- Sunrise Shootout
- Budget Mysteries
- River Holding
- God Jul
- Dining Tips
- Ed Desk
- Little Dog
- Pension Reform
- Yesterday's Catch
- MCOE Review
- Lost Values
- Senate Misconduct
- 2017 Review
- Planning Agenda
- Mountain Bikers
- The Coxes
- Town Square
- Boulder Installations
- Molten Art
- Hoffa Man
- Marco Radio
WHO SHOT WHOM and why remains unknown, but a still unidentified woman was definitely shot and killed Thursday night at the Sunrise Inn near Ukiah's Safeway. The gunfire broke out about 8pm when officers from at least three police agencies converged on the Sunrise to a report of two armed persons, a man and a woman. The man apparently aimed his gun at the officers, the officers opened fired on him. When the smoke cleared, the woman was found dead from a gunshot wound. The male gunman seems to have survived unscathed, and was arrested.
WE'VE LEARNED that the couple involved in the shooting were suspects in a Sonoma county burglary involving stolen weapons. A Sonoma County detective tracked them to the Sunrise Inn across State Street from the Ukiah Safeway. Ukiah police and Sonoma County personnel converged on the Sunrise at about 7pm where an hour-long stand-off commenced. The male half of the burglary team, who is believed to be from Lake County, allegedly pointed a rifle at the cops as he announced he wasn't giving up. A Sonoma County cop and a Mendo deputy fired into his room. The male gunman quickly surrendered, but the armed woman was found dead in the bathroom's bathtub wrapped in a bloody blanket. It is not clear if she shot herself or was killed by incoming fire. There is talk of suicide by cop in her case. She was a parolee from Nevada who had declared she didn't want to go back to prison. The Lake County man is confined to the Mendocino County Jail. He faces a variety of felony charges from both Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
AS AN AT-LARGE CANDIDATE for the KZYX/Z Board of Directors, a candidate who will lose even if unopposed, if you get my drift, I've been examining the enterprise, or what's discernible of it on-line. The station's FaceBook page and other on-line info is hardly revelatory, and the whole operation is, to say the least, opaque.
THE STATION BUDGET raises more questions than it answers and, off the top, there seems to be too many unexplained expenditures and more people getting paid to perform mystery tasks than the officially employed number of 6 or 7 people.
FOR EXAMPLE, under "Staffing — Indirect Costs," we find $27,446.75 (projected to increase to about $33k next year), above which we see "Staffing Direct Costs" at $286,140. And “Staffing Benefits” at $15,656 for 2017 but projected to be down to $12,733.77 for 2018. These kinds of changes need to be explained via budget notes.
THE STAFFING DIRECT COSTS line item — which we think are the costs for General Manager, Program Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, Underwriting Manager, Operations Manager, News Director and a couple of reporters, are projected to increase from $286,140 this year to $316,760 next year, which means either somebody’s being hired or a bunch of somebodys are getting raises, which needs to be justified and explained in a footnote.
THERE WAS ALSO $4,644.25 for “meals and lodging,” which is not a defensible outlay for a struggling non-profit that expects to survive. We were also struck by "travel expenses" of $2,800 and another unexplained expense of "Banking Charges" put at $10,670. Loan repayment? Que pasa?
FOR SOME REASON the Studio and Transmitter tower rental (which should be two separate items) are projected to decrease from about $37k to $28k next year. Why?
“PROFESSIONAL SERVICES” is projected to increase from about $13k to over $17k next year. Which pros? Lawyers? Accountants? Mysterious women?
“POSTAGE & DELIVERY” is listed at around $10k which is very high, but may be to cover shipping of equipment, not just mail, but even so that needs to be listed and broken out for review and cost-reduction.
MISSING IS AN ITEMIZATION OF NPR and other syndicated programming costs which we know are expensive and should be subjected to serious review and subsequent meat axing.
THERE’S A LINE CALLED “Member Donations” at $316k (projected to increase to $334k next year) which should mean memberships. But we know the station gets separate “donations” from wealthy donors and the estates from deceased supporters, including one back a ways extorted from a woman on her deathbed as a pair of KZYX ghouls hovered, pen in hand, over the poor thing's final moments. Member donations are not broken out separately, so that probably means there’s a slush fund somewhere.
THE BUDGET should also list prior years to get an understanding of trends and changes.
WHY DO THEY BROADCAST 24/7? How many people listen to bad music at 3am? How much does that cost?
DO THEY PAY WORKERS COMP for their volunteers? If so, when was the last time the list was pruned to make sure the station is not overpaying?
THE WHOLE THING ought to have line-item explanations for amounts and for increases or decreases. If someone walked up to me and said, "Here's our budget. Give us $600,000." I'd have to know a lot more before I forked over.
KZYX/Z could help itself a whole bunch by instituting an expanded morning news show with the focus on local events and call-ins. Cut the NPR segment in the repeated half, and either eliminate the General Manager position or halve his annual $60,000 salary.
THE CURRENT BOARD is made up of:
District 1 — Jonathan Middlebrook (2016-2019), Board Secretary
District 2 — Heidi Dickerson (2017-2018, appointed 5-1-17)
District 3 — Vacant seat (2017-2020]
District 4 — Aspen Logan (2017-2020)
District 5 — Clay Eubank (2015-2018)
At-Large — Ed Keller (2015-2018)
John Azzaro (2016-2019), Board Vice-president
Jenness Hartley (2017-2020), Board President
Programmer-Elected Board Member — Vacant seat
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you heard any KZYX Board discussion of the budget and ways to economize? Instead, you hear their frequent fundraising hype which could be reduced if the budget was tight, rather than just handing over to whatever number staff wants to be paid, then asking listeners to pay for it.
THE ENTIRE EMERGENCY SERVICES budget for Anderson Valley is less than $600,000, a fact that ought to be considered when trying to decode the Philo operation.
REPEAT. KZYX'S $600k budget is more than the entire combined Anderson Valley Fire and Ambulance budget. AV Fire and Ambulance's budget is a tangible work product reviewed line by line, bill by bill every month, with members of the public and staff reviewing and questioning everything, even the small expenses. Boonville's Fire and Ambulance Services also do a bottoms up budget review and revision in January of each year. For less than KZYX's $600k the AV Fire Department maintains five employees, 40 highly skilled volunteers (with stipends, training, physicals, personal equipment, insurance, and expenses paid), more than 20 pieces of large fire apparatus and a full complement of admin and overhead to cover over 140 square miles 24/7 with medical responses, traffic and collision responses, and fire and search and rescue.
MSP'S 'EYE ON THE NAVARRO'
River Level 'Behaving' — Hwy 128 Still Open (Friday afternoon)
The "upstream" USGS Navarro River gauge has shown the level of the Navarro River to be pretty much a "flat line" - it ranged from 3.72' to 3.75' Thursday and at 11:15 am today was 3.74'. With the sandbar at the mouth of the Navarro refusing to breach, a river level of 4.0' is all that's needed for SR-128 to flood east of the Highway 1 bridge and CalTrans to close the roadway.
The USGS gauge also said the "discharge rate" at the river @ 11:15 am, the amount of water headed towards the mouth, was 46.4 cubic feet per second, or in layman's terms, 343 gallons per second, 20,580 gallons per minute or 1,234,800 gallons per hour so we're not out of the woods yet on the possibility of a Highway 128 closure.
As always, MSP will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH
I was alarmed to hear that Supervisor Carre Brown "occasionally goes over her County meal allowance and has to pay out of pocket for the rest of her meal." It's always disconcerting to hear employee complaints.
I suppose the first question is how meager is this meal allowance? Are we talking less than $10? Regardless of the actual amount, I've got some simple dining tips for our ravenous decision makers:
1) Avoid ordering drinks. Liquid refreshment always drives the price up quickly. Stick with water when dining out. (Purchase favorite beverages at the supermarket for home consumption.)
2) Ditto for desserts. (I'm often satiated by the time the dessert tray comes around, which makes it all-the-easier to say no.)
3) Pay attention to the prices listed on the menu. A little mental math can go a long way toward staying under budget.
Now assuming some of this dining takes place in Ukiah, I also have a few where-to-eat recommendations:
1) Spiro's Gyros, south State Street, between Talmage and Gobbi. They serve an excellent lamb gyro here for well under $10. They have other delicious-looking items on their menu but I like the gyro so much I've never been able to try anything else.
2) O Haru, north State Street, not very far from county headquarters. Excellent little Japanese restaurant, cozy and fun. The friendly crew here is always a pleasure, and the food delicious. The sushi is outstanding but that can, admittedly, get a little spendy — so if you are watching your pennies try the lunch specials — again, well under $10.
3) Salad bar at the Co-op, Gobbi Street, just off State. Make your own salad with good organic ingredients (word to the wise: refrain from pre-grazing). Easy to stay under $10.
4) Jyun Kang, City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Talmage. This vegetarian restaurant is spare, off-the-beaten-path, and the foreign fare may initially strike the western palate as strange. But if those three things don't deter you, there are many exotic dishes here to delight the taste buds. And it is all very reasonably priced. (You can even ignore the no-drink rule here for their delicious roasted-barley hot tea.)
So there you go, two local sit-down places, when you've got time and want to confab, and a couple to-go places when you're on-the-run. All of them guaranteed not to bust that feeble meal allowance, whatever it may be.
Come to think of it, our current batch of supervisors seem to be a pretty fit bunch. Perhaps that meal allowance is set just right.
AMONG the many negatives of the huge increase in transient pot grows throughout the Emerald Triangle is the proportionately large growth in orphaned dogs, especially large, semi-feral dogs. Producers of the love drug get the animals from wherever to use as guard dogs then simply walk off and leave them at the end of outdoor pot season. A friend tells me that the Mendo Shelter in Ukiah is jammed and, for once, has more German shepherds than pitbulls, the latter preferred by the more psychotic criminals in the drug trade. The following excerpt from Lost Coast Outpost also applies to Mendo:
HUMBOLDT’S INCREASING DOG POPULATION has reached a crisis. There are pit bulls everywhere, rampant sarcoptic mange and too many puppies. We have owners who can’t afford to spay or neuter, or refuse to do so. It’s a culture in Humboldt County, and the dogs and the county’s animal shelter are the ones suffering the repercussions. It’s a sad situation that never lets up, and despite all efforts from the shelter, volunteers, local rescuers, foster families and the community, it’s getting worse. This year the Humboldt County Animal Shelter has been over capacity almost constantly. And although the number of cats and other animals is slightly down, they’ve received over 150 more dogs than last year. From January 1 through the middle of December this year, the shelter has had a an intake of 1,171 dogs, compared to last year, which was 1,017 dogs. According to the shelter’s statistics, that’s the highest yearly intake of dogs in the shelter’s history since it opened in 2004.
JIM YOUNG, long-time hoops coach at Mendocino High School, corrects my false impression that the Boonville boys lack a scorer. I said they played ferocious defense but lacked offense. "They do have one scorer who can score as well as anyone in the league and as well as anyone they have had the last 15 years. Name Soto, brother of Cesar." And son of Antonio Soto, an unhittable right-handed pitcher back in the day. We're talking about Alejandro Soto who has already been named to two tourney all star teams this season.
THAT TERRIFIC car crash on Ornbaun Road on Friday, December 8th about 11pm, woke up the neighborhood. It involved, fortunately, only one person, Gunnar Hollinger, 23, who was transported over the hill by ambulance, his vehicle was destroyed and he was the recipient of a DUI charge. Gunnar emerged from his wild night more or less intact and is recovering at his Ornbaun Road home.
JEFFREY DAVID MARKHAM, 48, of Lakeport, has been appointed by Governor Brown to the Lake County Superior Court. Markham succeeds Judge Richard C. 'Rick' Martin. The job pays $200,024 annually. Markham has worked as a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer since 2004 and was a deputy prosecutor in the Lake County District Attorney’s Office from 2001 to 2002. The new judge holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis and received his law degree from Empire College School of Law. Markham's troubled ex-wife, Pamela, was fired as Mendo’s Chief Probation for favoritism and conducting an in-house romance with the most favored of all, occasionally consummating their mutual affection during work hours.
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE ON THE RAISES: “Human Resources proposed a raise that was higher than I felt comfortable with, and I have already written to them and the County CEO notifying them that I won't accept most of the pay raise that will be authorized. The typical Mendocino County employee is paid 18% less than their counterparts with the same job in similarly-sized counties, and I have requested the Human Resources Department reduces my salary so it is 18% less than the pay going to supervisors in the counties that are compared with Mendocino County."
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Christmas tunes? Remember ol' Spot, the RCA pooch? That dawg's heard more music than the rest of us put together. He turned me on to Pavarotti, and you ain't heard Silent Night until you've heard Pav do it!”
DITTO FOR MENDO COUNTY
Budget shortfalls will continue to increase due to unexpected fire expenses, and, as a result, many county services will continue to be crowded out. As such, we should not lose focus on the economic impact of the unfunded Sonoma County pension liabilities.
Current pension liabilities, including annualized cost and unfunded portions for pensions, are around $775 million, an amount that is unsustainable and is more than 40% of the annual budget.
There are legal questions surrounding the increased pension approval, including conflict of interest by county personnel, public disclosure of the long-term costs and compliance with state laws. Sonoma County taxpayers could be responsible for future pension payments. As such, county taxpayers are deserving of legal scrutiny of all previous pension changes to confirm or deny their compliance with the law.
A major step in pension reform will be to support and monitor the lawsuit filed by retired Santa Rosa attorney George Luke to determine if the current pensions were legally approved. This scrutiny is necessary to determine what the next step will be in reducing the out-of-control pension costs faced by the county taxpayer.
Stephen L. Wood
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 21-22, 2017
BASILIO ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
SALLY ARELLANO, Covelo. Battery, protective order violation.
ROBERTO BALANDRAN, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
JUSTINA BOCANEGRA, Redwood City. DUI.
BILLY DOAK JR., Willits. Probation revocation.
ADAM GRIFFEN, Calpella. Probation revocation.
BRANDON JOHNSON, Willits. DUI, special allegation: Refusa, suspended license, probation revocation.
CODY LADD, Willits. Attempted burglary, vandalism, parole violation.
CAMERON LENHART, Willits. DUI with priors, probation revocation.
CARLOS MAGANA, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
LEONARDO MEJIA, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, unsatisfactory evidence of identity, no license.
GARALD MILLER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CARL SERR, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ANTHONNY SPEARS, Ukiah. DUI, no license, probation revocation.
DANIEL VALDEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MENDOCINO COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION: A PERSPECTIVE ON EDUCATION – THE YEAR IN REVIEW
by Warren Galletti
(Ed Note: The multi-million annual boondoggle called the Mendocino County Office of Education does not do a single thing that the individual school districts of the County couldn't do better and cheaper. The office was formed in the horse and buggy days when a central office was needed to hire teachers to be dispatched to the far flung one-room school houses of outback Mendo. As you can see from Galletti's lack of specificity — other than bottled water for Leggett — neither he nor his ever larger office does much of anything.)
When I joined Mendocino County Office of Education as superintendent three years ago, I quickly recognized that there were things I wanted to preserve, and things I wanted to change. Big, meaningful changes don’t happen overnight, but thanks to the excellent team we have now, some really significant improvements have taken hold and I’m really proud of our team.
The most important shift at MCOE is a culture shift. Although it’s common for big bureaucracies to become siloed, it’s not healthy, and we were definitely struggling in this area. To fix this we’ve worked hard to increase internal communication.
There hadn’t been an employee satisfaction survey in recent memory, so we asked difficult questions and got honest answers. The employees shared the many things they love about working at MCOE, but also provided specific recommendations about how we can improve. We are in the process of making many of those changes.
We were also able to add some great replacements when longtime leaders retired, and our new leaders have really hit their stride. For example, our Assistant Superintendent of Business/Administrative Services Becky Jeffries came on after Vicki Todd retired.
Becky has been instrumental in accelerating our adoption of digital technology—updating accounting and management software, hiring a web designer to redo our website (stay tuned for a massive transformation), and continuing to work on determining the technology needs of our 12 school districts so we can best support local schools.
Becky is also the person I depend on when I’m out of the office. As superintendent, I travel to school sites and meetings all over the county, and Becky often manages issues in my absence. During the fire, she was invaluable. I was on light duty because of a medical issue, so while I was working from home to connect with State Superintendent Tom Torkalson and others to garner resources, Becky and Educational Services Director Chris Francis managed daily operations from the office.
Speaking of Chris Francis, he’s been another great addition. Chris joined us from Ukiah Unified School District this year, and his work on the Alternative Education Program has been amazing. When students get expelled from public schools, California education code requires county superintendents and district superintendents to work together to develop a plan for providing these students with education services.
To do this, Chris facilitates cooperation among school districts, student families, Juvenile Probation, Redwood Community Services, local healthcare professionals, and others to make sure all students have an opportunity to succeed. He has reorganized where and how we deliver educational services to some of these students, and has reinforced one of the most powerful parts of Alt. Ed.—our relationship with the parents of our students.
Many of these parents are unsure about how to manage the situations they find themselves in, so our Alt. Ed. Program includes parenting classes and parent support groups, allowing parents to redefine goals and reconnect with their teens.
Alt. Ed. is only one of the programs that benefits from the extensive networks we’ve established. Another one is our Career Technical Education program, which benefits from our relationship with Mendocino College. College President Arturo Reyes has been a big proponent of creating career “pathways,” making sure students can learn the skills they need to find gainful employment. We’ve helped facilitate this process by connecting schools countywide with the college, fostering the dual enrollment program (where students get high school and college credit for a single class).
We’ve also been busy keeping facilities in good condition, thanks to Steve Turner, our Facilities Manager. While Steve is an MCOE veteran, his work continues to bring fresh ideas and excellent solutions to challenging problems. For example, in Leggett, students had to drink bottled water recently because the outdated infrastructure made the tap water unsafe. Thanks to Steve’s assistance, Leggett students now have safe, healthy water straight out of the tap.
Although we still have many ongoing challenges—truancy, transportation, funding special education, and finding enough teachers and substitutes—we have lots to be proud of. Just wanted to let you know your hard-earned tax dollars are being put to good use.
(Warren Galletti is the Mendocino County Office of Education Superintendent.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I spent many decades working in the Private Sector where my responsibilities were to “get it done and save money doing it or I will find someone else who will”! We always got it done and earned lots of profits doing it.
I work a part-time retirement job for fun for a Non-Profit business where they beg for money, accept donations for write-offs and get some from our services for pay. There is NO cost savings, good money gets thrown after bad, and a total lack of financial abilities is the rule of the day.
I am also a member of our local government. Our Committee takes whatever it wants from a population of distracted, disoriented, uncaring taxpayers that are so far over their heads with their complicated and overly complex lifestyles that they simply just shut up and pay. The government laughs and berates the citizens and pisses away more money than a shipload of drunken sailors.
My experiences of life over the course of my 63 years living it have proven beyond all doubt that things like money lose value when they do not have to be earned though human effort and the more that is accumulated, the less value they actually have for those that hold it. Unfortunately for humanity right now, the same holds true for human life. There are more than enough people around, perhaps too many, and those who use us all have less and less value for all of us as the population expands. This is a formula for real disaster.
SOME $1.5 MILLION has been spent to settle workplace-misconduct claims in the US Senate over the last 20 years, according to newly published data from two Senate committees. The two-page report said an initial $599,000 was for 13 settlements involving “member-led” Senate offices, but an additional $853,000 was paid for 10 cases involving “other” Senate offices. The data is broken down by claim type, including age, race, disability, and sex discrimination. The only settlement paid out for sex discrimination does not specify whether sexual harassment was the cause. The data also does not include settlements that were paid out through lawmakers’ office budgets. Such was the case with Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who resigned this month. (Reuters)
2017 YEAR IN REVIEW
by James Kunstler
2017 was the kind of year when no amount of showers could wash off the feeling of existential yeccchhhhh that crept over you day after day like jungle rot. You needed to go through the carwash without your car… or maybe an acid bath would get the stink off. Cinematically, if 2016 was like The Eggplant That Ate Chicago, then 2017 was more like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, a gruesome glimpse into the twisted soul of America. And by that I do not mean simply our dear leader, the Golden Golem of Greatness. We’re all in this horror show together.
2017 kicked off with the report by “seventeen intelligence agencies” — did you know there were so many professional snoops and busybodies on the US payroll? — declaring that Russia, and Vladimir Putin personally, tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. “Meddling” and “collusion” became the watch-words of the year: but what exactly did they mean? Buying $100,000 worth of Google ads in a campaign that the two parties spent billions on? No doubt the “seventeen intelligence agencies” the US pays for were not alert to these shenanigans until the damage was done. Since then it’s been Russia-Russia-Russia 24/7 on the news wires. A few plea bargains have been made to lever-up the action. When and if the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, pounces, I expect the GGG to fire him, pardon some of the plea-bargained culprits (if that’s what they were and not just patsies), and incite a constitutional crisis. Won’t that be fun?
Anyway, that set the tone for the inauguration of the Golden Golem, a ghastly adversarial spectacle. Never in my memory, going back to JFK in 1960, was there such a bad vibe at this solemn transfer of power as with the sight of all those Deep State dignitaries gathering gloomily on the Capitol portico to witness the unthinkable. From the sour scowl on her face, I thought Hillary might leap up and attempt to garrote the GGG with a high-C piano wire right there on rostrum. The “greatest crowd ever” at an inauguration, as the new president saw it, looked pathetically sparse to other observers. The deed got done.
Five days later, the Dow Jones stock index hit the 20,000 mark and began a year-long run like no other in history: 50 all-time-highs, and a surge of 5000 points by year’s end, with 12 solid “winning” months of uptick. You’d think that would make a few thoughtful economists nervous, but there are no thoughtful economists left anywhere around the mainstream media, so this epochal bull market just received polite golf-claps at every new record. Apparently, the concept of financial risk had been bundled in a lead-lined box, flown 12,000 miles away from Wall Street in a Lockheed AC-130 military transport plane to some lonely valley of Turkmenistan, and buried under the shifting sands by local tribesmen sympathetic to America’s noble aims in the region.
Oh, and in the first months of the year, Mr. Trump announced it was “game on” once again in Afghanistan. Now there’s a place that ought to be the poster-child for America “winning” (not). Operations in that “Graveyard of Empires” are going on — what? — fourteen years now? Can one out of ten thousand Americans name a single battle that took place in this now-longest-running war in US history? Me neither. But, by the way, that’s what we’re doing in nearby Turkmenistan, in case you wondering.
The dog days of mid-summer were made grimmer by the riots in Charlottesville between a ragtag white supremacist corps and a battalion of Antifa warriors. One dead, which is a pretty low casualty number by US national standards for public mayhem. Statues of Confederate heroes came down all over Dixieland, and a few were ignominiously ushered out of Statuary Hall in the US Capitol under cover-of-night. It looked for a while there like some of the Founding Fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Madison, et al — were going to get the bum’s rush, too, for once owning slaves. But that hysteria died down and is now pretty much forgotten — to be replaced by new hysterias!
Fall kicked off a round of hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico like nothing we’d ever seen before — a long train-wreck of storms that nearly drowned Houston, put several Caribbean islands out-of-business for years to come, and climaxed with the near-total destruction of Puerto Rico, where, months later about 40 percent of the island’s electricity is still off and the news media has lost interest in the story. Feliz Navidad, everybody! 2017 was the year that Cable News went All Opinion 24/7. The News channels no longer employ reporters out in the field. Every night now, they just “go to our panel.” Is it any wonder the public is so clueless?
Another story that dropped into the memory hole was the Mandalay Hotel massacre in Las Vegas. Fifty-eight killed by a mysterious gunman and 546 injured, a US record for civilian mass murder. All kinds of lingering loose ends dangle from that one, including the motives of the solitary, rather wealthy identified shooter, Stephen Paddock. The number of lawyers for the victims in that case may exceed the number of active players in the NFL.
Speaking of which, “the knee” is still an ongoing ritual, after a great deal of national kerfuffling inspired by tweets emanating from Golden Golem Central. For the record, I don’t give a fuck about it, nor generally for the NFL, since I think the days of professional mega-sports are numbered in this land. I will be happy when my little town in upstate New York has its own softball league.
Oh, there was a bit of good news this year: Russia Russia Russia (with the wicked Vlad Putin at its helm) managed to put an end to the Syrian civil war, without a whole lot of help from the US-Truly, which has been sending arms to various ISIS clans for years, even though they were our reviled enemy. What you have to admire in this case was how clear-cut the situation actually was without us muddying and bloodying it up — namely, who needs another failed state in the Middle East? (Apparently we do.)
2017 slid down the autumnal chute with a lively witch hunt for sexual predators and abusers in public life. Much as some of them might have deserved censure and perhaps prosecution, it was kind of sad to see their talents stuffed down the memory hole, most of all poor old Garrison Keillor, a truly great American who didn’t have to be vilified for petting some lady on her back, did he? I don’t think the story is over. I suspect an army of lawyers is at work in these cases behind the scenes and there will be a second act in 2018.
Surely I left out quite a bit of the action from the year now passing. Forgive me. I will be busy preparing the perhaps more interesting forecast for the year to come, while you citizens of Clusterfuck Nation gather around your hearths (or flat screen TVs) in the dark nights ahead, waiting for the Sainted Nicholas to bring your tax cuts, and sugar plums for the little ones. I’ll be back here on the morning of the Day-of-Days, preceding my annual journey to dim sum in the quaint old Dutch town that is New York State’s capital. Merry Christmas to all!
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
“I came to my early acquaintance with the Bible in company of my first readings of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Bullfinch’s Mythology, but as an unbaptized child raised in a family unaffiliated with the teachings of a church, I missed the explanation as to why the stories of Moses and Jesus were to be taken as true while those about Apollo and Rumpelstiltskin were not.”
— Lewis H. Lapham, “Mandates of Heaven”, Lapham’s Quarterly: Religion (Winter 2010)
THE MENDOCINO COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION meeting Agenda for January 4, 2018, is posted on the department website at:
Please contact staff with any questions
Commission Services Supervisor
I predicted years ago that mountain bikers would find their true political allies in the Republican party. After all, they both share the same attitude towards nature and those who appreciate nature.
Sure enough, Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, has proposed allowing mountain bikes in national wilderness areas.
Get ready for countless trails and jumps and stunts along the John Muir Trail!
Carlo V. Gardin
WHAT’S UP WITH THE COXES (Eyes Only, Anderson Valley)
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year From The Coxes!
by Kathy & Jerry Cox
Best wishes to family and friends where ever you are for a blessed Christmas season and a fulfillin’ New year of 2018. We are hoping to get this out to you all in time for the Babe of Bethlehem's arrival. Lots of exciting things have happened in 2017.
First: We have moved from our forest covered home in Navarro, which some of you have visited, and have settled into the town of Boonville. Yes there is such a place! We rented out our house and are renting a 3-bedroom home from our friend Ron Verdier, a local architect who lives adjacent in a small house. Our house sits in back of a small vineyard and the faraway hills of our Anderson Valley. The great advantage of our move is that we are 5 minutes to town for grocery shopping and local restaurants compared to a 30 minute drive from and to Navarro. Our new address and phone are included at the end of this letter. Hope this reaches you before you contact our old address.
KATHY: Still “Ms. Activity” as a Board Member of the Anderson Valley Health Center. She's been successful in recruiting several very active people to the Board. She is dedicated to the organization, attending Board and Committee meetings. Two nights weekly she teaches an English As A Second Language at our nearby Adult School which is 5 minutes from the house, another bonus of our move. She walks daily with lady friends, shares novels with her book group, and still cooks up succulent meals.
JERRY: Physical activity somewhat curtailed, gets around with a walker, but spends most of his time working on his memoirs “Shamrocks and Salsa,” based on his Irish ancestry and his Mexican activism. He keeps in touch with a few friends, still tells jokes, and recently did a comedy show at a local cafe with young Sam O'Brien, a longtime friend. May will bring him to his 93rd birthday. He's usually happy and interested in world events.
THE ROCHAS: Rebekah is Principal of a dual language immersion charter school in Santa Rosa, the Cesar Chavez Learning Academy where she's having a good year. Jose is presently Maintenence Supervisor at Manley Auto, Santa Rosa. He still maintains his passion for fishing. Both of them stay in shape with bike riding and trips to the gym. Son Jerry now 12 is into Technology and would be happy to spend his life in front of a computer. GiGi, now 9, receives a lot of therapy, has a part time Special Day teacher as well as spending a half day in a regular classroom. Mercy now 8, is a whirling dervish in her speech and activities such as gymnastics, riding her bike, talking to MiMi (Kathy) endlessly on the phone and mothering her dolls.
MARY ANN & BOYS: Mary Ann is now a thriving Health Coach as well as a Birth professional and mom of two active boys, Cadence 13 and Milo 9. Two years ago she launched her own business, The Driven Soul, www.thedrivensoul.com. She has also become a Health Coach for Purium, a health food and nutrition company used with clients to increase energy or lose weight. Jerry can vouch for the product which gave him boosted energy. Cadence, now a Jr. High student, went to his first dance, joined a football team that is supposed to go to a national playoff in Ohio. However, he recently suffered a hip injury. Milo is a smiley guy, also into football, sports, and the fourth grade.
Our families are planning a two day jaunt to Monterrey with a stop at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
So, we all send you our best wishes for a blessed Christmas season and a Happy New Year
Yes, "jaw-dropper" is an appropriate term.
GARBERVILLE OPENS A PUBLIC BATHROOM, an on-line comment: "The town square board of directors have failed and continue to fail our community regarding ensuring that our Town Square be a safe and healthy place for community members to go and enjoy our town and square. They have basically thrown up their hands and admitted that they can’t monitor the square to properly ensure a “safe” space free of violence and hard drug use. I and some of my other family members have been threatened with sexual violence on more than one occasion by just walking by there. This is NOT a safe space, esp. for women and children. This has been an ongoing problem at the square for several years now, where on any given day, there are between 5-15 men congregating. Many doing hard drugs and drinking and then becoming violent, and also discarding their dirty needles. The bathroom idea is noble, but unless the ongoing problems at the square are properly dealt with and extinguished , the bathroom is going to only make things worse there. What are Jim Truitt and Dennis Bourassa and Peg Anderson going to do to ensure a safe space again for our square? Yeah, that’s what I thought… Nothing, just more enabling."
DEFENSIVE BOULDERS ARRIVE AT A CLEARED SF HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT
by Julian Mark
The San Francisco Department of Public Works has installed $8,700 worth of boulders as a defense against homeless “re-encampment” underneath the tangle of freeway overpasses at Cesar Chavez and Potrero Avenue known as the Hairball.
More boulders are on their way.
“We put them in there to help deter re-encampment a bit and for aesthetics, just to change it up,” said Larry Stringer, deputy director of operations at Public Works.
In November, the city cleared a sprawling encampment at the Hairball that had persisted there for years. At present, only a few homeless residents remain under the overpass, while others have moved to surrounding sidewalks.
“It’s more cost-effective than what we were doing,” Stringer said, referring to the weekly cleanups Public Works performed before the encampment was cleared. “We were doing cleanups three or four times a week to keep garbage out.”
Public Works will continue to install the boulders over the next month, Stringer said.
“That is just typical anti-homeless landscaping,” said Kelley Cutler of the Coalition on Homelessness about the boulders.
She compared them to the highly criticized “anti-homeless” spikes that were being installed throughout London. “This is simply the same thing, but with boulders,” Cutler said.
In July, redesign plans for the San Francisco Library’s Castro branch faced criticism for employing “defensive design,” which included hard rocks, spiky plants, and metal railings on the library’s exterior.
After a homeless encampment was removed in 2013 under Interstate 280 freeway near the downtown Caltrain station, Caltrans installed $300,000 worth of fencing to keep campers from moving back.
Walking through the Hairball recently, it became clear that some of the boulders were placed strategically, while others were clustered in certain areas, leaving plenty of room for people to occupy.
Stringer said that boulders are now being “stockpiled” in certain areas and will be relocated throughout the property.
Robin Walter, who has been sleeping in a tent at the Hairball, said she noticed the Public Works crews start installing the boulders two and half weeks ago.
“It’s stupid,” she said. “You could still put something there, and two of us could easily move them.”
Stringer said there are no penalties for tampering with the boulders, but California Highway Patrol — who has jurisdiction over the Caltrans-owned land — could issue citations for trespassing on the property.
"MASTERING THE MOLTEN" artists' slide presentation--Jan. 6 at Grace Hudson
On January 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Grace Hudson Museum Public Room, glass artists Erika Kohr Island and Yorgen Kvinsland will give illustrated talks and discuss their work and processes on display in the Museum's current exhibit, "Mastering the Molten: Mendocino County Art Glass." The event is free with Museum admission.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. General admission is $4; $10 per family; $3 for students and seniors; free to all on the first Friday of the month; and always free to members. For more information please go to www.gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
I'LL BE A HOFFA MAN 'til the day they pat my face with a shovel and steal my cufflinks.
— Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran, labor organizer, enforcer
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO TONIGHT!
Another opportunity for you to shine.
Live on KNYO (and KMEC). If you want to talk about your project or read aloud your writing in person, or bring your instrument(s) and/or fellow instrumentalists and play a short set, or celebrate your imaginary ethnicity's fanciful ancient gods or psychedelic salamanders or spiritual massage-cheesecake recipe (BYOC), you can drop by 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar, after 9pm and just wade in. Head for the lighted room at the back and clear your throat or clap your hands or something.
The heater will be on -- not the quiet, ineffectual, passive-aggressive one but the hot, pushy one that sounds like a dog-size bee trapped in a filing cabinet. You will not be cold, don't you worry about that. And there will be pickles and crackers. They're already in my gym bag by the door, left over from last time, so they're just about perfect by now.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org or if that doesn't work for you try http://TuneIn.com and look up KNYO-LP.
Furthermore, you can have your own whole show on KNYO. Contact Bob Young: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you want it; you'll be on your way to the top so fast you'll get dizzy from the rush. It's easy and fun. And it's your right. Also, p.s., the deadline to email your writing to be read on MOTA is always about 5 or 6pm the night of the show, no matter where I'm doing the show from. So you have plenty of time to get that together for tonight. Meaning, just paste it into an email and press send.