- Stormy Weekend
- Patricia Lookout
- Navarro Watch
- PG&E Bonuses
- Lawyers First
- Assistant DA
- Care-A-Van Manchester
- Chocolate Strawberries
- Super Snacks
- Ed Notes
- Local Milk
- Pancake Breakfast
- News Hound
- Schellville Tankers
- Yesterday's Catch
- Candidate Boudin
- WaterFix Award
- Creamy Reflections
- Jackie Robinson
- Deadly Double
- Best Friend
- Voter Registration
- Angry Mom
- Richard Brautigan
A STRONG STORM SYSTEM will bring periods of rain and gusty winds through Saturday, with showers, small hail, and lowering snow levels Sunday and Monday. Drier weather will return by Tuesday. (National Weather Service)
BOLO: BE ON THE LOOKOUT.
14 year old Patricia Green was last seen on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 9:00 a.m.
Patricia is approximately 5'02" and 110 pounds with reddish/purple hair and green eyes. Patricia was last seen wearing "Pink" brand sweatshirt and sweat pants. If you see Patricia or know of her immediate whereabouts, please call the Fort Bragg Police non-emergency dispatch at (707) 964-0200.
(Fort Bragg Police)
MSP'S 'EYE ON THE NAVARRO RIVER'
NO THREAT OF HWY 128 FLOODING - YET
The Navarro River watershed may be receiving a couple inches of rain from the storm systems blowing in this weekend - but "so far" NOAA is NOT predicting a rise in the river level that would force CalTrans & CHP to close Highway 128.
As it stands now, it looks like there'll be two "crests - 10.7' @ 4:00 am Sunday, February 3, then another 11.3' crest @ 2:00 am on Monday, February 4th.
Both are well below the 23.0' flood stage - but these forecasted levels are constantly changed/updated so we'll be keeping an eye on them for sure.
The last reading (Thursday @ 12:15 pm) from the (upstream) USGS river gauge found the level at 3.88' but it was still discharging a massive amount of water into the ocean.
BANKRUPT PG&E EXECS WANT BIG BONUSES
Tucked inside PG&E’s mammoth bankruptcy filing is a company request that the judge in the case approve payment of $130 million in cash incentive bonuses to thousands of PG&E employees, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records made public on Tuesday. The San Francisco-based utility launched a full-scale quest in the bankruptcy court to assure that the company can continue with the short-term incentive programs for 14,000 employees. “PG&E believes the short-term incentive program awards incentivize strong employee performance and are critical to ensuring that employees stay motivated and reach higher performance standards,” PG&E stated in its request. The short-term incentive awards are due to be paid out in March for the performance of the workers during 2018, the court documents show. Word of PG&E’s bonuses request jolted some of the company’s critics. “PG&E says it’s too poor to pay fire victims but has enough money to pay $130 million in bonuses,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Action, a frequent harsh critic of PG&E and the state Public Utilities Commission. “A company that does that is unworthy of the support of Gov. (Gavin) Newsom, the Legislature and the PUC.”
FULL MERCURY NEWS REPORT: PG&E bankruptcy: Utility seeks to pay $130 million in bonuses, void green energy contracts
LAWYERS GET PAID FIRST
The PG&E financial situation is complex, but any solution that allows money to go to fire engine-chasing attorneys should be ruled out from the start.
SUPES SET to promote newly hired Chief Deputy DA to Assistant DA.
(From next Tuesday’s Board Agenda packet):
Mr. Trigg resigned as Del Norte County DA back in June of 2017 (from the Del Norte Triplicate):
“Dale Trigg resigns as Del Norte County DA
“June 1, 2017 — Del Norte County District Attorney Dale Trigg announced Thursday afternoon that he is leaving the DA’s office, effective as of 5 p.m.
Trigg cited reasons of compensation, saying
“Before I was elected District Attorney (DA) on June 3, 2014, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina told me that he was aware of the structural pay issues for the DA and promised to correct it. I took him at his word. Three years later, nothing has changed. The Assistant District Attorney (ADA) position remains the plum job in the DA's Office as it is by far the highest paid and never answers to the voters for the difficult decisions that have to be made every day. This decision has nothing to do with Katie Micks, the current ADA.
I like her personally and respect her professionally. We have worked very well together over the years. She would be the first to tell you that the DA should be paid more than the ADA.
Under the current pay structure, if a newly elected DA and a newly hired ADA who were both new county employees started working on the first day of the DA's first term in office, the ADA would pass the elected DA in just two years (halfway through the DA's first term). Over the course of their respective careers, the elected DA, the constitutional office holder chosen by the voters to be the chief law enforcement officer of the county, would be out earned by his/her subordinate, the ADA, who has complete job security.
Currently, I make over $17,000 less than my ADA, who also gets over forty paid days off per year between vacation, holidays, illness and administrative leave. I have taken about half of that personal time away from the office in all three of my years combined. I will not earn what my ADA does today until January, 2023 if I am elected to a third term in office. Of course the ADA salary will also increase between now and then, so I will never catch up.
I don't know a prosecutor anywhere who is in it for the money. That is certainly not what motivated me to run for DA. That said, fair is fair. I know for a fact that I am the only DA in the state of California, probably in the country, who makes less than his/her ADA. This pay structure simply makes no sense. Jay Sarina and several of you whom I have personally spoken with about this issue agree. Yet, inexplicably, there is simply no willingness to right this wrong. Three years is long enough to wait for the promise to properly compensate this position to be fulfilled. I have accepted an employment offer that has a compensation package that better reflects my experience and ability and will appropriately reward my productivity and results.”
ED NOTE: Reportedly Mr. Trigg made $114k including benefits at the time of his resignation from Del Norte. This new Mendo Assistant DA contract would raise that to $203k including benefits.
AVA Court Reporter Bruce McEwen noted back in August:
“Assistant DA Rick Welsh did not wait and see, though. His last day was Friday. The former Assistant DA said he was tired of waking up without his wife, who is a school teacher in Orange County, and chose not to give up her job to accommodate her husband’s career. No replacement yet, for that post, but the long-vacant job of Chief Deputy DA – last held by Jill Ravitch, who is currently in her third term as DA of Sonoma County – has been taken over by former Del Norte County DA Dale Trigg. Mr. Trigg is a big guy, he kind of reminds me of Hamilton Berger in the old black and white Perry Mason series on TV. Mr. Trigg strikes me as the kind of guy who can pin Mr. Aaron to the mat as soon as the referee blows the whistle – but, of course, courtroom brawlers are not wrestling celebrities: those guys all go into politics and run for the governor’s mansion, not some little out-of-the way public defender’s office.” (Bruce McEwen)
PET CARE-A-VAN IN MANCHESTER ON FEB 12 & 13
The Mendocino County Pet Care-a-Van returns to the Manchester Community Center - Garcia Guild on Tuesday, February 12 & Wednesday, February 13. Spay and neuter surgeries are by appointment only. As of this email, there is still some open slots for surgeries. Please call in advance to (707) 513-7604. Vaccinations are $10 - $13 each and DO NOT need an appointment. Stop by the Care-A-Van for vaccines, heartworm testing, feline combo testing and microchipping between 10 am and 2 pm. The Manchester Community Center is at 43970 Crispin Road just east of Highway 1.
CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES, $25
Boonville — This Valentine’s Day celebrate your special one with some chocolate dipped strawberries. Mosswood Market is taking orders now. Receive a free rose with your purchase. Hurry…last day to order is February 11th!
Provided by: La Buena Michoacana in Ukiah
SUPER BOWL IN BOONVILLE — FREE
Super Bowl will be on at the Boonville Brewery. There will be a pot luck snack table. Come show off your favorite game day snacks. Kickoff is at 3:30. The more the merrier.
RUSSIAN GULCH BRIDGE
WEDNESDAY'S PRESS DEMOCRAT asks the crucial question: "Tell us, do you have an interesting tattoo?" again confirming the absence of intelligent life at the Rose City daily.
THE FRIENDS of ruth weiss have established this website "for updates and to volunteer" care: my.lotsahelpinghands.com/community/help-the-goddess-of-the-beat
WILL SOMEONE tell Coast Hospital trustee Jessica Grinberg that she wasn't elected to the board to abstain, which she did on the vote to fire CEO Edwards?
SORRY TO HEAR that Alice Choteau has died. Doug and Alice Choteau were long-time residents of the Mendocino Coast. Doug died in a gun accident at the Choteau home last year. Alice, among her many gifts, was an ace gardener, developing the Choteau place on Airport Road north of Fort Bragg into a kind of rain forest spectacular.
DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL IRONY, this excerpt from Louise Ross of Manchester to the Independent Coast Observer: "…High journalism standards to be 'fair and balanced' have certainly never been a consideration. Amazingly, there are people in this community who do not share your blatant progressive/liberal political agenda…"
LOOKED AT OBJECTIVELY, the ICO, is cautiously mainstream liberal in its occasional editorials, and tiptoes even more cautiously around South Coast issues, especially Point Arena's failed schools, bumbling school board, preposterously overpaid superintendent, and so on, to name one example of the paper's prudently prophylactic reporting. But the paper's letter's columns have always been open to dissenting views. Jeez, Louise.
ALSO from the ICO we learn that the Point Arena Cove is being undermined by a combination of killer waves and high tides. The old Cove was wiped out years ago by a tsunami version of the same phenomena and, with the oceans rising as the polar ice caps melt, structural repairs to the oceanside Cove may be futile. In my half-assedly informed opinion, solidified by frequent walks to and from the Ballpark along Frisco's Embarcadero, ten years ago high tide waves did not break over the sidewalk. For the last five years they have. The Globe has warmed.
TAI ABREU will be in Judge Cindee Mayfield's court (Courtroom B) on Wednesday, February 6th, 9am. In the most grotesque miscarriage of justice I've seen in the Mendocino County courts, Abreu's, by far, is the most egregious. To be fair to the local courts, with only a couple of exceptions, and those among the judges who never should have been elevated to the bench, most convicted persons have had it coming. Abreu had it coming, too, for his role in the death of Donald Perez, lured to Fort Bragg for what Perez thought would be another round of sex with August Stuckey but became the victim of a stoner plot to rob him. (Interested persons can read the whole story at the links at the foot of this paragraph.) Perez wound up duct taped to a tree on the north bank of the Noyo less than a mile from the Fort Bragg Police Department. Three young men — Stuckey, Abreu and Aaron Channel — were subsequently charged with his murder, although Perez's remains were so badly decomposed the county coroner could not establish a certain cause of death. Stuckey and Channel pled out and received versions of second degree murder convictions at 20 years to life. Abreu's public defender, Linda Thompson, talked Abreu, then 19, into taking his non-case to a jury where, after a one-day "trial" where public defender Thompson did nothing but strenuously argue for her client's guilt, Abreu was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. So, what we had was an alleged murder committed by three very young men one of whom, Channel, is already out, Stuckey, the most murderous of the three who claimed Perez had raped him, will eventually get out, while Abreu, who functioned as lookout man up on the road while Channel and Stuckey did whatever they did down by the river, never getting out. Until now. Maybe. Which is why Abreu is back in Mendocino County for his case to be heard again under the new revision of the California Murder Rule. That law has been amended to permit persons only tangentially involved in deliberate killings to get their sentences proportionately adjusted. If Abreu's two confederates were eligible for parole, simple justice should require that Abreu's sentence should also be proportionately adjusted. Abreu has admitted robbing Perez but denies having any part in killing him. (Persons close to the case think it is almost certain that Stuckey plunged a knife into Perez's throat. Stuckey is presently in the process of a state-paid prison sex change, but at the time of this sad event he was still ambiguous about his homosexuality, hence the likelihood that it was he who did the murder.) How all this plays out Wednesday in the County Courthouse, Ukiah, is going to be interesting, certainly. A fair disposition would see the judge sustain the robbery part Abreu played in the Perez crime, vacate the murder charge against him and set him free. Abreu's done 18 hard years in state prison and, off a nearly flawless record inside, and given his considerable natural intelligence, he is unlikely to ever get in trouble again. So far as I'm aware, Abreu is only the second person in the state to test the new law. The first guy to test it has been released from San Quentin.
- Here is the link for the whole story: old-theavacom.dream.press/05/1221-perezcase.html
- A shorter version: old-theavacom.dream.press/04/0526-otr-tai-abreu.html
AMONG THE ADS for cars and beer on CBS’s coverage of the Super Bowl this year, Acreage Holdings, a large US based cannabis company, planned to place an ad for medical marijuana. CBS said no. It would stick to sex and beer.
The company released a statement saying that it doesn’t accept cannabis advertisements.
Substantially over half of US states have some form of legalized access to marijuana.
FRESH MILK SHARES
Hello Anderson Valley. Got Fresh, Golden, Cream-Top, Raw milk?
Well we do! It is delicious and we are excited to share. Our flexible cow herd-share allows locals to join as members of our farm and pick up milk from our farm, two blocks out of downtown Boonville. We will also have eggs, olive oil, yogurt, cheese, and other treats available from the farm. Please see the flyer below for more information. Thanks and we hope to hear from you and see you on the farm soon.
AV GRANGE LOCAL ORGANIC PANCAKE BREAKFAST Sunday, Feb 10 from 8:30 to 11 AM featuring natural bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs and buttermilk pancakes made from Mendocino Grain Project flour. Any combination plus a gluten free version $5-10. Its a great place to meet up or just start Sunday.
Plus if you want to sing or play music for your meal, a couple of tunes puts breakfast in front of you!
FIRST GRADER FOR KAMALA
SCHELLVILLE WILDLIFE PRESERVE UNDER SIEGE!
LPG Tankers and Sewage Plant Leak!
by members of Mobilize Sonoma: Norman Gilroy, Jim Braun, Tom Martin
When taken together, two separate events in January illustrated how much danger lurks in Schellville due to the presence of the more than 130 LPG rail tankers that are stored there now.
From January 5-8 over four (4) inches of rain fell in the Sonoma Valley. At about the same time, and to the surprise of many residents, the North West Pacific Railroad moved its rail tankers filled with Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Schellville to higher ground on the through track near Tolay Creek and Ram’s Gate Winery. This move brought the gas-laden tankers to within a couple of hundred feet of Highway 121, putting passing commuters in danger for almost a week (see photo) When the rains subsided, the tankers were returned to the Schellville yard.
On January 12, Two Million Gallons Of Sewage Filled Schellville Slough! As explained by the Sonoma County Sanitation District, the cause of the spill was a faulty valve that leaked effluent into the wildlife preserve. There have been no published reports of damage resulting from the spill. Water District officials told local news services, however, that we were lucky to have a period of heavy rain that diluted the sewage. The sanitation plant serves 11,000 customers, almost all of whom live in the City of Sonoma.
The Relationship between the Tankers and the Sewage Plant… In the event of a tanker fire and explosion at the northern end of the Schellville tanker yard, the sewage plant may be in jeopardy and under threat of closure. The plant and the storage yard are a mere half mile apart. Recall last year’s fire nearby at the pallet factory. A gas tank there, small in comparison with just one tanker car, exploded and rocked the area. The tank itself was thrown in the air across Highway 121. Think of the damage and chaos if one or more of the nearly160 tankers stored at the Schellville yard caught fire or exploded. Each tanker holds over 30,000 gallons of pressurized liquefied petroleum gas.
A fire in one or more tankers parked near 8th Street East could cause an explosion that would be large enough for the blast and flames to reach the sanitation plant, and beyond. Are those sewage valves likely to just leak again in such a horrendous event? Or, more likely, will they disappear altogether, releasing untreated sewage into the wetlands in amounts far in excess of what was experienced in January, while shutting down all sewer service to the residents of the City of Sonoma till the plant is repaired or rebuilt – which could be months.
To make things worse, LPG fires cannot be extinguished with water; they require foams and chemical retardants. Thus, Schellville Slough and Sonoma Creek, and the wetlands they serve all the way to San Francisco Bay, would be environmentally devastated, this time not just by leaked sewage but by the chemicals used to fight the fire.
Truly a disaster waiting to happen!
Causes of a tanker accident? The probabilities are several: Subsidence, Earthquake, Terrorist Act, Errant Stupidity…
Subsidence, or soil failure under stress of weight, could tilt or topple a tanker, and subsidence is especially likely in times of flooding, or in an earthquake. Fear of an accident due to subsidence and potential track failure is likely why the tankers were moved to “higher ground” this year when the land around the tanker yard was flooded, as it is at that time of the year, every year. A 2007 geologist’s report done for the North Coast Railroad Authority concluded that subsidence was a serious problem:
“The rail line is built on intertidal deposits between Lombard (Napa County) and Petaluma (often referred to as Bay Mud). The intertidal deposits consist of soft compressible silts, clays and occasionally peat. These materials are very weak and susceptible to settlement when loaded with fill. A geotechnical investigation by Kleinfelder (2007) south of Petaluma indicates that these sediments have been compressed as much as 6.5 feet from the loading of the railroad embankment. Progressive compression and resulting subsidence is a common occurrence when heavy loads, such as an embankment is placed above.”
The tanker farm is located within 2 kilometers of the Rodgers Creek-Healdsburg fault. This fault is considered the most likely to move among several in northern California. The geologist’s report to the North Coast Railroad Authority indicated a high degree of problems in case of an earthquake.
“The rail line and bridges are susceptible to significant ground shaking and liquefaction from earthquakes that could damage the line. In addition, the rail line could be damaged by displacement where active faults cross the line along the Lombard (Napa County) to Novato segment and in Bakers Creek. Potential impacts vary based on a number of factors including distance to the epicenter, magnitude of the earthquake, duration of ground shaking, nature of the underlying soils, and the construction of the structures.”
Who knows what madness rests in some people’s heads? A domestic terrorism attack is always a possibility, as is vandalism or just human stupidity. Tankers in storage are supposed to be enclosed by protective fencing and guarded day and night. Yet at the Schellville yard there are no fences, and very few people are ever seen on the premises except when new trains pass through. Whether guarded or not, the tankers sit for most of the time in the open near two heavily travelled major thoroughfares, and protection appears minimal.
When the volunteers at Mobilize Sonoma were collecting petition signatures at the Farmers Market to call for the removal of the tankers, one signator exclaimed, “Yeah. I go out there hunting!” A misaimed shot that ruptures a tanker could cause death and destruction for miles around in Schellville whether it comes from a hunter’s firearm or just the gun of a nearby crazy person with destruction on his mind.
NCRA/SMART Madness – Sonomans Must Act!
Why does the railroad store the tankers in Schellville? It’s because they, and everybody involved, makes money. The North Coast Railroad Authority, and its contractor, NWPCo., makes money from the oil companies who pay to have the LPG stored off site rather than at their refineries . The track owners, SMART – Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit – collect fees from North Coast Railroad. All of them profit at the expense of the safety of Sonomans, their sewage plant, their wineries, their businesses, and their households.
This potential environmental disaster lurks just beyond the city limits of the City of Sonoma. The City Council should be concerned enough to raise its voice in protest. When the City Council of Benecia revoked the railroad’s permit in 2016, it stopped the movement of rail tankers through their city. A Sacramento Bee editorial applauded Benecia for acting on behalf of the cities of Sacramento, Davis, and Vacaville. Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor was quoted in the Bee, “The community of Benecia, in the cross hairs of history, made one of those decisions that will make a difference for the country. They stood up and said the safety of our communities matters.”
Sonoma County Supervisors also need to take a stand. Supervisors Rabbitt and Zane serve on the SMART Board, and they are there to speak for the people of all of the County, not just their own District. When the City of Novato disputed practices of SMART, the suit it filed resulted in an agreement and a consent decree that satisfied its residents. Will the City and/or County of Sonoma take similar steps, this time to get the tankers out of Schellville and to remove the danger that is present every day there?
As a reader, you can do something to help. Join over 350 citizens who have signed petitions asking for the removal of tankers in Schellville. Go to www.mobilizesonoma.org to sign a petition. GTO – Get Tankers Out!
Accidents do happen! There have been 37 major LPG accidents in North America since 2012. Let’s make certain Sonoma-Schellville isn’t No. 38!
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 31, 2019
LANDRIE ALLEGRINI, Fort Bragg. Conspiracy.
RICHARD BOWERS, Willits. Suspended license, failure to appear.
ZACHARY COLLINS, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
NESTOR ESCARENO-FLORES, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, DUI, resisting, probation revocation.
BRIDGETTE MAPLE, Ukiah. Petty theft ($950), interfering with police communications.
JOSHUA PETERS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
JAMES RENICK JR., Redwood Valley. Fishing without license, community supervision violation, resisting.
ALEX SANCHEZ, Fort Bragg. Battery, criminal threats, conspiracy.
FABIAN SANCHEZ, Fort Bragg. Conspiracy.
MARIO SANCHEZ, Fort Bragg. Conspiracy.
DAYNIECE SHILLINGS, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
AUSTON STEPTOE, Willits. Failure to appear.
ROBERT TARBAH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
CHESA BOUDIN: A RADICAL CHILD OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM SEEKS TO REFORM THE SF DA’S OFFICE
by Jonah Raskin
“Corruption is a dagger at the heart of democracy. The best antidote to corruption, racism, and tyranny is transparency and civic engagement.”– Chesa Boudin
The name, Chesa Boudin, may not mean much to San Francisco voters, at least not yet. After all, his campaign for DA has just begun. But to American radicals of at least two generations, his last name rings a lot of bells. His grandfather, Leonard Boudin, a criminal defense lawyer, represented Dashiell Hammett, Paul Robeson, the Cuban government of Fidel Castro, as well as Dr. Spock and Daniel Ellsberg.
Chesa’s parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were members of Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground. They were both arrested in the wake of a botched attempt to rob a Brinks armored vehicle in 1981. His mother served time until 2003, when she was released. His father is still in prison.
In many ways, Chesa is a child of the criminal justice system. Given his background it seems inevitable that he became a lawyer.
Bernardine Dohrn and Billy Ayers helped raise him in Chicago, along with their two sons. He calls them his brothers; their parents are also his parents. After college, Chesa researched the Chavez government in Venezuela, though he was also a critic of Chavez and his government. “Chavez devoted a lot of time and energy to reforming the Constitution so he could stay in office longer, legally,” he told me. “I thought he should have spent more time developing new leadership.”
Chesa’s first name comes from Swahili and means to dance or to play. He has been a world traveler—he has been to over 100 countries— and has written about some of his experiences in Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America. I first met him in 1990 in Chicago where he was playing Little League baseball. Bernardine Dohrn, who was then teaching at Northwestern University School of Law, was his biggest fan. In 2009, when I interviewed him for publication, he told me that he thought that the American Empire was “stressed,” but that it was “an amazingly resilient system,” and “would not likely collapse in your life time and probably not in mine.” A decade later, it’s still both stressed and resilient. At the age of 38, Chesa Boudin is stronger than ever. A San Francisco resident since 2012, he visited the city all through his boyhood. He began to work in the public defender’s office the same year he settled in SF. Now, he’s a veteran, and nobody owns him except himself.
JR: I assume your parents have encouraged you to run for office. Yes?
CB: No, not at all. Not their choice.
JR: Care to say something about the efficacy of electoral politics as a means for social change?
CB: There are numerous ways to make the world a better, more equal and a fairer place. I’ve worked with labor organizers and unions, engaged in direct services work, and I’ve used impact litigation. The more we work together the better. There are moments in history, such as the current race for DA, where electoral politics presents a uniquely effective way to build a social movement and implement significant policy changes.
JR: Do you wear a label, such as liberal, radical, progressive?
CB: I don’t do labels, in part because they have meanings which constantly evolve.
JR: Why are you running for DA?
CB: It’s the first time in over 100 years where there’s no incumbent in the race for San Francisco DA, and the first time in decades when there has been a national consensus that we need to rethink the way we approach crime and punishment. The outgoing DA, George Gascon, had a progressive mandate, but was unable to accomplish all he promised. Still, he built things like the collaborative courts, diversion programs and moved away from money bail. The other candidates in the race are on Gascon’s right and could quickly destroy the progress he has made. I want to build on it.
JR: What happened with Gascon and his mandate?
CB: I think there was a lot of resistance from within the DA’s office and the police department, which undermined his ability to accomplish his goals.
JR: What’s are the problems you mean to address?
CB: The criminal justice system today is one of mass incarceration plagued with racial disparities. Instead of equal justice, we have money bail. Instead of meaningful treatment, we use solitary confinement. Instead of funding schools, we build prisons. The kind of justice you receive shouldn’t be determined by the size of your bank account, where you work, or the color of your skin.
JR: Tell me what you’ve done in the legal field so far.
CB: I’ve worked my whole life to reform this system: it’s why I became an attorney. As a San Francisco Deputy Public Defender, I’ve handled hundreds of felony cases, helped establish an immigration defense unit and led the fight against money bail. I know the judges, the juries, the prosecutors and the police officers. I know the men and women charged with crimes, and the communities affected by them. I know our criminal justice system is broken. I’m running for District Attorney because I know how to fix it.
JR: What makes you stand out in the crowd of candidates?
CB: I’m the only one in the race who has been directly impacted by the criminal justice system my whole life. I’m the only candidate who currently works in the Hall of Justice. Over the last five years I’ve spent more time litigating cases in the Hall of Justice than all of the other candidates combined. I’m the only candidate who has worked with men and women accused of crimes and helped them turn their lives around, get off the streets and on their feet.
JR: You visited your mother, Kathy Boudin when she was in prison and your father, Dave Gilbert, who is still behind bars.
CB: I have a lifetime visiting prisons, thinking about and working on criminal justice reform. In high school I spoke out in support of other children with incarcerated parents. At Yale I learned that one of my childhood friends ended up incarcerated on the same cellblock as my father. He was black and I was white. He excelled in school when I was falling behind. Yet he was in jail while I was at college.
JR: You went to Yale, an elite East Coast law school. What did you do there?
CB: I conducted research in partnership with the Association of State Correctional Administrators, which resulted in many states changing prison policies. After Yale I worked for two federal judges handling criminal trials and appeals, authorizing search warrants, and learning the highest standards for ethics and integrity in the application of the law. I currently serve on the boards of two non-profits leading criminal justice reform efforts both in California and nationally.
JR: Can you tell me about your work as a lawyer in San Francisco?
CB: I’ve handled hundreds of felony cases, tried more than two dozen cases to jury verdict. I helped launch our office’s immigration unit and partnered with the sheriff to ensure equal treatment for non-citizens.
JR: You’ve also worked in the community.
CB: I built a coalition of civil rights groups and persuaded big law firms to initiate impact litigation. I’ve helped San Francisco implement risk assessment algorithms to inform judicial decision-making. I launched a pre-arraignment representation unit—the first of it’s kind in California—which provides services in the critical period between arrest and first court appearance. It helps protect children, saves jobs and provides continuity of medical treatment.
Sadly, I watched innocent people plead guilty just because they were too poor to pay money bail.
JR: What would you do, if elected, that would make a difference?
CB: As DA my priority is public safety, which is only partly about drug sales, car break-ins and gun violence. It’s also about the times when police violate rights, people are subject to unlawful arrest, and crimes go unsolved because of lack of trust between law enforcement and the community. Public safety is about when someone in jail risks sexual violence and contagious diseases, and when we tear a child away from parents.
JR: So you feel the criminal justice system isn’t working?
CB: It’s broken, expensive, inefficient and inhumane. More than two thirds of people who are arrested and prosecuted come back into the system within a couple years of release. Their families suffer. Children grow up without parents. The cycle of crime, poverty and incarceration continues, creating more victims along the way.
JR: You want a safer city for everyone, is that correct? How will you do that?
CB: First, I’m going to prioritize victim’s rights. That means every victim of every crime in this city will have the right to participate in the process and have their voice heard. I will establish a restorative justice program for all crime victims who choose to participate. I will work to break the cycle of recidivism at its roots. Eighty-five percent of bookings into county jail are a person suffering from serious drug addiction, mental illness or both. Those people don’t get a free pass, but we will treat the cause not the symptoms. Drug addiction and mental illness are a public health epidemic.
JR: Is the law not enforced equally in San Francisco?
CB: No, it’s not. We must end racial disparities that plague every step of the process. We cannot have small, privileged groups, whether politicians, police officers, or landlords, believe that they’re above the law. All of us must follow the law and accept the consequences for failing to do so. If not, the system itself loses legitimacy.
JR: You have a vast array of big changes that you’d like to make.
CB: Absolutely. No death penalty, no charging juveniles as adults, no life without parole for juveniles, protection for immigrants and accurate statistics about crime. Also, we can’t just rely on the police to police themselves.
JR: Where does your support come from?
CB: Progressives, libertarians, immigrants. It comes from people who understand that we can decrease crime and empower victims without incarcerating more people than any other country in the world. In my corner, there are people of color who’ve been directly impacted by crime and incarceration, plus working folks, union members, and taxpayers who want to stop wasting our resources on failed, inhumane policies. People who want to build trust between the police and the communities they are supposed to serve and protect. People who know that we’re all much more than our worst mistakes, and who also understand that the status quo makes us unsafe.
JR: Are you familiar with the legal career of your grandfather, Leonard Boudin, who was a legendary civil rights and civil liberties lawyer?
CB: I’ve read cases that he litigated and heard about his legacy. People say he was a brilliant, courageous lawyer who was willing to fight and win for clients other lawyers wouldn’t even talk to. I knew him, personally, as a loving grandfather who taught me to swim and to play chess.
JR: Does your campaign have a slogan, or slogans?
CB: No, but I hope the campaign raises consciousness about criminal justice policy in ways that sound bytes could never do.
JR: What if anything did you learn from your work in Venezuela that you have adopted for your campaign for DA?
CB: There’s no direct link, but I think corruption is endemic, here and there. Corruption is a dagger at the heart of democracy. The best antidote to corruption, racism, and tyranny is transparency and civic engagement.
JR: Do we need a new jail in San Francisco?
CB: No, we do not. We can easily and safely reduce the jail population to a level that does not require a new jail. Instead of spending an estimated $300 million on a new jail we could invest half of that money in building new beds for residential mental health and drug treatment. Right now, people who are seriously mentally ill wait in jail an average of four months for a placement in a treatment facility. And 65% of people in the jail are held for less than a week. Twenty-seven percent of people in jail are there simply because they’re too poor to pay bail. Something’s very wrong with that picture. We’ve got to do something to change it.
JR: What is your strategy for winning the election for DA?
CB: Build a grassroots social movement. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
ABOUT THIS “PROGRESSIVISM”; in my view there’s some things coming out of it that helped some folk obtain a measure of justice. Imagine being drafted to fight in Indochina and then being barred from hotels when you’re travelling. There was a lot of stuff happening that just didn’t pass any sort of rudimentary fairness test.
Ok, so you know that anything you say before the word “but” doesn’t count.
But this “progressivism” looks to me like it’s been twisted in the service of agendas that have got nothing to do with elementary justice or even common sense, that where we’re being pulled by the educated – cough – “progressive” elite has got nothing to do with “progress” either.
For example, it looks to me like the lot of Blacks isn’t getting better but worse. It looks to me, with the growing armies of homeless and addicted in major coastal cities, these shining beacons of “progressive” politics, that “progressives” aren’t governing with the interests of ordinary people in mind, let alone the interests of the most woebegone.
We see how in the interior people are dying young, how average life expectancy is dropping, how people die of avoidable “diseases of despair”.
Does it look to you like “progressives” give a fuck about any of this? Not to me. When you say what ought to be self-evident, that it’s crazy to be importing millions of people at the same time as millions of jobs are being sent overseas, that this policy is one of seriously looking for serious trouble, the inevitable accusation from “progressives” is RACISM.
When you say that governments are working against the average joe and that the American worker has legitimate interests, “progressives” howl FASCISM.
When you tell them that the liberal world order, by the evidence of one’s own eyes, is a multi-decade catastrophe for wide areas of the globe, you get shrieks of AUTHORITARIANISM.
You’d think that “progressives”, supposedly so fact and evidence oriented, would believe what you and I believe, ie what we see under our own noses, but no, their rhetoric defies what’s visually obvious.
So, what do we conclude? We can say as you do, that their belief system is “faith-based”. It really is true that some of them are so invested in this framework of ideas that they cannot accept contradictory empirical evidence.
But that, I think, might be a generous interpretation for other “progressives” as it assumes the best intentions among them.
The other, less generous view is that, far from not knowing what they do, they know exactly what they do.
COMPANIES LIKE GLAXOSMITHKLINE and Pfizer regularly unveil new drugs, yet most real medical breakthroughs are made quietly at government-subsidised labs. Private companies mostly manufacture medications that resemble what we’ve already got. They get it patented and, with a hefty dose of marketing, a legion of lawyers, and a strong lobby, can live off the profits for years. In other words, the vast revenues of the pharmaceutical industry are the result of a tiny pinch of innovation and fistfuls of rent.
Even paragons of modern progress like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb are woven from the fabric of rentierism. Firstly, because they owe their existence to government discoveries and inventions (every sliver of fundamental technology in the iPhone, from the internet to batteries and from touchscreens to voice recognition, was invented by researchers on the government payroll). And second, because they tie themselves into knots to avoid paying taxes, retaining countless bankers, lawyers, and lobbyists for this very purpose.
Even more important, many of these companies function as “natural monopolies”, operating in a positive feedback loop of increasing growth and value as more and more people contribute free content to their platforms. Companies like this are incredibly difficult to compete with, because as they grow bigger, they only get stronger.
Aptly characterising this “platform capitalism” in an article, Tom Goodwin writes: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.”
— Rutger Bregman
FUGRO AWARDED GEOTECHNICAL INVESTIGATION FOR DELTA TUNNELS, EVEN THOUGH PROJECT HASN’T BEEN APPROVED
by Dan Bacher
Following the news that the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority (DCA) had selected the Jacobs company to be the engineering design manager for the Delta Tunnels, the DCA awarded Fugro a contract for a major geotechnical investigation to support the California WaterFix project.
The DCA has awarded the geotechnical investigation to Fugro and selected Jacobs as engineering design manager even though the State Water Resources Control Board has not yet approved the petitions by the Department of Water of Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to change the point of diversion, a requirement for the project to be constructed. The project needs over a dozen permits in order for construction to begin.
The awarding of contracts to Fugro and Jacobs by the DCA also takes place despite an avalanche of lawsuits by cities, counties, water districts, Tribes, fishing groups, environmental NGOs and other organizations against a project opponents consider to be the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.
Fugro describes itself as the “world’s largest integrator of geotechnical, survey, subsea and geosciences services.”
In a press release, Fugro said it is “leading a consortium carrying out investigations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region.”
The five-year contract for Fugro and its partners is valued at $75 million. The Fugro team for the contract includes five subconsultants as well as over 35 specialty sub-contractors, according to the release.
Fugro touts the California WaterFix (CWF) project as a “comprehensive effort to improve water conveyance from the Delta area to Southern California. Jacobs won a key engineering role on the project earlier this week.”
“The project involves constructing conveyance facilities which include three river water intakes, twin 30-mile long, 12m-diameter deep main tunnels, a pumping plant and canals to deliver water from the Sacramento River to existing infrastructure, including pumping plants located 42 miles away in the Southern end of the Delta,” Fugro said.
Fugro said it will deliver an “integrated site characterisation programme and engineering support to optimise design and minimise construction risks”. This programme comprises geological assessment, geophysics, drilling, sampling and laboratory testing.
“We are extremely pleased to work with the Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Authority in support of this important project that will contribute to improving the delivery of fresh water to millions of Californians,” said Brice Bouffard, director of the land division. “In line with our ‘Path to Profitable Growth’ strategy we are leveraging our core expertise and assets to increasingly deliver services in support of amongst others fresh water supply. As a result of global trends such as climate change and population growth, this market is expected to grow significantly.”
For more information about the geotechnical investigation, go to: www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/…
Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, commented on Fugro’s announcement:
“California WaterFix still needs well over a dozen permits in order for construction to commence,” said Barrigan-Parrilla-Parrilla. “Yet, the WaterFix Joint Power Authorities (JPA) are handing out $75 million contracts, and JPA members, like Santa Clara Valley Water District are looking at raising property taxes and water rates for their customers. The question is, how can such contracting be legal for a project that is not properly permitted?”
The Delta Tunnels, a controversial project promoted relentlessly by former Governor Jerry Brown that failed to obtain the necessary permits before Brown left office on January 7, is opposed by a broad coalition of fishing groups, Indian Tribes, environmental justice advocates, Delta farmers, Delta residents, conservation groups, cities, counties, water districts, cities and counties and elected officials. Tunnels opponents are trying to convince Governor Gavin Newson, who has said he would like to scale the project down to one tunnel, to drop the project, whether one or two tunnels, once and for all.
Opponents say the project, by diverting water from the Sacramento River through the tunnels to the federal and state water pumping facilities in the South Delta before it reaches the estuary, would hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter and spring-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperiling the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
In other Fugro news, the corporation reported four of its employees working at the dam location are missing after a dam collapsed at a mining site near Brumadinho in the Minas Gerais state in South-Eastern Brazil.
“Fugro has five colleagues working at the dam location, of which at this moment four are still unaccounted for. One colleague was rescued and is in a local hospital with minor injuries. Fugro is working with local authorities to get more information on the well-being of its colleagues and is providing full support to the families of the missing persons,” the corporation said.
According to the UK Guardian, ten bodies have been found and more than 400 people are unaccounted for after a dam operated by the mining firm Vale collapsed. The collapse released a wave of red iron ore waste, raising fears of widespread contamination. More information: www.theguardian.com/…
WHITE CHOCOLATE OREGON RASPBERRY SWIRL, IT'S WHAT'S ON OUR PLATE
Something inside this fast-aging soul responds to ice cream in the exact way intended. Every taste and texture receptor that's able stands at ready attention. The latest temptation in the freezer over there rests ready.
Even thinking of the treat in the offing brings pleasure. It also, oddly, brings for me a need to get it all down before it quickly melts into the narrative of things past.
All of us, each and every one, must do what we can to weaken and bring down this orange ghoul who has kidnapped our collective past, our nation, which most used to love and may yet. So I am a writer, or try to be. Writers write. It's what we can do. Were I somebody else, I might go hang some sheetrock or hang out a sign and instruct others on how they should live or maybe fly off to Cancun and dip my toes in the sand. But writers write, so here I am.
We must, somehow, give our so-called leaders pause. Although they seem to think so, they don't own it all, own none of it, really. Whether our goal is to see them hanging from lamp posts or watching their great grandchildren cavort outside a prison fence somewhere, we all long to see it, and to see them suffer inside while they're at it.
Thoughts of ice cream treats perhaps take us back to the time when we were kids outside the fence. We were pretty convinced that we could do anything from throw a sharp-breaking curve and popping that cherry to, in time, bringing down a government. It is time to feel, and to deserve, that confidence again. I can picture the half-gallon waiting in the freezer. White chocolate Oregon raspberry swirl. That's what's going to do it for me. And you, all y'all?
JACKIE ROBINSON reinvented the position of second baseman with his play on the field: wsj.com/articles/jackie-robinson-the-complete-ballplayer-11548890615
ON NOVEMBER 22, 1941, a strange advertisement appeared in the New Yorker magazine. It pictured a group of people sheltered from an air raid, playing dice. Under the headline “Achtung, Warning, Alerte!” the copy read, “We hope you’ll never have to spend a long winter’s night in an air-raid shelter, but we were just thinking … it’s only common sense to be prepared. If you’re not too busy between now and Christmas, why not sit down and plan a list of the things you’ll want to have on hand. … And though it’s no time, really, to be thinking of what’s fashionable, we bet that most of your friends will remember to include those intriguing dice and chips which make Chicago’s favorite game: THE DEADLY DOUBLE.” Scattered throughout the issue were six smaller tag ads referring back to the main copy, with the dice numbered 12 and 7, numbers on no known dice. Later during the war, navy transport pilot Joseph Bell was flying a South Pacific route when one of is passengers, an intelligence officer, told him that many in intelligence considered this ad a secret warning. He had been assigned to investigate the matter, but every lead had led to a dead end — the ad’s copy had been presented in person at the magazine’s offices, and the fee paid with cash. Neither the game offered in the ad, nor the company that purported to make it, ever existed.
Craig Nelson, “Pearl Harbor, from Infamy to Greatness”
IT TURNS OUT Snopes.com looked into this mystery shortly after it appeared in Craig Nelson’s fine book: snopes.com/news/2016/12/07/deadly-double-pearl-harbor-mystery/
WHEN A MAN’S BEST FRIEND IS HIS DOG, that dog has a problem.
— Edward Abbey
MCOE SUPPORTS YOUTH VOTER REGISTRATION PROJECT
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS FUNDS PROJECT
In collaboration with the Mendocino County Elections Department, the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) is supporting a countywide youth voter registration project funded by the League of Women Voters of Mendocino County (LWVMC).
LWVMC Co-President Cindy Plank said, “We want to make voter registration a rite of passage for all students.” The plan is to build on civic education that occurs in schools by engaging high school, community college, and vocational school students in the electoral process, encouraging them to register to vote and teaching them to register their peers.
County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins said, “We want to reach as many students as possible, and in particular, to do what we can to mitigate the widespread disparities in youth voting among Latinos, African Americans and young people with no college experience.”
This non-partisan, grant-funded project will not include support for any political campaigns or specific legislation. Its sole purpose is to encourage students’ civic engagement, initially by increasing voter registration, beginning with seniors in high school.
Specific activities will include outreach to local schools to schedule classroom voter registration presentations, a proven format for maximizing youth participation. Plank said, “We hope to schedule presentations with as many eligible students as possible, especially at-risk, special/inclusive education, and alternative students.” Other activities will include voter registration events and training sessions designed to teach interested students how to become advocates for voter registration among their peers.
The timeline is short. In February, LWVMC volunteers will work with MCOE to schedule classroom presentations and with the County Assessor-Clerk-Recorders office to receive training and compile voter registration information for students. In March and April, they will be in classrooms to reach as many of the approximately 1,000 high school seniors in the county as possible. They will also encourage civics teachers to share voter registration information in the event that a classroom presentation cannot be scheduled. Volunteers will also reach out to students via other means. In May and June, volunteers will assess their success and report back the 2019 Youth Voter Registration Project grant funder.
To learn more about this project and/or to donate, contact Cindy Plank at (707) 357-4282 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register to vote, visit VOTE411.org.
DOES THIS BRILLIANT SOPRANO REMIND YOU OF ANYONE IN MENDO? (Pay attention to the subtitles.)
JANUARY 30: Today marks the anniversary of the birth of Richard Brautigan.
As the Beat Generation ebbed and the counterculture of the 1960s rose, no other American author was more in tune with his time. His scintillating imagery, his outsider humor, and his absolutely unique flair for absurdist metaphor were delivered in a deceptively simple prose that struck lightning with his generation. Walden Pond Booksis delighted that his works have been discovered and appreciated by a new generation of readers in the 21st century. His novels ("In Watermelon Sugar", "Trout Fishing in America", "A Confederate General from Big Sur"), his short stories ("Revenge of the Lawn"), and his poetry ("The Pill vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster") will always be on our shelves.
(Walden Pond Books, 3316 Grand Ave., Oakland CA 94619. 510-832-4438)