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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, July 5, 2018

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SHERIFF ALLMAN called Wednesday (July 4) to laughingly “defend my honor.” We had reported that the Sheriff seemed to be a few beats behind his office’s comprehensive press release when he reported on KZYX on Monday that the Willits Grade killer was in custody. The Sheriff did not identify the parra-patricide, the press release identified him.

THE SHERIFF said he'd been pre-recorded long minutes before the show aired, well before the far more comprehensive press release from his office had been devoured and had reverberated through the hills from Gualala to Covelo by Mendo's and SoHum's carniverous, all-seeing media. The presser identified the shooter and his victims, the shooter's father and brother. KZYX subsequently repeated the Sheriff's seemingly tardy statement, lending each of the Sheriff's statements a quaint Rip Van Winkle effect.

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A READER WRITES: “I saw this Ford F-350 on the freeway yesterday.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I asked Skrag how he celebrated the 4th. ‘Me? Are you kidding? Celebrate vulgar nationalism? Us cats are loyal to one thing — regular meals’."

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Heat and the Wild Kingdom:

It got up to 104° in Marin last week. Standing outside was like taking a one-two punch from Joe Louis, then being heaved by invisible brigands into a cocoon of blistering pain. It was the kind of summer inferno that, even indoors with the A/C blasting, felt like an all-out Mongol attack, which is to say, personal and epoch-changing. Sensing (or maybe hoping) the end was near, my mind drifted back to old Fort Despair on AV Way back in the 70s and 80s, when the rains were torrential, the summers scorching, and sometimes on early mornings Mike and Patty Langley’s donkey would wake me by sticking its curious head over the fence and through my open bedroom window; trust me, being startled from the saddle of dreams by a donkey breathing on your eyelids beats any cold shower or triple-shot espresso.

But as AV locals know, however searing the day, on most evenings the fog sweeps down the valley from the coast, leaving the grateful chosen to enjoy the cooling twilight while the inland encampments of Ukiah and Cloverdale stifled in the unyielding armor of torrid dark. Playing summer league basketball in Cloverdale was like surfing invisible lava inside a volcano erupting in super-slow-motion. Not only is Cloverdale fixed perilously close to the sun, the diabolical architects of the high school gym ensured it receives maximum solar exposure, with the added benefit of enjoying no cross ventilation, even with all the doors and windows open. The thick air was hard to breathe and Craig McMillan was impossible to stop, but thank the lower-case gods for our own hoops titan in Jerry Tolman. I’m sure baskets were scored and picks were set, but mostly I remember running and sweating and the hollow thump of the ball echoing in the sullen, steaming night and the squeak of tennis shoes on the hardwood like the frantic gasps of small mammals come to die.

I remember walking to the Cloverdale gym on a long-ago night that was hot but not painful. The shadows were starting to emerge from their hiding places, and the sprinklers were whish-whishing songs of redemption to the parched and grateful grass. Suddenly I heard a few notes of electric guitar, and I froze in my tracks: it was a magical sound of a teenage band practicing a new wave song, the Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend.” I stood and soaked up the wild, haunting guitar, the pop chords, the desperate voices of a bunch of kids, just like me, trying to escape the summer heat of their little worlds.

Another summer basketball memory, this one in Ukiah and Jerry and I were driving back from a game in Willits. It was still about 96 degrees at 9 p.m. and we parked around the corner from the Motel 6 on South State Street and hopped the low fence into the pool. We quietly paddled around in the cool water, and it felt like the biggest luxury in the history of the world. Afterwards I remember the damp cling of my yellow nylon shorts against my dad’s old Nissan seat, and the wind through the rolled-down windows, and at the top of the Ukiah Road there was a big rattlesnake in the road, soaking up day’s last warmth from the asphalt. And there were never so many stars in the sky, all shining just because they could. (ZA)

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Photos by Hannah Brock

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I want to thank everyone who voted to make me Superintendent of Mendocino County's schools. I am both humbled by the confidence you have placed in me and eager to take on this very large responsibility. My candidacy was not without its critics, but I hope all of us can put aside past differences to work together for the good of all the children of our beautiful county. I am sure everyone reading this agrees that our schools must offer the strongest educational foundations for our young people it is within us to provide if our children are to thrive in the difficult world they will inherit.


Michelle Hutchins


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ON THIS DAY IN 1899, fire destroyed the hotel in the image; the building was never rebuilt. The blaze was the second largest in Mendocino’s history at that time. The image, circa 1882, shows a hay wagon with six horses in front of the Mansion House Hotel. Two women are standing on the second floor balcony and several men are posing in front of the hotel.

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The Mansion House was located on the southwest corner of Lansing and Little Lake Streets. It was built by Albert Rodgers in the fall of 1882. Mr. Rodgers operated the hotel a short time before selling it to Joseph Lazarus.

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I CAN TALK about buying a hotdog for 20 cents and a burger for a quarter, and I'm another old duffer showing off his wrinkles ("Back in MY day..."), so let's try this: President Eisenhower's chief of staff was a worthy man named Sherman Adams. Adams accepted a gift of a vicuña coat from a businessman. (A vicuña is an Andean antelope. It's coat makes very warm and soft fur.) The news got ahold of this info. The businessman was at the time in trouble with the feds. Adams resigned. Ike whined, "But I NEED Sherman Adams!" It was a pitiful moment. Eisenhower was a soldier, not a politician. He was never comfortable as president, but he had an over-developed sense of obligation to country.

Adams has been included by historians in the pantheon of "shadow presidents"--men who did much of the governing for the presidents they served. Ike was more interested in golf than the presidency, but that was fine; we didn't need an activist president at that time. It was 1958. The people liked Ike, credited (extravagantly) with winning WW2.

A joke ran around D.C. at the time: Two Democrats are talking. The first says "Wouldn't it be terrible if Ike died and we got [then V.P.] Nixon for president?" The other answered, "Wouldn't it be terrible if Sherman Adams died and we got Ike for president?"

So they got Ike, and we got the one great thing he gave us as president: the warning from a brilliant soldier, about runaway military expenditures, stoked by the powerful arms makers and the ever hungry congress--the top of the One Percent Pyramid, our invincible Military-Industrial Complex.

I was pushing twenty at the time.

So that's the whole story. Compare that moment in American governance to this. Sixty little years (and LIFE used to be a dime when it started).

(Mitch Clogg)

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CAN RENTS BE ‘CONTROLLED’ in California, much less in Mendocino County?

by Mark Scaramella

This November, California voters will vote on whether to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. Passed in 1995 with the full backing of Northcoast Democratic Party (the AVA was one of a very small number of media outlets that opposed it), Costa Hawkins prevents cities and counties from enacting rent control regulations on single-family homes and condos, as well as any apartments built after 1995.

Costa Hawkins was a typical example of State Legislators doing the bidding of property owners who complained that some large cities like LA and San Jose were making it too hard for them to raise rents.

If a city already had a rent control ordinance on the books before Costa-Hawkins, then it considers a “new” apartment one that was built after that local law went into effect. For example, in Los Angeles, rent control couldn’t be applied to most apartment buildings constructed after 1978, when the city passed its rent control law.

Costa-Hawkins also said that, once a tenant moves out of a rent-controlled apartment, a landlord can raise the rent to “market rate” prices. Previously, “vacancy control” regulations prevented this rent gouging in some cities.

We note here that despite the problems the rental unit owners complained about, the cities with rent control continued to grow at historical rates.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 “Out of Reach” report, which documents the gap between renters’ wages and the cost of rental housing, California renters need to make $32.68 an hour to afford a two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. California’s minimum wage is $11 an hour.

As rental cost complaints have skyrocketed in recent years along with rates, more and more cities are looking at various kinds of rent control laws, but Costa Hawkins makes it difficult for municipalities to keep rents at reasonable levels via rent control ordinances.

Backers of the upcoming November initiative first lobbied state lawmakers to repeal Costa-Hawkins, but, unsurprisingly, that effort died in its first committee hearing in January in a state legislature dominated by elected Democrats, the same Democrats who, for the most part, won’t take action on Single Payer Health care even though it would save the state of California and most Californians billions of dollars a year.

The measure is of course opposed by the California Apartment Association, which represents thousands of property owners across the state, among other landlord organizations. Opponents contend that rent control will actually make California’s housing-affordability crisis worse by discouraging developers from building new housing.

Although Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom has said that he supports “expanding renter protections,” (whatever that means, he hasn't said) he says that a repeal of Costa-Hawkins could have “profoundly problematic” consequences. His Republican opponent John Cox also opposes the measure, calling it a “bad deal for renters.”

Which brings us to Willits, which like most of Mendo, has landlords who constantly raise rents, frequently arbitrarily, causing bursts of unsustained concern from elected officials.

According to the Willits City Council rent control staff report for their June 28 agenda item:

“At the Willits February 18 City Council Meeting, Council heard a report and discussed the possibility of passing a mobile home rent stabilization ordinance. This came as a response to mobile home tenant complaints about new ownership of Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park, now called the Willits Mobile Home Park (The Park). Complaints included excessive rent increases, the alleged elimination of “front yard discounts” and unfair and onerous new rules being implemented. The Council Report of February 18, 2018 outlines state law regarding mobile home parks and the applicability of a rent stabilization ordinance to the Park, which has 113 spaces. There are three other mobile home parks located within the City with a total of 33 additional spaces that would be affected by a new ordinance. It is believed that more than half the tenants of the Park have signed long- term leases with the new owners of the park. Long-term leases are leases of 12 months or more.

“At the Council meeting of February 18, 2018, an ad hoc committee was formed consisting of Vice Mayor Rodriguez and Councilmember Gonzalez. They were charged with meeting with the tenants and the new owner to find compromise on rent increases and other provisions of the lease. The Council asked staff to re-agenda the item in June to discuss progress between the parties and to discuss whether the Council wanted staff to bring back a Rent Stabilization Ordinance for the City of Willits. The ad hoc committee did meet with tenants and landlords at least once.

“In considering a potential Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance, it should be noted that according to state law, long term leases are exempt from rent stabilization ordinances. Because it is believed that over half of the current tenants have already signed long-term leases, an ordinance would only apply to those who had not signed [i.e., month-to-month]. Costs for implementing an ordinance by the City could be passed on to the landlord, who could then pass 50% of those costs on to tenants, according to state law. Staff cannot give an accurate estimate of the amount of staff time it would take to administer an ordinance, however current community development staff cannot now take on additional work and either new staff or an outside contractor would need to be hired to administer any new proposed ordinance. These costs would then be passed on to the owners and tenants of the Mobile Home Park. Staff has concerns that these pass-through costs would be burdensome on the remaining unsigned tenants, giving them the choice of either paying the pass-through costs or signing long-term leases.”

According to the Willits News’ new reporter Abbey Knupp, even though a standing room only crowd showed up at the June 27th City Council meeting expecting the Council to do something, the Council more or less agreed with their staff report with even the relatively “liberal” Council members deciding against pursuing any kind of rent control, despite expressing sympathy for the trailer park renters.

According to Ms. Knupp, when the issue arose last year, the City Council set up an ad hoc committee to meet with the tenants and owners to try and reach a compromise. But the committee only met one time with minimal attendance.

“I have been doing a lot of soul searching on this,” said Willits Mayor Madge Strong, “because it’s really painful to know that people who are low income and seniors who rely on affordable housing are facing rent increases.”

Nevertheless, because administering any kind of rent control process would require a mini-bureaucracy of sorts for the small town, the cost of conducting the hearings and associated activities would not only be hard to staff, but the landlord could pass part of the cost along as part of future rent increases. And, apparently, the trailer park tenants with long term leases would be exempt from a rent stabilization ordinance, reducing the number of people who could benefit from limited rent control.

Willits Vice Mayor Saprina Rodriguez said that she suggested several dates for potential meeting times for the ad hoc committee, but got no response from residents at the mobile home park. Rodriguez complained that although the ad hoc committee had intended to try to reach some kind of compromise, the residents were spending more time protesting and demanding things from the city than attempting to reach an agreement.

“Not many people showed up when it was time to talk,” said Rodriguez.

Though lots of residents did show up at last week’s City Council meeting, Rodriguez said that the time for discussion had passed since so few people showed up to discuss the problem with the ad hoc committee.

In the end, the City Council punted, saying that they can’t do much other than have the renters apply for HUD vouchers and the limited rent assistance program offered by the park owners — if the renters can prove they're poor enough.

Short of a well organized mass rent strike when rents are jacked up, the only real option seems to be something like what Supervisor John Pinches has been talking about — county owned property with basic laundry, and bathroom facilities accompanied by tenant-owned trailers or sheds managed by people elected by the tenants themselves — along the lines of the Lake Mendo campground arrangements that have sprung up in the wake of the Redwood Complex fires.

But so far, only Pinches is talking about that.

Even if Costa Hawkins is repealed in November and it becomes a little easier for cities and counties to adopt rent control measures, the likelihood of such rules being adopted in Mendo where the cost of administration would be relatively high compared to number of units to be “rent controlled,” seems low to non-existent.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 4, 2018

Aguado, Barry, Chapman

ABEL AGUADO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.

WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

SCOTT CHAPMAN, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing, probation revocation.

Davis, Hammond, Harlan

KEANE DAVIS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DARIN HAMMOND, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, trespassing, probation revocation.

RICKIE HARLAN, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Hodges, OBryan, Pollack

JODI HODGES, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.

WANDA OBRYAN, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

ALEX POLLACK, Willits. Resisting.

Ramirez, Rodriguez, Shaw

UBALDO RAMIREZ, Covelo. Murder, attempted murder, under influence, illegal entry.

ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

KEVIN SHAW, Talmage. Protective order violation.

St.Arbor, Vanhorn, Whipple

DALE ST.ARBOR, Myers Flat/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.

HOLLAND VANHORN, Willits. Probation revocation.

ROY WHIPPLE, Albion. Trespassing.

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CORRECTED: Fish & Game Agenda, July 10, 2018


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The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz takes place at 7pm on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 5th, does not meet the above criteria so no such event will take place. We shall resume the brain exercises next week on Thursday, July 12th. You know is makes sense… Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

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Next Meeting of the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club on July 12

The Inland Mendocino Democratic Club will hold our next meeting Thursday, July 12th at 5:30 pm at the Alley Lounge, 1401 North State Street, Ukiah.  Let’s all join together to make our county an oasis of Justice and Peace. Together, in coalition, we can take progressive action and protect our county from the incoming Conservative nightmare. Come lend a hand.  All are welcome.  See us on Facebook and at

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There is a reason for legalized pot, ballooning addictions, cheap liquor, electronic dumb phone feelies, ballooning personal debts, dubious post-secondary education buy-in, and scapegoating immigrants. If the population is dumbed down, inebriated, consumed with trivial communications (also addictive), high % jailed, fighting addictions, and angry at others for supposedly destroying their way of life, the real culprits can continue pillaging.

Move along. Get back on the hamster wheel. We don’t need no stinkin’ socialism. No one tells me what health care I can have….(ooops none). Number 1, number 1, number 1. USA, USA, USA. MAGA. Honest.

It’s working, obviously.

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by David Yearsley

The blue-white-and-red homeland has been invaded. But the patriots fight back with resolve and smarts. They will not be subdued.

The scenario is not that of the hoary American Cold War nightmare recently revived, but of Mother Russia, tricolor banners waving, currently being invaded by a red menace far bigger than communism ever was. I refer, of course, to Coca-Cola, sponsor of this year’s World Cup.

Nothing less than conquest of the Russian market is the goal.

Since the days of Sputnik, Big Red has been playing catch-up with the red-white-and-blue: Pepsi. Coke’s main competitor established a beachhead in the Soviet Union some sixty years ago after then vice-president Richard Nixon and Premier Nikita Khrushchev shared a Pepsi after their famous Kitchen Debate conducted live in front of television cameras in Moscow in 1959. Soon the Soviet government was bottling Pepsi cola-for-comrades. Given the long history of commercial relations, Russia now accounts for nearly ten percent of Pepsi’s global sales. It is the biggest food and drink maker in the country.

Pepsi’s red competitor first introduced its beverages to Russia in 1979 in anticipation of the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the ensuing U. S. Boycott scuppered that strategy. Ten years later with the end of the Cold War, Coca-Cola finally placed its first vending machine in a Moscow hotel. By then Pepsi had twenty-six bottling plants in the country.

When Boris Yeltsin came to power, Coke saw its opportunity. In 1991 red cans sprang up on Moscow’s streets, and in Pushkin Square the first Coca-Cola advertising hoarding was erected—the precursor to the electronic version continually encircling soccer fields at Russia’s World Cup. For his part, Gorbachev remained true to the red-white-and-blue, as he showed in the heart-warming ads he went on to do for PepsiCo’s Pizza Hut in which lofty ideas of political and economic freedom were debated over a steaming pie loaded with all the fixings.

But Coke was advancing on Pepsi, as surely as NATO was encroaching on the former soviet bloc. By 2013 more than a billion liters of Coke were consumed in Russia, though this still accounted for less than 2% of the company’s global receipts.

That advance has not been without setbacks. The annexation of (pro-Russian referendum in) the Crimea in early 2014 was followed quickly by Western sanctions. At a Moscow press conference later that year Putin hit back with weaponized words aimed at America’s core values: “many experts say Coca-Cola is harmful for children.”He did not mention Pepsi. 2014 was a year of retreat for Coke. Its Russia profits fell markedly.

But the opportunity for another massive outpouring of world harmony (and of Coke, too) was quickly approaching in the form of the World Cup, and no central Asian adventures—at least not ones launched by the Russians—threatened to turn off the spigot. Things had changed since the days of the 1980 Olympics. Yes, the Americans had long replaced the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the Russians were interfering in US elections rather than the other way around. Whereas Russian machinations had supposedly landed this country with the teetotaling Trump (good for at least a dozen cans of Diet Coke a day) in 2016, American manipulations had helped vodka-swilling, coke-chummy Boris Yeltsin stay in power after the 1996 Russian elections, even though he began the campaign in fifth place and with less than 10% of the electorate supporting him.

Indeed, Big Red has remained undaunted by the kerfuffle in the Crimea and the Russian-hacking-tempest-in-an-eight-ounce-commemorative-FIFA-18-bottle.

Having launched its advertising campaign well in advance of the opening of World Cup play two weeks ago, the beverage behemoth already registered a 5% uptick in its Russian receipts for 2017 and has continued to cash in through the first half of this year.

Victory is far from assured. The masterminds at the corporate war rooms in Atlanta certainly know that the battle for the hearts and minds and tongues of the Russian people is not gained at the concessions stand but through propaganda. The quickest way to the soul is not through the mouth and belly, but through the ears. The gustatory qualities of Coke are hardly winning ones. On the pitch of propaganda is where outcomes are decided.

Enter the doomsday weapon—the Coca-Cola World Cup Promotional Anthem, “Colors.”

Coke has been pushing their product in affiliation with the World Cup since the 1970s, but only since 2010 have they produced an “anthem” to be bundled with the event’s other musical merchandising, including (but not limited to) an Official Anthem and an Official Song. (Note: the adjective “official” has, both in the world at large and in the short space of this column, lost all meaning.) There is no discernible difference in style between the pieces of music issued under these various labels: the “anthems” are pop songs a long way from the bombastic nineteenth-century strains one normally associates with the term.

For the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, Coke turned to the Somali-Canadian singer K’Naan to deliver a message especially dear to Americans: “Wavin’ Flag.”

As required, K’naan offered up blandishments to freedom and gestured benignly towards poverty in the global south, but the video’s melodic strains and pseudo-moral sentiments were reheated from the classic “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)”, a song that began as the jingle, “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”

For Brazil in 2014 Coke’s with “The World is Ours” barely concealed its designs for world domination behind the familiar packaging of global unity.

Just as clearly as Coke is murky, “Colors” manifests the mighty corporation’s mission to make Russia red again. The “anthem” is boldly, baldly transnational: headlining American Jason Derulo is joined by Colombian heartthrob Murama and Pakistani songstress, Qurat-ul-Ain Balouch. Given the trilingual line-up, Coke issued English, Spanish, and Urdu versions. The official (that word again!) video, currently flirting with a paltry forty million YouTube hits, begins with Derulo ensconced in the black leather interior of his SUV. With his iPhone he skypes one of his buddies, who tells him, “We’re about to slide over to the other side of town to play some football.” The football is not of the North American type but — surprise, surprise — what non-world-cupping Derulo would normally call soccer.

Reference to a previous Coke anthem — that flag wavin’ business — spurs vivid dance numbers on the urban soccer field and shots of real world-class players at their art. The lyric — presented in an overproduced, de-natured recipe that is the aural equivalent of Coke Zero — summons change, but the message is the same old one:

Ready the people

A new day has just begun

And I wear my colors on my back (celebrate, celebrate)

We’re created equal

One race, and that’s human

Can’t wait ’til they all see, that

Saying “Oh, can’t you taste the feeling, feeling”

Saying “Oh, we all together singing”

The elixir of freedom is Coke. Even among the full spectrum of nationalistic symbols staged in the video, the dominant color in “Colors” is red.

These weeks it is to be seen everywhere across the land. Over centuries, successive invaders Napoleon and Hitler learned the hard way that Russia retreats and draws the enemy in, then crushes them. Learning a lesson from the host country, counterattacking Mexico did exactly this to the latest incarnation of the Teutonic Knights in the soccer tournament’s opening round, with Mexican star Chucky Lozano playing the part of Alexander Nevsky, not on the frozen ice of Lake Peipus, but on the summer grass of the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

How does sometime Coke-critique, and brilliant geopolitical strategist Putin respond to the present invasion? Again, we must look to the colors.

Two weeks ago at the opening ceremonies that were mercifully shorter than the usual silly epics, Robbie Williams sailed through a brisk set in which he conspicuously avoided his hit “Party Like a Russian,” though he did give the world the middle finger during his short show, claiming later that he meant to signal one-minute to kick-off.

After Williams fled the pitch, the two teams playing in the tournament’s first match entered the stadium: Russia and Saudi Arabia. The host side may have been clad in bright red, but its members arrayed themselves in formation alongside a giant teardrop-shaped banner of the Russian colors held taught and horizontal above the grass by dozens of their country folk. (The image can seen at minute 25:00 of this clandestine video, flagrantly still available at YouTube in violation of FIFA’s copyright stranglehold of the world’s game.)

The Russian flag looked, literally for all the world, like the Pepsi logo. Up in his box, Putin smiled as the heroic strains of the national hymn resounded through the Luzhniki Stadium — not a pop tune masquerading as an ode to global harmony, but a hymn to his homeland:

Russia — our sacred State,

Russia — our beloved country.

A mighty will, a great glory —

Is your legacy for all time!

After the World Cup has pulled out of the country, expect Putin to show Coke the red card in unflagging defense of the red-white-and-blue.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His recording of J.S. Bach’s organ trio sonatas is available from Musica Omnia. He can be reached at

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by Dan Bacher

In a controversial move blasted by environmental groups, the U.S. Forest Service on June 27 issued a new permit <> to Nestle Waters North America allowing the international company to keep withdrawing water from the San Bernardino National Forest for its water bottling pipeline, despite evidence that its operations are draining spring-fed Strawberry Creek.

Nestle, the world’s largest water-bottling company, made $8.3 billion in profits from its water operations in 2016. The corporation has been a frequent target of protests, boycotts and lawsuits by human rights, indigenous and environmental organizations throughout the world for its environmentally unjust water bottling and privatization policies, as well as countless deaths of infants resulting from its aggressive marketing of infant formula in Third World nations.

“I am pleased to announce that I have signed the Decision Memo for the Nestle Waters North America special use permit,” said District Ranger Joseph Rechsteiner in a statement. “Based on my evaluation of the project record (including public comments, specialist reports, and consultation with other agencies) I have decided to approve the continued occupancy and use of National Forest System lands for the extraction and transmission of water using existing improvements, subject to resource protection measures designed to ensure compliance with the San Bernardino National Forest Land Management Plan.”

Rechsteiner said the initial permit term will be three years, with the provision for annual permits for an additional two years. The maximum permit term covered by this decision is five years.

“In addition to approving the use of the existing improvements, Nestle will be required to conduct hydrologic and riparian area studies and to modify operations under an Adaptive Management Plan if monitoring shows that water extraction is impacting surface water flow and riparian dependent resources on the National Forest,” noted Rechsteiner.

Rechsteiner said the decision concludes the planning process that began in March of 2016.

In a statement, Nestle Waters North America said it will review the specifics of the decision.

“Nestle Waters North America appreciates the time and effort the U.S. Forest Servicededicated to this decision regarding the permit renewal process at Arrowhead Springs,” the corporation said. “We will carefully review the specifics of the decision, and will continue to comply with all permit requirements. Our cooperation throughout this process includes conducting and providing the USFS with 70 separate environmental studies and reports.”

After the decision was issued, the Center for Biological Diversity slammed the U.S. Forest Service for “failing to conduct a required environmental review” before issuing the permit that allows Nestle to continue pumping millions of gallons a year from Strawberry Creek, in spite of evidence it may far exceed the company’s water rights.

The Center said the new permit contains “limited mitigation measures” for the creek, such as requiring minimum flows in two areas. “While the permit requires the company to monitor impacts more broadly, the triggers and actions are not defined and fail to ensure needed protections will be provided,” the group stated.

“This new permit will allow Nestle to continue draining this fragile watershed without adequate environmental protections,” said Lisa Belenky, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Forest Service downplayed information about the damage Nestle’s bottled-water operation is already doing and failed to do a robust environmental analysis, as the law requires. The limited mitigation measures don’t appear adequate to prevent Nestle from destroying plants and wildlife that have relied on Strawberry Creek for thousands of years.”

Belensky said the Forest Service acknowledged that it can limit how much water Nestle can extract from the creek, but the two small minimum-flow requirements do not provide adequate water that wildlife and plants need to survive,

“The Forest Service decision also admitted that the State Water Resources Control Board evaluation of Nestle’s water rights on Strawberry Creek is ongoing and that the initial report found that Nestle’s water rights are far less than the corporation claims,” she said.

“The Forest Service can’t legally issue a new permit without first confirming the water rights,” noted Belenky. “It can’t gloss over its failure to comply with this critical requirement by relying on future studies. The harm to the ecosystem is occurring now, in real time, and must be stopped.”

In 2015, the Center for Biological Diversity, Courage Campaign Institute and the Story of Stuff Project filed a lawsuit challenging the Forest Service’s reliance on Nestle’s long-expired permit. The new permit replaces that expired permit.

“Under the old permit, Nestle siphoned off up to 162 million gallons of water a year from Strawberry Creek for its Arrowhead brand,” said Belensky. “U.S. Geological Survey reports from July 2017 show that, despite heavy winter precipitation across California, Strawberry Creek’s streamflow levels were the lowest since the agency began keeping track 96 years ago.”

The San Bernardino Forest is not the only place in California where activists have challenged the water bottling policies of Nestle.

On Friday, March 20, 2015, environmental and human rights activists, holding plastic “torches” and “pitchforks,” formed human barricades at both entrances to the Nestle Waters bottling plant in Sacramento at 5:00 a.m., effectively shutting down the company's operations for the day.

Members of the “Crunch Nestle Alliance" shouted out a number of chants, including “We got to fight for our right to water,” “Nestle, Stop It, Water Not For Profit," and “¿Agua Para Quien? Para Nuestra Gente.”

Meanwhile, Nestle continues to bottle big quantities of public water to sell back to the public at an enormous profit, leading to the increasing plastic pollution of our waters, oceans and environment.

For more information, go to:


Lakota People’s Law Project Action Alert

Protect Water, take the #Nestle Pledge: “Nestle makes billions in profit each year and faces no legal accountability for stealing water. We ask you to join the movement to #BoycottNestle and ALL its products (see read more). Signify to Nestle that #WaterIsLife by taking our #NestlePledge, below.

To learn more about the history of Nestle’s unethical and predatory business practices, please read our blog, “The Case Against Nestle” <>

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SUMMER DANCE PARTY! A Benefit for Gary Bluhm

Presented by Gualala Arts & Friends of Gary Bluhm: Saturday, July 28, 2018 At Gualala Arts Center Redwood Grove - 5:00pm

Entertainment: J.J. Mule Kat (Paul Mueller, Tim Mueller, James Hayes, Jesse Hanna and Katrina Coffman, DJ Sister Yasmin, And Special Guests to be announced

Potluck and BBQ, No Host Beer, Wine & Soft Drinks

Tickets In Advance: $15 Adults; $5 more day of event; Youth 7-17 free with paying adult. Tickets at: Gualala Arts Center, 46501 Old State Highway, Gualala, CA; Dolphin Gallery and - 1-800-838-3006

Join us for a Celebration of Friendship, Dancing, Music, Food & Fun to help Gary Bluhm with his struggle with cancer. Volunteers and Donations Needed. Information:; 707-884-1138; 884-4703. This is a Local Eyes Production.

Story: Long time local resident, Gary Bluhm, teacher and mentor to many South Coast musicians and all around "Good Guy", needs our help in his struggle with cancer, for medical expenses, food, gas money to doctors, and much more. Let's lend a hand to this "Local Hero" who has brought so much musical joy and inspiration to our Coast for so many years. He and his Care Giver and friend Juanita Martinez are grateful for our support. Please help spread the word and attend this important and Fun event for our friend, Gary Lee Bluhm!

In the words of Bob Marley, "Let's get together and feel all right!"

Yasmin Solomon



  1. Harvey Reading July 5, 2018

    If you wanna know just what kaputalism is all about, read Wess Harris’s Written in Blood — Courage and Corruption in the Appalachian War Of Extraction. To you patriarchal, “libertarian” (Bircher) misogynists: Don’t skip the parts describing “the Esau”. It illustrates your “philosophy” — as though you possess the intelligence to have one — to a tee.

  2. Bill Pilgrim July 5, 2018

    RE: Rent Control.

    The days of justifying unconscionable rent hikes with the “free market” or rising costs arguments should have been over years ago.
    It’s pure greed, and needs to be reined in.

    The exploding number of local apartments and houses becoming part of the Air BnB complex, and unavailable for long term rental, creates a situation in which rentier landlords will raise rates as high as their avarice dictates.

  3. Craig Stehr July 5, 2018

    Exchanged Facebook messages with Garberville’s Andy Caffrey (no longer a congressional candidate in district 2), who continues to concentrate on the melting south pole ice and possible eventual drastic sea level rise worldwide. I have responded that I am leaving Boston for Portland, Maine on Amtrak on Sunday to visit with friends for at least one week. Beyond this, I am mentally focused on the “Eternal Witness”; Sahaja Samadhi Avastha, or the continuous superconscious state. I pointed out to the former congressional candidate that if everyone focused their minds on the “Eternal Witness”, then there will be no further socio-political and environmental problems. Thanks for listening, AVA online readers. ;-)))

  4. Craig Stehr July 5, 2018

    She actually sent me an email with that query. I responded that anybody can visit Canada with a tourist visa. If appropriate, apply for Canadian citizenship. I don’t know if the Hotel Iroquois still has the hottest disco in town, but you could inquire. ;-)

  5. Malcolm Macdonald July 12, 2018

    Though it is un-credited here, the photo of the Mansion House Hotel in Mendocino comes from the files of the Kelley House Museum.

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