- Plaqued Off
- BOS Salary
- Offshore Again
- Remembering MLK
- Missile Alarm
- Jail Mail
- Sako Files
- Second Opinion
- Little Dog
- Sayonara Snowplow
- Yesterday's Catch
- Shithead Culture
- Climate Changing
- Relinquishing Willits
- Ugly Mess
- Blue Stupidity
- Ominous Inklings
- Hating Haiti
- Library Events
- The Worst
- Marco Radio
FULL HOUSE FOR JEN OWENS
by Rex Gressett
At last Monday’s City Council meeting the old Town Hall was full but not packed. There is something strangely comforting in high ceilings and the good light of a intentionally civil place, something a little grand about the legal protections of public process we had come to see. In the gentle rain it was at least a little bit good, after everything, just to be in America. To have a chance.
As I looked around Town Hall, I thought that with a little practice one could gauge quite accurately the urgency of the agenda just by observing the composition of the audience. On Big Issue nights the hall splits down the middle of the aisle. On Little Issue nights there are smaller groups of folks who one way or another look like each other and sit in solidarity while they wait for their issue to come up.
I could not figure one such group. Oddly diverse, it turned out they had come to cheerlead for the West Corporation. As the evening wore on we were allowed to watch the City Council express its gratitude and get it back from a selection of agencies and groups that had received their CBDG (federal Community Development Block Grant) funding by the enterprise of Jennifer Owens.
Monday night was an in-your-face demonstration of behind the scenes Linda Ruffing power. She was making a statement, not very subtly, and since the door is about to hit her in the butt she knew she could afford it.
They gave Jennifer Owens a plaque. In case any one does not know, Jennifer Owens is our master of CBDG federal grant money. She gets federal bucks like a pure bred hound dog gets squirrels. When outgoing long term City Manager Linda Ruffing got fired, Jen Owens declined to work for "those people," i.e., the people who had engineered Ms. Ruffing’s departure. This was the unavoidable formal goodbye. As Mayor Lindy Peters gave her the plaque, they looked like the king and queen of the prom who just can’t stand each other, Jennifer Owens virtually recoiled under the stooping but still towering Lindy Peters as he deadpanned appreciation, handed her the plaque and said a fond goodbye in his heart to what he really believes is the beating principle of civic solvency.
Jacob Patterson is a very smart young highly motivated attorney who has been shaking things up since his arrival in town. He remarked quietly to me how careful the council was in the observance of every protocol. It was very true, a little scary and completely unusual. The City Council and their handlers from the administration were all on their most disciplined and careful best behavior. The imposition of volatile public awareness and the crashing crisis that faces the city on several inescapable fronts has greatly focused their attention to their jobs.
Monday night there was even more reason for the council to be politic and proper. Any hint of resentment would be a bald confession of panic. The Jennifer Owens backstory was bloody with implication, betrayal and bad faith. This was the discredited money machine telling the people of the city and the City Council to take their misogynist selves down the road and kiss off.
When the City Manager walked unsuspectingly into closed session a couple of months ago with the expectation of wrapping up her pay-raise she was summarily fired. That ended 20 years of total domination and often arbitrary, irrational and irresponsible control of city finances.
It was a shock but not a real surprise since the City Council had done some serious promising to the electorate to dump the City Manager ASAP. The actual precipitating event had been a surprise $3 million blunder that a newbie, replacement, reformist, therefore despised City Council got stuck with paying back. The $3 million got spent out of the General Fund but originated in the Water Enterprise. Big no no.
Ruffing called it a bookkeeping error and forgot it. When they canned her in closed session the City Council and the City Manager agreed on one thing. The natural earthquake was big enough. At all costs they would conceal the details behind a wall of secrecy. Smiling Mayor Lindy Peters in particular clings with strained desperation to the fig leaf that Linda Ruffing "just" retired.
In reality, the resulting political shock waves mock his solicitous moderation. Charges of misogyny and worse have been wailed to the high heavens of the ranks of the Linda Ruffing elite. Jen Owens is real nice but she felt she had to tell the City Council, Hell no, I won’t work for those people.
Owens was the indispensable person in a carefully and beautifully contrived tap line into the mystical ocean of Federal dollars. Humans will do and endure much to enter into that storied realm. In Fort Bragg we sold our souls. In doing that singularly impressive thing of getting real money, Jennifer Owens made the grant getters into a special city agency entrusted with the super-special mission of getting us cash. Linda Ruffing and Marie Jones are the city administrators above any oversight. They provided the numbers that confirmed and continued the community’s disadvantaged status. For decades the Development Department stifled any enterprise that reared its head, on the principle that federal dollars made general poverty more profitable for our little city, more than any single project possibly could be. In these later days the Development counter folks are much chastened but people remember.
Under the Ruffing/Owens regime federal economic disadvantaged status became the foundation of our civic solvency. The grant givers were a little coy about how they did it. According to the myth there is a discipline of calculation which is rarely mastered. Jennifer Owens has become our very own master. Lindy Peters makes occasional reference to Jennifer’s master status as a "state expert." Certainly she is an insider. Perhaps he means that when the state becomes confused by their own complexities they go to Jen Owens? The underlying epistemology is that grant writing is essentially technical, so technical it becomes mystical. They had to account for our invariable CBDG success somehow. Unfortunately, grant writing is not particularly technical. What ever grant writing is, grant getting is actually entirely personal.
It’s about connections. Individual relationships. Grants are given to the pals and the associates and the buddies of other people who inhabit the grant universe. The intrigues of grant money distribution are roughly the same as any underground semi-lawless black market. I remember very well when Bob Merrill, an official funding bigwig (and Owens’s guy at CDBG) got his tail caught in the considerable crossfire of Fort Bragg controversy, braving accusation, outrage, disbelief and community wrath when the feds swallowed whole a ludicrously lopsided tax dodge for $2 million married to a $1 million dollar forgivable loan from the city. It was a disaster for the city and a test of loyalty for CBDG. Together Jen Owens and Bob Merrill held the fort against nuclear force community outrage. Ms. Owens rammed the money down the throat of the community against all logic and decency and every principle of administrative responsibility. We have never been the same.
When Jen Owens takes wing, sure fire annual CBDG money almost certainly goes with her. I am sure they will try not to be too obvious about it. As she took her departure everybody on the council had nice things to say and sat back to watch the bicycle program and all the beneficiaries of the West Company make declarations of loyalty and give assurances that they were both spending the money and doing good. All praise to CDBG. The West Company proudly estimated that for their millions they had (perhaps) created 35 jobs in Fort Bragg. I doubt it. As I understand it the businesses they mentored were less businesses than one-person aspirations. I am sure someone will give them all plaques as soon as they think of it.
JUDGING BY Google’s “predictions” (based on frequency) “Mendocino County Board of Supervisors” salary increase has drawn a lot of attention lately:
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING PLAN REVIVES LONGTIME BATTLE OVER CALIFORNIA COAST
Reviving a half-century battle over offshore oil drilling in California, the Trump administration’s blanket approach to a bedrock environmental issue has put a bulwark against oil wells off the North Coast in jeopardy.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s proposal to sell oil and natural gas development rights in every ocean that touches the United States includes Sonoma and Mendocino county waters — a coastal region that has just 5 percent of the nation’s untapped offshore oil reserves.
The plan to open 90 percent of the country’s 1.7 billion offshore acres to oil exploration and drilling aroused widespread opposition from governors, senators, state and local officials and environmentalists, who became increasingly angry after Zinke this week exempted Florida from the plan for what appeared to be a political consideration.
PETS OF THE WEEK
Pam is a lovely dog with very good manners. The minute Pam got into the play yard, she spied the tennis ball! Pam LOVES to play fetch, and she will get the ball and drop it at your feet. If you're not responding, she'll nudge the ball a bit closer to you--just to let you know she's ready and waiting. Pam is a 3 year old, spayed female, mixed breed dog. Pam is a svelte 52 pounds. Pam has tested positive for heartworm and has had her heartworm treatment. If she is not adopted soon, we are looking for a temporary foster home so that she can recover from treatment in a home environment instead of here at the Shelter. Please contact the Shelter at 707-467-6453 if you can foster this great dog.
Sweet Marilyn is a 1 year old, spayed female, white and black cat. Marilyn has unique markings, beautiful yellow eyes and is as soft as a bunny. What a great cuddle buddy she will be to her new family! Marilyn came to us as a "stray" cat but with her affectionate personality it's obvious she has been someone's pet. Marilyn currently lives in the lobby of the Shelter so if you find yourself in the neighborhood make sure you stop by her condo and say hi!
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday till 6:30 pm. To view photos and bios of our adoptable dogs and cats, please us visit online at www.mendoanimalshelter.com or visit the shelter. Join us the 2nd Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for some exercise! For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
EVERY YEAR, as Martin Luther King's birthday approaches, and rote ceremonies in his honor commence amid unraveling deteriorating economic and social relations, the man himself is lost. He's as remote now as the turbulent 1960s he helped define.
NOT TO BE TOO much of a geezer about it, but I was there, a foot soldier on the left when King was besieged from all directions, denounced practically on a daily basis in the media of the 1960s, and written off by the left for his non-violent strategies and ridiculed for his Christianity. The media routinely denounced King as an all-round subversive, if not a communist, a com-symp, and was moving "too fast" in his aggressive opposition to segregation.
KING was among the very bravest figures of those low times, beginning every day without police protection for himself and his family, not knowing if he or his wife and children would survive the day. These latter day celebrations of King's life are kumbaya affairs locally organized by… Well, let's say they're organized by people whose psychic violence could easily illuminate Fort Bragg for a year and leave them with their contradictions.
THE LAST TIME I sat in on a local school presentation, King was memorialized by what amounted to a luke warm muck of rainbows and unicorns.
THE DAY AFTER KING was murdered, I was leafletting for a protest rally on Market Street when a young guy walked up and started screaming vile insults about how happy he was that King was dead. I thought I was going to have to fight the great white knight before he walked away. That guy was the only negative on the whole day. Everyone else who took a leaflet or stopped to talk was sympathetic and shocked at King's murder. But I still remember that one encounter as emblematic of '68, and hadn't experienced anything like it until these Tiki Torch clowns emboldened by the Trump election.
SAN FRANCISCO back in the day was not at all the liberal bastion it has since become. Sort of. The City was strictly, militantly segregated up through the 1970s, and the cops routinely busted gay bars just for the hell of it.
I HAVE VIVID MEMORIES of the assassination of Martin Luther King. My daughter had just been born at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. Her delivery doctor was barefoot and wore a flower behind his ear. I remember feeling that I should probably check his credentials. I was driving a cab, writing bad poetry and working to overthrow the government for all the reasons King himself perfectly articulated — the insane war on Vietnam at the expense of home front spending. My brother had just gotten out of the federal penitentiary at Lompoc for refusing to register for the draft. He was the first guy in the state to refuse to register and had been packed off in '64. Just as he was leaving prison, my cousin, sentenced out of Arizona, was arriving at Lompoc on the same charges that had locked up my brother. Cousin Jim was the first guy in Arizona to get prison time for refusing to register. Years later, as a public defender here in Mendo, DA Massini always referred to him as "The Felon."
I WAS WATCHING the news when the announcements that King had been shot began. Later that night, Yellow Cab Dispatch warned us to stay out of Hunter's Point and the Fillmore District because men were shooting at cab toplights. I tried to find confirmation that this was true but never did. No driver I knew had had it happen to him. But it was a bad time generally in San Francisco with lots of violent street crime and hard drugs mowing down acres of flower children, hastening the “back-to-the-land” movement that would form the Mendocino County we see around us today.
I HAD A WIFE and two small children and no money. But cab driving, in the San Francisco of 1968, could pay the bills out of the cash it generated, and I "managed" the slum apartment building we lived in at 925 Sacramento at the mouth of the Stockton Tunnel, perhaps the noisiest residential neighborhood in the world, with horns honking and idiot shrieks emanating from the tunnel's echo chamber round-the-clock.
I GOT A FREE apartment in return for my management, which consisted of doing absolutely nothing because rents were mailed directly to Coldwell Banker. The Nude Girl On A Swing was our immediate neighbor. She sailed out of the ceiling naked every night at a North Beach nightclub over a sea of upturned drunken faces. Her act was a big draw. She was also a junkie whose dope head boyfriend threatened to kill me one night when I stopped him from beating her up. We headed north, too, soon after, but not "back to the land," just out of the city and, purely by accident, landed in Boonville.
FOR THE minority of my fellow citizens still able to focus on anything longer than a Dr. Phil segment or a tweet, Marshall Frady's King bio in the Penguin edition comes with the twin virtues of truth and brevity.
HERE'S AN MLK EXCERPT you are unlikely to hear repeated at the occasions memorializing him:
I should make it clear that while I have tried to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor. Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours. There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy — and laymen — concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
— Martin Luther King Jr., April 1967
FALSE BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT ALERT TERRIFIED HAWAIIAN RESIDENTS AND VISITORS THIS MORNING
by Kym Kemp
Alert message that many people received by phone superimposed on an image of Hawaii’s shoreline. [Background photo by incidencematrix – Shoreline via Wiki Commons.]
At approximately 8:05 a.m. HST and 10:05 a.m PST, the Hawaii Emergency Broadcast system sent a message to phones and across television/radio stations warning, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The warning was later learned to be a false alert but residents and visitors panicked.
Michael Godinez, a Mendocino County resident on vacation in Hawaii, said he immediately tried to gather supplies through what he described as “general panic.” Responding through Facebook Messenger he told us he went
…to the nearest store (where they were closing because of it) grabbed 5 gallons of water, non perishables, and lots of tequila, threw the lady $100 and tried my best to find a gas station that wasn’t locking up and seeking shelter themselves.
Called my loved ones.
Chris Strider, a video editor, captured what people in Hawaii saw on their tv screens and sent it out in the tweet embedded below.
It took approximately 15 minutes for the first official reports that the alert was not accurate and almost 40 minutes for the same system that sent the alert to send out a message that the prior report was inaccurate, according to Hawaii News Now.
Godinez said that while he thought his fishing trip vacation was “memorable before…I’ll never forget [now].”
* * *
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!
The Humboldt County Correctional Facility is changing its policy on inmate mail in an effort to increase safety and security by deterring the introduction of contraband in the facility.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2018, the Correctional Facility will only be accepting incoming mail that is written on plain/lined white paper or postcards. The facility will no longer be accepting greeting cards, letters on colored paper, or letters on cardstock paper.
Any mail received that is not on white plain/lined paper will be returned to the sender with a notification for the return. Inmates may still continue to receive pictures that are no larger than 5”x7”.
It's official: Today (January 12, 2018) I filed the California Form 501 and declared my candidacy for the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, District 1, in 2018.
Assistant Clerk Recorder/Registrar of Voters, Katrina Bartolomie, kindly assisted me.
John Sakowicz, Ukiah
OUTBREAK: THE HEARTBREAK OF PSORIASIS
by Paul Modic
This winter of my discontent reminds me of my last health crisis about seven years ago when the scourge of psoriasis inhabited me. I had to take oatmeal baths twice a day to combat the itch and wear gloves and socks to bed so I wouldn't scratch myself bloody at night. I walked around town 70% covered in my short sleeves and shorts eliciting looks of surprise, disgust, and sympathy and I didn't care. I had a tense look of dis-ease and stress on my face at all times and felt weak and helpless. When friends urged me to see a doctor I said why bother, it's incurable. I finally looked online but just to see what famous people had it: Tom Waits, Art Garfunkle, John Updike, some beautiful model, and others. I found various moisturizers, tried some of them and got temporary relief. I looked up causes of psoriasis flareups and alcohol came up often. I remembered that two weeks before I had gotten so drunk I found myself with a compact naked co-ed sprawled across my lap in a strip club in Eugene after a night of carousing with a friend.
I finally decided to see the top skin doc at UC Davis. She wanted me to take harsh drugs for the rest of my life, Methotrexate or Humira — there was a 40% chance it would help me a lot within four months. It would cost $25,000 a year and I would have to have an annual liver biopsy and inject myself twice a month, one side effect was lymphoma. My first thought was no way, that is not me, but then I went home and thought about it, wondering if my insurance would cover it. It seemed like a horror show but what to do? Then I remembered the vegan dermatologist in Fortuna a friend had recommended, Dr. Jack Guccione — he and his wife worked as a team. I went in, he made me a vegan for six months, and prescribed sunning myself twice a week on my deck, twenty minutes each side. He gave me some skin cream to finish the deal. Two months later my skin cleared up and I never went back — seven years later I think I should stop by and say thanks doc.
(Lesson: Always go in and always get a second opinion.)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I tried my golden receiver joke on Skrag. Should have known better. ‘If you ever tell me a joke that bad again I'll jump your head with all four paws, nails in total claw mode’!"
SKIING HEAVENLY JANUARY 2018
by Anne Fashauer
We arrived in Tahoe last Sunday evening to begin our week skiing Heavenly. We are staying in a time-share type of place, so our room has a small living room, even smaller kitchen and a small bath. However, it’s perfect for our needs. Best of all, our resort includes parking near the Heavenly gondola, so all we have to do each morning is drive down and walk onto the gondola and begin our day skiing.
We skied Monday through Friday this past week and we had an assortment of weather. The week began with some rain and some snow and the skies were overcast. We could see the lake from the gondola but not well. Tuesday was a little more clear. Wednesday was sunny and pretty nice, but Thursday was terribly windy. The resort had to shut down due to the wind around 3pm, give or take. The visibility at the top was not good at all that day. Friday was just the opposite – gloriously sunny and stunningly beautiful.
My skiing breakthrough
I found the skiing conditions to be quite good for me; I can ski blue runs, so I’m a beginner-intermediate. Monday and Tuesday I spent getting reoriented to skis, snow and cold. I practiced what I could and Van tried to give me tips. I was still snowplowing, trying to get my skis parallel but to no avail. Then Tuesday afternoon something clicked; I watched another woman and saw how she swung her hips around – or for me, how to put my bum into it. I started moving my bum around and suddenly I wasn’t snow-plowing any more! All of the things my instructors had told me and what Van was trying to tell me made sense. Unfortunately, I was too tired to enjoy it much; I had sore legs from the day before and I had to rest.
Wednesday I continued to practice my new-found skills; an hour or so into the day a good friend joined us. He likes to coach and gave me two new drills to practice. This brought my skiing up another notch and suddenly I wasn’t feeling so tired any more. I was also moving faster (relatively) down the hill, again lessening my need to stop and rest. Van says I ski like I drive – I can’t pass up a rest stop. Ha ha, but true.
Thursday I continued to practice my new skills, despite the howling wind, until we were forced to quit by circumstances. Friday was fantastic, with the perfect weather; our friend joined us again and gave me some more tips, which really helped. I ended the day feeling the least tired of the whole week.
Eating and Drinking
Besides skiing, we’ve mostly been cooking at our little room. There are gas grills and we’ve had venison loin, venison burgers and spaghetti made with ground venison. We picked up some veggies and have enjoyed those plus big salads as well. We have shared two bottles of Champagne, celebrating my skiing improvements, plus we’ve had some Pinot and some Chardonnay along the way. Thanks to our friend, we found a cute bar/restaurant that makes delicious happy hour drinks. My favorite is the Cucumber Collins. In the evenings I have been taking advantage of the movie collection at the front desk and have been working my way through the X-Men series. It’s been a good week but I’ll be glad to be home again tomorrow.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 13, 2018
BONNIE AKIN, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery.
SERGIO CARDENAS, Redwood Valley. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery with serious injury.
MATTHEW DAUSMAN, Calpella. Domestic abuse.
MELISSA DAY, Ukiah. DUI.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
LEE PHILLIPS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Under influence.
MAYRA TORRES-NUNEZ, Point Arena. DUI.
WHO MOVED MY XANAX?
by James Kunstler
The moral panic of “the Resistance” is back in DefCon 1 mode overnight just as the righteousness orgasm of the Golden Globe Awards was wearing off. Mr. Trump’s casual question to a couple of Senators vis-à-vis immigration policy — “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” — pushed the “racism” button at Resistance Central and CNN staged yet another of the orchestrated anxiety attacks it has perfected over the past year.
The spotlight in this three-ring circus of perpetual offense, indignation, and alarm shifts back from the alleged sufferings of movie actresses to another intersectional victim group from the Dem/Prog pantheon of oppressed minorities: would-be immigrants-of-color. The President’s vulgar animus proves the charge that at least half the country is a lynch mob.
Of course, the most interesting feature of this neurotic zeitgeist is the displacement dynamic among the political Left as its frantic virtue-signaling attempts to distract everybody else in the room from its own dark and shameful emotions about the composition of American culture. As a born-and-bred Boomer (ex-) liberal from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, I can assure you from direct experience that this group has, at best, ambiguous feelings about the lower orders of mankind — my Gawd, did he actually say that? — and, at worst, a certain unmanageable contempt that stirs deep fears of moral failure.
Mr. Trump’s remark raises another interesting question that has not received much analysis amidst the latest panic: namely, how much of a “shithole” is our own country these days? I would avouch, contrary to the limp narrative of boom times, that the USA is visibly whirling around the drain in just about every way that matters.
Except for the centers of financialization — New York, Washington, San Francisco — most of our cities are hollowed-out wrecks, and visitors to San Francisco will tell you that the place is literally a shithole, from the army of homeless people who, by definition, have no bathrooms.
Our ghastly suburbs, where so many formerly middle-class Americans are now marooned in debt, despair, and civic alienation, have no prospects for serving as a plausible living arrangement anymore, and were so badly built in the first place that their journey to ruin is destined to be an epically short leap that will amaze historians of the future roasting ‘possums around their campfires.
All of the important activities in this land have been converted into odious rackets, by which I mean nakedly dishonest money-grubbing scams, especially the two sectors that used to be characterized by first, doing no harm (medicine), and seeking the truth (education). But everything else we do is infected by engineered falsehood and mendacity, including the news media, the law, banking, government, retail commerce, you name it. We’re living in a culture of pervasive control fraud, in which authorities set up looting and asset-stripping operations without any restraint.
There are certainly waves and cycles in history, and one them involves a society’s capacity for self-understanding. Sometimes, a culture is sturdy enough to permit a high level of collective self-awareness. And sometimes a culture is too flimsy or exhausted or sick to achieve even low levels of self-awareness. We are at a low point in the cycle, sunk in grievance fantasies and narcissism. The end result is we don’t know what we’re doing or why we’re doing it.
The immigration quandary remains, with its vexing questions. What if there isn’t enough of an American common culture left for anybody to assimilate into? Are we obliged to admit everyone in the world who wants to leave their own country? Do we care about how people get here, or how they behave once they are here? Does anything go, and nothing matter?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page:
CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE BACKYARD
On Tuesday morning, half an inch of water fell in nearby Montecito — half an inch in five minutes. Even in the best of conditions, this pace could cause flooding. But it wasn’t the best of conditions. Last month, we endured the largest wildfire in California history...
Records, by their nature, are not meant to be set annually. And yet that’s what is happening. The costliest year for natural disasters in the United States was 2017. One of the longest and most severe droughts in California history concluded for most parts of the state in 2017. The five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2006, with 2017 expected to be one of the warmest yet again...
For a long time, we assumed that climate policy was stalled because it was a problem for the future. Or it would affect other people. Poorer people. Animals. Ecosystems. We assumed those parts of the world were separate from us. That we were somehow insulated. I didn’t expect to see it in my own backyard so soon...
RELINQUISHING DOWNTOWN WILLITS
The first phase of the Willits Relinquishment project will launch on Sunday, January 21st. Thirteen trees will be removed on Main Street in advance of the sidewalk replacement project to begin late spring 2018. The tree work is being scheduled in advance of the bird nesting season as to not disrupt wildlife. The trees will be removed over two days with work taking place on two consecutive Sundays, January 21 and 28 to minimize disruption to businesses and motorists. Residents will notice tree stumps remaining for a period of time until the actual work on the sidewalk begins.
Caltrans worked collaboratively with the City of Willits in identifying the trees to be removed in advance of the sidewalk and utility phase of the project. Additionally a local nursery owner served on the tree identification team. The trees that were identified were those with structure or health problems sufficient to warrant removal with or without the relinquishment project.
Dusty Duley, Community Development Director for the City, said, “The removal of the trees is the initiation of the relinquishment project. We are working with Caltrans to ensure construction will assist in the implementation of the Willits Downtown Main Street program that the local residents and businesses worked so hard on to adopt”.
The Willits Rehabilitation and Relinquishment of Old Highway 101 project will bring the road into good repair and then turn it over the City of Willits and the County of Mendocino. Phase one work includes upgrading sidewalks and curbs to current accessibility standards, upgrades to existing drainage facilities, slurry seal, and restriping. Phase two includes grinding, paving and restriping the roadway.
Construction for Phase 1 is expected to begin in May of 2018 and will be completed by December of 2019. The schedule for Phase 2 is expected to begin in May of 2020 and end in July of 2020.
For more safety information and the latest updates like Caltrans District 1 on Facebook.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
You want a real shock to open your eyes to how bad the built environment in America is? Visit a western European country like France. There, the cities, towns, villages and countryside are beautiful, clean and to a human scale. It is obvious that they care about the environment people live, work and play in. There, planning and regulations on development for the good of the citizenry are not a dirty words and “developers” can’t just throw up whatever the hell they want for maximum personal return, society be damned. Returning to North America after that experience leaves one depressed for what an ungodly ugly mess our developments look and feel like. But don’t listen to me – The Economist magazine just named France “country of the year” for 2017.
“TRUMP IS A GREAT DISTRACTION,” Tom Wetzel writes – a “cover for elite interests: ‘if only there wasn’t some obviously racist clown in the white house everything would be cool’.” It’s a richly bipartisan wickedness. Droves of liberals and Democrats think that things were just great when the Neoliberal Drone King, Wall Street bailout champion, single-payer deep-sixer, Libya bomber, and offshore drilling and fracking fan Barack Obama was president. And that things would be just super if the Wall Street War Hawk and arch-elitist “Queen of Chaos” was back in the White House. You betchya! The orange-tinted Awful One has helped turn of untold millions of liberals into sputtering morons every bit as idiotic as some FOX News “deplorable” who thinks that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy. It’s a just a different, blue brand of stupid.
— Paul Street
THE WHITE CURSE [HAITI]
by Eduardo Galeano
On the first day of this year, freedom in this world turned 200. But no one noticed, or almost no one. A few days later, the country where this birth occurred, Haiti, found itself in the media spotlight, not for the anniversary of universal freedom but for the ouster of President Aristide.
Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery. However, the most widely read encyclopedias and almost all educational textbooks attribute this honorable deed to England. It is true that one fine day the empire that had been the champion in the slave trade changed its mind about it. But abolition in Britain took place in 1807, three years after the Haitian revolution, and it was so unconvincing that in 1832 Britain had to ban slavery again.
There is nothing new about this slight of Haiti. For two centuries it has suffered scorn and punishment. Thomas Jefferson, a slave owner and champion of liberty at the same time, warned that Haiti had created a bad example and argued it was necessary to "confine the plague to the island." His country heeded him. It was sixty years before the U.S. granted diplomatic recognition to this freest of nations. Meanwhile in Brazil disorder and violence came to be called "Haitianism." Slave owners there were saved from this fury until 1888 when Brazil abolished slavery - the last country in the world to do so.
And Haiti went back to being an invisible nation - until the next bloodbath. During its brief sojourn on TV screens and front pages earlier this year, the media showed confusion and violence and confirmed that Haitians were born to do evil well and do good badly. Since its revolution, Haiti has been capable only of mounting tragedies. Once a happy and prosperous colony, it is now the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Revolutions, certain specialists have concluded, lead straight to the abyss; others have suggested, if not stated outright, that the Haitian tendency to fratricide derives from its savage African heredity. The rule of the ancestors. The black curse that engenders crime and chaos. Of the white curse, nothing was said.
The French revolution had abolished slavery, but Napoleon revived it. "Which regime was most prosperous for the colonies?"
"The previous one."
"Then reinstate it."
To reinstate slavery in Haiti, France sent more than fifty shiploads of soldiers. The country's blacks rose up and defeated France and won national independence and freedom for the slaves. In 1804, they inherited a land that had been razed to grow sugarcane and a land consumed by the conflagrations of a fierce civil war. And they inherited "the French debt." France made Haiti pay dearly for the humiliation it inflicted on Napoleon Bonaparte. The newly born nation had to commit to pay a gigantic indemnification for the damage it had caused in winning its freedom. This expiation of the sin of freedom would cost Haiti 150 million gold francs.
The new country was born with a rope wrapped tightly around its neck: the equivalent of $21.7 billion in today's dollars, or forty-four times Haiti's current yearly budget.
In exchange for this fortune, France officially recognized the new nation. No other countries did so. Haiti was born condemned to solitude. Not even Simon Bolivar recognized Haiti, though he owed it everything. In 1816, it was Haiti that furnished Bolivar with boats, arms, and soldiers when he showed up on the island defeated and asking for shelter and help.
Haiti gave him everything with only one condition: that he free the slaves – an idea that had not occurred to him until then. The great man triumphed in his war of independence and showed his gratitude by sending a sword as a gift to Port-au-Prince. Of recognition he made no mention.
In 1915, the Marines landed in Haiti. They stayed nineteen years. The first thing they did was occupy the customs house and duty collection facilities. The occupying army suspended the salary of the Haitian president until he agreed to sign off on the liquidation of the Bank of the Nation, which became a branch of City Bank of New York. The president and other blacks were barred entry into the private hotels, restaurants, and clubs of the foreign occupying power. The occupiers didn't dare reestablish slavery, but they did impose forced labor for the building of public works. And they killed a lot of people. It wasn't easy to quell the fires of resistance.
The guerrilla chief, Charlemagne Peralte, was exhibited in the public square, crucified on a door to teach the people a lesson.
This civilizing mission ended in 1934. The occupiers withdrew, leaving a National Guard, which they had created, in their place to exterminate any possible trace of democracy. They did the same in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. A short time afterwards, Duvalier became the Haitian equivalent of Trujillo and Somoza.
And so, from dictator to dictator, from promise to betrayal, one misfortune followed another.
Aristide, the rebel priest, became president in 1991. He lasted a few months before the U.S. government helped to oust him, brought him to the United States, subjected him to Washington's treatment, and then sent him back a few years later, in the arms of Marines, to resume his post. Then once again, in 2004, the U.S. helped to remove him from power, and yet again there was killing. And yet again the Marines came back, as they always seem to, like the flu.
But the international experts are far more destructive than invading troops. Placed under strict orders from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Haiti obeyed every instruction, without cheating. The government paid what it was told to even if it meant there would be neither bread nor salt. Its credit was frozen despite the fact that the state had been dismantled and the subsidies and tariffs that had protected national production had been eliminated. Rice farmers, once the majority, soon became beggars or boat people. Many have ended in the depths of the Caribbean, and more are following them to the bottom, only these shipwreck victims aren't Cuban so their plight never makes the papers. Today Haiti imports its rice from the United States, where international experts, who are rather distracted people, forgot to prohibit tariffs and subsidies to protect national production.
On the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, there is a large sign that reads: Road to Ruin.
Down that road, everyone is a sculptor. Haitians have the habit of collecting tin cans and scrap metal that they cut and shape and hammer with old-world mastery, creating marvels that are sold in the street markets.
Haiti is a country that has been thrown away, as an eternal punishment of its dignity. There it lies, like scrap metal. It awaits the hands of its people.
(Eduardo Galeano, a Uruguayan journalist, is the author of "The Open Veins of Latin America," "Memory of Fire," and "Soccer in Sun and Shadow." This article is published with permission of IPS Columnist Service.)
Bibliotherapy Book Club for Teens (12-18) meets every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 4pm:
- January 16th
- February 20th
- March 20th
- April 17th
- May 15th
- June 19th
- July 17th
- Sept. 18th
- Oct. 16th
- Nov. 20th
- Dec. 18th
The Ukiah Branch Library has partnered with Tapestry Family Services and Project Sanctuary to create a new book club for teens: Bibliotherapy Book Club! Starting in January, the Bibliotherapy Book Club for Teens (12-18) will meet monthly & focus on a variety of "tough topics" including anxiety, depression, grief, sexual abuse & rape, racism, bullying, suicide, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, & issues surrounding gender identity - to name a few. Some titles we will read include:
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky (trauma, grief)
- Hyberbole and a Half, Allie Brosh (depression)
- Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher (suicide)
- Say What You Will, Cammie McGovern (OCD)
- Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell (sexual & physical abuse)
- Speak, Laurie Halse Andersen (rape)
Teens will be able to discuss tough topics in a safe environment with trusted librarians and counselors from Tapestry & Project Sanctuary, as well as receive assistance for service referrals if requested.
Advance registration is required. If you are interested in the program or want to find out more about the Bibliotherapy Book Club, please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org This book club is free and open to all interested teens.
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The Snow Queen Cometh
On Saturday, January 20th from 10-11:30, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is partnering with River Oak Charter School to host “The Snow Queen Cometh!” Join us for a puppet play, circle games, story-telling, a snow picture collage craft, and a sweet treat. All are welcome to attend this free, family-friendly event. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library and River Oak Charter School.
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LOBA: a Poetry Reading Series featuring Annette Makino!
(Open Mic follows) Saturday, January 20th at 3 pm
Join us for a reading & presentation by Annette Makino, artist and haiku poet! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.
Annette Makino combines joyful, vibrant paintings with original haiku and other words. She paints with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors using bamboo brushes. Much of Makino’s work is inspired by the Japanese tradition of haiga, artwork combined with haiku so the image and words deepen and enrich each other. She also draws on techniques of Japanese woodblock prints and etegami—hand-painted postcards combining words and images.
Raised by a Japanese father and a Swiss mother, Makino has lived in both Japan and Europe. She moved to Redwood Valley with her family when she was 15 and graduated from Ukiah High School in 1981. Since 1986, she has made her home in Arcata, where she lives on a redwood-covered hillside with her husband, two children and a dog.
Makino comes to her work with more than thirty years experience in writing and graphic design as a communications specialist for nonprofit organizations. She has a degree in international relations from Stanford University.
Publications: Makino’s work has appeared in the leading English-language haiku and haiga journals, including Frogpond, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, HaigaOnline, and DailyHaiga, among others. Her work has also appeared in several Red Moon anthologies of the best English-language haiku of the year and The Wonder Code by Scott Mason.
Awards and Shows: Makino’s poems have won awards in the Gerald Brady Senryu Contest, the Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest, and the the ukiaHaiku Festival's Jane Reichhold International Prize and Dori Anderson Award. In addition, a poem was shortlisted for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award for best haiku of the year.
Makino has exhibited her art around Northern California. Her work has shown at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, the Brenda Tuxford Gallery and the Redwood Art Association Gallery, all in Eureka; the Corner Gallery in Ukiah; and the Mateel Cooperative Art Gallery in Garberville, among other places.
Light refreshments will be served. For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or email@example.com
A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.
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Bitcoin: What’s It All About?
On Thursday, January 25th at 6 pm, Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Bitcoin: What’s it all about?
Bitcoin has taken the world by storm recently. Don’t know what it is? It is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Want to learn more? Come and join us for a conversation.
This event is sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Public Library and hosted by Justin Rhinehart. Contact us at 707-463-4490 with questions.
AFTER 15 PRESIDENTS, TRUMP IS THE WORST
I was born in the last year of President Herbert Hoover’s term. I have lived through 15 presidents, but I’ve seen and heard 14. The person we have in the White House now is by far to me to worst president out of the the ones I’ve heard and seen.
Why does he clap for himself? And who is he pointing at and giving a thumbs-up to in the audience, if there is anybody out there?
He is losing allies. He uses foul language, like when he addressed the Boy Scouts and on Thursday in reference to two countries we have immigrants from.
In my mind, I and everybody in the United States who isn’t American Indian is an immigrant — period.
This person has to vacate the White House.
LOOKING WEST FROM LIGHTNING RIDGE, WYOMING
MULLARD LUMINOUS PICTURE VALVE PRESENTS:
The recording of last night's (2017-01-12) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download for free and enjoy at any time of the day or night, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
You don't have to even go there, though, if you don't want to. Thanks to Hank Sims of Lost Coast Outpost you can listen to the show with one click: https://tinyurl.com/MOTA-KNYO-0263
But besides that, as usual also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while putting the show together. Such as:
Twenty-four new free goddess gifs from Nina Paley. Which one is your favorite? It’s so hard to choose.
How to dance all the new dances, including the graceful Watusi Wobble and the Franklyn's Throat-Soothing Cigarettes Waltz.
The Creature From The Lake.
President Biff. A little respect.
La fway! (That was its name. The pig's name.)
And /Cavalcade of Stars/ (Jerry Lester).