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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

Cloudy Breezy | Lake Pillsbury | Smaller Hospital | Point Arena | Hendy Free | Eileen Oppenlander | Student Testing | Mystery Bluff | Shop Local | Aluminum Tree | Lighting Competition | Police Reports | Mendocino Dairy | Trimmer Trouble | Yesterday's Catch | Wealth Media | Tight Quarters | Water Wasters | Backyard Gazebo | Weed Industry | Mendo Grammar | Ukiah Concerts | Literalist | Locusts | Sore Loser | GI Show | Embracing Che | Scales | Ganja Tax | Xmas Future | Marco Radio | Farty Dispute | Couched Stehr | Lighthouse Workers | Human Toll

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CLOUDY, MILD WEATHER will continue today with gusty conditions along the coast and on interior ridges. Consistent precipitation is expected to start Tuesday and continue through the Holiday weekend. Trinity county will see some snow on Tuesday but more substantial snowfall is expected later in the week alongside falling snow levels and cold weather. (NWS)

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Lake Pillsbury (photo by Elaine Kalantarian)

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A NEW (SMALLER) COAST HOSPITAL?

by Chris Calder

(We previously covered the District Board’s discussion of the problems at Sherwood Oaks. This report covers highlights from the rest of the meeting…)

A much smaller local hospital was discussed at the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District board of directors meeting on December 9.

Representatives of Devenney Group, whom the District board is considering to plan a new or retrofitted hospital that will meet state seismic standards by 2030, presented similar projects they have done in California and Arizona and gave rough cost estimates for a new facility that would take 7-8 years to build, at up to $65 million.

Board members discussed a future coast hospital that would have 6-10 beds instead of the current 24.

All California hospitals are supposed to meet updated seismic standards by the end of the decade, and the board's focus seems to be on building a new, but significantly smaller facility.

The cost of a new hospital on the Mendocino Coast would likely be borne by residents of the healthcare district, although specifics for how to pay for it were not discussed. Executives of Adventist Health, the current operators of the Coast's hospital, had mentioned contributing to rebuilding costs during discussions about affiliation in 2019, but no mention was made of the Adventists’ participation at the Healthcare District board meeting last week.

Board member John Redding said he and Board Chair Jessica Grinberg have talked with Adventist Health about its ideas for a new hospital.

”We have tried to engage them and that has not produced a proposal,” Redding said.

Judson Howe, president of the three hospitals that Adventist Health now operates in Mendocino County, said at the meeting last week that the cost estimates the board were discussing for building a new hospital on the coast seemed low to him. As far as how a new facility could be paid for, Howe said “I think there's going to have to be a big philanthropic lift as well.”

Howe also urged the board to think in terms of a hospital with significantly fewer beds, noting that inpatient care is by far the most expensive type of healthcare service.

”The payers (public and private insurers) in the industry are driving us to lower and lower cost options," Howe said, adding “the future of healthcare is in the home.”

Board member Norman de Vall urged the board to do a study of the district's demographics and needs before deciding on the scale of a new facility.

”Are we going to have a ‘stabilize and transfer’ station? … Do we see that as our future?," he asked. 

New Officers 

The board elected new officers. Amy McColley is now Board Chair, Norman de Vall is Vice Chair, and Sara Spring remains Board Secretary. The Board currently has no treasurer because both Jessica Grinberg and John Redding, the current treasurer, refused nominations for the post. Redding recommended that the board hire a chief financial officer because, he said, he has been spending 20-30 hours every week as treasurer on District financial matters.

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Early Wharf, Pt. Arena

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FREE DAY FOR MENDOCINO COUNTY RESIDENTS

New Years Day At Hendy Woods State Park

Sat, January 1, 2022 at 7:00 AM

andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/2006

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Albion Lumber Camp 10, Comptche

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AS SCHOOLS BEGIN TO COVID-CLOSE in other areas of the country, we asked AV Schools superintendent Louise Simson if she anticipated the same here. Superintendent Simson replied:

We have no plans to do that here unless REQUIRED to do so, but kids need to be at school. We are at the forefront of implementing weekly pooled testing to survelliance test our students. We have been doing this since the beginning of September to catch and stop infections early. I am including a recent trade publication we were featured in for School administrators, as well as the video commercial about our district that is being shown across the state. Not only does this keep us safe, it will also provide the path forward when infection rates are down to think about using this data to lower restrictions such as masking or create a bridge on the vaccination wars. I am so proud of this program and would LOVE to talk with you about it if you have questions. There is absolutely no cost to our district, and we have kept our infection rates very low compared to the rest of the districts in the county. 

Please see below: (If the video is slow to load, go to the right bottom corner and lower the resolution rate to 360 as this is film quality).

Pooled testing <https://edcal.acsa.org/is-pooled-testing-the-answer>--ACSA, Article about Anderson Valley

Anderson Valley Featured Video Final cut--Final Video Pooled Testing: <https://app.frame.io/presentations/cd4e6c41-368a-42e9-b2bb-c8b49237d377>

We have a few additional cases this week, which is part of the post-Thanksgiving pop. The most important thing for everyone to understand is you can not eradicate Covid. We can manage and mitigate. My school system last year was open ALL year, for all kids, EVERY full day. We didn't have testing and vaccinations, but we did it through vigilance, and most important partnership in ensuring kids stay home when they are sick. This testing program is an incredible tool. 

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NAME THAT SITE

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SHOP LOCAL IN ANDERSON VALLEY and help support your community: Disco Ranch, Farmhouse Mercantile, Hedgehog Books, Mosswood, Sun & Cricket at The Madrones, The Bohemian Chemist at The Madrones, The General Store; Inn and Restaurant gift certificates (Lauren’s, Paysanne, The Bewildered Pig, The Boonville Hotel, The Madrones, Wickson); Wineries often have little gifts as well as wines; a gift subscription to Word of Mouth magazine. So many great choices. Happiest of holidays to all!

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A TALE OF TWO TREES

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Many summers ago I was at a yard sale out in that jumble of wine-flavored streets in Ukiah’s northwest corner.

I was browsing boxes of old VHS tapes and tables of children’s clothing, the usual stacks of National Geographic magazines and toys all over the lawn. On a table near the garage I was delighted to find an old shiny aluminum Christmas tree, complete with a spinning color wheel to bathe it in reds, blues, yellow and greens. Price tag: $15.

I didn’t even dicker. The tree came in its original box stamped “Montgomery Wards, Ukiah Calif” on one end. Man what a find!

The sparkly tree went up the following Christmas, much to the wonder, surprise, and perhaps delight of neighbors and friends. Then came daughter Emily into my life and things changed.

Including Christmas. By the time she was four years old Emily had established herself as a somewhat, ummm, forceful presence in the world and in our house, and at a surprisingly young age was aware of how Christmas was to be properly conducted.

She insisted on putting exterior lights not just on the roof peak of our modest shanty on North Oak, but also demanded that colored lights surround the front door frame. Sure, you could argue with her. Go right ahead.

By five years old she understood correct protocols regarding Christmas trees. In all her friends’ living rooms stood familiar green, fragrant fir trees decked with lights, ornaments and tinsel. This was as it should be, ever and thus.

So in 1984, following a couple years of green fir trees for the holidays, Daddio pulled a cardboard box off a shelf and began assembling the aluminum tree. Observing quietly, Emily suggested time-honored decor might be preferable for the holidays. I joked a response. Emily folded her arms across her chest. You could argue with her, and I did.

Our discussion evolved into a contentious exchange. Because she was five and because she was Emily she was unpersuaded by my explanations of cool, retro 1950s kitsch and all things moderne. References to pink flamingoes on lawns and Lawrence Welk music were met by frowns and glares.

No, Emily was a strict traditionalist who wanted nothing more than a real green tree like every other decent family. There was no discussing the matter, not with her wailing in tears and windmilling her tiny fists against my stomach. 

It was quite an outburst and my visiting friend Kip, embarrassed at witnessing such domestic strife, departed, quietly shutting the front door behind him. Emily ran to her room, flung herself on the bed and said she didn’t want Christmas anyway. 

The aluminum thing stood, ornament-free but complete, in the living room. Over the next half hour daddio made tentative efforts to negotiate a detente, but there was no compromise. 

ME: What, throw out the cool fake tree? 

EMILY: I want a real Christmas tree!

After another hour came the call to dinner, and my beleaguered daughter emerged, sulking. She and I supped quietly until there came a tap-tap-tapping at the door.

It was Kip. Always welcome, he slipped into the living room sideways, holding something bulky wrapped in bright red. He set it down near the aluminum tree. A nod in our direction and he vanished.

We left the table and our cold gruel to check things out. He had brought a live green spruce in a foil-wrapped planter filled with dirt, with a dozen or so small red balls dangling from sparse branches. 

And in his wisdom and generosity Kip had saved our Christmas. I moved the gaudy silver number to a far corner and placed our new real tree on a table in the front window. 

Santa Claus came a few nights later and brought Emily a red Radio Flyer wagon. It was also the year she got a Cabbage Patch doll from Nana, and a battery operated rolling penguins toy from Uncle Pete.

Many years passed before I brought the aluminum tree back off the shelf. Lives and perspectives have ways of changing. I learned Emily was right, and that holiday traditions should be honored and respected. And that Christmas is for kids. 

Emily grew to teendom and came to love having the only chrome Christmas tree in town, with a spinning color wheel to boot. When she left home she happily took the aluminum beast with her. 

She’s a sweet, amiable cheerful adult, and this year she is bringing the fake tree back to Ukiah to celebrate the 2021 holidays. All is calm, all is bright.

And if Kip were to show up, it would be a special Christmas indeed.

HANG ‘EM HIGH 

One year ago on these very pages I announced to my several readers that I was finished decorating my house for Christmas. No more climbing ladders, no more vertigo. I was done with replacing ancient C9 outdoor bulbs, and finished with paying crazy electric bills to power those lights.

But once again circumstances shift and what seemed burdensome last year suddenly looked like a wonderful opportunity this holiday season, all because son Lucas is home for the holidays.

My solemn promise to quit this foolish nonsense now seems premature. Why miss the opportunity to don a yellow plastic hardhat and a clipboard so I could order him around while he strings outdoor lights? He did a fine job, and I’ve already offered him a position next year.

Drive down, or up, Dora street; you can’t miss those rich, warm holiday bulbs. 

Merry Christmas dear readers, and a hearty Fa la la la la! to all.

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TOUGH NIGHT FOR AN OLD BOY

On Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 9:37 AM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a high risk missing person situation at a residence located in the 11000 block of Oat Gap Road in Potter Valley.

Deputies contacted the reporting person who reported their neighbor, a 77 year-old elderly male, as being missing.

The elderly male was identified as suffering from dementia. The reporting person noticed the door to the elderly male's residence was found open and his whereabouts were unknown.

The elderly male had been last seen on Sunday, December 18, 2021 at 5:00 PM at his residence.

Deputies spoke with other neighbors in the area and learned someone had seen a shoe, a pair of glasses and a metal walker belonging to the elderly male about a 1/4 mile northeast from the elderly male's residence on 12-18-2021 at about 11:00 PM.

Deputies conducted an immediate search of the area and were unable to locate the elderly male.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue personnel were summoned to the location due to the elderly male being at risk due to the cold weather and suffering from dementia.

At approximately 1:14 PM Search & Rescue personnel located the elderly male tangled in wire fencing and bushes about a hundred yards from the roadway in the 11500 block of Oat Gap Road.

The elderly male was incoherent and appeared to be suffering from hypothermia.

The elderly male was subsequently flown by air ambulance to a local hospital for medical treatment.


TWO PERSON CRIME WAVE

On Monday, December 6, 2021 at about 9:37 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was advised of a couple suspicious vehicles on Sherwood Road a few miles up from Highway 101 in Laytonville.

The Sheriff's Office also learned of a video which was posted on social media of a person stealing gas containers in Brooktrails (Willits) earlier in the morning. The social media post stated a male and female were involved in the gas container theft and they were in a white U-Haul truck with the stickers removed.

Sheriff's Deputies responded to the location of the suspicious vehicles and located two U-Haul vehicles parked along the roadway. Deputies noticed the Chevrolet truck had the U-Haul stickers removed and white tape placed over some uhaul.com stickers. Sheriff's Dispatch advised the Chevrolet Truck had been reported stolen from Sonoma County.

The second GMC U-Haul box truck was found to have the rear door open and a dog in the front passenger compartment. It appeared someone had been living in the U-Haul box truck. The dog was later taken by animal control due to an injury which later required extensive medical attention.

Deputies checked the area and did not locate any individual(s).

In the rear of the stolen truck, Deputies noticed numerous gas containers, a Yeti cooler, chainsaws, and a climbing rope.

Inside the truck, Deputies found an assortment of mail from the Ukiah, Hopland, Redwood Valley and Willits area.

Deputies found a lot of mail and identification cards in the name of Shevelle Perkins, 36, of Fort Bragg.

Shevelle Perkins

Deputies further found numerous debit cards, US Treasury Checks, EDD mail, and numerous other checks in various amounts written by numerous people and a business in Mendocino County. Deputies noticed some of the checks had been “washed” and altered.

Also inside the cab, Deputies located another chainsaw and an empty Glock style 10 round magazine.

Deputies found that Perkins was currently on probation with a submit to search term. Deputies further could see possible stolen mail and items inside the GMC box truck.

A search of the box truck was conducted and more indicia in the name of Perkins was located.

Deputies also located more checks, mail, a lock pick kit, a pry bar, a red metal gas can, and other items. The total amount of the checks found were over $4,000 with some checks themselves being over $1,000 individually.

The stolen truck was recovered and towed by the Deputies. The GMC U-Haul was left at the location.

Deputies were able to develop information that Perkins' boyfriend was Christopher Brockway, 33, of Albion, and that he had been seen with her on Sherwood Road.

Christopher Brockway

On Tuesday, December 7 2021 a Deputy noticed the GMC box truck occupied with Perkins and Brockway in the city of Ukiah. The Deputy contacted/arrested Perkins and Brockway.

Brockway was found to be in possession of an unloaded 9mm handgun without a serial number (ghost gun) but he had a loaded magazine in the same pocket. Deputies confirmed Brockway was prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.

Brockway was arrested for possession of firearm by prohibited person, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, along with possession of a stolen vehicle, conspiracy to commit a felony and grand theft.

Perkins was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, conspiracy to commit a felony, grand theft, animal cruelty and violation of probation.

Brockway was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $65,000 bail.

Perkins was booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail.

The GMC U-Haul was searched again pursuant to a search warrant and Deputies located more stolen mail and checks.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted by Detectives from Sonoma County, who responded to Mendocino County. The Detectives were able to recovered stolen items that had been stolen in Sonoma County from both U-Haul vehicles.


AMMO LEADS TO…

On Thursday, December 16, 2021 about 10:39 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 23000 block of Hopper Lane in Covelo.

Deputies were advised of a disturbance involving two subjects, along with another call of a possible shooting in the area.

Upon their arrival, they noticed live 9mm ammunition on the ground in front of the residence. Deputies contacted Charles Whipple, 48, of Covelo, at the location, who lives in a small one room cabin.

Charles Whipple

Deputies conducted a consent search of his residence and located more live ammunition in various calibers. This ammunition was found in plain view on a shelf and Deputies established probable cause that Whipple had seen the ammunition in his cabin.

Deputies learned Whipple was a prohibited person and was not allowed to possess ammunition.

Whipple was arrested for possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Whipple was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to held in lieu of $15,000 bail.


WE'LL JUST GO TO HIS HOUSE

On Thursday, December 16, 2021 about 11:35 PM a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on a Honda Civic for vehicle code violations in the 21000 block of Meadowbrook Drive in Willits.

The Honda initially pulled over but then accelerated northbound at a high rate of speed.

The Honda continued traveling at a high rate of speed on city streets. Due to the weather conditions (foggy and wet) and the danger to the public, the pursuit was terminated with the Honda being last seen traveling eastbound on East Valley Street in Willits.

Deputies conducted an investigation and found the driver of the Honda was Rafael Paz, 44, of Willits with an address on Eastside Road in Willits.

Rafael Paz

Deputies responded to Paz's address and located the vehicle, which had not been registered since 2020.

Deputies could see Paz inside a small shed like structure, laying on a bed. Deputies knocked and announced themselves and the door was opened by a female.

Paz was subsequently placed under arrest for reckless driving while evading.

In plain view inside the shed, they saw the key to the Honda, along with a large amount of suspected methamphetamine and fentanyl. A search warrant was authored and other evidence suggesting sales of a controlled substance was located in the shed.

Deputies further discovered Paz was out on bail on two separate cases associated with controlled substance sales and fleeing law enforcement.

Paz was arrested on the additional charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, Transportation of a controlled substance and committing a felony offense while on bail.

Paz was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35.000 bail.

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TRIMMER TROUBLE

by Paul Modic

I met my trimmer at the coffee shop in Eureka to see about resuming work. We started talking and I told her she was unreliable because she left for the weekend and didn't contact me again for six weeks.

She became enraged and started screaming at me. She stood up, I stood up, and I screamed back at her. The people at the other tables looked up a little shocked as we went at it for a few more seconds but neither of us cared.

She went outside and I followed her out the door. When we got to her car we quickly made up, she was coming back to work. She needed the job and I needed a trimmer.

She had one new condition: she would have to bring her dogs down to be with her instead of going back up on weekends to visit them. She had had a falling out with her ex who watched them during the week after he overheard her on the phone telling her mother that she was just using him for dog-sitting and had no intention of getting back together.

I reluctantly agreed to the new situation.

She came back down and took over all the spaces: she trimmed in the work room with her dogs at her feet, used the guest house for kitchen and bath, and slept in another cabin up the hill with her dogs. They were an incongruous pair: one a full grown mutt and the other this yapping little number.

Whenever I came in the door of the work room she looked up from her tray with a big smile and her dogs joined in staring at me. She was wearing a big green plastic cape that looked like a shower curtain, I guess the leaves and stems slid easily off it. 

Sometimes the big dog would shake and if the sun streaming through the window were at the right angle I'd see clouds of dust and dander billowing into the air with likely a million or a billion mites included.

One day I went out to the cabin and asked if I could ask her a personal question.

“Sure,” she said.

“Well, whenever I prepare some food I almost always offer you some, but when you make food you never offer me any. Why is that? And I think I know the answer.” I figured she would say that she prepares a certain amount each week so she needs to keep that in order.

“Because if I gave you some then you would expect it,” she said.

“Hmm, okay,” I said, thinking that whenever someone talks about what's going to happen in the future it's bullshit because no one knows what's going to happen.

After a week of working with her dogs a new worker was due to arrive and I suggested that she clean the work room. I asked her to first take everything out and then wipe, wash, and mop down the room, even the walls, then move her dogs down to the sleeping cabin for the first day or so until we found out if the new girl was comfortable working with dogs in the comfortable little shed. This was likely as she was definitely a devoted dog owner herself.

She seemed to take offense at this request — was I was calling her dogs dirty?

As the days went on she became very argumentative and it was so stressful I couldn't be around her and I wasn't sure what the problem was. A class thing? Boss vs worker? Had I insulted her dogs? It got very uncomfortable, I might see her in the morning for a few minutes and maybe in the evening. One day I was up at Chautauqua Natural Foods and I spotted a friend.

“My trimmer is abusing me,” I whined. “She wants to argue all the time.”

“Then get rid or her,” she said.

“Oh, it's complicated, then I'd have to find someone else. If I bring someone into my personal space I need to know them, like for years. And I want her to work with a friend who's arriving soon. She's mostly an amazing person: smart, funny, kind, and sexy, but there's that 5% of her that is just very difficult to deal with.”

Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I wrote up a list of talking points and questions and brought her into the house. She refused to sit, this obese woman hulking over me.

“You're abusing me,” I said. “You argue all the time and I don't know why. I don't want to argue anymore.”

She started arguing again, ranting that it was all me. “And you got so upset when I wouldn't share my food with you!” she snapped.

“What? Why do you say that? All I did was ask you a question,” I said. “That's it, you're gone, clean up and I'll pay you off!”

Ah, the trimmers, the good times and the bad. Now they're all gone and they're never coming back. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 19, 2021

Blakesley, French, Harris

DUSTIN BLAKESLEY, Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.

JADE FRENCH, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

EUGENE HARRIS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

Hill, Menke, Notaro

VINSON HILL, Ukiah. Petty theft-merchandise, sale of organic drug.

MICHAEL MENKE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

NEAL NOTARO, Vallejo/Ukiah. Violation of restraining order prohibiting purchase of a firearm.

Pineda, Ramsey, Sanchez, Tucker

TEODORA PINEDA-MENDOZA, Gualala. Domestic battery.

BRAD RAMSEY, Ukiah. Grand theft.

VICTOR SANCHEZ-GOMEZ, Ukiah. DUI. 

ANDY TUCKER, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

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WE DON'T HAVE IT

Editor: 

E.J. Dionne wrote that “a democracy built on free speech, a free press, freedom of conscience and regular elections requires forms of civic friendship across our lines of disagreement.” 

We don’t have freedom of the press in the U.S. when six mega corporations own 90% of the mainstream media. These corporations are Comcast, Walt Disney, AT&T, ViacomCBS, Sony and Fox. Some of these may have interlocking boards of directors with other major corporations. 

The only alternatives for citizens desiring a wider range of views are independent media and social media like Facebook and Twitter (with huge amounts of disinformation). People with families and both parents working don’t have time to search for alternative viewpoints. They are fed whatever media CEOs want. 

Freedom of speech, thanks to the Supreme Court’s corrupt Citizens United decision, is limited to those with the most money. That isn’t freedom of speech. The U.S. needs to change this before it ever calls itself a democracy. 

Ed Oberweiser

Fort Bragg

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CALIFORNIA LIKELY TO CRACK DOWN ON WATER WASTE WITH DAILY $500 FINES

by Kurtis Alexander

After two years of drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom remains reluctant to put limits on statewide water use. His administration, however, is looking to take a first step.

Next month, the State Water Resources Control Board is expected to adopt temporary prohibitions on outdoor water practices, including hosing down driveways, filling up decorative fountains and watering lawns within 48 hours of rain.

A violation of these rules would carry the threat of a $500-a-day fine.

“Even though it’s been raining (recently), we’re still in a water supply shortfall and still in a drought,” said Eric Oppenheimer, a chief deputy director at the State Water Board. “These prohibitions to me are just common sense. They’re pretty much uses that shouldn’t be occurring during a drought, and I think everyone would agree.”

California is reeling from two of its driest back-to-back years on record. The state’s biggest reservoirs have hit historic lows, thousands of farms have been cut off from state and federal water projects because of the lack of water, and cities and towns are facing shortages.

Many communities, each dealing with its own level of hardship, have already banned certain outdoor water activities. Several have taken the additional step of putting caps on how much water households and businesses can use.

During last decade’s five-year drought, the State Water Board rolled out a similar ban on mostly outdoor wasteful water uses. The policy, which expired in 2017, went a bit further than what’s being proposed now, and included rules for the hospitality industry, such as serving water at restaurants only when diners requested it.

The 2014 wasteful water-use policy was followed up a year later with outright limits on water use. Then-Gov. Jerry Brown ordered cities and towns to cut water consumption a cumulative 25% statewide. Each community was given a quota, based largely on its past record of savings.

Newsom has so far asked only for voluntary reductions during the current drought: a cumulative 15% statewide, compared with last year. Since his request in July, water use has dropped 5.6%, according to state data.

The governor has maintained that water rationing should be a policy of last resort. He’s noted that much of the past decade’s conservation continues today, with both water-saving habits and more efficient technology like low-flow appliances keeping water use down. The governor has also noted that water agencies can move forward with local restrictions if they deem it necessary.

Many have been critical of Newsom’s more passive approach. They say not calling for even voluntary water reductions for the duration of summer, when water use is at its highest, has put the state far behind on conservation.

“If we had started earlier and hadn’t seen the response we should have seen, then we should have gone to mandatory restrictions,” said Heather Cooley, director of research for the Pacific Institute, a water think tank in Oakland. “As we saw during the last drought, early action can delay or even eliminate the need for more drastic action later.”

The governor’s office declined to comment for this story.

Political observers have noted that the pandemic, a time of sheltering in place and lots of mask rules, made it tougher for Newsom to sell new constraints, like water rationing. Additionally, the governor’s recall election meant unpopular policies carried greater liability.

The proposed ban on outdoor water practices, which will be considered by the State Water Board on Jan. 4, is expected to move cities and towns closer to Newsom’s 15% water reduction target. State officials, as well as cities, counties and local water agencies, would have the ability to enforce the measure. Most likely that would mean warnings at first, but possibly fines for those who remain out of compliance.

“These prohibitions can start to have a big impact,” said David Rose, an attorney for the State Water Board.

About 20% of the state’s total water use is human consumption, much of it going to the types of outdoor activities included in the proposed ban. The other 80% is agricultural.

Under the wasteful-water-use policy, these would be temporarily prohibited:

• Irrigating a lawn or other ornamental landscape with potable water to the point at which runoff washes onto the street or sidewalk.

• Washing a car without a shut-off nozzle on the hose.

• Hosing down driveways, sidewalks, patios and other hard surfaces with potable water unless health or safety are at risk.

• Filling decorative fountains or ponds with potable water, unless it’s recirculated water.

• Watering a lawn or ornamental landscape within 48 hours of measurable rainfall.

• Using potable water for street cleaning or construction.

• Using potable supplies for watering street medians or strips between the sidewalk and street.

(SF Chronicle)

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WHAT NOW? An on-line comment: 

Best sit this one out Bleaker…

This whole effing situation was not or ever has been planned, organized, arranged or designed by any effing bosses or authorities or central planning dept. 

Like everyone else posting older than 65 We All Worked At The Mill!!!

When the mills automated people got layed off. When automated mills finished off the logs Everyone got layed off. 

We didn't have anywhere else to go Buddy. We were here and hungry and heard the first stories of buds in 73 grown by V Vets not hippies. Not knowing it would be our job 10 yrs later. 

All the clear-cut sheep ranches that got subdivided in the 50s and 60s became deer hunting cabins and back to the land homesteads that became the bud cottage "industry" !

It's called luck that so many things came together and the Fine People of Northern California picked their darn selves up from the end of timber and learned to grow the kind bud. 

And everyone I know has always kept a day job too! It's called the work ethic and plenty still have it around here. 

How do you think everything got built anyway?

And no life here's never been what you wrongly think it was... for me it was like finding a good under the table job when my kids were small! And yes thank you I'm proud and humbled to have made it thus far!

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Mendo Grammar School Fire, 1929

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UKIAH COMMUNITY CONCERT

Excitement is building for the long-anticipated launch of our 21-22 concert season. Although 2021 will be in the rearview mirror when it finally happens, CHANTICLEER is coming to Ukiah on Sunday, February 6 at 2:00 pm!

We have chosen the spacious Ukiah High School Cafetorium for this event and, of course, will adhere to Covid protocols. At this writing, there are no social distancing requirements, but rest assured that we will be following the situation closely through these weeks leading up to the concert, and will make the best possible decisions for your safety and comfort.

Proof of vaccination will be required at the door. No exceptions.

Masks must be worn throughout the concert. No exceptions.

Please arrive early 

It will take extra time to get your vaccination card checked and find your preferred seating.

In case Chanticleer's fame hasn't reached your eyes and ears yet, it is a GRAMMY Award-winning vocal ensemble, hailed as the "world's reigning male chorus" by The New Yorker, and renowned as an "orchestra of voices" for its wide repertoire and dazzling virtuosity. Founded in San Francisco in 1978 by singer and musicologist Louis Botto, Chanticleer quickly took its place as one of the most prolific recording and touring ensembles in history, and has sold over one million recordings and performed for thousands of audiences around the world.

We have a robust number of season members but, since we are using a large venue for this once-in-a-lifetime event, there will be a limited number of individual tickets available on our website, and at Mendocino Book Company in Ukiah and Mazahar in Willits. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door (if seats are still available).

Since this will be just the first of a full four-concert season (see schedule below) you can still buy a membership for the same low price of $100 up until the end of the Chanticleer concert, applying your ticket price to the season membership.

Students ages 18 and under, and Mendocino College students 24 and under and enrolled in 12 units or more may reserve a $5.00 ticket in advance by calling 707-463-2738 and providing your name, phone number, and email. 

Discounted tickets are limited so call early to reserve.

All must provide proof of vaccination and wear a mask during the concert. No exceptions.

Find us at the ticket table to pay and receive your ticket.

For questions or further information, call us at 707-463-2738.

Here is our season for winter/spring of 2022, adjusted for Covid-caused postponements and rescheduling (all concerts begin at 2:00 pm):

  • February 6, Chanticleer, Ukiah High School Cafetorium
  • March 13, Lindsay Garritson, Mendocino College Center Theater
  • April 24, Los Tangueros del Oeste, Mendocino College Center Theater
  • May 15, Le Vent du Nord, Mendocino College Center Theater

With warmest holiday regards,

The UCCA Board of Directors

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The University President told all the incoming Freshmen and their parents that 2/3 rds of the students present would not graduate. – Bull Gator

I received a similar message at my St Joe’s College freshman orientation in 1958. The Dean said to the assembled new freshman: “Look to your left… now look to your right… one of you three will not be here at the end of this school year.”

Being the literalist that I am I was sorely tempted to raise my hand and say, “Father, how does that work out number-wise for the students seated at the ends of these rows?” But even at 17 y/o I knew somehow this wouldn’t be a good idea.

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THE LONG ROAD TO JUSTICE

Dear Editor,

For more than a year, the former president, while on the campaign trail, ranted away that the then-upcoming election was “rigged;” that somehow, if he didn’t win, it was “stolen.” And so, when January 6, 2021 rolled around with Joe Biden clearly the winner, for the first time in American history in his final days in office, Mr. Final-days-in-office-president still refused to concede the election loss. As a result, there was a domestic riot at the US Capitol Building, instigated and encouraged in public by Mr. “Final-days.” As the mob continued to assault Capitol Police, a bystander, Robert S. Palmer, pushed to the front. Palmer “hurled a fire extinguisher, a plank, and a long pole at officers.” On Friday, the headline read, “Capitol rioter gets 5-year sentence.” 

A Congressional investigation continues, but it seems clear that “Mr. Final-days” could also someday be charged with a crime.

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

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Marilyn Monroe singing to an audience of G.I.’s during the first show of her recent four-day tour of Korea on February 22, 1954.

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EMBRACING CHE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH

A Review of Che’s letters and his Bolivian Diary

by Jonah Raskin

In 1968, Fidel Castro wrote an impassioned introduction to Che Guevara’s Bolivian Diary in which he noted that in the US “in the most combative demonstrations for civil rights and against the aggression in Vietnam, his image is brandished as a symbol of struggle.” Yes, that was true. Fidel went on to explain, “This is because Che embodies, in its purest and most selfless form, the international spirit that marks the world of today and that will characterize even more the world of tomorrow.” 

I remember 1968 as a year of nearly unparalleled international solidarity, when Che’s legacy inspired a generation or two that aimed to dismantle American imperialism, make a revolution and usher in genuine socialism world wide. There hasn’t been a year like 1968 since 1968, not even 1989, the year the Berlin Wall came down and when protesters in the “pro-democracy movement” were slaughtered by government troops at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Twenty-two years earlier, on 9 October 1967, Che was murdered by Bolivian soldiers with the connivance of the CIA. 

Reading the Bolivian Diary, which has just been republished in a new edition by Seven Stories, along with Fidel’s 1968 introduction, strongly suggests that by the end of September 1967 Che knew his days were numbered. “The most important task is to escape [the encirclement] and seek more favorable areas,” he wrote in his summary of the month. “The [Bolivian] army is demonstrating more effectiveness in action and the peasant masses are not helping us with anything and are becoming informers.” Not good news.

Much the same pattern had emerged in 1965 in the Congo where Che had tried and failed to enlist the support of peasants, and failed to train a guerrilla army made up of Cubans and Congolese that was supposed to topple a neo-colonialist government run by corrupt officials. His own white skin, Che observed in The Congo Diary, along with his inability to speak Swahili and his lack of familiarity with the terrain, had doomed his plans. 

Reading Che’s diaries from both the Congo and Bolivia, along with the new English language edition of Che’s letters from 1947 to 1967—which was originally published in Spanish in Havana, Cuba in 2019—show that while Che recognized the errors of his ways and described them accurately, he was unable to escape them, much as he was unable to escape the Bolivian soldiers who trapped him and the small band of guerrillas (just 17) in El Yuro ravine, which served as a kind of death trap. The guerrillas numbered about 60 at the start.

A foreword to The Bolivian Diary by Camilo Guevara, Che’s oldest son, points to the dualities of his father’s legacy. Camilo observed that his father’s image “on a flag at a football match in Europe is not the same as his image on the T-shirt of a miner marching for rights in Latin America. Unfortunately there are some who try to separate the image and the history.” Indeed, today, Che’s image is so ubiquitous that it has lost much of the political clout that it had in 1967 and 1968, when, as Fidel noted, “the Black movement and progressive students made Che’s figure their own.” 

These days, tourists in Bolivia can follow the route of the guerrilla army. 

With the publication by Seven Stories Press of four of Che’s books this year, fans and critics have the opportunity for the first time ever to discover and grapple with the real Che, the Argentinian-born revolutionary whom the French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre called “the most complete human being of our age,” and ”the most perfect man” who “lived his words, spoke his own actions and his story.” 

Sartre wrote those words soon after Che’s death. Now, sixty-five years later, we can perhaps begin to see Che as an imperfect human being who created a dozen or so different selves to carve out his many identities as son, husband (twice), father many times over, doctor, soldier, head of the Cuban bank and an international diplomat who spoke for his adopted nation at the UN, and when representatives of Third World countries gathered in 1966 at the Tricontinental Conference of Solidarity of the Peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

While The Bolivia Diary is a kind of long goodbye and an obituary written by the dying man himself, the volume of letters, I Remember you will all my revolutionary fervor, is an autobiography in which the participant in and observer of his own life, describes his evolution from bohemian vagabond to communist revolutionary who saw clearly by March 1965, shortly before he went to the Congo, the structural flaws in the Cuban government, the Cuban state and the Cuban economy, but chose not to stick around and try to amend them. 

Instead, he went to Bolivia to take up his identity as a guerrilla warrior, which had served him well in Cuba, where the guerrillas toppled the Batista dictatorship, and put themselves in power. The same identity as a guerrilla warrior had disappointed him in the Congo, but as an inveterate optimist, he had refused to be depressed for long and insisted on drawing positive lessons from the fiasco. 

In his letters Che signed as Ernesto Guevara Serna, Your son, Ernesto, Chancho, Che, el Che, Stalin II, Commander of the Fourth Revolutionary Column (in the Sierra Maestra mountains), Dr. Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Papa, Ramon, and Tatu. The last two were noms de guerre. He also left many letters unsigned, as though the identity of the author himself was unimportant. 

In a letter to his Aunt Beatriz in December 1953, he explained for the first time in unambiguous language that he wanted to annihilate the “capitalist octopuses.” In July 1954, also from Guatemala, he described “that magical sensation of invulnerability,” though in Mexico the following year he wrote, “Perhaps a bullet…will put an end to my existence.” He added, “This is not a brag…it's just that lots of bullets are flying around in these parts.” Che had an uncanny ability to be in places where bullets flew around.

To his mother, he confided in September 1956 that “the air of freedom is, in reality, the air of clandestinity, but nevertheless adds an intriguing cinematic touch of mystery.” To Dario Hart, he explained at the end of 1957, “if there is one thing I don’t want to be it’s a martyr,” and “I have no aspiration to hold any future political post.” Also, at the end of December 1957, he told two comrades, “I don’t believe in exporting revolutions.” 

In August 1960, after Fidel and the guerrillas had seized power, he looked back and noted that “the war [against Batista] revolutionized us” and that “There is no more profound experience for a revolutionary than the act of war.” In 1961 he explained that “a revolution overturns and disrupts everything.” In the last long letter he wrote to Fidel before he left Cuba for the Congo, he pointed to “the organizational chaos” in the Cuban government, and insisted that “Communism is a phenomenon of consciousness.” He called the Cuban state “the biggest mess of all” and added “we have to make a systematic effort to tackle it.” Still, he did not include himself as one of the tacklers.

Increasingly, in the last years of his life, he signed his letters, “Homeland or Death!” For Che there was no middle ground. To his own children—Hildita, Aleidita, Camilo, Celia and Ernesto—he wrote a kind of last testament that might also apply to all his political offspring and descendants: “Grow up as good revolutionaries. Study hard” and “master technology.” He added, “Remember that the Revolution is what’s important and each one of us, alone, is worth nothing.” Thanks Che for reminding us. 

(Jonah Raskin is the author of Beat Blues: San Francisco, 1957, a novel.)

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Art by Dr. Nayvin Gordon

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FIX CALIFORNIA’S CANNABIS FRAMEWORK; ELIMINATE THE CULTIVATION TAX

by Tiffany Devitt and Jim Araby

It stinks to be in the cannabis industry in California right now. 

We aren’t just speaking metaphorically either. Four years after cannabis advocates and workers celebrated the opening of the largest legal recreational marijuana market in the world, misguided licensing and taxation policies have created an emporium of dysfunction. 

Today, hundreds of California cannabis farmers are choosing to let crops rot in the fields rather than risk a money-losing harvest or returning to the illicit market.

Astonishingly, amid this crisis, California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration recently announced yet another tax increase. On Jan. 1, 2022, the state’s cannabis cultivation tax will increase by almost 5%, raising it to a whopping $161 per pound.

Let’s compare how much higher the cultivation tax is for cannabis than, say, wine grapes, almonds or raisins. Actually, no such comparison is possible because no other agricultural product has a cultivation tax. On the contrary, other agricultural industries are supported by federal crop subsidies to protect family farms from market fluctuations that could put their homes and livelihoods at risk. 

The state cultivation tax is but one of many cannabis taxes imposed by state and local governments. The industry is also subject to local cultivation, manufacturing, processing, distribution and retail taxes, as well as local “road” taxes that are imposed merely for driving through a jurisdiction. Next a state excise tax is applied that’s approximately 27% of the wholesale price, and, lastly, a state sales and use tax. 

While the aggregation of these taxes contributes to the overall dysfunction, the cultivation tax is, by far, the most problematic. For starters, it is levied at the very beginning of the supply chain. So, every one of those later taxes also applies to the cultivation tax. In other words, our taxes are taxed again and again and again, compounding each time. 

To make matters even worse, the cultivation tax is a flat tax, meaning it’s not proportional to the sales price. Given the recent precipitous drop in the price per pound for cannabis, this matters. Last year, the cultivation tax was 10% to 20% of bulk material costs. Today it’s as high as 80%. Furthermore, it is applied essentially at the time of harvest regardless of whether materials are sold.

This is devastating for farmers, but they’re not the only ones who are hurting. Cannabis workers across the industry are impacted. Hundreds of jobs have been lost due to excessively high taxes and even more will disappear in the coming year as companies are forced to further cut costs, reduce operations or go out of business altogether.

Labor unions have fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions for cannabis workers. Despite strong organizational success, there will be little unions can do to improve protections in this relatively young industry so long as it faces state-imposed financial hardships. 

And gradually ceding the industry to lavishly capitalized, out-of-state companies will mean that workers may never benefit from California’s strong labor policies, while cannabis workers, who are pushed back into the unregulated market will be even worse off. Working conditions in these illegal endeavors often resemble indentured servitude with dangerous conditions, low pay and no health benefits. 

By perpetuating tragically wrong-headed tax policies, the state’s inaction is costing jobs, strengthening an already dominant illicit market and all but ensuring that one of California’s great heritage industries will be non-competitive when federal legalization occurs.

Fixing the problem is simple: Reform or repeal the state cannabis framework, beginning with the elimination of the cultivation tax. With the state projecting a whopping $31 billion surplus in 2022, it can well afford to forgo the cultivation tax to facilitate what should be a vibrant, global-leader industry. Until then, Sacramento’s misguided tax policy will continue to compound, hurting cannabis cultivators, consumers and workers alike.

(Tiffany Devitt is Chief of Government Affairs at CannaCraft, a California cannabis company. Jim Araby is director of Strategic Campaigns for UFCW Local 5, a 30,000-member union in the Bay Area. Courtesy, CalMatters.org.)

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Sci-Fi Magazine Xmas Cover, 1951

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THE LEAST KNOBBY DOT.

No. No, no, no. No, thank you. Listen, shouldn’t one of us stay sober in case someone has to operate a fire extinguisher around here?”

That's good thinking. Speaking of here, here's the recording of last night's (2021-12-17) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0467

Email me your writing on any subject and I'll read it on the radio this coming Friday night. If it's more than plain text, please provide a link to the media you want me to see or hear, rather than attach it.

Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering that show together. Such as, for instance:

The Bloody Olive (an Xmastime tradition, 10 min., in Swedish, with French and English subtitles)

https://www.shortoftheweek.com/2008/12/15/the-bloody-olive/

Raging Rudolf.

https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2021/12/raging-rudolph.html

And a whole bunch of psychics, including, of course, the one who vomits up interdimensional plastic gemstones, as well as, apparently, peanut butter. (50 min.)

https://boingboing.net/2021/12/12/the-psychic-con-game.html

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

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LISTEN UP, POSTMODERN AMERICA!

Darshan Arati Sri Dham Mayapur (India) December 20th, '21: youtube.com/watch?v=Muqa3AlMzGU

Hello postmodern America, I am just chillin' on the big green couch at The Earth First! Media Center in downtown Garberville, California. The bhakti bhajans are comin' through the headphones, with vintage Jethro Tull on the nearby large screen, the red eye coffee drink enjoyed at Local Flavors is pulsing through the 72,000 nerve endings nicely, and I am identified with ParaBrahman, and NOT the body nor the mind. I can move on from my perch in Cali at any time, and if there is anybody anywhere interested in doing anything crucial, beyond indulging the senses and watching the end of the movie, let me know. Cool?

Craig Louis Stehr, Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com

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Lighthouse Workers

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THE HUMAN TOLL

by David Leonhardt

On the evening of March 5, 2016, 21 members of the extended Zeidan family got together for dinner in the northern Iraqi city of West Mosul. A U.S. airstrike killed all of them.

The following month, a strike in East Mosul killed four civilians and sent shrapnel into the spinal cord of a boy named Hassan Aleiwi Muhammad Sultan, partially paralyzing him.

The next year in Mosul, Kareema Khalid Suleiman and 33 members of her family gathered in what they hoped was a safe place during fighting between the U.S. and ISIS. An airstrike killed everybody in the house but Suleiman, who climbed out from the rubble.

Airstrikes — from drones or piloted planes — have been the central military tactic that the United States has used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other recent conflicts. And U.S. officials often trumpet their advantages. Airstrikes have allowed the U.S. to kill terrorists and other enemies with minimal civilian casualties and without putting American troops in danger, the officials claim.

These arguments have some truth to them. Airstrikes helped the U.S. defeat ISIS in several places, including the Mosul area. But it has also become clear that American officials have exaggerated the benefits of airstrikes and substantially underplayed their downsides, starting with the horror of civilian casualties.

This weekend, The Times published an investigation — written by Azmat Khan, a contributing writer at The Times Magazine — of the systemic failures with the military’s use of airstrikes. The magazine has now published a second article by Azmat, focusing on the human toll of those failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

“If it weren’t for her clothes, I wouldn’t have even known it was her,” Ali Younes Mohammed Sultan told Azmat, describing his daughter, who was one of the 21 members of the Zeidan family killed during their dinner. “She was just pieces of meat. I recognized her only because she was wearing the purple dress that I bought for her a few days before. It’s indescribable.”

Azmat’s work is an astonishing feat of reporting, as her editor, Luke Mitchell, told me. She spent much of the past five years obtaining military documents and traveling through Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to interview witnesses and visit 60 different bomb sites.

Wars inevitably involve death, including civilian death, as advocates of air warfare — across the Biden, Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations — often point out. These officials argue that the civilian toll from airstrikes is still less than the toll wrought by tanks rumbling through neighborhoods or by airplanes carpet-bombing cities.

Yet Azmat’s reporting has exposed serious problems with the American use of airstrikes:

A rush to confirm targets, ignoring evidence that they may involve significant civilian casualties — or may not even be military targets.

Before the attack that killed the Zeidan family, one U.S. official warned that children and their families most likely lived near the target; she was ignored. As Azmat writes, “Confirmation bias ran rampant.”

An undercounting of civilian deaths. In some cases, the toll was nearly double that acknowledged by the military. Military documents claim that 27 percent of airstrikes with civilian casualties include children among the toll; The Times’s reporting suggests it is 62 percent.

Lack of apologies or compensation after mistakes. One example: The U.S. never contacted the survivors of the attack that partially paralyzed the boy in East Mosul, and his family struggles to afford his wheelchair.

Lack of accountability for mistakes. The military frequently absolves its members of wrongdoing. Last week, the Pentagon said that no troops would be punished for an August drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

Ultimately, Azmat argues that the U.S. approach to airstrikes is so flawed that it may undermine American security — at mortal cost to others — rather than protect it. She writes:

What I saw after studying them was not a series of tragic errors but a pattern of impunity: of a failure to detect civilians, to investigate on the ground, to identify causes and lessons learned, to discipline anyone or find wrongdoing that would prevent these recurring problems from happening again. It was a system that seemed to function almost by design to not only mask the true toll of American airstrikes but also legitimize their expanded use.

(New York Times)

4 Comments

  1. Marshall Newman December 20, 2021

    If folks want to quit the cannabis business, let them quit. It is a 4.4 billion dollar per year business and has sparked everything from serious violence to rampant unregulated water use. A smaller “footprint” would benefit nearly everyone.

    • Lazarus December 20, 2021

      The Federal government needs to legalize marijuana. Once that’s done, the criminals and punks will get out. Dope should be taxed and regulated like wine. But the legalization in this State was more about getting even than getting it right.
      Happy Christmas,
      Laz

  2. chuck dunbar December 20, 2021

    “THE HUMAN TOLL”

    David Leonhardt briefly summarizes the dogged reporting over 5 years by Azmat Khan regarding the very troubling civilian toll of U.S. airstrikes in the middle east over many years. This is another example of the great value of skilled and expert news reporting by the New York Times. While it may be criticized as main-stream media by partisans, the Times does a great public service in such reports. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal do similar reporting in various areas. Our country depends on this kind of reporting to help us know the truth of what has been hidden away from public knowledge.

    • Jim Armstrong December 20, 2021

      I agree, Chuck.
      In the 70 years since President Eisenhower warned against the threat of the military-industrial complex, it has grown exponentially stronger day by day.
      American air power has been the scourge of the world since the indiscriminate bombing of Korea, then Vietnam and now the Middle East.
      The cost has been in the trillions of dollars and the millions of lives and the damning Times reporting will be ignored as a matter of course.

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