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RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS SPREAD over NWRN CA for the next few days, with heavy snow likely across mountains this afternoon through Monday. The Redwood coast may see small hail and some thunder with stronger showers today and tonight, and these may spread south of Cape Mendocino later tonight and Saturday morning. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S RAINFALL: Willits 1.0" - Laytonville 0.8" - Covelo 0.7" - Yorkville 0.6" - Boonville 0.5" - Leggett 0.5"- Hopland 0.4" - Ukiah 0.2"
SHERIFF KENDALL CASTING A COLD EYE....
KIRK VODOPALS WRITES: Rancho Navarro is especially beautiful this time of year since most of the weed traffic has died down. I had to go start my neighbors generator yesterday. Our internet service is based on a repeater at his house to bounce a signal down to mine. His place is off grid and he’s out of town regularly. So, the kids and I tromped through the woods straight up the hill to his place. The forest was thick with huckleberry, tan oak and redwoods - none of which were greater than 18 inch diameter. Didn’t see any poison oak on that hike. I wish that was the case on my property.
AV FIRE PRACTICES SEARCH & RESCUE
Our training focus for December was search and rescue on the fireground. Our first responders practiced techniques for searching the interior of a structure and removing victims. The month culminated with a drill at AVHC in their new construction area, where we were able to use the rough framing to make training a little more challenging. In AV, interior firefights are a low frequency/high risk operation so though we don’t use these skills often, it’s important to be ready. Thanks to AVHC for the use of the space and thanks to Cal Fire E1165 for joining us.
A STARTLING REPORT Thursday morning by Sarah Reith on KZYX said that freshly appointed Ukiah Police Chief, Noble Waidelich, has been confirmed via a lengthy investigation, as a wife beater, specifically having head-butted and otherwise mistreated Mrs. Waidelich, aka Amanda Carley, a Ukiah-based probation officer.
I say “startling” because Ms. Reith, a capable reporter, typically plays it safe, as she did here, but the evidence against the Chief has been nailed down in an exhaustive report by Andrew Porter of the Sheriff's Department. On the other hand, of course, we haven't heard the Chief's end of this marital tumult, although it seems fairly clear we're not dealing with Rhodes Scholars here.
AND THEN THERE'S THIS:
CARLEY v. EYSTER
AMANDA CARLEY, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. DAVID EYSTER, Defendant and Respondent.
Court of Appeals of California, First District, Division Five.
Filed November 18, 2019.
Facts And Procedural History
In April 2017, Carley filed a lawsuit against the County of Mendocino, the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, the Mendocino County Probation Department, Albert Ganter (Chief Probation Officer), Noble Waidelich (Carley's former fiancée and City of Ukiah Police Officer), and respondent Eyster (Mendocino County District Attorney).
In her 15-count complaint, Carley asserted claims for violation of her California constitutional rights, termination of her employment in violation of public policy, "hostile work environment harassment," retaliation, sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with contract, civil conspiracy, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, battery, breach of oral contract, intentional misrepresentation, and money had and received.
Allegations of Carley's Complaint
According to the complaint, Waidelich injured Carley physically and psychologically while she was employed as a probation officer in Mendocino County. Her daughter reported Carley's injuries and Waidelich's crimes to local authorities. In an investigation by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Carley was "[r]eluctant at first to reveal the truth due, in part, to fear of the repercussions of lodging a complaint against a police officer," so she "downplayed the injury and the underlying crimes." The investigator expressed his belief that she was not telling the complete story and advised her to come forward when she was ready. After Carley separated from Waidelich, she reported "the full account of what happened," including his physical, emotional, and financial abuse.
Once Carley gave her full account, it was allegedly she (rather than Waidelich) who was investigated. Mendocino County investigated Carley for deceit, issued her a formal reprimand for lying, reassigned her to lesser duties, denied her opportunities, and confiscated her duty weapon to humiliate her and inflict emotional "strain." During an administrative review process, Carley's requests for production of documents were denied. According to her complaint, such acts and omissions were typical of police agencies when faced with allegations that a peace officer was guilty of a crime. The acts and omissions were also allegedly retaliatory, thwarted her ability to obtain justice, and targeted her due to her gender. Eventually, Carley resigned her position as a probation officer.
As relevant to this appeal, Carley's third cause of action for "hostile work environment harassment" under Government Code section 12940, subdivision (j) incorporated the foregoing allegations and further alleged that Eyster, who "headed" the Mendocino District Attorney's Office, insisted that Carley's duty weapon be confiscated and "adopted a policy of disqualifying her from handling cases in the Superior Court by instructing his deputies to make a so-called Brady Disclosure." According to the pleading, these acts were typical of law enforcement agencies when faced with allegations that a peace officer was guilty of a crime, were retaliatory, and targeted her due to her gender. She therefore allegedly suffered from a hostile work environment.
For her eighth cause of action for "civil conspiracy," Carley alleged that Eyster conspired with the probation department and police department to protect Waidelich by "putting pressure on [Carley] to either keep quiet or leave her job." This pressure was allegedly applied through an internal investigation, formal reprimand, demotion, loss of her duty weapon, "placement of her name on a so-called `Brady list'" and "voluntary (and unheard of) disclosure by [Eyster] of non-Brady information to defense attorneys related to her true report of being physically assaulted and battered by a police officer."
Eyster's Motion to Strike
In December 2017, Eyster filed a special motion to strike (§ 425.16) as to the counts against him. Eyster contended that all of the claims arose from activity protected by the anti-SLAPP statute, and the claims had to be dismissed because Carley had no probability of prevailing on them.
In support of his motion, Eyster submitted a declaration detailing his handling of Carley's accusations against Waidelich. Eyster averred that he was the District Attorney for Mendocino County, managing the office and prosecuting criminal misconduct. In 2015, his office received a police report from the Sheriff's Department pertaining to criminal allegations Carley made against Waidelich. Pursuant to his usual practice, Eyster reviewed the police report and supporting information to decide whether to accept the case for prosecution.
After reviewing the materials, Eyster decided not to prosecute Waidelich because some of Carley's allegations involved events outside the statutory limitations period, the more recent incidents were too vague to prosecute, and the "alleged [victim] is less than cooperative and presents as less than credible."
Eyster also noted that statements Carley made to the Sheriff's Office investigators indicated that one or more of her preceding statements had been untruthful. This concerned Eyster, because probation officer Carley was a peace officer, she could be subpoenaed as a prosecution witness in future criminal proceedings, and pursuant to Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83 (Brady) prosecutors must notify defense counsel of impeachment evidence relating to prosecution witnesses. To comply with Brady,Eyster's office maintained a "Brady Listing and Document System" relating to peace officers who committed acts of dishonesty.
Eyster notified Carley's supervisor, Chief Probation Officer Albert Ganter, that there was potential Brady impeachment material involving Carley. Eyster did this so the county could take any action it deemed appropriate, given that a peace officer's inclusion on a Brady list makes it difficult for the officer to testify in court due to her susceptibility to impeachment. Eyster then waited a few months, while Carley was not needed to testify on any criminal matters, in case the county conducted an investigation clearing her. Later, Eyster revisited the matter and deemed it necessary to notify Carley that the reports from the Sheriff's Department likely contained Brady information. On January 8, 2016, Eyster sent Carley a letter alerting her that the information pertaining to her dishonesty would be stored in the District Attorney's Brady system.
Eyster denied having any personal involvement in Mendocino County's investigation of Carley. He also denied knowledge as to Carley's allegation that he "insisted that Defendant Ganter confiscate Plaintiff's duty weapon," as it is not within his purview as District Attorney to decide whether probation officers have access to firearms or other weapons.
Carley voluntarily dismissed all but two of the counts in her complaint as to Eyster, leaving only the third cause of action ("Hostile Work Environment Harassment") and the eighth cause of action ("Civil Conspiracy"). As to these claims, Carley filed an opposition to Eyster's motion to strike. She contended that the claims against Eyster were not subject to the anti-SLAPP statute, but she did not submit any evidence or attempt to show a probability of prevailing on her claims.
In a 23-page Final Statement of Decision issued after a hearing, the court granted Eyster's special motion to strike, concluding that all of Carley's claims against Eyster arose from protected activity. Judgment was entered accordingly, and this appeal followed…
THE CITY OF UKIAH seems shabbier by the day, and now we have another police department scandal on top of the Sergeant Kevin Murray affair. Murray was fired after it was revealed he was forcing women to engage in sexual relations and a federal suit against him for excessive force is pending.
THE TOWN'S lavishly compensated manager, Sage Sangiacomo, is unaware that his police department seems awfully heavy on ungentlemanly men? Sangiacomo is the Major-Major of civic management — when he's out he's in, and when he's in he's out. Shannon Riley, the assistant city manager for the town of 16,000 fronts for the MIA Sangiacomo.
LIKE A LOT OF LIBS I've been reflexively opposed to burning trash for power and I've also been reflexively opposed to nuclear power for so long it's tough to shut that reflex down. But nuclear tech has been radically improved since Three Mile Island's meltdown, and technology that burns trash as it converts the daily deluge of waste to energy will be a great boon to mankind. In the Skunk Railroad's Robert Pinoli's interview with the ava, Pinoli says trash-to-energy just may come to the Fort Bragg Headlands because the Skunk's mother company's primary business is trash-to-energy conversion.
THE ONE AND ONLY TIME waste-to-energy has come up in Mendocino County was years ago when a plant was proposed for Willits, which would have burned wood waste. That one was killed by the Willits Environment Center, aka David and Ellen Drell, who led a successful charge against it. Fort Bragg, though, for years, had a little power conversion plant at the mill. Fort Braggers often alleged that on dark, foggy nights the mill threw all kinds of stuff, including tires, into its power boilers.
OMICRON SURPASSES DELTA
TRENT JAMES cuts lose with another video, this time on the new Ukiah Police Chief. He already has had over 3,000 views in just 4 days. (James Marmon)
JOAN DIDION, American journalist and author, dies at age 87
Unsparing observer of national politics and her own life, she won enormous acclaim for her memoir of grief, ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’
by Sian Cain & Edward Helmore
Joan Didion, the eminent journalist, author and anthropologist of contemporary American politics and culture – a singularly clear, precise voice across a multitude of subjects for more than 60 years – has died at her home in Manhattan, New York. She was 87 years old.
The cause of death was Parkinson’s disease, according to Paul Bogaards, an executive at Didion’s publisher Knopf.
Known for her pioneering blend of the personal and the political in her journalism and essays, Didion became a household name with her writing on US society.
A standout female figure in the very male New Journalism movement alongside Tom Wolfe, Truman Capote and Gay Talese, Didion cast her precise, coolly-detached eye over both American society and her own life in writing that was collected in books including Slouching Towards Bethlehem, her sharp-eyed journey through the promise and dissolution of California’s 60s counterculture, and The White Album, which began, in her economic, astute style, with, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
“We have kind of evolved into a society where grieving is totally hidden. It doesn’t take place in our family. It takes place not at all,” she told the Associated Press in 2005 after publishing The Year of Magical Thinking, an account of losing her husband John Gregory Dunne.
Didion spent her later years in New York, but she was shaped by her native state of California, “a hologram that dematerializes as I drive through it.”
“A place,” she once wrote, “belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”
Famous for her detached, sometimes elegiac tone, Didion returned to alienation and isolation throughout her career, whether she was exploring her own grief after the death of her husband John Gregory Dunne in the Pulitzer-finalist The Year of Magical Thinking, the emptiness of Hollywood life in the novel Play It As It Lays, or expats caught up in Central American politics in her novel A Book of Common Prayer.
She was highly protective of her work, never telling even close friends the new subject of her interrogation until it was ready to publish. “Nobody writes better English prose than Joan Didion,” literary critic John Leonard once wrote. “Try to rearrange one of her sentences, and you’ve realized that the sentence was inevitable, a hologram.”
In her most recent collection of selected essays, Let Me Tell You What I Mean, the Guardian wrote: “Didion has established a way of narration that focuses not so much on events as on subtexts, atmospheres and perceptions. She is usually present in her essays as a voice rather than a character, observer rather than participant – though the boundaries regularly blur.”
After her death was announced, tributes poured in from across the spectrum of politics and letters. California governor Gavin Newsom said Didion was “peerless in her capacity to write about life, loss, love and society – easily the best living writer in California. Her ability to put the tapestry of California and the times into words made her a treasure for her generation and generations to come.”
Author Susan Orlean called Didion “my idol and inspiration.”
“Didion was one of the country’s most trenchant writers and astute observers,” Penguin Random House and its imprint Knopf said in a statement.
Shelley Wanger, Didion’s editor at Knopf since the early 90s, told the Guardian the author was a masterful and fearless essayist and novelist. “She always seemed able to hear and see what other journalists missed and her range was broad from California, rock and roll, to US culture and politics, Central America to memoir. Her writing is timelessly original, prescient and unexpected.”
Born in Sacramento in 1934, Didion spent her early childhood free from the restrictions of school, with her father’s job in the Army Air Corps taking the family all over the country. A “nervous” child with a tendency to headaches, Didion nonetheless began her path early, starting her first notebook when she was five.
In a 2003 interview with the Guardian, she recalled an incident when she was 10: while writing a story about a woman who killed herself by walking into the ocean, she “wanted to know what it would feel like, so I could describe it” and almost drowned on a California beach. She never told her parents. (“I think the adults were playing cards.”)
In 1956, after majoring in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, she won Vogue’s writing contest when she was 21, which led to a seven-year stint working at the magazine’s offices in New York. There she met Dunne – they’d marry when she was 29 – and between New York and Los Angeles, she began to mix with many famous contemporaries who would become friends, colleagues and rivals: Sylvia Plath, Roman Polanski, Janis Joplin (who crashed a house party), Christopher Isherwood (who called her “Mrs. Misery” in his diaries), Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood (who shared her clothes with Didion).
In 1963, her first book was published: the novel Run, River. In 1966, Didion and Dunne relocated to Los Angeles and adopted a baby girl, Quintana Roo, named after the Mexican state. Her first collection of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem was published in 1968: with its title essay about Haight-Ashbury’s hippy community, the collection established Didion’s voice as exceptional; in the New York Times’s review at the time, Dan Wakefield called Didion, “one of the least celebrated and most talented writers of my own generation.”
Didion followed it up with her novel about life in Hollywood, Play It As It Lays, which she later adapted into a screenplay with Dunne; the couple often worked together on screenplays, including the 1976 film A Star Is Born. A smattering of fiction would follow over the next two decades – A Book of Common Prayer (1977), Democracy (1984) and The Last Thing He Wanted (1996) – but non-fiction dominated.
Her second essay collection, The White Album (1979) contained her most famous line: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” In 1983 came Salvador, a book-length essay about a trip she took to El Salvador with Dunne; Miami (1987), about the city’s Cuban expat community; After Henry (1992), a collection dedicated to Didion’s editor Henry Robbins; and Political Fictions (2001), which spanned the elections of US presidents George HW Bush, Bill Clinton and George W Bush.
Over decades, the diminutive Didion built her own mythology; more than one journalist, when interviewing her, noted her quietness and frail frame with surprise. Her elegant style and interest in fashion, fostered at Vogue, also saw her revered as a a symbol of “cool”; at the age of 80, she became the face of French fashion house Céline.
From the 1980s onwards, Didion focused on politics, coining the term “the permanent political class” to describe the fraternity of media, politicians and strategists that shape the US’s self-image. After Clinton’s impeachment, she wrote: “No one who ever passed through an American high school could have watched William Jefferson Clinton running for office in 1992 and failed to recognise the familiar predatory sexuality of the provincial adolescent.” Among Washington journalists, she wrote, “what ‘fairness’ has often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured.”
When Dunne died of a heart attack in 2003, Didion began writing The Year of Magical Thinking, an exploration of her grief at his death while, at the same time, their daughter Quintana was severely ill in hospital. Unsparingly documenting her resulting strange habits, such as keeping Dunne’s shoes for when he “came back,” the book won her a Pulitzer prize. Months after it came out in 2005, her daughter Quintana died from acute pancreatitis aged 39, which Didion would write about in her 2011 reflection on aging and parenting, Blue Nights.
When she was presented with her National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities medal in 2012, President Barack Obama told the room: “I’m surprised she hasn’t already gotten this award.”
In her later years, Didion wrote less; her most recent project was as the subject of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, a 2018 Netflix documentary made by her nephew, Griffin Dunne. Her final book, South and West, was a collection of her notes while travelling around Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana in the 1970s; when it was released in 2017, it was marketed as a prescient take on the then newly elected president Donald Trump’s base of voters. Talking to the Guardian when it was released, Didion said: “I suppose the crisis in American politics was behind everything I was thinking, whether or not I knew I was thinking it. These things have a way of creeping in. I think we currently are living through the scariest of times.”
(Courtesy, the Guardian of London)
MY ONLY ADVANTAGE as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does,” she wrote. “That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out.— Joan Didion
CHRIS CALDER remembers this quote from Joan Didion: ”I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package,” she once wrote. “I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
NINERS WORST LOSS OF THE YEAR
Bad Jimmy Garoppolo Came Out To Play Thursday Night, And The Titans Took Full Advantage
Niners Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo mostly has been very good this season for the San Francisco 49ers, generally avoiding his maddening propensity to commit game-deciding gaffes. But that was certainly not the case Thursday night in Nashville in a key game with NFL playoff implications.
The 49ers could not overcome Garoppolo’s costly blunders. The Tennessee Titans got an offensive boost from the return to the lineup of wide receiver A.J. Brown and defeated the 49ers, 20-17, to move a significant step closer to securing the AFC South title.
“I don’t think you totally beat yourself,” 49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I mean, those guys made those plays on third down. They did some good things. That’s a good team. They played well. Give them a lot of credit. But I’m frustrated. We could have won this one.”
Kicker Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal with four seconds remaining won it for the Titans. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a 23-yard run as the Titans moved into position for the game-winning kick after the 49ers tied the game with a 95-yard touchdown drive. Garoppolo’s two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk with 2:20 left got the 49ers even.
The Titans scored 17 straight points after trailing, 10-0, at halftime. Bullock provided a field goal. Tailback D’Onta Foreman ran for a third-quarter touchdown. Tannehill threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brown in the opening two minutes of the fourth quarter.
“We had some mistakes out there on offense. ... If we turn the ball over and we don’t force any turnovers, it’s hard to win,” 49ers tight end George Kittle said. “We were still in a position to be in there at the end, even overcoming those turnovers. But we just didn’t do it enough, I guess.”
The 49ers had their two-game winning streak ended and fell to 8-7. They’re still the No. 6 playoff seed in the NFC at this point, but with less margin for error.
“Our best was needed tonight,” said Kittle, who was limited to two catches for 21 yards. “And our best players didn’t play our best game.”
Garoppolo was the NFL’s sixth-rated passer entering the game. His solid play and San Francisco’s winning ways have kept prized rookie Trey Lance on the sideline, waiting his turn. But Garoppolo had some glaring mistakes Thursday, throwing two interceptions and missing what should have been an easy touchdown pass to wide-open fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
“Two turnovers cost you,” Shanahan said during his postgame news conference. “But they’re not all just on him. That’s on everybody out there.”
The 49ers got a first-quarter touchdown run by tailback Jeff Wilson Jr. and a second-quarter field goal by kicker Robbie Gould. But in the first half, Garoppolo threw an end zone interception to cornerback Janoris Jenkins to squander one scoring opportunity. He also overthrew wide-open fullback Kyle Juszczyk on the field goal drive.
“I thought we should have been up more,” Shanahan said. “That was for sure. I thought we could have got three scores on those drives. We didn’t.”
In the third quarter, Garoppolo threw an interception to safety Amani Hooker to set up Foreman’s tying touchdown for the Titans.
“That was a real bad one,” Shanahan said. “Should not have thrown that. It was a bad play. No one was open on the play.”
Garoppolo gathered himself to lead the late touchdown drive and finished the night with 322 passing yards on 26-for-35 throwing accuracy. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel had nine catches for 159 yards. But Garoppolo’s lapses were egregious. And they spelled the difference.
“Frustrated, I would say,” Garoppolo said. “It’s a game we had an opportunity to go into their place and we got off to a good start, got the lead like we wanted to. We just hit a lull in the middle there. If we don’t hit that lull, I think it’s a totally different game. But that’s football. Stuff happens.”
The 49ers had been formidable lately. They must regroup if they want to remain a factor in the NFC playoff chase.
“I really believe in this team,” Kittle said. “I think we’ve got playmakers all over the field. I don’t want to say it’s a blessing in disguise. But we have our backs against the wall now. We have to win. And I think this is a group that’s resilient. I think this is a group that’s going to come back to work.”
“On Wednesday Supervisor Gjerde and I started the ad hoc discussion about a CEO/CAO model for Mendocino County. We have had both in Mendo. The differences are really very minimal but the conversation involves around how much authority the Board of Supervisors allows the position to have and which things they play a more active role in. I would love to hear more about what the community thinks about this so I would love to see you at my Thursday morning Zoom to discuss.”
VINEYARDS IN THE ANDERSON VALLEY NEAR HEALDSBURG
(Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)
Today’s travel tip comes from Alanya Navarro, who recommends visiting Anderson Valley in Northern California: “Turn off 101 onto Highway 128 and drive northwest through the beautiful valley, stopping at wineries along the way. In Boonville, I stop for a meal and a cold beer at Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and then continue on to camping at Hendy Woods State Park, where I camped every summer growing up. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful state with such a huge diversity of landscapes.”
(Note: rest of story is behind the paywall.)
FIRST FRIDAY GROUP SHOW AT EDGEWATER GALLERY
Event: New Beginnings Group Show
Who: The members of Edgewater Gallery
When: Opening on January 7 from 5-8pm and continuing through January
Where: Edgewater Gallery, 356 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg
The theme of the show celebrates the beginning of a new year with awakened positive possibilities. Come join us for First Friday, beginning at 5pm on Jan. 7.
WILL THE REAL ONE SIDED REPORTER PLEASE STAND UP
by Mark Scaramella
Mendocino News Plus is the reboot of the late Paul McCarthy’s locally famous and popular Mendocino Sports Plus facebook page, but with Paul's son presiding. They repost most of our County coverage the day it appears. We don’t mind because we still like the page and it gets our coverage before a few facebook readers who would never see it on our website, and it generates some local feedback which is always good to get.
After MNP reposted our article about the crisis van on Thursday, a woman named Josie Drake commented: “Unfortunately there is so much information not put into this article! But that is the way AVA does it one sided!”
According to her facebook page Ms. Drake works for Redwood Community Services in Fort Bragg. She is described on line as “a counselor in Fort Bragg, CA. She currently practices at Integrated Care Management Solutions.”
Another on-line bio says: “Josie Drake is a top Case Manager/Care Coordinator in Fort Bragg, CA. With a passion for the field and an unwavering commitment to their specialty, Josie Drake is an expert in changing the lives of their patients for the better. Through their designated cause and expertise in the field, Josie Drake is a prime example of a true leader in health care. As a leader and expert in their field, Josie Drake is passionate about enhancing patient quality of life. They embody the values of communication, safety, and trust when dealing directly with patients. In Fort Bragg, CA, Josie Drake is a true asset to their field and dedicated to the profession of medicine.”
MNP asked Ms. Drake for more info.
Ms. Drake replied: “I can go on and on, but at the RCS web page there is a lot of useful info on what they do for Crisis and follow up!”
We looked at that webpage:
“Crisis Response Services, Mendocino County — Finding the way to wellness and recovery during times of crisis is not always easy. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Redwood Community Crisis Services is the sole provider of emergency crisis response in Mendocino County. RCS provides crisis intervention services to all persons regardless of insurance. This includes emergency mental health, evaluation, assessments, intervention, aftercare and follow up services. These services are often the first step in a person’s journey, as we evaluate psychiatric symptoms and refer you to additional services if needed. Services are provided to children, youth, adults and their families.”
The RCS webpage describes RCS’s crisis services in the usual generic way with no numbers, no measures of effectiveness. There’s no way to argue their service claims. We assume they’re doing some good for their clients; they’re certainly paid well enough for it. But boilerplate service descriptions stop well short of the kind of incident reporting we get from the crisis van call log. It’s kinda like watching those glowing PG&E ads where they tout their crews and their responsiveness, but never mention their many failures and crimes.
RCS’s fancy data dashboards are just numbers of this and percentages of that. You could cut them in half or double them and nobody would know the difference. They don’t mean much. And they never mention the public money they’re getting.
Using the word “unfortunately,” Ms. Drake complains that our coverage of the crisis van (and other AVA stories she presumably has read) is “one-sided.”
Let’s have a look at “balanced” reporting on mental health practices in cash and carry compassionate Mendoland.
Karen Rifken at the Ukiah Daily Journal and Stacey Sheldon at KZYX covered the Crisis Residential Treatment Center Grand Opening, leaving out several key pieces of information like the fact that it cost $5 million when it shouldn’t have cost more than $1 million, thus depriving mental health patients of about $4 million in services or other facilities. Or that the only reason it was built and built where it was built (next door to Ms. Schraeder’s HQ) was that the state told the Schraeders and the County that if they didn’t spend over $4 million of Measure B money on it and get it open by the end of 2021 they’d pull their half million contribution to the cost. Otherwise, it would have suffered the same fate as nearly every other Measure B project: Endless bureaucratic delays. But that didn’t stop Mendo from bragging about being forced to build it at way too high a cost and Ms. Rifken and Ms. Sheldon from writing glowing stories about it.
Ms. Schraeder and her high level friends in County Government also get nearly unlimited time singing their own praises in public before the Supervisors (and the Behavioral Health Advisory Board) without providing even the minimum of useful outcome data such as the number of release plans and the frequency of relapse.
It works too. Supervisor Mulheren joined the happy talk parade on Thursday via her Supervisors Website: “[Last] Thursday was a very important day, it was the Crisis Residential Treatment opening tour. Although the licensing is not yet complete the construction is done. This will be an opportunity for our local residents to have a place to stay either before or after needing a 5150 hold. They can stay for up to 30 days as a transition. It’s a home like facility. I have photos on my Facebook page @ Mo4Mendo”
From where we sit these typical propagandistic reports as described above are never denounced as “one-sided.” But nooooooooo, the meany faces at the AVA point out a few of the realities and we are dismissed as “one-sided.”
By the way, we’ve heard some good things about RCS’s services in Fort Bragg from several independent sources, and that probably includes Ms. Drake’s services. As we said in our title, the issue isn’t the individual service providers (well, ok maybe a few of them) but the “backwards” priorities that the local bureaucracies and outfits have that are not focused on early prevention and assistance or cost effectiveness, but instead on reimburseable clients and grant money and wasting large chunks of Measure B sales tax money on things that are the equivalent of what CEO Angelo once described as a $50,000 kitchen.
We see our “one-sided” coverage as a necessary part of the mental health services picture, the other side if you will, the side that isn’t included in the self serving, one-sided happy talk that comes out of the Continuum of Care and the data dashboards and the rest of the system’s press releases and uninformative, aren't-we-wonderful reports.
DO YOU SUPPORT MEDICARE FOR ALL? AB1400, the California Guaranteed Health Care for All Act aka CalCare will provide all basic and necessary health services to all Californians. We need to influence our CA Assemblymembers to pass this Bill this coming January.
Come join a COVID-safe “CalCare Car Caravan” Saturday, January 8 at 1pm. We will gather our vehicles in the parking lot at West Clay and South School Streets in Ukiah in order to circle around in front of Assemblyman Jim Wood’s School Street office 3 times.
For more information and to RSVP: https://events.medicare4all.org
WHAT'S YOUR DEAL, STEVE?
On Sunday, December 19, 2021 at about 8:45 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to suspicious fire in the 3500 block of North State Street in Ukiah.
Deputies subsequently discovered a private mail delivery van was fully engulfed in flames and another delivery van had started to catch on fire.
Ukiah Valley Fire Authority personnel responded and were able to extinguish the fires.
Two private mail delivery vans, a pickup truck and a utility power pole were damaged by the fire.
Fire personnel on scene located a burnt battery powered electric drill under one of the damaged delivery vans where the gas tank was located. Also observed near the van was a gas can.
The incident was determined to be an arson and Deputies conducted an investigation with the assistance of CalFire personnel.
Deputies were able to view video surveillance which captured the incident and observed a yellow colored vehicle with distinct equipment modifications and a male suspect seen tampering with the damaged van prior to it being destroyed by fire.
The video surveillance footage was shared with other Mendocino County law enforcement personnel in attempt to identify the male supect.
On Monday a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy recognized the yellow vehicle depicted in the video footage and had knowledge the vehicle was associated with Steven Ramier, 35, of Willits.
A search warrant was obtained to search Ramier, his residence and the yellow vehicle with distinct equipment modifications observed in the video.
On Monday in the early afternoon, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies served the search warrant at a residence belonging to Ramier in the 35000 block of North Highway 101 in Willits.
Located at the scene was the yellow vehicle with distinct equipment modifications observed in the video surveillance.
Ramier was hiding in the residence and was subsequently arrested for Arson of Property, Felony Vandalism and Offenses committed While Released on Bail.
Deputies observed significant burn injuries to one of his hands and he was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 23, 2021
THEODORE BURGESS, Leggett. Failure to appear.
RODOLFO ESQUIVEL-FIGUEROA, Clearlake/Piercy. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, no license.
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ANGEL GUZMAN, San Jose. Attempted murder.
BRENT HAAS, Potter Valley. Failure to appear.
JORGE MARTINEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-intoxicated with drug with alcohol, probation revocation.
DEANDRE MCCAIN, Willits. Battery on cohabitant.
JACOB MCGREW, Hopland. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
CATALINO MERINO, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CESAR PEREZ-MAGANA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation, contempt of court.
PEDRO SALDANA, Boonville. Domestic battery, battery with serious injury, damaging communications device.
Camille Harris wrote that “Florida is doing much better on COVID than California without destroying the economy or implementing draconian mandates” I would like to provide some data and a different viewpoint.
As of mid-November, COVID-19 deaths in Florida were 62,000 and its population was 21.6 million. California had 75,570 deaths and the population was 39.6 million. That indicates a death rate in Florida due to COVID-19 was 0.28% and in California it was 0.19%.
If Florida had the same death rate as California, 20,900 people would not have died in Florida. This is the human cost of not following California’s example of masking and vaccination rate. You can do the same calculations for Texas and find that 19,450 people and families could have potentially been spared.
In my opinion, the “un-American mandates” help save lives and save families from being robbed of their loved ones forever. Just think of how much better California could have done if 90%-95% would have gotten vaccinated. Even a 0.01% decrease in the death rate could have resulted in 4,000 fewer deaths in the state due to COVID-19.
THE MCDONALD BROTHERS in front of the not yet opened first McDonald's, November 1948, San Bernadino, CA.
MARIJUANA WARS: Violent Mexican drug cartels growing illegal marijuana crops have turned Northern California into “the Wild West”
COVELO, Calif. — Mexican drug cartels are muscling in on America's burgeoning multi-billion-dollar marijuana industry, illegally growing large crops in the hills and valleys of Northern California. The state legalized marijuana in 2016 for adult recreational use, yet the black market continues to thrive with thousands of illegal grows. Criminal syndicates, in turn, are cashing in across the U.S. on the "green gold rush." They're undercutting prices of legalized products offered by permitted farmers who follow the rules and pay taxes. And they're exploiting workers, robbing and shooting adversaries, poisoning wildlife and poaching water in a state fighting widespread drought and devastating wildfires....
THE HIKING TRAILS, the aquariums, the infertility treatments, the oxygen nutritional supplements continuing in cheerful tandem with the oil-soaked birds, the twelve-lane highways with bicycle supplements, the tailings dumps and filthy rivers and deserts blackened with solar panels, the billions of plastic bags translated in magical symbiosis into ethically responsible leisure equipment.
— Joy Williams
BRINGING BACK THE FISH
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of 15 projects that will receive funding for the restoration, enhancement and protection of anadromous salmonid habitat in California watersheds.
The grants, which total $9.7 million, were awarded through CDFW’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP). FRGP was first established in 1981 and since 2000, has included funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, established by Congress to reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
“As 2021 draws to an end, while we reflect upon prolonged drought and seasonal wildfires, we must also maintain our focus on the importance of the work California restoration practitioners undertake,” CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham said. “These awarded projects represent a new year of extraordinary efforts to address the challenges to California’s ecosystems through the hard work, dedication and passion of those Californians working to restore habitat for these iconic species.”
In response to the 2021 Fisheries Habitat Restoration Grant Solicitation, CDFW received 61 proposals requesting more than $35.9 million in funding. As a competitive grant program, proposals underwent a rigorous technical review that included CDFW and NOAA scientists.
The 15 approved projects will further the objectives of state and federal fisheries recovery plans, including removing barriers to fish migration, restoring riparian habitat, recovering wildfire impacts detrimental to rivers and creating a more resilient and sustainably managed water resources system (e.g., water supply, water quality and habitat) that can better withstand drought conditions. These projects further the goals of California’s Water Action Plan and CDFW’s State Wildlife Action Plan, as well as addressing limiting factors specified in state and federal recovery plans.
The list of approved projects is available on the FRGP web page.
DOONESBURY, December 20, 2020
WHERE IT'S AT
by Alain Badiou (Le Monde)
Today, it has become commonplace to predict the end of the human race such as we know it. There are various reasons for such forecasts. According to a messianic kind of environmentalism, the excessive predations of a beastly humanity will soon bring about the end of life on Earth. Meanwhile, those who instead point to runaway technological advances prophesy, indiscriminately, the automation of all work by robots, grand developments in computing, automatically-generated art, plastic-coated killers, and the dangers of a super-human intelligence.
Suddenly, we see the emergence of threatening categories like transhumanism and the post-human — or, their mirror image, a return to our animal state — depending on whether one prophesies on the basis of technological innovation or laments all the attacks on Mother Nature.
For me, all such prophesies are just so much ideological noise, intended to obscure the real peril that humanity is today exposed to: that is to say, the impasse that globalised capitalism is leading us into. In fact, it is this form of society — and it alone — which permits the destructive exploitation of natural resources, precisely because it connects this exploitation to the boundless quest for private profit. The fact that so many species are endangered, that climate change cannot be controlled, that water is becoming like some rare treasure, is all a by-product of the merciless competition among billionaire predators. There is no other reason for the fact that scientific innovation is subject to the question of what technologies can sell, in an anarchic selection mechanism.
Environmentalist preaching does sometimes use persuasive descriptions of what is going on — despite the exaggerations typical of the prophet. But most of the time this becomes mere propaganda, useful for those states who want to show their friendly face. Just as it is for the multinationals who would have us believe — to the greater benefit of their balance sheets — in the noble, fraternal, natural purity of the commodities they are trafficking.
The fetishism of technology, and the unbroken series of "revolutions" in this domain — of which the "digital revolution" is the most in vogue — has constantly spread the beliefs both that this will take us to the paradise of a world without work — with robots to serve us, and us left to idle — and then, on the other hand, that digital "thought" will crush the human intellect. Today there is not one magazine that does not inform its astonished readers of the imminent "victory" of artificial over natural intelligence. But in most cases neither "nature" nor the "artificial" are properly or clearly defined.
Since the origins of philosophy, the question of the real scope of the word "nature" has been constantly posed. "Nature" could mean the romantic reverie of evening sunsets, the atomic materialism of Lucretius (De natura rerum), the inner being of things, Spinoza’s Totality (Deus sive Natura), the objective underside of all culture, rural and peasant surroundings as counterposed to the suspicious artificiality of the towns ("the earth does not lie," as Marshal Pétain put it), biology as distinct from physics, cosmology as compared to the tiny location that is our planet, the invariance of centuries as compared to the frenzy of innovation, natural sexuality as compared to perversion I am afraid that today "nature" most of all refers to the calm of the villa and the garden, the charm wild animals have for tourists, and the beach or the mountains where we can spend a nice summer. Who, then, can imagine man responsible for nature, when thus far he has just been a thinking flea on a secondary planet in an average solar system at the edge of one banal galaxy?
Since its origins philosophy has also devoted a great deal of thought to Technology, or the Arts. The Greeks meditated on the dialectic of Techne and Physis — a dialectic within which they situated the human animal. They laid the ground for this animal to be seen as "a reed, the weakest of nature, but a thinking reed." For Pascal, this meant that humanity was stronger than Nature and closer to God. A long time ago, they saw that the animal capable of mathematics would do great things to the order of materiality.
Are these "robots" which they keep banging on about anything more than calculation in the form of a machine? Digits in motion? We know that they can count quicker than us, but it was we who invented them, precisely in order to fulfil this task. It would be stupid to look at a crane raising a concrete pillar up to some great height, use this to argue that man is incapable of the same feat, and then conclude by saying that some muscular, superhuman giant has emerged Lightning-quick counting is not the sign of an insuperable "intelligence" either. Technological transhumanism plays the same old tune — an inexhaustible theme of horror and sci-fi movies — of the creator overwhelmed by his own creation. It does so either thrilled about the advent of the superman — something we have been expecting ever since Nietzsche — or fearing him and taking refuge under the skirt of Gaia, Mother Nature.
Let’s put things in a bit more perspective.
For four or five millennia, humanity has been organised by the triad of private property — which concentrates enormous wealth in the hands of very narrow oligarchies; the family, in which fortunes are transmitted via inheritance; and the state, which protects both property and the family by armed force. This triad defined our species’ Neolithic age, and we are still at this point — we could even say, now more than ever. Capitalism is the contemporary form of the Neolithic. Its enslavement of technology in the interests of competition, profit and concentrating capital only raises to their fullest extension the monstrous inequalities, the social absurdities, the murderous wars, and the damaging ideologies that have always accompanied the deployment of new technology under the reign of class hierarchy throughout history.
We should be clear that technological inventions were the preliminary conditions of the arrival of the Neolithic age, and by no means its result. If we consider our species’ fate, we see that sedentary agriculture, the domestication of cattle and horses, pottery, bronze, metallic weapons, writing, nationalities, monumental architecture, and the monotheist religions are inventions at least as important as the airplane or the smartphone. Throughout history, whatever has been human has always, by definition, been artificial. If that had not existed, there would not have been Neolithic humanity — the humanity we know — but a permanent close proximity with animal life; something which did indeed exist, in the form of small nomadic groups, for around 200,000 years.
A fearful and obscurantist primitivism has its roots in the fallacious concept of "primitive communism." Today we can see this cult of the ancient societies in which babies, men, women and the elderly supposedly lived in fraternity, without anything artificial, and indeed lived in common with the mice, the frogs, and the bears. Ultimately, all this is nothing but ridiculous reactionary propaganda. For everything suggests that the societies in question were extremely violent. After all, even their most basic survival needs were constantly under threat.
To speak fearfully of the victory of the artificial over the nature, of robot over man, is today an untenable regression, something truly absurd. It is easy enough to answer such fears, such prophesies. For judged by this standard, even a simple axe, or a domesticated horse, not to mention a papyrus covered in symbols, is an exemplary case of the post- or trans-human. Even an abacus allows quicker calculation than the fingers of the human hand.
Today we need neither a return to primitivism, or fear of the "ravages" the advent of technology might bring. Nor is there any use in morbid fascination for the science-fiction of all-conquering robots. The urgent task we face is the methodical search for a way out of the Neolithic order. This latter has lasted for millennia, valuing only competition and hierarchy and tolerating the poverty of billions of human beings. It must be surpassed at all cost. Except, that is, the cost of the high-tech wars so well known to the Neolithic age, in the lineage of the wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, with their tens of millions of dead. And this time it could be a lot more.
The problem is not technology, or nature. The problem is how to organise societies at a global scale. We need to posit that a non-Neolithic way of organising society is possible. This means no private ownership of that which ought to be held in common, namely the production of all the necessities of human life. It means no inherited power or concentration of wealth. No separate state to protect oligarchies. No hierarchical division of labour. No nations, and no closed and hostile identities. A collective organisation of everything that is in the collective interest.
All this has a name, indeed a fine one: communism. Capitalism is but the final phase of the restrictions that the Neolithic form of society has imposed on human life. It is the final stage of the Neolithic. Humanity, that fine animal, must make one last push to break out of a condition in which 5,000 years of inventions served a handful of people. For almost two centuries — since Marx, anyway — we have known that we have to begin the new age. An age of technologies incredible for all of us, of tasks distributed equally among all of us, of the sharing of everything, and education that affirms the genius of all. May this new communism everywhere and on every question stand up against the morbid survival of capitalism. This capitalism, this seeming "modernity," represents a Neolithic world that has in fact been going on for five millennia. And that means that it is old — far too old.
My mother’s funeral took place on Zoom during lockdown, and attendees were encouraged to remember her by smoking indoors and drinking vodka. I think I was 13 when a doctor first explained that maman would have to give up drink completely. It didn’t happen. Empty Smirnoff bottles used to clink around the bottom of her wardrobe when the cat crawled in there to hide from visitors. “Listen,” Mallory O’Meara writes in a footnote to Girly Drinks, “I’m not telling you not to drink vodka.” It’s just that its goal “is to be as tasteless and clear as possible. It doesn’t add anything flavor-wise to a drink – it’s not supposed to.” I don’t agree. The funeral vodka tasted like grass and minerals, teardrops and clouds.
As censorious jokes about “wine moms” suggest, the fact that the gap between male and female alcohol consumption worldwide is steadily closing generates anxiety. We require reproductive workers and feminized people in general to be on call, 24/7, just in case hubby or baby or the boss requires our attention. Breaking out the rosé signals an interruption to the (double, triple) shift. Worse, it hints at a desire to go on strike. It has always struck me as revealing that a popular gauge for alcoholism is whether a person’s drinking interferes with their work – rather than, say, being the thing enabling them to go to work.
Recalcitrant women in the 14th century could achieve a degree of economic independence by keeping a cauldron of beer bubbling, flavored with bog myrtle, horseradish, juniper, caraway, yarrow, sycamore sap, ivy or acorns.
Today, witch costumes for Halloween look as they do because alewives in England, O’Meara explains, “wore tall, sometimes pointed, hats in order to distinguish themselves and stand out in a crowded marketplace. The alestakes that advertised their product were essentially brooms – long sticks with a bundle of twigs tied to the end.” The local aletaster policed the alewives and enforced regulations. A decree in 1375, for example, stated that alestakes, which functioned like neon “open” signs and stuck out from above the alewife’s door, could not be taller than seven feet. The persecution of Europe’s witches, by this account, becomes in part a way of disciplining a class of semi-autonomous beer producers into accepting the work and gender order of the domestic household.
Ever since Hammurabi’s Code (a set of Babylonian legal texts composed around 1754 bce), most societies have restricted a woman’s freedom to enjoy, make and/or administer alcohol. Romulus is said to have imposed the death penalty on women who drank. The Gin Act of 1751 pushed Englishwomen’s genever shops out of the trade. Nevertheless, as Girly Drinks argues, they persisted: “There have been female distillers ... female brewers, bartenders and, most importantly, drinkers in every part of the world since alcohol was first created. They have always been there, not just alongside men but usually one step ahead of them.” The word bridal comes from bride-ale: an English tradition of raising money for a wedding whereby “a bride-to-be brewed a bunch of ale and threw a big party.” In Vietnam, O’Meara notes, “‘the word nau means both to make alcohol and to cook.”
The story of women and alcohol ignites wherever the politics of gender, colonization and class is involved. Indigenous South American chicheras, pulque makers and clandestinistas circulated their drinks in defiance of the Catholic colonizers. Under apartheid, South African women waged a decades-long boycott of municipal beerhalls, vindicating their right to brew umqombothi (maize or sorghum beer) and to be served non-native beer, too, if they wanted. Nepalese women rose up in the 1970s against attempts to remove raksi production from their kitchens and industrialisze it. If there is a common ingredient in accounts of alcohol-laced struggles from below, it’s the insistence of the oppressed on their freedom to distill and brew autonomously.
— Sophie Lewis (London Review of Books)
CRAIG ON AUTO-PILOT
Automatic Writing and Beyond.
Sitting at Local Flavors on Redwood Drive in Garberville, California enjoying a lavender kombucha drink while watching traffic and pedestrians through the front windows. The mind is still and no words flow on to the paper, and then once more the pen begins to move. This is automatic writing.
The Living Theatre in New York City taught that every single moment, everywhere, is "the living theatre". The audience was informed that theater is much more than actors on a stage. In other words, global society is a constant living theater, and everybody everywhere is in it all of the time.
Likewise, "automatic writing" is only one example of "automatic living". Automatic living is Para Brahman, or the Divine Absolute, working through the body-mind complexes without interference. Nobody is the body. Nobody is the mind. Everybody is Para Brahman only. This is the enlightened view.
Craig Louis Stehr, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org