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STRATUS is less intrusive this morning although fog will hang around through early morning hours. Light winds out of the east and high pressure will help clear skies by the afternoon. (NWS)
HOPES for a wet start to February after a dry start to the year have all but evaporated now that meteorologists report seeing little but dry, warm weather on the horizon for the week ahead. “There is still an outside chance for some very light rain on Monday, but the longer-range trends are not looking good right now,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Walbrun. “The first week of February is looking much drier now than it did a few days ago.”
151 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
Good morning, AVA.
In today’s Mendocino County Today, somebody posted, in pertinent part, the following paragraph:
“AS PREDICTED, DARCIE ANTLE, on the usual 5-0 vote, has been named Interim County CEO for a term not to exceed 12 months. Antle’s qualifications? She and outgoing CEO Carmel Angelo met at Ms. Antle’s Ukiah wine bar where, incidentally, they were often joined by DA Dave Eyster for jolly booze threesomes.”
I am 100% certain that you have me mistaken for somebody else. I have NEVER scheduled a meeting or had an adult beverage with Ms. Antle at the Church Street wine bar (or anywhere else for that matter.) I think the last time I was at Enoteca was in 2012 or 2013 with former Asst. DA Sequeira.
Likewise, any meeting I have had with CEO Angelo has always been held either at her office at the County admin center or at my office in the courthouse sans adult beverages, the latter location being the same place where I have had meetings (again sans adult beverages) with you, Mr. Editor Bruce.
Thank you for allowing this correction of fact. Enjoy the sunny weather but please pray for rain!!
DA Dave Eyster
Ed reply: Hmmm. Taking a closer look at the film, I'll concede it probably isn't you in that jumble of large ladies in jungle print sun dresses and empty wine bottles.
SHERIFF KENDALL has tested positive for covid and is self-quarantined at his Ukiah home.
AV BASKETBALL RESUMES!
AVHS basketball finally saw some action last night (1/25) against the Point Arena Pirates. After several weeks off and over a month without any games, it was great to get back in the gym to play.
JV Girls dropped their game 20-25 but it was a close one throughout.
JV boys lost a very good game 36-39. Lots of good plays and potential coming from this team, unfortunately everyone lost a week of practice and it showed at the end.
Varsity girls were dominant throughout and beat PA 43-24, even with two players missing due to injury / illness. Gibeli Guerrero led the team in scoring, with 23 points.
Varsity boys came out strong in the first quarter but couldn’t keep it going and lost their game 37-58.
On a side note, basketball season during COVID is so hard! Scheduling (and rescheduling) games and refs has proven to be super difficult but these kids have continued to show up day after day and they deserve to be commended for their commitment. Please be patient with us as the schedule is constantly changing.
Additionally, so far, spectators are still allowed into games, so please come support these kids. We love to see all the Panthers fans!
SUPES PREFER BEING IN THE DARK
by Mark Scaramella
From the superlatives the Supervisors laid on outgoing CEO Carmel Angelo at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting one would never know the reality of a badly (or un-)managed county.
Supervisor Ted Williams: “I thank CEO Carmel Angelo for her dedicated service and the honesty and integrity she brought to her work for the county.”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde said he remembered when, according to previous supervisors (Gjerde wasn’t a Supervisor at the time) the CEO made “tough decisions” that the prior CEO (Tom Mitchell) “was unwilling to make.” I.e., she cut hours and fired people. Gjerde added that CEO Angelo “righted the financial ship of the County” and “built reserves that didn't exist when the 2008 recession hit.”
Supervisor Maureen Mulheren thanked the CEO for being CEO. “It's been challenging with a lot of public rhetoric that she has faced as a female and as a leader,” said Mulheren. “I can't apologize on behalf of those people, but I can recognize the work that she has done for this community and this county." (We’re not aware of any “rhetoric” CEO Angelo faced “as a female.” A so-called “leader,” yes. But as a female. No. Ms. Mulheren chose not to identify “the work” that the CEO should be recognized for.)
Supervisor Glenn McGourty also thanked the lavishly compensated CEO for being the CEO, adding that she has been “a dedicated staff resource to us.” McGourty said he always got information from her when needed. “There's a lot of criticism and noise in the community,” grumbled McGourty, “and all I can say is consider the source.” McGourty said that he’d spoken to “all the Supervisors she's worked with and I've never heard anyone bring anything forth against her saying that she was doing something illegal or unethical. She executed her job and direction from the Board and I wish her well.” (Names, McGourty, names!)
Williams, plunging all the way through the looking glass, added, “It’s a fiction that the CEO is calling the shots. ... She has a good read on the Supervisors. She pushes ideas that are in line with our thinking and it can give the impression that the CEO is setting the direction. That’s not what I've seen from my seat. She respects ideas from Supervisors and tries to find common threads between us.”
Supervisor John Haschak said CEO Angelo had been “a tireless advocate for Mendocino County and an effective administrator. She has not gone against Board policy. She has done her best to see that Board policy is carried out and doing what an effective administrator does. The County will miss her energy, connections and expertise.”
All the Supervisors expressed their confidence in the appointment of Assistant CEO Darcie Antle as Interim CEO for up to twelve months.
As usual, the praise for the outgoing CEO was fact free, not one specific accomplishment was mentioned besides the firings and cutbacks in 2009.
Do they not know of her failure to produce simple monthly budget reports, telling us that she could but if she did it would only cause people to ask questions. (Huh? That’s the point, isn’t it?)
Do they not know that she picked a pointless and costly fight with the Sheriff after the Sheriff complained that she hadn’t been truthful with him?
Do they not know that the CEO controls their agenda, deciding what goes on, how it’s worded, what’s on consent and what’s for discussion, and when it appears? Often retroactive items appear on the consent calendar despite prior boards directing that they be on the regular calendar.
Do they not know how many of their own directives have been ignored? (Answer: Dozens and dozens.)
Do they not know how many seemingly competent people she’s shown the door or who have quit rather than work with her? Some of whom have cost the County hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside legal costs.
This is just a short list. We could go on, but the point is pretty obvious, by their own standards alone. The five auto-yes votes approve whatever Angelo puts in front of their smug, delusional, marginally competent if competent at all, pusses. Supervisor Mulheren even goes so far as to regularly post the entire Board agenda on her website with nothing but the word “approved” after each item, calling it an “update.”
On Tuesday, the Board also decided to not change from the so-called “CEO model” because to do otherwise would be just too much work for the Supervisors who — according to them — are so busy setting policy and handling constituents that they don’t have time to hire and manage the County’s many departments and department heads. Much easier to have a CEO do it.
This attitude is yet more evidence that the Supervisors don’t want anything to do with the actual operations of the County. They don’t get any regular reports from the departments listing staffing issues, current projects, budgets, problems that need attention… And they have never requested them. As long as the CEO returns their calls (always with her version of events), doesn’t overrun her generous budget (by keeping staffing low and vacancy rates high) and doesn’t do anything illegal, everything else, done or not done, is fine with the Supervisors. As long as they don’t know about it there’s no problem.
Salmon Creek Bridge, Albion
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) is reviewing the draft final Feasibility Study for the Salmon Creek Bridge Site. This study evaluates different alternatives for cleaning up lead contamination at the base of (and east of) the bridge from sandblasted waste that fell to the area below the bridge during repainting prior to 1999.
As requested by the community (no idea who requested it), DTSC will host a public meeting on Zoom to provide information, answer questions and receive public input on the draft final Feasibility Study.
Date: January 27
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm.
Zoom link: bit.ly/3pS7QPu
By phone: 669-900-6833
Meeting ID: 845 3954 2818
You can review a copy of the draft Feasibility Study online at www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov (type Salmon Creek Bridge in the search field and select from the drop-down menu). A hardcopy is available for review at the Mendocino Community Library.
Five alternatives for cleanup were evaluated. I think everyone in Albion received this notice in the mail. Many of us walk down Spring Grove Road to the bottom, where there's a locked gate. You may want to hear what they have to say and give your input.
TODAY MARKS THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE UNSOLVED SHOOTING DEATH OF 85-YEAR-OLD RANCHER, RICHARD DREWRY
One year ago today at about 10:45 a.m., a couple found well-respected 85-year-old rancher, Richard Drewry, shot dead in his blue 2010 Ford Explorer near Bell Springs Road just north of Dugan Mill Road and the Humboldt/Mendocino County line.
Patrick Drewry, the son of the victim, told us in an email interview, “Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the day somebody needlessly put a pistol to my fathers head and pulled the trigger…Changing our lives forever.”
But, he said, that law enforcement has been investigating his father’s killing. He explained, “Over the months leading up to today, The Humboldt County Sherriff’s office, The DOJ, and the FBI have been working slowly and methodically to locate the parties responsible for taking our father away.”
He added, “Through months of serving search warrants and following up on rumours and hearsay, we have slowly been able to get a picture of what most likely happened that day as well as possible people involved! With the warrants for satellite intel, cellphone tower dumps, and land line phone records the case has been steadily moving forward.”
Like many in the border area, the victim, Richard Drewry, lived in one county, Mendocino, but maintained deep connections to the neighboring county, Humboldt. Drewry’s family had been ranching in both Humboldt and Mendocino Counties for generations. Patrick Drewry, his son, explained, “His great grandfather settled the ranch in the 1860’s and [it] has stayed the same through 5 generations.”
Born in 1935, Richard Drewry grew up in both counties. The largest part of the ranch he would eventually inherit was located in Mendocino County but he graduated from South Fork High School in Humboldt County and, went to college at Cal Poly after which he married his wife, Phyllis, in 1958. He eventually became a Humboldt County Ag Inspector where he worked for 28 years, according to his family.
Patrick told us that his father, Richard, “loved his ranch and heritage.” He wrote, “[Dad] loved the Winter nights when the rain was hitting the roof and sending him off to sleep. As Spring came closer he was already planning the Spring roundup and branding.” He went onto describe some of the other work that the family did on the ranch. “We had fences to mend and horses to get shod,” he explained. “Also in Spring our dad always planted a garden. A little smaller as he got older.”
There were fun times beyond the hard work, too, Patrick told us. “Summers had my dad making sun tea and lemonade,” he wrote. “We really liked his homemade ice cream and he was proud of that. My dads favorite time of the year on the ranch was the Fall. Deer season, acorns, the leaves falling from the Oaks.”
Bitterness seeping through the words in his email, Patrick wrote, “While driving through his cattle ranch, somebody took the life of an innocent 85 year old man.”
On that morning, one year ago, efforts to save the man’s life were attempted after Drewry was found slumped in his vehicle by a couple. According to a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department press release, “Upon arrival, deputies located an elderly male gunshot victim inside a vehicle parked along the roadway. Deputies performed lifesaving efforts on the victim, however, the man succumbed to his injuries on scene.”
Patrick said, “The person/people that were involved in this killing have had a whole year to go about their lives but we havent quit looking. To the people that know who i am talking about i would like to ask you to come forward earlier than later! The wheels of law enforcement turn slowly but you should know your window of freedom is slowly closing! The sooner you come forward with information will be better than when that window shuts!”
Patrick’s wife, Jennifer Drewry, told us, “Life has not been the same since he was taken from us. We don’t feel safe on our own ranch not knowing who!!”
Samantha Karges, spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department told us that “because this case is an open and ongoing investigation, our Major Crimes Division is unable to talk with you about it at this time. However, we continue to urge anyone in the community who has information about this case to please come forward and speak with our investigators.”
If anyone has any information about this case, please contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 445-7251.
MITCHELL CLOGG: “Democracy In Chains” is a childish title for a VERY MATURE BOOK. If your taste runs a little farther than piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, if you hunger for information and understanding of such trivia as how we got here and exactly what “here” is, if you have appetite for more than the superficial treatment of current events as offered by the mass media, if you have patience to confront a whole lot of new stuff, get the book and read it. Every page is loaded with Aha!s. The author is historian Nancy MacLean. She’s a wonder!
AURA JOHANSON: From a friend, something our county should be considering…
In December, Animal Care Services (Ukiah shelter) adopted out 50 animals and euthanized 20. In contrast the Mendocino Coast Humane Society (MCHS) adopted out 44 animal and euthanized none. Zero. MCHS has given Supervisors Dan Gjerde and Ted Williams a proposal to alleviate their problem by taking over management of the County’s shelter literally next door to our shelter which also has a vet, vet clinic, animal behavior specialist, and training classes.
GEORGE DORNER: Whether a CEO or CAO is next to run this county, now is the time for a complete outside audit of the county budget. It will provide a starting point for the new regime, as well as supplying budget information to the Board for the first time in years.
DEE PALLESEN (on-line comment): I won't even finish this article let alone take it seriously because your information is inaccurate. Anne Molgaard was the Transition Public Health Director until yesterday when she was approved as the permanent Public Health Director. They broke up HHSA a while ago, with the only question remaining being do we consolidate Public Health and Behavioral Health or not. And anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention would have guessed that Darcie Antle would be the next CEO, which also happened yesterday - which is a good thing. If you aren't going to pay attention, do your research before running your mouth.
(Mark Scaramella notes: According to LinkedIn, Dee Pallesen is an administrative secretary for the County of Mendocino. Her facebook page says she works at Child Support Services (aka the Deadbeat Dad office) and was formerly staff services administrator at HHSA. )
JUST IN. A study of 5,000 older Americans by US researchers found the risk of dying dropped as exercise increased with 10 more minutes of daily exercise, slashing deaths among seniors by seven per cent annually. So, like if you exercise a hundred more minutes a day you'll live to 85? But seriously, Is there a wheeze anywhere who doesn't know this? I get a full hour a day, occasionally more if there's something I want to hike in and look at. Truth to tell, and non-geezers will want to skip the rest here as I lapse into geezer medical accounts, my arthritic knees have recently caused me enough discomfort to consider giving up my morning three miles. So I went to get a cortisone shot at a medical site I won't name. (I have to live with these killers.) The medical person enters the barren sterility that all American medical patients spend at least fifteen minutes waiting in with nothing but blank walls and formica to look at and says, “Where do you usually get this shot?” He's sweating on a cool day in a cold room. And he's brandishing the needle as if he's considering assaulting me with it. It fleetingly occurs to me he may indeed be a psycho in a green smock and a fake stethoscope. It's Mendo, Jake. Anything's possible. “I get the shot in my right knee,” I say, mentally crossing myself and reciting the Jesus Prayer. He proceeds to stick me a full inch above where it's supposed to go, damn near in my kneecap. He hurriedly leaves the room, and I more hurriedly leave the premises while I'm still upright. A week later, at St. Mary's in San Francisco, where I should have gone in the first place rather than risk Mendo, a pleasant young female doctor insists on x-rays, tells me, “Both your knees are worse than the last time you were here. If you want it, there's new stuff we give that's half and half with cortisone that should help you a lot.” I'm an easy sell. “I'll take it. I don't care if it's Super Glue.” Which it may be considering she turned her back as she loaded the needle, but she inspired confidence in that she actually seemed concerned about my medical welfare. She smears a bunch of anesthetic on my knee and, with the slightest, almost unfelt prick, in goes the needle for a few long seconds. Thank the goddess! The effect seemed instantaneous. For the first time in months I felt no pain whatsoever in my knee joints. I highly recommend the new stuff with your cortisone, my fellow sufferers.
READ IT AND WEEP: “While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s live. Our democracy is at risk because of assaults on the truth, the assault on the U.S. Capitol, and the state-by-state assault on voting rights. This election is crucial. Nothing less is at stake than our democracy. But as we say, we don’t agonize, we organize. And that is why I am running for reelection to Congress and respectfully seek your support. I would be greatly honored by it and grateful for it.” (Nancy Pelosi)
THE INSULTS just keep on coming. State Senator McGuire's State Bill 307, passed Monday in the California Senate, prevents state funding for renovation of the defunct North Coast rail line north of Willits. Further, it bans state money from being spent on the buildout of any new potential bulk coal terminal facilities at the Port of Humboldt, thus hamstringing a secretive plan to haul millions of tons of coal along the Eel River, pictured here.
THE THING IS there hasn't been even the possibility of a rail line or any other kind of rail traffic north of Willits because the track washed away fifty years ago; a coal train will never run through the Eel River Canyon even if there were a rail line between Willits and Eureka because the track is gone and would cost literal billions to re-build; there will never be bulk coal facilities at the Port of Humboldt because McGuire's coal train north from the Bay Area has, from the get, not been the remotest possibility. This entire coal train scare is one aspect of the Great Redwood Trail scam, part of which is a scheme to make sure former Congressman Doug Bosco, magically the owner of the long defunct Northcoast Railroad, gets paid. Natch, McGuires' many Democrat media gofers on the Northcoast have “reported” his press releases as if both the Coal Train and The Great Redwood Trail are real.
THE DARK SIDE OF HARBORSIDE
by Fred Gardner
The most influential promoters of California's messed-up cannabis "legalization" scheme (they are often IDed as "thought leader" or "visionary" when speaking at conferences) are now its most vocal critics. None are expressing any self-criticism. The smartest about-face was made by Steve DeAngelo, co-founder of Oakland's Harborside Health Center and ArcView, a company that connects investors and cannabis-related enterprises.
In 2016, when DeAngelo was promoting the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, I covered what was supposed to be a debate in Nevada City between him and Hezekiah Allen, lobbyist for a group of small growers. DeAngelo requested a format change so that there would be no give-and-take, just two speeches. Hezekiah foresaw disaster looming if AUMA passed. DeAngelo, who has a soothing voice, referred to the people in the audience as "legacy growers." It was the first time I'd heard the phrase and it seemed double-edged—praise that defined them as has-beens. Achieving "our ultimate goal of bringing the plant to everyone in the world," said the Harborside honcho, would necessarily involve "big business."
After AUMA took effect in 2018, DeAngelo's lobbyist provided an accolade that subsequently appeared on all his emails. The quote ran beneath DeAngelo's name where some people put a job title.
"The father of the legal cannabis industry." —Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Steve's paternity claim might well be valid, I thought. He certainly fucked the movement as much as anybody.
But now DeAngelo feels the need for an image change and is disowning his problem child. On January 18 he tweeted:
Excerpts from an interview with Harborside's former purchasing manager and clone manager that didn't run in O'Shaughnessy's:
O'S: I never understood ArcView.
Purchasing Manager: I don’t either. What I saw was people who were willing to throw down a lot of money to get into an industry that they felt was kind of fashionable.
Clone Manager: If you go to Wall Street and you say "For 15 grand I’ll get you ins with the biggest and baddest people in California," well to those guys 15 grand is nothing. You get a hundred of them to come to your conference, in one day you’ve got 1.5 million for basically letting people mingle.
PM: There’s nothing but white men.
O'S: I noticed. They had a conference at the boat club over by the estuary and hired Dr. R to issue approvals so that the would-be investors could go to Harborside and buy weed. Dr. R knew I lived nearby and said "you gotta check this out." I thought I’d walked into a country club in Kansas City. One guy was even wearing Bermuda shorts!
CM: When I showed up at Harborside I was led to believe they were going to pay the best growers the best money for the best product and we’re going to be, not only the biggest, but we’re going to be at a boutique level. And then over the years – I almost feel like it was sudden, like one day somebody said about the providers "They can't get by without us." And all of a sudden it wasn’t them making Harborside great, it was Harborside that was making them great. That became their attitude towards the providers.
O'S: 'Providers' meaning growers and edible makers?
CM: And hash makers and clone makers and growers — all of them. One day Steve and Andrew (his younger brother and top aide) would hear that on the black market somebody was selling a pound of weed for $2,500 and we’re paying $3,500. What they weren’t taking into account was that the person paying 25 hundred was buying 100 or 500 pounds, they weren’t picking through it and they didn’t have the quality standards or the mold testing.
O'S: The middleman has the power.
The purchasing manager had worked at Nordstrom's before getting hired at Harborside in 2008. She hated it. If a customer returned an item, she said, the sales woman got docked! The atmosphere at Harborside was a great improvement.
O'S: It did seem like a great job — the best growers in northern California coming to you with weed.
PM: It was awesome. I loved the job. I thought I loved Steve. What made me really love the job was working for Andrew. I thought: he's eccentric but he gets the job done. And we’re working hard for him because we admire him. And then, he had to stop wearing his overalls. He had to start being professional, you know, go from maintaining their inventory at a balanced level to running the whole show. And now he's wearing suits, no longer allowed to wear a snow cap, which made him look adorable. I liked that somebody could be a freak and still get the job done. I admired him. And then it slowly changed. I think the shift came when they went to Colorado and saw a for-profit structure.
CM: They hired a consultant who was big into Toyota’s model of a supply chain. The American companies have a warehouse full of bumpers, a warehouse full of engines, a warehouse full of wheels, a warehouse full of frames, a warehouse full of axles, whereas Toyota, as they sold them, it pinged back on a computer to the supplier hey we need one more axle, hey we need one more bumper, we need one more this. And it keeps your inventory low. Now, he was very enamored with this idea, but I tried to remind him, pot is a living thing. A lot of it is harvested at one time a year. His idea was 'we’ll just make them hold the 100 pounds all year. And then we’ll take it as needed at this low rate.' So they make people drive from Eureka once a week with 1 pound to leave on consignment.
PM: When I started we were paying $4,200 for the very best, then 38, then 36 and steadily down. And every year it's my job to tell people how much less they're going to get. And these people are my friends!
O'S: When you say the very best, was that mostly indoor?
PM: All indoor. Outdoor was probably like 22, 23, 25 for the really good stuff. And then, every year we’d drop it 200, 300.
CM: And then the contracts with growers came in around 2011.
O'S Explain the contracts.
CM: The contract was basically 'We’ll take everything you have but you got to give us this really good rate.' In reality, though, we didn’t take everything. The fine print said you had to meet these super high standards. And they’re like, 'Well for such a low price you’re going to have to take these little buds.' And we're like, 'No we don’t have to. It says it right here in the contract, we don’t have to.' It was very uncomfortable.
PM: So Rick (Pfrommer, the PM's boss) and I were like, we need to pay them more. We need to pay them more. We fought tooth and nail to pay $22 hundred when Andrew was like 'I don’t see why we have to, two thousand will work, it’s been working.' What ended up happening was the quality level went down. People started saying that I didn’t know how to – it got addressed in a review — "You don't know how to ascertain quality. Our quality levels have dipped because of your inability to buy appropriately." I was told I needed to be on the side of Harborside and that I was too much on the side of the growers.
After that I started really leveling with the growers I respected. "I want to take your product over this mediocre bullshit I had to take for two thousand a pound. What do you want? Well, how about 25 hundred? Would that work for you?" "How much would you take at 25 hundred?" "Well, we could take almost everything." "How long would it take for you to pay me?" So I was navigating the growers and navigating Steve. I tried to to make sure that everybody was taken care of, that their needs were met. And at that point I started getting more and more people to sign contracts. I took the consultant's model, but instead of forcing everybody to the lowest price, I did what was fair, what was right for everybody.
O'S: Is it going to change now that Tim has taken over the buying?
PM: Tim will push the price down. I wanted to keep my job. I wanted to do well. I reduced their cost of goods.
CM: She achieved what they asked for.
PM: They gave me a goal but then they stretched it. I was supposed to lower the cost of goods from 55 percent of the shelf price to 40 percent. And they wanted the people from ArcView to have priority putting their products into our retail store… The sad thing is, it was so great for a while.
O'S: Did you get a severance package?
PM: They said I would have to pay for it and then their finance people would pay me back. But at that point, I said I’ll go to the State. I’ve paid so much money in taxes to, I’ll apply for MediCal. I didn’t want any more hand-outs from Harborside, because they were all like, "Here take the money and go the fuck away. Oh, and sign this piece of paper that says you’re not going to say anything bad about us in the social media."
CM: They just hired on a new CFO and he’s fired some of the top-paid people.
O'S: Are they trying to sell the business? Sometimes you cut your payroll to make the deal look better.
PM: That's the only reason I can think of why they fired Rick.
O'S: What were you getting paid?
PM: At the end — this is gross — $65,000 a year.
CM: Which is not a lot for someone who’s buying three-quarters of the product coming into your building — $1 million worth of weed a year.
O'S: It’s about what a mid-level manager gets at Big 5 Sporting Goods.
PM: I was happy. My son had his insurance and that’s all I cared about. He has diabetes. And we could eat, we had clothes, I was happy. Plus, I was meeting all these wonderful people that I had a lot of respect for. I don’t want to be stuck thinking about Steve and his flunkies, waking up in the middle of the night, thinking like "Fuck them."
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 26, 2022
MARCELINO ANGUIANO, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CURTIS BETTEGA, Covelo. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property, controlled substance, offenses while on bail.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
LUIS HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Parole violation.
JARED LAMARR, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MARK NIELSEN, Ukiah. Stolen vehicle, offenses while on bail.
HEATHER SCHMIDT, Willits. Controlled substance transportation and for sale.
JUDITH SODERSTROM, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
PERLA VALENCIA, Redwood Valley. DUI.
STEVEN WHITE, Potter Valley. Vandalism.
I’VE DONE TIME IN 12 CALIFORNIA PRISONS. YUBA COUNTY JAIL IMMIGRANT DETENTION WAS WORSE THAN ALL OF THEM.
by Carlos Sauceda
In 2017, after serving 22 years in prison for a gang-related murder I committed as a teenager, the California parole board granted me early release due to my rehabilitation and leadership while incarcerated. I was incredibly fortunate to get what I thought would be a second chance at life, and I committed myself to using my freedom to improve the world around me.
But I had to put those plans on hold. Because I was undocumented, I was immediately transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at Yuba County Jail. The two years I spent there awaiting a decision on my immigration status were far worse than the over two decades I spent in 12 different prisons serving out my sentence.
Yuba County Jail is the last county jail under contract with the federal government to hold immigrant detainees in California. For the two years I fought my immigration case, I was psychologically, emotionally and physically abused by the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. Some of the cells I lived in had no drinking water, others did not have working toilets and others had no lights, leaving me and other detainees in the dark all day long. My stress increased and my blood pressure became dangerously high. In 2018, after a year at the jail, I finally won my immigration case. But Department of Homeland Security attorneys appealed the judge’s decision, keeping me separated from my family, fueling my depression and suicidal thoughts. After another year of fighting the appeal, I had to make an impossible choice: Die inside Yuba County Jail or risk imminent death in my native land. After two years of inhumane treatment, I chose the latter. I signed the paperwork for self-deportation and went back to my home country.
My story is just one of thousands playing out in federally contracted county jails and privately operated ICE detention centers across the country. Despite President Biden’s campaign promise to end the use of private prisons for immigration detention, for undocumented people being held at Yuba County Jail, no relief is coming.
Yuba County Jail has a long history of violating national detention standards. From 2010 to 2021, ICE’s own detention office conducted at least eight inspections at the jail and found 171 violations. Among those violations, inspection officials determined that a sergeant, who was involved in two use-of-force incidents at the jail, participated in his own reviews. As a result of the findings, 24 members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas demanding that the department terminate ICE’s contract with Yuba County. At the state level, California legislators passed SB29, forbidding local governments to enter into new detention agreements with ICE. But as The Chronicle's reporting pointed out, in 2018, the same year SB29 took effect, ICE and Yuba County officials “quietly extended their contract” to 2099.
Why would Yuba County officials establish an indefinite contract with ICE as the rest of the state moves to end the use of its jails by federal immigration authorities? Follow the money. The contract with ICE earns the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department a minimum of just under $24,000 a day, whether or not any detainees are being held in the jail, totaling about $8.66 million per year.
When the pandemic hit, conditions inside the jail worsened. Following an April 2020 class-action lawsuit, court orders led the jail to decrease its detainee population. Thanks to the work of human right advocates and formerly detained undocumented people like myself, and others, the jail went from having 127 detainees in May 2020 to zero in late 2021. For those of us who had fought, staged hunger strikes and protested, both inside and outside the jail, it felt like we were finally seeing the end of immigrant detainment.
But our celebrations were brief. In the two months that the jail had no detainees, the county’s contract with ICE was still in place, earning it an estimated $1.4 million. And in December, ICE transported its first detainee back into the jail. As of this week, three people are now detained there under ICE custody.
The repopulation of the jail by ICE only means we will fight even harder for liberation and the termination of the contract. Over the past year, and despite being thousands of miles away, I found ways to raise my voice. I connected with others who were detained alongside me and who were also deported and encouraged them to join the fight. My wife, along with other mothers, sisters, and family members joined us as well. We hosted Instagram live videos as a space for storytelling. For weeks, I met with congressional offices and shared my story and the story of others, which ultimately led to their support.
At a recent Yuba County Board of Supervisors meeting, newly named Chairman Randy Fletcher said that the claims made in a letter sent by the ACLU to the Yuba County sheriff and Board of Supervisors about the multiple violations and unlawful conditions at the jail were not true. “They make a lot of accusations. ... It’s not true. It’s just not true,” he said. But I and the other undocumented people who were detained there know what we suffered through is true. And it needs to stop.
I remain deeply remorseful of the loss of life I caused so many years ago. I joined the fight to end the jail’s contract with ICE because I want to use the rest of my life to improve society. Treating people inhumanely simply because they are undocumented is wrong, and helping to put an end to it is part of my new mission in life. Together, community leaders, congressional representatives and supporters can end the contract between the jail and ICE once and for all. If the Biden administration doesn’t follow through with its promise and take action soon, Yuba County Jail will continue subjecting people to inhumane treatment and dangerous conditions. The time to terminate the contract is past due.
Carlos Sauceda was detained by ICE at Yuba County Jail from 2017-2019.
BEAUTIFUL YOUNG PEOPLE are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
[Yesterday], Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife and Co-Chair of the Congressional Wild Salmon Caucus, reintroduced legislation to identify, restore, and protect the most outstanding salmon rivers and watersheds in America, and to ensure funding needed to sustain thriving salmon populations.
“The ecological, cultural, and economic importance of salmon is hard to overstate; they support tens of thousands of jobs, sustain fishing communities, generate billions of dollars in economic activity, and provide a food source for millions of people. They also hold immense cultural significance for Tribes, like many in my district, who have fished for salmon since time immemorial,” said Rep. Huffman. “But this important species is facing numerous threats, and their populations are declining across the country. The Salmon FISH Act will identify critical centers of salmon abundance to ensure these areas receive the protection, support, and funding they need to continue to sustain the healthiest remaining salmon populations.”
Habitat degradation, pollution, dams, overharvesting, climate change, and other factors have caused salmon populations to decline across the country, severely impacting Tribes, fishermen, and the communities that depend on them.
The Salmon FISH Act would promote the vitality of salmon populations by:
- Identifying the core centers of salmon abundance, productivity, and diversity as Salmon Conservation Areas and identifying areas of particularly pristine quality as Salmon Strongholds.
- Building upon existing analysis such as that used in Essential Fish Habitat.
- Ensuring actions of the federal government do not undermine the abundance of these areas.
- Authorizing funding for a grant program focused on restoration and conservation of Salmon Conservation Areas and Salmon Strongholds.
- Supporting current federal programs already focused on restoring and maintaining healthy watersheds.
What Supporters are Saying
“Salmon stronghold rivers and other critical salmon conservation areas contain the most important wild salmon populations left along the Pacific Rim,” said Guido Rahr, president and CEO of the Wild Salmon Center. “There is a lot at stake: salmon are critical for the health of our watersheds, clean water, jobs and food, and an inspiration to us all. By protecting the strongholds, we will ensure strong runs of wild salmon into the future.”
“It is so important for us to take special care of the remaining productive salmon habitat that we have left. If we don’t, we’ll stay on the path towards devastated fishing communities and Pacific ecosystems and, ultimately, salmon extinction,” said Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. “This intelligent and forward-looking bill would identify and apply special conservation status to the most important salmon habitat areas that remain and use existing public processes to ensure we keep them healthy.”
“Pro-active solutions to protect and restore critical salmon habitat are few and far between. We are grateful for Congressman Huffman’s legislation, which recognizes the value of salmon strongholds that our communities in Southeast Alaska rely on,” said Katie Riley, Policy Director of Sitka Conservation Society. “Salmon populations across the West Coast are facing immense challenges from development, climate change, ocean acidification, and warming waters. Congressman Huffman’s legislation will help protect and restore salmon habitat on the Tongass National Forest, ensuring that our communities, our economies, and the Alaskan way of life are able to thrive for generations to come.
“Recreational fishing for west coast salmon provides tremendous economic, cultural and conservation benefits, yet these species face many challenges,” said Mike Leonard, the American Sportfishing Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs.“The recreational fishing industry is grateful to Rep. Huffman for leading this effort to sustain salmon by focusing on their most significant watersheds. The Salmon FISH Act will help maintain and enhance these aquatic ecosystems to the benefit of future salmon runs and the communities throughout the west coast that depend on them.”
“There could not be a more urgent time for the Salmon FISH Act than right now. Wild salmon populations throughout the West Coast and Alaska are showing clear signs of struggle due to climate change and habitat loss, and local communities are struggling as a result,” said Tim Bristol, Executive Director of SalmonState. “Investing in the restoration and protection of our country’s most abundant salmon watersheds is one of the most important things that we can do to help ensure that our largest remaining wild salmon runs, like Alaska’s Bristol Bay and Southeast Alaska’s transboundary rivers, continue to nourish local Indigenous people, provide thousands of renewable jobs, and supply hundreds of millions of pounds of sustainable wild seafood. We applaud and thank Congressman Huffman for introducing the Salmon FISH Act and are eager to see it passed.”
“CalWild strongly supports the Salmon FISH Act because it will provide desperately needed resources to management agencies and help guide conservation efforts for critically important fish species,” said Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director of CalWild. “We look forward to the protection of the last strongholds for these culturally and ecologically priceless animals. We thank Rep. Huffman for his continued outstanding conservation leadership.”
Original cosponsors of the bill include Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Mike Thompson (CA-05), and Alan Lowenthal (CA-47). The bill is endorsed by Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, American Sportfishing Association, CalWild, SalmonState, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Salmon Shares, and Wild Salmon Center.
ON LINE RESPONSE: Legislation comes under… W.O.T.M. (Waste of Taxpayers Money). Sen Huffman introduces legislation to “make it rain”… er… “like it used to.” All the political “arm-waving” won’t do any good unless that happens. No rain = no fish. Sorry about that… but it’s true.
BY NOW, 14 years after the Obama bailouts and QE (Fed Quantitative Easing) rescue of insolvent banks, a new condition has emerged: a vast sum of private capital seeking to move out of the financial markets. Many of the most astute One Percent are taking their money and running — into private equity and real estate. The result is that housing prices are soaring as private capital is out-bidding owner-occupant home buyers. While the latter face rising mortgage-interest rates, private capital finds the likelihood for both current rental income and capital gains to be a much better bet than the stock and bond market. The result will not be a decline in real estate prices, but a decline in home-ownership rates as a shift to rental housing occurs. The financial class is becoming the new absentee landlord class.
— Michael Hudson
by Linsey McGoey
How many children does he have? For years Boris Johnson couldn’t say. Does he understand the lockdown rules that his government imposed in 2020? He claims not. Did he realize he was at his own birthday party? Nope. But with his much touted knowledge of Latin, Johnson can surely understand the phrase “ignorantia legis neminem excusat.” Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
The principle is ancient, visible in the writing of Aristotle and Cicero, and its influence can be felt in all modern legal systems, for several reasons. First, it encourages public literacy of the law. Second, it places a burden on authorities to make laws publicly accessible. Most important, it closes an obvious loophole that Steve Martin did a comedy bit about on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s:
You’re accused of a “foul crime,” you just say two simple words: “I forgot.” And if someone replies: “You forgot?” You say: “Well. Excuuuse me!”
It looks as if Boris Johnson has stolen Steve Martin’s lines. And the joke’s on us, because it’s working: at least for Johnson, still clinging to power (for now), or for Priti Patel, who faced no personal penalty for the bullying claims settled by the British Home Office. It works for those at the top, who think the rules don’t apply to them for the simple reason that often they don’t.
Take the idea that ignorance of the law excuses no one. At one time upheld as a universal principle, in recent decades it has been relaxed – but only for some crimes, those disproportionately committed by richer individuals, such as tax evasion. (“You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes!” Martin’s skit began.) As one legal scholar puts it, for the tax evader ignorance really “is bliss.” Forget to pay a hefty tax bill? No problem, as long as you can afford the right lawyers. Forget you had weed in your pocket? The excuse won’t fly – especially if you happen to be a person of color in Britain, where black and minority ethnic offenders are more likely to be sent to prison for drug offenses than other defendants.
The Metropolitan Police announced Wednesday morning that they would after all be “investigating a number of events that took place at Downing Street and Whitehall in the last two years in relation to potential breaches of Covid-19 regulations.” It was unusual, the Met commissioner said, to investigate “retrospectively,” but there was a need to consider whether “there was evidence that those involved knew or ought to have known that what they were doing was an offense.” In other words, ignorance is now, rather conveniently, a possible excuse. If Johnson didn’t “know” he was committing an offense, he could be cleared.
Funny how this hasn’t been a valid excuse for others.
A 66-year-old man in Brockley who went to his allotment in January 2021 was fined £100. He told the courts: “I am a pensioner struggling to pay my way, and in debt already. I did not wish to break the law.” Tough shit for him; he’s not the prime minister. Tough shit, too, for those stopped by Warrington police, who boasted on 29 March 2020 that
“Overnight six people have been summoned for offenses relating to the new corona virus legislation to protect the public: These included;
Out for a drive due to boredom
Returning from parties”
Many people at the time raised concerns with the heavy-handed police approach. How do we know someone was “bored” rather than feeling threatened by domestic violence? How do we know a walk to the park didn’t stave off feelings of self-harm?
The police weren’t tasked with considering such ambiguities. The more prosecutions, the more “evidence” of public recklessness, making it easier for the government to shift the blame onto those who could least afford the fines, rather than shouldering any responsibility itself for the failures that have led to more than 150,000 deaths from Covid-19.
Johnson is tough on crime – but only crimes committed by other people. “If you are guilty of antisocial behavior,” he said last August, “and you are sentenced to unpaid work, as many people are, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be out there in one of those fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs visibly paying your debt to society.” Not him though. He’s not a real criminal. He’s rich and in power, and that makes him different.
Getting rid of Johnson will not solve Britain’s problems. The Conservative policies that have seen child poverty, homelessness and reliance on food banks soar since 2010 will not be reversed under a new leader. A defense today of the principle of the rule of law won’t make a fairer society overnight. But it’s a move in the right direction. Accepting flagrant abuses of power because it’s uncertain that anything will really change is the height of nihilism. Ejecting even one corrupt or incompetent leader is worth it as proof that it can be done.
(London Review of Books)
CATCHING UP WITH CRAIG
Just finished a morning walk around Garberville, California picking up litter and recycling the empty cans discarded on the ground. Walking peacefully with an empty supermarket paper bag, just picking up litter trying to make the town look a bit nicer, that's all. Walking around the dead end near the cluster of motels, the ego disappeared. The radiant Atman, light of lights which lives in the center of the chest, shines, as the body-mind complex continues to act, unaware of itself. This is the condition of a Jivan Mukta. It is being established in the 4th dimension and being able to act in the 3rd dimension. Everyone everywhere may enjoy this supreme blissful state. And it's free.
Relaxing right now at Local Flavors on Redwood Drive, sipping a red eye coffee, the traffic goes slowly by, outdoor seating is filling up, the cloudless sky is a soft sattwic blue, and it is quiet. The large screen televisions inside have the sound off, so there are only high definition pictures of psycho news broadcasts, the channel featuring border patrol capturing women smuggling narcotics, freaky commercials selling irrelevant consumer products, and sports updates. Black and white photographs of Southern Humboldt county adorn the walls.
I am a light being. You are a light being. Please contact me and let's do something worthwhile on the planet earth. Just one Jivan Mukta chattin' it up with other Jivan Muktas at the moment, know what I mean?? ?
Craig Louis Stehr