- Wet Week
- Double Fatality
- Border Skirmish
- PG&E Bailout
- Burn Permits
- Fire Readiness
- Rufe Persful
- Stehr Fix
- Ukiah Laureate
- Ed Desk
- Little Dog
- Pygmy Plants
- Yesterday's Catch
- Public Utility
- Mental Illness
- Homeless Homesteads
- Eating Poison
- WaterFix Questioned
- The Heart
- Crafts Fair
- Giants Boycott
- California Fires
- Assange Journalism
- Prison Reading
- Shout Outs
- Found Object
ONE MORE DAY of dry weather is expected today. A front will move across the area early Tuesday morning bringing moderate rain and brief gusty winds. Additional episodes of rain and high mountain snow are expected this week. (National Weather Service)
ON NOVEMBER 23, 2018 at about 8:30pm a blue 2002 Ford Focus was traveling westbound on Highway 20 west of milemarker 22.43 at about 30-40mph. The weather was raining and the roadway was wet. The driver of the Ford Focus turned the vehicle to the right and drove the Ford Focus off the north embankment. The vehicle overturned multiple times. One of the passengers, an unidentified woman in her early 50s, was ejected from the vehicle and succumbed to her injuries. The second passenger, another unidentified woman in her early 50s, succumbed to her injuries at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital the following day.
The driver of the vehicle, Timothy Beltram, 62, of Fort Bragg, sustained broken right ribs and was arrested on suspicion of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug resulting in death or injury. The collision is still under investigation.
(CHP Press Release)
TRUMP SHUTS DOWN MEXICAN BORDER
The Mexican border was closed for several hours Sunday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after migrants in the border town of Tijuana stormed the area. Migrants approaching the US border from Mexico were enveloped with tear gas Sunday after a few tried to breach the fence separating the two countries. US agents shot the gas, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene. Children were screaming and coughing in the mayhem.
Honduran migrant Ana Zuniga, 23, said she saw migrants open a small hole in concertina wire at a gap on the Mexican side of a levee, at which point US agents fired tear gas at them. “We ran, but when you run the gas asphyxiates you more,” she told the AP while cradling her 3-year-old daughter Valery in her arms.
PUTTING ‘OUR MONEY’ TO WORK TO SAVE PG&E
by Jim Shields
You certainly don’t need me telling you that the past three years of these prodigiously destructive wildfires are unprecedented chapters in California history.
The last week has seen a series of one ominous event after another.
An insurance risk-rating firm estimates that the Camp Fire in Butte County, where at least 81 people have died and 14,000 homes have been destroyed, has already reached damages totaling $7.5 billion to $10 billion, and they’re mounting.
PG&E stock fell 31 percent in one day last week, and analysts say the shares have lost 45 percent of their value since the Camp Fire was ignited two weeks ago.
In the state legislature, the Sacramento Bee is reporting that a Democratic assemblyman, Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, chairman of the Utilities and Energy Committee, is preparing to introduce legislation that would extend financial protections for PG&E and other utilities beyond what was provided in SB 901, which was signed into law in September by Gov. Jerry Brown.
SB 901 is the so-called PG&E bailout legislation 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 electrical utility customers would be responsible for repaying through a “wildfire surcharge” on their monthly bills. While the new law appeared to address just the 2017 wildfires and utility companies’ potential bankruptcy due to more than $10 billion in losses, it’s actually a “recovery template” for all current and future wildfires that may “stress” an electrical utility into bankruptcy.
According to the Bee report, Kellie Smith, a consultant for Holden, said that the assemblyman wants that “stress test” protection to be extended to 2018 fires. PG&E’s potential liability from the Camp Fire has raised the specter that the utility could be forced into bankruptcy. That would trigger higher borrowing costs and other expenses that would ultimately be borne by ratepayers, Smith said. Providing protection through legislation, and preventing a bankruptcy, is “the least expensive choice of a lot of bad choices,” she said. Holden’s bill is sure to be controversial.
State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, told the San Jose Mercury News that the legislation represents “a happy Thanksgiving gift” for the utility’s shareholders, directors and executives. And state Sen. Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher, two Republicans who represent the Butte County area, issued a joint statement Wednesday saying it’s too soon to discuss relief for PG&E.
“There will be time in the weeks and months ahead to discuss policy proposals ensuring accountability and the future viability of utilities in California,” they said. “But to do so now is irresponsible and premature. The fire has yet to be contained, 870 people remain unaccounted for, and the deceased have yet to be identified.”
Now here’s something to think about amidst all the chatter about plunging stock prices, bankruptcy, and electrical ratepayers bailing out multi-dollar corporations that have set rates that are highest in the nation.
Outgoing Governor Jerry Brown has left a gift-wrapped package of an operating surplus of about $14.5 billion for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which is in addition to a cash reserve of $14.8 billion.
Governor-elect Gavin Newsom and the solidly Democratic state Legislature will have at their disposal nearly $30 billion in rainy day funds, according to the latest analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Here’s a novel idea for our elected representatives to cogitate on: Prior to the citizens of this state spending a single penny on a bailout for electrical utilities, use that surplus to save them, if the governor-elect and legislators are convinced that the Big Three (PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric) are on bankruptcy’s doorstop. Don’t forget, that surplus actually belongs to California citizens. I can’t think of a better way to spend it, given the circumstances.
(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)
BURN PERMITS COMING SOON. CalFire is expected to lift the burn ban this Monday. If they do, AVFD will start issuing our local burn permits starting Monday at the Boonville firehouse. Now is the time to start getting ready for next fire season! Please check the link below on Monday for the official announcement and more information. Find burn permit info under the "Services" tab. (AV Fire Department)
YORKVILLE RANCH HAD A GREAT TURN OUT last weekend for a fire-ready neighborhood meeting. They're talking about clearing ladder fuels along road ways and around homes, putting up reflective address signage, clearing temporary refuge areas, and maintaining alternative egress routes. It's ambitious but necessary, and many Yorkville Ranch residents are sharing the workload. If your neighborhood is interested in working to become more fire resilient, AVFD is a good local resource. Contact us at 707 895-2020. (AV Fire Department)
JULY 29, 1937 — A story of horror, almost unbelievable, came out of the prison fortress, Alcatraz, last night. the story was verified by J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Department of Justice at Washington DC. It rivaled in grimness some of the tales of Poe. One of the desperate band of men who make up the strange company on the “Rock” figured as a star performer in a gruesome episode that shook the Bay prison to its foundations. The prisoner, Rufe Persful, said to be a nationally known bad man, in some manner unexplained, obtained possession of an ax a night or so ago. That ax had a razor edge. The story goes that Persful, holding the ax in his right hand, deliberately placed his left hand on a support and, with a sweeping stroke, severed the hand. Then he is said to have handed the ax to another prisoner with the plea: “Strike off my right hand!” The other prisoner, horrified, is said to have summoned guards who rushed Persful to the prison’s hospital. The motive of the prisoner remained unexplained. Whether he had gone mad with loneliness, whether had sought death, or whether he hoped to gain some unvoiced objective by his spectacular action, was a mystery. Warden James A. Johnston said Persful would not be punished. (SF Chronicle)
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Rufe Persful (May 25, 1906 – May 16, 1991) was an American criminal, convicted for murder, kidnapping and robbery. He was considered one of the most dangerous criminals of his era by the authorities. Convicted with the murder and robbery of an elderly man at the age of 18, he was sentenced to 15 years in Arkansas State Penitentiary, but unlike a standard prison, it involved farm labour. He was given the task of shooting fellow inmates with a shotgun if they attempted to escape. He killed and disabled many prisoners during his time at the Arkansas Penitentiary, punctuated by periods of parole as a reward for his prison protection, and then re-offending and being sent back to resume his role.
In December 1934, Persful was convicted for kidnapping and robbery in Paragould, Arkansas and sentenced to 20 years, after which he was transferred to United States Penitentiary, Atlanta. Two inmates recognized him from Arkansas and word spread of his killing of fellow inmates and he began being severely abused. He was transferred to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary a year later but was recognized and continued to be tortured by his inmates because of his past offenses. In 1937, it was Persful who attempted to cut off his hands in sheer desperation of his experiences at Alcatraz and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was eventually sent to McNeil Island Penitentiary where he was again recognized and suffered much abuse from his fellow inmates, despite being heavily watched over by the prison staff. He was released in April 1948 and moved in with a relative in Gary, Indiana, never to be convicted of a crime again.
GARY DURHEIM, dba Horizontal Wood Products (“we lay 'em flat!”) formerly of Cannon Beach, now Seaside Oregon writes:
I drool at the prospect of reading Craig Stehr once again. I was hoping for a "Craig Stehr fix" ahead of the arrival of my mailed copy. No can do, for the reasons mentioned above. I hope the fact that I remember the letters of Wanda Tinasky, or those of Brother Craig Stehr, raises the possibility that help in this matter will be prompt, if not courteous. On December 1st, I celebrate my 75th birthday. I hope you are doing as well or better than I am. I feel generous, because I am doing pretty well indeed. So well that I can truly say it is good, yes, real good to be old in these fraught times. The catastrophes are mounting. . .
Cheerio, my Friends.
UKIAH'S POET LAUREATE
To the Editor:
Recently, I was installed as Poet Laureate for the City of Ukiah at City Council chambers. Shortly after, as I was preparing my house for guests, the sun was almost blotted out at mid-day as the first wave of smoke and haze from a massive fire in Butte County wended its way into Ukiah Valley. How are these two events related?
As poets, it is our job to record and respond to the major events of our time. I have spent a lot of my life speechless, unable to respond or find words for the evil that wiped out much of my family from Nazi hatred. Now I find myself speechless once again, unsure how to find the words to describe rapid climate change and its many devastations. This is an issue that should never have been politicized. When a fire, flood, earthquake or other disaster comes, almost everyone runs to help–old, young, rich, poor, conservative, progressive.
The only way any of us can find the words and respond to the (literally) raging issues of our time is to engage in constructive and cooperative action. For me, art in its many forms–poetry, dance, painting, playing music–is as necessary an action as marching in the streets, writing petitions, voting, etc. Without the engagement of the deepest parts of our souls, our actions become deficient. Without reaching into the heart of our experience, shared by every human–the need for love, connection, and meaning; for expressions of joy and sorrow, hope and despair, yearning and fulfillment–we become confused, distracted, and ineffective, angry at the wrong people and in the wrong places.
I have thrived in and enjoyed the city of Ukiah for more than ten years now, partly because so many different kinds of people live here. While other communities live under often self-imposed bubbles imposed by economics, race, or lifestyle choice, we daily greet people who vote, behave, and look different from us. We have a great opportunity here to meet the challenges that climate change and other disruptive forces pose, whether arising from natural or sociopolitical causes, even as our location in a hot and seasonally dry valley places us in great danger.
I am calling for more poetry because it puts us in closest touch with the silent part of us that knows no divisions. I am calling for more joy and less denial and more real work. I am asking that we get beyond the labels and the name-calling and get to the good work of facing the hard times ahead, together. I would love to hear community members’ ideas of how you would like your Poet Laureate to respond to these issues and challenges. Send email to RWerdinger@yahoo.com.
THE 2019 Boonville Fire Department calendar is now available, announces Antoinette Von Grone, "a cooperation between Tina Walter and me, only $12, all of the profits go directly to the Fire Department. We printed 75, so there is only a limited supply. You can go directly to the Boonville Fire Station Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10:30am and 4pm. The calendar will also be available at Mosswood Market/Restaurant when my ambulance photo show goes up on December 1st.
* * *
KEEPING ABREAST of the South Coast of Mendocino County is eased via the Independent Coast Observer out of Gualala, a weekly newspaper with an enviable ad base. This week I learned that Diane Agee is "semi-retiring" from Redwood Coast Medical Services Board, which oversees the Gualala clinic. The formidable Ms. Agee ran the Boonville clinic "part-time" for a tumultuous couple of years beginning in 2011, as I recall, on a kind of lend-lease arrangement with Gualala's medical center. During her Boonville reign. Agee force-marched a popular and long-time Boonville clinic employee out of the building into the parking lot, watching as the unfortunate woman drove away, first confiscating the humiliated woman's office keys. Agee later did a peremptory forced march exit on a doctor at the Gualala clinic. We never heard the reason for the Boonville purge or the doc's side of his banishment.
FORCED marches of suddenly doomed public employees are also now a feature of County government. (cf the Ag Department's long-time and highly valued Diane Curry.) Ms. Agee also put the fear into the Boonville clinic's board of trustees who, on her instruction, at a packed house meeting of angry Boonville residents demanding to know why their friend and neighbor had suddenly been non-personed, simply stared back at the people asking. The stare-back bordered on the eerie. It was as if the trustees had been zombo-ized.
THE STARE BACK as a public meeting tactic has since been adopted by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. Ask them a question or say a few words that basic civility ordinarily requires something of a reply to, and our County's leadership stares back, not exactly uncomprehendingly but as if they can't see or hear you. It's the tail wagging the dog so often in Mendo public life — the un-elected County CEO dominating her cringing elected supervisors; elected school boards totally cowed by their over-paid administrators; health center boards, faithfully Yes-ing their hired manager; the KZYX board is of course self-selected from a small pool of gray, birkenstocked, white-ish males, or selected by station administrators after close evaluation for stooge quotient. The Boonville Ambulance Board is a kind of private wine club that meets at a private home in Airport Estates. And so on. As it happens, the Anderson Valley Community Services District Board actually functions as a public board is supposed to function — elections, open discussion of all issues. It seems to be a one-off in Mendocino County.
IN OTHER NEWS from last week's ICO, we learn that the Sea Ranch Lodge is in escrow, having gone broke, then retrieved from temporary penury, and now sold. An acquaintance recently told me he and his girlfriend had just spent "a wonderful weekend at Sea Ranch" which, I guess, is now one more seaside B 'n B hive. "Have you ever been there?" he asked. The dilemma presented was the usual one of not wanting to insult the man's obvious enthusiasm by saying something like, "Given the choice of a weekend at Sea Ranch and a weekend under a freeway overpass, I'd go for the freeway." I've never understood the aesthetic pull of a place featuring several hundred glass boxes, but it's not only Sea Ranch, we've got a steady march of glass boxes all the way up the Mendo coast to Westport fouling what was once a truly beautiful panorama of pure ocean.
THE ICO carried a report of the Gualala Post Office being festooned with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs. Probably teenagers, one to do it the other to cheer him on. You can almost hear their idiot laughter. Or maybe the culprits are older cretins, slaves to fascist websites. I know there are young-ish people in the Anderson Valley who've been seduced by incorrect readings of history, and I don't mean politically incorrect but the fascist sites are that, too, hence the eagerness of stupid people to outrage easily outraged liberals. It's too simple to blame the educational system for learning deficiencies, but I think fascist opinions, thanks to the internet, haven't been as available to the young since before World War Two, and there are no forums, and fewer opportunities to argue with people beguiled by anti-democratic theories. Mendo's pretty much a one-way communications street dominated by conservative liberals who talk only to each other.
SNAPPIEST title on an ICO editorial I can remember: "What's murder among friends?" A rote denunciation of Trump's cozy relationship with the Saudis.
THEN THERE'S "PA city council considers skateboard park." Mendocino County's smallest city, population 453, with the largest government — five person council, two administrators, and a secretary. Plus a few employees. Prediction: Never happen. They'll talk a lot about it because a skateboard park is "for the kids" and who dares oppose an amenity for "the kids"? But the $50,000 part-time city administrator, Richard Shoemaker, always a guy "for the kids" and his captive council people will talk the thing until this crop of would-be boarders and their parents have moved on. When the unctuous Shoemaker functioned as a County supervisor he and his colleagues complained about kids skateboarding outside the Supe's chambers, thus disturbing the mighty deliberations of Shoemaker and Co. Now if Point Arena could figure out how to monetize "the kids" Shoemaker would be first in line.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Yep, I'm in love with a big, Spanish-speaking German girl from next door. Skrag naturally is making fun of my relationship. ‘You're gonna have some weird looking kids, Little Dog!’ Maybe, Skrag, but at least they'll know their daddy!”
WYNN CRIES WOLF?
Regarding your article quoting Wynn on the difficulties planning coastal development. One of Wynn's jobs that is under scrutiny, is described in the newsletter from the local chapter of the Native Plant Society.
The site is a minor subdivision request on Thomas Lane in Fort Bragg. The 10 acres are in the extremely rare Pygmy Forest. According to the Calypso newsletter article, Wynn Coastal Planning misrepresented the area in the biological survey as individual specimens as G2S2, which is less than 20 occurrences. The State has designated the area, known as an alliance, G1S1, which is Five or fewer occurrences. Problems arise for consultants when they fail to properly identify the environmental sensitivities on a site, as is required by law.
Alliances are named after the more conspicuous plants in the group. They represent a whole system defined by the plants present, appearance, stability, shape, climate and geology. The pygmy is unique because of the very slow draining acidic soil developed on stable level area for millions of years. Stability like this is rare in the restless geology of California. This has resulted in year round wetlands also rare in our parched and burned over state.
Here is the rub; the owner illegally removed the forest and put in drainage to drain the wetlands. Were the plants there when Wynn did the biological assessment? Did Wynn counsel the owner to go ahead and clear and drain the property without permits? If not, why hire a coastal planning person after having already cleared the vegetation unless you are trying to pull a fast one.
The G stands for global ranking and the S for state ranking. The vegetation is described as an alliance, a group of plants that are found together that dominate a site. The Alliance is called the Mendocino Cypress woodland and the association subcategory of the alliance is Hesperocyperis pygmaea-Pinus contortus ssp. bolanderi/Rhododendron columbianum. (Mendocino pygmy cypress, Bolander pine and rhodendon or azelea).
Mendocino County is home to many unique plant and animal communities and two are most rare: The Pygmy Forest and the Coastal Prairie. Both are far rarer than redwood forest and oak woodland alliances. Both are desirable to develop because they are level.
The phrase "housing crisis" is blaming the victim (the planet and environment) for what is a human population crisis.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 25, 2018
AARON BLACK, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JONATHAN BREEN, Willits, DUI.
FREDERICK FITCH, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.
VALERI GARGER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SUSAN HOLMES, Ukiah. DUI, concentrated cannabis, disobeying court order.
ANDREW HOPPER, Willits. DUI, domestic battery, willful cruelty to child.
KAYLIN JOHNSON, Crescent City/Ukiah. Contempt of court.
VERNON KNAPP SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
CLEMENCIO MARTINEZ-FLORES, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
VIOLET MCALISTER, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
TARA MCCOMAS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JEFFREY MURRAY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, protective order violation, controlled substance, probation revocation.
AARON ORESCO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
RODOLFO PEREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
RICKEY PHILLIPS III, Willits. Probation revocation.
JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
GORDON SUTCLIFFE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CLIFTON THOMPSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
YERALDIN TOVAR, Ukiah. Contempt of court.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
During the 1950s we had rampant alcoholism, soul destroying factory work, accepted marital rape, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, rampant racism, and an out of control witch hunt for “communists”.
Women had little opportunity in education or c-suite employment. The military industrial complex was gobbling up the national budget, increasing the national debt. Those were the “social norms” and they were the reason for the anti-war, civil rights, and women’s liberation movements of the 60s.
PUT THE PUBLIC FIRST
With PG&E facing lawsuits and possible bankruptcy for its handling of a vital public service, the timing is perfect for the public to take it over.
The state of California — we taxpayers — should buy it and run it as the not-for-profit service it must be, and for the sake of and in commemoration of the towns, cities and loved ones who have been destroyed by PG&E’s focus on profits over safety.
Certain services belong to the commons — housing, medical care and employment must be guaranteed as foundational to a civil society. This includes those services crucial to its functioning, such as fire and police departments, libraries and schools.
PG&E has betrayed its public duty. It has sacrificed lives, homes and people’s futures for its stockholders’ enrichment. We, the people, need to run the service for benefit of one another.
AT LEAST ONE IN EVERY FOUR PEOPLE killed by police has a serious mental illness, one nonprofit says
Program in Eugene, Ore., is viewed as a model for reducing risk of violence
HOW THE GERMANS HOUSE THE HOUSELESS, an on-line comment
In Germany, they have made homesteads for the homeless. Private companies bought private land in or near large cities. They have made them as self sufficient as possible. They help people get off drugs, and find out what they can do. They never have to leave, and are sheltered, warm and fed, most of their food coming from gardens, dairies, and grain-cereal plots. They have mini factories, like wood shops, metal, and electronics among others.
Those people who cannot compete in regular life, like maintaining a house and a job, and insurance, and everything else, should have a situation to go to where they do not have to live under so much pressure. If they can only work 4 hours, so what? In Germany, a person may only “work” 4 hours, but then they can go over to the garden, or dairy, and help out there. If they cannot “work”, they are still protected and warm and fed.
I remember being in public high school, and realizing what level of the caste society I belonged. It was not at the top. At my economic level, I knew some girls were off limits, and certain universities, and that was it. Not going to Harvard, that’s for sure. But I did get a BA from a state university, and still use it today.
People do drugs to change the way they feel, about themselves, their lives, their existence. The Germans are trying to give them a chance to exist in an environment that helps them begin to feel good about themselves without drugs. To find that which they were made to be.
So, here is a challenge to all those billionaires and multi millionaires; instead of wasting all your millions on political ads, you help the homeless by building some real homesteads for the houseless, and do something good with your money, not waste it on something that does nothing. Those who saw your ads either agreed or disagreed, but no one was changed. And keep the government out of it. The homeless are valuable, and talented. The only problem they have is being crushed by the obscene cost of housing, transportation, and just regular existence that most find easy to deal with. Not to mention taxes imposed by greedy office holders. Tom Steyer and the Koch brothers, you are on notice.
COUNCIL STAFF SAYS CA WATERFIX INCONSISTENT WITH DELTA PLAN;
Council chair urges DWR to withdraw ‘certification’
by Dan Bacher
On November 8, the Delta Stewardship Council staff released a draft report finding that the California WaterFix is not consistent with the Delta Plan after considering the appeals filed by an array of organizations, Tribes and governments to the “certification of consistency” filed by the California Department of Water Resources.
The release of the staff report was then followed by a Council workshop in Sacramento on November 15 during which Council Chair Randy Fiorini and Council Member Frank Damrell suggested that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) withdraw their controversial document.
This is a major victory against the Delta Tunnels project that Governor Jerry Brown is trying to put in place as much as possible before he leaves office in January and Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom takes the helm. The project would divert Sacramento River water from the North Delta through two giant tunnels to the South Delta to facilitate the export of Northern California water to corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California water agencies.
“In light of claims raised by nine appellant groups, Council staff recommends that the Council conclude that substantial evidence does not exist in the record to support the Department’s findings that California WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan. Staff further recommends that the Council remand the matter to the Department for reconsideration, pursuant to Water Code section 85225.25,” according to the report.
The Council staff found that there was no evidence that indicated the Delta Tunnels project would be operated in a manner that meets Delta water quality standards; that DWR did not use the best available science; that DWR did not provide evidence that water suppliers who would benefit from the tunnels would reduce their reliance on the Delta; and DWR failed to demonstrate that “the project is consistent with respect to compatibility with local land use plans.”
What does this all mean? “That means the tunnels will be stopped if the Council members go along with the staff recommendations,” said Michael Brodsky, lawyer for the Save the California Delta Alliance. “The California Department of Water Resources could revise and resubmit the tunnel project at a later date, but I think that would be unlikely if the vote is that it is not consistent with the Delta Plan.”
Brodsky said the council staff accepted 3 of Save the California Delta Alliance’s main arguments: that the Waterfix is not consistent with D-1641 water quality requirements, particularly that it violates the Export to Inflow ratio; that WaterFix does not respect local land uses because of impacts on recreation and legacy communities; that WaterFix does not comply with the Delta Plan policy to reduce reliance on the Delta as a source of water supply.
“The staff report also finds that WaterFix did not use best available science with regard to sea level rise,” said Brodsky.
Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and board member of the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), said he agrees with many of the staff conclusions, but disagrees with others.
“On a whole, the staff properly concluded that the California WaterFix is inconsistent with the Delta Plan,” said Jennings. “We were mildly surprised with their findings, but all of the appellant groups made a convincing case that the California Water Fix is simply not consistent with the Delta Plan and Delta Reform Act.”
“The staff agreed with us that the tunnels project doesn’t rely on the best available science and that the beneficiaries of the project have not established reduced water reliance on the Delta and improved regional water self-sufficiency,” he noted. “They have also failed to establish substantial evidence on how they could comply with delta flow objectives, as specified in State Water Board Decision D1641. In addition, they failed to provided adequate evidence that they respect local land use when siting project facilities or restoring habitat.”
Jennings said he disagreed with the staff’s conclusion that the tunnels’ adaptive management plan is consistent with the Delta Plan. For example, he said the WaterFix lacks a final signed adaptive management plan and a financial plan sufficient to ensure implementation of an adaptive management plan.
RTD executive director, Assemblyman Jim Frazier praise staff report
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, praised the DSC staff for having the courage to issue a report finding the tunnels project inconsistent with the Delta Plan.
“We thank and congratulate Delta Stewardship Council staff for doing the right thing and for having the backbone to assert that the CA WaterFix is inconsistent with the Delta Plan. Restore the Delta and its membership have shown up to countless public meetings, hearings, and workshops to communicate this message for three years now,” she said.
“As Governor-Elect Newsom prepares to take office, we hope he reflects on the DSC’s findings that indicate the tunnels project will not protect, enhance, or restore the Delta,” Barrigan-Parrilla stated. “Newsom won over voters by leaving the impression that he would modernize California. Governor-Elect Newsom has the chance to create his own unique legacy by backing away from this outdated 20thcentury project to pursue 21stcentury alternative projects that actually benefit the public trust.”
“The state of California is ready for innovative water management strategies and local self-sufficiency projects that create a more sustainable, reliable water supply. Newsom could be the leader to make this happen,” she said.
Likewise, Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) praised the staff for issuing such a thorough and accurate report.
“The staff of the Delta Stewardship Council has found the deeply flawed twin tunnels proposal does not respect local communities, reduce reliance on the Delta, or support healthy Delta flows, per requirements of the Delta Plan,” said Frazier in a statement. “These findings validate and confirm what I have been saying from the very beginning about this ill-conceived project.”
Frazier noted that a “certification of consistency” declares a project to be consistent with the coequal goals of the 2009 Delta Plan â€” and is a necessary regulatory step for any development in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Nine separate Delta stakeholder groups appealed the certification of consistency submitted by DWR in July.
Council Chair says consistency determination is incomplete, advises DWR to withdraw
There was no Council action taken at the November 15 public workshop held in Sacramento, but the Council is expected to take action on the determination at their December 20-21, 2018 meeting.
The big news was at the end of the November 15 workshop when Randy Fiorini, the Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, recommended that the Department of Water Resources further define its Delta Tunnels project and suggested that DWR withdraw its document before asking the Council to approve the project.
“Frankly, I’m frustrated,” Chair Fiorini said. “This project came to us before it was ready. At this point, with the weaknesses identified, and obviously in my opinion, there’s more work to do. I would strongly encourage the Department to consider withdrawing the certification of consistency. If you do so choose to do that, let us know as soon as possible so we can resume early consultation.”
Council member Frank Damrell echoed Damrell’s comments.
“We’ve heard a lot about timing, prematurity throughout this hearing and this particular workshop â€¦ it seems clear to me that the record is not complete, particular on key issues, and those shortcomings are precisely the areas where early consultation benefits everyone in this room,” said Damrell. “This is an adjudicative process; this is not a forum to work out shortcomings. That’s not the purpose. It’s adjudicative by nature. The Department should certainly consider withdrawing its certification and immediately resume early consultation.” More information: mavensnotebook.com:
Part of the reason the Council Members are recommending that DWR withdraw their certification of consistency is that DWR claims “no sensitive receptors” to hazardous materials in North Delta, when research from Deirdre Des Jardins and North Delta Cares shows otherwise:
Des Jardins noted that North Delta Cares’s appeal “cited concerns about release of hazardous materials from construction of the Delta tunnels.”
“It is North Delta Cares’ concern that although CEQA concludes that there are no sensitive receptors exposed to hazardous materials, substances, or waste as a result of construction of the water conveyance facilities under the proposed project and therefore, there would be no impact, the Legacy Town of Hood and its inhabitants [â€¦] is Â¼ mile from the construction of Intake 3 and Â½ mile from construction of Intake 5. These intakes sandwich this Legacy Town and the construction impacts create a hazardous situation for the people and animals living there,” according to the appeal.
Chris Shutes of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) emphasized the significance of the Council Members’ comments at the November workshop on his blog on the CSPA website:
Since the Delta Stewardship Council must find that WaterFix is consistent with the Delta Plan before DWR can begin construction of WaterFix facilities, “It now appears that there is almost no chance that Delta tunnels will be approved and begin construction before Governor Brown leaves office in January 2019,” said Shutes.
CSPA is part of Appellant Group 3 of the nine appellant groups, whose appeal was filed by Bob Wright with Friends of the River.
For the Certification, the appeals, and the voluminous 30,000+ document record for the DCS’s October hearing, see
Access the Staff Draft Determination Regarding Appeals of Certification of Consistency for California WaterFix at: http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/docs/staff-draft-determination-regarding-appeals-certification-consistency-california-department
The nine groups appealing the DWR certification are:(1) the North Coast Rivers Alliance, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association and Winnemem Wintu Tribe;(2) Save the California Delta Alliance;(3) Friends of the River, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network, Planning and Conservation League, AquAlliance, Environmental Water Caucus, Sierra Club California and Restore the Delta;(4) North Delta Cares Action Committee;(5) City of Stockton;(6) Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District;(7) San Joaquin County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, Yolo County and Local Agencies of the North Delta;(8) Central Delta Water Agency and South Delta Water Agency; and(9) County of Sacramento and Sacramento County Water Agency.
THE HEART CAN CONTINUE to beat for days, even weeks or more, after an animal has died. The French Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel showed that a chick’s heart tissue, cultured on a medium of blood plasma and water, will pulsate for months and can remain alive for more than 20 years, much longer than the normal life span of its host. If the heart is the last major organ to stop working, it is also the first to develop—starting to beat, in humans, approximately three weeks into fetal life, even before there is blood to pump. From birth until death, it beats nearly 3 billion times. The amount of work it performs is mind-boggling. Each heartbeat generates enough force to circulate blood through approximately 100,000 miles of vessels. The amount of blood that passes through an average adult heart in a week could fill a backyard swimming pool.
—Adapted from Heart: A History, by Sandeep Jauhar, published by FSG
ELK’S 20TH ANNUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR
Next Saturday December 1st from 10am to 4pm Elk is the place to be. Join us for The Greenwood Community Church’s annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the Community Center. There will be beautiful hand crafted gifts and yummy holiday treats for you and everyone on your list. Lunch will be available so make a day of it.
For information call 248-917-3369Or email Mary OBrien firstname.lastname@example.org
I’M BOYCOTTING THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, AND HERE’S WHY
by Marcos Breton
Charles B. Johnson, principal owner of the San Francisco Giants, is free to support financially the racist people or causes of his choice. And as someone who has followed the Giants and dumped a considerable amount of money on Giants tickets and merchandise for more than 40 years, I am free to divert my discretionary income elsewhere as long as Mr. Johnson is on the scene.
That’s how America works. That is how business works. I am hereby financially boycotting the team of my youth. But Johnson is an enabler of a bigot who has espoused support for voter suppression. He has given his money to a candidate who makes jokes about public lynchings, and I can’t support that.
Public election filings revealed recently that Johnson – the 85-year-old billionaire businessman – is financially supporting Cindy Hyde-Smith, a controversial U.S. Senator from Mississippi. In her campaign for the final undecided U.S. Senate seat, which has a runoff election Tuesday, she has been generating headlines for using public hanging metaphors. That’s not funny anywhere, but it’s particularly outrageous in Mississippi – the cradle of violence against black people.
On Nov. 11, a video of Hyde-Smith surfaced in which she expressed her fondness for a local rancher by saying, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be there in the front row.”
Hyde-Smith has also posed for photographs while wearing a replica of a hat worn by Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.
Her affinity for the shameful legacy of Jim Crow is so repulsive that companies such as Walmart, Pfizer, AT&T and Union Pacific – not exactly paragons of liberalism – have asked Hyde-Smith for their campaign contribution money back.
Which bring us back to Johnson. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Johnson and his wife Ann each contributed the maximum allowable federal contribution of $2,700 to Hyde-Smith.
Why should Giants fans – or anyone – care about how Johnson spends his money? Isn’t he free to contribute to any political campaign he likes? The answer to the second question is easy – yes, Johnson is free to contribute to any political candidate he likes. He enjoys the constitutional right to support Hyde-Smith or anyone else.
But Johnson does not enjoy a constitutional right of owning a major league baseball team that is free from the consequences of his political affiliations. Baseball is a business supported by discretionary income. People can choose to spend money on the Giants or to withhold their money from the Giants for whatever reason.
Here is mine: Ideas and attitudes in politics that were once condemned are now mainstream and acceptable: Voter suppression. Praise for white nationalists. Tacit acceptance of racist people, racist ideas, racist dog whistles.
We are either against these things, or we support them with our votes or, like Johnson, with our money. Or we just look the other way and make excuses or hollow rationalizations for tolerating what should be intolerable.
But I’m done with the arguments that what Hyde-Smith stands for – or what President Donald Trump stands for – is normal or common to politics. I’ve had it with “both sides are bad” false equivalencies when shameful comments like Hyde-Smith’s surface.
But more than anything else, I’ve had it with those who try to change the subject when they can’t handle looking in mirror. Sometimes this impulse comes in the form of a question: “Are you saying all white people are racist?”
No, I’m not. But I’m saying if you don’t object to bigotry, then you support it. If you say that Johnson is a little known rich guy who happens to own the biggest piece of the Giants – and that has nothing to do with you – then you support whom he supports.
Throughout our history, the unacceptable has flourished when good people found it acceptable.
You can’t say that you don’t choose a side because denial aids and comforts the unacceptable.
So here is the factual, unvarnished record on Hyde-Smith: Trump is a big supporter. Hyde-Smith tried to pull a Trump ploy after her lynching comment went viral by attacking her opponent, former US Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, instead of coming correct and owning what she said.
But then again, she couldn’t really come correct because what she said is part of her appeal to some Mississippi voters. Just as Trump always fires up his base by targeting dark skinned people, Hyde-Smith is not going to repudiate her lynching joke because she knows some people voting for her like that sort of thing.
She has been talking this junk for years. When she first was elected to the Mississippi state legislature more than a decade ago, she proposed naming part of the state highway after Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. She has spent her career praising and attempting to memorialize Mississippi’s Confederate roots.
“She was caught on video saying she would be fine with suppressing votes for college students,” wrote the Washington Post. She later said she was joking, just as Trump has followed unacceptable comments by saying he was joking. Meanwhile, concerns about voter suppression in Mississippi’s black communities – as in those of neighboring Georgia – are real and no laughing matter. Black folks have had to stand in lines for hours to vote, or their names have been disproportionately removed from voting rolls. This is 2018, more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War.
Are you OK with this? Johnson obviously is and here is what makes it even worse:
Johnson and his wife made the Hyde-Smith contribution nine days after the “public hanging” comment surfaced, according to the Chronicle.
Well, that says a lot. This comes after Johnson donated $1,000 last month to political action committee that made racist robocalls in Arkansas.
I don’t really know what is in Johnson’s mind or heart, I only know what he has done. And what he has not undone. Those actions have consequences. I’m not going to add to his riches, even indirectly, by supporting the Giants with my money so he can turn around and support racists or racist causes. The Giants are wonderful organization that has created at AT&T Park one of the best fan experiences anywhere. They have supported AIDS research for years. They raise money for many wonderful charitable causes.
But they do so by being a financially powerful organization and Johnson’s money is a big part of the equation. You can try to compartmentalize that all you want, but that’s what denial does– it paves the way for acceptance of the unacceptable.
I can’t do that, so I’m not spending my money on the Giants as long as Johnson and his odious political leanings are part of the picture. I love the Giants but not enough to go along with people who support hateful ideas that are suddenly resurgent because we are allowing them to be.
Count me out.
(The Sacramento Bee)
LESSONS FROM THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES
by George Wuerthner
The recent wildfires in California make me feel even more worried about the fate of anyone whose homes are built in the woods. California has experienced nine of the largest fires in its history in the past two decades, but large fires have occurred in many other western states during the same period.
What is going on? Are there too many dense forests due to fire “suppression” as some like President Trump suggest? Or is something else going on? Keep in mind more than half of all the acreage burned in the West has occurred in non-forest vegetation like chaparral, sagebrush, and grasslands.
Therefore, it’s questionable to suggest if we only thinned the forest we would see fewer large fires.
Furthermore, under extreme fire in extreme weather, you cannot stop a wildfire. There is much anecdotal and scientific evidence for this. The most severe fires occur in previously logged forests.
For instance, the Camp Fire which destroyed the town of Paradise began in an area which had burned a mere ten years before, and was salvage logged.
What drives massive wildfire is drought (California is in the midst of a thousand-year drought), high temperatures (CA had the warmest summer in 127 years which of course dries out all vegetation), low humidity (at the time of ignition there was extremely low humidity of less than 5 percent), and finally the most significant factor in all large fires is wind.
The wind was pushing the wildfire at a rate of up to 1 football field a second! (200 mph.) Indeed, within 12 hours, the fire traveled 17 miles and had burned 55,000 acres!
Anyone who believes that thinning the forest or prescribed burns would stop a blaze under these conditions is sadly misinformed.
If you see photos of Paradise, one notes that there are many green trees, indicating that the actual wildfire did not enter much of the town. What burned the city down were embers blown on to flammable surfaces of which there were far too many in Paradise. Burning homes put out much higher heat and embers than a forest blaze. With propane tanks and other burnable materials, Paradise burned down house by house in a domino pattern.
What’s going on here? Well first, we are building communities in the fire plain, and like the floodplain of a river, sooner or later, homes will burn.
But the bigger factor as the above statistics about drought, temperature, wind, and so forth reveal is a strong climate/weather signal. With the warming of the Arctic, there is a weaker temperature gradient between the pole and equator. This temperature change causes the Jet Stream to weaken and wobble more resulting in the near rainless fall experienced in California, and a longer “fire season.”
Some suggest this is the “new normal.” It’s the new “Abnormal” because it is entirely due to human burning of fossil fuels and CO2 admission into the atmosphere.
Extreme weather means extreme fire behavior. The idea that we can influence fires by logging the forest is delusional. Beyond the fact that thinning and even prescribed burning can often increase flashy fuels like grass and shrubs that rapidly grow back on such sites, there is the probability factor. Studies have demonstrated the odds of a fire encounter a treated forest stand in the time when it “might” provide some benefits is extremely small-about 1-2%. And the chance that a fire burning under extreme fire weather will encounter a treated stand is many times smaller—well below 0.1%.
The only strategy that has been shown to work most of the time is the reduction of the flammability of homes and community. But these measures must be mandatory. If you put a metal roof on your home or clean needles from your gutter, but your neighbor does not. If the neighbor’s house ignites, your house may still burn.
In the long run, the only measures that will successfully change the “abnormal” conditions are for society to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
Without such changes, we will see many more Paradise tragedies.
YOU CAN WALK where things are predictable, or you can enter the wilderness. Without the wilderness, there can be neither reverence nor revelation.
— Lawrence Kushner
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE JULIAN ASSANGE CASE
"If you hate Assange because of his role in the 2016 race, please take a deep breath and consider what a criminal charge that does not involve the 2016 election might mean. An Assange prosecution could give the Trump presidency broad new powers to put Trump’s media “enemies” in jail, instead of just yanking a credential or two. The Jim Acosta business is a minor flap in comparison. Although Assange may not be a traditional journalist in terms of motive, what he does is essentially indistinguishable from what news agencies do, and what happens to him will profoundly impact journalism."
HOW ABOUT LEVEL ONE?
I would like to ask you to continue my complimentary subscription to the AVA until at least the mid-December of 2019 which is my currently projected release date. I've been transferred to Pelican Bay and when I first arrived they put me on the level 2 yard and there was somebody there receiving your paper but now they moved me to level 1 and nobody there gets the AVA. Several of us here from are from southern Humboldt and being from Mendocino County originally I would be very grateful to stay connected with local current events and politics, etc. I give you my word that I will pay for the subscription as soon as I can.
LAKE COUNTY SKIN SOLIDARITY
To all my solid loved ones locked up for these holidays I would like to wish you all Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas and happy new year. I send the utmost love and respect to you and your families.
A little information on me. I'm still in the Lake County jail D-pod with an update around the middle of next year depending on milestones and if I'm granted mandatory ankle monitor. Over the past couple of years I spent programming, studying, working out and keeping D-Pod solid for us white men. It's been a rough road mentally because of being caged up in this room. But like uncle Dave Lowe says, "Keep smiling."
I would like to shout out to a few readers of the AVA, Trevor Jackson: I love you brother. Troy Woods, hopefully you are doing well. Ben Abla, you're my best friend, I love hearing from you and your mom. You are almost out. February is right around the corner. Jessica Norton: I love you little sis, keep your head high and "keep smiling." Will Boyce: thanks for the information on everything, love your life brother. Jason Pratt, A’ho, a’ho, a’ho, miss you. To all the skin brothers I send mine. Anyone else I'm leaving out, happy holidays.
If any of you want to correspond: Lake County Jail won't let mail in from other jails so use PO Box 70 in Redwood Valley 95470. That's all for now. Spend your time wisely. Learn something. Plan for the future. Set goals and keep smiling.
Love and respect,
FOUND OBJECT [you provide the caption]