- Local Rainfall Amounts
- Local Christmas Trees
- Implications of Prop. 47
- Modern Execution
- Niner Offense
- Who'll Stop The Rain
- Tone Row Jazz
- All About Gold
- Catch of the Day
- Police Reports
NAVARRO RESIDENT MIKE KALANTARIAN has assembled some interesting local rain info showing that rainfall totals vary significantly in the area’s various microclimates. The Valley’s most recent storm produced significantly more rain in Navarro than in Comptche or Boonville (2.8 inches at the Rancho Navarro ridgetop, 2.1 in Comptche, 1.1 in Boonville). The milder rainstorm a few days earlier produced 1.2 inches at the Rancho Navarro ridgetop and just 0.5 in Boonville. And the lesser rain a few days before that produced 0.7 at the Rancho Navarro ridgetop, 0.45 in Comptche and just 0.2 in Boonville.
SAFE VS. SAFER — The Implications of Prop. 47
by Bruce McEwen
FOR THE PAST TWO WEEKS the courthouse in Ukiah has been swamped with lawyers and their clients petitioning the judges to reduce hundreds of felony convictions for drugs and theft to misdemeanors, the implementation of the newly instituted state law under Proposition 47. The new law mainly applies to tweakers who often asserted that the large quantities of meth they were caught with was for their personal use and it also affects tweakers because they are often so desperate to get more meth that they resort to stealing things.
Prop. 47 reduces anything under $950 to a petty theft misdemeanor; the same for fraud, forgery, writing bad checks, and receiving stolen property — all common business practices for tweakers.
THE NEW LAW could result in the release of over 10,000 felons from the state prisons and county jails into communities already coping with a great many former prisoners due Governor Brown’s recently implemented realignment program.
REALIGNMENT released a great many non-violent and non-serious criminals from the jails in order to make room for people doing time in the state pens — Brown was under a federal mandate to thin out his prison population — and now this measure, Prop 47, championed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome, will increase the numbers of early releases.
We have to wonder where all these people will find jobs and housing. Will they be selling meth on the streets? Or working in rehab programs?
IT HAS BEEN ESTIMATED that Prop. 47 will save between $150 to $250 million in prison costs. This money will be re-directed into mental health and drug treatment programs (65%), K-12 schools (where the meth addiction often begins with Ritalin prescriptions) (25%), and crime victim services (10%).
PROP. 47 was passed in the November 4th election with 59.27% for; and 40.73 percent against. The initiative was pushed by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and former San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and philanthropist B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. (who contributed $1,255,000 to the campaign) wrote editorials in support of the measure. The ACLU contributed $2 million. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings kicked in $246,664, among many others, like rapper Jay Z, author Michelle Alexander and actress Olivia Wilde (niece of the late Alexander Cockburn), for a total of $10,791,022
THE OPPOSITION, on the other hand — which included Senator Diane Feinstein, District Attorney David Eyster, Sheriff Tom Allman, and newspaper reporter Bruce McEwen, could only manage to rake up $501,925, most of it coming from the California Association of Police Chiefs.
THE ALLIANCE FOR A SAFER CALIFORNIA argued that the measure would release dangerous three-strike criminals. We haven’t seen any of that, yet, but if you are a dangerous three-strike convict and want to get out of prison, please call your lawyer, because the cases are being studied individually, and there seems to be lots of leeway. Also — and this is a point I didn’t personally like about the measure — it will be impossible to stop you from buying a gun (because you will no longer be a felon); and if you can’t afford to buy one, it will be reduced to a misdemeanor if you go out and steal one!
A LOT OF PEOPLE who voted for this measure seem to think the prisons were full of pot smokers, and that keeping a bunch of harmless stoners was a waste of people’s time and the state’s money. The sponsoring entity, Californians for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools characterized it with the following blandishment: “Stop wasting prison space on low-level nonviolent crime.”
THE OPPOSITION, Alliance for a Safer California replied: “California law already requires this” (that’s what realignment was all about). Calif. Police Chiefs Assn. called it “a dangerous and radical package of ill-conceived policies.”
HERE'S HOW it came about.
WILLIAM LANSDOWNE AND GEORGE GASCÓN submitted a letter requesting a title and summary on Dec. 19, 2013. The title and summary was issued by the Attorney General’s Office on February 14, 2014. 504,760 valid signatures were required for qualification purposes, and supporters had until July 14th to collect them. On May 5th and 6th supporters turned in an estimated 800,000 signatures. On June 26th the initiative was certified for the November 4 ballot, 587,806 signatures reported as valid. The cost of collecting the signatures came to $1,847,882: equivalent to $3.66 per signature.
THE COST OF HOUSING A FELON in the state prison is more than the opposition could raise to campaign against Prop 47. Compare this to the cost of having tweakers break into your house in the wee hours and steal your iPhone or laptop — neither of which could be considered worth more than $950 — not to mention your guns — to go out and score some more meth.
THIS MAKES for a safe neighborhood? Gimme a break!
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Re Today's Niner Win: “A win is a win, but good grief! This is what the Offense accomplished in the second half vs Washington: interception, punt, punt, punt, fumble, TD, kneel-game over. Big kudos to Anquan Boldin who kept what little Offense we could muster moving. His reception over the middle on the TD drive with a simultaneous helmet to helmet penalty was a beast of a catch. Another good defensive effort by the Fangio crew, allowing little from offensive turnovers. Not much to get excited about. If we can't move the ball against a Redskin defense with half their guys, recent practice squad acquisitions, what will we do against Seattle's ‘Legion Of Boom’ crew, Thanksgiving day?”
WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN
Long as I remember,
The rain been comin' down.
Clouds of myst'ry pourin'
Confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages
Tryin' to find the sun.
And I wonder, Still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain?
I went down Virginia,
Seekin' shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable,
I watched the tower grow.
Five-year plans and new deals
Wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, Still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain?
Heard the singers playin',
How we cheered for more?
The crowd had rushed together
Tryin' to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin',
Fallin' on my ears.
And I wonder, Still I wonder
Who'll stop the rain?
— John Fogerty
TONE ROW JAZZ
A Discourse on Freedom, With Sax
by David Yearsley
To carry off something supremely clever and complicated while making it seem natural, even fun, is the rarest of artistic feats. This ability is partly captured by the sprezzatura of Castiglione’s courtier, he who can conceal true difficulty behind the sheen of effortlessness. While a gifted few may be born with fully formed facility in this department — exiting the womb with neonatal nonchalance — others, however gifted, must work hard to give the impression of ease.
Art Tatum at the piano comes to mind, cigarette casually emitting curling threads of smoke, like the player himself, seemingly untroubled by the almighty wind of runs and arpeggios rushing from the ebony box. Endowed with prodigious native talent, Tatum had nonetheless practiced intensely to be able to make his Herculean labors on the ivories seem like child’s play.
Ithaca’s Carriage House Café has often been praised by me in this space as an unsurpassed locale for all kinds of chamber music, but especially jazz in its latter day, smokeless form. There is no need for the carcinogenic ambience of yore in the warmth of its wood-floored and beamed interior populated with antiques, from old cameras to suitcases to a penny-farthing bicycle on the wall above the bandstand — these objects artfully collected and displayed by the owner-designers, the convivial-minded and music-loving Chandler family.
On the ground floor, where horses were quartered when the gracious stone structure fulfilled the purpose for which it was originally built, the best breakfast within miles is to be had. Upstairs, the converted hayloft serves up tremendous musical fare: from local masters of international repute like Malcolm Bilson playing Mozart on eighteenth-century pianos to the likes of alto saxophone giant Vincent Herring and other distinguished visitors.
Perched between the upland enclave of Cornell University far above Lake Cayuga and the occasional bustle of a downtown Ithaca currently undergoing a radical facelift that might just scar the patient for life, the Carriage House offers a place to see long-time friends and fellow devotees where all can listen to, and talk about, music. The atmosphere is sophisticated yet relaxed, and the art is great even if the stakes never seem to be too high. The Carriage House’s Hayloft can amp things up with Saturday night energy when so required, but it is at its best on Sunday evening when it becomes the perfect refuge against the looming terrors of the week.
It also provides space and encouragement for musical sprezzatura. Yet even that term does not fully capture the style and achievement of saxophonist James Spinazzola and the constellation of musicians who shone around him this past Sunday night in the Hayloft. As leader of the band, Spinazzola set for himself the challenging project to write jazz tunes based on compositions from the 1920s and 30s by the leading figures of the so-called Second Viennese School — the group’s guru Arnold Schoenberg and his two most famous students Alban Berg and Anton Webern. The generative musical material of such works is known as a tone row — a distinct iteration, painstakingly chosen by the composer, of a succession of all twelve notes of the chromatic scale, no pitch to be repeated before the series has been completely filled. Each work, then, grows — organically, many would say — out of this genetic musical stamp. The music that results is commonly called “atonal,” though Schoenberg disliked the term. He preferred a discourse of freedom: Schoenberg’s self-proclaimed “emancipation of dissonance” meant that harmony and a tonal center — a home key — would no longer govern the musical polity. For those comforted in the cradle by their mother’s soothing diatonic lullabies (i.e., almost everybody with a musical parent), this could and can be a disorienting, even alienating form of liberty. That truth did not trouble Schoenberg’s elitist modernism, but rather encouraged it. Thus Spinazzola set out to fashion jazz “tunes” from material that was hardly tuneful in the traditional sense.
Still more daunting aesthetically — and more challenging to the practice of sprezzatura — is the seemingly academic nature of the exercise. In a way pianist Bill Evans had already paved the way for these kinds of efforts with his pair of Twelve Tone Tunes from the early 1970s, but this excellent music did not confront the original masters of the row on their home turf: Evans in his corduroy suit and open collars did not echo back at the starched and cravatted Viennese master their own inventions. Such an exercise risks pedantry and pretense: Why wrestle twelve-tone rows into a jazzman’s get-up if not to demonstrate — indeed, show off — one’s highbrow engagement with a rarefied historical repertory?
The miracle of Sunday evening in the Hayloft was that Spinazzola’s creations and his fiercely imaginative improvisations on them were utterly devoid of academic arrogance and annoying ambition, even though it was abundantly clear how much imagination and compositional care he had lavished on his music in order to give it such bright flair and flow. This was music full of spikey humor and irrepressible joy — a sunny contrast to the interwar Viennese angst that clings to the tone rows Spinazzola drafted into jazzful service. There was no lecture in word or in deed: this was music that spoke for itself, even while it did not hide its debt to historical antecedents. The most ardent philosophical defender of the Second Viennese School was Theodor Adorno, who called their work the New Music. The pervasive erudition of Spinazzola’s new-new music was all the more impressive for never trying to impress. What Spinazzola drew from these rows taken from some of the most famous Second Viennese works — beginning with Alban Berg’s beloved Concerto for Violin and Orchestra — appeared as natural and swinging and smart as jazz can be. And out of other composer’s ideas, Spinazzola had crafted something utterly original.
The concert itself was equally inspired in the way it brought together old and new, “jazz” and “classical.” Even while Spinazzola wears and plays his erudition lightly he is not afraid to show us something: to teach in the most gracious and entertaining way. The program began with Fort Worth by the celebrated American tenor saxophonist, Joe Lovano; the composition’s extended stretches of stasis fostering long arcs of modal exploration by the players turned out to be a starkly contrasting prelude to the rapid fire harmonic changes of the twelve-tone music to come. Pianist John Stetch introduced the tune with big dark chords low on the keyboard: archly portentous reflections, perhaps, on the challenges to come. A long-time resident of Ithaca, Stetch recently moved back to New York City, but he frequently returns to town to fill the Hayloft with a visionary pianism marked by a mastery of convention and brilliance at departing from it.
For a musician who must have dedicated a good chunk of his summer to mapping out this jagged topography of twelve-tone tunes, Spinazzola can improvise fleet and fascinating lines above the flat lands of Fort Worth. Even on this gentler though not unchallenging terrain, Spinazzola’s Cornell colleague, Ithaca native Paul Merrill on trumpet, was clearly in an exploratory mode, at times almost elated, pushing himself and letting himself be spurred by his fellow musicians: the incisive and exuberant commentary of Greg Evans, Ithaca’s ubiquitous drummer, and buoyant, big-toned bass playing of Peter Chwazik.
From here we turned back towards Vienna. The tunes did not have titles per se, but merely listed the original compositions on which they were based and then the twelve pitches of its row. First up was perhaps the most tonal of these “atonal” melodies — that from Berg’s Violin Concerto. Its row begins with a minor triad and ends with the fragment of a whole-tone scale. This last segment happens to be the same four notes as the opening of the penitential Lutheran chorale Es ist genug. In his concerto Berg quotes from Bach’s harmonization of that deathbed tune, and to hear these forebodings of mortality transformed with such apparent effortless into vivid life by Spinazzola and his band made the composition and the individual improvisations on it all the more affirming, even unexpectedly moving. The heavy was made light — but never lite.
After a kindred transformation of Anton Webern’s Symphony, Spinazzola took a break to make way for the keyboardist Blaise Bryski who introduced the material of Schoenberg’s Serenade on the Hayloft’s Hammond B-3 with a riveting fantasy of jabbing pointillistic color: Webern’s Klangfarben rendered in dazzling Day-Glo bursts and streaks.
With Spinazzola’s jazz triptych still seeming to hover above the altar-like bandstand, Bryski sauntered to the grand piano and Spinazzola put down his gutsy, but fleet tenor saxophone for an alto, and both were joined by violinist Ariana Kim and clarinetist, Lenora Schneller for a piece of original Vienna: Webern’s Quartet for Violin, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone and Piano. Whereas the Viennese-inspired jazz was outgoing, even effusive the original was fretful and fragmented, the four chamber voices sounding like the internal monologue of a shattered consciousness, its shards intensely, almost painfully beautiful. Whereas the jazz rushes along to a stream of continuous, but vigorously textured rhythm, there’s hardly a downbeat in either of the two movements of Webern’s quartet: even musical time is questioned to the point of dissolution. Never did “emancipation” sound so fraught, especially when rendered with such exquisite ensemble.
Schneller and Kim stayed on to play the rollicking elaboration of the row in the ensuing number, then departed the bandstand as the men (yes, jazz is still a male-dominated medium as I’ve pointed out here before) investigated the potential with their own up-tempo ruminations that forsake the self-searching business of the original for the spirited communal conservation provided by Spinazzola’s composition. In the interior of this row loom the notes B-A-C-H; indeed the unsurpassed improviser Bach himself would have been thrilled by these electrifying proceedings.
Keeping the evening’s voyage to a pleasant and digestible 90 minutes, Spinazzola piloted his ship back to the home port of jazz with his concluding Joy’s Blues: its greasy and spiced twelve-tone chromaticism allowing, indeed encouraging, musicians and audience to help themselves to the feast. The thankfulness of all for this tour-de-force of compositional craft was acknowledged by the leader with a disarming grin.
Even if this was music of and in the moment, history hung in the smokeless air. I couldn’t help thinking of Adorno, who infamously hated jazz, describing it with adjectives like comical, grotesque, and anal. The dyspeptic Frankfurter would likely have been appalled — though perhaps also fascinated — by the uplifting contradiction of Spinazzola’s project: to take the emancipated dissonances of the Viennese and shackle them to a tonal center and repeated chord progression that can be improvised on, extemporaneous elaborations that Adorno dismissed as faux, childlike, and primitive. The problem with so much modernism is that its difficulty must be made to sound so, that the torturous challenges of originality must be placed center stage. Marveling not just at Spinazzola’s encompassing musicianship but also the grace with which he pulls it off, makes a you glad to love art but not be forced to worry about it.
"ALL ABOUT MONEY" returns to KMEC Radio on Monday, November 24, at 1 PM, Pacific Time, with host John Sakowicz, and guest Nolan Watson, Chairman and CEO of Sandstorm Gold, one of the world's leading companies in gold streaming agreements. We'll be talking about gold, and the effect that the U.S. economy, the Fed's monetary policies, the U.S. dollar, and inflationary/deflationary expectations, all have on the price of gold. We'll also be asking whether gold is a "barbaric relic"" of the past, as some pundits have noted, in this day and age of electronic trading and modern financial markets. Finally, we'll be talking about socially responsible business practices for mining companies with operations in the developing world. KMEC RADIO’s broadcasts are heard live at 105.1 FM in Ukiah. We also stream live from the web at www.kmecradio.org. Our shows are archived. (John Sakowicz)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Nov 23, 2014
RAFAEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
DANIEL ANDERSON, Willits. Probation revocation.
RYAN BABITZKE, Vancouver/Willits. DUI.
CHARLES BARTMAN, Redwood Valley. Resisting arrest.
MICHAEL BELTRAN, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Battery, participation in criminal street gang, petty theft, possession of meth and marijuana for sale, juvenile probation violation.
BALDOMERO BERNABE, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.
ADOLFO CAMARENA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
DMITRI CURLEY-HOLMAN, Ukiah. Robbery, residential burglary, conspiracy, witness intimidation.
JARED FOLEY, Ukiah. Robbery, residential burglary, conspiracy, witness intimidation.
MARTY GARCIA, Hopland. Drunk in public, impersonating Pancho Villa.
ANTHONY GRANADOS, Ukiah. Petty Theft, receiving stolen property, probation revocation.
DANIEL HEATH, Willits. Drunk in public.
ROXANNE KORHUMMEL, Fort Bragg. Harboring of wanted felon.
MICHAEL PUSHKAROW, Napa/Ukiah. Possession of smoking/injecting device, probation revocation.
FREDY REYES-RUBIO, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, possession of smoking/injecting device, resisting arrest.
ROY SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
JERRY STEWART, Willits. Possession of controlled substance, possession of smoking/injecting device, parole violation.
JOSE TAMAYO JR., Fort Bragg. Burglary-Shoplift, possession of concentrated cannabis, probation revocation.
COPS ON PATROL IN UKIAH
ON THURSDAY, November 13th at about 11:55 AM a Ukiah Police Officer attempted to stop a bicyclist in the 200 block of East Gobbi Street. The bicyclist refused to yield to the officer’s lights and siren, and fled west on Gobbi Street. The bicyclist turned onto Porzio Lane then into a breezeway between two buildings where the officer continued to pursue on foot. The bicyclist returned to Gobbi Street and fled east, and was captured trying to hide in some bushes in a parking lot in the 200 block of East Gobbi Street. The bicyclist, 23 year old Daniel Taylor, was arrested for resisting arrest. Taylor was on Post Community Release Supervision for assault with a dangerous weapon, and on three separate probations, and was charged with violating both programs.
ON THURSDAY, November 13th at about 12:55 PM Ukiah Police responded to WalMart, at 1155 Airport Park Boulevard, for a theft. Officers learned the suspect had performed a fraudulent return, and when employees tried to stop the suspect from leaving, he pushed an employee and was seen leaving in a vehicle. The store employees provided a description of the suspect and vehicle and but were only able to provide a partial license plate number. On November 15th at about 4:30 PM the investigating officer noticed a vehicle matching the description in the 300 block of Luce Street, and that the driver also resembled the reported suspect description. The officer stopped the vehicle, and identified the driver as 29 year old Philip Joseph Cosenza. The officer determined Cosenza was the suspect and arrested him for burglary and for robbery.
ON THURSDAY, November 13th at about 10:35 PM Ukiah Police Officers were conducting a traffic stop in the 1000 block of South State Street. A subject approached the officers and demanded to know why the officers were looking at the subject’s vehicle, which was apparently parked nearby. The subject, later identified as 20 year old Jose Beltran Carrasco, was told by the officers that their investigation had nothing to do with his vehicle. Carrasco became agitated and tried several times to walk between the officers, insisted the officers were looking at his car and demanded to know why, and refused instructions to stop interfering with the officers. Carrasco continued his behavior and was finally arrested for interfering with a police investigation. Carrasco later tried to discard an item found to be less than a gram of heroin, and he was also charged with possessing a narcotic drug.
ON SATURDAY, November 15th at about 12:30 PM Ukiah Police Officers performed a probation search at a residence in the 800 block of Waugh Lane. Upon arriving, numerous subjects tried to flee the residence and assistance was requested from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Officers observed 41 year old Billy Joe Rickman, of Biggs, scurrying over piles of debris in the backyard and ordered him to stop. Rickman refused and ran onto the railroad tracks, where he was confronted by another officer. Rickman had no escape route and surrendered, and was taken into custody for resisting arrest. Officers located 31 year old Noey Johnson hiding under a bed inside the residence, and he was also taken into custody. Officers located numerous bicycles at the residence, many in varying states of assembly and some of which were stolen, and determined Johnson had been dismantling the stolen bicycles. Johnson was charged with resisting arrest, possessing stolen property, violating probation, and violating Post Community Supervised Release.
ON SATURDAY, November 15th at about 10:00 PM Ukiah Police responded to the Ukiah Conference Center for a fight. Officers learned there had been an event at the location, and that 24 year old Jaime Jesus Nava-Franco was exiting the building. Nava-Franco was apparently attacked by three or more male juveniles who hit Nava-Franco with crutches, and hit and kicked him repeatedly. A security guard intervened and the suspects fled, and Nava-Franco began to attack the security guard. Nava-Franco was extremely intoxicated and could provide very few details of the incident and yelled incoherently while not being able to stand. Nava-Franco was arrested for public intoxication. At least one of the witnesses was also very intoxicated and officers obtained as much information on the suspects as possible, and the case remains under investigation.
ON SUNDAY, November 16th at about 12:55 AM Ukiah Police responded to the Jack in the Box drive through, at 1115 Airport Park Boulevard, for a driver passed out behind the wheel. Officers learned 26 year old Eric Dmario Flenoid-Bell drove up to the drive through window after ordering food. Flenoid-Bell apparently appeared confused and stated he didn’t have money to pay for his food. Flenoid-Bell then appeared to pass out while still parked in the drive- through. Officers determined Flenoid-Bell had been drinking and was too intoxicated to drive, and arrested him for DUI.
ON TUESDAY, November 18th at about 11:10 AM Ukiah Police Officers went to a hotel in the 900 block of North State Street to serve an arrest warrant for drugs sales, on 47 year old Aurelio OrtizAcosta. Officers saw OrtizAcosta run into a room and close the door and he refused to open the door despite being ordered to, and yelled to the officers he wasn’t coming out. Officers eventually forced entry into the room and arrested OrtizAcosta for the warrant and for resisting arrest. Officers located numerous electronic devices in the room including a laptop computer determined to be stolen. OrtizAcosta was charged with possessing stolen property and violating probation.
ON THURSDAY, November 20th at about 4:00 PM Ukiah Police responded to Walgreen’s, at 308 East Perkins Street, for a robbery that just occurred. Officers learned a male subject wearing a mask entered the store and went directly to the cashier and demanded money. The suspect made several more threats and demands, and then hurriedly left the store without obtaining any money. The suspect was last seen running south across Perkins Street. Officers were assisted by the California Highway Patrol in searching the area for the suspect with negative results. The suspect is described as a male 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing approximately 120 pounds, and was wearing a light gray sweatshirt with the California Bear on the front, black pants and black shoes, sunglasses, and white gloves with black palms. Anybody with information is asked to call the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6262.