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Mendocino County Today, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021

Clearing Sky | Summer Over | Holmer Retires | Fair 4Hers | Cop Culture | Dinosmokes | Look Force | Blackbear Apprehended | Swimming Hole | Trail Talk | Hubby Horse | Public Zoomed | Mendo Doughboys | Ed Notes | Madrone Branch | Eel Dry | Yesterday's Catch | Petro Corruption | Billionaire Debt | Creek Beds | Degas Drawing | Purification | SF Hobo | Abusing Arabs | Patdown Fan | Hart Attacked | Marriage Logic | Stoner Purge | New Neighbors | Animal Rights | American Teacher | One Destiny | Last Steelhead | Rain Light | Stagnant River | Dangerous Delusions

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EXPECT AREAS OF SHOWERS across northwest California diminish this morning, followed by clearing skies with a relatively cool and breezy afternoon. More dry weather is on tap for the week ahead, with warming temperatures even at the coast early in the week thanks to offshore flow. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S RAINFALL: Leggett 2.32", Willits .86", Laytonville .83", Covelo .59", Fort Bragg .49", Potter Valley .20", Hopland .13", Yorkville .12", Boonville .09", Ukiah .04"

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The badminton court is empty
Steady rain has made the ground soggy
The net sags
Rackets lean against a tree
Shuttlecocks rest in the notch
The hammock is soaked
Volleyball, football, basketball, wiffle ball
Golf ball, tennis ball, soccer ball
Summer is over and we've had a ball
While civilization fell apart all around us

Craig Louis Stehr
The Magic Ranch
Redwood Valley, California

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At age 77 and after 24 years at the Fort Bragg Advocate-News and The Mendocino Beacon newspapers, I’m setting my writing tools down. Time for me to retire – not from life – I still have a lot of that to do; just retiring from weekly deadlines. This has been an amazing third career for me (my first career was as executive assistant to CEOs of large corporations and university presidents; my second career was as a college professor).

It all started in September of 1997 when Kate Lee, editor of our newspapers at that time, hired me as a typesetter. That soon transitioned to staff writer, columnist, special features writer and news assistant. Soon after starting at the papers, Howard Martin, then owner of Cheshire Bookshop in Fort Bragg, suggested I write about a friend of his, Daulton Mann. I told Howard, “I’m not a writer.” Howard said, “Oh yes, you are!” So, off I went to Kate’s office and suggested a feature on Daulton and 24 years later, I’m still writing. What a journey it has been.

For the last number of years, I’m the one who gets all of the “local” columns into the papers; the Arts + Entertainment, Local Notes, Mendocino Coast calendar of events. For years that included the Mendocino and Fort Bragg school menus and the Spiritual Notices columns, but that stopped with the onset of the COVID pandemic).

In addition, I would put the monthly First Friday Fort Bragg and Second Saturday Mendocino gallery openings in the papers. I’ve been compiling the history columns in both papers for so many years (lost track of how many) – Glance at the Past and Old Time Notes from The Beacon.

The last couple of years, I’ve had the privilege to work with five of our regular columnists: Priscilla Comen (Community Library Notes), Kristi Hahn (Greenwood/Elk), Karen McGrath (Kelley House Calendar), Larry Miller (Golf Notes) and Mike Bohanon (Cue Tips). I’ve so enjoyed our weekly “chats.”

However, my great joy has been covering the arts and entertainment on our Mendocino Coast. For years, I reviewed and covered the Mendocino Music Festival, the Mendocino Film Festival, Gloriana Opera Company (now Gloriana Musical Theatre), Opera Fresca, the Mendocino Theatre Company, Symphony of the Redwoods. In addition to compiling the history columns in each paper, I’ve authored several columns through the years, Chatting with Friends and Culture Corner were two of my favorites. I’ve covered Art in the Gardens, Winesong, the Mendocino Art Center and more. As special features writer, I wrote articles in our annual Holiday Gift Guide, the Mendocino Coast Visitor Guide, annual tribute to our Veterans page, Paul Bunyan Days and I’m sure more. I’ve written articles for our annual Season of Sharing fundraiser for the Fort Bragg Food Bank. I’ve interviewed most of the artists on the Mendocino Coast and so many other amazing individuals.

Yes, I’m a wordy gal!

I’m grateful to so many. My fellow co-workers through the years – office staff, reporters, ad sales reps, etc. There are too many to list here; you know who you are. You have made my work and days full of smiles, laughter, tears; we’ve been through it all together. I’ve learned so much from Kate Lee and Connie Korbel-Mickey, my longtime editors and my longtime publisher, Sharon DiMauro. These three are SUPERWOMEN! It’s been a true honor to work with these three women.

Lastly, I thank ALL OF YOU DEAR READERS. For subscribing to our newspapers or buying them off the rack or going online to read the e-edition or checking out our websites, for reading the many words I’ve written through the years. Our local newspapers and local journalists all matter to me. Each and every one of you matter to me and always will. I will miss you.

Debbie Holmer

Fort Bragg

ED NOTE: Count us as among the many who will miss your column, Debbie. If you re-think retirement, you'd be most welcome at the mighty ava.

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To the Editor:

I was horrified to learn about the experience of the former Ukiah Police officer who has filed a lawsuit against the Police Department alleging that she was assaulted by a fellow officer and repeatedly subjected to harassment, discrimination, and a hostile work environment, especially once she reported the unlawful conduct to her superiors. If these allegations are true, it makes me doubt the integrity of the entire department. The fact that Isabel Siderakis’s problems began with a sexual assault from Sgt. Kevin Murray, who was fired earlier this year “after being accused of raping the first of two women he has been charged with assaulting,” leads me to believe that Siderakis’s claims have merit. I can only hope that the Ukiah Police Department, if found guilty of ignoring these accusations and even punishing the whistleblower, is forced to clean up its act.

Victoria Golden


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YOU MIGHT EXPECT that the County’s unprecedented drought “emergency” would produce at least a bit of urgency. Not in Mendo. Typical of the kind of meandering, ho-hum tone that pervades Mendo’s water (and most other) discussions was this exchange at the September 9, 2021 Drought “Task Force” zoom meeting with Supervisors John Haschak, Glenn McGourty and Josh “Ya Know” Metz.

Haschak said that Willits is “looking at” participating in the mutual aid program that currently sees upwards of 15,000 gallons per day being trucked to the Fort Bragg water system as a small contribution to the estimated 75,000 a day that the Coast has said they need.

Supervisor McGourty, the County’s self-annointed water expert, replied that “Willits can provide water for local ag use but one well, the Park well, has an elevated level of arsenic and it probably wouldn’t hurt anybody but it’s outside of drinking limit standards. So it’s not advisable yet. (Mumbles).”

An “elevated level” of arsenic “probably wouldn’t hurt anybody.” But it’s ok for ag? 

How bad is it? Is anything being done about it? Can it be removed? Is there a plan? 

McGourty didn’t say. Maybe Willits is “looking at it.”

(Mark Scaramella)

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by Kathleen Coates

Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a homicide suspect in a Covelo shooting after he fled to Fort Bragg.

The suspect, Dino Michael Blackbear, 34, was apprehended about 6:20 p.m. Saturday along Hansen Road, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. Officials did not detail the charges Blackbear is suspected of.

Blackbear, who sometimes goes by Lincoln, is a suspect in a fatal shooting that occurred Wednesday night near a bar in Covelo, nearly 80 miles away. A 26-year-old man was killed around 11:30 p.m. near Buckhorn Bar on Covelo Road, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

Blackbear, Carrillo

Still outstanding is a second suspect in the shooting, Carina Amanda Carrillo, 32. Carrillo was described as a 5-foot-6 and 120 pounds, also with black hair and brown eyes.

Deputies had been actively searching for Blackbear starting about 5:40 p.m. Saturday, sending out a Nixle alert to warn the public. He had been spotted in Fort Bragg, and had been the subject of a sheriff’s search Friday night.

In the Nixle alert, the Sheriff’s Office had asked people in the area to shelter in place. They directed the public not to call 911 unless they were in immediate danger.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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Old Maple Basin Swimming Hole

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NEXT PHASE OF RAIL TRAIL OK’D - City Council also expresses support for railbanking

by Justine Frederiksen

After discussing a plan by a newly formed Wyoming corporation to transport coal through the Eel River Canyon on long-abandoned and crumbling railroad infrastructure, the Ukiah City Council Wednesday approved moving forward with the last phase of a public trail still being built on the short section of tracks inside the city limits.

“We’re the first official segment of the Great Redwood Trail, which we’re kind of proud of,” Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley told the City Council during its Sept. 15 meeting, referring to State Sen. Mike McGuire’s plan to turn the railroad tracks into a multi-use trail that stretches from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay.

“Recently, the North Coast Railroad Authority, which owns some of the tracks locally, had submitted an application to railbank a section of the tracks between Willits and Humboldt County,” said Riley, describing railbanking as “the premise that you can potentially remove the tracks, use the tracks, or use that right-of-way for other purposes. So we could build a trail, and then, if years later, a viable solution for restoring train service came through, they would still have the right to use those tracks. So it’s kind of ‘the best of both worlds.’”

However, Riley said, “suddenly a corporation was formed in Wyoming under the name ‘the North Coast Railroad Company’ with an application that says they have over a billion dollars in funding and they’re going to revitalize the tracks and use them (likely) to transport coal that is mined in the Midwest and shipped somehow to the Bay Area, then put on trains and transported to Humboldt Bay, where it would be put on large barges and shipped to Asia. This was a surprise to many people, and there are so many unanswered questions. There is no public information about who the principals of this LLC are, and there is no proof of their financial backing.”

Given that “the prospect of transporting coal would mean transporting a fairly hazardous material across some notoriously unstable (railroad) tracks, potentially leading to landslides into the Eel River, which provides drinking water for up to a million people, there has been resistance to this,” Riley continued, explaining that a resolution before the City Council asked them to “support NCRA’s application to railbank the section of tracks between Willits and Humboldt Bay.”

“We don’t believe this is currently a viable proposal, and we are hoping to prevent what is the opposite of beneficial use of this railway,” said Riley, who also acknowledged that “in general, federal law trumps state law, so if there is a viable application to use the rail, then there’s a possibility that federal law could suggest that (plan) has priority over any environmental or logistical concerns that we might have locally. So the suggestion here is that our voice needs to be heard. This is an opportunity to support this resolution, and potentially stop this effort to transport coal.”

“I definitely support us signing on,” said Council member Mari Rodin, and the rest of the board voted unanimously to support the resolution.

Also on Wednesday, the City Council approved moving forward with the fourth phase of the Rail Trail, now called the Great Redwood Trail, a section that Public Works Director Tim Eriksen said is being paid for by an “Urban Greening Grant,” and will continue the trail “all the way down to the former pear sheds, which is now C&S Waste Solutions.”

He added that construction would likely not be until 2022, “depending on what happens with the coal.”

“I hope we get this done before anything else happens,” Rodin said.

On Wednesday, the Ukiah City Council approved moving forward with the fourth phase of the Rail Trail, now called the Great Redwood Trail, a section that Public Works Director Tim Eriksen said is being paid for by an “Urban Greening Grant,” and will continue the trail “all the way down to the former pear sheds, which is now C&S Waste Solutions.”

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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I am writing to voice my disappointment regarding the Point Arena City Council’s approval of the cove’s FEMA repair plan. Public input was blatantly ignored!

At the city's meeting, the community was not allocated much time compared to the city's Spokesperson who spoke for at least two hours! Many never got a chance to speak. Out of the ones who did speak, none wanted this plan. The meeting felt rushed and orchestrated. It is apparent that the "zoom" format used is not best for public hearings!

In the week prior to this meeting there was a “real" public meeting at the cove where everyone talked in person. Mr. Billy Arana showed us possible revisions based on what the community wanted such as 1. No two-foot wall around the parking lot. 2. No huge boulders blocking access to the beach. 3. A “retreat” of the parking lot giving adequate space for the creek to flow. 4. The same amount of parking even with the “retreat” area. 5. Included possible grants for money.

Why can't we have a community-based plan with some of these suggestions?

“Fear” was the reason I heard: fear of losing time and money (especially the money already spent); fear of being sued if the city doesn't repair what was approved.

I have always felt it wise to never base an important decision on fear. It never turns out for the best. Plus, it's not right!

I say let the fear go.

Do what’s best for our community by doing what it wants even if it means scrapping the FEMA plan and its money. I much prefer the way the cove is now than what is planned by the city. Why spend so much money on something no one wants?

Pam Chapman

Point Arena

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Mendo Recruits, WW1, 1917

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FROM Saturday morning's story in the UDJ on the coal train scare by Justine Fredericksen: “We’re the first official segment of the Great Redwood Trail, which we’re kind of proud of,” Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley told the City Council during its Sept. 15 meeting, referring to State Sen. Mike McGuire’s plan to turn the railroad tracks into a multi-use trail that stretches from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay."

UKIAH'S STRETCH of the Great Redwood Trail is three miles of pavement through the town's industrial wasteland, hardly the wholesome vision conjured by state senator McGuire's fantasy trail. But fantasies and straight-up scamming are long-time specialties of the Northcoast's Democrat insiders. The coal train scare seems to be both fantasy and scam, although the scam part remains obscure but will have something to do, we're certain, with converting the old Northwestern Pacific right of way to cash-money for former Congressman Doug Bosco and Friends.

LOCAL DEMOCRATS slavishly promote party fantasies, as does Ms. Riley in her promotion of the Great Redwood Trail chimera and, of course, although she's no dummy, she presumes the spectre of a coal train chugging through Ukiah and on north through the Eel River Canyon is a real possibility. (Mental health tip for Ms. Riley and the inner cadre of local Democrats: Possibilities are not probabilities. Paranoids think in terms of the former, the sane the latter. You're welcome. No charge.)

IF THE CAREER OFFICEHOLDERS of the Huffman, McGuire, Wood type announced that Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsom had agreed to sponsor surgical air strikes to expedite the removal of the abandoned Palace Hotel, the City of Ukiah and its phantom city manager, Sage Big Salary, via Ms. Riley, would announce, “Attention Ukiah residents. Please drive carefully through downtown Ukiah this Saturday when the United States Air Force will aerially remove the old Palace Hotel, a troublesome, long-abandoned downtown structure whose space the city requires as a parking lot to complete its State Street beautification project. Please be aware that surgical air strikes have been known to be imprecise, and the City of Ukiah cannot be responsible for collateral damage to you or your loved ones. The Ukiah City Council again expresses its gratitude to the Democratic Party of the Northcoast for yet another public service…”

MS. FREDERIKSEN, a master of deadpan humor, goes on to report that Ukiah’s Public Works Director Tim Eriksen said the fourth phase of the Ukiah segment of “Great Redwood Trail” will be paid by an Natural Resources Agency “Urban Greening Grant” and will continue the trail “all the way down to the former pear sheds which is now C&S Waste Solutions.” 

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by Patrick Higgins, Eel River Recovery Project

The current record two-year drought is causing record low Eel River flows, according to U.S. Geologic Survey flow gauges, but on Friday, September 17, the Eel River Recovery Project discovered a condition in the field that would not be revealed by flow gauges. The South Fork Eel River was not connected to the main Eel River, and in fact the bed was mostly dry below Highway 101 at Dyerville, which is an unprecedented condition.

An examination of USGS flow gauge results for all Eel River stations on September 17 indicated that the main Eel River flow at Scotia was 26.3 cubic feet per second (cfs), while the historic low for this location was 16 cfs in 1924. The latter year ushered in a 25 year-long drought that precipitated the Dust Bowl, but no other gauge in the Eel River watershed goes back to that date. The Van Duzen River, a large tributary that converges with the main Eel near Fortuna, was at record low with a flow of 2.54 cfs at Bridgeville. The previous low of 2.65 cfs was on the same date in 2014, also the second year of a major drought.

The main Eel River at Ft Seward tells a different story, where the historic low of 7.4 cfs came in 2002, and the present flow level is 15.4 cfs. Interestingly, the Middle Fork Eel River flow at Dos Rios of 7.4 cfs is more than four times the all time low of 1.64 set in 2014. Why would there be so much flow in 2021 when the rainfall years were similar or worse. The answer is the August Fire, where flows were depleted in 2014 because the over-stocked forest of the watershed was causing a decrease in baseflow, as well as creating huge fuel loads that fed the fire. The reduction in trees and evapotranspiration have increased flow in the Middle Fork and North Fork Eel River, and help feed flows at Ft Seward. 

On the South Fork, the headwater tributary Elder Creek is an old-growth watershed with well-studied hydrology. On September 17, Elder Creek flow was 0.5 cfs and the record for the date is 0.40 set in 2007. From there downstream, it is all record lows. At Leggett, the flow was 6.98 cfs, less than the previous historic low of 8.86 cfs in 2002. The flow of the South Fork at Miranda of 7.07 cfs was also a record, and barely more than at Leggett, while the previous low of 12.1 cfs was in 2008. Historically, the South Fork Eel River was geologists call a gaining stream, but altered watershed hydrology combined with severe drought is causing flow to diminish in a downstream direction, this year causing it to be dry at the mouth.

Bull Creek feeds the lower South Fork Eel just above Dyerville and the USGS gauge indicates that it is currently at a record low flow of 0.03 cfs, which is barely flowing at riffle crests. The previous low flow was 0.10 cfs in 2014. The Bull Creek watershed was half clear-cut in the 1950s and 1960s before it was acquired as part of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. A long-term flow study of the Eel River by Eli Asarian for Friends of Eel River found that the flow of Bull Creek had decreased 50% from 1950 to 2015. Forty to 60-year-old overstocked forests in the watershed are transpiring water back to the atmosphere and depleting baseflows. This is a pervasive condition across the watershed where ever clear-cut logging took place.

Drought conditions in the Eel River basin are not uniform, and the drought is more serious in the south in the Mendocino and Lake County portions of the watershed. A large stationary high has recurred over the last two years, pushing the jet-stream north, and storms that would otherwise hit the North Coast, are going towards Canada. This deflection results in more robust rainfall in the Fortuna area and the Van Duzen River sub-basin, but far less in southerly interior basin watersheds. Lower flows there have biological implications because they keep salmon from reaching optimal spawning grounds in headwater tributaries.

The Eel River Recovery Project is non-profit organization that assists citizen monitoring throughout the watershed. We also assist communities with water conservation and restoring forest and grassland health in order to improve base-flows and biodiversity, to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, and to create jobs in restoration. See for more information. Call ERRP Managing Director Pat Higgins, if you have questions or want to participate in citizen monitoring at 707 223-7200.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 18, 2021

Collicott, Martinez, Moravalle, Temple

CAYTLIN COLLICOTT, Willits. Harboring wanted felon, parole violation.

LORENZO MARTINEZ, Willits. Community supervision violation.

ANDRES MORAVALLE, Ukiah. Loaded firearm in public place, not registered owner.

KIANNA TEMPLE, Hopland. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

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by Dan Bacher

In its August 2021 Update to its Tracking the Dirty Dollars Project, Sierra Club California reveals that the California Republican Party has accepted over $300,000 from the fossil fuel industry and its allies this year. This more than triples the party’s contributions since Sierra Club’s last report update in May.

“Once again, Republican legislators have sided with polluters and taken hundreds of thousands of dirty dollars from the oil and gas industries,” said Brandon Dawson, director of the Sierra Club California. “This newest round of dirty money shows the oil and gas industries are committed to undermining the Democratic stronghold in the legislature and imperiling the health and safety of millions of Californians.”

The report states: *”Last edition, we condemned the California Republican Party for receiving an astounding total of $85,175 from the oil industry and its allies. In the past three months, the Republicans have more than tripled these donations, boasting a dirty dollar treasure trove of $310,175. This shows the immense money and effort the oil and gas industry is putting into undermining the Democratic stronghold in the legislature and strengthening the Republicans hand to advanced polluters’ interest.”*

While some state legislators made it out of another quarter avoiding fossil fuel campaign contributions, several others, including quite a few Assembly Democrats, amassed stashes of fossil fuel donations according to the group.

Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Jr., leads all assembly members, Democratic and Republican, with $18,800, while Freddie Rodriguez was close behind with $17,200. Mike Gipson’s dirty donations totaled $13,400.

“Given these legislators’ scorecard grades and poor environmental track record in the Assembly, these donation totals are disappointing, but not surprising,” the group reported, “Moreover, Salas has long touted his close link to the oil industry, even featuring photos of himself with oil rigs in his campaign literature.”

As one of the few journalists who reports regularly on deep regulatory capture by Big Oil and Big Oil in California, I can attest to the report’s assessment of Salas.

Rudy Salas was the one of the “honorary co-chairs” of the “Women’s Empowerment Summit” in Bakersfield on Saturday, May 7, 2016 that gave Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create “marine protected areas” in Southern California, the “2016 Distinguished Woman and Petroleum Advocate of the Year” Award. Unfortunately, I was the only journalist that reported on this conference:

Two other powerful Democrats also reported significant “dirty donation” totals from Big Oil and Big Gas, according to Sierra Club California.

Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Laura Friedman has received $10,900 in campaign contributions from oil and gas interests this year.

Assembly Appropriations Committee Chair Lorena Gonzalez accepted $14,700 in “dirty dollar” donations this quarter. Gonzalez sits in one of the most powerful seats in the legislature.

“These donations are deeply troubling for two powerful Assembly Members,” according to the Club.

Sierra Club California launched the *Tracking the Dirty Dollars Project* in November 2020 to “shed light on oil and gas contributions to legislators and other state-level elected officials.”

“The project sorts through existing public databases to identify who receives contributions from oil and gas companies and their allies through direct campaign contributions, independent expenditure campaigns, and gifts. The project then presents the information in a clear format that makes it much easier for the general public and environmental activists to see what their elected leaders have received,” the Club noted.

A cover report discussing the August installment and the data sheets comprising the three installments are available on Sierra Club California’s website. More information about the project is included in a November 2020 blog e-mailed to Sierra Club members and supporters around the state.

Campaign donations are just one of the seven methods that Big Oil uses in California to exercise inordinate influence over California regulators. WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 7 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups; (5) working in collaboration with media; (6) creating alliances with labor unions; and (7) contributing to nonprofit organizations.

The Western States Petroleum Association, the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying organization in California, spent a total of $4,267,181 lobbying state officials in 2020 and $8.8 million in 2019, according to financial data filed with the California Secretary of State’s Office. WSPA also pumped $1,341,073 into lobbying in the first quarter of 2021 and $1,113,884 into lobbying in the second quarter of 2021.

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We are seeing unprecedented fires in California and floods throughout our nation. While we would love to have some heavy rains, we in Sonoma County have neglected our creek beds for years. The plant and brush growth that goes unattended year after year is blocking the pathways for winter rains. That will lead to floods in our streets and for businesses and homes along the creeks.

Most citizens do not understand that fire travels in creek beds. A moving trail of sparks can burn businesses and homes. Santa Rosa has more than 100 miles of creek beds, and Sonoma County has hundreds of creek beds and water channels that are full of growth.

There is an urgency for service clubs, Scouts and concerned citizens to bring their energy to the creeks. We understand there is a stewardship program in Santa Rosa, but it isn’t working because of COVID. I suggest we activate many masked teams with tools and trash bags to get this complete quickly.

Judith Rivers-Moore

Santa Rosa

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Horsehead, Degas

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Plan of Action

Peaceful Resistance

Ditch your tracking devices

General strike

Crawl out of your holes and sit in the roads

Do not feed the beast

Big anything is no

Credit Unions

Farmers markets

Sally Annes

Weave cotton, peel apples, make salt

Go fishing hunting gathering

Pick up a leaf and let it tell you what is right

Let the moon and the stars and the rain lead the way

The world is on our side

Nature has been spiked and will respond

This is not the end of the world

This is the purification

Let the sun guide you

Let the Son show you the way


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SF Hobo, Depression

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by Adam Raz

A person who violates a curfew shouldn't be killed, but they can be slapped and hit with a rifle: Newly declassified documents reveal the ways military rule embittered the lives of Israeli Arabs

The origins of the brutality documented in all its ugliness last week an Israeli soldier shooting an unarmed Palestinian who was trying to protect the electric generator he needs to function, amid the abject poverty of the South Hebron Hills date back quite a few decades, to the period of military rule in Israel proper. Testimony from recently declassified documents, together with historical records in archives, shed light on the acute violence that prevailed in the "state within a state" that Israel foisted upon extensive areas of the country where Arab citizens lived, from 1948 until 1966.

For more than 18 years, about 85 percent of the country's Palestinian citizens were subject to an oppressive regime. Among other strictures, any movement outside their own villages had to be authorized, their communities were under permanent curfew, they were forbidden to relocate without formal approval, most political and civil organizing was prohibited, and entire regions where they had lived before 1948 were now closed to them. Although this part of the past has largely been repressed among most of Israel's Jewish population, it constitutes an integral part of the identity and collective memory of the country's Arab citizens. Those memories include, in addition to the regime of authorizations, daily abuse and a web of informants and collaborators.

In practice, for those subjected to the military government, Israeli democracy was substantively different than it was for the Jews. Yehoshua Palmon, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's adviser on Arab affairs, wrote to the headquarters of the military government in a letter from October 1950 culled from the State Archives that reports had been received according to which military government personnel in the Triangle (a concentration of Arab communities adjacent to the Green Line, in the center of the country) were employing "illegal pressure during interrogations of residents, such as using dogs [against them], threats and the like."

A year later, Baruch Yekutieli, Palmon's deputy, explained to the cabinet secretary that the situation in the Arab areas sometimes required "a strong hand on the part of the authorities." Although he did not go into detail about that policy, testimonies that have been made public describe its implementation and all of them reflect an experience of humiliation and subjugation.

Thus, it became known that representatives of the military government threatened citizens so as to prevent them from complaining about actions taken against them; a military governor (there were three, for the Negev, the Triangle and the north) demanded that people frequenting a village café show their respect by standing up when he entered and threatened anyone who disobeyed; soldiers amused themselves when intimidating an Arab citizen by leaning on him by placing a firearm on his shoulder; and others prevented Muslim citizens from praying. In other cases, military government representatives harassed farmers and destroyed their property; people were humiliated regularly and addressed in coarse language; violence was perpetrated on children; and military government personnel made threats against Arab citizens if they didn¹t vote in elections for the candidates favored by the authorities.

The military governor in the south, Yehoshua Verbin, maintained in testimony he gave in early 1956 to a government committee and recently made public at the request of the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research that "the military government is too liberal and gentle. Let us not speak of cruelty at all, because that is groundless, it is a calumny for which there is no basis in any case."

However, remarks by the governor of the Triangle, Zalman Mart, in his 1957 testimony in a trial relating to the Kafr Qasem massacre < links-massacre-to-israel-s-secret-plan-to-expel-arabs-1.6550421> the previous year when Border Police shot and killed 49 Arab villagers who were unaware that a curfew had been imposed refute Verbin's assertions. According to Mart, there was no obligation to kill a person who violated a curfew, but there was a sort of protocol for punishment: "You can slap him, hit him with a rifle on the leg, you can shout at him."

A cluster of lengthy testimonies by Border Police personnel, who acted as the police force in the Arab villages, offers a picture of day-to-day life under the shadow of the military government. The officers' unabashed candor in their testimony in the Kafr Qasem trial is harrowing. Were you "imbued with the feeling that the Arabs are the enemies of the State of Israel?" one officer was asked to which he replied, simply, "Yes." The police officer was asked, "Would you kill anyone? Even a woman, a child?" "Yes," he reiterated. Another police officer testified that had he been ordered to do so, he would have opened fire at a bus packed with Arab women. And another explained, "I was always told that every Arab was an enemy of the state and a fifth column."

The officers showed little sense of pity when asked about shooting helpless individuals, most of them affirming that they would do so if required. One of them noted that if he were to come across an infant who had "violated" curfew "It might sound cruel, but I would shoot him. I would be obligated to do so."

Some of the complaints made by the subjects of the military government were submitted anonymously. A report of the Jewish-Arab Association for Peace, sent in 1958 to a ministerial committee, opened by explaining the reasons for the anonymous charges: "In previous cases the military government apparatus employed threats and pressure against people [meaning Palestinian citizens of Israel] who gave testimony against it." The association compiled a large number of accounts and appended the complainant's name to each one, requesting that "the honorable ministers ensure that there be no such pressure and that people not be made to suffer because of their testimony."

Several testimonies from the village of Jish (Gush Halav) dating from 1950, stored in the Yad Yaari Archive, shed light on what the military government tried to conceal. A local resident, Nama Antanas, related how its personnel had burst into his house in the middle of the night and taken him for an interrogation. Antanas was accused of buying a pair of smuggled shoes. The interrogators told him that if he wasn't going to talk, they would see to it that he did. According to his testimony, "Amid this, I was ordered to take off my shoes and remove my head covering. When I did so, I was forced to sit on the floor and my legs were lifted and placed on a chair. At that moment, two soldiers approached me and started to beat me on the soles of my feet with a wooden stick made from the rough branch of a date tree." Afterward, he was thrown out, unable to walk.

Another person, who was identified as al-Tafi, also related that security forces had burst into his house and beat him mercilessly. One military government official explained that they were going to execute him and ordered him into a car, as his wife stood by, distraught. After a short drive the car pulled over to the side of the road and a pistol was pressed against Al-Tafi's head. After he was pummeled again and thrown into an animal pen, where, he said, he languished for two weeks.

Hana Yakub Jerassi was subjected to similar treatment, after the military governor told him he was "garbage." He was beaten on his hands until they bled. "Afterward I was taken out and one of my friends was brought in, and they did the same to him as to me. Then a third was brought in and they did the same."

For many, that was the routine.

The diverse sets of testimony we have uncovered compel us to doubt the words of Mishael Shaham, the commander of the military government between 1955 and 1960. In 1956 he told a government committee that was debating the future of that body that it was "not serious," and that it even "constitutes an element for education to good citizenship."

What's clear is that the state took steps to conceal from the public information about what went on within the realm of the military government. In February 1951, then-Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Yigael Yadin was furious at the publication of a report about the expulsion of 13 Arab villagers from their villages. According to Yadin, "Reports of this sort are liable to be harmful to the state's security, so a way needs to be found for the censorship to delay their publication." The poet Natan Alterman knew what he was talking about when he wrote "Whisper a Secret," a poem that criticized the tough censorship regime, a year later.

The military government apparatus was dismantled years ago, but its spirit lives on in Israel and outside it in the occupied territories. Back then this apparatus supervised and ruled the country's Palestinian citizens within the Green Line, whereas now policing actions are conducted by soldiers against a civilian population across the Green Line. And there is another similarity. Now, as then, the majority of the Israeli public lives with the wrongs being perpetrated and is silent.

(Adam Raz is a researcher at the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. This article is based upon the book "Military Rule, 1948-1966: A Collection of Documents," published this month by Akevot.)

* * *

* * *


Sir / Madam,

I was intrigued by the letter from a reader in your last issue that recounted his meeting, in a bar in Greenwich Village in the mid-sixties, a woman who claimed to have been a passenger on the Orizaba on the voyage the boat made from Vera Cruz to New York in April of 1932, a voyage that the poet Hart Crane never completed. According to her Crane was murdered and thrown overboard by sailors after a night of such rough sex that they became afraid (surely wrongly) that he might have them arrested when the boat docked in Manhattan. This reminded me of a night in the early seventies on which I too happened to be drinking in a bar in Greenwich Village. I got talking to an elderly man called Harold occupying an adjacent booth, and when the conversation touched on poetry he explained, somewhat shyly, that he had himself published two collections a long time ago, one called White Buildings in 1926, and the other, The Bridge, in 1930. I asked if he’d written much since. ‘Oh plenty,’ he replied, ‘and a lot of it much better than my early effusions.’ I expressed an interest in seeing this work, and he invited me back to his apartment on MacDougal Street. Here the evening turns somewhat hazy. I could hear the galloping strains of Ravel’s Boléro turned up loud as Harold fumbled for his keys. Clearly some sort of party was in progress. At that moment the door was opened from within by another man in his seventies, who exclaimed happily, ‘Hart! – and friend! Come in!’ The room was full of men in their seventies, all, or so it seemed, called either Hart or Harold. The apartment’s walls were covered with Aztec artefacts, and its floors with Mexican carpets. It dawned on me then that Hart Crane had not only somehow survived his supposed death by water, but that his vision of an America of the likeminded was being fulfilled that very night, as it was perhaps every night, in this apartment on MacDougal Street. At the same instant I realized that it was I, an absurd doubting Thomas brought face to face with a miracle, who deserved to be devoured by sharks.

Yours faithfully,

Name and address withheld

(via Mark Ford)

* * *

* * *


Marijuana users are being hit with waves of “uncontrollable vomiting” in states where the drug has been legalized, study finds.

Emergency rooms across the US are seeing an influx in habitual marijuana users are being admitted for uncontrollable vomiting and intestinal distress. 

The condition, known as cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, has been particularly evident in the 18 states where marijuana is legalized, according to a new study 

“They are writhing, holding their stomach, complaining of really bad abdominal pain and nausea,” said Dr. Sam Wang, who treats teens with the condition. 

The volume of CHS cases has skyrocketed over the years, with more than 800,000 cases of reported vomiting in Colorado between 2013 and 2018 alone. 

Teens and young adults are being hit particularly hard by the condition, with over a third of vomiting cases occurred in people 25 years of age and younger. 

* * *

* * *


To the Editor:

Every Labor Day offers a powerful reminder of the crucial gains experienced by American workers in the past century.

In 1894, when President Grover Cleveland proclaimed the first Monday in September as Labor Day, Americans worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in abysmal conditions to eke out a living. They were treated as animals.

A century later, animals in factory farms still are.

Mother pigs suffer a lifetime in tight metal stalls. Their babies are torn away, mutilated without anesthesia, crammed into crowded pens for six months, then slaughtered in the dawn of their lives.

Dairy cows spend their lives chained on a concrete floor. Each year, they are artificially impregnated to keep the milk flowing. Their babies are torn from their grieving mothers at birth and slaughtered for veal, so we can drink their milk.

As it did for American workers, relief for these sentient beings is in sight.

Our supermarkets offer a rich variety of convenient, healthful, delicious plant-based burgers, veggie dogs, and meat-free nuggets along with nut-based cheeses, ice creams, and other dairy-free desserts.

This year let’s all celebrate these plant-based options.

Lawson Jenkins


* * *

* * *

GEORGE WILL. I'm not a fan of all his ideas, but his rationale is always, clear, precise, logical, and grounded in strong beliefs on the role of Government at all its levels. His views have never varied a millimeter. It remains refreshing to listen to people who are cogent, consistent, and able to defend their ideas with grace and logic. George is one of those guys. As well, he has been one of the harshest critics of the Party of Trump, and the lasting damage they do to the Republic and Democracy as a body. His new book, American Happiness and Discontents, is fascinating reading (at least the excerpts I've sampled so far on Amazon), and I'm seriously thinking of buying it. He also had a great conversation with Bill Maher on this week's Real Time, and it's also worth a visit (how I heard about his new book). There are good, moral people, with conservative views, who demonstrate the importance of Lincoln's sentiment… We are not enemies. We are brothers, and must find a way to work together. Someone, a stranger lives among us today, they will rise up, and stir the common imagination, call us to rejoin and rejoice, claim our heritage as many people with one destiny… I pray that person comes to public notice, sooner, than later. 

— Marie Tobias 

* * *

“BELIEVE IT OR NOT” This photograph depicts one of the last steelhead trout caught in the LA River, near Glendale in January 1940. 

Believe it or not, the #LARiver was once a crucial waterway for seafaring trout to make their way upstream to spawn in tranquil and limpid mountain streams. Concretization spelled the end of that life cycle for these majestic fish. But all hope is not lost - there are still very small populations of steelhead in our mountainous headwaters, shut off from reaching the ocean. Even more exciting, work is underway now to develop a Fish Passage to encourage trout to follow the LA River from Long Beach to a diversionary path and up to their ancestral spawning grounds. Tune into our friends @arroyosecofoundation and @stillwater_sciences who are spearheading the steelhead recovery. 

* * *


All day the stars watch from long ago

my mother said I am going now

when you are alone you will be all right

whether or not you know you will know

look at the old house in the dawn rain

all the flowers are forms of water

the sun reminds them through a white cloud

touches the patchwork spread on the hill

the washed colors of the afterlife

that lived there long before you were born

see how they wake without a question

even though the whole world is burning

— W.S. Merwin

* * *


by Mary Callahan

Frequent visitors to the Russian River will have observed a marked change in the way the water looks as a second year of historic drought settles in.

The river is lower and slower than in the past as regulators restrict its flow to keep as much water as possible behind the dams in Lakes Sonoma and Mendocino.

The river is also covered in places with a thick green blanket of plant life. Stagnant water allowed Ludwigia, or water primrose, to take root in the river. The primrose in turn created a safe haven for small, floating aquatic ferns called Azolla, commonly known as duckweed.

At Vacation Beach near Guerneville light green Azolla, or duckweed thrives in the stagnant water of the Russian River, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. The darker green vegetation is Ludwigia, or water primrose. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2021

Both are harmless, though something for swimmers and paddlers to get used to.

But there is a hint of peril in the Russian River waters. Low levels of toxic blue-green algae have been detected in some areas of the watershed since midsummer — enough to prompt authorities to install CAUTION signs warning visitors to avoid floating algae mats that might contain the cyanobacteria or toxins they can produce.

While they tell people (and their pets) not to drink the water, they say that when real rain finally comes, it should be enough to flush out the system.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *


Sara Lipton

How can educated, functional adults swallow venomous and fantastical narratives about their neighbors and compatriots? Five years ago that question might have seemed quaint; widespread belief in demon-worshiping sects or malevolent secret societies presumably belonged to the pre-Enlightenment past. Today many of us are asking it on a regular basis. A daunting number of people living otherwise seemingly normal lives, including public figures in positions of power, are embracing toxic and bizarre claims — that political elites are members of a satanic pedophile cult; that cabals employ space lasers to spark fires; that a coalition of Jews, feminists, and minorities is seeking to “replace” white populations through immigration or manipulated birth rates; even that lizard people are taking over the planet.

Explaining the apparently sudden explosion of irrational conspiracy theories has become something of a cottage industry as journalists, philosophers, and political scientists look for answers in rising inequality, changing demographics, and new communication technologies. But though such trends have contributed to the proliferation of political paranoia, conspiracy theorizing cannot be fully pinned on recent crises any more than it can be relegated to the Dark Ages. The long continuities underlying present fantasies are perhaps most powerfully demonstrated by the nefarious controlling role all too frequently assigned to Jews, whether George Soros, the Rothschilds, or the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society: disturbing echoes of centuries-old anti-Semitic allegations that found their fullest destructive force in the twentieth century.

Two recent, very different books on the most virulent of all anti-Semitic slanders — the claim that Jews murder Christian children for ritual purposes — offer insights into the persistence of dangerous delusions. Magda Teter’s Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth is a five-hundred-plus-page magnum opus that traces the ritual murder charge (as well as its relative, the blood libel, which holds that Jews need Christian blood for Passover rites) over seven centuries of European history, from around 1150 to around 1800. Edward Berenson’s The Accusation: Blood Libel in an American Town is a more compact exploration of a little-known episode closer to home: a short-lived but chilling twentieth-century evocation of the blood libel in upstate New York. Both books make only brief reference to recent events, yet resonances with current concerns are inescapable. Together, the two works suggest that in any era truth sits on a precarious perch, and that a slight shift in political or social winds can send reason and fact toppling into a conspiratorial void.

(New York Review of Books)


  1. Marmon September 19, 2021



    A few dozen people showed up, most of them were FBI Agents trying to look like protesters.


  2. George Hollister September 19, 2021


    Good to see a recognition of the role that transpiration from native vegetation plays in reducing stream flows. Clear cuts and fires provide the demonstration, but neither is needed to end up with a condition where stream flows diminish as a result of transpiration. This recognition points to an added benefit from managing our native landscapes.

    • Bruce Anderson September 19, 2021

      Really, George, how much water do them pesky green things transpire along side grape and pot grows, legacy logging ops, the fairly recent hill muffin populations and their diversions?

      • George Hollister September 19, 2021

        The water needs for grapes and pot grows are minor in comparison to that of native vegetation. Just look at the total leaf surface area, where transpiration occurs, of all domesticated vegetation in comparison to native vegetation. While all are not the same in their water needs, or transpiration potential the comparison is still significant. This is true along the Navarro, and other streams in the redwood region where “maximum high minimum flows” are going down everywhere. No, it isn’t climate change, or grapes, or pot. It’s a significant increase in native vegetation. The Russian River is a different situation, where human manipulation of diverted, and developed water is the primary driver for river flows during dry periods.

        Yes, really.

        • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

          LOL, ever the apologist for water-intensive ag interests. You peddle more BS with a straight face than anyone on the planet, including the mayor of Cowpie.

    • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

      How did those landscapes ever survive without humans? George, you peddle some of the most ridiculous BS I have ever seen. Did you learn it in forestry “school”, where they teach you to serve the timber companies? Or was it range management school, where they teach you serve the livestock farmers?

      • George Hollister September 19, 2021

        Before humans those landscapes were heavily impacted by large herbivores. Ground sloths, short faced bears, mastodons, and mammoths were the keystone species before humans made the scene about 13, 000 years ago. Now humans are the keystone species. And what we are looking at is completely different from what was here then. When humans showed up two things happened; the mega fauna disappeared, and frequent burning was introduced.

        • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

          Got some citations, Dr. Hollister? Or have you been watching too much of the PBS show, Nature?

          • George Hollister September 19, 2021

            A good place to start is the La Brea Tars.

            • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

              How many times have your been there? And, that information of yours is NOT a citation, my boy.

  3. Mike Kalantarian September 19, 2021

    On the coal train threat, City Manager Riley said: “they’re going to revitalize the tracks and use them (likely) to transport coal that is mined in the Midwest and shipped somehow to the Bay Area, then put on trains and transported to Humboldt Bay, where it would be put on large barges and shipped to Asia.”

    My question on this is: once the coal makes it to the Bay Area, why wouldn’t “they” just barge it from there? why struggle, mightily and expensively, to rail it up to Eureka?

    • Lazarus September 19, 2021

      None of this is ever going to happen. This LLC claims to have a Bil to in backing, but once lefty gets a hold of this, we’ll all be dead before it’s out of the courts. There are sections of the track that cantilevers into outer space and others that are cover due to land slippage with millions of yards of debris.
      Forget about it.

      • George Hollister September 19, 2021

        This scheme seems to rhyme with the proposal by the Skunk train to haul water from Willits to Fort Bragg, and trash from Fort Bragg to a distant landfill. There are out of sight motivations, like taking advantage of a railroad’s legal power of imminent domain.

        • Lazarus September 19, 2021

          Perhaps, but write this down. This scheme has nothing to do with coal.
          Be well,

    • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

      I recommend you folks not underestimate the desperation of the fascist Wyoming guvner. He tried his best to get the filthy stuff across Washington state for shipment to Asia, but the high court refused to hear his case.

      Do your own damned research.

      Type “wyoming washington coal suit” into any search engine. I’m hopeful that CA would shut down the fascist scum, too, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t make the attempt, even to the extent of using puppets to push his ridiculous, environmentally destructive program.

    • Professor Cosmos September 19, 2021

      The rail revival proposal will never manifest ever. Trying to manifest it would be met with activists physically preventing it. I don’t need a crystal ball to see this.

      • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

        Well, back in ’69 antiwar protestors at UC Berkeley thought they would stop the Vietnam fiasco and take over university land which they had renamed People’s Park. Reagan bombed them with tear gas from a whirly bird over Sproul Plaza. Don’t underestimate the determination of a fascist to advance nutty schemes. Could be a distraction, too.

  4. Professor Cosmos September 19, 2021

    The mitigating of the hold of these rampant conspiracy theories on many relies on addressing the basic psychological dynamics in play since sapiens developed the capacity to imagine things not concretely evident. Modern day cognitive and behavioral scientists suggest that fusing with thoughts and imaginings, and holding onto them tightly, and believing in them, is a path of torturing ourselves and others. Thoughts and imaginings are great for creative expression and problem solving of course but getting out of the torturing ways entails restoring a sense of clarity at the feeling level. Mindfulness meditation and cognitive defusion practices are the tools increasingly being adopted.

    • George Hollister September 19, 2021

      Then there is Hanlon’s Razor, “”never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

      • George Hollister September 19, 2021

        The question always is, are people really being that stupid? The answer is almost always, yes. But hauling coal by rail down the Eel River Canyon, and hauling water by rail from Willits to Fort Bragg stretches ones imagination, too. Imagine people being that stupid. It’s hard to imagine, particularly when the ones who want to haul water from Willits want to take over the GP mill site in Fort Bragg using a railroad’s power of imminent domain.

      • Harvey Reading September 19, 2021

        That’s what the upper class and its loyal sycophants would have us believe. It’s intended to make make us feel sorry for them rather than to hate them as we should. Do you get these from some book of stupid expressions?

  5. Bruce McEwen September 19, 2021

    “Thinking of a series of dreams
    where the time and tempo drag,
    and there’s no exit in any direction,
    ‘cept the one your eyes can’t see.
    Wasn’t making any great connection,
    and I wasn’t falling for any schemes,
    nothing that would pass inspection,
    just thinking of a series of dreams.

    Dreams where the umbrella is folded
    and into the path you are hurled,
    and the cards you are holding are no good,
    unless you are from another world…”


  6. Professor Cosmos September 19, 2021

    Work on the very last section of the Ukiah Mural by Lauren Sinnott has started. First images:

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