Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Feb 1, 2015

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FIVE BICYCLISTS 'MOWED DOWN' NEAR HOPLAND

One airlifted from scene; driver of Honda sedan arrested

by Justine Frederiksen

Four bicycles lay at the side of Old River Road near Hopland after being hit Friday evening.

A car "mowed down" five bicyclists on Old River Road near Hopland Friday, the Hopland Fire Department reported.

Capt. Mitch Franklin said one of the bicyclists was still trapped under the vehicle, which he described as a Honda sedan, when firefighters arrived at the scene around 5:20 p.m. Jan. 30 in the 13000 block of Old River Road.

Franklin said he did not know if the person trapped under the car was a man or a woman, but the person suffered major injuries and was airlifted from the scene.

The other four bicyclists suffered minor to moderate injuries and were transported by ambulance.

The California Highway Patrol also responded and Franklin said the driver was arrested. No further details were available from the CHP.

Franklin said the bicyclists were all hit separately, as they were not riding in a pack at the time of the collisions, which he said happened on a straight section of the road.

He said all of the bicyclists were wearing helmets.

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

CycleCrash

ON JANUARY 30, 2015 at approximately 5:10pm Gabriel Ray, 18, of Ukiah, was driving a 1996 Honda Accord with passenger Timothy Elliott III, 42, of Ukiah, northbound on Old River Road north of Hopland. A group of five bicyclists (Deborah Banks, 57, of Sacramento, Lawrence Sokolsky, 54, of Portola Valley, Laura Stern, 52, of Menlo Park, Michael Sokolsky, 53, of San Mateo, Mark Clifford, 60, of Los Altos) were riding northbound at approximately 20mph in a straight line close to the east roadway edge. As Ray exited a curve in the roadway the fronts of the vehicle struck Banks from the rear causing Banks to be ejected from her bicycle. Banks collided with the vehicle’s windshield and Banks fell to the right shoulder. Ray continued northbound and collided with the rest of the group consecutively. When Stern was struck by the vehicle she became stuck on the hood of the vehicle. As the vehicle continued northbound Stern fell off and became trapped under the vehicle. Stern was extricated from underneath the vehicle and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. After investigation Ray was placed under arrest for DUI and Elliot was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant. Clifford and Michael Sokolsky sustained moderate injuries, Lawrence Sokolsy, Laura Stern, and Deborah Banks sustained major injuries and were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Ray and Elliott did not sustain any injuries.

— CHP Press Release…

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AVA READERS may remember passenger Timothy ‘Coke’ Elliot who apparently is out of prison after having his murder conviction overturned when Mendo’s former forensic pathologist Dr. Jason Trent changed his testimony a couple of times, giving judge Ann Moorman cause to toss out Elliott’s conviction. Instead of a new trial, Elliott plead guilty to manslaughter and was out in two years, having already served five years already before the conviction was tossed, for a total of seven years in prison.

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AFTER GRAPES & POT

Dear Editor,

I am happy to read that you are following through with a lawsuit to obligate the County to enforce its noise ordinance. The way you have framed the argument seems to make the case exclusively reasonable. There are ways to use frost fan technology that comply with the limits of the current noise ordinance; it is the responsibility of grape growers to respect those laws just like very other citizen.

When I talked to other people around the Valley, they generally frame the argument as though it is an issue of grapes vs. people. The wine industry is considered to be the major driver of the local economy and if a few people suffer, so be it. The alternative would be that the grape industry would suffer and then everybody would suffer. This would be the negative perspective of the “trickle down” economy.

Job creation is not the result of benevolence on behalf of wealthy individuals engaging in large-scale business ventures. Job creation is an inevitable part of the process of humans engaging in large-scale endeavors. Large-scale projects require large amounts of financial capital/wealth to be invested in order to begin. Currently, capital is in the hands of very few people. These people mostly engage in large-scale projects that will ensure that it remains in their hand (for profit, environmental extractive processes).

Wine grape and marijuana cultivation are the two major drivers of the local economy. They are both symptomatic of the capitalist pathology. Both make a non-essential product (as compared to food or water, etc.) to generate profits for relatively few at great cost to the environment. Marijuana cultivation is unique in that it enables the same extractive capitalist cycle to sustain at a household scale and with greater risk. Their only justification for continued existence is that they already exist and are supported by the larger scale economy, even unto exemption from common laws.

It is beyond time that we recognize the necessity to engage in a conversation to come up with something better than grapes and marijuana to drive our economy. It seems apparent to me that part of this process will involve organizing in a way that does not reflect conventional capitalism, but must interface with it. Terms like “social capital” and “localized economy” come to mind.

In terms of “social capital,” I have noticed that this County has a large number of creative people who are already engaged in numerous projects that seek to provide alternative possibilities. How do we help these projects? How do we obtain “capital” investment to help them grow to a scale that could become a sustaining infrastructure for our community?

Sincerely,

Kent Clark

Boonville

PS. I noticed some very strange “lights” the other night (Thursday?) just north of Highway 128, while driving past Philo. Not to sound crazy, I will avoid a detailed description here. But they were large enough that I would guess other people saw them. If you did, please call me. (895-3362) Thanks.

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THE WELLNESS CENTER, Pros & Cons

by Malcolm Macdonald

The approval of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the purchase of the Old Coast Hotel as a centralized mental health services site as well as a location for five transitional housing units wasn't even on the agenda for the Fort Bragg City Council meeting of January 26th, but it clearly became the main focus during more than an hour of public comments on non-agenda items.

Members of the Carine family own the Old Coast Hotel. It has sat unused for the better part of a decade. The Carine's asking price for the property has remained fairly consistent, around $2.9 million. To many that price is well above the realistic market value. For $900,000, the Carines are willing to sell the Old Coast Hotel, through the CDBG grant process, to be used by Hospitality Center (the coastal subcontractor to Ortner Management Group for adult mental health services) for the transitional housing units and a centralized access center. So why are they letting it go for $900,000? Other than personal preference, the only monetary answer would appear to be that they may be in line for tax breaks.

On January 12th Fort Bragg's City Council held a public hearing on the matter. One of the chief complaints was that not enough notice was given to the public before the hearing. The one group of citizenry that might have a legitimate beef about notification are fellow business owners within a block or two of the site. It would seem reasonable that someone from the City or Hospitality Center or Ortner Management Group should have contacted the Franklin Street business neighbors of the Old Coast Hotel, particularly in light of the protest raised by neighbors about a similar proposal in March, 2014 for the same CDBG process at 300 N. Harrison.

At the Jan. 12th meeting the City Council approved, by a 3-1 vote, a resolution to go ahead with the purchase of the Old Coast Hotel for use by Hospitality Center. Which brings us back to the public comments at the Jan. 26th Council meeting. There were a small number of speakers in favor of the Old Coast Hotel and many more opposed. The opposition breaks down a couple of ways. There are those who are opposed to the Old Coast Hotel being anything other than a restaurant and hotel. Within that group are subgroups: those opposed to change, period; those who are fearful of any kind of mental health services building being anywhere near them (for some of these folk, the Farallon Islands would be too close); and many business owners who want a business at 101 Franklin St. because this is still part of the commercial district of Fort Bragg (Down Home Foods, CVS Pharmacy, and Coast Cinemas are just to the south; North Coast Printing is directly across the street to the east; Mendo-Lake Credit, La Bamba Grocery, Figueiredo's Video Movies, and The Floor Store are less than a block to the north; Purity Supermarket and the U.S. Post Office are barely more than a block to the north).

There was also talk at the meeting about the old Social Services buildings near the southern end of Franklin Street. A couple of problems arise from this property, owned by members of the Affinito family: a good deal of repair work would have to be performed at the old Social Services site, so much so that it would seem far too costly to fit the parameters of the CDBG money; the bigger problem is that the Old Coast Hotel site was approved by the Fort Bragg City Council, the purchase option has gone forward, and escrow is likely to close on the deal within a couple of months. In other words, the Old Coast Hotel is this close to a done deal as the site of centralized mental health services in Fort Bragg.

What's left to argue or be upset about? There will be those who won't want a mental health facility anywhere near them. Near the end of this piece I'll let Councilman Scott Deitz's words at the Jan. 26th Council meeting answer the fearmongers.

If we grant the presumption that Hospitality Center can get things up and running at the Coast Hotel locale, Fort Bragg is still left with a sizable number of troublesome homeless characters. The ones who do nothing except defecate and strew trash everywhere from Purity Market south to Starbucks and Safeway. These people are mentally ill. Almost all of the trash tossing homeless are "dual diagnosis" or have a "co-occuring disorder," meaning that they have a form of mental illness and an alcohol or other drug problem as well. The trash throwers rarely seek help for their diseases. Fifty years ago ninety-five percent of them would be in locked wards at the state hospital in Talmage. The bill for that was paid for by taxpayers. The taxpayers of Mendocino County have been paying Ortner Management Group $8 million per year since they took over the privatization of adult mental health care services in July, 2013. Is there some sort of disconnect here? Ortner Management Group should be responsible for the care of the troublesome, mentally ill homeless on the streets of Fort Bragg. Ortner has its own locked ward in Yuba City and access to others around the state. However, many of the same troubled homeless have remained on the streets except for occasional short stays at the county jail.

Why?

Pay attention kids, we are going to 5150 class. If you are dead certain you know what a 5150 is and how it works, skip ahead. For the rest of us, Section 5150 of the California Wellness and Institutions Code allows a peace officer or qualified clinician to involuntarily confine a person deemed to have a mental disorder that makes that person a danger to his/herself or others. A 5150 hold allows for someone to be held up to seventy-two hours against their will. Sounds like something that could easily be applied to many of Fort Bragg's problematic homeless. A 5150 form filled out by a local law enforcement officer or clinician in an emergency room might have something like this on it: 'Brought to ER by FBPD. Found in alley unconscious. Toxicology +/ or heroin. (Client's name) admits he attempted overdose. Hears voices telling him to run into traffic.'

Situations fairly similar to this often get the individual taken over the hill to the county jail in Ukiah. Here's where things start to get tricky for our John Doe troubled homeless man from Fort Bragg. Once he is in the county jail he becomes the responsibility of, not Ortner, but an outfit called California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG). Ortner is supposed to coordinate with CFMG about the care of prisoners and their mental heath services after incarceration.

If our troubled Fort Bragg homeless man exhibits behavior that proves that he is still a danger to himself or others he can be diagnosed while in jail and sent on to a locked ward facility like the one Ortner runs in Yuba City. Guess how often that happens? Well, obviously not enough because as Fort Bragg City Councilman Lindy Peters pointed out at the Jan. 26th meeting "If somebody is exhibiting clearly what appear to be mental health problems along with maybe alcohol consumption... our police force will make an assessment, an arrest... Then [the person will be] taken by one of our officers to Ukiah and incarcerated. At that time a mental health evaluation takes place. If you determine that there is not a mental health issue or the person who has been transported does not want help, they end up back here in town and that becomes a vicious cycle for our officers."

Mark Montgomery
Mark Montgomery

The "you" Councilman Peters addressed was Mark Montgomery, one of the main faces and decision-makers for Ortner Management Group within Mendocino County. Readers should go to their Mendocino TV website and listen carefully to Montgomery's response to the councilman. If that troublesome homeless person is taken by law enforcement, under the presumption of a 5150 hold, to the ER, but hasn't been technically arrested and if that person (here's where Montgomery's quotable words start) "tests dirty for alcohol and drugs, then that no longer becomes, believe it or not, a mental health issue, it becomes a substance abuse issue... If we attempted to place somebody with a substance abuse issue in a psychiatric facility... we do that at times because there's a lot of mental health underneath that because 85%, 95% of folks have a co-occurring disorder. Then that person will be placed. If it's a person that's just actively using substances and abusing alcohol then that person should be referred or taken over to alcohol and drug programs with the county."

Anyone else feel like there could be a Catch-22 amongst the mumbo-jumbo here? According to Montgomery, if one of our troubled homeless is taken to the ER, but not technically arrested, their alcohol or drug abuse can be used to keep them from becoming a mental health patient or be hospitalized. Then Montgomery admits that 85-95% of mental health patients have co-occurring alcohol or drug problems. How much money does Ortner save by not hospitalizing Fort Bragg's chronically homeless and mentally ill? Keep in mind, once a peace officer or clinician (Guess who is in charge of the clinicians on the coast? For the most part the answer is Ortner) does put one of Fort Bragg's homeless in a 5150 hold for seventy-two hours, that individual can be held involuntarily for another two weeks as long as a psychiatrist signs off on it. Guess who controls the minuscule number of psychiatrists who make those decisions? Readers should also know that Councilman Peters is proposing a citizens' advisory board for these situations. This writer believes that it should be a citizens' oversight board, one that has power over privatized companies like Ortner, not just a committee which advises Ortner, only to have that advice ignored.

Scott Dietz
Scott Dietz

Shortly after the interchange between Councilman Peters and Ortner's Mark Montgomery, City Councilman Scott Deitz read a statement concerning his support for locating mental health services at the Old Coast Hotel. Much of it bears permanent preservation:

"When I was growing up I never saw a homeless person. I only heard about hobos and skid rows in big cities. Of course, back then you could work at a gas station and support a family, buy a house and car, and go on vacations. Times have changed. If you work at a gas station now you can hardly support yourself. It is predicted that within two years the top 1% will own over 50% of all the wealth in the world.

"This change in our economy has resulted in one out of every 95 people in California being homeless. It is a problem that all cities are dealing with, not just Fort Bragg. However, Fort Bragg has become especially vulnerable since the closure of the mill. Two-thirds of Fort Bragg families are either low income, very low income or extremely low income. 70% of the students in Fort Bragg schools qualify for free or reduced lunches. Rents in Fort Bragg are high and many families are one paycheck away from needing help.

"... Most have said that they know we need the [mental health] services and strongly support the Hospitality House programs, but just don't like the location or this use for the historic Coast Hotel. Several letters we received opposing this project reflect the mistaken belief that it is going to be used as a homeless shelter. The building will not be used as a homeless shelter nor will it provide on-site meals for the homeless.

"What it will be is five transitional housing units, a wellness center and much needed mental health services. It will not attract homeless from out of the area becase it does not provide free food or free lodging. A client has to qualify for a transitional housing unit, must be clean and sober and have a desire to move on to permanent housing. 84% of Hospitality House transitional housing clients have been successful in doing so.

"The wellness portion of the facility will provide classes such as life skills, employability, how to interview and budgeting. Future plans include vocational training and a computer lab...

"Improvements to mental health services are one of the biggest benefits to consolidating these services in one building. It will be easier to help clients stay on their meds and will make referrals for undiagnosed conditions more effective. Mental health problems are the hardest for us to deal with. We look the other way when someone yells at something that nobody else can see or begins hitting themselves in the head. Two of the biggest tragedies in our town were caused by people with mental illness. Some still blame Ronald Reagan, some blame the County, and we all hope that somebody else will do something about it. This is a chance for us to do something about it. A majority of those who will benefit from these improved mental health services are people who live in Fort Bragg. How many of us have a family member, a friend or classmate who has needed the kind of help this facility will provide?

"Business owners are concerned that there will be more homeless in the downtown area thereby keeping shoppers and tourists away. Visitors to Fort Bragg are not surprised by our homeless. They have their own homeless where they come ftrom. Mendocino has many homeless hanging out yet is crowded with tourists. San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and has panhandlers on every street corner and others sleeping in doorways...

"The search for a suitable building for these services has been long, starting in 2007. Many potential sites have been considered, including the old social services building owned by the Affinitos. Unfortunately, none have been appropriate, either costing too much or needing too much work to fit their needs. [When] the Hospitality Center identified a site in a residential neighborhood... it was strongly suggested to them that the site near the [Bainbridge] park was not appropriate. They were told that the commercial area would be preferable to one in a residential neighborhood...

"Concerns were then raised that this project [at the Old Coast Hotel] should not be located in a commercial zone... I believe that this project could add vibrancy to this corner [Oak and Franklin Sts.]. A possible coffee house and other potential community uses would add some life to what is now an under utilized area...

"Vacant buldings deteriorate... The Old Coast Hotel is already beginning to need paint and repairs. A few more years of non-use would cause serious deferred maintenance problems... This building will be loved and cared for. Pride of ownership will set an example for other building owners and will help improve the self-esteem of those who use the building.

"Like everyone else I do not welcome those who live off the system and mooch off others. This facility will not be a destination for the migrants or travelers who panhandle on our streets. It will be a place where people go who want to improve their lives and are getting assistance to do so.

"If we took all of the people of our great city, all of the students, all of its teachers and nurses and doctors, all of the old time Fort Bragg families, fishermen and loggers, those retired and those still working, and rolled them into one large Paul Bunyan-sized person, what would that person support? People helping those in need, who are ready to help themselves, or an empty building?

"I think I know the answer and that is why I support this project.

"I would just like to add that there were several complaints during the hearing [Jan. 12th] related to unlawful conduct by the homeless. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. Lindy Peters and I are on the Public Safety Committee that works with the police department regarding complaints such as these. I will put this item on our next agenda for the meeting to be held on February 11th at 3 o'clock at the police department conference room. Please attend the meeting, bring your concerns and ideas, and talk directly with police representatives.

"One idea that has already surfaced is to have more foot patrols downtown. The new wellness center would be a great location for a small substation to facilitate those patrols. Both the police department and Hospitality House support this idea."

This writer has criticized Deitz before concerning public safety issues. Given the January 26th City Council setting, with dozens of citizens ready to queue up in opposition to the Old Coast Hotel project and dozens more muttering disapproval among a standing room only crowd, Deitz's stand was somewhat courageous; not to mention fairly eloquent for a realtor with nothing to gain from this property transaction.

As for the ongoing problem, the morning after the City Council meeting at least one Franklin Street merchant reported more trash strewn alongside the business. Some of it was made up of paper plates and other items handed out with dinner at Hospitality House. No sooner had the merchant cleaned up the mess (circa 8 a.m.) a representative from Hospitality House showed up. Whether Hospitality House/Center and/or Ortner actually can stop the trash before it lands on the doorsteps of Fort Bragg businesses remains to be seen.

A business owner reported leaving a voicemail message for Hospitality House months ago about the nearly nightly trashing only to have no reply until the day after the Jan. 26th City Council meeting. The timing seemed fishy enough, then the Hospitality House employee claimed that HH had been sending their people around every night and morning to clean up. However, that business owner and others have been the ones doing the actual clean-up.

There shouldn't be a direct link between the homeless who are leaving their trash up and down Franklin St. and the homeless who will be served by a new centralized mental health facility, but how can the merchants of Fort Bragg make that leap of faith when they are lied to by the very people at Hospitality House who will have a say in how the facility at the Old Coast Hotel will be run.

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IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME

Editor,

Will opening a homeless shelter in downtown Fort Bragg help the homeless population or address the problems associated with homelessness in Fort Bragg? The idea reminds me of a quote from an old movie called Field of Dreams, "If you build it, they will come." That certainly is what has happened in other cities. The more shelters they build, the more homeless there are that still do not fit into those shelters and just simply overflow on to the streets. As a police officer for more than a quarter decade, I have seen it with my own eyes.

I was born and raised in Fort Bragg. I went to high school here, graduated from College of the Redwoods and worked for Fort Bragg Police Department for several years back in the 80’s. As a police officer, I interacted with our homeless population more than a few times. Back then, most of them were locals. Most of them were harmless. There were always a few “homeless tourists” who would drift through town, usually in the summer when the weather more easily allowed sleeping outdoors. It wasn’t until I moved out of the area that I saw what a real homeless problem looks like.

In my new city you will find homeless people sleeping in outcroppings of bushes, under bridges and other “hidden places.” You will also find them sleeping out in the open on the sidewalks in downtown. When I say downtown, I mean right in front of City Hall, right in front of some of the busiest stores and office complexes. Sure, there are lots of rural areas for them to populate, but downtown has a particular draw: homeless shelters and related services. And so, local businesses now contract (for a fee in addition to their city, state and federal taxes) with a local entity called “Downtown Clean and Safe” to try to make downtown just that, clean and safe. Others get the job of cleaning up the area, hosing down sidewalks and business doorways to try to remove the stench of human urine and the like.

It seems when an area is developed as a magnet for the homeless population, it does just that: it becomes a magnet. Not only are local homeless people drawn to the area, but soon word travels outside the town’s borders that there is an area where you can get a free place to sleep and a free meal. Soon, homeless from around the country arrive. The shelters overflow, and now we end up with full shelters and even more people sleeping on the sidewalks. It probably sounds like I am exaggerating. I wish I was.

Some cities end up with large numbers of “street kids.” These bands of young people are a mix of largely out of town homeless who feel they should not have to abide by the “corrupt laws” of society. Many have traveled from other states after hearing about the plethora of services available. So they leave home, refuse to work and get by through begging for money, taking government handouts, and sometimes through criminal activity. They form their own gangs, create their own lingo and find ways to get money to buy things the government does not provide, such as alcohol, drugs and the like. Of course if you attract a group of people who have a higher than average drug use rate, you will also attract drug dealers to that area.

So we build homeless shelters out of good and pure intention to help the homeless and address homelessness in our area and what is the result? More homelessness, more crime, a less attractive business core, the need to spend more business money to make the area look and smell like there is not a homeless problem. But there is. And it keeps growing, and we keep building, and they keep coming. So we allocate a large parcel of property outside the downtown core. We call it “Dignity Village” and tell the homeless to make their homes there. And they do. They put up a tent city which fills to capacity and then more people come, and the shelters overflow, and the sidewalks again become their beds. Now we have more mouths to feed, more health care issues for our local hospitals to address (for free) and more crime to address. What I am describing is not scary fiction. It an unfortunate reality which I have seen play out before my own eyes.

I say all of this not to imply the homeless population is undeserving of help. Quite the contrary. We are not a civilized society if we do not care for those who are less fortunate and unable to care for themselves. Unfortunately, it is by trying to be civilized, kind and well-intended that we make the problem worse for the homeless and for our towns. We assume most homeless people are “less fortunate” or “unable to care for themselves” when that is not necessarily the case. We have developed a culture of entitlement and an entire subculture of opportunistic feeders who know how to play on the emotions of our good hearted citizens. They devour the scarce resources we cobble together, meant to help those who actually want to get off of the streets.

If we want to address the homeless problem, we shouldn’t make it easier to be homeless. We should address the reasons individuals are homeless. And the reasons truly are individual. Some are homeless out of choice. Let them chose to be homeless somewhere else. Buy them bus tickets back home and let their hometowns care for them if they want to. Don’t offer services for the homeless tourist. For some the reasons for their homelessness are related to mental illness. Develop strategies to get them assistance specific for their illness. For some the reasons are economic. Help them find jobs. Yes, give them an address to receive mail (such as a post office box) and a place to wash their cloths, etc. Maybe for those few a temporary home is needed. Look around the nation, however, at the places where the government allocated a specific area for those living off of government handouts. Are the businesses thriving around those areas? Is crime lower in those areas or higher? Would you want to live there or even invest money there?

Let’s do what is right. Let’s find ways to care for others. But let’s be thoughtful and deliberate in our efforts. We must learn from others who have gone before us and learn from their successes and failures. The last thing we want to do is spend valuable resources and personal effort to end up only making things worse for those we are trying to help. Building a homeless shelter in downtown Fort Bragg would be a mistake. It would degrade an already struggling downtown business core, create a drain on scarce resources, and draw more out of town homeless who will only compound the original problem.

Troy King, formerly of Fort Bragg

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CORRUPTION, DEFINED

Editor:

Dennis O'Brien and Doug McKenty are running for the KZYX Board with the endorsement of John Sakowicz, so voters need answers to this question: Should Sakowicz, himself a Board trustee, have written to the FCC as he did, demanding refusal to renew the station license?

Doug McKenty remains under suspension as a programmer, for allowing an on-air FCC violation and ignoring a directive to correct it. Until he acknowledges his responsibility with an apology, I can't see him asking for trust.

Gordon Black, Philo

PS: Marco McClean has chosen to make some of our private correspondence public, so perhaps he'll release the rest. Meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out the difference between "corrupt" and "utterly corrupt."

ED REPLY: I think I can make your distinction for you, Gordy: You're corrupt when you're asleep, utterly corrupt when you're awake. You're welcome.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Jan 31, 2015

Campbell, Cleland, Commander, Cruz
Campbell, Cleland, Commander, Cruz

ROBERT CAMPBELL, Ukiah. Drunk in public, parole violation.

BRANDON CLELAND, Willits. Driving on suspended license, lack of registration, failure to pay.

NICHOLAS COMMANDER, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a firearm.

FAVIAN CRUZ, Ukiah. Resisting arrest.

R.Elliott, T.Elliott, Gardiner, Guevara
R.Elliott, T.Elliott, Gardiner, Guevara

RUSSELL ELLIOTT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

TIMOTHY ELLIOTT, Ukiah. Parole violation.

MATHEW GARDINER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

ANGEL GUEVARA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Hill, Holloway, Knight, Lopez
Hill, Holloway, Knight, Lopez

MICKEY HILL, Willits. Probation revocation.

JOHN HOLLOWAY, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.

HEATHER KNIGHT, Boonville. DUI.

PHILLIP LOPEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation.

Martinez, Merritt, Prouty, Rainville
Martinez, Merritt, Prouty, Rainville

CALEB MARTINEZ, Willits. Drunk in public.

JAMES MERRITT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

WILLIAM PROUTY JR., Willits. Drunk in public, misdemeanor hit&run.

JOAN RAINVILLE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Ramey, Reynolds, Sanders, Smith
Ramey, Reynolds, Sanders, Smith

DONALD RAMEY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GABRIEL RAY, Ukiah. DUI causing injury, driving without a license. (Photo not available.)

RONALD REYNOLDS, Mendocino. Vandalism.

THOMAS SANDERS, Willits. Domestic battery, criminal threats of death or great bodily injury. (Frequent flyer.)

KENNTH SMITH, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

Standbridge, Vilmenay, Ward
Standbridge, Vilmenay, Ward

ROBERT STANDRIDGE, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, elder abuse.

CHRISTIE VILMENAY, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Violation of court order.

ANGELO WARD, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Kidnapping for robbery, rape, spousal rape, oral copulation, sodomy or sexual penetration.

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D51INVESTIGATORS have reportedly traced the spate of cold-blooded murders back 3.7 billion years.

Cobb1

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SANDRA MENDELSOHN RUBIN

18 February – 28 March 2015

Reception for the artist: Wednesday, 18 February 6-8 pm

Venice, CA -- L.A. Louver is pleased to present new landscape paintings by Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin in the exhibition “A Common Thread.”

“For me, witnessing nature coming to life at the tip of my paintbrush is a humbling and moving experience. That being said, I think it is what you don’t see that gives the paintings power.” — Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin

RubinArt1

Painting from life, particularly landscape painting, has been central to Rubin’s practice since the 1980s. In this new series of paintings created over the past three years, the artist has turned to digital photography as an added resource to survey the expansive scenery surrounding her Northern California home in rural Mendocino County. To depict these scenes from an elevated perspective, Rubin has referenced photography shot from an airplane or micro-copter (a small remote controlled airborne device with a mounted camera), revealing vistas that would otherwise be inaccessible. Through this observation, she became fascinated in the human presence within the context of these environments, particularly natural and man-made bodies of water, a recurring theme in this exhibition. A precious yet dwindling resource vital to our existence, Rubin examines the subject of water as an extended meditation on its presence in everyday life.

“Following the River”(2013-14) portrays the Navarro River from above – its sinuous path carefully follows each bend of the landscape, while a nearby road cuts through without discretion. Also seen from above, “Irrigation Pond” (2013) features segmented sections of farmland with two ponds glistening like inlaid jewels amongst the fields. A slender panorama brings the viewer down to ground level in “Aqueduct at Quail Lake” (2015). In this scene, a small figure is silhouetted against a vast accumulation of water amidst dry, arid terrain.

“Studio in September” (2013) is the only painting that does not directly deal with water. Instead, the artist depicts the exterior of her studio at dusk. The dwindling daylight blankets the scene to quieting effect, while soft artificial light emanates from behind the studio windows. By angling the view from below, the structure seems to rise above the enveloping foliage like a refuge set apart from its dense bucolic surroundings.

Working primarily on a diminutive scale in this body of work, Rubin transforms these sprawling scenes into intimate encounters of intense focus. Requiring meticulous attention to detail, Rubin applies the oil paint undiluted and without glazes in successive layers to build the desired imagery. Irrespective of subject matter, it is the composite relationship between shape, color, texture and light to which Rubin gives her acute attentiveness and that forms the basis of her work. “However, in the end,” says Rubin, “intuition and memory are what shape and form each painting.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Sandra Mendelsohn Rubin studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles, and counts William Brice, James Doolin and James Valerio as primary influences. Graduating with a MFA in 1979, Rubin had already developed a distinctive landscape style that attracted early public attention and critical acclaim. In 1980, she received the Young Talent Purchase Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1981, and again in 1991, and more recently, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012. Rubin went on to expand her range of subjects to include still lives and urban landscape scenes. The artist’s first solo show was held at L.A. Louver in 1982, and was followed by solo exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Fischer Fine Art, London in 1985; Claude Bernard Gallery, New York in 1987; L.A. Louver in 1992, 2003, 2007, 2011; and Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery, New York in 2014.

Rubin’s paintings may be found in the permanent collections of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs, CA; Cocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID; Yale Art Museum, New Haven, CO; Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection, New York; the Eli Broad Collection, Los Angeles, CA; The Capital Group, Los Angeles, CA; and the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), Los Angeles, CA.

Concurrently on view: 18 February – 28 March 2015

Ben Jackel: American Imperium

New clay and wood sculptures by the Los Angeles-based artist.

* * *

Smoking

* * *

AFTER POLITICAL CORRECTNESS burst onto the academic scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it went into a long remission. Now it has returned. Some of its expressions have a familiar tint, like the protesting of even mildly controversial speakers on college campuses. You may remember when 6,000 people at the University of California–Berkeley signed a petition last year to stop a commencement address by Bill Maher, who has criticized Islam (along with nearly all the other major world religions). Or when protesters at Smith College demanded the cancellation of a commencement address by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, blaming the organization for “imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.” Also last year, Rutgers protesters scared away Condoleezza Rice; others at Brandeis blocked Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a women’s-rights champion who is also a staunch critic of Islam; and those at Haverford successfully protested ­former Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who was disqualified by an episode in which the school’s police used force against Occupy protesters...

Stanford recently canceled a performance of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson after protests by Native American students. UCLA students staged a sit-in to protest microaggressions such as when a professor corrected a student’s decision to spell the word indigenous with an uppercase I — one example of many “perceived grammatical choices that in actuality reflect ideologies.” A theater group at Mount Holyoke College recently announced it would no longer put on The Vagina Monologues in part because the material excludes women without vaginas. These sorts of episodes now hardly even qualify as exceptional...

— Jonathan Chait, ‘How the language police are perverting liberalism’

* * *

NO EXCUSES FOR 'AMERICAN SNIPER'

by Amer Zahr

By most accounts, American Sniper depicts its Arab Iraqi subjects in a simplistic and shallow fashion. No one has accused director Clint Eastwood of portraying the Arab characters of the film in a manner that is nuanced or layered. And I don't mean to be too elementary, but that is really all that matters. When a movie like this, like many others before it, simply treats Arabs and Muslims as either villains or helpless victims, we need not delve any further. We should simply call American Sniper what it is: racist.

Sure, the acting is good. The cinematography is good. There's a struggle. There's a love story. But it's racist. So that's it.

Earlier this week, in a column for CNN, Dean Obeidallah analyzed the film. Dean is perhaps the most recognizable Arab American commentator in the media. He frequently writes for CNN and The Daily Beast, and he periodically appears on cable news networks offering commentary. Also, he recently debuted a weekly radio show on Sirius.

Dean has done a lot to further understanding of Arab and Muslims in America. He has encouraged many up-and-coming Arab American artists, through his production of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and other events. My critique of him here is related only to his review of American Sniper. That being said, I don't think Dean is just a little off the mark here, I think he is way off.

Dean called American Sniper "the most powerful anti-war film I have ever seen." This is quite the proclamation. One can assume he has never seen Apocalypse Now. Or Platoon, or Full Metal Jacket, or The Deer Hunter, or In the Valley of Elah, or Born on the Fourth of July. Each of these films was much more outwardly anti-war than American Sniper, both in terms of their substance and their respective reviews. Dean wrote that he had wondered whether Eastwood's movie would be "jingoistic." To me, it seems that his comment about the film's "powerfulness" is what may be.

But that is not what troubled me most about Dean's review. Dean acknowledges that American Sniper portrayed Iraqis as "almost comically without nuance." He also stated that he wished Eastwood would have included more context, like the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture episode and the 2005 Haditha massacre of 24 unarmed civilians by American soldiers. (Dean and his editors incorrectly referenced this massacre as happening in 2006.)

Basically, Dean says he wishes Eastwood would have included more context. However, this exclusion doesn't seem to bother him too much. He goes on to say:

His focus was not on whom we were fighting, but the unbearably high price Americans pay for waging war regardless of its target. The film is a cautionary tale for Americans about why we must avoid war. It is not a celebration of waging it.

And this is where the facts get in the way of Dean's reaction. Many viewers of the movie exited theaters and posted quite nauseating things on social media regarding Arabs and Muslims. I will not get into re-listing those posts here, but they have been chronicled and covered by the ADC and major news outlets.

Dean "admits" that these terrible comments occurred, but he basically says it's just racists being racists. According to him, "The film just gave them an excuse to voice their bigotry." Dean says the film focuses on "the post-war suffering" of veterans after they come home.

There are two problems with his analysis here. First, shouldn't a movie that creates, fosters, or capitalizes upon an environment of anti-Arabism and Islamophobia be condemned just as roundly as the comments it spawns? Second, if Eastwood's real aim was to show the effects of war by highlighting PTSD and amputees, then why didn't we see a rash of moviegoers tweeting things to that effect? I don't remember any tweets saying anything like, "Just saw #AmericanSniper... I can't wait to visit some wounded vets."

At one point in the review, Dean asks himself, "Was Eastwood's use of an almost video game-like violence when it came to killing Iraqis calculated to dehumanize the Iraqi people? I don't think so." But this conclusion ignores a history. It brushes aside an atmosphere where the dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims has become commonplace, perhaps even instinctive. It denies the work of Arab-American professor Jack Shaheen (with whom Dean is quite familiar), the author of Reel Bad Arabs and The TV Arab, who has researched and delineated a history of racist stereotyping of Arabs and Muslims in Hollywood and the media over many generations.

This leads me to a few questions. In Dean's world, do instances of racism and bigotry stand alone? Is there no context? Is there no history? Such a view might look at the Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice killings devoid of any background framework of institutionalized and systemic racism. Such a view might only see racism when it is undisguised and overt, instead of seeing it as a phenomenon that is ordinary, permeating our everyday lives. Such a view might damage our efforts to root out bigotry against Arabs and Muslims.

American Sniper has been championed by Fox News. Right-wing commentators and activists have exalted it. Sarah Palin and Pamela Geller have celebrated it. Rupert Murdoch has commended it. Dean Obeidallah finds himself in strange company indeed.

So, when is enough finally enough? When can we, as Arabs and Muslims in America, no longer accommodate horrific depictions of our people? What level of racism is too much? If we can reconcile, legitimize, and explain away the racism of American Sniper, then what else might we accept?

It has always bothered me that the targets on the video game Call of Duty all look like my dad. Thanks to Clint Eastwood, I now know what that looks like on a much larger screen.

* * *

ON THE AMTRAK FROM BOSTON TO NEW YORK CITY

The white woman across the aisle from me says, “Look,
look at all the history, that house
on the hill there is over two hundred years old,”
as she points out the window past me

into what she has been taught. I have learned
little more about American history during my few days
back East than what I expected and far less
of what we should all know of the tribal stories

whose architecture is 15,000 years older
than the corners of the house that sits
museumed on the hill. “Walden Pond,”
the woman on the train asks, “Did you see Walden Pond?”

and I don’t have a cruel enough heart to break
her own by telling her there are five Walden Ponds
on my little reservation out West
and at least a hundred more surrounding Spokane,

the city I pretend to call my home. “Listen,”
I could have told her. “I don’t give a shit
about Walden. I know the Indians were living stories
around that pond before Walden’s grandparents were born

and before his grandparents’ grandparents were born.
I’m tired of hearing about Don-fucking-Henley saving it, too,
because that’s redundant. If Don Henley’s brothers and sisters
and mothers and fathers hadn’t come here in the first place

then nothing would need to be saved.”
But I didn’t say a word to the woman about Walden
Pond because she smiled so much and seemed delighted
that I thought to bring her an orange juice

back from the food car. I respect elders
of every color. All I really did was eat
my tasteless sandwich, drink my Diet Pepsi
and nod my head whenever the woman pointed out

another little piece of her country’s history
while I, as all Indians have done
since this war began, made plans
for what I would do and say the next time

somebody from the enemy thought I was one of their own.

--Sherman Alexie

8 Responses to "Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Feb 1, 2015"

  1. Jim Updegraff   February 1, 2015 at 8:47 am

    A lot of excitement about the super bowl. Methinks while the game is on it would be a good time for us to do our quarterly trip to Costco.

    Reply
  2. Harvey Reading   February 1, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Just the thought of a movie about a cold-blooded killer sickens me. Those soldier (and sailor and marine and airmen) boys and girls are NOT fighting for our freedom, never have, all the hoopla about a nonexistent “greatest generation” and other such tripe notwithstanding. Every war we have fought overseas was undertaken because of our “leaderships'” desire for ever more world power, ever more theft of natural resources, and the chance for the wealthier to get more, more, more, using us as cannon fodder. Glorifying murder is nothing more than a form of brainwashing … and, sadly, it works, judging from the military worship that prevails in this sick country. Clint will do the world a favor when he makes his final exit.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Costello   February 1, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Sherman Alexie is a great writer, and much better to read than listen to in a theater setting.

    Reply
    • Harvey Reading   February 1, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Yes, his books were great, but the film, Smoke Signals, was outstanding as well. I wonder what he’s up to these days.

      Reply
  4. Jim Updegraff   February 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Considering that we live in a racist, selfish, gun crazy society that coddles up to fascist dictators with a political system filled with neocom war hawks beholden to the military industrial complex why of course we worship the military.

    Reply
    • Jeff Costello   February 3, 2015 at 5:00 am

      This brings up homely phrase, “God Fearing.” If we worship the military, isn’t it because they have all the heavy artillery and bombs, and drone, etc., and could blow us all to bits if they so choose? I’m also reminded of the explosion in the 80s of “rap music” on mainstream TV. Arsenio Hall would have white guests, perhaps alongside a popular hip-hop artist, or perhaps not. But with most white interview subjects, Hall would get them into a corner and ask them, a bit menacingly, “Do you like rap music?” The guest was trapped, with two alternative answers: Yes, or No. Often, a “yes” answer was a lie based in simple self preservation. A lot of those rappers of the day were known to be packing guns and were not shy about using them. A small but definite similarity to military worship…

      Reply
  5. Jeff Costello   February 2, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Super Bowl day is the perfect time for a road trip. A few years ago on that day I drove Marin County to Oregon and pretty much had 101 to myself. Stopped in Eureka to eat and the place was packed with people watching the game on TV and pretending to be excited about it. I first noticed this in the 80s when my roommate, purporting to be a big football fan, would turn on a game and stop paying any attention to it before the first quarter was over. I regard this an existential thing. They want to believe the hype and must watch lest they be regarded as un-American. In the Bush years this became a real, viable fear.

    Reply

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