Mendocino County Today: September 19, 2013
by AVA News Service, September 18, 2013
THAT DISPUTE between County Auditor-Controller Meredith Ford and DA David Eyster over where varying portions of asset forfeiture money should go, is complicated by Ms. Ford's poor health. She has been battling cancer, meaning lots of time away from the office. But it seems when she's at work she threw a big hunk of asset forfeiture dough into the fiscal murk of County's general fund, and just try to find it, let alone get it back. She said the rules say the money can't be used the way Eyster may or may not be spending it. Eyster says he's owed some $400 thou while Ms. Ford and the County want an opinion from their County Counsel, Tom Parker.
IN THE MEANTIME, you'll get our opinion. Since all the asset forfeiture is grabbed by the forces of law and order, whose chief is DA Eyster, it's the cop's money, and not a bad way to help fund law enforcement since the money comes from the dope industry, our largest business, and a business otherwise untaxed.
THAT highly suspect letter published recently by the Willits News claimed that the town's Fire Chief, Carl Magann, hired a kid subsequently arrested for arson knowing the kid had arson priors as a juvenile. It was signed by someone calling her or himself “Regina Thompson.” The letter accuses the Chief of various criminal acts: not doing background checks, doing a background check on the firefighter arsonist who, the letter claims, has a “record” of arson, and hiding the results, not ensuring that volunteers have proper “criteria,” suggesting none of the volunteer firefighters are properly trained, using an illegal blackball system, etc. — all of which would be criminal acts if the chief had done or allowed them. There's no evidence whatsoever that any of this is true, and the paper should have said so if they felt compelled to print the thing. There's no one named “Regina Thompson” listed in any of the Willits directories.
OTHER STUFF in “Regina's” letter libels the Griggs family. Griggs Jr. is elected head of the Firefighters Association, and Griggs Sr. is Sparetime garden supply owner. Sparetime gives hugely to all sorts of good community groups in Willits. The letter suggests the donations to firefighting got Junior elected to the top spot of the Firefighter's Association. He was elected, not appointed.
GOD GIVE YOU PARDON FROM GRATITUDE
and other mild forms of servitude—
And make peace for all of us
with what is easy
— Robert Creeley
HERE WE GO AGAIN. The Mendocino County Superior Court wants to close Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg, for five days later this year: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, November 25 through 27; and Monday and Tuesday, December 23 and 24. (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays are the busiest work days at Ten Mile.) On the days the Ten Mile is closed, everyone with Court business will have to drive to Ukiah where one courtroom and the Clerk’s Office will remain open. Just last month, the judges said that the five-day Fort Bragg courthouse closure is necessary because of the Superior Court’s “reduced budget.” Yet, its budget released last week shows that the Court has more than $7.1 million this fiscal year, of which it plans to spend slightly less than $6.5 million. That leaves an unexpended balance of more than $600,000, plenty enough to keep Ten Mile open without inconveniencing Ukiah's eight other judges.
AVA REPORTER WILL PARRISH was aggressively arrested at a tree-sit extraction Wednesday morning.
savelittlelakevalley.org reported Wednesday morning:
A report was made at 10:45am that journalist/community organizer Will Parrish was arrested at the tree sit extraction happening now. Eyewitness reported that Parrish was behind a gate on private property, outside of the construction zone, across the 101 from where the extraction is taking place, when four CHP officers sprinted across the highway and arrested him. This report was further corroborated by other eyewitnesses of the incident. Parrish is in the pre-trial phase of his jury trial regarding the 16 counts of trespassing, with a maximum eight-year sentence, he was charged with after occupying a wick-drain stitcher for eleven days. He has a court order to not be within a certain distance of the construction site which he has been following. The five-month tree sit that has been taking place in the last large oak on the bypass bootprint is currently being extracted. More than 30 CHP cars and two cherry pickers are at the scene, as well as many protesters. To join your presence in solidarity, park at the truck scales North of the scene and walk in.
THE LOCAL SEIU BRAIN TRUST is calling for a strike vote by their membership. The vote was scheduled for Wednesday, September 18. SEIU says the County is bargaining in bad faith because the county won't agree to restore the 10% pay cut enacted a couple of years ago. Before the pay cut the County was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy with no reserves, looming deficits, a falling credit rating and greater than a $100 million unfunded and unfundable debt to the retirement system. The County has been rebuilding the reserves but is still faced with more than a $100 million shortfall in the retirement fund over the long-term. But no problem, the retirement fund is heavily invested in the Wall Street Ponzi scheme and only needs to earn an 8% annual return in perpetuity to stay afloat. So the whole house of cards is poised to collapse when the inevitable next financial crisis hits.
SEIU CLAIMS the county has “hidden pots of gold” that could be used to restore the pay cuts. SEIU refuses to pay a qualified expert to look at the county budget, but sent a union rep named Meredith Staples up from Oakland a few weeks ago to try and explain where the pots of gold are hidden. Except all she really did was confirm that SEIU has no understanding of the County budget and therefore no understanding of the County's financial picture.
COUNTY BUDGET HEARINGS were originally scheduled for September 9th and 10th. The SEIU smarties planned to stage a big rally and demo for “Purple Tuesday” at high noon with a turnout of over 200, including heavy hitters from SEIU corporate in Oakland. Except the Supes adopted the budget on Monday, the first day of budget hearings. Which has been standard practice for the last dozen years or so. Which anyone working for the County (especially anyone claiming to be a “union leader’) would know, except apparently no one from SEIU had a clue. With the budget horse already out of the barn, instead of the promised purple clad mob of 200, SEIU only turned out a few dozen true believers. And instead of clogging the Supes chambers and mugging for the camera, they practiced power chants (Who has the power? We have the power! What power? Union power!) and made speeches to each other.
THE FUNDAMENTAL PROB is that SEIU, besides refusing to come to grips with the somewhat improved (but still precarious) financial condition of the County, has also adopted an adversarial stance portraying the Supes and County Admin as mean-spirited ogres indifferent to the plight of the workers. That tactic might win public sympathy in a struggle against corporate America, but it doesn't seem to be working for SEIU here in Mendocino County. The targets here are not impersonal corporados who live outtahere. Instead, the Supes are local folks who go to the post office and grocery store and eat in local cafes like everyone else. Dan Hamburg has been here going on 40 years and all the other Supes have family roots that go back generations. And all the Supes are well known and generally well liked. (Even Hamburg, the bull goose loony of the left, enjoys a devoted cult following in the ultra lib Fifth District, which he represents.) Which is probably why SEIU's efforts to demonize the Supes and win support for their phony “Mend Mendocino” coalition has fallen flat.
WILL SEIU WIN the strike vote from their membership? Do lemmings plunge into the sea? We'll see. It will be a huge vote of no confidence if SEIU loses the strike vote. But a low turnout will also indicate dissatisfaction with the representation from SEIU. And from what we hear, many workers who are not happy with the Vounty (who wants to take a pay cut?) also disagree with the infantile tactics adopted by SEIU. And if SEIU calls a strike the only sure result will be instead of a 10% cut, the workers will be taking home a 100% cut while they’re out on strike. Which is why many county employees are likely to cross the line if it comes down to that. It will be interesting to see how the SEIU reps report the strike vote. Will they mention the number of non-voters, or just the percentage? Or nothing at all if the vote turns out to be “No”?
Rebounding is based on math
function of velocity, path
and angle of the ricochet
times big men trying to block your way
Dennis Rodman is a genius
I don't care how much meanness
Jealous people spew at him
He has got a friend in Kim
When they asked him why he went
Dennis said just what he meant
“To open doors and bridge a gap”
For simple truth they have no app
Lucky he who finds a friend
one on whom you can depend
give you rope or cut you slack
and some honest feedback
Dennis Rodman, Kim Jung-un
They got something going on
Each of them is so unique
each of them makes people freak
Thus they have a common bond
Plus they have a natural fondness
Kim has got a baby girl
Dennis showed her to the world
Lucky he who finds a wife
Who'll be comrades all through life
None more fair, none more true
Than the lovely Ri So Ju
Paddy Power paid his fare
Bet they had some pounds to spare
He “shall return” to Pyongyang
With his XNBA gang
Wonder what they talk about
Disneyland or Beirut?
Or the time of Sighman Rhee?
Or the time of Slavery?
Or Beyonce or Norah Jones?
Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone?
When they share their thoughts profound
Each of them can rebound
Child of privilege, self-made man
North Korean, Texan
Here's to friendship, here's to fun,
Dennis Rodman, Kim Jung-un!
— Fred Gardner
LARRY “BAD NEWS” GREEN
By Chili Bill Eichinger
Larry Green is without doubt the most bizarre African-American I’ve ever known. I mean, Leon Spinks does not hold a candle to this man.
I became aware of Larry during my visits to Lawrence, Kansas back in the 60s. I was hanging out at Joe’s Donuts, pretty high on my own supply of quality double-dome acid and craving sweets like a geezer (and I don’t mean an old man, either). Right in the middle of whatever confection I was scarfing, this canary yellow 1955 Chevy two-door pulls up in front. I noticed that on the rear fender panel it said BAD NEWS in a nicely written script. Out jumps this wiry little guy wearing a Golden Gloves jacket, and things just kinda slowed down for a moment while he strode in and ordered a dozen to go. He looked around, and I could see that he had a bit of an overbite and buckteeth. A couple of hippie types said, “Hey, man” and “What it is, Larry?” I relaxed a little and watched him walk out, get in his short Chevy and take off, the glass pack mufflers filling the night with a smooth rumble.
I asked some of my friends and customers at the Rock Chalk Bar about this scary dude, and they all said, “Hey, Larry’s cool” and “Larry’s a friend of the people, man.” The next thing I know, he shows up in Volker Park in Kansas City, Missouri on a Sunday afternoon when a live band is playing. Again with the jacket, which I noticed had the number “29” on one shoulder and “2” on the other; I found out later this was his record, supposedly. He walked around in a little bow-legged strut, saying, “What’s happening?” and “Right on!” to various groups sitting on the grass. Most of them, buzzed on one thing or another, just looked at him quizzically and muttered shit like “Peace, bro.”
In those days of peace and love, there was always someone willing to rain on your parade. It so happened that on this day, a swell bunch of white, middle class thugs decided to show “them damn hippies” a thing or two by yanking a guy’s guitar out of his hands and smashing it to pieces. Suddenly Larry was there and the smasher got smashed, out cold, while one of his buddies got thrown into the fountain. The rest of the crew deliberated for a half second, then ran in different directions. Larry had become everybody’s hero. From then on, he was a welcome fixture at all the afternoon functions.
After my move to San Fran in ’70, I was amazed at how many people I would run into on the street who were visiting from Kansas City. It had to happen sooner or later, and there one day, on Broadway, was Larry Green walking the walk, dressed in some weird jumpsuit, his hair cut in a Mohawk, a turquoise ring on every finger and two very large dogs pulling him along. I stopped dead in my tracks and just watched as he made his way to Big Al’s and walked in. “I don’t fucking believe this,” I said to myself, and then, “Yes, I do believe this!” Now and then I’d see him around town and I’d always say, “Hey, Larry, what’s happenin’?” He would invariably say, “Do I know you?” and we’d go through the whole Lawrence/Kansas City Missouri routine. “Oh, yeah yeah, sure I know you.”
At one point I lived near the Art Institute and frequented a restaurant nearby called The Refectory where they served real Colorado corn fed beef. There was a small bar area, and a number of us would hang there in the afternoon and play pinochle (for money, of course) with the bartender, Mike Maillard. Who strolls in one day but Mr. Green, along with a bunch of white guys who had that casual but well-to-do Marin County look. They sat in the dining area, but just had drinks for about an hour and then left. I couldn’t resist asking Mike, “Know those guys?” “Yeah, they all work for Columbia Records over in the Wharf Building.” I said, “I know the black guy and I’m just trying to figure out what he’s doing with them.” Mike said, “Drugs.” Well, well, well.
A few years later, in the mid 70s, I heard through the vine that old Larry was hanging with the Airplane at their Fulton Street mansion. Yes, yes — where else would he be? Well, it just so happened that I was visiting my tattooist, the fabulous Don Ed Hardy, and who’s there getting a big back piece done? None other than Jorma Kaukonen. We exchanged pleasantries and then I just had to ask, “Do you know Larry Green?” “Yeah, Larry’s a good friend of mine.” So I told him all my Larry lore and we had a couple of laughs and he left. I told Don Ed what a nut case this guy was, and how I couldn’t understand why he would be allowed to hang around the Airplane’s house. Don Ed said, “Jorma likes to have those edgy people around just so he can watch how all the other people in the room react.” Wow, my kind of host.
The last time I had verbal contact with Larry was on the street, somewhere in the Mission. He didn’t appear to be quite as prosperous as he once was, and he related this tale of woe about being shot four times and, unable to get an ambulance or help from a pedestrian, ended up taking a bus to General Hospital. That’s what I call good old-fashioned pluck!
Another wonderful Larry sighting occurred as I was motoring a businessman to the Airport in my cab. As we approached the exit ramp to SFO, I looked over to the right and noticed a motorcycle coming onto the freeway from South San Francisco. It was a ratty looking Sportster chopper, all black and beat up, and who sat astride it but Larry Green in full leathers and sporting the Mohawk again. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the suit gawking at this apparition. I said, “I know that guy.” “You do?!” “Yup, that’s Larry Green, outta Lawrence, Kansas. Used to ride with the Black Ghosts. He’s the only one that wasn’t murdered by the Minutemen militia.” I had this guy going pretty good with all the BS, and then I beeped the horn a couple of times as we ran parallel to Larry. He looked over, hesitated and then waved and put his foot in the tank, leaving us in a cloud of smoke. The suit gave me a healthy tip when I dropped him off.
I’ve since met someone who knows Larry from working as a bartender at Lefty O’Doul’s on Geary Street. Jeffrey’s been around SF for a long time, and has seen a few things himself. He was amazed that I knew Larry from way back when. We’ve both seen “Mr. 29 and 2” on the street from time to time, and it looks like our boy has hit bottom, just another poor burnout shuffling along, having quite a conversation with someone who isn’t there.
ONE IN SEVEN AMERICANS IN POVERTY WITH 20% OF CHILDREN FORCED TO LIVE BELOW THE BREADLINE. 46.5million people in the U.S. were living in poverty last year. Child poverty stood at 21.8%. Unemployment rate averaged 8.1% in 2012. frican-Americans continued to suffer the highest rates of poverty at 27.2%. Mississippi had the highest share of poor people at 22%. A new study reveals that 46.5 million Americans, including children, are living in poverty amounting to one in ever seven people across the country. The alarming figures, released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday, is nothing new. It marks the sixth year in a row that the statistic has failed to improve. Remaining stagnant at 15%, the nation's poverty rate is not statistically different from the number of impoverished in 2011. The median household income was $51,017, unchanged from the previous year, following two consecutive annual declines. The share of people without health insurance declined slightly, from 15.7% to 15.4%. The last significant decline in the poverty rate came in 2006, during the Bush administration and before the housing bubble burst. In 2011, the poverty rate dipped to 15% from 15.1%, but census officials said that change was statistically insignificant.
United States Of Poverty: Breakdown Of Poverty Levels By Race And Ethnicity
A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that despite the end of the recession, the nation's poverty levels have remained largely unchanged across race and ethnic groups:
27.% of African-Americans
For the last year, the official poverty line was an annual income of $23,492 for a family of four. The latest poverty numbers present unwelcome news for President Obama as he seeks credit for an economic turnaround after the 2007-2009 recession. He said on Monday that congressional Republicans would reverse recent economic gains if they took uncompromising stands in connection with looming budget deadlines. The Census Bureau's annual report offers a snapshot of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2012, when the unemployment rate averaged 8.1% after reaching an average high of 9.6% in 2010. Typically, the poverty rate tends to move in a similar direction as the unemployment rate, so many analysts had been expecting a modest decline in poverty. The latest census data show that the gap between rich and poor was largely unchanged over the last year, after increasing steadily since 1993. GOP conservatives have been demanding a delay of Obama's new health care law as the price for supporting continued federal government spending. The House is also expected to consider a bill this week that would cut food stamps for the poor by an estimated $4 billion annually — 10 times the size of cuts passed by the Democratic Senate — and allow states to put broad new work requirements in place for recipients. “This lack of improvement in poverty is disappointing and discouraging,” said John Iceland, a former Census Bureau chief of the poverty and health statistics branch who is now a Penn State sociology professor. “This lack of progress in poverty indicates that these small improvements in the economy are not yet being equally shared by all.”
From The Cradle To The Grave: Poverty Levels Among The Young And Old
Child poverty stood at 21.8%
Poverty among people 65 and older was basically unchanged at 9.1%, after hitting a record low of 8.9% in 2009
The official poverty level is based on a government calculation that includes only income before tax deductions. It excludes capital gains or accumulated wealth, such as home ownership. As a result, the official poverty rate takes into account the effects of some government benefits, such as unemployment compensation. It does not factor in noncash government aid such as tax credits and food stamps. David Johnson, the chief of the Census Bureau's household economics division, estimated that unemployment benefits helped keep 1.7 million people out of poverty. If non-cash government aid were counted in the official formula, the earned income tax credit would have lifted another 5.5 million people above the poverty threshold. Food stamps would have boosted 4 million people, lowering the poverty rate to 13.7%. The slight dip in Americans without health coverage meant 48 million people were without insurance. The drop was due mostly to increases in government coverage, such as Medicaid and Medicare. The number of people covered by employer-provided health insurance remained flat. The decline was modest compared to a bigger drop in 2011, which occurred due to increased coverage for young adults under the new health care law. Because the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act don't take effect until 2014, the latest census numbers offer a baseline number of uninsured by which increased coverage and effectiveness of the law will be measured. Many conservative Republicans remain committed to repealing it. Starting next year, the government will offer tax credits for people without access to job-based health insurance to buy private coverage through new markets, called exchanges, in each state. Open enrollment starts Oct 1. The new health care law also expands Medicaid to cover millions more low-income people, but so far only 24 states plus Washington, DC, have gone along with the expansion. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by next year, the health law will reduce the number of uninsured in the U.S. by about 25%. By 2017, it is projected that 92% of eligible Americans will have health insurance, a 10 percentage point increase from today's level.
(Courtesy, The Associated Press)
MENDO FREE SKOOL has another mini-Skill Share and Fall calendar. Kick-off Party happening this coming Sunday, Sept. 22. 2 PM till 9:30 PM. 304 N. Spring St. Ukiah. Four Skills will be taught starting at 2:30 pm: Plant Identification 2:30 with Rain Tenaqiya. This popular tour of Ukiah's diverse and abundant cornucopia will wind through the asphalt jungle identifying and sampling whatever is in season, from weedy greens and flowers to succulent sweet fruits. Rain is a permaculturalist living outside Ukiah. Ecstatic Dance 2:30 with Oly Vincent-dePaule. Dance has been a vehicle in many cultures for reaching an ecstatic state, a state of heightened awareness and trance. Our brain can entrain to the beat and fire in synchronicity with it, and our bodies move with innate physical and emotional wisdom. Oly has been dancing ecstatically for over 20 years and lives in Ukiah. Ukiah Valley Radical & Forgotten History Tour 4pm w/Will Parrish. Explore the forgotten and suppressed histories that have been crucial to shaping the Ukiah Valley, with a focus on the experiences of trees, creeks, rivers, and mountains, as well as the working class, people of color, and indigenous people. Will Parrish is an investigative journalist who lives in Ukiah. Gardening by the Moon and Rocket Stoves 4pm with Ziggy D. Learn some theory and practical tips to get your garden into harmony with the moon, and “Introduction to Rocket Stoves” – with a hands-on tin can stove display. Potluck meal @ 5:45 Bring your own sturdy, reusable plates, & silverware. Hear a short description of the Free Skool classes being taught this fall and get a new Mendo Free Skool calendar. Classes begin on October 1. The band Self-Fulfilling Prophesies at 7PM. Mendo Free Skool events are free, but donations are always welcome. For more info, call 235-9080 or check
http://mendofreeskool.wordpress.com or look at Facebook at
MIDDLE EUROPE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA:
"Ah, Vienna!" concert kicks off Ukiah Symphony season
by Roberta Werdinger
Ukiah – During the first weekend of October, the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra (USO) will inaugurate its 34th season with a concert titled, “Ah, Vienna!” The orchestra will perform four works by Wolfgang Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven on Saturday, October 5 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 6 at 3:00 p.m. at the School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education Theater in Ukiah. The performances feature the quartet of Beth Aiken, oboe; Eric Van Dyke, clarinet; Ben Robinson, horn; and Ann Hubbard, bassoon – all veteran Ukiah Symphony members.
Although the music of Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is now well established, they were the jazz and rock musicians of their day. The period during which both composers lived was a transitional one, as the music of the Renaissance and Baroque periods developed into more full-bodied compositions with complex instrumentation.
Most of the works that make Mozart’s name immortal were composed in the Austrian political and cultural center of Vienna, including the overtures to the operas, "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," which make up the first two works of "Ah, Vienna!" Also featured is Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, a delightful, inventive piece for flute, oboe, horn and bassoon which was first invented as a crowd-pleaser for bored Paris audiences. The concert's last offering, Beethoven's "Symphony No. 1 in C Major," is notable for the unusual use of musical content, instrumentation, and expanded codas, along with its careful attention to dynamic shading, which was revolutionary at the time.
Although Ukiah concertgoers will enjoy the beautiful, intimate venue of the School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education Theater, the rich, historically resonant music will transport them to old central Europe. The professional musicians who make up the USO include talent from Ukiah and beyond. “The musicians like to be part of something special," USO Musical Director Les Pfutzenreuter said. "We have a relaxed atmosphere, but we get down to business." Pfutzenreuter encouraged people to buy season tickets rather than individual concert tickets because of the steep discount. “You can even miss a concert and still save money!” he exhorted.
Tickets for "Ah, Vienna!" are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $5 for youth (18 and under). They are on sale online at www.ukiahsymphony.org, at the Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah at 102 South School St., or at Mail Center, Etc. in Cloverdale at 207A North Cloverdale Blvd. Or, concertgoers can buy a season ticket for $68, which includes admission to all four concerts of the USO’s 2013-14 season. The lineup includes Sounds of the Season, piano music with Elena Casanova and Elizabeth MacDougall on December 7 and 8; Sound the Trumpet, featuring former San Francisco Symphony principal trumpeter Glenn Fischthal on February 8 and 9; and a "very Russian" Shostakovich concert with pianist Aaron Ames on May 17 and 18.
The School of Performing Arts and Cultural Education Theater is at the corner of Dora and Perkins Streets in Ukiah. Les Pfutzenreuter would like to thank Paulette Arnold and Laurel Near for their continuing support and Robert Axt for underwriting the concert. For more information, visit www.ukiahsymphony.org, call the Ukiah Symphony Box Office at 707/462-0236, or email email@example.com.