Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
by AVA News Service, June 20, 2016
THE RASTAFARIANS have come and mostly gone. At dawn Monday, a few dreadlocked stragglers loomed up out of the mists looking like survivors from a midnight shipwreck. An hour later, the organizers of this remarkably well-organized annual event had a crew cleaning up central Boonville, a task ordinarily carried out singlehandedly by consensus Boonville mayor and early riser Tom Cronquist.
AMONG Monday morning's stragglers was Goat Man, a bedraggled figure who looks like he could have been traveling with Moses on the prophet's Red Sea expedition. Goat Man inspires....
FLASHBACK, circa 1975, and out of Ukiah comes a recollection of the oddest of the very odd couples prevalent at the time, Otter G'zelle and his boon companion, Morning Glory. The G'zelles had created a unicorn. It was a goat between whose eyes they'd grafted a unicorn horn. They hauled the animal to hippie events where the more credulous flower children seemed to assume the creature had just stepped out of the Hobbit, which was generally considered non-fiction in those circles. The unicorn people were pals of serial killer Leonard Lake. Lake, presumably pre-murders, functioned as recording secretary for the Anderson Valley Volunteer Fire Department. "Yeah, yeah, I know he was a psycho," as an old timer once put it, "but he had the best handwriting of any secretary we ever had." (Boonville's never been a judgmental kinda town.)
STROLLING DOWN MEMORY LANE, I think back to 1970. The only weekend event in Boonville was the Mendocino County Fair and Rodeo. There was fist fighting all over central Boonville, drunks galore. The Boonville Lodge was so crowded people spilled out into the street, which then and now was Highway 128. Cops were out in force, and still there was hand-to-hand combat everywhere. Tough guys from all over drove to Boonville to get into fights with the locals, who were also tough guys, so tough the outside brawlers usually traveled home in much worse shape than they arrived. Slim Pickens, pre-stardom, called rodeos. He said Boonville was the roughest place he ever worked. Hard to imagine in the blandly correct, tasting room ambience of now. At the 1970 rodeo, the announcer told race and hippie jokes, which were pretty funny, actually, but he'd be arrested if he told them over the PA in 2016. Times change. Fifty years later, peace and love, mon, and $75 tickets to get in.
FRIDAY NIGHT'S rain was just enough to pull the plug early on the World Music Festival. Saturday, the Rastafarians resumed praising Jah, and by Sunday it was comfortably warm, and Monday late afternoon it was as if the many thousands hadn't been here at all.
DEPUTY WALKER said Monday the festival was uneventful. Only two calls, both minor, and probably not related to the musical event. Two episodes were handled in-house, one a 14-year-old drunk, the other related to a pot brownie.
PARKED OSTENTATIOUSLY outside the Fairgrounds was a huge high rise black pick-up emblazoned with an "Armed Security" sign and Trump signs. The driver, it seems, got some cheap jollies disturbing the Rastafarians, who remained undisturbed. "There was a little psycho-looking guy behind the wheel, but all I know is he had nothing to do with the event," summed up a concert-goer.
DAVE EVANS, Mendocino County's premier live music presenter & impresario, who brings big time acts to his Navarro General Store and Theater, the most unique venue in all of America, is gearing up for another big summer of music under the redwoods.
ON FRIDAY, July 8th the featured performer will be "LaBonfire." On August 6th the ever popular Sub-Dudes. Randy Hansen on August 27th will present a Jimi Hendrix Revolution Tour. On September 7th we get Joe Louis Walker; and on October 1st Robben Ford (plus the Ford Brothers Blues Band) will perform.
THE NEWLY ELECTED President of the Philippines says he'll award medals to people who kill drug dealers. We understand the sentiment. Case in point: A born and bred Boonville man, not a bad guy who wouldn't be in any trouble ever if he could withstand the lure of white powder. He was arrested two weeks ago for stripping the inactive Philo mill of its copper wiring. Copper thefts and methamphetamine have become synonymous throughout our drug-saturated land, and Mendo County, where meth is prevalent, is no exception. Copper can be quickly converted to cash at the scrap yard in Ukiah where it can also be easily traced by the police. And was, and our guy was arrested with even more copper pipe stashed in his truck. This particular guy is one more person brought low by the drug. Clean for years with a good paying job, he recently relapsed, hence his doomed copper caper. Meth kills, and most places people wouldn't miss the people who sell it with no regard for its lethal consequences.
AS A WARRIOR'S FAN, I'm not sad the Warriors lost Sunday night. The Cavs won every quarter, came all the way back in the series when it looked like the Warriors would sweep, and LeBron showed why he's the greatest player in the game. Ever. Heard some ESPN drone compare him to Wilt. LeBron is all-round better than Wilt was. Draymond Green played a great game. Everyone else was off. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “The Cavaliers deserved it.” They did. The Warriors disappeared in the last ten minutes of the game. But they certainly gave their fans a very good season and us fans have nothing to complain about. When one thinks back to the dry years, or more accurately the dry decades, when the Warriors never even came close to making the playoffs, these last two years were more than any fan could have hoped for.
THE LOCAL ANGLE: Darwin Bond-Graham's reporting in the East Bay Express, with Ali Winston, blew the lid off the multi-police department sex and prostitution scandal that has brought down an Oakland police chief and two interim chiefs within eight days, and which has been a national news item throughout the past week. Darwin often contributes to the Boonville weekly, as does his dad, Franklin, who with his mom, make their home part-time at Rancho Navarro.
THE JUDGE TOSSED IT
Subsequent to the recent Grand Jury investigation of the City of Point Arena, former councilwoman Deborah Heatherstone-Szantos filed a frivolous lawsuit in Ten Mile Court for a restraining order to “restrain (me, Debra Keipp) from writing”; specifically, articles in the Anderson Valley Advertiser. Her vague dissemination of fabricated complaints, while unconstitutionally based primarily on violating my First Amendment rights of freedom of expression, contained no details for me to respond to: dates, names, description of violence, places or times of my alleged threatening offenses against her, and even insinuated I might use a gun against her. Heatherstone re-invented situations where I had to uncomfortably procure two declarations from witnesses who were acquaintances involved at the scene, who could easily refute her reversed version of events.
Relentlessly, even after Heatherstone was informed she could not have me restrained from my first amendment right to write, she included in court documents a copy of the Anderson Valley Advertiser political commentary, “Pint Arena's Political Shittle”, written in December 2015. It was third in a trilogy of articles describing the plight of Point Arena City Hall's difficulty in maintaining five full-term City Council candidates, elected or by appointment, to at least form a meeting quorum of three in Point Arena. The clincher is candidates have to live legally within the city limits. With a fluctuating population of around 450, Point Arena, California is approximately the eighth smallest city in the State of California. Relevant issues addressed in the AVA articles other than typical inequities in enforcement (citizens vs. power-abusive councilmembers), were re-annexation or disincorporation, as transformational options in the growth (or continued decline) of Point Arena City Hall. The first and second essays in the trilogy were, “Pint Arena's New City Manager” (Dec 2014) and, “Walk the Plank, Mr. Juntz!” (Mar 2015).
One of the facets of the Spring release of the 2015-16 Mendocino County Grand Jury Report, focused on Point Arena City Hall and Council, in toto. In a perfect world, there would be five elected officials who live within the city limits in legally habitable structures to sit on City Council in Point Arena, and a separate board of five City Planners, only one of whom may live outside the City limits. Presently, however, there is so little interest in participation in Point Arena's governmental board and so few citizens within the city limits with the kind of business, building and planning acumen that it takes to run a city, that Council doubles also as Planning Commission presently, ...and for the last several years. And now, with barely a squad for City Council, either. [Finally realized though, is why Point Arena City Councilman Richie Wasserman stays on Council. He gets paid $400/month for representing the City on LAFCO. THAT'S why he keeps getting back on City Council: the LAFCO money.]
Grand Jury also found City Council persons to be in violation of enforcement issues as they related to City Council members: themselves, therefore. Due to the resignations of several of the City Council members since the most recent election, by the time 18 months had passed, and the culmination of the GJ Report occurred involving ALL of the remaining elected officials, only two elected City Council members remained to be investigated by the Grand Jury: Mayor Koogle and Heatherstone-Szantos. Such was the constant reshuffle of City Hall and Council members. As well, slap-dash inconsistencies in administration ran on just long enough to nurse the City into its steady decline - a budget running well into the red, presently. At least the City can legitimately say they have no money for enforcement!
While Deborah Heatherstone-Szantos had to resign her City Council seat last April due to breach of oath of office, Mayor Koogle, a male, was allowed to remain on Council - regardless of: 1) falsifying his election papers in order to establish himself within the City limits in order to run for office, and 2) running an unpermitted bio-fuel refueling station, also mentioned in the GJ Report, which is located in between the middle of a school playground and ball field. (See hilarious video by Mayor Koogle, “bio-diesel in Point Arena” on YouTube. No spill curb, and check out that wiring!) True, even though there are only a few more months til the next election, City Hall would not have enough councilpersons living within the City limits to run a quorum if both Koogle and Heatherstone-Szantos resigned... even still, neither elected official inhabit(s) legal living structures within the City limits of Point Arena (to begin with.). The home address on Koogle's election application says “53 Lake Street, Point Arena”, a vacant, gutted building for nearly 30 years now. The City of PA has maxed out on appointees, and has to wait on the November election for a new cast. City Hall needs the vote of a quorum of three Councilpersons to pay the bills, so Council limps along on approximately one meeting a month, hoping to eek out a quorum of three in attendance, since Heatherstone's resignation.
Heatherstone pled guilty last April 8th, to composting sewage where she lives within the sensitive riparian zone of Point Arena Creek, because she has no sewer or septic system where she's lived illegally since 2010. (Amazingly, requiring no permits through her sponsor, the City of Point Arena all those years.) The only reason the composting situation was ever discovered was through Environmental Health, prodded by the recent D.A.'s investigation via the Grand Jury. The City of Point Arena provides exactly no enforcement, as was discovered in the recent Grand Jury investigation, or selects citizens with bias, threatening with inspections/violations, as was discovered in March 2015, at the time of the AVA feature, “Walk the Plank, Mr. Juntz!”.
Heatherstone and her partner have maintained, since purchase of their property in 2010, that they are rebuilding the two 100 year-old homes which burned to the ground in 2008 at 125 Main, formerly owned by Tom Wodetsky of Albion. Neither home sat on a block, brick or concrete “footprint” foundation; but stilts, instead, in and over Point Arena Creek's riparian (wet bank) zone, which sits in the California Coastal Zone within the City limits of Point Arena.
At the very least, instead of letting it drag on all these years, Heatherstone should have applied for a CDP (California Development Permit) pronto, so that Environmental Impact Reports could have been completed upon purchase of the property to determine, if any building foundations could now be built on the creek banks. Vetting cannot happen, regardless, until some attempt at a CDP and EIR is attempted and public comment is permitted. But, instead, Heatherstone became associated within City Council, elongating delay of necessary inspections to find out if the property is viable as a living space, after environmental constraints were implemented with the City's Muni-Code around the year 2000, which contradict use of their uninhabitable building as a living space. Now she wants to be vetted-in! After all, the previous tenant was legally evicted by Point Arena's City Clerk in 2008 because the remaining uninhabitable shed on the property has no sewer or water and was never meant as the living space for which the former councilperson and her partner have used it, these last six years.
Now, when you try to find the pertinent chapter of Muni-Code as it relates to the Heatherstone-Szantos's use issue, it is no longer available for some reason: Missing from City Hall. What happened to the original and amended issues of Muni-Code's Chapter 14, which should still sit within the book until new amendments are passed? What gives with City Hall and enforcement in this matter? And who disappeared Chapter 14?
The frivolous restraining order requested by Deborah Heatherstone-Szantos filed in Ten Mile Court was dismissed by Judge Henderson on June 17th in the Ukiah Courthouse. The AVA has written too much about Judge Lehan being a wienie wagger for me to have any more cases heard without prejudice in Ten Mile Court. I served Ten Mile's Judge Brennan with a 170.6 peremptory challenge, just like D.A. Eyster(!) (Read AVA article, “Irresistible Force Meets Immovable Object”; Jan 2015 by AVA crime writer, Bruce McEwen.) I had the case moved to the Ukiah Courthouse. Once there, I had to “refute Heatherstone's allegations”. Her witnesses turned out to be better witnesses for me, than for her, based on what she unconstitutionally alleged for violence: my writing.
During the proceedings, Heatherstone wanted to prove how continually dangerous I was, so sighted a paragraph from Bruce Anderson's “Off the Record” column, which spoke to the Heatherstone issue. Heatherstone read an excerpt from the column to Judge Henderson, saying I wrote of her taking, (what Bruce Anderson calls in what could be the Boontling language, peculiar to the Boonville area) “a dirt nap”, referring in this case to those without proper sewer or water in their living structures, who look a bit dusty without the daily sanitation accoutrements.
A bit incredulous, after having just asked Heatherstone to show proof of a credible threat of violence, Judge Henderson asked, “A dirt nap!?”.
Boontling raises its ever-confusing head, again! I had just read Bruce's “Off the Record” column a few days before court, when David Severn brought it to my attention. Stifling the impulse to suddenly laugh, I asked the judge if I could interject, to which I explained that Heatherstone is in error, interpreting the editor's, “Off the Record”, column as my having written it; an incorrect assumption. Throwing our editor under the bus, I offered again my alibi to the judge, “It's the editor's column.”
After the frivolously unconstitutional case was dismissed, and upon exiting the door from courtroom G in the Ukiah Court House, I was thinking what an shit job it's gotta be, being a judge, listening to folks lie to you all day. Bullshit walks, as far as I'm concerned, and I could never work as a judge in a court of law. Too many liars, and that's just starting with most of the lawyers. Judges deserve all the money they get for that stinkin' office job, sitting under fluorescent lights all day long, sifting lies from fact.
I threw my bag of “heavy waste paper” (court documents) on my shoulder to leave. I was almost in the hallway when Heatherstone blurted loudly to me as I passed her in the door frame of courtroom G, “Bitch!”. That's nuts, I thought, threatening me just outside the courtroom. Not one foot out the door and she's back to using exactly no restraint, which she blamed on me - blurting offensive language while she screams in public, like she has a bad case of Turret's: Potty mouth to go with her potty property. She even told the Judge she has a bad heart. I have had heart surgery for my heart and can no longer yell without coughing wildly because of my legitimately documented heart condition. So I wonder if she hadn't fabricated her self-involved physical/emotional health condition also. She seems to yell, just fine, holding back nothing. She harangued me then all the way down the steps to the elevator. (What a bully!) I try to block it out when she goes on like that abusively, as she has for the last coupla years in Point Arena. As with all people who lack restraint of their hyper-emotional selves, I chose to walk on without a response. But by the time I hit the button on the elevator, Heatherstone was hopping off the last stair, and planted herself, arms akimbo, as if badgering a bad husband, she aggressed, abusing loudly, antagonistically, “Aren't you going to talk to me?”
I shook my head “no”, speechless, as I looked back at the elevator, remaining calmly disinterested in engaging with her.
Descending the stairs, I heard one of her witnesses address the other by saying, “Well, that didn't go as expected!” I'm pretty sure she's the one that suggested Heatherstone compost her personal poo in a riparian zone, also. There's a friend for ya.
I shook my head at collective stupidity, as the elevator door opened
Heatherstone shouted, still standing there trying to get a response from me by bullying further, “You are an idiot!”.
“If I were the idiot, Deborah Heatherstone, you would have won your court case against me.”
SERIOUSLY, CAN YOU BLAME THE GUY?
On June 19, 2016 Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence located in the 42000 block of Highway 162, Willits, regarding a possible brandishing of a firearm and armed robbery.
Portrait Of a Fed Up Man (James Harte)
Upon arrival Deputies contacted a male adult victim who reported that Suspect James "Barry" Harte arrived at his residence and pulled a gun on him. According to the Victim Harte complained that the victim, and another person, were trespassing on Harte's property and they were growing marijuana. According to the victim, Harte pointed the handgun at the victim and ordered him to the ground. Harte then proceeded to cut down the victim’s eighty eight (88) marijuana plants. Harte also told the victim that if he didn't leave the property he would return and burn the victim’s house down, with him inside it. After cutting down the victim’s plants Harte left the property. The victim in this case was not injured. Deputies later contacted Harte at his place of residence at which time he was arrested without incident. Harte was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Assault with a deadly weapon, False imprisonment and criminal threats. At the time of this press release he was being held on $40,000 bail.
Portrait Of A Fed Up Man
A READER WONDERS:
Shifting population in California nursing homes creates ‘dangerous mix’
Not “news” (reported published April 2) but wonder what attention this received in Mendo County, if any? Seems to reflect multiple “shifts” in nursing home practices; we have zero knowledge of whether the Adult Services Ombudsman Program (delivered by federally-funded Area Agency on Aging PSA 26) is encountering this problem, but probably your Sheriff has awareness of the practice of putting mentally-ill patients into Secure Nursing Facilities and attendant disturbances of the peace.
I’m betting this is a practice also supported by the Adult Protective Services authorities, and well known to them, but there are clearly no resources for providing alternatives for older, vulnerable, disabled individuals, so what is APS supposed to do?
MENDOCINO COUNTY DIVIDED INTO CANNABIS APPELLATIONS
"Mendocino County is a cannabis grower’s community. Cannabis is in the culture. There are generations of farmers, a heritage, and a history of practices."
WATCH IT IN THE EEL
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will increase water flows for maintenance testing at the Potter Valley Powerhouse. The higher flows will begin on June 21 and will continue intermittently until June 26. The flows will increase up to 40 cubic feet per second from the Eel River and down from Scott Dam, as well as the area below Cape Horn Dam.
Those recreating in or near the river are encouraged to use extra caution during the increased flows. This portion of the river contains Class III, IV and V rapids, which are appropriate only for skilled paddlers. The reach is not appropriate for tubing.
PG&E offers the following water safety tips:
Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface. Swift water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are recommended.
Recreating in PG&E canals and flumes is strictly prohibited. Stay out of canals and flumes, which are very dangerous due to slippery sides and fast moving water.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 20, 2016
Candja, Carrigg, Chavez, Harte
HERMENGILDO CANDJA, Oakland. Drunk in public.
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Failure to register.
GRASIFEDO CHAVEZ, Santa Rosa/Covelo. Court order violation.
JAMES HARTE, Dos Rios. Assault with firearm, false imprisonment, criminal threats.
Koski, Kruenegel, Lopez-Venture
AARON KOSKI SR., Fort Bragg. Littering, vandalism, child endangerment.
JENNIFER KRUENEGEL, Lakeport. Domestic battery.
IVAN LOPEZ-VENTURE, Ukiah. Pot cultivation, sales.
E.Nelson, T.Nelson, Peacock
EROS NELSON, Fort Bragg. Burglary, first degree robbery of transportation or dwellings.
THERON NELSON, Fort Bragg. Burglary, probation revocation.
JUSTIN PEACOCK, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Underhill, Shannon, Wilson, Winger
ELAINA UNDERHILL, Mendocino. Controlled substance.
ELISSA SHANNON, Willits. Elder abuse/neglect.
JEFFERY WILSON, Willits. Drunk in public.
JOSHUA WINGER, Willits. Petty theft, failure to appear.
SMART FARES SHOW BOARD HASN’T DONE ITS HOMEWORK
by Mike Arnold
In 2014, the Marin County Civil Grand Jury found that “the SMART Board of Directors should play a more active role in representing the interests of the citizens of Sonoma and Marin Counties in governing and providing oversight of the SMART project (and)...that some Board members do not have an adequate understanding of the financial and system operating issues.”
The board rejected these findings. It shouldn’t have.
At last month’s board meeting, the grand jury’s findings were on full display: The board’s groping for how to set fares between zones was the consequence of its poor oversight of staff.
Taxpayers might expect that grand jury findings on board deficiencies would be taken seriously and that current board members would endeavor to learn some of the critical economic and financial challenges facing the agency.
Taxpayers might also expect that longtime board members would have sought a detailed operating budget and ridership analyses from staff in order to deepen their understanding of how alternative fare structures impact the budget and ridership.
As long-serving board member Carol Russell stated, “Frankly, I don’t know what it costs to run this railroad.” Of course she doesn’t. The board has never asked for a detailed budget that would educate it on the agency’s economics and how future budgets of the agency are about to radically change once rail operations begin.
SMART defenders will claim that board members reviewed the fiscal year 2016 budget in mid-May. But that budget presentation contained few operating details. There wasn’t even a spreadsheet provided to document how the budget prior to start-up will be vastly different once rail operations begin later this year. Critical questions were never asked.
The lesson: Staff provides few details when none are asked for.
When board oversight is lacking, misleading statements go unchallenged and then get repeated in the media.
The claim that there have been 25 prior ridership studies over the past 15 years with ridership forecasts running from 900 to 6,545 weekday riders is one such example.
First, there have been only two publicly available ridership analyses containing any detail produced since 2005.
One was prepared for the 2006 environmental impact report that projected ridership for 2025.
Proponents dismissed the result because it forecast only 230 Sonoma County residents would take morning trains into Marin.
A second ridership study was performed by Dowling Associates in 2011. It projected more riders departing from San Rafael northbound in the morning than arriving and was dismissed by many as simply “not credible.”
In late 2014, a ridership forecast for the Santa Rosa-to-San Rafael segment was included in SMART’s environmental impact statement prepared for the Federal Transit Administration. It reported only total ridership and indicated the extension to Larkspur would generate only 131 additional daily riders in 2035.
Why was that forecast so paltry? These analyses were never reviewed by the board.
If other ridership studies have been completed, they have not been presented to the board, which led board member Shirlee Zane, a Sonoma County supervisor, to state that forecasted ridership was “a shot in the dark.”
But that’s because the board hasn’t asked for a detailed study, not that one couldn’t be produced.
At the end of the three-hour session, the board adopted round-trip fares of $19 between Santa Rosa and San Rafael, without knowing the revenue or ridership impacts.
The fare is almost 20 percent more than Golden Gate Transit bus fares.
Until this fare structure was adopted, virtually all communication with the public regarding fares has been that bus and rail fares would be comparable. The board has no one to blame but themselves for their dysfunction.
Board members were told two years ago that they needed to exercise more oversight. They didn’t agree. They are now facing the consequences of their ignorance.
(Mike Arnold of Novato is an economist and a longtime critic of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit plan. Courtesy, the Marin Independent Journal.)
A SICK BIRD STORY
Generally it can be said with some accuracy that Ralph Weinstein likes birds, especially the many beautiful species — the eagles, the hawks, the quail, the meadowlarks – that do not defecate on the clear cedar boards of the deck that surrounds three quarters of his abode here in Big Valley. That description excludes the dense flocks of Brewer’s blackbirds that migrate here in early spring to consume insects, copulate and raise their young in nests ubiquitous in the sagebrush, junipers and shrubs that encircle Ralph’s domicile here on the high plains of NE California where the view of the sky above and the land below streams for many miles from every window of Ralph’s house.
Ralph customarily gets up early to make it tentatively (he’s 74) to his sprinkler valve box wherein exist the five valves he utilizes to activate, in turn, each of the five sets of nine Rainbird sprinklers required to irrigate his absurd lawn. We say absurd here because Ralph’s lawn comprises several thousand square feet and needs an absurd amount of water and herbicidal fertilizer to keep it weed free and reasonably green from May to October when, hopefully, an early freeze gets the bastard at least thinking of going into winter dormancy. What’s the DOW slogan? Better Living Through Chemistry? My ass.
Anyway, back to the birds, the Brewer’s blackbirds (Euphagus Cyanocephalus) protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 that dive bomb Ralph’s head whenever he’s puttering around his absurd lawn, when he’s puttering too close to one of the blackbird nests, especially the one in the crown of a juniper shrub Ralph has trimmed to replicate a version of a bonsai tree in his wannabe Japanese Zen garden that includes a statue of Buddha, a concrete koi, a scale model of a Japanese bridge, and a stone Tokugawa lantern from the set of a Kurosawa film, maybe from Ran, the great Japanese director’s take on Shakespeare’s King Lear that includes a sex scene on a tatami mat floor that surpasses everything ever done in that genre with impeccable taste and astounding effect. When a local farmer friend of Ralph visited recently and observed Ralph’s Zen garden he said, Ralph, you’ve got too much time on your hands.
He was right, but back to the birds. On a recent morning said birds dive bombed Ralph’s head at such close proximity he was sure he felt a peck on his scalp, and then he said to himself, that’s it, time for the bird shot loaded in my Ruger single action .22 revolver. So here comes Ralph so armed and pissed, and two of the birds, obviously the male and his mate worrying about their nest, are circling above Ralph’s head croaking their awful croaks, whereupon Ralph aims his Ruger at one of them, pulls the trigger, and blows it out of the sky, it making a thump when it falls lifeless at Ralph’s size 12 Minnetonka moccasins. The other one, now furiously croaking outrage at Ralph from above (it’s the less dark plumaged female as Ralph can clearly see), whereupon Ralph aims the Ruger again, his shot brings the bird down mortally wounded, squirming, so Ralph ends her misery by stomping her lifeless with his goddamn size 12 Minnetonka moccasin.
Ralph feels guilty as hell after this egregious merciless heartless activity but later, as these things often go, bad goes to worse. As he pulls his truck out of the garage that evening to attend the local high school graduation ceremony, he notices what appears to be a downy ball of fur on the lawn, and upon closer inspection he sees it’s the five infant blackbirds he orphaned earlier that have obviously abandoned the nest. They scatter hungry and lost into the sagebrush upon his approach. Maybe they’ll make it, he thinks to himself, and then he expresses that hope to his girl Gwen who is well aware of his remorse.
Yeah, she says, sure they will.
On the way to the graduation, Ralph wonders were he to give the commencement speech to the kids about what he’s learned of remorse at 74, he’d suggest seeking solace in literature, such as in these stanzas from Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:
And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ‘em woe:
For all averred I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! Said they,
The Bird to slay
That made the breeze to blow.
Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head
The glorious sun uprist.
Then all averred I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
T’was right, said they,
Such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.
There would be some wonderment in the audience why this sort of thing is appropriate in a commencement address unless in the unlikely event everyone present has read the entire poem, so Ralph would have to elaborate by concluding thusly: So, young ladies and gentlemen, as you now begin the occasionally terrifying cruise called the rest of your life, with Godspeed best hopes of your parents, teachers and friends, there are going to be times when you’re up against the ineluctable power of nature, especially human nature, and in that battle Uncle Ralph here wishes you the best of luck.
by James Kunstler
At a most troubled moment in history, both major political parties appear set to nominate time-bomb candidates for president with a fair percentage chance of blowing up their own campaigns and the parties themselves.
We’ve been living in the era of anything goes and nothing matters — that is, the era of no consequences — but at some point between now and November 8 someone surely will press FBI chief James Comey as to why his agency issued neither a criminal referral nor an explanatory memorandum in the matter of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and its role in the money-gathering activities of the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State.
Hapless Bernie Sanders blew his chance to call her on that months ago — “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” — but it’s absolutely certain that Trump will jump up and down and shout woo-woo-woo about it during the general election campaign, if he manages to not get dumped at the GOP convention. Or his as-yet-hypothetical replacement will.
The email issue won’t go away because it entails serious issues of racketeering in public office, not just niceties of security procedure. One of the Secretary of State’s duties is to approve weapons sales to foreign countries. During her three years at State, Hillary signed off on $165 billion worth of sales by private commercial arms contractors to Clinton Foundation foreign donors. On top of that was an additional $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that gave to the Clinton Foundation. It also happened that the weapons contractors themselves and companies connected financially to them made substantial donations to the Clinton foundation — and paid whopping speaking fees to Hillary’s husband and ex-president Bill, during her years at State.
Salon Magazine has also reported that in contradiction of a 1995 directive signed by then-president Bill against arms sales to nations violating human rights, Hillary approved such weapons sales. Salon’s David Sirota writes:
As just one of many examples, in its 2011 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department slammed Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association,” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption” and a “lack of judicial independence.”
That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and the next year Clinton’s State Department approved a one-year 70% increase in military export authorizations to the country. The jump included authorizations for almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment.” The State Department had not authorized the export of any of such items to Algeria the year before.
There’s no way that the shady doings of the Clinton Foundation will not become a campaign issue whether Trump emerges as the eventual GOP nominee or not, and of course the other noisome matter of exactly what Hillary told Too-Big-To-Fail banks in exchange for many quarter-million dollar “speaking fees” still lurks behind all that.
Hillary’s partisans at the The New York Times and The WashPo have ignored these stories for months, but the telltale stench remains, like a dead body under the floorboards. In contrast to her beaming victory lap after the California primary, all this stuff promises some serious frowny-face for Mz. It’s-My-Turn in the months ahead.
As for Trump, the hand-wringing and Maalox-gulping among GOP nabobs got a lot more intense since the Orlando Club massacre, and the (as usual) disjointed utterances by the presumptive Republican Party nominee. This guy is not just a loose artillery shell rolling around on the deck — he’s a dirty bomb wrapped in a smallpox blanket threatening to turn the Grand Old Party into a political Flying Dutchman. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan underscored his extremely conditional endorsement of Trump on the Sunday TV chat forums, hinting that even if Trump got where he is playing by the rules, the rules can be changed at the convention.
That would set the stage for a melee both inside and outside the GOP convention in Cleveland a month from now. The tragedy of a legitimately irate populace vested in such an obviously inept champion will lead to a political explosion when the party poobahs try to maneuver him off-stage. The only worse alternative is if they actually go ahead and nominate the ham-headed sonofabitch. Either way, the Republican Party comes out as burnt toast.
Remember, too, the Black Lives Matter movement and its affiliates promised months ago to bring a disruptive presence to both conventions. Imagine how they will get on with thousands of outraged Trumpsters moiling in the streets. Add a dash of Mexican hot sauce to this farrago and you’ve got a perfect recipe for mayhem.
(Kunstler’s ‘World Made By Hand 4’ (and final) is now shipping to bookstores! Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler?ty=h)
COMMERICALIZING ELECTIONS TO DESTROY OUR DEMOCRACY
by Ralph Nader
Our political economy — a wonderfully embracing phrase much used a century ago — has three main components: The electoral/governmental powers, the marketplace, and the civil society, which is composed of we the citizens.
It is well known that when “we the people” get lax about our consumer rights and our voting choices, both the companies and the politicians turn their backs on us and look out for themselves and their fat-cat donors. The civil society’s energy or apathy has a profound role in shaping how the other two sectors function, and can either safeguard our democracy or drive it into the ground.
All this is by way of saying that increasingly commercializing our elections every four years is devastating to the freedom and justice produced by a functioning democratic society. Our presidential and congressional elections this year represent a commercial conglomerate profit center.
There are the corporate Super PACs and the billionaire patrons who manipulate their sponsored candidates, who in turn make explicit or implicit promises to their paymasters to keep the money flowing into their campaigns. The corporate mass media thrives on the high ratings generated by the mud fights (recall the Republican presidential primary led by Trump). The media moguls charge high advertising rates and make more profits than ever from elections.
Taken together, commercializing elections means that everything is for sale — unless you opt out Bernie Sanders style and refuse corporate PAC contributions and super-rich funding.
When elections are for sale, you know who is most likely to win the auctions. You know how much less your votes and your views count. You know how cleverly sleazy will be the flattery that politicians send your way so as to obscure who really owns them.
As the election business worsens, the civil community — those neighborhood, local, state and national nonprofits that work to reduce many injustices and defend our civil rights and liberties under law — are ignored, side-lined and disrespected.
Whether by the mass media interview shows or on the daily campaign trail, citizen activists and citizen group leaders are rarely asked for their views, for their experience, for their horizons as to what is long overdue and possible.
But the bloviating pundits are regularly featured on the political talk shows; so are the garrulous political consultants to the candidates. But the bedrock of our democratic potential — the real experts, the movers and shakers, who start and continue decade after decade the difficult march toward a better society — are treated by the media bookers as off-limits or as interlopers.
One result of this two-party, for-sale tyranny is that most issues on people’s minds are not debated or discussed inside the electoral arena. In 2008, I listed over a dozen such proposals — many with majoritarian support — that both the Republican and the Democratic Parties took off the table (see votenader.org).
Another result of commercial elections is that, by cordoning off its political dances while flattering “the American people,” they lull the electorate into complacency. When enough people get indignant they act and take back control by vigorous engagement in the election process before the choices and pathways are narrowed by the two-party duopoly.
Sure, some people get steamed but it is rarely enough to combat the tendency to revert back to cynicism, withdrawal or proud apathy.
Last month we convened the greatest number of accomplished citizen groups on the largest number of reforms and redirections ever brought together. One after another on the stage of historic Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. they spoke of the entrenched power and greed that they overcame over the past half-century to improve America.
These are the citizen champions who, for example, led the fight for safer and nutritious food, less harmful medicines, cleaner air and water, more secure pensions, a freer media, more open government, waging peace instead of war, securing indigenous peoples’ rights, safer transportation, the well-being of children, insurance industry accountability and great advances for people with disabilities.
Will you ever see or hear them on national TV or radio broadcast by companies using our public airwaves so profitably for free? Unlikely. Go to the website breakingthroughpower.org to see them and dozens of other leaders who too often get shut out by our rulers.
We invited every member of Congress to attend this event by delivered mail and some by repeated phone calls. Not one of these 535 Senators and Representatives (nor their staff), who spend so much time raising campaign cash, saw fit to go a couple miles from Capitol Hill to this unprecedented convocation.
One percent or less of the voters, organized in every Congressional District, can civilize these commercialized elections, because that is what the vast majority of the citizenry want.
Do those few people have enough dedicated time for the basic patriotism of making their country more lovable?
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
OR, WELCOME TO MENDO, MR. BEDROCK
During a strike at The Willowbrook School (it was, in fact, a hospital for the mentally ill) in the early 1970s, I worked in there as a volunteer.
It was Dante-esque.
Many of the patients were filthy. Huge cockroaches scurried around the floor and under the furniture. The din was oppressive: moans, screams, demented laughter of the autistic.
One of the most frightening aspects of the place was that, except for the volunteers, no one spoke to one another. Each patient babbled, but never responded to the babble of others, or to the entreaties of the volunteers.
Reading the comments Monday reminds me of the Willowbrook. In fact reading the comments every day these days reminds me of Willowbrook.
I respond to Bruce McEwen. You respond to George Hollister. Jim responds to the comments about the championship game.
BB and Susie respond to aliens from outer space. The two of them are more deranged than ever. Armstrong responds to his own need to say something unpleasant. Mike ignores anything negative about Hillary and the DNC and alludes to a dark conspiracy against the candidate and her corporate party; then, he engages Craig in esoteric discussions about mystical (I would say "obscurantist") texts. I like Mike, but it's difficult to sustain a conversation with him about politics.
Marmon seems to have stopped signing his missives "The Prophet". Is this a hopeful sign?
Bruce Mac is gratuitously "snarky' — as Bill Pilgrim called him; he's also smart and funny. A lot of people who seem smart and knowledgeable discuss local matters. But there's too much Susie, BB, and Marmon.
I have no suggestions about what can be done. I don't know what I'd do if I were editor.
–Louis Bedrock, Rochelle, New Jersey
REASONING WITH MEG
Meg Courtney <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Subject: Response to your email of 5/17
To: "Dennis OBrien" <email@example.com>
The five PDF files enclosed with this e-mail are in response to your e-mail of May 17, 2016
Meg Courtney, Board President
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
* * *
Subject: Resolution of Programmer-Director Issue
Thank you very much for your letter of June 17. Although I disagree with your legal reasoning (see below), one of the exhibits provides a resolution of the Programmer-Director issue.
Exhibit 1 is titled "Bylaws Adopted by the Members of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting" and is dated 1990. At that time, the Members voted to create a designated director, i.e., a director chosen by some process other than direct election by the Members. In 1990, the designated director was the General Manager; later amendments by the Board of Directors changed that to the Programmer-elected Director. Since the later change did not adversely affect the voting rights of the members, it was allowed under state law. Therefore there is no violation. The current Bylaws and amendments were properly adopted, and the current Programmer-Director was legitimately chosen.
I would normally feel bad about all the time, energy, and resources put into producing your legal response. But I had advised you early on that I would drop my challenge if you would just produce the document showing that the Members authorized the change in question. Ironically, your legal counsel blocked my efforts to research the early Bylaws myself. Once again, the refusal to provide information to a Member or allow a Member access to records has caused more trouble than it's worth. I believe this pattern has been a drag on the organization for many years.
The legal analysis in your letter continues this pattern. The case you cited does not hold that a board can amend bylaws on its own authority under any circumstances, but only if the amendment does not materially and adversely affect the rights of the Members. Those types of changes can only be approved by the Members. The rights of the Members, including access to documents and participating in meetings, are guaranteed by state law and federal regulation and cannot be revoked, even by a Bylaw change approved unanimously by the Board. This Board must honor those rights in all of its decisions and procedures if public community radio is to thrive in Mendocino County.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter and for providing the document necessary for its resolution. Good luck to all of us in our future endeavors on behalf of the people.
Dennis O'Brien, Ukiah
To Alice Woelfle-Erskine, program director of KZYX:
Scheduling my show on KZYX.
It's been several weeks since you wrote to me to graciously retroactively apologize for everyone in your department, going back at least five years, routing every one of my emails directly into the trash. Thank you for saying sorry; I accept. You said that my 19-years-running show (Memo Of The Air: Good Night Radio, first on KMFB and now on KNYO and KMEC) sounded cool and that you have a new process to schedule shows on KZYX. Please tell me what steps you personally have taken in these weeks to actually schedule my cool show on KZYX. Describe the "process", list the names of all the people involved, and tell what each one's individual participation in the process entails. If there actually is such a process, this should take you all of two minutes. You can just copy-and-paste it from your job description.
In addition to at least $130,000 in taxpayer's money in just the last year (over $4,000,000 in total over the years) to bail out the Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corporation's abysmally bad stewardship and keep it from utterly failing every year of its existence, I paid $25 last year and again this year specifically for a membership in the corporation, so think of me as one of your employers. I'd like you to immediately translate my entire monetary involvement (minus two minutes, see above) into your paid time expediting the matter of scheduling my show. That'd be great. Thanks.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE UKIAH LIBRARY.
GIFTS OF THE MOLBY GYRATING HAMMOCK FITNESS SYSTEM.
"A full chest, a small waist, a flexible spine, and the keen relish of a healthful existence."
The recording of last Friday night's (2016-06-17) KNYO and KMEC Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is available to download and keep and skip around in via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Some startling information about homelessness and about Universal Basic Income. What to do in case of an extinction-level asteroid strike. How to tell if someone's had a stroke. Etc. Stuart Cohen came and played a new song or three. About midnight I read something Scott Peterson wrote to Meg Courtney of KZYX, and Jeff Wright heard that and stopped in; Jeff is locally famous for, among other things, being eighty-sixed from all the not-KNYO radio call-in shows around here; and recently the board of MCPB used the police to eject him from a public meeting (!) because they couldn’t be arsed to simply acknowledge his perfectly reasonable point. We talked for exactly an hour. I have given up on ever learning not to interrupt people in conversation, and that might bug you a little here, but he managed to stay on topic despite my congenital sabotage of that. So just skip ahead three hours into the recording if you’d like to hear Jeff Wright without anybody hanging up on him /because/ of his ability to keep an uncomfortable topic in sight. You can always mentally tune me out. You’re entirely welcome to do that. Think of it as an exercise to stretch your capabilities.
And the gyrating hammock episode-- I tried it because, you know, you have to try these things to prove to yourself that you’re not a pussy, but I should have grown out of that by my twenties or, at the latest, thirties. It was nice of the Hare Creek Krishnas to donate it and install it in the station â€“it is very attractive antique gym technology (gorgeous black enameled metalwork on the mounts for the three heavy electric motors driving eccentric flywheels, one at your head, one at your feet and one above the middle)â€“ but there should have been a warning posted. Before I went home I made a sign and taped it over the control box: /Don't use this by yourself. Have someone standing by to pull the plug. And don't get in if you just ate and you're full of brightly colored soup./ (A rueful visceral image always makes the most effective warning.)
Also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find links to an assortment of not necessarily radio-useful things to read and play with and learn about, such as:
Painting on black water then lifting the image to preserve it.
Stephen Fry hates dancing, says so, and this dancer dances to that, and she's as funny and smart as she is flexible.
Morning of Owl. What /West Side Story/ would look like if made in the 1980s.
And a camera drone frolics along after frolicking radio-controlled toy planes. Astounding real-time camera work impossible only a short time ago.
DUSTBOWL REVIVAL TO PLAY SECOND CONCERT OF 2016 25TH ANNIVERSARY SUNDAYS IN THE PARK CONCERTS SUNDAY JUNE 26th
Ukiah, CA. - This Sunday, June 26th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the second concert of the 25th Anniversary Sundays in the Park concert series with the Old-Time Medicine Show Safari of Dustbowl Revival. Capoeira Yokayo will be presenting a performance during intermission.
Pride & Joy is not just a fabulous dance band, it's an unforgettable, get-up-and-boogie, high-octane happening.
Bluegrass. Swing. Hot jazz. Pre-war blues. Southern soul. New Orleans funk. The Dustbowl Revival is what you could call an American roots orchestra with eight full-time members — and they play it all, mashing the sounds of traditional American music into a genre-hopping, time-bending dance party that coaxes new fire out of familiar coal. This isn’t a throwback band. It’s a celebration of the sounds that have kept America moving for more than a century, performed with all the flair of a medicine show and rooted in the sweat and swagger of a juke joint song swap.
"In a city like Los Angeles, home to musical stars in nearly every known genre, handing out the Best Live Band title is not easy. But the free-thinking local collective Dustbowl Revival's upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear. " LA Weekly
With A Lampshade On, the Dustbowl Revival’s fourth album, finally shines a light on the band’s strength as a live act. They formed in L.A.’s bohemian enclave of Venice Beach in late 2007, the result of a hopeful Craigslist ad posted by bandleader Zach Lupetin, a Midwestern transplant who hoped to join together players in the string band and brass band traditions. Since then, one thing has become clear as the group grows more confident in their abilities: Dustbowl does its best work onstage. They’ve played dive bars, saloons and theaters, front porches and festivals. To watch them onstage is to take part in an evolving conversation between an orchestra and audience. The horns blast, the fiddle and mandolin swoon, and the howling vocals — which Lupetin shares with Liz Beebe — rattle off stories about preachers, drinkers, lovers, and holy rollers. The crowd is encouraged to participate, of course…and the crowd often does during With A Lampshade On, whether it’s singing along during the call-and-response verses of 1930s drinking song “Whiskey in the Well” or shouting their approval during Beebe’s bawdy, ballsy original “Doubling Down on You.”
Over the last few years, the band has steadily gained recognition while playing festivals and venues across North America and Europe, notably with Lake Street Dive, Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Their video for their new single, “Never Had To Go,” was shot with a new friend of the band: the legendary actor Dick Van Dyke. While their previous studio albums had more of an old-time feel, this new album has a more funky, soulful, let-loose flavor.
Years ago, the Dustbowl Revival witnessed the Preservation Hall Jazz Band merging with Del McCoury’s seasoned bluegrass troupe from Nashville in a series of concerts. It was like a flashbulb going off. That’s the secret ingredient in the Dustbowl Revival’s sound: the bridge connecting two American genres that grew out of places more similar and entwined than people realize, but have grown apart during the century or so since they first became popular. Preservation Hall and the Grand Ole Opry rarely get mentioned in the same sentence. With A Lampshade On reunites these estranged folk traditions with songs that rely as heavily on bluegrass trombone breaks and jazz mandolin runs as funk fiddle solos and gospel sing-alongs.