MCT: Saturday, December 22, 2018

APOLOGIES FOR THE TECH DIFFICULTIES we've been having. It's been a strange confluence of different things all going wrong at the same time, but we think/hope the worst is behind us now.

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MSP REPORTS: "YES, THE NAVARRO RIVER ‘SACRED COW’ SANDBAR IS IN PLACE FRIDAY 2:00 PM

But it looks “weak” - big waves/tides could add sand to fortify it though. A little Friday afternoon tour to check the Navarro River level.

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DA DAVID EYSTER WRITES: To clarify the story on defendant Kirk published by the Willits News (and republished by tthe AVA), the defendant WAS sentenced to 17 years in state prison. That 17-years sentence was pronounced by Judge Behnke but execution of same was suspended pending the defendant’s successful completion of five years of supervised probation (no early termination). 

In addition to having to spend one year in the county jail, the defendant is also required to enroll in and complete an out-of-county fire starters’ rehabilitation and counseling program.

The judge was very clear in communicating with the defendant — one violation of probation will result in the stay of execution of the 17 years being lifted and off to state prison Kirk will go. 

Defendant Kirk is 18 years old with no prior criminal record. In this day and age of voters bypassing the Legislature by passing laws via the ballot to expedite the release of state prison inmates (see Proposition 57 (Kirk’s arson convictions are considered non-violent under Prop 57)), the sentence imposed was the best outcome possible and an outcome most protective of public safety for the longer term.

DA David Eyster

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FREE DAY AT HENDY

On the Second Sunday of every month in 2019, the Hendy Woods Community is covering the Hendy Woods State Park’s Day Use fee ($8) for local residents from the following communities: Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche and Elk - Know your zip code. Enjoy a free visit to the park on us and stroll the old growth redwood groves and beautiful meadows, hike the trails, and unwind along the river! Note: I was only able to set 6 dates for this event but it is a YEAR long event, i.e. every 2nd Sunday at least through 2019. Want to join our great team and support your wonderful park? We are always looking for motivated Volunteers to staff the Hendy Woods Visitor Center, remove invasive plant species and lead forest walks! 

Interested? Contact: Nancy - NancyLIppolito@gmail.com

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UKIAH VALLEY SANITATION DISTRICT STILL PAYING LAW FIRM AT LEAST $50,000 A MONTH

City, district still calculating ESSUs

by Justine Frederiksen

Though a lawsuit the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District filed against the city of Ukiah was settled months ago, the district is still paying the law firm of Duncan James at least $50,000 a month, fees that represent at least 60 percent of its monthly expenses.

“In October, we paid the Duncan James law firm $68,000 in attorney’s fees, which was 61 percent of our monthly expenses, and in November it was 64 percent of our expenses at $50,000,” said Julie Bawcom, a member of the UVSD board of directors, after asking that the expense reports be pulled from the consent calendar for discussion at the board’s Dec. 12 meeting. “I’m wondering why the majority of expenses continue to be legal fees?”

“I can tell you that since the operating agreement has been signed, there has been a tremendous amount of work going on with the city,” said James, referring to a new participation agreement the city and district signed in regard to the Ukiah Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant, which both agencies use to serve their sewer customers.

“The agreement itself is very excellent for both parties, but the implementation is very difficult because throughout the litigation there were significant issues regarding the (Equivalent Sewer Service Units), and we have to go through and recalculate everything.”

“But I don’t understand why we need to have an attorney present for those discussions? The city doesn’t have their attorney calculating ESSUs, it’s an engineer,” said Bawcom, to which James replied, “City attorney David Rapport is sitting at the table with me the entire time.”

“The basis of the lawsuit is the ESSUs, so I kind of feel like it is important to have (an attorney) involved until this is resolved,” said UVSD board member Ernie Wipf. “And we’re pretty darn close.”

“My understanding is the operating agreement should stand on its own, so that anyone should be able to interpret it,” Bawcom said, to which Wipf added, “It’s not working out that way.”

“I need our attorney there (for the discussions),” said UVSD Chairwoman Theresa McNerlin. “Because the city’s attorney is trying to interpret the agreement a certain way, or wanting to inject something that’s not in the agreement, and it’s our attorney who needs to point out that that’s not in the agreement.”

“It’s just very expensive,” said Bawcom, to which Wipf added, “Unfortunately, those agreements aren’t falling into place easily. There’s different opinions.”

“We’re also setting precedent with how we’re going to move forward with our budgets this year, so it’s a little rocky,” McNerlin added. “Hopefully next year will be a lot easier. I’m just thankful we have the attorneys we have right now, because I can’t imagine doing it without them.”

When asked how much money the city was paying its attorney for “discussions related to the implementation of the new participation agreement and sewer billing (issues like ESSUs),” Finance Director Dan Buffalo said that for October the city was billed $2,598, and for November it was billed $6,657 by Rapport for those activities.

Also at the meeting, Bawcom asked Mendocino County Counsel Katharine “Kit” Elliott to address the board, after explaining that in the past the district was represented by the county’s counsel, and that she hoped the district would consider going back to being represented by that team, “because they are half the price, sometimes even less than half the price. I think we need to start tightening our belt.”

“They can have a few minutes,” McNerlin said. “But in the future I will need more than a few minutes; I will need a full presentation before I bring anything before this board.”

Also at the Dec. 12 meeting, Bawcom suggested that the board consider her nomination of Vice-Chair Andrea Reed as chair, but before she could offer her nomination, Wipf moved that the board vote to keep McNerlin as chair, and board member Ken Marshall seconded the motion.

”I would love to pass the torch on, I really would, but I feel like I really need to serve one more year,” said McNerlin. “I used to feel like when we settled the lawsuit, there would be a sigh of relief and I could pass this on, but there has been no sigh of relief. The new participation agreement is not going smoothly at all, and it does take a lot of time. I’ll get a call that says ‘you need to meet with the city at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning,’ and I can do that, because I’m not working another job right now.”

“This is the first I’m hearing that things aren’t going smoothly and you’re in all these meetings, but we’re only meeting once a month,” said Reed. “Are you making decisions without us?”

“No, these are meetings with the district manager, and they are all in his reports,” said McNerlin, and Reed suggested that the board “go back to meeting more often so we can hear about what’s going on?”

When McNerlin asked for public comment, Ukiah Mayor Maureen Mulheren said, “I appreciate that you have a lot of knowledge, but I think having a fresh face and a new approach at the meetings might be really helpful. I appreciate that it’s been a lot of hard work, but I don’t think that any of these people elected to the board were not aware that it might be a lot of work, and weren’t prepared for that.”

The board then voted 3-2 to retain McNerlin as chair, with Reed and Bawcom voting “no.” McNerlin then nominated Wipf to be vice-chair, describing him as having an “intimate knowledge of the sewer system that has been invaluable, and I really think he’s doing all the work anyway.”

“If Ernie is already giving his expertise without being vice-chair and he doesn’t really have time to be vice-chair, let’s leave it the way it is,” said Bawcom, to which McNerlin responded by telling Wipf, “Honestly, it will be no more time than you’re already spending.”

The board then voted 4-1 to have Wipf be vice-chair with only Reed voting “no.”

The UVSD will hold a special meeting at 10:30 a.m. today at its office at 151 Laws Ave. with only one item on the agenda: a closed session to discuss employment of a district manager.

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“Rather than … talking about putting up a fence, why don’t we work out some recognition of our mutual problems and make it possible for them to come here legally, with a work permit, and then while they are working and earning here, they pay taxes here? And when they want to go back, they can go back, and they can cross. And open the border both ways, by understanding their problems — this is the safety valve right now they have with that unemployment.”

— Ronald Reagan

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ROHNERT PARK POLICE SUED BY ANOTHER HIGHWAY 101 DRIVER ALLEGING OFFICERS STOLE HIS MARIJUANA

by Julie Johnson

A second Highway 101 driver has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department alleging its officers violated his rights when they pulled him over in 2016 near the Mendocino County line and took a haul of marijuana worth more than $65,000 he was delivering to a dispensary.

Hue Freeman, 61, a longtime Mendocino County dispensary owner and cannabis farmer, said he believes the department rewarded its officers for traveling far outside city limits to seize marijuana on the highway and disregarded state laws allowing medical marijuana growers to conduct business.

In his 11-page complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Freeman accused Rohnert Park Sgt. Brendon Jacy Tatum, who resigned in June, and Officer Joseph Huffaker of pulling him over without legal justification. The suit also alleges the officers disregarded paperwork and statements from an attorney and dispensary manager proving he was abiding by state medical marijuana laws.

Freeman said he filed the lawsuit because he believes his case represents a widespread practice by Rohnert Park officers wrongly taking marijuana or cash in highway stops far outside city limits.

A Press Democrat investigation found the city took an aggressive stance toward seizing cash and valuables from people suspected of committing crimes through a procedure called asset forfeiture. These missions brought in about $2.4 million since 2014, far outpacing larger law enforcement agencies in Sonoma County. Rohnert Park keeps a portion of the money and the rest is distributed to the District Attorney’s Office and other state agencies.

“The city of the Rohnert Park was using us as a cash register, exhibited by the fact they were driving 30 to 40 miles north in order to conduct their business,” Freeman said. “It was clear to me they weren’t handling our confiscations properly.”

Freeman’s lawsuit follows another federal civil rights claim filed last month by a Texas man who also said Rohnert Park and its officers violated his rights during and after a 2017 traffic stop near the Mendocino-Sonoma county line when unidentified officers seized three pounds of marijuana.

The plaintiff, Ezekial Flatten, a former school district police officer from San Antonio, said he acquired the cannabis lawfully with a medical marijuana recommendation from a Humboldt County farmer. He said the officers took his marijuana and abruptly left without giving him a citation or properly identifying themselves.

The lawsuits come amid a shakeup within the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department — a combined police and fire agency — that began in June with the departure of Tatum, its top drug seizure officer. Tatum and Huffaker had been placed on administrative leave in April while the city investigated allegations made public by Flatten in the media. Huffaker remains an employee, but city officials declined to say whether he had returned to active duty or discuss the status of the internal investigation.

Changes in the department continued this summer as the city’s longtime Public Safety Director Brian Masterson announced he would retire in July at a time when the city was months into its investigation into Tatum and Huffaker.

The city also hired an outside auditor to review its drug seizure program, evidence booking procedures and other department practices. The review is still underway, and has already led to changes to evidence booking procedures.

Assistant City Manager Don Schwartz said the city would review Freeman’s complaint, although he added the city generally does not comment on ongoing litigation.

Records show Rohnert Park kept about $1.2 million of cash seized in highway stops and other law enforcement cases between 2016 and 2017. The program has bolstered the city’s budget and drawn sharp criticism from local defense attorneys and cannabis industry players who question the lawfulness of the missions.

Freeman’s attorney, Steve Gallenson, said his client’s case is a clear example of condoned overreach. He said Rohnert Park rewarded its officers for getting “as many forfeitures as they could without regard to citizens’ constitutional rights.”

“It was lawful for him to grow marijuana. It was lawful for him to distribute it to dispensary and he had all the paperwork to show that,” Gallenson said. “But Tatum and Huffaker didn’t care.”

Freeman’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It names as defendants the city, Masterson, Huffaker, Tatum and Sgt. David Sutter, who was not involved in the traffic stop but approved the police report.

Freeman was driving south about 1:40 p.m. Dec. 29, 2016 in Cloverdale with the cannabis “appropriately packaged, sealed and stored in the trunk,” the court filings say. Tatum and Huffaker were in a patrol car heading north and made an abrupt U-turn, crossing a wide grassy median and driving behind Freeman.

Huffaker would later write in his report that he observed Freeman’s vehicle tires touch the fog line, and would later list on a police report that he detained Freeman because he failed to maintain the lane, a traffic infraction.

Along the roadside, the officers immediately began asking Freeman if he had marijuana in the car, Freeman said.

He showed them paperwork demonstrating “the marijuana was legally cultivated and possessed,” and included information about where it was grown and the Sherman Oaks dispensary, Higher Path, where it was destined for delivery, according to the filing. Huffaker demanded Freeman show documents “allowing marijuana transportation,” a type of document that didn’t exist and wasn’t required under state laws at the time, according to the complaint.

During the roadside stop, Freeman put police on the phone with both a Higher Path manager and his lawyer, Hannah Nelson, who both confirmed he was a lawful cultivator and a “designated provider” expected to deliver the marijuana to the dispensary.

The complaint alleges the officers “acted intentionally and with reckless disregard for the truth” and seized the marijuana, giving Freeman a citation for unlawful possession. They provided no documentation confirming the amount of cannabis taken from Freeman’s vehicle, he said.

Five days later, a Sonoma County judge signed a destruction order for the cannabis requested by Rohnert Park, according to District Attorney officials, who reviewed the case documents earlier this year in response to a Press Democrat query.

It would take another four weeks before Rohnert Park police filed a report about the traffic stop and citation with prosecutors requesting charges.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office declined to charge Freeman with a crime “in the interest of justice” after determining he appeared to be following medical marijuana rules, a District Attorney official said.

In his civil rights complaint, Freeman said he believes the department conducted an internal investigation into his 2016 traffic stop but that none of the officers were counseled or disciplined as a result.

The lawsuit said Masterson and the city “created an environment that incentivized officers to make as many detentions and seizures of cash and marijuana as possible without any regard for the constitutional rights of individuals.”

Freeman also claims in the complaint that the officers stopped him “based on information they had received from an unnamed source, and that the information was deliberately withheld from the Incident Report,” which was written by Huffaker and approved by Sutter.

Freeman filed a claim with the city in June 2017, requesting Rohnert Park compensate him for the financial loss, which the city promptly rejected. Freeman said the marijuana was worth more than $65,000.

“Why is a Rohnert Park cop near the Mendocino border, stopping somebody for a traffic infraction on the other side of the freeway, a car heading in the opposite direction?” Gallenson said. “To me that’s ridiculous.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Dec. 21, 2018

GABRIEL ALVAREZ, Ukiah. No license.

AARON ARLICH, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOELLE BURGESS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

SERENA CARR, Ukiah. DUI, vandalism.

WALTER CREED JR., Ukiah. Oral copulation with person under 14, possession of obscene matter of minor in sexual act, proceedings. 

MAKAYLA CROSS-STURGES, Ukiah. Controlled substance, pot for sale, conspiracy, probation revocation.

GRADY GRAHAM, Ukiah. Probation violation.

JESSICA GRAHAM, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

MALORIE LONG, Calpella. Probation revocation.

EDWARD MALONE, Landers/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.

MICHAEL MCRAE II, Willits. DUI with bodily injury.

JASON MILLER, Fort Bragg. County parole violation, failure to appear.

AARON NORBURY, Ukiah. DUI.

PHILIP PETERSON, Lakeport/Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, suspended license (for DUI), false personation of another, failure to appear.

LUIS PINEDA, Fort Bragg. Killing, maiming or abusing animals, burglary tools, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, failure to appear, probation revocation.

CHARLES RAWLS, Ukiah. Petty theft/shoplifting, paraphernalia.

CHERRI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.

ERICK RODRIGUEZ-TELLEZ, Sonoma/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

RAMON SANTACRUZ, Ukiah. DUI with bodily injury.

MICHAEL SPRADLIN, Albion. Burglary, stolen property, failure to appear, probation revocation.

KYLE STARK, Ukiah. DUI, hit&run with property damage, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, controlled substance, evasion, probation revocation.

EDWARD STEELE JR, Ukiah. Stolen property.

DARYL STILES, Corning/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.

FRANK VIVERO, Glenhaven/Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.

LEONARD WILLIAMS SR., Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

SCOTTY WILLIS, Ukiah. Battery on emergency responder.

ESCO WRIGHT, Houston, Texas/Ukiah. DUI.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.

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MLK DAY TODAY: THE LEGACY OF THE MAN & THE MYTH

by Jonah Raskin

Long gone are the days when white American radicals turned their collective backs on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), and embraced Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. In those heady days during the late 1960s, King sounded, at least to young protesters against the War in Vietnam, like a reformer who belonged to the church, not a revolutionary from “the hood.” Indeed, King was a Baptist preacher and a civil rights activist who insisted on the power of love— he meant agape not eros— and who was not a spokesman for Black Power, guerrilla warfare or violent revolution, though he wanted total “war” through non-violent means to achieve social and economic equality.

“The American racial revolution,” he wrote in 1967—a year before he died—“has been a revolution to ‘get in’ rather than to overthrow. We want a share in the American economy.”

This January, when we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—which was first observed in 1986—we might look back at the man who worried about language and about figures of speech as much as he worried about moral issues, and who insisted “a leader has to be concerned with the problems of semantics.”

In the preface to a recent book titled To Shape a New World, that offers fifteen essays about King, the editors, Tommie Shelby and Brandon Terry, write that MLK has been both ritually celebrated and intellectualized marginalized and that his “legacy has suffered collateral damage.” They call, not for “hagiography,” but for critical thinking and they remind us that “patriarchy and sexism” didn’t make his list of “evils.” It’s also worth saying that King’s “legacy” will be decided not only in the halls of academia but in the streets and wherever humans the world over confront plutocrats and the profit motive and aim to escape from the spiritual wasteland of the twenty-first century.

King’s idea about leadership and problems of semantics came to him soon after he met with Stokely Carmichael and his comrades in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), They rubbed him the wrong way, but they also prompted him to revaluate his ideas and his values and to shift his beliefs. Indeed, while he rejected “Black Power” as a slogan and as a strategy, he recognized that “Negroes”—as he called them—would have to have political clout or they would remain disenfranchised, trapped in poverty and excluded from the American Dream.

In 1967, in an essay titled “Black Power” which is included in his book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? King wrote that “one of the great problems that the Negro confronts is his lack of power.” A year later in a speech entitled “All Labor Has Dignity,” which he delivered to union workers in Memphis, Tennessee, he said, unequivocally, “We need power.” He meant power in all its manifestations: economic, political, social and cultural.

Also, while he made fun of Franz Fanon as “a black psychiatrist from Martinique” who had screwy ideas about violence and liberation, he understood that Negroes would have to liberate themselves by reaching down into the “inner depths” of their being and sign “with the pen and ink of assertive selfhood his own emancipation proclamation.” King called violence “the twin of materialism” and wanted no part of either one.

Had he lived he might have moved closer to the Black Power movement and to the Black Panthers. After all, he was deeply moved by the generation of young black men who didn’t want to fight and die in Vietnam and who often refused to join the U.S. military. In his April 4, 1967 speech in which he denounced his own government “as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” he explained that he had walked and talked with “angry young men” who asked him, “What about Vietnam?”

He went on to say, “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettoes,” without first raising a voice against the war in Vietnam which he saw as a war that was “the enemy of the poor.” King might have become even more critical of the War in Vietnam—it lasted seven years after his death—and more boisterous in his denunciations of “the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism.” But he was also a kind of prisoner of the civil rights movement, which he had led so well and for so long, from Montgomery to Birmingham to Selma. He had helped to orchestrate the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and to bring about the end of legal segregation in the South. He was rightfully proud of the achievements of the movement for integration, but he also exaggerated victories and underestimated the power of racists who wanted to disenfranchise blacks by any means necessary, including redistricting, intimidation and outright theft of the right to vote.

In The Trumpet of Conscience (1968), King noted that we “we totally disrupted the system, the lifestyle of Birmingham, and then of Selma,” and broke the “coalition” of “unprogressive Northerners” and “representatives of the rural South.” Richard Nixon would bring that coalition back in his so-called “Southern strategy” and so would successive Republican candidates for the presidency, from Reagan to Bush to Trump. The system King claimed to have broken seems to be alive in Jeff Sessions Alabama today, though it might not be well.

At the end of his life, King recognized that much remained to be done. “What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t earn enough money to buy a hamburger and a cup of coffee?” he asked. “What does it profit one to be able to attend an integrated school when he doesn’t earn enough money to buy his children school clothes?” But he seemed to be unsure how to advance the cause and what role if any he had to play.

“I don’t know what will happen now,” he said in a speech he delivered on April 3, 1968. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” He sounded like a man who was bowing out of the struggle. “It doesn’t matter with me now,” he said in that same speech. “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you.” Two months earlier in a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, he told the congregation, “I don’t want a long funeral…tell them not to mention I have a Nobel Peace Prize…I’d like somebody to say that…Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.” How sad he sounds!

Before he was assassinated in Memphis in April 1968, he was caught up as much as ever before in the language of love. He held on to many of the concepts that no longer captured the imaginations of young blacks and young whites, who accepted the invitation that the Panthers offered to join them in the revolution.

In Soul on Ice (1968), Eldridge Cleaver wrote that “There is in America today a generation of young white youth that is truly worthy of a black mans respect, and this is a rare event in the foul annals of American history.” I was part of that generation. Like many others my age, I turned away from King and his dream and toward the Panthers, many of whom were assassinated. In December 1969, I protested the murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark of the Chicago Panthers and was arrested and beaten in jail. It was hard to rally behind King’s banner of “love” when police murdered young black men and when corporations urged consumers to love cars, burgers, sneakers and more.

In the late 1960s, while Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale wanted black youth and white youth to band together, King argued, as late as 1967, that, “What is most needed is a coalition of Negroes and liberal whites that will work to make both parties truly responsive to the needs of the poor.”

By 1968, he seemed to have given up on white liberals, but rather looked toward the black masses he called upon to boycott white-owned corporations. “We are asking you tonight not to buy Coca-Cola…not to buy Sealtest milk…not to buy…Wonder Bread,” he told workers in Memphis in April. He added, “Take your money out of the banks downtown.”

That notion of withdrawing funds from banks—(which he calls “downtown” and not “white”)—and boycotting big corporations, derived from Gandhi’s ideas about how to best win Indian independence from the British. In 1968, it wasn’t Gandhi who appealed to young African Americans and young whites, but rather Fanon, Che, Malcolm X and Mao.

“These are revolutionary times,” King observed in 1967, though he himself wasn’t exactly a revolutionary. After all, he argued that same year, that “The Negro must show that the white man has nothing to fear for the Negro is willing to forgive.” H. Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael wanted what they called the “white power structure” to fear Black Power. As far back as 1848, revolutionaries wanted the bourgeois to fear the “specter of revolution.”

In his 2015 anthology of King’s writings and speeches, entitled The Radical King, Professor Cornel West makes a case for King as a “revolutionary,” though he adds that he was also a “Christian.” West goes on to say that King was “a warrior for peace, a “democratic socialist” and a “spiritual warrior.” King resists easy labeling. Cleaver misjudged him when he wrote that he “turned tail” at Selma. For Cleaver, King was merely one of many heroes on a list that included Nkrumah, Robert Moses, Ho Chi Minh, W. E. B. Dubois and James Foreman.

Professor West admires King as deeply as he abhors Obama, whom he accuses of a “betrayal” of “everything” that King stood for. What he doesn’t say and that he might have said is that if it were not for Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta, there would have been no Obama in the White House. King paved the way for Barack. He might have seen Obama as a kind of turncoat, but he was too kind and too loving to denounced him. In January 2019, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I will remember King as a kind of utopian who wanted to create “the beloved community” and who realized the dangers that await movements for social change. “The postcolonial period is more difficult and precarious than the colonial struggle itself,” he wrote. Fifty years after his death, that observation is as insightful and as relevant as ever. In 1967, he noted that, “this may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.” Now, we are offered mankind’s last chance to choose between surviving on a planet that’s burning up or going down to destruction.

(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)

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A FRETFUL HOLIDAY

by James Kunstler

Many threads to tug on at the close of this tumultuous work-week before the supreme holiday of white privilege rolls through, all silver bells and hovering angels. It took hours of rumination and prayer to arrive at a coherent notion about the strange doings in Gen. Mike Flynn’s sentencing hearing, but here goes: Judge Emmet Sullivan sent Gen Flynn to the doghouse for three months to reconsider his guilty plea. The judge may believe that Gen. Flynn needs to contest the charge in open court, where all the Special Prosecutor’s janky evidence will be subject to discovery and review. Mr. Mueller tried to toss a wrecking bar into the proceedings the day before by pressing charges against two of Gen. Flynn’s colleagues in the Turkish lobbying gambit, which was meant to terrify Gen. Flynn as a hint that separate charges would be dumped on him if he doesn’t play ball. A lot can happen in three months, including the arrival of a new Attorney General, and we’ll leave it there for the moment.

The stopgap spending bill before congress — to avert a government shut-down — is based on the comical idea that the money is actually there to spend. Everyone with half a brain knows that it’s not money but “money,” a hypothetical abstraction composed of hopes and wishes. The USA is worse than broke. It’s down to liquidating its rehypothecated hypotheticals. After all, financialization added up to money with its value removed. The global credit markets seem to be sensing this as the tide of borrowings retreats, exposing all the wretched, slimy creatures wheezing in the exposed mudflats who have no idea how to service their old loans or generate credible new ones. But, no matter. We’ll continue pretending until the US$ flies up its own cloacal aperture and vanishes.

Contingent on that exercise is “money” for Mr. Trump’s promised-and-requested border wall. The wall is really a symbol for the nation’s unwillingness to set a firm policy on immigration. Half of the political spectrum refuses to even make a basic distinction between people who came here legally and those who snuck in and broke the law. They’ve super-glued themselves to that position not on any plausible principle, but because they’re desperate to corral Hispanic votes — and notice how eager they are to get non-citizens on the voting rolls. Their mouthpiece, The New York Times, even ran an op-ed today, None of Us Deserve Citizenship, (is that even grammatical?) arguing that we should let everybody and anybody into the country because of our longstanding wickedness.

The simple resolve to firmly and politely send interlopers back across the border would go a long way to providing border security, but we’ve allowed this process to be litigated into incoherence so that it is increasingly impossible to enforce the existing rules. Mr. Trump’s wall is an acknowledgement of that failure to agree on lawful action to defend the border. It evokes the works of past empires, like the wall built across Britain by the Roman emperor Hadrian to keep out the warlike, filthy, blue-faced Scots, or the Great Wall of China built to block marauding Mongols. Of course, these societies didn’t have closed circuit TV, drones, laser sensors, four-wheel-drive landcruisers, and night-vision goggles. I’m not persuaded that the US really requires Mr. Trump’s wall, but it does require a functioning consensus that national borders mean something, and the president’s argument is a lever to produce that consensus.

In the meantime, the condition of the US economy, which Mr. Trump has boasted is roaring on his account, wobbles badly. It has been based for two decades on a three-card-monte trade set-up in which China sends us amazingly cheap products and we send them IOUs (dollars, i.e. Federal Reserve promissory notes). It was not an arrangement bound to last. And it entailed a lot of mischief around the theft of complex intellectual property. The damage there appears to be already done. China may have enough computer mojo now to make all kinds of trouble in the world. Of course, China will have enough political and economic trouble when its Molto-Ponzi banking system flies apart, so I would not assume that they are capable of attaining the kind of world domination that scenario-gamers in the US Intel-and-Military offices dream up.

To me, these disturbances and machinations suggest the unravelling of the arrangements we’ve called “globalism.” That’s what we face most acutely in 2019, along with the fragile conditions in banking, markets, and currencies that can put the schnitz on supply lines as everybody and his uncle around the world fear that they will never get paid. It all makes for a suspenseful holiday. Bake as many cookies as you can while the fixings are still there and stuff a few in your ammunition box for the fretful days ahed.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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SHASTA DAM RAISE PROJECT 

To: Interested Parties:

Westlands Water District (District) is preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the Shasta Dam Raise Project (Project). Formerly known as the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation (SLWRI), the Project would increase the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet and expand capacity of Shasta Lake by up to 634,000 acre feet.

Consistent with CEQA, the District issued a Notice of Preparation to develop the EIR on November 30, 2018, initiating a 30-day public comment (PRC §21091). To review a copy of the Notice of Preparation, visit https://wwd.ca.gov/news-and-reports/environmental-docs/. The District is asking for comments from Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments; special interest groups; and the public to help identify issues and concerns associated with the potential effects of implementing the Project. The comment period for the Project was on or before 11:59 p.m., Friday, January 4, 2019, and has been extended to 11:59 p.m. Monday, January 14, 2019.

Written comments can be submitted via the following methods:

U.S. mail (postmarked by Jan. 14, 2019) or hand-delivery (delivered by 4 p.m. Jan. 14, 2019)

Shasta Dam Raise Project

c/o: Stantec

3301 C Street, Suite 1900

Sacramento, CA 95816

Email:/shastadameir@stantec.com 

(on or before 11:59 p.m. Jan. 14, 2019)

The SLWRI was led by the Mid-Pacific Region of the Bureau of Reclamation and assessed a range of water supply and environmental improvements that could be realized through changes at Shasta Dam. These studies were conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act, which culminated in transmittal of the SLWRI Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement to Congress in July 2015.

For more information on Project visit: wwd.ca.gov/news-and-reports/environmental-docs/

For more information on SLWRI visit: usbr.gov/mp/ncao/shasta-lake.html

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JAYE'S ART SHOW at Corner Gallery continuing until early Dec. 26; Nature's Dream CD there til then; 15% off art (not books or CD's) next few days!

Jaye's fantastic many-bodies-of-work art show continues at Corner Gallery (corner of Church and South State) until we take it down December 26th. If you haven't been or if you did not read the captions, especially for the 20 Politic-OH! works, check them out as the writing is compelling. Jaye's "Capture the Moon" book featuring Chase the Monkey is also for sale. For the remaining time the art is at Corner Gallery, it is 15% off (anything on wall or in racks except CD's and books). The "Nature's Dream" CD and "Of This Earth" CD are also at the gallery. Buying them there supports our local art gallery, but they can be previewed at CD Baby under Billtaylor4 (watch as there are other Bill Taylor's). We will also have them and books at the Farmers' Market at Clay and School from 9-noon or a bit after. Corner Gallery is open 11-5 Fri 21st, Sat 22nd, Monday 24th!, and we take the show down midday the 26th. Thanks for supporting the arts and happy holidays! 

Bill and Jaye 

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I’ve been out of the education system for a long time but I saw the beginnings of the degradation when I was finishing the elementary grades. About 25 years ago I was talking with a teacher in her 40s at a work-related function (she was the wife of one of our guys). She said that when she started teaching she’d have one or two problem kids in a class of thirty but now (25 years ago) she’d typically have a half-dozen out of control and it was all she could do to keep a lid on things. I’ll bet it’s even worse now. 

I think to some extent the classroom is a reflecting pool for society at large. Atrocious discipline? It starts at home. Having said that, it continues in the schools. What is it but a gross dereliction by the teaching profession and the edu-crat establishment as a whole when you have people in their 20s – college and university grads – working in head-office functions and they don’t know how to calculate percentages and cannot string together a few words into a coherent sentence? I saw it with my own eyes. It’s absurd. This isn’t just a result of gross negligence of the most shameful kind but a result of the gross indiscipline by all the actors in the educational process over many years. 

Or maybe they think that what they do doesn’t matter. If that’s the case then they should quit and hand the reins to people that think it DOES matter. 

Teachers, their unions, universities, colleges and their lecturers and professors can act high and mighty and judgmental but I judge by results. Their results are garbage. While elite American colleges spew out young adults steeped in the latest fads in political correctness, but who can’t calculate percentages and who don’t know their times tables, Chinese universities spew out grads steeped in science and engineering.

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This Flu Season, Consider Whiskey over Modern Medicine

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IT COULD HAPPEN HERE

An Iowa man accused of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old has been freed after a county attorney was arrested for being drunk in court.

Man accused of abusing a 13-year-old went free after the prosecutor came to court drunk

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HIT & RUN THEATER presents Will Durst January 25 & 26!

Hit and Run Theater presents famed political comic, Will Durst along with veteran improv act “Deb & Mike” on Friday and Saturday, January 25 & 26 at 7:30pm at the Matheson Performing Arts Center, at Mendocino High School, 45096 Cahto St., Mendocino, CA 95460. “Durst Case Scenario” features Will Durst, a comedian the New York Times calls “quite possibly the best political comic working today”. The show also includes famed improv double act “Deb & Mike”, comedy stalwarts who have been delighting audiences since the late 1970s. General Admission tickets will be $20. To reserve tickets or for more information, please call Doug Nunn at 937-0360 or write Doug at dnunn@mcn.org or on Facebook. 

The New York Times has called WILL DURST, "quite possibly the best political comedian working in the country today." He writes a nationally syndicated humor column and is a frequent contributor on CNN, MSNBC & Fox News, has performed for 3 presidents, a Mayor’s Convention and a Governors’ Conference. In 2016, “Elect to Laugh” ran for 41 weeks in San Francisco and his new one- man show “Durst Case Scenario,” is currently touring theaters across the country and beyond. He is also one of the titular characters in the documentary “3 Still Standing” which can be seen on Amazon Prime. His 800+ television appearances include: HBO, The Today Show, Letterman, Inside Politics, GMA, Jon Stewart Show, Showtime, Comedy Central, CBS Morning News and many more. Durst has told jokes in 16 countries, is author of 4 books, 5 CDs and has been fired by the San Francisco Examiner twice, PBS three times and he once ran for Mayor of San Francisco, spending $1200, pulling 2% of the vote, meaning on a dollar per vote basis, he is mayor of San Francisco. His heroes remain the same as when he was 12: Thomas Jefferson and Bugs Bunny. And despite blistering reproach he continues to thwart convention by squeezing ketchup onto his bratwurst. 

Called by some “the wildest and most creative comedy team ever to emerge from San Francisco”, Debi Durst & Michael Bossier (DEB & MIKE) have been regaling audiences with their wacky zany antics since the dawn of time. Forged in the crucible of the influential San Francisco comedy scene of the early 80s, the two improvisers extraordinaire, have been stalwart members if not founders of such comedy groups as The Committee, The Comedy Store Players, Femprov, The Comedy Underground, National Theater of the Deranged, The Dinosaurs of Improv and The Holy City Zoo Players. 

As a duo, the two have appeared on numerous television shows including “People are Talking”, “Evening at the Improv”, “Comedy on the Road”, and are in development for Disney’s “Pigs are People Too!” And individually, they have acted in movies such as “The Nightmare Before Christma’s, “James and the Giant Peach”, “Monkeybone” and “Harper Valley PTA”. These days when not traveling across the country hosting corporate humor seminars, they are active teaching, writing, acting and producing industrial films. 

Doug Nunn, dnunn@mcn.org

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A child taking an alligator ride in the 1920s.

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IF YOUR PARENTS NEVER HAD CHILDREN, the chances are, neither will you. 

— Dick Cavett

11 Responses to "MCT: Saturday, December 22, 2018"

  1. james marmon   December 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

    RE: SCOTTY WILLIS, CATCH OF THE DAY

    Poor Scotty Willis, he must really trust the Mental-cino helping community. They stoled his child, put his significant other, the mother of his child, in prison and now they charge him for struggling with a medical responder. He was probably worried about what they might have planned for his future.

    James Marmon MSW

    Reply
  2. George Hollister   December 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Kunstler: “Half of the political spectrum refuses to even make a basic distinction between people who came here legally and those who snuck in and broke the law.”

    Actually both political spectrums have this perspective to some extent or another, but in opposite ways. One wants all immigrants, the other wants none. There are also too many Democrats who want no immigrants, or at least no legal ones. The result is opposition to immigration reform is bi-partisan. If media was not so involved being a participant with the partisan fight they might notice.

    Reply
  3. Harvey Reading   December 22, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Online comment of the day:

    Recipe for fascism. Discipline is a clever word for slavery, especially when uttered by right-wing regressives.

    Reply
  4. michael turner   December 22, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    Please cite a specific quote from a politician who wants “all immigrants”, i.e., completely open borders.

    Reply
    • james marmon   December 22, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      Clinton admitted she’s for ‘open borders’ in paid, private speech:

      “Hillary Clinton in 2013 said she dreams of a “common market with open trade and open borders,” saying that economic opportunity in the U.S. would grow as a result.”

      https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/8/hillary-clinton-dreams-open-borders-leaked-speech-/

      Reply
      • Harvey Reading   December 22, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        Hillary Clinton is not a credible source, nor is the Washington Times. Shame on you, James.

        Reply
  5. Harvey Reading   December 22, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    I’d gladly trade our ruling class for immigrants, any day, on a 1,000 immigrants per member of the ruling class basis.

    Reply
  6. Dan Raymann   December 22, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    No AVA this morning made me realize who you guys replaced. I used to walk down my driveway to fetch the S.F.Chronicle , a quick glance at the green section and with a cup of coffee in hand to the good stuff.
    Charles McCabe and Herb Caen
    Mighty fine company your in. Congrats and keep it up.

    Reply
  7. Kathy   December 22, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    To be more precise… the (Ukiah Sanitation) district RATEPAYERS are still paying the law firm of Duncan James at least $50,000 a month, fees that represent at least 60 percent of its monthly expenses. This is a situation which could have been utterly avoided, but for the management ‘skills’ of former Ukiah Manager Jane Chambers. I wonder where SHE ended up? I pity that city!

    Reply
  8. james marmon   December 22, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    GREAT NEWS!

    I have two former client’s on today’s catch. One whose mother was killed while under Sheriff Allman’s care in jail after the girl’s father died, and another one whose brother was a member of the Mental’s “Jackson Five Crew”, and now counting years in prison while their father, Jim, now lives here in Clearlake so he could to get away from it all.

    James Marmon MSW
    Former Drug Court Counselor and Child Abuse Investigator
    Mental-cino

    Reply

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