Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 11, 2017
MARSHALL NEWMAN tries to shape up the National Weather Service:
I e-mailed the National Weather Service today to say its Boonville rainfall gage was either broken or seriously compromised. We will see if anything happens.
Meanwhile, with only 0.02 inches of rain officially recorded in Boonville in the last 24 hours, the Navarro River has gone from approximately 17 cubic feet per second to 42.5 cubic feet per second. That is a pretty prodigious jump and one virtually impossible based on the recorded rainfall.
A LIKELY EXPLANATION of the abrupt departure of former Assistant CEO Alan Flora came to light last Tuesday in what seemed disguised as “retroactive” approval of payments to the contractors hired for the insurance-paid restoration work on the Social Services building next door to the Ukiah Co-op and in the County Museum, Willits. The Social Services building suffered a good bit of internal damage after a water pipe broke and flooded the office over a weekend last year. The Museum needed a lot of mold removal, some of which wasn’t discovered until the contractor was well into the job. Willits Weekly reporter Mike A’Dair caught the brief mention of the “Assistant CEO” (not his name) and reported on it in the WW’s November 9 edition, prompting us to go back to the video of that meeting of the Supervisors.
BACKGROUND: The overruns on the Museum and Social Services facilities contracts happened after the overruns on the Northern California Construction Training Inc. (NCCT), which occurred when former Chief Probation Officer Pamela Markham told the training outfit to continue on for six more months even though the contract explicitly required prior Board authorization to continue.
MS. MARKHAM was fired for in-house sexual hijinks but never censured for this irresponsible and expensive decision either during her tenure or while on lengthy paid administrative leave while her termination was sorted out. The Supervisors paid the extra money authorized by Markham to the contractor even after Supervisor John McCowen pointed out that it was against policy and set a bad precedent, that precedent being paying for services either not authorized by the Board, not rendered or rendered so badly as to amount to the same thing.
THEN we had the $300,000 overrun on a legal services contract with an outside San Francisco law firm called Liebert Cassady Whitmore arranged by County Counsel Katherine Elliott. She farmed out the “investigations” of Markham to the San Francisco firm, and also a civil rights lawsuit filed by former Deputy Counsel Joan Turner who accused former County Counsel Doug Losak of violating her civil rights.
MS. TURNER alleged that while she was out on leave for one or more medical conditions, instead of accommodating her medical needs, Losak, apparently concluding his missing staffer was malingering, singled her out, Ms. Turner alleged, for retaliation and discrimination based on age, gender and medical condition. The case lingered, becoming a black hole for wasteful lawyer spending. It’s not clear at this point if the County’s insurance will cover it because the case is still pending. But the contract issue should have been managed by the County Counsel’s office.
(IF you are beginning to suspect County officials are profligate with public money, you're at least a quarter century behind the profligacy curve.)
SO we had two more cost overruns for work at the County Museum and the County's Social Service's bunker which Mr. Flora did not cause and had nothing to do with while the County paid the huge bills run up by San Francisco lawyers for a preposterous beef in the County's own office of lawyers while an incompetent "training company" was also paid off for unauthorized work without anyone at the County's command positions uttering a single publicly audible question about any of it at the time it occurred.
THE “RETROACTIVE” APPROVALS for the Museum and Social Services Building work last Tuesday were described by CEO staffers Heather Corral and Deputy CEO Janelle Rau and commented on briefly by Board Chair John McCowen.
CORRAL: “During the reconciliation of this project we discovered that the amendments to the project were actually not done correctly and that they should have been returned to this board and they were not. So to reconcile this project we need to be able to pay out the final amount and request reimbursement from our insurance agency.”
McCOWEN: “Obviously as stated this should have been brought to the board for approval and it appears that the Assistant CEO at the time signed off on these outside of policy. So here we are to give the retroactive approval. This is insurance reimbursable so there is no additional general fund expense.”
RAU: “This [the Museum work] was not determined to be an emergency so it's a bit different. But pursuant to the public contract code and board policy that should have been returned following standard practice as a contract change order and presented to the Board. Again under the reconciliation of the Project for final board approval this action gives final approval to the contract.”
McCOWEN: “Again this was signed off on by the Assistant CEO at the time without bringing it forward.”
CEO CARMEL ANGELO emphasized that the county's insurance carrier will likely pay for nearly all of the overrun costs: "What will happen is we will pay some, they will pay some, and then they will come back and pay most of what we paid. We will end up paying a relatively small amount, like $10,000."
CEO ANGELO added, “These will make three [sic, actually four] items that came out of our risk unit, where more money was spent than was authorized by the board. I want to assure the board that this is the end. You will not see this again.”
MS. ANGELO was saying that since Mr. Flora is gone the “problem” is solved!
SO WE HAVE these other two overruns for work that was clearly necessary, that nobody objected to, that was not known to be required at the time of the bids and contract awards having been discovered during the work, and which was almost entirely covered by insurance, and Alan Flora, of all people, is fired for authorizing the work without first bringing it to the Board? No mention of Losak, Elliott, Angelo, Markham, or the General Services Department which administers all contracts?
SOMETHING TELLS US that Ms. Angelo’s firm assurance that the board “will not see this again” a) has more to do with the unrelated departures of Losak and Markham, and 2) is simply not true.
BOTTOM LINE: ALAN FLORA was fired (scapegoated) for authorizing obviously necessary work (that may have been time-sensitive so the contractor would not have to stop work and then re-start, thus costing even more), while the people who caused or allowed the overruns go uncensured and unpunished. (ms)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “So, I thought I had a shot at cutest dog, but the boss just laughed. ‘First off, LD, we're not into 'cute.' Second, looks-wise, you're nothing special. Get back to work’."
SUPERVISOR DAN HAMBURG REPORTED TUESDAY:
(Ed note: Hamburg is on the Board of Sonoma Clean Power, as is Fort Bragg Mayor Lindy Peters.)
“While I was down in Santa Rosa I spoke to Geof Syphers, who is the CEO, the very capable CEO, of Sonoma Clean Power and he had just been on the phone that morning with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He got a call from them with respect to the wildfires. They were soliciting his input regarding improvements in infrastructure and what would be advisable for the future to prevent future events like this and make us more resilient, more able to contain these kinds of events once they start. It was the first time I've heard that FERC was involved in this. Geof told me that his major input to them was around the issue of undergrounding. It costs about twice as much to underground as poling and cable. It's about $1 million a mile versus about half a $1 million a mile. But when you look at the many billions of dollars that this fire will finally cost out at it becomes more feasible to look at this. I was just glad to know that this was on the horizon. We are putting together a letter to the telcos about something done in San Diego County which was after the Cedar Fire in 2003. They embarked on a major underground utility program through a public private partnership. So we are urging the telcos to look at that as a possibility. And I think FERC is pushing in that direction. I think it's something we will probably hear more about.”
NOT THE LIBS FAULT
Jerry Philbrick is 100% completely wrong. The liberals and Governor Brown had nothing to do with the Texas shootings, yet he blames them and calls them assholes. The killer was a white guy who had no problem buying his guns, even though he was a convicted felon. They've admitted he shouldn't have been allowed to buy guns; the US Air Force failed to notify the FBI. SNAFU.
Philbrick used this tragedy to make a political point, which is scumbaggery, but he's also completely ignorant about the facts. He says Governor Brown wants to disarm citizens. Bullcrap! The libs want better registration, which would have prevented this! These mass killings are mostly from white men, not immigrants, so this scapegoating of immigrants and liberals is moronic and unjustified.
As a 20 year subscriber to the AVA, Philbrick’s letters are the most stupid. His ongoing mental illness illuminates the psychopathology of the modern Trump worshiper. Selective senility!
It was reported that Trump has made over 1,300 false or misleading claims this past year. Seems obvious his base doesn't care about truth, honesty or integrity. They mimic it.
Even if everybody was armed in that church, it's likely that they'd still be wiped out, by superior firepower and surprise.
The Constitution mentions a "well regulated militia." By any standard, the easy availability of these civilian M-16's is not "well regulated." These gun nuts are the problem, not liberals.
Information society requires discernment, and we're getting info-tainment and propaganda now too much of the time, so beware. If these Trump supporters won't stop lying, misleading and ignoring the truth then they are scoundrels. Their time's coming.
SONOMA COUNTY OFFICIALS REMAIN SILENT ABOUT LACK OF FIRE WARNINGS
Questions about why many people were not warned about the fast-moving fires approaching their neighborhoods last month went unanswered by Sonoma County emergency services managers Friday for the second consecutive week.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 11, 2017
Arnold, Derbigny, Graham, Grant
SHANNON ARNOLD, Goleta/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DEVANTA DERBIGNY, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
GRADY GRAHAM, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOSE GRANT, Willits. Attempted murder, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, domestic abuse, recklessly causing a fire of inhabited structure or property.
Lamb, Lane, Mohr
CHARLES LAMB, Ukiah. Parole violation.
SHAWN LANE, Ukiah. Parole violation.
CHRISTOPHER MOHR, Willits. Parole violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I have been very fortunate in being able to have a second set of children and to experience the difference in what my children have been “taught” comparing both times. The second set have been inundated with sexual programming and “information” since they were in kindergarten. My 13 year old’s classmates have been discussing what kind of sexual type they are (Gay, Bi, Pan, Omni and a slew of other opinions) for a few years now even though none of them is sexually active yet. They flip and flop on which group they think they are in and there is not only much confusion, but a lot of hostility and anger for no apparent reason. All in all they are seriously mixed up and had I not addressed this issue before the teachers and society had gotten to them, they might be in as bad a state as many of their classmates. The 7 year old has not had too much programming yet, at least as far as I can tell, but in two years I know the pressure will be put on her too.
Morality aside, it is ludicrous that the system jams this issue down their throats at the ages they start doing it. It really seems to be placing a lot more pressure on them then seems prudent. It is bad enough that the 6 year olds already brag about how expensive and fancy their parents homes, vacations, and cars are.
HOW ABOUT US?
It's that time of the year when we transients may enter the REST (Rotating Emergency Shelter Team) program and get dinner and shelter at a local church or synagogue. Problem is, we have to wait at different locations to get picked up via shuttle, as the City of San Rafael doesn't want us congregating on the sidewalk. I beg your pardon, but is this not what happens at the Mill Valley Film Festival and Sol Food? Yet another case of harassment and borderline discrimination against the poor. What a bunch of horse shit. Thanks, San Rafael and NIMBY denizens! You make my pitiful existence where I cling to what pathetic little life I have more difficult and let me know my place in the oligarchy that is Marin and the rest of the nation. Well done.
CAPITAL, LABOR & ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN SAN FRANCISCO:
Danny Mark Makes Twenty-First-Century History
by Jonah Raskin
Permits from the city for the Emporium—a combination bar and arcade on Divisadero—dragged on and the Chicago-born and raised entrepreneur, Danny Marks began to fret.
“I asked a friend if I was supposed to grease the wheels,” he explained in the hollowed-out space of the old Harding Theater that opened in 1926, and that was named after the twenty-ninth U.S. President.
“No,” he was told. “Things just move slowly in San Francisco.”
Still, on a recent Wednesday morning, with the forty-fifth president in the White House, electricians, carpenters, plumbers and contractors dashed this way and that way. Next-door neighbors gaped at the multi-million-dollar makeover, while Danny Marks himself poured over blueprints and wondered when his big project might be completed.
As he knew, it’s far more challengingly to build, or rebuild or renovate in San Francisco in 2017 than it was 1926. Materials cost more and skilled labor is harder to come-by; most workers can’t afford to live in the city and so they commute three-hours round trip to get to and from the job. Then, too, projects take much longer to complete, with or without payoffs, bribes and the less blatant forms of corruption that once tainted the construction industry.
Danny Marks grew up in the 1980s and 1990s when he played the kinds of video games that he’s bringing back to the Emporium. He’s also a throw back, at least in his thinking, to an earlier era when entrepreneurs greased the wheels on a regular basis.
If he were to be faulted for suggestion that he had pay off an inspector, he ought to be forgiven.
After all, in Chicago, his hometown, that’s how business was conducted, at least in the 1960s and 1970s when his parents, Jerald and Pamela Marks, built, owned and operated movie theaters, bowling alleys and roller-skating rinks.
“Chicago was mob-run and the entertainment industry was a great place to launder money, though that’s not what my parents did,” Danny Marks said. “Like them, I operate aboveboard.”
Now, the Marks Brothers, Danny, 36, and Doug, 33, aim to reinvent entertainment in San Francisco for the age of instant communication.
“We’re not talking about sitting in a dark movie theater for hours and staring at a big screen,” Danny said. “This generation doesn’t care much about going on a date to the movies, driving a fancy car and living in an expensive house. It wants to collect experiences and share them on Instagram.”
Five-years old when Nintendo arrived in the world, and a self-defined member of the Nintendo generation, Danny grew up playing Space Invaders, Asteroids, Galaga and the ever popular Pac-Man that replaced the old pinball machines, though they never disappeared entirely.
Movies like The Blues Brothers and American Graffiti helped keep pinball culture alive, as did rock stars like Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who, with Tommy, their rock opera, about a “deaf, dumb, and blind boy” who becomes a pinball wizard.
The Marks Brothers are betting that at least two generations will flock to the Emporium at 616 Divisadero, then belly up to one of the bars, wander into the arcade, play pinball, air hockey, sky ball and shoot pool. There will also be live music and movies, too, on a screen that’s thirty-feet wide and sixteen feet tall.
The Marks brothers own and operate three successful bar arcades in Chicago, where Doug holds down the fort, while Danny plays high roller in San Francisco. Their Chicago followers include gamers, bar flies and connoisseurs of craft beers.
“San Francisco and Chicago are both great American cities,”
Danny Marks said. “Here, everyone cares too much. There, no one cares at all. In both places, people love bars and arcades.”
Danny Marks attended Tulane in New Orleans where he studied philosophy, then played in bands, worked in bars and became a booking agent for musicians. When a visitor to the Emporium told him that Karl Marx insisted that change took place faster in California than anywhere else, Marks thought for a second and replied, “Maybe change is deeper here than elsewhere.”
At New York University, he enrolled in the entertainment, media & technology program, but didn’t finish. He met his future wife, Laura, proposed, got married, and then bought a big house for $200,000, and settled in Jackson, Mississippi—now his hometown. Marks considers it a steal.
Almost every week, he flies from Jackson to Chicago and then to San Francisco. If it’s Monday, he knows he must be in the Emporium at 616 Divisadero Street, conferring with Michael Lacina, 60, the president of JK Sound who’s in charge of the audio, the video and the lighting—all digital.
“I was elated when Danny invited me to work on the project, Lacina said. “After all, it’s in my neighborhood and Yoshi’s SF, one of my favorite haunts, recently shuttered. I was happy that a new venue was going to open.”
Lacina added, “The first time I walked through the building, I knew I had a big challenge ahead of me. It’s 110 feet from the dance floor to the upper reaches of the balcony. The system we have created has a minimum of reflected sound and a maximum of direct sound that greatly improves clarity and intelligibility.”
On Mondays, Danny Marks also confers with Mark Huff, 43, the general contractor who keeps his eyes on the clock and on the contractors and subcontractors, but doesn’t do any of the actual work himself.
“I took the tools off seven years ago, and haven’t put them back on,” he said. He added. “Just getting the guys to come to work on time is a big part of my job.”
Huff, who comes from Cleveland, also gives guided tours of the building at 616 Divisadero, where he spends nearly all his waking hours and that’s perfectly suited for a history lesson.
“In the 1960s, the San Francisco Lamplighters light-opera company performed hundreds of shows here,” Huff explains. “Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead played here. Legend has it that Sun Ra held the stage for 72-hours straight. Before it went down hill, the building was a church. Skateboarders invaded and sprayed graffiti on the walls and floors. Homeless people moved in and took over. For a long time it was empty.”
What drew Danny Marks to 616 Divisadero was its history, from the 1920s to the start of the twenty-first century.
“This place is emblematic of the changes San Francisco has been through,” he said. “Now, we’re taking the past into the future.”
To launch his project and transform the Harding Theater into his bar/arcade, Danny Marks courted citizens’ groups, like the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association in the Western Addition, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisor’s President, London Breed, who gave him her blessings for the project.
“We have a very sweet deal with the landlord, Michael Klestoff,” Danny Marks said. “He paid for much of the restoration and we’re getting 12,000-square-feet for $30,000 a month.”
Klestoff and his partners have owned the property for fourteen-years. For most of that time there was no tenant.
“We’re very happy to have Danny there now,” Klestoff said. “We think the Emporium is a good addition to the Western Addition.”
The Marks Brothers own and operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Chicago. Danny Marks is thinking about a pot venture in Humboldt County, but he’s not planning to bring marijuana to San Francisco. BASA, a long-running dispensary, operates two blocks away.
“We don’t want cannabis to compromise our liquor license,” he said. “People will show up to the Emporium stoned, anyway.”
He looked from the stage to the balcony one hundred feet away, and then back to the stage.
“I’ve worked on this project for three years,” he said. “When we open in January 2018 we’ve got to make a big splash.”
Maybe he would do just that. Maybe the Chicago entrepreneur knew what San Francisco wanted and needed, more than San Francisco itself knew or understood. In any case, change had come to 616 Divisadero in a big way. Nearly all its history been lost, perhaps forever.
TWO PERFORMANCES LEFT FOR HURRICANE SMITH!
Gloriana Musical Theatre is pleased to announce its production of Hurricane Smith! Directed by Andrew Atkinson and David Kosonen. The setting is the stage of a school auditorium where a schlock film Daily, fresh from her creative writing class, with an Indiana Jones-like script under her arm. Trailing behind her are members of the drama club And what a plot! It concerns Hurricane Smith, famous explorer, whose mother was eaten by crocodiles and whose father disappeared in the Amazon. Parentless, Hurricane is raised by a gorilla. Twenty years later a young adventurer sets out accompanied by the feisty, independent photojournalist Linda Zest, to locate the Garden, and he has to survive cannibal Cobra Natives, headhunters, the hilly range, and the Pit of No Return to do so. The show will be performed at Eagles Hall Theatre from November 3 to November 12 with performances at 7:30 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is $18 for the general public, $16 for Seniors and $8 for youth (17 and under). Tickets may be purchased online at gloriana.org, at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or at the door of Eagles Hall Theatre prior to each performance. For more information, visit Gloriana.org.
MEMO OF THE AIR: THE LIE YOUR CHARACTER BELIEVES.
"Et sinceram orationem ex adventicio fulget, et vir pauper, tristis es, o rex: tyrannosaurus, sui alicula subornatus, usque ad nasum, booger."
The recording of last night's (2017-11-10) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download for free and enjoy at any time of the day or night, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
An unpacking of just crates and crates of interesting material, including a letter and a call from death-defying daredevil Alex Bosworth. The genesis of Elly Cooney's outlook on life and otherwise. Three chapters from John Passyka's autobio. Major Mark Scaramella on the subject of a disgruntled subscriber. Rex Gressett, Cindy Richards, Scott Peterson. Flynn Washburne chased through a pear orchard by zombies! Mickey Chalfin, John Redding... Look at this, there's so much here. And also another in the series of Jerry Philbrick's entertaining because goofily wrongheaded angry rants. It takes all kinds, it really does.
Zeke's story confused me as to how to read it, depending on links to other things and images that didn't come with the text I had, so I did the best I could but soon gave up. I'm sorry. Next week's show he'll call at 1am and read it himself and no doubt it will all make perfect sense.
At about 3am, near the end of the show, before Murder! At! Midnight!, is a collection of nightmares donated by readers to AtlasObscura, including, "The corpse of Ethel Mertz rose up out of the dirt and came after me. GAH!"
(From the tangled nest of Wikipedia articles about I Love Lucy: "Ethel Mae Mertz is the middle-aged landlady of Lucy Ricardo. Ethel was born in 1905 and was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico (episode #113). She is married to Fred, with whom she had a career in vaudeville. Ethel and Lucy are close friends, habitually scheming together; Ethel is generally the voice of reason as a counterpart to Lucy's hare-brained ideas.") Did you know Fred and Ethel had a career in vaudeville? I didn't know that. Also the actors who played them, Will Frawley and Vivian Vance, could not stand each other. Vivian Vance was in every way a professional. She'd show up ready to work, with her lines down cold. Will Frawley would be smoking and drinking and listening to ball games with his feet up in the dressing room when not wandering around messing everybody up and being a dick about everything. The on-screen bickering and attitude between them was realistic because real. The comical micro-expressions of revulsion that can't be faked or paid for.
Anyway, besides all that, as usual also at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of links to other educational goods I collected for you while putting the show together, to add to the literally zillions of wonders and amusements already there, that might not necessarily work on the radio because of being mostly visual. Such as:
Soviet paratrooper training, 1973.
A constructive proposal.
An ad for weed that both perfectly parodies Big Pharma drug ads and accurately advertises an actual company and service.
The latest four-story-high Calaisian steam dragon puppet.
And a rubber fist stomping on a rubber face, forever. He looks a little like Crocodile Dundee in a bald-head cap.