Dry Weather | 19 New Cases | Second Shots | Wharf Cases | Khadijah Reward | Winter Shelter | Candidate Meadlin | Barbara Norton | Wine Bunker | Foot Amputated | Sans Stick | Welfare Ranchers | Baseball Loggers | B Handoff | Workers Picnic | Bang Fraud | Big Wave | Clear Lake | Hirschman Cafe | Ed Notes | Noyo Chief | Cannabis Grants | Trans Zoom | Streetscape Update | Yesterday's Catch | Meeting MLK | Traitorous Legislators | Human Seasons | Hospital Tours | Wild Turkey | Family Pack | Alzheimer Zoom | Legal Clinics | Super Aware | Isolatoes | Big Squeeze | Sore Winners
DRY WEATHER will prevail across the region through the weekend, and possibly through much of next week as well. Afternoons across the interior will be mostly sunny and mild, and mornings will be chilly. In addition, gusty north winds are expected along the coast and adjacent ridges this afternoon. (NWS)
19 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Friday bringing total 3532.
Garnish Daly writes (Coast Listserve):
I had my first vaccination (Pfizer) on January 20th, at the Mormon Church in Fort Bragg. It is my understanding that I have to have my second one three weeks after that, which would be February 10th. As of today I have no information about how to get that done. Does anyone out there know how I am to receive information about that second dose? Will someone contact me to schedule this? How proactive do I have to be? Is it my responsibility to find a location that is administering the vaccine? It would be really helpful if this information was easily available.
Rene Roberts has the accurate story.
We’re doing everything we can to stay on target, but a few days delay is within specification. A couple of weeks ago, aiming to reach 1 million COVID vaccinations, California sent us an extra ~2400 first doses with commitment to follow through with supply for second doses. The second doses became a problem. County CEO Carmel Angelo has been in continuous discussions with the state and we now have confirmation that they’re able to make good on the commitment. It wouldn’t have happened without her perseverance to ensure rural counties are not left behind.
As of January 29, 2021, Mendocino County administered approximately 12,000 doses or 17% of our eligible population (adults) for vaccination.
To Garnish (and others in the same boat),
I called MCC [Mendocino Coast Clinics in Fort Bragg] today because I had the same questions. Alan also had his first dose on the same day as you. They said they will call everyone who had a vaccination on that day, to set up a time. It's scheduled for the 10th, but they are still waiting for supplies, however. They aren't going to call people until they have supplies in hand. The most current info from CDC and NIH on Pfizer is that it's 3 weeks after first dose, but it can be as long as 4-6 weeks after and still be good. So if MCC doesn't get supplies in time for another clinic on the 10th, don't worry (yet). I read on the 5th District Facebook page that Mendocino County has been promised an additional 2400 doses. Hopefully some of that will come to the coast for 2nd shots.
SILVER'S AT THE WHARF WRITES:
Let's get straight to the point:
Has The Wharf had positive Covid-19 cases: Yes
Has The Wharf followed all protocol procedures through County Public Health: Yes
How many positive cases: 5 (4 Kitchen Staff & 1 Server)
Who: Upon the discretion of the employees & the Restaurant we cannot give out this info
When was the first & last positive case at The Wharf: First case was November 26, 2020 and the most recent was Feb. 1, 2021
What is employee procedure: We ask our employees to be tested every 2 weeks. When employees arrive to work, they are to fill out our COVID-19 symptoms worksheet which includes having their temperature taken. If they have any symptoms, they are required to let management know before their shift or as soon as possible. IF they have any symptoms they are told to stay home and get tested. If results come back negative, they can return to work, if they are positive, they are to quarantine for 10 days and be retested after quarantine. If the second test comes back negative and they are cleared by Public Health and Mendocino Coast Clinics then they are able to start back at work.
What YOU need to understand with the list of restaurants: Mendocino County Public Health posts information to let the public know the Covid-19 update.
What YOU need to realize is: just about everyone in Fort Bragg works 2-3 jobs and the County needs to keep track so they can slow the spread. You can have 1 kitchen staff member who works at 3 different restaurants; therefore, County must list all 3 restaurants.
Closing remarks: The Wharf has followed all procedures given by County Public Health very closely and diligently. We have made it a policy that employees must distance themselves from each other as much as possible and to always wear their masks. We are doing the best we can to keep our customers and our staff as safe as possible as we continue through this pandemic.
MENDOCINO COUNTY AUTHORITIES RENEW CALL FOR WITNESSES TO COME FORWARD IN KHADIJAH BRITTON CASE
The FBI is offering a new $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case of Khadijah Britton, a young woman believed to have been kidnapped three years ago Sunday from the Mendocino County community of Covelo.
IF THERE IS ANY DOUBT surrounding this year's winter shelter for the homeless, the question that remains is: Can the Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center pull it off?
February 5, 2021 — Back in November, Hospitality Center (HC) contacted the City of Fort Bragg to inquire about using the “Old Recreation Center” to host the Coast Winter Shelter. According to the HC leadership, they had exhausted all efforts to locate another facility. They cited many obstacles, including Covid and a reluctance by property owners uncertain whether their facilities might have to remain closed. HC told the City that if we did not allow the use of the Old Rec Center the shelter would not happen.
The shelter historically opened as early as November, but now it seems HC feels December is a more appropriate starting time. HC submitted their proposal to the county government along with their proposed budget, with a December start date. As that month loomed ever closer, it became apparent that the shelter was again in jeopardy for lack of interest or qualified employee applications.
At this point the homeless ad hoc committee brought to the City Council a budget amendment to subsidize the payroll by $4 per hour. This pay hike apparently proved successful enough that qualified applicants began to show up. The shelter opened in January, only a month late, or two, depending on who is counting.
In the meantime, Reverend Knutson and his governing board at Trinity Lutheran came through once again by offering to host the winter shelter for the month of January at their church. February's shelter remained an unresolved issue and the City Council had to decide if either the CV Starr or the Old Rec Center downtown might be appropriate shelter venues. The CV Starr Center seemed like a viable option at first; however, it soon became apparent that the School District was using it to allow students access to the internet. Council discussed the Old Rec Center and decided that the downtown business owners needed to be heard before any decision could be made. Potential impacts might be mitigated with extra conditions placed on a use permit, although the overall fatigue it could pose on the downtown businesses could well prove the last straw for this already struggling area. This has always been my concern and certainly the concern of the Council. This concern still exists.
This is why I took it upon myself to reach out to facilities and organizations to find a more suitable venue for the winter shelter. Ideally, this site would be outside the Central Business District and, if possible, preferably outside city limits. After all, it is the coast winter shelter not just the Fort Bragg winter shelter.
This occurred while things were going smoothly for Trinity Lutheran's hosting of the winter shelter. I reached out to Reverend Knutson and asked if they would be willing to extend the shelter's stay at their church. Let's not forget that each venue that hosts the winter shelter this year is paid $3,000 per month for use of its facility. During a pandemic when most halls cannot be rented out to the general public this type of income cannot hurt. To be clear, Reverend Knutson and his board are primarily playing host to the winter shelter out of the graciousness of their hearts, not for the money. In prior years, they made their facility available at no cost to HC.
While waiting for an answer from Trinity Lutheran, I also reached out to a Caspar Community board member, knowing that they had agreed to host if the shelter opened in December. I found out that the Caspar Community Center had originally agreed in principle to host from December through February with the understanding that the details had to be worked out with the Hospitality Center. Obviously, that did not happen.
A Caspar Community Center board member agreed to present the possibility of taking all or part of March to the Community Center Board. Again my focus was on two things, saving downtown Fort Bragg from the added stress and also to spread the wealth of the $3k/month. I made my intentions perfectly clear to every organization I spoke with. Keep it out of the downtown!
While all this was happening, Reverend Knutson called to tell me his board had approved keeping the shelter until the 15th of March. Now, let's not forget that HC was still pushing the City to use the Old Rec Center in downtown Fort Bragg, making zero effort to find alternatives or to mitigate any impact from the winter shelter, the Hospitality House or the Hospitality Center. This is the part that baffles me the most. Why not make your best effort to keep it out of downtown? Why the lack of compassion for the businesses? Why not go out of your way to improve your image with the downtown and help the local businesses?
With Trinity Lutheran coming through for the community once again, this left the last two weeks in March still unspoken for in terms of hosting the winter shelter. I reached out to a member of the Caspar Shul, someone who has taken an active role in the shelter in the past. This person has attended several, if not all, of the shelter meetings hosted by HC. She agreed to take it to her board and they approved two weeks in March. This was great news and appeared to solve not only the downtown issue, but HC’s lack of a facility for the end of March.
I announced to the rest of Council that the Old Rec Center may not be needed. The only thing left to do was to notify HC and hope they would work it out with the Shul. Apparently that was too much to ask of HC's leaders. This takes us back to the why. Why does HC continue to press for the shelter in downtown Fort Bragg? Why can’t they do their own due diligence and find an alternative? Could it be some sort of retaliation against City Hall, a dislike for the Mayor or revenge on local businesses? We may never know their motivations. The HC no longer holds its Board of Directors meetings in public, for eleven months they have cited technical difficulties with Zoom as an ever more feeble excuse for not including input from the public in their board meetings. What we do know is that HC has made a public statement saying the “Shul is a difficult location for the shelter due to Covid safety measures and that it is a greater burden on HC to transport the homeless from Fort Bragg to Caspar.
The County bought Hospitality Center a new passenger van to be used for transport. So the only thing left in doubt is whether HC will take the burden upon themselves, one that they are being paid to do or will they continue to put the burden on the downtown businesses?
MARCIA MEADLIN, CANDIDATE FOR FORT BRAGG CITY COUNSEL
Dear Fort Bragg Community,
For those who don't already know me, I am Marcia Rafanan Meadlin, a lifelong resident of Fort Bragg, registered with the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Rancheria in Willits. I am a descendent of the Pomo Indian Cooper family that lived in what became the Fort Bragg Noyo Harbor. I still carry on the traditions of my native roots: I gather seaweed, harvest abalone (when open), and provide surfish, deer meat and mussels for my family and elders, trading our coastal goods for valley goods with my inland relatives.
I started working with the public as a busser down in the Fort Bragg harbor at Cap’n Flints Restaurant. A couple of years later, I was promoted to Manager. I moved out of Fort Bragg to Sacramento, like many young and adventurous adults, to see the big world and further my education. During this time, I still came back on the weekends to work but soon realized where home truly is and moved back to Fort Bragg to start a family. Working more than full time and raising two small children, I hit a few bumps in the road, divorce and the closing of my second home, Cap’n Flints, which we all miss.
With the loss of my job, I was able to spend more time with my children, volunteer more in the public schools and at the Senior Center monthly dinners, and help friends and family with whatever they need. Money was getting short fast so I sought employment working with local developmentally disabled people and made lifelong friends. But I knew that wasn’t my calling and agreed when Scott Hockett asked me to run his restaurant, the Noyo Fish Company, down in the Fort Bragg harbor. I have successfully managed Noyo Fish Company ever since. When Mayor Will Lee took a job in San Jose and resigned his seat on the Fort Bragg City Council, he approached me about applying to fill his seat and serve the community in a new way. I accepted his call and submitted my application to represent the community on the Fort Bragg City Council.
I have many ideas and objectives for the betterment of our community and I hope to contribute to achieving them as a new addition to the City Council. Some policy objectives and positions include a strong desire to meet our community's pressing need for quality workforce and student housing; continuing to adjust and improve our approach to public safety and mental health needs, including dedicating appropriate resources and support where we can; and supporting the restoration and expansion of our sports fields and facilities to provide safe and adequate access to these important community resources for my children and athletes of all ages. I look forward to the incredible opportunity to continue to support the community and help achieve these and other community goals by serving on the Fort Bragg City Council.
Marcia Rafanan Meadlin
MENDO COLD CASE: BARBARA LEA NORTON
On April 8, 2014 at about 1500 hours, The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by Willits Police Department regarding a missing persons report for Barbara Lea Norton that occurred in the unincorporated area of Willits. A friend initially reported Norton missing to the Willits Police Department after not having seen Norton for about a week.
During the course of the investigation, MCSO Detectives discovered Norton’s cell phone, purse, and ID were inside her residence. No other indication of anything suspicious or suggesting foul play was found. Detectives and Deputies searched the surrounding area for any sign of Norton, to no avail.
MCSO Detectives learned from neighbors, friends, and a family member who lived on the same property, that Norton was known to disappear for several days/weeks by herself. However, Norton was always known to bring her purse and cell phone with her. Norton was also reported to be stressed she had no money, no food, and her last text message (04/04/14) to her friend was “take care.”
Norton does not have a vehicle, is known to walk on foot, and is described as being 53 years old, 5’1”, weighing about 130lbs with gray eyes and brown hair.
Anyone with any information relating to Norton’s disappearance of whereabouts is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office’s Tip-Line at (707)234-2100 or the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at (707)463-4086.
Age at time of disappearance: 53 years-old
Height: 5 feet 1 inches
Weight: 130 pounds
Eye color: Gray
THAT HUGE concrete bunker-building at the south end of Cloverdale will house wines, cases and cases of it.
MYERS FLAT WOMAN HAS FOOT AMPUTATED AFTER SURVIVING A VICIOUS DOG ATTACK
by Ryan Burns
A 35-year-old mother of five is recovering from serious injuries and a surgery in which one of her feet was amputated after she was viciously attacked by two pit bulls while trying to help a neighbor Thursday afternoon in Myers Flat.
Candis Danielson had gone over to her neighbor’s house to help him with his generator during a power outage when the neighbor’s dogs got out of his trailer and attacked her, according to Aaron Merriman, an emergency medical services worker who responded to the scene.
The dogs had dragged Danielson under the trailer and inflicted extensive damage to her legs and feet, Merriman said.
“She was in extreme shock but would respond to her name,” Merriman said.
According to to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, responding deputies performed life-saving efforts on Danielson, who was transported to St. Joseph Hospital and is expected to survive.
Another victim also suffered bite injuries and was treated at a nearby fire station, the sheriff’s office said.
Danielson’s sister, Shiann Davis, set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Danielson’s medical bills and any potential legal fees. In the initial post, which went up on Thursday evening, Davis wrote that her sister was undergoing surgery to have one leg amputated and may lose the other leg as well. However, in a Friday morning update, Davis wrote that surgeons had only amputated one foot, “and they are bringing in specialists to see what they may be able to save of the rest of her leg.”
Davis released the following statement to the Outpost Friday morning:
It’s taking a minute just to get over the initial shock of everything. We’re just trying to remind ourselves Candis is in good hands and being taken care of by proper specialists, her pain is being managed, and most importantly she’s alive.
It’s a strange world now. We can’t be there in the hospital with her and even her kids may not be able to see her for probably a month while she’s going through this because of COVID, but the precaution makes sense for her safety and the safety of others.
If you know her, you also know how strong she is and how much of a fighter she is. If you don’t know her, take my word that you’d be lucky to cross paths one day. We’re grateful to everyone that has offered support to our family during this time. Thank you so much for your generosity, for sharing, and for reaching out.
Davis’s boyfriend, Myles Cochrane (who formerly worked as program director at KSLG FM, owned by the Outpost’s parent company, Lost Coast Communication, Inc.), defended pit bulls generally but said these particular dogs were dangerous:
Dogs are one of the greatest gifts to humanity. Regardless of breed or size, if they’re raised right they will in all likelihood succeed. It’s unfathomable some humans have the luxury of being called a “gentle giant” yet many qualifying pit bulls don’t get the same privilege. That said, these particular dogs should never have had this opportunity at attempted murder.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Specialist Samantha Karges told the Outpost that the dogs will be required to undergo a vicious dog hearing.
“If at that hearing the dogs are determined to be potentially dangerous or vicious dogs, and that the release of the dogs would create a significant threat to the public health, safety, and welfare, then the dogs could be put down. The process is outlined in County Code § 547.”
The dogs’ owner has not been charged with any crimes — no charges have been requested, Karges said, adding that the incident is still under investigation.
Here’s the press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:
“On Jan. 28, 2021, at about 12:45 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 200 block of Myers Avenue in Myers Flat for the report of a dog attack.
According to the reporting party, the 35-year-old female victim had arrived at the residence to perform housekeeping services. Upon arrival, the victim was reportedly attacked by two pit bulls, which were pets that lived at the residence.
When deputies arrived on scene, the dogs had already been detained in a vehicle by their owner. Deputies located the victim with serious and extensive injuries related to the attack. Deputies performed life-saving efforts on the victim. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment and is expected to survive.
While investigating, deputies learned of a second victim who was being treated for bite-related injuries at a fire station nearby. Upon contacting the male victim, deputies learned that the man had stopped at the property to assist the female victim and dog owner. However, while attempting to assist, the man sustained moderate injuries from the dogs. The man left the property prior to deputy arrival to seek medical treatment.
Animal Control Officers took custody of the dogs and they were transported to the Humboldt County Animal Shelter where they are being held pursuant to Humboldt County Code § 542-13 and § 547-14.”
FROM CHRIS SKYHAWK: ‘GREAT MOMENTS IN STROKE RECOVERY’
This news makes me so happy I am crying as I write. Today when I went out for my usual walk I suddenly decided to leave my walking stick behind. It was not planned at all. I usually only leave my stick away from me when I am safe in a house. Outside uneven terrain or even a strong breeze can leave me off-balance.
Well, today the air was cool but the sun was warm, and I just got going. I made it to both benches in my apartment complex. Altogether maybe about 150 yards of walking. I know that’s not much to most of you but I think that’s pretty good for a guy who should be dead!
COAST WELFARE RANCHERS WANT MORE GOVERNMENT FREE STUFF
Next Tuesday’s Supervisors Agenda includes the following item:
Item 5c) Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Tax Refund Claim in the Amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, Pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 5096 and 5097, Regarding Certain Taxes Paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District (Sponsor: County Counsel)
Recommended Action: Approve Tax Refund Claim in the amount of $4,220.40 by Karen A. Calvert, pursuant to Revenue and Taxation Code sections 5096 and 5097, regarding certain taxes paid to the Albion Little-River Fire Protection District.”
There’s another similar one from James H. Calvert claiming $5,118.64.
* * *
We wrote about these claims before, saying, “AS WE READ the Calverts claims, they seem to be saying that since MRC won a similar claim on appeal recently that the County/Albion-Little River Fire Protection should do the same for them. Never mind that the cost of lawyers and claim prep are more than the taxes they want back, and both MRC and the Calverts are far from paupers and both of them benefit directly from having a mostly volunteer fire protection service in the vicinity of their vast timber holdings — even if, technically, their property is ruled to be “outside” the Albion-Little River District boundaries. It’s people like the Calverts who take the 'C' out of community.”
WHICH STILL APPLIES.
HOWEVER, attached to Tuesday’s agenda item is a note from the Albion/Little River Fire Department’s attorney, former Deputy Counsel Terry Gross:
“We cannot argue with the holding of the appellate court, that interpreted Health & Safety Code 13811 to exclude Ms. Calvert’s property, as well as other commercial forest land located in a Special Resources Area, from the District. [Legal cite]… Omitted is the fact that the majority of the property lying within the District boundaries is commercial timberland and that property is still served by the local volunteer fire district.
If you will recall Measure M [the taxing Measure approved by Albion-Little River voters], for the first time, required all property owners, lying within the District map boundaries, including commercial timberland owners, served by the District, to pay their fair share of fire suppression and emergency, rescue service costs.
Everyone sitting on this Board knows that if you live in the unincorporated areas of the County, it is the local, volunteer fire districts, that are the first responders to all fires and all emergencies on properties located within the District boundaries, regardless of the zoning of the parcel. Local fire districts respond because they are called by the State, CalFire, to respond.
When the 911 dispatch call comes, local fire districts do not know the zoning of the parcel, simply its location. They are the first to show up at the site, prepared to suppress the fire or rescue the injured or contain the fire until additional help arrives, regardless of the parcel’s zoning. By excluding commercial timberland from the local district tax, the costs of maintaining equipment, training and keeping these volunteer individuals safe is borne by the remainder of the residential and other property owners in the district. This is true even though most of the property lying within the district boundaries is commercial timberland. Today, volunteer districts are even more pressed, given the heightened fire season and the unavailability of the State to respond to local fires.
So, although we cannot argue under current law that Ms. Calvert should not receive her refund, we do argue that this Board has an obligation to work to remedy this grossly unfair and even dangerous situation. That on the ground, it is the local fire districts that are the first on scene and must struggle to maintain expensive equipment and properly train personnel. We urge you to work with CalFire and our state lawmakers to adequately fund our volunteer fire departments, and to make sure that every property owner pays their fair share for the services they are so generously provided.
Thank you for your attention.
Terry N. Gross
Attorney for Albion Little River Fire Protection District
COUNTY BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND RECOVERY SERVICES DEPARTMENT TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR MEASURE B PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION
Dr. Jenine Miller, director of Mendocino County’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services announced Friday that Behavioral Health is assuming all responsibilities for Measure B Commission support and projects.
The shift in program administration, according to Dr. Miller, will eliminate the need for the program manager position. “On February 5th, the decision was made to formally assign these responsibilities to the Behavioral Health Department,” she explains. “In addition to cost savings, we are hopeful that taking this proactive step will result in more efficiencies in program management and most importantly, more demonstrable results for our community.”
Some of the tasks that will now be supervised by Behavioral Health include:
• Measure B Commission support
• Preparation and clerking Measure B meetings
• Producing meeting minutes
• Monitoring fiscal activities related to all Measure B projects and programs
• Continuing the development of the Crisis Residential Treatment Facility and the Behavioral Health Regional Training Center
“Our goal is to move forward at a faster clip with increased transparency, while continuing to maintain a strong, collaborative relationship with our Measure B Commission,” she concludes.
* * *
ms notes: Um, so what happened to Ms. Alyson Bailey, former Measure B “project manager”?
On February 5th, 2021, officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department received multiple complaints from citizens reporting a potential scam they had received via text message on their cell phones. Each reporting party stated the attempted fraud started with receiving a text message on their cell phone, asking if they would be interested in advertising for “Bang” energy drinks, by placing a “wrap” style decal on their vehicle.
The potential victims are then requested to respond and provide mailing address information, allowing the perpetrator to mail them a letter and fraudulent check in the amount of $1,950.50, which they were instructed to deposit into their own bank account utilizing an ATM or Mobile Deposit machine.
The letter goes on to provide the recipient with instructions for depositing the check, and how to contact a “Wrap Specialist” to have the decals installed on their vehicle. Both the letter and check contained multiple misspellings, improper grammar use, and other inconsistencies. These are typically common indicators of fraudulent activity, and should be noted by recipients of these types of mailings and communications. One recipient reported that the perpetrator requested their bank account information.
The Fort Bragg Police Department would like to remind the public that anytime you receive suspicious communications of any kind, to have law enforcement or someone else you trust, look at it and attempt to verify the validity before you possibly become a victim of fraud or theft.
Thank you to those persons who came and reported this to law enforcement, in order to warn others, and protect our community!
Questions regarding this press release may be directed to Officer Refugio Zavala at 707- 961-2800 ext. 189 or at Rzavala@fortbragg.com
A TRIP AROUND THE LAKE
by Katy Tahja
Living 45 years on the coast, but having business or family needs that take me into the Central Valley, I’ve driven Highway 20 along the north shore of Clear Lake more times than I can count. It was time to take a leisurely drive all the way around the lake. Doing this gave me a whole new perspective on this interesting body of water.
First, some facts about the lake itself. Clear Lake is the largest natural lake in California. Lake Tahoe loses this distinction because half its shoreline is in Nevada. Clear Lake has about 43,520 surface acres of water, or about 68 square miles, with 100 miles of shoreline. Average depth is 37’ and at its widest spot it’s 19 miles across. Scientists say it’s a very old lake with sediments dating back 480,000 years. It has more than a dozen named islands.
Next, it was my birthday, and for a senior respecting COVID precautions I sure as heck wasn’t going out for dinner to celebrate. I could, however, pack a picnic, go on a drive around the lake with my husband, and avoid human contact. Plus, I had an old worn 1964 map of Lake County, with funky graphics and facts, to follow.
Lake County has a well developed park system all around the lake. From Rodman Slough, alive with birds, to city parks with playgrounds, there’s always a place to pull off and enjoy water views. And if there is a way to put the words lake, view, water or shore in a place name it’s on a street sign there (think Lakeshore or Lakeview, or Edgewater, or Harborview). Every fish or plant in the county is attached to a sign (like Walnut Cove and Catfish Lane). Some place names give you pause. Would you want to swim in Pinkeye Lake?
Our old worn map had colorfully patterned overlays to show where the best fishing was and what crops grew where. Wine grapes were not noted but pears and walnuts were the top crops. Clear Lake was proclaimed the “Bass Fishing Capital of the West” and a Mountain Paradise, a warm weather water sports destination, and the site of sea plane “Splash-In” events. The whole area was a Vacationers Dream, and, of course, the advertisers on the back of the map were realtors for subdivisions, marinas, motels, and bait & tackle stores.
We passed business enterprises unique to inland maritime locations. I questioned the frequent pile driving signs until I realized they probably worked with places like the Dock Factory. Boat Works building had launching ramps right down into the lake and storage facilities were for watercraft wrapped up and covered for the winter season.
Homes stair stepped up hillsides so all five dwellings could claim lake views over the top of their neighbors house. Palm trees, agave and cactus were landscape design features with solar panels on rooftops quite common. Homes were everything from tiny wooden cabins that looked like they’d been vacation retreats for 100 years to retirees McMansions, big, ostentatious and ugly, and looking totally out of place.
A common roadsigns around the lake was Hill Blocks View, a warning that around the corner a homeowner might be exiting a driveway. We circled the lake from the west side, stoping by Mt. Konocti to collect obsidian, then headed back up towards Highway 20 where we came upon the weirdest view of the trip.
Ever heard of the Sulphur Bank Mercury Mine? It’s an EPA Superfund toxic clean up site. From 1865 to 1957 sulphur, arsenic and mercury were mined on this 150 acre site before it was abandoned. It borders 1,300’ of lake shoreline. In its midst is the sulphur bank and a flooded pit 90’ deep and 23 acres in size about 750’ from the lake.
My first reaction to the small pond was “That sure does not look like anything natural,” Weird soil color and waters that looked like toxic sludge, a mix of contaminated mine waste and naturally occurring geothermal waters, sat in stark contrast to the lake’s beauty. Sportsman are warned not to eat more than one fish a week from the immediate area of this east shore of Clear Lake.
Since we had the time we drove up Bartlett Springs Road near Upper Lake to see the wildfire damage of a few years ago. The owners of the mineral springs resort 15 miles up the road had imported Chinese to build the steep road more than a century ago. We went about eight miles up a neatly snowplowed road but it looked like an old black and white photo out the car window with charred black tree trunks against white snow drifts. Manzanita sprouting everyplace was a happy note. A wide spot on the way back down let us pull off and look down on half the lake basin and it was a beautiful sight.
So for a beautiful but close by adventure take some time, drive around Clear Lake, and enjoy the view from all directions. You won’t regret it. And you can be home before dark.
JACK HIRSCHMAN AT CAFE TRIESTE, San Francisco
THE OLD READER'S DIGEST ran a feature called “My Most Unforgettable Character.” I thought of that title the other morning when an e-mail from Stephen Suleyman Lulu Schwartz drifted down out of cyber-space into my in-box.
I'M MORE EASILY saddened than shocked, but Schwartz has managed to do both in his new identity as the insistent Lulu, attaching a large photograph of himself as this implausible new person, although he's still recognizable as Steve through his make-up and what appears to be breast implants.
A SUBSEQUENT MESSAGE from Lulu, accompanied by photos of him in garish makeover, reported that he'd been assaulted on the streets of San Francisco, and that the police were indifferent to his victimization. I think the guy needs rescue, an intervention. But SF being world headquarters for aberrant behavior, the authorities would be unable, through the protests, even if they tried, to rescue this truly lost soul.
I FIRST became aware of Schwartz way back when he was, I think, one of the leading lights in the W.E.B. Dubois Club, a Stalinist youth group once confused by Richard Nixon with The Boys Clubs of America, which Nixon feared had become a communist front group intent on making little commies. A writer of some note and a former staffer at the SF Chronicle, the combative Schwartz was something of a bete noire to Bay Area radicals; I remember seeing spray-painted messages on North Beach walls that said stuff like, “Running Dog Schwartz Must Die.” In that time, he hung out with an argumentative coterie at the Cafe Trieste. When I mentioned to him that my nephew was a coffee jock at the Trieste, Schwartz, having exchanged insults with Nephew, said, “Then that must make you the monkey's uncle.”
YEARS of high decibel disputes had given Schwartz a voice like a buzz saw that could simply drown out his detractors. The guy just rolled rhetorically on, unstoppable, and personally irrepressible.
MATCH this as a life's trajectory: The guy starts off as a red diaper baby, becomes (of course) a communist in his youth; then a mainline journalist and author of scholarly books on a wide range of subjects; then converts to Islam, popping up on national news shows as an authority on Wahabi Islam; and finally in what must be, at his age, his last act, he becomes a transvestite called Lulu!
AS A KIND of NorCal repository for obscure political beefs, the ava once printed long exchanges between Schwartz and his many adversaries, one in particular, Kevin Keating, of the Mission District's “Yuppie Eradication Project” who, according to Schwartz-Lulu, still bedevils him. I can't remember what the argument was about, but I remember that six of us replied to a single Schwartz provocation that one week, a reply record for us. He's always been a genius provocateur, but Lulu is too much for those of us who much preferred him as Running Dog Schwartz, Enemy of the People.
(I'M HARDLY an expert on the Schwartz oeuvre, but the one book of his I've read was, I think, an important contribution of California history — “From West to East: California and the Making of the American Mind.”)
* * *
NEVER HEARD of “influencers” before I read Ryan Burns account in the Lost Coast Observer of an “influencer” called "noahawaii" who had this to say about his visit to Arcata and Eureka: “I think this might have been my favorite day on the whole trip minus our terrible night prior! I say terrible night because like I said in my stories before, Arcata and Eureka are horrible disgusting towns that surround such a beautiful area....”
MR. INFLUENCER was negatively influenced by the numbers of street people and apparent criminals Mr. Influencer says are the chief characteristics of the two HumCo towns. Last time I ventured north there didn't seem to be a startling number of street personalities, no more than Ukiah, but there were plenty, for sure, because, like Ukiah, in Arcata and Eureka you have more enablers than you have enabled. National prob, of course, with no remedy in sight. If there is a remedy it would involve the massive social programs our system is incapable of mustering, so the numbers of free range dysfunctionals will continue to grow.
NOT TO HAMMER on Biden's evident past-it-ness, but his foreign policy speech Thursday night came with too many slurred, meaning-defiant sentences to be entirely clear, but in broad outline it's the usual DNC strategy of the Clinton-Bush-Obama years most of US can recite in our sleep — huge military expenditures to fight off whatever the Chinese, Russians, and Islamists might try with blank checks for the racist, apartheid state of Israel. Throw in the new menace presented by fat guys in maga hats, and we'll need to print up a lot more money to fund it all.
CRITICISM OF TOM BRADY for being an alleged Trumper and just all-round too darned white, comes from writers who've never hung around jocks of whatever color, among whom Brady is the archetype. The typical athlete of ability gets to the head of the class through a monomaniacal devotion to his sport beginning from a very young age when dad starts throwing nerf balls at him before he can walk. By the time he's five or six he's playing pee wee football, then Pop Warner, then high school, college and on into the pros if he's elite enough. Like all Americans, jocks are processed on through the educational system with maybe an elementary ability to read sports stories if they can't find them in visual form. As chronological adults, these guys are sports, food, sex. That's it. As I understand it from a friendly article on Brady, he happened to play golf with Trump before he knew who Trump was, and when he realized that Trump was a tar baby figure, Brady ditched his maga hat. Now Brady's being criticized for demanding a wide receiver be added to Tampa Bay's roster, a wide receiver who apparently is not a Nice Person. If the guy was a mass murderer it wouldn't matter to Brady so long as the guy could get down field real fast and catch his passes. Why some of us lib labs expect jocks to be cool on the issues is absolutely silly. (I'm for KC.)
CANNABIS EQUITY GRANT PROGRAM APPLY FOR ELIGIBILITY STARTING FEBRUARY 5, 2021
Last year, Mendocino County was awarded $2.2 million from the Cannabis Equity Grants Program for Local Jurisdictions which is being administered by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). In addition, the Board of Supervisor’s allocated $100,000 matching grant dollars to support our local Cannabis Equity Program which aims to provide funding and services for those hardest hit by the War on Drugs by lowering barriers to cannabis permitting and licensing.
To qualify for Cannabis Equity Grant funding, all interested applicants must demonstrate eligibility by completing an Equity Eligibility Application which opens on February 5, 2021. Those who apply and can demonstrate they meet the requirements of the program will receive the Mendocino County Local Equity Entrepreneur Program (LEEP) designation and Equity Applicant identification number which will enable them to apply for grant funding and services beginning in February and March.
Steps to become an Equity Eligible Applicant:
Check to see if you meet the eligibility criteria by visiting our website and reviewing the application requirements. (The criteria is also listed below)
Get designated as an Equity Applicant by submitting an Equity Eligibility Application starting February 5, 2021. Visit our website for more details on how to apply online.
Equity Eligibility Applicants will be notified if they meet the criteria and receive an Equity Applicant identification number. Equity verified applicants will be able to apply for grant funding beginning in February and March in three categories: County Fee Waivers, Direct Technical Assistance in Business Development or Cannabis Cooperative Education, and Direct Grants. Learn more on our website.
For more information please see our website: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/cannabis-cultivation/cannabis-equity-grant
Mendocino County Cannabis Equity Applicant Eligibility Requirements:
You must be eligible for a cannabis related application, permit and/or license to operate a cannabis business in the unincorporated areas of Mendocino County whose activities are specific to cultivation, nurseries, processing, manufacturing, laboratory analysis, distribution or retail of cannabis.
Have a household income as defined as "very low income" or "extremely low income" for Mendocino County in the 2020 State Income Limits produced by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
And you must meet one of the following equity conditions:
Have lived within a 5-mile radius of the location of raids conducted by the Campaign against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) program.
Have a parent, sibling or child who was arrested for or convicted of the sale, possession, use, manufacture or cultivation of cannabis (including as a juvenile).
Any individual who has obtained or applied for a cannabis permit in Mendocino County, or who has worked in or currently works in the cannabis industry, and was arrested and/or convicted of a non-violent cannabis-related offense, or was subject to asset forfeiture arising from a cannabis-related event.
Is a person who experienced sexual assault, exploitation, domestic violence, and/or human trafficking while participating in the cannabis industry.
Have become homeless or suffered a loss of housing as a result of cannabis enforcement.
For eligibility related questions please email CannabisEquity@mendocinocounty.org
UKIAH STREETSCAPE PROJECT CONSTRUCTION UPDATE - FEBRUARY 5
With the holidays behind us and a stretch of better weather ahead of us, streetscape construction is ramping up again. All of the work is occurring between Perkins and Mill Streets, with sidewalk construction happening on the north end of that and electric undergrounding on the south.
Curious about what that the final project will look like? For detailed plans (including landscaping), please visit www.cityofukiah.com/streetscape/businesses/ to see cross-sections of individual blocks.
Perkins to Mill Street
Wahlund Construction (Clay – Mill):
Monday-Wednesday: Working near Seminary Avenue, trenching across State Street for the electric undergrounding. Southbound traffic on State Street will be diverted between Seminary and Mill; northbound traffic will be unaffected.
Thursday-Friday: Trenching and conduit work along the west side of State Street between Seminary and Mill Streets. No street closures.
Construction hours: 6am – 5pm
Ghilotti Construction (Perkins – Clay):
February 8-12th : Sidewalk demolition on the east side of State Street between Clay and Perkins Streets, roughly one-half block per day. Work will begin at Clay Street and move north.
Monday and Tuesday – in front of Steve’s auto. Andrew/Ghilotti will be checking back in with Steve to work around his needs as much as possible
East Stephensen Street will be closed to through traffic for the next few weeks – Community Care and The Maple will have access to their parking lots from Main Street.
East Church will be closed intermittently during this phase.
Construction hours: 6am – 5pm
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly. Otherwise, have a great weekend!
Shannon Riley, Deputy City Manager, City of Ukiah, w: (707) 467-5793
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 5, 2021
JUSTIN DEXTER, Fort Bragg. DUI, suspended license (for DUI).
BRIAN LENHART, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person.
SHAYLYNN LOCKHART, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
WESLEY THAXTON, Upper Lake/Ukiah. DUI, disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobeying court order.
A PIECE OF HISTORY
Once in the 1960s Martin Luther King was the invited speaker of the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. He was invited to the luncheon by an Alameda businessman.
After his speech there was polite applause and soon there were two people left in the room: Dr. King and me. I went up to the podium and shook his hand. He gave me his signature on some sort of card used for questions to the speaker. That card rests today on a little bookcase next to my bed. I see it every night as I turn off my light. It says, "Best wishes, Martin Luther King." (In pencil)
HERE THEY COME
American democracy is facing its greatest challenge since the Civil War. We have 147 Republican members of the House who, on the day the Capitol was assaulted, voted to decertify an election that was inspected and certified like no other, including by Republican legislators and Trump-appointed judges.
We have 45 Republican senators who think it’s OK for an American president to incite an insurrection and attempted coup against their own country, with their leader calling these rioters “very special” and telling them, “we love you.” If that isn’t treason, I can’t imagine what is. This was a president, by the way, who calls service men and women “suckers” and “losers.”
This group can no longer be counted on to defend 245 years of American democracy. They have allowed authoritarianism to be rooted in our system, and the next person they present may not be as incompetent or toxic as the one we just barely survived. The greatest threat to our democracy is now from within.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m a Nurse in the ICU and the ER. I actually contracted COVID on 12/19. I watched then as I watch now—as entire units of patients die miserable deaths, drowning in their own fluid. There is no treatment, there is no magic pill, there is nothing we can do other than to support these people and hope that their own immune systems can fight along with our interventions to keep them alive. Don't believe me? I will invite you personally to my ICU and bring you to the COVID wards…of which…there are now entire floors that used to be “elective surgery overnight obs” and “med surg”… but taken over to overflowing from these deathly ill patients. I will walk you around personally. WITH NO MASK. How about that? Please. Come to a Level 1 Trauma hospital in the mid Atlantic, with 1200 beds and not even ONE bed that can be made available for my emergent stroke victim. Come on down, please. Any of you doubters. Please. I will personally vouch for you at the door as a “shadower,” take you around… and of course, keep your “diaper” off of your face so you don’t suffocate. How about it?
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN promoted the wild turkey as a better symbol of the Republic than the bald eagle, “a bird of bad moral character” — a carrion eater, not a raptor — “that does not get his living honestly.” Wild turkeys, albeit vain and silly, were native to America, Franklin argued, and so courageous they'd assault a grenadier of the British Guards should one invade their farmyard with a red coat on.
— Bill Barich, Long Way Home, on the trail of Steinbeck's America
THE TEN SIGNS…
Warning signs of Alzheimer's disease/Virtual Forum 2/19 by Senior Center
An educational virtual zoom forum on the Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's disease is being offered by Redwood Coast Senior Center and the Northern California Alzheimer's Association on February 19th from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. Call 961-4310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. The Director of Northern California Alzheimer's Association, Shelley Dumbroski, will be the Presenter. Alsheimer's disease causes changes in memory, thinking and behavior that are not normal aging. Join us to learn about the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer's disease. You will learn about common warning signs, importance of early detection and benefits of diagnosis, next steps and expectations for the diagnostic process as well as learning about Alzheimer's Association resources.
MARCH 2-3: FREE VIRTUAL REENTRY LEGAL CLINICS
Root & Rebound is hosting two days of FREE virtual legal clinics, March 2nd-3rd, for people with arrest or conviction records who reside in Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sacramento, & San Joaquin counties.
At these telephone clinics, we will be providing legal information about navigating barriers to reentry related to employment, housing, public benefits, family & children, immigration, parole & probation, and more.
An appointment is required for these clinics. Call (510) 279-4662 or use the link below to schedule an appointment now!
WHEN: Tuesday-Wednesday, March 2nd-3rd, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHO: Residents of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Sacramento, & San Joaquin counties with a California arrest or conviction record.
RSVP:Online at bit.ly/March21Clinic or by calling (510) 279-4662.
If possible, please have a "RAP sheet", or a copy of your criminal record, on hand. For information on how to get your RAP sheet, please visit bit.ly/RAPSHEETCA. If you have any documents pertaining to your legal issue, we ask that you have those with you.
Please email email@example.com or call (510) 279-4662 if you have any questions.
Please share the attached flyers with your networks, and help us get the word out!
“Oh, wow, I can’t believe it’s already time for me to be vaguely aware that it’s Super Bowl weekend.”
ISOLATOES: FROM NATTY BUMPPO TO THE PROUD BOYS
by Jonah Raskin
They were nearly all Isolatoes, not acknowledging the common continent of men, but each Isolato living on a separate continent of his own. Yet now, federated along one keel, what a set these Isolatoes were!
– Melville, on the crew of the Pequod in Moby-Dick
At various times in my life, I have lived alone and felt lonely, but until this past year I have never really felt isolated. I have isolated myself, though that choice has been informed by the pandemic that has shredded much of the social fabric to which I’ve belonged and that I’ve created over the course of several decades with help from friends and family.
In 1976, when I began to live in northern California, the only people I knew were my parents, who were already in their 60s and part of the back-to-the-land movement. The first community to which I belonged was the tribe of marijuana outlaws and criminals, who needed one another to survive cops, thieves and their own demons.
Then, after I started to teach at Sonoma State University in 1981, I belonged in the academic world which had its own hazards and advantages. I had perks: an office, a telephone, the use of a computer, a fax, a Xerox machine, and the campus library, which no one seemed to use, except the students during final exams week.
I cannot honestly say that I belonged to an intellectual community. Intellectuals were rare at SSU. On the whole, the faculty was uninterested in conducting research and writing books and articles, though there were exceptions, such as Sterling Bennett who taught German, wrote novels, loved writers like Goethe and Schiller and invited me to join a men’s writing group.
I jumped at the opportunity. While I wrote and was published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat I rarely if ever met the women, including Alex Madrigal and Pat Holt, who edited my work and saw that it got into print.
My friends who were intellectuals lived and worked in New York, Boston, and Chicago. I reviewed their books and interviewed them for publication, and thereby created a long-distance community with the help of the telephone and the U.S. postal service. Many of these intellectuals and writers had been radicals in the 1960s and 1970s. I rioted in the streets with them, went to jail with them, wrote and distributed leaflets with them, attended meetings with them and sometimes talked about overthrowing the government and ending the capitalist system.
These men and women were comrades. Many of them are still my closest friends, though they live thousands of miles away from me. When I email them or talk to them on my cell I don’t have to explain to them, or remind them of our dreams and struggles. Sometimes they remember better than I do.
Back in the day, we watched movies like The Battle of Algiers and discussed it, and read Che and Mao and dissected their ideas. We smoked weed and got stoned and dropped acid and hiked and traveled to England, France and Mexico and belonged to a kind of global community of exiles and expats. We also fought among ourselves, at times treated one another like enemies, and walked away from marriages and relationships, communes and collectives.
I was married from 1977 to about 2000 when my wife and I divorced, and, while we had moments of intimacy and friendship, I often felt alone and lonely. My friend, Bill Barich, who once lived in San Francisco and who now lives in Dublin with an Irish woman, told me once that in a previous relationship, he felt lonely. It took me a while before I understood what he meant. At first I didn’t believe that one could feel lonely and still share a house and a bed with another person. I learned the hard way, by falling into a loveless marriage mostly because I was afraid of being alone. I ended up feeling lonelier than if I had been by myself.
I understand that it’s not easy to weigh things like “more” and “less.” They are subjective, but so is loneliness, which Otis Redding understood and expressed poetically in his song, “Dock of the Bay,” and when he sang, “this loneliness won’t leave me alone.” Loneliness can be a near-constant companion. Herman Melville understood and nailed what might be called “the American paradox” that links isolation and federation.
In Moby-Dick he describes the sailors aboard the whaling ship, the Pequod as “isolatoes.” It’s a good Melvillian word, “isolatoes.”
Melville explains that the sailors did not acknowledge “the common continent of men,” that each man lived on a “separate continent of his own,” and yet was “federated along one keel.”
The first isolatoes in American literature weren’t the crew members on the Pequod, or the ship’s captain, Ahab, or Ishmael, the narrator and sole survivor. James Fenimore Cooper’s Natty Bumppo, also known as the “pathfinder” and as “Leatherstocking,” was the first isolato. A white man, an outsider, a hunter, an Indian-killer and a pioneer who has no parents, no wife and no children, he appeared first in The Pioneers and in five other novels in which he lives mostly alone in the woods and forests of North America where European armies clash and empires rise and fall. Chingachgook is Bumppo’s companion. He, too, is an isolato; he doesn’t belong to the world of the “redskins” or the “palefaces,” as Cooper called Indians and whites.
Occasionally, Bumppo ventures into towns and settlements, though they are anathema to him. He runs from “civilization,” as Cooper called it, and at the same time he extends its reach by his very presence, continually moving westward.
There was no fictional character like Bumppo anywhere in the pages of nineteenth-century English literature. Cooper became a bestselling author and a celebrity at home and abroad. In Cooper’s view, the American novelist was faced with a daunting task because in the U.S. unlike England there were no “annals for the historian, no follies for the satirist, no manners for the dramatist.” There was what he called “a poverty of materials.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne went further than Cooper. He pointed out that in the U.S. there was no sovereign, no court, no nobility, no church, no Oxford or Cambridge, no fox hunting, no Epson, no Eton and no rugby. In the absence of English institutions and values, Americans were free to become isolatoes, outlaws, rebels, fugitives, criminals, robber barons, members of the Confederacy, and Proud Boys, along with Roy Cohen, Joseph McCarthy, Donald Trump and Mitch McConell. It’s not far, culturally and politically speaking, from the gun-toting anti-social Natty Bumppo, who slaughters Indians, to the rioters in Washington D.C. In Melville’s day, isolatoes could go to sea and slaughter whales. In Cooper’s day, they could slaughter Indians, herds of buffalo and other species.
For the past year, I have felt an isolato, yet I have also felt federated with others, who are also isolatoes. It helps to know that I’m alone. While I have spent days in my room, I have also ventured out, worn my mask, practiced social distancing, visited my brothers and my sister-in-law in the city, and gathered outdoors with friends.
I often think about my neighbor, Roi, a farmer and rancher, who argues that the break-up of the social fabric during the pandemic has been worse than the pandemic itself. “Public edicts, enforced by the policing power of the State, have isolated those already on the margins of society, “ he wrote me in an email. “The impact on the younger generation’s schooling will vastly overshadow the health impacts of the pandemic in the long-term.”
I understand Roi’s perspective, though not his behavior. He has never worn a mark or practised social distancing. I have pointed out to him that despite fears, Americans on the Left and the Right have defied the rules, left their homes, voted, marched, rioted and been arrested.
The insurgents at the capitol on January 6, 2021, defied Dr. Fauci’s words of wisdom and aimed to shred the social fabric and disrupt the electoral process. Watching them on TV, I came to the realization, that all federations are not equal and that some Americans would like nothing better than to smash democratic institutions.
The modernist poet, T. S. Eliot, once revered the Ku Klux Klan because he loved ritual and lamented its decline in a world without genuine spiritually. Wearing white sheets, burning crosses and lynching Black men – the rituals of racism — federated white men and led to the deaths of thousands of African-Americans.
Globally, we have been through a lot together over the past year, as I’ve learned by talking to neighbors, watching TV and by emailing friends in India, Belgium and France. I also know — who doesn’t? — that surviving the pandemic, or not, depends on the particular culture and politics of a country, and also, in the case of the U.S., on the state in which one lives.
Too bad that California, which likes to think that it leads the nation in terms of all progressive things, has to a large extent botched the response to COVID-19.
Here, in the Golden State, we are federated by the failure of the public health system. We are also federated by a deep-seated, pig-headed refusal to understand and appreciate that certain matters, like life and death, sickness and wellness, are best handled by government agencies. In England, the British National Health Service has efficiently vaccinated much of the population quickly and safely.
Isolation is part of the problem. The Proud Boys and similar groups have lived on a continent on their own making. Still, isolation is not the only problem. American individualism, with its emphasis on the self, has led to freedoms for the few and vast social, political and economic inequalities for the many. If and when we muddle through the pandemic, we’ll have an opportunity to build a new social fabric. Repairing the old one won’t do, not even for isolatoes.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of For The Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and the Making of the Beat Generation.)
THE FIRE THIS TIME
by James Kunstler
Can’t we just all get along? No, apparently. Branding everyone to the right of Woke a “terrorist” and an “insurrectionist,” as is the style these days with the sore winner party, will probably not warm a whole lot of hearts and minds among the politically disenchanted. It comes with an odor of desperation, too, as if Joe Biden’s consolidated Deep State is so lacking in confidence, even in victory, that it can’t distinguish policy from punishment — and so the beatings will continue until morale improves.
Outside the razor-wired DC perimeter, with its bomb-proof bureaucracy, the economy is in freefall. This has not quite come to the attention of a new regime aroused over systemic racism and the pressing need to expand athletic opportunity for transsexuals. But an inferno is racing across the land like a prairie fire and the remaining American buffalo out there may be inclined to stampede before long. Can Ol’ White Joe hear their distant hoofbeats from the Oval office? Maybe not with Nancy Pelosi and AOC screaming in his ears.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 779,000 people filed for first-time unemployment the week ended January 30. The news media called that “a beat” because it was under the 830,000 expected. It’s been that way week-after-week this year of Covid-19. Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly decline in the measure since the second quarter of 1981. Yes, forty years ago, when the US population was 226 million (it’s now 330 million). The stock market responded by smashing new all-time- highs. Bad “optics?”
How do you think the value of shares manages to go up, up, up, and away, day-after-day, while the value of the economic activity goes down, down, down day-after-day? Must be Modern Monetary Magic, like the Federal Reserve purchasing $80-billion a month in US Treasury bond issues and another $40-billion in mortgage-backed securities for a grand total of $140-billion a month. The real monetary magic, of course, is that it’s possible to have a Wall Street boom while the economy collapses. The nation’s assets have already been stripped, so where is all this “value” actually coming from? Answer: from the false expectation of enormous future American productivity. It’s false because it’s based on the creation of debt that can’t possibly be paid back…ever. It’s not based on investment in future productive enterprise.
The economy won’t be fixed by policy because the things that have to happen to fix it will be resisted to the death by the parasitical entities feeding on what little remains. For instance, Walmart. Do you think it’s unhealthy that all the profit in American commerce is funneled into Bentonville, Arkansas? It used to be distributed in hundreds of thousands of small businesses in tens of thousands of US towns and cities. What do you think will die first: Walmart or the organism its feeding on?
Since the dynamic at work is emergent and non-linear, other forces can come between these relationships and change things. We are already in conflict with China, the land that supplies most of the merchandise in Walmart. The conflict right now is mostly playing out in the capture of US corporate and cultural enterprise, and in cyberwarfare, and it’s liable to hotten up around the continued sovereignty of Taiwan (America’s China). It’s difficult to assign intentions to another country but it appears that China’s China wishes to cancel the USA as the fading hegemon on the world stage, at least neutralize us, and perhaps dominate us. Mr. Trump is no longer in place to resist that, and the country might be forced to consider all those deals that our new president, “China Joe” enjoyed from the Biden family’s business ventures there over the years.
Emergently, then, the Big Box business model could fail, and in fairly short order, which would at least give Americans a chance to self-reorganize the production and distribution of goods in our own country. It sure won’t be like 1957 again, but it would give an awful lot of idle people more to do when they get up in the morning. Wait for it, and plan accordingly.
In the meantime, we are treated to the sordid spectacle of Democratic Wokesters endeavoring to destroy what remains of American cultural life. It’s an incomparably stupid and malign distraction from the imperatives of this historical moment. They will not succeed in cancelling those who object to the systematic disassembly of our national language, myth, and meaning, even if we have to go back to the mimeograph machine to keep these things alive. They will not turn a republic into a psychopathic despotism. Politics, they say, is downstream from culture. Truth is the antidote to a culture of lies. The upcoming impeachment trial of former president Trump will be a showcase for that, and it may prove to be a hoax too far.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)