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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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AS OF AUGUST 18 at 5pm the Lodge Wilderness Fire had expanded only a little since yesterday to 12,346 acres but was declared 85% contained. No structures are threatened. No new injuries. The firefighting effort is winding down and moving into “mop up” stage with 25 engines and 28 crews along with 17 bulldozers, 1 helicopter, 10 water tenders and 823 total firefighters. On Monday evening CalFire reported that all evacuation warnings had been lifted and that “Crews continue mopping up and looking for hot spots within the contingency lines; steep terrain is making access difficult. Interior portions of the fire will continue to burn and produce smoke for an extended period of time in the Ukiah Valley; this may create possible health issues. Fire resources will continue suppression repair efforts throughout the fire area. Resources continue to be released from the fire to other incidents or back to their home units. CalFire and Cooperating Agencies would like to thank the entire community and local businesses for their overwhelming support and hospitality.”

TUESDAY MORNING'S UPDATE [7 am, Aug 19]: 12,535 acres, 85% contained,  estimated cost $38.2 million.

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HOW TO TELL when it's almost Fall in the Anderson Valley? The zinnia's are in at the Fairgrounds, the pink ladies have appeared at the most improbable spots, both kinds of football teams are getting ready for their seasons, leaves on the poplars are beginning to turn, and there's a nip in the early morning air.

HOW TO TELL if there's a drought? Emil Rossi tells me he's never seen Anderson Creek dry up, but it's bone dry and has been bone dry for several weeks. Emil said he thinks it went dry in the twenties, which is what the late Cecil Gowan, who was here in the 1920's also once testified to. Cecil said everything in The Valley went dry, including the Navarro. And the blackberries seem to arrive about a month earlier than they usually do and the grapes, the vineyard people tell us, are coming on now.

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BEEBE CREEK, near Yorkville, I was startled to see, not only has water in it but a trickle of running water right next to the highway. A spring gushes southwards from Beebe Creek’s origins in a rock formation at the very peak of the Y Ranch. Dry as the hills presently are, water can be abundant where you least expect it.

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THIS SUNDAY, 4-7pm, big tri-tip fundraiser for the essential Anderson Valley Ambulance at the Boonville Fairgrounds, music by the gonna soon be famous, Joe Blow Band.

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MARK PITNER came home last week, having made “unbelievable progress” in the six weeks since the popular Valley emergency services guy suffered a severe stroke. The consensus report of the people closest to Mark says, “He is walking with the aid of a walker, and his right leg is becoming ‘a little more responsive every day.’ His facial muscles are affected, but not as bad as is often seen after a significant stroke. His speech is affected, but he is ‘totally understandable.’ Cognitively, he has some trouble with focus, remembering some words, and making some connections. His right arm has not made as much progress so far, and he is currently unable to use it. Chris Chilcote and others are working on retrofitting Mark's house in preparation for his return. Jonesy and Mark have a strong support group, and it doesn't sound like there are unmet needs at this time. If things come up, Melissa will put the word out. Jonesy has asked that they not have visitors for a while, and also not a lot of phone calls. Melissa has said that inquiries about Mark can be directed to her, at 895-9541. Notes can be sent to Mark at his PO Box 456, Philo.”

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JERRY WARD of Solid Waste of Willits, responded directly to complaints from locals that the Boonville trash transfer station needed more capacity or more frequent pickups. Some people were being turned away when they showed up mid-afternoon because the existing bins were already full.

“SORRY for the delay in response. The letter I received by email, I could not decipher your phone number and the number I thought it was, turned out to be a wrong one. I have resorted to email. First, I apologize for the inconvenience you sustained at the Boonville Transfer Station with the full bins on more than one occasion. Flow of garbage on weekends can be difficult to regulate from one weekend to another, especially when there are music festivals or other activities that occur during the summer months. But this is no excuse for having to turn you away from dumping your garbage, especially coming from a long distance.

“WE HAVE DISCUSSED this situation and will be placing two 6-yard dumpsters at the site, in addition to the on-site bins, to be used for any overflow that may occur over the weekends. These dumpsters will only be used for such occasions. Our local route driver will empty them on route when the dumpsters do get used. This will be in addition to servicing the bins more timely. Again, I want to apologize and believe the extra dumpsters will eliminate any future inconveniences. — Gerald W. Ward (Jerry) Solid Wastes of Willits”

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AT LAST TUESDAY’S Board of Supervisors meeting there was a very interesting discussion of the County’s Fish and Game Commission’s grant funding proposals. With the usual several-day delay in posting the Meeting videos, there wasn’t time this week to cover the issue in the necessary depth. (We’ll get to it as soon as we can go through the entire video of the meeting.) But the motion to approve the County Commission’s recommended project-grant funding ended up being passed on a narrow 3-2 vote with the addition of a Usal Creek improvement project which had not been recommended by the Commission, but which was added at Supervisor McCowen’s insistence. The discussion of the County’s depleted deer population is also worthy of extended coverage and will be covered in an upcoming report. The County Commission has been dormant for over two years because the Abalone Watch group on the coast sued the Commission (and lost) and the Commission was unable to develop grant proposals while that lawsuit played out.

ANOTHER INTERESTING ITEM at last week’s Supes meeting was a big plan to seismically retrofit the Garcia River Bridge off (not on) Highway 1 — another subject to be covered in greater depth in an upcoming report. Apparently many of the property owners whose property is accessed by that particular bridge do not think the project is worth doing and would be a considerable waste of money.

THERE ALSO WAS the discussion of the long-delayed timber harvest plan for the timber property at the Little River Airport. In a nutshell, the Board voted to approve the plan even though the County’s General Services Administration Director had recommended that it be postponed for at least another year to allow timber prices to rise further.

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SWIMMER'S ITCH. A reader passes along a note that says it’s caused by a “schistisome worm,” and suggests that swimmers can avoid the problem if they get out of the water every ten minutes and towel off so the worms don't have time to burrow into the skin. The problem seems to be common all along the upper Navarro River, and may be related to the low flows associated with the drought. According to an on-line source, the problem was “First identified in Douglas Lake, in Michigan, over 70 years ago. Swimmer’s itch is a common problem among those who enjoy the water such as lakes, rivers and ponds (also referred to as cercarial dermatitis, duck itch and schistosome cercarial dermatitis). It’s an allergic reaction by your immune system, caused by little worms that bury themselves beneath your skin and die, after you have been swimming since birds and snails are the natural hosts, not people. The rash and itch reaction, which happens within hours to days, is typically short-lived; usually about a week. Symptoms will appear up to 2 days after being exposed. Swimming pools that are properly chlorinated do not spread this condition. Most people do not show any skin reaction when exposed to the protein that causes this condition, so it is possible to see no symptoms or different symptoms from person to person.”

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: Apparently we have ever greater militarized police forces who will fire automatic weapons at the slightest provocation coupled with a class of people who generally have little respect for the law. What a recipe for chaos! Seems to me that both these “groups” – the police and the class with no respect for the law – each have valid reasons for their positions, hence behavior. The police see the reality of crime every day. Their experience with crime is raw. They must witness the horror and torment of it on a regular basis. So it’s understandable that they develop a very judgmental, hard shell. The lawless class, largely black, have reasons for their behavior too. They know how corrupt the justice system is. They live that every day too. The middle class should be developing some empathy for that – to wit, why is Jon Corzine still at large? So everybody’s got their reasons for dysfunction.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 18, 2014

Alvarez, Arms, Hill, Lopez, Lynch
Alvarez, Arms, Hill, Lopez, Lynch

KELISHA ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Court order violation; Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT ARMS, Willits, Possession of meth, probation revoked.

MICKEY HILL, Willits. Probation revoked.

PHILIP LOPEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

DANIEL LYNCH, Fort Bragg. Misdemeanor domestic violence.

Mane, Morris, Powers, Stone, Willis
Mane, Morris, Powers, Stone, Willis

MOHAMED MANE, Laytonville. Misdemeanor domestic battery.

JAMES MORRIS, Willits. Trespass, misdemeanor vandalism, resisting an officer, parole violation, probation revoked.

SHARON POWERS, Mendocino. Grand theft.


SCOTTY WILLIS, Ukiah. Violation of court order. (Frequent flyer.)

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IN GOING AWAY I wanted to frustrate the stalkers and pesterers, to be unobtainable and not to live at the beck and call of emailers and phoners and people saying, “Hey, we're on deadline!” — other people's deadlines, not mine. To travel unconnected, away from anyone's gaze or reach, is bliss.

— Paul Theroux, The Last Train to Zona Verde

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Ferguson Missouri's New PR Team

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by Ralph Nader

“Hillary works for Goldman Sachs and likes war, otherwise I like Hillary,” a former Bill Clinton aide told me sardonically. First, he was referring to her cushy relationships with top Wall Street barons and her $200,000 speeches with the criminal enterprise known as Goldman Sachs, which played a part in crashing the US economy in 2008 and burdening taxpayers with costly bailouts. Second, he was calling attention to her war hawkish foreign policy.

Last week, Hillary-The-Hawk emerged, once again, with comments to The Atlantic attacking Obama for being weak and not having an organized foreign policy. She was calling Obama weak despite his heavy hand in droning, bombing and intervening during his Presidency. While Obama is often wrong, he is hardly a pacifist commander. It’s a small wonder that since 2008, Hillary-The-Hawk has been generally described as, in the words of the New York Times journalist Mark Landler, “more hawkish than Mr. Obama.”

In The Atlantic interview, she chided Obama for not more deeply involving the US with the rebels in Syria, who themselves are riven into factions and deprived of strong leaders and, with few exceptions, trained fighters. As Mrs. Clinton well knows, from her time as Secretary of State, the White House was being cautious because of growing Congressional opposition to intervention in Syria as Congress sought to determine the best rebel groups to arm and how to prevent this weaponry from falling into the hands of the enemy insurgents.

She grandly told her interviewer that “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” Nonsense. Not plunging into unconstitutional wars could have been a fine “organizing principle.” Instead, she voted for the criminal invasion of Iraq, which boomeranged back into costly chaos and tragedy for the Iraqi people and the American taxpayers.

Moreover, the former Secretary of State ended her undistinguished tenure in 2013 with an unremitting record of militarizing a Department that was originally chartered over 200 years ago to be the expression of American diplomacy. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton made far more bellicose statements than Secretary of Defense Robert Gates did. Some career Foreign Service Officers found her aggressive language unhelpful, if not downright hazardous to their diplomatic missions.

Such belligerency translated into her pushing both opposed Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and reluctant President Obama to topple the Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan dictator had given up his dangerous weapons and was re-establishing relations with Western countries and Western oil companies. Mrs. Clinton had no “organizing principle” for the deadly aftermath with warring militias carving up Libya and spilling over into Mali and the resultant, violent disruption in Central Africa. The Libyan assault was Hillary Clinton’s undeclared war — a continuing disaster that shows her touted foreign policy experience as just doing more “stupid stuff.” She displays much ignorance about the quicksand perils for the United States of post-dictatorial vacuums in tribal, sectarian societies.

After criticizing Obama, Mrs. Clinton then issued a statement saying she had called the president to say that she did not intend to attack him and anticipated “hugging it out” with him at a Martha’s Vineyard party. Embracing opportunistically after attacking is less than admirable.

Considering Hillary Clinton’s origins as an anti-Vietnam War youth, how did she end up such a war hawk? Perhaps it is a result of her overweening political ambition and her determination to prevent accusations of being soft on militarism and its imperial Empire because she is a woman.

After her celebrity election as New York’s Senator in 2000, she was given a requested seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. There, unlike her war-like friend, Republican Senator John McCain, she rarely challenged a boondoggle Pentagon contract; never took on the defense industry’s waste, fraud and abuse; and never saw a redundant or unneeded weapons system (often criticized by retired Generals and Admirals) that she did not like.

The vaunted military-industrial complex, which President Eisenhower warned about, got the message. Hillary Clinton was one of them.

Energetically waging peace was not on Secretary of State Clinton’s agenda. She would rather talk about military might and deployment in one geographic area after another. At the U.S. Naval Academy in 2012, Generalissma Clinton gave a speech about pivoting to East Asia with “force posture” otherwise known as “force projection” (one of her favorite phrases) of U.S. naval ships, planes and positioned troops in countries neighboring China.

Of course, China’s response was to increase its military budget and project its own military might. The world’s super-power should not be addicted to continuous provocations that produce unintended consequences.

As she goes around the country, with an expanded publically-funded Secret Service corps to promote the private sales of her book, Hard Choices, Hillary Clinton needs to ponder what, if anything, she as a Presidential candidate has to offer a war-weary, corporate-dominated American people. As a former member of the board of directors of Walmart, Hillary Clinton waited several years before coming out this April in support for a restored minimum wage for 30 million American workers (a majority of whom are women).

This delay is not surprising considering Hillary Clinton spends her time in the splendors of the wealthy classes and the Wall Street crowd, when she isn’t pulling down huge speech fees pandering to giant trade association conventions. This creates distance between her and the hard-pressed experiences of the masses, doesn’t it?

See Progressives Opposed to a Clinton Dynasty for more information.

(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

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by James Kunstler

Of all the awful tensions roiling and coiling in American society, it’s only a little bit surprising that the racial module is blowing off now rather than, say, the stock market. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing: race riots in the summer; stock market crashes in the fall, revolutions in the spring.

Michael Brown, the 18-year-old shooting victim of a cop-stop in Ferguson, Missouri, was not the best candidate for martyrdom. But it was only after the violent protests to his killing got underway that his convenience store robbery videotape went public — despite attempts by the US Department of Justice to suppress it — and by then it was too late to stop the juggernaut of grievance. Meanwhile, the white condescension machine (The New York Times, The Huffington Post, et. al.) revved into top gear to validate the fears and resentments of the rioters.

The casual observer from Mars might have trouble finding the reality in this welter of bad feeling. A toxicology report should have accompanied the second autopsy report, and shed a little light, but apparently no one has asked for it yet — notably the leading news media. 18-year-old young men are not known for having great judgment or impulse control even when not high.

White America is tortured by black America’s failure to thrive, and all that guilt and anxiety has only gotten worse as a substantial quota of white America loses its own footing in the middle class and plunges into the rough country of joblessness, hopelessness, and government dependency. The usual remedies of even more dependency aren’t working so well for anybody. It’s politically easier for the moment, though. And both the government and the news media are frantically busy manufacturing excuses for everybody’s bad conduct.

This poor nation is faced with the tasks of completely retooling its economy in a way that it can’t bear to imagine, and of also reforming its grotesque social behavior. One might follow the other in a better world, but our prospects for the moment are not so bright. My own camp is inclined to expect an anguished collapse rather than any deliberate reformation. We’ve set ourselves up for it.

The future we don’t want to think about is an economy focused on food production at the local scale, along with the activities that support it and add value to its products, and the labor required to do all that. There’s a fair chance that we will fail altogether to ever get it running. In any case, the officially-sanctioned future that so many people are expecting — the digital wonderland economy — will not survive the energy and capital scarcities ahead.

The basic questions of race relations in America remain too painful to ask and too hard to answer. For instance, are we hard-wired to self-segregate? There certainly was a great wish that this were not so. Has it been disproven or overcome in the 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education? Do we have different standards of behavior for different races? Does that work?

The case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, can’t inspire a whole lot of confidence about working anything out. We’re finding out that a culture of opposition produces confrontation, often just for its own sake, because there seems to be nothing better to do. Is it the opening round of broader discontent and conflict? Black America surely faces an existential crisis, but not the one imagined in the condescending news media — of somehow getting non-black America to be more just and generous. The truth is, we’ve already been through that and there is nothing left to do. We’re out of “affirmative actions” of all kinds. “Diversity” chatter didn’t make anything better. Have we completely discarded the idea of a common culture along with uniform standards of behavior? If not, we’re in for more violence and anarchy.

One Comment

  1. Harvey Reading August 19, 2014

    “Have we completely discarded the idea of a common culture along with uniform standards of behavior? If not, we’re in for more violence and anarchy.”

    Give me a break. Just more feel-good propaganda. In order to discard something, you have to possess it. This country has never had a common culture, except, perhaps, in the realm of the “culture” of always expanding and forcing our economic system on others.

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