- Brian Mendoza
- Gofund Cassidy
- Camp Fire
- PG&E Priorities
- Fire Weather
- Local Food
- Creepy Joe
- Edu Race
- Supe Seminar
- Runoff Issues
- Pissed Off
- Yesterday's Catch
- Real Grievances
- LakeCo Visioneers
- Seriously Wrong
- Class Apartheid
- Destry Rides
- Broadband Meeting
- Sex Pistols
- Torching Malibu
- Flammable Terrain
- 1959 Fire
- Jerry Rubin
Brian Elias Mendoza Pulido born June 22, 2001 was placed in God's hands on November 8, 2018. Brian is survived by the many people who were lucky enough to have known this remarkably smart, funny, young man. His heart was pure and he loved with all of himself. He will always be in the hearts of his beloved parents, Olga Mendoza Pulido and father Jose Luis Mendoza. His three sisters he loved very much: Alondra, Kaylie, and Ashley Mendoza and was especially close to his nephew, Gael Nava Mendoza. Brian leaves an extended family of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in Mexico and in his home town of Boonville. A senior at Anderson Valley High School, Brian is also mourned by his many friends, teachers and his community. This is not goodbye but a brief moment until we meet again. We love you, our Angel of God.
BOONVILLE’S CASSIDY HOLLINGER HAS BEEN VERY SICK, NEEDS SUPPORT
Cassidy Hollinger: Kidney Warrior
Hi friends & family,
As many of you know - especially if you followed my social media meme journey - this past spring I entered Kings County Hospital for what I thought was a minor infection...and boy was I in for a treat. Here's the tea: we found a congenital defect in my right kidney harboring a staph infection, requiring an emergency surgery that night and a 4-day stint in the ICU (105.7 degree fever is FEELIN' HOT HOT HOT). That's when we found the good stuff: a fatal heart infection (endocarditis, just like on "House"!) requiring six weeks of daily IV treatments. I spent 44 days in that palace, and returned for a total kidney reconstruction a few days later. I have since had another surgery, and will have to continue to have follow-ups for the next year/the rest of my life.
As you might imagine, this is not cheap, and IT'S TIME: the bills unfortunately are coming due. I'm raising funds to cover the medical bills and the regular bills that incurred while I was stuck in there (ain't no party like a Brooklyn-rent party cuz a Brooklyn-rent party don't stop).
I know everyone says this, but every little bit helps, especially if you can share this on ~ social media ~ with your friends. And there will be prizes (TBA) - including but not limited to: a narrated slideshow of hospital memes, me cooking for you (I'm good!), and even stand-up performance(s)!
Love to you all, and thank you in advance!
CAMP FIRE STATUS: Now up to 141,000 acres at 40% containment. They’re now saying 9,700 residences destroyed up from 7,600 residences two days ago) and 290 commercial structures destroyed (up 30 from two days ago). 63 confirmed civilian fatalities. 5600 firefighters on scene. Cause: “under investigation.”
Camp Fire Progression, November 8-14 (click for full map)
SEVERAL VICTIMS of the catastrophic Butte County Fire, aka the Camp Fire, have already sued PG&E, blaming the power monopoly for the deaths of 56 people (and counting) and property losses. The suit accuses PG&E of failing to properly maintain its equipment and power lines. Two days before the fire started, PG&E told customers in nine counties that it might shut off their power on November 8 because of extreme fire danger but didn't follow through with the shut off, claiming the weather didn't warrant it presumably because bonuses are tied to customer complaints.
AT LEAST one Bay Area congressman, Jerry Hill, is woof-woofing that the shareholder business model PG&E operates as makes tragedies inevitable because shareholder profits are PG&E's first priority — not safe, efficient delivery of power. Hill says PG&E is too big and should be broken up into smaller, regional services. I seriously doubt that our present corporate-dependent political apparatus would have the courage to go after PG&E to force the monster to re-organize as a true public utility, but it's beyond obvious the monster must be slain.
FIRE WEATHER CONTINUES IN NORCAL, especially in the Camp Fire area.
Dry weather will continue into the weekend with breezy northeast to east winds returning Saturday night. This will bring an increased fire weather danger from Saturday night through Sunday afternoon with the greatest threat being over the Camp Fire. (Sacramento/National Weather Service)
LOCAL HOLIDAY GOODIES
Blue Meadow Farm - at the base of Holmes Ranch Road - 895-2071
Brock Farms - on Goodacre off the base of Peachland - 895-3407
Velma's (Filigreen Farm) - on AV Way - 895-2111
Gowan's Oak Tree - on Hwy 128 between Philo and Navarro - 895-3353
Pennyroyal Creamery - on Hwy 128 in Boonville - 895-2410
Petit Teton - on Hwy 128 between Boonville and Yorkville - 684-4146
The Apple Farm - on Philo/Greenwood Road just before the bridge - 895-2333
AV Products you can access by contacting:
4 Bar K Ranch (beef) - firstname.lastname@example.org, 895-2325
Anderson Valley Community Farm CSA (variety of products) - email@example.com, (831) 332-5131
Bramble Family Farm (olive oil) - firstname.lastname@example.org, 272-8487
Bucket Ranch (variety of products) - 845-3851
McEwen Family Farm (variety of products) - email@example.com - 472-9009
Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company (seaweed) - firstname.lastname@example.org, 895-2996
Natural Products of Boonville (mushrooms & more) - email@example.com, 684-0182
Petit Teton (canned goods, pork, beef, squab & veggies) - firstname.lastname@example.org, 684-4146
Pomo Tierra Orchard (apple products) - email@example.com
The Forest People - Radically Sustainable Mushroom Cultivation - 489-5034
Yorkville Olive Ranch (olive oil) - firstname.lastname@example.org, 894-0530
TRUMP'S description of Joe Biden as "Creepy Joe" is right on the mark.
There is mos def something creepy about Biden — repellent, phony. Remember how the MSM talked about "the great Reagan charm"? Every time I heard that I wondered how I missed the charm. I guess it was tucked away behind Reagan's lizard-like facade.
NOT THAT it matters much, but it's gratifying that Tony Thurmond seems to be overtaking Tuck for State Superintendent of Schools as the vote count dribbles in. Tuck's tv ads damning Thurmond were not so subtly race-based. Anyway, moving the massive state edu-blob in the general direction of effective instruction for our nation's future, at this chaotic point, would be beyond Socrates himself. No surprise that neither candidate mentioned the biased distribution of school funding, wealthy communities with rich tax bases getting more school money than less fortunate areas.
NEWBIE SUPERVISORS Williams and Haschak will be encouraged to attend, all expenses paid natch, a week-long seminar on How To Be A Supervisor, a kind of soft version of a Chinese re-education camp, the assumption being that all California counties are models of civic functioning and you, Mr. Elected Official, it's up to you to at least pretend it all makes sense.
DURING LAST TUESDAY'S FIRST QUARTER BUDGET UPDATE the Board of Supervisors discussed several capital improvement projects. One of them was the estimated $25 million jail expansion project. Apparently, the project has to be scaled back somewhat because of likely construction cost increases since the time of the estimate. The County has to put up about $2 million as the local match on the project and will have to have at least $1 million set aside just to cover the gap between when the contractor submits a bill and the state decides to cut the check.
One of the items that Supervisor Dan Gjerde highlighted was the proposed elimination of a sewer grinder which was not explicitly required by the state expansion grant.
Gjerde: “I guess the general population inmates will sometimes flush things down the toilet which then create problems downstream in the sewer system. Has the county talked to the city of Ukiah's wastewater systems staff? It might be in their interest to help pay for the cost of the grinder to prevent those downstream problems for their wastewater treatment plant.”
Sheriff Allman: “I appreciate you staying on top of the jail expansion program. This is a very important question that we have spent a lot of hours on. I have never spoken about a sewer grinder in front of the Board of Supervisors before, but I will because I know a lot about it now. The sewer grinder is put in place in the municipal-city sewer line after the sewage from the jail or any institution goes into the city sewer line itself. The fact that we have inmates flushing T-shirts and sheets and pillows and so forth — that would not affect our plumbing at the jail as long as we plan ahead. Captain Pearce has worked with and toured many other facilities and we certainly have ways right now that are going to lessons learned from other jails not about how to not prevent it from happening but much more so getting quickly on it and preventing flooding from occurring. I don't think we can stop the action other than prosecution of an inmate for vandalism and tell him that if he flushes a sheet he’s going to go to jail, but he's already in jail so a lot of them have no concern about that. But our concern is to get it quickly taken care of so that flooding at the jail doesn't occur as it is currently happening in Building 1 and 2 and specifically Wing 4.”
Gjerde: “So the bulk of the problem is downstream in the city’s sewer system when it occurs. So it sounds like the county is willing to speak with the city of Ukiah because it might be in their interest to help pay for the grinder because they wouldn't want that stuff arriving in their sewer plant.”
Allman: “I will pass that on to Captain Pearce I myself will have that conversation.”
IN OTHER COUNTY RUN-OFF NEWS Supervisor Georgeanne Croskey wanted to know the status of the roof leaks in the admin offices and the so-called “bucket system” which they are currently using, pending a possible capital improvement reroofing project to deal with the leaks.
Croskey: “I heard a comment that our bucket system is working well. I have a hard time with depending on a bucket system for our roof. What items are we currently protecting with that bucket system and what if they fail? I see ‘critical’ on here [referring to a list in front of her]. That makes me feel that we might have certain items in here that if the system were to fail it would cause catastrophic problems for the county. I'm inclined to move forward with this. But I would like to know what things are currently being protected by our bucket system rather than having $1 million go towards phase 2 [of the roofing project]?”
Deputy CEO Steve Dunicliff: “Certainly the admin center and the buckets, or ‘water diversion bladders’ are being added to and moved every year. We have the county’s server room which is sort of the heart of the county’s facility. We have county staff being protected from leaks. We have had county staff members come into work after a weekend of rain with ceiling tiles that have swelled with water and fallen and exploded all over desks and bookcases and so forth. We have the county system being protected by the bladders once they are in place but certainly the most difficult thing is when the leaks are exposed during a rainstorm.”
Deputy CEO Janelle Rau: "As you do for the repair of these roofs more damages can be discovered. We know when we go into these areas that we find damage that is not available to the naked eye as you dig through. So you have structural damage, potential for mold and deterioration in the interior structure of the building. That's just an added detail that's not pretty.”
Supervisor McCowen followed up with a question about repair of two other leaky roofs, the one over the main jail and the one over the emergency operations center: “They also need repair. But at the moment we don't have enough budget information to allocate funds to any of them because nobody knows what the real budget situation is because none of the revenue data has arrived.” And no one has attempted to quantify the effect of the supposed 12% vacancy rate and the amount of possible savings from unspecified under-budget departments, even though the under-budget departments are much smaller than the departments currently running in the red. (More on the budget mess later.)
Supervisor McCowen also pointed out that there's nothing they can do about repairing the roofs for this winter anyway, so they should wait to allocate roof repair funds until the budget picture becomes clearer.
Mr. Dunicliff replied that, Yes, they couldn't get anything done this winter and it would be tight for next winter because of the time it takes to do the design and bid process and then select a contractor and find one given the increased demands for all kinds of building trades in the post-disaster Northern California construction market.
AND SO WE HAVE yet another “critical” demand on diminishing general fund dollars that nobody knows how to budget for or where the money will come from.
I DON'T WANT TO ABOLISH GOVERNMENT. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.
—Grover Norquist, founder/president, Americans for Tax Reform
UDJ OVER THE LINE
To the Editor:
I am thoroughly disgusted by the lowlife political cartoon in the Veterans Day Ukiah Daily Journal depicting President Trump urinating on the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Like the man or hate the man, he is still the duly elected President of the United States and should be respected as such. In my opinion, trash such as this cartoon is probably about the best that can be expected from a poor excuse for a newspaper like the Daily Journal.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 15, 2018
JORDAN BRIGHT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ZACHARY BRINT, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
DARLENE DAVIS, Covelo. Probation revocation.
KYLE MARTINEZ, Lower Lake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM MISHOU, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order.
DAVID THOMSEN, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
WHAT IS CONDEMNED NOW as “right-wing populism” is simply the populism of the working class, it is the popular discontent of working people who have continually been sold down the river by the globalist-imperialist ruling class. The Democratic Party leadership have positioned themselves to be the best servants of this class, and they’ve done a very good job with that. This is especially true in the ideological sphere, whereby anyone who disagrees with them is a racist, misogynist, homophobe, transphobe, and hater of refugees from the Third World. On this last, and the approaching “caravan,” it makes sense to me now why, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton would have supported a coup in Honduras—to drive more desperate people northward to further replace and undermine working people in the U.S. That is the sort of game the globalists play on the global chess board; more to come on this subject. People who believe the Democratic Party ideology, or who at least believe that, at this apparently “singular moment,” “NOW” (as a close friend of mine put it), we have to set aside “ideological purity” and support the Democrats are just wrong about what is going on in the world. Like the recent class-driven/Identity Politics constituencies who pass themselves off as “feminism,” the voices of this supposed desperation about Trump are largely coming from the academic and otherwise “professional” middle-class, who identify their interests with globalism. On the one hand, from this group, I’ve seen some saying the “ideologically-pure” on the “left” supposedly “look down their noses” at those who recognize the necessity to vote for Democrats “NOW.” On the other hand, I’ve also seen the hilarious ploy of posting videos of Barack Obama asking people, “whether left or right,” to “get involved,” and vote. Let me put it this way: people who promote the latter ploy know full well that they are full of it, except perhaps it simply does not enter their minds, such are their ideological blinders and deep-seated class interests, that not everyone is going to vote the way these “involved”-types want them to. For my part, yes, if you hold a gun to my head and force me to vote, I will vote, but I am not going to vote for the party of militarism and war and spitting on working people (all the while expecting them to silently get back to work, while there is work to get back to—and otherwise bugger off), and doing no more for those whose real grievances are diverted into the Identity Politics agenda than instrumentalizing them for the power of globalist finance capital.
— Bill Martin
REPORT FROM LAKE COUNTY
Lake County schools closed due to the air quality problem, except in Upper Lake, where the decision-makers opted to remain open because many parents cannot afford to take the day off and stay home from work, and the indoor air filtration system is sufficient to protect the inhabitants.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t: major shelters in Butte county are suffering eruptions of the Norovirus — which is transmitted “manually” from human contact with feces, and which can be avoided by self-managed sanitation practices. Once on a person’s hands, everything that person touches becomes contaminated. The illness itself creates more stress on the sufferer’s immune system, as well as the system of voluntary disaster relief services.
Given the reality of uneducated college graduates (Bill Martin’s note) and the general level of incompetence in local governments — graduates at least of the obligatory K-12 conformity training — the only thing that worries me about the residents of Tweetville is how many of the true believers have their hands on the machinery of “public health and safety” agencies.
In Lake County, the predominantly white, semi-literate, religiously fervid, and “spiritually” enlightened anti-intellectuals with dime-store diplomas constitutes the ruling class, which recently renewed its vows to remain wedded to irrational concepts embodied in our new (regurgitated) marching orders: http://www.lakecountyca.gov/Government/Directory/Administration/Visioning/Vision2028.htm.
And these are the STRAIGHT people (in theory, anyway).
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
California is quickly approaching something like Brazil, with a few hundred thousand super rich, English speaking whites in Silicon Valley and Hollywood, living in fortified compounds ringed with high walls, razor wire, cameras and armed security, and who travel in convoys (like whites in South Africa), surrounded by 100 million envious, grasping and poverty stricken, Spanish speaking Mexicans and Central Americans, always probing for soft spots in the fortifications, trying to get in and grab a piece of the good life whitey is hogging all for himself. As for the hemmed in whites on the inside with sh-t eating smiles on their nervous faces and wondering what good their Mercedes Benzes, big bank accounts and 300 foot yachts are now, well he’s still jabbering about Diversity, egalitarianism, advocating even then for open borders and the Brotherhood of man, all men, even the Low Rider Mexicanos on the other side of the fence who would like to kill them all.
HEAR DESTRY RIDES AGAIN!
Here's the recording of the broadcast of Destry Rides Again on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg live from Helen Schoeni Theater earlier tonight. Everything electronic and mechanical and theatrical worked as well as could be hoped both in the theater and through the intertubes to the transmitter.
Now that we have the bugs worked out and the system simplified, we'll be doing more projects like this, both the Mendocino Theater Company and KNYO. Helen Schoeni Theater is the perfect size theater for a live radio show audience. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking about setting up an ongoing open-invitation live music and conversation and variety-act show from that very theater. Why not?
If this gives you ideas, I'm all ears.
In other news, I stayed on the coast the extra week because of Destry, so I'll be doing Memo of the Air from Fort Bragg for the second week in a row, in case you want to come by and show off. After 9pm Friday night, 325 N. Franklin, next door to the Tip Top bar. And I'll be there until about 5 in the morning. Just barge in and head for the lighted room at the back.
BROADBAND ALLIANCE OF MENDOCINO COUNTY MEETING
SEX PISTOLS, 1977 VISA PHOTOS
REVISITING MIKE DAVIS' CASE FOR LETTING MALIBU BURN
by Gustavo Arellano
During fire season, I always think about Mike Davis, author of one of the most — pardon the pun — incendiary essays in the annals of SoCal letters: “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn.” I return to this chapter from his book “Ecology of Fear” any time that the Santa Ana winds howl and thousands flee raging infernos — a ritual that used to happen every couple of years but now seems to happen every couple of months.
“The Case for Letting Malibu Burn” is a powerhouse of history, science, Marxist analysis — and a certain amount of trolling. Its main point is that Southern Californians will never accept that fire is not only common here, but part of our ecology going back centuries. To spend millions saving homes in areas never meant for neighborhoods and power lines is not just folly, but a waste of public resources.
This time around, as California burned from the north to the south, I checked in via email with Davis, now professor emeritus at UC Riverside. He’s best known for his literary double whammy against Los Angeles exceptionalism: 1990’s “City of Quartz” and 1998’s “Ecology of Fear.” Those books made the Los Angeles of “Chinatown” seem as sinister as Mayberry.
Davis’ tales of racism, poverty, corruption and other sins — backed by copious footnotes — inspired a generation of radical historians and writers, including yours truly. He also riled an army of detractors who so hated his apocalyptic warnings that they ridiculed everything from his scholarship to his marriages to the fact that he was born in Fontana.
But as the years go on, Davis’ bleak words read more like revelations than rants. Just as he argued, we build deeper into canyons and foothills, daring Mother Nature to give us her best shot — and then are shocked when she does.
The Woolsey fire has already scorched more than 96,000 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, destroying 435 structures in Malibu and other cities. It’s yet another “fire of the century” for the beach city.
“Maybe 10 or 20 years ago, you stayed in your homes when there was a fire and you were able to protect them,” Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said during a news conference this weekend. “We’re entering a new normal. Things are not the way they were 10 years ago.”
In other words, we now live in Mike Davis’ world. He has ascended to the pantheon of Golden State visionary authors like Helen Hunt Jackson, Upton Sinclair, Mark Reisner, and Carey McWilliams who held up a mirror to us that we have ignored at our own peril.
“The Case for Letting Malibu Burn” depicted Malibu and other wealthy cities built in the boonies as created not for “love of the great outdoors or frontier rusticity,” but rather as “thickets of privacy” against L.A.’s working classes and people of color.
We enable this white flight into the mountains, he argued, by not just allowing development where there shouldn’t be any, but also subsidizing those affected by the inevitable wildfire in the form of cheap fire insurance and squadrons of first responders deployed around the clock at the hint of an ember.
He went through a litany of Malibu blazes over the last century, concluding with the Old Topanga blaze of 1993 — which consumed about 18,000 acres but destroyed 323 structures. Throw in climate change, Davis noted in a version of his essay that appeared in the L.A. Weekly, and the catastrophe “marked a qualitative escalation in fire danger, if not the actual emergence of a new, post-suburban fire regime.”
And, almost exactly 25 years later, here we are again.
Davis’ work on Malibu’s flames has aged far better than the criticism of it. Chapman University urban studies fellow Joel Kotkin, for instance, said of “Ecology of Fear” back in the 1990s that it “basically mugs Los Angeles” and is “truly nauseating stuff.” Yet by 2007, Kotkin told the Economist, in an article about the fires that fall that wreaked havoc from San Diego to Santa Barbara, that “nature still has a lot of power” in the once-unspoiled areas where we build homes — which is what Davis contended all along.
Then there’s former Malibu real estate agent Brady Westwater, who refashioned himself as a downtown L.A. booster. You couldn’t write about “Ecology of Fear” for years without mentioning Westwater, who hounded reporters with screeds and stats about Davis’ real and alleged errors until the press finally began to cite him as a legitimate critic.
In his own 1998 essay (whose titled described Davis as a “purposefully misleading liar”), Westwater predicted that “fire damage will decrease over the years” in Malibu because of better infrastructure and better-built homes. Of the Old Topanga disaster, he plainly declared: “That kind of fire can never happen again.”
And yet here we are again.
Davis remains persona non grata in Malibu, from Neptune’s Net to Pepperdine University. Malibuites took “The Case…” as a direct attack on their beliefs and ways of life.
Davis takes no satisfaction in seeing his analysis come true all over again. But the author, who’s recovering from cancer, stands by what he wrote.
“I’m infamous for suggesting that the broader public should not have to pay a cent to protect or rebuild mansions on sites that will inevitably burn every 20 or 25 years,” he told me. “My opinion hasn’t changed.”
IN ARID CALIFORNIA, where stupid cheapness has driven development, fire has been the norm for tens of thousands of years. Humanity has built its prodigious idiot outposts in fire plains during a period of anomalous rainfall in the 20th century, and humanity now pays the price.
Scratch that: It is not humanity which has wrought disaster. The disaster is the product of the lunatic idea that we can build anywhere and everyplace, into all ecosystems. In California the specific expression of this lunatic idea is the real-estate industrial complex, a tiny segment of capitalist humanity. For millions of bright-eyed homeowners, told they could get a deal regardless of the history of the land, the lunatic idea has the appearance of normalcy.
The destruction wrought in California from fire is in fact a return to an ancient pattern of scorching of the land now exacerbated by climate warming.
Prehistoric records show that huge stretches of the American West burned annually at rates far higher than anything Euro-American settlers have experienced in their short time on the continent. Which is to say that the Euro-Americans enjoyed a climatic suppression of fire.
Now with collective agony, drawing together, feeling for our fellows in the far reaches of the fire plain but not understanding a goddamn thing about what’s really driving the fires of California, we cry like children. How could this have happened? Why is this happening to us?
Well, it’s happening because we have been stupid and arrogant and mindless, self-regarding and weak and fickle, vain and cheap and greedy.
California, overdeveloped, overrun with people, saturated with sprawl, will burn. I’ve always hated the human infrastructure in California, and so I can’t say this is a bad thing.
AFTER THE FIRE, 1959
Fire swept through Laurel Canyon on July 10, 1959, destroying more than 30 homes, including those belonging to Steve McQueen and Charles Coburn. Most residents had only enough time to gather a few belongings before fleeing on foot. (Photograph courtesy Valley Times Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)
HIPPIES, YIPPIES, RADICALS & PRANKSTERS
by Paul Krassner
Pat Thomas, the author of “Did iT! From Yippie to Yuppie: Jerry Rubin, an American Revolutionary,” had noticed that there were six books about co-activist Abbie Hoffman, but none about Jerry Rubin, so Thomas welcomed the challenge. Seventy-five co-conspirators were interviewed for revealing anecdotes galore (including me), and this tome is a unique oral and visual history heavy enough to sink into your coffee table.
Rubin had written a few books himself, though. The first was 1970’s “DO iT!” Under the influence of Ritalin, he recorded all the material swirling in his mind, and his girlfriend Nancy Kurshan transcribed 700 pages that had to be severely trimmed down. That book was heiress Patty Hearst’s favorite, radicalizing her, especially the part about rebelling against elite parents.
In January 1964, Rubin was 26 with a thick handlebar mustache, bored as a journalist for the Cincinnati Post. He moved to UC Berkeley for grad school, but dropped out during his first semester. He then asked so many questions about local politics, filling his notebook so much, that several activists thought he was a cop. But by May 1965, at the Berkeley campus he had organized a Vietnam teach-in, the largest in the U.S.
He called me in New York, inviting me to speak there. I urged him to also contact folksinger Phil Ochs, who could perform appropriate songs between speeches. Rubin had never heard of Ochs, but he accepted my suggestion. They would eventually become deep friends.
When Rubin was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee, he wore a rented American Revolutionary costume, and he gave out copies of the Declaration of Independence. As the marshals carried him out, he yelled, “I want to testify!” He had manipulated the media to spread his patriotic message on radio, TV and the front pages of newspapers across the country.
Peace activist Dave Dellinger invited Rubin to be the project director of an anti-war event at the Pentagon in October 1967, where Ed Sanders of the Fugs would lead the ritual of levitating the building. Rubin moved to New York and met Hoffman. Mutual admiration developed quickly. Their brains were complementary. Hoffman was the right lobe (spontaneity) and Rubin the left (list-making).
They led a nonviolent group to Wall Street and threw a load of single dollars from the balcony onto the floor, where stockbrokers stopped everything and grabbed the cash. These political pranksters then explained to the waiting reporters the connections among money, poverty and war.
An idea of Rubin’s sidekick, Stew Albert, glued the straight New Left together with stoned hippies. That hybrid phenomenon was already in process at various protests. It would serve as a conception of the Yippies, the Youth International Party, which was born at the home of Hoffman and his wife, Anita, on the afternoon of Dec. 31, 1967. This informal alliance of activists celebrated with Colombian marijuana at our first meeting to plan a counter-convention to the Democratic National Convention scheduled for Chicago in August 1968. On the way to a New Year’s Eve party, I rubbed some fresh snow into Rubin’s bushy hair. It was a Yippie baptismal rite.
In Chicago, a sense of competition was developing. Hoffman bought a pig for president, but then Rubin decided to purchase a bigger, meaner, uglier pig that was released at City Hall. Tom Hayden chastised Rubin: “Are you going to have a press conference and make very serious statements, or are you going to have a whole Yippie guerrilla theater performance?” Meanwhile, billy clubs and tear gas were being used indiscriminately and sadistically outside the convention hall. Later, a government-sponsored investigation concluded that it was “a police riot.”
Nevertheless, in 1969, a trial took place of the Chicago 8, including Black Panther Bobby Seale, whose crime was to deliver a speech. His lawyer was sick, but the judge wouldn’t allow him to defend himself. Seale shouted that he had such a right. Who could’ve guessed that in an American courtroom, a defendant’s mouth would be gagged and his body shackled to a chair? When the judge finally kicked him out of the trial, it became the Chicago 7, two of whom were Yippies. As if to prove it, Rubin and Hoffman entered the court one day wearing judicial robes.
In biographer Thomas’ diligent research, he realized that the men got credit for the Yippies while the women weren’t acknowledged. Powerful spouses — Anita Hoffman and Judy Gumbo Albert — deserved recognition. So did several others. Judy Lampe designed the Yippie logo, using a style of Japanese lithography she had studied. Robin Morgan left the Yippies to organize a feminist rally against the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in September 1968. The Yippies’ office was run by Kurshan, Rubin’s girlfriend, and Walli Leff, whose husband, Sam, served as the Yippies’ archivist. In 1970, Kurshan left Rubin because of his fame and egotism. Without her, his ability to be a leader temporarily disintegrated.
Likewise, John Lennon had gone through an awful breakup with the Beatles, fueled by disagreements with Paul McCartney. Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, moved to New York and met Rubin, who persuaded them to play at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally in Michigan. Sinclair was the leader of the White Panthers and the rock band the MC5, and the rally got him out of prison, where he’d served two years for a pot bust.
After the protests at the 1972 Republican National Convention in Miami, Rubin moved to San Francisco and dropped out of politics. He became a New Age junkie — meditation, the est movement, yoga, Rolfing, health food — happily recommending the virtues of self-awareness therapy. But later on, he confessed, “There’s not really much for me to do, and I’m pretty bored right now. The war is over.” Yes, the Yippie was gradually morphing into the Yuppie.
His love life had a certain pattern. On his first date with Stella Resnick, a therapist, he said: “I’m going to marry you.” She wanted to be independent, so they lived together until he was too controlling. Back in New York, his “I Want” laundry list included “I want a beautiful blond society wife.” Mimi Leonard fit that description enough that before they had left for dinner, he’d asked her to marry him. She wasn’t that interested, but five weeks later they moved in together and married the next year.
They also developed a creative partnership. Their first collaboration was “The Event: 14½ Hours That Could Change Your Life,” but they both also needed to get jobs. She became a commodities broker at ContiCommodity, a top firm. He appreciated her success and decided to go to Wall Street. He finally was titled marketing director at the John Muir Co. Many people thought Rubin had sold out, not knowing that his job was “investigating new companies of the future, including those producing solar and other alternative-energy sources.” He created a weekly networking salon, a precursor to Facebook and LinkedIn.
In high school, Rubin wore a bow tie. Nobody else did. But in countercultural days, he claimed that a necktie was a hangman’s noose. However, now that he was dancing in the world of finance, he wore a necktie, sort of like having worn the appropriate revolutionary costume for HUAC. He stated, “Money is the long hair of the ’80s.”
He actually sent out a press release requesting that the media no longer refer to him as a former Yippie leader. I couldn’t resist publishing in the Realist magazine this headline: “Former Yippie Leader Asks Not to Be Called Former Yippie Leader.” Indeed, Rubin and Hoffman went on tour with a debate, “The Yippies Versus the Yuppies.” At a San Francisco nightclub, I moderated their performance and mentioned, “If Abbie Hoffman were to throw money in the Stock Exchange today, this time, Jerry Rubin would invest it.”
In “Did iT!,” the biographer captures Rubin’s story with fairness — affirmative and negative perceptions are both presented through the subjectivity of 75 prisms. Dellinger regretted inviting Rubin to organize the Pentagon event. Mimi and Jerry had two children, and she divorced him, yet they remained best friends and partners.
Hoffman and Ochs both committed suicide, and Rubin might as well have: On a November evening in 1994, he was jaywalking across Wilshire Boulevard when he got hit by a car as he turned around to wave at his girlfriend, Tiffany Stettner, and a friend, Fred Branfman. They’d just had a meeting to discuss his organization about helping disenfranchised black children in Los Angeles, providing all kinds of creative ways for them to be educated. He died two weeks later.
When Rubin was alive and anyone criticized him, Hoffman defended him: “You can say that you lay across the train tracks leading to the Oakland Depot where the soldiers were being sent overseas to die in Vietnam.” Hoffman wasn’t aware that Jack Kurzweil, Berkeley professor and activist, said to Rubin, “One of the young kids who was so bound up in the passion and ecstasy of it that he was going to lie down on the tracks. Jesus, we’ve got to drag the kid off the tracks.” Rubin responded, “Oh no, let him stay there. If he dies, it will be great publicity.”
Was that a literal nuance or just a taste of his sardonic humor? In 1994, Rubin (who’d paid $85,000 personal income tax the year before) met another Jerry Rubin (a peace activist who lived in Venice, made $6 an hour potting orchids and had $2 in the bank). Yippie-Yuppie said, “Gee, people think it’s me who’s broke. That’s not good. I’m running a business, and I can’t have that perspective.” So he made an offer: “Hey, I’ll give you $10,000 if you change your name to anything — and $20,000 if you change it to Tom Hayden.”
(Paul Krassner is the editor of The Realist. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)