- Reefer Madness
- Financially Irresponsible
- Woodcut Exhibit
- EPIC Lawsuit
- Literacy Test
- Employee #2299198966
- Satanic Hysteria
- Little Dog
- Oafish Louts
- Yesterday's Catch
- Democratic Dissembling
- Attack Anyway
- Quixote Country
- Bridge Toll
- Poetry Reading
- Job Announcement
- Play Group
- Lake Swimming
- Deficit Scam
MENDOCINO COUNTY’S REEFER MADNESS
by Jim Shields
People kid me about how much I write and talk about pot in my newspaper, Mendocino County Observer, and on my radio show.
The reason is simple. The legalization of ganja is the most significant legislation and public policy created in the past 40 years. It rivals the impact of the voter-enacted Prop 13, which revolutionized (in more ways than one) property taxes in this state.
As I’ve said many times before, no one lives in this county who is not affected economically by marijuana. And that’s true for both the private and public sectors of the economy.
I’ve also warned people for years who clamored for legalization, be careful of what you wish for. Because with legalization comes regulation, taxes, and enforcement.
This week I received a note that was attached to the hoop greenhouses photograph appearing below. I also received a packet of other information related to the out-of-control illegal marijuana production that is occurring in this county as you read this.
The county’s hills, valleys, and dales are exploding with greenhouses, mega-grows and thousands upon thousands of new plants are going in the ground everyday.
Keep in mind that state pot laws and county pot ordinances are not written solely for those who grow the stuff. They are also written to protect the rights of those who don’t grow or smoke the stuff. They are also written to protect the rights of legitimate growers, who are trying to play by the rules. They are also written to punish, penalize, and come-down-like-a-ton-of-bricks on those individuals who believe and act as if they are above the law.
So where are we right now at this stage of legalization in Mendocino County?
Here’s some observations.
That note I referred to said this:
“Heard you on the radio last Saturday. I believe you said, ‘No one has been issued permits,’ and ‘no one is allowed more than 99 plants.’ Can you address this scene?” (the photograph of the greenhouses.)
Here’s what I said on last Saturday’s program on KPFN.
I was talking about the Board of Supervisors’ budget meeting on June 6. At that meeting, there was quite a bit of discussion about the impact of new pot taxes and fees on the county’s budget. In the course of that discussion, Supervisor John McGowan stated that he was “disconcerted” about the marijuana permitting process and mentioned several problems associated with it. He also asked a staff member what the average length of time was to process a completed application for a permit. He was told there was no average time estimate available because no applications had been completed at that time. So as of June 6th, no permits had been issued.
District Attorney Dave Eyster also appeared at the budget hearing, and he spoke on a recent 500-plus pot plant eradication in Redwood Valley where the folks busted claimed they had begun the permit application process and believed they were protected against Sheriff’s Office raids.
Basically, the DA said it was not relevant whether the growers were permitted or not because under the county’s ordinance no one can grow more than 100 plants. I’m assuming he was referring to so-called “joint tenancy” grows on a single property. In any event, he cited the 100-plant cap.
One thing I’m certain of — I think — is that neither state law nor county ordinance allows massive grows that reach tens of thousands in total count.
By the way, the most recent numbers on pot permit applications is that there are 441 pending as of June 16, an underwhelming response given a total population of 90,000.
The other thing that is for certain is the county has a serious reefer madness problem.
Unquestionably, there are far too many outlaws who have no intention of following any laws or rules. These characters are in-your-face with their plantations of thousands of ganja plants, no permits pending or otherwise, and no intention of compliance with any rule or regulation. In many cases, they aren’t even attempting to hide their illicit operations.
It’s time for the county to start enforcing its marijuana ordinance. Not to do so has a number repercussions, such as the Feds stepping in. Also, the legit growers, especially the cottage and mom-and-pops types, are going to see a continuing decline in the already depressed price of pot as more and more illegal ganja hits the black market. They need to protect themselves against the outlaw, criminal competition, most of which has arrived in recent years, finding Mendocino County as the strike-it-rich destination of all destinations.
The most serious threat to the economic survival of the ol’ family pot farm is not the taxes and fees that so many bemoan (they forget that legalization means regulation and taxes). Rather, it’s the bad guys who’ve moved into their neighborhood and taken it over. The legit growers need to start turning in the outlaws to the enforcers because if they don’t they’re cutting their own throats.
(Jim Shields is the editor and publisher of the Mendocino County Observer, and also manages the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM.)
GRAND JURY FINDS COAST PARKS & REC: ‘FINANCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE’
The 2016-17 Mendocino County Grand Jury has released a final report concerning the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District (MCRPD).
The Mendocino County 2016-17 Grand Jury finds that the Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District (MCRPD) has been and continues to be financially irresponsible. MCRPD is currently and habitually delinquent on their capital lease and outstanding loans. MCRPD was over seven months late in completing the 2015-16 annual audit and is currently in Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Because of the large debt and the absence of a long-term plan for repayment, the Grand Jury finds that these conditions raise substantial doubt about MCRPD's ability to continue as a viable entity. The C.V. Starr Center, an aquatic and community center, was initially planned with insufficient funding for ongoing operations and capital improvements. The $14 million project increased to a $27 million facility over the construction period. The City of Fort Bragg provided bailout funding to enable operations. The financial problems were unnecessarily compounded by the purchase of 580 +/- acres, a field of unrealized dreams. That property located on Highway 20 was intended to be developed as a golf course at some later date but the project failed to materialize. In addition, MCRPD is not being fiduciarily responsible in the use of Teeter (property tax) funds. MCRPD receives Teeter funds based on four coastal school district boundaries, yet the funds are not reallocated proportionately to the outlying coastal communities.
Katharine (Kathy) Wylie M.S. Ed.
Foreman, 2016-17 Mendocino County Grand Jury
"CALIFORNIA’S WILD EDGE: The Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History" Exhibition at the Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah
Capturing the beauty of the California coast through exquisite woodcut prints and prose, "California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History" is a new traveling exhibition on display at the Grace Hudson Museum from Saturday, July 8 to Sunday, October 8, 2017. A special free preview reception will take place on Friday, July 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of Ukiah’s First Fridays Art Walk. The exhibition features artist Tom Killion’s Japanese-style woodcut prints, which vividly portray the coast’s ever-changing moods and diverse formations. From Mendocino to Santa Monica, Killion’s work colorfully captures the meeting of land and sea. To provide context for his work, also on view are select traditional Japanese woodblock prints by renowned printmaker Hiroshige, whose style influenced Killion. Several of these traditional prints were once owned by architect and avid Japanese print collector, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Further deepening the experience are complementary writings by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, carefully chosen to provide a rich history of the coast through poetry and prose. Other stirring perspectives on the California coastline come from Native Californian traditional stories, accounts of travelers, and poems by past and present California writers, including Robinson Jeffers, Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, and Jaime de Angulo.
California-born artist Tom Killion is well known for his four decades of work in the medium of woodcut printmaking. Killion uses Japanese carving tools, papers, and his own adaptation of the traditional key-block process to create relief prints of his landscapes. Killion currently resides in Point Reyes, California and in collaboration with poet Gary Snyder released his newest text, also entitled "California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History," through Heyday Books in the summer of 2015.
Additional related programming at the Museum includes a performance of traditional Japanese music by Ron Nadeau at the First Friday Art Walk on August 4 from 5 to 8 p.m.; an artist’s talk and book signing with Tom Killion on Saturday, August 12, from 2 to 4 p.m.; a poetry night with local poets reading their own work and that of the poets on display on Friday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and a kickoff to “Mendocino County Celebrates American Craft Week” with a printmaking workshop using easily carved foam blocks with the guidance of printer Meredith Hudson-Redfield. Please call the Museum for more information at (707) 467-2836, or visit the website: www.gracehudsonmuseum.org.
"California’s Wild Edge: The Coast in Prints, Poetry, and History" is originated by the San Francisco Public Library and artist Tom Killion, based on the Heyday Books publication of the same name, and traveled by Exhibit Envoy. Additional support at the Grace Hudson Museum comes from Tom & Melissa Thornhill and the Thornhill Family Foundation; Placer Partners, San Rafael, California; and the Sun House Guild.
About Exhibit Envoy
Exhibit Envoy provides traveling exhibitions and professional services to museums throughout California. Our mission is to build new perspectives among Californians, create innovative exhibitions and solutions, and advance institutions in service to their communities. For more information, please visit www.exhibitenvoy.org.
AS EXPECTED, EPIC AND OTHERS LAUNCH NEW LAWSUIT AGAINST CALTRANS’ RICHARDSON GROVE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
by Hank Sims
* * *
About a month ago, Caltrans announced that it was relaunching its controversial Richardson Grove Improvement Project — a plan to reroute Highway 101 through the state park near the Humboldt-Mendocino line — with a few tweaks and a new finding that the project will have no significant environmental impact.
Late last week, the first of the inevitable lawsuits was filed.
A coalition of environmental groups and individuals filed suit in Humboldt County Superior Court, seeking to stop the project. In the suit — see “documents” link below — they put forth a variety of claims that they believe should put the brakes on the project again: that the public was not afforded sufficient opportunity to comment, that the environmental documentation is still inadequate, that the project is not necessary and that it will kill old-growth redwood trees.
These claims are laid out in a section of the plaintiff’s petition titled “Our Richardson Grove and Caltrans’ Plan for its Destruction.”
The lawsuit marks just the latest spat between Caltrans and many of the groups named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit — the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics — over the plan to re-route the highway through Richardson Grove to allow passage of industry-standard-sized trucks for shipping. Caltrans maintains that its plan will do no harm to the old-growth redwood in Richardson Grove, many specimens of which have lined the highway for over 100 years.
Press release from EPIC follows.
* * *
“Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Injunctive Relief,” filed by EPIC, the Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics in Humboldt County Superior Court, June 22, 2017.
* * *
Press release from the Environmental Protection Information Center:
Environmental groups and local residents today [Friday — Ed.] sued the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for approving a highway-widening project that would damage or destroy 1,000- to 2,000-year-old redwood trees in California’s iconic Richardson Grove State Park, along Highway 101 in Humboldt County.
Today’s lawsuit, filed in Humboldt County Superior Court, challenges the transportation agency’s latest approval of the controversial project. Three previous legal challenges blocked construction and forced Caltrans to rescind all project approvals in 2014. Caltrans quietly reapproved the project last month, purportedly to improve highway access for oversized commercial trucks.
“Caltrans keeps pushing this nonsensical project that would do terrible damage to ancient redwoods in our state park, with no benefits to the community,” said Aruna Prabhala, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s just no compelling traffic or safety reason to destroy these beautiful trees. The changes Caltrans claims it’s made to the project won’t protect more than 100 giant redwoods from being damaged or killed.”
The “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project” would cut into and pave over the roots of more than 100 of Richardson Grove’s ancient redwoods, including trees up to 2,000 years old, 18 feet in diameter and 300 feet tall. Caltrans has pursued this project solely to benefit passage for oversized commercial trucks and continues to rely on inadequate environmental review.
“EPIC is disappointed that Caltrans has continued to push forward, ignoring previous court warnings about the need to honestly evaluate the effects of its road widening on old-growth redwoods,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director and staff attorney at the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Caltrans’ road widening shows no respect for sacred parkland and irreplaceable ancient trees.”
“Caltrans does not seem to get that we the people, by law, have a place at the table when important decisions are made affecting our environment, and in the case of this iconic and beloved grove of ancient redwoods, just how important it is to protect irreplaceable magnificent old trees when decisions made are of such consequences,” said Patty Clary, executive director of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.
Today’s suit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity; the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC); Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; Friends of Del Norte; and longtime local residents Bess Bair, Trisha Lee Lotus, Jeffrey Hedin and David Spreen. The suit challenges Caltrans’ violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, and inadequate evaluation of environmental impacts, a misleading conclusion that the project would have no significant impact on the environment, and a flawed determination that none of the proposed highway alterations would threaten the stability of any old-growth redwoods.
Richardson Grove State Park, where tourists often first encounter large redwoods when heading north on Highway 101, is home to one of the last protected stands of accessible old-growth redwood trees in the world and is a jewel of the state park system. The park also contains essential habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the northern spotted owl, and its creeks support runs of imperiled salmon and steelhead trout.
Caltrans first proposed the project in 2007, claiming the highway-widening is needed to accommodate large-truck travel. However, Caltrans acknowledges that Highway 101 through Richardson Grove is already designated for larger trucks and does not have significant safety problems. The agency cannot demonstrate that the project is necessary for safety or would benefit the local economy.
There has been substantial local opposition to the project, led by the Save Richardson Grove Coalition, a diverse group of community members including economists, business owners, scientists and Northern California tribes with longstanding ties to the grove. In 2012 a federal court stopped the project, citing numerous errors in Caltrans’ mapping and measurement of affected old-growth redwoods and stating that the agency had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its use of what the court called “faulty data.” In 2014 a California Court of Appeal ordered Caltrans to reevaluate the environmental impacts of the project under state law, finding that it had failed to fully assess impacts on ancient redwoods or provide measures to reduce potentially severe harm to the trees.
Caltrans re-approved the project again and now claims it made changes to better protect old-growth redwood trees, such as impacting fewer trees, less excavation, and less depth of surface pavement.
However, the “changes” to the project do not markedly differ from what the courts previously rejected as inadequate, and Caltrans has not answered the questions and concerns raised about structural damage to redwoods from cutting into their roots.
The attorneys for the plaintiffs in this suit are Philip Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP; Stuart Gross of Gross & Klein LLP; and Sharon Duggan, a staff attorney with EPIC and a long-time expert on environmental law.
CHUCKLE FROM THE ALBION STORE passed along by MSP
THE ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD, conducting school business in serial closed sessions for weeks now, met again in closed session Monday night. The law says the board has to "report out," i.e., tell us what they discussed. Cyber hat in hand, I asked for the report out and got this back: "The report out of closed session from the Board meeting on June 26, 2017 was: The Board chose to non re-elect a probationary certificated position, regarding employee #2299198966."
WHEW! That was close. I thought maybe it was employee #2299198965 who had been offed. Or my old friend #2286218910 who'd been handed his walking papers.
A CALL to the edu-oracle at the district office elicited this explanation from school board president Dick Browning: "How would you like your name in the paper if you'd been fired?"
THE OLD BOY has a point, but we'd certainly like to hear from #229919866 because, for all we know, this person got the old Kafka Shuffle, axed for no real reason at all. Fired persons have the right to contest their executions in public session, but I can't remember the last time someone did that.
DAN AND FRAN KELLER just got out of prison where they'd locked up for 21 years. Their crime? Satanist child abuse at their Texas day care center where there was no Satan or child abuse, but there was much hysteria from hysterical parents who, dare I say, harbored evil sexual obsessions themselves, which wouldn't be unusual in our porn-soaked society. That same hysteria of course once had Mendocino County in its grip. I say of 'course,' because, despite its see-through veneer of sophistication, credulity prevails. I wrote a long series of stories about the Satanist hysteria as it raged, and my friend Tommy Wayne Kramer wrote an excellent capsulized account of the non-existent phenomenon for the Ukiah Daily Journal a while back. His follows, and a few paragraphs from me follow TWK:
THE FEARLESS TWK looks back at one of the most shameful interludes in Mendocino County's often shameful history.
HE WRITES: “Scholars intrigued or fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials should turn their attention to the Satanic Abuse storm that accused many, destroyed some, and accomplished nothing except to leave the lingering stench of tyranny oozing from the politically correct. You can still savor the aroma and with it a firm resolve among American males to avoid future contact or involvement with children. Be alone with a kid? Forget it. Be a schoolteacher in a class of 30 students? Don’t even ask.
"In Mendocino County the epicenter was in Fort Bragg at a childcare facility called Jubilation Day Care. As the fabricated shock waves detailing utterly depraved news about Satanic rituals perpetrated upon pre-school children began rolling across the country it was inevitable they reached Mendocino County. Our therapists were waiting, rubbing their soft, moist hands together.
"The stories were as bizarre as they were horrifying: Children were being raped and tortured at Jubilation Day Care. The staff, wearing clown masks and forcing kids (in the beginning, as foreplay) to eat peanut butter they were told was human feces, were transported to distant horror chambers. Matters devolved from there.
"A Mendocino County Deputy DA provided me (I was working at the now defunct Mendocino Grapevine at the time) details about the allegations. Children at Jubilation Day Care were routinely boarded onto helicopters and flown to remote locations where they were defiled, tortured and raped. They were ordered to say nothing to adults or worse things would happen to them and their families.
"And who were these monsters aboard these helicopters transporting pre-schoolers to hellish horror chambers? Why, timber company executives, that’s who.
"It was the perfect scenario for the angry, hate-filled therapy women: Wealthy white men running big corporations doing filthy things to children. It was terrible. It was horrifying. It was wonderful! Fuses were lit, and Jubilation Day Care exploded, imploded, closed and awaited the lawsuits and the criminal indictments. Therapy sessions for children boomed as never before or since, as professional children advocacy groups gladly took up the cause. The Orr sisters, who ran Jubilation Day Care, were chased out of town. Staffers in the Mendocino County Victim Witness program wore buttons reading ‘I Believe the Children’ in the courthouse. Local therapists counseled kids in hopes of eliciting information they’d been molested, or at least traumatized. A favorite technique was to convince children that they had “repressed memories” and that proof of someone having been abused was to have no memory of it.
"The reigning wisdom: If you don’t remember it, it must be true. This has even less validity than trials for ‘witches’ involving river dunkings, or deciding guilt based on blisters appearing on the palm of a suspect’s burned hand. Shuffled into this dishonest nonsense was Past Lives Regression and Channeling, which provided therapeutic guidelines for events from a hundred or a thousand years ago. Trouble was, it was all untrue. None of it happened. The hot air balloon emptied. This was Mendocino County therapy at its peak. Despite their shabby, dishonest and immoral practices, I have not heard in the 30 years since of a single one of these therapists admitting to a mistake or apologizing either to the children or to those accused. How many lives were ruined by these state licensed MFCC crazies?…”
* * *
THE MIGHTY AVA, cough-cough, was on the non-existent phenomenon from its sordid beginnings in Fort Bragg where it was breathed into life by a County social worker named Pam Hudson. The Orr Sisters, who were in danger of being murdered by Fort Bragg hysterics, were not defended by Coast Lib because, you see, they were the wrong kind of women — working class Catholics who opposed abortion, the kind of women who couldn't possibly be admitted to The Sisterhood without a complete revamp of their belief systems.
TO ME, author of a very long piece on the Orrs, which we've re-posted on our website, it wasn't only the failure of Coast Lib to speak out about a latter day witch hunt in their community, it was the total abdication by the Superior Court of this County. Come on — one of the Orr sisters lost her daughter to CPS to keep the child from Beelzebub's always scheming clutches. What judge could possibly sign off on something like this?
A MENDOCINO COUNTY JUDGE with his finger to the political winds, that's who, just as a Mendocino County judge's signature was on the adoption papers of about 50 black children from the Bay Area given over to a megalomaniacal Redwood Valley speed freak called Pastor Jim Jones, all of them murdered at Jonestown. These lethal sign-offs were orchestrated by Tim Stoen of the People's Temple, who then functioned at Mendocino County Counsel and now serves as a prosecutor for the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office. Ah, Mendocino County, where history starts all over again every day and you are whatever you say are.
THE MENDOCINO COUNTY Sheriff's Department even sent an officer — then-sergeant Gary Hudson — to Devil Worship classes so local law enforcement could keep up with the purely imaginary (by evil-minded people) mass assault on Mendocino County's pre-schoolers.
ANYWAY, interested persons are invited to read the entire depressing saga posted on special collection section of our website at theava.com
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “This fat old boy was looking over the fence separating our place from the Redwood Drive-In. ‘What you lookin' at, big boy?’ I ask him. He says. ‘Is that there mary juana?’ ‘Nope,’ I sez, "that there is Mary Juana Gonzalez’!"
I JUST HAVE to do another 'In My Day,' A Reader writes:
"In my day, during the summers, my family spent July and August in a small, shabby colony on a lake in Upstate New York. My father had one of the first boats, a beautiful, small, wooden wonder, powered by a small engine...35hp? The boat and engine were big enough to pull a water skier. My dad took the utmost care of the boat I remember trips to Throgs Neck in New York, where the boat was moored in the winter, and my dad and brother and me cleaning and painting and repairing. The engine was always lifted after use, and my dad used the hot water that ran out for cleaning himself or fishing gear. There was no music....we were concentrating on the boat and the water and the very few other boats on the lake. There were no inboards, no flashy bs.
By the last season on my beloved lake, the big inboards appeared and of course, if people spent all their money on a big boat, they were going to show them off. Then the boats boasted music speakers, and people who didnt know or care to partake in regulations, polite water manners, etc. The lake became a cesspool, loaded with algae, by the way, and was not fit for human recreation for many years.
When I see and hear ginormous boats with sound systems that cause deafness, I know some yoyo is at the wheel, and someone is not paying attention. Simple recreation is now Hulk Hoganized to ridiculousness. Welcome to the now.
Needless to say, I avoid lakes big enough for motorized boats. Scratch off another enjoyable repast in mother nature because of oafish louts who consider only their own entertainment. With the accent on entertain, as opposed to being part of or taking pleasure from.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 27, 2017
MYG ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
DANIEL BUTLER, Ukiah. County parole violation.
JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
MICHAEL FREEMAN JR., Covelo. Probation revocation.
BRIGITTE HALL, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DONALD HOWLAND, Cloverdale/Ukiah. DUI.
MICHAEL MONAHAN JR., Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CONSTANCE PRICKETT, Ukiah. Elder abuse, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
KELLILYNN PRICKETT, Ukiah. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, hit&run with property damage caused by runaway vehicle.
MEGAN RICHMAN, Fort Bragg. Harboring a felon.
HEATHER SILVEY, San Jose/Willits. Vehicle theft, suspended license.
YVONNE SMITH, Ukiah. DUI.
DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Covelo. Community supervision violation.
CARLOS WHITE, Ukiah. DUI, paraphernalia, negligent discharge, convicted person with firearm.
CESLEY WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Brandishing, resisting, failure to appear.
ANTHONY YOUNG, Belllingham, Washington/Fort Bragg. Resisting.
CALIFORNIA SCHEMING: DEMS BETRAY SINGLE PAYER AGAIN
by Jim Kavanagh
Nothing better illustrates the political bankruptcy of the Democratic Party—for all progressive intents and purposes—than California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s announcement on Friday afternoon that he was going to put a “hold” on the single-payer health care bill (SB 562) for the state, effectively killing its passage for at least the year.
The Democratic Party finds itself in a bind in California. They hold the governorship and a supermajority in both houses of the legislature, so they can pass any bill they want. SB 562 had passed the Senate 23-14.
There was enormous enthusiasm among California progressive activists, who, with organizations like Campaign for a Healthy California (CHC,) and the National Nurses United (NNU,) and the California Nurses Association (CNA) were working tirelessly, and hopeful of success. After all, Bernie’s people were taking over the California party from the bottom since the election. I recall a night of drinking last year with an old friend who has been spearheading that effort, as he rebuffed my skepticism, and insisted that this time there would be a really progressive takeover of the California party, and single-payer would prove it. After all, once enough progressive pressure was been put on the legislators, the bill would be going to super-progressive Democratic Governor, Jerry Brown, who had made advocacy of single-payer a centerpiece of his run for President in 1992, saying: “We treat health care not as a commodity to be played with for profit but rather the right of every American citizen when they’re born.” Bernie foretold.
Unfortunately, today that Governor is, according to Paul Song, co-chair of the CHC, “doing everything he can to make sure this never gets on his desk.” And it won’t. Unfortunately, all the Democrats like Rendon, who “claims to be a personal supporter of single-payer,” will make sure that their most progressive governor is not put in the embarrassing position of having to reject what he’s been ostensibly arguing for for twenty-five years, of demonstrating so blatantly what a fraud his, and his party’s, progressive pretensions are.
Thus unfolds the typical Democratic strategy: Make all kinds of progressive noises and cast all kinds of progressive votes, while carefully managing the process so that the legislation the putatively progressives putatively support never gets enacted. Usually, they blame Republican obstructionism, and there certainly is enough of that, and where there is, it provides a convenient way for Democrat legislator to “support” legislation they know will be blocked and wouldn’t really enact themselves if they could.
In the California case, the dissembling is obvious. The Republicans can’t be blamed. The only thing standing in the way of single-payer in California is the Democratic Party. As it was on the national level in 2009, when Obama and the Democrats could have passed any healthcare bill they wanted, just as they passed the Republican-inspired, gift to the for-profit health insurance industry, the ACA—without a single Republican vote. It was true-believing capitalist Democrats like Max Baucus, led by Obama and his sidekick Rahm Emanuel (who called leftists “fucking retarded”) who arrested single-payer activists (including doctors) in order to prevent single-payer from even being considered. It was they who strong-armed reluctant Democratic legislators, who had signed an oath not to do so, into passing a bill that leaves 28 million Americans without health insurance, and forces the rest into plans whose premiums rise and networks of coverage shrink every year.
In fact, the perfectly reasonable discontent with that plan probably had more to do with helping Trump win than did any actions of bad-old (as opposed to good-new) James Comey. As Marcy Wheeler pointed out, in a analysis that’s contested but should certainly not be ignored, Hillary’s fatal slide in the polls began before Comey’s notorious letter of October 28th, and coincided with the announcement, four days before, of steep Obamacare premium increases. You decide whether you think Anthony Weiner’s sexting emails, part three, had more effect on voters than anger over being hit with stiff premium increases (22% average, 25% in 20 states, 60% in some) on increasingly crappy policies:
So the Democrats create the ground for Trump by passing a lousy healthcare law that’s sure to piss people off rather quickly, then use the even worse plan that the Republicans come up with to do nothing but trash Trump, while blocking real progressives’ attempts to get the only plan that would actually cover all Americans and save money. In Colorado last November, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper refused to support a single-payer referendum because he “didn’t want to disrupt” the “strides [made] under Obamacare.” The Democrats’ ACA marched the nation straight into the shoals of Trump and the Republicans’ ACHA, and now the Democrats are blocking the only plan that solves the problems of both.
As Deborah Burger, Co-President of the California Nurses Association put it, Assembly Speaker Rendon, “Acting in secret in the interests of the profiteering insurance companies late Friday afternoon abandons all those people already threatened by Congress and the Trump administration.”
The excuse, of course, from California Democrats and Governor Jerry Brown is that they don’t know how they are going to pay for it, especially on the state level. That would be the same Jerry Brown who explained in 1992 exactly how single-payer would cut costs:
You cut out all the private health insurance. You have one single payer either at the national level or through the 50 states. And that one single payer will be the one that negotiates with the doctors, the hospitals, and the other providers. And since you have only one source of income in the whole medical establishment, you can drive down the cost.
Leaving aside the indispensable point that healthcare, like education and clean water, should be considered a non-discretionary expense, one of the main advantages of single-payer is precisely that it’s the only plan that can cut costs significantly. Not having single-payer will not mean healthcare will cost less; it will cost more every year, for every person and in the aggregate. It just means the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies won’t care. The real problem with single-payer isn’t about costs to the people or to the state; it’s about profits for those companies.
Besides, an economy the size of California has immense power. We’re not talking about Utah. All the hospitals and doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not going to stop selling their goods and services in California. And once single-payer becomes a reality in California, it will catalyze a movement in every other state and on the national level. That—the fact that it will start a wildfire of imitation—and not the fact that it’s too expensive, is what the California Democratic Party is desperate to avoid, and what its donors and lobbyists are ordering it to block.
This is the Democratic Party. Lying losers who will do anything to avoid taking an effective stance for a healthcare policy that would immediately solve one of the worst horrors American families face every day, that would be immediately and concretely helpful to everyone, and, to top it all off, would be immensely popular. The dissembling Democrats are throwing away just about the most popular policy anyone could imagine—something people are literally dying for. As Charles Idelson, spokesman for the NNU, says: “There is broad support for single-payer not only in California, but nationally, even among registered Republicans and Republican and conservative business leaders.”
Passing single-payer in California and fighting for it everywhere else would guarantee the Democrats electoral victories. But they will not do it—they’ll say they will, but they will not—because they are fervent supporters of the capitalist market system in healthcare (and everything else), and they are corrupt agents of the health insurance and pharma industries.
Because it captures and cages the energies of so many well-meaning progressives, the Democratic Party is the most effective obstacle to, and enemy of, single-payer, and it has to be fought. People in wheelchairs and cancer patients and all their healthy friends should be sitting in and obstructing Democrat Rendon’s, as well as any Republican’s, office, until he lets the bill through. Then they should move on to the Democratic governor’s office. And thence to Pelosi’s and Schumer’s offices as well as Graham’s and Ryan’s. This is not a Trump problem, and not a Republican problem, it’s a bipartisan capitalist elite problem.
We have to engage in this kind of fight against all of these politicians. Anyone who thinks such a fight can be avoided in order to play the Democrats’ game of defending the for-profit insurance plan called Obamacare while obsessing about Trump being a Russian spy, is helping to perpetuate this rotten healthcare system. Twenty-eight million people are now without healthcare, and, if the Republicans’ edited version of Obamacare passes (which it probably won’t, because even many Republicans know they can’t get away with making things worse than they are), there’ll be twenty-four million more. There is no time for either of these contemptuous parties and their contemptuous bullshit.
(Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist.)
SY HERSH SCOOP: U.S. KNEW NO "GAS" IN SYRIAN ATTACK. TRUMP BOMBED ANYWAY.
NOVEMBER 10, 1960—SOUTHERN PACIFIC COACH
White dawn bursts across plains, islands of land in the distance, mesas, tablelands, all flat, all laid away, great glory sun; wood bridge over water. In still light we rock onward. ONWARD?
Back and forth across the continent, bang bang, by any wheel, by rail, by car, by buggy, by stagecoach, walking, riding the Great Plains, prairie schooners into the night. Forever. All that day, rolling thru Wyoming, snow on steppes and plains, mining towns, once roaring, now shrunk to the railhead, streetlights drunk with loneliness. Huge spaces of indomitable still new land—horizons of mesas—like Don Quixote country, with sharp eroded towers of bluffs like windmills, abandoned and propellerless. Great long rectangular stone islands sticking up on far plains like forts, like immense empty cargo ships, becalmed and rudderless, stranded… . Finally one small half-ass town followed by solitary pumping stations, each with a tank, a car, a hut, a dog, no people anywhere. Must be a cowboy someplace. Lone church sticks up, “out of Nowhere.” This must be Interzone between Heaven and Brooklyn. Do they have a classified section like in phone books in the back of the Bibles here?—Otherwise they’d never find anything… Try Instant Zen.
Later again, wagon-lits, bed wagons, human bodies nested in them, inscrutable, hurtling horizontal thru night…
Huge snow fields, on and on and on, still no one anywhere… . Indians all gone to Florida. Or Cuba! Birds flap from fences, trestles… Sunset and strange clouds like udders, rayed, from below, with light. Some God’s hand sticks through. Black trees stand out. The world is a winter farm… Much later, one brakeman’s face in night, in high peaked cloth cap, gray-striped; swings a railroad lantern, as our window whizzes past, his figure flashed upon it, slanted, very tall, muezzin-like, in darkness, disappearing… Who killed America?
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
We've produced an ignorant populace. Mere suggestion and allegation equates to evidence and truth.
We have people, catching only a whiff of accusation, absorbing and disseminating lies as if they know, as if they have tangible or empirical evidence. In Boston, you call these people retahhds. Look around here. Look at the claims some slob sitting in a trailer with a laptop and a WiFi signal pumps out. He thinks he’s an expert, has the whole world all figured out. This place, right here is a retahhd fest, with experts on the inner workings of Russia, faked moon landings, and LBJ’s double-life as a hitman. It’s comical, but mostly sad.
UP AND UP
Starting next week, it will cost a little bit more to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. Bridge toll is rising another 25-cents, taking effect Monday, July 3.
The toll for FasTrak users increases from $6.50 to $6.75. The toll for pay-by-license-plate motorists increases from $7.50 to $7.75. And carpool fees increase from $4.50 to $4.75.
Also set to increase are Golden Gate Transit Bus and Ferry fares. Starting July 1, commuters will see a 25- to 50-cent increase to their fares. The one-way adult fare for the Sausalito Ferry will go up 25 cents to $12, and up 50 cents to $12 for the Tiburon Ferry.
This will be the fourth year in a row Golden Gate has increased bridge tolls, and bus and ferry fares. A fifth increase is expected next year. According to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, the hikes are part of a multi-year toll increase program approved by the Board of Directors in 2014 and will help in reducing a five-year budget shortfall. (Press Democrat)
MARCENE GANDOLFO READS at LOBA this Saturday, July 1st!
Join us for a reading with Marcene Gandolfo, author of Angles of Departure. Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style. A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.
Marcene Gandolfo is a poet, writer, editor, and professor. Her debut book, Angles of Departure (Cherry Grove Collections, January 2014), won Foreword Reviews' Silver Award in Poetry. Marcene's poems have been published widely in literary journals, including Poet Lore, DMQ Review, and Bellingham Review. She has taught writing and literature at Sacramento City College and other colleges in northern California. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org
GENERAL MANAGER JOB OPENING, Mendocino Solid Waste Mgmt Authority
PLAY GROUP WILLITS 2017
The Willits Branch Library launched a brand new program in June. The Willits Branch Library Play Group is a pre-literacy program designed for families with infants and toddlers (ages 1-4). Every Wednesday morning at 11:00 A.M., Karen and April (Library Technicians) will lead families in a program featuring rhymes and songs followed by free play and closing with parachute time and a story. The Willits Branch Library Play group is a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to make friends.
Elizabeth Popowski, Administrative Services Manager, Mendocino County Library, Tel 707-234-2871
RE: ALGAE CARPETS.
(comment by James Marmon)
Is it safe to swim in Clear Lake?
June 22, 2017
Lake County, Calif. (June 21, 2017) – There’s been a lot of talk recently about whether it is safe to swim in Clear Lake. There are two issues involved in the discussion. The first is the use of herbicides to control nuisance aquatic vegetation. From the County’s perspective and based on the environmental documentation prepared for the aquatic weed control program, the herbicides do not adversely affect the water for swimming. Tribal environmental offices may differ in their opinion of the program, but the County’s position is that the areas treated with the herbicides are safe for swimming.
The other factor currently affecting the lake is the widespread cyanobacteria bloom (oftentimes referred to as bluegreen algae). One can readily see the near-fluorescent green or blue shades of cells collecting at the surface. As dense as the surface coverage is, no bluegreen algal toxins have been detected. Monitoring is continuing as the situation could change. As a precaution, swimmers are advised not to consume raw lake water and dog owners should likewise restrain their pets from consuming or coming into contact with lake water as the dog may lick its fur. Swimmers should rinse off soon after getting out of the water.
Updates on the cyanobacteria blooms in California can be found at: http://www.mywaterquality.ca.gov/habs/index.html
MILLIONS IN MOTION TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY
Don’t buy the “national deficit/debt” scam that steals from working people. For decades the politicians have refused to tax the rich, the corporations and the banks. They choose instead to borrow to run the government. They borrow money from the rich, whom they refused to tax, and then pay them interest. Politicians keep telling us that the national debt is too high; they say we can’t afford to spend money on social services, healthcare and education. They want us to spend our money for interest on the national debt. They want us to spend half of the national budget on weapons of war. According to The New York Times, 3/10/17, “We have a rigged tax code that has essentially legalized tax dodging for large corporations.” Exxon, one of the largest corporations in the world, did not pay $12.9 billion in taxes over the last eight years. Twelve of the largest corporations in America avoided paying $200 billion in taxes over the last eight years. The politicians tax the working people not the rich and then want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Don’t buy the national debt scam. Make the selfish rich pay their taxes, cut the military budget and pay for social services for working people.
The national deficit/debt is made up of two parts; Intragovernmental debt and Public debt. Intragovernmental debt is only 30% of the total, it is $5.4 trillion now and $2.8 trillion is owed to Social Security, this is money already collected over the years from working people paying their taxes to Social Security, the excess every month has been borrowed and used for other purposes by the government. The Public debt is 70% of the total at $14.5 trillion which is primarily owed to foreign countries such as China and Japan, Great Britain along with banks and financial institutions of the rich.
Don’t buy the politicians scam; the working people are NOT responsible for the crisis of the capitalist economic system. We can’t and won’t pay for the crisis! Make the greedy rich pay for the crisis they caused!!
Dr. Nayvin Gordon