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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021

Cool Cloudy | 12 Cases | Eminent Domain | Sierra Energy | Private Company | Skunk Chat | Philbrick Memorial | Young Jerry | Sherwood Update | 1890 | Water Talk | Protest Talk | Jack June | Seminar Lodging | AV Foodshed | Rain/Anti-Maskers | Crisis Facility | Outlaw Covelo | Yesterday's Catch | Dingbat Generation | Shambles | Trophy | Postfire Restoration | Oswald Speculation | Antiviral Medicine | Rabble | CIA Media | Pizza Afternoon | Rioter Sentenced | Culture Incident | Lighthouse Event | Justice Denied | Colorized Archduke | Marco Radio

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COOL CONDITIONS are expected across the area today as gloomy clouds gradually settle in. Another round of rain and high elevation snow looks to arrive late Monday and persist through most of the week up to Christmas day. (NWS)

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12 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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EMINENT DOMAIN: NOT JUST FOR PLAYGROUND TRAINS

by Malcolm Macdonald

The owners of the Skunk train using eminent domain powers may have opened eyes around the Mendocino Coast in ways heretofore unimagined.

Let's review the power that allowed the Skunk, aka Mendocino Railway, to acquire much of the old Georgia-Pacific mill site. California Public Utilities Code, Section 611 states, “A railroad corporation may condemn any property necessary for the construction and maintenance of its railroad.” 

In California Public Utilities Code, Section 230 a railroad corporation is defined: “’Railroad corporation’ includes every corporation or person owning, controlling, operating, or managing any railroad for compensation within this State.”

Among the powers granted to railroad corporations by law: “The officers, agents, and employees of the corporation may enter upon the lands or waters of any person, for this purpose, subject to liability for all damages which they do thereto.” 

Using the power of eminent domain is not simply a license to steal. In the case of the southern portion of the G-P mill site, Mendocino Railway or its parent company, Sierra Railroad, has promised to pay a reported $1.3 million. Of course, that sum seems ridiculously low for so many acres in such a prime piece of ocean side.

Readers who received the Skunk's glossy eight page mailer ironically titled, “The Little Stinker,” have undoubtedly glanced at the page 3 proposed development plan for the northern half of the old mill site. Take a good look at it and see if you see any allocations for schools or healthcare facilities.

This takes us to the heretofore unopened eyes. In most cases special districts have eminent domain powers too. California Health and Safety Code, section 32121 states, “Each local district shall have and may exercise the following powers…” 

Among those, in subsection (d) is the authority “To exercise the right of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring real or personal property of every kind necessary to the exercise of any of the powers of the district.”

Reading further in the Code, subsection (j) allows a healthcare special district to “To establish, maintain, and operate, or provide assistance in the operation of, one or more health facilities or health services, including, but not limited to, outpatient programs, services, and facilities; retirement programs, services, and facilities; chemical dependency programs, services, and facilities; or other health care programs, services, and facilities and activities at any location within or without the district for the benefit of the district and the people served by the district.”

“Retirement programs” or “other health care programs” would certainly encompass a skilled nursing facility (SNF). This leads us to the ever more dire situation at Sherwood Oaks in Fort Bragg, the only SNF on the coast. Along with a new, if more modest, hospital the Mendocino Coast desperately needs a new building for a SNF. For more on the situation at Sherwood Oaks look at the recent reports authored by Dr. William Miller in the AVA and elsewhere.

Of course, a new SNF, let alone a new overall healthcare facility, cannot be gained through eminent domain alone. It is here that the needs of our schools, our firefighters, and healthcare intersect with economics, and with affordable housing. A special district could theoretically apply eminent domain to a house that sits vacant much of the year to house firefighters, teachers, or healthcare workers, but that district is required to pay the owner of the property at fair market value. All of the above referenced types of local special districts are always strapped for money. The rubber doesn't often hit the reality road on the Mendocino Coast, where any number of well-heeled property owners exist yet we can't find housing for nurses or teachers. Perhaps the local special districts need to be more aggressive in promoting or advertising for property owners to make bequests of houses that could be used by the teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, and others who provide us with the most valuable of services everyday. Lord knows we are not going to need a new hospital or new school buildings if we can't provide adequate housing to the teachers and nurses we are presently hanging onto. These special districts that provide education and healthcare should be hammering the well-to-do with even more donation pleas than Save the Redwoods, the Nature Conservancy, or any other seeming do-good operation.

According to Housing Action Team (HAT) statistics, hundreds of Mendocino Coast houses have been purchased by investment groups. Reportedly, eighty of those are owned by a single entity in Boise, Idaho. For the most part those houses are used as short term rentals, often at an expense of hundreds of dollars per day. Imagine how many days a teacher or nurse could afford to live in a home at $300 or $400 or $500 a day!

There are some complexities to the housing issue though. We cannot punish all the real folks who are VRBO-ing their homes or doing the equivalent of AirBnB off the record and under the table because some of those people are having to rent out part or all of their homes in order to make ends meet. Some of your teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, and others you rely on for services have been forced for years to rent out or share their housing just to get by economically. It would be embarrassing and, I think, wrong to name any, but I am sure many readers would be aghast at the seemingly prominent figures who fall into that category, prominent in the widespread acknowledgment of their contributions to our communities but certainly not prominent in terms of bank accounts.

If the well-off of the Mendocino Coast and the investment groups using our housing as expensive short term rentals don't contribute their share toward offering housing to the folks who provide services, those temporarily occupying the short term rentals or ultra expensive second and third residences will find themselves vacationing here in an area with more and more deficient schools, hospitals, and fire departments. After that they won't have waiters and waitresses and chefs to feed them. Hopefully, those rich folks might see the writing on the wall before it is too late. Maybe the Hart brothers, the powers-that-be behind Mendocino Railway and the Skunk, could start the ball rolling in the right direction.

Wouldn't it be nice if our school, healthcare, and fire districts could declare eminent domain on largely vacant second or third or fourth homes of the ultra rich and the properties being used by investment groups as short term rentals and get the same kind of bargain basement price deal the Skunk is getting for a big chunk of the Fort Bragg mill site?

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BRUCE BRODERICK WRITES:

While this is a decent article, there are many aspects of the property acquisition by Sierra Railroad/Sierra Energy, AKA Mendocino Railway/Skunk Train that this article didn't touch on. Here are just two of them.

1. Not only did Sierra Energy acquire a large area of our Noyo Headlands, they also acquired a lot more acreage along the Pudding Creek watershed. In fact, court records show that the Pudding Creek properties were essential to get in order to justify the Eminent Domain seizure of the residential property that was acquired just after the seizure of the GP properties.

2. GP had the water rights to Pudding Creek for mill operations. The city had been negotiating with GP for a number of years for that access. Now, Sierra Energy through its parent asset management corporation, now control the water rights at the old Pudding Creek dam. This now has to be negotiated with a non local corporation whose specialty is the acquisition of distressed properties.

Everything I have stated can be verified in publicly available documents from both The City of Fort Bragg and Mendocino County.

Mr. Pinoli has stated a number of times on my posts and in other places that Sierra Energy and Sierra Railroad are two separate corporations and Sierra Energy does not have a say in Sierra Railroad. The attached document to the City of Fort Bragg from the in house counsel of Sierra Energy regarding a railroad matter about the speeder shed that is currently used to house the rail bikes contradicts that false statement made by Mr. Pinoli.

I would direct your attention to the letter logo on the left and the email address on the right at the top of the page. 

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SKUNK, 1,2,3. (MCN Chat Line)

[1] To clean up some of the discussion on the Fort Bragg rail service history, I believe this is accurate:

Sierra Railroad Company bought the Skunk Train out of bankruptcy in 2003, they formed a federally regulated railroad, as were all the preceding companies. They named it Mendocino Railway.

Although never profitable as far as I can tell, the Mendocino Railway has operated continuously. The Skunk Train tunnels have collapsed more than once during these 18 years, and many expensive repairs have been made. Since maybe 2015 there hasn’t been a repair that allowed rail service through Tunnel 1. The company has submitted requests for grant funds from the federal rail road funds at the Department of Transportation to do a complete repair there. Without that repair, the utility of the 36 mile rail line is lost, and no freight service is possible. They are supporting the railroad with short excursion trips from each depot. You can get more information about their plans from Robert Pinoli at Skunk Train in Fort Bragg.

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[2] Since the Skunk now owns the former mill site, perhaps a dialogue w/ them can be more productive for the community than the NIMBYism currently expressed. After all the Skunk claims to be adopting the master plan the City developed. Has anyone looked into the veracity of this? If they are indeed adopting the City's master plan, how is this bad for the community? Skunk's Pinoli has indicated he's open to talk, why not take him up on his offer?

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[3] Ok, final words on this topic for the time being from me:

I have heard from several members of the community since I posted the information on the Skunk Train. Thank you. I am just trying to lay out facts at this point, as I have seen some wildly inaccurate statements about the train.

Elizabeth pointed out that she had known that the Mendocino Railway was profitable, and I think now, looking at old news articles online, that they did break into profits - maybe in 2015, after owning the Skunk for 12 years at that point. That same year it seems that Tunnel One collapsed and the diagnosis was that the entire hillside needed to be stabilized. But given their location, they took advantage of the visitor serving side of rail and made up for it with the local excursions. The first mention I see of them laying out their proposal to buy the north 70 acres of the Mill Site was in 2018. So this is not “new” news. Their published development plan for the 70 acres closely mirrors that of the City of Fort Bragg's desired uses.

We certainly should accept the fact that Mendocino Railway owns the property at this point, and start from there. I am not advocating and congratulating, just trying to get a handle on it.

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CHRIS PHILBRICK: 

This is the day I never wanted to arrive. My brother was one of those “larger than life” people who I’ve respected and admired since I was a child.

I like the short description of him in today’s AVA. My golf kids will remember him as a guy who could fully and accurately describe a golf shot without ever once using a correct golf term…like describing Graham Beard’s drive “Wow! That ball must have gone 900 feet,” or, “that ball went out to the west and turned to the north.” 

Jerry’s Memorial Service will be in Ukiah in mid January.

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FROM CHUCK WILCHER: I read the reprint of the Philbrick article this morning online. Here’s a few pictures from the slideshow I put together back in 2008.

After The Game
Jerry & Mom
Mr. Philbrick

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SHERWOOD OAKS UPDATE

We all relish good news where it may be found these days, so I am happy to share the following:

CDPH sent a representative to Sherwood Oaks Thursday the 16th for the purpose of evaluating resident safety. They told us that it is their policy to do so for facilities lacking upper level management, in our case having no DON or Administrator. They had nothing but praise for the job being done by our staff. I was not present at the time, being scheduled to see outpatients in our hospital clinic that day, but I did attend the Department Head meeting this morning, and made rounds afterwards.

I fully agree with the CDPH assessment, that our residents are safe and continue to be well cared for. The spirit of our staff is amazingly positive, despite full knowledge that facility closure is a possibility, though not certain. As I have said before, any staff more concerned for their own health or finances have long since resigned. The ones that remain are totally committed, and are supported by the fact that their jobs provide intangible personal and spiritual benefits.

Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for speaking truth to the situation at every opportunity, which is the only way to combat exaggerated rumors.

With joy and hope, 

Happy Holidays, Dr. Cottle

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Alder Camp, 1890

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MONEY, MONEY EVERYWHERE, BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK

by Mark Scaramella

Official Mendocino has a well-deserved reputation for being long on self-congratulatory rhetoric and short on action. 

Take, for example, their ballyhooed water road show that Supervisors Ted Williams and Glenn McGourty kicked off and brought to Boonville last July in the teeth of the historic 2021 drought. 

We called our report on that roadshow “Born Yesterday,” because the Mendo officials hadn’t done even the slightest amount of homework on the water situation in the Anderson Valley, or the other towns they dropped in on.

It was obvious that the roadshow’s main purpose was to kickstart an exercise to revive the County Water Agency and thereby enrich a few water bureaucrats; not to seriously address local water issues or the drought, either in the short or the long term. 

Since then, the well-compensated water bureaucrats have gone into full blather mode, setting up ad hocs and task forces and contracting with expensive consultants to set up the water agency ($310k with GEI Consultants Inc.) and apply for grants ($1.7 million with Larry Walker and Associates). And this is just the beginning.

The December drought task force meeting this past Thursday saw the water blah-blah machine at full volume as the Task Force members — McGourty and Supervisor John Haschak along with consultant Josh Metz — spent an hour and a half talking about water, praising each other for “working tirelessly” on partnerships, grant opportunities, assessments, sustainability, grant applications, collaborations, coordination, committees, strategic plans, monitoring, “template agreements,” “groundwater investigations,” outreach, more consultants, and so on. Haschak said they were “trying to figure out what strategies will help us for long-term drought.”

They’ve been “trying” for months and the only strategy they’ve developed so far is to ask for more money for themselves.

The closest the water talkers got to an actual project was a passing mention of some possible groundwater monitoring in the Ukiah Valley, but nothing about water supply or storage.

In June, when the Board of Supervisors first raised the idea of creating a water agency, Supervisor Williams, before voting to spend money on the Water Agency consultant, grandly declared, “I support water infrastructure and spending our money to implement infrastructure or directly plan for it or apply for grants, but I don’t want to spend money on administrative overhead, studies that won’t actually get us more water, town hall meetings, or listening sessions.”

But what Williams says he doesn't support is pretty much what’s happening.

Following the Williams-McGourty roadshow in July, the nascent water agency announced on their webpage:

“For the past few months, local water suppliers have been developing projects to submit for emergency drought funding, both to help deliver water for immediate use and to implement projects for long-term resiliency.”

Let’s look at that sentence again for emphasis: They bluntly claimed that “local water suppliers have been developing projects…

Accordingly, the webpage asked local non-profit and water related agencies to: “Please submit your responses to Sara Pierce at the Executive Office at pierces@mendocinocounty.org.”

As an incentive the webpage added, “This program offers $190 million in grant funding [at the state level] available for interim or immediate drought relief to address impacts on human health and safety, on fish and wildlife resources, and to provide water to persons or communities that lose or are threatened with the loss or contamination of water supplies. The Draft Guidelines/Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) was released and a final Guidelines/PSP is expected to follow in late October. Minimum grants awards are $2 M, though smaller projects can be bundled into one application, such as the NCRP regional proposal, to meet the minimum budget amount. If you are interested in applying for drought funding via the NCRP Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant regional proposal, please contact them at colettem@planwestpartners.com no later than October 31 with the following information: Organization Name, Project Name, Project Description, Brief description of how the project addresses the existing drought, Contact Name, Contact Email, Contact Phone.”

Millions and millions of dollars to address drought and water shortages! Just send in the projects that we said you were already developing! 

Since then, there have been more meetings, more discussions of grant opportunities, bi-weekly discussions and reports from all the water agencies in the County… It was clear that if the drought hadn’t convinced local water agencies and organizations that project proposals were called for, this latest county request would. Or so they thought.

Curious as to what this solicitation produced, a couple of weeks ago we submitted a Public Records Act request for “copies of all responses to this request.”

Response: “The County did not receive any responses to this request.”

Remember, this is after their own announcement had said that “…local water suppliers have been developing projects to submit…” 

We also asked for “a list of the current grant applications either submitted or in the process of being prepared for submittal to address the ongoing drought in Mendocino County for this or any other grant opportunities.”

Response: 

“Program: Small Community Drought Relief Program

Project: Mendocino County Community Water Supply Replacement Project

Application Date: 8/31/21

Amount of Application: $3,840,000

Received Notification of Funding for $2,000,000

Timeline for eligible activities: 9/21/2021-2/28/2023”

and…

“Program: Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief Program

Project: Mendocino County Drought Water Resiliency, Management, and Enhancement Strategic Plan

Plan to submit application by Phase 2 deadline of 1/14/2022

Amount not yet final. Program Funds expire: June 30, 2026.”

Translation: Mendo is in line for lots of water bureaucracy money for “management” and a “strategic plan,” and more, but they haven’t got a clue about practical steps to use it for other than for themselves. I.e., essentially what Williams said he didn’t support. 

At the end of Thursday’s Drought Task Force meeting, having lauded each other at length for doing nothing but talking about handing out or applying for more money, Supervisor McGourty fell back to Mendo’s usual water policy when he mumbled, “Hopefully we will get a break weatherwise so we aren’t in as quite dire circumstances as we were this year.”

Metz agreed: “Here, here!”

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UKIAH POLICE CHIEF SAID SATURDAY STORE PROTESTS ARE STILL BEING INVESTIGATED

by Justine Frederiksen

While there reportedly has been no criminal activity yet uncovered by his officers during the recent protests of mask ordinances in local businesses, Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich said that his staff is committed to prosecuting any crimes that do occur.

UPD Chief Noble Waidelich (Contributed photo)

“We’re not going to tolerate this,” Waidelich said during the Ukiah City Council meeting Wednesday, adding that the events are still being investigated and “we’re going to be unearthing more activity that might have gone on. To be totally frank, I’ve heard some very concerning stories since Saturday that have me concerned, so we’ve given our staff the tools they need to unearth any activity that possibly should be submitted for prosecution.”

Waidelich began his comments to the council by describing the protests staged at businesses such as Ukiah Natural Foods and Black Oak Coffee Roasters on Dec. 11 as “honestly misguided,” because they are “being directed at the businesses who do not make the rules regarding the health orders. Those are state and local mandates that require the local businesses to have masking guidelines and ordinances for indoors, and we’re really just trying to get people to follow those ordinances, and to really have empathy with each other.

“This is a time and day when we really need to pull together in the community and support each other and not be inside our local businesses, scaring staff and customers,” he said, explaining that his department has “worked really diligently with our staff to come up with ideas for how to respond to these calls, and we’ve given additional guidance to our dispatch center for how to take in future calls regarding these incidents, as well as to our officers who are on-scene. We’re confident that we have a good plan in place. We’ve worked with the city attorney’s office regarding our strategy,” which he described as designed to “reduce the risk for both the department, the city, and the businesses.”

“Nobody should feel intimidated when they’re shopping inside a store,” said Mayor Jim Brown, who had been appointed to that role earlier in the meeting, describing the protesters as “intimidating people with their presence, which to me, stoops pretty much to the level of any criminal street gang. So I have all the faith and trust that our police department will take whatever action is necessary.”

Council member Juan Orozco, who completed his term as mayor Wednesday, also compared the activity to that of “a street gang that doesn’t respect our community, our rules, our laws and our businesses. And we should say that we have no tolerance for this. We need to have consequences to these types of actions.”

Council member Mari Rodin said she wanted to add that the protests were also concerning in terms of the risk to public health they presented, and to “appeal to community solidarity, and the recognition that it is a misplaced effort to protest inside a business, because the directive is not theirs – as of now there is a state mandate that in all indoor (public) spaces, people need to be masked.”

“And, honestly, I can’t help but think that this is the holiday season, a time when people really should be extra kind to each other,” Waidelich said. “If anybody listening out there has been involved in these protests, I just really would hope that they would support us, and support local businesses by not engaging in these kind of activities. I fully respect the right to protest, but inside a store, violating the mask ordinance, is not the way to do it.”

He added that he was still hopeful that “we can sort this out without arrests and reports,” and that he hoped “people can be empathetic, especially this time of year, and that people can voice their concerns and opinions about the health order in a different manner.”

(courtesy Ukiah Daily Journal)

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JOAN BURROUGHS WRITES:

Photos of the late Jack June also include behind him Boonville's first gas station and, in the photo of June as a teenager, the Anderson Valley school bus.

Jack June, Sept. 1929
Jack June, 1940
Class of 1941

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A READER WRITES:

”Some folks in Fort Bragg are stirred up that City Council member Tess Albin-Smith is going to a three day seminar in Yosemite. The seminar costs $500. Albin-Smith has apparently already booked herself a room at the Ahwahnee Lodge for multiple nights at $575 per night, all at city taxpayer expense. Maybe the City Council should reconsider this overpriced vacation masquerading as a seminar. Verified by a citizen and someone inside city government. Going to the seminar and the $500 seminar expense was approved at last city council meeting. Seemingly no one beyond Albin-Smith knew about her booking at Ahwahnee until yesterday or this morning.”

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ALBIN-SMITH REPLIES:

"Where did you get that? My room is at the Yosemite lodge at a conference rate of $278. Conference registration is $500 includes meals. The conference is a valuable networking session for policy makers in California. I went to it in 2019, sent by Mendocino Council of Governments, on whose board I sit—joint conference that year. I thought it was one of the best conferences I'd ever been to and wanted to go again. I met a lot of people (educators, elected officials, entrepeneurs, business professionals, etc) with ideas and solutions for everything from housing shortages to economic development strategies for small rural cities. It will be a valuable investment."

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AV FOODSHED: Put Time And/Or Money Where Your Values Are

As 2022 approaches AV Foodshed is looking at more and more ways to increase the resiliency of local food production in Anderson Valley. We’re continuing our support of a farmers’ market, farm stands, local food in our markets and restaurants, our local farmers, educational workshops, and more. 

We welcome more participation in our organizing committee. Let us know if you are interested by emailing avfoodshed@gmail.com. To donate, please go to avfoodshed.com and press the donate button—donations are tax deductible. We look forward to seeing you at a future local food event soon!

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RAIN & MASKS

by Jim Shields

The Weather Front

Looks like my long-range weather forecast back in August is still on track.

I said then notwithstanding this drought persisting in most parts of the West and California, that here on the Northcoast we’d see a return to more normal conditions. And so far that’s been the case.

Just think, last year our total rainfall was 29.41 inches. The historical total for the Laytonville area is about 67 inches. 

By the way, the rain year is July 1 to June 30.

Rainfall as of today, Dec. 15, is 27.71 inches, a little less than 2 inches of last year’s entire total. Last year on this date, we had a total of 5.21 inches of rain.

From all the hydrological data we collect for the Laytonville Water District, we knew that our aquifer recharges itself if we receive approximately one-half of the historical normal of 67 inches, which is about 33.5 inches. 

We discovered this year that the aquifer recharged at 29.41 inches. This is all very useful information.

Anyway, sure looks like we’re going to be in much better water shape in 2022 compared to the past two years.

By the way, some good news about increasing California water storage capacity occurred Dec. 15 when the California Water Commission approved moving ahead with the Sites Reservoir project located near Sacramento. This is just one of several approvals required before the project can be finally OK’d.

Most of California’s existing major reservoirs are connected directly to rivers and rely on gravity to fill them with water that comes from snowmelt in the mountains, but the Sites Reservoir would have water pumped to it from the nearby Sacramento River, only when it has extra water to give, such as during major storms like this past October or the rain event we’re experiencing now. A lot of water from big storms is “lost” as runoff, so the Sites Reservoir would put that water to beneficial use in an environmentally positive way.

Anti-Maskers On The Move

The Ukiah Daily Journal reported this week on a group calling itself “The Mendocino Patriots” who are staging no mask, in-your-face protests in stores that require customers to wear C-19 masks.

What are these “Patriots” going to do now the state is mandating “universal masking” in “all indoor public settings” effective this past Wednesday, Dec. 15?

Do these Patriots believe anybody who wears a mask is un-American?

Just asking.

These folks are probably anti-vaxers who are convinced there is no pandemic, it’s all a hoax, and COVID-19 is no worse than the flu. They probably don’t believe that 800,000 Americans have died from COVID or its variants because “the government is lying to the people.”

All across the nation anti-vaxers are claiming COVID and now Omicron are part of what they call a “Scamdemic” or “Plandemic” devised by nefarious elites of one kind or stripe who are out to dissolve constitutional freedoms, implement a dastardly Bill Gates-led plot to implant digital microchips that will somehow track and control people thus leading to the creation of a one-world government.

The other day someone gave me a leaflet captioned, “What Masks Are Doing To Children.” It enumerated 12 “facts” regarding the dire medical and mental health consequences resulting from children being forced to wear masks. Here’s a few excerpts:

• Masks decrease oxygen levels in the blood, causing systemic cell deterioration which may lead to brain, heart and other organ damage and chronic disease in adulthood.

• Masks send messages to the brain that the child is under duress. When a child suffers from chronic stress, their body is in “fight or flight” mode, carried out by the sympathetic nervous system, which beaks down their immune system.

• Enforcing mask mandates on children is child abuse.

Needless to say, I didn’t waste my time fact-checking something that is plainly fact-free.

Some social researchers cite “pandemic fatigue” as making people more susceptible to this sort of wackiness.

Someone told me recently, “It’s the classic example of when you’ve got a vacuum, it gets filled very quickly with conspiracy theorists.”

In the nearly two years of a “pandemic fatigue vacuum,” it’s been over-filled with misinformation, outright falsehoods, and rampant paranoia.

And, of course, nowadays all this sort of hokum is immediately amplified and spread broadly by the touch of a keystroke thanks to Al Gore inventing the Internet. 

So what’s the best way to deal with people who just see things like this Pandemic so differently than maybe we do?

When I was a kid my Irish grandmother, Anna, used to tell me something that I didn’t understand or appreciate the wisdom of until I was an adult, but I’ve lived by it ever since. Here’s what she said, and there’s a whole lifetime of meaning to it:

“Never argue with people who know less about something than you do.”

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, observer@pacific.net, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)

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JOHN McCOWEN: 

I've mostly refrained from commenting on the character of these self-righteous hypocrites but that's exactly what they are. They claim their rights are being violated but they think nothing of trampling the rights of others. They invaded the Co-op with the intention of disrupting the business and harassing and intimidating the staff. Stores have the right to refuse service to anyone who is creating a disturbance.

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COUNTY OPENS SCHRADER’S NEW CRISIS FACILITY

(Oddly, nobody mentioned that this $1 million house cost $5 million…)

Supervisor Haschack & CEO Angelo speak at the Grand CRT Opening

Thursday afternoon, Mendocino County hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly complete Crisis Residential Treatment Facility (CRT). The CRT is an eight to ten bed, short-term mental health facility designed to serve individuals who are experiencing acute psychiatric crisis and whose adaptive functioning is moderately impaired. CRTs provide short-term, intensive and supportive services in a home-like environment through an active social rehabilitation program that is certified by the California Department of Health Care Services and licensed by the California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing Division and are designed to improve the lives and adaptive functioning of those they serve. 

Funding is a collaborative effort between Measure B and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA).

(County Presser)

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MARIJUANA WARS: VIOLENT MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS turn Northern California into ‘The Wild West’

by Beth Warren

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told The Courier Journal there are as many as 10,000 illegal grows in his jurisdiction, a two-hour drive north of San Francisco. He tries to target the worst 100, which is all his small force can handle in a year.” … 

“I'm fighting a dragon with a needle,” Kendall said.

courier-journal.com/in-depth/news/crime/2021/12/17/mexican-drug-cartels-move-in-on-californias-shadow-marijuana-industry/6036056001/

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 17, 2021

Maples, Mora, Paz

TONY MAPLES, Redwood Valley. DUI, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

ALEX MORA-WHITEHURST, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, failure to appear.

RAFAEL PAZ JR., Willits. Controlled substance, for sale, evasion, offenses while on bail.

Romero, Sanchez, Winters, Wright

JUAN ROMERO-ORTEGA, Corona/Ukiah. DUI.

ROY SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation.

PHILLIP WINTERS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ERIC WRIGHT, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. 

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THE DINGBAT GENERATION

Editor: 

In the 1940s our nation was attacked by the Axis powers. Our nation asked the people for help and they responded by saying, “Yes, we can!” In the 2020s our nation is being attacked by COVID-19. Our nation asks the people for help and they respond by saying, “You can’t make me!” The World War II generation was called the Greatest Generation. I wonder what history will call this generation.

Don Mitchell

Healdsburg

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Where do we stand, and how much more can we take?

Where I live, economically and socially, the place is in shambles. And to think, up until not long ago, I thought of this culture, this civilization I live in as being ‘Rock Solid’. What an eye opener these last 2 years have been.

(When I say ‘In Shambles’ I’m referring the fentanyl deaths, murder suicides, closed small businesses, traffic deaths and road rage incidents, car theft, car hijackings, assaults, sexual assaults and so on.)

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“I bagged this one myself.”

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POSTFIRE RESTORATION

Mendocino National Forest is hosting a virtual symposium to guide the development of postfire restoration strategies on national forests in California. The symposium will be on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022.

Speakers from the Forest Service’s Region 5 Ecology Program and Pacific Southwest Research Station will introduce the recently published Postfire Restoration Framework for National Forests in California, which highlights guiding principles for ecosystem-based decision-making. Presenters will also discuss case studies and lessons learned with an audience of land managers working in northern California national forests, Lassen National Park, other interested land management collaborators and external partners.

Increasing frequency and extent of high-severity wildfires pose a significant threat to California’s ecosystems. Multiple recent wildfires, including the 2018 Ranch Fire, the 2020 August Complex Fire and the 2021 Dixie Fire, have burned more than two million acres across federal lands here in northern California. In this context, the Postfire Restoration Framework for National Forests in California provides an approach that is based on the latest available science and can help managers answer questions about where on the landscape recent fires have improved, maintained or degraded ecological conditions and what postfire restoration opportunities exist across these expansive areas.

“I’m excited about post-fire ecosystem management,” said Forest Supervisor Ann Carlson. “When do humans intervene and try to influence restoration and recovery and when do we not? Land managers are faced with a lot of different decision paths. The framework helps us pick a path that is ecologically-based.”

Participants can register for the event online: https://bit.ly/Postfire-Register

The framework is also available online: https://go.usa.gov/xeAjy

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JEFF BLANKFORT: I was a severe critic of JFK at the time, for whatever that's worth, as I was ignorant of the secret back channel efforts that JFK was making with Khrushchev to avoid a nuclear war over the Russian missiles in Cuba while restraining the US military from launching an invasion. 

But what I did know and what rarely is ever mentioned—and know from experience—that at the height of the Cold War, no US serviceman, with or without a high security clearance, which Oswald reportedly had, would have been allowed to defect to the USSR and then return to the US without being prosecuted as a traitor let alone pretend to represent the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. And he would certainly not have been able to get a job with any Texas state institution even its schoolbook depository, so conveniently located for the day of the assassination.

Ed note: I think he'd already been discharged from the Marines when he allegedly renounced his U.S. citizenship. But if he was still on active duty, you're correct, Jeff.

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AS WE ARE NOW SEEING A BOOM of sickness, hospitalizations, and deaths spreading across the entire northern tier of the US, it is fast becoming clear that it is the unvaccinated doing all the dying. The hyper-partisans are literally Darwining themselves right out of the genepool. Moreover, we're now seeing booming levels of sickness in 30 and 40 somethings as these new more aggressive variants move down the age brackets with greater and greater ease. The fact that children are fast becoming another target of COVID, bodes poorly for the future of families who prevent their children from getting vaccinated. 

The real hope for the unvaccinated lies in good, inexpensive, reliable anti-virals (like the the lactoferrin/pseudoephedrine combo Zeke turned up) becoming widely available. Sadly, the folks who've made so much noise about alternatives which prove to be of little help, have so muddied the water, that it's exceedingly hard for an actually effective alternative to get the press it deserves. 

Get your friends passing the information around and hooking them up to solid scientific sources touting its efficacy. Most importantly, I sourced Lactoferrin online at iHerb in 300mg 90 count for as little as $25. If that were even combined with the diphenhydramine-pseudoephedrine over the counter meds, you're talking about a medication regimen that costs perhaps $2 - $4 a day for 10 days. That worst case, $40 for a complete course, instead of the $4,000 - $10,000 that big Pharma wants to stick you with. And this regimen is over 99% effective at stopping viral replication and preventing severe disease. Moreover, this is a broad spectrum antiviral that looks to be effective at most corona viruses (including the common cold), and flu, and should just be in everyone's household medical cabinet to keep people well on the first sign of anything nasty. 

— Marie Tobias 

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CIA NOTES

Editor,

Does the CIA control the AVA?

Probably not. But they do do things like that. California State University at Long Beach Professor Hugh Wilford teaches a course called "The Agency, A History of the CIA." He cites numerous instances of the CIA using the media to influence public opinion. Gloria Steinem, the celebrated feminist, for example, was a witting director of a CIA funded news bureau. Some New York Times reporters work for the CIA and the Iowa Writers Workshop was funded by the Fairfield Foundation — a CIA front. Agency insiders call it the "far-fetched foundation."

Government agencies use the media all the time. The CIA is different though: they have superpowers, powers that allow them to influence the media anonymously. The agency has a legal department devoted to creating fake charitable foundations with innocent sounding names like the John and Mary Doe Foundation for a Greener Earth. These foundations are then used to funnel money into select media to influence public opinion. 

NPR did a recent interview with retired General Michael Hayden and his wife. Hayden was the director of the NSA and later the CIA. At the time of the interview General Hayden was so seriously debilitated by a stroke that his wife claimed he sometimes confused yes with no. Was this curious interview NPR's way of saying a last goodbye to an old and honored friend?

NPR seems to have difficulty with whistleblowers. When a mysterious White House staffer claimed to have inside information about President Trump’s phone call to the Ukraine, NPR felt a need to explain what a whistleblower wa. The most obvious example would have been Edward Snowden whom Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, described as "one of the most extraordinary whistleblowers in history." Curiously, NPR dared not mention Snowden, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Tom Drake, Ray McGovern or the other significant recent whistleblowers. Perhaps they were fearful of ruffling feathers in the Intel community. Ultimately they had to reach back to the Vietnam era for a softball example. This mysterious whistleblower's identity was quickly leaked and most of the media including the AVA published his name. NPR, accordingly, kept his identity a secret.

Intel operations sometimes go horribly wrong. American poet Robert Lowell was sent on a Congress for Cultural Freedom tour organized by the CIA. He stopped taking his depression medication, stripped naked and mounted an equestrian statue in Buenos Aires declaring himself "Caesar of Argentina."

Dark money from Intel sources can corrupt the media and harm democracy. Perhaps Robert Lowell knew that.

David Ortiz

Santa Cruz

ED NOTE: Huh?

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SLAM DUNK PIZZA

We will be at Anderson Valley Brewing in Boonville, tomorrow Saturday 18th from noon-6pm for a pop up event and concert! Come down and listen to the music of Mitchell Holman from 4-6pm. Or just come and get a pizza from 12-6pm.

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RIOTER WHO ATTACKED POLICE with Fire Extinguisher on Jan. 6 Gets Stiff Sentence


Capitol rioter Robert Palmer, who hurled wood planks and a fire extinguisher at police officers, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison Friday, the longest penalty imposed on a January 6th defendant.

newsandguts.com/longest-prison-sentence-to-date-for-capitol-rioter-man-who-attacked-police-with-fire-extinguisher-on-jan-6-is-sentenced/

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A CULTURE WAR IN FOUR ACTS: Loudoun County, Virginia. 

Part Two: “The Incident.” 

by Matt Taibbi

February 5th, 2019. An educational consultant named Dr. Linda Deans walked to the lectern at a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. Addressing issues like black student underrepresentation in the gifted programs and overrepresentation in disciplinary cases, she asked the board to remedy matters through more funding of diversity and inclusion positions. Loudoun had a diversity officer, but Deans stumped for a department.

“To be real about equity and inclusion, contracting out the work might be a good idea because insiders may be — hmm — influenced by politics,” she said, pausing to apply a dollop of contemptuous stank on the hmm. She went on: “I highly recommend that LCPS offer this serious work to a reputable organization, such as the Loudoun Freedom Center.” The Center, where Deans worked, is a nonprofit founded by charismatic local pastor and new NAACP chapter president Michelle Thomas. The meaning was clear: Loudoun had race problems, and if the board wanted to be credited with taking those seriously, it had to make a financial commitment, and to the right destination.

Deans was followed by the Education Chair for the local NAACP chapter, Robin Burke. Burke and husband Steven had recently met with Loudoun’s Director of Teaching and Learning, and weren’t happy.

“On Wednesday, January 16th, 2019,” she says, “my husband and I attended a meeting facilitated by Mr. James Dallas to discuss our concerns regarding our son… being denied admission to the Academies of Loudoun.” She paused. “We are convinced that the admission process is disjointed, unfair and represents a clear example of historical institutional racism. Therefore, we expect now more than ever that our straight A-student [son] be unconditionally admitted to the Academies of Loudoun.”

The Board was silent for a moment, some members confused. They only set policy and had no power to intervene in an individual gifted admissions question. Also, the admissions process was blind: reviewers had no access to names or racial identities, seeing only test scores, grades, courses taken, etc. To some members, this was an obvious reply to any charge of “historical institutional racism.” To Burke, the blind nature of the testing was the racism.

The fact that Loudoun had race-neutral admissions was “true, therefore problematic,” she told me by email. “By removing personal identifiable information,” she added, “it is impossible to assess an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores.”

Burke had reached out to several officials about her son. After correspondence didn’t result in changes, she went public with complaints. Asked about this, she replied, “As the Chair of Education for the NAACP, I represent all students of color,” adding that, “These claims were brought to the attention of the School Board and the Superintendent,” whose “inaction led to the NAACP contacting the AGs office.”

Loudoun has a gruesome history on race and schools. In 1956, the county infamously voted to defund schools rather than follow the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education desegregation order. Not until 1962 did the first black student attend a “white” school.

Segregation was essentially pried from the cold dead fingers of this county’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and suspicions in the black community naturally linger. However, the current controversies aren’t a clear continuation of civil rights-era battles. Some aspects may be similar, but the legal context at least is reversed: in place of a decades-long effort on the part of groups like the NAACP to expunge racial considerations from the law, the new thinking is that progress is impossible without them. Whether or not that’s a warranted belief is a separate issue, but it’s how the new debate is framed.

Heading into the winter of 2018-2019, a dispute between county officials and the NAACP had been escalating. This disagreement would eventually be memorialized in the aforementioned formal complaint to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, called NAACP Loudoun Branch vs. Loudoun County Public Schools.

Loudoun’s NAACP leadership increasingly felt statistical inequities in areas like gifted admissions or discipline were explained by racism, and policy proposals often mere cover for perpetuation of an inherently discriminatory system. For a long time, they clashed in this with an old guard of county officials trying to cling to do-gooder liberalism’s once-standard position that a variety of addressable factors, including racism but also economics and other issues, were the cause of discrepancies.

The latter group’s idea for addressing gifted admissions once involved things like Loudoun’s adoption of EDGE (“Experiences Designed for Growth and Excellence”). The plan was to provide “intensive, engaging support” early in elementary school to talented-but-disadvantaged students to help them compete in the difficult admissions processes ahead. The school system had long been pushing back against more drastic action, like eliminating standardized testing, that might heighten complaints about a lack of rigor in Loudoun’s once-celebrated school system. The county had already eliminated final and midterm requirements in 2015, leading some parents to complain of their kids being left unprepared for college.

NAACP officials were more and more uninterested in those concerns, demanding direct intervention to square ugly numbers. In 2017, after data was released showing 88% of Loudoun teachers were white compared with only 48% of students, then-NAACP chapter head Philip Thompson threatened to file a federal civil rights complaint. “We believe we will only see an increase in the number of minority teachers when LCPS puts requirements on the people hiring the teachers,” Thompson said.

Rhetorically, this was walking a fine line, since Supreme Court cases like the 1977 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke had deemed explicit racial quotas in public education illegal. According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Thompson hastened to add he wasn’t “suggesting the school division adopt racial hiring quotas,” merely applying pressure to meet “targets.” However, putting “requirements on the people hiring” seemed to have a clear meaning.

By 2019, the NAACP seemed out of patience, moving toward the Ibram Kendi conception of equity, which holds that “there is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.” As Kendi puts it, “racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity.” Loudoun in this view fell under the latter category, even if the admissions inequity, for instance, overwhelmingly redounded to the county’s Asian minority. (Ironically, Asians were also massively underrepresented in school hiring in 2017, making up 3% of teachers despite being 20% of the student body, though this fact didn’t make it into the NAACP complaint).

When asked about the legality of quotas, which she would later publicly support, Burke’s response was that the legal system itself was part of the problem and therefore not relevant. “As you are aware, the legal system has protected and in some cases perpetuated systemic racism. It was LEGAL to own people,” she said. She added:

“LCPS needs to make of amends for the wrong they have done, by helping those who have been wronged, African American students and families. Reperations [sic].”

Late in the fall of 2018, a group of fourth-grade teachers at Madison’s Trust elementary school in Brambleton, Virginia got together to plan the curriculum for Black History Month in February 2019. At the time, principal David Stewart was following in the footsteps of Superintendent Eric Williams, described on school websites as a devotee of an educational theorist named Philip Schlechty, by pushing a program called Project-Based Learning. Schlechty scoffed at the idea that a teacher was a mere “facilitator” of “personal development,” seeing the educator as a more muscular figure who helped ensure the “functioning of a democratic society” by “transmitting the collective wisdom of the group” through “authentically engaging activities.”

Loudoun’s schools touted “Project Based Learning” as such an “engaging” approach that fused the “3 Rs” (a Relevant, Rigorous, and Responsive curriculum) and the “4 Cs” (utilizing Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity). What did those seven letters mean, at a school like Madison’s Trust? In practice, that classroom instruction might be bolstered by cross-pollinating lessons with a gym class.

The 4th grade team that fall was working on a “PBL” on “Notable African Americans.” One of the school’s three PE teachers volunteered that he’d been to a conference years before, where he’d heard about a plan that sounded to him like a potential complement to any lesson about Harriet Tubman. Ian Prior of the Loudoun parent group Fight for Schools later brought details forward in a story for Federalist, and noted in a longer private report that this teacher had attended the 2011 meeting of the Virginia Association For Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAPHERD) at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. There, a program was presented called “Underground Railroad”:

In “Underground Railroad,” kids in a PE class are led through an obstacle course simulating the path of slaves to safety along Tubman’s famous road to freedom. Along the way, they stop at various stations, where they might be introduced to a “drinking gourd” to learn that slaves used the Big Dipper constellation to help find the north star, or help each other move through hula hoops, or watch a video about Tubman, etc.

Such simulations have been going on for at least thirty years, if not longer. One educator I spoke with who’d used a version of the program, Geoffrey Bishop of “Nature’s Classroom” in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, said he thought he first came across the idea at a conference in New Hampshire 35 years ago.

The most famous “UGRR” simulation is the Kambui Education Initiative, a re-enactment founded by Kamau Kambui, a former devotee to a Malcolm X-inspired secessionist group called the Republic of New Afrika. The Initiative takes place in a thousand-acre slice of Minnesota’s Wilder Forest, dates back to the late eighties at least, and is part living museum, part outdoors adventure. Anthony Galloway, a pastor and equity coach who does use the term “critical race theory” in describing what his “Dare 2 Be Real” program teaches, cites experience with the Kambau Initiative as part of his credentials. However, both he and the current head of the Initiative, Chris Crutchfield, vehemently deny that he or Galloway had anything to do with any public school programs. “It’s abhorrent to me that people might think that,” Crutchfield says. “If it’s not done in the right way, it can be problematic.”

In the end, the origin story doesn’t really matter. As the New Yorker wrote last year, “UGRR” simulations became a craze beginning in the nineties, long ago reaching into public school classes from coast to coast. Writer Julian Lucas described it as part of a movement to replace the old Schoolhouse Rock heroes with progressive updates:

The runaway has emerged as the emblematic figure of a renovated national mythology, hero of a land that increasingly sees its Founding Fathers as settler-colonist génocidaires. In their stead rises a patriotism centered on slavery and abolition, and a campaign to set the country’s age-old freedom cult on a newly progressive footing.

No matter who came up with the Madison’s Trust lesson plan, the idea clearly grew out of this same nest of ideas, with the aim of valorizing Harriet Tubman, Henry “Box” Brown, and other Railroad figures. Until there were complaints, there were plenty of progressive educators in Virginia who seemed to think these simulations were a good idea. A story in the Pilot from 2006 showed teachers boasting of how lifelike they’d made theirs. In that case, a pair of PE teachers in Chesapeake “transformed their gym into an eerie obstacle course” and “allowed the school’s 800 students to experience a little of what the slaves encountered during their nighttime runs.” Parents volunteered to play roles as slave-catchers and “patrolled the gym to the recorded sounds of barking dogs and galloping horses,” and teachers added heavy doses of verisimilitude:

Students who made unnecessary noise or skipped obstacles found themselves caught and wearing gray construction paper manacles. There were no second chances. The slaves never got any, the teachers explained. “Some first- and second-graders cried,” the Pilot noted, in a deeply buried lede.

A version of this was even officially approved for use in Loudoun County at one point, only to be discontinued years before the 2019 incident. Though the Loudoun County Schools declined to speak on the record for this story, it’s safe to say there’s disagreement about who signed off on what at Madison’s Trust, whose much watered-down version incidentally didn’t involve dogs or manacles. The Physical Education teachers are adamant that principal Stewart, as well as the Dean, Robert Rauch, visited the simulation in its first days — all of this took place between a Monday and a Wednesday on February 4th, 5th, and 6th, of 2019 — and gave it a thumbs-up. Other teachers and even Stewart tweeted about it in approval, claiming the students were “100% engaged.” Those messages have since been deleted.

An amazing part of this story is how close it came to never happening. “We would have been fine not going cross-curricular,” one of the three Physical Education teachers told me. “We’d have been just fine doing our normal stuff.”

Much later, what happened in the district would be portrayed as a white backlash against teaching the “truth” about America’s past. Buzzfeed for instance would eventually describe the Loudoun controversy as an effort by “right-wing activists” to “ban lessons and conversations around race, racism, and slavery.” A Washington Post article described local citizens as being against “efforts to promote racial justice,” and blamed Donald Trump and his followers for seeing “hateful lies” in “teaching about slavery and racism.”

Yet the triggering incident in Loudoun clearly involved an overenthusiastic attempt to teach students about the Underground Railroad.

Any progressive’s knee-jerk response to this story would involve aching to go back in time, Terminator-style, to quash thoughts of sticking “conversations about slavery” in a period normally reserved for volleyball and sack races. The issue wasn’t teachers trying to sabotage an antiracist lesson plan, but rather trying too hard to teach one. Even if you saw it as problematic, it was surely the opposite of not wanting to “teach about slavery and racism.”

What happened next followed the pattern after simulations in Carrolton, Ohio, in 1997 (“Living-History Lessons Resurrect Old Wounds”), or Atlanta in 2013 (“Parent Says Slavery Experiment at Camp Went Too Far”) or Chicago in 2018 (“Illinois School Made Black Students Pretend to Be Slaves”) or countless other places: things went wrong. The typical complaint involved a black student coming home with a tale about having been asked to role-play a slave in school, followed by said child’s parent going somewhat understandably ballistic (“That’s when the blood vessel kind of broke,” is how one Atlanta parent described hearing his daughter’s story).

The parents of one black child complained about the Brambleton simulation, and what followed was a perfect metaphor for so much of what’s wrong with modern American politics. ...

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JOIN US THIS SATURDAY AT POINT CABRILLO LIGHTHOUSE from 1pm - 4pm! We're having a small holiday event with cider, hot cocoa, carolers, and a local photographer to take professional photos of your family, with the stunning backdrop that is our local lighthouse! Plus, you can get some last-minute shopping done, benefiting the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association nonprofit. The festivities are free, but donations are welcome!

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JUSTICE DENIED

by John Arteaga

I keep thinking of the old expression that justice delayed is justice denied; despite the fact the feds have rounded up and are convicting hundreds of the deluded pawns of the mad would-be-dictator of our country, the undeniable fomenters of this attempted coup d’etat, frustratingly, still walk free as we approach the 1st anniversary of that event!

The former president, more than anyone else I’ve ever heard of, illustrates just how broken is our country’s criminal justice system. Those lacking in financial resources (disproportionately people of color), are often railroaded into pleading guilty, sometimes for crimes that they didn’t even commit, rather than waiting for months in custody because they can’t raise their bail money. At the opposite end of the spectrum; Donald Trump is a lifelong unindicted career criminal; from stiffing just about everyone who has ever worked for him, to ripping off his own relatives, to thieving openly and greedily from the public purse through massive tax fraud. Those are just the first things that come to mind.

The great journalist and author David Cay Johnston, who has been observing ‘The Donald’ longer than just about anyone, recounts an anecdote from Donald’s youth, where the next door family had a baby that they would occasionally put out on the back porch to enjoy the sunlight. Young Donald, just for fun, would take small pebbles and throw them at the baby for entertainment; a game he would call, ‘make the baby cry’. When the outraged neighbors caught him the act, of course he denied it, and of course his uber rich family protected him. This has been his MO for his whole life! Hire enough lawyers to delay legal proceedings for so long that you wear down and bankrupt your opponent. This seems to be the strategy that he is currently employing with the congressional inquiry into the events of last January 6.

I was so delighted today to hear that a federal Court of Appeals had turned down his BS appeal to shield his presidential records from scrutiny. Why it took so many months to come to this open and shut common sense decision eludes me; I mean why bother having presidential records of meetings, calls, conversations etc. if the government itself is prohibited from looking at them?! Absurd!

Unfortunately my joy at hearing this was brief indeed; in practically the next sentence the radio announcer said that, “the last word on this might have to come from the Supreme Court”. Ahhhrrrgh! To hand over the fate of our democracy to that shameless, degraded institution, after Trump and his many enablers had been able to install three (!) utterly disgusting human beings to it, makes me want to vomit!

Think about it; adding to the porn addict sexual harasser who perjured himself up and down in his appointment hearings (helped along mightily, for some reason, by the youthful Joseph Biden), however much he likes to wrap himself in the Bible and the cross, his votes have been most un-Christlike. A less thoughtful, automatic vote to the right of the late ultra rightist Antonin Scalia, he always sides with the powerful and the rich over the rest of us. Neil Gorsuch, like so many of his fellows there on the court, is a Catholic, who has done little or nothing to distinguish himself. As Trump promised his fanatical antiabortion base, he would appoint only ‘justices’ preapproved by the Koch-funded Federalist Society who will vote to overturn Roe.

Next, is there a more contemptible human being than Brett Kavanaugh? I mean, instead of admitting to his college frat house attempted gang rape, he did a repeat of Thomas’s perjure-fest, and the gutless congress, of course, took the man’s word over the woman’s (what else is new?). How disgusting was that, when in an attempt to clarify the vocabulary in emails etc. from the time, they blithely accepted his explanation that ‘boofing’ referred to flatulence. While I do not consider myself too provincial, the term was new to me, but I soon learned from younger folks what its common usage is; the consumption of alcohol (usually beer) rectally. I guess his moniker, among his frat buddies as, “the boofing king”. I guess he really likes beer!

But really, THIS is the guy who is going to occupy a lifelong position of telling us all what is right and good what we may and may not do?! Give me a break!

And the hits just keep coming! Amy Cony Barrett, a member of the bizarre Catholic cult which inspired the dystopian novel and movie, ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’, distinguished herself the other day during arguments about Roe by stating that, since there are safe harbor laws where a mother can give up her baby at birth without penalty, it should be no undue burden to, say, require an abused 15-year-old to bring her violent rapist father’s baby to term and then give it away.

You can’t make this stuff up. The thought of turning the very idea of democracy and representing the will of the people over to the gaggle of mental cases on the Supreme Court chills me to the bone.

(John Arteaga is a Ukiah resident.)

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ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND and his wife minutes before assassination that would lead to World War One, 1914 (Colorized by F. Duriez).

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio live from Franklin St. all night Friday night!

Hi! Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 6pm.. If you're not done with it, whatever it is, send it when it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.

Or call during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of the storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If there'll be swears, please wait until after 10pm, to not agitate the weasels.

Friday night's show will feature memories of Stan Barr, intrepid traveler who sneaked into the mountain jungles of Vietnam during /the/ war to take pictures and sneaked out again unscathed only to be taken down thirty years later by an insect the size of a pea; installments of several creative-writing locals' latest novels-in-progress; some financial-disaster news about the Sherwood Oaks facility; further on the Skunk Train company's fishy land grab of fully half the value of impending mid-21st-century Fort Bragg; poetry by Robert L. Service; a paean to Merrie Smith of Mendocino Cafe and Flow, who feeds the hungry and destitute; county government's ongoing shenanigans to increase the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful even further; world news in science and hilarious creeps and politics and health and lack of same and disasters and triumphs, and vax advice from people you can actually trust. It's like a giant cubist Rubik's cube, which is already a cube, so it naturally lends itself to the analogy. And at the end, the full-hour presentation of Mendocino Theater Company's award-winning 2011 production of Charles Dickens' /A Christmas Carol/, with Bob Cohen as Ebenezer Scrooge, and you'll recognize the rest of everybody by their voices, of course. Some of them are dead now. This is, after all, the Xmas Future the Ghost warned us against, pointing his long bony finger at where we will all eventually end up. To paraphrase Lord Buckley: "If you get to it, and you can't do it, well, there you bloody well are, aren't you." But I'll likely get to all that stuff and plenty more, so. Also, a smart dog looks where you point, not at your finger.

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128

(That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.)

Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.

Besides all that, there you'll find a week-before-Xmas-Eve sample of this and that and miscellaneii to twiddle your fingers among until showtime, or any time, such as:

A thrilling one-man stage shadow-fight scene.

https://boingboing.net/2021/12/16/watch-one-of-the-most-incredible-fight-scenes-ever-staged.html

Flying foxes are the best bats. So cute.

https://laughingsquid.com/flying-fox-celebrates-first-birthday/

A year in pictures. It may take a few minutes for this page to fully load; it's worth it. What a world, what a world, as the Wicked Witch lamented, melting because of the water thrown on her.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/world/year-in-pictures.html

And the blitz in color. A nice color blitz. You'll recall, in Hyperdrive, 500 years in the future, in typically British-incompetently-dominated outer space, Commander Michael (Lucky Jack, Hendo) Henderson used his scrambled knowledge of distant history to buck up his crew in the face of certain death, addressing the crew of the Camden Lock thusly: "Back in the Blitz they shook their fist at the skies and shouted, 'Come on, ya Zulus, do your worst!'"

https://www.vintag.es/2021/12/london-during-the-blitz.html

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

18 Comments

  1. Stephen Dunlap December 18, 2021

    who is this business referred to with ” Reportedly, eighty of those are owned by a single entity in Boise, Idaho.” ?

  2. Marmon December 18, 2021

    Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann announced Friday that he settled a $275 million defamation lawsuit against NBC.

    Marmon

  3. Cathleen Boyd December 18, 2021

    John Arteaga: Well said!

    • chuck dunbar December 18, 2021

      Agree

  4. mr. wendal December 18, 2021

    re: EMINENT DOMAIN: NOT JUST FOR PLAYGROUND TRAINS

    Mr. Broderick wrote “Now, Sierra Energy through its parent asset management corporation, now control the water rights at the old Pudding Creek dam. This now has to be negotiated with a non local corporation whose specialty is the acquisition of distressed properties.”

    For Mr. Broderick – You keep saying “Sierra Energy” is behind the mill site acquisition. Please provide evidence linking “Sierra Energy,” a trash-to-energy company whose parent company is “Sierra Railway,” to the “Sierra Energy Holding LLC” asset management company that you keep saying is pulling the strings. How are they connected and where is your proof?

    There are other “Sierra Energy” companies you could have chosen as the behind-the-scenes villain. Like Sierra Energy Solutions, LLC, an oil and gas company; Sierra Energy, a semiconductor manufacturer; Sierra Energy Capital, LLC, an investment banker, Sierra Energy Express, a restaurant, etc. The one you chose seems to fit your chosen narrative but I believe your information is false. Conversation about this needs to be factual or all credibility is lost. Please share proof of the connection.

  5. George Hollister December 18, 2021

    Many figures in ancient myth are based on real life characters. The same can be said for many fairytale, and historical folklore figures. Jerry Philbrick fits right in. Who knows, he might evolve into a folklore hero. There are certainly enough Jerry Philbrick stories to support that.

  6. George Hollister December 18, 2021

    From Matt Taibbi: “As Kendi puts it, “racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity.””

    Should one laugh, or get angry?

    • chuck dunbar December 18, 2021

      Or maybe, as the issue is so complex and vexing, with no perfect answers–think more deeply about it to figure out what actually works and what is fair and what is just…

      • George Hollister December 18, 2021

        Complex is right, too complex for anyone to assume to have the wisdom to understand it. One might start with what “equity” is, when everyone I know is different.

        • Mel December 18, 2021

          Equity means having EQUAL ACCESS. For example in public education this means: ALL students will have equal access to the curriculum.

          • George Hollister December 19, 2021

            I agree, but that is not what Kendi is referring to. Equal access assumes there are some that will do better, some not so well, and some who choose a different path. Everyone should have a chance to run the race, but only one will win, some won’t finish and some won’t bother.

  7. Kirk Vodopals December 18, 2021

    Speaking of the CIA controlling the media…
    Michael Flynn was quoted recently stating that Qanon was probably a CIA-directed program. Ha! Gotta love that one

  8. Briley December 18, 2021

    Just curious, is there an annual audit of Measure B funds? I think the ordinance includes an annual audit requirement. Is there a link to view the audit?

    • Mark Scaramella December 18, 2021

      We asked about the audit in 2020.

      https://www.theava.com/archives/139020

      From our coverage of the March 2021 Board meeting:

      FOLLOWING DR. MILLER’S presentation the Board rambled on in typical Measure B style about whether to move forward with a PHF, albeit four years after such initial discussions should have been completed. Possible locations and the need for a feasibility study were mentioned. Supervisor Haschak brought up the requirement for an annual independent audit as called for in Measure B. Supervisor Gjerde questioned the need for an audit given that relatively little money has been spent. The Supes finally agreed to do the “annual” audit (after only three years) because it’s required by Measure B as approved by the voters. (When we asked former Project Manager Alyson Bailey about that audit last year, she replied that so little had been spent that there was no reason for an audit, despite the Measure’s calling for it.)

      The audit is listed as a “Board Directive” for March of 2021 as “in process” in the September 2021 CEO report with no date. At that point it had been “in process” for a half a year.

      But in Mendo “board directives” are more like, maybe, suggestions to staff, if they kinda feel like doing it, if they have time in their busy schedules, some day, hopefully, otherwise never mind. Oh well. Ergo: “In process” until we get around to it. If we do.

    • Lazarus December 18, 2021

      By Measure B’s own admission, the CRT cost 4.7 mil. That is about 1450 bucks per square foot. I know it is a nice place, but the numbers are insane.
      I can hardly wait for the PHF analysis to be delivered. The PHF will make the CRT look like a deal…
      Happy Christmas!
      Laz

  9. Betsy Cawn December 18, 2021

    Regarding the Major’s critique of “Official Mendocino” (MONEY, MONEY EVERYWHERE, BUT NOT A DROP TO DRINK):

    Lake County’s officialdom preens with similar self-congratulatory rhetoric and goes out of its way to appear to be taking action, although the actual action being taken is either by outside agencies or the Supervisors’ unscrutinizable “ad hoc” committees “directing staff” in collaboration with the Chief Administrative Officer and her vassals.

    As always, our Supervisors “pledge” themselves to the “achievement” of broadly defined “goals” described in “visions” — not of ways and means to protect life and property (the domain of fire protection agencies at all levels), but of bringing everything “up to code” in a house-by-house demand for improvements meeting an unnamed standard as determined by “code enforcement” personnel (working in partnership with dedicated Sheriff’s deputies in a town that has been made over more than once in the past two decades, starting in Y2K with the advent of a major code enforcement investment of $1,000,000 and the creation of the Northshore Redevelopment Agency).

    Three separate clusters of agencies and multi-jurisdictional officials formed around the topic of drought have been meeting all this year, one of them initiated by the county’s Office of Emergency Services, one of them by the state’s Department of Water Resources, and yet another new task force formed by the Board of Supervisors for “long-term” drought planning.

    Considering the number of failed or unimplemented plans the county has created, the devotion to these “tireless” efforts to conjure up a “rebranded” (and “healthier”) Lake County — subsidized by the soon-to-be short-lived commercial cannabis industry and property tax bludgeoning of still struggling wildfire victims — consistently overlooks the lack of commitment to fulfilling General Plan requirements, implementing watershed and wildfire protection practices, ensuring adequate infrastructure for fire fighting, and providing timely communication services for managing emergency situations.

    As of this writing, the Lake County Office of Emergency Services is non-existent. That is, there is floorspace dedicated to technology-ready workspaces specifically for occupation by Emergency Operations Center personnel, in a building owned by the public, but there are no employees assigned to the function of OES activities — including the coordination of measures for protecting the critical water supply for over 60% of Lake County’s residents.

    The battle for civic comity continues to rage as anti-vax/anti-mask parents demand that our school districts withdraw their requirements for students and staff to comply with public health disease-prevention practices. The rapidly spreading contagion of foaming-at-the-mouth mob mentalities most recently emerged in non-sensical demands to cease distribution of state-provided “harm reduction” materials by profoundly ignorant citizens in the town of Lucerne, led by the wife of District 3 Supervisor E.J. Crandell.

    Taking up the sensationalizing of the misplaced citizen outrage, as usual, is District 2 Supervisor Bruno Sabatier (in league with the City of Clearlake’s police chief), who demanded a complete moratorium on the life-saving services provided peacefully here since 1995 by a lone courageous social worker and a small cadre of caregivers. The proposed moratorium was not supported by three of the four elected officials cosseted behind the elevated dais, but not before Supervisor Sabatier had dragged the program provider over the proverbial coals in a public hearing in early November. With the help of flame-throwing Facebook friends, the scapegoating of local disease-prevention specialists by oh so overworked elected officials — both supervisory district seats are up for election next year — attracted the support of social justice activists and knowledgeable community members, but the waste of time and energy on this matter alone exemplifies the ineffective showmanship of the elected and appointed “stars of Lake County.”

    District 3 Municipal Advisory Councils (three, with varying degrees of capacities but no actionable plans to deliver public health and safety services pleaded for by “constituents”) conduct monthly gab-fests that have resulted in proposals brought before our Board of Supervisors such as the mounting of cameras to capture the license plates of passing vehicles that might be on their way to illegally dispose of trash in the lightly regulated waterways and theoretically protected areas of wetlands and the public trust asset we call Clear Lake.

    But failed and failing fire hydrants in population centers such as the Clearlake Keys subdivision and a major business sector in the city of Clearlake lack any investment of interest by the Board of Supervisors, who managed to pass the buck for that responsibility to their flimsily fabricated Risk Reduction Authority, ruled by two district supervisors who are also the presiding officials “leading” the county’s Disaster Council. Citizens who have tried for years to get these surrogate bodies to recognize the absence of resources for addressing such critical needs are rebuffed at every opportunity in which the capacity gaps are brought up. [At the most recent Disaster Council meeting, the Sheriff informed us that in order to see the documentation related to our OES applications and grant awards for Homeland Security Agency funding, a Public Records Act request would have to be provided. The same official stated in a Risk Reduction Authority meeting that the Sheriff’s department is not responsible for disaster preparedness, just as the program coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging stated that the agency is “not involved in emergency management.”]

    And while all of that is sucking up reportorial attention, the county’s Public Health department lacks a replacement for Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace (who is filling the state requirement for the function from his remote location in Sonoma County, under a very limited contract). Just as the latest virus “variant” storms in to spoil the holidays and threatens to rekindle the urgency of life-saving support required of exhausted healthcare workers, unmasked flash mobs invade enterprises and terrorize police authorities, and users of otherwise uncontrolled injectable substances are driven back into the dark alleyways formerly inhabited by obstetrician-gynecologists willing to perform optional pregnancy termination procedures.

    [By the by, our county CAO endeavored to combine our Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller positions but a united front presented by them and the Assessor-Recorder put a halt to that. Now she’s busy serving as the Interim Director of the Public Health department and the Community Development department, while overseeing the formerly independent Human Resources department — now a part of her Administration — and sequestering of magical marijuana sales tax revenues in mumbo-jumbo management shell games.]

    Gratuitous gestures and virtue signaling in place of rationally prioritized public health and safety services, absent accountability for leadership “outcomes,” accompanied by stylized posturing and pontificating in praise of their self-proclaimed successes (yet to be realized by communities beset with arsonists, vandals, thieves, and demented homeless “residents”) are all evidence of the Emperor’s new clothes we pay for but cannot see.

  10. A Comptche Resident December 19, 2021

    Reading the tributes to Jerry Philbrick one might think he was a man to be admired, a man larger than life that while opinionated would still listen to one’s viewpoint and remain friends with those with he disagreed.

    That is not the Jerry Philbrick I knew.

    The Jerry Philbrick I knew was a small, brutish and intolerant man. The man who when Spotted Owls were designated a threatened species and would impact how California forests were to be managed and harvested then went out into his forest with a shotgun and killed all the owls on his property, scowling “no damn government is going to tell me what to do with my land.”

    The man that when Comptche still had a small pub would go there night after night getting into drunken brawls until the owners had enough, gave up, sold out and Comptche lost the last little place one could buy a drink and a hot meal.

    The man who when a Comptche neighbor bought a new truck would immediately go out and buy a newer and better model. He delighted in pretending he had more money and power than any of those around him.

    The man that caused the Comptche school to lose its country innocence and keep its doors locked. Philbrick considered himself a super patriot who would defend the flag at all costs. Rather, he was a short-sighted zealot who forgot that the flag is not a holy relic but rather symbolizes the union of all the peoples of the United States. His self-appointed enforcement of Flag Etiquette at the Comptche School terrorized the staff and students and was only stopped by a Sheriff’s visit, the School District’s threat of a restraining order, and those still locked doors.

    The man whose ranting and taunting letters to the AVA, many of which were ghostwritten, lessened the quality of discourse in Mendocino county and alienated those who didn’t practice his style of rock-ribbed libertarian fever fantasy.

    Philbrick and the generations of loggers before him practiced a slash and destroy approach to the forests that decimated almost all old growth redwoods in the county, leaving the land denuded and erosion-prone. He and those like him eventually killed off Mendocino’s driving industries of logging and fishing, as once the forests are empty there are no more trees to harvest and once the streams are silted closed there are no more fish to catch. Told this at the time, he was too full of greed and hubris to change his ways and even consider proper forest management, leaving us all with a scarred ecosystem that will take millennia to restore.

    To the vast majority of Comptche and County residences, his passing is not a loss. To paraphrase Max Planck, society progresses one funeral at a time. Without Jerry Philbrick we are a little more positive, a little more aware and a little more united and enabled to face the future. Good riddance.

    • Harvey Reading December 19, 2021

      What you report seems likely to me, based on his “writing” at the AVA. We had his type in Calaveras County when I was a kid … not one of the county’s better aspects.

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