- Canadian Fourth
- Mendolib Stories
- Legalization Concerns
- No Wrong Door
- Emerging Choice
- New Business
- Yesterday's Catch
- SMART Fares
- Dem Pivot
- Riding Currents
- Who Decides
- Park Bench
- Bukowski's Characters
- That Loser
- Gregory Rabassa
- Read & Weep
- Regulatory Capture
- Library Events
THE FOURTH FROM THE OTHER SIDE
by Dick Meister
The Fourth of July, as we all know, is Independence Day. Hurray for George Washington and the revolutionaries, down with King George and the British. That sort of thing.
But have you ever wondered what it's like on the other side? Have you ever celebrated the Fourth across the border in Canada, in that territory settled by pro-British “Loyalists” who fled the United States after the Revolutionary War?
It is a most peculiar experience for one accustomed to the American way of viewing the events of 1776. My wife and I observed the Fourth on the other side once, in Fredericton, the beautiful little capital of New Brunswick.
Going into Fredericton meant going into the camp of a former enemy who openly hailed the “Loyalists” who fought for them against us. I mean people who opposed our revolution and never even said they were sorry.
Our first stop was the hallowed Loyalist Cemetery near the banks of the Saint John River at the far end of Waterloo Row, burial ground of Fredericton's revered founders — anti-American tories, the lot of them. We trudged down a muddy path to a ring of trees around a swampy grass clearing in which the tory heroes lay, prepared to utter a revolutionary sentiment or two over them in honor of the holiday.
We managed to get a quick look at a couple of thin, well-worn, tottering slate headstones — but that was all. Before we could even open our mouths, they struck — angry swarms of dread North woods mosquitoes.
Backwards we dashed. Quickly. Very quickly. We slapped at each other as we squished awkwardly over the wet ground, batting mosquitoes off hair, face, neck, arms, clothes.
Much buzzing. Much stinging. They were everywhere. The Tories' Revenge. For days afterward, we bore the swollen red marks of the Loyalists.
More insults were to come, in the Legislative Assembly chambers downtown. The chambers were elegant: ornately carved desks, elaborately patterned silk wall coverings, thick crimson carpeting. But up on the walls, in places of honor on either side of the Speaker's chair, hung portraits of George III, the very monarch we made a revolution against, and his queen, Charlotte — and both painted by no less a master than Joshua Reynolds.
In the United States, of course, we celebrate the end of colonialism. But in Fredericton they seemed to yearn for its return. Union Jacks flew from staffs all over town, and portraits of Queen Elizabeth and her consort hung in government and private buildings everywhere. Ceremonial guards outside City Hall wore the white pith helmets, long crimson jackets and black uniform trousers of the British colonial soldier.
Just behind City Hall stood the restored quarters of the British garrison that was stationed in the city for more than a century, one of the buildings housing a museum full of anti-revolutionary twaddle. Captions below portraits of leading Loyalists praised them for their “faith, courage, sacrifices” against Yankees, who were for the most part described as violent, crude, rude and vulgar.
Here, too, a portrait of George III hung in a place of “honour.” Among the Loyalists singled out was that other fine fellow, Benedict Arnold, who lived in New Brunswick before slinking off to Mother England in 1791. At least the museum keepers had the decency to own up to Arnold's “reputation for crookedness.”
The latter-day Loyalists claimed to like us nevertheless. A half-dozen US flags fluttered smartly outside the Lord Beaverbrook Hotel, Fredericton's finest, and the marquee proclaimed, “We Salute our American Friends. Happy 4th of July.”
Sure thing. But, tell me, how do you explain those mosquitoes?
(Copyright©Dick Meister, who lives in San Francisco, but has spent a lot of time among our former enemies in Canada.)
RICHARD SHOEMAKER is Point Arena's $50,000-a-year, part-time city manager. He's charging Arenans $10 to watch 4th of July fireworks from the Mendocino County parking lot in Point Arena. In the same sense Napoleon thought himself synonymous with France, Shoemaker seems to think he's synonymous with the County and Point Arena, that he can appropriate the County parking lot to make PA's captive population pay $10 to watch fireworks from property neither he nor Point Arena owns. Since his mysterious appointment as city manager by the Mendolib underground a few months ago, Shoemaker has made the broke City of PA more broke, partly because of his preposterously inflated salary for part-time "work."
OF COURSE it's only coincidence that just up the road in Fort Bragg, Shoemaker's girl friend, city manager Linda Ruffing, is charging FB people $10 to watch the fireworks from the Noyo Headlands Trail.
(THE MENDOLIB UNDERGROUND, aka the Mendocino County branch of active Hillary Democrats, manages to get its people into all the high paying County and city jobs. Scratch a County or City job, or a non-profit, and there they are, making Mendocino County a little poorer in every way every day.)
MENDOCINO COUNTY'S most interesting, and most thoroughly re-invented personality, Mike Sweeney, direct Mendolib beneficiary, has suggested to the Ukiah Daily Journal's Adam Randall that he may retire. And his retirement might just precede the abolition of the Sweeney-created Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority as proposed by Willits City councilman, Ron Ornstein.
ORNSTEIN recently pointed out the obvious — that Sweeney's trash agency was formed to close down landfills that no longer exist, and that MSWMA doesn't do anything that the County's private trash companies couldn't do.
(MENDOCINO COUNTY is also home to a County Office of Education that manages to spend annual millions not doing a single thing that couldn't be done better and cheaper by the individual school districts of Mendocino County. The State of California has at last begun rolling back MCOE's more obviously redundant or pointless responsibilities, and we shall see what we shall see. When The Terminator was governor of the state, he wanted to terminate all the county offices of education, but was prevented by the massive politically connected edu-blob from carrying out this long overdue public service.)
SO, what's so interesting about the County's garbage czar, Mike Sweeney?
A cunning little fellow right out of Conrad's Secret Agent, Sweeney, a private high school grad from a wealthy Santa Barbara family, was duly packed off to Stanford where, as a mere freshman, he became editor of the student paper and a Maoist soldier in a weird "revolutionary" cult led by the English department, or at least one guy from the English department called H. Bruce Franklin, a Melville scholar. (How a person, even a Stanford person, manages to go from a close study of a great humanist and writer like Melville to the fortune cookie maxims of Mao tse Tung is one of the more intriguing minor mysteries of American life, but the professor apparently went over boffo with Sweeney.)
OUR HERO, an otherwise unprepossessing man with an impressively psychotic bad temper, remained a Maoist long after "revolution" was fashionable on college campuses. Among other revolutionary triumphs, Sweeney's cult murdered a young, unarmed, married with two small children, Hispanic prison transportation officer. The ruling class trembled!
SWEENEY, a militant prole, dropped out of Stanford for a while to study refrigeration engineering — you know, pipes and wrenches (as in pipe bombs). It was at a Maoist convention that Sweeney met Judi Bari, which turned out to be one of your more explosive relationships.
STILL on their honeymoon, the newlyweds, now living in West Santa Rosa near an airfield popular with weekend pilots, led a campaign to stop both the planes that disturbed their suburban peace and to prevent conversion of the airfield to more suburb. One night one of the hangars blew up, a young man asleep inside running for his life. Police would later note that the cockamamie bomb deployed by Sweeney, and probably Bari, to ignite the gasoline that destroyed the hangar, was a "signature" device, similar to those detonated in 1990 at the L-P office in Cloverdale and, a few weeks later, in the former Mrs. Sweeney's car in Oakland. There were design and parts similarities between all three bombs.
ORDINARILY, as any cop can tell you, the man in a woman's life, or the ex-man in the woman's life, is awarded Suspect Number One status when his lady or former lady is harmed or murdered. Not Sweeney. The cops, and even the FBI, magically dismissed Bari's ex as any kind of suspect in the bomb that slowly, over seven years, ended her life in 1997. The FBI had already announced that the case was closed "because no one would talk to us" (!) and, ever since, the pseudo-left of the cult-brained type, has claimed the bombing of Bari was, gosh, just a great big mystery, but the FBI did it; or the timber corporations did it; or a religious nut did it; or men generally did it. Pick your villain so long as it isn't one as prosaic as an ex-husband.
AS ALL THIS violent excitement around Bari was picking up momentum in 1990, Sweeney was also getting recycling grants via local Democrat, Wes Chesbro, which Sweeney, tight with Mendolib’s Richard Shoemaker then a Ukiah-area supervisor, parlayed those grants into a cush and well-paid job for himself in his and Mendolib's freshly created MSWMA. Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, Sweeney and Bari shared free office space at the Mendocino Environment Center directly across the street from the County Courthouse in a building owned by present Supervisor, John McCowen. The very day after the bombing, a couple of men no one had ever seen before ripped out the phones and confiscated the computers.
SWEENEY, long before all the hullabaloo around the bombing had calmed down, was thoroughly done over as just one more gray little bureaucrat shuffling around County offices dropping acronyms and trying to look busy. And where better place could a criminal psychopath find a more comfortable home than Mendocino County, where every day history starts all over again, and you are whatever you say you are?
OTHER SWEENEY-LIKE re-inventions include, most famously, Tim Stoen of the former People's Temple, now working as a prosecutor out of Fort Bragg's Ten Mile Court, and much less famously Dr. Peter Keegan of Ukiah whose wife was bludgeoned to death in the Keegan home going on six years ago. The doctor and his wife were alone in the home, but only he was alive when the sun came up. When DA Eyster was elected, Mrs. Keegan's death certificate was amended to read HOMICIDE. Still no prosecution, though.
PS. The Bari Bombing could have been wrapped up in a month if the Press Democrat's Mike Geniella had been given the time and the money to investigate it. Geniella was the last real reporter the paper employed in Mendocino County. Geniella's successor? Glenda Anderson. She's lived with Mike Sweeney for years. (PBS producer Steve Talbot, in a month's work with investigator Dave Helvarg, produced Who Bombed Judi Bari, an honest but seldom seen documentary that points straight at Sweeney as Bari's would be killer. Darryl Cherney has made a hagiographic film also called Who Bombed Judi Bari that celebrates himself and Bari.)
PPS. Who's this Mendolib you're always going on about? Off the top, you've got Shoemaker, Ruffing, Joe Louis Wildman, David Colfax, Dave Turner, Lee Edmundson, Val Muchowski, Linda McClure, Steve Antler, Rachel Binah, Holly Madrigal, Hal Wagenet, Dan Hamburg, Meg Courtney, Anne Molgaard, Dave Nelson, Anne Moorman, and about half the KZYX membership, especially the NPR people.
UNEASE AMONG GROWERS, LAW ENFORCEMENT OVER POT MEASURE
MENDOCINO COUNTY’S DE-ORTNERIZED Mental Health department along with Redwood Quality Management Company is preparing to roll out their new “No Wrong Door” arrangement at the start of this fiscal year on July 1, 2016. The newly reconfigured “Access Line” — 1-800-555-5906 — will provide assistance and guidance on which services apply to which situation. And the “Crisis Line” — 1-855-838-0404 — will provide “support” for anyone “experiencing a mental health emergency (danger to self or others).” The lines are supposed to be staffed 24/7 and answered by local people. Of course, setting up the lines is the easy part. Whether the hard part is done remains to be seen.
A COAST READER confirms the recent deaths of both Joel Scott Hill and Michael Underhill. Joel "about a month ago," Michael in February. R.I.P.
SPEARHEADING A NEW FORM OF BUSINESS
Dialogue Excerpt from the current AMC drama series ‘Hell On Wheels’ (based on the construction of the transcontinental railroad) between Mr. Thomas Durant (financier and creator of Credit Mobilier, the conglomerate of corrupt investors that financed the eastern half of the transcontinental railroad in the late 1860s) and a Nebraska ranching family represented by their matriarch, Mrs. Palmer, portrayed as a crafty middle-aged woman whose family owned (former Indian) land the railroad wanted to buy for a strategic section of the route. The scene is set in Mrs. Palmer’s ornate home in Omaha, Nebraska. The as-yet unbuilt “town” Mr. Durant refers to later became North Platte, Nebraska and the railroad operation became the sprawling Bailey Yard.
* * *
Durant: What I'm proposing is a major new commercial hub, the most important railroad city in the United States. And it will be right here in your backyard. (Points at a map on the table.)
Mrs. Palmer: That is literally my backyard. You see that pretty confluence of good sweet-water streams? Well, it ain't much, but it's on my land. My husband left me all of this when he passed in '62.
Durant: Well, it may be your land now, madam. But the Union Pacific Railroad will reach it before the year is out. And, through eminent domain, they will claim it.
Mrs. Palmer: That's against the law.
Durant: It is the law. And by law, the Union Pacific is compelled to offer you a fair market price for your land, currently $1.50 an acre.
[Laughter from Palmer family, including Mrs. Palmer’s father-in-law, and two brothers.]
Mrs. Palmer: I'd never sell for that.
Durant: And you won't have to. Because as a representative and major stockholder of Credit Mobilier, I am prepared to offer you $100 per acre, thus waiving eminent domain.
Mrs. Palmer: What's the rub?
Durant: Ah, well... In order to waive eminent domain, we must build a railroad terminus and a town on the property, which we will. Every pound of beef, every ton of ore, every fruit, vegetable, every bale of hay, every major manufactured item from either side of the Mississippi must ship through our town. You will become rich beyond your wildest dreams.
Mrs. Palmer: Weren't you in jail just a month ago?
Mrs. Palmer: And you're broke, according to the newspapers.
Durant: Flat broke.
Mrs. Palmer: Well, how do you expect to pay us for our property then?
Durant: From construction funds advanced to me by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Mrs. Palmer: You were kicked off Union Pacific for stealing.
Durant: Union Pacific, Credit Mobilier, different pockets to the same pair of pants. When the judge understood that, I was released.
Mrs. Palmer: You're in Omaha now, not New York. Money won't buy you judges here.
Durant: Opportunity is a powerful elixir, Mrs. Palmer.
Mrs. Palmer: Right. So you're borrowing money you don't have from a company you don't work for to buy property you can't afford to build a city that doesn't exist.
Durant: Spearheading, as it were, a new way of doing business in America. If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey few of us would ever embark at all.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 3, 2016
NEVIN APPEL, Albion. Stalking and threatening bodily injury, criminal threats, offenses while on bail.
CHRISTOPHER BAGLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
RICHARD BLOYD, Navarro. Under influence, failure to appear.
CHRISTOPHER CORTINA, Ukiah. Suspended license, county parole violation.
JOY DAVIDSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
DANIEL GEORGE, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
VICENTE GONZALEZ, Willits. Resisting, probation revocation.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
KELLY HUNT, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
TODD JOHNSON, Redwood Valley. Battery, criminal threats.
EZRA KOPSA, Des Moines, Iowa/Redwood Valley. DUI, fugitive from justice.
MARCUS RADOVAN-MEZA, Clearlake/Redwood Valley. Drunk in public.
ROGER SCHOENAHL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ERIC SILK-HOAGLIN, Hayward/Ukiah. Resisting.
DEVAN TOMPKINS, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
VINCENT YOUNG, Ukiah. DUI.
HOW SMART TRAIN FARES COMPARE TO OTHER RAIL LINES
Fare comparison with other rail lines problematic, SMART manager says
A READER COMMENTS: "Set fares too low, and the agency could forgo potential revenue or face the prospect of abruptly raising rates or reducing service."
As opposed to having the seemingly excessive rate… abruptly imposed? $19 round-trip per person is brutal; that's $76 for a family of four to take a quick Saturday trip to San Rafael. The most expensive round-trip commuter rail ticket in Boston is $25 - but it also runs 140 miles round-trip from Kingston, Rhode Island to the heart of Boston, as opposed to 60 miles round-trip from one county seat to another, smaller, lamer county seat. Based on those rates, I'm concerned that service will be 'reduced' when people stay away in droves.
HELEN GURLEY BROWN
by Lorrie Moore
Somewhere back in the day Helen Gurley Brown said that after a certain age the only thing a woman could rely on to improve her appearance was good posture and expensive jewelry. At least that is my recollection, though I no longer recall the exact source or context. The gender specificity, the whiff of doom in the goal, the daft simplicity, the conciseness, the candor, and the plausibility caused it to stick in my head (although my most recent earrings were bought for three dollars from a street vendor). Perhaps this is because everyone who already has their ears pierced and pricked for this kind of suggestion is tired and looking for quick, pithy advice — especially, it is assumed, women, around whom a many-tentacled advice industry was fashioned long ago, with its golden age perhaps corresponding to the golden age of magazine publishing, suburban housewifery, and leisure time — again, somewhere back in the day.
That men — both gay and straight — were once a considerable audience for these women’s magazines, unacknowledged in the official target demographics, is another topic entirely, though I will mention it here in passing.
I also recall once getting in the slowest grocery store line so I could flip through Brown’s Cosmopolitan in order to discover what “5 Things,” advertised on the cover alongside its monthly, near-taxidermic décolleté (who can recall the faces perched above?), were sure to “Drive Men Wild,” but not finding them anywhere and having to put the magazine back. Well, Brown may have only been pretending to know five (her husband did the cover headlines). And although she undoubtedly knew some number of viable things, in her first book Brown advises dozens of rather dubious ones, from broccoli almondine, to joining the wealthiest chapter of AA, to letting your lacy slip show beneath your office desk. “Unlike Madame Bovary you don’t chase the glittering life, you lay a trap for it,” she wrote in Sex and the Single Girl. She believed in showing an interest in sports:
“I’ve found that it helps hype your interest to have a small bet on one of the teams. Or to know somebody’s brother or cousin you can root for. One football season I ‘adopted’ Jon Arnett of the USC Trojans. I pretended I was his mother and felt how she would feel watching the game. (Actually she probably had cold compresses on her head with somebody staked out at the TV set to tell her when it was over.) Then because of some NCAA ruling…Jon was benched for a semester and I lost heart. Now on Rose Bowl day and during the World Series I simply chloroform myself.”
As for good posture and expensive jewelry? She herself had multiple plastic surgeries and underwent breast augmentation at the late age of 73.
Of course, evolving and proliferating social and domestic roles for women have been discussed from the moment discussion was born, and it is sometimes interesting to look back and see which individual women move into that evolution with a professional eye to claim a historical moment for themselves or just to make one up. There are always currents to ride and they are ridden.
(— Lorrie Moore. Courtesy, the New York Review of Books)
DISARM THE DERANGED?
(apologies to Steve Heilig)
by Jeff Costello
"Life was as neatly folded and full of promise as the morning newspaper" -- Betty MacDonald, writing about job hunting in the great depression. (My, how things have changed). I sent this quote to Bruce at the AVA. His reply: "What happened?" My response: "TV, hippies?" His answer: "In that order."
Disarm the deranged? Who's going to disarm Wayne LaPierre? If you want to see just how nuts he is, find a copy of the NRA magazine and read his column. The question could be, "Who is NOT deranged?" What exactly is the New Normal?
Disarm the deranged... A wonderful idea in theory, but a giant can of worms in practice. Like eugenics. Who decides what segments of the population deserve to live, or have firearms, for that matter? And what are their qualifications, and who decides what those qualifications are?
Mentally ill? Or "differently abled" in regard to brain processes? Desire for firearms, if you ask me, is a form of mental illness. "Next time I'm pissed off at somebody, I can kill them." "I want to feel powerful." The more overpopulated the world gets, the harder it is to be noticed, to stand out in a crowd, to get some damn attention. To have an effect. But when everyone is armed, the effect is harder to get. So the guns must be employed in bigger and more outrageous ways.
Woman in Texas shoots and kills her two daughters. How do we then consider the loving, precious things they all said to each other on social media. Beware public displays of affection? Texas - the only place where I rode to a party in a car with a quart of whiskey being passed around and a loaded revolver on the dashboard. Drive-in liquor stores where the clerk asks if you'd like a cup and ice to go with the booze you just bought.
Regarding police shootings, yes they are increasing. During the Sausalito Houseboat Wars, a friend (one of us) said, "We can't win because they have all the guns." Is the police force not deranged? Is it not deranged to even imagine a shootout with an armored riot squad? To even think in such terms? Or is it the New Normal?
REREADING CHARLES BUKOWSKI
by Erik S. McMahon
There are those who have attained infamy — and flocks of admirers — through their flamboyant self-destructive pursuits, talent or no.
Then there are gifted lunatics, always aflame, iron constitutions allowing them to create masterpieces despite reckless consumption of massive quantities of intoxicants.
You’d have to put Hunter S. Thompson (early on, at least) in the latter category, alongside Thomas, Jack London, William Burroughs, Hemingway, Thomas Paine, Fitzgerald… And you’d have to save a free barstool for Charles Bukowski.
Though consistently drunk or hungover throughout his adult life, the man produced a flabbergasting amount of work: more than 45 published books.
Usually, they were collections of raw, ranting poetry, featuring some of the most outlandish titles in print: Poems Written Before Jumping out of an 8 Story Window; Erections, Ejaculations Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness; All the Assholes in the World and Mine.
Before he died in 1994 (amazingly, he made it to 73), Bukowski had attracted a following of hangers-on whom he tolerated, primarily because they were eager to purchase beverages. In the film Barfly, he was shallowly portrayed by Mickey Rourke. (Faye Dunaway did better as the ever-present tolerant, shopworn female companion.)
Generally, you could count on a Bukowski poem to include descriptions of debased behavior, presented with self-excoriation, but seldom self-loathing. From the lowest depths, he sent a message of acceptance, although it was evident he found this planet a wearisome home, and his fellow inhabitants repugnant.
Still, the poet remained more engaged than an alienated, wounded chronicler of desperation and depravity. His rage rang true; at times, screams approximated songs. Tom Waits is closest as a musical kindred spirit. Sam Kinison was a kindred spirit.
Poetry without honesty is a sham. Bukowski was honest to a fault — too much so for some tastes. He also never phoned it in, never parodied himself.
A recent rereading of Post Office, originally released by Black Sparrow Press more than 30 years ago (since reprinted 42 times) confirmed Bukowski’s skills as a novelist and dark humorist.
It recounts many misadventures of a federal servant and postal clerk. There could not exist a more troublesome, hostile, intransigent employee anywhere.
Bukowski’s alter-ego, Henry Chinaski, berates managers, goes AWOL with regularity, shows up in grotesque condition, sets mail afire, and drowns a delivery-truck. Rules mean nothing to him, he receives an unending stream of warnings and write-ups.
Yet they keep him on. Why? Because, notwithstanding his difficulties and disappearances, he’s good at the job. It suits him, actually: a mindless endeavor that paradoxically purges bad thoughts from his throbbing brain.
Chinaski spends years “throwing cases” (sorting mail inside the sorting facility), but real mayhem occurs when he’s walking routes. Residents are all demented, claiming he’s late, that he brings them the wrong correspondence, or delivers it improperly. One man insists letters never be put in the box, wanting them handed over personally.
In off-hours, Chinaski can be found at the racetrack, or drinking and dallying with a series of well-traveled women. Somehow, his aimless, ambition-free existence doesn’t seem sordid.
Bukowski’s characters, whom many would brand low-lifes, may be downtrodden, but aren’t pathetic. How close his output was to memoir — an extended autobiography — isn’t known.
A statement introducing Post Office reveals the author’s position: “This is presented as a work of fiction and dedicated to nobody.”
Sounds hard-boiled, but Bukowski/Chinaski had a tender side, empathizing with bottom-feeders and burnouts. Unashamed, they felt no need to disguise their frowned-upon desires and dissipation. In fact, those were boldly set out on display.
(Post Office, 200pp, paper, Black Sparrow Press, 24 Tenth St Santa Rosa, CA 95401.)
I’VE JUST LEARNED of the death of translator Gregory Rabassa on June 14th, 2016.
I’ve read Cien años de soledad three times—twice in Spanish; the first time I read it was in English, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Rabassa translated most of Gabo’s novels and at least one volume of his short stories. The short story below is from one of the first collections of Gabo’s short stories.
I once translated this story on my own — without looking at Mr. Rabassa’s translation. When I saw that my translation was almost the same as Gregorio Rabassa’s, I knew I had attained competence as a translator.
It’s one of my favorite “cuentos” of Gabriel García Márquez.
* * *
ONE OF THOSE DAYS
by Gabriel García Márquez (translated by Gregory Rabassa)
Monday dawned warm and rainless. Don Aurelio Escovar, a dentist without a title and a very early riser, opened his office at six. He took the glass false teeth, still mounted in plaster cast and put on the table a fistful of instruments, which he arranged from highest to lowest, as in an exhibition. He wore a striped shirt without a collar, closed up with a golden stud, and pants held up by suspenders. It was hard, lean, with a look that rarely corresponded to the situation, as the eyes of the deaf.
When he had things arranged on the table, he pulled the drill toward the dental chair and sat down to polish the false teeth. He seemed not to think about what he did, but he worked doggedly, pedaling the drill, even when he did not need it.
After eight he paused to watch the sky through the window and saw two pensive buzzards drying in the sun on the bridge of the next house. He continued working with the idea that before lunch it rained again. The shrill voice of his eleven-year old son pulled him from his abstraction.
-The mayor wants you to pull out a tooth
-Tell him I am not here
He was polishing a gold tooth. He held it at arm's length, and examined it with eyes half closed. In the waiting room, his son shouted again.
-He says you are here because he can hear you
The dentist kept examining the tooth. Only when he put it on the table with the work completed, he said:
-So much better.
He operated the drill. From a cardboard box where he kept the things to do, he took out a bridge of several pieces and began to polish the gold.
He still had not changed his nonchalant expression.
-He says if you do not take his tooth out, he will shoot you
Without hurrying, with an extremely tranquil movement, he stopped pedaling the drill, and pulled open the lower drawer of the table. There was a revolver.
-Good -he said-. Tell him to come and shoot me.
He rolled the chair over opposite the door, his hand resting on the edge of the drawer. The mayor appeared at the door. He had shaved the left cheek, but on the other, swollen and sore, had a five-day beard. The dentist in his dull eyes saw many nights of despair. He closed the drawer with his fingertips and said softly:
-Good day -said the mayor.
-Good day -said the dentist.
While the instruments were boiling, the Mayor leaned his skull on the headrest of the chair and felt better. His breath was icy. It was a poor office: an old wooden chair, the pedal drill, and a glass case with ceramic bottles. Opposite the chair, there was a window with a cloth to the height of a man. When he felt the dentist approach, the Mayor braced his heels and opened his mouth.
Don Aurelio Escovar turned his head toward the light. After inspecting the infected tooth, he adjusted his jaw with a cautious finger pressure.
-We need to do this without anesthesia -he said.
-Because you have an infection.
The mayor looked into his eyes.
-Okay -he said, and tried to smile.
The dentist did not return the smile. He slowly prepared his things. Then he pushed the spittoon with the tip of the shoe and went to wash his hands in the washbasin. He did everything without looking at the mayor. But the mayor did not lose sight of him.
It was a lower wisdom tooth. The dentist opened the tweezers and grasped the tooth with the hot forceps. The mayor grabbed the bars of the chair, full strength in the feet and felt an icy void in his kidneys, but sighed. The dentist moved only his wrist. Without rancor, rather with a bitter tenderness, he said:
-Now you will are pay us for twenty deaths.
The Mayor felt the crunch of bones in the jaw and his eyes filled with tears. But he did not breathe until he felt the tooth come out. Then he saw through his tears. It seemed so foreign to his pain; he could not understand the torture of five previous nights. Bent over the spittoon, sweating, panting, he unbuttoned his tunic and reached for the handkerchief in his pocket. The dentist gave him a clean cloth.
-Dry your tears- he said.
The Mayor did. He was trembling. While the dentist was washing his hands, he saw the crumbling ceiling and a dusty spider web with spider's eggs and dead insects. The dentist returned, drying his hands. "Lie down," he said, “and gargle with salt water”. The mayor stood up, said goodbye with a casual military salute, and walked to the door, stretching his legs, without buttoning up his tunic.
-Send me the bill- he said.
-To you or the government?
The mayor didn’t look. He closed the door, and said, outside of the metal screen:
-It’s the same damned thing.
‘READ 'EM AND WEEP’
I've been trying for hours just to think of what exactly to say
I thought I'd leave you with a letter or firey speech
Like when an actor makes an exit at the end of a play
And I've been dying for hours trying to fill up all the holes with some sense
I'd like to know how you faded and you threw it away
I'd like to give you all the reasons and what everything meant
Well I could tell you good-bye or maybe see you around
With just a touch of a sarcastic thanks
We started out with a bang and at the top of the world
Now the guns are exhausted
The bullets are blanks
And everything's blank
If I could only find the words then I would write it all down
If I could only find a voice I would speak
Oh it's there in my eyes so can't you see me tonight
C'mon and look at me and read 'em and weep
I've been whispering softly, trying to build a cry up to a scream
We let the past slip away, and put the future on hold
Now the present is nothing but a hollowed out dream
And I've been dying for hours trying to fill up all the holes with some sense
I'd like to know why you faded and you threw it away
I'd like to give you all the reasons and what everything meant
Well I could tell you good-bye or maybe see you around
With just a touch of a sarcastic thanks
But now the rooms are all empty, the candles are dark
The guns are exhausted
The bullets are blanks, and everything's blank
It's there in my eyes and coming straight from my heart
It's running silent and angry and deep
It's there in my eyes and it's all I can say, c'mon and look at me and read 'em and weep
Read 'em and weep — for all the hours we'll be spending alone
Read 'em and weep — for the dreams we'll ignore
Running silent and deep -And all those promises we promised to keep,
they won't be kept anymore
Read 'em and weep — for the magic that our bodies had made
Read 'em and weep — for the blood that we lost
Running silent and deep — and all the secrets that we somehow betrayed
For whatever the cost
Read 'em and weep — for the memories still alive in the bed
Read 'em and weep — for the lies we believed
Running silent and deep — and all the things that can never be said
Why don't you look at me and read 'em and weep
C'mon and look at me and read 'em and weep
It's there in my eyes and coming straight from my heart
It's running silent and angry and deep
It's here in my eyes and it's all I can say
C'mon look at me and read 'em and weep
DEEP REGULATORY CAPTURE EXPOSED:
The Links between Delta Tunnels Plan and MLPA Initiative
by Dan Bacher
One of the least discussed issues in California environmental politics – and one of the most crucial to understanding Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels plan — is the clear connection between the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative and the California WaterFix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).
The privately-funded MLPA Initiative and the California WaterFix to build the peripheral tunnels at first may appear to be entirely different processes.
The MLPA Initiative, a process begun in 2004 under the Schwarzenegger administration, purported to create a network of "marine protected areas" along the California coast. The network was supposedly completed on December 19, 2012 with the imposition of contested "marine protected areas" along the North Coast.
On the other hand, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan process began under the Bush and Schwarzenegger administrations to achieve the so-called "co-equal goals" of water supply reliability and Delta ecosystem restoration. In 2015, the state and federal governments divided the BDCP into two projects, the California WaterFix, the conveyance component and the California EcoRestore, the habitat “restoration” component.
But in spite of some superficial differences, the two processes are united by their leadership, funding, greenwashing goals, racism and denial of tribal rights, junk science and numerous conflicts of interest. When people educate themselves on the links between the two processes, I believe they can more effectively wage a successful campaign against the Delta Tunnels and to restore our imperiled salmon and San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries.
Mike Carpenter, a sea urchin diver and organizer of a fundraiser for the California Fisheries Coalition in Albion on the Mendocino coast, made the vital connection between the MLPA Initiative and Schwarzenegger's campaign to build a peripheral canal back in 2009 when the battle against the creation of questionable "marine protected areas" on the North Coast was amping up.
Carpenter emphasized that the MLPA Initiative was just a "cover-up" for the Governor's plans to build a peripheral canal or tunnel around the California Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, through the Delta Vision and Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process. Carpenter's words have proven very prophetic, considering what has happened since that time.
How are the Delta Tunnels plan and MLPA process linked by leadership, funding, conflicts of interest, greenwashing goals, racism and denial of tribal rights, and junk science?
- Leadership: Phil Isenberg, a former Sacramento Mayor and Assemblyman, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force to create faux "marine protected areas" on the Central Coast from 2004 to 2007. Isenberg then went on to Chair the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force that advocated building a peripheral canal or tunnel.
After that process was finished, he went on to chair the Delta Stewardship Council created under the water policy/water bond legislative package of 2009. He recently retired from the Council.
Under his leadership, the Council released a Delta Plan that creates a clear path to the construction of the Delta Tunnels. The deeply-flawed plan has been contested by 7 lawsuits from a diverse array of water contractors, agribusiness interests, urban water agencies, environmentalists, Indian Tribes and fishing groups.
Likewise, John Laird, former State Senator and the current Natural Resources Secretary, is the key cheerleader for both the MLPA Initiative and the Delta Tunnels. He oversaw the completion of the faux "marine protected areas" for both the South Coast in January 2012 and the North Coast in December 2012, in spite of overwhelming opposition by fishermen, Tribal leaders and grassroots environmentalists.
Now Laird promotes the construction of the tunnels at virtually every conference and media event he participates in, along with writing frequent op-eds in mainstream media portraying the WaterFix as the “solution” to water supply and ecosystem problems.
- Funding: The Resources Legacy Fund Foundation and David and Lucille Packard Foundation both funded the MLPA Initiative, along with giving millions of dollars to the "environmental" NGOs that supported both the MLPA and BDCP processes.
Five non-profits donated a total of $20 million for the creation of "marine protected areas" under the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative. The Packard Foundation, the biggest contributor to the widely-criticized process, contributed $8.2 million to the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation to fund MLPA hearings.
The Packard Foundation and Resources Legacy Fund also helped fund, along with the Stephen Bechtel Foundation, several Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) reports advocating the construction of the Delta Tunnels as the "solution" to California's water problems and ecosystem restoration.
For example, the PPIC in 2011 published a 500 page book, "Managing California's Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation," designed to greenwash the construction of a Peripheral Canal or Tunnels. The book was funded by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pisces Foundation, the Resources Legacy Fund, and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority.
- Conflicts of Interest: The Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create “marine protected areas” under the MLPA Initiative were filled with individuals with numerous conflicts of interest, including a big oil lobbyist, a marina corporation executive and a coastal real estate developer.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and a relentless advocate for offshore oil drilling, fracking, the Keystone XL Pipeline and the weakening of environmental laws, chaired the South Coast MLPA Blue Ribbon Task that developed the MPAs that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1, 2012. She also served on the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Forces for the North Coast, North Central Coast and Central Coast.
While Reheis-Boyd served on the task forces to "protect" the ocean, the same oil industry that the "marine guardian" represents was conducting environmentally destructive hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations off the Southern California coast. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and media investigations by Associated Press and truthout.org in 2013 reveal that the ocean has been fracked at least 203 times in the past 20 years, including the period from 2004 to 2012 that Reheis-Boyd served as a "marine guardian.”
In the case of the BDCP/California WaterFix, the proverbial fox was also in charge of the hen house. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Laura King Moon of Woodland, a lobbyist for the state’s water exporters, as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
Moon had been a project manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan since 2011 while “on loan” from the State Water Contractors, an association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Moon passed away from cancer last year.
DWR also hired Susan Ramos, Deputy General Manager of the Westlands Water District, "on loan" from the district to serve as "a liaison between all relevant parties" surrounding the Delta Habitat Conservation and Conveyance Program (DHCCP) and provide "technical and strategic assistance" to DWR.
Documents obtained by this reporter under the California Public Records Act revealed that Ramos was hired in an "inter-jurisdictional personal exchange agreement" between the DWR and Westlands from November 15, 2009 through December 31, 2010. The contract was extended to run through December 31, 2011 and again to continue through December 31, 2012.
- Greenwashing Goals: Desperately needed actions to restore our ocean, bay and Delta waters have been substituted under the MLPA Initiative with the imposition of more fishing closures on some of the most heavily regulated ocean waters on the planet to further the Governor's "green" facade.
The alleged "marine reserves" created under the MLPA scam fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean than fishing and gathering — at a time when the ocean is under assault by the oil industry, corporate polluters and ocean industrialists.
The greenwashing that occurred under this process become crystal clear during the Refugio Oil Spill of May 2015 when a badly corroded pipeline operated by the Plains All American Pipeline Company burst, fouling more than 9 miles of pristine coastline.
Not mentioned in the superficial coverage of the spill by the mainstream media and most of the “alternative media” is the alarming fact that Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the head of the same oil industry trade association that lobbies for the Plains All American Pipeline corporation, whose pipeline rupture caused the massive oil spill, is the very same person who chaired the panel that created the so-called "marine protected areas" that were fouled by the spill.
"Plains All American, the owner of the pipeline, is a member of the Western States Petroleum Association," proclaimed Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), in her blogpost responding to the spill last year. (http://www.wspa.org/blog/post/statement-santa-barbara-oil-spill)
In the case of the Delta Vision and BDCP/California Water Fix processes, the dire need to restore the Delta by decreasing water exports and retiring drainage impaired land on the San Joaquin Valley's west side has been substituted with plans to build twin tunnels and increase water exports to corporate agribusiness, developers and oil companies while taking Delta family farms out of production under the guise of “habitat restoration.”
Meanwhile, California’s fish populations are in a historic crisis. The population of Delta Smelt plummeted to a new low in the annual spring survey conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) as the endangered fish moves closer to the abyss of extinction. The 2016 Spring Kodiak Trawl (SKT) index, a relative measure of abundance, is 1.8, a decrease from the 2015 index (13.8) and is the lowest index on record. Only thirteen adult Delta Smelt were collected at 8 stations contributing to the index in 2016.
Ironically, Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Allliance (CSPA) pointed out that the State Water Resources Board is now preparing for upcoming hearings on the petitions by the Department of Water Resources and Bureau of Reclamation to change their points of diversion in order to proceed with the construction of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels.
“This plan will deprive the Delta smelt of their habitat by exporting vast quantities of water from the Sacramento River,” said Jennings. “If the State Board approves the petition, it will only exacerbate things enormously for the Delta smelt and other fish species.”
The Delta Tunnels plan will not only hasten the extinction of Delta smelt, but it will also drive longfin smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to extinction, according to Delta advocates and scientific experts. The WaterFix will also imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, since water from the Trinity, the largest tributary of the Klamath, is diverted to the Sacramento River watershed through a tunnel in the Trinity Mountains from Trinity Lake to Whiskeytown Reservoir.
- Racism and denial of tribal rights: Tribal and environmental justice communities in both processes have been excluded in a classic example of environmental racism.
The institutional racism of the MLPA process was demonstrated when the Yurok Tribe was banned from harvesting abalone, mussels and seaweed off their traditional areas off the False Klamath and Reading Rock as they have done for thousands of years under the "marine protected areas" that went into effect off the coast in December 2012. (http://yubanet.com/california/Dan-Bacher-MLPA-Initiative-based-on-incomplete-and-terminally-flawed-science.php)
And in spite of direct action protests and outrage by Tribal members, fishermen and grassroots environmentalists over the flawed Initiative, the MLPA Initiative still fails to recognize tribal gathering rights in no take "State Marine Reserves," allowing tribal gathering only in "State Marine Conservation Areas" where some fishing and gathering is already allowed.
Likewise, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan/California WaterFix has been developed without the required consent from California Tribes including the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, as required under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. In fact, the first formal informational meeting for California Tribes on the BDCP was held on December 10, 2013, in Sacramento — the day after the EIR/EIS for the tunnel plan was released!
That is hardly "government-to-government" consultation, as required under state, federal and international law.
“There is no precedent for the killing of an estuary of this size, so how could any study be trusted to protect the Delta for salmon and other fish?" asked Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. "How can they even know what the effects will be? The end of salmon would also mean the end of Winnemem, so the BDCP is a threat to our very existence as indigenous people.”
This environmental injustice extends to non-English speakers in California impacted by the Delta Tunnels Plan. Restore the Delta (RTD) and environmental justice advocates charged the Brown Administration with violation of the civil rights of more than 600,000 non-English speakers in the Delta by its agencies' failure to provide for “meaningful access to and participation” in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) public comment period.
"More than 600,000 Delta residents alone don't speak English, and are being shut out of the public comment process on this massive project that would affect them deeply," said Esperanza Vielma, executive director of Café Coop & Environmental Justice Representative, San Joaquin County/San Joaquin Valley Air Quality Board. "The Brown Administration is violating the civil rights of Limited English speaking Californians in its rush to build tunnels to serve the top 1% of industrial agriculture."
- Junk Science: Both the MLPA Initiative and BDCP/California Water Fix fiasco have relied on false assumptions and flawed data with little or no basis in natural science to advance their goals and objectives.
In the case of the MLPA Initiative, the Yurok Tribe said it attempted on numerous occasions to address the scientific inadequacies with the MLPA science developed under the Schwarzenegger administration by adding "more robust protocols" into the equation, but was denied every time.
The Northern California Tribal Chairman's Association, including the Chairs of the Elk Valley Rancheria, Hoopa Valley Tribe, Karuk Tribe, Smith River Rancheria, Trinidad Rancheria, and Yurok Tribe, documented in a letter how the science behind the MLPA Initiative developed by Schwarzenegger's Science Advisory Team is "incomplete and terminally flawed."
Frankie Joe Myers, Yurok Tribal member and Coastal Justice Coalition activist, exposed the refusal to incorporate Tribal science that underlies the "science" of the MLPA process on the day of the historic direct action protest by a coalition of over 50 Tribes and their allies in Fort Bragg in July 2010.
“The whole process is inherently flawed by institutionalized racism," said Myers. "It doesn't recognize Tribes as political entities, or Tribal biologists as legitimate scientists."
To make things even worse, a federal judge in May 2014 sentenced Ron LeValley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, to a 10 month federal prison sentence for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $852,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe!
LeValley pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of conspiracy to commit embezzlement and theft from an Indian Tribal Organization (18U.S.C §§ 371 and 1163) in the complex scheme in collaboration with former Yurok Forestry Director Roland Raymond. According to court documents, LeValley submitted more than 75 false invoices between 2007 and 2010 in payment for “work” on northern spotted owl surveys that was never performed. The link to the indictment is available at:
For many of the Yurok Tribe's documents regarding the MLPA Initiative, go to:
The BDCP/California WaterFix “science” is also a sham. For example, on July 18, 2013 scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Marine Fisheries Service exposed the hollowness of claims by Secretary John Laird and other state officials that the BDCP is based on "science." This was done after the federal agencies
had already made "red flag" comments stating that the completion of the tunnel plan could hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species.
The federal scientists provided the California Department of Water Resources and the environmental consultants with 44 pages of comments highly critical of the Consultant Second Administrative Draft EIR/EISDraft, released on May 10, 2013. The agencies found, among other things, that the draft environmental documents were “biased,” “insufficient," "confusing," and "very subjective." (http://baydeltaconservationplan.com/Libraries/Dynamic_Document_Library/Federal_Agency_Comments_on_Consultant_Administrative_Draft_EIR-EIS_7-18-13.sflb.ashx)
Then in August 2014 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a scathing 43-page comment letter slamming the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).
The EPA diagnosis revealed that operating the proposed conveyance facilities “would contribute to increased and persistent violations of water quality standards in the Delta, set under the Clean Water Act,” and that the tunnels “would not protect beneficial uses for aquatic life, thereby violating the Clean Water Act."
Bob Wright, the lawyer for Friends of the River, summed up the complete lack of science that the BDCP/California Water Fix is based upon when he said, "The plan is to grab the water and in the process take it away from designated critical habitat for several already endangered and threatened species of fish including Sacramento River Winter-Run and Central Valley Spring-Run Chinook Salmon and drive them into extinction. That is against the law because federal agencies are prohibited from doing that by the Endangered Species Act."
Unjust Implementation of MLPA Initiative Continues
The MLPA Initiative's unjust implementation continues to forge ahead, in spite of opposition by anglers, conservationists and public trust advocates. On April 13, the California Fish and Game Commission moved forward with a controversial final Marine Protected Area “Master Plan” that postpones environmental assessments from every 5 years, as originally promised, to every 10 years.
UPCOMING EVENTS HAPPENING AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY.