- Cooler Weather
- Redistricting FB
- Morning Star
- Little Dog
- Flying Blind
- Marbut Adopted
- Quiz Night
- PA Forum
- Hospital Measure
- Hopland Forum
- Yesterday's Catch
- Fire Forum
- Hypocrisy Now
- DNA Capture
- Medicare Seminar
- Serving Subpoenas
- Romantic Concert
- National Homelessness
- Pit Bulls
- Mad Ones
- Compost Workshop
MARINE LAYER CLOUDS will persist along most of the coast today, while isolated thunderstorms will be possible over the interior mountains this afternoon into this evening. An upper-level low will bring cooler weather with scattered showers Friday through Sunday. (National Weather Service)
HERE IT COMES
by Rex Gressett
We have always loved our City Council. We know they are flawed but they have always been a big part of what makes life gracious in our little city — the freedom to build our lives with our own hands, to work, to create, to raise our kids in wholesome (mostly) surroundings. They sincerely work for us.
It is the skeleton in our community closet that the City Council as a governing body that is a gentle disappointment to us all.
The Council has inherited the precious mantle of self-government for which so many have poured out their blood. I guess that is a cliche, but the blood was real and the achievement was the greatest in the history of man. Living up to the responsibilities of self-government is a damn hard job, the hardest we have. It turns out that those self-governing shoes were just too big for them.
Very obviously and painfully the City Council now and formerly has never lived up to the responsibilities entrusted to them. The byzantine complexities of civic administration are simply too much for a volunteer City Council. The city administration has always run circles around them, fooled them, lied to them and mocked them. Standard operating procedure lots of places. We have waited and we have hoped for the Council to step up. The hope was bone deep but it was never fulfilled. By law, the direction of governance comes from the Council. In practice it never does.
Over the years we have had a few good council people, Jere Melo with whom I disagreed on every issue was a hard worker and no one’s fool. He accomplished a great deal, some of it useful, but he is long gone. Bernie Norvell has given it a go, studied hard and unapologetically accomplished nothing. Mr. Norvell is at least responsive to a small clique of supporters and thinks that satisfies the job requirement. Bernie is content with a holding pattern. He does not propose, he does not initiate, he does not have a discernable position on any issue until the city administration tells him what they intend to do. The tiny questions that he inserts into the council meetings are a parody of inquiry. I believe that he is the best man we have and he has not done anything except fire Linda Ruffing. It was a good start but it is not all that we have a right to expect of him. Cueball (Mike Cimilino) is smart, deeply informed and totally ineffective. He watched the squandering of resources and the mismanagement with a practiced eye acquired during a long career in municipal infrastructure. He asked the right questions and absorbed the excuses and the spin without offering a correction or an alternative. I know that he understands. I know that he cares, but he would not fight.
Will Lee and Mayor Lindy Peters are simply co-conspirators in venal non-transparency. Both of them are petulant, pompous, and defiantly uncritical. They are great smilers and ridiculously proud of their positions. They have the depth and determination appropriate to a high school student council. People tend to like them because they are unthreatening in the way that only complete disengagement from the issues makes possible.
I arrived at this conclusion reluctantly, but I have come to understand that Lindy Peters and Will Lee do not have half an ounce of courage or integrity between them. Personally, I would prefer an out and out flunky like Hammerstrom to the dodging ducking, weaving super-flexibility of Lindy Peters.
Will Lee has discovered his calling as a professional apologist. He finds that it pays well. He does his act for the corrupt hospital and now he does it for the city administration. He asserts that our bureaucrats will do just fine if everybody would just listen to him and leave the poor administrators that make our policy completely alone. Comments on the scoundrels who make the decisions behind the backs of the City Council are extremely discomfiting. Will just hates that stuff. Pick on me if you must thunders Will Lee but critical remarks on the city administration that are running the show behind my back will simply not be tolerated. We have a permanently dysfunctional city council with a glaring absence of talent or integrity. But what can you do?
The Fort Bragg City Council is the best local democracy we have access to. As a city, we want to respect it. As a community, we trust it to stand up for us. The people of the city have been patient and long-suffering, but the City Council in Fort Bragg ain't much. And now in a practical sense, we are losing even that.
A few days before the regular City Council meeting April 23, the city received a letter that will almost certainly blow Fort Bragg city politics as we have known it straight to hell and terminate the Council as we understand it. The Fort Bragg City Council in its present form is doomed unto death.
The letter that nuked the Council was from one Jacob Patterson Esq. on behalf of a mysterious Committee for Responsive Representation. (No one knows who they are.) It was a Request For Compliance With The California Voting Rights Act. Counselor Patterson asserts in the complaint that the Fort Bragg Hispanic population is bobbing along in an ocean of white, wishing that they had someone from their own protected class to vote for. The act proposes to remedy the dilution of Hispanic votes in the general election system.
Every two years in the City Council elections our tiny city looks for its best people. Everybody in our small town votes on every councilperson. That was then. Now we will be forced under threat of an unwinnable lawsuit to do it another way. Redistricting is what they call it.
The mass of white voters and the minority of Hispanic voters is held to be fundamentally unjust, at least according to this transient attorney. Blowing up the principle of a general election in favor of tiny elections to be held where Hispanics live is the antidote to injustice. In Fort Bragg little areas filled with Hispanics only are nowhere to be found. But incredibly, the Act does not require protected classes to be concentrated. The Act just charges into local elections and wreaks havoc. Damn the torpedos. Instead of electing the best people in a small city it redistricts the city electorate into little neighborhoods. We will get the best people in a couple of blocks. Each little section of the city will vote on a neighborhood City Council representative.
But voting by neighborhoods we could not get a competent boy scout leader, Hispanic or otherwise. It will marginalize our talent pool and reduce the City Council to the mediocrity of another planning commission. That works fine for some folks. It will give the North of Pine liberals a permanent seat on the council. And that, of course, is the point.
I am very sure that nobody who opposes redistricting or supports it doubts that the maneuver is a deliberate exploitation of race for political gain. In Fort Bragg, no one, Hispanic or otherwise, imagines we have a disenfranchised class. Like the Portuguese or the Italians or the Finns or the Swedes before them, the new Hispanic immigrants that have come to Fort Bragg are clearly not in need of protection. Legal and not, they are the backbone of our city and completely respected. Prosperity, hard work and pride distinguish them. Nobody has to protect them and I am very confident that they would rightly resent the presumption.
But for the ruthless political degenerates who are hammering at the foundations of our city, decency and common sense do not matter. The city will be forced to fight an expensive, almost certainly futile lawsuit to avoid redistricting. We can't afford it. The City Council doesn’t have the guts to resist it. The cities that have tried to fight redistricting have failed. Redistricting is a bad idea but a foregone conclusion.
The California Voting Rights Act for all the grandeur of its intention is a bomb lobbed at small local governments. It may have some usefulness in large cities. But in a small town of 1500 households, it is a formula for institutionalized incompetence.
However vile, it pays well for the entrepreneurial attorneys who run with the ball. Charitably I would characterize Mr. Patterson as a carpetbagging, self-serving twit. But you have to hand it to him — he has identified a profitable angle for himself and an anonymous committee has hired him. He gets to destroy the City Council. Payday for Jacob Paterson is on the way.
In Fort Bragg, we respect the City Council, I think that everyone feels that in an important way, they belong to us. But you have to ask yourself how much did they ever care? Now we will get to see them humiliated and watch as they cave into a proposal that will take the responsibility off their shoulders and end our most important institution of democratic participation. I hope they fight it, even if they can’t win. But if they do it will be the first time.
MENDOLIB, THE EARLY YEARS
Heirs to Morning Star Ranch, famed 1960s Occidental commune, selling for $2.5 million
The starry-eyed Flower Children who once flocked to the Morning Star Ranch outside Occidental have long since gone their separate ways, the remnants of their experiment in communal living bulldozed by county work crews decades ago.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Every time Skrag reappears after one of his five-day debauches, everyone around here falls all over him cooing and cawing about how worried they were about him. But who got all missing posters up? Me! I did all the real worrying and work, not that Skrag, the all-time ingrate, and all these other saps, thank me for it.”
THE SUPERVISORS are regularly surprised by random factoids suddenly unearthed from some long buried or seemingly innocuous report. One of them might even comment on it — it’s low, seems high, it’s odd… Other times, they don’t notice it at all because it’s obscured by the bafflegab it's wrapped in or buried under.
ON TUESDAY, for example, when CEO Angelo invited a General Services Manager to the podium to recite some statistics about the County’s huge “fleet” of cars and trucks, the staffer said that the County owned 395 vehicles (not counting heavy equipment assigned to the Transportation Department). Supervisor Dan Gjerde, noting that the County has about 1300 employees, said, “395? That seems kinda high.” The GSA staffer also noted that Mendo rents an additional 5 vehicles for employees to use “whenever they want.” Gjerde wondered if there wasn’t some way to reduce the number of vehicles the County owns and maintains. Of course, nobody followed up and that was the end of it. We were left wondering who the favored five are (or how they qualify for perhaps rotating use), and I'll betcha they are people paid plenty enough to pay for their own transportation. Present SoCo DA, Jill Ravitch, when she worked for Mendo (pre-Eyster) got a free car and fuel to commute back and forth to her West Sonoma County home. And so it goes.
NOT THAT MANY years ago Supervisor Mike Delbar expressed one of the more interesting reactions to a factoid when he was told that at the time there were 140 people in the Mental Health department. “How did that happen?” Delbar asked mystified, not realizing that neither he nor his colleagues received any reports about anything from any of their departments. It turned out to be a rhetorical question that went nowhere, as usual. Within a few years the number had dropped to about 40 by a combination of privatization and budget cuts in 2008/2009. In both these particular cases, nothing came of the random questions from the Supervisors.
AS BEST we can determine (and it took quite a bit of looking), Sonoma County has a fleet size of about 1300 vehicles and about 4100 employees, which turns out to be about the same ratio of vehicles per employee as Mendo at 0.31. So Mendo’s ratio of vehicles to employees isn’t far from Sonoma’s — although, as Gjerde noted — “it seems kinda high.”
ANOTHER FACTOID — this time a more important one that none of the Supervisors noticed — was the striking number of funded vacancies in Social Services. According to an attachment to CEO Carmel Angelo’s CEO report, Mendo has 20 “funded and approved vacant positions in active recruitment” just for eligibillity workers II and III. There are an additional 11 vacant social worker III and IV positions, plus 5 vacant social worker assistant positions, and 3 vacant social worker supervisory II positions for a total of almost 40 vacant positions in Social Services.
IN THE PAST when such high vacancy rates in Social Services occurred somebody would at least ask simple pointed questions like: Why? What’s the problem? What’s the impact? What kind of eligibility backlog do we have? Can we do anything to improve the situation? Who’s not getting benefits they deserve to have?
WE SUSPECT that the reasons have to do not just with Mendo’s still low employee pay compared to neighboring counties for line workers, but that the Social Services pay for line-workers is low even within the County’s payroll. And housing costs for new line workers are outta sight in every area of the County. We've known some smart, capable eligibility workers who had to commute from Lake County to be able to live on Mendo’s low wages. And it’s even worse on the Mendocino Coast.
THE POINT IS, as we have said time and again, that without ordinary reports from department heads, the Supes are flying blind, with no idea what's going on in their 20-some departments.
A FEW WEEKS AGO, CEO Angelo told the Board that she had slashed the Juvenile Hall budget because they were running at about $500 per day per inmate when other counties are sequestering the next generation of criminals for $150 per day per inmate. Or less. Nobody asked how it got so high before anybody noticed. Nobody asked for reports on what was being done to fix the situation, or what changes were going to be made in the Probation Department to reduce the costs.
CEO ANGELO mentioned “metrics” in passing in her CEO report on Tuesday saying that it will be a long time before anything like “metrics” is available because the County has lots of employees and departments. Really? A thousand or so worker bees are too many to track? Simple monthly budget and staff reports by department are too hard? Angelo started talking about metrics two years ago and in that time exactly NOTHING has been done.
MEANWHILE, we have campaigns underway in two key Supervisorial Districts, and even though the candidates get high marks for candor, only Art Juhl and Johnny Pinches have talked about managerial chaos (albeit without actual reporting gaps).
SUPES ENDORSE MARBUT HOMELESS STRATEGIES
by Ariel Carmona
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to endorse in concept a series of recommended actions regarding homelessness stemming out of a consultant’s report, paid almost $50,000 by the county to examine and suggest solutions to this ongoing problem.
After meeting with various agencies, service providers, non-profits, regional businesses and other stakeholders, Robert Marbut, an expert in homeless studies, presented a draft of his final report last month to county officials which includes county-wide strategic recommendations including making decisions based on data, encouraging all organizations and the public to engage with, rather than enable the homeless, and the separation of children from chronic adults whenever possible, among 28 other recommendations and four others labeled “next steps.”
“Our point in doing the needs assessment was ultimately to be able to improve our community’s quality of life,” said Anne Molgaard, chief operating officer of Health and Human Services for the county in her presentation to the board. “The good news is that there were lots of positives. Dr. Marbut was pleasantly surprised our stakeholders do talk to each other and it’s one of the few advantages of having such a small area in that we all run into each other.”
Molgaard said according to the definition of homeless, Mendocino County only has about 300 homeless people and that’s a much more serviceable number than in other areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles or even in Santa Rosa. “This is something we may be able to get a handle on,” she said, adding that the county has already started to implement some of the things that have come up from Marbut’s report, with a high potential for consensus among county leadership on how to move forward.
Some of the findings highlighted by Molgaard and county staff include little movement among the homeless in the region. “In other areas you see the homeless going back and forth on a daily or weekly basis from different service centers, so it’s really hard to get a handle on what is their plan on moving forward,” Molgaard said. “We don’t have too much of that so that’s an advantage.”
The ground breaking of the Willow Terrace project in Ukiah with 38 apartments designed to house seriously mentally ill adults was cited by Molgaard as evidence of county leadership’s efforts to get individuals off living on the streets, but she said a lot of challenges remain.
One challenge she said is not having a common understanding of what homelessness is and she spoke about Marbut’s concept of tactics versus strategies.
“We see a problem and we want to fix it, that’s a lovely social worker type of mentality that we embrace in many situations, but it hasn’t been working for us here,” said Molgaard, who pointed out that the reason behind doing a countywide plan is to try to work together with other agencies and partners to have more consistency throughout the county.
Another challenge presented by Marbut was the dearth of substance abuse and mental health treatment services, something she said county staff will have to delve in deeper to see what else can be done. According to Molgaard, county officials are trying to help address those services and get them streamlined in an effort to prioritize and expand the amount of substance abuse and mental health treatment available.
An area of concern highlighted by Marbut’s analysis is the need for more special programs for children experiencing homelessness.
Another issue is the time people spend on the street which correlates with the likelihood of success getting someone housed since the more chronic the homelessness is, the less likely staff are to have success in bringing that person in from the cold.
County officials are trying to focus on triaging and prioritizing those who have a local connection to Mendocino County.
Molgaard stated the reason for this is not xenophobic or “county centric,” rather staff know the more family and friends connection someone has, the more likely they are to be housed at a later point in time.
Maya Stuart, program administrator for the county’s health and human services agency said in addition to meeting with various stakeholders including members of the public, staff has reviewed the report’s recommendations and talked about consistency in the way providers collect data so that county staff has a better opportunity to be able to look at patterns in their work to better meet the needs of the homeless population.
According to Molgaard, staff is in the process of contracting with a community facilitator to work with groups to see how to move forward with the 28 recommendations outlined by the report. She requested direction from the board regarding the frequency of reports updating them on their progress.
Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde said he would like to prioritize resources for people with a local connection.
“Sort of intuitively we know we don’t have enough resources for everybody in America to come to Mendocino County who’s searching for services so we have to prioritize to people who have some connection here,“ He added that he would like to see that idea promoted to everything the county does including anybody who is getting a contract from the county, whether its for food, services or housing.
Second District Supervisor John McCowen said he knew of the potential for a small contract with Marbut for county officials to able to consult with him going forward. Mollgard confirmed the agreement is in the works, and estimated it would cost about $10,000.
“There need to be criteria to determine what do we do with our limited resources,” said McCowen. “Those criteria will be worked out with our key partners.”
First District Supervisor Carre Brown said she felt monthly updates were feasible whereas Croskey said she would prefer to see updates every other month, simply because a month “flies by” and that schedule would allow staff the opportunity for more in depth updates.
When prompted to share law enforcement’s point of view regarding the issue, Sheriff Tom Allman said producing the report crafted by a professional with the right data proved fruitful, despite a lot of discussion on why the county needed a consultant to achieve this goal.
“Homelessness itself is not a crime. Mental illness is not a crime,” he said. “Not everyone who’s homeless is mentally ill and not everybody who is mentally ill is homeless but there’s certainly an intersection of those.” Allman commended the department of Mental Health Services for stepping up the increased mental health services towards some of the homeless people who he says tend to be the aggressive panhandlers, the ones that are the recipients of 911 calls from people passing by.
(Courtesy, the Willits News)
THE QUIZ IS ON! The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz takes place on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month. Today, 26th April, meets that criteria and so we shall get going at 7pm prompt at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. You know it makes sense. Hope to see you there. Steve Sparks/The QuizMaster
SAVING COAST HOSPITAL, an on-line comment:
I’m with you regarding wanting a fully functioning hospital. Which is why I’m part of Friends of the Hospital; we’re doing our best to make the board/CEO more transparent and moving in the right direction. And they are. They’re hiring more local folks instead of visiting staff; they have a new, wonderful doctor in charge of ER; fired the harassing CFO Sturgeon, etc. The measure indicates just where the money is going and where it is not going to go. It won’t go to administrators’ salaries and the like. It will go to basic services. If the measure doesn’t pass, the people who will be most harmed will be women and children. More than likely, they’ll cut obstetrics and labor & delivery services. I don’t want to imagine what that will mean to the lives of people living here. The naysayers are much louder than the ayes on this measure. Every time I hear another negative MCDH voice, I think of women in labor having to drive to Santa Rosa in the rain (or give birth in the ER next to accident victims, mentally ill folks, and the like), and it further pushes me to have Measure C pass. For 40 cents a day, $12 a month, we have a fighting chance to keep our hospital and make it work well.
THE HOPLAND Municipal Advisory Council in conjunction with Brutocao Cellars is inviting the public to a Meet the Candidates Forum at the Brutocao Event Center in Hopland on Monday, April 30th at 6:00pm. The forum will feature all of the candidates running for the Mendocino County 5th District Supervisor seat. The candidates are Arthur Juhl, David Roderick, Alan Rodier, Chris Skyhawk and Ted Williams. K.C. Meadows of The Ukiah Daily Journal will be the facilitator. Each candidate will be given two minutes for opening remarks then questions will be taken from the audience. Candidates will be given two minutes for closing remarks. Upon arrival, candidates will draw numbers to determine the order of appearance. This non-partisan session will provide the voters of the 5th District information on each of the candidates allowing voters to make informed decisions. The general election is Tuesday, June 5th, 2018. The event is free and open to the public.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 24-25, 2018
PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
RYAN DICKERSON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
DANIEL GUTIERREZ, Ukiah. DUI.
FRANK HARJU, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
JACK JOHNSON, Los Angeles/Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.
SHALOM LEWIS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
RYAN RAYA, Ukiah. Parole violation.
CHARLES ROBINSON, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
AMBER SALLINEN, Clearlake/Navarro. Domestic abuse.
KENNETH WHIPPLE, Covelo. Probation revocation.
CODY WIRT, Fort Bragg. Vandalism, probation revocation.
DON’T WORRY abut the words. I’ve been doing that since 1921. I always count them when I knock off and drink the first whiskey &c. Guess I got in the habit writing dispatches. Used to send them [to The Torronto Star] from places [war torn Europe] where they cost a dollar and a quarter a word and you had to make them awful interesting at that price or get fired.
–Ernest Hemingway to Chas Scribner, 1940
DEMOCRACY NOW! HYPOCRISY
The lead came in one week ago, a tantalizing DNA hit that triggered a rush of excitement among Sacramento investigators working to solve the 44-year-old mystery of the East Area Rapist suspected of 12 murders and at least 51 rapes the length of California from 1974 through mid-1986.
Detectives began focusing on Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old retiree and former police officer living on a quiet street in Citrus Heights, conducting secret surveillance on him, studying his routines and, finally, collecting two separate samples of DNA from items he had discarded.
On Tuesday afternoon, in what Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones called a "perfectly executed arrest," FBI agents and detectives took DeAngelo into custody when he stepped outside his home.
* * *
"One day soon, you’ll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You’ll hear footsteps coming up your front walk. Like they did for Edward Wayne Edwards, twenty-nine years after he killed Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Like they did for Kenneth Lee Hicks, thirty years after he killed Lori Billingsley, in Aloha, Oregon. The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You’re long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you. “You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light."
— Michelle McNamara, ‘I'll Be Gone in the Dark’
CALLING ALL GEEZERS!
A Must Attend Event On The South Coast…
Free Medicare Fundamentals Educational Seminar Scheduled for May 4, 2018; Contact: Frank Nelson; TITLE: Program Manager; PHONE: (707) 526-4108; EMAIL: email@example.com
The Medicare Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) is presenting a free Medicare Fundamentals educational seminar on May 4th at 12:15 pm in Fort Bragg for people wanting an understanding of their Medicare health benefits. "There is so much to understand, especially as we get older and use our Medicare more," says Marianne Estournes, Senior Advocacy Services Board President. HICAP has partnered with Redwood Coast Senior Center for this seminar, which will cover Medicare Parts A, B, D, Advantage Plans, Supplemental Plans, deadlines and more. For information and to reserve a seat, call Senior Advocacy Services - HICAP at 707-526-4108 or 800-434-0222 HICAP offers free and unbiased counseling and information on Medicare issues and does not sell, recommend, or endorse any insurance product, agent, insurance company, nor health plan. This HICAP presentation is a service of Senior Advocacy Services in partnership with and support by the Area Agency on Aging and the California Department of Aging.
"Romantic Masters" concert features pianist Frank Wiens
by Roberta Werdinger
The Ukiah Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Les Pfutzenreuter and in collaboration with Mendocino College presents "Romantic Masters" at the Mendocino College Center Theatre on Saturday, May 19 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 20 at 3 p.m. Pianist Frank Wiens will be the featured soloist on Johannes Brahms' Piano Concerto in D minor, opus 15; the orchestra will also play Robert Schumann's Symphony No. 1 "Spring" in B-flat major, opus 38.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was one of the major composers of the Romantic era, a cultural movement that arose in the late 18th century and gave rise to major innovations in music, literature, painting and philosophy. In his relatively short life he created hundreds of compositions, but did not did not produce a full-fledged symphony until 1841, at the prompting of his wife, Clara, a renowned pianist and composer in her own right. The Symphony No. 1 was successfully introduced in concert under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn in Leipzig in 1841. Schumann himself nicknamed it his "Spring" concerto, commenting that “that was what was most in my mind when I wrote it" earlier that year. He was no doubt referring to his marriage several months earlier to Clara after years of opposition from her father, who had formerly been his piano teacher. The vigorous and bold notes create a triumphant mood, that of a young man in his prime. The tympani take a major and historical role in this work, as this is the first symphonic composition to utilize three tympani in multiple tunings.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was only twenty years old when he made the acquaintance of Robert Schumann. Brahms was so encouraged by the elder composer's rapturous response to his music that he started to write his first full-length symphony. That piece wasn't finished until five years later, however, after extensive revision. The Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor was not well-received when it premiered in 1859--"the hissing was rather too much," Brahms wrote a friend, referring to the audience response--and yet the composer continued to perform the concerto and write more music, until in time the hissing was replaced by applause. Meanwhile Robert Schumann, who had struggled with mental illness for some time and made a suicide attempt, died in a mental asylum. It is possible some of the emotional force of the concerto arose from this tragic event, as well as from Brahms' lifelong attachment to Clara Schumann, who remained a staunch advocate for Brahms and his music in later years. (Whether the relationship developed beyond that is not known.) The concerto follows the trajectory of a human heart and mind as it travels through peaks and valleys of affection. Composed in the traditional three movements of Maestoso, Adagio and Rondo, the piano creates shimmering chords that interplay with violins, horns and oboe, creating a dynamic weave of sound.
Frank Wiens, a long-time Professor of Piano at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, is happy to be visiting Ukiah again to play with the Symphony for the third time. Wiens, whose concert pianist and teaching skills have won him many awards and who has toured extensively in the U.S. and abroad, including performances in Eastern Europe and Russia where he was able to present composers in their native context, also has fond memories of playing the Brahms piece at a crucial moment in his career. In 1975, in the finalist round of the Young Artists Concerto Competition put on by the Atlanta Symphony, he performed this piece. "What a thrill it was performing with a very large major orchestra," he recalls. Seated at the piano with the orchestra behind him, "the sound of the strings was so powerful it was like being hit by a thunderclap." A few years earlier, Wiens had used the lyrical second movement (Adagio) of the concerto in his wedding ceremony.
"This music is so powerful--spiritual at times, fiery at others," he continues. "There are many technical and expressive demands. Brahms' language is very unique--rich in thirds and sixths intervals that create a warmth in sound." Brahms himself was a pianist with large hands, a characteristic Wiens says he shares. As a result, the composer favored chords that can require quite a reach for a pianist's fingers. Brahms "got me stretched out as far as I could stretch," Wiens reflects.
Wiens also stretches himself via his teaching career. "The teaching process is a very satisfying one," he explains. "It's a symbiotic relationship. In explaining how to play to a student, you are learning about yourself. The process of trying to communicate what I am teaching clarifies my own playing." We can all benefit from the results.
"Romantic Masters" will be held at the Mendocino College Theatre on May 19 at 8 p.m. and May 20 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 adults, $20 seniors 65 and up, and free for youth under 18 and students with ASB cards. Tickets may be purchased at the Mendocino Book Company, 102 S. School Street in Ukiah; Mail Center, Etc., 207-A N. Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale; and online at www.ukiahsymphony.org. Anyone who has lost their home, business or family members in the recent October fires will be admitted for free at the door. (Check in at Will Call 30 minutes prior to the performance.)
The concert is sponsored by Drs. Larry Falk and Margaret Arner; Dr. Andrew I. Corbett, DDS, MS, Inc.; and Pacific Redwood Medical Group. For more information, call the Ukiah Symphony at 707 462-0236.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Just today my niece, an RN and also an EMT with the local volunteer FD, was saying the whole medical industry is a racket set up to extract maximum $$ from the sick, the gullible and the desperate. Speaking of rackets, all the courts, the jails, the prisons state and federal with 2 million inmates, 800,000 police officers, parole and probation officers, lawyers, judges and prosecutors … I wonder what it all costs in a single year. Not that it isn’t necessary, but I wonder what the tab is. Its gotta be in the trillions.
DEALING WITH THE CHRONIC EMERGENCY ON CITY STREETS
From Heather Knight's story in today's Chronicle:
His [SF Mayor Farrell's] new budget will include doubling the money spent on Homeward Bound, the program that pays for free bus tickets for homeless people if there’s a receptive friend or family member on the other end.
Knight is the only one in the local mainstream media regularly doing serious work on the chronic emergency on SF city streets. The Chronicle has a praiseworthy history of covering homelessness—by Kevin Fagan, C.W. Nevius, and now Heather Knight.
As I've been saying for years, Homeward Bound is the best, most cost-effective program the city has to deal with homelessness.
But if the city has "housed 11,362 homeless single adults and sent an additional 8,086 home to receptive friends or family members through the Homeward Bound program"—as Knight recently told us—why hasn't the city's homeless problem been solved by now?
She provides the answer in today's story:
Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness, said his team gets an average of 50 people off the streets every week. But every week, 150 people take their place. Let that sink in. For every one person who gets help, three more join the homeless ranks.
Kositsky said that while 7,500 people were found to be living on the streets during last year’s one-night count, there are 20,000 people who are homeless in San Francisco over the course of a year. About 6,500 of them arrived here homeless from somewhere else, he said. He said these figures show why it’s impossible to build our way out of the problem… (emphasis added)
But Welch and his "progressive" allies on the left have long fostered the illusion that the city's homeless are just city residents down on their luck who can't afford housing in our pricey market. That doesn't even qualify as a half-truth, since the homeless, the marginal and soon-to-be homeless are arriving in the city every day: See Are the homeless really San Franciscans?
That reality only highlights the national dimensions of the problem, which means the state and the federal governments must step up to help cities deal with the crisis.
We really need a national response to this ongoing crisis, which we're unlikely to get from our present Moron in Chief.
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
PIT BULLS (1) and (2)
 I just get tired of people saying pit bulls are harmless cute cuddly dogs that never hurt anything. Some are great, others are nothing short of a wrong turn away from an attack.
I have a very gentle old female dog that weighs 35 lbs. A pit attacked her on my property simply because the owner dared pet my dog. All was fine until his female pit got jealous the second he touched my non aggressive tail waging 13 year old dog. It took over 3 minutes of beating his dog on the head while my old girl cried to get that damn dog to let go of her. Thankfully the pit got a mouthfull of my dog’s collar and only did minimal damage to my her. There’s a reason home owners insurance will not insure certain breeds, pits being on the top of the list, and it’s not because they don’t like their looks. Insurance companies go by statistics, if the statistics say a certain dog is a higher risk they will charge more or flat deny coverage for that breed.
 86.8 percent of American pit bull terriers have passed their temperament testing according to the American Temperament Test Society, Inc. This is a higher number of American pit bulls to pass their testing than collies, beagles and even golden retrievers. Of 122 different canine types tested by the society, pit bulls ranked fourth for passing temperament testing.
…THE ONLY PEOPLE for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’
— Jack Kerouac
“THE RIGHT COMPOST Can Heal the Soil and Our Climate”
April 24, 2018 Redwood Valley, CA: The Johnson-Su No Turn Composting Bioreactor makes a fungal dominant compost which is superior to windrow/turned compost in fostering soil life, hence plant growth and carbon sequestration in soil. Dr. David Johnson, a molecular biologist at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, will demonstrate the simple and cost effective composting technology he and his wife developed. Soil carbon increases resulting from field application of this compost, along with the adoption of a biologically enhanced agriculture management approach have far exceeded the soil carbon sequestration results the Marin Carbon Project generated while using only 400 to 500 lbs per acre (or even just a pound per acre when used as a seed inoculant), instead of tens of tons per acre. The following is link to Dr. Johnson’s video talk on the benefits:
Now there is an opportunity to have face to face interactions with the creators, Dr. David Johnson and his wife, Hui-Chun Su. There will be three hands-on sessions where you can learn how to build and fill the composter, a presentation on results obtained with it and fascinating microbiological information on how and why it works, with ample time for questions and answers. Each site has different materials and conditions so coming to more than one will add to your learning.
Schedule: Sunday, May 6, 2019- Bioreactor building workshop 9 AM-Noon, School of Adaptive Agriculture, Ridgewood Ranch, Willits
Potluck lunch 1 PM-2:15 pm Floodgate Farm on Heart Mountain, Redwood Valley
Bioreactor building workshop and a look at a previously built reactor 2:30-5:30 PM, Floodgate Farm
Monday May 7, all at Mendocino College Agriculture Department, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd., In Ukiah. Microscope examination of finished and partly finished compost; bring yours to estimate fungal to bacterial ratios 1-2 PM,
Bioreactor building workshop 2-5 PM,
Presentation, questions and answers, 6-7:30 PM
Contacts for more information: Bill Taylor and Jaye Alison Moscariello, 707-272-1688, firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Right Compost Can Heal the Soil and Our Climate”
More information about the presenters:
David C. Johnson, is a molecular biologist implementing metagenomics to research how soil microbial community diversity and biological functionality influences plant growth and soil carbon sequestration. Johnson’s research was recently highlighted in a book called “The Soil Will Save Us” by Kristin Ohlson.
Hui-Chun Su, co-inventor of the Bioreactor and research assistant grew up in Taiwan observing traditional agricultural practices and how the transition to synthetic fertilizers increased rice production but killed off common dietary protein resources – fish, cockles, and frogs - that had lived in the paddies.
Costs: We are asking donations, to help cover travel and meal expenses for the presenters. Suggested is $30 per workshop, gratis for the microscope exploration, and $20 for the talk. $100 for the entire two days.