Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Feb 27, 2016
by AVA News Service, February 27, 2016
REVISITING THE KEMPER REPORT HEARING
At the day-long Supe's meeting of February 16th devoted to the Kemper Report's litany of failures of the privatization of Mendocino’s mental health program, the most cogent public comment was from Behavioral Health Board member Nancy Sutherland:
“I am a current member of the Behavioral Health Advisory Board (formerly the Mental Health Advisory Board). Today I am addressing you as an individual informed by my experience as a Board member and my experience in the delivery of substance abuse treatment and services. Regarding the Kemper report comments about financial reporting: The Behavioral Health Board has tried for years without success to obtain data and a coherent explanation of the mental health budgeting process. We consistently met with delays, excuses and inaction. The Behavioral Health Board repeatedly requested and never received mental health and ASO quarterly financial reports. We again request those financial reports be presented quarterly at a publicly noticed meeting of the Behavioral Health Board. Additionally, it is clear to me that an outside financial audit of the ASOs should be conducted prior to any contract renewal.
"Regarding substance abuse and co-occurring disorders treatment, despite the high incidence of substance abuse and mental health disorders, Mendocino County has no viable treatment options for the mentally ill with co-occurring substance abuse disorders. For the health of the mentally ill and our community the county must provide implementation of a countywide plan for the integration of mental health and addiction treatment — plan that prioritizes a revitalized substance abuse treatment program.
"Regarding the Mental Health Behavioral Board, or the Behavioral Health Advisory Board as it's now called, the Kemper report recommended county and mental health leadership take the lead in efforts to renew a spirit of cooperation and transparency with the Behavioral Health Board. Almost every issue addressed in the Kemper Report has been raised at the Behavioral Health Board meetings. We consistently met with a lack of cooperation. This often resulted in an ineffective and sometimes adversarial relationship instead of the supportive partnership that it could be. … We need and deserve the support of the county and the HHSA leadership to fulfill our state mandates as an advisory board.
"Finally, for reasons that remain largely unexplained the Board of Supervisors and upper management pre- and post-privatization failed to require accountability, ignored numerous red flags, tolerated unclear decision-making and accepted inadequate reports and presentations. Change comes from the top, precipitated by a change in the attitudes and behavior of leaders. It appears to be time for a change. I support the recommendations of the Kemper report and encourage you to draft a plan of implementation.”
WE DID NOT HEAR a promise from the Board or the CEO to prepare the implementation plan Ms. Sutherland called for. Such a plan should address all the major components of mental health in Mendocino County, including the Sheriff (patrol and jail), the Sheriff’s doc-in-the-box program at the jail, the existing County mental health staff, the existing county drug abuse program (such as it may be), the two mental health courts, the drug-abuse court, the outside contractors and whatever plans may be under consideration for a local mental health, residential facilities.
IT WOULD BE NICE (sic) if the plan was properly integrated based on a common database of clients (including the well known frequent flyers, not just the obvious insurables) so that redundancy and overlap is minimized. As it is, there’s way too much administration and way too little service.
THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN should have as its primary focus the delivery of outpatient and crisis services, plus the development of local facilities such as those being proposed by Sheriff Allman or one making use of the old Howard Hospital in Willits. It should also layout exactly what kind of monitoring and oversight will be done and by whom. (Yes, we know it’s probably bordering on fantasy in Mendocino County but we live in hope.)
THE ONLY ITEM in Ms. Sutherland’s comments that we had trouble with was her statement that, “The Behavioral Health Board repeatedly requested and never received mental health and ASO quarterly financial reports.” Something like that probably occurred, or more likely did not occur. We have read the Behavioral Health Board meeting minutes for hours on end looking for just that point and we don’t recall it being mentioned, other than in very general terms.
THOSE MINUTES, by the way, reflected mucho time wasted on people introducting each other to each other, and the Behavioral Health Board itself (and its Chair Mr. Wexler and its Board rep Dan Hamburg) made little if any effort to document the Board’s displeasure with the Ortner reporting and made no proposals about how to fix it.
WE RECALL Ms. Sutherland bringing it up (and being totally ignored) during public expression at previous board of supervisors meetings. But she was the only one who did. Supervisor Dan Hamburg, as Board rep on the Mental Health Board has never uttered one word of dissatisfaction with Ortner’s reports and functioning at any meeting of the Behavioral Health Board or the Board of Supervisors.
IN FACT, there was never even a follow-up or answer given to Supervisor Dan Gjerde’s very specific and very answerable question about why Ornter’s admin cost was double Redwood Quality Management’s admin rate (to the tune of almost $1 million). It was not brought up in the Kemper report (other than to say that “admin” was ill-defined), and nobody mentioned how it would be fixed or even if it would be examined.
ALL THE BOARD DID at the end of the day-long Kemper report meeting on the 16th was ask staff to work with Ortner to improve the contract language here and there while simultaneously preparing an RFP if Ortner proves uncooperative. Gjerde correctly suggested that staff members who were involved in screwing things up NOT be involved in the contract rewrite, but nobody even acknowledged that this would be done. (Although Pinizzotto is now gone and Cryer has announced her resignation so at least we can assume they won’t be involved.)
WITHOUT THE COMPREHENSIVE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN requested by Ms. Sutherland (including the identification of options like taking the admin portion of the privatization back in house and farming out the billing to an experienced MediCal billing outfit) there’s not much hope that things will improve — and even if they do prepare one, nobody would be able to tell unless it includes a requirement for the necessary “coherent” reporting — something Official Mendo has consistently refused to even attempt for years.
SPEAKING OF LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES, we understand that the specific language of Sheriff Allman’s proposed mental health facilities initiative has been submitted to the County Counsel’s office for review. The initiative would put a half-cent sales tax increment toward construction or purchase of local mental health facilities with a sunset clause after a certain level is achieved. It will require a two-thirds vote however, and it is by no means an easy sell.
SHERIFF ALLMAN is working on an innovative, if limited, work release program involving a local contractor, a carpenter’s union instructor, and the jail to give up to six inmates hands-on training and experience at the contractor’s facility and on small public works projects in carpentry work leading toward something like the existing bread baking certification program which has helped a number of inmates who applied themselves to it. The details are net yet fully developed, but commitments have been made and we expect to see a press release with the details soon.
ODD, ISN'T IT, that in the county that constantly congratulates itself on how "progressive" it is that it's the Sheriff who constantly comes up with genuinely progressive ideas?
ENCOURAGING TO SEE the Willits School Board interviewing candidates for their district's superintendent rather than contract out hiring to that self-alleged edu-talent outfit that most outback school districts resort to to find their school chiefs.
SCHOOL BOARDS have lost much authority to state and federal agencies and, by paying thousands of dollars to sub out the selection of a school chief, they cede what little authority they have, eroding accountability as they go. If the school board selects the boss the school board can be held accountable if he or she, as is likely, turns out to be… Well, turns out to be the Mendocino County Office of Education.
AMERICAN PICKERS to Northern California in March!
Any "eccentric characters" with private antique collections are encouraged to contact the program at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 855-old-rust.
EBERHARD PRESS-CHP TRIAL CONTINUES
Jury Sees CHP Emails In False-Arrest Trial
by Nicholas Iovino
The California Highway Patrol asked state transportation officials to deny media access to a construction site and had Caltrans tip off police when reporters were coming, jurors heard Thursday in a news photographer's false arrest lawsuit against the CHP.
Jurors saw emails exchanged by CHP officers and the Department of Transportation, or Caltrans, on the third day of the Highway Patrol's trial in Stephen Eberhard's false arrest claim.
Eberhard sued the Highway Patrol and three officers who assaulted and arrested him in 2013 as he covered protests against a highway project in Northern California.
Eberhard says officers damaged his reputation and tried to chill his First Amendment rights to stop him from covering protests against the Willits Bypass Project, a $300-million job to reroute 6 miles of Highway 101 in Mendocino County. Rush hour traffic could clog the town of 5,000 people with half-hour waits.
Then-CHP Capt. James Epperson, now an assistant chief, asked Caltrans media escort Matt McKeon to alert police each time reporters planned to cover the construction project, according to an email McKeon sent on May 13, 2013.
"Capt. Epperson requested that in the future we give officers a heads up if we are going to the site," McKeon wrote in the email. "We also got the impression that he would prefer that press access be somewhat limited."
That email was sent the same day CHP officers arrested three protesters at the project site. One of the arrests was captured on video and promptly posted on YouTube.
Epperson, who testified Thursday, said he did not request the "heads up" to control or stifle media coverage, but to make sure police knew who was authorized to be in the work zone. "In an operation like this, communication is key," Epperson told the jury. "One of the things we needed to communicate was who is allowed out there and who is not allowed out there."
In an email Epperson sent to a superior officer that same day, he said he had spoken with a Caltrans construction supervisor about the media's filming arrests, and commented that may be "counterproductive and actually assisting the protestors."
A few weeks later, when officers were preparing to remove a protester [Will Parrish] who had occupied a tall piece of digging equipment [the “stitcher”] for 11 days, CHP asked Caltrans to deny the press access to the site, so that the protester's removal and arrest would not be seen by the public.
"I told Steve we would not be able to provide access to the site today," McKeon wrote in an email on July 1, 2013. "CHP requested we not provide access to the site today. Obviously, [Eberhard] was not very happy."
On the witness stand, Epperson said he asked Caltrans to deny the press access that day not to stop Eberhard from documenting the removal and arrest of a protester, but for safety reasons.
"To have press or anyone interrupt in the middle of enforcement contact … when we're engaged in something like this, we prefer that we can have control of our enforcement action," Epperson said.
Photographer's Wife Testifies
Also Thursday, Eberhard's wife of 35 years, Lana Eberhard, told the jury that her husband's arrest sent him into a deep depression that took him months to crawl out of.
The photographer, who moved to Willits with his wife in 2002, was arrested on the morning of July 23, 2013 as he tried to snap photos of two protesters who had chained themselves to construction equipment.
"He was embarrassed. He was humiliated. He was depressed. He was sleepless, restless, constantly in motion," Eberhard's wife said. "All he could talk about was the arrest. It lasted for months."
After the arrest, her husband stopped observing his usual rituals — eating breakfast at a downtown café each morning, chatting with people at local businesses and going to see live music at the town pub's open mike night each Wednesday.
"He was embarrassed to see people and didn't want to talk about the arrest," his wife said.
Being forced to sit in the back of a police car for more than an hour with his hands cuffed, windows closed and seats against his knees re-triggered a condition that Lana thought her husband had overcome years earlier, she said.
"I knew he had claustrophobia years ago, but it wasn't a big deal until he was arrested," Lana said.
On cross-examination, state prosecutor Harry "Chip" Gower III asked Lana if the couple's friends ever criticized her husband because of his arrest or if he lost any friends as a result of it.
She answered, "No."
Gower asked if she used to refer to her husband as "the unofficial mayor of Willits" because of his popularity in the community.
"I have said that," she acknowledged with a smile.
Gower asked if the couple is still welcome at community events and if people still want to shake her husband's hand at those events, and she said he was.
Gower's questions appeared to be part of a strategy to downplay the injuries Eberhard claims to have suffered.
Before the day ended, one juror wrote a final question for Lana, asking if her husband ever saw a medical doctor for treatment of the depression and anxiety he suffered after the arrest.
She said her husband did not seek treatment from a doctor.
Stephen Eberhard was expected to testify Friday.
(Courtesy, Courthouse News Service)
DON’T DIS PETALUMA
To the Board of Supervisors
As a citizen of Mendocino County I am greatly concerned about to the current condition at our animal shelter on Plant Road in Ukiah. It is in need of drastic and immediate changes. Our shelter suffers from unsanitary conditions, outdated evaluation practices, a flawed adoption process, and inconsistent treatment to visitors needing assistance locating their lost animals or wanting to adopt a new pet. Animals are sometimes kept in quarantine for days, weeks, or even longer without being let out. Preventable illnesses spread to otherwise healthy animals due to poor organization and sloppy sanitation. Our animals and our community deserve a better shelter.
A proposal was received from a non-profit organization from our neighbors in Petaluma. Petaluma Animal Services Foundation (PASF) offers credibility, experience and respect. PASF has created a model that has worked in their community as well as in Calistoga, Healdsburg and Cloverdale — and quite literally has become one of the best organizations of its kind in the country.
Our County asked for help. We asked for proposals. And when we got one from one of the very best options available, we responded with disregard and an unprofessional delayed process. When members of our community questioned the process surrounding the proposal's review, they were met with silence, ambiguous answers, or downright hostility. To this day, the proposal from PASF never even received review from the Board of Supervisors, as its fate was decided by one woman acting alone, County CEO, Carmel Angelo.
The Board of Supervisors has the responsibility to ACT. No more sluggish politicking. We demand transparency. We demand accountability. We demand that we do what's best for our community as a whole, not just a powerful few.
Our animal shelter could be a source of pride and joy, instead of a space where questions go unanswered and windows are covered with newspaper. I urge you all, as our elected leaders, to do your jobs and resolve the shelter situation NOW. That means giving the proposal from PASF its due consideration.
Monika Fuchs, Philo
288(A) PC [Lewd and lascivious acts with a child], 288A(C)(2) [Forced oral copulation of a minor], 288A(b)(2) [Oral cupulation with a child under 16], 311.11(a) PC [possess material depicting obsene matter], 29800(a)(1) PC [felon in possession of a firearm], 11361(b) PC [Furnish marijuana to a child], 597(B) PC [Cruelty to animals], 11357(c) H&S [Furnish narcotics to a minor]
23000 Block Seaview Drive, Westport, California
When: Date: 02-23-2016 Time: 3:00 PM.
Victim Info: Victim #1: Minor female
Suspect Info: #1:Matthew Thomas McCarthy, 47, Westport, California
In September of 2014, a minor female came forward and reported that several years earlier she had been molested by Matthew Thomas McCarthy, 47 of Westport California. While the investigation was ongoing, a second victim came forward, independent of the first, alleging that she too had been molested by Matthew Thomas McCarthy several years earlier.
In September of 2015, Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant at McCarthy's residence in Westport (23000 Block Seaview Drive). During the service of the search warrant, multiple computers and computer components were seized to be later analyzed for evidence pertaining to the alleged offenses.
Also, during the serving of the search warrant, several firearms were located at the residence. McCarthy is a previously convicted sex offender and felon and, therefore, it was unlawful for him to possess firearms.
After the computers were analyzed additional charges of possession of child pornography and cruelty to animals were sought.
The case was submitted to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office along with the findings from his computers.
A Mendocino County Superior Court judge issued an arrest warrant and McCarthy was arrested at the Sheriff's Office Fort Bragg Sub Station on Tuesday, February 23, 3pm.
McCarthy was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child, three counts of forced oral copulation with a child, two additional counts of oral copulation with a child under 16 years of age, furnishing or administering narcotics (marijuana) to a child, providing marijuana to a child, cruelty to animals, felon in possession of firearms, and multiple special allegations for prior convictions, including a prior conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child.
McCarthy is being held in lieu of $850,000 bail.
(Sheriff’s Office Press Release)
PAROLE DENIED FOR 90s-ERA MURDERER
District Attorney David Eyster announced today that the state prison parole board denied the parole application of Jerome Hunter Smith, age 62, formerly of Redwood Valley.
As outlined in a recent Ukiah Daily Journal article, Smith murdered his brother-in-law Jesus Arteaga, 43, with a shotgun on May 10, 1994. He then took $150 from Arteaga’s wallet and drove the victim’s pickup to a Calpella liquor store to pay his bill and buy a bottle of brandy. Smith had apparently planned to kill himself after the shooting, leaving a suicide note with the brother-in-law's body. Smith took the brandy to a Potter Valley quarry, drank it and passed out. He was arrested by police at the quarry.
Smith was an alcoholic who had lost his job and was living on the Arteaga property for about two years. He claimed that he shot Arteaga to prevent Arteaga from abusing his sister, niece and nephew. Smith never denied killing Arteaga.
Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in November 1994 and sentenced to 19 years to life in prison. During the sentencing Judge James Luther said to Smith, “This was an aggravated use of a gun. This was an ambush set up by you. You shot him at close range, and you shot him a second time – in your words ‘to make sure he was dead’.”
The prosecutor who attended the parole hearing in San Luis Obispo and argued against Smith's application for release was Deputy DA Caitlin Keane.
(District Attorney Press Release)
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 26, 2016
Araiza, Crabtree, Daugherty
GABRIEL ARAIZA, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, probation revocation.
DARLENE CRABTREE, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
CHRISTOPHER DAUGHERTY, Ukiah. Burglary, petty theft, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
Didrickson, Ellingwood, Etherton
SARAH DIDRICKSON, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol & drugs.
EMERY ELLINGWOOD, Willits. Probation revocation.
RYAN ETHERTON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Flinton, McMullen, Nash
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
COLE MCMULLEN, Alva, Florida/Ukiah. DUI-drugs, honey oil possession.
JAMES NASH, Kelseyville/Ukiah. DUI, driving with DUI-suspended license.
Nelson, Nieto, Novosartov
EROS NELSON, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
RAMON NIETO JR., Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ARMEN NOVOSARTOV, Novato/Ukiah. Touching the intimate parts of another against their will.
GREAT AFFRONTS TO POWER. Since 1996, the early days of the worldwide web, cryptome.org has been quietly humming away, publishing revealing secret documents from sources of all kinds, often several times a week. It's run by John Young, a Vietnam-era radical, described by the London Review of Books as a "cantankerous repeller of journalists who keeps himself to himself."
YOUNG'S website is plain red links on a white page. Not many people have heard of Cryptome, but if you like Wikileaks, you'll definitely appreciate Cryptome.
JERRY BROWN'S latest plan to reduce the state prison population has been judicially squelched, blocking State Attorney General Kamala Harris from green-lighting signature-gathering for Brown's proposal. Every DA in the state opposed it.
SPIKE DOES THE RIGHT THING. Spike Lee has endorsed The Bern. In a commercial now airing around the country, Lee says, "I know that you know the system is rigged. For too long we [black people] we have given our vote to corporate puppets. Ninety-nine percent of Americans were hurt by the great recession of 2008, and many are still recovering. And that's why I am officially endorsing my brother Bernie Sanders. Bernie takes no money from corporations. Nada. Which means he is not on the take. And when Bernie gets into the White House, he will do the right thing."
by Crawdad Nelson
Saving the earth through recycling is big business, judging by the number of can and bottle buyers set up in parking lots and empty corners throughout Sacramento. Somebody is obviously making some money, which must make their selfless devotion to the cause easier to bear, as they transport and profit in large amounts of material.
But there’s an equally visible, far less glamorous demographic out there doing the nitty-gritty tasks needed to actually save the earth from being carpeted end to end in soda, beer, and water containers: the desperately poor gatherers and movers of small amounts of material who haunt Sacramento’s alleys and streets, augmenting their otherwise limited options, which include looking on sidewalks and poking through ivy and shrubs lining sidewalks by lifting the lids on garbage cans, to root around in municipally-owned trash receptacles in a vast collective effort to find and retrieve valuable items which might easily get “lost” in the waste stream without this often surreptitious intervention.
This direct action cuts out the middleman, which includes a hopeless mire of public agencies between those who collect and sell refuse and those who collect and distribute public funds. Undoubtedly, that beer can more efficiently reenters the local economy if it’s collected and sold within a mile or so of where it originates. I’m no economist but it almost seems like governments, meaning voters, would rather create problems than solve them.
With no public agency involved at all, a man with no more training than learning to look for the little three chasing arrows symbol on an item, whether it has been tossed from a vehicle or stowed in a blue can, can go out and earn a few dollars any time of day or night. Since the city of Sacramento, like many other cities, makes such scavenging illegal, those who do it are not only working for a penurious return — in the face of relentless competition fueled by all the appetites likely to afflict people who suffer either limited or permanent interruptions in their income — they are also technically criminals, although enforcement of the particular law or laws aimed at keeping the indigent out of the comfortable’s trash is not a high priority unless the complaints become especially bitter or vocal or, one suspects, the right people complain.
The concept of private property is among America’s best-known and most cherished institutions, and the local police dedicate themselves with admirable dedication to defending it. But even if a thousand strung out, unwashed, desperate lowlifes are discouraged by police harassment, or arrested, another thousand even more desperate ones will be along soon. This is not because trash is inherently attractive, but because our system has allowed a permanent underclass to develop, whether they fell through the cracks or jumped through them. As long as hungry or otherwise needy people are out there, and the trash is out there, these particular forms of trespassing and theft are probably going to continue. It would be as silly to expect a bear not to investigate your compost heap if you lived among bears.
Perspective is everything as far as trash is concerned. The average professional who lives in a nice home in a nice area just doesn’t have time to sort through his or her trash, even if it means making a few dollars a month or week. There are people with so much money that they can literally throw it away along with old newspapers and banana peels, and they are happy to remind the outlaws creeping down their street with sacks of cans over their shoulder, or in their cart, or on their bike trailer, just what time it is as far as trespassing and scavenging ordinances are concerned. If a few insults and a passage or two from the Riot Act aren’t enough, they speed-dial the local constabulary and let the nice receptionist know they are being ravaged, yet again. If the cops aren’t prying methheads apart, they cruise over to the tree-lined part of town and start handing out stern warnings.
The residents of the nice neighborhoods take such crimes very seriously, as any query on the topic in social media quickly discloses. Whereas they are only too willing to donate via curbside collection drives of various type throughout the year, and they gladly decorate their homes during holidays even though it draws large crowds, actual poor people tramping across their nice lawns with sacks of garbage is simply out of the question. I don’t think it would matter if the scavengers were scrupulous closers of gates they’d opened and meticulous returners to the bin of worthless objects they have sorted through, they just look out of place on broad stretches of well cared-for private property.
Logically, of course, there is an obvious threat inherent in people with little or nothing to lose passing stealthily — or with a great clatter and disturbance — through an area where people can afford expensive yard art and frequently have at least something of value in tempting view. What’s the use in having your dwarf lemon growing in a copper planter if you can’t leave it out front to improve or consolidate your social status?
This gets right down to the core of the American Dream. People work hard, save money, buy houses, and want to make sure everything stays nice. If those scavengers wanted to make something of their lives, they could have done what the homeowners did: gone to college, worked hard, the whole bit. At least that is the argument first resorted to when the question of income disparity comes up. Most encounters between the two classes are brief and mutually antagonistic. The homeowners are indignant, and the scavengers are grouchy. The cops are probably most likely to be polite and considerate to their fellow human beings, since they are in the position of being objective, but they try not to get involved unless someone forces them to.
Nearly every street in the nicer parts of town is lined with blue cans tantalizingly full of a commodity which can be readily converted to cash. The proceeds are slim, and the work itself is nasty and tedious, with the constant possibility of coming under attack from a frightened or disgusted homeowner, no laughing matter in these violent times. Amassing ten or twenty dollars’ worth of cans and bottles means lugging around any number of leaky, stinking sacks for who knows how long, until it’s finally worthwhile to cash in.
It’s not uncommon to come across a scavenger loaded so awkwardly that nothing but black plastic sacking is visible above the feet and legs, which may be walking, or piloting a bicycle, under the teetering load. It’s not always the desperately poor who scavenge, of course, but the most offensive ones are those who care least about appearance or decorum, and drag their great burdens about in the open, at all times of day or night. They are invisible even though they are right there in plain sight, right up until they cross someone’s white picket fence. At that point, they are likely to have pictures taken and posted on social media, along with outraged descriptions of their behavior, in general limited to crossing invisible boundaries and snooping around in trash cans.
They are hard-working entrepreneurs in Oak Park, but as soon as they slip under highway 50 into Elmhurst they are criminals. Something must be done. My advice is to put the items they want in a bag right next to the closed trash can. Like bears, the humans who sort through your outcast items are rarely aggressive unless threatened, and they can be trained to respond positively to contact with the better classes of people.
CATCH AND RELEASE, FRISCO BRANCH
SFPD Richmond District Police Station Update
02-26-2016 / From Captain Simon Silverman
An announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services:
Community Listening Sessions
The US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) wants to hear your perspectives, concerns, and suggestions regarding the SFPD and its interaction with the San Francisco community. They are holding community listening sessions to hear from you. Your participation in these open forums will help guide their efforts to advance the operations, staff, policies, procedures, accountability systems, and training of the SFPD.
Please feel free to attend the session most convenient for you. Further, they would welcome your assistance in spreading the word to members of your community.
Tuesday March 8, 2016, Mission High School Auditorium, 3750 18th Street. 6-8pm.
Thursday March 10, 2016, Gateway High School Auditorium, 1430 Scott Street. 6-8pm.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
We flew the grandchildren down to Disney World, where we have a timeshare. The five year old adores the Disney pantheon. She believes the characters are real. This is normal for a five year old. Of course, at some point in the relatively near future she will discover the truth. I can’t help but think that we are hardwired for fantasy. A mature, emotionally healthy adult is too involved in quotidian reality to expend the effort to fantasize much. But the emotionally immature or unhealthy adult exchanges their childhood belief in Santa Claus or Mickey Mouse for new fantasies. What do you think? To me, Santa and Mickey are pretty harmless. But the emotionally twisted adult has an unhealthy tendency to avoid reality in favor of unthinking pleasure and hatred. Hence the total clusterfuck that is our society.
MARCO ON BIG CHAIR
Elaine and Ed wrote:
...What is the latest scientific data on the impacts to wildlife and humans of these levels of man-made electromagnetic radiation?
Do you mean besides that it's entirely harmless except to the communications being jammed? And that jamming is done with great care in exercises so no-one has to find out later that someone was trying to put in an emergency call and couldn't get through?
When you go on these cut-and-paste rants, Elaine, I wonder if you're not just deflecting attention from how you're in bed with Big Chair.
Furniture is the real killer. Thousands of people — men, women and children — are seriously injured every year, many crippled, some killed, by the blithe use of furniture. And it's cumulative, and it's everywhere. Our human environment is ever more saturated with furniture pollution. And so much of it is made of wood, which use denudes the forest on which forest animals depend.
I'll be talking about this issue, among many others, on my show tonight.
AN E. COLI'S LAST MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
by Ralph Nader
Deadly invisible pathogens are on the march. Ebola, and now the Zika virus, the ongoing cholera epidemics and the enormous casualties from tuberculosis, malaria and varieties of avian Influenza — all of these should be waking us up to the global spread of disease and the public health challenges when it comes to dealing with mutational virulence. Millions die every year. But the political leaders of nations don’t seem to respect the warnings from our scientists. Pandemic, the important book by Sonia Shah, is a jeremiad, and should spark policy makers’ public concern. Unfortunately, basketball and March Madness occupy more public attention by our political leaders.
A large U.S. hospital has a larger budget than the beleaguered World Health Organization, which is tasked, by nearly two hundred nations, with heading off epidemics and pandemics and trying to limit their spread.
Errant microbes are getting assistance from environmental upheavals, global travel, poor sanitation and starved public health facilities, as well as political corruption and dense urbanization.
Yet the big money still goes into armaments, where the profits prosper. Presidents make speeches about terrorism and national security. Congress holds constant hearings, rubberstamping military budgets. Have you heard these bacteria and viruses — those most certain terrorist perils — discussed in a nationally-televised address by any President or brought up in major Congressional hearings? Of course you haven’t. There haven’t been any.
Over the years I have tried mostly in vain to get this country’s leadership to wake up to this looming century of pandemic threats. True, grants by big foundations and some public money have gone into reducing malaria and some other infectious diseases. But it has been too little and, for many men, women and children, too late.
Frustration often leads to satire. Let me share with you an unanswered letter I wrote to President Barack Obama on June 3, 2011. I was told that some scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were pleased with the message.
Dear President Obama:
My name is E.coli 0104:H4. I am being detained in a German Laboratory in Baveria, charged with being "a highly virulent strain of bacteria." Together with many others like me, the police have accused us of causing about 20 deaths and nearly five hundred cases of kidney failure — so far. Massive publicity and panic all around.
You can't see me, but your scientists can. They are examining me and I know my days are numbered. I hear them calling me a "biological terrorist," an unusual combination of two different E.coli bacteria cells. One even referred to me as a "conspiracy of mutants."
It is not my fault, I want you to know. I cannot help but harm innocent humans, and I am very sad about this. I want to redeem myself, so I am sending this life-saving message straight from my petri dish to you.
This outbreak in Germany has been traced to food — location unknown. What is known to you is that invisible terrorism from bacterium and viruses take massively greater lives than the terrorism you are spending billions of dollars and armaments to stop in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Malaria, caused by infection with one of four species of Plasmodium, a parasite transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes destroys a million lives a year. Many of the victims are children and pregnant women. Mycobacterium tuberculosis takes over one million lives each year. The human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) causes over a million deaths each year as well. Many other microorganisms in the water, soil, air, and food are daily weapons of mass destruction. Very little in your defense budget goes for operational armed forces against this kind of violence. Your agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, conduct some research but again nothing compared to the research for your missiles, drones, aircraft, and satellites.
Your associates are obsessed with possible bacteriological warfare by your human enemies. Yet you are hardly doing anything on the ongoing silent violence of my indiscriminate brethren. You and your predecessor George W. Bush made many speeches about fighting terrorism by humans. Have you made a major speech about us?
You speak regularly about crushing the resistance of your enemies. But you splash around so many antibiotics (obviously I don't like this word and consider it genocidal) in cows, bulls, chickens, pigs, and fish that your species is creating massive antibiotic resistance, provoking our mutations, so that we can breed even stronger progeny. You are regarded as the smartest beings on Earth, yet you seem to have too many neurons backfiring.
In the past two days of detention, scientists have subjected me to "enhanced interrogation," as if I have any will to give up my secrets. It doesn't work. What they will find out will be from their insights about me under their microscopes. I am lethal, I guess, but I'm not very complicated.
The United States, together with other countries, needs more laboratories where scientists can detain samples of us and subject us to extraordinary rendition to infectious disease research centers. Many infectious disease scientists need to be trained, especially in the southern hemisphere, to staff these labs.
You are hung up on certain kinds of preventable violence without any risk/benefit analysis. This, you should agree, is utterly irrational. You should not care where the preventable violence comes from except to focus on its range of devastation and its susceptibility to prevention or cure!
Well, here they come to my petri dish for some more waterboarding. One last item: You may wonder how tiny bacterial me, probably not even harboring a virus, can send you such a letter. My oozing sense is that I'm just a carrier, being used by oodles of scientists taking advantage of a high-profile infectious outbreak in Europe to catch your attention.
Whatever the how — does it really matter to the need to act Now?
E.coli 0104:H4 (for the time being)
INTERNATIONAL WILDLIFE FILM FESTIVAL
Explores Threats to Alaska’s Ecosystems and Native Values
Running for four more Friday evenings in March at the Civic Center in Ukiah, this wildlife film series brings our community noteworthy films from the prestigious International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. Friday, March 4th festivities start at 6:15 p.m. with spunky folk-rock music by Midas Well featuring Chris Gibson, Char Jacobs, and Dori Kramer. Screening starts at 7 p.m. with two outstanding conservation films from Alaska.
"Walking In Two Worlds" (63 min.), narrated by Peter Coyote, tells the story of the collision of two worlds in the Tongass National Forest when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act turns tribes into corporations and sparks a lengthy logging frenzy. According to Jennifer Loft, PhD student in Global Studies at Buffalo University, “This film highlights the tensions between those Tlingit/Haida who want to save the land from further destruction and those who have helped the logging corporations. The greatest strength of this film is the use of exquisitely beautiful shots of the landscape and wildlife in Alaska. This technique allows the viewers to acknowledge how the logging corporations create employment and economic opportunities for the indigenous nations in Alaska, while also being critical of the costs of such opportunities and what may very well be lost forever. The producers of this film also provide viewers with a glimpse of what it means to be Tlingit/Haida, through the exploration of their social structures and traditional ways of subsistence.… Exceptional viewing.” "Walking in Two Worlds" was also a winner at Moondance International Film Festival and Chagrin Documentary Film Festival.
Also screening: "Chuitna: More than Salmon" (30 min.), chronicles the journey of conservation-minded fly fishermen who travel to Alaska’s unspoiled Chuitna Watershed to wade waist-deep into its salmon-rich waters and fight to defeat the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine. Awarded Best Environmental Film at the International Wildlife Film Festival.
Proceeds from the film festival are an important funding source for the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project (RVOEP), a special program of the Ukiah Unified School District that provides outdoor environmental education programs to over 2,000 students a year.
For a full program of the film series and more information about the RVOEP visit its website, www.rvoep.org. For further inquiries, contact Maureen Taylor, RVOEP Education Coordinator, at 489-0227.
MY GATHERING BOOTS ON
by Bill Bradd
I like it quiet in the cabin, I listen for a rogue wave that might get over the sandbar, I would hear it come under the bridge, troll-like tinker steps, the sounds of hundreds of pieces of driftwood rushing and bouncing together, like hooves the sounded, the rogue wave, a troll with driftwood stick feet, the skeletal remains of some ancient forest, brought to my swamp by a rogue wave.
The river must be blocked. The ocean had been big at night recently. You can hear it bellering away, just over the dunes. I listen for a rogue wave, something that makes it over the sandbar, the skeletal remains of something I knew well, yearns yet, for the fields of home.
I’ve made a fire. It’s a gray, rainy, coastal day, the wind from the south. The rain comes via the Washington State corridor. The river is flat. Rain does that, as if the rain meets river and at this melding of the two water bodies a peace is achieved, a settlement. The river is docile: the logs meander, following the ducks in their wave. If I too drift off, following the ducks and logs, the cat calls me back by lying on the typewriter, her thighs pressing out Rosebud. She’s from that part of the country. The edges they call themselves memories.
I went outside to have a leak and a small bird told me, the forest does not sleep easy in death. There is a vast movement, under the earth, and many, many small rocks move to the streams, silt them, stop them up, and now it all creeps towards the sea, whole ancient forest, gone from memory, gone from the hillsides, called to the ocean, skeletal remains, giggling cadavers, dancing zombies. An ancient forest, carried by a rogue wave, to my swamp.
The wind has shifted: it’s all out of the west now. The rain has stopped. The ocean is bellering. The west wind is precise with its report. The logs and the ducks have separated. Taking advantage of the slight wind breeze, the ducks have sculled rapidly from the floating doom of the logs in transit. No need to associate with the unlucky as any gambler knows; and ducks, gamblers to the max, sense the unfortunate and move away, feet working the Argonaut position. The cabin is silent. River, though still, is busy. Somewhere at sea a million sticks are gathering, together with a million logs, a trillion dead frogs, in a deep impenetrable darkness that is a void, in the pit of a dead man’s stomach. In the dying lost part of a dead man’s memory, a churn begins, gentle at first, a churn under the surface, undetectable, yet with growing insistence, like the steps of times, like the coming of a moving tiger, upon you as a blink, in death. It was so rapid, so final this crush upon my soul, I am finished. Mother, forgive me and with this churn moves, an ancient forest, to the surface, as sad Marley growing to terrible dimension, a rogue wave, a suffocating influence, an ancient forest, a monstrous swirl of sticks, rocks, land, people, mythology, memories, pain pills, and pasts. A rogue can take all of it out, end up in my field, a bunch of sticks. I’ll use you to start the fire, kick back with my own mythology, keep the cabin still, listen for a rogue wave; I have my gathering boots on.
RIDGE VINEYARDS, FOUR SEASONS VINEYARD MANAGEMENT FINED FOR 'DEPLORABLE' HOUSING
FOOD SAFETY/FSMA WORKSHOP
March 2, 2016, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.
UC ANR Hopland Research & Extension Center
The Rod Shippey Building
University Road, Hopland, CA, 95449
More Info & Registration: ucanr.edu/foodsafetyworkshop
Suggested donation of $10; no one turned away for lack of funds. Includes seasonal catered lunch. Registration encouraged. Walk-ins welcome.
THE CRUZ OMEN
by Jeff Costello
Talking about politics is not something I enjoy much, and we know all too well there is more than enough commentary everywhere on the absurd Republican candidates and TV debates. But I may have two cents worth of observation on the MSNBC post-game show. Facebook is loaded with posts about "creepy" Ted Cruz with his "most punchable face" and his college roommate wishing he'd smothered Cruz to death while he was sleeping — which is getting close to the old "would you kill baby Hitler" discussion. Pretty remarkable for a presidential candidate. But anything goes this time.
After the debate, a persistent (pushy) MSNBC reporter (if that's what they're called) bulldozed her way through the crowd to interview Ted Cruz. Whatever her question was, he answered with a stock bunch of right-wing tea party blather such as referring to mainstream democrats as "far left radicals." No surprise there.
But what really caught my interest was the blond woman to Cruz's left. She was, if possible even creepier than Ted. Bleach blond hair, way-overdone black eye makeup and scowling face... And it became apparent that she was Cruz's handler, or overseer, or protector. She was impatient, telling him to cut the interview, it was time to go. If Cruz is creepy, this woman looked positively evil and reminded me of the women who watched over Damien, the anti-Christ character in the "Omen" movies. Now I'm not Catholic, or religious in any way, although I can appreciate the metaphor of an "anti-Christ" in a political power position, intent on wreaking havoc upon the world.
Is this why Ted Cruz seems creepy? Is he a bozo fronting for dark forces? Does his babysitter turn back into some demon-lizard behind closed doors? I don't even think this kind of thing sounds too far-fetched in a world where a vice-president with someone else's heart and bad aim, and an inhuman supreme court justice go to a private Texas retreat — where vampire-like blood lust is given an acceptable outlet — to kill tiny birds, Cruz even went hunting with that creepy Duck Dynasty guy.
"The Peace and Freedom Party's biggest share of voters is in Sacramento County, at about 0.8 percent, and also does well in Los Angeles and Mendocino counties."
from "The Numbers Crunch: More the merrier for California's minor political parties" Sacramento Bee (blog)
THE FARCE THAT JILL STEIN COULD RESOLVE
by Robert Fantina
Well, it appears that the curtain is about to drop on Act 1 of that quadrennial tragic-comedy, the United States elections. The pundits tell us that billionaire buffoon Donald Trump will be the Republican (Tweedle Dum) standard-bearer, leading the masses to nothing good with his hatred and bigotry. On the Democratic (Tweedle Dee) side, those same self-proclaimed experts tell us that, with her razor thin victories in Iowa and Nevada, the nomination of former First Lady and long-term Israeli puppet Hillary Clinton is all but assured. Her victory in November would mean more war and untold suffering abroad, and more poverty and oppression at home. This upcoming election doesn’t bode well for the republic.
On the GOP side, the only suspense is which of the remaining two stooges (the third, we are told, has basically locked up the nomination) vying for second place will achieve that goal, perhaps with a view to garnering a vice-presidential nomination. Will it be Florida Senator Marco Rubio, or Texas Senator, the snarling Ted Cruz? Regardless of who wins second place in the primaries, it seems unlikely that either would be vice-presidential material on a Trump ticket; Mr. Trump only seems to like people with an immigrant background when he is looking around for a new wife, and neither of the two senators qualifies; Mr. Trump has made clear his views on marriage equality.
The rest of the world must be shaking its collective head, wondering why, in an industrialized nation with a population of nearly 320 million, this motley crew is the best it can do. Donald Trump? Hillary Clinton? Ted Cruz? Bernie Sanders? Marco Rubio? That’s it? These are the people best qualified to lead the oligarchy known as the United States of America? Can it offer no one better than two aging, establishment-entrenched Democrats (don’t believe Mr. Sanders proclamations that he’s so different; if he were, he would have done something significant after all this time in office), or an arrogant, ego-fueled businessman and two junior senators with limited experience and even more limited compassion?
The news media, of course, depending on its particular view, will fawn all over these reprobates, listening to every word that drops from their lips, as if they were statesmen, worthy of respect, and not opportunists selling out to the highest bidder, and basking in the adulation of people who hate anyone who is ‘different’. In their efforts to install any of these in the White House, they ignore at least one candidate without a track record of lies, distortion and corruption. That candidate is Jill Stein.
Why is it, this writer wonders, that a candidate who makes so much sense can be ignored. Ah, he can answer his own question: Money. Dr. Stein does not accept money from the various political action committees (PAC), so as not to be beholden to anyone but the people. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, never met a PAC she didn’t love, as long as its budget exceeded six figures, and there was someone at its head willing to write her name on its checks. And unlike Mr. Trump, Dr. Stein does not have a huge personal fortune to pour into her own campaign, or the kind of name recognition that one gets from having one’s own reality television show. Yes, it has come to this: a reality TV show star may become the next president of the United States.
Let us look at just one sentence, and one sentence only, from Dr. Stein’s official campaign site. “My Power to the People Plan creates deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.” This, in and of itself isn’t a ‘plan’, but one is struck by a two things:
Moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism.
Finally, someone said it. During the 2012 presidential election, the Republicans, led by that epitome of greed and exploitation, Mitt Romney, started using the term ‘free enterprise’ rather than ‘capitalism’. A rose by any other name, and all that.
And then Dr. Stein says that we would, under a Stein presidency, move toward:
A human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.
Harsh words indeed, in the lexicon of Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton, two extremely wealthy people who put profit, and its ugly sibling, power, over everything.
But is it possible? Is there any way that a corrupt nation, with grinding poverty on one hand, extreme wealth concentrated on the few, on the other, and a rapidly-shrinking middle class, can, indeed, ever put people over profit? Is this not too difficult a task, one for which the door of opportunity has long since slammed shut? One is referred to Dr. Stein’s website to see that it is, in fact, possible.
In a true democracy, candidates would be provided equal exposure by the press. Some minimum standard would have to be reached, perhaps a certain number of signatures on a petition. Certainly, fringe candidates with little following (one is reminded of Vermin Supreme, a performance artist registered as a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire, who promises a free pony to every U.S. citizen, should he be elected president) would not long have that same exposure. But today, the system is stacked against any but a Republican or Democratic candidate. With all the major media outlets owned by just a few corporations, and the goal of news to be entertainment rather than information, and business always wanting to increase its profits, Dr. Stein’s candidacy will not be much welcomed by the corporate powers that be.
And yet, with the current, major party candidates to which the U.S. voter is being inflicted, there could be no better time than now for the sense, reason and compassion of Dr. Stein. Four more years of either Democratic or Republican rule will provide an unspeakable human rights disaster around the world in terms of war, poverty and oppression. We can avoid it, but voting for a Republican or Democrat will only prolong the agony.
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(Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
A LITTLE COOPERATION, PLEASE, DC
Please know that I am flying into Washington D.C. on Monday February 29th late, and am at present getting a reservation set up for two weeks at a travel hostel. When explaining my need to just go there to a banker in Berkeley, he looked up and said, "I understand. You need some action." And that's exactly the situation! After being back here since September 28th, there's no more chilling out, networking, sending out a stream of emails to postmodern America to find something intelligent to do in regard to environmental and peace & justice issues, and the months of waiting is now over. I'm leaving on American Airlines (one way) at noon on Monday.
Beyond this, I am looking for a place to live in the D.C. area longer term. I've got some money. I ask for cooperation to get more permanently based in Washington D.C.
Please contact me, Craig Louis Stehr