,” I said. It's stressful being in the operating room and if I'm going to be sitting around I'd rather be in the waiting room. She shrugged and walked away.
When the dentist got there fifteen minutes later I was called back to be prepped and it didn't take a minute, it took about twenty minutes. At one point I heard the assistant talking to the dentist down the hall, “He didn't want to come back here and…” The dentist came in and he didn't seem very pleased. He was already running late and maybe he saw me as an uncooperative client. He worked away for an hour and a half prepping the tooth for the new crown and for the first time had the assistant glue on the temporary, which seemed odd. The temp wasn't right and I had to come back a week later but the adjustment didn't help. I was assured that once the gold crown was on then all would probably be well.
After the new crown went on a few weeks later I still couldn't chew on that side. When I came back for a teeth-cleaning he trimmed off some of the tooth above the crown to equalize the bite and I was nearly back to normal--I could chew on both sides. It was better but I soon realized still not quite right as I was getting hot and cold sensations and the crown was a little tender.
This had been such a bad experience I put it off all summer until I finally called last week to try to come in and see if anything could be done.
What happened? Was he upset with me and running late so he hurried through the original job and didn't get it right? Was there nothing personal, just how things go sometimes? I really did not want to piss off my dentist! If the assistant had said, “Oh, it'll take about fifteen minutes,” I would've jumped out of my chair and scampered into the back, but she had said “Just one minute.”
So what did I learn here? Always just do whatever they ask when you're on someone's professional turf. Since I've also finally accepted that “just one second” means one to five minutes I guess “one minute” means fifteen to twenty minutes? Or who knows what, really? When did we start saying shit that wasn't true and everyone accepts it? Is this the origin of the fake news fervor? Am I really sitting here with a not-quite-right $1400 gold crown because I didn't know “one minute” meant twenty?
FISHERY BIOLOGIST TOM CANNON: DELTA SMELT ARE LIKELY "VIRTUALLY EXTINCT IN THE WILD'
by Dan Bacher
For the past three years, no Delta smelt, once the most abundant fish in the entire Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, have been found in California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fall Midwater Trawl survey.
None have been found in the first two months of the four-month survey this year either: On November 14, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) fishery biologist Tom Cannon in his California Fisheries Blog reported that two other surveys on the Delta have turned up similar results for the Delta smelt.
“The Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring (EDSM) caught only 1 Delta smelt in 2200 smelt-targeted net tows in 2021,” wrote Cannon. “This compares to 49 captured in 2020 and hundreds in prior years.
None were captured in the Spring Kodiak Trawl 2021 survey (Figure 1). This year’s results indicate that Delta smelt are likely virtually extinct in the wild.”
The virtual extinction of Delta smelt in the wild is part of a greater ecosystem crash caused by massive water exports to corporate agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley, combined with toxics, declining water quality and invasive species in the Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
The pro-agribusiness policies that have resulted in the demise of Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon and other fish species are the result of deep regulatory capture of the Governor’s Office, California Legislature and regulatory agencies and commissions by San Joaquin Valley corporate agribusiness interests like the Resnicks, owners of the Wonderful Company, and the Westlands Water District.
For example, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, billionaire agribusiness tycoons and major promoters of the Delta Tunnel and increased water pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, have donated a total of $366,800 to Governor Gavin Newsom since 2018, including $250,000 to the campaign to fight the Governor’s recall.
These latest donations are not the only donations given to Newsom’s campaigns by the Resnicks since 2018. Newsom received a total of $755,198 in donations from agribusiness in the 2018 election cycle, based on the data from www.followthemoney.org. That figure includes a combined $116,800 from Stewart and Lynda Resnick and $58,400 from E.J. Gallo, combined with $579,998 in the agriculture donations category.
Between 1967 and 2020, the state’s Fall Midwater Trawl abundance indices for striped bass, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, American shad, splittail and threadfin shad have declined by 99.7, 100, 99.96, 67.9, 100, and 95 percent, respectively, according to Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA).
“Taken as five-year averages, the declines for striped bass, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, American shad, splittail and threadfin shad are 98.1, 99.8, 99.8, 26.2, 99.3 and 94.3 percent, respectively,” said Jennings.
The diversion and export of water for Central Valley agribusiness interests during a drought has also had a huge impact on imperiled Sacramento River populations, just as it has had on driving the Delta smelt to become virtually extinct in the wild.
“Last year during the height of California’s Drought, the California State Water Quality Control Board approved a plan that allowed the federal government to enact the Trump Water Plan without meeting California clean water laws,” according to Regina Chichizola of Save California Salmon. “This plan allowed over 80% of baby salmon to be killed in the Sacramento River under Shasta Dam from lethal water temperatures, and it allowed the reservoir to be drained for diversions to industrial farmers that grow crops such as rice and almonds.”
She noted that many Californians testified for California to not allow Trump Water Plan diversions that put agricultural deliveries above cities’ drinking water, the San Francisco/Bay Delta, rivers and the salmon. The Board ignored these comments and allowed the federal government through the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to disregard state and federal laws, along with the public trust and tribal rights.
“Then the BOR violated their own plan to ‘only’ kill 80% of the endangered winter-run salmon in the Sacramento River every day but one through the diversion season,” she noted.
“This led to a massive fish kill of 98%-99% of juvenile Sacramento River winter Chinook salmon and the draining of California's largest reservoir, Shasta Reservoir, down to 24% capacity,” she concluded.
Not only did nearly all of the winter run Chinook salmon juveniles perish due to warm water conditions in the Sacramento River this year, but the majority of adult spring-run Chinook salmon on Butte Creek perished before spawning this year, due to an outbreak of disease in low and warm water conditions.
The CDFW detailed in a snorkel survey report on the creek that 12,370 salmon had died before spawning from June 1 to July 27, 2021. That's the majority of the 18,000 fish that the CDFW estimated ran up the creek this year to spawn.
Then the next CDFW snorkel survey report revealed that 14,500 fish out of the estimated 18,000 spring Chinook died before spawning by August 3.
I will post here the latest results of the Fall Midwater Trawl Survey and the final salmon carcass and hatchery counts on the Central Valley rivers as they become available.
But remember extinction is forever â” and this disaster occurred on the watch of Governor Gavin Newsom, Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and CDFW Director Chuck Bonham.
MCGUIRE INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP STOP TOXIC COAL TRAIN PROPOSAL
Legislation will help protect the North Coast from dangerous environmental threat
North Coast, CA — Senator Mike McGuire introduced legislation today to stop one of the largest environmental threats the North Coast has seen in decades — a proposal from a secret, clandestine operation, hiding behind an anonymous LLC out of Wyoming, that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt.
The shadowy rail operation would utilize a portion of the now defunct North Coast rail route, which runs approximately 320 miles between Marin and Humboldt counties. The coal would then be loaded onto ships in Humboldt Bay, sold overseas, and burned.
Senator McGuire's SB 307, which was introduced last week, would help stop that proposal, or anything like it in the future, in its tracks. “This toxic coal train would run through the heart of so many thriving communities and along the Russian and Eel Rivers, which are the main source of drinking water for nearly one million residents,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “This dangerous proposal must be stopped, which is why we have introduced SB 307. This critical bill will ban any state funding from being invested to improve the rail line for coal shipments north of Willits and it bans any state funding to buildout a potential coal storage terminal at the Port of Humboldt. No way, no how are we going to let this happen.”
The secrecy behind the toxic coal train is completely offensive, as well as the fact these bad actors have met behind closed doors with some local officials to try and make this toxic dream a reality. This anonymous group has also filed a request to kill the build out of the Great Redwood Trail. The Trail, which will be the longest contiguous rail-trail in America, would stretch from the bustling waters of San Francisco Bay to the fog-shrouded redwood shores of Humboldt Bay. SB 307 explicitly states that state money can not be spent to initiate, improve or operate rail service on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of the City of Willits. Further, it bans state money from being spent on the buildout of any new bulk coal terminal facilities within the County of Humboldt.
In addition, Senator McGuire has made significant progress on the Great Redwood Trail. SB 69, which was approved in the Assembly by a vote of 71-0 and then in the Senate by 38-0, will close down the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) once and for all, and transfer their property and rights to the Great Redwood Trail Agency and to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART).
The Great Redwood Trail will meander through ancient redwoods, state and national wildlands, oak-studded golden hills and along our incredible rivers. The Trail will also be an economic driver for the dozens of rural communities it runs through. “Coal is the dirtiest and most damaging source of energy out there. It’s the number one cause of global warming and it’s the number one contributor to our climate crisis. The people of the North Coast won’t stand for this. We rallied against Big Oil to protect our coast from offshore drilling — and won. And we will win this fight against Big Coal,” Senator Mike McGuire said.
ED NOTE: This is a manufactured scare over a purely non-existent threat that gives entrenched hacks like McGuire an opportunity to get the credulous to believe he's on eco-alert.
Regarding all the recent mass thefts at stores, perhaps it’s time to vote for “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”
Oh wait. It’s already been done. That was Prop 47 that then-Attorney General Kamala Harris so blatently approved to be mistitled. It effectively gave anyone a license to steal anything valued less than $950 (now considered to be a misdemeanor).
Furthermore, it seems that thefts over $950 value carry little risk of felony convictions if district attorneys can’t be bothered to prosecute.
Society is going to pay for those won’t behave themselves, either collectively through prison costs or individually through broken glass and property replacement costs.
California statewide voted for Prop 47 by 60% while San Francisco approved it by 80%, so reap what you voted for and sweep up the glass while you’re at it.
JOAN'S PARTY TIPS
MAKING ROOM FOR FORGIVENESS
by Sarah Lustbader
Even if victims or their families decide to forgive, the law rarely does…
One night in September 2018, in a gentrifying neighborhood just south of downtown Dallas, a 26-year-old accountant named Botham Jean came home from work. Without locking his apartment door, he changed into shorts and a T-shirt, served himself two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and settled onto his couch to watch a football game. Before the ice cream began to melt, a stranger barged in, yelled, “Let me see your hands,” then shot him dead.
The stranger was an off-duty police officer, a white woman named Amber Guyger. Guyger lived in the apartment directly below Jean’s. She later said that she had accidentally entered the wrong apartment, mistaking Jean, who was Black, for an intruder in her home. In a New York Times story about the incident, the reporters Manny Fernandez and Marina Trahan Martinez noted:
“The racial profiling of black men and women by white police officers [has] put new phrases into the American vocabulary—driving while black, walking while black, shopping while black. The shooting of Mr. Jean seemed to demand its own, even more disturbing version: being at home while black.”
Guyger was not immediately arrested. She was not immediately fired. Three days later, she turned herself in to authorities on a manslaughter charge. Booked into the Kaufman County jail, she was freed on $300,000 bail the same day. Later that month, she was dismissed from the police department. Two months after that, a grand jury raised the manslaughter charge to murder.
When Guyger went to trial in the fall of 2019 most people familiar with the American legal system had little hope that she would be held accountable for killing the unarmed Black man. “Black Americans,” the activist Brittany Packnett wrote in Vox at the time, “were too wise and too weary to let ourselves believe, even for a moment, that this system would do anything but break our hearts once again.”
So when, after five hours of deliberation, the jury found Guyger guilty of murder, Packnett wrote, “the shock was palpable.” Jean’s mother, Allison, raised her arms in exultation. “God is good. Trust him,” she said as she walked out of the courtroom.
Yet the most dramatic moment came the following day, during the sentencing phase when Jean’s younger brother, Brandt, took the stand. Brandt, who was 18 at the time, was there to make a victim impact statement, during which crime victims usually speak about the pain the defendant has caused, asking for the harshest punishment possible. But Brandt addressed Guyger in a hushed and intimate tone. “If you truly are sorry — I know I can speak for myself — I forgive you,” he said. He tugged at his collar. “I wasn’t gonna ever say this in front of my family,” he continued, “but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you.” Then he looked at the judge and asked with some urgency, “Can I give her a hug, please?” After a moment, the judge assented. Brandt stepped down from the stand and embraced Ginger for nearly a full minute as she sobbed.
Brandt’s words were widely celebrated. Even the county prosecutor, whose office had been arguing for a harsh penalty, called his embrace “an amazing act of healing and forgiveness that is rare in today’s society.” Guyger was sentenced to ten years.
Some observers did not welcome this act of forgiveness, objecting to a perception that Black people are too often expected to forgive. Others worried that such absolution might preclude a serious examination of police shootings in America. But there was something else in the response to Brandt Jean’s hug: a discomfort with the notion of forgiveness itself.
(New York Review of Books)