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LIGHT SHOWERS are forecast to persist through much of this morning across portions of Northwest California. A stronger low pressure system will then move across the Northeast Pacific tonight into Friday morning and aid in gusty south winds and a greater chance for widespread moderate rainfall. A period of drier weather is then expected to develop across the region this weekend. (NWS)
LOOKING FOR EMERGENCY SIREN LOCATIONS IN THE REDWOOD VALLEY/CALPELLA AREA
With the PG&E settlement funds, we are able now able to install additional sirens in the Redwood Valley/Calpella Area. As you may or may not know, we have already installed one siren behind the Firehouse, which is fully operational. Our intent is to install 4 additional sirens throughout our Fire District.
The sirens are located atop a 45 foot pole, and are self contained, and are solar and battery powered. They are audible and voice, which allows the operators to send out a pre-recorded or live voice message. This project all came about with the work of Retired Fire Chief Don Dale. He got to see the first siren installed before he retired. If you're interested in have this life saving siren on your property, please don't hesitate to call: 707-485-8121.
Jim Tuso, Member of the Board of Directors
UNITY CLUB MEETING
Happy New Year! What a bright shining start to the New Year. Now we have rain. It’s going to be a very good year. The Unity Club will be holding the first meeting of the new year on Thursday January 13th at 1:30 in the Community Lending Library (housed in the Home Arts building). We will continue to observe spacing and use of masks for our in-person indoors meeting. Bring your own water. We will have a treat at our meeting; Sandra Nimmons will be speaking about the Anderson Valley Historical Museum. Sandra is a friend of the Unity Club and a long time supporter of the Museum. We annually support the A.V. History Museum. I can't wait to hear what's happening. Want to know what's happening at the Library? Check out a new book. It's so good to sip tea or chocolate and read a good book on a rainy day. May we have many rainy days to enjoy this way. The Community Lending Library is open on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 and Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30. A fine selection of gently used books are available for adoption. 50 cents for paperbacks and $1 for hardbound. I'll see you on Thursday January 13th at 1:30 in the Library. This is going to be a very good year.
— Miriam Martinez
MENDO’S WINE GRAPE PRODUCTION IS TANKING.
Is Anybody Paying Attention?
by Mark Scaramella
Last March (2020) we reported that grape production in Mendocino County was way down for 2019 compared to 2018, according to the “latest” crop report from the Ag Department. We put “latest” in quotes because in typical Mendocino timing, we’re only now getting the 2019 crop report in March of 2021, 15 months after the end of 2019.
No reason is offered for the unusually tardy issuance of the report.
The significant grape production decrease from 2018 to 2019 is about 17-20% (depending on how you calculate it). Mendo’s crop report authors do not offer any explanation for the large drop, but Sonoma County’s crop report for the same year says the drop in grape production in SoCo was attributable to a record breaking “bumper crop” in 2018.
Over the years conventional news articles have also blamed wildfires and related smoke damage, but it’s hard to connect the fires in one year to the grape production in the next, much less the wine it may later become.
It’s also hard to connect the per-ton price grapes draw year over year as tonnage goes up or down or as wildfire damage is accounted for.
Mendo grapes sold for an average of nearly $1700 per ton in both 2018 and 2019 compared to an average of almost $2900 per ton in Sonoma County. As usual, the most valuable varietal is pinot noir at almost $4,000 per ton in Sonoma County and $3,200 per ton in Mendo, while most acreage is planted in chardonnay.
Mendo has about 16,500 acres in grapes compared to over 57,000 acres in Sonoma County.
* * *
The collapse of the marijuana economy, both legal and illegal, is due to a glut of product, legalization, the drought, lack of labor and other traditional ag factors. Marijuana gets a lot of attention these days, but the County’s biggest (legal) ag crop, wine grapes, is quietly collapsing too.
According to recent Mendocino County crop reports:
In 2017 the grape crop was valued at $120 million.
In 2018 grapes were valued at $138 million. (Described as a “bumper crop year.”)
In 2019 grapes dropped to $114 million crop value.
In 2020 grapes only produced a $82 million crop value — according to Mendocino County’s just-released 2020 ag crop report.
The official numbers for 2021 are not yet in, of course. But anecdotal reports show another big drop in tonnage is likely. Nobody’s guessing what the price per ton will be for 2021, although some grape growers are saying 2021 was a “good year” in that the crop is expected to make good wine.
While grape acreage in Mendocino County remained at about 16,500 acres in 2020, the total tonnage of grapes dropped from almost 68,000 tons to about 55,000 tons — and that (2020) was pre-drought, as the value of the crop dropped from an average of about $1700 per ton to about $1500 per ton.
The total value of grapes sold in Mendocino County dropped again from about $114 million in 2019 to $82 million in 2020, a drop off of almost 30%. A larger drop off in value is expected for 2021, but given the lag time in releasing annual crop reports we won’t know the full extent of the drop for another year.
An August 2021 report in the North Bay Business Journal (an offshoot of the Press Democrat) by reporter Jeff Quackenbush was entitled, “Drought, frost, heat blamed for light Mendocino County wine grape crop.”
In that article Quackenbush quotes several inland Mendocino growers about their diminishing crops.
“Some are talking about it being down 15% to 20%, with some varieties off 30% to 40% and some about normal,” said Bill Pauli, general partner of custom vintner Yokayo Wine Company and a partner in his affiliated growing company Pauli Ranch.” … Yields so far for that vineyard are off by 30% to 45% from multi-year averages.
Quackenbush: “Mendocino County pinot noir seems most affected at this point, down as much as 40%.” (Pinot noir is the highest priced winegrape varietal.)
Quackenbush: “Redwood Valley Vineyards Proprietor Martha Barra expects the yields to be 25% to 30% below average for certain varieties, the second year in a row in which the crop volume was down by over 20% on the three vineyards the family owns and operates.”
Jake Fetzer at Masut Wines outside of Willits: “Right now, it’s looking like yields [for 2021] are off by about 20%.”
These grape growers are talking about a drought related production drop of between 20-40% or more from an already low year.
The economic implications of such a dramatic reduction in Mendo’s primary agricultural sector, are significant.
But as far as we can tell, only a few of the affected grape growers are paying attention.
CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit would like to congratulate, Battalion Chief Tony Howard, on his retirement.
Tony was a true legend here in Mendocino before taking on an even larger statewide role in Employee Support Services. He cared about all of us, “his people,” was a joy to work with, and had an incredible ability to make a crowd bust up laughing. A true leader, mentor, friend and brother. We love ya Tony and wish you the best of luck in retirement.
LAWSUIT FILED IN FEDERAL COURT ALLEGES UPD ARREST OF GERARDO MAGDALENO IN UKIAH WAS UNLAWFUL
Independent investigation into the UPD’s use of force not yet completed
by Justine Frederiksen
A lawsuit recently filed in federal court alleges that Ukiah Police officers used excessive force and violated their department’s policies during an “unlawful and discriminatory” arrest of Gerardo Magdaleno in Ukiah last year.
“No reasonable officer would reasonably believe that the force used against plaintiff was reasonable or necessary, or that it was in any way related to a legitimate law enforcement purpose,” the complaint filed by Sebastopol attorney Izaak D. Schwaiger states.
The suit was filed Dec. 1 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Gerardo Magdaleno, “by and through his Guardian Ad Litem, Pedro Francisco Magdaleno.” The suit describes Magdaleno as a “twenty-five-year-old mentally ill man who suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. He has been hospitalized for his illness on several occasions, is often homeless, and is well known to law enforcement in the city of Ukiah.”
The defendants in the suit are the city of Ukiah, Justin Wyatt, who was the Ukiah Police Chief at the time of the April 1, 2021, arrest of Magdaleno, as well as four officers described as directly involved in the incident: UPD Lt. Andrew Phillips, Officer Saul Perez, Officer Jordan Miller and Officer Alex Cowan.
The lawsuit describes the incident as beginning when “Gerardo had run out of his medication, and was found naked in the parking lot of the Ukiah Bakery Outlet in downtown Ukiah. During the arrest of Magdaleno, the suit alleges, “these defendants Tasered Gerardo Magdaleno four times, sprayed him in the face with 20-25 applications of OC spray, kicked him in the head while he was on the ground, kneed him four times (once in the groin), and punched him fifty-four times.”
At the time of the arrest, the UPD described the incident as beginning around 2:45 p.m. April 1, 2021, when a UPD officer near the 1400 block of South State Street responded to the area when the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a report of a naked man in the roadway.
UPD Lt. Phillips said when the first officer contacted Magdaleno, he quickly became “aggressive and took a fighting stance. A Taser was deployed, which was ineffective, and a second Taser was deployed, which was also ineffective.” Phillips said a third Taser and pepper spray were used on Magdaleno before he was taken into custody. He was also placed in a “Wrap restraint,” which Phillips said immobilizes combative suspects.
Phillips said Magdaleno appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant such as methamphetamine, and that it is “very common for people under the influence of meth to get very hot and take their clothes off. And he was taken to the hospital to make sure he wasn’t suffering from meth psychosis.”
According to a UPD press release, Magdaleno was then arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, possession of drug paraphernalia and being intoxicated in public. In August of 2015, Magdaleno was arrested by the UPD after a reported disturbance in a motel room on South State Street and booked into county jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and violating his probation.
MCSO Capt. Greg Van Patten said Magdaleno was booked into jail April 1, 2021, after being treated at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, but several hours later he was taken back to the hospital. When asked whether jail staff were concerned about Magdaleno’s health due to his mental status or possible injuries, Van Patten said only that he was transported back to the hospital “due to concerns regarding his physical condition.”
City Manager Sage Sangiacomo described the incident as beginning when officers “responded to a call reporting that an individual was exhibiting erratic behavior in a public setting. During the incident, a number of methods to subdue and restrain the individual were employed, prompting an investigation regarding the incident’s escalation and whether Ukiah Police principles and protocols were followed.”
To that end, Sangiacomo said “the city also intends to seek an independent review of the existing policies to determine whether they could be augmented or otherwise improved. We believe in the importance of oversight and accountability for our police department. Not only do they need the right policies, training, and tools, but they also need accountability if there are problems that arise. That is essential for keeping community trust in the officers who are on the front lines and responsible for keeping us safe.”
The city then hired Independent Investigative Consultants, located in Windsor, to conduct an investigation into the UPD’s actions during the arrest of Magdaleno. Paul Henry of Independent Investigative Consultants later confirmed that the firm was “conducting an administrative internal affairs investigation for the city of Ukiah.”
When asked this week if the firm’s investigation into the arrest had been completed, current UPD Chief Noble Waidelich said that “the administrative investigation has not been completed.” When asked when the investigation was expected to be completed, Waidelich said that with “few exceptions, it needs to be completed within one year.”
(courtesy Ukiah Daily Journal)
THE RUMOR is that the people self-describing below are the buyers of the Yorkville Market.
IT'S a whole lotta surmise I'm offering here because the sale of the Yorkville Market is not complete. And if the Naked Lady and Interpol Dude have joined the Anderson Valley Family, well, we would seem to be that much more enlivened by the Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan of Weed World.
THE PREMISES of the Yorkville Market are small, certainly small by the standards of the vast Emerald Sun pot processing facility in Ukiah and Flow Kana in Redwood Valley, and the market for the magic weed is in a wild state of flux as, we hear, regular tokers return to the street markets of yesteryear because the storefront weed processed by mammothly capitalized outfits like Emerald Sun is not only a lot more expensive, it is inferior to the weed grown by the legacy Moms and Pops. The Yorkville Market seems an unlikely venue for any kind of pot business, but with the frontiers of free enterprise always expanding…
HOWEVER all this plays out, we hope the Walsh family, and Lisa Walsh, the proprietor of the once thriving little market, come out whole. It was Covid that brought the business down, just as it's brought so many small businesses down.
THE NAKED LADY had called up to explain in August of 2020: “I am the naked woman walking down the street in Yorkville. I am that person.” I'd wondered if a naked woman was presently walking down the street in Yorkville, a lightly populated area where even clothed pedestrians are a rare sight. Nope, the caller was the naked lady of two weeks ago who was taken into custody in Yorkville with Casey Hardison, the latter an internationally known (and wanted) drug figure. “I want everyone to know I'm doing very well," the naked woman said, as she identified herself as Victoria Carmen Clemente, a distant relative of the famous baseball player. “There was a lot of misinformation in that article,” Ms. Clemente emphasized. “I was not held against my will. We're in a totally loving relationship. Any rumors that I'm a victim are false. What I did was me, my fault. I only complained about restraints when I was in the ambulance. When I read that report it demonized my partner and that is not true.” Ms. Clemente said she and Hardison “used to live in Yorkville. We were visiting a friend there when this happened.” Mr. Hardison at the time of the naked lady's call was in custody in the Mendocino County Jail.
SOON after this call, Mr. Hardison wrote the following letter, further identifying himself:
Dear Mr. Editor!
Casey Hardison here, aka Mr. International Drug Guy, the International Bigwig: though I prefer “drug wizard” or simply “OB1.”
Whilst all publicity is good publicity in Marshall McLuhan's eyes, your article about me paints a pejorative, possibly even slanderous portrait of myself.
Yes! I do have an “indefatigable good mood,” an unfailing jolly joker live demeanor, I got the cosmic giggle decades ago one starry restless night on LSD. Hamilton already made the documentary. Now, maybe the movie.
I take issue with a few of your mistruthier representations. First, I do not have a long history of drug convictions. I have a possession of cannabis conviction in Idaho for a few grams and similar here in California from the 1990s. And I beat charges for cannabis in Idaho for a few pounds on constitutional grounds and 2017.
Yes, I am recognized internationally by the usual alphabet agencies and beyond for operating in England the “most sophisticated” clandestine psychedelic drug lab in history, although I'd give that title to Nick Sand, the legendary Orange Sunshine Acid Chemist. Nick inspired my meticulous attention to alchemist detail, purity and cleanliness.
As for your line about my lady being a possible victim of “the grinning perp” — absurd nonsense. She's a victim of her own sacred tantrum. This time a multi-day traipse in the fields of Lodi sponsored by ketamine and Balleto Brut rose 2014 champagne. Tralala. Ketamine is quite possibly the finest powdered sleep and antidepressant known since the aimless blade of science slashed the pearly gates. And the Balleto? Well, for those who know… Mr. Advertiser.
So, what was I doing in on Elkhorn Road? Aside from fishing my lady out of her “K-hole” I was consulting on a project bringing a custom proprietary blend of cannabinoids to market as “Covid(re)Leaf” tincture and aerosolized inhaler and/or suppository. Thus, a totally lawful adventure in “healing the nation” with “the leaves of the tree” sustaining the Mendocino economy and beyond.
In June “I fucking love science” reported that 45 mice given the severe respiratory syndrome associated with Covid (AROS) were 100% cured from the inflammatory cytokine storm by inhaled Delta-9 THC, that “assassin of youth.” Cannabinoids are involved in all pathophysiology in mammals.
So please Mr. Advertiser spare me your pejorative drug abuseologies, and drug warrior rhetoric. For a “war on some people who use some drugs” is a war on people and a war on the people is a war none of us can win.
I now sit awaiting extradition/deportation to Wyoming for the conveyance of cannabis. Who’d have thunk that one could be arrested for cannabis the days? I could have drove with that with much weed on my dashboard here in California without consequences.
When I drove off in Wyoming that fateful day two years ago, I believed I is was being robbed by pirates, unidentified on the high seas. But their Admiralty Jurisdiction is of no force and will be the undoing of the war on some people who prefer some drugs. This is not the high seas, this be Wyoming, one of the last bastions of true liberty in these United States.
So take me there O Lord for I look forward to this quest for the Holy Grail, my quest to end the “war on cognitive liberty,” the right to alter my mental functioning as I see fit, provided no harm to others results. With this and other rights retained by the people, I will end the war.
No one was harmed on Elkhorn Road although some laughs were had. Does anybody remember laughter? Our folly is that 2500 years after Plato we have still not fully integrated the Pharmakon: Those remedies, those poisons, those magical substances we know and love.
We had a psychedelic hootenanny on Elkhorn. We saw infinity in one hour. After the ecstasy, the laundry.
I am charged with selling a few pounds of Mendo Outdoor to that Wyoming undercover and scooting off with their money to their chagrin, to their embarrassment. It's time for us all to strip down, get naked in the garden and do the laundry.
So I thank you Mr. Advertiser for this opportunity to state my case! May it please this Court, let there be light, let there be justice, though the heavens may fall.
Casey William Hardison, POW
Mendocino County Jail, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah CA 95482
LAUREN'S at the Buckhorn is another loss to Anderson Valley's small businesses.
Owner Natalie Matson explains what happened:
We are very sad to announce that due to circumstances beyond our control we are currently closed and have had to put many people out of work for the time being.
Lauren’s at The Buckhorn, the combination of two very popular and historic community hubs that came together just a few months ago has been operating legally on a temporary liquor license since July. This license has been in an escrow that held both the full payment amount from me and the liquor license being sold by Jean Condon, the owner of the previous bar/restaurant at this location, The Buckhorn, and the person who closed that establishment down in May 2019.
A couple of weeks ago, just a day or two before the escrow was to close after numerous delays, primarily caused by the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), Ms. Condon decided that there were better financial offers now available in the County and so she decided to withdraw from escrow. We believe this is illegal. It did not stop there, however, and she has since found another buyer and entered a new sale process to a bar/restaurant believed to be in Hopland.
The escrow contract has been broken and legal action is being taken by us, but in the meantime it is a very sad situation that the Valley is in danger of losing its only liquor license to another community and local folks, friends and family members among us, have lost jobs.
As stated above, I entered into a fully funded escrow months ago and have had my temporary license all this time, waiting for our ABC paperwork to be completed and the license to be transferred. Apart from getting paperwork in, I have had virtually no control over the timeline for this.
Given my financial commitments and the cost of running the business, it is not viable to go ahead with food and soft drinks only, so I am now applying for a temporary Beer and Wine License while I pursue either the liquor license we are legally committed to with Ms. Condon, or, if necessary, a different liquor license from elsewhere when one becomes available — there are only so many issued in the County. Obtaining the Beer and Wine license will hopefully take no more than 4-6 weeks.
Many thanks for everyone’s support and the good times so far enjoyed by lots of local folks and visitors too. I look forward to many more.
Proprietor, Lauren’s At The Buckhorn
QUESTIONS = HARASSMENT?
by Jade Tippett, Fort Bragg:
Enjoying my conversation with Chris Hart, laying out some of the concerns I have as a citizen of Fort Bragg with his organization, its relationship with the City and surrounding neighbors. Then I get this private message from his brother, Mike Hart.
Notice his framing of my civil discourse concerning a situation that significantly impacts my home town as “harassment,” accusing me of “hatred” and then asking me for a private conversation on those terms.
One, I am not “harassing” the Skunk Train. I actually think that the Skunk Train and a rail link from Fort Bragg to the Bay Area will be essential to our survival as a tourist destination in ten years or so. What I object to is the high handed attitude of the management and parent corporation of the Skunk Train, their entitlement to say and do whatever they want with impunity, including invading citizen’s private property, threatening them with eminent domain if they object to having their trees cut down and dozers cutting trails on their land. Good neighbors and civic comity start with respecting people's property and people's boundaries. If Mendocino Railway, the management corporation of the Skunk Train is unwilling to do that, that makes them a threat to our community. Of note, Sierra Railroad, the parent company of Mendocino Railway, had their contract with a Southern California community to run another excursion train held up until they agreed to waive their power of eminent domain.
Two, this is not about “hatred.” That overused trope has been thrown out all to often to de-legitimize valid civic — and civilly stated — passion over the last five years. It is actually part of a set of principals developed by Karl Rove to silence civil and civic conversation by framing it as abuse and then claiming victim. What I am is passionate for equity, justice, transparency and democratic (small “d”) participation in determining the future of our community and our world.
I'm not sure whether Mike and Chris Hart are playing good cop/bad cop here. So, Mike, agreeing to a private conversation based on what you wrote, I am not willing to do because that is a wrong and defamatory framing of myself and my position. If you are willing to have a public conversation, as your brother had the integrity to do, here I am.
RENTAL WANTED: Locally employed, mature writer seeking quiet, private parking place in Anderson Valley for 30-foot 2018 self-contained trailer to work on artistic projects. Please consider renting me a little slice of your “North 40.” I can pay a little cash, or am willing to negotiate trade for legitimate services. Call Katherine at 707 272-3301. Please leave a message.
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 5, 2022
JONA CHAPMAN, Gualala. Parole violation.
JEFFREY CHENIER, Ukiah. Controlled substance.
HOWARD COATS, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, shoplifting.
AMBROSE FALLIS, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation.
FRANCISCO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm, county parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
KEVIN KINCAID, Laytonville. Ammo possession by prohibited person, county parole violation.
RYAN TRUEBA, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
MCKENZIE WILSON, Redwood Valley. Failure to appear.
REPORT FROM FRISCO, JANUARY 5, 2022
by Jonah Raskin
The other day traveling across the city everything and everyone seemed normal, except nothing wasn’t normal. When I looked, I noticed that there weren’t many cars traveling on the city’s streets and there weren’t many pedestrians either. At times I felt like a solo wanderer across an urban landscape. Still, at 2 p.m. the bars on Valencia Street were busy, the buses on Mission Street ran on schedule, more or less, and tourists wheeled their luggage on wet streets after the morning drizzle. Masked and socially distancing, I surveyed the damage from the latest wave of the pandemic. According to The Chronicle, SF now has the third highest COVID transmission rate in California. Two friends were sick. They had bad colds, they told me by email and phone, and had isolated themselves at home. But all was not gloom and doom. The 49ers looked like they might make the playoffs and the Warriors were hot. I refused to cower before the pandemic 2.0 or was it 3.0? I had lost count. The city's cops were still trying hard to remove SF DA Chesa Boudin from office. Everyday he bombarded me with emails asking for money. Boudin had abolished cash bail, but not fundraising and the homeless still dotted some neighborhoods, like the Mission. Indeed, they're pitching huge tents on sidewalks that deterred pedestrians like me. The world was coming to an end, or so the new science fiction movie Don’t Look Up suggested. We were doomed and as usual we were entertaining ourselves all the way to the Apocalypse, Armageddon, or whatever you wanted to call it. At Civic Center, I climbed aboard the N-Judah StreetCar, traveled to Arizmendis Bakery on 9th Avenue, bought two corn-cherry muffins and a sourdough loaf, went home, made tea, took my cup outside, sat in my backyard and watched the clouds drift across the gray sky. It was just another doomsday in the city by the Bay.
LET THERE BE FREE SPEECH
One year ago, in Washington, DC, a violent assault by rioters stormed the US Capitol Building, Before it happened, then-President D. J. Trump stoked up a fiery group of his supporters, onlookers and news media. Congress was meeting to officiate the election of a new president, Joseph Biden. In his speech, Trump urged the crowd to “fight on.” Trump pledged he would “march along with his supporters,” (or words to that effect).
I support Sandra Garza, partner of slain Capitol Policeman Brian Sicknick, who suffered two deadly strokes after being peppersprayed by assaulters. MS Garza, in an interview with PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, stated that, “Donald Trump deserves to be in prison.” Why?
President Trump violated his oath “to defend the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign or domestic.” Officer Sicknick wasn’t the only officer to die. Four more later died by suicide. This isn’t the only reason why Trump should be charged with treason. He sat for hours watching the riot on tv. He did nothing to halt what might have resulted in the murders of Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Pence.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
On 1/06 Eve, ... be sure that you leave some horse dewormer and a buffalo hat on your front door-step for the insurrectionists.
THE FIRST FREE HOMESTEAD in the United States was taken by Daniel Freeman on Cub Creek in Gage County, Nebraska, about five miles northwest of Beatrice. He became the first under the Homestead Act, which took effect Jan 1, 1863.
COAST DEMS MEET COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS CANDIDATES
Reminder: First Club Meeting Of 2022 - Jan 6 At 6 Pm On Zoom
This January 6 At 6 Pm - Stand For Democracy
Participate In Mendocino County Local Elections
Meet 2 Democratic Candidates Running For Superintendent Of Schools
- Michelle Hutchins, Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools
- Nicole Glentzer, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Ukiah Unified School District
The superintendent is a state constitutional officer who acts as a liaison between local school districts and the state. The superintendent provides leadership support and state-designated fiscal and program oversight for the county's 12 school districts and their more than 13,000 students. This position also serves as the chief executive officer of the Mendocino County Office of Education.
- Candidates Presentations
- Prepared Questions
- Questions from the Floor
Please send questions for the candidates to Susan Savage: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Zoom Meeting at 6 PM: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87348507253?pwd=a01PZHNYZ1hWMzdDbE4rc3FxaWJkZz09
Meeting ID: 873 4850 7253
COUNTRY JOE IS 80
Rooftop solar should be sold at discounted rate.
When I decided 19 years ago to add rooftop solar to my home, I thought it was odd that my contractor informed me the law said I could only install enough solar panels to cover my personal use. I was required to do a power audit first. For a couple hundred dollars more, I would have chosen to add many additional panels. My roof would have helped with the much-discussed power overloads during peak use with rates going up.
I quickly realized this was the usual legislative gift to Pacific Gas and Electric Co., as well as big telecom companies for all their “contributions” and lobbying. This illogical limitation of power production was proposed by the Public Utilities Commision’s “consumer advocate,” supposedly defending us against abuses of monopoly utilities.
I was hardly shocked, but saddened, to read in an editorial written by the Bay Area News Group editorial board and published in the Marin IJ (“Rooftop solar program robs from the poor, gives to the rich,” Dec. 23) that this same advocate in the PUC was endorsing the flawed reasoning that I was now abusing lower-income people and I must pay $900 a year for the privilege of participating in the rolling blackouts.
The editorial gave no consideration that we all are adding power PG&E couldn’t produce and helping everyone keep their power on. Since the electricity we produce is essentially given to PG&E at terms they dictate, why not sell the power our 1.2 million solar households generate to others at our reduced rate? I would think our public officials would rather see lower bills than us being punished for our “greed.” PUC complicity will slow transition to solar, a goal no one supports.
Once again, our legislators have sold us out for “contributions,” and our local government officials are silent.
The cannabis industry continues to whine that they are burdened with regulation and taxes. Now officials are considering lowering or eliminating taxes. Our state and local governments rushed to enact pot ordinances because of the lure of easy money in the form of taxes and fees, i.e. greed. Cannabis growers were motivated by the lure of easy money in the form of cash revenue, i.e. greed.
Growers are discovering that money is not so easily earned due to taxes, licensing, inspections and reduced profits due to an oversupply. County officials are ignoring all kinds of unintended consequences, such as water and environmental degradation. Yet there is a feeling that the industry needs a boost. No one is forced to grow pot. And the poor small farmer here in Sonoma County is a myth. CannaCraft and Sparc are huge entities with the loudest voices crying for help.
There are far more significant issues that need to be addressed. Why is this getting such a fast track at the state and county level? Follow the money. It’s all about greed.
FORMER PRINCIPAL CHIEF of the Sac and Fox Nation Jack Thorpe — Jim Thorpe’s youngest son — tells the story of when Jim lived in Los Angeles and his picture was taken digging the foundation of the new Los Angeles County Hospital in March of 1931.
The photo was distributed nationally, and newspapers reported Jim had fallen on hard times, and had resorted to digging ditches. The real story was that Jim filled in that day for a friend whose wife was ill, so his friend could spend time with her and not lose his job.
While living in LA, Jim also helped Native Americans secure jobs in the film industry, earning him the nickname, Akapamata, the Sac and Fox word for “caregiver”
May we all have a little Akapamata within us, as we do our jobs, and pull together to help our coworkers and our community to make life a little easier for all.
MEET JED RAKOFF, THE JUDGE WHO EXPOSED THE ‘RIGGED GAME’
by Matt Taibbi
On November 27, 2011, a federal judge named Jed Rakoff threw out a $285 million regulatory settlement between Citigroup and the Securities and Exchange Commission, blasting it as “neither fair, nor reasonable, nor adequate, nor in the public interest.” The S.E.C. and Citigroup were stunned. Expecting to see their malodorous deal wrapped up, the parties were instead directed “to be ready to try this case” the following summer.
Try a case? Was the judge kidding? A pattern had long ago been established in which mega-companies like Citigroup that were implicated in serious offenses would be let off with slaps on the wrist, by soft-touch regulators who expected judges to play ball. These officials in many cases were private sector hotshots doing temporary tours as regulators, denizens of the revolving door biding time before parachuting back into lucrative corporate defense jobs. A judge who refused to sign the settlements such folks engineered was derailing everyone’s gravy train.
Citigroup had replicated a scheme employed by numerous big banks of the era, helping construct a “born to lose” portfolio of rotten mortgage securities to be unloaded on customer-dupes, who were unaware the bank intended to bet against them. A similar case involving a Goldman, Sachs with a hefty fine, but, infamously, no admission of wrongdoing. In the Citigroup version, the bank earned $160 million in profits, customers lost $700 million, and the S.E.C. wanted to impose a $285 million fine. As noted by papers like the Washington Post at the time, the S.E.C.’s logic was to ask the bank to return the money ($160 million plus interest equaled $190 million) and pay a $95 million civil penalty on top.
Citigroup that quarter alone earned $3.8 billion in profits, which meant the S.E.C. proposed to charge the bank — which had been functionally bankrupt in 2008 and was booming again thanks to a massive public bailout, engineered in part by former Citi officials by the way — a fee of 2.5% of its quarterly profits. In a country where an ordinary schlub could get multiple years in prison for something like third-degree attempted theft of a car, seeking no individual penalties and asking shareholders to forego a tiny fraction of earnings as restitution for stealing $160 million was a joke.
The fine was “pocket change to any entity as large as Citigroup,” noted Rakoff, in a blistering 15-page opinion.
Objecting to the practice of allowing corporate crooks to walk away without admission of wrongdoing, he noted that Citigroup had already begun asserting its right to deny the allegations, both in litigation and to the media. This, he said, left the public despairing “of ever knowing the truth in a matter of obvious public importance.”
Such a policy, he concluded, would reduce the court to “a mere handmaiden to a settlement privately negotiated on the basis of unknown facts.” And, well, screw that.
There was cheering in the legal community and even in the press (“Judge Jed Rakoff Courageously Rejects SEC-Citigroup Settlement” was the Post headline) for a few minutes. Then came the inevitable plot twist. Citigroup and the S.E.C., robber and cop, joined together to appeal the decision, forcing Rakoff to retain counsel.
Before long, Rakoff was overturned.
An appeals court judge ruled he had stepped out of bounds by demanding the “truth” behind allegations, saying “consent decrees are primarily about pragmatism.”
The original dirty deal was re-routed back to Rakoff, who was then forced by the appeals court to approve it. “That court has now fixed the menu, leaving this court with nothing but sour grapes,” Rakoff wrote in a succinct but seething opinion, adding one parting warning. “This court fears that, as a result of the Court of Appeal’s decision, the settlements reached by governmental regulatory bodies and enforced by the judiciary’s contempt powers will in practice be subject to no meaningful oversight whatsoever.”
The symbolism of the Rakoff episode was striking. Citigroup had been created by something like the ultimate insider deal. The merger of Citicorp and the insurance conglomerate Travelers had been struck in the late nineties despite apparently conflicting with several laws, including the Glass-Steagall Act and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. The merger to create the first American “supermarket bank” only happened because a temporary waiver was granted by Alan Greenspan’s Federal Reserve. This held up in time for Bill Clinton to sign a bipartisan piece of legislation called the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, sanctifying the deal after the fact. Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin then skedaddled to a job at the new super-bank that Citi itself described as having “no line responsibilities,” but nonetheless would go on to earn Rubin $115 million, a transaction that grossed out even the Wall Street Journal.
Thus the way the S.E.C. and the Appellate Courts essentially joined hands with this particular firm to strike down Rakoff’s ruling was a graphic demonstration of the self-defense capability of what one former Senate aide I know calls “The Blob,” i.e. the matrix of interconnected (and, not infrequently, intermarried) lawyers, lobbyists, politicians, and executives who run the country from the Washington-New York corridor. I don’t think it’s an accident that politicians in both parties, ranging from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, began scoring political points by talking about the “rigged game” just after Rakoff’s Capra-esque gesture was overturned. What did Rakoff himself think?...
SUCH A POSITIVE DREAM
by Deborah Friedell
On Monday, twelve jurors in San Jose agreed, unanimously, that Elizabeth Holmes was guilty on four counts, including “conspiracy to commit wire fraud” against investors in her company, Theranos. On the charges that she defrauded patients, she was found not guilty. On other charges, regarding particular investors, jurors were unable to reach a verdict. It was a win for the prosecution – Holmes will go to prison – though the mixed bill suggested it had been a near thing. One of the jurors (an actor with a Daytime Emmy for writing the Tiny Toon Adventures theme song) gave an interview to ABC News, reported more fully on The Dropout podcast. When it began deliberating, the jury was divided on “most everything,” he said. “It’s tough to convict somebody, especially somebody so likeable, with such a positive dream.”
Holmes’s invention was science fiction: her “Edison device” was never capable of running hundreds of medical tests, concurrently, from a single drop of blood. Her defense was that she was very young (nineteen when she dropped out of Stanford to start Theranos), and her older, more experienced subordinates hadn’t told her – in non-technical language that she could understand – that she was deluded. If she hadn’t intended to deceive anyone then she was guilty of incompetence but not fraud. Her lawyers also suggested that her investors should have been more discerning: it wasn’t Holmes’s fault if they weren’t good at their jobs.
During her seven days (!) on the stand, Holmes insisted that, to the best of her recollection, she’d spoken in the future tense to investors about what Theranos might one day be able to do for humanity, but they must have mistakenly thought that she was speaking in the present tense. Or (though she didn’t quite say this explicitly) they were sour about having lost so much money – collectively, $945 million – and were out for revenge.
It was true, Holmes admitted, that she had sometimes sent reports to investors festooned with the logos of pharmaceutical companies; she hadn’t meant anyone to think that Pfizer or Schering-Plough had written or authorized those reports, only that they had done some work together, and she wanted the other companies to get credit. She was sorry about this – she realized now how she must have given her investors the wrong impression. She also regretted that she had mishandled complaints from whistleblowers: it hadn’t been her intention to keep honest employees from going public about her faulty devices, but she had been so certain they were mistaken, and wanted to prevent them from spreading mistruths.
She regretted that she had relied too much on her deputy, Sunny Balwani, who was twenty years older than her, and had also secretly been her boyfriend. She said that Balwani had dictated almost every aspect of her life: how she had behaved as CEO, what she ate, how she spoke; she had slept with him even when she didn’t want to, rather than upset him. She said that she had come under Balwani’s control after she had been raped by another man: she hadn’t dropped out of Stanford in order to commit fraud, but because she had been traumatised, and perhaps still was. Balwani’s trial is due to begin next month.
Holmes reminded the jury that she had never sold any of her stock in Theranos: even when her shares were worth more than $1 billion she hadn’t cashed out, and when the company failed she had been left with nothing. She had been willing to go down with the ship.
Her trial lasted fifteen weeks; there were 32 witnesses and 931 exhibits, even after some evidence was excluded. Much of the material was dry and technical. Theranos had also deleted – they claimed it was an accident – a database that might have shown just how many of their blood tests were invalid. Two of the government’s witnesses were patients who had paid for faulty Theranos test results, but the prosecution wasn’t able to demonstrate that faulty tests were the norm.
The pundits were in agreement: the verdict would come down to whether you believed Holmes was the naif she now appeared to be – dressed in light colors, her blonde hair in soft curls – who often walked into court holding her mother’s hand (she’s now 37 years old). The trial wasn’t televised, but the spectators who would queue from 3 a.m. to get seats in the courtroom tweeted that she seemed sympathetic and controlled: if all you knew about Holmes was what you’d heard in court – if you hadn’t read John Carreyrou’s book ‘Bad Blood’ or listened to ‘The Dropout’ – you might well have thought her sincere, genuinely apologetic that she couldn’t answer the prosecutor’s questions to his satisfaction. Unwisely optimistic in her youth, she now hoped for some indulgence; she had recently given birth to her first child. Instead of the $30,000 handbags that she used to favor, she now touted – no less ostentatiously? – a diaper bag.
During its deliberations, the jury asked to review only one piece of evidence: an audio recording that an investor, Bryan Tolbert, had made of Holmes speaking on a conference call in 2013. Her tenses are shaky. I’m not sure where she is in time when she describes what her blood analyzers will mean for the US military: “The ability to take a technology like this and put it in flight, specifically on a medevac, has the potential to change survival rates. And what it does is it makes it possible to begin transfusions and stabilization in place.” Holmes refers to her company’s “partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and our contracts with the military.” “We’ve also been doing a lot of work with Special Operations command,” she says. There weren’t any partnerships; there was no work with Special Operations command. And her voice isn’t a little girl’s: she’s the founder and chief executive of a start-up that’s going to change the world. All she needs is for you to invest a few hundred million dollars, and get out of her way.
(London Review of Books)
GROWL (January 6)
by Steve Heilig
I saw the most delusional gullible brain-challenged anti-Americans of all storm the Capital building shouting shoving violent,
Dragging themselves through the DC streets and up over the walls through the doors and windows like boys playing at battle,
Camo-clothed arrested development white male proud boy cultists thinking they were something other than pathetic pawns in a professional profiteering con man’s game,
Who attacked and beat staff and guards defending the Capital, yelling the n-word at one who bravely held them off,
Who yelled “stop the steal” when they really had no actual idea who stole what why or where,
Who eagerly and naively ate up demonstrable nonsense garbage on FOX Fake News and online daily and felt We’re mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore, altho none could say exactly what they were mad at in any sensible manner,
Who believed a losing twice-impeached grifting serial fraudster who himself privately called them “losers” while egging them on, saying “I’ll be with you!” while hiding in his Safe Place, laughing at them,
Who couldn’t see that the only reason said “leader” was desperately trying to avoid losing office was the raft of investigations and legal consequences coming his way like a D-Day invasion,
Who had no real idea of what they might actually DO had they been successful at taking over the big building,
Who would have been mowed down had they all been black or brown people,
Who lost every legal challenge in their absurd Stop the Steal effort as they had zero evidence and even GOP officials rejected them at every turn,
Who began to whine and cry pathetically when finally tracked down and busted and brought to justice, saying Oops, we were tricked, we didn’t mean anything bad, honest,
Who then cried No, we weren’t violent, despite sending many Capital staff to the hospital and harming many more, yelling “Hang Pence” while carrying nooses, destroying and stealing Capital property, all documented by images and witnesses, etc etc etc,
Who somehow collectively embodied the polar opposite of the nation’s best and brightest while feeling they somehow could save the country for people like themselves and themselves only; so
America we’ve seen you at your worst and it’s some bad stuff
America billions of dollars January 6, 2021
America I can’t stand our own “patriots”
America they sure looked like fascist stormtroopers to me
America they want to revere civil and women’s rights and make the rich richer
America they want to suppress votes for minority rule
America this is quite serious indeed
America we have huge eco- and epi- problems and more
America it seems “democracy” is infected and at great risk
America there’s no vaccination for this
America we’re not going back to the 1950s are we?
America when will even the cultists see through the Big Con?
America you wouldn’t want these people in your own houses
America thanks for holding off the rabid dumbo insurrection attempt
America please bring them all to justice for treason, right up to the top
America no these were not “tourists,” more like terrorists
America please purge the craven GOP politicians who still cowardly bow to the Big Lie
America honestly I don’t expect too much from you anymore but
America most of us know most of us are much better than this
America we’re counting on you still
America let’s see if you can last 250 years, only a few to go
America I just don’t know anymore
America I’m just gonna walk the beach and try to figure it all out
America please do look up.
(With yet more apologies to Mr. Ginsberg)
Senior needs Good Worker for Burning Brush, Gardening, Firewood, and other Land Work.
Please be nonsmoker, have good transportation, hopefully you are vaccinated, and are reliable and kind.
I live between Pt. Arena and Anchor Bay on the South Coast. I will pay you well for Hard Work.
Please call for more details. I live with only a Land Line, at 707-884-4703, let it ring 5 times, please.
Yasmin Solomon” <email@example.com>
‘TRUMP IS A WIMP’
Trump cancelled his anniversary speech.
1 year since his coup, Trump is just a leech.
Donald Trump is a lying, crying little wimp!
Of course he chickened out on January 6th.
Trump is so scared he couldn’t speak out,
Because in America Democrats have clout.
The Cold War has been over for 30 years.
Our military & intel folks aren’t who to fear.
Clinton’s reforms brought them up to date.
Pres. Obama’s 8 years made America great!
Baby Boomers, yes the times have changed.
J. Edgar Hoover has been dead for 50 years.
Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn died long ago &
Joe McCarthy drank himself to death slow.
How will Trump shuffle off this mortal coil?
Putin will poison Trump even if he’s loyal,
Because Russia needs to tie up loose ends.
Traitor Trump believes Vladimir is his friend,
But KGB Colonel Putin used Trump like a toy!
Kompromat being the tool used to destroy,
Trump bent over backwards to help Russia,
Just to keep Trump’s sex videos undercover.
Trump was filmed at sex parties while there,
With underage prostitutes, Trump swears!
He says it’s all “fake news” and untrue stuff.
Trump was terrified we’d see him in the buff.
A Mario Kart reference Stormy Daniels made
Turned tiny Trump into Russia’s willing slave!
Embarrassments galore he’d have us ignore,
On his way out, he wanted a 3rd World War
With China, because yes Trump is psychotic.
A third run for president would be quixotic.
I FEAR FOR OUR DEMOCRACY
by Jimmy Carter
One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power. All four of us former presidents condemned their actions and affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There followed a brief hope that the insurrection would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy.
However, one year on, promoters of the lie that the election was stolen have taken over one political party and stoked distrust in our electoral systems. These forces exert power and influence through relentless disinformation, which continues to turn Americans against Americans. According to the Survey Center on American Life, 36 percent of Americans — almost 100 million adults across the political spectrum — agree that “the traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” The Washington Post recently reported that roughly 40 percent of Republicans believe that violent action against the government is sometimes justified.
Politicians in my home state of Georgia, as well as in others, such as Texas and Florida, have leveraged the distrust they have created to enact laws that empower partisan legislatures to intervene in election processes. They seek to win by any means, and many Americans are being persuaded to think and act likewise, threatening to collapse the foundations of our security and democracy with breathtaking speed. I now fear that what we have fought so hard to achieve globally — the right to free, fair elections, unhindered by strongman politicians who seek nothing more than to grow their own power — has become dangerously fragile at home.
I personally encountered this threat in my own backyard in 1962, when a ballot-stuffing county boss tried to steal my election to the Georgia State Senate. This was in the primary, and I challenged the fraud in court. Ultimately, a judge invalidated the results, and I won the general election. Afterward, the protection and advancement of democracy became a priority for me. As president, a major goal was to institute majority rule in southern Africa and elsewhere.
After I left the White House and founded the Carter Center, we worked to promote free, fair and orderly elections across the globe. I led dozens of election observation missions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, starting with Panama in 1989, where I put a simple question to administrators: “Are you honest officials or thieves?” At each election, my wife, Rosalynn, and I were moved by the courage and commitment of thousands of citizens walking miles and waiting in line from dusk to dawn to cast their first ballots in free elections, renewing hope for themselves and their nations and taking their first steps to self-governance. But I have also seen how new democratic systems — and sometimes even established ones — can fall to military juntas or power-hungry despots. Sudan and Myanmar are two recent examples.
For American democracy to endure, we must demand that our leaders and candidates uphold the ideals of freedom and adhere to high standards of conduct.
First, while citizens can disagree on policies, people of all political stripes must agree on fundamental constitutional principles and norms of fairness, civility and respect for the rule of law. Citizens should be able to participate easily in transparent, safe and secure electoral processes. Claims of election irregularities should be submitted in good faith for adjudication by the courts, with all participants agreeing to accept the findings. And the election process should be conducted peacefully, free of intimidation and violence.
Second, we must push for reforms that ensure the security and accessibility of our elections and ensure public confidence in the accuracy of results. Phony claims of illegal voting and pointless multiple audits only detract from democratic ideals.
Third, we must resist the polarization that is reshaping our identities around politics. We must focus on a few core truths: that we are all human, we are all Americans and we have common hopes for our communities and our country to thrive. We must find ways to re-engage across the divide, respectfully and constructively, by holding civil conversations with family, friends and co-workers and standing up collectively to the forces dividing us.
Fourth, violence has no place in our politics, and we must act urgently to pass or strengthen laws to reverse the trends of character assassination, intimidation and the presence of armed militias at events. We must protect our election officials — who are trusted friends and neighbors of many of us — from threats to their safety. Law enforcement must have the power to address these issues and engage in a national effort to come to terms with the past and present of racial injustice.
Lastly, the spread of disinformation, especially on social media, must be addressed. We must reform these platforms and get in the habit of seeking out accurate information. Corporate America and religious communities should encourage respect for democratic norms, participation in elections and efforts to counter disinformation.
Our great nation now teeters on the brink of a widening abyss. Without immediate action, we are at genuine risk of civil conflict and losing our precious democracy. Americans must set aside differences and work together before it is too late.