- Excessive Heat
- April Missing
- 513 Cases
- Revised SIP
- Arson Suspect
- Not Jerome
- Firefighter Positive
- Older Ukiah
- Old Ukiah
- Police Appreciation
- Younger Ukiah
- Ed Notes
- Big Tree
- Goodbye Boonville
- Eyes Peeled
- Mendocino Meats
- Yesterday's Catch
- Better Outages
- Musselwhite & Bloomfield
- Deep Disappointment
- Sleazy System
- Biddy Mason
- Limp Concrete
- Gloom of Night
- College Football
- Worst Pres
- Corporate Party
- Found Object
ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES and excessive afternoon heat are expected across interior areas Friday through the middle of next week, with slightly warmer than normal temperatures along the coast at times as well. Isolated thunderstorms are also possible over the weekend across interior areas. (NWS)
Inland Mendocino County and much of Lake County can expect “dangerously hot conditions” with afternoon temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees under an excessive heat warning from noon Friday to 7 p.m. Saturday.
Ukiah is expected to hit 106 on Friday and 105 Saturday, while Lakeport peaks at 101 both days.
High heat will “significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” the weather service said.
TEENAGER MISSING IN UKIAH
My 14 year old daughter April Miller has been missing since 4pm Wednesday. She said she went to a girlfriend’s house but she never was there. She was wearing blue ripped jeans and a black hoodie. She has a nose piercing on her right side. Please, anyone knows where she is or has heard from her let me know. I’m sick to my stomach. It’s like a bad nightmare. I did call the cops and made a report as well. (Jessika Rose Stene)
(To respond, contact Ukiah Police or Diana Johnson at 707-621-0046 or Facebook messenger.)
24 MORE COVID CASES THURSDAY
ADDITIONAL SHELTER IN PLACE RESTRICTIONS imposed effective Friday.
Health Officer Issues Revised Shelter-In Place Order and New COVID-19 Protocols for Schools Effective August 14
Post Date: 08/13/2020 4:21 PM
Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued a new Shelter-In-Place (SIP) Order Thursday, August 13, 2020, which is slated to go into effect at 3:00 pm on Friday August 14, 2020. The new Order maintains current restrictions, but adds additional limitations regarding gatherings and Children’s Extracurricular Activity Stable Bubbles. In addition, Dr. Doohan issued an Order regarding COVID-19 Protocols for Schools to support Mendocino County schools’ planning efforts regarding in-person instruction.
Major changes in the SIP Order included:
The Order is effective through September 11, 2020.
Due to the increased risk of transmission, the Health Order reduces the maximum capacity from 100 to 50 persons for permissible outdoor gatherings for Place of Worship faith-based services and cultural ceremonies; outdoor funeral and memorial services; as well as outdoor protests.
The Health Order updates the definition of “Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit” as a Stable Group of 12 individuals (typically 10 children and 1-2 adults) who are together for purposes of organized recreation, which does not involve youth sports programs (school-based or otherwise). Any extracurricular activities that involve youth sports must follow the COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Youth Sports, which requirements include, in part, physical distancing of at least six feet between all youth and stable cohorts. (COVID-19 Interim Guidance: Youth Sports, https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-youth-sports--en.pdf)
Mendocino County’s revised SIP goes in effect Friday, August 14 at 3:00 p.m. and will be in place until 3:00 p.m. on September 11, 2020. A revised order will be released upon the expiration of this Order.
The Health Order Regarding COVID-19 Protocols for School goes into effect on Friday, August 14 at 11:59 pm and will be in effect until rescinded. The Order provides protocols, including for COVID-19 surveillance testing of teachers and staff and response to potential school-based outbreaks, to support all Mendocino County schools and school-based programs, which have adopted in-person instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with State of California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance: Schools and School-based Programs; and COVID-19 (https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-schools--en.pdf) and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year (https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID-19/Schools%20Reopening%20Recommendations.pdf).
These guidances and this Order apply to all public schools (traditional and charter) and private schools (including nonpublic nonsectarian schools), and school districts operating in Mendocino County, but not to childcare programs or preschools, which should follow separate statewide childcare guidance and provisions of the local shelter-in-place specific to childcare.
Both Orders and an updated summary of open and closed businesses and activities are posted 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 and businesses to closely read the order and follow it.
ALBERTO THE TORCH
Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office continued investigations into the late evening hours of Wednesday, August 12, 2020 in regards to the suspected arson fires.
During this time, Detectives interviewed an off-duty Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Corrections Deputy who had been driving in the area of the Talmage Bridge at the approximate time of the fires on Babcock Lane.
The Corrections Deputy noticed the presence of Alberto Acosta, 32, of Talmage, near the area of the fire and provided that information along with Acosta's description to Detectives.
Detectives were able to collect footage from surveillance video systems from residences and businesses near some of the fires.
The observations of the Corrections Deputy and the video systems footage established evidence which prompted Detectives to issue a Be-On-The-Look-Out (BOLO) notification to local law enforcement agencies for the arrest of Alberto Acosta, 32, of Ukiah.
On Thursday, August 13, 2020, at approximately 7:00 AM an officer from the Ukiah Police Department was on routine patrol in the area of Perkins Street and South Orchard Avenue when he noticed Acosta walking in the area. The officer stopped Acosta and he was subsequently released to Sheriff's Office Detectives.
Acosta was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of Arson of inhabited structure, Arson of structure or forest land and Arson during a state of emergency.
Acosta was to be held in lieu of $1,000,000 bail.
Sheriff's Office Detectives have linked Acosta to Wednesday’s fires that occurred at the following locations:
- 4:56 PM - South Dora Street near Fircrest Drive
- 4:58 PM - South Dora Street at Bourbon Lane
- 5:04 PM - Gobalet Lane at South State Street
- 5:15 PM - Plant Road near Taylor Drive
- 5:18 PM - End of Airport Park Boulevard
- 6:14 PM to 6:19 PM - Babcock Lane near Talmage Bridge (4 more separate fires)
Sheriff's Detectives are continuing to ask for the public's assistance in obtaining security camera footage to assist in this investigation.
If any business/residence has security camera footage of the outside of their business/home depicting the person described in this press release, during the time frame of 4:50 PM to 6:57 PM on Thursday August 12, 2020, then please contact the Sheriff's Office Tipline by calling 707-234-2100.
The areas of interest for security camera footage in Ukiah are:
- Luce Avenue to South Dora Street
- South Dora Street to Oak Court Road
- South State Street to Gobalet Lane
- Plant Road
- Norgard Lane near the railroad tracks
- Airport Park Boulevard
- Airport Road
- Babcock Lane from Talmage Road to East Gobbi Street
At this time it appears the fires caused damage to vegetation and the wooden deck of one residence.
The Sheriff's Office thanks the Ukiah Police Department, California Highway Patrol, County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team and Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force for their assistance during this investigation.
The Sheriff's Office also thanks CALFIRE, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, Hopland Fire Department, Redwood Valley Fire Department and Potter Valley Fire Department for their response and fire suppression efforts during this incident.
NOT JEROME. THIS TIME.
A Reader Writes: Sounds like Jerome, native local who rides a black bicycle and loves to destroy property. Sitting with the homeless behind Jack In The Box in a clean blue tee shirt at about 6:30 PM with his black bicycle. He lived in Coors building and most likely started fires that destroyed both train station area buildings in the last year. I call him, “the man with no medicine” after he destroyed his homeless girlfriend’s tent in Fort Bragg in 2014.
PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES TAKEN AFTER POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST AT UKIAH VALLEY FIRE AUTHORITY
Post Date: 08/13/2020 2:30 PM
Contact: Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager - City of Ukiah - 300 Seminary Avenue, Ukiah CA 95482 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ukiah, CA. August 13, 2020. – A positive COVID-19 case has been detected with a firefighter at the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority. The individual became symptomatic following the start of a 48-hour shift on Wednesday, August 12th. Measures were immediately taken to isolate the individual and other close contacts and to disinfect all apparatus and facilities at risk of exposure. Rapid testing was immediately performed and confirmed a positive result.
The individual had limited workplace contact with others, and the Fire Authority is working with Mendocino County Public Health to complete the appropriate contact tracing. Since the start of the pandemic, the Fire Authority has been operating with COVID-19 risk mitigation protocols in place, which includes the division of crews between multiple stations, application of personal protective equipment, and rigorous sanitization.
The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority still has the capacity to remain fully staffed and operational during this process.
Fire Chief Doug Hutchison states, “Our work is inherently risky, and even with the utmost precautions in place, there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19. Our team members responded quickly and appropriately to this incident, and are working to implement the appropriate response protocols. Our priority remains the safety of our department and our community.”
Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan made the following statement regarding Ukiah Fire Authority’s swift measures, “The Health Officer orders are there to protect us as we move forward in the pandemic. The City of Ukiah Firefighters have followed all orders including the masking ordersand required protective measures. Their proactive actions in their protection will be impactful steps in efforts to prevent an outbreak."
STATE @ PERKINS, UKIAH, 1870s
SUNSET TELEPHONE CO., UKIAH, 1897
BLUE WING SALOON, UKIAH, 1902
SWOOSH? WHAT SWOOSH?
by Mark Scaramella
Fort Bragg City Manager Tabatha Miller wrote in this week’s report to her City Council: “What we don’t know is how long this recession will last. The thought that the recession length and depth would look like a V with a quick deep drop followed by a strong recovery has been largely discarded in favor of the swoosh, with its quick deep drop and gradual recovery.”
Swoosh. That's what they're calling the economic “recovery.” We first noticed the swoosh concept in April (before it was swooshing) when County Auditor Lloyd Weer told the Supervisors that his expensive Sacramento financial consultant called “HdL” had predicted that there would be a dip in tax revenues associated with the covid-recession followed by a “gradual recovery” over the next three years or so to something like pre-covid levels.
In May Mr. Weer told the Supervisors: “In FY 2021-22 [July of 2021 to June of 2022] it is expected spending will begin to increase and build back to pre-COVID levels by 2024-25 as businesses find new ways to operate with fewer employees and more moderate capital investments.”
“Fewer employees” and “more moderate capital investments” does not sound like a formula for “build back.”
Weer continued: “Forecast will be reevaluated as more is known about the progression of COVID-19 related events. Business-level sales tax data from the State reflecting the first weeks of this crisis arrives at the end of May; data reflecting the April-June impacts will be available in August. …”
So far, no new or updated forecasts (the tax revenue data lags by several months or more) have been presented to the Supervisors and no new “data reflecting the April-June impacts” which were supposed to be available in August have been offered.
These finance consultants, many of them paid to produce forecasts that their tax-funded customers want to hear, all assume that there will be an economic recovery of some kind, that life pre-covid will resume or at least approximate resumption. But there’s plenty of reason to think that, at best, the economy will stay flat for the foreseeable future — or even decline further, a decline accompanied by more homelessness, food shortages, massive social disruption, and increased civil disorder, not to mention unpredictable weather caused by accelerated global warming, and mass medical emergencies via covid. Even by their own words the forecasters admit that the “recovery” will involve “fewer employees.”
Last week the San Francisco Chronicle reported that “more than 2,000 SF area businesses are permanently closed” (many of them restaurants) and thousands more say they are “temporarily closed” (with no estimated date of re-opening) based primarily on Yelp data. “There is going to be no restaurant that survives this unless you own your own building, you’re part of a national chain, or you have a trillion dollar backer,” said one prominent Oakland restaurateur. Further, California has seen more permanent closures than any other state, and the Bay Area is listed as suffering the highest number of closures in California. In general, tourism-based economies like Mendo’s are the hardest hit.
Yet Mendo continues to blithely assume the recovery will “swoosh” and does not even talk about Plan B options if (when) it doesn’t. We are now in the middle of August and we see no indication that Mendo’s crack finance team is working on what to do if the swoosh fails to swoosh, a backup plan being the minimum one might expect. The only efforts Mendo is making are a (partial) attempt to cut (some) outside contracts by 5%, a soft-hiring freeze, and a pathetically petty attempt to “collect service fees for Animal Care Services.”
Meanwhile, Mendo is spending lots of time and money dealing with the covid emergency without knowing how much of that cost will be reimbursed, buying new buildings, hiring a new Health Officer to overlap with the current one, contact-tracing more and more people, and continuing with in-process capital improvements. Not to mention the sheriff’s obvious overtime usage for Round Valley and other incidents. In fact, so much time and money is being spent on covid that the Supervisors have voluntarily restricted their own questions of staff to somehow save time!
“The recession has begun with major impacts in FY 2019-20 and 2020-21. FY 2021-22 the economy is expected to begin a slight incline but will take until 2024-25 to pass FY 2018-19 tax levels,” said CEO Carmel Angelo in May. Then, repeating Auditor Weer’s contradictory wording verbatim, Angelo continued, “Businesses will emerge with new ways to operate with fewer employees and more moderate capital investment.” Angelo concluded, “It will take consumers time to fully get back to previous levels of leisure travel, dining and spending. Estimate five years to get back to pre-COVID tax levels.”
But Mendo’s biggest expense is salary and benefits, with the average employee costing taxpayers well over $100k per year in total salary and bennies.
With last year’s big salary increase for all employees — especially top management — Mendo has set itself up for a big fall if the swoosh doesn’t materialize.
That swooshing sound you hear, just might be the local economy going permanently down the drain.
UKIAH GRAMMAR SCHOOL, 1923
UKIAH OBSERVATORY, 1939
UKIAH AIRPORT, 1940s
VICTORY GARDEN, UKIAH, 1943
CHIEF NAULTY THANKS CITY OF FORT BRAGG
The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to thank the Fort Bragg Community and Businesses for the overwhelming support we have received in the last month.
For the last month, the Police Department has received numerous letters, e-mails and phone calls supporting the police department. Recently the City Council enacted a Proclamation making August 10, 2020, Fort Bragg Police Department Appreciation Day. Since this day, we have been amazed from the support and meals brought to the station. In my years of service I have never seen this much outpouring of appreciation and support, it is truly appreciated by all of us, and we thank you all.
The Fort Bragg Police Department personnel are working at a minimum staffing level. With the recent Covid virus, and BLM movements the community has uplifted the spirits of the department with their support. We have a core group of personnel who are working beyond expectations to provide public safety and a quality of life we all expect in this community; your continued support drives them to provide this excellence of service, 24-hours a day.
I would like to send out a special thank you to all of the business within the community who have provided us with treats and meals, I would name them but I know I would leave some out with the amount of support from all of them. I would further like to thank the work of Judy Valadao and Tara McGregor who have instrumental in organizing some of the support we have received. Their continued support of the department as well as the community has not gone un-noticed.
In this time of crisis for the entire country, I want to thank our City Council members. They provide an unbiased support to all city employees and community members; the recent Proclamation recognizing the Police Department with an Appreciation Day is expressive to the members of this department. Recognition of all of us at the Police Department is meaningful and adds to the commitment to each one of us. I have to say the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and the Council member’s personal organization of support and meals was overwhelming and appreciated.
The Police Department’s success is based on a team effort from all city employees. We are only one component of the city government structure. We cannot work efficiently without support from City Hall, Public Works, Finance, Community Development, Engineering; they all play a significant role in providing us with guidance, advice, and support. Even though this Proclamation is for the Police Department it is shared with all city staff who work and act ethically and with integrity to provide the finest service to our community!
On behalf of the entire Police Department, Thank You!
John Naulty, Interim Police Chief, Fort Bragg
UKIAH HIGH ROTC, 1950s
UKIAH CUB SCOUTS, 1955
DEMOLISHING QUAKE-RAVAGED TOWER, UKIAH, 1976
CONSTERNATION rose its perplexed head here at the Boonville weekly earlier in the week when we saw a death notice for Ric Martin, a legal eagle we've admired for some time beginning when he worked as a prosecutor in Ukiah before being appointed to the Lake County bench. But the dead man turned out not to be Ric Martin the Lake County judge, but a Mendo man also named Ric Martin. Betsy Cawn subsequently forwarded an article by Elizabeth Larson of the Lake County News on Rick Martin the judge's retirement, not his passing. Rick Martin the judge, incidentally, is the father of Sheriff Martin of Lake County.
SORRY to learn that our old friend Janese June was medi-vacced outtahere last night when she was discovered in a state of serious collapse at her Ornbaun Road home.
IN MY FIFTY years as a Boonvillian, I have never seen the area as dry as it is this year. Con Creek, for instance, the year-round stream the flows past the north end of the elementary school, has been dry for a month. Ordinarily, it flows year-round.
OUT on the Mendocino Coast, the Fort Bragg City Council has instituted Stage 1 Water Conservation Measures, and this on top of fairly recent water supply upgrades.
City residents have been asked to voluntarily lower their water use by 10% from their last year's use at this time although Fort Bragg, with upgrades and the new the Summers Lane Reservoir, has much more water than it's ever had.
a. Don’t allow irrigation water to run off the yard into the streets. b. Use hoses with fittings on the end that allow shutoff, not requiring one to return to the outlet. c. Don’t wash driveways, sidewalks, and similar hardscapes. d. No fountains except where the water is part of a recirculating system. e. No watering within 48 hours after measurable rainfall. f. No watering other than before 10:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m.
THE BIG PICTURE grows more ominous by the day. A wire photo circulated Thursday showed thousands of people lined up at a Texas food bank with cars stretching for a mile at the first mega-distribution, with people traveling from miles around to the Dallas site where the North Texas Food Bank distributed 10,000 boxes of food.
A READER NOTES: "It says something about how BORED I am with shelter-in-place that the excitement high point of the week is the arrival of the AVA in my post office box.”
JUDGING from local social media, Mendolib is positively orgasmic at the Biden/Harris ticket assuming, as always, that any Democrat is better than any Republican, especially this election with the orange monster on his destructive rampage. Of the four top candidates — Trump, Pence, Biden, Harris — Kamala is the only one with brains, the only likable one, the only one who isn't cuckoo. She also came out for single-payer during the debates, but when the DNC puppeteers roll out their actual program, count on it, here comes Republican-lite and no single-payer.
AT WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S revolting vp naming ceremony, a shameless mawk-fest cynically choreographed to evoke even more mawk, naturally presented whole on KQED, Kamala was portrayed as the daughter of immigrants, as if her highly educated parents had jumped the border to make their way however they could, not the solidly middleclass whiz kid graduate students they were.
THERE ARE MILLIONS of us who wouldn't vote for Biden if Abe Lincoln were his vp, and please forgive the moralizing here, but anybody who would invoke the loss of his child in a deluded attempt to get himself elected, a psychopathic invocation seconded by Kamala, is a person capable of anything. We already know that about Biden, but it's at least mildly disappointing that Kamala would stoop this low. But then here comes her hubby, "a high powered attorney," as he's described in the MSM "who proposed to her while he was ordering Thai food." Huh? A side order of Kamala? I guess that's supposed to be cute as hell, but aren't most fifty-year-old people 47 years past cute?
THIS IS GOING to be a very long 70 days until the election, what with the Demo side rolling out relentless false feeling without an actual program other than the vague platitudes they specialize in, all of it code for more of the same but nicer, while the Trumpian cretins mutter about secret cabals of Satanist cho-mos. What a country.
WE TOOK THIS PHOTO in late summer of 1979. I'm in the middle and the two Hiatt brothers on either side. This was the third cut up the tree to be quartered to move. The tree was 3,500 years old. Photo taken in Boonville.
R.D. Beacon, Elk
It is with a heavy heart that I write this goodbye letter to Boonville and the Anderson Valley going back almost 50 years now.
I journeyed up there last week as I have done so often only to realize when I returned to Alameda that that was my swan song. As I ease into my 90s I think it's about time to bid farewell to a happy part of my life.
Thanks to all of you for making it happy.
MENDOCINO MEATS AV DELIVERY ON SATURDAY
With the summer days still sizzling hot, we have delicious BBQ options of pasture-raised pork, grass-fed beef, and sausage links. If you're craving wholesome chicken, this week we have plenty. Order local, humanely-raised meats and eggs in the webstore, now open until Thursday, 11pm. Shop for delivery this Saturday, August 15. Pick up in Ukiah (9am), Redwood Valley (10am), Willits (11am), Fort Bragg (1pm), and Anderson Valley (2:30pm).
BBQ Pack #1 - minimum 4 lb for $40
Bratwurst Sausage Links, Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage Links, Ground Beef, Pork Loin/Rib Chops
BBQ Pack #2 - minimum 10 lb for $99
Bratwurst Sausage Links, Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage Links, Ground Beef, Baby Back Ribs, Pork Loin/Rib Chops, Pork Sirloin Roast
Breakfast Pack #1 - $50
Chorizo Sausage, Apple Maple Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, Bacon, 2 doz. Heart Arrow Ranch Eggs
Breakfast Pack #2 - $99
Chorizo Sausage, Apple Maple Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, Bacon, Small Ham, 2 doz. Heart Arrow Ranch Eggs
However you prepare Heart Arrow Ranch chicken, you're in for a treat. The care we take to raise our chickens out in the open, where they can forage and stretch their legs, makes a flavorful difference in our poultry. We feed them only certified-organic mash and make an extra effort to keep them comfortable during the very hot summer of interior Mendocino County. For $6.00/lb, our whole chickens are USDA-inspected and packaged in Cryovac. They are frozen immediately for best storage and delivery. Order Whole Chicken
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 13, 2020
ALBERTO ACOSTA, Talmage. Arson of inhabited structure, arson of structure or forestland, arson during emergency.
JESSE BOULLERICE, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.
KHALIL CAPRI, Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol&drugs, Narcotics for sale, suspended license (for DUI), controlled substance for sale, probation revocation.
JODI HODGES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
BRANDON LANGENDERFER, Laytonville. County parole violation.
MICHAEL MCGEE, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, controlled substance, disobeying court order, failure to appear.
MELISSA MILLER, Bakersfield/Ukiah. Assault on peace officer, resisting.
JUAN TOVAR-SEVILLA, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, protective order violation, failure to appear.
AURILIO URIBE, Laytonville. Suspended license (for DUI), evasion.
ZACHARY WILLIAMS, Seattle/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
PG&E TELLS REGULATORS UPCOMING OUTAGES WILL GO MORE SMOOTHLY
Pacific Gas and Electric promised regulators Thursday that it has learned from its mishandling of deliberate blackouts and won’t disrupt as many people’s lives during the pandemic this year, when the utility expects to rely on outages to prevent its outdated grid from starting deadly fires.
The contrite pledge came during a virtual hearing before the Public Utilities Commission, PG&E's chief regulator.
The commission is still in the midst of a nine-month investigation into the utility's bungled blackouts that infuriated more than 2 million Northern Californians over several days last autumn.
With wildfire danger even higher this year after an unusually dry winter, PG&E is gearing up to periodically repeat the outages later this summer and into the early fall when dry and windy conditions in Northern California traditionally escalate the danger.
This time around, the potential for blackouts to wreak havoc is higher as millions of people work and attend classes from home during the pandemic. If mishandled, the outages could also endanger the lives of people being supported by medical devices after contracting COVID-19.
Marybel Batjer, the PUC's president, opened the hearing by scolding PG&E and sternly warning that its “haphazard way" of handling blackouts last October and November can't be repeated.
John Lewis, interim president of PG&E's utility operations, accepted responsibility for last year's shortcomings, some of which he described as “awful." But he also insisted PG&E is in a much better position to reduce the scope of the blackouts and turn on the power more quickly after investing heavily in upgraded equipment and trimming trees around its power lines.
Those improvements, Lewis said, should reduce the number of customers affected by blackouts by at least one-third from last year and restore power within 12 daylight hours, a 50 percent reduction from its goals last year.
“We are ready to exceed your expectations this year," Lewis told Batjer.
PG&E neglected maintenance of its power lines for so long that its equipment eventually deteriorated to the point that the utility's grid caused a series of wildfires that killed more than 100 people and destroyed thousands of homes during 2017 and 2018. The utility pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter that destroyed the town of Paradise, California, and it spent nearly 18 months in bankruptcy court negotiating $25.5 billion in settlements to cover the losses from the catastrophes.
The utility emerged from bankruptcy last month.
Critics now worry PG&E will lean on deliberate blackouts to reduce the chances its equipment starts more wildfires that saddle it with staggering losses. Batjer emphasized that PG&E can only use the outages as “a last resort."
Despite all its recent work on its grid, PG&E expects to be making further improvements for years to come in a process known as “hardening." Earlier this week, the utility said it is on schedule to harden 241 miles of distribution circuits this year after hardening 171 miles last year. But that is only a fraction of the 7,100 miles of distribution circuits that the utility believes need to be hardened.
(Michael Liedtke, AP)
MOST YEARS, THE SUPER BOWL IS A DUD. Yet the hype machine keeps pulling in new suckers.
The quadrennial announcement of the Democratic nomination for vice president features an identical Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football dynamic: lots of hype followed by deadly disappointment. And there’s never been more hype than this year.
Not that Joe Biden’s pick isn’t important. If he wins, he will be the oldest person to take both of office by a full eight years. (He’ll be 78. Trump, the second oldest, was 70 in 2017.) Even by the standards that the 70s are the new 60s, Joe Biden’s 70s look more like 80s or 90s. His choice has to satisfy several competing constituencies: women, Blacks, and the progressive voters he desperately needs to show up November 3rd instead of sitting on their hands as they did last time.
But past performance almost always being a reliable indicator of near-future returns, Democrats should prepare for a Super Bowl-like fiesta of deep disappointment.
Last cycle’s brutal primaries prompted speculation that Hillary Clinton might unify the party by giving Bernie Sanders the VP nod. She chose Tim Kaine. (Political pundits jammed phone and text messaging with: “who?”) She told Charlie Rose she loved that Kaine described himself as “too boring.”
Clinton thought Kaine’s dullness would provide balance. Voters considered it redundant. “‘Safe,’” observed Politico, “seems to be Kaine’s middle name.” In the year of Trump, safe was anything but.
That’s often the case.
I was traveling through Central Asia when a hotel employee informed me that Al Gore had announced that Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman would be his running mate to go up against Bush-Cheney in 2000. I assumed my Uzbek host was part of some weird post-Soviet gaslighting campaign. How could Gore do anything so stupid?
The mists of time and the Florida recount fiasco have blurred the fact that, like Clinton 16 years later, Gore needed a progressive to balance his record as a Third Way centrist. Inexplicably, both at that time and today, clueless Democratic pollsters somehow convinced themselves that what he really needed to do was distance himself from Bill Clinton—the president under whom he’d served for eight years and who was enjoying improving poll numbers. They also thought the conservative Lieberman’s “moral rectitude” in being the first Democrat to condemn Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal would appeal to left-leaning Ralph Nader voters…
— Ted Rall
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
On a daily basis I now have to monitor my food supply. I’m always on the lookout to buy silver at the lowest premiums – they’re currently at 25-30% over spot, which is ridiculous. Ammo is real hard to get – it’s almost impossible to buy on-line, at least without constant monitoring, the way I used to have to check for good concert tickets at Ticketmaster when an on-sale started.
We’re getting ripped off all the time. I mentioned before we have ice cream once a week; it’s on Wednesdays. We’re addicted to sugar and have to carefully monitor our intake, hence our strict adherence to dessert on Wednesdays, kind of like monitoring our gambling addiction and not going to the casino too often. It ain’t easy, but doable. That’s the price we have to pay to indulge ourselves a little.
Anyway, we love Haagen Dasz ice cream. When we buy ice cream, we buy a pint – 16 ounces, Yesterday we went shopping for it. We saw the same pint package at the same price, but upon reading the label, we saw that it contained 14 ounces. If you didn’t look at the contents or didn’t know a pint is 16 ounces, you would never know. This is 12.5% inflation. Of course, the government says we only have 2.5-3% inflation, but that’s a lie.
What burns me is the dishonesty. Instead of raising the price 12.5%, Pillsbury sneakily downsizes the amount and keeps the same price.
Sleazy. You know, I’ll kind of be happy that the system will be crashing.
ONCE A SLAVE, Biddy Mason went on to a life of extraordinary accomplishments. The fact that she figures in WPA murals in San Francisco may save them from destruction.
JET POWERED PYRAMIDS
What's the exact opposite of an airplane? A barnacle, I think. Equally, the Pyramid of Cheops. Designers should get to work combining the best attributes of a jet plane — rapid transit across great expanses — with the outstanding qualities of the Pyramid of Cheops — nearly impregnable and massive tomb of putative God King — to produce a massive stone monument carrying one passenger rapidly through the air. Imagine if you will a Formula One racecar capable of reaching speeds of 200 mph improved by incorporating into it the tenacious gripping power of the barnacle so that the race car would remain utterly inert no matter how long and hard you raced the engine. The technology probably already exists! There may even be a way of engineering a concrete that when cured would be as perfectly limp as linguine so that skyscrapers might finally be unbound from old-fashioned limitations of rigidity and stability. Et cetera.
THE GOP'S NEWFOUND PASSION FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL
by Dave Zirin
One of the first things you teach a child is the difference between “wants” and “needs.” You “want” candy. You “need” food. College football is a “want.” But the Republican Party has decided to call it a “need.”
From a host of Republicans on Twitter to Donald Trump appearing on the most reactionary edge of the sports radio airwaves, GOPers have been demanding that the college football season go on as scheduled in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. They seem far more concerned with that than a national response to said pandemic.
Trump, in his inexcusable ignorance about Covid-19 and its long-term effects on the body, said that the games should go on because the disease “just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, or some kind of physical problem.… These football players are very young strong people.… you’re not going to see people dying.”
Forget for a moment the coaches, tutors, trainers, and everyone surrounding a college football team who could be at greater risk. There is also the obvious fact—and again it is utterly inexcusable that the president doesn’t acknowledge this—that we still don’t have a clear picture about the long-term effects Covid can have on those who survive it. Heart, lung, and kidney ailments, even attacks on the brain are all possibilities for college athletes that contract the disease.
These student-athletes are unpaid, disproportionately Black, with none of the union power of their NFL counterparts. But it’s not only a disregard for Black lives that drives the Republican push. It’s also a fear that the absence of the sport, especially in battleground states like Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan, will be a glaring reminder to the public of just how badly the GOP has bungled the US pandemic response.
If college football doesn’t happen, it will be because our federal leadership failed to prepare us for it. Countries that listened to the scientists and masked up have their sports. Led by Trump’s promises that it would all just disappear, we have not taken the precautions, and now we must bear the fruit.
Braying about the “need” for college football holds another advantage for Trump and his minions: It allows them to position themselves as scolds of a nanny-state mentality that is overly concerned with issues like “health” and “death,” while they are the people that just want to play some football. It’s devious: the political equivalent of a bully smacking you in the face with your own hand and asking, “Why are you hitting yourself?”
And lastly, of course, if any form of college football is played, it will act as distraction from the rising death count that the pandemic brings to our attention every day. As former NFL player Donte Stallworth tweeted, “The White House and its minions in Congress ONLY want college football as a means to distract the public, via entertainment, from their incompetence, corruption, & massive failures to showcase a sense of normality before the election in November. WH version of ‘Bread and Circus.’”
One of the fig leaves the Trumpites are hiding behind is that “the players want to play.” They cite the “We Want To Play” campaign, led by two of college football’s highest-profile quarterbacks, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. But one of the demands of the “We Want to Play” campaign is the formation of a players’ association—otherwise known as a union—so they can have a say about the working conditions and, inevitably, money that shape college sports. In the hyper-conservative world of college football, the word “union” is about as welcome as a player taking a knee during the anthem. This was why Clemson’s Dabo Swinney broke the unintentional comedy scale when he said that he would “absolutely” be supportive of a players association, explaining, “I think it would be great.… That’s different from a union. I will say that.”
Trump and his congressional lickspittles are playing politics with the lives of college students. For the football coaches, it’s about what college football has always been about: revenue. Some schools are being quite open about the fact that these unpaid employees are a critical source of campus revenue. Scott Frost, head coach at Nebraska, said that his school estimates a $80–120 million hit if there’s no season. “The biggest factor is if we don’t play football, we’re not going to be able to pay for anything here until we start making money again.” What Scott Frost left out of that equation is his own $5 million-a-year salary, but that would be saying the quiet part out loud.
Then there is the media pushing for play for its own reasons. ESPN’s Booger McFarland put this out in the most bald-faced possible manner, tweeting, “If the players really wanna play, which I have no doubt they do, them and their families should sign a waiver releasing all liability related to Covid-19 and at that point ALL these conversations about NOT playing would cease and we would have a CFB season.”
He is not alone with this not only immoral but legally untenable idea. Acting like he just discovered a solution to a particularly complicated scientific puzzle, quarterback turned radio host Danny Kanell said, all wide-eyed, “I keep seeing liability as the big issue in college football. What if the players who want to play sign a waiver and free the schools from those liabilities?” What a plan.
Right-wingers are saying “listen to the players” (ironic, since they were saying “shut up and play” when the players wanted to talk about racist police violence). But let’s take them at their word and actually listen to the players on this issue. Many want to play. They also want to be unionized, so they can actually negotiate the terms of their own exploitation. They want to have ownership over their health and a piece of the billions in revenue that they generate. In other words, they want to be treated like the campus employees that they are. If that is not the starting point, then this is a charade: bread and circuses to distract from the specter of mass death.
BIDEN PICKS SELF-APPOINTED "TOP COP" KAMALA HARRIS
Working people are in economic free fall and Joe Biden keeps doubling down on the corporate neoliberalism that has devastated this country. On Tuesday he picked Wall Street favorite and self-appointed “top cop” Kamala Harris as his vice presidential candidate, completely disregarding progressive calls for a unity candidate.
As California Attorney General, Harris prided herself on shipping people of color to prison in record numbers, often for petty crimes. She supported cash bail and was one of the country’s most aggressive proponents of civil asset forfeiture. She fought to keep people incarcerated even in the face of wrongful convictions.
In 2011, Harris was called upon to negotiate a settlement regarding mortgage relief by people who accrued massive debt from corrupt foreclosure practices by the banks during the Great Recession. After four years of refusing to meet with people who had lost their homes and amid intense public pressure, she made a sweetheart deal for the banks. The banks had caused $650 billion in damage, but Harris negotiated for only $18 billion, a majority of which didn’t even go to the affected homeowners. Then Harris refused to prosecute even a single banker.
Her housing record is just as reactionary. In 2017, The Intercept obtained a memo from the A.G.’s Consumer Law Section regarding Steven Mnuchin, CEO of OneWest bank and Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury. The memo identified “over a thousand legal violations in the small subsection of OneWest loans they were able to examine.” Yet Harris refused to prosecute and never gave a reason why. Shortly afterwards she received a $2,000 campaign donation from Mnuchin.
Three weeks ago, Biden held a teleconference fundraiser with Blackstone Executive Jon Gray and told his donors, “I come from the corporate state of American, many of you incorporated her. Corporate America has to change its ways. It’s not going to require legislation. I’m not proposing any.” Biden’s team then shamelessly blasted it to the national press corp. If this is what Biden does before he gets our votes, just imagine how he will govern when he doesn’t need us at all.
Trump, Biden and both corporate parties have devastated this country. But this nation's second Gilded Age has run its course, because on August 30 MPP is hosting The People’s Convention headlined by Sen. Nina Turner and Dr. Cornel West. And more than 5,000 people have already signed up to attend this historic event.
Movement for a People’s Party