Freeze Warning | 33 New Cases | King Tides | Bottoms Up | Safety Tips | Salmon Creek | Unraising CoCo | Traffic Control | Homer's Miehle | Dump Phone | Road Work | Trestle Sunset | Yuki Insult | Ex Pest | Colorado Fires | Yesterday's Catch | Village Idiots | Hedgehogs | Weed Exchange | Bible Readers | Garberville Outage | Ghislaine Guards | Long Arc | Germany Decommissioning | Birthday Buddies | Viral Blizzard | Harry Reid | On Grass | Popeye Dating | Evolving Pandemic | Hauling Lumber | Five Things | Picnic Bound | Coast Dems | Outdoor Saloon | AV Village | Goodbye 2021
LIGHT RAIN will taper off later this morning. Thereafter, freezing temperatures are expected to occur Saturday morning across most interior valleys and a few locations at sea level. Otherwise, another winter storm will impact the region Sunday night through Wednesday. Heavy rain, strong south winds, and high elevation snow will be likely during the period of unsettled weather.
FREEZE WARNING: Subfreezing temperatures are expected Saturday morning for coastal portions of Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino Counties. Protect sensitive plants and provide adequate shelter for pets.
(National Weather Service)
33 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
KING TIDES RETURN THIS WEEKEND
These enhanced solar tides can occur anytime from late November to early February, when the Earth is close to perihelion in early January, the closest point to the Sun in its orbit. If if a new or full moon falls near lunar perigee, the Moon's closest point in its orbit to the Earth, then all the conditions are satisfied and a King Tide results. This weekend's King Tide will be the second and final set of the season.
For those of you in Mendocino county, here are the King Tide times at the mouth of the Big River at Mendocino Bay:
- Jan 1: high tide at 8:52 AM / 7.32 ft.
- Jan 2: high tide at 9:42 AM / 7.43 ft.
- Jan 3: high tide at 10:33 AM / 7.36 ft.
And Noyo Harbor:
- Jan 1: high tide at 8:51 AM / 7.83 ft.
- Jan 2: high tide at 9:41 AM / 7.96 ft.
- Jan 3: high tide at 10:32 AM / 7.89 ft.
ARE YOU READY for New Year’s Eve? NWS projects a cold front on Monday which will bring strong winds and rains to Mendocino County. The strongest winds and rains will be over the higher ridges. You can check the forecast at www.weather.gov/eka.
As the year draws to a close, we would like to share a few tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday weekend:
• Don’t drink and drive! Plan ahead and designate sober driver, call a friend, taxi or ride share service.
• Monitor your alcohol intake.
• Report intoxicated drivers.
• Stock your vehicle with warm clothes, an extra blanket, extra food, water, and a phone charger.
• Watch your footing, icy conditions can cause slipping.
• Celebrate with friends and family. There is safety in numbers, so stick together!
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services
COUNTY CAVES ON COUNTY COUNSEL BROWN ACT COMPLAINT
by Mark Scaramella
On December 18 I filed the following amended Brown Act Complaint and Correct and Cure Notice:
Dear Chair Gjerde,
This letter is to amend my December 14 Brown Act complaint based on a further review of the Tuesday, December 12, Board of Supervisors meeting.
My December 14 complaint was to call your attention to what I believed was a substantial violation of a central provision of the Ralph M. Brown Act, one which may jeopardize the finality of the action taken by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, December 14, 2021
The nature of the initial violation was as follows:
In its meeting of December 14, 2021, the Board of Supervisors took action to give a large pay increase to County Counsel via the Consent Calendar and the unanimous approval of the consent calendar.
The action taken was not in compliance with the Brown Act because Goverment code requires that such actions for department heads be read out loud into the record and voted on separately.
See Government Code Section 54953(c)(3) and 3511.1.
The Brown Act creates specific procedural obligations for such department head raises which were not complied with by approving the item on the consent calendar.
The Brown Act also creates a legal remedy for illegally taken actions—namely, the judicial invalidation of them upon proper findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Pursuant to that provision, I demanded that the Board of Supervisors cure and correct the illegally taken action as follows:
Invalidate the proposed increase and put the proposed pay increase on a regular agenda, read it out loud for public review and conduct a roll call vote.
Further, at the time of the re-vote I demanded that each board member explain their justification for voting the way they did.
Further, I demanded that the Board specify which budget this unbudgeted expenditure will be taken from.
Further, I demanded that the Board create a specific policy that requires all future department head or elected official pay increases to be handled in accordance with applicable government code sections on a regular agenda in open session.
As you correctly noted at the end of the December 12 meeting, your action to approve Item 4c on the consent calendar was a Brown Act violation.
However, your attempt to correct the violation by adding a separate item to the Board meeting later in the day, also violated the Brown Act and further violated the Board’s own Rules of Procedure.
By re-voting on the item later in the meeting, there was 1) an acknowledgement of the initial violation and 2) a violation of notice requirements because no vote was taken to add the item to the agenda as an urgent item, nor was public comment provided for.
Further, your own Rules of Procedure (#26 and #27) require that the Board make a motion to rescind the initial vote to approve the consent calendar, then consider and approve a motion to reconsider, then take public comment and then vote on the item as revised.
Further, the provision in the pay raise item which ties the County Counsel’s pay to 15% more than his own subordinate’s pay is also illegal, not to mention unethical. Essentially, this provision means that the public official can give himself a raise by giving his subordinate a raise which in turn would violate Government Code which requires all raises for government officials and department heads to be agendized and individually voted on in open session.
As provided by Section 54960.1, you have 30 days from the receipt of this amended demand to either properly cure or correct the challenged actions or inform me of your decision not to do so. If you fail to cure or correct as demanded, such inaction may leave me no recourse but to refer the item to the District Attorney and/or seek a judicial invalidation of the challenged action pursuant to Section 54960.1, in which case I would also ask the court to order you to pay my court costs and reasonable attorney fees in this matter, pursuant to Section 54960.5.
PO Box 459
Boonville, CA 95415
* * *
I HAVE SINCE DISCOVERED that the provision in the pay raise item which ties the County Counsel’s pay to 15% more than his own subordinate’s pay is probably a violation of Government Code Section 1090 concerning conflicts of interest, a detail that I would have included had I known about it in the original complaint, and which I will bring up later if necessary.
* * *
Board Agenda for January 4 Board meeting:
Item 6a: Discussion and Possible Action Including Reconsideration of the Board of Supervisor's Action on December 14, 2021, Approving Item 4 - Consent Calendar (Items A - R As depicted in Attachment A to this item) (Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)
1) Reconsider the Board of Supervisor’s action on December 14, 2021, adopting the consent calendar (as depicted in attachment A); 2) Upon approval of the Motion to Reconsider, withdraw item 4c and adopt balance of the consent calendar (as depicted in attachment A - items 4a-b and 4d-r); and authorize Chair to sign same.
[Note: Item 4c was the County Counsel’s raise.]
Summary of Request:
Subsequent to the Board’s action to adopt the consent calendar on the December 14, 2o21, the Board was informed of potential procedural issues associated with the public noticing of an item included on the consent calendar for Board consideration and approval. As a remedy to the noticing issues, the Board is asked to reconsider its action as described above.
Item 6b: Discussion and Possible Action Including Rescinding of the Board of Supervisor's Action on December 14, 2021, Approving Employment Agreement between the County of Mendocino and Christian M. Curtis to Serve as County Counsel for the Term of August 9, 2020 Through August 8, 2024, Including Compensation Effective December 26, 2021, in the Amount of One Hundred Ninety-two Thousand Four Hundred and Thirty-Six Dollars ($192,436.00)/Annually Plus Benefits (Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)
Rescind the Board of Supervisor’s action on December 14, 2021, approving Employment Agreement between the County of Mendocino and Christian M. Curtis to serve as County Counsel for the term of August 9, 2020 through August 8, 2024, including compensation effective December 26, 2021, in the amount of One Hundred Ninety-two Thousand Four Hundred and Thirty-Six Dollars ($192,436.00)/annually plus benefits.
Summary of Request:
The Board of Supervisors took action on December 14, 2021, to approve the consent calendar items 4a-r; later in session, the Board took additional separate action on consent calendar item 4c, to “approve the Employment Agreement between the County of Mendocino and Christian M. Curtis to serve as County Counsel for the term of August 9, 2020 through August 8, 2024, including compensation effective December 26, 2021, in the amount of One Hundred Ninety-two Thousand Four Hundred and Thirty-Six Dollars ($192,436.00)/annually”. The secondary legislative action taken by the Board was an item not individually listed on the agenda for separate action to be taken. As the Board failed to make any urgency findings for this non agendized second action to be considered as required by the Government Code and Rule 15 of the Board’s Rules of Procedure, it is appropriate for the Board to rescind its action as described above.
* * *
Supervisor Williams proposes to re-vote on the December 14 Consent Calendar but without the proposed raise for County Counsel. Then, as a separate action, he proposes to rescind the incorrectly noticed attempt to approve the County Counsel pay raise that was voted on later in the day.
But Tuesday’s agenda does not have a replacement item proposing to raise County Counsel’s pay. There is no specific mention of our Brown Act violation notice, except the indirect passive reference: “Subsequent to the Board’s action to adopt the consent calendar on the December 14, 2021, the Board was informed of potential procedural issues associated with the public noticing of an item included on the consent calendar for Board consideration and approval.”
If the Board wants to propose this kind of big raise for County Counsel at a later time in light of this fiasco they’ll look as bad as County Counsel does for setting the Board up for this violation and correction. We are not privy to what prompted outgoing Board Chair Dan Gjerde to initiate this large pay raise proposal, but we’d hope that if they decide to try again they at least do it right.
To the best of our knowledge — and we follow this stuff as closely as anybody in Mendocino County — this is the first and only time in Mendocino County history that a Brown Act violation has been upheld and corrected.
SUGGESTIONS for Boonville traffic control:
1. Where I grew up, An old (retired) CHP rig was parked on a pullout on a notorious stretch of straight road that was prone to speeders. It worked. The tourists thought it was real and slowed down. (Kathy Wylie, Mendocino)
2. There us a type of speed bump that is almost smooth at 30 mph but substantial at 40. Port Road in Point Arena approaching the wharf comes close. (Whyte Owen, Sea Ranch)
I wanted to add a bit to Brad Wiley’s discussion of Homer Mannix and his newspaper. I was 31 years old when I walked into Homer’s office one day in 1973, a long-hair hippie looking guy, one of those who were probably seen as wanting to take over Anderson Valley. When I saw his printing press and said, “Isn’t that a Miehle?” Homer’s jaw dropped, I swear it dropped to the floor.
“Yes,” he said. “How did you know that?”
Well, I knew that because my family had owned a Miehle just a few years before I wandered into Homer’s plant. My folks bought a weekly newspaper, The Stillwater Valley News, in Covington, Ohio in 1955. It was a letterpress shop, meaning that the printing was done by a lumbering, clanking machine that moved rollers covered with printer’s ink over lead and wood type locked together into a form placed on the bed of the press. When the ink was on the type another roller pressed a piece of newsprint onto it, transferring the ink on the letters onto the paper. I would guess that pressing is where the term “printing press” came from. My Dad took me with him to Michigan to oversee the dismantling and shipping of the Miehle press when he bought it in 1956.
We had two Linotype machines, run by two deaf/mute guys - running a Linotype machine was something that they could do without speaking or hearing. I learned enough ASL to be able to talk with them. We had “job presses” as well, that were used to print invitations, or business cards and such. There was a razor sharp manual paper cutter to cut large stacks of paper. There was a folder, which lived at the end of the press and folded the papers after they were printed. We acquired a Ludlow machine, which allowed us to do headlines and other large type without having to hand set it from a type case.
The Linotype machines were wondrous things. The operator sat in a chair in front of a keyboard, a keyboard unlike any you have seen. The “copy” that was to be set in type was clipped to a board to one side and as he read the copy and pressed the keys little molds for letters fell down from a “magazine” atop the machine. The little molds fell one by one into a part of the machine that held them in a line and when the line was finished, or nearly the width of a newspaper column of type, the operator added spaces here and there to make the lines come out even in length. He could look at the letters and make sure that everything was spelled correctly and that the punctuation was in place. Then he pressed another lever and the “line of type” moved over and was cast into lead - the whole line. There was a little pot of melted lead to which we added ingots of lead from time to time to make this happen. It was not really lead, it was lead with some additives that worked for this purpose. When the line was cast the operator moved a little lever and all of the individual letter molds were carried up and fell down in the proper places in the magazine. The lines of type were gathered together in order and they were ready for the next step. The magazine was interchangeable with many other magazines, each holding different fonts, or varieties, of type and different sizes of those fonts.
We also had many many “cases” of lead type, wooden drawers filled with many different “fonts” of type. You readers probably know a “font” as something you can choose on your computer, but this was way different. To “know the case” meant that one knew exactly where each letter was in the drawer and one could quickly grab them up to make words. The drawer was vastly more complicated than a typewriter - the letters were lead, one letter, a’s, b’s, c’s, etc., to a cubicle in the drawer. There were cubicles for caps and lower case, there were italics, and letters that were underlined, and boldface, and in the next drawers above and below there were the same things but in different sizes. There were also all the punctuation marks; periods, commas, dashes and question marks, etc., all in different fonts and different sizes of each font. You have probably seen the empty drawers somewhere or other in a garage sale or an “antique” shop, because all of this is obsolete today and most of it has been thrown away. Some drawers remain as a curiosity.
In letterpress printing the type is “set” or arranged in trays called “galleys” which serve to hold the individual parts together as they are arranged. The galley might hold blocks of large type for headlines or for advertisements, or it might hold individual letters chosen from the case, or it might hold lines of type that came from the Linotype machine. The galley might hold a combination of these things. Everything in it had to be read upside down and backwards. It had to be that way in order to come out in the way that we read it in a book or a magazine or a newspaper.
When the galley was fully assembled we would “run a proof.” There was a marble slab in the shop, and a “proof press” was on it. We put the galley on the slab, used a little roller to ink the type, laid a piece of paper on the type and pulled the proof press with its’ roller over the paper. The paper was printed right side up and forward and we could check for errors.
I have the marble slab from our shop in my yard here in Boonville. You can see two lines worn into it where the proof press stood. I would have been 13 and in the 6th grade when we bought that weekly newspaper, and before I went off to college in 1961 I had learned to run almost every machine in the place.
I had also sold advertising for it in the surrounding communities, delivered the papers to those small towns, and I had even written a few articles. I have had printer’s ink on my hands and probably have it in my blood.
When I walked into Homer’s office and shop that day in 1973 the place smelled just like home to me, and it sounded just right as well. If he was surprised at what I knew, I was equally surprised to find him and his shop here in Boonville.
Here’s a photo of a Miehle newspaper press like the one that Homer had.
Sheets of newsprint the size of one folded out double page of your paper were fanned out on the large board at the right end of the press. The pressman stood on the platform, there is a step to help him get up there, and he fed the paper one sheet at a time into the press. When one side was printed the stack was moved back onto the board at the right and the process was repeated for the back of the page. The folder was a separate machine at the left end of the press.
ATTENTION BOONVILLE: The phone at the transfer station is not working and you must call the administration offices or messenger for any needs. Our estimated date for it being repaired is January 18, 2022.
ANDERSON VALLEY ROADWORK (Caltrans)
Route 128 (29.5) – Utility work near Boonville will occur on Monday, January 3 and Tuesday, January 4. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 253 (9/10) – PG&E has been granted a Caltrans Encroachment Permit for work west of Butler Ranch Road beginning Tuesday, January 4. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
UC’S HASTINGS LAW COLLEGE TRIED TO RIGHT WRONGS BY ITS NAMESAKE. DESCENDANTS OF HIS VICTIMS CALL IT AN INSULT
by Alana Minkler
When UC Hastings College of the Law officials announced their decision to rid its namesake from its name in October, it was billed as a grand gesture of reconciliation.
Hundreds of Native Americans were slaughtered and forced from their land under orders from Serranus Hastings, a wealthy rancher and California’s first state Supreme Court justice.
Now their descendants would, at long last, receive justice.
But for members of the tribe that suffered the most under Hastings’ brutal hand, the law school’s gesture not only missed the point, it was an insult.
That tribe is known as the Yuki. It is a name that was hung on them by another tribe, and it means “enemy” in the other tribe’s language.
It is just one of a string of indignities and injustices the Yuki have faced since white settlers came to their valley in northern Mendocino County in 1854.
The latest slight came when they felt shut out of the first stages of the law school’s reconciliation process, which has been taking place since 2017 against the backdrop of a complex maze of intertribal relationships....
OBEY ALL LAWS, MARTIN
On Sunday, December 26, 2021 at 11:12 P.M. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to a reported violation of a protective order in the 300 block of Lake Mendocino Drive in Ukiah.
The Deputies confirmed there was an active protective order in place.
Deputies learned an adult female had been receiving telephone calls from her ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend, subsequently identified as Martin Paniagua-Moreno, 35, of Ukiah, called the adult female as the Deputies were talking to her, which violated the terms of the protective order.
The Deputies responded to the 1900 block of South Dora Street in Ukiah where they contacted Paniagua-Moreno.
The Deputies learned Paniagua-Moreno was on formal probation with terms to include “Obey all laws.” The Deputies developed probable cause to believe Paniagua-Moreno violated the protective order; which in turn violated his probation terms.
The Deputies arrested Paniagua-Moreno for Felony Violation of Probation and Misdemeanor Violation of Domestic Protective Order.
Paniagua-Moreno was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status due to the nature of the charges.
JUST IN: Colorado on Thursday suffered the most devastating wildfire for homes in state history, with 580 properties lost in a wildfire near Boulder, sparked by high winds downing power lines. Residents have been ordered to evacuate after two grass fires were sparked by downed power lines and exploding transformers, knocked over by strong winds, according to the Boulder County Sheriff's Office. The Middle Fork Fire was north of Boulder, and has now been contained without damaging property, while the Marshall Fire is south of Boulder, with evacuations ordered in Superior and Louisville. The Marshall Fire is estimated to cover 1,600 acres. Huge plumes of smoke have been seen filling the air as the dangerous winds continue to blow the fires along. The National Weather Service reported an 'extraordinary' gust of wind reaching 105 mph just south of the Boulder city limit on Thursday morning.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 30, 2021
JASON COLSON, Fort Bragg. Disobeying court order, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JAMES DAVIS, Eureka/Ukiah. County parole violation.
MATTHEW FAUST, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
DAVIS HIGHTOWER, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
TEVIN HOAGLEN, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
LEVI LEMOUREUX, Laytonville. Elder abuse, county parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
ASCENCIO MIRANDA, Potter Valley. DUI, divided highway.
RICHARD PAGE, Potter Valley. Domestic abuse.
AMBER RICETTI, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
PAUL SCHOOK, Philo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, contempt of court.
LARRY WOLFE JR., Ukiah. Forge/alter vehicle registration, parole violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
How about a little rational maturity – a little grown-upness?
If health authorities impose stricter restrictions, we hear howls of “fascism & tyranny” and world depopulation / domination by the WEF (especially from one village idiot).
And yet if the authorities relax the restrictions, then suddenly they are playing fast-and-loose with people’s lives, and “the science”.
And if they (shock-horror) change their view – adapting to better data – then they get accused of mistakes and cover-ups, and if they don’t change their view, then they’re doubling down on previous “errors”.
They can’t win when the hatred is so strong and out of control. You people are a wonder. And in the same vein, the demonization of Dr Fauci by the Right is something to behold!
I don’t know what the adverse health consequences might be from dropping the isolation period for the asymptomatic from ten days to five, but I see no point in frothing at the mouth over it.
Some health groups (nurses, doctors) are very unhappy, while business is much happier.
It seems governments worldwide have sort of given up (wrongly in my view) and are essentially going to let Omicron rip. They face elections, and they can’t afford to have the economy tank through 2022.
by Paul Modic
The first recipient of my free weed came up this week with a case of organic evaporated milk I had requested from Whole Foods in Vegas. (I was expecting about twenty-four cans but it turned out to be more like sixty which makes me smile goofily when I see that stack of sweet stuff in the utility room.)
She heated up delicious home-made chicken enchiladas she had brought for our dinner and the next morning headed out to the hills to visit an ill mutual friend.
While she was gone I spent an hour bagging the untrimmed and slightly seeded weed. In the bottom of the garbage bag I put four grocery bags of one plant, a too-strong cross between Girl Scout Cookie and Purple Punch called GMO. Then I bagged up some samples from about six other strains and continued filling the bag. I triple-bagged the whole mess for her trip back to Nevada.
(She was only able to get away from her mountain home outside Las Vegas because her husband, who has brain cancer, got aphasia, fell, and was recuperating in rehab for ten days. She has lymphoma herself.)
She gave me four of her father's guayabera shirts and I traded her four jars of “Nutzo,” the organic seven-nut spread from Costco which her husband likes.
The night before she left she said, “So what do you want for this weed?”
“Nothing,” I said.
“Well, I don't want to rip you off,” she said.
“I'm ripping myself off,” I said.
“How about a thousand?” she said and brought ten hundies over from the side table.
“Sure, thanks!” I said. I love money.
She disappeared early the next morning on her way to spend Thanksgiving with her 102 year-old mother in Reno.
CRAIG, HOUR BY HOUR
In this World but not of this World
The electric power went out around noon on Tuesday and came back on sometime Wednesday night. Garberville California was darkened, except for the gas stations which had backup energy generators. Put on a wool shirt for another layer, and sat on the big green couch simply witnessing the situation. Andy Caffrey was reading "The Revolution of Everyday Life" utilizing a flashlight as needed. The two cats chased each other around the apartment. Tuesday came and went, falling asleep early.
Awoke Wednesday morning without electricity, thus no hot shower nor coffee. Brushed teeth and shaved using cold water, and then dressed for a dark rainy cold day outside, with almost everything closed. The Chevron station was open, so hot coffee and a chocolate covered king size Payday candy bar broke the fast. The entire day was spent slowly walking around mindfully picking up recyclables and trash, depositing same into the appropriate containers.
As night time approached, noticed that Stone Junction Bar was open. This was like finding an oasis in the midst of the bleak hell of powerless Southern Humboldt county. The bar was warm inside, filled with other grateful patrons enjoying cold local beers and mixed drinks, plus pizza and empanadas and assorted snacks. The juke box featured an array of blues and rock 'n roll. Televisions were on. The pool table was in regular use. Sipped three beers along with two shots of whiskey, ate three empanadas, tipped the bar maid twelve bucks, and left feeling thoroughly rescued from the existential dead zone outside. Ambled up the street to the Chevron station for a bean & cheese burrito, followed by an It's It ice cream sandwich.
Returned to The Earth First! Media Center and got under the blankets on the big green couch and fell asleep. Andy Caffrey was continuing to catch up on his reading, since video related work was not possible without electricity. The cats were asleep in the bedroom.
Awoke Thursday morning with electric power restored. The mind was repeating Catholic prayers, obviously going on while asleep. Did not have a hangover. Fell back asleep and awoke to find Andy making coffee. I informed him that we are in this world but not of this world.
Meanwhile, the social security money is incoming, raising the bank balance to two thousand dollars. I am ready to leave Garberville, California. I am ready to go elsewhere and do whatever I can to be helpful in this abominable crisis of a civilization on planet earth. I receive telephone messages at (213) 842-3082. I receive email messages at firstname.lastname@example.org. I receive money at Paypal.me/craiglouisstehr. Thank you for your love and all of the good that you do.
Craig Louis Stehr
December 30th, 2021 Anno Domini
TRUTH WILL OUT
The launch of the James Webb telescope is truly a stupendous advance in the march of science.
We have a divide now in our nation. A large group is skeptical of science. Anti-vaxxers, doubters of evolution, doubters of human-caused climate change are a large but shrinking group. I believe it does not help the cause of science when it is stated: “the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago.” It is better said,” We believe,” or “The majority of astronomers believe …” It is still conjecture. It’s best to admit that there were no witnesses.
Martin Luther King Jr. said the long arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. Likewise, the long arc of reason bends toward science. Deniers of the value of vaccination, deniers of human-caused climate change, deniers of evolution do not stand a chance. The truth will out.
GERMANY SHUTS DOWN HALF OF ITS 6 REMAINING NUCLEAR PLANTS
Germany on Friday is shutting down half of the six nuclear plants it still has in operation, a year before the country draws the final curtain on its decades-long use of atomic power.
The decision to phase out nuclear power and shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy was first taken by the center-left government of Gerhard Schroeder in 2002.
His successor, Angela Merkel, reversed her decision to extend the lifetime of Germany’s nuclear plants in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan and set 2022 as the final deadline for shutting them down....
THE UNITED STATES is the midst of its largest Covid surge yet, as the Omicron variant continues to ravage much of the nation. The country recorded nearly 500,000 cases in a single day on Wednesday, the most by any country in the world at any point during the pandemic, and experts predict it will only get worse in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, 489,267 positive Covid cases were reported. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of new cases in America are of the Omicron variant, which was first discovered last month by South African health officials. The U.S. is now averaging 300,387 new Covid cases per day, a pandemic record and the first time the 300,000 mark has been reached in America. More than 500,000 Covid cases were reported on Monday, though that was a result of a large backlog of cases from the Christmas holiday. Wednesday's total is the largest increase from only a single day. Dr Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and member of President Biden's transition team's Covid task force, warns that things are only going to get worse as well. He told CBS Morning on Thursday that what is happening now is unlike anything Americans have experienced at previous points in the pandemic. “We are going to see a viral blizzard over the next five to eight weeks,” he said. “We're already beginning to see these very large numbers you're talking about, they're going to increase substantially. The real question we have is how many of those will then actually [suffer] severe illnesses requiring hospitalization, and even deaths and that's the challenge we're at right now. We don't quite understand that.” He warns that even fully vaccinated people should avoid large, crowded, environments in the near future because of how infectious the new virus strain is.
— Daily Mail
HERE’S ANOTHER REASON to like Harry Reid and lament his looming retirement from the Senate. Shortly after his speech at the Democratic Convention, Reid laid some wood on the DNC. He said he was appalled by the DNC’s efforts to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ campaign, saying “Sanders didn’t get a fair deal.” Reid was asked if the Democratic Party has a back-up plan if further damaging emails emerge that might cripple Clinton. He shrugged his shoulders and said flatly, “No.”
I like Harry Reid. I don’t know why. If I thought hard about it, I probably wouldn’t. But I do. He’s a former boxer and is still a fighter, even if he is so often punching the wrong targets. Alex Cockburn and I interviewed him about 10 years ago. He was totally unpolished and unvarnished. We could have been talking to somebody in a bar. In fact, we were talking to somebody in a bar. Reid stood up to the nuclear lobby and won. He single-handedly kept nuclear waste out of Yucca mountain. You won’t see his kind in the future Democratic Party of pre-packaged Westworld-like clones.
— Jeffrey St. Clair, 2015
SONG OF MYSELF 6
by Walt Whitman
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?
Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the vegetation.
Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the breasts of young men,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them, soon out of their mothers' laps,
And here you are the mothers' laps.
This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.
O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for nothing.
I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken soon out of their laps.
What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?
They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas'd the moment life appear'd.
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
AS THE LOCK RATTLES
by John Lanchester
When I had Covid, at the end of March last year, I spent a week in bed with an intermittent fever and a strong feeling that my body was dealing with something unfamiliar. I was lucky: it turned out to be the ”mild to moderate” version of Covid. But it wasn’t much fun. I had the semi-delirious sense that my body knew it was dealing with a new illness. I would feel OK and then not OK, in waves. The image that stuck in my mind that week was of being in a room in a not very good hotel where somebody keeps trying to open your door, rattles the lock for a while, then gives up and goes away, only to come back and try again a few hours later. It felt as if Covid was repeatedly returning to try the lock. It was a sensation I’ve never had with any other illness: the feeling that Covid had intentions, and that they were not benign.
On a global level, Covid hasn’t stopped coming back to try the door. I have been reading books about the crisis – and many, many yards of journalistic commentary – for more than a year now, and it has left me feeling that Covid is an almost impossible subject to sum up, because we don’t know where we are in the story. The books written by frontline medics after the first wave of the pandemic – Rachel Clarke’s Breathtaking, Gavin Francis’s Intensive Care and Jim Down’s Life Support – are vivid accounts of what the battle against the disease was like for doctors, but they are very painful to read now, because we know what they couldn’t: that Covid was only just getting started.
Every one of the books I’ve read is situated in a moment in time, and in every case, whether it was the second wave and the Alpha variant, or the third wave and the Delta variant, the disease came up with a new narrative, a new set of unpleasant surprises.
Countries, indeed entire continents, which were praised for their successful response would, months or sometimes just weeks later, become epicenters of fresh disaster. In the days since I filed the first draft of this piece, a new “‘variant of concern,” Omicron, has arrived, with a large number of mutations. The World Health Organization says that “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant.”
The whole world is currently waiting on news about Omicron’s transmissibility, its capacity to escape vaccines and the severity of the illness it causes.
I would like to think that the surprises are over, and that we are closer to the end of this than to the beginning. I would like to be confident that the majority of all the people killed by Covid have already died. Unfortunately, we can’t count on either proposition.
For most of history, infectious disease has been one of the central realities of human life. Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel (1997) is overly deterministic, but the basic point it makes about the importance of contagious illness to human history remains valid. The map of our planet was shaped by infectious disease: Cortéz gets most of the blame/credit, but it was the viruses he brought with him that destroyed the Aztec empire. It’s not just in the past and at population-wide scale that such illnesses have shaped humanity.
Both my parents’ lives were fundamentally altered by infectious disease. My father caught polio in childhood in Africa and spent a year in bed with a leg brace; my mother caught tuberculosis as a young woman in Dublin and spent many months in a sanatorium. Her fiancé, whom she’d met in the sanatorium, died.
Stories like this were not unusual among people born in the early decades of the last century. One of the main reasons global life expectancy has more than doubled since 1900 is that we have vaccines against diseases such as polio and TB.
(The London Review of Books)
MARIJUANA: 5 THINGS TO WATCH FOR IN CALIFORNIA IN 2022
by Brooke Staggs
Five years after Californians voted to legalize cannabis and create the world’s biggest regulated marijuana market, many owners of cannabis businesses say they’ve reached a breaking point.
On the one hand, California’s licensed cannabis industry is delivering more tax money to the state than forecasters projected in 2016. Normalization of the industry also continues, with the first state-sanctioned cannabis competition coming in 2022. And new laws will kick in that are intended to help some cannabis entrepreneurs and medical marijuana patients.
But even as the legal industry is growing, California’s illicit cannabis market remains at least twice as large as the regulated one. As a result, licensed cannabis operators — who are undercut by illicit operators — are threatening to withhold tax payments if regulators don’t come up with a fix. Corporations also continue to gobble up smaller marijuana businesses, as the window to change cannabis laws on a federal level while Democrats control Congress inches shut.
Here are five things to watch for in California’s cannabis industry in 2022.
New laws kick in
Of the 30 or so cannabis bills proposed in California in 2021, nearly a dozen were signed into law. Most take effect Jan. 1, including a bill that will allow cannabis drinks to be sold in glass bottles and another that lets the state fine people up to $30,000 for aiding and abetting illlicit marijuana businesses.
One bill approved in 2021 sets up a regulatory framework for products made from industrial hemp, a type of cannabis plant that’s bred to have essentially no THC, which is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Products with hemp-derived compounds such as CBD — which doesn’t make consumers high but has shown promise in helping to ease inflammation, anxiety and other ailments — have been sold in gas stations and grocery stores for years. But the sector has remained a legal gray area, with uneven state and federal regulation sometimes posing problems for businesses that were, say, adding CBD to coffee drinks.
Under Assembly Bill 45, compounds such as CBD can be sold as dietary supplements or as ingredients in foods, drinks, cosmetics and pet foods outside licensed marijuana shops if they come from industrial hemp producers registered with the state. The Department of Cannabis Control also has a July 1 deadline to issue a report on how to allow for such products to be sold in licensed cannabis shops.
The same law also ends a ban on smokeable hemp, which can deliver doses of CBD and other non-intoxicating compounds found in cannabis. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill in October, which meant California hemp farmers immediately were allowed to start selling to the more than 40 states that haven’t banned their products. And smokeable hemp sales will be legal for in California, for residents 21 and older, once regulators set up a tax in the coming year.
Newsom also signed a bill that will require some health care facilities to let terminally ill patients use medicinal cannabis. Senate Bill 311, which kicks in on Jan. 1, prohibits smoking or vaping cannabis, but does allow for the use of edibles and beverages, topicals, tinctures and capsules. It also requires that patients show a doctor’s recommendation.
The coming year also will see the state award a series of grants to help cities license more cannabis businesses, to help small farmers with environmental remediation and to assist with more support for the regulated sector.
Looming industry revolt
While some beneficial new laws will kick in, 2022 also will start with a coalition of California’s top cannabis business owners floating the idea of withholding tax payments that should total roughly $1.3 billion this year. The move is meant to force regulators to reform the state’s system so licensed businesses can better compete with illicit sellers, who currently sell products for much less because aren’t paying taxes or complying with regulations.
Many cannabis business owners want California to do away with cultivation taxes entirely. Those taxes are based on the product’s weight and the rate increases in step with inflation, no matter what is happening with the wholesale price of marijuana. That’s why cultivation taxes are set to rise by 4.5% on Jan. 1, even though the price of wholesale cannabis dropped sharply in 2021.
Industry leaders also asked Newsom in a Dec. 17 letter to suspend the state’s 15% excise tax for three years to let the regulated cannabis market mature.
“Tax reform is a must in California this year,” said Kenny Morrison, founder of Venice Cookie Company and head of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association.
“There’s real momentum around the issue across all stakeholders. Even labor agrees.”
Any changes to voter-approved tax rates will require a two-thirds vote from the legislature, which so far hasn’t panned out. But when Newsom releases his proposed 2022-23 budget proposal next month, Dale Gieringer, state coordinator for the California chapter of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, said they hope to see him call for cannabis tax reform.
The industry is pushing for other changes in 2022 that would support the regulated market, including efforts to clear backlogs in license applications and to push back against a rule in the legalization bill that lets cities and counties block all cannabis businesses.
“We are at a tipping point,” Morrison said. “Do we support the expansion of the regulated market or the illicit market?”
Consolidations to continue
With so many licensed cannabis entrepreneurs struggling to make a profit, Gieringer said he expects to see more consolidation in the industry in 2022.
“Hardly anyone in the licensed industry is making money in California,” he said. “So they keep letting themselves get bought out and acquired by out-of-state and Canadian billion-dollar corporations.”
In 2021, the industry saw a number of massive mergers and acquisitions. And investment firm Viridian Capital Advisors predicts such activity will accelerate in the year to come — particularly in California.
So far, Viridian says multistate operators have largely avoided California, with stocks for public cannabis companies in the state underperforming due to the challenging environment. The firm says market conditions are likely to make smaller cannabis operators more willing to consider selling out to larger firms in the year to come, with Viridian identifying five major California cannabis businesses it believes are ripe for buyouts in 2022.
California’s cannabis industry could be jolted if federal law changes in a way that makes it easier for the product to be sold nationally.
While cannabis is now legal for all adults in 19 states, and for medical patients in 38 states, it’s still classified under federal law as a Schedule 1 narcotic, on par with heroin. That has implications even for businesses and consumers in states where cannabis is legal. For example, California cannabis businesses can’t access most banking services, and consumers still risk losing their jobs or facing child custody issues.
The House in late 2020 approved the MORE Act, which would decriminalize and tax cannabis across the country, but that bill so far hasn’t passed the Senate. Democrats are expected to make a final push for the bill next year while they still have a slim majority in Congress.
Some Congress members also are asking President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to fulfill promises he made on the campaign trail to decriminalize cannabis and expunge records for people convicted of nonviolent cannabis crimes.
Gieringer isn’t optimistic that such sweeping changes will get through this session. But he’s holding out some hope that Congress might at least pass a bill in 2022 that would allow banks to serve the cannabis industry without fear of running afoul of federal law.
The House has passed some form of that legislation five times, citing safety risks for businesses forced to operate in cash. All of those efforts failed in the Senate. Democrats inserted the language into the latest defense bill, but it was dropped before Congress approved the bill in mid-December.
Cannabis at the State Fair
A bright spot ahead for the licensed industry in California is the first state-sanctioned cannabis competition, to be held at the State Fair in Sacramento in July.
The 166-year-old fair “has always been a first mover,” said California Exposition & State Fair Board of Director Jess Durfee as he announced the competition in September. So Durfee said judging cannabis cultivation alongside wine, cheese, craft beer and olive oil was a natural fit.
California had a booming, unregulated cannabis competition and festival scene for years. But that world has mellowed since voters opted to regulate the industry in 2016.
Unlike those private festivals, cannabis flower entered in the State Fair by March 30 won’t be judged based on how high it makes consumers or how it tastes. Instead, 77 medals will be awarded based on test results from SC Labs showing which products have the highest concentrations and best ratios of certain compounds that impact their quality and effects.
No cannabis sales or consumption will be allowed at the State Fair. But there will be a 21-and-over area that highlights the award winners and features educational displays.
— L.A. Daily News
COAST DEMOCRATIC CLUB FIRST MEETING OF 2022 - JAN 6 AT 6 PM ON ZOOM
Happy New Year!!
Start your new year at Coast Democratic Club's first meeting of 2022 Thursday, January 6 at 6 pm via Zoom
Meet Candidates For The Mendocino County Superintendent Of Schools
- Michelle Hutchins, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools
- Nicole Glentzer, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Ukiah Unified School District
Candidates' Presentations Prepared Questions Questions from the Floor
Please send questions for the candidates to: Club Leadership Team Member Susan Savage - email@example.com
Join Zoom Meeting at 6 PM https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87348507253?pwd=a01PZHNYZ1hWMzdDbE4rc3FxaWJkZz09
Meeting ID: 873 4850 7253
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE NEWSLETTER JANUARY 2022
Welcome to Anderson Valley Village. We are a locally inspired and managed non-profit organization. Our mission is to help older adults remain active, connected, and independent in the place they call home while enhancing the quality of life in our community.
Happy New Year! We currently have a record 63 members and 47 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand! Please reach out if you need a friendly volunteer to call you for a chat, shop for you, do outside chores or errands, tech support, etc. And we are always in need of volunteers — please join our much-needed senior support team! See you at our training Friday January 21st at 10 am (details below) - thank you!
Happy Birthday to our wonderful members and volunteers: Gail Gester, Lauren Keating, Philip Thomas, Steven Wood, Ronnie Holland, MaryAnne Payne, Victoria Center, Val Muchowski (don't see your name? send me your birthdate). The December Bonfire Gathering at the Senior Center was a successful and meaningful event! Thank you to all who came and I hope that you feel lighter and more joyful after burning some unwanted "stuff."
Upcoming AV Village Events: https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events