- Frosty Dry
- First Responders
- EMT Classes
- Rielly Statement
- Detox Facility
- Little Dog
- Vote Today
- Ed Notes
- Pendejo Party
- Milky Way
- Yesterday's Catch
- Slowly Choking
- Untold History
- Not Voting
- Tax Dollars
- Lighthouse Renovation
- Square Waves
- Cultural Reconciliation
- Christmas Wish
- Polling Place
- Mendo Mayhem
- FB Agenda
- Death Zone
- Old Men
HIGH PRESSURE centered over the eastern Pacific will remain in control through the end of the week, with warm days and locally frosty nights accompanying dry weather. Sunshine will be plentiful across northwest California outside of some localized morning valley fog. (National Weather Service)
LOCAL FIRST RESPONDER PROFILES
NIKKI DAGGS had recently moved to Anderson Valley when she saw a flyer for the EMT class at AVFD. Between her work taking care of elders through IHSS and living relatively far from medical services, she thought it would be good to have EMS skills. After taking the class Nikki didn't feel ready to for patient care but enjoyed being part of the team and driving the large equipment - so she signed up as an ambulance driver.
"I enjoy it and jump in on shifts quite a bit." My (9 year old) daughter sees me running out on calls and she thinks that's pretty cool. I like to be part of something and helping. I've met some cool people and made some good friends."
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JOSH MATHIAS joined AVFD last year in order to give back to the community where he's able to earn a livelihood in the family real estate business. He first signed up as an ambulance driver and was quickly recruited for firefighter duty.
"It feels good when people thank you for helping them get to the hospital on their worst day. It's a serious commitment but it's a lot of fun and there's a lot you take away from it - namely, those life skills that you learn. And a sense of community. Boonville feels bigger since I've become a member of the department. I have two more buildings [the firehouse and the ambulance quarters] that feel like home and more friendly faces to say 'hi' to."
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REGINE BOUDOURES moved to Anderson Valley from Santa Rosa in 2010 to be closer to family and community.
"I had talked to Colin [about joining the fire department] when I moved to Yorkville but with a young son it didn't seem possible. After Cyrus was born and he started having his seizures and where we were living was so isolated, I decided to take the EMT class. When we moved up on Greenwood I joined the Elk Fire Department and worked as an EMT there and it snowballed to AV. I just love it. It's something I never think twice about, I just really enjoy doing it."
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MIKE MANNIX is a familiar face in Boonville, with family ties to AVFD (his uncle Homer Mannix was once the department Chief). He joined the Ambulance crew in 2014 after taking the EMT class in Boonville. He did it for the challenge, to connect with the community, and out of a sense of civic responsibility. When AVFD and AV Ambulance merged last year, he came on board as a water tender operator.
He'd been an EMT and firefighter in Colorado in the early '90s, first training as a fire fighter. "Before, it was 'drive the red truck with the lights flashing.' Then I became an EMT and it was less fun but more serious, more satisfying. You get an immediate sense of being a helpful person."
Referencing your 11/4 online coverage of Thursday's AVCSD meeting.
Leane Sarasy and I read a statement endorsed by a number of nearby residents (not a petition we are circulating), we never mentioned composting toilets as an alternate technology (and are not proposing that), and the statement said nothing about undesirable development in downtown Boonville (although others in the room expressed this concern).
We would appreciate the AVA correcting the article for accuracy.
IS A VERSION OF HELEN VINE coming to Mendocino County? Please note the staffing and annual budget, which is well within the financial ability of the psych facility proposed for Mendocino County. (Although Helen Vine is more a drug treatment center than a Psychiatric Health Facility.)
The Helen Vine center is a licensed 26-bed co-ed, residential substance abuse and detoxification program in Novato, Marin County, providing recovery services to individuals with alcohol and drug addiction, as well as co-occurring psychiatric problems. There are also two monitoring rooms, with two beds each, for clients who are dropped off intoxicated.
While most clients stay for the three-to-seven-day detox, the center also offers room for some clients to participate in a 45-day residential program. Clients could also become eligible for transfer to a six-month residential treatment facility elsewhere in the state.
The center operates with 25 full-time and part-time staff on a $1.5 million annual budget.
The Marin County Health and Human Services department has a longstanding relationship with Helen Vine and currently has a contract to reserve about 20 beds at the center for clients that need services, said Jei Africa, behavioral health and recovery services director with the county.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Me? I voted for Cowboy Johnny Pinches. Skrag? He said, ‘I voted NO on everything and everybody.’ Why we let cats vote is beyond me!”
ATTENTION TEN PERCENTERS!
Mendocino County Voters: If your vote by mail ballot didn't arrive, is it possible you moved since the last time you voted? There have been a few local elections since 2016 presidential election, including the June 2018 primary.
If you moved & didn't update your voter registration, your ballot was returned to County Election Department, since it is illegal to forward election ballots.
You have 2 options to vote in tomorrow's critical mid term election:
- Vote in person at County Election Department, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, open today until 5 pm & tomorrow, November 6, from 7 am to 8 pm.
- Go to any voting precinct tomorrow, November 6, to fill out an updated voter registration & provisional ballot. This also applies to any eligible voter who has not previously registered to vote.
Please contact 707-937-4952 if you would like to request a ride to a local precinct to vote by provisional ballot tomorrow, November 6, and we will try to find transportation for you. Uber and Lyft have advertised free or reduced rides to polling places, as well, and there is word we have those options in Mendocino County, although perhaps limited.
Please make the effort to VOTE. Your Vote Matters.
HALLOWEEN came and went quietly in the Anderson Valley, with tiny ghosts and goblins descending mostly on Airport Estates where, I’m reliably informed, the typical home spent a hundred bucks on candy. Why Airport Estates? The houses are in close proximity, and the tiny ghosts and goblins can emerge with whole bags of treats in less than an hour.
THE ONLY DISTURBING visual we saw on Halloween — a night of major mischief in times gone by — was the constant one of vehicles speeding through Boonville heedless of the groups of children, most with parents, most accompanying parents at least carrying flashlights, as they moved through town on the mostly dark roadsides. However, it is reassuring to see traffic stopping for the flashing red lights of our school buses, although I’m sure our bus drivers can cite any number of instances where drivers hurtled dangerously on past them as they boarded and disembarked children. About the traffic? We speak only from our observation deck in central Boonville.
* * *
BOONVILLE'S INFRASTRUCTURE, an on-line exchange:
Mr. Wendel of Fort Bragg writes: “To avoid a big surprise when you open your “rate letter” next year, be aware that the lowest monthly fixed charges for (definitely not modern infrastructure) water and sewer service at a single-family residence in Fort Bragg is $77…and that’s only if you do not use any water; it’s just to have the mandatory service available at your home. The variable water and sewer charges are added to that. Are there any preliminary hints about the rate structure in Boonville?
Mark Scaramella replies: Standby fees are common in water system rate structures. As far as hints go, so far all we know is that because Anderson Valley/Boonville is considered economically depressed by census standards, rates cannot exceed 2% of average monthly household income if state grant funds are used to install the systems. That translates to something like $60-$70 per month for water and $60-$70 for sewer. Exactly how that gets worked out — if it’s worked out — remains to be seen.
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ANOTHER READER WRITES, citing the article linked below: “Folks in Boonville need to understand that over time their whole aquifer may become polluted, even those outside the project zone: nytimes.com/2018/11/03/us/water-contaminated-rural-america.html
* * *
KZYX’S CURRENT FUNDRAISER, and as a paid-up station member I feel free to comment, is, like all “community” radio station fundraisers, way too heavy on the forced enthusiasm, the self-congratulation, the desperate appeals to “support great radio.” KZYX wouldn’t have to do much fundraising if it weren’t operated like a cult; if it were truly more inclusive; if it didn’t maintain a lunatic enemies list; if it combined the invisible and under-worked station manager’s “job” with the programmer director’s position; if its hiring weren’t so incestuous, if its board of directors weren’t so self-selecting; if its eternal programmers kicked back $20 bucks a month for their life audio slots (two grand a month right there); if the station budget clearly stated who gets how much for doing exactly what; if the true function and pay of that ubiquitous, un-elected EST lurk were precisely defined; if Mendolib weren’t so totally, oppressively liberal in the worst sense.
* * *
YOUR TAX DOLLAR AT WORK:
Agenda Item 5f on Tuesday’s Board of Supes agenda: Discussion and Possible Action Including Acceptance of Informational Presentation of the County Leadership Initiative by Representatives of the County Leadership Team (Sponsors: Executive Office and Human Resources) Recommended Action: Accept the informational presentation of the County Leadership Initiative by representatives of the County Leadership team; and provide direction as appropriate.
ALTHOUGH we’re promised an “Informational Presentation,” there’s no “information” in it at all. It’s just a bunch of lists of County employees who have been assembled under the subject heading. Under “Work of Leadership,” we find that the “work” is:
- Leadership Reading Group
- High Performance Organization Training
- Leadership Development Regional Training
- Expanded Leadership Quarterly Meetings
- Leadership Webpage
- Development of Mendocino County Executive Leadership Team (MCELT)
- Development of 7 Work Teams
- Keynote Address- David Marquet
BUT THE LEADERSHIP has forgotten:
- Leadership Leadership
- Leadership Wine Tastings
- Leadership Lunches
- Leadership Promotions and Pay Raises
- Leadership Retirement Planning
- Leadership Benefit Packages
- Leadership Travel Expenses
- Leadership Responsibility Avoidance
- Leadership Buzzwords
* * *
A READER ASKS: "I noticed at the County Office of Education out at Talmage that they subscribe to all the area newspapers except yours. I thought your buddy just got elected Superintendent."
I'M SHOCKED that this County's lead educators don't subscribe, absolutely shocked. We can certainly rule out penny ante vindictiveness. Our educators are much too high minded for that. I just don't know. Must be an oversight. Of course... well just a thought, but some of our writers use some pretty big words. I know the previous Superintendent and his brain trust had a heckuva hard time with "niggardly." They not only concluded the term was a racist insult, their tax-paid lawyer thought it was too! And public they went!
* * *
TWO COMMENTS, VOTE RECOMMENDATIONS:
 I'm very curious why you think judges should have a particular bias toward criminal defense, or why you think existing judges have a bias against it. You do realize I hope that the judges are supposed to be impartial interpreters of the law? most judges take that role seriously.
 I have googled them all and am voting no for all. None have ever been public defenders. From what I can tell none of them have ever done criminal defense. They all made their careers prosecuting, judging and litigating. They all went for big bucks elite careers and the ones who did cool shit did it as pro bono stuff. I appreciate that, and if there was even a single former PD or other criminal defender who had followed a non-elite oriented career path on the court I'd be more open to retaining some of these people. I'm very displeased that criminal defense is not represented on the court and am voting no for all of the judicial candidates up for reconfirmation. Regarding various people's recommendations, I find it outrageous and maybe even egotistical the way people just say vote yay or nay absent any reasoning. Oh I'm so and so, blah blah. I don't care who you are, when you fail to discuss why you think I should vote a certain way you lose 100% of impact affecting my opinions and eventual votes. This is true whether I know you personally, know your reputation, or not. So please update your recommendations with at least three sentences explaining why you say yay or nay.
THE AVA tries to explain why we're yay or nay, but didn't bother to research the slew of judges on the ballot. We recommended NO on all of them because we think they should at least provide minimal info on themselves and their decisions.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
(1) RE POT BROWNIES at South Fork High School (Humboldt County): "It’s bad enough that people smoke it and eat it, and now, they cook it into a crystalline powder and, do, what(?) with it…
To the uninitiated: do not eat home cooked treats, chocolates, hell, anything at all just being handed out at school!
Crazy people kill each other every day! Teach your children to be cautious! Marijuana addicts want to get everyone high! They think it’s normal to be AFU! Emergency rooms are overwhelmed with people who have taken marijuana. The weed grown in Humboldt/Mendo/Lake/Trinity and Oregon has ridiculously high THC levels, and, hell, I certainly know better than to smoke it! Don’t get uninformed people high! If you never teach your kids anything else, tell them not to give powerful drugs to others! Intentionally feeding drugs to others, that’s assault! Poisoning kids with toxic marijuana will get you a jail cell! This story has an ending, and the student who handed out pot-brownies should be placed in Juvenile Hall, his parents need to be arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, at least, if not attempted murder. Their pot-farm should be ripped and chipped! Kids, don’t fool with drugs! Look around at the society of stoners, the streets full of hippies and trimmers, the folks in downtown Eureka and out front of the Ray’s in Willow Creek and Garberville! Taking drugs is not a joke, and is a pretty poor lifestyle-choice! Plan a future, work for it! Don’t do drugs, and be aware! Marijuana is a dangerous drug, not an innocuous herb! It is certainly not medicine, and strong dope can be neat poison!
 The Guardian ran a story recently that explored who these migrants are. What they found is that many of them are people whose small family farms were failing due to climate change. They were forced off their farms because of repeated crop failures. Moving to the cities they fall victim to gang violence and poverty. Many said they are struggling to adequately feed their families. They have made the choice to migrate north. Both the UN and the Pentagon have projected that large scale climate based population displacement is a looming problem as the world's climate changes. The major media outlets focus on gang violence and poverty for the migrant caravans. But the Guardian article digs deeper into the facts behind why poor, small scale farmers are losing their land, along with the ability to feed their families. Welcome to the brave new world.
 It’s a good life, just don’t weaken. When that drunk driver T-bones you at 80 mph after running a stop sign or you incur some horrid, incurable disease that surfaced after being submerged in your genetic code no matter how healthy your previous lifestyle was, you will find you are truly alone in the oligarchical jungle called America. You are a consumer and don’t forget it, otherwise you’re of no value to the system.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST
Close Encounters on the Avenue
by David Wilson
The Avenue of the Giants is as beautiful a drive as you will find. The groves along its 36-mile course line the Avenue with some of the grandest examples of the tallest trees on Earth, the California coast redwood, Sequoia sempervirens. Some are thousands of years old. If a disproportionate number of my photographs are taken along the Avenue, it is only proportionate to the beauty that is found there. The image I’m sharing today was photographed from the hillside just off the road near the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove, one of the special places found in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
This particular view of the Milky Way rising just so above the road is only visible for a few days of the year. Why is this? Well, we know Earth orbits the sun, going completely around it in one year. This means that each day Earth’s night side is presented with a slightly different view of the cosmos as we travel around the sun, and as our view of the universe changes, the position of the Milky Way in our sky also shifts a little every night. The most spectacular part of the Milky Way, that area nearest the Galactic Core, is now almost entirely beneath the horizon after dark, and we will see less of it each night until the return of “Milky Way season” next spring, when we will again be treated to more of the Core in the night sky.
I waited for months for a night when the Milky Way would rise from the horizon above the bend in the road at this spot. In my mind’s eye the lines and curves of the road, the trees, and the Milky Way would line up and interact interestingly, and, together with light painted in by passing cars, would make a good composition. And then, as so often happens, elements beyond my control intertwined with my own endeavors, with results that exceeded my expectations. I had planned to let passing cars bathe the scene with light, but I could not control how they laid their strokes of light. I don’t think I could be happier with how it worked out, and again I thank the Universe.
My brother Seth came with me again on this night. We parked at a turnout and had planned to climb up the hillside to get a higher view, but it was a great deal steeper at night than I’d remembered. Instead we climbed up only enough to be safely out of the way of any cars. I hadn’t realized how few cars there would be, but here at the thin end of the tourist season, only three cars passed us in the ninety minutes or so we were there. Two of them added light to this image.
The light on the road and trees comes from three sources in total. A truck slowly approaching us from the south caused the bright white glow at the end of the Avenue, as well as the light on the trees nearest the glow. The exposure ended just before the truck came into view. Then the taller redwoods to either side of the road were illuminated from below by the passage of an unknown number of cars beneath the bridge on Highway 101. The red streaks along the right side of the road are the taillights of another car that passed us from the north. The taillights became streaks as the car passed by during the long exposure. That car was the primary foreground light source. Finally, I added a touch of light on the surface of the road with my flashlight between passing cars.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx or his website mindscapefx.com, where you can also contact him, but which Wilson says he updates less frequently.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 5, 2018
BLUE ABREU, Willits. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer)
MICHAEL FERGUSON, Laytonville. Failure to appear, resisting.
JOHN KNIGHT JR., Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, burgary tools, stolen property, offenses while on bail.
SUZANNE LINKER, Branscomb. Controlled substance.
JORGE NAVA-MATA, Covelo. DUI, controlled substance, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm.
NOE PEREZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DORTHY ROGERS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOHN ROLEN, Caspar. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ADRIAN SANCHEZ-VASQUEZ, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SAMUEL SIERRA, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
HERIBERTO SOLIS-OLIVAREZ, Petaluma/Calpella. Criminal threats, resisting.
PATRICK TCHOUMI, Worcester, Massachusetts/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, concealed dirk-dagger, probation revocation.
MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.
ANAY ZAMORA-DOMINGUEZ, Hopland. Domestic battery.
by James Kunstler
It may be as simple as this: voters look at the two parties and decide that they don’t want the nation to turn into a gigantic seminar on race and gender studies. The Democratic Party doesn’t have a platform, it has a curriculum. The party wants to instruct everybody how to think and act. You will be tested regularly on the correctness of your thought. And if you fail or object, say goodbye to your livelihood.
That’s the main reason that the Golden Golem of Greatness plays so well in the forsaken flyover precincts of this troubled land. They are weary of being scolded for their “privilege” by the privileged undergraduates of the most elite campuses. And from there, of course, the astounding hypocrisy informs and infects Democratic politics up to the highest level — e.g. the mendacious sex hysteria engineered by Diane Feinstein and a corps of DC swamp lawyers in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.
This year’s main gambit by the Democrats has been the niggerization of white people. Oh, did I say the wrong word? It happens to describe exactly what has gone on: the effort to make white people the object of contempt and loathing. You don’t have to look further than The New York Times and its hiring of Sarah Jeong as an editorial writer — after she was discovered to be the author of Twitter tweets that declared, “Cancel white people,” and “Oh man, It’s sick how much joy I get from being cruel to old white men,” and “dumbass fucking white people….” I’m wondering: is there any ambiguity there? By the way, a search of The Times website for “by Sarah Jeong” comes up absolutely empty, suggesting that they’ve published nothing written by her since she got hired. There’s a show of confidence in their integrity!
Unless the financial markets blow up conveniently by the end of business Monday morning, Mr. Trump will continue to bellow out his triumphs of economic management. Personally, I’m not persuaded this vaunted miracle boom is anything but the result of piling onto the national debt, one way or another — tax cuts, fiscal profligacy, “defense” spending. And nobody should trust the numbers coming out of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, since they don’t count the many people who have simply dropped out of job-seeking.
The nation is still slowly choking to death on the fatal combination of its suburban sprawl living arrangement, the tyranny of multinational corporations, the profitless Ponzi scheme of shale oil fracking, and the immersive dishonesty that has turned even medicine and education into deadly moneygrubbing rackets. That armature of grift has to collapse, and the collapse has already begun on the margins and is steadily working its way to the core, where even the hedge fund cowboys and masters-of-the-universe will end up gasping like stranded whales on the shoals of insolvency.
In the meantime, and even so, it is imperative to keep the Democratic Party from the levers of power. If elected, they will convert a necessary and inescapable Fourth Turning into a game show replay of the French Revolution, with overtones of the Spanish Inquisition. We have not nearly seen the end of how insane a society can become under duress. And the duress of living in a collapsing industrial economy is something that the world has hardly seen before. Why do you think so many people are opiating themselves into an early grave?
This country certainly deserves leadership that can inspire it to carry on, to find a way to live even within the austere terms presented by the collapse of old arrangements. It won’t be the end of the world, and finding new, workable arrangements for daily life will open new doors as the old ones close. None of the political figures onstage these days inspires much confidence in that proposition, or even appears to see what’s on the horizon. So the Democrats seek solace in their race and gender antics and the Republicans gaze longingly back at the year 1957, and the fate of the nation goes where it will.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
CIRCA 1917, excerpted from “Oliver Stones [sic] History of the United States Prequel”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZBRcdy7ndI
WHY I’M NOT VOTING
by Eric Laursen
On a short visit to Austin, Texas in June, I heard that one of my favorite one-hit wonders from the long-ago British punk-pop scene, Wreckless Eric (“(I’d Go) the Whole Wide World”), was playing at a local club. I quickly bought tickets.
Wreckless gave a tremendous show. The songs from his new album were terrific, angry and political, and he interspersed them with acid, dead-on comments about the Trump administration and America’s descent into racist right-wing populism.
Then he let us have it. “You know, if you didn’t vote, you might just as well have voted for him.”
That would include me. I’ve heard a lot of this kind of thing in the months since.
On Tuesday, millions of people will vote in a midterm election that’s touted as one of the most consequential in decades. This is perfectly understandable. Depending upon the outcome, America could effectively re-endorse President Trump and his party. Or it could reject the celebritician in the Oval Office and re-embrace the party of the Obamas and the Clintons.
Millions of people, perfectly eligible to do so, will not vote, however. Once again, I’ll be one of them, and I’m happy to explain why.
Non-voters are this year’s pariah class, much as Ralph Nader and Jill Stein voters were in past elections. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, we’ll be criticized for not doing our part, for putting principle over practicality, and for helping entrench the Republican Right in power.
But this entirely misses the point. It’s easy to shoot the messenger when you don’t like the message, and non-voters have been sending an increasingly loud and consistent message for at least 50 years now: we’ve lost our faith in electoral democracy. A Gallup poll in January found that less than half of Americans have confidence in the presidency, only 8% in Congress, only 29% in the Republican Party, and only 36% in the Democratic Party. The media, which plays an important role in legitimating our political establishment, rates only 30% approval.
This shouldn’t be news, either. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, public trust in government in the U.S. declined from around 75% in the early 1960s to 18% in 2017. Almost half (45%) of adults—more than 100 million people—didn’t vote for anyone for president in 2016. And this shift isn’t confined to America. According to a recent World Bank study, voter turnout worldwide declined from about 80% in 1945 to about 65% in 2015.
The message, in other words, isn’t about the candidates, their platforms, or the way they’re covered in the media. It’s a deep disillusionment that’s been growing for decades with an electoral democracy that becomes less democratic all the time, a sclerotic and highly institutionalized two-party system that suppresses radical voices (unless they’re from the right), and a (predominantly white, male) political and economic elite that’s expert at deflecting and neutralizing opposition to its leadership but conveniently tone-deaf when it comes to understanding and addressing in honest and effective ways the issues that opposition raises. Millions of people, at least tacitly, have concluded that the system doesn’t need change from within, it needs to be changed.
The burden is on the people who hold the reins of government and party-political power to prove to us why we should bother voting, not on us to explain why we don’t. As Mark Twain and Emma Goldman are variously rumored to have said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” To understand how right this still is, just consider the ongoing voter-suppression efforts in Georgia and other states, the mammoth Pentagon budgets that pass year after year with “bipartisan” support, and the budget-cutting economics that keeps the richest country in human history on track to become the most economically unequal as well, no matter which party holds power. Consider the persistence of racism and the marginalization of people of color, despite decades of alleged government wokeness.
Or consider possibly the greatest emergency in human history: the rapid warming of the planet after two centuries of energy reliance on fossil fuels. Democratic lawmakers and candidates would have us believe that unless we put them in power, the Trump administration will continue to undermine international efforts to stop global warming. But the best the governments of the world—led by electoral democracies like the U.S.—have been able to agree on is feel-good gestures like the carbon tax and business-friendly half-measures like the Paris Accords, which substitute “market-based solutions” for the fundamental changes in industrial production needed to alter our course.
Global warming represents a supreme test for electoral democracy. If it can’t address this clear and present danger, whichever politicians are in charge, then what reason do we have to stay faithful to it? Aren’t we better off looking for—experimenting with—new ways, outside the State, to organize our response to a problem that threatens to annihilate us?
Let’s turn that question around: In the face of the evidence that voting doesn’t work, when we vote, who benefits? Why do “they” want us to keep going through this exercise (as long as we’re not black or brown or immigrant)? Voting is not the popular exercise of political power, but the surrender of our power as equal members of a human community. Voting affirms the present system. It signifies our assent. It keeps us hoping against hope that the next statesperson-hero—the next FDR, the next JFK—is just around the corner if we go to the polling place, play our assigned role, and pull the lever. It maneuvers potentially revolutionary social movements into unthreatening political channels (the best decision Black Lives Matter ever made was to not endorse candidates). It nudges us to blame specific policies and politicians, rather than take a desperately needed hard look at electoral democracy itself.
There’s something more we give up when we vote: the ability to say “No.” States, governments, and socio-economic orders crave legitimacy: it’s the one thing they need from ordinary people, in some ways even more than obedience. The right to say No to the whole damn thing is the most powerful political weapon we have as members of this or any society, because it denies the State legitimacy. When we vote, we give it up—just for today, perhaps, but if we do it over and over, pretty soon it becomes forever.
There’s a plausible argument for voting I hear a lot: that, flawed as it is, electoral democracy gives us a chance to perform triage when a serious threat like right-wing nationalism looms, and buys us the time to pursue bigger changes. Perhaps—but haven’t we been through this exercise too many times already? How many more years will we decide to fix the roof when the building’s foundations are rotten?
“Form’s survival conceals the disappearance of content,” the novelist Marguerite Yourcenar wrote of the political culture of the later Roman Empire; doesn’t our participation in the increasingly empty ceremony of elections represent a desperate hope that we can still find content where it no longer exists?
All too often, progressives are presented with a false choice between our current, failing electoral democracy and the hard-right, xenophobic, exclusionary nationalism represented by figures like Trump, or perhaps some resurrected form of Soviet Communism. This is wrong both historically and as a matter of practical, day-to-day reality. Human beings have always experimented with different ways of organizing themselves to fulfill their needs and desires as a community. From self-governing urban and agricultural communes during the Middle Ages to today’s worker-owned enterprises, cooperatives, and indigenous forms of organizing like Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, we’ve been proving for centuries that we have the capacity to formulate alternatives that could lead to a more directly democratic, more economically equal, more sustainable society: one that can squarely confront an existential problem like global warming.
And that’s the worst thing about voting: it distracts us from the need to explore, collectively, without mediation by governments or politicians, how we can manage our future. Electoral democracy is not the end of history. No political system is, or ever will be. Devising the next one won’t be easy. But rather than distracting ourselves with the increasingly tired show the Democratic and Republican parties repeatedly trot out, we urgently need to get started. If not now, when?
(Eric Laursen is an independent journalist, activist, and the author most recently of The Duty to Stand Aside: Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Wartime Quarrel of George Orwell and Alex Comfort (AK Press, 2018).)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
No matter how much it is talked about I doubt that any trumpsters truly make any attempt to visualize in their own minds what their reaction would be if, regardless any background story to the situation, they were forcibly separated from their own children when they were young. Their minds are closed on the subject and to them you might as well be talking about writing out a parking ticket.
Hillary screwed up using dainty words like “deplorables”. She, although one herself, should have gone all in and unapologetically called them “sick f uks” just as she should have done an about face when trump stalked her in the debate and kneed him in the crotch before he had a chance to react. With those kind of guts, which she sorely lacks, she’d have won her crown she so badly craves.
POINT REYES LIGHTHOUSE ILLUMINATES HISTORY
IF YOU SEE SQUARE WAVES In The Ocean, Get Out Of The Water Immediately
THE POWER OF CULTURAL RECONCILIATION
by Eugene Rodriguez
(We could definitely use one in Mendocino County. — Ed)
To effectively address social, political and economic injustice suffered by working class Mexican Americans requires an understanding of the deep and corrosive impact of shame. Shame, rooted in colonial mechanisms of social oppression, has been enforced by every institution in Mexico since the Spanish conquest so effectively that it is woven inextricably into the social fabric and individual psyches. And it does not evaporate when we immigrate to the United States, a society based on a dramatically more individualistic and combative model of social negotiation. For Mexican Americans with family histories born of poverty, shame makes us deny, and be ignorant of, our family histories and cultures. Shame deprives us of recognizing the values, contributions and sacrifices of our parents and grandparents. Shame robs our children the guidance and nourishment of family support and connection. Shame keeps us from advocating for our needs. Shame renders us invisible and silent even to ourselves.
In the US, a society driven by raw power and the incessant shriek of marketers, the humble are largely invisible. However, they live, contribute, and create, in spite of bearing the brunt of our most cruel inequities. In working class Richmond and San Pablo, California, where I work and live, the high price of housing forces our families to share small fragile homes, often in unhealthy conditions, with loved ones sleeping in garages and living rooms. Health care, if available, is inconsistent, exacerbating illness and cutting short lives. Neighborhood schools offer the minimum to, and expect little from, students most in need of quality education and challenge. Our children grow up barraged by political messages that mock our heritage, branding them as carriers of infestation and their immigrant parents as enemy invaders. These are realities faced daily, and directly, by many of the staff, artists, children, and families of our non profit organization Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy. And this is nothing new. Because culture has long been an effective tool to enforce oppression, I believe that it should also be a tool of liberation.
Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy is a carefully cultivated space, located in a transformed strip mall storefront, designed to allow children and artists to feel secure enough to take risks necessary for deep learning, reflection and expression. I created a youth arts pedagogy from our studies with folk master artists, laborers by trade, who learned music and dance in humble family settings. And while most community institutions approach low income neighborhood within a deficit model, staffed and programmed from the outside, our faculty, artists and media production team are program alumni. We teach, perform, curate and create, in first voice and with a deep sense of place.
We set our authentic cultural traditions into the hands, voices, and homes of local children; onto historically inaccessible stages; and into films, videos and albums. Typically, working class culture is told in third person and passed through filters intended to soften their rough edges and conceal the stigma of poverty. In the attempt to make them more broadly socially palatable, they gentrify them, which results in stripping them of their power and connection. But it is precisely the direct strength and relevance of our stories and songs that embody the perseverance that we must reveal, celebrate and encourage. Our intention is not to romanticize poverty, but to recognize the fortitude required to lift oneself, and one’s loved ones, above the miseries of poverty. We aim to foster appreciation for the nuances of working class culture and draw upon the lessons of the resourceful cultural strategies of people in struggle. This is what our children must connect to, and build upon. Because it is cultivating our inherited resiliency that will console us, fortify us, and bring us joy throughout our lives.
Once, after a Los Cenzontles Touring Group concert in Boise, Idaho, a young Latino introduced himself as a US Marine. With great emotion, he revealed to us that our performance evoked cultural pride for the first time in his life. After our documentary Pasajero, A Journey of Time and Memory was broadcast on a PBS pledge drive in Fresno, California, a record number of first time Mexican American subscribers contributed. They credited the film's accurate portrayal of our rural cultural roots, rarely seen on Public Television. My own aunts and uncles, themselves distanced from our family history that is rooted in poverty, cried at seeing people in the documentary who resembled their elders, people who rarely appeared in photographs, much less films.
At our Cultural Arts Academy, rigor and connection are essential to releasing the power of art. We challenge children, beginning at four years old, to dance complex rhythms of Mexican son. They accurately, and loudly, stomp percussive zapateado dance steps, developing balance, coordination, listening and confidence. Their teacher, also raised in our program, understands, from experience, that demanding excellence from her students is an act of respect and empowerment. She requires them to listen carefully to the accompanying music and engage with their fellow musicians and dancers in improvised rhythmic conversation.
Timid teen girls, who speak in cautious hushed tones to strangers, belt out popular ranchera songs in full chest voice with surprising power. Parents reveal that their children, who previously wanted little to do with their ancestral culture or language, proudly sing with their grandparents at home. Young men who listen to hip hop with their friends grab ancient Mexican instruments and play traditional music with the intensity of hard rock – as it was originally practiced for centuries by Mexico’s worker/ musicians. Art students talk with their peers about their deceased loved ones as they create ofrendas for our Dia de los Muertos altars. Students of mixed heritage, and those who don’t speak Spanish, develop the languages of art to connect themselves to that part of their roots.
Los Cenzontles does not impose or preach identity upon youth, audiences or viewers. To our students, we provide choices along with skills of awareness and discipline to implement them. To our audiences we present our songs and stories, that although numerous, are rarely told. In our fast moving, complex world of multiple, ever connecting cultures, empowerment is not about confining oneself to, reacting to, or repeating narrow stereotypes, but to use all of who we are to inform our voices. Amidst the din of social conformity and political intimidation, one of the most difficult, bravest, empowering, and consequential things we can do is to be ourselves. In all its fullness, and without shame.
The qualities of working class culture forged our country’s identity and have contributed disproportionately to America’s cultural heritage. We must ask ourselves why this contribution is almost always un-reciprocated. We proudly claim gospel, country, rock n roll, blues etc as our national heritage, but we deprive the communities that created them resources and support.
For as formidable as shame is in enforcing negative social barriers and allowing inequitable social investment, it is mostly invisible to people outside the working classes. And this is what gives shame its most insidious power. It festers silently within the people that it mutes - adding to the many other factors that dissuade struggling people from investing in, and advocating for, themselves.
So, when the members of Los Cenzontles teach, perform and document our authentic traditions from within our community – and connect them to others - we do so with great purpose. The impact of our work, and that of many other programs embedded in communities, is typically misunderstood and undervalued. But we commit ourselves to our mission as our way to contribute the best of ourselves to our children and to our society - in honor, and with gratitude, to all those who did the same for us.
I HAD LEARNED to think much and bitterly before my time…. Talk not of the bitterness of middle-age and after life; a boy can feel all that, and much more, when upon his young soul the mildew has fallen; and the fruit, which with others is only blasted after ripeness, with him is nipped in the first blossom and bud. And never again can such blights be made good; they strike in too deep, and leave such a scar that the air of Paradise might not erase it.
— Herman Melville, Redburn
MENDO MAYHEM, Chapter 6
by Bruce McEwen
Aboard the Zippo, L/Cpl. Early reported to Chief Crosby that Observer Sergeant Ryan had been lost overboard with the prisoners.
“Thank you, Lance Corporal; you are hereby promoted full Corporal, and will assume Sergeant Ryan’s duties as observer. Carry on.”
“One more thing, Corporal Early.”
“We will no longer refer to the prisoners as POWs; from now on, they’re ‘terrorists’ – understand?”
“Mos def, Sur.”
“What about Sgt. Ryan, Sur? You know us Marines… we never abandon our own, sur.”
“All I know about Marines is that they are expected to follow orders. I expect you are now no very strident exception to that rule, Corporal…are you?”
“Really, Corporal…? Then carry on.”
“Corpsman Sheffield, you will advise Mister Orton to set a course for the Ukiah Airport, if he feels he can manage it, that is.”
“Aye, Chief. Ukiah Airport, if Mister Orton can manage it – will do!”
“Corporal Early, stand to your guns, and make ready to suppress hostile ground fire. Oh, and Corporal, we will not strafe the LZ with our usual profligate abandon, as we know not when, how or even if we shall be resupplied with ammo.”
Corpsman Sheffield had his misgivings, but WO II Mack Orton soldiered on, bringing his big King Stallion chopper into Ukiah’s airspace, and made a couple of figure-eights over the airport, which was a shambles of wrecked aircraft and hangars, but there were no signs of life, and so the pilot, having mastered the pain in his leg, brought the CH-53 down to a very passable landing, and left it idling while Corporal Early sat behind his machine- gun, covering Crew Chief Crosby and Corpsman Sheffield as the two deployed onto the airstrip to have a look around.
Amazingly, they found a tanker of aviation fuel, virtually unmolested, parked in a hangar that had been otherwise looted. The gasoline in the tanker truck’s fuel tank had been siphoned off, but the aviation fuel was still in the big tank on the back, and by taking the truck out of gear, they were able to roll it out on the runway close enough to the chopper to run out a hose and refuel.
It was getting late and the prospect of leaving – with no where in particular to go – was as daunting as staying put, so the Chief made the decision to stay for the night, at least, and maybe longer, depending on how things went. What they didn’t know was there was a channel under the runway, a four by six foot passage for water to drain under in heavy downpours; and that there was an encampment of survivors at each end of the passage and that these troll-like creatures came out at night and prowled the ruins of Ukiah, scavaging for whatever they could find to keep body and soul together.
FORT BRAGG’S LATEST AGENDA
EIGHTY & COUNTING
Did I say this already?--It’s unpleasantly incredible, being 80. I still think I’m young. I’m still wondering what to be when I grow up, but I’M EIGHTY!
Ellie (a youngster) and I have enjoyed some books about climbing Mt. Everest and other high mountains. You get acquainted with the term “Death Zone.” That’s that pointy region above 26,000 feet that you can enter but not stay in. You die if you stay, but you can operate, at a falling rate, long enough, if you’re rich and lucky, to summit the fourteen mountains that rise that high.
As to age, I’m now in the Death Zone. I haven’t accepted it, but it’s too late to decide what to be when I grow up. I’m in the Death Zone. I’m growing DOWN.
Still (what was I going to say? It’ll come back to me). Oh yeah: I remember elections that seemed as momentous as this. I thought Jack Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were gigantic agents of change. I danced like a dervish at all three elections. I thought Sen. George McGovern would change the world. Poor George! (Strange that Ellie & I met him, after dark, in freakin’ San Diego, next to a big reflecting pool in the otherwise-abandoned outside plaza of a big hotel complex, and we talked cordially.) Remember Fred Harris? (Probably not. He ran for president.) Adlai Stevenson, Fritz Mondale—my guys. Losers! Paul Wellstone, Gary Hart--these were people who might have changed the country's course for the better. Kucinich--a crank, unlikable but spot-on in his political positions. On and on. Missed opportunities to right the Ship of State from the dangerous list (leaning over) it's in now.
What's good for the world's rich is fatal for the world.
And now, once again, the upcoming election seems the most crucial of my short life—not because Gavin Newsom is running for governor—he seems a little handsome, glib and ambitious, but I hope to like him (and when I say “like,” I don’t mean in any usual way. I don’t care if he’s a creep if he’s a good leader, and he might be.)
No. This time my vote is against a renegade, out-of-control madman, as wily as he is ignorant, openly despotic, an insult to the twenty-first century, much less the dream of America. The world watches us and copies us, for better or worse, in this case for inexpressibly worse. Europe, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Asia—you name it—hideous, relentless men are in the ascendancy all over the place.
So I don’t know if this is the most important election of my life (I first voted in 1960. For Kennedy), but it sure as hell feels like it.
I watched TV as JFK said the USSR had planted nukes to shoot us with in Cuba, when the Tet Offensive killed us by the thousands, when people buried bomb shelters in their yards. Those moments were not as scary to me, not nearly, as this. Trump has mobilized the darkest, ugliest, most hate-filled part of us, and it is a frighteningly big mob. Worse, whatever’s good for The People is always bad for the filthy rich, so he has their wads at his disposal.
Oh. NOW I remember: FEAR was supposed to be my subject today, and this was the story I planned to tell:
I was a reporter for the Hearst paper in Baltimore, known as the News-American (very lowbrow compared to the esteemed Sunpapers). For a while I was assigned to Baltimore County, then under County Executive Spiro “Ted” Agnew. (Baltimore County surrounds the city but is separately run.)
There was a big swimming hole, a former granite quarry, operated by a Maryland good-ol-boy named Josh Cockey. Josh actually had a cage built at his toll gate at the quarry. He said it was for any "coloreds" who came to swim there. (Remember, Maryland’s below the Mason-Dixon line, the official divide between North and South.)
Josh ran for something and told everybody in the county the coloreds were coming to get us. Whatever the miserable job was, he got it. His campaign strategy was all lies and bigotry, but it scared his mostly white constituents enough to elect him, and it taught me this: You don’t have to “win” voters or convince them of anything. All you have to do is confuse and/or frighten enough of them, and the prize goes to you.
That’s what happened then, before the Flood, and what will happen tomorrow, November 6, 2018, in many, many places.
So what’re you going to do about it?
[Below is George McGovern, visiting Vietnam in 1965. Look at his right hand.]
OLD MEN ARE DANGEROUS: it doesn’t matter to them what is going to happen to the world.
— George Bernard Shaw
STILL REQUESTING YOUR SUPPORT ONCE AGAIN. PLEASE CALL THE STATION AND ALSO THE DISCUSSION TONIGHT AND SUPPORT ME!
If you believe that our "community", "Public" radio station should not block any voices of people in our communities, especially someone who helped midwife the station 29 years ago, is a Voting Rights Activist and a Progressive Cultural Worker, I ask you for your support. I was a Programmer/Host on kzyx/z for many years, did some very wonderful, radical and intelligent programs, such as DR.MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION (each and every year!), Paul Robeson, Leonnard Peltier, Malcolm X, Women's Herstory, Black Farmers, Black History, Women In Prison, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Indigenous Peoples Day, and so many more educational, informative programs, as well as playing hundreds (thousands?) of hours of Sweet Reggae Music, interviews with hundreds of Reggae Artists and many activists, raised thousands of dollars on pledge drives, was a Team Player, and have supported OUR station financially for 29 years, although admittedly, pledging at the "Low Income Membership Rate" of $25, (Yes, they have one!), as I am a Low Income person, but pledging none-the-less at every drive, contributing to The Discussion with thoughtful, intelligent commentary and positive insights.
Now, because they are mad at me, they have blocked my phone number, the 2nd time in the past 6 weeks, so that I am prevented from calling any of their phone numbers, including the pledge drive number., and their Comment Line. Wow. I feel that this is a Freedom Of Speech issue as well as a Discrimination Issue.
If you agree that my voice should be allowed over our Community Radio Station airwaves, I ask you to please support me by emailing Jeff Parker at email@example.com and Alice W. at firstname.lastname@example.org, and/or phoning them at 707-894-2324. I have apologized to them for my "sins", whatever they may be, and have requested Mediation with them. I have also attempted to contact the Board of Directors (email@example.com) to no avail. Is this Democracy and Public Access? I think not. I have been a Mendocino County resident for almost 50 years, so know the history of our region, as well as knowledge about the history of our radio station, since I was there from Day One. Thank you for your support, if you can offer it. I am glad to speak with anyone on the phone (only a Land Line), at 707-884-4703, let it ring 5 times for my voicemail.
Peace, Love and JUSTICE,
DJ SISTER YASMIN