- Significant Precipitation
- Sandbar Flooding
- Camp Fire
- Hamburg Rumor
- Holiday Shopping
- Jonestown 40th
- Job Fair
- Credit-card Skimmers
- Croskey Junket
- Ed Notes
- Police Reports
- Little Dog
- Redlining Homeowners
- Yesterday's Catch
- Tax Breaks
- Walmart Wages
- Appreciating Journalism
- Vet Housing
- Undergrounding Utilities
- Deteriorating Finances
- Fire Resistance
- Two Yorks
- Nextgen Corporados
- Climate Change
- Donald Hulking
- Great Climate
- Debs speech
- Last Resort
- Lotta Rakes
- Toe-jam Neighbors
- Random Idiots
- Mind Watcher
AFTER A LONG DELAY, widespread significant rainfall, perhaps up to several inches, will arrive Tuesday night on the Northcoast and periods of rain will continue through the end of the week. This rain will be mostly beneficial, but the threat of debris flows around new burn scars will be closely monitored as the event draws nearer. Cool temps and poor air quality will prevail until then.
(National Weather Service, Eureka)
A LOOK AT THE NAVARRO RIVER ...
Wonder if Highway 128 will be closed from upcoming rain?
The "Sacred Cow" sandbar is firmly in place at the mouth of the Navarro River - and the long-range forecast today shows rain from Tuesday night through Friday. Which, of course, means the Navarro River water will rise and be blocked by the sandbar - which will flood Highway 128 just east of the Highway 1 bridge.
It was two years ago TODAY MSP posted:
"yes - Highway 128 is still closed @ 7:30 am Thursday, blockaded by Caltrans 68 hours & counting...
The Navarro River keeps rising as of 7:30 am and CalTrans still has CA-128 closed - it’s been shut down since Monday 11:13 am - 68 hours from our count. And there is no estimate for it to open. The river is at 4.15’ - 'flood level' is 23-feet - but thanks to the persistence of the sandbar, for the second time in recent memory, a section of highway just east of the Navarro Highway 1 bridge is underwater and motorists are left to their own resources to find a way around the blockade. There is no signage directing drivers to a detour and GPS devices are useless at the roadblock due to the lack of any cell/satellite coverage. Recent high tides and large surf seem to have added to the height of the sandbar. We think Caltrans is hoping the storm Friday will breach the sandbar - something that could be done with four guys with a shovel in about an hour."
Current Status Of River
A look at the upstream USGS Navarro River gauge Saturday @ 12:15 pm found the level at 1.25'. It had a discharge rate (the amount of water headed toward the sandbar) of 6.49 cubic feet of water per second - or 48 gallons per second, 2,880 gallons per minute, 172,800 gallons per hors.
NWS Long-Range Forecast Next Week
Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with highs mostly in the upper 50's.
Tuesday Night: Rain likely. Mostly cloudy, with lows mostly in the upper 40's.
Wednesday: Rain. Mostly cloudy, with highs mostly in the middle 50's.
Wednesday Night: Rain. Mostly cloudy, with lows mainly in the middle 40's.
Thanksgiving Day: Rain. Mostly cloudy, with highs mainly in the middle 50's.
Thursday Night: Rain. Mostly cloudy, with lows mostly in the upper 40's.
Friday: Rain. Mostly cloudy, with highs mainly in the middle 50's.
CAMP FIRE UPDATES (Monday morning)
151,000 acres, 66% containment. Confirmed fatalities has risen to 77. The numbers of structures damaged and destroyed have also swelled:
Single Residences Destroyed: 11,713
Multiple Residences Destroyed: 277
Commercial Destroyed: 472
Other Minor Structures Destroyed: 3,388
Single Residences Damaged: 380
Commercial Damaged: 96
"Fire activity ranged from minimal to moderate overnight throughout various areas of the fire perimeter as firefighters continued to strengthen and improve control lines. Crews will continue implementing containment lines, patrol for heat in the interior, and mitigate hazards in the fire area. Search & Rescue crews as well as the multiple California US&R resources will use their specialized human and canine skills to assist the Butte County Sheriff in the search for missing victims." (Calfire)
ACCORDING to reliable sources, plural, 5th District supervisor Dan Hamburg has suffered a nervous breakdown, hence his absence at two successive meetings of the supervisors.
TODAY (SUNDAY) is the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown mass murders. Mendocino County — specifically Redwood Valley — was Jones's capital accumulation site where he milked a series of barebones care homes, staffed by free labor from his church, to get the money to move to San Francisco and bigger things. Jones and his tiny congregation of Indianans were so broke when they got to Mendocino County, Jones himself took a teaching job at the Anderson Valley Elementary School for two years. Then, lickety-split, he was foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury (good luck finding a copy of that year's report, '75, I think) and ingratiating himself and his followers with everyone from the local libs to the John Birch Society.
I HAVE A CLEAR MEMORY of driving back from Sacramento the very day of Jonestown. My missus and I had gone to Sacto for a half-marathon foot race. (I raced while she bored.) On the way back to Boonville a radio bulletin said a woman named Sharon Linda Amos and several of her children had been found dead in a People's Temple clearinghouse in Georgetown, Guyana. The news bulletin said authorities feared a much larger tragedy at Jonestown in the wild Guyana interior was likely. I knew Amos and regarded her as a minor crackpot affiliated with some church in Redwood Valley that she was always going on about. A sad sack utterly without the slightest sense of irony who always wore an overcoat even in the summer months, Amos was responsible for a foster kid placed with me. The kid rightly ran up a tree whenever he saw her coming. I didn't have that option. She once told me about being invited to "Come on in" while the boy's father was in bed with a blow-up sex doll. I laughed. She looked askance.
KNOWING MS. AMOS a little I wasn't surprised that she killed herself. I was definitely surprised when I learned that she'd cut all her children's throats and then her own. No wonder the maniacal Jones put her in charge of screening visitors to his jungle paradise. Meanwhile, back in Mendo, everyone who'd been duped by the amphetamine-fueled psycho ran for cover. The city libs went silent. Jones' Mendo dupes at least had the pastoral excuse of rural bumpkin-ism. Jones had the Welfare Department riddled with his zomboids, which is how he got his congregation on various forms of public aid, and our very own Tim Stoen, Jones's consiglieri, was County Counsel.
BUT JONES, in San Francisco, seduced far more sophisticated personages than he ever encountered in the Mendocino County Courthouse, including Herb Caen where Jones's good works were regularly cited in Caen’s columns and Jones was described as "soft-spoken, modest, publicity shy." George Moscone and Harvey Milk attended Temple services. Governor Jerry Brown wanted to attend but a scheduling mix-up kept him away. Brown called to apologize and praised the good work Peoples Temple was doing. Willie Brown was a Jones partisan. Rosalind Carter. Name a Big Lib and there they were in the front pew.
IT'S EASY, cheap really, to doom the libs for getting sucked in by the glib psychopath. After all, Jones talked a good soft socialist game of the non-threatening type, unlike the fire breathing rads loose in the Bay Area at the time, and he always turned out his big church to get these people elected. (My late friend Warren Hinckle told me it was common knowledge among City cops that Jones was pimping his more attractive parishioners to City big shots.)
ALL THROUGH the 1970s lesser psychos roamed Mendocino County. It was that kind of place, that kind of unsettled time, for sure, and aberrant behavior prevailed among people you wouldn't now suspect as once having been all the way off the rails.
IF YOU'VE BOUGHT GAS IN HOPLAND LATELY....
On November 16th, 2018, at about 11:30 am, Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were requested to respond to Hopland for the reported discovery of a suspected "credit card skimmer" (scanning device) inside a gas station pump. The deputy met with a Mendocino County Agriculture Department representative who had responded following a report regarding potential identify theft stemming from a purchase of gas from that specific gas station. The identify theft victim identified unauthorized charges to their credit card account following their use of the card at the gas station and suspected their credit card information and pin were stolen. The deputy along with the Mendocino County Agriculture Weights and Measures representative then proceeded to investigate all the gas pumps at the location. In total, five of eight pumps were identified as having the locking mechanisms defeated indicating someone had accessed the interior components of the gas pump. Only four gas pumps were identified with scanning devices. All four (4) scanning devices were removed and collected as evidence in this investigation. Based on the number of devices located at the first gas station a check of the other gas station in town was conducted. The completed inspection revealed three (3) additional scanning devices bringing the total number of scanning devices to seven (7). There are unconfirmed reports multiple victims have been affected by these devices. If you believe you are the victim of identity theft or fraud stemming from your purchase at a local gas station please contact your financial institution and local law enforcement agency to document the loss. Based on the location of the devices recovered they were not readily recognizable and would not be visible to the consumer during the transaction. However, consumers should always consider inspecting any credit or debit card machine for loose or cleaner than usual parts indicating someone has tampered with the device. Additionally, inspect locking mechanisms located on gas pump panels which contain the card reader and pin pad. Evidence of forced entry at the identified gas station pumps was present and readily apparent after closer inspection. Anyone with information concerning the unauthorized access and installation of the recovered credit card scanning devices from Hopland is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office tip-line at 707-234-2100
* * *
A READER NOTES:
Bought Gas In Hopland Lately? - 7 Credit Card Skimmers Found There!
If anyone has purchased fuel in Hopland lately, check your credit card for illegal charges, the S.O. found seven well concealed credit card skimmers in fuel pumps at more than one gas station in town. I was just passing through Hopland and almost bought fuel, so glad I didn't. Please remember to look closely at any credit card taking devices, fuel pumps and ATM's, for concealed credit card skimmers. If one does a search for "credit card skimmer warning signs" or some such, there are several websites that have photos of what you should look for. But some skimmers are so tiny now, they are nearly impossible to identify. Criminals are taking advantage of the confusion of people due to the wildfires, beware of other types of scams that will be popping up as well, not just credit card skimmers. Every disaster brings the dirt-balls out of the woodwork to scam innocents.
WHY NOT DISNEYLAND?
Georgeanne Croskey, our lame duck Third District Supervisor, recently received a warm and costly sendoff from county taxpayers in the form of an all-expenses paid trip to Washington DC, where she learned lots of important cool stuff about running local government operations. Ms. Croskey will be able to share all this with her new friends and neighbors in Dayton, Ohio, where she long ago notified the county she’d be heading when her term ended, which is now.
Cost to citizens? A lot. Benefit to citizens? Zero, but who cares?
Tommy Wayne Kramer
VISIBILITY Sunday morning on 101 from San Rafael to Petaluma was only about three car lengths from a combination of fog and smoke. Everyone was wayyyyy slowed down. Reminded me of an encounter years ago on the Ukiah Road where, returning from Ukiah about 11pm in a thick fog I drove around a bend in the road and there was a woman on foot walking in front of a car as guide dog for the man driving. The smog on 101 this morning was almost as thick.
* * *
HED from Sunday's Ukiah Daily Journal: "Ukiah Planning Commission OKs Panda Express." Ukiah seems only a couple of franchises away from the full fast food monte. Dunkin' Donuts and Carl's Jr and we're there!
* * *
MARBUT REDUX: The Santa Rosa City Council, according to the PD, is poised to fire Bob Aaronson, the City's police auditor. Aaronson's sin? He reported that the City’s homeless strategies have failed. Substitute Ukiah (and Mendocino County) for Santa Rosa and the same report could be applied here. Aaronson's “core observation,” was that “what we have done thus far to address the challenge of homelessness has not made an appreciable dent in the problem.” The Rose City's city council launched into full denial mode, and now Aaronson's job is imperiled.
SOME OF YOU will recall that our Mendo supervisors paid a fellow named Marbut $60,000 to suggest ways to address Mendo's homelessness. Which Marbut did, and a viable plan it was, too, but ever since ignored by the five bots who commissioned it. The Supes claim they already offer a "continuum of care" provided by in-house helping pros, meaning the undiminished numbers of lost souls we see shuffling up and down State Street are merely figments of our imaginations.
* * *
WE'VE BEEN COMPLAINING about Glen Ricard's kindling pile at the south end of Boonville for many years, yowling on and on about how it was once home to six separate small businesses, including the fledgling Anderson Valley Health Center prior to its present incarnation as Taj Ma Medico. That once thriving little hive of mostly free enterprise at the corner of Haehl Street and 128 wound down and down and finally collapsed. Enter Ricard who, as I recall, bought the property from Fred Ottoboni. Ricard submitted a viable plan for a whole new structure with several apartments on a second floor, shop space below. And this is the part we didn't know, and I'm taking this opportunity to apologize to the old buzzard, er, Mendocino property investor. We didn't know that Planning and Building demanded that Ricard install an elevator to reach his proposed second floor! An elevator for a minor project in Boonville? How about an escalator for Philo? A helipad for the Navarro Store? A ski lift for Yorkville? And that was the end of Ricard's plans for a major improvement for SoBo, and the rambling, abandoned structure has lain a'mouldering ever since.
* * *
THE CONSENSUS opinion here at Boonville's beloved weekly re the proposed water and sewage project is that we think it all depends on how much these services will cost individual property owners per month. Anything over $50 bucks for both is going to be a hard sell because rates over that will be onerous for many of us. The money in this community is up in the hills, not on the valley floor.
On November 15, 2018 at about 8:23 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the 1400 block of South State Street in Ukiah. Upon their arrival Deputies contacted a 29 year old adult female who had visible injures. Deputies learned Miguel Leon-Alvarado, 33, of Ukiah, was in an argument with the adult female (the pair had a romantic relationship) and another relative.
During the argument, Leon-Alvarado attempted to prevent the adult female from calling the police by reaching into her vehicle and grabbing her phone. A struggle ensued and the adult female was struck in the face causing a visible injury to her upper lip and nose. The fight continued and all the parties fell to the ground where the adult female sustained a visible injury to her left knee. Leon-Alvarado then left the location prior to law enforcement arriving. A Be-On-The-Look-Out (BOLO) was issued for Leon Alvarado. On 11-17-2018 Sheriff's Deputies located Leon-Alvarado in the 2100 block of South State Street in Ukiah. Leon-Alvarado was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery without incident and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
* * *
GROWING OLD IN AMERICA, THE WOLVES CLOSE IN
On 11-01-2018 at approximately 2:30 p.m., Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies received a call for service of a burglary to a residence in the 43000 block of Little River Airport Road in Little River. Deputies contacted the reporting person and learned that the suspect, Michele Williamson, 45, of Fort Bragg, removed her 87-year-old grandmother from an assisted living facility in Fort Bragg on 10-29-2018.
Williamson then drove her grandmother to the grandmother's unoccupied residence in the 43000 block of Little River Airport Road at the apparent request of the grandmother. Williamson did not have access nor was Williamson permitted to be on the property. After arriving, Williamson forced entry inside the residence and stole numerous items of jewelry having an approximate estimated value of $20,000. The grandmother was said to have a diminished mental capacity and was not able to care for herself. The grandmother required medical assistance sometime shortly after arriving at the residence and was transported by ambulance to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. On 11-02-2018 at approximately 11:35 a.m., Deputies contacted Williamson in the 700 block of South Franklin Street in Fort Bragg. During that contact, Deputies learned where the stolen property was being concealed. Deputies later responded to and recovered the majority of the stolen property at a residence in the 23600 block of North Highway 1 in Fort Bragg. Williamson was ultimately arrested for Grand Theft from Building, Theft from Elder by Caretaker and Possession of Stolen Property and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where she was booked to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Still no air filter on my Ig. ‘Tough it out, LD.’ That's all I get from these people. Worse, they say stuff like, ‘You hear Skrag and Alice complaining about smoke?’ Comparing me to total non-contributors is the final insult!”
WILDFIRES & THE INSURANCE PROBLEM
by Jim Shields
Let’s see, the state Elections Office has 4.5 million ballots still to count, while Mendocino County has 16,000 to tally. Which elections office do you think will finish first?
If the past is any indication of what to expect now, then Mendocino County residents will most likely learn local results well after state tallies are finalized. The reason for slo-mo ballot counting in our county is primarily due to the Elections Office not hiring extra help to do the job. That was one of the findings of an investigative report by the Ukiah Daily Journal following the November 2016 election.
Yet as simple as the solution to this long-standing problem is, it has yet to be implemented. The unanswered question is, Why?
Anyway, according to a statement issued by Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Susan Ranochak, “as with every other election, there are ballots left to be processed as part of the official canvass. Mendocino County has 16,730 Vote By Mail ballots to process, and 1,011 Provisional ballots to review and process. Of the outstanding ballots left to count: the 3rd Supervisor District has 3,288; and the 5th Supervisor District has 3,210 ballots to process and count. The City of Ukiah has 2,900; The City of Willits has 776; and the City of Fort Bragg has 1,300 ballots left to process and count. Per State law, we have 30 days to complete the canvass. The Statement of Vote, which breaks down results by precinct, will be available at that time.”
The actual election day results had 15,819 votes cast and counted. So there are now nearly an additional 18,000 votes to be processed. That leaves a number of races undecided at this juncture, including the 3rd District Supervisor election where John Haschak has a 346-vote lead over John Pinches.
* * *
As I write this the death count in the Butte County Camp Fire stands at 64 but is climbing.
Just 24 hours after the conflagration started, heavy smoke had already drifted to the North Coast and Bay Area.
After its fourth day it was declared to be the most destructive in state history.
In a break with its past practice, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. informed state officials one of its power lines in Butte County failed at about the time the fire erupted in hills around the small town of Pulga.
The PG&E self-report to the California Public Utilities Commission stated that a 115-kilovolt line fell on Pulga Road in Butte County, on Thursday, Nov. 8; at about 6:15 a.m Cal Fire had already determined that Pulga Road was the Camp Fire ignition point.
So while the cause of the fire appears to be known at this time, other factors and consequences are not so precise.
For example, a new law will allow PG&E and other utilities to recover an unknown amount of liability costs from wildfires because utilities could issue so-called “rate recovery bonds” that PG&E’s customers would be responsible for repaying through a “wildfire surcharge” on their monthly bills. Keep in mind that nobody will know how much the surcharge is until the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) determines just how much liability will be charged to the state’s electrical utilities. There’s a complex process that includes something called a “bankruptcy stress test,” to determine if a utility’s liability crosses the bankruptcy threshhold, if so, any costs beyond that theoretical point would be passed on to ratepayers. Also the term length of the bonds will affect the amount of the surcharge.
Another issue to be considered is that of home owner property insurance.
According to both state and insurance industry estimates, the Camp Fire in Northern California and the Woolsey Fire in suburban Los Angeles, are expected to cost the state, insurers and homeowners over $19 billion.
According to the insurance credit rating agency A.M. Best, insurance companies in California lost nearly $16 billion last year, four times their losses in 2016.
Fire insurance was already an issue in California before the most recent blazes started. Premiums are already rising for homeowners in areas of high risk of wildfires, and some companies are refusing to renew policies for people in these areas. This practice is known as red-lining.
Almost half of California has an elevated risk for fires, with 15.5 million people living in critical areas according to the U.S. Climate Prediction.
Recently, Moneywatch reported that, “California’s most vulnerable homes aren’t located in cities. Instead, they’re found in areas defined as ‘wildlife-urban interface’” – built just close enough to woodlands so that a spark from a tree can set a whole town on fire. A report from State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’ office shows that 25 percent of housing is in ‘high or very high risk’ areas in almost half of the state’s counties. ‘You can see why wildfires are now an everyday threat to life and property for Californians,’ Jones said in a statement. And insurers see it too, Jones said. By using sophisticated computer models that include climate projections to determine if some areas of the state are at too high a risk, insurers can then decline to write, or renew policies there, according to Jones. They may also write policies without fire coverage …”
Clearly there’s a problem and it appears to be growing with each of these massive, historically destructive wildfires. The people of California have already been told they will be footing the bill on bailing out electrical utilities that have caused most of these fires.
Now insurance companies are gouging and/or denying many of these same folks from obtaining insurance coverage for losses of homes and property due to wildfires. Isn’t it time that somebody bails out these people?
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 18, 2018
GIOVANNI DEMURI, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JOSE CORNEJO, Ukiah. Burglary, probation revocation.
ARON HERNANDEZ, Little River. Burglary, vandalism, controlled substance, failure to appear.
BODHI IDARIUS, Talmage. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, damaging power/communications lines.
MIGUEL LEON-ALVARADO. Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
SCOTT MATHER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOSHUA NELSON-DEAN, Ukiah. Parole violation.
BRANDON OROZCO, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ETHAN PATON-THOMPSON, Canyon/Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol.
JOEANN PERDUE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
WILLIAM RETZLOFF, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
JOHNNY SHIELDS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.
DAVID SIMPSON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, disobeying court order, probation revocation.
AT LAST, A DEMOCRAT: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Sunday, "Amazon is a billion-dollar company. The idea that it will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need MORE investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here."
RICK WEDDLE WRITES:
Hope all is well with America's Last Newspaper and her ever-vigilant, courageous, incisive, loyal, and ingenious crew. I'll mail a check for the Two Bits tomorrow, Monday, gladly for the on-line sub. And what a deal. Thanks, again, AVA, for the decades of faithful community service and participation, under some of Humans' History's most bizarre circumstances. We're so grateful to still be able to take Readers' parts, and benefit from the info and humor in the little Newspaper that Can, and Does. America's alleged Founding Fathers — however horrific their personal Elitism — began our Supreme Law with the three little words, "We, the People...," about as all-inclusive as it gets, so far, in the Self-Evident Rights Department. The Constitution goes on, after stating the Sole Lawful Authority of People in those first three words, to anticipate some of the means and mechanisms to secure those Rights and meet those Rights' self-evident Obligations… like the little 9th Amendment. And like freely outspoken newspapers with a full set of facts and American Revolutionary teeth, and not at all bashful about using 'em. Where pens like yours hold forth is where the swords fail; maybe not every time, but whenever Piracy in High Places — or asleep behind the door in the Mayor's Office — is thwarted, there's always a little cadre of deliberate Journalists right in there, down in the gravel, the whole time. What's the main reason ANYONE in North America can still successfully Read Between the Lies? Unlikely little miracles here and there, like you guys. Cheers!
Coy Brown’s letter in the PD recently regarding undergrounding power lines really resonated with me (“Putting wires underground,” Wednesday). He cites many good reasons to underground power lines. It is my impression that if a fair feasibility study were done, in the long term, undergrounding would be highly justified. In the short term, probably not. That seems to be an inherent problem with many decisions. No long view. Quarterly profits are so often the main drivers.
I, too, am a firefighter of over 23 years, and I also am a landscape architect, so I am quite aware of not only the significant hazards overhead power lines pose but also the visual blight they create. Many years ago, I lead a field trip to Highway 12 in the Valley of the Moon with a number of Japanese transportation officials who were interested in California’s scenic highway program. The first thing they noticed was the power lines and poles. They couldn’t understand why they weren’t underground.
An objective feasibility study for undergrounding power lines, especially in high-risk areas, would probably recommend undergrounding even on a financial basis (taking the long view, that is).
I DON’T THINK it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.
— Bill Maher
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Unfortunately, even sending a top official to jail will not solve the deteriorating financial situation in the US from the Federal government down to recent college graduates burdened with huge amounts of student loan debt. To me, the Russia investigations and Hillary’s misdeeds are mere side shows to the growing national debt, growing unfunded government employee pension liabilities and inadequate savings for retirement by many older Americans. I have never been the US Holocaust Museum in DC but I have read enough books and watched enough movies and documentaries to know that when conditions for average Americans deteriorate sufficiently, they will be looking for a strong man to fix things.
WHAT THE DUTCH CAN TEACH US ABOUT WILDFIRES
A TALE OF TWO NEW YORKS
New York’s Democratic kingpins Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio are getting hit from right, left and center for showering Amazon with some $3 billion in subsidies. The corporate welfare is even more outrageous when juxtaposed with New York City’s dilapidated public housing that the Governor and mayor have long neglected.
Re “Delay, Deny, Deflect: How Facebook Leaders Leaned Out in Crisis” (New York Times, front page, Nov. 15):
Perhaps we should add “Destroy” to the alliteration. Did we expect a generation of younger corporate owners and investors, having made their money so large and fast, to somehow live up to the values expressed in their TED Talking enthusiasms?
For all their world-changing identification, they are reproducing the social destruction so perfected by their corporate elders — that is, to brand themselves as do-gooders while working feverishly to prevent policy changes that would restrict, in any way, their ability to mine profits from ventures that are in direct conflict with their acclaimed values.
As long as corporate culture embraces growth through profit as the ultimate criterion for success, and our politicians take a share of the winnings as the price of their support, we will continue down this slide.
Facebook, Google, Amazon — they are merely the most recent players in the big Monopoly game that is our financial culture, and I thank the journalists who have been tracking their double-dealing. At least we know who the players are in the game of destruction.
TRUMP’S A BUFFOON, but what’s the corporate media’s excuse? In its non-stop coverage of the California wildfires, the national news networks have mentioned climate change in less than 4 percent of the total coverage. — Jeffrey St. Clair
PRESIDENT PAYS BRIEF VISIT TO STRICKEN AREA
I guess we can relax now. The President has been to California. This is what he said in Butte County [This from the Chico Enterprise-Record. Chico, Butte County's biggest city, population around 100,000, is 14 miles from Paradise, about a 20-minute drive.]:
"Asked if the fire had changed his mind on climate change, Trump said: 'No, no,' Trump said. 'I have a strong opinion. I want a great climate. I think we’re going to have that and I think we’re going to have forests that are really safe.'”
Comforting, our President! I don't know what all the wailing is about.
Incidentally, today's Enterprise-Record puts the missing-person count at 1,011.
We spend more on armies & navies than the rest of the world put together. Since the very-rich need the constant income from this constant military spending (and isn't it also America's most lucrative export market?), maybe we should make our tanks and bombers dual-purpose so they can be used in fire-fighting and storm protection and repair as well as for destructive purposes. Our Defense-Department designers and engineers are damn clever with this sort of thing.
Below: Juanita and Wayne McLish relax after their Paradise, California home burns down. Fall colors are spectacular in Paradise.
EUGENE DEBS GAVE AN ANTI-WAR SPEECH THAT LANDED HIM IN PRISON
"But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.”
THE LAST RESORT
She came from Providence, the one in Rhode Island
Where the old world shadows hang, heavy in the air
She packed her hopes and dreams, like a refugee
Just as her father came, across the sea
She heard about a place, people were smilin'
They spoke about the red man's way, how they loved the land
And they came from everywhere, to the Great Divide
Seeking a place to stand, or a place to hide
Down in the crowded bars, out for a good time
Can't wait to tell you all, what it's like up there
And they called it paradise, I don't know why
Somebody laid the mountains low, while the town got high
Then the chilly winds blew down, across the desert
Through the canyons of the coast, to the Malibu
Where the pretty people play, hungry for power
To light their neon way, and give them things to do
Some rich men came and raped the land, nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus people bought 'em
And they called it paradise, the place to be
They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea
You can leave it all behind, and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did, so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign, "Jesus is coming"
Brought the white man's burden down, brought the white man's reign
Who will provide the grand design? what is yours and what is mine?
'Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs, and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny, and in the name of God
And you can see them there, on Sunday morning
Stand up and sing about, what it's like up there
They call it paradise, I don't know why
You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye
IT WAS INEVITABLE
How many times have I said before about the dangers in our midst created by the environmentalists and the lack of support for people who know better about fire protection? No more grazing of livestock. Roads abandoned. The Forest Service abandoned roads and you can't drive on them anymore. Locked gates. How do they expect people who can't move to fight fires? How do they expect people to realize they need fire protection when the god damn environmentalists shut everything down? It's a shame! People don’t understand what these bastards are doing to this country!
California voters voted down the gas repeal tax! How dumb was that? How stupid can people be!
Now we have Gavin Newsom — eight more years of Jerry Brown. I hope you people love it. I hope you suffer and sweat and scream and moan. You’ve got Newsom for eight more years. I'm happy because he's our governor and you people are going to get what you deserve.
God bless Donald Trump.
PS. I can't imagine the sorrow of the people who have lost all their homes and loved ones. Imagine the tragedy of losing everything you've got and you are sixty or seventy years old and have nothing to live for. Imagine all the animals that died. Maybe a few more of the cities where the idiots in Southern California live need to burn so they’ll realize how to vote for competent people to run this country.
PPS. A bunch of liberal know-it-alls have moved up here from the Bay Area. They buy a piece of property, lock it up, no livestock, let grass and brush grow up to the door or the house wall while they squeeze toe-jam out from between their toes, smoke marijuana, thinking how great it is to be free — you wait and see what happens in the next few years or sooner. If a fire ever started near Philo or Navarro with a brisk wind blowing Anderson Valley would be a big pile of ashes. If people around here don't get wise to the fact that they are sitting on a time bomb, then let it happen. I'm sorry for them. And I'm sorry for the locals who have to put up with all these idiots — and I mean flaming dogshit crazy idiots! -- who come up from the Bay Area, including the wine people! Including the vineyards!
MESSAGE TO POSTMODERN AMERICA
I have asked everyone to pray to God so that I receive adequate social living circumstances in Washington, D.C., which would allow me to continue being active on the peace & justice and radical environmental frontlines. I have given up on networking to get a situation in Washington, D.C. because it just doesn't happen, no matter what. Therefore, I am spending all of my time in Hawaii right now watching the mind. I am spending all of my time watching thoughts. I don't want to be attached to the miserable spectacle which postmodern America has become. I am biding my time in Hawaii, and am willing to leave here if I receive solidarity. At the moment, I am receiving nothing, in spite of having been to Washington, D.C. 14 times since performing service work there in July of 1991 with Catholic Worker. It is incomprehensible to me that I am not being valued, having as I do, a significant record for activism and also creatively writing about it. Again, I don't fully know what the hell is the matter with postmodern America. I think that my entire situation is weirder than fuck, and I am only interested in not being attached to any of it. Maybe I figured something out at last! What do you think?
Craig Louis Stehr