- Ballot Proposal
- Self Abating
- Little Dog
- Calfire Comment
- Bridge Incident
- Dogging Fourth
- Police Reports
- Meat Independence
- Adopt Geronimo
- Yesterday's Catch
- Trump On
- Library Events
- Cannabis Hour
- F&G Meeting
- Water Politics
WITH THE KEY NAYSAYERS on board this time, Sheriff Allman's ballot measure to organize an in-county mental health facility has a strong chance of passing. Last year, Measure AG was defeated by a mere 168 votes, but pivotal mental health advocates, including Supervisor Hamburg and a skeptical Supervisor McCowen, did not campaign for AG, a half-cent add-on to the sales tax for five years.
THE COUNTY'S now privatized Mental Health Department once operated a psych unit on, as I recall, Bush Street, Ukiah, where the County government complex is located. But it was beyond the management capacities of the helping professionals of the time who relied heavily on the Ukiah Police Department to subdue the more volatile "clients." And, Mendo being Mendo, the helping pros never could manage the place and would hide behind locked doors to frantically dial the police to restore order.
PRIOR to America losing its way, circa 1967, persons unwilling or unable to care for themselves were confined to the state hospital system. Mendocino County could take its permanent population of drop-fall drunks and its then small population of mentally disordered persons (dope was not yet prevalent), directly to the state hospital at Talmage, a beautiful facility housed in mission-style buildings amid perfectly maintained grounds, all of it lush with stately old elms.
THE COUNTY was offered the property for a token few dollars ($240,000) but the supervisors of the day were deterred from the purchase for fear of maintenance costs. Buddhists, presently one of the County's few growth industries, and clearly not averse to savvy real estate buys in between whirls on the The Great Wheel of Life, picked up the old hospital for the price of a handful of begging bowls. They've also bought the former Catholic Albertinum on Ukiah's somnolent Westside.
SERIOUSLY DISTURBED MENDO citizens are presently packed off to distant locked-door facilities that charge upwards of $800 a day or more to basically juggle the patient's meds until that unfortunate is re-chemicalized to a state of manageable docility. As the Sheriff has argued, the County can not only save enough money to perhaps amortize the cost of its own psych unit, the families of the temporarily deranged will be nearby to help with the re-entry process. And the cops will be able to take them directly to the in-County unit instead of housing them at the County Jail.
A BALLOT PROPOSAL for the in-County facility is scheduled for discussion before the Supervisors in two weeks. All of it occurs in a broader and ongoing discussion of what to do with the increasing number of free range unhoused and often unhinged persons. Somehow, some way, the chronic alcoholics and the insane, and the temporarily insane via self-induced drug abuse, have to be separated out from the people who foul all public space and have permanently, flagrantly dropped out. I daresay if you put it to a vote, Mendolanders would ask, "Why are we feeding bums?"
THE UNHOUSED people trying to clamber back onto the sinking ship, SS America, the bad luck people still trying, should be first priority after the deranged. But well-paid persons allegedly helping the helpless are an obstacle to local resolution of the "homeless problem."
SEE IF you can spot the common thread from the following selected quotes about marijuana regulation enforcement in northern California.
From a Nevada County News Report in “The Union”:
…the legal procedure of removing, or abating, a grow remains the same, Nevada City attorney Heather Burke said. According to Burke, authorities can remove plants immediately under two circumstances: The grow is an immediate threat to the public health or safety of the community, or there's a clear violation of state law. According to Nevada County counsel Alison Barratt-Green, the county could impose monetary fines for violations (of its medical marijuana ordinance) under its administrative citation process. However, the sheriff hasn't applied that process to marijuana grows. After receiving a citation, the grower can become compliant or file an appeal within five days. "Most people self-abate," Burke said. Someone who becomes compliant typically avoids sanctions, if they meet the precise letter of the law. Failing to become compliant, and opting against filing an appeal, can lead authorities to show up with an abatement warrant six days after issuing a citation, Burke said.
In her own blog, attorney Burke adds:
Moreover, thanks to our “interim” ordinance, law enforcement can “summarily abate” (i.e. slash-and-burn) without a hearing wherever there is any violation of state law! Thus, even a misdemeanor violation of Prop 215 and/or the Collective/Cooperative rules could possibly get you immediately chopped, fined $100 per plant, perhaps arrested, and having to “lawyer up” for a criminal case. Talk about insult to injury! Additionally, although Prop. 64 (aka “AUMA”) downgraded illegal cultivation to a misdemeanor in most situations, it is still a felony where the plants are grown in a way that harms the environment. Law enforcement will likely interpret the environmental crimes broadly, so unpermitted clear-cutting in an area close to the watersheds or irresponsible use of pesticides might get you arrested for harming the environment. Since you can be denied a state license under MCRSA for a felony conviction based on purposeful injury to our Mother Earth, you should not half-ass your legal or environmental compliance this year. Self-Abate: You can self-abate any plants that are out of compliance prior to your inspection. They can’t fine you if you abated before they arrive. But even if you cut down your own plants in front of Law Enforcement, fines and fees may still apply!
A second quote from The Union in Nevada County:
The neighbor of one medical marijuana grow allegedly turned her in -- but not before first sending her a fake abatement letter with Nevada County Sheriff's Office "letterhead." The bogus notice informed her that she was in violation of the cultivation ordinance, as well as state and federal law, and informed her that she was required to immediately abate her marijuana. "We thought it was real," said the woman, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma. "We did pull up some plants." The week after the family received the letter -- which they reported to law enforcement -- deputies did a compliance check on their garden and found it to be out of compliance. She has since filed an appeal; the neighbor apparently will not face charges.
From the Shasta County Record Searchlight:
A full-time code inspector designated to investigate only marijuana grow complaints started late last season, and the sheriff's department also has assigned a full-time deputy to assist. Fletcher said that together the boot-strapped team will be able to handle more inspections, referring illegal grows on to SMIT (Sheriff’s Marijuana Investigation Team) for a closer look or funneling out-of-compliance medical growers through the nuisance abatement process when needed. But his office is also planning to take a more hardline approach this year, he said. That could mean charging growers who refuse to come into compliance with county regulations with a misdemeanor and chopping down plants. "We have the ability to try these as misdemeanors under the same ordinance we're under now, we just didn't exercise that a lot (last year)," he said. "That means the owner will have the opportunity to self-abate (or come into compliance with county guidelines), and if they don't, and the stars align, we may plan on cutting (the plants) right then and charging them with a misdemeanor."
From the Chico Enterprise-Record (Butte County)
As county officials are investigating cases and scheduling hearings, they face the end of the cultivation season in October. When the crop is harvested, most sites will again be in compliance with county codes. “Essentially, every case is going to self-abate in about a month,”County development director Snellings said.
From the minutes of a Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting.
In response to Chair Adams’ inquiry, Deputy County Counsel clarified that typically if an appeal is filed the plants are left until after the appeal. That wouldn’t prove to be true in a summary abatement which would be if there is imminent danger. He believes in this case Mr. Strohbin has self-abated the plants in excess that he could have based on the number of residents on the property.
From Mariposa County Marijuana Meeting notes:
Supervisor Carrier inquired as to the process if someone files an appeal from a notice of non-compliance with the Clerk of the Board and whether there is a paper trail, and a communication mechanism between the compliance officer and the appellant. Mr. Arias responded that there should be some kind of communication between the Clerk of the Board and the enforcement officer, but that nothing is stated in the ordinance. Supervisor Carrier inquired if there will be a paper trail if they file an appeal; and inquired what will happen to the plants if the grower receives a notice of abatement and decides to self-abate. Ms. Williams responded that those are issues that need to be addressed. Supervisor Carrier noted that he feels the intent of the ordinance is good and seems to be to alleviate cartel growth.
From an on-line comment in Calaveras County:
Less than 70 (pot farm) applicants have received a certificate of registration (permit) to grow pot in Calaveras County. That leaves about 700 who applied, paid, and are awaiting final clearance (what you call 'legal'), thus we must also refer to the '700' as illegal. Farmer Jeffy went to market with his crop. Then the fuzz in Chicagoland intercepted his cart of medicine. Despite his claims of humanitarian efforts to deliver medicine to the poor folks in Chicagoland, the man jacked him up, took his crop of medicine and checked him into the grayrock motel. As a 'denied' pot grower, Jeffy was compelled to self abate his crop. Jeffy's understanding (oxymoron) of 'abatement' is to dump the dope quick, at any cost.
. . . (And so on)
IF YOU GUESSED that the common thread was “self-abatement,” you’d be right. When we first heard Mendo’s County Marijuana Code Enforcement Chief Trent Taylor use the word a few weeks ago we wondered whether he had coined it as a semi-joke, or if it had was some kind of established practice. Clearly from the above, the term is being used by a number of pot growing counties in Northern California; apparently the officials who use it think it means that the offending pot grower cuts down the offending pot plants so that he or she can be in compliance with whatever rules may apply.
But there are many other possible meanings, such as:
Harvesting the plants.
Transplanting the plants.
Hiding the plants.
Selling the plants.
If they’re in pots, moving the plants.
Determining that x-number of the offending plants are male and voluntarily removing them like you would anyway, to look like you’re complying with a rule.
Do the burgeoning pot reg enforcement brigades really think that if a pot grower removes an offending pot plant that the grower is 1) going to mulch it and bury it like the cops do, and 2) doing it to become legit, and that it’s somehow equivalent to “summary abatement” by cops?
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Pat Kalfsbeek's bees are fitting right in here. So far, they're in acclimation mode, sticking close to the hive. It's good to have them here, and I've always been an ecologically-minded, all species-tolerant kinda dog.”
NOT A PUBLICITY STUNT
In regards to Bill Allen’s letter in the June 28th AVA — I did not refer to CalFire brushing project as a publicity stunt. I said it was needed for fire safety but was bringing them good PR as an added benefit.
Roy Laird, Battalion Chief, AV Fire
NOYO BRIDGE FATAL FALL VICTIM ID'D
Victim 70-Year-Old James Neubauer
MSP sent an email inquiry of the fatal "Noyo Bridge Incident" last week to Captain Greg Van Patten at the Mendocino Sheriff office. A man fell or jumped off the bridge last Friday just after 2pm. He went over the west side of the bridge and, according to a witness, managed a few strokes before someone jumped in the Noyo River and brought him to shore where CPR efforts failed. Captain Van Patten replied to MSP today at 8:44 am: "The person who died after a fall from the Noyo Bridge was identified as Donald James Neubauer, a 70-year-old male who lived in Fort Bragg for a month prior to death. The reason for the fall is being investigated by the Fort Bragg Police Department."
PET SHELTERS BUSY WITH RUNAWAYS AFTER JULY 4 CELEBRATIONS
Hours before the hail and boom of fireworks started Tuesday, Mickey Zeldes gave her dog a sedative and wrapped the 6-year-old golden retriever in a snug vest to ward off the canine panic attack she knew was coming...
AND THE BAND PLAYED ON
On The Fourth Of July, 2017 Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were providing focused patrol in downtown Mendocino during the Independence Day festivities, (parade, street fair, etc.). At about 4:00 PM Deputies observed a subject (later identified as Pete Kavanaugh, 32, of Hopland) driving on Albion St. who matched the physical description of a wanted felon. The Deputies contacted Kavanaugh and his passenger, Hannah Cavello, 24, of Fort Bragg, and obtained identification from Kavanaugh.
The Deputies determined that Kavanaugh was not the wanted subject, but learned that he is on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and does not possess a valid driver’s license. Deputies subsequently located approximately 10 grams of methamphetamine, a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine, and 2 used syringes. The investigation revealed that Kavanaugh and Cavello came to Mendocino with the intent to sell the methamphetamine. Both Kavanaugh and Cavello were arrested and lodged at the Mendocino County Jail. Kavanaugh for Possession of Methamphetamine For with bail set at $25,000.
* * *
CECILIO WENT DOWN HARD
On July 3, 2017 Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) responded to the 16000 Block of Powerhouse Road in Potter Valley in response to an earlier observation of several "trespass grow" marijuana gardens in that area. There were three property parcels involved, one a private citizen owned and the other two belonging to Pacific Gas and Electric. None of the land owners were involved in the marijuana cultivation. Deputies entered the first garden and confronted a Hispanic male, later identified as Celcilio Bautista, 45, a transient in Potter Valley, working the garden and demanded he get on the ground. He refused and ran. Sheriff's K-9 "Doc" was deployed as the suspect was thought to be possibly armed with a firearm. The suspect attempted to divert the K-9 by spraying him in the face with a water hose. The attempt was unsuccessful and Doc was able to apprehend the suspect by biting his arm and holding him. The suspect then attempted to reach for a loaded .45 caliber handgun in his waistband but was unsuccessful and deputies were able to take him into custody. The handgun was later determined to have been stolen during a residential burglary in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. Celcilio Bautista was later transported and treated for bite wounds at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center before being booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
Deputies then responded to the second garden where they confronted suspect Marcelino Bautista, 49, Celcilio's brother, also a Potter Valley transient. He too tried to flee but fell and hit his head on the ground. Doc was again deployed but did not bite this second suspect as he gave no more active resistance. Marcelino received a small injury to his head during the fall. He too was later treated at UVMC and then booked into the County Jail. At a small tent located in this second garden a loaded .44 caliber magnum revolver was located. Deputies found each garden had a separate water diversion present, diverting water from a stream to man-made ponds used to water the marijuana gardens. In the first garden deputies located and eradicated 1,447 budding marijuana plants ranging in size from 2 to 4 feet in height. In the second garden deputies located and eradicated 3,330 budding marijuana plants ranging in size from 2 to 4 feet in height. Both men were booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Conspiracy to commit a crime, Possess Marijuana for sale, Cultivate Marijuana, Possess stolen property and Resist arrest, and are being held on $25,000 bail.
* * *
SHOULDA STAYED IN COVELO, DAVE
On June 14, 2017 Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were summoned to several locations in the Covelo area regarding vandalism to businesses. Upon arrival Deputies found person(s) had gone to local businesses and had damaged electric service panels as well as fences and other security devices. During the investigations Deputies found the businesses were targeted between the hours of 2-4:30am. Deputies also learned the damage to the businesses was not random acts of vandalism but were actual attempts at disabling security systems to commit burglaries to the businesses. The damage to the businesses was in excess of four thousand dollars. During the previous month, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office began working with local businesses and citizen partners on a surveillance campaign in the down town Covelo area due to previous burglaries and thefts. Deputies obtained surveillance footage which showed a suspect damaging the electric service panels as well as security fences. The suspect was seen using bolt cutters to commit these crimes. The suspect was identified as David Joaquin Jr, 22, a local resident of the Covelo area.
Deputies learned Joaquin was on probation for similar crimes, and was currently wanted for probation violations. A stop and arrest order had been issued for his arrest by the Mendocino County Probation Department. On 06/26/2017, Round Valley Tribal Police Officers observed Joaquin leaving a residence off of Tabor Lane Covelo. Tribal Police engaged in a foot chase with the suspect, Deputies assisted with this effort, however Joaquin eluded capture on this date. On 07/02/2017 an off duty Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff was shopping at a business in Willits. when he observed Joaquin in the store. The deputy also observed Joaquin shoplifting and hiding items in his clothing. The deputy detained Joaquin and Officers from the Willits Police Department were called to the scene. Police Officers arrived and took custody of Joaquin. Joaquin was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on several counts of attempted burglary, possession of burglary tools, and violation of probation. Joaquin is currently held without bail on a probation hold. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Round Valley Tribal Police, as well as the local businesses and citizen partners who assisted in this investigation.
* * *
ON JUNE 30, 2017 at about 4:06 PM a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle in the 200 block of Little Lake Way in Covelo. The Deputy made contact with the driver and the passenger of the vehicle who was identified as being Britton Leonard Azbill Jr, 35, of Covelo.
The Deputy remembered seeing a felony, no bail warrant for Azbill earlier in the day and asked dispatch to conduct a records check on Azbill. Dispatch advised Azbill had an active no-bail felony bench warrant (Violation of PRCS) out of Mendocino County. Azbill was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held without bail.
MEAT FREE FOURTH
(arrived one day too late, maybe next year)
Ten best reasons for a “Meat-Free Independence Day."
Here are the ten best reasons for barbecuing veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs in the summer rather than ground-up animal body parts:
- Focusing on traffic safety, rather than food safety.
- Giving your eyes a break from reading government food warning labels.
- Not sweating cancer-causing compounds if barbecue temperature is too high.
- Not sweating nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs if temperature is too low.
- Not wondering about the real contents of that burger or hotdog your chewing.
- Giving your body a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
- Not sweating the animal cruelty and environmental devastation guilt trips.
- Not having to explain to your kids why we cherish Fido but eat Babe.
- Enjoying the exploration of veggie meal offerings in your supermarket.
- Celebrating a day of independence from the meat industry.
Uribe Jankovitch, Ukiah
GERONIMO NEEDS A HOME
My girlfriend and I need to find my dog Geronimo a home. Geronimo is a 52 pound midsize dog. He is a Shiba-Inu mix, black with a tan mask. Very very smart! I've raised him since he was six weeks old. He is now going to be two years old on September 11, 2017.
My girlfriend, Valerie, has three large dogs already and I'm on my way to San Quentin. This is a very special dog! All dogs are special, but of course I raised him so he’s dear to me.
He’s fixed and has a microchip. We had these two procedures done at the Ukiah shelter. Geronimo needs to be in a home where he's not tied up outside. He is a great protector and loves being in a car or back of a truck. He's very well-trained and listens to everything and does what he's told to do.
He gets along with other dogs at the beach playing and in dog parks playing, but he tends to want to be the top dog at home so it’s better if it's just him and a family of people. He's great with people of all ages.
Here is the contact number for my girlfriend Valerie in Fort Bragg: 530-265-9009.
Sincerely, Randy Miller
PS. Geronimo lives with Valerie in Fort Bragg. We do not want to leave him at a shelter and just walk away. We had flyers out there for two months all around Fort Bragg with no takers. I really feel that someone in Boonville or Anderson Valley is destined to be with his dog.
PPS. I'm incarcerated right now so I’m trying to help the situation from inside this jail cell and you guys are all I could think of.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 5, 2017
CECILIO BAUTISTA, Potter Valley. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm, trespassing, receiving stolen property, armed with firearm, conspiracy.
NICHOLAS BRITTON, Covelo. Stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property, probation revocation.
AUSTIN DIGGS, Ukiah. DUI.
BILLY EATON, Ukiah. Petty theft, receiving stolen property, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
RYAN FURTADO, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
JUAN MENDOZA-HARO, Ukiah. DUI.
MICHAEL PENDLETON, Caspar. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ERIC SPARKMAN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ERIC SPRING, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
IAN THEW, Santa Rosa/Calpella. DUI.
by Marilyn Davin
Donald Trump is a living, walking ad for the importance of the humanities. He’s too old to have coasted through the 1960s untouched by any of its idealism and issues of social justice, but there you have it. The president exemplifies all that a successful businessman aspires to be: a single-focused, short term, ruthless champion of the bottom line — now abroad as well as at home. Business people don’t like to admit this, and often tout their business’s foundations, charitable activities and the like. But those secondary non-profit-earning activities are just window dressing so that the real activities – the ones that make money – appear somehow more socially focused and responsible than they really are. Businesses make money. That’s what they do and that’s all I expect them to do. That’s why we need government, the counterweight to business that can rein in the self interest of business and eliminate the most egregious business practices like child labor, 100-hour mandatory work weeks (without overtime or benefits), workplace safety laws, and on and on. It’s why Republicans harp so much on getting rid of government. Do you think businesses would be doing any of those things if they didn’t have to?
Our president’s bio tells us that he graduated from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Its recent mission statement reads, in part, that the school “was forged by founder Joseph Wharton, who had a vision for a business school that focused on rigorous analysis, actionable knowledge, and responsible leadership.” It goes on to state that “Wharton’s reputation as “the finance school” is well earned. The rigorous and relevant data analysis that drives Wharton Finance is true of the entire School (their capitals, not mine). Wharton analytics fuels (their grammatical error, not mine) data-driven decision making, helping you to become a visionary and pragmatic business leader in any career you choose. I spent more time than I planned to trying to figure out Wharton’s overall undergraduate cost, although annual tuition alone is $49,000 and change. The much-ballyhooed MBA program, for the first year, costs $109,450, which includes tuition and fees at $76,580 and $22,450 for room and board. Veterans get a break on the $2,000 application fee. There are a number of areas of concentration listed, among them finance, accounting, behavioral economics, marketing and real estate, to name a few. The Social Impact and Responsibility concentration, followed by an asterisk, is a secondary concentration (meaning you have to study something more “business-oriented” as a primary area of study). Enough of that.
So what would your options be if you chose to study the humanities? Let’s take UC Berkeley, a California public university, as an example. Though I’m sorry to say the humanities don’t have their own stand-alone department anymore, they still exist within the Arts and Humanities division. Among many other disciplines, you can study literature, art history, French, German, philosophy, the performing arts, archeology, Buddhist studies, and War Crimes Studies. And in-state tuition is $11,220 (still too high), not $76,580 like at Wharton. All the aspects of being human, past and present, are represented in the Division of the Humanities. The first page of one of Berkeley’s websites features an announcement of a meeting of the “World’s next generation of human rights investigators,” a reminder that admission is free to the botanical gardens on the first Wednesday of the month, and a lecture on folk textiles of Japan. There’s not a course on making money or acquiring and growing wealth. There’s also, interestingly, a quote by 1960s activist Mario Savio, of all things, who says in the quote, that “…the issue at Berkeley was student free speech.” Savio’s famous 1964 speech on the steps of Sproul Hall is timeless, and encapsulates the need for citizens to recognize when the government goes off the rails and turns away from the greater good. He said, in part, “There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
Now if you were going to create a hypothetical U.S. President out of whole cloth, who would you rather have? Someone who spent a lifetime learning how to beat the competition and make a buck, or someone schooled in the art of being (and understanding what it means to be) human?
U.S. presidents have brought all kinds of backgrounds to the job – generals, lawmakers, and business persons among them. But Trump has raised this narrow, really parochial, business outlook to new heights as he has chosen one businessperson after another for his cabinet. The interests of business permeate everything he does. A quote from his website reads “What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” The uncertainty of unexpected events is even described in business terms. In Trump’s world there are winners and losers, and losers don’t count for much. I could go out on a limb here and speculate that Trump probably even thinks that all poor people are losers. He has no interest in helping the poor overcome their difficulties or providing the opportunity and means they need to pull themselves out of poverty. He’s gone so far as to sharply limit the federal food stamp program in the Department of Agriculture, its cost so negligible that it barely registers on the U.S. budget’s bottom line. The U.S. Census reports that the rate of children living with married parents who receive food stamps has doubled since pre-recession 2007. Today an estimated 16 million American children, about one in five, receives food stamp assistance. How does he expect hungry children to learn anything? Would a humanities student educated in the responsibilities of government, knowledgeable about the crippling effects of poverty, support this move? I think not. What about health care? Would a broadly educated citizen attuned to the critical need for healthcare be less inclined to view it as just one more entry in a profit and loss ledger, and more inclined to consider it more broadly as an essential component of the greater good? I think so.
I get that there are more technical job opportunities for young people in this day and age. I understand why students so inclined need to prepare for those business opportunities. But I’m sick to death of hearing that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is the be-all and end-all of twenty first century education. The value of learning to be a responsible and effective citizen is something that past presidents have nearly all recognized. Unlike the alarming man-on-the-street interviews that TV likes so much, where people don’t know who the vice president is, how many justices there are on the U.S. Supreme Court, or who their elected representatives are, there may in the future be more people around who know the answers to, and understand, those questions. A citizen unschooled in the history and institutions of his or her government is easily swayed by the TV-friendly, bombastic words of a dictator – someone like Donald Trump. An informed, logical citizen would be less likely to believe false claims, obvious ploys to obscure the truth (while secret meetings on the healthcare bill and the budget go unmentioned), and other untruths that undermine our government and ultimately democracy itself. The government is all we have between us and the insatiable greed and acquisitiveness of corporations and the richest among us. We should all know more about it.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
If the choice is between an incompetent autocrat and a competent theocrat I will choose the former. Leave the zombie prez in place for less mischief on the home front.
by Louis S. Bedrock
I ditched my last substance addiction on May 28th, 1988.
I was at a party talking to the wife of a friend. As we conversed, I put a Marlboro into my mouth and said,
—You know, I wish I could give these things up.
—So why don’t you? I mean right now, —she responded.
I put the cigarette back into the red and white box and left the box at a nearby table. That was the last time I smoked anything as I also stopped smoking pot because, after all, that too was smoking.
Substance abuse has been a part of my life forever. I’ve seen it destroy friends and relatives. Destroy them and often kill them. I’ve had my own brushes with addiction — from amphetamines which I used to cram for exams and stay awake while working the graveyard shift, to some of the most dangerous recreational drugs. I successfully graduated from a twelve step program after some close friends obliged me to enlist because of too much recreation.
That was back in the eighties: Another lifetime.
These days, I get off on exercise. I can’t run anymore; however, three mile walks and 40 mile bike rides produce almost as many endorphins. Now, I don’t even like taking ibuprofen because I read somewhere that it increases the risk of heart attacks or strokes. I can deal with pain. Sports does that for you.
I thought of addiction and alcoholism as I read and translated Manuel Vicent’s piece on Dylan Thomas. Drunks and addicts think they’re cute — I did. But they’re not. Someone, maybe Naipaul, wrote, “Hate oppression; fear the oppressed.” You could say the same for drunks and alcoholics. Hate their disease, but be wary of the infected. They — we, have the capacity to lie, deceive, and manipulate.
The first step to overcoming addiction is to recognize it. Then, get into a support group. I hated the religious theme of NA and AA, but went along with it. I met attorneys, teachers, two principals, several doctors, and a priest during my own recovery. Some are still friends even though I stopped going to meetings in 1988. I question the efficacy of the steps and the program, but I would not have won the battle without the support I found at the meetings.
I am writing this and publishing this for all readers of the AVA, but for one person in particular. He has talent I can only dream about, but is mired down in alcoholism and is destroying himself. He seems to recognize the problem. I hope he can get to the next step.
ADULTING, KIDS THEATER, & WILDERPEOPLE
Adulting is hard work! Teens and new adults (16-25) are invited to the Ukiah Library to learn everyday life skills in a hands-on, interactive fun atmosphere to better prepare them for the world of adulting. This week's class: Friday, July 7th — How to Get that Job!
On Saturday, July 8th at 10:30am the the Ukiah Library is hosting the Traveling Lantern performing their play, The Ribbles Build a Residence. Enjoy a morning of engaging kid-friendly theatre and learn about the house-building ABCs: Architecture, Building and Construction as part of our Summer Reading theme, "Reading By Design." This interactive play follows an insect family as they design an environmentally-friendly dream home through interactive games and learn basic building techniques.
Every Sunday, at 2 pm, Ukiah Library offers free screenings of great films. The series, Sunday Matinees at Your Library includes a rotation of PBS documentaries, Indie films, new releases, and PG rated films for families. July 9th, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, a national manhunt is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush. PG-13 (1 hr, 41 min)
FLOW KANA on The Cannabis Hour, Thursday, July 13, 9 a.m. on KZYX Flow Kana, the SF-based cannabis business that now owns the Fetzer family estate in Redwood Valley, will be Jane Futcher’s guests on the next Cannabis Hour, July 13 at 9 a.m., on KZYX. Flow Kana’s founder Michael Steinmetz and Community Relations VP Amanda Reiman will join Jane in the Philo studio to talk about their plans for the historic site, explain how Flow Kana is keeping the neighborhood happy, share what they see as the future of the cannabis industry in Mendocino County and suggest ways to talk to our kids about cannabis. We’ll take listener calls and questions at 9:40 at 707 895-2448. Find KZYX at 90.7 FM Philo; KZYZ, 91.5 FM Willits and Ukiah; and 88.1 FM Fort Bragg. We also stream on the Web, at KZYX.org. Together, we make up Mendocino County Public Broadcasting. To hear programs you may have missed, visit jukebox.kzyx.org
CARE ABOUT FISH & WILDLIFE?
The next Meeting of the Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission will be Tuesday July 11, 6:00 PM at the City Council Conference Room, 111 E Commercial Street, Willits, CA. It is highly recommended that Mendocino County residents, sportsman, outdoor enthusiast, and conservationist who care about our fish and wildlife heritage attend these bi-monthly meetings. The Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission is charged to insure that renewable natural resources including fish, game and wildlife and their habitats are conserved for this and succeeding generations of Mendocino County residents.
What: Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission Meeting
When: Tuesday July 11, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Where: City Council Conference Room, 111 E Commercial Street, Willits
The full Agenda can be reviewed on the Fish & Game Commission website. Or below.
LA RATEPAYERS PROTEST WATER SHUTOFFS; MORE RATE HIKES EXPECTED WITH DELTA TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
One of the most enduring myths of California water politics is that the Delta Tunnels promoted by the Jerry Brown and Donald Trump administrations are designed to divert Northern California water to “fill swimming pools” and “water lawns” in Southern California.
In reality, 80 percent of northern California water exported south of the Delta goes to irrigate agribusiness operations in the Central Valley, while the rest goes to urban and industrial users, including those in Southern California who have made many successful efforts to reduce water use and recycle water.
The controversy over the Delta Tunnels, also known as the California WaterFix, is not one between Northern California and Southern California. It is fact a battle between the people of the California, including Southern California water ratepayers who oppose the project for an array of reasons, and the corporate agribusiness interests, rich water barons and brokers, and the Trump and Brown administrations, who are pushing for the construction of the two giant 35-mile long water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Countering the false “Northern versus Southern California” narrative, a coalition of environmental justice and social justice groups from throughout the Los Angeles area on July 29 exposed how rising water rates have resulted in alarming number of shutoffs to low income water users — and how the Delta Tunnels will only make things worse by raising water water rates.
Food & Water Watch, Union de Vecinos, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, POWER, the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and other community groups released information showing that 20,000 Los Angeles County households experienced water shutoffs over the last two years in the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and South Gate.
The groups claim that water shutoffs “are a symptom of how unaffordable L.A. County has become and part of a bigger crisis of livability in the area.”
“The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power shut off service to 9,105 households in 2015 and 2016,” according to a statement from the groups. “In the same period, Long Beach shut off water to 5,284 households and the town of South Gate, a predominantly a low-income, Latino community, shut off 5,850 households. Together the three cities cut water service to more than 20,000 households, affecting an estimated 65,000 people”.
The groups said these water agencies could soon subject their customers to additional rate hikes to pay for Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels, a multi-billion dollar project that would force higher water rates throughout Southern California.
Research by EcoNorthwest reveals that the average LADWP customer would see their water bills rise up to $393 annually. San Joaquin Valley Central Valley agribusiness interests, including The Wonderful Company owned by Beverly Hills billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, would primarily benefit, while Southern Californians would get no additional water.
“Low income families are struggling to survive in Los Angeles and cannot afford to be subjected to additional rate increases to subsidize billionaire corporate farmers,” said Leo Vilchis of Union de Vecinos.
Water advocates say that instead of investing in the tunnels—the most expensive and environmentally destructive water project in the state’s history— the City and County of Los Angeles “should shore up aging infrastructure.”
“Los Angeles and other cities should reject the Delta tunnels as a waste of public money at a time when we need to invest locally to fix our crumbling water system,” said Brenna Norton, Senior Organizer with Food & Water Watch. “Mayor Garcetti should direct LADWP to clean up and increase our local water supply, thereby creating local jobs, not invest in the tunnels boondoggle.”
She said labor advocates worry that the city could “squander the opportunity” to create good, local jobs creating rainwater capture systems and other local water projects.
SEIU Local 721, the union that represents Southern California public service workers, recently voiced its opposition to the Delta Tunnels in a letter to the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. The union’s 97,000 members deliver public services in counties, cities, sanitation and water districts and non-profits across six counties including Los Angeles.
“Neither the State nor Metropolitan Water District has released a credible financial plan on the real impacts to ratepayers, and there is good reason to suspect the costs will be much larger,” said Bob Schoonover, President SEIU Local 721. “We oppose the so-called California Water Fix to build massive water tunnels in Northern California.”
Norton said more and more families throughout the country are struggling to pay their water bills, noting that a recent Michigan State University study found that over the next five years, more than a third of households nationwide could be unable to afford this essential service.
“Because fewer federal dollars are available to support municipal water systems, household bills are growing to pay for improvements and repairs. Water rights advocates have raised concerns that municipal water services will be privatized under the Trump administration’s coming infrastructure plan, exacerbating the growing water affordability dilemmas nationwide,” she explained.
Norton, Vilchis and other water rights advocates called on Mayors Garcetti and Garcia and city council members in the region to take a strong stand against local water shut offs and oppose the California WaterFix.
Food & Water Watch published a detailed article by Mary Grant analyzing the water shuts offs, the cost of the tunnels to Southern California, and “policy suggestions utilities can implement to ensure no one has to gets their water shut off.”
“While the state estimates that construction costs will be about $16 billion, the final cost of project including financing could reach $67 billion. Even in the best-case scenario, a University of the Pacific professor, Dr. Jeffrey Michael, has found that the project will provide only 39 cents of benefit for every dollar of cost,” Grant wrote.
The 38 members of MWD’s Board of Directors are scheduled to vote on the WaterFix this September, according to Grant.These members represent 26 different local governments and water agencies, including the city of Los Angeles, the city of Long Beach and the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which provides water to South Gate.
As I predicted on election night, the Trump and Brown administrations have apparently made a deal to fast-track Brown’s legacy project, the Delta Tunnels.
On June 26, the Trump administration released a no-jeopardy finding on the biological assessment to build the tunnels, claiming that the California WaterFix will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their critical habitat. The biological opinion is available here: https://www.fws.gov/sfbaydelta/HabitatConservation/CalWaterFix/Index.htm
The Brown administration praised the deeply flawed biological opinion, a document that may have been politically manipulated, in spite the vow Jerry Brown made in January to “resist” Trump administration attacks on science.
"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown said during a speech to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. (touch.latimes.com/...)
However, Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Water Resources, was hardly ready “ready to fight” when she spoke at a joint teleconference, a virtual lovefest between the two administrations to promote the decision.
Banonis gushed, “On behalf of the California Department of Water Resources, I would like to thank the US FWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) and the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) for their significant efforts in putting together the biological opinion for California Water Fix. We feel this is a momentous step towards the future and we feel that this will help in the future in balancing between water and environmental resources in California."
On June 29, fishing and environmental groups responded by filing two lawsuits challenging the biological opinion permitting the construction of the controversial Delta Tunnels project. For more information, go here: www.dailykos.com/...