- Planning Capitulation
- Noyo Entrance
- Supe Races
- Little Dog
- Director Oversight
- Cat Burglar
- Mateel Woes
- Farm Report
- Maxstadt Guilty
- Yesterday's Catch
- Death Throes
- Native Language
- Symphony Concerts
- Obtuse Assemblyman
- Spill Baby
- County Vacancies
- Burnt Vehicles
- Gabo's Visit
- PA Agenda
- Socialist Hell
- Having Kids
- Marco Radio
OF DYSFUNCTION & DEMOLITION
G-P Dry Shed Goes Down
by Rex Gressett
It was a busy week at Town Hall last week. There was the Monday night City Council meeting and then a vital meeting of the Fort Bragg Planning Commission on Wednesday. The gang on the Planning Commission gave the Development Director’s anti-community agenda a nice push in the wrong direction by giving Georgia-Pacific the green light to tear down the last, potentially most important structure on the mill site.
The 75,000 square foot dry shed #4 was tossed aside casually in the teeth of startling new information. Wednesday night the Koch Brothers got the go ahead from the Fort Bragg Planning Commission for their grand vision of permanent toxic desolation. After twenty years the City of Fort Bragg is still carefully fenced off from a dangerous landscape that has the look of human contrived deserts everywhere. Wednesday night the Planning Commission got on board the Koch Brothers’ bandwagon and waved goodbye to their responsibilities to the community.
In what appeared to be a fit of resentful pique, the unelected Planning Commission declined to submit the future of the mill site to the elected City Council. Marie Jones, the rough riding Fort Bragg Development Director, charged with leading the Planning Commission by the nose, was gratified by their "bravery," she said, and perhaps even more by their naiveté, which she did not mention.
One did not get the sense that the Planning Commission was conscious of the significance of their decision. The Development Director did her utmost to keep the lid on tight. The Commission announced to the public that they were not professionally competent to grapple with or even understand the issue. So they did the easy thing and followed the Development Director like hungry puppies.
They were almost comically confused, humbly following their instructions, visibly resenting community input and ignoring new facts. The property rights of the $800 billion owners, the Kochs, over our mill site were vaguely referenced, but nobody was standing on principle, unless it was the principle of getting home to their Netflix. It was not government, not deliberation. It was a small group of lazy amateurs strolling down Marie Jones' garden path blindfolded.
In their capitulation to GP the Fort Bragg Planning Commission shot down the best hope of the city to attract visitors, I guess, because it was the easiest thing to do.
The 75,000 square foot dry shed #4, a community landmark for many years, is coming down unless somebody files an appeal to the City Council.
Across the city people watched the execution of dry shed #4, on community access television and threw up their hands that something with such glaring potential should be dismissed so casually because the Planning Commissioners themselves did not have the experience or imagination to do some rudimentary thinking. I got quite a few emails myself. "Save the dry shed" was the upshot.
The moment the public got to the podium for their mandated public comment, the Commission hunkered down and glowered while large gobs of new information came bubbling up. The new info should have stopped them dead in their tracks. It would have stopped any other responsible Planning Commission anywhere in California.
Mike Hart, Skunk Train CEO, had been conducting negotiations with GP "for years," but without bothering to inform the City Administration. The Skunk Train is a foundational Fort Bragg institution and the bedrock of our tourist economy.
Hart told the meeting that GP had some mysterious beef with the City of Fort Bragg. Years of negotiation between the Skunk and G-P had suddenly ground to a halt without explanation. The Koch Brothers had inexplicably gone silent.
The Skunk top dog was now appealing to the Planning Commission to salvage the Skunk's hope to expand operations onto the adjacent GP property. GP has some problem with the City, Hart lamented.
The bored and annoyed Planning Commissioners called him a flat out liar in not terribly politic terms. The Development Director, Marie Jones reassured the somewhat shaken Commission that Hart was incorrect. She had spoken with the head of the GP cleanup and he had told her that he personally had never heard of any Skunk Train proposal. She said she had not spoken to GP's real estate division that presumably would have known about the Skunk deal. Maybe, she mused, the left hand of GP did not know what the right hand of GP was doing. She, however, did not care and did not see any reason for the Planning Commission to care. Examining the situation was way above the pay-grade of the volunteer Planning Commission so they made the call to not care formally about the Skunk's hopes to expand their business.
An institution as crucial to the welfare of the city as the Skunk Train ought to be a key consideration of both the Council and the Commission. Instead the Skunk is weirdly out of the City's communications loop. These people are acting like telephones have not yet been invented. The negotiations between the Skunk and GP were kept quiet for years, Mr Hart said. Not smart definitely, not honest possibly, but a full understanding is now possible and intensely necessary. Somebody in civil government should reach out to the Skunk Train. Hello?
GP's problem with the city was a mystery to the Skunk's Mike Hart, and even more to the Planning Commission, but every reader of the AVA knows the score. When the AVA published information withheld by the mayor, that GP executives in Atlanta, in the person of a certain Taylor Champion, had declared unambiguously that a little toxic contamination was no problem to GP and no further cleanup of the highly contaminated mill ponds would be happening on their dime, shock waves rolled though the City. The shock waves went right down to the tracks and shook the negotiations between GP and the Skunk. Ultimately, they brought down the dry shed. Still reverberating, they ended forever the credibility of the Planning Commission, and took the discussion away from the City Council and the People. I would say GP is doing pretty well. Marie has it all wrapped up for them.
The Planning Commission does not read the AVA, neither does Mike Hart. Nobody had any idea that the city was facing a life and death showdown with the nation's second largest public holding company, let alone that GP has declared its new official policy is: Screw the city. For the Koch Brothers, $38 million is quite enough to invest in this particular piece of dirt. They say they've done all the clean-up they're going to do.
When GP pulled the plug in a letter to the mayor, Mayor Lindy kept it as quiet as possible. People in the city were mad. The reaction of the City Council was private panic and knee jerk in-transparency. They are working with DTSC (The state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control) but negotiations are being conducted behind the veil. The future use of the site is the heart and soul of that negotiation. GP wants nothing done on a site everybody knows is deadly. They are using massive pressure to make exactly nothing happen.
The boys in Atlanta must be laughing into their beer that the rubes at the Fort Bragg Planning Commission did not have the intelligence to talk to the City Council. Planning Commission responsibilities do not require it. They do the hour or so of the monthly meeting and let it slide.
Long term planning for the mill site could well be someone's responsibility but the Planning Commission does not know who that might be. The people of the city have annoyed Miklose, Bruchler, Hannon, and Swithenbank, with all this responsibility garbage. But it’s ok, toxic exposure is nothing new to Fort Bragg. GP is working hard and effectively to keep the site a vacant wasteland on the premise that where there is no future there need be no cleanup. Now they have their ticket.
NOYO HARBOR ENTRANCE IN THE RECENT STORM
(Photo by Dick Whetstone)
THREE SEATS are up on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Two of those seats, so far, are shaping up as real contests. But only John Sakowicz has signed up for the 1st District seat being vacated by Carre Brown. We can be sure, however, that Potter Valley's water welfare platoon will field a candidate much like Carre — fierce allegiance to County water "policy" as it is, with first dibs going to agriculture, i.e., grapes.
IF YOU CAME in late, real late, much of inland Mendo's water originates in the battered Eel River before it's diverted through a hand-dug, mile-long tunnel at Potter Valley — the work of Chinese labor early in the 20th century — and on into Lake Mendocino. Almost all the water stored in Lake Mendo is owned by Sonoma County who, in turn, uses some and sells the rest downstream to customers as far south as Sausalito. Sonoma County uses no water for domestic purposes from Lake Sonoma. When Supervisor Pinches tried to create interest in re-writing the deal with Sonoma County he couldn't get any support from his fellow Supervisors, although in any kind of fair water contract with Sonoma County, Mendocino County would be owed millions.
BUT the Chinese diversion tunnel, originally constructed to power a generator to illuminate Ukiah, and your basic anachronism for sixty years now, conveniently flows through Potter Valley whose noble sons of the soil have enjoyed virtually free water since the dawn of the 19th century. So much as a hint that the present water arrangements might be altered mobilizes inland ag to beat back even the discussion of such a possibility. Potter Valley, and its ag allies in Redwood Valley control the 1st District Supervisor seat. It will be interesting to see who they put up to replace water loyalist Carre Brown.
THE FIFTH DISTRICT RACE is getting crowded. Alan Rodier, 74, a resident of Russian River Estates, Ukiah, has lived in the County since 2007. Trained as a lawyer, he farms grapes and olives near Geyserville, while his wife, Margaret Rose, works with the Department of Rehabilitation in Ukiah. If wisdom comes with age, Rodier, a native of Australia, has a solid thirty years on previously announced candidates Chris Skyhawk and Ted Williams.
As does Candidate Arthur Juhl, 75, of Gualala, who was trained as a mechanical engineer and lawyer, formerly ran a recycling business and has owned a commercial real estate outfit. He reportedly also worked in his family’s fishing company in the late 50s and early 60s and was president and CEO of Oklahoma Energy in Oklahoma City from 1999 to 2016. According to his bio he’s lived in Gualala since 2000, although that overlaps with his tenure as CEO of Oklahoma Energy. (In addition, we can’t find any reference to any company named Oklahoma Energy or Arthur Juhl’s position there on-line.)
IN THE THIRD DISTRICT, Cyndee Logan, of Willits, widow of the popular public administrator, Gordon Logan, joins Laytonville rancher Johnny Pinches, Willits Spanish teacher John Haschak, Willits blacksmith Brian Kunka, Round Valley School Board trustee Tony Tucker and recreational candidate Pam Elizondo of Laytonville in the race to represent the North County and Covelo.
MS. LOGAN, 59, is well-known in the Willits area for her years of civic involvement. She presently works as the housing director for the Cahto Tribe in Laytonville but has mostly worked as a realtor.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I asked these guys if they would drive me over to Lake County to see the Lunch Box Museum in Nice. One of 'em says, ‘The what? Where? You're spending too much time in your igloo, L.D. Snap out of it’."
MENDO TOURISM COMMISSION LURCHES INTO DEFENSE MODE
Allegations against Mendocino County Tourism Commission executive director prompt emergency board meeting...
January 18, 2018 — Recent allegations levied against Mendocino County Tourism Commission Executive Director Alan Humason by Yolo County have prompted the MCTC board of directors to convene an emergency session Friday, Jan. 19 to discuss the situation and possible ramifications. Humason was hired following a long and thorough search via a professional placement agency. During that process, the firm conducted due diligence including completing a thorough reference and background check on the candidate. At this point, there is no indication of impropriety with Humason’s work or professionalism at MCTC and he has performed well as executive director, the MCTC stated. The MCTC board of directors does not take these allegations lightly and therefore will be limiting Humason’s financial access and oversight until the emergency board of directors’ meeting is held to determine his role with the organization and the Yolo County matter concludes. “We are all saddened by this news and are hopeful the matter will be resolved in a timely manner,” the board stated in a news release. Any inquiries/interviews should be directed to MCTC board Chairman John Kuhry at 707-684-4084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUSPECTED BURGLAR AT MENDO PET HOSPITAL FOUND CARRYING CAT DIARRHEA PILLS
It would have taken some fairly sophisticated burglary tools to get to the powerful opioids and expensive medications securely locked behind a wall safe at the Mendocino Coast Animal Hospital in Fort Bragg.
So when Elias Rutherford, 29, of Fort Bragg was caught coming out of the bushes on the south side of the one-story pet hospital shortly after 1 a.m. Friday, about all he came away with were over-the-counter drugs and a bottle of “cat diarrhea pills,” said Fort Bragg police.
Rutherford was arrested on suspicion of burglary after breaking into the hospital and going through drawers and cupboards, police said.
Rex Smith, who helps manage the hospital, said Rutherford took a bottle of Metronidazole, an antibiotic used primarily as an anti-diarrheal medication used to treat dietary distress in cats. “He broke in through the window, cut himself and was bleeding,” said Smith. “He just went through every drawer, every cupboard...at least he didn’t throw anything around.”
Smith, whose wife, Dr. Diane Perry, is the hospital’s veterinarian and owner, said Rutherford was most likely after narcotics, which are required by state law to be kept in locked units. He said the hospital’s safe contains such opioid pain medications as Tramadol, as well as Valium, a benzodiazepine class drug used as a sedative for dogs and cats.
But he said burglars would “have to have some major equipment” to get to the hospital’s controlled substances.
Police Lt. Charles Gilchrist said Rutherford was also in possession of various other anti-psychotic medications that had been prescribed to other people. He said it appeared Rutherford had obtained those medications elsewhere.
Gilchrist said it was unclear what Rutherford was after, but that the hospital appeared to be a “target of convenience.”
“Doctors’ offices are pretty easy targets because you know exactly what’s in there,” Gilchrist said.
Smith said the hospital’s security alarm company responded quickly to the break-in and the police arrived within minutes. Rutherford was arrested on suspicion of burglary and booked into Mendocino County Jail.
(Martin Espinoza, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
$40,000 PAYMENT DEMANDED FROM MATEEL BY JANUARY 18 OR NOT ONLY THE COMMUNITY CENTER BUT THE BOARD PRESIDENT WILL HAVE THEIR ASSETS ATTACHED, SAYS SYSCO
by Kelley Lincoln
The financial woes of the Mateel Community Center continued to escalate as the newly elected Board Members were seated at Tuesday’s meeting. During the Finance Committee Report, President Garth Epling told the Board that he and the Mateel are about to have their assets attached for the unpaid debt from Reggae on the River 2017. The Mateel has an unpaid bill of $30,000 with Sysco, a multinational food distribution corporation, for services in 2017. There is now an additional $10,000 in late penalties and collection fees. No legal costs are included in that sum yet.
On Tuesday, January 16, Epling received a demand for payment by Thursday, January 18th. Otherwise, the demand states, Sysco will begin legal action to attach the assets of both the Mateel Community Center and of Board Member Garth Epling "individually, solely and separately."
Epling’s liability arises out of a last minute refrigerated truck rental for Reggae on the River in 2014. The contract Epling signed “on the dusty hood of a truck in the pre-show chaos” contained a Promissory Note the company is using to hold Epling personally liable for bills incurred three years later.
Epling, upon receipt of this correspondence, did consult an attorney. Epling did not share the details of that consultation, but certainly, Epling did not appear to have been reassured by the information he received.
In the course of this conversation it was revealed that, despite the Mateel’s financial crisis having begun nearly five months ago, as of Tuesday night, the Board has not researched its options and opportunities as 501c3. At Tuesday’s Board Meeting, Board Members had no idea if Chapter 11 Bankruptcy was an option for non-profit corporations. Electee Helliwell informed the Board that Chapter 11 is, potentially, an option.
Board Member Dusty Hughston says the Mateel will suffer from an asset encumbrance by Sysco because it will reduce the Board of Directors’ ability to secure a loan.
Hopefully, in the nick of time, the Mateel received word earlier that very day, that the Humboldt Area Foundation (HAF) did award the Mateel $5,000 to use for financial planning consulting. In a conversation after the meeting adjourned, Board Member Meghan Gomes said HAF will help the Mateel set up a meeting with an appropriate financial advisor, and she hopes that process will move quickly.
Regarding Reggae, the Board reports it is currently in the third round of negotiations with a “partner” for Reggae on the River 2018. The Board was very reluctant to give details but did say if a contract is entered, the partner, and not the Mateel Community Center, will be the producer of Reggae on the River 2018. Hughston says an announcement will be made within the next three weeks or the show cannot happen.
The Mateel is currently planning to hold the Summer Arts and Music Festival in 2018. Business sponsorship for the event is rolling in. The Board intends to return to a more local incarnation of Summer Arts with plenty of local dance troupes, kids’ performances and tweener musicians. The Board says the focus will return to families and community and less on a party atmosphere as requested by the membership.
The Board determined its next step toward Summer Arts 2018 to be contacting unpaid vendors, updating them on the Mateel’s financial situation, and developing agreeable payment plans with them. After those conversations, the media and publicity campaign will begin. Although, when asked, the Events and Talent Committee does not seem to have appointed a person to coordinate booking talent and performances.
Fundraising outside of events is slow. The Rainmaker campaign has not produced much revenue and will soon be abandoned. The Membership form on the Mateel website has been updated and improved. It is now operated by Little Green Light.
The Board encouraged the Fundraising Committee to begin an emergency fundraising drive for the $40,000 to meet the unpaid Sysco bill.
Gomes says that community members have come forward to help with various fundraising campaigns. Nicole Divine has spearheaded auctioning redwood sculptures by Sacco. The larger than life-size sculptures have been on display in a silent bid display at various places around the community and will be returning to the Mateel soon. The auction will be completed at the February 14th at the Matisyahu performance.
Gomes also said community members had taken time with family for the holidays, but that she expects they will return to their efforts in supporting the Mateel’s direct fundraising efforts very soon.
The Mateel Meal was not on the agenda although when it was suspended, it had been scheduled to return in January.
The topic of transparency was on the agenda, but the Board discussed Confidentiality Agreements under that topic. They agreed on the need to get them signed because a Board Member has violated it, but hasn’t actually signed one.
When asked about transparency, the Board did determine that posting the Board’s agendas and minutes on the Mateel website will help the community feel more fully engaged with the Center. The Board determined that the minutes will be limited to the actions taken to minimize intrusiveness and “micro-combing of the notes.”
Also note, after elections last month, a new board was seated. The newly elected, and re-elected, Board Members are long time Mateel Member Bruce Champee, Steve Helliwell – a Financial Counselor with the Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt, and Dusty Hughston re-elected incumbent. The new Board Members were seated after the agenda proceeded to new business.
(Courtesy, Redheaded Blackbelt/Kymkemp.com)
LIFE ON A YORKVILLE FARM
Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report, December 2017
Hi friends...Hope you all had good holidays, forgot the world for awhile, had a good rest and rebuilt your reserves to carry on the resistance for another year.
The lack of rain in our neck of the woods, and all of California, is of huge concern as we reach the middle of January with only 10 inches of the formerly "normal" season average of 60 inches. If this keeps up we foresee a parched summer with more of our fruit trees at risk of borer beetle infestations and a searing heat killing fruit as it ripens. Ten years ago we grafted many of our own fruit trees so when the last drought killed eight and affected twelve we were in mourning. Since it takes at least three years for trees to fully recover from a drought, last year's epic rains, although wonderful, did little to help their recovery if the near future holds more drought. The valley has not had a fire in many years and that fear is now foremost given the recent experience of fires elsewhere in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties.
But we keep plugging away at what we believe to be one of the few things "real" in this world...growing and selling quality farmstead food. The creativity of the enterprise is a reinvigorating thrill every day. The farm itself is a treat for the senses and solving problems with animals, designing buildings, and collaborating over business decisions and direction keep our brains and bodies limber. The entire process is an education, an art, and a social life. We know we're connected beyond our fence line to a world which brings upsetting news on a daily basis, but it also brings us warm connections to people from every country.
We press onward into the new year seeking some happy resolutions.
Nikki Auschnitt and Steve Kreig, Yorkville
MAXSTADT FOUND GUILTY
Having adjourned to commence deliberations just before noon, a Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned to the courtroom just after 5 o’clock this afternoon to announce its verdict of guilty.
Defendant Ryan Joseph Maxstadt, age 28, of San Jose, was found guilty of the attempted murder of a California Highway Patrol officer, a felony committed in Willits on the night of December 20, 2016. The jury also found true special findings that the attempted murder was willful, deliberate and premeditated; that when the defendant made his attempt to kill he knew or should have known that the CHP officer was a peace officer performing his duties; and that during his attempt to kill the defendant personally and intentionally discharged his revolver at the officer.
What jury was not told during the course of this week’s trial was that defendant Maxstadt had already been convicted last August of assault with a firearm on a peace officer, a felony; personally using a firearm during the assault, a sentencing enhancement; recklessly evading a peace officer, a felony; being a felon in possession of a firearm, a felony; vehicle theft, a felony; and true findings that defendant Maxstadt has previously served two prior prison terms — setting the stage for this week’s retrial on that single count and associated special findings.
Once this week’s jury was thanked and excused, the defendant and all of his convictions were referred to the Adult Probation Department for a background study and sentencing recommendation. Defendant Maxstadt is not eligible for probation and any sentence imposed will be served in state prison. He remains in the Low Gap jail facility with a no bail hold.
The Court scheduled a future sentencing hearing for February 20, 2018 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department G of the Ukiah courthouse. Any person interested in the facts of this case, this defendant, and/or the sentencing outcome is welcome to attend that February sentencing hearing.
The prosecutor who handled the August trial, this week’s single count retrial, and who will appear to argue the People’s sentencing position in February is District Attorney David Eyster.
The law enforcement agencies who assisted in the investigation of the underlying crimes were the Ukiah Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, the Willits Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice crime laboratory, and the District Attorney’s own investigators. Additional technical forensic assistance and expert testimony was ably provided by Stutchman Forensic Laboratory in Napa.
The judge who presided over the August jury trial, this week’s five-day retrial, and who will be the sentencing judge on February 20th is Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge Ann Moorman.
* * *
Original Ukiah Police Department Press Release:
On 12/20/2016, at approximately 1935 hours, the Ukiah Police Department (UPD) observed a Kia sedan that was connected with multiple local burglaries. UPD initiated a traffic enforcement stop and the vehicle failed to yield resulting in a pursuit. The vehicle quickly entered US-101 northbound from Talmage Rd. Upon Request from UPD, CHP officers took over the pursuit. The suspect continued northbound on US-101 towards Willits. The pursuit reached speeds of over 100 mph.
The suspected vehicle exited US-101 onto SR20 near Willits. Willits Police Department was prepared and successfully deployed the spike strip at SR20 and Walker Road, flattening the vehicles tires. The pursuit continued northbound SR20 and Holly Street. Just north of Holly Street the suspect pointed a handgun out of the driver side window and fired multiple rounds at the pursuing officers (no Officers or Patrol Vehicles were hit). The suspect continued northbound for a short distance and eventually exited the vehicle and ran into a nearby creek. Ukiah CHP, Willits Police Department, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department performed a search for the suspect in the wooded area. With the assistance of the MCSO K9 Unit, it didn’t take long for the K9 to locate the suspect. The suspect was arrested and identified as Ryan Joseph Maxstadt. Maxstadt, who is a San Jose resident, was booked into the Mendocino county jail for attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon, discharge of firearm into inhabited vehicle, evasion, meth sale and other related charges.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 19, 2018
WILLIAM BOYCE, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, controlled substance, petty theft, switchblade, resisting.
JEREMY BROWN, Vallejo/Willits. First degree robbery.
JOY DAVIDSON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JASON FRYMAN, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
ALEXANDER HARRIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
DEVIN KESTER-TYLER, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ELIAS RUTHERFORD, Laytonville. Burglary.
MICHAEL TINAJERO, Ukiahi. Burglary tools, paraphernalia.
ARNANDO VILLAFAN, Vallejo/Willits. First degree robbery.
by James Kunstler
In case you’re worked up about the looming federal government shut-down, this is exactly how we’re supposed to roll in the long emergency: everything organized at the gigantic scale is going to wobble and fail. It’s nature’s way of saying, “get smaller, get realer, scale down, and get local.” The catch is, we probably won’t listen to nature. Instead, we’ll just behave like bystanders and do nothing until the full force of failure is upon us, just as we’re doing with climate change — the tragedy of the commons at planetary scale.
The failure of national party politics is deep and systemic, as you would expect from activities nurtured in a shit-hole called Washington, corruption being the manifestation of sepsis. The lethal vector of this illness is money. There’s the money flowing into the “campaign funds” (so-called) of congressmen and senators, of course, but there’s also the “money” that is flowing in and out of the leviathan government — a whole lot of it is not really there. It’s a figment of promises to pay back loans on top of a monumental heap of past promises that will never be kept. The threatened government shutdown is just a symptom of the illness: a society doing things out of scale, trying to run its excessive activities by check-kiting and accounting fraud. What could go wrong?
Not the stock and bond markets, I’m sure. Though… wait a minute… that hockey-stick surge in equities looks a little bit like the action of a thermometer measuring the rising body temperature of a very sick patient. From 25,000 to 26,000 on the Dow — in what? seven days? — is kind of like the flu victim going from 98.6 to 105 after onset. And we know what happens to humans up around the 105 Fahrenheit body temperature level: the brain starts to sputter and smoke. Soon, it’s lights out and don’t let your karma smack you on the butt going through the exit.
Will a government shut-down be the final insult to the matrix of extreme fragility that holds itself together on little more than inertia and faith? (Oh, you’ll get paid back… don’t worry.) The hubris around this delusional state of affairs seeped over the swampy Washington landscape this week like one of those malaria-laden miasmas of old. The president crowed about the lowest unemployment in decades and the lobotomized media just swallowed it like a wad of masticated pepperoni. Nobody notices the roughly 100 million adults out of the work-force. Do they even figure into the statistical picture? Lowest black and Hispanic unemployment ever. You’re kidding, right? Well, we make our own reality. Karl Rove and Oprah agree on that.
I had a lot of fun last night, after the Thursday evening fiddle jam, clicking back and forth between CNN, Fox, and MSNBC. Anderson Cooper was trying — with flagging conviction — to sell another “Trump Dossier” story. Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was in full snide fulmination mode about Russians infiltrating the NRA to get to Trump. Rachel’s clarion call, “we now know,” is beginning to sound like Senator Joseph McCarthy’s battle cry, “I have in my hand a list of fifty-three communists…!” On Fox, Sean Hannity almost busted a cerebral blood vessel over the unspooling shenanigans in the top ranks of the FBI-DOJ. With each click of the remote control I felt like I was arriving and departing different planets.
Expect the turmoil to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. The Mueller investigation is festering into a constitutional crisis. The bond market is having a heart attack with the Ten-Year shooting above the 2.6% interest rate line. The dollar is flirting with a sub-90 DXY hashmark. Risk has supposedly been banished — only to come screaming out of the attic like Norman Bates’s mother at the last moment, slashing your misplaced confidence to shreds.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I made the remark that it ought to be a primary mission in education to teach proper spoken English — because without that ability, kids might not be able to learn anything else.
This is just basic common sense. My parents were Italian and when my older sister got to Kindergarten, she could not speak English. The nuns told my parents to stop speaking Italian to their children. Three weeks later in school, my sister was speaking English. So I am not a believer in bi-lingual education for young children, although I do believe that learning a second language is very beneficial.
When I started to visit Italy regularly as an adult, I learned to speak proper Italian since my parents spoke a dialect. I did not expect my relatives to speak English to me even though many of them knew the language.
How can you survive, let alone prosper without a good understanding of the native language? A wise person I knew once said that you only need two things in life – good grammar and good teeth.
"SOUTH, FROM BADWATER CREEK"
(Photo by Harvey Reading)
HOW I BECAME AN EXISTENTIALIST
by Jeff Costello
Boston, 1967 — My band called The Ones was playing a regular gig at the Brown Derby, five nights a week or something like that. We had been reviewed in a new trade paper called Crawdaddy by Jon Landau, who after such humble beginnings later became Bruce Springsteen's manager and head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Our group, wrote Landau, was "a good, soulful club band but they are not originators." In the post-Beatles era, this amounted to a death sentence. As our manager, Willy, tried to tell us, "It's a business. You gotta have a product." That meant writing your own songs. This was a skill we had neither in aggregate nor as individuals. We did very well at playing other peoples' songs but this was workaday stuff, not meant for fame and fortune. So Willy, with his confidence in our musical abilities and his own crackerjack business sense, began bringing songwriters around. We needed material to get the coveted record deal. Otherwise it would be union scale or less, and playing long gigs in the Combat Zone or driving for hours to lonely bars in places like Hazleton, Pennsylvania in the future. No fame or fortune.
Problem is, none of the songs they showed us were any good or at least interesting. One of them came to the Brown Derby, where there was a piano in the back room, and brought a guy to accompany his songs.
The piano player's name was Beau, or Bo, since this was the north. After we had rejected the songwriter's efforts, Bo began diddling around on the piano, which was more interesting than his friend's lyrics. He saw my interest and said, "This is existentialist music. Do you know what existentialists are?" I did not. "Existentialists are people who just don't give a shit." In Boston, with all its institutions of higher education, graffiti in joints like the Brown Derby were not of the usual "Call Sally for a good time" or "Nathan is a fag" variety. Here, above one of the urinals and written neatly with felt-tipped pen, was the message "Abramovich is a neo-classicist." If Bo was an existentialist, he may have spotted a kindred spirit in me.
Most of the others had left the room. Despite my lack of education, I surely did have questions about the meaning of life.
And my two or three weeks of Presbyterian Sunday school in the basement of a church had not helped with these questions.
What I recall about the experience was the creepy teacher who handed out candy to the kids, and the painting of a blond Jesus talking to two blond children, all dressed in white, in a perfectly manicured park. Between this and the urging of my Catholic friends, I understood that religion wasn't there to answer questions about the meaning of life. It was there to discourage such questions. Existentialists, not giving a shit, were hardly interested in converting anyone.
TWO SOLOISTS WITH A CONNECTION TO MENDOCINO COUNTY RETURN TO FORT BRAGG FOR SYMPHONY OF THE REDWOODS WINTER CONCERTS
Fort Bragg, Calif. – January 18, 2018 – The Symphony of the Redwoods is honored to welcome back cellist Stephen Harrison and violinist Jay Zhong to the Mendocino coast for their upcoming winter concerts. Led by Music Director Allan Pollack, the Symphony will perform Dvorak’s Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C minor, Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, and Brahms’ Double Concerto with Zhong and Harrison as the featured soloists. Performances will be on Saturday, February 3 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 4 at 2pm at Cotton Auditorium in Fort Bragg.
Although it is now considered standard repertoire, Brahms’ Double Concerto was shunned at the time of its release. Brahms’ contemporaries, such as Clara Schumann, did not respond well to the piece, stating it was unapproachable and melancholy. However, with the right pairing of soloists, the Double Concerto creates a powerful super-stringed instrument, achieving ranges neither violin nor cello can reach individually.
Zhong and Harrison met each other last year while performing together as principals at the Mendocino Music Festival. “I loved Jay’s playing right from the start,” said Harrison. “His solo work in Scheherazade and his playing of the first fiddle part in the Schubert Cello Quintet were absolutely beautiful.” The duo also worked side-by-side as coaches for the festival’s Emerging Artists program, which gives young string musicians the opportunity to participate in a 2-week intensive workshop, as well as perform with the Festival Orchestra. “Stephen is a remarkable cellist with a lot of experience,” said Zhong. “He’s a very workable person. I’m glad to have been offered the opportunity to play with him again.”
All Symphony of the Redwoods concerts will be at Cotton Auditorium, 500 N. Harold Street, Fort Bragg. Tickets are available for $20 online at symphonyoftheredwoods.org, at Harvest Market and the Redwood Coast Senior Center in Fort Bragg, Out of This World in Mendocino, and at the door. Attendees 18 and under are always free. For more information, please contact our executive director, Alex Pierangeli, at 707-946-0898 or email@example.com. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/symphonyoftheredwoods.
Saturday, February 3, 2018, 7:30pm
Sunday, February 4, 2018, 2pm
- Dvorak: Slavonic Dance No. 1 in C minor
- Brahms: Double Concerto, featuring Jay Zhong, violin; Stephen Harrison, cello
- Schumann: Symphony No. 2
Saturday, April 28, 2018, 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 29, 2018, 2pm
- Beethoven: Symphony No. 2
- Bruch: Scottish Fantasy
Featuring Annelle K. Gregory, violin
WAITING FOR OPENING DAY
OPEN LETTER TO ASSEMBLYMAN WOOD
I just listened to a recording of your January 11th meeting with the Inland Democratic Club of Mendocino County, and I feel compelled to refute the many omissions and misstatements in your comments regarding health insurance in general, and SB 562 in particular.
You say repeatedly that you believe in “Universal Healthcare” which is admirable, but I did not once hear you utter the words “single payer” or “Medicare for All.” What this omission tells me is that you believe the future of health insurance in California should be left in the hands of the private for-profit health insurance industry, and that a publicly administered single payer system is off the table.
Your reasoning for this position — basically that Trump will never hand over Medicare, Medicaid, or VA funds to California making a publicly administered system unaffordable — is hopelessly shortsighted. Those of us who have been in the single payer movement for a long time don’t expect that it will happen overnight with the passage of SB 562. What we do expect is for the State of California to have a single payer plan on the desk of the new Democratic President on January 20th, 2021. Your artificially imposed short term deadline is no excuse for selling out a public single payer option in favor of permanently locking in the private for-profit health insurance racket.
I shouldn’t even have to say this next part because it’s so obvious, but it seems to be completely lost on you and your Select Committee: the reason a publicly administered single payer health insurance system is so essential to the future of universal healthcare in California is that single payer is the only way to achieve the “cost containment” that you claim to be so concerned about with SB 562. It’s really very simple, administrative costs with single payer are a fraction of the cost of multi-payer private for-profit corporations, which will save billions of dollars. Also, single payer eliminates hundreds of millions in advertising expenses, executive salaries and stockholder profits, money that can then be used to pay out health insurance claims. As long as you continue to support multi-payer private for-profit health insurance, you will be trapped into thinking of cost containment only in terms of cutting benefits; this to me is unconscionable.
Perhaps the reason you discount the actuarial soundness of a public single payer system is because you are relying on the discredited preliminary Senate Appropriations Committee financial report that predicted SB 562 will cost $400 billion a year, a report which deliberately underestimated the administrative cost savings of a single payer system. An independent study Economic Analysis Of The Healthy California Single-Payer Health Care Proposal (SB-562, May 2017) by the Political Economy Research Institute of theUniversity of Massachusetts-Amherst, (which your Select Committee has conspicuously refused to consider), gives a detailed actuarial analysis of SB 562 with hard numbers on how it would work. (I suggest you read it!) That single payer works is confirmed by the fact that every other developed nation on Earth has some form of publicly administered single payer health insurance system; so it is disingenuous of you to argue otherwise.
I’ve heard you deny that large campaign contributions you receive from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have any influence on you, but to be blunt, I think it is condescending of you to expect your constituents to believe that these special interests give you money out of the goodness of their hearts. They want you and your Select Committee to keep them in their highly lucrative business, and that is exactly what you are doing against the interests of your constituents.
In your recent meeting with the Inland Democratic Club of Mendocino County you made the offhanded remark that Speaker Rendon “is my boss”. Wrong Assemblyman Wood, your constituents are your boss, and its high time you started working for us instead of your high rolling corporate donors.
ATTENTION RUBBER STAMPS!
Boards and Commissions Vacancies
The list of vacancies, due to term expirations and/or resignations, for County boards and commissions has been updated with new vacancies. A list of all new and existing vacancies is available on the County website: mendocinocounty.org/government/board-of-supervisors/boards-and-commissions.
(Mendocino County Executive Office)
White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who has served in the post since 2013, informed reporters on Wednesday that the president is in fine physical and mental health. The report comes as the national media has discussed whether Trump’s functional near-illiteracy, minuscule attention span, and narcissistic pathos are the symptoms of dementia or some other kind of cognitive incapacitation. We should take Jackson’s diagnosis at face value. Trump is just an idiot.
— Jonathan Chait
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH ALL THE VEHICLES BURNED IN THE WILDFIRES?
Cars in Northern California burn zones inspected to prevent fraud
Thousands of cars destroyed in Northern California during the October wildfires are being identified and having their state records updated this month as part of an effort spearheaded by the California Department of Motor Vehicles in partnership with local law enforcement agencies.
GABO, ON THAT 7TH OF MAY
by Almudena Grandes, translated by Louis S. Bedrock
When Joaquin Sabina called my husband, I was cooking and was barely able to hear a few fragments of their conversation. At first, I thought that Joaquin wanted to excuse himself, but Luis came into the kitchen immediately to inform me that Joaquin had received a phone call from a friend who had just arrived in Madrid, and since he didn’t want to miss the party, he was going to bring his friend.
That day, May 7, 2005, was my 45th birthday and I had decided to celebrate it. However I would never have dared to imagine such a celebration.
Joaquin’s friend was Gabriel García Márquez and when I heard his name, I wound up paralyzed with a wooden spoon in my hand, in front of a frying pan in which my béchamel sauce was boiling carefree and was cheerfully becoming lumpy. When I managed to react and began to stir it energetically, Luis warned me that Joaquin had requested that we not overwhelm Gabo, that we weren’t all over him, that we give him some breathing room, because he was tired of being the center of attention everywhere he went.
I still couldn’t believe this was happening, but with my hands trembling from nervousness and emotion, I began calling, one by one, all of my guests to inform them that they were going to meet Gabriel García Márquez and they had to leave him in peace.
Everyone, except Benjamin Prado, who didn’t answer the phone, reacted with the same mixture of amazement and excitement, and, at the same time, they assured me — in the same tone little children use when they speak to their teachers, that they were going to behave very, very well.
That night, with the exception of Benjamin Prado, who had gone to Bernabéu stadium to see a soccer game with Real Madrid, all the guests arrived earlier than the agreed time. Joaquin was also punctual. With him, in a guayabera shirt of unbleached cotton, was Gabriel García Márquez, with his wife, Mercedes, the Buendía family, Úrsula, the Colonel, the Patriarch, Candida Eréndida and her evil grandmother, Fermina with all her lovers, and Sierva María de Todos los Ángeles.
That was what I saw and what I felt when I saw him pass through the hallway of my house, although afterward everything became very simple. Gabo was an extremely friendly man who just wanted to have a drink and have a good time.
At first, it wasn’t that easy.
I became so nervous that I went back into the kitchen — my great hideout, and it took me a few minutes before I could rejoin the rest of my guests where I beheld an amazing scene: All my friends were crammed into the living room and were looking in the direction of the dining room, where Gabo was sitting at the table completely alone.
Now I understand that this solitude was a supreme token of esteem by readers who, from afar, gazed upon an idolized writer — a presence so imposing that they didn’t even dare to approach him; but at that moment, I scolded them all in a soft voice:
—It’s one thing not to overwhelm him and another to completely ignore him —I told them; and then, my dear friend Rosana Torres stepped up, sat down beside Gabo, and broke the ice.
In a short time, we all sat around the writer who had left such a deep impression on us — at a comfortable distance, certainly; and from time to time, without Gabo realizing it, some of us would stand just behind his chair so that Jime Coronado, the wife of Joaquin Sabina, could take a picture of them with Gabo while pretending that she were taking a picture of the house.
Around that time, Benjamin arrived.
—You’re not going to believe this —Benjamin said to us in the kitchen to which we had once more retreated, —but there’s a guy who’s the spitting image of Gabriel García Márquez.
—He’s not the spitting image of Gabriel García Márquez. He is Gabriel García Márquez —we answered in order to watch him put his hands on his head.
—And who are you going to invited to your next party? The ghost of García Lorca? Because it’s going to be hard to do better than this!
On that 7th of May, Gabo was a wonderful gift; a wonderful story that one is delighted to tell. Above all, because the following day, Gabo called my editor, Beatriz de Moura, to tell her that he had attended my birthday party and had had a great time. He hadn’t been anywhere for a long time where people made so little fuss over him… It was then I found out that we had done things well and I was very happy — for myself, for Luis, for Joaquin, and for everyone else.
I had the good fortune to see Gabriel García Márquez on other occasions, the last time being in Cartagena de Indias, in January of 2010, in a small restaurant, alongside of the beach, where a band played live music from the Caribbean region of Colombia.
That night, he no longer remembered my birthday party, but we had a great time, and we danced together — and I once again felt privileged to be beside him.
However no privilege — not then, not today, and not in the rest of my life, will ever compare to the overwhelming incandescence which was the effect that reading One Hundred Years of Solitude had upon an adolescent, who had just celebrated her sixteenth birthday on one 7th of May many years ago.
"CITY-RELATED TRAVEL" OF COURSE, OF COURSE
Point Arena City Council Meeting
January 23, 2018
EVERY DAY, A LITTLE BIT WEIRDER
Trump: 'He is obsessed with sharks': Porn star Stormy Daniels claims she watched Shark Week with Donald Trump who was 'terrified' of the deep sea predators during their alleged affair. Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford, described how she'd watched Shark Week with the president during their alleged affair, in an interview with In Touch magazine in 2011.
LIFE IN SOCIALIST HELL
Why Norway Is Consistently Rated The Best Place In The World To Live
SLOW DOWN, MOM
Nancy Clark of Danville wrote:
Having children is one of the greatest gifts life can bless us with. I am the proud mother of six children and 15 grandbabies. Each and every child deserves to be born and loved. Having five at once is a lot ("Parents wish for 'miracle' for five pre-term babies,") and was not planned, but still a gift. How dare anyone can say that no one is interested because I am and so are hundreds of others. I had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful family. They are truly wonderful people and I am praying their beautiful babies are born healthy. They are already loved by many. His mother and father had the courage to try to deliver all five babies and not downsize. I would do the exact same thing.
Jayne Thomas of Richmond replied:
It is selfish and irresponsible to have more than two children, and one or none is best. The world is running out of resources: the seas are depleted of fish, water wars loom in the future, topsoil is disappearing, forests are being hacked down everywhere. Not too long ago it was said there was plenty of food to feed the world, the problem was distribution. This is no longer true. Now we cannot feed the world. I cringe when I see a pregnant woman carrying a baby, pushing a toddler. Does she not know she is endangering the future of her eldest child by adding more? It has to be ignorance. I urge everyone to Google Lester Brown, founder of World Watch Institute, and read any of his essays for enlightenment. And then quit having kids.
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO TONIGHT! LIVE ON KNYO FORT BRAGG AND KMEC UKIAH.
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 invent an entirely new thing to do with radio that no-one has ever thought of before —which is entirely possible; the medium is by no means exhausted— 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 Sherry Glaser will for sure be there tonight. Dennis O'Brien will call to talk about his new book on the subject of international cooperation in space. I have it on good authority that the problem of last week's show sounding weird, if sounding at all, on KMEC has been solved. It was a technical thing there, something loose in the works, and it's screwed and glued down now.
Here it is a couple of hours or so before the show; I am practically pissing myself laughing at a piece you'll hear on the air tonight, probably at about 2am. Honestly, my stomach hurts from this. I should advertise Spiritual healing above-the-body no-touch humor sessions, donations appreciated and just tell this brilliant jagged ten-minute joke over and over until everyone is dead and in the afterlife from laughing so hard, and then go through all their pockets.
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.
And p.s., as though all that isn't enough, you —yes, you— can have your own whole show on KNYO if you want to. Contact Bob Young: firstname.lastname@example.org and introduce yourself; you'll be on the schedule so fast you'll get dizzy from the rush. Cripes! That was so fast! you'll say. Why are all the radio stations not like this? you'll ponder to yourself as you happily conceive of show after show to spring from your soul, such as it is, like Athena from the brow of Zeus.
Further p.s. The next day, Saturday, the Mighty Bob Young informs us:
We welcome our Sisters, Brothers, Children, and Family members to join us on Saturday January 20, 2018, after the Women's March festivities, at KNYO, 325 N. Franklin, Fort Bragg, for a celebration of our solidarity and our forward vision. DJ Angel will host an on-the-air broadcast starting at 2 PM. Please drop by at your leisure for guest speakers (bring your speech), discussion, networking, and refreshments. Bring your own if you wish. Help us make equality a reality. Thanks.