- Rain Totals
- CEO Allen
- Sue Lund
- Stargazer Rabbit
- Dem Field
- Camp Host
- Call Al
- Opera Singers
- Hatcher Appointed
- Oz Farm
- Edu Challenges
- Road Work
- Pot Denials
- Vaccine Choice
- Crispy Crudites
- Moroccan Feast
- Candidate Jensen
- Lake Pillsbury
- Misleading Photo
- Helicopter Inspections
- Yesterday's Catch
- Biblical Disasters
- Dem Resolutions
- Israel Lobby
- Randy Weston
- Theatre Review
- Blue Rocks
- Faux News
- Major Sjursen
- Banjo Island
- Sheep Vote
- Navy Games
- Public Libraries
- Max Beckmann
- Regressive Tax
- Downspout Man
- Online Comments
- Genocide Nation
- Moon Treaty
- Water-Rate Increase
- Difficult Subjects
- Massive Bummer
- Golden Gate
PERIODS OF LIGHT RAIN will occur across the region through Thursday. Heavy rain and gusty south winds are expected on Friday. (National Weather Service)
MARCH was another wet month for the area. Since October 2018, Boonville has received nearly four feet of rain, while Yorkville has surpassed five feet. Here are the monthly totals for the 2018-19 rain season thus far:
Boonville (total to date: 47.02")
- 07.28" Mar
- 17.73" Feb
- 11.54" Jan
- 03.72" Dec
- 05.32" Nov
- 01.43" Oct
Yorkville (total to date: 62.68")
- 10.12" Mar
- 24.88" Feb
- 14.36" Jan
- 05.80" Dec
- 06.04" Nov
- 01.48" Oct
THIS JUST IN: At a Monday, April 1st Special Meeting of the Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH), its Board of Directors approved the hiring of Wayne Allen as interim Chief Executive Officer. Allen has served the hospital in this capacity before, including for an extended period while the hospital was in bankruptcy. The MCDH Board voted 4-0 to approve the hiring of Allen. John Redding (Finance Committee Chair) abstained, stating that "The whole process has been flawed from the start."
It is a stain upon our community that our citizen elected Board of MCDH Directors, led by Steve Lunde, allowed CEO Bob Edwards to remain on the job while he, and his appointed CFO, Wade Sturgeon, chronically intimidated and harassed hospital employees.
In our small town we do not require a law suit to tell us what is going on at the hospital for a few brief interviews tell all. However, it is to Ellen Hardin's credit that she finally blew the whistle on these scoundrels and brought a Federal Law Suit against them. Remember, Edwards brought Sturgeon here after he was fired from his last 2 jobs for harassing employees (see the internet for validation).
That MCDH Board Chair Lunde, and company, extended Edward's contract, thereby costing, we the public, an additional million dollars, is an act we should be sueing Lunde for in a private class action.
MCDH now requires a CEO who is a specialist in "turning around" failing businesses. Without this specialist MCDH will get more of what our community has had for over 40 years….hospital bureaucrats who feather their own nests at the expense of the locals.
Richard Louis Miller, M.A., Ph.D.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: Unexpected Magic: Rabbit Stargazer
by David Wilson
What makes a photograph special isn’t always what was planned, but what happens instead. Of course, sometimes what happens instead can make a mess of things. One has no choice in the matter, but it seems to me that if I’m open to the possibility that something unexpected can make the photo better, then delightful surprises will occasionally find me and enter my images.
It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes an outing ends with nothing good. And that is ok. I’ve awakened before dawn and gone out numerous times without bringing home an exciting image. But I don’t feel disappointed at those times because they are only the flip side; I feel the balance that exists, and I know that the times when I bring nothing back get me that much closer to the next time that magic will enter the image and give me something special. Is it magic when it happens? Luck? Or just plain probability? I don’t know, but it works for me, and I am grateful for it and like working with it.
A bit of the magic hopped into the frame one night in 2016 while photographing the Perseid meteor shower. When I discovered it later, it instantly became the star of my evening’s photos for me. I was photographing from a friend’s house who lived far from city lights, and in a darker area over a little hill away from the house lights I’d set my camera up and programmed its intervalometer to take long exposure photographs one after another. While the camera photographed, we watched the skies from a location nearer the house and the conveniences of deck chairs and refreshments. I had no idea that a curious furry little critter had come out to watch the stars near my camera until I looked through the images the next day. If I hadn’t been away from my camera s/he wouldn’t have come.
The rabbit sat by my camera for almost 6 minutes while the camera took pictures. Each photograph was a 30-second exposure, and the rabbit appeared in eleven of them. It stayed fairly still in some of the images, but in others it moved while the shutter was open, becoming streaks or leaving ghost images of its silhouette. Was s/he watching the shooting stars, too? I fancy s/he was sharing the wonder of the night sky so full of stars and meteors, airplanes and satellites. Or was it perhaps watching the camera, wondering what that contraption was which sat upon metal legs and clicked every 30 seconds?
As a footnote, let me invite you to come see my images in person; I will be having a photography show starting April 6 at Arts & Drafts, 422 First Street on the Waterfront in Eureka. The opening is during Arts Alive, Saturday April 6 from 6pm-9pm.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, visit and contact him at his website mindscapefx.com or follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx)
FROM LAWRENCE LIVERMORE: Would love to see a woman president, and would happily vote for Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. Gillibrand and Klobuchar, on the other hand, are non-starters. Ditto for most of the male Democrats. Beto might have potential, but there's a more-than-passing risk of his being a good-looking empty suit. Bernie is canceled until or unless he stops lying about his taxes and releases the ten years' worth of complete tax returns that he's been promising but not delivering ever since 2016. Biden seems likable enough, but he's too old and handsy to have a chance now.
Pete Buttigieg stands head and shoulders above all of them. I haven't seen such an inspiring candidate since JFK, and yes, I am old enough to remember the 1960 campaign. So while I will vote, more or less enthusiastically, for almost anyone the Democrats nominate — to do otherwise is tantamount to supporting national suicide — I believe that far and away our best bet is to promote Mayor Pete to President Pete.
ED NOTE: You've lost your way, Lar. In your Spy Rock days you never once went lib-lab on us, but age and prosperity seems to have removed your stinger. The only possible candidates are Bern and Warren, and I don't care if Bernie has never paid his income taxes, which I don't believe and wonder where you came up with that one. Bern and Liz are the only candidates who seem to understand how the economy works. Liz is especially good on the banks, the oligarchs and the true root of our common prob and what to do about it. But what's going to happen is this: The Democrats will put up Biden as their "compromise" candidate fantasy compromise between the party's nascent left represented by AOC and, I dunno, Jaime Dimon, I guess. Trump will get another four years, America may or may not survive in any recognizable form.
GOOD DEAL FOR THE RIGHT PERSON(S): The county is looking for a camp host at Indian Creek in Philo
Volunteer in Northern California, in the heart of Mendocino County wine country! Enjoy opportunities that abound nearby such as hiking, birding, food, wine and music festivals, sightseeing picturesque towns along the Mendocino coast, and so much more! For more information and to apply Online visit www.mendocinocounty.org/parks
Mendocino County’s Indian Creek Campground has a dedicated quiet spot for hosts with full RV hookups (water, sewer, electric) along with a land line telephone and a P.O. Box. Campground host duties would include: greeting visitors, clean-up of 10 campsites and 1 restroom facility. In addition, an $100 stipend will be paid monthly April-October. Apply Online at mendocinocounty.org/parks
YOU'RE AMONG FRIENDS, AL
I keep asking myself that from time to time where I can find peace of mind without any judgement or strain. Is there any such life for a person like me, so far I have not found one. Sometimes I think to do the homeless life once I rid all my material possessions, walking or wondering about with only the clothes on my back looking ragged with no expectations or anything to hope from. I would walk until I drop and call it good.
Al Nunez, (707) 409-4147
AL GETS IT DONE!
Praise for Al Nunez
Al has done property clearing, extensive trimming, hauling and gardening for me. He has worked here 4 times and my landlord and I were both very pleased with him and his work.
BUENO YABBELOW PRESENTS: Last concert of the season next Sunday! The Bueno Yabbelow Music Series, hosted by the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, presents "Art Song" for those that love opera, featuring two Grammy-winning singers, Soprano Jessica Rivera and baritone Matthew Worth with piano virtuoso Molly Morkoski. As always, our guests will talk about and perform some of their favorite selections. I can promise that these wonderful folks are as warm and friendly as our BYMS guests always are, loving the format where instead of performing to an anonymous blackened-out theater, they can actually see each and every member of the audience. We will also have some special guest appearances from the emerging composers enrolled at GLFCAM who are being mentored by Jessica, Matthew, and Molly as they compose brand new songs of their own.
This will be our third and last concert of the spring before our next concert in November. You are very warmly invited!
Sunday, April 7th, 7pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Anderson Valley High School Cafeteria
$10 at the door
Free for 18 and under; students of AV High and their families
ART HATCHER, long-time Valley resident, has been appointed manager for the Coast branch of the Mendocino Transit Authority, offices in Fort Bragg.
IN OTHER COAST news, we were sorry to learn that the venerable Oz Farm near Point Arena was virtually destroyed by the late February rains that caused the Garcia to flood, inundating Oz. An expensive clean-up and restoration is underway.
A STARTLING STORY by Renee Hanson out of the South Coast's redoubtable weekly, the ICO, describes the absenteeism suffered by the Point Arena schools. The startling part is the statistic that of 156 students enrolled at Point Arena High School, 66 are chronically among the missing, 96 of 325 often don't show up for classes at Point Arena Elementary, 26 young scholars of the 86 on the rolls at the charter school fail to show up, and at the high school's continuation program 11 of the 13 students enrolled don't regularly appear. PA High School is offering "letterman's jackets" as awards for regular attendance while the elementary school is promising missing children ice cream socials if they can get to school on a regular basis.
PA'S Superintendent, Warren Galletti, is quoted in the absentee story as saying, "Some people also don't know the value of education as much as they probably should," a statement one might plausibly apply to Americans generally these days, our culture managing new lows practically on a daily basis. A kid raised by a tv set and Fruit Loops in a fragged home, and there's millions of them, isn't likely to manage regular school attendance. The social consequences are everywhere.
MEANWHILE, in edu-committed Anderson Valley, school attendance remains high, higher than most school districts in the county. According to our interim superintendent, Michael Warych, AV's annual attendance runs about 94 percent, which is way above the statewide attendance stat. "We're pretty aggressive about it," Warych said last week, pointing out that "we have an outreach person on each of the two campuses and an automated telephone system. If a student at the high school, for instance, doesn't show up for first period, his home is notified that he isn't present." And two persons to knock on the doors of the missing.
STILL AND ALL, Superintendent Warych has assumed a difficult school situation here in Anderson Valley, a situation which includes a large budget deficit, a declining enrollment, a three-person school board, and a staff turnover in key positions at both the elementary and high school levels.
THE SCHOOL staff turnover, especially comes at an inopportune time. We have two long-time teachers at the Elementary School, Linnea Totten and Mitch Mendoza, have gallantly taken early retirements to spare younger colleagues being laid off. Our capable high school principal, Jim Snyder, is leaving for a job with the County Office of Education, and long-time staffer and fill-in high school principal, Robert Pinoli, is retiring.
DECLINING ENROLLMENT means declining revenue. Lots of local gringos say that the declining enrollment is a form of “white flight.” Which I happen to find ironic given that years ago ambitious families sent their children to schools in Ukiah and Mendocino to avoid the “rednecks.” I also don’t think 2019 “white flight” is racially inspired but more to seek out a better quality of education which, because of its small size, Anderson Valley has difficulty providing, although the district has always tried by bringing in qualified people to teach classes like advanced math and physics. The prob here is that we have a large majority Mexican school population overseen by a school board consisting of an ancient gringo male and two young gringa moms. I could name a dozen of local Mexicans who could and should join the school board, but the Mexican community hasn’t lately put anybody forward, and the gringo community won’t even talk about the local racial divide in anything but whispers.
PEOPLE are lately reluctant to serve on the AV school board because it’s (1) a thankless task and (2) a school trustee is often in the painful position of being damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. It isn’t easy to say NO to people in a small community dominated by its largest employer, the local school district. Last year’s turmoil probably scared off potential school board members for the next several years, and the difficulties facing the district will require trustees who, ah, uh, enjoy challenges.
THEREFORE, IF TWO PERSONS do not soon volunteer or sign up to run for the school board please understand the following as not a threat but a promise: The editor of this fine publication will run for election to the Anderson Valley School Board. To that end he has already formed an exploratory committee tentatively called, “Mexicans For Bruce.” If my vow doesn’t terrify the Nice People or the Appropriate Police into stepping up…well, you asked for it!
DEAR TED: "Dear Ted Williams, What do we need to do to get Mendocino County to properly maintain Philo Greenwood Rd and Cameron Rd? It’s clear that both roads are in utter disrepair and quite dangerous due to the number of potholes. Will it get done when someone gets hurt after an accident? I have many more photos but can only post one on your page. The Elk community is fed up to say the least." (Facebook post)
TED PROMPTLY REPLIED: “Now that the crews have finished the Bailey bridge on Lambert Lane, they will be patching on Philo Greenwood, Cameron, Flynn Creek and Mountain View starting today and throughout the week…”
RUMOR OF THE WEEK has it that the County is preparing to send out about 200 pot permit denials. Low Gap staff is fearful that things may get ugly and are asking for enhanced law enforcement security in anticipation of trouble. If there is trouble, it shouldn’t surprise anyone considering that the denials are the reward for conscientious people trying to do the right thing by getting legal. But after jumping through all the hoops of an objectively insane process they are being notified that they, their businesses, and maybe even their land remains “illegal.”
HOW TO KILL THE KIDS: Experts say the anti-vaccine or vaccine choice groups, as they commonly refer to themselves, are becoming larger, better organized and funded in part because their prolific use of social media, as well as the rise of a group founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which has helped to coordinate their efforts to push back on new laws. “Social media has given it a national presence. It’s no longer just a collection of different states, it’s now gone across the country,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher and pediatrician. “Right now you might call it a media empire—you have almost 500 anti-vaccine websites.”
AN ON-LINE comment nicely sums up the anti-vaxx movement: “I know an ‘anti Vaxxer’. She is ignorant, but she thinks she is sophisticated. She has no sense of history, and has no idea what life and death were like before medical innovations such as penicillin and the polio vaccine.”
HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S DAY, everybody! A friendly prank while promoting Ukiah Police Department wellness never hurt anyone! (Ukiah PD facebook post.)
MOROCCAN FEAST IN YORKVILLE!
This Friday the Yorkville Market will serve a Moroccan feast! Stay tuned for the menu. We will post it soon. RSVP at 894-9456.
STATEMENT OF INTEREST, ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD
My name is Elizabeth Jensen and my family and I recently moved to Yorkville from the Bay Area. Many of you may know my name from my efforts to improve our local community park and playground in Boonville or from my sharing of local family friendly events and activities. As a mother of a young child just starting preschool, I see a long relationship ahead for my family and our public schools in Anderson Valley. I have heard a little about the successes and challenges of our school district and am eager to engage with our community to learn more about what you value in your child's education and personal growth as well as what you see as priorities for our district. Throughout my life, I have attended both public and private academic institutions. As a student, I always thought of school as a place of academic learning. As an adult and especially a parent, I recognize also the importance of school as a place to grow community, provide opportunity, and foster learning and growth in all aspects of life. It is my understanding that the school board should seek input from and work to be responsive to the community it serves in setting direction and developing policies for the schools. I also recognize it is the responsibility of the school board to establish the structure and ensure accountability to deliver on those goals. I have volunteered to serve on our School Board to advocate for our community's interests. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Thank you.
PS. CONTACT INFORMATION
District Office Location: 12300 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville, CA 95415
District Office Mailing Address: PO Box 457
District Office Phone: (707) 895-3774
District Office Fax: (707) 895-2665
SAVE SCOTT DAM
It is with great frustration that I read articles about possible dam removal at Lake Pillsbury. What? Take away water storage in drought-ridden California? Sure, we’re having a strong, wet winter, but we all know this is not our typical weather pattern. Not having that water storage for firefighting (I’ve seen many helicopters get water from Lake Pillsbury over the 59 years I’ve been going there), for farmers downriver, for our growing population, and yes, for recreation too, just boggles my mind. There’s got to be more common sense with this decision as California needs more water storage, not less! Let’s be smart about this, and think about the people, too.
TRYING REAL HARD to be fair to Creepy Joe, Stephanie Carter, the wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter, now says the famous photo of them has been “misleadingly extracted” by Biden’s opponents.
The photograph with Ms. Carter, taken at the White House in February 2015 during her husband's swearing-in ceremony, shows Biden, a portrait in lechery, standing behind Carter with his hands barely restrained from launching into full-on grope mode. Biden's restrained only by the public context. But his seeming vic, has now written, “A still shot taken from a video — misleadingly extracted from what was a longer moment between close friends — sent out in a snarky tweet — came to be the lasting image of that day. I told them I felt awful that after he had generously taken time out of his day to swear in an old friend, his attempt to support me had become a joke and even more—supposed proof positive that he didn’t understand how to respect women.”
MENDOCINO, Calif. — In the next few days, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) contract crews will be working in Mendocino, Point Arena, Gualala and Talmage to conduct accelerated wildfire safety inspections of substations using helicopters.
The helicopter inspections will complement and further enhance visual inspections by gathering information from the substations by capturing LiDAR data and photographs to determine if any repairs are needed. These inspections are part of the company’s wildfire safety efforts, implemented following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires as additional precautionary measures intended to further reduce wildfire risks.
In Mendocino County, flights will occur over the Big River, Garcia, Gualala, Philo Junction and Point Arena substations. Depending on clear weather conditions, flights will occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Helicopters will be flying above the substation at an altitude from ground of no lower than 250 feet for 10 minutes or less and will follow all safety standards and Federal Aviation Administration regulations.
If property owners have any questions or want to check for PG&E’s presence in their community, please email email@example.com . Additional information is available at: pge.com/wildfireinspections.
PG&E inspection crews are conducting accelerated inspections of approximately 200 substations across the company’s service area. This work is being done as part of the company’s Community Wildfire Safety Program and is in addition to its routine inspections and maintenance programs. These helicopter inspections are taking place across PG&E’s service area in locations that have been designated as at elevated or extreme risk of wildfire based on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) High Fire-Threat District Map: cpuc.ca.gov/FireThreatMaps/.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 1, 2019
JIMMY ALLEN, Willits. Domestic abuse, failure to appear.
SARAH BRUCE, Willits. Grand theft.
CASEY GILSTRAP, Calpella. Suspended license.
BILLIE LYONS-HAMIL, Oakland/Ukiah. Under influence.
CHERE POWERS, Willits. Harboring a wanted felon.
TONYA SCHEURICH, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance paraphernalia, stolen property, probation revocation.
CASEY WESTON, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
by James Kunstler
The sore beset people of this land may be good and goddam sick of politics, RussiaGate, and Trump-inspired social strife, but they may soon have something more down-to-earth to worry about: Biblical floods and plagues.
Media hysteria around the Mueller Report has nearly eclipsed news of historic flooding in the midwest that has already caused $3 billion in damage to farms, homes, livestock, and infrastructure. With spring rainfall already at 200% of normal levels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a statement in late March saying, “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities.”
More to the point, two major western dams show disturbing signs of potential failure that may bring on unprecedented disasters. The Oroville Dam on the Feather River north of Sacramento — the highest earthen dam in the US — nearly blew out in February 2017 when record rains damaged the main spillway, threatening to send a 30-foot wall of water downstream towards California’s capital and towns along the way. When that spillway was closed to assess the damage, which was significant, the secondary emergency spillway was opened for the first time since the dam was built in 1968. It too started disintegrating and before long Lake Oroville began flowing over the top of the dam itself. The state had to order evacuation of 188,000 people in three counties. Frantic efforts to drop sandbags from helicopters stabilized the damage and, luckily, the rain stopped.
Subsequent lawsuits against the state’s Department of Water Resources revealed shoddy maintenance, theft of equipment, and poor record keeping. Now, two years later, new cracks have appeared in the repaired Oroville Dam main spillway. The Sierra Nevada snowpack stands at 153 percent above average, and the National Weather Service predicts that weak El Nino conditions with above-average Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to produce above-average rainfall this spring along with the snowpack melt.
The Fort Peck Dam on the upper Missouri River in Montana is likewise troubling experts watching a record snowpack in the Rocky Mountains. It too is an earthen dam — the world’s largest by volume — filled with hydraulic slurry. Because it is located on the flat high plains, the dam is extremely long, running 21,000 feet — about four miles — from end to end. Behind it is a reservoir that is the fifth-largest man-made lake in the nation.
Concern is rising because the coming snow melt coincides with unusually active seismic activity around the Yellowstone Caldera, one of the world’s super-volcanos. The slurry construction of the dam inclines it to liquification when the ground shakes. Failure of the Fort Peck dam would send the equivalent of a whole year’s flow of the Missouri River downstream in one release that could potentially wash away the other five downstream dams in the Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System, along with every bridge from Montana to St. Louis, an unimaginable amount of farm and town infrastructure, and several nuclear power installations. It would be the greatest national disaster in US history. Just sayin’.
A shy, science-nerd correspondent writes: “Epidemiologists speculate that a flooding event in Central Asia steppes triggered the 1347 Eurasian plague outbreak. Rumors of a mass human die-off in India reached Europe in the mid-1340’s. The Mongols besieging the coastal city of Trebizond on the shore of the Black Sea catapulted plague infested corpses over the city walls and Italian merchant ships fleeing Trebizond carried the infestation to Genoa which foolishly permitted the dying crew to land…. Rodents hosting plague spreading fleas typically inhabit arid grassland regions such as the Great Plains of America and the semi deserts of California and New Mexico. The current flooding of the American Mid-West and the mass dumping of flood tainted wheat, corn and soybeans will likely spark a rodent population explosion in the region, which in the context of rat-swarming homeless encampments may yield a 1347 repeat event in North America during the 2020s. What happened before can happen again.”
The homeless camps around Los Angeles have turned up cases of other medieval-type diseases typical of human settlements before public sanitation became a standard feature of civilized life: Many are spread through feces (as well as drug use): Hepatitis A, Typhus, shigellosis (or trench fever, spread through body lice), and tuberculosis. Gawd knows what is coming across the border into America’s proudly leading “sanctuary state.” Wait for it. Just sayin’.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
HUMBOLDT PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS BACK PG&E AND GREEN NEW DEAL RESOLUTIONS
Responding to the specter of irreversible climate change and the associated extreme weather events already impacting California, Humboldt Progressive Democrats are backing two key resolutions being drafted by the California Democratic Party.
The “PG&E Resolution and Legislation” was submitted by members of the CDP Rural Caucus and will be considered at the May-June Convention. Noting recent PG&E caused catastrophic wildfires and its subsequent filing for bankruptcy, the resolution supports the pubic takeover of PG&E and the creation of a “new company [to] be operated as a not-for-profit entity for the benefit of the people with public safety, energy reliability, and sustainability as its primary goals.”
The resolution also notes that “PG&E has proposed rate increases for their customers and low interest loans and liability forgiveness from the taxpayers to cover their losses rather than first requiring their executives and shareholders, who profited from PG&E management decisions, to bear those loses as part of the understood risk of investing in any corporation.” However PG&E workers are protected by “keeping the existing employees of PG&E … with all current union membership and employee benefits and pension commitments protected.”
The second “Resolution Calling for a Green New Deal for California” is being submitted directly to Governor Gavin Newsom, Senator Pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon. It has been passed by Central Committees throughout the State, by Democratic Clubs (such as the Humboldt Progressive Democrats), and is expected to be also endorsed by local municipalities.
In stark terms this resolution provides an account of already well known impacts of climate change: “California is uniquely vulnerable to climate change devastation, as witnessed by drought-worsened wildfires including the Camp Fire (Butte County, 86 dead, 2018), Tubbs Fire (Sonoma County, 22 dead, 5643 structures lost, 2017), Mendocino complex fire (Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, and Glenn counties, 459,000 acres burned, 2018), and Thomas fire (Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, 271,000 acres burned, 2017); and is equally vulnerable to sea level rise, atmospheric rivers causing inland flooding, and other impacts.”
To avert environment disaster we must become carbon neutral, and quickly. On the scale of the efforts during WWII and FDR’s New Deal, the Green New Deal calls for “net zero greenhouse gas emissions within a very short time frame; creation of millions of good jobs; investment in the infrastructure and industry of the United States; securing clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, and access to nature for all; and promoting justice and equity with respect to frontline communities, all while ensuring a just transition for workers in the fossil fuel and related industries.”
Both resolutions passed at the March meeting of the Humboldt Progressive Democrats and have been sent to the appropriate party leaders and elected officials. Copies available on request by contacting the Humboldt Progressive Democrats at PO Box 121, Arcata 95518.
Recognizing that both resolutions address key local non-partisan issues, all community members are encouraged to contact and pressure their elected representatives to take action by supporting public takeover of PG&E and passing Green New Deal legislation during the upcoming legislative session. “We are truly at a tipping point – and there is no Planet B. Yet we have the power to fix the problem. We must raise our voices now and demand our electeds do their jobs.” – Helene Rouvier, Humboldt Progressive Democrats.
HOW THE ISRAEL LOBBY GOT ITS START
"It is essential to come to grips with the militancy at the core of Israel’s identity in order to understand the role of the Israel lobby. The lobby provides cover for Israel’s congenital aggression, its pursuit of land over peace, its flaunting of international law. While Israel carries out violent and criminal acts, the lobby functions to insulate it from criticism, to distort history and reality, in sum to provide what Lipsky described, the armor that Israel cannot live without.
Such is the hubris of imperial settler states like Israel and the United States that even as they engage in violent repression, they simultaneously insist on being loved, honored, and accredited as model democracies. Historical denial and policing of dissent are thus among the primary characteristics of the militant settler state. Efforts to unpack Israeli or for that matter American mythology and to expose the aggression that inheres within, are invariably attacked as subversive."
A Personal Tribute To Jazz Master Randy Weston
by Steve Heilig
Way back in the early 1970s I stumbled upon a then-new record titled "Blue Moses" by pianist Randy Weston. It had a very colorful, almost psychedelic cover and a roster of top jazz stars like Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Hubert Laws on flute, drummer Billy Cobham, Miles Davis's bassist Ron Carter. and more, and looked exotic. I took a chance and bought it for $3 (my hourly wage then) at the local shop, rode my bike home, put it on, and thus began a lifelong love of the music therein. It remains one of my top ten jazz albums — and I’ve got hundreds.
Weston himself didn’t like it much at the time, though. Already long established as a performer and composer of Africa-infused jazz, he reluctantly played the electric keyboard on this record for the first and last time. He wouldn’t even call the then-popular Fender Rhodes electric keyboard a real piano. He and his percussionist son flew to New York from their home in Tangiers, Morocco to record, flew back home, and when the resulting record got to them months later they weren’t even sure it was their music.
But jazz fans knew, and loved it, and "Blue Moses" became what Weston came to call “my only hit record,” which got him out of debt. With time he came to appreciate what the folks at CTI Records, known for lush, complex productions, had done with his original concepts. As he said in an interview not long before he died at 91, “it was the story of my life in Morocco. That’s a very, very personal experience—also for my son, because we lived there. We lived with the people. We traveled. We hung out with the traditional people. Cats playing music on camels, on horseback, all kind of drums, dance music, it’s wonderful. And I just say wow. You know, we’d get together, we would read the Koran together, my son and I. We would play chess together. He listened to the Gnawan musicians and started playing rhythms that I didn’t know he knew. That’s what ‘Blue Moses’ is all about."
Weston, who was a towering figure at 6'8", must have stood out in Morocco, but he made it his mission to learn all he could of North African music and to blend it with his own. "I was in this small French car with my son, (drummer) Ed Blackwell, and the bass player Bill Wood, and we drove from Tangier all the way to the Sahara. I’m driving. The car’s so small that the wheel is between my legs, but I just loved adventure, I guess, at that time. So we go to this village up in the Rif Mountains, and we see snow. So I said, Wow, I didn’t know there was snow in Morocco. I saw the people skiing, so I said, I got to put music to that.”
"Blue Moses" is full of impressions of these travels, with shifting rhythms and melodies and superb ensemble and solo playing. All four extended songs are wonderful, once one gets past the dated synthesizer in the opening "Ifrane" (which is about those skiers). But the song that has lived in my ears and brain for decades is titled “Night in Medina.” In the album's sparse liner notes, Weston noted about this composition, the song "expresses my feelings of peace, but peace tinged with apprehension, during a 3 a.m. walk in the twisting streets of the Medina (old city) in Rabat, when the moon was full."
When my friend Eric and I rode our bikes from Paris down through central France and the Spanish Mediterranean coast, stashing our wheels near the ferry to Tangier and then riding buses and trains further into Morocco, this song's haunting melody was my internal soundtrack. Walking through the sprawling maze of the marketplaces or Medina’s of Fez or Marrakech, the slow five-note descending melody hummed in my psyche. The exotic percussion and faint singing vocals, as if from one of the high towers calling worshipers to prayer, fit right in with what we were seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling. It's one of my most enduring travel memories, and as the old song goes, I've been everywhere, man.
Randy Weston died last year, after a long and renowned musical career. He recorded great many albums before and after "Blue Moses," and was something of a cult hero to many jazz fans. I only saw him play live once and am forever grateful for that experience. And it seems Weston, despite many early struggles, lived with gratitude too. Looking back towards the end of his life, he reflected “I’m so fortunate now because wherever we go now, the musicians with whom I work, I feel that we give the spirit of Africa in our music. I describe it as spirit—living with the people, loving the people, reading about the people, eating the foods and drink. What I’m doing now is because of years of love. Love of my parents. Love of my people. Love of life. Love of humanity. And love of this beautiful planet.”
Obviously Randy Weston was not only a great musician and composer, but a great soul. "Blue Moses," long hard to find, has been re-released on CD, and “Night in Medina” and other songs from it, and more from Weston’s long and storied career, can be found online. Take a musical visit to Morocco, guided by a master.
THEY WON’T PAY? WE WON’T PAY! by Dario Fo
A Review by Marylyn Motherbear Scott
Opening the 2019 Season of Mendocino Theatre Company —
translated by Jon Laskin & Michael Aquilante
Directed by Katherine Jean Nigh
The Cast: Nicole Traber, Terilynn Epperson, Bob Cohen, Raven Deerwater, Steven F. Worthen, Dawn Bristow.
“They Won’t Pay? We Won’t Pay!” is performed by some of MTC’s most beloved performers. These skilled actors hold this play together at an hilarious pace through the footfall antics of absurdist theatre, out the other side, to a ghostly image offered into mindful memory of those who spoke out as we do now, and who marched to an all-too-familiar tune.
On first glance at the stage, you are treated to a wall! A wall, no less! with past and present protest posters displayed. Two women enter, best friends, one with bags full of groceries pilfered from a grocery store riot. Their dialogue sets the play in motion. The women enter into co-conspiratorial concealment of the stolen groceries, not wanting their loyal and law-abiding husbands to get upset. And so the play goes apace, as two sets of couples attempt to act upon mixed messages and sudden changes of circumstance.
Nicole Traber is nothing short of amazing as the leading character, Antonia. She is the wick that gets lit and we all can see and laugh and perhaps weep a bit. That being said, her co-conspirator, Marguerita, played by Terrilyn Epperson is the foil that reflects Antonia’s actions, and adds her own sweet, somewhat scared and flickering light. Desperate housewives who take justice into their own hands.
Antonia’s husband, Giovanni, played by MTC veteran Bob Cohen, offers, as always, a nuanced yet decisive and humorous performance of a man who believes in the system while not benefitting from it. Raven Deerwater plays Luigi, Marguerita’s husband, offering again, a foil, seemingly practical, that reflects Giovanni’s issues, one side and the other.
There’s a variety of policemen —all of whom look alike! one on the worker side and one on the anti-worker side, each one played to an individualized hilt by Steven P. Worthen. Mirror images, remind us to look in the mirror. What side are you on?
Attitudes, lies and reality, political and social posturing. Bottom-line, it is the realities of the everyday working class who fight to survive in the midst of hunger and apathy, feminine endurance and patriarchal dominance.
There is one more character, the gender-bending sacred fool and stage hand you must see to believe. Or disbelieve! The basic tenet for enjoying live theater is the willing suspension of disbelief. A worthy practice. This character reminds us of the Native American heyokas, the two-spirited clowns and the court Jester who could enact the most unpopular of issues in the community. To harm them would bring dire consequence.
Once upon a time, performing troupes paraded, ritually, through the streets and town squares with stories that usually included the foibles of relationship and the sensibilities of the common people versus the entitled rich and ruling classes. The viewers hope that the ruling class ends up getting what they deserve, a swift boot on the bottom. Or kicked out of office! Through these parades and marches, the community is informed, united, empowered. Let us not forget.
Katherine Jean Nigh, director, leaves no stone unturned. Each moment makes its mark. The crossing of the absurd and the dramatic, the outlandish and the straight-forward, the merging of the crude with the elegant complexity of language that says it all, through gesture, through words, through making it all matter is the container of this play and this production.
Playwright Dario Fo, awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1997, is not only considered to be a master of the art; but a man of integrity. Fo made improvisation a part of his script, giving permission to revise parts so that the content met the concerns of the people, giving grace and space for the common folk to speak. More than a soapbox, a stage on which to enact their own revolution.
Director Nigh takes us far beyond the conventional aspects of drama and of farce, into the often desperate and always tender feelings of working class people who deserve more than a hard time.
This class struggle has existed, it seems, for time without end. All the workers want is to have enough, and some to share. Nigh takes us there. I mean, she takes us Here, merging Italy with America with Brexit Britain and other people and nations around the world. And so we laugh. So much laughter. Enough to make us weep.
Mendocino Theatre Company made a great choice in offering “You Won’t Pay? I Won’t Pay!” as its opening gambit. In this exciting season, MTC asks you to consider the question, What would compel you to transgress the rules— to go beyond the pale — to cross the line?
For tix call 937-3629.
Call me an addict, hopefully a recovering addict. For years, I have been tuned in to the daily avalanche of talking heads on TV, on the internet, and on the radio. What has it gotten me, but raise my blood pressure at times. At other times it just does not seem to add up to anything.
Few addicts can go cold turkey when he or she realizes it is interfering with one’s daily life. Slowly, I have weaned myself from TV. It took the burning down of our Coffey Park house and our retreat to our summer home in Navarro to do that. We have never installed TV reception of any kind here. Oh, once ever so often we stay in a hotel and get a night or two of relapse time. But that wears off. How did we ever get into the habit of watching MSNBC for hours, with an endless parade of talking heads, all former something or others, all needing the appearance fees, all carefully scripted with nonsense. You have got to know it is all staged.
Because every damned one of them talks so fast and can hardly wait for the pre-chosen question to be asked so they can have their two minutes of prophesying punditry. None of them so much as takes a breath until some hidden light goes on to tell them they are out of time. Every show, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, all have the same three or four issues of the day, at the same time, even with the same paid advertising at times. And, one show promotes the next hour’s bench of pundits before signing off for the day.
It is all so breathtaking, that is, it sucks the breath right out of you. and you begin to feel light-headed from anoxia.
As a second step in recovery, I am cleansing my e-mail of things like HuffPost, which wants you to agree to their mining your profile for advertising purposes. Fortunately, I have always detested Facebook and the likes of all chat lines. One less drug to worry about.
Tonight, I faced one more act of cleansing. I have given up listening to KZYX pretty much. I believe those who claim that NPR has become a mind-numbing, vacuous waste of time. That even goes for Left-Right-and-Center. You have to know that every show is scripted to give a gloss to supposedly differing opinions. At least the show’s title (and that is what it is, a show) is one in which no matter the issues at hand, each side has its fixed-in-place position. A cynic might suggest that one side is bleeding heart, the other would rather bite the head off a bat than soften its position, and in between is the “Can’t we all Get Along” mantra.
So, I am content to read the AVA weekly, subscribe to Navajo Times, and read my Smithsonian monthly. The rest of it I will leave to the slow, insidious osmosis of news we all have become literally inured in. Well, I’m off to re-read Desert Solitaire. Where are the Edward Abbeys when we need them most?
Clearly Beyond the Deep End
GOODBYE TO ALL THAT
With this post, his 19th at TomDispatch, Sjursen is now officially a retired Army major who now writes for such varied non-mainstream sites as Truthdig and Antiwar.com. In his latest piece, he offers his very personal goodbye to all that -- if not, unfortunately, to America’s forever wars.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
You have 7 MISSED MESSAGES TO RENEW YOUR DEMOCRATIC MEMBERSHIP for 2O19.
This is your FINAL NOTICE to renew before tonight’s critical End of Quarter Deadline.’
After the Speaker of the House -- and SIX other top Democrats -- all reached out, we thought we could count on our grassroots Democrats to step up.
But with only 11 hours left, we’re seriously starting to panic because their calls for help have gone unanswered.
Our Democrats are fighting tooth-and-nail for everyday Americans like you, Betsy, but Trump and his Republicans are raising unprecedented sums to RUIN our Majority.
Just this week, Trump and his Republicans have:
Raked in piles of cash at MEGA fundraisers in Texas, Florida, and Virginia
Charged up to $15O,OOO per ticket for a fundraiser in California
Already started unloading their cash to ATTACK our Democrats
If we fall short of our critical End of Quarter Deadline in just 11 hours, our Democrats will be in MAJOR trouble.
We need every last grassroots Democrat to step up before midnight and chip in $1 to hit our goal.
This is your FINAL NOTICE before tonight’s End of Quarter Deadline.
Will you renew your Membership with $1?
WAR GAMES AND WHALES
"The U.S. Navy is planning to expand their war training exercises right in the path of the annual Gray Whale migration. These war training exercises include massive sonar, huge explosions and many harmful chemicals being released into the ocean. The Gray Whales will have to travel through this deadly environment two times a year.
The Navy could move these exercises somewhere else. The don’t have to be conducted in the Gray Whale migration path. Everywhere the U.S. Navy or other country’s Navies have conducted these war training exercises, there has been extra loss of marine life.
If you don’t want this to happen, please send written comments to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
Attention NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager
3730 N. Charles Porter Ave., Building 385
Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500
The navy is going to send representatives to Dana Gray Elementary School in Fort Bragg on May 3, 2019 to explain the Navy's expansion plans.
Their notice announcing this neglected to mention what time the meetings start and finish. People can call the Navy public Affairs Officer at: 1-360-396-1630 to get more information."
Ed Oberweiser, Chair- Ocean Protection Coalition (OPC) of Mendocino County - oceanprotection.org
THE PUBLIC LIBRARY: ANTIDOTE TO EVERYDAY AMERICAN BANALITY
by Jonah Raskin
“The public library is one of the only spaces where people can spend all day without being expected to purchase something.” – Sonoma County librarian Terra Emerson
Tickets for the annual “Literary Lions” black-tie event that takes place this year on November 4th at the 42nd Street Library in New York—the capital of capital— start at $1,500. They go up as high as $150,000. The rock-bottom tickets are already sold out. There are still $5,000 and $25,000 tickets. That’s New York, where libraries bear the names of wealthy benefactors such as Stephen Schwartzman, whose personal fortune is estimated at $12.4 billion. Only the wealthy can afford to attend the annual Literary Lions event that has, in the past, honored Margaret Atwood, Nelson Mandela, Steve Martin, Martin Scorsese, Zadie Smith, Gloria Steinem and Oprah Winfrey.
In the U.S., libraries have long been contested territories, and especially ever since the Gilded Age in the late nineteenth-century. Andrew Carnegie of Carnegie Library fame was a major player. After slashing the wages of industrial workers, plus a record of union busting with help from the Pennsylvania militia and the Pinkerton Detective Agency, the Gilded Age’s tycoon, poured some of the millions he had made in railroads and steel into the construction of thousands of libraries. Perhaps he wanted to clear his conscience.
If workers read, it was widely assumed, they would be less likely to join unions and go on strike. In the Gilded Age of the 21st-century, the public library does what no other institution can do: socialize, homogenize and Americanize the masses. The further away from Washington, D.C. and Wall Street, and especially in California, the more the library helps to educate the illiterate, the immigrant and the underprivileged who seek to survive in an increasingly polarized society divided along lines defined by ethnicity, gender and class. While the public library isn’t an institution by and for the working class, it certain can and does help working class families in dozens of ways. Indeed, there’s a widespread belief that libraries in California are the best social entities that government has to offer its citizens.
When it comes to resources, no library in the U.S. can hold a candle to the New York Public, with its statues of lions at the front entrance on Fifth Avenue. In fact, there’s a continental divide between the 42nd Street library in Manhattan and the public libraries in Sonoma County where I live and work. Sonoma libraries are in large measure supported by tax dollars. There are no black-tie events, though Sonoma millionaires like Sandy Weill, the former Citi-bankster, would probably love to launch one and host it. The concert hall at the music center on the campus of Sonoma State University already bears the Weill name.
I recently spent a week roaming around local libraries, talking to librarians, readers, teachers and writers. I have come away with a new appreciation for the library as a cultural institution that provides a foundation for a democratic society, even as millionaires and billionaires throw money around and aim to undermine democracy..
Sonoma County libraries offer digital services, ebooks, eaudiobooks, streaming movies, language learning programs, reference databases, magic shows, story times for children, trivia nights, live music for all ages, writing workshops for teens, and help maximizing social security benefits for adults.
Two cheers for local libraries and two cheers more for grass roots democracy.
Bookstores in northern California—with the notable exception of Book Passage in Corte Madera—don’t have many in-house events these days. But local libraries have worked wonders for local authors— one of the many good reasons to celebrate National Library Week, April 7-13.
Clare O’Brien, who has been a librarian in Sonoma County for 22 years, has watched with a sense of delight, as young readers have grown into middle-aged, and into elderly readers.
“The public library is often the entrance to the big world beyond the family,” O’Brien says. “Reading books brings people together and instills a sense of empathy for others.”
Indeed, it’s way cool to be empathetic at libraries.
O’Brien, who is always reading a book, has just finished, for the first time, Pearl Buck’s 1931 novel The Good Earth, which encouraged Americans to empathize with the Chinese in China.
“It moved me deeply,” she says. She adds, “It’s essential to sit down together with one, share stories, make eye contact and be comfortable conversing about books and life. The library provides a near-perfect setting to do that.”
Readers like O’Brien are everywhere in Sonoma and they’re growing in numbers.
Another librarian, Nancy Kleban says. “People are reading a lot. They’re reading more than ever before.”
In part, that’s a response to the horrors on the news, the cultural wasteland on TV and the callousness and banality of daily life in the U.S.
One of the beauties of Sonoma County’s libraries is their proximity to city and town centers and their accessibility to public transportation. Then, too, if a branch doesn’t have a book, a librarian will order it for you for free from a sister library.
The main library sits on Fourth and E in downtown Santa Rosa, only a few paces from the building that houses the History and Genealogy Department. Ten branches dot the county landscape. In fact, they’re in Cloverdale, Forestville, Guerneville, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park/Cotati, Occidental, Windsor, Roseland, and in two places not far from the central library, in Coddington and Rincon Valley.
For enologists, there’s the Wine Library on Piper Street in Healdsburg. For archivists and genealogists, there’s the Petaluma History Room at the Petaluma Fairgrounds. For readers at Sea Ranch and Stewarts Point, a bookmobile delivers the latest bestsellers, along with classics by Cervantes, Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Rebecca West, the author of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, who churned out the kind of book reviews that help librarians decide what to order.
More than a century ago, Sonoma’s literary giant, Jack London was reborn when he wandered into the Oakland Public library. The librarian, Ina Coolbrith, gave him an armful of books to take home. London never forgot that she started him on a literary journey that led to the publication of 50 books, many written in Sonoma, including The Valley of the Moon and The Iron Heel, a prophetic novel about the coming of an oligarchy to the U.S. and the eventual triumph of socialism.
At the Sonoma Valley branch of the library system, London’s books are in constant circulation. At the History and Genealogy Library, Katherine Rinehart, author of a volume about Petaluma architecture, keeps rare editions of London’s work under lock and key.
Amy Tan, the daughter of Chinese immigrants and the author of The Joy Luck Club, attended grammar school in Santa Rosa. “I borrowed books from the public library and read all The Little House on the Prairie novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder,” Tan says. “I won a prize for an essay titled ‘What the Library Means to Me,’ in which I said it ‘Turned on a light in the little room in my mind.’”
Currently, 223, 771 Sonoma County residents have library cards that enable them to turn on lights in their minds. 23,000 public school students are enrolled in a new, innovative program that provides them with free, unlimited access to all the technologies that the 21st-century has to offer.
All 23,000 students have an identification number from their school that serves as a kind of passport to the library—and they don’t pay fines for late books, either.
Last year, Sonoma County library patrons checked out 2,000,000 individual items—CDs, books and DVDs—a stunning figure that’s on the fingertips of Ray Holley, who worked in journalism for decades, and who is the new community relation’s manager for the whole system.
Holley has an office at the new library headquarters on State Farm Drive in Rohnert Park that’s undergoing remodeling, renovation and reorganizing. It’s a big step up from the old headquarters, which was located in the basement of the Central Library. The new headquarters is bigger, brighter and with more employees, too, including Jaime Anderson, Jane Greenwood, Vandy Tompkins, Kate Drewieske, Christina Hanson, and Sandra Breedlove, Those six women order new book all day long and read all day long too. It goes with the territory.
Something about a library attracts women and girls, though some guys also love a good book.
Holley says, “As a boy, I went to Santa Rosa Middle School. I was a bookworm. I walked from school at College and Fourth to the library on Fourth and E, where I borrowed books, mostly adventure stories.” He adds, “I still have my library card.”
In addition to its new community relation’s director, the library has a new boss, Ann Hammond, who has an office that’s so new it’s not yet decorated.
For years, Hammond served as the librarian for the city of Lexington, Kentucky, though she brings with her, library experience at both private and public and in Maryland and California.
“I’m trying to get a handle on everything,” Hammond says. “In Lexington I had a simple budget. Sonoma is a challenge, though I know that the library here has amazing programs, great collections, and a staff that wants to do more than it’s doing.”
She adds, “We have old books and new books. We can fix you up with whatever you want.”
Like all librarians, Ann Hammond is a voracious reader.
“I’m into Richard Russo’s novels,” she explains. “I recently finished Straight Man and now I’m in the midst of Everybody’s Fool.”
Hammond is so new to Sonoma that she’s not familiar with local writers, such as Greg Sarris, the author of Grand Avenue and Watermelon Nights. Sarris is also the Chairman of the local American Indian tribe. At present, he’s given up writing to run the Indian-owed Graton Resort and Casino, where he’s soaking up material that might lead to a saga about Indians, high rollers and the big boys from Las Vegas.
The new library head says she was hired because of her managerial skills, success at building bridges to local groups and her knack for raising funds.
Money will be essential if the library is to go on buying books and DVDs, upgrade computers and purchase 500 Hot Spots, which will cost a total of $400,000. Right now, the system is flush, thanks to Measure Y which voters approved in 2016 and that allocates 1/8th of one cent from county sales tax. That adds up to a whooping $11 & 1/2 million a year.
As part of its mission to level the playing field and democratize information, the Sonoma County library system is making it easier for people without access to the Internet—because they live in remote geographical areas and/ or because they can’t afford it—to get online for free.
A large poster on the wall of the Roseland library reminds patrons, many of them Spanish speakers without home computers, that ¼ of all households in America don’t have internet access. In Sonoma County, many of those households are clustered in South West Santa Rosa and along the Russian River where there are pockets of underprivileged Latinx and poor whites.
Kate Keaton, the branch manager in the Roseland library, which shares space with the Boys and Girls Club, says that many kids assume they’ll have to pay to take a book home. They’re elated when they learn they won’t have to spend a dime for a picture book in Spanish or English. They also love the free entertainment.
When Luis Orozco, a bilingual author of children’s books and a recording artist, performed live, recently, the makeshift Roseland library turned into a concert hall. The 500 people in the audience went wild.
Marlene Vera, a native of Peru, helps Roseland kids learn the letters of the alphabet in English.
“There are no real public libraries in Peru,” she says. “Not like
here.” The Roseland library is a magical place for many of the three-, four- and five-year-olds who listen to Vera read aloud from books like Dr. Seuss’s Ten Apples Up on Top.
Rachel Icaza, who directs the library’s Education Initiatives Program, ventures into public schools and reads aloud to students sometimes for three hours at a clip.
“At the library we’re a community of readers,” she says. “Girls will read anything. Boys want non-fiction.”
The changes underfoot have prompted librarians to rethink the library itself as a cultural institution that has existed for thousands of years, and to wonder if it might make the bookstore as an economic enterprise obsolete.
Rohnert Park Cotati librarian, Terra Emerson, calls herself “an avid lover of independent bookstores.” She adds, “Bookstores, unlike libraries, offer people a place to purchase and then keep the books they love and also buy them as gifts for loved ones.”
Emerson’s colleague, Nancy Kleban, now in her 18th year as a librarian, adds, “Some people prefer brand new, clean copies of books; for them, the library is not a good choice.”
Before Emerson became a librarian she worked at a bookstore. Not surprisingly, she touts the talents of booksellers who, are on the whole, she says “very well read and knowledgeable.”
Still, she’s quick to point out that “The public library is one of the only spaces where people can spend all day without being expected to purchase something.” In a commercially driven society like the U.S. that’s amazing. Emerson adds, “bookstores and libraries both promote a love of reading and learning and both act as the heart of a community.”
The libraries in Occidental, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park Cotati have been at the heart of my life ever since I arrived in the county in November 1975, and began to write two books— a road novel called Underground, and a work of non-fiction, My Search for B. Traven.
Before I settled here, I was a voracious reader and researcher at the New York Public on 42nd Street, the Central Library in Manchester, England, and the British Museum Reading Room in London where Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital. Marx, I’m sure, would have loved the quirky quotation from Henry David Thoreau, the author of Walden, who said, “A library is a wilderness of books.”
Argentinian novelist, essayist and Rio de Janeiro librarian, Jorge Luis Borges—who went blind at about 30, and couldn’t read for the next 50 years— imagined the universe as a labyrinth of books in his surrealistic story, “The Library of Babel.”
The house where I grew up had a library where words piled up, sentences blurred into one another and all the hundreds of books seemed to combine to form one vast interconnected text. These days, I get lost in the four-story library at Sonoma State University, where books are always on the shelves, exactly where they’re supposed to be; the whole place feels weirdly under-used.
As author Gore Vidal and others have observed, the older the student, the less he or she enjoys reading because books are assigned and required at schools and colleges and not freely chosen by students themselves.
I’ll take the public library, over the Sonoma State University library, even with its homeless men and women who are, Holley says, “our patrons, too.” He adds, “It’s rare for someone to be 86ed from the library.”
In the 1950s, it wasn’t homeless people, but books themselves that right-wingers wanted to remove from libraries. President Eisenhower famously denounced “the book burners” who actually removed books from shelves and set them on fire.
Today, things are both better and worse.
Books, including Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, are still challenged and censored by school boards and even by some librarians, though libraries almost everywhere celebrate “Banned Books Week”—September 22-28 this year—and honor prohibited novels like The Catcher in the Rye, Lolita, The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984. In Ray Bradbury’s novel 451 (1953) “firemen” burn books, an act that inspires the fictional characters to learn them by heart.
The Sonoma County library system, which started in the late 1850s soon after California became a state, has a good record when it comes to not filtering and blocking information, no matter what the form or format.
“We offer free and unfettered information,” Holley explains.
At the Rohnert Park Cotati Library, Terra Emerson offers a free wheeling book group called “Pride.”
“We read and discuss recent books featuring queer characters,” she says. “Reading books with queer characters can help queer teens feel connected and less alone. They can also help those who aren’t a part of the queer community to understand what their peers might be going through and how they can be allies.”
Right now the most popular book with Sonoma County adults is Delia Owens‘s bestselling debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing. The library system has 116 copies. As of March 2019, 350 people were on the waiting list to receive it.
Delia Owens didn’t come out of nowhere. She’s the co-author of three bestselling nonfiction books—Cry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant and Secrets of the Savanna. Take note, wanna-be authors: publish non-fiction before you try to publish a novel and remember that book sales are boosted by Hollywood movies. Reese Witherspoon is adapting Where the Crawdads Sing for the big screen.
Viviana Rodriguez, a bilingual Santa Rosa 10-year old, grew up listening to her mother, Anna, read aloud books like Smile. Now Viviana reads, on her own, Harry Potter, The Genius Files and The Story Thieves.
“Sometimes kids spend too much time on computers,” Viviana says. “They should shut them down one or two days a week and spend more time reading books.” In today’s world, that’s a subversive idea.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Just returned from a week long sojourn to eastern NE/western IA, and I can personally attest that I’ve never seen the whole state so wet. The Platte river, normally a collection of sand bars interspersed with a few rivulets of muddy water, ran high and mighty all the way across the state and the sound of migrating birds frolicking in the water logged fields next to it were like the days of long gone by. My mom’s house in Council Bluffs sits right next to a creek that feeds the Missouri, and it looked as if a tsunami had swept through the week before; the huge water flow of course compounded by the fact that it swept whole trees and other detritus along with it. Truly a sight to behold. They’re beginning to dry out a little now, but if any one of those upstream dams break, their situation will get many times worse overnight.
MAX BECKMANN: THE EXORCIST
by Manuel Vicent (translated by Louis S. Bedrock)
At the beginning of the 20th century, in the spas of Europe, the cheerful, confident bourgeoise drank the propitious waters and danced to the sound of orchestras of violins and trombones without knowing that their sheltered happiness was about to burst into pieces.
Some artists were the among the first to warn of this tragedy. Picasso declared:
—When a figure doesn’t fit on the canvas, one cuts off the legs and places them on one side or the other of the head.
In Baden Baden, on June 28, 1914, a waltz reverberated among the perfumed lime trees of the park and, in the middle of a perfect harmony, the orchestra suddenly stopped playing. Some listeners surrounded a guard who at that moment was posting on the bulletin board the news that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austrian Hungarian empire, and his wife had been assassinated in Sarajevo. No one attached much importance to the event and so the waltz began to again be heard at the same meter as when it had been interrupted and those happy burghers in the white chairs continued demonstrating their exquisite manners. No one could explain how the war started but suddenly that mirror of evanescent happiness was filled with blood. The majority of the German Expressionist painters, among others, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Erich Heckel, Ludvig Kirchner, and Max Beckmann had already foretold in their art this dismemberment of figures of flesh and blood that was approaching.
The German painter and sculptor Max Beckmann was reluctant to be categorized as an expressionist. He rejected all labels. In fact, after the First World War, during the Weimar Republic, he was a member of the Academy of the Arts, enjoyed recognition and prestige, successfully exhibited at the best art galleries, taught classes at the finest official centers, and was honored by critics and representatives of the cultural establishment.
But time passed and in April of 1936, Beckmann found himself in Baden Baden where once again there was a festive atmosphere and waltz music echoed beneath the same flowering lime trees as in 1914. From there he wrote a letter to his second wife, Matilde von Kaulbach—better known as “Quappi”, which was filled with bitter irony as he described the tense environment that existed among the visitors to the resort:
—It’s another radiant day of Spring in honor of the Führer, with a multitude of swastikas waving. How fantastic it is to experience this moment!
Soon Beckmann went from being venerated to being accused of being a cultural bolshevik by the government.
In 1937, the systematic attack began against modern art by the Minister of Propaganda of the Third Reich, Joseph Goebbels. Many of Beckmann’s paintings were taken down from the walls of German museums and were used as doorstops in the offices of Nazi bureaucrats. Meanwhile a huge exposition of degenerate art was prepared in Munich in which the art of the Expressionists was exhibited—poorly hung, crooked, and neglected so that the public would ridicule and mock them.
From that moment, Beckmann decided to leave Germany and expressed this intention to some of his friends who were living in exile. Hedda, one of Quappi’s sisters, who was a resident of Amsterdam, feigned a family visit while passing through Bavaria, and brought the Beckmann’s to Holland. The painter would never return to Germany. He died in New York in 1950.
The exposition, Beckmann Figures of Exile, in the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum*, commissioned by Tomás Llorens gathers together 50 oil paintings, two sculptures, and a notebook with 11 silk screen prints done by the artist during his two periods of exile —the interior exile and the exterior exile.
The President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended the official inauguration of the exhibition during an official visit to Madrid, which indicates that Beckmann, in his day denounced by the Nazis, has recovered, with interest, official approval—and has been exalted by exorbitant prices paid for his work in auctions: without losing the corrosive effect of allegory in face of the macabre dance of today’s world.
The city converts the human being into an anonymous entity without identity. In fact, each citizen walks through the street with his face converted into a spectre. In this new electronic Babylonia, the same clowns cavort now as did then, scenes of political cabaret play out in parliaments, and the media circus magnifies an interminable dance of people in masks.
In the period before The Great War, Beckmann depicted his world with rounded figures and a series of self portraits. Later, before an evanescent mirror of the happy 1920s, the bourgeoisie decided to forget the recent butchery and dance to waltz music once again. And while this cheerful party proceded, Beckmann’s creatures began to acquire an almost diabolical corporal distortion that was nothing less than a premonition of the imminent tragedy that was coming with the ascension to power of Hitler. In a short time, the images of concentration camps converted Beckmann into an exorcist. The carnival of violence continues in such a manner as to make Max Beckmann’s expressionism a contemporary reality present in every newscast with the grotesque sequence of mutilated bodies.
Someone posted this to Facebook and I wanted to share it with readers.
“First we were told that we should approve the lotto because that money would help fix our public education system and roads. Then we were told that we should raise the sales tax from 4% to 6% because we needed that money for education and fixing the roads. Then we were told that we should approve casino gambling because that money would, you guessed it, go to education and fixing our roads. And then we raised the gas tax and vehicle registration to fix the roads. Then we were told that we should legalize marijuana and use the tax revenue for education and fixing the roads. And now after all of this, the fact is that our education system is one of the worst in the nation and our roads are even worse than that, our politicians have decided that we need to raise our gas tax even more again to fix the roads. Enough with the lies and BS already.”
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 The longer it takes for the old to die the harder it is for the new to be born. Russia was kept by force in its medieval state for far too long, the result being the Bolshevik revolution, Stalin’s enforced industrialization, the incarceration and deaths of millions. China’s road out of the old and into the new was even more bloody and disastrous. Germany took an excursion through sheer lunacy and decades of foreign occupation. The same with Japan plus two nukes. The UK with its farcical Brexit cock-ups is suffering the debility and imbecility of a clown aristocracy long past its discard date.
What I’m getting at is what people have said about the Democrats and Republicans, and what Taibbi was saying about the media. Time’s up, time to go, time for something new and better and more suited to the times and cognizant of what’s under their noses. We see the example of history, of change not coming when it’s needed. These are self-evidently arrangements without a future. What replaces them?
I would argue that the Republicans are further along the curve even given that it was a buffoon developer/multiple bankrupt that made them smell the coffee. All Trump did was to state the obvious, what was the plain and simple truth about the state of large swathes of the country, its finances, its calamitous conduct in the foreign realm. In short, the austere Paul Ryan and his Republican ideology of foreign war and more for the rich and destitution for everyone else is revealed for what it is, an insult to the American citizen and reason and common sense.
For the Democrats, what will it be? Dissolution or institutional change? If it’s change will it just be a different road and way-station to history’s garbage barge?
That the American – cough – intelligentsia resisted and are still resisting reality belies their alleged intelligence and – cough, cough – expertise. If these are the “experts” I’ll take the amateurs thanks. But that’s beside the point. Or maybe that IS the point. Out with the experts. Theirs is no expertise worth having.
The question now is how to do the job. Will it be a civilized process, thanks for your service, here’s your gold watch, have a nice retirement? Or will it be otherwise?
 There’s an old saying that by the time a guy is thirty, he should have spent one night in a monastery, one night in a whorehouse and one night in jail.
But if you can achieve some take on reality not available through other means, i.e. some degree of knowledge or enlightenment, more power to you. Many tried, most failed, most just get bored trying and wander off. Finding something on the road to Damascus is a rare thing. You’ll know you’ve found it when you realize you’ve been previously looking at the world as though through a glass darkly.
JUST IN FROM DENNIS O'BRIEN
Friends and Colleagues,
It has been an eventful quarter for The Space Treaty Project. The Project has been named an organizational member of the Moon Village Association (https://moonvillageassociation.org/), and I am now a member of their Coordination & Cooperation Workgroup. The MVA is an international nonprofit, based in Paris, that brings together people and organizations to help plan the best way for humans to work and live together as we begin to use and settle the Moon. I am honored to be part of the effort.
I am also honored to be invited to speak at China’s first space law conference, April 24-25 in Changsha. The theme of the conference is “International Governance of Emerging Space Issues under the Rule of Law”. I will be one of five speakers on the topic of “Global Governance of Outer Space as We Construct Our Shared Space Future”. As some of you know, I have been advocating for adoption of the Moon Treaty along with an Implementation Agreement that addresses unresolved issues. I have attached the paper I’ll be presenting – The Grand Bargain: Private Property Rights for Public Policy Obligations – for your review. I welcome any comments about the paper or my work with MVA.
The effort to create an international framework of laws to guide humanity’s departure from the home planet has reached a crucial phase. Countries are accelerating their plans to return to the Moon and begin commercial activities there. The risk of conflict is growing, especially considering the recent emphasis on the militarization of outer space. VP Mike Pence, while announcing the U.S. Space Policy Directive, called outer space a “warfighting domain” and said that:
"It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. . . . The United States must remain first in space in this century as in the last, not just to propel our economy and secure our nation but, above all, because the rules and values of space, like every great frontier, will be written by those who have the courage to get there first and the commitment to stay."
“One Nation or All Nations: Who Will Make the Laws of Outer Space?” That is how the online petition supporting the Moon Treaty is headlined. Might does not make right, and “getting their first” does not grant a divine right to rule. Unless humanity finds a way to work together, we will repeat the mistakes of the last Age of Exploration, which resulted in 500 years of war and suffering. As I concluded in the paper:
“There will be only one time when humanity leaves our home world, only one chance to create a new pattern that will lead each person, and all people, to their best destiny. That time is now.”
For more information, please go to http://www.spacetreaty.org. There are three ways you can help:
Share this email. It is important to reach both policy makers and regular folks. This is an effort on behalf of the people, and it will need grassroots support to be successful.
Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/one-nation-or-all-nations-who-should-make-the-laws-of-outer-space. So far there are 561 supporters. More are needed to get the attention of policy makers.
- If you are someone who donates to causes, please consider donating to this one. The Space Treaty Project is fiscally sponsored by the Cloud Forest Institute, an educational and scientific 501c3 tax exempt non-profit corporation. Tax deductible donations on behalf of the Project can be mailed to Cloud Forest Institute, PO Box 1435, Ukiah, CA 95482 or made online at http://www.cloudforest.org. Please note Space Treaty Project in the memo line of your donation. We thank you for your support.
The Moon Treaty offers an alternative to militant nationalism and economic colonialism. The future in space will be either conflict or cooperation. As Klaatu reminded us, the choice is ours.
Director, The Space Treaty Project
WATER RATE INCREASE MEETING APRIL 4
The California Public Utilities Commission will host a meeting regarding Point Arena Water Works' recent application for a rate increase.
CPUC Meeting on Water Rate Increase
Thursday April 4, 2019
Point Arena City Hall/Veteran's Building
451 School Street (MAP
The purpose of the meeting per the CPUC:
"The CPUC staff will make a thorough investigation of the utility's request. Following the investigation, the CPUC may grant the utility's request in whole or in part, or may deny it. It may also order the utility to charge rates different from those shown in this notice.
The public meeting is informal and affords customers the opportunity to ask questions and express their views. PAWW will have representatives at the meeting to explain the reasons for the proposed increase. Likewise there will be a CPUC Staff representative present, who will conduct the meeting and explain how the CPUC staff will analyze the proposed rates.
California law requires the company to show to the CPUC's satisfaction that an increase is justified before it may raise its rates. Customers who would like to call the CPUC's attention to any problems concerning their water service, or who would like to provide any other information or comments regarding this requested increase should do so at the public meeting and/or should write to the CPUC."
More information on the proposed rate increase can be found at:
I have just started rereading Kent Newbern's monumentally and massive bummer telling of the destruction of the Nez Perce. Many of the killers were headed here. A family or two likely lived right where I sit. A few miles from where Ken Kesey lived and worked and died. From where his kids still live, producing concerts. And, I imagine, more kids. And a new America. A new world.
Grudgingly, I can only admire their work. The only nearby physical evidence of their victims is in Roseburg, nearby. A casino. The native's revenge for the menthol cigarette. Coastal Yachats marks the passing of its last native, a woman whose land was stolen. She was forced to move elsewhere. Whipped. Marched under guard. Repeated eternally across the country, the world.
Guilt makes a sad bandage. After all, a dispensary is a couple of hundred feet away. If I wanted one, I could probably have financed a Tesla. Target has can openers and lipstick. Inner tubes and toothbrushes. Container ships coming with more.
Our debts are much larger than whatever money we might owe. We -- our forebears -- stole this land. Plain and simple. The Nez Perce attempted to flee to Canada, their numbers decreasing as they traveled. Mothers dead beside the road clutching babies. Yachats. It is a couple of hours away, on the coast. This must have been paradise until that first bearded white guy showed up. Possibly starving.
We will never pay off this debt. This land is your land. And mine. Honor them. It's simple.
Sir Gilbert de Vere was a virtuous knight;
He succored the weak and he fought for the right,
But cherished a goal that he never could sight:
He wanted a dragon to fight.
He prayed all the night and he prayed all the day
That God would provide him a dragon to slay;
And God heard his prayer and considered a way
To furnish Sir Gilbert his prey.
And so, to comply with Gilbert's demand,
But having no genuine dragons to hand,
God whisked him away to an earlier land,
With destrier, armor, and brand.
And in the cretaceous, Sir Gilbert de Vere
Discovered a fifty-foot carnosaur near.
He dug in his spurs and he leveled his spear
And charged without flicker of fear.
The point struck a rib, and the lance broke in twain.
The knight clapped a hand to his hilt, but in vain:
The dinosaur swallowed that valorous thane,
And gallant Sir Gilbert was slain.
The iron apparel he wore for his ride,
However, was rough on the reptile's inside.
That dinosaur presently lay down and died,
And honor was thus satisfied.
But Gilbert no longer was present to care.
So hesitate God to disturb with your prayer -
He might grant your wishes, but then how you fare
Is your, and no other's affair!
— L. Sprague de Camp, "Reward of Virtue"
THERE'S ALWAYS TIME FOR….
Said Jerome K. Jerome to Ford Maddox Ford,
“There’s something, old boy, that I’ve always abhorred:
When people address me and call me ‘Jerome,’
Are they being standoffish, or too much at home?”
Said Ford, “I agree; it’s the same thing with me.”
And from a hundred years before that:
Doctor Emmanuel Harrison-Hyde
Has a very large head with brains inside.
I wonder what happens inside the brains
That Doctor Emmanuel's head contains.
To be read aloud, with feeling:
Un petit d'un petit
S'atonne aux Halles
Un petit d'un petit
Ah! degres te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mane
Qu'importe un petit d'un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes.
— Marco McClean