- Shoulda Gone To Chuck
- MCDH District Board Election
- At Last
- Local Support For Mental Patients
- Cannabis Versus Big Business
- Yes On Measure AF
- Don't Do It, Mendo
- College Must Change Its Ways
- Support Mendo Football
- A Grape Farmer For Pot
SHOULDA GONE TO CHUCK
To the Editor,
Roll Over Beethoven.
With all due respect to Bob Dylan, his Nobel Prize for literature should have been awarded to the legendary rock'n'roll pioneer, Chuck Berry, rock's first great songwriter, whose body of work stands today as arguably the best in rock'n'roll.
His literate and clearly enunciated story-songs of automobiles, high school, and rock'n'roll in the 50's began to shape the music that was to follow with practically every important rock band of the next two decades building on his foundations.
No one encapsulated the concerns of U.S. teenagers in song like he did. Teachers and parents were authority figures, rock'n'roll music the means of escape. Everything stemmed from these simple assumptions
Berry approached rock'n'roll from the opposite side of the racial divide, but unlike Elvis, he wrote all his own songs which explains his huge influence on the white groups of the sixties.
His attention to vocabulary is a quality that made Berry's songs so different from those of the country and blues singers who preceded him. More than the music, Berry agonizes over the way his lyrics fit together, their ability to stand on their own as literature separate from the music, and their precise and clear delivery.
Robert Christgau, music editor of the Village Voice in the 70s, said: "Chuck Berry is the greatest rock lyricist this side of Bob Dylan, and sometimes I prefer him to Dylan. Both communicate an abundance of childlike delight in linguistic discovery that page poets are supposed to convey and too often don't, but Berry's most ambitious lyrics, unlike Dylan's, never seem pretentious or forced. True, his language is ersatz and barbaric, full of mispronounced foreignisms and advertising coinages, but so was Whitman's. Like Whitman, Berry is excessive because he is totally immersed in America — the America of Melville and the Edsel, burlesque and installment-plan funerals, pemmican, and pomade. Unlike Whitman, though, he doesn't quite permit you to take him seriously. It would be perverse to argue that Berry's songs are in themselves as rich as, say, 'Remembrance of Things Past'. Their richness is rather a function of their active relationship with an audience.. Where Proust wrote about a dying subculture from a cork-lined room, Berry helped give life to a fun subculture which is what adolescent revolt had to be about — inebriated affluence versus the hangover of the work ethic. It was the only practicable value in the Peter Pan utopia of the American dream."
Chuck Berry, the rock'n'roll pioneer, was also an American visionary whose 1956 hit, "Roll Over Beethoven," celebrated the emergence of American classical music: "Roll over Beethoven, tell Tschaikovsky the news… dig them rhythm and blues."
His 1957 adolescent complaint song, "School Day," was a direct action prophecy of the Free Speech movement: "Close your books, get out of your seats / down the hall and into the streets."
Bob Dylan should magnanimously return the Nobel Prize and urge the judges to award it to Chuck Berry. Chuck is 90 years old, Bob is only 75.
PS. "I'm a millionaire, but I cut the grass. It's like a person. A blade is a blade: when it's cut in half it dies, for sure. But the half that isn't cut springs back to life."
— Chuck Berry “American Visionary" (Rolling Stone, 9/2/2010)
MCDH DISTRICT BOARD ELECTION
The announcement of Dr. Lucas Campos’ employment in the Advocate/Beacon on October 27 appears to me to look suspiciously like an endorsement of Dr. Campos by the Hospital. Not only did the ad appear only 10 days before the election and when many vote by mail ballots are being completed, such a large ad is costly. Other candidates for the Board positions are not getting equal exposure. Basically we as taxpayers are funding a large virtual endorsement for one candidate. In my opinion this may be illegal. If anybody wishes to follow up on this here is the website for the FPPC.
To the Editor:
Hip, Hip Hooray for the MTA! (Mendocino Transit Authority). The bus company is now going to Mendocino and Fort Bragg and back to Ukiah which started Oct. 23, 2016 all in the same day. This is great and a good change. We used to get a bus trip to Ft. Bragg and have to stay there until the next day to get a bus back to Ukiah. I hope there will be a lot of riders which will increase money for MTA. Maybe we will get a Sunday bus, maybe not. It’s a very nice change. People can cool off in the summer months going to Fort Bragg. Thank you MTA.
Leslie Jo Feldman
LOCAL SUPPORT FOR MENTAL PATIENTS
Mental Health is the number 1 problem in our county as declared by Mendocino residents. One in four families experiences a mental health crisis. One in 5 persons who are currently housed in our county jail have a mental illness. Our Emergency Rooms are overwhelmed with the number of clients presenting with mental health crises. Many people we see walking the streets, disheveled and talking to themselves, or isolated at home, afraid to seek help, are without care. This election we have an opportunity to create a solution to these problems.
It’s time to recognize, destigmatize and educate ourselves about mental illness. Mental illness are brain disorders, that are a result of genetic and environmental factors that produce changes in our brains. Brain disorders impact the way people think and behave. Our human brains and bodies sit on a precarious spectrum with a fine tipping point that can shift us toward or away from mental health or illness. That’s why providing support and treatment can make a significant difference in the outcome.
As a psychiatrist in our community for 22 years, I have been forced to send clients out of the county, when they have a mental health crisis and are at their most vulnerable. We need a mental health facility that offers a place to provide support and treatment for Mendocino County. That’s what measures AG and AH do. They build the facilities so we can provide the services and treatment for those who desperately need it.
Please join me in supporting Measure AG and AH.
Dr. Betty Lacy
CANNABIS VERSUS BIG BUSINESS
I have changed my vote from yes to no against Proposition 64, the marijuana legalization initiative. From my perspective as a retired internist and a part-time marijuana medical examiner, there is no doubt about the medical value of this plant. And by and large, the majority of people I screen are using this drug for legitimate medical reasons. Frankly, I have been very surprised. The problem with this proposition is that it gives the whole enterprise to big business.
This means advertising. Corporations have a contemptuous disregard for the well-being of those they profit from. By contrast, as things stand now, there is a definite standard of caring and helpfulness in line with medical ethics. There is an effort to do good. The profit motive is evident but secondary. I am saying there is no need to invite big business into it. There is no reason to advertise this potent medication. We can rewrite Prop. 64 so as to decriminalize its use and review related jail sentences.
YES ON MEASURE AF
Dubbed the Mendocino Heritage Act, Measure AF is a citizen sponsored initiative placed on the Mendocino County ballot to regulate and tax the medical cannabis industry. The reason citizens mobilized to put Measure AF on the ballot is because the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has fumbled around for two years without producing any rules to regulate this burgeoning industry that is the lifeblood of our County's economy.
While I have certain reservations about Measure AF that I'll get to later, the environmental concerns expressed by Supervisor John McCowen, and Paul Trouette, President of the Blacktail Deer Association, are not among them. When McCowen, a strong supporter of the Wildlife Services lethal wildlife management program, and Trouette, an avid hunter who gets his kicks by killing wildlife, start crying crocodile tears over wildlife, it's time to laugh out loud. The real reason McCowen is against Measure AF is because he resents his Supervisorial authority being usurped by a citizens' initiative.
Time and time again McCowen and his Board of bumbling bureaucrats have forced citizens to take civil matters into their own hands. The Board's failure to do an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the lethal Wildlife Services program necessitated a citizens' lawsuit against the County to force it into compliance with the law. The Board's failure to do an EIR on the Cherry Creek asphalt plant has forced local residents to sue the County over grievous environmental impacts to their watershed. The Board's failure to address the County's mental health crisis has even forced Sheriff Tom Allman to spearhead a citizens' initiative (Measure AG on your ballot) to fund a new mental health facility instead of warehousing mental patients in the County jail. Our embarrassingly incompetent Board of Supervisors is a laughing stock around the State.
McCowen claims that by allowing cannabis cultivation in all zoning classifications Measure AF will open the floodgates to marijuana madness inundating our County. This is classic McCowen dissembling. Measure AF only applies to unincorporated areas of the County; more densely populated residential areas within incorporated municipalities will still be subject to regulation by their own city councils. For the County's unincorporated areas, Measure AF establishes clear restrictions on the size of grow operations depending on zoning and other specific characteristics of individual properties.
McCowen complains that Measure AF hasn't undergone adequate public scrutiny through government process, but when County government is as dysfunctional as ours is, citizens are left with no other option than to take their case directly to the voters.
It is important to understand that the scope of Measure AF is to set-up rules for legal commerce in what was up until now a black market. The rules in Measure AF for cultivating cannabis reflect industry wide Best Management Practices (BMPs) that are consistent with State laws governing water usage and forestry. In California it is State agencies that take the lead in enforcing violations of water and timber regulations, not local authorities. The rules in Measure AF regulating cannabis cultivation are much stricter than for any other agricultural crop in the County and are enforceable by the County's Agricultural Commissioner. Under Measure AF, unpermitted commercial grows are still considered illegal and are subject to eradication by the Sheriff's Department and State and Federal law enforcement agencies. No matter how cannabis is regulated, environmental protections will only be as good as their enforcement.
One of my reservations about Measure AF is that the penalties for noncompliance are not high enough to act as a deterrent to flagrant violators of the law. Another of my concerns is that the one acre maximum grow size is too large. Properties that can support one acre grows in the County will be snatched up by venture capitalists who will drive out the small mom & pop growers who have made Mendocino County bud famous throughout the world. Such a corporate take-over of the cannabis industry is exactly what the drafters of Measure AF want to avoid, but by allowing one acre grows, Measure AF plays right into corporate hands. There is, however, a provision in Measure AF that allows the Board of Supervisors to adjust these numbers if they prove to be counterproductive.
It is no secret that Mendocino County's economy is driven by the cannabis industry; all other sectors of the economy including wine grapes, ranching, timber and tourism are small by comparison. Despite this present economic reality, our County Board of Supervisors seems to be stuck in a time warp of anti-drug hysteria. It appears to me that this Board has a deep seated moral objection to “marijuana” and that their prudishness is keeping them from acting reasonably and responsibly on this issue that is crucial to the future of this County. In the face of this Board's intransigence, I applaud the citizen activists who have taken the initiative to do something about it! I'll be voting Yes on Measure AF.
SUPERVISOR MCCOWEN RESPONDS: "Jonathan Spitz can dismiss my environmental concerns about Measure AF if he likes, but what about those of the unanimous Willits Environmental Center Board of Directors, led by Ellen Drell? And don't forget the Sierra Club, Redwood Chapter; the Peregrine Audubon Society; the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, the California Native Plant Society, San Hedrin Chapter; the Ukiah Valley Trail Group; and the Mendocino County Land Trust. Spitz also ignores the concerns of the Mendocino County Food Policy Council; the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council; the Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association and over a dozen more educational, governmental and community groups who all say No on Measure AF. Spitz idiotically says Measure AF only applies in the unicorporated part of the County so why worry? In fact, that is where widespread environmental devastation has already occured, and where more will occur if the entire unincorporated county is opened up to an unlimited increase in new growers, cultivating on new grow sites. Measure AF also bypasses the environmental review process so there will be no opportunity to identify or mitigate any negative environmental impacts. Spitz rightly expresses concern about increasing garden size to an acre and the almost non-existent penalties in AF, which he correctly says is a disincentive for anyone to follow the rules. Instead of the free for all that Measure AF will encourage, it makes far more sense to first bring existing growers into a regulated system and establish a level of community and environmental equilibrium before allowing a new wave of unchecked expansion. Vote No on Measure AF!"
DON'T DO IT, MENDO
A huge Pandora’s Box was opened with the passage of Proposition 215. We are now reaping the consequences of that action. We have seen increases in crime, home invasions and increase in murder. We have seen an influx of transients flooding our streets with signs needing our support while many of them are fully able to work. We have not been in control of this situation and in many cases our law enforcement are being reduced to being counselors.
There has been an explosion of illegal marijuana grows in private and public lands. There has been injury to our environment affecting forestry lands and our water ways. All of this under the guise of “Mom and Pop” farms, supplying “medicine” to a needy population masquerading as patients under every bogus and imaginary illness under the sun. I do believe there are terminal cases and critical issues with some that the use of marijuana should be indicated and I would agree with its use however the practice of medicine, although not perfect, has been around a long time and has been successful without using marijuana. However, the medical profession has had a marijuana tablet on it’s formulary for over 50 years.
Now we are being asked to vote and open another giant Pandora’s Box by voting for Prop 64 and Measure AF. Measure AF is a measure drawn up to protect and advance the success of all marijuana growers and free up the use of its product so that all the protection by law goes to the marijuana industry giving the remainder of our citizens no say if we do not go along with all of the ramifications that will occur if we pass AF. Prop 64 is a blatant measure to legalize marijuana all over the state of California and if passed will cause all kinds of problems. It is greatly being promoted as enhancing our economy and prosperity largely by being taxed and increasing our revenue to help build all of our infrastructure, roads, build model schools, model hospitals, increase tourism by having marijuana bars and those wanting to see our thriving communities, perhaps being greeted with a sign “near by but far out.”
If marijuana healed everything it is stated to heal, we would not need to build model hospitals. What good is a model school if all of the students are stoned out? And, what do you do after you hang out at a marijuana bar? You could get in your vehicle DUI and perhaps kill someone on your way home. It could be you.
There are some compelling reasons why both AF and Prop 64 should receive a vote of no:
1. Will children be involved if these measures were passed? Yes, they will! The graduating class of Laytonville has aptly demonstrated what they are going to do. A large, perhaps majority, of the class will end their education and go into the marijuana business. That is a local, state and national tragedy since it is our children that will be governing our national prosperity.
2. Will it really improve the economy? Has it improved the economy of Mexico? Why are so many trying to cross the border into the United States if they have such a great economy? The economy may improve, but only if there is enough law enforcement to regulate those measures to be enforced. Thousands of tons of marijuana are being smuggled into this country every year. Our faithful border patrol can only capture a small percentage. Will this state have to form a special border patrol to monitor every vehicle that leaves the state smuggling marijuana to other states?
3. Lawlessness: This is the key word. When you are dealing with the marijuana world you are dealing with lawlessness. Laws are made to govern society with an expectation that those laws will be obeyed. Has that happened with the marijuana industry? No! Marijuana is still illegal under federal law but the marijuana industry has pushed in every direction making sure that things go their way.
4. Where we have water, we have life. Whether you know it or not your water rights in California are now owned by the state. Ground water is being monitored and every water system is now known. I suspect that sometime in the near future, there will be a meter attached to every well. We have been in a drought for the past few years and have had insufficient water. We have no promise for tomorrow, how many severe droughts we will have or even if the one we have now will ever end in our lifetime. This past week Fort Bragg had to issue their public warning about water scarcity. Are we, in this time of drought, really willing to open ourselves to a permanent water restriction because we will vote on marijuana to suck the state dry of water? Marijuana takes a lot of water. During this drought, while we were struggling with having enough water to flush our toilets, wash our dishes and clothes, trying to water our orchard trees or small gardens: there were over 200 illegal marijuana grows along the Eel River sucking it dry so that the water could not reach us.
5. Property Values: If you are surrounded by noxious plants that you cannot stand the smell, and if you are on permanent water restriction, how is that going to affect your property value? If you do not like it, most likely, another buyer will not like it unless you sell way below value. If you have to sell your property below value, then how does that improve your economy?
COLLEGE MUST CHANGE ITS WAYS
To the Editor:
What’s happening with the football program at Mendocino College is not a new story. In fact, it’s been going on year, after year, after year. Because there are not enough local players to field a team the college recruits and entices young men from around the nation to come to Ukiah.
This is done primarily for one reason...money. Out of state players pay tuition plus fees and buy books. The state of California pays the college thousands of dollars for each in state player. The actual student out of pocket cost (tuition, fees, etc...) are but a fraction of the monies the college then receives from the state. If the college’s denial about money not being a factor in its decision to have football why would the college have a program costing as much as football with such miniscule in district student or fan participation? There is virtually no local support for a college football team. The recent home game with Los Medanos proves this beyond question. The fans from Los Medanos completely dominated both in numbers and enthusiasm despite having to travel hours to and from Ukiah.
The college maximizes the money it receives by minimizing the in house costs of the team to a thread-bare minimum. All of team’s coaches are poorly paid part-time employees without benefits such as health insurance or retirement. This saves the college big bucks. It also leads to high turn over, a lack of continuity and limits the amount of support necessary for young men forced to live in flop house motels or on a friend’s couch or floor.
The college president (the highest paid public official in either Lake or Mendocino County) claims it would be breaking the rules to give players the opportunity to succeed on their field of dreams or in the classroom. Apparently he feels no moral or ethical obligation beyond expressing his concern for these 18 and 19 year old youths who have come to Mendocino College, traveling thousands of miles at their own expense, believing it would be a positive experience. These young men from a half dozen different states didn’t all arrive in Ukiah by accident. There are dozens of California Community colleges that play football. Although a number of the smaller schools have given up football when confronted with their hypocrisy. What were you thinking? Thirty college football players under one roof in a residential neighborhood without on-site adult supervision? Ever noticed the long-term residents of the motel these kids lived in? How about the drug paraphernalia scattered about the parking lot? Would you want your son living there paying five hundred dollars a month for a mattress?
The College’s choice seems fairly clear. Offer a football program that gives young men the opportunity to succeed. Hire full-time responsible coaches, have a full-time employee helping all students find decent housing. Create a student loan program that delivers money at the beginning of the semester so that they can actually have books the first day of class rather than receive that loan six or seven weeks later. Organize a community orientation program for all out of district students. Involve support groups, service clubs, the College Foundation. Or, step aside and allow these young men the opportunity to attend a college that cares about them as people.
Larry MacLeitch, Former College Trustee,
SUPPORT MENDO FOOTBALL
To the Editor:
An open letter to the Mendocino College Trustees:
I submitted this letter to be read at the public comment section of a meeting of the Mendocino College Board of Trustees on Wednesday, Oct. 12. I later learned that it was not read aloud at the meeting but only placed on a table there with the suggestion that anyone who wanted to read it could. I don’t understand why my letter was not read aloud and not entered into the minutes of that meeting. As a result, I want to offer it here because it includes an invitation to other members of the community who hope to resolve the difficulties that students face when attending the College from out of the area.
Dear Mendocino College Trustees,
I would have liked to attend Wednesday night’s meeting but have to be in Sonoma County at that time. However, as part of the public comment period during your meeting I’d like to express my dismay as a resident of Ukiah over what came to pass for the football players residing at the house on Hortense Street in Ukiah and for other student athletes who have lived at a local motel while attending Mendocino College — and would like to make a suggestion that might lead to a constructive solution for out-of-area student athletes in the future.
Meanwhile, I hope that local people are helping the football players find new, decent housing because it seems, from what I’ve read in the Ukiah Daily Journal and The Press Democrat, that Mendocino College believes it can do nothing.
I felt awful when I read about the plight of the athletes living on Hortense Street. In recalling my own college experience, I remember the importance, while living in a dorm, of having resident advisors living there with us on each dorm floor. As recent arrivals from high school, we students needed a bit of guidance from those resident advisors, even if it came from a graduate student who was only four years older and wiser. How anyone could direct 30 young men to seek housing in a building meant to accommodate 24 at most and to live there without supervision and meager resources and then expect a good outcome is beyond me. It didn’t help that these student athletes had no hot water for two weeks and that some of them were sleeping on the floor. What’s worse, these students were mostly African-American young men who are likely to have already encountered racism growing up in America and then, finding themselves in an unfamiliar and predominantly white community, they experienced what seemed to be a blatant example of that racism on the part of the neighborhood. My heart goes out to these student athletes. I’m so sorry that this is the way they were introduced to life in Ukiah.
Newspaper coverage on these recent events also indicated that living conditions have been substandard for Mendocino College athletes advised to stay at a Ukiah motel. If what I read about bedbugs and the presence of prostitutes plying their trade at the motel was correct, I don’t know how the College could in any way suggest to the athletes and their parents that the motel might serve as adequate housing.
Isn’t it possible for the foundation associated with Mendocino College to assist out-of-area students with housing? If not, and if Mendocino College continues to encourage athletes from out of the area to play for the school but cannot provide them true housing assistance, I want to propose that private donors step forward to take up the slack. Possibly this could take the form of private foundation money. It might be possible to set up a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. I called that foundation and learned that a minimum donation of $10,000 to the Community Foundation would be required to establish such a fund. Money from a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation can be given only to a 501 C 3 organization — in this case, possibly the College’s own foundation — and it has to be designated for benefit of a group and not an individual. In this case, the group might be Mendocino College athletes who come from outside of Ukiah or all students who arrive at the College from outside the area. If anyone attending Wednesday’s meeting of the College Trustees wants to explore this possibility with me, please let me know.
Victoria Golden, Ukiah
James R. Cruise, MD
A GRAPE FARMER FOR POT
Letter to the Editor:
I am a rancher, grape farmer, winery owner in Mendocino County for the past 16 harvests. Whether you are in favor of Cannabis or not here are some facts to consider regarding Cannabis and Measure AF on our November ballot.
Twenty years ago in 1996 Californians voted for legalization of Medical Cannabis, more yes votes for Proposition 215 (Medical Marijuana Act) were cast than votes for Bill Clinton for president.
60% of Californians are in favor of Legalization of recreational Cannabis.
70% of our economy in Mendocino County is generated from the Cannabis Industry.
Mendocino County has been producing the highest quality of Cannabis for more than 40 years.
80% of the Cannabis consumed in the United States is grown in Northern California.
40% of the Cannabis is grown for the Medical market.
Mendocino County is considered the "Napa Valley" of the Cannabis industry.
There are 25 states which have enacted laws in favor of Medical Marijuana, 5 recreational, 12 have it on the ballot this year. That’s 42 states out of 50 in favor of Cannabis.
Out of 68 counties in California, Mendocino ranks 12th as one of the poorest counties in California. With the per capita income of $23,712.
California has recognized Cannabis as a agricultural product, that makes it a commodity like grapes.
Being a grape farmer this is how I see it.
Let’s say you are growing the finest Pinot Noir in Anderson Valley at $4000 a ton, that’s $2 a pound. The growing season lasts from April to September / October depending on varietal. It take anywhere from $3500 to $5000 an acre to farm annually. The grapes are harvested, crushed, then barrel aged for at least 10 months up to two years. Then it’s bottled and ready for market.
Cannabis has the same growing season of 6 months, April to October. The cost of growing Cannabis is nowhere near the cost of farming grapes. You don't spray sulfur, round-up, pesticides or chemicals like folks do with grapes. Cannabis sells at $1000 to $2000 a pound depending on varietal etc.
Let’s assume that the Cannabis market takes a hit after the November ballot and it loses 75% of its current value. That would make it $250 a pound.
I am a farmer, $2 a pound for the finest Pinot Noir that takes 18 to 22 months to reach the market, or Cannabis at $250 a pound and your at the market in 10 to 11 months. As a farmer who grows crops it's a no-brainer. Cannabis will allow the small farmers to actually make a decent living rather than just getting by growing grapes like most of us do. There are 548 vineyards in Mendocino County at this moment averaging only 14 acres. There are over 10,000 Cannabis farmers in Mendocino County.
There are many counties which have embraced the Cannabis Industry in California and are running away with permitting large grows and will reap the money and taxes generated from this boom in the industry.
Prohibition is ending, the people have spoken. Do we as a county want to fall behind again? We, Mendocino County farmers, have the chance to really make a difference, the time is NOW. Vote yes on Measure AF and release the elephant in the room!
Thank you for your time,