- Windy Rain
- Revised SIP
- Hospital Hotline
- Garden Table
- Coast Lodging
- KPIX Coverage
- County Notes
- Newsom Gambit
- Covelo Testing
- Skuzzy Patina
- Navarro Bottleneck
- Ed Notes
- Wild Hare
- Mendo Poets
- Hippies Won
- Feed Others
- Yesteryear Dining
- Struggling Business
- Mendocino Headlands
- Dam Plan
- Yesterday's Catch
- Tower Hearing
- Communism Is
- Reading Habits
- Beef Biz
- Ditch Cooper
- Corona Music
- For Israel
- Government Criminals
- Bottom Up
- Sausalito 1919
- Swamp Lawyers
- Found Object
RAIN AND GUSTY SOUTH WINDS will develop this afternoon. Showers with a slight chance of thunderstorms will follow during Sunday and Monday. Drier weather is expected to return mid to late next week. (NWS)
HEALTH OFFICER ISSUES REVISED HEALTH ORDER Following Governor Newsom’s Statewide Expansion Of Activities For Stage 2 Reopening
County Health Officer Dr. Doohan issued a revised Shelter-In-Pace (SIP) Order in alignment with additional Stage 2 modifications allowed by Governor Newsom’s Stay-At-Home Order moving California into Stage 2 of his four-staged plan to reopen the State. The Governor’s Stage 2 Order allows the gradual reopening of lower-risk workplaces with adaptions outline in the State’s workplace safety guidance.
Mendocino County’s revised SIP goes into effect tonight, May 15 at 11:59 p.m. and will be in place until June 8, 2020.
In accordance with the statewide directives, and in light of the collective efforts taken to date in Mendocino County to slow the virus’ trajectory, the Stage 2 modifications allows for additional lower risk business activities to resume while the Health Officer continues to locally monitor certain COVID-19 indicators. In addition, the Order allows for limited group actives within a Stable Group of 12 referred to as a “Social Bubble” from either a Household Support Unit, a Childcare Unit, or a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit for the purposes of engaging in those activities allowed under this Order. The “Social Bubble”, and in particular the Household Support Unit, acknowledges the interdependence of individuals within smaller rural communities on one another, such as involving family supports who may live in different residences but nonetheless support one another in activities, such as carpooling, childcare, recreation, religious services, etc. Social Bubbles are not required to engage in social distancing from each other when they are engaging in activities permitted under this order, but they should continue to comply with all other applicable requirements (i.e., staying home while sick, obeying quarantine and isolation orders, etc.). Each type of Social Bubble is counted separately, such that a child may be part of a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit and a Childcare Unit, but may not participate in two different Childcare Units. Residents are encouraged to read the definition within the order for each category of a “Social Bubble.”
The major changes to the revised Stage 2 Shelter-In-Place Order include:
- Expansion of “Outdoor Businesses” to include outdoor museums, galleries and botanical gardens pursuant to COVID-19 Industry Guidance.
- Outdoor Business now also includes service providers such as landscape and gardening, or environmental site remediation, at residences and businesses, for all purposes.
- Select “Limited Services” may operate such as businesses which do not generally require close customer contact, and can provide services while maintaining appropriate social distancing from customers or the public, such as laundromats, dry cleaners, other laundry services, auto repair shops, car washes, landscapers, pet grooming, and dog walking.
- Additionally, Limited Services also includes businesses for which service provision may require entry to private residences or community facilities, but social distancing can still be maintained, such as residential and janitorial cleaning services, HVAC services, appliance repair persons, electricians, plumbers, other mechanical tradespersons, handypersons, and general contractors.
- Office-based businesses may open if telework is not possible, pursuant to COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Office Workspaces.
Individuals may participate in activities within a “Social Bubble” which means a Stable Group of 12 individuals who form either a Household Support Unit, a Childcare Unit (18 and under), or a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit (18 and under) for the purposes of engaging in those activities allowed under this Order. Social Bubbles are not required to engage in social distancing from each other when they are engaging in activities permitted under this order, but they should continue to comply with all other applicable requirements (i.e., staying home while sick, obeying quarantine and isolation orders, etc.).
The updated Order also includes the concept of a Work Group, defined as a group of individuals, with not more than 12 individuals over a 4 week period, who engage in certain work-related activities, such as employment, volunteer activities, and the live-streaming or video-recording of events.
Race track facilities have been added to the list of shared facilities for recreational activities that may occur outside of the residences and must comply with social distancing and health/safety protocols.
In addition to the Revised SIP, Health Officer Dr. Doohan issued Guidelines for Drive-In and Drive-Through Events. Although gatherings are currently banned by the State, the County permits events with a limited number of individuals practicing social distancing to be recorded or live-streamed so that multiple individuals can participate remotely, including in their vehicles, in accordance with the issued Guidelines.
The Health Order and a summary of the major changes are available online at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/health-order. The order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents to closely read the order and follow it.
More information on Governor Newsom’s resilience roadmap and four-staged plan to reopen California, please visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/. For more information on the businesses/sectors that fall within the various stages of re-opening, please view the Resilience Roadmap Business Sector Chart.
For more on COVID-19: www.mendocinocounty.org
Call Center: (707) 234-6052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The call center is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Summary of Changes: Stage 2 Health Officer Order Shelter-In-Place
Effective 11:59 p.m., May 15, 2020, Until June 8, 2020
The Mendocino County Health Officer has prepared an updated Stage 2 Health Officer Order upon Governor Newsom’s statewide modifications (pursuant to the Resilience Roadmap) to the Stay-At-Home Order released earlier this week.
In accordance with the statewide directives, and in light of the collective efforts taken to date in Mendocino County to slow the virus’ trajectory, the Health Officer’s Stage 2 Order allows additional business activities to resume.
The updated Stage 2 Order identifies new “Limited Services”, including businesses which do not generally require close customer contact, and can provide services while maintaining appropriate social distancing from customers or the public, such as laundromats, dry cleaners, other laundry services, auto repair shops, car washes, landscapers, pet grooming, and dog walking and businesses for which service provision may necessitate entry to private residences or community facilities, but social distancing can still be maintained, such as residential and janitorial cleaning services, HVAC services, appliance repair persons, electricians, plumbers, other mechanical tradespersons, handypersons, and general contractors. Per State Guidance, these Limited services do not include personal care services that require close contact such as hair and nail salons.
The updated Order also allows Office-based business to operate pursuant to COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Office Workspaces (https://covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-office-workspaces.pdf) if telework is not possible. Additionally out museums, galleries and botanical gardens have been added to the list of Outdoor Business that may operate.
The updated Order also clarifies that transient lodging maybe rented to persons who must stay in Mendocino County for any type of work permissible under the Shelter in Place Order.
The updated Order replaces previous concept of a “Stable Groups of 12” with the concept of a “Social Bubble”. Social Bubble is defined a group of individuals, with not more than 12 individuals over a 4 week period, who form either a Household Support Unit, a Childcare Unit, or a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit for the purposes of engaging in various activities. Social Bubbles are not required to engage in social distancing from each other when they are engaging in activities, but they should continue to comply with all other applicable requirements (i.e., staying home while sick, obeying quarantine and isolation orders, etc.). Each type of Social Bubble is counted separately. By way of example, a child may be part of a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit and a Childcare Unit, but may not participate in two different Childcare Units. The updated Order also includes the concept of a Work Group, defined as a group of individuals, with not more than 12 individuals over a 4 week period, who engage in certain work-related activities, such as employment, volunteer activities, and the live-streaming or video-recording of events.
MENDOCINO COAST DISTRICT HOSPITAL UPDATE
In our continued efforts to keep you informed and address questions or concerns you may have about the positive case of one of our team members, we have set up a hotline.
Any patient or community member who may have been in our hospital between April 29-May 5 with questions or concerns may call 707-961-4718. Please leave the spelling of your last name, phone number and date of birth. Someone will call you back shortly thereafter.
Additionally, we have tested more than 104 staff in the past 24 hours. As results continue coming in, we have not had any additional positive cases.
This is a fluid situation and we will continue to keep you updated as we know more.
HARD-HIT COAST LODGING STRUGGLES TO STAY POSITIVE
by Chris Calder
Saying tourism has taken a direct hit from COVID-19 is the understatement of the year. Starting on March 25, 2020, tourism in California, certainly on the Mendocino Coast, effectively vanished.
And while motels in Ukiah and elsewhere along the US 101 corridor still bustle, a little anyway, with business travelers, the inns, motels and resorts of the Mendocino Coast are silent as the grave.
Add to that the coast's far greater dependency on tourism — no Costco or other large scale retail sector, no manufacturing to speak of with lumber mills long closed and fishing staggered by the restaurant shutdown — and COVID-19 economics start to look very different depending on which side of the hill you are on.
The crown jewel of coast lodging is the Little River Inn, a five-generation family operation with the lore to go with it and its own custom built golf course. The grounds, buildings, location and casually spectacular hospitality are why folks like Merle Haggard have dropped by repeatedly over the years.
Callie Dym is sixth generation on the Mendocino Coast and has been owner-operator of the Little River Inn for the past 14 years. She started out polishing glasses and getting gum off the bottoms of the bar tables there when she was five or so.
Dym knows coast lodging like few others, and she is not panicking. She knows the good things the Mendocino Coast has to offer and that the demand for them is always there.
But during a conversation this week, she also did not downplay the seriousness of the situation or the unprecedented challenges it presents to the local industry.
"I think you're going to be hugely impacted in the short term if you are dependent at all on this industry," she said.
Dym has long been active in industry/government relations and she is upbeat about the communications with local officials so far. The one slowdown in everyone's plans, she said, is lack of COVID-19 testing capability, since tests, test results and case numbers are the bottom line for the state's reopening guidelines.
"Everything but the testing is OK," she said, although recent news that Mendocino County will get a mobile lab in Ukiah to speed results is encouraging, she added.
One bright spot, she said, is the way local lodging owners have come together, especially over the past month as the seriousness of the situation became clear. Both in communicating with county government and working with each other to draw up plans for reopening, the usually independent-minded group of proprietors is working together like it hasn't before. Dym said the main group of proprietors has grown from 20 participants to 50 and web based meetings are wll attended.
Both Dym and Fort Bragg-Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Davis emphasized the need for prompt government action, both in making and approving procedures for reopening and addressing the unfolding economic damage with financial assistance.
Dym said the first round of assistance to small business didn't have much of an overall effect, and that losing "shoulder season" — the ramp-up between the doldrums of January and February and the summer season — has devastated cash flows.
The Little River Inn has furloughed nearly all its 110 employees, she said, allowing them to keep benefits and accumulate leave and sick time. She said as far as she knows, all plan to return when they can.
But no one is even making a guess about the "when." Some types of businesses are nearing the approvals needed to reopen. Motels and inns are not among them. Restaurants can do curbside business. Lodging establishments can't. Lodging isn’t expected to open until Governor Newsom’s still unscheduled “Stage 3.”
The Chamber of Commerce's Davis said proprietors are working together to develop practical ways of meeting probable state guidelines. It is likely that guests will have to wear masks when they return, she said, so establishments are putting together “care baskets” that would include all required gear.
Most of all, Davis said, the lodging industry needs direct help to keep proprietors from going under, and technical assistance in making whatever progeams are offered work. She, like Dym, complimented county government on the efforts it is making to understand and respond to the business community so far. But, she allowed, the process is a challenge, and the clock is ticking.
Looking at big-picture, long-term assessments of COVID-19's effect on tourism is probably not even a good idea right now for people depending on it for a living. Estimates like 50 percent of jobs lost industry-wide are floating around. But the only thing people really agree on, other than that things are bad, is that so much is unknown.
Some of the responses so far seem like they might hold promise for the post-COVID future, like LoveLocalMendo, a countywide online marketplace (lovelocalmendo.com). But for now, urgency is focused on immediate aid to make sure the establishments that have been forced to close for the public's health, are around to enjoy it.
WE MADE THE NEWS!!! And our very own Cleone Grocery is in this story. And city council person and eyewitness to The Catch, Lindy Peters, in a friendly-bouncer kind of way, telling people to stay home. And sunglasses dude saying "sucks but it is what it is". And East Indian motel owner wondering why the people in this town walk around like they're in some kind of drug-induced haze all day long. But that is the harsh truth of our reality. Nice work KPIX. (Chris Calder)
by Mark Scaramella
VIRUS TEST SENSITIVITY. The FDA issued a warning on Thursday about the accuracy of Abbott Labs corona virus test unit, a “rapid test” machine they call “ID Now.” One of them is in use in Covelo in the aftermath of the small outbreak there. This “news” probably doesn’t come as a surprise to outgoing Mendo Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan who told the supes weeks ago that there was a 15-20% false negative rate with the early tests, a rate which is now being reported as up to 30% by the FDA for the Abbott Labs machine which Dr. Doohan describes as a “lower sensitivity” machine with a higher false negative rate. The Thursday FDA report said that the ID-Now machine test “might miss as many as 48% of infections.” (This is the machine being used at the White House, btw.) Apparently there’s a high confidence in the positive test results, but negatives should be cause for re-test on a more sensitive machine if symptoms indicate — although the mechanics of that are unclear. There are a number of variables which can affect the test’s accuracy besides the machine itself which Abbott stands behind, such as the type of swab used, how it’s used, the way the sample is taken, sample storage and transportation variables, which lab does the test, the transport medium (no longer recommended — a straight no-medium direct insertion into the machine test is now recommended), time lapses between swab and actual test… The early antibody tests are also coming under scrutiny and are said to have a higher false negative rate than the rapid virus testers. So there’s no clear indication of whether somebody is still contagious after recovery or if they’re immune or how immune, or if the virus could mutate into a less immune version. Perhaps the reason Mendo authorities are calling for an unusual “anonymous” test process for contact tracing in Covelo has something to do with the possible need for a re-test if there’s a negative result — which all have been so far — or nervousness about what happens if someone tests positive. But have they been re-tested?
SO, as with so many other things, attempts to simplify the testing capability question and use it as the basis for opening up locally or nationally are not as clear-cut as many would like it to be.
SPEAKING OF DR. DOOHAN, she said Friday morning that she expects to revise her Shelter in Place order again on Friday to allow certain additional activities, and late next week she plans to allow some in-store “low-risk” retail and limited in-restaurant dining (under all appropriate safety protocols, of course). She added that the extra time was needed to coordinate and confirm compliance with the “five step requirement” that restaurants and stores have to meet according to state rules and to finish the “attestation” process which was about 75% complete as of Friday. Doohan said she’s working with the Board and the West Company for this process and she’s doing it as fast as she can with “Evolving language which we are carefully crafting.” Dr. Doohan repeated several times that she was “working hard” and “being very careful,” and she was “very proud of” this or that feature of her work and her evolving orders. Her last day with Mendo is still set for May 31 after which we’ll have a new “interim” health officer to kick around. (And, thanks to Dr. Iser’s prior job problems, some of us already have our boots laced up.)
THE STATE’S GRIM BUDGET for next fiscal year (July 2020 to June 2021) has a series of triggered cuts that would kick in if the feds don’t come through with the hoped for subsidies. (Trump has threatened to withhold some of it.) Mendo, of course, blithely assumes that it’ll all work out and most of the Covid expenses will be reimbursed and the economy will suffer a dip, but will recover in a year or two or three. As a result Mendo’s budget planning has not shown the kind of difficulty everyone in the real world — including the State of California itself — expects. Here are a few (annotated) notes from a recent CalMatters summary of the state’s FY 2020-2021 budget:
“Public employee pensions have reported record losses. That has local officials fearful of service cuts, layoffs and even bankruptcy because state and local governments are obligated to contribute more — even when they have less. CalPERS, for example, shed $69 billion as the global financial market recoiled from the pandemic.”
NOTE: Mendo’s separate pension fund (not part of CalPERS) has probably taken a similar hit which may put a substantial burden on the County’s General Fund to make up the stock market losses.
“State government employees would see their salaries cut 10% or their unions would negotiate equivalent reductions.”
NOTE: Nobody in Official Mendo has mentioned salary cuts, even though we strongly suggested that the Supervisors and the CEO should take immediate salary cuts back to 2008 levels to demonstrate leadership in advance of the coming revenue shortfalls.
“The Newsom administration projects 24.5% unemployment, a 21% decline in new housing permits and a nearly 9% drop in California personal income for the fiscal year starting July 1.”
NOTE: Mendo hasn’t “projected” anything but a minor decline in sales and transient occupancy taxes followed by a steady upward recovery starting in 2021.
“About 26% of Newsom’s budget solutions rely on cuts he said would be eliminated if enough federal aid comes through.”
NOTE: Wouldn’t it be prudent for Mendo to prepare a budget for FY 2020-2021 based on a similar approach, then restore the tentative cuts with whatever comes in from the state or the feds?
NOTHING WRONG with focusing on the phased lifting of the Shelter In Place and continued containment of the infections in Mendocino County. But, unlike Fort Bragg which has tried to get ahead of an obvious looming budget gap, Mendo’s budget team hasn’t even been asked to sharpen their pencils or put on their eyeshades.
NEWSOM MOVES TO SLASH SCHOOL, HEALTH SPENDING — BUT ASKS FEDS FOR A RESCUE
Newsom is taking a strategic, if risky, approach by tying many state budget cuts to aid from the federal government. Will it work?
Announcement! Anonymous, free testing of #COVID19 happening in Covelo on Monday, May 18th, 2020~
Round Valley High School Parking Lot
3 PM - 7 PM
Monday, May 18th
No ID required, and free!
When you take a #COVID19 test, you are giving your community your best. How? Your test can give Public Health the very basic info we need in order to make well-informed, big decisions that impact our entire county.
Attention coast, and other inland communities - testing is coming to you soon. Stay tuned!
DAVE SEVERN REPORTS ON THE NAVARRO:
The slight rise in the river is insignificant, yet it might have inspired the 20 or so steelhead hanging out for the last month to move out. Yesterday they appeared to have gone but I have not had the time to walk much of the river to see where they might have gone to. I don’t know. The riffles upstream are still so shallow and extended I don’t know how they could have gone up, yet even with the mouth open I can’t imaging they would head back to the ocean without spawning. One person suggested they might be finding a place to summer over.
A lot of the bright green algae that formed early has shriveled and floated away leaving a skuzzy patina on the river rock and gravel that billows up with each footstep. New and unusual plants are popping up along the banks and some of the old stand by vegetation is already showing signs of drying up. I don’t know. I wish I did.
There are still a few good swimming holes but some are yucky with scum.
LAKE AND HUMCO have a lot of their staffers, particularly social services people, working from home. I asked Supervisor Williams why not Mendo?
WILLIAMS: "Lack of broadband throughout the county is a limiting factor to employees working efficiently from home. It’s not the only limiting factor. Mendocino’s government is stuck in the past, a relic worthy of placement on the National Register of Historic Government Offices. One could argue the best path to modernization is through leaving one wall standing. Let me give you an example of working at home: I can either respond to email on my phone, thumbing endlessly, or I can use a web based client that shuts off every few minutes. I asked IT to increase the size of my mailbox last week, running into a problem Dan Gjerde once described in open session as time spent deleting old attachments. Moving the county to Gmail or another cloud solution would offer a productivity boost at nominal cost, most of which would be the dumpsters for hauling away old servers. The IT team is actually decent. It’s incredible what they do without budget, some of which includes duct tape. No matter where we stand on the pandemic, let’s hope it’s a catalyst for efficiency."
THE REDWOOD DRIVE-IN in central Boonville and next door to the hamlet's esteemed newspaper, not only offers excellent food and the world's best donuts, it keeps its bathroom open to the public which, as you might imagine the Drive-in constantly maintains to keep it civilized. Among the many plagues unleashed by The Plague, is the plague of snitches, one of whom… Well, Nicole Johnston, the young woman who tirelessly keeps the Drive-In's restroom clean, puts it this way: "So someone reported the Redwood drive in today about people not wearing mask and my bathroom not being clean. Not cool. People are MAD at me because I WON'T let them in here without one and I clean the bathroom every hour. So DON'T be surprised when the only bathroom in Boonville is closed. Thank you."
I POP in and out of the Drive-In often, and every time I have over the last month, everyone has been masked and everyone has kept six feet away. Of course I have my own bathroom facilities whose use I confine to one person — me. The thought of opening it up to whoever is absolutely terrifying. Travelers don't know how lucky they are that the Drive-In, alone among local businesses, keeps its bathroom open, and doubly lucky to have the conscientious Ms. Johnston keeping it clean every day.
THE TRULY EVIL GENIUS behind international Trumpism, Steve Bannon, has touched off a Get Fauci movement among the Maga-zombos. Bannon claimed this week that Fauci had “set up President Trump for failure in the fall.” Bannon was reacting to Fauci’s testimony before a Senate committee this week, during which Fauci questioned efforts by Trump, some governors and other officials who take their cues from the president, to reopen schools and businesses closed in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. “Understand this,” Bannon said. “Tony Fauci has not been around from 1984 because he doesn’t know how to play the game. He is a master game-player.”
TOM FITTON, the president of the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch, announced this week that his organization would be suing the National Institutes of Health to obtain Fauci’s communications about the coronavirus with the World Health Organization. “The initial shutdown, I don’t believe there was anything malicious about it or mendacious,” Fitton said in an interview Thursday. But “then the ideology creeps in, and that’s where the distinctions start to arise.”
BABBLING INCOHERENTLY from his basement, Joe Biden commented Thursday, "We're ... in the middle of a pandemic that has cost us more than 85,000 jobs as of today. Lives of millions of people. Millions of people. Millions of jobs. You know, and we're in a position where, you know, we just got new unemployment insurance, this morning, uh, numbers — 36.5 million claims since this crisis began."
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY JUNE 14
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION 2020
35th Anniversary—15th consecutive revival
Join in the 15th annual revival of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, held heretofore at the Hill House in Mendocino. This year we'll distance by smartphone, and email audio for broadcast on KZYX FM, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting. The deadline for contributions is JUNE 14, and the virtual main event will be aired on JUNE 21, the solstice and first day of summer. Auspices abound.
Wherever you are, you needn’t miss participating. It’s an open poetry reading. Follow host Dan Roberts’ friendly directions below, and send up to four minutes of audio to Dan and me by JUNE 14. This spring harvest of poetry will be broadcast beginning JUNE 21 and in succeeding weeks.
Learn how to get your good words into audio: see host Dan’s instructions below. Easy as emailing photos, really!
Gordon Black, producer
The 2020 Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration will be a virtual production, and broadcast on KZYX on my show RhythmRunningRiver beginning June 7, with the main reading Sunday June 21.
Since large gatherings are unsafe and banned, we are asking that you submit your poems by recording them and emailing them to me and Gordon.
It is as easy as sending a photo in an email, really!
I have heard the sentence "but I'm a technophobe!" from Armand who, by following simple instructions, has gone on to record numerous poems of very decent audio quality. Here is what Armand did for his first smartphone poem:
It is as easy as sending a photo in an email, really!
If you do not have a smartphone, you will need to borrow one for an hour. Sincerely, the process is easy. The tricks are being in a quiet room, how you hold the phone relative to your mouth, and not moving your hand on the phone while recording (find a place where you can set the phone a foot away from your mouth without hands is best.).The other trick is to make a recording, listen to it and see where it could be better, and repeat. Then simply email it.
Most laptop computers also have built-in mics and the ability to record, that too is an option, but for most people a smartphone will be simpler and sound better. If you have a problem with the process, ask a techie friend or anyone under 30- they would love to help.
With iPhone, open app Voice Memo; with Android, open Voice Recorder. (More info further below.)
Please speak in this order: your name, and then the title, at the beginning of the poem. Within the app there is a choice to email the recording, that's it!
The RULES - submissions must be no longer than 4 minutes! (You can see the exact length after you record it). This could be a combination of several shorter poems or just one. Avoid the 7 deadly words so that I can broadcast your work without the Puritans at the FCC pretending that they will torch the radio station in the name of decency.
DEADLINE. Please get them to me and Gordon by JUNE 14. Earlier submissions may be used on the June 7 RhythmRunningRiver.
Gordon Black <email@example.com>
HELP FEED OTHERS
To the Editor:
Please think about those in our communities who are experiencing difficulty feeding their families due to these stressful times. I encourage you to consider donating at least 10 percent of your stimulus check to the Food Bank, Plowshares, or other community support agencies of your choice in your area.
Ukiah Plowshares is serving an increased number of people — on site and through their “Meals on Wheels” program. The week of April 13 they served 1,304 meals, up 232 meals compared to a week in mid February of this year.
Ukiah Food Bank, on Wed. April 8 had 4 new applications. This week so far, they had 400 new applications. Let’s open our hearts and our wallets and help those who may be struggling. Please pass this message on to your contacts across the country encouraging them to do the same in their area.
“No one has ever become poor by giving.”- Ann Frank
PLOWSHARES: Send checks to P.O. Box 475, Ukiah CA 95482
UKIAH FOOD BANK: Send checks to 888 No. State Street, Ukiah
To the Editor:
It’s obvious we need to take this virus seriously and I certainly am taking all prudent precautions like wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and much more. But it’s also obvious this near complete business shutdown is causing much more then just a little personal inconvenience along with all the economic damage.
When figuring the cost/benefit of the shutdown I think we also need to take into account the many personal tragedies that it brings with it. The longer the present situation goes on there will be an ever increasing rate of suicides, alcoholism, depression, domestic violence and many more effects no one wants to see. As an example according to the CDC there has been an 800 percent increase in the calls to the “Suicide Crisis Hotline”.
In the end, like many people, this current situation will cost me nothing. My SSI checks will keep coming and my investments will certainly come back better then ever. If you are one of the lucky ones and have a secure income and situation it’s easy to say “Stay home, watch Netflix, be happy”.
But unfortunately this is not the case for many people who will lose everything they have worked their entire life to build, jobs, businesses, homes, savings, families even their sanity. Many of them see no way out and no future. I believe these people deserve more of our consideration.
SCOTT DAM REMOVAL PLAN SUBMITTED
(Friends of the Eel River Presser)
Friday’s filing proposes to remove Scott Dam, which would allow Eel River fish passage to their headwaters habitat for the first time in a century.
That’s a start. But too many questions remain unresolved.
(Eureka, CA) Today, a coalition of five Eel and Russian River parties filed a Feasibility Study Report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The report outlines a proposal to take over PG&E’s Potter Valley Project, including Scott and Cape Horn Dams on the upper Eel River. Most notably, the plan proposes to remove Scott Dam, which has blocked fish passage to and from the upper Eel completely for nearly a century.
Friends of the Eel River has been fighting for decades to remove Scott Dam so Eel River salmon and steelhead can return to the hundreds of stream miles of prime headwaters habitat above the dam. Today’s filing vindicates our understanding that removal of Scott Dam is both necessary to allow fisheries recovery, and an economic inevitability.
Nonetheless, Friends of the Eel River must reserve judgment on the plan proposed in today’s filing. FOER’s Executive Director, Alicia Hamann said, “We applaud the Two Basin Partnership for recognizing that Scott Dam must come down, but too many questions remain unresolved in the plan filed today.”
“Nobody wants to pay to keep Scott Dam,” Hamann noted. “PG&E must be held accountable for the damage its dams and reservoirs have done to the Eel River over the last century; they must pay their fair share. The plan suggests a potentially enormous price tag. Getting part way to dam removal won’t do any good for Eel River salmon and steelhead.”
As well, it’s not clear who will be represented in the proposed Regional Entity. Nor is it revealed who would pay for parts of the proposed plan that wouldn’t come under FERC jurisdiction. Critically, this would include a pipeline proposed to pump water uphill from the Lake Mendocino Reservoir to the Potter Valley Irrigation District.
“While the Eel River’s salmon and steelhead have paid a devastating price, going from a million fish a year to the brink of extinction, Potter Valley has had the benefits of nearly free water for the last century,” said FOER’s Conservation Director, Scott Greacen. “Those who benefit from water diverted from the Eel River in the future will have to cover the associated costs.”
Despite these concerns, today’s filing does make it very likely Scott Dam will be removed, and Cape Horn Dam removed or modified to the extent necessary to insure passage for salmon, steelhead, lamprey, and other native fish. This is because, if the plan proposed in today’s filing were to fail, PG&E and the Potter Valley Project will go directly to FERC’s Decommissioning Process.
After its latest bankruptcy filing, PG&E terminated its application to FERC for a new license for the Potter Valley Project. This foreclosed any possibility the utility could keep the project. The Two Basin Partnership was the only entity to respond to FERC’s subsequent invitation to take up PG&E’s abandoned license renewal.
While the FERC Decommissioning Process would likely be protracted, and its outcome uncertain, it’s likely FERC would order PG&E to remove Scott Dam. With such an order in hand, PG&E would likely be allowed by the California Public Utilities Commission to recover the costs of dam removal from its ratepayers, who have benefited from operation of the project over the last century.
Thus, Friends of the Eel River must consider the plan outlined today not as the only hope of Eel River dam removal, but as one possible path to that goal. The question is whether it offers Eel River fisheries a better, faster and more equitable resolution than FERC’s Decommissioning process would.
FOER’s Greacen emphasized, “Removing Scott Dam, ensuring Eel River salmon and steelhead can return to their upper Eel River habitat, has always been our core mission at Friends of the Eel River. We will bird-dog this and every other process necessary to get Scott Dam removed and our fisheries restored. One way or another, Scott Dam is coming down.”
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 15, 2020
DREW ARMSTRONG, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
BRETT BARNES, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
SHANE MILLER JR., Ukiah. Petty theft, resisting, probation revocation.
RACHAEL SEVERTSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence of drug.
WILLITS WIRELESS WORRIES
Letter to the Editor:
There will be a public hearing before the Mendocino County Planning Commission Thursday, May 21, at 9 am, on whether or not to allow Epic Wireless/ AT&T Mobility to install a wireless communication facility in the midst of a rural neighborhood on Pine Mountain, 5.1 miles SE of Willits. The 143 ft. lattice tower will include multiple antennas and a future microwave dish.
The County’s Planning Commission may adopt a Negative Declaration (ND) and grant a Major Use Permit. Neighbors and community members believe that due to the direct impacts of many environmental issues, incomplete Draft Initial Study and attachments, weak conditions of approval and mitigations, this project needs an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). Only an EIR will disclose, analyze, and try to mitigate the cumulative impacts of all the large communication towers that are being proposed in the county on the physical environment. An ND that addresses only this project does not satisfy the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) cumulative impact analysis requirement. What is the long range plan for internet connection in Mendocino County? Is this technology (with a future microwave dish) designed to replace our land lines and alternate broadband services? As of 5-8-2020, there are 71 public comments about this controversial facility.
The facility will blight and devalue properties near the site by perhaps 20%. Fixed wireless service will additionally “require the installation of a small wireless antenna at the customer premises that will connect to a wireless router in the home.” (Connect America Fund, Mendocino Co. 2018). The property owner’s long term lease with AT&T mobility will prevent the tower’s inactivation. These towers cause cumulative, non-reversible harmful effects on the environment, plants, animals and health of residents.
Please read the staff report, Major Use Permit, Draft Initial Study and Environmental Checklist at: Mendocino County Planning Commission's web site U_2019-0011 (Nixon) https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Your voice is important.
Please email the Commission your comments no later than May 20th at 5 pm to firstname.lastname@example.org Type “Public Comments U_2019-0011 (Nixon)” in the subject line.
Public comments U_2019-0011 (Nixon) can also be mailed to: Department of Planning and Building Services 860 N. Bush Street Ukiah, CA 95482 Attn: Mark Cliser (letters need to arrive no later than 5-18-2020)
The hearing will be conducted virtually and not available for in person public participation. At the time of the hearing, the public may participate digitally in the meeting by sending comments to email@example.com Type “Public Comments U_2019-0011 (Nixon)” in the subject line. The hearing will be available for viewing on the Mendocino County YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo
Linda Cardana-Gabrielson, Pine Mtn. Willits
Dave and Cathy Ortiz, Pine Mtn. Willits
Eryn Schon-Brunner, Pine Mtn. Willits
LEGENDARY PARIS BOOKSHOP reveals reading habits of illustrious clientele. A project to digitise records from the bookshop and lending library Shakespeare and Company offers a window into Paris during the jazz age, revealing the reading habits of literary titans including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Big Macs. I dunno…. u ever drive the I-5 down to SoCal? I was always amazed by those cattle yards that are hundreds of acres in size that you can smell for miles and miles, without a single blade of grass and cows standing up to their knees in mud and excrement….. these apparently, are able to pass inspections…. seems like the authorities may be being just a tad harder on cannabis farmers …. just sayin…
by David Yearsley
Spring has been slow to come to Upstate New York. There have been snow flurries in April, and the yearned-for arrival of green in the landscape has been halting. Like the humans, the leaves seem afraid to enter the public sphere.
One of our daughters, Cecilia, is with us during the lockdown. She escaped the United Kingdom on March 14th hours ahead of Trump’s travel restrictions. Cecilia made it across the Atlantic just before gridlocked pandemonium broke out in American airports.
In order to report her safe arrival in the American homeland, we checked in with my in-laws back in London where she had stayed the night before heading to Heathrow. Even over Skype this bunch of staunch Brexiteers exuded worrying quantities of British glibness. They were blithely upper-lipping it, mocking the threat. Not only had they, it seemed to me, been goaded into that posture by their man, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but they’d also been trained (brainwashed?) for this sort of silver screen stoicism their entire lives. They were armed to take on the Corona invasion with reheated Finest Hour nostalgia, banding together in subway tunnels, cinemas, and double-decker buses. Little wonder, then, that within a week of Cecilia leaving her aunt and uncle’s house with her suitcase, the upper crust Royal Borough of Chelsea and South Kensington where they live registered the highest density of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom.
While Cecilia’s back in Ithaca, taking self-isolation in good part even if she’s outnumbered by her parents, we’ve been trying to make music together. She’s playing on a borrowed cello, her own instrument marooned back in lockdowned London: it’s too expensive, anyway, to buy an extra airplane seat for the thing.
I accompany her at a Viennese grand from 1875—a rosewood, ivory and ebony dreadnaught of colonialism. For all its visual and aural beauty, it’s a relatively cheap piano, maybe ten-percent the price of the similar modern model by Steinway. Once the entertainment, even the emotional, center of the middle-class family, the piano—especially the antique—is now increasingly treated like a junk car, more likely to be pitched into a landfill or cannablized, rather than treated as a sumptuous, sounding heirloom.
The seemingly non-stop Zooming sometimes prevents Cecilia and me from mustering the time or energy to play together, but aside from the intrinsic joy of making music, the act becomes a crucial way to give the days shape.
As Karol Berger argued in his magisterial 2007 book, Bach’s Cycle, Mozart’s Arrow: An Essay on Musical Modernity, European classical music organizes time. As Berger’s title suggests, it was in the late eighteenth-century that musicians adopted forms that reflected industrializing society’s project to mark time with increasing efficiency and accuracy, and to transform history (and narrative musical strategies) into a forward-moving force, rather than one that continuously circling back on itself. God’s time was supplanted by human time.
The lockdown has pressed the pause button on time—and therefore on industry.
Cecilia and I recently played Schumann’s, Fantasiestücke (Fantasy Pieces), op. 73, a three movement work from 1849 that exists in versions for clarinet or cello, with piano accompaniment. As that title also might suggest, this is music that begins in the middle of something, as if in the act of being overtaken by impassioned remembrances and resolutions. Intimate reveries intervene, then recede. The lyricism pushes forwards, then backtracks, folding in itself, before the next big effusion. Harmonies sometimes take a step backward, where others rush on. There are moments of stasis before emotions begin to churn again. Themes return in fairly conventional reprises, but the apparent transparency of the form turns out to be an illusion—a fantasy. Memories are not just confirmed, but recast, distorted. The second movement is both restive and playful, calming itself finally with a lullaby that rocks back and forth ever more slowly until lapsing into a sleep of blissful forgetfulness. After being visited by shifting states, the last movement concludes with a joyous, accelerating affirmation that, just before the close, swoons with nostalgia, before rocketing towards its final outburst that seems to shake the music from its own feverish dream. Musical time passes, but in their fitful revelations, the Fantasy Pieces offer welcome contrast to the incremental, indistinguishable Corona chronology.
We played the piece last weekend on one of the few warm and sunny day’s we’ve had. My wife Annette was working in the front garden along the twisting street that leads up through our neighborhood perched on one of Ithaca’s many gorges. These days, more pedestrians walk along the path. Those that passed by stopped to listen as the music poured from the house. They might have been smiling behind their masks.
I’ve also been playing seventeenth-century dance tunes— some slow, some fast—by myself either on a Yamaha digital keyboard in the basement or on my clavichord in the attic. Neither of these instruments can be heard by my housemates.
I’ve been exploring masters of renaissance variations and while trying to make up my own versions: the melancholic Pavana lachrymae (pavane of tears) by John Dowland, one of the biggest European hits of its day; the ubiquitous Bergamasca (this hugely popular ditty stems from the Italian region hardest hit by the present pandemic); Onder een Linde groen (Under a Green Linden Tree), a bawdy song of romance en plein air; the rowdy Ballo del Granduca followed by another downcast reflection, the Pavana dolorosa. Like Schumann’s, this music expresses it emotions unabashedly, but without the manic shifts of the Fantasy pieces.
I’m not sure why, but I’m prone to be superstitious, and it occurred to me that one of the greatest renaissance keyboard masters and dance-tune titans, Heinrich Scheidemann was claimed by the plague in Hamburg in 1663. I’m playing his music anyway. He lives on in his fragile setting of the Pavana lachrymae and dances beyond death with his exuberant Galliard ex D.
Today started sunny. Early in the morning my wife and walked through the picturesque city cemetery that borders our house to the north. This park was carefully designed in the nineteenth century to encourage the living to walk among the dead. Its hills, terraces, and avenues extend over some twenty dilapidated acres to Ezra Cornell’s mansion (now a fraternity) that he called Llenroc. A group of four vultures (called a “committee” when not in flight, Wikipedia informs me just now) had taken up position in the graveyard’s only sycamore, its silver-white bark glinting. From their perches in this giant tree, these birds spread their huge wings, cormorant-like, soaking up the sunlight.
But as I sit at my computer, the morning is already darkening. A polar vortex is forming. Snow is in the forecast. Time to gather one’s courage and patience and humor. Time to rummage in one’s musical cupboard for sustenance. I think it’ll be piano four-hands arrangements of Beethoven symphonies—the insouciant Second?—to warm the cold night ahead.
(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical Notebooks. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
IN LIKE FLYNN
Retired general, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser, who denied to the FBI about his perfectly legal conversations with Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak about the US sanctions against Russia before Trump took office, was also reported, at the urging of Jared Kushner, to have tried to persuade Russia and other members of the UN Security Council to oppose a UNSC resolution introduced by Egypt and New Zealand condemning Israel’s illegal Jewish West Bank settlements, in January 2017, at the end of Obama’s term, an effort that was ultimately unsuccessful.
The story, reported widely in the US media, reflects not a failing on Flynn’s part but the extent of Zionist censorship over what Americans are allowed to read when it comes to Israel. The fact of the matter, as reported in the Israeli press, is that the Russia’s UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, on the directions of Vladimir Putin, was trying to get the other ambassadors to postpone the vote until Trump took office (which none were willing to do) as the return of a favor to Netanyahu who in 2014 had ordered Israel's UN ambassador to absent himself from the vote on US sponsored sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea, a move that enraged the Obama White House, according to an Associated Press story that was released but, apparently, never published.
Hence, Netanyahu, having learned that the US would break its long standing policy of vetoing any resolution against Israel and would abstain when the resolution came to a vote, was so desperate. While he was able to get the Egyptian dictator El-Sisi, one of the resolution’s two co-sponsors to pull it from the Security Council docket, he ran up against a stone wall when, after a stormy conversation with the foreign minister of New Zealand, the other co-sponsor, Netanyahu was was told to fuck off, or so, the Israeli press, in so many words, reported.
Netanyahu then appealed to anyone who could help him, which included his friend, Jared Kushner who told Flynn to try and block the vote. The Russian ambassador, Churkin, did vote for it, because it would have been politically embarrassing for Putin to have publicly been seen as defending Israel's settlements (and the next month Churkin ended up dead, at the age of 64, from no clear cause.)
One of Flynn’s great crimes in the eyes of the Democrats, that Americans will never hear mentioned, is that after leaving his job as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama, he agreed to be interviewed on Al-Jazeera. There he introduced a copy of a memo he had sent to the White House and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning them against the possible outcome of their efforts to stir an Islamic Jihadist uprising against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and we have seen how successfully that turned out. Madame Clinton would claim in another memo, released under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, that the US was doing it “for Israel.” Had she been elected president, of course, the resolution condemning the Jewish settlements would have been vetoed.
SANDERS CAMPAIGN WAS ABOUT ‘US’ NOT BERNIE
by Norman Solomon
During the five weeks since Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign, many fervent supporters have entered a “WTF?” space. The realities of disappointment and distress aren’t just about dashed hopes of winning the presidential nomination. Much of the current disquiet is also due to a disconnect between choices made by the official Sanders campaign in recent weeks and his statement on April 8 that “we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.”
There are scant indications that the remnants of the Bernie 2020 campaign are doing anything to win “as many delegates as possible” in the 20 state primaries set for the next two months. That fact has left it up to individuals as well as independent groups and coalitions to do what they can to gain more Bernie delegates for the Democratic National Convention.
If the total number of Sanders delegates goes over the 25 percent threshold required by party rules — a goal that’s within reach — progressives will get appreciable leverage over convention decisions. While top-level negotiations between the Sanders and Joe Biden camps have led to agreements that are a bit murky, there’s no doubt that the best way for Bernie forces to gain clout is to win as many delegates as possible.
But — while Bernie has continued to provide valuable forums and town halls via livestreams, such as “Saving Our Planet from the Existential Threat of Climate Change” on Wednesday night — what remains of the Sanders campaign is not urging supporters to vote in the presidential primaries this spring.
That choice not only makes it harder to win more Bernie delegates in primaries. It also has an effect of depressing turnout from left-leaning voters overall, to the detriment of progressive candidates in important down-ballot races in a score of states.
On Tuesday, the Nebraska primary netted zero delegates for Bernie. But next week the Oregon and Hawaii primaries are more promising to gain substantial numbers of Sanders delegates.
To get a grip on the torch that Bernie is implicitly passing to the grassroots — now more than ever — we should take heed of a passage from his painful statement five weeks ago suspending the campaign: “Let me say this very emphatically. As you all know, we have never been just a campaign. We are a grassroots, multiracial, multigenerational movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down, but always from the bottom on up.”
From the bottom up, it’s up to us. In effect, that now means the leadership for the Bernie campaign and what it stands for must come from the “movement which has always believed that real change never comes from the top on down.”
We should take Bernie at his words, and take them to heart: “Not me. Us.”
That means grassroots activists in upcoming primary states should take the initiative and get out the vote for Bernie. It also means that progressives around the country should jump into the fray, connecting with organizations that are working to maximize turnout for Bernie such as Our Revolution, People for Bernie Sanders, Progressive Democrats of America, RootsAction.org (where I’m national director), and the new coalition Once Again.
No leader is infallible, and the best ones — like Bernie Sanders — don’t claim to be. Bernie’s deeply progressive and visionary leadership has been extraordinary, with inspiring ripple effects nationwide. The rest is up to “us.”
(Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org).
by James Kunstler
In this springtime of the corona virus, Fridays creep around like hooded sentinels of dread as America faces another weekend of social emptiness and vanishing prospects. The bars have opened back up in some quarters of the country, sure, but who has the spare cash to pay for three margaritas at ten bucks a pop? Anyway, who expects the government hand-outs to go on forever? And if they did, as in current Democratic Party theory, what kind of country would we be, and what kind of people?
Fridays are also the days when things drop ominously: stock indexes, releases of shocking information, indictments coming down. Which brings me to the recent antics of Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. What sort of mischief has this cheeky fellow cooked up in the drawn-out case of General Flynn? Why, to draw it out months further by demurring to grant the DOJ’s motion to dismiss and to take over its role as prosecutor, which is not exactly consistent with American workings of jurisprudence.
Last weekend, in a well-leaked conference call, it appears, Judge Sullivan took marching orders from former President Obama who suggested snaring General Flynn on a perjury rap for withdrawing his guilty plea, and whaddaya know, the stratagem laid itself out this past week like a fully-crafted macramé, all the little tufts and knots neatly in place — thanks to the busy little fingers of Lawfare attorneys burning the midnight oil all week to get the thing hoisted up on the wall. The tortured logic of the scheme was really something to behold: by withdrawing a guilty plea Flynn had entered under oath, he would be guilty of lying to the court about being guilty in the first place, and therefore had perjured himself. Imagine the interior of the legal minds responsible for that: dank chambers of rot crawling with centipedes and mealybugs of subterfuge.
The judge’s transparently perfidious moves, revealed the desperation of Mr. Obama and scores of former and current officials allied with him, who are themselves liable for prosecution in the unraveling tapestry of RussiaGate. There is a sentiment welling up in this land that enough is enough with these devious pranks of crooked lawyers, and today, being Friday, would be an excellent moment for the DC District US Court of Appeals to issue a writ of mandamus for Judge Sullivan to cut the shit and get on with his bound duty to put the Flynn case to rest. A nice added touch, if necessary, would be to kick Judge Sullivan’s seditious ass off the case and replace him with a judge who understands established law and precedent.
The precedent has been reestablished as recently as last week on another case (U.S. v. Sineneng-Smith) when the US Supreme Court ruled 9-0, in an opinion penned by none other than the Notorious RBG herself, that “…courts are essentially passive instruments of government… they ‘do not, or should not, sally forth each day looking for wrongs to right….’” The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rule 48a) give no power to a district court to deny a prosecutor’s motion to dismiss charges even when a judge disagrees. It’s pretty goshdarn cut-and-dry.
Of course, Attorney General Barr would have had to file such an appeal to the higher court. Being as how deathly quiet his office has been all week, since Judge Sullivan revealed his scheme, it seems plausible to me that Mr. Barr has done exactly something like that. It would be very Barr-like for him to do it with absolutely no fanfare. Grandstanding is not his thing, whereas sending a clear message in defense of the rule-of-law is very much his thing and the message now is that the law is not to be used as a weapon against the workings of justice itself.
I hope I am right in expecting that Mr. Barr has acted speedily and silently against this band of skulking white-shoed caitiffs. The situation calls for a swift and forceful response. An appeal for a mandamus order is, by definition, an emergency measure — for actions that require immediate correction. The lawyers who infest the DC swamp need a brisk whack on their toothy snouts, driving them back into their Lawfare mud-holes. Not a few of them need to be skewered and flayed, their hides nailed to a wall as a lesson to those remaining.
This Friday would be a truly ripe moment for some actual indictments to come down against some of the perps of RussiaGate and its associated misdeeds. There are so many of them that I suppose they will have to be brought out in bunches and batches, at regular intervals as spring turns toward summer, when all the free money is gone and the American people begin to seethe and holler, and need a vivid reminder that the law is still a presence in our lives.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)