- Abreu Appeal
- First Storm
- Homeless Reports
- Help Screech
- New Year
- Police Transparency/PG&E Woes
- Stoner Regret
- Murder Mountain
- Yesterday's Catch
- Toxic Water
- Tax Debate
- Tax History
- Corporate Royalty
- Divine Right
- Orange Plague
- Fossil Energy
- Best Assistant
- VA Billing
- Net Immigration
- Power Families
- Radical Today
- Lotta Lawyers
- Democratic Delegates
- Working Class
- Climate Conversation
- Unreal Time
UPDATE: Tai Abreu did not appear in Ten Mile Court on Monday morning. The hearing was scheduled instead for Ukiah. We are now trying to find out what happened.
TAI ABREU is scheduled to appear tomorrow morning, (Monday, January 7th) 9am, in Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg. Tai is appealing to Mendocino County for a sentence adjustment under the new amendments to the California Felony Murder laws. The old law got him sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after a farce of a one-day trial in Ukiah. Tai was born and raised in Fort Bragg. He's been in state prison for nearly 18 years. One of his co-defendants, Aaron Channel, was released from prison two years ago. The third co-defendant, August Stuckey, remains in prison. Tai’s sentence depends on his suitability for parole.
Here is the link for the whole story: theava.com/05/1221-perezcase.html
And here is a link to another shorter version (scroll down for the items on Tai Abreu): theava.com/04/0526-otr-tai-abreu.html
THE FIRST STORM OF THE NEW YEAR delivered 2.5 inches to Boonville, and 2.8 to Yorkville. "While most of today will be dry and pleasant," says the National Weather Service, "gusty winds and rain are expected from tonight through Wednesday as an active pattern continues. Dry conditions are expected Thursday, but active weather will return over the weekend and potentially continue into early next week."
MEANWHILE, there was no flooding of Highway 128, as the Navarro River breached its sandbar.
DAN YOUNG REPORTS ON THE HOMELESS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY AND NATIONWIDE
Please join us on KNYO at 107.7 FM from Cleone to Caspar and online at knyo.org or on your Tunein smartphone app today (Sunday Jan. 6) at Noon or on Wed. Jan 9 at Noon for the final installment of a series of reports from reporter Dan Young on the plight of the Homeless in Mendocino County and nationwide. These interviews are part of a series talking with homeless advocates from around the country. The first interview today is with Abre’ Conner, who is a Staff Attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. Reporter Dan Young discusses with Conner both state and national trends in homeless policy, along with discussing recent homeless policy initiatives in Mendocino County and the city of Fort Bragg. These interviews are available to download or listen to at any time at our podcast page at knyo.libsyn.com With natural disasters and financial collapse making housing a national problem now is the time to care, get informed, and get motivated to promote change.
Thank you Neighbors and Friends.
OWL NEEDS A RIDE HOME….
Woodlands Wildlife has a little screech owl in Sonoma (about 10 min off Hwy 101 south of Santa Rosa) who has recovered from his broken shoulder and needs a ride home to Little River. Bird will come in a secure box, must be in a car (not the back of a van or truck), no dogs in the car, must be picked up before 4 p.m. on a weekday and delivered here with no errands or stops between. Anyone coming back in this direction during the next week who would like to give him a lift, please E-MAIL me at firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com.
Last November this little fellow was hit by a car and was taken to Sonoma for surgery to repair a broken wing. He's made a good recovery, received physical therapy, and has been test-flown to make sure he can fly properly and catch his own food. We always try to release birds where they were found as they have a territory and probably a mate waiting for them.
POLICE UNION LOSES CASE TO WEAKEN NEW TRANSPARENCY LAW
by Jim Shields
In last week’s column on new laws taking effect in California on Jan. 1, I highlighted SB 1421, a so-called police transparency law that allows public access to police records in cases of force, as well as investigations that confirmed the lack of honesty in the work or sexual misconduct.
On Dec. 18, “the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association filed a petition requesting the California Supreme Court to rule that the bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September, applies only to records created after January 1, the bill’s effective date. Such a ruling would have undermined the intent and effectiveness of the new law by excluding from public disclosure decades of records related to police misconduct.
According to the First Amendment Coalition (FAC), which filed a motion opposing the union’s petition, the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 2, issued a one-sentence order, rejecting the union’s request.
FAC’s Executive Director David Snyder commented that the new law requires a wide range of records relating to police misconduct to be available to the public — a sweeping change in California law.
“This is a great result for transparency and for the public,” said Snyder. “We’re grateful the Supreme Court saw through the union’s Hail Mary effort to weaken this law, which will allow broad public access to police misconduct files.”
Joining FAC in the effort to oppose the union’s petition were the Los Angeles Times, KQED, and the California News Publishers Association.
PG&E LEGAL WOES
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that PG&E is facing mounting legal problems that could potentially include murder charges if it is found culpable for starting the deadly Camp Fire several months ago. Here’s the story.
PG&E acknowledged Monday that its possible role in Northern California’s recent wave of massive wildfires could create fresh legal problems for a company already on criminal probation following a natural gas pipeline disaster.
Responding to a federal judge’s order, PG&E’s lawyers submitted an extensive series of documents outlining its cooperation with state investigations into the Nov. 8 Camp Fire in Paradise — the deadliest in state history — as well as the series of deadly fires in California’s wine country in October 2017.
CalFire has already determined that PG&E’s power equipment was responsible for many of the wine country fires, and is investigating whether problems on a transmission tower caused the Camp Fire.
The federal judge overseeing the case involving a 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno recently ordered PG&E to explain whether PG&E’s actions leading up to the wildfires violated any laws- and violated the terms of its probation.
PG&E in 2016 was found guilty of six felony charges in that pipeline disaster, which killed eight people. Its sentence included five years of probation, during which it was supposed to refrain from committing any more crimes.
In its response, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. didn’t admit to breaking any laws but acknowledged said it would “implicate the requirements” of its probation if the utility company is found to have committed any crimes.
“If it were determined that a wildfire had been started by reckless operation or maintenance of PG&E power lines,” PG&E attorneys told the judge, “that would, if the specific circumstances gave rise to a violation of federal, state, or local statutes, implicate the requirements” of the probation judgment, “which provides that while on probation, PG&E shall not commit another Federal, State, or local crime.”
It remains unclear what additional potential penalties PG&E could face if it’s found criminally liable for the 2017 and 2018 fires. It’s already facing scores of lawsuits and likely billions of dollars in potential civil penalties from the fires, and the Public Utilities Commission is considering breaking up the utility.
In its filing Monday, the beleaguered utility also provided summaries of reports it’s delivered to state investigators on the causes of the Camp Fire and the 2017 wine country fires.
The utility explained that mechanical problems have been found on a transmission tower near where the fire is believed to have started, in a remote area of Butte County called Pulga. Bullet holes were found on a power pole several miles away, at a different site being investigated by CalFire. The company had previously disclosed those issues to state regulators.
PG&E pointed out, in fact, it was among the first to alert officials about the fire.
PG&E stressed that the exact cause of the Camp Fire remains unknown. “CalFire has not released its conclusions about the cause of the Camp Fire, although it has publicly identified two potential incident locations at which PG&E facilities are located,” the company’s lawyers wrote.
In a legal brief last week, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said PG&E could be charged with anything from murder down to a misdemeanor crime if the utility were determined to have caused fires through reckless operation or maintenance of its electrical grid system.
(Jim Shields is the MCO’s editor and publisher, and also manages the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
DOES MARIJUANA MAKE YOU STUPID?
by Larry Livermore
Full disclosure: I smoked marijuana, often on a daily basis, for 26 years, from 1967 to 1993. During the lean years of the mid-1980s, I grew the stuff to supplement my income, and sold a few pounds to the drug dealer who would later help write Proposition 215, the medical marijuana ballot measure that started California on the road to full legalization. And in 1968, my life was upended by an arrest that today might not be a big deal, but at the time had me facing a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Those are some of my credentials, in case you want to dismiss me as a know-nothing puritan ranting from the peanut gallery. And, of course, if you want to accuse me of being ignorant or stupid, bear in mind that it could very possibly be marijuana that made me that way.
I jest, but not completely. Whenever I mention my suspicion that marijuana impairs brain functions, it’s inevitable that someone will respond with “But so-and-so smokes constantly, and s/he is one of the most gifted musicians/artists/scientists/whatever alive.”
It’s hard to dispute that. I’d estimate between a quarter and a third of my considerably brighter than average friends are at least occasional dope smokers, yet some of them still manage to excel in their careers or to produce art and literature superior to anything I have accomplished. On the other hand, if you knocked 10 or 20 points off Albert Einstein’s IQ, he’d still be a really smart guy, even if his Theory of Relativity turned out to be slightly less on-point.
I’ve mused on the effects of marijuana on intelligence ever since, three or four years after I stopped using it, I noticed myself being able to think, speak, and write more articulately than I had during my drug-infused decades. The counterpoint to that, of course, is that when I first tried marijuana, and for a number of years afterward, I was convinced, with an almost-religious zeal, that getting high was the best thing that had ever happened to me, that it had put me in touch with a deeper understanding of the universe and turned me into something of a minor – no, make that major – genius.
Like many wide-eyed young people in the 1960s, I had been drawn in by the promise that marijuana and other psychedelic drugs would produce a profound spiritual experience, perhaps allowing me to see God – if, of course, there was one. Instead, it soon convinced me that, for all intents and purposes, I pretty much was God.
I suspect this is the foundation of marijuana’s appeal: it encourages people to believe they know far more than they do. Since the getting of all knowledge relies on the opposite realization (“All I know is that I don’t know nothing”), you can see where that might be a problem.
My latest musings on the subject have been prompted by spending a lot of time in Asian countries where the 1950s attitude toward marijuana is still in full effect. There are some, including my present location of Singapore, where possessing or selling large quantities of cannabis can net you the death penalty.
While I try to refrain from telling other countries how to run their judicial systems, I obviously don’t advocate treating marijuana users in this way, and not merely because if I had tried my 1960s stunt in Singapore, I probably wouldn’t be here to talk about it. But at the same time, observing countries where strict laws have kept marijuana usage to a minimum has enabled me to draw a sharp contrast with my own, where the growing acceptance and approval of marijuana has rather neatly coincided with America’s descent into idiocracy.
Correlation is not causation, of course, and some marijuana advocates will no doubt protest that liberalized attitudes toward the drug have in fact lessened the damage caused by our deteriorating political and social systems. This would be premised on the long-held and too-seldom-challenged belief that marijuana, unlike alcohol, causes its users to be less violent and aggressive, more inclined toward tolerance and social justice.
I’m not sure about that. Or, to put it more succinctly, I think that it’s a load of old bollocks. It’s true that most people I know don’t get in brawls or even loud arguments when they get high, but most people I know wouldn’t do that regardless of what substance they were or weren’t consuming.
But my experiences of living and traveling in areas populated by a different demographic than I usually hang out with lead me to think marijuana is hardly the “love” or “peace” drug it’s often touted as being, but instead magnifies and reduces the inhibitions on a person’s usual character traits.
In other words, if you’re given to quiet philosophizing or strumming heartfelt folk songs on your guitar, you’ll do more of that when you get high. If, on the other hand, your idea of a life well lived involves stabbing, shooting, raping, or killing, marijuana can just as easily enhance that experience.
My years in the Emerald Triangle, ground zero for America’s marijuana industry, certainly caused me to question some of my previous assumptions. I highly recommend the documentary Murder Mountain, currently showing on Netflix and set not far from my old home, if you still think marijuana is the sole province of thoughtful, sensitive hippies.
But what to do? Obviously, we as a society are not be going back to the prohibition era, nor do I think we should. I do believe we’re presently being given the opportunity to observe a massive chemistry experiment, where one part of the world – the Americas and Western Europe in particular – increasingly views reality through marijuana-beclouded eyes, while another – mainly East Asia – remains relatively pot-free.
Again, correlation is not causation, but given the way that Asia – and China in particular – is rapidly overtaking the West, one has to wonder. Yes, there’s much to criticize about Asian systems as well, but they seem to possess a sense of purpose and discipline that has largely deserted Donald Trump’s America. I see far less of the cynicism and disillusionment that has prompted so many bright Americans to disengage from civic participation – and to a considerable and frightening extent – from a belief in society itself.
All this could be half-assed speculation on my part, perhaps the residual effect of too much marijuana consumption in my own youth. It’s also possible that the Asian countries will eventually follow the Western path toward liberalization and everyone will get stoned together, for good or ill.
But for now I’m more convinced than ever that the effects of marijuana on the brain and consciousness are more deleterious than helpful. Will marijuana invariably ruin your life or render you useless? Of course not. Will it decrease the odds of your reaching your full potential, of living a meaningful and happy life? I’m inclined to say yes.
But if we’re not going to reinstate the punitive marijuana laws of yesteryear – and we’d be insane to try – what can we do? If it were up to me, I’d treat marijuana like any other drug: as a medical issue. I think it’s been amply demonstrated that it’s ineffective and cruel to throw someone in prison for using or abusing a substance, yet if it becomes clear that the substance is harming them and/or society, can we afford to simply ignore it?
What I don’t think we should do is treat pot with a nod-and-a-wink approval that presupposes its being legal means it must be good for you. Adults may enjoy a joint at a party or after work just as they would a cocktail, and with no more harm done. But increasing numbers of adults are chain-smoking or consuming extracts containing nuclear-bomb levels of THC, in some cases turning them into little more than babbling zombies.
And when kids or teenagers, whose brains are not fully formed or developed, follow a similar course, their futures in all too many cases go straight out the window. “It’s heartbreaking,” I was once told by a London schoolteacher whose students were mostly minorities from an economically depressed area. “Up to when they’re 13 or 14, these kids are so full of energy and enthusiasm, just really eager to learn. Then they start showing up reeking of cannabis and it’s like their brains have gone walkabout. I might as well be lecturing to a brick wall. They don’t remember anything I’ve told them from one day to the next.”
The horse may have long since bolted through a wide-open door, but there are a couple things I would recommend that might mitigate the harm. The first would be to stop glamorizing or trivializing the effects of marijuana. Treat it the way we do cigarettes: make those who are hooked on it objects of derision and pity. When I was growing up, taking up smoking was a rite of passage pursued by the majority of teenagers; now most kids consider it kind of dumb. Similarly, make resources readily available for those who want to quit.
Second, although I think marijuana has to remain legal, it needs to be far more strictly controlled. Alcohol and cigarettes are also legal, but there are numerous restrictions on how they can be produced and sold and where and by whom they can be consumed. A big part of the rationale behind legalizing marijuana was to do away with the damage caused by the black market, yet the black market continues to flourish, in some cases – as depicted in Murder Mountain – doing more damage than ever.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a stoned America is actually getting smarter than ever, and I’m the dumb one. But the harrowing, ongoing collapse of our political, social, and physical infrastructure would seem to indicate otherwise. Whether you’re pro- or anti-marijuana, whether you’re a confirmed user or a devout abstainer, I beg you to at least think about it. Science may overcome this difficulty in the future, but at present I think it’s safe to say that our supply of brain cells is not limitless.
"MURDER MOUNTAIN," the excellent documentary now appearing on NetFlix, is excellent for many reasons, particularly its stunning visuals of stunningly beautiful Humboldt County, and excellent as an honest account of the casual violence innate in the dope business, violence and dope having long been synonymous with back country life in the Emerald Triangle. Southern Humboldt is only slightly less fraught than northeast Mendocino County; if you moved Alderpoint a few miles south, it would be in Mendocino County, and leaving it where it is in all its festering glory beside the Eel, the vibe and experience of the place is much like the wildest neighborhoods of Mendocino County. I was so totally absorbed from the first few minutes of Murder Mountain, I binge-watched all six hours of it Friday afternoon.
THIS RIVETING documentary tells us that there are 230 Humboldt-based disappearances going back to 1975, and a bunch of unsolved murders. One of the disappearances discussed at the beginning of the film is that of Asha Kreimer, who was last seen near Point Arena in Mendocino County when she dashed from the restaurant where she was having breakfast with her Albion boyfriend. Asha has never been found. The police surmised she hurled herself off the bluffs west of where she was last seen, but the police will also say some bodies are claimed forever by the ocean.
POIGNANT THROUGHOUT, the film shows Asha's mother looking for her disappeared daughter in Garberville where, it was rumored, Asha may be hidden away, with or against her will, in one of the hundreds of cannabis operations dotting southern Humboldt County. (Asha's mother is an Australian who works as a nurse. She saves up money for repeat trips to the Emerald Triangle to continue the search for her daughter, now missing for three and a half years.)
MURDER MOUNTAIN refers to the Alderpoint area, a place many of us know well, just as the film features a number of persons we know, pioneers of the Back to the land Movement like Ed Denson, Robert "Woods" Sutherland, the redoubtable Doug Fir, who remembers that he bought 40 acres near Garberville for $11,000 in the late 1960s. A few thousand urban refugees got comparable deals in the more remote areas of the Northcoast, many of those deals brokered by an enterprising fellow named Bob McKee, who warrants a film all to himself. If a single person can be said to have made the Back to the Land Movement possible, it was McKee. He sold thousands of acres of ranch and logged-over timber land to the back to the landers for small or no down payments. McKee made it easy for the influx of, well, idealists who were simultaneously estranged from mainstream American ways of living; they thought they could live more sensible lives off the land, a notion many were soon disabused of when they actually tried to do it. But many did eke out a living from their hard scrabble acres by growing marijuana, and here we are as those old homesteads, well into their second and third generation owners, are being pushed out of the pot business by hugely capitalized corporations.
SUBSEQUENT to the pioneering hippies, much less desirable immigrants appeared in Southern Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake, and Trinity counties, settling in places like Alderpoint to grow the money crop in the nearby hills. This last influx brought with it lots of straight-up criminals, many of them wed to the outlaw life and contemptuous of the peace and love values of their neighbors. Self-appointed "community" arbiters of right and wrong, basing their ethics on "consensus," were easy pickings for predators.
THE DISTRUST, nay hatred, of the police and the contempt for conventional values arrived with the first wave hippies, many of whom had been beaten and tear gassed in Bay Area demonstrations against the War On Vietnam. The Bay Area police behaved, to put it gently, unprofessionally, beating hell out of peaceful protesters. But there was always an arrogant edge to the counterculture that put many of its most righteous soldiers in direct conflict with their neighbors, and especially the police who were automatically insulted and shunned. And, as the police — local, state and federal — raided hippie dope patches, the mutual contempt festered. And criminal predators, including child molesters and killers, not to mention every day scumbags with whom scumbaggery was and is a way of life, were tolerated by the counterculture rather than them going to "The Man" and demanding that The Man suppress bad people.
A LARGE IRONY of Murder Mountain, and much of the on-line comment about the film, are the complaints from contemporary marijuana outlaws that the police haven't done enough to get rid of the predators in outback communities. Anderson Valley's naive hippies made it possible for some world class psychopaths to do their thing, and out on the Coast in places like Albion, a nest of cho-mo's thrived because, as one ancient flower child explained it to me, "Our community takes care of itself."
I WAS PLEASED to see the filmmakers chose the talented Ryan Burns, a reporter for Hank Sims’ popular Lost Coast Outpost website, to provide neutral context for the sociology of this odd, highly balkanized place.
MURDER MOUNTAIN serves nicely as a filmic history of the marijuana industry where it began, right here on the Northcoast, to what it has become, also on the Northcoast, where it now costs at least a hundred thou to get all the permits required to grow legally. The film is also a harrowing tale of an unresolved murder that seems only a couple of subpoenas away from resolution, but both sides — the vigilantes who basically solved the case only to be ignored by the police and subsequently murdered themselves still roils Southern HumCo. Murder Mountain is the goods. Don't miss it.
REPRESENTATIVE ON-LINE ASSESSMENT OF MURDER MOUNTAIN, THE MOVIE:
"If the media continues to listen to one side this is how we are looked upon by the people paid to protect and serve. Even admits we the community have to do their work they are generously paid to do. Here is what the SF folk got to hear on their news about us. (My rebuttals)
Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department told CBS San Francisco “The local growers don’t want law enforcement coming in to where marijuana is at. They are afraid that we will see the marijuana and will take it from them (yep, ya will), and that is their living (yes, true, now can ya understand),” and explains that there are also vigilantes within the community working outside of the law and won’t serve as witnesses for crimes tried in a courtroom (nope cause it is usually not the reason you would win the case since as you stated the jury would be told the witness is a vigilante.).
Knight told CBS, “Many of these communities will try and solve their problems on their own (well, ya, cause you guys suck at your job). And by the time that happens unfortunately the problem has magnified (based on the above reasoning the only justice we have is our words which sometimes is enforced by our weapon).” While Humboldt County may be popular the world over for their marijuana output, their primary export is attached to a great deal of tragedy and death throughout the region (which is caused by the lies of the federal government to the people of America that marijuana has no medicinal value, ffs).
We do not need legalization we do not need regulation we need the federal laws repealed. All are based upon lies about the plants medicinal value alone. Not even gonna discuss the derogatory immigration policy that brought forward the marijuana stamp and more lies to the American people in the 30s."
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 6, 2019
JAY BATES, Eureka/Ukiah. Parole violation.
JAMIE BLAKE, Laytonville. Theft from elder/dependent adult, stolen property, convey/sell/etc personal ID info with intent to defraud, defrauding by ID acquisition, obtaining money by false pretenses.
SKYLER GIST, Willits. Domestic battery, resisting.
JOSHUA GUEVARA, Talmage. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ANSLEY HANGER, Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
ZACHARY JACKSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
LIANA MENTON, Ukiah. DUI.
CHRISTOPHER MORAN, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
ARELI OLVERA, Willits. Controlled substance, suspended license (for DUI), disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ERNESTO PETERS-PICKETT, Covelo. Willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death.
MONTE PEYRON-LESTER, Porterville/Ukiah. DUI, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TYLER SPARKMAN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DESMOND SPIKER, Willits. Reckless evasion.
JESSE VINCENT, Willits. Failure to appear.
WILDFIRES ALSO THREATEN WATER SUPPLIES
At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas, and wildfires can taint water with toxins and parasites.
SCALISE V. OCASIO-CORTEZ
U.S. Representative Steve Scalise has hit out at newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's supporters claiming they are 'radical' after they mocked the mass shooting that he survived.
Scalise (R-La) and Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) got into a heated Twitter exchange on Saturday as they debated her proposed hefty tax rates for the wealthy.
After some back-and-forth between the pair, Scalise tweeted screenshots of some responses from Ocasio-Cortez's supporters in which they said 'snipe his a**' and 'kick his cane'.
He argued that her supporters were 'radical'.
'Happy to continue this debate on the Floor of the People's House, but it's clearly not productive to engage here with some of your radical followers #StayClassy,' he tweeted.
The comments from Ocasio-Cortez's supporters were in reference to Scalise being seriously injured in 2017 when a gunman opened fire on a congressional Republican baseball practice.
The 53-year-old used a cane to help him walk during his recovery.
It was sparked by their earlier Twitter feud in which Scalise lashed out about Ocasio-Cortez's plans for a 70 percent tax on rich Americans to fund the Green New Deal program.
'Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money. Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs,' Scalise tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez hit back: 'You're the GOP Minority Whip. How do you not know how marginal tax rates work? Oh that's right, almost forgot: GOP works for the corporate CEOs showering themselves in multi-million dollar bonuses; not the actual working people.'
Scalise appeared to end the debate when he posted the screenshots from Ocasio-Cortez's supporters.
U.S. TAX HISTORY
WE ARE CALLING UPON those who control corporate power and property as mankind called upon kings in their day, to be a good and kind, wise and sweet, and we are calling in vain. We are asking them not to be what we have made them to be. We put power in their hands and ask them not to use it as power.
— Henry Demarest Lloyd, “Wealth Against Commonwealth”
THE ORANGE MAN ON THE HORSE
An on-line comment:
Scanning the news, one navigates stories of people losing their jobs and perhaps their homes and maybe their citizenship. After nearly an hour of this, I return to my current reading: American Genocide, by Benjamin Madly. The book recounts in granular detail the state of California's native population (estimated at 150,000 or so at time of first 'contact' probably in 1804.) What ensued vaporized their culture and destroyed them individually. It is hard to imagine a more final end. Even extinction doesn't surpass it. Can a white person sitting at home even begin to understand how it is to watch everything suddenly vanish? This is precisely the world our Orange Plague is releasing on the world and its people. The man seems determined to destroy it all and to make an eventual move to recover what is lost even more difficult. The list of what is being lost seems endless. Off there in the distance, could that be an orange man on a horse?
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
How much money do you think it would cost for me to eliminate the need for fossil energy utilities? I couldn’t easily replace my excellent water supply, and wouldn’t care to need to replace the internet service, but right now I pay hundreds per month for gas and electric (mostly for the cost of maintaining gas and electric lines to my house; my supply cost for electricity, the actual electrons, is about 1/3rd the total cost.)
My guess is about 50k for the massive number of solar panels, the solar hot water heater, and the backup woodstove that serves as a source of heat. At 4% interest, that costs me 2k a year. With a mortgage at 6%, I could pay $300 a month over 30 years to pay off the system, depreciation obviously not included.
The downsides would be that, when the sun didn’t shine for days, I’d probably have to cut back on electricity-using. That would suck, to be sure. I’d still be better off than my 19th century forebears, of course.
VETERANS SHOULD GET BETTER TREATMENT
To the Editor:
This letter is about a problem facing veterans and their families. There is a lot of emotion behind my personal experience. But I will try to be unbiased. This is not about medical care, its about billing issues. Please note this.
A emergency situation, a intense moment in any person’s life can be challenging enough. But the way that our local hospital handles VA billing, which at the time of my experience, was not at all, is unfair and negligent in my opinion. I was told in emails in billing department, at the time, that no one was to bill VA, in the local facility.
I cannot say I was blessed, but luckily there was, other insurance payers. But, at the time of crisis, I was handed a bill while in ICU before any discharge, or even an idea of how long services would be provided or what outcome was pending. The local VA office was closed. I had no wallet for my loved one, to call a number. Subsequently, a transfer to a critical facility happened. It was all over in two days.
I was told by hospital staff, in later request, that they will not bill VA at all. Because they do not get paid.
I was told to try myself, ambulance services first, if I had any luck, I was asked, to tell the hospital staff, how I got the claim paid. After 1 1/2 years, three submissions of claims and the community coordinator, basically admitted having the wrong address on his official hand out to file claims, I have had no answers.
Then subsequent calling and finding out, even with the correct address, in San Francisco, no claims have ever been received or documented by the San Francisco facility. Even with the correct address. It makes no sense.
I realized, I may get a ‘no’ answer, to a claim for ambulance service, but at least I would like a yes or no answer. At least after three submissions and calls and meetings, that a claim was received, after all this time. But no, no claims were ever received or even returned for the services to me, or any letter returned to me, stating wrong address or a receipt of claim.
It is atrocious and egregious that this is how veteran’s families and veterans medical services are treated. It is a horrible injustice to the veteran that served. My loved one is a 20 years retired military, 3 times deployed. And this is the system and personnel that are completely inadequately informed or not interested in getting emergency veterans’ claims payed or at least processed. How can anyone allow this to continue at the status of non caring hospitals, military, currently not taking the time or effort, to help facilitate claim submission or at very least have correct information for veterans and families? And a follow up process to ensure it’s paid or denied for a reason. There is no process that can work, if claims end up nowhere, in who knows what corner, of the San Francisco facility. Like the bridge to nowhere, claims disappear completely. And these have very private and personal information.
My claim, after finding answers on internet all by myself, because my loved one was retired, probably, would be denied. But…..that took myself having to discover answers and relive a nightmare every time, to find that out, all by myself. If I had adequate information, and a claim was actually processed in first submission, I could have not had to endure the constant reminder of an awful time. So I write this letter for others. And I write to shed light on a horrific problem, in our military emergency billing and facilities not caring enough, to be proactive or tenacious. about veterans’ billing issues. The veterans deserve much better, much better. In my opinion.
Catherine A. Lair
THERE IS NO CRISIS ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER. NONE.
(Mother Jones Magazine OnLine)
ALL IN THE FAMILY
by Dan Walters
Gov. Newsom — keeping it all in the family
Gavin Newsom will be the first Democrat in more than a century to succeed another Democrat as governor, and the succession also marks a big generational transition in California politics. A long-dominant geriatric quintet from the San Francisco Bay Area — Jerry Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi and John Burton — has been slowly ceding power to younger political strivers. Moreover, Newsom is succeeding someone who could be considered his quasi-uncle since his inauguration continues the decades-long saga of four San Francisco families intertwined by blood, by marriage, by money, by culture and, of course, by politics — the Browns, the Newsoms, the Pelosis and the Gettys.
The connections date back at least 80 years, to when Jerry Brown’s father, Pat Brown, ran for San Francisco district attorney, losing in 1939 but winning in 1943, with the help of his close friend and Gavin Newsom’s grandfather, businessman William Newsom.
Fast forward two decades. Gov. Pat Brown’s administration developed Squaw Valley for the 1960s winter Olympics and, afterward, awarded a concession to operate it to William Newsom and his partner, John Pelosi.
One of Pelosi’s sons, Paul, married Nancy D’Alesandro, who went into politics and, this past week, reclaimed the speakership of the House of Representatives. Another Pelosi son married William Newsom’s daughter, Barbara, thus making Nancy Pelosi the aunt of Gavin Newson by marriage.
The Squaw Valley concession was controversial at the time and created something of a rupture between the two old friends. William Newsom wanted to make significant improvements to the ski complex, including a convention center, but Brown’s Department of Parks and Recreation balked. Newsom and his son, an attorney also named William, held a series of contentious meetings with officials over the issue. An eight-page memo about those 1966 meetings from the department’s director, Fred Jones, buried in the Pat Brown archives, describes the Newsoms as being embittered and the senior Newsom threatening to “hurt the governor politically” as Brown ran for a third term that year against Ronald Reagan.
Pat Brown’s bid for a third term failed, and the Reagan administration later bought out the Newsom concession. But the Brown-Newsom connection continued as Brown’s son, Jerry, reclaimed the governorship in 1974. He appointed the younger William Newsom, a personal friend and Gavin’s father, to a Placer County judgeship in 1975 and three years later to the state Court of Appeal.
Judge Newsom, who died a few weeks ago, had been an attorney for oil magnate J. Paul Getty, most famously delivering $3 million to Italian kidnappers of Getty’s grandson in 1973. While serving on the appellate bench in the 1980s, he helped Getty’s son, Gordon, secure a change in state trust law that allowed him to claim his share of a multi-heir trust.
After Newsom retired from the bench in 1995, he became administrator of Gordon Getty’s own trust, telling one interviewer, “I make my living working for Gordon Getty.” The trust provided seed money for the Plumpjack chain of restaurants and wine shops that Newson’s son, Gavin, and Gordon Getty’s son, Billy, developed, the first being in a Squaw Valley hotel.
Gavin Newsom had been informally adopted by the Gettys after his parents divorced, returning a similar favor that the Newsom family had done for a young Gordon Getty many years earlier. Newsom’s Plumpjack business (named for an opera that Gordon Getty wrote) led to a career in San Francisco politics, a stint as mayor, the lieutenant governorship and now to the governorship, succeeding his father’s old friend. He’s keeping it all in the extended family.
(Dan Walters is a columnist for CALmatters, a public interest journalism venture.)
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
The question has been posed: Do we have too many lawyers or too few? I was curious and I did some research on the web and, interesting enough, it came out that in the Bay Area alone, there are more lawyers than in the entire country of France! That should answer the question. Also of interest, I found out that in California we have about 170,000 but only about 57,000 physicians. So now I have a question: Who are we short of?
RASHIDA TLAIB AND WORKING CLASS AUTHENTICITY V. TRUMP’S PLUTOCRAT PRETENSE
"These are, then, the voters who cast their ballots for Tlaib. They are beaten-down white workers and Arab-Americans fighting prejudice and African-Americans left behind by plutocrats like Trump. They work hard, eke out a living, and they cuss. They came by it honestly. They aren’t pretend working class like Trump or the Bushes. They put Rashida Tlaib in Congress for one purpose. To impeach the Mofo, Trump."
CLIMATE CHANGE DISCUSSION THIS TUESDAY
Climate Change Is The Most Pressing Issue Of Our Time
We are calling on YOU to be a part of the climate change solution!
From our local forestry professionals to our local farmers and winegrowers and even our local home gardeners, many in Mendocino are already leading the way.
You are invited to participate in a conversation about principles and practices to drawdown carbon and store it in the soil.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 6:00 pm
Caspar Community Center
Hosted by the League of Women Voters of Mendocino County
6:00-6:30 pm — Coffee and refreshments
6:30-7:30 pm — Conversations about carbon storage strategies & techniques led by Elizabeth Giumarin, PMP, MS Soil Science Educator & Consultant
7:30-8:00 pm — Networking with local farms, gardens & growers. Hear their stories and begin your own.
susan allen nutter, firstname.lastname@example.org
IT WAS AN UNREAL TIME. The events in Europe, the post-war drawing of lines between the Communists and the Western powers, probably had a historical inevitability to it. Two great and uncertain powers were coming to terms with each other, a task made more difficult by their ideological differences (each believed its own myth about itself and its adversary) and by the additional frightening factor of the atomic weapon. Long-range historical analysis will probably show that in those years they were like two blind dinosaurs wrestling in a very small pit. Each thought its own policies basically defensive, and the policies of its adversary basically aggressive. Out of this would come new tensions and new fears for a new world power like the United States. But the China issue, even more emotional, and the coming of the Korean War, would legitimize the fringe viewpoints, would limit rational discussion and rational political activity. China would help freeze American policy toward Communism. A kind of demonology about a vast part of the world would become enshrined as accepted gospel. One major political party would be too frightened to challenge it, the other delighted to reap the benefits from it. All of this would affect Indochina.
— David Halberstam, ‘The Best & The Brightest,’ presaging modern parallels