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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, August 12, 2021

High Pressure | 39 New Cases | Covid Exposure | Ukiah Fire | School Policy | Kitty Cats | Professor Pyro | Forced Labor | Diverters Diverting | Opening Night | Ed Notes | Trumpet Story | Pig Auction | River Loggers | Rich Padula | Yesterday's Catch | Water Crops | U 1914 | Extraction Activities | Nude Psychic | Political Labels | Nature Vacuum | Greece Fire | Topiary | Arid Land | Fire Breather | Reusing Water | City Hall | Museum Exhibit | Bar Patrons | Managing Stress | DeSantis Snaps | Wildman Picnic | Dark Cannabis

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AREAS OF SMOKE AND HAZE along with hot interior temperatures will continue through the rest of the work week as high pressure builds over the area. There will be a slight chance of thunderstorms over mainly Trinity County this afternoon and again Friday afternoon. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 107°, Yorkville 105°, Boonville 99°, Fort Bragg 62°

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39 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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PUBLIC NOTICE

The Mendocino County COVID-19 Department Operations Center has confirmed positive COVID-19 case at the following locations:

Jack in the Box (1115 Airport Park Blvd, Ukiah, CA)

Rite Aid (680 S State St, Ukiah, CA)

Members of the public who visited these facilities between the dates of Sunday, August 8th and Monday, August 9th 2021 may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are advised to seek COVID-19 testing if unvaccinated, or seek testing if exhibiting symptoms while vaccinated. 

Both facilities’ management is responding quickly to the positive case and have sent their employees to be tested. We appreciate the cooperation to find those who could be exposed, and Public Health only publishes businesses’ name and location because it is impossible to specifically identify everyone in the public who could have been exposed.


Angelina's Bar & Grill (400 S Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437)

Cliff House (1011 S Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437)

Members of the public who visited these facilities between the dates of Thursday, August 5th and Sunday, August 8th 2021 may have been exposed to COVID-19, and are advised to seek COVID-19 testing if unvaccinated, or seek testing if exhibiting symptoms while vaccinated.

Contact your health care provider for testing, or go to the County webpage for the schedule. On Saturday, August 14th, Public Health and Mendocino Coast Clinics are offering testing and vaccinations from 10 am to 3 pm, 205 South Street in Fort Bragg.

Both facilities’ management is responding quickly to the positive case. They temporarily closed their business, have sent their employees to be tested and have contacted the specific customers they can identify. We appreciate the cooperation to find those who could be exposed, and Public Health only publishes the business name and location because it is impossible to specifically identify everyone in the public who could have been exposed.


Public Health is prepared for the possibility of outbreaks due to the transmissibility of the Delta variant and the increased close contact during the summer months. Public Health still urges members of the public to exercise their best judgment when making decisions that might affect their own health and the health of the community.

Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren would like to emphasize the importance of staying home from work when exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19. Common symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, fatigue, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell.

We ask that the community stay vigilant and follow the guidance outlined by the California Department of Public Health and Mendocino County Public Health. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and masking, contact the Mendocino County Public Health COVID-19 Call Center at (707) 472-2759 or visit our website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19

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FIRE IN UKIAH WEDNESDAY BURNED STRUCTURES, EVACUATED RESIDENTS

Forward progress reported stopped by 5 p.m.

by Justine Frederiksen

A vegetation fire first reported around 3:15 p.m. Aug. 11 was burning two structures near Highway 101 in Ukiah and threatening to grow with multiple spot fires reported in the surrounding area.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office described the fire around 3:30 p.m. as two acres in size and burning two structures. Residents were advised to avoid the area and to employ “situational awareness.”

The fire began near Hwy 101 and River Street, near the city of Ukiah’s baseball fields and water treatment plant.

Personnel from Cal Fire, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Hopland Fire were battling the fire on the ground, and multiple Cal Fire aircraft were deployed, including tankers and at least one helicopter.

Around 3:50 p.m., the fire was reported to be about “400 yards from Redemeyer Road,” and an evacuation “warning” was issued for residents of Redemeyer Road and nearby residential areas including Deerwood and Vichy Springs.

At 3:58 p.m., the warning for Redemeyer Road was changed to an evacuation order. Shortly after 4 p.m., law enforcement officers began responding to the Vichy Springs area to evacuate residents there, as well.

At 4:05 p.m. the MCSO issued “an evacuation order for the area of Redemeyer Road, Vichy Springs, and the El Dorado area. There is a evacuation warning for the Deerwood area and Knob Hill area.”

At 4:50 p.m., Cal Fire reported that forward progress on the fire had been stopped. Around 5:30 p.m., the MCSO reported that “due to wind conditions, we are going to hold evacuation orders and warnings for a few more hours.”

(ukiahdailyjournal.com)


Photos from Mendocino Sheriff facebook page:

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SUPERINTENDENT OF COUNTY SCHOOLS, Michele Hutchins, called today to alert us to the Governor's bracingly clarifying statement re school vaxx policy. Before today, policy had been guided by local direction from the Mendo covid guy, Dr. Coren: 

SACRAMENTO – In order to best protect students and staff as California starts the school year fully in-person, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today issued a new public health order requiring all school staff to either show proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.

“To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” said Governor Newsom. “As a father, I look forward to the start of the school year and seeing all California kids back in the classroom.”

The new policy for school staff will take effect August 12, 2021, and schools must be in full compliance by October 15, 2021. Robust and free testing resources are available to K-12 schools through the CA K-12 schools testing program.

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HOMES NEEDED

We are in need of a few more foster families for kittens & cats here in the valley. You may have seen our kittens at the AV Farm Supply! 

We have a small rescue & our nonprofit status still in the works. All age ranges of kittens, adult cats and all different levels of socialization, just let us know what you’re comfortable with. Some kittens just need a temporary stay and some need lots of care. Spare bathroom, bedroom or even an xl dog crate will do. Give love and attention to felines in need! Medical care is all taken care of. Message me or come into the farm supply!

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PROFESSOR PYRO

Yikes! This guy is scary, he lit fires to try to trap firefighters battling the Dixie fire and he is a criminal justice professor who once taught at Sonoma State.

lawandcrime.com/crime/criminal-justice-professor-charged-with-setting-series-of-fires-around-massive-dixie-fire-in-california/

I like this website because they usually provide court documents.

(Debra Silva)

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FORCED CHILD LABOR TRAFFICKING

On August 7, 2021, at 3:10 pm, a California Highway Patrol Sergeant and Officer assigned to the Laytonville Resident Post were on patrol in the area of US-101, south of Laytonville, when they stopped for multiple subjects standing outside a 2003 Honda Accord with its hazard lights activated. The officers contacted the subjects for a welfare check and observed items commonly associated with marijuana cultivation inside the vehicle. Upon further questioning, the officers learned that 24-year-old Fernando Francisco of Santa Rosa, 36-year-old Abraham Sumano-Casillas of Santa Rosa, and 20-year-old Avertano Diaz-Martinez of Modesto were transporting two male juveniles ages 15 and 16 for the purpose of forced labor at a marijuana cultivation site. Subsequent to an on-scene investigation, Francisco, Abraham Sumano-Castillas, and Diaz-Martinez were booked into the Mendocino County Correctional facility on felonies: Human Trafficking, and Child Endangerment.

Francisco, Sumano, Diaz

The juveniles were turned over to the County of Mendocino Child Protective Services.

(CHP Presser)

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THE WINE MOB’S LAKE-DRAINING ‘PROTOCOLS’

by Mark Scaramella

Not surprisingly former Supervisor John McCowen wrote a response to our claim that his observations were contradictory:

McCowen: “You wrote: ‘If, as McCowen claims, “frost protection plans that protected fish were successfully implemented prior to the hearing,” why did the Mendo wine contingent drive to Sacramento to screech at the State Water Board? And why did the Wine Whine Mob later sue to put a stop to it? Then McCowen adds that “the dispute had more to do with the Water Board targeting frost water.” Which is what McCowen said was already in place. Get yer contradictions straight, McCowen.” Where is the contradiction? The much maligned grape and wine industry did not protest or sue to prevent protections for fish from taking effect. They had already voluntarily implemented protocols that prevented rapid flow reduction for frost protection which had resulted in stranding. The objection was to the State Water Board using a problem that had already been solved as an opportunity to target the use of frost water regardless of whether it came from the river or any other source.”

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AH YES, the wine people were so concerned about the fish that they had “already implemented protocols that prevented rapid flow reduction for frost protection.” And what were those “protocols”? They built a bunch of ponds for themselves and their vine irrigation and promised to use the ponds instead of pumping directly from the creek for frost protection. Like everybody else (except McCowen, of course), the Water Board didn’t trust the wine people and their protocols, especially when their oxymoronically described “self-regulation” and “protocols” didn’t involve any formal arrangements, no pipe size limits, pump size restrictions, no meters, no seasonal restrictions, etc. Later, when their local court victory was overturned on appeal, they simply promised to implement versions of those protocols anyway. And the whole thing went away, proving that they only objected to being required to document their “protocols” for fear that real regulation might be considered, despite the aversion of public officials to impose real regulation much less enforcement on the grape people. (Just the opposite of what they’re imposing on the poor pot people trying to get legal.)

WHICH BRINGS US to yesterday’s bad news for McCowen (and the rest of us). The wine friendly Press Democrat reported yesterday of “inadequate compliance among more than 1,500 water rights holders in the upper [Russian] river who fell under a wider curtailment last week. Supplies released from Lake Mendocino continue to all but vanish from segments of the river downstream, according to stream gauge data and observations from regulators. Dam managers outside of Ukiah have had to maintain higher reservoir releases over the past two weeks than at any other time this summer to ensure a minimum flow in the river at Healdsburg, even though diverters have been under orders since Aug. 3 to take only enough for basic human health and safety needs.”

LET’S MAKE SURE we understand that: the PD says that dam managers have had to “maintain higher reservoir releases” to ensure minimum flows at Healdsburg. That means that the wine mob is effectively pumping water directly out of the already extremely low Lake Mendocino because every drop they pump is replaced by the “dam managers” to maintain flows downstream.

OF COURSE the PD uses the words “water rights holders” and “diverters” when they mostly mean grape growers who, as Supervisor Glenn McGrape himself admits “[wine] people don’t necessarily go along with regulation” when it comes to their precious wine grapes.

TROUBLE IS, McCowen had argued earlier that the tens of millions of gallons being taken from the Russian included the various Sonoma County municipal water districts. But the PD points out that no, most of it is being greedily sucked up by the wine people before it even gets to Healdsburg. 

McCOWEN will probably still want the last word on the subject of the inland wine/whine mob and their outright theft of Russian River water, but he’s running out of defenses for their self-alleged public spiritedness.

PS. THE PD also reported that the water board is sending out water patrols on the Russian River and has set up a tip line for violations of their restrictions on the Russian. We will just have to wait and see what comes of that. (We’re not expecting much: Wine people don’t rat on other wine people, generally, even when the downstream wine people are shorted by the upstream wine people. If the Water Board was serious, they’d offer rewards for tips; then the Mexicans who do the wine people’s actual work might be tempted to send in a cellphone pic or video or two.)

PPS. Lake Mendocino is now at its lowest point in recent history, an unprecedented development, thanks in large part to the wine mob’s refusal to cut back their pumping. In the past we had heard that the problem with dredging the Lake bed to produce a little more capacity was ill-advised because of reports of toxic substances that might be dug up or stirred up. As the Lake level drops there’s an increasing risk that the remaining water will be poor quality and/or silty requiring increased treatment. And if they detect any significant levels of bad minerals, or toxic substances, it could be even worse.

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Opening Night, Victory Theater, Ukiah, 1914

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ED NOTES

EVER WONDER how a lynch mob gets rolling? Check our on-line comments on the lawsuit filed yesterday alleging Mendo law enforcement constitutes a grand conspiracy against the dope industry. Wishing that the cops are on the take is different than proving they are.

I'VE READ the filing twice now and, sorry, not a single allegation is backed up with a single, specific, substantiating fact. The only way these vague charges might be substantiated is if the two Rohnert Park crooks not only name names, but times, dates and all the other particulars that add up to a real case. But because they've admitted to hijacking pot couriers, they also qualify as highly impeachable witnesses as to the crimes of other people.

I SAID, and say again here for the reading impaired, I do find it highly suspicious that the two Rohnert Park yobbos could waylay pot transports for over a year at Squaw Rock with nobody in Mendo law enforcement being aware they were doing it. Not possible, and I hope someone has to explain, under oath, how it was that Mendo law enforcement was unaware of serial hijacks on 101 by two cops from a jurisdiction 45 minutes to the south of Mendocino County. Unless that happens, this thing is going to be summarily tossed.

READ the following for true stories of police, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct: John Dalton was a group project involving Mendocino County and the DEA as they pursued the Redwood Valley and Laytonville man into state prison for nearly a quarter century. I can also cite the case of Mark Sprinkle still confined to state prison on highly dubious “evidence.” And there's the case of Kenny Rogers of Westport who was convicted on zero evidence and packed off to the state pen where he languishes today. 

John Dalton original three-part series (first published in January 1999)

Recent Interview after release from prison: "John Dalton, 23 Years Later" (Feb, 2020)

JAMES MARMON asked if the AVA is afraid of DA Eyster and former Sheriff Allman. No. The only person who has truly terrified me ever, was a former sister-in-law who said she hoped I fell asleep on her couch so “I can cut your bleeping throat.” But that was 1970 and she had “issues” as they say, so many she had to rent a U-Haul to carry them around. But it is at least mildly frightening how fast people can get out the rope simply because they can't make out the diff between an allegation and a fact.

MET A FRIEND for lunch at Patrona's, my first experience with the Ukiah restaurant at School and Standley. I liked it. Years ago I was warned, “Never go there on a Friday night. The place is crawling with Westside undesirables.” Hey, watch it. I have friends on the Westside. Well, one friend anyway. It was 95 in Boonville at 11am when I set forth. On the flat up on the hill it was 99. By Robinson Creek on the Ukiah side of the ridge my vehicle said it was 105, again confirming the consensus Anderson Valley opinion that our side of the hill is always at least 5-10 degrees cooler than our hellish county seat. I thought back to the long gone Green Barn on South State, of which Patrona is vaguely reminiscent, and you're getting to be a Mendo old timer if you remember it. I loved that place. It was an oasis on a summer day, dark as a bat cave inside with the AC set at 67, comfortable booths, good food, reasonable prices, full bar, nothing snooty within miles.

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$1500 PIG’S FEET

by Bob Dempel

My wife and I are both great supporters of the Junior Livestock Auctions held at local fairs. Recently we attended the pig auction at the Sonoma County Fair. 

4-H, FFA and independent junior members purchase animals in the spring. They need to buy feed, and house and care for them. They wash, comb, trim and tame the animal every day leading up to the fair. The animal becomes like a member of the household, even given pet names. When the fair comes, they show the animal, it’s judged, then they are given a number for the auction sale. A picture is taken of the exhibitor with their animal to be shown on a big screen while their animal is auctioned off. 

The Junior Livestock Auction is run by some of the most dedicated individuals we have had the pleasure of knowing. The Auction Solicitors spend hours contacting businesses and individuals about purchasing animals at the auction. The price the buyers pay is about 10 times the price of market value. Buyers have the option of reselling the animals or keeping the meat. If you keep the meat, you need to select a butcher shop where they will cut and wrap the meat the way you want.

We wanted to purchase just half a pig. That meant that the Auction Solicitor who was going to purchase an animal for us had to find another buyer who wanted the other half. And in addition, the other buyer needed to use the same butcher shop we did. This takes a lot of coordination. So, on auction day we trotted down to the fair to watch the pig auction. The auctioneer was Rex Williams, a seasoned past exhibitor at the fair who knows the audience well. This year the price was bid per animal rather than by the pound. Lot number one came up. A picture of the young seller with the animal was put up on a screen. They always start with the Champion animals first. The Solicitors began bidding for their list of potential buyers. Sometime later in the day we heard our name called as a buyer of a pig, along with the name of who bought the other half. The pig had sold for $2600.00. That meant our half was $1300.00. All good and well. We looked at the program and saw that the seller was from Elsie Allen High School. That was all well and good since I sit on the Elsie Allen FFA Booster Committee. 

Shirley donated the meat to a church that feed homeless, but I held out for the pig’s feet. So when all was said and done, I got 2 pig’s feet for around $1500.00, including all the processing charges.

But the best part came in the mail yesterday. It was two pictures of a young FFA member showing her pig at the fair, and a thank you letter from Leslie Pagua. It was her first year showing a market pig at the fair, and she says it will not be her last. 

It won’t be our last year at the auction either.

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Big River Loggers

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REMEMBERING RICH PADULA

Editor,

There are people who make things happen who stay far out of the limelight. Rich Padula passed away on July 27. I have known Rich since high school days when he and my brother were best friends. When the idea came up about restoring the emergency access routes around Brooktrails, we realized that Rich owned large parts of both the Firco and Willits Creek Trail roads. I approached Rich and the other property owners about allowing work to be done on these roads. Rich was incredibly cooperative and knowledgeable about what needed to be done to provide safer routes. We quickly got the agreements signed and CalFire convict crews got to work creating shaded fuel breaks and passable roads. When the Oak Fire broke out in September of 2020, the Firco Rd. was used to bring in equipment to fight the fire while everyone evacuated on the Sherwood Rd. As Sheriff Kendall, CalFire Chief Gonzalez and emergency professionals say, this was the best evacuation they have ever seen from a very dangerous situation. I want to express my gratitude and the appreciation of the community for the work that Rich Padula helped make happen. May he rest in peace knowing that his efforts have helped keep thousands of people safer.

John Haschak, 3rd District Supervisor Mendocino County

Willits

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 11, 2021

Bland, Diaz, Dillenbeck

STERLING BLAND, Covelo. Domestic battery, kidnapping, controlled substance, protective order violation, false ID.

AVERTANO DIAZ-MARTINEZ, Modesto/Ukiah. Human trafficking for forced labor, child cruelty.

BHAKTI DILLENBECK, Albion. Failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)

Francisco, Garibay, Hume

ARMANO FRANCISCO, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Human trafficking for forced labor, child cruelty.

JUAN GARIBAY, Ukiah. Obtaining personal ID without authorization.

GALEN HUME-GREENLEE, Fort Bragg. DUI.

Hunchard, Maciel, Mercer

DANIEL HUNCHARD, Potter Valley. DUI.

ELEAZAR MACIEL, Belmont/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, under infuence.

TERESA MERCER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Ousey, Perrone, Washington

KRISTO OUSEY, Ukiah. Trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)

NICHOLAS PERRONE, Fort Bragg. Suspended license for DUI.

JONATHAN WASHINGTON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, prison escape without force.

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WHAT YOU ARE NOT HEARING this hot, dry summer in the Western public dialogue is a strategy for reducing the load on the natural resources, permanently fallowing land which now holds permanent crops like the export-led industries of almonds, grapes and dairies. Golf courses should be forbidden in California except where we learn to play on sand and dirt. In 2020, sixty-five percent of the almond crop, about 2 billion pounds (all grown in California) was exported to other countries — 920 billion almonds, taking a gallon of California water per nut with it. In 2020 California exported 41 million cases of wine (2.4 gal/case, 318 gal.water/gal wine) to foreign nations; 317 billion gallons of California water went into its production. It takes about 880 gallons of water to produce a gallon of dairy milk. Total milk production in the state costs in the neighborhood of 40 trillion gallons of water.

— Bill Hatch

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Ukiah-U, 1914

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CALIFORNIA DENIES 42 NEW FRACKING PERMITS (but they’ve approved 1,019 oil and gas permits already this year)

by Dan Bacher

Less than a month after denying all of Aera Energy’s 21 applications for fracking permits, the Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) denied 42 of California Resources Production Corporation’s applications for fracking operations that the company submitted for review in 2019 and 2020.

These wells are located in the Elk Hills, Jerry Slough, Kettleman North Dome, and North Shafter fields in Kern County, the center of oil production in California.

The corporation, the largest oil-producing company in California, was formed in April 2014 as a corporate spin-off <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_spin-off> of Occidental Petroleum <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occidental_Petroleum>. In July 2020, the company filed bankruptcy <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bankruptcy> with $5 billion in debt. It emerged from bankruptcy in October 2020.

Food and Water Watch and other advocates noted that the agency cited missing application materials for the denial, making no mention of risks to public health and safety, environmental quality and climate change cited in the previous fracking permit denials for Aera Energy.

In a letter to Faisal Latif, Regulatory Affairs Manager of the California Resources Production Corporation, Uduak-Joe Ntukm, the State Oil and Gas Supervisor, wrote.

*”In December 2019, in accordance with a recommendation from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, CalGEM began requiring operators to submit, for CalGEM to review as part of its permit application process, a written narrative of the Axial Dimensional Stimulation Area (ADSA) model and methodology used to evaluate each field and stimulated zone. All operators with WST permit applications were notified of this requirement in December 2019, and CalGEM has made several follow up requests to CRPC *

*”To date, CRPC has failed to submit the requisite ADSA narratives and supporting data for these applications. Therefore, this correspondence serves as notice that the 42 WST permit applications are denied.” *

As you can see, there was no mention of risks to public health and safety, environmental quality and climate change by Uduak-Joe Ntukm in this permit denial as there was in the denial of the Aera Energy permits.

In May, Governor Gavin Newsom directed CalGEM to develop a plan to accept no new fracking permits by 2024. Despite pressure from environmental groups to speed up the process, he has to date maintained the 2024 timeline.

In addition, Newsom’s regulators have set a target date of 2045 to phase out all oil and gas drilling in California, 24 years into the future, when climate-induced wildfires and drought are devastating the state right now.

Environmentalists and public advocates were encouraged by the denial of the permits, but said it is not enough.

“It’s encouraging to see CalGEM denying more fracking permits, particularly as California weathers a devastating drought and wildfire season induced by climate change,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy. “This is progress. But make no mistake, it is not enough.”

“Governor Newsom must direct CalGEM to end fracking and all well stimulation now, not in two and a half years. Fracking and well stimulation permits are just a subset of oil drilling permits approved by the Newsom administration. Our climate cannot wait and neither can the communities across California sickened by air and water pollution. It’s time for Governor Newsom to take up the mantle of climate leadership that would make California an example for other states. It’s time to end fracking now and stop all new permits for oil and gas drilling,” stated Nagy.

It is also important to note that fracking and well stimulation permits amount to only 2 percent of the total oil produced in California, according to CalGEM.

*1,019 oil and gas permits approved in first 6 months of 2021*

The overall number of oil and gas permits approved under Newsom now totals 9,014 since he took office in January 2019, according to NewsomWellWatch.com, a website run by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance that maps all California oil wells. CalGEM approved 1,019 oil and gas permits in the first six months of 2021.

Total permit approvals to drill or rework new oil wells fell by 64% in the first six months of 2021 over the same period last year, “giving Governor Newsom an excellent opening to more decisively transition off of fossil fuels,” according to the two groups. The number of permit applications filed by oil and gas companies also fell by 52%.

“Overall, rates of both permit approvals and counts of permit applications to drill new wells have dropped in 2021,” said Kyle Ferrar, Western Program Coordinator at FracTracker Alliance. “While the market traditionally drives permit application counts, Governor Newsom now has the opportunity to reduce the expansion of oil extraction. Starting with a responsible setback for Frontline Communities of at least 2,500 feet from drilling operations, Newsom can limit new drilling and begin California’s transition away from the stranglehold of big oil.”

“The market is the single most important factor suppressing permit applications, but Governor Newsom is also sending the oil industry the right signals by rejecting fracking permit applications and announcing an end to fracking by 2024,” said Consumer Advocate Liza Tucker. “Governor Newsom now has a golden opportunity to seize the moment and come forward with a decisive transition plan off of fossil fuels that includes switching oil workers away from production toward desperately needed well remediation.”

The groups said the biggest drop in approvals was for new oil and gas production wells and for new wells using more dangerous “enhanced oil recovery” techniques such as cyclic steaming and steam flooding. Those combined approvals fell 83%.

Permit approvals to rework wells, including re-drilling, unclogging, and deepening, fell 36%, according to the groups. Combined that meant CalGEM approved 64% fewer permits across the board in the first six months of 2021 than last year, Tucker revealed.

Approvals of fracking applications dropped by three quarters, while the plugging of wells rose 31% over last year.

“The number of approvals to plug wells exceeded the number of approvals to drill them and that is a positive sign that the era of oil in California could be starting to come to an end,” said Tucker.

She said the biggest decrease in permit applications was for drilling new oil and gas wells. Such applications dropped by 70%, while all applications fell 52%

According to a chart of weekly permit application submissions for the first six months, permit applications plunged in mid-March when Newsom issued a Covid stay-at-home order and never recovered, with an uptick visible only in the last two weeks of June, according to Tucker.

“The pandemic and increasing pressure from environmental and corporate governance advocates, as well as shareholders and investors, has created wind shear on rising permit applications," said Tucker. ”Last month, Reuters reported that Shell plans to exit Aera Energy—its California joint venture with Exxon Mobil. Aera produces about 25% of the state’s oil and gas. Shell has already sold off all of its California oil refining operations, some of which were connected by pipelines to fields. As oil prices have gradually risen this year, increasing numbers of oil producers are putting assets up for sale as investors pressure them to cut fossil fuel investments in favor of renewables.”

*CalGEM approved 127 new and rework permits for neighborhood oil drilling*

Since t <https://twitter.com/CalConservation>he California Department of Conservation missed their December 31 deadline to protect frontline communities from the harmful impacts of oil and gas, they have issued 42 new and 85 rework permits, a combined total of 127 new and rework permits, within 2500 feet of a home, school, healthcare facility, daycare, or prison, according to the Fractracker Alliance.

While CalGEM has missed deadline after deadline to issue a draft public health regulation on neighborhood oil and gas drilling, the VISION coalition and frontline communities have taken the fight into their own hands. The coalition is demanding CalGEM suspend new permit approvals for oil and gas sites within 2,500 ft of “sensitive receptors.”

Currently, 2.17 million residents live within 2500 feet of an oil and gas well: that’s more than 5% of Californians, or roughly 1 in 20.

Unlike in other oil and gas producing states like Texas, North Dakota, Colorado and Pennsylvania that have mandated health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells, California has none.

In a tweet on July 9, the Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment described the denial of 21 fracking permits in the Belridge Oil Field as “good but not enough. We need an immediate moratorium on all permits within 2500 feet of our homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and other sensitive receptors.”

“If CalGEM is denying fracking permits to protect the safety and health of Californians, we need to address the needs of frontline communities and no longer issue ANY permits within at least 2500 feet of sensitive receptors. We can’t pick and choose when to listen to science,” tweeted VISION, a coalition of environmental justice groups, also on July 9.

*Culver City votes to phase out oil and gas drilling.*

Tucker noted that California jurisdictions “are not waiting for action from Governor Newsom,” but are taking action themselves.

The Culver City Council recently voted 4-1 to end oil drilling and remove all the gas wells in the city’s 78-acre portion of the Inglewood Oil Field (OIF) by July 2026. The Inglewood Oil Field is 18th largest oil field in the state and the second-most productive in the Los Angeles Basin.

In addition, she said the City of Los Angeles is currently considering zoning regulations to phase out oil drilling in the face of a five-year grassroots campaign led by communities affected by oil drilling and environmental advocates.

The City Council is also pressuring CalGEM to close the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility in Porter Ranch that caused the biggest methane well blowout in U.S. history in 2015.

A recent court decision also bodes well for environmental justice advocates opposing neighborhood oil and gas drilling.

“This month, an LA County Superior Court judge ordered the oil industry to pay more than $1.2 million in legal fees to three environmental groups—Youth for Environmental Justice, the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity—and to pay over $1 million to the City of Los Angeles for bringing a retaliatory suit against the groups after they won protection from the city against neighborhood drilling,” stated Tucker “In 2019, a California appeals court dismissed the suit as a baseless attack on the groups.”

Finally, the LA County Board of Supervisors is also considering addressing the glut of marginally producing and idle wells in unincorporated areas of the county.

“These developments are putting the oil industry on notice that they no longer have carte blanche to pollute as they please and that policymakers and communities are going to rightly limit their extraction activities to protect public health and the environment,” Tucker concluded.

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FALLACIES OF POLITICAL LABELISM

by Ralph Nader

Alexander Burns is a leading political affairs analyst for the New York Times. Unfortunately, even he has accepted the ill-defined political labelism swallowed wholesale by his journalistic colleagues.

Words to describe Democratic politicians as “moderate,” “centrist,” “center-left,” “center-right,” “leftist,” or House Democratic Caucus Chair, Hakeem Jeffries’ recent denunciatory nomenclature of “extreme left” Democratic candidates – are often recklessly bandied about.

Let’s start with the positions that invite journalists to describe politicians as “moderate” Democrats. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) is chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. His first statement on taking over as committee chair in January 2019 was that he was not in any way going to take up Donald Trump’s massive giveaway tax cuts to the super-wealthy and the giant corporations. He was OK with no hearings and no agenda to end those $1.7 trillion bonanzas, over ten years, and with revenue losses, which could have been put to good use rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

He also did not move vigorously to expand the budget-starved IRS’s ability to go after hundreds of billions of dollars annually of evaded taxes by the corporate rich. For these reactionary, crypto-Republican stands, Neal, who also has not supported Biden’s modest tax restoration on corporate profits to 28%, is labeled a “moderate.”

The “moderate” and “centrist” label is regularly applied to Democratic members of Congress who oppose full Medicare for All (which has growing majority support in polls), oppose raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour now, oppose legislation for corporate crime enforcement and other corporate reforms espoused by President Biden, labor law reforms to facilitate union organizing, and consumer protections such as cracking down on over $1 trillion a year in consumer billing frauds and other cheatings. These “moderates” are out of step with polls showing liberal and conservative voters want these latter long-overdue actions.

I wouldn’t call these voters anything but progressively supportive of reforms that benefit the communities where they live, work, and raise their families. If the corporate Democrats running the Party keep these and other documented reforms off the table and marginalize the candidates espousing them, they are foreclosing big opportunities to landslide the Trumpian Republicans.

The Trumpsters madcap positions (e.g., “stop the steal,” criminalizing and obstructing voting, claiming that Covid-19, its vaccines, and other protections are conspiracies against liberty) should be jettisoning reckless Republicans out of electoral contention. It is the corporate Democrats strip-mining their progressive base who are letting these Trumpsters remain an electoral challenge. Democrats can’t even find the language to publicly disgrace those reality-denying, southern governors and legislators (the really “extreme,” “fascistic right,”) and throw them on the defensive.

Another greatly neglected subject among Democrats is the biggest unpaid-for welfare system over the decades, which is corporate welfare. Zillions of dollars, directly and indirectly, go for subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts, and inflated government contracts, especially in the military business with the Pentagon. Democrats who support this government guaranteed corporate socialism are called “centrist,” or “moderates,” while progressive lawmakers opposing such raids on the U.S. Treasury are called “the far left.” Really.

Progressive Democratic candidates have their faults. One is they haven’t effectively rebutted the “socialism” charge as double-talking while corporation CEOs are lapping up gigantic checks from Washington. Biden’s human infrastructure proposals are from old Rooseveltian New Deal traditions. Republicans outsourcing enormous numbers of governmental functions to corporate contractors are the real radical fabricators of what Roosevelt warned about in a 1938 message to Congress that:

The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.

As for the Republican charge against Democrats that they want to “defund the police,” that was the desperation street chant following George Floyd’s homicide. No candidates in congressional races took up that over-general, categorical slogan. On the other hand, the “centrist” Democrats did not move to accuse the Republicans in the last election of “defunding the tax police” at IRS, since 2011, thereby becoming ‘aiders and abettors’ of huge tax evasion, now estimated by the Trump-nominated head of the IRS – Charles Rettig – to be one trillion dollars a year!!!

Alexander Burns writes about Nina Turner’s defeat last Tuesday in the primary race for an open congressional seat in Cleveland. The main reason she lost is that she let her campaign strategists spend big money on useless or even backfiring repetitive television ads, instead of an on-the-ground game to get out the vote – notoriously low in most primary races.

Mr. Jeffries, whose uncle was an authentic American radical decades ago, declared that “the extreme left hasn’t figured … out that Trumpism and the radical right is the real enemy, not us.” Mr. Jeffries, you know who enabled Trump to win in 2016 – the smug Hillary Clinton-dominated Democratic Party. It was not your despised “radical left” who voted for the “New Deal Democrat,” independent Bernie Sanders.

Alexander, you can’t do justice to your analytic mind if you don’t question these labels while not recognizing the exclusion by corporate Democrats of egregious big business abuses that your newspaper writes about regularly.

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LETTER FROM GREECE: ATTICA BURNING

by Yiannis Baboulias

As you approach Greece from the air, smog covers the land like a curtain – a thick grey line separating the deep blue Mediterranean sky from the Pindos mountains that run the length of the country north to south. There isn’t a major fire along the aircraft route, but with more than five hundred active wildfires across the country, the smoke is everywhere.

Greece is facing its worst heatwave in four decades. With every passing year, the country sees more extremely hot days in the summer months. Wildfires are a feature of its ecosystem at the best of times. Now the threat is existential. ‘Global surface temperature will continue to increase until at least the mid-century under all emissions scenarios considered,’ according to the IPCC report published on Monday. ‘Every additional 0.5°C of global warming causes clearly discernible increases in the intensity and frequency of hot extremes, including heatwaves.’

Three years ago, a fire destroyed the suburb of Mati in Athens and 102 people lost their lives. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his New Democracy party made it a central pillar of their successful campaign in the 2019 elections. The only lesson they took from that disaster though seems to have been to evacuate people quickly to avoid the loss of human life. Forests, animals and villages have been surrendered to the flames. There has been no attempt to protect people’s livelihoods or the natural beauty of the affected areas.

Greece is facing deep structural problems. Austerity has led to a drastic reduction in the number of firefighters and vehicles. Multiple agencies are competing for limited funding and arguing over who has jurisdiction where. Successive governments have ignored reports commissioned by parliament which advise a wholesale restructuring of the way the country deals with wildfires.

The main recommendation is for fire prevention and suppression to be decentralised, turned over to local authorities which know their areas best. Instead, we’re seeing ever greater centralisation. Firefighters have been dispatched to areas they didn’t know, leaving them unable to do their work effectively. Often they couldn’t get to the affected areas at all. Anger against the government is everywhere. And the fires are still raging.

One inevitable consequence of these fires – as with the effects of global heating everywhere – will be a greater internally displaced population. An official in northern Evia said that 90 per cent of the local economy has been destroyed. Tied to the forest, agriculture and tourism, it’s unlikely to return for many decades. The young are planning to leave, to find work in Athens and other cities. But after a decade of austerity, the Greek economy will find it hard to absorb them. Even if it does, current policy is to remove as many workers’ rights and protections as it can get away with, using the pandemic as cover.

After the fire season is over, the reality of the situation will become clear. Athens itself is increasingly unlivable. The wildfires that reached the suburbs earlier this month burned down swathes of the city’s ‘green lungs’. For days the air was thick with ash, dangerous for people and animals. At the same time, the electricity grid was failing because of both fire damage and high demand. In the middle of a pandemic, with temperatures surpassing 45°C, Athenians couldn’t open their windows or turn on the air-conditioning. The water system too is extremely vulnerable. The failure to build robust infrastructure is almost total. It increasingly feels as if it’s simply too late.

(London Review of Books)

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REMEMBERING JOHN WESLEY POWELL IN A DRY YEAR

by Bill Hatch

It is sometimes terrible to realize how much more intelligent and honest some earlier Western Americans were than our present leaders are; but that feeling is part of the prolonged tragedy we are living through long after the prophets have come, spoken, and gone, and Manifest Destiny has won such an impressive victory over science.

One such prophet was Major John Wesley Powell, who embodied all the virtues of the mythical westerner — rugged individualism, independence of mind and spirit, and love of outdoor adventure.

But, he possessed one quality not included in the aura of true Westerners: he was a natural scientist, largely an autodidact, when in the post-Civil War nation, scientific careers were not limited to exhaustive knowledge of the genome of one or two species. Powell had scope, and his decades of exploration of the West, presented in his 1879 masterpiece, Report on the lands of the arid region of the United States with a more detailed account of the land of Utah with maps, enunciates one of the core scientific facts of the continental United States: West of the 100th Meridian to the Pacific is an arid region. Powell had ideas about how to develop such a delicate area, which involved changes in land laws like the Homestead Act to bring it into accord with the realities of making a living in the remarkably different environments occurring in the West. Powell even suggested changes in the maps of Western political jurisdictions to organize human political groups around watersheds rather than traditional counties. And he did not believe that rain followed the plow, a common real estate hustle of Western expansion in agrarian times. But he did believe in disinterested public service and federal support and sponsorship of science. He founded the Bureau of Reclamation and was the second director of the US Geological Survey. His studies of Native Americans had major influence on American cultural anthropology. Powell also believed in democracy and knew that in the West that must take a certain form or else …it would turn out the way it has turned out, agrarian feudalism and urban plutocratic kleptocracy.

His root insight flew in the face of the whole establishment of land speculators, banks, corporate agriculture and forestry, and all the forms of boosterism that formed the destructive culture we inhabit.

His root idea, well researched, was brutally simple: the West is an arid land, which can only support a limited number of people and a limited irrigation agriculture. It is an area that has no normal climate, although it tends toward drought interspersed with times of flood. Therefore, development must respect the limitations of the natural resources and not exceed the carrying capacity of the different regions.

But how could 40 million Californians and the most productive corporate agriculture in the nation be wrong about anything? We have crushed the natural resources of the state or used them and left nothing but a few iconic viewscapes paid for by the government and wealthy land conservancies – some national parks and forests and fragments of pastureland, pretty beaches, mountain lakes, etc. The ecological crisis is now almost beyond description, which is why the press obsesses on the endless stream of grim scientific measurement—quantified data by the mile, the acre-foot, or parts per million of air pollution.

The water press is full of stories about how heroic technocrats are manipulating less and less water; how reservoirs are drying up; how hydroelectric power is fading by the week, with the hottest periods still ahead of us; full of whining farmers and legislative bills for new reservoirs and whatever other strategies special interests can ram through Congress and the state Legislature.

But, what you are not hearing this hot, dry summer in the Western public dialogue is a strategy for reducing the load on the natural resources, permanently fallowing land which now holds permanent crops like the export-led industries of almonds, grapes and dairies. Golf courses should be forbidden in California except where we learn to play on sand and dirt. In 2020, sixty-five percent of the almond crop, about 2 billion pounds (all grown in California) was exported to other countries — 920 billion almonds, taking a gallon of California water per nut with it. In 2020 California exported 41 million cases of wine (2.4 gal/case, 318 gal.water/gal wine) to foreign nations; 317 billion gallons of California water went into its production. It takes about 880 gallons of water to produce a gallon of dairy milk. Total milk production in the state costs in the neighborhood of 40 trillion gallons of water.

Some cities should be given back to the Indians. The absurd rump of California, Palm Springs and surrounding slurb, is crisscrossed with miles of walled and gated “communities” of second homes lining boulevards named for 1950s movie stars. The air is often unbreathable in blistering temperatures for the denizens of 125 golf courses and the other, lesser inhabitants. Its growing senior citizen independent and assisted living industry relies on the mega developer myth of retirement in the beautiful, healthful desert.

It is madness, endurable only by life in artificially lighted cavernous halls filled with cool, controlled air where your happy grandpa can try to find the morning finger-painting class or see “Casablanca” for…how many times? Well, after a few weeks of senior living in the Palm Springs slurb, it won’t make any difference to grandpa.

Sergio Arau’s 2004 satire, A Day Without a Mexican, would haunt Palm Springs and slurbirons if any rich masters of the universe or any members of the vast “service employees” networks would ever countenance a film so ancient and honest. But its level of irony drowns in the larger irony of walking down a street of side-by-side walled and gated “communities” in 110-degree heat beside a gutter full of wastewater from a golf course at noon in the middle of the desert in the middle of one of the worst droughts the state has ever seen, goaded to higher levels of misery by global warming.

As de Tocqueville noted, Americans didn’t have history to fight against; we had nature to defeat.

And did we ever! Look at us now!

(Bill Hatch lives in the Central Valley in California. He is a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade of San Francisco. He can be reached at: wmmhatch@sbcglobal.net. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org.)

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STATE WATER BOARD to consider “Direct Potable Reuse.”

EPA:

The process of using treated wastewater for drinking water is called potable water reuse. Potable water reuse provides another option for expanding a region’s water resource portfolio.

There are two types of potable water reuse:

Indirect potable reuse: Uses an environmental buffer, such as a lake, river, or a groundwater aquifer, before the water is treated at a drinking water treatment plant.

Direct potable reuse: Involves the treatment and distribution of water without an environmental buffer.

EPA, States, tribes, and local governments implement programs under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to protect the quality of source waters and drinking water. The SDWA and the CWA provide a foundation from which states can further develop and support potable water reuse as they deem appropriate.

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Water Board:

The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has convened an expert review panel as required by Section 13561.2 of the Water Code. The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) will administer the panel and facilitate the panel meetings and panel work. The charge of the expert panel is to review the proposed criteria and make a finding as to whether, in its expert opinion, the proposed criteria would adequately protect public health. Information about the expert panel is available on the State Water Board DPR website.

The first meeting of expert panel will take place over a 2-day period on August 24-25, 2021 via videoconference. The meeting agenda is available here. Members of the public are invited to observe the open sessions of expert panel meeting 1. A public comment segment is scheduled for the afternoon of the second day to provide an opportunity for the public to present questions and comments to DDW staff. Instructions for accessing the meeting and providing public comment will be provided in a future email.

Please visit our website for additional information: Regulating Direct Potable Reuse in California | California State Water Resources Control Board

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Ukiah City Hall, 1952

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AT THE deYOUNG IN SAN FRANCISCO NOW

The de Young Museum will be the exclusive West Coast venue for the exhibition “Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo,” the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced Thursday, Aug. 5.

The exhibition, as its title suggests, will look not only at the work of French painter Tavernier but also the art, culture and regalia of the Elem Pomo peoples of Northern California who are depicted in Tavernier’s painting “Dance in a Subterranean Roundhouse at Clear Lake, California,” a centerpiece in the exhibition.

The show, originally presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, will be on display at the de Young from Dec. 18 through April 17, 2022.

“ ‘Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo’ is part of the Fine Arts Museums’ ongoing efforts to partner with indigenous communities, scholars and curators on exhibitions and permanent collection presentations that explore indigenous cultures and works of art,” FAMSF Director Thomas Campbell told The Chronicle.

Curator Elizabeth Kornhauser and research associate Shannon Vittoria organized the original Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition. In San Francisco, Christina Hellmich, the curator in charge of art of the Americas, Oceania and Africa for the Fine Arts Museums , is co-organizing the local incarnation of the exhibition with Elem Pomo cultural leader and regalia maker Robert Geary, Dry Creek Pomo scholar Sherrie Smith-Ferri, and Eastern Pomo artist and curator Meyo Marrufo.

The San Francisco version also will feature contributions from Oglala Lakota artist and historian Arthur Amiotte, and Healoha Johnston, curator of Asian Pacific American women’s cultural history at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

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Cold Creek Ranch Bar Patrons

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MANAGING COVID STRESS

On the North Coast, we are seeing the highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. When the COVID-19 vaccine was released, people began to imagine how it would feel to attend weddings, concerts, and birthday parties with friends and family, hugging each other and seeing smiles that were hidden by masks for the last year and a half. Our return to normal felt within reach, and now that we’re backsliding, living in isolation feels depressing and overwhelming. 

Humans are social creatures. Being separated from the people we love for long periods can lead to feelings of stress. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms, you’re not alone:

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble concentrating

The question is, what can we do about it? According to behavioral health experts, there are several techniques to help manage stress. Here are a few to consider.

Get Good Sleep 

Sleep is an essential part of how we build physical and emotional resilience. Yet when we’re stressed, it can be hard to fall asleep. For better sleep: 1. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day (and don’t vary this routine too much on the weekends). 2. Avoid substances like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime. 3. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. 4. Avoid strenuous exercise too close to bedtime. 5. Keep a journal next to your bed and jot down any concerns that keep you up. Then, try to let them go until morning. 6. Meditate.

Make Time for Social Connection

Connecting with friends and family via video chat isn’t as good as in-person, but it can still be wonderful. If you’re vaccinated, you can safely spend time with others outdoors as long as you maintain some physical distance and wear a mask. 

Practice Self-Care

In addition to eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep, practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, and meditation can help you relax, as can keeping a journal—especially writing about things you're grateful for. Another way to improve your sense of wellness is to engage in hobbies, such as reading, listening to music, or watching your favorite shows.

Pay Attention to Worrisome Trends

Most of us are good at rationalizing our own bad behavior, but at some point, you may need to be honest with yourself. If you are managing stress by using more alcohol, tobacco, drugs or excess food, talk to your medical provider or behavioral health provider about healthier coping techniques.

Stress in the Workplace

With how much time people spend at work, it’s important to reduce job-related stress. I realize that some jobs don’t have much flexibility, but if you can: take breaks from work to stretch or practice mindfulness techniques; check in with supportive colleagues; and set a regular time to end your workday.

Don’t Get Pulled into Hysteria

When the pandemic started, we knew almost nothing about COVID-19. Now we know a lot. If you hear something scary, confirm it with trustworthy sources before getting too upset. If someone says, “I heard the virus can __________________,” or “I heard the vaccine causes __________________,” ask them where they heard it. Is that a reliable source? Be informed about how to protect yourself and others. Misinformation can be devastating.

Get Help if You Need It

If you feel you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else, reach out for help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

The Online Lifeline Crisis Chat is free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area. (suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat)

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Call 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224

Disaster Distress Helpline 

Call or text 1-800-985-5990

Check with your employer for information about possible employee assistance program resources.

If you are not in crisis but want to schedule an appointment to see a medical provider or counselor, call us at Mendocino Coast Clinics at (707) 964-1251. 

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CONSERVATIVE LIBS' PICNIC

The Mendocino County Democratic Party and the Inland Mendocino Democratic Club invite you to attend the annual Labor Day Picnic

The Work of Our Hands at Todd Grove Park in Ukiah. September 6, 2021 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. in honor of Joe Louis Wildman.

Musical entertainment by Megan Miller and the Meta and the Raging Grannies.

Union representatives and Representative Jared Huffman, Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood will speak.

Food trucks will be parked close by with a variety of offerings. Beverages will be available. This is a low waste event - bring your own cups!

Donations gratefully accepted.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY'S "CITIZENS FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE" Smells Just As Bad As Flow Kana. Both Smell Of Outsiders. Both Smell Of Dark Money.

(John Sakowicz)

I've started my research.

Is a cannabis land grab underway in Mendocino County?

Will big commercial grow operations, partnering with big corporations like Big Pharma or Big Tobacco, and backed by Wall Street "dark money", soon force small family farms out of business?

And is all this being done in the name of "drought" and "water conservation"?

Is Citizens for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) in Mendocino County just "part two" of the outsider nightmare, a la Flow Kana and Wall Street hedge fund guy, Jason Adler?

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This I know for sure.

Jamie Warm and Joshua Keats of Henry’s Original are the local power brokers behind Citizens for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA).

Meanwhile, CSA is an a spin-off from a much larger organization known as “The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.”

It’s my understanding that Warm and Keats brought in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to run their campaign against the referendum

Campaign information filed by CSA with California’s Secretary of State lists its treasurer as Joshua Keats. He is CEO of Henry’s Original, and Warm’s long-time friend and business partner.

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So okay, we now know Henry's Original has some big investors.

But the CSA may also have some very big plans to consolidate a highly fragmented cannabis industry in Northern California.

Specifically, Henry's may be fronting for a SPAC.

Read further.

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California Cannabis Operator Henry’s Original Raises $11 Million

5 August 2019 

Published by NCV Newswire

Henry’s Original Closes Series B Investment Round at $11 Million Led By Merida Capital Partners.

5 Aug 2019 — New York — Henry’s Original (Henrys), a private California-based vertically-integrated cannabis company and brand, announced it closed a Series B investment led by Merida Capital Partners (Merida), a private equity firm focused solely on the cannabis and hemp industries. Henry’s intends to use the funds to expand its cultivation, processing, sales and marketing operations. This investment round also included investments from Big Rock Partners, Delta Emerald Ventures and funds managed by JW Asset Management. The majority of Series A investors also invested in this round as well.

Henry’s, produces Clean Green-certified flower and pre-roll products that are cultivated entirely in Mendocino County, California. The company holds thirteen state licenses which includes nursery, cultivation, processing, distribution and a retail dispensary license. The company has more than 100,000 square feet of cultivation in California.

As a company that represents the legacy of Mendocino County family-farmers and original rebels in the cannabis revolution, we are excited to partner with some of the most strategic, thoughtful visionaries in the space.

Henry’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Warm stated, "Merida’s diverse team of experts understand and are extremely supportive of our vision to scale our hand-crafted consumer packaged goods with a regional identity in California as well as new markets around the country.

Henry’s President and COO Joshua Keats said, “As one of the leading pre-roll and pre-packaged flower companies in California in overall sales, this investment positions us to scale our operations, continue to shore up the supply chain and drive growth.” 

Henry’s is well-positioned to gain significant market share in California, the biggest market in the country and the world, and Merida sees the potential to elevate the company as it crosses the fragmentation gap geographically in and outside of the Goldeer Corp. I

7 November 2019, New York-based Merida Merger Corp. I (NASDAQ: MCMJ) (NEO: MMK) announced it had raised $120 million via a dual listing on the Nasdaq and Canada’s NEO Exchange. It was the first SPAC to be backed by a dedicated private equity firm (Merida Capital Partners III LP) focused on investing in the cannabis industry.

Merida Capital Partners’ management team has worked with legal cannabis companies since 2009 and has been investing in cannabis-related companies since 2013, according to the SEC filing. Unlike some of the other cannabis SPAC leadership that have popped up in recent years, Merida’s principals “have helped to build and operate sophisticated cannabis cultivation facilities and have directed significant investments into a broad spectrum of cannabis-related companies ranging from data analytics companies to hydroponic suppliers.”

The company is led by Peter Lee, president, CFO and director and Richard Sellers, executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Mitchell Baruchowitz, who is the managing member of Merida Capital Partners, is the non-executive chairman of the board of this SPAC.

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What's a SPAC?

Special purpose acquisition corporations (SPACs), are publicly traded companies that raise money from investors to acquire an existing company, generally one that is privately held. The money is held in a trust until a merger or acquisition is identified. Because investors don’t know upfront just where their money will be used, SPACs are often referred to as blank checks.

SPACs offer privately held companies an alternative to the traditional IPO through a merger or other business combination, thus saving them from having to go through the paperwork-intensive and lengthy process. If the SPAC fails to complete a merger or acquisition within the required time frame, all of the public shares are redeemed for a pro rata portion of the cash held in the trust account.

Last year, 59 blank check companies went public, raising $13.6 billion, according to SPAC Research. So far this year, eight SPACs have gone public raising $2.5 billion.

Despite some not so positive returns for several publicly traded companies, the nascent cannabis industry has been ripe for SPACs as investor excitement continues to grow.

Merida noted in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the cannabis market is “growing, but highly fragmented and undercapitalized” and "companies operating across multiple verticals consistently have trouble accessing capital from traditional sources.”

For more about Merida, see: https://www.meridacap.com/

See Merida's SEC filing:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1785592/000121390019022096/f424b41119_merida.htm

John Sakowicz

Ukiah

20 Comments

  1. George Hollister August 12, 2021

    Historically, the most powerful, and notable agricultural economies were in the desert. Advanced technology of the time was used to divert water to grow food, and fiber. The economic leverage gained from watering the desert turned Egypt, Babylon, and the Moche into regional economic powerhouses, where agricultural products were exported. These economies suffered from droughts. They learned to deal with this. Much of California agriculture is in the same mold.

    • Harvey Reading August 12, 2021

      George, not only is your comment misleading, it also ignores the fact that the ag developments of those societies were in valleys through which major streams flowed. It also fails to mention that every one of those empires eventually failed. Humans appear to have learned absolutely nothing from the past since they continue their old ways, and continue to worship the god of greed.

      Have you raked your forest recently?

      • Kirk Vodopals August 12, 2021

        I’d like to refer both of you to the book that I’ve mentioned before here (and the book that motivated me to attend graduate school): Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner. I should probably re-read it myself. And while we’re on the subject: Try to get a screening of Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea. It’s the story of a broken levee

        • George Hollister August 12, 2021

          The difference today from the way it was back then, is a vast majority of the population today is not connected to the land.

          Today food comes from the grocery shelf, and water comes from a tap. Any connection to the land is an abstract one.

  2. Douglas Coulter August 12, 2021

    Yesterday I took the VA bus to Ft Miley in San Francisco. Miles of green grape vines line Hwy 101 from Ukiah to Windsor, some new planting from this year. Zero reduction in water use. Our local puddle above Ukiah is very low but the Russian River flow is high. By Healdsburg it is a creek.
    When our children ask for a drink of water will these rulers of the masses offer, “let them drink Chardony”

      • Douglas Coulter August 12, 2021

        The number one killer of children worldwide is common diarrhea they could be saved with clean water. Dehydration is deadly. But you see the skinny kid with swollen belly and send your gift to feed them. Most of that money goes to buy cars and fancy homes for charity non-profit organizations CEO’s.
        Meanwhile we flush several hundred gallons water per household down our toilets. Ebola kills too quickly, kill the host and the virus dies soon after. Humans are killing the host quickly in geologic time. But someone will offer an app for that. Want oxygen? Download this app, soon we live on planet of the Apps.

  3. Jim Armstrong August 12, 2021

    I think the guy with the big (and famous) moustache in the Victory Theater’s front row was Emiliano Zapata.

  4. Val Muchowski August 12, 2021

    Our Mendocino Coast Indivisible group (Indivisible Mendocino), together with Coast Dems put together this message for the U.S. Senate as part of a nationwide #DemocracyCantWait day of action.
    OUR MESSAGE:
    Attention U.S. Senators: Pass voting rights protection before it’s too late.
    #ForThePeopleAct #EndTheFilibuster #TruthBrigade
    Photograph: Janet Ashford

  5. Aaron Sawyer August 12, 2021

    Golf courses should be let to die and disc golf courses could fill that niche. Don’t need to water or landscape a disc golf course, just mow a little here and there.

    With laws and governing agreements having been written by the rich for the rich, I’m sure that many of those golf courses have sweetheart deals with their water districts like I seem to remember Oakmont having down in Santa Rosa.

  6. Eric Sunswheat August 12, 2021

    ->. August 7, 2021
    “I’ve had grown men cry in my arms from finally winning a Cannabis Cup because they’ve been growing in the traditional market for 30 years and now they’re finally legal and they can finally submit into our competitions and get the recognition they feel they deserve after putting blood, sweat and tears into this for years and years and years,” said Mark Kaz, the director of competitions of High Times.
    https://www.masslive.com/cannabis/2021/08/high-times-is-bringing-its-cannabis-cup-competition-to-massachusetts-for-the-first-time-heres-how-you-can-be-a-judge.html

    -> August 10, 2021
    Despite piecemeal attempts by states and some growers to reduce their power consumption, at least one expert estimates the industry’s footprint already accounts for more than 1 percent of U.S. electricity consumption and continues to rise.

    Complicating matters further, federal laws also bar the flow of weed over state lines. That requires companies to grow cannabis in each state where they want to do business and deprives them of the scale that makes other industries more efficient.

    President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have made cutting the nation’s carbon footprint a top priority. Biden wants to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and his plan pinpoints agricultural and industrial emissions as major targets for reduction…

    One recent model estimated that Massachusetts’ nascent cannabis industry represented 10 percent of the state’s industrial electricity consumption in 2020. Another study found that growing enough bud for a joint — a gram — consumes as much electricity as driving about 20 miles in a fuel-efficient car.

    Then there’s the still-vibrant illegal market — where there are no emissions rules whatsoever — that consumes fossil fuels at an even higher rate, often using standalone generators or stealing power from neighbors to fuel their operations.
    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/10/weed-cannabis-legalization-energy-503004

  7. Marmon August 12, 2021

    This Alejandro Mayorkas guy who went to the border today is America’s version of “Bagdad Bob”. “Everything is under control here, we’re winning”

    Marmon

  8. Marmon August 12, 2021

    RE: REMEMBERING THE FALL OF SAIGON

    The Afghan government we propped up was never going to fight or win. They were never worth the blood of our bravest or the trillions from our treasury.

    My cousin was one of the marines in that famous helicopter picture on top of the embassy in Saigon evacuating people.

    Marmon

    • Bruce Anderson August 12, 2021

      That’s right, James. One out of three is pretty good. Congrats.

    • Bruce McEwen August 12, 2021

      Dick Herkert has the sign off the generator room, which is the superstructure atop the embassy where the helicopters alighted. DIck, a member of the State Department, borrowed a bayonet from one of the Marine Security Guard privates and pried the sign off with it, which he proudly displays to this day in his basement… maybe your cousin provided the bayonet?

  9. Marmon August 12, 2021

    RE: TALIBAN VICTORY

    “Had our 2020 Presidential Election not been rigged, and if I were now President, the world would find that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a conditions-based withdrawal. I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable. It would have been a much different and much more successful withdrawal, and the Taliban understood that better than anyone. What is going on now is not acceptable. It should have been done much better.”

    -Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America (08/12/21)

    Marmon

    • Bruce Anderson August 12, 2021

      Thus spake the great warrior and military tactician who avoided Vietnam with, ahem, “bone spurs.” The election was not rigged, and the Taliban could not be defeated as the Brits, then the Russians and now US have discovered.

      • Craig Stehr August 12, 2021

        The more serious consequence of this insane attempt to return to historical bygone days, by the Taliban, is that the female half of the population faces a future with no prospect of receiving public education beyond the eighth grade. How soon until an Afghanistan full society mental illness crisis is diagnosed? Where is Allah in all of this? ;-(

        • Douglas Coulter August 13, 2021

          Mental health is a myth! Normal is defined as fitting in to the system of society. Go with the flow. We are good, they are evil, we will convert them or kill them. This is the way the American continent was conquered. My god is bigger then your god so I must rule you. Columbus wrote to the queen that he discovered a perfect race of slave converts, if not converted they could be killed.
          The new religion of America is the faux science of psychiatry. You go to a hotel and instead of Gideon’s Bible is a DSM placed by Glaxo or Smith Kline.

  10. Evelynne, WHS '76 August 30, 2021

    Re: Honoring Rich Padula: 3rd District Supe Haschak, in his letter connecting Rich to himself & one of his two brothers, has overlooked or been unaware of Rich’s friendship of many years with my grandfather, Edward Newmyer (1900-1980). I first met Rich in an elective class at WHS almost 50 years ago, in 1972, & bonded with him over ideas for his Wolverine column, “Rich’s Pitches”. When my Grandpa moved to Willits, I was delighted to introduce them. “Ed”, as Rich called him, was a great friend of Rich’s in Willits after Rich’s freshman year at U of W. During those last years of Grandpa’s life, I, as his granddaughter, & Rich’s fiancee, was present for innumerable conversations about fire safety, real estate, backpacking, & chess (they’d play for hours, often leaving the chess board to continue the same darn game for another day). My grandpa was a real estate broker, & a veteran of the Los Angeles Fire Department; during that time he survived the horrible Griffith Park Fire, the deadliest fire in California history until the Camp Fire in 2018. He was all about fire safety; he even asked for hair from my brush to show me how fast hair can burn, especially with hair spray on it. While the Haschak bros were at school at UCD, Cabrillo College, UCSC & UCLA, or living in Oregon, Rich was being mentored by Ed Newmyer, & hearing about how Ed & his friend Dominic Cimino, with several other men, went to Vientiane, Laos, in 1971, to trade themselves in for American POWs, so our boys in uniform could come home. While they didn’t succeed in the man for man trade, they did put a lot of pressure on the men in power from Hanoi – and Washington! My grandpa, like Rich, was a risk taker, & not afraid of many or much. I’ll miss forever the days of Christmas tree hunting, snow tubing, & waffle stomping thru the hills, trees, streams & mud with Rich (Rich loved the rope pulls & mud pit at WHS) & stopping by Grandpa’s for peppermint candy & long talks at the end of the day (when Grandpa wasn’t dancing at a social at St. Anthony’s) & especially going to The Creamery (the Colli sisters were very goodnatured!). Although Grandpa might not have approved of ventures like the 10,000 acre vineyard project in Sonoma County Rich tried to do (I didn’t!) it gives me a great deal of comfort to see that lessons learned almost 50 years ago, with new technology, can help save lives today. I hope Willits, Brooktrails, or Mendocino County never have a Griffith Park type fire, & I hope Rich & Grandpa have gone to that big chess (or dance) hall in the sky, to be in eternal light, & comfortable seats, to talk together forever, & reunite with long passed loved ones. I’ll miss both of them dearly, until the end of my days. Stay safe, everyone, & please remember those two great men.

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