- Viva Mexico
- Border Patrol
- Adobe Vallejo
- Yorkville Benefit
- Laptop Entrepreneur
- Taxing Marijuana
- Public Hearing
- Tribal Suspensions
- Less Jazz
- Prop 57
- Police Reports
- Old Torpedo
- Stigmatizing Jackboots
- Wildfire Risks
- For Peace
- Fish Petition
- GASP Grants
- Disarming Stoners
- MUSE Benefit
- Solar Costs
- Sor Juana
- Vietnam University
- Melting Permafrost
- PA Festival
- Tax Delinquents
- Library Card
DONALD TRUMP’S MEXICO — AND MINE
by Jonah Raskin
Mexico never seems to age, never appears to grow old, and never goes backward or forward in time, though it’s always in flux. “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the U.S.,” Porfirio Diaz, the notorious president (and dictator) of Mexico, once observed. Were he alive today, he might say that Mexico is very far from God and awfully close to Donald Trump, which might add up to the same thing.
Mr. Trump crossed the U.S. Mexico border on the last day of August 2016. In the capital, he met briefly with Mexico’s current, and extremely unpopular President, Enrique Peña Nieto, whom he called “a friend.” The two men apparently discussed matters of trade and immigration. Then, Trump quickly crossed the border again, proving that he would and could do anything, including slumming south of the border, to gain media coverage, win a few votes and stoke his own immense ego.
Like a great many American politicians, and like scores of Hollywood directors, Trump annexed Mexico, albeit briefly, and turned it into a backdrop and prop in a farce, staring himself as the joker. And, like a great many Mexican statesman before him, Peña Nieto played the role of the fool in a farce that few of his fellow citizens found amusing.
Alas, I missed by less than 24 hours, the opportunity to observe first hand the meeting between the American joker and the Mexican fool. I departed from Mexico for the States on August 30, after an eight-day visit when I reconnected with expat friends, met muy sympatico Mexican artists and intellectuals and rubbed shoulders with a few members of the elite who seemed eager to show that they were as arrogant as Trump himself.
I also encountered school kids, cooks, waiters, taxi drivers, tienda owners, teenagers dressed up in costumes to perform a facsimile of Aztec dances, along with Mexicans who had lived and worked in the United States for decades and who had returned to the beloved land of their birth to spend the last months or years of their lives surrounded by friends and family. I did not get near the Presidential Palace, nor did I see the Mexico that Trump saw.
Moreover, I am certain that Trump did not see my Mexico, a place of great wealth and great poverty, peasants and billionaires, modern buildings and ancient ruins, hovels and skyscrapers, tequila, mescal, beer and Coca Cola, the national drink, that poisons children and adults alike, kills hunger, and that’s more readily available in every barrio than cocaine, amphetamines or any other dangerous drug that’s exported from the U.S.A. But almost no one complains about sugary soft drinks, certain not the millions and millions of Mexican Coca Cola addicts themselves who freely lift bottles and cans to their mouths and pour the stuff down their gullets.
But don’t get me wrong. While I hate Coke, I love Mexico and Mexicans, peccadillos and all. I have loved the country and its citizens ever since 1975 when I lived in the capital — the “D.F.,” as it’s called — for a year, worked as a reporter and journalist and witnessed how Mexico’s millionaires lived: in big houses, with big American cars and servants who did nearly everything for them, from making food to cleaning their houses and their clothes, tending their gardens and attending to the needs of their spoiled children. These days, Mexicans do much the same work for Anglos North of the border.
Then, too, in Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, I met Indian lumberjacks who cut down immense forests to make lumber that was exported to Europe and the United States. In Ocosingo, where the road ended and the jungle began, I rubbed shoulders with a priest who saw it as his mission to convert the Indians to Catholicism, a story that has gone on for centuries.
Mexico got into my blood and invaded my head. I went back several times in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s as a tourist. I have returned to Mexico every few years over the past decade, mostly to the city of Guanajuato in the state of Guanajuato — known as “GTO” — that sits about seven thousand feet above sea level. Visitors can feel dizzy until they become adjusted to the altitude. It’s a place with a rich history that’s still visible and sometimes even palpable in the colonial architecture and the elaborate system of tunnels that run underground, funneling cars from one barrio to another and preventing the streets from descending into absolute chaos.
Like much of Mexico, GTO is a maze and labyrinth. Most of the inhabitants live in small houses along the steep hillsides, practically on top of one another, or “cheek by jowl” as one expat told me. Callejóns, or alleys that are not wide enough for a single car, crisscross the hillsides and disorient tourists. One needs a map to get around the city.
GTO boasts a modern university, a first class symphony and a month-long cultural festival known as the Cervantino that draws visitors from around the world. Nearly all year, GTO is alive and lively with music, loud fireworks, noisy marching brass bands and hordes of students who crowd the streets at night. When it rains, young couples lean against stonewalls, embrace one another and engage in long kissing sessions.
Still, the past is never far away. Spanish and English speakers alike remind tourists that the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century, discovered silver, enslaved the Indians and imported Africans in chains to work the mines, cut down the forests and carved out a colonial empire that sputtered to an end, along with the abolition of slavery, independence from Spain and the Mexican revolution that was led by the likes of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa and fueled by peasants and workers who hated the rich and the powerful and wanted a piece of land to call their own and liberty, as well. “Tierra y libertad!” Not bad as far as slogans go.
Diego Rivera, the artist, muralist and communist, was born in GTO. A small but exciting museum honors his life and his work. Rivera’s image appears on the 500-peso bill. He’s on one side, while Frida Kahlo, his wife, lover, fellow artist and comrade, appears on the other. Mexico reveres its left wing artists, provided they’re dead and buried and can no longer make big murals ridiculing blowhards like Nieto and Trump.
Sterling Bennett, an expat who has lived in GTO for 14 or so years, has made it his mission to preserve Mexico’s history of bondage and freedom in two novels, Playing for Pancho Villa, and Commandante Ibarra, a murder mystery with a Mexican detective who borrows from Sherlock Holmes’s bag of tricks and investigates the history of crimes against the Yaqui Indians who lived in the Mexican state of Sonora and in Arizona and survive to this day.
Bennett has found a niche for himself in GTO. Expats like him can live much more inexpensively in Mexico than in the United States. A monthly social security check for $1500 goes a lot further than it would in San Francisco or Seattle. Still, expats often have a hard time or so it seems to me. Mexico and Mexicans can rub them the wrong way. Then, too, some expats carry a sense of guilt around with them that can feel as heavy as the boxes that Mexicans lug on their backs uphill and down hill. In a society built on caste and class, expats have their own pecking order.
From all over the world, Mexico takes in Americans, French, British, Chinese, Japanese, Brazilians, Poles, Australians and more. It takes them all in and yet it remains Mexico, much as it takes in everything, from rock n’ roll and the NFL to Coca Cola and all the cast-off T-shirts that Americans wear and discard. Something about the place defies conquest.
Perhaps the other really remarkable thing about Mexico is that while not every Mexican can do everything, every Mexican can do something that’s useful, valuable and practical, like repair a broken-down bus on an isolated stretch of road on a remote mountain range and with only a couple of tools. I was there. I saw it happen. I lived to tell the tale.
In almost every city and decent sized town in Mexico including GTO you can find a workman who can build a house, install plumbing and electricity, repair a TV or a computer, make anything that is made anywhere in the world, except perhaps a nuclear weapon.
Mexico has its own population bomb that keeps on exploding. Indeed, Mexicans are not afraid to give birth to lots of children and to go anywhere and everywhere. One finds them in Maine and Mississippi, California and Kansas and in the strangest of places where they speak Spanish, preserve their culture and lose it at the same time.
Ubiquitous Mexicans are America’s convenient scapegoats. After all, as our next-door neighbors, they’re close at hand, and, while they’re overwhelmingly Catholic and faithful churchgoers, they’re awfully far from God and the Goddess, and don’t have him or her on their side, despite what priests tell them. Moreover, despite their numbers, they’re vulnerable, and rather easily deported when they’re no longer wanted or needed.
When I read about Trump’s day in Mexico, I thought that maybe he wasn’t as dumb as his enemies made him out to be. After all, he is the Republican Party candidate for President. Perhaps he knows, or wants us to believe, that the election isn't about Obama, Hillary, Syria or ISIS. Perhaps, from his perspective, it’s about Mexico, Mexicans, immigration and the border between our two countries that also exists anywhere Mexicans call home.
Savvy Trump works both sides of the border. He visits with Peña Nieto and shows that he likes his “brown brothers,” to borrow an old racist expression, and then he crosses the border and rallies faithful supporters who can’t and won’t face the demons that live inside their own heads. Instead, they demonize Mexicans who won’t stop coming here no matter how high, wide or extensive the wall might be. After all, humans build walls so that they will be breached, scaled, broken and undermined. Not even Trump can keep the greatest of walls from falling down. Viva Mexico!
CANTINFLAS CROSS THE BORDER…
RECOMMENDED VISITING: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, General Mariano Vallejo's Petaluma ranch in the years before the Bear Flag Revolt and the even greater tumult with the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, not quite a hundred miles to the east as a straight-flying bird might fly. http://www.petalumaadobe.com/directions.html
Vallejo, a patrician Spaniard born in Monterey when Spain owned California, ran thousands of head of cattle and employed hundred of Indians and random individuals of other ethnicities — four of his personal servants were Hawaiians — to oversee nearly a hundred thousand acres of land grant covering much of what is now the eastern area of Petaluma running east to Sonoma and south to the bay.
Today, the neighborhood surrounding the grand old rancho is the usual dispiriting skein of strip malls, factory-like schools, a spartan golf course, and other eyesores, but from the Adobe itself you can still get a sense of its magnificence.
The beginning of the end for Vallejo came with the Bear Flag Revolt, one of whose revolutionaries, Henry Beeson, would settle in the Anderson Valley where the CalFire station now sits. Beeson became regionally famous for the quality of his saddles whose buyers purchased Beeson's handiwork at his Boonville ranch, making their way from all over the state on horseback (we're talking circa 1870).
After the Bear Flag revolt, which occurred at Vallejo's home in nearby Sonoma, during which the revolutionaries locked their genial and generous host in his quarters while they drank up his wine cellar, the "pioneers," tough white boys, many of them on the lam from the settled areas of the country, began to appear in significant numbers, and then in a flood tide with the discovery of gold. They rustled Vallejo's cattle, squatted on his land and, soon, California was permanently annexed from Mexico, although there is contemporary talk, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing until today, of an eventual Mexican "reconquista." (That prospect seems to at least partly inspire Trump's wall fantasy.)
Alone in late afternoon on the vast verandah of the ancient ranch house with only the pleasant young state park ranger in her ticket office ($3) on the ground floor, one can imagine looking out at the busy courtyard where beef and gluten-rich tortilla meals for hundreds of vaqueros, Indian farmers and servants were prepared while Vallejo himself, with a single telescope, could have surveyed his vast and vastly productive estate in all directions. And to think it's not even two hundred years later. (Note: The very best and simplest guide to the Vallejo, Sutter and Gold Rush period is Blaise Cendars novelistic masterpiece, "Gold." From it the reader gets the full sense of what this astonishing state was like before the Casa Grande Golf Course.)
INTERESTING CRIME OUTTA FRISCO:
A victim reported her Apple laptop was stolen out of her car on 07/29/2016. She later received an email from “AppleCare” about new parts which had been ordered for her stolen laptop (not by her). The parts were sent to an address in San Francisco that she did not recognize. Officers went to the suspect’s address and met with a subject, who told the Officers he worked for a company that sent him laptops for repair. The suspect gave the Officers the victim’s computer to return to her. The Richmond Station Investigations Team conducted further investigation and discovered the same suspect had several Apple laptops listed for sale on Craigslist. A plain clothes Officer met with the suspect and ultimately placed him under arrest for possession of stolen property. Officers executed a search warrant at the suspect’s apartment and located 65 Apple Macbook computers. Seven of the computers were confirmed to be stolen property. The investigation is ongoing.
ITEMS FROM TERSE THURSDAY
ODD STATEMENT for interim Fort Bragg school superintendent Walker: “While I can convince a person with a bachelor’s degree to enroll in an intern credential program to teach fifth grade or to teach a core class, finding a person to teach a student how to play the flute, the clarinet, the tuba, the saxophone and other various instruments requires a specific skill set that is not necessarily easy to find."
IN MENDOCINO COUNTY? There are skilled musicians everywhere, especially on the Mendocino Coast.
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WHY THE SECRECY? Apparently, Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner was involved in some kind of campground confrontation east of Fort Bragg. Apparently, the episode is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department. Apparently, the investigation is ongoing, and the whatever it was apparently seems to have involved a cabin break-in, apparently by Turner as he apparently sought a telephone to call for help. Why Turner or the cops simply don't tell us what happened is an apparent mystery.
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PAULA ANNETTE SANDERS, 47, of Leggett, died in a single vehicle crash on Highway 101 in northern Mendocino County on Tuesday night, the CHP has reported. Ms. Sanders was driving alone in a 1994 Ford Escort south on Highway 101 near Leggett at 7:32 pm when, for unknown reasons, her vehicle swerved off and back onto the road before crossing all four lanes and striking a tree. Ms. Sanders was pronounced dead at the scene.
A READER WRITES:
"The sole purpose of County Measure AI is to enact a business tax that would apply only to marijuana. We all know that the marijuana industry is the cause of many fire and emergencey response calls, puts a lot of wear and tear on rural roads, negatively impacts the social structure of our communities (including mental health — remember that Talon Barton slaughtered the family that took him in then promptly fired up another doobie) and puts a burden on law enforcement. Now we have a chance to have the industry help pay for the cost. You have a problem with that?"
NOPE, but I doubt there will be much of a tax base unless lots of growers and related businesses step up, and I don't see that happening.
ANOTHER COAST TRANSFER STATION RUBBERSTAMP?
Notice of Public Hearing in Fort Bragg, September 19th
MEMO OF THE DAY
All Not Well Up In Covelo
Tribal Members Suspended During Investigation
MSP never knows what we'll receive when we check our messages.
The following (reproduced below) was sent to MSP Thursday @ 12:38 pm
[Text of Memos]:
Round Valley Indian Tribes
A Sovereign Nation of Confederated Tribes
Press release, August 18, 2016
To the Round Valley Tribal community:
Recent events in our Tribal government have led Tribal Council President James Russ to turn potentially incriminating information regarding two tribal council members and the tribal interim fiscal controller over to local law enforcement. This information was sent anonymously to James Russ as Tribal President and lead to the Council members in question being sanctioned for potential violations to the Tribal Council code of ethics. This information is related to the conduct of three individuals in their capacity as Tribal employees. The information received strongly suggests that Tribal assets were misused and the three individuals were suspended from their duties. The Council is committed to providing due process of law to the affected individuals but in order to fulfill its fiduciary duty the Council concluded it was compelled to impose the suspensions pending an investigation of the allegations. The federal authorities were also notified due to an implied misuse of federal funds. The Council has retained legal counsel and will be conducting a limited fraud audit of our tribal funds. Due to this matter being under investigation Council is unable to discuss this matter. To be clear, the Tribal Council is not charging anybody with any crimes but we have a fiduciary responsibility to our community and the federal government and all tribal council members take an oath of office to protect our tribe, tribal members and uphold our Tribal constitution.
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(Undated) — To all tribal entities, programs and businesses:
This is to verify that Joe Dukepoo and Eloisa Britton are sanctioned pending investigation (effective date Thursday, July 28, 2016) until further notice and cannot conduct any tribal business as council members. If you have any further questions, please contact Paula Britton at 707-983-6126 extension 13.
Sincerely, James Russ, tribal president, Covelo
VALERIE KIM’S interesting radio essay Thursday morning on KZYX — a jail tour and interviews with Lt. Bednar and the Jail’s inmate services coordinator Vicky Phillips Stout — ran a few minutes over into a non-descript jazz show called “The Gleason Perspective.”
(To listen to Ms. Kim’s presentation go to: http://jukebox.kzyx.org/ and play Mendocino Currents for Thursday, September 1.)
You’d think that that a decent public affairs presentation about a local facility running on local public radio would be a good thing at the cost of a few minutes of generic jazz. (How many jazz hours are there on KZYX anyway? Seems like many, many.)
The jazz show host, Mr. Gleason (son of the Chron's late music reviewer Ralph J. Gleason) apparently felt rather put upon and felt it necessary to announce, “I’m Toby Gleason coming to you live — but late! — in the beautiful basement studios of KZYX radio with the Gleason Perspective. Normally (giggles) I’d be with you about, ohhh, ten minutes earlier. At any rate, we have a nice morning of jazz to play for you.”
(AVA, July 28, 2016; Off The Record)
SHERIFF ALLMAN AND DA EYSTER are already denouncing Prop 57, which will appear on the November ballot, placed there by Governor Brown. Brown who just keeps on keeping on, coming up with humanely disguised measures whose true purpose is to reduce state prison populations. Prop 57 says inmates could "earn credit toward their sentences by working on rehabilitation in education, vocational training, and treatment," meaning prison staff would sign off on people for release who've been enrolled in these classes. The measure would also leave it up to judges to decide if young offenders should be tried as adults. DAs presently make that decision.
57'S OPPONENTS SAY in reality that although 57 promises the early release of only non-violent offenders, loopholes will permit release of lots of very bad people, many of whom will soon re-appear in county jails.
TWO PREVIOUS STATE-MANDATED measures have filled county jails to overflowing, including our County jail here in bucolic Mendocino County, which has already compelled the County into triage mode, forced to release people who really ought to be sequestered for much longer periods and playing catch and release with others who deserve more time.
HERE'S A FEW of the “non-violent crimes” for which early release would be possible if this measure is passed: rape by intoxication, rape of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving sex acts with minors, drive-by shooting, assault with a deadly weapon, taking a hostage, domestic violence involving trauma, possession of a bomb or weapon of mass destruction, hate crime causing physical injury, arson causing great bodily injury, discharging a firearm on school grounds, corporal injury to a child, and false imprisonment of an elderly person. (As an elderly person, I often feel falsely imprisoned, especially at public meetings.)
DA EYSTER ON PROP 57: Let's assume for the sake of discussion that Prop 57, the so-called Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, had become the law of the land in January 2011. Using that as a hypothetical, we have been wondering how many inmates sent to state prison from Mendocino County since January 2011 would have been or will be eligible for bureaucratic sentence reductions (unilateral after-the-fact changes by a prison clerk to a sentence imposed by a judge) with accelerated release eligibility to get back to Mendoland.
APPROXIMATELY 689 men and women have been committed to state prison by Mendocino County judges from January 2011 through July 20, 2016. Of that sum, at least 82% of these state prison inmates -- yes, at least 82% -- would have been or will be eligible for Prop 57 relief. What is meant by Prop 57 relief? We mean the inmate is not required to serve the actual sentence that the judge imposed; rather, as re-calculated by prison record clerks, he or she need only serve a fraction of the punishment originally ordered by the judge in order to make the inmate eligible for accelerated release on parole. (As an aside, has anyone considered that the statewide parole offices had their parole officer staffing cut after the Realignment laws were passed in October 2011? As a result, there are not enough parole agents currently employed to adequately supervise number of parolees currently needing supervision, yet Prop 57's goal is to significantly multiply the number of parolees roaming the streets?)
PROP 57's deceptive and slippery definition of "violent" is one of the keys, as well as the proposed constitutional mandate that inmates who have been convicted and sentenced on multiples crimes and cases will have their cumulative sentence recalculated by Prop 57 in a way that treats all inmates as "first-timers, one-offense only" defendants. Let's say that a different way ... the career criminals and those who have gone on serious crime sprees — defendants who pose a much greater on-going risk to the community if not incarcerated — will receive the greatest reductions and benefits from Prop 57.
The Mendo DA is busy compiling background information on current state prison inmates housed from Mendo to share as fact-specific examples of what Prop 57 outcomes will look like should this bad social experiment not be defeated. Stay tuned and be ready to hold on to your chair. Some old-timers will understand what we mean when we equate what is being proposed as an "E-ticket ride" but without the fun.
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SUPPORT PROP 57
I just read your comments concerning Proposition 57 in the July 27 AVA Off the Record. I am compelled to toss my two-cents out there.
I am one of the Americans who Proposition 57 will possibly affect being someone who has been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.
First of all let me give you some background on my case: in 1997 I was at a concert with my new girlfriend who was only 19 at the time. To make a long story a bit shorter she got jumped by six wannabe tough guys — male and female — who I had a "history" with. I beat up a couple of the guys years before.) Basically they jumped on my girl because they heard she was my girlfriend. In their drunken state they fail to realize I was not in jail like they thought. But I had grown out my hair and was standing right next to her! So I stupidly ended up with a knife in my hand and with all six of them stomping on her face, back etc., I reflexively tackled the whole pile off of her. What I didn't realize at the time was I ended up "injuring" one of these wannabe gangbangers with the tip of my knife leaving a half-inch nick that didn't even need stitches. These people were using deadly force on my girl, kicking her in the face and head and leaving bootprints on her neck and back that lasted for weeks. I had every right to use deadly force to stop it even if I had intentionally tried to stab someone, which I didn't. But I was on parole and had no business with a knife and I was in Bakersfield (which is the asshole of the universe). So now I was facing a third strike. (My prior strikes were from an "armed robbery" in 1985 where I tried to recover some drugs that three guys stole from a friend. I got all three strikes from that one case because there were three people there!
Anyway, I was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and given 32 years to life. I have been in prison for over 17 years for defending a girl. By the way, assault with a deadly weapon only carries a maximum sentence of four years.
So on to Proposition 57. Yes, it could help me get out. If my assault with a deadly weapon had a "great bodily injury" on it I would be ass out of luck, but my "victim" was barely scratched and didn't even realize it at first. (Funny how these so-called tough guys who want to play gangbanger games cry for the police when they get hurt!)
I realize from your comments that you are for locking up and throwing away the key for most anyone who gets arrested. But that is not the answer in most cases. I have very little violence since I've been down — a couple of fistfights that were unavoidable. That says a lot for someone who has spent almost two decades in Level 4 prisons. I have four boys who have grown up without their father because of the three strikes law which is more than a farce.
I agree that some people have had more than enough chances. But I didn't have a 32-to-life sentence coming, just for stopping some a-holes from stomping my girl out. How would you feel if I was out with your daughter? Would you want me to stop the ass-whooping or would you want me to run away and call the police and hope they get there in the next hour before she was stomped to death? I did what any man should do: no matter the odds, no matter what kind of hoodlums it is, you stand up and defend your girl at all costs. And in this case the cost was high: the state took my life and left my four sons fatherless.
Not all the people who Proposition 57 affects are bloodthirsty dope fiends. Your neighborhood will not be more dangerous if they let me out. The days of "death by incarceration" are over. No one benefits from caging people forever. Governor Brown's other idea/proposition of allowing all inmates to earn good time credits is a way to curb prison violence. What reason does a life prisoner in a Level 4 prison have to not stab etc. other prisoners, guards, staff etc.? When there's no hope then people don't care. When you are given 25-life for a petty crime and the state has basically taken your life, your kids, your world, you tend not to give a fuck! What do you have to give a fuck about?
In the years before the politicians got the "truth in sentencing" crap started, all prisoners got half time which meant that if you obeyed the rules and if you worked or went to school you could earn day for day credit, every good day earned you another day. This encouraged prisoners do not fuck up and gave people a reason to act right. Would you rather a person was in the habit of following the rules and being productive and getting out of prison with this mindset a few months early? Or would your hate-filled revenge demanding self want someone who had no reason to follow the rules or work who inflicted violence on others at will or got all their time and refused to work but did all their time even though it wasn't that much more to begin with?
Is there really a question? The latter will have a very fucked up mindset and your revengeful insistence on him doing every last day will feed his need for revenge.
I have been down for 17+ years and believe me I have heard so many revenge plots due to these Three Strikes and Truth in Sentencing laws that I can't even count them. Why wouldn't you want American prisoners to participate in rehabilitation programs? Why wouldn't you want to help prisoners want to follow the rules and laws? This so-called tough on crime BS has been poisonous to our society. Prisoners are not "them," "we" are the prisoners. A percentage of Americans are prisoners but that does not make us the enemies. We are all part of the American society. The politicians want you to look at us as others, not your sons, husbands, friends, wives, etc. The attacks disguised as laws are not making society safer. They are just creating a bunch of pissed off people with nothing to lose. That's not the kind of neighbors I would want.
Yes, Proposition 57 may let some people out who would otherwise do much more time, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The state is not going to just release a bunch of maniacs. Proposition 57 only allows people to go in front of the prison board and plead their case if you've been behaving and if you've been participating in rehabilitation programs and if they feel you are no longer a threat to society and you could get parole. Don't let Propositions 36 and 47 influence you. This has nothing to do with letting a bunch of drug users out of prison. And if you don't think there's a bunch of people doing way too much time for way too little then you need to open your mind and seek the truth and stop blindly believing what district attorneys and cops tell you. They have an interest in keeping humans in prison: all that blood money.
Anyway, this is just my case. I've done more than enough time for a case the should have been dropped. Bakersfield! What a shithole!
Scott Pinkerton, Lancaster
PS. Check out my art, etc. at
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ED REPLY: Assuming the facts of your case are as you've described, you got a medievally cruel amount of time. You also must have had a very bad attorney. I've railed for years about disproportionate sentences, and I've complained about the preponderance of crime victims on parole boards. I agree that our DA and Sheriff have selected worst-case felons. But at the legislative level of state and federal government we suffer the most abysmal group of unprincipled time-servers perhaps in the history of the country. Some of the black officeholders address the issues you've raised since black people are in prison out of all reasonable proportion to their numbers in the population, but the few humane and principled legislators are a small minority of the rancid whole. There is no remedy for people like you. Serious crimes that used to earn people ten years in 1950 now earn them upwards of twenty years because there is a lot more crime and lots more shocking crime. Every day in Mendocino County there is an episode, or more than a single episode, that would have had people talking for months in times past. And our media, natch, plays this stuff up and people get more scared, creating what we have now — a nation of 'fraidy cats well down the path to fascism, the philosophy of the fearful.
BAD NEWS FOR WILLITS' SELF-MEDICATORS
On 08-25-2016 at approximately 1:06 P.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office conducted a traffic stop in the 300 Block of East Commercial Street in Willits, California. Deputies contacted Charles Gielow, 39, of Willits, who was a passenger inside of the vehicle. Gielow, who had two warrants for his arrest, which were out of Mendocino County, was arrested on the warrants and taken into custody. Deputies ultimately discovered Gielow was in possession of 21 grams of heroin, 1.17 grams of methamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia items. Deputies learned Gielow was currently out of custody from the Mendocino County Jail on a bail bond. Deputies placed Gielow under arrest for Felony Transportation For Sales, Felony Committing Same Or Similar Offense While Released On Bail, Misdemeanor Possession Of A Controlled Substance and Misdemeanor Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia. Gielow was ultimately booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $155,000 bail.
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On 08-01-2016 at 11:55 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were summoned to a coroner's investigation at a remote address in the 18500 block of Walker Lake Road in Willits, California. Upon arrival, Deputies found a deceased adult male who was subsequently identified as being Bryan Hammon who resided at the location. The death was found to be suspicious in nature and Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau were summoned to the scene. Detectives were assisted by criminalists from the California Department of Justice in processing the scene to help in determining the cause of Hammon's death. Later that night, following up on investigative leads, the victim's brother, Sean Bradley Hammon, 46, of Willits, was contacted at his home in the 2500 block of Old River Road in Talmage. During that contact an incident of domestic violence was reported by Hammon's girlfriend and Hammon barricaded himself inside his residence. The Mendocino County SWAT team and Crisis Negotiation Team responded and tried to convince Hammon to come out of his residence. After an approximately 8-hour period, Hammon surrendered. Hammon was subsequently arrested on the domestic violence case and remained in the Mendocino County Jail. Hammon was later interviewed several times as the investigation continued into the death of his brother. On 08-17-2016, after reviewing the case and preceding investigation, the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against Hammon for felonious hit and run causing death of his brother, Bryan Hammon. Anyone who may have additional information that would assist Detectives in this investigation are urged to contact the Sheriff's Office tip-line by calling 707-234-2100.
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THEY WOULDN'T HAVE SEEN YOU IN THE FOG, DON, IF YOU'D STAYED IN POINT ARENA
On September 1, 2016 at about 10:20 AM a MCSO Deputy attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop in the 100 block of Kawi Place, Willits. Prior to completing the traffic stop, the suspect vehicle pulled into a dirt parking lot, at which time a male exited the vehicle and took off running. The Deputy then got into a foot chase with the suspect (later identified has Donald Ralph McCloud, 45, of Point Arena). During the chase the Deputy ordered the subject to stop running on numerous occasions. However, McCloud continued to run form the Deputy. The Deputy then warned McCloud that he would deploy his Taser if he did not stop. McCloud continued to run. The Deputy then deployed his "Taser" at which time McCloud stopped running and was apprehended. It was later determined that McCloud was a wanted fugitive from the state of Texas (where he was wanted on a parole hold). In a search of his person the Deputy located a methamphetamine smoking pipe and methamphetamine. McCloud was transported to the Mendocino County where he was booked on the wanted Felon warrant, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting, obstructing or delaying a Peace Officer and driving a motor vehicle on a suspended, or revoked, driver license. McCloud is currently being held without bail.
* * *
JOHNY'S NO GENT
On 08-31-2016 at approximately 2:00 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a reported vandalism in the 16000 block of Franklin Road Fort Bragg. Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and contacted an adult female, who related that she drove her one year old son to the location to discuss child custody issues with the child’s father, Johny Delgado, 20, of Fort Bragg. The adult female and Delgado engaged in a verbal argument which resulted in Delgado pushing the adult female to the ground. The fall caused in an injury to the adult female’s hand. The adult female got into her vehicle and began to leave the residence when Delgado approached her vehicle, picked up a rock and caused damage to the hood. The adult female subsequently contacted law enforcement for assistance. Sheriff’s Deputies were able to locate evidence supporting the adult female’s allegations. Additionally, Delgado was found to be on active Mendocino County Probation. Delgado was arrested without incident for Domestic Battery, Felony Vandalism and Violation of Probation. Delgado was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held without bail.
* * *
SOUVENIRS OF WAR
On August 31, 2016 at approximately 12:30 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to contact a citizen who had located a hand grenade at a residence in the 31000 block of Thomas Lane in Fort Bragg. The concerned citizen had recently acquired boxes of personal possessions belonging to a deceased relative. While sorting through boxes of World War II memorabilia, the concerned citizen located two hand grenades. One of the hand grenades was obviously inert with marking paint and a large inspection hole at the base of the device. The second device appeared to be armed and displayed a fuse, lot number and serial number on the safety lever. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived and evacuated the immediate area. A mutual aide request was forwarded to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) unit to respond and dispose of the device. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office EOD technicians arrived and relocated the device to a safe location on the property where it was destroyed.
THE ABOVE ITEM reminded the Major of his favorite (and only) “logistics joke.” (The Major spent a sizable portion of his so-called career as a “Senior Logistics Systems Engineer.”)
A Navy seaman is walking down a beach and comes across an old torpedo that has washed ashore. Following Navy regs, the seaman reports his finding to his supervisor who tells him to contact the “central torpedo depot” for advice on how to proceed. The seaman finally reaches a “Senior Underwater Weapons Systems Specialist” at the depot who tells him to go back and get the Model No., Part Number and Serial Number off the torpedo. “But don’t touch it!” emphasizes the Depot Man, "some of those babies are very sensitive and can go off if you sneeze in the area.” The seaman goes back to the torpedo and carefully inspects it without touching it. He calls back and tells the Depot Man that the torpedo is a Model AN2-665X/V(2)E, part number 7J14-05-6A-2, serial number 34044. The Depot Man gets out a thick black binder and starts flipping through page after page of torpedo listings. “Oh boy!” exclaims the Depot Man, “I knew it. That’s one of those very unstable ones manufactured during the Korean War by General Dynamics. I thought we had seen the last of those. It will have to be defused as soon as possible. That serial number says it was manufactured in batch that was later recalled as too dangerous. You never know when those things can go off. What you need to do is very carefully remove the main detonator unit by unscrewing the 17 countersunk galvanized screws holding the detonator housing using a MIL-C-5503G t-handled screwdriver with a demagnetized head.” The seaman allowed as how he didn’t have the specified screwdriver handy. “Oh, that’s OK,” says the Depot tech. “Just use a coin then.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 1, 2016
(Unavailable due to “internal error” at the Sheriff’s Booking Log website.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I really despise shoelaces, so I look for footwear that doesn’t include shoe laces. Also, I live in a rural area where sidewalks and asphalt are not the norm, but mud, snow, and briars are. So, given that criteria, and given they also happen to look pretty while at the same time being utilitarian, I bought a pair of jack boots.
I stubbornly wore them for awhile, but they ultimately wound up banished to the closet, despite their virtues, because of all the dirty looks I got from BOTH the champions of cosmopolitan diversity, and the common culture patriots.
Clearly the former assumed I was some sort of Nazi. Clearly the latter assumed I was anti-American.
Now if you bother to look at any substantial number of photos of the American frontier / the old west, from 1850 to 1920, or go to museums and look at surviving examples of what was worn then, what you will rarely, or never, see, are any examples of that gaudy, uncomfortable, and lavishly impractical footwear now passed off as the American cowboy boot.
What Jesse James, American cowboys, American pioneers, and the U.S. 7th Cavalry, WERE wearing, ubiquitously, looked very much like, or basically were, jack boots.
The Common culture patriots love their country so much that they never bothered to study it beyond the cramming they had to do for a 6th grade civics class.
And the Champions of diversity respect other cultures so much that they never bothered to study it beyond what can be crammed into a 30 second TV commercial aimed at an 8 year olds understanding.
Or, worse, both DO know the actual facts and the actual context, but by choice elect to ignore it and pander instead to the narrow, grossly simplistic, bigoted conceit of an 8 year old.
Because, as Shakespeare famously said, "To do a little right, do a little wrong."
Because, after all, there is some compelling, over-arching moral or practical imperative in stigmatizing jack boots.
Because, after all, there is some compelling, over-arching moral or practical imperative in pushing ugly, less practical, footwear.
Like I said at the beginning, it’s a fake debate, the gay multiculturalist doesn’t give a damn about other cultures, and the Common culture patriots don’t give a damn about America.
Neither of these clubs gives a damn about human rights. Both in fact have the same agenda, which agenda both never state out-right and bluntly.
WHY DO WE KEEP PUTTING PEOPLE IN THE WAY OF WILDFIRE?
The wrong carrots and sticks.
WOMEN IN BLACK First Friday, Sept 2
Women in Black will meet 5:00 pm in front of Town Hall, Fort Bragg this Friday. We stand for peaceful resolutions to all conflicts at home, in our communities and throughout the world. Let's fill the corner at Laurel and Main.
Also, September 21st is International Day of Peace. The theme for the day in 2016 is "The Sustainable Goals: Building Blocks for Peace". Come celebrate with Women in Black on Wednesday, September 21 at the Senior Center, 1:30 pm.
Call Lorna at 707-734-0767 for more information.
FROM BECOMING TO BEING—FASCISM
Over the last 25 years the Republican Party has been moving steadily rightward, and the Democratic Party has followed this drift.
In 2004 a friend, J.S. sent me a postcard entitled “Early Warning Signs of Fascism”. The card then listed the following:
- Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
- Disdain for Human Rights
- Identification of Enemies as a unifying Cause
- Supremacy of the Military
- Rampant Sexism
- Growing Racism
- Controlled Mass Media
- Obsession with National Security
- Religion and Government Intertwined
- Corporate Power Protected
- Labor Power Suppressed
- Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
- Obsession with Crime and Punishment
- Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
- Fraudulent Elections
Arguably, the Republican Party has now become a Fascist Party. We should call it like it is — Fascism
Now let’s mobilize for battle!
PRO-AGRIBUSINESS LEGISLATORS BACK ASTROTURF GROUP EFFORT TO ERADICATE STRIPERS & BLACK BASS
by Dan Bacher
The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, an Astoturf group funded by Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoons Stewart and Lynda Resnick, and its water contractor allies have apparently switched the focus on their campaign to eradicate Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta striped bass and black bass from the California Fish and Game Commission to the State Legislature.
Dave Hurley of the Allied Fishing Groups said, “I reported on Friday that the water users would be back after last week’s Fish and Game Commission meeting, and a preemptive strike was indeed launched by the Coalition for the Sustainable Delta a week before the scheduled hearing on the August 25 garnering support from a number of California legislators to influence the Fish and Game Commission to do their bidding regarding striped and largemouth bass.”
A couple of days before the Fish and Game Commission meeting in Folsom on August 24 and 25, the coalition and other agribusiness interests withdrew their petition calling on the Commission to raise striped bass and black bass bag limits and to lower size limits protecting these species. The water contractors claimed their attempt to reduce the populations of these popular fish is designed to “protect” Sacramento River Chinook salmon and Delta smelt, even though there is no peer reviewed science that supports this.
“In recent days, the Commission staff recommended maintenance of the status quo rather than taking any action in response to the petition to address this important issue despite continuing reports showing declines in native endangered species,” the Coalition said in a statement on August 24.
Coalition for a Sustainable Delta spokesman Michael Boccadoro stated, “It is clear that more needs to be done to halt the continuing declines, but the Commission has again refused to address the issue. We are not giving up but simply refocusing our efforts.”
The petitioners include the same powerful agribusiness and Southern California agribusiness interests that are collaborating with Governor Jerry Brown to build the environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels — the Coalition for Sustainable Delta, California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation, Kern County Water Agency, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Northern California Water Association, San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Southern California Water Committee, State Water Contractors, and Western Growers.
On August 18, twenty-one pro-corporate agribusiness legislators sent a letter to the Commission urging support for the petition “to address predation of at-risk fish native to the Delta by non-native predators.”
“As salmon and smelt continue to decline, it is increasingly important for the Commission to take all appropriate action to address predation,” the legislators wrote. (https://sustainabledelta.com/about/press-releases/)
Legislators signing the letter include Senators Anthony Cannella (District 12), Senator Patricia Bates (District 36), Senator Ted Gaines (District 1), Assemblyman Brian Dahle (AD1), Assemblyman Matthew Harper (AD 74), Senator Bob Huff (District 29), Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang (District 55), Senator Jim Nielsen (District 4), Assemblymember Travis Allen (AD 72), Assemblymember Adam Gray (AD 21), Senator Tom Berryhill (District 8), Assemblyman Rudy Salas (AD 32), Senator Andy Vidak (District 14), Senator Jean Fuller (District 16), Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (AD 6), Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (AD 5), Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula (AD 31), Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (AD 12), Assemblymember Jim Patterson (AD 23), Assemblymember Devon Mathis (AD 26) and Assemblymember Bill Brough (AD 73).
“Predation of endangered and threatened fish, including Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, delta smelt and Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, by non-native striped bass and black bass is well documented,” they wrote. “Yet predation in the Delta has gone unaddressed. This modest proposal is a reasonable step for the Commission to begin identifying methods to limit predation on native species in the Delta.”
While it is too late for passing legislation on this issue this year, we may see an attempt by the water contractors to launch legislation aimed at eradicating striped bass and black bass populations next year. Two previous attempts by legislators to reduce the numbers of striped bass failed to pass through the legislature, due to massive opposition by fishing and conservation grups.
Prominent scientists disagree strongly with the contention of Boccadaro and the water contractors that eradicating striped bass and black bass populations would help “protect” endangered salmon and smelt, pointing out the lack of any peer-reviewed science backing this claim.
“There is NO new peer-reviewed science that would change anything regarding this issue from the last time they tried the regulation change until now,” said David J. Ostrach Ph.D., Chief Scientist of Ostrach Consulting. “There have been some special interest group directed ‘studies’ by the water contractors and their allies, most of which are bogus or focus on hot spots and then expand that notion to the entire estuary e.g. if they’re eating them en masse at the hotspots, they’re eating them everywhere.”
“Most importantly, predation at hot spots and throughout the Delta has not been shown to affect population levels of salmon or endangered species; it is a lower-level stressor. The biggest predators known to affect population levels of endangered species in the system are the state and federal water project pumping operations, where it’s clearly documented that they’ve killed tens of millions of endangered salmon, Delta smelt, striped bass and any other fish that enters Clifton Court Forebay,” said Ostrach.
In fact, Ostrach points out that Dr. Sean Hayes, NOAA’s lead scientist on this topic, made a 45 minute presentation to the State Water Resources Control Board concluding that removing striped bass and other predators from the system would likely not only do no good, but could potentially cause serious harm to endangered species and the ecosystem.
“So the federal agency’s own scientists working on this problem have come to this conclusion, yet his words are twisted to suit the needs of the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and others,” said Ostrach.
Ostrach emphasized that if the Commission ever changes the regulations so that smaller striped bass are being caught and kept, it would likely cause a decrease in striped bass predation on other fish, such as the inland silversides, that pose a greater danger to salmon and Delta smelt.
Hurley urged fish advocates to remember the names of the legislators who signed the letter supporting the Coalition “when it is time to hit the ballot box, and if they are your representative, make them represent your interests.”
Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the couple behind the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, use more water to irrigate their almond, pistachio, walnut and other crops in Kern County in than every home in Los Angeles combined. For more information, read the recent article in Mother Jones magazine: www.motherjones.com/...
GASP GRANTS FOR ARTISTS & SCHOOLS Available for the 2016-17 School Year
The Arts Council of Mendocino County is pleased to announce the 12th year of funding for the Get Arts in the Schools Program (GASP). GASP is a public/private arts education partnership that funds professional artist workshops and live performances in Mendocino County schools during the school year. The goal of the program is to infuse the arts in the core curriculum and to deliver quality, educational, curriculum-based artistic enrichment in K-12 classrooms throughout Mendocino County. Core program funding is made possible by the Mendocino County Office of Education with generous support from the Hudson Family Fund and the Arts in the Schools Endowment of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.
ARTISTS: To be eligible to receive a GASP grant, an artist must: be a professional in their art field, have prior experience presenting an art program or project in a classroom setting, reside in Mendocino County, and be a current member of Arts Council of Mendocino County. Artists who meet all four of the qualifying criteria should submit an application packet to the Arts Council of Mendocino County by the application deadline of September 30, 2016. Grant guidelines and application materials are available at www.ArtsMendocino.org or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Arts Council of Mendocino County, Attn: GASP – Artist Application Request, 309 E Perkins St, Ukiah, CA 95482. New Artists are strongly encouraged to discuss their proposed projects with Arts Council staff prior to applying. A limited amount of funding is available to support mentorships for artists who lack experience teaching in the schools and yet meet all other eligibility requirements. Funding is also available for school-wide residencies at Redwood Elementary School and Dana Gray Elementary School. Interested artists are encouraged to inquire at the Arts Council.
Schools: In order to be eligible for a GASP grant, a school or after-school program must be serviced by MCOE (private schools are currently ineligible) and able to present a GASP program during the regular school day or in an arts and education after-school program. Schools and after-school programs apply to receive a GASP artist workshop or performance by submitting a request form to the Arts Council of Mendocino County by September 30, 2016. Request forms are available online at ArtsMendocino.org
Artist/classroom matches will be made by the Arts Council of Mendocino County according to the school requests and the pool of qualified GASP artists. Artists and schools will be notified of their awards by December 2016. Funding for this program will be available starting in January 2017. The total amount available for grants is $24,000.
For more information, call the Arts Council at (707) 463-2727. Further information about the program can be found on the Arts Council’s website at www.ArtsMendocino.org.
Alyssum Wier, Executive Director
Arts Council of Mendocino County
309 East Perkins Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
The tax deductible California Arts license plate supports California arts councils! Get yours today at www.cac.ca.gov
HIS SOUL stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o'clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.
— T.S. Eliot, "Preludes"
US COURT UPHOLDS BAN ON GUN SALES TO MARIJUANA CARD HOLDERS
MUSE BENEFIT SHOPPING NIGHT
"Mendocino Unified Schools Enrichment announces a Benefit Shopping Night Saturday September 9th from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Gallery Bookshop. The mission of MUSE is to bring together the community and its resources to save and enhance existing programs and to support new programs in Mendocino Unified School District. MUSE was formed by parents, teachers and community members concerned with maintaining and enhancing the excellent educational programs that have been the heritage of the Mendocino Unified School District. All proceeds from sales made during the event go to MUSE. The public is invited to join friends and neighbors for a convivial evening at the bookshop, with expert help to choose the right book or gift for yourself or others (and free gift wrapping too). There will be refreshments. Gallery Bookshop is located at the corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino. More information: call (707) 937-2665 or visit www.gallerybookshop.com."
SUN POWER COMES CHEAP
Hi to Everyone at Mendocino Solar Service,
I was waiting to get this month's bill to send you this note, as this is the first month since our true up period in January that we have had to pay anything: a whopping $2.73! Make sure you saw the decimal in there!
We had our solar system installed in 2006. The job was very professionally done and you have been great about helping us understand the operation and care of the system. During our first year, there was an electricity outage on our Lane that lasted over a week, but we had battery backup, so had power! PG&E gave us all a $100 rebate because of the length of the outage.
Our averaged energy cost was $8.09 per month, so we came out ahead by $2.92 for our first year! Since then, our averaged monthly costs, which are mostly for distribution, have been:
2008 — $7.41
2009 — $4.48
2010 — $4.50
2011 — $2.92
2012 — $2.54
Yes, it will take a while to cover the initial costs, but we are well on the way to doing that. I figured out that we are generating approximately $560 in savings per year. This is one of the best investments we have ever made, not just to save money, but also to benefit the environment by getting our power in a more sustainable way. Thank you for your service to our community and the planet!
Sylvia Gilmour, MSS Customer
A WOMAN NAMED JUANA AND TWO NAMED MARIA LUISA
by Louis Bedrock
When director Maria Luisa Bemberg, Argentinian film maker, encountered Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, probably when she read *The Traps of Faith* by Octavio Paz, she found a kindred spirit. It is not surprising that Bemberg would make a film about Sor Juana because they had much in common despite the almost three centuries between them.
Benberg married young; she bore and raised four children. But at the age of thirty-five, with her children grown, she divorced her husband and began to make up for lost time. She dabbled in writing for a while, attended an acting seminar at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, and in 1981, at age 59, wrote and directed her first feature film, *Momentos*. *Yo, La Peor de Todas* / *I, The Worst of All* was made in 1990.
Maria Luisa Bemberg must have seen synchronicity in the name of Sor Juana’s powerful friend and protector, Maria Luisa Manrique de Lara y Ganzaga, Countess de Paredes. Maria Luisa and her husband, Don Tomás Antonio de la Cerda, third Marques of Laguna, were designated viceroys of Mexico in May de 1680 and became the most powerful defenders of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, protecting her from the excesses and misogyny of the Catholic Church, personified by the Archbishop of Mexico, Francisco Aguiar y Seijas.
Juana Ramirez was born in Mexico, or *Nueva España, *in 1648. She would have been a member of Mensa if Mensa had existed in 17th century Mexico. She learned to read when she was three, and mastered Greek and Latin before she was thirteen. She wrote her first poem at the age of eight. She read all of the books in her maternal grandfather’s large library when she was still a child, and at the age of sixteen was denied permission by her mother to disguise herself as a boy so she could attend the university in Mexico City.
When she was 17, the Viceroy of Mexico at the time invited a distinguished group of intellectuals, theologians, academics, and writers to an “examination” of Juana in which she was obliged to spontaneously answer questions covering all fields of human knowledge. She passed the test with aplomb, astonishing all those who were present and forging her reputation in Mexico and Europe.
At the age of twenty, with the encouragement of her mentor and confessor, Father Antonio Nuñez de Miranda, she entered the monastery of Santa Paula of the Order of San Jerónimo. He assured her that this was the best way for her to continue to study, think, and write at a time when these activities were proscribed for women.
The film *I, The Worst of All* begins when Juana is already an important figure in the convent, throughout Mexico, and even in Spain. The new viceroy of Nueva España and his wife have recently arrived and are eager to meet Sor Juana, known in Spain as “The Tenth Muse”.
Juana has written a play for the occasion and among the spectators are not only the viceroys, but also the figure who will become Juana’s chief antagonist, the Archbishop, Francisco Aguiar y Seijas.
Doña Maria Luisa and Don Tomás are delighted by the comedy. The viceroy stumbles while trying to repeat some lines from the play mocking men. Juana overhears him, approaches, and recites the lines:
“Foolish men, you accuse women without reason without seeing that you create that for which you blame them”
The Viceroys, enchanted by Juana, decide to “adopt” her while the virulently misogynous Archbishop Aguiar y Seijas mutters, “This is not a convent: it is a brothel.”
The Vicereine is drawn to Juana because she sees a similarity between Juana’s life and her own. She goes to visit Juana in the convent and speaks to her through the bars that separate the nun from her guests. The countess complains about the bars, but Juana says she no longer sees them. The following dialogue, which is in the movie, does not appear in the book. I wondered as I watched it if it weren’t as much a dialogue between Maria Luisa Bemberg and Juana as between Maria Luisa Manrique de Lara y Ganzaga and Juana:
—We live similar lives, Sor Juana.
—I don’t think so, Madam.
—Yes, we do! You live with veil; I with the crown. You’re not allowed to leave the convent. Do you think I can escape from the palace? You obey the rules of the order; I, the protocol. I was told that when you were twenty, you entered the convent; at twenty, I was obliged to marry. I wonder--for which of us is the world more stifling?
—Madam, may I respond with four modest verses of mine?
—The soul is locked in no prison,
Nor restrained by iron gates,
The only bonds that restrain it,
Are those it itself creates.
Much has been made of the relationship between Sor Juana and Maria Luisa Manrique. The movie was popular at LGBT film festivals because of it. The movie, although not the book, suggests that the relationship might have gone beyond the Platonic.
This is not central to the importance of the story, which deals with the problems confronting a woman who dared to be passionate, brilliant, creative, and outspoken when these traits could lead to condemnation by the Inquisition and being burned alive. This happened to Giordano Bruno — an event alluded to in the film; and he wasn’t a woman.
*I, The Worst of All* received mixed reviews. The most common criticism was that the movie was too slow moving. I disagree and feel that its 107 minutes pass too quickly -- and I have seen the film three times. I first saw it about 10 years ago. Bemberg’s use of chiaroscuro led me to incorrectly remember the movie as being in black and white. When I bought my own copy of the DVD and watched it again, I was surprised to see it was in color.
The dramatic tension of the film escalates as the friction between Juana and the repressive society in which she lives escalates. Eventually the forces in Mexico and Spain that have protected her are weakened and her enemies gain an advantage. The agent of this repression is the Archbishop Aguilar y Seijas, and the most dramatic scene of the movie occurs when his animosity toward Juana and all women leads him to make an impertinent comment that triggers an explosive reaction by Juana.
The title of the film comes from the abjurations Juana was obliged to write by her confessor, Antonio Nuñez de Miranda. In *El libro de profesiones *–*The Book of Proclamations* of the convent, Juana wrote:
*Here, above shall be noted the day, month, and year of my death. I beg my beloved sisters, those pious ones already in the Hereafter, that in the name of God and the Immaculate Mother, that they entrust me to God for I have been the worst there is. To all, for the love of God and he Holy Mother, I beg for pardon.*
*I, The Worst of All: Juana Inés de la Cruz*
The Archbishop, Francisco Aguiar y Seijas, her confessor, Father Antonio Nuñez de Miranda, and the fear of the Inquisition compelled Sor Juana to renounce her love of learning and her writing and to turn over to the Church her books, scientific equipment, and musical instruments.
However, in the year 1700, 5 years after her death in April of 1695, *Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz* was published. In this document Juana defends her own right, as well as all women’s right, to pursue a life of literature and learning. She alludes to Hypatia among other examples of learned women.
Maria Luisa Manrique de Lara y Ganzaga, Countess de Paredes, loved and protected her. Octavio Paz wrote a 700 page book about her. Maria Luisa Bemberg made a movie about her. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of the great voices of the Golden Age of Spanish Literature, was a pioneer and icon of feminism, and is an inspiration for anyone oppressed by the Zeitgeist of her age. Or *his* age.
- *I, the Worst of All* (1990 <http://www.imdb.com/year/1990/?ref_=tt_ov_inf>) Yo, la peor de todas* *(original title) Film by Maria Luisa Bemberg
- Octavio Paz, *Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz *o *Las Trampas de la fe, *17th edition, 2009 (First edition,1982), Fondo de cultura e economía, Mexico
TRUTH IS STRANGER than dystopian fiction. Last May, for example, United States President Barack Obama announced the opening of the U.S.-sponsored Fulbright University of Vietnam (FUV), the first private university in a small nation the U.S. tried to “bomb back to the Stone Age” half a century ago. Intended to be “a U.S.-style university not under control of the Communist Party of Vietnam,” FUV hopes to begin teaching students about how to be good global-era capitalists and world capitalist citizens in the fall of 2017. (— Paul Street)
MORE BAD NEWS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
It seems hardly a week passes by without bad news on Climate change. The latest is a report published by the weekly The Norwegian American news - 'Permafrost thaw threatens mountains - New research shows in greater detail which parts of Scandinavian earth is permafrost'. Permafrost is permanently frozen ground. Today there are 26 countries conducting research on permafrost and have pooled their expertise in the International Permafrost Association and the Global Terrestrial Network for Permafrost. Permafrost is most prevalent in the central mountains of Central Norway and in the mountain chains along the border between Norway and Sweden – the far north. Global warming could destabilize the mountains as the permafrost continues to thaw. Permafrost is the glue that holds them together. Unstable mountains slopes could destroy roads, railways, buildings and threaten lives. It goes with out saying, thawing of the permafrost areas of the marshes of the High North could release enormous quantities of greenhouse gasses. It should also be noted record temperatures are being set in Norway's Svalbard Arctic Archipelago. I will leave for another day what climate change is doing the coffee growing areas of the world.
In peace and love,
TOP 500 SALES AND USE TAX DELINQUENCIES UPDATED
The Board of Equalization (BOE) has updated its Top 500 Sales & Use Tax Delinquencies in California list, as it does every quarter. You can find the latest information at http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/top500.htm.
The total delinquency amount of all the businesses and individuals on the list is $445,229,151.95. The 39 new taxpayers added to the list this quarter owe a combined amount of $23,818,571.93. Since the list began with the top 250 delinquencies in 2007, $16.71 million has been collected from 221 taxpayers. A list of the Top 500 Tax Delinquencies has been provided to participating state licensing agencies. Those on the list could have driver and other professional licenses suspended until they pay the amount owed or enter into a payment plan with the BOE.
Please feel free to contact the BOE Office of Public Affairs if you have any questions.
Office of Public Affairs
Connect with Us <http://www.boe.ca.gov/news/newsRSS.xml>
SEPTEMBER IS LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH
A library card is the coolest - September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Mendocino County Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a free library card.
Today’s libraries are about more than books. They are creative and engaging community centers for learners from birth to high school and beyond. Community members of all ages can collaborate using new technologies, learn how to make a variety of things, or just relax with peers. Our library also offers access to a variety of print and digital resources, including Explora research for Public Libraries (includes portals specifically for elementary school, middle school, and high school), and LearningExpress Library (includes programs such as the School Center, College Center and Career Center). Our online research databases provide students with reference resources to complete school assignments, apply to college, and prepare for exams in various career fields.
Our library provides access and programs for all ages. The library has regularly scheduled story time, a variety of craft programs, seed libraries, book clubs, a 1000 books before kindergarten program and more. There’s really something for everyone and it’s all free with a library card.
The library now offers Online Library Card registration. Online Library Card users will have immediate temporary access to our databases, e-books, & entertainment such as Hoopla which offers audiobooks, e-books, and streaming of music & video. To convert your Online Card to a General Card, visit your local branch and bring your ID and address verification.
For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Mendocino County Library in person or visit the library online at https://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/library/librarycard.htm.