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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021

Christmas Snow | Holly | Covid Tests | Sofia Missing | Toy Drive | Noyo Sunset | Sea Rescues | Skunk Harassment | Marble Veil | New Feudalism | AV Morning | Sherwood Oaks | Health Screenings | Winter Hours | Kary Mullis | Modern Atlas | Ed Notes | MotoClaus | MCT Mystery | Yesterday's Catch | Dideon Interview | Christmas 1967 | Living Rooms | Sharing Economy | Amanita Muscaria | Pro Lives | Junk Call | Outlaw Culture | Wartime Santa | Rational Evaluation | Earth's Lungs | Marco Radio | UFO | Public Comment | Wealth Tax | Nader Reading | Tannenbaum

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PRECIPITATION is expected to continue through the holiday weekend, with continuous heavy snowfall on the western ridges of the Klamath Mountains above 2000 ft. Thunder and accumulating small hail is possible along the coast. Snow levels will fall late today through Monday, bringing up to 2 inches of snow as low as sea level tonight, with another round possible Sunday night. Cold weather is then expected through the work week. (NWS)


YESTERDAY'S RAINFALL (past 24 hours): Leggett 1.8" - Willits 1.5" - Laytonville 1.3" - Boonville 1.0" - Yorkville 1.0" - Covelo 0.8" - Ukiah 0.7" - Hopland 0.6"


STORMS BATTER WESTERN US

The Pacific Northwest faces a prolonged cold snap with heavy snow predicted for the mountains and even coastal cities...

theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/25/two-die-in-car-and-rare-snow-forecast-for-seattle-as-storms-batter-western-us

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Holly Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

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AT-HOME COVID TESTS, also referred to as "over the counter" tests, are now available through Public Health. The tests are being distributed immediately through community groups that have significant public contact and through our offices in Fort Bragg, Willits, and Ukiah.

At-home COVID tests are safe and effective tools for keeping friends and family healthy this holiday season. Public Health recommends you test at home before you go to a gathering, before returning to school, and before and after you travel. If you test positive, stay isolated for 10 days and until you show no symptoms for at least 24 hours.

Free tests are available. Contact the Call Center for services or more information, or if you need a Work or School Release Letter, or other resources to support you in isolation. Call Center: 707-472-2759

For a how-to video on at-home testing, and testing site schedules and locations visit https://www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19

Free vaccine booster shots continue to be available at primary care providers, pharmacies, and at the County’s fixed and pop-up clinics. More information is available at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19

(Mendocino County Public Health)

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WHERE’S SOFIA?

On Thursday, December 23, 2021 at 10:30 PM, Santa Rosa Police Department officers were dispatched to a residence in the area of Summerfield Rd and Golf View Ct, regarding a missing juvenile. Officers learned that Sofia Glimidakis, a 13-year-old female, left her residence on December 19, 2021 and has not been seen, by her family, since Sunday. Sofia maintained phone contact with her family until December 22, 2021. 

Sofia is a White, female, juvenile, 5’4” tall and weighing 100 lbs. She has blonde with pink highlights and hazel eyes. Sofia was wearing pink camouflage sweatshirt, unknown-colored sweatpants and black Converse shoes. Sofia was last seen at her residence (area of Summerfield Rd and Golf View Ct). 

If you see Sofia or know where she is, please contact the Santa Rosa Police Department at (707) 528-5222. SRPD Case number 21-14220.

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ANDERSON VALLEY TOY DRIVE!

Dear Community:

The Volunteer Firefighters Association pulled off another VERY successful Toy Drive this year. The toys were handed out at the Food Bank on December 8, and much appreciated. Speaking of appreciation, the following are thanked for their generosity in making this drive successful: Hedgehog Books, Lions Club, Unity Club, AV Brewery, The Mercantile, Lemons, Anderson Valley Market, and the community members who donated dollars or toys…you know who you are! 

This community is tops! Thank You!

Tina, Sarah, Sandy and Judy

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Noyo at Sunset

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SHERIFF KENDALL WRITES: 

A few months back, Matt LaFever wrote about the wreck of the Caspar on the south coast in 1897. 

mendofever.com/2021/10/22/this-day-in-mendohistory-october-22-1897-thirteen-sailors-die-after-schooner-thrown-against-saunders-reef

Henry Andersen was my grandmother Fern Andersen Kendall’s grandfather. My cousin Tom still has the medal great-great-grandfather received for the rescue. Here are a couple photos of it which Cousin Tom sent me the other night. 

Coincidentally, my younger brother Mark Kendall (one of the twins) completed a similar rescue in almost the same area not so long ago. He completed it by dangling by a line below a Calfire helicopter in the mid 1990s. A strange coincidence to say the least.

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SKUNKED 

by Bruce Broderick

Sprayed By A Skunk

I Was Charged And Almost Arrested For Walking Alongside, But Not On Skunk Property Completely Over The Phone.

On Wednesday morning Dec 22, 2021 I was finishing my 2 mile walk and on my way home after completing my circle on the North part of the Coastal Trail. My chosen route home takes me past the Company Store and past the Brewery. From there I turn left from Main to Pine St., and then turn right behind the Brewery Gift Store to follow the tracks while on the gift store’s property at 105 N main. I admit that the adjacent Skunk property at 535 Main St, which sits behind and to the North of the gift store, is of interest, as I have taken photos of the rail cars to give information to the Department of Transportation in order to ascertain whether these homemade contraptions are legally able to carry paying passengers without any form of certifications beyond the Skunks supposed patents on the rail bikes themselves.

On Wednesday’s walk by the rail car facility, there happened to be a line of customers waiting to go on their ride so I didn’t take any pictures while walking by as it would be an invasion of their privacy, even though they were on an open to the public property, with no signs or anything indicating to the contrary. It’s just common courtesy. You never know where a picture is going to end up.

Shortly after I got home from my walk I received a phone call from the Fort Bragg police Department. The officer on the phone asked for me by name and then proceeded to tell me that Mendocino Railway had filed a citizen's arrest on me for that morning and the previous morning for taking pictures and harassing customers while on their property. I told the officer that I hadn’t harassed anyone and that I wasn’t on their property. I got a little angry but held my temper. The officer had already told me that I could easily end up in a cell on Low Gap Rd. I discussed, and he rejected how this could be considered harassment as I believed I was within my rights as a citizen. The officer, told me that I was now a defendant and could tell that to the judge if the District Attorney's office decided to prosecute my case.

Being a bit rattled by the phone conversation, I took a little time to compose myself and then drove to the police station to file a citizen's arrest for harassment on the person who filed the complaint on me or on Mendocino Railway as a corporate person. In order to talk to an officer I had to call on the red phone in front of the station which I did. When the officer came outside I relayed what had happened and that the Skunk Train people had filed a fraudulent complaint and citizens arrest. I stated that I wanted to file a complaint for harassment. The officer, while seemingly tolerant of what I was saying, only responded that I should take a different direction home and if the case goes forward I can tell it to the Judge. He also stated that if I wanted to do anything that I needed to file a civil complaint. In other words, what I was saying fell on deaf ears.

The next day, Thursday, Dec. 23, I went to the District Attorney's office in the Ten Mile courthouse to see if I had any other options with regards to filing a counter complaint against Mendocino Railway. The Deputy DA that I talked to was very informative. I discussed the dismissive actions of the officer from the previous day and he suggested that I take my case to his supervisor or the Police Chief himself. The police are obligated to file a Citizen's Arrest whether they want to or not. Which is exactly what is going to happen on Monday when the police station is again open to the public.

Some of you reading this will undoubtedly think that I got what I deserved for being where I shouldn’t be and being a threat to the Skunks. I would remind you that our freedom of motion and freedom of speech are important and written into our constitution. You may not agree with what I am doing, you may not like that I am trying to uncover certain uncomfortable aspects of this large multi level group of corporations that I believe are trying to take control of our town without following any Local or State regulations. But if I am not on their property, a Citizen's Arrest from a corporation over the phone while being too cowardly to confront me as a senior citizen directly, is pretty unsavory behavior, whatever they think my motives may be.

This, coming after Mr. Pinoli stated in a previous post that he wanted nothing more than to sit down and discuss my concerns over coffee or a beer. If I had succumbed to his request to sit down with him would I still have to retain an attorney to protect my constitutional rights as a citizen? Would these fake Public Utility claims and bogus Eminent Domain judgments be gone? I think not.

I have been told by others that I am now in their sights and am now a target because of what I am bringing to the surface. Probably so. It’s time to join together as a community and question this new "authority" in our lives.

Happy Holidays Folks.

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Marble Sculpture - The Veiled Virgin - by Giovanni Strazza

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JADE TIPPETT ON THE SKUNK: The situation with Sierra Railroad, the GP mill site, and their alleged railroad sovereignty, as well as the vacation rentals, is to be understood as nothing less than domestic corporate colonialism. Fort Bragg is not an isolated example. The same thing is happening in different ways all over the country. The Reagan "revolution," cutting the marginal and capital gains tax rates while decimating middle class, has created a wealthy elite awash in cash, with entitlement to do whatever they, or their asset managers, desire to turn that cash into even more cash. Welcome to the new feudalism, where permanent renter serfdom at the mercy of faceless landlord corporations threatens to become the new reality for the young and working people of our Nation. Couple this with crushing education debt and it's easy to understand the sources of the current political nihilism plaguing millennials. There are political solutions. What is needed is the courage to speak clearly, organize, and go after them.

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ANDERSON VALLEY MORNING

photo by Mary Pat Palmer

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MITCH CLOGG ON SHERWOOD OAKS:

I inspected Bay Area skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) for the California Department of Health. There is very little “heart” in the business and tons of naked greed. I was party to fining and/or closing the worst of them.

Sherwood Oaks, in past years (I haven’t been inside there for several years) was one of the best I’ve ever seen, anywhere. I went there as a visitor, not as an inspector. God knows it wasn’t good because it was pretty. It is old, shabby, unattractive and looks better suited to be a doghouse.

To the patient population, that doesn’t matter. They don’t spend their time gazing at the spiffy facade and landscaping. Nice “window dressing” is typically, in nursing homes, a screen for inadequate staffing, inadequate training, and “sweetheart” arrangements with mediocre and greedy doctors and nurses who couldn’t care less about their patients. Disabled patients are tied to their beds and wheelchairs, supposedly to prevent falls, but often simply to restrain them. Ambulatory patients take more attention than restrained or drugged ones. Potent tranquilizers are used to control those active ones.

Aides, kitchen workers, licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), janitorial workers and specialists, like visiting physical and occupational therapists, are all required in specified numbers, based on facility size. Payroll being always the biggest expense, staffing requirements are almost always unmet. SNFs find it cheaper to pay fines than meet requirements. Staffs are usually drawn from the bottom of the labor pool and paid minimum wage. The physician who comes, under contract with the facility, to tend to the patients quite often breezes in, signs patient charts and breezes out, off to the next SNF, to be paid as if they were actually examining and giving care to the patients.

It’s an ugly, ugly racket. It is not driven, in most cases, by any concern for the welfare of the patient population. It’s a cash register, a profit machine and a national disgrace. In my experience, there is never enough oversight, state or federal. Medicaid and Medicare pay much of the tab. Nursing homes, by and large, are there to make owners and corporations a great deal of money by swindling these government programs and their victims, not to mention the taxpayers.

Sherwood Oaks, despite its shabby looks, was, when I visited acquaintances there, free of all those abuses. One woman, who favored western-style outfits, would make a point to say to me (even though I was not there in any official capacity) “Please, please don’t give them a bad report. These people are wonderful!”

Sad to say, field licensing representatives (my former job title) seldom, if ever, hear that from nursing-home patients.

What made Sherwood Oaks different were several things. Ft. Bragg is a small town. People know what’s going on. Word gets out. Families take time to visit convalescing relatives (and, in many cases, act as advocates for them). Alert visitors are more apt to notice bedsores and other complaints than they are to admire fancy lamps in the lobby. They notice when the food is poorly cooked and served and when Aunt Sally never has anything to do, or never seems to get better. Families and patients, when I was asking, commonly gave good reports on Sherwood Oaks.

I once talked to the owner. I expected him to be typically suspicious and hostile to me and indifferent to his patients as individuals. He was not. He took my questions cheerfully and answered them without doubletalk. He knew his patients by name. That’s practically unheard of.

I repeat that these impressions are from years past, and I was then a layman, but lay people (and patients) are, by law, entitled to scrutinize a place and to ask for official inspection reports. Sherwood Oaks was not perfect, but it was head and shoulders above 90-plus percent of Bay Area SNFs and of the industry as a whole. Compared to most places, Sherwood Oaks, when I was there, was a jewel.

Profits and patient care are usually incompatible. Non-profits, as in church-owned facilities, are often way better.

Sherwood Oaks was a shining exception to the ordinary. Closure, or transfer to the business that is, according to the press, sealing a deal with them, will be a disaster. I read up on the outfit reported to be buying them. They should be shut down—yesterday! The very, very rich owner should spend the rest of his days in one of his own facilities.

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WINTER HOURS

Mendocino Cafe:
11-4 (4-5 closed) 5-9; 7 Days A Week
Closed Christmas And Thanksgiving Day Only
10451 Lansing Street; Mendocino 707-937-6141

Flow Restaurant & Lounge:
Now Serving Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch 10-3; 7 Days a Week
Expanding hours to 10-7 Daily on January 3rd
45040 Main Street in Mendocino, Up the Water Tower Stairs
Full Bar and Deck Seating; indoor dining for Vaccinated

Staffs at both locations tested weekly and/or Vaccinated

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RUSS EMAL ON KARY MULLIS: 

Many years ago a friend and neighbor asked me to help him wire the house of another neighbor. A man I had never met. The house had 12v wires hanging all over the place and was both dangerous and gave little light. Over a few weeks we wired the place for 120 volt power. Shortly after finishing I was able to meet the owner of the house and in time he became a close family friend. The man was Kary Mullis. 

Kary Mullis

Mullis had just received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He was a noted biochemist. In recognition of his role in the invention of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, he shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and was awarded the Japan Prize in the same year. The New York Times described PCR as “highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before PCR and after PCR.” He had the idea to use a pair of primers to bracket the desired DNA sequence and to copy it using DNA polymerase; a technique that would allow rapid amplification of a small stretch of DNA and become a standard procedure in molecular biology laboratories. PCR is also valuable in a number of laboratory and clinical techniques, including DNA fingerprinting, detection of bacteria or viruses (particularly AIDS), and diagnosis of genetic disorders.

Perhaps you remember the O.J. Simpson trial. The one where we heard, “If the glove does not fit you must acquit.” While Mullis did not feel O.J. was innocent, he, as the father of PCR stated the technique of PCR as used by the police was incorrectly done. PCR is a very delicate technique that requires special treatment in the collection of evidence. Mullis gave information stating the evidence was incorrectly collected and processed. The trial is often characterized as the trial of the century.

During the trial Wendy, my wife, and I, spent many sessions with Mullis and O.J.’s lawyers, including Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld as he explained the flaws in the process used. In the end, between the glove and the PCR, OJ walked. 

Due to the new and extensive use of PCR many new ideas were brought forth and tried. I just once again watched that early 90s movie Jurassic Park. Remember how they took blood from a mosquito to recreate dinosaurs? While that was a movie, Mullis was later hired to try to do this. As we know, dinosaurs do not again walk the earth! But again his time trying was exciting for his local friends as he reported his work and thankfully (as shown in the movie) failed in his attempt.

Mullis died in 2019. But I was lucky to spend many hours in his company. While much less scientific, he loved trying new and indeed crazy ideas. He built a huge cannon-like potato gun that he fired into the nearby void. Also his well stocked koi carp pond was used for his 200-foot tall propane fountain. He sank a hose into the pond, turned on the unregulated tank of gas, and lit it on fire! 

Crazy indeed, but rather spectacular. Crazy tho he was, I miss his brilliance and friendship.

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ED NOTES

SAW THIS APPEAL on the MCN chat line: “Elder Climate Action Network. Take a lunch break every Friday from noon to 1 p.m. on the corner of Hwy. 1 (Main St.) and E. Laurel St. in front of Fort Bragg Town Hall! Elders Climate Action Network is building a non-partisan movement committed to changing our nation’s policies – our planet’s changing climate is an emergency affecting all of us. For more information, call 510-459-9448."

WHICH raised (with me anyway) the nut of global death as raised recently by Andreas Malm, probably the most prominent among European thinkers who think it's past time to up the ante for destructive forces or, more to the point, past time to consider direct action and armed struggle against the destroyers. It's no secret who they are, and the logic of the multiplying crises translates as the absolute necessity for direct action to stop them before they stop the whole show. Or, as Francis Gooding puts it in a letter to the LRB, “…Yet mainstream climate movements in the West persist in family-friendly demonstrations, pitifully anemic politics and well-mannered civil disobedience, rather than, say, organizing a revolutionary cadre of saboteurs or turning out in their thousands to participate in mass direct actions which, if properly carried out, would be very difficult to prevent.”

YOU COULD almost hear the collective groans that went up over NorCal last night as the Niners blew a game they should have, could have won by two touchdowns. Jimmy Garoppolo singlehandedly did us in against the Titans in a positively weird performance even for him. Weirder yet was his post-game statement when he was asked how he felt, “Frustrated, I would say. 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.” Garoppolo was the lull, but he seems uniquely removed from his responsibility for the loss.

WOULDN'T it be interesting to put a work-day camera on, say, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to critique their daily performances as if they were Jimmy Garoppolo? How many hours, and how productively does, say, 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde, laboring at representing the several thousand citizens of his district? On a busy Monday I'd guess Gjerde puts in maybe a couple of hours on social media before he calls it a day, then tapers off until the weekend. Ditto for his four colleagues.

AS A FAITHFUL READER of Jody Martinez's 'This Was News' column in the Ukiah Daily Journal, this recent item especially intrigued me. Jody had culled the following news from the December 25th, 1939 edition of the Redwood Journal: “Potter Valley. After suffering with hiccoughs for two days, Ralph Hughes was taken to Ukiah to consult a doctor Sunday. The physician found he had an injury in the arm from a piece of steel, which had caused the affliction.” This is exactly the kind of random information that stays with a guy who will now wonder for the rest of his days how that doctor established cause and effect.

AND THIS WAY BACK social note from Jody's collection directly applies to Anderson Valley: “Dinner Celebrates Installation of Bell System. To celebrate the installation of the telephone, after many hard efforts to secure it, Mrs. Ed Zeni gave a dinner at her home at Yorkville. Everyone present enjoyed a raviola dinner with other good things on the menu. A special feature of the dinner were the cakes iced in white with ‘Luck to Bell System’ inscribed.” The after dinner hours were devoted to telling stories about the telephone.

I'D GUESS that the Zenis were especially happy to get phone service to their place so far west of Yorkville out Fish Rock Road it's almost in Gualala, relieved that at last being connected to the great world outside.

ALSO IN POTTER VALLEY of 1939, “Joe Raymond was severely but not seriously bitten by a coyote recently. He and Floyd Vaughan were on the J.E. March range where the dogs caught the coyote and got it into the creek. Thinking the animal dead, Mr. Raymond got hold of its hind leg to drag it out when it turned and grabbed him through the hand, making a nasty gash with its teeth.”

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Motorcycle Santa, Berlin, 1920s (photo by Willy Römer)

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NO MCT IN JAIL

Editor,

I figured to eventually unveil the mail fraud committed against me eventually. But I never expected it this soon or to be this easy. It seems like the District Attorney, C. David Eyster, in his fledgling disguise as a journalist has finally "cooked his own goose." The evidence I will now present is rather flimsy, but highly circumstantial: AVA readers might have noted or remembered my article entitled "Ukiah Unsafe for Women" in the December 15 edition. It was followed right below it by an article about me written by District Attorney Eyster. He referred to both letters and you will notice the first four sentences of my letter are the exact same as the first 3.5 sentences of District Attorney Eyster's misleading response. Eyster claims he read this in "Saturday's MCT." I've never heard of a Saturday news bulletin called MCT. And I certainly do not write anything to this mysterious news agency.

My letters to the AVA (after being scanned here at the jail) go directly to Bruce Anderson. At the time of the December 15 publication only myself and Bruce Anderson should have known what was in that letter. Obviously my letter to Bruce Anderson was tampered with between the Ukiah jail and Boonville. So how did Mr. Eyster just happen know my exact sentences to the Advertiser? Is he clairvoyant? Really doubt it. It now seems like I have more evidence of District Attorney Eyster for mail fraud than he’s ever had on me for any crime! Did I just want put the D in Detective?

Sincerely,

David Detective Youngcault Giusti

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah


Ed Note: At ease, Dave. The reference to MCT (Mendocino County Today) is the daily online edition of Boonville’s beloved weekly read every morning by several thousand of this region’s more serious citizens.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 24, 2021

Anderson, Anguiano, Casillas, Duncan

BRIAN ANDERSON, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, county parole violation.

ARNOLDO ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. 

SALVADOR CASILLAS-ANDRADE, Ukiah. Negligent discharge of firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, conspiracy, probation revocation.

NICOLE DUNCAN, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI.

Gutierrez, Hardage, Lampkin, McElroy

JOSE GUTIERREZ-CASTILLO, Modesto/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, no license.

JOSHUA HARDAGE-VERGEER, Ukiah. Contempt of court.

JARED LAMPKIN, Woodland/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.

Monroe, Pedigo Robles

GAIL MONROE, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

RONALD PEDIGO, Ukiah. Failure to register as sex offender with priors, failure to appear.

LEROY ROBLES JR., Santa Barbara/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

Sanders, Sorrell, Vickery

SANISHA SANDERS, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. 

MICHAEL SORRELL, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, switchblade in vehicle, saps or similar weapons, burglary tools, paraphernalia, evasion by reckless driving opposite traffic, no license.

ANDREW VICKERY, Klamath, Oregon/Ukiah. DUI.

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‘I THINK OF MYSELF AS ATTACHED TO CALIFORNIA’

Interviewing Joan Dideon

by Jonah Raskin

Some of my friends who were Californians and writers didn’t approve of Joan Didion’s essays about California, but they didn’t say so publicly. Didion was too big and too famous to rebuke in a newspaper article or from the podium. The California she wrote about—coastal California, for the most part— wasn’t “their” California—the Central Valley—which some of them promoted as “The Other California.” In fact there was and is no one “Other California.” There were and still are two, three, many Californias. The place is too diverse and too multidimensional to be contained by just two identities, much as Didion herself wasn’t one dimensional, but rather had several identities as a bicoastal American: a Calfornian and a New Yorker. Born in Sacramento, in 1934, she graduated from Berkeley, moved to New York and wrote for Vogue. She and her writer husband John Gregory Dunne divided their time between New York and California until his death in 2003. She spent the last act of her life in New York, the city that claimed her as one of its own, much as California also claimed her as a native daughter of the golden west. I admired her writing, and said so in print though friends rebuked me for praising someone they thought of as conservative. Perhaps she was, though her conservatism didn’t lend itself to the Republican Party or the rightwing. I interviewed her once, shortly after one of her books was published. I think it’s worth republishing now. It provides some insights into a novelist, essayist and memoirist who drew some of her best writings from her own inner pain and inner strength.

Q: Your book, ‘Where I Was From’ (2003), was recently reviewed in The New York Times Book Review. The title was “Giving Up On California.” Have you given up on your native state?

A: No, I haven’t. Their title was far broader than any intention I ever had. But people in New York often hope that Californians give up on California.

Q: How would you describe the 2003 California recall election of Governor Gray Davis? Is it a tragedy or a farce? 

A: I vote in New York. I have since 1988, but if I could vote in California I would have voted against the recall. I would not vote for Schwarzenegger. I feel the same way about him that I felt about Reagan for governor.

Q: You have described the women in your own family as “clinically radical”? Would you describe yourself as “clinically radical”? 

A: I was talking, there, about personal attachments. The women in my family threw away personal attachments. I see some of that in myself. But I wouldn’t want to talk about those personal attachments in public.

Q: You seem to be a public person.

A: Not really. I lived in L.A. for about 20 years and I was always the least public person in the room. When my daughter went to college she was surprised to find out that people knew the names Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.

Q: You were born in California and you live in New York. Do you feel like an exile? Are you a fugitive from California?

A: I am not in exile and I am not a fugitive from California. I think of myself as attached to California – whether I am there or not. I still have a California license and that’s important to me. I lived in New York from 1956 to 1964 and I thought then that I’d always live in New York. Then I got homesick for California and I moved to L.A. after I got married. It took a year to “get” L.A. When I got it I didn’t want to live there anymore.

Q: What’s there to “get” about L.A.?

A: L.A. is resistant to being sentimentalized. In L.A. you realize that L.A. has no reason to be there and that you have no reason to be there, either. In 1988 we moved back to New York, and for a long time I thought of myself as living in both New York and L.A. I was bi-coastal.

Q: Could we play a free association game? Could I mention some names in the news and get your immediate thoughts? 

A: Yes.

Q: Arnold Schwarzenegger

A: I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of his movies and I never gave him a thought until he entered the race.

Q: Gray Davis

A: I’ve known him since he was Jerry Brown’s chief of staff and I generally like him.

Q: Ariana Huffington

A: I don’t know her, but I admire her columns. She’s sharp.

Q: George Bush?

A: I am writing something that touches on George Bush now and I really can’t say. I never talk about the articles I’m writing. They can turn out to be something entirely different from where they start.

Q: What book of all your own books do you like best now?

A: I don’t know. When I finish a book it usually goes out of my head. I went back to ‘Run River’ recently and I found flaws, so I don’t like to go back to my work.

Q: Could you say, briefly, what it means to be a Californian? Is it a complex fate?

A: To be a Californian means to be full of contradictions. That’s what I say in my new book. I think it’s more contradictory than any other place in the country. There is an idealization of California that you don’t get anyplace else and that idealization tends to produce contradictions.

Q: Is California the locomotive or the caboose? Do things start here and move to the rest of the country?

A: When we lived in L.A. in the mid-1960s people would say that. They would say that cults started in California and that they’d spread to the rest of the country. I didn’t think that was true then and I still don’t. I don’t think that California leads the way. I used to think that if you wanted to know the future of America go to New Orleans or to Miami and I did. But I don’t know where to go today to see the future of America and so I don’t know what to write next.

Q: What do you see in store for democracy in America?

A; Well, I think that democracy has shallow roots in America. Unless people take care of it, it is not assured.

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

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Soldiers take rest close to a small Christmas tree on their position at Hill 875 near Dakto, a few days after the North Vietnamese Army made a massive assault, on December 25, 1967. (AFP/Getty Images)

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INSIDE THE AVA'S SALON

Inside the Apartments of Literary Legends — Dominique Nabokov's ‘Living Rooms’ Project

‘Living Rooms’ is not exactly about interior decoration. Although it represents a special stylistic and aesthetic approach, it is above all a document. No rearranging, no adding of bouquets, no use of flood lights. I approach the living rooms like I approach the people I photograph: a portrait as close to reality as possible.

John Halpern

I have always been an advocate of photography free of heavy equipment; if I can avoid strobe, flash, and even a tripod, I do. I believe in mobility. For this book I used the Polaroid Colorgraph type 691 film, which provides a full color positive transparency in four minutes (exactly the time it takes to boil my eggs)—what a thrill and relief it is to have the result right away! Color photography is rarely a satisfying medium—too beautiful or too ugly, and mostly banal. With this particular film I like the accidental, eccentric colors. The color tones do not alter the impact of the image.

This lightweight, unobtrusive, and fast approach to shooting, with its accidental and immediate results, gave me the wonderful feeling of being a sleuth-voyeur. I could easily go on and on, opening the doors of famous authors for years—what fun!

Unfortunately it seems impossible: this film has been discontinued.

— Dominique Nabokov, New York


AVA Salon

========================

THE SHARING ECONOMY

by William Grimes

I’m an old geezer but my mind still works pretty well which is to say I know more about more things, from a humble understanding of how the universe works to how e-mails are distributed by and through the internet. Living alone in retirement I have more time to consume information, news and analysis from numerous online content providers and by spending many hours a week with YouTube watching and listening to such thinkers as Carl Sagan, Elon Musk, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

In earlier years my preferred information was dominated by team sports scores, general business news, and the New York Post Page Six gossip columns. Then in 1990 with a subscription of The Economist my interests and curiosity took a leap forward. Like others I was amazed at turn of century to learn of new tech companies about to disrupt scores of businesses in several market segments. Amazon arrived, Borders closed doors and Barnes&Noble shuttered scores of store. The first new automobile brand to enter the US automobile market in nearly a century, an electric powered car, Tesla, barely avoided bankruptcy in 2008 but survived and now has disrupted the worldwide automotive industry, causing other auto makers to go electric, with positive effects on the environment. Wikipedia, a nonprofit, has replaced the Encyclopedia Britannica a way to find a little information on a lot of things, and who needs a library anymore when a click on Google gets you what you want in mere seconds.

These are all examples of businesses, enabled by the internet that have taken market share from more established firms. Entrepreneurs create new companies which, if have better, more convenient and less costly products or services, take market share from existing companies. Nothing new about that. Companies cannibalizing competitor companies.

What’s new is individuals are now taking customers and market share from companies. People are generating income from other people by “sharing” or renting for a fee assets they own. Person-to-person transactions powered by smart phones and apps. 

The Sharing Economy consists of individuals who own something, some product, like clothing mentioned above, that others people would like to use, to borrow for a limited period of time. The owner who is willing to part with that product, to share it with another person (known or unknown,) will get paid for his sharing.

An article in the December 18th issue of The Economist titled “One Woman’s Trash” speaks to a recent sharing phenomenon: that of clothes. “Once Airbnb and Uber had propelled the idea of a sharing economy into the mainstream, firms turning used clothing into an asset class were not far behind. A decade ago we would have struggled to offload second hand clothing, let alone get paid for it, ” adding that in 2021 resold clothing by people to people is expected to generate $15 billion in worldwide revenues. Emptying my closet of suits and neckties from the 90s would require a trip to the town’s local charity store when it reopens from covid closing. No longer. Apps like The RealReal, an online second-hand clothing site, enable you to sell that old suit and sweater that have sat mothballed-up in the closet so long 

The key economic point is individuals sharing something they own to others for a short time may, as in in this case, disrupt retail sellers of clothes as Airbnb and Uber did with hotels and taxis.

Knowing all this it, it took an actual sharing transaction to really see the sharing economy in action.

* * *

I spent a month in North Palm Beach this fall. My son, Lee, who lives in Oakland, flew into to Palm Beach International airport. His itinerary was to drive one hundred and thirty-two miles to Fort Myers on the west coast, see friends. Then he’d motor back across the state to Vero Beach, another one hundred fifty miles to visit his mother, and finally drive another eighty miles to North Palm Beach to visit with me and then return his rental car at PBI. Good business for Hertz or Avis, yes?

No. 

Upon exiting the NPB terminal a Hyundai 2020 awaited him. A woman sat behind the wheel, waved to him, and handed him keys to her car. She then jumped into the passenger seat of a car behind hers. 

Lee was renting this car from someone he never met who owned and was willing to rent her automobile for a week. This beneficial transaction for both parties was enabled by a car sharing app called Turo. As the owner promised Lee online, the car had low mileage and was in perfect condition. The cost was $25 a day compared to car rental companies’ $70.

Need or want something for a day or more but don’t want to own it? An app is waiting for you to find it. 

* * *

* * *

JUDGE NOT

Editor: 

There have been multiple letters recently accusing those who oppose abortion of not caring about women and dooming unplanned children to miserable lives. But the facts clearly show otherwise.

I have personal experience with this as I once found myself pregnant, young, unmarried and poor, yet I was able to find the help I needed to raise a happy, healthy son.

The pro-life community provides unparalleled help to women facing untimely pregnancies and child-rearing decisions. There are many hundreds of care centers around the country, and in the North Bay alone, hundreds of volunteers and donors help pro-life organizations provide a range of care during pregnancy and afterward, free of charge, with no strings attached. These facts will not change no matter what the courts and states decide.

My point is that there are caring, compassionate people on both sides of this issue, so rather than judge and accuse others of not caring, let’s use our energies to help and support those in these difficult situations, and look for what is best for the women, men and babies.

Mary Lehr

Santa Rosa

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* * *

HUMBOLDT: Life on America’s Marijuana Frontier by Emily Brady

Reviewed by Andy Caffrey

I find a lot of books interesting, but I actually enjoyed this book about my town and neighbors. The author spent a year in SoHum, but I was probably the only person who didn't meet the author.

A book like this is usually vulnerable to subjects rejecting how they are portrayed, and since this book is ten years old, I've forgotten if the author pissed off anyone back then. So I won't address those possible weaknesses except to mention that one of the characters, EZ Out, is someone I see almost every day sleeping out on the Garberville Town Square or across the street from my apartment, hanging out in front of the Presbyterian church.

The book primarily follows four people: an OG 1970s back-to-the-land grower, the daughter of growers (EZ Out's daughter) who turned away from the bud-iness, a second generation grower who stayed with the business, and a sheriff. Brady tells their stories well, and her story-telling skills are engaging, moving the story along briskly.

A particularly important focus of the book is the impact on the kids of growing up in outlaw culture. The impact has been pretty fucked up. There are very few economic alternatives to growing for the young people. So bravo to EZ Out's daughter Emma for going on to get a degree at UC Berkeley. EZ Out, who used to be really popular until his 24-beer-per-day lifestyle got out of control, along with some meth perhaps, is now an even bigger asshole in my opinion for abandoning his kids.

Last night, in the rain, he slept alongside the wall of the town restroom, which I open and close every day. He had a whole rap for me of how he was using waxed cardboard to sleep on and other things to keep dry. I warned him of the rain. By morning, when I showed up today, he was gone, leaving his cardboard, spilled chocolate milk and bags of some kind of food and a bunch of clothing sprawled all over the place. There was even a six-inch long WORM among his "bedding."

Brady makes it clear, there wasn't much romance to the SoHum outlaw growing scene by 2010. Just a bunch of burned-out spoiled yuppies whining about legalization–and fiercely fighting it–not giving a damn about the blacks and Latinos who were being sent to jail, wrecking families, because of the prohibition/govt. subsidy of their $3-4,000/pound incomes.

Brady exposes the negative ecological impacts of diesel dope, large-scale grows, and the climate impacts of indoor growing (one medical grade grow light uses 500 times the electricity of a normal house light). Bet you didn't know that 2% of the nation's carbon dioxide emissions come from indoor pot grows! Holy shit!

If you are interested in stories about hippie lifestyles and the counterculture of the 1960s and what happened to the back-to-the-landers, pick up this book. Brady deserves an audience.

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

It is the industrialization of anti vaxxer propaganda that is the true evil. It leads to death. In the UK, this story appears about its first victim - “A relative of the UK’s ‘first Omicron victim’ told LBC today that his stepfather was fit and healthy but died after refusing to get his Covid-19 vaccinations after being taken in by anti-vaxxer “conspiracy theories”.” And this about the first US death - “It’s not clear why the man had not gotten vaccinated or whether he thought that his previous severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection somehow offered him enough protection.”

So if anyone says anything about covid deaths, which are in the hundreds of thousands in the US alone, anti vaxxers accuse them of “fear mongering” but then they repeat the few cases of adverse reactions to vaccines ad nauseum and imply there is a big cover up that somehow they - yes they - have managed to see through. No wonder there is no possibility of rational evaluation. No one can get past anti vaxxer insanity to have them.

* * *

* * *

MOTA: GOOD NIGHT RADIO live from Franklin St. through Xmas eve and all through the night!

Hi! Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Xmas eve and night) MOTA show is about 6pm.. If you're not done with it, whatever it is, send it when it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. Text-only, in the body of an email, please; I'm on dialup today.

Or call during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If there'll be swears, please wait until after 10pm, to not agitate the weasels. Also, Douglas Coulter is on the coast tonight, and he might come by on his bicycle in a plastic bag poncho in the freezing cold and wet to play post-apocalyptic Xmas carols on the tiny guitar he bought from Music Merchant last year, so listen for a bit, if you can, before you call; I don't always see the flashing light in time; I like to just leave the phone bell on. Hmm, yes, and I'll be playing the San Francisco Mime Troupe's /A Red Carol/ from 9:30 to 10:30. I can't forget, this time. I've written it on my hand with a pen, the hand that I reach up to turn pages with.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.)

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

Besides all that, there you'll find dollops of this and that and warm educational puddings to twiddle your mental fingers among, and then lick them clean, until showtime, such as:

The syphilis enigma. “The Hennenbergs knew that if they were right the presence of syphilis in Europe had nothing to do with Columbus.” Which knocks history ass-over-teakettle, doesn't it. (49 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bWNF_eNwvI

A kinetic winter solstice in Latvia. (via Everlasting Blort)

https://nagonthelake.blogspot.com/2019/12/winter-solstice-in-latvia.html

And Migrants.

https://nagonthelake.blogspot.com/2021/12/migrants-short-film-about-polar-bears.html

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

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* * *

50K CALIFORNIANS urge CalGEM to support health and safety setbacks around oil and gas wells

by Dan Bacher

December 21 marked the end of the public comment period for the California Department of Conservation’s public health rulemaking process to increase protections for communities on the frontlines of oil drilling in a state where thousands of permits for new and reworked oil wells have been approved in the last three years

In 60 days, more than 50,000 people submitted comments to the Department’s California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) in support of a proposed rule to require health and safety setbacks of 3,200 feet between “sensitive receptors” and oil and gas wells in California. That’s a rate of almost 1,000 comments a day, according to Aimee Dewing, Communications Lead for the Last Chance Alliance <https://lastchancealliance.org/>.

“Sensitive receptor” means any residence including private homes, condominiums, apartments, and living quarters; education resources such as preschools and kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) schools; daycare centers; any building housing a business that is open to the public; and health care facilities such as hospitals or retirement and nursing homes. A sensitive receptor also includes long term care hospitals, hospices, prisons, and dormitories or similar live-in housing.

Dewing said hundreds of health professionals and local elected officials across the state have also sent letters to the agency, echoing the message that industrial oil and gas operations have no place in neighborhoods.

“The state’s oil and gas regulator held two public workshops this month where hundreds of Californians urged the agency to bring the regulation in line with the government’s own public health experts’ recommendation by expanding it to apply to existing neighborhood drilling,” Dewing stated. “Thousands of comments also called for an immediate halt on permitting of new oil wells in the 3,200 ft. setback zone until the rule is in effect. At both workshops, support for strengthening the rule outnumbered the opposition and lasted for nearly seven hours.”

“By opening up the door to public comment, Gov. Newsom is learning what climate justice advocates have known for years: Californians overwhelmingly want better protections from oil extraction hazards,” said Dewing.

Unlike other states like Texas, Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming and Pennsylvania, California currently has no health and safety setbacks between oil and gas wells to protect neighborhoods from the public health and environmental impacts of neighborhood oil and gas wells. In California, the oil and gas industry can drill wells right next to homes, schools, hospitals and other facilities.

As Kern County organizer Cesar Aguirre with Center on Race Poverty & Environment pointed out, “Gov. Newsom asked us to weigh in on the public health rulemaking and more than 50,000 people responded: oil and gas drilling has no place in our neighborhoods. Now the ball is in his court. We’re trusting him to listen to frontline community members who are deeply engaged in this process and asking him to protect the lives of those on the frontlines.”

Dewing said the dangerous and deadly effects from oil and gas drilling pollution are well-documented. Proximity to drill sites exposes Californians to known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, like benzene and formaldehyde, fine and ultra-fine particulate matter, and hydrogen sulfide.

“All of these chemicals have proven records of toxicity and are known to cause health impacts ranging from nosebleeds to chronic headaches, increased risks of asthma and other respiratory illnesses, preterm births and increased risk of cancer,” she said.

“The vast majority of Californians who are on the frontlines of oil production sites are from communities of color, specifically Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities, who are already severely overburdened with other forms of pollution. This draft rule, if strengthened, represents an opportunity for the Newsom Administration to address environmental racism and injustice in California,” stated Dewing.

Back in 2019, facing yet another scandal at the beleaguered oil and gas regulation agency Gov. Newsom promised to bestow the state oil and gas regulator with a new mission: to protect public health. Since then, CalGEM has: 

- Placed a moratorium on an extreme extraction process using high-pressure cyclic steam injection, which has been linked to spills. 

- Denied new fracking permits on the grounds of protecting public health and the climate.

- Heard public comments in support of a 3,200-ft. setback separating oil wells and communities to protect Californians’ health

Governor Newsom proposed the 3,200 ft. distance for the health and safety setback, joining frontline community members in Wilmington in October to say “We don’t see oil in our future,” according to Dewing.

“But the state’s ambitious climate rhetoric often falls short on execution and lags in timeline. Recent research points to the failures of the state and our biggest cities to meet our own emissions reductions targets. CalGEM has been dragging its feet for a decade to delay developing health and safety rules for communities living near fossil fuel infrastructure, and the agency often doesn’t even do their own job of regulating effectively. All eyes are on the agency in anticipation of its next move following the resounding support they’ve now heard for a mandated setback from new and existing oil wells,” Dewing concluded.

Meanwhile, CalGEM has continued approving thousands of new and reworked oil and gas well permits every year. Governor Newsom’s oil regulators have approved 9,728 oil drilling permits since he assumed office in 2019, according to an analysis of permits approved through October 1, 2021 and posted by Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.

Not only is the Newsom Administration approving onshore oil and gas wells, but it has been approving new and reworked offshore oil drilling drilling permits under existing leases in state waters.

“As of October 1, 2021, there have been a total of 150 reported permits issued for offshore wells since January 1, 2019. Five of these permits were for new drilling and the remaining 145 for reworks (including sidetracks and deepening operations), according to the groups. ”Half of the total were issued for idle wells that should be plugged and properly abandoned to reduce the risk of blowouts, leaks, and other accidents. Over the first three quarters of 2021 there have been 17 offshore permits issued.

In remarks at press conferences, against the backdrop of the Huntington Beach oil spill in Orange County , Newsom told reporters that California was “leading the nation in phasing out fossil fuels and combatting the climate crisis.”

“It’s time once and for all to disabuse ourselves that this has to be part of our future,” he said of drilling. “This is part of our past.”

In response to calls to ban new drilling, Newsom said, “Banning new drilling is not complicated. The deeper question is how do you transition and still protect the workforce?”

“Governor Newsom needs to prioritize ending oil drilling now rather than just talking about it,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker. ”His Administration is 280 days late on a rule to end oil drilling near communities and continues to approve offshore oil permits despite railing against offshore oil drilling. Oil workers will have plenty of work plugging thousands of idle and marginally producing wells and restoring the environment for a long time to come.”

“Instead of permitting new wells we should be decommissioning idle and marginally producing wells, including offshore,” said Kyle Ferrar, Western Program Coordinator for FracTracker Alliance. “A third of offshore wells are currently idle and many more are marginally producing while half of the offshore wells that received rework permits are currently idle. Overall, we have 70,000 idle and actively producing wells on shore and off. Idle wells on shore should also be plugged, and properly abandoned, because of the risk of harm to the environment from leaks and failures of well casings and aging cement. There are too many risks associated with this aging infrastructure.”

According to Consumer Watchdog and Fractracker Alliance, Newsom’s record to date on oil drilling permits and the protection of public health and the environment includes:

 Approving a total of 9,728 oil drilling permits from January 1, 2019 until October 1, 2021.

 Approving 150 offshore drilling permits in state waters since January 1, 2019. Of those permits, five were for new wells and the rest were for reworking existing wells. Right now, 19 oil and gas leases in California’s coastal waters allow drilling up to three miles off the state shoreline and represent 1,200 active wells.

Approving 17 offshore oil and gas permits in the first nine months of 2021. These permits were to rework existing wells.

Setting a December 3, 2020 deadline for his oil and gas supervisor to propose a barrier between vulnerable communities and oil drilling operations. *Background: Big Oil exerts enormous influence over California regulators*

Big Oil is the biggest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento — and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) is the biggest and most powerful lobbying organization. Big Oil, along with corporate agribusiness, developers, big water agencies, timber companies, and other Big Money interests, has captured the regulatory apparatus in California.

Just four oil industry lobbyist employers alone — the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), Chevron, Aera Energy and California Resources Corporation — spent $10,192,047 lobbying the Governor’s Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies to advance Big Oil’s agenda in 2020, according to data posted on the California Secretary of State’s website by February 1, 2021.

The Western States Petroleum Association spent a total of $4,267,181, less than half of the $8.8 million that it spent in 2019.

The San Ramon-based Chevron, a beneficiary of many new fracking permits this year, spent $4,091,501 in California 2020, less than the $5.9 million spent in 2019.

Another big spender and beneficiary of large numbers of new fracking permits this year, Aera Energy, spent a total of $795,099 on lobbying California officials in 2020.

Aera Energy has close ties with the Governor’s Office. In November, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on how Governor Gavin Newsom didn’t follow his own COVID pandemic guidelines when he attended a birthday party for Jason Kinney, a close friend and advisor, at the French Laundry Restaurant in Napa. Kinney is a lobbyist for Axiom Advisors, who lobbies for Aera Energy and other energy corporations.

Jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil, Aera produces nearly a quarter of California’s oil and gas production. Aera paid Axiom Advisors $200,000 during 2019 and 2020 for lobbying on oil and gas permitting issues and other matters, according to Donny Shaw and Eric Seidman in Sludge: Newsom Delivers for Energy Clients of Lobbyist He Celebrated at French Laundry.

Finally, the California Resources Corporation, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, spent $1,038,266 to influence state officials in 2020.

Lobbying is just one of the seven methods that Big Oil uses in California to exercise inordinate influence over California regulators. WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 7 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups; (5) working in collaboration with media; (6) creating alliances with labor unions; and (7) contributing to non profit organizations.

The oil industry exerts inordinate influence over the regulators by using a small fraction of the billions of dollars in profits it makes every year to lobby state officials and fund political campaigns.

For example, Big Oil spent an amazing $266 million influencing California politics from 2005 to 2014, according to an analysis of California Secretary of State data by StopFoolingCA.org, an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to “mislead and confuse Californians.”

The industry spent $112 million of this money on lobbying and the other $154 million on political campaigns.

The inordinate influence by Big Oil on California politicians and regulators has resulted in widespread air, ground and water pollution with huge health impacts on mostly Black and Brown communities living near oil and gas wells.

* * *

* * *

HOLIDAY SEASON READING RECOMMENDATIONS

by Ralph Nader

The most important books exposing real injustices are often the least read. Nearly all of the hundreds of thousands of neighborhood book clubs insist on only reading and discussing works of fiction. They don’t want hard feelings over disagreements.

Major book awards and prizes rarely select books addressing corporate crimes and what to do about them.

Not surprisingly, you rarely read about these books or see or hear about them on television and radio shows, including PBS and NPR. Corporate funders prefer convenient alternatives such as art, culture, history, and entertainment.

The following recent books connect us to the grim reality, pulling us back from myths and virtual reality escapes to the societal mirror we all must face for the common good of today and tomorrow.

1. Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America by Eyal Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021. Someone has to do the dirty work for society’s survival. But these workers get paid too little and are unprotected so they become casualties.

2. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy: Reclaiming Our Democracy from the Ruling Class by Thom Hartmann, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2021. No one presents the forgotten history of evil corporate power more concisely and relevantly than the erudite daily radio talk show host, Thom Hartmann. Try him and see.

3. Power to the People: A Young People’s Guide to Fighting for Our Rights as Citizens and Consumers by Richard Panchyk, Seven Stories Press, 2021. Give an eye-opening gift for teens and for those a little older. Surprise them.

4. The Profit Paradox: How Thriving Firms Threaten the Future of Work by Jan Eeckhout, Princeton University Press, 2021. The author demonstrates how the unbridled market power of giant corporations has “suffocated the world of work,” which could lead to disastrous market corrections and political turmoil.

5. Unsettled: How the Purdue Pharma Bankruptcy Failed the Victims of the American Overdose Crisis by Ryan Hampton, St. Martin’s Press, 2021. Ryan Hampton – a victim himself – shows what must be done to hold these dangerous corporate hucksters accountable and help prevent the human casualties of such avaricious profiteering.

6. Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing by Peter Robison, Doubleday, 2021. Robison takes you inside the Boeing company and its decaying monetized culture. He reaches inside the manslaughtering stealth software that took over the planes from their pilots and drove one new 737 MAX on a death trip into the Java Sea and another 737 MAX deep into Ethiopian farmland.

7. First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat by Christopher W. Shaw, City Lights, 2021. Shaw showcases the magnificent historical contributions of Benjamin Franklin’s grand idea as background to the struggle between a people’s post office and the grasping corporate supremacists. Shaw shows ways for the people to prevail.

8. Twelve Ways to Save Democracy in Wisconsin by Matthew Rothschild, University of Wisconsin Press, 2021. Learn practical steps to shift political and electoral power to all the people, not just Wisconsinites, from a long-time progressive activist and writer.

9. 100% Democracy: The Case for Universal Voting by E.J. Dionne Jr., and Miles Rapoport, The New Press, 2022. They make the case for voting as a legal, civic duty which can dissolve all the proliferating obstacles to and the current suppression of voting. Universal voting is a one-stop antidote to massive corruption of our elections and the billions of bigoted, commercial dollars infesting the corrupters with impunity.

10. Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War by Erik Edstrom, a West Point graduate, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020. This galvanizing call to our country makes a broad and deep case against militarism, boomeranging empire, and its devouring of America. You’ll want to read this declaration of conscience, facts, and reason – twice!

11. Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison by Chris Hedges, Simon & Schuster, 2021. Hedges exposes the problems that plague our society’s criminal injustice system. He is a truth-teller and thinker who knows our country has to do better.

12. Closing Death’s Door: Legal Innovations to End the Epidemic of Healthcare Harm by Michael J. Saks and Stephan Landsman, Oxford University Press, 2021. The third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, is from avoidable errors by the healthcare industry. The authors carefully calculate the loss from health harm is about 400,000 lives every year plus more avoidable injuries and diseases afflicting survivors. Federal and state governments do almost nothing about this preventable toll.

Special Recommendation:

13. Old Growth: The Best Writing About Trees From Orion, Orion Magazine, 2021. Trees will look very different to you after reading this collection of essays about their intelligence, resiliency, offerings, necessity, and adversaries. Don’t be surprised if on your walks soon, you find yourself hugging them.

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Berlin, 1920 (photo by Willy Römer)

23 Comments

  1. Lee Edmundson December 25, 2021

    WTF! California has a “Citizen’s Arrest” law? Time for that sucker to be repealed. ASAP.
    But never forget, Fort Bragg has always been a Company Town. Sadly, looks like it always will be.
    “New boss, same as the old boss.” — old Soviet saying.

    Otherwise, Happy Holidays and a Better New Year.

  2. Marmon December 25, 2021

    RE: THE SKUNK TRAIN

    It’s time the Skunk files for a restraining order against Broderick. It’s clear that he’s nothing but a big troublemaker that would do anything to some how derail the little stinker’s plans. Most restraining orders use a 500 foot stay away rule, some even further. All the company has to claim is that they are afraid of him, that’s all. Based on his previous actions there are plenty of reasons for their concern regarding their personal safety. Broderick definately poses a threat by Mendocino County standards.

    Marmon

    • Bruce Anderson December 25, 2021

      I know it’s Christmas with all its jolly-jolly, but this recommendation, James, is about as fair as the Mendo restraining orders against you. The Skunk hyper-sensitivity to criticism indicates a lack of confidence in their plans, not to mention their poor sense of public relations.

      • John Robert December 25, 2021

        Its a personal thing. He walks by threatening and mumbling, cussing etc.. the employees have a right to feel safe at thier work.
        He’s a nutter.
        Nuff said.

        • Lazarus December 25, 2021

          Actions have consequences. Bragg had years to set up a deal to get the mill property. Also, for years on the pages of the AVA, the dysfunctional, petty bickering and lack of action of the Fort Bragg City Council has been exposed.
          It could be the Skunk people just got lucky. You know, right place, right time.
          But this whining and conspiratory talk are just sour grapes. Get over it. You lost Fort Bragg, and the Skunk people won.
          What Bragg should do is get close to the Skunk people. And just maybe, you could have some say in what they do. But if this crap continues, you’ll get nothing but the middle finger.
          Merry New Year,
          Laz

        • Marmon December 25, 2021

          RE: MONKEYWENCHING

          If the Skunk doesn’t file a workplace violence restraining order in behalf of their employees they could be sued if Broderick was to do something that causes injury or death to one or more of them.

          We already know what these “Earth First” coastal types are capable of. The Skunk should not take anymore chances with this guy.

          Marmon

          • Mike Williams December 25, 2021

            Hmmm, “Earth First coastal types”, sounds a bit like a bigoted statement. Reminds me of a statement about”the people of Lake”. Turnabout is fair play.

    • Gary Smith December 25, 2021

      Yeah, order must be maintained and property respected.

      What they need is some young idealist with an AR to defend against the threat Broderick poses. No one should have to put up with “nutters”.

  3. izzy December 25, 2021

    Actually, there are many (formerly) well regarded and highly experienced doctors and other medical science professionals who have been trying, for the last two years, to have a rational evaluation of the Covid phenomenon. Their efforts are routinely shouted down, and they are personally vilified and de-platformed, by the industrialization of pro vax propaganda, which is running rampant on most all mainstream media.
    Like Mulder famously said, “The Truth Is Out There”. But one would need to calm down and listen.

    • Gary Smith December 25, 2021

      Links? And don’t gimme no bitchute. Just give us your three or four best ones.

      • Marmon December 25, 2021

        You wouldn’t accept any of his sources if he did share links. Your kind is known for that. A lot of us are tired of the one sided system that’s in place. Put together a team with different views and allow them to share their different views with the public.

        Marmon

        • Kirk Vodopals December 25, 2021

          It goes both ways. I am surrounded by vaccine wussies who insist that anyone who gets the shot is just a sheeple and deserves to be tracked by Bill Gates. These folks always play the victim card and complain about not having access to the public square. I say never censor them. Bring out the sunshine and you’ll find that many of their opinions are based on complete ninkumpoopedness

        • Mike Williams December 25, 2021

          “Your kind”.

      • Joe December 25, 2021

        Gary, The other side of the story is highly censored and so, no, you will not find it on MSM. However if you look the data being annualized by many top notch doctors and scientists is provided by the NIH, CDC, FDA and the vaccine makers own data. In fact one scientist has offered to debate anyone from the CDC for 1 millon cash to debunk his statistics. No takers so far.

        • Bruce Anderson December 25, 2021

          Only Anon Joe knows where to find the truth.

          • Bruce McEwen December 25, 2021

            These Joe Anon-types put me in mind of A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court: I mean, unless they came from some future date, how do they know all this happy horsehockey about what the future holds and what “history will prove” (to borrow a phrase one usually finds in the mouths of contemporary doomsday prophets like JHK, Pat Kittle and, now, this Joe Anon person). Like Grandpa McEwen always used to say, “What I don’t know would fill the state of Texas, and I don’t think they need any more ignorance.”

            I’m an indifferently educated man, at best, but the autodidacts from the internet, these self-educated web-surfers, they talk like God, by Jove, w/ the self-assured impudence of a chicken strutting and cackling pedantically over a nest of unhatched eggs.

  4. Craig Stehr December 25, 2021

    ~MERRY CHRISTMAS~
    Sitting comfortably on the big green couch at The Earth First! Media Center in Garberville, California, sipping Humboldt Coffee Company’s “Pirate Blend” while ignoring MSNBC on the nearby screen. Two cats are chasing each other around the apartment, traditional holiday music is on the stereo, and clouds pass by on this sunny Christmas day. It’s all kind of dreamy, isn’t it? Good luck in the new calendar year, and continue being here now identified with the Divine Absolute. ?

    Craig Louis Stehr
    Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
    Telephone Messages: (213) 842-3082
    P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
    Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
    Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr
    December 25th, 2021 Anno Domini

    • Bruce McEwen December 25, 2021

      As a devout Hindu monk, I don’t mind your begging for your sustenance on the AVA’s lavishly inclusive comment page, Craig. And you may recall how I’ve defended your rights in this regard in the past. But when you start hawking a competitor’s coffee over Petrolia’s Gold Coast brand, which this publication is devoted to, then I must protest.

      At the VA hospital my doc had a pic of a truck w/ “Don’t Get Vaccinated” printed all o’er it — at considerable expense! Closer look reveals it’s mortuary truck full of new caskets

      • Craig Stehr December 25, 2021

        Thank you for the coffee tip. P.S. Got the Pfizer booster shot on Thursday. P.P.S. Grew up Catholic and appreciate ecumenicism. Otherwise, am practicing “integral yoga”; i.e. “Paths Are Many–Truth Is One”.

  5. Harvey Reading December 25, 2021

    JUDGE NOT

    OK, but let women keep the abortion option. It’s THEIR decision, and THEIR RIGHT, not those of some “helpful”, “supportive”, sweet-talking busybody who wants to impose her beliefs on others.

  6. chuck dunbar December 25, 2021

    Exactly right, Harvey. I hope all is well out there in your big-sky territory, with decent Christmas weather, maybe snow. I think, but am not sure, that you are our farthest-away commenter. That is a good thing, and it’s good that you join us. Merry Christmas to you, Harvey.

    Chuck

  7. chuck dunbar December 25, 2021

    As Christmas Day Ends…

    Here are the fine and hopeful ending lines from Ian Frazier’s poem “Greetings, Friends,” a holiday tradition from the New Yorker:

    “…Dear friends, this year was not as bad
    As ’twenty was, or quite as sad,
    Admittedly a fine distinction
    On our glide path to extinction.
    Hey, bite your tongue! Walk that thought back.
    Unseemly gloom is really wack.
    Light shines, the darkness did not end it;
    Nor could the darkness comprehend it.
    A future’s ours to win or lose it,
    Hope still awaits us if we choose it.
    May the dread Omicron spare us
    (One more thing to wrack and scare us);
    May every forest soon be rid
    Of the woolly adelgid,
    And peace and blessings light the way
    For all of us this Christmas Day!”

    (Note: the “wooly adelgid” is a kind of aphid that preys on forest trees.)

  8. Nathan Duffy December 26, 2021

    RE: Naughty or Nice. What an interesting image of Santa Claus considering that he is a mixture of a bishop-saint, Father Christmas, Christmas Man and the German mythological God of War Thor. The German God Thor, although he was a war god, was elderly and jolly with white hair and beard, friend of the common people, residing in the north and who flew through the sky on a chariot pulled by goats.

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