Mendocino County Today: November 10, 2013
by AVA News Service, November 9, 2013
WILL PARRISH’S TRIAL has been put over until January 27th because attorneys have not reviewed what Parrish's attorney, Omar Figueroa, describes as “voluminous” California Highway Patrol and Caltrans documents related to Parrish’s several arrests at the Willits Bypass. The trial had been scheduled to start next week, on November 12th. Multiple pre-trial hearings are summarized in Bruce McEwen’s latest AVA piece “Half A Mil & You’re Free To Go.”
Neely/Backup lockdown, September 2013
photo courtesy SaveLittleLakeValley.org
Lucy Neely and Peggy Backup had a pre-trial hearing last Friday (November 8th) and “Earthworm” and “Feather” have a hearing on Tuesday, November 12th at 8:30am in relation to their infraction charges for their first of two lock-downs.
RUTH KOZUSYN, 84, of Willits, is one tough old bird. Back in March of 2011, when she was a mere 81, she was mugged in the parking lot of Willits' Evergreen Shopping Center. In that one “a man with a hooded sweatshirt grabbed her purse by the strap and yanked it off her shoulder, knocking her to the ground. Ms. Kozusyn received a minor cut and scrape to her elbow from the fall but did not require hospitalization.” The scumdog who'd attacked Ms. K, a state pen parolee named Mullen from Lakeport, was caught when he was photographed using Ms. K's stolen credit cards.
RIGHT ABOUT HERE you might be thinking, “Poor old Ruth might be a lot safer if she had a family member looking out for her.” But in the country where one in four children lives in poverty, and the great bipartisan political apparatus agrees to cut food stamps while it debates an all-out attack on benefits for the elderly, a growing number of old people live in conditions as inimical to their well-being as the dependent young.
MS. K apparently now lives with her son Kevin Jay Kozusyn, 57. She still drives, however, and last week the old lady drove sonny boy to the Ukiah WalMart. Why he isn't driving her and doing the shopping is not known, but it seems Ms. K, in a now familiar American role reversal, is her son's caretaker.
SO THERE THEY ARE in the great expanse of the WalMart parking lot. It's 4:25 in the afternoon when the Ukiah Police receive a report that a man, soon identified as Kevin Kozusyn, has yanked a handful of his mother's hair so hard the old lady had let out a piercing shriek, shocking Mrs. K’s fellow WalMart shoppers.
DUTIFUL SON duly explained to the police that he was angry because Mom had been inside WalMart for four hours. It didn't seem to have occurred to the lad that if he'd gone inside to help Mom their shopping expedition might have been accelerated. The rest of us wonder how safe the old lady can be living in private with an heir who feels free to assault her in public.
KOZUSYN was arrested and booked on charges of elder abuse. Mom presumably drove home to Willits. How her son got home from the County Jail in Ukiah is not known. Most of us hope Mom didn't drive him.
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, Sally Jewell appeared Friday at the Stornetta Public Lands at Point Arena, and later attended a public hearing where hundreds of residents showed up, mostly to voice support for adding the lands to the protected area. The Obama administration is determining whether to add the 1,600-acre tract to the California Coastal National Monument. The coastal monument presently consists of small rock islands and reefs off California's coast. The Stornetta Public Lands would be the first land-based addition to the monument, and add 10 miles to the California Coastal Trail. Local Democrats were present of course, and after the event Congressman Huffman said he was optimistic that the Stornetta Lands would become federally protected.
THE FOLLOWING IS A TEST. The Chronicle's website posts a lot of these truncated and, as we see here, ungrammatical “news” stories, all of them followed by the warning not to repro without permission. Why? Writing this bad, this scant, is hardly worth protecting:
“A body was found floating in the San Francisco Bay near McCovey Cove on Saturday morning, according to fire officials.
“A passerby was walking their dog near Pier 48 around 8:10 a.m. when they spotted a bloated body in the water and asked someone to call 911, fire officials said.
“Police were responding to the scene and an investigation was underway.
“Copyright © 2013 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.”
A STORY in the current New Yorker called “Anti-Semite and Jew” tells us that resurgent Humgarian fascists operate a website out of Healdsburg. The story doesn't name the man who runs the site, identifying him only as a “Hungarian-American with extreme-right views.”
KURUC.INFO features a column called Gypsycrime and another column called Jewcrime “accompanied by a caricature of a hook-nosed man, his face spread onto a lampshade” which “sneered at the 'myth' of Auschwitz.”
WIHTOUT MUCH EFFORT WE FOUND THAT HIS NAME IS BELA VARGA, a wine guy who, until recently, owned a beautique spice and wine shop in Healdsburg: “A Hungarian winemaker living in California has been identified by a Hungarian whistleblower website as the owner of the far-right news site kuruc.info, according to an article posted on atlatszo.hu on Tuesday. “Bela Varga, a resident of Healdsburg, California, is the real owner of kuruc.info,” the article said. Since it went online in 2006, kuruc.info has been using Domains by Proxy, an internet company providing anonymous domain services to hide data on its ownership. Recently the data has been revealed, for reasons yet unknown, atlatszo.hu said. In July, Prime Minister Viktor Orban had asked US Congressmen to “assist in terminating the anti-Semitic provocations in Hungary supported from the United States,” in response to a letter in which the Congressmen complained to Orban about anti-Semitism in Hungary. Orban was referring to the fact that kuruc.info is operated from a US server. Hungarian authorities had asked US assistance in 2008 to take legal steps against kuruc.info, but citing US laws, the authorities had refused to disclose personal data on the website’s owners. Budapest Police told MTI it would provide details on the case later.”
FENNELL, THREE OTHER HUMCO RESIDENTS RECOVER FROM E.COLI INFECTIONS
By Daniel Mintz
Humboldt County Supervisor Estelle Fennell is out of the hospital and has said she’ll be “back to work soon” after being infected with a strain of E.coli bacteria that also afflicted three other county residents.
A Nov. 5 press release announced Fennell’s hospital release and that she’s paying attention to the needs of her district. “I still have some steps to take on the road to full recovery but I want my constituents to know that I am in daily contact with my staff and colleagues and that your calls and emails will continue to be answered and issues in our district addressed,” Fennell said in the release.
The first signs of Fennell’s illness were publicly apparent — when county supervisors got flu shots at the dais during their Oct. 8 meeting, Fennell said she was just beginning to show what she thought were cold symptoms.
She wasn’t at the next week’s meeting due to the E.coli infection and, like the other three residents who were infected, she was hospitalized. In the press release, Fennell said an “unexpected complication” occurred while in the hospital, prolonging her stay.
A Nov. 6 press release from Humboldt County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) explained the context of Fennell’s illness — she’s one of four residents who’ve been infected with a “genetically-linked” strain of E.coli since July.
While the department has been able to confirm that all four residents were infected by the same strain, the source of the infections hasn’t been identified and is still being investigated.
E.coli live in the lower intestines of animals, including humans, with most strains being relatively harmless. But some strains cause intense symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting.
The DHHS press release states that “three of the Humboldt County cases progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious complication of E. coli infection characterized by kidney failure.”
In the release, DHHS Public Health Nurse Eric Gordon said that after the initial infection in July, another emerged in August, occurrences that weren’t considered unusual.
But when two more infections, including Fennell’s, emerged in October, there was concern. “The state genetically linked all four of these cases,” Gordon said in the release. “They determined that the cases were caused by a very specific strain of E. coli that hadn’t been seen anywhere else in California. This means the same organism was causing illness in all four of these people from Humboldt County.”
In an interview, Gordon said two of the people who became ill live in Southern Humboldt and the other two live in the northern part of the county. The press release states that “all of the patients have been interviewed to find out what they had eaten and where they had eaten prior to getting sick.”
But links between them have yet to be established. “We just don’t have enough information to show any commonalities at this point,” Gordon said.
Like Fennell, the other three affected residents were hospitalized but have been released and are doing well now.
Gordon said the strain involved in the infections has been seen before in California, in 2006. But it’s not currently being detected anywhere else in the state, and “that tells us that it’s something unique and it’s something that’s local,” he continued.
He said Humboldt usually sees five to seven E.coli cases per year. Symptoms surface from one to 10 days after exposure, which is typically from “something you ate, something you bought at a store or maybe from a restaurant worker who didn’t wash his hands and contaminated some food,” Gordon said in the release.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), infections occur when tiny amounts of fecal matter are consumed, which happens “more often than we would like to think about.”
The CDC website states that E.coli can be consumed through “swallowing lake water while swimming, touching the environment in petting zoos and other animal exhibits, and by eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet.”
The CDC advises that “one of best ways to protect yourself against E. coli infections is to practice proper hygiene, such as washing your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food.”
More CDC advice: cook meats thoroughly, avoid consuming raw milk and other unpasteurized products and thoroughly wash your hands and anything else that comes in contact with raw meat.
The DHHS’s public health branch has done outreach to local health care providers, asking them to be aware of E.coli infection symptoms. “The thought behind that is if we identify more cases, we’ll have more people to interview, which increases the chances of us finding the smoking gun,” Gordon said in the release.
By Thomas Cahill
TO: Jill Abramson, Executive Editor, The New York Times, 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018,
Dear Ms. Abramson,
The corporate dictatorship must be pleased with your recent article in the “Sunday Book Review” (NY Times, Oct. 22/13) attempting to shore-up the long-crumbling Warren Commission report of 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating Pres. John Kennedy.
Your corporate benefactors must be delighted that you completely ignored the more recent finding of the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1979 that there was a “probable conspiracy” but that the trail to the killers of JFK is too cold. In other words the cold-blooded murder of a sitting president is a “cold case,” unworthy on which to spend any more time or taxes.
Just as “forty-million Frenchmen can't be wrong,” forty-thousand books about JFK as you noted — most probably disagreeing with the Warren Commission — can't be that far off the mark. They can't all be the “unhinged musings” (your term) of us “conspiracists” (Kate Zernike's term, NY Times, 4/30/11). Your publication has never lost an opportunity to denigrate us “conspiracy nuts” who believe conspiracy is synonymous with politics.
As Gore Vidal wrote in “Dreaming War” (2002), “Apparently 'conspiracy stuff' is now shorthand for unspeakable truth.”
A growing number of people throughout the world believe the JFK’s assassination was a coup d'etat by the US “military/industrial complex” (that includes the vast intelligence community) that Pres. Eisenhower warned of in his farewell speech only two years before the public execution of the “radical from Massachusetts.” This coup was unlike the unsuccessful attempt by similar-minded corporatists to violently overthrow the administration of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 that was foiled by a whistleblower — USMC Gen. Smedley Butler who the conspirators foolishly tried to recruit not knowing or ignoring the fact the General publicly-supported demands of the “Bonus Army” two years earlier.
”If you can get away with killing a president, you can get away with anything,” said former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura not long ago. To prove the Governor correct, one need only look closely at history-changing events since 1963 from the highly-divisive Vietnam War right up to the equally controversial attack on 9/11 and its aftermath and on to the biggest rip-off in world history — the so-called “Wall Street Meltdown.”
— Tom Cahill Landsthul, Germany
MY JOB was to lie very gently to these trusting, sleepy, easily wounded students, over and over again, by saying in all sorts of different ways that their poems were interesting and powerful and sharply etched and nicely turned and worth giving collective thought to. Which they were unfortunately not.
— Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist
FEDERAL LAWSUIT CHARGES SHERIFF¹S DEPUTY UNCONSTITUTIONALLY KILLED ANDY LOPEZ
By Shepherd Bliss
The October 22 killing here of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a hail of bullets from sheriff¹s deputy Erick Gelhaus has resulted in daily peaceful marches, prayer vigils and speaking events honoring Lopez and calling for justice, as thousands in the northern California community continue to mourn and express outrage.
The killing has also this week led to a federal civil rights lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Lopez family. “There is a practice of using deadly force and covering it up by investigations that are superficial,” attorney Arnoldo Casillas said at a November 4 press conference in San Francisco, according to the daily Press Democrat. Casillas, who filed the suit, contends that the killing was unconstitutional because it violated the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which limits police authority.
Casillas interviewed witnesses who dispute law enforcement claims about the shooting. He asserts that the first shot was fired within three seconds of Gelhaus¹s command to Lopez to drop what the sheriff's deputy claims he thought was a real gun. Seven bullets hit Lopez. One pierced his heart; at least one him him in the buttocks. Non-lethal alternatives were possible.
The second deputy traveling with Gelhaus did not fire a single shot — and did not even have time to step out of the vehicle before the boy's body lay fatally shot on the street.
Last year, Casillas won a $24 million dollar settlement for the family of a Los Angeles boy who was shot once and paralyzed by police while playing with an airsoft BB gun, similar to the one that Lopez was carrying to return to a friend when he was killed.
In a 2007 killing of African-American high school student Jeremiah Chass in the nearby town of Sebastopol, the Sheriff¹s Office was compelled to pay a $1.75 million dollar settlement to the family. In both cases, investigations by outside police departments concluded that the cops were merely following protocol — which too often seems to be “shoot first, ask questions later.”
But what is officially reported and what actually happens on the street may differ. That's why having next-door-neighbor law enforcement agencies investigate the killings is starting to look more and more like damage control than independent or objective reviews. More bluntly: are they amounting to cover-up investigations by law enforcement departments tasked with investigating each other?
In the meantime, members of the Lopez family recently began speaking up.
Andy¹s 17-year-old brother released a statement on November 5, part of which follows: “My name is Anthony Rodrigo Lopez and I am the brother of Andy Lopez. My brother was carrying a toy gun in broad daylight and was shot to death right down the street from our house. This sheriff, Erick Gelhaus, is supposed to be an expert in guns. This was not a mistake for him. He knew what he was doing. Andy was just a kid going to play with friends. I miss my brother.”
“We want an honest investigation,” said the boys' father, Rodrigo Lopez, at a recent press conference. He and Andy¹s mother, Sujey, attended a rally this week, and have been present at different public events honoring their son.
The Sonoma County public has actively criticized the Sheriff¹s Office's actions, slamming its excessive use of deadly force. Deputy Gelhaus is one of the office¹s trainers and has published many articles and online comments in SWAT magazine advocating the use of deadly force. The community is calling for a civilian review board to conduct an independent investigation.
The incident shattered an already poor relationship between the Latino community and law enforcement in this city of 160,000, located one hour north of San Francisco. It has also ruptured the image of quiet Sonoma County as a peaceful place to visit and buy wine. Not least, it has deepened the lack of trust in local leadership by the growing Latino population, which already represents one-fourth of the Santa Rosa population.
As people have gathered in recent days, many Latinos told stories of abuse at the hands of law enforcement, especially the Sheriff¹s Department. Signs like “Sheriff Wanted 4 Murder” appear on fences and at marches. Such incidents have the additional impact of making community policing more difficult for other law enforcement officers who are less trigger-happy.
Some police departments, such as the one in Sebastopol, do community policing and have not been noted for killing residents.
On Tuesday, hundreds of activists attended three separate events miles away from one another: a rally outside District Attorney Jill Ravitch¹s office in Santa Rosa, a meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, and a teach-in at Sonoma State University in the nearby city of Rohnert Park.
The “Jailhouse 4 Gelhaus” march went from downtown Santa Rosa to the DA¹s office. “Killer cops off our streets,” chanted the marchers, as hundreds of protestors gathered outside and a delegation met with the DA.
As in the past two weeks, the peaceful demonstrators were again met by cops clad in riot gear.
Activists demanded that the DA convene a grand jury and charge Gelhaus for the unlawful killing, something Ravitch said she is unauthorized to do until she reviews further information from police. “Nobody will have the wool pulled over their eyes. There won¹t be a whitewash,” vowed activist Jonathan Melrod.
“One thing that came of that meeting is [that] what the DA plans to do will be based on criminal evidence gathered by the Santa Rosa Police Department,” Melrod added the following day. “That is like the fox guarding the chicken coop. So we will gather evidence from witnesses and people who have had previous contact with Gelhaus — and we will present [that] overwhelming weight of evidence to compel an indictment of Gelhaus.”
District Attorney Ravitch has reportedly not gone into the Latino neighborhood where Lopez was killed to listen to members of the community, and has repeated her refusal to fire, arrest, charge or prosecute the deputy. She said she intends to take 90 days to review the information — a period deemed too long by an impatient Santa Rosa community that is now raising calls for a “People's Tribunal” to mete out justice.
Earlier on November 5, activists attended the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meeting, whose members had been on a gag order not to speak about the killing by the board's attorney and city manager.
One person in attendance, Alfredo Sanchez, compared the Lopez killing to a recent incident that took place in the wealthy area of Fountaingrove, where police engaged a gun-wielding resident in an 11-hour standoff and eventually took him into custody unarmed. Compare that to the few seconds Gelhaus gave the unarmed boy before executing him.
The cops “seem to act as predators to the people they are meant to protect and serve,” said Jose Casaneda of nearby Windsor.
“As a mother,” Supervisor Susan Gorin said to her constituents, with tears coming down her face, “I want to wrap my arms around the Lopez family.”
In addition, both of the area's public colleges — Sonoma State University and the Santa Rosa Junior College — hosted teach-ins that were open to the public and invited people to discuss the shooting.
In response to Deputy Gelhaus's claims that the 5'3", 140-pound Lopez was a “threat,” SSU sociology professor Noel Byrne wrote to the faculty: “Like beauty, ‘threat’ is in the eyes of the other.”
“The Andy Lopez tragedy is intimately implicated with the militarization of this nation's police — a kind of militarization that encompasses not only the implements of death but also states of mind on the part of that militarized force,” Byrne added in an interview.
“The culture of this militarized force promotes a perceptual framework akin to that of an occupying force. Most of the general public is seen as like the populations of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan during wartime: anyone and everyone is regarded as a potential threat, regardless of age, ethnicity and appearance.”
At the overflow, standing-room-only gathering of around 150 students, faculty and staff at SSU, Chicano and Latino Studies professor Ron Lopez commented, “Kids do not have appropriate places to play in southwest Sonoma County,” a theme people in the community have echoed repeatedly since the killing.
During the panel and discussion, a large screen conveyed photos of the community's response to the Lopez killing, and connected it to the shooting of African Americans Oscar Grant in nearby Oakland, and Trayvon Martin in Florida.
“There are not even sidewalks in parts of this area. These are forgotten people, seen as ‘the enemy.’ He fired too fast, too many times. May Andy¹s parents find some solace,” Dr. Lopez added. “May the community be awakened. You have a social responsibility to take action to prevent these things from happening.”
“This is a window of opportunity,” noted political science professor Cynthia Boaz, who referred to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his message of non-violence. “It can go two ways: people can organize, or they can perpetuate the existing conflicts.”
A National Day of Protest was held Saturday, November 9, Veterans Day, at Julliard Park in Santa Rosa. Solidarity protests were set for many other venues across the nation.
HAS IT HIT YET?
Did the Asteroid Make Contact Yet?
I am sending this email to you because I have been unsuccessful with getting any cooperation, to return to the New York City-Washington DC powerstrip, to be active with radical environmental and peace & justice frontline participatory dissent against the mindless consumer trance of postmodern American society. Whereas I am still in Garberville, assisting Andy Caffrey in his bid for the District 2 congressional seat (www.caffreyforcongress.org), I have no way of assessing what is going on outside of the Southern Humboldt bioregion. So I wonder if the asteroid has made contact with the planet earth. I wonder if that is why I am receiving no worthwhile responses to my networking emails. Otherwise, I am ready as ever for more frontline radical environmental and peace & justice frontline dissent against the mindless consumer trance of postmodern American society. Feel free to reply to this email in an intelligent, positive manner. That means that you would offer me a place to go to in order to be involved where you are. Unless of course the asteroid has made contact, — Craig Louis Stehr. Please forward this out to your NYC-DC friends as soon as possible. Telephone messages: 707-923-2114. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com. Snail mail: P.O. Box 324, Redway, CA 95560