- Red Flag
- Not True
- Hazy Sun
- Rolling Blackouts
- 766 Cases
- Defensible Space
- Creek Fire
- Satellite View
- August Complex
- Sheep Moth
- Ed Notes
- Gualala 1937
- Old Ukiah
- Transient Town
- Yesterday's Catch
- Lou Brock
- After Dark
- Cable Car
- Lost Coast
- On The Road
- Biden Republicans
- Kid Charlemagne
- Matrix Poster
- Imaginative Solutions
- Found Object
STRONG HIGH PRESSURE will continue to support exceptionally hot and dry conditions across NW California through Tuesday. A strong disturbance dropping into the intermountain west Monday night into Tuesday will produce strong, gusty winds on area ridges through Wednesday morning. These winds combined with the hot and dry air mass will produce critical fire weather conditions. Both existing fires and any new fires will have the potential to spread rapidly. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Boonville 110°, Yorkville 111°, Ukiah 112°, Fort Bragg 76°, Mendocino 68°
NOT TRUE. Indian Creek campground is not for sale, and the goddess only knows how that rumor got going. Must be the heat.
FROM SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS [Sunday afternoon]:
California Independent System Operator has warned of potential rolling blackouts today due to high load resulting from temperatures. Plan for possible outages Sunday evening (if conservation is not successful):
Mendocino unincorporated 7-9pm
Only 1956 accounts in the unincorporated are targeted. It looks to me like the unincorporated customers will be near Ukiah and 101-North County.
UPDATE SUNDAY NIGHT: No outages reported.
12 MORE COVID CASES in Mendo on Sunday. Total now: 766.
DEFENSIBLE SPACE HELP
Check out Mendocino County Fire Safe Council's Defensible Space Low Income Program (DSLIP), it helps low-income seniors and physically disabled persons adhere to defensible space regulations. If you are physically and financially unable to maintain the state-mandated 100 feet of defensible space around your home, our Defensible Space Low Income Program may help. For more information and to sign up: firesafemendocino.org/defensible-space-assistance-program/
(Anica Williams, 707-684-9829, firstname.lastname@example.org)
CREEK FIRE (started Friday evening, now over 73,278 acres)
The Creek Fire a fast-moving fire burning on both Districts of the Forest. The fire which started near the communities of Big Creek and Huntington Lake, moved very quickly prompting several evacuations. Early Saturday afternoon the fire crossed the San Joaquin River and made a run into the Mammoth Pool area. Prompting some members of the public to shelter in place near Wagner’s Store and Campground.
With assistance of the California Army National Guard, 207 people were safely evacuated and assessed for medical needs. The fire burned actively overnight. Crews will be challenged today by steep rugged terrain, heavy fuel loading and high temperatures. Additional resources have been ordered including a Type 1 Incident Management Team. Evacuations and closures remain in effect.
SATELLITE VIEW showing fog out to sea, smoke-covered states, and southbound storm from Canada.
AUGUST COMPLEX UPDATE
WILLOWS, Calif – Sept. 6, 2020– The August Complex currently sits at 325,172 acres and 24 percent contained. The Hull, Doe, Tatham, and Glade fires have merged to form one large fire. There are 1,070 resources committed to the Complex including: 22 crews, four camp crews, seven helicopters, 53 engines, 20 dozers, 32 water tenders, and two masticators.
Expect heavy winds Sunday that may persist through Tuesday. Due to high temperatures and gusty winds, the potential for rapid fire spread throughout the Complex continues today through Tuesday. Temperatures could range from the mid-90s on the ridges to 110 degrees in the valleys. Dense smoke in the surrounding areas is expected to remain throughout the morning, with the potential of clearer air midday.
A spot fire moved beyond the containment line in the Buck Rock area moving west towards an old burn scar. Crews will continue to contain and mop up the spot.
Firefighters were assisted with air operations dropping water from C-130 tankers and helicopters Saturday on the Hopkins fire (15,466 acres; 10 percent contained). Firefighters continue to use old burn scars and road systems in burnout operations, working along Rainbow Ridge with crews and heavy equipment. Air support will continue Sunday.
Air operations also supported work in the areas around the M1 Road near the northwest corner of the Hull fire. A spot crossed the line during a burnout operation on Saturday. Fire retardant was used to cool down the area and hand crews worked to mop up the spot fire. This work will continue into Sunday’s operations.
The burnout operations near Mendocino Pass to the west side of the Doe fire were successful and stayed within containment lines. Crews are also conducting burnout operations around the Mitchell Place on the north end of the Complex. Crews are performing these operations in anticipation of potential rapid fire spread in the coming days. The burnout operations are aimed at slowing or stopping the fire as it reaches pre-determined areas.
Mendocino National Forest officials updated the area closure for the August Complex on Sept. 5th, 2020. The Forest Order 08-20-12 and map are posted on the forest website: https://tinyurl.com/yykjydbf
Daily updates and the virtual community meeting can be found on the Mendocino National Forest Facebook page, located at: www.facebook.com/MendocinoNF.
The most up to date information on the August Complex can be found on InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6983/.
110° OUTSIDE the bunker door at 2pm Sunday, according to our excitable shade thermometer, which always says it's either hotter or colder than it is, not that there's much of a diff between 110 and 107. Then the afternoon breezes pick up and we all hold our breath that our overdue valley doesn't burst into flame somewhere in our twenty miles of drier-than-ever hills.
BEST headline of the week: “Little Red Rioting Hood” over a New York Post story of a wealthy young NYC woman busted for vandalism during another pointless BLM rampage.
MY BULLSHIT DETECTOR has exhausted more batteries since March than it did in all of 2019, shorting out a half-dozen times this past week alone, beginning with an earnest discussion of bullying punctuation on NPR (where else?). It seems that some of the more febrile young claim that the period is too harsh, implying an arbitrary end to electronic conversations. Oh yeah? How about the pretentious deployment of semi-colons in ten-word sentences, huh, huh? And the prose hysterics and their promiscuous exclamation points!!!!? How about full-stopping them?
THE KENOSHA COP who blasted Jacob Blake seven times in the back as he may or may not have been reaching for a knife on the seat or floor of his vehicle can't plausibly justify the six point blank blasts after the first, and he probably can't justify the first, which Trump compared to a golfer “choking” to miss a three-foot putt. But even with a dozen more camera angles, this one looks like attempted murder.
BUT THE ROCHESTER death of Daniel Prude seems hard to blame on the police. Here's a mental case dusted on pcp who's running around naked in a snow storm. The cops corral him, he's totally out of it and the cops have to put a spit guard over his head, a breathe-through cloth and a standard tool in psycho-restraint. The cops load Prude into an ambulance and he dies at the hospital. The mayor denounces the cops, the inevitable riots commence as if Prude's death was a homicide. Question: How would you and your book club have handled a naked crazy man running around in a snow storm?
THERE'S an interesting PBS doc floating around that describes the humane mental health strategies of the Miami Police Department which, boiled down, amount to training the police to handle the mentally ill as mentally ill, thus diverting a large percentage of them away from the criminal justice system into mental health programs. The prob for too many cities is the absence of mental health facilities, cf Mendocino County where some twenty annual millions are spent on mental health (plus another ten mil or so for county mental health bureaucrats) but the cops do almost all the mental health work, with the intractably violent mental health people housed at the County Jail. Whenever I hear someone characterize Mendocino County as “liberal” and even “progressive,” I demand evidence. What we have here is a lot of people voting for corporate Democrats and walking around thinking good thoughts, but institutionally considered, Mendo is a pretty retro place.
DENIAL OF SERVICE
by Mark Scaramella
DR. JENINE MILLER, Mendo’s Director of Behavioral Health Services (aka Mental Health Director) wrote the following to explain why she did not include any money for operation of a Psychiatric Hospital Facility (PHF) in the Measure B cost projections:
“Mendocino County could benefit from having an acute psychiatric facility within the county. The collaboration [with an unidentified entity, but perhaps Camille Schraeder’s Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) or similar] would suggest that the county contract with an operator [like RQMC] that can run a facility independent of additional monies from Measure B beside that cost of building or renovation of the facility. We would also suggest that the selected contractor [RQMC or similar; RQMC already has a contract with Lake County] work with other counties such as Lake, private insurance companies and Medicare to help with meeting capacity and operating cost. This proposal would also require any agency using the facility to place an individual to cover the cost, if not allowable by insurance…”
LET’S STOP THERE: “…require any agency using the facility to place an individual to cover the cost…”? In other words providing service to uninsured persons would be at Ms. Schraeder’s expense and at her own discretion? And no money from the Measure B services fund (theoretically 25% plus an ongoing 1/8th cent continuing amount is for services), which was intended to cover just such services?
AGAIN, we find that Mendo’s mental health people have no intention of meeting the spirit or intent of Measure B, preferring instead to waste millions of dollars on a PHF that won’t even provide services to a large segment of the intended clients, unless a private contractor feels like doing it out of the goodness of their cash-and-carry heart.
DR. MILLER CONTINUES: “If this facility is operated similar to other private facilities, the collaboration [Mendo & Schraeder or similar] believes the facility would be able to operate without Measure B dollars to support operational cost. Therefore, we did not project any Measure B dollars for a PHF.”
THIS APPEARS TO US to be not only a betrayal of Measure B and its voters, but a way to make it look like there’s plenty of money to build the gold-plated and grossly overpriced $20 million PHF that Dr. Miller and the Measure B project manager forecast. In their obviously self-serving financial projections the only way Mendo can afford a $20-million PHF is to deny services to the very people Measure B was supposed to help.
IN A RELATED ITEM, the Gualala-based Independent Coast Observer reported last week in their coverage of the Board’s decision last Tuesday to put additional Measure B spending on hold that the PHF is now planned to be built near the existing Crisis Residential Treatment facility next door to the Schraeders’ facility on Orchard Street in Ukiah. We have not seen anything that specific on where the County plans to build a PHF. But it’s certainly possible, and if true would be further evidence that the entire Measure B project is being handed over to Ms. Schraeder and Co.
AS WE REPORTED RECENTLY, the Board (barely) approved $1.4 million in funding for a Behavioral Health Specialist to respond with law enforcement to mental health/potential 5150 calls as part of a “Mobile Crisis Team.”
DURING THE DISCUSSION lame duck Supervisor John McCowen claimed he had been pushing for such a concept for at least 15 years. We have been closely following this idea for longer than that and are not aware of a single time Supervisor McCowen has brought up the subject. And if he had it’s pretty clear that his claim of support has been extremely ineffectual as the idea languished for at least those 15 years.
NEVERTHELESS, the idea remains a good one, as explained by one of its actual (and recent) proponents, Sheriff Matt Kendall:
“Service gaps we are currently seeing are due to a reactionary approach instead of a pro-active approach. I am always concerned that prevention isn't funded so the result is a more expensive fix. Pay now or pay later, however later always comes with interest. The national narrative regarding police intervention into mental health is truly what Sheriffs have been speaking about for years. We have a limited bag of tools when we arrive to a Mental Health or addiction crisis. We are trying to fix complicated machinery with a flat rock and a bent screw driver. Behavioral health personnel constantly say it isn't safe to do their jobs, I agree with them and believe it is my job to keep them safe so a dual response is needed, however it will become much safer when we are proactive. If we aren't proactive, everyone winds up in crisis before actions are taken. Recent legislation and decriminalization clearly shows people don't want the police involved in mental health and addiction problems however legislative mandates are calling for more training of the police in these areas. That makes no sense. We have to move forward in bridging these service gaps and the best way to do this is to work together. There is way too much finger pointing and we all need to come together and say it is our problem, not mine or theirs. I truly believe when we get back to looking at the humans in this equation, instead of the industrialized machine which HHSA has become, we will all be better off. The test has to be do we have less issues with addictions, 5150s — not how much money did we spend.”
OVERLOOKING FOR THE MOMENT the Sheriff’s blunt description of HHSA as an “industrial machine,” the Sheriff specifically mentions “addiction problems” as part of his expectation for the kinds of incidents the Mobile Crisis Team will respond to, “problems” that Dr. Miller has steadily ignored. Yet here’s $1.4 million for three people under Dr. Miller’s supervision to ride along with law enforcement on mental health/addiction calls. The proposal that the Supervisors authorized $1.4 million to be spent on leaves a lot of unanswered questions.
What vehicles will be used for the mobile crisis team and who will pay for them? How will dispatch work and how will the Behavioral Health person be included in the actual response? Will a deputy have to run over to Orchard Avenue to pick them up before responding to a crisis or will the Behavioral Health person have their own vehicle and be dispatched separately? Who will pay for the law enforcement portion of the “team”? What are the hours of operation? Will the Behavioral Health people respond to calls on nights and weekends? How much funding is available from other sources? Who’s in charge of making the program work and accumulating the statistics that are supposed to be reviewed by the Measure B committee in five months? Will the Behavioral Health person be an employee of Camille Schraeder or a County employee? …
SHERIFF KENDALL’S ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORT of the mobile crisis team in concept is certainly a key component in the success of the Mobile Crisis Team, but given the Behavioral Health staff’s record of ignoring troubled people and these kinds of calls, it’s going to be a real challenge to overcome the many obstacles that the Behavioral Health people have been putting up to prevent the creation of a Mobile Crisis Team thus far.
LAST TUESDAY Dr. Miller also reported that Mendo’s suicide rate is up by almost a factor of two this year over last year. In the past Mendo averaged about 20 suicides per year and last year there were 23. This year there have been 26 Mendo suicides already through August. Dr. Miller didn’t offer much besides vague cliches in response, saying that “more outreach” needs to be done and people (her staff? Schraeder’s employees?) have to directly ask people if they’re suicidal more often. Dr. Miller also suggested “developing more support groups in English and Spanish” and use social media more — neither of which are particularly professional responses. And Dr. Miller mysteriously said nothing about the dramatic increases in drug overdoses.
WHEN MATT LEFEVER of the new and always pertinent Mendofever.com asked neighboring counties about their experience with suicide in the wake of the pandemic, the two he spoke to said they had not seen any significant increase. Nobody seems interested in digging in to what factors may be contributing to Mendo’s unusually high rates of suicide and drug overdose. And if all we’re going to get from Dr. Miller’s privatized crew with their support groups and facebook posts, nothing much will improve and the Mobile Crisis Team will remain immobile.
WINNEBAGO JOY RIDE
On Friday, September 4, 2020 at approximately 8:14 PM, Officers were advised that a Winnebago motorhome had just been stolen from the area of the Ukiah Municipal Airport. Officers were further advised the vehicle had been taken by a White female and it had last been seen traveling northbound on So. State Street. Officers began searching the surrounding areas in an attempt to locate the stolen vehicle. Within minutes of the initial report, an Officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the stolen motorhome driving southbound behind The Furniture Design Center, located on Airport Park Boulevard. The Officer initiated an enforcement stop and found the vehicle came back registered to the victim/owner of the vehicle. A female was found to be the sole occupant of the vehicle and she was detained without incident. The female was subsequently identified as Kylee Petersen, 31, of Santa Rosa.
During the course of the investigation; it was discovered Petersen climbed onto the roof of the motorhome, damaged a roof vent, climbed inside and located an extra ignition key for the vehicle. She placed her dog inside the vehicle and drove it away from where it had been parked. This initially occurred in the later portion of the afternoon, but she returned with the vehicle just prior to UPD being notified of the theft. An alert citizen, who was familiar with the motorhome and its owner, noticed Petersen was driving the vehicle and alerted the owner of the theft. The owner then notified UPD of the theft. The amount of damage to the vehicle’s roof vent was in excess of $400. Petersen displayed symptoms of intoxication and admitted she was a habitual user of methamphetamine. Her driver’s license was found to be suspended for multiple prior DUI convictions. She was also found to be on two terms of Summary probation from Mendocino county.
Petersen was placed under arrest for the aforementioned violations and was later booked at the MCSO Jail. Her dog was housed at the Mendocino County Animal Shelter. The vehicle was returned to the owner.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe a place as possible. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cellphone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website; www.ukiahpolice.com .
(Ukiah Police Presser)
WHAT DID WE DO TO DESERVE THIS?
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
As if we didn’t have enough problems, add to your list the fact Ukiah is obligated to take in any old ingrate able to stagger to town. A couple of years ago I asked a question, and now I’ll ask it again:
Why is it that any lost, brain-dead, homeless, criminal drug addict who can somehow find his way to a place called Ukiah, California, instantly becomes Ukiah’s headache and budget-drain? Why is it that if some city somewhere can shed its most troublesome and expensive sack of humanity simply by heaving her over the Ukiah City Limits, she becomes our problem forever?
Why is it Ukiah’s job to piece together the broken lives of anyone who can talk a parole officer into shipping him here? Why is Mendocino County made instant guardians of the lives and well-being of those who drift in from all over the country?
They roll in like seasonal tides, washing more and more ashore in need of, or at least desirous of, someone to take care of them. Having exhausted all the cures, remedies, therapies and programs San Francisco has to offer, they’ve come to sample Mendo’s merry-go-round of services.
Is there any record of a newcomer with backpack and dog actually looking for work and applying for a job? If so I’ve never heard of it.
They now congregate at a hospitality center on South State, aka Loiterville. You’ll see children in these groups, and it’s a sad sort of child abuse to let kids grow up within a population so rich in deviant behaviors.
The toll is burdensome for locals too. It’s not just funding the many layers of bureaucracies, agencies, department, nonprofits and other helping hands. Newcomers produce filth and pollution near bridges and streams in quantities and qualities you hopefully cannot imagine. And we are the lucky ones who get to live it and breathe it.
We’re required to share our streets, and sometimes our yards if there’s no nearby toilet, with some folks who honestly don’t much care about the impact they have on our town. Observatory and Thomas Streets are surely impacted by the new shelter.
And I’ll say once more what I’ve said many times: I do not blame those lost in Ukiah, often for reasons beyond their control. I blame the numerous agencies that lure broken people here, then provide just enough support to assure they remain homeless, and a rich source of income for nonprofits.
Those who make a career helping the homeless live in Potter Valley, Deerwood and Redwood Valley, far from ground zero, far from the problems they bring us.
But surely, you say, these unfortunate beings must be grateful for all the city and county do to help. They must be thankful for the assistance from so many government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
But surely, I say, you jest.
The latest sign of gratitude and appreciation has been a series of fires around town. Huh? The city that hosts all these people from all those places is repaid by someone hoping to burn it to the ground?
Fires have been set behind buildings on Orchard Street and down on Hasting Boulevard. Fires have been set in dumpsters, vacant lots and empty sheds. The railroad tracks are a favorite target. It’s irrelevant to an arsonist, or perhaps not, that we’re undergoing the third driest season on record.
Fire-setters are harassing Ukiah at a time when resources are stretched, firefighters are exhausted and a single lit match could bring devastation, death and tragedy to the very people providing food, shelter and services.
All alleged arsonists arrested thus far have been described by law enforcement as “transient” or with no local address.
Meanwhile, a miracle.
Now we’re at Big O tires on North State and I’m walking back to my car when a wild shriek fills the air. Off to my right, sitting in a stroller, a little boy erupts in another howl of disbelief and points upward.
I look. The wee tot is right! It’s beyond comprehension.
There, directly in front of him in the first Big O bay, a white Honda sedan is slowly but undeniably lifting itself straight up. The kid points and shouts again, hoping to alert nearby adults, including his mom.
The car goes quietly and majestically up with assistance from no one. It elevates in a way the kid has never seen anything rise before—-not a car, not a house, not his stuffed teddy bear at home.
I felt a glimmer of his wonder and amazement. Put yourself in his stroller for a moment or better yet, imagine sitting on a downtown bench and seeing a car parked 10 feet away lifting slowly up toward the clouds, drawn by mysterious forces. Space aliens? Angels?
I’ll bet that little boy wakes up tomorrow and tries to get mom to take him back to Big O. He’ll want to know if the Age of Miracles has truly returned.
(Tom Hine lives in Ukiah and has been writing columns in the Ukiah Daily Journal under the TWK banner since 2006. TWK previously appeared in the Mendocino Grapevine and Ukiah Bullhorn newspapers.)
(Courtesy, The Ukiah Daily Journal.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 3-September 4, 2020
ABEL AGUADO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MYQ ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
MARK BEARDSLEE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
JASON BEIBER, Fort Bragg. DUI.
CHRISTOPHER BETTEGA, Covelo. DUI, vandalism.
LESLIE BOLTON, Covelo. DUI.
ANTONIO CALDERONE-ROSAS, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
OSCAR CASTRO-IBARRA, East Chicago, Indiana/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property, fugitive from justice, evasion.
SAMAYA CLEARWATER, Willits. Falsifying evidence, failure to appear, resisting, probation revocation.
FIDENCIO CRUZ-ORTIZ, Clearlake/Ukiah. DUI.
SALVADOR FRAUSTO, Redwood Valley. Conspiracy.
ANGEL GANDARILLA, Willits. DUI, no license.
JOSHAU GARCIA, Fort Bragg. DUI.
TIMOTHY GOGGANS, Point Arena. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
ROBERT HARRESCHOU, Potter Valley. Protective order violation.
ALPHONSO JOSHUA, Stockton/Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
SAMPSON LEACH JR., Ukiah. Recklessly causing fire of inhabited structure/property.
ANDREW MAYNARD, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JONAH MITCHELL, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.
ERIC OLECIK, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JUAN OLIVERA, Trinidad/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, possession of money for criminal use.
KYLEE PETERSEN, Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, vandalism, addict driving vehicle, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
JUNA REBOLLO-MEDINA, Inglewood/Ukiah. DUI.
AMBER RICETTI, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
RYAN ROSENFIELD, Little River. DUI.
MARCELO SANTIAGO-SIMBRON, Madera/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
EZRA WILDMAN, Gualala. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats.
THE NBA, we are told, is a woke industry. But it’s also the strangest, most nondiverse, right-wing, money-obsessed woke institution in America. More than three-quarters of the multimillionaire players are African-American. Over 90 percent of the billionaire team owners are white. Yet the entire industry—players, coaches, owners, staff—lecture Americans ad nauseam about their supposed sins. The monotonous sermons have become transparent medieval redemptions—given the mortal sin that the NBA sold its very soul to a racist, genocidal, and totalitarian China—to recover billions abroad for the billions lost in viewership and attendance at home.
— John Victor Hanson
LONG TIME ST. LOUIS CARDINALS STAR & Base-stealing Hall of Famer Lou Brock dies at 81.
SPEAKING OF OUTCOMES
by Jim Shields
Good outcome with bad insurance law—
Just heard from Jamie Court, of Consumer Watchdog, who reports very good news on last week’s stories in the Observer on the insurance industry-sponsored Assembly Bill 2167, which could have boosted home and renters’ insurance rates in wildfire-prone areas by 40%. Also, it would have overridden the voter-approved Proposition 103’s protections against price gouging and community discrimination, in violation of the limits the voters imposed on the Legislature’s power to amend the initiative.
Jamie emailed me that, “The legislative session is over. I am happy to report that the bad guys didn’t win. Insurance companies were not able to pass legislation in Sacramento allowing them to raise rates on homeowners in fire zones in violation of strict premium regulation created by voter-approved Prop 103. Thanks to your support, the State Senate refused to pass a dangerous insurance industry-backed bill by Assembly member Tom Daly. We appreciate all your support, which allows us to be as an effective watchdog as possible in these trying times. Best, Jamie”
A bill that would have raised $2.5 billion from utility ratepayers to “harden” homes and curb other wildfire hazards died without legislative action. A second bill, requiring insurers to cover homeowners who’d taken action to protect their properties against fire, also died.
“While Governor Newsom and the Legislature have made progress in reducing wildfire risks on public lands over the past year, insurance must play a much larger role in protecting Californians in their homes and communities,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who pushed for the legislation requiring insurers to cover homeowners.
Lara said he would continue to advocate for statewide home-hardening standards “to reduce the spread of wildfires into communities and bring down statewide wildfire risk.”
The bill that Lara backed, Assembly Bill 2367, failed to advance out of committee this spring. It would have required insurers to sell coverage to homeowners who’d taken steps to “harden” their homes such as fireproofing their roofs and retrofitting vents to prevent embers from blowing inside and clearing brush around their properties.
Assembly Bill 1659 that would have raised $2.5 billion to pay for a variety of wildfire-risk needs was also deep-sixed. It would have earmarked $300 million for “home hardening” and “defensible space” projects to safeguard homes in wildfire zones.
“Destroying in the name of justice will hand Trump election” Says Willie Brown
I’ve always liked Willie Brown, long-time state Assembly Speaker and Mayor of San Francisco. He’s a scalawag, a wheeler-dealer, has a tiny bit of con man in him, but he was — is — still a leader and a leading force in politics. So you better listen up when he speaks, or in this case writes a column in last Sunday’s Chronicle.
Here’s the brilliant Brown at his best:
“The biggest threat to a Democratic election sweep in November isn’t the Republican in the White House, but the demonstrators who are tearing up cities in the name of racial justice. President Trump clearly plans to make the burning and looting in what he calls ‘Democrat-run’ cities like Portland, Ore., Kenosha, Wis., and even Oakland a centerpiece of his law-and-order platform. And it’s not just the presidential race that may be affected. Left unchecked, the mayhem could harm Democrats running for office all across the country. A recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that three-fourths of people surveyed were concerned about rising crime in the nation’s cities. Nearly half were worried about rising crime where they live. Numbers like that have Democrats in a heck of a bind. If they stand up and condemn the ‘demonstrators,’ the left wing will label them as Trump flunkies and they’ll be in all sorts of trouble. If they keep quiet or offer passive responses, voters will assume they’re OK with burning and looting. What we need to do is have everyone, including the media, stop calling the after-dark destruction ‘demonstrations.’ The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. did not cross the bridge at Selma under cover of darkness. You can’t even read a protest sign at night. The demonstrations end when the sun goes down. After that, it’s trouble for trouble’s sake. The people tearing up the cities don’t care about elections. Most of them don’t even vote.”
Time for the self-proclaimed “leaderless” leaders of Black Lives Matter (BLM) to get a grip running a tighter ship at street demos. Antifa and assorted criminal elements are operating literally under the cover of darkness of so-called protests. To paraphrase Comrade Trotsky: Everyone is entitled to act foolish occasionally but BLM abuses the privilege. Like Willie says, MLK didn’t cross the Selma bridge at night, and you certainly can’t read a protest sign in the dark. Take Willie’s advice, BLM, it’s powerful medicine.
Moore says Trump support is “off the charts”
Willie Brown is not the only PolType concerned about the Trumpster racking up a second term that would certainly result in the mass suicide of damn near all columnists who seemingly are permanently fixated on ol’ Donald 24-7-365.
One of our loyal readers sent me Facebook posts by Liberal Dem and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore who said enthusiasm for Trump in swing states is “off the charts” and urges everyone to commit to “getting 100 people to vote.”
In a Facebook post, Moore noted that polls indicate that President Trump may have a chance in key battleground states like Minnesota, which he lost by 1.5 points in 2016, as well as in Moore’s home state, Michigan, that President Trump won by narrow margins.
“Sorry to have to provide the reality check again, but when CNN polled registered voters in August in just the swing states, Biden and Trump were in a virtual tie,” Michael Moore said. “In Minnesota, it’s 47-47. In Michigan, where Biden had a big lead, Trump has closed the gap to 4 points.” Moore warned that enthusiasm among Trump supporters is “OFF THE CHARTS,” but for Joe Biden, “not so much.”
Moore wrote: Are you ready for a Trump victory? Are you mentally prepared to be outsmarted by Trump again? Do you find comfort in your certainty that there is no way Trump can win? Are you content with the trust you’ve placed in the DNC to pull this off?”
“The Biden campaign just announced he’ll be visiting a number of states — but not Michigan. Sound familiar? I’m warning you almost 10 weeks in advance. The enthusiasm level for the 60 million in Trump’s base is OFF THE CHARTS! For Joe, not so much.”
“Don’t leave it to the Democrats to get rid of Trump. YOU have to get rid of Trump. WE have to wake up every day for the next 67 days and make sure each of us are going to get a hundred people out to vote. ACT NOW!”
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)
I HIKED CALIFORNIA'S MOST REMOTE COASTLINE TO ESCAPE 2020 And It Almost Worked
A Tale Of Shredded Shoes, Rattlesnakes, A Swollen Ear And Every Star In The Galaxy
by Ashley Harrell
As the sun dipped behind a row of 4,000-foot mountains plunging into the frothy sea, a seal peeked its head from the surf and the seaweed glowed gold. This was day one’s highlight on our 24.6-mile journey up the Lost Coast, the most remote shoreline in California that we hiked in late August to escape the pandemic. And the fires. And our cellphones. And the possibility of receiving any further news of 2020.
By those metrics, the trip could be considered a success. But as those familiar with this unforgiving wilderness must certainly know, for every problem the Lost Coast solves, a new and unusual one is created.
Before COVID-19 ruined travel, the longest undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States lured outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. You know they were excited because they reserved their permits months in advance to camp along the most popular section of the Lost Coast Trail, the stretch between Mattole Trailhead and Black Sands Beach, in the King Range National Conservation Area. They were well aware of the challenges; arguably they preferred them.
On the Lost Coast, bears and rattlesnakes are common. Storms and fog can move in without warning. The ocean is sometimes violent, with “sneaker waves” claiming more than a few unlucky backpackers. Intimidatingly, the trail weaves in and out of the tidal zone, where wrong timing can leave hikers trapped between sheer cliffs and an encroaching sea.
For these reasons, inexperienced hikers tend to avoid the Lost Coast, or team up with more seasoned trekkers. So when Blu Graham, the owner of Lost Coast Adventure Tours, agreed to let my friend and me tag along, we accepted.
The day before the trip, Graham’s 16-year-old son needed stitches because he crashed into a tree while riding a motorcycle. Then one of the fryers went out at Mi Mochima, the Venezuelan restaurant that Graham owns with his wife in Shelter Cove. He considered canceling the trip, but ultimately decided it was just what he needed.
We knew the feeling.
Between the pandemic, the 600-plus fires that were torching California, my friend becoming unemployed and me working three jobs from a 300-square-foot in-law unit I share with my partner, tagging along with Graham as he hiked the Lost Coast sounded like exactly the right move. A beach adventure in an area so rugged it had to be bypassed by Highway 1 would be our panacea, we believed.
But when the first evening came, we ate tasteless rice (having forgotten the spices) and found ourselves ruminating on what had gone wrong. Hiking north from Shelter Cove on Black Sand Beach in the afternoon heat had melted the glue on my right hiking shoe, and the sole had detached. I had placed one of my socks over the front to keep the shoe together, but eventually the sand and rocks had destroyed it.
Graham — a gruff veteran backpacker — was not impressed. This was going to be a problem, he said. When my friend turned to face him wearing her head lamp, shining it directly in his eyes, he accused her of spraying him with “hippie mace.” He also advised that we move our tent, which we had set up in an uneven area.
Although the campsite was tucked into a valley called Miller Flat, we couldn't find a level place for the tent. All night, strong winds swept through and shook the rain fly. On several occasions I woke up in a panic, thinking it was a bear.
In the morning, my friend said that she hadn’t slept at all. Then she asked if something seemed wrong with her ear, because it felt like there was liquid in it.
“Have you always had an ogre ear?” I asked her, even though we’ve been friends since middle school. She hadn’t. The ear was just really swollen.
After considering for a moment that there would be no option for medical attention or treatment, she said: “You cannot break a broken woman, Ashley.”
When we finally left our tent at about 9 a.m., Graham seemed disappointed that we hadn’t emerged sooner. The water he boiled was getting cold, he said.
After some lukewarm coffee and oatmeal, we packed up and hit the trail, and the sun was already starting to glint off a million fist-sized boulders we would need to scramble over. This was the part of the trip when it became clear that a rescue would be incredibly inconvenient, so we focused intently on our footing to avoid twisting an ankle.
Graham’s pace was faster than ours, and soon his figure disappeared behind a mountain. We passed the time with a game that my friend invented, titled, “How would we kill my boyfriend?” It involved scanning the landscape and figuring out what we'd use not only to murder my friend’s boyfriend, but to get away with it. My friend created this game because she is morbid, but also because she has commitment issues.
Taking note of the rising tide, bear tracks, animal bones, fire-scarred forests and sheer cliffs, we had a lot of ideas.
After a few miles of beach bouldering, we hiked up onto a grassy bluff and I placed a new sock over my shoe. On this section of the trail, we were surprised to encounter a few hunters along with some backpackers carrying surfboards. We also walked by some houses and yurts accessible by airstrip.
The structures were grandfathered into the conservation area when it was created in 1970, Graham told us, and clearly belonged to the sorts of people who anticipated years like 2020. Soon, we stopped at a creek to filter some water, have lunch and wait for the next low tide.
This was pretty much the midpoint, Graham said, so if we had a problem here, it would take as long to go back as it would to keep going. As if testing fate, my friend decided right then that she felt like swimming in the ocean, even though it was obvious that the massive waves and strong undertow were incredibly dangerous.
I followed her into the icy surf where we dunked ourselves and let the waves smack us around a while. The cold water was invigorating, and there was something undeniably satisfying about being in the middle of this thing, having come so far and with so far yet to go, and saying f—k it: We surrender to the sea.
When we returned to the creek, Graham had stitched my hiking shoe back together with duct tape and string he always carries in a first-aid kit. He had let me walk upwards of seven miles before doing this, he told me, just to see how long I could last.
That night, we hiked up from the beach to Cooskie campground, a sandy nook alongside a freshwater stream. We ate overly flavorful miso soup and watched a technicolor sunset, then unzipped the sides of our tent and gazed up at what felt like every star in the galaxy.
We got up late again the next morning, drank our lukewarm coffee and walked upstream to filter some water. As we walked over a low wooden footbridge, Graham started running toward us, yelling. “Rattlesnake! Rattlesnake!” he said.
It turned out to be a small one coiled beneath the bridge, hiding and specifically not using its rattle. And that’s how we learned that Graham did feel at least somewhat responsible for keeping us alive.
He took us off the usual route on that last day, through the tidal zone where parts of wrecked ships still protrude from the sand. Then we visited the Punta Gorda Lighthouse, where a bunch of massive elephant seals were rolling around in the dirt and fighting each other to establish dominance.As we neared the end of the trail, the wind picked up, blowing us back and demonstrating why most people hike this trail north to south. And because of the sloped beach, my right calf muscle ached and so did my friend’s right groin muscle. Still, we finished in good time and started dreaming about a hotel room that we hoped would have a hot tub.
The plan was to get picked up by one of the shuttles Graham’s business runs to return to our car, then to book a hotel in Shelter Cove. But when we got there, every room was taken. People had come from all over California to escape the fires, and even the local fishermen’s motel was fully booked.
Sore and tired we drove the mountain roads through the dark toward home, certain that next time we’d arrange to stay lost a whole lot longer.
(Ashley Harrell is an associate editor at SFGATE who covers California’s parks. Email: email@example.com. Courtesy, SFgate.com.)
IT WAS 63 YEARS AGO on September 5, 1957, that Jack Kerouac's “On the Road” was first published.
In 1998, the Modern Library ranked ‘On the Road’ 55th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. “On the Road” has been an influence on various poets, writers, actors and musicians, including Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia and Hunter S. Thompson.
If you haven''t already, find a copy & give it a read.
“I don't know, I don't care, and it doesn't make any difference.”
― Jack Kerouac, Selected Letters, 1957-1969
PEOPLE WORRY that “moderate” Democrats like Joe Biden are the same as Republicans. Our study suggests they may be right. Men who refer to themselves as “moderate” or “centrist” score basically the same on values and opinions as people who identify themselves as “conservative.”
STEELY DAN’S “KID CHARLEMAGNE”
by Josh Moss
Steely Dan is known for many things, such as fusing rock and jazz, making guitarists do more takes than anyone other than Phil Spector and being named after a fictional sentient dildo, but perhaps chief among them is their penchant for wry, dark, literary lyrics. I think the best example of this trademark Steely Dan lyrical style is the historical bio-song Kid Charlemagne, the lead single from their 5th LP The Royal Scam, which tells the story of the downfall of self-proclaimed “King of Acid” and Grateful Dead financial backer/soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley with a Thomas Pynchon-esque level of psychedelic noir atmosphere.
Donald Fagen had been building up to this sort of story-song masterpiece and these kinds of ominous vibrations over the course of the albums that preceded The Royal Scam. One need only look to jams like “Barrytown” from Pretzel Logic, which details Fagen’s annoyance over a run in with a moonie, or “My Old School” from Countdown to Ecstasy, a song about how pissed off he was to get caught up in a minor drug bust at his alma mater Bard College, to see his knack for exploding the details of a fleeting dramatic situation out into a shadowy maze of sly cultural references and mysterious signifiers. Songs like “Any Major Dude Will Tell You” and “Doctor Wu” show his recurring interest in drug culture and the charismatic, ambiguous characters that inhabit that world. Arguably, there is no greater drug figure-head in the history of the American counter-culture than Owsley Stanley. In him, Donald Fagen had found the perfect muse for the ultimate expression of his lyrical style.
Kid Charlemagne is an apt nom de guerre for Bear. The real Charlemagne united most of Western Europe in the middle ages, laying the groundwork for Europe as we know it today. Owsley Stanley, a skilled self-taught electronics engineer, chemist, and former professional ballet dancer, united the hip youth of America in tripping balls and consciousness expansion with tabs and blotters of his trademark acid in the heady years prior to the scheduling of LSD as an illegal drug. The Merry Pranksters, the “Acid Tests”, the bay area and LA psych scenes, and that one episode of Dragnet were all fueled by Owsley’s doses. By his own calculations, he distributed as many as ten million hits between 1965 and 1967. This of course, could not last, and Stanley’s lab in Orinda, California, in the hills east of Berkeley, was eventually raided. He continued to work for The Grateful Dead until their infamous New Orleans bust (immortalized in another psychedelic noir story song, “Truckin’”), accumulating along the way an epic stash of live recordings of the San Francisco music scene of the late 60’s, including tapes of Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and Blue Cheer, among many others. After the New Orleans bust he served two years in prison and went underground upon his release, later becoming an Australian citizen.
Just as in songs like “Barrytown”, Donald Fagen’s spite and derision seems to be firing on all cylinders when handling the subject of Owsley Stanley. “Kid Charlemagne” mocks his heyday, reducing the impact of the Merry Pranksters to an eye-catching “technicolor motorhome”, and revels in his failure, with condescending lines like “son you were mistaken, you are obsolete, look at all the white men on the street”. The aesthetic of Steely Dan could not be more opposed to the aesthetic of the Haight-Ashbury true hippy moment, and at first glance this song seems to be a straight-up critique of that cultural movement and an exposition of its paranoid flash-in-the pan guru. What could be more different than the free form jamming of the Grateful Dead, recorded live, with tons of flubs, awkward stage banter, and crowd noise; and the super slick, dialed-in studio soul-jazz bounce of a Steely Dan hit? What could be more opposite than a thousand dirty teenagers writhing to noise in a warehouse covered in day-glo paint and acid spiked orange juice and the lone audiophile dropping the needle of his Bang & Olufsen turntable on a hot stamper pressing of Aja in his custom designed record den, swirling a neat scotch in a crystal rocks glass? What makes ”Kid Charlemagne” so great is that it cannot be that simple. Philosophers from ancient Greeks to Buddhists to post-modernists have observed a phenomenon known as the unity of opposites, and this song expresses it perfectly.
The similarities between Steely Dan and their scruffy protagonist are obvious from the beginning. “Just by chance you crossed the diamond with the pearl” describes Owsley’s nailing down an acid formula rivaling that of pharmaceutical company Sandoz, but it also describes the singular musical fusion of Steely Dan, which at its very best has never been replicated. I’ve never described a band and said “this sounds like Steely Dan”, because that’s never really been true. I think Steely Dan can lay claim to having accomplished, with an album like Aja, the peak of their expression, an alchemical fusion of disparate influences, equipment and personnel with their personal vision and sharply honed skills to create a new and mind-bending experience. I’m sure an aging hippy that had the pleasure of sampling some of Bear’s wares would make a similar observation. The song goes on describe Bear’s dedication to his craft: “On the hill the stuff was laced with kerosene, but yours was kitchen clean”; Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s unyielding perfectionism and will to make music that still stands as some version of maximizing the potential of an analog recording studio is a result of the same will that drove Owsley to be a ballet dancer, electronic and sound engineer, and the best underground LSD chemist known to history. Both efforts left lasting marks in their respective fields.
From this point, the lyrics begin to describe Stanley’s downfall, which for me can only suggest another interesting unity between these ostensible opposites. Stanley himself fell from grace, but acid, the thing he made ubiquitous in the American counter-culture, is as popular as ever, even going square, being used in “micro-doses” by Silicon Valley business men to give them a creative edge. The godheads of the musical culture he helped to create, The Grateful Dead, have also undergone a somewhat unexpected re-birth, playing to tens of thousands once again, with John Mayer on lead guitar for some reason (I guess because he can shred and handle his doses?). While not as precipitous, Steely Dan has had a decline as well (who’s jamming Everything Must Go on a regular basis?) but their music, in a way that is divorced from them, in that it can be heard again without any knowledge of their involvement as artists, is as relevant as ever in the form of breaks and samples for hip-hop hits, memorably “Déjà vu (Uptown Baby)” by Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz, and “Champion”, by Kanye West, which samples the chorus of “Kid Charlemagne” (these are the obvious ones but the list goes on). Fagen and Becker were apparently not impressed with the way West used “Kid Charlemagne” and wanted to block the sampling rights, but West wrote them an actual letter saying how much the song meant to him. Did Kanye know about Owsley, and feel a kinship with the King of Acid, or did he identify with the song on an entirely different level unique to him? That is the power and mystery of Steely Dan at their height.
The second half of the song tells, through the character of Owsley, a story that’s familiar by now from cultural milestones such as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Inherent Vice…the comedown from the hippy high, the buy-in to square society by the majority of the former freaks, and the consequences for those that won’t let go of their outlaw status. There is a lyrical twist at the end of the song that fully embodies the unity of opposites; the perspective shifts from a third person, judgmental “you” to a more inclusive first person, “we”…for the last verse, Fagen and Stanley are full-on partners in crime. “Clean this mess else we’ll both end up in jail, those test tubes and the scale, just get it all out of here”…the imagery is concrete, the paranoia is visceral. The penultimate lines truly give this song a climax, in large part due to Fagen’s amazing performance of this miniature conversation between, for all intents and purposes, him and Stanley: “Is there gas in the car? Yes, there’s gas in the car, I think the people down the hall know who you are”. I hope by this point in this article you have listened to the song because text does not do this part justice. Finally, Fagen steps back: “cause the man is wise, you are still an outlaw in his eyes”. He’s resumed that judgmental third person stance, but we know that he was asking if there was gas in the car, sharing with Owsley Stanley the existential dread caused by staring into the setting sun of his cultural relevancy. At the peak of his considerable, dark, moody, lyrical powers, Donald Fagen was able to invoke the character of Owsley Stanley, King of Acid, to express the fundamental truth of the unity of opposites.
I would be remiss if I did not discuss the musical aspects of “Kid Charlemagne” just a bit, because beyond the lyrical fireworks it truly is a jam. It’s anchored rhythmically by a disco/soul/funk backbeat created by Steely Dan stalwart session bassist Chuck Rainey and legendary drummer Bernard Purdie, who has played with everyone from Albert Ayler to Cat Stevens, which I think means everyone, and whose nickname is Mississippi Bigfoot. The funk vibes are turned up by the presence of session man Paul Griffin, who played keys on Highway 61 Revisited, rocking a choppy clavinet. This is really a stripped down funk-rocker for a Steely Dan song, filled out by jazz pianist Don Grolnick on Fender Rhodes E-piano, Walter Becker on rhythm guitar, and jazz and session guitarist Larry Carlton playing an insane guitar solo that Rolling Stone ranked the third best on record. That guitar solo, the musical centerpiece of the song (along with Donald Fagen crooning “there’s gas in tha caaaaaaah”) is another moment where the unity of opposites is invoked: the solo is strange, modal, distorted, psychedelic and jazz inflected (not unlike a Jerry Garcia solo), contrasting sharply but tastefully with the razor sharp rhythms and melodies of the song and summoning the lysergic counter-culture vibes of the song’s anti-hero.
(Josh Moss is a person who's passion for all kinds of music has probably caused a negative impact on aspects of his life traditionally used to measure success. Find him on twitter @themodernfolk or email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Life in Northern California is changing rapidly. Fires, unbearable summer heat and shortage of water are all increasing problems. We can attack all three at once with some imagination, investment and time. Here is how.
Use Israeli solar-powered desalinization technology to increase the water supply. Go to the tops of the nearest mountains and build reservoirs. Use solar energy to pump the desalinated water to the reservoirs.
At night, release water through hydroelectric plants to produce electricity, thus eliminating the need for fossil-fuel powered generators. Water leaving the hydroelectric plants would be potable for agriculture, cities and irrigation of currently dry public lands.
Eliminating the burning of fossil fuel for energy would help clean the air. Building enough plants to irrigate wide areas would help protect against fires, and having the equivalent of summer rains could help cool our climate.
It would be expensive but would provide jobs for many years, and reducing the fire hazard would recover what is now spent fighting fires and rebuilding burned properties. People would no longer be at risk of burning to death or surviving and needing to rebuild their lives from the ground up — literally.
Paul S. Treuhaft