Mendocino County Today: Saturday, July 2, 2016
by AVA News Service, July 2, 2016
FROM JUDICIAL CANDIDATE PATRICK PEKIN:
The results are in and they are:
Keith Faulder - 12,408
Patrick Pekin - 12,254
This is a difference of .36%. I am conceding defeat and I want to thank the Registrar of Voters for doing a fantastic job.
I am very proud of my campaign and the support I was so very fortunate to have. It is important to pause for a moment, I think, and reflect on just how positive this election has been. Not just for the fact that Mr. Faulder and I never attacked each other, but also because 59.96% of registered voters took the time to make themselves heard. I personally know several people who registered just to vote in this election, and I could not be more humbled knowing that some of those registered just to vote in this judicial race.
I have nothing but praise for Mr. Faulder's campaign and I look forward to appearing in Judge Faulder's court. I have every expectation that he will make all of Mendocino County, his supporters and mine, very proud to count him as one of our elected officials. I think that is what made this election so particularly important, two great candidates and every voter making a decision not based on choosing the lesser of two evils, but actually having the opportunity to select the candidate they felt would be best suited to be fair and just. Would that every election met that high standard.
I wish each and every one of you the very best and I hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July. I can think of no better way to celebrate the conclusion of this year-long undertaking. This morning I rode a jet ski in an ocean rescue and appeared in court later this afternoon, what a county we live in, how exceptionally blessed we are. I am assigned to the corner of Main and Lansing in Mendocino with Engine 8460 and Rescue 8432 for our parade on Monday. I would love to speak with anyone who wants to stop by.
It bears repeating, I am eternally grateful for the outpouring of support I benefited from in this campaign. I spent the last 23 days calling as many of you as I could to personally thank you. I wish I could thank all of you. But now that the campaign is over, I'm looking forward to taking my kids to the pool and hanging out with my family on the deck. Have a great summer, all!
All My Best to You and Yours,
THIS ONE REALLY IS IMPORTANT. BE THERE! SAVE THE DATE!
I would like to give everyone a “save the date” notice for an event on July 15th, 2016 for the opportunity for people concerned about our landlines, and our ability to keep a strong public safety network in place, to be pro-active.
I know there are many people in this county who experience problems with their landlines on a chronic basis, and I know there are many people who lost access to 911 during the outages. We were lucky in that these outages did not happen during an emergency, but we have to be better prepared. THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SPEAK, and we NEED you to speak. On this date the the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will be holding a Public Participation Hearing to hear from rural residents about what conditions are really like in Mendocino county in regards to landlines, chronic problems, 911 reliability, and outages. And, we don’t have to travel to Sacramento to do this, as Commissioner Sandoval is coming to us. Please help us spread the word, plan to participate, and watch for upcoming press releases with more details on the hearing.
What: CPUC Public Participation Hearing When: Friday July 15th, 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Where: Board of Supervisors Chambers, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah CA
Thanks, and I will have more detailed information next week.
PS: the Alliance Administrative Coordinator, Diann Simmons, has accepted full time work with the Economic Development and Financing Corporation. It has been great working with her these past 2 years, and she will be sincerely missed. Please send any correspondence to me, and not to the “admincoordinator@MendocinoBroadband.org“ address as this address will be discontinued.
Broadband Alliance of Mendocino County
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WHO'S IN CHARGE OF THIS HENHOUSE?
Just finished reading Sonya Nesch’s pertinent letter in this week’s edition, asking Camille Schrader to answer some questions regarding how things will be handled when Redwood Community Services takes over the County Adult Mental Health Services. I hope Ms. Schrader will be forthcoming with her answers and enlighten us all as to how her directorship will be different and hopefully better than Ortner’s seemingly sanctioned looting of the County coffers.
As I watched Ortner’s rolling circus of mismanagement and thievery unravel, there was always a nagging question that came up over and over. Where was Carmel Angelo’s voice crying foul!? She is the top of the food chain and official gatekeeper of Mendocino County. How is it that she is not being blamed for allowing Ortner to basically take millions of dollars and provide next to nothing in services for the mentally ill in our communities?
Come on folks, in any other arena, mismanagement of $46 mil would take a bit of ‘splainin’. This county spends a lot of money on Adult Mental Services, and I think Ms. Nesch, and a lot of us, want to know if the County is taking the money from the old fox guarding the henhouse and handing it to the new fox?
ANYONE INTERESTED IN WOOD SHINGLES for kindling in the area of Point Cabrillo/Caspar area please respond by email with your address and a phone number. Deliveries will be made the week of July 5. Please have an area marked out where you would like them to be placed prior to the delivery. Priority will be given to those able to take a full dump truck load and proximity to the job site. Please note we are unable to have people pick up shingles from the work site due to both privacy and safety concerns.
General Manager | Redwood Roofers
707.937.1700 (P) | 707.937.4345 (F)
THERE WAS MORE TO HORRIFIC WILLITS ACCIDENT THAN THOUGHT. Driver Charged With Sexual Acts With Minors Under Age 14
MSP covered in "real time" the accident Thursday, June 23 that sent five children to the hospital after a Jeep went off East Hill Road in Willits and plunged off a steep embankment by the silver bridge into Davis Creek.
An alert MSP viewer sent us the link to the Mendocino County jail that contained booking information on the driver — 38-year-old Michael Cruce.
The Willits Police Department arrested Mr. Cruce Thursday at 5:40 pm and charged him with:
FELONY — Engaging in 3 or More Acts of Substantial Sexual Conduct With Child Under Age 14
FELONY — Lewd or Lascivious Acts Upon A Child Under 14 Years
According to records at the Mendocino County Jail, he was booked on those charges this morning at 7:28 am ($200,000 bail), had his booking photo taken at 8:50 am and was still behind bars as of 10:30 am today.
BACKGROUND ON ACCIDENT
One week ago, the Willits Weekly posted: "The California Highway Patrol has released names and details from last night’s solo vehicle accident in the Willits valley: four major injuries; two moderate injuries. All from Willits. Passengers include: Taylor Carter, age 14, moderate injuries; Alyssa Bacon, age 13, moderate injuries; Stevan Beers, age 13, major injuries, flown out to UC Davis; Shandra Silva, age 12, major injuries, flown out to Oakland’s Children’s Hospital; and Paris Yadon, age 13, major injuries, flown out to Oakland Children’s Hospital.
Driver Michael Cruce, 38, is also listed as having major injuries, and was flown out to Santa Rosa.
Per the CHP: “It is believed at this time that the use of alcohol was a factor.”
More from the CHP press release: On Thursday, June 23, at 8:26 pm, 'there was a solo vehicle traffic collision resulting in multiple injuries on East Hill Road, just west of Eastside Road. Michael Cruce was driving his 2015 Jeep Patriot, eastbound on East Hill Road, west of Eastside Road at an undetermined speed. Cruce lost control of his vehicle and allowed it to exit the roadway, and onto the right shoulder. The vehicle continued in an easterly direction, traveling down a steep embankment, and overturned an undetermined number of times, coming to rest on its roof in the creek bed.'
The collision is under investigation by the CHP Ukiah area office."
THE GOLDEN STATE'S NEW GUN LAWS
by Melody Gutierrez
Californians wishing to buy ammunition will have to undergo a background check similar to those required for gun purchases, under one of six gun-control bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday.
The governor vetoed five gun bills, including the only bill Republicans supported, AB1176, which would have made it a felony to steal a gun or buy a stolen gun, regardless of its value.
“My goal in signing these bills is to enhance public safety by tightening our existing laws in a responsible and focused manner, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Brown said in a signing message.
Brown signed SB1446 by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, which makes it illegal to possess magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The sale or manufacturing of large-capacity magazines is illegal in the state and now the possession of them will be too.
Brown also signed SB880 by Sen. Isadore Hall III, D-Compton, which expands the definition of “assault weapon” to include specified guns capable of accepting any type of detachable magazine.
Brown said he vetoed AB1176 because it is nearly identical to parts of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Safety for All” ballot initiative, which will appear on the November ballot. Buying a stolen gun or stealing one were felonies before Prop. 47 made them misdemeanors if the weapons were less than $950 in value.
The ammunition bill the governor did sign is also similar to Newsom’s ballot measure. SB1235 requires background checks for people buying ammunition, a license for people selling bullets and purchasing data submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. Newsom’s measures also require background checks for buying ammunition, although regulated differently.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, urged Newsom to withdraw his measure while the Legislature worked to pass the gun-control legislation. Newsom declined before Thursday’s deadline to remove a measure from the ballot.
De León’s ammunition bill, SB1235, however, was written so that if signed by the governor, as it was Friday, it would supersede Newsom’s ammunition proposal should voters approve it.
The state Legislature passed a dozen gun control bills Thursday, saying the legislation is the most ambitious action ever taken to protect communities from gun violence.
The bills were crafted in response to the mass shooting in San Bernardino in December and reinforced by the mass shooting in Orlando last month.
“The California Legislature showed their true faces today,” said Craig DeLuz, the director of public and legislative affairs for Firearms Policy Coalition, a Second Amendment advocacy group. “They abused the legislative process to enact their depraved anti-civil rights agenda that affects on every aspect of the lives of millions of law-abiding Californians.”
(Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)
WORKSHOP: SUMMERTIME FRUIT TREE PRUNING
Sunday, July 17 with coastal orchard expert Di Scott
10:00am to 12:00pm
When it comes to basic care and pruning of fruit trees, there are many different techniques, several of which have predictable results. Summer pruning is a great way to increase your fruit and ease winter maintenance. This class will help you to optimize performance from your fruit trees, according to your own needs and the specific environment in which the trees are growing.The spotlight will primarily be on, but not limited too, the summer pruning of fruit tree varieties appropriate to the North Coast climate, specifically apples, pears, and select stone fruits. Learn how time of year and type of pruning cut can greatly influence the success of your fruit trees. We will cover a complete year’s cycle of tree growth â€“ from the tree’s perspective as well as our own. Workshop Instructor, Di Scott brings 17 years of coastal orchard experience and a lifetime of horticultural knowledge to this class.
Class cost is $20 for members and Master Gardeners; $30 for non-members, includes Gardens admission for the day! Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been cancelled or rescheduled by the Gardens.
Class size is limited; sign up by phoning in your payment at 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or reserve your spot in person at The Garden Store at MCBG.
IT’S THE PEOPLE, NOT THE GUNS
To the Editor:
Another Muslim terrorist shooting on President Barack Hussein Obama’s watch is being blamed on the Republicans, Conservatives, and the National Rifle Association, not the shooter, by the President, Hillary Clinton, Liberal Democrat Party, and their co-conspirators, the Main Stream Media. They want their low information, mind numbed robot people to think the terrorist in Orlando, Florida, was not at fault for killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. They blame the gun that was used by the terrorist. Thus, another idiotic call for gun control.
Did these same people blame the Muslim terrorists who flew airplanes into the Towers in New York and the Pentagon on the airplane? No. The terrorists were blamed. Did these same people want our government to ban airplanes? No. When a drunk driver kills a person do they blame the car? No. The drunk driver is blamed. Did these same people want to ban cars? No. Then why ban guns? A gun cannot shoot without someone pulling the trigger.
These same people want our government to ban “Assault Weapons.” There are already laws on the books to forbid people who are not in law enforcement and the military to have assault weapons. What is an Assault Weapon? It is a weapon, usually a rifle, which fires a steady stream of bullets with one squeeze of the trigger. It is called an Automatic. These weapons are not allowed to be sold to the public, period! Liberal Democrats want you to think an assault weapon is an AR-15. It isn’t! An AR-15 has a military look to it but it is not an Automatic, it shoots one bullet at a time each time the trigger is squeezed just like your typical hunting rifle that has a clip/magazine attached to it, and it is called a Semi-automatic. The AR-15 is a “.22 on steroids” so to speak. The AR-15’s clip/magazine cannot be ejected with a finger, one has to use a tool to eject the clip in order to place a loaded clip/magazine into the gun. And just for information, the terrorist shooter in Orlando did not use an AR-15.
The weapon the terrorist in Orlando used was a Semi-automatic called a Sig Sauer Carbine. This rifle is just another military look alike not an Assault Weapon.
The 2nd Amendment does not need to be amended to appease the Liberal Democrats in this country. Our government needs to do a better job in keeping these guns from getting into the hands of criminals and terrorists. Law abiding armed citizens in this country and members of the National Rifle Association are not committing atrocities with guns, criminals and terrorists are the ones doing these things. Liberalism, for the most part, has been soft on crime. I agree with Bill O’Reilly when he said, in essence, people who use guns to commit a crime should automatically get a 10 year sentence in a Federal prison. Of course if the criminal or terrorist murders someone with gun the punishment should fit the crime.
— R. McIntosh, Ukiah
RECOMMENDED VIEWING. There's recommended viewing and then there's recommended viewing. There are movie-movies, entertaining but defective, and there are movies that compute with reality as it's lived by most of us and satisfy our aesthetic sense. Free State of Jones is a movie-movie. It's based on the true story of an unusual (especially for the time and place) white man named Newton Jones who led an inter-racial and inter-gender guerrilla uprising against the Confederate Army, and did it from inside his native Mississippi during the Civil War. As a movie-movie, I thought it was interesting, at least it held my flitting, juvenile attentions throughout. But as a reflection of what we know of adult reality, it tends too often to the implausible happy face mawk of the Hollywood liberal whose idea of race realism is The Color Purple. But this film, despite a disjointed narrative sticks to the known facts closely enough to outline a fascinating story of how this fierce man, Newton Jones, strictly an Old Testament guy, cited the relevant passages from the Good Book to underpin his astounding rebellion. Reap what you sow, for instance, inspired his hard scrabble comrades to resist Confederate raids on their thin larders to provision the Confederate Army and left the farmers and their families to starve winters. The Confederates were also confiscating their sons for "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight." Mick LaSalle, the Chron movie reviewer, said of Free State of Jones that "It's sometimes moving and always interesting, and it emerges as an honest story about one of the most misunderstood periods of American history, the Reconstruction era." Actually, it's told in chronological order with the Reconstruction era sharing the final segment with the ultimately victorious miscegenation trials of Newt's great grandson. Newt the First, simultaneously married to a white woman and a black woman, enjoys a complicated lineage. The Mississippi prosecutor, circa mid-1950s, discovered that the white great grandson is recorded in the Newton family Bible as the descendant of a black mother, making him an eighth black, which is enough to qualify him as a "negro" under Mississippi's insane race laws. Married to a white woman in the 1950s, this putative black man is arrested and charged with cohabitation. Mississippi ultimately frees him rather than take on the US Supreme Court over Mississippi's obsessive race laws. I should add here that the acting in Free State is very good. In the wrong hands, this movie would have been painfully bad, unwatchable. Flaws and all, the mighty AVA turns a mottled thumb skyward.
* * *
VIEWING TIP: Rectify, 16 episodes via NetFlicks. (and more to come.) Really, really good. Won't spoil it for you but we sent both mottled thumbs skyward for this one, and we're only half-way. (From the same writer-director who produced the equally watchable series Deadwood.)
DON'T WAKE UP GLENDA, but Mendo DA, David Eyster, has been pursuing perjurers ever since he took office five years ago. For some reason the Press Democrat's haphazard Ukiah reporter, Glenda Anderson, filed a front page pufferoo this week about how the Lake County DA is thinking about going after people who lie under oath. Three minutes from Glenda's "Ukiah Bureau" at the County Courthouse Eyster has convicted a woman who was submitting false and altered documents into evidence in a family law matter, and will soon pursue Christine Kelsay for perjury. Mrs. Kelsay is the Willits woman recently sentenced to County Jail time for diverting thousands of dollars from her employer, Geiger's Market in Laytonville, to herself. Ms. Kelsay told some truly child-like whoppers when she testified in her own defense.
MEMBERS OF THE CITY OF UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT were recognized this week for helping a disabled veteran stranded in Ukiah. After finding the man stuck in a dead wheelchair with no way to get home, officers and a dispatcher helped the man charge his wheelchair and rented him a hotel room for the night. http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/…/ukiah-police-staff-comme…
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 1, 2016.
Avelino, Champion, Cruce
CHRISTOPHER AVELINO, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
NICOLE CHAMPION, Willits. Burglary, petty theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, paraphernalia.
MICHAEL CRUCE, Three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct with child under 14 not less than three months, lewd or lascivious acts upon child under 14.
Espinola, Furia, Gilbert
MARKIETTA ESPINOLA, Ukiah. DUI.
ANGELA FURIA, Covelo. Domestic assault.
JENNIFER GILBERT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Golyer, Guevara, Honer, Ivey
PAUL GOLYER, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation.
RICHARD GUEVARA JR., Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, honey oil extraction, armed with firearm.
RICHARD HONER, Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RYAN IVEY, Fort Bragg. Burglary, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, paraphernalia.
Johnson, Lamun, Linde
DAKOTA JOHNSON, Willits. Petty theft, controlled substance.
STEVEN LAMUN, Talmage. Domestic assault.
MALIA LINDE, Willits. Controlled substance, under influence, probation revocation.
Nunez, Presswood, Ray
BEAU NUNEZ, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, probation revocation.
RYAN PRESSWOOD, Fort Bragg. Suspended license.
DANNY RAY, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Subject: Striving Millennials
This week I went to my last deacon meeting. Finished my 3-year stint on the board of deacons at my Presbyterian church. It is the role of a deacon to provide support and relieve suffering in the community. Visits to shut-ins, dinners to those recovering from surgery, socials for seniors, respite care, funeral luncheons, etc.
Another person “graduating” was a teen whom in three years of monthly meetings I had never seen at all. I think he was a deacon because he wanted to have it on his college resume.
It must have worked because he was accepted to lots of prestigious universities – Georgetown, Berkeley, UCLA. I know this because I for the past year I’ve overheard his mother bragging to anyone who will listen about his academic accomplishments.
PROFESSOR MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY has written about what he calls the “criminalization of politics”.
Writing about the Clintons, he observes:
“James Comey and The FBI will present a recommendation to Loretta Lynch, Attorney General of the Department of Justice, that includes a cogent argument that the Clinton Foundation is an ongoing criminal enterprise engaged in money laundering and soliciting bribes in exchange for political, policy and legislative favors to individuals, corporations and even governments both foreign and domestic.” (Frank Huguenard, Global Research, May 30, 2016)
When I think of Bill Clinton, I think serial rapist who bites his victims, Yugoslavia, GATT, NAFTA, the destruction of Mexico, welfare “reform”, the 1994 Crime Bill, the sexual assault on an intern who adored him, and betrayal of everyone from Lani Guinier to the naive people who called him “Our First Black President: Of course he was; and Hitler was our first Jewish Chancellor.
When I think of Hillary, I think of Libya, Iraq, and Syria. I think of her friend Lani Guinier to whom she wouldn’t speak after her husband dumped her; of her years in Arkansas at the Rose Law Firm where she served as a bag lady for her concubine, the Governor; her dirty deals that made her rich–like the Whitewater land deal; her being given the senatorship in New York where she never lived; her vulgarity and duplicity.
Trump is a liar and a crook, but less connected with the military/arms/Defense Department nexus, while Hillary is at the center.
However, I couldn’t vote for Trump or anyone in his family. Global Research notes,
…Trump was not clean as a whistle. Beginning three years earlier, he’d hired mobbed-up firms to erect Trump Tower and his Trump Plaza apartment building in Manhattan, including buying ostensibly overpriced concrete from a company controlled by mafia chieftains Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno and Paul Castellano. That story eventually came out in a federal investigation, which also concluded that in a construction industry saturated with mob influence, the Trump Plaza apartment building most likely benefited from connections to racketeering. Trump also failed to disclose that he was under investigation by a grand jury directed by the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who wanted to learn how Trump obtained an option to buy the Penn Central railroad yards on the West Side of Manhattan.
So, we get to choose the lesser of two criminals.
I’ve written it before, but will repeat: I’m voting for Jill Stein. I don’t need her to debate Johnson or anyone else.
I have no control over what the other 150 million plus voters of this country will do, but I do have control over what I’ll do. No matter which of the vulgarians from the one party with two right wings becomes President, I will be able to look in the mirror and know I had nothing to do with it.
FEEL THE BE...(sees back of shirt) oh, I'm sorry sir, enjoy the rest of your day.
ARE SF’S HOMELESS REALLY ‘SAN FRANCISCANS’?
by Rob Anderson
From Leah Garchik's column on Wednesday:
“And even if we ascertain that tents are their "homes" and blankets their furniture, I'm put off by the two-word phrase "the homeless," which The Chronicle has aimed to avoid in its current series of stories. The "the," which turns what should be a modifier into a noun, wraps human neediness into a neat (and) ignorable package. The people who sleep in the streets, who lie on the sidewalks and lean against fences, are homeless San Franciscans.”
Well, that depends on your definition of "San Franciscan."
(And "the" is our definite article. Using "the homeless" phrase may wrap the homeless into a "neat" grammatical package, but it doesn't imply ignoring them.)
It's been an open question for years: who are the homeless, where do they come from, and how long have they been here?
From a 2007 Chronicle story:
“A new count of the homeless, released earlier this week, tallied a 2% rise from two years ago — from 6,248 to 6,377 people. After the one-night count on Jan. 31, in a follow-up survey of homeless people, 31% noted that they became homeless outside San Francisco. ‘That is close to a third of the people we counted,’ says Trent Rhorer, director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. ‘It begs the question of why they came here; I don't know that the answer is necessarily one of homelessness’ … In recent years, amid a long-vaunted tradition of generosity to the down and out, San Francisco found itself saddled with an outsize reputation of being overly friendly to the homeless. ‘There's an impression we've created of free money,’ Rhorer says. ‘We get a lot of people who come here and say, “It's not working, but now I have no job and no money and no way to get home”.’”
Note the 6,377 homeless count in 2007 is pretty much the same as the 2015 count of 6,686 (2015 Homeless Survey, page 17), which is probably why homelessness is again of major concern to the public. It never seems to get much better. I think homelessness is here to stay, like terrorism by adherents of The Religion of Peace.
Homelessness was a major public concern back in 2004, but it faded as an issue for years, as Care Not Cash, Project Homeless Connect, supportive housing, and Homeward Bound implemented by Mayor Newsom seemed to be having an effect. The latest Chamber of Commerce poll finds it back as a top public concern. This seems to be because the homeless are more visible now — e.g., the tent encampments on Division Street — not that there are more homeless in the city.
The 2015 count report tried to quantify how long homeless people have been in San Francisco using a survey filled out by the homeless themselves — or maybe "administered" means those conducting the count asked the questions and recorded the answers:
“Surveys were administered to a randomized sample of homeless individuals between February 1 and February 19, 2015. This effort resulted in 1,027 complete and unique surveys. Based on the Point-in-Time Count of 7,539 homeless persons, with a randomized survey sampling process, these 1,027 valid surveys represent a confidence interval of +/-3% with a 95% confidence level when generalizing the results of the survey to the estimated population of homeless individuals in San Francisco (page 27).”
But the "confidence" that we have in the results of this survey must be limited, since only 14% of the homeless counted took part in the survey.
Just as important: why should what the homeless themselves say about how long they've been here be particularly credible? After all, a city worker or a city volunteer is asking the questions. Homeless people hoping to get housing or other services might assume it's in their interest to exaggerate how long they've been in the city:
“Seventy-one percent (71%) of respondents reported they were living in San Francisco at the time they most recently became homeless, an increase from 61% in 2013. Of those, nearly half (49%) had lived in San Francisco for 10 years or more. Eleven percent (11%) had lived in San Francisco for less than one year. Ten percent (10%) of respondents reported they were living out of state at the time they lost their housing. Nineteen percent (19%) reported they were living in another county in California. Six percent (6%) reported they were living in Alameda County at the time, 3% San Mateo, 2% Marin, 2% Contra Costa and 1% Santa Clara County (page 33).”
Not particularly credible, but it's good enough for Tim Redmond and Calvin Welch, but San Francisco progressives have never been credible on homelessness.
NOAM CHOMSKY, JOHN HALLE AND A CONFEDERACY OF LAMPREYS: A Note On Lesser Evil Voting
by Jeffrey St. Clair
In today’s edition of CounterPunch, Andy Smolski lays waste to the feeble and patronizing lesser-evil argument advanced a couple of weeks ago by Noam Chomsky and John Halle, which admonished the Left (such as it is) to vote for the neoliberal war-monger Hillary Clinton as the last bulwark against the fearsome Trump and his rampaging band of post-industrial Visigoths.
Hillary Clinton is a living refutation of the logic of lesser-evilism, since her candidacy as the most rightwing Democratic nominee since Harry “A Bomb” Truman is the inevitable consequence of decades of lesser-evil voting. This toxic political pragmatism engenders a process of natural selection in reverse, where the candidates get more-and-more retrograde because their opponents can always be painted as fractionally more odious. Well, let each pick their own poison in the privacy of the voting booth. Rationalizing, however weakly, a vote for Hillary Clinton isn’t my main problem with the Chomsky/Halle essay.
The most noxious element of the Chomsky/Halle endorsement of Clinton is their paternalistic guilt-tripping that seeks to blame people who choose to vote for Jill Stein, Gloria La Riva, Gary Johnson or no one at all in the extremely unlikely event (one percent according to analytics guru Nate Silver) that Trump prevails in November. If HRC, who now enjoys support from both the Chomsky wing of the Democrats and the Kissinger-Goldman Sachs wing of the GOP, manages to lose, it will be the fault of her own record of mendaciousness and villainy, just as Gore was solely responsible for blowing the 2000 election, even though liberals continue to viciously scapegoat Ralph Nader.
It’s an intellectually dishonest position and a morally indefensible one. According to the specious argument of their Tractatus Illogico-Politicus, Halle and Chomsky would not bear any responsibility for the deaths caused by the candidate (HRC) they support. But Greens, anarchists, socialists and anti-war libertarians who recoil from the Queen of Chaos would bear responsibility for the carnage caused by the candidate (Trump) they did not support. That’s a textbook case of moral hypocrisy.
Halle has attached himself to Chomsky like a sea lamprey on a sperm whale. Chomsky should, of course, be cautious about associating with political lampreys such as Halle. Noam, who knows his history, would do well to consider the fate of Henry the First, who “ate a surfeit of lampreys which mortally chilled the old man’s blood and caused a sudden and violent illness against which nature struggled” – struggled futilely, it turned out. Chomsky has a sturdy constitution, but these days it pays to be prudent.
Who is John Halle, you ask? Halle teaches music theory at an over-rated and over-priced institution for the trust fund children of liberal elites. Halle’s political association with Chomsky is an episode of almost comical self-aggrandizement, on the order of Kenny G sitting in with John Coltrane. It’s probably safe to assume that most of the false notes in their sophistic reasoning were struck by Halle. (By the way, has anyone seen Chomsky’s old writing partner, Ed Herman? Should we put out an Amber Alert?) But that doesn’t absolve Chomsky from affixing his name to an ethically bankrupt argument that is now also being made by Hillary’s new friends: George Will, Henry Kissinger protegé Richard Armitage, Brent Scowcroft and one of the men who brought you the 2008 financial crash, Hank Paulson. A confederacy of lampreys, indeed.
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: email@example.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
FRONT ROW FOR THE FALL OF ENGLAND
by Dave Zirin
What a week to be in London. My family’s long-planned vacation has given us a ringside seat for the greatest humiliations suffered by Great Britain since boxer Frank Bruno tried to take down a young Mike Tyson. First the British exit — Brexit — from the European Union, which people in London overwhelmingly voted against, becomes the law of the land, and now, just three days later, England’s national soccer team loses in the European Championships 2-1 to Iceland (Iceland!). It is no exaggeration that, like Frank Bruno, people are stumbling in a bit of a daze. The most repeated line has been, “How the hell did we manage to get tossed from Europe twice in four days?” Or as actor Damian Lewis tweeted, “England’s players obviously all voted leave…”
But there is a fevered sadness here greater than gallows humor can contain. London, with its immigrant-powered population, voted overwhelmingly to stay in Europe and now, as one young woman, Dana, said to me, “It feels like a cage has come down all around us. And no one I speak to knows what it’s all going to mean. Just that it will hurt terribly. It’s just a hurt feeling like we were betrayed by our own country.” And she said this before England’s team was thumped by Iceland.
This was not supposed to happen. None of it. Great Britain was never supposed to actually leave the European Union, and all of the papers from the day before the vote now have quite a “Dewey Beats Truman” feel to their headlines, as assessments of why Brexit was on the brink of failure were already emblazoned on the front pages. Then, after Brexit, according to the breathless coverage in the right-wing slop rag the Daily Mail, we were supposed to see a new national pride awaken from its slumber.
Instead, as the pound becomes battered like deep-fried cod, no one appears to be in charge of either the Tories or Labour. As opposed to this symbolizing a new beginning, the exit polling has revealed that this was a vote overwhelmingly fueled by senior citizens — 83 percent voter turnout for those over 65, compared to 36 percent under 25. When Sarah Palin is cheerleading the result of a referendum, you know that the know-nothings carried the day, and sure enough, I’ve heard plenty of nothing. Far from the Daily Mail’s line about this being some kind of working-class cry against “out of touch elites” and “decision makers in Brussels,” Brexit has unleashed not national unity but a disunifying, scattershot xenophobia. The slogan of the day seems to be “last one in, lock the door.”
There is no greater metaphor for this howl of weakness and irrelevancy than seeing the national soccer team get thrashed by Iceland (again, Iceland!). In what has already been anointed “the greatest shocker” in European Championships history, England captain Wayne Rooney and company were outworked, outplayed, and out-hustled by an Icelandic team of unknowns, and they had no answer for a goalkeeper named Hannes Halldorsson. Iceland is the smallest country to ever play in any major international tournament, as it continues to the round of 16 in a fashion had the announcers on the BBC near tears. Immediately after the match, England’s manager Roy Hodgson resigned, and no one was weeping over his departure.
It doesn’t take Robert Lipsyte to tease out the political symbolism of this loss. It just takes a five-minute conversation with anyone at a pub, on a corner, or behind a desk. In fact, England has been the number-one trending topic on social media, with most commenters taking shots at what was once the world’s dominant empire, now on the run from immigration and brought low by Iceland. (Buzzfeed actually compiled its favorite Brexit jokes on Twitter.) But as everyone has their laugh, it is worth remembering that Great Britain is suffering. London is keening. One of the proudest and oldest working classes in the world is fractured. It will be far easier to rebuild the national soccer team than the fighting confidence of people throughout the United Kingdom.
(Dave Zirin is the author of Brazil’s Dance With the Devil. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org)
FRANK SINATRA: BY THE SHORTEST ROUTE
by Manuel Vicent
(Translated by Louis S. Bedrock)
The artist who created a new form of delivering songs never forgot the law learned in the streets of Hoboken.
The inexperience of the gynecologist who didn't know how to manage the forceps when he removed him from the womb of his mother, caused Frank to carry marks on his cheeks for his entire life, a vestige of the difficulty with which he arrived into this bitch of a world. In Hoboken, a town in New Jersey attached to New York City — on the other side of the Hudson River, where he was born on December 16, 1915, the kids in other tribes called him "Scarface", an insult that always turned into in a neighborhood brawl.
Young Frankie was a tough nut to crack, a carefully crafted hooligan. He had opened his eyes during a flood of emigrants who had recently arrive in America — Italians, Poles, Germans, Hungarians, Jews — almost untamed, each one trying to survive. Among the street gangs of Hoboken the war for the defense of territory was always open and the rivalry began with winning the best-looking girls:
—Hey you, you fucking panini, I'm going to screw your girl friend.
The counter-volley wasn't long in arriving. Sinatra, still smooth-faced, always lasted until the end of the melee.
In matters of jealousy, it was he who went the furthest to the point of not allowing anyone to go out with a girlfriend he had already abandoned because he continued viewing her as his property. His rule number one was to never go out with a girl with whom I've slept or you will find yourself in trouble.
He looked weak and awkward, but he was superman in bed with an insatiable appetite according to what the girls told one another. He was quick-tempered with all the moodiness of a very spoiled only child, but he was, in his own way, an honorable man. He kept his word, respected the agreements with the other Italian kids forged on the sidewalks of the neighborhood, who had sworn not to allow any damned German, Pole, Hungarian, or Jew call them "pepperoni" or "macaroni": without busting his nose.
Sinatra incorporated into his DNA this attitude toward forging pacts among his friends and he never abandoned it his entire life.
In the middle of Prohibition, Sinatra's parents opened a bar on the corner of Fourth and Jefferson in Hoboken, run by his mother, Dolly, famous for her arrests. Frank's progenitor, Marty, a Sicilian, was a fireman, both tough and circumspect; he was prohibited from involvement in that type of activity.
In that bar, called Marty O'Brien's, all the rules against alcohol were broken. Uomini d'onore — men of respect, patronized the bar — low-level mafiosos in ties, striped suits and Borsalino hats who gathered to talk in lowered voices about their business with glasses of watered down rat poison before them.
From them, the young Sinatra learned that there was always a shorter route for solving any problem. This had absolutely nothing to do with cutting the head off of a horse and leaving it between someone's sheets; however, one day those old comrades from his childhood — Joey D'Orazio, Hank Sanicola, and Rocky Giannetti had to help him break someone's legs.
Although his father called him a loser for the idle existence he lived out on the sidewalks of the neighborhood, Sinatra was a kid who wanted to be someone — for example, a vocalist; he decided to pursue that career despite the firm opposition of his progenitor, the good fireman.
—Frankie wants to sing, Marty; so let him sing, okay?
—Between the two of you, you will drive me crazy — shouted Dolly from behind the bar.
At that time, Bing Crosby ruled the roost with six consecutive years at the peak of popularity. Sinatra began singing with groups of fans at parties and town dances, and when he began to attract attention, Harry James, impressed with his talent, brought him into his orchestra. The musician offered no resistance when Sinatra left to continue his journey upward along the irresistible path to success.
During this period, Tommy Dorsey was the undisputed king of swing, a fascinating trumpeter and trombonist; although he was a man of dubious character, to perform in his band was to touch the stars. Sinatra signed a contract with him, although the dazzling effect of this honor impeded him from perusing the fine print. Tommy Dorsey had Frank Sinatra by the balls, according to his own words, through a one-sided contract.
The singer had signed a contract that obliged him to pay Tommy Dorsey thirty percent of everything he earned for his entire life plus ten percent for being his agent no matter where he sang, what orchestra he sang with, what record company he worked with — any place in the world.
Frank wound up dislodging Bing Crosby. Those girls who wore pleated skirts and flat bottom shoes put on jeans and plaid shirts to attend a Sinatra concert and they scratched their own cheeks and they screamed and they fainted — a phenomenon that occurred in The United States for the first time. They were the girls that inaugurated the hysteria around a star to the extent of cutting out his footprints in the snow and taking them home to be kept in the freezer as a souvenir, to go after the ashes and butts of his cigarettes, and to tear off the buttons of his clothes, according to the rituals of fanaticism.
Sinatra had created a new style of delivering songs. Simply out of instinct, instead of fixing his eyes on some vague point in the room like a dead lamb, he looked at the girls who were dancing, one at a time, and personalized the words as if he sang for each one just to win her love.
So much good fortune brought with it a burden. One day he wanted to stop being Tommy Dorsey's boy and decided to sever relations with him. He told Dorsey a year in advance.
—Listen, my friend, you have a contract —Dorsey told him.
—I also had one with Harry James.
—I'm not Harry James.
The relationship became toxic. Sinatra simply split. In January of 1942, Sinatra recorded his first solo album for RCA, but Tommy Dorsey forced him to fulfill the terms of the contract and so while dollars rained down upon him everywhere and the hysteria around him grew, and the girls screamed, and scratched, and fainted at his concerts, the singer had to continue to pay thirty percent of his earnings to Dorsey plus ten percent for Dorsey's role as his agent. Dorsey and Sinatra sued each other.
Sinatra had learned a rule in the streets of Hoboken: There's always a shorter route.
—Take care of this —Sinatra said to Hank Sinicola.
One day, two tough looking young men appeared in the office of Tommy Dorsey and told the Maestro that he was going to have problems if he didn't free their friend from the contract. Dorsey considered himself a tough guy with a short temper. He threw them out.
—Dorsey just needs a small push.
Hank Sanicola tried to assure that Sinatra didn't find out about anything. Frank's job was to sing, fall in love, and reach for the stars. The thugs returned a short time later and presented Dorsey with an inescapable dilemma: either he would break the contract or they would break his legs. In their presence, he tore up the document.
Tommy Dorsey died suddenly in 1956 while he was asleep. Although they were unable to continue to be friends, Sinatra always retained a fond memory of those years toward a musician whom he admired above all things — despite the bitter experience of compelling him to rip up the contract. On one occasion, they even managed to perform together; and Sinatra recorded an album in Dorsey's memory.
Drawing by Fernando Vicente