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Mendocino County Today: September 20, 2012


TWO DEATHS of prominent citizens have cast a pall over the Anderson Valley. Bruce Longstreet passed away early Tuesday morning at his home in Philo, and Efren Mendoza died in Mexico on Friday, August 31st. Mr. Mendoza was interviewed by Steve Sparks of this paper in its edition of July 14th, 2010, a version of which will appear next week as a memorial tribute to a man crucial to the life of this community. As was Bruce Longstreet, a former manager of KZYX (and long-time public radio participant) and, until he became too ill to work, the manager of the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service, a very nice man, and only 58 when he was carried off. A memorial service for Mr. Longstreet has been scheduled for Sunday, September 23 from 3-8pm at the AV Grange in Philo. Potluck dishes and utensils encouraged. An obituary will appear in the AVA in the next few days. This is a picture of Longstreet we found on line from his days at WFMU, the public radio station in Jersey City, New Jersey.

COMMENT OF THE DAY re Muslim anger at insulting depictions of their god: “The arrogance is mind-boggling. France and England gave themselves the ‘right’ to draw the borders of the Middle East, with the Versailles Treaty. They drew borders with no regard for geography, market relations, cultural differences; the lines simply went where each nation thought it would benefit them. They then took various Ottoman territories, like Transjordan, and Iraq, and Palestine, as if to shepherd them to nation status. Well, except Palestine, of course, whom Lord Balfour had promised to the London Jewish Federation, during the war, as a Jewish National Home. Such colonial enterprises had been going on since the 18th Century, and continue today, more through the US than old Europe; but the emphasis is the same: The People Don't Matter. And few in the West will put themselves into the shoes of the average Arab. How would you feel if your national borders were so weak that a foreign power could fly in and assassinate someone they have decided was a terrorist? How would you feel if the Chinese or Russian air forces came in over your neighborhood with attack helicopters, landed on the lawn of the person across from your house, and blasted up his house, taking the man of the house away in a body bag. To you the guy was a famous Chinese or Chechen dissident, but the Chinese and Soviets called him a terrorist, and in their mind their actions are justified. How would you feel if in that sort of atmosphere, where your dictator is supported by foreign powers, those nations mock your lifestyle, your culture, your religion? We're pushing a people who have been pushed for two centuries, not including the Crusades, which are a chapter of arrogance unto themselves. We can keep it up, and we'll provide the catalyst for the Arab Spring to coalesce into an outright purge of dictators, not by asking them to leave but by slitting their throats. When that happens, you can kiss your four dollar a gallon gas goodbye. And you can kiss your kids and grandkids goodbye as they suit up to fight in a bloody Middle East war we aren't going to win.” (— Lance Beekman)

SONOMA COUNTY GRAPE GROWERS are worried about a shortage of vineyard labor as the 2012 harvest begins. Mendo? We're trying to find out, but Mendo's demographic is much like Sonoma County's in that vineyard labor has aged, and the children of that labor seldom follow their parents into the fields because, unlike their parents, they have the career options typically enjoyed by second generation children.

USED TO BE young Mexican men crossed the border to work in one or another crop then went home when the season ended, but on the Northcoast vineyard workers tended to stay, with their wives soon joining them. They became legal immigrants and they raised families here. Now, there's a shortage of vineyard workers.

HOW MUCH DOES a vineyard worker make? The Employment Department claims an average of $14 an hour and up, with many growers paying more to ensure they'll have a crew at harvest time — doubly ensuring a crew at harvest time if they can employ as many people as they can afford year-round.

ACCORDING to the Pew Hispanic Center, fewer workers are arriving from Mexico than are returning to the motherland. Bad employers may soon find themselves facing ruinous labor shortages at harvest time. And there's the marijuana factor: Why work for $14 in Legree Vineyards when you can make $40,000 in a season growing the infamous soporific?

A PAIR OF RESEARCHERS at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute say that their studies show that cannabidiol shows real promise as a cancer-fighting agent. “It turns off the activity of a gene responsible for metastasis in breast and other types of cancers” without turning on the patient, the two researchers say. “The preclinical trial data is very strong, and there's no toxicity. There's really a lot of research to move ahead with and to get people excited,” Sean McAllister told the SF Chronicle. He, along with Pierre Desprez, has been studying the active molecules in marijuana — called cannabinoids — as potent inhibitors of metastatic disease for the past decade.

THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE goes to an all-electronic toll system by early 2013, Bridge officials announced Tuesday. More than two-thirds of drivers using the bridge will continue to pay tolls using FasTrak, the current system that automatically tallies tolls based on a device placed in vehicles. But drivers will also be able to pay through a pay-by-plate account where toll-lane cameras would record license plate numbers and charge credit or debit cards each time they cross. Drivers can also pay online or at special pay stations located along the Highway 101 corridor. Retiring 32 toll-takers is supposed to help close an annual $66 million budget deficit.


49'ERS QUARTERBACK Alex Smith was kinda fined $15,000 by the NFL this week for wearing a Giant's cap at his post-game press conference Sunday. The league requires players to wear only NFL-affiliated swag. The fine was quickly withdrawn but, I suppose, even a multi-millionaire like Smith would rather avoid $15 thou a whack.

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