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MORNING LOW TEMPERATURES will moderate overnight as cloud cover increases ahead of the next strong trough. The associated winter storm will impact the region Sunday night through Tuesday night with heavy rain, strong south winds and high elevation snow. (NWS)
RECENTLY RELEASED UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT VIDEOS SHOW OFFICERS’ CONTROVERSIAL SUBDUING OF NAKED, MENTALLY ILL MAN
by Sarah Reith
Toby Keith’s anthem to military valor, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)” was on the radio in Officer Alex Cowan’s police car the day his dash camera recorded him punching and subduing a naked, mentally ill man in Ukiah. As Cowan’s colleagues iced their bloodied hands in the aftermath of an incident that included tasing, pepper spraying, and multiple blows, the singer crooned, “A mighty sucker punch came flyin’ in from the back. Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye, Man, we lit up your world like the Fourth of July.”
The video was released yesterday, as a civil lawsuit in federal court winds its way towards trial.
Gerardo Magdaleno, who suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, ran out of psychiatric medications on April first. He was standing on South State Street, alone, unarmed, and wearing nothing but a wristwatch when Ukiah Police Officer Saul Perez pulled up and shot him with a taser within less than a minute of telling him to get on the ground.
According to an amended complaint filed in the US Northern District Court of California last month, Ukiah police officers tasered the severely disabled man four times, punched him 54 times, kneed him four times, once in the groin, kicked him in the head, and emptied an entire can of pepper spray in his face, which amounts to 20-25 applications.
Multiple bystander cell phone videos of the incident immediately began circulating on social media. Yesterday, video from Cowan’s dash camera (below) and Officer Perez’ body camera (above) were distributed to the media from Magdaleno’s attorney, Izaak Schwaiger.
The civil lawsuit names Officers Saul Perez, Jordan Miller, Alex Cowan and Lieutenant Andy Phillips as defendants. Former Ukiah Police Chief Justin Wyatt and the City of Ukiah are also being sued....
2021, GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Valerie ‘Janie’ Morse
Ben Van Zandt
John Phillip ‘Jack’ Sweeley
Warren Smith (Sierra Nevada Music Festival Organizer)
William Kramer, Captain, USMC
Dr. Paul Lagomarsino
Dr. Vincent Valente
MASSIVE EXPANSION OF MENDO’S POT PERMIT BUREAUCRACY APPROVED ON CONSENT CALENDAR
by Mark Scaramella
In a recent column Mendocino Observer Editor Jim Shields said that “[Mendocino] County just doesn’t have the appropriate resources, funding or ‘can do’ political will to administer and enforce any cannabis ordinance.”
Mendocino County doesn’t have the “can do” political will to administer and enforce much of anything, really. So no argument there.
But not enough resources? Inadequate funding?
Wait a minute.
It seems like almost everybody but the recently promoted County Pot Czar (aka Cannabis Program Director) Kristen Nevedal has missed the big new pot program administration expansion.
Maybe that’s because it snuck through under the radar on the consent calendar where lots of fishy spending programs sneak through.
Board of Supervisors meeting, Dec. 14, 2021, Consent Item 4n:
“Adoption of Resolution Amending Position Allocation Table as Follows: Cannabis Program Budget Unit 2810, Add 1.0 FTE Cannabis Program Manager; 1.0 FTE Senior Planner; 6.0 FTE Planner II; 1.0 FTE Cartographer Planner; 1.0 FTE Department Analyst II; 1.0 FTE Office Services Supervisor; 1.0 FTE Administrative Assistant; 1.0 FTE Staff Assistant III.”
Translation: The Mendocino Cannabis Department is adding a Program manager, a senior planner, six journeyman planners, a mapping specialist, an analyist, an office supervisor and two admin assistants — a total of 13 mostly high paid people.
From the accompanying agenda item summary staff reports:
“During the Fiscal Year 2021-22 presentation a proposed organization chart was presented indicating staffing needs for the Cannabis Program. This item represents the proposed allocations with modifications based on actions not reflected in the original chart and other suggested changes made by Human Resources and at the direction of the Cannabis Director (updated Organizational Chart attached).”
“The addition of the proposed thirteen full-time equivalency (13.0 FTE) allocations will enable the Cannabis Program to expedite the processing of Phase One and Phase Two applications and be adequately prepared for Phase Three applications as well as taking on Cannabis Facility Business License applications. These allocations will be funded initially by the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant program and by permit fees pending time studies in 2022. The fiscal impacts shown below reflect wages at Step 5 and includes the cost of benefits, if all of the proposed positions were filled by January 23, 2022, pay period 3-22.”
This program expansion is estimated to cost about $700k for the first half of 2022, then over $1.8 million per year thereafter. But the actual cost could vary based on a footnote that reads “pending time studies in 2022.”
How could such a huge expansion of Mendo’s pot bureaucracy end up on the consent calendar?
Answer: Apparently because last it was previously approved when it was buried in a previous consent calendar item when the FY 2021-2022 budget was approved on the consent calendar.
Last June 22 on the Consent Calendar the Board approved: “Adoption of Resolution Authorizing Changes to and Adoption of the Master Position Allocation Table for Fiscal Year 2021-22 … On June 9, 2021, as part of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 Proposed Budget process, the Board authorized changes to various position allocations per Attachment D of the Budget Presentation. Attachment A represents the Master Position Allocation Table for Fiscal Year 2021-22, as of Pay Period 11-21 ending May 29, 2021 and incorporates changes per Attachment D of the Budget Presentation authorized during the June 9, 2021 approval of the Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22.”
Attachment D was the budget for the newly expanded Cannabis “unit,” which added about $1.8 million of revenue to the local cannabis bureuacracy via a state grant which was intended to help Mendo’s struggling pot growers. Instead, it only helps Mendo’s clearly NOT-struggling newly flush pot bureacracy.
The December 14 consent item continues:
“During the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget presentation a proposed organization chart was presented indicating staffing needs for the Cannabis Program. This item represents the proposed allocations with modifications based on actions not reflected in the original chart and other suggested changes made by Human Resources and at the direction of the Cannabis Director (updated Organizational Chart attached).”
“The addition of the proposed thirteen full-time equivalency (13.0 FTE) allocations will enable the Cannabis Program to expedite the processing of Phase One and Phase Two applications and be adequately prepared for Phase Three applications as well as taking on Cannabis Facility Business License applications.”
This expanded new organization is supposed to “enable the Cannabis Program to expedite the processing of Phase One and Phase Two applications,” most of which are dead in the water and will never make it to full state licenses.
“These allocations will be funded initially by the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant program and by permit fees pending time studies in 2022.”
“Funded initially”? Meaning funded for one year? What about after that? Where will the long-term funding for 13 new cannabis positions come from?
With this new “Jurisdiction Assistance Grant,” the cannabis unit is expected to go from about $700k per year to more than $1.8 million per year — “pending time studies in 2022.”
Oh wait, we just noticed we had the wrong organizational chart. Please ignore the one above, and use this one which is obviously much more efficient:
In essence, while Mendo’s cannabis businesses, both permitted and non-permitted, are tanking due to a glut of product, falling prices and shriveling markets, Mendo’s cannabis bureaucracy is soaring to new heights.
PS. Looking back at other consent calendar items from that momentous June 9 meeting we also noticed:
“Board Directive: GENERAL CONSENSUS OF THE BOARD to direct the Executive Office/Information Services to discuss consolidating County IT with Sheriffs Office IT, per Board directive in 2019; return to the Board with an update within 30 days.”
That never happened because soon after this “directive” appeared the Sheriff asked for an outside attorney to tell the Board that they couldn’t do it. But the item and the intent remains on the record.
“Board Directive: GENERAL CONSENSUS OF THE BOARD to direct the Chief Executive Officer to reinstitute regular recurring meetings with the Sheriff in order to ensure effective communications regarding Board Policy and Sheriffs Office Operations.”
That “directive” never happened either.
As we have noted in the past, the board’s “directives” carry no weight, are not followed up on, and are routinely ignored by the CEO and her staff.
And this one: “Upon motion by Supervisor Mulheren, seconded by Supervisor Haschak, IT IS ORDERED that the Board of Supervisors provides direction to Department Heads and Elected Officials that it is not and has not been the policy of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to hold officials personally liable for budget overages that result from duly authorized expenditures, variations between actual and projected revenue, and other issues routinely addressed through quarterly budget adjustments.”
Here the Supervisors are giving “direction” to department heads that they will not be held personally liable for overruns. If “direction” is called for it would be better to give it to themselves. You do not “direct” your subordinates to ignore your previous policy in favor of your new one which is that you have no policy.
Unless you’re in Mendocino County, of course.
JUDGE MOORMAN RULES FOR THE SHERIFF:
Full ruling: ted.net/20211230_MendocinoSheriff_v_MendocinoBOS.pdf
OUR INTERPRETATION of Judge Moorman’s split-the-diff full ruling on the question of whether Sheriff Kendall can retain the Duncan James law firm on questions of conflict with the Board of Supervisors:
Kendall can have an outside attorney on the question of computer consolidation (because the Board simply cannot legally consolidate the Sheriff’s computer system with the County’s). But she punted on the question of whether he can have Duncan James as his attorney, sending that question back to the Board of Supervisors. If the Board holds firm on their “anyone but Duncan James” and Kendall sticks by his “only Duncan James,” they’ll probably be back in court again, drawing this stupid argument out even longer.
But since the other things — an unresolved budget dispute or a bill sent to the Sheriff for any overrun — have not yet actually happened, a technically and narrowly defined “conflict” does not YET exist. In other words, the Sheriff has to wait until he gets a bill or is refused funding for a specific law enforcement purpose before he can even dispute these points. Thanks a lot, Judge.
However, Judge Moorman made a point of noting that the County’s position has been all over the map as the case evolved over the six months it took to get this far, and that “one or more members of the BOS have publicly seemingly threatened to hold him personally liable for any such expenditure(s) under section 29121 which is [sic: has] also been incorporated as county policy.”
Judge Moorman also complained about the Board’s pre-emptory attempt to force an outside attorney on the Sheriff engineered by County Counsel Christian Curtis, writing, “This action was in express defiance of the existing proceeding and interpreted by the court as an effort to circumvent the court process.” … “County Counsel admitted that the action of the BOS was on the advice of County Counsel.”
But If The Judge was as annoyed by this “defiance” as she says she is, she should have just ordered Duncan James to be appointed for the computer consolidation issue at least, not sent it back to the Supervisors.
YORKVILLE MARKET CANNABIS CONVERSION PROPOSAL SPARKS DISSENT & APPEAL OF PERMIT APPROVAL
County staff recommends upholding of staff permit approval of Yorkville Market conversion.
Item 5j on the Tuesday, January 4, 2021 Supervisors Agenda:
“Noticed Public Hearing - Discussion and Possible Action to Consider an Appeal of the Zoning Administrator for Approval of an Administrative Permit Located in Yorkville (AP_2021-0014) to Allow a Cannabis Processing and Non-Volatile Manufacturing Facility, Located at 26701 Hwy 129, Yorkville
(Sponsor: Planning and Building Services)
BASIS FOR APPEAL
1. Deceptive Practices- The person that is applying for this permit will not be running the business. They are applying for an unknown/unidentified entity, 1 or 2 possible lessors or buyers of the building.
2. Security- This building is surrounded by elderly residents on 3 sides and it located on Hwy 128. It will be an easy target for criminals, with an easy escape route right out the front door.
3. It is the only retail business in Yorkville. It provides needed grocery essentials as well as a necessary community gathering location. Making this facility into an armed and alarmed fortress will hurt the entire Yorkville Community and the Anderson Valley.
4. Environmental Concerns- The building is on the banks of Dry Creek. The store has a long history of limited water supply.
LETTERS IN OPPOSITION TO PROJECT (two examples of several, basically objecting to a cannabis operation in the popular and well-liked former Yorkville Market):
Dear Supervisor Ted Williams -
I understand the economic hardships that the pandemic has brought to our community, but this proposal effects our whole neighborhood and way of life. Who are these buyers? What is their short term and long term goals and plans for the heart of our community. Why did they not come and introduce themselves and communicate with us and how their plans might affect our way of life. Why did they not get the permits themselves, instead of forcing a local to do it? They are outsiders with no sense of community.
I am sorry, BUT, I am fed up with the cannabis industry coming in buying property to grow and not even getting legal. According to the Sherriff, only 10% of gardens are legally registered. They dry up the resources and effect everything from vegetation to wildlife with little to no regard for anything except themselves. I am sorry, but I do not want this element in my front yard.
Dear Supervisor Williams,
I am a Yorkville resident writing to say I do not support the application by Yorkville Development Project, Inc., Mary Lou Walsh and Lisa Walsh, for an Administrative Permit to allow for cannabis processing and non-volatile (level 1) manufacturing in an existing structure.
I have specific concerns about this application. This is difficult to write because I have the highest regard for Lisa Walsh and the extraordinary community support she has provided with the Yorkville Market.
But the application appears not for Ms. Walsh's own future business endeavors. She states that she was "approached by two separate entities with interest in purchasing the Market for cannabis processing and manufacturing, if I could acquire the appropriate licensing." Thus, the application is to benefit unknown future owners.
Yorkville needs the Market. It is the only public store in the 27 mile stretch between Cloverdale and Boonville. As such it is a cornerstone of this community.
We understand that Ms. Walsh may want to sell her business. Can't the business be sold to a new owner who will maintain it as a market? Granting this application means a local market could be gone from the town in perpetuity.
Yorkville is a community that relies on its own internal support: neighbor-to-neighbor support, and support for its own infrastructure and fire station. For example, the community built the current Post Office, Fire Station and Community Center. It is now building a new water tender building and almost all of the funds for that were raised internally. Our fire department is volunteer; our town infrastructure, the Yorkville Community Benefits Association, is 100% volunteer. This fabric is essential for our existence as a town.
As of now, the cannabis community does not involve itself supporting the community. In fact, it feels the opposite, with the introduction of elements such as noise, water diversion and theft, fire risk, and uneasy personal interactions. Turning the one commercial building in Yorkville from a market into a cannabis processing business would further push this division, and undermine the fabric that voluntarily supports the town. I am very concerned about this potential cultural shift which so far has produced no positives for the community as a whole.
From the recent Board of Supervisors cannabis ordinance and the planned referendum to have it overturned, it is clear that the County does not yet have a viable vision for the cannabis industry. The negative impact cannabis has had on rural regions, such as Yorkville, has been strongly voiced. It seems highly premature to approve an application for cannabis processing for Yorkville.Peter Brodigan, Yorkville
LETTER IN SUPPORT:
Dec. 27, 2021
Hon. Ted Williams
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors 501 Low Gap Road
Ukiah, CA 95482
Re: Appeal of the Zoning Administrator decision of September 10, 2021, Case# AP_2021-0014
Dear Mr. Williams,
I am writing in support of the Application Permit to allow for cannabis processing and non-volatile manufacturing in an existing structure located at 26701 Highway 128, Yorkville, California.
First, in response to the Planning Appeal, filed on September 16, 2021, I'd like to address some erroneous, misleading and/or false allegations contained therein.
Item 1. The applicant for this permit, Yorkville Redevelopment Project, Inc is a known legal entity established in February2018,andwillberesponsiblefortheoperationsoftheproposedbusiness. Any other entity operating a business at that site would be required to apply for their own permits from the County and State.
Item 2. The business will be in compliance with all security regulations and requirements of Mendocino County and the State of California. This will not be a cash-based business as was the former Yorkville Market. The business will not be open to the public and the only traffic will be that of employees.
Item 3. Unfortunately, the Market can no longer function as a viable retail business in Yorkville and has closed. This is due to a number of factors, most of them brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of a significant reduction in traffic along the highway corridor, diminished community patronization, and a scarcity of employees, most of the operations of the Market and Deli had to be eliminated or dramatically scaled back.
Item 4. There will be considerably less water usage in the new business model than in the former Market.
As a fifty percent owner of the property at 26701 Highway 128, it makes economic sense to have some commercial use of the real estate that would make it possible to live and support a family in this beautiful area. I understand there are some folks who do not like cannabis, but it has been established that legal, licensed facilities are not magnets for criminal activity and do not harbor unsavory characters lurking in the shadows.
All of the hue and cry on this issue came about with one member of the Anderson Valley Community Services District sending an email to a select group of residents. She called a special meeting of the Board to vote against the already approved Permit. The majority of members did not vote against the project, mostly stating it was outside the scope of the District's authorized functions. Interestingly, there does not appear to be a public record of that meeting or vote.
At least four of the opponents to the project are not actually full-time residents of Yorkville, but own property as a second homesite. Many opponents to the project have visited the Market 2 to 5 times in the last seven years.
Respectfully submitted,Mary Lou Walsh, Yorkville Redevelopment
STAFF ANALYSIS & RECOMMENDATION
JANUARY 4, 2022
HONORABLE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
SAM ‘VANDY’ VANDEWATER, SENIOR PLANNER, PLANNING AND BUILDING SERVICES
APPEAL OF ZONING ADMINISTRATOR APPROVAL OF ADMINISTRATIVE PERMIT AP_2021-0014
On May 25, 2021, Lisa Walsh, as property owner and agent for applicant Yorkville Redevelopment Project Inc., submitted an Administrative Permit application to the Department of Planning & Building Services to request approval of cannabis processing and non-volatile manufacturing at an existing structure [Yorkville Market]. The subject parcel is located in the community of Yorkville at the address of 26701 Highway 128 (APN 049- 280-24) and the existing structure currently functions and operates as the Yorkville Market. The project was referred to Responsible Agencies on July 23, 2021 to solicit comments regarding the proposed cannabis processing and manufacturing facility. With exception of the Anderson Valley Community Services District (AVCSD), no agency provided any comment that expressed major concern for the proposed project, though several agencies provided recommendations to be considered by County staff to lessen any issues.
Initial communications between the County and AVCSD began on August 25, 2021, at which time County staff responded to a request for additional information regarding the project, including ways in which members of the Yorkville community could comment on the proposal. Between August 26 and August 31, a total of nine (9) comment letters were submitted to the Department of Planning & Building Services, all of which express opposition to the proposed project. Staff reviewed the comments and concerns raised in the letters by the various members of the Yorkville community and determined that existing County and State regulations, as well as the Conditions of Approval, sufficiently addressed the raised concerns. Concerns were mostly focused on security, the need for a community market, and possible impacts to Dry Creek.
On August 31, 2021, a Zoom meeting was held between County Staff and Anderson Valley Community Services District members Val Hanelt and Larry Mailliard, as well as Fire Captain Clay Eubank of the Anderson Valley Fire Department, to further discuss community concerns and craft Conditions of Approval that would help to reduce and/or eliminate specific concerns. The crafted conditions mostly reiterated County and State regulations or provided more specific regulation unique to the proposed project. However, at their September 1, 2021, special meeting, the AVCSD voted 3-2 to provide a “No comment at this time” response for the project referral, thus the crafted conditions were not recommended by the AVCSD, nor included in the staff report. The project was approved by the Zoning Administrator on September 10, 2021. The appellant filed an appeal for the project on September 16, 2021.
The appellant has raised concerns regarding four different aspects of the proposed project for the basis of the appeal, similar to the comment letters from members of the Yorkville Community: (1) Deceptive practices; (2) Security; (3) Business type; and (4) Environmental concerns. Each item is discussed further below, including a response from Staff regarding the issues raised.
Deceptive Practices: The appellant argues that the applicant for the project is not necessarily the individual/entity that will be operating the businesses. The appellant further argues that the applicant is applying for an unknown entity; possibly 1 or 2 lessees or buyers of the property.
Staff Response: The Department of Planning & Building Services does not regulate the individual and/or entity that operates a business within the unincorporated portions of Mendocino County. A property owner may obtain a discretionary permit for a conditionally permitted use on their property, but not be the individual and/or entity that establishes the business that utilizes the conditional entitlement. Such an approach would allow the property owner to retain their land. Additionally, the Department is not involved in the sale of private property; sellers may prepare their parcel in ways that improve marketability, including expansion of allowed uses through discretionary permitting, to better increase sale prospects. Discretionary land use approvals, such as Use Permits and Administrative Permits are associated with the property as opposed to the property owner or applicant.
Security: The appellant argues that the building is surrounded by elderly residents and that the subject parcel is an easy target for criminals.
Staff Response: County and State regulations require security measures be included as part of the business plan and building infrastructure for any cannabis facility. Measures required by the County Code include, but are not limited to: A/V security cameras, secured doors and rooms, and secured storage areas for cannabis products to prevent diversion, theft, and loss. Staff feels the aforementioned measures, and those required by the State, will adequately address security concerns and reduce the structure likelihood of being targeted by criminal activities. As of the writing of this memo, no information has been submitted to the Planning Division by the Sheriff’s Office or Code Enforcement regarding any incidents related to cannabis and security. Staff will review more information in the meantime.
Business Type: The appellant argues that the market is the only retail business in Yorkville that provides needed groceries and a community gathering place. The appellant argues that converting the building into a cannabis facility will result in the loss of the market, as wells as turning the structure into an armed and alarmed fortress that will hurt the Yorkville community and Anderson Valley.
Staff Response: The Department of Planning & Building Services considered the project and intended uses while writing staff report and found the proposed uses to be compatible with the General Plan and Zoning District. The General Plan Community Specific Plan for Anderson Valley, including Yorkville, does not identify the subject parcel and structure specifically as a market, and the zoning district does not limit the use of the parcel to a “Retail Sales – General” Commercial Use Type. The General Plan Community Specific Plan for Anderson Valley does provide that commercial uses should be approved that support local businesses. As there are numerous cultivators in Anderson Valley, the project would provide an outlet where local cultivators could have their materials processed and/or manufactured.
Environmental Concerns: The appellant argues that the structure intended to be used for the proposed project is located adjacent to Dry Creek and there have been water supply issues in the past.
Staff Response: The proposed project was referred to the Division of Environmental Health and the Regional Water Quality Control Board; neither agency responded with any concerns regarding the supply of water. Additionally, any use of water from Dry Creek would require approval from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife; the Department of Planning & Building Services does not regulate the use of water from streams. Furthermore, the proposed business activities are both considered to be water efficient as cannabis processing does not require water and cannabis manufacturing uses mechanical or chemical extraction, neither of which are water intensive. As of the writing of this memo, no concerns about water supply or impacts to the creek had been submitted to the Department by any referral agency.
One of the attached comment letters raises concerns regarding the cannabis smell that can be associated with the business. Such businesses are encouraged by State and local codes, policies and regulations to avoid and/or minimize the odors emitted by the business. It should be noted that a Condition of Approval to affirm this requirement as part of the project was included in the AVCSD Recommended Conditions, but as noted above, the condition was not adopted.
As previously noted, a number of recommended conditions were crafted by members of the AVCSD to address the concerns raised by the members of the Yorkville community, but these were not adopted with the approval of the project. The conditions have been included as an attachment.
Deny the appeal of and uphold the Zoning Administrator’s approval of Administrative Permit (AP_2021- 0014), located near Yorkville to allow an existing structure to be used for cannabis processing and non- volatile manufacturing, located in the community of Yorkville at the address of 26701 Highway 128 (APN 049-280-24).
THE NIGHT OF THE APOCALYPSE, NEW YEAR’S EVE, 2000
by Bruce Anderson
I set out from Haight Street for a New Year’s Eve walkabout to see what the world ending would look like on the streets of San Francisco. It was the end of an even thousand years of history if you calculate things by Anglo ways of reckoning, and for U.S. the last night of high tech dot com bliss and prosperity. It was the end. The computers would be stymied, unable to click over to 2001. Industrial civ would not be able to cope. Mendocino County DA, Norm Vroman said he was “ready for anything.”
Up at home base Mendo, the hill muffins were hunkered down on the ridgetops, a year’s worth of rice and beans buried out by the pot patch in waterproof containers. The muffs had their generators gassed up and their AK-47’s on lock and load. They’d moved to the outback in anticipation of the apocalypse, and here it was.
At the more excitable Mendo venues, KZYX and the Mendocino Environment Center, linear thought processes had long ago been traded in for intuition, and the county’s cutting edge progressives were positively giddy at the prospect of world’s end.
Me? Like most old commies, I have great respect for the resilience of capitalism. I knew in my bones that the boys at the top weren’t about to let the counting house fall down just because a gaggle of techno-nerds had forgotten to adjust the computer clocks.
But just in case the four horsemen rode in on January One, what better place to watch them do their thing than San Francisco?
But nothing happened. Not a bang, not even a whimper.
I’ve never seen The City emptier or quieter. It was so quiet it was eerie. I started out from Haight and Ashbury, these days a fashion center for young people with stores selling two hundred dollar pairs of rubber shoes with two-foot heels. I’ve lived long enough to watch the area do five sociological flip-flops, beginning with a working-class neighborhood heavy on immigrant Russians, through hippies, the street chaos of homelessness, tourist mercantilism and, lately, up-market clothing and more tourists.
I walked uphill on Ashbury, then down 17th Street, right on past a deserted Castro, on down Market to the Embarcadero where a sedate crowd had gathered to listen to whoever bounced on stage.
There were cops posted at every intersection all the way down Market. Critical Mass, a thousand chaos agents on bicycles, pedaled past. A phalanx of motorcycle cops followed them while a police helicopter rotor-whipped the night air above. At Van Ness and Market, Critical Mass stopped for the red light but the police saw them through to the other side as if they were grandmas on three-wheelers.
At 9th and Market a couple of cops confiscated two cans of beer from two hat-backwards oafs. (It’s one thing to be a moron, but why try to look like one? Kids these days…) “But dude…” one of the hat backwards complained as the cop plucked the beer from his hand. “Sorry,” the cop said, “This is no alcohol night.”
At the Embarcadero a group of Chinese kids stood laughing and taking pictures of one another as each posed from behind a pair of oversized glasses. Of the dozen of them, about half wore their hair short and dyed in day-glo colors. An old guy said to another old guy, “Al, did you ever think you’d see a Jap with green hair?” Al replied, “Maybe, but I never thought I’d see two of ‘em.”
I seemed to be the third oldest guy in the throng. Huge speakers pounded out painfully loud baby o baby lyrics. Young people danced as cops plucked beers out of startled but unresisting hands. I didn’t see any fights or even anything that resembled the usual free-floating hostility of most mob scenes.
There was no point standing around listening to music played so loud I couldn’t listen in on conversations so I walked back up Market, then up Taylor for a bolito bowl at Original Joe’s. The waiter told me that “the Mayor wrecked the whole weekend for everybody. The no drinking rule, all the baloney about how the cops were going to crack down on people. The Y2K bullshit from the hippies. That’s why nobody’s out there.”
Lots of stores on Market were boarded up, lots weren’t. Old Navy and the Gap store windows were covered with three-quarter plywood. Between the cracks, I could see fat guys in rent-a-cop uniforms standing round. Some of them wore sidearms. Would they die for ten bucks an hour when the wealth redistributors breeched the plywood?
I walked on up to Union Square where a mega-millennial ecumenical prayer and music event was supposed to come off at $10 a ticket. Believers and Unbelievers had stayed away in droves. Union Square is a lot more crowded on Christmas day than it was End Of The World Night.
There was nothing else to do so I stopped to listen to an unaffiliated evangelical do his thing at the corner of Geary and Stockton. He was a stocky guy about 40 who resembled a squat Elvis Presley, black hair swept back like fenders on a ‘55 Buick. The God Guy was dressed in a black leather-like, head-to-toe zippered jump suit with an American flag sewed into its chest, a cowboy hat festooned with flag medallions and alternating “Praise God!” decals on his head. Nike running shoes rounded out the preacher’s millennial attire.
He was bellowing apocalyptic warnings through a small bullhorn. He put on a lot better show than anything happening at the Embarcadero. Bill Graham Presents and Willy Brown should have hired him to liven things up. “God is not pleased with the Pope,” the preacher hollered at me as I settled in for the show. “Pope rhymes with dope. There’s no hope with the Pope.” That alliterative gold quickly exhausted, Elvis brought his bullhorn inches from my face. “You ask me how I was brought up?” he bellered as if I’d asked. “Doesn’t really matter; it’s where I’m going that counts.” With that do-it-yourself exchange completed, Elvis pivoted to shout anti-Clinton insults skyward. “Bill Clinton is a filthy, stinking sinner. Will I pray for this stinking, rotten, evil man? Why should I? He’s pro-queer, pro-abortion.”
It wasn’t hard to understand why the preacher was reduced to an open air Post Street pulpit. His wasn’t exactly a Frisco-friendly message, although he did toss out a few sops to the libs, “All weapons should be buried. They are evil. Praise God.” All he drew was chuckles from me and a few fish eyes from the few passersby who scurried past him.
A young Chinese guy soon appeared, a mischievous grin on his face and a violin case under his arm. I got the feeling the preacher and the violinist were old antagonists. The kid took out a small amplifier and plugged an electric string instrument into it and began sawing unmusically away a few feet from the rambunctious representative of the Prince of Peace. “The devil won’t drive me out!” the preacher shouted at the kid who promptly turned up the volume on his violin for a round of Waltzing Matilda. As I walked up Post the preacher and the electrified violinist were a foot apart, the kid laughing and hacking away with his bow at his amplified strings, the preacher screaming, “The devil hisself is knocking at my door but he sure is wrong if he thinks God will let him in!”
At the rear door of the St. Francis hotel motorcycle cops were assembled to launch a mini-motorcade. I lingered, joining 50 or so other gawkers. I wanted to see who gets tax-funded escorts these days. A guy asked me, “Who’s here?” Al Gore, I replied. The guy turned to the lady with him and said authoritatively, “Al Gore. Wonder what he’s doing here? Let’s stick around.”
“Al Gore Al Gore Al Gore!” rippled through the crowd like a beer at a ball game. The crowd waiting for Al Gore grew larger as I walked on.
At the Civic Center another music festival of some sort was tuning up, but it was also lightly attended. I think it was a second event sponsored by The City. I walked on up a deserted Polk Street until I got to Sacramento where I hopped a free bus. Muni is never entirely free considering the emotional toll it can take, but it was free to riders on this, The Last Night.
The bus was empty except for four Mexicans just getting off work. Early in the morning, late at night, the Muni is a mobile Third World, ferrying the legions of underpaid people who do the real work of our latest economic miracle, the SUV-Dot Com decade where the dollars go up but fewer and fewer come down. And there’s always at least one crazy person on board.
I got off at California and Masonic to catch the 33 back to the Haight. Two nicely dressed middle-aged women, one black, one white stood at the deserted bus stop. “Do you mind if we stand near you?” one asked. “It’s creepy out here.” Yeah, I’m the only one, I said. They laughed. I don’t know if I should have been insulted at their menace-free assumption or proud that I seem capable of serving as armor against the urban night.
The 33 eventually appeared. My wards and I are the only passengers until Hayes Street where an odd guy of about forty in 1955 white bucks trips and sprawls onto the bus. He lies on the steps like he’s dead drunk or has just dropped dead from the exertion of climbing on to the 33. But he’s just clumsy, not drunk.
“Are you going to ask me if I’m alright, driver?” No, the driver says without even looking at the guy as he pulls out into vehicle-free Masonic. Looking at us, the only other people on the bus, the fallen passenger asked, “How about you folks? Are you going to ask me if I’m alright?” Are you alright?” I and my two wards chorus. “Yes, I am, thank you,” the man replied and, apparently gratified at finally getting some empathy, he sat down and never said another word.
The Muni is endlessly fascinating. San Francisco is endlessly fascinating. The libs are lamenting The City’s alleged loss of its “diversity,” but I’ve never seen it more diverse, and I’ve been living there and visiting there since 1942.
At Haight and Masonic I alight. One of the two ladies I’d selflessly accompanied point to point wished me happy new year as the other said, “Thank you for guarding us.”
Haight Street was deserted. Ben and Jerry’s was the only place open. Even the bums, and the winos and the tax-funded dopers had disappeared. Even the homeless seem to have packed it in for the night. Maybe the people who refuse to consider the revival of the state hospital system took them home to welcome in the new year or the end of all years, whichever came first, but nobody was out anywhere in San Francisco. Only a few thousand suburbanites were massed at the Embarcadero, gaping at the Ferry Building. A silent New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Who could have thought?
The next day the Chronicle said that there were fewer police and fire calls on New Year’s Eve than there are on any other Friday night of the year. People stayed home for the end of the world, but it didn’t end, even the places where it was supposed to.
LAKE MENDOCINO - PG&E ASKED TO UP PV PROJECT FLOWS
Lake Mendocino storage described as at ‘historic lows’
by Justine Frederiksen
Several local water agencies have sent letters to the Pacific Gas and Electric corporation this month to request that the reduced flows through the Potter Valley Project be restored to their usual levels.
“The project power plant has not been operating since summer of 2021 due to an unsafe condition at the transformer bank. As a result, PG&E is not diverting any flow for power generation (and) is instead diverting only the 45 cubic feet per second needed to comply with minimum flow requirements for the East Branch Russian River, and to meet its contractual obligation with the Potter Valley Irrigation District,” states a letter sent on behalf of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission and the Sonoma County Water agency earlier this month.
“Through March 8, 2022, we request that PG&E divert flow spilled from Scott Dam up to the capacity of the powerplant bypass system, approximately 140 cfs,” the letter continues. “This request will help meet critical water needs in the face of extreme drought conditions. Lake Mendocino is at approximately 36-percent of its storage capacity, which is the lowest level ever seen for this date since dam completion in 1958. Absent the benefit of the requested bypass flows, communities that rely on Lake Mendocino may not have enough water supply to meet their basic health and safety needs this coming year. Additionally, there could be serious impacts to listed fish species in the Russian River.”
The letter also notes that, “any such diversion must comply with the target storage curves and all other applicable requirements in the FERC license for protection of the Eel River. This request will result in diversion to the Russian River Basin without use of Scott Dam storage. We support your immediate consultation with National Marine Fisheries Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to confirm that this request is protective of fishery needs.”
The letter was directed to Mike Schonherr, director of Strategic Agreements for Pacific Gas and Electric’s Power Generation Department, and was signed by Grant Davis of Sonoma Water and Janet Pauli of the IWPC. Pauli said Thursday that “discussions continue” regarding the request.
As of 9 a.m. Thursday, the lake had 40,393 acre-feet of storage, nearly double the amount of storage that the reservoir had at the beginning of December. On Dec. 3, Lake Mendocino had 20,949 acre-feet of storage.
At the request of the IWPC, the city of Ukiah also drafted a letter to PG&E regarding the reduced flows.
“The IWPC is requesting that partnering jurisdictions also send a letter, so we will be working with Mayor Jim Brown on drafting the letter and signing it on behalf of the agency given the urgency of that item,” City Manager Sage Sangiacomo told the Ukiah City Council earlier this month.
“I did see that request, and it certainly seems like the common-sense thing to do, but also the right thing to do,” said Mayor Jim Brown.
Other agencies who sent letters include: the Potter Valley Irrigation District, the Redwood Valley Water District, the Millview, Willow, Calpella and Hopland water districts, as well as the Mendocino County Farm Bureau, the Mendocino County Water Agency and the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 31, 2021
MICHAEL COPLEY, Ukiah. DUI, no license.
RYAN GIBBS, Stockton/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
JOSE ROSAS, Boonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE DAY
(1) Eureka has always been a rough town. I grew up in town. I’ve mentioned it before, but when I moved to Kodiak, the guys were warning me what a rough town it was. Got there, looked around and said, “Shit, you guys have never been to Eureka!”. That’s an exact quote, from 40 some years ago.
The rose-colored fantasies some people have about some golden past crack me up. And it was the local boys and girls, not “liberals” from somewhere else that were raising hell.
Don’t get me started on the days long before that and gun fights on the waterfront docks. I used to listen to the old guys and some of the tales would curl your toes.
I love Eureka.
(2) Eureka was the “ big city” between Santa Rosa and, say, Eugene, Oregon. The social services, county jail and courts and other government offices, along with its size attracted people who were involved with these services. The rural people with issues in their smaller towns often could exist better in town. The rescue missions dealt with alcoholism. Now substance abuse has many other drugs to deal with. The crime to feed the drug use of unemployable users definitely affects the quality of life along with the numbers of the homeless. At one time prostitution was fairly common in Arcata and Eureka. I haven’t heard much of that lately. Yes, Eureka has always been a rough and tumble town. It’s just more rougher and there’s more tumble. There’s still a lot of good things and people around.
GHISLAINE MAXWELL CONVICTED
There has been a lot of speculation regarding whether convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell will now “spill the beans” on the folks in power who exploited those young female offerings pedophile Jeffrey Epstein made available. No chance of that, I am afraid, as the trial itself was narrowly construed and limited to certain sex related charges to avoid any inquiry into the names of the actual recipients of the services being provided.
Nor was there any attempt made to determine if Epstein was working on behalf of a foreign intelligence service, most likely Israeli, which has been claimed in a recent book by a former Israeli case officer, who states that top politicians would be photographed and video recorded when they were in bed with the girls. Afterwards, they would be approached and asked to do favors for Israel. It is referred to in the trade as a “honey-trap” operation.
The fact that Epstein and his activities were being “protected” has also been confirmed through both Israeli and American sources. It is known that Bill Clinton flew on the Epstein private 727 jet the “Lolita Express” 26 times, traveling to a mansion estate in Florida as well as to a private island owned by Epstein in the Caribbean. The island was referred to by locals as the “Pedophile Island,” but Clinton has never even been questioned by either the NYPD or FBI.
Maxwell is presumed to have been an active participant in the Epstein spy operation acting as a procurer of young girls and on at least one occasion has hinted that she knows where the sex films made by Epstein are hidden. That claim was also not explored in what passed for a trial.
It doesn’t take much to pull what is already known together and ask the question “Who among the celebrities and top-level politicians that Epstein cultivated were actually Israeli spies?” But that, of course, is where the judicial farce and cover-up began. We are in an era of government control of information and have just been witnessing selective management of what Maxwell was being charged with to eliminate any possible damage to senior US politicians or to Israel.
If anyone had actually expected the espionage angle to surface even implicitly during the Maxwell trial, they must now be terribly disappointed because Alison Nathan, the Obama appointed judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York did not allow it, the prosecutor did not seek it, and even the defense attorneys did not use it in their arguments.
— Philip Giraldi, former CIA Case Officer
Pandemic scare-coverage reaches new heights, or depths, or something
by Matt Taibbi and Matt Orfalea
For a while now it’s been clear the primary objective of most pandemic coverage is to scare the socks off mass audiences. Good news, bad news, boring news, interesting news, news that’s more of a wash in the final analysis, news that’s a net plus overall: it’s all presented as terrifying, more signs of the Apocalypse. There’s no better example than the stampede to advertise the “first death from Omicron” in the United States.
Matt Orfalea does a hilarious job — that’s him in the DEATH suit, by the way — of stitching together an homage to the latest moral panic. So many great little details here, from the “Way Too Early” background to one reporter’s premature death report to the “aggressive Covid vice” imagery, the dramatic Biden-cough, and so much more.
It was the world’s loudest record-scratch when the WHO in the first week of December said the ominous “Omicron variant” of Covid-19 had been detected in 38 countries, but without any known deaths.
No deaths? How could that be? In the United States in late November, we’d already skipped past the stunned-curiosity phase and moved straight into active mass panic, with “fallout from the Omicron variant” causing the Dow to fall 652 points in a day when news of the mutant contagion arrived. Right away, we had a travel ban from southern Africa, an address urging calm from President Mumbles, and a declaration of a “Variant of Concern“ from the CDC, as “scientists raced“ to learn more about this “almost Frankensteinish“ new strain of Covid-19.
The next month of Omicron coverage offered a fascinating window into our Covid-fixated future. For most of December, we were presented with an unbroken string of scare stories that in many cases actively buried the lede on the most important question: is this thing going to kill me? The Washington Poston December 14th, for instance, ran a story about how the “CDC warns” that a “punishing wave“ could be coming as soon as January. The piece noted Omicron was “dramatically more transmissible” and “a more slippery foe when encountered by neutralizing antibodies,” but ignored the issue of lethality altogether, which would seem impossible to do by accident.
“How deadly is the Omicron variant? WHO releases death report,” wrote the ExpressU.K. earlier this week, with the following sub-headline:
OMICRON cases have increased more than tenfold since authorities identified the first UK infections in November, but scientists’ knowledge of the variant has increased in kind. The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first death report this weekend, outlining how dangerous it really is.
Reading that headline hits your fear center, making you anxious to know just exactly “how dangerous it really is.” What does that mean? Scrolling down, you first read that Omicron mutations “allow it to escape immunity provided by both vaccine doses,” that “it reduces two doses of Pfizer to 30 percent effectiveness, with AstraZeneca potentially down to zero,” and that while boosters can restore effectiveness to 75 percent, “many are at Omicron's mercy.” Not good!
Only far down the piece do you read that since the WHO’s “no deaths” report in early December, the disease has “spread rapidly, and one person in the UK has died with the new variant… Recent data suggests the disease Omicron causes is milder than its predecessors…”
The distinction between “dying with” and “dying from” is a sticking point in theory if you’re trying to accurately gauge the lethality of a thing, but journalists have mostly shrugged it off.
On December 20th, a man in Houston died “with” Omicron. The Harris County Public Health office issued a release citing an “Omicron Variant-Related“ death, but Harris County judge Lisa Hidalgo, sporting a stylish tree-branch-pattern mask, wasted no time in announcing, “The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has arrived in full force.”
As shown in Matt’s video, Hidalgo raised the county’s County’s Covid-19 “threat level” status to “Level-2 Orange,” bringing us back to the halcyon days of the War on Terror, when the government each day assigned us a mathematical Expected Freakout Level (EFL) about things over which we had no control.
Within hours, national press outlets like CNN had reported the “first death attributed to the Omicron variant,” gushing, as Jeremy Diamond is shown doing in this video, that “Covid surges are surging!” Pundits wasted little time wagging their bony death-fingers in our direction: “First Omicron Death in U.S. Was Reinfection—A Warning to Those Who’ve Already Had COVID,” wrote Newsweek.
Shortly after, a Harris County Public Health official named Martha Marquez hedged, saying they could confirm the dead man was Omicron-positive, but the cause of death had not yet been determined.
The arrival of both the Delta and Omicron variants were reported in ways that recalled the classic “Africanized killer bees” media panics of yore. Stay in your homes and be vigilant about the highly aggressive African invader who just might move in next door: for a good long time, this was a staple of local TV, as noted in Bowling for Columbine.
Descriptions of Omicron as the scary scary thing coming from southern Africa have been near carbon-copies of those old bee stories. Kudos to the few outlets at home and in Europe that pointed out the hypocrisy of this coverage. If you’re really bent on using the deadly new “Africanized” variant to frighten people into getting vaccinated, shouldn’t you also be “racing” to pass patent waivers so countries like India and South Africa can make their own vaccines, thereby preventing the spread of mutations before they even have a chance to become headlines here?
If they’re determined to keep going in the scare direction, they should do a better job of it. Omicron is certainly an improvement over Delta, but they should dispense with the pretense and start giving true Fangorianames to coronavirus strains: the “Mutilator” Variant, the “Suffocating Agony” variant, the “Shaft-Sagger,” the “Face-Eater,” etc. Would you bet against something like that coming?
IF 2021 was the year of maximum corruption, political decadence, and mind-fuckery in US history, 2022 is looking like a convulsive snap-back to the harrowing rigors of reality, spiked with shocking losses, reckonings, and not a little retribution for the rogues and reprobates who drove our country into a ditch. Quandaries abound now in the wreckage of economy, culture, and polity. The years of anything-goes-and-nothing-matters have ended — though you might not know it yet, at this very advent of Twenty-Double-Deuce. Welcome to the banquet of consequences. Soup’s on!
I’ll give 70 / 30 odds that “Joe Biden” steps aside “for health reasons” well before the midterm election. He’s falling apart before our eyes. He can barely utter a comprehensible sentence. He embarrasses himself and the country every day. His poll numbers are in the sub-basement…. So, okay, he basically takes a dive and retires from the scene. Kamala Harris is sworn in. President Harris nominates Barack Obama as vice-president. Say, what…!
Mr. Obama is back in charge — like, was he ever not in charge since Jan 20, 2021, really? — going so far as to brazenly occupy the Oval Office as Veep for daily business — consigning Ms. Harris to a broom closet. Democrats clamor for Ms. Harris to resign and officially hand the reins to Mr. Obama. (Presidents are limited to two elected terms in office, but the constitution does not stipulate such a circumstantial appointment to office.) Kamala graciously steps aside. For the sake of “unity” and gender balance, Mr. Obama nominates Liz Cheney as the new vice-president. That’s one possible scenario. Rewrite that play with Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama. The Democrats are going to have to try some desperate move to retain power.
Even so, it’s hard to imagine any circumstances in which the Democratic Party retains effective control of the government. In the event that the midterm election is actually held, let’s predict Republicans regain majority control of the House and Senate, with many new faces of the MAGA persuasion among them. The Dems hopes and dreams for transformative change get flushed down the toilet. Government at the national level becomes impotent, ineffectual, unable to discharge its duties or manage anything — all this predicted explicitly, by the way, in The Long Emergency (Grove-Atlantic, 2005). Will our foreign adversaries take advantage of the situation? Can the fifty states manage their affairs without subsidies from Washington DC? Governors had better be planning for strange times.
The political right has been careful and cautious since the debacle of the January 6, 2021 march on the Capitol building. The poor boobs cajoled by FBI plants to break into the joint have been treated abominably by their government, and probably extra-legally. But mainly, the Jan. 6th caper put a damper on any more right-wing street action during “Joe Biden’s” year in office. That may change in 2022. The mood of politically-motivated people on either side of the spectrum has got to be aggravated by the tanking economy. And as the year rolls on, it will just be hungry, angry Americans of all sorts raising hell because they don’t know what else to do.
All the anxiety driving the mass formation psychosis that had first focused on Trump, and then on Covid-19 (and the unvaccinated), may now finally shift its energy at the actual source of our woes and sorrows: the DC establishment. The decline and fall of Covid-19 is going to leave a big hole in the nation’s anxious, wasted soul, and it will have to be filled with something. We’re thrust into a scene that resembles Civil War, but it becomes harder and harder to determine who is on what side, or what the sides even are — or as Mick Jagger famously hollered at Altamont CA in. ’69, “Who’s foit-ing an’ whut faw?” It’s sheer clusterfuck. Murphy’s Law meets Zombieland during Seven Days in May.
— James Kunstler
A RESPONSE TO DON'T LOOK UP DISMISSERS
“The movie Don’t Look Up is satire. But speaking as a climate scientist doing everything I can to wake people up and avoid planetary destruction, it’s also the most accurate film about society’s terrifying non-response to climate breakdown I’ve seen.
…After 15 years of working to raise climate urgency, I’ve concluded that the public in general, and world leaders in particular, underestimate how rapid, serious and permanent climate and ecological breakdown will be if humanity fails to mobilize. There may only be five years left before humanity expends the remaining “carbon budget” to stay under 1.5°C of global heating at today’s emissions rates — a level of heating I am not confident will be compatible with civilization as we know it.”
Sure, write this off as too obvious and preachy. Meanwhile, watch states burn, or flood, or freeze, or be leveled by freak tornados. Snigger or roll your eyes some more when Greta T. vents her anger and frustration. Denial is a garment most of us can wear comfortably. The love of money is not the greatest evil. Complacency is.
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO ALL NIGHT TONIGHT!
Hi! Marco here.
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 7pm. After that, send it whenever it's ready and I'll read it on the radio /next/ week.
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.
Also there you'll find a thick comforting blanket weighted with infotainment to snuggle into until showtime, or any time, such as:
Snaps of drunken new year's eve revelry of the 1920s, when the world smelled like pipe (and coal) smoke, wet wool, stale sweat, cloying perfume, and incompletely combusted kerosene. Also, these gatherings were immediately after a devastating worldwide epidemic of disease and death, which explains everyone festively breathing into each other's face from four inches away.
Watch Miles make a lovely Japanese-pattern Strat. (20 min.)
And the 2021-retrospective Siena International Photo Awards winners and runners-up. (Click to see the full gallery.)
— Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
In spite of the dreadful situation of this civilization, which is clearly on the way out, the individual has a choice to identify with the Eternal Witness, and not with the body nor the mind. This is the happiest possible New Year's message. Stop identifying with the body and the mind and your problem is solved!
Meanwhile at The Earth First! Media Center in Garberville, California, am sunk into the big green couch, sipping GT's multi-green raw kombucha featuring Klamath Valley blue green algae, spirulina, and chlorella. Now sufficiently glowing, the only thought is when am I moving on from here, and what is next on the big blue pearl. If you are presently embodied, please contact me. Direct action still gets the goods. Hey, it's our legacy and gift to future generations. ☺
— Craig Louis Stehr