- Housing Homeless
- FB Government
- Extreme Weather
- Mendo Swamp
- Little Dog
- Vetting Bush
- Kenya Fundraiser
- Will's Article
- Yesterday's Catch
- Dylan Acceptance
- Hungry Tourists
- Free Market
- Sandy Hook
- Oakland Safety
- Library Event
- Meditation Workshops
- Trickle Down
- Audubon Meeting
- Pet Special
- Pot Party
- Water Bill
- Perpetual War
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT rambled on Sunday morning for a thousand words about how neighbors of a proposed church-sponsored parking-lot camp for the homeless are very unhappy about it. Of course the neighbors are unhappy about it because, like everyone else except the Press Democrat, they know that "homeless" is a euphemism for people addicted to drugs and alcohol, people who prefer addiction as a way of life, a way of life subsidized by free lunch programs and handouts here and there in lieu of effective public strategies to get the walking wounded off the streets. There are unaddicted, normally functioning people made homeless by misfortune, a lost job plus today's extortionate rents, but you generally don't find them in homeless camps because like everyone else they avoid concentrations of untamed pathology. A commenter pointed out there’s an empty hospital complex in Santa Rosa that could be converted to a homeless shelter, but whenever it’s suggested to the authorities they change the subject.
A SECOND FALLACY that gets in the way of an honest discussion of the homeless is the pretense by municipalities like Santa Rosa, Fort Bragg and Ukiah and their equivalents everywhere is that they can somehow independently offer effective succor to the ever-larger army of badly damaged people. Even if the vacant hospital in Santa Rosa were available as a homeless treatment center, the “clients” housed there would require paid pros to manage them, and most areas don’t have the money. So, here come the non-profits with small gobs of public money shoveled to them to take care of the homeless.
HOMELESSNESS in the true sense of the people who derange themselves via dope and booze is a national problem that will only get worse until there’s a national housing, cum mental health strategy, to address it. In the mean time, and it’s a very mean time indeed, it would truly help focus on what needs to be done if the apparatus of helpers out there, lots of them very well paid, would start lobbying their elected people — Huffman, The Dentist, Little Mike — to get public money to where it gets people indoors and detoxed.
THE NICE THING about writing here in Amnesia County is every coupla years I can tell the same story over again. Here goes: Back in a rainy 1990’s winter, the late Roanne Withers, then an employee of America’s least effective county mental health department, which is Mendocino County’s Department of Mental Health, got a modest grant to create emergency winter housing for the homeless in the Fort Bragg area. Roanne went out and rented a big tent, which she erected on an empty lot off South Franklin Street. It was a nice set-up — Porta-Potties, portable showers, the works, with Roanne running a very tight ship. Anyone could stay there overnight so long as they were sober or otherwise not under the influence. A couple of old school bums, sober type, spent a few winter nights under the big top (capacity about 40) but everyone else was a mix of young students, male and female, enrolled in the Coast’s famous woodworking classes, and young people from a variety of countries making their sprightly ways around the country as low end tourists. I remember looking around at this crew and thinking to myself, “Most of these people are not homeless.” Even the handful of older men, the hobo types, were straight as strings. “The homeless” didn’t qualify because, of course, they weren’t allowed in the tent if they were loaded. And most of the homeless everywhere are perpetually loaded. Roanne’s program ended one night when the tent blew down about three in the morning. Nobody was injured, but the tent planners hadn’t anticipated the big winter blows off the Pacific.
MONDAY'S meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council should be interesting, as it commences with a coffee and cake mingle with the two newly-elected persons, Mr. Norvell and Mr. Lee, followed by their swearing-in followed by the selection of a new mayor and vice-mayor. Big changes may be coming to Fort Bragg government, and a majority of Bragg-ists are hoping for a more sensible approach to, for one case, the metastasizing Hospitality House.
FORT BRAGG 'EXTREME WEATHER SHELTER' CLOSED AGAIN TONIGHT
Are They Trying To 'Kill Off' The Homeless?
Once again, the heartless Hospitality House in Fort Bragg was completely wrong about the weather forecast Saturday and closed the EXTREME Weather Shelter that is supposed to be open when there is a threat of rain or the temperature drops below 40F.
If one was cynical, one could suppose they are "trying to save a couple bucks" by closing the shelter despite the rather "extreme" two inches of rain falling Friday night - and temperatures dropping to 37F this morning.
Maybe they think they can freeze the homeless out of town - and save money - despite the fact their actions may cost a life or two?
For the record, the temperature went BELOW 40F Sunday morning @ 2:36 am (39.8F), reached a low of 37.5F @ 7:40 am and climbed ABOVE 40F @ 9:10 am (40.2F).
They make a mockery of the word "Hospitality:" the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
synonyms: friendliness, hospitableness, warm reception, welcome, helpfulness, neighborliness, warmth, kindness, congeniality, geniality, cordiality, courtesy, amenability..."
And the shelter will be closed tonght also - the forecast, 10% chance of rain, temps to drop to 40F.
THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT wore me down with repeated assurances I'd finally get a look at the report on Mayor Turner's late night adventure as he and his family camped east of Fort Bragg. Which I never got. Whatever it was that happened caused a panicked call for help from Turner. We've learned informally it involved a couple of homegrown Fort Bragg tweakers and the alarm their appearance at the Turner camp alarmed the Turners. Not all that big a deal, and why the hush-hush is odd, for sure. (Maybe the tweaks were Turner supporters. Hmmm.)
THE TURNER LEGACY? One citizen puts it this way: "Our homeless are not locals. That is a myth, pretty much. Working poor should be housed first, not bums. Turner’s golden legacy: a town full of bums, run by social workers who live elsewhere, and out of town rich lbs who sit on boards."
I ONLY GET to Fort Bragg a couple of times a month, but I'd say there has been a pronounced spike in transients, but I think the problems the town faces aren't unique to Fort Bragg, but stem from overpaid managers to whom elected authority often abdicates when it shouldn't. The Old Coast Hotel deal never should have happened, but it did and the people have voted out two of the people who signed off on it.
LOOK AROUND THE COUNTY. The Supervisors long ago abdicated to their CEO, Carmel Angelo. Ukiah is run by a wildly overpaid city manager on behalf of somnolent elected people. Point Arena, clearly not ready for self-government, pays a career public job holder $50,000 a year to manage a population of a little more than 500 people, and has apparently agreed to let Mr. Fifty-G's appoint his successor, another career public job holder who is getting paid while Fifty-G's, the love interest of Fort Bragg's overpaid city manager, prepares for retirement, and watch them both pop up as paid consultants. Orange Man talks about "draining the swamp" while he throws in more alligators, but Mendo's swamp is all alligators.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I gotta a joke for you, folks.
Keegan says to this guy at the bar, ‘I just buried my second wife’ and I've vowed never to marry again.’
‘That's a shame,’ said the other guy, taking a sip from his drink, ‘but you know, it helps to talk about these things. What happened to your wives?’
‘Well,’ Keegan said, putting his drink down. ‘It’s sad. The first one died after eating some poison mushrooms somebody gave us, and the second one died of a concussion.’
‘A concussion?!’ the friend gasped. ‘How horrible! How did she get a concussion?’
Keegan explained, ‘She wouldn't eat her mushrooms’.”
REMEMBER CHUCK BUSH, FORT BRAGG SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT?
ARTS OF KENYA AT LAUREN’S IN DOWNTOWN BOONVILLE
It’s not often that Anderson Valley folks have the opportunity to shop for beautiful and unique East African art and craft pieces right in downtown Boonville. But until the end of December, anyone coming into Lauren’s restaurant can do just that and help support the programs of the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre (MYRC) in Kisumu, Kenya, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Seven years ago AV local Keevan Labowitz helped form the MYRC and the US non-profit Equip Manyatta that helps support it, and this is his second fundraiser at Lauren’s. Jewelry, purses, market bags, cards, pillowcases, photos, and a variety of art are for sale.
When Keevan arrived in Kisumu for what was slated to be a ten-week internship, he had no idea that he would actually stay for nine months and that he would return for months at a time every year since. From a small start, the MYRC now provides sports, performance, fine arts, and health programs for around 250, and when needed, provides money for school fees so the program’s participants can stay in school. Girls and boys can follow their interests and learn skills that will help them throughout their lives.
There are many success stories. For instance, singer Elizabeth Nahna first recorded at the MYRC recording studio. Now she regularly performs in Kisumu and Nairobi and even traveled to Sweden to take part in a cultural festival there. Her latest video can be found on YouTube by searching “Nahna Paro.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzV1ftM0vyI )Her talent and confidence have grown over the years and her voice is pure crystal. She recently was a featured performer at the November 5 Luo Festival Kisumu at the Tom Mboya Labour College.
Another success story is a young man known as Abubu. He was just named to the Kenya National Football Under-20 Team. He received extensive education funding from Equip Manyatta, and graduated Secondary School. He has been playing soccer with MYRC teams since 2009, gaining skills through the years, and was an outstanding player on the Senior Team, comprised of youth who have aged out of the Youth League. Now he is poised to have a successful life.
Anderson Valley has been an integral part of helping to fund Equip Manyatta. Students at AV Junior-Senior High participated in a campaign, led by teachers Kathy Borst, Liz Gonzales, and Jim Snyder, to have Equip Manyatta accepted onto the Global Giving site, one of the most respected on-line charity donation platforms. You can go to https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/equip-manyatta/ and look at quarterly reports and photos, or make a donation. Checks can also be made to Equip Manyatta and sent to PO Box 256, Philo, CA 95466. All donations will be acknowledged and are tax-deductible.
You can be part of this success story and help keep the programs going for the girls and boys of the Manyatta Youth Resource Centre! Come by Lauren’s and find something you will enjoy.
GOOD JOB, WILL
Thank you for shining a bright and badly needed light on the practices of some Marin-based investment firms that make huge investments in oil pipelines, oil wells and the fracking industry.
(“The Bay Area’s Money Pipeline to Dakota Access,” by Will Parrish, AVA, 10/26,2016. www.theava.com/archives/61890)
It is very disappointing and a shame that at the same time that thousands of people are at Standing Rock, North Dakota to bravely demand protection of our water and environment, the named Marin financial firms are “fracking funders.”
I applaud the AVA for its investigative journalism and also for naming some of the national firms that continue to invest in industries that pollute our planet and our lungs. The investing public should know that many of the very largest mutual fund companies, such as Vanguard, continue to heavily invest in oil and tobacco industry holdings such as ExxonMobil, Dominion Resources, Chevron Corporation, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Suncor Energy and Occidental Petroleum.
The investing public should also know that there are other local investment and financial planning firms that work hard to limit or completely avoid investing in these and other dirty industries. There are many other ways to responsibly and prudently invest capital. Thank you again for calling attention to this important issue.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 11, 2016
KELISHA ALVAREZ, Domestic assault, vandalism, failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)
JOSEPHA BASURTO, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, burglary, vandalism, resisting. (Frequent Flyer)
ANDREW FABELA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, vandalism.
JAMES HOTELLING, Willits. Drunk in public.
JOSHUA JOHNSON, Willits. Failure to appear.
JOSHUA STEVENS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BOB DYLAN’S NOBEL PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.
I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.
I don’t know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It’s probably buried so deep that they don’t even know it’s there.
If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn’t anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.
I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken, not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”
When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffeehouses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.
Well, I’ve been doing what I set out to do for a long time now. I’ve made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it’s my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seem to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures, and I’m grateful for that.
But there’s one thing I must say. As a performer I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.
But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years.
Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?” So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.
My best wishes to you all, Bob Dylan.
AMERICAN TOURISTS ARE EATING ALL OF CUBA’S ALREADY SCARCE FOOD
WHEN ADAM SMITH and John Stuart Mill and even Marx wrote about free markets, they meant a market free from the idle rich. These were primarily the idle landlords who collected land rent on a hereditary basis without working. Also, financers and the bankers, who had long insisted that governments create monopolies to give them in lieu of debt repayment.
Today, a free market means a market free for the landlords to charge whatever they want. Free for the monopolists to charge whatever they want. Free from regulation.
— Michael Hudson
REMEMBERING SANDY HOOK
December 14 2012 - December 14, 2016
We ought not to allow December 14 pass without remembering that four years ago, twenty children, six and seven years old, and six adults, their teachers and principal, were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in in Newtown, Connecticut by a mentally ill young man with an assault weapon. The unbearable agony of their parents and families can scarcely be imagined.
In their grief, the parents and others formed a non-profit foundation called Sandy Hook Promise. Its overall mission is to “fund research and the implementation of sensible solutions to prevent gun violence, as well as influencing legislators and engaging constituents in the legislative process and helping our community heal.”
In 2014 Sandy Hook Promise filed a lawsuit claiming damages against the weapon manufacturer. The lawsuit stated that the sale of such weapons, designed for military and policing applications, was inappropriately marketed to civilians. A Connecticut judge dismissed the case citing The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, passed by Congress in 2005. This legislation disallows any lawsuit resulting from damage caused by their product, weapons, and in this particular case, the Bushmaster XM15-E2S that was used to kill the children and their teachers.
Now there is some evidence that children were sacrificed in several ancient cultures by government. One example is the story of the Greek warrior king Agamemnon, who sacrificed his daughter, Iphigenia in hopes of obtaining favorable winds he needed to sail his warship to Troy. We may call these ancient sacrificial practices barbaric. Compared to what? Our government sacrifices children to propitiate well-connected gun manufacturers (see above).
But we go further. As I googled Sandy Hook Promise, I saw there was a website that claimed Sandy Hook Promise was an ‘elaborate hoax’. I found this a stunning example of both ‘fake news’ and the enormous divide in values we, as a nation, find ourselves negotiating. Sandy Hook parents were harassed by ‘gun truthers’ and conspiracy theorists who claim the brutal massacre never happened and told grieving parents that their children never died or never even existed (ABC news).
As the great aunt of three young children who were in public elementary school classrooms in Newtown Connecticut on that day four years ago, though mercifully not Sandy Hook, and as a former public elementary school principal, I find such fake news to be incredibly cruel and cynical.
Where is the civic and political will needed to protect our beloved, innocent children and to ensure a civil society where all can feel safe in public places and can agree to disagree based on reason?
Sandy Hook website www.sandyhookpromise.org
Lynn Zimmerman, Ukiah
Ed Note: Lynn Zimmerman is a former principal at AV Elementary School.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Dangerous building — What is going on in Oakland? Mayor Libby Schaaf and the planning and zoning hierarchy should immediately resign in shame over their failure to enforce basic health and safety standards in their city. One can only guess that they are too busy dithering with rich owners of the Oakland A’s and Raiders to slap a red tag and a lock on a dangerous building or provide decent, safe and affordable housing.
Aquifer Activist: Discover Cave Diving Exploration, Tuesday, December 13th @ 6pm. In a fun presentation for all ages and interests, you'll learn about paleo-history, movie monsters, fossil worlds, extremophiles — and the deepest depths of boundless curiosity!
Current offerings at the Community Coaching and Mediation Center~
Mantra Chanting, with Nansee New, 12:30-1:30. We chant mantras for one continuous hour to recorded call and response music. Chant-books provided. No experience required. By donation.
Course in Miracles Study Course, with Micah Sanger, 2-3:30. All levels welcome. By donation.
Non-Violent Communication Practice group (this leaderless group is for those who have been through the basic course) 5-7 PM. RSVP by Sunday noon at firstname.lastname@example.org. By donation
Weekly free talks 6-7 PM with reception to 7:30.
*December 13, Wendy Gallo speaks on Benefits of Nature-based Therapy; Physical, Mental, Spiritual
Note: If you care to offer a free talk to the community please contact: email@example.com
Women’s Support Group for Coaches and Healing Professionals. Meets the third Friday of every month, The December 16 meeting will host Terri Larsen in a talk titled: How to compose your signature talk to reach more people and boost client base. The talk, offered on Friday Dec. 16 at 4PM, will last approximately 70 minutes and is open to the public. After Terri’s talk, guests will be excused and the rest of us will give her feedback on her talk, and plan our next meeting. Time 4-6 PM. By donation.
Community Coaching and Mediation Center is committed to offering valuable, life enhancing programs that benefit our community. If you would like to book the space for an ongoing class, workshop or event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Eryka Peskin: Create your Dreams, Friday, December 16th, 10am-2pm
Sandy Glickfeld: Your Personal Money Map, January, 2017 (date TBA),
Lissa Friedman: Fixation to Freedom using the Enneagram, Feb. 24,25,26 (3-day workshop)
For information on workshops contact email@example.com. Location: 337 Redwood Avenue, Fort Bragg, CA (2 doors east of Beckman Printing, upstairs in room D).
Nansee New, Fort Bragg
MENDOCINO COAST AUDUBON SOCIETY MEETING Monday, December 12 7PM
Our next meeting will be Monday December 12 at 7PM at the Caspar Community Center 15051 Caspar Rd, Caspar, CA 95420. David Jensen and Tim Bray will hold the annual Christmas Bird Count Review, an audiovisual spectacular starring the birds in your backyard. If you're curious about the birds around you or know them very well, consider coming out to the Caspar Community Center this Monday at 7PM for a review. If you're interested in participating in the 116th Christmas Bird Count (12/26 for the Fort Bragg Circle and 1/2 for the Manchester Circle), this is the perfect time and place to get more information and sign up. If you live within the count circle for Fort Bragg and you don't want to spend your day outside, you can help out by keeping a list of the birds in your own yard. We're trying to identify and count every bird within a 15 mile diameter. The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society invites you to join us, no matter what your level of birding experience. Everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition, with the knowledge that their efforts make a difference for science and bird conservation. After the count, those who participated out in the field or on the feeder watch are invited to join us at the Caspar Community Center after 5PM for the great Count Up of all the species seen that day (Please RSVP, so we know how many citizen scientists we'll be feeding). The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society will provide hot lasagne and a salad. Please bring your own plates, cups, and cutlery, as well as something to drink.
Catherine Keegan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
MARIJUANA MEGA-FEST DRAWS RECORD 30,000 TO WINE COUNTRY
by David Downs
A record-breaking estimated 30,000 California medical pot farmers, family, friends and fans swamped Santa Rosa for a gargantuan marijuana festival dubbed “The Emerald Cup” at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds over the weekend.
The agricultural competition featured more than 1,100 flowers, extracts, edibles and other formulations — a 50 percent increase from last year — battling it out for the title of best in California. Judges spent the past month sampling up to 300 strains each.
“The awards is the highlight of Sunday,” said marketing director Jordan Caballero. “It’s the whole reason why we’re here. It’s everyone’s hard work for the entire year and season coming together and culminating at the cup. ... Walking away with a top 10 finish in the Emerald Cup — people say it’s like winning a Grammy or Emmy in cannabis. It’s a very big deal.”
The cup offered the first major gathering and celebration since California legalized adult-use cannabis with Proposition 64 on Nov. 8. Adults 21 and over can lawfully possess up to an ounce of cannabis flowers, 8 grams of pot extract and grow six plants, regardless of their medical status.
“It’s a big thing. The drug war is over. It’s the end of that. Now we’re fighting for our economic lives and branding,” event producer Tim Blake said.
High-ranking officials such as the state’s chief pot regulator, Lori Ajax; Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg; and Board of Equalization Member Fiona Ma mingled among the throngs at the 13th annual music showcase, expo and competition, which celebrates a billion-dollar bumper crop of medical and recreational pot in the newly legalized state.
Hotels were reportedly sold out for 30 miles in every direction and attendees flew, drove and bused in from New Jersey, Michigan, Florida and beyond — gifting the region a weekend economic boon measured in the tens of millions of dollars, organizers estimate. Attendees of what was billed as the world’s largest outdoor organic pot contest reported waiting two hours to get in due to lines and traffic.
Santa Rosa activist Pat Bakalian, 68, said she was “amazed and flabbergasted” at the teeming throngs in the fairground. “I never thought it would come this far. I thought it would be underground forever. People are really friendly, they’re mellow. The scale is wonderful.”
Guests to the medical cannabis competition needed a doctor’s note to buy and consume flower buds and baked goods in the sprawling, crowded, roaring cannabis bazaar. But doctors were on hand to rapidly write those notes for $100 each.
In the “medication area,” California’s leading growers and medical collectives handed out free joints and hash to guests who signed up. Patients resupplied on THC-infused mouth drops and skin rubs, buying for friends with medical conditions, or just Christmas shopping. A dull roar, punctuated by coughing, filled the skunky, hazy sky on Saturday.
Sunday was the more mellow day with partly cloudy skies replacing drizzle, and both guests and vendors seemed fully oriented, credentialed and settled in.
Farmers spent the day in educational panels, learning marketing and branding tips, and studying up on new state medical and adult-use regulations.
“Everyone here is smiling, passing joints — all this sorts of stuff,” said Emerald Cup judge Swami Chaitanya of Mendocino County. “We bring the mountain down to the city and the city comes up and plays with us.”
Outside the medication area, huge lines snaked out from food trucks all day long, as attendees waited for trays of hot Old Mexico Loco Nachos, Wings & Things, Mission Hill Creamery ice cream and Ultimate Souvlaki.
By contrast, the fairgrounds’ beer gardens were barren, and the Santa Rosa Police Department did not list any significant incidents as of Sunday morning. “We have not had a single notarized police altercation in 13 years,” Blake said.
Jerry Garcia’s daughter Trixie Garcia was a celebrity judge and said her marijuana tolerance had skyrocketed. After a while, only the most potent entries stood out, she said. “You kind of maintain a high plateau,” she said. “If suddenly you feel like someone opened a window — it’s doing something.”
Commercial and personal farmers snatched up coveted seeds for next year’s crop — paying as much as $250 for a 10-pack of seeds. Award-winning Colorado seed seller Rare Dankness sold out of much of its stock by Saturday afternoon, with patients paying $80 per pack of seeds.
“They’re asking for ‘one of everything,’ or they come with a list and get five packs of each kind on their list,” said Rare Dankess’ Paul Garrett. “It’s a blast. I look forward to this trip every year.”
In addition to full legalization, California’s medical cannabis industry is in the middle of historic regulations. California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Brian Leahy warned growers during a Saturday panel that a reckoning was coming for the state’s tainted marijuana supply chain.
“If we enforce the law like we do for carrot growers, the industry would be shut down. It’s amazing,” he said. “You need to understand the (regulatory) world you’re entering,” he said. “It’s very intense.”
Historic draft regulations for California pot will be publicized in the first quarter of 2017, said Bureau of Cannabis Regulation head Ajax. The state isn’t waiting for direction from the incoming Trump administration, because state deadlines mandate the release of license applications and licenses for the industry.
“We’ve got to keep moving. Time is not on our side,” Ajax said. “We’ve just got to see what happens with the new administration.”
The Emerald Cup started as a harvest party and friendly contest on a private lot in Mendocino County in 2003. Farmers back then didn’t list their names and accepted awards in disguise, Chaitanya said. The event grew exponentially, keeping pace with the rise of medical industry and recreational legalization's support. It moved to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in 2013.
Chaitanya predicts that with the spread of legalization across eight states and Washington D.C., the cup’s growth “is going to be exponential. It’s going to keep spreading out.”
“It’s like Harry Potter,” he said. “We’re the wizards, and now we’re trying to share with the muggles.”
(The San Francisco Chronicle)
* * *
EMERALD CUP MARKS NEW ERA IN SANTA ROSA AS MARIJUANA CONSUMERS, INDUSTRY GATHER
by Clark Mason
The Emerald Cup, a two-day celebration of marijuana culture that also honors the best Northern California cannabis farmers, kicked off Saturday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds amid the onset of a new era of legal, recreational pot, but also nagging uncertainties over how the industry will be brought into the mainstream.
“Everyone knows we are on the tip of something so big,” said Emerald Cup founder Tim Blake, among the many Saturday to voice uncertainty over how legalization will play out.
But there was also a feeling of elation over the outcome of Proposition 64, which California voters approved last month to legalize adult use of marijuana.
“It’s like Christmas, but it’s not quite here yet,” Blake said.
He had a promoter’s prediction for Sonoma County, saying it would be “the commercial and cultural hub for cannabis in this country,” particularly because of its close proximity to marijuana’s famed “Emerald Triangle” — Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties — where some of the most highly sought herb is grown.
Some of that coveted pot, in the form of bud, resin, hash, edibles, seeds and myriad other forms, was being sampled and sold to the thousands of fairgoers at the Emerald Cup, now in its 13th year and fourth year in Santa Rosa.
“People seem more comfortable," said a Mendocino marijuana farmer who offered only his first name, Thomas. "There’s a little more sense of relaxation."
His Honeybear Hives marijuana collective was set up in a booth with scores of others in the Junior Livestock area of the fairgrounds, selling bud samples with names like “Gorilla Glue” for as little as $10 a gram.
At other booths, people could sample strains with colorful flavors such as Blueberry Cheese and Cherry Slider.
Even though adult recreational use is legal, you still need a medical card until 2018 to legally purchase it, so sales of the cannabis products — and much of the sampling — was confined this weekend to an area where a medical card is required to enter. But there also was a company that offered medical cards for $100 after a brief video consultation with a doctor.
The event comes at a time when the state is launching a regulatory scheme for commercial medical marijuana that will be fully implemented in 2018.
As far as recreational pot, state regulators have said it will take until at least January 2018 before they issue licenses allowing that industry to open for business. The worth of that segment of the industry could swell to $6.5 billion by 2020, according to one market analysis.
“There are so many different products, so many different forms of regulation," Blake said. "It will be a very challenging situation the next few years."
Sonoma County is known for wineries, microbreweries and even staging bicycle races, he said, and now it is poised to take advantage of the lucrative cannabis market because of “forward thinking.”
Blake said Sonoma County “took on the Emerald Cup when Mendocino and Humboldt wouldn’t let me in.”
At the fair this weekend, he said, there were at least five people representing companies or groups looking to invest between $10 million to $100 million in the nascent market, whether to open dispensaries, market products, or open a cannabis cafe and clothing store.
When the Emerald Cup was first held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in 2013, there were about 60 vendor booths. This year, there were 450 vendors.
“There are so many new products, you can’t keep up with it,” he said.
Attendance at the Emerald Cup was projected to reach an all-time high, at 30,000 attendees. Individuals are counted twice if they attend both days.
“It’s 15,000 or 20,000 different people,” Blake said of the actual number present throughout the weekend.
This weekend fair features music, art and panel discussions, including one intended to shed light on government regulations.
In addition to state rules, counties and cities are adopting their own ordinances and taxation schemes.
Jamie Kerr, head of a consulting firm that guides industry operators, local communities and regulatory agencies said it is “a monumental challenge” to bring the multibillion-dollar industry online.
She moderated a panel on Saturday that included state Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg; Lori Ajax, the first chief of the state’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Legalization; and Fiona Ma, chair of the state Board of Equalization.
Also on the panel were Brian Leahy, director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, and Daniel Arnold, deputy chief of law enforcement for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Ma began her comments by saying “the big elephant in the room” is the lack of banking in the industry, because of federal law that still considers marijuana proceeds illegal.
She said it makes it difficult for growers to do business and the state to track transactions.
Ajax said that just the presence of top state bureaucrats Saturday showed that members of the industry and state officials are listening to each other.
“We want to work with you, do the best for business in California and the environment,” she said.
Wood, who sponsored legislation to regulate the medical marijuana industry, repeated his concern that taxes outlined by Proposition 64 will be too high on recreational marijuana.
Taxes tacked on for growers and dispensaries could drive up the cost to the consumer by 30 percent or more, according to one dispensary owner who addressed the panel.
Wood said the Legislature could reduce the taxes, but it would take a two-thirds vote. Arnold said the industry would need to practice voluntary compliance to ensure marijuana cultivation doesn’t degrade the environment. To avoid streams being drained dry from irrigation and other problems, he said growers need to bring peer pressure on fellow farmers, “to do it the right way with permits.”
Leahy recommended growers talk with their county agricultural officials to understand stringent pesticide guidelines.
Asked by a member of the audience why marijuana growers aren’t being treated the same as grape growers, Leahy said marijuana-growers would need to engage politically to get treated equally.
“Cannabis has a long history, some ingrained nonsense we’re getting over,” he said.
(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CONGRESS APPROVES WATER BILL WITH FEINSTEIN'S ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE RIDER
by Dan Bacher
The U.S. Senate on December 9 voted 78 to 21 to pass a bill approving water projects across the country, including an alarming rider amounting to a water grab for corporate agribusiness interests in California.
The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 will now go to President Obama's desk for his signature. If the bill is signed by Obama, the rider attached to the legislation will weaken Endangered Species Act protections for salmon, Delta smelt and other fish species — and allow more pumping of Delta water to subsidized corporate farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
The rider would also give greater power over water projects to the Secretary of Interior. For example, it authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to construct Federally owned storage projects that are cost-shared 50-50 with non-Federal parties.
“The rider departs from traditional Federal water law in that Congress is not authorizing projects,” said Ron Stork of Friends of the River. “Rather, Congress is authorizing the Secretary to participate in any project he or she wishes to, subject to the provisions of this bill and the wishes of the appropriations committees.”
The granting of greater power to the Interior Secretary on constructing federal storage projects could have a dramatic impact on struggling Western salmon and steelhead populations, in light of President-Elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Secretary of Interior. The rider gives the Trump administration the sole authority to approve dams like the Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River.
McMorris Rogers is beholden to the oil and gas, timber industry and other corporate interests - and seeks to open federal land and waters to fracking and other fossil fuel development, according to environmental groups. She received $109,600 from the oil and gas industry and $83,950 from the forestry and forest products industry in 2016, according to Open Secrets. bit.ly/....
“We are heartbroken at the passage of the Big Ag rider and the betrayal by Senator Dianne Feinstein,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta. “She and the San Joaquin Valley Republican Congressional Members took advantage of what is a good bill for the rest of the United States, by slipping in a scheme to over pump the SF Bay-Delta estuary. We are grateful to all the people and friends of the Bay-Delta estuary who took action. Please stay tuned on our next steps Monday. The fight will go on.”
The conflict over the rider between retiring Senator Boxer and Senator Dianne Feinstein erupted into a bitter split, with Boxer opposing the bill with a “poison pill rider,” even though she was a sponsor of the original legislation. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy worked out a deal on language to attach to the WRDA (Water Resources Development Act) in the lame duck session.
“The question I ask myself about this bill is will it help California?” said Senator Feinstein in a statement. “Will the $558 million in long-term authorizations help California develop a new water infrastructure? Will the short-term operational improvements help us hold more water in a way that does not negatively affect fish or the environment? I believe the answer is yes.” (mavensnotebook.com/...)
Senator Boxer strongly disagreed with Feinstein. Boxer said the last-minute rider would place the interests of agribusiness interests over the commercial and recreational fishing industries — and undermine Endangered Species Act protections for salmon, steelhead and other fish species in California, Oregon and Washington.
“I was stunned to see comments made by Kevin McCarthy that the outrageous poison pill that he is trying to place on WRDA is ‘a little small agreement’ on California drought. I will use every tool at my disposal to stop this last minute poison pill rider,” Boxer vowed before the vote. (mavensnotebook.com…
Likewise, Congressman Jared Huffman said, “Anyone that participates in this charade should be ashamed. This is a slap in the face to all of us who want to enact good infrastructure policy, who have been working to deliver for the families of Flint, and whose states care about salmon fishing jobs.”
John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), emphasized the terrible impact the adoption of the rider would have upon salmon fishing jobs along the West Coast and in the Sacramento Valley.
“It takes one gallon of water to produce a single almond,” said McManus. “Why are some in Congress insisting on taking even more water from Northern California salmon and giving it to junior water rights holders in the western San Joaquin desert to grow more almonds for export overseas? Seizing more Northern California salmon water to reward political friends in the Western San Joaquin desert will greatly harm thousands of working people up and down the coast and in the Sacramento Valley who depend on salmon to make a living.”
California’s salmon industry is valued over $2 billion in economic activity in a normal season including economic activity and jobs in Oregon, according to McManus. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon.
“This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, Tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large,” he noted.
In a big betrayal to the people of the Delta, Tribes, fishermen and all Californians, Representatives John Garamendi, Doris O. Matsui, and Congressman Ami Bera voted for the WRDA with the rider sponsored by Stewart Resnick-backed Congressman David G. Valadao and Senator Dianne Feinstein to over pump and decimate the San Francisco Bay-Delta.
And in yet another betrayal to the people of California, Governor Jerry Brown, who constantly poses as a “green governor” and “climate leader” amidst fawning coverage by the mainstream media, did nothing to oppose the bill, even though it will have a devastating impact on the fisheries, environment and economy of the state. The silence of the Brown administration appears to be consent.
Could that silence result from Brown wanting to make a deal with President Trump to weaken the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act in order to fast-track the construction of his “legacy project,” the Delta Tunnels?
WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST: PERMANENT INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PERPETUAL WAR
John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider interview David Vine on KMEC Radio, Monday, December 12, at 1 pm, Pacific Time.
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USBBC reports: “America’s top general has told U.S. troops in Iraq that momentum is turning against Islamic State militants. Gen Martin Dempsey, on an unannounced visit, called the militants ‘midgets’ but said the battle against them was likely to take years.”
Author of the forthcoming book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, Vine just wrote the piece “The Bases of War in the Middle East,” which states: “With the launch of a new U.S.-led war in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State (IS), the United States has engaged in aggressive military action in at least 13 countries in the Greater Middle East since 1980. In that time, every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed, or gone to war in at least one country in the region. The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns, and cruise missile attacks easily runs into the dozens. …
“The rapid disappearance of debate about our newest, possibly illegal war should remind us of just how easy this huge infrastructure of bases has made it for anyone in the Oval Office to launch a war that seems guaranteed, like its predecessors, to set off new cycles of blowback and yet more war. …
“While the Middle Eastern base buildup began in earnest in 1980, Washington had long attempted to use military force to control this swath of resource-rich Eurasia and, with it, the global economy. Since World War II, as the late Chalmers Johnson, an expert on U.S. basing strategy, explained back in 2004, ‘the United States has been inexorably acquiring permanent military enclaves whose sole purpose appears to be the domination of one of the most strategically important areas of the world.'”
Vine, a regular contributor to TomDispatch, is associate professor of anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C. He is the author of "Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia".
See, from FAIR: “No Debate and the New War.”: http://fair.org/press-release/no-debate-and-the-new-war/