Letters (Sep 14, 2016)
by AVA News Service, September 14, 2016
FIRE IN AUGUST
chilly sliver coastal fog
one more stick in the stove
to allay discouragement and shudders
one mile inland and undress
from snugs to shorts
or flick from automotive warm to cool
miles further and the wildfire
fight for control houses burned
people pleading on the radio
DEAD TREE HABITAT
Dear Mr. A-gitator and Colonel and McEwen,
Add to your hack and squirt reports the UC Davis Forester's comment that standing dead trees are habitat to hundreds of forest creatures including that of Redwood Summer fame, the spotted owl. Squirrels evict the owls sending them searching, so a little bit of knowledge (Trump) is a dangerous thing. I have a 15 year dead Monterey Cypress that houses colonies of acorn woodpeckers and in mating times dozens of mourning dove males singing Woo Hoo to get the girls' attention. The Cyprus is probably 4 feet in diameter at the base and 60 or 70 feet tall. I'm 73 years old. I bet its mass will be there after I depart. (My now 46-year-old son didn't like the shade so he spiked it with a quart of Roundup about 20 years ago.)
PS. Santa Cruz hosted Salz Tannery, long ago a major employer and major river polluter. They harvested huge quantities for the tannery of — wait for it — tan bark oaks. The acid bark for tanning leather and the wood pulp for cardboard and early sheet rock. As Will Parrish points out river boulders tell of centuries (1200-1500 years or more) of mortar and pestle grinding of acorns for bread.
THE POWER OF GOOD EDITING
I was catching up on my AVA reading when I came to the Major’s fine profile of Len Feinstein, “America’s Best Cutter.” One of my favorite PBS shows was the series “The Power of Myth.” The documentary was hosted by Bill Moyers and the exuberant storyteller was Joseph Campbell. It was a conversation that riveted my imagination and excited my mind.
It was so wonderful that I was shocked to learn from the article that it took film editor Len Feinstein to assemble the mess of still shots and film and sound because to me and my family it all seemed like a seamless masterpiece.
I’m glad Len talked with Anne Fashauer in Boonville or Philo. If you talk to the wrong person you might end up in Ukiah.
DON'T TURN FORT BRAGG INTO ANYWHERE USA
The Fort Bragg City Council needs to adopt a completely new approach to the city's development and create a livable city with a positive future for its citizens and their children. The Council isn't serving our community by encouraging strip malls and fast food restaurants that provide low-paying service jobs. The Council is helping wealthy developers who don't live here and who only care about short term profits, not Fort Bragg's future.
Fort Bragg was built up by the extractive timber industry. The timber industry unsustainably mined its resource base of trees until it crashed, along with many local jobs. Worldwide fishing unsustainably depleted the Earth's oceans of fish, destroying the local fishing economy. This left Fort Bragg with mostly service jobs that won't support young families' future chances for a good life.
The most promising opportunities for creating meaningful jobs and a permanent, healthy economy are found in tourism, ocean research and sustainable organic farming to name a few. The Noyo Science Center could be greatly expanded. Switching from an extractive to a restorative economy is vital. Thousands of travelers come from all over the world to see the abundant natural beauty of the Mendocino Coast. Many come from ugly, paved over areas. Many have never seen a redwood tree or the Pacific Ocean. They come here for clean fresh air, natural beauty and serenity.
They also come to hike on our beautiful trails and walk on our unspoiled beaches. They don't come to see strip malls and fast food restaurants which can be found everywhere else. Fort Bragg sits along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. The Gray Whale migration passes our coastline twice a year from the Arctic to the Southern Hemisphere and back. Many permanent jobs could be created to observe and study this phenomenon. Bicycle touring companies (on and off road) and guided hiking businesses could create meaningful jobs for local residents.
Ventura, California takes full advantage of its beautiful coastline. A Ventura company, Island Packers, employs 56 employees on a full-time basis. Island Packers offers boat voyages for whale watching and marine life observation. Their employees earn more than temporary service workers at fast food restaurants. They're able to live on the Southern California coast where rents and real estate prices are much higher than in Mendocino County.
The drought continues in California and elsewhere in the United States. Fort Bragg could build a state of the art water capturing and conservation technology base on the old mill site. The Fort Bragg City Council should encourage this instead of rampant sprawl development.
We are in a severe drought. Incredibly, the Fort Bragg City Council voted to have a cheap, insufficient Environmental Impact Report done for the Hare Creek strip mall in the Coastal Zone. This is proposed while nearby residents are facing severe water shortages.
There are numerous empty spaces on already-paved land downtown. Group II developers already own the Boatyard Shopping Center with three vacancies. They also own the strip mall on Franklin Street where the DMV is located which has at least three vacancies.
If this kind of environmentally destructive development continues, there will be no future in Fort Bragg for young couples who want to start families or for the tourist industry. Our city will look like Anywhere USA, offering only low-paying service jobs. The City Council must work on restoring and sustainably developing the old mill site and leaving the Hare Creek site as open space. Fort Bragg could be an example of humans living within the limits of the ecological system that keeps us all alive.
THEY'RE COMING FOR US
You cannot sweep us homeless under the rug. We are those who were once where you are, and you will one day join us, as will everyone who is not part of One Percent. It's just a matter of time. But don't worry. One day every plaza and civic center in every city will feature a great big guillotine, and the wretched of the earth shall have their revenge. Even in Ukiah.
No Home Town
MENDO VOICE PIPES UP
While I do appreciate the bit of publicity you've thrown our way, I would have also appreciated if you could have checked with me before running that little blurb, because you got your facts wrong. Kym is definitely not working for us. She has kindly let us crosspost some of her things, that is all, she remains fiercely independent, and I wouldn't want anyone to imagine that she is doing otherwise.
Sarah is not on staff. You also missed someone that we DO have as a contributor Dan Young of Fort Bragg. And we have a contributing columnist, Ben Wolff, with more columnists coming.
We're also not "pot-centric," we're just going to cover the community in a frank and honest way that accurately reflects the huge role that cannabis has in the county. If a paper in Kansas wrote frankly and accurately about corn it wouldn't be "corn-centric."
As to our funding, I wonder what your source is there.
Finally, we're just getting off the ground, and are still working the kinks and bugs out of site, in case you spot any problems. But thanks again for the hat tip.
WHERE THE MONEY WENT
It seems to me that with all of the propositions requesting tax increases by various and sundry government entities, we need to stop and really look at them. Before we do that, every taxpayer deserves to see where the last taxes approved by us have gone.
We deserve to know whether those spending our money have been prudent and judicious when signing those checks. We as taxpayers should be demanding an audit of every entity that has requested money via a tax increase. Until we get that information, we should vote against every one of those proposals.
Until we get that information, I, for one, will be voting against every tax increase proposal. If enough of us do that, maybe Sacramento and Washington, D.C., will get a clue.
THE COST OF YOUR LATTE IS GOING UP, UP AND UP
In my letter of September 2nd I deferred commenting on what climate change is doing to the coffee growing areas of the world about which I now will comment. In addition, several more studies on climate change have been reported and I will comment on a couple of these. First, it needs to be understood that most coffee growers are poor small landholders and have very limited ability to adapt to climate change. A new report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand published in The Guardian stated climate change will halve the coffee growing growing area that supports 120 million people. The largest coffee producers like Starbucks have said climate change is posing a severe risk to the industry. Rising temperatures and high altitude rains have caused pests and diseases which affected half the coffee crop in Central America. In 2012-2013 the damage amounted to about US$500m and put 350,000 people out of work. Other coffee growing areas around are also affected. The solution is to relocate to higher ground or move away from the equator. The reality is that would be too costly and I doubt if it will happen .Other climate change issues are that Asian typhoons have grown 50% stronger in the last 40 years; the study by the World Bank that air pollution costs trillions of dollars and takes a heavy toll on poor countries; the NASA warning that the earth is warming at a rapid pace; humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth's wilderness in 25 years; and the flooding on the east coast and the gulf.
Far too many issues to discuss today and I will defer discussion to later letters. We truly live in a fool's paradise as we continue to deny what we are doing to the earth. In peace and love,
I arrived in my Fort Bragg home after a five mile walk, hopped in the shower, and had a word with my mother and began a relaxing doze on the couch. I'm not sure how long, but after a while there was a knock at my door. I got up and answered it finding two deputies on our porch.
"Hello, what can I do for you?"
"Well, we really didn't think you were here; we thought you were in jail from the last time we arrested you! We were looking for someone else, but where have you been and what were you just wearing?"
I said on my walk home I was wearing a black t-shirt before my shower. His response was, "Well, you have a white t-shirt on now and we have your neighbor who says a man approximately 30 years of age wearing a white t-shirt was just seen leaving his porch. Would I come with them and do a line-up?
I remember telling him this was unfair. I'm 11 years older (41) and at the suspected time I was in the opposite colored t-shirt. I was arrested for trespassing, anyway. Yes, I've been on formal probation for around six months now stemming from something that happened on my property. And yes, I believe the same cops arrested me again but I didn't get their names last time, I was in such disbelief.
Well anyway, six months ago I walked into my home to find my mother standing in the living room shaken up and her ex-boyfriend holding a baton in the kitchen, talking loud and crazy. I assessed that he was there intimidating my mom and that I should attempt to give him the chance to leave. As I kept an eye on the baton (stick) I nicely said, "John, you need to leave." He then came towards me fast and hit me in the stomach with the end of his weapon. I tried to grab the stick from him and pull free. With great fear I jumped up and put him in a headlock dropping him to the ground. I wanted to call for help but I couldn’t because he was trying to struggle free. I then hit him twice, which dazed him enough (long enough) for me to check on mom.
The cops arrived and he (John) said he wanted medical attention for his strawberry where I had defended me and my mother. So he took advantage knowing that would look very bad on my part. They arrested me for great bodily injury while he was lying to them in the ambulance. Mom told them in my defense that I had just been hit first. Cops took pictures of his weapon and hauled me away again with mom crying.
At my preliminary hearing my attorney Bart Kronfeld said, Mr. Bennett, you can go home today on three years felony probation with credit for time served.
I said, But my mother’s here to testify and she surely will free me with her statement and testimony.
"I don't know, Mr. Bennett, it's up to you; the court is waiting."
I wanted to go home to my animals and mother so bad that day that I took the deal.
Mr. Davenport, the district attorney, put a felony with his bare hands on my record and I accepted a three-year probation deal. So now they are offering me a misdemeanor trespassing charge that I do three years for state prison time in all.
I've never heard of such an unfair deal. This is my second violation of probation. I won my first violation hearing but Judge Brennan slapped me with 30 days for it.
Anyway, have you heard of the courts being able to do that? See, my brother’s [Josh Bennett] is set to get out in February — they locked him away for a long time now for driving on a suspended license and I believe he had a small amount of powder on him and he was driving the millionaire Catherine Cummings in the passenger seat.
Many of you good citizens have never had to experience injustice. I'm here saying that since my buddy Deputy Del Fiorentino ain’t with us anymore it’s like I have no one on my side who cares about conduct of law with patience. If the deputies had taken their time out at my house in the great bodily injury case they would have been able to see that John was probably off his meds, fabricating, and has an "assault on me" on his record that he did time for and he had just been released from prison for elder abuse on his own mother.
Once again, they wouldn't listen to me at the time because they think I'm mentally ill, that I'm in danger, that I have a record, the list goes on, the stereotypical labeling that really obviously cost me.
Maybe you haven't experienced injustice in Mendocino County, but I really think everyone should keep a lookout, keep money for bail ready, and maybe have a private attorney picked out and within reach wouldn't hurt.
I used to think that maybe it's just the outside cops who act like this. That was until I went to take a shower in jail and my new bottle of shampoo was gone. I told the deputy on duty that it was missing and the first thing he did was make me show him my belongings and receipts for it. He actually thought I was going to hide my shampoo in the tiny cell/module and blame someone for taking it and at the same time show a receipt to him to show where I bought it that day. They took me out to a holding cubicle where it was torturously hot for an hour and a half. Of course they had their fan running in the side office and I witnessed five deputies gathering around the computer and all five agreed that the suspected inmate (me) never ordered any shampoo as he had claimed. Next they moved me to the other side of the jail to put me in solitary confinement. Huh? And I am the victim.
Thank you very much for your time and if anyone is wondering who wrote this it wasn't really an inmate or convict, it was one of Boonville's own 1993 graduates.
Jade Blaine Bennett, cell 142, lockdown,
Mendocino County Jail. (Arrested July 18, 2016.)
PS. Some Like Me.
Some like me, some like me behind bars.
Some don't, some don't want me in the free world.
Some stare at the stars, I don't because I can't see them anymore. Not because I'm blind, because I can stare at these walls and pretend everything is fine.
It's a pretend world anyway isn't it?
PPS. Now I'm being held in solitary confinement probably until the end of my trial and not having my canteen back so I can't pay for anything. I've been looking for your weekly paper but it's nowhere to be found. Do you think if there is an extra copy you could mail it to me and I would promise to let the lockdowns have a read too. I know your son Ben remembers me but maybe I'm concerned you don't. My mother Cleo and brother Josh lived on Mountain View Road up by the dump at my grandparent’s property Cleo and Buck Clark. I remember you walking and always smiling and waving at us coming down the mountain! Much love to you and your wonderful family.
Jade & Josh Bennett c.1985
MEMO OF THE WEEK
September 1, 2016
Subject: Mendocino County Medical Cannabis Cultivation Ordnance.
Dear State, Federal, Local Agencies And Interested Parties:
The County of Mendocino as the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act is in the process of preparing an initial study to evaluate the impact of adopting a comprehensive ordnance regulating the cultivation, transport, and sale of medical cannabis. The proposed ordinance seeks to establish local level regulation consistent with a variety of state regulations including the medical marijuana regulation and safety act and the cannabis cultivation waste discharge regulatory program administered by the North Coast regional water quality control Board.
The proposed ordinance will consist of Chapter 10A.17 of the Mendocino County code and chapter 20.242 of the Mendocino County zoning ordinance. The proposed ordinance applies to inland areas of the county. The coastal zone is not affected.
The environmental review is currently in the preliminary phase and we are seeking early consultation from responsible agencies, trustee agencies and interested parties.
You can find a complete copy of the draft ordinance at http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/planning/publicnotices.htm. Please review these materials and provide input you may have regarding the potential for environmental effects in your area of expertise or interest. Your response is requested by September 19, 2016.
If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Burks AICP planning manager with Laco Associates at 707/443-5054 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sincerely, Andy Gustafson, Chief Planner,
Mendocino County Planning and Building department