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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Oct. 29, 2021

Mildly Dry | 23 Cases | PG&E Clearing | Boosters Today | Plane Crash | Coast Treats | Adventist Dissatisfaction | Boonville Fair | Chestnut Gathering | Skeletons | Potemkin County | Ballerina | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Dicey Problem | Real Marmon | Frank Herbert | Scary Costume | Hastings Responds | Banning Glyphosate | Congo Che | LSD Sales | Shameful Selfies | Flat Tire | Facebook Papers | Stay Home | Climate Conference | Maxwell's Parlor | Itliong Birthday | Beware Bogie | Go Brandon | Trickle Down | Party Politics | Found Object

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ANOTHER MILD AND DRY DAY is in store for most of northwest California today, but some showers will begin to push onshore in Del Norte County. Showers will expand tonight into Saturday as an upper-level low passes by. A fast-moving cold front will pass by on Monday with a widespread shot of rain, followed by another cold front Wednesday or Thursday. (NWS)

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23 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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OPEN LETTER TO ANDERSON VALLEY PROPERTY OWNERS

Heads up to Valley property owners.

The army of PG&E subcontractors currently in the Valley are aggressively evaluating the risk to PG&E power lines, poles AND guide wires from nearby trees. In the past, PG&E focused on trimming trees on my property to reduce risk to their lines. This time around the focus seems to be to cut down any tree deemed a threat, no matter how remote. They have also expanded THEIR definition of acceptable clearance from 4 feet to 12 feet. Will it be 100 feet next year? More firewood for everybody!

These out-of-state subcontractors have marked which trees need to be cut down on my property. They go on to say that I can refuse, but imply that PG&E will expect me to accept PG&E’s liability for any future wildfire. Do not know about you, but I am not accepting any liability that PG&E may want to off-load onto me.

These subcontractors seem to be tasked with pursuing only one remedy and that is to cut down the tree. They are not considering other, less drastic alternatives like trimming, topping, moving guide wires, etc. Mind you, we are talking about 100 year old oak trees which were growing in the same spot when PG&E chose to locate their poles and wires.

As recently as 3 years ago, PG&E relocated one guide wire from a location that posed no risk, to its current location where it is now near an old Buckeye tree. Now they want to cut down that tree even though it is leaning heavily away from the guide wire. 

Hey, these subcontractors do not live in the Valley, so what that heck, cut it down! But I can refuse. The subcontractor (from Houston) told me that the potential liability from that tree hitting the guide wire and pulling down the pole and starting a fire is very small, so why not just accept the liability and save the tree. Gee, why not move the guide wire? But he tells me that alternative is not in their computer program that evaluates risk.

I wonder if I will ever meet someone who is actually from PG&E who is willing and authorized to honestly discuss alternatives. Or will it just be the next subcontractor with a chainsaw in one hand and a liability acceptance agreement in the other?

I live on the east side of the Valley where trees are sparse. I can only imagine what the west side will look like after this current PG&E plan is executed. Clear-cut roads as wide as a redwood tree on each side of the power lines? That is what they did in Michigan where I grew up. It looks hideous. Any other alternatives?

Hoping other Valley residents will join this conversation.

Neil Darling

Boonville

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EYEWITNESS SAYS PLANE LANDING GEAR MALFUNCTIONED CAUSING TODAY’S FATAL CRASH AT UKIAH AIRPORT

by Matt LaFever

The City of Ukiah in a statement released this evening has confirmed that single-engine aircraft that crashed today at the Ukiah Municipal Airport resulted in the death of the pilot. 

The Cessna 172M Skyhawk overturned on the south end of the Ukiah Municipal Airport runway [picture by Matt LaFever]

The Ukiah Police Department, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Aviation Administration are currently investigating the crash. 

A Ukiah resident who lives near the Ukiah Municipal Airport told us around 1:00 p.m. the plane was taking off and was going nearly take-off speeds when the crash occurred....

mendofever.com/2021/10/28/eyewitness-says-plane-landing-gear-malfunctioned-causing-todays-fatal-crash-at-ukiah-airport/

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RE ADVENTIST HEALTH, FORT BRAGG (Coast Listserve)

(1) Hi Norman [DeVall]: I am writing you because I know that you are on the board and may be in a position to help things improve. I (and many others) have found the communication system now in use horrifying!! I was far too kind in my survey response, and since then things have gotten even worse.

I could only reach an answering service during office hours at suite A. I left messages, even some labeled urgent, and never got a response .

I have tried to reach Physical Therapy several times without success. They have no listed extension when the hospital gives numbers for various other departments, and when I was transferred, I got a message asking me for a mailbox.

I requested a referral from my primary care practitioner months ago for an outside cardiologist. The one here is, to put it kindly, unacceptable. Months later, I called the referral department and was told it would be about two weeks. That time has passed and no referral.

I got 2 calls around 5p.m. from Suite A, no message left. I called the next morning, got answering service again, asked what call was about, No Reply.

I went to the E.R. in May. There was nobody in the waiting room except a woman in patient gear wrapped in a blanket, trying to get comfortable by putting her legs over the next chair arm and trying to recline. Nobody came to offer her a gurney or a wheelchair or anything so she could be comfortable. She and I waited an hour (additional for her-I have no idea how long she had already been there and she was finally called in). The waiting room was empty. I went to the window and told the receptionist I was leaving. Then she offered me a room. I refused. I did not want to wait interminably again in a room, or be sent out again to the waiting room like that poor woman. So, not wanting to lose the money, she sent a doctor right out to see me. 

I just got a call from Physical Therapy. Even though I was a previous patient, she said I needed a referral. See above—it could be months.

Also, far too much money spent on full color mailings advertising their services, and far too little on improving those services: hiring more practitioners, more specialists, a better communications system, editing their automatic messages for brevity and clarity.

Thank you, Norman, and I would appreciate knowing anything we as a community can do to improve our local healthcare… 

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(2) I have had similar experiences. The Suite A answering service is not really a service, because a call back almost never occurs. All I wanted to know was if Adventist Health was offering booster shots. Seven hours later, when they returned my call, I’d already scheduled a booster with Mendocino Coast Clinics. The same thing happened when I contacted Suite A about my first two vaccinations, namely, Mendocino Coast Clinics ANSWERED their phone and provided the info I needed to get vaccinated. My primary physician is Willow Hubbard, a physician’s assistant. She’s excellent, but is unfortunately working under the Adventist Health system. It really bothers me that I can’t talk directly to her but must schedule an appointment to get one simple question answered. This is the face of healthcare for $$$$$$$. It stinks and doesn’t serve the patients at all.

One more thing: the Adventist Health Survey was a joke. It did not allow you to cite specific instances of poor performance. Everything in the survey was general and didn’t elicit critical information that the administrators could actually use to improve service. I have to laugh when I think about how relieved I was initially that Adventist Health was taking over our hospital. God, was I wrong. 

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(3) It has gotten so bad at Adventist health clinic Suite A that I am going to try to find a doc at the Coast clinic. The new computer prescription system has led to constant delays and errors in prescriptions. I waited 7 days for a response to my pharmacist, and then the script was changed. Requests to redo went unanswered, and then sent to wrong pharmacy. Receptionists can only send practitioners emails and layoffs have eliminated the practitioners' support staff, so they may not open the emailed message. Who can blame them for not wanting to take on the work their assistants were doing? It's a mess! What can we do to get back the level of support staff from before and get more training for the new computer system? Re that: beware if you use multiple pharmacies. The system recognizes your last order as your preferred pharmacy and no one seems to look further to see if it's correct for that medicine.

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(4) I also have found the support staff to be incompetent. Same issues, delayed prescriptions that go to the wrong pharmacy, etc. After my doctor retired I was assigned a new one. After seeing her once she told me to make another appointment for an additional exam (this was almost a year ago). When I tried to make that appointment I was told the doctor was going on maternity leave in 4 weeks and had no availability during that time. There wasn't a doctor who could see me and I still haven't seen anyone. This is not acceptable.

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(5) I finally got a bill for a June in person “encounter,” as they now call them. Maybe 15 minutes with the specialist, bill was $579. I was touched through clothing once, the rest was chat. Results good, but was floored by the cost. Oh, yeah, I had a followup in person! Can’t wait

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Boonville Horse Lineup, County Fair

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CHESTNUT GATHERING 2021

The 38th annual Chestnut Gathering will be on October 30th at the Zeni Ranch on Fish Rock Road from 10-4. Covid rules will be followed. No potluck this year but you can bring a lunch and enjoy one of the picnic areas. There will be adult and kids’ costume contests, and pumpkin carving. If you cannot bring a pumpkin to carve, some will be available. For sale will be fresh raw chestnut honey, Zeni Ranch T-shirts, and nut sacks. Chestnuts are $3.50 a pound if you pick and $4.50 a pound if already picked. Call or text Jane Zeni 707-684-6892 for more information.

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Koffee Klatch

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MENDOCINO COUNTY'S POTEMKIN GOVERNMENT — THE AVA TAKES THE BROAD VIEW

MAJOR SCARAMELLA (the only local news person who regularly reports on the Board of Supervisors) continues to document the many failings of the autocratic CEO and her somnambulant Board of Supervisors. As described by The Maj, the CEO continues to strike out in her feeble attempts to present basic financial data to the Supes. But it makes no difference as the Supes unanimously (with rare exceptions) sleepwalk through every meeting, blandly accepting mediocrity as an acceptable standard. 

THE CEO REPORT (according to the CEO) is a veritable treasure trove of information about County operations. Each report (taken in isolation) paints a rosy picture of county operations which (according to the reports) are humming along with proverbial Swiss watch precision. The individual reports (to cite a couple of examples) describe the progress in hiring for the Mobile Outreach Team and compiling the monthly financial reports. But when the reports are reviewed and revisited over time by the hawk-eyed Maj, it's obvious there is no progress. 

THE ANTI-VAX NUT JOBS who ganged up on the Supes during Public Expression last Tuesday had one thing right: it's time for the Supes to quit hiding behind Zoom meetings and let the public back into the Board chambers. Covid has been used as an excuse to exclude the public from public meetings for long enough. The CEO banned the public (and the Supes) from direct participation in the meetings without any public discussion. The CEO also unilaterally directed “remodeling” of the Supes chambers, presumably to make them Covid safe. The new digs were supposed to be ready in September but there's been no further mention of the re-model or a return to open meetings.

IT'S CLEAR THE CEO prefers operating without close contact with the Supes. It's equally clear the Supes prefer zooming in for an occasional meeting with no direct contact with the public. Attending remotely should remain an option for the public but it's way past time for the Supes to open the Board chambers for members of the public who wish to attend. Under the current system it's way too easy for the Supes to ignore public comment, which has been marginalized to the point of non-existence. 

THE ZOOM MEETINGS are not run by the nominal Chair of the Board (Supervisor Gjerde) who frequently asks Clerk of the Board staff what item to take up next and whether or not the Supes should retreat into closed session. The Supes do not follow the printed agenda but skip around at the whim of the CEO and staff. Which makes it even harder for the public to monitor the meetings or comment on any items they're interested in. For example the Supes abruptly adjourned to closed session at 10:30 last Tuesday with no mention of when they would return to open session. At times the Supes have stayed in closed session as late as 3:00pm with no update to the public on when to expect a return to open session.

THE PUBLIC is only allowed to comment if they've signed up in advance of the meetings. Then they have to hang around for hours waiting for their item to come up. There are almost always technical difficulties. Garbled audio is common and some callers are not able to get in at all. At times the audio is also poor for the Supes or staff. Such was the case for Deputy County Counsel Charlotte Scott who explained the redistricting process to the Supes at last Tuesday's meeting. No effort was made to get a better connection so the Supes and public could clearly hear what was being said.

HER SEMI-COHERENT intro was followed by a tedious review of the draft redistricting maps. The review amounted to shifting small blocks of population (typically voting precincts) from one Supervisorial District to another, always resulting in a new group of people feeling they were being shifted into the wrong district. The biggest potential change was the possible shift of Hopland from the Fifth District to the First District, a change that seemed to meet with the approval of the Board. 

SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS, who has frequently come under criticism from his Hopland area constituents, was quick to agree with the potential shift of Hopland out of the Fifth District. The other proposed major change, shifting Mendocino into the Fourth District, appears to have been shot down by coastal residents who objected that there was no community of interest between Mendocino and Fort Bragg. As if there is a community of interest between Gualala and the suburbs of Ukiah, more of which will be shifted to the Fifth District if Hopland is moved into the First. 

THE REAL (but unspoken) problem with moving Mendocino into the Fourth District is it would put Williams, a resident of Mendocino, into the same district with Gjerde. Based on self interest alone it's obvious the nearly invisible Gjerde has no interest in an electoral showdown with Williams who is ubiquitous on social media. Williams frequently intrudes into Fourth District issues, as with the hospital and some minor drought reports, and all but openly backed Lindy Peters in his recent challenge to Gjerde. 

BUT WILLIAMS, whose star has lost some of it's sheen (in large part because of his gratuitous dispute with the Sheriff) may also be anxious to avoid a head to head showdown with another incumbent. Gjerde would seem to have the advantage in the Fort Bragg area where he served on the City Council for over a dozen years before succeeding the wacky and corrupt Kendall Smith on the Board of Supervisors. And Williams could no longer rely on the south coast who only needs to know that the candidate comes from west of the first range of mountains and south of Caspar. 

TUESDAY'S BOARD MEETING also featured a cameo appearance by Deputy CEO Judy Morris presenting a “leg update” on items ostensibly relevant to the Supes adopted legislative platform. Morris, who appears to have been hired based on her personal friendship with the CEO (she and her husband ran a music business before they got elected to the Trinity County Board of Supervisors) reeled off a few of the bills recently signed into law by the Governor. Morris also reported the County “leg” platform will be rubber stamped by the General Government Committee before being rubber stamped sometime in January by the Supes. Missing was any accounting of which, if any, of the numerous items in the county's legislative platform were adopted into law. It's safe to say the county's legislative platform, like much of the busy work coming out of the Executive Office, consists of going through the motions without any real intent of accomplishing anything. 

CASE IN POINT are the futile economic development efforts of the County. As previously reported by the Maj, the Supes approved another gift of funds to the West Company which contracts with the county to provide “economic development” services. In a rare break with unanimity, Supervisors Williams and Mulheren voted against the gift based on the lack of any clear deliverables in the contract. The only verifiable economic development that comes out of these contracts are the hiring of more program managers to administer the funds. 

THE QUALIFICATIONS for contracting in Mendocino County these days are the same as for hiring. It all comes down to personal loyalty and friendship with CEO Carmel Angelo. West Company and its Executive Director, Mary Anne Petrillo, enjoy the same kind of preferential treatment accorded Redwood Community Services and Camille Schraeder. It's no coincidence that Schraeder and Petrillo are close personal friends of Angelo. The county usually skips any pretense of competitive bidding and auto-approves large sums of public funds on the presumption that no one else could possibly do the job better or for less money. On those rare occasions when economic development and human services contracts are put out for bid it's so obvious the process is hard wired for insiders that there are seldom any competing bids. 

WELL, MR. NEGATIVE, if things are as obviously bad as you say, why don't the Supes do something about it? Good question. Past Boards of Supervisors have featured members that were more obviously out for themselves (c.f., travel chislers Colfax and Smith), more obviously mentally challenged (c.f., Woodhouse and Hamburg) and more obviously jerks (de Vall at times and Mike Delbar). But the current lineup might collectively be the least prepared for the job. The primary duty of the Board is to approve the budget and set policy. But the Board defers to the CEO on nearly every question of budget or policy. When the Board does give direction the CEO frequently ignores it, knowing there will be no repercussions. 

THE SHORTCOMINGS of the Board are obvious to any close observer of the process. Equally obvious is the way the CEO usurps the policy and budget setting role of the Board. And why shouldn't she? Angelo has more longevity and more power than the Supes. First hired as CEO in March of 2010, after a short stint as Health & Human Services Director, Angelo has worked to consolidate power for over 11 years. Gjerde, the longest serving Supervisor, will have nine years in at the end of this year (but appears to have little interest in the job beyond anything that affects Fort Bragg or his own reelection). His four colleagues will have a total of 8 years of on-the-job training, most of it by zoom. 

IT'S CLEAR none of the current Supes have the will or the skill to stand up to Angelo. They also have the example of former Supervisor McCowen who was effectively disappeared when Angelo turned on him for reasons that have not been fully disclosed. McCowen, who is known for his tireless efforts to keep the rivers free of homeless encampments, is no shrinking violet when it comes to confrontation. But aside from occasional post-tenure comments on social media he's avoided a direct confrontation with Angelo.

SO IT'S no real surprise that the Supervisors are unwilling to reign in Angelo. The Supes also seem to be counting on the fact that most people have given up trying to follow the outcome of the Board meetings or influence the Board’s decisions. And that those who do try to follow along have short memories. If that's the case, so far they've been right. 

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BILL KIMBERLIN WRITES: 

So I was walking down the street in Ukiah, barely managing to mind my own business, when I came upon this street scene.

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ED NOTES

THE MERCURY SOARED to a summery 78 degrees here at ava headquarters today. My dahlias are still coming into bloom, as are the zinnias. The big rain Saturday and Sunday swelled all our streams, but by Thursday afternoon they'd subsided into the healthy looking flows we like to see. The sand bar imprisoning the Navarro where it's supposed to flow into the Pacific has at last been breached. We all thought for sure the rain of last weekend would blast it free for the first time in nearly two years.

ARTHUR FOLZ REPORTING:

Anderson Valley’s boys soccer team was narrowly defeated 2-1 in Calistoga Thursday. Junior Stephen Torales scored our only goal. We will have one final game this season tomorrow against Sonoma Academy at our home field.

The varsity girls handily defeated their first opponent in the postseason in the NCS championship game against Emery High School. We won all three sets 25-5, 25-5, and 25-14. We play here at home on Saturday against the winner of tonight's game between San Francisco Waldorf and Cristo Rey De La Salle.

And once again, our football team will be hosting Potter Valley on Friday at 6:00 for our homecoming game. This is also our last home game of the season.

MR. FOLZ mentioned in passing that the boy's soccer team is still alive in the area playoffs despite one lopsided loss, one win.

CAN'T REMEMBER the last time I watched a volleyball match in the Boonville gym, but I dropped in on Wednesday night's small school playoff contest between AV and the visiting Emeryville Spartans, the austerity implied in their adoption of Spartans an irony when one considers that Emeryville has a huge commercial tax base and very few people, meaning it's one high school doesn't lack for funding. As a kid I saw a couple of Oakland Oaks ball games from their rickety ancient grandstand in Emeryville, reached then by the key system trains from SF that ran all over the East Bay. That sensible and effective mass transit system was junked in favor of the automobile. Farther back, the nearby Emeryville estuary was famous for its Native American shell mounds. Now, what used to be a rather down market small town is covered with malls and glitzy high rises. Anyway, last night, the Spartans were no match for our girls who easily defeated the Emeryville lasses in straight sets. Emeryville brought one spectator, so far as I could see, a young woman in an hijab. Our side seated a fairly large turnout of parents and random sports fans such as myself, a local showing I thought quite impressive considering the NCS's demand that playoff tickets be purchased on-line in advance. Mr. Folz, the school's gracious and efficient athletic director let me in for free when I explained to him I don't buy anything on line. Looking on as the teams were introduced I can remember watching the parents, the grandparents and pinch me if I'm not old! even the great grandparents of these Boonville girls when their elders trod the boards of the Boonville gym. And could that be Willow Thomas? The last time I saw Willow she was a tiny 7 or 8 year old and occasionally so terribly bored she would pop up into the ava office to see what might be on in the way of geriactric entertainment. All praise to Title 9 that finally got women's sports parity with the whatchamacallits. Two generations of local girls have enjoyed participating in everything from volleyball to basketball to softball, and if my ancient peepers have betrayed me I believe there are at least two girls on this year's revived football team.

RE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON'S drive-thru booster event at the Boonville high school, a reader comments: “It was a great event. So well organized. Will be interested in how many got the booster. Actually I’d had a very busy day and was grateful to hang out listening to the radio. Took about an hour including the wait time after the shot. Really nice group of people from the clinic. Arriving early Wed. Oct 27 the line up of cars must have been a quarter mile long on Highway 128 but we seniors were served as quickly as they could check in cars two at a time (40 min wait), got the shot, and waited for 15 min. to be sure there were no problems. Super friendly crew and volunteer fire dept. pitched in to help. Well done!”

O THANK YOU, GAVIN, THANK YOU. Californians who haven't received their Golden State Stimulus can expect to see checks for $600 to $1,100 arriving in the next several weeks. Thanks to the state's $76 billion budget surplus, California lawmakers earlier this year approved sending $600 checks to residents who earned less than $75,000 in 2020. Our leaders were obligated to return money to taxpayers this year to comply with a government spending cap California voters approved by ballot initiative in 1979.

ON TUESDAY, the Biden administration “voiced concern” about Israel's decision to build more settlements in the West Bank, saying it will “strongly oppose” such expansion on land historically owned by Palestinians. Peace talks between Palestinian authorities and Israel broke down in 2014 and the Israeli settlements on expropriated Palestinian land have gone on and on. State Department spokesman Ned Price warned Israel on Tuesday that its planned expansion, the first one experienced by the Biden administration, “damages the prospects” of a future two-state solution. Under Trump, Israeli West Bank settlements expanded by more than 9,000 as Trump greenlighted occupation of Palestinian property by Israeli fanatics, many of them American immigrants. The global community is mostly opposed to these constant expansions, and the US, regardless of who is president, shovels many annual millions to Israel, the withdrawal of which would compel the Israelis to stop ripping off Palestinians. The Israeli zealots claiming Palestine as their own, base their claim on the Old Testament. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 28, 2021

Arlich, Byers, Christian, Duncan

GABRIEL ARLICH, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

DYLAN BYERS, Laytonville. Loaded handgun not registered owner, concealed weapon in vehicle, stolen property.

CHARLES CHRISTIAN JR., Ukiah. Vehicle theft with priors, stolen property, parole violation.

SABRINA DUNCAN, Covelo. DUI-alcohol&drugs, taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

Hogan, Jones, Raymond, Valdez

NICHOLAS HOGAN, Cornelius/Ukiah. Controlled substance possession/transportation, obstruction of justice, false personation of another, probation revocation.

AMARI JONES, Vallejo/Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.

TREVOR RAYMOND, Willits. Failure to appear, evasion by wrong-way driving.

ROBERT VALDEZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

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MATH QUIZ: If a stack of three regular dice has a three showing on its top facing side, how many total pips can be seen?

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WILL THE REAL MARMON PLEASE IDENTIFY HIMSELF? 

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FORMER PRESS DEMOCRAT REPORTER FRANK HERBERT WROTE 'DUNE' IN 1965

by Elissa Chudwin

Years before Frank Herbert wrote “Dune,” the popular sci-fi thriller recently adapted for the big screen a second time, he was a Santa Rosa Press Democrat reporter with a flair for the dramatic.

A Washington state native, Herbert was hired in 1949 as a reporter for The Press Democrat when he was about 29 years old. While working at the newspaper in the early 1950s, his interview with two children who hid under a blanket during riots at Los Guilicos School for Girls received plenty of attention after being published by several wire services.

Herbert was “often teased by his PD colleagues for his propensity to embellish routine automobile accidents and house fires more than his editors felt necessary,” columnist Gaye LeBaron wrote in 2017.

One of Herbert's early Press Democrat stories, “14-year-old Bride Misses Death by Hair's Breadth!,” chronicled a collision that left a teenage girl with head lacerations. She jumped from her 16-year-old husband's truck before he came to a stop and was struck by an oncoming car, Herbert reported. Much of the story focused on how her hair became caught under the car's front wheels.

Another, published in 1950, highlighted Herbert's frustration that there were two Frank and Beverly Herberts who lived in Santa Rosa. He was upset that he and his wife received phone calls and mail that belonged to the other couple, who had since moved to Eureka.

“I think I'll go change my name to Framisanell Gortersnarp,” he wrote. “But I'd probably find somebody living with the same name next door.”

Herbert left The Press Democrat in 1954 to briefly work for the San Francisco Examiner. He transitioned from journalist to fiction writer in 1955 when he published his first novel “Dragon of the Sea.”

Frank Herbert & Actor, ‘Dune’

“Dune,” whose latest movie remake starring Timothée Chalamet was released Friday, was first published as a novel in 1965. The book had several sequels.

Herbert did return once to Santa Rosa after he left The Press Democrat for a sci-fi convention in 1975 at El Rancho, where Costco is now.

Herbert died of cancer in 1986 at the age of 65 at a Wisconsin hospital.

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HASTINGS SCHOOL OF LAW RESPONDS TO NYT STORY ON SCHOOL'S NAMESAKE

Dear UC Hastings Community,

As many of you have likely already seen, the NY Times today published a story online about the school and its namesake, “A California Law School Reckons With the Shame of Native Massacres.” It will be in the print version later this week.

The piece fairly explores the history of Serranus Hastings and the horrific acts he perpetrated in the 1850s in the Round Valley of Northern California. These acts were unforgivable at the time and are unforgivable today. The story also considers a question that I have been considering over the last five years: how can our generation, and future generations, best address those wrongs. I write to you today to offer an update on our work. This is a lengthy message, but I feel it warrants as much detail as possible.

I want to make clear my position on the issue of the name of the College, which was not accurately represented in today’s news story. There is no effort from me or the College to oppose a name change. My commitment is to do what we can to bring restorative justice to the Yuki People (also known as N’om, Powe’ N’om, and Wit’uconomom People of Eden Valley and Round Valley) and other Indigenous communities who were affected by Serranus Hastings’ horrific acts. My own understanding of what the College can and should do relative to the Yuki People is evolving. It evolves as we build relationships with members of the Yuki People and the Round Valley Indian Tribes (RVIT). I want to be clear that it is not my decision or in the College’s authority to change our name. Such a change would require action from the California State Legislature and Governor’s Office. I and my colleagues have communicated regularly with elected officials in Sacramento about our efforts (see below some highlights of those), and made clear that if changing the name is something the College needs to do to bring restorative justice and there is legislative action to facilitate that change, I will engage with that process in earnest.

In the meantime, we continue to put our focus on what actions we can take now, with the direction of the Yuki People and RVIT. I have dedicated my career to UC Hastings, having started teaching here in 1987. This place is my professional home. As you may recall, when I first became dean in 2017, I heard about Serranus Hastings’ legacy through an Op-Ed published in the SF Chronicle by John Briscoe. I pledged immediately to find out more about this legacy and read two recently published books on the subject of the California genocide of the nineteenth century. I needed to learn more. I could not then, and will not now, shy away from the stained history of our founding dean.

In the late spring of 2017, I organized a committee of faculty, staff, alumni, and students, the “Hastings Legacy Review Committee” (HLRC), which was charged with researching and making recommendations to me on this history. I also commissioned a memorandum from one of the authors of the books I had read, Brendan Lindsay, to examine in depth Serranus Hastings’ responsibility for the genocide of the 1850s. Dr. Lindsay, a historian at Sacramento State, ultimately wrote a 100-page memorandum on this subject. What was revealed in that research only made clearer the atrocities of our founding dean and added to my motivation and commitment to take all action possible under our control.

The Committee did excellent work and made a score of recommendations regarding how the College could approach restorative justice for the terrible crimes of Serranus Hastings. They reached out to RVIT and thus started what is now a years-long endeavor to build trust and friendship with both the RVIT Tribal Council and with a group of descendants from the Yuki tribe. The Yuki People are members of the federally-recognized Round Valley Indian Tribes. That work is now ongoing with the help of the Restorative Justice Advisory Committee made up of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and local partners.

As with any sovereign nation, there is no one unified voice of the RVIT, just as there is no one unified voice among the Yuki People, even on the issue of what to do with the name of the College. That said, we have made all efforts to work with the Yuki People and RVIT on restorative justice efforts that can effectuate real change for their communities. All of our efforts are at the pace, readiness, and interests of the Yuki People and, where relevant, the RVIT community. Below are a few recent examples of efforts in progress. You can see an updated list here on our website.

We were asked to explore how we might improve broadband access into Round Valley, which has had internet access difficulties. These difficulties made communication challenges even tougher during COVID. CFO David Seward and my Chief of Staff Jenny Kwon worked closely with RVIT to connect the tribe with the California Public Utilities Commission and bring awareness of all the state and federal funding opportunities available, as well as to introduce them to a native-owned consulting firm experienced in this work.

There is interest from the Yuki community to record the stories of their elders, although there is understandable caution before moving forward. I have already secured funds to hire professionals experienced in such work and we are ready to move at the direction of the Yuki community members.

The people of RVIT have many legal challenges, including individual and community needs. Associate Dean Gail Silverstein is working to establish public interest fellowships with nonprofit organizations in the Round Valley area that will offer pro bono legal services to RVIT members and other California Indigenous communities. I am fundraising to support that effort and have already allocated initial funds for Summer 2022 fellowships.

There was interest in inspiring the youth of Round Valley to join their school’s debate club, attend college, and consider a career in law. We are inquiring about how we might connect our incredible Moot Court Team with the middle and high school in Round Valley. Senior Assistant Dean Toni Young stands ready to engage in that effort when the opportunity arises.

The Indigenous Law Center, overseen by inaugural Director Professor Jo Carrillo, is leading various other efforts not only related to Round Valley, but to the College’s ongoing relationship with the San Francisco Ramaytush Ohlone community. To that end, Professor Carrillo is co-teaching a course with Visiting Professor Jonathan Cordero, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone. UC Hastings sits on the ancestral land of the Ramaytush Ohlone, and our students in their course this very semester will effectuate real change as they work to establish a formal land acknowledgment endorsed by the Ramaytush Ohlone and the College. Professor Matthew Fletcher will join the College as a Visiting Professor teaching a course on tribal law and tribal courts.

The generational pain of the living descendants of the genocide funded by Serranus Hastings and supported by the State of California remains deep and ever-present. As Yuki descendant and my friend Ben Medel has stated, his people “live in the dreams of our ancestors.” Those wise words have stayed with me and help guide our efforts. I and other colleagues have visited the RVIT reservation in Covelo many times now and have heard first-hand their ongoing trauma and pain. We also hosted a group of Yuki People here in San Francisco in late August of this year. Over the years, one visit or meeting at a time, by showing up and offering our tangible efforts to support the needs of the community, I am proud to say that trust is increasing and friendships have formed.

Please do not hesitate to contact me or members of the Restorative Justice Advisory Board with further questions. You can also sign up for my Office Hours here and submit to my comment box here.

Best Regards,

David L. Faigman

Chancellor and Dean

John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law

University of California Hastings College of the Law

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HEART OF DARKNESS: CHE GUEVARA’S CONGO

by Jonah Raskin

If Che Guevara were alive today he would be 93. Too old to be the kind of guerrilla he had been in Cuba, the Congo and Bolivia, where he was killed on 9 October 1967 by Mario Teran, a 27-year-old military officer who shot him 9 times, presumably not just to kill him but to inflict pain and suffering. Teran and the Bolivian military had the help of the CIA, which had been tracking and tracing Guevara’s movements for years, as he knew. There was no way Che could hide from the CIA. The agency kept track of flights and passengers and the kinds of purchases guerrillas would make to camp in a jungle and launch attacks on soldiers who were well trained and in the service of a repressive regime. Che didn’t blame the CIA. Instead, he blamed “imperialism” and explained that it had “power over all the airline companies and airports” and monitored “the purchase of unusual quantities of backpacks, nylon sheeting, knives, blankets, etc.” He wasn’t up against a “paper tiger.”

Soon after news of his death was announced, Che became an overnight revolutionary icon, though he was already headed in that direction. I remember seeing his image everywhere, especially in buses and taxis, when I lived in Mexico in 1975. Che is still an iconic figure, though his image has been tarnished in part by his all-too-honest account of the seven months in 1965 when he failed to foment a revolution in the Congo, not far from the shores of Lake Tanganyika, which, he explained, constantly “tempted” him and offer an escape route to friendly Tanzania. Doomed from the start, the expedition seems to have been the beginning of the end for Che who wrote, “During those last hours of our time in the Congo I felt alone.” He added “never have I felt myself so alone.”

Call the Congo, Che’s “Heart of Darkness,” the place where he confronted his own inner demons and was undone by them. Too embarrassed to return to Cuba immediately after the military defeat of the guerrilla army he had assembled, he spent six months living clandestinely at the Cuban Embassy in Dar es Salaam and at a “safe house” in Prague, evading would-be assassins.

Granted, Che was no Mr. Kurtz, the imperialist villain in Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness who wants to bring civilization to the natives in the Congo, but loses faith, exclaims, “Exterminate the brutes” and carries out a policy of genocide. Still, like Kurtz, Che was disillusioned in the Congo. It wasn’t civilization he wanted to bring to the nation, but revolution and socialism.

In December 1964, he addressed the UN general assembly and predicted that “Yankee Monopoly Capitalism” would soon dig its own grave. Less than a year later, he wrote that the Congolese were “the worst example of a fighter I have encountered.” His dream of revolution had turned to dust. But he got a book, perhaps his best, out of the tragedy. As the Italian novelist and investigative journalist, Roberto Saviano, wrote in July 2021, Che “probes the world with an anthropological gaze and a poetic pen.” Saviano added that he was “an excellent adventure reporter.” At the end of his Congo narrative, Che wrote, “I learned certain things. These mistakes I will never make again, others I probably will make again; and I will commit new errors.” If nothing else he was honest, as honest as he could be given his own subjectivity.

Published in Spanish as Pasajes de la Guerra: Congo, the book appeared in English, first as The African Dream published by Grove Press, and this year as Congo Diary: Episodes of the Revolutionary War in the Congo (Seven Stories; $18.95). A memoir, an autopsy and a kind of confession, the author reveals his own misdeeds and miscalculations. He criticizes the entire military expedition and most of the operatives, both the Cubans, who were in the Congo with him and the ill-equipped and unprepared Congolese soldiers who joined them some of the time.

In “The Note” at the beginning of the book, the editors write that they would “like to acknowledge the effort and dedication of Commander Fidel Castro for his detailed revision of the manuscript.” Just what those revisions entailed, no has said. Still, the note makes it clear that Congo Diary is the official Cuban government version of Che’s account, which he himself edited, revised and polished from his own rough field notes. Also, his widow, Aleida Guevara—his second wife—helped ready the manuscript for publication.

In 2002, when Cynthia Grenier reviewed The African Dream, aka “Che’s Secret Diary,” for The San Francisco Chronicle, she explained that in the 1970s, as an acquisitions editor for Ballantine Books, she tried and failed to obtain the U.S. rights to the diary. Regis Debray, the French intellectual, author of Revolution in the Revolution?—and briefly Che’s sidekick—told her, “The Cubans will never let them out. They’ll keep them in their archives forever.”

The Cubans did keep them under wraps for nearly 40 years. But Debray underestimated Fidel and the Cubans. Publishing an edited version must have seemed better than not publishing anything at all. There isn’t a critical word about Fidel or Cuba in the published diary. If there had been something critical in the original, someone omitted it. Too bad the book wasn’t published in 1967 or 1968. It might have prevented the Che wanna-bes from committing their own militaristic errors.

In her 2002 review, Grenier wrote, “The beloved revolutionary icon sounds pretty much like an old-fashioned racist when it comes to evaluating his black brothers in arms.” Che’s fans and followers will likely disagree with Grenier, but one can understand why she reached her conclusion. In his “Preface: An Initial Warning,” which begins, “This is the story of a failure,” Che wrote that he wanted the “Cubanization of the Congolese.” Ironically, what happened, he added, was the “’Congolization’ of the Cubans.” “This does not reflect a derogatory opinion of the Congolese people, but it does reflect such a view of the soldiers at that time,” he said.

In Che’s eyes, the Congolese soldiers were unfit for guerrilla warfare or combat of any kind. They didn’t know how to fire a rifle, or make ready to ambush the enemy. They ran away from battle at the first sounds of gunfire. Also, they were superstitious, believed in magic and in spells, went to prostitutes in the towns, contracted venereal diseases, and, like “parasites,” lived off the peasants.

“A war is not won with such troops,” Che decided early on. The longer he stayed in the Congo the more he was convinced of the futility of his dream. “We cannot by ourselves liberate a country that does not want to fight,” he wrote. The Cuban soldiers who were white, as well as Afro-Cuban, were also not to his liking. They talked revolutionary talk, but they didn’t walk the revolutionary walk. Che’s attempts to persuade them to respect the Congolese and not patronize them went nowhere.

From the start, he knew he was up against the most virulent form of imperialism he had ever encountered. The Congo, he explained, was the setting for “the cruelest and most bitter liberation struggle.” Black Africans who had led anti-colonial movements were now sadly the “lords of the revolution” who enjoyed “princely holidays.” Neo-colonialism was as bad as colonialism itself. The agents of empires aimed not just for enslavement and exploitation, but also “for the negation of the individual human being.” It was depressing.

Che couldn’t speak grammatical Swahili, or overcome his own gloom, which he found embarrassing. “I am an optimist,” he told himself as though trying to escape from his “total despair.” His whiteness was his own worst enemy. “My skin color undermined everything,” he exclaimed near the end of his African sojourn.

One wonders what he could have been thinking before he flew from Cuba to the Congo, with fake papers and under an assumed name, Ramon Benitez. Perhaps he believed in his own myth and in his ability to triumph against all odds. In fact, in the Congo, he often kept to himself, smoked tobacco, read books and wrote in his diary.

He didn’t blend in, but rather stood out, though he identified with the Congolese peasants and the Congolese women who were treated by Congolese men “like merchandise,” he complained, and were bought and sold. There were no women in the army of “freedom fighters,” as Che called them.

Congo Diary offers 34 black-and-white photos. Many depict Che smoking a pipe or a cigar, sometimes smiling, sometimes somber and looking like the Congo had aged him far more than the actual seven months he spent as “Tatu,” the not so anonymous Cuban guerrilla in the heart of darkness.

Is there something to be learned from his book? Yes. Tell the truth, even if and when it hurts. “To replace colonialism with neocolonialism, or one group of neocolonialists with another group that does not look so bad,” Che wrote, “is not a correct revolutionary strategy.”

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues, San Francisco, 1955.)

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When the End Began

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WHAT'S BEEN THE WORST PHOTO you've seen on Instagram? There are so many candidates for this coveted title that I'm only surprised there isn't now a Shameful Selfie awards ceremony, not least because all the perpetrators would definitely attend 'for the gram' such is their shocking lack of self-awareness. You could even lower the winners through a trapdoor on stage into a pool of ravenous sharks and they'd still view it as a price worth paying for going viral. Auschwitz Memorial had to plea for visitors not to pose for grinning Instagram photos at the scene of the horrendous Holocaust camp, or post pictures of themselves balancing on the railway tracks that led millions of Jews to their slaughter. Some influencers - the word used for those Instagram users whose antics and posts 'inspire' others - will even risk their own death 'for the gram'. And of course, many celebrities are equally shameless, especially when it comes to virtue-signalling. Kim Kardashian and Emily Radajowski posted topless bird-flipping photos to supposedly promote feminism. But nothing quite prepared me for a series of eight truly shocking images posted on Instagram by Jayne Rivera, a 20-year-old fitness model and 'influencer' from Miami, Florida, of herself preening away in a figure-hugging plunging neckline black suit style mini-dress, stockings and boots, in front of her dead father's open coffin. To crave the validation of tens of thousands of complete strangers so badly that you don't care how woefully disrespectful you are towards your own father as he literally lies dead behind you is a stunning breakdown of values. Someone who needs an urgent lesson in civility. To borrow the favoured buzzword of Instagram influencers when commenting on something that makes their skin crawl: yeeeeesh.

— Piers Morgan

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THE AWESOME HYPOCRISY OF THE ‘FACEBOOK PAPERS’ MORAL PANIC

by Matt Taibbi

Come on down, Facebook, you’re the next contestant on America’s Latest Moral Panic!

“Havana Syndrome” and Netflix were also on the rack, but Facebook is society’s clear new bogeyman. In an age of manufactured manias, we’ve seldom seen as openly stage-managed a crisis as the “Facebook Papers.” What began as a series of 11 articles in the Wall Street Journal detailing revelations by a whistleblower named Frances Haugen has since given birth to what Ben Smith at the New York Times is calling “a new kind of journalistic network.”

Essentially, Haugen gave her best stuff to the Journal for a month-long news blitz, but is now stringing together sequel cycles of outrage by looping in more than 17 news outlets (new members are reportedly being added as I write) who are being given access to the scraps in her cache of documents. In return, participants agree to abide by the same embargo and other rules. The story of Haugen — guided by a communications firm of former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton and financed by my former boss, eBay billionaire and Intercept owner Pierre Omidyar — is being told in drip-drip fashion by this “consortium” of would-be media competitors, who are coordinating in Slack for maximum effect.

There’s no evidence of any requirement that this group, which according to Smith nicknamed its Slack chat “Apparently we’re a consortium now,” abide by any particular editorial approach. Still, the near-unanimity in tone — tsk-tsking, morally outraged, and couched as part of a sweeping collective call for punishment — has been more than unusually ridiculous. Not just one or two exemplars, but a whole army of commercial news outlets is complaining that Facebook is choosing, gasp, to make money off “divisive” and “sensationalist” content. This is like every fat-hawking burger chain from McDonald’s to In-N-Out teaming up to denounce the Big Gulp.

The most amazing example was one of the early Journal pieces, a September 15th article entitled, “Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place. It Got Angrier Instead.”

In it, the Journal cites an email from Jonah Peretti, chief executive at Buzzfeed, to a “top official” at Facebook, complaining that Facebook was making their own dumb clickbait too successful.

The most divisive content that publishers produced was going viral on the platform, he said, creating an incentive to produce more. He pointed to the success of a BuzzFeed post titled “21 Things That Almost All White People are Guilty of Saying,” which received 13,000 shares.

Other content the company produced, from news videos to articles on self-care and animals, had trouble breaking through. Mr. Peretti blamed a major overhaul Facebook had given to its News Feed algorithm earlier that year, âaccording to internal Facebook documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal that quote the email.

This is Buzzfeed — the company that rose to prominence ages ago atop content like “34 Reasons Why Parent Trap Dennis Quaid Is The Hottest Movie DILF Ever” and “109 Cats in Sweaters” — essentially complaining that “Facebook made me do it,” when it comes to lowbrow click-chasing. And the Wall Street Journal, owned by Rupert “Boobs on Page 3” Murdoch’s News Corporation, co-signed the sentiment. You need a chainsaw to cut through that hypocrisy.

In its early years, the digital media game typically involved coming up with a pole-dancing site concept that would a) attract eyeballs by gaming Facebook and Google algorithms, and b) induce a deep-pocketed investor to throw piles of cash onstage, as NBC Universal did investing $400 million in it.

Recouping the money through actual revenue generation consistently proved difficult-to-impossible, to the surprise of no one in the business, as it was tacitly understood the real “revenue model” of most digital media concepts was roping in that first VC whale. This is why the Internet is littered with the zombie remains of once-sexy pitches like Mashable and Upworthy, whose founders lived fat for a bit, then took huge losses and/or ended up selling cheap.

When Peretti bought HuffPost in 2020, he had two properties that each helped pioneer central tenets of clickhole culture: Buzzfeed with the listicle and HuffPo with mass-production of editorial red meat for one political demographic. Buzzfeed in particular represented the media equivalent of blowing strangers in Grand Central Station for crack money, mass-generating content like “We Need to Talk About Voldemort’s Dick” and “Sound the Fucking Alarms, Zac Efron Fell While Running on the Beach.” 

In the Trump era Buzzfeed sank to new depths, among other things rushing to be the first outlet to publish in full one of the most virulent hoaxes in recent media history, the Steele Dossier. This move, which exploded traditional prohibitions against publishing material whose veracity is in doubt, was justified on the grounds that the age of media being “gatekeeper for information” was a “luxury” we could no longer afford. Yet the argument now is we need to return to the gatekeeper era, to head off “misinformation” (!) and harm done by — Facebook!

Commercial news outlets, not Facebook, have been the chief architects of the panic era. They’ve spent six years now coaching Trump-era audiences to act like roulette addicts endlessly trying to win back a loss, begging them to stay at the table and just move their chips from one “existential threat” or “apocalypse” to the next. From Russiagate to Treason in Helsinki to kids in cages to Bountygate to the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 to the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” and the “biggest threat against democracy since the Civil War,” audiences have fallen into a freakout and stayed there. They wake up knowing nothing, but by noon demand the biggest available policy weapon be fired in the shortest possible time frame, at problems they only just heard about, with the zero-to-defund trajectory of the George Floyd story typifying the pattern. Just as quickly, the same people forget and move on, trying on new terrors like shoes.

Facebook is the latest target loaded into this moral mania machine, and one of the first to be mass-recycled.

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WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR CALIFORNIA AND NEWSOM AT CLIMATE CONFERENCE?

by Rachel Becker

It’s what some are calling the last, best chance for world leaders to agree on how to stop catastrophic climate change, and what others say could be fruitless. Either way, California will be well represented.

The 26th United Nations climate change conference will draw global leaders to Glasgow, Scotland next week, including a 23-member official delegation from California led by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The meeting comes as the extreme impacts of climate change continue to pummel California, which saw torrential rains this week even in the midst of a devastating drought.

“The stakes are high. It’s an important issue in California,” said Ken Alex, senior policy advisor on climate and environment under former Gov. Jerry Brown and now director of Project Climate at the University of California, Berkeley. Rattling off climate impacts such as drought, flooding, sea level rise and wildfires, Alex added: “It’s very real for California. California is going to continue on, but we need to see the world join us.”

This year’s conference is the first since President Joe Biden took office and rejoined the Paris climate agreement to cut planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution worldwide, marking a seismic shift in the national approach to tackling climate change. It also marks a fundamental change to California’s role, no longer battling a federal foe in former President Donald Trump.

“Brown did a wonderful job with the wicked man from Washington — with saying, ‘We are different from them, and we have our own policy,’” said state Sen. Bob Wieckowski, who will be attending the climate conference. Now, the Fremont Democrat said, Newsom has to go beyond that and show concrete, short-term plans: “He has to write a new chapter on commitment.”

Though California doesn’t have an official seat at a negotiating table reserved for nations, the conference is a chance for California to burnish its reputation as a climate leader and weigh in on critical issues, such as carbon trading and methane pollution.

It’s also a chance for lawmakers, top state environmental officials and Newsom to discuss the state’s climate strategy amongst themselves, now that Newsom has survived the Sept. 14 recall election and is laying the groundwork for his 2022 reelection campaign.

Environmental advocates have sent Newsom off to Scotland with a wish list of action items, urging the governor to “meet the moment” by announcing more ambitious climate policies, such as stopping permits for all new oil and gas development.

“Climate-minded voters showed up by the millions for Newsom,” Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, wrote in a Sacramento Bee commentary. And at the conference, “we’re expecting him to show up for us.”

Brown, who has appeared at the annual summits, himself, said Newsom has to persuade other leaders about the need for action.

“He’ll get ideas from others, and that’s good. But most importantly is to get others to do what California is doing so we’re not the outlier. We don’t want to have rules that the rest of the world doesn’t have,” Brown told CalMatters. “California’s there in an important way because we’re a carbon polluter, and we’re also a carbon problem solver.”

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, is more skeptical that the conference would lead to meaningful climate action.

“What does a promise and a pledge mean in the end? Nothing,” Schwarzenegger said Wednesday at an environmental justice conference hosted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. “It’s just over and over, year after year, they make these pledges. And they come out, they declare victory, but then nothing is getting done. And so this is what I’m worried about.”

California enters the conference with some clear climate bona fides. The state reached its 2020 goals to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 1990 levels four years early, scrubbed carbon from the electricity sector with ambitious renewable energy standards, and led the nation with clean car rules.

But California is caught in a balancing act. Despite its climate forward image, California is the seventh largest producer of crude oil in the country. And the state’s top clean air regulator has warned that California will need much greater cuts in greenhouse gas pollution to reach its goals, which the state auditor has also said California will fail to meet if it doesn’t pick up the pace.

Newsom has drawn criticism from environmental advocates for not doing more to curb oil and gas production, which disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. Last week, however, he publicly backed tougher rules for oil and gas wells, a move environmental advocates applauded, after ordering a ban on new fracking by 2024.

“Newsom does have a habit of overpromising and under delivering. But I think he has a real opportunity at COP26 to be a transformative leader,” said RL Miller, a member of the Democratic National Committee and president of Climate Hawks Vote. “People will be listening to the speeches, but equally, listening for action.”

‘You go because everybody else is going’

The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP26, is part international negotiation, part political stage and part climate palooza. Even with COVID-19 limits, about 190 world leaders and tens of thousands of others are expected to converge on Glasgow, starting Monday. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, however, pulled out at the last minute after a hospital visit.

The program lays out plenary sessions and mandated workshops, but also “innovative spaces and experiences” hosted by major corporations including Microsoft, Hitachi and the British grocery chain Sainsbury’s. Attendees can visit creative exhibits from local artists, and a showcase of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles.

It’s like “a trade association meeting, where most of the people who work on these issues get together and get to see each other and talk to each other and reinforce each other,” Mary Nichols, the former California Air Resources Board chairperson, told CalMatters.

She has attended a half-dozen of them. “You go because everybody else is going, because it’s a good place to see people and follow up or create relationships,” Nichols said. “It’s a global problem, after all.”

This particular conference comes at a pivotal moment, six years after the landmark COP21 where 196 countries adopted the Paris Agreement. The international treaty is aimed at cutting planet-heating greenhouse gas pollution enough to limit global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Global leaders have been hashing out the playbook for the Paris Climate Agreement ever since, negotiating over the role of carbon markets in curbing climate change, how to spur further greenhouse gas cuts, and ensuring funding for developing countries to cover the costs of adapting to a warming world. Though developed nations pledged to contribute $100 billion per year by 2020, they appear to have fallen short.

“Paris set the destination — limiting warming well below 2 degrees, aiming for 1.5 degrees — Glasgow must make it a reality,” the COP26 organizers wrote.

Under the Paris agreement, governments around the world developed their own climate action plans to cut emissions. Many updated their pledges in the lead-up to the summit. But a new U.N. report says that the plans fall woefully short — leading to an increase in global greenhouse gas pollution that could cause temperatures to rise by about 2.7 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

“Overshooting the temperature goals will lead to a destabilised world and endless suffering, especially among those who have contributed the least to the (greenhouse gas) emissions in the atmosphere,” Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the U.N. climate change secretariat, said in a statement. “We are nowhere near where science says we should be.”

A changing landscape for the U.S. and California

Newsom may like to call California a nation-state, but as a sub-national government, it doesn’t have an official role in the climate negotiations.

The state has, however, had an outsized voice in international discussions about global warming — providing a clear example that economic growth and cuts in carbon emissions can happen at the same time, in the same place. In 2015, Brown joined with the leaders of 11 other states and provinces, agreeing to limit global temperatures from climbing more than 2 degrees Celsius. The Under2 Coalition says it has since grown to include 260 governments.

When the Trump administration abandoned the Paris climate accord, Brown stepped in. As a de facto climate leader, he rallied states and regions at the international summit in 2017 — warning in an interview that “Trump better get on board or get out of the way.”

“The stakes for the COP itself are very high, because the U.S. is returning to the fold,” said Alex, Brown’s climate “concierge.” “California has been very steady for a long time. But in the four years of Trump, California stuck to its guns, its economy continued. And now, we have a lot of credibility worldwide.”

President Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement almost as soon as he took office in January — pivoting the federal government into position as California’s climate ally, rather than opponent. As Biden prepares to leave for Europe, he’s still negotiating with fellow Democrats in Congress on climate change spending in a massive infrastructure package, though the clean electricity program appears dead.

“California’s leadership has been challenged in the last four years, but those headwinds now are tailwinds with the Biden administration. We’re not sparring partners, we’re working partners as it relates to issues of climate change and dealing with the challenges of wildfires,” Newsom said when Biden visited California in September to survey fire damage and show his support before the recall election.

All eyes should be on the U.S. and China, Brown said, calling everything else a “distraction.” Tensions between the two nations could hinder climate negotiations. “Without Xi Jinping and Biden being able to work together, then everything else will not succeed,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

“We’re not doing enough, and the national leaders, particularly China and the U.S., have to exert themselves and become more imaginative and do more,” Brown said. “The rest of the people are more cheerleading from the stands.”

He said the baton on climate change leadership has been passed from governor to governor, starting with Gray Davis, then Schwarzenegger, himself and now Newsom.

“Newsom is carrying the ball to the next level,” Brown said. “It’s been a continuous movement in the right direction, although not anywhere near where it needs to be to get the job done.”

California’s lawmakers have plans of their own for the meeting, including a session with members of the Scottish Parliament to discuss the sub-national governments’ climate efforts, Wieckowski said. Many in the legislative contingent said they were eager to bring ideas home.

“This was not a good year for climate policy legislation in the Legislature, and I’m anxious to go and see what other people are doing, and get energized by their efforts — and see if we can’t bring it back to California,” said Sen. John Laird, a Democrat from Monterey and former Natural Resources Secretary under Brown.

State Sen. Lena Gonzalez, a Democrat from Long Beach and chairperson of the Senate transportation committee, said her focus will be on clean transportation programs, the largest source of greenhouse gases in the state.

“Transportation has become sort of this really sexy topic, but so important as it pertains to reduction of our (greenhouse gas) emissions,” Gonzalez said. “I’m looking forward to going as chair of transportation and as someone who has a lot of impacts back home.”

Tackling methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is also on the agenda — with the U.S. and 31 other countries pledging to cut methane pollution 30% by 2030. California made its own pledge in 2016, with a law requiring a 40% cut to methane pollution by the same deadline.

“We’ve had this target in statute for five years,” said Katelyn Roedner Sutter, a senior manager with the Environmental Defense Fund, which is co-hosting a methane pavilion at the conference. “And we can say these are the things that we’re looking at, and this is what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.”

So is the annual summit a big deal for California? “It is, and it isn’t,” Alex said. “This is about the U.S. But California really is an example of where we need to head. And California, of course, needs to go faster as well.”

Charting a new climate course

Environmental advocates call this meeting an opportunity to regain California’s climate ambition.

“The bloom is no longer on the rose of California’s general reputation as a leader,” said environmental advocate Miller. “California has an opportunity to reclaim its mantle as a leader, but only if Gavin Newsom starts taking seriously the process of winding down the fossil fuel industry.”

Part of the conversation at the annual summit will be establishing rules around emissions trading. But independent experts and state lawmakers have raised concerns that California’s landmark cap-and-trade program — the first in the nation to create a carbon market for all segments of the economy — might be too weak to reach the state’s greenhouse gas targets. Nearly a decade after its launch, California has not enticed any other western states to join its cap-and-trade program.

Neena Mohan, climate justice manager for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, said that climate solutions must prioritize direct reductions in emissions and called on Newsom to champion “California’s bold actions towards an oil and gas phaseout and end to neighborhood drilling, while sharing the lessons learned from the failures of cap and trade.”

As for transportation, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said last year it remains largely unclear how effectively California’s policies are reducing climate-warming pollution from cars and trucks. The state auditor in February slammed the California Air Resources Board for overestimating the greenhouse gas cuts from clean car incentive programs. Newsom ordered the air board to come up with a plan for phasing out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, but the regulations are still in the works.

Still, in September, Newsom signed a $15 billion climate package, which The Climate Center’s Cohen wrote was “a strong start.” And Miller said she was heartened to see Newsom’s backing of health and safety buffer zones around new oil and gas wells.

“Newom did survive this recall handily, and I think he’s now looking at what he wants to do for not just the remainder of this term but for his next term,” Miller said. “And rather than be content with simply implementing the Jerry Brown policies, I think he’s genuinely beginning to grapple with phasing out oil production in California.”

Brown, asked if he had any advice for Newsom heading to COP26, replied: “That’s just a silly question. If I had advice for Newsom, why would I give it to you and not to him?”

“We have a big existential threat. It’s going to affect your life negatively … We have to build political support as best we can.”

(CalMatters.org)

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Maxwell’s Parlor, Mendo, 1917

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LARRY ITLIONG CELEBRATION IN POPLAR AND DELANO

POPLAR, CA - 24OCTOBER21 - Farmworker movement activists celebrated the birthday of Larry Itiong at the Larry Itliong Resource Center in Poplar, and walked and caravanned to Delano. Itliong was a Filipino labor leader, starting in the 1940s, when he helped organize farmworkers and Alaska cannery workers, and was dispatcher of UCAPAWA Local 7 (now the Inlandboatmen's Union of the ILWU). He organized farmworkers through the 1950s with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, and in 1965 he and other Filipino workers started the 1965 grape strike, which led to the organization of the United Farm Workers. A day in honor of his birth was declared by the California state legislature.

For a full selection of photographs, click here:

Celebrating Larry Itliong Day in Poplar and Delano

Among the people celebrating his birthday were California Attorney General Rob Bonta, UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, Sacramento LCLAA chapter president Desiree Rojas, Filipina academic Robyn Rodriguez, Central Valley Empowerment Alliance organizers Mari Perez and Arturo Rodriguez, longtime Filipino community activists Cyntia Bonta, Lillian Galedo and Edwin Batonbacal, members of the Itliong family, including Johnny Itliong, and many others.

(David Bacon)

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LET'S GO BRANDON by rapper Bryson Gray

[Chorus: Topher]

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

[Verse 1: D.Cure]

NASCAR got em chantin' (aye) "Let's Go Brandon"

Some don't understand it, who really commandin'

Left Kabul abandoned, how dairy (dare he) do it Dannon

He don't want us to breathe, the strangler from Scranton

Someone give assisted living a call "Get your man back"

He don't know what's real at a-a-all, what about Amtrak?

They don't care about this virus really flights are jam-pack’d

Everybody gotta go and get a vaccine wh… I'm asking - you better have a stamp

Prices rising by the minute

Tell me you want Biden in it?

Mask required - I don't go get it

I am not complying with it

Got that drive don't try to rent it

When I exercise and try to limit my DVR

Everybody wanna lie, my reply let's go TMR

. . .

 [Chorus: Topher]

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

. . .

 [Verse 2: The Marine Rapper]

Let’s go let's go let's go let's go, Joe Biden oh yes he must go

For what he did to the 13, just know that I'll never let go

Military, all my vets know, my family, like Toretto

Yes I’m furious, on petro, let’s go let's go let's go let's go

Joe you nuts like Chip and Dale if you think that you’ll ever Earnhardt

You a senior touching juniors can’t you let her finish school first?

You like them 11, call 12, and I hope the 13 haunt you

And my smoke you do not want it, all my lines are dope like Hunter

Rocky, I’m Apollo Creed's, only legacy, of the rap scene

It’s the Marine, artillery, shot more arms, than a vaccine

Ain’t doing nathan for the human races

You just ruin things and you the biggest racist

You the biggest liar but you ain’t on fire

Like you Will Ferrell out at Talladega , Let’s GO!

. . .

 [Chorus: Topher]

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

. . .

[Verse 3: Topher]

America don't care about you Joe

I thought that you should know

Got us rolling back the curtains on the stage you done set

Treat you more Alec Baldwin since being a prop is now a threat

Ooh

Most popular president in U.S. history

How they calculated that still remains a mystery

Economy isn't great, containers stuck at bay

And you have no current plan for the caravan on it's way

Talking Build Back Better more like build back broke

Gas prices so high it'll make a dope fiend choke

As a veteran, I try to respect the commander-in-chief

But if I'm honest, Let's Go Brandon brings amazing relief

[Chorus: Topher]

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

Let's go, Let's Go, Let's Go Brandon, aye

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PARTISAN REPS

Editor,

Joe Biden said leaving Afghanistan was a huge success. I wonder what a failure would look like.

Biden said the infrastructure bill would be paid for by taxing corporations and the rich. The bill would also provide jobs. Biden didn’t notice the help wanted signs? Corporations and the rich are a lot of things, but they are not stupid. Did you notice the jump in prices for just about everything? That didn’t work.

Now there is news about supply chain problems. So, how come the supply chain problem did not exist last year or the year before? Now, there are also all sorts of stories to explain away the shortage of goods relative to the huge price increases.

Based upon how politicians vote down party lines, I question who they represent. Since any representative has voters of both major parties in their district, it appears that party line voting means that your representative actually works for the party and not for you. I think that in this case the Democrats have shot themselves in the foot with a shotgun and the Republicans are not far behind.

David Grundman

Rohnert Park

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FOUND OBJECT (you provide the caption)

35 Comments

  1. Craig Stehr October 29, 2021

    Andy Caffrey in his apartment in Garberville, CA is busy putting the finishing touches on a huge project to digitalize the history of Earth First!, in particular the national Round River Rendezvous with all of the original music, impassioned speech making, and direct actions, in addition to video and audio reportage from the Maxxam invasion, and a whole lot more. He needs money! Andy Caffrey, 816 Locust Street #C, Garberville, CA 95542-3442. I’ve got a telephone number in my address book: 213-842-3082. Thank you for your assumed generosity, from loving hearts.

  2. Lee Edmundson October 29, 2021

    NB: From the county’s website regarding redistricting “…boundaries shall not be drawn for purposes of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent…”

    So, no head-to-head between Williams and Gjerde,

    • Chuck Wilcher October 29, 2021

      “…Williams, a resident of Mendocino, into the same district with Gjerde.”

      When did Ted move out of Albion?

      • Lee Edmundson October 29, 2021

        Ted’s lived on Pallette Drive in the Point of View Estates in Mendocino for the past several years. I’m not sure he’s ever lived in Albion. But Comptche.

        • Chuck Wilcher October 30, 2021

          I guess I’m out of the loop.

          He lived out on G Road for a while and was the Albion fire department chief and then second in command after becoming a supervisor.

          He hasn’t lived in Comptche for years.

  3. George Hollister October 29, 2021

    Neil Darling. As a part of the conservation, it is my opinion that it is better served to cut a tree down than than to top it. Topping a tree permanently disfigures it, introduces decay, and provides a forever job for tree trimmers to continue topping into the future. On my property the policy is to cut the tree down instead of topping. Tree topping around power lines is usually a compromise done by tree trimmers so people don’t get upset about cutting trees down. I have a really nice looking Interior Live Oak growing under power lines at my front entrance, and when the time comes, and it needs to be topped, I am going to request it be cut down. I hate to see it go, but I would hate more to see it disfigured. And I understand the need to cut vegetation around power lines.

    • chuck dunbar October 29, 2021

      Hard as it is at times to cut a large tree down, you are right George. A disfigured tree is a sad, sore sight. The only exception for me are the smaller, shrubbier trees, like the CA myrtle, which will come back as a shrubby multi-stemmed small tree and look fairly ok, as that’s pretty much how they grow anyway.

      • Margot Lane October 29, 2021

        Neil:

        I’m right there with you. Traumatizing for both tree and owner! If pg&e would let people volunteer to do the trenching on their property to bury lines I bet they’d have an army!

        • George Hollister October 29, 2021

          Contact PG&E, and apply for a permit from the county.. It costs more than you can imagine.

          • Margot Lane October 29, 2021

            Permits? We don’t need no stinking permits!

  4. Kirk Vodopals October 29, 2021

    Found object:

    META!
    Not just for blue hairs!
    META!
    Now with larger font and less Trump!
    META!
    If you get your news here then you deserve a poorly organized attack on the Capitol
    META!
    Now in suppository form

  5. chuck dunbar October 29, 2021

    META: “NEW NAME–STILL THE SHAME!”

  6. chuck dunbar October 29, 2021

    META: “FEELING NOT SO GRAND, WHY NOT REBRAND!”

  7. Lazarus October 29, 2021

    met·a
    /ˈmedə/
    noun
    noun: meta; plural noun: metas
    short for meta key.
    adjectiveUS
    adjective: meta
    (of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.
    “the enterprise is inherently “meta,” since it doesn’t review movies, for example, it reviews the reviewers who review movies”
    Origin

    1980s: from meta-.
    meta-
    /ˌmetə,ˌmetə/
    combining form
    prefix: meta-; prefix: met-
    1.
    denoting a change of position or condition.
    “metamorphosis”
    2.
    denoting position behind, after, or beyond.
    “metacarpus”
    3.
    denoting something of a higher or second-order kind.
    “metalanguage”
    Oxford Dict.

    The part about reviewing the reviewers is perfect…
    Be well,
    Laz

  8. Harvey Reading October 29, 2021

    WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR CALIFORNIA AND NEWSOM AT CLIMATE CONFERENCE?

    It’ll be just more political jabber and empty promises. Don’t get your hopes up. Humans are on the way out, and good effen riddance!

  9. Harvey Reading October 29, 2021

    PARTISAN REPS

    The real failure was the US being there (or anywhere else in the world) in the first place.

  10. Harvey Reading October 29, 2021

    FOUND OBJECT (you provide the caption)

    “An Asshole Being an Asshole”

    • Lazarus October 29, 2021

      Not quite, Zucker is a Meta Asshole…
      Laz

  11. Rye N Flint October 29, 2021

    META: What’s it a Meta For?

    • Lazarus October 29, 2021

      “reviews the reviewers”
      Laz

    • Bruce McEwen October 29, 2021

      Q: What is a meta for?
      A: A metaphor for a colonoscopy.

  12. Joe October 29, 2021

    “But it makes no difference as the Supes unanimously (with rare exceptions) sleepwalk through every meeting, blandly accepting mediocrity as an acceptable standard. ”

    But we are sure that more government has got to be the answer because mediocrity certainly is a measure of fairness – right?

  13. Joe October 29, 2021

    If you want to know what is driving the climate turn off the sun for about a week and see what happens.

    • Rye N Flint October 29, 2021

      Yeah, you should ask God to grab you a bud light out of the fridge while you’re at it.

  14. Gary Smith October 29, 2021

    Math: 31

  15. Gary Smith October 29, 2021

    Wait, no. 45

  16. Rye N Flint October 29, 2021

    Screw PG$E

  17. Rye N Flint October 29, 2021

    OK Boomer = Hey Brandon

    Millennials are an entire generation of kids with ADHD and helicopter parents that have created a subculture that takes most memes at face value. For example, my parents are Baby Boomers, but I have had online trolls “OK Boomer” me. Just like recently, getting “Hey Brandoned” for making some progressively liberal comment on instagram. I still don’t know what this “Hey Brandon” meme is all about, but it sounds like a rebrand of “ok boomer”. An easy way to write someone off. Cancel cult. I don’t know, I vote Green party to piss people off.

    Maybe all this boo hooing is because the mainstream consumers got used to the the media circus of Trump inc. Maybe they miss the constant trainwreck, and they want more excitement from Biden. Well.. sit down Brandon, it’s going to be a boring next few years. Biden may act like my Grandpa after his stroke, but he isn’t doing anything horribly wrong, except for the landlord bailout inflation checks…

    • Bruce McEwen October 29, 2021

      That’s a thoughtful summation, and I like Biden for the same reason I liked Carter: He didn’t do anything. I’d like to see more if it, too; the Do Nothing ethic of concentric consequences, developed by Prince Hal and Sgt. Fallstaff; which posits that no matter what you do, subsequent events will overwhelm and nullify whatever it is you set out to do by way of a concentric succession of ever-intensifying disasters, one upon the other… “we’ll rely on pints of stout and French fries — ride me these Saxon dogs down!”

  18. Jim Armstrong October 29, 2021

    The tired truck and the wheeled dogs were very welcome laughs today.

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