Mendocino County Today: Monday, Sep. 18, 2017
by AVA News Service, September 18, 2017
THE WEATHER has been perfect for the Boonville Fair, which has been absolutely packed all three days, culminating in the best parade in years coordinated, I understand, by A.D. Jones, the talented Boonville jeweler.
UPCOMING AREA FORECAST from the National Weather Service: "An unseasonably cold upper low will bring much cooler weather along with periodic rain through mid week. High pressure will build toward the end of the week providing drier weather and perhaps warmer conditions next weekend."
(Feel free to sing along)
When an early autumn walks the land and chills the breeze
and touches with her hand the summer trees,
perhaps you'll understand what memories I own.
There's a dance pavilion in the rain all shuttered down,
a winding country lane all russet brown,
a frosty window pane shows me a town grown lonely.
That spring of ours that started so April-hearted,
seemed made for just a boy and girl.
I never dreamed, did you, any fall would come in view
so early, early.
Darling if you care, please, let me know,
I'll meet you anywhere, I miss you so.
Let's never have to share another early autumn.
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
A READER noted that the mighty AVA garnered another blue ribbon for its art entry, a photo collage called "The Faces of Mendocino County," a masterly assemblage of Mendo visages arrayed by the gifted Mendocino High School senior, Annie Kalantarian whose justly proud father noted, "I forgot to mention the nice job someone(s) did on all the art-building presentations -- museum quality work this year." That's gotta be energetic Brenda Hodges, whose eye is so unfailing she's gotta be an artist herself.
JAMEY HOLSTEN MYERS WRITES: I wanted to share with you what a truly heartwarming day it was when we had our mom's ashes buried. The memories of the conversations and moments shared that day will last a long time. Clyde Doggett is such a kind, thoughtful caregiver of the Evergreen Cemetery. Not only did he share some very nice memories of my mom and dad from over the years, he was able to chat with my older sister, Joan, and her friend from their schooldays in the Valley. Joann Prather Borges and Joann's husband, Fred had joined us at the cemetery that day to offer support and to share memories. Clyde was also very mindful of an elderly man who had driven from Vacaville to tidy up his wife's grave. It was warm out and Clyde was concerned that the man might be over exerting himself. Clyde went over and just pitched in, engaging the man in a lovely, quiet way. That was so touching to witness-a truly generous and unselfish act of kindness. Clyde is more than a caretaker of the cemetery. He offers a human connection that is true to his kind spirit. Laying loved ones to rest is not an easy task. Clyde's genuine dedication to honoring those who have passed on is a gift to families, loved ones, and friends. Joan and her husband took us over the the Museum where she put up a small plaque to commemorate our mom. She had us all sign the guestbook and proudly pointed out many very interesting items on exhibit. My son, Alex (not a kid at 33) was thrilled that he was able to ring the school bell as he held his 6-month old little boy. He has many memories of visiting his grandma Loretta in Boonville! Alex's son will hear the Boonville stories as he grows up. Lunch in town, a stroll through some shops, a look at the local artistic talent shown in a gallery or two, and a stop at Rossi's to visit for a bit with Chris Rossi was the finish to a beautiful Saturday in Boonville. Mom would have loved it and we all felt that she was there with us as we went through the day. You are so fortunate to live in the Anderson Valley. Some things have changed, yet the warmth and kindness in the human spirit remains strong and genuine. In appreciation, and a plan to return for another day in the Valley,
Jamey Holsten Myers, Napa
* * *
STOP, STEVE, YOU'RE KILLING ME! The Independent Coast Observer's long-time publisher, Steve McLaughlin, startled me out of my mid-afternoon Sunday torpor with a full-page ad declaring, and declaring in two inch bold black type, "NO FAKE NEWS HERE." I was hugely reassured, but Steve's assurance arrived on page 25, by which time I'd been duped at least twice. But now that I know I'm getting the straight skinny my skepticism is forever on hold when reading the ICO.
* * *
FROM MENDOCINO COLLEGE: "At Mendocino College our board and staff stand in solidarity with our exceptional students, especially our undocumented students, who may be experiencing fear, anxiety, or doubts about their status and their future."
YEAH, YEAH, but what will you do when the feds show up and demand your files? DACA kids are going to find out who their friends are, probably the hard way.
* * *
YEARS AGO, a guy in a mortician's black suit strolled up to my Boonville office eating an ice cream cone. He said he was Special Agent Daley. I thought for a minute he was going to ask me to hold the cone while he produced his ID, and resisted asking him what was special about him. It wasn't my first experience with FBI agents. I knew enough to be very careful with them. If they catch you in a lie you can find yourself fending off a felony or two because it's against federal law to lie to a federal agent. Martha Stewart lied to the FBI and, in a neat terrorist message to the rest of us, the feds put her in the pen for a couple of years. That's right, if "they" can do it to Martha, they sure as hell can do it to you and me. Daley asked if he could have a look at my letter's file. I said no. He laughed. Then he asked who I thought bombed Judi Bari, specifically naming Mike Koepf. I said I had no idea who did it, but it wasn't Koepf. This was soon after the bombing in 1990, way before it was clear that Bari was a victim of an especially creative episode of domestic violence. Daley then said something like, "Well, Mr. Anderson, you know Earth First! is a terrorist organization." You mean like the PLO? I said, going on to argue that Earth First! was more like a show biz troupe, what with painting cracks on the Grand Coulee Dam and so forth. The FBI subsequently denied characterizing Earth First! as a terrorist organization, and also denied they had had Bari and idiot child Cherney under surveillance prior to the bombing. Until Steve Talbot's brave and irrefutable documentary called ‘Who Bombed Judi Bari?’ that I realized how badly I'd been lied to by Bari, how desperate she and her cult-like followers, naturally aided and abetted by the fake left at places like KPFA and KZYX, had been to direct attention away from her ex-husband, Mike Sweeney, a man who just happened to have a history of cult-left violence all the way back to the late 1960s. And simultaneously it occurred to me that the FBI wasn't conducting a real investigation of the Bari bombing at all, that they knew who did the bombing, and implied as much to Talbot, but for reasons rather grim to contemplate, at least for those predisposed to paranoia, chose not to pursue the perp.
WHICH is a long way of pointing out that when the FBI asked to look at the Press Democrat's and the Ukiah Daily Journal's letters and files, both papers promptly said, No problemo. It was only us and Jim Shields of the Mendocino County Observer who said No. The point being, if the feds show up tomorrow at Mendocino College asking for a look at student citizenship status, odds are they're going to get what they came for.
IT WAS EASY for me to turn down the ice cream cone G-Man, because we didn't keep originals of letters anyway. Pre-computer, and way before the feds were able to spy on all of us, they were too many, and they piled right up, and out they went on recycle day. Shields, though, told the FBI they had no Constitutional right to his correspondence, which is correct, and the FBI went away. Later, Bari blithely told the outside media that "all" the Mendocino County papers had cooperated with the feds and, natch, when the truth was pointed out to her didn't bother making the correction.
MARCO McCLEAN WRITES: Re: Scott Peterson’s DEATH AND TAXES, about one facet of the financial shenanigans at KZYX. Scott’s piece appeared also on the kzyx-talk listserv. Former county supervisor Norman de Vall replied to him there as follows:
Good Morning. Just a point of clarification: Our ISP does not host kzyxtalk if host means paying the monthly fee. I founded kzyxtalk back in the day when the station would not allow any talk about the station. As a strong supporter of Free Speech I thought, if you can’t talk about the station on the station, let’s use the written word. And kzyxtalk was born. John Coate was twisted into knots. I’ve never made public the hateful e-mails he sent me, and the last words from Mary Aigner were, “You’ll never use a microphone at KZYX again.”
Norman de Vall, Host: kzyxtalk
THE EDITOR SPEAKING: I probably don't listen often enough to plausibly generalize, but I do listen to the government's version of events called KZYX News three or four mornings a week as I haul my bone bag out for some aerobic stimulation. Sooooooo it seems to me the local reporting, mostly non-existent over the years, is getting better. The people presenting it seem to be at least trying to tell us what's happening in the county in intelligent context, which translates to me that the new station manager, Mr. Parker, is gradually getting a grip on the half-assed operation. Historically, the problem with KZYX has been the dominance of a kind of freemasonry of fools at the power levers. John Coate, besides being terminally chickenshit, was also incompetent. And maybe even certifiably 5150. Of course he hired fearful, half-bright clones of himself, hence the station's endless enemies' list, financial chicanery, tedious talk programming, zomboid board of directors, bullying of the few independent people associated with the place, and so on. If Coate and his capon-ized pal, Campbell, are still involved at KZYX any real progress at the station would certainly depend on getting them clear outta there. But the nut of the prob is the station's structure, with its eternal "programmers" supporting management no matter how nasty and incompetent it is. And, of course, NPR is comfortable talk for comfortable people, and comfortable people make up the bulk of station enthusiasts. Real change in the direction of real public radio may not be possible in the prevailing Mendo socio-psycho context.
FINAL UPDATE FOR SKELETON AND SLIDES FIRES
Willows, Calif.; Sept. 15, 2017 - Fire crews are winding down operations on the Slides and Skeleton fires on the Upper Lake District of the Mendocino National Forest. The 200-acre Skeleton fire is four miles east of Lake Pillsbury and 100 percent contained. The 50-acre Slides fire is four miles west of Lake Pillsbury and 90 percent contained. Personnel assigned to the incidents will remain on scene mopping up and repairing firelines. On Monday there will be one crew and one engine working on each fire. Visitors traveling around the fire locations are reminded to watch for personnel and equipment on forest roads. Forest Order No. 08-17-27 that closed the Lower Nye Campground and a portion of the M3 Road from its junction with the M10 Road and then north 14 1/2 miles to the Lower Nye Campground will be lifted Monday, Sept. 18. This is the final report for the fires. A map of the incidents is posted on the forest Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MendocinoNF/.
WHO IS AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLFF?
by Malcolm Macdonald
Edward Albee died a year ago. He was born 88 years before in Virginia to Louise Harvey who gave him his first name. His father's identity remains a mystery; presumably he had abandoned Ms. Harvey before she gave birth. Infant Edward was shipped to an adoption agency in Manhattan, and less than a month into his life he was adopted by the financially secure, but childless, Frances and Reed Albee.
The patrician parents owned and showed horses. Reed Albee's father, Edward Albee II, operated several vaudeville theaters in and around New York. Young Edward wrote a self-described three act sex farce at the age of fourteen, the only copy of which his mother either burned or threw in the garbage. Edward claimed to have had his first homosexual experience a year or two prior; though Albee often later declared his work a separate aspect of his life. Accepting an award in 2011, he stated, “A writer who happens to be gay or lesbian must be able to transcend self. I am not a gay writer. I am a writer who happens to be gay.”
As a teen Edward bounced from high school to private school to military school, getting expelled from some, cutting classes and/or walking away from others. He left home in his late teens, settling in Greenwich Village in the post-WWII era. Of his break with the Albee family, Edward said, decades down the line, “I think they wanted somebody who would be a corporate thug of some sort, or perhaps a doctor or lawyer or something respectable. They didn’t want a writer on their hands. Good God, no.”
In Greenwich Village, Edward lived off a small inheritance, worked odd jobs and fell under the influence of several artists, writers, and composers, most notably William Inge, Aaron Copeland, and William Flanagan.
Albee wrote poems and prose, but gave up on those to concentrate on playwriting in the 1950s. By the end of the decade his one-act The Zoo Story premiered on a double bill in Berlin, Germany, along with another one-acter by Samuel Beckett. The Zoo Story's seeming nihilistic approach may have been influenced by Beckett's writings. Albee's play was well received in Berlin, but rejected by several producers in New York. The Actor's Studio put it on, but for a single performance. Norman Mailer happened to be in the audience for that one night event. The celebrity novelist called The Zoo Story, “The best one-act play I’ve ever seen.”
The Provincetown Players then agreed to a six week run. This put Edward Albee on the theater-going map, though in the unconventional counties. In a New York Times interview Albee made it clear that he intended to challenge audiences to confront situations and ideas lying beyond their usual comfort zones. “I want the audience to run out of the theater — but to come back and see the play again.”
This leads us to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, first staged on Broadway, at the Billy Rose Theatre, in October, 1962. Uta Hagen, Arthur Hiller, George Grizzard, and Melinda Dillon performed the four character, three act play that typically runs approximately three hours in length.
The 1966 film version with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis is appropriately ballyhooed, but the 2005 stage revival, with Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin in the lead roles, may well be the best production.
If you want a close second to the Irwin-Turner matchup, you can't beat the current Mendocino Theatre Company production with seasoned coastal actors Mark Friedrich and Pamela W. Allen as George and Martha, the college professor and wife who host a much younger biology professor and spouse in a nearly all night drink-athon. Friedrich and Allen are more than ably supported by University of Northern Colorado alums Drew Simon and Emily Batterson as Nick and Honey. Willo Hausman has capably directed this outstanding cast. Longtime backstagers George Bishop, Steve Greenwood, and Ken Krauss are at the top of their games as stage manager, light designer, and sound designer, respectively. Special note must be made of Diane Larson's set design, which makes the audience feel as if they are seated on edge within George and Martha's living room.
Discussing the plot of the play would spoil many of the darkly comedic surprises that await. The playwright's beginnings as an adopted son of the childless Albees clearly influenced the storyline. As for the title, Albee has stated, “There was a saloon — it’s changed its name now — on Tenth Street, between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place, that was called something at one time, now called something else, and they had a big mirror on the downstairs bar in this saloon where people used to scrawl graffiti. At one point back in about 1953 … 1954, I think it was — long before any of us started doing much of anything — I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, who’s … afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical university, intellectual joke.”
The Mendocino Theatre Company production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. with Sunday matinees as well, closing October 22nd. Those willing to rise to Albee's entertainment challenge should call 707-937-4477 for tickets or consult the website: www.mendocinotheatre.org.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Whew! That was some Fair. The city babes were all, ‘So good to meet a real man,’ and so on. I need a day off to recuperate, but these people aren't about to give me a day off, are they?”
Results of the 2014 PSI indicated that soil in the immediate vicinity of the bridge bent foundations has been impacted by arsenic due to leaching of the treated bridge timbers during storm events. The concrete pedestal-type bridge foundations and treated bridge timber contain elevated arsenic concentrations. Slightly elevated lead concentrations above regulatory screening levels were further detected in surface soil samples obtained beneath the bridge likely resulting from deteriorating bridge paint.
Caltrans, DTSC, Geocon and Geosystec personnel attended a PEA scoping meeting on May 8, 2015 to confirm that COPC’s (contaminants of potential concern) at the Bridge Site that could be a concern to human health or the environment, and that could impact proposed bridge replacement activities. The COPCs associated with the Bridge Site were confirmed to be arsenic, lead and chromium. Please refer to page 47 of the Final Albion PEA Report for conclusions and recommendations.
Also, please note that interim mitigation has been determined to be necessary at the Bridge Site by Caltrans in consultation with DTSC to minimize the potential for public exposure to elevated arsenic concentrations in soil immediately adjacent to the accessible treated timber foundation bents, and elevated arsenic and chromium on treated timber surfaces and concrete pedestal foundations. The proposed “Interim Mitigation Plan” is posted on the Albion Project webpage and can be viewed at the following URL:
Frank Demling, PLS Project Manager
Caltrans, District 1 Project Management
SOHUMLILY REMEMBERS THE SPY ROCK NURSERY: Thank you for the fair photos, not as good as being there but better than nothin’. The Mendo County Apple Fair was always a lot of fun. Good to see the wool show still happening :)
It’s Mountain Maples; the owners Nanci and Don Fiers, long out of business. I’m always a bit flattered when someone makes off with one of my prize botanical treasures. I once had someone come to my door one late February offering me $100 for my flowering daphne. You could smell it a block away, but not for sale! It was worth more to me for it’s ease of cultivation and reliable heavenly scent for weeks in a cold and dreary time of year. Deer resistant, too.
Peonies don’t grow too well without a lot of winter chill. They’re very big here in Siskiyou. Saving money up for a coral colored cultivar; we used them a lot when I worked at the florist’s in Garbageville.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 17, 2017J
Ahola, Amante, Andrews
AMIE AHOLA, Laytonville. DUI.
ANTHONY AMANTE, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
DAN ANDREWS, Ukiah. DUI.
Calvo, Demuri, Lowe
DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, probation revocation.
GIOVANI DEMURI, Albion. DUI, stolen vehicle, probation revocation.
JAMES LOWE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
Matthias, McKay, Nelson
WANA MATTHIAS, Ukiah. Suspended license.
JOHNNY MCKAY, Ukiah. DUI.
EVAN NELSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
Pinola, Quintero-Matias, Rueda
REGINA PINOLA, Santa Rosa/Point Arena. Probation revocation.
ARTURO QUINTERO-MATIAS, Ukiah. DUI.
TINA RUEDA, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
Sanders, Siddons, Thomas
REGINALD SANDERS, Willits. False ID.
MARIYA SIDDONS, Ukiah. Petty theft.
JOSHUA THOMAS, Sherman Oaks/Willits. Failure to appear.
BRADLEY MANNING (LEFT) WENT TO CHELSEA MANNING (RIGHT):
Looks like he/she made the right call.
— Rob Anderson, District 5 Diary
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
With the issue of immigration as with so many others, it’s a question of who’s getting gored. Deplorables have got a legitimate beef with millions of people being let into the country at the same time as millions of jobs are being sent overseas. But, to their enormous discredit, the Democrats paint Deplorables objecting to their own pauperization as cretins and racists. And then they feign astonishment that these same subnormals won’t vote Democrat.
No doubt everyone now knows about the fubared terror attack on a London tube train. Again, with this issue also, both in the US and Europe and elsewhere, it’s a question of who’s getting hurt. If the multitude of terror attacks had been directed at American and European politicians and billionaires, if 9/11 had killed thousands of them instead of thousands of corporate drones, as sure as we sit here the borders would have been closed to Muslims and the deportations would have been well underway if not complete.
The rationale? It’s simple. They’d say, geez, we really regret having to do this but we have no choice, we can’t separate the good apples from the bad and we have no way of telling which good apple might turn rotten. So we have no alternative.
And the high and mighty wouldn’t even blink and they’d entertain no counter argument. It would be portrayed as self-evident that it’s a question of national security. The oh-so-enlightened judiciary that saw fit to stymie the Trump travel ban would no doubt dismiss lawsuits challenging the deportations and the immigration bans as frivolous. And any consideration of such action being unconstitutional or unlawful would be deemed too far fetched to waste the valuable time of the courts. In other words, people of the same social class would close ranks to protect their own.
But, because it’s the Joe Shmoes getting killed and maimed, the high and mighty mount the pulpits and deliver thundering denunciations of Islamophobia and counsel tolerance. Let’s see how tolerant they’d be if the dead were hundreds or thousands of Congressmen and Members of Parliament and the Davos goers. They’re not expendable. But people like us, that is the shnooks that spend their time reading and commenting on this blog, surely are.
Big Ag and Big Biz want cheap labor and one way to do it is open the immigration floodgates. But if those millions flooding in from Mexico were teachers and lawyers instead of semi-literate laborers you can bet your bottom dollar that the southern wall would be miles high by now.
GOOD NEWS FOR MOM AND POP GROWERS?
A READER WRITES: As the URL for this story puts it, more succinctly than the headline: "California's polluted farms prove unfit for legal weed."
To get a "clean" cannabis crop after problems with contamination with suspected pesticide drift from a neighboring broccoli farm in the Salinas Valley, Harborside Farm (200,000 square feet) had to "install massive ventilation systems to push filtered air through its greenhouses and keep pesticides from drifting in - much like how a wind tunnel keeps an indoor skydiver from hitting the ground."
There’s also a pesticide for powdery mildew that is allegedly safe to eat, but turns into cyanide gas when burned. So regulators are thinking about setting standards for cannabis for this pesticide that are 500 times higher than for other crops.
As the story posits, “rampant pesticide use across California’s farmlands, combined with the state’s de facto organic standards for legal cannabis could mean the best place for pot farmers is the wildlands where they started.”
30 YEARS LATER
Jack Del Rio and the replacement he jeered
by Phil Barber
ALAMEDA — Dan Doubiago has nothing against Jack Del Rio. Del Rio, I’m sure, hasn’t even heard of Doubiago. But 30 years ago they were locked in opposition, staring at one another from opposite sides of a picket line.
“Every once in a while, a friend will needle me and call me a scab,” Doubiago told me over the phone recently. “I hate that word, by the way. I was just trying to fulfill a dream.”
When I asked Del Rio whether it still bothered him that replacement players crossed the line in 1987, he said: “I don’t spend any more time on that thought. I mean, really, that’s that. It bothered me then.”
October will mark the 30th anniversary of the NFL strike games, an occasion documented by a superb ESPN 30-for-30 episode directed by John Dorsey. “Year of the Scab,” which debuted Tuesday, mostly follows the Washington Redskins replacement players, but it touches upon the major issues of the day: How NFL players, fighting for a system of free agency, voted to strike after the first two games of the 1987 season. How NFL teams, spurred by Dallas Cowboys president Tex Schramm, angled to break the work stoppage by using stand-ins. And how that strategy ultimately worked when striking players counted up their losses and called off the strike after 24 days.
It was a bittersweet time for Doubiago.
A two-way football star at little Mendocino High School, he was good enough to start at offensive tackle at the University of Utah. Doubiago had NFL ambitions from the start, and was invited to training camp with the Seattle Seahawks in 1983. But he showed up at camp at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, to find 27 other offensive linemen. He hardly got a practice rep.
Doubiago’s timing was good, though. The USFL was forming, greatly expanding the opportunities for football players. He played with the Pittsburgh Maulers (owned by Edward DeBartolo, Sr.) in 1984 and the L.A. Express in 1985, and was set to join the Orlando Renegades when the league folded in 1986.
Doubiago remembers the USFL fondly. He went head-to-head with Reggie White and blocked for the likes of Mike Rozier and Steve Young. He made a little money. But he still had that NFL itch.
So he gave The League one more try, at Kansas City Chiefs training camp in 1987. Partly because of the hamstring issues that had begun to drag him down, the Chiefs released Doubiago during camp.
“I got cut early, so I never got the chance to play in a preseason game, which sucked — pardon my language,” Doubiago said.
He was 27, and he figured his football days were over. Doubiago moved back to Utah and started filling out applications to return to school. Then his father called. “Have you seen the news?” his dad asked. “It looks like the NFL players might strike.” Doubiago figured he might be able to make a quick $1,000 before the labor dispute was settled.
“I was basically bouncing at a bar, and I said, ‘This sounds fun,’” Doubiago recalled. “I was not even thinking much about it. I remember finding out later that we’d be walking through picket lines.”
Ah, the picket lines. The 1987 strike varied from mildly tense to vicious, depending on which city you were in. And nowhere did things get uglier than in Kansas City.
On the first day of the picket line, as strikers gathered with signs outside of Arrowhead Stadium, Chiefs players Dino Hackett, Bill Maas and Paul Coffman rolled up on the flatbed of a pickup truck, brandishing unloaded shotguns and claiming they were looking for scabs. One of them had a growling dog on a leash.
“The first day, they were waiting for us, but the bus went a different way,” Doubiago recalled. “As we made it to the stadium, players chased us down. They shut this big chain link fence right before they got there. The next day, they were pretty hostile. We had a window broken on the bus. They were screaming at us.”
And it wasn’t just NFL players. Doubiago said that employees of United or American Airlines were striking at the same time, and they joined forces with the athletes.
“I remember this lady, she was one of the angriest there. She was on the picket line, too,” Doubiago said. “At the end of three weeks, the players weren’t showing up anymore really, but she was still there.”
Later, striking Chiefs would engage in a shouting match with disgruntled fans, all caught by TV cameras.
It was hard for Doubiago to process.
“We knew most of these guys. We’d been to training camp with them,” he said. “These were your buddies. We’d bled with them a little.”
And no Chief was more militant than Del Rio. At 24, the Hayward native had just been traded from New Orleans to Kansas City for a fifth-round draft choice.
He had not yet developed into the linebacker who would spend seven seasons as a starter for the Cowboys and Vikings. But he was a vocal leader on the labor front.
Just a couple days into the strike, one of the replacement players accused Del Rio of slashing his tires in the parking lot. They began to argue. Otis Taylor, a team scout who also happened to be the franchise leader in receiving yards and touchdowns at the time, attempted to intervene. According to contemporary reports in the Kansas City Star, Del Rio called Taylor “a dirty scab” and a “lowlife,” and slammed the 45-year-old to the ground. They fought for several minutes.
Taylor wound up with a bloodied face, and he later filed a police complaint and a lawsuit against Del Rio. The latter was settled out of court two years later.
Friday, I asked Del Rio if he regretted anything he had done during the strike. He was succinct and adamant. “No,” he said. “No.”
Doubiago is conflicted about his own role.
“My mother’s side of the family was all from back east. They were major union-backing people,” he said. “When I realized what I was doing, I questioned myself a little. But look, it’s not like I’m taking food from a coal miner who’s trying to support a wife and child. I just want to play football. And playing NFL football was a lifetime dream.
“I think if Howie Long or any of those players, if they were in the same situation I was in, if they got cut and were scrambling just to make a team, I guarantee 99.9 percent of them would do the same thing I did.”
The replacement players suited up for three games, though an increasing number of “real” players wound up crossing the line. Those three games were not kind to the Chiefs, who went 0-3 and were outscored 103-34. Still, it was a memorable time for Doubiago.
When the Chiefs played the Raiders at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Oct. 4, Doubiago said, it was over 100 degrees in LA and close to 120 on the field.
If that weren’t challenging enough, the 5.9-magnitude Whittier Narrows earthquake had hit the region on Oct. 1, and a sizable aftershock woke the Chiefs early on the morning of the game.
“I stood in the door frame and watched the water slosh out of the toilet,” Doubiago said. “It was a new hotel, it was supposed to be totally earthquake-proof, and it swayed back and forth. A voice came over the intercom and said, ‘Please return to your rooms.’ I looked out the window and saw a bunch of players out there in their underwear.”
The Chiefs traveled to Miami a week later and played the first game ever in Joe Robbie Stadium.
Before the third replacement game, Chiefs coach Frank Gansz informed the players that the strike was ending. This would be their curtain call. It was just as well for Doubiago, who tore his hamstring (again) at the end of the game, chasing down an interception in a home loss to the Broncos.
A key focus of the 30-for-30 documentary was the Redskins’ decision not to award Super Bowl rings to their replacement players, whose 3-0 record had helped propel the team to the championship. Doubiago can relate. He left without a single meaningful piece of Chiefs memorabilia.
“It was pretty much ‘there’s the door,’” Doubiago said. “They threatened that we wouldn’t get our game check if a helmet or jersey was missing.”
He had signed with the Chiefs for a minimum base salary of $55,000, or a little less than $3,500 per game.
Doubiago would later play some rugby, and would coach football at Mendocino High for a while. He now spends his summers in Mendocino and his winters in Utah, where he has managed skis condos for the past 27 years.
“I’m a snowboarder,” he said. “I can snowboard from these condos onto the mountain and back off.”
Del Rio’s path is better documented. After a solid and lengthy stint as an NFL player, he embarked on a coaching career that is now in its 21st year. He is wildly popular in Oakland after taking the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. He doesn’t particularly care to talk about the 1987 strike, and who can blame him? It was 30 years ago, and he has plenty on his plate as a head coach.
But Del Rio is clearly proud of what he and his brethren accomplished in ’87, and beyond.
“That’s what I tell the players, tell ’em all now,” he said. “Don’t forget about us guys that came before, you know?”
Del Rio elaborated: “I mean, obviously, it was an important time. The trajectory of the league changed significantly on behalf of the players, because of that effort. So it was needed. It took strength, and it took solidarity. And obviously things have improved tremendously for the players, and that’s what it was all about.”
Thirty years later, the replacement games are generally considered an ugly chapter in NFL history.
Players pitted against teammates, management pitted against players, fans pitted against other fans. With substandard, sparsely attended football games as a backdrop.
But listening to Doubiago and Del Rio, it’s hard to find villains on either side of the picket line. NFL regulars had valid reasons to agitate in 1987, and a labor strike is only as strong as the resolve of other workers not to be lured into the vacuum. Del Rio had every right to blow a fuse when the replacements showed up.
But when is a strike breaker not a scab? When we’re talking about playing in the NFL. To anyone who has taken football seriously, The League isn’t a paycheck or a pension. It’s a lifelong dream. Who can blame the Dan Doubiagos of the world for making that dream come true, if only for 24 days?
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
“FAITH is an irrational leap over the need for evidence. Faith has no intellectual merit. It is not a virtue. It has no method. It solves no problems. It is not worthy of thinking people. Religion does not survive the requirement for sufficient objective evidence because it is based on faith.”
— “Why Philosophy of Religion Must End” by John W. Lewis, FREE INQUIRY, October, November 2017
A BALL O’ CONFUSION Is Comin' to Your TV: Ken Burns' PBS Series on Vietnam Gives Its Corporate Sponsors Little to Worry About
DEL SOL STRING QUARTET plays at Mendocino College, Little Theater
Ukiah Community Concerts announce the opening of their 2017-2018 Season at Mendocino College, Little Theater
Ukiah, Calif.- September 14, 2017. For the First time in Ukiah the Del Sol Quartet will perform at Mendocino College, Little Theater on Sunday, September 24 at 3pm. With fantastic worldwide reviews the Del Sol is referred to as “high spirited…dynamic” by the NY Times and “…robust, finely blended ensemble playing...” by the SF Chronicle. The two-time top winner of the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet is a leading force in 21st century chamber music.
Founded in 1992 and based in San Francisco, Del Sol’s collaborative performance projects and chamber music programs explore narratives and cultures from around the world, reflecting the stories and sounds of the Pacific Rim as vibrantly as those heard in European concert halls or East Coast art spaces.
Benjamin Kreith, violin, has a Bachelor of Music degree from New England Conservatory and a Master of Music from University of Toronto. He has given recitals in New York, Rome and Madrid. Rick Shinozaki, violin, is a protage of Serban Rusu and has a Master in Music from Indiana University. Charlton Lee, founding violist of the Del Sol Quartet, has toured North America, Europe and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Physics from UC, Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kathryn Bates, cello has a boundless energy for sharing musical experiences which has shaped a career that continues to explore the intersections of tradition and innovation. She is a graduate of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and holds a Master’s degree in Chamber Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
The Quartet has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress as well as Davos and Hirzenberg Music Festivals in Switzerland. Ukiah Community Concerts is very pleased to present the Del Sol String Quartet to our audience. The Concert Association has been presenting nationally acclaimed talent since 1947. This all-volunteer nonprofit’s mission is to build and maintain a permanent concert audience and cultivate an interest in fine music among the citizens of the community and surrounding area. It is also their goal to encourage music appreciation in the schools of the community.
This is the first concert of what promises to be a superb 2017-2018 season. Advanced tickets are available at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and our website www.ukiahconcerts.org. Adult Single Tickets are $30 and Youth (under 18) $10. Free tickets are available for Mendocino College Students. For more information call 707-463-2738.