Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017

by AVA News Service, August 17, 2017

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THE SUPES VOTED 3-1 TUESDAY to proceed with the privatization of county dispatch services and inland ambulance services. The beneficiariary of the county’s latest give away will be the global Danish ambulance and medical services giant, the Falck Group.

SUPERVISOR John McCowen wisely tried to convince his fellow Supervisors (Gjerde was absent) that it would be disruptive to privatize both dispatch services and ambulance services at the same time, suggesting that the dispatch Request For Propsal (RPF or bid) be held up for some period before being issued.

BUT EVEN AFTER the Calfire Chief, AV Chief Andres Avila (saying he represented both the AV Fire Department and the Mendocino Fire Chiefs Associations Communications Committee) and the Sheriff said they were happy with Calfire’s dispatch services, Supervisors Dan Hamburg, Carre Brown and Georgeanne Croskey (who should not even be voting on such things because she’s leaving the County and her seat at the first of the year well before the results of this decision will kick in) said they believed putting dispatch out to bid (with Sonoma County’s urban-oriented Coastal Valley EMS outfit managing the process) might save some “taxpayer dollars,” seldom a primary consideration with these people.

EVERYONE DIRECTLY CONCERNED with emergency dispatch says they’re happy with CalFire so three supervisors say let’s put this vital service out to bid where a mammoth outside corporation will snatch it up, and when we’re all at their mercy they will, of course, raise rates until….until they milked the Mendo cow dry and we’re left with Dixie Cups and long spools of thread as our emergency services communications system.

THE THINKING of the three privatizers seemed to be that since dispatch and ambulance is on the agenda we have to do it — why did McCowen even bring it up? We don’t want to think about it anymore. It’s a done deal and we prefer to keep it a done deal.

McCOWEN tried a  last minute suggestion to put off the decision until Supervisor Dan Gjerde was present, but the Falck-loving Three wouldn’t hear of it.

WE COULDN’T HELP NOTICE two large men sitting next to each other in the audience, one wearing a Reach (air-ambulance) shirt (now owned by Junk Bond kings Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts) and the other even bigger guy wearing a Falck shirt. the larger man seemed to be snoozing but the less large man was busily taking notes as the board considered McCowen’s proposal. Neither of the big boys spoke.

PREDICTION: FALCK, having created the problem that the Exclusive (Ambulance) Operating Area (EOA) is supposed to solve by butting into Ukiah uninvited, will low-ball their bid, get the EOA (and dispatch if they can package their bid to look like a bargain), skimp on services, generate complaints from hospitals, fire departments, the Sheriff, etc. (much like back in the Ortner Mental Health privatization days), receive the usual minimal oversight characteristic of Mendo’s civic operations, claim that they’re not being paid enough to continue with the contract, threaten to leave unless they’re paid more (with any alternative already driven out of business or out of the area), jack up their prices and continue skimping on services while cherry picking the most lucrative ambulance runs for themselves via their control over dispatch. And, with Coastal Valley EMS at their side, Falck will impose more difficult and costly service requirements on various rural public and private (volunteer) ambulance and emergency response agencies in inland Mendocino which may eventually force them into the Falck orbit.

UNDERSHERIFF RANDY JOHNSON said that he was very happy with Calfire dispatch, not only that but the Calfire dispatch facility on the Willits grade was an important back up communications and dispatch center in the event that communications went down in the Ukiah Valley for Sheriff’s dispatch. Johnson also noted that since there will still be some form of fire dispatch, turning ambulance dispatch over to a new player would just introduce another layer of possible confusion in already tense situations.

NONE OF THIS professional advice to hold off on privatizing Calfire Dispatch held any sway with the Falck Three. We expect that by sometime in 2018 or early 2019 Mendo will start spelling F-A-L-C-K as O-R-T-N-E-R, but without even a Redwood Quality Management Company around to pick up the pieces.

WE’LL HAVE MORE on this terrible decision to continue with the Ambulance and Dispatch RFPs in the next few days.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The boss was all over me this morning because I had a little accident at the foot of his stairs. 'Little Dog,' he says, 'you're turning into a real slob. Skrag would never do something like this!' Skrag! Comparing me to that bum? Like I don't have seniority in this place? That really hurt!”

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The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office is searching for three juveniles they say have been missing since either late Sunday night or early Monday morning. More from DNCSO below:

The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office needs your help locating three missing juveniles.

Cody, Brayden & Breannah

Breannah Kelly is 16 years old, 5’03’ tall, about 152 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Braydan Teague is 16 years old, 5’10” tall, about 135 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Cody Dickinson is 15 years old, 6’02” tall, about 200 pounds with reddish-brown hair and blue eyes.

They are possibly together and travelling in a 2003 Silver Kia Optima with a dent near the left side rear wheel.

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of these three missing juveniles, please contact the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office at 707-464-4191.

You may remain anonymous.

The teens may be traveling in this vehicle

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An eclipse is a good time to point out that the stars and planets in the sky, as well as the one we live on the moist skin of, are not gods and goddesses or spirits of anything but places made of naturally occurring materials in a big naturally occurring clock, so astrology is nonsense.

The coolest thing to me about the last solar eclipse (2012-05-20) was the projection on walls and on the ground of thousands of crescent suns, because of the pinhole cameras made of spaces between leaves in trees. And a breeze made them all wiggle and wink in and out like the shiny sequins on the back of an Alhambra water truck.

Here's Randall Munroe's latest webcomic page about solar-eclipse-o'clock Monday, including the line, "It's not like the concept is all that arcane or mathematical. It's a thing going in front of another thing."

Speaking of which, I looked up How many eclipses, solar or lunar, are there every year? and found this:

And here are track maps of all 35 solar eclipses visible from the U.S. between 1901 and June of 2048, when I'll be 89 years old and probably still waiting patiently for whoever is the then-current managerial lump at KZYX to schedule my excellent local radio show there:

Marco McClean

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Counted the stars on the 4th of July

Wishing they were rockets bursting into the sky

Talking about redemption and leaving things behind

As the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

As fierce as Monday morning feeling washed away

Our orchestrated paradise couldn't make you stay

You dance with the horses through the sands of time

As the sun sinks west of the Mendocino County Line

I have these pictures and I keep these photographs

To remind me of a time

These pictures and these photographs

Let me know I'm doin' fine

I used to make you happy once upon a time

But the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

The two of us together felt nothin' but right

Feeling you near immortal every Friday night

Lost in our convictions left stained with wine

As the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

I have these pictures and I keep these photographs

To remain me of a time

These pictures and these photographs

Let me know I'm doin' fine

I used to make you happy once upon a time

But the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

I don't talk to you too much these days

I just thank the lord pictures don't fade

I spent time with an angel just passing through

Now all that's left is this image of you

Counted the stars on the 4th of July

Wishing we were rockets bursting in the sky

Talking about redemption and leaving things behind

I have these pictures and I keep these photographs

To remind me of a time

These pictures and these photographs

Let me know I'm doin' fine

We used to be so happy once upon a time

Once upon a time

But the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

And the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line

— Willie Nelson

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by Dan Berger

In late 1991, as wine editor of the Los Angeles Times, I named Paul Dolan of Fetzer Vineyards as Winemaker of the Year and called him to set up an interview.

“Sure,” said Paul, “but I’d like to bring Denny Martin along. He deserves most of the credit for what I do.”

The generous gesture wasn’t lost on me, and at our meeting it was obvious that the close personal as well as professional relationship between the two men included great respect for each man’s talents.

Dennis Martin, who passed away Sunday at age 69 following a battle with cancer, was as low-key and self-effacing as Dolan, and the two talents meshed perfectly to make Fetzer one of the state’s greatest wineries during its heyday in the 1980s. Martin was a part of the winemaking team at Fetzer for more than 30 years, serving as Dolan’s assistant. After Dolan left nearly 20 years ago, he became vice president and director of winemaking.

Perhaps the two winemakers’ greatest contribution to California’s North Coast was their insistence on harvesting fruit with perfect balance, making for some of the most stylish yet still value-oriented wines in the state.

During the time that the two men expanded the fortunes of the family-owned brand, some of the wines grew so rapidly in volume that the men were hard pressed to find quality fruit to keep quality as high as it had been when it was made in lower volumes. One such wine was the widely recognized Sundial Chardonnay.

Although the Fetzer brand was based in Mendocino County, it was obvious that to keep quality high and prices reasonable meant going to other regions for grapes, and Martin pioneered the use of fruit from Lake and Monterey counties in particular.

Lake County was not yet widely known for the high quality of its sauvignon blanc, but Martin was a huge fan of how the Lake fruit worked to give Fetzer’s Valley Oaks Sauvignon Blanc the perfect aromas.

Even riskier was Martin’s love of fruit from the Central Coast. It was a time when Monterey and even Santa Barbara were being disparaged in some quarters for having herbaceous flavors in some grapes. Martin regularly traveled hundreds of miles to meet with growers in the Salinas Valley, Santa Maria, and elsewhere, using the latest viticultural concepts to produce fruit with properly ripe flavors.

Martin and Dolan also were insistent that their wines have moderate alcohols and identifiable varietal characteristics.

Most Fetzer wines were seen as great values, but that didn’t preclude them from making world-class wines as well. A great example was a Fetzer 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that frequently beat higher-scoring wines in blind tastings at which I was a judge.

Martin also was a huge fan of various sub-regions of Santa Barbara County for pinot noir. Even though Fetzer had no particular need for small quantities of esoteric, pricier wines, Martin persuaded the company to make a few cases of some reserve-style pinot noirs.

Tiny amounts of these pinots were produced, many with fanciful labels that carried Martin’s name and signature on the back label. Every one of these I tasted was a gem.

Martin, long a resident of Healdsburg, was widely liked throughout the wine community and was a regular taster with an informal winemakers’ society, the Vintage Hills Tasting Group in northern Sonoma.

He also judged at many major wine competitions, and even though he was ill, he was a judge at the 39th annual Mendocino County Wine Competition in early August in Boonville.

At the Thursday evening dinner for the judges, I brought a three-liter bottle of 1986 Fetzer Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon that Martin had made.

The wine proved to be sensational. and Martin commented about the fact that its 13.5 percent alcohol was one of the key reasons.

And then in typical fashion he gave credit to Dolan: “This wine wouldn’t have made it this long if it didn’t have the low pH that Paul wanted — low enough for it to age.”

“Denny and I met when we were in our 20s, and we grew up in life and in wine together,” Dolan said after learning of Martin’s death. “We were both there to catch each other’s missteps ...

“Denny was admired by all those who worked with us. He gave people the space to work, to do their own things,” he added. “That goes all the way back to (founder) Barney (Fetzer), and John and Jim (Fetzer) carried on that tradition.

“We will all miss him greatly.”

(Sonoma County resident Dan Berger publishes “Vintage Experiences,” a weekly wine newsletter. Write to him at He is also co-host of California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon on KSRO Radio, 1350 am.)

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A most interesting opinion piece appeared in the July 20 Ukiah Daily Journal titled “A Granny flat for every Ukiah Homemaker,” written by Ukiah’s favorite hypocrite, former city councilman Phil Baldwin.

The article concerned something called “ADUs” or “Accessory Dwelling Units,” and Phil claims that these units will be built by people with a desire for greater personal income and not as a means to help the down and out by lowering rents.

The reason I say Phil is a hypocrite is that he has, on the property where he lives, a small apartment unit as well as a rental house built across the top of Gibson Creek (and how he gets away with that one I’ll never know).

Phil also has a rental house to the west of his property on the north side of the street. Quite a collection for someone who is opposed to ADUs.

I wonder just how affordable Phil’s rents are especially since he has retired from his job as a teacher.

David Anderson


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Next week a new line-up of Agriculture classes start at Mendocino College including Introduction to Viticulture at the Lakeport campus, Mushroom ID in Fort Bragg and many offerings in Ukiah.  For additional information please call 468-3248 or 468-3218. Jim Xerogeanes and Jake Kyle

(Click to enlarge)

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E&J Gallo Winery of Modesto announced its purchase of Ukiah’s Germain-Robin, California’s first luxury brandy brand.

MENDOCINO COUNTY'S premier booze has been sold to Gallo. I mourn the sale. Way back, whenever it was, but it was when Germain and Robin were brewing up their first genius brews in the hills west of Ukiah, I somehow got a bottle of their heavenly brandy, a gift from an ava guy. Must have been an ava person. AVA people are sensitive to life's finer things. I quickly declared the brandy heavenly in Mendocino County's go-to newspaper-paper, and for three or four years after got an annual free bottle from the boys who developed it. Yes, a gratuity of the first order. If they'd given me a case they could have distilled it with murdered congressmen and I wouldn't have said a word. It's not cheap. I couldn't afford to drink GR on a regular basis certainly, but I usually get a glowing fifth for Christmas, and break it out over the succeeding year for people likely to appreciate it. It'll be the same quality drink it's always been, but it won't go down quite as smoothly under its new auspices.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 16, 2017

Arnold, Budreaux, Collins, Debolt

SHANNON ARNOLD, Goleta/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

WILLIAM BUDREAUX, Leggett. Domestic abuse.

MARSHALL COLLINS III, Albion. Grand theft, misdemeanor hit&run, DUI, suspended license, vandalism, failure to appear.


Franklin, Joaquin, Juarez

MORGAN FRANKLIN, Big Bear City/Fort Bragg. Battery on emergency responder, vandalism, resisting.

DAVID JOAQUIN, Covelo. Suspended license, county parole violation.

JOEL JUAREZ, Fort Bragg. Vandalism of church, trespassing, contempt of court, probation revocation.

Lenhart, Mount, Stansberry

MARKUS LENHART, Redwood Valley. Disobeying court order.

JAMES MOUNT, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.


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by Manuel Vicent

Translated by Louis S. Bedrock

(Dedication: For Zack)

Ambroise Vollard, a seller of paintings and the discoverer of Cézanne, was an agnostic. One day he was asked, in the event that he was obliged to choose a religion, which one would he choose? He answered that since he was sensitive to the cold, he would not hesitate to become a Jew because in the synagogues it was mandatory to wear a hat; his second choice would be to become a Protestant because their churches usually had heating; he would never become a Catholic because Catholic churches were drafty.

This man, who was so skeptical and pragmatic about religion, nevertheless was a visionary with art. He was born on the island of Reunión where, as a child, he had begun collecting pebbles and pieces of broken crockery—especially blue porcelain.

His aunt Noémie painted paper roses. The child wanted to know why she didn’t paint the flowers in the garden which were more beautiful.

—I paint paper flowers because they never wilt.

Many years later, Cézanne gave him the same answer in his gallery on Rue Laffitte.

Ambroise Vollard was the first to recognize the genius of this painter, who opened the door to the avant-garde while he was wandering through Paris dressed like a beggar. Cézanne was badly shaven and wore a red jacket underneath a threadbare jacket. His paintings were the objects of scorn and were rejected by all the salons of painting.

Paul Cézanne’s father, a hatter in the province of Aix-en-Provence, was a conservative man with a golden watch chain and a tyrannic character. He was the founder of a provincial bank. He despised his son’s work as an artist, although he provided him with a subsistence allowance of 125 francs per month to keep him on a leash and shield him from temptation.

Until the day of his death, he saw his son as a dauber. The writer Emilio Zola also considered his old friend Cézanne a ne’er do well with no ability to manage his talent. They had been inseparable companions in play and study at the Bourbon de Aix school. Cézanne played the cornet and Zola played the clarinet in a band created among the children of the bourgeoisie; they made excursions to the slopes of Mont Sainte-Victoire or Pilón du Rey; they swam nude in the Arc River; they recited the verses of Victor Hugo; and together they visited Paris and dreamed of glory.

Zola became a writer and it didn’t take long for him to become famous.

While his novels quickly began to enjoy extraordinary success, Cézanne was an uncongenial artist who was going nowhere. He couldn’t find what he was looking for. He would start to paint, his hands would begin to shake, and he’d rip up the canvas with the spatula and throw the paint brushes against the wall.

In addition, he would redden up to his ears and run out of the studio when a model began to take her clothes off. Women traumatized him. However, he wound up getting together with a seamstress and dressmaker named Hortense Fiquet, who would pose for painters from time to time. He had a child with her but did not tell his father for fear of his tyranny. Ever more stubborn, ever more unmanageable, and ever more gruff, he refused to accept advice from the group of Impressionists that would meet in the Cafe Guerbois. In the doorway, he said to Manet—who dressed like a dandy,

—I can’t shake hands with you because I haven’t washed my hands in 8 days.

From the peak of his success, Zola contemplated the ruin of his friend with a benevolent compassion that ended up converting into an indignant contempt. His most recent novel, Nana, the adventures of a courtesan, sold fifty-thousand copies on the day of its release, while Cézanne had to accept a few francs on account, or some new canvasses, or some tubes of paint in the store of the famous Père Tanguy in Montmartre.

Zola lived in a mansion outside of Paris with a butler, and servants. He received visits seated in a Louis XV chair in front of a marble fireplace surrounded by tapestries, suites of armor, statues, porcelain figures in glass display cabinets, ivory, a vase with the painting of a Chinese man under a parasol, with an angel with outspread wings dangling from the ceiling with an invisible tether, and dark paintings, among which were a mixture of authentic works and forgeries, allegories and pompiers, painted with bitumen judaicum—“Jew’s pitch”, which the Impressionists called “juice of the Church”.

Zola also had some paintings by Cézanne which were kept in a closet and which he didn’t dare show to anyone. When Ambroise Vollard arrived at the house of Zola one day, following the trail of the paintings from Cézanne’s early period that he wanted to add to his collection, the writer greeted him with his beloved dog Pinpin in his arms. When he was asked about the paintings by his childhood friend, Master Zola struck the Breton closet with his hand,

—I have them locked up here. When I recall that I used to tell our old friends that Paul had the genius of a great painter, I still feel embarrassed.

If I put these paintings before your eyes…Cézanne! The life we led in Aix and in our first years in Paris, all our enthusiasm! Ah, but why didn’t my friend produce the work I expected from him? As much as I told him that he possessed the genius of a great painter and had the courage to become one, he never listened to any advice. Trying to reason with him was like trying to convince the towers of Notre Dame to dance.

Zola owned ten works of Cézanne hidden among pieces of junk: one of them was not found beneath the debris until 25 years after the death of the writer which occurred in 1927. The disagreement with his friend was produced when Cézanne saw himself depicted as Claude Lautier, the protagonist of Zola’s novel, L’Oeuvre. The novel told the story of a failed painter, an example of artistic impotence and the breakdown of genius, who commits suicide at end of the story. Cézanne considered this a betrayal.

Meanwhile, Ambroise Vollard had begun to stockpile all the paintings of Cézanne he could find. He had acquired the ones that belonged to Père Tanguy, which were auctioned in the Hotel Drouot after his death; he traveled to Aix-en-Provence where, at that time, the now old and rich but still ridiculed heir of the banker continued to paint without finding what he was looking for, and would throw his paintings out the window onto the trees in the garden: that’s where Vollard saw still lifes of cherries and apples.

The art dealer also bought all the paintings that the neighbors had stashed away in their coal bunkers and attics which the painter had given to them and which they offered to Vollard from their balconies.

One day, art collector Gertrude Stein visited his gallery on Rue Lafitte:

—How much is this Cézanne?

—500 francs —Vollard answered.

—What if I buy three?

—1,500 francs

—And if I buy all ten that you have?

—Then, 50,000.

—Why is that?

—Because I would end up without Cézanne.

Cézanne was obsessed with providing his material with as much depth and consistency as possible and had begun to shape it in ever more intimate layers of interwoven lights to the point of distorting it. Thus, he paved the way for the cubism of Picasso, the fauvism of Matisse, and the abstraction of Kandinsky. From that point on, the painting of the twentieth century broke all ties.

But glory did not come to Cézanne until the great exhibition that Vollard put together in his gallery, which inspired a later retrospective that took place in Paris in 1904 in the Salon d’Automne, two years before the death of the painter.

Today Zola is remembered only for one article dealing with the Dreyfus case, “J’accuse” — which was published in L’Aurore on January 13, 1898. Meanwhile, his friend — the failed artist in his novel, is the painter whose value is still the highest in modern painting

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What galls me is the choice of Robert E. Lee’s statue removal as a cause.

I’m currently reading Shelby Foote impressive trilogy about the Civil War. Robert E. Lee was the kind of man who deserves to be honored and recognized for the extraordinary person he was. The cause he fought for was NOT to preserve slavery even if that was the intended purpose of the politicians and wealthy land owners who precipitated the secession.

Lee besides what skills he had as a general was a thoroughly decent and admirable human being. He forbad his soldiers to plunder, rape, and otherwise victimize civilians and the men under him complied because he was so highly respected. He treated all people with respect whether above or below him in status. He was kind, he was humble – there is every reason to respect him and honor him with a statue and it is a perversion to associate him with the evils of racism.

* * *

There was a 7000-comment thread over at the NYT about this. The considered opinion: Robert E. Lee fought on behalf of a slave-holding society, and so ought not to be present anywhere on earth.

I, for one, think they ought to take this logic to its final ends. Take down all statues of Washington. then, find ANY soldier who fought on the side of slavers. Take those statues down; goodbye, Marcus Aurelius. Slavery was practiced in ancient Israel? Set hammer-wielding madmen to work on Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses. Destroy any remains of ANY society where slavery was practiced; that should solve the problem of the Elgin marbles. Blow up the US Capitol: it was built with slave labor.

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Gray Squirrel (Photo by Ben Anderson)

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A neutral observer might wonder if Facebook’s attitude to content creators is sustainable. Facebook needs content, obviously, because that’s what the site consists of: content that other people have created. It’s just that it isn’t too keen on anyone apart from Facebook making any money from that content. Over time, that attitude is profoundly destructive to the creative and media industries. Access to an audience – their unprecedented two billion people – is a wonderful thing, but Facebook isn’t in any hurry to help you make money from it. If the content providers all eventually go broke, well, that might not be too much of a problem. There are, for now, lots of willing providers: anyone on Facebook is in a sense working for Facebook, adding value to the company. In 2014, the New York Times did the arithmetic and found that humanity was spending 39,757 collective years on the site, every single day. Jonathan Taplin points out that this is “almost fifteen million years of free labor per year.” That was back when it had a mere 1.23 billion users.

Taplin has worked in academia and in the film industry. The reason he feels so strongly about these questions is that he started out in the music business, as manager of The Band, and was on hand to watch the business being destroyed by the internet. What had been a $20 billion industry in 1999 was a $7 billion industry 15 years later. He saw musicians who had made a good living become destitute. That didn’t happen because people had stopped listening to their music – more people than ever were listening to it – but because music had become something people expected to be free. YouTube is the biggest source of music in the world, playing billions of tracks annually, but in 2015 musicians earned less from it and from its ad-supported rivals than they earned from sales of vinyl. Not CDs and recordings in general: vinyl.

Something similar has happened in the world of journalism. Facebook is in essence an advertising company which is indifferent to the content on its site except insofar as it helps to target and sell advertisements. A version of Gresham’s law is at work, in which fake news, which gets more clicks and is free to produce, drives out real news, which often tells people things they don’t want to hear, and is expensive to produce. In addition, Facebook uses an extensive set of tricks to increase its traffic and the revenue it makes from targeting ads, at the expense of the news-making institutions whose content it hosts. Its news feed directs traffic at you based not on your interests, but on how to make the maximum amount of advertising revenue from you. In September 2016, Alan Rusbridger, the former editor of the Guardian, told a Financial Times conference that Facebook had “sucked up $27 million” of the newspaper’s projected ad revenue that year. “They are taking all the money because they have algorithms we don’t understand, which are a filter between what we do and how people receive it.”

This goes to the heart of the question of what Facebook is and what it does. For all the talk about connecting people, building community, and believing in people, Facebook is an advertising company. Antonio Martínez, in his book “Chaos Monkeys,” gives the clearest account both of how it ended up like that, and how Facebook advertising works. In the early years of Facebook, Zuckerberg was much more interested in the growth side of the company than in the monetization. That changed when Facebook went in search of its big payday at the initial public offering, the shining day when shares in a business first go on sale to the general public. This is a huge turning-point for any start-up: in the case of many tech industry workers, the hope and expectation associated with “going public” is what attracted them to their firm in the first place, and/or what has kept them glued to their workstations. It’s the point where the notional money of an early-days business turns into the real cash of a public company.

Martínez was there at the very moment when Zuck got everyone together to tell them they were going public, the moment when all Facebook employees knew that they were about to become rich:

I had chosen a seat behind a detached pair, who on further inspection turned out to be Chris Cox, head of FB product, and Naomi Gleit, a Harvard grad who joined as employee number 29, and was now reputed to be the current longest-serving employee other than Mark.

Naomi, between chats with Cox, was clicking away on her laptop, paying little attention to the Zuckian harangue. I peered over her shoulder at her screen. She was scrolling down an email with a number of links, and progressively clicking each one into existence as another tab on her browser. Clickathon finished, she began lingering on each with an appraiser’s eye. They were real estate listings, each for a different San Francisco property.

Martínez took note of one of the properties and looked it up later. Price: $2.4 million. He is fascinating, and fascinatingly bitter, on the subject of class and status differences in Silicon Valley, in particular the never publicly discussed issue of the huge gulf between early employees in a company, who have often been made unfathomably rich, and the wage slaves who join the firm later in its story. “The protocol is not to talk about it at all publicly.” But, as Bonnie Brown, a masseuse at Google in the early days, wrote in her memoir, “a sharp contrast developed between Googlers working side by side. While one was looking at local movie times on their monitor, the other was booking a flight to Belize for the weekend. How was the conversation on Monday morning going to sound now?”

John Lanchester, “You Are The Product,” London Review of Books

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For the Sake of all Sentient Beings

Today's stupidity and total craziness in Washington D.C. brought to mind how in 1979, I was associated with the San Francisco Zen Center, where I spent a year working at the Tassajara Bakery for $6 hr., was the only City Center member who got up every single morning for zazen meditation at 5 A.M., did frequently sit two or more additional times per day, attended a Zen Buddhist themed lecture at Green Gulch Farm on Sundays, and had maybe a half day each week, after doing the laundry, to go to City Lights Bookstore and then get a beer at Vesuvio's next door. I had my own room in a group rental (with the bakers and other zennists), which had a small wooden chair that I never sat in, a carpet, a window, and a closet for my clothes and sleeping mat and bag. I was willing to do this under the belief that we were acting on behalf of the liberation of all sentient beings from the ocean of suffering in the phenomenal world. The behavior of the humanity generally, since the end of 1979, culminating in today's raving mad political administration in Washington, D.C., plus the ecological decline on the planet earth, makes it clear to me that "all sentient beings" are lucky beyond all measure that many people globally have volunteered to do hard sadhana, because otherwise, "all sentient beings" would be rotting in a postmodern hell. But you know what? I don't ever want to be asked again to do anything like we did. I'm now all the way home, but much of the rest of the sentient population still needs to be informed that its ass is on fire. Good luck!

Craig Louis Stehr


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Tuning the instrument: Vocalist Paula Samonte brings ocean of sound to performance — Ukiah Symphony goes jazzy

by Roberta Werdinger

When Paula Samonte, whose vocal performance of Big Band sounds will open the Ukiah Symphony's 2017-18 season on September 9-10, was a child, her mother used to take her to the ocean. They'd ride the San Francisco streetcar to Playland at the Beach, site of a then-amusement park, where the young Paula was told to turn her back to the waves, face her mother, and then sing. Her mother would step away and tell her daughter to keep singing--loud enough to be heard. And she was.

That's how the petite Samonte--an effervescent performer with decades of national and international touring notched on her belt--became a vocalist with pipes powerful enough to front the entire Ukiah Symphony. Conductor Les Pfutzenreuter will be converting the orchestra to Big Band mode with the inclusion of four trumpets, four trombones, and five saxophones, as well as special string arrangements and a more intimate "combo" section featuring piano, bass, guitar and drums. Together the orchestra and Samonte will make a sound as elemental--strong and soothing--as that ocean Samonte once stood in front of.

What's the "big" about in the Big Band sound, anyway? Normally an ensemble of 10 to 25 musicians, the Big Band sound was spawned in the 1920s and reached cultural dominance in the 1930s through mid-1940s. Coinciding with the Depression and the span of World War II, Big Band orchestras toured the United States and later performed for troops--or belonged to the military themselves. Many of the era's bandleaders--such as Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club in Harlem--were associated with a certain society and milieu; others achieved fame in tandem with legendary performers, such as Chick Webb with Ella Fitzgerald, and Benny Goodman with Peggy Lee. All of those performers are influences for Samonte and will be part of the evening's repertoire.

Although the Big Band sound was later eclipsed in popularity by other forms of jazz such as bebop, which emphasized improvisation, and rock and roll, which achieved prominence in the 1950s, the Big Band style and sound have never gone away. Its perfect fusion of elegance and playfulness, lightness and depth, heartfelt sentiment and brassy, big-city swagger forever defines an era and an entire nation.

It also defines Samonte's style and her musical dedication, which has not wavered in the decades since her mother started her training in front of the ocean. A migrant worker with just a ninth-grade education, Samonte's mother instilled her child with a love of music that included ballet lessons and personal instruction in harmony and breathing. (She later earned her high school diploma, at the age of 40.) Samonte recalls, "She had an insight to the vocal art that you don't read from a book." It's an insight that Samonte strives to instill in her own students, when she gives voice lessons at her studio in Ukiah. Instead of reading music, she encourages both young people and adults to "tune their instrument"--the entire complicated assemblage of lungs, diaphragm, throat, and mouth that is involved with singing and is as universal as the breath, yet unique to each human being.

That uniqueness is important to Samonte. "I don't want to be a carbon copy of someone," she insists, not even Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan--the latter an old friend of hers. Nor are Samonte's experience and interests limited to jazz--she came early to classical music, too. Once her mother left the young Paula in front of a classical radio station, then came running when she heard her crying. When asked what was wrong, the child explained, "The music--it's so beautiful." Now Samonte, who has performed with the Ukiah Symphony before, explains, "Classical music opens up a special nerve in the consciousness, away from push-button culture."

The versatile Samonte also performs Broadway music--she recently performed as the female lead in "Man of La Mancha" at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa. She was happy to be already collaborating with Ukiah Symphony conductor Les Pfutzenreuter, who served as the show's musical director, stating, "Les is a magnificent musician and mentor." In addition to performing and teaching, Samonte is musical director of the Ukiah Civic Light Opera and is writing a musical for a future performance.

Although she still gets calls with invitations to travel and tour, Samonte is content with and grateful for her life in Ukiah, having raised two children who both have careers in the performing arts. She is now enjoying her two grandchildren and is delighted to be performing with her brother-in-law, William Beatty, who will be playing the piano for the Symphony performance. "My light of singing will never go out," she affirms, "but as the light dims another one lights up." It is this kind of generosity that will guarantee a magical night with Samonte and the Symphony, a virtual ocean of sound.

"Paula Swings to the Big Band Era" will take place at the Mendocino College Center Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3 p.m. The concert is sponsored by Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, “In Memory of Dr. Hugh Curtis,” Guilford and Gudrun Dye, and Monte and Kay Hill. Ticket prices are $25 for ages 18 to 64; $20 for age 65 and up; and free for ASB card holders and everyone under 18. Tickets are available at; Mendocino Book Company at 102 S. School St. in Ukiah; and Mail Center, Etc. at 207A N. Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale.

Season tickets are still available and can be purchased at or at the Mendocino College Center Theatre door beginning 30 minutes before each concert.  Prices are $75 for ages 18 to 64; $65 for age 65 and up; and free for ASB card holders and everyone under 18. For further information please call the Ukiah Symphony hotline at 707 462-0236.


25 Responses to Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017

  1. mr. wendal Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 5:51 am

    re: FALCK

    Why are the county supervisors so keen on outsourcing everything but their own jobs? Falck laid off almost its entire staff in Petaluma after they gobbled up a competitor. So now the current dispatchers, who are county residents and know the rural areas, will likely lose their jobs, too. Falck must have done some heavy romancing. I wonder how this came about. I’m glad you’re looking into it.

    I would like to hear a response from the board as to why they ignored safety personnel and why they are turning their backs on local workers yet again.

    We need new management who realizes that privatization of services is not the way to keep this county viable. They have paved the way to higher unemployment and higher costs for services again and no one seems to care. Sounds familiar, eh?

    • George Hollister Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 7:01 am

      The AVA is probably right on this one. But there has to be more to the story.

    • Mike Kalantarian Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Hard to believe we’re privatizing again, the smoke barely cleared from Ortner.

      We apparently need to make David Cay Johnston required reading for supervisors. (I think it was his book “Fine Print” that tells the story of municipal water being privatized in a California town — Boulder Creek, if I remember right — and how that fiasco played out. Not good, and there are many other examples in his book of similar privatization nightmares. You would think people would learn, but that appears to be a very slow process. All his books I highly recommend.)

      Anyway, kudos to Supervisor McCowen for resisting this madness.

      • Harvey Reading Reply

        August 17, 2017 at 9:32 am

        Sadly ,privatization of everything is the goal of the right, democrats and republicans.

    • Stephen Rosenthal Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Croskey should have recused herself (actually she should resign) and they should have waited for Gjerde to participate in such an important issue. Smells like a back room deal to me, in other words, follow the money. Supervisors McCowan and, to a certain extent, Gjerde, seem to be the only ones who have the best interests of the residents of Mendo County at heart and are not rubber stamps. The Supervisors are never held accountable for their actions because they are secure in their reelectability. Exhibit A: Grand Jury findings that are critical of their decisions but are openly condemned and ultimately ignored. Maybe it’s time for DA Eyster to look into this and the Ortner debacle.

  2. mr. wendal Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 5:57 am


    It looks to me like it’s a statement, not an accident. And seniority won’t get you anything anymore, so forget pulling that card. It’s time to buck up, fella and take a few notes from Skrag.

  3. LouisBedrock Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Lee—A Second Opinion:

    …even if one conceded Lee’s military prowess, he would still be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in defense of the South’s authority to own millions of human beings as property because they are black. Lee’s elevation is a key part of a 150-year-old propaganda campaign designed to erase slavery as the cause of the war and whitewash the Confederate cause as a noble one. That ideology is known as the Lost Cause, and as historian David Blight writes, it provided a “foundation on which Southerners built the Jim Crow system.”

    Lee was a slaveowner—his own views on slavery were explicated in an 1856 letter that it often misquoted to give the impression that Lee was some kind of an abolitionist. In the letter, he describes slavery as “a moral & political evil,” but goes on to explain that:

    “I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.”

    The argument here is that slavery is bad for white people, good for black people, and most importantly, it is better than abolitionism; emancipation must wait for divine intervention. That black people might not want to be slaves does not enter into the equation; their opinion on the subject of their own bondage is not even an afterthought to Lee.

    The argument here is that slavery is bad for white people, good for black people, and most importantly, it is better than abolitionism; emancipation must wait for divine intervention. That black people might not want to be slaves does not enter into the equation; their opinion on the subject of their own bondage is not even an afterthought to Lee.

    Lee’s cruelty as a slavemaster was not confined to physical punishment. In Reading the Man, the historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s portrait of Lee through his writings, Pryor writes that “Lee ruptured the Washington and Custis tradition of respecting slave families,” by hiring them off to other plantations, and that “by 1860 he had broken up every family but one on the estate, some of whom had been together since Mount Vernon days.” The separation of slave families was one of the most unfathomably devastating aspects of slavery, and Pryor wrote that Lee’s slaves regarded him as “the worst man I ever see.”

  4. George Hollister Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 7:05 am

    There is a lot of self righteousness boiling over in America these days. That is always a dangerous sign.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 9:38 am

      And George is an true expert on self-righteousness.

  5. Lazarus Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    “What galls me is the choice of Robert E. Lee’s statue removal as a cause.”

    Me too, I’ve been saying for years another civil war is coming. The hatred on CNN and MSNBC has stripped those so-called news agencies of all credibility. I’m no fan of this guy Trump, and I get part of the concern…most of which I find humorous, not horrific… but he’s just the President. I lived through Nixon, Ronald, Raygun, Limpdick Jimmy Carter and W… The Republic survived, and it will survive this…I hope. What’s worrisome is how the media is playing the minions from day to day…, it’s like “All MY Children” was…but on LSD.
    So once that Ukiah Costco is built best stock up on staples to survive the holocaust. In the mean time hope that Korea, China and Russia don’t slip in the backdoor while CNN, MSNBC and others are airing their 24 hour a day Trumpian outrage.
    As always,

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Back to the future?

  6. MarshallNewman Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Re: Privatization of county dispatch. I may be missing something or the details are incomplete, but to quote Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

  7. michael turner Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 9:38 am

    When capturing white Union soldiers Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia typically made them prisoners of war. They routinely murdered black POWs however. Lee was personally modest and dignified, but a war criminal just the same.

    • BB Grace Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Link me up Mr. Turner as I’d like to see your source.

    • George Hollister Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      A stint at Andersonville, and a quick murder might seem more humane.

  8. Harvey Reading Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 10:59 am

    You mean like Breitbart or some of the other trash sites that you “cite”? Quit being such a lazy as* and get yourself to a library where there are history books, then read a little history, you hypocrite.

    • Harvey Reading Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 11:05 am

      My preceding comment, at 1059 was supposed to appear below the 1018 comment of Ms. Grace.

  9. Jim Updegraff Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 11:30 am

    MLB: Bumgarner is not up to stuff. After a few innings his pitch count starts to soar – Cain (3-10 record) is will over the hill. A’s continue to lose more games than they win. Oh well, there is always next year.

    – – –
    El Trumpo the village idiot is crazy as a loon and a disaster waiting to happen. The only people more nuts than him are his believers like BBGrace.

  10. michael turner Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    military historian John Keegan “The American Civil War”, discussing why black Union soldiers fought so stoutly.

    • BB Grace Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you Mr. Turner. If you have not seen Dr. Anderson’s column, Shelby Foote shares the perspective of Southerners who reject everything any Englishman has to say about the Civil war, as the biggest winner of the civil war was England.

  11. Jim Updegraff Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Some good news today: Researchers at John Hopkins University have devolved a blood test that detect the majority of cancers before the patients gets symptoms.

    • sohumlily Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      But it costs $20,000…and isn’t covered by your insurance.

  12. Jim Updegraff Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Depends upon who is your insurance carrier. Plus early detention could substantially reduce the cost of treatment

    • sohumlily Reply

      August 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      I really don’t have the faintest idea how much the test costs, but if it’s cutting edge (new) you can bet it isn’t for plebs like us.

  13. LouisBedrock Reply

    August 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Did You Know?
    Amazing Facts from Files of BB Grace

    1. Democratic confederation was practiced by indigenous tribes complete with women participation, choosing the chief, and more.

    2. Kingdoms HATE confederates. England loathes the Indigenous loving confederates.

    3. The South was claimed first by Spain, which committed indigenous genocide but also slavery as an act of mercy and survival. The majority of slaves were Indigenous peoples.

    4. France claimed the South at a Time the French were emancipating themselves from what was their kingdom and the idea each man’s house was his castle, freedom from kingdoms was the point.

    5. The Yankees will never admit that the majority of slaves were Indigenous, in a world of Black and White, “Colored” is Indigenous.

    6. The Confederates stood with the Indigenous, confederation. But let us not forget here in Mendocino’s National Forest we have a “trail of tears”. The Nome Cult Trail is how Yankees do things.

    7. The war wasn’t about slavery. It didn’t end slavery. It was about England getting control over the South as it had taken control over the Union with it’s strings to the industrial revolution.

    8. The US had made the Louisiana Purchase and moved in to claim what it saw as theirs over dead bodies as usual.

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