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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, April 29, 2017

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by Rex Gressett

It is hard not to be charmed by Fort Bragg. Leaving aside that obvious affront to our community dignity the empty, polluted, toxic, and ugly mill site, a depressing monument to egregious disrespect and profound contempt for the people and the city… but as I say discounting all that for a moment.

The city itself is so damn nice. The generally small houses are little gems of California bungalow architecture. Redwood built. Enduring and snug. Fort Bragg is a postcard of a town. Our regular weather gives us a year-round growing season which, combined with the hundreds of charming little houses… Well, we count our blessings.

In our backyards we have created a continuous garden that jumps over fences and unites all our houses in a general principle of perpetually verdant foliage. Amazing plants are routine. Huge spiny century plants, tangles of prickly pear, flowering trees and stands of bamboo, everywhere there are flowers and everywhere the smell and feeling of abundant green along our pleasantly cracked sidewalks. George Reinhardt’s little creeks can be seen babbling beneath the sewer grates as they sneak through the city underground.

If you live in the real open country I understand your commitment to it. To be alive on your own land is no small thing. To hear the bees and see the birds and to let the dog run, is a wonderful thing for the thousands of people living in the vast Mendocino outback.

But to combine people and the natural world like we do here in Fort Bragg is a rare thing.

Of course we have fools and villains and plots for power just like any town of any size.

Politics is a drama played out most vividly on a small stage. One can discover in the self government of a small city classical calculations of subterfuge, wicked betrayals and plotting intrigues, but also find good will and intelligence and character in equal degree.

This charming little city was originally a mere bi-product of the big mill. The town was an afterthought to the machines and giant saws and cranes and three-shift working pace. The town was a place for the workers that were doing the massive work of big tree logging during their days, a place to hang their tired hats. At one point we had the largest number of bars per capita in the state that functioned more as neighborhood clubs than anything else.

The work in logging and milling and fishing was so hard, so dangerous and so intensely physical that it culled the weak and left a core of resident families that were strong and determined. Then there was fishing which was gravy, but dangerous gravy.

Life in general here in Fort Bragg, and the work that supported it, existed apart from the much of American life. Folks got to understand and quietly celebrate autonomy, even isolation of a kind, and were happy working and living close to the natural world.

The mill managers and lumber bosses who were the founding fathers of our village never gave that much thought to community infrastructure. As far as the bosses were concerned the workers were there to work. This is where the big trees were and the mill was where the trees were made into lumber that built California.

Fort Bragg just kind of scrounged up the basic systems a town needs — power, water and the basic systems any group of people needs. But it was private folks who built the houses with hard earned money. They built them nice.

The clumsy water system was improved incrementally but never caught up with the modest growth of the city. A few major water mains to this day are made of hollowed out redwood logs. The wastewater treatment plant is a rusting dinosaur situated conveniently right on the ocean. The city solved many waste problems by running the discharge pipe out into the Pacific where it disappeared from the senses. It was a clever design, but the city still got busted repeatedly for pumping sewage into the Pacific.

Fort Bragg has never really had a system for the improvement of infrastructure.

Like Topsy, Fort Bragg just growed.

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HOW MUCH will the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival have to pay Mendocino County for the privilege of using the Boonville Fairgrounds?

Base rental: $27,500. In the event ticket sales exceed $500,000, an additional 5.5% of the gross sales over $500,000.

A $15,000 security deposit shall be paid which will be refunded after the event —“less any costs.”

Other provisions:

Ticket sales will not exceed 5000. Total occupancy for the event will not exceed 6500. Festival agrees to provide 300 tickets at discount prices to local residents.

Noise: outdoor amplified music will cease at midnight except for Sunday when it will cease at 10 PM.

Separate cost: Festival agrees to contract with the sheriff's office for the provision of law enforcement services on event days and will contract at their own expense with a licensed security agency for on-site security and parking.

(Ed note: The rumor that the festival producers will be charged for each arrest is not mentioned in the agreement and could not be confirmed or denied. We have heard that the Beer Festival will be charged for each Beerfest related arrest.)

Festival also required to purchase insurance liability insurance at $1 million per occurrence.

"During operations of this contract festival has exclusive permission to operate food and beverage stands. Festival agrees to utilize at least six appropriate local food, microbreweries and winery vendors."

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by Jim Gibbons


I got a birthday present

that made me feel so fine

It was my secret boy-cave

I went there all the time

But people laughed and told me

To wear pants, shoes and socks

Which made me think and ever since

I’ve thought outside the box

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David Severn Writes: Thursday for some reason I counted the cars from the Anderson Valley Unified School District office out to AV Way in front of the Elementary School and got 55. Friday I counted the cars out front of the High School and got 72.

Assuming none of the 280 elementary students drove themselves to school, the ratio of adults to students would be about 1 to 5.

Assuming a little over a third of the 230 high school students drove themselves to school the ratio there of adults to students would also be about 1 to 5.

I have no idea what to make of this though I'm sure somebody does.

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In regard to the never ending (but thankfully behind the scenes these days) harassment of the Mendocino Animal Care Shelter, I was the lucky recipient of an unknown Facebook "alias" from the Oakland-based No Kill Advocacy Center's Facebook page, who decided to make things personal (i delete the nastiest bits.)

When making those absurd PRA requests (at least four times a year), which have totaled over 900 pages in some instances, the requester is also unknown, but I now figure the No Kill Advocacy Shelter is involved, somehow.

Here's an example of the kind of writing that springs forth, ironically, on a post which originated from the NKA center's congratulatory post about the Ukiah Shelter having reached a "No Kill" status ("live release rates" 90% or higher):

"Anyone who looks deeper at the numbers in Ukiah will see that they are NOT a no kill shelter. They categorize animals in ways that remove them from the Asilomar accords definitions and thereby choose not to ‘count’ them when euthanized. Or they just do not report them altogether… You have made it your personal goal (apparently) to cover up the killing that goes on there. You have gone to great lengths to make excuses for the failure of the staff there to perform on the animal's behalf. All I ask is that you wear that (and) spout the same beliefs for those of us who believe wholeheartedly in no kill sheltering… tell us again why it does not work, tell us how it is necessary to kill these animals, please give us all the same old tired excuses you love to spread in your pedantic style."

A delightful combo of the best aspects of social media, combined with that old adage: No good deed goes unpunished.

Off to kill a few dogs and cats,

K. Shearn, Ukiah

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “So, I'm watching the news today and the Chuckle Buddies are talking about how the weather is turning hot and everyone should get ready with their sun screen. I asked these guys if they had some sun screen for me. ‘Get outtahere. Dogs don't get sunburned!’ ”

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IN 2004, SUSAN FALUDI, the journalist and author best known for her 1991 book "Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women," received an email from her estranged father, who had returned to his native Hungary. “I’ve got some interesting news for you,” the email said. “I have decided that I have had enough of impersonating a macho aggressive man that I have never been inside.” Attached was a series of photographs, including one taken in the Thai hospital where her father had just undergone gender reassignment surgery. It was signed “Love from your parent, Stefánie.”

The message wasn’t entirely a shock; Faludi had heard about her father’s operation from another relative. Nevertheless, it was puzzling, because Faludi hadn’t previously had any idea that her father identified as a woman. “Despite our long alienation, I thought I understood enough of my father’s character to have had some inkling of an inclination this profound,” she writes. “I had none."

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TODAY'S PeeDee reports that Susan Faludi will be at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa the evening of May 1. $45 admission will get you a copy of her new book but for some reason the paper omits the title.

WE'RE STILL HOPING Ms. F will return to the maize of lies and obfuscations enveloping the "mystery" of the 1990 car bomb that killed Judi Bari in 1997. A brilliant writer and dogged researcher, Susan Faludi has a good two years invested in the Bari case, but seems to have given up the project when she found, among other things, that the people who knew weren't talking, and the people talking were a collection of lunatics. The best (and only) work on the case remains Steve Talbot's 1991 documentary film, "Who Bombed Judi Bari."

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“The deed to Redwood Valley Grange says the property belongs to 'the Redwood Valley Grange'. Period. Not some person or a group of people or the State Grange or any other organization like the newly hatched 'Guild'.”

I haven’t seen the deed yet because a restraining order inhibits me from contacting any County office but I assure you that it was not my great grandfather’s intent to give that land to the State Grange. At one time the Woolley’s owned a large portion of east side Redwood Valley and were very community minded. Not only did my grandfather donate the Grange land to the community, he also donated the land where the old Redwood Valley School currently sits empty.

“Formed Feb. 9, 1920, Sequoia school was located in Redwood Valley, its name being a term used for the giant trees which once grew along the Russian River area. The Mendocino County Book of Deeds; May 12, 1921. J. M. Wooley and Florence Wooley, his wife, to the Redwood Valley School District; 4.31 acres to be used for school purposes, for the sum of $10.”

For years and years a granite monument sat in front of the school recognizing J.M. Woolley’s gift to his community. We have no idea where that is now.

My half brother Dan Woolley wants me to look into the both the School and Grange situations and make sure that both properties are only used for the specific purpose and only by the people our family meant them to be used by.

James Marmon, aka J.M. Woolley

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CA SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER NORTH COAST RAIL AUTHORITY LAWSUIT about whether they need to file an EIR for freight operations.

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A FRIEND puts our fondest hopes this way: "I hope the internet goes DOWN one day and the trolls are left with only the screen… acting as a mirror."

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FORMER LAYTONVILLE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER Bruce Brady sends this note and link: “Gabrielle Bell graduated from Laytonville High…”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 28, 2017

Gonzalez-Ramirez, Luna, McBee, McCloud

JULIAN GONZALEZ-RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

STEVEN LUNA JR., Covelo. Drunk in public, misdemeanor warrant.

JOSEPH MCBEE, Alameda/Ukiah. First degree burglary.

DEBORAH MCCLOUD, Covelo. “Vehicle or vessel obtained by theft or extortion, purchase or receipt of same,” probation revocation.

Scott, Williams, Woltmon, Yett

JARED SCOTT, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

ROBERT WILLIAMS JR. Willits. Metal knuckles, nunchucks, leaded cane or similar, controlled substance, probation revocation.

KAYLA WOLTMON, Yuba/Ukiah. Felony warrant.

DANIEL YETT, Elk Grove/Fort Bragg. DUI-drugs.

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

Slow-burning, life dies like a flame,

Never resting, passes like a river.

Today I face my lone shadow.

Suddenly, the tears flow down.

— From “Cold Mountain,” by Han-Shan (Trans. A. Kline)

I’ve made this same climb up the rugged northeastern slope of Mt. Hood every year since we moved to Oregon. This is expedition 26. The route is challenging to the point of being cruel. It’s even more demanding on an aging body that has spent far too many years bent over a Macintosh.

The trail up Cooper’s Spur, a sharp ridge plunging off the volcano’s pyramidal peak, is steep and treacherous. The slope is coated in fine steel-gray volcanic ash, ground down over the centuries by snow and ice. You take two steps up and slide one step back. The trail zigzags its way ever-upwards, gaining more than 3,000 feet, in dozens of switchbacks through ash and scree to a place called Hieroglyph Point, where the path finally peters out. According to mountain lore, Hieroglyph Point was named after a boulder featuring “mysterious markings.” In fact, the markings aren’t mysterious and they aren’t hieroglyphics. They are beautiful kanji characters carved into the rock by Japanese climbers who summited Hood via this precarious route in 1908. This is the highest spot on the mountain that you can reach by trail. But having reached 9,000 feet, I usually scramble even further up the 45-degree slope to the Chimney, a near vertical passage through dark basalt to the summit.

At several vantages, the exposure along the deeply incised canyons that flank both sides of the Spur is extreme, dizzying. The sense of vertigo is enhanced when the winds pick up, as they tend to do in the afternoon, whipping around the summit at speeds of forty to sixty miles an hour. Two years ago, I watched as group of four climbers a few hundred feet above me where blown off the Spur and into a boulder field, escaping largely unscathed. Others haven’t been so lucky. This is the most lethal quadrant of a deadly mountain. Since 1980, at least 28 people have perished on and around Cooper Spur, many of them plunging headlong onto the Eliot Glacier 2,500 feet below, their corpses emerging months, sometimes years, later in the milky waters of glacial melt. Tears of the mountain, climbers call it.

The Spur itself is a massive moraine, formed by the advance and retreat of an ancient glacier. This is a testament to the power of ice and water to sculpt and shape landscapes on a vast scale. That transformative force is diminishing, year-by-year, as a warming planet works inexorably to eradicate mountain glaciers.

When I first climbed Cooper’s Spur in the early 1990s, much of the ridge was still under snow well into August, the route visible only by following stone cairns and wooden posts. By 2005, these high slopes on Mt. Hood were clear of snow by mid-July, if not earlier. This spring, after a blistering run of days in April, the snowpack on Cooper’s Spur had melted off by early May, exposing the mountains largest and most vulnerable glaciers to at least six months of unrelenting sun.

Even following a stormy winter of heavy rains and mountain snow, Oregon’s snowpack was reduced to 56 percent of normal, a trend that has been getting worse for the past twenty years. The story is the same up and down the Cascade Range, from North Cascades National Park on the Canadian border to Mt. Shasta in northern California. One consequence of the dwindling snowpack is the fact that the soggiest part of the country is now facing the prospect of water shortages. The prospect of diminished snowpacks and early melt-offs is even more dire for the salmon and trout that spawn in the mountains small rivers and streams.

On my descent, I stopped at the elegant stone climber’s shelter built seventy years ago, which has somehow survived rockfalls and avalanches, to get a little relief from the blistering sun and near 100-degree temperatures. Inside I met a Swedish glacierologist named Arne Sjöström, who has been studying Cascade glaciers for the past decade. He invited me to walk with him down into Eliot Canyon for a close up look at Oregon’s largest glacier. On the floor of the canyon we crossed numerous small terminal moraines, the traces of the glacier’s accelerated retreat. Eliot Creek was gushing, a white roar from the late afternoon melt.

Sjöström told me that the Eliot Glacier has lost more than 140 feet in thickness over the last century and has retreated more than 1,000 feet from the first photos of the glacier taken in 1901. Across the Northwest, Svensson said, glaciers have retreated by more than 50 percent and the pace of retreat is quickening. Dozens of northwest glaciers have disappeared entirely, including ten named glaciers in Oregon, along with hundreds of other smaller perennial ice and snow patches.

The headwall of the Eliot Glacier is iridescent blue, a blue that casts an eerie glow in the summer moonlight. As we approached the wall of ice, we were struck by waves coolness emanating from glacier. The face of the glacier was deeply fissured and we could hear it rumble and crack, as if the mountain itself was moaning at the loss of ice that had coated its flanks for the last 20,000 years.

We live in a time when essential elements that have shaped life on our planet are vanishing before our eyes.

(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JSCCounterPunch. Courtesy,

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by James Kunstler

While the news waves groan with stories about “America’s Opioid Epidemic” you may discern that there is little effort to actually understand what’s behind it, namely, the fact that life in the United States has become unspeakably depressing, empty, and purposeless for a large class of citizens. I mean unspeakably literally. If you want evidence of our inability to construct a coherent story about what’s happening in this country, there it is.

I live in a corner of Flyover Red America where you can easily read these conditions on the landscape — the vacant Main Streets, especially after dark, the houses uncared for and decrepitating year by year, the derelict farms with barns falling down, harvesters rusting in the rain, and pastures overgrown with sumacs, the parasitical national chain stores like tumors at the edge of every town.

You can read it in the bodies of the people in the new town square, i.e. the supermarket: people prematurely old, fattened and sickened by bad food made to look and taste irresistible to con those sunk in despair, a deadly consolation for lives otherwise filled by empty hours, trash television, addictive computer games, and their own family melodramas concocted to give some narrative meaning to lives otherwise bereft of event or effort.

These are people who have suffered their economic and social roles in life to be stolen from them. They do not work at things that matter. They have no prospects for a better life — and, anyway, the sheer notion of that has been reduced to absurd fantasies of Kardashian luxury, i.e. maximum comfort with no purpose other than to enable self-dramatization. And nothing dramatizes a desperate life like a drug habit. It concentrates the mind, as Samuel Johnson once remarked, like waiting to be hanged.

On display in the news reports about the mystery of the opioid epidemic is America’s neurotic reliance on supposedly scientific “studies.” Never before in history has a society studied so much and learned so little — which is what happens when you resort to scientizing things that are essentially matters of conduct. It rests on the fallacy that if you compile enough statistics about something, you can control it.

Opioid addiction is just another racket, a personal one, in a culture of racketeering that is edging toward truly epochal failure, for the simple reason that rackets are dishonest, and pervasive dishonesty is at odds with reality, and reality always has the final say.

The eerie thing about reading the landscape of despair is that you can see the ghosts of purpose and meaning in it. Before 1970, there were at least five factories in my little town, all designed originally to run on the water power (or hydro-electric) of the Battenkill River, a tributary of the nearby Hudson. The ruins of these enterprises are still there, the red brick walls with the roofs caved in, the twisted chain-link fence that no longer has anything to protect, the broken masonry mill-races.

The ghosts of commerce are also plainly visible in the bones of Main Street. These were businesses owned by people who lived in town, who employed other people who lived in town, who often bought and sold things grown or made in and around town. Every level of this activity occupied people and gave purpose and meaning to their lives, even if the work associated with it was sometimes hard. Altogether, it formed a rich network of interdependence, of networked human lives and family histories.

What galls me is how casually the country accepts the forces that it has enabled to wreck these relationships. None of the news reports or “studies” done about opioid addiction will challenge or even mention the deadly logic of Wal Mart and operations like it that systematically destroyed local retail economies (and the lives entailed in them.) The news media would have you believe that we still value “bargain shopping” above all other social dynamics. In the end, we don’t know what we’re talking about.

I’ve maintained for many years that it will probably require the collapse of the current arrangements for the nation to reacquire a reality-based sense of purpose and meaning. I’m kind of glad to see national chain retail failing, one less major bad thing in American life. Trump was just a crude symptom of the sore-beset public’s longing for a new disposition of things. He’ll be swept away in the collapse of the rackets, including the real estate racket that he built his career on. Once the collapse gets underway in earnest, starting with the most toxic racket of all, contemporary finance, there will be a lot to do. The day may dawn in America when people are too busy to resort to opioids, and actually derive some satisfaction from the busy-ness that occupies them.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page:

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by Ralph Nader

The Lawless-loving corporatists have worked overtime to besmirch the word “regulation” (or law and order for corporations) and edify the word “deregulation,” to help bring about their dream state of dismantled or weakened regulation.

Here is one little-mentioned ongoing disaster of non-regulation costing our country. The patsy FAA, for decades after the hijacking of planes to Castro’s Cuba, refused to require the airlines to install toughened cockpit doors and stronger locks to prevent entry by terrorists bent on making the aircraft a destructive weapon. Why? Because the airlines objected to the mere $3000 cost per aircraft and, by its very nature, the FAA acquiesced.

Then came 9/11, followed by “mad dog” George W. Bush (and Dick Cheney, his handler) launching an all-out attack on Afghanistan, rather than leading a multilateral force to apprehend the backers of the attackers. Later, Bush’s criminal war devastated the county and people of Iraq. Iraq is still convulsing violently today.

All for not regulating the airlines to protect their cockpits and pilots. Sure, the hijackers could still have hijacked the planes, but they could not have piloted them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Government regulations have led to life-saving motor vehicle standards. They have required safer pharmaceuticals, improved the safety of mines, factories and other workplaces, and diminished the poisonous contaminants of air, water food and soil. According to the Center for Auto Safety, the federal programs for highway and vehicle safety have averted 3.5 million deaths in the US since 1966.

In an industrialized economy with corporations, hospitals and other commercial activities producing old and new hazards, regulations are needed to foresee and forestall many human casualties and damage to the natural world.

The role of sensible regulations has been all but ignored by Donald J. Trump in his regime’s first 100 days of rage and rapacity. The Trump administration continues to take away basic protections that save both money and lives. With his cruel and monetized Republicans controlling Congress, he has eliminated 13 safeguards issued by the Obama administration.

Proudly, he and House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have turned their backs on ensuring cleaner waterways, and making coal-polluted air less toxic, enforcing workplace protections and preserving our public lands. Disastrously for our country, Trump has joined forces with the Republicans in Congress to immobilize our government’s research and action regarding accelerating climate change. Here he even is scaring big business, including the insurance industry.

The worst of Trump’s egregious attacks on regulatory protections are coming out of his mindless Executive Orders (EO) to federal agencies. While many are of dubious legality – they would require Congressional legislation – his intent is clear: roll back major protections of Americans wherever they eat, breath, drink, work, drive and receive healthcare.

One EO requires agencies to repeal two regulations for every one they issue. Such an empty but dangerous gesture is mindless but emblematic of the prevaricating, boasting, failed gambling czar. The Trump administration’s rejection of essential roles for government is stunning.

Trump would weaken the laws protecting your savings, investments and retirement security from what shredded them during the 2008-2009 Wall Street crash. No Wall Street bosses ever were jailed, so they’re prone to keep speculating with your money and pocketing huge fees from your accounts in the process.

Trump is even putting off a Department of Labor rule requiring your investment advisers to put your interests ahead of their conflicting interests – the so-called fiduciary rule. Trump – who betrayed creditors, employees, investors and consumers alike during his business career – readily knows what that accountability mechanism is all about.

When Trump’s formal budget is announced next May, it will starve the already strained enforcement budgets of the health and safety regulatory agencies such as the FDA, EPA and OSHA. Trump even wants a sharp cut of the Centers for Disease Control’s program to head off deadly global epidemics.

In addition, Trump has broken his campaign promises, surrounding himself with Wall Street insiders and intensifying Obama’s belligerent and militaristic foreign policy around the globe. He is also demanding that Congress add fifty-two billion dollars more to the already bloated Pentagon budget, decried by many liberals and conservatives. Fifty-two billion dollars is far greater than all the combined federal regulatory budgets for the agencies that provide the health, safety and economic protections for Americans from costly corporate crimes, abuses and frauds.

The fallout of these ominous 100 days is not escaping millions of lawyers, accountants, physicians, engineers, scientists and teachers at all levels. And it isn’t escaping those blue collar workers who rolled the dice and voted for Trump, despite his opposition to raising the minimum wage and fair labor standards.

Yes, there are signs of stirrings among these citizens. But will there be action against the Trumpsters and Trumpism in the coming weeks and at the polls next year? Will the people continue to turn out in ever greater numbers at marches, rallies and Congressional town meetings (see, whether arranged by their Senators and Representatives or, if not, by the citizenry summoning their 535 members of Congress to peoples’ town meetings?

Only you, the American people, one-by-one and by joining together, can answer these questions.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)

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PG&E billing increase info from our state rep. Reply from our state Assemblymember Jim Wood’s office re increases in PG&E electrical costs:

From: Ruth Valenzuela | District Director, Assemblymember Jim Wood | District 2200 S. School Street, Ukiah | Phone 707-463-5770

Hi Tom [Wodetzki],

Heather from Congressman Huffman’s office forwarded your email regarding your PG&E rate increase to me. We have been hearing from numerous customers who have seen significant changes this year. Last year, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the rate increases which went into effect in August. The rates for many users went up 20% due to a change in the way that PG&E is billing. According to PG&E, under the new rate structure customers who use less electricity are likely to pay more in their monthly power bills, while those who use more electricity may be paying less. They have indicated that under the prior structure, customers who are big users of electricity have subsidized those who used very little due to a certain minimum expense of connecting each residence to the electricity grid. This seems backward — we should be incentivizing those who are doing their part to reduce our overall electricity use and the outcome of this new policy approved the CPUC is disappointing. You may wish to contact CPUC to file a complaint about your rate increases at

We have also been letting customers know that they can contact PG&E to be sure there isn’t a mistake however, it sounds like you have done that. The Assemblymember has communicated his concerns to the CPUC and is continuing to monitor this issue. He will do what he can to advocate for people like you, who should certainly not be penalized for doing your best.

Thanks, Ruth

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by Manuel Vicent

Translated by Louis S. Bedrock

In the biography of a writer there is a moment in which fascination with literature unites with, even surrenders to, the mythology of cinema.

When I was 16 years old, I ran away from home and took a train to Valencia. It was a brief escape, a gallinaceous flight that lasted 24 hours with one single night. After losing myself in the nocturnal streets of the city, sneaking into a few sleazy bars, going to the American Circus in the Plaza de Toros, I went into a movie theater whose facade had giant posters in full color in which there appeared a dwarf with monocle attached to a cord and dancers with their bloomers bobbing in the air.

The movie was John Huston’s Moulin Rouge. From that moment, the director became one of the phantoms of my freedom. I associate him with the taste of running away, of being beyond the moral authority of the father and the punishment that awaited me when I went home. And, with time, I also adored Toulouse-Latrec, as interpreted by Jose Ferrer, as the painter who served as a link to modern painting, from whom Picasso took inspiration.

They are experiences only learned through sin. No Treasure Island provided so much convulsive throbbing in my forehead as that flight that ended up in a bed in a foul smelling pension on Pelayo Street, next to the train station, where I slept in the same room as a drunk who was a traveler passing through town.

The terrace of our house in the village overlooked the garden of a resort in which a drive-in movie theater had been installed. During those calm nights of the 1950s, beneath the stars, the acoustics were perfect and the sound of every passion, every shot, every shout, and every whisper of love of the characters reached me with great clarity; however, standing upon a small elevation, I could only see slightly more than half the screen. Hidden on the terrace, I saw all the films prohibited for minors by the censor—half with images, the other half with my imagination. When Glenn Ford slapped Gilda, I couldn’t see his hand; I could only intuit the crack of his hand when she moved her face and nothing more.

Another film that marked one of those summers during which I was reading Crime and Punishment stretched out in a hammock was A Place in the Sun, also seen from the terrace of my house. Montgomery Cliff in a sports jacket plays billiards by himself while Elizabeth Taylor prowls around the table trying to seduce him. She would disappear intermittently into the invisible half of the screen and I would hear her provocative voice that would inspire me to recreate mentally her mouth, her eyes, her face as she pronounced each word; he passed into the darkness of the cell before going to the electric chair.

During the light of the day, I read the Russians, Camus, Gide; however no literary phantasmagoria gave me the morbid satisfaction of jumping out of bed at night when my parents were already sleeping, and dressed in pajamas, make my way to the terrace with soft steps and hide there while watching all the prohibited movies on a screen that was split in half: the bloody screams of Jennifer Jones in Duel in the Sun, the submachine guns from the night of Saint Valentine’s, the hurricane of Key Largo.

Key Largo: John Huston again. The intense life of this film maker still fascinates me. In his memoirs, he informs us:

—I had five wives; a lot of affairs—some more memorable than my marriages. I got married to a schoolgirl, a lady, a movie star, a ballerina, and to a crocodile.

He devoted himself to hunting, gambling at the racetrack, raising thoroughbred horses, collecting paintings, boxing, writing, and acting in or directing more than 70 films. In fact, in my personal mythology, before buying myself a trench coat that resembled the one worn by Albert Camus, I wanted to be like John Huston so badly that when I had just got back to Madrid, before winding up in the Cafe Gijón, I went to The School of Cinematography on Montesquinza Street to take a test to become a movie director. I was greeted by a character in checkered slippers who was eating an omelet sandwich. I knew I would never become John Huston by hanging around that place for another moment.

There was a time when I couldn’t decide which I liked better—reading Camus’s The Stranger or Faulkner’s Sanctuary; or watching The Maltese Falcon or The African Queen at the film club. I understood that a movie director worked with characters of flesh and blood, was in charge of them, supported and even admired them, was familiar with their passions inside and outside the screen.

Movies had subsumed people’s dreams. When Clark Gable took off his shirt in one picture and displayed his naked torso, the businesses that sold undershirts sank. It was necessary to show Marlon Brando in a tight- fitting, sweaty undershirt for the textile market to recover. A book will never accomplish that, I thought.

But above all was John Huston. The mythology of literature and film coalesced when this filmmaker directed The Misfits. Marilyn Monroe had already become a broken doll. She came from the ever more tired arms of Arthur Miller. She would arrive to the shoot in a daze from pills, without having bathed, her hair greasy; everything led one to believe that she was in the final stretch and the abyss was already within view.

Arthur Miller had written the script of that film to save his love, but it was futile. Under Huston’s direction was also Montgomery Clift with his face split by the scar from an automobile accident—neurotic, alcoholic, at the breaking point like the wild horses that filled the screen. But the first to die was Clark Gable whose heart burst. Shortly after this, nembutal finished off Marilyn as she was swinging the telephone cord to the foot of the bed. It was her last phone call and one which no one answered, giving rise to the legend that she was murdered.

Montgomery Clift didn’t take long to accompany them.

John Huston survived them to direct his masterpiece, “The Dead” from the collection of short stories Dubliners in homage to a genius of literature, his countryman, James Joyce. He did this when he was already in a wheelchair with an intravenous drip attached to his forearm. That Christmas dinner. That song that stirred the residues of emotion of Greta. Her memory of her first love—that young man in Galway. The jealousy of her husband Gabriel in the room of The Hotel Gresham. The snow which was falling all over Ireland. Upon all the living and the dead.

The life of John Huston was snobbish and wild, full of talent and fascination. His greatest moment had been when he appeared before House Un-American Activities Committee and risked his own skin by confronting its members in order to save his friends.

After directing The Night of The Iguana with Ava Gardner in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, he remained living there in the middle of the jungle among boas and mosquitos in a solitary cabin that you could only reach by canoe.

I promise that in another lifetime, if I once again run away and watch Moulin Rouge, this time I will not go back home. I will do everything possible to be like John Huston or merely his big toe, although may only be because he was the first connection conceived in my imagination between the phantoms spawned by the psychosis of the writer and the real people that become phantoms on the movie screen.

* * *


Photoessay by David Bacon

Gastronomica, Spring 2017

I do the cooking in my house. To me, it's a way I show my love for the people in my life. I know I'm not the only person like that. When I read Amy Tan's novel, The Joy Luck Club, the sections when the mothers tell their daughters about the importance of the best quality food resonated with me.

At the Friday farmers' market in Oakland, California, I can see those mothers in front of the stalls, bargaining over the produce. Oakland is a working-class city across the bay from San Francisco, and like many California cities, it has an historic Chinese and Asian American community-a Chinatown. Being right next to Chinatown makes the Oakland farmers' market unique.

If you go up to the farmers' markets in Berkeley (next door to Oakland) or over to San Francisco, these days you'll find a booth or two with Asian vegetables. Asian cooking is healthy and popular. But because Berkeley and San Francisco are much more affluent communities, stalls at farmers' markets often target more middle-class and even upper-middle-class shoppers.

At the Oakland market the Asian stalls are the majority. If you come early, you can see the moms of Chinatown around the stall that has the best baby bok choy or lemongrass. Six or seven women crowd together, examining carefully the cauliflower with the long spindly stalks that you'll never see in a supermarket. Others check the persimmons, or the young ginger with the root still on the green stem, or the long Napa cabbage.

A lot of the food is grown by Hmong farmers near Fresno in California's San Joaquin Valley. Women in other stalls are Filipinas from Stockton, or Mexican ladies from Kingsburg- the San Joaquin Valley meeting the Oakland 'hood.

I appreciate picky shoppers, and the customers at the Friday market are some of the pickiest. They're not just those Chinese moms. The market attracts immigrants from many countries. You can hear a dozen languages in the people filling its four blocks.

Some go first to the market, and then to the little stores on Eighth Street that specialize in the foods from back home-manioc flour for those from Ghana, dried codfish or imported jars of jerk seasoning for the Jamaicans. Taylor's just inside the Swan's Market building has boudin and cajun sausage for those who like to remember Louisiana, and longanisa for the ones who want garlic rice and longsilog for breakfast.

African Americans, Latinos, white folks-they're all there. The large food vocabulary of the fruits and vegetables-the expression of love in what you cook-is one thing that brings people out. But another is the price. Competing with the markets in Chinatown just two blocks away, there's a limit on what the stalls can charge, especially the ones with the Asian vegetables. That definitely makes it a working-class farmers' market. If you shop at the Berkeley farmers' market the day afterward, the same tomato might cost you double.

But that's not the first thing on my mind. It's what am I making for dinner this week? What is it going to say?

This variety of cauliflower is very popular among Chinese families at the farmers market.

An African immigrant couple looks over the Japanese eggplants.

At the intersection of Clay and Ninth, in the middle of the market, older people rest with their shopping carts.

Buying a bunch of Thai or Japanese chiles.

* * *


And no mention of the gang activity which promotes the distribution of Opioids either.

The large extended family I married into eons ago lost its family heroin addict last year. He will not be missed. He was taken from the homeless shelter he was living in to a hospital because he was not feeling good. Returned to the shelter a few hours later he had a heart attack and died.

Over the years he had ripped off virtually everybody in the family to pay for his habit, stealing guns, power tools cash and anything he could get his hands on. He burned all his bridges and as it turned out Eleanor Rigby had more people going to her funeral. I don’t think he even had a funeral.

Twenty years ago I had been given legal guardianship of the then young man along with Mrs. Dog when he was out on bail. That lasted three days before he skipped out and disappeared.

His life was an unbroken string of failed treatment attempts and petty crime and in that he was no different in that from the many other heroin addicts who grace Seattle with their presence.

I get that heroin is highly addictive and I agree that having no life prospects kills any desire to get the monkey off one’s back but my own feeling about long term heroin addicts is that they are selfish self-centered people who care not about the pain they inflict on others in their endless shenanigans of trying to get their next hit.

This is not the first time America’s Opioid Epidemic has been in the news nor will it be the last. Perhaps this time the brouhaha is meant to distract from Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassments at Fox news, I do not know and I really do not care. Nothing will come of it.

Nothing will come of the opioid epidemic attention this time around and little effort will be invested to understand what’s behind the choices people make to live pointless meaningless lives.

The reason is that the American heroin addict actually embraces some very deep American core values which will not be discussed because they are sacred axioms on which we center our lives.

Selfishness and self-centeredness is the American way.

* * *

HE WAS BORN where his fathers before him were born, in the old, cold house in the foothills above Noeha. His mother did not cry out as she bore him, since she was a soldier's wife, and a soldier's mother, now. He was named for his great-uncle, killed on duty in the Sosa. He grew up in the stark discipline of a poor household of pure veot lineage. His father, when he was on leave, taught him the arts a soldier must know; when his father was on duty the old Asset-Sergeant Habbakam took over the lessons, which began at five in the morning, summer or winter, with worship, shortsword practice, and a cross-country run. His mother and grandmother taught him the other arts a man must know, beginning with good manners before he was two, and after his second birthday going on to history, poetry, and sitting still without talking.

— Ursula K. Le Guin, 1994; from "Forgiveness Day"

* * *


Here we go, again.

Critics: Trump’s executive order would open North Coast to offshore oil drilling

* * *

EXECUTIVE ORDER: April 28, 2017

President Trump posted an Exec. Order today Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy — part of which follows:

Sec. 2. Policy. It shall be the policy of the United States to encourage energy exploration and production, including on the Outer Continental Shelf, in order to maintain the Nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible.

* * *

I suggest that the Board of Supervisors:

  1. Again establish the Coastal Protection Citizens Advisory Committee
  2. Affirm the standing of the voters initiative banning onshore petroleum facilities without voter approval
  3. Pass a current resolution opposing prospecting or drilling off the California coast.

Norman de Vall, Elk

* * *


Liz Duffy Adam's witty comedy OR, continues on the Mendocino Theatre Company stage tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm. Tickets are just $25, or $12 for youth 22 and under. Mendocino and Fort Bragg high school students get in FREE with student i.d.!Book your tickets by calling the box office, 707-937-4477 or purchase online at

Find out more about the play:

Watch the video trailer by Maya Neumeier:

Interview with director Betty Abramson:

* * *


Art in the gardens 2017

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is currently accepting applications for the 25th Art in the Gardens held on Saturday, August 5, 2017. We invite artists who work in a wide variety of mediums to submit an application to exhibit their original work. This celebration of creative expression, gorgeous gardens, music, beer, wine, and food attracts more than 1,500 guests each year. Artist booths are framed by our 47 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens providing a unique and natural setting to display and sell art. Entry to this well-attended fine art event is easy!

While there is a non-refundable jury fee of $20, there is no booth fee. The event functions on a cashiering system freeing artists from having to handle cash and compute tax. A 30% commission will be taken from all artists’ sales. The commission and all proceeds from this spectacular event will directly benefit the non-profit Botanical Gardens. Gardens staff and volunteers will be available to assist selected artists in display set-up and take-down as well as provide relief for artists in need of a break. Additionally, Friends of the Gardens provides an ample complimentary breakfast for all participating artists the morning of the event.

Applications will be accepted now through MAY 22, 2017. Interested artists may apply online at Help fill the Gardens with an array of masterpieces making this year - the silver anniversary celebration - the best yet!

* * *


Auditions for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, directed by Willo Hausman (, will be on Sunday, May 7 from 2pm to 4pm and Monday, May 8 from 6pm to 8pm at the Mendocino Theatre Company, 42500 Little Lake, Mendocino. Actors will read from sides; perusal scripts are available in the box office. A familiarity with the script is essential. Rehearsals begin August 1st; Show runs weekends from September 14 to October 22nd, for a total of 21 performances. Roles:

  • Martha: 40s-50s. Married to George. Daughter of the university president.
  • George: 40s-50s. Martha’s Husband. A history professor.
  • Nick: 20s-30s. A recently-hired biology professor. Honey’s husband. Blond.
  • Honey: 20s-30s. Nick’s Wife.

For more information, please see our website, or phone 707-937-2718.

* * *


This Is The Weekend Folks! Fantastic Silent Auction to benefit animals on the coast. We’re offering fine art, jewelry, antiques, pet supplies and so much more! Hope to see you there! Five Animal organizations on the coast have come together to create “Friends Fur Fun Festival’. This festival will help support animals in need on the Mendocino Coast. Hope you can join us! 'Friends Fur Fun Festival' Pet Adoptions, Silent Auction, Yardsale & More! Friday, 4/28 11:am - 3:pm Saturday, 4/29 11:am - 7:pm 18180 B North Hwy 1, Just South of the Botanical Gardens

* * *


"Glyphosate — sold as Roundup and under other brand names — is one of the world’s most widely used herbicides. It has been safely killing weeds on farms, in yards and in public areas for the last several decades. Right now, you can find it at your local home improvement store; but in California next year, in addition to its current 14-page label, those bottles will carry this warning: 'Contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm' — even though there is no persuasive evidence for that claim."

* * *


Every day, thousands of California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers put their lives on the line to protect the people of California. Each one has vowed to “if necessary, lay down (my) life rather than swerve from the path of duty.” In May of each year, the CHP holds a memorial to pay tribute to those brave heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and afford special honor to those killed in the previous calendar year. In the CHP’s 88-year history, 227 heroes have lost their lives while courageously serving the people of California.

During this year’s memorial ceremony, the CHP will honor Officer Nathan Taylor, of the Gold Run Area office, who was killed in a traffic collision in March 2016. Officer Taylor’s name will be formally added to the memorial fountain at the CHP Academy. Special recognition will also be paid to Officer Lucas Chellew, of the South Sacramento Area office, who was killed in a motorcycle traffic collision while pursuing a suspect in February 2017.

Brian Kelly, Secretary, California State Transportation Agency Joe Farrow, Commissioner, California Highway Patrol Families and friends of fallen CHP officers

9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Due To The Solemn Nature Of This Ceremony, The Chp Requests Media Make Every Effort To Be In Place And Set Up By 9:15 A.M.

CHP Academy, 3500 Reed Ave., West Sacramento

A 21-gun salute by the honor guard, laying of the wreath, bagpipes, buglers, and a roll call reading of the names of the more than 200 CHP officers killed, followed by the ringing of the memorial bell

Note: Media may be asked to present media credentials or identification at the entry kiosk to the Academy grounds.



  1. Jeff Costello April 29, 2017

    Louis, I was sent running to the dictionary with “gallinaceous.” After seeing the definition, I recalled the woman I worked with in the 80’s who had the surname Gallina, and that it meant “chicken” in Italian. Good old Romance languages, I should have known…

    • LouisBedrock April 29, 2017

      Hi Jeff,

      Vicent’s phrase was “un vuelo gallináceo”.

      I had not seen the word before.

      “Gallo” is rooster in Spanish. “Gallina” is chicken.
      However, I didn’t make the connection either

      LAROUSSE offers only “gallinaceous” as a translation.

      The OED defines “gallinaceous as “Relating to birds of an order (“Galliformes” ) which includes domestic poultry and game birds.”

      Could not find a synonym anywhere, so “gallinaceous” it was.

    • Bruce McEwen April 29, 2017

      My nickname Brewster, was mistranslated into Spanish as El Gallo Malo, by my Mexican cousins, which I never understood Why the malo? When I was younger, I flattered myself I looked somewhat like Montgomery Cliff, a form of self-deceit, my dentist later cured me of, by telling me I looked more villainous than Jack Elam when I smiled. Dr. Phillips offered to cap my front teeth for half price, as I would then be a walking ad for his practice!

      “The human body is the best picture of the human soul,” quoth Wittgenstein, and this may be why people think I’m such a meanie.

      If I’d been more honest about my cruel face, and malicious smile, I could have made my fortune as a villain in a John Houston movie or two.

      • LouisBedrock April 29, 2017

        “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves”
        (Oscar Wilde or George Orwell)

        Why were we not warned?

  2. Lazarus April 29, 2017

    Seems that “Baby Face Slugger” is the real deal…Giants Win!
    As always,

    • George Hollister April 29, 2017

      Anytime I see Brandon Belt in left field, I am reminded that the Giants have serious issues. Michael Morse on first? Actually he seemed to do OK there. Hundley looked awful swinging a bat. They won last night with their bench crew against their weakest division rival. One can make what one wants if it. The rook did look good though.

      Notice teams have been pitching Belt on the outside part of the plate, with the shift on. Belt seems to finally be adjusting to this, with hits up the middle and to left field. That is good to see.

      • Lazarus April 29, 2017

        You’re right, they’re not very good… Pitching, Pitching, Pitching, when ole Cain is looking OK you know there’s trouble, and the pen has sucked, but too soon to tell…and then there’s the hitters. Obviously the brass felt a need to shake it up, I hope it works, Craw will be back, Bum was stupid, and the wall has taken several…it has been a very troubling start.
        Go Giants!
        As always,

  3. Mike Kalantarian April 29, 2017

    Regarding PG&E Rates:

    Sadly, I remember when PG&E (and the CPUC) told us they’d be screwing us (back in late 2013). They called it “Rate Reform” but it was clear, when you looked over their proposal, who would actually benefit from it (hint: not us). Here’s what I wrote at the time:

  4. Jim Updegraff April 29, 2017

    I shall leave comments about the Giants to Laz and George except to say Bumgardner has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the left shoulder (separated shoulder) and will be on the DL until after the all-Star break.
    As for the A’s they lost 9-4 to the Astros. Cotton went 4 2/3 innings and gave up 6 runs of which 3 were earned. The bull pen gave up 3 earned runs. A’s made some costly errors.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal April 29, 2017

    I used to read Kunstler regularly. Now sporadically. Every week it’s another doomsday scenario. Sure, one day it will happen and he’ll gloat, “I told you so.” Until then…

    Today however, he wrote this: “On display in the news reports about the mystery of the opioid epidemic is America’s neurotic reliance on supposedly scientific “studies.” Never before in history has a society studied so much and learned so little — which is what happens when you resort to scientizing things that are essentially matters of conduct. It rests on the fallacy that if you compile enough statistics about something, you can control it.”

    Which leads me to the LA Times article. I don’t know if glyphosate is toxic, but I have a negative opinion of Monsanto and won’t knowingly use any product containing it. But California Prop 65 is idiotic and costs consumers millions of dollars in labeling expenses alone. Here’s an example of the nonsense. I enjoy woodworking and take every safety and health precaution available to me when pursuing it. There will always be instances of exposure to toxic materials whenever you work with wood, whether it be sawdust, petroleum-based products, etc. I have some very high quality hand planes. Every part is made of bronze except the blade, chip breaker and a few screws, which are steel. Guess what? Each of these planes came with a CA Prop 65 label warning that some materials (bronze) have been found to cause cancer, yada, yada. Say what? By merely touching the bronze and its infinitesimal amount of lead I have a chance of getting cancer? How? What are the odds? One in a billion? Trillion to one? Yet the cost of this label and all the skewed “research studies” is ultimately added onto the price of the tool or any of the thousands of other products the Prop 65 nuts deem harmful. And I haven’t even mentioned all the lawsuits filed as a result of perceived Prop 65 violations. When will the madness end?

    • George Hollister April 29, 2017

      It often boils down to who one trusts, since rarely do any of us spend time to look into the quality of the science behind the claims. And money is not the determining factor in trust, either. Who one trusts depends more on faith. If my faith is the same as his, I trust him.

  6. Dave Smith April 29, 2017

    I started subscribing to the AVA many years ago while living in Healdsburg and contemplating a move north to escape the growing influx of yuppies. When we did move to the wilds of Yorkville I told friends that I never wanted the irascible editor of the AVA to know about me as he had such a nasty (and sometimes hilarious) way of berating and roasting and taunting locals just for, it seemed, the hell of it. It was rumored that he sat down with a bottle of whiskey to write, and as the evening wore on, his writing got meaner.

    I later ran an ad for years in the paper, interviewed the editor (see the series Mendocino Talking in the index) which he then edited himself before publishing, and was invited to have lunch with him. I found him to be a quite sunny and jolly and likable person… and by then, not near as threatening in his writing as in previous years, but still as feisty and determined and inquisitive as his profession requires.

    Was it the whiskey, or is it the golden years?

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