Mendocino County Today: Friday, Aug. 11, 2017
by AVA News Service, August 11, 2017
MICHAEL SANER ARRAIGNED FOR MURDER
Kevin Davenport was in Judge John Behnke’s court for the arraignment of Michael Saner, charged with the murder of William Martinez, both of Navarro, Wednesday, August 9th at 9:30. Mr. Saner was on probation and his probation was revoked as a result of the new charges, first degree murder, Count One, and, Count Two, willful discharge of a firearm resulting in great bodily injury, death; bail was set a $500,000 for Count One, another $500,000 for Count Two, and $5,000 for the violation of probation.
The Office of the Public Defender was appointed, and further arraignment was set in the Ten Mile Court for August 21st, at 9:00 am. (Bruce McEwen)
A READER WRITES: Well, it looks like your persistent efforts finally got Keegan into a courtroom. But…he’s dying of cancer and Stoen is missing part of his brain. The trial could end in the hospital and sentence may be pronounced in the cemetery. If he did it, and with cloud-land looming, one would think he would confess without dragging his kids through this.
SCALMANINI FILES ANOTHER APPEAL AGAINST COSTCO PROJECT
by Justine Frederiksen
An appeal of the Costco site development permit was filed this week by Ukiah City Council member Steve Scalmanini, who argues that the project should have solar panels.
“The lack of photovoltaic solar energy production on-site is inconsistent with several goals and policies of the current City Council,” Scalmanini wrote in his official appeal letter sent to City Manager Sage Sangiacomo Aug. 7.
“This omission of on-site energy production is partly, but not wholly, a result of irrational beliefs of a majority of the City Council, beliefs that are not supported by documentation for the project and that cause avoidable harm to the air quality of the state of California.”
The appeal is scheduled to go before the City Council at a special hearing on Aug. 24.
Mayor Jim Brown said Wednesday he was “very disappointed in the actions of Council member Scalmanini,” and that he did not want those actions to reflect poorly on the rest of the council, which he said was “united in support of the project.”
Brown said the warehouse, proposed for Airport Park Boulevard, would likely bring in a million dollars a year in sales tax revenue, as well as dozens of good-paying jobs.
“The actions of way too few have affected the lives of way too many for way too long,” said Brown, adding that he believed “99-percent of Ukiahans want Costco here.”
“Our best opportunity to not present further delays for the project is for Mr. Scalmanini to withdraw his appeal,” said Council member Maureen Mulheren in a video posted on Facebook Wednesday. “I think that it’s very important for the community to tell him we need the jobs and we need the sales tax. The majority of the community wants this, and to have it withheld again for one person is extremely unfair to our community.”
Mulheren urged residents in support of the project to contact Scalmanini via City Clerk Kristine Lawler by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the email is sent to the city clerk, she said “it will be public record and the rest of the City Council can see it, too.”
“We need him to withdraw his appeal before the Aug. 24 meeting,” Mulheren said. “I think it is unfathomable that this project can be delayed again for one person.”
The project was first approved in 2014, but appealed by Davis attorney William Kopper on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Report should not have been approved. After a lengthy court process, the project was put back before the Planning Commission and approved last month. At the time, city staff declared the EIR “bullet-proof” and said they did not anticipate any further appeals.
When the project was first approved, Costco estimated that it could open in the fall of 2014. Last month, officials estimated that the store could open in April of 2018.
Scalmanini did not respond to a phone call requesting comment, but did verify via text message that a Facebook post by Mendocino Country Independent Newspaper Thursday was speaking on his behalf.
“(Scalmanini) is blocking the project until emissions mitigations are made – most likely in the form of solar panels,” the post states, noting that while opening a Costco in Ukiah may prevent thousands of monthly visits to the Sonoma County warehouses by Ukiah Valley residents, it will also likely create new visits from people who live in areas like Fort Bragg, Laytonville, southern Humboldt County and Lake County.
“I do not oppose a Costco in Ukiah, but I do oppose the omission of (solar panels) as a mitigation to the greenhouse gases from all the cars driving often long distances to and from the store,” Scalmanini writes in the post, which also states that he is trying to reply individually to everyone who emails him. “We can have a Costco in Ukiah and we can have all feasible mitigations for climate change. Why wouldn’t we do both? I believe that omitting such a feasible mitigation from the project is a fundamentally immoral act.”
When asked if he would withdraw his appeal if enough local residents asked him to, Scalmanini said “a commitment from Costco (to install solar panels) would get me to withdraw my appeal.”
City staff said it was unclear at this time if Costco representatives were considering adding solar panels to the project.
As of 3 p.m. Thursday, City Clerk Kristine Lawler said she had received 134 emails regarding the appeal filed by Scalmanini, 79 of them sent directly to Scalmanini, which can be done at http://www.cityofukiah.com/scalmanini-message/
Lawler said she was impressed that the emails so far were “extensive, detailed letters that were not just form letters,” and that so far they all appeared to be in favor of Costco and not of Scalmanini’s appeal.
(Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal.)
* * *
"MCOG Costco" Mendocino County Today (Sept. 8, 2016)
Scalmanini, pointing to elsewhere
‘GET RID OF SOME OF THESE HOOPS’
Supes say drying sheds OK this year
by Jane Futcher
Dozens of Mendocino cannabis farmers begged the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to make complying with county cultivation regulations easier and cheaper.
The board promised several changes:
—The deadline for cultivation permit applications is now June 1, 2018.
—Existing drying sheds will be allowed this year under an agricultural exemption even if the buildings don’t meet Building and Planning Dept. codes for commercial buildings;
—Portable toilets may be substituted for the plumbed toilets the county thought were required by Americans with Disabilities Act standards;
—Proof of a collective agreement with an outlet will not be required;
—Detailed lighting requirements for cultivators and nurseries will be eliminated, provided grow lights do not impact neighbors or the night sky;
—Greenhouses and hoop houses may be given agricultural exemptions after further review;
—Trimming may be allowed in drying sheds after further review.
A first reading of the revised cultivation ordinance will be held Tues., Aug. 22. A second reading is slated for Aug. 29. Next month, the supervisors will take up the permitting regulations for dispensaries, processors, distributors and manufacturers.
The board said no medical cannabis transportation permits would be available this year.
To incorporate stakeholder input in to the ordinance process and speed it up, the board and County Administrator Carmel Angelo will conduct a weekly conference call with well-informed community cultivators and consultants.
The board plans to make the Building and Planning Department the “first stop” in the cultivation application process to avoid applicants discovering midway through that they can’t get a permit because their properties don’t comply with zoning and building codes.
The supervisors also decided to eliminate third-party inspectors from the ordinance because the county has hired six inspectors of its own.
Supervisors Hamburg and 3rd District Supervisor Georgeanne Croskey voiced support for creating a cannabis community advisory board — something long sought by county cannabis leaders. Chair John McCowen said he recognized that many of the people in the room had expert knowledge of every aspect of cannabis industry, and he hoped to utilize that expertise.
About 40 people spoke during public comment, many saying they were worried that they will be economically destroyed by the high costs of getting a permit.
Samantha Ward was one of 12 farmers from Covelo who voiced frustration at being “underrepresented” in the 3rd District because that seat was vacant for many months during the illness and after the resignation of Supervisor Tom Woodhouse.
Most of the Covelo cultivators said the current ordinance’s elimination of cultivation from rural residential zones of one- and two-acre parcels (RR-1 and RR-2) would destroy the value of their properties and requested a zoning-based overlay opt-in for Covelo. Laytonville’s LAMAC is working with the community to create an overlay that could exempt RR-1 and RR-2 communities from the county’s cultivation prohibition.
“Get rid of some of these hoops,” advised Laytonville farmer Casey O’Neill, who is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the California Growers Association. “You are still leaving the 25-plant farmers out to dry. Get these folks in.” O’Neill suggested the board create a low-cost application and some type of provisional permit for cottage farmers. He also asked that trimming be allowed in drying sheds.
Amanda Reiman, Vice President of Community Relations at Flow Kana in Redwood Valley, urged the county to create a cannabis “ombudsman” and an appeals process for farmers denied permits. She suggested that such an appeals committee should review the 19 denials that have already occurred since the county is still writing the rules. The comment echoed the complaint of cultivators who say the regulations and the permitting process have changed so much since May that they are a “moving target.”
“We are marching farmers off a cliff, and we are not building them a bridge,” Reiman said.
Tuesday marked the first time in nearly two years that Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg has participated in the board’s cannabis discussions. He announced at start of the meeting that an apparent conflict-of-interest issue had been resolved and he did not need to recuse himself, as he has for many months.
At the start of Tuesday’s meeting, Interim Agricultural Commissioner Diane Curry reported that her department has received 673 cultivation permit applications, had issued two permits and denied 19.
County Administrator Carmel Angelo acknowledged that cannabis is an important part of the county’s economy, “whether we like it or not,” and, noting the slow pace of permitting, said there’s “a problem here.”
One issue of concern to several Woody Glen residents of Ukiah was whether cultivators should be allowed permits if they use the community’s private roads to get to their farms. The supervisors did not propose any changes related to permits on private roads.
Reaction to the long, packed and emotional hearing was mixed.
O’Neill said he thought cultivators made some “major strides” at the meeting.
Julia Carrera, former consultant to the Small Farmers Association and one of eight county-approved third party inspectors, was also upbeat.
“I think that in the seven and a half years I’ve been observing cannabis in this county, I’ve never seen a more articulate group of attendees being more poignant and professional in their approaches. And I think the Board of Supervisors actually heard that.”
Carrera gave as an example the case of a farmer who told the board Tuesday that he was denied a permit and also denied an appeal. After his presentation, Chair McCowen said. ‘You will get a permit.’ Carrera was impressed.
“These are big changes,” she said. “I think that they are listening. How much they are able to move is yet to be seen, and we are all somewhat challenged with patience. But I think we’re stepping in a direction that I haven’t seen before, and for that, I’m thrilled.”
Swami & The Missus
Laytonville cultivator Swami Chaitanya, President of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association, told the board during public comment that Mendocino cultivators are the economic backbone of the county and grow the “best medial cannabis in the world.” But, he said, they are not appreciated or supported by the county.
“We are providing 50 percent of revenues and jobs. And you would be all over us because it is cannabis and we have that stigma … At least give us the chance to compete.”
After the meeting Chaitanya said how difficult the application process has been for most county farmers.
“I’ve always said that either God’s in the details or the Devil is. And I think now we’re dealing with the Devil.”
Chaitanya said Supervisor McCowen and the board want to eliminate cultivation from rangeland and timber protected zones (TPZ) as well as forestland, where most county cultivators are currently growing. By denying new permits in those zones after this year, he said the county is destroying property values.
“That is a big issue related to transfer of property because the permit doesn’t go with the property, which drastically reduces property values.
“I call it the death by a thousand cuts,” Chaitanya said. “It’s a combination of permits and inspections and fees and different kind of licenses and all these different ways in which distributors and track and trace are going to eat into all of what the farmer has to do.”
Chaitanya, whose Swami Select brand has achieved high visibility in the state, said one hidden costs of permitting that nobody’s talking about are attorney and consultant fees as well as bookkeepers fees on top of state and county fees, taxes and application costs.
“I think the net result of all of this is it’s going to be the end of the small farmer in Mendocino County. And I don’t know what’s going to replace it to keep the county’s economics healthy.”
(Jane Futcher hosts The Cannabis Hour, every other Thursday at 9 a.m. on KZYX.)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “A lot of people say cats are smarter than us because cats don't do dumb stuff like chase sticks. These two galoots are double-dumb. Sheesh, two of them chasing one stick?”
THE BYPASS HURTS
To the Editor:
There have been some ironic and disturbing revelations in the past couple weeks.
One is the news that instead of costing a mere $300 million, the Caltrans Willits Bypass actually has cost $460 million. Compare that with the City’s total general fund expense (in the proposed 2017-18 budget) of $4.2 million — in other words, the money spent on this freeway could have provided police, parks & recreation, roads & public works, planning, and administration for our entire City for well over 100 years.
Because of the Bypass’ impact on our local economy, and in turn the City’s expected reduced gas, sales and transient occupancy tax revenues, the budget projects a $400,000 general fund deficit. The Bypass cost more than 1,000 times that shortfall!
Most of the Bypass cost was borne by state taxpayers (which includes us, of course), but about $42 million came from MCOG’s transportation funds, wiping out pretty much all funds for our entire county’s needed road projects.
It’s no use crying over spilt milk and all those hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been saved if Caltrans had considered a different bypass — one that better served our community, environment and Native heritage.
Now we must try to put our town on the map as one of the best towns in northern California, worth getting off the freeway for. Try to help our businesses survive and thrive post-Bypass. Count on our small City staff to keep our services going with their dedication.
But then it’s especially ironic that Caltrans, on a small little project here in town, decided it was more convenient to cut down four lovely old cork oak trees on Main Street in front of the High School than to work around them. Shade, beauty, and nature weren’t valued. Again, no use crying over spilt milk…
But there’s something wrong with the priorities in this country and in this state, when billions are siphoned from programs that serve public needs and instead give tax cuts and enrich the richest few, the special interests. When we spend more on prisons than education. When we ignore climate change while continuing to burn coal, frack for oil, and — yes — build more freeways and cut down trees.
Here locally, what are our priorities and values? In whatever ways we can, I want Willits to be part of the solution. Let’s help and support each other in our community, make improvements that benefit all, and protect the precious resources we still are blessed with. It’s up to us, individually and collectively, with our hearts, hands and brains, to make the future we want for our children and grandchildren.
— Madge Strong, Willits
Ed note: Madge Strong is a member of the Willits City Council
* * *
A READER COMMENTS
Re: The Bypass decline in downtown business in Willits: “There have been some ironic and disturbing revelations in the past couple weeks.”
What’s really going on is the price of pot. In a season the prices have plummeted from an average of 1200 bucks a pound to in some areas, $500. This, coupled with the predicted post bypass recession the perfect storm has formed over the streets of Willits. Willits is hurting financially, and it’s going to get worse, not because of CalTrans but because pot will no longer be supporting the community. The “Gold Rush” for the outlaws is ending… We all knew CalTrans was crooked from the beginning, remember when that football field of concrete fell over during construction? Any other builder has anything approaching that happen and they’re shut down for years…probably out of business… CalTrans was up and running in a week. And then there’s the horror of the Gummy trees CalTrans cut…Really…?
The City has so mismanaged the Bud Snider Park, (middle of town) that they’re having to cut all of the trees down. This has to do with very poor pruning, by so-called experts, hired by the City. I’m no fan of CalTrans but looking back is really stupid while you’re in the midst of a head-on collision. Look around Madge, there’s plenty of crap on everybody…You sound like an old hippie trying to be relevant.
ANOTHER GUY DRIVES THROUGH TO PICK UP A FEW CASES OF FREE WINE, GOES HOME TO WRITE THE USUAL PUFFAROO
Uncork A Perfect Weekend In Anderson Valley
by Tim Teichgraeber
To get to Anderson Valley from San Francisco, you drive north for two hours on Highway 101, through Sonoma County, into Mendocino County. When you finally pull into Cloverdale and take a hard left-hand turn onto Highway 128 toward Boonville, it feels as if you’re diving into a rabbit hole.
You corkscrew down several hundred feet of altitude on a ribbon road that snakes through the forests of the Yorkville Highlands, finally washing out into the flats of Anderson Valley.
Surrounded by heavily forested hillsides on both sides, Anderson Valley acts is a narrow conduit between the warm inland reaches of Mendocino County and the chilly, pristine Mendocino Coast.
Over the past 50 years, Anderson Valley has transitioned from logging and apple farming to grape growing and pot farming. It also has become one of the most promising, and best, wine-tasting destinations in California.
Champagne Louis Roederer bought a big property near Philo in 1982, raising many eyebrows and giving the region a massive surge of credibility for growing cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Alsace varieties such as Pinot Gris and Riesling.
Restaurants like the Bewildered Pig, homey locals’ hangout Lauren’s and artisanal pizza restaurant Stone and Embers all have raised the dining bar in recent years. What had been a rough-and-tumble logging community has transitioned into precious California wine country.
“It really all started with Handley and Husch and Navarro. They’re the originals. Then folks at Williams Selyem, Ted Lemon from Littorai, and Goldeneye developed some notoriety for Anderson Valley Pinot Noir,” says Goldeneye’s Vice President of Winemaking Neil Bernardi.
“In 1996, Dan (Duckhorn) wanted to plant a flag in Anderson Valley, to invest in a group of estate vineyards up and down the valley, and to control quality from the ground up.” Goldeneye is one of the benchmark producers in the valley these days, making lavish, refined Pinot Noirs that command $50 a bottle to more than $100 a bottle.
A seated wine tasting at Goldeneye will run about $15 per person. That allows you to taste wines from the warmest eastern parts and coolest coastal parts of the valley side by side. It’s a genuinely informative experience because the transverse valley is about 10 degrees cooler at the coastal end than it is farther inland.
Many of the other tasting rooms in Anderson Valley charge only $5 per person. That nominal sum is often refundable with a purchase. Compared with some other destinations, a couple can save enough in tasting room fees to pay for a hotel room, either at a B&B on the Mendocino coast, or somewhere in the valley, such as the Madrones in Philo or the chic Boonville Hotel.
Anderson Valley wines range from very good to sublime these days. And when you sidle up to the tasting room bar, you may well be talking to a founder of the winery. That is definitely part of the charm.
One of the standout family wineries you encounter when you roll into Boonville is Foursight. The Charles family has owned property in Anderson Valley since 1943. Kristy Charles’ parents planted some grape vines in 2001, right before she headed to San Luis Obispo for college, where she met her future husband, and Foursight winemaker, Joe Webb.
“The wine business has grown up here. We now have about 30 wineries, give or take. I think we’re making really stellar wines now. Any appellation takes a while to go from foundation to having a reputation and knowing its purpose,” says Kristy Charles.
Foursight’s estate-bottled wines are made in a sleek fashion that has become a common thread in Anderson Valley winemaking. Wines up here aren’t aged in a lot of new oak. Alcohol levels are kept deliberately low when possible, and many wines are not fined or filtered.
There has been an influx of young winemaking talent into Anderson Valley in recent years. Some of those young winemakers were bootstrappers looking to stake a claim, others were just hoping to catch a wave at someone else’s winery.
Jason and Molly Drew moved to Mendocino County in 2004, buying a 26-acre apple orchard in the high-altitude Mendocino Ridge AVA that overlooks Anderson Valley. “We were actively looking all up and down the coast. We found this beautiful piece of land in the Mendocino Ridge, explains Jason Drew.
Mendocino Ridge is above 1,200 feet elevation, within 11 miles of the coast and sandwiched between Anderson Valley and Sonoma Coast. “We look down into Anderson Valley to the northeast. To the west is the ocean,” says Drew.
Sourcing grapes from both Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Ridge regions, Drew makes about six cool-climate, small-production Pinot Noirs and Syrahs (hundreds of cases of each), generally always under 14 percent alcohol that offer an insightful survey of the region’s elegant wines.
Another up-and-comer in Anderson Valley is Baxter, a small production brand that has a charming tasting room in Philo.
Claire Baxter says of her husband, winemaker Phil Baxter: “He learned the science at UC Davis and the intuition in Burgundy.” Old World technique is subtly evident in Baxter’s Pinot Noirs and Syrahs. There’s not much new oak, fining or filtration. He includes some grape stems in the fermentation process, and to add complexity, winters the wines in barrel so that they don’t undergo malolactic fermentation until spring.
Balo, just across the highway from Goldeneye, is also a worthy stop, for great wines, the bocce courts and the laid-back atmosphere. Michelle and Tim Mullins broke ground on the estate in 2003, released their first wines in 2009, and opened their own winery and custom crush facility in 2012. Jason Drew was an early consulting winemaker. He convinced the Mullins family to farm organically, which Mullins concedes was a great move. Current winemaker Alex Crangle is making balanced, restrained Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in true Anderson Valley fashion.
Tim Mullins, who still holds down his day job at Wells Fargo, has seen plenty of changes in Anderson Valley. “Back then, at the annual Pinot Noir festival in May, you would go from table to table and there were good wines and not-so-good ones. Now it’s just one great wine after another. There has been a sea change in the quality of fruit, and a lot of growers have transitioned to organic or biodynamic farming,” says Mullins.
“When I started coming here it was like a ghost town. Now we have pub-style restaurants and high-end restaurants. There’s more traffic, but I don’t think it will ever turn into Napa or Sonoma because it’s farther from San Francisco,” Mullins says.
We’ll see about that. Anderson Valley is still a remarkably well-kept secret, but that can't last forever. The wines are just too good to ignore, and the independent spirit of the place sets it apart. My advice is to get up to Anderson Valley before too much changes, and experience the unspoiled charm of a world class wine region that is just hitting its stride.
ED NOTE: The referenced mini-tycoon, Mr. Mullins, apparently a big wig in a bank recently noted for swindling thousands of its credit card customers, arrived in the Anderson Valley a little over a decade ago, by which time conversion of The Valley to a kind of wine theme park was well underway. Count me as a vote for all the locals who think the wine industry is more of a hydra-headed disaster than boon. Versions of the above story are apparently endless.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 10, 2017
Armas, Brew, Christensen
JULIAN ARMAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DARREN BREW, Willits. Probation revocation.
RICHARD CHRISTENSEN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
Cruz-Martinez, Donovan, Elder
CONSTANTINO CRUZ-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI.
ANNETTE DONOVAN, Point Arena. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
SHERRI ELDER, Ukiah. Resisting.
Fischer, Gonzales, Heath
AARYAN FISCHER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ANTHONY GONZALES, Ukiah. Vandalism, criminal threats.
DANIEL HEATH, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, criminal threats.
Higgins, Hulsey, Idica
MICHAEL HIGGINS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
SHUDRAH HULSEY, Fort Bragg. Court order disobeyance, failure to appear.
DOMINK IDICA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probatioin revocation.
Jewell, Lopez, Macarthur
AMANDA JEWELL, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RYAN LOPEZ, Ukiah. Reckless driving, no license, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
CALEB MACARTHUR, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
Munoz, Sloan, Young
CRISTINA MUNOZ, Laytonville. DUI, controlled substance.
MARCUS SLOAN, Hopland. Failure to appear.
VINCENT YOUNG, Philo. Probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
One of the hallmarks that I see of the approaching end of our techno-industrial age are cellphones. Every 6 months one company or another comes out with the latest and most advanced cellphone with faster processors and more memory – along with a higher price tag. The apple iPhone 8 is rumored to cost over $1,000. Talk about unsustainable. Real wages are not increasing so to afford the latest cellphone, or anything for that matter, new stuff requires consumers to make sacrifices elsewhere – but where? The pace of the consumer arms race appears to me to be more frenetic than ever. Cars, and car repairs, cost more and so do things like groceries, clothes, kitchen appliances (which no longer last 10+ years), education and all our extra-curricular activities like tickets to sporting events. If wages were keeping up then it could keep going. Convincing people to go back to the days of hand me downs, and companies to return to the days of better and longer lasting won’t happen UNTIL it has to. That day is approaching soon.
PREPARE FOR A BOUNTY OF FALL AND WINTER VEGETABLES!
Giving In To Fall Vegetable Gardening
Saturday, August 26
Class runs from 10:00am to 3:30pm (Lecture 10:00am-1:00pm; Hands-on 1:30pm-3:30pm)
This is the final lecture in this year's extended learning series which offered four classes of hands-on, brains-on training. MCBG Lead Gardener Jaime Jensen teaches the essential skills to develop a strong vegetable garden for years to come. The end of summer is all about knowing the right time to start your fall and winter vegetable garden. In this class we will discuss timing and fall vegetables. This is also the time to start thinking and prepping for next spring, so we will also cover the topic of saving seeds and fall soil building techniques. Class cost is $35 (includes Gardens admission for the day). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Please reserve space for one or all of the classes by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at MCBG.
Singing Hava Negila on the barricades with Bruce Anderson!
Chuckle. I was at Mosswood Market and picked up the AVA.
I love your description of climbing up onto the barricades with your bad knees at 78.
But you won't stir from your chair without clearance from your Jewish zionist bosses, or 'handlers' as the zionists like to describe them. You're not different from the rest of the self-describe 'left' and 'revolutionaries' in the US in that sense.
By my early twenties I had figured that out and have never belonged to any sort of 'vanguard' grouping since. All of them have an informal Jewish sub clique that vetoes anything the group said or does, based on the interests of Israel.
This is the basic reason the US working people don't go near the organized left.
WE are not so dumb that we can't smell zionist handlers, actually. So much time is wasted among vanguard groups discussing why they are isolated, even as they cringe in the shadow of JVP, MECA, IJAN, US Campaign, and the rest of the overlapping acronyms that run the show and write their script. They also recruit and vet 'Palestinian' American stooges, such as Mazin Qumsiyeh and Ali Abunimah, to front for their witch hunts against any non Jews who dare to speak out from a media platform.
Right now mainly the witch burning is directed at Alison Weir from the Bay Area, Gilad Atzmon, Miko Peled, and probably others I don't know about, but they have had a lower profile witch hunt against me for the last 30 years.
Which you have backed of course with untold column inches of anything they send you.
Start practicing your dancing to Hava Negila, Bruce, but you'll be out of place with your picture of Netanyahu on the barricades.
Martin Pereira, Sonoma County
ED NOTE: Mr. Pereira, aka Mark Richey, is a monomaniac cum clinical paranoid who thinks that all the people and groups who want to see fair play for the Palestinians are dupes of a very busy and ongoing Zionist conspiracy. These dupes, in Richey's fevered brain, include me, although I've never heard of my alleged co-conspirators. I do consider Jeff Blankfort a friend whom Richey has been insulting for years: If Blankfort's a Zionist look for me starting tonight for the Giants in centerfield. For the record, I'm a two-state, '67 borders guy, and a party of one left person who the left the left about 1990.
Lenin sweeps up the scum of the earth
STAN BERENS & THE AVA
I called my friend Ted last night to let him know I just received a new shipment of Anderson Valley Advertisers from Mendocino County. Ted teaches English at the juvenile drug rehabilitation center in the next town and after I read them I give them to Ted who uses the AVA to teach about irony. He says it's just about impossible to find irony in the corporate media dailies. But the AVA is awash in it.
My favorite example is from a couple years ago when you ran a front-page story about a lawsuit filed by your reporter against a winery using big noisy fans on poles to keep grapes from freezing. About an inch north of the big headline was the masthead motto: "Fanning the flames of discontent." Sounds like the AVA doesn't want any competition in the discontent fanning business.
Ted leaves the papers around the classroom for the kids to read because having been through the drug criminal justice system themselves, they love reading the court news.
I like the Advertiser because it fits my definition of a great newspaper — full of interesting reading even if you've never been to Mendocino County and even if the news is three or four months old.
I started reading the AVA ten or so years ago. Our old friends Bill and Julie Brazill from Mendocino sent us a package and used balled up AVAs to protect a fragile item. Being a former reporter myself something caught my eye. So I smoothed out the papers and began reading. Ever since, Bill saves the papers after they read them and sends me a batch three or four times a year.
What I like best about the AVA is in nearly every issue I find something that reminds me of my job as a reporter for the United Press International back in the early 1970s in Boston. The place was a haven of mild insanity amid a cacophony of noise dominated by dozens of chattering teletype machines with their bells ringing, people shouting on phones and all run with an iron hand by Bureau Chief Stan Berens, an old-fashioned kick-ass editor if there ever was one.
Stan hired me on the spot and told me if after my first week on the job I'd found the men's room he’d be happy. The next morning he put me on the lowest job in the Bureau: rewriting press releases. Dozens of them arrived every morning. Stan told me to find the ones that sounded interesting and make some phone calls, flesh them out, but make sure not to include any "flak language" because he hated flaks and he could smell "flak language" a mile away and if I copied any "flak language" into the story that would be strike one and in his bureau three strikes and you're out.
I asked one of the older reporters what Stan meant by "flaks and flak language." She told me that in Stan's mind his reporters were like bomber pilots flying into enemy territory dropping payloads of truth to the people. Public relations departments loaded fawning press releases into their anti-aircraft flak guns and shot them up to divert us from our missions.
One stormy day Stan called me into his office where he was waving a $5 bill at me. "Here. Take this down to the bank and get a role of dimes. Then get your ass over to the weather bureau at Logan airport. That hurricane is going to strike land somewhere in the southern New England area this afternoon and I want UPI to be the first to report where. Find the nearest payphone and call the news desk every half hour."
I found someone to show me the radar and after a couple hours I was pretty sure where the hurricane was going to hit land. I called in that radar showed it was going to hit a few miles east of Barnstable on Cape Cod. We beat the AP. Stan was happy and after that I got more assignments and promoted to the overnight radio desk condensing newspaper stories for rip and read radio stations and fielding phone calls from strangers.
On the overnight shift there was only one reporter, a photographer and a teletype operator. "You are in charge of all New England, upstate New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands," Stan said. "Don't blow it."
After about a year on the job the political reporter quit and I got promoted to that job. My beat was the Statehouse, Boston City Hall, the courts, political campaigns and the Kennedys. Often I wrote 20 stories a day.
Early one morning Stan called our apartment and Sarah answered. "Put Charlie on."
"I can't. He was up late covering a meeting last night and he's sound asleep."
"Oh yeah. Well, wake him up."
I stumbled to the phone. "One of Bobby Kennedy's kids just got busted for smoking pot down on the Cape. Get a role of dimes and get your ass down to Hyannis. He's going to be arraigned this afternoon."
"Which Kennedy and which court?"
"You're the reporter. Find out. And if he farts I want to know about it."
One morning Stan called me in to say a state Senate committee was holding a meeting about some issue very important to the big afternoon daily in Springfield. "Get over there and get back here with a story by their 11 AM deadline."
"I can't do that Stan. It's a closed door meeting."
Stan came over and put his arm around my shoulder. "Here's how you cover a closed door meeting: Sooner or later one of those guys is going to have to take a leak. Wait until he does and when he comes out you follow him right into the men's room. Wait until he pulls his pecker out then start asking questions. Don't let him out until you get enough for a good lead."
Stan was right. One of the senators did come out to take a leak. Only it was Mary Fonseca, the state’s only woman senator.
UPI had a practice of rewriting leads of stories to stretch them out over several days. One time a popular state politician died and in rewriting the story for the next news cycle I used a lead that said, "A cloud of gloom hung over the Statehouse today."
Stan called me in to the office and he wasn't happy. He picked up the phone and called the photo editor. "Hi Bob. You hear about that cloud of gloom hanging over the statehouse? Get someone over there and take a picture of it." Then he rolled out my story and threw it at me like a snowball.
Probably the biggest story I covered was when Daniel Ellsberg turned himself in at the federal courthouse in Boston. Stan called me in and this time he called in the copy boy too. The copy boy's job was to occupy the phone booth outside the courthouse and keep a line open to the news desk. Stan showed Jimmy just how to place his foot in the crease of the door so no other reporter would be able to come along and pull him out.
When Ellsberg's lawyer rose to speak I listened for a couple of minutes then ran for the phone, composing my story on the run. I knew it was a big story because Stan himself was at the desk. I started with my lead and Stan interrupted. "Well, did he admit to leaking the Pentagon papers?"
Ellsberg himself had never said a word, but I figured why else was he there? I said, Yes, and Stan signaled for a bulletin to go out over the wire. We beat the AP handily.
Last winter Sarah and I went out to Mendocino for a visit and we stopped in Boonville because I wanted to go into the AVA's office and complain. We walked all over town but couldn't find it. "Why don't you just ask someone?" said Sarah.
"No. I'm not much of a reporter if I can't find it on my own." But I didn't.
Later I asked Bill where it was. He thought it was in a trailer set back from the street and not well marked. I said they probably keep it hitched to a truck at all times for a quick get away.
"Yeah," said Bill. "and on publication day they keep the truck idling."
South Ryegate, Vermont
ACTIVISTS RALLYING FOR KAEPERNICK
But aiming far higher than one man’s career.
by Dave Zirin
On August 23, a rally described as a “nonviolent direct action” will gather in front of the NFL’s Park Avenue Headquarters. A host of civil-rights organizations will protest the exile-status of free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
There is no indication that Kaepernick is connected to the rally, but his endorsement is irrelevant: The issue has become something far bigger than the makeup of an NFL roster. The Kaepernick story isn’t just about a quarterback looking for employment, but about whether, in the Trump/Bannon era, speaking out against police violence and institutionalized racism can cost you your job. The rally aims to make sure that Colin Kaepernick never becomes a cautionary tale, a ghost story meant to scare people—athletes or otherwise—from speaking out. As civil-rights legend Harry Belafonte said in support of the protest: “When a black voice is raised in protest to oppression, those who are comfortable with our oppression are the first to criticize us for daring to speak out against it.”
This rally isn’t only fueled by Kaepernick’s unsigned status. It’s also a response to the official reasons put forth by NFL executives and their media mouthpieces, which have moved from outrage to farce to insult. First the “NFL experts,” in full disinformation mode, said that he was unsigned because he wasn’t good enough. Then they said he wanted too much money. Then they expressed worry that he was not in good enough shape because he is a vegan. Then they said that the starting jobs are all filled up, and he might just be too good to be a backup. As a long line of sub-par quarterbacks were signed—including some who had been retired, were selling real estate, had thrown for negative yards in college, threw more interceptions in a game last season than Kaepernick tossed all year, or were best known for being part of NFL blooper-reels—a quarterback who threw for 16 touchdowns and 4 picks last season, and who took the San Francisco 49ers within one play of winning the Super Bowl in 2012, still finds himself out of work.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, like many players, has gone from giving the NFL the benefit of the doubt to thinking that something is rotten on Park Avenue. He said to ESPN:
“My original position was I thought that the situation last year with him taking a knee didn’t have anything to do with [his being unsigned]. After viewing what’s going on, I’ve got to take that back. I definitely think that the league, the owners are trying to send a message of, ‘Stay in between the lines.’”
We know why Kaepernick hasn’t been signed. It’s not only because he famously took a knee during the national anthem. It’s also because he backed his actions with words and deeds, saying things like: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
He then spent the season enduring death threats, inspiring other players to take action, and publicly giving money to organizations like Assata’s Daughters, a health clinic at Standing Rock. What we have, quite simply and obviously, is a case of NFL owners’ colluding to keep Colin Kaepernick out of a job. This blackballing is not just about punishing him as an individual. It’s the NFL sending a shot across the bow at every player who’s been inspired to speak out and be heard. It’s a warning that you should just collect your checks, get your concussions, and keep your mouths shut. It’s a statement by NFL owners that black lives matter only when they entertain or sell league-approved products—and not when they speak out against injustice.
As Tamika Mallory, co-president of the Women’s March, said of her support for the protest: “Colin Kaepernick used his constitutional right to free speech and took a knee on behalf of black lives. When the NFL has a history of excusing players for egregious behaviors (including violence against women), it is clear team owners are making a statement when it comes to Kaepernick. We as consumers, viewers and people of good moral conscience must make one as well.”
As for Kaepernick himself, I met the quarterback at one of his Know Your Rights camps. He is at peace with the choices he has made, even if it costs him his livelihood. That is a beautiful thing, but many others are not at peace with the choices made by the NFL ownership fraternity. They will be protesting the NFL’s choice to punish a player for daring to be more than a brand. They will be protesting the idea that our only response to injustice should be silence.
MENDO ROAD INFO (via Caltrans)
Route 1 (2.8/79.1) – Rumble strip installation at various locations from Glennen Drive to Branscomb Road will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.
Route 1 (77.7) – Emergency work north of the Westport North Bridge will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 1 (78.8/83.3) – Emergency storm damage repairs south of the Wages Creek Bridge will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 20 (17.3/38.5) – Rumble strip installation at various locations from Chamberlain Creek to Lake Mendocino Branscomb Road will begin Tuesday, August 15. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.
Route 101 (0.7/3.1) – Median barrier installation from Geysers Road to Comminsky Station Road will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns. Route 101 (3.1/5.9) – Slide repairs from Comminsky Station Road to the Pieta Creek Bridge will continue. Northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (4.5/5.0) – Routine maintenance near Frog Woman Rock will continue. Northbound traffic will be restricted to one lane 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns
Route 101 (39.0/40.0) – Emergency work near Ridgewood Ranch Road will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (41.2/44.0) – Bridge repairs at the Haehl Overhead Bridge will continue. A southbound lane closure will be in effect at all hours. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns. Route 101 (51.7) – Fish passage improvements at Ryan Creek will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays. Route 101 (57.7/58.9) – Drainage repairs near the Moss Cove Rest Area will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (62.5/63.0) – Drainage repairs near Sherwood Road will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (63.5/82.5) – Emergency pavement repairs from Long Valley Creek to the Empire Camp Rest Area will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Monday evening through Saturday morning. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 101 (82.5/83.1) – Drainage repairs near the Empire Camp Rest Area will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (84.0/87.7) – Emergency work near Hermitage Vista Point will continue. Northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (96.5/101.6) – Guardrail repairs from Dora Creek to Reynolds will begin Monday, August 14. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.
Route 101 (97.1) – Emergency slide removal near the Dora Creek Bridge will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 40-minute delays from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays, 20-minute delays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 15-minute delays at other times.
Route 101 (103.8/105.4) – Emergency slide removal near Piercy will continue. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in both directions 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Motorists should anticipate minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 128 (4.0/20.6) – Rumble strip installation at various locations from 4 miles east of Route 1 to Philo will begin Sunday, August 13. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., Sunday evening through Friday morning. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.
Route 128 (36.6/41.3) – Roadway repairs from Fish Rock Road to Yorkville will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 128 (40.2/48.4) – Culvert repairs from 0.7 mile east of Big Oaks Drive to Mountain House Road will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays.
Route 162 (22.7) – Emergency storm damage repairs near Sand Bank Creek will continue. One-way traffic control with a temporary traffic signal will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays
Route 175 (5.6/9.9) – Emergency storm damage repairs at various locations from 1.7 miles east of Buckman Drive to the Lake/Mendocino County line will continue. One-way traffic control with a temporary traffic signal will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 30-minute delays.
Route 222 (1.7) – PG&E has been granted a Caltrans Encroachment Permit for utility repairs near Burke Road through Friday, August 11. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays. Route 253 (1.2/2.0) – Highway repairs near Singley Cattlepass will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays.