Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

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Navarro River lapping Highway 128, Wednesday at 5pm (photo by Mike Kalantarian)

 

MSP WROTE THURSDAY NIGHT:

At the last reading of the USGS water gauge (located upstream from the mouth), the water level was 3.71' —- the closer it gets to 4.0' the sooner CalTrans will close Hwy 128 until the sandbar breaches. The flow (discharge rate) past the water gauge is also increasing —it was 43.2 cubic feet per second or, to translate into understandable terms, 323 gallons per second, 19,380 gallons per minute and 1,162,800 gallons per hour! All heading towards the sandbar.

THEN FRIDAY: HIGHWAY 128 STILL OPEN — RIVER LEVEL “FLAT-LINING”

Despite rumors to the contrary, Highway 128 remains OPEN this (Friday) morning — but for how long is debatable. The river level at the USGS gauge (located upstream from the mouth) was 3.70' @ 7:15 am Friday — where it was late Thursday afternoon. The closer it gets to 4.0', the more likely CalTrans will close Highway 128 until the sandbar breaches. The river "discharge rate" at the USGS gauge (the amount of water headed towards the mouth) was 42.2 cubic feet per second — or 316 gallons per second, 18,960 gallons per minute and 1,137,600 gallons per hour. This photo was taken Thursday @ 4:30 pm.

And Friday afternoon the water was still lapping at the Highway but Highway 128 was still open.

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THE GREAT MENDO SPENDING SPREE!

[1] BIG RAISES FOR MENDO BRASS (NADA FOR LINE WORKERS)

$24k per year more for Treasurer, $18k per year more for Assessor-Clerk Recorder, $14k per year more for Auditor, $21k per year more for Sheriff, and only $7k per year more for District Attorney.

Supervisors Agenda Item 5-a, Agenda for December 18, 2017.

Discussion and Possible Adoption of a Resolution Setting Mendocino County Elected Department Heads Compensation for the Auditor-Controller, Assessor-Clerk Recorder and Treasurer-Tax Collector; and Setting Elected Officials Compensation for the District Attorney and Sheriff, to Take Effect December 31, 2017 (Sponsors: Executive Office and Human Resources)

Summary of Request:

The positions of Auditor-Controller, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Assessor-Clerk Recorder, District Attorney and Sheriff are up for election in 2018 and historically run unopposed. It is imperative that salaries for our elected positions are competitive with other counties and the private sector in order to attract the most qualified candidates. [emphasis added]

Currently, elected department head and elected official salaries are reviewed by the Board of Supervisors bi-annually. The last salary review and resulting salary increases occurred in December 2015.

Due to recent salary grade adjustments and negotiated salary increases in the Department Head bargaining unit, the elected department heads are no longer in alignment with other County department heads. In addition, salary grade adjustments for several assistant department heads have caused significant compaction with the elected department head salaries.

Assessor-Clerk-Recorder — Prior to October 3, 2017, this position was aligned with the Chief Probation Officer, Human Resources Director, and Director of Planning and Building Services; to maintain department head alignment, this position should mirror the same salary grade. In addition, the salary grade of the Assistant Assessor is currently only 5.47% below the elected Assessor-Clerk-Recorder. We recommend aligning the salary as it had been previously, with similarly situated department heads to maintain internal alignment.

Treasurer-Tax Collector — Prior to October 3, 2017, this position was at a salary grade 5% below the aforementioned department heads; the expanded duties of taking over the Court Collections Division seven (7) years ago, as well as new responsibilities with the implementation and oversight relating to the collection of cannabis-related taxes and fees, justify this position to be in alignment with the aforementioned department head positions. In addition, the salary grade of the Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector is currently only .73% below the elected Treasurer-Tax Collector. We recommend aligning the salary with similarly situated department heads to maintain internal alignment.

Auditor-Controller — Prior to October 3, 2017, this position was at a salary grade 10% higher than the Assessor-Clerk-Recorder, Chief Probation Officer, Human Resources Director, and Director of Planning and Building Services and 15% higher than the Treasurer-Tax Collector. The salary grade of the Assistant Auditor is currently 12.04% below the elected Auditor-Controller. Based on information collected in the salary study, and to maintain internal alignment, we recommend a 5% salary increase.

District Attorney and Sheriff — To maintain alignment with department heads, a 5% salary adjustment is recommended for the District Attorney. In addition, we recommend aligning the Sheriff’s salary with the District Attorney as it was prior to de-linking from the Department Heads bargaining unit in 2013.

To address internal alignment and compaction with assistant department heads, recommended salaries are as follows:

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[2] MORE MONEY FOR REDWOOD QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Agenda Item 4t) Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Quality Management Company for up to $120,000 to Provide Support, Implementation, and Participant-Specific Data to the County of Mendocino’s Whole Person Care Pilot Project for the Term of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018

4u) Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Community Services Inc. (RCS) in the Amount of $186,400 for the Term of July 1, 2017, through June 20, 2018, for Housing and Case Management for Specialty Mental Health Services at Haven House for Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Clients

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[3] COUNTY TO PAY $110k for Wellness Management program.

Agenda Item 4x) Approval of Agreement with Health Fitness Corporation in the Amount of $110,000 to Provide Wellness and Prevention Related Services to the County’s Wellness Program For the Period of January 1, 2018, Through December 31, 2018, for County Employees and their Eligible Dependents.

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(Also includes the following “Service”: "Attend operations telephone meetings: to keep work teams on task (as appropriate) through launch of the program.”

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[4] COUNTY TO PAY OVER $250k for a consultant to manage the new jail medical services contract.

Agenda Item 4ad) Approval of Agreement with Rebecca Craig in the Amount of $84,992 Per Year for a Three Year Term (from December 19, 2017 - December 18, 2020) for a Total Contract Amount of $254,976 to Provide Contract Management Services for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO)

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DA SPOKESMAN, MIKE GENIELLA, notes that "Cameron Whitlock, killer of contractor Wallace Kuntz in 1990, is up for parole at a hearing Thursday in Tracy. The DA's office is opposing his release. Although parole has been denied twice before, Whitlock might stand a better chance in this era of crowded prisons and the state tendency to be lenient on so-called "low risk" prisoners. Whitlock has served the minimum for a life sentence and is in his mid-50s. Wallace Kuntz's son, Tom Kuntz of St. Helena, will be at the hearing. The son presents a compelling argument about why parole should continue to be denied. He's articulate, well prepared and committed to honoring his father's memory."

WE WROTE FIVE YEARS AGO when Whitlock came up for parole:

Cameron Whitlock, Point Arena, will remain in prison for at least another five years for the 1990 murder of well-known Mendocino Coast contractor, Wallace Herbert Kuntz. Whitlock lost his bid for parole following a hearing last week in front of the State Board of Prison Terms at Solano State Prison in Vacaville. Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira and chief DA Investigator Tim Kiely appeared at the hearing, and argued against Whitlock's release. Also appearing was Kuntz's widow and the contractor's two sons. Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster said Tuesday that he was pleased with the prison board's decision to wait for five years before allowing Whitlock to renew his bid for parole. Whitlock was convicted in May 1990 of second-degree murder, robbery and vehicle theft. Kuntz's killing was “tragic and senseless,” Eyster said. Kuntz was working at a construction site 22 years ago on the Point Arena Indian Reservation when he was killed. Kiely and other investigators said Kuntz was sitting in his pickup truck getting ready to drive home when Whitlock walked up to the driver's side window and shot him in the head. Whitlock then climbed into the truck and shot Kuntz again before driving the victim's truck about two miles with the body still inside. Investigators said Whitlock pulled over, dragged the contractor's body from the vehicle and covered it with brush. Whitlock then torched the brush, engulfing Kuntz' body in flames.

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MEASURE B: HERE WE GO AGAIN

by Mark Scaramella

Properly sensing that some members of the public (and the AVA) are skeptical about spending tens of thousands of dollars for a professional “needs assessment,” (as discussed by the Board of Supervisors last month), Sheriff Allman called recently to explain why he agrees that the County and the Measure B oversight committee really need one before they consider spending the Measure B money for mental health facilities and training.

The Sheriff thinks the County should hire a consultant like Kemper Consulting. Kemper, some of us recall, did the analysis of the privatized Ortner contract, which some say lead to Ortner’s unchallenged, un-audited three-year sweetheart deal not being renewed and handed over to Camille Schrader’s locally privatized Redwood Quality Management Company for a total of something like $26 million a year.

In fact, Kemper Consulting simply confirmed what the Sheriff himself and the County's emergency room doctors had been saying — they were the prime movers in ousting Ortner after three years of invisible but wildly expensive "services."

Allman said he doesn't want someone from the County or Redwood Quality Management Co. to make the decision on what is needed for a psychiatric health facility. Allman favors hiring a consultant to “tell us what we need right now and look into the future maybe 15 years for how many beds we will need as population increases.”

The Sheriff said he does not want “the usual bureaucratic bring in my brother-in-law and prepare a white paper” approach to advice, although we haven’t seen anything that blatant, but bringing in former Ortner Exec Tom Pinizzotto and then hiring Ortner came close to Allman's fear.

According to the Sheriff, a consultant would “tell us what we're spending right now, how we're spending it, how many beds we need now and how many we will need in 15 or 20 years” — i.e., “a roadmap of how we are going to spend our money.”

We disagreed with the Sheriff. “You mean all these people we pay top dollar for in the “Mental Health” department don't know things like how many beds we need and what the trends are? They don't know how much they’re spending? They don't know what they’re spending it on? They don't know how many clients they serve and what kind of service they provide? They don’t have that information on hand already? What does that say about our County Health and Human Services staff?”

We also pointed out that back in 2004 Proposition 63 was supposed to fund “new and innovative” services. Yet what new services did it create here in fanciful Mendo?

Back in 2005 the Mental Health staff held several meetings and a number of interesting ideas were proposed, but none of them went anywhere, even though the County’s been getting more than $1 million a year in Prop 63 funds ever since. Where did that money go? What new services are being provided?

And speaking of Kemper, what happened to all those Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that Kemper said were so important to round out Mendo’s alleged "continuum of care"? For a couple of months they kept track and made some progress but last we heard the MOUs had stalled because of disagreements over certain provisions, leaving a key piece of Kemper’s big recommendations in limbo.

The Sheriff confirmed that the MOU with his office is one of those unfinalized MOUs.

Why does Mendo always turn to professionals to tell us what we need? We don't know? Why does Mendo want to pay some outsider hundreds of dollars an hour to collect its own info and regurgitate it to us for tens of thousands of dollars? Why doesn’t the oversight committee do a “needs assessment” on the needs assessment, and decide for themselves if they want to spend that kind of money — AFTER asking staff for it?

Also, what kinds of facilities do we already have now? Why didn’t the local community development agency follow up with the cities on where a facility could be established? How will the new Measure B facilities fit in with the other programs and facilities we have now and the new ones in the pipeline, such as the jail expansion and the grant application for a big new crisis facility on Dora Street?

We told the Sheriff that history clearly shows that Mendo will go through all these motions and spend all this money and there will be no visible improvement in services rendered. And no attempt to measure the improvement other than money was spent.

The Sheriff conceded that that will be a challenge.

Mendo should already know how many people are in what categories and how many are being held for how long and where; how many people have not relapsed after being seen by our local helpers, how many drug-related cases are going to be eligible for the new facilities? And how many people — as Supervisor McCowen pointed out recently — were turned down for a facility because they were either a problem and the-out-of-county facility simply rejected them, or there wasn't space, or they were released back to the streets because they didn't have insurance coverage, etc.?

What does it say about our mental health system’s managers if we don't already know the answers to these questions?

The Sheriff insists that he intends to stay on top of the Measure B oversight committee's work. And we believe him. But Mendo’s top helping officials are past masters at absorbing new money with nothing to show for it. It gets absorbed by the local bureaucracy — pound a pillow all you want and it’s still a pillow — and even with the Sheriff trying to ride herd, this early talk about an expensive “needs assessment” — without first asking staff for information they should already have — is an indication that they’re going to do it again.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My pal Bruno comes by to say hello, and everyone yells at him. "Go home, Bruno. Get the hell outtahere." Skrag's deadbeat friends show up and everyone says, "Are you hungry? Come on in." Species-ism at its worst, I say.”

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POINT ARENA?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A 22-year-old Point Arena man pleaded guilty Wednesday to sex trafficking of a minor, the United States Dept. of Justice (DOJ) said.

Officials said Tion Makeise Foster and 26-year-old co-defendant Monnica Merlin Morales transported a 16-year-old girl to various locations in California, including the Bay Area. According to the DOJ, it was so she could engage in commercial sex acts for their financial benefit in August of 2016. Investigators also said the pair allegedly conspired to traffic her again in November and December of 2016.

The DOJ said Foster pleaded guilty on Dec. 13 and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18, 2018. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, according to the DOJ, the actual sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of elements.

As for Morales, charges are pending, according to the DOJ. The charges against her are only allegations; she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, officials said.

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FRIDAY, Deputy Sheriff Tim DelFiorentino graduated from the Redwoods Police Academy, earning several distinguished awards. We are very proud of Tim, and know that his father is smiling down at his accomplishments.

Congratulations Tim!

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NOT JUST A SQUISHY LIBERAL: AN EX-MARINE TALKS HOMELESSNESS

by Robert Cox

I’m not just a squishy liberal. I’m an ex-marine, a retired educator with a Ph.D. in philosophy and literature, a senior activist with a nice little government stipend, which gives me the freedom to do the important work of a citizen. I have no agenda beyond a desire to reduce the suffering caused by homelessness. I believe we should spend more time on healing our communities, and less time on figuring out how to take them back. Law enforcement has its place, but it’s not the solution. Ask any cop.

Cox

A little over a month ago, while I was getting gas at the 76-gas station at the corner of Central and Heller in McKinleyville, a man rode up next to me on a bicycle and stopped. Dirty, his windburned face and hands, and his overall intensity suggested he was on the verge of some kind emotional meltdown. When he began wagging his finger at me, accusing me of reporting him for a crime he hadn’t committed, I knew I was face-to-face with one of the free-range crazy people I had been reading about on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook Page.

Dumbfounded, I just handed the man a bottle of water I happened to have in my hand. He took it, sighed deeply, and thanked me over his shoulder as he peddled away.

At that point, I went home and started to look into homelessness. What I’m finding isn’t pretty: the speed at which people are becoming homeless — especially on the west coast – has outstripped our collective ability to keep up, to formulate an appropriate response, or even imagine what a long-term solution might look like. We can’t even agree on the cause of the worsening crisis. Is it a question of character, poor choices, addiction, a lack of determination, loss of the work ethic, government programs that enable anti-social lifestyles, etc.?

Or, is it environmental, a worsening economy, the disappearance of well-paying jobs, rising costs, the lack of access to education and training, the inability of our political-economic system to adjust zoning laws and building codes, which would lead to the construction of and access to housing and shelter that low-wage earners can actually afford? Is it a matter of bad choices, or the absence of good ones?

With the current shortage of affordable housing, people can’t find places to rent now, even when they have a county rent-voucher in hand; nor can they find a temporary shelter, or even a safe place to pitch a tent. Without a flexible plan to address current needs, what will the future look like?

Here’s how I’ve come to see it: it’s as if we are all living on an uneven playing field that’s tipping. Those with the fewest resources live on the edge, and they are in the most danger of falling into the abyss of homelessness. From there, things get worse. I suspect if being crazy didn’t make me homeless, being homeless probably would.

I’m hoping this column can be a place to expand a conversation that began on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook Page, with an invitation to join in a “fireside chat” about homelessness? As we went deeper into the underlying causes of homelessness the conversation began to raise our awareness about a complicated set of problems, while reducing stigma, and, hopefully, paving the way for a significant reduction of suffering and an improvement in the general welfare.

Rocked by the gas station incident, I came away from this bizarre incident with the impression that our little town is in danger of becoming an outdoor asylum. It was one of those moments when you actually see something for the first time that’s been hiding right there in front of you in plain sight. I got it. Maybe we really are living in a war zone….

I wonder, has anyone noticed that there are far more American casualties on the streets of our country these days than there are in the Middle East? Spending billions on foreign wars to keep us safe at home makes less and less sense to me. Even from a strategic military point of view, if the objective is peace, wouldn’t it make more sense to build houses here rather than blow them up over there?

Turns out the face of the man at the gas station represents only one of the subgroups within the growing homeless population of America.

For example, I’m haunted by the story of a local woman who grabbed her children and left in the night to escape the brutality of her drunken husband, only to find there was no place for her to go. She couldn’t stay at the shelter. Traumatized, she was terrified of men.

Or there’s the story of the woman coming out of a mini-mart after buying a chocolate bar. A barefooted woman, dressed in a red sweatshirt, standing shoeless in the rain, told the local woman that she was hitchhiking to Oregon, and had become stranded in McKinleyville.

“Do you have an extra pair of shoes,” she asked. “No” was the answer, as the local lady pushed on. Later, she said, I wanted to take that poor woman home with me, let her take a warm shower, and give her some dry clothes. “I didn’t,” she said, “I was afraid.”

A week ago Saturday I sat down with a man who has been homeless for five years because of an accident. Recently he moved back to McKinleyville from Eureka despite the lack of shelters here. He said there’s less drama here, and he wants to be closer to his son, who lives with his mom and stepdad.

Every Saturday the Church of the Joyful Healer opens its doors to the homeless. On the day I visited, five members of the congregation hosted 15 homeless people, five of whom were women. What struck me was how ordinary they seemed.

Turns out it’s often hard to recognize the homeless amongst us. They just don’t stand out like the guy at the gas station. It’s the ordinary appearance that hides them. Given the shame and stigma associated with homelessness, it’s hardly surprising, then, that “normal” people would prefer the middle of the herd, which is part of the reason why it’s so difficult to get an accurate count of the homeless.

But to give you some idea of the skyrocketing numbers in California, consider this: the total count of homeless people in Los Angeles this year is 58,000, which represents a 28% increase over last year. The most recent count for Humboldt County I could find pegged the number at 1,330. Rents on the West Coast have soared, one reporter notes. Many of those who are homeless now could have found a place to stay just a couple of years ago. “Now, even a temporary setback can be enough to leave them out on the streets.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 15, 2017

Antunez, Evert, Fillion

MEDARDO ANTUNEZ, Possession of alcohol or drugs in jail.

NATHAN EVERT, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, domestic battery, violation of protective order.

HAZEL FILLION, Under influence, probation violation.

Flores, Hawthorne, Hodges

CHRISTOPHER FLORES, Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

KOTY HAWTHORNE, Fort Bragg. Fugitive from justice.

LISA HODGES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Lackey, Mata, Medina

DONALD LACKEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

HILDA MATA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

GERARDO MEDINA, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Morris, Nozicka, Ortega, Wood

DENA MORRIS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

JACOB NOZICKA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

SALVARDOR ORTEGA, Ukiah. Protective order violation, resisting.

WILLIAM WOOD, Susanville/Ukiah. Smuggling controlled substances or liquor into jail.

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KICK AGAINST THE PRICKS

At first it was a lot of enormous media potentates crashing to earth, followed by a bunch of lesser despots and lords, many employed in the media industries too, and it soon expanded to include half the men in Hollywood and ancillary trades like politics. The accompanying din was the clamor of pundits (those who hadn’t yet been felled themselves) attempting to explain what had happened — then reexplain, then explain some more — because the picture kept changing: soon the not-so-powerful were under fire too (freelance writers and experimental novelists were among those anonymously charged in an online list), and it was becoming unclear whether it was “toxic masculinity” or masculine panic we were talking about.

— Laura Kipnis

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AMERICA’S CHIEF COUNTERFEITING ORGANIZATION (the Fed) is doing nothing more than shoveling funny-money at mega-corps whose CEOs ought to know better. OUGHT to know better given the expensively “educated” MBAs infesting the system like ticks. No, sadly, this financial shit-show is just the latest in a long line of laughable fails foisted by the Idiocracy. Making shit up and hoping it flies seems to be the Idiocratic approach to a long line of problems.

You have to admit though they think big. Given that the numbers are more in the realm of cosmology than Earth bound reality, the Fed makes Bernie Madoff look like a back-room poker cheat. But close your eyes and sip the Kool-Aid and try not to think too much and it sounds good, especially the oracular Chauncey Gardiner Greenspan. Did anybody really know what the fuck he was talking about?

No matter, they lie, they use a lot of ornate jargon to make it sound good. And then they buy expensive hooch and drink themselves to oblivion to avoid thinking about what they just perped. Or maybe that’s what a half-way normal person would do.

— James Kunstler

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FINAL WEEKEND OF FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

The 4th and final weekend of Festival of Lights begins tonight at 5:00PM.

Don’t miss out on this year’s festivities!

Take a stroll along the twinkling pathways lined with inventive displays. Warm up and wind down in a beautifully decorated tent complete with live music, local craft brews, and some of the best wine Mendocino County has to offer. The Holiday Sweets Cafe offers hot cocoa, spiced cider, and homemade goodies baked by members of Friends of the Gardens.

Adult tickets are $10 and children age 16 and under attend for free. Tickets are available at The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Out of This World in Mendocino, Visit Mendocino in downtown Fort Bragg, or at the door.

NEW THIS YEAR - Take advantage of the complimentary Festival Shuttle and avoid the parking lot hustle and bustle. The parking shuttle will be available each night of the Festival of Lights. The shuttle will pick up from the Mendocino Community College parking lot at 1211 Del Mar Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 beginning at 4:45 PM and take you directly to the Gardens' entrance. The last shuttle pick-up from the College parking lot will be at 6:45 PM.

This weekend’s attractions:

Tonight! DEC 15 Pura Vida (Salsa, Cuban rumba, mambo, chachacha, cumbia, samba)

Dec. 16 Aaron Ford (American roots music)

Dec. 17 The Groovinators (Blues, jazz, and swing) Smores Sunday and avoid the major crowds and grab a complimentary smores!

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A MUSICAL ADVENTURE

Some things got gaziggled about my setup at Juanita's, so I asked for permission to play an hour of music on KNYO by remote, to make sure everything will work tomorrow night for Memo of the Air, also by remote, not from Franklin Street in Fort Bragg. (Hint: it's working like a champ. The noise you hear in the background during the intro is the hose-type hair dryer under the blankets to heat up the bed.)

There's some odd material here. Glass harp. William Shatner's shatneriffic cover of Garbage Man. Carry On, My Wayward Son on two cellos, viola and bluegrass fiddle. Johnny Winter at Woodstock. Julie London, Somebody Loves Me. A heavy metal headbanger version of Toto’s Africa. Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike), My Dog's In Love With Your Dog. By the end, Ga-den Badoo, Woyahoo, I'm Afraid of You, then Inka Dinka Doo. You know all the words to all these songs. Never be ashamed to sing out loud.

Thanks to Hank Sims' of Lost Coast Outpost, here's a direct one-click link:

https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-aircheck-2017-12-14

Right now, as I write, I'm in the middle of putting together Friday night's show. Just in case you didn't know, KMEC Ukiah has expanded the time they give to my show, so now when I start at 9pm on KNYO, KMEC is right there on it too, and stays on it until... that's still being worked out. Maybe they'll drop off at 3am, maybe they'll stay on till four, or even later. I don't care; it's a week after the first show starting on both stations at the same time, and I'm still fricking thrilled at this improvement. This is at least 3/4 of the radios I used to be able to reach on KMFB, and all those radios are older now, wiser, less likely to fly off the handle and pull some cruddy stunt that could cost you the election.

Speaking of which, IN OTHER HAPPY NEWS, how about the black voter bitch-slap trouncing refreshingly not crazy (yet) Doug Jones gave that right-wing white-supremacist homophobic misogynist mall-creep pedophile ass-clown -and sore loser- Roy Moore, hey? See that? The whole world isn't crazy. Have a treat for yourself. Hot chocolate, maybe. Woyahoo!

Marco McClean
memo@mcn.org
http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

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FORT NOYO SOUTH

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Recent events and watching the US unwind so ungracefully before our very eyes has me waxing nostalgic tonight of the days of my youth not so long ago in the Year of Someone’s Lord 1990 or thereabouts, when I was a but wee lad of 37 or so, still in service of the imperial Air Force, supervising even wee’er lads than I, maintaining combat ready F-16 aircraft to go into battle at a moment’s notice against the “dark forces” just across the border, “ready to kill us all” at a moment’s notice should we ever let our guard down for a second. At least that was the “official story,” and one that some of us at least occasionally subscribed to.

I was a meager E-6 Technical Sgt at the time and truck driving “Expeditor” of F-16 Avionics Systems (Communications, Navigation, Weapons Control Systems (Radar), Flight Instruments, and Flight Controls) Aircraft Maintenance and occasional technical expert, advisor, and designated supervisor on difficult aircraft avionics malfunctions. And it was he BEST time of my life!

I was there at Ramstein AB GE when the wall came down, and I recall it like it was yesterday. And I KNEW from the second I heard about it that it was just the beginning, that this was just the beginning of what would turn out to be a multi-generational, world-changing event. And so it indeed has been.

And so it was increasing sadness that I served out my remaining time in the USAF in the 90’s and early 2000’s, to no great personal honor or satisfaction, and watched as all the good that the cold war generation, of which I had been reluctantly a part, had allegedly sown in standing up to the communist “menace,” came apart at the seams almost immediately, based on nothing more than the emerging malignant capitalist class’s greed and avarice. All of which has propagated itself on designer steroids to this very day.

And so it is that I leave you dear friends and board trolls/bots that would dare to besmirch my honor and integrity with your transparently obvious attempts to shill for whatever special interest whose propaganda you’ve fallen for, almost all of which you have no idea from whence it came, nevermind it’s truthiness; a song and video from the period from the recognized masters of political commentary of the period, who captured the ennui, excitement, and fear of all of the above in less than eight minutes better than I ever could.

WATCH it, LISTEN to it, PONDER it, let it take you back in time for just a moment or two, and consider YOUR OWN futures while you still have time left to do so!

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FORT BRAGG GEESE

(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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TAKING LIBERTY

by James Kunstler

You can see where this has been going. The wholesale un-personing of “powerful men” in the arts, media, and politics for sex “crimes” ranging from rape to stealing a kiss communicates a hunt up the food-chain that leads to the Golden Golem of Greatness tweeting his wicked id out in his White House lair. The barely suppressed thought behind all this is that Donald Trump raped America… and now he must be found guilty of it… and pay!

The Blue women of the land must surely think that, at least, he raped Hillary in the election, and as a pure metaphor that sort of works — recall how he loomed and ranged balefully behind her back during the candidates’ debates like some cartoon thug out of a Batman movie. If he didn’t actually rape her, he sure mugged her politically, but an awful lot of voters seemed to think she deserved it, arrogant, clueless, and deeply corrupt as she appeared down the homestretch. And the sneaky way he won! Stealing a few thousand votes here and there in deplorable flyover country, while Hillary slaughtered the Golem in the places that count: the cities of the left and right seacoasts.

Now that more than a score of male celebrities have been successfully liquidated, many for “offenses” committed decades ago — and many of them actual former darlings of the Left, sacrificed for the cause — the time is ripe to go in for the kill on Trump using the same tactic of sheer finger-pointing and shrieking until… something gives.

I’m not a Trump admirer, didn’t vote for the guy (nor Hillary, either), am not invested emotionally in his political survival, but I do have a pretty firm idea of what he represents: primitive maleness in all its lumbering vulgarity. I can see why he has a certain symbolic appeal in a society that increasingly shouts “men need not apply here.”

He also represents the widespread disappointment with the poor job that the remaining men in charge of things have done in recent decades caretaking this polity. They’ve managed to dodge the repair of every broken institution and duck engagement with any of the really scary problems facing citizens of this republic, from the gross disparities of wealth, to pervasive racketeering in health care and education, to our rotting infrastructure, to the quandaries of race, immigration, climate change — you name it and they have done squat.

Men mostly in charge of the FBI are currently busy demonstrating that they can completely botch the wished-for Trump-ending investigation of Russian “meddling and collusion” — whatever that is as a legal matter — under special prosecutor Robert Mueller. The agency begins to look like the brotherhood depicted on The Sopranos TV show some years back. The congressional committees (mostly men) with oversight on the FBI (and its umbrella agency, the Department of Justice) can’t even get a few deputy Attorneys General to answer a subpoena. If ever there was a display of feckless impotence, this is it.

The desperation to get rid of Trump by the Democratic Party and its handmaidens in the media has an odor of reckless dishonesty from a faction that succumbs more and more each day to the dangerous idea that the ends justify the means. Despite the momentary jubilation over the defeat of Roy Moore in the Alabama special election for senator, the party is close to committing suicide via the collective fantasy that all romantic gambits by men are always and everywhere a prelude to rape. But then, the Republican Party ought to be on suicide watch, too, as it debates a stupendously mendacious tax reform bill that will only shove the country closer to financial meltdown.

It will be interesting to see if the Blue ladies can work their sexual inquisition hoodoo successfully on Trump. So far, he seems like the proverbial immovable object, while the Blue ladies may only be an irresistible force in show business and the media, where mere accusation without due process avails to skewer their devils. Trump’s personal history as a rake on the New York nightlife scene is a trail as wide and open as Fifth Avenue. When the parade of “me too” witnesses commences, my guess is he’ll say, “sure, twenty-three years ago I squeezed her ass and grabbed her tit. So what…?” Men in many quarters will raise their fists and cry, “Right on.” And then what will Nancy Pelosi actually do?

I suspect the hysteria won’t out-live the financial hurricane that the nation is blundering into.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)

* * *

THE GREATEST THREATS TO OUR COMMON HUMANITY

by Jeremy Corbyn

I would like to use this opportunity in the run-up to International Human Rights Day to focus on the greatest threats to our common humanity. And why states need to throw their weight behind genuine international co-operation and human rights both individual and collective, social and economic, as well as legal and constitutional at home and abroad if we are to meet and overcome those threats.

My own country is at a crossroads. The decision by the British people to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum means we have to rethink our role in the world.

Some want to use Brexit to turn Britain in on itself, rejecting the outside world, viewing everyone as a feared competitor.

Others want to use Brexit to put rocket boosters under our current economic system’s insecurities and inequalities, turning Britain into a deregulated corporate tax haven, with low wages, limited rights, and cut-price public services in a destructive race to the bottom.

My party stands for a completely different future when we leave the EU, drawing on the best internationalist traditions of the labour movement and our country.

We want to see close and cooperative relationships with our European neighbours, outside the EU, based on solidarity as well as mutual benefit and fair trade, along with a wider proactive internationalism across the globe.

We are proud that Britain was an original signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights and our 1998 Human Rights Act enshrined it in our law. So Labour will continue to work with other European states and progressive parties and movements, through the Council of Europe to ensure our country and others uphold our international obligations.

Just as the work of the UN Human Rights Council helps to ensure countries like ours live up to our commitments, such as on disability rights, where this year’s report found us to be failing. International co-operation, solidarity, collective action are the values we are determined to project in our foreign policy.

Those values will inform everything the next Labour government does on the world stage, using diplomacy to expand a progressive, rules-based international system, which provides justice and security for all.

They must be genuinely universal and apply to the strong as much as the weak if they are to command global support and confidence.

They cannot be used to discipline the weak, while the strong do as they please, or they will be discredited as a tool of power, not justice.

That’s why we must ensure that the powerful uphold and respect international rules and international law.

If we don’t, the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 will remain an aspiration, rather than a reality and international rules will be seen as a pick and mix menu for the global powers that call the international shots.

Most urgently we must work with other countries to advance the cause of human rights, to confront the four greatest and interconnected threats facing our common humanity.

First, the growing concentration of unaccountable wealth and power in the hands of a tiny corporate elite, a system many call neoliberalism, which has sharply increased inequality, marginalisation, insecurity and anger across the world.

Second, climate change, which is creating instability, fuelling conflict across the world and threatening all our futures.

Third, the unprecedented numbers of people fleeing conflict, persecution, human rights abuses, social breakdown and climate disasters.

And finally, the use of unilateral military action and intervention, rather than diplomacy and negotiation, to resolve disputes and change governments.

The dominant global economic system is broken.

It is producing a world where a wealthy few control 90 percent of global resources.

Of growing insecurity and grotesque levels of inequality within and between nations, where more than 100 billion dollars a year are estimated to be lost to developing countries from corporate tax avoidance.

Where $1 trillion dollars a year are sucked out of the Global South through illicit financial flows.

This is a global scandal.

The most powerful international corporations must not be allowed to continue to dictate how and for whom our world is run.

Thirty years after structural adjustment programmes first ravaged so much of the world, and a decade after the financial crash of 2008, the neoliberal orthodoxy that delivered them is breaking down.

This moment, a crisis of confidence in a bankrupt economic system and social order, presents us with a once in a generation opportunity to build a new economic and social consensus which puts the interests of the majority first.

But the crumbling of the global elite’s system and their prerogative to call the shots unchallenged has led some politicians to stoke fear and division. And deride international co-operation as national capitulation.

President Trump’s disgraceful Muslim ban and his anti-Mexican rhetoric have fuelled racist incitement and misogyny and shift the focus away from what his Wall Street-dominated administration is actually doing.

In Britain, where wages have actually fallen for most people over the last decade as the corporations and the richest have been handed billions in tax cuts, our Prime Minister has followed a less extreme approach but one that also aims to divert attention from her Government’s failures and real agenda.

She threatens to scrap the Human Rights Act, which guarantees all of our people’s civil and political rights and has actually benefited everyone in our country. And she has insisted “if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere”.

There is an alternative to this damaging and bankrupt order. The world’s largest corporations and banks cannot be left to write the rules and rig the system for themselves.

The world’s economy can and must deliver for the common good and the majority of its people. But that is going to demand real and fundamental structural change on an international level.

The UN has a pivotal role to play, in advancing a new consensus and common ground based on solidarity, respect for human rights and international regulation and co-operation.

That includes as a platform for democratic leaders to speak truth about unaccountable power.

One such moment took place on 4 December 1972, when President Salvador Allende of Chile, elected despite huge opposition and US interference, took the rostrum of the UN General Assembly in New York.

He called for global action against the threat from transnational corporations, that do not answer to any state, any parliament or any organisation representing the common interest.

Nine months later, Allende was killed in General Augusto Pinochet’s coup, which ushered in a brutal 17-year dictatorship and turned Chile into a laboratory of free market fundamentalism.

But 44 years on, all over the world people are standing up and saying enough to the unchained power of multinational companies to dodge taxes, grab land and resources on the cheap and rip the heart out of workforces and communities.

That’s why I make the commitment to you today that the next Labour government in Britain will actively support the efforts of the UN Human Rights Council to create a legally binding treaty to regulate transnational corporations under international human rights law.

Genuine corporate accountability must apply to all of the activities of their subsidiaries and suppliers. Impunity for corporations that violate human rights or wreck our environment, as in the mineral-driven conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, must be brought to an end.

For too long, development has been driven by the unfounded dogma that unfettered markets and unaccountable multinational companies are the key to solving global problems.

So under the next Labour Government the Department for International Development will have the twin mission of not only eradicating poverty but also reducing inequality across the world.

To achieve this goal we must act against the global scandal of tax dodging and trade mis-invoicing – robbing developing countries and draining resources from our own public services.

In Africa alone an estimated 35 billion dollars is lost each year to tax dodging, and 50 billion to illicit financial flows, vastly exceeding the 30 billion dollars that enters the continent as aid.

As the Paradise and Panama Papers have shown the super-rich and the powerful can’t be trusted to regulate themselves.

Multinational companies must be required to undertake country-by-country reporting, while countries in the Global South need support now to keep hold of the billions being stolen from their people.

So the next Labour government will seek to work with tax authorities in developing countries, as Zambia has with NORAD – the Norwegian aid agency – to help them stop the looting.

Tomorrow is International Anti-Corruption Day. Corruption isn’t something that happens ‘over there’. Our government has played a central role in enabling the corruption that undermines democracy and violates human rights. It is a global issue that requires a global response.

When people are kept in poverty, while politicians funnel public funds into tax havens, that is corruption, and a Labour government will act decisively on tax havens: introducing strict standards of transparency for crown dependencies and overseas territories including a public register of owners, directors, major shareholders and beneficial owners … for all companies and trusts.

Climate change is the second great threat to our common humanity. Our planet is in jeopardy. Global warming is undeniable; the number of natural disasters has quadrupled since 1970.

Hurricanes like the ones that recently hit the Caribbean are bigger because they are absorbing moisture from warmer seas.

It is climate change that is warming the seas, mainly caused by emissions from the world’s richer countries.

And yet the least polluting countries, more often than not the developing nations, are at the sharp end of the havoc climate change unleashes – with environmental damage fuelling food insecurity and social dislocation.

We must stand with them in solidarity. Two months ago, I promised the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, that I would use this platform to make this message clear.

The international community must mobilise resources and the world’s biggest polluters shoulder the biggest burden.

So I ask governments in the most polluting countries, including in the UK:

First, to expand their capacity to respond to disasters around the world. Our armed forces, some of the best trained and most highly skilled in the world, should be allowed to use their experience to respond to humanitarian emergencies. Italy is among those leading the way with its navy becoming a more versatile and multi-role force.

Second, to factor the costs of environmental degradation into financial forecasting as Labour has pledged to do with Britain’s Office of Budget Responsibility. Third, to stand very firmly behind the historic Paris Climate Accords.

And finally, take serious and urgent steps on debt relief and cancellation.

We need to act as an international community against the injustice of countries trying to recover from climate crises they did not create while struggling to repay international debts.

It’s worth remembering the words of Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, delivered to the Organisation of African Unity in 1987 a few months before he too was assassinated in a coup.

“The debt cannot be repaid,” he said, “first because if we don’t repay lenders will not die. But if we repay… we are going to die.”

The growing climate crisis exacerbates the already unparalleled numbers of people escaping conflict and desperation.

There are now more refugees and displaced people around the world than at any time since the Second World War.

Refugees are people like us.

But unlike us they have been forced by violence, persecution and climate chaos to flee their homes.

One of the biggest moral tests of our time is how we live up to the spirit and letter of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Its core principle was simple: to protect refugees.

Yet ten countries, which account for just 2.5 percent of the global economy, are hosting more than half the world’s refugees.

It is time for the world’s richer countries to step up and show our common humanity.

Failure means millions of Syrians internally displaced within their destroyed homeland or refugees outside it. Rohingya refugees returned to Myanmar without guarantees of citizenship or protection from state violence and refugees held in indefinite detention in camps unfit for human habitation as in Papua New Guinea or Nauru. And African refugees sold into slavery in war-ravaged Libya.

This reality should offend our sense of humanity and human solidarity. European countries can, and must, do more as the death rate of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean continues to rise. And we need to take more effective action against human traffickers.

But let us be clear: the long-term answer is genuine international co-operation based on human rights, which confronts the root causes of conflict, persecution and inequality.

I’ve spent most of my life, with many others, making the case for diplomacy and dialogue… over war and conflict, often in the face of hostility.

But I remain convinced that is the only way to deliver genuine and lasting security for all.

And even after the disastrous invasions and occupations of recent years there is again renewed pressure to opt for military force, America First or Empire 2.0 as the path to global security.

I know the people of Britain are neither insensitive to the sufferings of others nor blind to the impact and blowback from our country’s reckless foreign wars.

Regime change wars, invasions, interventions and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and Somalia have failed on their own terms, devastated the countries and regions and made Britain and the world a more dangerous place.

And while the UK government champions some human rights issues on others it is silent, if not complicit, in their violation.

Too many have turned a wilfully blind eye to the flagrant and large-scale human rights abuses now taking place in Yemen, fuelled by arms sales to Saudi Arabia worth billions of pounds.

The see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach undermines our credibility and ability to act over other human rights abuses.

Total British government aid to Yemen last year was under £150 million – less than the profits made by British arms companies selling weapons to Saudi Arabia. What does that say about our country’s priorities, or our government’s role in the humanitarian disaster now gripping Yemen?

Our credibility to speak out against the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims is severely undermined when the British Government has been providing support to Myanmar’s military.

And our Governments pay lip service to a comprehensive settlement and two state solution to the Israel- Palestine conflict but do nothing to use the leverage they have to end the oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people.

70 years after the UN General Assembly voted to create a Palestinian state alongside what would become Israel, and half a century since Israel occupied the whole of historic Palestine, they should take a lead from Israeli peace campaigners such as Gush Shalom and Peace Now and demand an end to the multiple human rights abuses Palestinians face on a daily basis. The continued occupation and illegal settlements are violations of international law and are a barrier to peace.

The US president’s announcement that his administration will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including occupied Palestinian territory, is a threat to peace that has rightly been met with overwhelming international condemnation.

The decision is not only reckless and provocative – it risks setting back any prospect of a political settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

President Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly in September signalled a wider threat to peace. His attack on multilateralism, human rights and international law should deeply trouble us all.

And this is no time to reject the Iran Nuclear Deal, a significant achievement agreed between Iran and a group of world power to reduce tensions.

That threatens not just the Middle East but also the Korean Peninsula. What incentives are there for Pyongyang to believe disarmament will bring benefits when the US dumps its nuclear agreement with Tehran?

Trump and Kim Jong Un threaten a terrifying nuclear confrontation with their absurd and bellicose insults.

In common with almost the whole of humanity, I say to the two leaders: this is not a game, step back from the brink now.

It is a commonplace that war and violence do not solve the world’s problems. Violence breeds violence. In 2016 nearly three quarters of all deaths from terrorism were in five states; Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Somalia.

So let us stand up for the victims of war and terrorism and make international justice a reality. And demand that the biggest arms exporters ensure all arms exports are consistent, not legally, but with their moral obligations too.

That means no more arms export licences when there is a clear risk that they will be used to commit human rights abuses or crimes against humanity.

The UK is one of the world’s largest arms exporters so we must live up to our international obligations while we explore ways to convert arms production into other socially useful, high-skill, high-tech industry.

Which is why I welcome the recent bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives resolution which does two unprecedented things.

First, it acknowledges the U.S. role in the destruction of Yemen, including the mid-air refuelling of the Saudi-led coalition planes essential to their bombing campaign and helping in selecting targets.

Second, it makes plain that Congress has not authorised this military involvement.

Yemen is a desperate humanitarian catastrophe with the worst cholera outbreak in history.

The weight of international community opinion needs to be brought to bear on those supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, including Theresa May’s Government, to meet our legal and moral obligations on arms sales and to negotiate an urgent ceasefire and settlement of this devastating conflict.

If we’re serious about supporting peace we must strengthen international co-operation and peacekeeping. Britain has an important role to play after failing to contribute significant troop numbers in recent years.

We are determined to seize the opportunity to be a force for good in peacekeeping, diplomacy and support for human rights.

Labour is committed to invest in our diplomatic capabilities and consular services and we will reintroduce human rights advisers in our embassies around the world.

Human rights and justice will be at the heart of our foreign policy along with a commitment to support the United Nations.

The UN provides a unique platform for international co-operation and action. And to be effective, we need member states to get behind the reform agenda set out by Secretary General Guterres.

The world demands the UN Security Council responds, becomes more representative and plays the role it was set up to on peace and security.

We can live in a more peaceful world. The desire to help create a better life for all burns within us.

Governments, civil society, social movements and international organisations can all help realise that goal.

We need to redouble our efforts to create a global rules based system that applies to all and works for the many, not the few.

No more bomb first and think and talk later.

No more double standards in foreign policy.

No more scapegoating of global institutions for the sake of scoring political points at home.

Instead: solidarity, calm leadership and co-operation. Together we can:

Build a new social and economic system with human rights and justice at its core.

Deliver climate justice and a better way to live together on this planet.

Recognise the humanity of refugees and offer them a place of safety.

Work for peace, security and understanding.

The survival of our common humanity requires nothing less.

We need to recognise and pay tribute to human rights defenders the world over, putting their lives on the line for others – our voice must be their voice.

(Text of remarks by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour Party, at the United Nation’s Geneva headquarters on December 8, 2017 in honor of International Human Rights Day.)

* * *

* * *

THE INEVITABLE? There are currently 15,000 nuclear warheads in existence, 95 percent of which are in the US and Russia. The UK has about 215 warheads, though it relies heavily on the US to maintain them. Each of the four UK nuclear submarines carries 16 Trident missiles at any given time. The use of as few as a hundred Hiroshima-sized bombs, small by contemporary standards, would loft at least five million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere, causing climate disruption across the earth and reducing food production to such an extent that two billion people would be at risk of starvation. A large-scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage. It would also cause temperatures across the planet to drop to levels not seen since the last ice age. Under these conditions the vast majority of humans would starve; it is possible our species would become extinct. (Michael Orgel)

* * *

NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS HEARS LANDMARK YOUTH CLIMATE CASE

by Dan Bacher

Will a landmark youths’ climate change lawsuit become the “trial of the century?”

That’s an argument given by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Eric Grant, on behalf of the Trump administration and the U.S. government defendants, on why the lawsuit by the 21 Juliana v. United States youth plaintiffs should not be permitted to proceed to trial.

In his arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at a hearing in San Francisco on December 11, Grant complained three times that, if Juliana v. United States was allowed to proceed to trial, it would be the “trial of the century,” according to a joint news release from Earth Guardians and Our Children’s Trust.

The young plaintiffs and the organizational plaintiff Earth Guardians assert that the US government, through its “affirmative actions that cause climate change, has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.” The lawsuit was filed in 2015 during the Obama administration.

Grant also complained that the discovery requests by the plaintiffs in the case were “burdensome” and that moving forward with the case could distract the administration from performing “its constitutional duties.”

Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust and co-lead counsel, argued on behalf of the plaintiffs before the three judge panel regarding whether President Trump and his administration can evade a constitutional climate change trial.

Near the end of Julia Olson ’s time, Judge Alex Kozinski asked: “If the District Court says one thing, and the EPA says another, your position is that District Court prevails?”

Julia Olson responded: “It's important that the court be that impenetrable bulwark, to judicially safeguard against systemic abuses of government power that infringe on the substantive due process rights of these plaintiffs. We simply ask that the court lift the temporary stay and send it back to the district court so that these young people can go to trial and present their historical and scientific evidence.”

The Washington Post reported that two of the judges “appeared skeptical” about the government’s request to stop the case from going forward: www.washingtonpost.com/...

“On Monday, Chief Judge Sidney Thomas and Judge Marsha Berzon appeared skeptical about the government’s request to halt the case at this juncture and undermine the lower court’s decision, saying it would be an unprecedented and potentially unwarranted decision,” Brady Dennis, Washington Post reporter, wrote.

“’If we set precedent on this kind of case, there is no logical boundary to it,’ Thomas told administration attorney Eric Grant, arguing that countless other defendants would seek similar relief,” Dennis wrote:

The case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by OurChildren’s Trust, “seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.”

See the embeddable video of oral arguments here: https://youtu.be/J3Z8TSw-Ou4

Before the youth plaintiffs entered the courthouse, Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More, San Francisco Bay, led an indigenous prayer ceremony “to ground the youth and community in this political moment,” according to the groups. The video from the press conference outside the courthouse is here: https://www.facebook.com/youthvgov/videos/1827629650612998/

“I hope that the court understands the urgency of the climate crisis and allows ourcase to proceed to trial,” said Jaime Butler, a 17-year-old plaintiff from Flagstaff, Arizona. “This case will ultimately determine the livelihood of my tribe, the Navajo Nation, and all native people in this country.”

“I felt that the court understood the gravity of our need for trial. It was obvious that they asked good clarifying questions and sought to fully understand the issues this case raises,” said Nathan Baring, a 17-year-old youth plaintiff from Fairbanks, Alaska. “With that being said, I’m confident that they will recognize this isan improper stage to dismiss the case. I believe that the momentum is on our sideand it’s time for climate science to have its day in court.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they were encouraged by the line of questioning by the Ninth Circuit Panel at the hearing. Philip L. Gregory, co-lead counsel for the youth plaintiffs and a Partner with the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA, commented, “It is clear the Ninth Circuit panel clearly understood the issues presented by this case.”

”Based on its questioning, the panel recognizes the importance of a full trial on the merits, in particularly the scientific evidence. Given the urgency of the climate situation, we hope the panel issues a prompt order and allows the case tomove forward,” said Gregory.

Hundreds of community members went to the courthouse to stand in solidarity with the young plaintiffs, filling up the courtroom and two overflow rooms. “Many expressed direct threats from a changing climate including the recent wildfires devastating California,” the groups noted.

During and after the oral arguments, hundreds of supporters also rallied outside the Ninth Circuit building in San Francisco. The diverse groups supporting the youth plaintiffs included 350.org; Idle No More, San Francisco Bay; Citizens Climate Lobby; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace; and Sunrise.

In June 2017, the Trump administration filed a “drastic and extraordinary” petition for writ of mandamus, asking the Ninth Circuit to direct the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon todismiss the youth plaintiffs’ case, according to the groups.

The Trump administration’s mandamus petition seeks early review of U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken’s 2016 denial of motions to dismiss the youth brought climate case. In their petition, the federal government claims “irreparable harm” for having to participate in the ordinary pre-trial discovery process and having to go to trial.

The trial is currently scheduled for February 5, 2018. “The ordinary path for a constitutional lawsuit would be for the District Court first to conduct a trial of the youth plaintiffs’ legal arguments and scientific evidence, and then to later appeal an adverse ruling after a final judgment in the case,” the groups said.

“This case is this generation’s Brown vs Board of Education,” summed up Julia Olson. “The founders saw that government could abuse its power in such a way as to deprive people of their very lives and the foundation of life, and it is time for the court to be the impenetrable bulwark that stops that abuse of power and protects these young people and all future generations.”

Counsel for Plaintiffs are Julia Olson, Esq. of Eugene, OR and Philip L. Gregory, Esq. of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA

Our Children’s Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with mostto lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of presentand future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justicecampaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will returnatmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.www.ourchildrenstrust.org/

Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members workingtogether to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthysustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools,organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, andglobally to address the critical state of the Earth. www.earthguardians.org

* * *

MORE GOVERNMENT PER CAPITA THAN ANYWHERE IN THE US

Point Arena City Council

Mayor Scott Ignacio ~ Vice Mayor Barbara Burkey ~ Richey Wasserman ~ Jonathan Torrez ~ Anna Dobbins

Agenda - December 19, 2017

REGULAR SESSION - 6:00 p.m.

City Hall - 451 School StreetI. CALL TO ORDER & ROLL CALL

  1. READING – Councilmember Wasserman

III. APPROVAL OF AGENDA

  1. MAYOR’S REPORTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
  2. COUNCIL REPORTS

City-Related Travel Reports

Council Committee & Commission Reports

Community Garden Ad Hoc Committee Report

  1. PRIVILEGE OF THE FLOOR (Public Comment Period)

This is the time for members of the public who wish to be heard on matters that do not appear on the Agenda. City Council policy is to limit each speaker to three (3) minutes. Such time allotment or portion thereof shall not be transferred to other speakers. Pursuant to the Brown Act Section 54954.3, the City Council may not take action on an item that does not appear on the Agenda. The public will be allowed to speak concurrently with the calling of an agenda item following the staff presentation of that item.

VII. CONSENT CALENDAR

Notice to the Public: All matters listed under this category are considered to be routine by the City Council and will be enacted by one motion. If a member of the public would like an item on the Consent Calendar pulled and discussed separately, the request shall be made to a Councilmember prior to the meeting. Unless a specific request is made by a Councilmember, the Consent Calendar will not be read. There will be no separate discussion of these items

Approval of City Council Minutes

Special City Council Meeting of November 8, 2017

Regular City Council Meeting of November 28, 2017

VIII. PUBLIC HEARINGS - Public Hearings are generally scheduled for a time certain of 6:00 P.M. or soon thereafter, unless noticed otherwise. All items listed under this section are for discussion and possible action.

  1. Second Reading and Adoption Second Reading and Adoption of Ordinance No. 232 of the City Council of the City of Point Arena Amending and Updating Chapter 5.20 of the Point Arena Municipal Code Pertaining to the Regulation of Cannabis for Both Medical and Adult Use

Recommended Action:

Introduce by title only and waive reading of the Ordinance.

Discuss an ordinance to Regulate Cannabis Cultivation and License Cannabis Businesses.

Open the public hearing and take public comment

Approve or amend the ordinance

  1. RESOLUTIONS
  2. Resolution 2017-21 Establishing Cannabis Business Licensing Fees – discussion and possible action

Recommendation: Adopt Resolution 2017-21 allowing fees for Cannabis Business Licensing applications for cannabis businesses in Point Arena.

  1. REPORTS/ACTION ITEMS – all items in this Agenda section are for discussion and possible action.
  2. Establish and Ad Hoc Committee to Review Street and Drainage Standards – discussion and possible action

Recommendation: Appoint an Ad Hoc Committee to review the City’s street, pedestrian and drainage standards.

  1. Amendment to the Terms and Conditions of the City Manager’s Employment Agreement – Discussion & possible action

Recommendation: Approve Contract amendment to the City Manager’s employment Contract

  1. CITY MANAGER & CITY ATTORNEY REPORTS

PARSAC Strategic Planning & Board Meeting

Submission of Transportation Funding Requests

XII. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

Regular City Council Meeting January 23, 2018

XIII. ADJOURNMENT

If open session items cannot be completed by 9:00 p.m., the meeting may be adjourned to the next regular meeting or Council may vote to extend the meeting.

Dated: December 15, 2017

 

19 Responses to "Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017"

  1. mr. wendal   December 16, 2017 at 5:15 am

    re: THE GREAT MENDO SPENDING SPREE!

    This is unbelievable and without common sense or care about the future of this county. Just because other counties can afford to pay their employees more than we pay ours is no reason to keep raising salaries for those at the top here in Mendocino County. Why are two standards used when wages are discussed? Does the CEO say that it’s “imperative” to pay all county workers at rates competitive with more highly populated, wealthier areas? No, she does not. This is a relatively poor county and we can’t afford to “keep up with the Jonses” while actual service levels for residents have been declining for years. And these pay raises will increase unfunded pensions liabilities. Why does the Board of Supervisors continue us down this path? How bad will it get before this train is stopped or derailed?

    No sound financial person would recommend conducting governmental business in the manner in which our local governments have been run in recent years, yet the powers-that-be squander our tax money while taxes and fees are raised, services decline and county roads crumble.

    Reply
  2. james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 7:19 am

    RE: MEASURE B: HERE WE GO AGAIN

    “not even a big man with a gun can stop us”

    -Anne Molgaard

    “MOLGAARD HAS CONSISTENTLY called for cuts to the Sheriff’s budget to free up more money for social services, i.e., less money for the Blue Meanies, more money for people like her. That stance led to a heated exchange last year in the hallway outside the Supes chambers with Molgaard claiming that Sheriff Allman, “a big man with a gun” had threatened her.”

    https://www.theava.com/archives/14130

    Look for this allegation to resurface.

    Reply
  3. Lazarus   December 16, 2017 at 7:59 am

    “We told the Sheriff that history clearly shows that Mendo will go through all these motions and spend all this money and there will be no visible improvement in services rendered. And no attempt to measure the improvement other than money was spent.”

    “The Sheriff conceded that that will be a challenge.”

    That tells all you need to know. To be repetitive, the Sheriff has his 26mil for the new jailhouse mental addition. He knew he had it in June, yet the story was not known publicly or widely reported until just before the Measure B election.

    Then we hear about consultants, studies and political fake speech on how the money will be, won’t be, funneled in, funneled out of the County…

    This whole thing SUCKS…in the end the taxpayers get to pay for some firm with no vested interest in anything but themselves, tell the counties supposed experts how to exploit the mental health issues to the voting public. The usual suspects will get greased by the swamp water carriers that claim to represent the votes and the victims of the mental health crisis…

    Meanwhile the Gushing Groupies who voted for this thing have crawled back under the rocks that spawned them… awaiting another feel gooder issue to crow about.
    As always,
    Laz

    Reply
    • George Hollister   December 16, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Measure B money is our money. It is not money from afar that belongs to no one, that no one cares about how it is wasted. if the hogs at the public trough take over, change it, or vote the whole thing out.

      Reply
    • james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 8:18 am

      If Mental-cino County follows Mr. Marbut’s recommendations the manufactured mental health crisis will move on elsewhere along with the manufactured homeless crisis.

      ‘Mendocino County First’

      James Marmon MSW

      Reply
      • james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 8:31 am

        I don’t think one penny of Measure B money should be spent to help Camille Schraeder’s out of towner clientèle. The same goes for the unknown number of millions of dollars she already receives via Laz’s Gushing Groupies.

        Reply
      • George Hollister   December 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

        Who was responsible for allowing Marbut to survey the hog pen?

        Reply
    • BB Grace   December 16, 2017 at 8:53 am

      “A former employee filed a lawsuit on Friday in federal court in Pittsburgh alleging she was fired from the company that provided health care in Westmoreland County jail because she exposed the company’s sloppy safeguards for storing narcotics such as codeine, Vicodin and OxyContin.

      Nancy Schade, 53, of Irwin sued NaphCare of Birmingham, Ala., and Larry Gann, Jeff McIntyre and Todd Buckelew for wrongful discharge, defamation, breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation, according to the suit.
      http://triblive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/westmoreland/s_791280.html

      “Schade reported that inmates were receiving expired medications and were being administered drugs prescribed for inmates who had been released and to other inmates still in jail. Nurses changed the dosages of the medications without consulting physicians, the suit said.”

      and:
      “In a lawsuit brought by the former inmate’s family, Mitchell’s family alleged they were at times denied visitation, according to CNN. Among the defendants named in the $60 million lawsuit are the jail, the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the private prison health care firm NaphCare; the lawsuit cites five counts of civil rights deprivation and willful and wanton negligence.
      https://mic.com/articles/143605/family-sues-jail-for-death-of-man-with-mental-illness#.P9SU2AAfN

      Lawsuits are pending elsewhere, too: “Earlier this month, the mother of Gregory Lee Hill filed a $20.4 million suit against Woody and 22 other defendants, including NaphCare, the company that contracts with Richmond’s jail to provide medical care to inmates; 11 NaphCare employees; and 10 of Woody’s corrections officers.
      http://www.roanoke.com/news/lawsuits-against-jails-sheriffs-and-state-hospitals-have-cost-taxpayers/article_e5eab235-f1b3-58b5-b36c-5f23c7206d3e.html

      Reply
    • Bruce Anderson   December 16, 2017 at 8:54 am

      As a gushing groupie who voted for B, I still think, all-in-all, our own psych unit will be a step forward for our in-County mental cases and their families. I do agree, though, that the usual suspects, with the Supes functioning as their usual enabling selves, have quickly moved to corrupt B. And now watch the “advisory” appointments go to five of our County’s endless supply of rubber stamps. If it all gets to be too obvious a theft of public money I look for Sheriff Allman to go directly to the public to complain that this isn’t what he had in mind. Allman’s popularity can roll past Darth Molgaard baffle-gabbers.

      Reply
      • james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 9:31 am

        Mr. Anderson, the planned Crisis Center facility on Orchard is going to be a psych unit. Why would we want to triplicate services. Can we afford another psych unit after providing staffing and operational funds to Schraeder and Allman for two very expensive facilities. We’re going to have problems staffing the mental health jail alone, not to mention Camille’s facility. They’re both going to want Measure B money. I know you would love to renovate the old Howard Memorial in Willits, but I don’t think we’re going to have enough clientèle let alone appropriate staffing for such a venture unless we import clients from other counties and states, they would love to get rid of them at no cost.

        “The crisis stabilization unit will be able to hold clients for up to 72 hours to evaluate their needs, while the residential facility will provide up to 30 days of intensive trauma-informed wraparound services for patients who suffer from significant mental health barriers, preventing them from living safely in the community.”

        http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/article/NP/20171121/NEWS/171129978

        What is a “5150” or “72-Hour Hold”? 5150 is the number of the section of the Welfare and Institutions Code, which allows a person with a mental illness to be involuntarily detained for a 72-hour psychiatric hospitalization.

        Involuntary Holds

        http://www.askferc.org/uploads/docs/resources/5150_5250.pdf

        Reply
        • james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

          We’ve already cut the amount of homeless in Ukiah by 500 people in the last year. That only leaves about a 110 possible clients roaming our streets. If half of them are mentally ill, that would leave only 50 homeless mentally ill. The 40 bed apartment complex on Gobbi, the 10 bed crisis facility, and the 60 bed mental health jail, should be enough solve our problems. If half of them, as reported, are from out of County, should the Measure B supporters be stuck with the bill? Or should we give Mr. Marbut’s recommendations some consideration? When is enough mentally ill clients enough and what do we do when we run out of them?

          Where’s the money Camille?

          Reply
      • Eric Sunswheat   December 16, 2017 at 9:53 am

        Allman is popular among newspapaper editors, and the cocktail or entertainment speaking circuits. He purportedly makes no more money as Sheriff, than if retired, with his pension kicking in.

        Reply
        • Lazarus   December 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

          There’s a case to be made that Sheriff Allman is the most powerful politician in this county, perhaps even this part of the state, defiantly one of the most popular, rock star stuff, all you need to do is look to his army of groupies….
          His retirement deal is no different then most of the upper echelon people, maybe even the rank and file.
          I’ve heard guys about to retire from county jobs brag about making more in retirement then while actually working…great system, for them…as long as it last. In my opinion it’s totally unsustainable, but that’s another topic.
          As always,
          Laz

          Reply
          • George Hollister   December 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

            Allman takes responsibility, and sincerely tries to make the situation better. Allman does not try to hurt people. Being powerful follows. As long as none of this goes to his head, he will remain in the standing he is.

  4. james marmon   December 16, 2017 at 8:58 am

    “Rocked by the gas station incident, I came away from this bizarre incident with the impression that our little town is in danger of becoming an outdoor asylum.”

    Much like Ukiah and Fort Bragg, and eventually Willits.

    Reply
  5. Bill Pilgrim   December 16, 2017 at 9:25 am

    RE: MEASURE B. It ought to be a moot point that the Sheriff’s Dept, as first responders in nearly all mental health crises, would have a clear picture of what the “needs” are. Why not task someone in that dept. to compile & write the recommendations?

    Editor,
    Many thanks for publishing Mr. Corbyn’s talk in full. When’s the last time a serving US politico expressed such thoughts? I’m thinking Dennis Kucinich. Then the corrupt Dems colluded with the more corrupt Repubs to redraw districts and leave him twisting in a cruel wind.

    Reply
  6. Eric Sunswheat   December 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Rohrabacher-Farr, a little-known and even less discussed amendment that protects state-legal medical marijuana programs from federal interference, is close to expiring. If the government shuts down at the expiration of the current continuous resolution on December 22, or if negotiations in an upcoming appropriations conference committee fail to insert it in the final draft of the spending bill—entirely possible given House Republicans’ hostility to marijuana—Sessions would be free to unleash federal drug agents on a drug, which according to federal drug law, is considered the equal of heroin and LSD.

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/12/16/jeff-sessions-marijuana-216109

    Reply
  7. Jeff Costello   December 16, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Well, Major – the Gang of Six has apparently been emboldened by your recognition of them as something of note. The good news might be that they are the only Trump voters in the county. Probably not but it’s a nice thought.

    Reply
  8. Harvey Reading   December 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

    “The Magnificent 7, Minus 1”?

    Reply

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