Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016
by AVA News Service, October 5, 2016
MAYOR TURNER'S SUMMER ADVENTURE. Back in August, Dave Turner, Fort Bragg's lightning rod mayor, placed a frantic late night 911 call from deep in the Noyo woods. Turner and family had been enjoying a tranquil stay in and among the old, but still serviceable cabins once available to Union Lumber, then Georgia-Pacific families. Before the collapse of one of the tunnels on the Skunk Line, vacationers could ride the train back and forth to the idyllic site, which hasn't been regularly in use for some years now, especially since the Skunk tunnel cave-in. To get out there today means a meandering journey through several locked gates that begins on the A&W logging road out of South Fort Bragg near the police station. That route is, in itself, a ride back through time, passing through what was a bustling little community called Finn Town or Soinala. The mayor being the mayor, Turner had the gate combos and, of course, he could enjoy the camp. Of course the times being either unsettled or "way outta control," depending on the intensity of your alarm at what seems to be social collapse, the camp is often visited, and perhaps even enjoyed by "transients" and/or tweekers, of whom Fort Bragg seems to have in numbers out of proportion to its population. Long story short. There's no story, or not much of one, and one wonders why the cops and the mayor himself don't just tell us what the heck happened. Which was, two tweekers, home grown Fort Bragg boys, well known to law enforcement, showed up at the Turner camp. Frightened at their appearance, Turner called for help. The tweekers tweeked off, and that was it. End of story. We're still waiting for the Sheriff's Department to release their "findings," which may or may not include the names of the tweeks.
NO ON AF signs are going up in vineyards all over the Anderson Valley, meaning the wine people see the marijuana people as threatening. If ever there was a better time to call down a plague on a pair of houses, this election in Mendocino County is it.
THE STONER COMMUNITY'S initiative is, of course, not a good idea because it was written by them and would, if passed, turn over pot regulation to them. By contrast, the grape and wine people are not regulated by anybody. Not really. County government lives in fear of them because they are big and powerful, with all our elected reps up to the federal level totally in their pocket. The inland wine crybabies even complained when the state told them they could write their own water use rules!
THE LOCAL POT LOBBY is in the process of destroying themselves. If state Proposition 64 passes, marijuana is essentially legalized, and here come large-scale industrial pot grows, and there goes the cottage pot industry that has nicely supported several thousand Mendocino County residents for many years, not to mention cops at all levels of government who take off enough dope every year to keep the industry profitable. (We recommend NO votes on all four pot measures — County and State — on the November ballot.)
BUT FOR THE GRAPE AND WINE industry to boldly claim, "Protect Communities and Environment", well, please. The wine grape onslaught on the land and water of Mendocino County has been terribly destructive, and all perfectly legal. They've been much worse on the environment than pot gardens (so far) and the wine industry has restructured every community in the county were they are dominant. How? Thousands of immigrant labor families, which I think has been a good thing for my revitalized home community of Anderson Valley, but it's the existing institutions of these communities who provide education and health care subsidies for the wine juggernaut's labor, without which there would be no wine industry. (The industry now struggles every harvest season to find labor because (1) the industry has grown faster than it has labor to run it and (2) much labor has moved over to the pot industry because it's much more lucrative than seasonal vineyard work.)
THE WINE INDUSTRY has not protected the communities they have re-ordered by their dependence on cheap labor, for which labor they provide almost no housing and no benefits while host communities are left to provide basic amenities.
IF POT is legalized we will see an intensification of what has already begun — corporate-like mega grows owned by people with zero attachment to Mendocino County, which we already have, largely, with the wine industry.
* * *
No On AF Campaign Committee
Chairmen: Hal Wagenet, Chris Neary. Willits.
Donations/Payments as of 9/24:
Cash donations: $6200.
Total payments as of Sept 24: $417. (Holding back for a big push?)
Mike Sweeney, Retired, $1000
Ross Liberty, Factory Pipe, $1000
James F. King Attorney, $100
Patricia Hickey, Exec Dir, Mendocino Resource Conservation District, $200
Hal Wagenet’s Modern Music Sound Service, $250.
Ellen Drell, WEC, $500.
Ralph Paulin, Retired, $100
Mike Anderson, Anderson Logging, $1000.
Phyllis Curtis, Retired, $100.
Sheila Perez, Freelance photographer, $100.
Evan Johnson, Freelance photographer, $100.
Duane Wells, Retired County Assessor, $200
Lorraine Brodoski, Retired, $200.
Michael Glenn, Retired. $100.
Erlyne Schmidbauer, Retired (Schmidbauer lumber?) $100.
Beverly Dutra, Retired, $100
Paul Conrado, Conrado Vineyards, $100
Wendy Roberts, Master Gardener, $100.
Jeanette Pedersen, Forester, $100.
Jerlyn Harris, retired, $100.
Neary & O’Brien Legal Services, Lawyers, $1425.
OAKY JOE RAIDED AGAIN
by Chris Roberts
Joe Munson was finally ready to pay his lawyer when the police paid him a visit on Monday morning, Oct. 3.
Just four days earlier, Sonoma County had returned to Munson -- an inveterate grower of medical cannabis who, raided three times in Mendocino County and acquitted of charges every time, relocated five years ago to a hilltop plot in western Sonoma not far from Bohemian Grove -- the $8,194 seized from him more than a year ago.
That time, on Sept. 23, 2015, Munson was popped with more than 1,000 cannabis plants -- a plantation he argues he was entitled to have, because Sonoma County law provides for 30 plants per medical marijuana recommendation, with no specific ceiling of how much pot is too much (See “Raid First, Investigate Later,” Anderson Valley Advertiser, 9/30/2015). After insisting — loudly and publicly, as he has done every time this has happened over the past decade — that all the pot was for low-income sick people who received it for free, Munson pleaded no contest to “accessory after the fact,” one of the few times in his life he has admitted any wrongdoing — and the only time in his adult life, 30 years of which he’s spent growing marijuana on and off, that he’s agreed to a penalty for growing weed.
But because he was not convicted of any drug-related crimes, his assets could not be forfeited.
That meant, after some lifting from his attorney, cops had to give Munson back his money, which he had in hand on Thursday. He was planning to drive up to Ukiah and visit that attorney, soon-to-be Mendocino Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder — who Munson had not paid in many months — and give Faulder $4,000 when Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies pulled into his driveway at around 8 a.m. for a “probation check.”
One of the conditions of his probation was that Munson could not grow medical marijuana without a permit. Exactly what that means is unclear — because as of right now, there is no such thing as a permit to grow medical marijuana in unincorporated Sonoma County.
* * *
The state won’t start issuing permits under the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year until Jan. 1, 2018 — regardless of what happens with the voter initiative legalizing recreational marijuana at the polls next month — and in order to receive a state license, you need a local one.
And as of now, there is no such thing as a local license to grow cannabis in Sonoma County. Sonoma elected officials, law enforcement, and other bureaucrats are still mulling exactly what to permit and how to do it, so by Munson’s reading of the law, he had all the permitting available to him and anyone else currently growing cannabis in the gateway to the Emerald Triangle: 60 recommendations from medical marijuana patients located all over the state.
That should have been more than enough to justify the 90 already-harvested plants in varying stages of curing and drying and the 236 plants still in the ground — in the same plot behind the house where they found them last year — that visiting deputies saw on Monday. Or, not.
“The policeman said to me, ‘You’re in violation of probation because you don’t have a permit to grow,’” Munson recounted over the telephone on Monday evening, a few hours after making bail and returning home, charges of cultivation, cultivation for sale, and violating his probation hanging over his head. “I said, ‘There’s no permits being issued yet.’ They said, ‘Well, that’s tough luck. You can’t grow pot until you have a permit.’”
“They haven’t set it up yet. What other rules could there possibly be?” he said. “If there aren’t any regulations, I’m supposed to fall back on [Prop.] 215.”
Munson paused. “Do you know what estoppel is?" he asked in his signature high-pitched nasal drawl, a patter that can whine like a siren when he’s excited or agitated. "That's when they tell you something is OK and then they bust you for it."
Sheriff’s deputies found 16 pounds of “processed and packaged marijuana,” and “approximately 130 lbs of partially processed marijuana,” and “approximately $4400 in US Currency” as well as the 236 plants waiting to be harvested, according to a press release issued late Monday afternoon. The plants were cut down, the processed pot — and Munson’s cash, soon to be Faulder’s, yet again the government’s — seized, and Munson, 53, was booked into County Jail. (Included in the press release was the wet weight of Munson’s just-culled plants: 2,000 pounds, according to the sheriffs. “Forestville man arrested on suspicion of growing a ton of marijuana,” the Santa Rosa Press Democrat dutifully reported.)
“The terms of his probation is that he cannot cultivate marijuana without a license,” a Sonoma County sheriff’s department spokesman confirmed.
Does that mean a medical marijuana license — does it mean a recommendation, does it mean many recommendations? What does it mean that Munson needed a “license” to grow — when there is no license to be had?
According to the office of Sonoma District Attorney Jill Ravitch, the meaning is clear — if a bit… special.
“This is not the usual case,” said Scott Jamar, Ravitch’s Chief Deputy District Attorney. “It would be, in my view, inaccurate to extrapolate from this particular case what is currently a lawful way to manufacture or grow marijuana in Sonoma County.”
In other words, Oaky Joe Munson is receiving special treatment from Sonoma County.
* * *
After Munson’s big bust last year — his crop was so large he had four hired workers on hand for when several dozen kevlar-clad deputies and an armored personnel carrier showed up to his hilltop doublewide — Munson’s probation was that he could not possess cannabis without a recommendation, and could not grow it without a license… including even if there was no license to be had. In other words, growers on the next hill over from Munson without the yet-to-be-extant license were A-OK. And Munson is not.
“I believe that was the intention [of his probation],” Jamar said. “A license pursuant to MMRSA.”
Munson says the deputies consulted with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office before cutting anything down or hauling him away. “They had to call the DA because they didn’t know if I was breaking the law,” he says. “They called the DA and talked for about 15 minutes before they came back and said, ‘Nope — you’re no good, you gotta go.’”
Which means it appears Oaky Joe has yet again worn out his welcome with yet another northern California county.
Munson’s changed a bit since his days in Redwood Valley days, where he put in a garden on the same block as one of Mendocino County’s best-known drug cops and put in an ad in the local Mendo-Lake Exchange, offering to grow pot for sick people and veterans for free, setting off a chain of events — ok, pot busts — that saw him flee Sheriff Tom Allman’s county, vowing never to return. Maybe it’s because he’s older or his oldest child is almost a teenager, but he’s adapting.
He’s figuring out how to trademark his name — he even started meeting with the new generation of cannabis movers and hustlers, the ones offering to get hillbilly growers “compliant” with the yet-to-be-determined water and environmental regulations. Hell, he’s even getting ready for legalization. But that Mendocino reputation appears to have caught up with him in a quiet corner of wine country.
“It looks like they’re targeting him,” said Omar Figueroa, a prominent Sonoma-based defense attorney who specializes in cannabis cases. It’s been a quiet year in Sonoma, with almost no raids of growers, Figueroa said — making Munson’s case an outlier, but an outlier with a history.
“Oaky Joe has stood up in the past, had many acquittals and dismissals,” he said. “Maybe they’re trying to teach him a lesson and make an example of him.”
Applying Occam’s Razor, that seems to be the most simplest explanation. And it’s Munson’s immediate conclusion.
“I think they just don’t want me growing pot,” he said.
BURNING MAN’S PLAYA POPS ORCHESTRA 2016
by Katy M. Tahja
I love it when a traffic jam of bicycles forms in Black Rock City not for a flaming piano toss by catapults, or a naked body parade, but for classical music performed by the most colorful musicians you’d ever expect to find on the Black Rock Playa.
Falling in love with the Playa Pops orchestra is easy to do. While techno/dub music may be the soundscape for 70,000 free souls who gather at Burning Man yearly there are those of us who love the old classical stuff. While there have long been small performances of acoustic, jazz, folk and chamber music in camps throughout Black Rock City it was only three years ago Playa Pops got organized.
Conductor Eric Yttri, known as “Dr. Fire Tuba” and violinist Laura Kaczmerak, “Pig Tails” wanted to bring traditional music on a big scale to Burners so in 2014 started with a string instrument orchestra and discovered the crowd loved them. In 2015 wind and brass instruments were added and this year I think every form of symphony orchestra instrument was on stage except a piano. There are some instruments that just can’t take the dry dusty playa conditions.
Musicians range from professionals with long careers to homegrown self taught performers. There are 90 musicians who have competed for the honor of bringing a beater instrument into the blowing dust, invented their own costume, practiced at home to perfect there music, and have two rehearsals before playing before thousands of folks.
This years program included selections from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony,” Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio, “Handel’s “Water Music,” “Fire Bird,” from Stravinsky, “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven, and a selection of tunes dedicated to pirates, “Buccaneer Country.”
The first night of their 2016 season, which lasts five days, at a location called Skinny Kitty Tea House, 800 people attended. While not an astronomical number for an event at Burning Man that was one heck of a crowd of classical music lovers. I caught them at a smaller location, Camp Frozen Oasis, where cellist Roger Wu M.D. hosted the event. First the floor filled with listeners, then anything that you could sit upon was taken, then the crowd stood 6 deep around the edges, finally people were sitting on each others shoulders and climbing atop solid structures to watch the performance.
Playa Pops were wonderful that afternoon, worthy of the standing ovation from the crowd. For their encore they tossed hundreds of kazoos into the audience. Believe me, you have not lived until you have played “Ode to Joy” on a kazoo with hundreds of fellow music lovers. I’m sure their performances over the next few days were equally wonderful. Upon exiting Camp Frozen Oasis the roadway was wall-to-wall parked bicycles. The music had literally stopped people in the street who had parked their bikes and come to see what was happening. It took five minutes to clear the road so traffic could resume.
Talking with orchestra members I found there is a musical brain trust that gets together every year and decides what to play at the Burn. Serious and silly are both appropriate. Solo performances this year included “Sweet Georgia Brown” played by a violinist and her guitar playing husband, and “Happy Birthday” conducted by a lucky woman named Rachel. When the conductor asked the crowd “Who has a birthday today?’ she stepped up, was handed the baton, and conducted the orchestra as best she could while hundreds sang the song to her.
I have to say something about the appearance of this orchestra on stage. Seldom will you see such sartorial elegance. On heads I spotted baseball caps, bowlers, sombreros, fez’, pith helmets, fedoras, feathers, and scarves. Everyone had goggles and facemasks at the ready if the wind and dust blew too hard. On upper bodies blouses, T-shirts, vests, corsets, and bras were worn and lower bodies were covered in harem pants, shorts, kits, slips, tutus, skirts, and sarongs. Feet were bare or had combat boots, high heels, sandals and tennis shoes. The conductor wore a short blue evening cocktail dress covered with a studded tuxedo jacket. He has also been known to wear black boxer shorts with little red hearts all over them. During the “Buccaneer Country” piece he was given a pirate hat to wear.
Behind the scenes Playa Pops core members work for 10 months organizing for perhaps a half dozen performances, choosing performers and alternates and finding venues big enough to seat their ever growing crowd of fans. These folks all have demanding real world jobs, but carve out a week a year to live in Black Rock City and bring a diversity of music to the playa. On behalf of hundreds, if not thousands, of their fans I say thank you!
There is music all over Black Rock City, besides Playa Pops classical offering. Bluegrass, chamber music, gypsy swing, ukulele jam sessions, a Hip-Hop Happy Hour, Regge, a Moroccan Drum Circle, and even Himalayan Singing Bowls to listen to could be found. If you liked to sing there was a choir camp, Drunken Disney Sing Along, a Grateful Dead Sing Along, Hippie Fest music, and 80’s classic rock. While people were dancing anywhere and everywhere there was Contra, Belly Dancing, Tap Dancing, Disco line dancing, hoop dancing, salsa, Aztec dancing, and a James Brown Tribute. My last night on the playa the 1973 tune “Dancing in the Moonlight” was the last thing I heard as I fell asleep.
You can’t talk about Burning Man without talking about food. Ever have someone hand you a snow cone of crushed ice with maple syrup poured over it on a hot dusty day? It was wonderful. Burners bring food with them and then discover Burners are giving away food all over Black Rock City…for free. Coffee, tea, champagne, mimosas, home brew beer, Bloody Mary’s, sake, infused Vodka, and iced expresso martinis got passed out. Need breakfast? Waffles, pancakes, muffins, Funnel cakes and French Toast were available. One camp was roasting a 60 pound pig, or you could go find grilled cheese sandwiches, falafels, French fries, a soup kitchen, spaghetti, bacon, ice cold pickles, a deep fry potluck, and most loved by all, fresh homemade bread.
As with every year there are workshops and events I want to attend and places I will avoid. As a senior woman I do not belong in the “Naked Run” around Black Rock City, nor do I want to know how to “Unleash Your Inner Slut.” I could take “Whip Cracking Techniques” after I attend a class on “Making a Flogger with a Bike Tire.” And there was a “Gathering of Wise Ones…Calling all Elders: Crones” for women over 50. What? I’ve been a crone for years and I didn’t know it?
Burning Man is the place to explore what makes you happy. Do not EVER think you’re too old to attend. The joy it puts in your heart lasts forever.
ANDERSON VALLEY PEOPLE WILL WANT TO SEE THIS
Blackbird is already online for weddings.
GRESSETT WITHDRAWS from Fort Bragg City Council Race
Candidate Heads For Tall Grass Tail Between Legs.
Paul Katzeff is paying for this to run in the stinking little Advocate, since my blacklisting continues despite my candidacy. (He will try, we will see). I have learned so much and seen so much and the other candidates Bernie and Will know things that I did not know, I just hope I can make sense out of it all I am going to try.
One more vote for Bernie and Will.
As I ride around Fort Bragg on the moped, I am seeing more and more evidence of the strong support in the community for the candidacies of Bernie Novell, and Will Lee. Nothing could make me more happy.
As a few people know I also am going to be on the ballot in November.
When I decided to run it was because the nomination process for city council is conducted in great privacy. None of us knew when we filled out the forms and took the oath to run for the city council who else would be running.
However even if I had heard that Will or Bernie was running I am embarrassed to say I did not know them.
I knew Scott Menzies was running and had as we all do, a pretty good idea of what Scott stands for. He has never many any secrete of his unqualified support for each and every policy of the city manager and the mayor without exception. He supports their conduct of the affairs of the city, and tells us his personal rule is not to question anything that they might want him to say. He expects the citizens of the city to follow his example.
He is forcefully in favor of the subordination of the elected City Council to the professionals at City Hall. He supports the Byzantine regulations that have made us into a ghost town not for any clear reason but out of a strong belief that authority ought not be questioned. Now he wants be that authority.
I felt that I had to run. Early in the process I had significant support promised to me.
But as the people of the city woke up to who it was that had stepped forward to run for this crucial office I began to hear about Will and about Bernie. My own support dried up. My feelings were distinctly hurt so I went to see these candidates for city council. The people were right. These were men with deep roots in the community. These were men very aware of every issue that concerned me. These guys were quite obviously and without question the leaders that we have been looking for. Honest, able, and courageously willing to assert the right of the elected representatives of the people to direct our professional managers, indignant that there were those that wanted it the other way around.
I trust them explicitly. And I have confirmed that they have excellent information and a thorough understanding of the situation. Better than my own.
Let us rejoice that the people of the city have declined to let a hardened group of manipulators at city hall and their willing supporters on the city council continue unopposed.
Of course I am very sorry to be on the ballot. Do not waste the vote, I am not concerned with gestures.
It was my fault for not knowing enough about Fort Bragg and the great talent that we have here, and for jumping to the conclusion that it was my responsibility to save the city.
The city has saved me, it has given me a home and friends and a life that I love. I want nothing other than the very best for our town. Nothing personal can matter and it dose not. I hope that in the future I can bring something to the discussion but for now, all of my efforts will be directed toward electing Bernie Novell and Will Lee.
UKIAH NATURAL FOODS CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF SUCCESS
by Justine Frederiksen
It wasn’t always this easy to eat organic in Ukiah.
Forty years ago, you couldn’t just decide after work that you wanted to make pasta, then stop by the grocery store for some organic noodles and find a wide variety of pre-made sauces or fresh vegetables to pair them with.
Back then, your choices were to grow and make your own organic food, or maybe join your neighbors in a “buying club,” where you all ordered bags of organic beans and big jars of nut butter that you picked up weeks later when they were delivered to some central location.
Lori Rosenberg (Photo courtesy, Chris Pugh, Ukiah Daily Journal)
In the early 1970s, Lori Rosenberg, the general manager of Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op, was a member of a buying club in Mendocino County that decided, “Hey, why don’t we open a retail space where everyone could come and buy these products whenever they wanted?”
And so the Co-op was born, first opening in 1976 in a converted garage.
“But we quickly outgrew that space,” said Rosenberg, explaining that the Co-op’s first actual building was near the railroad tracks on Gobbi Street, a location it again quickly outgrew before moving to another space on Perkins Street where Walgreens stands now.
“And that’s where the Co-op really boomed,” said Rosenberg, adding that the organic food movement was also blossoming, bringing many more products and much more interest from customers.
This week, as it turns 40, the Co-op has outgrown yet another space and is looking for a new one, but “we have yet to find one that would fit our needs,” said Rosenberg. Instead, the store completed a remodel last year.
At the helm for 30 of those 40 years, Rosenberg attributes the store’s continued success and expansion to it staying true to its mission of providing not just healthy food, but quality, good-tasting food that’s as local as possible and sold by a happy, committed staff.
“We are really proud about being able to provide people with trusted food for 40 years,” she said, explaining that while not everything in the store is organic, “all our produce is. And it’s fantastic.”
People can trust the food and other products they sell, she said, because she and her staff eat and use them, too. Strolling through the store on a recent Thursday, Rosenberg quickly found a few favorites, including some striking black and white beans at the bulk food bins, definitely one of the busiest sections of the store.
“These are so good in soups,” Rosenberg said of the orca beans, which she described as having more of a buttery texture and flavor than other beans.
Just around the corner from the beans were the wines, many from Mendocino County producers.
“This one is so good,” she said, pointing to a bottle of sparkling wine from Anderson Valley. “I had a glass at Saucy one night, and I told my staff we had to stock it. Mostly because I wanted to buy a bottle.”
The store is always on the lookout for more local products to stock, and recently began selling the “People Pleazin’ Preserves” made in Lake County.
But as proud as she is of how many quality, locally-sourced products the Co-op sells, Rosenberg seems equally proud of how the store serves as a hub for the community.
“People love to gather here, to sit at the juice bar and talk,” she said, adding that people also often call the store to ask questions that have nothing to do with the business, but they figure someone there will know. “And really, it has always been that way.”
The store will be holding a birthday party this Sunday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with music, food and other activities like butter churning and apple pressing in the parking lot. It is located at 721 S. State St., right across East Gobbi Street from Safeway.
To the Editor:
Times have changed.
Several years ago I worked for “Animal Control.” I was hired in a janitorial position. I had, at that time, many years as the only person in Ukiah providing dog training lessons. At the same time, a person was hired as an animal control officer. He had “experience.” He had worked one day in that position at another agency as a part of another job he had. At that time, Animal Control was a place dogs went to die. They were either killed there, or sent to UC to be used in experiments. One day I found a home for one of the occupants. I was told in no uncertain terms that we were not there to find homes for dogs.
After I left, Foss became director. The license I bought for my new car said TOSFOSS, enough said.
Times have definitely changed. Last weekend, I attended a three day conference dedicated to preparing dogs for adoption. A group called Dogs Playing for Life spent the three days giving instructions and having demonstrations on how to prepare dogs for adoption and teaching the workers to be able to read the dogs’ reactions I order to be able to place them in an appropriate home. A trip to Animal Control is no longer one way.
How many times have you heard, or said yourself “My dog would NEVER jump out of the back of my pickup or out the open window?” A friend of mine came over Hwy 20 the other day. On the way through Lake County, she was held up while a dog who had jumped out of an open car window was cleaned up off the road.
Allowing dogs to be unsecured in a car with open windows is asking for trouble. Dogs loose, or improperly secured, in the back of a pickup is illegal. How many times has anybody heard of somebody being ticketed for that? Probably never. I haven’t.
Karen Seydel, Ukiah
ANDERSON VALLEY FOODSHED SHINDIG
Saturday, October 15th at 6:00 PM
(Behind Paysanne Ice Cream Shop)
A READER WRITES:
Responding to Tommy Wayne Kramer’s comments in the AVA Monday, October 3, 2016:
North Coast Opportunities, a California non-profit public benefit corporation (501(c)(3)), is the local administrative agency for delivery of federal "anti-poverty" programs in Lake and Mendocino Counties, authorized by the Department of Community Services & Development division of the California Health & Human Services Agency, in accordance with statutory code
According to the California CS&D website (find your county’s programs)
North Coast Opportunities provides the following: Child/Youth Services, Emergency Services, Employment Services, Food/Nutrition Services, Income Management Services, and Senior Services. [NCO’s website (ncoinc.org) provides a “complete media kit” explaining these programs.]
“Child/Youth” programs, yes. Food/Nutrition Services, sure. Income Management Services seem to be concentrated in the annual income tax preparation assistance program “VITA,” funded by United Way. Senior Services? (I beg to differ, at least on the east side of Cow Mountain.) Employment Services (they certainly have plenty of well-fed employees), okay. And lots of happy pictures on the website and garden grand openings to hand out volunteer-grown bounties.
Where Emergency Services are concerned, NCO is the designated agency for providing “spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers” during disaster response situations, in cooperation with the California Office of Emergency Services “CalVolunteers” program. In 2012, CalVolunteers funded a study entitled “Disaster Capacity Assessment of Volunteer Centers in the CalEMA Coastal Administrative Region.”
NCO’s entries in the report run from Pages 57 through 71, and indicate that their programs are directed by and responsive to the Office of Emergency Services in Mendocino County. During the catastrophic wildfires of 2015 in Lake County, NCO’s volunteer programs was utilized (although we’re not sure how) by the previous Lake County OES administration, and later on state CS&D discretionary funds were provided to support coordination of volunteers for Valley Fire long-term recovery efforts (a one-time grant from CS&D “discretionary funds”).
NCO responded rapidly to the multiple fires in Lake County last year, quickly opening a “relief fund” for disaster assistance for the Rocky Fire (July) and much later Valley Fire (September) recovery services. In January of 2016, NCO officially agreed to provide “fiscal agency” administration for support of the FEMA-advised Valley Fire “long-term recovery group” called Team Lake County.
Team Lake County consists of a loosely coordinated group of voluntary organizations and governmental agencies operating under self-determined bylaws but without legal structure as an association or non-profit public benefit corporation. All funding provided by individual voluntary agencies is managed by those agencies, which distribute their donated funding to eligible disaster survivors (depending on validation of losses, income, debt, and receipt of federal and state disaster awards) through the Case Management and Unmet Needs validation process. Thus far, Team Lake County’s services have concentrated on the production of feasible recovery plans for Valley Fire survivors, with available funding and other resources, and the results are continuing to unfold.
Unlike the Valley Fire, federal and state assistance for dislocated persons and lost assets is extremely limited for Clayton Fire survivors (none coming from FEMA; state agencies offered Small Business Administration loans, Victim Compensation Claim assistance — because the Lower Lake fire was determined to be a crime, outreach to military veterans, social services, and short-term cash/gas allowances). NCO is processing about 250 applications for one-time assistance funds received during the immediate response period following the Clayton fire (closed September 23).
Lake County budget reserves — following the Valley Fire disaster — were hard hit by 2015 emergency management, environmental protection, and infrastructure recovery costs, plus coordination of unprepared response services. [Utility service and public works/law enforcement armies kicked ass, and lovelorn Supervisor Rob Brown became the superstar of the disaster aftermath.]
But for the rest of Lake County, the cupboards are bare, and some former residents are now out in the cold — or soon will be. The need for an agency with the capacities for administration and grant management such as NCO provides is very high; the lack of participation by that agency in development of county-wide recovery and vulnerable population assistance services in Lake County is bewildering.
Unlike Mendocino’s small population in need of help (according to Kramer), our population of underserved families and individuals living near or below the federal poverty line is large (for example, 1,500 persons are eligible for federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program “food stamp” benefits in Lake County, but only 10,000 of them are receiving them — and let’s not talk about the Native American disenfranchised tribal members). The total population of the entire county is less than 65,000. Around 8,000 US veterans reside here, as well as several thousand National Retired Federal Employees, and multiple generations of local government employees (including our largest employers, the school districts). A fourth or fifth of the population is disabled and/or elderly. Businesses, civic organizations, and churches cannot shoulder this burden alone.
There is no question that we need the Community Action Agency to support our economic, environmental, and emotional recovery from these losses. The question is whether NCO can perform its statutorily mandated duties to deliver Community Action Agency services in Lake County as well as it does in Mendocino.
I’ll take my answers off the air.
TWO DOG TAKEDOWN
On October 4, 2016 at approximately 6:40pm Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the 31000 Block of Timberline Road in Willits regarding a burglary in progress. Deputies arrived in the area and learned that the suspect (Gary Martin, 29, of Pittsburg, CA) had barricaded himself inside a residence.
They also received information from the California Highway Patrol that they believed Martin was responsible for brandishing a handgun along the Highway earlier in the day. Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies along with Officers from the Willits Police Department and California Highway Patrol surrounded the residence that Martin had barricaded himself inside of. Deputies then attempted to talk Martin out of the residence. Martin eventually ran from the residence and attempted to elude Deputies. When the Deputies attempted to apprehend Martin, he became physically violent and began resisting their attempts to subdue him. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office K-9s "Doc" and "Ruddick" were released to assist the Deputies. With the assistance of the K-9s, Deputies were able to take Martin into custody. As a result of Martin’s interaction with K-9s "Doc" and "Ruddick" he sustained minor injuries for which he received medical attention. Martin was arrested for Burglary, Resisting Or Threatening An Officer, and Felony Vandalism. Martin was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he is being held on $50,000 bail.
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE
On February 26, 2016, I was arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for a fatal DUI crash where a man's life was taken and his wife badly injured. I presently await my sentencing and punishment for my choices that night which most likely will include multiple years of incarceration. My actions that not that night cannot be "undone" and I cannot rectify the damage that I caused to the family or the community. It was a terrible decision and a selfish choice with irreparable and tragic results.
Since that night I spent almost two months in County jail before I was able to post bail. While out on bail on my own recognizance, I have attended AA meetings daily, gotten a sponsor and started working the steps. I have not taken a drink since that fateful night. During this time I have read about numerous DUI related accidents and three or four fatalities involving alcohol. In no way am I trying to shift my culpability for my crime or avoid punishment in any form.
However, it is apparent to me that the message is not being received in time to prevent more of these types of automobile accidents from happening. Personally, I was completely oblivious and ignorant to the fact that I was risking anyone's life that night, including my own. I thought that the worst that could happen was that I might get pulled over and have to walk the line like the hundreds of other drunk drivers I see in the booking logs every year. Never in my wildest imagination did I fathom that what happened that night was even in the realm of possibility. But it did happen and it continues to happen even after my front page write up in the local papers and my impending prison sentence. It continues to happen even after the public service announcements about designating a driver and drinking responsibly.
This begs the bigger and most important question because after I disappear into the rabbit hole of the state penitentiary system I will be long forgotten and that night only a distant memory for most of the community who were not directly involved. That question is this: "What are we as a society doing to address this serious and recurring issue?"
Obviously, the punitive approach of throwing "demons" like me away in prison isn't making much of an impact in the grand scheme of things. Going around to high schools and demonstrating the dangers to the youth is not doing the trick as I remember when I was in high school attending those very assemblies. So how is it that we as a society can rid the community of these senseless and preventable tragedies and drive the message home to people like me that night? I will be long gone inhabiting a 12 x 12 cell by the time any changes can be made. But what I can offer is a possible solution to more innocent lives being lost and more people like me being shipped to prison. It's simple — reinvest the DUI money into alcohol and drug awareness programs and public transportation in this county.
Misdemeanor DUIs generate a huge amount of revenue for this county and I hate to say it but where is that money going? This is the fundamental question. 100% of that revenue should be reinvested in prevention programs and public transportation allowing people from rural areas to safely patronize business establishments where alcohol is served. These public transportation areas should include places on the outskirts like Lake Mendocino, Mill Creek dams in Talmage, popular river swimming areas, Blue Lakes, downtown Ukiah after hours, El Dorado, Deerwood, Regina Heights, Boonville Road, Hopland and the loop in Redwood Valley. There should be late-night routes stretching all the way from Anderson Valley to Hopland, from Potter Valley to Redwood Valley and Willits to get people home safely. This business model must be considered as a "service," not a for-profit endeavor, so it must be subsidized by county funds and establishments that offer alcohol for profit. No doubt it will lose money but if it saves one life isn't it worth it? If it prevents one accident like mine isn't that a win for everyone? Reinvest the DUI money into preventing fatal DUIs from happening until a reliable public transportation system servicing late-night bars, restaurants and rural areas can become the norm here in Mendocino County, eventually eradicating drinking and driving altogether.
The money is there and the resources are available. It's just a question of whether the supervisors are willing to see that the present system in place is failing and citizens are getting hurt because of the stupidity, arrogance and ignorance of people like myself driving under the influence and also the unwillingness of the lawmakers to recognize that something proactive must be done to prevent this from happening over and over again.
Throwing people in jail isn't enough because everyone thinks it will never happen to them. It's just not that simple to say that "people who drink and drive need to make better judgments" because alcohol impairs judgment and addiction is a disease. If establishments and the state are profiting off of a drug like alcohol then precautions need to be put in place to anticipate the inevitable effects of this legal intoxicant on society. Viable options must be made available to drinkers whose judgments are impaired in the first place, who may not have someone to call or may not have enough money left to pay a taxi to take them home. The option is late-night public transportation servicing all areas of Mendocino County. With the collaboration of local drinking establishments paying their fair share and public funds from DUI revenue, it is a crucial and necessary step.
For the past 20 years I've seen the booking log filled with DUI after DUI in epidemic form. In that time nothing has been done to supplement and improve our public transportation in order to help combat the rampant drinking and driving in this area. DUIs are big money and when no one gets hurt it's an easy way to collect revenue for the county. It's time to realize that pulling people over and arresting them is not solving the greater issue that a progressive and reliable public transportation campaign would solve.
Sincerely, Jared Soinila, Inmate #65713
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 5, 2016
Andrade, Estrella, James
YURI ANDRADE, Gualala. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
MIGUEL ESTRELLA, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, under influence.
ROBERT JAMES, Ukiah. Vehicle theft.
King, Martin, Myers
SHANE KING, Ukiah. Indecent exposure, under influence, failure to appear.
GARY MARTIN JR., Pittsburg (CA)/Willits. Burglary, vandalism, resisting.
DONNA MYERS, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.
Padovani, Schink, Wozniak
MICHAEL PADOVANI, Boca Raton, Florida/Gualala. Pot cultivation, possession for sale.
CLINTON SCHINK, Sanger/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
KYNDRA WOZNIAK, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, paraphernalia, possession of tear gas.
SNOWDEN, TAKE TWO
This story broke three hours ago — NSA contractor arrested -- a double standard for Hillary Clinton?
FALL SEED SAVING WORK-SEED CLEANING
On Saturday, October 8th from 10:30am to 12:00pm the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Fall Seed Saving Workshop- Seed Cleaning.
Learn how to clean, dry, and store vegetable seeds from your garden. Find out how to save wet-seeded and dry-seeded crops. There will be opportunities to winnow and sift and if you have seeds ready to clean bring them along and we'll do it together.
This event is family friendly, free to the public and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.
Little Dog With His Friend, Mr. Crocodile (art photography by The Anderson Valley Advertiser)
COME TO THE THEATRE THIS WEEKEND!
On stage this weekend at the Mendocino Theatre Company: A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room, featuring Sandra Hawthorne, Steve Jordan, Oasis Hasten, Marje Artly, Brian O'Connor, and Nicole Traber.
Purchase your tickets online at mendocinotheatre.org or by calling the box office, 937-4477.
View the video trailers: HERE <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhcEf2KiIuU>
and HERE <https://youtu.be/Edt-xOEw0Yw>
ENTER SANDMAN: THE PENCE-KAINE SLEEPWALK
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Something’s wrong, shut the light
Heavy thoughts tonight
And they aren’t of Snow White
Dreams of war, dreams of liars
Dreams of dragon’s fire
And of things that will bite
Take my hand
We’re off to never-never land
— “Enter Sandman,” Metallica
+ Mike Pence and I were born in the same month, of the same year, in the same state. But we inhabit different cultural universes. Pence grew up in Columbus, Indiana, a corporate town run by the notoriously anti-labor, anti-atmosphere Cummins Diesel. I grew up about 35 miles north on I-65 in Southport, an old farming community, recently swallowed up by the metastasizing suburbs of Indianapolis.
In the spring of 1977, Pence and I squared off against each other in a statewide mock legislative event hosted at his high school, Columbus North. I still had an interest in electoral politics then, fresh off of working on Eugene McCarthy’s independent campaign for president, and had been sent to Columbus as leader of the tiny Indiana Student Peace Party.
I spent that Saturday morning smoking a couple of bowls of homegrown with the local freaks and then entered the auditorium a little dazed but full of rebellious spirit, seized the microphone and launched a filibuster with the aim of defunding the (mock) Defense Department. Pandemonium erupted among the goody-goody Hoosier youth. Had a Commie infiltrated their cohort? And Pence, a brutish little nitwit even then, joined the effort to have me evicted from the premises.
We went our separate ways after that abrupt collision. I headed off to the American University in DC, while Pence high-tailed it south to Hanover College, a leafy and undemanding liberal arts school on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, where his politics calcified into the hard right ideology he professes today. I never expected to encounter the smug zealot again.
Yet in the late 1980s, I was back in Indiana working as an environmental organizer and Pence had linked up with a kooky think tank called the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a free-market fog-shop that opposed every attempt to regulate air quality, pesticide use, factory farm pollution and clearcutting. We occasionally butted heads in state legislature hearing rooms, but Pence never struck me as a particularly dangerous or talented adversary. He was, however, being groomed by the GOP establishment for future political glory. Twice Pence was sent forth to challenge the Democratic congressman Phil Sharp to represent the blue-collar 2nd Indiana Congressional District that stretches from Elkhart to South Bend. Twice Pence was defeated.
In the first campaign, Pence tried to link the straight-laced Sharp to the drug trade, using devious and racially-charged themes that Jesse Helms might have admired. One Pence mailer featured a stark photograph of a razor-blade, syringe and pile of white powder and text red text blaring: “There’s something Phil Sharp isn’t telling you about his record on drugs…” The implication was that Sharp might be spending his nights in DC at a shooting gallery off of Georgia Avenue.
Sharp was far from an environmentalist, but he did sit on the powerful House committee on Environment and Energy, and as Pence threatened to take Sharp down with the backing of the coal and steel lobbies, Indiana greens, including me, rushed to Sharp’s defense. The 1990 campaign gave the first real glimpse of Pence’s nasty anti-Arab bigotry. He ran a commercial featuring an actor dressed up in Hollywood bad Arab gear, speaking in an offensive faux-Arab accent thanking Sharp for doing nothing to end American dependence on Middle East oil.
That noxious campaign also revealed Pence’s instinct for self-enrichment, a personality quality that may have made him an appealing pick for Donald Trump. During the 1990 campaign, Pence siphoned money from his campaign fund to pay six installments of his home mortgage and his wife’s car payments. When these financial hijinks were revealed, Pence’s campaign went down in flames. He lost by 19 points.
Later that year, we moved to Oregon and I didn’t think much about Pence again. But now, look, Mike’s all grown up, running point for Donald Trump. He turned out pretty much what he was programmed to be: a war-mongering, homophobic, holier-than-thou tool of corporate power.
The Mark of Kaine
+ I’ve never met Tim Kaine, but I probably wouldn’t remember if I had. He is distinctly indistinct. His policies aren’t, unfortunately. Kaine is a run-of-the-mill New Democrat. New Democrats are old Republicans with drones and b-list Hollywood celebrities in their entourage.
+ Politically, Kaine is to the right of the Clintons. He is a pro-life, anti-gay, free trade politician, who aggressively backed the Iraq war, the Libyan debacle and the harsh, racially-driven crime policies of the Clinton years.
+ Kaine left his deepest mark, so to speak, in my father’s home state of Virginia, where he served as governor from 2006 to 2010, zealously pursuing neoliberal policies that imposed austerity on the poor and tax relief for the wealthy.
+ Kaine prattles on about his Catholic faith and his deep belief in the sanctity of life. Yet his pious moral sensibility did not inhibit Kaine from supervising one of the most depraved acts of government: imposition of the death penalty. In his four years as governor, Kaine rejected the injunctions of his own church and oversaw the execution of 11 people, granting clemency only once.
Most notoriously, Kaine refused to stop the execution of Kevin Green, a brain-damaged black man who had never learned to tie his own shoes. The case of Kevin Green is reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s decision to race home to Arkansas during the 1992 campaign in order to supervise the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, another black man with severe brain damage.
+ Kaine’s willingness to buck the teachings of the Catholic Church did not, however, extend to his rigid anti-abortion posture. In one of his TV ads during his 2005 gubernatorial campaign, Kaine announced: “I’m against same-sex marriage. I’m conservative on personal responsibility, character, family and the sanctity of life. These are my values, and that’s what I believe.”
Kaine followed this up in office by backing bills that outlawed late-term abortions, imposed a 24-hour waiting period for abortions and required parental consent for minors to get abortions, even in cases of incest. In the Senate, he supported the awful Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds for abortion services, a measure which serves mainly to penalize poor women.
+ In 2001, while campaigning for Lieutenant Governor, Kaine announced that he had “never countenanced homosexual marriage” and supported the ban on gays in the Boy Scouts, noting he “was once a Boy Scout and his children are Scouts.” When it comes to gays, Kaine said he has “‘only advocated that people not get kicked out of their apartments or lose their jobs because of who they are.” How magnanimous!
+ In 1994, Kaine was serving on the Richmond City Council, when he was summoned by the Clinton Administration to help them push the first version of Bill’s Crime Bill. Kaine made several public appearances praising the draconian bill. ‘I was very excited about the core of the bill which was the addition of 100,000 police officers nationwide,” Kaine said. “We do need more police officers in targeted [ie, black] areas.”
Kaine lashed out at opponents of the bill, especially the Congressional Black Caucus. Kaine called their opposition, which was critical in killing the first iteration of the bill, “unfortunate.”
+ Kaine is also a drug warrior. During his 2001 campaign, Kaine said that he was “unequivocal in his opposition to marijuana legalization.”
+ Economically, Kaine is an unapologetic neoliberal, who has backed the dismantling of welfare, the imposition of austerity measures and nearly every free trade pact that has come down the pike. In fact, Kaine has gone even further by directly targeting the trade unions. In 2005, while running for governor, Kaine pledged his support for Virginia’s anti-union right-to-work law, a position he reconfirmed a year later in a dispute with the state legislature over his nomination for AFL-CIO president Daniel LeBlanc as Commonwealth Secretary in Virginia. “The Secretary of the Commonwealth has no — I repeat, no — role in the enforcement of Virginia’s right-to-work law, a law I strongly support,” Kaine said.
+ When the financial elite and big business calls, however, Kaine always answers the bell. One of his first acts as governor was to repeal Virginia’s tax on the estates of millionaires, the so-called “death tax” reviled by the scions of the wealthy.
+ Kaine assailed Democratic opponents of NAFTA and CAFTA as having a “losing mentality.” As governor, he sent off letters of support for four terrible trade pacts with Peru, Panama, Colombia, and South Korea.
As a senator, Kaine assertively backed to fast-track the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which would only allow Congress to take up-or-down votes on trade deals with no ability to filibuster or amend.
+ Kaine has carried water for the banks his entire career. In 2014, he lent his support to the so-called Cromnibus Spending Bill, which included provisions to roll-back the swap regulations that were part of the D0dd-Frank Bill, which would once again permit banks to trade in derivatives. Kaine also supported a measure that raised campaign finance limits by a factor of ten, from $32,400 per year to $324,000.
A few days before being tapped as Clinton’s VP pick, Kaine signed two letters urging federal regulators to go easy on the banking industry. One letter encouraged the regulators to rewrite the rules so that Big Banks, such as Capital One, PNC Bank and U.S. Bank, could evade risk management standards. “Such large ‘regional banks’ are being discriminated against based solely on the fact that they are so big,” Kaine wrote, seemingly without irony.
The other letter hammered regulators for being too tough on smaller banks and urged them amend the rules to allow small banks to dodge consumer protection standards.
+ This week came news that Kaine has been acting as a student loan shark. According to a damning report in Politico, Kaine intervened on behalf of student loan provider Sallie Mae to fight Obama’s proposal to strip the company of its federal subsidies. Kaine literally used talking points written by Sallie Mae to attempt to secretly lobby the administration and congress to kill the proposal.
+ Although progressives are being badgered to vote for Clinton as the last hedge against runaway climate change, they shouldn’t count on Kaine to push the issue. In 2007, Kaine moved to expand oil and gas exploration off of the Virginia coast.
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, Obama issued an executive order banning new drilling until 2018. In 2013, Kaine introduced legislation in the US senate seeking to overturn the moratorium to permit exploration of known off-shore reserves in order to expedite drilling activities by 2020.
Kaine also went to bat for the coal industry. “We are not going to eliminate coal, a native source that we have, as one of the sources that will power our country,” Kaine said in 2008. “The portion [of the energy supply] that is coal is going to get smaller, and it is going to get cleaner, but we are not going to abandon coal from the portfolio.”
When it came to fighting climate change, Kaine’s solution, as outlined in his 2008 energy plan, was building a new generation of nuclear power plants. He’s so green he glows.
+ One more minor thing. Tim Kaine enthusiastically supported the Iraq war in 2001 and he defended the “noble” cause as late as 2006, saying “I do share the president’s [Bush] view that … we’re there and it’s time to build a democracy. That’s pretty noble — It’s difficult, but it’s noble.”
Look out, Syria!
The vice presidential debate is being hosted by Longwood College, in Farmville, a small town in northern Virginia’s Prince Edward County, not far from Appomattox, where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant. Lee surrendered, but Farmville did not. It held out for the Confederacy until about about 1968.
Farmville’s public schools remained rigidly segregated until 1951, when a 16-year-old girl named Barbara Johns, an unsung hero of the Civil Rights Movement, led a walkout of the all-black school to protest the deplorable conditions for African-American students. Johns’ heroic actions, prompted a lawsuit, which was ultimately consolidated into the Brown vs. Board of Education case which officially ended school segregation in America.
Except in Farmville and Prince Edward County. The response of the white government officials in the county was to simply shut down the entire county school system rather than face the humiliation of integration. White students enrolled in a private academy and for four years blacks were left without any schools at all. This de facto segregation largely persists until today, with the majority of white students attending private schools, while the underfunded public schools remain predominately black.
Welcome to Farmville, where old times are not forgotten.
The Main Event
+ Good news! We can all turn on the Orioles/Blue Jays game. Pence has decisively won the debate! According to a GOP press release that went out an hour before the debate started, “During the debate we helped factcheck and monitor the conversation in real time @GOP. The consensus was clear after the dust settled, Mike Pence was the clear winner of the debate.”
+ These candidates should be required to appear with their Big Pharma sponsors on their jackets: Lunesta for Kaine; Ambien for Pence. And a warning label not to drink after consuming their narcotic rhetoric, an injunction I plan to repeatedly violate tonight. DNR.
+ Speaking of drug companies, will Tim Kaine defend Bill Clinton tonight or Barack Obama? With his usual precision timing, Clinton unloaded on the failures of Obamacare calling the health plan”the craziest thing in the world.” Bill’s replacement plan isn’t single payer. Indeed, Clinton made it clear that his sympathies weren’t with the poor but small business owners and the middle class: “The people who are getting killed in this deal are small business people and individuals who make just a little bit too much to get any of these subsidies.”
+ Pence should debate Trump. He has more disagreements with his running mate than Kaine on the vital issues of trade, banks, gay rights and the Iraq war.
+ If Tim Kaine drops a few words in Spanish tonight, will Toni Morrison dub him the “first Latino vice president”?
+ Pence’s voice has a manufactured deepness, like you hear in some professional wrestlers. It’s meant to sound macho, but more often comes across as merely slow, dull and stunted. He honed his sonorous tones on his radio show back in Indiana, where he railed against the heavy-hand of government in between updates on corn prices and the cattle futures market. I listened to Pence’s show a few times, it was an antiseptic affair, especially when contrasted to real fire-breathers such as Mark Levine and Michael Savage. It had none of the rococo madness of Glenn Beck. He described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” But Limbaugh has a malign theatrical flare. Pence is monotonous as a field of Monsanto soybeans.
+ Will Pence press Kaine on the new reports that Hillary inquired about “droning Julian Assange” during a foreign policy briefing while Secretary of State? This comes on top of Clinton pal Bob Beckel’s call for Assange to be shot.
+ Trump is eager to reinstitute torture. Will Elaine Quijano ask Pence to describe the techniques that will be deployed by the Trump Torture Squads? Will they include hanging a prisoner from a chained bar for 22 hours a day for two consecutive days, week after week? Will they be shown an electric chair and threatened to be strapped in it and electrocuted? Taken to a coffin and told they could be buried in it alive? Stripped naked and placed in diapers that weren’t changed for four days? Dunked in barrels of ice-cold water? Or any of the other variations of extreme abuse described in a new Human Rights Watch report on the torture of detainees at a CIA black site in Afghanistan?
+ Anderson Cooper keeps referring to the stage as an “intimate setting.” Elaine Quijano should perhaps move her chair back a few feet.
+ Cooper and Pence seem to have gotten their hairpieces from the same salon. As a ticket, Pence and Trump definitely have the superior coiffures. Return of the Whigs?
+ Kaine starts off shakily with a set piece invoking civil rights icon Barbara Johns, deflecting entirely the first question. His comparison of the calculating Hillary with the courageous Johns is demeaning.
+ The more serious Pence sounds the shallower he gets.
+ Kaine has an irritating, wind-up doll voice.
+ Why the split screen? They’re sitting right next to each other.
+ Kaine calls National Security Team that blew apart Libya, the Public Safety Team. Fat chance.
+ If Trump was coked up in the first debate, Kaine seemed to have popped a few tabs of speed before tonight’s. He’s hyper, obsessively interrupting Pence, bullying the poor moderator, who has lost control. Fifteen minutes into the debate and Elaine Quijano is already roadkill.
+ Pence calls for a return to policies of the 1960s. Did he check that with the editors of the National Review?
+ When Kaine said, “We’ll never ever privatize social security,” you can believe its near the top of their agenda.
+ Based on the evidence of tonight’s debate. the issue of racial justice in America has been reduced to how difficult it is to be a cop.
+ Pence actually said we should “stop seizing on moments of tragedy” for political purposes! This from a man who invokes 9/11 every 37 minutes.
+ Though both of these men look like they could have been drawn by R. Crumb, neither have the slightest sense of humor.
+ It took Kaine about 45 minutes to wrap himself in the policies of Ronald Reagan, in this case Reagan’s bracero-driven immigration plan.
+ Kaine is showing some zest in reciting Hillary’s deception and assassination anti-terror plan. Look out Assad, take cover Assange!
+ On the same day it was revealed that Yahoo sent all of your emails to the NSA/CIA, Tim Kaine calls for a new intelligence surge!
+ If you want to see bi-partisan sexism in action, just watch how they both talk over Elaine Quijano.
+ Both Kaine and Pence are in harmony on the insane idea of a no-fly zone in Syria, which would likely lead to WW 3.
+ Kaine invokes the Kryptonite of Reagan once again, this time on nuclear weapons.
+ It’s an orgy of Putin-bashing now with Kaine sounding more and more like Al Haig.
+ With Hurricane Matthew bearing down on the East Coast, not one mention of climate change.
+ Though his answer was fuzzy and opaque, it sounds like Kaine just promised a pre-emptive nuclear strike on North Korea.
+ As “deeply religious people,” neither Kaine nor Pence showed any pangs of conscience over their support of Iraq War.
+ Pence: “You whipped out that Mexican thing again!” Whip it, whip it good!
+ Mexicans “whipping out their thing” may explain the psychological roots of Trump’s Latinophobia.
+ Five mentions of the War on Coal from Pence, more than ISIS.Priorities!
+ Mike Pence repudiated every quasi-attractive position Trump has ever taken: on NATO, on first strike, on Russia, on non-interventionism.
+ Reagan and McCain invoked reverentially more times tonight by Kaine than FDR. Emblematic of the new Democrats.
+ Not one mention of trade pacts in the debate. Why? Both Pence and Kaine are unapologetic free traders.
+ The debate ends with both candidates standing and the audience knocked out.
+ Looks like that premature GOP press release wasn’t that wide of the mark after all. A post-debate CNN Poll, weighted toward Democrats, shows Pence won square-off by a 48-42 margin. A significant victory in a sampling that was biased against him.
+ I can see why people thought that Pence won. He came off as more believable tonight. He presented himself as the neocon that he truly is, while Kaine tried desperately to hide his own inner neocon. Blood will out.
(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: firstname.lastname@example.org.)