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WARM AND CLEAR WEATHER will settle in today for the interior and continue through the weekend. This will aid in nightly low clouds for the coast and valley fog. Another round of rain is possible early next week. (NWS)
15 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS: "Regarding Faulkner Park, PG&E offered some assurance of collaboration prior to work":
“PG&E is currently reviewing the job scope at Faulkner Park in an effort to ensure that it will meet its mandated compliance and safety obligations, while simultaneously listening to and considering concerns raised by the public.
PG&E remains committed to coordinating and communicating transparently with the County prior to beginning its work, including fully informing you of our decision-making process as we review the possibility of reducing the overall impact to the park.”
ANOTHER LOCAL HEADING TO STATE PRISON FOR ARSON
Despite the recent rains, calendar year 2021's record number of arson prosecutions which predate the recent precipitation are still public safety concerns and are continuing to move through Mendocino County's local criminal justice system.
To that end, defendant Jennifer Leeann Smith, age 39, last of Fort Bragg, plead guilty Wednesday afternoon to arson of forest land, a felony violation of California Penal Code section 451(c), and also stipulated to a 48-month sentence in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
As background, during the early evening hours of August 19, 2021, the Willits Police Department, Little Lake Fire Department, and the Brooktrails Fire Department each responded to a fire started and burning behind the Burger King restaurant and very close to the Baechtel Creek Medical Clinic in south Willits.
As the fire fighters actively worked to contain the fire before it could grow and spread out of control, arson investigators and patrol officers immediately recognized that this was a fire likely intentionally set by an arsonist.
Aided by dynamite surveillance footage, the investigation quickly uncovered that defendant Smith, walking in the dry creek bed east of the restaurant, walked up out of the creek bed near the drive through, bent over and lit dry grass afire, and then hurriedly walked away.
When located blocks away from the fire and confronted by law enforcement, the defendant denied intentionally setting the fire, despite what the security camera footage showed.
Claiming her one and only cigarette lighter did not work, the defendant said she started a small fire by accident while trying to light a new cigarette with the burning remains of an earlier cigarette that she was smoking. She insisted that she stomped out the small fire she had started and was not responsible for any other fire.
However, contrary to her self-serving statements, the defendant was searched and found to be in possession of a working cigarette lighter, which is believed to be the instrument she used to start the fire. The surveillance footage likewise showed, contrary to her statement, that the defendant made no effort to stomp out the fire after she had set the dry grass on fire, nor did she attempt to summons help.
Following the defendant's change of plea, her case was referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department to prepare the background information and paperwork needed by the CDCR to receive, classify, and assign the defendant to a state penal facility.
The defendant remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing now calendared for December 9th, 2021 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department A of the downtown courthouse in Ukiah.
Today's conviction constitutes a Strike conviction, within the meaning of the voter-modified Three Strikes law, for future prosecution purposes.
The defendant will also be required to register as an arson offender for life with any local law enforcement agency wherever she eventually resides when paroled from state prison in approximately 24 months, assuming she earns all the good time/work time credits that she can, as authorized by the Legislature.
Any person interested in this case is welcome to attend the December 9th hearing. However, please be aware that masks are still required in and about the courtrooms.
The prosecutor handling this matter is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Patrick Pekin accepted the defendant’s change of plea and approved the stipulated 48-month state prison sentence Wednesday afternoon.
(Mendocino County District Attorney)
AV UNIFIED WEEKLY UPDATE
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
I hope you are having a great week. I want to take a few minutes to update you on some of the District news. First of all, a huge shout out to the girls volleyball team. They will be playing a playoff game tonight, Wednesday evening, at 6:00 p.m. in the high school gym. I was so impressed with the amount of support that the team had when we traveled to Mendo.
The large crowd just reiterated, to me once again, what a special place Anderson Valley is that our teams have hometown support no matter where we play. Staging games in the evening and in the extended season takes its toll on coaches, staff, and administration. We may be small in District size, but we are mighty and have heart and commitment from all the different staff members and families that show up to make sure these kids have the opportunity to perform in all of these events. Special stuff.
I am also impressed with the number of parents that attended the student conferences. We did receive some feedback about how to improve that process, and we are always open to that. I think we all relish being together after the isolation of Covid, and thinking through student achievement and next steps is an energizing opportunity.
I want to take a moment and thank our School Board. These folks serve without pay. They devote not only countless hours for the meetings, but all of the prep work that goes into the meetings. They live in a community where they value friendships and sometimes have to make hard decisions. This School Board is frankly, one of the most balanced and thoughtful boards I have ever worked with. I am grateful to them for their leadership and Innovation and openness to resolving problems and hearing all voices.
I appreciate that we have settled our contract with the Anderson Valley Teachers Association. We will look forward to moving into successor negotiations in the coming year. One of my founding and balancing philosophies is that ‘We can do anything we want, we just can't do everything’. Will need to examine where our top priorities are as a district as we move forward to ensure fiscal health and also meet the needs of all kids and staff. Part of that process is really understanding our resources that are available. All staff and parents are welcome to a one hour budget update in our high school library on Tuesday, November, 30 at 3:30 p.m.
A huge shout out and thank you of appreciation to the Anderson Valley Health Center staff as they ramp up our first child's vaccination clinic on Wednesday at 2:30 pm. I remain positively hopeful that life will get back to normal once we get high levels of childhood vaccinations. I don't have a crystal ball, but it sure would be nice to return to school without masks and restrictions moving forward. Time will tell.
On a final note I just want to talk a little bit about school vacations. School is not optional. After all of the learning obstacles with Covid-19, every single day in school is precious. Somewhere along the line, we got the idea in this District that school was optional and could be opted out of. This has drastically affected our achievement. School is not optional. We need to be in school every single day that it is available and make the most of every single day, so that our kids can do the very best they can in their life ahead. I am proud that our calendar committee has adopted the school calendars for the next two years. Our hope is that parents will use these calendars and coordinate vacations within the confines of the vacation dates. We will not be extending independent study outside of the vacation school dates. It is important that your student keep up with his or her classmates and be in school. It's not just a week, it's an expectation for excellence.
I would like to thank all the Veterans in the community for their service. In observance of Veteran's Day, we will be off on November 11, but return to school on November 12.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your student's teacher first, the site administrator, and then to me. We want to address your concerns and build a strong foundation for moving forward.
Louise Simson, Superintendent
The Anderson Valley Girls again advanced in the NorCal volleyball championships by defeating a strong team from St. Bernard's of Eureka in the Boonville gym Wednesday night: cifstate.org/sports/girls_volleyball/brkts_2021/d6
JDSF BOS resolution, Monday, Nov 15
Monday, Nov 15, 2021 - BOS - item 4a
Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Requesting Scientific Review of Jackson Demonstration State Forest
(Sponsors: Supervisor Williams and Supervisor Gjerde)
Adopt Resolution requesting scientific review of Jackson Demonstration State Forest; and authorize Chair to sign same. Summary of Request:
Unfortunate contention has brewed as the result of ambiguity in state policy, creating escalating conflict between residents and public servants. Only the State can adequately clarify appropriate interpretation of State climate commitments.
Resolution No. 21- Resolution of the Mendocino County Board Of Supervisors Requesting Scientific Review Of Jackson Demonstration State Forest
Whereas, the science is convincing that our existential fight against climate change demands expanded effort to store carbon in the State's natural and working lands to remove it from the atmosphere; and
Whereas, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors embraces the responsibility to mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to humans and natural systems; and
Whereas, on October 7, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom, through an executive order, committed the State of California to a goal of protecting 30% of California's land and coastal waters by 2030; and
Whereas, in November of 2021, leaders of more than 100 countries, including the United States, held climate talks in Glasgow and President Biden pledged to end deforestation by 2030; and
Whereas, the Governor's executive order directs the State's Natural Resources Agency to draw up a plan by February 1, 2022; and
Whereas, the County of Mendocino has an integral role to play in helping the State achieve its 30 by 30 climate goal encouraged by California's Climate Change Scoping Plan for local governments to adopt goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% below 1990's levels by 2020, 40% below 1990’s levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990’s levels by 2050; and
Whereas, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has adopted commercial Timber Harvest Plans for Jackson Demonstration State Forest based on goals not yet refreshed to reflect the State's recent climate commitments and has commenced logging; and
Whereas, science-based forest management is vital to bolstering long term forest health, improving forest resiliency from wildfire, protecting wildlife habitat and riparian corridors; and
Whereas, the County of Mendocino respects the guidance of Mendocino’s indigenous people, many of whom are calling to prioritize carbon sequestration and in-forest storage, preservation and protection of Native American cultural heritage, equitable access to public lands, and the protection of California's rare and endangered species; and
Whereas, the State of California should ensure there is not inconsistency between Jackson Demonstration State Forest management goals and the adopted State of California climate change commitments.
Now, Therefore Be It Resolved, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors urges Governor Newsom and the State's Natural Resources Agency to include any climate impacts of commercial logging on State lands in drawing up the plan to protect 30% of California's land use and coastal waters by 2030, and to publish a science-based report that evaluates carbon sequestration capacity and wildfire resiliency of current management practices, as well as alternate management scenarios, of Jackson Demonstration State Forest; and
Be It Further Resolved, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors strongly urges Governor Newsom to align Jackson Demonstration State Forest management goals with the adopted State of California climate change commitments, and to do so in a way that enhances the wide-ranging scientific, recreational and economic opportunities offered by Jackson Demonstration State Forest.
SOAR WITH THE HAWK!
KZYX Universal Perspectives Thursday Night 7PM
Please join host Chris Skyhawk for Universal Perspectives on KZYX Thursday 11-11 at 7 pm. His guest will include Zia Cattallini of Friends Of Enchanted Meadow. Zia will inform us of logging activities being conducted by MRC near the sanctuary that the Albion community has fought for decades to protect. After Cattalini, Skyhawk will begin his series of shows called ‘Surviving late Stage Capitalism. What’s Next?' in this series he will interview activists, spiritual thinkers, and cutting edge social leaders with the goal of hypothesizing what life on our planet will look like after Capitalism collapses. His first guest in this series will be biologist Pat Higgins of the Eel River Recovery Project. Higgins will discuss his exciting project where private landowners have recently begun discussions with Tribal entities, to restore 100’s perhaps 1000’s of acres to pre-European Contact. Please join us.
MENDOCINO COUNTY JAIL COMMANDER, TIMOTHY PEARCE, RETIRES
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE made a couple of notable observations at the conclusion of Tuesday’s Supervisors’ discussion about “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADUs) in the Coastal Zone. The County has made an extremely bureaucratic attempt to try to improve the already tedious process of building such “granny units” on parcels that qualify, but the proposed improvements to the process seem at least as burdensome as the existing process. The theory is that somehow making it easier to build add-on units on residential parcels will help address the housing shortage on the Coast. But as Gjerde points out, that’s not likely to happen.
GJERDE: “The operation of a bed and breakfast is a commercial activity. AirBnB — we have seen it convert single family home after a single-family home on the Mendocino Coast into a commercial business. Rather than being concentrated on a small number of parcels like a conventional Bed & Breakfast, it is now scattered on hundreds of parcels on the coast that once housed families. The population that we have seen in the recent census reflects the loss of people living on the coast who do not show up on the census because of homes being converted to AirBnB. The technology that AirBnB offers makes the operation of these dispersed bed and breakfasts really pretty simple. We have also heard from the true operators of bed and breakfasts who have a payroll, employees, paying payroll taxes and they see AirBnB as being unfair competition because the operators of the AirBnBs are not paying payroll taxes, not paying insurance for people who clean the toilets and change the beds… This is a decision that the public needs to make and the board needs to make that residentially zone parcels are principally for residential uses. So do AirBnBs fit into the principal permitted use of a residentially zoned parcel? I think that's pretty questionable. I think this is substantially what we heard in June from the Planning Commission staff. I don't know exactly what we would do at this point after having concurred with what they were proposing in June.”
Unfortunately, Nobody followed up, no actions were proposed, no agenda items were suggested. We attempted to look up the June minutes of the Planning Commission but were unable to find anything about this. We have a question in to Planning Staff to see if they know what Gjerde was referring to.
So besides the ADUs probably mainly expanding the AirBnBs on the Coast, Gjerde also noted that more of them probably won’t translate into very many commercial rentals:
Gjerde: “There was a survey a few years ago in the San Francisco Bay area that was pretty extensive. It looked at people who built ADUs in the Bay Area and other Bay Area cities and it found that the vast majority of of the second units in the Bay Area were rented to people who were either considered to be family members or friends of the people who own the parcels. So when you look at the finances of building an ADU or converting a structure into an ADU it's not always a strictly business decision. It's oftentimes a decision that benefits a family member, a close friend or the person who will live there on-site. So there are multiple reasons that people convert structures into ADUs.”
HOW THE STATE'S RESERVOIRS ARE DOING
NBC COMES TO MENDOCINO COUNTY
Mendocino Shakedown: Police Accused of Corruption and Theft During Pot Seizures
A new civil lawsuit filed in federal court accuses law enforcement officials from at least four different agencies of conspiring to steal marijuana, cash and guns from Mendocino County motorists and marijuana growers
by Bigad Shaban, Michael Bott, Christine Ni, Michael Horn and Mark Villarreal (NBC Bay Area News)
Three Mendocino County marijuana farmers and a former police officer from Texas have filed a new federal lawsuit alleging widespread theft, corruption, and coverups among law enforcement officials policing the Emerald Triangle, the Northern California region world-renown for the cannabis grown there.
The lawsuit alleges “hundreds of acts of extortion, theft, and robbery of marijuana, guns and cash” by law enforcement officials from at least four separate agencies, including the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Rohnert Park Police Department.
“This is about corrupt police officers that are doing something far worse than growing or possessing cannabis,” said former Texas police officer Zeke Flatten, who says two men impersonating federal law enforcement officers pulled him over and robbed him of three pounds of marijuana as he drove through southern Mendocino County in late 2017.
While one of his alleged robbers, former Rohnert Park police officer Joseph Huffaker, was indicted earlier this year on federal charges, the other man who Flatten says robbed him on the shoulder of Highway 101 has never been identified. The new lawsuit, however, points the finger at former Mendocino County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bruce Smith, who ran the Mendocino County marijuana eradication team and now works as an investigator for the Lake County District Attorney’s Office.
Smith has not been charged with a crime and his attorney declined to comment on the story, referring us to a spokesperson for Mendocino County who did not respond to our request.
Another former police officer, Sgt. Brendon “Jacy” Tatum, was federally charged alongside Huffaker with conspiracy to commit extortion “under color of official right” for stealing cash and cannabis from numerous drivers along the Sonoma-Mendocino County border. Tatum faces additional charges of tax evasion and falsifying records in a federal investigation.
Flatten says Tatum wasn’t one of the two men who robbed him, but the FBI accused the former officer of creating a false police report and press release that attempted to discredit Flatten when he went public with his story to independent Humboldt County based-journalist Kym Kemp in early 2018.
“They’re actually a gang with badges,” Flatten said. “That’s what these guys are.”
Tatum’s attorney didn’t respond to NBC Bay Area’s request for comment. Heather Noel Phillips, an attorney representing Huffaker, provided a statement saying in part, “[Huffaker] did not do this and we are confident that a neutral jury will see that.”
‘It Just Didn’t Add Up’
The three growers joining Flatten as plaintiffs – Chris Gurr, Ann Marie Borges and Will Knight – say their cannabis businesses were going through the legal Mendocino County permitting process when officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office raided their farms, claiming they were illegally diverting water.
“So many things were off with the whole eradication,” Borges said. “It just didn’t add up. I couldn’t understand what had happened.”
The lawsuit alleges the water diversion claims were just a ploy to conduct the raids and seize cash, guns, and marijuana. They question whether a Napa winery facing water diversion claims would be treated the same way and say the raids have crippled their businesses.
“My goal all along was to be able to do this legally and eliminate the black market,” Knight said. “I was extremely transparent with our growing practices, including our water usage.”
The growers say there’s no documentation showing that thousands of pounds of marijuana taken from their farms was ever, in fact, destroyed, and they now believe much of it was likely stolen.
“Before I moved out here, I would never have imagined this would be going on,” Gurr said. “In fact, I think your viewers are probably like, ‘No way, law enforcement doesn’t do that.’ Well, yeah. They do. They, really, really do. Hopefully this will raise some awareness of that and not just help us, but help all the people that have become victims of dirty cops.”
Gurr and Borges were never charged with a crime, but Will Knight faces several felonies stemming from the alleged water diversion and marijuana grow.
According to the growers, Smith was the only officer from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office present at the 2017 raids on the property owned by Will Knight and the property Gurr and Borges own together. Fish and Wildlife Lt. Steve White, now retired, was also at both raids and is accused of conspiring with Smith and others to steal marijuana.
“There is no chain of custody,” said long-time civil rights attorney John Scott, who’s representing all four plaintiffs in the lawsuit. “There’s nothing to document what happens to the marijuana after it leaves these farms.”
“I believe in my heart of hearts it is more likely than not that tons of missing marijuana were stolen and sold. That’s what I believe and that’s what we have alleged.”
The lawsuit also targets two of the former top officers within the department, former Sheriff Tom Allman and former Undersheriff Randy Johnson, accusing them of being part of a cabal of corrupt law enforcement officials that profited off of extortion and helped cover the tracks of dirty cops.
Scott said there could be hundreds of potential victims scattered throughout the remote corners of the Emerald Triangle. Before legalization, he said, residents engaged in the marijuana business had little recourse against corrupt cops.
“You’re going to call the police and admit you’re illegally growing or transporting marijuana? I don’t think so,” Scott said. “Who are you going to call? Ghostbusters?”
One such grower, who NBC Bay Area is not identifying because they fear retaliation, said Bruce Smith stole thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry during a raid on their marijuana grow. NBC Bay Area reviewed court records that confirm the grower’s property was raided and that Smith was present.
“Your house is turned totally upside down,” the grower said. “So, by the time you are let back into your home you really have no idea what they’ve taken.”
The grower said she understood the potential risks when entering the underground cannabis economy, but now fears for her safety.
“When I started into the underground market, I always knew there was a risk to get arrested. If you do the crime, you better be able to do the time. I was all down for that. I was not down for being robbed by law enforcement, being intimidated by law enforcement.”
'Hollering in the Wind'
Smith’s attorney declined to comment for the story. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office also declined to comment until the legal matter was resolved, as did Allman, who now works as a deputy in Humboldt County after retiring at the end of 2019, one year into his new term as sheriff.
“Obviously there’s a lot of pointing fingers and hollering in the wind. They’re getting their weed taken,” said former Undersheriff Randy Johnson when reached by phone by NBC Bay Area.
“I get there are areas of the country where that stuff happens, but this is not us. Not anything I was aware of or I would have dealt with this swiftly. The sheriff (Allman) and I both have a record doling out proper discipline, including termination, when needed.”
Attorneys representing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, calling it “unsupported” in a court filing and stating “[The lawsuit] fails in every way – aside from its entertainment value.”
'Light is death. Police cockroach'
As Flatten describes it, the story does sound like it could come out of a movie.
He was in town from Texas working out the details on a legal marijuana business he hoped to launch, driving south on Highway 101 just north of the Sonoma-Mendocino County line, when he says an unmarked SUV with flashing police lights pulled up behind him.
He says he pulled off the highway and two men emerged from the vehicle, identifying themselves as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives doing marijuana interdiction.
“There was not a badge, there was not a name tag,” Flatten said. “Matter of fact, there was a half-circle style patch that had been removed because I could see the stitching where they had removed the patch from his shoulder.”
Within five minutes, Flatten said the men took three pounds of medical marijuana, photographed his driver’s license, and drove off.
“I knew immediately that I got robbed,” Flatten said. “Now it was, ‘who did it’ and ‘how are we going to uncover this?’”
Flatten soon filed reports about the alleged robbery with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office but said neither department investigated the claims. Both agencies declined to comment on the allegations, citing the pending lawsuit.
Despite that, Flatten said some of the puzzle pieces began falling into place. He went public with his story and later identified one of his alleged robbers as Huffaker after seeing a photo of the former officer.
Flatten – and seven other people with similar stories about being robbed by police officers on the side of the highway – sued the City of Rohnert Park. The city settled the case for roughly $2 million without admitting any wrongdoing.
He was also sharing this information with the FBI. Earlier this year, Huffaker and Tatum were hit with federal charges accusing them of robbing passing motorists of cannabis and cash.
“Between at least August 2016 and December 2017, Tatum and others seized money, marijuana, and property from individuals that they stopped along Highway 101, without arresting these individuals, without providing a citation or asset forfeiture notice to the individuals, without filing any incident/investigation report,” the FBI states in its criminal complaint against the officers.
But Flatten said what happened to him has come at a cost, and says he believes the conspiracy stretches beyond California. After going to authorities, Flatten says someone broke into his Texas home and scrawled a threat on one of his walls, saying “Light is death. Police cockroach.”
And when a service light kept coming on in his car, his mechanic found something strange.
“They found a GPS tracking unit hard wired in my car,” Flatten said.
NBC Bay Area confirmed the discovery with Flatten’s mechanic.
Despite all of that, Flatten says he’s going to keep pushing to weed out possible criminal cops.
“I want to hold all the people responsible,” Flatten said. “The intent is to keep pushing until we get as far as we can get or I run into a brick wall.”
* * *
ON LINE COMMENT re these allegations: “I still refuse to believe anything about Zeke Flatten’s story… He has managed to turn this into a career, however, and I am concerned about his perception of his place in the universe…
Rohnert Park terminated their relationship with the two officers, paid them handsomely to leave, and settled the case with Flatten primarily after discovering improperly filed paperwork and other sloppy work by Tatum and Jacy, and Flatten got a cool chunk of change as well as a story and the basis to go find others who would tell stories to the FBI.
I believe the former Deputy, that you would be stupid to commit these crimes, but I am inclined to believe that the “lure of easy money, it’s got a very strong appeal”…
Since Police forces have been corrupt to the core, going back as far as police forces themselves, it’s all not hard to swallow, but, as I said from the first: Let’s see the evidence!
I don’t think anything will be proven by weight of evidence in any of these cases, and while the cases are a little bit sensational, we need to see video, have concrete evidence, not just hearsay.
Flatten is advised to take his money and hold his peace, but I doubt he will… He has a crazy look, and I have to wonder if he has slept lately…”
A NEW CNN poll shows that over three-quarters of Americans surveyed said they believe Facebook has harmed U.S. society—and half of respondents said they personally know someone who believes in a conspiracy theory because of something they saw on the social network. The poll showed that an astonishing 76% of Americans believe that Facebook has made society worse, with just 11% saying that Facebook had improved society. The results also showed that 49% of people know someone who they think has fallen for a conspiracy theory because of content they saw on Facebook.
AS A PERSON long accustomed to rejection, I don't mind being “unfriended” on Facebook, which I use, ahem, in my professional news gathering function. O yeah, there's a lot of crazy talk drifting daily down out of cyberspace, but the crazy stuff isn't restricted to Facebook, that's for sure. But who seriously wants Zuckerburg and his dweeb teams deciding what we can read or, worse, having government decide content? Call me Pollyanna, but I think most people can sort out what's true and what isn't, a fact of American life proved daily by most jury decisions.
REALLY? How about the OJ jury? I followed that one very closely, read a ton about it, and I still think OJ's jury made the logical not guilty verdict based on what they saw and heard during the trial. They were sequestered throughout, remember? They didn't see and hear what we were seeing and hearing.
TRUMP? Well, uh, gee, got me there, kind of, but I think the Magas aren't deceived or deluded so much as they're totally rejecting that repellant crew of National Libs and Big Lib's sponsorship of everything gone wrong in America, managing not to see that The Great Slide has been a joint project the whole way.
ON THE SUBJECT of political division, a report released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center found that American voters fall into nine distinct political groups. Four of the groups are more or less left, four right, and then there are what Pew designates as “stressed sideliners” — Mendo-type mystics, hippies, thanatoids, apolitical working people — who claim to have no interest in politics.
The “progressive left” is the only majority white group of Democrats. They make up 12% of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic. They have very liberal views on nearly every issue. They differ from what Pew calls “establishment liberals” because they support sweeping changes to address racial injustice. They want a big expansion of the social safety net. They're the most politically engaged of the Democratic groups.
”Establishment liberals,” on the other hand, are very liberal - but they're more resistant to sweeping change, instead supporting incrementalism and political compromise. A majority believe the party should be inclusive of those who believe GOP viewpoints on some issues. They account for 23% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, Pew found.
This is the oldest, on average, group of Democrats, who are loyalists to the party, and are more moderate on some issues. They're less likely than other Democratic groups to be college-educated. They account for 28% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. They may personally identify as politically moderate. Most of their views are liberal, however. On immigration, they may view illegal immigration as a bigger problem than other Democratic-leaning groups. They are also more pro-military. Forty per cent of black Democrats are included in this group.
This is the youngest group of Democratic voters. They account for 16% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. They supported President Joe Biden in the last election, but are deeply frustrated with the political system, including the Democratic Party. They are liberal, especially on the issues of race, climate change and immigration. They often consider themselves to be political independents. They don't vote reliably, but will choose a Democrat over a Republican candidate.
This group makes up 15 per cent of the American populace, but just 10 per cent of voters. Those included hold a mix of liberal and conservative views. They tend to be more liberal economically and conservative socially. They also tend to be economically stressed. What they have in common is a general disinterest in politics. Only 45 per cent of this group voted.
PORTRAITS OF A COMMUNITY: Virtual talk honors Wayne Knight's life and work
by Roberta Werdinger
On Saturday, Nov. 13, from 1 to 2 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum presents "Wayne Knight: Reflections on his Art and Life," a virtual talk on the late artist, teacher, and graphic designer beloved by the greater Ukiah Valley community. The event is free.
"Wayne was all about portrait painting," notes Alyssa Boge, Museum curator. Knight would sometimes paint from a live model, and at other times would form composite portraits of various people. His paintings often sport broad, deep fields of color, with the subject situated in the center of the painting, gazing directly out at the viewer. The effect is sensual and emotional at once.
Raised in Southern California, Knight came to the northern part of the state for a quieter lifestyle after earning his MFA. With his first wife, Mary, and son, Matisse, he built a homestead on Black Bart Trail above Redwood Valley and lived a back-to-the-land lifestyle. He designed posters for local businesses and organizations, including Ukiah Players Theatre, and worked as a graphic designer professionally.
Knight was dedicated and disciplined as both an artist and a teacher. He would rise at 4 a.m. to paint before going off to teach at Mendocino College. He later pursued a tenure-track position at Humboldt State University in Arcata. Sadly, he passed too soon from H1N1 virus in 2009.
Knight's work forms part of the exhibit "30 Years On: Liden, Magruder & Knight," on view in the Museum's main gallery. The Museum's Public Room is currently showing a pop-up exhibit of rarely seen paintings from Knight's oeuvre, on display through Nov. 21.
To log onto the livestream for this talk, click here, or go to the Museum's website, www.gracehudsonmuseum.org and click on the link on the Events page. For more information, call the Museum at (707) 467-2836.
MENDOCINO ART CENTER’S ART IN ACTION & SECOND SATURDAY GALLERY RECEPTION
Saturday, November 13
ART IN ACTION Hands-on Art — 2pm-4pm — Free
In conjunction with Dorr Bothwell's ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ exhibit, a free, hands-on —Art in Action, collaging event will be open to the public. Drop in and create an individual collage or collaborate on a community wall collage in our Nichols Gallery.
An additional "Art in Action" collage session will be held Saturday, November 27, 2pm to 4pm.
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SECOND SATURDAY GALLERY RECEPTION November 13 — 5pm-7pm — Free
The Mendocino Art Center presents "Explorations," an exhibition featuring new abstract paintings by Rosemary Allen, accompanied by Carolyn King’s sculptural works.
In the Nichols Gallery, the Art Center highlights collage works by Mendocino heritage artist Dorr Bothwell in the showing, "Rock, Paper, Scissors."
Meet exhibiting artists Rosemary Allen and Carolyn King. While we won't have wine and snacks due to COVID-19*, we will be serving up great art! Free admission.
Mendocino Art Center 45200 Little Lake Street at Kasten Street, Mendocino 707.937.5818 https://www.mendocinoartcenter.org
AV VILLAGE Monthly in-person Gathering: ‘Cookie’ Exchange
This Sunday, November 14th, 4 to 5:30 PM
Senior Center, Outside weather permitting or inside if not
Join us for a festive exchange of cookies, cupcakes, brownies, sliced cakes, etc. We hope to ride into the holidays on a sweet note! It’s all bakers on deck here — please bring 2 or 3 dozen of your wares to share and a list of ingredients used. Not a baker, not a problem you can bring something else to share or just come anyways, we would love to see you! Everyone please bring your own container to load up with treats.
If you feel so inclined you can list what you are bringing on our google docs (but again not necessary): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sPA4I9t7XCMWuNUD-aOjC-8rf1sEvyiTVFNM7i7LYb8/edit?usp=sharing
Please Note: Our gatherings are open to everyone, but COVID Vaccinations are now REQUIRED - please bring your vaccination card as proof or be prepared to wear a mask - thank you in advance for your understanding.
Please RSVP with the coordinator — thank you!
HOSPITAL BED SOUGHT
Community member with cancer in need of hospital bed
We have a client who needs a hospital bed. Any information about a hospital bed that may be available would be greatly appreciated. Please call or email us if you know of any possibilities.
Jack Bush Patient Navigator Cancer Resource Centers of Mendocino County Coast Office 510 Cypress St. Suite B-200 Fort Bragg, CA 95437 707.937.3833 (phone) 833.964.0949 (fax) www.crcmendocino.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 10, 2021
CASSIDY ALLEN, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSEPH BUCKINGHAM, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
DAVID CITALAN, San Rafael/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property, evasion.
JACOB DELOSSANTOS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
WES FELIZ, Redwood Valley. Grossly negligent discharge of firearm, resisting, probation revocation.
CLINT GUNTER, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
FREDDY SEPEDA III, Willits. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, appropriation of lost property without trying to return it, county parole violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I’m surprised no one has mentioned what has been going on in the Aaron Rodgers saga. I watched AR being interviewed for 47 mins (this happened on Nov 5th) – he revealed ALL – and is believable and convincing, and today I see that the NFL has fined the Packers team, Rodgers, and one other teammate. True, the amt of the fine imposed on each of the players would fit in their ashtray like pocket change ($14,650 I believe). The team fine was $300K and they were threatened with loss of future draft picks.
I have only one beef with Aaron Rodgers. Since doing a stint as host of Jeopardy this past Spring, Aaron has abandoned the clean-cut look and adopted the “scruffy” look and even a man-bun which I think I saw in one of the ads he stars in. Also long hair hanging out the back of his helmet.
He had an excellent persona working for him, why did he have to eff that up?
ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT ROOFTOP SOLAR!
Dear Solar Supporter,
We’re writing you today because PG&E, SDG&E and SoCal Edison are lobbying the state of California to make it harder and more expensive for people to get solar in California. The CPUC is preparing to announce a proposal that would potentially institute high monthly fees for customers who install solar, plus drastically reduce the amount credited for solar energy back fed into the grid by solar customers.
While you would not be affected by the utilities' new proposal if you already have solar, the utility proposal would greatly diminish the value proposition for your neighbors to get solar, and effectively make it impossible for many people.
We need to make it easier for people to get solar, not harder. Rooftop solar gives everyday Californians the power to control their energy bills and keep the lights on. We must ensure that Gov. Newsom and the Public Utilities Commission see that California supports rooftop solar!
That's why we’re asking you to please sign a public comment to Governor Newsom to save solar in California! If you care about climate change, clean energy, and energy democracy for all Californians please sign a public comment today!
Tell Governor Newsom: Stand up to the utility attack on solar: savecaliforniasolar.org/sign-petition/
It’s easy and only takes 30 seconds.
Once you’ve signed, please consider forwarding this email to your network.
Please also consider joining the Solar Rights Alliance: https://solarrights.org/
Your Friends at Mendocino Solar Service
OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR LEONARDO DICAPRIO is set to star as Bay Area-based cult leader Jim Jones in a new film from MGM, according to reports.
Entertainment Weekly confirmed the news Tuesday that DiCaprio will play Jones, who is responsible for the deaths of more than 900 people in a mass suicide event that took place in 1978.
FOUND IN TRANSLATION: New York Times Says Democrats Shouldn't Challenge Oligarchy
The powerful newspaper's editorial board makes clear it likes to editorialize about social justice, but certainly doesn't want any structural changes or substantial new government policies that could bring it much closer.
by Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen
A few days after the Nov. 2 election, the New York Times published a vehement editorial calling for the Democratic Party to adopt “moderate” positions and avoid seeking “progressive policies at the expense of bipartisan ideas.” It was a statement by the Times editorial board, which the newspaper describes as “a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values.”
The editorial certainly reflected “longstanding values”—since the Times has recycled them for decades in its relentless attacks on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
The Times editorial board began its polemic by calling for the party to “return” to “moderate policies.”
Translation: Stick to corporate-friendly policies of the sort that we applauded during 16 years of the Clinton and Obama presidencies.
While scolding “a national Democratic Party that talks up progressive policies at the expense of bipartisan ideas,” the editorial warned against “becoming a marginal Democratic Party appealing only to the left.”
Translation: The Biden administration should reach across the aisle even more solicitously to the leadership of an obstructionist, largely racist, largely climate-change-denying, Trump-cultish Republican Party.
The election results “are a sign that significant parts of the electorate are feeling leery of a sharp leftward push in the party, including on priorities like Build Back Better, which have some strong provisions and some discretionary ones driving up the price tag.”
Translation: Although poll after poll shows that the Build Back Better agenda is popular with the broad public, especially increased taxation on wealthy and corporate elites to pay for it, we need to characterize the plan as part of “a sharp leftward push.”
“The concerns of more centrist Americans about a rush to spend taxpayer money, a rush to grow the government, should not be dismissed.”
Translation: While we don’t object to the ongoing “rush to spend taxpayer money” on the military, and we did not editorialize against the bloated Pentagon budget, we oppose efforts to “grow the government” too much for such purposes as healthcare, childcare, education, housing and mitigating the climate crisis.
“Mr. Biden did not win the Democratic primary because he promised a progressive revolution. There were plenty of other candidates doing that. He captured the nomination—and the presidency—because he promised an exhausted nation a return to sanity, decency and competence.”
Translation: No need to fret about the anti-democratic power of great wealth and corporate monopolies. We liked the status quo before the Trump presidency, and that’s more or less what we want now.
“‘Nobody elected him to be F.D.R.,’ Representative Abigail Spanberger, a moderate Democrat from Virginia, told the Times after Tuesday’s drubbing.”
Translation: Spanberger, a former CIA case officer and current member of the corporate Blue Dog Coalition in Congress, is our kind of Democrat.
“Democrats should work to implement policies to help the American people.”
Translation: Democrats should work to implement policies to help the American people but not go overboard by helping them too much. We sometimes write editorials bemoaning the vast income inequality in this country, but we don’t want the government to do much to reduce it.
“Congress should focus on what is possible, not what would be possible if Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema and—frankly—a host of lesser-known Democratic moderates who haven’t had to vote on policies they might oppose were not in office.”
Translation: We editorialize about social justice, but we don’t want structural changes and substantial new government policies that could bring it much closer. We editorialize about the climate crisis, but not in favor of government actions anywhere near commensurate with the crisis. Our type of tepid liberalism is an approach that won’t be a bottom-line threat to the Times owners and big advertisers=—and won’t diminish the leverage and holdings of wealthy elites, including the New York Times Company’s chairman A.G. Sulzberger and the company’s board of directors. We want change, but not too much!
“Democrats agree about far more than they disagree about. But it doesn’t look that way to voters after months and months of intraparty squabbling. Time to focus on—and pass—policies with broad support.”
Translation: Although progressives are fighting for programs that actually do have broad public support, we’ll keep declaring those programs don’t have broad public support. Progressives should give up and surrender to the corporate forces we like to call “moderate.”
THERE ARE A LOT OF WAYS to look at the "Legend" of Atlantis.
Man has been mixing power and technology ever since some bright hominid figured he could start a fire with friction, instead of forever tending a sacred burning coal given by the strike of Gawd's own lightning. Alan, it is only through the infinitude of ways that man has found to mix power and technology that we live more than 3 decades, that there are more than a million of us on the entire planet, that we all don't live in caves or animal hide yurts, and that we're the most dominant higher organism in the world.
The least useful way is to use it as an excuse for becoming a Luddite. There are good reasons why the Amish are not doing well these days.
Certainly, mindless growth for its own sake, fed by the addiction to consume ever more chasing the brief high of external gratification, is a cautionary tale in its own right.
Technology is not an end unto itself, it is a means. We can see a future for being human without want, or disease, or conflict. The real concern in my eyes is how we'll engineer ourselves, either actively or unthinkingly as an evolutionary response to adapting to our expanding technology. That scares and thrills me (equal part peril and paradise), far more than a cataclysm precipitated by some future Homer Simpson spilling a can of Duff beer on a quantum reactor...
Right now. This minute. We've painted ourselves into a really nasty corner. We need to use every tool at our disposal, to save the day, not just for ourselves, but the rest of biological diversity. Species are dropping fast. Sooner would certainly be better.
— Marie Tobias
HISTORIC VICTORY FOR THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION
by Raúl Alejandro Palmero on November 9, 2021
Preliminary results have given 75% of the votes in Nicaragua’s presidential election on Sunday to Daniel Ortega, legendary commandante of the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
Mocking the clucking of forecasts calling for abstention, driven by the big disinformation media, the turnout was overwhelming with more than 65% of the electoral roll present at the polls. Those models that teach classes on democracy and claim to be “models” but than never exceed 50% of popular participation, and in most cases not even 20% should take note of this remarkable turnout of the people.
Now the paid analysts are raining down, trying to justify the astonishment and the bad time of the powerful of this world. They base their shameful defeat on the arrests carried out by the government against participants and accomplices of the openly terrorist escalation that the country suffered in 2018.
The world has been able to see the images of those months of terror. A crude, but necessary, summary can be found in the Documentary “Alliance of Chaos”, to understand well the supposed “peaceful” character that those days had: assassinations, sabotage, torture, people burned alive in the middle of the street and more.
The officials of Western political laboratories cry and stamp their feet; they say that the opposition leaders were arrested. However, none of those arrested or charged so far had presidential candidate status; not even pre-candidate status for any of the opposition political groups and parties.
The “objective” BBC press network has even published a work with the title “Power is not at stake, there is no electoral competition”.
However, with this alleged “absence of opposition” the following Parties and Coalitions participated in yesterday’s elections with the following results.
* Constitutional Liberal Party (14%).
* Camino Cristiano ( 3.44%).
* Independent Liberal Party (1.70%).
* Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance (3.27%)
* Alianza por la República (2.20%).
These are real fellow losers with little electoral competition, but that is not the fault of the Sandinistas, but of the people of Sandino, and the absence of a serious or better proposal by those who play along with external interests
They repeat with loud speakers that there were no international observers.
But that is another lie, and a mediocre one at that. There were actually over 170 who spread out around the country and yesterday we were able to listen to more than a dozen international observers and auditors: congressmen, congresswomen and representatives from all continents, who praised the transparency and good organization of the electoral process.
The Nicaraguans are no fools. Of course they are not going to legitimize agents and operators of change at the service of hegemonic interests as observers. Coincidentally, the same people who recently provoked the coup d’état against comrade Evo in Bolivia, and who have not yet been brought to justice, are demanding to participate.
They lie about the level of poverty and social insecurity in Nicaragua, overlooking the disaster in the countries where they live under neo-liberal-colonialism. Not a single word about the economic growth of Nicaragua’s economy, and its indisputable social achievements.
Let’s just enjoy the pathetic bluster of: the gringos and their declarations of what is legitimate or not; the medieval colonizers of the European Union with their cut and paste announcements from the State Department; the almost soundless drone of a joke called Organization of American States (OAS); the choir boys (without voice or vote) of the Canadian government, and other whining losers of the contest. There is nothing easier than googling, and reading the usual lie, which will appear as a preference at the top of your search engine, elevated and weighted by the dictatorship of the algorithm. What is difficult, but honest and truly revolutionary, is to go to the bottom of the events, to the causes and conditions of the social processes.
Let the dogs howl, comrade dinosaurs of the international oligarchy; but let’s take note, and lower our heads. It is a day of Victory. The Nicaraguan people, in its immense majority, cling to its freedom. Millions of people continue to disprove the industry of hate. Sandino Lives!
Source: La Pupila Insomne, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English
* * *
I am not celebrating a Sandinista win because there wasn't one. The Sandinistas who we supported are long gone although the current Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega reportedly jailed a few of the old ones in the run-up to the elections in addition to every serious candidate that dared to challenge his seeking a fourth term.
What depresses me is the continued willingness of so many on the left over the decades to support dictators in so-called socialist countries who are denied political rights that these same leftists would not put up with if denied these same rights themselves.
The left has learned absolutely nothing from its past supports of all the police states of East Europe which were satellites of the Soviet Union which collapsed like punctured balloons because they had lost the support of the majority of their populations of whom our Left knew next to nothing about which one can say about the situation in Nicaragua under Ortega and his wife Murillo.
Ortega exposed his true self back when he was in power and on a trip to the UN, when supporters of the Sandinistas in the US were collecting money for pencils for schoolchildren in Nicaragua, Ortega and Murillo spent $2600 on designer sunglasses while shopping in New York.
When the news of that outrage became public, someone in the audience at a meeting in which Ortega was speaking, asked him how he could spend such an amount on sunglasses when the people in Nicaragua were suffering but Ortega didn't answer the question… because he didn't have to.
According to my old friend, Ron Kovick, who was there, the rest of the audience shouted down the questioner.
Years later, at a meeting at the Women's Bldg in SF on the situation of the Uva people in Colombia who were being victimized by the government and the FARC, Father Ernesto Cardenal, who had been prominent in the Sandinista government when it had been revolutionary, was asked his thoughts about what the Sandinistas had become. Cardenal, who was the best of them, responded by loudly shouting, "God damn the Sandinistas!"
I am sure, if he were alive today he would say the same thing about Ortega.
NICK WILSON NOTES:
Unvaccinated are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19
Headline: New data from Texas suggests unvaccinated people are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19
Subhead: The newly published study found that among people who died from COVID-19, 85 percent were unvaccinated. Nov. 9, 2021
The report initially found that unvaccinated people were 40 times more likely to die from COVID-19 between Jan. 15 and Oct. 1. But between Sept. 4 and Oct. 1 that number dropped to 20 times more likely to die.
Read more at the link above.