- Cooler Coast
- Mendo Covid
- Strategic Closures
- Crisis Van
- Masks Required
- Co-op Reopening
- Testing Positive
- Watchlist Imminent
- Red Zone
- Michael Stanley
- Firebug Delgado
- AV Survey
- Hendy Leak
- Rodin Suggestion
- Queenie's Open
- B-17 Ukiah
- Ed Notes
- Maxwell Appeal
- The Dump
- Yesterday's Catch
- Remove Dam
- Back Then
- California Recession
- No Nuance
- Not Bernie
- Democracy Ends
- Indian Madonna
- Ambulance Service
- War Party
- Pestering Congress
- Economic Fascism
- Gaming House
WARM AND DRY INTERIOR conditions will persist, with cool conditions and increasing cloud cover along the coast. A low chance of isolated mountain thunderstorms exists during the middle of next week. (NWS)
MENDO COVID, JULY 16
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:
The recent uptick in cases and more than half a dozen hospitalizations in Mendocino County will catch the state’s attention. Decisions about shutting down sectors will not come before County Supervisors. Our Public Health will be faced with two options as previously conveyed by the state:
1) Close business sectors and monitor data to time a safe reopen.
2) Do nothing, which will trigger the state to close business sectors and terminate local authority for timing the reopen.
If we are to scale back, I would prefer the restrictions be targeted at sectors responsible for actual spread. Shutting down businesses which have diligently executed guidelines to curb infections strikes me as unjustifiably punitive. Unfortunately, the formula and order of sectors is not left to local discretion. The impact on our economy will be proportional to our collective behavior. Of the cases successfully traced, gatherings by locals have been the common catalyst.
As I understand the state policy, many businesses will be allowed to continue operations outdoors, including under a tent with no more than one wall. Please reach out to collaborate if this option will keep your business afloat.
CONNECTING THE DOTS ON A MENDOCINO CRISIS VAN
by Mark Scaramella
Before the next Measure B committee meeting on July 22, let’s make one more attempt to get the moribund Committee to follow through on one of their own recommendations — a crisis van or two for Mendocino County — a recommendation that has since been endorsed by Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt, current Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall and former Sheriff Tom Allman who several years ago was responsible for setting up an earlier version of the crisis van — MOPS, Mobile Outreach and Prevention Services.
(From the Measure B Committee’s own minutes of their meeting back on November 18, 2018:)
“The program began with one MOPS team serving three areas of the county. The team consists of a Sheriff’s Service Technician and a Behavioral Health Rehab Specialist. The original team found they were spending most of their time in the North County and Covelo and unable to adequately cover the other two areas originally identified for their coverage. A second team was added to cover the south coast areas and a third team was eventually added to cover the Anderson Valley and Hopland areas.
The teams are mobile, working in the communities. Referrals can come from any entity or person. The team goes to the individual’s home, they work on building relationships to help individuals. The communities love the MOPS teams. The teams work to connect those in need with the services they need and support them early to prevent a crisis escalation wherever possible. MOPS teams have been effective in reducing 9-1-1 calls and removing some of the issues from law enforcement. If we add two additional teams, a proposal would have one team covering the north coast (Westport to Little River), that would include the city of Fort Bragg. Another team would cover the inland area of Ukiah, Willits, Potter Valley and Redwood Valley.
Staffing costs $389,600 for two teams per year. We would need two vehicles plus some administrative costs to cover things like gasoline, paper, pens, etc.
Chair Allman hopes we can recommend to the BOS the addition of two MOPS teams to be funded with Measure B services funds.
Member Dr. Ace Barash asked for more information on the services that the teams provide. Member Miller shared that the teams see clients several times a week. They are certified to 5150 clients if necessary. They work with Redwood Quality Management Services and other agencies. They do not respond to crisis calls, they are not 24-7. They are four days a week, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. They can see individuals in jail and offer services when they are released. …
Chair Allman shared that once the February Mendocino County Critical Incident Team (MCCIT) training for first responders occurs, then MCCIT would work with MOPS as well.
Member Mertle stated that the 8:00-5:00 p.m., 4-day a week MOPS teams could not respond to the crisis calls, this isn’t what we need. This isn’t going to reduce your calls.
Chair Allman shared that four days a week those potential, frequent flier 5150 calls are getting attention and it reduces the 5150 calls in that category.
Member Mertle asked Chair Allman if the Sheriff’s Office has seen a reduction in crisis calls since the MOPS program began. Chair Allman shared that in the first 12 months of the program, his office saw a 100% reduction in crisis in 9-1-1 calls coming to the Sheriff’s Office. There were some seen by MOPS and then went into crisis mode, but easily over 90% of the people that MOPS see are no longer being crisis 9-1-1, 5150 holds. Member Miller said that although MOPS isn’t going out in the moment of crisis, the communities are calling earlier for their services, pre-crisis, so the services are getting started earlier when needed.
Member McGourty reminded that the Kemper Report stated more services were needed out in the communities of the outlying areas of the county. When BHAB studied the report, MOPS looked like a quick and easy way to accomplish this because it has been effective. But, with the condition that there be a representative from the Sheriff’s Office on each team, something that is lacking currently.
. . .
Member Lloyd Weer (County Auditor) would like the addition of two MOPS teams to be added to the proposed budget.
Member Liberty would like to see metrics in place to monitor the effectiveness of the program.
. . .
Motion to recommend to the Board of Supervisors to create two new Mobile Outreach Program (MOPS) teams with Measure B services funds; and the collection of measurable metrics for the determination of the effectiveness of the program to be reviewed at every six month interval to determine ongoing effectives; by Member McGourty seconded by Member Mertle.
The Board of Supervisors subsequently approved this recommendation and associated funding.
Again, this was from their own minutes of a November of 2018 meeting. Since then the MOPS program has collapsed. Sheriff Allman told the Supes in 2019 that it collapsed because the woman who was leading it retired. End of discussion.
Although approved and funded, the two new MOPS teams that the Measure B committee approved of were never hired — there was no program to hire them into. When we asked Sheriff Kendall about the MOPS program a few weeks ago he just laughed and said it was no longer in service (athough it still appears on the County’s website of mental health services complete with phone number).
Despite the unanimous support of the program — and even its expansion — by the Measure B committee members and the Board of Supervisors, the subject of its status, much less its reinvigoration or expansion, has not arisen since November of 2018.
A year later in September of 2019, Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt urged the Committee to explore a Eugene, Oregon style crisis van program called CAHOOTS. Again, everyone liked the idea and agreed to pursue it.
As we reported at the time:
Redwood Quality Management Director Dan Anderson said he was familiar with the CAHOOts concept and that his company gets “occasional requests to be mobile. We struggle to do that. But it’s haphazard; not coordinated with dispatch or law enforcement. We don’t know when; there’s no plan. It’s inconsistent and stressful. There are no clear directions. It’s off kilter.” In other words, a standard Mendo approach.
Anderson added that the idea would be “important to pursue. We would love to partner and be more mobile. It’s a good program. CAHOOTS is a place to begin. We should invite somebody down from Eugene. It would also allow patients to de-tox.”
The County’s Mental Health Director, Dr. Jenine Miller, agreed, saying she worked on a similar program in San Francisco before working for Mendo and it worked well. (So why didn’t she bring it up long ago? Don’t ask.) Miller also thought that the crisis van staff should have the ability to administer meds in the field. However, Miller muddied the water by suggesting they look at “the full spectrum of [crisis van] models.” (This alone means that any real consideration of the idea will be delayed by who knows how many more years.)
Measure B Committee Chair Dr. Ace Barash said he expected that the subject would be on their agenda next month when they would conduct a “robust discussion” of it. (Translation: We will talk about it for a while but never do a single thing. If they were serious, they’d have tasked somebody to do a presentation on the viability of a pilot program next month. But that’s obviously too much to ask.)
Now here we are in July of 2020 and there’s a national and local discussion of various law enforcement reform ideas, one key provision of which is to reduce the involvement of cops in mental health incidents because they can escalate into unintended violence. Law enforcement critics and law enforcement itself generally agrees that unless there’s a serious underlying crime or iminent threat involved, cops should not respond to mental health calls. And even when there is a crime, once the situation is “de-escalated” (to use the latest reform buzzword), the perp turned patient should be handled by mental health staff, not cops.
Sheriff Matt Kendall is already on record saying that a CAHOOTS-like program now in successful operation for over two years in Butte County (Chico area) would be a good program to implement in Mendo. Besides Butte County, Sonoma County, Alameda County and San Francisco also have crisis van programs in place with known usable, tried and true protocols and procedures, so few new rules would need to be developed. The existing but dormant MOPS program could be easily expanded to include crisis van elements, with no increase in staffing, training or funding.
So what do we have:
Funding, unanimous support and existing programs in other counties as prototypes for a program that would non-controversially deal with one of the main demands of the law enforcement reform movement now underway.
But, besides an occasional passing mention without follow-up, total and complete inaction from Official Mendo.
UPDATE: Just this week, an informal draft proposal from the Behavioral Health Advisory Board which includes the following item prepared by County Mental Health Director Jenine Miller is being talked about as under consideration for submission to the Measure B committee for discussion at their upcoming July 22 meeting. Unfortunately, we don’t see anything about the Behavioral Health Advisory Board or its proposals, including the Mobile Crisis Team,” on their July 22 agenday. Perhaps it will come up under “Committee Member Reports regarding items of General Interest.” But, given the Measure B Committee’s dismal do-nothing record, we’re skeptical that it will even come up, much less be approved for recommendation to the Supervisors:
“Mobile Crisis Team – This recommendation proposes a pilot program that would shift from a Mobile Outreach and Prevention Services to a Mobile Crisis Team that would provide three Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialists to respond and ride along with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Data is available that shows these teams can be very effective and supportive for the individual involved in a mental health crisis. The collaboration recommends that Measure B allocate Three Hundred Forty Thousand Dollars ($340,000) per year for 4 years to fund the Mobile Support Team program. We also recommend that outcome statics are tracked and reported, so that information can be provided on the success of this program.”
UKIAH’S WEST SIDE AVOIDS STARVATION
Natural Foods Co-op Reopening Tomorrow, Friday, 7/17!
We are pleased to report that the Co-op will reopen tomorrow, Friday, 7/17, regular hours, 8am-7pm. The store has been thoroughly sanitized and we have been given a green light by the health department to resume business. Our COVID positive staffer is continuing to quarantine at home. Thank you for your patience and support during the last two days.
(Ukiah Co-op Press Release)
MENDOCINO COUNTY RESIDENT PUBLICLY ‘OUTS’ HER POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST RESULT
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mendocino County resident Kristin Hills worked remotely, wore a mask, and practiced social distancing seriously. In the interest of utilizing Mendocino’s County’s virus testing apparatus, Hills volunteered to be tested in June and, within one week, she got notice she had tested positive for the virus. What transpired from there, from the quarantining to the contact tracing to publicly outing herself as having the virus, provides insight into a rural public health agency’s efforts to build a bulwark against the advancing tide of the global COVID-19 pandemic lapping at the county’s shores.
MENDOCINO COUNTY TO SHUTTER INDOOR BUSINESSES ANTICIPATING ADDITION TO STATE’S COVID-19 WATCHLIST
by Ethan Varian
Mendocino County plans on Friday to preemptively shutter indoor drinking and dining establishments and close gyms, barbershops, nail salons and places of worship in anticipation of being added to the state’s coronavirus monitoring list, joining Sonoma and a slew of other counties struggling to contain COVID-19 outbreaks.
While Mendocino County is not among the over 30 counties now on the state’s watchlist, Dr. Noemi Doohan, the county public health officer, expects it soon will be added due to a recent spike in virus cases and hospitalizations.
“Our placement on the state monitoring list is imminent and in order to retain local control, I am choosing to act ahead of the governor by imposing the state monitoring list restrictions on Mendocino County,” Doohan said in a statement Thursday.
Her revised public health order reflecting the shutdowns and business limitations will be effective Friday at 11:59 p.m.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the halt of indoor dining and drinking at restaurants, wineries and breweries and closed bars, movie theaters and other indoor businesses statewide. Counties landing on the watchlist for at least three days are required to close the wider range of business sectors for up to three weeks, or maybe longer.
On Wednesday, Mendocino County also confirmed its first coronavirus-related death, which had been previously confirmed by Marin County officials and reported by the Press Democrat.
George Chadwick Sr., an 80-year-old Ukiah resident, died on July 1. He reportedly attended a Mother’s Day church service at Redwood Valley Assembly of God Church, which local health authorities linked to a coronavirus outbreak that infected at least nine people.
Because Chadwick died at a Marin County outpatient center, Mendocino County officials said they did not receive his death certificate and could not determine the cause of death. Chadwick’s family recently informed Mendocino County officials COVID-19 is cited on the death certificate, prompting confirmation of the virus-related fatality, officials said.
As of Thursday, the county reported 165 overall confirmed coronavirus cases, of which involve six people currently hospitalized, with 60 others in isolation, and 98 have recovered.
(Courtesy, Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
COVID CASES, LAST TWO WEEKS (the red spot is Mendo-Humboldt)
WILL STENBERG WRITES (Coast Listserve)
To the folks back home: Michael Stanley wasn't a buddy of mine. But he was a fucking legend. He was a madman careening down a mountainside with no brakes. I'm thinking right now of that video of him destroying a truck with his head, bash by bash. He was a pure product of Mendocino County, that wild land of lost souls and self-made prophets and pot tycoons disguised as contractors and old hippies with heavy weaponry and dirt-poor kids growing up shoeless on the ridge. There's nowhere like it in the world, and though he was a madman, he was our madman. He leaves behind him more unbelievable - and completely true - stories in his too-short life than most would manage if they lived a hundred years.
Michael Stanley raised hell. My heart goes out to everyone grieving, and I lift a glass.
— Will Stenberg
On Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at about 6:30 PM, Howard Forest Dispatch was advised of a fire in the 22000 block of Covelo Refuse Rd. in Covelo,. Sheriff's Office Deputies also began responding, and heard Round Valley Tribal Police had contacted and detained a subject at the location. Deputies responded and talked to the suspect, identified as Carmelo Delgado, 39, of Covelo.
Delgado advised he set the fire using a lighter to "get attention." Deputies also spoke to a witness in the area. It appears Delgado was arguing with some unknown person who left just prior to Delgado starting the fire. Delgado apologized for starting the fire and tried to assist the witness in putting out the fire. Delgado was highly intoxicated during the incident.
Round Valley Fire along with Cal Fire resources responded and contained the fire to approximately 4 acres. The field that burned had been recently harvested into bales of hay which sell for about $12 a bale, with a minimum of 90 bales destroyed due to the fire.
Delgado was arrested for intentionally starting a fire causing property damage, the destruction of property and being intoxicated in public.
Delgado was transported to the Mendocino County Jail and was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
WE ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT how best to serve our community (including members, volunteers and supporters), within the limits of the Pandemic, with the use of Zoom (video and audio conferencing technology)... We would love to get your suggestions and feedback. Please take this short (about 5 min) survey regarding our Village Zoom "gatherings" and correspondences - link below. Thank you for your time and input.
AV VILLAGE SURVEY: surveymonkey.com/r/GZS2ZT9
Anderson Valley Village Coordinator
CAMPING AT HENDY WOODS has been suspended because of a very significant water leak that is proving to be problematical to fix. Reservations starting today through at least July 23 are cancelled and will be fully refunded. A decision will be made later today about whether Day Use will remain open. Currently Day Use is open.
NO SOONER HAD WE NOTED the complete absence of the four current Supervisor candidates — Maureen Mulheren, Mari Rodin, Glenn McGouty, Jon Kennedy — from County affairs or board meetings that candidate Mari Rodin showed up on Tuesday with a major contribution to the public dialog by telling the Board (via Zoom) that they should do more to reach out to the “Latinx community” (i.e., Mexicans) concerning the virus situation. Of course, Supervisor/Board Chair (and former Willits Spanish Teacher) John Haschak enthusiastically agreed. Ms. Rodin didn’t offer any particular proposals beyond the substantial Spanish language materials and videos and announcements already being issued. Philo-based KZYX is doing their part too by broadcasting several Spanish language shows to their two or three Spanish-only listeners in the County.
QUEENIE’S ROADHOUSE CAFE OPEN
Queenie's Roadhouse Cafe in Elk still open. Outside patio dining and to go orders. New hours Friday Saturday Sunday and Monday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Curbside pick up. 707-877-3285
B17 AT UKIAH AIRPORT
I TRY to stay out of custody cases. Away from them, I mean, as a journalo-subject. The ones I've written up were egregious, in that one side was clearly the victim of the relationship, the other side just as clearly the villain. The ones I haven't written up were so lost in mutual contempt, so obviously psycho on both ends I came away almost happy that they'd found each other. But there’s no story because their marital combat is of zero interest to anyone beyond the couple themselves, lost in their obsessive hatred for each other. Beyond sad for the children, of course, but not newspaper fodder.
MY BIAS is for the woman, maybe out of the unfashionable notion that men, because they're men, should take the high road and be forgiving, gallant even; that women, despite recent advances in legal equity, are almost always at a disadvantage, a double disadvantage if the man is wealthy and vindictive, the kind of lowdown fellow who not only grossly mistreats his wife but has abandoned his child except for an occasional manipulative message of the "Remember how much fun we had that time…"
THE WOMAN on the receiving end of bad male behavior grew up on the Greenfield Ranch. She remembers her childhood as idyllic, her adult life with the man she married less than idyllic, but she stayed with him for 16 years. Their child is almost 16 and sees what she sees, and she sees her father as the man who tried to weaponize her to launch against her mother, with whom the child lives. By choice, because dad has a new wife and a new child and is, as they say, moving on without his first wife and first child and first life.
MOM wants sole legal custody, but a Contra Costa County judge, apparently trying to split the diff, awarded joint custody without asking the 15-year-old daughter her custodial druthers. Daughter went straight to mom in Ukiah with no objections from dad who maliciously refuses to grant mom full custody. Mom could use some help from the county's helping pros in sorting out her custody prob but, with the exception of a woman at the Youth Project, has been refused, summarily refused, impolitely, unprofessionally refused.
NOT A BIG deal in the big world of bigger woes, but interesting to me as an example of bad judging. The daughter should have been asked who she wanted to live with, but dad went into court with an expensive and connected lawyer and comes away with the joint custody neither he nor his daughter want. Mom just wants him over, but to bring it off she needs to get her case in front of a Mendo judge, and she needs a Mendo lawyer to get there. We'll see.
ON THE SUBJECT of judges, like every other voyeur in the country I'm following the Ghislaine Maxwell case. Ms. M. is now in federal custody, and you can almost hear the global cheers that that custody is austere. And apparently incompetent, since it's the same custody that managed to lose Maxwell's boyfriend, or whatever he was to her, to suicide while on suicide watch. No need to rehash the charges against Maxwell because everyone knows they're varieties of pimping for Epstein, master pimp to an international cast of Lolita pervs.
THIS WOMAN is already guilty of being rich and the daughter of a legendarily bad man, a bad media man worse than Murdoch, if that's possible. Ms. Maxwell has been denied bail on the grounds that she's a flight risk, which begs the question, Why was she in the U.S. when she was arrested? With her money she could have really hidden away some place beyond the U.S.'s extradition reach. Which she should have done because no way can she get anything like a fair trial in the context she's in. Ordinary pimps are in and quickly out of jail all the time.
BEFORE JUDGES at all levels are sworn in, they should be required to spend a month in jail, preferably a county jail, where they would instantly conclude, assuming they're more or less human, that the experience doesn't have to be as demeaning as it is. Maxwell's judge ought to spend a month in a federal iso cell, for instance, to get an idea of the circumstances he's ordering people into. A month or so in jail, would teach judges that a majority of their fellow prisoners don't require incarceration, that most of them are inside because they don't have the means to await judgement on the outside. Finally, judges might not be so blase about sentencing people, especially young people, to such long terms if they had first-hand experience of lock-up. Veteran convicts I've known have recommended short sentences for most offenses, but short, tough sentences — ten years, say, hard labor, no tv sets, mandatory class work. My late friend Danny Martin did lots of time in all kinds of prisons, and he said if it had been a lot harder he would have tried to stay out.
AN APPEAL BY COLLIN MAXWELL, a realtor in the town of Mendocino, was turned down Tuesday by a 5-0 vote of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Maxwell proposed to rebuild an old building in the town by salvaging what materials he could and using them to build a new structure. The Mendocino Historical Review Board had approved his proposal only if he met a condition that required him to retain at least 50% of the building, or at least 50% of the appearance of the building. Mr. Maxwell said that meeting that requirement was impossible given the delapidated state of the building.
Maxwell also argued that the 50% rule was imposed after he filed for his building permit and that the Review Board and the County had taken too long to process his permit application. County Planning had also imposed setback requirments (for fire safety, apparently) that Mr. Maxwell objected to.
In summarizing his reasons for denying the appeal, Supervisor McCowen said that that Mr. Maxwell’s proposal didn’t look anything like the old building that’s there now, and that technically his permit WAS approved — but with the 50% rule imposed (and the setback requirements).
We hope to have more on this mini-controversy soon. But for now here’s the “timeline” that Mr. Maxwell submitted in his appeal package, followed by the letter that MHRB Chairperson Dierdre Lamb submitted and Coast resident Lee Edmundson’s letter recommending denial of the appeal.
Timeline of Events — How five years got spent being bullied by Julianna Cherry, and harassed by the very community that would benefit the most from the resurrection of a 100+ year old residence.
by Collin Maxwell
June 4, 2015, Met with Julia Acker (Krog) to determine what would be possible. Can I scrape it? July 7, 2015, Met with Julia again to get more clarity. Can I rebuild what’s there?
July 15, I purchased property.
Aug 4, 2015 – Julia conferred with Steve Dunnicl. Can I rent it out again?
October 6, of 2015 Julia’s response that reviving the use of a visitor serving facility wouldn’t be possible since it had been so long since it had been used as a rental. In addition, that there was a push from the Mendocino Town Residents to promote residential development.
April 14, Met with Julia again to see if there was a way to get feedback from MHRB.
May 2 I attended a MHRB meeting and introduced myself, and the idea of gathering public opinion about the site. There was strong approval, and I asked if the board would discuss the topic of having a pre-application conference.
May 3 Email to Bill Kinser and Julia:
To change what is there, I have to go through the process. Which if I have to go through the whole process, it opens the door to the question, "how much to change?" And that brings us back to square one, What are we doing? Repairing or rebuilding? And what are we building, what’ s there, or what we could imagine to be there?
June 15, 2016 Full application submitted to Julianna Cherry with fee. Clock Starts!
July 12 No response from Julianna, and I go to the MHRB meeting for feedback. Julianna denied the application to be complete and required a slew of documents including hydrology study.
July 12, I send follow up email stating my intention for the application was to get feedback from the board about which direction I would be able to go with the property. (Attachment 1)
July 19th Juliana sent rejection letter with reasons showing clearly she was aware of a pending change in code making the 50% salvageable conversation applicable (See #2 of Attachment 2) July 27, met with Julianna and Bill Kinser and an architect to find what to do next.
July 28, Julianna replies with timelines required on her end, 30 days to review, 180 for MHRB Aug 31 Hydrology application filled out, notices sent, study scheduled, fees paid. Then a crew shows up and rents faulty equipment. Test is aborted, timetable resets, and notices get re-sent. Sept 12 2016 Met with Julianna to deliver historian’s report, surveyor’s drawings, and all the documents requested (except for the, Hydrology study).
Sept 16, Julianna requests I fill out a “(LCP) Local Coastal Program Amendment Application and a (GP) General Plan Amendment Application as well as a (ZC) Zoning Change and associated $13,664 application fees.
Sept 16, Trespassers came and vandalized. I find a caretaker who is willing to live at the property and began requesting to build a fence to keep trespassers and vagrants out.
Julianna replies with me needing to submit a site plan, with location height and material.
Sept 21, Julianna informs me I needed a building permit to fix the floorboard in the manufactured home, the broken doorknob, and any plumbing problems.
Sept 22, Julianna informs me I need a Coastal Development Permit for moving dirt to fix/find the plumbing problems. I need to submit a site plan showing the scope of work (interior and exterior) and get a building permit in order to dig and find the sewer line.
Sept 26, Julianna called Angie Hamilton who gave a code violation for the immediate removal of the manufactured home, or liens will be assessed on the property. Occupancy is the caretaker. Jim Jackson (a local attorney) gave his opinion that I was being harassed.
Julianna snidely replies to get trailer that’s been there for more than three decades out, and also she won’t be available until Oct 10, (See attachment 3)
Sept 27, Angie Hamilton emails that the trailer can remain as dead storage if no power is connected and it remains unoccupied.
Oct 2 Multiple emails trying to get the fence built and all to no avail.
Town plan meeting is October 5th
Oct 5, I inform Julianna and Angie that I’ve vacated caretaker from the manufactured home.
Oct 6, I submit plans and drawings to rebuild the fence
Oct 6 Angie Hamilton says she’ll remove the notice of closed case once planning signs off on the property.
Oct 6 I inform Juliana and Angela that I am exposed to liability without a caretaker, and that the insurance company will allow insurance only after the property is not an attractive nuisance.
Oct 7 Julianna replies that she and Bill will need a couple days to confirm the fence height. Architect Tom Thompson meets with Julianna, and speaks to a variance for residence setback:
1. Historic president of property.
2. Small lot and set back space is "dead space".
3. Adjacent buildings are far from the property lines so the variance does not impose on those residents and it would be no different than it is now.
4. There are other cases where the "zero lot line" exists in the village, so while not being the norm it does exist particularly on properties with historic buildings.
5. By keeping the structures we can keep the spirit and in the architecture reference the existing buildings, which the 60’s-70’s have made on the town. Book “Mendocino in the 70’s”
October 12 Ed O’brian called me and yelled at me making false statements about my intentions. October 21, Julianna replies that the fence cannot be taller than 3.5 feet, 9:29AM (Attachment 4) Oct 21, I speak with a planner in Ukiah, Adele, and she said MTR zoning allows for taller (than 3.5’ ) fences to be built if they are 10’ back. Conversation occurred prior to 12:17
Oct 21, Juliana sends an additional email, “I had a follow-up thought” at 4:03PM (Attachment 5) I did not call Adele to ask her if she informed Julianna of our call, however timing is...
Oct 24, Architect Tommy T met with Julianna and goes out to mark the location of the fence. October 25th, Second attempt to complete the hydrology study was disqualified from rain level. Nov 4, I request Angie Hamilton to give me a notice of closed case.
2016 was an absolutely horrible year. Over thirty trips to the coast, mountains of stressful dilema
Jan 17, 2017. Fence gets completed, 4 months after initiating the process!!!
After what I experienced with Julianna, I consider selling and order an appraisal.
March 8 Appraisal shows pictures of property and a value of $75,000 (Attachment 6)
July 12 2nd application for hydrology study now totaling over $34K to overcome this obstacle, that was completely unnecessary to see MHRB (stated so by Julia in Feb 2020 MHRB meeting). The hydrology study is needed for the use, not the exterior which is the MHRB’s role.
July 20, I email Julianna about “double verified” final figure for the fees concerning the applications for: 1) LCP Amendment 2) GP Amendment 3) Zoning Change Amendment
July 20 Julianna replies back that the fee schedule changed July 1, and she can prepare a revised fee estimate if I tell her “what you are proposing to do and at what location.” As if she had never heard of me or my project before. I reply back the same day with the information she requested, which was no change from the June 15, 2016 previous application, and Sept 12 of 2016 with revised application with studies.
Aug 28, 3rd attempt at a hydrology test begins, and is ultimately successful.
Oct 30, 2017 I email Julianna about being included in the 22 VSF’s and how the property “should have had an asterisk.”
She replies back that I will need to apply for a LCP, GP and ZC as above in Sept 16, 2016 and again in July 20th 2017.
Oct 30 I reply “And that is what I’ve been waiting for since July” (Attachment 7)
Julianna mails a letter cancelling my application for “being incomplete with no action taken,” knowing full well about Hydrology study. Letter is backdated to October 23rd. (Attachment 8) Nov 27, I email Oliphant and Kinser to remove Julianna as my point of contact.
They agree, and Bill says her withdrawal letter is voided.
Dec 5 I meet with Bill Kinser and inform him I’m willing to simply have a 2nd home there.
At this point, I don’t even care to try and revive the use, I just want to enjoy the property.
Jan 17, 2018 Bill shows himself to be non-responsive. I recap all of effort-to-date. (See 9)
Jan 29, After no response and two months of nothing, I email Bill again (Attachment 9)
Feb 1 meet with Bill in Ft. Bragg, and get specifics from Bill as to what he needs.
Feb 12, I complete Bills list and ask to meet with him to make sure everything is there. (See 10) March 1, No word from Bill, and I ask again. (Attachment 10)
March 8, I email a freshly worded and complete application to Bill (See 11)
March 19, Still no response from Bill emails (See 11)
March 26 I leave Bill voice messages, and email again, plus give drawings (Attachment 11) March 28 Bill replies he received the plans and will review them later today
March 30, No response from Bill and I email asking if there is anything else he needs for me to “get in front of the board.”
April 6 I email again, asking to see what would be needed in order to move the ball..
April 10, he replies back that meeting April13th would work.
April 13th Bill emails he lost the application.
April 13th we get to sit down and he states that the application is complete, and I’ll be on the menu for the MHRB meeting in June. Almost two years from application submittal on June 15, 2016 for the application to be considered “complete.” ...far from 30 days.
May 7, I buy a ticket for the June meeting.
May 16, I email Bill to follow-up about the “Howdy Board!” meeting to make sure we’re good. May 28, another follow-up email to Bill (Attachment 12)
Many. voice messages to Bill hoping to confirm my application’s presence. No response.
June 3, I fly out with a fever. Stay at the Sea Gull Inn, and go to the Ft. Bragg planning department in person, and I find out I’m not on the agenda.
June 5, I write a strongly worded email and include Mary Hunt, and see a local realtor about selling the property. (Attachment 13 PLEASE READ)
June 8, Mary Hunt’s responds first with a phone call, and acknowledges Julianna’s known behavior to have caused problems with other applicants in the past. “Bad Apple.”
June 11 Bill comes back on board, and sincerely apologizes
June 22, Bill emails that I’ll be on the Aug 6th MHRB meeting
Aug 6 Meeting, continued by the board requesting more detail. Ironically, Board Members request some type of preliminary discussion with applicant for future projects like mine.
Aug 9, Bill says he’ll send an itemized request from the MHRB meeting. Never arrives.
Aug 18, I list the property for sale, and allow anyone who wants to step forward a chance.
Sept 20, 2018 Contractor comes out saying 50%? “systems are not meant to last this long.”
Sept 27, I email Bill “don’t forget about me” Bill emails saying my phone doesn’t work. Wrong. Oct 9, I reach out to get a copy of the audio file as Bill is not doing the work. (Attachment 14) Oct 10, 2018, Julianna emails me the file.
Jan 31, 2019 Kelly Grimes starts getting involved preparing detailed plans as board requested. Mar 26, Kelly’s plans are ready for review
May 1, 2019 Kelly’s plans are submitted to the department. Bill retires.
May 9, 2019 Julia Acker Krog is now my point of contact, and she can talk tomorrow.
May 23 Is when we actually talk, I am informed I have to pay a second additional application fee because my case was continued. I disagree, as MHRB was who continued the file.
May 24, The director reverses this decision, no fee required unless continued again. It was.
June 4, I reach out to see if I’m on the schedule for July’s meeting.
June 17, Julia confirms there will be another site visit, and I make a big effort to cut down the vegetation that had grown since Julianna required I remove the black plastic.
June 24, prior to the meeting Julia received 50% questions, during the meeting she volunteered to consult county counsel.
June 28, Julia sends me the memorandum for the meeting.
July 1 2019 MHRB meeting #2 with Julianna claiming fence was built to hide manufactured home, Julianna knew perfectly well it was keeping vandals away. I politely correct Julia after. July 9, Julia was out of the office. The Hydrology Study wasn’t finalized unbeknownst to me. July 9, MCCSD received many calls about the hydrology study and the hydrologist writes: Perhaps because there are (apparent) objections to your development, the District would like an analysis of the cumulative impacts from pumping the nearby tested wells + yours.
July 18, Mike Kelley at MCCSD responds with to opposition, and more money I needed for study: As the applicant, you are required to provide any additional information the District believes will clarify the study’s findings on the cumulative effect to nearby wells.
Aug 17, the buildings are degenerating before my eyes, and I reach out to see what building permits would be needed to fix it up the way it is now. Simply fix the flat roofs as they are.
Sept 10, Mike Oliphant says that I have to submit building plans in order for him to give an opinion. For a re-roofing permit, ask Julia.
Sept 11, Julia is out sick, Julianna replies “Submit drawings and plans and we’ll review”
Sept 11, the Hydrologist finishes doing the extra work.
Oct 7 Julia responds from sick leave that she wasn’t able to provide updates for the MHRB meeting, and my property will be postponed to December.
Oct 23, Julia responds to the idea of running two concurrent applications to make sure something gets passed, and gives an updated fee sheet, postpones the deadline for submittal to Oct 30.
Prior to Oct 30, a big storm rolls through shuts off power, the Architect can’t submit the files. Nov 11, Architect re-drawn drawings are completed that incorporate all the aspects of the previous meeting’s talking points. Every public and MHRB objection was complied with.
Nov 14, Julia emails that she has not received any updated drawings, and the Property is to be postponed until January MHRB meeting. Architect apologizes for dropping the ball, & forgiven. Nov 25 MCCSD reviews the hydrology study and independent review and approve results.
Dec 4, revised drawings submitted to Julia in Ft. Bragg
Dec 14, I email Julia to see if she’s had a chance to review the plans that were submitted.
Dec 19 I email Julia to verify I’m on for January’s meeting.
Dec 23 Julia responds that she received them in Ukiah on Dec 12, and would like more time to review them, pushing the next MHRB appearance to Feb 2020.
Dec 26 I ask to set up a meeting to get together with Mike Oliphant to discuss simply fixing it. Jan 6, Meeting with Mike was supposed to happen, but couldn’t be confirmed. I am not doing that again...
January 9 Julia responds she was in a mediation and trainings.
Jan 17, Julia completes the staff report and says she’s still waiting for definitive answer on the 50% needs to be salvaged question from County Counsel
It seems counter intuitive that the filed application would be held to a standard other than at the date of the application. Imposing this standard on my application would mean that every application would then be held to the most current code standards, and therefor require all applicants make a stream of edits at the eve of every code change. I disagree with this logic.
Jan 21, Julia, Oliphant and I meet to discuss what applying for a rebuild of the property in its ‘as- is’ with like materials. Mike says it would be fine, and to start with the foundation. I decide that fixing how it is now is not in the best interest of the property (antiquated outlets are fire hazards), or the town (flat asphalt roofing looks terrible), or my family (unhealthy materials).
Jan 28, I reach out to find out about county counsel’s opinion.
Jan 31, Julia states they feel since the application was not granted, today’s codes apply.
Feb 2, and 3rd emails are clarifying what conditions are being proposed last minute.
Feb 3 MHRB (Third meeting) At first votes were Two yes, Two no, and if Diedre Lamb (a ‘No’) had any moral fiber, she would have recused herself for being both a direct neighbor, and close friends with my adjacent neighbors who were vehemently against change. A vote of ‘no’ was disguised as a ‘yes’ because the 50% condition is impossible. (See pictures in attachment 6) Prior to 11 days, I file an appeal to this condition hoping BOS would want IIA property revived. Feb 5, A new “For-Sale” sign is installed out front giving the world more opportunity to step up. Feb 21, I email to find out what’s happening, Julia informs me the earliest is May 19th
My daughters graduation in Arizona was at the same time. Budget hearings pushed the next available time for the BOS to meet to July 14th and here we are.
No one wants this project. I am not going take one step down an unrealistic path with no chance of success. My architect was very clear at the last meeting in saying that 50% is not salvageable.
Diedre Lamb doesn’t own the home she lives at in the district. We are both in the same profession, and it makes sense that she would be intimidated by my entry into her market as I am extremely successful as a service provider. She walks her dog in front of my property every day.
The addition was built on the setback line over 130 years ago, and documented (Sanborn map). It makes no sense for a property that looks this bad, and be in a designated historic location, to receive this degree of opposition to revitalization.
What I would love from the BOS is to reverse the decision to include the condition of 50%.
I believe I can keep 75% of the walls of the residence by keeping the good redwood, brace the timber so that it can remain standing, and add new pieces so that the wall can meet today’s code. I can salvage door knobs, sinks, window panes, and many other pieces. Salvaging stretches of wire to keep the “50%” makes no sense. If the BOS can see the big picture, then Mendocino saves the Ferro/Portuguese Fisherman’s house in their portfolio of antique residences.
...That can happen!
To the Board of Supervisors Re.: Maxwell
MHRB Permit #2016-0018
July 7, 2020
To the Board of Supervisors,
I would like to go on record as the permit was written up with different terms than were approved by the MHRB Board on Feb. 14, 2020. This has caused me concern, and I would like to set the record straight.
I am not sure how the Planning and Building Department wrote up this permit. Then, as we have not had a meeting since March, the minutes have not been approved, so there is no proof on paper regarding the facts. Seems unfair for the Board of Supervisors to make a decision without seeing the minutes, especially as the Chair of the Board, is disputing the facts of the permit.
Please refer to the MHRB Permit:
1) FINDINGS, (a) The exterior appearance and design of the proposed work is NOT in harmony with the exterior appearance and design of the existing structures within the District. The design was found by the MHRB board to NOT be harmonious with the other homes in the neighborhood. (b) The appearance of the proposed work WILL detract from the appearance of other property within the District.
2) The MHRB Board never saw a demolition permit request.
3) The MHRB Board did not approved a 5’9” fence in the front yard. The fences that are approved in front of homes in Mendocino are 3’ tall. Planning approved the fence as it is set back from the road out of County right-of-way. The fence is not in character with the town.
4) Item 29. This is an important one. The applicant was asked multiple times to provide proof there was at least 50% of usable materials in the Ferro House. Former head Planner Bill Kinser explained to the MHRB board that if there is not 50% of material left in the house, it is considered a demolition and requires a permit for demolition. Then, the house that is built would be considered a new structure.
5) The Ferro House is in such decrepit condition, the applicant was not able to find a licensed contractor to say there was at least 50% of usable materials left in the house. We on the Board requested this multiple times, if the applicant was able to produce proof, we would consider it a remodel and certain items would be grandfathered in. Being there is not 50% of materials left of the Ferro house, this equates to the house being considered a brand new house. As a new house, everything changes. As such, the set backs from the property line need to be up to code, and the lot coverage is 25% not 45% as the applicant is proposing to use. At this time, the structures are not to code on the setbacks, they are about 2 feet from the property line. A Mendocino volunteer fireman testified his concern if there was a fire, there would not be enough room to put it out, and it has a greater risk to the neighbors next door that the existing structure is near.
6) The Board did not find the design of the long and rambling house to be harmonious with the environment. It appears the applicant is reaching to use as much of the lot as possible, over what is deemed legal and necessary in the town of Mendocino.
It is my hope that the Board of Supervisors upholds the decisions that were made regarding this application.
Chairman of the Mendocino Historical Review Board
TO: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors RE: Maxwell MHRB - 2016-0018 Appeal
This appeal is based on three (3) contentions by appellant: 1) The condition requiring salvage and re-use of at least 50% of existing structure’s material is “unreasonable”; 2) At least two (2) Mendocino Historical Board (MHRB) members “allowed personality conflicts undermine their roles and, 3) (thus) they “applied bias”.
I’ll address these points in a somewhat reverse order: As for allegations 2 & 3, I participated in several of the hearing on this proposal, as the minutes attest. I confess MHRB members expressed skepticism about several of the Applicant’s claims, and at times there were strong differences of opinion, but at no time did I perceive any expression of personal animosity on the part of the Board. Applicant’s allegation of Bias on the part of members of the Board is unfounded, unsubstantiated and without documentation. It is without merit, and should be ignored.
Regarding the Condition requiring (at least) 50% salvage of the existing structure(s), I agree with the Applicant, in his Appeal, that, “ After hearing the process required to determine the percentage of salvageable structure, and the opinion of my architect who felt this was not possible...”. Nevertheless, this is precisely what the Mendocino Town Zoning Code (MTZC) Section 20.716.010 (B) (1) requires and is clearly pertains to this matter, “However, replacement of 50 percent or more of the nonconforming structure is not repair and maintenance but instead constitutes a replacement structure that must be brought into conformance with the policies and standards of the LCP (Local Coastal Plan).. Emphasis added.
In plain English, if the “remodel” of this structure cannot salvage 50% of the existing structure’s materials — and no one believes that it can — then its “legal non-conforming”
status becomes null and void. Thus requiring any new development to fully conform to currently extant rules regarding setbacks, etc.
Planning and Building Services (PBS) staff and the members of MHRB bent over backwards to accommodate Applicant/Appellant’s plan, and the MHRB decision was the correct one, given what they had to work with.
Your Board should Deny this Appeal. Thus supporting the MHRB decision of 2/3/20 and the MTZC’s application to Legal Nonconforming Structures and their remodel/rehabilitation.
Thanks for your time and attention.
Stay Well, and Regards,
IT'S NICE UP THERE
I’ve realized philosophically I like going to the dump. What’s not to like? It’s surrounded by ripening huckleberry bushes (aka PIE), the dump guy is cute, there’s cool stuff, and your neighbors show up. PLUS, everybody ends up there, figuratively and literally. It’s a great social leveling. I’m thinking of bringing a folding chair and a dog-eared book and STAYing there. It’s peaceful. If I stay long enough, they can dump me.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 16, 2020
BRITTON AZBILL JR., Covelo. Vehicle theft, probation revocation.
VINT DANIELS, Laytonville. Failure to appear.
CARMELO DELGADO, Covelo. Arson, vandalism, of someone else’s property, loaded firearm in public, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DUSTIN GOLYER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JODI HODGES, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
ANTHONY LOPES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ELIANA MALICAY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RODRIGO SIERRA-ZUNIGA, Willits. Domestic abuse.
STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Suspended license (for DUI), unlawful display of registration, no license.
ALWOOD SMITH, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats, probation revocation.
SKYLAR VINCENT, Willits. Controlled substance for sale, ammo possession by prohibited person, paraphernalia, loaded firearrm, probation revocation.
REMOVE SCOTT DAM
by Darren Mierau & Charlie Schneider
Newly installed sonar fish counting stations operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and California Trout paint a dismal picture for the Eel River’s native salmon and steelhead. While research indicates that at least 26,400 of these migratory fish should return to this river system every year for their populations to rebound, fewer than one-third of that number made the journey this past year.
A century ago, as many as one million salmon and steelhead returned to the Eel to reproduce annually. Today, the Eel’s coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead trout populations are all listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. While the Eel River has the potential to support self-sustaining wild fish populations at a level that could be harvested commercially, it is clearly falling far short of that potential.
Scientists recognize the Eel River could play a crucial role in preventing California’s migratory fish populations from collapsing in the coming decades. The Eel is one of the few major rivers in California with no fish hatcheries. With no hatcheries, the Eel is an excellent status indicator for wild fish populations.
The North Coast is also relatively undeveloped and sparsely populated compared to areas around California’s other major rivers, like the Sacramento and the San Joaquin. Over-fishing, intense logging, major floods, and now farming (particularly of thirsty crops like cannabis) have stressed the Eel River over time. Improved regulations are now in place to reduce the impacts of timber harvest, reduce sediment inputs and ensure minimum flows stay in the system during the hottest and driest months.
Perhaps most significantly, hundreds of miles of pristine, cold water habitat once provided essential spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead in the Eel River’s headwaters. But salmon and steelhead were completely blocked from reaching the river’s upper reaches when Scott Dam was built in 1922.
While it’s fair to say that salmon and steelhead are dying the death of a thousand cuts in the Eel River, Scott Dam is by far the deepest and most damaging of these injuries. Dam removal efforts from Maine to Washington State to here in California have shown time and again that restoring access to historical spawning grounds is key to rebounding fish populations.
As part of the Potter Valley Project, Scott Dam impounds the Lake Pillsbury reservoir. That water generates a paltry amount of electricity. A significant amount of water is diverted out of the Eel River and into the Russian River system, where it supports tens of millions of dollars in agricultural activity and residential uses in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties.
An effort is underway to preserve the benefits of the Potter Valley Project – electricity generation and water security for Russian River water users, including in Mendocino County’s Potter Valley – while significantly improving conditions for native fish by restoring access to the river’s headwaters and limiting water diversions during the warmest summer months. Time is of the essence to implement this plan if we hope to salvage the North Coast’s native fish populations.
Darren Mierau is North Coast regional director of California Trout. Charlie Schneider is president of Trout Unlimited’s Redwood Empire Chapter. CalTrout, TU and The Nature Conservancy work together as the Salmon & Steelhead Coalition to promote the recovery of wild native salmon and steelhead populations in California.
AFTER MORE CORONAVIRUS CLOSURES, HOW DEEP WILL CALIFORNIA’S RECESSION GO?
by Lauren Hepler
Forget the notion of a V-shaped recovery. Unemployment leveled off around 16% in May, but a retreat to isolation and the end of some relief funds could lengthen the state’s economic recovery — and deepen inequality.
In late June, it looked like California might be turning a corner in the coronavirus recession. Unemployment had leveled off at a jarring 16.3%, but thousands of waiters, bartenders and hair stylists were going back to work.
Then came the surge in infections that state officials have been dreading — a record 11,000 new cases on Tuesday alone — and with it, a new wave of business closures.
“We are so sorry,” began the email to customers from San Jose’s Limón Salon this week. “After being open for only one day, we learned that our reopening will be short lived.” With appointments back on hold, the salon said any donations and product sales will go to pay employee health care premiums for next month.
If the reality is harsh for business owners and employees seeking stability, the public health rationale for the retreat to isolation is clear. Outbreaks continue to spiral at San Quentin State Prison and workplaces such as meat processing plants. Coronavirus testing backlogs have led to rationing. In some regions, hospitals are approaching capacity.
As the health crisis unfolds, changing state and local health orders have combined with looming deadlines like the July 31 expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits to create false starts, intense financial anxiety and confusion about who is supposed to be enforcing regulations on the ground. Workers and businesses alike are left to wonder how deep the recession will go, how long it will last and how many livelihoods might be gone for good.
“The best word to describe it is chaotic,” said Kaya Herron, director of community engagement and advocacy at the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. “There’s people that are grasping at straws, that are saying, ‘I’m down to my last dime, and I don’t know when I’m going to be able to allow customers back into my space.’”
The re-closures began before the Fourth of July holiday, when Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars closed in Los Angeles and a half-dozen other counties on a state “watch list” for elevated virus transmission levels. This week, he ordered a halt to all indoor dining and entertainment statewide, plus a ban in 29 watch list counties on fitness centers, places of worship, protests, hair salons, indoor malls and some offices.
It may be a final blow to business leaders who have latched onto hopes of a “V-shaped” economic recovery, or a quick bounce back from economic paralysis, said Jerry Nickelsburg, director of UCLA’s Anderson Forecast. In late June, the Anderson Forecast warned that fallout from the virus had already tipped California and the rest of the country into a “depression-like crisis” with a longer “Nike-swoosh-shaped recovery” likely to last through early 2023 — that is, if businesses could safely reopen this year.
“There was a sense that the public health crisis was moving in a direction that would allow the continuing opening up of the economy,” Nickelsburg said. “Though that has not been entirely dashed, there is certainly more uncertainty.”
‘A critical time’
Hopes of a quick recovery have also dimmed in recent weeks as hiring has stalled. On the career site Glassdoor, 35% of employers have reduced job postings since June 22. Economists say it’s unclear how many are being cautious because of uncertainty and how many may be in the throes of more severe hiring freezes or nearing bankruptcy.
“The next several weeks will be a critical time for the economic recovery,” Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao wrote in the job report published Tuesday. “The question is whether the worsening public health crisis will completely drown out the fledgling recovery.”
In California, one area of concern is that the unemployment rate already lagged other states in rebounding as businesses reopened this summer, said Sarah Bohn, vice president of research at the Public Policy Institute of California. After an initial blow to hospitality, tourism and other in-person professions, she’s tracked a more recent surge in public sector and health care unemployment.
“How temporary are these temporary layoffs?” Bohn said. “Is it really going to bounce back? By how much? How fast?”
Time is of the essence because federal legislators have not reached a deal to extend an additional $600 per week for unemployment benefits set to end July 31 amid widespread complaints in California about backlogs and unreceived benefits. Longer term, Bohn expects that the state will have to grapple with the prospect of “this crisis worsening inequality.” State lawmakers already have enacted a bitterly contested new law extending benefits for freelancers and gig workers; voters will be asked whether to curb its provisions for ride-hailing drivers with Proposition 22 in November. Other debates concern how far to expand the safety net for struggling workers in other fields.
“A roller coaster of opening and closures seems like what we should be expecting,” Bohn said. “Unfortunately it’s hard to know how many cycles of the roller coaster we’ll be on.”
Other short-term relief such as federal Paycheck Protection Program loans have so far largely failed to materialize for small businesses in Fresno, Herron said, especially those with Black, Latino or Asian owners. Her team is wading through dozens of applications for $3,000 emergency grants and running extra financial literacy programs about managing debt. She worries that the coming weeks will make or break not only individual lives, but also the entire city’s fledgling revival.
“Our downtown and our business districts are at risk of losing their tenants, but also of losing their diversity and vibrancy,” Herron said. “If businesses don’t make it through this wave, a lot of them will never reopen.”
(Lauren covers the state economy for CalMatters, with a focus on jobs and business regulation. Her past stories have been published by the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Guardian, Slate and the BBC. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Protocol and the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Lauren grew up in Ohio, studied the history of social movements at George Washington University and holds a master's degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.)
AN ULTIMATE MEANING OF THE BERNIE 2020 CAMPAIGN: “NOT HIM. US.”
by Norman Solomon
“Eugene V. Debs is Bernie Sanders’ political hero,” the Washington Post reported with evident distaste while the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination was raging in early 2016. “A picture of the socialist union organizer hung in city hall when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont. A plaque honoring Debs is now by the window in Sanders’ Senate office.”
Now, as Bernie’s last presidential campaign fades into history, it’s appropriate to consider this statement from Eugene Debs, whose dedication to the working class was matched by his eloquence and courage: “I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, someone else would lead you out.”
Millions of Americans, inspired and energized by the Bernie 2020 campaign, certainly do not want to stay right where they are, in the midst of the capitalist wilderness surrounding us -- menacing and deadly with the climate emergency, the unchecked pandemic, vast income inequality, structural racism and so many other terrible ills. There’s no Moses in sight, nor should there be.
To say that Bernie’s role in progressive movements will diminish in the months and years ahead is to take nothing away from his profound importance in the past and present. During a PBS NewsHour interview a couple of nights ago, he was as cogent and strategic as ever, emphasizing that to defeat Trump “there has to be energy and excitement among younger people, among working-class people, among people who very often do not vote.” Overall, Bernie Sanders continues to be the preeminent and most effective progressive voice in the country.
And yet the pathbreaking brilliance of his 2020 campaign has been followed by confusing and somewhat dispiriting choices that he has made since announcing the “suspension” of his campaign on April 8. The last hundred days have been marred by a backtrack on his pledge that day to “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.” Actually, Bernie and his campaign did almost nothing to gain further delegates in subsequent primaries.
Those of us who regret some of Bernie’s tactical decisions during the last three months would do well to recall Eugene Debs’ words about why he was not seeking to “lead you into the promised land.” And now, Bernie Sanders’ campaign slogan is more to the point than ever: “Not me. Us.”
Both of the Sanders presidential campaigns were historic breakthroughs for challenging the moral rot of oligarchy in the United States and for pushing real class analysis into mainstream discourse. The campaigns grew out of -- and, crucially, helped grow -- grassroots movements fighting to transform institutions that are structurally racist, sexist, militaristic and environmentally destructive while serving corporate power and wealthy elites.
The future is up to us.
Norman Solomon is co-founder and national director of RootsAction.org. He is a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”
"THE END OF DEMOCRACY and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
— Thomas Jefferson, 1816
COVELO WOMAN, 1904
A HIDDEN GEM IN THE CARES ACT THAT BENEFITS AMBULANCE SERVICES
Now is the time to ask your community to remember their ambulance service when donating to a charitable organization
by Steve Wirth, Esq., EMT-P
Many have asked about financial programs available under the COVID-19 stimulus laws that can help struggling ambulance services. Here’s one program that can help encourage funding from one of the most likely sources of those funds – your community – and may promote charitable giving to community EMS agencies.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act contains some less discussed tax benefits that can help struggling ambulance services during this difficult time. The provisions enhance the benefit of charitable giving to individuals and corporate taxpayers. These expanded charitable giving incentives are a critical acknowledgement by Congress that charitable entities - like many ambulance services -need financial help during this National Health Emergency.
The CARES Act adds a new tax deduction available in 2020 and future years. It allows for a $300 deduction per taxpayer ($600 for a married couple) for charitable gifts on their federal income tax returns. Charitable gifts can be made to ambulance and EMS agencies that are either non-profit organizations or public agencies consistent with IRS rules. This new provision affects the vast majority of taxpayers who do not itemize deductions. It is an “above the line” adjustment to income that will reduce a donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI), and thus reduce their taxable income.
This deduction is in addition to and does not take away from the standard deduction. Taxpayers who itemize cannot take advantage of this new deduction, as their charitable contributions are reported elsewhere on the tax form.
Charitable organizations have long advocated for this type of universal deduction, and non-profit or public agency ambulance services should encourage their residents to take advantage of it when asking for the community’s help. This is particularly important since non-profit ambulance services have had to stop all in-person fundraising events such as dinners, bingo, raffles and other public events at their stations – and many citizens are asking their ambulance services where they can now help.
A second change lifts the cap on how much donors can deduct in charitable gifts in a single year. This will primarily impact more wealthy taxpayers who itemize deductions – but these are the taxpayers with more expendable income to donate. Before the CARES Act was signed into law, there were limits on the amounts that individuals could deduct – up to 60% of adjusted gross income, or AGI. The CARES Act eliminates the cap entirely for 2020, so that a donor can now fully deduct gifts to public charities equal to as much as 100% of their AGI this year.
For businesses, the CARES Act also increases the limit on the deduction for charitable contributions from 10% to 25% of a corporation’s taxable income. These increased limits for individual and corporate taxpayers apply to cash contributions only. These big changes encourage more wealthy individuals and corporations to donate more to their community ambulance service. Given the importance of ambulance services during this crisis, now is the time to ask your community to remember their ambulance service when it comes time to consider donating to a charitable organization.
There are several other tax benefits available to individuals and businesses that contribute to charitable organizations, including many ambulance services. Consult your tax advisor for how these new provisions can be leveraged to help increase charitable contributions to your community ambulance service. Many large charitable organizations are sending their constituents donation requests highlighting these new, favorable tax provisions – and non-profit and public agency ambulance services should do so as well.
(Steve Wirth is a founding partner of Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, LLC and a highly regarded EMS attorney, author and speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor.)
DEMOCRATS Prevent Trump Withdrawing Troops From Afghanistan!
MOVEMENT FOR A PEOPLE'S PARTY
by Nick Brana
We made history on Saturday. Hundreds of people rallied for a #PeoplesStimulus at their member of Congress' home on July 11. Our movement lead more than 30 unprecedented simultaneous actions at the homes of those who will decide if hungry families get to eat and whether they can afford a roof over their heads during this crisis.
We rolled up to Steny Hoyer's estate in Maryland with a dozen car caravan, we chalked the streets around Rep. Julia Brownley house in California, and we marched to Sen. Cory Bookers house in the rain in New Jersey. We completely covered Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver's door with flyers of our demands in Texas, led a car parade to Sen. Tom Tillis house in North Carolina, and rallied at Rep. Val Demings house in Florida.
We met with Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Rep. Marcia Fudge, and Sen. Sherrod Brown and the got the last two to commit to the People's Stimulus. We held a widely-reported town hall with Jim McGovern in Massachusetts where he agreed to the demands. But with just two weeks till the bill passes, far too many members of Congress refused to meet with us or commit to the People's Stimulus.
That's why on July 18 and July 25, we are going back to the homes of members of Congress, including new ones.
ECONOMIC FASCISM CREATES POLITICAL FASCISM
by Frank Scott
Neo-liberal capitalism has transformed the social democratic capitalism that followed the Second World War into a more oppressive and destructive form with greater accumulation of minority wealth and majority poverty than the world has ever seen. The present stage in the usual boom-bust cycle of market forces under private profit rule now multiplied by a still unperceived factor, seems nearer total failure and more frightening than ever. This is leading to incredibly reactionary programs to assure minority rule while at the same time unleashing revolutionary possibilities for the global majority which threaten minority power as never before.
In America, fading from dominance as the center of the global system but still frighteningly powerful militarily and thus a menace to all humanity, voices are raised in opposition to that power, but so far successfully divided into minorities of relatively less social impact which only rewards segments of the population to keep in power the smallest minority with the greatest state control: the wealthiest 1% who own and operate what passes for a democracy but is no more so than the one which elected Hitler and the Nazis in Germany in the last century.
And that doctored historic memory of political fascism is constantly used to keep current populations in line, warning them against suffering the horrors of pre-second world war capitalism, rather than becoming aware of that system’s present horrors kept nearly secret by consciousness control and mind management techniques to maintain the prevailing disorder of our social life in maintenance of the dominating order of their private profits.
A RAKE'S PROGRESS
The sixth painting shows Tom pleading for the assistance of the Almighty in a gambling den at White's club in Soho after losing his reacquired wealth. Neither he nor the other obsessive gamblers seem to have noticed a fire that is breaking out behind them.