- KZYX Off Air
- Incident in Sittwe
- Brennan Correction
- Local Weather
- Smokin' Head Shots
- Propane Co-op
- Addicted to Oil
- Opening Day
- Volunteer Fire Departments
- GM's Faulty Doohickey
- Police Report
KZYX has been off the air since Monday afternoon. Yesterday's storm apparently knocked out the station's transmitter. No word out of Philo when programming will resume.
KZYX TRUSTEE JOHN SAKOWICZ CLARIFIES: "KZYX's signal has been down all day, March 31. Almost certainly, the signal will be down tomorrow, too. The problem appears to be the main STL receiver at Cold Spring. This is a recurring problem. Maybe if KZYX spent less on payroll, and more on equipment and technology, Mendocino County would have a public radio station that really worked.
Recurring equipment failures is only one good reason I filed my complaint with the FCC. There are others. KZYX is managed like a private clubhouse for the five people who work there. It's a jobs program. Way too much of the $675,000 raised from the station's 2,300 members is spent on salaries.
And management refuses to disclose salaries.
PS. FROM THE KZYX WEB PAGE
“First 91.7 went down this morning — Monday March 31—- and then after 3 PM 90.7 went down. Both may be weather related. 91.5 is located on Laughlin Peak and even with a 4X4, it was too snowy to reach the transmitter building at the top. We hope that the problem is an iced-over antenna on the system that receives the signal from Cold Springs Peak across the county. We will not likely be able to get to it until it thaws, which could take several days. If it is ice on the antenna, it will come back of its own accord once it thaws. The 90.7 problem is under investigation. Rich is on his way up there. It could be that the power generator went down up there.”
PPS. I SAY FIRE THE GM. Eliminate the GM position. Use that money to hire an engineer. A real engineer. Doesn't this seem obvious? We don't need a GM. KZYX is a small station. Five employees. 100 or so volunteer programmers who pretty much manage themselves. We need equipment that's reliable. And we need technology, i.e., archived shows, an interactive webpage, Twitter and Facebook pages for programmers, a Ukiah studio at KMEC that uses Voice Over Internet, etc. What we don't need is a GM — top-heavy, management, bullshit policies, internecine fighting.
I NEVER thought I'd write this sentence: “Captain Rainbow has sparked an International incident.” The popular Boonville man whose given name is Robert Salisbury has been living and working in Myanmar, formerly Burma, in an area of that country where Buddhist mobs have been murdering the minority Muslim population.
Rainbow and another Valley resident, Yvonne Dunton, are affiliated with a German charity called Malteser International in a place called Sittwe. Last Wednesday, March 26th, a Buddhist mob came very close to harming Rainbow and Ms. Dunton when Ms. Dunton was accused by demagogues of improperly handling a Buddhist flag. International aid workers in Sittwe are viewed by the majority Buddhists as overly sympathetic to the persecuted Muslims.
ACCORDING to foreign press accounts, this is what happened: Last Friday (March 28th) Buddhist mobs attacked offices of foreign nongovernmental organizations in two days of violence that left a 13-year-old girl dead. (The child was accidentally shot by a stray round fired by a policeman as police struggled to hold back crowds intent on damaging foreign offices and their occupants.) The riots erupted in Sittwe on Wednesday (March 26th) when Ms. Dunton was seen taking down and “disgracing” a Buddhist flag flying at her rented house. Anderson Valley friends of Ms. Dunton report that Ms. Dunton was merely lowering the flag with no intent to offend anyone. But ethnic tensions are running high in Sittwe where Buddhists have lately seized any pretext to attack the area's Muslim minority.
AN ANGRY MOB soon materialized outside Rainbow's and Ms. Dunton's house demanding Ms. Dunton and Rainbow. Their home was already being pelted by stones, and the bloodthirsty crowd was growing larger, when police arrived to escort the Anderson Valley couple to a secure police guesthouse. Ms. Dunton and Rainbow, the same day, made their way to the relative safety of Yangon, as did the staffs of all 23 aid organizations working in Sittwe.
CORRECTION. Chris Brennan was not marched out of the DA's office at gunpoint, as reported here last week. Brennan has never met DA David Eyster and emphasizes that the DA's staff has always been “polite and professional” in his business with the DA's office. Additionally, Brennan wants to make it clear that he is merely speaking, informally, for a group of people unhappy with the DA's pot policy whereby arrested people can settle their cases for fines and misdemeanors. He says he thinks the policy “erodes confidence in the justice system.” Brennan also said he hoped that Sheriff Allman would indeed crack down on illegal water diversions by pot growers, but the only diversion case he knows of had “disappeared,” meaning it has not been prosecuted. The information Brennan has provided us has all come directly from public records.
LAST TUESDAY, the 25th of March, the Navarro was running low and slow at a mere 22 cubic feet per second. It was almost closed at the mouth when I drove to Fort Bragg last Wednesday. It started raining late Friday night and rained hard into Saturday. The river came up fast, very fast, to where it was soon running Saturday at 5000 cubic feet per second. By Monday afternoon, despite periods of heavy rain, the Navarro was down to around a thousand feet a second. So, Mr. Wizard, how do you know all this? Check it yourself by googling Navarro River Gauge. And what's the point, Mr. W? I think it demonstrates how fast the Navarro rises and how fast it subsides, and how draws on its waters should be calibrated to strictly coincide only with high flows regardless of the time of year.
THE RECENT WEEK of off and on precipitation has spared us the unendurable din of the giant propellers the vineyards went to for eight straight days in lieu of stream and pond water for frost protection.
I'D MADE a little joke that my sleep deprivation during the 8-day aural assault should at least win me some free wine, and darned if Deborah Cahn didn't show up with two boxes of the really good stuff. Now you know. The secret is out. Your community newspaper can be bought off for two cases. Or the cash equivalent.
BTW, AN EXPERIENCED eco-vandal tells me that the vineyard propellers can be disabled by wrapping a single pair of women's hose around the blades, but I doubt if it'll come to that although a guy did say, “One more time and I'm going to see if those things are bullet-proof.”
I was jus' wondering…
I think it would be a reallllll win/win happening if YOUS occasionally ran some head shots of Ur regular reporters. I am sure some of 'em R walking all around me without me knowing it. I'd like to stop 'em on the street N thank them profusely if I knew whom they were. Maybe there's a privacy issue here. But for quite a while, I was jus' wondering… ANYHOO, thanks for a pretty great Newspaper!
Tom Burnham, Fort Bragg
BETTER PROPANE SERVICE
Last week's propane delivery cost me $2.20 a gallon, much cheaper than from my previous propane dealer. I'm getting this lower price because I joined the Propane Buyers Club based at the Point Arena Market Co-op for $50 and then applied to Suburban Propane, who now sells me propane at more than $1 less per gallon than they did when I was an individual customer. The Co-op's Propane Buyers Club gives us the strength of numbers to get lower prices, which by contract can only be raised when the wholesale prices rise, and not just when they think they can squeeze more out of us. If you want to lock in lower rates, read the following and join the club.
Tom Wodetzki, Albion
SUBURBAN PROPANE BUYERS CLUB
Propane Buyers Club Info PDF (same info as below)
Tank Owners Customer Application PDF
Rental Tank Customer Application PDF
Propane Sales Tax Exemption Form PDF
Arena Market Co-op members with currently paid dues are eligible to join our Propane Buying Club (no extra charge) and buy discounted propane at the negotiated price. This service is available anywhere in the counties of Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma and Napa. Dues are $50 per year for an individual or a family. Businesses are eligible with a separate membership. One membership is required for each separate home or business address. When $300 has been paid, the membership becomes a paid-up Lifetime Membership. Members also receive a discount on most market purchases at our market in Point Arena.
Suburban Propane has agreed to supply propane at a fixed amount over their cost. At this time we receive a price of $1.00/gallon over Suburban's cost at the refinery, for customers with acceptable credit who choose to have their tank on “automatic fill.” (To find the refinery price, which changes from day to day, see the web link down below.) When we reach sufficient sales volume, we will get another major discount and only pay 50¢/gallon over wholesale. We only need about 100 members using an average of 250 gallons a year to reach that level.
If you do not meet Suburban's credit requirements or do not choose to have automatic fill-ups, your cost will be 10¢ higher. The credit approval is based mainly on your utility bill payments.
We appeal to all Club members to support this agreement during the initial start-up time even though another supplier may try to lure you away with a temporary introductory price. Rest assured they will hesitate to offer such a low price later. This cooperative pricing agreement works like a labor union-- we need solidarity during the beginning to lock in the best long-term benefits.
Each member will experience a different level of savings. Every propane user we've asked has been paying a different price. The industry is unregulated-- they can charge whatever you're willing to pay. Here's an estimate of savings— many of us will save substantially more:
1. Depending on what you've been paying, you could easily save hundreds of dollars a year now. When we sign-up enough members to receive the exceptionally low bulk rate (when most members will be paying only 50¢ over refinery) you'll save another $50 per hundred gallons. The 50¢ rate is less than half the markup other groups pay!
2. Suburban's delivery fee is substantially smaller than what most other companies charge, saving you $25 to $75 a year.
3. If you've been paying sales tax, you won't have to, so you'll save an extra 8%.
4. There are no extra Arena Market Co-op dues to pay— all co-op members may join for free.
How to Sign-up
1. Join the Co-op if you haven't already. You'll need to join the Co-op and get a Member Number BEFORE you mail the Suburban application (click here to download your member application). So do that part FIRST. After you get a number, the applications you need are available either at the store or by printing out the PDF links above.
2. AFTER you receive your Member Number, fill out Suburban's application. There are 2 kinds, one for tank renters, and the other for tank owners. Fill out the right one. You MUST put your Co-op Member Number on the upper right-hand corner of the Suburban application.
3. Also fill out the Sales Tax Exemption Certificate. Propane is not taxed when customers do not have natural gas available at their home. Propane for business use is always taxed.
4. Mail Suburban's 2 applications to: Suburban Propane, 1210 N. Main St., Fort Bragg, CA 95437. Telephones 964-0584, and 964-2406. Mail it to Fort Bragg, even if you will be serviced by a different Suburban office.
5. Suburban will contact you to plan the tank switch. If you are already a Suburban customer or own your own tank, a new tank won't be necessary and you can start buying at the new price any time.
6. If renting, Suburban will bring your new tank, move the old one aside, transfer your remaining gas, and top off the new Suburban tank. You do NOT have to use up the gas in your old tank.
7. Call your old supplier to have them pick up their tank.
8. You will be billed at the new price.
If you don't meet Suburban's credit requirements, you may still purchase propane, but Suburban will ask you to pay at the time of delivery. Each delivery will include delivery fees totaling under $11. Other suppliers charge more.
If you are on automatic-fill and run out of gas, there will be no charge to bring gas to you right away and re-light your pilots.
If you are not on automatic-fill and run out, you will be charged $75 if you can wait until your area's regular weekly delivery day. For immediate service on other days, the charge is $175 for special gas delivery and pilot re-lighting. Don't run out of gas--watch the gauge. This requirement is similar to other companies' agreements.
Tank renters--to keep customers from jumping from supplier to supplier during the 3 years of the agreement (and causing tanks to be installed and removed each time), there is an “early termination fee.” The fee only applies to new customers who receive the benefit of a new tank installation at no charge. The fee is not charged if the property is sold or you move, as long as Suburban's tank remains in place to supply the new resident, whether or not the new resident decides to buy from Suburban. If you already have a Suburban tank you are excluded--however, the early termination fee you may have originally agreed to still applies. Tank owners will have no early termination fee.
Tank owners, there is a one-time charge of $50 to check over your system. Given your better pricing, this could be paid back with the first delivery.
Tank rental is $65 per year, for all tank sizes.
If your Co-op dues are not kept current, Suburban will charge you their regular rate.
You can find the refinery price on the web at:http://www.dgs.ca.gov/pd/Programs/Leveraged/ contracts/FuelPosting.aspx
Once there, click on the top blue bar, then choose a date. Choose the San Francisco refinery price.
This Propane Club is dedicated to bringing you propane at the best price we can negotiate with a quality distributor. Your membership makes us stronger and we can bargain harder. Our immediate goal is 100 members. Arena Market has over 300 members and our long-term goal is to include each one who uses propane.
If you need further information, please contact: Mike Sakellaridis, Store Manager, 882-3663, Phil Clark, Co-op President, 357-2129, or Peter Reimuller, 882-2001 (9-noon).
ADDICTED TO OIL
Letter to Editor,
In your March 5th issue the insightful writer James Kunstler said this: “We ignore our own gathering energy crisis, telling ourselves the fairy tale that shale oil will allow us to keep driving to Walmart forever. We paper over all of our financial degeneracy and wink at financial criminals. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We’re constructing an edifice of surveillance and social control that would make the late Dr. Joseph Goebbels turn green in his grave with envy while we squander our dwindling political capital on stupid gender confusion battles.”
So the question is, why are the American people allowing this to happen? One of my friends says it’s because the mass media mind-f#*k the masses to the point that they can’t think straight anymore. Another friend argues that it’s because capitalism trashes everything in its wake. His brother says it’s because consumerism is a social disease that rots us from the inside. I say, yeah yeah, they’re all correct. But what lies beneath them all?
We are drugged out and tied to un-nature, unreality, and un-beautiful. When you add together the amount of drugs the everyday American males and females put into their bodies, hour after hour, day after day. Start with caffeine, move on to nicotine, pass right over to some OTC or prescribed pills of a variety of types, relax into a sugar fix that comes in what we eat, morning, noon, and night; then, at lunch or after work or at dinner it’s alcohol time, in the form of beer, wine, and booze, and then to move on into the twilight where out comes a bit of pot, in the form of a joint, or a bong, or a brownie.
Now, when you put all that drugging together it’s no wonder we can’t think straight. Add to that the concept that as long as the big boxes are open, and the shelves are full of stuff, people still think they have it as good as it gets; there is no political consciousness in addiction to consumption. It cuts across all social levels and groups. Am I exaggerating? No, because there’s more to this reality check. The number of hours we spend watching mostly mind-numbing escapist so-called reality shows, soap operas and cop shows and violent movies is staggering. Throw in the idea that the teens and young adults are addicted to smart phones and spend 7 1/2 hours a day staring at one kind of screen or another, be it cellphone, television, tablet, or computer screen.
So here we are, drugged, sonamulated, distracted, disconnected from the reality that is slowly strangling us. Now, if you have read this far and you are agreeing with the above, then think about the fact that global warming was not mentioned up above. Why did we let this happen, this global warming, due to what? Go back, please, and re-read the above.
Lee Simon, Far ’n Away Farm, Virginia
by Eric Bergeson
Another baseball season begins with nobody, including myself, expecting much of our Minnesota Twins.
The satellite dish company sends a nice letter every three days urging me to hook the dish back up for a reduced rate.
If they had given me the same reduced rate last August, I might have made it through the Twins dismal season without disconnecting.
But two dollars a day to watch a team which wins once every three days? Not a bargain.
This year, I am going to wait until the Twins put together a winning streak before reconnecting. I have been duped too many times before.
When I tell my fellow Twins fans, mostly retired, my plans, they look a bit disappointed.
”They’ll be fun to watch,” they shrug, not liking my pessimism. I suspect they think I take my Twins too seriously.
These hardy fans take baseball seriously only as a way to pass time. The games are a part of their rhythm of life, win or lose.
Baseball is, after all, the national pastime. And even the hapless Cubs, who last won a World Series during the Roosevelt administration — Theodore’s, not Franklin’s — still have devoted fans.
I admire the devoted fan’s ability to find baseball useful, even beautiful, even if their team’s starting pitching has been the worst in the league for two straight years — or if their team hasn’t won a title in a century.
I watch baseball, not to pass time, but to see a slice of excellence, to watch a story unfold, to see athletes triumph over adversity.
If your starting pitchers routinely give up six runs in five innings, there is no story there. No excellence.
True, Joe Mauer comes up to bat every three innings and does his act: He watches strike one pass with boredom, sniffs at strike two as if it is of minor interest, then takes strike three right down the middle — only to have it called a ball because if the great Joe Mauer takes a third strike, the umpire figures must have been a ball.
Finally, Mauer picks a fastball out of the catcher’s mitt and strokes it to left field to go two-for-three. Again.
Yet, even Mauer’s fussy cat act at bat seems without purpose if you’re down by five in the eighth without any power hitters down the line-up to knock him home.
Older Twins fans like myself watched elegant Rod Carew win batting titles for all those years in the 1970s on losing teams. Carew, like Mauer, was what they call a “pure hitter,” somebody who makes an art out of the brute act of whacking a baseball with a club.
Loquacious 1970s umpire Ron Luciano told a story about Carew. With Luciano behind the plate, Carew, like Mauer so often does, watched two strikes pass without showing interest. A third pitch came in, a high fastball. Luciano thought it would break down like the first two and started to call a strike before the ball sailed past Carew chin-high.
Luciano knew he blew the call as his arm raised into the air.
But courtly Sir Rodney didn’t argue. He just turned and walked back to the dugout, deep in thought.
Two innings later, Carew came to bat again.
“Sorry about that third strike, Rodney,” said the ever-friendly Luciano as Carew settled into the batter’s box. “I blew that one.”
“Oh, don’t worry about it!” Carew said. “I misjudged the first two pitches.”
Yet, for all his excellence, elegance and dignity, Rod Carew never played on a team that won a World Series.
The question arises: Is it really important to win a World Series? Or is baseball all about the daily grind, the ups and downs of a long season, the fleeting moments of excellence, the great catch, the fluke no-hitter, the massive home run by an aging slugger, the two-week hitting binge by some young buck just up from the minors?
I don’t understand the game of cricket, but I do know that “test matches,” as cricketers call their games, last for three days. Players play eight hours per day, with several breaks for tea, and after the 24 hours the whole thing is usually declared a draw.
Yet fans eat it up, feast on the statistics, watch the match on TV in massive numbers, and even riot if something, perhaps a “sticky wicket,” happens that “is not cricket.”
These are fans of a game who look beyond winning and losing to the poetry of the game.
Unlike many of my neighbors here in the northland, I haven’t reached that Zen state with our hapless Minnesota Twins.
When I do, I’ll hook up the dish.
VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS
by Ralph Nader
“What do you know about Winsted’s firemen?” my mother asked me one day when I was eleven years old. “They jump into fire trucks and go put out fires fast,” I replied. “Well, you should also know,” she added, “that they’re volunteers and they risk their lives for the townspeople.”
Recently, I had the opportunity to update and expand my knowledge of the Winsted, CT Fire Department (WFD) and the Winchester Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) that work the higher elevations of this picturesque Connecticut town nestled in the Litchfield Hills. I met with several volunteer firefighters, as they are now called, and their only two paid chiefs, Robert J. Shopey II and Peter Marchand. I learned an astonishing historical fact; the Winsted Fire Department was organized with four fire companies in 1862.
152 years later, these companies — the Union Hose Company One, the Deluge Engine Company Two, the Niagara Engine Company Three and the Cascade Engine Company Four are still operating with volunteers on call and ready to move 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Benjamin Franklin, who started the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia, PA in 1736, would be proud.
Nationwide, volunteer firefighters still make up over two-thirds of all firefighters — the rest being paid public servants.
In Winsted and Winchester, volunteers have to be physically qualified with a certification of “Firefighter I” given by the state of Connecticut, after many hours of training and passing a test. Further training qualifies them to handle forest fires, vehicle extraction, chemical/environmental spills, confined space rescues, cold-water rescues and other hazardous situations such as downed power lines and search and rescue operations.
They practice regularly each month, learn to use the latest equipment and keep the doors open for new volunteers, which is more difficult than earlier decades due to changing economic conditions, longer commutes to jobs and more intensive training requirements. Chief Shopey explained that the WFD used to have 150 volunteers, but now has 80 such stalwarts.
They are managing quite well with a response time of only seven minutes before first firefighter contact is made in this community of about 11,000 residents. That is under the 12 minute standard set by the National Fire Protection Association’s codes, the Chief noted. They get 900 calls a year. There are 90 “structure” fires, including kitchen fires.
Like other fire departments around the country, Winsted and Winchester receive grants from time to time from various federal departments for equipment and training/retention. They also receive the local support of the volunteer “Fire Police,” who control traffic around fire locations and the Winsted Area Ambulance Association and its dedicated volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).
Of course, not everything that they do is about emergency and preparation. The two Departments are alert to prevention, detection and suppression requirements in residences and other building structures, and protection of the safety of firefighters and apparatus.
Little-noticed in the national mass media is that fires and fire fatalities have been declining since 1979. Amazing progress in reduction of fire-related deaths has been made in the United States. Nationally in 2012 there were 2,855 civilian deaths and 16,500 civilian injuries, which is well under half the toll in 1979 when the population was tens of millions fewer its number. What is remarkable is that a national policy of improved fire safety has surpassed even Japan’s fire safety record — a country that forty years ago had one of the lowest fatality rates per capita in the industrialized world.
What are not progressing are the hidden hazards of synthetic chemicals that make up more and more combustible materials and can be deadly threats to the longer-term health of all firefighters.
The very perils that volunteer (and paid) firefighters choose to face at any time (recall the catastrophic loss of hundreds of New York City firefighters during 9/11) produce the solidarity, mutual aid and camaraderie for which they are properly famous.
Around the country, difficulties and exclusionary practices remain to be overcome. Also, incentives like workers compensation and some later pension benefits remain to be improved. But the volunteer tradition is an exceptional reminder of how many of our enduring and important volunteer/civic traditions originated in the 18th and 19th century. They speak to the importance of these institutions catching up with more recent needs in 20th and 21st centuries’ societies, given the decline of volunteerism seen everywhere.
In Winsted/Winchester every August there is the historic firefighters’ parade with engine companies and bands from communities across Connecticut and western Massachusetts. This tradition started in 1912 and was called by the local paper — theWinsted Evening Citizen — “The Most Magnificent Spectacle Ever Witnessed on Winsted Streets.”
Next week (April 6 to 12) is The National Volunteer Fire Council’s (NVFC) “Volunteer Firefighters Appreciation Week.”
If there are “open houses” at your nearby fire station, do consider attending. You’ll meet some self-reliant and valiant volunteers who will welcome your recognition and support in the community. Visit http://www.nvfc.org/ for more information.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)
GM & THE 1.6 MILLIMETER SOLUTION
How Many Americans Are Alive Today Thanks to Ralph Nader?
by Clancy Sigal
You’re driving at night in a General Motors compact car, a Cobalt or Cruze or Ion, and without warning the brakes, gas pedal and airbag suddenly give out. You hurtle into a tree and kill yourself. The police and forensic experts are in the dark about what happened and why. Your family asks questions, the auto company responds with a formulaic letter. What, who me? Sorry, could be any of a thousand unfathomable reasons, probably your husband, son or daughter was drunk and not paying attention.
If your family persists, GM lawyers come after you with threats to bankrupt you with legal costs. If you dare to hire an aggressive lawyer, GM quietly settles for an amount that is secret so that other, bereaved families won’t know that they’re part of a deadly, long term corporate conspiracy to keep killing motorists.
The crime scene as of now, taken from wire services, the NYTimes, WashPost, Reuters and Center for Automotive Safety:
Since 2004 — TEN YEARS AGO — General Motors has known they have a deadly problem in the guts of their small cars like the Cobalt built with UAW union labor in Lordstown, Tennessee. The “switch plunger” is so poorly designed that if your car key is on a heavy key chain or you’re a short person, the key easily slips to the “accessory/off” position or even locks thus paralyzing your brakes, gas pedal and undeployable air bags.
After at least nine “internal studies” the company knew it had a big problem about a faulty doohickey which it kept secret from its customers and, given its clumsy bureaucracy, possibly even from itself. To those customers who stayed alive to complain, GM quietly offered loaner cars. The main thing was to avoid law suits while not admitting or fixing the problem.
Glance at the diagram below (I hope it’s there) which shows both the old and new versions of the cheap critical component that, in its original design, simply was too short by 1.6 millimetres - the difference between life and death.
Its corporate back to the wall, sheer accumulation of deaths and accidents has forced GM to recall 1.6 million of its compact cars that are too unsafe to drive. To be precise, the Chevy Cobalt, Pontiac Pursuit, Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac G5, Saturns Ion and Sky. Plus a just-announced additional recall of almost one million small cars, plus 490,000 trucks and 172,000 more compact cars, meaning the automaker has now recalled almost five million vehicles in the United States during the first three months of the year, six times the number of vehicles it recalled in all of 2013.
Advice: if you own a GM compact get a qualified mechanic to check your ignition to see if it’s one of the older switches; if you must drive, use a single key unattached to a multiple key ring; barring that, grow half a foot or more.
Rep. Diane DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, calls for owners of these “terrifying” cars to stop driving them until they can be fixed, meaning installing the improved ignition switch, a repair that costs the astronomical sum of $30. Who pays for your loaner while your car is in the garage?
Legal note: the Obama administration’s 2009 bankruptcy bailout of GM stipulates that all product liability lawsuits filed on behalf of the injured or killed for crashes prior to 2009 are null and void.
Two shadows hang over this scandal: Kitty Genovese and Ralph Nader. In 1964 Ms. Genovese, a 29-year sports bar manager in Queens, New York, was stabbed to death while, allegedly, 38 neighbors heard her screams but refused to get “involved”. The actual facts turned out to be more complicated, but the “Genovese syndrome” passed into social psychology textbooks which, clearly, were not read by the folks at General Motors.
What stands out starkly is that for ten years masses of GM employees — lawyers, sales and service technicians, engineers, product development designers, ordinary Cobalt workers on the assembly line, knew, or had to have known, or suspected, or whispered among themselves about the killer ignition switch. At the crudest level when a GM worker bought one of these cars at a company discount and discovered the problem, how come he or she didn’t gossip about it? And if they did, who listened?
As far as we know, nobody blew a whistle. No one screamed bloody murder. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was practically invented by Ralph Nader’s crusade for safer cars, had a “massive information breakdown” by stonewalling, misreading, misrepresenting and ignoring reports of malfunction. Parenthetically, via the revolving door, I wonder how many retired NHTSA employees went to work for the auto makers they are supposed to regulate?
For many American liberals Ralph Nader is Judas for “spoiling” the 2000 presidential election with his 537 Florida votes and thus handing the White House to Cheney and Bush. We now know that GM’s malfeasance killed, officially 13 people and probably many more than the 300 cited by the Center for Auto Safety. How many thousands of Americans are alive today because of Ralph Nader and his Raiders’ tenacious battle for safer cars (seat belts, air bags, sturdier chassis etc.)?
(Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Hemingway Lives.)
POLICE CALLS AS OF TUESDAY MORNING:
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Jeffrey D. Toscano, 47, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 4:53 p.m. March 17 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Fort Bragg Police Department arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Richard S. Klaisner, 29, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 2:12 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and transporting marijuana for sale, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI -- Crystal R. Sausedo, 25, of Willits, was arrested at 2:56 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The Willits Police Department arrested her.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Delvin R. Smith, 32, of New York, was arrested at 3 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Clifford E. Shirley, 26, of Hartsville, S.C., was arrested at 3 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MMCTF arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Morgan S. Murphy, 30, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 5:24 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of domestic assault and false imprisonment with violence, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Khanh Vu Duong, 29, of Charlotte, N.C., was arrested at 5 p.m. March 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MMCTF arrested him.
EMBEZZLEMENT -- Kenneth F. Partridge, 45, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. March 19 on suspicion of embezzlement, burglary, petty theft,, possessing drug paraphernalia and failing to appear in court, and booked at the county jail under $52,500 bail. The FBPD arrested him.
DUI -- Ronald J. Fleming, 46, of San Jose, was arrested at 11:30 p.m. March 19 on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing methamphetamine, and booked at the county jail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
STALKING -- Jean F. Maik, 21, of Calpella, was arrested at 8:27 a.m. March 20 on suspicion of stalking and making threats, resisting a public officer and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Kenneth D. McCoy, 50, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:53 a.m. March 20 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested him.
DUI -- Sergio S. Dominguez, 41, of Talmage, was arrested at 7:35 p.m. March 20 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Robin C. Goodnough, 57, of Ukiah, was arrested at 10:05 a.m. March 21 on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail under $7,500 bail. The UPD arrested her.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Dakota L. Gimple, 24, of Willits, was arrested at 10:50 a.m. March 21 on suspicion of domestic assault and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
METH SALES -- Daniel Sanchez, 24, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:13 a.m. March 21 on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, and booked at the county jail. The UPD arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Morgan K. Ammerman, 19, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:17 a.m. March 21 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The UPD arrested her.
VEHICLE THEFT -- James E. Carroll, 25, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 12:33 p.m. March 21 on suspicion of vehicle theft, obtaining a vehicle by theft or extortion and unauthorized entry of a dwelling, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON -- Curtis B. Adams, 29, of Willits, was arrested at 3:15 p.m. March 21 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
VEHICLE THEFT -- Kathryn M. Meagher, 47, of Little River, was arrested at 6:15 p.m. March 21 on suspicion of vehicle theft and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
MARIJUANA TRANSPORT -- Oscar A. Fuentes, 22, of Willits, was arrested at 9 p.m. March 21 on suspicion of transporting marijuana for sale, being under the influence of a controlled substance, possessing methamphetamine and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $77,500 bail. The WPD arrested him.
GRAND THEFT -- David M. Peterson, 43, of Ukiah, was arrested at 9:52 p.m. March 21 on suspicion of grand theft and booked at the county jail under $40,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI, EVADING -- Jerry R. Nix, 37, of Willits, was arrested at 12:30 a.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and evading a peace officer, and booked at the county jail. The Willits Police Department arrested him.
DUI -- Bobby L. Casey, 46, of Patterson, was arrested at 1:48 a.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and violating a court order, and booked at the county jail. The WPD arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES, TRANSPORT -- Edwin F. Ortega, 23, of Berkeley, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. March 22 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, transporting marijuana for sale and driving with a suspended license, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
DUI -- Alvaro P. Briceno, 30, of Talmage, was arrested at 6:18 p.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving without a license, and booked at the county jail under $7,500 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Marco A. Diaz-Guzman, 40, of Cloverdale, was arrested at 6:29 p.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Arthur A. Murguia, 43, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 7:36 p.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Bryan A. Martin, 45, of Ukiah, was arrested at 10:12 p.m. March 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested him.
DUI -- Trevor L. Duvall, 29, of Bridgeway, S.C., was arrested at 12:15 a.m. March 23 on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail. The WPD arrested him.
BATTERY WITH INJURY -- Michelle D. Sony, 18, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 4:07 a.m. March 23 on suspicion of battery causing serious injury and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The Fort Bragg Police Department arrested her.
DUI -- Mary E. Hogan, 57, of Laytonville, was arrested at 9:15 a.m. March 23 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested her.
DUI -- Rebecca L. Franke, 22, of Miranda, was arrested at 6:47 p.m. March 25 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested her.
DUI -- John M. Snyder, 22, of Martinez, was arrested at 9:49 p.m. March 25 on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Philip J. Valley, 49, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 8:47 p.m. March 26 on suspicion of driving under the influence and being under the influence of a controlled substance, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Marvin H. Richmond, 62, of Carmichael, was arrested at 7:44 a.m. March 27 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail. The WPD arrested him.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON -- Carl D. Swanson, 50, of Gualala, was arrested at 1:55 p.m. March 27 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and public intoxication, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
MAYHEM -- Billy R. Doak, 41, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 3:27 p.m. March 27 on suspicion of mayhem and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The FBPD arrested him.
MARIJUANA TRANSPORT -- Paul H. Winkler, 44, of Santa Cruz, was arrested at 8:12 p.m. March 27 on suspicion of transporting marijuana for sale and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
MARIJUANA TRANSPORT -- Ryan D. Benz, 35, of Eureka, was arrested at 11:42 p.m. March 27 on suspicion of transporting marijuana for sale and conspiracy, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI -- Daniel J. Sundstrom, 28, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 12:08 a.m. March 28 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and having previous DUI convictions, and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Heather S. Hawthorne, 28, of Laytonville, was arrested at 11:09 a.m. March 28 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested her.