Mendocino County Today: Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
by AVA News Service, October 5, 2017
SHERIFF TOM ALLMAN made his usual polished presentation in support of Measure B to the women of the Anderson Valley Unity Club Thursday afternoon. Measure B, for those who may need reminding, is the half cent sales tax measure which would fund the development of in-County mental health facilities rather than dispatching our mentally troubled people to Yuba City, Vallejo, or San Jose where it costs upwards of $1400 a day for dubious services rendered. The Measure, coming right up on the November ballot, would also call for a continuing one-eighth cent sales tax to cover ongoing services in the new facilities.
THE SHERIFF said that at present mental patients are transported back to counties of origin after arrests and after 72 hours out of county evaluation. But Anderson Valley School Superintendent Michele Hutchins quickly responded that they are not returned here, implying that troubled Mendo persons are simply released by whichever out-of-County facility they've had the misfortune of being sent to.
ALLMAN said that Mendocino County is #11 in the state in per capita suicides. Another grim fact shared by the Sheriff was that due to medical privacy laws, families are not told where their mentally ill relatives have been sent when they are taken out of County.
ALLMAN said that the proposed in-County, Measure B facility would allow the County to hold people for up to 30 days to "decompress" and, hopefully, be able to successfully function out in the world upon release. Allman also pointed out that he and Ukiah Police Chief Chris Dewey had done an informal survey of dispatch calls recently and concluded that about 30% of the calls for emergency service do not involve any kind of actual crime, but were mental health-related. These are the cases which the new facility would help.
ALLMAN said that an 11-member oversight board, made up of local officials and five persons appointed by each supervisor which would make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on how to spend the sales tax funds. The Measure says that only new services would be covered. (Even though the 2004 Mental Health Services Act said the same thing and we are not aware of any new mental health services being provided.) But Allman insisted that the new services would not be used to "supplant" any existing mental health services. As the Sheriff noted, he’s not in charge of those Prop 63 funds, which seem to have melted into the Helping Professionals Job Security budget. He has not seen any of that money.
ALLMAN also told the Unity Club that the County spends more every year on mental health services than they do on the Sheriff’s Office by several million dollars.
AND ALLMAN pointed out that since this November is an off year election, and turnout could be low, he emphasized that every vote really does count — a similar measure went down to defeat by just 165 votes last year with a larger turnout.
WHEN ASKED if the new money would fund a crisis van, the Sheriff hedged somewhat, saying that it could be added to an expanded role for the duties of the current Mental Health Outreach Program which stays in touch with mental patients by visiting them where they live to see how they’re doing and try to help keep them stable.
A READER wants to know what we meant by “bureaucratic gibberish” when we described the presentation from Human Resources Manager Juanie Cranmer who came back to the board in the afternoon after the proposal to give big raises to the Ag Commissioner, Chief Probation Officer, Planning and Building Director, and Human Resources Director was put off with some hastily prepared remarks in an attempt to justify the huge raises. Clearly, the Human Resources Department was so used to all raises being rubberstamped on the consent calendar that they hadn’t even given any thought to trying to justify them.
THIS ONE, however, represented a particularly new low because Ms. Cranmer is a direct subordinate to Human Resources Director Heidi Dunham, one the officials up for a big raise, and the bureaucratic gibberish someone handed Ms. Cranmer to read didn’t even bother to mention the big raise for the Human Resources Director.
CLEARLY, poor Ms. Cranmer was put up to the task by her boss and CEO Carmel Angelo who, in a normal world, would be expected to justify any raises for her top subordinates, especially such big ones as this.
MS. ANGELO went so far as to rub salt in the wound at the end of Ms. Cranmer’s Reading of the Gibberish by correcting poor Ms. Cranmer on a petty point.
THE OTHER POINT we noticed in the canned bureaucratic gibberish was Ms. Cranmer’s aside about the alleged “complexities” of the Ag Commissioner’s position what with the County’s new complicated pot program. It’s true that Interim Ag Commissioner Diane Curry is responsible for some elements of the County’s new pot progam, but Ms. Cranmer is in no position to casually mention the day’s pot discussion as somehow being related to the huge raise being proposed.
WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, here’s the bureaucratic gibberish Ms. Cranmer was asked to read:
I would like to start by clarifying this morning that the four existing HHSA directors are responsible for a unit and they are actually responsible for a service area, not a unit, so I did misspeak that this morning and I just wanted to clarify. I just want to say [looking down, reading] that the recommendations that you have before you today represent revisions to the salary grades and those are based on the eight compensable factors that the county uses in establishing salary grades and this is what you adopted in 2000 [17 years ago] with the [widely disparaged] Slavin study [which gave such big raises to everybody that it broke the budget and took years to rebalance]. Those include scope of work including overall impact to the county and the decision-making authority which in part is determined by the reporting structure. For example, regardless of the size of the department and the number of layers that the department has more below the department head, the department head is ultimately responsible for the department. And specifically with regard to the Ag Commissioner appointed by the Board, reports to the CEO, the expansion of service provided in the cannabis program — I think with the complexity that you've heard about in the last few hours of discussion (laughs) if I might say — includes increased responsibility and complexity in scope and effect and broader knowledge. These factors fall within the range of Grade 47 for the recommendation from the current rate of 45 to the proposed rate of 47 is appropriate. Similarly, with the Chief Probation Officer appointed by and reporting to the Superior Court judges the added complexity and responsibility relating to state mandates, particularly AB-109 [which has also been around for years] results not only in higher-level probationers and the need for additional armed officers in the unit such as gang units, but also greater responsibility in scope and effect and knowledge by the department head. These increased factors fall within the range of Grade 48 and therefore the recommendation is up from the current grade of 46 to Grade 48 we feel is appropriate. I wanted to comment that even though these grades are in some cases recommended for vacancies [there’s no current Chief Probation Officer, and the Ag Commissioner and Planning and Building Director are “interim], we do believe that an added benefit in revising [sic] these position grades will be to attract a broader scope of applicants when they recruit. Also I just wanted to state that the compensable factors do not consider market and there have been discussions [sic] regarding us being out of market and the compensable factors do not address market, they just address those eight compensable factors and I think that concludes my report unless you have any other questions.
[No questions. No comments.]
YOU BE THE JUDGE: Was that “bureaucratic gibberish,” or a reason to give four well paid county officials even bigger raises (and accompanying benefit increases)?
CEO Carmel Angelo: “It is late in the day and maybe I misheard you, but the Ag Commissioner is hired by the board and reports to the board.”
Cramner: “Oh, okay. I apologize for that.”
[Silence. … Long pause.]
Seeing no one stepping up, Supervisor Brown finally moved to adopt the resolution authorizing the pay increases by droningly reading the dry bureaucratic language of the resolution off of her computer, language which never explicity specifies the actual amount of money involved or the budgetary impact.
After this thoroughly unconvincing presentation, the board voted 4-1, with supervisor Dan Gjerde dissenting (without explanation), to approve the raises.
"IT IS WITH GREAT SADNESS that we have heard of Michel Salgues' passing in France on Sunday October 1st. Michel was instrumental in the success of Roederer Estate: his passion for wines and vineyards help put Roederer Estate and Philo on the wine map of California. Michel and his family moved to the Anderson Valley in 1985, until Michel decided, for personal reasons, to move back part time to France in 2003. We will greatly miss him. The Roederer Estate and Anderson Vineyards team offer their sincere condolences to the family."
UKIAH, Oct. 4. — A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations today with an acquittal of Jared Edward Adams, 26, of Vallejo. Adams had been charged with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Mendocino County in January of this year. It had also been alleged in the pleadings that Adams had a prior DUI conviction within the last ten years, and that he had willfully refused to submit to testing that would have revealed his blood alcohol, as required by California's implied consent law.
The prosecutor who presented the evidence on behalf of the People was Deputy District Attorney Houston Porter. The investigating law enforcement agency was the California Highway Patrol in Garberville.
(District Attorney’s Press Release)
* * *
BRUCE McEWEN NOTES: I was in briefly at the beginning of this trial of Mr. Adams, and knew that Michael Shambrook was the lawyer, but, covering the Dennis Boardman murder trial, I only know what my sources tell me, which is that the guy refused to take the blood test — which is taken as a confession of guilt — and the officers somehow forgot to ask him again, which, apparently, is really a rule of law and the jury had no choice but to find for defense. Everyone at the courthouse singing Amazing Grace all week over that one! I've seen Mr. Shambrook do these kinds of courtroom hocus-pocus stunts before — one time he had a young female DUI defendant, slam-dunk for the strutting Deputy DA (who shall remain nameless out of respect to his Mom) where the prosecution closed the case with a snap and marched out of the courtroom in triumph. After the Deputy DA was gone, Shambrook asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, noting that our hotshot Deputy DA hadn't entered any (you have to ask the judge to have the blood alcohol level test results entered into evidence, hand them to Mdm. Clerk, Bonnie MIller, and wait for her to time-stamp 'em). Not Guilty!
JOSHUA RUOFF, accused of murdering Timmy Sweeting and burying his battered body on a grow near Dos Rios, gave the court a big surprise this week when Ruoff's lawyer, Public Defender Linda Thompson told the court she couldn't go through with the trial set for October 23 because she had just discovered, after all these scores of months, that she has a conflict of interest and cannot proceed to trial. The Ruoff case was passed to the Office of the Alternate Public Defender, Patricia Littlefield. The court will have to reconvene in the matter in about a month to set a date to decide what to do over the next few years while everybody readjusts to the new lawyers and sees how long it takes them to "conflict-out" as the lawyers call it?!?
DA DAVID EYSTER WRITES:
(re: The Man With No Tattoos)
And now for the rest of the story. Criminal charges need not be “refiled” after a hung jury. The original charges suffice to keep the criminal proceedings going. In this case, however, the parties came to a later agreement that negated the need for a new trial. The defendant admitted a parole violation based on his acts of vandalism, was sentenced to 180 days in the county jail, and continued on parole supervision. In the case that hung, the defendant also admitted the acts of vandalism, but as a misdemeanor. He was placed on 36 months of court probation, with terms and conditions that included that he serve 42 days in the county jail, stay away from the victims, and pay full restitution for the damages he caused. All’s well that ends well!
“THE ESSENTIAL American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” Quick, who said that? Is it true? It would certainly seem to apply to the Vegas killer — isolated but for an unacclimated Filipino girlfriend who described him as "kind" and "caring." And assuming the shooter wasn't nuts in any clinical sense, he was obviously stoic enough to complete what he had come to do then shoot himself.
THE SLAUGHTER in Las Vegas was so awful even the NRA is harrumphing about "certain restrictions may be necessary on conversion kits," the gizmos that make semi-automatic rifles into machine guns. DH Lawrence, the British writer assessing our souls, spent much of his time in New Mexico where, in the 1920s, there were probably still lots of men who had the bona fides Lawrence described. If the writer put down there today he'd more likely find his stoic killers transformed into tattooed fat guys toting yoga mats. Stoicism fled our fine, fat people four generations ago.
WHAT gets left out of the gun debate is the simple fact that millions of people view the government as a kind of occupying army, and certainly don't trust it to protect them. Those same millions look out their windows and see a growing chaos that presents a clear and present danger to them. Which it does, but not the kind that requires a military assault weapon to repel. But we all take precautions that wouldn't even have occurred to us prior to the genie's escape from the jug, circa '67.
HOMELESS PROGRAMS in the middle of town is a bad idea. The debate rages in Fort Bragg and Ukiah. And we're informed that Lake County regularly propels its homeless population in the winter to take advantage of Mendo's much more generous food and shelter programs.
IT'S CLEAR that homelessness is not only here to stay, it's steadily increasing. A friend suggests that every county maintain a federally-funded facility. But the federal government rarely even mentions the problem let alone addresses it. Well-paid employed persons can't find housing in Mendocino County, but there's money to be made off the straight-up homeless, and boy do our non-profits know how to bring home the cash with big salary set asides for the bosses. (See First Five, etc.)
SMALL TOWNS like Ukiah and Fort Bragg can't possibly cope alone with the rising transient tide, but the doers of 9-5 good who run these programs continue to say, "Give us more money and we'll handle it." They aren't handling it now and, as a group, inspire zero confidence in their ability to handle much of anything. They have no articulate spokespeople or, in the case of Fort Bragg, trundle out an arrogant attorney to tell the town, "We won't bend," a startling statement given that Hospitality House is comprehensively out of compliance with its use permit and even the people served refer to the place as Hostility House. But according to their hired gun, they're the vics!
UKIAH is busily proceeding with a central facility without so much as informing its neighbors it was in the works. No way will the helping pros be able to cope with the population presently wandering the streets who, to put it gently, are not amenable to order.
My 50th birthday was a few days ago and while commiserating over the slop this prison calls breakfast and waxing esoteric from my lofty perch and wisdom my years have afforded me, I was riding high on reaching the half-century mark relatively unscathed.
They call it the Big 5-0, middle age, but it dawned on me that in order to be counted as the middle I’ve got to know the end. For this to be the midway point I was going to have to clear 100 years. It sounded like an extraordinarily long stretch of time to roam the earth, and in an attempt to put this in perspective, I found myself simplifying it in sort of a time breakdown.
According to my calculations, in order to have claim to 50 as the halfway milemarker, I was going to have to live another 50 years or 600 months, or 2600 weeks or 18,250 days or 438,000 hours, or 26,280,000 minutes, or 157,680,000 seconds. This — especially the last figure — doesn't make me feel any better.
All of these are a countdown to doomsday, the Big Adios. We are all on that train but not all of us are rooting for it to pull into the station. Everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. So with this epiphany in mind, I made a vow right then and there to make every second count, especially after seeing how fast they fly by.
In American culture we don't rely on seconds as much as other increments of time. We have even concocted nonmathematical references like "moment," "a bit," and "sec." But when you realize that watching your favorite celebrity D-bag TV show this weekend cost you 28,800 seconds from your rapidly dwindling stash, you might want to pry your ass off the couch and do something.
If you look at it in years, months, or weeks, it seems as if we've got time -- plenty of it, like an all-you-can-eat buffet. But if you incorporate seconds into the equation, well, time is flying.
So next time you spend the day wallowing in bed, doing nothing, think of it in seconds and get up, get out, and get down. Ride your bike, write a book, paint a picture, find the cure for something, anything. Get a tattoo, do something. And get busy living. You are going to spend a lot more time on your dirt nap and then on your beauty sleep.
Come on, it will just take a few seconds.
Alan "Sonny" Crow
Salinas Valley State Prison
PS. My sincere regards to Mr. Flynn Washburne, an old buddy of mine whose brilliant stories from the Stony Lonesome have not only entertained me during the last 30 months in state prison but have also inspired me to write.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Now we've got teahouse of the August moon going at this place. Before you know it, people will be pulling in here for chicken chow main. And Siamese cats too!”
SHE'S HIRED! And we’re available to help!
Marshall Newman Writes:
The Reluctant Candidate for AVA Editor:
The best young candidate I know for AVA editor is my daughter Rebecca (who calls herself Lee these days). She is 25, a college grad, whip smart, writes well (occasional pieces for the Seattle Passive/Aggressive and Seattle Weekly) and loves a good argument. You would like her. Unfortunately, she is currently in Seattle except when touring Europe in a band, is a pure city girl and has only been to Anderson Valley once. I will mention the opportunity when she gets back from the latest European tour in early November.
Be assured, there are youngsters with the focus and talent – if not much experience – to do the job.
In the meantime, good luck on the search.
HOW TO GET NOTIFIED
Are you subscribed to the City of Fort Bragg "Notify Me" list? If you've subscribed to receive any of the notifications on the City of Fort Bragg's "Notify Me" list to be sent to an mcn email address, what/when was the most recent notification or announcement you received? Did you receive the October 10th agenda notification sent to an mcn address? If you haven't received notifications lately, it's because the City's notification email address has been added to a spam block list for every mcn email address and the emails are blocked at the door of mcn. Sage told me a few occurrences back that when the notices are blocked they don't get through to anyone with an mcn email address and they don't show up in your personal spam folder. The fix is to request that mcn delist the City's notification email address. It has happened several times over the last year. I've contacted mcn each time I realized that I hadn't been getting notices and they've unblocked the address each time. But they have not yet been able to stop it from happening repeatedly. The City is also aware of the problem. If you find that you haven't received recent notifications, or if it happens again in the future, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org so they can delist the email address again and perhaps solve the recurring problem. Thank you.
THE 'REAL SARAHS' PLAYING SATURDAY ON THE COAST
There will be a live performance of “The Real Sarahs”, with Matt Hartle and special guest, Joey Goforth, on Saturday, Oct.7, 2017, at the Fort Bragg Guild’s Inglenook Community Center, which is located at 26500 N. HWY 1, in Fort Bragg, CA, near Inglenook. Tickets available at Nellos Market or Brown Paper Tickets. Presale $15, $20 at the door.
With organic harmonies that enchant and uplift the spirit, The Real Sarahs share their special gift of vocal synergy. This trio of women, who are all named Sarah, enjoy the magic that is created by voices in harmony, acoustic instruments, and the energetic connection between artists and audience. Embracing many genres of music, you are likely to hear threads of folk, jazz, blues, and country running through their songs. Singing from the stories of their own life journeys and experiences, their original music is honest, evocative and heartfelt.
Introduced by a mutual friend in 2010, Sarah ‘Songbird’ Larkin and Sarah Ryan have been nearly inseparable, musically, since. As founding members of Motherland Family Band in 2011, these ladies began to sculpt their original songs into tightly woven harmonic collaborations. Larkin and Ryan struck out on their own as a duo in 2012 and The Real Sarahs was born. They recorded their first EP CD together in 2013, demonstrating each in their capacity to lead and support and embody beauty through song. Their second album, Afternoon with the Dirty Birds, was released in May of 2017 and represents the body of work they developed together, with the support of full instrumentation. This work showcases their songs with a big, 'full band' sound and allows the pieces to reach a sonic potential unachievable as a duo.
As neighbors in a tight knit musical community, it was inevitable that Sarah Rose would find her way to The Real Sarahs. ‘Rosie’ was an accomplished local performer who had admired the work of the duo. Her first solo EP, Lay My Burden Down’ was released in 2016. Her strengths as a singer/songwriter, harmony singer and cellist made her a natural fit. The ladies jumped into re-arranging their repertoire for three parts and started performing together in October 2016. Sarah Rose's lovely cello playing is featured on Afternoon with the Dirty Birds.
Rose, Larkin, Ryan
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 5, 2017
Chiles, Cuadra, Garcia
CHRISTOL CHILES, Fort Bragg. Shoplifting, probation revocation.
GREGORY CUADRA, Ukiah. County parole violation.
JENNIFER GARCIA, Ukiah. Resisting.
Garner, Heine, Jensen, Nace
CEAN GARNER, Santa Rosa/Lakeport. Controlled substance, possession of assault weapon, large capacity magazine, short-barrelled shotgun, resisting.
COREY HEINE, Ukiah. Interfering with police communications, probation revocation.
JEREMY JENSEN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
THOMMY NACE, Ukiah. Vehicle theft.
Powell, Sanchez, Steele, Vargas-Alvarez
WILLIAM POWELL, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
DAMION SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
EDWARD STEELE, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
SOCRATES VARGAS-ALVAREZ, Ukiah. DUI.
MARCO AT THE BEACH
Sleep & Death
Bo Shmo wrote: “Are you this interesting when you attend campfires on the beach?”
I might be, but I don't, so we'll never know. Maybe when they comply with the law and make them all wheelchair accessible; until then I stand in solidarity with those who can't. Oh, that's not entirely honest. I find the beach uncomfortable -- the bugs, the cringeworthy camaraderie, lower back pain, the reek of upwind weedos, the deafening radio-static-like noise and no knob or switch to tune it in or turn it down, the entirely reasonable dread of submarines -- and an open fire doesn't solve any of that; it just adds freezing and burning at the same time. Also anything you eat there would be much better in normal portions under electric light and without botulinum and crunchy sand in it. Speaking of which -- sex on the beach: been there, done that, never again. Anywhere else would be better and more romantic. An elevator. A restaurant walk-in fridge. The projection room of a theater. On the edge of a roof. In a changing booth at the Goodwill. Etc.
The last time I went to the beach it was a warm, calm afternoon, the sea was flat and quiet, and it was for a funeral. Zero bugs, surprisingly little smell. I got there late enough in the proceedings for the group to be breaking up like ten minutes later. That's was well tolerable. I may go to another funeral at the beach sometime, if invited.
I recommend the short story The Ugly Sea by R.A. Lafferty. It's a sad, funny love story between a Jewish loan shark and a crippled little twelve-year-old girl who plays piano, badly, in a bar for salty seamen, told by a tragic curmudgeon who hates love, the sea, himself, and humanity, in that order. Also there's a monkey, a parrot, a snake and not one but two switcheroos. And once you've read that, see The City of Lost Children, and then Dark City (the '90s one, not the '50s one). Take your time. There's no rush.
I'll be in Fort Bragg for my radio show this Friday in clean well-lighted KNYO. Why don't you come by? Bring something for show-and-tell. I will stop at Safeway on the way and buy enough excellent cheap milk chocolate to choke /five/ guests. Also saltine crackers and maybe pickles.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I have a permit to carry. Pistol holds 5 rounds plus one in the chamber. On an automatic, it means you don’t have to cock the pistol ahead of time. You just pull the trigger like a revolver, and after the first round is fired, the pistol is automatically cocked for the next shot. By the way, the ammo is called CCI Stingers. The recoil is so slight, that there’s no real reason to use both hands, although some people prefer to use both anyway. Your preference. You can find out after you practice, which you prefer. For larger calibers, two handed is best. Efficiently using any weapon, knife, sword, pistol, rifle, rocket launcher, etc., requires regular practice, same as pool. After I got married & stopped hanging out in bars, my pool game went straight to hell.
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM
Roma, Early Girl & Heirloom Tomatoes
Gorgeous Sweet Peppers
Padron, Anaheim, Poblano, Jalapeño & Criola Silla Peppers
Acorn Squash, last of the Eggplant & Zucchini
Cucumbers, Garlic, Culinary Herbs
Nancy Mayer’s broccoli starts
Zinnias & CORN!
(Click to enlarge)
CALIFORNIA IS A QUEER PLACE in a way, it has turned its back on the world, and looks into the void Pacific. It is absolutely selfish, very empty, but not false, and at least, not full of false effort.
BRIAN ENO ANTI WAR MESSAGE
Well known English musician, composer, record producer and visual artist Brian Eno was recently elected president of England's Stop The War Coalition, founded in 2001.
Stopping wars isn’t something that happens when hostilities have already begun. It starts much earlier than that, in the very fabric of society. Our society is increasingly built around war - or the threat of war - and a lot of people have an interest in keeping things that way.
Who are they?
First there are the ideologues, those so certain of their moral (and military) superiority that they’re ready to force it down another’s throat. In their minds, war is supported with the excuse that it’s ‘for the good’ of the other side: to liberate them from ignorance and tyranny. The intellectuals behind the Iraq War, for example, were convinced that, bristling with guns and bombs and chewing gum, they would be welcomed as saviours. They predicted a ‘cakewalk in Iraq’ which would be ‘over in weeks’. Such sunny predictions are always part of the recipe.
Then there are the weapons manufacturers... We sell weapons indiscriminately, to almost anybody who’ll pay: and our biggest clients are the Saudis, who in turn fund extremist groups like Isis. The world is awash with lethal weapons, many of which we built, and these often end up being directed against us...and then we spend even more on weapons to defend ourselves.
Beyond the technology of war - the weapons systems and the material - there is the science. Advanced weaponry systems employ lots of scientists and technologists, people who could be doing something useful in the world. A climate of endless war has to be maintained, otherwise people might start to wonder why we spend so much of our national resources building generations of jets and tanks and ships that never see action, and why all that expensive brainpower is being squandered while the world is melting.
Think also of the media: they relish the prospect of war, and talk it up relentlessly. They know that alarm sells papers and gets clicks, and that’s often all they want. It’s the rubberneck syndrome: we can’t help looking. Most of the media business is about turning attention into money, holding your attention so that you can be advertised to. On the other hand, peace talks are a bit dull by comparison, so nobody bothers reporting them. So, intentionally or not, the media nurture and perpetuate the climate of continuous war.
And think of the politicians, anxious to advertise their ‘strength’ and ‘determination’, shoring up failing popularity by rattling sabres. Think of Blair and Bush swaggering about the White House as though setting fire to a whole nation was some kind of laddish game. Or think of Trump with his ‘Fire and Fury’ tough guy talk. Again, the media revel in this. It’s what editors call ‘great copy’.
And then there’s the ‘security’ business. As ‘security’ increases, society becomes tighter, more paranoid, more spied upon and suspected, than ever before. It shouldn’t be called the security business: it’s the insecurity business. The business is to create insecurity, to make you scared, to make you believe that war is the only option.
How did all this happen? Why are we where we are now? The truth is that the economies of both the US and the UK (and lots of other countries) have become so centred around military production that they have grown to need an ongoing threat of war. America emerged from WWII as a very wealthy country, having learned that the people who really win wars are the people making the weapons.
But they learned something else too:
Societies can be made coherent - can be held together - in two broad ways. One is through hope; the other is through fear. But for a society to be held together through hope there has to be a credible sense of promise in the future: a majority of people have to believe that things will get better. Until perhaps 25 years ago that majority existed, but, with neoliberalism rolling back post-war social arrangements like the welfare state, unions, free education and job security things started to look different. The prospect of automation, which ought to have liberated us, instead translates into even bigger profits for the elites. As a result, working people now look forward to a much more precarious and uncertain future than they have done for decades.
You can't have a hopeful society if its elites prioritise aggressive foreign wars and 6 billion pound floating bombing platforms over social spending. You can’t have a hopeful society focused on fighting aggressive foreign wars which in turn flood your shores with refugees.
What we now have instead of hope is rising unemployment, a surfeit of both overqualified and underqualified young people, the gig economy, zero-hour contracts, and automation. Our politicians could be working on that problem, on rethinking our future prospects, and throwing off the disastrous market fundamentalism of neoliberalism. But, by and large they are timid minds who live in mortal fear of the press and run a mile from anything that might conceivably be called socialism, so they don’t. Instead they default to option two…fear.
Fear is a great paralyser. A frightened population is easy to govern. In a climate of fear, people are willing to allow their rights and freedoms to be limited. They’re willing to follow orders and penalise resisters. They’re willing to fall for easy, quick and ill-conceived military ‘solutions’. They’re willing to serve as defenders of the state without asking why that state needs defending, or from what.
So it’s fear that keeps the hamster-wheel turning; but it’s hope that will get us out of the cage.
Stopping war means building a society based not on relentless consumption and profiteering but instead on sustainability and conservation and sharing. It means making a world that is worth saving for everybody, so that the idea of war - of destroying all that - becomes unthinkable, ridiculous.
It means breaking up those entrenched hierarchies that regularly produce over-privileged halfwits - con-artists who know how to talk but not how to think, and who exist in some eternal public-school-of-the-mind*. Their unshakeable sense of natural superiority fosters a hubristic arrogance with which they ride into war after war, certain that they couldn’t possibly be wrong.
And stopping war entails, perhaps beyond anything else, distributing the wealth of the planet so it doesn’t automatically accrue in the hands of the already-powerful but instead is used to build a world where more people get better chances.
We live in the wealthiest societies in history. The creativity and ingenuity and labour of generations of humans has produced enormous wealth. With that wealth properly deployed, a world of peace is more feasible than ever before.
Stop the War Coalition is part of a big, wide movement to change the way we think, and what we think about. Instead of making destructive wars, let’s think how we make a creative peace. Instead of thinking how we get more as individuals, let’s think how we can better share what we already have as a society. Instead of thinking that our role in life is to keep our heads down and be obedient shoppers, let’s stand up straight and proud and create something new together.
(Brian Eno 2017 www.stopwar.org.uk)
FIRST ANNUAL PUMPKIN NIGHT at the Botanical Gardens
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28th
Pumpkin Night Party
Sat, Oct 28 from 5:30PM to 7:30PM (Adults $10; children 16 and under Free)
Come dressed in your Halloween best and light up the night with some creatively carved gourds and painted pumpkins. Vote for your favorite pumpkins, enjoy spooky games, haunting music by DJ Nutrishious, and fall treats. Pumpkin Contest
Entry Drop-off: SAT, OCT 28 from 12:00PM to 3:00PM (no cost to enter the contest; one entry form per pumpkin; multiple entries accepted)
Entry Form: https://www.gardenbythesea.org/calendar/pumpkin-night/
To enter your carved or designed pumpkin simply complete an entry form and deliver your creation(s) to the Gardens between 12:00PM and 3:00PM on Saturday, October 28.
Entry forms are available at the Gardens’ gift shop on on the website. BONUS! Turn in your entry form by Wednesday, October 25 to receive one voucher for 50% off adult admission to the Pumpkin Night Party for each pumpkin entered! Prizes will be awarded in four categories - Adult (age 18 and up), Teen (ages 13-17), Kid (ages 7-12), Kid (ages 6 and under).
Prizes provided by Cafe Jaavy, Littlecup Ceramics, Los Gallitos, Pippi’s Longstockings, and Tangents! Winners of the pumpkin contest will be announced at 7:00PM (do not need to be present to win) as well as on the Gardens' website, Facebook, and Instagram page.
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IN BLOOM NOW:
Dahlias, Roses, Fuchsias, Begonias, Perennials, Grevilleas, Heaths & Heathers
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UPCOMING Workshops & Events Classes in Concrete’
Follow the links below for more info:
OCT 14, 15 and 20, 21 | 10:00am to 4:00pm
Two weekends – three projects! Join James Maxwell, local multimedia artist and author, for an exploration in concrete sculpture. Class size is very limited, only a few spaces left! CLICK HERE for details on how to sign up.
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October Pet Adoption Day
OCT 21 | Mendocino Coast Humane Society will be at MCBG with a bunch of adorable adoptable animals!
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OCT 28 | 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Come dressed in your Halloween best and light up the night with some creatively carved gourds and painted pumpkins. More details below...
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Mushroom ID for Beginners
NOV 11, DEC 2, or DEC 16 | 10:00am to 3:30pm
Choose your preferred date and learn the basic taxonomic identifying features that distinguish mushrooms from each other, where each unique mushroom species can be found, when they can be found, their uses, and the myths associated with them.
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Monday Mushroom Walks
NOV 20 – DEC 18 | Meet each Monday on the Plaza at 1:30pm
Enjoy an identification walk and learn mushroom lore with Naturalist and Mycologist, Mario Abreu. Join us Monday, November 6 for an extra special Mushroom Walk in celebration of the Mushroom, Wine, and Beer Festival!
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Festival of Lights
NOV 24 – DEC 17 | Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 7:30pm
Each winter the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens transforms into a spectacular show of glittering color. Tickets are will be available for purchase beginning October 16 at The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, Out of This World in Mendocino, and on the Gardens' website!
Looking for a great way to keep track of all of the wonderful workshops and events at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens?
CLICK HERE to subscribe to the MCBG Events Feed on Facebook!
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
ON THE AWFUL CENTRIST-LIBERAL CRITIQUE OF PROTESTING NFL PLAYERS
by Dave Zirin
There is a cottage industry of political journalists whose take on the state of Trump-America is simply, “Don’t talk about racism or it will anger ‘middle America’ and lead to Donald Trump’s reelection.” This political take has long had a safe haven in centrist politics. Their answer to why Nixon, then Reagan, then the Bushes and now Trump were elected boils down to movement activists wanting too much, too soon. They are responsible for scaring the American “middle” into the arms of reactionaries. Their diagnosis of their defeats is never that their own politics failed to offer a compelling agenda. Instead, we get scapegoating to muzzle and control people daring to offer a compelling message of change outside the control of smoky back rooms.
This toxic analysis is now being used to attack NFL players—people who no one a year ago would have confused with “movement activists”—for protesting during the anthem.
In USA Today, an editorial writer named Robert Robb has already staked the ground, as if racing to secure its patent, that if this President wins reelection in 2020, blame these NFL players. Forget that by 2020, Trump might be impeached, in prison, or in a large hollowed out volcano holding the world ransom with a giant laser. Instead, three years in advance of the election, Robb wants to plant the idea that it will be the players' fault.
To understand the mendacity required to make this argument, read this one tortured sentence: “You don’t have to be a racist to find galling the spectacle of pampered athletics, making millions of dollars playing a game, hosted in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, benefiting from an antitrust exemption, ostentatiously exempting themselves from the traditional display of fidelity to our country.”
Let’s start with the strawman bullshit. Find me one NFL player who has called those who disagree with the protests “racist.” What they have said time and again is that they want this country to confront structural racism in the criminal justice system and policing. They are protesting during the anthem to speak about the gap between what the flag means and what it represents. We have certainly seen some of these players call online trolls racists. Is that OK? Should they get written approval from Robb before they come back on people who call them “n—–“? Or would that just shove “middle America” into Trump’s arms?
Then there is this idea that they are ”pampered”—a little class bait to justify the racial animus. There is nothing “pampered” about what they are doing. These players are using their platform to raise the profile of a critical issue that has long been ignored. Far from being selfish or “pampered”, they are sacrificing anonymity, endorsements and personal peace to be a voice for those whose voices are often marginalized or altogether silenced. They also have been subjected to racist hate speech and death threats. Robb also ignores that while these men are professional athletes, many of them are also black men who have dealt with police violence or racial profiling in their own lives.
But that’s not the sum of the awful. It’s NFL owners, not players, who have been “pampered” by fleecing billions from the public through “taxpayer-subsidized stadiums.” These owners have also hired an army of DC lobbyists to make sure their anti-trust exemptions hold. Some of us have been writing about this outrage for years. Yet Robb is suddenly waking up to this injustice because it’s a way to bash players for talking about racism. It reminds one of the way Pat Robertson can look at a 64-year-old white man who massacres 59 people at a country music concert and somehow blame, as Robertson said, “disrespect now for our national anthem.” Watch Colin Kaepernick, before the year is out, get blamed for Hurricane Maria, gout, and the germs that cause bad breath.
Then there is this line from Robb: “What is bewildering is that the NFL and the left seem to believe that they are winning this fight with Trump. Let’s see. Honor the flag and the national anthem. Or not. Yep, Trump is certainly on the wrong side of that issue.”
That last line was meant to be sarcastic. It is also bereft of reality. Maybe people aren’t as stupid as Robb thinks. Maybe Robb should read the very newspaper, USA Today, that published his column. Their latest polls show that the players are in fact shifting public opinion. Maybe it’s because Trump did not say, as Robb writes, “Honor the flag and the national anthem;” He said that the “son of a bitch” players should be fired for exercising their rights. Maybe people know the difference. It’s incredibly dishonest journalism to rephrase Trump’s argument into something much more benign than his verbatim comments. It’s even worse to do so just to bash the people taking on the truth, not the fiction, of what he actually said.
The more you read, the more you see that this line of logic comes from the fact that Robb has no analysis of the right wing extremism represented and emboldened by Trump. He writes, “There are small pockets of white supremacists in the United States. They are unimportant.” Lord if only that was the case. Their lack of importance would be news to not only the victims of their violence but the fear that spreads after it happens. I live 15 minutes from where an alt-reich goon killed Lt. Richard Collins III. It was tragic for the Collins family. The ripple effect of fear and agony was similarly awful. I think we can say the same of Charlottesville, Portland, and Kansas, and all the places that have felt the dramatic rise in hate crimes since Trump took office.
But it’s the last part that gives the game away. Robb writes, “Generally speaking, white Middle Americans aren’t racists. They don’t long for a return to Jim Crow. They’re just sick of having identity and grievance politics thrown in their faces all the time. If the left continues to tell Middle Americans they are racists, Trump will be re-elected.”
Again no one—repeat no one—is arguing that “Middle Americans’—by which he means white people—are racist or that they want a return to Jim Crow. These players are trying to raise the issue of very real families destroyed by mass incarceration and police violence: those little things that have destroyed thousands of lives and what Robb calls “grievance politics.” I know that one of the reasons Michael Bennett of the Seahawks is sitting during the anthem is because a Seattle resident named Charleena Lyles was killed by police. She called the police herself, concerned about an intruder and was shot down in cold blood in front of three of her four children. Charleena Lyles was also pregnant. Seven bullets, four in her back. If being outraged about that is just “grievance politics” to Robb and the Democratic party, then they deserve to lose to Donald Trump and we need a new party to wage the political fights being imposed by the brutal realities of this country.
NO GOOD REASON
Letters to the U.S. Navy on their Environmental Impact Statement for "Training and Testing" exercises in the Pacific Northwest from 2015-2020 and beyond, are due today, Oct. 6, 2017 See: https://nwtteis.com/
You can make your own comments here: https://nwtteis.com/Public-Involvement/Public-Comment
Here are mine:
Dear Sirs and Madams,
On March 7, 2014 representatives of the U.S. Navy came to the Redwood Coast Senior Center in Fort Bragg, CA to present an EIS for Pacific Northwest Training and Testing exercises for the years 2015-2020. During an interview at this meeting John Moser, Northwest Environmental Manager for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, made the following on-the-record claim on behalf of the Navy, representing it as official policy expressed in the EIS:
Question: “How many marine mammals will be killed by sonar and explosives during Naval training and testing over the five year period?”
John Moser: “We estimate absolutely none would be killed. So zero mortality is what we are, um, analyzing for. That's basically our prediction, and we have to seek permits for the exposures that we are anticipating. Absolutely none are being re… no mortalities are being requested for permitting. So we would not be allowed to do them through the permitting process.”
Biologist for the U.S. Navy, Dr. Joy Lapseritus was also at this meeting, and reiterated the ambiguous claim of zero mortality. She said that “for renewal of our permits with the NMFS” absolutely zero marine animals of any species would be killed in five-years of active training and testing operations on land, sea and air, by the Pacific Fleet in the vast Pacific Northwest region, using powerful anti-submarine sonar and live-fire explosives during exercises. Her exact words:
Question: “How many marine mammal deaths do you expect as a result of the five-year training and testing operations?”
Dr. Joy Lapseritus: “So for this environmental impact statement we have a, uh, an application for renewal of our permits with the National Marine Fisheries Service that's specific species by species. Um, overall numbers you can compile from the tables in our document, um, but the most important number for us to communicate at this meeting is that we do not estimate any mortalities of any species from the use of sonar or explosives.”
The claims made by these two individuals on behalf of the U.S. Navy are as ludicrous as they are dishonest. It should be a matter of shame to the U.S. Navy, and by extension to the American people, that blatantly false claims of “none, zero” mortality were presented in an EIS in order to gain NMFS permits - and as a ploy to skirt all regulatory and legal consequences for admitting even a single potential marine mammal death. In my opinion, the fraud of falsely estimating zero mortalities, and presenting these findings in an official capacity for the purpose of gaining permits and avoiding culpability, should be prosecuted as fraud to the fullest extent of the law.
At a time that within the past six months, 17 Sailors on duty and under the protection of the US Navy have lost their lives in accidental maritime collisions during routine peacetime operations, it is impossible to believe that not a single marine mammal will be killed during military operations, while at the wrong end of the might and wrath of the US Navy. Anti-submarine sonar operations and the testing and use of this sonar, and the testing of explosives and other munitions during the 5-year NWTT period, will result in the death of some marine mammals, period. That is a given. The only question is how many. To claim zero mortality across the board is ridiculous and irresponsible. This is fraud if done knowingly, and negligence if done unintentionally.
The well-established scientific fact is that whale strandings around the world have coincided and been the collateral damage of naval training and testing operations (aka “war games”) using anti-submarine sonar technology. (Please note the multiple award-winning film “Sonic Sea” www.sonicsea.org ).
Animals “taken” (at any level) by naval anti-submarine sonar and the use of explosives will often never be seen or reported. If deafened, injured or killed, they will float out into the ocean, never to be seen or heard from again. A deaf whale is a dead whale, and any animal caught in the blast of 210+ decibel anti-submarine sonar, or the shock wave of explosives, will perish. These sub-surface weapons cause sound levels high enough to deafen any animal, seen or unseen, and maritime animals rely on their hearing to survive.
Claims of zero mortality also do not take into account the unavoidable risk of collision between marine animals and ships and smaller vessels, especially with the advent of new high-speed Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), recently introduced into the Pacific Fleet. These vessels have top speeds of 45+knots (52+mph). Operating at these high speeds greatly increases the risk of collision with sea animals.
The obvious risk, if not the guaranteed result of Naval training and testing, is that some marine mammals will fall under the EIS category of “Level One Take” - in other words, killed. This reality should be addressed in a more scientific way than a simple flat-out denial, especially since the fraud of this denial was done for the purpose of gaining permits and absolving the Navy of any legal liability.
The risks involved in these naval operations, and the reality if those risks, is what this EIS was supposed to address. Ignorance of this fact is no excuse for the criminal fraud of “zero mortality,” as presented in the 2015-2020 NWTT EIS document. And now the Navy wants to extend the EIS process past 2020, with a minimum of additional public or scientific input. Big surprise.
The only way out of this dilemma - of the Navy’s need and desire to protect the Nation, and the overt harm being done by them to already struggling species – is to establish a world-wide ban on nuclear weapons and submarine warfare. I’m not holding my breath for that to happen, and I doubt if the US Navy has any intent of lobbying for such a treaty anytime soon.
In the meantime - if the US Navy must contribute to the demise and possible extinction of threatened maritime species by “training and testing” in the name of national security, I would ask for a more honest and accurate appraisal of the true cost in marine animal mortalities. There is no valid reason not to do this, and the public, the wildlife and the Navy all deserve better than a fraudulent EIS.
David R. Gurney, Fort Bragg