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MOST AREAS WILL SEE A CHILLY START to the day, but afternoon temperatures will be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than yesterday in the inland areas. Additional warming is expected through the weekend and into Monday and dry weather is expected to continue. (NWS)
29 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
JUST IN! Tuesday night's Volleyball Game Results
The Anderson Valley Panthers are on fire! Both our JV and Varsity teams swept the Laytonville Warriors bringing us to a 4-0 record this season. Our varsity girls will be playing against Mendocino this Friday at home. The game starts at 4:00 p.m.
Arthur Folz, Athletic Director, AV Jr./Sr. High School
SUPES NOTES (Tuesday Meeting)
THE SUPES continue to meet remotely – very remotely – having succeeded in discouraging all but the most determined from attempting to participate. The few members of the public who succeed in calling in are abruptly cut off at three minutes sharp.
AS EXPECTED the Supervisors rubberstamped (on the Consent Calendar no less) hefty pay increases for Dr. Jenine Miller, the head of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and Assistant CEO Darcie Antle. Nobody even wondered where the money will come from.
THE RAISE FOR MILLER was sponsored by Supervisor Gjerde. Her annual base salary is now $176,130 and overall cost is $292,590 per year. No explanation was given for Gjerde sponsoring the item instead of Human Resources. Board Agenda Summaries include a pointless query asking how the proposed action supports the General Plan. In Miller’s case the answer is: “This proposed action is supportive of the delivery of programs and services to communities in an integrated, coordinated and equitable manner. This action would be supportive in the ability of the County to deliver services to the public.” This is typical of the third rate bafflegab fed to the Supes on a regular basis and shows how the CEO and her staff knew they didn’t really need a reason. They might as well have said, “This action will help to ensure that at least a few turkeys are eaten this Thanksgiving.”
ANTLE, WHOSE QUALIFICATIONS include running a downtown Ukiah wine bar frequented by CEO Carmel Angelo, will now get $178,859 annually at a total annual cost of $302,272. Part of the justification for her raise is that she oversees the “fiscal unit” within the Executive Office. This is presumably the same fiscal unit that is unable to provide basic monthly financial reports to the Board. In response to the General Plan query the reply was “N/A” which is at least more honest than claiming that gifting the CEO’s highest paid honchos with even higher salaries will somehow improve services. (It does ensure that the Board and the County will be stuck having to pay these high salaries long after the CEO retires.)
ALSO ON CONSENT was a contract for $187,500 with Renne Public Law Group, LLC for labor negotiation services. If the County was interested in providing services to the public (why else does the County exist) they would focus on equitable pay increases for the rank and file who deliver the services instead of increasing salaries for the highest paid employees. Don’t be surprised when big raises for County Counsel and the CEO show up on an upcoming consent calendar to be rubberstamped, all in the name of providing improved services.
PROBLEMS with Information Technology (the County’s computer hardware and software) are a recurring feature of the meetings. The audio for Supervisors, staff and the public are often semi-intelligible. On Tuesday newly hired Deputy CEO Judy Morris attempted to give a meaningless legislative update but kept cutting out. After a couple of failed attempts it was announced that the legislative update would be presented at the next meeting. The legislative updates consist of reading bill summaries compiled by a couple of statewide organizations (county lobbying groups the County belongs to). These meaningless updates could be added to the Consent Calendar or skipped altogether but appear to be an attempt to justify the hiring of Ms. Morris, whose only managerial experience comes from the music promotion business she ran with her husband.
AFTER RUBBERSTAMPING the huge ongoing pay raises for CEO Angelo’s inner circle the Supes balked at approving the part-time rehire of recently retired Auditor-Controller Lloyd Weer. The item had been on the agenda in August but was “withdrawn by the Department” after the Supes declined to appoint Chamise Cubbison, the Assistant Auditor Controller, to serve the rest of Weer’s term.
CUBBISON WILL SERVE as “Acting” Auditor while the Supes consider moving to a Chief Financial Officer model. The mid-term retirement of the Auditor, with the appointment of a handpicked successor (who then rehires the recently retired Auditor for “critically needed duties”) has been a pattern in Mendoland. So Cubbison was back before the Board on Tuesday again asking to rehire Weer to help with the transition.
FOLLOWING LENGTHY DISCUSSION the Board directed the item come back in the afternoon with a limit of $12,000 and a defined scope of work. Cubbison pointed out the scope of work was included in the item. During the discussion Cubbison said Weer had been volunteering his time to help out, then quickly backtracked saying he was not doing anything for the County. Then she said that Weer had been helping her with the year end closeout by phone and sometimes by coming into the office.
WILLIAMS OFFERED to approve the rehiring of Weer if it meant the Board would get monthly budget updates. Cubbison correctly pointed out that was an unrelated topic. She could have added that it was an obvious attempt by Williams (who has emerged as CEO Angelo’s chief apologist) to shift responsibility for monthly budget updates away from the CEO who has refused to provide the updates for several years and counting. The Auditor doesn’t keep track of expenses, the CEO does. And a budget report is more than just few columns of numbers; it should include explanations and upcoming expenditures.
CEO ANGELO said she did not know if the books for the last fiscal year (July 2020 – June 2021) were closed nor did did she know if they were closed by Weer or Cubbison who later stated that the year end closeout has been completed. But no one thought this information was important enough to tell the CEO, her budget unit or the Board of Supervisors. Even after hearing that the year end close out was complete no one thought to ask what the result was or that the information be sent to the Board. Typically, the year end close out shows an underrun, primarily from the CEO’s carefully maintained understaffing of departments. The unspent money is then either applied to departments like the Sheriff which typically go over their budgeted expense allotment, or into reserves.
LATE IN THE AFTERNOON County Counsel presented an “alternative recommended action” (which means it was not recommended) which included the scope of Mr. Weer’s responsibilities and a $12,000 cap. During discussion it came out that Weer had keys to the building and full access to the County email system, as if he were still an employee. Not being an employee Weer would not be covered by County insurance raising the potential for liability issues to arise.
BEFORE CALLING for the vote, Chair Gjerde asked Cubbison if she had anything to add. Instead of responding directly to the motion Cubbison vented her frustration with the transition period. She said she appeared to be in conflict with the Board for reasons she did not understand and found it appalling and disrespectful. She said she had been contacted by 20 County employees after the previous meeting offering her their support. Cubbison said employees were fearful and angered by the way she (and her department) have been treated. Obviously not the shy and retiring type, the Acting Auditor made a series of pointed remarks, including the irony of the Board discussion the previous day about how to improve employee morale and recruitment contrasted with their treatment of her and her staff. Without making any response the Board approved the motion 3-2 with Gjerde and Williams petulantly dissenting without explanation.
A STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE was also on Tuesday’s agenda. Supervisors McGourty and Haschak, the Board Ad Hoc for this exercise in futility, deferred to “our leader” Anne ‘The Inevitable’ Molgaard who is on “special assignment” from the Executive Office. Which makes it clear the CEO is intent on steering whatever process this becomes instead of leaving it to the wine and cheese consultant hired at a mere cost of $75,000 plus travel and expenses for this process. But Molgaard was unable to proceed because the consultant was not on the line. Can the County implement a strategic plan if they can’t line up a phone call?
THE STRATEGIC PLAN was continued until 1:30 in the afternoon, but the Board, in a continuing show of contempt for the public, did not emerge from Closed Session until after 3:00pm. By then Ms. Molgaard was missing in action (tuning in later) but the Supes decided to proceed anyway. The pricey consultants led the Supes through an grade-school explanation of strategic planning, teasing that they had tentatively developed four “Strategic Pillars” that would be described later.
THE STRATEGIC PILLARS were developed after meeting individually with each of the Supervisors, meeting with the CEO twice and having a Zoom meeting with Department Heads. Next up will be input from employees and the community. The timeline is to finalize the “plan” in December and approve it in January. Supervisor Mulheren, aware that employees (up to and including Department Heads) are reluctant or fearful to speak on the record, asked about the potential for anonymous input. The consultants said anyone could send them an email (hardly anonymous) or participate in a planned survey.
THE STRATEGIC PILLARS? Funny you asked. The consultants came out strongly in favor of 1) A Safe & Healthy County; 2) An Effective County Government Organization; 3) A Prepared & Resilient County; 4) A Livable Economy. Supervisor Williams noted the County lacked the resources to achieve all of the above noting he was worried about the increased cost of providing services without increased revenue to pay for them. But this concern wasn’t enough to generate a peep about front loading extravagant salary increases for CEO favorites in advance of employee salary discussions.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS, who likes to pose Socratic method style questions to his colleagues, asked what they are willing to give up. (He didn’t ask this when the big raises were rubberstamped.) Even before the Board agrees on the non-strategic Strategic Plan they are already faced with the reality that it won’t matter what they agree to because they won’t have the money to pay for it. And events always trump these lame plans anyway.
THE BOARD DISCUSSED whether they should discuss moving from a CEO to a CAO model before or after completing the strategic plan process. CEO Angelo helpfully announced that she planned to bring the CEO/CAO discussion to the Board on October 26 along with a discussion of implementing a CFO model. During Interim Auditor Cubbison’s blast at the Board (referenced above) she pointedly noted that none of the Board members had reached out to her with concerns or questions about why her department was up for reorganization and that no one had bothered to tell her about the upcoming CFO discussion. Discussion of strategic planning seems pointless when the Board and CEO haven’t mastered basic communications practices.
THE BOARD APPROVED the proposal for Crisis Respite in Fort Bragg at a cost of $240,000 a year for four years using Measure B money. The money will be doled out to — surprise! — Redwood Community Services, run by CEO Angelo’s friend Camille Schraeder, without an RFP or other competitive process. Fort Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell spoke in support of the RCS gift, saying an RFP would only delay the process. It seems disingenuous to express concern about delay nearly five years after the passage of Measure B. The facility could be open in six months.
ONE HOPEFUL NOTE is that Adventist Health has agreed to lease space to RCS. Which begs the question why the Supes have had no public discussion of partnering with Adventist Health for a Psychiatric Health Facility. Instead, the Supes and CEO are pushing forward with a plan to use the dilapidated nursing home on Whitmore Lane. Dr. Jenine Miller reported on a feasibility analysis that is being done on Whitmore to assess if it’s better to remodel the existing wreck of a building or start from scratch. She also said the study is looking at other locations but didn’t say where. As usual, nobody asked.
THE SUPERVISORS also heard an update on the projected $3.6 million cost overrun for the new jail building (in addition to a previous $1 million overrun). The Supes placidly accepted the presentation and told the CEO to go look for money. This would have been a good time to ask about the year end closeout (which typically shows that several million dollars remain unspent) but the Board seems to be very comfortable drifting ignorantly along through the meeting with very little concern for the direction the County is going. As Yogi Berra is reputed to have said: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”
GARY SAXE WRITES: We stopped at Lake Mendocino yesterday. The lake is down over 55 feet and 15% full. Please continue to save water. The stream in the foreground is water from the Eel River and that area is under water in a normal year.
CITY OF UKIAH RECEIVES $264,600 FROM THE STATE FOR DROUGHT RELIEF
The city of Ukiah and the county of Mendocino together received more than $2 million from the state Department of Water Resources as part of its Small Community Drought Relief program.
According to a press release from state officials, the Small Community Drought Relief program is designed to provide technical and financial assistance to small communities affected by the current drought.
“As the drought continues to gain momentum, and we prepare for another potentially dry winter, coordination between agencies and the funding to support community response will be critical,” Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, was quoted as saying in a release.
Recipients of the total $28 million include:
City of Ukiah: The small water system serving the city of Ukiah is currently strained due to drought conditions. The community will receive $264,600 in funding to purchase two potable water pumps to pressurize the city’s emergency interties, which will allow the city to deliver water to two neighboring districts.
County of Mendocino: The county, which is currently subsidizing the cost of hauling water from the city of Ukiah to the city of Fort Bragg, received $2 million to pay for hauling water “to provide immediate potable water supply to residents (in coastal communities such as the village of Mendocino) who have run out of water due to drought.”
Konocti County Water District: Located in Lake County, drought has caused the water supply source to drop below the current intake system. The district will receive $657,173 in funding for emergency repairs and to install an emergency intertie.
Lake County: New well and intake works in North Lakeport, $1.5 million.
Clearlake Oaks County Water District: Emergency Intake Works, $650,000.
Lower Lake County Waterworks District No.1: Emergency well, $500,000.
The DWR also reports that it “expects to launch the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program this fall. The program will include an additional $200 million in grant funding for urban water suppliers and multi-benefit drought relief projects to address hardships caused by drought.”
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
A CLOSE TEXTUAL ANALYSIS REVEALS… The Coal Train Is A Fraud, but reveals facts of interest
A Utah state official and the leaders of two federally recognized tribal nations in March discussed shipping Rocky Mountain coal by rail along the Northern California coast and exporting it out of Humboldt Bay, according to a newly revealed document that sheds additional light on the parties involved in the controversial proposal.
The internal memo from a Utah port agency, first published last week by the Salt Lake Tribune, indicates coal industry players in Montana and Utah were at least initially involved in the proposal.
Amid widespread public outrage over the prospect of coal trains chugging through Northern California cities and towns and alongside rivers that are key water sources for the region, both the Utah agency and the Humboldt Bay-based Wiyot Tribe have since distanced themselves from the proposal.
And local opposition to the project appears increasingly difficult for coal advocates to surmount. This week, officials with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, which regulates port facilities in the bay, said that body’s elected board was likely to pass its own resolution opposing coal shipments.
The district’s director, Larry Oetke, didn’t consider the coal shipping proposal realistic, he said Monday.
“We have no intention of spending any time looking at the feasibility at all,” he said. “I don’t want to give it any credence.”
The coal-shipping scheme surfaced publicly only in August, when a mysterious company filed paperwork before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, a federal agency that oversees freight rail shipping. The newly formed North Coast Railroad Company objected to a state-backed effort to convert long defunct rail line north of Willits into a recreation trail, claiming it had $1.2 billion in financing to restore abandoned rail segments that run through the region, including the remote, slide-prone Eel River Canyon.
North Coast representatives opposed to the plan at the time said the company hoped to ship coal from either Utah or from Powder River Basin coal mines in Montana and Wyoming. No further details have surfaced about the North Coast Railroad Company’s plans and neither the company or other entities that appear involved, including the Crow Nation, a Montana-based tribe with large coal reserves, have been willing to discuss the proposal publicly.
But the March 16 email obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune and published in a Sept. 25 story indicates coal industry players in both regions were involved in the proposal, at least in March.
The email was written by Chris Mitton, listed at the time as a strategic projects manager with the Utah Inland Port Authority, a government entity dedicated to boosting economic development in that state. In it, he discussed a phone call that day with a representative from the Utah Mining Association and a business consultant, Justin Wight, who isn’t further identified. Also on the call was Conrad Steward, the energy director for the Crow Nation, and Michelle Vassel, a tribal administrator for the Wiyot Tribe based on the southern shore of Humboldt Bay.
The March call marked the extent of the Utah agency’s involvement, a spokesperson for the agency said, adding that the port authority is no longer participating in any coal shipping proposal through Northern California.
“The port authority was invited to a meeting to introduce the idea,” Jill Flygare, the agency’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “After fact checking it was determined it was not a viable port project and we’ve had no participation since.”
In the email, Mitton writes that the parties discussed advancing a project that had the support of both tribes. A coal port would likely face “some, but not overwhelming opposition,” locally, Mitton wrote in an assessment he attributed to Vassel.
The email refers to an export terminal in the bay that would be tribally owned or have “small, non-tribal minority owners.”
“The Wiyot Nation is ‘fully committed to this project’,” Mitton wrote in the email. It was unclear who he was quoting. Mitton no longer works for the agency, according to the spokesperson.
Nevertheless, Wiyot tribal officials have since made statements that indicate the tribe is opposed to any project and is not involved.
Wiyot Nation officials told Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, that they opposed the project, Huffman told The Press Democrat Monday.
In a Sept. 2 story by the Lost Coast Outpost that broke the news of the North Coast Railroad Company’s filing, Vassel said the tribe hadn’t been offered a coal shipping scheme.
“We have not received a proposal or accepted a proposal related to coal,” she wrote in an emailed statement to that newspaper.
“I am not sure how the Tribe’s name became part of this discussion but I have had a number of phone calls about it,” she wrote. Vassel did not respond to voicemails and emails requesting comment on Monday and Tuesday.
Tribal leaders told Huffman they had participated in “preliminary meetings” about a shipping project that did not specify coal. “I don’t know the details but I do know that as soon as this thing became public they disavowed themselves from it,” Huffman said.
Local governments up and down the proposed route through Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt counties have begun passing resolutions expressing their opposition to coal trains. State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, has introduced a bill to prevent any California tax dollars from going to restoring the rail line or establishing a coal port, while Huffman has sworn to fight the project at the federal level.
In Mitton’s email, he wrote that Wight had spoken to the U.S. Department of Transportation about securing up to $1 billion in loan funding to rebuild the railroad line, which was abandoned through the Eel River Canyon and other northern sections in 1998. Wight could not be reached for comment.
Huffman will seek to block any such federal loan, he said.
“I’m going to be urging them in a full-throated way not to loan that money,” he said of the federal transportation agency. A loan to encourage the mining and burning of thermal coal for electricity would be “completely incongruous with President Biden’s entire agenda,” he said.
The most recent state budget awarded the Humboldt Bay Harbor District $11 million to pursue another $55 million in federal funds to support redeveloping the port. But the goal for those funds is to transform Humboldt Bay into a major base for the development of offshore wind energy — a use of taxpayer dollars more in keeping with California’s climate goals.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Wight contacted officials with the harbor district. However, the district’s director, Oetker, told The Press Democrat Monday that he was unaware of the coal shipping proposal before it was reported in local media at the beginning of the month.
A majority of the harbor district’s elected five-member board of directors was likely to pass a resolution against coal shipments, Oetker said. Harbor officials were focused on offshore wind energy that’s “clean, green, modern,” Oetker said, “setting the stage for the next 50 years for the types of jobs that we want to see in the area.”
Opposition to the coal shipments from local governments and the distance that groups including the Wiyot Nation and the Utah port agency have now put between themselves and the project should raise even more red flags for federal regulators who must consider the bid, Huffman said. He questioned whether the $1.2 billion in financing the mysterious company claimed was a reference to the $1 billion federal loan Wight had floated during the meeting.
“This is a house of cards,” Huffman said. “It was always a house of cards because those of us in the region know how preposterous it is.”
McGuire, who has been fierce in his condemnation of the “toxic coal train” project, called on the company to be clearer about its intentions. “Come forward and talk directly to the community,” he said in a statement. “Stop lurking in the shadows. Show us your plan.”
THE OG LOOKOUT TOWER atop Iron Peak. It lent its name and inspiration to Lookout magazine, the Lookouts band, and Lookout Records, coloring and shadowing all my Spy Rock memories. (Larry Livermore)
TOURING CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE COAL TRAIN ALONG THE OLD REDWOOD TRAIL (RSVP. Sorry, no club car)
Did you RSVP yet? Senator Mikey's Climate Crisis Town Hall. 1800 hours 06 October 2021
I note the Senator failed to include you on the upcoming Climate Crisis town Hall. with the return of the kelp forests Mikey should relax.
Hope your Tuesday is going well!
We wanted to circle back about our upcoming Virtual Climate Crisis Town Hall on Wednesday, October 6 and make sure you’ll be able to join us.
This will be the first in a series of Town Halls that we’ll be hosting in the coming year on the Climate Crisis and California. All will be focused on the root causes of this crisis and the bold solutions that will be needed in the months and years to come.
In the Golden State and throughout America’s west, experts believe climate change has made the West warmer and drier. Extreme heat is now the top weather-related killer in the US and western states are more susceptible to extreme drought and larger, more destructive and more frequent wildfires. Coastal communities are also preparing for sea level rise.
California has historically led this nation on emission reduction efforts, and now more than ever, we must redouble our efforts to combat this growing crisis.
We hope that you will join us for an important conversation with some of America’s top climate experts via phone or video livestream, whichever is easiest for you.
Here are the details:
Who: Senator Mike McGuire; Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist with the Institute of the Environment & Sustainability at UCLA; Kristina Dahl, Senior Climate Scientist for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists; and more speakers will be announced next week!
What: Senator McGuire’s Climate Crisis Town Hall
When: Wednesday, October 6 at 6:30 pm
How to attend: RSVP today by clicking here! After you RSVP, we’ll email the call-in number and video livestream link.
Questions about the Town Hall: Email or call us at 707-576-2771.
We look forward to talking with you on October 6!
MIKE McGUIRE, Senator
WEST SIDE STORY AT COAST CINEMAS
West Side Story is screening on Oct. 6 at Coast Cinemas as part of the Mendocino Film Festival's Classic Film Series, along with Harold & Maude on Nov. 3, and Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder in 3D on Dec. 1.
Tickets $15 at the door or on Eventbrite.
Angela Matano Executive Director Mendocino Film Festival Office: 707.937.0171 Cell: 310.883.5107
BAY AREA WOMAN CHARGED WITH STARTING FAWN FIRE after allegedly burning bear urine
30-year-old Palo Alto woman charged with igniting the California wildfire that has destroyed more than 40 homes and some 90 other structures in Shasta County pleaded not guilty Friday morning.
Alexandra Souverneva, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology who refers to herself as a shaman on her LinkedIn page, said she accidentally started the Fawn fire on Wednesday when she was boiling bear urine to drink, a narrative filed by Cal Fire law enforcement said.
An attorney at a Friday court appearance said Souverneva made statements to law enforcement suggesting a potential mental health crisis “or something to do with drug abuse,” the Redding Record Searchlight reported.
Judge Adam Ryan increased bail from $100,000 to $150,000 for the felony charge of arson on forest land, noting the fire damage was mounting. Another $25,000 was tacked on for arson during California's current state of emergency over wildfire danger, the local newspaper reported.
Souverneva is suspected of starting other fires in Shasta County and throughout the state, District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said in a press conference Friday.
The Fawn fire sparked Wednesday, Sept. 22, grew to 3,500 acres in less than 24 hours and exploded the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 23, amid breezy conditions, threatening the Mountain Gate neighborhood. The fire was 8,577 acres on Monday afternoon with 65% containment, according to Cal Fire.
Cal Fire said the fire was first reported at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in a remote canyon on property adjacent to the J.F. Shea and Mountain Gate quarries.
Employees of the quarry reported seeing a female trespasser “acting irrationally” before the fire erupted, Cal Fire said. Before losing sight of her, she “discarded items along a dirt road that consisted of two small Co2 cartridges and a AA battery,” the Cal Fire narrative said.
Cal Fire said Souverneva later walked out of the brush near the fire line, approached firefighters and told them she was dehydrated and needed medical help. Souverneva reportedly had an operable lighter in her pocket as wells as CO2 cartridges and a “pink and white item containing a green leafy substance she admitted to smoking that day.” She told Cal Fire law enforcement she was hiking and “attempting to get to Canada,” the Cal Fire narrative reported.
During an interview with Cal Fire and law enforcement, officers came to believe Souverneva was responsible for setting the fire, officials said. She was booked into the Shasta County Jail.
Souverneva graduated from Palo Alto High school in 2009, the Campanile, the school's newspaper, reported.
She later attended the California Institute of Technology and graduated in 2012 with degrees in chemistry and biology, the university in Pasadena confirmed.
The Campanile said Souverneva tutored local students in chemistry, and her LinkedIn page indicated she worked for AJ Tutoring in 2020.
AJ Tutoring client Hannah Ramrakhiani told the Campanile that she and other Palo Alto Unified School District students worked with Souverneva during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She is so smart and such a good chemistry tutor, and she was always so nice and calm,” Ramrakhiani said.
Souverneva's LinkedIn page also revealed that she was a yoga instructor and scuba diver and worked in the biotech industry.
Firefighters gained the upper hand Sunday on the Fawn fire that has displaced thousands of people.
Lighter winds and cooler temperatures slowed the Fawn fire as it moves toward the shores of California's largest man-made lake and away from populated areas north of the city of Redding, allowing crews to increase containment to 35%, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.
The fire at one point threatened 9,000 buildings, but the number dropped to 2,340 on Sunday.
Light rain was in the forecast for Monday. Fire officials said crews will begin taking advantage of the calmer weather to conduct back burns near the lake to expand the control lines, the Record Searchlight reported.
“We're going to hold it. It's going to be done this week,” Bret Gouvea, chief of CalFire's Shasta-Trinity unit, said at a community meeting Saturday night.
Initial assessments found that 131 homes and other buildings had burned, CalFire said. That number was likely to change as teams go street by street surveying the destruction.
(SFgate.com / AP)
Do you remember the niners quarterback Steve DeBerg? Good looking curly blonde haired athlete who looked like a pro quarterback but could not win games to save himself. Bill Walsh quote I’ll never forget: “He plays just good enough to get you beat.” The difference between Garrapolo and Rodgers in throwing the long ball is telling. Is that why Bellichick unloaded him to the niners? He looks like a pro quarterback and he played well when he was healthy, but he may be another DeBerg. Kaepernick could throw the long ball AND run. Anyway, Walsh replaced DeBerg with Montana and the rest is history.
Speaking of old niner quarterbacks do you remember the short career of George Mira? He was out of U of Miami. His problem was he threw the ball so hard no one could catch it. In college he had this little receiver who had these huge hands with long fingers who caught everything Mira threw at him. They should have drafted him when they drafted Mira, but I guess Mira should have stuck with baseball…
Ed note: I remember DeBerg and every other Niner quarterback all the way back to Frankie Albert. Kaepernick's banning should get NFL owners charged with criminal conspiracy, but in the present context of very late capitalism it's just one more uncharged crime. Jimmy G's days are numbered. The new guy can throw downfield and run. Go, Niners!
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 28, 2021
DELBERT ALFORD, Covelo. Parole violation.
RONALD BAYSINGER JR., Crescent City/Ukiah. Criminal threats.
MAKAYLA MCGREW, Willits. Failure to appear.
KEVIN THOMAS, Modesto/Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol, controlled substance, paraphernalia, narcotics, petty theft with priors, failure to appear.
WHAT IF our commoditized, financialized definition of wealth reflects a staggering poverty of culture, spirit, wisdom, practicality and common sense? The conventional definition of wealth is solely financial: ownership of money and assets. The assumption is that money can buy anything the owner desires: power, access, land, shelter, energy, transport and if not love, then a facsimile of caring. The flaw in this reductionist definition is obvious: not everything of value can be purchased at any price--for example, health, once lost, cannot be purchased for $1 million, $10 million or even $100 million. A facsimile of friendship can be purchased (i.e. companions willing to trade fake friendliness for money), but true friendship cannot be bought at any price: its very nature renders friendship a non-commodity. ...This explains the abundance of wealthy people who are miserable, lonely and phony to the core. Only commoditized goods and services can be bought with money or assets. ...Given the limits of the conventional model of wealth, the question naturally arises: what if we defined wealth more by what cannot be bought rather than by what can be bought?
- Charles H. Smith
TEMPUR-PEDIC? I'm an old lady (87) & need a mattress that doesn't hurt. I tried Flo-Beds & got what they called Firm. They are VERY nice people, but the bed was VERY painful. I just tried Fort Bragg Outlet, & they have a warehouse full of beds, & I got one that is FIRM & it was VERY painful. I am desperate. I do not know what to do. Please know that I'm sleeping now on my COUCH, in the living room, & it is NOT painful. But that couch will NOT go into my bedroom - it is 72” long, but there's a sharp turn down a hallway to go into the bedroom. Even put in edge, it is simply too WIDE to fit through the door. A friend thinks MAYBE it might go through my WINDOW if I could find enough tall, strong people who know how to REMOVE windows & GET THEM BACK IN, to do that for me! I do NOT like sleeping in my living room, so PLEASE don't suggest I just do that. I have friends, & also nice people who come here for one thing or another who would be welcome to sit on my COUCH, but I have to put bed covers on it that do NOT invite sitters! And I'm somewhat disabled & trying to REMAKE the couch every day is just beyond the call. Now, my only income is Social Security, so I live in Gov't. housing & can't afford to move! Is there something I can BUY that is likely to be comfortable for me? I don't even understand WHY my couch does NOT hurt. Yes, it's firm, but not excessively so. Plus it's old & has three cushions that are not all level or anything. Is there something someone could BUILD for me that would be comfortable? I can't just keep trying one bed after another, especially when I've already ORDERED what internet advice suggests for elderly people with back issues. I just don't know what to DO! I don't know what to try! The bed I got from the Outlet was a Springair with cushioned coils, & I sure thought it would be comfortable. But no. WHAT CAN I DO?
— Ellie Green
MISSING INDIAN GIRLS, YOUNG WOMEN MOSTLY
Yesterday, September 27, there was a disturbing interview on the PBS NewsHour TV of an Indian leader concerned about missing young Indian young women. MS Abigail Echo Hawk is the Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute and an advocate for missing young Indian women. According to her, 171 young Indian women are now missing in one western state, Wyoming. Doubtlessly there are many more in other states, including here in California, who go missing each year and are never found alive.
Relating the usual way in which Native American or Indian advocates are responded to when they report missing Indian youth: “When was she last seen? Is she a sex worker?” This is a typical response by a white only criminal justice system in America. More info can be found at www.ihs.gov.
When will it change for the better?
MENDOCINO COAST YOUTH ACTIVISTS are organizing a youth-led climate strike at Heider Field in Mendocino 1pm Friday, October 1st and marching to Friendship Park. It will be a multi-hour event with booths representing local environmental groups and organizations. The booths will give out information, aiming to educate the broader community on the disastrous effects of climate change.
Our specific aim with this strike is to get lawmakers and people in power to take action to stop the causes of climate change in our own community, specifically, the logging in Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Climate change is real and our generation is the one who will be most affected by the inaction of lawmakers and government officials. And so our generation is the one taking action across the world. Mendocino County needs to be a part of that movement.
Ravel Gauthier, age 12
OPEN THE DOOR, RICHARD
Open the door, Richard
Open the door and let me in
Open the door, Richard
Richard, why don't you open that door
I met old zeke standing on the corner the other day.
That cat sure was booted with the liquor.
He was what?
He was abnoxicated.
He was what?
He was inebriated.
He was what?
Well, he was just plain drunk.
Well, alright then!
He was sure salty with the bartender.
The bartender's trying to make him by another drink.
Zeke told the bartender,
There ain't no need of me buying no drinks when everyone else is buying them.
I'm going to drink to everybody's health, till I ruin my own.
Open the door, Richard!
Why don't he know who he's throwing outta that joint?
Why I'll go back in that joint and take a short stick and bust it down to the ground!
Open the door, Richard!
But I hate to be caught out on the street like this cause I got class I ain't never used yet.
But I guess I better get on in the house cause I don't want my pastor to catch me out like this.
Open the door, Richard!
Now look at that old woman across the street,
Done stuck her head outta the window calling her sister.
Look at her and her sister saying, 'ain't that him, ain't that him?'
Yes it's me, and I'm drunk again.
Open the door, Richard!
I know he's in there cause I got on the clothes.
They can't throw him out cause I owe just as much back rent as he does.
Imagine that old woman charging us three dollars a month
And getting mad cause we 12 months in the arrears.
Come meeting me last Thursday saying,
'ain't you boys going to give me some back rent?'
I told her she'd be lucky if she got some front rent.
Open the door, Richard!
Come on, open the door.
Cause I'm standing here scratching in my pants pocket
And standing here groping in my coat pocket
And standing here feeling in my shirt pocket
And I can't find the key.
Open the door, Richard!
Open the door, Richard
Open the door and let me in
Open the door, Richard
Richard, why don't you open that door
— Dan Howell, Dusty Fletcher, Jack McVea, John J. Mason
THE MAGA CROWD didn’t get the hoped-for thumping victory over manifest evil that it wanted and the election of 2020 will probably be drowned by the next wave of developments in what looks an awful lot like the deliberate torpedoing of Western Civ. The 2020 election, after all, was a procedural matter (if at the highest level of national procedure), but what lies ahead are much more life-or-death matters: will you make a living? Will you remain healthy? Will you get enough to eat? Will you have a roof over your head? Will you stay out of prison? Stuff like that.
— James Kunstler
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Can you make a living? For much of the population the answer is no. At least not under the current multi-decade regime of minimum wage-ization. That’s how you have the entire staff of fast food restaurants quitting, you’ve seen it, en masse, bye-bye, so long, take this shit-hole job and shit-hole wage and shove it.
Wage theft, you know, a half hour here, a half hour there, getting jerked around by a jerk-off of a boss and people say fuck it after years and years of hoping for something better and trying to tough it out. Who wants to literally work their fingers to the bone in a meat plant or an Amazon warehouse for a wage that barely pays the rent?
I hear that Amazon warehouses burn out people after a few months and have literally gone through every formerly eligible prospective employee in the towns they’re located in and can no longer find enough bodies. Bezos allegedly said that long-term employment is a march to mediocrity. Ok, he’s richer than me so he can have it his way.
Not enough truck drivers? Try paying something decent for a change and you’ll get enough. I know because decades ago I knew a fair number of long-distance truckers through my job. And back then you could make good money. I saw the numbers so I knew that for a fact.
A business based on working people half to death and paying them crap, in fact an entire economy based on such a model is one more arrangement without a future. We see in this pandemic that future drawing to a close.
AFGHANISTAN: A HISTORY OF LIES IN COMMENTS FROM THE BEGINNING
Your cause is right and God is on your side!
— Zbigniew Brzezinski, US national security adviser, to the Afghan mujahedin, 3 February 1980
* * *
I have benefited so greatly from the jihad in Afghanistan that it would have been impossible for me to gain such a benefit from any other chance, and this cannot be measured by tens of years but rather more than that.
Osama bin Laden, March 1997
* * *
Once, the Kabul Zoo housed ninety varieties of animals and got a thousand visitors a day, but in the era of fighting that followed the fall of the Soviets and then of Najibullah, the people stayed away, and the animals found themselves in a place more dangerous than any forest or jungle. For ten days, the elephant ran in circles, screaming, until shrapnel toppled her and she died. As the shelling went back and forth, the tigers and llamas, the ostriches, the elephant, were carried away to paradise. The aviary was ruptured and the birds flew free into the heavens from which the rockets rained.
Denis Johnson, 1 April 1997
* * *
Let’s step back a moment. Let’s just pause, just for a minute. And think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control.
US Representative Barbara Lee, 14 September 2001
* * *
This crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while. And the American people must be patient. I’m going to be patient.
President George W. Bush, 17 September 2001
* * *
The Taliban regime already belongs to history.
Jürgen Habermas, December 2001
* * *
I have no visibility into who the bad guys are in Afghanistan or Iraq.
Donald Rumsfeld, 8 September 2003
* * *
I will venture a prediction. The Taliban/al-Qaida riffraff, as we know them, will never come back to power.
Christopher Hitchens, November 2004
* * *
The markets for defense and related advanced technology systems for 2005 and beyond will continue to be affected by the global war on terrorism, through the continued need for military missions and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the related fiscal consequences of war.
Lockheed Martin Annual Report, 1 March 2005
* * *
Well, it was a just war in the beginning.
Michael Walzer, 3 December 2009
* * *
Rambo in Afghanistan. A screening of Rambo III at the Duck and Cover. Wear a headband for $1 off drinks.
Email chain invitation, US compound, Kabul, 2010
* * *
Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanising the ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory. Outreach initiatives that create media opportunities for Afghan women to share their stories with French, German and other European women could help to overcome pervasive scepticism among women in Western Europe towards the ISAF mission.
CIA Analysis Report, 11 March 2010
* * *
The overthrow of the Taliban was the ennobling corollary of a security policy; it was collateral humanitarianism.
Leon Wieseltier, 24 October 2010
* * *
Now I prefer cloudy days when the drones don’t fly. When the sky brightens and becomes blue, the drones return and so does the fear. Children don’t play so often now, and have stopped going to school. Education isn’t possible as long as the drones circle overhead.
Zubair Rehman, 13-year-old Pakistani student, 29 October 2013
* * *
I think his legacy in terms of his country will be a strong one.
US Ambassador James B. Cunningham on Hamid Karzai, 23 September 2014
* * *
While America’s combat mission in Afghanistan may be over, our commitment to Afghanistan and its people endures.
President Barack Obama, 15 October 2015
* * *
When [Afghans] leave, they break the social contract. This is an existential choice. Countries do not survive with their best attempting to flee. So I have no sympathy.
President Ashraf Ghani, 31 March 2016
* * *
He reads books on the transition from socialism to capitalism in Eastern Europe, on the Central Asian enlightenment of a thousand years ago, on modern warfare, on the history of Afghanistan’s rivers.
George Packer on Ashraf Ghani, 4 July 2016
* * *
It was impossible to create good metrics. We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture.
Senior NSC official, 16 September 2016
* * *
We’re getting along very, very well with the Taliban.
President Donald Trump, 10 September 2020
* * *
This is manifestly not Saigon.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, 15 August 2021
* * *
Laura and I, along with the team at the Bush Centre, stand ready as Americans to lend our support and assistance in this time of need. Let us all resolve to be united in saving lives and praying for the people of Afghanistan.
George W. Bush, 16 August 2021
* * *
The disarray of the past weeks needs to be replaced by something resembling coherence, and with a plan that is credible and realistic.
Tony Blair, 21 August 2021
(Assembled by Thomas Meaney, London Review of Books)
ADVOCATES SAY Governor Newsom's $15 Billion Climate Package Fails to Deliver Action on Fossil Fuels
by Dan Bacher
Sacramento, CA -- Against a backdrop of trees at the site of the KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia National Park as wildfires rage across California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the California Comeback Plan’s $15 billion climate package — the largest of its kind in the country.
Although climate justice and environmental advocates described the package as “impressive,” Food and Water Watch said the package lacks the “ultimate fire prevention method”: halting new permits for the drilling of oil and gas in California.
The Governor signed legislation outlining investments in the package to “build wildfire and forest resilience, support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience and directly protect communities across the state from multi-faceted climate risks, including extreme heat and sea level rise.”
“California is doubling down on our nation-leading policies to confront the climate crisis head-on while protecting the hardest-hit communities,” said Governor Newsom. “We’re deploying a comprehensive approach to meet the sobering challenges of the extreme weather patterns that imperil our way of life and the Golden State as we know it, including the largest investment in state history to bolster wildfire resilience, funding to tackle the drought emergency while building long-term water resilience, and strategic investments across the spectrum to protect communities from extreme heat, sea level rise and other climate risks that endanger the most vulnerable among us.” <http://recallbsa.org/>
When the Governor signed the state budget and related legislation in July >, he and legislative leaders agreed to additional discussions during the summer to further refine steps to advance their shared and funded priorities, including natural resources investments, according to the Governor’s Office.
The legislation signed today details some of the most important investments funded in the over $15 billion climate package, including a $1.5 Billion Wildfire and Forest Resilience Package, a $5.2 Billion Water and Drought Resilience Package, a $3.7 Billion Climate Resilience Package, $1.1 Billion to Support Climate Smart Agriculture and a $3.9 Billion Zero-Emission Vehicle Package.
“The climate package also includes $270 million to support a circular economy that advances sustainability and helps reduce short-lived climate pollutants from the waste sector, and $150 million that will support urban waterfront parks, with a focus on underserved communities,” the Governor’s Office state.
More information on the over $15 billion climate package can be found in the Department of Finance’s addendum to its enacted budget summary. Click here for the budget addendum.
Governor Newsom also signed a number of new climate measures to “protect communities and advance the state’s climate and clean energy efforts.”
Legislation to boost drought and wildfire resilience includes:
• SB 552 by Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) to ensure small and rural water suppliers develop drought and water shortage contingency plans and implement drought resiliency measures to prevent and prepare for future water shortages;
• SB 403 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) to allow the State Water Resources Control Board to order consolidation of an at-risk water system or domestic well in a disadvantaged community;
• SB 109 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) to create the Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development at CAL FIRE to evaluate emerging firefighting technology; and
• AB 697 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia), which enables the state to plan, manage and implement forest restoration projects on national forest lands through an expanded Good Neighbor Authority Program.
Food & Water Watch’s California Director Alexandra Nagy released a statement in response to the press conference, noting that leaving out such as a “key accelerator” as drilling for fossil fuels is “wildly short sided.”
“Governor Newsom’s $15 billion climate package is impressive in its scope and emphasis on electrification and fire prevention, but it lacks the ultimate fire prevention method: stopping new permits for the drilling of fossil fuels,” stated Nagy. “There can be no discussion of resiliency in the face of wildfires without stopping the rampant expansion of fossil fuel drilling and infrastructure immediately.”
“Under Newsom’s administration over 9,000 oil and gas permits have been granted to fossil fuel companies, directly fueling the flames of these scorching wildfires. Governor Newsom is absolutely correct in his assertion that our climate crisis has accelerated to the point where wildfire season is all year round. But leaving out such a key climate change accelerator as fossil fuels from the most ambitious climate package in the country is wildly shortsighted,” concluded Nagy.
Other member groups of the VISION (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods) also criticized Newsom for failing to end oil and gas drilling in the state.
“While today’s announcement from Governor Newsom is historic, we can only hope that his administration follows through on their commitment to climate action by ending the harm of oil and gas extraction where it impacts people first,” said Kobi Naseck, Coalition Coordinator, VISIÃ”N (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods). “It’s time for California to end the racist legacy of neighborhood oil and gas extraction and move toward a just transition by enacting minimum 2,500ft setbacks now and an end to new permits within that zone until a health and safety rule takes effect.”
In a tweet responding to the Governor’s climate package, Greenpeace USA said, “Throwing $$$ at the problem while continuing to drive climate chaos is like trying to mop up an overflowing bathtub without first turning off the faucet. @CAgov <https://twitter.com/CAgov>, it's time to invest in CA's future and stop drilling that is #FuelingTheFlames!
Also today, Elected Officials Protecting America — California held a virtual press conference asking Governor Newsom to declare a climate emergency, thereby following the science in the recent United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that spurred UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to say, “This is a Code Red for humanity.” The climate crisis is a major topic on this week’s U.N. General Assembly meeting agenda in New York.
According to the US Drought Monitor, 90 percent of the state is mired in the “extreme drought category, heightening conditions for fires to spread easily. The fires this year have already put the state on track to outpace that of 2020, the worst on record.
“California continues to be one of the largest producers of oil and gas in America,” said Firebaugh City Councilmember Felipe Perez, EOPA California Leadership Council. ”As long as the state produces the fuel of the climate crisis, we cannot seriously claim to be decarbonizing the economy — for the Californian economy is intertwined in the global economy. We must stop fueling the flames of climate change caused by the oil and gas industry. As long as the governor issues drilling permits, lets fracking continue, and allows refineries to operate we are part of the problem. We need to show the way and be a part of the solution.”
Today’s press conference took place today as the Department of Conservation’s CalGEM continues to approve new and reworked oil and gas permits in Kern County and elsewhere in California, although the approval of fracking permits has declined dramatically in recent months, with the agency denying another 42 fracking permits in August.
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.”
For more information and maps on oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles County, please read Kyle Ferrar’s piece, “It’s Time to Stop Urban Oil Drilling,” https://www.fractracker.org/?p=65832
ART WALK: emphasis on ART and WALK. Ukiah is a very walkable town.
Join artists and their hosts for an evening of art and music as you stroll from one venue to the next; each showcasing local art and artistry. Held in Historic Downtown Ukiah on the first Friday of each month, the First Friday Art Walk is the perfect way to relax your body, mind and soul. This enjoyable evening begins at 5:00 p.m. and promises to delight your senses; all while enjoying the company of others. For more information contact (707) 391-3664
Bona 116 W Standley Street Bona Market Place featured artist for October and November is Leah Tydings. A local artist that has a myriad of art techniques including felting. A mixture of her art will be on hand that feature “Birth Images” that she has created. Also featured will be local Midwife Lisa Rawson and her assistant Emma Wilcox that specialize in “Home Birth”. Both will share their passion for Women's Health and Well Being. Join us for this unique showing October 1st and November 5th from 5-8 pm.
Ukiah Valley Networking Agency 104 N School Street Ukiah artist Janet Rosen presents a selection of portraits made during the past year and a half. She explains: When the pandemic closed everything down in March 2020, I had just completed and hung a major painting project, Conversing With The Dead, at Ukiah Valley Networking Agency and had a First Friday Artwalk reception. Like so many people, suddenly I was sheltering in place, with no idea of how long it might be or what to do with myself. Within a month, friends mentioned an April 30 Faces/30 Days drawing challenge created by a site called Sktchy. I enrolled and completed the course. Then I did another... and another... And now my practice continues. During a time of only seeing people masked, how wonderful to spend time with an array of human faces from around the world! My refuge and creative outlet has been this ongoing series of soft, expressive portraits from an online community of fellow artists - peers, some of whom have become my creative muses.
Alex Thomas Plaza Join us for the first outdoor exhibit at Alex Thomas Plaza from 5-7pm at this coming Art Walk. This art series of 6 paintings by Annie Rugyt reflect the changes we all experienced last year- grief, loss, upheaval. But with change comes an opportunity to gain new insight. You'll be asked to reflect and share your own experience, as we celebrate our community and enjoy live acoustic music at this opening. Alex Thomas plaza's new outdoor gallery will be a place for emerging artists in Ukiah and is open to all artists.
Grace Hudson Museum 431 S Main St On Friday, October 1st, from 5 to 8 p.m., Grace Hudson Museum will be open for First Friday Art Walk, with an opening reception for *Selected Works from Tom Liden and Mac Magruder*. On display in the Museum's Public Room, this pop-up exhibit expands on the current exhibition in the main gallery: *30 Years On: Liden, Magruder & Knight, *a retrospective of the work of three Mendocino County artists (the third being the late Wayne Knight) since their first group exhibit at the Grace Hudson Museum in 1991. Mac Magruder's sculptures provide provocative social commentary leavened by a bracing dash of humor. They often feature figures in uncomfortable postures or making awkward gestures. Human existence at its stress point is portrayed, in evocative assemblages that capture life in Mendocino County--something well known for Magruder, a Potter Valley native and cattle and sheep rancher. Tom Liden's photography spans a wide range of subject matter and formal approaches, from subtle black and white images to his “Tribute to Red series,” which features close-ups of glassware, house exteriors, and other objects bearing rich shades of red. A well-known commercial photographer in Ukiah, he is lately focusing on his fine art, including his collection of colored glass. *Selected Works from Tom Liden and Mac Magruder* will be on display from Sept. 29 to Oct. 17. Please visit the Museum website at www.gracehudsonmuseum.org for hours and admission fees. (First Fridays are always free.) Several other events are planned to accompany the main exhibit, *30 Years On, *including a members-only reception on Oct. 2 and an in-person exhibition tour with Liden and Magruder on Oct. 16. A pop-up exhibit of the work of portrait painter Wayne Knight, who died in 2009, will be on display in November. The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 S. Main St. in Ukiah. For more information, visit the website or call (707) 467-2836 <7074672836>.
Art Center & Corner Gallery 201 S State St The Corner Gallery and Art Center Ukiah are opening three brand new exhibits for the month of October: The Corner Gallery is featuring oil painter Polly Palecek in both of the front windows, with a varied and eclectic retrospective of portraits, landscapes and still lifes. On the Young Artist Wall in the Gallery will be vibrant and evocative paper collages by Fort Bragg artist Allison Tuomala. Art Center Ukiah (in the back of the Corner Gallery) is proud to feature “Wild and Wooly,” an exuberant combination of fine art made with wool and information about Mendocino Wool and Fiber, a local resource for spinning and weaving fine Mendocino County fleeces.
Ukiah Valley Networking Agency
Ukiah, CA 95482
CDC DIRECTOR says US hospitals are 'filled with unvaccinated people' and warns that some are running out of ventilators and beds.
This is what triage looks like in the Private Sector...
They use an “Algorithm” to determine between two or three or four patients, which one gets the available care.
Which incoming patient is over 70? 65? 60? 50? Which has a life threatening health condition? Seriously acute or chronic health condition? Disability? Which has a job as a critical service provider? Provides a significant social contribution? Is an important social figure? Which has a solid support system? Is most likely to benefit from the care? Have a productive future?
- The walking wounded, get the most basic treatment to keep them going and get sent home to get better, or return if they get sicker.
- The folks with a good prospect of recovery, but are in need of immediate care, get that care, as quickly as possible.
- The folks with a poor prognosis are sent home with palliative care to provide comfort as they die.
Thousands that might have lived if there was sufficient medical resources, die, moreover, thousands of additional people that have serious health care events from heart attack to car accident, die because the emergency healthcare system is utterly gridlocked. This is the result of not getting vaccinated.
— Marie Tobias
AMERICA’S FATE: OLIGARCHY OR AUTOCRACY
by Chris Hedges
The competing systems of power in the United States are divided between oligarchy and autocracy. There are no other alternatives. Neither are pleasant. Each have peculiar and distasteful characteristics. Each pays lip service to the fictions of democracy and constitutional rights. And each exacerbates the widening social and political divide and the potential for violent conflict.
The oligarchs from the establishment Republican Party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican Party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger.
The alliance of Republican and Democratic oligarchs exposes the burlesque that characterized the old two-party system, where the ruling parties fought over what Sigmund Freud called the “narcissism of minor differences” but were united on all the major structural issues including massive defense spending, free trade deals, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, the endless wars, government surveillance, the money-saturated election process, neoliberalism, austerity, deindustrialization, militarized police and the world’s largest prison system.
The liberal class, fearing autocracy, has thrown in its lot with the oligarchs, discrediting and rendering impotent the causes and issues it claims to champion. The bankruptcy of the liberal class is important, for it effectively turns liberal democratic values into the empty platitudes those who embrace autocracy condemn and despise. So, for example, censorship is wrong, unless the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop are censored, or Donald Trump is banished from social media. Conspiracy theories are wrong, unless those theories, such as the Steele dossier and Russiagate, can be used to damage the autocrat. The misuse of the legal system and law enforcement agencies to carry out personal vendettas are wrong, unless those vendettas are directed at the autocrat and those who support him. Giant tech monopolies and their monolithic social media platforms are wrong, unless those monopolies use their algorithms, control of information and campaign contributions to ensure the election of the oligarch’s anointed presidential candidate, Joe Biden.
The perfidy of the oligarchs, masked by the calls for civility, tolerance, and respect for human rights, often outdoes that of the autocracy. The Trump administration, for example, expelled 444,000 asylum seekers under Title 42, a law that permits the immediate expulsion of those who potentially pose a public health risk and denies the expelled migrants the right to make a case to stay in the U.S. before an immigration judge. The Biden administration not only embraced the Trump order in the name of fighting the pandemic, but has thrown out more than 690,000 asylum seekers since taking office in January. The Biden administration, on the heels of another monster hurricane triggered at least in part by climate change, has opened up 80 million acres for oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and boasted that the sale will produce 1.12 billion barrels of oil over the next 50 years. It has bombed Syria and Iraq, and on the way out the door in Afghanistan murdered 10 civilians, including seven children, in a drone strike. It has ended three pandemic relief programs, cutting off benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that were given to 5.1 million people who worked as freelancers, in the gig economy or as caregivers. An additional 3.8 million people who received assistance from the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for the long-term unemployed have also lost access to their benefits. They join the 2.6 million people who no longer receive the $300 weekly supplement and are struggling to cope with a $1,200 drop in their monthly earnings. Biden’s campaign talk of raising the minimum wage, forgiving student debt, immigration reform, and making housing a human right has been forgotten. At the same time, the Democratic leadership, proponents of a new cold war with China and Russia, has authorized provocative military maneuvers along Russia’s borders and in the South China Sea and speeded up production of the long-range B-21 Raider stealth bomber.
Oligarchs come from the traditional nexus of elite schools, inherited money, the military and corporations, those C. Wright Mills calls the “power elite.” “Material success,” Mills notes, “is their sole basis of authority.” The word oligarchy is derived from the Greek word “oligos” meaning “a few” and it is the oligos who sees power and wealth as its birthright, which they pass on to their family and children, as exemplified by George W. Bush or Mitt Romney. The word “autocracy” is derived from the Greek word “auto” meaning “self,” as in one who rules by himself.
In decayed democracies the battle for power is always, as Aristotle points out, between these two despotic forces, although if there is a serious threat of socialism or left-wing radicalism, as was true in the Weimar Republic, the oligarchs forge an uncomfortable alliance with the autocrat and his henchmen to crush it. This is why the donor class and hierarchy of the Democratic Party sabotaged the candidacy of Bernie Sanders, although on the political spectrum Sanders is not a radical, and publicly stated, as the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein did, that should Sanders be the nominee they would support Trump. The alliance between the oligarchs and the autocrats gives birth to fascism, in our case a Christianized fascism.
The oligarchs embrace a faux morality of woke culture and identity politics, which is anti-politics, to give themselves the veneer of liberalism, or at least the veneer of an enlightened oligarchy. The oligarchs have no genuine ideology. Their single-minded goal is the amassing of wealth, hence the obscene amounts of money accrued by oligarchs such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos and the staggering sums of profit made by corporations that have, essentially, orchestrated a legal tax boycott, forcing the state to raise most of its revenues from massive government deficits, now totaling $3 trillion, and disproportionately taxing the working and middle classes.
Oligarchies, which spew saccharine pieties and platitudes, engage in lies that are often far more destructive to the public than the lies of a narcissist autocrat. Yet, the absence of an ideology among the oligarchs gives to oligarchic rule a flexibility lacking in autocratic forms of power. Because there is no blind loyalty to an ideology or a leader there is room in an oligarchy for limited reform, moderation and those who seek to slow or put a brake on the most egregious forms of injustice and inequality.
An autocracy, however, is not pliable. It burns out these last remnants of humanism. It is based solely on adulation of the autocrat, no matter how absurd, and the fear of offending him. This is why politicians such as Lindsey Graham and Mike Pence, at least until he refused to invalidate the election results, humiliated themselves abjectly and repeatedly at the feet of Trump. Pence’s unforgivable sin of certifying the election results instantly turned him into a traitor. One sin against an autocrat is one sin too many. Trump supporters stormed the capital on Jan. 6 shouting “Hang Mike Pence.” As Cosimo de’ Medici remarked, “We are nowhere commanded to forgive our friends.”
The political and economic disempowerment that is the consequence of oligarchy infantilizes a population, which in desperation gravitates to a demagogue who promises prosperity and a restoration of a lost golden age, moral renewal based on “traditional” values and vengeance against those scapegoated for the nation’s decline.
The Biden’s administration’s refusal to address the deep structural inequities that plague the country is already ominous. In the latest Harvard/Harris poll Trump has overtaken Biden in approval ratings, with Biden falling to 46 percent and Trump rising to 48 percent. Add to this the report by the University of Chicago Project on Security & Threats that found that 9 percent of Americans believe the “use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency.” More than one-fourth of adults agree, to varying degrees, the study found, that, “the 2020 election was stolen, and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” The polling indicates that 8.1 percent — 21 million Americans — share both these beliefs. Anywhere from 15 million to 28 million adults would apparently support the violent overthrow of the Biden administration to restore Trump to the presidency.
“The insurrectionist movement is more mainstream, cross-party, and more complex than many people might like to think, which does not bode well for the 2022 mid-term elections, or for that matter, the 2024 Presidential election,” the authors of the Chicago report write.
Fear is the glue that holds an autocratic regime in place. Convictions can change. Fear does not. The more despotic an autocratic regime becomes, the more it resorts to censorship, coercion, force, and terror to cope with its endemic and often irrational paranoia. Autocracies, for this reason, inevitably embrace fanaticism. Those who serve the autocracy engage in ever more extreme acts against those the autocrat demonizes, seeking the autocrat’s approval and the advancement of their careers.
Revenge against real or perceived enemies is the autocrat’s single-minded goal. The autocrat takes sadistic pleasure in the torment and humiliation of his enemies, as Trump did when he watched the mob storm the capital on Jan. 6, or, in a more extreme form, as Joseph Stalin did when he doubled over in laughter as his underlings acted out the desperate pleading for his life by the condemned Grigori Zinoviev, once one of the most influential figures in the Soviet leadership and the chairman of the Communist International, on the way to his execution in 1926.
Autocratic leaders, as Joachim Fest writes, are often “demonic nonentities.”
“Rather than the qualities which raised him from the masses, it was those qualities he shared with them and of which he was a representative example that laid the foundation for his success,” Fest wrote of Adolf Hitler, words that could apply to Trump. “He was the incarnation of the average, ‘the man who lent the masses his voice and through whom the masses spoke.’ In him the masses encountered themselves.”
The autocrat, who celebrates a grotesque hyper-masculinity, projects an aura of omnipotence. He demands obsequious fawning and total obedience. Loyalty is more important than competence. Lies and truth are irrelevant. The statements of the autocrat, which can in short spaces of time be contradictory, cater exclusively to the transient emotional needs of his followers. There is no attempt to be logical or consistent. There is no attempt to reach out to opponents. Rather, there is a constant stoking of antagonisms that steadily widens the social, political, and cultural divides. Reality is sacrificed for fantasy. Those who question the fantasy are branded as irredeemable enemies.
“Anyone who wants to rule men first tries to humiliate them, to trick them out of their rights and their capacity for resistance, until they are as powerless before him as animals,” wrote Elias Canetti in “Crowds and Power” of the autocrat:
“He uses them like animals and, even if he does not tell them so, in himself he always knows quite clearly that they mean just as little to him; when he speaks to his intimates, he will call them sheep or cattle. His ultimate aim is to incorporate them into himself and to suck the substance out of them. What remains of them afterwards does not matter to him. The worse he has treated them, the more he despises them. When they are no more use at all, he disposes of them as he does excrement, simply seeing to it that they do not poison the air of his house.”
It is, ironically, the oligarchs who build the institutions of oppression, the militarized police, the dysfunctional courts, the raft of anti-terrorism laws used against dissidents, ruling through executive orders rather than the legislative process, wholesale surveillance and the promulgation of laws that overturn the most basic constitutional rights by judicial fiat. Thus, the Supreme Court rules that corporations have the right to pump unlimited amounts of money into political campaigns because it is a form of free speech, and because corporations have the constitutional right to petition the government. The oligarchs do not use these mechanisms of oppression with the same ferocity as the autocrats. They employ them fitfully and therefore often ineffectually. But they create the physical and legal systems of oppression so that an autocrat, with the flick of a switch, can establish a de facto dictatorship.
The autocrat oversees a naked kleptocracy in place of the hidden kleptocracy of the oligarchs. But it is debatable whether the more refined kleptocracy of the oligarchs is any better than the crude and open kleptocracy of the autocrat. The autocrat’s attraction is that as he fleeces the public, he entertains the crowd. He orchestrates engaging spectacles. He gives vent, often through vulgarity, to the widespread hatred of the ruling elites. He provides a host of phantom enemies, usually the weak and the vulnerable, who are rendered nonpersons. His followers are given license to attack these enemies, including the feckless liberals and intellectuals who are a pathetic appendage to the oligarchic class. Autocracies, unlike oligarchies, make for engaging political theater.
We must defy the oligarchs as well as the autocrats. If we replicate the cowardice of the liberal class, if we sell out to the oligarchs as a way to blunt the rise of autocracy, we will discredit the core values of a civil society and fuel the very autocracy we seek to defeat. Despotism, in all its forms, is dangerous. If we achieve nothing else in the fight against the oligarchs and the autocrats, we will at least salvage our dignity and integrity.