- Ag Adrift
- Candidate Roderick
- Cyndee Signs
- City Lights
- Gone World
- Happy Unified
- Land Trust
- Little Dog
- Easter Service
- Weatherhead Wanted
- Free Laptops
- Yesterday's Catch
- Fire Lessons
- Gun Protest
- Free Speech
- HR 676
- Teen Writers
- Downright Moron
- Deplorables II
- Ukefest 2018
- DC Bound
- Zillion Bullets
- Marco Radio
MENDO COUNTY'S AG DEPARTMENT is more leaderless than we thought. With Joe Moreo quitting after only five days on the job, followed by the “retirement” of Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry and, as Willits Weekly reporter Mike A’Dair reminds us, the resignation of Ag Department Office Services Manager Jenifer Krauss, there are now three vacant management positions in that troubled bureaucracy.
According to Mendo’s Job Description for Ag Commissioner:
Job Summary And Distinguishing Features: Under administrative direction, supervises and directs all department functions and staff; serves as the agricultural official, weights and measures official and pesticide official for the County in charge of regulatory programs which protect the environment, consumers and the agricultural industry; oversees and coordinates the Agricultural Preserve Program, predatory animal control and crop statistics; serves as spokesperson regarding complex agricultural matters including, genetic engineering, food irradiation, food safety, NAFTA, GATT, bio solids, foreign trade and markets, land use planning, water issues and organic issues requiring a higher degree of job sophistication.
Licenses and Certifications:
- County Agricultural Commissioner License
- County Sealer of Weights and Measures License
- Valid State Driver's License
- Federal Phytosanitary Certificate
- Pesticide Regulation License
- Pest Prevention and Plant Regulation License
- Weight Verification License
- Investigation and Environmental Monitoring License
- Integrated Pest Management License
- Commodity Regulation License
- Measurement Verification License
- Transaction and Product Verification License
* * *
ON THE OTHER HAND, the job description for the newly created Cannabis Program Manager is:
Job Summary: Under direction, implements the goals, strategies, policies and programmatic framework for the issuing of permits/licenses through the Mendocino County Cannabis Program. This position shall take the necessary steps to manage the County's Cannabis Cultivation and Facilities Programs. Evaluate the permitting/licensing of cannabis locations based on policies and guidelines; working with departments, develop and promote a strong and compliant environment for cannabis and work with industry representatives across the County. Performs other duties as assigned.
Distinguishing Characteristics: This at-will single incumbent position reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and has direct responsibility for the County's Cannabis Unit within the Executive Office; exercising a high degree of responsibility and independent judgment, leads the County's efforts in implementing a regulatory program for commercial cannabis in Mendocino County.Licenses and Certifications:Possession of a valid driver's license.
Minimum Qualifications Required: Education and Experience: Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in economics, business, finance, land use, or a closely related field. (A Juris Doctorate or Master's degree in a related field is highly desirable) and five (5) years of progressively responsible professional experience in public administration program development, experience in a municipal or state regulatory environment or a closely related field; or an equivalent combination of related education, training and experience performing duties such that provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the essential functions of the job.
* * *
Apparently the County's staggering leadership waived the “and five (5) years of progressively responsible professional experience in public administration program development” requirement specially for Mr. Overton.
County Human Resources Director Heidi Dunham told A’Dair that they’re “actively searching” for an Ag Commissioner and an Assistant Ag Commissioner, and, we assume, an Office Services Manager. It doesn’t help that the word is out among the close-knit Ag Commissioners Association that the well-regarded Mr. Moreo quit after only five days.
WE LAY MOST OF THE BLAME for this management lapse at the feet of CEO Carmel Angelo to whom the unelected Ag Commissioner theoretically reports.
- Do you think the County’s mental health money is being effectively spent? (around $28 million at last estimate)
Answer: No. Having made previous statements in the past criticizing how county mental health services have operated, my opinion hasn’t changed. $28 million is a huge amount of money considering the population of chronic repeat users of these services, which is quite small compared to the overall population of the county. Mental health is viewed by some to be a jobs program for our caring, but under credentialed practitioners. Please see below what I have said regarding the county’s previous history of mental health services delivery and in particular the operation of a locked facility:
The history of mental health services within the County, particularly the management of inpatient locked facilities, is a history of conflict, turf wars between agencies and the people who manage these individual departments. The lack of communication and coordination between these departments has also been a prevalent and disappointing reality. These observations have been well documented in numerous Grand Jury reports over the last 20 plus years. The last Psychiatric Health Facility (the infamous PHF or “Puff Unit”) closed in November of 2000, as a result of the County’s failure to provide the required medical staff for the unit. Lawsuits or the threat of them hastened the collapse. This failure of Mendocino County to attract and retain credentialed mental health professionals is an existing and on-going obstacle that has not been solved. The most current Grand Jury report confirms this ongoing crisis of qualified new-hires within the Health and Human Services Agency, which for the last several years, has resorted to requesting waivers from state-mandated staffing levels and credential requirements.
- If you had monarchical authority, what would you do to create genuinely low cost housing?
Answer: Being that land is the single biggest driver of housing cost here in Mendocino County, as king I would employ land seizure as a primary tool, and, since we were a kingdom, we wouldn’t have state regulations that add additional expense. But, since I’m not king and we are not a kingdom, I would offer the following: Make re-zoning of land easier to allow multi-family housing. Provide tax breaks to builders/developers providing multi-family units. Ease rules on septic and water systems. Allow more units per parcel. Provide low-cost loan guarantees to qualified builders. Reduce or waive development fees on multi-family projects.
- What is your opinion of the recent moratorium on vacation home rentals?
Answer: No moratorium. However, people renting their properties as vacation rentals must be responsible for the behavior of their guests. Also, the TOT tax for these specific units must be reviewed to make sure that any added impacts on local services are compensated, this includes Fire/EMS, roads and subsidies to help with providing low-income housing options for the workers providing services in these areas.
- Your opinion of the locally proposed changes to Class K.
Answer: Leave Class K mostly alone. No sprinkler requirement. Insure materials used for exterior surfaces are fire-safe (non-combustible).
- What do you think of the current marijuana regulation program?
Answer: Agree with John Pinches that regulations have gotten a bit over-broad. The county has spent too-much time on writing regulations and made cannabis regulations too-burdensome, making regulations for a one-size fits all model, which doesn't work. Simplify regulations based on a hierarchy of importance, with environmental impacts getting the highest review. Create a two-tier system between small and large producers with associated fee structures. County must lobby the state to re-do the compliance regulations related to the Water Resources Control Board and Fish and Wildlife requirements. County must be granted a general water right that it self-regulates. County Ag office must be able to assess reasonable compliance with Fish and Wildlife issues and self-certify. The big problem is obtaining state licensing, which without that, the County license is useless.
- Do you agree with CEO Angelo’s decision to separate Mendocino County from Coastal Valley EMS?
Answer: Agree. No love-lost in losing CVEMS and their less than transparent push to privatize dispatch and ambulance services.
- What is your opinion of the leadership provided by CEO Angelo’s “Leadership Team”?
Answer: Think CEO Angelo does a good job, generally fair but doesn’t take any crap. Regards the “Leadership Team,” don’t really have an opinion, yet. However, listening to the presentation at the last BoS meeting (same one where Class-K was discussed), I heard too many happy-talk phrases used in self-congratulating the “Team’s” performance. That always raises suspicion.
- How many Board meetings have you attended in the last year? Watched any on YouTube?
Answer: Hard to keep count, 8-10? In addition to BoS meetings, I participate in the BoS ad hoc for Fire/EMS as a representative for the Mendocino County Association of Fire Districts (MCAFD, for which I am co-founder with Chief John Bartlett, ret.). Also appear before the Public Safety subcommittee. Yes, I watch on YouTube, also.
- Do you agree with the Board’s recent decision to raise their pay to $84,000 plus benefits? Should the three retiring supervisors have voted on the raise?
Answer: Agree. Here is a fun fact: divide $84,000 by 2,052 hours (40 hours per week based on 12-months) and you get $40.93 per hour. (I know, this amount doesn’t include benefits, whatever those are.) Easy to say that hours worked will be higher. If the County is going to attract qualified candidates willing to do this job, I argue that that compensation should be higher. However, it would be ill-advised to take this position based on needing the income. Anyone taking this job to provide a soft-landing to their retirement should look elsewhere. One cannot be soft and do this job. Figurative punches in the face go with this territory and you can’t hate those who throw the punches.
- Do you think the County needs to spend some $50,000 to hire an outside consultant for a needs assessment before proceeding with Measure B’s mental health facilities program?
Answer: It would have been better to spend the $50,000 for needs assessment before we asked the taxpayers for the money ($40 million) which will now be taken out of our economy. Don’t you think?
- What specific benefits do the children of Mendocino County derive from the First 5 program? Would you support spending most of the annual $1 million on childcare vouchers instead of on Ukiah staffers?
Answer: Don’t know. The rap is they are not providing benefit. How can we know given no reporting to the public? Quality and safe childcare is required to provide a functioning modern economy. Women are quickly taking over the role of primary household financial providers, worldwide. Support for families is mandatory.
- Who would you appoint to the Planning Commission?
Answer: No position. However, this person must understand that the County must be in the business of promoting economic expansion with sustainable and environmentally responsible operations. Must provide certainty to applicants willing to invest in Mendocino County. Facilitation of multi-family housing, quality development and supporting applicants in providing affordable housing solutions is job one. Controlling staff from pursuing punitive requirements must also be considered and enforced.
- What is the single biggest environmental problem faced by the County?
Answer: Climate change. It’s happening right now. Better get this figured out, ASAP.
- Do you support the current level of water diversion from the Eel River to mostly irrigate vineyards in Potter Valley?
Answer: The Russian River, before Lake Mendocino, would go dry in large sections during the summer months. How did fish populations survive back then? Now, we have mandatory water flows to protect endangered fish species. If the diversion is stopped, what happens then? Also, the Army Corps of Engineers routinely dumps water out of the lake at really stupid times. They don’t look out the window and realize it’s not raining. This is primarily a federal issue. The Eel, in summer months of the past few years, has become degraded, with huge algae blooms and fish kills due to low oxygen levels and high water temperatures. Everyone (yes, stakeholders, hate the term) must get together and make decisions on what river system will survive.
- Do you think the County’s recently organized Ground Water Sustainability Committee is dominated by wine-grape interests?
Answer: No. If people feel disenfranchised from this process, it’s usually because they didn’t show up to voice their opinion, but prefer to complain after the fact.
- What is the first project or program you would look into if elected?
Answer: Stabilizing Fire/EMS funding. Provide assistance to Fire Districts on the verge of collapse. Improve emergency warning systems. We can’t have another fire the size of the Redwood Complex Incident. It will end our economy.
- Do you have any proposals for dealing with the colossal deficit in the pension obligations fund?
Answer: Pray the “California Rule” is found to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. Provide cash settlements to early retirees. Initiate a two-tier benefit system. Negotiate increased employee contribution share. Increase age of retirement. Subcontract more county functions. Consolidate Debt Obligation Bonds ( DOB’s ) before it’s too-late. Failure to do any of these will crash the system.
- Would you support the creation of an integrated, county wide disaster alert system?
Answer: Yes. Obviously. Re-organize the county Office of Emergency Services (OES) in the wake of the Redwood Complex Fire incidents. Implement lessons learned.
- Would you be willing to be on a radio call-in show every six months and respond to callers’ comments and questions?
Answer: Yes! Would even consider my own show. Call it “Knock Down Drag Out with Dave Roderick.”
(Photo by Judy Valadao)
NO SIGNS FOR CYNDEE
Letter to the Editor:
Re: Third District supervisor race.
Mr. Anderson, regarding the Third District supervisor race, what your Willits sources are reporting (“Cyndee Logan has her signs up everywhere”) is not true. In the Willits city limits, there are no signs up at all, because the city has an ordinance prohibiting signs until 60 days before the election. Outside the city limits, I have not seen any signs for Cyndee Logan, not a single one, nor for anybody else running — except John Pinches. Drive anywhere in the valley or drive up Sherwood Road to Brooktrails, and John is the only candidate who does have signs up everywhere, big plywood-size signs. If signs are any indication, John sure wants to win this election.
Cyndee Logan — who by the way, is not a real estate agent, at least not one who does business with the public: no office, no listings — is a dedicated, intelligent person who might make a good supervisor, so this is no criticism of her. I don’t know if your sources’ report is speculation, wishful thinking, or a fabrication, but these sources are not to be trusted if you want to tell your readers the truth.
L.C. Lewis, Willits
PETS OF THE WEEK
Connor is a shy dog, but he's gaining confidence every day. Even though he is timid, Connor is a very loving dog and eager to please. This very handsome dog is 2 years old and weighs 55 pounds. We think he's a smart guy, and will learn the rules of his new home quickly, and thrive on bonding with and pleasing his people. Can you help us show this sweet dog how wonderful life can be?! Visit Connor's personal webpage.
Meet Glenda--a 4 year old, spayed, female, long hair, Tortoiseshell cat. She is very sweet, loves attention and getting her ears massaged. She appears to have been on her own before coming to the Shelter, as she is very thin and was covered in ticks. This time around Glenda is looking for a home where she can take it easy and won't have a care in the world. Could that be with you?
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 mendoanimalshelter.com or visit the shelter at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. 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.
I THINK I was in high school when I discovered the City Lights Bookstore in North Beach. Some callow friends and I — and never in the history of callow youth was anybody as callow as us — began making North Beach our gaping weekend destination. I'd read about beatniks in the newspapers. At the time, they ran neck and neck with communists as mega-menace to the psycho-social welfare of Americans, especially young Americans. "They swallow live goldfish and beat on bongo drums." In the perplexed newspaper accounts of beatnik behavior we got it in our high school heads that the bizarre exhibits played nightly, so we'd hang around upper Grant waiting for a show that never started. A couple of years later, and free of an estranging stint in the Marines, unintentional incubator of many beatniks and Lee Harvey Oswald, I began spending time at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's bookstore, where nobody cared if you sat around reading the books and magazines for free, and free was all I could afford. I liked Ferlinghetti's "Pictures of a Gone World" so much I bought a copy of his first book of poems for a dollar or whatever it was then, and still may be because the poet's press, like his book store, was also predicated on the break-through idea of getting the new poetry, and otherwise hard to find books into the hands of real people. City Lights became the high school I never had, and years later, when I met the man himself I told him how important the store was to me. "I'm happy to hear that," he said, looking straight at me with a sincerity lots of famous people can't muster. My happiness with City Lights has never flagged. When newspapers were still central to information, the poet always made personally sure that the Boonville weekly got a visible spot on his store's magazine rack, where it remains, albeit post-mortem, you might say, at a time newspaper readers are a vanishing species, and the coffee house intellectuals we used to enjoy arguing with on the letters page now thunder at each other in the ethers, if they thunder at all. It's heartening that Ferlinghetti has logged so many productive years, and doubly heartening that he's being honored by the minority of people who understand how important he's been to a city since taken over by, in his words, "people with bags of cash and no manners."
PICTURES OF THE GONE WORLD 11
The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind happiness not always being so very much fun if you don't mind a touch of hell now and then just when everything is fine because even in heaven they don't sing all the time The world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't mind some people dying all the time or maybe only starving some of the time which isn't half so bad if it isn't you Oh the world is a beautiful place to be born into if you don't much mind a few dead minds in the higher places or a bomb or two now and then in your upturned faces or such other improprieties as our Name Brand society is prey to with its men of distinction and its men of extinction and its priests and other patrolmen and its various segregations and congressional investigations and other constipations that our fool flesh is heir to Yes the world is the best place of all for a lot of such things as making the fun scene and making the love scene and making the sad scene and singing low songs and having inspirations and walking around looking at everything and smelling flowers and goosing statues and even thinking and kissing people and making babies and wearing pants and waving hats and dancing and going swimming in rivers on picnics in the middle of the summer and just generally 'living it up' Yes but then right in the middle of it comes the smiling mortician –Lawrence Ferlinghetti
THE MYTH OF NEGATIVITY
To hear Deb Kubin, Ukiah Unified’s School Superintendent, talk, you’d think her school is awash in negativity, whatever she means by that, probably criticism of her and her bumbling administration. We’re not sure what she’s talking about.
In her "The School Desk" Ukiah Daily Journal column last Friday Superintendent Kubin called on her school to "focus on our strengths."
"I'm not suggesting we pretend we have no problems, no weaknesses, nothing to improve on,” said Kubin. “However, having read the book 'Strengthsfinder,' Amazon's best-selling nonfiction book ever, I am convinced that spending all our time focused on the negative is a big mistake."
“All our time"?
"As a society we are surrounded by negativity," claims Kubin, going on for paragraph after paragraph in praise of "goodness, enthusiasm, amusement and growth."
Ms. Bhagwan, er Kubin, also praised some of her seventh graders who recently produced “handwritten notes on colorful paper that include descriptions such as funny, nice, helpful, fun, warm, responsible, strong and friendly. It was such a positive, uplifting thing to see!"
Trouble is, nowhere in the "educator’s" lengthy negativity about negativity does she mention anything about academic performance. In fact, Kubin concludes her tribute to happy talk by saying, "Let's remember that students can live long, happy lives whether they understand the brilliance of Shakespeare or how to use the quadratic formula to solve for x." (Hell, I did it, and look at me pulling down $200 grand a year for talking warm, fuzzy puppies!)
Meanwhile, put a smiley face on this fact: Ukiah Unified’s math proficiency rating for 2016-2017 year shows that only 20% of their students are proficient at math, and we even doubt that many of those top 20% could use the quadratic formula to solve for x.
If you ever wonder why public ed in this country ranks just about the worst in the world considered in terms of dollar spent ratio, look no further than Ukiah Unified. (Mark Scaramella)
To the Editor:
Founded in 1976, the Mendocino Land Trust knows that preserving the county’s open space is an incredibly important, and often challenging, mission.
The latest example of how difficult it can be occurred on March 7 when the Ukiah City Council failed to support funding for a plan to place 134 acres of prime farm land into an agricultural conservation easement to be held by the Land Trust, a plan that would have protected the land from development in perpetuity. Purchase of the easement at Lovers Lane vineyards was to be financed by a $1.17 million state grant and was supported by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and planning staff for the City of Ukiah.
While this particular site and proposal proved to be more complicated than we envisioned, and while we see rejection of the funding as a lost opportunity for all of Mendocino County, know that our mission has not changed. The Land Trust remains committed to conserving and restoring valuable natural resources throughout our region, assuring that future generations can enjoy those same resources for years and years to come.
Ann Cole, Executive Director, Mendocino Land Trust
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I asked Skrag if he was going to watch Stormy Daniels on 60 Minutes. He says, ‘You got tv in your igloo? Otherwise, chump, you ain't watching nothing but the driveway’.”
COMMUNITY EASTER “SON” RISE SERVICE
Not at sunrise, but at 8 AM.
There will be a Community Christian Easter Church Service and all are invited
Time: 8 AM Date: Easter morning, 4-1-2018
Place: In front of the Boonville Methodist Church, 13850 Highway 128, Boonville. Valley Bible Fellowship is hosting this for the entire Valley.
Come join us for a time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be hymns, prayer, fellowship, refreshments, and reading of the Bible (the resurrection account). No admission and no offering will be taken.
For information call Pastor Dave Kooyers at (707) 895-2325
Weatherhead has allegedly contacted the FBI’s Public Access Line (PAL) in Clarksburg, West Virginia or other FBI offices around the country, approximately 1,000 times since December 2015 from locations in California, Oregon, and Nevada.
On at least three occasions, between April 1-2, 2017, Weatherhead allegedly threatened to kill people during his calls. A federal judge from the Northern District of California issued an arrest warrant on October 24, 2017, after prosecutors charged him with interstate communication of a threat to injure the person of another.
Weatherhead is a white man with hazel eyes and brown hair. He stands 5’6” in height and weighs approximately 140 pounds. Additionally, he has multiple tattoos on his body, including on his forehead, chin, arm, wrist, hand, right leg, and back.
Among his many tattoos is the word “dork” tattooed along his throat.
Anyone with information about Weatherhead’s location should contact their local FBI office or submit a tip via https://tips.fbi.gov. In Oregon, call the FBI at (503) 224-4181. In California, call the FBI in San Francisco at (415) 553-7400. In Nevada, call the FBI in Reno at (775) 328-4000.
SUPES TO HAND OUT FREE LAPTOPS TO FOSTER KIDS
Item 5h on The Supervisors Agenda for next Tuesday is:
Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Informational Presentation on the iLaptop Program for Eligible Mendocino County Foster Youth, Ages 16 to 21. (Sponsors: Supervisor Brown and Health and Human Services Agency)
This wasteful program to provide free laptops to computerless foster kids does not need to waste board time, but there it is. It’s typical of the kind of whipsawing the Board has to undergo so that they can avoid talking about real issues facing the County. (PS. It’s not costing the county any direct cash, but they’re wasting a lot of time on it, as if the Supes have any role or responsibility for the computer skills of foster kids. If they really cared, they’d get periodic reports on the status of foster care placements and what happens when they turn 18…)
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 24, 2018
MICHAEL BEERS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
PABLO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Assault with firearm, first degree robbery, conspiracy, brandishing.
PABLO GONZALEZ II, Ukiah. Battery, first degree robbery, conspiracy.
DARIN HAMMOND, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RALPH IHLI, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TODD ONEILL, Hopland. Parole violation.
KEVIN PHILLIPS, Antioch/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JENNIFER SANDERS, Willits. Failure to appear.
DANIEL SCIUCCHETTI, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MUST BE A BETTER WAY
As a career military officer, I worry about our use of lessons learned from the October fires in preparation for the next wildfire. Disputes over the causes of the fires shouldn’t be about assessing monetary damages but, instead, determining the true causes so actions can be started quickly to prevent a repeat of the disaster.
We already know what it takes to start a fire: dry combustible material for fuel, oxygen and a spark for ignition. It isn’t rocket science. We also know that once ignited, strong winds can spread a fire quickly.
There must be a smarter way for California to resolve this question than by litigation of financial liability in the courts. The next time it may be terrorists with no insurance protection who start the fires.
SIGNS FROM THE MARCH FOR OUR LIVES, UKIAH & DC, FRIDAY
I AGREE that gun rights should be in the second amendment and free speech in the first. I mean, if you believe you have the right to say whatever the hell you want, then you damn sure need the right to carry a gun.
— Michael Che
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
An American is thirsty. Does the American sake their thirst?
No, instead of giving their body what it needs the American has to throw 20 grams of sugar into their water before they drink it so they can get diabetes along with something to drink. Anything less in not living life to the fullest and being all you can be don’t you know. Needs become opportunities for self expression and can’t just be what they are.
I’m convinced the average person in America is now incapable of understanding the difference between a need and a want. This is our first problem to be solved and no solutions for anything else can be found until this ignorance is addressed.
TEN MILLION AMERICANS COULD BRING HR 676 INTO REALITY—RELIEF FOR ANXIETY, DREAD & FEAR
by Ralph Nader
Polls show that over 125 million adults in our country already favor full Medicare for all, with free choice of doctor and hospital without stifling networks. I say ‘already’ because, as of yet, there is no major national campaign underway showing that an ‘everybody in, nobody out’ system of health insurance costs less, with better outcomes, is simpler, without maddeningly inscrutable or fraudulent bills, co-pays, deductibles and additional trap doors set by a bunch of greedy corporations. The campaigns that exist today are receiving too little on-the-ground assistance for such a widely-supported issue.
A super-majority of only 535 members of Congress—Senators and Representatives—can make that decision. The bill—H.R. 676, the ‘Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act’—is now supported by 121 House Democrats—two thirds of all the Democrats in the House of Representatives. So that’s a good start.
H.R. 676 has been referred to several, regular, Committees of the House whose Chairs are all Republican corporatists. So there have been no public hearings. The bill, not surprisingly, is not moving at all.
Millions of Americans have had the bitter experience of denials of health care, staggering bills, pay-or-die drug prices and even loved ones dying because they couldn’t afford health insurance (about 35,000 a year based on Harvard Medical School experts). So, in the next month, imagine what would happen, if just ten million of the 125 million who support full Medicare for all wrote, telephoned or emailed their two Senators and Representative demanding action and a written response by their lawmakers (who don’t pay postage).
Just ten million Americans making the least difficult effort—perhaps ending with a demand for a town meeting back home to educate the negative solons—would strike the Congressional Dome like a thunderbolt. Are there a dozen leaders among you up for launching such an electrifying internet mobilization?
Not to be confused with other lesser health insurance bills, mostly in the Senate, H.R. 676 is the real thing. It covers ‘all individuals in the U.S. with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, dental services, and vision care.’ No more premiums, co-pays or gaping deductibles.
How does H.R. 676 pay for all these services? Five ways:
” (1) from existing sources of government revenues for health care, (2) by increasing personal income taxes on the top 5% of income earners, (3) by instituting a progressive excise tax on payroll and self-employment income, (4) by instituting a tax on unearned income (such as on capital gains), and (5) by instituting a tax on stock and bond transactions. Amounts that would have been appropriated for federal public health care programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SHIP), are transferred and appropriated to carry out this bill.”
Presently, all Canadians are covered at an average per capita cost half of what Americans—insured and uninsured—are having to spend for health care. The system proposed in H.R. 676 is similar to Canadian Medicare. It includes public funding and free choice of private delivery of health care. It also has provisions for better record keeping, prevention and quality control. There is even transition retraining for all those clerical and administrative jobs that would not be necessary after displacement of the present bloated, wasteful, redundant health care sub-economy.
What would happen to the giant health insurance companies such as Aetna and United Healthcare? They would be prohibited from selling insurance that duplicates the benefits provided under H.R. 676. They could only sell benefits that are not deemed ‘medically necessary,’ such as certain cosmetic surgery operations.
Rep. Keith Ellison (Dem.-Minn.), the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), is officially the lead House Democrat on the bill, which indicates that the DNC may be getting a little more interested in endorsing such legislation.
Meanwhile, Rep. Ellison is talking it up everywhere he travels. He says:
“One of the consistent applause lines we’re all hearing is: ‘We need Medicare for all.” There’s a lot of folks who feel that it’s time for us to organize around that. It’s a better policy, at a better price. People in labor, people all over the country, they’re going to be driving the public conversation, raising the dialogue about this….What some people think is a really important progressive position is just what the rest of the industrialized world does.”
Medicare for all is what the Pentagon does. It is what President Harry Truman wanted from Congress back in the nineteen forties!! It is time.
So will the first ten million Americans step up and be counted by sending messages directly to their Senators and Representatives in the month of April? The amount of time required to send a letter, an email or a telephone call is so brief that activated citizens could be called the modern “Minutemen” for universal health insurance. Just think of all the tasks you do every day that take far more time, like trying to figure out bills, denials, exclusions, from this basic human right.
Go to SinglePayerAction.org to get the details, the motivation and the groups with which to connect. The Congressional telephone switchboard is 202-224-3121. Make sure to give your legislators your name and contacts; they’ll take the call or letter more seriously.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
THE 19TH CENTURY’S PREMIERE COCAINE ADDICT
Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction.
Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance, but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. On the contrary, from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight, and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject, but there was that in the cool, nonchalant air of my companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. His great powers, his masterly manner, and the experience which I had had of his many extraordinary qualities, all made me diffident and backward in crossing him.
Yet upon that afternoon, whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch, or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme deliberation of his manner, I suddenly felt that I could hold out no longer.
"Which is it today?" I asked,—"morphine or cocaine?"
He raised his eyes languidly from the old black-letter volume which he had opened. "It is cocaine," he said,—"a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it?"
"No, indeed," I answered, brusquely. "My constitution has not got over the Afghan campaign yet. I cannot afford to throw any extra strain upon it."
He smiled at my vehemence. "Perhaps you are right, Watson," he said. "I suppose that its influence is physically a bad one. I find it, however, so transcendently stimulating and clarifying to the mind that its secondary action is a matter of small moment."
"But consider!" I said, earnestly. "Count the cost! Your brain may, as you say, be roused and excited, but it is a pathological and morbid process, which involves increased tissue-change and may at last leave a permanent weakness. You know, too, what a black reaction comes upon you. Surely the game is hardly worth the candle. Why should you, for a mere passing pleasure, risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed? Remember that I speak not only as one comrade to another, but as a medical man to one for whose constitution he is to some extent answerable."
He did not seem offended. On the contrary, he put his fingertips together and leaned his elbows on the arms of his chair, like one who has a relish for conversation.
"My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,—or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world."
— Arthur Conan Doyle, Opening Scene of “The Sign of Four,” 1890
TEEN WRITERS’ WORKSHOP
Tuesday, March 27, 2018: 4:15-5:30 pm
New teen writing group offers feedback, inspiration, suggestions, and support
Ukiah’s budding novelists, playwrights, and short story writers will have a chance to share their work with their literary peers and discuss it in depth at the Ukiah Library on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 4:15pm.
Workshop moderator Sarah Neilson holds a Masters in Children’s and Young Adult Literature from Hollins University and a BA in English from the University of Iowa. A published playwright and essayist, she’s been active in writing workshops for almost 20 years.
“Reading is usually a solitary experience,” Neilson says, “and writing definitely is. But workshops allow you to actually watch what happens when someone else reads your work. You also get to hear your work read out loud, which can change the way you see your own ideas.”
Teen writers will share what they like about each other’s work, ask questions, and offer suggestions to those who are unsure about where to go next.
Anyone aged 14-18 with a piece of writing to share, however finished or unfinished, whatever genre or form, is welcome to bring it to the workshop.
“Bring several pages, or just bring a sentence or even an idea,” Neilson says. “It’s all up for discussion.” She also emphasizes that writers need readers, and encourages teens who don’t have writing to share to show up anyway.
“Anyone can offer feedback and support,” Neilson says. “You never know how your perspective might help someone. Even something as simple as, ‘wait, I’m confused,’ can help a writer clarify what it is they’re trying to say.”
No sign-up or registration is necessary, but questions can be directed to Melissa Carr, Teen and Adult Services Librarian, email@example.com.
Contact: Sarah Neilson
Phone: (773) 682-0544
IMPEACHING THE MORON
From Andrew Sullivan's impeachment essay in last week's NY Times Book Review:
...The founders knew that without a virtuous citizenry, the Constitution was a mere piece of paper and, in Madison’s words, “no theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure.” Franklin was blunter in forecasting the moment we are now in: He believed that the American experiment in self-government “can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.”
You can impeach a president, but you can’t, alas, impeach the people. They voted for the kind of monarchy the American republic was designed, above all else, to resist; and they have gotten one.
Bertolt Brecht, mocking authoritarian government, proposed replacing the people:
Some party hack decreed that the people
had lost the government's confidence
and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
If that is the case, would it not be be simpler
If the government simply dissolved the people
And elected another?
We can begin repairing most of the damage Trump is doing to our democracy after the November midterm elections and finish the job by electing a new president in 2020.
But in defense of the American people, remember that Hillary beat Trump by 2,865,075 votes, 65,844,954 (48.2%) to 62,979,879 (46.1%). Only the flawed electoral system created by our sainted Founding Fathers allowed that asshole to win.
H.L. Mencken's prediction, alas, has come true:
“As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
THE TRUE STATE OF THE DEMOCRATS
Since Trump’s historic election, Obama and Hillary have given us revealing reminders of why the Awful One sits in the Oval Office. The former Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) champion and newly wealthy first Black ex-president Obama has been spotted cavorting on yachts with billionaires. He’s been gleefully cashing in on his eight years of silver-tongued service to the global capitalist elite. This sordid, oligarchic victory lap is richly consistent with the left critique of Obama as a willing agent of the New Gilded Age.
Hillary (who was forced against her globalist instincts to pretend to oppose the TPP in 2016) recently went to India to double down on her “progressive neoliberal” contempt for stupid middle America by saying this:
“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coasts. But what the map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product (GDP). So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”
That was Hillary Goldman Sachs-Council on Foreign Relations Clinton saying “fuck you very much” to working- and middle-class people in Iowa, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Indiana, and West Virginia. It was a raised middle finger from a super-wealthy arch-global-corporatist to all the supposedly pessimistic, slow-witted, retrograde losers stuck between those glorious enclaves (led by Wall Street, Yale, and Harvard on the East coast and Silicon Valley and Hollywood on the West coast) of human progress and variety (and GDP!) on the imperial shorelines.
Wow. Call it “Deplorables II: The Wall Street Witch Strikes Again!” Trump is not the only U.S. political figure with an impulse-control problem that poses difficulties for major party operatives. Senate Minority Leader Dick Durbin had to go on television to say that Hillary was “wrong” to write off most of the nation as a festering cesspool of pathetic, ass-backwards, lottery-playing, opioid-addicted white-trash has-beens.
— Paul Street
Hey all you ukulele players and those interested,
I hope you have the dates in your calendar for the April 13 & 14 Mendocino Coast UkeFest! We are planning three events, beginning with the Friday evening uke jam and singalong, featuring our four instructors. On Saturday - morning and afternoon workshop sessions and free admission events - open mic, Pizza Party with Salad Bar and live music. Dinner is only $10 - such a deal! All these happenings are at the Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 N Harold Street in Fort Bragg. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com/event/3360944 or directly through me.
Friday, April 13 - Mendocino Coast UkeFest Kick-Off, 7-9pm, Doors at 6:30pm - Jam and sing-along, meet the instructors. All ages and levels of experience are encouraged. Bring your ukulele or just come in to sing along. Free admission. Saturday, April 14 9am -3pm, Mendocino Coast UkeFest 2018 - A daytime ukulele festival to celebrate the ukulele, a fun and friendly instrument with workshops and jamming. A choice of two workshops each at 10am and 1:30pm, open mic follows. $30 for the day. Net proceeds benefit RCSC. Mendocino Coast UkeFest 2018 - Free admission events at Redwood Coast Senior Center, 490 N Harold St, Fort Bragg, begin at 3pm for open mic with Pizza Party and Salad Bar dinner starting at 5PM. Performances from 5:30-8:30PM feature “The Ukeholics and the Tiny Orchestra of Boonville”, "The Random Holler Jug Band" and more.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Pattie 937-1732
Hope to see you there!
Please know that my medical testing and minor surgery is completed, and I been told that I am "set to go". Leaving for Washington D.C. Wednesday night March 28th, and will initially car camp with Jesse Schultz around the beltway. Have contacted Margaret Flowers via Facebook to say that I may require indoor housing at some point, and am able to afford that presently. All that is for certain, is that I have called for The Cherry Blossom Spring Offensive beginning April 1st, as a prelude to the World Bank-IMF protestations in mid April. I've contacted the principal Beyond Extreme Energy participants to say that I've referred the general public to the BXE webpage for "networking purposes". I am seriously looking forward to going forth with this, in the face of the growing derangement of the alt.right menace. Meanwhile, am chanting Om Namo Narayanaya continuously and enjoying the yogic view.
Craig Louis Stehr
WE HAVE a zillion bullets and they can't even figure out which bathroom to use. Who do you think is going to win?
— Trump voter
A DANCE TO SPRING
"Feet are more puppety than hands are. Hands are all fingers. They're obviously you. Feet are more like a separate person, and they're entrancing when they talk. When hands talk it's hard to ignore that they're hostages and they're only going along with this ridiculous charade because they're compelled to. They'd rather be anywhere else. That saddens the experience. But you asked about the planning of the crime. Very well. You see, it happened like this..."
The recording of last night's (2018-03-23) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is waiting for you to listen any time of the day or night, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
About the logistics of the show: again with KMEC's problem picking up the stream. And another problem there that, when I checked on TuneIn about midnight, resulted in both their automation music and my show playing at the same time, but maybe that was only on their TuneIn stream and not on the air. ("Aieee! Chandu, how is it possible?") But I'm eternally optimistic that it'll be solved by next week -it's not as though there isn't gonna be a next week. Sid Cooperrider, when he got home from work at one a.m. and could attend to this, switched me in manually via VNC (four hours into the show) and switched me out when I signed off at five, and he emailed me that he's working on this. And everything went fine at KNYO, so that's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as my grandfather used to say when he was younger than I am now, so I'm qualified to take up that banner, though he had one all-white eye from actually being poked in the eye with a stick, so I'm never going to completely catch up there.
In Other News: 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, things where just hearing it wouldn't be enough. Such as:
Time-lapse beans and spinach grow. Do you or I or anyone know? Yes, now, thank you: http://www.neatorama.com/2018/03/22/Bean-Ballet/
Neither ghost nor machine: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0k-ZVua7_rjOJy6UozU2KA
And the whole way through you keep worrying she will hit herself in the forehead or the eye or the teeth with that hammer. And then near the end, when they're all walking close around her and she's swinging it even more wildly and carelessly, oy. Rita, guarda cosa stai facendo! https://tinyurl.com/DatemiUnMartello
Here are the lyrics, in case you'd like to sing along and martello out some pericolo, avvertimento, and amore tra fratelli e sorelle of your own: https://tinyurl.com/RitaPavoneDatemiUnMartello