Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016
by AVA News Service, October 14, 2016
BRUCHLER WITHDRAWS from Fort Bragg City Council Race.
Announcement from Curtis Bruchler (10/14/2016): “Important to my friends and family in Fort Bragg! Please forgive me but for the good of Fort Bragg I have decided to withdraw from the Fort Bragg City Council race. I am going to be voting for and supporting Will Lee and Bernie Norvell. I spoke with them today and they encouraged me to stay in. I explained to them that I am not quitting or giving up; it is my decision and no one else's and I don't want to split votes. Will and Bernie are the two best equipped guys for City Council. I encourage all my family and friends to do the same. I'll be talking to the Fort Bragg paper tomorrow. Thank you for understanding and go Lee and Norvell!”
UKIAH DOCTORS RETIRING, LEAVING OVER ADVENTIST MANDATE
Some doctors who have been practicing medicine across the street from Ukiah Valley Medical Center say they’re giving up because UVMC’s parent organization, Adventist Health, refuses to collectively bargain with them anymore.
by KC Meadows
A number of doctors who have been practicing medicine across the street from Ukiah Valley Medical Center say they’re giving up, either retiring or moving elsewhere, because UVMC’s parent organization, Adventist Health, refuses to collectively bargain with them anymore and is pushing them into a new hospital-led doctor group.
The Ukiah Valley Primary Care Medical Group is an independent group of doctors who have been contracting for about eight years with UVMC, providing a variety of medical specialties. The doctors and the hospital got into a partnership when the doctors were struggling with instituting electronic medical records in their group and the hospital offered to allow them to use its system in exchange for a partnership that gave the hospital access to the medical group’s rural health designation — which pays a higher reimbursement for many medical procedures.
In the partnership, the doctors gave up hiring their own staffs, allowing the hospital to do that and the hospital built the doctors’ group of offices right across from the hospital itself and leases it back to the doctors.
According to both the doctors and the hospital, that system was working out just fine. The doctors say, however, that it all changed in January 2015 when Adventist Health let them know it was changing its system of partnering with doctors to what is known as the “foundation model.” In that system, Adventist Health sets up and then contracts with a separate entity which hires doctors individually, sets the salaries and benefits and treats the doctors like employees.
This is the system Kaiser Permanente and many other health organizations use. It allows hospitals to treat doctors as employees but gets around the California state law prohibiting hospitals from hiring doctors directly. Adventist Health has Physicians Network Medical Group, and told the Ukiah Valley Primary Care doctors that the only choice was to sign up, that Adventist Health would no long contract with the doctors as a group.
The doctors say it’s simply a matter of the hospital not wanting to collectively bargain anymore.
The hospital says it’s the changing landscape of healthcare and it allows the hospital to contract with one group — PNMG — rather than multiple doctors’ groups and clinics throughout the region.
“You’re not administering various groups with their own interests,” said UVMC CEO Gwen Matthews.
The Ukiah Valley Primary Care Medical Group doctors have until Dec. 31, 2016 to be signed up and some of them, like local internist Dr. Michael Turner, says he’ll retire rather than be an Adventist employee.
“The (rural) reimbursement was many times greater than Medi-Cal payments, and Adventist took a large cut off the top,” he said. “We have operated in the black every year, sometimes being the hospital’s only profitable division. In addition there were other more significant financial benefits for the Adventists. By locating across the street they captured virtually all of the income that we generated from labs, medical imaging and elective procedures. This is not to say there weren’t problems, we weren’t Adventists after all, hence not privy to the processes that resulted in their sometimes baffling management choices. But for several years both sides prospered.”
Turner says a number of doctors, particularly pediatricians, have already left and more will leave because of this ultimatum. He worries that the community will be left without enough doctors. He says the group has already lost a surgeon, an oncologist, three pediatricians, an allergist, a pulmonologist and a neurologist.
Matthews says she is also concerned about pediatricians but says the shortage there and other losses have nothing to do with Adventist Health’s new mandates. She says doctors were told four years ago that Adventist was headed down this path. She says local pediatricians surprised the hospital in August 2015, saying that they could no longer cover care for babies and children in the hospital that weren’t already patients, known as “unassigned” patients.
She says the pediatric group had lost some of its doctors to retirement and family-driven moves and could no longer cope doing both clinic hours and hospital hours. The hospital had to begin sending those babies to Santa Rosa. In March of this year, according to Matthews, the pediatrician group was down to four doctors and could no long cover even their own patients in the emergency room. Matthews said UVMC ended up having to hire four temporary pediatricians to cover hospitalizations at great expense.
Matthews said because local clinic doctors, including UVPCG doctors, are so busy in their practices they also can no longer attend to patients in the hospital, UVMC now uses a number of what are called “hospitalists,” doctors who only work in the hospital, seeing patients of all kinds. These people are also hired through their own “group.” She said the UVPCG waited until UVMC had hospitalists in place before stepping back from hospital work. With the pediatricians, she said, it was a scramble.
But she said, UVMC is actively recruiting pediatricians and already has hired one into the PNMG and has hopes for another coming on in two weeks.
Meanwhile, Matthews says UVMC has 13 doctors signed up in the PNMG. She has a board in her office listing a couple of dozen medical specialties with an array of yellow sticky notes containing names of potential recruits they are working on. How many of the 17 or so doctors in the Ukiah Valley Primary Care group will eventually come too, she can’t say.
“It makes me sad that they wouldn’t give this a chance,” she said.
(KC Meadows is the Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal. Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal.)
COAST HOSPITAL POPULARITY SURVEY
by Malcolm Macdonald
The Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) held a special Board of Directors, Finance Committee, and Planning Committee meeting October 12th. The only subject at hand: an August phone survey of 251 likely voters in the hospital district by EMC Market & Opinion Research Services. EMC has offices in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Columbus, Ohio, Washington, DC, as well as Fernandina Beach, Florida. Jessica Polsky, with a M.A. in social psychology was EMC's point person on the MCDH survey.
Here are the bullet point takeaways from the EMC survey: 1) From the point of view of the public the emergency room (ER) and obstetrics department (OB) are the most important components of the coastal hospital. Approximately two-thirds of those polled strongly oppose closure of OB. 2) Most of those surveyed have a positive opinion about MCDH, although many still see room for improvement to the quality of healthcare provided there. 3) About 60% of the voters polled strongly or somewhat strongly support passage of a bond measure (as large as $50 million) to maintain the hospital and help build a new hospital, which is mandated by January 1, 2030. Only half of the voters surveyed favor passage of a $200 per parcel tax that would raise approx. $2.4 million annually for the hospital. Both the bond measure or the parcel tax would require a two-thirds voter approval for passage. 4) 64% of those polled strongly or somewhat strongly favor modifying the health care district's governance structure so that a new non-profit, public benefit board would oversee the hospital. This plan might generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million annually according to the verbiage of the hospital's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bob Edwards and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wade Sturgeon, though no substantive plans or progress have been made on this matter since the CEO and CFO first brought it up early this year.
The cost of the survey itself to MCDH was $18,700, according to Mr. Edwards. The questions/statements offered up in the survey were not authored by EMC, but by a committee made up of hospital CEO Edwards, new MCDH Board member Steve Lund, and Michael Riemenschneider. He and his partner Shin Green have been contracted by MCDH to explore government obligation (GO) bond possibilities for the coastal health care district. This committee appears to have been hand picked/self-anointed by CEO Edwards. At the time Lund was not yet a MCDH Board of Directors member. Apparently no other Board member, or any member of the Finance or Planning Committees, was deemed worthy of inclusion. Lund had been president of the Hospital Foundation (chief fundraising entity for MCDH) immediately prior to his appointment to serve out the remaining months before the November election after Dr. Kate Rohr's resignation from the MCDH Board. This fall's election will fill three MCDH Board of Director's seats.
An intriguing part of the EMC poll found that just 28% view the hospital's administration in a good or excellent light, 45% thought administration was doing a fair to poor job. 27% did not have an opinion on that issue. The public's opinion of MCDH's Board of Directors found that only 19% perceive the board as doing an excellent or good job, while 41% put their performance in the fair to poor categories. Of course, this was a judgment cast on the Board of Directors as a whole, no polling was taken regarding individual board members. Long time board member Sean Hogan is retiring in November. Tom Birdsell, who has served on the MCDH Board before, during, and now slightly after the hospital went through bankruptcy proceedings is a candidate for re-election. Interim member Steve Lund is also seeking election in November to a full term.
The EMC survey included the public's review of the financial management of the hospital: 20% in the good to excellent range and 52% in the poor to fair range.
Noting the less than favorable polling concerning the hospital's administration, board, and financial management, Planning Committee member Mike Dell'Ara stated, “If they [the public] don't feel good about the administration, the board, and the financial management, they don't feel good about the hospital.”
(Ed note: Besides Lund and Birdsell, Kaye Handley, a “retired investment manager,” and Lucas Campos, a coast hospital pain specialist, are running for the Hospital Board.)
MENDOCINO COUNTY is at its most beautiful in the Fall. My favorite beauty spot is the Indian Creek Bridge as you approach Philo from the south. Mike Kalantarian recommends Flynn Creek Road where the big leaf maples are in glorious color.
MIKE KOEPF NOTES: The pretentious gate to the pied-à-terre is located near the end of Cameron Road.
Yes, the wealthy elite are moving in to escape the urban mess. I’ve met several in Elk and have had dinner at their homes including a couple who recently arrived who made a fortune supplying troops in Iraq. I suspect, without proof, that they may have been hooked up to the CIA. None of these recent arrivals have any interest at all with what is going on socially, politically or economically in this county. Most are nice people, and one and all they are liberal and progressive; supporters of the Clinton’s and Barack. The paradigm of our younger years is completely turned about. Save for a small established compromised elite, Republicans are no longer the party of the rich. From Goldman Sachs to Hollywood; from the Ivory towers to the New York Times, Liberal Progressives rule this land.
THE AVA RECOMMENDS
with our reasons for the propositions appended...
PRESIDENT: Jill Stein
VICE PRESIDENT: Ajamu Baraka
U.S. SENATOR: Kamala Harris
CONGRESS: Dale Mensing
PROP 51, SCHOOL BONDS: No
PROP 52, MEDI-CAL CONTINUE TO HOSPITALS: Yes
PROP 53, TWO THIRDS VOTE FOR REVENUE BONDS: Yes
PROB 54, PRE-PUBLICATION PENDING BILLS: Yes
PROP 55, TAX ON BIG INCOMES: Yes
PROP 56, CIG TAX: No
PROP 57, EARLY RELEASE: NON-VIOLENT PRISONERS: Yes
PROP 58, LANGUAGE IMMERSION: No
PROP 59, OVERTURNS CITIZENS UNITED: Yes
PROP 60, CONDOMS FOR DEGENERATES: Who Cares?
PROP 61, DRUG PRICES: Yes
PROP 62, REPEALS DEATH PENALTY: Yes
PROP 63, BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR AMMO SALES: Yes
PROP 64, MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION: No
PROP 65, FEE FOR CARRYOUT BAGS: Yes
PROP 66, SPEEDS UP DEATH PENALTY: No
PROP 67, BAN ON PLASTIC BAGS: Yes
* * *
AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, the reason there are so many initiatives is our legislators don't legislate much. We'll keep it brief, but if our critiques aren't brief enough, you can safely vote NO on everything without going too far wrong.
THERE'S A BUNCHA bond-funded state initiatives on the November ballot, and right here we'll point out what we always point out at election time, which is that there is already so much bond indebtedness in this state that it will never be paid off. So what's a few billion more? The people who buy these things get a very good deal because they make a lot of money on what are essentially loans guaranteed by the tax payers. Since we're already on the hook for more money than can ever be paid back, and if that bothers you, vote no on everything funded by bonds. If you wisely assume the whole show is a vast series of interlocking Ponzis soon to go blooey, speed the collapse by voting Yes on bond funding.
PROP 51: No. Should the state issue $9 billion in bonds for constructing or improving public schools? The construction industry wants to know, because if you vote yes they get to build a lot of structures in which learning allegedly takes place. Bear in mind, however, that the greatest teacher ever, besides the Nazarene carpenter of course, was Socrates, and he did his teaching under an olive tree. $3 billion to build new schools $3 billion to modernize existing schools $2 billion to buy, build, and improve community colleges $500 million for charter schools $500 million for technical education facilities Who’s Voting Yes on PROP 51? The edu-bloc, both political parties, the State Chamber of Commerce — your basic collection of undesirables, in other words, Who’s Voting No on PROP 51? People opposed to sprawl, and everyone who knows that 51 was put on the ballot by the construction industry.
PROP 52: No. The state Democrats have teamed up with the more mercenary hospitals (Adventist in Ukiah and Willits, for handy instance) and hospital administrators, that would require a two-thirds vote in the legislature to change how the state funds Medi-Cal. Prop 52 is opposed by hospital unions and people who watchdog Medi-Cal funding on behalf of ordinary people. The watchdogs say that, if passed, millions of public dollars will bypass sick people to create a state health-care bureaucracy.
PROP 53: Yes. More or less fiscal conservatives are for this one, which would require that voters approve any bond that puts the state over the $2 billion in public-infrastructure bonds that are already out there. And which, added to all the other bond debt out there that will never be re-paid. But everything is falling apart — roads, bridges, what's left of railroads — because Democrats live in fear of the oligarchy and don't dare tax them to pay their fair share of the common load. Governor Brown, the state's Chamber of Commerce and, natch, developers, are opposed to 53 because they're not much for infrastructure work. Vote YES although endless bonds are not a sensible long-term way of paying for basic amenities in lieu of a fair system of taxation, which we do not have because of people like Jerry Brown. Bonds are basically loans issued, mostly by big banks, who make double what the bond is worth from ordinary taxpayers.
PROP 54: Yes. Ever hear of "gut-and-amend"? Our noble legislators sneak bills through at the last minute with all kinds of giveaways to bad interests. Proposition 54 would mandate that the content of bills be published 72-hours prior to the vote. Everyone is for this across the board, except for, guess who? California Democrats of the elected type who fear voter reaction to their many treacheries.
PROP 55: Yes. "Help Our Children Thrive." Gee, guess who's backing this one? Answer, The edu-bloc and Big Lib, and right there is a major temptation to vote no. They're always for the kids, right? Why, right this minute out at the Mendocino County Office of Education at Talmage superintendent Warren Galletti, $140,000 a year plus fringes, is pacing the lush carpeting of his office, darn near distraught with worry, "How the heck can I do more for the kids?" The edu-bloc has said for years, "Give us more money and boy o boy o will your kids learn more better." Of course the public ed apparatus votes as a bloc for Big Lib, hence their mutual support for maintaining a tiny tax on incomes over a quarter mil annually. And the money raised will go straight to the classroom, just like the lottery money went straight to the classroom. But clamp a clothespin over your nose and vote Yes.
PROP 56: No. Another two bucks a pack on smokes. I find myself wondering, "Why not just put the tax on cigarettes at a hundred bucks a pack and be done with it?” It seems like every other state ballot ups the sin tax while sanctioning other sins like gambling. I also note that of the four pot initiatives on the ballot, three of them originating in Mendocino County, America's intoxicants capitol, none mention the damage done to the lungs of millions of heedless dopers by heavy use of the love drug. The cig tax goes partially to several nebulous purposes, including alleged prevention and, more vaguely, "child development," meaning jobs for the blah-blah people. If we're going to tax people doing dumb things to themselves like smoking, how about a tax on people watching Fox News, 60-year-old women dressing like teenagers, old men in short pants, and maybe a hundred each on neck tattoos? The AVA recommends: Whatever.
PROP 57: Yes. Parole for non-violent prisoners. This is a hot one, so hot a No On 57 guy sent me a stack of baseball card-like pictures of felons who've committed appalling crimes, saying that these guys would get out under Prop 57. The DA is also recommending a No vote on Prop 57. Why are cops voting No? Because lots of them secretly believe that everyone is either an active scumbag or a scumbag who hasn't been caught yet. Which, as a general principle, seems irrefutable, but as a practical matter we can't lock up everyone, can we? Me? I think it's clear that generally speaking people get sentences out of all proportion to what they've done. There's got to be an objective process for the orderly release of people who try hard in prison to improve themselves. I've thought for a long time we ought to go back to the future when committees of inmates and staff evaluated people for release. Who better than the people who see them every day, work with them every day, often know them better than their own families, to decide who's a menace, who isn't? More than one former inmate has put the number of true menaces to society at 20 percent. These are guys who should never get out even if they're in for shoplifting. Under the present system, a maniac can do his time and get his release even if all he's done in prison is watch television. We recommend a Yes vote on 57. The whole system desperately needs reform, and this is a good place to start an orderly release system. (On the other hand, you have people like Thess Love, would-be pimp, busted in Point Arena for trying to make a street prostitute out of a fog belt maiden. Recently this guy spit on his court-appointed attorney, Jan Cole-Wilson, in the courtroom. He's lucky to have someone as skilled and decent, but tell that to him. Earlier he had spit on the probation officer preparing his report. Is it just coincidence that Love has written letters — the jail has copies — advocating family and friends to vote for Prop 57 because he sees himself as a beneficiary? As it is he apparently believes the spitting incidents will bring misdemeanor battery charges, delaying his transfer to state prison. He knows the misdemeanors will be wiped clean when prison authorities determine how much time he will actually serve. So not only is he delaying serving his prison time, he's hoping to benefit from Prop. 57 if it passes, and if it does this low-rent punk will be 57-eligible. Guys like this deserve all the time they get.
PROP 58: No. Basically the return of bi-lingual classrooms. Like it or not, America is an English language country few of whose citizens, even those born here, ever quite grasp their native tongue well enough to fully decode their native tongue — hence this election's presidential candidates. Mexican kids aren't done any favors by encouraging Spanglish, which is what emerges from bi-lingual ed. The better you speak and write English, the better you will do in a system organized to rip you off.
PROP 59: Yes. Citizens United has allowed the Koch brothers (owners of Fort Bragg's oceanfront, as it happens) and their fellow oligarchs to funnel billions of dollars in secret donations into our elections. Corporations are people, you see. The Supreme Court said so. Citizens United has paved the way to a new era of corporate spending and special-interest influence through the invention of the “SuperPAC." Prop 59 is a step to unraveling the nefarious influence of big money in politics, not that we're ever likely to get it out. YES
PROP 60: No Recommendation. Boonville's beloved newspaper has always argued that pornography itself should be banned. But now that the ritual humiliation of half the world's population is not only sanctioned but celebrated, and so pervasive it's available to children, and that fact is certainly one more sign that America's slide into the moral abyss will not be arrested any time soon, the degenerates who abase themselves in these films should probably be protected (sic) from themselves by being required to wear condoms. Vote yes as you watch the daily increase in sex crimes everywhere in the world and wonder why such a relatively trivial issue as this one found its way onto a state ballot. Is the AVA saying pornography causes sexual violence? Yes. Can you prove it? No. But do the math. Millions of isolated men watching this stuff for hours at a time everywhere in the country is like arming a kindergarten class with loaded guns and telling them to go outside and play cops and robbers. (I don't think the analogy quite works but you get my drift, I assume.) As it happens, the New Yorker of last week (26 September) contains an article about the contemporary porn industry. It's called "Lights, Camera, Action" and runs through the sordid realities of the business before it gets to a startling fact: 75% of the films viewed on-line are the work of amateurs, which seems to confirm that we are now a nation of pervs.
PROP 61: Yes. This baby is opposed by Big Pharma, and Big Pharma is spending a lot of money to defeat it. The drug manufacturers have gulled some Vets groups into opposing it, but nurses are for it, as is SEIU. I find nurses absolutely reliable in a political sense, and SEIU at least more trustworthy than the drug companies. Vote YES on 61, and don't even try to decode the particulars because they're confusing and contradictory. The simple fact that Big Pharma opposes even this modest drug price control measure is a good enough reason to vote for it.
PROPS 62 & 66...
WE HAVE TWO death penalty propositions on the November ballot. One repeals the death penalty, the other speeds it up. The argument for repeal is the old one: it doesn't deter much of anyone, it's unfair because only poor people get it, and life without is cheaper. The reasons for speeding it up are also familiar, and include: These bastards have it coming; it's the law; lawyers drag out appeals and so on.
WE AGREE that most of these bastards have it coming, but we don't like dispatching them by midnight needles in hospital settings. We also don't like the state being authorized to kill people because in certain circumstances the state would kill us. And innocent people can and have got put to death. But we think executions should be public — football stadiums would be perfect venues — with admission charged, television rights sold, and all proceeds to the families of the victims. We would also require that the families would have to do the killing or at least authorize it, and the method should be by firing squad, which is quick, humane and even romantic if the condemned gets a last word and a cigarette. This way, The People, in whose name the execution is carried out get to witness what is being done in their name.
IN THE MEAN TIME, and we live in a very mean time indeed, we recommend a Yes vote On Prop 62, a No vote on 66.
PROP 63: Yes. Here's another ballot proposition that appears only because legislators are afraid to take it on, doubly fearing the organized Gun Nut Lobby. The gun people live in fear of everything from lurks breaking in on them in the middle of the night, to the government taking completely over for the specific purpose of gun confiscation. As if. As if, say, a 3am tweaker bent on machete mayhem penetrates your perimeter defenses, gets all the way into your slumber chamber… He's got you. You're drunk and so deeply wrapped in Morpheus's arms you're decapitated before you can get to your Tec 9 and your back-up large-capacity magazines, loaded and ready to slap in on full-auto. Then there's the government: When it comes for you they'll do a Ruby Ridge or Koresh on you, no problem. Their guns are bigger and there's lots more of them. On the other hand, guerrilla resistance, if it ever comes to that, you're going to want weapons. Prop 63 would ban the giant mags and require a background check on people buying ammo, and the paranoids are buying ammo in literal wholesale lots. I should confess I own three guns myself without really knowing why other than they give me a sense of security I know objectively is false. The kind of people who buy bulk ammo and lust after big mags generally aren't criminals, and most of them already have this stuff. I think 63 is mooted by existing conditions, but go ahead and vote Yes just for righteous hopelessness of it.
PROP 64: Dope. Unlike Proposition 19 back in the day, the prior state initiative to legalize marijuana, the new pot initiative allows cities and counties to add their own regs, taxes, or even bans, on marijuana businesses, as is the statewide case now with medical marijuana. Prop 64 legalizes marijuana use for adults 21 and older. Requires licensing for cultivation and sale. Establishes state excise tax of 15% on retail sales, and cultivation taxes of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Standard sales taxes also would apply. Creates packaging, labeling, advertising and marketing standards. Allows local governments to impose additional regulations and taxes on marijuana. Provides resentencing consideration for prior marijuana convictions. Leaves intact the medical marijuana system created by Prop 215 in 1996. Sounds reasonable, sort of, but it's a prescription for the corporatization of dope and gives government the say so over a standardized industry that will squeeze out mom and pop growers. No.
PROP 65: Yes. The money collected by stores when you buy a bag goes to the Wildlife Conservation Board. Of course. if you can't manage to bring your own bag — I've yet to remember to carry mine into a store — and you pay a nickel for a big brown paper job, the nickel goes to what's left of wild life.
PROP 66: (Faster death penalty) No. (Reviewed above with Prop 62)
PROP 67 would ban plastic bags, and one more example of a ballot initiative put to the voters because our legislators are afraid of the "American Progressive Bag Alliance" (sic). We've all known old bags and lots of us have, from time to time, been in the bag, and every day we tie on a feedbag. But we seldom associate plastic bags with nationality or progressivism. The plastic bag lobby has outdone itself here with their patriotic effort to foul our fair land and waters with their deadly, forever product. The American progressive people opposed to banning plastic bags are, you guessed it!, the people who manufacture the things. Yes on 67.
LITTLE DOG WITH A BAG OF HIS FAVORITE GOLD RUSH COFFEE in their cool new bag design.
NO ON MEASURE AF
To the Editor:
Medical cannabis cultivation and use is now legal in California and soon, in all likelihood, recreational cultivation and use will also be legal. We support legalization. We recognize its therapeutic value, and believe that adults and health care givers should have access to its benefits.
However, we are opposing Measure AF, the ballot initiative that proposes to regulate the cannabis industry in Mendocino County. We feel Measure AF opens the door far too widely to new land development pressure without providing adequate protections for the County’s natural environment.
Measure AF would allow commercial cultivation of cannabis in every zoning district of the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County, from single and multi-family residential properties to Forest Land, TPZ, Range Land and Open Space. Cannabis cultivation would be defined as a “Principal Permitted Use” in all of these zones and as such would be protected by the County’s right-to-farm laws. In addition, in most cases there would be no requirement for discretionary review of potential impacts by the County Planning and Building Department through an Administrative Review or Use Permit process. That means there would be no County process for assessing or mitigating the potential environmental impacts of cultivation from new roads, increased traffic, use of pesticides, grading impacts, removal of native vegetation, including oak woodlands and other unique ecosystems, and the effects on wildlife and watersheds. AF strips the County, and the public, of our most powerful tool to make land use decisions and implement environmental protections, and that is through zoning decisions. Measure AF delegates the decisions about pesticide use to the California Dept. of Food and Agricultural, water use decisions to the State Water Resources Control Board and water quality protection to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. We know through 30 years of experience that distant state agencies at best may try to mitigate damage, but almost never prevent the damage in the first place. That is our job, at the County level through our elected officials.
We believe that the best route to regulating cannabis is through writing and adopting a County Ordinance. The County Board of Supervisors, after months of foot-dragging admittedly, is now working very hard to have a cannabis cultivation, processing and distribution ordinance in place by February, 2017. The Planning and Building Department has begun the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process and has circulated the “project description” to agencies and the public for comment. The next step will be to circulate a completed draft for public comment and to hold public hearings. When the final version is ready, it will be presented to the Board of Supervisors for approval. During this process we have the opportunity to make every effort to include protections for the natural environment, as well as protect the interests of AF proponents.
The County draft ordinance contains the following provisions that we feel are already far more protective of the natural environment than Measure AF.
The maximum size for outdoor cultivation would be limited to 10,000 square feet. (AF allows one acre cultivation sites.)
The County Ordinance would grandfather-in cultivation sites in most zones IF the cultivation site existed as of Jan. 1, 2016, with the exception of cultivation sites in single and multi-family residential and Suburban residential zones. NEW cultivation sites would not be permitted in Timber Production, Forest Land or Open Space zones. In addition, NEW sites in zoning districts other than Agricultural zones would need to “avoid environmentally sensitive areas” and show adequate water supply through a watershed analysis. (AF makes no distinction between existing and new cultivation sites.)
The County Ordinance would retain, in some cases, the ability to review and require certain modifications to an operating plan based on the particular situation. Measure AF strips the County of that discretion by making cultivation in all zones a “Principal Permitted Use”.
The County process of writing an Ordinance includes environmental review, and is an open public process. Measure AF was written by and for those being regulated. There was no assessment of the cumulative environmental impacts.
We are working to exclude new cultivation sites from Rangeland zoning. We are also working to have in place a Grading Ordinance and an Oak Woodland Protection Ordinance, as part of the cannabis cultivation Ordinance, to be a bulwark against the damages of unregulated grading and clearing that have been allowed, and undoubtedly will continue to go on under this new land development pressure unless specifically stopped. Measure AF leaves grading issues to the Regional Water Board, which in turn absolves itself of responsibility unless the permittee plans to grade more than an acre, or the banks of a stream. In other words, there would be no local grading oversight. Measure AF does not address the need to protect oak woodlands at all.
Finally, any County ordinance can be amended by the Board of Supervisors at any time, in a public process, as experience informs us and as circumstances may demand. Although Measure AF does have a provision that allows for the Board of Supervisors to amend the Initiative after June 1, 2018, any amendment must further the original purposes of the Initiative. The writers of the initiative, or a court, might have to make that judgement.
In opposing Measure AF and in working with the Board of Supervisors to craft cannabis cultivation regulations that protect Mendocino County’s natural environments we hope to help steer the County cautiously and wisely into this new era of legalization.
Willits Environmental Center Board Members: Thayer Craig, Greg Byers, David Drell, Dave Beebe, Ellen Drell and Rosamond Crowder
After beating my head against the wall for some time, I've finally come to realize two things: (1) KZYX's Meg Courtney has a peculiar inability to follow written policy, and (2) her fellow board members are spineless. This is apparent in KZYX's written policy titled, "MCPB Financial Management & Controls" that used to be posted on the KZYX website, but is now blocked from public access.
So I've put together a nine-pager demonstrating this epiphany with large type, photographs, charts and comic book illustrations. Support your local public radio station by demanding the removal of Meg Courtney and her spineless fellow board members.
Please forgive my fragmentary composition:
Scott M. Peterson
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 14, 2016
Bastion, Brantley, Buckner, Day
PAUL BASTION, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah, false ID, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
MARKEESE BRANTLEY, Dos Rios. Possession of controlled substance in vicinity of prisoners.
PETER BUCKNER, Willits. Parole violation.
SEAN DAY, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
King, Lamar, Leloup
TIMOTHY KING, Fort Bragg. Suspended license.
TYRONE LAMAR, Burglary, failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHRISTOPHER LELOUP, Ukiah. Petty theft, interfering with business, probation revocation.
Leon-Mulgado, Owen, Ruddock
JAVIER LEON-MULGADO, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
NATALIA OWEN, San Francisco/Ukiah. Receiving stolen property. (Frequent flyer.)
ROGER RUDDOCK, Nice. Petty theft.
Salazar-Aparicio, Vose, Wharton, Willis
GERONIMO, SALAZAR-APARICIO, Ukiah. DUI, failure to appear.
NELSON VOSE, Talmage. Probation revocation.
GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Trespassing, probation revocation.
SCOTTY WILLIS, Ukiah. Possession of shopping cart, contempt of court. (Frequent flyer.)
MIGUEL LANIGAN WRITES: "This video URL arrived in my inbox today along with the notification that another of my Peace Corps group had died. I had never seen this video before today. The first group in the Peace Corps segment is about my group, Colombia I -- aka: "Los Uneros" (The first). For all of us, signing up to be a Peace Corps volunteer was a leap into the dark, as we had no real idea what our assignments were going to be; we simply responded to President Kennedy's famous, "Ask not what…" speech" and there we were. After three months of training at Rutgers University we were hurried off an Avianca plane at the Bogota airport at 3 am and passed between two files of Colombian soldiers, armed to the teeth, and facing outboard scanning for dangers, The reason for the late arrival (a six-hour delay) was because of the anti-American riots going on in Bogota. After a further month of training and allowing time for things to settle down, I was assigned to a little Municipio (county) in the coffee growing region of Antioquia, eight hours out of Medellin at the 4,000-foot level. I worked with the Federation of Coffee Growers rural-development team stationed there. My assignment was to organize a community development junta in the little village of Santa Rita. After a lot of ground work, a junta was elected, and then, by using local talent, we did community improvement projects including the construction of a water aqueduct, extra rooms in the school, a health clinic, and a central plaza with a fountain. We also held classes about health, and agricultural, and animal care. I also became the local EMT and taught the local medicine man (curandero) how to carry on after I left. The two years (1961-63) changed me and set the course for my life. I returned to the States and helped train 19 Peace Corps groups for assignments all over the world."
THE CASE FOR HILLARY
Chuck Dunbar of Fort Bragg explained very well the parallel between Hitler and Trump from the review of the book Hitler: Assent, 1889-1939. He, Trump, is truly unfit to be our President, as many have said. A case can also be made that Hillary Clinton is also unfit to be our President, her experience notwithstanding.
Many people on the left will either vote for the Libertarian Johnson or for Jill Stein from the Green Party. That would be a great mistake, since it would give Trump a big advantage and might cost Clinton the election, just as Ralph Nadar presumably cost Gore the election.
While it is true that the lesser of two evils is still evil, there are very grave consequences if Trump wins. He has said, "We need a new government." He has also said, "Our system is weak." When you put these two statements together with all of the ways in which Trump is rising to power similarly to the way Hitler rose to power, it is not farfetched to hold that our democracy and our Constitution are in peril. Add to that the Supreme Court appointments whoever wins the White House.
There is no doubt in my mind that Trump would welcome being a dictator, basking in praise from his cult followers. He is, in reality, the leader of a new cult. We have always thought of cults as relatively small, but Scientology wiped out that idea. Today, with social media, a cult can be millions of people, as geography does not play a part in it. They are duped, as are all cult followers, and I think it is because Trump offers them a demon to hate, Hillary, and offers himself up as a father figure (daddy will protect you), and also as a savior (cyber JESUS). In order for them to let themselves believe that he is lying to them, and that he really did sexually assault those women, his followers would have to give up their fantasy (Daddy-Savior). That is not going to happen. At this moment I think he is going to win.
His racist, bigoted, sexist, know-nothing package plays into the not-so-latent racism, bigotry, and sexism that rest just below the surface in our culture, kept in check previously, by the cultural gravity of two centuries of the ideas of the 18th Century Enlightenment. They have now surfaced, and are threatening to become the new norm. We cannot, we must not, let this happen. We must vote for Hillary; we are out of luxury and in a situation of dire necessity. Sad, but true.
ED NOTE: Nothing personal Lee, but your case for Hillary is deficient. Her "experience" is as a cheerleader for the multiple wars in the Middle East and errand girl for Wall Street. Trump could not possibly do a Hitler number on US because of his yuuuuuge personal deficits and the abrupt differences between the present state our crumbling union and the Weimar Germany context that Schicklgruber got rolling in, not to mention that the US is a multi-ethnic country while Germany in Hitler's time was pretty much monochromatic. Explain how Trump could assume dictatorial powers when he's alienated more than half the population and most of the generals he would need to pull it off. Nader did not cost Gore the election, Gore cost Gore the election, even losing his home state of Tennessee and walking away from the vote theft in Florida with a shrug of his plump, corporate shoulders. The Supreme Court has seen Klan appointees who grew to be judicial giants. Conservative appointees have often made the best justices. Why middle-of-the-road extremists like yourself trot out these tired and discredited arguments every four years ignores the fundamental bankruptcy of the Democratic Party that keeps foisting off on US inferior candidates. Hillary might be the only person in the country who could possibly lose to Trump. Why is she the candidate? The answer to that one is because of the hopelessly corrupt structure of our political system. Trump and The Bern agreed on that, as does every other rational citizen. A fundamental assumption of political democracy is that we are supposed to be able to vote for the candidate who best represents our views. In my case that candidate is Jill Stein. I voted twice for Nader. Haven't voted for a Democrat since McGovern as, like everyone else, I've watched the Democrats morph into the beast they claim not to be.
WATER CONTRACTORS LOBBY FOR SALMON-KILLING DROUGHT LEGISLATION IN CONGRESS
by Dan Bacher
Just days after Governor Jerry Brown’s administration applied for a “take” permit to kill Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon and other endangered species in order to build and operate the Delta Tunnels, agribusiness interests accelerated their lobbying campaign to pass drought legislation in Congress that will further endanger San Francisco Bay-Delta fisheries.
Tim Quinn and the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) have stepped up their lobbying in advance of the lame duck Congressional session urging Congress to pass controversial drought legislation, according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD), in an action alert.
Quinn, the Executive Director of ACWA, sent a new letter on October 12 to the entire California Congressional delegation blaming the state’s water supply predicament almost entirely on protections for Bay-Delta fisheries and wildlife, and actions by federal officials to avoid species extinction. (www.restorethedelta.org/...)
“We would expect that federal policies should provide assistance in meeting water supply needs during drought conditions, but instead at almost every turn federal decisions restricted project operations, preventing water during storm events from being put into storage south of the Delta for later delivery to our farms and cities,” Quinn claimed in his letter. “During 2016, these restrictive federal policies had a far greater negative impact on water supply than did the drought.”
“California needs a partnership with the federal government in accomplishing this policy objective. Instead, all too often we experience unbalanced federal decisions that unreasonably favor species protection over water supply, with little scientific justification and little prospect of any actual environmental benefit, but with very large and real negative impacts on water supply,” he said.
Quinn urged Congress to pass “meaningful drought legislation,” apparently meaning legislation that would fail to observe even the very minimal protections provided now under the Endangered Species Act to protect Delta and longfin smelt, Central Valley steelhead, winter-run Chinook salmon, spring-run Chinook salmon and green sturgeon.
In response, Barrigan-Parrilla urged people to call their Congressional Representatives and tell them to protect Delta fisheries by “standing strong” against the increased Delta pumping bills by Senator Feinstein and Congressman Valadao.
“Tell them that you are aware of ACWA (pronounced Aqua) attempting to push through Federal legislation designed to take more water from the SF Bay-Delta estuary,” she said. “Tell them how ACWA’s members just told the State Water Resources Control Board that mandatory conservation rules are no longer necessary, even though we are entering our sixth year of drought.”
“ACWA wants it both ways, no restrictions on taking water, and no restrictions on much water people use — all at the expense of the people and fisheries of the Bay-Delta estuary,” she concluded. “Thank you. And let us know how it goes when you make the call.”
To find your Congressional Rep’s number, check this list of all California Congressional Representatives here, or go to this website to type in your zipcode.
The same water agencies calling for salmon-killing drought legislation are the ones behind Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to build two giant tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Brown and other state officials have constantly claimed the Delta Tunnels/California WaterFix project will “restore” the Delta ecosystem, but they revealed their real plans on October 7 when the administration applied for a permit to kill winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and other endangered species with the project.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) submitted an “incidental intake” application for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in alleged “compliance” with the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in order to build the Delta Tunnels, also known as the California WaterFix. In other words, they are applying for a permit to kill endangered species in the construction and operation of the three new water intakes on the Sacramento River and other facilities planned as part of the multi-billion dollar project.
For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/…
The latest attacks on the Bay-Delta Ecosystem come shortly after the Winnemem Wintu Tribe's 300-mile prayer journey from Sogorea Te (Glen Cove, Vallejo) to the historical spawning grounds of the winter-run Chinook salmon on the McCloud River from September 17 through October 1. (www.dailykos.com/...)
“This journey is a walk/run/boat/bike and horseback ride to bring attention to the plight of all the runs of salmon in California, and the water management practices that have brought some of those runs to the edge of extinction,” according to the Tribe. “It is a prayer to let Californians know that the water they enjoy has come to them at the cost of others and the threat of death and extinction to species necessary for a healthy California.”
“We consider Shasta Dam a weapon of mass destruction,” said Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. “It has already taken our homes, sacred sites, burial sites, and stopped the salmon from returning to their historical spawning grounds. If these tunnels are built, Governor Brown’s so called ‘California WaterFix’, they will not only cause more death and destruction to the already endangered salmon, but they will encourage and motivate plans to enlarge Shasta Dam. An enlarged Shasta Dam will flood what remaining sacred sites, and cultural sites that we still use today.”
“The Shasta Dam raise, Sites Reservoir and the Delta Tunnels need to be considered as one project,” emphasized Chief Sisk. “Without one, you can’t have the two others. If the tunnels are built, there will be no water to put in them. You need Sites Reservoir to provide the water for the tunnels and the Shasta Dam raise to provide water for Sites.”
“Although the state and federal governments are saying they are separate projects, they are all really one project. Why do you think Westlands Water District, the Resnicks, Metropolitan Water District and other water districts are all pushing for the Shasta Dam Raise, Sites Dam and the Delta Tunnels?” she concluded.
I wished I had you in Carrickfergus,
Only for nights in Ballygrand,
I would swim over the deepest ocean,
The deepest ocean to be by your side.
But the sea is wide and I can't swim over
And neither have I wings to fly.
I wish I could find me a handy boatman
To ferry me over to my love and die.
My childhood days bring back sad reflections
Of happy days so long ago.
My boyhood friends and my own relations.
Have all passed on like the melting snow.
So I'll spend my days in endless roving,
Soft is the grass and my bed is free.
Oh to be home now in Carrickfergus,
On the long road down to the salty sea.
And in Kilkenny it is reported
On marble stone there as black as ink,
With gold and silver I did support her
But I'll sing no more now till I get a drink.
I'm drunk today and I'm rarely sober,
A handsome rover from town to town.
Oh but I am sick now and my days are numbered
Come all ye young men and lay me down.
(Irish folksong, performed by Van Morrison)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The thing is, people that pay attention, that are aware of how the story unfolds, knew this exact sort of thing would happen. They also knew it would work. The Clinton pivot. The orchestrated diversion. There will be more. They will work.
You see, despite a multitude of websites, just like this one, haunted by pseudo-intellectuals and WordPress pundits, you are still left with a dummy at the core. Perhaps there is a sheepskin from some land grant college, or some retirement autodidact’s library, but through and through, you still have the unwashed and unlearned. The easily manipulated. Distraction is a muscle-memory bred in deep through poor parenting and poor schools. From lives poor in many ways.
And they know this. They know the hardwired faults. Working and middle class people live off of distractions. It’s what gets them through Monday to Friday. The weekend fishing trip, watching people chase inflatable balls all Sunday on TV, Friday happy hour binge drinking; all of these distractions from their depressingly banal lives.
Dopamine feeds the dopes. A week’s worth of media fulmination delivers the appropriate dose. They not only chase it, they crave it.
They believe it.
It’s expensive, feeding the dummies. Fortunately, Hillary has many wealthy friends willing to pay for the grub. This is what wins elections.
They know it.
Some of us know it.
It’s the programming fed to people programmed from birth.
Do all right at school.
Go to college.
Get a degree.
Get a job. A job that pays bills.
That’s all you need.
Find a gal.
A gal that wants to settle down.
Preferably in the burbs.
Get a mortgage.
Keep that head down and nose on the grindstone.
Hope they’re geniuses, know they’re unremarkable.
Spend time and money trying to make them better… better than you.
Retire somewhere warm.
You think you choose. You thought you chose.
You never did.
Journalist Amy Goodman to Turn Herself in to North Dakota Authorities
Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, charged with criminal trespassing for filming an attack on Native American-led pipeline protesters, will turn herself in to North Dakota authorities on October 17. Amy Goodman will surrender to authorities at the Morton County–Mandan Combined Law Enforcement and Corrections Center at 8:15 a.m. local time (CDT).
THE 17TH ANNUAL BIG RIVER WALK & PADDLE
NEXT Saturday, October 22, 2016 @ 9:30am
Big River Beach, Mendocino
1 week away! Register or Donate NOW!
Register online HERE - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/e5797c8896/b00fcbcee7/d122381923
Adults: $25 Teens: $10 Children: Free
Gather pledges of support or donate HERE - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?CancerResourceCenter/e5797c8896/b00fcbcee7/ade0a3d647
Prizes for the top fundraisers include a brand new bike from Catch-a-Canoe & Bicycles Too!
Thank you for your support! This community event brings people together to celebrate and remember family members and friends who have faced cancer. The proceeds raised support CRCMC, the only organization in Mendocino County providing necessary support services, free of charge, to those with cancer.
MANIFEST DESTINY: BAD THEN, BAD NOW
To the editor
One of the few things that Clinton and Trump have both been perfectly honest about in their respective ongoing campaigns is their mutual allegiance to the idea of an American exceptionalism. "American exceptionalism" is the 21st century re-branding of a concept once known as the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny. The doctrine is as morally reprehensible today as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. It becomes the role of all decent persons to reject and oppose this vile mind-set whenever they hear it mentioned, regardless of the political affiliation of whoever is promoting it. To the best of my knowledge, Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate has not expressed these dangerously deplorable delusions regarding the role our nation plays in the world community.
Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado
OCTOBER 19, 2016 BOARD OF RETIREMENT MEETING
Visit http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/retirement/meetings.htm to view the agenda and supporting documents.
HUMCO COPS SAY NO ON 64
Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, will go before voters on November 8. Prop 64 permits adult recreational use, commercial cultivation, manufacturing, transportation and sales. We stand united and strongly opposed to Proposition 64. Please join law enforcement associations, educators, and other organizations across the state in emphatically stating, “They got it wrong, again!”
Regardless of your stance on legalization, or belief the end of “cannabis prohibition” is inevitable, Proposition 64 is not the answer for California. We believe this special interest-driven initiative is ill-timed, short-sighted, and irresponsible. Proposition 64 is patently profit-motivated and puts what many would label “greed weed” before the best interests of the public.
Proposition 64 does not protect our children.
Young people who smoke today’s highly potent marijuana may be rewiring their brains. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes legalizing marijuana noting cannabis can be “very harmful to adolescent health and development.” Research indicates there may be a causal link between marijuana use and an increase in serious mental health issues among children, such as triggering the onset and intensifying the symptoms of schizophrenia. Mental health professionals in Humboldt County have noted a rise in acute disorders among children to which some ascribe to marijuana exposure. According to Dr. Garry Eagles, Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools, “In Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, roughly 1 in 5 students, or 20.3%, is receiving some form of special education support. The participation rate in our two counties is almost double the state-wide average for special education of 10.4%.”
If we were to brand Proposition 64 after a popular cannabis strain, we’d dub it “Trainwreck.”
Potent edibles attractively packaged like goodies pose a danger to our children. One medical center in Colorado recently reported their hospital has seen a 51% increase in the number of children 18 years and younger being treated in its emergency rooms for marijuana-related conditions over the past two years. A Pueblo hospital recently shared statistics reporting nearly half of babies born in that hospital during one month tested positive for THC—the main psychoactive component in cannabis.
Proposition 64 does not do enough to protect our highways.
Stoned drivers are a risk to all drivers. Legalization in other states has resulted in more DUI drivers and a significant increase in deadly crashes. According to recent research released by the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety, fatal vehicle collisions involving marijuana-impaired drivers have doubled in Washington State since legalization in 2012. Colorado has also seen a spike in marijuana-related traffic fatalities and impaired drivers. Under Proposition 64, California can expect to see the same trend.
California currently has no established DUI testing standard for stoned driving and Proposition 64’s proponents failed to include one in their measure. Responsible governance and common sense would prescribe that a DUI testing standard be in place before legalization.
Proposition 64 does not do enough to protect the public’s health and welfare.
When you consider California’s expansive campaign against Big Tobacco, Proposition 64 appears blatantly hypocritical and counters much of the progress California has made to improve public health. How can you have a public health policy that vilifies tobacco use but implicitly encourages folks to smoke a joint?
Post-legalization, some Colorado prosecutors have described seeing an increase in marijuana connected crime including the last 10 of 15 drug-related murders in Aurora, according to a May 2016 report. But one has to look no further than the cannabis capital of the country, Humboldt County, to recognize the violence inextricably intertwined with the pot trade. Humboldt County’s homicide rate has increased steadily since 2012 with 19 homicides so far this year. The county’s per-capita homicide rate (rate per 100,000 population) over the past two years was nearly double that of the state’s mean rate. Most of these homicides are believed to be drug-related. Ten of 15 cases in 2015 involved drugs according to the Humboldt County Chief Deputy Coroner, and Sheriff Mike Downey publically attributed “most” of the homicides his office investigated in 2014 to their connection with “marijuana and other drugs.”
As the new “Wild West Green Rush” intensifies with legalization, an increase in marijuana-related violent crimes, DUI fatalities, and public nuisance complaints can be predicted—negatively impacting public health and safety, quality of life, tourism and businesses. Proposition 64 is the wrong initiative, at the wrong time, for the wrong motive. We urge patience so Californians can make a more informed and responsible decision. Let’s be smart, wait on legalization, and allow time for California to watch and learn from other states’ post-legalization woes.
If we were to brand Proposition 64 after a popular cannabis strain, we’d dub it “Trainwreck.” Vote NO on 64.
Dr. Fred Van Vleck, Superintendent of Eureka Public Schools
Michael Downey, Sheriff of Humboldt County
William Damiano, Chief of Probation, Humboldt County
Bret Smith, Chief of Police, Ferndale
Andrew Mills, Chief of Police, Eureka
William Honsal, Undersheriff, Humboldt County
Brian Stephens, Captain, Eureka Police Department
Steve Watson, author and Captain, Eureka Police Department
WE CAN'T POSSIBLY BE ALONE WITH THESE ODDS
Two trillion galaxies in the universe — where does religion fit in?
A new report in the Astronomical Journal as reported by the Guardian revealed there are two trillion more galaxies in the universe which is up to 20 times the previous estimate. The new finding was based on 3D-modeling of images collected over 20 years by the Hubble Space Telescope. It should be noted that this represents only a part of the cosmos where light given off by distant objects has had time to reach the earth, or 10% of what is out there. A galaxy is a system of millions or billions of stars with planetary systems within them. I wonder how many of these planets are in the “Goldilock Zone” and if any of these planets have life as we know life? It should be noted when the universe was only a few billion years old, there were 10 times as many galaxies in a given volume of space as there is today. It suggests that "significant evolution must have occurred to reduce their number through merging of systems." Or to put it another way, a galaxy swallowing another galaxy through a black hole.
When you look at the immense size of the universe does one really think they have a personal God who will hear and answer their prayers and some place called heaven where when you die you will be reunited with your family? Or is death a long dreamless sleep from which you will never awake?
In peace and love,