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THE TAI ABREU CASE: Nothing more than paper shuffling today in Judge Cindee Mayfield's Courtroom B at the County Courthouse in Ukiah. A petition has been filed by Abreu for a sentence modification from life without the possibility of parole to a conviction on only the robbery of the murdered man, Donald Perez of Santa Ana. (Abreu did not participate or witness or anticipate Perez's murder, if Perez was indeed murdered. The coroner could not determine a cause of death.) The smart and capable Jessica Hoagland of the revived Public Defender's Office has been appointed to represent Abreu and to arrange for paperwork to be prepared for his transfer from the state prison at Susanville for an appearance now set for February 7th, at 9am in Courtroom B. In the meantime, Ms. Hoagland, as we understand it, will file a formal legal brief on Abreu's behalf. DA Eyster himself is representing The People. Abreu is one of only a few California inmates serving life sentences to qualify for re-sentencing under the recent changes to the California Felony Murder Rule, a rule that said if you were present and even peripherally involved with a crime resulting in murder you are as guilty of the murder as the person or persons who did it.
Here is the link for the whole story: theava.com/05/1221-perezcase.html
Another shorter version (scroll down for the items on Tai Abreu): theava.com/04/0526-otr-tai-abreu.html
SURPRISE: OUR ROADS ARE BAD!
[Not that you can tell which or how bad from this massive and typically info-free expensive consultant-prepared presentation of illegible ant-tracks being discussed at Tuesday’s Supervisors meeting.]
Some maps are being presented at the Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting supposedly to indicate pavement condition on county roads by district. Spoiler Alert: Roads bad. But the maps are too small and unreadable. Here is a link to that discussion item where you can download a map specific to our district's roads and try to figure out how each is rated. But be warned: The unlabeled lines are too small to tell which are which.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: A Bit of Whimsy
text and photography by David Wilson
It’s not for everyone to take the world seriously all of the time, though some people probably need to, at least a little bit. But I don’t think I’m one of them. I surmise folks like that need people like me to keep things in balance, so this week I am taking creative license to present a handful of images of our North Coast through the looking-glass of whimsy. Or is that mimsy?
Taking an early morning walk in the woods after the first rains, one finds mushrooms in many forms and colors pushing up through the debris on the forest floor. Some are small, some are large. Once while hiking with friends after sunset along the continent’s edge where the forest overlooks the broad Pacific, we spied a mushroom taller than the rest, a veritable tree it was. I joked that we could climb to the top of it, though I’m not really fond of heights. But when my friend Bill from SoCal began scrambling up a tuft of moss leaning on the mushroom’s side, there was nothing for it but to climb up with him. From the mushroom’s summit we watched as the crescent moon set into the ocean. Friends Morgan and Miranda stayed below and spoke in whispers over a glowing orb. I think they kept us safe.
It brings to mind another time I met Morgan and Miranda, late one night up on Monument Road to the west of Rio Dell. This time they were floating by in a bubble of light reminiscent of that in which the Good Witch of the North rode to visit Dorothy in Munchkin Land — only Morgan and Miranda are real, of course. We caught up on things, and then they had to float on down the road. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time, but there was something odd about their mode of transportation. Note to self: next time I see them I must find out what that was all about. They seem to travel around in some kind of Goddess energy.
There’s a small well-known cave at Moonstone Beach. Those who have lived here long have seen how it changes with the storms and tides and seasons; the sand level at the entrance can vary a lot, for instance. Sometimes one can’t walk into it without crouching, while other times the sand is lower and more of the opening is exposed. The latter was the case on one evening visit to the place, but there was something else I’d never noticed there.
There were granite pillars formed into the living rock, creating a gateway to the cave in the floor of which gaped a dark pit ringed with the moon-like stones so common at Moonstone Beach. A luminous yellow fume rose from black maw, and around it a grey mist hung low to the ground. To one side a stone stairway led upward between two great leaning stones, and through the archway thus formed was another world where the evening sun was still setting over the ocean. A comet hung in the night sky over the cave. The strange thing was that none of it felt strange at the time.
Later, looking at the photos of it at home I noticed at the top of the stone steps the ghostly figure of a man looking out to sea. A trail through the mists led back from him to the pit. I had not seen him when I photographed the scene. And now I think I see eyes in the rock. I have been back to the cave many times since, and though the storms and the seasons still leave their marks, never again have I seen it as it was that night.
Photographing the North Coast light in the dark of night has blessed me with many beautiful evenings beneath the stars, and some strange ones. Imagining these evenings as marbles, I poured a few into my wife’s hands for her to hold. Care for one?
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx or his website mindscapefx.com, where you can also contact him, but which Wilson says he updates less frequently.)
GREG KRAUSE WILL SPARE YOU THIS TASK: "Tired of getting wet and cold, trying to read a funky combination to open your gate and then getting out to close it? I can install, fix or install new motors on failed gate openers using dependable Liftmaster openers. I can install gates as well."
THE GAS CAN CAPER
On Tuesday, December 25th, at about 11:20 pm, MCSO dispatch received a call from a 51-year-old Willits resident who was following a white 2005 Chevrolet truck. The citizen advised the driver of the truck, later identified as Ethan Bauer (age 28 of Crescent City, CA), had stolen a gas can from his residence in Brooktrails.
The victim, directed a Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy to their current location. An MCSO deputy was able to conduct a vehicle stop on the 2005 Chevrolet truck, which was not displaying any license plates, on Highway 20 near Main St. in Willits. The deputy contacted the driver and sole occupant, who identified himself as Bauer from Crescent City. While Bauer was attempting to locate paperwork in the truck, the deputy and a Willits Police Department officer noticed a gun holster in the glove box. In the bed of the truck, the Deputy located a green gas can, which the victim identified as his. The Deputy attempted to locate registration for the truck and check the status of the possible gun in the glove box. In plain view on the passenger side seat and door panel, the Deputy saw mail for numerous locations in Mendocino County. This included locations in Brooktrails, Willits, and Redwood Valley. A search of the truck was conducted. Deputies located checkbooks, checks, and other mail from as far away as Oregon. Under the hood of the truck, deputies located a rifle. Deputies found Bauer had an extensive criminal history and was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms. Bauer was arrested for possession of stolen property, forgery, felon possessing a firearm, and mail theft. Bauer was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.
December 29, 2018: Ethan Bauer, of Crescent City, who said he was living in Ukiah and taking care of his grandmother, wanted to be released on his own recognizance, but the prosecution objected because Mr. Bauer had been caught recently with a gun and drugs, had a long history of such offenses, and was accused of stealing mail, had been arrested with a check in someone else’s name for over $1500, numerous checkbooks in other people’s names, and a wallet that didn’t belong to him. Judge Behnke denied the own recognizance request. (Bruce McEwen)
Mr. Bauer was released from custody Wednesday, January 2nd at 1:48 pm, presumably after posting bail. Heads up: Don’t leave your mail out for long.)
* * *
GANGA BANGA BANG BANG?
On Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at about 3:20 AM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office dispatch center received a 911 call from a residence on Road J in Redwood Valley. The caller advised someone had shot into the residence injuring at least one person. Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to the scene and found evidence that an unknown number of people had shot into the residence. In the residence, Deputies located a 19 year-old male adult suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound. The victim advised he was asleep in his bed when he heard gunshots and immediately felt pain. Redwood Valley Fire Department personnel along with an ambulance arrived and transported the victim to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center for treatment. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives were notified of the incident and came to assist patrol Deputies on scene. At this time the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information concerning this incident is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100 or the WE-TIP anonymous crime reporting hotline by calling 800-732-7463.
* * *
ROUNDING UP THE USUAL TWEAKERS
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has been conducting an intensive surveillance operation in various rural areas of Mendocino County due to recent mail thefts and reports of packages being stolen during the holiday season. On Sunday, January 6, at around 7:28 pm, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were able to conduct surveillance on suspects who had stolen mail from several locations on Boonville Road.
Jeannette Marie Long, age 27 of Ukiah was stopped during a traffic enforcement stop at a gas station in the 1100 block of South State Street in Ukiah. Long was arrested during the traffic stop when she was found to be in possession of over ten articles of mail from multiple addresses on Boonville Road (Highway 253 in the southern part of the Ukiah valley). Long was also found to be in possession of a stun gun type device, which due to her being a convicted felon makes possession of it a felony criminal offense. Long was ultimately arrested for mail theft, possession of stolen property, grand theft, being a felon in possession of a stun gun, violation of probation, and for driving with a suspended driver’s license. Long was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $20,000 bail. This investigation is ongoing and anybody with information about this case are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line (707-234-2100) or the WE-TIP anonymous crime reporting hotline (800-732-7463).
TRUTH IN ADVERTISING:
Val Muchowski and Joe Wildman are not politically progressive in any known sense of the term. They are machine Democrats of the Hillary-Biden-Pelosi-Feinstein type and, you can be sure, when Creepy Joe Biden becomes the Democrat's presidential candidate, thus ensuring four more years of Trump, corporate Democrats like Wildman and Muchowski, Huffman, Woods and McGuire who keep the Northcoast in their flabby stranglehold, will enthusiastically campaign for Biden. Count on it, and count on the argument for Biden being the same argument corporate Democrats have issued for sixty years — he's not the Republican. There are some genuinely progressive Democrats, especially the new ones like Cortez (already denounced by people like Feinstein and Pelosi), but nobody like them occupies elected office on the Northcoast.
A world class wizard, Donald Sprinkling, predicted I would meet the girl of my dreams. This took place at a New Year's bash in Berkeley. She was wearing a strange costume which revealed a pinup body, a beautiful expressive face that exuded a sense of wonder. Lightning struck, bells started ringing. I got down on our knees and asked her to marry me. We were married later that summer in a blowhole on a small Hawaiian island in a Universal Church by ministers Earl Kinkston and Maxine Hong Kingston (woman warrior, Chinaman, future famous writer). We were staying with them on our "honeymoon."
Tami-Diane (TD) was all that we did dreamed of and lots more. She had a small head but a huge brain with an IQ of 138. She is a fabulous writer, a skilled teacher with a master of arts and three teaching credentials. TD was then teaching at Berkeley high school. She also was a nutcase as revealed later. She had tried to drown herself in a drainage ditch, howled at the moon, carried at one time a pistol, smoked marijuana like a chimney, loved LSD and loved Captain Fathom.
Life moved fast for us. We got pregnant. Got a job in the shipyards of the Bay Area. We weekended at the Illustrated Farm. My dear friend and secretary of the Berkeley branch of the IWW, Miriam Knight, had gotten together with the famous Paul Williams, the lead writer for Rolling Stone magazine and founder of "Crawdaddy," a modern music rag and author of Outlaw Blues and other popular books. They were in the process of buying a three acre piece of the Ames Lodge 3.5 miles up Little Lake Road in Mendocino. They invited us in as partners, named the settlement Callodon (home planet of Dune by Frank Herbert).
We settled in. So Paul’s lovers and fans Lark Clark and Judy, both outstanding, also aboard came the Wizard Donald and the Berkeley rebel girl Thistle, a dear friend of TD’s and a humdinger. Thistle and Donald had Yarrow-Albion, Tami and Alan had Raven Caspar Moon. They were little mates. We were later joined by Ron Shea and Kay Rudin.
Got a part-time job as a gardener of the Heritage House in Little River. Fished by spear gun and scooped abs almost every day. Fell in love with all the other girls while still madly in love with Tami. My cup overflowed. This all came to an end when the deal to buy the land didn't clear escrow.
Our time in Albion began in 1970. We bought a tiny piece of Bo’s Landing from Bo Rowes 5.9 miles up Albion Ridge. To this day TD and Fathom still reside on the property. We've had different mates, different houses and other children. We both still are Class K with code outhouses.
More to follow,
Alan ‘Captain Fathom’ Graham
A NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE FROM THE SHERIFF
So the new year has arrived. Our county will have another long Winter with rain, cold and depression. I speak of this because our county is rank 11th (per capita) in our state for the number of suicides which occur. Oh my, I’m speaking of something that isn’t Facebook cheerful or happy. Yes, I’m speaking of something which isn’t Facebook cheerful or happy because it is something that needs to be addressed.
I am fortunate to know many people in my life, and I have come to the conclusion that there is never an “Us against Them”. If you believe that, I have horrible news. It’s only “Us”. The “Them” which people speak of do not exist. “We are Us”.
I meet with 100-150 people every week and I know that people are either talkers or listeners. I am asking you to please help us reduce our suicides by being both a good listener and a good talker. If you need to talk to someone, call up a friend and ask for some time to talk. If you ever get a call from a friend who wants to talk, find time to listen. Allow a confidential conversation to occur and tell your friends how much they mean to you. This actually helps both friends realize how special life is.
I’ve had friends commit suicide, I’ve negotiated people out of committing suicide and as most of you know, my brother took his life in 2005. Suicides affect families, work places, school and every person who knew the victim. Please don’t assume that a suicide doesn’t have a strong ripple effect on everyone. It does. It devastates families, separates communities and the question of “Why?” can never really be answered.
It is the time of year that many people feel alone. I challenge you to listen to what your friends are saying and if they need help, see what you can do. We are all in this together. Life gives us ups and downs. Please, if you need to talk to someone, reach out and talk to someone. The weight of the world is not on your shoulders. You are loved and you are appreciated.
This message is not meant to be political, so please take your politics to your own page. Politics often creates the “Us against Them.” Let’s work together to reduce the number of suicides which torment our beautiful county. Call up your friends, listen to their life story and above all, if YOU need to talk to someone, do it.
This could be your best year ever. It will be a great year if we all understand that we all need to be talkers and listeners. Listening is quite easy, you just did it. You just listened to me discuss a topic which is often taboo. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for being one of “Us”.
— Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman
FOR GOODNESS SAKE, you can’t be a lawyer if you don’t represent banks. — Hillary Clinton
MENDOCINO COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION: A PERSPECTIVE ON EDUCATION
In Search of Excellent Employees
by Michelle Hutchins, Interim County Superintendent of Schools
When we talk about jobs in education, most of us think of teaching. The truth is, education requires a whole team of people doing all sorts of jobs to provide students with the support they need to succeed. We transport children to and from school—with bus drivers. We feed students—with food service employees. We assist them when the teacher is busy with other students—with paraprofessionals (instructional aides). We provide clean, safe environments for learning—with custodians and maintenance workers.
Right now, schools throughout Mendocino County are struggling to hire enough bus drivers. Being a bus driver requires special training and a special license. Also, because drivers interact with students, they must pass a rigorous background check and drug screening. The work is done via a split shift (transporting students in the morning and then again in the afternoon with a break in the middle). Most positions are part time and pay between $13.68 and $28.37 per hour. Some districts are combining bus driving with maintenance work so employees have a full-time position, but even with this creative solution, it is difficult to find enough drivers.
Bus drivers perform an essential service, safeguarding students as they travel to and from school. Drivers are usually responsible for between 40-70 students, everyone from Kindergarteners to high schoolers. And currently, the Mendocino County Office of Education is working on ways to decrease the cost of training and licensure so more people can get into the profession.
Now, if bus driving isn’t your thing, there are other important jobs in high demand in local school districts. Schools are often looking for instructional and special education paraprofessionals (aides). Teachers depend on paraprofessionals to assist with several important tasks, including differentiation. In any given classroom and on any given subject, students range from proficient to struggling. They need differentiated instruction. When a teacher has what we now call a “para” (used to be “aide”), the teacher can provide information at a slower pace for those who need it—that’s an example of differentiated instruction. Paras also help by preparing materials, grading, working with the class while the teacher manages a disruptive situation, and so much more. Special education paras work with students who have developmental disabilities and other challenges. These paras accompany students with special needs to help them overcome learning challenges.
To become a para, you do not need a college degree, but you must pass the paraprofessional exam, which is usually at the educational level of an associate’s degree. Paras are always under the guidance of a teacher, using the curriculum and instructional plans provided by the teacher. Paraprofessional usually work part-time and positions pay between $11.00 and $21.08 per hour, depending on the district.
The next job in high demand is the food service worker. Preparing and serving nutritious meals to students provides students with the fuel they need to succeed. Many students throughout the county depend on school meals for most of their nutrition. In many schools, we provide both breakfast and lunch, and in some districts—including Ukiah Unified and Willits Unified—all school meals are provided to all students free of charge. Food service workers earn between $11.00 and $20.27 per hour.
Another important job is that of custodian. The great thing about this position is that it that work is often done after hours, allowing it to serve as a second job. Custodians, in partnership with the daytime maintenance crew, help keep classroom clean and safe. Custodial work mostly involves cleaning floors and bathrooms, and sometimes windows. It is rarely heavy-duty cleaning. Custodians earn between $12.02 and $23.26 per hour.
If you’re looking for work and like the idea of helping children, consider working in education. They say one of the biggest determining factors of success for children is the presence of a consistent and supportive adult in their life. That could be a teacher, of course, but it could just as easily be a bus drive, a para, or any number of other adults in education.
MURDER MOUNTAIN FALLOUT, ON-LINE COMMENTS:
(1) Get a Cease and Desist Out To Netflix!
Totally agreed with your assessment of the Netflix series Blackberry Amnesia. The only interesting and valuable part was the historical bit on old growers and the cultural aspect of 1960’s and 70’s Humboldt.
I can’t believe local hotels “allowed” their business names to be included in this Netflix hit piece. Did Sherwood really allow a crew to come in and show MJ being processed in their rooms?
They didn’t show one decent neighborhood or interview any ordinary residents. Focus was on street people and back hills junkyards.
Truthfully, Garberville business and residents – as well as others featured in this series should have a cease and desist drafted by an attorney to get the Netflix series pulled. The representation is very damaging to the community and future development.
About the focus on “missing persons,” as mentioned in the series, many of these people do not want to be found. That is part of the reason to come to the mountains and live off the grid.
It’s sad that some of these people met unfortunate endings, but let’s get real. When is it EVER advisable to head out to a stranger’s isolated property with the offer of work and money in a black market industry? You can’t do that and expect a good outcome anywhere in the world!
Some personal responsibility needs to be assigned to people who come here looking to make a quick buck and find more than what they bargained for! Every community has bad actors — these seasonal workers rolled the dice in a dangerous game without any rules!
(2) Humboldt County teeming with criminals and tweakers? Hah! Try Lake County.
(3) Just binged it, and the whole thing was fake. Every aspect except the meth lab rats in Alderpoint, the og’s and the cops were staged fake bullshit. Yes, especially the “raid”. Jokes on you. But I still know better than to leave my car on the side of the (any) road overnight.
(4) As Humboldt was presented in MM, it looks to be:
x Uninhabitable by regular people.
x Possessed by career criminals, drug gangs, narcissist whack-jobs, and cowboy assholes with too many guns.
x Stoked on drugs, bent on making extreme intoxication ordinary, and totally focused upon breaking all laws.
Murder Mountain contains so many comments and statements that are complete lies, that I nearly turned it off in disgust. The producers of this program are a disgrace, and, the slant against the LEO’s and the Humboldt County Sheriff is reprehensible and completely incorrect!
Garrett Rodriguez has been painted with the face of an angel, but, in my opinion, he was another gangster, a bald faced drug dealer, and a criminal. It is obvious that he was transporting cannabis to San Diego, and, it looks to me like he was moving “other drugs” to Humboldt. He may easily have been involved in a Humboldt Drug Gang, and he obviously was attracted to the worst elements of Humboldt, and was involved up to his hairline in many illegal and quite shady operations, which were not presented in the series.
Mr Rodriguez was obviously, very much in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong people! How on earth could the HCSO have protected him? How could they have changed the outcome here?
Just the presence of the three men who acted to find Mr Rodriguez’ corpse, was enough to muddy things, and the fallout was three more men shot to death by drug dealers and drug addicts, at least 2 more men in prison, and the ruination of several families, the widowing of more women etc.
How on earth can a place as un-policable and frightening as Alderpoint be affected by the presence of LEO’S?
How can Humboldt be gotten under the control of law enforcement, at this point?
How is this Sheriff Downey’s fault?
In Humboldt County there are several different societies, and all of them operate pretty outlaw, from Alderpoint, to Jerold Phelps Hospital, to Shelter Cove and North out past Orleans.
Humboldt County is not uninhabitable, but, it operates in a different universe of law!
I would like to see a careful analysis of the many lies presented on Netflix, or perhaps another film from a more rational, local (Northern CA) point of view.
Using Alderpoint for this presentation was also unfortunate, and causes the viewer to focus on the worst aspects of the Cannabis Business and the County as a whole. The net effect here was not anti-Sheriff but it was anti-pot-farmer, and very much, anti Humboldt. The focus will soon fall on anti-cannabis hysteria, mark my words.
Persons promoting Cannabis Tourism should be advised that Netflix is poised against you, and the scare tactics used in this ridiculous film series, were merely bait to be used to bring in the National Guard or Black Ops to eradicate the evil growers, in the future, so be advised!
Also, please hope that Mr Trump, your favorite President ever, does not watch this series, as there could soon be a wall around sections of your county!
Murder Mountain was irresponsible, incomplete, wildly biased against law enforcement, and folks, it was created to make you all look like terrorists, make you look stupid, and to make Humboldt appear to be in need of Martial Law!
“Murder Mountain” made Humboldt look very bad, made Alderpoint and Garberville look like enclaves of narco-terrorism, and made Humboldt residents look like slobbering drug-addicts in need of serious time in correctional institutions.
There has been little blow-back in the local press, but I think some local push is needed to correct the irresponsible and the “wow, really?” factors presented by Netflix!
“Sixty Minutes”, it was not!
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 7, 2019
PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
ERIC DILUZIO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
TRENT FOSTER, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah.
REBECCA HAINES-STEPHAN, Willits. DUI causing bodily injury.
JEREMIAH HEILIG, Willits. Under influence, trespassing.
ANTHONY KROPACZEWSKI, Ukiah. Criminal threats.
JEANETTE LONG, Ukiah. Grand theft from person, stolen property, use of another’s ID without authorization, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
JESUS MACIAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MANUEL MENDEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NATALIE RODRIGUEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, willful cruelty to child, damaging power/communication lines, failure to appear.
ANTHONY TOLBERT, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
MICHAEL TRENT JR., Ukiah. Under influence.
A FAREWELL TO ‘BARGAIN SHOPPING’
by James Kunstler
France has its Yellow Vests. Here in USA, we have a few poor shlubs hoisting the “Going Out of Business” signs on the highway in front of the K-Mart. The store in my little flyover town in upstate New York announced that it would shutter in March, and the sign-hoisting shlubs appeared out on Route 29 the first Saturday in January, an apt kick-off to a nervous new year. K-Mart’s parent company, Sears, is moving into liquidation, meaning anything that’s not nailed down must be converted into cash to pay off its creditors.
The store’s closing is viewed as both an injury and an insult to the town. There just isn’t anywhere else to buy a long list of ordinary goods, from dish-towels to tennis balls without a 17-mile journey west, which means an hour behind the wheel coming-and-going, plus whatever time you spend picking stuff up inside. And, of course, many people in town feel that this is just another way of Wall Street saying “…you deplorable, pathetic, tapped-out, drug-addled, tattoo-bedizened yokels are not worthy of a K-Mart….”
The K-Mart occupied the better part of a small strip mall at the edge of town, which also boasts a Dollar Store, which appears to sell stuff that fell off a truck. There’s another, newer strip mall beyond it with a supermarket, a drug store, and a Tractor Supply outlet that probably stole a lot of K-Mart’s business after opening a few years ago. There’s much speculation about what’ll go into Kmart’s soon-to-be vacant space, about 80,000 square feet of crappy tilt-up construction not far from the end of its design life, with a flat roof that has groaned under heavy snow loads for four decades. Nobody I talked to has a clue.
Probably not Neiman Marcus, for starters. I’m thinking: maybe an evangelical roller rink. It’s too big for a wig shop, or a motorcycle thug-wear boutique, the usual bottom-feeders in the declension of commercial collapse.
More likely, nothing will replace it. The national chain retail model has fallen apart, along with new car sales. Something is up in this foundering land, despite all the heraldic trumpet blasts on cable news about the “booming economy.”
What’s up is the international implosion of the bad debt, and the fading illusion that it doesn’t matter. It has any number of ways to express itself, from store closings, to dissolving pensions, to stock market instability, to divorce, homelessness, and war. It’s what you get from a hyper-financialized economy that doesn’t really produce wealth but only steals it from somewhere else. It’s not the fault of “capitalism,” which, in theory just stands for the management of a society’s savings. America doesn’t save, it borrows. Zero interest rates made savings a mug’s game, and zero interest rates were necessary to extend the borrowing far beyond the credible boundaries of repayment. Debt isn’t capital, it just pretends to be for a period of time. Wall Street made its trillions off the time-value of that pretense and now time is up.
Even in the hardship economy we’re sailing into, people will need to buy and sell things and it is very hard to see how that fundamental process of exchange might be reorganized going forward. Back in the 1990s I attended many a town meeting (in many towns) where chain stores applied for permits to set-up operations. It was often contentious. There was always a contingent of locals — organized by the chains themselves — waving placards that said “We Want Bargain Shopping.” And there were the short-sighted town officials drooling over the real estate tax “ratables” that chain stores represented. Their adversaries feared that their locally-owned Main Street businesses would be killed, and that was exactly what happened, in very short order. You could see it coming from a thousand miles away. Now the Big Boxes are going down. Boo Hoo….
What will emerge out of the current disorder? Perhaps Generations X-Y-and-Z will recognize an opportunity to go into business — as an alternative to purchasing a degree in gender studies for $200,000 (at 6 percent interest). There will be lots of opportunities, even in a world with generally less shopping. But it may require a deeper collapse to sweep away the impediments, both practical and mental, before that awareness turns to action.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When I was growing up, perhaps because of all of the moral ambiguity surrounding US involvement in the Vietnam War, the archetypal “G.I. Joe” was non-ideological and basically just an “Ass Kicker”. I recall a plastic GI Joe “Action Figure” with a big scar on his face and possessing something called a “Kung Fu Grip” used to purportedly dominate his opponents. I think that if young American teenagers let their fantasies “Run Wild”, GI Joe would have been engaged in pornographic, violent rape scenes either during counter-insurgency “OPs” against “Charlie”, or while on shore leave? Things would really go awry if a GI Joe happened upon an unaccompanied “Barbie Doll”.
BAD NEWS? In rural Sierra, they blame the Messenger
IT’S YOUR CONGRESS, PEOPLE! MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU!
by Ralph Nader
Congress is the Constitutionally delegated repository of the sovereign authority of the people (the Constitution which starts with “We the People,” not “We the Congress!”). Most of the changes, reforms, and improvements desired by a majority of people have to go through Congress. Incentives for change often start with Congressional elections or grass-roots organizing. But sooner or later, change has to go through the gates of our national legislature on Capitol Hill.
This point is so obvious that it is astonishing so many reformers fail to regularly hammer home that we must intensely focus on Congress.
Just 535 humans (Senators and Representatives) need your votes far more than they need fat cat campaign contributions.
Guess what the following twelve redirections or changes have in common with one another?
- A living wage, much higher than the long-frozen federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour
- Full Medicare for all or what is called a “single payer” system covering everybody, with free choice of doctor and hospital, is much cheaper and has better outcomes than the present complex, bureaucratic, price-gouging, claim denying, profits-first chaos in the U.S.
- Moving swiftly to a renewable, solar-based, wind-powered, more efficient energy system, that diminishes climate disruption and toxic pollution.
- Cleaner air, water, soil and food for a healthful environmental for today and for coming generations.
- Clean elections reform and strong, enforceable laws against public corruption.
- Criminal justice reform, especially regarding non-violent offenses and additional reforms of sentencing and prisons.
- Stopping taxpayers from being required to pay for very costly corporate welfare, or what conservatives call “crony capitalism” in all its many forms.
- Enforcing the criminal and civil laws against corporate rip-offs, thefts, hazardous products, and hearing the voices of workers, consumers and those from beleaguered communities (especially on the public’s airwaves unfairly controlled by the monetized gatekeepers called radio and television stations).
- Protecting access to justice for wrongfully injured people to have their full day in court with trial by jury as demanded by the country’s founders and our Constitution.
- Protection of the public lands – the national and state forests and the national parks and wilderness regions from corporate profit-driven encroachment and despoliation.
- Re-evaluating the loss of lives from unconstitutional, boomeranging wars abroad that spread death and destruction abroad making more people our enemies. These wars have also taken trillions of taxpayer dollars from rebuilding our community infrastructure – schools, highways, bridges, public transit, libraries, health clinics, drinking water/sewage works, and environmental cleanups.
- Make it easier for consumers, workers, and small taxpayers to band together for civic action and a powerful seat at the table with big businesses and their government toadies.
These twelve advances have the following in common:
- They have majority public opinion support – in some cases huge support– which means many liberal and conservative voters agree, which can produce an unstoppable political movement.
- Most of them cost nothing or little to implement, bringing more efficiencies and less damage to our society. Wisdom is less expensive than constant folly or deep greed!
- They are understandable. People relate to the experiences, agonies, and dreams for a better life and livelihood for themselves and for their families.
- They provide people with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment – traits necessary for a worthy democracy to work. Cynicism and withdrawal begin to be reversed in favor of engagement and new civic institutions needed by our posterity.
- They all have to go through our Congress – a good majority of only 535 people whose names we know become much more responsive to citizen action, people-driven town meetings, civic agendas, and democratizing procedures inside Congress.
Start by inviting the old and new members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to your town-meetings. Five hundred citizens clearly signing a petition will get a Senator to attend; considerably fewer names a U.S. Representative.
When you have them face-to-face with no flak, you’ll see what “we the people” can accomplish. It has happened before in American history; it must happen again. (For more advice, see ratsreformcongress.org).
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
GOT SOME REAL PROS GOING HERE
27th Annual Professional Pianist Concert Begins This Weekend
This weekend, January 11, 12 & 13 the 27th Professional Pianist Concert will hit the stage with three concerts featuring eleven different pianists at the Mendocino College Center Theatre in Ukiah. Performers letting the keys fly this year are Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Gabriela Frank, Frankie J, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Sam Ocampo, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. The musical styles range from classical to jazz, boogie-woogie to Cuban, Broadway to ragtime…..each performance will be different!
This utterly fun and stimulating series features the finest regional pianists on stage in a living room environment throughout the performance trading stories and melodies with two pianos on stage to accommodate impromptu collaborations. The event is an annual sellout because of the diversity, quality in a multitude of styles of music and humor that takes place throughout the evening. A special sculpture art show benefitting fire victims featuring Spencer Brewer and Esther Siegel will also be on display at the Mendocino College Art Gallery throughout the weekend…not to be missed!
Friday, January 11th at 7:00pm will feature Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Chris James, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart, Sam Ocampo and Charlie Seltzer. Saturday, January 12th, 7:00pm performance features Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy DeWitt, Tom Ganoung, Elizabeth MacDougall, Ed Reinhart and Charlie Seltzer. Sunday afternoon’s 2:00pm performance will feature eight pianists for the 1st time in 25 years! The afternoon performance will include Spencer Brewer, Elena Casanova, Wendy deWitt, Gabriela Frank, Tom Ganoung, Chris James, Frankie J and Elizabeth MacDougall. No two concerts are the same, so if you love piano and piano music, enjoy more than one performance.
The concert benefits the Ukiah Community Concert Association, Mendocino College Recording Arts & Technology Program and the Allegro Scholarship Program. Tickets are on sale at Mendocino Book Co. in Ukiah, Mazahar in Willits and online www.UkiahConcerts.org. Tickets are $20 general admission and $30 "I ‘Wanna’ See the Hands" limited seating. For more information call (707) 463-2738.
Sponsors are Sparetime Supply, Ken Fowler Auto, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Mendocino College Recording Arts, Willits Furniture Center, Waterman Plants, K-WINE/MAX, KOZT-The Coast and KZYX/Z. Wine & refreshments will be provided by Ukiah Community Concert Association. The Center Theatre is at 1000 Hensley Creek Rd in Ukiah. There will be autographed CD's by the artists for sale in lobby.
Styles Of Music
Spencer Brewer- Contemporary Classical & Original Compositions
Elena Casanova- Cuban Classical & Jazz, Classical
Wendy deWitt- Boogie Woogie & Blues
Gabriela Frank- Grammy Winner, World Renown Contemporary Classical
Tom Ganoung- Originals, Rock, Classical
Frankie J- R & B, Soul, Gospel
Chris James- Traditional & Swing Era Jazz
Elizabeth MacDougall- Classical
Sam Ocampo- Jazz Pop
Ed Reinhart- Boogie-Woogie & Blues
Charlie Seltzer- Broadway & Show Tunes
“I HOPE that when machines finally take over, they won't build men that break down as soon as they're paid for.” — Poet Bob Kaufman
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
[The clearest statement of the overall situation we’ve seen.]
Trump is neither undermining institutions, nor is he “authoritarian”, nor is he fascistic, nor is he in the pocket of Putin, nor has he colluded with Russians in winning the election. All this is nonsense that covers in dishonor those cretins making such accusations.
Trump’s problems are much more mundane; is Trump competent in the areas his office requires? No, not to my eyes. This means he’s like the vast majority of us, he hasn’t got the intellectual capacity, nor the executive experience, nor the legislative, nor the communications skills.
This all means he hasn’t got the ability to effectively twist arms in private and public like LBJ, nor the ability to make hideously tough decisions like Truman, nor the combination of character and intellect and experience to take on a world gone mad like Roosevelt did in his time.
IMO Trump falls short in all these critical areas. There’s no objective yard-stick you can use, just your own eyes and ears to take the measure of the man and make the call.
Having said all this, he did openly talk about issues that the others refused to acknowledge and act on – for decades. This is to the others’ discredit. But has Trump thought things through?
But Trump’s most dire need is in having “bench strength” ie a body of competent, cabinet-level executives that he can call on, that are on board with his broad agenda, as well as support in the embedded and non-elected institutions we call the “Deep State”. This is the source of the ludicrous Mueller investigation, the preposterous Comey cover-up of Clinton malfeasance, the tooth-and-nail Pentagon opposition to withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Middle-East where day-in and day-out American presence solves nothing and wastes lives and money.
And it’ll be a while before we see extraction of the monumentally incompetent foreign affairs establishment from positions of influence. And it will similarly take some time before Wall Street’s slithery, vampire squid-like grip on organizations like the Treasury is loosened, similarly the Fed and other agencies where regulatory “capture” makes a farce of the very notion of regulation.
It’s like Herb Stein said, if something can’t go on forever it won’t. But you’ve also no doubt heard the saying that the market can stay irrational a lot longer than you can stay solvent. This goes too for irrationality in the bodies entrusted with governing for the commonweal. They’ve got a built-in momentum. You can point to the human tendency to group-think, institutional inertia because of size or complexity or collective laziness, the effect of money, the inherent hierarchical top-down nature of these bodies. You can theorize all you want, it isn’t going to help. If they don’t change direction, Herb’s Law will apply and they WILL go over a cliff.
The issue is one of time. For example, Europeans and Asians had been impoverished and abused for centuries. And Marx offered a conceptual alternative. He did his writing in the mid-1800s but it wasn’t for generations that adherents to his ideas took power. And then it turned into a bloody mess ie in Russia, China, Cambodia etc. I would urge those looking to maintain the status quo to look to history, to take into account the interests of people currently disparaged.
They might also look to people like the NSDAP and the paramilitary organizations allied to them. All these had a long incubation in the collective misery of ordinary people. That’s not to say that communism and fascism will re-surge. But if you don’t listen to the mass of common people, if you abuse them and call them deplorable, there will be hell to pay. Events will go pin-balling in directions nobody could foresee. This is what history teaches us. But we know they won’t listen.
CAN THE GREEN NEW DEAL BE SAVED?
A brave new climate plan challenged establishment Democrats to act; they balked
There is a new crop of progressives in the House of Representatives. Democratic Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, other mainly women freshmen colleagues, and a new youth movement, have taken the lead on pushing for the Green New Deal, an energy plan that addresses the urgency of climate change and calls for the elimination of all fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
But when Ocasio-Cortez offered a resolution for the establishment of a House select committee to explore the Green New Deal, it was promptly and predictably killed by the Democratic leadership who instead established their own Select Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped Florida Congresswoman, Kathy Castor to chair it. The panel will not directly address crafting a Green New Deal proposal.
However, the youth-led non-partisan Sunrise Movement, says the Green New Deal is far from dead. Group members have been actively recruiting support for the Green New Deal on Capitol Hill — they currently have 45 Members of Congress on board and counting. They gained headlines during Congressional sit-ins (which Ocasio-Corez joined) and arrests. They view Pelosi’s decision as nothing more than a corporate-backed copout and vow to fight on, organizing around the country to build support and momentum.
Full story and full text of the Green New Deal: beyondnuclearinternational.org/2019/01/07/can-the-green-new-deal-be-saved/
A CIVIL RIGHTS INSTITUTE in Alabama has withdrawn an award for Angela Davis—a longtime radical political activist, author, and academic—following pressure from the Jewish community, according to reports.
Black activists are upset by the decision, calling for protests and leadership changes at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The institute’s board of directors had chosen Davis, who has supported Palestinian rights and criticized Israeli policy in the past, to receive a human-rights award at its annual gala next month, but decided to withdraw the award and cancel the annual gala at which the Birmingham native would have been honored. The decision reportedly came after “supporters and other concerned individuals and organizations, both inside and outside of our local community, began to make requests that we reconsider our decision,” the institute’s board said in a statement. “Upon closer examination of Ms. Davis’ statements and public record, we concluded that she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based,” the statement reads.
ART IN THE MENDOCINO COAST BOTANICAL GARDENS 2019
Call for Artists
Deadline For Entry: March 15
We are now accepting applications for Art in the Gardens 2019! This celebration of creative expression, gorgeous gardens, music, beer, wine, and food attracts as many as 1,500 visitors each year. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens invites artists (open to all art mediums) to submit an application to exhibit their original work at the 27th Art in the Gardens held on Saturday, August 3 from 12PM to 5PM. Applications for this juried fine arts event will be accepted now through March 15, 2019. Jurying will take place following the deadline and we will send notifications by mid-April. Artist booths are framed by our 47 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens providing a unique and natural setting to display and sell art. Displaying your work amongst the summertime blooms of the Gardens is just one of the perks of participating in Art in the Gardens. Additionally, Gardens staff and volunteers are available to assist you in setting up and taking down your display and provide relief at your booth any time you need a break. Additionally, Friends of the Gardens provides a complimentary breakfast the morning of the event. Don’t miss this ideal opportunity to meet new clientele! While there is a non-refundable jury fee of $30, there is no booth fee. We work with a central cashiering system freeing you from having to handle cash and compute tax. A 25% commission (reduced from previous years!) will be taken from all artists’ sales. The commission will directly benefit the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens and our mission to engage and enrich lives by displaying and conserving plants in harmony with our Northern California coastal ecosystems. To be considered in the jury process please complete and submit the application by March 15, 2019. Complete the 2019 Artist Application: forms.gardenbythesea.org/view.php?id=22369
Please help us in our call for artists by asking your creative community to apply!
Roxanne Perkins, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
COASTAL STORYTELLERS: JAN 30TH
Coastal Storytellers will have a night of readings on January 30th from 6:30-8:30pm at the Community Center of Mendocino. Proceeds benefit the Community Center of Mendocino and their After School Enrichment Program. Local storytellers will share true tales on the theme "the best bad idea."
If you are interested in sharing a piece please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
ACTIVISTS DELIVERED PETITIONS WITH 1 MILLION SIGNATURES URGING GOVERNOR TO PHASE OUT FOSSIL FUELS
by Dan Bacher
Over two months before Governor Jerry Brown's term ends and Gavin Newson becomes the next California Governor on January 7, activists with the Brown’s Last Chance campaign delivered petitions with over 1 million signatures to Brown urging him to phase out fossil fuels in the state.
Representatives from Californians Against Fracking, the Central California Environmental Justice Network, Presente.org, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Amazon Watch, CREDO and other organizations held a press conference on the north steps of the Capitol building in Sacramento to call on the current and future state leadership to address “the harms that fossil fuels impose on the climate and communities.”
The event took place on November 1, during Día de Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, “to call attention to those who have lost their lives to illnesses associated with living in close proximity to oil and gas industry infrastructure and climate-fueled natural disasters, and to celebrate communities on the frontlines of extraction who organize tirelessly for oil and gas protections," according to the organizers.
Brown’s Last Chance was a campaign of over diverse 800 organizations united to demand that Governor Brown put the health and well-being of Californians and vulnerable communities globally before oil industry profits. Since April 2018, Brown’s Last Chance urged Brown to take the following actions:
• Establishing a health and safety buffer around existing and new drill sites.
• Announcing no new permits for oil and gas extraction, fossil fuel infrastructure, or petrochemical projects in California.
• Setting a global precedent by becoming the first oil producing state to announce a phase-out of existing production in line with the Paris climate goals, with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities, and economies, starting in places that are suffering most from the impacts of fossil fuel extraction.
The event followed Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit in September, where Governor Brown was confronted with a series of demonstrations by indigenous and frontline communities calling out his refusal to sever his close ties with the oil and gas industry — and challenging Brown’s expansion of offshore and onshore drilling in California and his BigOil-written carbon trading program.
In spite of Brown’s reputation as a “climate leader,” Brown’s administration has issued permits for over 21,000 new oil and gas wells, including new 238 offshore wells. More than 5 million Californians live within a mile of an active oil and gas well, leaving them vulnerable to respiratory problems, preterm births, and premature death, according to the groups.
The event began at 11:30 a.m. with opening remarks and an opening ceremony by Aztec dancers. Starting at noon, the organizers held a press conference on the north steps of the Capitol building, Sacramento, California before delivering the petitions to the Governor.
Speakers at the event included Adelita Serena, Mothers Out Front; Matt Nelson, Presente.org; Cesar Aguirre, Central California Environmental Justice Network; and Leila Salazar-López, Amazon Watch.
Azteca dancers arrayed in colorful ceremonial gear started off the program with a performance and smudged the petitions and participants.
Although Governor Brown was invited outside to receive the petitions, he didn't join them, so representatives from the campaign delivered the petitions inside the Capitol to Governor Brown’s office. Serena, Nelson and Salazar-López did speak briefly with a member of Brown’s staff when they delivered the petition.
In spite of receiving 1,000,000 signed petitions on November 1 and being confronted with 30,000 people marching in a climate protest in San Francisco in September, Governor Jerry Brown did not change any of his positions on fossil fuel extraction, carbon trading, the Delta Tunnels and other questionable environmental policies.
Now activists will be putting political pressure on the incoming Democratic Governor, Gavin Newson, to do the right thing and change the state government's course on these issues.
Hopefully, Newson will be open to breaking with Brown’s controversial policies, including his oil drilling expansion, carbon trading program and Delta Tunnels project.
Idle No More SF Bay sang carols urging Newson to make “courageous decisions”
With this in mind, Idle No More SF Bay members and their allies on December 22, 2018, sang special Christmas carols at the Marin County home of California Governor-Elect Governor Gavin Newsom. The lyrics in the songs asked Newson to make “courageous decisions on a survivable climate,” including stopping the oil drilling expansion, carbon trading program and Delta Tunnels project of Governor Jerry Brown, as well as opposing the federal Shasta Dam raise.
As they were caroling, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Newsom’s wife and a prominent filmmaker, asked her driver to stop the SUV she was riding in down the driveway and got out of the car to talk to the carolers. She talked with Alison Ehara-Brown and Dr. Melinda Micco from Idle No More SF Bay and the Indigenous Women of the Americas Defending Mother Earth Treaty. Siebel Newson explained that Gavin Newson was at a funeral at the time.
Siebel Newson began singing the Little Drummer Boy with the revised lyrics along with the carolers after she was invited to do so. Here are some of the lyrics, written by Ehara-Brown, Maria De Lime Dorsey, Amanda Bloom and Amy Hutto:
Come we’re calling, pa rum pa pum pum
to our new future governor pa rum pa pum pum
We pray you’ll do the right thing pa rum pa pum pum
And bring much needed change pa rum pa pum pum
We’ve come to meet you, pa rum pa pum pum Welcome!!
Gavin Newsom, pa rum pa pum pum
Are you gonna do something? pa rum pa pum pum
Join us to make a bright way pa rum pa pum pum
California needs to start today
Today, today, today
Fossil free California, It’s possible
We’re so excited to see what you’ll bring
Apparently so much we’ve come to sing
No new fracking wells, or refineries
To keep the future for everybody
For everybody, For everybody
For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/…
Group exposes Brown’s close relationship with a Big Oil lobbyist
Also, as Governor Brown was getting read to leave the Governor’s Office, the Public Accountability Initiative published a new report revealing that one of Brown’s closest confidants is a top California oil lobbyist who has repeatedly lobbied his office on behalf of industry clients that received major concessions from Brown.
“Lucie Gikovich, a lobbyist with the Crane Group, has been the top California lobbyist for oil industry powerhouse Phillips 66 since late 2012, raking in nearly a million dollars. She lobbied Brown’s office repeatedly on his cap and trade program, which ultimately contained concessions worth billions of dollars to oil refiners like Phillips 66,” according to the Initiative.
“After the historic Aliso Canyon methane leak of 2015-2016 and the evacuation of thousands of nearby residents, Gikovich lobbied Brown’s office on behalf of SoCalGas, the owner of the gas field, against a bill that would have granted disaster victims more options to litigate against the company. Brown vetoed the bill after Gikovich lobbied his office. The report also shows that Gikovich lobbied Brown’s office on behalf of Halliburton on a major fracking regulation bill that many criticized as containing concessions to the fossil fuel industry,” the group eported.
“Gikovich has been a close confidant of Brown’s for decades. She was a top aide during Brown’s first stint as Governor from 1975 to 1983 and was paid $780,000 to represent the city of Oakland when Brown was mayor between 1999 and 2007. Gikovich has lobbied Brown’s office on behalf of corporate clients since 2011, even as Brown stayed at her Washington, DC home, a possible violation of ethics rules, and brought her on official trade delegations abroad in 2013 and 2014,” the initiative stated.
The report calls on Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom to “sever the state’s ties with Gikovich and to support an independent investigation into Gikovich's lobbying efforts in California under Brown.”
To read the full report, go to: public-accountability.org