- Some Rain
- Flood Aftermath
- Nacho Tsunami
- Abreu Hearing
- Cannabis Shuffle
- BOS Notes
- Train Trip
- Addiction Knowledge
- Tyranny Lessons
- Yesterday's Catch
- Better Weapons
- College Fraud
- Middle Class
- Bob Meadows
- Abel Woman
- Lucy Trek
- Chicano Batman
- KZYX Blacklist
- Irish Cures
- Dozer Impact
- Band Audition
- Same Note
- Director Lenberg
- Worship Greed
- Better Chicken
- Cold Beer
- Winter's Bone
PERIODS OF LIGHT TO MODERATE RAIN can be expected for much of today, followed by mostly dry conditions tomorrow. Additional rounds of rain can be expected Friday and again Monday through potentially the end of the week. (National Weather Service)
THIS MESS IS A PLACE, Part 2
by Pebbles Trippet
As a veteran of floods after three of them, ten days later life starts to work again. After the Navarro River flood in early March, I returned to my abode on Navarro River Road with Ma, my black cat, and the frogs were croaking again. I was wondering if they'd be washed downstream to a new habitat, having lost their home in my backyard swamp where they sing to each other searching for mates.
Despite all other damage, mother nature rebounds, resilient as a birch tree in the wind, satisfied to be alive. Despite all the signs that it's time for me to move to higher ground, I've begun life anew. It is what it is.
The giant propane tank which fuels the stove, hot water heater and frig, was turned on its side and emerged from the flood with a broken regulator. Amerigas is coming to fix it tomorrow; internet and phone are working again; generators are washed and repaired. And I am functioning off the grid once again.
Floods and fires are the great natural disasters of the climate change era. I feel fortunate it was only a flood. Fires leave a smoldering wasteland if you're lucky to get out alive. Floods just leave their imprint on everything in sight but leave the place you call home intact.
My office cabin at Ground Zero was high enough (up 8 steps) that flood waters receded before reaching the final step--the door of my cabin--and my archives remain untouched. Instead the waters lapped the underside of my cabin on the outside as they rose and seeped in through the floor from underneath, leaving massive amounts of debris on the outside with a note: "Sorry to disturb…will return later…be prepared."
I take the warning seriously and am already preparing for the next big one with waders I found at a thrift store. Raccoons and skunks have returned to eat the dry cat food I leave out for them nightly so they'll be happy in the hood where together we live for the greater good.
Lo and behold, I discovered the young skunk that had been quietly living with me in a separate cabin where I sleep. She came to my bed and put her entire outstretched hand across my face as I slept. I have never in my life gotten a better welcome back!
I think I'll stay right where I'm at in my humble abode on the red dirt road by the river off the grid in the flood plain. We're all in this together like birds of a feather in sync with mother weather.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN: FOOD TRUCKS YES, FISCAL SANITY NO — Fort Bragg City Council
by Rex Gressett
The March 11 Fort Bragg City Council meeting was a two-act drama, first about power, then about money.
In Act One, the Council confronted power, specifically their own.
In Act Two, money confronted them. It is a fair takeaway to say that City Council credibility hit the sidewalk like an egg dropped from a high-rise. In the uber-privileged culture of local political elites, self-examination is almost unknown.
But the people of Fort Bragg are tuned in and invested. In the last election, we had a 70% voter turnout. People are watching. The meeting spoke for itself.
In Act One, the Council violently backpedaled on the massive regulation of food trucks. About five years ago, a freewheeling entrepreneur brought the first known food truck to Fort Bragg. Tsunami Nacho was a nice truck. It had a good product and arrived in our little city as a kind of ambassador of modern American street life. It operated successfully around the region, but in the economic hotspot of Fort Bragg, Tsunami Nacho crashed head-on into the city’s Development Director Marie Jones. Jones must have seen someone getting a nacho and went immediately to work on this hitherto uncontemplated threat to civic order and the economic status quo.
With agonizing tedium over many meetings, Ms. Jones walked the council through the intricacies of prosperity inhibiting policy. Brick-by-brick the council laid down a mishmash of enterprise murdering regulations restrictions and prohibitions.
Two spots off the main drag were finally permitted with carefully delineated hours. Food trucks were allowed under crushing restrictions.
The food truck industry had arrived in Fort Bragg dead on arrival. Tsunami Nacho shrugged and went somewhere else. I am sure he is selling tasty nachos to someone somewhere. In Fort Bragg, regulations stopped the whole industry dead. But the raw opportunity remained. To our city’s immense good fortune in the years since the Tsunami Nacho incident, there has arisen an unanticipated community of wannabe food truck operators and investors.
In the dreary downward spiral of Fort Bragg economic stagnation, their arrival is manna from heaven.
At the council meeting, the new community of food truck hustlers filled half of Town Hall. They weren't asking for a subsidy. I would estimate that the total investment capital present at the March 11 meeting was $1 million or more.
These wild card street smart food truckers actually want to work here. They see opportunity, and all they wanted Monday night was for the city to get out of their way.
Bernie Norvell, always the councilperson most keenly attuned to the people of the city, got wind somehow that a new outfit called Sugar Coated Catering was operating in open defiance of city regulation down by the railroad. Once again, someone was making money and making people happy doing it. Bernie evidently raised the issue at the top secret City Council goal-setting lunch and subsequently squeezed the development director. Monday night food trucks were on the menu.
At the ensuing Council meeting, not only Sugar Coated Catering but half a Town Hall full of incredibly diverse creative entrepreneurs came to clap, cheer, whoop and advocate, repeatedly violating former Mayor Lindy Peters’ iron edict of silence. It was a mad rush for sanity.
Under the irresistible pressure of a packed city hall and obvious common sense, the city council dismantled their food truck regulations almost entirely.
Suddenly a vision arose of a dynamic tourist-friendly city where fun eating and a diverstiy of innovation would jazz up the Fort Bragg street scene.
Why the hell not? What was the point of all this cumbersome pointless regulation of indigenous commerce? In a rare fit of common sense, the Council walked back the suppression of enterprise and opened the future of Fort Bragg to a new kind of stimulating enterprise.
It will do infinitely more for the City's economic vitality than the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in “branding” that the city as squandered in unimaginative groupthink.
The food truckers intend to succeed. Now that they have their chance, I think they will. Fort Bragg is famous for lopsided seasonal prosperity to which mobile operations are well adapted. Watching these vendors kick butt was inspiring. It was arguably the most successful economic innovation in City Council history and it only took half of a meeting and all the Council had to do was get the hell out of the way.
After the prohibited cheering and clapping died down, the council took a break. The vendors went home in triumph.
Act Two: Lust For Free Money
In Act Two, the City Council shook off the embarrassment of repudiated Council overreach and went on to discuss temptation number two, the irresistible lust of power for free money.
The lovely and intelligent Chantell O'Neal, under the benevolent and visibly proud observation of her boss Marie Jones, skillfully split the City Council like a coconut. It was a very rare event; the Council almost always marches in lockstep. Ms. O'Neal was articulate and persistent. Clearly, it was a professional triumph for her. She lured the Council with a pay-for-play grant that will cost the City $700,000 out of the general fund and get them some unspecified percentage of matching funds in the form of two state-of-the-art storm sewer drains. You can't make this stuff up.
A majority of the Council decided to forget their extensive handwringing panic that Fort Bragg recently lost their last option for the avoidance of official insolvency when the electorate snubbed them on the sales tax measure in November.
Everyone in government agrees privately that Fort Bragg is on the razor-edge of financial insolvency: where Fort Bragg's mandatory CalPers (state pension fund) contribution will come from is no longer clear. Across the state, cities are falling into insolvency like dominos in the CalPers crisis and also to the CVRA (California Voting Rights Act) crisis. Fort Bragg is flat up against the wall of existential financial vulnerability. Everybody, notably Lindy Peters, kept saying with emphasis that the city is headed for the financial cliff.
At the last Finance & Admin Committee meeting, the City seriously contemplated putting the Chief of Police in a used car. By any measure, $700,000 out of pocket to get a more polished infrastructure is critical mass.
Lindy Peters shrugged off his previously declared financial scruples and bet like a riverboat gambler on the game of grant roulette. We don’t actually need the super sewer collectors right now, but we will need them someday. The central argument was FREE money. The temptation was irresistible. Under Lindy Peters' avuncular advocacy, the Council bet the farm going for, as he put it, “the full monty.” We may well get two new storm drainage devices. They assured us the drains are the best available. Kiss the balanced budget goodbye.
Councilperson Tess Albin-Smith didn’t need any convincing. She said something about a gift horse. Jessica Morsell Haye was right there with her in committing potentially fatal fiscal folly. They went for the cash at the cost of our solvency with a confidence and poise worthy of their new status on the City Council.
Mayor Will Lee and Bernie Norvell sat tight-lipped and prudently voted against it. City Manager Tabatha Miller, officially charged with saving our fiscal skin, must have been quietly freaking.
After that fiscal nuke, there wasn’t much more to the meeting. I personally participated in the anticlimactic petty adjudications of the mid-March meeting by making a vocal public demonstration of my confusion about the location of two offices in City Hall.
Otherwise, it was a damn interesting meeting.
AT TAI ABREU'S "status hearing" in Superior Court Tuesday morning, DA Eyster established his status as a major obfuscator. Eyster said he's going to combine Abreu's appeal with that of Simon Thornton. Both are appealing their life sentences under the humane new law that limits murder convictions to the actual killer. At least one lifer, Adnan Khan, has already been released from San Quentin under SB 1437. Abreu and Thornton are thereby emphatically eligible for re-sentencing. But wait, Eyster says the new law is unconstitutional, and here we go on what may become an endless series of hearings, huge expenditures of public time, money and effort to keep Abreu in prison for the rest of his life, nevermind that there's no evidence he committed murder or even any evidence there was a murder. (I don't yet know enough about Mr. Thornton's case to comment.)
IT WAS ALSO stated in court Tuesday morning that Abreu's trial transcript is not yet available. It has to be retrieved from wherever it's stored. Assuming it exists, it's very short. Abreu got a one-day trial, no witnesses were called on his behalf, not a single exculpatory piece of evidence presented in his defense.
ABREU'S defense attorney at trial, a person the Founding Fathers could not have anticipated in their wildest nightmares, convinced Abreu, who had just turned 19, to go to a jury of his peers who, of course, included no 19-year-old stoners or even anyone under the age of forty, as I recall. Public Defender Linda Thompson's defense consisted of this single, unsubstantial argument: Abreu was read his rights in his morning interview, not read his rights when he was re-interviewed that afternoon. If you dear reader, were looking at life in prison without the possibility of parole, would you haul this argument before a jury? DA prosecutor Kevin Davenport said he did everything "but get down on my knees" to beg Thompson to take the offered plea deal of 20-to-life. Which Abreu's co-defendants wasted no time doing when they saw what happened to Abreu.
I THINK it absolutely has to be said, and I've said it before, a rural jury, especially a rural jury, is unlikely to be convinced of anything by a mumblingly inarticulate woman dressed as a man. (Can you even imagine a male defense attorney turning up in court in make-up, a mini-skirt, halter top and wedgies?) Life without the possibility of parole was duly imposed, as Abreu's two co-defendant's wisely decided to accept the DA's offer of 20-to-life. One of them, Aaron Channel, has been out for two years, the other one, August Stuckey, still must convince the parole board he's ready to return to Fort Bragg; he's presently undergoing a state-paid sexual reassignment and has not, as inmates say, "programmed well" as a state prisoner.
ABREU has programmed well, extremely well, having racked up a flawless record inside, not to mention completion of numerous college credits and courses. There's no point in keeping him locked up, which DA Eyster has to know, which is probably why Eyster is considering some jive-o constitutional argument rather than re-try Abreu on the known facts of the case.
THE ALLEGATION isn't complicated. Three Fort Bragg kids, all of them under twenty years old, lured a gay guy to FB to rob him. Check that: Defendant Stuckey lured the victim north, a gay guy named Donald Perez. Perez had visited Fort Bragg before for a sexual interlude with defendant Stuckey. Abreu and Channel did not know Perez. The robbery occurred on the old haul road about a mile from the Fort Bragg Police Department. Perez, an ex-Marine (!), was over-powered, dragged about fifteen feet off the heavily traveled road, duct-taped to a tree and… was still slumped there between the road and the Noyo River when a friend of the three perps, nearly a month later, went to the police and said, "I think my three idiot friends killed someone." Cause of death could not be determined for a certainty because Perez's remains were too deteriorated to say for sure how he died, but one of the three may have stabbed him in the throat. Who, if I had to guess, would be the sexually confused Stuckey.
IF TWO of the defendants get 20-to-life but the third gets life-without on the same set of facts, where's the justice? In the Abreu case the injustice was compounded by an incompetent, not to say insane, defense. Maybe Eyster's tired of shooting the same old fish-in-a-tiny-barrel. Maybe his conjured constitutional argument derives from simple boredom. Whatever the DA is up to it isn't justice.
CANNABIS PROGRAM NOW ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND BUILDING SERVICES
In 2018, Mendocino County created the Cannabis Program Unit within the Department of Agriculture to implement the county’s Cannabis Cultivation Program, coordinate with departments, streamline processes to effectively implement the Cannabis Program, develop a sustainable framework to institutionalize the program into County government and establish a County infrastructure that evolves with changes in the developing cannabis market.
After reviewing the status of applications, the implementation of the cannabis accommodation district and looking forward to the Phase I re-opening and Phase III opening the County has identified the need to change the cannabis management structure to increase efficiencies.
Beginning April 1, 2019, the Cannabis Program Unit will be under the Department of Planning and Building Services and will report to Planning and Building Director Brent Schultz. Co-locating the Cannabis Program with Planning and Building will create a one-stop shop for inquiries and processing of all cannabis related permits and licenses. The co-location will allow streamlining of application processing and provide the community with both higher quality and more coordinated service delivery. To ensure a smooth transition for the re-opening of Phase I, the Cannabis Program Unit will be fully integrated in Planning and Building Services by April 1, 2019.
Remarking on the transition of the Cannabis Program, Agricultural Commissioner Harinder Grewal stated, “Moving the Cannabis Program to Planning and Building will reduce the trips for permitting required by the cannabis industry. This is a more cost effective approach to house the entire program in one department. We believe this program will be a shining example of success to Mendocino County."
"I look forward to building a strong and compliant environment for the cannabis industry to succeed. By adopting the Cannabis Program from the Agriculture Commissioner, it offers us the opportunity to create a more streamlined and efficient permitting process,” added Planning and Building Services Director Brent Schultz.
Details will be released soon by the Cannabis Program Unit regarding changes to the application process for the re-opening of Phase I. For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
(Mendo CEO Office Press Release)
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: The effective date of this change is more than a little ironic. And the CEO’s casual use of phrases like “more cost effective,” “effectively implement,” “streamline processes,” “increase efficiencies,” “streamlining of application processing and provide the community with both higher quality and more coordinated service delivery,” “smooth transition,” etc. 1) assumes that they were already cost effective (the program has lost at least $2.4 million according to the CEO last week), and efficient but needed a little improvement here and there, and 2) that efficiency had anything to do with the change when it probably had to do with insider politics between the CEO and her newly hired “male” department heads: Ag Commissioner Grewal and Planning Director Schultz (and maybe the newly hired Pot Permit Program manager Mr. O’Connell who came out of Planning and Building to begin with). The change also gives the CEO a conveniently timed response to the upcoming March 26 pot permit budget buster news where she’ll be able to claim that, ‘Oh, yeah, there were some bumps in the road but Mr. Schultz here will get it all straightened out.’ Nevermind that they’ve been saying that for two years with about half a dozen rotating pot point people, none of whom were “cost effective” or “efficient” — hell, they weren’t even asked to be.
A BEVY OF MENDO’S MOST FAMILIAR ENVIROS turned at Tuesday’s meeting of the Supervisors to support a proposed “commitment to fight climate change.” Surprisingly, nobody expressed opposition to the toothless proposition. Last seen in public protesting the Willits Bypass, the local climate change opposition were armed with high-toned prepared statements. Most of them used their full time allotment and included familiar names like Naomi Wagner, Ellen Faulkner, and Alicia ‘Little Tree’ Bales, along with Willits enviros David and Ellen Drell and Ukiah enviro Robin Sunbeam. The activists occasionally twinkled in support of each other and in the direction of the Board and, big thinkers that they are, all left the room when regular County business recommenced.
MS. WAGNER boldly “hoped something would happen now.” Ms. Sunbeam wanted Mendo to recycle plastic into “high sulfur diesel fuel” (?). Workshops were planned, committees were considered, proposals were made, meetings were anticipated, staff was directed, schedules were reviewed.
MENDO’S solution to everything — more meetings — will begin April 2 to “maintain the momentum” of whatever it was that had happened. With luck, Mendo will make its “commitment to fighting climate change” a reality before the “village” of Mendocino disappears beneath the rising tides.
CEO Carmel Angelo complained that she and her Board clerks were having trouble keeping up with the (relative) flurry of board directives. (There are a dozen or so pending.) Ms. Angelo asked for “patience in getting your directives done.” Hell, it’s a lot of work putting an item on the Board’s April 2 agenda entitled “Workshop on Mendocino County’s Commitment to fighting climate change.”
INTERESTING to us, but unlikely to be raised at a Supervisor’s meeting, is the intriguing fact that Supervisor McCowen subsidizes the somnolent Mendocino Environment Center across the street from the County Courthouse in the form of free rent. The history of that space has been told here before, a history that won't be recorded any place but here, in fact, but it can fairly be described as grisly.
SUPERVISOR TED WILLIAMS on Tuesday said he had spent several hours with the County’s IT staff and wants to participate directly in the County’s “IT Master Plan.” Since Supervisor Williams, a techno wizard, and the first supervisor in years to ascend the position with marketable skills, the Board decided to set up an ad hoc committee on the subject with Williams and Supervisor Dan Gjerde.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS also asked County staff to review hiring practices with an eye toward deleting positions that have gone unfilled for over two years. Nobody had the particulars on Tuesday, but it seems as though Mendo has upwards of 300 vacant positions, perhaps half of which have been vacant for more than two years. The County’s overburdened CEO will somehow find time to ask the Human Resources Department to provide a list for the Board to examine.
WINTER RAIL ESCAPADE FOR 5,000 MILES
by Katy Tahja
Every few years my husband and I save enough to go on a tour with our favorite travel group, Mountain Outin’. The tour director finds unusual and wonderful places to visit with rail travel to get you there and back. This year the Winter Rail Escapade was to Wisconsin.
Wisconsin? In the snowiest winter that just won’t stop, with things like bone chilling cold and wind chill factors? Yep…that Wisconsin, for six days with thousands of miles of AMTRAK added in. For two weeks we saw something other than never ending rain.
Since the tour’s formal departure point was Los Angeles we took the “San Joaquin” train from Martinez to Bakersfield, then a bus to L.A. I don’t know whose responsibility it is to collect trash and disburse the homeless encampments along railroad right-of-way but it’s NOT being done. Trash ankle deep and populated and abandoned homeless campgrounds blemish every approach to every station stop. Stockton was particularly shocking, what a mess. Municipalities and railroads should work to correct this visual blight. As an interesting aside, of all places Alpine Texas had the cleanest approaches to the station of anywhere we visited.
The “Texas Eagle” left L.A. for San Antonio Texas and a route north to Chicago. We arrived two days later and eight hours late. Note: AMTRAK is never late…it’s “delayed” they say. Part of the problem is the tracks belong to the freight carriers and often freight goes before passenger cars trains can travel. But this time it was air brakes on the locomotive breaking down not once, but twice. We were literally hauled into Union Station behind another AMTRAK train in ten degree weather with wind blowing sideways. The tour had arranged for a bus to pick us up to take us to Racine and it had been waiting eight hours. Twenty-five weary cold travellers piled in for a midnight arrival at the hotel.
Sightseeing out the window of the “Texas Eagle” or any train always generates questions and observations in my mind. Why are there so many lone palm trees scattered through the Delta outside Martinez? People are obviously living in their boats in the marinas along the Sacramento River…what do they do for sewage? Fruit blossoms look like snowfall covering the ground in orchards. Fields once cow pastures are now sporting solar panel arrays. Hops are still being grown by Fresno.
Cactus first appear as native plants in the landscape on the Arizona-New Mexico border. Cell phones glow like Lightning Bugs when you walk through a dark coach car at night. (Always get a sleeping compartment.) Nut orchards we passed in the southwest were always pecans. Coming into El Paso were hundreds of empty auto rail carrier cars. We were told car bodies manufactured in the USA were shipped to Mexico to be accessorized, then shipped back completed for sale here. The infamous Border Wall is incompletely built here and anyone could walk around the ends if they were brave, or foolhardy enough.
Where does the orange pumice for rail bed gravel come from in Texas? The Franklin Mountains to the north of El Paso are considered the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. A quick view of white deer and exotic hooved animals out the window turned out to be a “hunting preserve” with a gun club next door. The highest elevation on the train route is at aptly named Alpine Texas at 4,485’.
Everything is bigger in Texas. The sunset turned the skies golden over a horizon that went on forever. Even sagebrush is pretty trailing long shadows across the grasslands at day’s end. Texas featured Drive-Thru Taqueria y Cerveza fast food stops and Temple had a trackside railroad museum with a Pullman Troop Car. The railroad sleeping car company built military barracks on wheels. Del Rio proudly proclaimed itself the “Goat & Sheep Capitol of Texas.” Then I got really into watching small town motto’s on welcome signs. “The West at it’s Best” or the “Best Little Town on Earth” and the “Crossroads of…” or the “Gateway to…” proclamations. “America’s Home Town” vied with a “Little City Doing Big Things.”
Some things seen out a train window are universal. Yes, Walmart and Dollar General stores cover the face of the earth, but so do backyard trampolines, corner liquor stores, brotherhood and VFW halls, self-storage units and Subway sandwich shops.
Going north from Texas we started experiencing snow and frozen weather. Snow and ice can be highly amusing to a Californian. How do ponds freeze making different concentric circles scattered over the surface? Cemeteries with uniform gravestone markers under snow would melt potholes around the monuments and give a three-dimensional appearance to the grounds. Snow would make snowballs the size of garbage cans balanced atop broken off upright tree trunks. Icicles four feet long hung off of roofs. What happens when one falls off and lands on your car? Do school buses have snow tires or chains?
After a frigid late arrival in Chicago we took off for Racine Wisconsin and bright sunny frigid weather. We visited the Johnson Company that makes makes the wax based products we all grew up with. Five generations of one family had enough money to have Frank Lloyd Wright build them a 500 window house that eternally leaked called Wingspan. We were introduced to a Danish pastry called a Kinngle and watched them made (I was highly unimpressed with the taste).
Factory tours were fun because those of us who didn’t want to go on a 10 block walk through production facilities could stay in the visitor center and pester people with questions. We asked everyone if Trump’s tariffs on imported steel were impacting them. We asked why unionization of workers was never mentioned in their historic displays. We were polite but curious…and yes, all three factories we visited were unionized.
At a Case-International Harvester tractor factory we saw new units with no seats for a human being…all operations were done with computers with a drone flying ahead of the tractor. In Oshkosh we visited the Chudrow Museum of Yesteryear where are salvage dealer collected so much stuff he filled a 15 room museum. Ever drink PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) beer? You should see the mansion he built. Now a museum. We stayed at the Pfister Hotel built in 1893 and lovingly restored to its Victorian elegance and full of art. Great German food is to be found in Maeder’s Restaurant in Milwaukee, the best meal of our trip.
The Grohmann Museum deserves special note. Here was a three story museum of painting and sculpture dedicated to man at work. Every art object showed men and women at work…right up to the stained glass windows. The Lakeshore Culinary Institute students in Sheboygan prepared us a great meal and the Kolher factory showed us the production of bathroom and kitchen fixtures by the thousands. I loved the 1960s lavender porcelin sink, tub and toilet in their museum.
In Oshkosh we explored the Experimental Aircraft Association Museum, then traveled through Wisconsin to catch the “Empire Builder” train in Columbus. There are 18 states with a town named Columbus…I checked…just out of curiosity. Have you ever eaten at a Golden Corral? This restaurant seems to be uncommon in the West but they are a real adventure. You enter, pay a fee, and can eat as much as you want of anything you find. There’s a huge salad bar, a grill, side dishes, breakfast food, and even a gluten-free vegan could find food. For the first time in 60 years I got brave and ate a single slice of liver (I HATE liver). This was grilled, thinly sliced, served on garlic bread with a BBQ sauce and actually wasn’t bad. And for my five year old grandson we took a picture of an ever circulating chococate fountain you can dip fruit chunks into. He now can’t wait to experience this himself.
The prettiest natural thing we saw was a long lingering sunset in Montana. Peachy golden light spread across the prairies, with cows and tiny calves in the foreground. Locals said those calves were supposed to be born in grassy pastures but Mother Nature was not cooperating.
Again, as we looked out train windows or acted like tourists, we learned a different vocabulary. Tractor dealers are implement companies. Prisons are correctional facilities and you don’t go to a parking garage in a city…it’s called a “Ramp.” You drink from a bubbler, not a water fountain and car racing fans go to a dragway, not a race course. You are warned “Don’t Pass on the Right of the Snowplow” and “Do not follow this streetcar.” White bread was 49 cents a loaf at the mini-mart and a Driftbusters club was for snowmobilers.
We watched a rancher trying to herd a loose steer down a frontage road with his pick-up truck and wondered what else was offered for dinner at the “Catfish & More” restaurant. Why do white propane tanks never have snow build up on them? Questions… questions… questions…
Departing AMTRAK at Portland Oregon we rented a car and drove over the Cascades to see old friend and AVA columnist Bruce Patterson and wife Trish in Prineville. Out to dinner we knew we were back in the Old West when the restuarent had a light fixture of a spotted tanned cow hide nailed to the ceiling with barbed wire and dried flowers hanging down with LED bulbs inside old power line glass insulators for illumination. Pattersons send their regards to their Anderson Valley friends.
Home in Comptche after 16 days and 5,000 miles on the road it was a blessing to be able to open my eyes in the morning and not think “Where the heck are we today?”
THE PERFECT CANDIDATE
To the Editor:
While perusing page 7 in the February 7 edition of the AVA I see Mendocino County advertising for a substance abuse program and services manager. Who better qualified than the AVA's own Flynn Washburne whose well chronicled experience with in and outs, ups and downs of substance abuse has been a prominent feature of the AVA for several years now?!
Also, as I read the legal notices I can easily come to your conclusion that you are whoever you say you are — just take it to court to ratify your new identity — and history begins anew at first light of day.
I am a bit confused by fictitious business names. Are they required by law as a de facto exemption to truth in advertising?
It's a bad day when page 7 holds my attention.
Letter to the Editor,
Does current political and social news distress you? Do you feel "there is nothing I can do"?
You might try reading "On Tyranny — Twenty lessons from the 20th Century" by Tim Snyder. It's a small book, only 126 pages. Following are the first 11 chapter titles:
Do not obey in advance. Defend institutions. Beware the one-party state. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Remember professional ethics. Be wary of paramilitaries. Be reflective if you must be armed. Stand out. Be kind to our language. Believe in truth. Investigate.
Buy a copy for only $8.95 and after reading it think about what your lifetime has taught you about war and power. If you are old enough share with a young person what you know about World War II and the consequences in Europe and the Far East. Talk about where and how citizenship skills are useful and needed.
Next, read more. Support our fourth estate by subscribing to publications that discuss beyond entertainment. Avoid the fast and false news of digital media. Talk with friends and strangers. Think about long-term consequences. Give the book to someone else. Keep engaging young people.
You could also write a letter to the AVA discussing your reactions to the book. What does "we the people" mean? Is there an endangerment to free speech especially with those with whom we disagree? What is civil discourse?
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 19, 2019
WILLIAM GREEN, Calpella. Controlled substance, trespassing, probation revocation.
JENNIFER HEVEY, Calpella. Trespassing, probation revocation.
JUSTIN HILL, Ukiah. Resisting, probation revocation.
ADAM KESTER, Willits. Grand theft-bicycles, offenses while on bail.
ANDREW LOUDEN, Fort Bragg. DUI.
HEATHER MICHAEL, Ukiah. Under influence, false ID.
ANGELA RIVERA, Willits. Burglary, petty theft, controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The government already holds a near-monopoly on the means of violence. Pea shooters versus bazookas, sling shots versus tanks, bb guns versus Apache gunships, jet fighters, and G_d know what else, etc. You’ll beat them with your deer rifle, shotgun, .38 special and a handful of semi-auto assault rifles? Please stay off the opiates, they are clouding your judgement!
The articles on the college admissions scam, in which wealthy parents paid a company to manipulate and bribe to get their children into elite universities, refer to the creation of fake athletic records.
To me, this says worlds about more than just this scandal. It says universities provide special admissions tracks for student athletes whose academic records may be insufficient on their own. It says athletics is uniquely important at many universities compared not just to academic disciplines but to other performance activities (music, theater, art).
If the articles had described the creation of fake resumes for these students as world-class trumpeters or stunningly creative physicists, I would still be offended by the criminality of these parents and the company that served their dark intent. But I would feel a little better about the universities.
This episode also highlights that our society so often favors the already advantaged. When Harvard on your resume ensures you’ll get special attention when applying for jobs over evidence of your actual competence, it signals that the rags-to-riches story that’s part of the American dream has become a myth.
"MIDDLE CLASS" ONCE MEANT STABILITY AND NOW MEANS FRAGILITY
The middle class used to be the bedrock of American institutions. Now they’re coping with an uncertain future.
REMEMBERING BOB MEADOWS
Dear Ukiah Daily Journal:
My condolences to K.C. Meadows and family. I was greatly saddened hearing about Bob's passing. So many people loved Bob. In fact, the news of his passing reached me across the country. I'm writing from Gramercy Park, here in New York.
I liked Bob a lot, and I really don't like many people.
I used to take special trips to Hopland to hang out with Bob at Graziano's tasting room. I suspect I wore Bob out. I didn't buy much wine, but I loved hearing Bob's stories and loved his encyclopedic knowledge of wine. I learned a lot. Bob was more than a raconteur. Bob was a great teacher.
Hanging out with Bob was an education on many levels. He knew wine, art, literature, music, and world culture. He would have been a champion on the television show, "Jeopardy".
And he was loving and kind. He suffered me for many afternoons without end.
FOR THE FIRST TIME, mathematics' most prestigious prize has been awarded to a woman, Karen Uhlenbeck.
CAN ANYONE VERIFY THIS? If so, we Trekkies owe Ms. Ball a debt of gratitude.
CHICANO BATMAN & CALONCHO RELEASE ANIMATED HÁBLAME" VIDEO
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO….
To the Editor:
I read with great interest that KZYX has hired a new General Manager, Marty Durlin. I also read that the station will be hiring a new Program Director.
Let’s hope the new General Manager and Program Director — both — work together in ending KZYX’s long-standing “blacklisted for life” policy.
The policy is censorship in its ugliest form. It is oppressive and not in keeping with the mission and values of a truly “public” radio station, not that KZYX ever purported to be truly public. KZYX has been, for many years, a club of insiders.
Here’s where the new management of KZYX should start:
- Marco McClean and his “Memo of the Air” should be on the KZYX schedule.
- Doug McKenty should host his “Open Lines” show again.
- Norman de Vall should resume his interviewing candidates running for public office during election season.
- K.C. Meadows of the Ukiah Daily Journal should have a public affairs show.
- Bruce Anderson and Mark Scaramella of the Anderson Valley Advertiser should have a public affairs show.
- Beth Bosk of the New Settler Interview should have a public affairs show.
- Me? I got tired of waiting. I now host and produce “Heroes and Patriots” out of KMUD, with Mary Massey, formerly of WPLN, Nashville Public Radio. However, it would be nice if KZYX carried the rebroadcast of our show, as some other stations do.
At “Heroes and Patriots”, we hope our next two guests will be General Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (retired), former NATO Commander, on Thursday, April 4, and Roger McNamee, Silicon Valley billionaire and author of “Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Castastrophe”, on Thursday, May 2.
Our show airs the first Thursday of every month at 9 am, For listeners out of the broadcast area, we stream live from the web athttp://www.kmud.org.
Please support truly public, community radio at KMUD. We are “neighbors making radio for neighbors”.
THE UNREPORTED TRUTHS of the Carr Fire that destroyed Paradise town
Blinded by timber industry (Sierra Pacific Inc. and others) and CalFire propaganda, most reporters and editors have failed to report on the connection between industrial forest management (clearcut and plantation forestry) and the destruction recent fires have visited on the towns of Redding and Paradise. Now a new report from firefighters (see below), nails down the connection. Will you report on it? Are editors and reporters brave enough to risk the wrath of Sierra Pacific Industries to report on the fire risk represented by private industry clearcut-plantation forestry and, specifically, on the role Sierra Pacific Industry's clearcuts and plantations played in the devastation visited on Redding and Paradise?
I hope so. Here's information on the new FUSEE Report:
For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 14, 2019
For more info: Timothy Ingalsbee, FUSEE, 541-338-7671
Firefighters' Group Discloses New Data on Locations of Bulldozer Firelines on Carr Fire
Bulldozers Carved Total of 305 Miles of Firelines, Much of it Failed to Stop Wildfire
EUGENE - Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology (FUSEE) released new data in their report on the environmental impacts of bulldozer firelines that showed the total extent and exact locations of dozerlines that were carved into hillsides during last summer's Carr Fire in northern California. The report presents maps that reveal that a majority of the dozerlines either failed to stop fire spread or failed to engage the fire at all.
"Long after vegetation has recovered on burned slopes, dozerlines will remain as open wounds oozing soil and mud into nearby lakes and streams," said Timothy Ingalsbee, FUSEE's executive director and the lead author of the report. "Adding insult to this injury is the fact that most of the dozerlines failed to stop the spread of the wildfire."
FUSEE's report, “Carr Fire CATlines: The Environmental Impacts of Bulldozers in Wildfire Suppression,” presents several maps showing the precise locations of dozerlines along with aerial photos that the firefighter's group collected with the use of a drone camera. A short video shot with the drone accompanies the report.
The report explains that dozerlines cause a number of environmental impacts including soil vegetation loss, soil compaction and erosion, stream siltation and sedimentation, forest fragmentation, and increased hazardous fuel loads. Additionally, dozerlines are known vectors for the spread of invasive weeds, and can become "ghost" roads for illegal off-road vehicle use. Finally, the location of many dozerlines along prominent ridgelines within view of Mt. Shasta likely destroyed Native American artifacts and heritage sites.
"'Big Iron' bulldozers can cut a lot of fireline quickly and brutally, but during extreme conditions that drive large wildfires like the Carr Fire--conditions that are becoming more frequent due to climate change--dozers are becoming increasingly ineffective in stopping wildfire spread," said Timothy Ingalsbee. "Bulldozer operators are risking their lives in desperate but often futile attempts to stop wildfires while safer and more effective means of protecting homes and communities from fire damage are being neglected."
The FUSEE catline report can be viewed at:
The FUSEE catline video can be viewed at:
Klamath, CA 95548
by Robert Stone
After a week or so the moon looked the way it always had and took the same shapes but we hardly noticed it. We were back in Hollywood where you could have any kind of moon, indoor or outdoor, you desired. That summer of the moonwalk, the estrangement of Los Angeles from itself continued. Locals complained about all the kids. The boulevards were crowded with young panhandlers. There were hundreds of hitchhikers. "Where are they going?" was the jokey question. It was puzzling, because they did seem to disappear about where the action ended on the East-West streets. In San Francisco when the first hippies started showing up in the early 60s local people asked each other, "What do they want here?" It was something of a disingenuous question.
San Franciscans knew their city was attractive. Veterans of the Second World War who had shipped in and out of its port complex remembered San Francisco with fondness and often wanted to get back. There were many ways in which San Francisco was plainly attractive to the young, and the new arrivals represented many sorts. There was the eternal migration of kids from the country looking for a big city. There were also many urban young, not in search of the cosmopolitan but tired of the slog of New York which in the 60s was getting increasingly crime-ridden and ugly. San Francisco could seem exotic and certainly somewhat more easy-going. I remember two elderly tourists from New York standing in Union Square looking about them and saying: "What well-dressed people!" Seems strange now.
Of course there had been Kerouac’s “On the Road.” San Francisco also had a reputation for left wing politics or at least for tolerating it. The self-satisfied question about what all the migrants wanted reflected fear and irritation but also the sophisticate’s experience that no city could provide the kind of empty transcendence the newly arriving youngsters seemed to be pursuing. San Francisco was just a city, soon to be the third largest in California.
"Where are they going?” was the Angelenos question about the young thumbing rabble. No one asked, "What do they want here?"
Everyone in the world knew the answer to that. Young girls were coming to be "movie stars," in fact to be prostitutes, and the question about their street destination was already an off-color joke. Boys were coming to some kind of "cooler" people in significant numbers to be petty criminals or to escape the rap sheets in their hometowns. Like, wasn't everything you did in Los Angeles like doing it in the movies, or being a character in a rock song? Then there was the lure of sex, surely the biggest illusion of all, since it had long ago been rationed, arbitraged, and factored in Los Angeles as everything else would one day be.
As expected, like bugs around an electric appliance, the young hopefuls clustered as near to whatever centers they associated with movies, television and music as they could. As in San Francisco, they learned that they could curry favor with well-off locals by appearing to assume some political attitude or dimension. Protest. The shameless could flaunt their poverty as virtue like antinomian friars. Not surprisingly, the spirits of the Santa Cruz mountains were drifting down along the marine layer to contribute their own mystic spookery.
(from “Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties,” by Robert Stone)
“You don't get harmony when everyone sings the same note.”
— Doug Floyd
UKIAH SYMPHONY ASSOCIATION SELECTS NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR
The Ukiah Symphony Association takes great pleasure in announcing its selection of Dr. Phillip Semyon Lenberg as the new Music Director of the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra. The previous Director of twenty-nine years, Les Pfützenreuter, announced his retirement from the Symphony Director position in December of 2018, effective at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Dr. Lenberg has previously guest conducted throughout the United States, serving as Apprentice Conductor for the Las Vegas Philharmonic, the Assistant Conductor with Henderson Symphony Orchestra, a part-time instructor and guest conductor at San Francisco State University, and music director and assistant conductor at The University of Nevada Las Vegas. He has been a rehearsal and cover conductor for Itzhak Perlman, Hilary Hahn, Sarah Chang, Oleh Krysa, and others. He has performed in Europe, Canada and North America as a conductor and instrumentalist, and has recently performed in venues including Notre Dame Cathedral, The Glenn Gould Studio of the CBC, Herbst Theater, Nourse Theater, and SFJazz.
Dr. Lenberg pursued his undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Canada and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received both his Masters and Doctoral degrees from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and completed his teaching credential at San Francisco State University while student teaching at Lowell High School in San Francisco.
Dr. Lenberg is currently serving as professor and conductor of instrumental ensembles at Mendocino College in Ukiah, California. He will take up the baton beginning with the 2019-2020 season. The Ukiah Symphony Association is a 503-C non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a community symphony orchestra and a regular symphonic concert series in Ukiah, California.
The Ukiah Symphony Association can be contacted through the website https://www.ukiahsymphony.org, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and by phone at 707.510.1793.
Joseph Nemeth, email@example.com
I SINCERELY BELIEVE that the “Courage To Be Rich” woman was sent here by Satan. I believe that she is the first sign of the coming apocalypse. If you read the Book of Revelation in the original Greek, her name is mentioned three times, and never in a nice way. How about the Courage to be Poor? That’s what we need. The Courage Never To Have Enough Money So You Can’t Worry About Where To Put Your Extra Dollars. The Courage to Ride the Bus. The Courage to Use Food Stamps. The Courage to Walk Home After Midnight From Your Minimum-Wage Job. What is it with this turning greed into some kind of Spiritual Quest? Maybe that’s the thing that people on “Oprah” think is missing from their lives. It’s money. Of course, Oprah will tell you that it’s “not about money,” which is what people worth a half a billion always say.
— Jon Carroll
FRANK HARTZELL COMMENTS:
The solution to animal abuse, unhealthy chickens, dangerous pathogen growth, farmer income problems and much more is for everyone to pay at least THREE times for chicken what they do now. Chicken would be tastier, they would live good lives and we would not be launching horrible resistant viruses and bacteria into the future.
Here is a cool proposal by the chicken industry to do just that. I’m glad to see it being tried:
New Chicken Company To Raise, Process Very Expensive Birds
Cooks Venture, a food company rooted in regenerative agriculture and transparency, today announced its official public launch. In…
TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING
by e.e. cummings
Watching Winter's Bone. Great title. Jennifer Lawrence in the movie that made her a star. She always reminds me of Erin. Her face. A teacher. Afraid. A bit naive, perhaps. Assertive. It's complicated. At bottom, all any of us has -- all that we have in the world is ourselves. Our experience. Our education. What we make of our lives.
This is certainly a somewhat overwrought view of a child's view of Leggett fifty years back. From my memory, it's not accurate. It is, in fact, a literal lie. I never knew or knew of anybody that poor. As far as I can tell from my imperfect flashes of memory, the lie they have adopted as their narrative has stolen their challenging but wondrous childhood.
My own experience of Leggett has rather a Norman Rockwell sepia cast to it. Wondrous and safe. The truly beautiful realization here is that both sides are true. Beyond -- because of -- the family dramas, the competing truths which negate each other, everybody's right. You're right from your side and I'm right from mine. We are all right. Even the person who has been hurt most of all. The hurt must be huge. Compassion is never in overabundance. What is. As though there's a choice. Surfing or slogging.
If I had ever learned to write screenplays, this could be wrought, blended, spiced up a bit, and made into a big screen feature film. Casting unknown actors and actresses only. Like Jennifer Lawrence before she was Jennifer Lawrence. My kids, my grandkids, and my great grandkids would embody our dreams for the future. Handsome and beautiful. Grounded. They would be perfect models. Intelligent. Caring. Loving. And paying attention. The music would swell toward a Hollywood ending, unabashedly hopeful and competent. And loving. I am proud. I am loving. I am forgiving. And I am competent. Here at the end, what could go wrong?