- Lethal Fires
- Armistice Day
- Flanders Fields
- Planning Blackhole
- Heaping On
- McKinley Reassassinated
- Attempted Patricide
- President Ignoramous
- Blind Justice
- Little Dog
- Provisional Voters
- Funny Tea
- Yesterday's Catch
- Used PD
- Papa John
- Bach Time
- Big Brokers
- Toothless Tigers
- Library Events
- Zoppe Circus
- 750 ROI
- Corporate Threat
- Avoid Clinging
RED FLAG WARNING:
THE WILDFIRES ravaging Butte County in the north and Southern California have killed 31 as of late Sunday. In Butte, more than 225 people remained unaccounted for with the town of Paradise mostly destroyed. It is the most lethal fire in California history. Containment figures late Sunday were listed at 25 percent for the 111,000-acre NorCal blaze. Meanwhile, in Southern California, two people were found dead and at least three firefighters were reported injured in the Woolsey Fire, which was expected to grow Monday as strong Santa Ana winds threatened to fuel the flames across 85,000 acres between Ventura and Los Angeles counties. As of Monday morning, the vegetation fire was listed at 15 percent contained, as forecasters put up “red flag” warnings for all of Southern California, with gusts as high as 50 mph expected and no rain in sight.
THE GIANT CAMP FIRE in Butte County was up to 111,000 acres Sunday night with 25% containment. Strong winds and dry conditions continue to generate spotting, slope-runs, torching and crowning. Almost 4500 firefighters are on-scene. Damage estimates of almost 6500 residence and 260 commercial structures destroyed have not gone up in the last day.
HONOR ARMISTICE DAY
On the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month of 1918, signaling the end of World War I, the armistice went into effect. Congress responded to a universal hope among Americans for no more wars by passing a resolution calling for “exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding,” and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with “appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
Later, Congress added that Nov. 11 was to be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace. On June 1, 1954, Congress changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
This year, Veterans for Peace chapters and their allies all over the country intend to restore the tradition of Armistice Day. As veterans, we know that a day that contributes to peace not war is the best way to honor the sacrifices of veterans. We want generations after us to never experience the destruction war has wrought of people and the earth.
LEST WE FORGET:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
—John McCrae, May 1915
WHERE PERMIT APPLICATIONS GO TO DIE
by Mark Scaramella
Amy Wynn is a professional planner from the Mendocino Coast whose business is called “Wynn Coastal Planning & Biology.” Ms. Wynn has already established a well-deserved reputation for helping Coast businesses and property owners navigate the County’s byzantine planning maze, made even more complicated for Coastal applications by the Coastal Commission’s rules squatting squid-like on top of the County’s Rorschach-like rules.
Last Tuesday Ms. Wynn took the opportunity to comment on the County Leadership Team’s deployment of one of their favorite buzzphrases — “removing roadblocks” from various County processes.
Ms. Wynn suggested that one of the “roadblocks” was “massive slowdowns” caused by a lack of “predictability of interpretation.” By that she meant that she couldn’t get a reliable interpretation of a rule from County staff — it depended on who you called and when. She cited a case when the County took months to get an interpretation on a rule from the State, then when the interpretation went against her client, the County refused to even consider overruling that narrow interpretation when it would have been a way to get her client's simple project approved.
Ms. Wynn also complained that it can take six to twelve months just to get an answer out of the County Counsel’s office — a phenomenon we’ve heard described as “where permits go to die.” This problem occurs even on the simplest questions, Ms. Wynn said, even when all an applicant needs is a generic rubberstamp on a project name, even a renumber if it’s delayed into another year can still take months. “I don’t know what’s going on,” said the frustrated Coast planner, perhaps unaware she speaks for most people's experiences with that famously obfuscating office. “There’s a lack of tracking, a lack of staffing – whatever it is, it’s slowing down economic development. I have pensioners who want to do a minor remodel or improvement or a second unit and the process drags out and costs more money for planning and permits and fees and sometimes people give up because there’s not enough money left to make the project happen. People have mortgages to pay on land that they can’t develop or use or sell. The County Counsel’s office workflow needs to be improved.”
Sometimes it’s just the wording of a deed restriction after planning staff has approved the project, Wynn continued, causing projects to be downsized. Sometimes people abandon their projects after they’ve spent money on planning. Sometimes property sales are lost because buyers are discouraged from even applying…
“People run away screaming,” said Wynn, “when told it could take two to four years for a building permit. And now I have to add more time to that. It’s tough to help people.”
The only response from the County Apparatus was from County Counsel Katherine Elliott who didn’t deny the problem. Instead, Elliott suggested that Ms. Wynn not reveal such terrible realities in public, but to bring the complaints to Ms. Elliott privately. (Where they can be silently buried just like the permit applications.)
Unfortunately, Ms. Elliott’s attitude is common and is one of the main reasons that Official Mendo is so reluctant to prepare even the most basic management reports for their sprawling departments. If Ms. Elliott, for example, had to report on permit backlogs or project status or processing times along with staffing and budget status it would be nearly impossible to hide how poorly managed and staffed her department is. Yet here she is this week begging a professional planning consultant to keep her mouth shut about the problems the County Counsel's office is creating, problems which would be much easier to solve if Elliott had to report on them to the Board. (Maybe, but given the non-performance of the present Supervisors, they're just one more obstacle on the road to a permit, all the while talking about expediting the County's housing stock.) And our well-paid CEO and Board don’t even raise the issue of dealing with the problem or improving reporting.
THE IRONIES JUST KEEP ON COMING.
ITEM 5l on Tuesday’s agenda is a request from the Health and Human Services Agency for the Board declare a “shelter crisis” in Mendocino County, thereby authorizing HHSA to apply for almost $5 million in State HEAP funds (Homeless Emergency Aid Program — or more accurately a HEAP-o’money for us). This attractive one-time sum has the grant gobblers salivating. It could really help local homelessness if it was applied and spent in ways described in the recent Marbut Report (which suggested much for effective and focused homeless service delivery). But this item as presented to the Board is nothing but a request the Supervisors to give a blank check to HHSA and the “Mendocino County Homeless Continuum of Care” people, the same people who are so actively resisting implementation of the Marbut Report in favor of simply drawing down as much money for themselves.
THE SUPES should not approve this item unless it comes with a specific Supervisor-approved plan on how the money will be spent in accordance with the numbers and proposals in the Marbut report, which the Board specifically requested HHSA and the Continuum of Care staff to proceed with.
BUT IF HISTORY is any guide, the blank check option will be approved.
THE PRECIOUS little college town of Arcata has just voted to pull down the statue of President McKinley, which has rested on one end of the town's plaza almost since McKinley's assassination at the turn of the century. By presidential standards, McKinley wasn't all that bad, much less of an imperialist war hawk than recent presidents of both parties. McKinley fought as an ordinary soldier for the North in the Civil War until promoted to officer. He defended striking miners. His belief in protective tariffs was to protect labor from cheap imports. As his killer was being pummeled by other people waiting in line to shake his hand, McKinley, humane to the end, cautioned, "Go easy on him, boys." And McKinley's wife was an epileptic he doted on all their married lives. This guy as a political priority in 2018? The forces of the righteous, Arcata branch, seem awfully desperate for issues. What's next, a re-name for McKinleyville? How about Czolgoszville?
LEON CZOLGOSZ, McKinley's assassin who, unlike the radlibs of Arcata, not only believed in the propaganda of the deed, he did the deed. "I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people, the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime. I am sorry I could not see my father." Czolgosz, aka Fred Nieman, was dead seven weeks after this plaintive statement. The young anarchist was executed by the latest in execution devices, the electric chair, considered in 1901 more humane than hanging.
THE McKINLEY assassination put a serious damper on the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, a huge promotional event by the City of Buffalo to cash in on the new, the bizarre, and the personal appearance of the president. It's all brilliantly described in "The Electrifying Fall of Rainbow City: Spectacle & Assassination" by Margaret Creighton, which includes wonderful descriptions of the main attractions that would likely confuse Arcata's contemporary "activists." For instance, Geronimo threw a dog feast for the 80 or so of his fellow Plains Indians on exhibit at the Expo, personally shooting some of the entrees (gathered from the Buffalo animal shelter) with a bow and arrow. There's an hilarious passage describing Geronimo and his friends, in their native tongues, insulting the white people who'd paid to gawk at them. Geronimo, a federal prisoner, took in a small fortune selling photos and autographs. And there was the world's smallest woman and the world's largest elephant, the latter surviving an attempt to electrocute him before a paying mob. Another fascinating Expo-related event was an aging woman's desperate but successful attempt to pay for her old age by plummeting over nearby Niagra Falls in a barrel. Today's spectacles hardly measure up.
* * *
INSTALLATION OF MCKINLEY STATUE IN 1906
* * *
RELOCATING THE STATUE
Arcata, CA – On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, registered Arcata voters had the opportunity to vote in favor of, or against the McKinley statue measure, known as Measure M.
On Tuesday, November 6 the majority of Arcata voters (62.16%) voted Measure M down. As such, the City Council’s vote from Wednesday, February 21 still stands, and City staff will initiate the review of relocating the McKinley statue from the center of Arcata’s Plaza.
The McKinley statue is identified as a historic feature of the Plaza in the City’s guiding document called the General Plan, and this designation requires the City to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to taking action to relocate the statue. The intent of environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to describe the potential impacts of removing McKinley to City officials and the public.
The Community Development Department will finalize the environmental review currently underway, with their immediate goal being the preservation and safe storage of the statue. This review process relies heavily on input from community members and resource experts, and once the input received is incorporated into the environmental documents, the Planning Commission and City Council will hold public hearings to formally decide to relocate the statue.
In order to complete the relocation process, the EIR process must be finalized. The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been circulated for public comment, and the input received will be incorporated into the Final EIR, which is estimated to be completed by the end of this year.
The City Council will make its decision in early 2019 to finalize the statue relocation project. Additional details will be announced as they become available.
Community members with offers and suggestions for the relocation of the McKinley statue are encouraged to call 707-822-5955 or email email@example.com with the subject line of “McKinley Statue Relocation.”
ATTEMPTED PATRICIDE, GUALALA
On 11-10-2018 around 8:21 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 38000 block of South Highway 1, in Gualala, to a report of a gunshot victim who had been shot in the chest and arm. The reporting person advised that Acea Henderson, 18 years old of Gualala, had shot his father, Eugene Henderson, 47 years old of Gualala, in the upper torso after an argument.
Acea and Eugene got into an argument in the front yard of the residence which escalated, resulting in Acea striking Eugene in the head with a shovel. A short time later Acea broke out a window to Eugene’s vehicle and removed a .22 caliber rifle and fired at least one round striking Eugene in the upper chest. The round exited in the armpit and then entered the left bicep. Acea then put down the gun, telling a witness he would wait for deputies, but left prior to their arrival. A third family member transported Eugene to Redwood Coast Medical Services Clinic for treatment. A witness fearing Acea would return and continue shooting, hid the rifle in the residence. A short time later Acea returned looking for the weapon. After failing to find the weapon, Acea walked away from the residence. A witness later reported seeing Acea shortly after the incident, on Pacific Reef, but deputies were ultimately unable to locate him after an extensive search of the area. Eugene was transported by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial is listed in stable condition. This incident was the second incident that deputies responded to at this location in consecutive days. On 11-9-2018 deputies responded to another assault by the son against the father. At that time the father refused to cooperate in prosecuting a case against his son. On 11-11-20 around 10:08 AM Deputies were able to locate Acea at a residence in the 45000 Block of Pacific Woods Road, in Gualala and took him into custody without incident. He was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail, on charges of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, where he will be held on a bail of $250,000.
GLEN MACDONALD is a professor of geography at UCLA whose specialty is wildfires and climate change, the latter inspiring the former. “As, frankly, someone that was evacuated and has visited burnt-out homes, that Trump tweet today blaming the state was an insult and so uninformed. There are no forests to manage here [Malibu]. Coastal trees and shrubs are part of what burnt. It was a statement made with insensitivity and ignorance. You can look at it in different ways. Wildfires are natural here. There are records of early Spanish settlers that used fires for necessary land clearance but times have changed and the ecosystem, and number of people living in California. But there are 30 million people here now. If you look at the 20 biggest fires in the state, 15 of those have happened since 2000. There are now bigger fires, and more and more record breakers coming in. Fire season is getting longer. We are also seeing record-breaking temperatures. It is getting hotter and hotter. Spring starts earlier. Our fire season now goes into the winter."
SEASON TWO of ‘Making A Murderer’ is out on NetFlicks, with a third season in the works. All of it ought to be required viewing by everyone employed by the justice system, from judges to cops. It's been more than 11 years since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were jailed for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Avery had already done 18 years for a vicious rape he didn't commit, and was only reluctantly freed by Wisconsin authorities when irrefutable dna evidence identifying another man was put forward by an Innocence Project. As Part Two makes clear, Avery, a simple soul obviously without the cunning and guile required to pull off even a crude murder scheme, is again framed for this second murder after he sued his home county for many millions for his original false arrest. And here Avery is again stuck behind bars as the brilliant and relentless defense attorney, Kathleen Zellner, struggles simply to get new exculpatory evidence into court. Avery and his learning impaired nephew, Dassey, are both innocent, as Zellner's investigations make clearer than clear. But Wisconsin's justice apparatus, a frightful collection of vengeful hacks and straight-up dummies, manages, without counter-arguing, to sustain their non-case against Avery and Dassey through endless appeals still in process. Parts One and Two of this depressing saga are really an indictment of a justice system that long ago said goodbye to justice. (Personal note: Having had direct experience with California's appellate courts, the decisions rendered in my cases would not pass either a beginning composition or logic course. Lots of lawyers are so intellectually impaired they shouldn't be entrusted with anybody else's freedom; it's past time to make bar exams much tougher. Avery's court-appointed defense attorney during the first frame job the guy suffered is not only breathtakingly stupid he appears to be nuts. Thank the gods and the goddesses for these university-based innocence projects. Without them, many more thousands of people would be in jail for crimes they didn't commit.)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Now this. ‘It's Veteran's Day. Every time one of us vets walks past you today, LD, you salute. Got that, you slacker?’ That there is what you call a gratuitous insult. If there's any dog in this town who pulls his weight more than me, let's see him!”
A POINT ARENA VOTER WRITES:
Received all the usual propaganda from Registrar of Voters office: the Official Voter Information Guide and then my Sample Ballot & Voter Information Pamphlet. I didn't change my address yet from Point Arena. Waiting for my free POB to expire, cuz where I lived previously, I was within the required number of yards to receive free POB within the City limits. Mostly, tho, I didn't want to screw up my voter registration, since the gubment has gone so completely stupid, so decided to let it stay where it was for now through this November 6th election. In years past; so many I can't count them, I would receive my absentee ballot in the mail and fill it out, but would hand deliver it to my polling place on Election Day. I trust no one. I drove specifically over to Point Arena on November 5th to check my mail and receive my absentee ballot, but there wasn't one in my mail. I looked at the Sample Ballot sent to me by Susan Ranochak's office, and was amazed to see I had received an "application for vote by mail voter's ballot, ballot type 13, 25." How many different types of these forms are there, I wonder?
Says that "Application must be in the Registrar of Voters Office by 5:00 p.m. October 30, 2018" which I had overlooked. Doesn't that seem like a very slim window of time: One week to mail out the absentee ballot, if received by 30th? In years previous, it just arrived in my mailbox! What gives with the extra bullshit? Somehow I was changed from permanent voter by mail status, without my knowledge. So, I went to Point Arena polling place with my sample ballot to vote, and wasn't listed as a registered voter. They sent me to the provisional voter desk. They can't say much, because they have to remain impartial, but two of the ladies at the polling place (workers) did say they'd never had so many provisional voters before. I got there earlier in the day and there were already a few pages of provisional voters, many of whom I knew to be locals for years, although I don't know if they voted in the last election, which could have been an issue with Ranochak's office. One lady blamed it on Ranochak, herself! I kept my receipts, so will check on it. This is the first year I've created an actual file for my voter information in my file cabinet.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
They don't respond to these fires with the right equipment at the very beginning. They just go in with a fire truck or two and some axes and shovels. They need to go in with a 747 right off the bat and stop the fire before it gets to be a major issue. But no, they are too smart for that. They have to call the environmentalists first and get permission to bomb a fire until it gets to be out of control then they can't go near it because of the smoke.
Environmentalists have screwed this country up to the point that there is an insane environmental attitude that has made this country almost defenseless. Thank you, environmentalists, for not letting us be smart anymore. Thank you for not letting us cutting down trees for the people.
Thank you environmentalists for allowing people to move up into the timber and build homes. Thank yourselves for your idiotic rules. It's called karma, you idiots.
Jerry Brown and no one else is responsible for all these fires. He wouldn't allow PG&E to clear the right of ways out last year in Santa Rosa. He said it wasn't necessary. Look what happened in Sonoma County.
Jerry Brown instituted all the environmental rules to prevent bombing of fires when the time was right. Jerry Brown hired stupid people in lots of places to regulate everything in the state. Thank you Jerry Brown.
I don't feel sorry for people in those situations, but I do feel sorry for the animals that can't protect themselves. Some of them are left in fenced-in areas. Dogs and cats left to do what they can to get away. That's what I feel sorry for. I don't feel sorry for the human beings because they're so stupid that they can't figure out a way to contain these dangerous situations.
Being an uneducated person, a logger all my life, in 15 minutes I could write some new laws that would protect the country from burning up. First I would overrule all the environmentalists. Second I would have bombers at every airport including Little River. It's only a matter of time for this to happen in Mendocino County. The whole county might burn up on a windy day. And then they'll respond with a couple axes and a couple shovels instead of the right equipment. What will happen to all the people on Simpson Lane? Frog Pond Road? Pudding Creek Road? Some of these areas don't have any backdoors to get out. People would have to drive into the fire. Or they would get confused and panic and there would be traffic jams and everyone would burn up in the traffic jam.
And if it got into the big timber? Huh! Maybe you people haven’t seen that. I have.
It's disgusting to see how dumb these stuffed shirt, over-educated people getting paid over $200,000 a year. I can't believe it. With all the grass and brush that’s come up in the last 50 years and no livestock, no proper forest management it's just a matter of time. You just wait environmentalists. Remember, it's not if but when.
They even have environmentalists crawling around on their hands and knees in all the estuaries watching frogs and salamanders and lizards having sex. They can predict how to evacuate the lizards 50 years from now. What good is that doing us? They ride around in brand-new pickup and uniforms costing us hundreds of millions of dollars a year watching frogs have sex! That money could be spent on homeless veterans and other things we need. Oh no, environmentalists rule! It makes me sick!
God bless Donald Trump
PS. There must be at least 100 people who scrutinize every move President Trump makes from daylight to dark and after they do that they decide to turn in what they think they saw happen and then the media jumps on it and prints it before they know what really happened. That's what they call fake news. That's what the rotten liberals are doing. They never mention anything good he does.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 11, 2018
DANIEL ALONSO, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
LIZABETH GOFORTH, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
EUGENE HARRIS, Ukiah. Under influence.
ADAM HIGGINS, Wilcox, Arizona/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LORNA HOPPER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSEPH LITTLE, Fort Bragg. Under influence, trespassing/refusing to leave, county parole violation.
JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Recklessly causing a fire that causes great bodily injury.
SANTIAGO MANZO, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
JORGE MARTINEZ Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
MITCHELL ORRICK, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
DANIEL PEREZ, Willits. Domestic battery, vandalism.
SALVADOR ROMERO, Hopland. DUI, no license.
ROY SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JENNIFER SMITH, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, false ID, probation revocation.
ANGELA SOLIS, Calpella. Refuse disposal in state waters.
KEANU SOSEFO, Talmage. Concealed dirk/dagger.
ROBERT TARBAH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
MONIQUE VALADOR, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
HOLLAND VANHORN, Willits. Probation revocation.
PRESS DEMOCRAT USED CAR LOT
by Michael Koepf (Nov. 2012)
Last January, the sniffy New York Times sold the Santa Rosa Press Democrat to down-home Halifax Media for $143 million. Now we suddenly learn that Halifax has unloaded the PD to a group of local money boys. Look at it this way — you purchase a used car and a few months later you dump it. What does that say about the car?
I recall when the Press Democrat was a functional, regional paper. At daylight, I’d scamper down to the mail box, slip the PD out of the green tube; scuttle back to breakfast and start the day reasonably informed about what was going on in what used to be known as the “redwood empire,” a term the Press Democrat coined. My morning paper informed me about most of what I needed to know along Highway 101 from Petaluma to Garberville and up the coast from Bodega Bay to Fort Bragg with, of course, a big stop along the way in Santa Rosa, which was formally known as the “gateway to the redwood empire.”
I liked the redwood empire denotation. It conjured up rugged loggers and fishermen; ranchers; farmers, and small business owners who served the same — a vast rural region of the self-sufficient served by a mid-sized anchor city that contained a good newspaper that covered it all. Currently, this geographical area is called “wine country” and, yes, euphemistically, the “emerald triangle,” where lumber, fish and sheep have been replaced by narco-capitalism that produces that panacea, which cures poverty without paying a single cent of tax.
In the early 1980s, when the PD was still in its heyday, I had the daunting opportunity of meeting and being interviewed by the then editorial director of the PD, Art Volkerts. At the time, I was a former commercial fisherman who was seeking the Democratic nomination for congress. (Catching Moby Dick may have been a more reasonable goal.) Ironically, my opponent was Doug Bosco, one of the money boys involved in the recent re-purchase of The Press Democrat.
I recall two distinct things concerning that interview and time. One, Volkerts reminded me of one tough old coot, the kind of savvy, seasoned fishermen I knew from the docks. I’m certain he sized me up in two seconds, and, probably, succinctly in one thought: what the hell is this phony-baloney doing in my office?
The second memory is that Bosco beat me handily. I can’t thank him enough. The poor guy had to go to Washington while I became a B-list novelist and later spent ten years in Hollywood where lying has absolutely no consequences at all.
Nonetheless, Volkerts was a fine editor. I don’t know the man’s personal politics, but he struck me as an old time FDR or Kennedy liberal from those halcyon days when the word liberal and elitist were in no way synonymous. He could have been a Republican for all I know, a Republican near the end of an era when Democrats and Republicans mostly differed on Election Day. The rest of the year they were nationalistic and pro-business to the core.
Volkerts was a print media social pragmatist, and if he had a political agenda he expressed it in the voting booth and seldom in editorials. The media men and woman of Volkerts’ time were different. It was mostly all about facts. They were cynics with a heart; with a boilermaker after work for the guys and a dry martini for the gals.
Then came Golis.
Pete Golis became the editor and The Press Democrat changed. Gradually and stealthily the paper moved significantly leftward. Not towards the hard or far left or even the loony left. (Okay, sometimes they blend.) The PD moved to the soft left; the nuanced left, the nice people left; the forever green or die like a carbon dioxide-sucking sap left. I’m speaking of the government is our piggy bank and the taxpayers our slaves — that left. Golis was (and is) a clever writer. He’s never introduced a premise that couldn’t be proven with a second — or a third, or a fourth. His tutelage at the PD was long and effective until he paddled off into that warm Sargasso Sea of wishful political correctness. (He still has a blog at the paper.)
Golis had some journalistic quirks. The Catholic Church was one of them. Shortly before the election of 2008, I was filling my gas tank at Costco in Rohnert Park, and there was editor Golis (nearing or freshly retired) in an adjoining lane. For a moment, I thought about saying hello, but thought better of it when I saw the array of bumper stickers on the rear of his car. If memory serves me correctly, one opined: Free Tibet. Okay, I’m down with that. The Dali Lama’s been on vacation far too long. However, a second bumper sticker read: I never thought I would miss Nixon. It was obviously aimed at Bush; mildly funny, but it was McCain at the time who was opposing Obama. But wait, there was one more bumper sticker. This one read: I am washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Whoa! There could be varied interpretations, but to me (the failed Catholic) the message was clear: Christianity was responsible for the spilled blood of this world. And what religion flew the planes into the twin towers? For years, the PD obsessively followed the singular case of a priest who began molesting boys in Eureka. The PD kept it going even after they locked the pervert up and righteously threw away the key. During Golis’ tenure the PD followed this case relentlessly. However, I don’t recall ever reading an editorial about the work of Catholic charities or the selfless sisters who toil for the sick. Comparing Volkerts to Golis, I’d have to guess this: Volkerts didn’t paste bumper stickers on the ass-end of his car.
During the Golis years, the readership of the PD went steadily downward along with its advertising revenues. A great deal of this was not Golis’ fault. Cable news and the internet arrived, and with it the digital hunger to make it all happen immediately. The PD concocted a web presentation, but, at best, it was clunky. On screen, it looked like (and still does) a Denver omelet slapped down on a plate with bits of color strewn here and there. Glaring ads and article leads, and even partial articles themselves are all mixed together in a hodgepodge of site navigation as complicated as the Straits of Magellan.
And speaking of icy, liberal waters, the succeeding captain at the PD helm after Golis was editorial director, Paul Gullixson, and his trusted first mate and editorial writer, Jim Sweeney. Gullixson is a child of the hard-scrabble streets of prosperous Palo Alto where he cut his journalistic teeth on one of the free papers preferred by the well-off of that municipality. Gullixson is a softer version of Golis, but it’s clear that both he and Sweeney have both fallen from the jelly mold of neo-liberal tolerance wherein if the words Republican; conservative; or Tea Party are typed on their keyboards, they must immediately go to the handi-wipes. If Golis was The Press Democrat’s stealthy, soft Stalin, these guys are the PD’s currently reigning politburo.
As writers, Sweeney is more direct. Unless one’s a Jonathan Swift, nuance is seldom an Irish attribute. On the run-up to 2008, Sweeney was near apoplectic as he pulled his hair out for Obama.
Gullixson is more verbose. He hails from that current editorial school that deems editors as ultra-respectable people in positions that their mothers would be proud of as they pontificate on our often violent and sleazy world. Personally, I prefer a slap-in-the-face declarative sentence rather than an endless beating around the bush with the hidden progressive message that, I suppose, I’m supposed to get in my sleep. However, it may be editorial strategy. To avoid the predominately negative feedback (usually 9 to 1 against) that one currently finds in response to every on-line Press Democrat editorial or the Inside Opinion column that Sweeney and Gullixson jointly write, beating around the bush may be the best tactic to write the readers to sleep to avoid any criticism at all.
I’ve never met chubby-face Gullixson (he often adds his picture on the pieces that he writes) but he and I did have a recent, digital dust-off. He posted a piece in the PD’s Inside Opinion column entitled: Why I Vote: a small price to pay. It was a lovely, sentimentally written column about how he always takes his children to the polls so that they can “…see and understand the seriousness of it all…the weathered hands that hand me the ballot…the smiles and respect individuals show for one another without prejudice as they take my ballot…” a stretch, but sweet. However, Gullixson concluded with a thought that dried the tiny tear in my eye by stating: “I also see it (voting) as a way to honor all those who came before, who gave their lives fighting for or defending our right to vote.”
That’s when my BS meter pegged all the way over, because, for days into weeks, The Press Democrat and its editors had been ignoring the conflicting and distressing news coming out of Benghazi — they were part of a Benghazi blackout in America’s liberal press. So, I posted a response complimenting Gullixson on being a great dad, but I took him to task for concocting a Norman Rockwell smoke screen to conceal the lack of editorials, or even PD news, concerning “the Benghazi attacks that killed our ambassador, two Navy Seals, and a state department employee.”
I told Gullixson that if he wants to honor those who gave their lives so that he can vote, then he might start with printing the truth about Benghazi to assist voters at the polls. I am a veteran. A member of my family is a Navy Seal. The Press Democrat’s lack of attention had gotten my attention. I posted my response. Guess what? Here’s the response: “your comment is awaiting moderation,” which went on for several days. Finally I took the censor by the horns and emailed Gullixson the following message. “This comment is not awaiting moderation: you are an intellectual weakling.” Okay, I over did it; sorry. But I kept thinking about those dead guys in Benghazi and the cover up that one day may loom as large as Watergate. Gullixson fired back. The passive-aggressive gloves were off. He said I was “vile” and I was guilty of “academic cowardice.”
Vile: morally despicable or abhorrent — physically repulsive.
As mentioned earlier, I haven’t been to confession in years, but I am sorry for my sins, and I am bald with some inherited redness on my cheeks and nose, but I couldn’t understand the “academic cowardice” reference and insult. I am not an academic. Circumstance and a C average have sadly marooned me in the real world. But, slowly I got it, which brings us back to a major problem at The Press Democrat. The editors think they’re still in school. All is academic. They believe they are part of some esteemed institution, rather than guys who have to make a buck explaining the real, nitty-gritty world.
And the bucks are getting scarce in The Press Democrat’s piggy bank. Unfortunately, under Gullixson and Sweeney, and the Press Democrat’s forward people in the closet: Bruce Kyse, the publisher, and Catherine Barnett, the executive editor, the once reigning, journalistic queen of the redwood empire has been contracted to a narrow geographical corridor between the outlet malls of Petaluma and the last In-N-Out Burger on the north end of Santa Rosa. There are far too many editorials and articles about the Santa Rosa or Rohnert Park city council food fights, or zoning wars for parking lot space in gluten-free Sebastopol. Have the current editors or publisher ever been to Fort Bragg? Or, for that matter, are the Press Democrat’s reporters — some of whom may be young, inquisitive and journalistically ambitious — ever allowed out of their locked tower on Mendocino Avenue where they daily toil at their phones like underpaid workers in a Mumbai phone bank? And when was the last time that The Press Democrat engaged in actual investigative reporting other than the inside scoop about the latest pinot release in Dry Creek Valley? The 1980s? Was that long-gone Mike Geniella on the Maxxam Corporation? What happened to curiosity? What happened to The Press Democrat that I was always ready to read?
So, good luck to the money boys who will soon own the paper. They seem like smart fellows, and I bet they got a deal purchasing a paper with the CARFAX report attached to the Press Democrat. Which of these fab-four will emerge to run the whole show? Bosco would be best by virtue of the fact that he knows the territory that The Press Democrat used to serve best. Yes, he’s a Democrat, but he’s old-school. Politically, he comes from that recent but bygone era when politicians made deals with the other side of the isle. He did it for Willie Brown and he did it in DC hustling money for his district when Democrats and Republicans still drank the wine of cooperation no matter what they thought.
I’m only one reader, but The Press Democrat has got to change before it’s finished by the hard print reality of this moment. I’d like to read in-house editorials from different points of view instead of ones that attempt (poorly and unsuccessfully) to chain my little brain to everything they think. I’d like to read people from the middle with no politics at all; and what happened to old time gossip or entertaining columnists with humorous or rancorous points of view? I’m saying, I miss Gaye LeBaron who The Press Democrat has side-lined to the history books. And have they even heard of Tommy Wayne Kramer who writes for the Ukiah Daily Journal, and who is the funniest writer north of the Golden Gate Bridge? On-line, I pay money just to read him. And speaking of on-line reading, I don’t need to go down to my mail box anymore just to read a paper. I’d pay money for an app that would put the morning PD on my I-phone if its website wasn’t a mess, and they weren’t trying to stuff political correctness down my throat. I want the local news and I want it filled with facts.
Yes, if Bosco is looking for a headache, perhaps he can pull this off, but if he wants to fix the PD, he’ll have to overhaul the engine and get rid of the obvious dents. Of course, the fab-four can do anything they want. They can bust the PD out. The commercial property’s worth some cash, and they can let the gross polluter go clunking on, until the old jalopy won’t run anymore.
BACH’S DAY & NIGHT
by David Yearsley
Time is not just relative. It’s political, too. We often measure our lives by presidential terms: the Carter years; Clinton time; Bush I; Bush II? The end of time under Trump?
Time can be bent to the will of the majority. This week California voters approved Proposition 7 enabling the state legislature to make Daylight Savings Time year-round. In a signing statement sending the referendum for the people’s decision on election day, November 6, Governor Jerry Brown endorsed it with the motto of his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley: “Let there be Light.” The measure was well-timed for passage since it came just two days after the clocks have been set back in the wee hours of the previous Sunday morning. Not yet used to the earlier onset of dark, Californians were yet more inclined to opt for eternal daylight savings.
While these electoral decisions confirm that time is a human construct, the heavens do not fix their course by referendum. The opening lines of one of Bach’s earliest cantatas, Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit (God’s time is the best time), BWV 106 makes clear who is the keeper of the eschatological clock.
Another of Bach’s youthful cantatas Gott ist mein König (BWV 71)—“God is my King”—addresses both time and politics. It is a sumptuous public work scored for three trumpets and timpani, a full battery of winds and strings, double chorus, and even a solo organ part played originally by the twenty-two-year-old composer himself. Bach was commissioned to write the piece for the investiture of the new town council in Mühlhausen in central Germany in February of 1708. Then the organist at the church of St. Blasius in this imperial free city, Bach answered the request with a work of great expressive range and civic fervor, from the martial blasts of the opening choruses to the stoic determination of the first aria “I am now eighty years old.” The text for this movement is based on the Book of Samuel, but as Bach scholar Daniel Melamed has argued, it refers more immediately to the new mayor, Adolph Strecker, an old man of eighty-four. Strecker died within a few months of taking office, buried, as the aria text presages, “in the town of his birth.” It is into this aria that Bach weaves his obbligato organ part with its triplet figures drifting through the texture like wisps of smoke, as ephemeral perhaps as earthly life. A young man at the start of a great career not only portrays the fleetingness of the earthly journey in his music, but he also performs it.
A change of government was a major event in the cultural life of German cities. After the largest bell in the tower of St. Mary’s had summoned Mühlhausen’s populace at around seven in the morning, the councilors, old and new, processed into the church between martial columns formed by the town militia, their entrance accompanied musically by trumpets and timpani. The procession took place in the dim February light and in what must often have been inclement weather. In 1708 the trumpeters and timpanist also took part in the cantata heard after the sermon inside the church. Bach’s is music of a theocracy: “God is my King” shouts the chorus at the outset, and with the closing movement the joyous embrace of the new administration (“This is our new government / In every endeavor / Crown it with thy blessing”) is sealed by God’s arms.
One can get a sense of this huge church where the piece first resounded by watching a film of the cantata performed by the Michaelstein Telemann Chamber Orchestra and Chorus in the church where it was first heard. This performance is without the austere pomp that filled the church in 1708 and that provided the original context for Bach’s festive piece. All we get in this modern performance is the cantata itself. A restored altarpiece and bits of religious art cling museum-like to the restored walls of the church, but the images on-screen confirm that Bach’s music has long outlasted its theocratic origins.
Such was the importance accorded the music marking the change of government that the city fathers of Mühlhausen paid for the text and score of the celebratory cantata to be printed. As a result Gott ist mein Königis the only one of Bach’s cantatas to have been published during his lifetime, excepting the lost cantata he wrote for the same event the following year. Such was the esteem that the council had for the young organist, that it commissioned a second town council cantata from him even after he had left Mühlhausen for a better post as court organist at Weimar, forty miles away.
The central bass aria of Gott ist mein König, the fourth of the cantata’s seven movements, addresses the issue of time. With minimal means, Bach portrays God’s division of night from day. The text, like much of the cantata, is taken from Psalm 74: “Tag und Nacht ist dein” (Day and night is yours) Above the organ and cello accompaniment, pairs of recorders and oboes echo each other as if from the light and dark, but the parts also entwine in the interstices between day and night. The mood is pastoral, the instruments’ evoking the flutes and shawms of biblical shepherds. But the aria also projects a contemplative rationality, as if God did his temporal work with utter calm and care. The bass line seems to mark out time, but it also conveys a process of thought and choice through its directed, but hardly relentless, progress: the notes proceed in graceful succession, though not with regularity. Godly deliberation seems still to be underway. We experience the division between night as it is being mulled over and enacted.
But it is Bach’s treatment of the vocal line that sonically maps out the course of the day with the simplest of musical figures. The composer sets the words “Tag und Nacht” (Day and night) with three notes that divide the octave in half: a high F for “day” and a Low F for “night” with “and” sung to a C in between them. With this barest of musical ideas, Bach elegantly, yet unforgettably defines the transition from day to night. The distance between day and night changes over the four utterances of the line in this first section of the aria. When Bach repeats the figure soon after its first iteration, he has it rise up from “day” to “and” and then jump down seven notes—one note short of an octave—and then rise up the already-heard fifth for “ist dein” (is yours). When Bach repeats the line a third time, he leaps from a high C for “day,” overshooting the octave to a B-flat nine notes below. The fourth and final instance also uses this nine-note spacing. “Day” is always placed higher melodically, and set at a large intervallic distance from, “night”—a spacing that signifies the separation between them. The evocative power of these musical figures suggests both ineluctability and comfort: God has set out the day precisely and perfectly. Time is beyond human tampering.
The changing proportions between day and night in “Tag und Nacht” suggest that the proportion between them is in a state of flux, something the listeners in St. Mary’s church would have known simply from the dim morning light of Winter.
The middle section of the aria dramatizes the path of the sun as set by God: “You make both the sun and stars, and set them on their course.” The music suddenly becomes busier, the cogs of the cosmos whizzing round. This contrasts with the contemplative pace of the earlier music describing day and its transformation into night. It is not that human life is calm; Bach loves also to depict the frantic pace of human activity. By contrast, God’s time proceeds inexorably, immutably. As if to reassure the Mühlhausen faithful, Bach grants them—and us—a reprise of the opening music. God’s time encompasses not only earthly life, but also the aria itself.
As Melamed has shown, the cantata is rich in topical themes: reference is made to a devastating fire in the city the previous year, to the make-up of the new city council, and to the ongoing wars with France and Sweden prosecuted by the Hapsburg Emperor, the nominal protector (duly thanked in the text) of the Protestant Imperial City of Mühlhausen.
But I like to imagine that Bach’s confrontation with time in this cantata takes on greater meaning when we remember that it comes in the aftermath of the decision of the Protestants states of Germany to adopt the new calendar introduced into Catholic lands in the late sixteenth century by Pope Gregory XIII. While many of the patchwork of German territories had already accepted the “Catholic” system over the course of the seventeenth century, the new calendar was accepted by the rest of the Germans on Monday, March 1, 1700. The new calendar amounted to a major wrinkle in the fabric of the Protestant time, one that is theologically smoothed out by Bach’s gentle, profound aria: however, much humans may fiddle with the hour hand, the days, the months and the years, God is the ultimate time keeper.
Only God can divide the day from the night. Undaunted, humans of the Secular Age have, over the last century, been obsessively fooling with time. Daylight Savings was first implemented early in the twentieth century, when the Germans put it into effect during World War I to save coal. Using less energy has been the most frequent rationale for adjusting the clocks. FDR put the U. S. on perpetual daylight savings, or War Time, from 1942 to 1945. Nixon’s Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973 was a response to the oil embargo. Given their latitude and energy reserves, the OPEC nations have never bothered with changing the clocks. I can still remember trying to get my mind around the concept of daylight savings as a kid, wondering how it was possible simply to alter time. Bush junior expanded daylight savings again in his energy bill of 2005, robbing the early risers among us of a couple more weeks of morning sunlight.
Regardless of when they want their light, some in California might see Proposition 7 as a first step towards political secession from the federal government now presided over by Donald Trump, whose midnight tweets do not obey the rising and setting of the sun, instead forsaking the political future for night-time gratifications. If California’s legislators move ahead as the voters have now enjoined them, the feds will still have to approve the change. Whatever the case, the sum total of darkness gets ever smaller as the world gets lighter. At least we can be thankful that, as Cole Porter put it more than three centuries after Bach’s luminous and shadowy cantata, there is still “Night and day, day and night.”
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
That means the investigations coming down the pike have grown sabre tooth tiger fangs LOL—more like toothless. You have strange ideas about the power of the House. On its own it just ain’t that powerful. They can spend months having public hearings which the MSM will no doubt cover ad nauseum. Until even the most rabid liberal viewers get bored of it, move on, and ratings plummet. Impeachment? Knock yourself out. It will be considered a political stunt and will die where it starts: in the House. It will also be conducted solely by Dems, as the GOP will just get up and walk out. They won’t even take part in it.
UPCOMING EVENTS HAPPENING AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY
ZOPPE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN! - SUN. 1 & 4 PM, MON. 1 PM
The Zoppe Family Circus has been coming to Fort Bragg for eight years running, providing joy, amusement, drama, and good ol' fashioned merriment for coastal kids of all ages. This is a truly authentic circus, with performers from all over the globe, doing acrobatics, juggling, magic, comedy, drama, music, and all other acts of amazement that circuses are heir to. Originating in Italy, they've been doing it for 176 years. This year they ran into a hitch. Four days ago, nine miles outside of Fort Bragg, the "authorities" (we presume the CHP) pulled them over and told them their truck-trailer rig was too long for Highway 20. Instead of providing them safe escort, they ordered them to turn around and return to Highway 101 in Willits, with their circus big-top, and their gear. That is why you don't see their beautiful and nicely lit circular tent that has graced Todd Point headlands in years past. (Thanks a lot, CHP!) Instead of giving up, The Zoppe Circus, in the true spirit of "The Show Must Go On" put word out about what had happened amongst the close-knit circus community. Lo and behold our local Flynn Creek Circus was kind enough to loan them their big-top tent. That is why you see Flynn Creek's tent out there today, along with the flags from countries all over the world, because of their generosity. The Zoppe Family Circus hauled all the rest of their gear over the hill from Willits in small truck loads. So, if you want a couple of hours of pure amusement to take your mind off the smoke and fires, and want to support our local community, please make it to one of their remaining shows: Tomorrow, Sunday at 1:00 and 4:00 PM and Monday, Veteran's Day, at 1:00 PM. Please come and enjoy these dedicated and talented international performers. This is a very real circus that you won't see anywhere else. Maybe not again in Fort Bragg if things keep going like they are. This event is a benefit for the Mendocino Coast Humane Society. Among the many sponsors are: The Skunk Railroad, Mendocino Coast Clinics, KUNK radio, and Gary Fernandez. Don't miss this beautiful and inspiring show!
(Tix are $25, kids 3 and under free.)
BE AFRAID OF ECONOMIC ‘BIGNESS.’ Be Very Afraid
In the 1930s it contributed to the rise of fascism. Alarmingly, we are experimenting again with a monopolized economy.
Dogen Zenji's Sagely Advice
Above all, don't wish
To become a future Buddha;
Your only concern should be
As thought follows thought,
To avoid clinging to any of them.
~Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogen
HEROES AND PATRIOTS KMUD COMMUNITY RADIO
Thank you for your continued support of Heroes and Patriots. Our first regular program aired on KMUD Radio, Thursday, November 1, 2018. Enclosed is the link to view and listen on You Tube. Our featured guests:
Dr. Ben Freeman and Dr. Shireen Al-Adeimi spoke on the three-year war in Yemen and the US role in that war and the long-standing humanitarian crisis it has caused to the Yemeni people.
Our next one-hour program, always the first Thursday of each month, is Thursday, December 6, 2018, 9-10 a.m. PST. We hope you join us for the live stream, kmud.org. If you are unable to listen to the live feed, please visit KMUD's Archives, or, visit Facebook and YouTube, Heroes and Patriots, KMUD Community Radio. Feel free to circulate this link to your colleagues and friends, or post to related websites and podcasts.
Again, thank you for the support by our KMUD community and our larger community who listen, fund, and assist in making the show informative and timely with terrific, prominent guests.