- Cold Storm
- Cannabis Limbo
- McNamee Retires
- Ed Note
- Hospital Experience
- Of Mendocino
- Weed Limits
- Parker Acquitted
- Blahut Guilty
- Katzeff Birthday
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Healdsburg Eviction
- Yesterday's Catch
- Empty Suits
- Zwerg Courage
- Deceitful Humans
- Commercial Nihilism
- Farmers Market
- Female Polygamy
- Bewildered News
- Winter Abundance
- Damocles Tie
- Ocean Deaths
- Jewelry Show
- Delta Diversion
- Oval Dialogue
- Adaptive Agriculture
- Found Object
WHILE MOST AREAS will remain cool but dry today, a few areas in Mendocino County may see some light rain and high elevation snow today and this evening. Late tonight through Sunday, another cold storm system will likely bring significant snow accumulations to highway pass levels, along with small hail along the coast. An active pattern featuring multiple episodes of rain, cool air and mountain snow is likely to continue for the next week and possibly beyond. (National Weather Service)
KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD
by Mark Scaramella
Almost two years ago now, in March of 2017, in the early days of the current pot permit program when it was obvious even then that the County was spending more money on the pot permit program than was coming in, we asked CEO Angelo and her then-deputy CEO Alan Flora for a run-down of the pot permit budgeting and reporting process.
Mr. Flora, speaking for the County, replied: “Currently the cannabis program is budgeted in the Agricultural Commissioner's budget (Budget Unit 2710). The program is budgeted separately from the traditional responsibilities of the Ag. Commissioner’s Office (internally), but it is not reflected separately in the County Budget. The FY 2017-18 Budget will include a separate budget unit for the cannabis program so the finances specific to that program are more externally transparent. The Board has not provided specific direction on reporting applications and/or costs, however we would envision the Ag. Commissioner reporting on the program during quarterly budget reports.”
FLORA CONTINUED, “The Agricultural Commissioner's Office has estimated that with 350 applicants the annual program cost would be $745,832. The Board adopted fees in January that would cover these costs. Of course this is somewhat of a moving target and adjustments will need to be made if the number of applicants fluctuates significantly from that estimate. For example, if the County receives 500 applications, the fee structure should still be valid as far as the amount of time required to process a single application, but the County may need to hire additional staff to handle the increased workload.”
Of course, what Mr. Flora (and the rest of the County admin apparatus) “envisioned” never came close to happening. Initial permit applications were more than double what they expected and the “fee structure” came nowhere near covering the County’s fast-growing pot permit staff costs.
ON JUNE 2, 2017, we quoted from the Final 2017-18 County Budget: “…The Board has also directed increased enforcement efforts to be managed through the Code Enforcement Program in Planning and Building Services. Code Enforcement positions are not funded by permit fees and therefore discretionary dollars from the cannabis tax are used to cover the increased costs of this program, including the cost of a full-time Deputy County Counsel and a 0.5 FTE Legal Secretary in the County Counsel’s Office to support the Code Enforcement Program. Similarly a new position in Public Health and a contract for public outreach regarding cannabis education [sic] are funded from cannabis tax dollars…”
IN THE 2017/18 BUDGET, CEO Angelo insisted that the County will “Utilize a conservative approach to budgeting anticipated cannabis dollars, recognizing we are budgeting a new and unpredictable revenue stream.”
TO CEO ANGELO, “conservative” apparently meant a lot of pot permit hiring with no idea how it would be paid for. At that time the County had assigned to the pot permit program: two code enforcement officers, 1.5 lawyers, a hearing officer, 0.5 of a Human Resources Tech, and two public health staffers (one a nurse). Plus six Planning & Building staffers, three more public health staffers, a legal secretary, another human resources staffer, and three “Ag/Measurement Standards Specialists.” Or 14 full time pot program staffers plus six in "code enforcement." This staffing alone (not counting all their new trucks and facilities and office equipment and software) probably represents another $2 or $3 million in gross expenditures. There have been additional, unreported, hires since then (not to mention the revolving door of managers and coordinators). And none of these hires have come before the Supervisors for review or approval.
At the Tuesday, February 5, 2019 Board meeting, newly hired County pot permit program manager Sean O'Donnell suggested that the supervisors receive less frequent pot permit status reports. Supervisor Williams thought that every two months would be enough since not much seems to change. Supervisor John McCowen thought it needed to be monthly to "make certain it's on everyone's radar,” adding, "Hopefully we will soon start to see some movement. That's the hope."
Supervisor McCowen has been “hoping” for all kinds of reports on all kinds of things for years without success. It’s not likely that more “hope” will produce any more results than the nothing he’s received.
This hoping provoked nervous laughter from Supervisor Carre Brown who seemed to realize that “hope” has not gotten Supervisor McCowen anywhere. Supervisor Dan Gjerde said he preferred every two months but, "If we did it every month we should try to keep it limited to a shorter period. It seems like every time cannabis shows up it becomes a two- or three-hour discussion due to public comment." Supervisor John Haschak, catching on fast to Mendo management, added, "I think we are having too many of these updates which are not updating us too much." After more non-specific discussion the board finally decided to receive their pot permit reports on monthly basis for now.
Supervisor Williams asked, “If an applicant does everything right and turns everything in, how long will it be before they get the state permit? Mr. Schafer (nodding to the audience) applied last July.”
Here we go!
Chevon Holmes, cannabis program coordinator: “It depends. Turning everything in may just be you starting your process. For example, certain cultivation sites also require an administrative permit. Sometimes the processing time for the administrative permit is long. So I couldn't tell you how long it will take unless I know every single thing about the location.” (And guess how long that takes?)
Williams: “But assuming the applicant has done everything right and works through your process at our level, is it true there is a hold up getting the state permit because they can't process them quick enough? I'm hearing mixed messages. We hear from cultivators that they are doing everything right but they can't get the permit and they're going out of business. Then we hear from staff that we are missing application details at the local level. What's the truth?”
This precipitated more bureaucratic obfuscation from Deputy CEO Sarah Dukett, backed up by pot permit program guru Supervisor John McCowen and CEO Angelo, all of whom minimized Mendocino County's role in the process and tried to put as much blame as possible on the applicants and the state. Ms. Dukett concluded by saying, "It's going to be a couple of rocky months."
Williams: “How many permits has the state issued for cultivators in Mendocino County? Not provisional, but full permits?”
Williams: “So we do have a problem. Our cultivators can't go forward. They can't get extensions. What do they do?”
More bureaucratic explanations about the problem being outside of Mendocino County’s control.
Williams wanted to put more emphasis on what the county can do about the problem.
McCowen then pointed out that the number “four” is statewide, “out of nearly 4000 applicants,” McCowen said.
Ms. Dukett said that they would know more in the next few weeks about "how much more we need to turn up the heat," adding, "We are getting really close and we're working really hard with them. In a couple of weeks we'll get a better idea of what are the other things we can do to more effectively put pressure on things and see if we can get some other items that are still in the process of being figured out figured out."
Notice how they always use soft, forgettable deadlines like “a couple of weeks,” not specific dates. And nobody asks for any specific dates. Ever.
Williams asked about an agenda item he had proposed to review the county’s policy on minimum cannabis taxes. "I see it as punitive. It's almost like charging sales tax to a store on what they could have sold rather than what they did sell. In the process I discovered, sitting with our Tax Collector-Treasurer, that we are talking about approximately $3.3 million. That number shocked me! There are 1002 permits that are taxable that are in the process. I'm told that 98% of them are subject to the minimum tax. That means only 2% of the cultivators working through the licensing process are generating enough revenue to be taxed. That is a disaster for us. I think we should hold off on the minimum tax. We don't have true cost recovery on the fees. I think we are making it up on the other side as a tax. It's not ideal. Asking staff to do one thing and then coming back a month later and telling them to scrap that and do this other — if we keep that process going we are not going to get anywhere. We are burning time on the context switching. So living with one bad idea can be better than living with another bad idea. I would like us to make a conscious decision how much we would like to subsidize this process. I think we have to in order to keep the cultivators moving forward. But right now we don't know what the program costs. We have staff in different departments but we haven't added it up. We don't know how much of a drain this is.”
Supervisor McCowen went into another windy speech about what he “hoped” would happen, including that he “hoped” they would have "comprehensive information" by March 26, almost two months off, well after the end of the “mid-year,” at the so-called "midyear budget review." McCowen “hoped” it would be "from the inception of the cannabis program. What have we outlaid? What have we taken in? I think we don't have a clear picture of exactly where we stand in terms of expense to the County and revenue received." … " I think we have to look at this when we have some real information in front of us because right now we don't really know where we are with the program."
That’s been true for two years and yet nobody’s even asked about it until Williams brought it up.
After some more bureaucratic talk, Ms. Dukett concluded, "These things will have to be looked at a couple of times in the next year to see how much change happens in the ordinances."
The next year?!
Williams still wasn't satisfied. "I think we need to get more involved at a state level. Some of that comes from collecting the data. Not only are we putting cultivators out of business in this county but we are using millions of dollars of public money to do it at a local level. If that's the case let’s rush to get that data documented and get involved at a county level with our state representatives to change the program. I don't see it working. We are kind of kicking it down the road every two weeks. I don't hear from the industry that it is allowing them to thrive. I hear they are going out of business."
Supervisor Carre Brown sees her job as having two basic functions: going to meetings and keeping the Eel River diversion flowing. So she didn't want to hear any negativity from Supervisor Williams. Oh no. Everyone concerned held lots of workshops and went to lots of meetings and the CEO made a speech or two and they’ve written letters and held working groups and talked to state legislators… "I think we've really really gone out of our way,” said Brown. “I don't want you to think that we haven't,” punctuating her remarks with a pat-down wave towards the upstart Supervisor Williams.
Supervisor McCowen then repeated his speech about Mendocino County being a very small part of the problem. McCowen then said that he just didn't trust pot growers and their outlaw histories and doesn’t think they should get any tax breaks. "We cannot ignore the history of the industry that is very proficient at operating outside of regulated channels,” said McCowen. “We do have people who are in our permit system who both sell product on the white market or on the black market depending on what the opportunity is. That's just reality. And the main complaint I hear from the ones who want the minimum tax reduced is not that they are not making any money. They gave their product to somebody who hasn't paid them for it. So that's not a problem the county created. They are dealing with people who are not paying them for what they produced. That's not the County’s problem."
But none of this attempt to blather-over Williams’ pointed observations addressed the point. Williams was simply saying that there’s a serious problem and they need to get the program and budget data sooner than March 26 (which probably won't be anything near what they need, if at all). The disingenuous comments from the other supervisors about how it's not really Mendo’s problem and they can wait until March 26 for more information basically makes Williams point: the permit program has been in existence for two years now and they still don't know how much it costs, how much they're making, whether they are coming close to their projections, how many people are doing what for how much money, etc.
We hope Williams persists in trying to drag some numbers from the county’s number-phobic, report-phobic, date-phobic supervisors and staff. We are not optimistic. Over the years CEO Angelo and her staff have proven to be very adept at "kicking the can down the road" — with the tacit approval of the Supervisors.
VERNON MCNAMEE RETIRES FROM MTA “FLIGHT DUTY”
“Flight 75, you’re cleared for take-off.”
“Roger that. I’m rolling.”
Wednesday, Feb. 6, was the last time that once-familiar conversation was heard at Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA), and it was spoken with deep affection between Jacob King, MTA’s operations manager who long ago manned MTA’s dispatch center, and Vernon McNamee, former Vietnam helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft pilot and more recently MTA south coast bus driver.
They recited the old mantra over cake as McNamee rolled into formal retirement from his third career after 19 years at MTA. He was honored by MTA staff and fellow crew with cheers and many stories. The cake was festooned with toy aircraft.
“He’s an amazing man with many talents; he’ll be missed,” said Candy Lodge, MTA’s south coast supervisor. McNamee served as back-up supervisor when Lodge was out of town.
“It’s been a fun job: I don’t do anything I don’t like,” McNamee said of driving for MTA. He turned serious for a moment and allowed that there were a few white-knuckle times during Vietnam when he didn’t like what he was doing.
Vernon is known for a steady hand on the wheel and clear-eyed view of the world and its people. “You never leave anyone behind,” he said. That’s why when the Navarro and Garcia Rivers flooded a few years ago when McNamee was training new driver Richard Spencer, they drove the MTA bus over Greenwood Road to Philo and on to Ukiah. Then to get passengers back home, they drove from Ukiah south to Santa Rosa and then west to Route 1 and up the south coast. It was a 15-hour day, but no one was stranded.
McNamee has led a charmed life shaped by his 22 years of active duty in the United States Army, many interests, and a great sense of humor. He earned an undergraduate bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering while in the ROTC, survived two tours of duty flying in Vietnam, and worked all over the world for the Army. During those years, he flew reconnaissance aircraft for the InterAmerican Geodetic Survey that mapped south and central America. On his second tour with the geodetic survey in Brazil, McNamee met his wife, Rosa, a Registered Nurse in Brazil and California. They’ve been together 32 years. He and Rosa have raised, shown and rescued Basset hounds. He speaks three languages and a smattering of several others.
After he retired from the Army, McNamee earned a second BS degree, in law. That second BS was earned by “learning to never say in seven minutes what we could say in an hour and a half,” he jokes. He worked for 12 years as a trial attorney in Brazil and retired a second time.
When Vernon and Rosa settled on family land in Anchor Bay, McNamee embarked on a third career piloting MTA’s Route 75 bus that carries passengers from Gualala to Point Arena and Navarro before turning right onto highway 128 to Philo and Boonville then left and downhill on the Highway 253 “Boonville grade” to Ukiah, returning the same day. The bus runs the curvy 200-mile roundtrip route once daily Monday through Saturday and tallies more than 5,000 passenger trips a year.
His passengers “are great people,” McNamee said. When he gets the occasional trouble-maker on board, he asks himself why the person is like that. If he can’t figure it out, then he asks the troublemaker to explain why he or she is like that. He’s heard some interesting answers and often the question quiets them down, he said.
On his last trip behind the wheel of Route 75 on Wednesday, McNamee picked up regular passengers Estella and Antonio on the south coast. He greeted the couple as they stepped aboard and, as always, Estella gave McNamee a piece of candy wrapped in waxed paper.
A while later, as he started down the Boonville grade toward Ukiah, McNamee called into MTA dispatch, “Flight 75, descending. Estimating library three five.”
ED NOTE: Mr. McNamee was a favorite of the AVA and well-liked by Valley residents in general. We were particularly impressed with his calm ability to deal with unhappy riders and cool them out diplomatically. Sorry to see him retire.
THERE MIGHT BE other places where you can get well-written accounts of life in obscure places, but give me the London Review of Books every time. The current issue has a Diary piece on North Korea by Richard Lloyd Parry that gives the reader a real feel for what the neo-Hermit Kingdom is like right now. Little Rocket Man has loosened things up considerably, not that the place is loose in anything approaching the libertine West. There's also a long article by the great reporter, Seymour Hersh called "Bush the First," a chilling account of ol' Poppy's imperial plotting that couldn't appear anywhere in the U.S. (Except the AVA, I can't help adding.) I remember an evisceration of Kissinger by Chrisopher Hitchens that was turned down by American media, the most timid media there are. The British Guardian newspaper is also very good on current events, much better than appears here in Liberty Land.
WHERE ELSE BUT LRB could you read a joke current in North Korea: "An ant fell in love with an elephant. She told the elephant, 'I want to enjoy love with you.' The elephant said: 'No. You are so small I can hardly see you.' But the ant followed the elephant everywhere. In the end the elephant said: 'OK.' So they got married and enjoyed their wedding night. The next night they came together again, but the ant said: 'No! I cannot share love with you anymore.' 'But why?' asked the elephant. The ant said: 'I'm pregnant.'"
AS PARRY points out, the dirty jokes he was told "were not of the highest caliber but, in a land little known for comedy, they were remarkable in themselves.
HOSPITAL BLUES, A READER WRITES:
Personal experience as MCDH Patient - Mendocino TV
After almost four years of videoing, reporting and editorializing on Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Board of Directors meetings as a community service, I have developed concerns regarding hospital. Recently, I had a personal medical crisis that was impacted by these concerns, which you can read about in the following link.
To watch the video Mendocino TV recorded at the January 31 BOD meeting, where I talked about my circumstances and requested that the new MCDH Board also request that personnel, including doctors, stop spreading the false narrative that a handful of unnamed people are spreading unnamed rumors, which is really the only problem MCDH has in their opinions. Be sure to also watch Dr. Bella follow my concerns with the same false narrative that I have just objected to!!
The good news is that I'm feeling hopeful about this newly elected Board of Directors. They have daunting tasks in front of them and will need all of us to pull together to save our hospital.
LINDA RONSTADT: TALK TO ME OF MENDOCINO
ON LINE EXCHANGE RE MARIJUANA (from Redheaded Blackbelt):
“Mendo Mamma”: Let’s keep it simple here. The answer is even easier than that. If you look at every other industry that is regulated or monitored in any way they have a cap on the number of facilities. Example certain number of alcohol licenses example certain number of tobacco vendor licenses or example certain number of whatever within the area, so the market doesn’t get flooded. So here’s the answer folks ding ding ding. Set number of cultivators Per County hello County officials are you hearing this? Hello waterboard are you hearing this? Hello everyone are you hearing this? Set number of cultivator licenses Per County based on the watersheds ability to sustain it huh. That’s where we should have started it in the first place.
“Small Fry”: Mendo Mamma, I disagree.. They start capping licenses and that sets up a real win lose scenario pitting neighbors against neighbors.. It is much better to cap it at a certain square foot for each farm… Spread the wealth.. a few consolidated mega farms are exactly what the problem is to begin with… Are there caps on grape vineyards? I don’t think so. The problem is that All the farms went too big too soon… not necessarily that there were too many farms. Sure there are environmental problem to be aware of.. but I feel like it is a better approach to find natural boundaries, and limitations.. then to set hard limits.
PARKER FOUND NOT GUILTY
FORT BRAGG, Wed., February 6. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned to the Ten Mile courtroom from its coastal deliberations late Wednesday afternoon to announce it had acquitted the trial defendant of the single felony charge.
Defendant John Joseph Parker, age 39, formerly a state prison inmate housed at the Chamberlain Creek Conservation Camp, was found not guilty of unlawfully possessing a syringe in his personal locker at the conservation camp, a felony.
The attorney who presented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen. The investigating law enforcement agency was the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
BLAHUT GUILTY OF FLIP OUT
February 6. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday afternoon with multiple guilty verdicts against the trial defendant.
Michael Edward Blahut, age 45, generally of Redwood Valley, was found guilty of two separate felony counts of deploying tear gas against citizens. He was also found guilty of battery with serious bodily injury, a felony; and hit-and-run driving, a misdemeanor.
The jury found the defendant not guilty of resisting or delaying a peace officer, charged as a misdemeanor.
On Monday, the first day of jury selection, the defendant also plead no contest outside the presence of the jury to driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol of .08 or greater, both as misdemeanors.
The defendant also partially waived his jury trial rights on Monday and asked for a bifurcated court trial on special allegations charged by the DA that Blahut has suffered two prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years. That court trial will also decide if the defendant willfully refused a chemical test on demand of a peace officer. That court trial on the special allegations is calendared for Wednesday, February 13th in Department B of the Ukiah courthouse.
The attorney who presented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Luke Oakley. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Ukiah Police Department and the California Department of Justice forensic laboratories,
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Cindee Mayfield is the trial judge and will continue to preside over the court trial next week and the eventual sentencing hearing down the road.
HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS (81st Birthday!) to Founder of Thanksgiving Coffee, Paul Katzeff!
by Bruce Patterson
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
My all-time favorite Hollywood fat man was Jackie Gleason (1916-1987). He was out of Brooklyn’s immigrant slums and my parents were out of Chicago’s. So Jackie’s creation The Honeymooners (thirty-nine 27-minute episodes filmed before live audiences over 54 weeks beginning in September of 1955) was, well, right up their alley. Also, like Alice, sometimes I too wanted to go to the moon.
Actor, writer, producer, stuntman, composer and conductor, Jackie got his start in show biz as a teenaged Irish fat boy playing a dancehall comic whose specialty was insulting the adults in the audience. You think fat people are jolly, generous and lovable? Anything you say, pal. By the way, what’s that alligator doing sitting at your table eyeballing your cocktail? That your mother-in-law?
Jackie “retired” to Miami Beach and, just before he died, he gave an interview to a kid out to profile him for a magazine. By and by the kid asks why people call him “The Great One.” After shooting the kid a long blank stare, Jackie asked him if he’d ever watched him shoot pool.
And I thought: How refreshing to hear a slum child proud of his slum child roots. Sure he’d made a bundle (he sold millions of albums, for one thing) but, if you wish to dance in this wicked world, you need a partner, a band and a dance floor. Well he’d danced and he’d paid 1st class and he’d left a nice tip. As a showman, he’d brought a wee bit more warmth and light into the lives of millions, and it’d been his hustle and his pleasure.
While since 1973 I worked exclusively in agriculture, producing food and drink, construction lumber and household heat, I was also tangentially occupied in show biz some 17 years (throw in “logging shows” and it’s 24). I also spent a couple/three years clearing land for, cultivating and harvesting X-Mas trees. If you remember being a little boy or girl and watching for the 1st time your parents “going to town” on your X-Mas tree with decorations, and can still see the gifts under it on the night before X-Mas, then you just might be remembering all the way back to the 1st time you saw hope and beauty in this world. The ranch I worked on produced some truly beautiful ceremonial trees, and I’ve always taken pride in the work I’d done in that little corner of show biz.
I also spent 15 years in the production end of Thoroughbred horse racing, myself a hands-on, two-ranch foreman and that definitely put me in show biz. Like we had a retired runner/jumper named Macho Man (he lived pert near to 30). At least 17 hands tall, he weighed well over a 1,000 lbs and was as gentle as Mr. Rodgers. He’d competed in the LA’s Summer Olympics (1984) and, when he got off right and was in his prime, he could clear a seven foot fence. Clearing 6’6” was routine for Macho Man.
Come to think of it, our main, 20-stall stable also came from the LA Olympics. After the circus left town, the stables were disassembled, bundled for shipping and offered up at auction. My boss, who lived down that way, bought one and had it shipped by rail to Ukiah. There it was forklifted aboard a lowboy trailer, pulled behind a Mac tractor and sent up and over the hill, through Boonville and the rest of Anderson Valley proper (Land Boosters shouldn’t be allowed to name public spaces) and then, there at what used to be “Horse Haven” (see what I mean?) with its now disappeared ranch HQ and vernal pools, starting a climb up a snake of a rocked road ending 1,000 vertical feet up to the north-westernmost fingernail of the ridge that rises above the Russian River and Oat Valley north of Cloverdale.
I wasn’t involved with the earliest development of that ranch, or in the re-assembly of the stable, but I did work on pouring the concrete floors inside the stalls. Butch Paula and Tom English had worked up there in the beginning, and Brian Schreiner had been the concrete contractor. I mention this because all of us were infantry in Vietnam. Two of us were on machinegun crews, two of us got seriously wounded and two of us were in the same outfit and had attended the same community college (as did Tom Towey, Boonville’s famous chef, restaurateur and barkeep).
Hollywood Park (RIP), Del Mar, Santa Anita, Bay Meadows (RIP) and Golden Gate Fields were a few of the places I hauled horses in and out of. During my tenure, we birthed over 120 foals. Once they got good and steady on their legs, had put on height and muscle and were used to sticking with their mamas, I chauffeured two pair at a time in and out of stud ranches located somewhere south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, north of Baja and west of the Pacific Crest. Valley Center, Julian, Temecula, Perris, Hemet, Mt. Center, San Dimas, Monrovia, Pomona and Riverside were just my destinations located south and east of LA.
It was nice to get genuinely acquainted with horses and the people who love them. I learned how to properly handle and care for them, load and offload them, catch them when need be and, not least, get them eating out of my hand. Being around horses was among my life’s greatest pleasures.
When recently I learned that some of the ranches around here are welcoming troubled young combat vets to come work some with their horses, I was reminded of my old Anderson Valley soulmates and the implications for us. Had our relationships with horses counted as therapy? Just how special are horses, anyway? War horses are considered just more cannon fodder, their worthlessness exemplified by their wholesale expendability. But in an era when big city women, children and other civilians are routinely slaughtered wholesale by bombs falling from the roof of the sky, what value horses? What value the birds and bees? Mammals, reptiles and the fish in the sea?
“What good is this world?” ask the Priests of Prosperity while promising Eternal Rewards for Man Supreme. Since this world was made for people, how can people do the world any harm? Besides, animals are without “souls” and horses are just more souless animals having no part in God’s Plan. Since our priceless war machine can rub out any man, woman or beast, country, ethnic group, social movement or idea, just how important can anything be that ain’t we? Who lets the dogs out? Who brings in the cat? Without people, the whole world goes poof. Our sun is extinguished, our solar system made invisible from everywhere inside the Milky Way for what may as well be all eternity.
Spending my career outdoors allowed me see all kinds of animals having fun in all kinds of ways. It also convinced me that the main reason why big city people are so environmentally crazy is their total divorce from nature. Truth is, horses are special because they actually like people. So horses as valuable therapists for those who’ve witnessed inhumanity-squared seems commonsensical to me. Bigger, fastest and more powerful than foot soldiers, they’re not just harmless but friendly, often times wishing for nothing from you except some whispered nothings and strokes.
Once, just past sundown, with Trisha riding shotgun and the boys kicking back in the back seat, we entered the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert by way of Gorman. At a spot within spitting distance of the highway’s junction with the remains of the original (and only genuine) Ridge Route, we saw a massive condor rising from the shoulder of the highway, its wingspan wider than our windshield.
I’ve scolded loud-assed tom turkeys in “rut” or whatever it is they call their ritualized contortions come mating time. I’ve locked eyes with black bears and cougars, foxes and Ki-oats, bobcats and a litter of bobcats. Having sat down to lunch in the shade of 1,000 trees, I’ve been rousted by hummingbirds inspecting my mug from one side to the other, up and down. I’ve had bumblebees hovering in my face as if wondering where I’d flown in from and then, perhaps suspicious of my motives and certainly unimpressed by my aura, streaking away as if affronted.
I know: beware the literary sin called the Pathetic Fallacy. Never attribute human qualities to anything in nature since nature is an unending battle for survival, territory, power and status while civilization is a catered tea party. Especially a civilization that’s organized like a chicken coop pecking order that’s seen as the stairway to heaven. Yet it’s we who were made for this earth and not the other way around. Our collective self-image as A Breed Apart is the real pathetic fallacy. Our society’s inhumanity so dehumanizes us that sometimes we can’t even see the humanity in ourselves. For instance, who illegally steals babies out of the arms of destitute mothers and then “disappears” them into the “free market” in the name of Law and Order during a “National Emergency” that exists only in a lunatic’s head?
I believe if we could see the animal in ourselves then we wouldn’t be so totally clueless in matters of survival. If we’re really the most intelligent species in the solar system, now’s the time to prove it.
Mark Twain observed how god has given us a conscience strong enough to make us feel miserable after we’ve done wrong, but not strong enough to keep us from doing wrong. But he said it with a twinkle in his eye since the fault’s ours and not god’s and so there’s a solution. Then old Ben Franklin observed how we’re all born ignorant but must work hard in order to remain stupid. In short, we need to relax and refocus. Surrender gracefully the obsolete things of yesterday; choose sanity and survival over a toxic and broken down status quo. Open our minds and our hearts will almost certainly follow like a trusty trail horse getting a break and walking along behind its rider.
EVICTION, HEALDSBURG STYLE
'I don’t know what I’m going to do': Low-income families ordered out of Healdsburg apartments after sale
The Piper Street apartments are the latest Healdsburg housing complex to generate public scrutiny amid concern about gentrification and displacement of low- and middle-income residents.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 7, 2019
CRAIG BOBIS, Eureka/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TRISHA BURRIS, Eureka/Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
DORIS CAMP, Fort Bragg. Battery against peace officer, resisting.
ROBERT DUNN, Redlands/Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
ELIZABETH HOLM, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
AARON KULES, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
JORDAN LUNA, Lakeport/Ukiah. Criminal threats, armed while in commission of felony, battery on peace officer, resisting, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KRYSTAL MALONE, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, resisting, probation revocation.
SCOTT MATHER, Ukiah. Burglary, conspiracy, probation revocation.
DEBORAH MUMMA, Albion. Grand theft, bad checks.
ROXANNE SCARIONI, Willits. Burglary, conspiracy, probation revocation.
KYLIE STACY, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
READ, WATCH, AND LISTEN
Those folks whose carefully composed suited faces we see on the news, pontificating behind podiums or in some anonymous political hallway had better be worried. If they do not become a good deal more worried than they already are, the rest of us in that part of the population with teeth and a heart had better cast wider nets.
We cannot afford to miss much. Those of us who read everything we come across, from Dickens to milk cartons and the advertising on busses, need to keep the past firmly in mind as we measure it against the present we see and make careful note of the changes. Take names.
Those who don't read (or read much) will also note changes, although they will mostly be limited to what they have seen for themselves. As much as possible, they must not be distracted. Not by sports or fast cars, short skirts, or that handsome set of the jaw on that guy with the mic.
And we all need to listen to as much as we can tolerate, knowing all the while that our experience, our very existence at times will be grandly denied. This national gaslighting will take place on our ubiquitous screens and in stadiums and halls holding thousands which, of course will also be on our screens.
If these things are not successful, or are perhaps not even tried, the disintegration of our care for what we have built will flirt with being total. The empty suits counting their money will have won. But if we can do this successfully, that clock on the wall will tick louder and louder and louder.
WHY IS THIS WHITE MAN relevant to Black history? He was one of the Freedom Riders. In 1960, he was on a bus full of Freedom Riders who arrived in Montgomery Alabama where an angry white mob was waiting for them. He volunteered to get off the bus first and take the brunt of the mob's violence, which left him beaten and bloody. His name was James Zwerg.
I HAVE TO SAY I haven't trusted the nuclear industry one bit since I read an article in "The New Yorker" some years ago about the giant Hanford facility in Washington State. Hanford may be the single most irresponsible achievement of modern man. Between 1943 and 1980, Hanford released 6.3 trillion liters of liquid waste containing strontium, plutonium, cesium, and sixty-three other dangerously toxic substances into the groundwater of the Columbia River basin. Sometimes these releases were careless and accidental, but more often they were intentional. The Hanford engineers did this and then lied about it. They insisted that the Columbia River water was wholesome and clean, and cited tests on salmon as an example of how safe it was, arguing that a person would have to eat one hundred pounds of salmon at a single sitting to ingest enough radiation to reach detectable levels. What they knew but didn't say was that salmon don't eat when they are in the Columbia River. They come there only to spawn, and salmon don't eat when spawning, and in any case are not there long enough to absorb significant quantities of radiation. However, as the scientists well knew but failed to say, other types of aquatic life — crustacea, plankton, algae, and all the permanent fish — had concentrations of radioactivity that were on average one hundred thousand times greater than natural levels. What a lovely bunch of people. I read all this with pained astonishment — I honestly didn't know that Americans could be so deceitful to other Americans…
—Bill Bryson, 2015; from "The Road to Little Dribbling"
FARMERS MARKET AT WINTER ABUNDANCE
We will have a Farmers’ Market at Winter Abundance at the Fairgrounds in Boonville on Sat Feb 9, 10-4.
Natural Products of Boonville will have a variety of exotic potatoes to plant (or eat), mushrooms, and more.
Angels Innovations will be there selling my wonderful medicinal salves, my body hair and skin serums, shampoo bars that I have created without the need of a plastic bottle!, soy beeswax candles, CBD tinctures and some other wonderful eclectic gifts! Come check us out! Our products have served the communities of Mendocino County for 7 years now. We are looking forward to this event! Thank you so much for your support!
Albion Natural Soap - A compete line of locally crafted bar soap, liquid soap and shampoo, both scented and unscented, as well as natural lip balm. Packaged gift assortments are available.
NEWS FROM THE BEWILDERED PIG
Greetings Hungry Loco(l)s!
Our first weekend open after a month off was exciting! Finding the “rhythm” with all new entrees is always a bit daunting, but it was really fun, and our guests really enjoyed all of the new dishes!
We are excited to be able to offer our Chef’s Tasting Menu without reservations now! Too many good choices meant that we needed to offer guests all of it! We offer 5 courses for $99 and two menu supplement options. Wine Pairings are also optional. (We will not offer the Chef’s Tasting Menu on Special Event evenings.)
Loco(l)s Night is back tomorrow! C’mon down & get your Pig fix! Reservations are highly recommended! 895-2088
Also new, beginning in March, remember the Ducky Fried Cornish Game Hen? We’ll be offering it on “Fried Chicken Fridays”! Our extremely popular & GLUTEN FREE version: succulent Mary’s Li’l Chickens soaked in buttermilk, then dredged in our mustard seed & fennel pollen crust, & fried in duck fat! First come, first served, or request the chicken when making your reservation!
Please note that next Thursday is Valentine’s Day, and we are offering a Pre-Fixe menu that night. We will NOT be doing a Loco(l) Night entrée, but we WILL offer all local residents 10% off of the Pre-Fixe menu. You must call for a reservation and let us know about the discount in order to receive it!
Loco(l)s Night Entrée: A warming dal spiked with ras el hanout spices, served with gorgeous local veggies, coconut milk emulsion, cilantro & serranos…$18. Meat options available!
Soup: Creamy Strong Roots Farm Celery Root soup with morel vinaigrette, truffle oil & garlicky bread crumbs!
Our new menu is on the website…prices have been adjusted since then (lowered).
We look forward to feeding you!
Winter Abundance is this Saturday, February 9th at the Boonville Fairgrounds from 9-4. Tree and vine propagation presentations and clinics; a seed, scion and cutting exchange; demos on how to collect your own seed; and a talk by Robert Kourik about how to build healthy soil--all free. Check it out at www.mendolocalfood.org!
ABOUT HALF of the world’s coral reefs have died in the last 30 years, due a mixture of reasons though higher water temperatures and acidification due to higher CO2 concentrations in ocean water being key. In ten years prior to 2016 the Atlantic Ocean soaked up 50 percent more carbon dioxide than it did the previous decade, measurably speeding up the acidification of the ocean. This study is indicative of oceans worldwide, and the consequent acidification degrades the base of the marine food web, thereby reducing the ability of fish populations to reproduce themselves across the globe. Meanwhile, warming oceans are already reducing the population size of some fish species.
ELK ARTISTS' COLLECTIVE JEWELRY SHOW
The Artists' Collective in Elk will have a jewelry show in February. Our 3 jewelers, Walt Rush, Rhoda Teplow and Lee Zabin, have very different styles, providing the perfect Valentine's gift for your sweetheart. Walt Rush is a self-taught gold- and silversmith, practicing for over 40 years. He does hand fabrication, water casting, casting on straw, diamond paving and other techniques to create unique silver or gold jewelry of great variety, many including set stones. He lives in Irish Beach. Walt Rush will be donating 10% of his Feb. sales to the local Coast Guard Go Fund me page! Rhoda Teplow is well-known for her incredible bead jewelry. Some of her beads are handmade, and many are imported from Africa and Asia. Her work for this show will feature heart pendants and heart earrings. The earrings are made of Czech glass and the pendants are either sterling silver hearts or brass hearts from Katmandu where the Tibetan refugees are living and continuing their ancient art of reposÃ©e. Rhoda lives in Caspar, and has lived in the area since the 1970's. Lee Zabin uses abalone, clam, mussel, olivella, dentalia and other shells to make jewelry in the tradition of Native American regalia. She also uses some pine nuts from local forests. The shell is mostly from our beaches. Lee lives in Albion. Come down to the Elk Gallery to get your special Valentine something that shows your love! There will be a reception with food and drink, where you can meet the artists, on 2nd Sat., Feb. 9th, 3 to 5 pm. The gallery is located at 6031 S. Hwy 1, Elk, between Queenie's and the Post Office. Open daily, 10 to 5. 877-1128
SALMON FISHERMEN BLAST TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL TO DIVERT MORE WATER FROM DELTA
by Dan Bacher
Late on Monday, the Trump administration released a controversial new federal rules proposal that fishing and conservation groups say would increase water diversions from the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem at the expense of salmon and the tens of thousands of fishing industry jobs that depend on them.
Called the “Biological Assessment for the re-initiation of consultation on the coordinated long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project,” the Bureau of Reclamation claims that the proposal is the result of an “improved understanding” of the Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
“It has been 10 years since the biological opinions on the coordinated long-term operation of the CVP and SWP were issued,” said Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant. “Since then, we’ve experienced extreme drought and invested significant resources to advance the science of the Central Valley and the Delta in coordination with our state and federal partner agencies and stakeholders. The result of our investments is an improved understanding of the system.”
“By expanding our toolkit with the best science and using what we know today, new biological opinions will allow us to maximize water and power benefits while supporting endangered fish populations,” Conant concluded.
Conant said the Biological Assessment supports Reclamation’s consultation pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 — and was prepared in accordance with the timeline outlined in a Presidential Memorandum issued by Donald Trump in October 2018.
The Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West cited the "diminished…ability" of America's infrastructure "to deliver water and power in an efficient, costeffective way."
The Memorandum directed the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to work together to complete the consultation process in a “timely manner.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, the agencies responsible for managing the nation’s fish and wildlife populations, are expected to issue their final biological opinions within 135 days.
The Bureau claimed that the proposed action “incorporates the best available science into the operation of the CVP and SWP.”
Proposed actions outlined in the document include:
temperature management at Shasta Dam
fall habitat and salinity measures in the Delta, and
entrainment management related to water exports.
“Together, these proposed actions aim to give water operators more flexibility, maximize water supply delivery and optimize power generation consistent with applicable law,” the Bureau stated.
However, fishing and conservation groups called the assessment a “water grab” and said the proposal is a step towards abandoning federal rules adopted in 2008 and 2009 that govern the impacts of the massive state and federal water pumping facilities in the South Delta. They contested Reclamation’s claim that the assessment incorporates the “best available science” — and urged Governor Gavin Newsom to take action to stop the weakening of regulations protecting salmon and other fish species.
“This is a blatant water grab that threatens thousands of fishing jobs and families in California,” said Golden Gate Salmon Association Secretary Dick Pool, who also owns Pro Troll tackle company. “For the administration to claim that the giant federal water project, which includes the massive diversion pumps in the Delta, can run at full bore and not harm salmon runs is simply not credible.”
“We’ve seen what happens when water users are given free rein to divert Bay-Delta water. It was the norm prior to 2008 and it killed so many baby salmon attempting to get to the ocean that all ocean salmon fishing had to be shut for the first time in history in 2008 and 2009,” said GGSA director Mike Aughney, who also publishes USAfishing.com.
“The Trump administration won’t be able to get away with killing off our salmon runs if the state refuses to cooperate,” said GGSA director Noah Oppenheim, who is also executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (GGSA), a group representing commercial fishermen on the West Coast. “We call on the Newsom administration to just say no to this attack on California’s salmon fishing families.”
California’s salmon industry is currently valued at $1.4 billion in annual economic activity and $700 million in economic activity and jobs Oregon in a normal seasons according to GGSA.
Not surprisingly, the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, an Astroturf group funded by Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the owners of The Wonderful Company, praised Reclamation’s proposal.
“We are encouraged by the effort to implement an improved regulatory regime. Regulations governing project operations over the last ten years have failed fish, families, and farms across California,” said Jason Peltier, Executive Director of the group. “A change must be made to improve endangered native populations and ensure continued water reliability for millions of Californians.”
“The Coalition appreciates the years of work that has gone into this re-consultation process, with more to come over the next few months. The Coalition is encouraged that Reclamation is prioritizing increased operational flexibility while improving native endangered species through habitat restoration, improved monitoring, and a more strategic distribution of flows in the Delta. It is critical that the result of this re-consultation process recognizes and addresses the many stressors in the Delta and takes a holistic approach to improving native populations,” he added.
The Biological Assessment is available here.
PRESCIENCE OR PARANOIA?
by James Luther
Scene: The Oval Office. Sometime in 2018.
…Yond Pence has a lean and hungry look;
He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.
CHIEF OF STAFF KELLY.
Fear him not, Mr. President; he’s not dangerous;
He is a noble American, and well given.
…I do not know the man I should avoid
So soon as that spare Pence…
Seldom he smiles; and smiles in such a sort
As if he mockt himself, and scorn’d his spirit
That could be moved to smile at any thing.
Such men as he be never at heart’s ease
Whiles they behold a greater than themselves;
And therefore are they very dangerous . . .
UCCE MENDOCINO OFFICE WELCOMES NEW COMMUNITY EDUCATION SPECIALIST
The UC Cooperative Extension Mendocino County Office welcomes Britta Baskerville as a new Community Education Specialist (CES). Her position was created to assist North Coast farmers in qualifying, applying, and fulfilling the necessary requirements for grants from the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Climate-Smart Healthy Soils Program (HSP) and the State Water Efficiency Enhancement Program (SWEEP). These grant programs pay up to $75,000 for approved farming practices that reduce greenhouse gases. Round 1 of the 2019 CDFA Climate-Smart grants application deadline is March 8th. To find more information about these programs, check the CDFA Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation website here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/ or contact Britta Baskerville for assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 707-463-4158.
A Sacramento native, Britta graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Conservation Resource Studies. Most recently, she served as the Program Coordinator at the School of Adaptive Agriculture, a vocational adult school near Willits that is dedicated to training the next generation of farmers. She has professional experience from internships and as an employee in market gardens, CSAs, farmer’s markets, nurseries and landscaping. Her experience ranges from small-scale homesteading to commercial vegetable and livestock production, food processing, marketing, and distribution.