- State Senate Robocall
- The Age Demanded
- Catastrophes Approaching
- Doc Hop Pops Back
- Increased Trespass-Grow Penalties
- Cellphone Theft
- Police Reports
- Sweet Jesus
- Runs with Scissors
- Suburban Hell
- Secret Water Society
- Color Brown Disappointing
RECEIVED an automated call the other night from state senate candidate Mike McGuire. The recording's timing was off, and so was McGuire's voice. He already sounded like Gabby Hayes by the time his cliches kicked in. (For you kids out there who don't remember Gabby, imagine a scratchy old vinyl made by a senior citizen whose dentures don't fit.)
McGUIRE seems to be fairly young, still in his 30s. Maybe he gargles with battery acid, or maybe someone chopped him in his adam's apple, but his voice is a lot older, and so crochety I stayed on the line listening to his bullshit. “Bold solutions,” he called it as he rattled off stuff like how he would “promote local agriculture” and “help schools thrive” and “preserve our pristine coast.”
THE CANDIDATE'S on-line visuals feature him standing with another guy in a vineyard, which, as we all know, is synonymous with ag and certainly synonymous as a base for the professional officeholders of the Northcoast. McGuire is for the kids and the seniors, and by golly you can be darn sure he'd never kick a cat.
WHILE WE'RE AT IT, physically, McGuire looks like a scrappy second baseman on a jv team — wholesome-appearing in the way those earnest candidates for high school office you remember from high school. “I think it's really, really important that everyone stands up for the kick-off.” Even the teachers thought he was a see-through phony, the 15th smartest kid in a class of 25.
POLITICALLY? Natch, McGuire is supported by the entire dreary roster — from Thompson and Huffman on down through Chesbro and the rest of the Demo Party apparatus permanently fixed at the Northcoast's throat like barnacles to a rotting pier.
THE AGE DEMANDED
The age demanded that we sing
And cut away our tongue.
The age demanded that we flow
And hammered in the bung.
The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.
And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.
COMMENT OF THE DAY
LA. There are more than 800 miles of freeways here, jammed day and night with obese Americans in their Ford Excursions searching for a deep-fried Jumbo corn dog. It hasn’t rained down here since Pope Pious was in Rome, but that doesn’t stop the Angelenos from washing their cars twice a day. My God, how they like their cars shiny here. But for the real picture of America at its gluttonous best, you gotta drive around San Marino, and some of the neighborhoods of Pasadena. There, the legions of Mexican gardeners tend the green lawns of what must be America’s royalty. Who these rich people are, or how there could be so god-damned many of them, I just can’t say. But you could drive for hours on these winding boulevards and not see half of these stupendous porticoed plantation mansions, three-story Tudors and Greene & Greene Craftsman masterpieces, set back in their terraced landscapes behind iron gates and handsome stone walls.
Inside, they’re too busy counting their money to give a shit, but the cultural values enshrined here have placed us squarely in the path of the catastrophes inexorably approaching. A lot of folks do sense it. Most people do, at some subliminal level. And so, this being the commodity-obsessed country that it is, Hollywood has figured out how to commodify even Armageddon and sell it to us. It seems that every third movie to come out of this town these days has to do with a ruined planet and the decrepit remnants of humanity..... But there are other people who really are paying attention. I mean the concerned minority that has somehow managed to survive the culture of Kardashian weddings, talk radio, and 0.9% APR financing with a few of their higher cortical functions intact. These few, mostly on the political Left, know about the dying coral reefs, the global de-forestation, the methane hydrates seeping up from the ocean bottoms and the permafrost. And in that knowledge, there is isolation, and a real sense of despair in a culture devoting nearly the entirety of its energy to keeping everyone ignorant and distracted. (Tom Wright)
DOC HOP POPS BACK
The editors of the Lake County Record-Bee think that a rehash of 40 years of slander and accusations is front page news ('Doc Hop Popped -- Again'), but my response is something they don't want to print. The only real news here is that after an investigation initiated by a complaint from an assistant DA in Butte County, the medical board has allowed me to continue medical practice with no effective limitations.
The "methamphetamine" supposedly found at my residence 20 years ago was apparently never tested, weighed, entered into evidence, or mentioned in testimony, and I was never charged with it. All those horrendous charges were resolved as a single misdemeanor with no jail time and no fine.
A more recent slander is the claim from law enforcement that my recommendation for medical cannabis is "no good," or carries "no weight." The lie has just been given to that in Ukiah Superior Court with a ruling that my patient can use the medical cannabis defense at trial.
On a more upbeat note, my band, freak clinic, will be playing in Upper Lake for the Wild West Strawberry Ice Cream Social at 2pm on Saturday, June 7, and for the summer concert series at 6pm the following Friday the 13th.
Milan L. Hopkins, MD
THE US SENTENCING COMMISSION announced Thursday, April 10, that it had adopted increased penalties for high-level offenders cultivating marijuana on trespassed private or public lands. The amended sentencing guidelines will be submitted to Congress and reviewed for a six-month period and take effect November 1st. Congressman Huffman nicely summed up the prob: "From the use of highly-toxic and illegal pesticides and rodenticides, to the violence perpetuated by drug trafficking organizations, trespass marijuana cultivation makes our public and private lands unsafe for all of us. California is in the midst of a devastating drought, and many of these grow operations illegally divert streams and tap groundwater with untold impacts on downstream water users and wildlife. Where it is lawful to grow marijuana, it must be done lawfully and responsibly, and I'm glad that the Sentencing Commission has taken strong action to help keep our communities and public lands safe."
IT DOESN'T GET much attention, but cellphone thefts are big biz in the SF Bay Area. Kill switches would make it impossible for thieves to re-set the popular gizmos for re-sale, but State Senator Mark Leno's sensible bill to require manufacturers to install kill switch technology was shot down by the wireless industry last week.
BIG BIZ CAPTIVES from both parties teamed up to stifle Leno's bill. For Apple and the rest of them, sales of the things represent a $69 billion annual business. They make another $30 billion selling replacement phones, hence the disincentive to do what's right.
“WHEN THAT KIND of force comes up against a public safety issue, one would hope and believe there would be votes there to protect public safety and not the interests of the powerful special interests,” Leno said. “We aren't giving up.”
CELLPHONE THEFTS have become a major public safety issue in the Bay Area, particularly in San Francisco and Oakland where three-man crews grab them from distracted pedestrians and bus passengers. The third guy is often armed. If the victim resists, he steps forward to brandish a gun or a knife. He's the difference between an armed robbery charge and the lesser crime of petty theft. Chinese women are seen as the easiest marks, and strong-arm street robberies are common in the heavily Asian neighborhoods of the city.
THE ROBBERS, according to SF DA Gascon, can immediately sell the stolen phones to fences who in turn sell them to bigger fences who sell them overseas. He said so far in 2014, cellphone thefts have accounted for 67% of all robberies in the city.
POLICE CALLS AS OF SATURDAY MORNING
DUMPSTER FIRE -- Caller in the 1200 block of Airport Park Boulevard reported at 7:05 a.m. Saturday that there was a fire in a Dumpster behind Staples.
BICYCLE IN SKATE PARK -- Caller at the Ukiah Skate Park on Low Gap Road reported at 12:17 p.m. Saturday that a man was riding a bicycle in the skate park and refusing to leave. An officer responded and advised him.
DRUMS TOO LOUD -- Caller on El Rio Court reported at 1:06 p.m. Saturday that someone was playing the drums too loud and wanted the door and windows closed to help reduce the noise.
VEHICLE STOLEN -- Caller in the 700 block of Apple Avenue reported at 9:28 p.m. Saturday that a Dodge Ram pick-up truck with a blue camper shell had been stolen. An officer took a report.
PURSE STOLEN -- Caller in the 100 block of East Mill Street reported at 11:30 p.m. Saturday that a purse had been stolen from a locked car. An officer responded and took a report.
SPEEDING TEENS -- Caller on Highway 101 near the Talmage Road exit reported at 8:54 a.m. Sunday that a red Toyota Matrix with four teens in it, including a female driver, was driving on Hwy 101 at speeds in excess of 100 m.p.h, and had exited at Talmage Road.
DOG IN FENCE -- Caller in the 300 block of Mason Street reported at 10:56 a.m. Sunday hearing what sounded like a puppy being beaten. An officer responded and determined that a dog had been stuck in a fence.
CAR BURGLARIZED -- Officer responding to a report of found property in the 100 block of Mason Street at 9:02 a.m. also took a report for a vehicle that had been prowled.
CAR WINDOWS BROKEN -- An officer responded to the Ukiah Library at 12:03 p.m. Sunday and took a report for two cars with windows broken out.
CAMPERS IN PARK -- Caller in the Riverside Park in the 1200 block of East Gobbi Street reported at 1:48 p.m. Sunday that people were camping near the paved walkway. An officer did not locate them.
VEHICLE WINDOW BROKEN -- Caller at the Ukiah Library reported at 3:43 p.m. Sunday seeing a car with its window broken out. An officer responded and left a card for the owner. At 5:44 p.m. Sunday, the owner reported only CDs were missing from the car.
DOG BITE -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 6:20 p.m. Sunday and took a report for a dog bite.
WINDOW BROKEN, PURSE STOLEN -- Caller at Low Gap Park reported 8:42 p.m. Sunday that a car parked in the lot had a window smashed and a purse stolen out of it. An officer took a report.
GRAFFITI -- Caller in the 300 block of Perkins Street reported at 8:20 a.m. finding graffiti. An officer took a report.
PANHANDLER AT POST OFFICE -- Caller at the post office on South Orchard Avenue reported at 10:18 a.m. Monday having an ongoing problem with a panhandler standing in the exit driveway. An officer responded and the man left upon request.
SHOPLIFTER -- An officer responded to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard at 12:25 p.m. Monday and arrested a 45-year-old Willits woman for shoplifting.
BURGLARY -- Caller in the 100 block of West Standley Street reported at 1:40 p.m. Monday that a man had not paid for his food. An officer responded and arrested Thomas L. Manning, 69, of Ukiah, on suspicion of burglary.
ASSAULT -- Caller in the 200 block of Irvington Drive reported at 6 p.m. Monday that a man punched him in the stomach and broke his car mirror when he tried to leave. An officer responded and arrested Christopher D. Walrath, 59, of Ukiah, on suspicion of making criminal threats, battery, vandalism and resisting arrest.
MAN THREATENED TO KILL DOG -- Caller in the 900 block of North Oak Street reported at 6:58 p.m. Monday that a man threatened to kill her dog. An officer responded and advised all parties.
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
GEESE CROSSING -- Caller in the 1000 block of South Main Street reported at 12:26 p.m. Monday that geese and their babies were crossing the street, causing a traffic hazard. An officer responded and provided assistance.
DECK FURNITURE STOLEN -- Caller in the 1000 block of North Main Street reported at 11:53 p.m. Saturday that a group of people stole furniture off the deck.
DOG CHASING CHICKENS -- Caller in the 200 block of South Harrison Street reported at 2:25 p.m. Sunday that his neighbor's dog was in his yard, chasing his chickens. An officer responded and advised the owner, who was trying to repair his fence.
One Toke Over The Line, Lawrence Welk, 1971
ALEX HRIBAL, the Pennsylvania kid who ran down the hall of his high school with a pair of kitchen knives stabbing his peers, wrote a note boasting of his planned kill spree, investigators said. Police say the note was found in Alex Hribal's locker. They say it was dated April 6, three days before the rampage at the school near Pittsburgh. Details about the note are contained in the criminal complaint filed Friday against Hribal that increases the number of attempted homicide charges he faces to 21, up from four. “I can't wait to see the priceless and helpless looks on the faces of the students of one of the ‘best schools in Pennsylvania’ realize their precious lives are going to be taken by the only one among them that is a plebeian,” the note said, according to the affidavit.
ON THE OTHER HAND, well, the real smart kids, and this is obviously a smart one, never have a smarter adult to talk it all over with.
by Jeff Costello
“This is my life, and so I'm gonna live it
I'm not lookin' for your approval
'Cause I can do so well without it”
— Calvin Russell
Suburban America is hell. Everything is wrong, all based on fear, mistrust, and separation. True community is too much like communism, not enough undiluted selfishness to support the business/advertising complex. You see these signs in the yards of suburban houses, saying the house is protected by such and such alarm system. The message there is “Valuable Objects Worth Stealing Inside.”
If I were a B & E man, I would collect these addresses and make them my first targets.
The lawns - I could go on all day. Besides the common truth that a garden is much better and more sensible use of the space, lawn maintenance is not merely a pain in the ass. The “nicer” lawns are dependent on chemical treatment. In Wisconsin back in 2005, a friend came by and we decided to go for a walk. But a neighbor about five houses away had a Scott's Lawn Care truck in the driveway, and the smell of the stuff they were using made us choke and gag 50 yards away. We ran back indoors so we could breathe.
Keeping up with the Joneses - I learned about this way before ever hearing the phrase. My parents bought a house in a new subdivision in 1955. All the driveways were gravel until one family had theirs paved. Instantly everyone rushed to follow. My education from observing suburban behavior proved far more valuable and useful than anything I got in school. Living there was stultifying and I learned the word “conformity” from Mad magazine. It wasn't long before our house was the only one left with a gravel driveway, the beauty of which was the sound of a car's tires on the gravel letting you know someone was there. But we got stink-eye from the neighbors for our unpaved driveway. The guy next door was a golfer and had a lawn to prove it. Perfect. Ours of course was a mess, let's say closer to natural, earning his deep disapproval. Eventually, our house in the suburbs was repossessed, as my mother's death and father's alcoholism sank the ship. I looked at the property recently on google earth and needless to say, it has in the ensuing years been brought up to snuff, i.e., in line with the local standards. But suburban America goes on, the much-vaunted but apparently wobbling Middle Class, that the politicians say they want to save. I want to throw up when I hear that someone “aspires to the middle class.” Are there really such people? Suburban middle class life was like jail to me. Do people really want to traipse around these unspeakably dull neighborhoods - which are not communities - with a preciously cute dog on a leash and a plastic bag to pick up its turds when it befouls someone's oh-so-perfect lawn? Is this a goal for living? Is it living? The rich are living a glorious delusion of their own importance while tromping on everyone else's feet to keep it that way. It's the “poor” who are actually, in the strictest sense, living. As far as the meek inheriting the earth, at the present rate I'm betting on cockroaches.
RESTORE THE DELTA BLASTS MWD’S SECRET CAMPAIGN TO KEEP ITS WATER MONOPOLY
by Dan Bacher
The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California has engaged in a secret campaign to attack its critics in order to keep its water monopoly and to destroy Delta fish and farms, according to documents obtained by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) under the California Public Records Act. "These documents reveal that the top official with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California participated in meetings on the development of a covert public relations campaign designed to discredit the San Diego County Water Authority and its long-term water supply diversification strategy," according to a news release from SDCWA. "The sub-rosa campaign is the latest in a string of similar efforts by MWD and some of its member agencies dating back to the late-1990s, records show." Eastern Municipal Water District’s records show that in 2012 MWD’s general manager, Jeffrey Kightlinger, participated in meetings on a secret public relations campaign in San Diego County being developed for MWD by Eastern and its consulting firm, Sacramento-based California Strategies. Eastern’s board of directors handled the project in closed sessions, though Eastern’s claims that the work was protected from public disclosure under attorney-client and attorney work product privileges proved meritless, SDCWA said. “Metropolitan has a long and dark history of abusing its power – and trying to hide its activities from public scrutiny,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority. “This latest episode shows that MWD will stop at nothing to maintain its monopoly and punish San Diego County.” A statement from MWD denied the claims of collusion between the Eastern Municipal Water District and MWD. "That plan was designed by EMWD to provide a more balanced representation and dialogue in San Diego County on regional and statewide water issues - including those impacting EMWD customers," according to MWD. "The completed EMWD plan was presented to staff at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Metropolitan chose not to entertain the suggested plan." Restore the Delta Executive Director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla on April 24 slammed MWD for conducting a "secret underground media campaign" - and questioned the legality of public agencies engaging in this kind of secret activity. “Metropolitan Water District's (MWD) participation in a secret underground media campaign to influence the thinking of Southern California water rate payers reveals that they will stop at nothing to protect their position as the largest wholesaler of water exported from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta," said Barrigan-Parrilla. "MWD has proven that they do not have the moral authority to speak to a genuine water policy solution that restores the health of the Bay-Delta estuary." "MWD will punish member agencies that question their rate structure," she said. "MWD’s staff resources and time would be better-spent promoting regional self-sufficiency for water management. Even worse, MWD has no qualms about participating in a secret society to undermine those who raise questions about the need for the proposed Delta tunnels project boondoggle. Without a doubt, the real threat to the Delta is MWD's push for the BDCP, which will decimate the estuary and the economy of the five Delta counties." “We know that Westlands Water District is using ratepayers’ monies for a $1 million PR campaign. We can’t wait to see the lies that effort will add to the pile. Is it legal for these public agencies to engage in this type of secret activity?" Barrigan-Parrilla concluded. To read the Board memo and documents obtained by the Water Authority’s Public Records Act request, go to: http://www.sdcwa.org/public-records-eastern-municipal-water-district Articles can be read here: http://bit.ly/1fbLwYA and http://bit.ly/1rqzHjl. The Eastern documents are being discussed by the Water Authority’s Imported Water Committee during the Board of Directors regular monthly meeting today. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a strong supporter of Governor Jerry Brown's Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels. If built, the twin tunnels would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations of the Trinity and Klamath rivers. Yet the tunnels would not produce one single drop of new water. If the tunnels were in place right now, they wouldn't do one thing to help California's current drought. For more information, go to: http://www.restorethedelta.org.
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S RETURN TO SACRAMENTO HAS DISAPPOINTED
by Norman Solomon
Forty months after returning to the governor’s office that he left in 1983, Jerry Brown is a media favorite and a hero to much of the California establishment. The present-day governor wins accolades as a highly skilled politician who has put the Golden State’s fiscal house in order while reviving its can-do spirit.
Brown deserves the gratitude of powerful economic elites. But for others, especially the powerless and vulnerable, it’s a very different story.
The governor insists on frugality in spending for social programs, while many millions of Californians continue to live in economic distress worsened by cutbacks in social services. Now instead of boosting aid, Brown wants to sock money away. Years of rising tax revenues have turned the state’s huge budget deficit into a surplus, and this week the legislature is in special session to answer Brown’s call for expansion of the state’s rainy-day fund.
While Brown has shown a notable lack of urgency about repairing the state’s badly frayed social safety net, he remains anxious to please Big Business. For instance, he has rebuffed proposals for new taxation of energy conglomerates. He continues to oppose a long-overdue oil severance tax, which could raise $1.5 billion per year for the state.
Among Brown’s other good turns for the oil and gas industry is his support for its explosive practice of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. In March, when he delivered a speech to fellow Democrats at the state party’s annual convention, many delegates chanted, “Ban fracking!” The California Democratic Party platform calls for a fracking moratorium, but the governor — who has earned the nickname “Big Oil” Brown — shows no sign of budging from his pro-fracking stance.
On some issues, Brown has cleared a low bar set by his Republican predecessors. For instance, he quickly improved policies on gay rights. At times he took risks to push better policies. An important achievement came when he promoted a temporary tax hike that voters approved in 2012.
But he has repeatedly disappointed — and increasingly angered — his party’s progressive base, while helping pro-corporate Democrats in the legislature to move state politics rightward. Brown has effectively been reshaping the state’s Democratic Party from the top down, turning some key aspects of its platform into little more than a wistful wish list.
A case in point is single-payer health care, also known as “Medicare for all” — long a plank in the state party platform. A decade ago, California was at the cutting edge of efforts to enact single-payer. Twice, under Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Democratic-controlled legislature passed a single-payer plan. Both times Schwarzenegger vetoed it.
Soon after replacing him as governor, Brown conveyed to Democrats in the legislature that he didn’t want to see a single-payer bill on his desk. Dutifully, the Democratic leadership made sure that no such legislation came to a floor vote.
When it comes to frugality, Brown has turned out to be rather selective.
His pro-worker rhetoric aside, Brown has also often shafted labor supporters. In 2012 he vetoed a bill to require decent working conditions for home health aides and other domestic workers, citing “consequences both unknown and unintended.”
Such action is an unwelcome change from his previous tenure. As a young governor in the 1970s, Brown was a strong ally of downtrodden farmworkers. But these days, he is much more aligned with the downtrodders. In June 2011 he vetoed a bill that would have lowered the barriers faced by farmworkers trying to unionize. Thousands of United Farm Workers members and supporters protested by marching to the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento.
Since then, Brown has continued to side with growers against workers. In September 2012 he vetoed the Humane Treatment for Farm Workers Act, which aimed to ensure that agricultural workers would have access to minimum amounts of shade and water. The United Farm Workers pointed out that Brown’s decision “continues the policy of giving animals more protections than those currently offered to farm workers.”
The governor is pushing to build a pair of gigantic tunnels under the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta to move vast amounts of fresh water south for the benefit of big agricultural firms and real estate developers. Environmentalists warn of enormous damage to wild and scenic rivers. Estimates now put the project’s ultimate cost at $51 billion to $67 billion. When it comes to frugality, Brown has turned out to be rather selective.
Given his record, few eyebrows are raised now as Brown caters to rich elites. So it seemed par for his course when he recently appointed and reappointed regents to the University of California system with no academic experience but with extensive wealth and power.
Nor are observers surprised anymore when he makes yet another move to resist efforts by federal judges to ease inhumane conditions in California’s severely overcrowded prison system. Irked by documentation of seriously inadequate health care behind bars, Brown complained last year, “We’ve got hundreds of lawyers wandering around the prisons looking for problems.”
In retrospect, Brown’s current performance as governor was foreshadowed in 1999, shortly after he re-entered electoral politics and began an eight-year stint as mayor of Oakland. There he sided with landlords against renters, cut deals with big real estate developers and fought for charter public schools that included a military high school. As if to underscore that he had left his ’70s-era nickname “Moonbeam” behind and been replaced by far sterner stuff, soon after becoming mayor, he invited the Marines to use Oakland’s harbor for urban warfare maneuvers that involved several days of intensive military exercises. He seemed determined to shed his progressive persona as he set his sights on the governor’s chair.
Now, from his lofty perch as governor of the nation’s most populous state, Brown is launching a re-election campaign that seems almost certain to succeed. He continues to operate with a high-octane blend of pragmatism and cynicism. The gist is a bottom-line assumption that principles should be malleable — and power from the grass roots must defer to power imposed from the top.
Brown is California’s leading prodigal son. He has returned to power redeemed by his worth to corporate forces dominating the state. The less fortunate will have to endure the grim consequences.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”)