AS OF LATE MONDAY AFTERNOON, as temperatures in Comptche reached 104 degrees, a fire broke out at about 2:15pm near the Comptche Fire House, and moved rapidly east driven by the summer winds that arise every afternoon in the Coast areas of Mendocino County. CalFire soon announced that the fire was indeed “expanding rapidly” and an air quality advisory had been issued for the expanse of country between Comptche and Ukiah. The fire is burning in an easterly direction well to the south of the Ukiah-Comptche Road and west of Flynn Creek Road. There are at least two air tankers dropping flame retardant on the face of the fire as it roars through the mostly uninhabited back country lying between Comptche and Ukiah. Water-bearing helicopters are also dipping into Comptche-area ponds for repeated baskets of water to air drop on the flames. A large number of fire trucks from many surrounding communities are either on-scene or en route, including private water tank trucks. Several outbuildings have been consumed and, we understand, at least one home has been lost. The Flynn Fire, as CalFire has dubbed the blaze, had consumed more than 200 acres by 5:30 and was described as “5% contained.”
COMPTCHE RESIDENT Cindy Hollister reports: “Friends & Neighbors, Comptche lost a house behind the firehouse on Flynn Creek Road. A family got out with the clothes on their backs. If you have clothes that will fit a 2 year old girl, 9 year old girl, 11 year old boy-Adult Medium, 13 year old boy-Adult Large sizes, and two adults needing XL sizes (Rosie & Forest), 2 adults needing L sizes (Jared & Kelsey). Toothbrushes are from Comptche Store. Blankets are needed. Drop items off at Christine Clark/Jeremiah Heim's 937-2327. — Cindy CAFA Member.”
AVA READERS tell us that the home destroyed was a caretaker’s house; no one hurt, but a family with children lost everything in the house, adding, “The fire started in the vicinity of the firehouse, with the wind moving it East. At this point, it remains on the South side of Comptche-Ukiah Road. A number of structures were saved. One reader reported, “Over 200 acres have been burnt within 50 feet of our dwellings. No idea what our upper fields and timberlands look like. Two dwellings on other property went up in flames. CDF crews camped in my front yard. Car loaded with photo albums and computer but I refused to evacuate when asked and kept watering down my dwellings — on crutches. CDF will be here all night.”
ANOTHER READER REPORTED: “The fire started on land east of Flynn Creek Rd. and burned up a 100-year old farmstead and the family that lived there barely escaped with the clothes on their back. And it was home to miniature animals, and who knows what happened to them. The fire then spread East to Philbrick Mill Road which is where a logging operation had left behind piles of slash and large stands of now dead hack and squirted oak trees.”
CALFIRE’S LATEST REPORT says that five buildlings have been destroyed and 70 more are threatened. 33 fire engines, 14 fire crews, 5 bulldozers, 6 air tankers, 2 helicopters and 444 personnel are already on scene. As of about 6pm Calfire reported, “Fire is burning to the east into commercial timber property. Fire behavior is moderate to extreme with long range spotting.” Which is very similar to the language they were using for the large “Pass Fire” in Covelo last month which destroyed thousands of acres of timber before it was contained after weeks of firefighting. “Cooperating Agencies: Comptche, Anderson Valley, Mendocino & Albion Fire Departments, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation & Ukiah Ambulance (stand by).”
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THE AVA RECOMMENDS
PRESIDENT: JILL STEIN. Is there really any need to list Obama's failures? Is it defensible to vote for a person who represents the opposite of what you think you represent? Obama's first term saw his total capitulation to Wall Street; the waiving of habeas corpus; increased deportations; a reversal of his promise to legalize medical marijuana, and on and on. Name the issue and Obama has been worse than Bush. And Romney dittos all of it. Of course the Democrats, as they have for the last fifty years, are claiming the sky will fall if Obama isn't re-elected for a second term aiding and abetting catastrophe. And it's true that there is one essential difference between the candidates: under Obama things will get worse about a week slower than they will under Romney. Because even the pretense of political democracy is long gone from this country, and we're now ruled by a plutocracy of One Percenters on whose behalf both parties serve, the election process, validated by a toady media, naturally excludes the more viable third party candidates from the corporate-sponsored presidential "debates." But take it from your beloved community newspaper, Jill Stein of the Green Party is perfect on the issues. She's where Obama would be if he weren't a willing creature of the forces of destruction. And she's where most of you on the Northcoast are, too, and you should vote for her rather than more of the same. JILL STEIN FOR PRESIDENT.
Choice here is between the middle of the road extremist Diane Feinstein, basically a country club Republican, and a lady named Emken, a Republican-Republican too young to realize how dangerously crazy her fellow party members are. AVA voters are advised to write someone in or not vote for this office. NOBODY!
DESPITE its wholly undeserved reputation as a "progressive" hotbed, slightly less than 10 percent of Northcoast libs voted in the primary for the genuinely progressive Norman Solomon over the career office holding mainstream Democrat, Jared "Spike" Huffman, a San Rafael volleyball player and assemblyman. On the issues Huffman is likely to be a little better than Mike Thompson, not that he could be much worse. Huffman's opposed by a token Republican named Dan Roberts, also of Marin. NOBODY!
That eternal curse on Northcoast electoral politics, Wes Chesbro, is opposed by a bona fide good guy in Tom Lynch of Guerneville. While Chesbro has spent his entire adult life moving from one government sinecure to the next government sinecure, Lynch has been working for a living. LYNCH!
MEASURE F. Should the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors pass a resolution against corporate personhood? Do you like your Mom better than Monsanto? And even if you don't much care for the old girl, you surely aren't as far gone to the right as our Supreme Court, which ruled that corporations are people just like THEM, are you? Yes on F. Our Supreme Court is only occasionally human, but Corporations definitely aren't people. YES ON MEASURE F!
MEASURE G. Should the Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program be renewed for another ten years and funded via a $1 or $2 vehicle registration fee add-on? Although there are people up and down the Northcoast who regard abandoned car parts in their front yards as garden art, most of us think of automobile graveyards as eyesores. Keep Mendocino County beautiful. YES ON MEASURE G!
A few words about the tax measures on the ballot before we begin. Both of them are phony to varying degrees because there's nothing in either of them preventing state government from diverting the money raised to other purposes. Of course if you trust Wes Chesbro to make spending decisions for you we have nothing further to talk about. But if you happen to be a discerning, conscientious person of the type likely to subscribe to this fine publication, you will know that our tax system is unfair — very unfair — because the wealthy do not pay their share of the social load. In France, you may have noticed, the new president wants to tax the rich at about 75%. Which is what we used to do in this country before people like Romney and the Apple Gizmo Corporation, to name two unAmerican tax dodgers, began parking their money overseas where it couldn't be taxed. Or they simply kept their loot at home where Mike Thompson, Chesbro, Feinstein, Obama and the rest of the Republicans lowered taxes for them in return for, I dunno, airplane rides with movie stars? Governor Brown's Prop 30 is typical. It puts a slight tax raise on incomes over $250,000 for seven years but raises the sales tax a quarter cent for four years, meaning the $250,000 people will pay a lot less proportionately than the rest of us will because we'll be paying that quarter cent every goddam time we buy anything! And there are millions of us but incomes over $250,000 have most of the money. So, your beloved community newspaper is recommending a NO vote on the two tax propositions, not out of hostility for teachers or cops or little kids but because we need a fair system of taxation in this state and in this country, not these tiptoe taxes on people who are radically, woefully undertaxed.
PROP 30: Governor Brown's temporary taxes to fund education AND funding for "realignment," the latter being the shuffling of state prisoners to county jails, which Brown did with only one year of initial money to do it. He says the money is for kids and cops, which is pretty cynical even by his standards. NO!
PROP 31: State budget: A complicated but phony fix that would actually allow the diversion of money from a state budget mostly devoted to school funding. Why would a 2-year budget be any better than a yearly one at a time and in an economy that barely limps along on an annual basis? NO!
PROP 32: Political contributions. The problem of big money in electoral process is obvious, but this one is aimed at unions by rich people who'd return 10-year olds to work in coal mines if they could get away with it. But they can't, so they go after labor however they can, and Prop 32 is their way of chipping away at the little power organized groups of working people have to defend themselves against capital. NO!
PROP 33: Auto insurance: This thing would allow insurance combines to set the prices you pay for insurance. Which they do anyway, pretty much. But they want more control over the rules. And guess who wrote it? They did, the insurance companies. You want insurance companies to have the power to raise your rates even if you have a perfect driving record? That's what I thought. NO!
PROP 34: Death penalty repeal: Without a lot of re-hash of an old discussion, YES, of course. People FOR the death penalty argue that it's a deterrent and that some people really, really have it coming, which they do, but so long as executions are carried out by the midnight needle, and not in full view of the public, even the satisfaction the public allegedly gets from revenge is denied. And if government has the authority to kill people, well, the government just might get around to executing you, buddy. And how many people condemned to death have been found to be innocent when groups like the Innocence Project revisted their cases? Lots. Lock away the monsters, but don't take the chance of murdering an innocent person. YES!
PROP 35: Radical increase in jail time for pimps that would also require that they register as sex offenders. YES!
PROP 36: Three strikes law: A lot of career criminals pick up their third strike for relatively trivial offenses, but you've got to be fairly well committed to crime in the first place if you've already got two serious felonies when you shoplift a fifth of booze from the supermarket. But in its present form Three Strikes can be disproportionately harsh, unreasonable. The root of most crime is a combination of drugs and poverty. It will be a while before either disappears. But until they do, the justice system should be made to be as fair as possible, so..... YES!
PROP 37: Should genetically engineered foods be labeled? Of course. Should genetically engineered food even be available? No. Is Prop 37 the first step to banning Frankenfoods as its opponents claim? We hope so. Will the label make any difference? Answer: How many people read food labels? Frankenfoods are here, although France and Russia have successfully banned them. Of course those countries have more or less representative government, at least France does. Our government is owned by Monsanto, and no one reads food labels. Vote YES but don't expect anything to change.
PROP 38: Another phony tax measure, this one devised by a multi-millionaire, not that Governor Brown is a pauper. This one would supposedly fund early education. But, like Brown's measure, this thing would tax EVERYONE, leveling tiny taxes on personal incomes over $7,316 and topping out at a measly 2.2 percent for incomes of more than $2.5 million, the whole farcical show coming to an end in 12 years. Why not tax the big incomes at 95 percent as we did up through the 1950s?
PROP 39: Basically compels corporations based outside California to pay proportionate taxes in California. YES!
PROP 40: This thing has been withdrawn, but is there still someone out there who doesn't think this state is gerrymandered to keep the same people in office forever? YES! 950s?
PROP 39: Basically compels corporations based outside California to pay proportionate taxes in California. YES!
PROP 40: This thing has been withdrawn, but is there still someone out there who doesn't think this state is gerrymandered to keep the same people in office forever?
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NO SOONER HAD UKIAH paid out $21 thou to figure out ways to gull passersby into swerving off 101 for a visit, than they got invited to a “regional transition conference down in the delightful drive-by city of Richmond with blah-blah artists from such NorCal jive hubs as, “Meet and network with other Transition initiatives from the region, including Sonoma, Sebastopol, Berkeley, Albany, Santa Cruz and more! –– Be inspired by successful community resilience projects; Help take your Transition efforts to the next level; learn innovative organizing tools and methods; Engaging community diversity of all types, including communities of color, youth, income levels, etc.; Creating practical projects — Successful community resilience projects and what has been learned; Transition messaging that appeals to the masses—Messaging strategies and use of media to reach a wider audience and build a more cohesive Transition movement.”
AND SO ON. But I'll bet three of Ukiah's city councilmen — Rodin, Thomas and Landis — will have to be physically restrained from attending.
SAN FRANCISCO is undergoing its annual coyote scare. About a year ago, a woman's illegally off-leash dogs encountered a coyote near the buffalo pens and the coyotes ever since have gotten the blame for missing pets. The Grunge People's pitbulls are the biggest hazard to Frisco park life, including two-footed life, but that's another story. In living coyote fact, there seems to be about a dozen of the crafty little critters in the city, two of which I've seen myself on early morning walks through the very west end of the Presidio. The Presidio coyotes aren't about to jog up to you for a biscuit, but they don't take off at the approach of a human either. They fully co-exist. One morning a sleek 70 pounder (I estimated) trotted across a street right in front of me, then sat on a dune staring at me staring at him, the second time that's happened to me with a coyote, the first time being in Boonville when I got into a lengthy stare down with a coyote sitting nonchalantly at the other end of a big drain pipe. I love the humor in these animals. They will definitely mess with you in that uncanny way of theirs. You hear coyotes night-yowling in Mendocino County more than you see them, and when you do see them in their rural habitat, it's clear from their scraggy appearances they're working for a living. City coyotes are fed by animal lovers, and they are also assumed to help themselves to unattended cats and dogs, although I'd need some proof of that before I'd blame the coyotes. Stop me if you've heard this old coyote joke: Conservationsts committed to humane management of coyotes got together with sheep ranchers to discuss the problem sheep ranchers had with coyotes preying on sheep. A conservationist asked, "Cant you catch the coyotes, neuter them and let them go?" A rancher stood up and replied, "Lady, the coyotes are eating the sheep, they ain't screwin' them!"
JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: “My next show, ‘All About Money,’ airs on Friday, Oct 5, from 9-10am. The show will be divided into two parts. From 9-9:30 I'll interview Republican congressional candidate Dan Roberts. From 9:30-10, I'll interview his Democratic opponent, Jared Huffman. I'll largely limit my questions to the economy, in general, and to economic development and jobs creation, in particular. I want to emphasize that this is not a debate between Roberts and Huffman. Rather, I'm doing two separate 30 minute interviews. There will be no interaction between the candidates, and I'll try to leave a few minutes at the end of each interview for listeners to call-in.”
TWO FREE POLITICAL ADS, in other words.