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Mendocino County Today: December 17, 2013

Chief Bartlett
Chief Bartlett

HOPLAND FIRE CHIEF JOHN BARTLETT has an interesting sense of humor. Last week he briefly had a plastic Santa peeing off his roof all modeled in tiny Christmas lights. That one's gone, but in its place is a scene that has disturbed several of his neighbors.

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Dear Editor,

I feel the need to share in a Christmas light display that I saw on Saturday night, December 15th, which is a gift to all Hopland residents, as well as any others who are out enjoying the Christmas light displays with their children.

As I turned onto Harrison Street in Hopland off of Highway 175. It was so exciting to see that there were several homes lit up. The children I had with me were thrilled. After all Santa and his reindeer would be here in eleven days!

Well, what to our wondering eyes did appear? But the Hopland Fire Chief's house with some reindeer hung from it. One of the children said, “Look auntie, two of Santa's reindeer are upside down!" Then his brother said, “It looks like they're bleeding with those red lights coming out of their mouths.” I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The children were absolutely right. Hopland’s Fire Chief had two animated reindeer that were lit up and hanging upside down from the tree in his front yard. With red lights going through them coming out of their mouths as if they were bleeding. Sitting below the tree was a baby animated reindeer looking up at what appeared to be dead reindeers. It sickened me. I did my best to try and redirect the children's attention to another house as we drove by. The many other homes that were lit up were very beautiful and festive, and we thank all of Hopland’s residents for making it special.

Really though, Hopland’s Fire Chief having such a morbid display of lights in his front yard for all to see? As a role model and pillar of the community he has shown complete disrespect for the Christmas season and the joy and wonderment that it brings — as well as a complete smack in the face to all of Hopland’s residents and many children who associate the Hopland fire department with Santa.

Finally, if you think that this has no lasting effect on the children I would like to share one more thing with you. As I was putting my nephews to bed after viewing the light displays, my four year old nephew said to me, “Auntie, why did Santa kill his reindeer? And how is he going to fly his sleigh to bring us presents?”

Thanks to the Chief of Hopland’s Fire department, visions of sugar plums will not be dancing in my children's heads tonight.

J.M. Craig, Hopland


Lake Mendocino
Lake Mendocino

THE THIRD CONSECUTIVE dry year has reduced Lake Mendocino to a giant mud puddle. The Sonoma County Water Agency, i.e., the Sonoma County supervisors, owners of most of the Lake's water, wants to reduce the flow from the lake into the Russian River, thus saving what's left for them.

QUOTING THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, “But upstream, the smaller and more volatile Lake Mendocino is down to only about 30% percent of its capacity. [Much less than that actually, as you can see for yourself by driving our Highway 20 north of Ukiah.] If the agency maintains its current release rate and the winter turns out to be critically dry, water managers could find themselves with no water to release next summer, spelling major trouble for the cities, farmers and wildlife that rely on the upper reaches of the Russian River — those areas north of where the Lake Sonoma water supply enters the river at Dry Creek.

SONOMA COUNTY is putting the best face on an unequal situation which has existed since the Lake was built. They say they're concerned for the fish, but if water rationing kicks in, as it appears it may with no rain of any significance in the forecast, they'll take all of Lake Mendocino's water before they release a drop from 70% full Lake Sonoma.


NINER'S COACH JIM HARBAUGH was reluctant to become overly nostalgic about upcoming Monday night’s game against Atlanta, the final regular-season game — and possibly the final game, period — at Candlestick Park. But he did tell a quick story about going to Candlestick with his family as a 16-year-old, when his dad coached at Stanford. The Harbaughs had just moved from Michigan to the Bay Area, and they wore heavy jackets to the exhibition game between the 49ers and Raiders. And they still shivered. “I remember sitting there saying, ‘It’s not this cold back in Michigan!’,” Harbaugh said. His prevailing thought entering Monday night’s game against the Falcons: “We don’t want to be the guys who screw up the last game at Candlestick.”


BANNERS IN THE GYMS. Some of the sports boosters have heard a rumor that the school board is going to make us pull all of the banners from wineries out of the gym saying it's “Ed Code.” Just wondering the validity of the rumor and if it's true, I don't think they realize the financial impact that would be on our sports program and how ridiculous it is. I think there are gymnasiums and football fields named after wineries in Napa Valley. Banner sponsorship is the only way the wineries contribute. What about the banner for the Catholic Church? Separation of Church/State? I hope this isn't true. Booster Club will fold and the school can pony up the $60k plus that we pay raise each year. Happy Holidays, Renee Lee, Boonville”


A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT: As required by the City of Ukiah in order to save our 100-year-old redwoods from the ax, the Daily Journal has now added the City of Ukiah as a rider to its insurance providing coverage for each of the three redwoods in front of our building. The city has also demanded that we sign a separate letter actually indemnifying the city for any damages should any of the trees drop a limb or cause any kind of damage. We have done so.

Other businesses in the city should be extremely concerned at this unprecedented demand from the city for a local business to protect the city's financial interests or lose valuable and longstanding landscaping, which in our case also represents a business brand (we were the Redwood Journal for many years).

The city is basing its demand on a one-page, essentially drive-by account of its paid arborist, which city staff continues to call a "report" and which it clearly is not. Nonetheless the city claims that as long as that memo - calling the trees in need of care, yet recommending killing them - is on file, the city's liability is too burdensome.

As our readers by now know, we have offered to get our own, real, arborist report, and follow through with whatever TLC the trees need to keep them thriving. The insurance mandate from the city was the only way the City Council would allow us to even try that route.

Assuming we will get the OK to move forward at the upcoming City Council meeting, there are some issues we want to raise now in the hope that the Council will actually have a discussion about what we believe is incredibly poor policy for a town that claims to value its local businesses - not to mention its trees. We want to point out that only Councilman Phil Baldwin has made public his thoughts on what the city is doing in this matter.

First, how can the Council seriously call the memo the city got from its arborist a "report"? Why did "chop the trees down" come before, "let's see if there are alternatives" or "let's get a second opinion."

Next, is the city is going to start demanding all local businesses start carrying insurance riders and sign indemnification letters to protect the city whenever some part of their property over which the city has a right of way poses a potential - no matter how unlikely - for accidents? Would it include not only street trees, but sandwich boards and outdoor cafes?

And, given the poor performance of the city's own trees in the last wind storm, has the city asked its arborist to provide a "report" on any tree on city property or in the city right way which shed a limb in that wind storm (which ours didn't)? If not, why not?

If the city believes that heritage trees in town - and our specimens must surely qualify - are worth saving, why is it that the say-so of one man who did not even provide a report, can have such an enormous impact? Why did city staff simply send out a notice of the destruction of these trees, without even considering the impact to the community's tree census or, heaven forbid, the business involved? The city's own General Plan, defines trees that present a "threat to public health and safety" in only two ways:

1. That the tree is "diseased beyond reclamation or (already) dead."

2. That the tree "presents a traffic hazard."

Neither of these things is the case here. The word "disease" did not even appear in the city arborist's memo.

Mr. Baldwin noted at the last City Council meeting that he did not feel the council had a "report" from its arborist, that he wants the city to make it policy to get a second opinion in the case of such large and old trees, and that the city is setting a bad precedent by forcing a business to insure the city's interests.

We could not agree more and we want to hear the rest of the council speak up on those issues.

Also at its last meeting, Mayor Doug Crane made a point that the city was not "forcing" the Daily Journal to do anything, that the Daily Journal had a choice. We see that distinction as between having a gun to our head or having a knife to our throat.

The city staff has performed like the worst kind of bureaucrats throughout this process. The Daily Journal has offered to get a real report from our own arborist - something the city should have done right away. When we do that, and the report, as we expect it will, says the trees are fine with some pruning, more water and surrounding landscape changes, we expect the City Council to immediately rescind its demand that we insure and indemnify them.

And we hope the City Council will also issue new policies instructing staff to:

Get a real report from the arborist if a tree's survival is in question.

Get a second opinion from an out-of-city arborist in the case of large and old trees.

Never require a business to include the city on its insurance or sign letters of indemnification because the city has a preliminary report or while any tree issue is in the appeals process.

With those mandates, the city will reassure local businesses that their views and interests are important along with the diversity and health of the city's trees.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)


ON DECEMBER 14, 2013, around 2:46pm the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to a call of a missing person, Lawrence Whetman, 39, from a property located adjacent to the KOA Campground on Highway 20 in Willits. Officers were advised Lawrence left his residence, around 7:30am, to catch several horses on the property and to explore a possible horse trail leading towards the coast. He was expected to return in several hours but did not return. A hasty search was conducted by Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies, Little Lake Fire Department, and Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Volunteers during the afternoon/evening but Lawrence could not be located. Mutual Aid resources were requested through the California Office of Emergency Services. On 12/15/2013 Search and Rescue teams responded from Lake County, Humboldt County, Sonoma County and Mendocino Counties as well as Volunteers from the California Rescue Dog Association, Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Highway Patrol Air Unit out of Redding to continue the search. Resources utilized included fixed wing aircraft, area dogs, ground units, mounted posse, and all terrain vehicles units. Search and Rescue teams learned from several sources that Lawrence may have been seen in and around the Skunk Train Railroad Tracks east of the Summit Tunnel and possibly on Highway 20 near Cutter Lumber Company. The Sheriff's Office has requested additional mutual aid resources to continue the search on 12/16/13. Lawrence is described as being a white male, 39 years of age, 6'01" tall, weighing approximately 175 pounds, having brown hair and eyes, wearing a gray "hoodie" sweatshirt, tan Carhart pants, carrying a backpack, and possibly wearing a green hat. The Sheriff's Office is requesting anyone who has possible seen Lawrence to contact the Sheriff's Office at (707)463-4086.

UPDATE: On December 16, 2013 the search for Lawrence Whetman resumed. Agencies who responded to assist the Mendocino County Sheriff's Search and Rescue (SAR) included Marin County SAR, Colusa County SAR, Napa County SAR, Glen County SAR, California Highway Patrol Air Operations Redding, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Rescue Dog Association. Around 9am the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received information from a Fort Bragg resident that the missing person was seen attending a church service in Fort Bragg on Sunday 12/15/13. A deputy was dispatched to interview the witness to confirm the possible sighting. Around 9:15am Lawrence telephoned his fiance, who had reported him missing, while she was at the Search Command Post. He indicated to her he was in Fort Bragg at the Purity Market on North Franklin Street. Lawrence was unaware he'd been reported missing and thought he'd told his fiance that he planned to walk to the coast on the morning of 12/14/13. A deputy was immediately dispatched to that location and contacted Lawrence. He appeared in good health and confirmed he did not know he had been reported as missing. He indicated he walked to Fort Bragg via the Skunk Train Railroad tracks and was planning to walk back to Willits that day. He was transported back to his residence by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office would like to thank all agencies who responded to assist with this search and would also like to thank all citizens who called information in about possible sightings. A specific thank you is offered to the owners of the KOA Campground in Willits who provided hot coffee and use of their facilities to the volunteers who responded to assist in the search. (Sheriff’s Press Release)


THE GLASS STEAGALL ACT of 1933 was about 35 pages long, written in language that was precise, clear, and succinct. It worked for 66 years. Banking during those years was a pretty boring business, commercial banking especially. It operated on the 3-6-3 principle — pay 3% interest on deposits, lend at 6%, and be out on the golf course at 3pm. Bankers made a nice living but nothing like the obscene racketeering profits engineered by the looting operations of today. Before 1980, the finance sector of the economy was about 5% of all activity. Its purpose was to allocate precious capital to new productive ventures. As American manufacturing was surrendered to other countries, there were fewer productive ventures for capital to be directed into. What remained was real estate development (aka suburban sprawl) and finance, which was the enabler of it. Finance ballooned to 40% of the US economy and the American landscape got trashed. The computer revolution of the 1990s stimulated tremendous “innovation” in financial activities. Much of that innovation turned out to be new species of swindles and frauds. Now you understand the history of the so-called “housing bubble” and the crash of 2008. The US never recovered from it, and all the rescue attempts in the form of bail-outs, quantitative easing, zero interest rates, have turned into rackets aimed at papering-over this national failure to thrive. It is all ultimately linked to the larger story of industrialism and its relationship with the unique, finite, fossil fuel resources that the human race got cheaply for a few hundred years. That story is now winding down and we refuse to pay attention to the reality of it. — James Kunstler



by Jeff Costello

This high school is not far from either Columbine High or Aurora, site of the Movie Theater Massacre. Colorado seems to be winning some kind of sweepstakes.

A short email conversation with Peggy Shaw:

PS: Another shooting in a Colorado high school … Will you write something for AVA about it, since you’re there and experiencing the aftermath firsthand?

JC: Thinking about it, my angle would be harsh toward the gun people. Two state congressmen here got recalled because they voted in favor of gun control, and "arm all the teachers" is getting the usual NRA-based replay. Frankly it's a moral/spiritual issue, as with drugs, no laws can stop those who want guns from getting them. The question is how do we stop people from wanting them?

PS: That’s a good question – gets to the root of the problem. Perhaps the reason people want guns is that they are either very frightened or very angry or both. Neither emotion encourages rational behavior. Your angle would be a good one, since it might not have happened if the kid hadn’t had such easy access to a gun. Hard to carry out a massacre with a knife.

JC: Yeah, he just walked into a store and bought the gun legally. My other point is that legality or not prevents no one from getting firearms.

PS: But gun control laws, like mandatory waiting periods, might make it harder for someone who was momentarily enraged, like that high school kid, to get hold of a gun and the rage might have dissipated by the time the waiting period was over. It wouldn’t keep criminals from getting guns because they have lots of options, but it might keep the weapons out of the hands of kids. It might prevent some of the violence. I didn’t realize until now how similar Colorado is to Texas.

JC: Yeah, just a bit less crude sometimes, and thankfully, no accent. There will be no shootings in Aspen or Vail. More guns, more armed people = more guns, more armed people. Great. I was in high school in the early 60's, and guns were unthinkable, even with the "bad" or screwed-up kids like me. What the hell happened? How did it come to guns being equated with manhood or self-esteem? Big pickup trucks are one thing, but.... Are we evolving backwards to where everyone is so selfish, too self-absorbed to listen to anyone else, until some have to get a gun and kill someone to even be noticed? To get some attention? This is not, never will be about laws. Laws don't stop anyone from getting drugs or guns if they want them. Is it, or is it not about guns? Guns sure do make it easier for deranged people to go out and kill others in no time flat and there are an awful lot of men with their "manhood" and self-esteem invested in firearms. This is an open door to irrational behavior and these guys do tend to be angry in general anyway. For whatever reasons, a lot of people view strangers and even acquaintances as potential enemies, threats rather than allies or friends, from whom they need to protect themselves and their families. Everyone with a gun is protecting themselves from others - with guns. And they all think they are the "good" guys. This kid was from Centennial, a recently-created non-place with middle/upper middle class housing subdivisions. Another white teenager from a "nice" neighborhood. An Eagle scout. Can you tell me the American Dream is panning out well?




by Chris Talbott & Jamie Stengle

Good friends like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard got more credit for their contrary ways and trend-setting ideas, but it was Ray Price who set the precedent for change in country music more than a decade earlier.

Price passed away Monday at his Texas home, having long outlasted most of his country music contemporaries and the prognosis doctors gave him when they discovered his pancreatic cancer in 2011. He was 87.

The way the Country Music Hall of Fame member fought cancer was an apt metaphor for the way he lived his life, always fiercely charting a path few others might have the fortitude to follow.

Along the way he changed the sound of country music, collaborated with and inspired the genre's biggest stars and remained relevant for more than half a century.

"Ray Price was a giant in Texas and country western music. Besides one of the greatest voices that ever sang a note, Ray's career spanned over 65 years in a business where 25 years would be amazing," said Ray Benson of the country music group Asleep at the Wheel.

Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders, had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum historian Michael McCall said Price "was one of his generation's most important musical innovators," popularizing the bedrock 4/4 shuffle beat that can still be heard on every honky-tonk jukebox and most country radio stations in the world.

"His emphasis on the shuffle rhythm influenced every generation to follow and remains a staple of country dance floors everywhere, especially in the Southwest," said McCall.

Price died Monday afternoon at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant, Texas, said Billy Mack Jr., who was acting as a family spokesman. Billie Perryman, the wife of family friend and spokesman Tom Perryman, a DJ with KKUS-FM in Tyler, also confirmed his death.

Price's cancer had recently spread to his liver, intestines and lungs, according East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. He stopped aggressive treatments and left the hospital last Thursday to receive hospice care at home.

At the time, his wife, Janie Price, relayed what she called her husband's "final message" to his fans: "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."

RayPricePerhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song "For the Good Times," a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one. He helped invent the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction.

He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. "For the Good Times" was his biggest crossover hit, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart. His other country hits included "Crazy Arms," ''Release Me," ''The Same Old Me," ''Heartaches by the Number," ''City Lights" and "Too Young to Die."

Price was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, long after he had become dissatisfied with Nashville and returned to his home state of Texas.

His importance went well beyond hit singles. He was among the pioneers who popularized electric instruments and drums in country music. After helping establish the 4/4 shuffle in country music, Price angered traditionalists by breaking away from country. He gave early breaks to Nelson, Roger Miller and other major performers.

His "Danny Boy" in the late 1960s was a heavily orchestrated version that crossed over to the pop charts. He then started touring with a string-laden 20-piece band that outraged his dancehall fans.

In the 1970s he sang often with symphony orchestras — in a tuxedo and cowboy boots.

Like Nelson, his good friend and contemporary, Price simply didn't care what others thought and pursued the chance to make his music the way he wanted to.

"I have fought prejudice since I got in country music and I will continue to fight it," he told The Associated Press in 1981. "A lot of people want to keep country music in the minority of people. But it belongs to the world. It's art."

In the same 1981 interview, he credited the cowboy for the popularity of country music.

"Everyone loves the cowboy. He's nice, humble and straightforward. And country music is the same thing. The kids have discovered what mom and pop told 'em."

Price continued performing and recording well into his 70s.

"I have to be in the business at least five or 10 more years," Price said in 2000, when he and his band were doing 100 shows a year.

"Two or three years ago, we did 182," he said. "Fans come to the shows, bless their hearts, they always come."

In 2007, he joined Haggard and Nelson on a double-CD set, "Last of the Breed." The trio performed on tour with the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel.

"I'll be surprised if we don't all get locked up somewhere," Price joked at the time.

Over the years, Price came in and out of vogue as traditional country music waxed and waned on the radio. He was a constant advocate for the old days and ways of country music, and more recently re-entered the news when he took offense to comments Blake Shelton made about classic country music that included the words "old farts." The dustup drew attention on the Internet and introduced Price to a new generation of country fans.

"You should be so lucky as us old-timers," Price said in a happily cantankerous post in all capital letters. "Check back in 63 years (the year 2075) and let us know how your name and your music will be remembered."

Price earned his long-standing fame honestly, weaving himself into the story of modern country music in several ways.

As a young man, Price became friends with Williams, toured with the country legend and shared a house with him in Nashville. Williams even let Price use his band, the Drifting Cowboys, and the two wrote a song together, the modest Price hit "Weary Blues (From Waiting)".

By 1952 Price was a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The singer had one of country music's great bands, the Cherokee Cowboys, early in his career. His lineup included at times Nelson, Miller and Johnny Paycheck.

His 1956 version of "Crazy Arms" became a landmark song for both Price and country music. His first No. 1 country hit, the song rode a propulsive beat into the pop top 100 as well. Using a drummer and bassist to create a country shuffle rhythm, he eventually established a sound that would become a trademark.

"It was strictly country and it went pop," Price said of the song. "I never have figured that one out yet."

Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926 and was raised in Dallas. He joined the Marines for World War II and then studied to be a veterinarian at North Texas Agricultural College before he decided on music as a career.

Soft-spoken and urbane, Price told the AP in 1976: "I'm my own worst critic. I don't like to hear myself sing or see myself on television. I see too many mistakes."

He was one of the few who saw them.

(Courtesy, The Associated Press)



by Gerald F. Cox

This is the story of Rafael Morales, a Mixteca native of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico who “sneaked” into the United States, and eventually landed in Healdsburg, California, where after 8 years he brought his wife Conception (Concha) Rosas Hernandez and children, Candido, Hugo, and baby Evelia to California.

Rafael’s native village of Tequixtepec resides in the Mexican Oaxacan mountainous Valley of the Mixteca Baja, the center of the Mixteca nation. The arriving Spaniard colonizers were amazed to witness a highly developed political organization, a social class stratification, written manuscripts, a developed astronomy science, an advanced religious structure, delicate artistic expressions, agricultural technology, an economy of regional markets which also included long distance commerce.

Candido Morales Ruiz, Rafael’s father, married to Paula Mendoza, acted as the towns butcher, serving his customers out of his house or on Sundays in the town Plaza. He did not want Rafael to get involved with a group of basketball players in the Plaza. So he enrolled him instead with a music teacher who taught him the violin. Rafael’s entry into music was the beginning of his musical career which spanned his entire life on violin, guitar, base, and mandolin. At 5’3 Rafael would not have been able to leap very high anyway.

Although his Mexican rural school education ended at the third grade, his passion for reading and learning ran throughout his entire life. He even named one of his sons “Hugo” in honor of Victor Hugo.

As a young man he opened a small grocery store in the nearby village of Miltepec. A mysterious fire destroyed the store, but not the flame in his heart for the young Concepcion Rosa Hernandez, whom he first met as a Padrino (Godfather) at a local Baptism. An attractive Mixteca, Rafael had had his eyes previously on a certain Linda whose mother planned to send her to school in Puebla. Rafael protested the move and explained his intentions of marrying Linda in the future. The mother insulted Rafael for his dark skin and sent the daughter off to school. Sometime later returned pregnant, pleaded with Rafael to marry her, but his response “no soap.” Rafael became a butcher like his father, a baker with a huge oven next to his house, a barber, and finally the local mailman delivering posts on foot or on horseback to surrounding villages, sometimes leaving at 3AM to complete his rounds.

Disaster had struck the Morales family with the murder of Candido Sr. Friends later informed Rafael of the whereabouts of the assassin, but he refused any revenge, saying “Let God forgive him.” Mother Paula was left with five children to support. Along with Rafael’s sometime support, she wove and sold sombreros to support her growing family. She died at 93 years of age.

The emerging courtship of Rafael and Concha outdid the romantic approaches of Romeo and Juliet. It started off with Concha's mother's dislike of Rafael and her refusal to have him involved with her daughter in any way. However, Mama didn’t realize what a creative opponent she faced In Rafael. He first organized a chorus of young girls from Tequixtepec who serenaded Concha’s home at night. Mama thought that the serenades were a lovely expression, not realizing that Rafael was the organizer. He also composed long and beautiful love letters and poems, delivered by a friend, and placed under a secret rock. Concha would read them and then burn them. Her mother had previously told her that she would have to wait four years before she would allow her to marry as she did not know how to cook, keep house, or read and write. However, four years shrank to two and she and Rafael were married in the Miltepec parish church on July 23, 1945, where Rafael had organized two mariachi bands to play. The marriage produced two male sons, Candido and Hugo, and later daughter Evelia. Rafael left his family to travel north to Mexicali where he could stay with a cousin and seek work. As there was only a yellow line separating the two countries, Rafael crossed the border every day to pick fruit in California and send some money back to his family.

According to Candido Jr. Rafael made an appointment with the Tijuana American Consulate where he requested a two-week visa to travel to Fresno to purchase musical instruments for his band in Mexicali. The whole request was a creative fabrication that helped him get into the United States. With the visa he set out for Fresno and kept going all the way to Stockton, California. There as part of a group of workers on the street corner Rafael heard a voice from a truck “ Hey! Anybody want to go to Sonoma County?” and the Morales family history began on this 1953 day. The invitation was to pick hops on the Santa Rosa Grace Brothers Brewing Company’s ranch. The adjoining property belonged to a McClinsh family who eventually hired Rafael as their ranch foreman and provided him a house for his estranged family. The ranch was later sold but the sales included the position of Rafael Morales as foreman.

Rafael had been absent for eight years from his family. He kept in touch with Concha by mail and by money orders when he could. There were weeks when she received no income and was forced to feed her children only beans and tortillas. As the local schools only went to the third grade, she moved her children to the larger city of Huayuapan so that her sons, Candido and Hugo could continue their education at the local Catholic school “Escuela Particular de Pio XI (Pope Pius XI). Concha related that she had placed the boys there “por la disciplina,” for the discipline. In order to support her family she rose at 5AM, wove 3 palm sombreros, and sold them in the plaza. Finally she obtained a full time job selling bread. Meanwhile, Rafael in California was not happy with Concha’s move and did not write to her for three months. Candido Jr. related that Rafael wanted her to move in with his mother. Added to her two sons now was a daughter, Evelia with whom Concha was pregnant at the time of Rafael’s departure.

After the family’s five year stay in Huajuapan, Rafael was finally able to bring them all to Healdsburg, California, June 1945. He introduced his wife to the owner of the ranch “ I’d like you to meet my esposa.” The owner smiled and said “ Nice to meet you Esposa. ” Candido Jr. was 13, Hugo 9, and Evelia 7. The family was later blessed with the birth of daughter, Connie. In 1978 Rafael bought a one-acre parcel in Windsor, California from John Narduzzi of the Santa Rosa Shoe Company for 28 thousand dollars, on which he later built the present Morales hone.

Rafael continued to play his violin as well as guitar, mandolin, base, and other string instruments. In 1964 he organized a band of nine musicians who played his arrangements until 1978. He always carried pen and paper in his pocket on which he created songs and poems. He also had a passion for reading books and Spanish language newspapers. Back in Teqixtepec he had served as President of the town Council. In Healdsburg he became the first chairman of the United Latins of Sonoma County, a community organization dedicated to the interests of the Spanish Speaking community. He also became active with fund raising activities for his Catholic parish of St John.

All of the Morales children arrived from Mexico speaking only Spanish. Connie also entered school also speaking Spanish, as it was the family’s language. Candido, Hugo, Evelia, and Connie all attended local public elementary schools, Healdsburg High School, and later college and universities such as Sonoma State University (Candido), Harvard Undergraduate University and Harvard Law School (Hugo) all on scholarship, San Francisco State University and San Jose University where Evelia acquired her Masters Degree in Education and Connie her Masters in Speech Therapy. Both sisters are employed by the Gilroy, California School District.

Candido spent 30 years as the Vice President and Program Manager for the North Bay Human Development Corporation, later named the California Human Development Corporation, Santa Rosa, California. The non-profit agency which at one time served the States of Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii, serves low income people in job development, low cost housing, senior housing, alternatives to jail for first time offenders, and advocacy for farm workers. Based on his skill and experience at CHDC, Candido was chosen out of 300 candidates for the position as Director of the “Instituto de los Mexicanos En El Exterior,” a program within the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs inaugurated by the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox. The INE office, as it is called, offers social and educational programs to Mexican nationals living in the USA and Canada such as books in Spanish, adult education/ESL via the internet, health referral offices in all fifty Consular offices, as well as seminars in Mexico City for community leaders, teachers, school board members and health board members. Candido recently retired from this position with the election of a new Mexican President, and now divides his time between his Oaxacan village, Mexico City, and his home in Windsor, California.

Son Hugo could have had a very successful career as a lawyer at the prestigious Healdsburg law firm of Passalaqua and Mazzoni when he graduated from Harvard Law School. However, he announced to his father that he would rater devote his efforts to poor peoples causes. He serves presently as Founder and President of Radio Bi-Lingue, a 33 year old radio network with a satellite system, reaching scores of affiliates throughout the USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, along with 7 owned stations in California, 3 in New Mexico, and 1 in Arizona. It is the only producer of national Spanish language programs in the public radio system.

The remarkable accomplishments of this Morales family ought not to be categorized as unusually notable for they are Mexican Mixtecas, proud heirs of the Mixteca people of Oaxaca, Mexico, a rich and profound culture that endured for 3000 years. ”Certainly the near future will place the Mixteca a place corresponding to the most known civilizations of Mesoamerica and the ancient world. Furthermore one should note that the Mixtec culture did not disappear during the colonial period nor in the radical national changes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Wherever there are Mixtecs, in all parts of Mexico or whatever part of the world, they have adapted to their diaspora. Many have abandoned the Mixteca but their hearts, their sentiments, and thoughts penetrate their land and tradition. As the song “Cancion Mixteca” illustrates, among the many ethnic groups that form the Mixtec Republic, perhaps the most sentimental, most nostalgic, and faithful to its roots is the “nu savi,” the Mixteca nation. ” Back in Healdsburg, California Rafael Morales certainly echoed these sentiments with the composition of his song “Tequixtepec Tierra Linda” (“Tequixtepec Beautiful Land”) “Tequixtepec, my heart adores you. Little nook where I rested and which gave me great inspiration. I remember your mountains where we children picked iris in the month of April. The murmurs of your waters singing in the dark. Your early morning women singing their songs which took the sorrows from their hearts. For this, one should name you Tequixtepec The Beautiful, your song which rises and falls in my heart.” Gratefully we honor the memory of Rafael Morales, the linchpin strength of his wife Concha, and the remarkable accomplishments of heir children. Lucky for us in the USA that there was no fence and no stifling immigration laws preventing the rich contribution of this family to our communities. Yet, there exist thousands of other type Morales with the same work ethic, intelligence, and creativity as shown by this one family. Indeed, there is a Red, White, and Blue Border Thief who’s robbing us of greatness.

*Ronald Spores. “La Mixteca Y Los Mixtecos.” Page 3, Arqueologia Mexicana, Vol. XV Numero 90.

Gerald F. Cox is a resident of Navarro, California, presently living in Guanajuato, Mexico with his wife, Kathleen. He can be reached at

One Comment

  1. Harvey Reading December 17, 2013

    Good for the fire chief. As far as I’m concerned, the complainer has been brainwashed by the Chamber, or by religion, or by both, regarding Christmas, which is nothing more than a kaputalist orgy, rah, rahhed by the Chamber of horrors, as its members count their take.

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