Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2017
by AVA News Service, September 12, 2017
SUPES TO RECONSIDER DISPATCH SERVICES RFP
Readers may recall from the August 15 Board of Supervisors meeting reports, that Supervisors Dan Hamburg, Carre Brown and Georgeanne Croskey voted 3-1 against Supervisor John McCowen’s simple proposal to delay the RFP to privatize CalFire Emergency dispatch by a year to minimize disruption and stagger the dispatch RFP so that the Exclusive Ambulance Services RFP would not coincide with the dispatch RFP. For unexplained reasons, Hamburg, Brown and Croskey voted to go ahead with the parallel contracting even though Undersheriff Randy Johnson and several fire service officials thought that Calfire’s emergency dispatch services were working well these days and that at least it would be a good idea to delay the dispatch RFP. Hamburg, Brown and Croskey seemed to be thinking that, heck, we’ve been working on this for months and here it is so let’s go ahead anyway — never mind the objections of the cops and fire officials.
AS THE NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS of that ill-noticed vote have circulated around more and more fire and ambulance services in the County, pressure mounted to ask Supervisor Dan Gjerde to revisit the decision since Gjerde wasn’t on-hand for the August 15 vote and Board rules allow for a Supervisor to request revisiting votes at the first meeting of their return.
Since the August 15 vote, Supervisor Croskey has been given a tour of the Calfire Dispatch facility south of Willits and came away wondering why they’re putting it out to bid to the point that she’s expected to change her position on the subject.
THE ENTIRE SITUATION is odd since the Board and staff have been working on the EOA for years now and there’s no urgency, so why rush to privatize dispatch?
WE’D PREFER to see the whole thing reconsidered — along the same lines that Sonoma County is now doing — but at least for now it seems like a no-brainer to postpone the dispatch RFP for a year.
* * *
UPDATE: Late Monday, Supervisor Gjerde wrote the following note to his colleagues under the heading: “Announcing a Motion to Reconsider HHSA’s timeline that includes an RFP for Fire and Emergency Dispatch Services to be placed on September 19, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting”—
“On August 15, the board approved a timeline, presented by the Health and Human Services Agency, which included a timeline to send out request for proposals for fire and emergency dispatch services.
“Following the guidance of the board of supervisors 2017 rules of procedure, I am providing notice to the board and public that I am requesting a motion to reconsider that item to be placed on the next regular meeting. In reading Rule 27, motion to reconsider, it says a board member who was absent must make this request upon their next attendance of a regular meeting. (I am doing this, with this memo.) And then the agenda item for reconsideration is placed on the following agenda, which would be for the board’s September 19 meeting.
“This request is being made with considerable thought and consideration. I have spoken with representatives of several local fire departments, and have taken a tour of the CalFire dispatch center at Howard Forest. While the board will want to consider many facts, these stick out to me: 1) CalFire is not charging the County it’s fully loaded costs for the dispatch service, 2) CalFire is sending the County annual invoices that are consistently cheaper than listed in the contract, and 3) CalFire has firefighters serving as dispatchers, and that expertise is providing a level of service the local fire departments could not receive from a private dispatch company. Given the information available to the board, I am requesting the board direct that staff would not proceed with an RFP for fire and emergency medical dispatch, since the facts on the ground lead me to believe the board would not approve a contract with a private dispatch company, and proceeding with an RFP would simply be a waste of time and money.”
ABOUT 9 Saturday night, a truck hauling one of the carnival rides to this weekend’s Boonville Fair went over on its side at the junction of 128 and 253. Which is not the half of it, or even half the half of what had happened. According to Anderson Valley Fire Chief Avila, the as yet unnamed driver of the rig did an absolutely heroic job in ensuring that nobody, including him, was hurt. The driver had lost his brakes two miles up the Ukiah Road, and had commenced a two-mile hurtle down that steep and winding two miles, barreling on through the one-way traffic light at construction project and on down the hill to the perilous intersection. Left with the choice of slamming into Clyde Doggett's house at the bottom of the hill, and still traveling at better than 50mph, the driver slammed the big rig on to its side, skidding the careening vehicle into the intersection, and sending remnants of the bucket ride he'd been hauling spiraling in all directions. Miraculously, the driver emerged from the wreckage unharmed, and no one else was harmed either. Chief Avila said Monday morning "the guy deserves a medal."·
IN A FRIDAY NIGHT disaster, Jake Waggoner conked out from a heart attack at the bar of the Buckhorn, but has survived to tell the tale. The guy’s maybe 25, but a young life of strenuous night life unleavened by correct nourishment, and here the guy is with the cardio apparatus of a 90-year-old. Glad he’s ok, but from here on it’s clean living or a very early grave for basically a nice kid.
THE AV PANTHER varsity football team lost Saturday's away non-conference game against Rincon Valley Christian by a score of 35-0. Next game Friday, Sep. 15 at 7pm at home against Calistoga, the annual Fair football game against, used to be, Mendocino. But Mendocino and Potter Valley have dropped football, and Calistoga will have to do.
THE LIGHT RAIN that fell on Mendo last Thursday was enough to prompt a hurry-up harvest of the wine grapes still on the vine, and the bud still on the leaf.
SO MUCH RUSH, in fact, that one Philo vineyard called in this mega-grape harvester, seen here in Boonville on its way back to Sonoma County.
VINEYARDS are having a hard time finding labor, marijuana prices have plummeted to an average of $500 a pound, if a buyer can be found. These are fraught times for Intoxicants County.
OUR SUPERVISORS constant revision of local pot rules clearly works to the advantage of large-scale grows, hence the appearance at Supe’s meetings of fresh-faced corporados who introduce themselves by saying, “I’m from the Silicon Valley and…. “ And…. Get back. The geniuses are here to save us from ourselves.
MEANWHILE, the County’s federally-reinforced pot raid team is making more busts than ever, some of them of people who’ve signed up with the county to grow legally but whose paperwork seems forever stuck somewhere in a Kafka-esque process.
ACCORDING TO THE NYT, “Police officers in Mendocino County said their priority was to go after people who cause environmental damage or who grow on public lands. So far this year they have raided 74 sites and eradicated more than 90,000 plants. Illegal plots are identified by helicopter and then destroyed by a convoy of well-armed police officers and a plant shredder towed by a pickup.”
AS THE DA points to FBI stats that we have a violent crime rate 7 times that of LA which, even allowing for the difference in populations, is an impressive violent crime rate.
COMMUNITY CHURCH SERVICE
Boonville Fair Sunday, September 17th 2017, 8:30 AM
Apple Hall Auditorium, next to the Fair Office
Pastor Dave Kooyers from Valley Bible Fellowship will present;
What does it mean to receive Jesus?”*
Why do some believe and yet not receive?
Free admission/Everyone Welcome
Please come and worship with us, and then enjoy the fair for the rest of the day.
For additional information please feel free to call Pastor Dave Kooyers (707) 895-2325, or the Fair Office at (707) 895-3011, or visit their website at http://www.mendocountyfair.com/
10:00 am Sheep Dog Trials, Finals - Rodeo Arena
2:00 pm CCPRA Rodeo Finals - Rodeo Arena
A READER WRITES: “By the way, I keep meaning to tell you this: I do not seem to be able to find a reference for it but I have a strong recollection that there is a Boont term for stuff that, for one reason or another, was not making it into the 8-page paper as Homer, and even those other folks who came after, ran it. That term was "That goes on Page 9." or "Page 9 for that!" I have a strong recollection of it being used back in the day when a fairly prominent local family got busted for cultivation. The mom of the family worked downtown at the time. The story never made it into the paper. "Page 9 for that!" I thought it might be an amusing way to think about your online content that does not make it into print on pages 1-8.”
I REMEMBER PAGE 9 when Homer Mannix owned and edited the AVA. I marveled that Homer managed to produce a weekly newspaper at all on his ancient hot-lead press and a half-mad old school type setter, Marie, who plucked each letter for each word, thousands of words, from an overhead case. It was a truly amazing operation. And Homer got out his paper while also functioning as justice court judge, chairman of both the CSD and the school board, manager of his intriguing, labyrinthine Mannix Building, and volunteer fireman and ambulance crew guy. The Anderson Valley has never been better managed or served.
AS PRINT NEWSPAPERS recede into obscurity, us perhaps fading even faster, we are already producing a daily AVA on-line consisting of every bit of Mendo news that we can find, culling the most interesting of it for the print-print newspaper that still appears every Wednesday. Page 9 is an excellent choice for the on-line paper which, by the way, you can find at theava.com at the bargain price of $25 a year. I believe we may be among the very few newspapers of any size to successfully sell our paper on-line, success narrowly defined here as modest profit.
Agenda Item 4w on Tuesday’s Supe’s agenda: Approval of Agreement with Mendocino County Office of Education in the Amount of $175,000 to Provide CalFresh Outreach Services to School Children in Mendocino County for Fiscal Year 2017-18 Recommended Action: Approve Agreement with Mendocino County Office of Education in the amount of $175,000 to provide CalFresh outreach services to school children in Mendocino County for fiscal year 2017-18; authorize the Health and Human Services Agency Director or designee to sign any future amendments to the Agreement that do not increase the annual maximum amount; authorize Chair to sign same.
Services include Identifying target populations, "working with" low income families, with a goal of increasing participation... MCOE will Prepare MOUs, maintain one full time staffer, monitor the performance of individual school districts, make reports, "work collaboratively" with HHSA to ID "high priority" students who might be eligible. Conduct at least one Promotional Event each year with promotional materials, send notices to individual district, send snail mail mailers to high priority student families, send an activity report at the end of the year.
TRANSLATION: Lots of tax-funded donut lunches and a job for a pal of ours. We zipped off a complaining e-mail to the Supervisors. Silence on their end, of course. But this is a perfect example of why the County is broke.
A FAILED — BUT VERY EXPENSIVE — “EXPERIMENT.”
Lay another costly fiasco at the feet of (Former?) Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham:
NCCT Memo for 9-12-17 BOS Meeting
SUPERVISOR McCOWEN wants to exempt existing granny units from vacation home rental moratorium:
TO: Board of Supervisors, September 12, 2017
From Supervisor John McCowen
Subject: Proposed Exception to the Urgency Ordinance Extending Interim Restrictions on the Establishment of Short-Term/Vacation Rentals of Residential Property Pending Study and Consideration of Land Use and Other Regulations Pertaining to Such Rentals
The purpose of this memorandum is to propose an exception to the recently adopted moratorium on new short term or vacation rentals. If the Board agrees, the proposed exception can be incorporated into the ordinance under consideration today which would extend the moratorium.
The third Whereas of the ordinance states “…a substantial and increasing share of the County’s existing housing stock is being used as Vacation Rentals, thereby reducing the share of the County’s housing stock that is available for either purchase or lease by persons desiring to work and reside within Mendocino County….” The eighth Whereas states “…such rentals will continue to increase in number and continue to impact the number and affordability of housing units available for purchase or rental by persons desiring to reside within Mendocino County.”
Based on Board of Supervisors discussion, and the above statements from the ordinance, it seems clear that the intent of the moratorium is to prevent the further conversion of existing housing stock to short term rentals prior to the development and adoption of permanent regulations.
Creating a limited exception for newly constructed dwelling units appears to be consistent with the intent to preserve the status quo for existing housing stock. This limited exception may result in the construction of additional dwelling units. Even if some new dwelling units are utilized as short term rentals, this will not result in the conversion of any existing units which will still be available for rental or sale for purposes of long term occupancy.
I believe it is reasonable to exclude Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) from this exception because such units are a primary source of affordable housing. Further, given that ADUs are frequently constructed within an existing structure, it can be difficult to determine if they are truly “newly constructed” or not.
Subject: corrections for Sept 12 MC Today
From: John McCowen
It is not correct to say that I want to exempt existing granny units from the vacation home rental moratorium. To the contrary, my proposal is to exempt newly constructured dwelling units of any description except for Accessory Dwelling Units (aka granny units) from the moratorium.
NOT SO LOCO LOCALIZATION
While the summer and fall crops are still ready for the picking it’s time for the 12th annual C’mon Home to Eat in October month! Anderson Valley Foodshed is again creating a whole month of activities to promote planning your menus with local, in-season ingredients with the goals of becoming healthier, contributing to local economic growth, supporting our local farmers, and reducing fossil fuel use.
Soon the October C’mon Home To Eat calendar will be posted around the Valley so you can choose from the many varied activities featuring local food. AV Foodshed plans these events to inspire you to take the challenge of eating as much AV-grown food, or ingredients grown at least within a 100-mile radius, during the month of October…and then be motivated to continue all year ‘round.
10%-off dinner coupons at participating restaurants during their community dinner evening will be available each Saturday starting 9/23 at the Boonville Farmer’s Market and the other C’mon Home To Eat events in October.
There will be updates weekly in the AVA or you can go to www.avfoodshed.com for more information on the scheduled events and where you can find local food. You can also email us at email@example.com
AS THE MAJOR walked past a PG&E bucket crew about to ascend a power pole near the Boonville Hotel this morning he craned his busybody neck upwards and commented to the ground-man, “Yeah, that capacitor looks like it’s broken or loose. Thanks for fixing it.” The ground-man replied, “Oh no, they’re supposed to look like that. We’re going up to plug that woodpecker hole,” pointing up near the top of the pole. The Major thought he saw a tiny hole amongst the other flaws and discolorations in the bleached white pole-wood. “Oh, that little thing? Boy, that’s an impressive catch. Who noticed that?” “The smart guys who came before us,” replied the ground man. “We have to plug and seal those as early as possible or they can grow and split the pole. There are more woodpeckers around than you might think,” the ground man noted. And another argument for undergrounding power lines if we ever expect to present as Healdsburg.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “They got on my case today for barking at a guy who comes here all the time, but they told me to bark at everybody. ‘You bark, Little Dog, we don't care who it is. That's your job. Do it, and do it right.’ So I bark at this guy, one of the many maniacs in and out of this place every day, and everyone jumps my bones! Hell, all these lunatics look alike to this old dog.”
IN DEFENSE OF PETER KEEGAN
To the Editor:
I am writing to defend my friend, Peter Keegan, against the rumors and hearsay that have been floating around for years since the death of my friend, Susan Keegan. I have been a close family friend of the Keegans since they moved to Ukiah. We were next door neighbors for years. We were partners on a land purchase; we took vacations together and did all the things one does with close friends. I know Peter and I know that he would never kill his wife. For years I and many others have been silent at Peter’s request. Now we will speak.
I’d like to correct two details that were printed in the UDJ cover story of Aug. 12, 2017. First, the report says that Susan’s “Family and friends” pressured the DA to arrest Peter. I am one of many, many friends of Susan who did not participate in this witch hunt. Peter and Susan’s two sons are certainly family and they did not participate in this witch hunt nor do they seek “justice.”
Secondly, at the end of the UDJ story it says that Peter’s two sons were with him for his court appearance, “in the audience.” Peter’s two sons were by his side, not sitting back in the audience. Some people might interpret that wording to mean that Peter’s sons were distancing themselves from their father; in fact, in Simon Keegan’s words, their support for their father is steadfast. Luke Keegan writes to his father’s accusers on Facebook, “ Your belief that this (prosecution) will bring us relief is, for lack of a better word, ignorant.”
A grand jury was called by the DA. Since 2010, the DA has been unable to find any evidence of Peter’s alleged guilt that could serve to initiate a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing before a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. In a grand jury hearing, people are free to repeat and embellish all manner of accusation. Hearsay is permitted. There is no cross-examination of witnesses nor any defense of the accused. A judge is not present.
The people who say that Peter killed his wife have spread the rumor that Peter behaved “suspiciously;” for example, that he didn’t sit with Susan’s parents at the memorial service for Susan. That is a lie. I was sitting in the pew behind the family. Peter sat with Susan’s mother and father. In front of the grand jury there would be no one to refute this lie.
It is not surprising that Peter was indicted by this grand jury since hearsay and rumor were considered and voted on. The vote did not have to be unanimous; just 66 percent of jurors must agree to send it to trial. Indictment is not guilt, but a directive to send the case to a real court. A preliminary hearing, where a judge would determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed, is not held. Hearsay appears to be the only basis for bringing Peter to a criminal court proceeding; otherwise DA Eyster would have brought this case to trial long ago.
There are many people in this community who support Peter’s innocence of this charge of second-degree murder. This charge is the result of the rare use, or abuse, of the grand jury. It is a sad thing to let rumors and hearsay and a small group of people use our justice system in such a misguided way, with no judge or defense.
Elaine Richard, Ukiah
MILL SITE WORKSHOP
(Click to enlarge)
SIGHT SELDOM SEEN post by MSP. Boonville wants to know if this house was the old one anchored for years way up Big River?
Mike Kitahara to Commercial Salmon, Albacore & Crab Fishers
Apparently SPELLING has been removed from the curriculum?
Chan Lee, Philo
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 11, 2017
Ceja-Valencia, Elliott, Hoaglin
MARTIN CEJA-VALENCIA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
TACOMA ELLIOTT, Lakeport/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
GARRIE HOAGLIN, Covelo. Parole violation.
Jackson, Jennings, Mertle
JOSEPH JACKSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
RANDAL JENNINGS, Westport. Failure to appear.
MICHAEL MERTLE, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
Munat, Smith, Tommasini
JONATHAN MUNAT, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance.
DELILAH SMITH, Ukiah. Getting credit with someone else’s ID.
PHILLIP TOMMASINI, Citrus Heights/Covelo. DUI causing bodily injury.
HURRICANE IRMA: “Everything Is Under Water, I Mean Everything’
“I have little doubt Irma will go down as one of the most infamous in Atlantic hurricane history.”
— Robinson Meyer
Take it from the hurricane historian: There has never been a tropical cyclone quite like Irma.
“You’ve had storms this strong,” said Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in the history of Atlantic tropical cyclones. “But the thing that sets [Irma] apart is she stayed strong for a really long time — and she’s still incredibly strong.”
Speaking before the storm made landfall, Klotzbach said two things stood out to him about Irma as historically notable: its longevity and its point of origin.
Now, as of Sunday, Irma has been a hurricane for 11 days, becoming the longest-lived Atlantic hurricane since Ivan in 2004. It has stayed remarkably powerful over that time: It spent three consecutive days as a Category 5 storm, the longest-ever observed since satellites began tracking hurricanes in 1966.
But Irma had a strange origin: It became a Category 5 storm in a part of the world that usually does not produce huge hurricanes. When major hurricanes have struck the continental United States in the past, they have incubated in the much warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean. That’s where Katrina grew in 2005, for instance.
Irma, on the other hand, expanded to its massive size in the tropical Atlantic, east of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. “To get something east of the islands — at least from the historical record, it hasn’t happened before,” said Klotzbach. “When people in the [Leeward] Islands were saying, “We’ve never seen a storm this strong,’ that’s true. They haven’t.”
In its sustained 185 mile-per-hour winds, and its record-breaking low pressure (914 millibars), it is the strongest storm ever measured in the open Atlantic Ocean.
That record-breaking cyclone has now come in for its horrific finale. On Sunday, Irma made landfall in Florida twice — first in the Keys, then on the mainland — as a Category 4 storm. Wind speeds maxed out at 142 miles per hour in Naples, near where the storm came ashore. Irma is the most ferocious storm seen in the Sunshine State since Hurricane Wilma cut across the peninsula in 2005.
Irma weakened to a Category 2 storm late Sunday evening. Almost 3 million Floridians were left without power, and more than 6.5 million people had been ordered to leave their homes, the largest evacuation in state history. Schools were already closed on Monday as far away as Atlanta.
The storm’s death toll stood at 27.
The storm appeared to devastate the Florida Keys, where it made its first landfall. “Everything is underwater, I mean everything,” said Larry Kahn, an editor of FlKeysNews, describing the city of Marathon. Some effects of Irma’s storm surge seemed to set in late that afternoon: The National Weather Service’s forecast office in Key West stayed up through the worst of the storm’s winds, but it lost contact with the outside world that afternoon.
The Miami Herald reported that people might remain in shelters in the Keys for several days.
The storm, now slowed, was expected to continue moving up the coast of Florida through Sunday and Monday. The National Hurricane Center warned that storm surge could remain dangerous for another day, and it said flash flooding and high rainfall totals would follow the storm into the continental United States. Irma is expected to weaken to a tropical depression near the Kentucky-Tennessee border Wednesday afternoon.
As tropical-storm-force winds began to batter Miami on Saturday, Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, spoke in a press conference of 15-foot storm surge, enough to submerge a one-story house. “Do not think the storm is over when the wind slows down,” he said. “The storm surge will rush in and it could kill you.”
“This is a storm of absolutely historic destructive potential. I ask everyone in the storm’s path to be vigilant and to heed all recommendations from government officials and law enforcement,” said President Donald Trump on Saturday.
“Irma has me sick to my stomach,” said Eric Blake, a scientist with the National Hurricane Center, on his personal Twitter account on Thursday evening. “This hurricane is as serious as any I have seen. No hype, just the hard facts. Take every lifesaving precaution you can.”
“I have little doubt Irma will go down as one of the most infamous in Atlantic hurricane history,” he added.
The storm has already left a path of devastation across the Caribbean. On Saturday, it slammed into Cuba, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the island’s north end since the 1920s. The Cuban government reported 23-foot waves and sustained winds above 120 miles per hour.
Before that, in the final days of last week, the storm wreaked havoc across a series of small islands. Some of the first reports were received from the British and American Virgin islands on Saturday, after the storm made landfall on Wednesday. Videos showed devastated houses and vast expanses of flattened forest.
The storm also struck St. Martin, a tiny island of 74,000 people, popular with European tourists. Daniel Gibbs, the president of the French territory of the island of Saint Martin, estimated that 95 percent of his country had been obliterated.
“There are shipwrecks everywhere, destroyed houses everywhere, torn-off roofs everywhere,” he told Radio Carabes International, as translated by The New York Times. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s indescribable.”
Witnesses described similar scenes on the island’s Dutch half. “It’s like someone with a lawn mower from the sky has gone over the island,” said Mairlou Rohan, a European tourist visiting Sint Maarten, part of the Netherlands.
Officials also described outright devastation on the tiny island of Barbuda, which the storm directly hit earlier in the week. The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said the vast majority of that island’s housing had been destroyed. “Barbuda right now is literally a rubble,” he said. Some of the first overhead footage showed the island to be almost completely defoliated.
And though Puerto Rico was spared a direct encounter with Irma’s massive center, about 60 percent of its households were left without power on Friday. Fifty-thousand people were without water on the island, according to the government.
Yet Irma has avoided some of its worst case scenarios. If Irma’s path had ticked a bit further to the west, then the aggravated storm-surge effects in Tampa Bay could have been catastrophic. In 2010, Tampa officials and FEMA practiced preparation for “Hurricane Phoenix,” a fictitious Category 5 storm that would directly strike the city. In the scenario, a tropical cyclone approached the city from the south, trapping water in Tampa Bay and deluging the region with up to 30 feet of storm surge.
For context, a maximum of eight feet of storm surge was observed during Hurricane Sandy’s catastrophic flooding of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan.
And as Eric Holthaus writes at Rolling Stone, research from the past few years has suggested that the storm-surge estimates used in the “Hurricane Phoenix” exercise were perhaps six feet too conservative.
At the same time, had Irma made landfall on the east as it was originally forecast, then it could have incurred catastrophic storm-surge effects in Miami. More than four-fifths of Miami-Dade County is 10 or fewer feet above sea level. Almost all of the county would flood in a direct hit from a Category 5 storm. The only reported flooding in that city occurred on Brickell Avenue, its financial district, near Biscayne Bay.
The storm’s last-minute westward shift also confounded preparation efforts. When Irma was first due to pass near Naples, a research model estimated that city could receive more than 10 feet of storm surge. Early reports suggested it was spared those high totals by Irma’s weakened path. USA Today reports that it remains unclearwhether some of Naples’ official shelters could withstand Category 4 winds.
Some Miami residents who had fled to the state’s west coast wound up racing to return home after the forecast changed, according to reports from Chris Hayes, an MSNBC anchor.
Behind it, Irma leaves not only destruction but more broken global hurricane records. It is the first storm ever observed, in any ocean, to sustain winds of 185 miles per hour for longer than 24 hours. (They whipped around its eye wall at that speed for 37 straight hours.) And Irma helped make Thursday, September 7, the most energetic day for hurricanes on record in the Atlantic. Two other cyclones, Jose and Katia, also churned through the Atlantic basin that day.
Irma’s effects can already be felt far from Florida. Hotels in Atlanta were sold out of space. And a team of meteorologists — including experts from Florida and the continental United States, and two from Hawaii — flew into the Washington, D.C., area to staff an emergency backup National Hurricane Center. Had the proper center in Miami lost contact with the world during the storm, an emergency meteorology team in College Park, Maryland, would have leaped into action — forecasting a storm that marooned their colleagues to the south.
NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured this night-time infrared image of Hurricane Imra on Sept. 11, 2017 at 3:21 a.m. EDT (0721 UTC) located over central Florida.
In this daytime view, NOAA's GOES East satellite shows Tropical Storm Irma centered over central Florida on Sept. 11 at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 UTC) with its cloud cover extending far into the southern U.S.
AN ARTICLE on British playwrights in the "Daily Mail" listed [them] according to Hard Left, Soft Left, Hard Right, Soft Right, and Centre. I am not listed. I should probably come under Soft Centre.
— Alan Bennett, 1981
IN THE DARK
by James Kunstler
The stock market was zooming Monday morning on the news that only 5.7 million people in Florida will have to do without air conditioning, hot showers, and Keurig mochachinos at dawn’s early light Monday, Sept 11, 2017. I’m mindful that the news cycle right after a hurricane goes kind of blank for a day or more as dazed and confused citizens venture out to assess the damage. For now, there is very little hard information on the Web waves. Does Key West still exist? Hard to tell. We’ll know more this evening.
The one-two punch of Harvey and Irma did afford the folks-in-charge of the nation’s affairs a sly opportunity to get rid of that annoying debt ceiling problem. This is the law that established a limit on how much debt the Federal Reserve could “buy” from the national government. Some of you may be thinking: buy debt? Why would anybody want to buy somebody’s debt? Well, you see, this is securitized debt, i.e., bonds issued by the US Treasury, which pay interest, and so there is the incentive to buy it. Anyway, there used to be profit — back in the days when the real interest rate stayed positive after deducting the percent of running inflation. This is where the situation gets interesting.
The debt ceiling law supposedly set limits on how much bonded debt the government could issue (how much it could borrow) so it wouldn’t go hog wild spending money it didn’t have. Which is exactly what happened despite the debt limit because the “ceiling” got raised about a hundred times though the 20th century into the 21st so that the accumulated debt stands around $20 trillion.
Rational people recognize this $20 trillion for the supernatural scale of obligation it represents, and understand that it will never be paid back, so, what the hell? Why not just drop the pretense, but keep on working this racket of the government borrowing as much money as it wants, and the Federal Reserve creating that money (or “money”) on its computers to infinity. Seems to work so far.
Rational people would also suspect that at some point, something might have to give. For instance, the value of the dollars that the debt is issued in. If the value of dollars goes down, then the real value of the bonds issued in dollars goes down, and as that happens the many various holders of bonds already issued — individuals, pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds of foreign countries — will have a strong incentive to dump the bonds as fast as possible. Especially if backstage magic by the Fed and its handmaidens, the “primary dealer” banks, keeps working to suppress the interest rates of these bonds at all costs.
Would the Federal Reserve then vacuum up every bond that others are dumping on the market? They would certainly try. The Bank of Japan has been doing just that with its own government’s bonds to no apparent ill effect, though you kind of wonder what happens when a snake eating its own tail finally reaches its head. What’s left, exactly, after it eats that, too? My own guess would be three words: you go medieval. I mean literally. No more engines, electric lights, central heating….
In this land, we face a situation in which both the value of money and the cost of borrowing money would be, at last, completely detached from reality — reality being the real cost and value of all goods and services exchanged for money. Voila: a king-hell currency crisis and the disruption of trade on the most macro level imaginable. Also, surely, a massive disruption in government services, including social security and medicare, but extending way beyond that. And then we go medieval, too. The mule replaces the Ford F-150. And The New York Times finds something to write about besides Russia and trannies.
The value of money and the cost of borrowing it is about as fundamental as it gets in a so-called advanced economy. You can screw around with a lot of things running a society, but when that goes, you’re flirting seriously with anarchy. In the meantime, we’ll see how the social glue holds things together in those parts of Florida that are entering a preview of medieval attractions in the electrical blackout days ahead.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Watching weather people standing out in driving rain and tipping over is the best part of their reports. But waiting for them to tip over does take a lot of patience.
There was a local weatherman who was always standing out in storms here for ‘out-standing‘ coverage. I think he was named George Foreman but he was a white guy who had nothing to do with grilling.
I’d look for him on the screen whenever we had bad weather. The difference is that they don’t shiver from cold when they cover hurricanes in Florida. Though I liked seeing him standing in a wind whipped jacket trying to hold still for the camera I also liked it when he could get back out of the rain. When we have storms they are cold.
NEW FROM VONNEGUT:
WELLER HOUSE, Fort Bragg
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE perform well in a crisis, and when the spotlight is on them; it's on the Sunday afternoons of this life, when nobody is looking, that the spirit falters.
— Alan Bennett, 1984
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE WEEK
The state's goal is to move all the cannabis farms outta the hills and away from salmon streams and onto agriculture zones. They don’t want any more cannabis in Nor Cal, they want to centralize production in the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys and let big ag and big wineries in AG Zoning take over… that is why “no cannabis on rangeland, timber production zones, rural residential etc…. they are only allowing survivable size gardens on large parcels which cost lots of money. They have the plan and through use of zoning ordinances they plan to lower the price so much that if u don’t have at least an acre of cannabis, and lots of startup money for ag land purchase, permits, taxes, etc., you will not survive. The price will hit an all-time low of 3-500 this year and it will be the end if off grid cannabis farms in the hills as we know it, already parcels in rangeland and tpz are being sold for half as much as 2 years ago, they have devalued the land values of all the houses in the hills, only ag land is valuable right now as the other parcels will not be permitted and are therefore less valuable. Don’t forget who runs California, it is big ag companies and their lands are now more valuable than ever.
FRANZ KAFKA could never have written as he did had he lived in a house. His writing is that of someone whose whole life was spent in apartments, with lifts, and stairwells, and muffled voices behind closed doors, and sounds through walls. Put him in a nice detached villa and he'd never have written a word.
— Alan Bennett, 1988
PEER: BUREAU OF RECLAMATION NOW 'BEYOND RECLAMATION'
by Dan Bacher
Washington, DC — The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the group that filed the original complaint resulting in the audit exposing the $84.8 million in illegal Bureau of Reclamation payments to the California Department of Water Resources for the planning of Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels project, today issued a statement concluding that the Bureau of Reclamation is “now beyond reclamation.”
“Three recent federal audits have found the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation misspending more than $100 million in funds but the agency has not committed to any meaningful reforms nor to punishing any responsible officials,” according to PEER. “The latest audit, last week, identified $84.8 million in improper Bureau of Reclamation payments to the State of California for its controversial Delta Tunnel project. Despite this finding, the Bureau has no stated plans to recover even a penny.”
“Three recent critical audits arose from reports by Reclamation’s own employees represented by PEER. In the latest report on Friday, the Inspector General (IG) for the U.S. Department of Interior concluded that Reclamation illegally siphoned off funds to benefit fish and wildlife for the Delta Tunnel, a project to trans-ship vast quantities of freshwater from the Sacramento River and Delta to the south. This project does not benefit fish and wildlife – just the opposite – but will principally benefit south-state irrigators,” PEER said.
This is the third recent “scathing report” on Reclamation misappropriations, according to the whistleblower group:
In late August, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that Reclamation illegally gave $32 million to Klamath Basin irrigators, again misusing funds earmarked for protecting fish and wildlife. This ruling validated an earlier IG report confirming whistleblower disclosures; and
In October, the IG found that Reclamation never collected “repayment of millions of dollars of costs incurred to design, construct, and operate and maintain new head gates and fish screens” within the Klamath Project. These gates and screens are supposed to keep federally protected fish “in the river and out of the Klamath project irrigation canals
The misuse of funds in the Klamath Basin couldn't have come at a worse time. The number of fall Chinook salmon predicted to return to the Klamath and Trinity rivers in 2017 — approximately 11,000 fish — is the lowest on record, a result of two consecutive juvenile fish disease outbreaks and other factors, including water diversions, dams, drought and ocean conditions.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council closed recreational and commercial salmon fishing in the Klamath Management Zone this season. Recreational fishing for fall run Chinook salmon is banned on the Trinity and Klamath rivers this year.
The Yurok Tribe had to cancel its commercial salmon season on the lower Klamath this fall for the second time in a row, while the quotas for subsistence and ceremonial salmon fisheries by the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes have been slashed. The Karuk Tribe has also voluntarily limited its traditional dip net fishery on the Klamath below Ishi-Pishi Falls this season also.
“This is a nightmare. I have never in my life dreamed that it could get this bad,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr.,” Chairman of the Yurok Tribe, in March of this year. “This is devastating to our people, not only physically but emotionally. It’s saddening and hard to believe.”
Meanwhile, at Reclamation, “even massive misappropriation means never having to say you are sorry,” stated PEER Senior Counsel Paula Dinerstein, noting that all three cases arose out of one Reclamation office – the Mid-Pacific Region. “Reclamation’s posture of denying wrongdoing but promising not to do it again merely suggests it will seek out other shady ruses rather than genuinely reform its grant process.”
PEER said it has has been pressing both Reclamation’s parent agency, the Department of Interior, as well as the U.S. Congress to step in, “but to no avail thus far.”
The group said it also proposed a series of reforms to prevent future lapses in Reclamation financial agreements, “but these issues were not even raised” during the pending nomination of Brenda Burman by President Donald Trump to serve as the next Commissioner of Reclamation.
The controversial Burman currently serves as the Director of Water Policy for Arizona’s Salt River Project. Prior to that, she worked for the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, one of the key promoters of the Delta Tunnels project: www.doi.gov/...
“As long as Reclamation suffers no consequences for repeated, blatant misconduct to the detriment of both the taxpayer and its mission, nothing will change,” emphasized Dinerstein, pointing out that there appears to be no effort to collect any of the funds handed out in illegal or unauthorized grants. “We are frustrated that the relevant Congressional committees are also shirking their responsibilities. Unfortunately in the current Congress, oversight seems to be synonymous with overlook.”
The California Natural Resources Agency that received the illegal payments for planning for the Delta Tunnels from the Bureau of Reclamation has not responded to my request for a comment on the audit released Friday. The Westlands Water District has also not responded to my request for a statement.
To read my piece on the federal audit exposing the $84.8 million of Reclamation funds misused for Delta Tunnels funding, go to: https://t.co/iuXGiZDsbf
Read the IG Delta Tunnels report
See the PEER complaint triggering that probe
Look at IG report on illegal Klamath irrigator slush fund
Revisit IG report on Reclamation not collecting irrigator payments owed
PARDUCCI WINE CELLARS TO HOST 4TH ANNUAL CRUSH RUSH, 5K BENEFIT RUN
A Benefit to Support The Ukiah Unified School Gardens Program
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1ST, 2017—Parducci Wine Cellars in Ukiah will host the fourth annual Crush Rush 5K benefit run. The race will begin at 8:30 AM and Parducci invites runners, joggers, and walkers of all ages and abilities to tour the scenic 115-acre Parducci Home Ranch vineyard and winery.
The Parducci Crush Rush is a community fundraiser to benefit the Ukiah Unified School Gardens Program. Last year over $5,000 was raised for the Garden Program. Fortunately, 100% of the registration fees will go directly to the local school garden and nutrition education, due to the generous donations and contributions from sponsors. This year's sponsors are Acme Rigging, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Friedman's Home Improvement, Realty World - Selzer Realty, The Golden Pig, Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op, Schat's Bakery, and Thanksgiving Coffee.
Race entry fee is $35 for adults and $20 for participants seventeen and under. Pre-registration for this year’s race is online only and will be open until 11:59 PM Wednesday, September 27th. Runners may also register day of event (adult increases to $45, no increase on youth reg.). Entry includes race t-shirt, brunch, and special deals in the Tasting Room while supplies last. To register online, please visit Active.com. Entrants should arrive at 7:15 AM on the race day to receive their racing bibs.
More medals will be awarded this year, going to the top three male and female finishers in nine age divisions, including: Under 10, 11-14, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.
The race is 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, and follows mostly dirt, and some paved roads. The route brings runners through ripening Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet vineyards, two winery crush facilities, Parducci’s secluded Upper Home Ranch, and Parducci’s famed wetland wildlife preserve. The race is followed by a locally catered brunch with organic vegetables and farm-fresh produce, and an awards presentation at 10:00 AM.
Parducci Wine Cellars invites those who cannot participate in the Crush Rush to cheer on their friends and family, and attend the awards presentation at 10:00 AM on the Parducci Tasting Room Patio. Non-racers may pay $10 for brunch and $10 for an extra race t-shirt while supplies last.
For those who can't participate but would still like to support Ukiah Schools, cash and check donations can be brought into the Parducci Tasting Room between 10am - 5pm. Parducci Wine Cellars is located at 501 Parducci Road in Ukiah. For more information or directions visit us online www.parducci.com.
"THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHARACTERISTIC of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present,” philosopher and psychologist William James wrote, “and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose.” We are entering this final phase of civilization, one in which we are slashing the budgets of the very agencies that are vital to prepare for the devastation ahead—the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, along with programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration dealing with climate change. Hurricane after hurricane, monster storm after monster storm, flood after flood, wildfire after wildfire, drought after drought will gradually cripple the empire, draining its wealth and resources and creating swathes of territory defined by lawlessness and squalor.
— Chris Hedges
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY DOS
Average lifespan in the US is 78.74 years. Of course 70 is elderly. The word has a defintion. The defintion does not change simply because it makes you feel bad. Average lifespan has not changed significantly since before agriculture, if infant mortality is controlled for. 70 is not the new anything, it is still 70 and that is still quite old. I hope you live a thousand years, but I also hope you learn to accept reality in the time that you have left. Nothing personal but words have meanings. What’s wrong with being elderly anyway?
ANOTHER COMMENTER REPLIES, If you order off the Senior Menu at Denny's you're elderly.
NEVER BELIEVE STRAIGHT OFF in a man's unhappiness. Ask him if he can still sleep. If the answer's 'yes,' all's well. That is enough.
— Louis-Ferdinand Celine
NEW TY COBB BIOGRAPHY
A Reader Writes: I heard the author interviewed on radio the other night. Sure dispelled a few myths for me.
BETSY CAWN WRITES: From American Mensa on Facebook, although I couldn’t find a way to “share” it with you. Given all the carping on the Comments page, I thought perhaps Mr. Bedrock and the literary lounge lizards on your side of the Cow might enjoy this:
GRAB YER POPCORN…
Just purchased a movie ticket online for the September 13th Wednesday night showing of "Turn It Around: The Story of East Bay Punk", a 2 1/2 hour documentary beginning at 8:50 p.m. at the New Parkway Theater, located at 474 24th Street (between Telegraph & Broadway) in downtown Oakland. Robert Eggplant worked on this, and encouraged me to attend. Anybody interested in having a get-together with me, show up and we'll take it from there. ;-)
Craig Louis Stehr