- Beer Fest
- Harsh Hoops
- MSP Banishments
- Dishonorably Unengaged
- Jonestown Book
- Vietnam Book
- Political Involvement
- Little Dog
- Navarro Store
- Theater Prices
- Beware SFE
- HumCo Immigration
- Broken Contract
- Mayday March
- JFK Files
- Korean Medals
- Hemingway's List
- Zoo Experience
- Marco Radio
- Beware WorldStrides
- Salad University
- The Day I Met The People’s Temple
SIGHTS & SOUNDS FROM THE 2017 BOONVILLE BEER FESTIVAL
The Band Draws a Crowd
Beer Is Food
Not Much Detritus
Photos by the AVA
REFRESHING GUSTS OF HUMOR from the usually straight-ahead Mike A’Dair of the Willits Weekly. In last week’s edition of Willits’ popular weekly newspaper, A’Dair runs down the many bureaucratic hurdles, processes, rules, forms, approvals and agencies involved in the County’s and the State’s new legalized pot regime.
NOT ONLY are there at least five separate County offices heavily involved (Ag, Planning & Building, Environmental Health, County Counsel, Sheriff), but there’s also the State Water Board (one of the most rule-heavy but enforcement-light organizations on the planet), the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Fish & Wildlife, each with their own set of complicated application forms, rules, and paperwork requirements.
A’DAIR OPENS THE STORY with the following intro:
“Dudes, it’s time to start growing tomatoes. That’s the takeaway from an April 19 workshop at the Willits Senior Center where county and state agency personnel explained to nearly 200 attendees interested in cultivating medical cannabis commercially the hoops they will have to jump through to grow legally in Mendocino County. There’s, like, a lot of hoops.”
MENDOCINOSPORTSPLUS FIGHTS BACK!
MSP Policy On 'Banning' People From This Page
Once again, we'll explain a few things about this page. MSP is a "credentialed" media sports & news page. It contains sports (oftentimes as they happen) and it contains news (often times breaking news). We have been referred to as "The working parent's best friend" and we have been derided for posting breaking news that comes over the scanner.
Although we have a "profanity" filter on the page, we usually warn a person three times if they use excessive profanity before they are no longer welcome. This page will not, however, tolerate THREATS and/or attempts to shut us down.
Thursday, one woman said she wanted to do just that under the guise of protesting our live coverage of a gunshot victim. It turns out she may just happen to be a person we posted about involved in a DUI accident that caused property damage a while back.
Payback to MSP? Perhaps.
Another person commented on MSP Thursday night: "We need to stop this guy!!!!"
Stop the media from doing it's job? What country is he from?
In other words, he wants to take away our right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, to gather, publish, and distribute information and ideas — is this what it has come to — No Free Press? Does he want us to surrender our firearms too?
Those people have been banned. They will no longer be welcome on this page.
MSP is NOT like the Fort Bragg Press Advocate-News that has banned legions of viewers who have disagreed with their views. We welcome comments, good or bad, about our coverage. That's the way it has been for six years, and over that time, MSP has "banned" less than six people.
But we will not tolerate threats — any threats posted in the “comment” section or private messaged will be handled through the proper channels.
If you DO NOT want to see or hear breaking news on the Mendo Coast, simply do not visit this page. Can it be any clearer than that? We have a right to post, you have the right not to patronize MSP.
Peace out. Have a nice day.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: I share Paul McCarthy's opinions of the people who claimed they were so upset by his reporting they don't want anyone reading MendoSportsPlus. Happens to us all the time, not that it keeps me from getting my seven hours of oblivion every night.
WHAT DOES bother me is the refusal of certain publicly-paid persons to, as they say, engage. They whine privately about Boonville's beloved weekly "getting it wrong" but, having little-to-no interest in getting it right is where it ends. But what they're really saying is, We either got it so right there's nothing they can say without digging themselves in deeper or they don't care enough about their integrity to put it right.
OF COURSE there are a few Mendo officeholders who I think are so comprehensively contemptible I'd rather not deal with them at all, ever, but our magnanimous pages nevertheless remain open to them on the off chance they want to whine in print, not that they will because, and this is what one character had the nerve to tell me, "But you always have the last word." Which is your basic pre-emptive strike, a way of saying, "I'm right but I'm not going to argue with you because whine snivel sob." An honorable person either defends himself or he doesn't. Unfortunately for us, dishonorable people occupy too many of this county's and the country's public offices.
AND DON'T get me started on people who can't discern the difference between an opinion and a fact. But all-in-all, my attitude has always been the same as Paul McCarthy's: Don't read it if it upsets your pretty little heads.
* * *
MARK SCARAMELLA ADDS: Before Bruce Anderson took his side trip to Eugene, Oregon from 2004 to 2007, we heard a number of Mendo Liberals complain that they were reluctant to publish anything anywhere in Mendocino County because Bruce Anderson might criticize it. The implication was that if the Beast of Boonville was out of the picture the warm wonderful fuzzyheads would come out of their paranoid shells and say and do wonderful things without having to worry about comment or criticism. We paid very close attention to local media during that 2004-2007 period and guess what? Nobody did or said anything they wouldn’t have done before. Draw your own conclusions.
FINISHED the latest book on the berserk pastor, Jim Jones, the only preacher in the history of Christianity to murder his flock. "The Road to Jonestown — Jim Jones and Peoples Temple" tells us nothing new about the hold Jones had on his robotized followers, a number of whom, like many people in the county, I had fleeting dealings with in the early 70's. Many of us did. It seemed at the time of the mass poisoning that half the people in Ukiah had suddenly disappeared — a bunch from the welfare office, the produce guy at Safeway, and so on. If I had one overall impression of those I encountered it would be their lack of irony, always a constant in the fanatic personality type.
READING this depressing account of Jones getting crazier and crazier it constantly re-occurs to the reader, "What the hell's wrong with these people? Why don't they run?"
NOT TO RAG on our Tim Stoen, right hand man to Jones wayyyyyyyy too long, and presently a prosecutor for the Mendo DA at Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg, despite his dishonest and entirely self-serving account of his years running legal interference for Jones, I think Stoen should have been arrested and prosecuted for helping Jones put it all in place.
ED NOTE: I've added a long account of a Jones-related encounter I suffered in 1973. Some of you have probably read it before, but if you haven't and can spare a few minutes to absorb a total bummer, it's last among today's posts.
RECENTLY re-read "Vietnam" by Mary McCarthy, her account of a trip to Vietnam in 1967, when America still had influential literary intellectuals who appeared on national television to defend unpopular political positions in the teeth of that war's popularity. The only intellectual of any influence left in the country is Noam Chomsky, and he's been cordoned off for so long if there's even a reference to him in the mainstream media it's a slighting one.
by Rex Gressett
Fort Bragg has figured out a few things, like adolescents learning the facts of life on our own. We have found that political involvement is founded in distress, upset and mis-government.
In our little village we have learned the hard way.
It was the original discovery of irate Fort Braggians that there is never absolute social harmony. In the government of men universal political consensus is a myth. It will never and has never occurred in the long history of man. In a climate of political tranquility there will inevitably arise a quiet ascendancy of those political actors and groups who are best positioned to receive the pork. When things are quiet, placid and devoid of discussion the prizes of policy go to some particular group smart enough to keep their mouths shut and vote.
While a few people were parlaying government to their advantage, the rest of the people of our city got increasingly mad and then mobilized and then organized and got vocal. When they did they were scorned and informed with infinite condescending derision that although local government was in truth a dictatorship of the City Manager (no one really disputed that) she was doing the best possible job, and doing it with commendable, transparent, self-sacrifice, and saving us all a lot of worry.
Wringing their hands, the Linda Loyalists (LL) lamented that if only the uninformed masses would leave the professionals at town hall alone to do their inscrutable thing we could keep on “going.”
Our super City Manager Linda Ruffing wrote recently with brutal omission of context and her trademark happy-face dissimulation that Fort Bragg is “light-years ahead of other city councils when it comes to transparency.”
But we are way out in front because Fort Bragg voters came after the city manager's wholly owned city council with pitch forks. Our esteemed councilmen Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom were obliged to run like rabbits for the deep woods rather than face public humiliation in a run for re-election. You bet the meetings are on line now and the mayor is in town hall every Monday to talk informally to whomever shows up because the City Manager pushed the people of the city so far that the City Council got fired.
And I note that the city manager herself would have been canned also if her office was elective. Believe that if you don’t believe anything else.
For four years our little city has had the important opportunity to observe the actual mechanics of political evolution happening right before our eyes. What we have not got to do is read about this interesting drama in the local newspaper.
The Advocate missed it all by being very very careful. They missed it more or less completely, and they missed it for years. Let constancy be our guide. Instead, the editors of the Advocate occupied themselves with keeping a smiley face on while all around them the most exciting political years ever were raging.
While the Advocate dithered in high school newspaper land, raucous community dialogue gave birth to a grassroots upheaval. As fast as the election cycle permitted, the voters swept the city council from office. The Advocate deliberately abdicated the historic, absolutely essential, utterly indispensable role of a community newspaper by not reporting what was right in its face.
Benjamin Franklin damn it, and Horace Greeley and William Safire and H.L. Mencken and well, hell, a heavenly host of newsmen looked down on poor Fort Bragg with disdain.
The folks in the city don’t care. Most of us don’t read the Advocate. Those of us who have the good judgment and the intellectual acumen and basic curiosity to read the AVA have at least the consolation to know that voices of opposition do exist. That however clumsily somewhere sometime somebody is trying to explore the dim recesses of Fort Bragg city government. They read the AVA at City Hall too. You bet they do. They deny it, of course, but it is easy to catch them at it.
Every time I call City Development Director Marie Jones she is mad for a week. She claims she has a special AVA reader to report to her so that her equanimity is not disturbed.
I believe that the city of Fort Bragg, while newly awakened to the bottom line power of citizens in a participatory democracy, has yet more to learn. I think we are finding out now that effective organization requires a concrete focus, and we know it requires a voice.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Coupla these guys come trudging past today like they've been walking across the Mojave for three days. "Get the ac going, quick," one of them says. "Ice water. Now!" says the other one. Like it's what? 80? And these people are office pinkies, inside all day pecking at computer keyboards! I'm the only one out in the weather. Sheesh!”
THE HISTORIC NAVARRO GENERAL STORE
Located on Hwy 128 in the heart of the redwoods and Pinot Noir country on the way to the Mendocino Coastline. Full service deli, convenience store, gas station, living quarters, and a renowned live music venue. Profitable, turnkey business op with the real estate and off business FF&E, license, and inventory included. Truly a one of a kind property! $995,000.
(April edition of Home&Land magazine)
UKIAH THEATER PRICE RIP-OFF
I read the letter to the editor in the UDJ about this subject and totally agree. I thought it is interesting and worthwhile to know that the Clover Theater has an even lower matinee price for seniors of $5.50; That's definitely worth the half hour drive from Ukiah.
Barbara McClean, Ukiah
To the Editor:
A letter to the editor is my best recourse after foolishly signing a contract with a door-to-door salesperson in the spring of 2016. Added to my PG&E bill was SFE California’s charge of $40.97 every month, claiming this was to average my PG&E billing for the high winter cost of heating my mobile home in a senior park in Ukiah. As my gas usage increased with the cold weather, my PG&E bill increased as usual, plus the extra charge caused by the contract. My bill with PG&E included a Gas Procurement Charge by the Core Transport Agent, SFE Energy and was based on misrepresentation. I knew then I had been scammed.
These are the steps I have taken:
11/14/2016 - PG&E states it was my choice to sign the contract, warning me to pay attention to public service announcements warning the public about misrepresentation.
11/15/2016 - SFE Energy cancelled 3 year contract per customer’s request, waived cancellation fee (due to financial hardship).
11/18/16 - California Public Utilities Commission kindly said they could do nothing because the company is out of state.
12/19/2016 - BBB (Better Business Bureau) taking my complaint ID# 11855368 directed me to seek the advice of an attorney, or file a claim in Small Claims Court.
Please note, in checking on who to contact with SFE California, Inc., it is a Delaware Corporation Service Company, the business, CSC-Lawyers Incorporating Service. (Process Servers)
My concern is: I do nothing and another person may be misled by the sales pitch and suffer from a loss of faith and peace of mind, as I have. Thank you for your time. Please pass this information on.
Diana Ratliff, Ukiah
HUMCO SUPES TAKE STANCE ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES
by Daniel Mintz
As immigration enforcement intensifies on the federal level, the county’s Board of Supervisors is considering a resolution to ensure that all residents will get essential services and won’t be subjected to local enforcement actions, regardless of their immigration status.
A “civil rights and diversity resolution” that focuses on how illegal immigrants will be treated locally was considered by supervisors at their April 25 meeting.
Advanced by the county’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) at the direction of supervisors, the draft resolution affirms the county’s commitment to equal rights and supports the Sheriff’s Office’s policy on immigration enforcement.
Sheriff Mike Downey has released a statement on the policy and the crux of it is quoted in the draft resolution: “Enforcement of immigration laws is not the job of the Sheriff and my office does not and will not conduct proactive or reactive immigration enforcement duties in this community.”
Jim Glover, the HRC’s chairman, said the resolution “represents a principled statement of what kind of county we want to be.”
In addition to assuring illegal immigrants that they won’t be investigated by local police, the resolution states that “the county assures its many diverse communities, including the most vulnerable, that the county supports them, will strive to maintain and improve their quality of life, and will not tolerate acts of hate discrimination, bullying, or harassment.”
The resolution gained strong support during a public comment session but Ferndale resident Rachel Harrison – prefacing her remarks by saying, “I am in no way a racist” – encouraged legal immigration.
“I am asking everyone who wants to come to this country to become a citizen,” she said, asking the supervisors, “What does your flag mean to you?”
Renee Saucedo, a steering committee member of the Centro del Pueblo immigrant assistance group, said that “absolute terror caused by the presence of (U.S.) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) police” in the region and nationwide is being expressed at the group’s events and through other communications.
“It’s gotten so bad that children are seeing therapists because they are fearful that they will not see their parents at home when they arrive from school,” she continued. “Parents call us asking if it is safe to take their children to school or to health care centers.”
Saucedo said the situation also includes “racially-motivated bullying in our schools” and she described the resolution as “an excellent first step,” with a Sanctuary declaration being ultimately necessary.
Ten other speakers also supported the resolution’s intent.
“The threat is real,” said Supervisor Rex Bohn. He added that he’s had conversations with a school counselor in his district who is “dealing with the fears of the children going to medical, going to school.”
He said that the previous week, he was at a meeting of all the county’s police chiefs, its new school superintendent and two ICE officials. “They do come here but they’re not really forthcoming with working with local police forces, from what I got out of the conversation,” he continued.
Bohn added that although “the kids have a genuine fear,” he questioned “how much of it is actual in Humboldt County” and said, “I don’t think we’re going to see anything.”
Supervisor Estelle Fennell had said that the county needs to back up Downey’s policy and also “encourage people to know their rights and if they don’t want to become citizens, to become legal – not to hide, not to be afraid but to do the right thing.”
Fennell said the draft resolution can be modified accordingly. “We’re taking about the legal status of people living in this country and how they’re dealt with in this county – and whether or not this county jumps in on this federal change,” she said.
Board Chair Virginia Bass, who sponsored the resolution agenda item, suggested that illegal immigration is more present than some might assume.
“I’ve talked to people who work at hospitals, restaurants, service industries and business owners – I don’t know if anyone ever thinks about business owners, a lot of them here, they’re not documented,” she said. “You work alongside these folks.”
Supervisors unanimously voted to form an ad hoc board committee composed of Fennell and Supervisor Mike Wilson, which will make recommendations for a final resolution no later than August 31.
Before the vote, Fennell said that the upshot of the discussion is that “this county is not about to enter into any kind of federal enforcement of anything” and added, “I think
It behooves us to not be dramatic and feed the fear but to make people feel comforted even if we don’t have a resolution.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 29, 2017
MARIA ANDERSON, Nice/Willits. Reckless driving, evasion, probation revocation.
IZIK CABRERA, Fort Bragg. Battery.
JENNIFER CRAM, Ukiah. Petty theft, receiving stolen property, probation revocation.
MICHAEL FREEMAN, Covelo. Protective order violation.
DONALD GRAY, Willits. DUI.
REX HASTINGS, Fort Bragg. Court order violation.
DARRIN HESS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
ANDREW HURTADO, Fort Bragg. Assault, battery, fighting in public.
JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Drunk in public, vandalism. (Frequent flyer.)
CAROL LASTER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ZACKARY LAWSON, Ukiah. Battery, burglary, robbery, conspiracy, unlawful display of registration, suspended license, probation revocation.
STEVEN MUNSON, Willits. Protective order violation.
DAVID PEEBLES, Ukiah. Battery by prisoner.
JULIAN RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ERIC RISTAU, Ukiah. Assault on peace officer, reckless driving, probation revocation.
CASEY ROBINSON, Fortuna. Controlled substance, smoking-injecting device.
RICHARD ROPER, Covelo. DUI.
CHEYENNE SPECIEDAY, Fort Bragg. Misdemeanor warrant.
NICKOLAS WADE, Fort Bragg. Conspiracy.
BRYAN WILLIAMS, Hopland. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
A young woman I know of has recently gotten herself a new job. It is hard work, she had to go through some training to learn it, but she is anxious to better herself. This will be one of two jobs.
Now she wants to move from her present lodgings, and maybe find a place convenient to work (she does not drive). That’s what you are supposed to do, right? Walk or use public transportation.
The smallest apartments in the decent (no roaches, lower chance of getting shot at) buildings she can find, are somehow charging rents commensurate with what people with “good” jobs could have afforded in perhaps the 1970s. I think it is because the area she lives in has a glut of people still holding jobs in one of the rackets.
She, being a single woman without children, is not eligible for any sort of subsidized housing, and anyway, we are experiencing a lack of that because we’ve been importing people to live in it, leaving us with a shortage of such housing.
Her family probably has lived in this area for over two hundred years. Nowadays, I hear mixed messages in the media. On the one hand, buy local, ‘walkable’ communities, blah blah blah, on the other hand, contempt for people who choose to live where they grew up.
I happen to have some relatives who did the “right” thing, bought some education in the “STEM” fields, and moved to where the opportunities are. They haven’t ended up that much better off, long term, than this young woman is now.
The woman is black. She is not a male criminal, she is not a single mother, so the politicians, the bleeding hearts who derive their income from the ‘helping’ NFP rackets, and the armchair liberals have no interest in her. They likely don’t know people like her exist. They’ve moved on, anyway, to ‘helping’ adult male Guatemalans, largely by flapping their lips.
The social contract is broken. Main Street is a bygone concept. The Northeastern Liberal Elite idea of a walkable Main Street, is this time they went to the wine bar down the street on foot instead of driving the SUV they take everywhere else.
MAY DAY MARCH IN FORT BRAGG
Join us in a march for workers, for the rights of women and the LGBT community, for a livable minimum wage and against racism and the unfair treatment of immigrants. We'll meet in Bainbridge Park ( Laurel and Harrison Streets) at 3 P.M. on Monday, May 1, to hear a representative of the Service Employees International Union. Then we'll march downtown with signs (yours or ours). When we return, musical entertainment and treats await. In the event of rain, we will continue the event at Trinity Lutheran Hall at E Redwood and Corry Streets. Sponsored by Occupy Mendocino and People Power Information: 937-0334
WILL TRUMP RELEASE THE MISSING JFK FILES?
Yesterday's story on Politico raises the question.
The woman handling the documents says she's working on it.
PEACE MEDALS FOR VETS OF THE KOREAN WAR
South Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal
As appreciation from the Korean government to U. S. service members, your readers who served in the Korean conflict may be eligible for the Korean Ambassador for Peace medal. This medal is in appreciation for the sacrifices, service and friendship for the American men and women who served in the Korean War. Please note women who served in Korea are also eligible.
To be eligible you must have served in the country during the Korean War from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. It is also available for veterans who participated in the UN peacekeeping operations until the end of 1955. If you were in the US Navy and served aboard a naval vessel assigned to Korean waters during the 1950 to 1953 time frame you are eligible.
To establish eligibility, you need a copy of your DD 214, it need not be certified or notarized but it should be legible. There are no costs or fees to the family or to the veteran. There are no legal agreements that need to be met, nor any documents to be signed.
The application is very simple, on plain paper head it:
Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal Application: on the application furnish your name and address. ENCLOSE your DD 214 and mail it to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Office of Defense Attaché, 2450 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20008.
If you are not interested, perhaps one your children, grand children, or great grand children would appreciate the medal as a gift.
In peace and love,
Jim Updegraff, Sacramento
HEMINGWAY'S RECOMMENDED READING
Boule de Suif and La Maison Tellier — de Maupassant
The Red and the Black — Stendahl
Les Fleurs du Mal — Baudelaire
Madam Bovary — Flaubert
Remembrance of Things Past — Proust
Buddenbrooks — Mann
Taras Bulba — Gogol
The Brothers Karamazov — Dostoevski
Anna Karenina and War and Peace — Tolstoy
Huckleberry Finn — Mark Twain
Moby Dick — Melville
The Scarlett Letter — Hawthorne
The Red Badge of Courage — Crane
Madam de Mauves — James
I LOVE to go to the zoo. But not on Sunday. I don't like to see the people making fun of the animals, when it should be the other way around.
“For the writer of fantastic stories to help the reader to play the game properly, he must help him in every possible unobtrusive way to domesticate the impossible hypothesis. He must trick him into an unwary concession to some plausible assumption and get on with his story while the illusion holds. And that is where there was a certain slight novelty in my stories when first they appeared. Hitherto, except in exploration fantasies, the fantastic element was brought in by magic. Frankenstein even, used some jiggery-pokery magic to animate his artificial monster. There was trouble about the thing’s soul. But by the end of last century it had become difficult to squeeze even a momentary belief out of magic any longer. It occurred to me that instead of the usual interview with the devil or a magician, an ingenious use of scientific patter might with advantage be substituted. That was no great discovery. I simply brought the fetish stuff up to date, and made it as near actual theory as possible.” -H.G. Wells
Or, thanks to Hank Sims of Lost Coast Outpost, you can get it this other way, which you might like better because it offers an instant-play option and isn’t surrounded by confusing flashing ads.
Lots of local action this time. Ellen stopped by, and Thomas, and John, and Jeff Wright (about his arrest and transport to jail a few weeks ago for standing his ground on being allowed to get his mail from the mailbox he paid for) (but in the course of discussing that it came up that Jeff, as well as having been an Air Force jet mechanic, spent six years of his youth seriously studying the cello). I read the first part of Jay Frankston’s book about the man who keeps the keys; I’ll be serializing that over the next few months, but it’s appropriate to start it on the International Workers Day show because of the Spanish Civil War content. And about midnight a man who called himself Bo came in and talked to Jerry about, I thought, trying out the piano in the window to see if it was fixable, but it turned out he just wanted to play it, even though a few of the keys don’t ring so much as thunk, and that’s fine, there’s a microphone for out there. After about ten minutes, though, I started reading stories again anyway, and it’s kind of nice with piano in the background for about an hour.
And, before and after, the by now familiar broad range of this and that. Then Firesign Theater at the end (How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All). So, all in all, the usual unique radio experience for the connoisseurwith the attention span people used to have before quick-cut direction and popcorn media turned everyone into that cocaine addicted rat that keeps pumping the reward lever like a masturbating teenager.
But besides all that, here are links to a few not necessarily radio-useful but otherwise worthwhile items that I set aside for you while putting the show together, found mostly thanks to the fine websites listed to your right:
“Fighting to keep its antenna pointed toward Earth…” You go, little robot! Who’s a good boy? You are! You are!
Meanwhile actually /on/ Earth:
Spoiler: the sneaky orange-suited rescue ninja sucker-kick-saves her.
How government works now.
SoCal Ren Faire. “The taste of Spain.”
Metal, a retrospective.
Metal mesh art.
“I’m all out of almonds. I’m all out of almonds. I’m tryna find someone who has some almonds, yeah.” The Lana Del Rey one is also good. Look around for that.
Drugs + alcohol = No job!
And your brain on drug policy.
MY KID GOT RIPPED OFF
Subject: Justice for Jonas
I’m sorry to intrude, but I need your assistance with bringing this topic to light.
Why is it that Travel companies offering services to children to take them to fantastic places and get their hopes up can break these children’s hearts without any notice?
My son Jonas signed up for a trip to Washington DC with WorldStrides.
We signed up for this trip in December of 2015. The trip was to take place on April 26th of 2017.
As we got close to the trip date, I began inquiring about the status of the trip. What to pack, what the itinerary was going to be, and when we needed to arrive. On the afternoon of April 21st 2017, I received a phone call from the Teacher that was handling the trip. He told me that my son would not be going on the trip. This was because WorldStrides stated that not enough students signed up to justify a second bus. The children that paid for their trip in full would be guaranteed a seat on the bus while the other children would be put on a waiting list.
I asked why it was that we are 5 days away from going on this trip, and I am just not being told that my son is not allowed to go. How do you explain this to your child when your 5 days away and who does that to a child?
I then contacted WorldStrides about this, and they told me that they knew back in February and had no answer for me on why it was that it wasn’t necessary to inform me of this. I then asked about the money for my trip. By now I was trying to take the unfortunate nature of this trip and turn it into a positive experience. The woman on the phone told me that she was escalating the call. She stated that the confirmation needed to take place that my son was cleared from the trip, and then that I would receive my refund for the trip before the close of business on Thursday April 27th 2017.
My son and I planned a road trip to Washington DC on our own. driving to DC and then taking a train to New York City to visit the statue of liberty, and several museums there as well. We made all our arrangements for Monday May 1st.
On Friday April 28th, I noticed I had not yet received my refund. I called WorldStrides to enquire about the refund, and at first was told that they had no idea when I would receive my refund. I gave them all our information, as well as the names and dates of when I spoke to them previously and was told I would receive my refund on the 27th. The response was then changed to 2-3 weeks. I told them this was unacceptable and not what was told to me previously. I requested that they put me in touch with a supervisor because I need to have an answer. They told me there aren’t any available supervisors to take my call. I let them know that this is unacceptable, and I would wait for one. After it was displayed that they were unwilling to find one, they then offered to take down my information and have one call me, promising I would receive contact before the end of the day. At this point, I have yet to hear from WorldStrides.
Life as a child at times isn’t fair, my son has had enough troubles in his life, with the most recently being that his mother abandoned him and his sister without a word. That makes life rough, especially when he must go to school and still hear them talk about the PTSA president, which ironically happens to be his mother.
Life as a single father is rough at times. It’s my job without question to raise and protect my children, and to teach them that life isn’t fair, and never will be, but you can make the best of any situation.
But in a situation like this, it’s ludicrous that we as parents are placed into a situation where a child’s seat on a trip is cancelled and the need to inform the family isn’t important. This wasn’t a last-minute decision as I was told that they knew this back in February.
And why is it that after breaking a child’s heart, and telling the parents that your refund will be issued to your credit card the day after the trip, but then without reason decide its ok to hold the money for several weeks later?
Please ask yourself, as a parent in my shoes, what do you do? How would you feel?
Charles Bermand, Detroit
SALAD UNIVERSITY & MOVEMENT
Bill Taylor, Farmer, Salad University Instructor, Pianist, Composer
Jaye Alison Moscariello, Painter, Farmer, Salad University Instructor, Self-Taught Raw Foods Chef
Our yard, gardens, and farms are teeming with useful plants often ignored in our attempts to mold life to our standards. Nature’s standards provide nutritious and healing foods without so much effort. This greatly expanded version of our successful Salad University classes will include movement, a brief meditation, learning from the plants and our experience using them, their health-giving and medicinal properties, food preparation using wild plants, tips for propagating and growing many cultivated greens, herbs and flowers used in our salad mix. We will also look at permaculture methods such as hugelkultur, berms, swales, sheet mulching, and plant guilds and see what actually works.
Earth Honoring Movement, Taste, Harvest, Grow, Green Medicine, Prepare Meals, Feast, Celebrate. Learn Nutrition
Cost: Sliding scale $75-$150 includes two meals, seeds to take home. Part day options available: 1-5 PM $30-$60, for dinner add $15. Directions to farm will be sent following registration. Call about work trade done in advance. To register, please mail a check and contact information (email, phone) to: Bill Taylor, P.O. Box 848, Ukiah, CA 95482 or send funds to Jaye via https://www.paypal.me/JMoscariello
Meet at West Rd Exit 557 off US 101 across from bus stop at 10 AM. Caravan/carpool will leave at 10:10 AM sharp.
Bill Taylor and Jaye Alison Moscariello, Floodgate Farm on Heart Mountain, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.floodgatefarm.com, 707-272-1688
THE DAY I MET THE PEOPLE’S TEMPLE
by Bruce Anderson
Sharon Amos was short and sad and gray. Even when she was dressed in vivid reds and yellows she seemed to suck the life out of everything around her. If birds fell dead out of the sky, flowers suddenly wilted, small children broke inexplicably into tears, to me it would come to mean that Ms. Amos was up and on the move, heading for Boonville.
The day she first appeared, as the sight of her green county car coming up the road to the main house prompted a kid to scurry up a tree, and another to sprint out of sight over the side of a hill, poised to run farther from her if his social worker got any closer. I didn't have the flight option because I was in nominal charge of the operation, a group home six miles south of Boonville.
Ms. Amos had seen both boys run at the sight of her, and now she could see one of them, Merrill, resting as near to the top of an old oak as he could get without breaking off a limb too small to support him. Merrill looked down at us like a buzzard contemplating fresh kill. All that could be seen of the other boy, Domingo, were the long, wild strands of black hair framing his wary, round face.
"They're acting out," the social worker observed in a monotone, adding, "They're very difficult, these two."
Ms. Amos's statements always sounded like audible reminders to herself that up is down, down is up. She probably went around all day murmuring mental post-its to herself.
The times were odd, the summer of 1972. Millions of people were "acting out," and most of them were adults. A colleague of Ms. Amos had just made the local newspapers when she was stopped for speeding on Highway 101 near Ukiah with her nude self encased in Saran Wrap, a helping professional in need of help.
And here was this People's Temple sadsack standing in the blast of Boonville's summer sun in matching gray skirt and sweater, her white blouse secured at the neck with a large black ribbon. City social workers turned up in Boonville in modified cowgirl outfits, country social workers togged themselves out in the conservative female urban garb of the time — muted colors and sensible shoes. Quite a few female social workers were weekend hippies, or hippie-hippies who'd taken "straight" jobs to support their "old man." The males tended heavily to cocaine.
I tried to divert Mrs. Amos from whatever embarrassment she might be feeling at her unhappy reception. When you're here to help but the helpees run at the sight of you, well, people have been known to make career changes for lesser reasons.
"I saw your name in the Ukiah paper the other day," I said. "What's the People's Temple?"
"It's the only real church in this country," Sharon Amos replied without emotion for such a big claim.
"Jim Jones has brought people of all races together in Redwood Valley where we practice a true social gospel. It's exciting and it's beautiful." She said she would put my name down "on our guest list if you would like to attend services."
I was getting a definite cult vibe from Mrs. Amos. Numberless hours on hard benches with a congregation of joyless, zombo-ized social workers listening to the rantings of an outback Gantry? The social worker was not an effective proselytizer.
She seemed too tired to notice summer from winter, too exhausted to care that the two boys she had come to see had run away from her because, to them, Sharon Amos, Christian multiculturalist, was just one more in a series of people who did things to them they didn't like -- teachers, psychologists, doctors, judges, social workers and of course, cops. The two boys saw Ms. Amos as one more cop, a different kind of cop, but a cop. They saw me as their live-in cop, more or less benign, but still an agent of the state, an enemy in a world of enemies.
The judge had sent the two boys to Boonville because they'd been arrested. When the cops tried to locate their parents, it was discovered that they didn't have parents, although a chronological adult may have answered the door.
Merrill the tree climber had a Tourette's like habit of suddenly shouting out profanities in contexts where you got a mental health jacket the second time you did it. He'd been caught shoplifting food because he was hungry. Domingo was in Boonville for assaulting other children and adults at the slightest, and sometimes no provocation. I saw my job as getting Merrill to curse where it might do some good and to teach Domingo to attack only the people who have it coming. I did not share these rehab strategies with the authorities.
It was Sharon Amos's job to check to see if the two victims of a crumbling society were being properly fed and housed. She may even have expected them to be better behaved than they had been, but only a social worker could think they were redeemable in any conventional sense. If they somehow learned to cope before they were permanently put away in prison they would do it on their own; there was no help available; the damage had been done. If the government had been there when they popped from the womb and had taken them off to those first crucial years of regular meals and sane adults they might have had a chance. As they were -- crazy as hell and getting crazier -- the best we could do was provide a pleasant rural interregnum before they met their inevitable doom.
"I spend all my off-time working with the church," Amos continued. "Reverend Jones is doing something very special. His sermons are amazing, and he lives what he preaches." These superlatives were also delivered in the voice of a person reading off a bus schedule.
The newspaper story I had read said that the Reverend Jones not only tended to an ever larger, multiracial flock, he had just been appointed foreman of the Mendocino County grand jury. Mentioned among his parishioners was Mrs. Amos and Tim Stoen, the latter a Stanford graduate who functioned as both Mendocino County Counsel and as Jones's legal blocking back. Since she was mentioned by name in the story, it was clear that Ms. Amos was a church bigwig.
Jones was quoted as saying that local "racists" were hostile to his church because it contained a large number of black people. This hostility, Jones said, had prompted him to erect a sporadically manned, 40 foot gun tower that loomed up over his Redwood Valley church. There were usually a couple men with rifles in the tower for Sunday services, as if the racists might try to bull rush the congregation while they were all at prayer.
The Reverend told the Ukiah paper that he'd headed west from Indiana after reading an article in Esquire magazine that said that winds off the Northcoast would puff nuclear fallout right on past Mendocino County. But Indianapolis, presumably, right down to its famous racecar track, would be destroyed.
When the gun tower went up on the church grounds, Jones seemed to be conceding that he had traded one terror for another -- incineration for incipient, race-based, rural assault troops. Of course the tower aggrandized the People's Temple as an oasis of tolerance in a sea of hostility, and Jones as a kind of multicultural Captain Courageous. The Reverend would protect his flock whatever it took, and his flock believed they were besieged.
Sharon Amos bought everything the Reverend Jones did and said, bought it all unto death, as things turned out. And here she was, a flat-affect, monotonal professional do-gooder, the saddest sack in all of Mendocino County, wrapped in gray wool six miles south of Boonville on a hot August day, droning joylessly on about the great hope she'd found with Reverend Jones. But her droning voice gave up not a hint of enthusiasm. For anything. Jonestown was still seven years away.
Having halfheartedly invited me into the Temple's embrace that morning as we stood beside her green county car, the social worker asked, "Do you think you can get Merrill to come down from there? I want to talk to him about a home visit. He can't go, and that's going to make him very unhappy."
I couldn't imagine how much more unhappiness Merrill might express; he'd already run for the treetops when he saw her coming. Besides, the kid knew in his bones he'd never hear any good news from his social worker or any other representatives of the state.
Merrill was his last name. It seemed somehow easier to apply his surname to him than Shane, his given name. And he said he liked 'Merrill' better than 'Shane.' A pie faced little boy with a perpetually worried expression on his broad features, Merrill looked more forlorn than he was. He had his coping strategies, not that they worked to his advantage, but they seemed to console him, and he did deserve consolation. He was half crazy from a life that was wholly crazy and he was only 12, and already placed among older, tougher kids who smacked him around whenever they could get away with it.
Some people thought Merrill really did have Tourette's. We called his sudden eruptions "voice activated Tourette's" because at the sound of a conversation that didn't include him -- especially didn't include him -- he'd run up and blurt out obscenities which, of course, coming from a child had the emotional effect of verbal hand grenades. A group of teachers would be talking among themselves and here comes Merrill, walking confidently toward them as if invited. "Sounds like a great big bowl of dicks to me," he'd say, and walk off chuckling to himself. Then, when some inevitable someone told him to watch his mouth, Merrill would come back with, "Twat's that? I cunt hear you."
Merrill said his father had taught him these conversational ice breakers "so I can fit in better."
Our task, besides trying to keep a straight face when Merrill went off, and he went off many times a day in howling, obscenity-laden rages, was to tutor the lad in the art of time and place. But he never was able to make the distinction because he was getting a little revenge in his demented way for all the bad things that had been done to him. When he was able to shock a group of adults he was briefly in control of them. It was him making people hop up and down and sputter indignantly instead of them jerking his chain.
Merrill's father, who was drawing government nut money himself, freely admitted to the responding social worker that he had taught his son "how to swear like the rest of the kids." Merrill loved his father, and his father was all he had in the way of role models, to borrow the tired descriptive from the exhausted schools that train the helping pros.
"Come on down here, Merrill," I yelled up the tree at him. "Mrs. Amos wants to talk to you."
Merrill, silent, stared down.
"He's not going to cooperate," I said, revealing my powerlessness to this odd representative of local government, this specially blessed congregant of "the most amazing church ever."
Mrs. Amos turned her gaze landward.
"That's Domingo over there, isn't it?"
"That's the top of his head," I said.
We walked over to the side of the hill for a full body shot.
"You can suck my…" Domingo began, instantly animated when he saw us coming toward him.
I tried to obliterate the looming, referent body part with a loud, gargling sigh as Domingo, now hopping up and down like he was gearing up to actualize a psychosexual attack, concluded, "to the root!"
"Are you going to let him do that?" Mrs. Amos asked in her usual monotone, so flat the question mark was inaudible.
Of course I was going to let him do that. It was a 100-degree day and Domingo was a good 30 yards away down a hillside. I suppose I could have hurled myself at the little bastard and chased him up into the goddamn hills, but let's be realistic here, I thought, knowing that this lady and I shared no known reality.
I made a little joke, hoping to make it clear to Sharon Amos, MSW, that there was nothing I could do but I, too, found this kind of flip-out distressing. Why did she think the state and federal governments were paying me to confine these little nutballs to a remote rural ranch? Did she have any idea who she was dealing with? This is what these kids did. This is what life on the lowest rungs of capitalism had done to them. Like the rest of America they were all impulse and acquisition and envy. I had no idea how to get them to stop acting crazy because they were crazy and the country was crazy and I was feeling a little unhinged myself.
"Strictly speaking," I began, hoping against hope that a little irony might mollify this deranged woman, "the boy hasn't done anything except threaten us with sexual assault. I'm pretty sure I can stop him if he tries anything."
I imagined a tiny brown boner charging up the hill at us like a dwarf rhino.
Mrs. Amos stared at me, then looked back at Domingo.
"Suck it baby," Domingo screamed. "Yeah you, bitch."
Tired of hearing midgets telling me to go fuck myself all day every day, I'd taught them some new insults. I'd taught them to say, "And the horse you rode in," and "Fuck me? You'll have to get in line." These not so bon mots broke the rhetorical monotony for a while, but now they too were played back at me all day every day. Which is what I got for not keeping "professional distance," as the therapists might describe my "coping strategies."
I apologized to Mrs. Amos for the verbal mayhem.
"I've never seen him this bad, Mrs. Amos. He's outdone himself today."
Hah! Domingo was this bad every day, all day long and into the night. He was often worse, much worse. Any more or less sane adult could deal with bad language, even from a kid, but try living with a kid who sniffs glue, paint, and gasoline whenever he can, a kid who assaults whomever pops up into his addled Viewmaster, child or adult. I spent a lot of time everyday simply restraining the little psycho.
Mrs. Amos stared at the kid. I hoped Domingo's obscene exertions in the summer heat were wearing him down, but he showed no signs of fatigue. Every time we looked his way he got off another obscene blast. But I still felt a need to reassure the social worker that I wasn't as impotent as I appeared. She seemed completely out of it, but I didn't know her very well so I couldn't be sure she was as zoned out, as oblivious as I suspected she was.
So I said that I thought it was a shame a 14-year-old boy was shouting obscenities at us, that it was subversive of good order, not to mention a violation of even the loosest known adult traditions of child rearing.
A normal person would have told me to spare her the bullshit, but this lady had no irony, no emotional roll bar. It wasn't that her bullshit detector needed new batteries, she didn't have the thing to begin with.
"America does this to people," Mrs. Amos said. "I know that."
Domingo fired again. "Come down here, bitch, so I can bone you up… "
Mrs. Amos responded to the abrupt switch from oral to anal rape by saying, "I think he should be tested for Simian Crease Syndrome."
"I attended a conference last week on it," Amos continued. "You can see that some hyper-masculine males have an extra crease on the palms of their hands. There is a strong correlation between these creases and an extra male chromosome which causes an excess of testosterone and increases the likelihood of violent criminal behavior."
"That's very interesting," I said, trying not to laugh, and beating back an impulse to check my own palms. "It sure would explain today's outburst," I added, lathering her up a little more, wondering how much more insincerity this woebegone creature could take before she woke up and denounced me as "an enabler," as another social worker had done when I laughed as I described a repeat episode of aberrant behavior to him. Lots of these helping pros didn't seem to know that there was a difference between laughing at unacceptable behavior and sanctioning it. And the people who didn't know the diff seemed to be running Mendocino County and, for that matter, the country.
The social worker took a last look at Domingo who now was chanting, "Suck it baby, suck it," cupping his crotch and thrusting it forward to an imagined disco beat. I had to admire the boy's commitment to outrage.
Without further comment on either the boy's verbal aggression or its possible links to the higher primates, Mrs. Amos turned her back on Domingo and we walked over to the tree for a second-round of negotiations with Merrill. I wondered if Merrill had a Simian Crease. He sure got up that tree fast.
Merrill looked down at us, expressionless.
"Coming down, Merrill? Or do we have to talk from here?" I said to the tree.
The tree was non-responsive.
"Shane? I went to see your father in Laytonville," Mrs. Amos said in her depressed, unamplified voice, too softly, I thought, for Merrill to hear.
"What did she say?" Merrill yelled.
"Mrs. Amos said she went to see your father in Laytonville," I shouted back like a cop trying to work out a hostage release. "I'm not going to relay everything like this," I added. "If you want to hear what Mrs. Amos says, you come down here and talk with her like a gentleman."
"Your mother is a gentleman," Domingo yelled from over the side of the hill.
"Yes, I went to see Mr. Merrill," Mrs. Amos continued, speaking directly to me, perhaps realizing on her own that both the substance of what she had to tell me about Merrill's father and my bellowed relays to the boy in the tree were not an effective way to communicate.
"He lives in Laytonville in this rundown old motel," Amos began. "It was about 11 in the morning when I got there. I knocked on the door and Mr. Merrill told me to come in. The room was so dark I could barely see him at first. There was no light on and the shades were drawn, and Mr. Merrill was still in bed." She paused. "And he was in bed with one of those blowup sex dolls."
"I thought it was totally inappropriate of him," she said.
I laughed again.
I knew for sure by then that she was nuts, and that it didn't matter what I said or did, short of ripping her clothes off and throwing her over the hill to Domingo, Ms. Amos was in her own world.
"Well, heck, I don't know," I said. "Maybe after his rough experience with Mrs. Merrill the poor guy thought he needed a less demanding relationship."
Ms. Amos looked hard at me. I'd finally gone too far.
"It's not funny," she said, reflexively, without heat. "Mr. Merrill has real problems."
I snapped myself back into a state-sanctioned posture of Appropriate Male.
"Yes, you're right. That's terrible," I said. "What did he think he was doing?"
"Mr. Merrill is not my problem," she said. "I have to do what's best for Shane, and it's clear that Shane cannot see his father at this time. Mr. Merrill's home environment is not suitable for a young boy. It's totally inappropriate even for a visit."
It was raining inappropriates. Mrs. Amos was way ahead of the appropriateness curve prevalent in Mendocino County today where that bland judgment is applied to everything from mass murder to Hawaiian shirts at funerals.
Seven years later I was driving back to Mendocino County from Sacramento where I'd come in 3,523 in a half-marathon. It was late in the afternoon and raining, a November day just before Thanksgiving, 1978. Out of the car radio came a series of announcements all beginning with "What appears to be a mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana…"
The announcer went on to say that a woman identified as Sharon Linda Amos had been found dead in a house called Lamaha Gardens in Georgetown, Guyana, which served as a sort of reception center and clearinghouse for Reverend Jones's new society deep in the jungle. Mrs. Amos's job was to screen visitors. With Jones gone deep into pharmaceutical speed and the terminal paranoia that often comes with it, the social worker was one of the few persons he trusted among his all-white inner circle.
Sharon Amos, announcements began to say, had received the news that "revolutionary suicide" had kicked off out at Jonestown. It was over. Jones was killing his church and it was time for her to go too.
Amos radioed the mother church on Geary back in San Francisco. "Do what you can to even the score," she ordered San Francisco.
The score was already something like 700 to nothing for insanity because out in the jungle almost everyone had downed the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid or had had it forced down their throats.
San Francisco would have to get busy if the Temple's city people were going to add to the imbalance. San Francisco, as Amos reminded them, was supposed to dispatch teams of "Avenging Angels" to kill the Temple's critics and defectors and then off themselves.
The San Francisco Temple ignored the instruction.
Described as hysterical by the 75 or so Temple people clustered at Lamaha Gardens for the apocalypse, Amos told them all it was time for them to transition themselves into the next life. Amos said that this was it, the last order from J.J. himself. Kill yourself for the revolution.
The Temple people stared at Amos. She had no authority with them. They considered her a snitch for Jones, and even by their questionable standards, they regarded Amos as a nut, a diagnosis Amos proceeded to confirm.
Turning from the backsliders and summoning her three children to follow her up the stairs, Amos ordered Charles Beikman, a 43-year-old ex-Marine, and the only Temple member available likely to do what Amos told him to do, to come upstairs with her and her children.
Amos's overweight and under-brained daughter, Lianne, carried a butcher knife into the upstairs bathroom. Amos promptly slit her 11-year-old daughter's throat, then she cut her five-year-old son's throat. Amos ordered the cretinous Beikman to hold Lianne while Amos sawed Lianne's jugular. Having dispatched her three children, Amos didn't have enough energy left to finish herself off. She couldn't get a butcher knife deep enough into her throat. Semper Fi Beikman had to close the social worker's file for her.
Out in the jungle, the official body count was 883, of whom 660 could be identified. The rest of the corpses were those of children who had been born in Jonestown. Nobody was sure who they belonged to, but it was the devil who'd killed them.
Back in Mendocino County, everyone who'd helped Jones along, including the judges who'd signed over the now dead children to Jones, ran for cover.
ED NOTE: Linda Amos, was, in the aftermath of the jungle slaughter, sometimes identified as Sharon Amos. We knew her as both Linda and Sharon. In the wild aftermath of Jonestown, the Mendocino County Social Services boss, a Uriah Heep-ish fellow called Dennis Denny, was asked why his office had diverted so much welfare dough to Temple members — Jones signed up his imported flock for every freebie available as soon as they landed in Mendocino County. In many cases the instant sign-ups amounted to instant fraud, and it was carried out by several Temple people who had jobs with Social Services. Denny, as nearly a thousand bodies lay rotting in Jonestown, a good number of them from Mendocino County, said he'd always closely monitored the Temple through Ms. Amos, and that Ms. Amos had functioned as a kind of People's Temple liaison for him from her position in both Mendocino County Social Services and the Temple. The true reason Denny was hands off the Temple, I would think, is because Jones had quickly become politically powerful in the County, and Jones had Tim Stoen, his legal advisor, sitting in the pivotal local position of County Counsel. (Today, Stoen is a prosecutor assigned to Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg.) Denny wasn't the only local official who would dive under his desk after Jonestown. Many of the children murdered at Jonestown had been signed over to Jones by the Mendocino County Superior Court.