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FROST ADVISORY in effect from 2 am to 8 am PDT Wednesday.
PACIFIC HIGH PRESSURE will allow for a reprieve in the active weather pattern on Wednesday, before a series of storm systems takes aim at the Pacific Northwest Thursday through Saturday. Periods of rain will be mainly limited to areas north of Cape Mendocino. Some clouds may linger along the coast through the weekend, while the interior clears out and warms up. (NWS)
MENDOCINO COUNTY HIT WITH AT&T PHONE, INTERNET OUTAGE
Internet and phone services were disrupted Tuesday afternoon in parts of coastal Mendocino County due to what officials said was an AT&T outage.
The service disruption originated in Fort Bragg and was affecting landline services along the coast, including 9-1-1 dispatch and DSL internet, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter.
Residents who were unable to reach 9-1-1 with an emergency were urged to call 707-961-2800 for law enforcement, fire or medical assistance, according to the Sheriff’s Office. County officials temporarily boosted emergency staffing along the coast, state Sen. Mike McGuire said in a tweet.
“Take care of yourself. Try to help your neighbors,” Ted Williams, a Mendocino County supervisor, said in a tweet. “Extra presence in impacted area.”
AT&T crews were called “to fix the fiber/phone line cut,” McGuire tweeted. “No estimated time for restoration.”
An AT&T spokesperson told The Chronicle the company was looking into the issue. Additional information was not immediately available.
THE CITY OF FORT BRAGG is recruiting for a Chief of Police who will be responsible for the day-to-day police operations in the community, prioritizing and organizing goals, communicating, engaging in the community, and appropriately allocating available resources with the help of Peckham & McKenney. This is a fabulous opportunity to live in a community surrounded by beautiful redwoods, the Pacific Ocean and serve community-oriented local residents and visitors alike. We are a small organization with wonderful hard-working employees. Are you ready to learn more about this exciting opportunity? Go to peckhamandmckenney.com/police-chief-city-of-fort-bragg-ca to learn more!
ROOM FOR RENT in Philo. Single person, no smoke, alcohol and drugs, no pets. Room furnished ready move in more details call this number 707-472-9009.
ABOUT MEASURE M…
A PHILO READER WRITES: I just got my sample ballot for the June election. There’s information about the school facilities bond that for some reason has not been mentioned in all the promotion coming out of the District and their new Superintendent. Generally, I agree that some work needs to be done on Boonville’s aging facilities. But…
I did not realize how much this is going to cost. According to the sample ballot the District wants a total of $13 million in bonds (i.e., borrowed with interest), at about $725k per year from Valley property owners at a rate of 6 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value. That doesn’t sound like much — until you do the math. In the Valley’s overpriced housing market that means that a typical $500k property would be hit for $300 per year for this bond. Ouch. I'm already paying over $5,000 per year in property taxes.
Then we get to the list of activities the borrowed money is supposed to cover. Keep in mind that Anderson Valley Unified, like most area schools, is seeing reduced enrollment which should translate to reduced facilities needs.
I am not aware how they came up with their list nor if it was ever publicly discussed by the School Board or public, but I don’t recall it being on a Board agenda. Here’s the (annotated) list of things AV Unified wants to spend the $13 million on:
“Specific School Facility Project List. The items presented on the following list provide the types of school facilities projects authorized to be financed with voter-approved bond proceeds. Specific examples included on this list are not intended to limit the types of projects described and authorized by this measure. The following types of projects are authorized:
Acquire, install, repair, or replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning and purification systems. (Probably necessary.)
Renovate, modernize, construct and expand aging and outdated classrooms and school facilities, including furnishings and equipment. (Expand? Why if enrollment is declining?)
Upgrade, repair, replace, acquire and/or install infrastructure such as electrical, water, gas, plumbing, drainage, septic and telecommunications and other technology systems. (Probably necessary but I don’t like the sound of “other technology systems.”)
Update sites to meet handicap accessibility (ADA) requirements. (Minor improvements like walkways and such, probably ok. Major stuff is best left alone to retain grandfather status and avoid expensive but minimally helpful remodeling.)
Construct, furnish and equip a new multi-purpose room at the elementary school including related facilities. (Should not be necessary with declining enrollment because there should be existing rooms available to use for a “multi-purpose room.”
Replace or repair roofs, doors and windows. (Probably necessary.)
Refurbish high school gym including flooring and ceiling. (Didn’t they replace the gym floor (expensivly) just a few years ago, and wasn’t the gym roof repaired under the prior bond measure?)
Update, modernize, and improve restrooms, food service and cafeteria spaces, kitchens, and other support spaces. (Probably necessary.)
Improve student and campus safety by acquiring and installing security systems, monitoring systems, communication systems and fire and life safety systems. (What safety problems have they had? Why will this generic list “improve” safety?)
Acquire, install, upgrade and/or repair landscaping, lighting, walkways, paths and parking lots including signage. (No need to use for bond money for this. This should be ordinary maintenance and repair work.)
Renovate, upgrade, construct, expand and equip agricultural program facilities and classrooms including indoor and outdoor areas. (I don’t see a need for “expanding” the ag facilities.)
* * *
I also object to the open-ended, blank check nature of this measure. The way they’ve proposed the bond means there is no closed limit on spending, and no way they’d ever spend less than the full $13 million.
The editor is singing the praises of the new Superintendent. But I don’t know and don’t trust the school board to stay on top of these projects to make sure they don’t creep into more work, more change orders, and other non-essential areas. In addition, we don’t know how long Superintendent Simson will be around. At the rate that they say the money is coming in, we’ll be paying hundreds of dollars a year extra per parcel for at least 20 years. The work will probably take at least three years and inflation at its current rate will take a major bite out of what they can do.
I would have preferred to have a much more narrowly defined list of projects of just the most obviously needed work for less money and over a shorter period. As it is, combined with all the other taxes, fees, and charges in the pipeline (including the Boonville water/sewer project), Anderson Valley, and Boonville in particular, is being asked to finance quite a bit these days, even though Boonville is said to be an “extremely economically depressed area” according to census data.
I’m open to hearing anything the District might have to say about this nearly blank check facilities bond measure, but I cannot vote in favor of this over-sized bond measure as it is presented, especially when they say, “Specific examples included on this list are not intended to limit the types of projects described and authorized by this measure.”
Name Withheld, Philo
* * *
SUPERINTENDENT SIMSON RESPONDS: Thank you for the opportunity to respond. The Board of Trustees discussed and voted on this bond measure in numerous open sessions and followed the legal process for placing the measure on the ballot. The list of facilities projects is always lengthy as a protection that any necessary work that may required will be covered within the scope of the approved bond. I highly encourage anyone that wants to visit the sites and see the current condition of the properties to please do so on May 12 at 4:30 at the high school or on May 19 at 4:30 at the elementary school. It is also important to realize that the .06 cent tax on $100 is based on the assessed value NOT THE CURRENT MARKET VALUE. Consequently, a long-term property owner is taxed at the assessed value currently on the roll, not a fair market value.
Please do not hesitate to send me an email at email@example.com for a personal tour, a chance to sit down and visit about the facts or just an opportunity to meet.
ROOM FOR WHAT? WHERE? “Democracy is alive in Mendocino County, including a race for Supervisor in District 5. You have options. I will be highlighting policy differences between myself and John Redding. I ask you to keep your comments polite and kind. There is room in America for opposing perspectives. — Ted Williams”
THE ABOVE combination of piety and hypocrisy could only come from one small area of the United States, the Fifth District of Mendocino County, national home of the passive-aggressive public style. In fact, Williams ignores “opposing perspectives” if he can, and his slavish performance in office can hardly be described as “kind” unless your idea of kindness is calling your departing colleague [McCowen] a thief in open session, not to mention the routine unkindness Williams has signed off on when it was put in front of him by CEO Angelo. (Angelo's reign will haunt the county for years to come in the fiscal time bombs which are her legacy, many of them avoidable if her five auto-votes had had some political backbone.)
MALCOLM MACDONALD called Monday morning to say that “You can be wrong about Williams” but went on to imply that if I supported Redding for Fifth District supervisor he was finished as an AVA contributor. “Haven't you been reading my column?” Macdonald demanded, as if he and his reporting were infallible, that it was downright treachery to even consider Redding.
I'VE WRITTEN that Williams has been a disaster on a disastrous board of supervisors led around by the nose by a disastrous CEO. Williams, imo, does not deserve another four years in office, and I said that the combative Redding as a supervisor, at a minimum, would be “therapeutic” in the present context of local government. So shoot me.
YEAH, I have read Macdonald's coverage of the hospital district; it's my job. Frankly, I find the guy's reporting on the hospital district pretty much impenetrable in an inside-baseball kinda way, with only the reporter's loathing for Redding coming through loud and clear.
I DON'T FEEL strongly about either Redding or Williams to loathe either one of them, but we follow the supervisors very closely — the only media that does — and we think our opinions are grounded in the demonstrable facts that Williams' performance has been lamentable, even more lamentable than his two predecessors, Hamburg and Colfax.
BECAUSE REDDING seems to have been deficient as a member of the hospital board doesn't mean he will be deficient, or less deficient, than Williams has been as a supervisor. Of course in the lockstep, insufferably smug “liberal” Fifth District, Redding, a Republican and a practicing Catholic (gasp!) has zero chance of unseating Williams. But in Malcolm-Think it's a mortal sin to even try to consider the guy objectively. (Only about 20% of 5th District voters are registered Republicans. And only about 16% of Fifth District voters voted for Trump in 2020.)
REMINDER: WILLIAMS & HIS BOARD IN INACTION:
AN UPDATE/RECAP: MENDO’S MAJOR FAILURES & SCREW-UPS (A growing list…)
by Mark Scaramella
Failure to deal with non-reimbursable mental health and drug-addled residents as Measure B called for, choosing instead to overpay for the Whitmore Lane demolition and rebuild for more much than a new facility would cost.
Picking a pointless and costly fight with the Sheriff over computer independence and liability for ordinary budget overruns.
Failure to enforce Measure V to reduce standing dead tree fire hazards/”nuisance,” even with a County Counsel’s formal opinion two years ago that Mendocino Redwoods was clearly not exempt from nuisance laws.
Failure to revise the pot ordinance with a two-acre limit after their latest use-permit proposal was withdrawn in the face of a pending local initiative, leaving the County and well-meaning applicants in permanent limbo.
Failure to plan or budget for their ill-considered consolidated Chief Financial Officer office despite voting it into existence with no plan or analysis.
Failure to convene their Public Safety Advisory Board despite its incorporation in County Code more than a year ago.
Failure to follow advisory Measure AG which was supposed to allocate the majority of pot tax revenues to Mental Health, Roads, Emergency Services and enforcement. In fact, nobody has even asked for a tally of those revenues for purposes of proper allocation.
Failure to set up permanent emergency operations center so that disasters can be responded to quickly.
Failure to develop a single project to submit for grant funding to mitigate drought.
Failure to provide promised paramedic subsidy to local ambulance services.
Wasting about $80k on a “strategic plan” that a large percentage of their own employees described as “a waste of time” while saying they are operating on an “austerity budget.”
Failure to set up a re-established water agency in a timely manner despite drought emergency — $330k consultant will only deliver a “work plan” by August after which no one has any idea what will happen or when or how much more it will cost or what authority it will have.
Failure to impose water restrictions or gaging requirements on local water agencies.
Failure to set up a budget line item for Sheriff’s overtime so that overtime can be managed and planned for as incidents occur, instead threatening the Sheriff with personal liability for overtime.
Failure to provide monthly departmental budget and status reports to the Board and public.
Wasting $4 million on a Crisis Residential Treatment Center, spending $5 million to build the equivalent of a $1 million four-bedroom house.
Failure to staff positions which the Board itself says are revenue generating positions both general fund-funded and grant funded.
Failure to codify a Mendo version of Sonoma County’s vacation rental restrictions to ease housing shortage for locals.
Failure to require permit status reporting to see if permits are taking unreasonably long to process.
Failure to consolidate Mendo’s five dispatch operations into two — Police and Fire/Ambulance — while keeping nine redundant dispatch positions on the night shift when fewer calls come in.
Wasting almost $400k on an unnecessary Board chamber “remodel.”
Failure to plan for the significant impact of the new courthouse on affected county offices: District Attorney, Public Defender, Probation, Sheriff.
AND this Umbrella Failure: Failure of all five Supervisors to bring up any of these failures for an agendized discussion in an attempt to redress them.
AN OPEN LETTER TO VICKI WILLIAMS, campaign manager for John Redding 5th District Supervisor candidate
Good morning - I wish to Congratulate you and John Redding for attempting to keep our 5th District residents focused on issues rather than distraction. You and John have a tough road ahead of you. Your opponent, Ted Williams, has all the advantages of incumbency, and is an absolute master of distraction and the dark art of political triangulation.
Rather than allow discussion about affordable housing, appropriate economic development, establishing best management practices within county admin, or his failure to meet most of his 2018 campaign rhetoric, he would rather stoke liberal fear of Mar-A-Lago becoming Mendo-A-Lago. As Williams tries to stoke these fears for his own political gain, I find his attempts both contemptible and disqualifying. Much thanks to you and John Redding for holding a positive vision of what we can be when we don’t throw people under the bus of our political stereotypes.
KIRK VODOPALS: A functional water tower in Mendocino... Tank's full
COMMENTS ON HOMELESSNESS from the indispensable Redheaded Blackbelt:
(1) Some of you commenting must have had everything handed to you or your mommy and daddy helped you out. I am a carpenter and have always made pretty decent wages, I’ve been able to keep up with my age and I’m 43. I was renting a room from a friend on Union st and my truck was broken into and all my tools were stolen. About $5000 worth, and that is how I make a living. What money I had saved I bought what tools I needed to get by. Right after that my friend’s son got out of prison and was up to no good and stole alot of my personal belongings so I had to find a place. I just happened to be working for a lady that bought a house on Humboldt Hill that was vacant because of fire damage. I was staying there and working to pay rent. I started getting shorted $300-$400 a week for about a month and finally brought it up. The woman started screaming at me telling me her mom just died and I didn’t care. She was being impossible and she wanted me out in two weeks, I left. Now I am homeless, I just spent my last money on tools and for some reason I wasnt able to find work for a few weeks. I don’t have one single person I can ask for help and there are zero services for the homeless. Seriously none, like garbage, what do I do with it? Either find a garbage can around town or pack it with me and go to the dump every time I need to throw something away. I found work now but where can I go to clean up? There isn’t even anywhere you can wash your hands unless you find a bathroom and even the public bathroom behind the mall is only open from 9-5. So where are all these homeless supposed to use the restroom? I tried sleeping in my truck in Samoa and “no camping”. I’m not trying to camp,I’m trying to sleep in my truck so I can get up and go to work, not camp. I tried sleeping in my truck in Eureka and apparently you can’t , so wtf am I supposed to do? This whole town hates the homeless so it doesn’t matter how good of a person I am , as soon as someone thinks you are homeless they look at you with disgust. I thank God that I have a trade to fall back on. I am making $40 hr now for the last two weeks and in those two weeks I put in 47 hours. So I will have a place really soon but to be humbled the way I have been and see things from this side of the road really opens my eyes to how fucked up people are to the homeless. Yes there are plenty of drug addict homeless that destroy everything because it doesn’t belong to them but you never know someone’s story or why they are where they are. I can see both points of view. The homeless have no facilities but if you give them some they will fuck it up and destroy it. There are a few that ruin it for the rest. Nobody wants the homeless around but what are they supposed to do? Most of them are just trying to live. If there were programs to help with housing where you could work around the community for credit or pick up trash. The leap from being homeless to not when you have nothing is near impossible and I truly hope all of you stuck up people who’s shit doesn’t stink get humbled the way I have and watch the community you live in turn on you and treat you like scum because you don’t have a house. The amount I have paid in taxes, I should never be treated the way I have been.
(2) I lived in a van for a couple of years while going to college. Technically homeless, but I always had a job. As far as showering and keeping clean, health clubs are your best friend. Planet Fitness is only $10 a month and is open from 5am to 10 pm.
I have always been an advocate for a tent city (big military style tents) where anybody can get a safe night's sleep and some food. To utilize that though, one must be sober and willing to take job skill classes, drug rehab if needed and to also work around the facility cleaning, growing food, etc.
Our current programs unfortunately just enable addicts to continue living their self-destructive lifestyle. This is not compassionate to the homeless, nor to the citizens who must deal with all the ramifications that go along with rampant drug use and homelessness.
FORT BRAGG MAYOR BERNIE NORVELL ON HOUSING
Failings of Fort Bragg?
The city of Fort Bragg absolutely understands the urgency. The city now allows buildings in commercial districts that look like houses to be occupied for residential purposes. The city developed and paid for preapproved engineer plans for ADUs free of charge to the public. The city now allows tiny homes to be used as ADUs in the city. If you don’t know ask or watch a council meeting.
The city understands the benefit of a community land trust; that is why we started one. If you don’t know ask or watch Council meetings.
The city bans all vacation rentals in residential zoning and allows a very limited number in the commercial district and only on the second floor. If you don’t know ask or watch a council meeting.
For housing trusts see number two above. If you don’t know ask or watch Council meeting.
If you could direct the public to the council meeting where these responsible developments were approved and then denied it would be appreciated. If you don’t know, ask or watch a council meeting. All of our meetings are online for your viewing pleasure.
KELLEY HOUSE HISTORIC BOOK SALE
Come on folks, admit it, there is something weird and enticing about holding a hundred year old book cradled in your hand you just spent a whopping $5 per. This could be you on Sunday May 29 between 10a.m. & 3p.m. at the Kelley House Museum on Main St. in Mendocino, but get there early because the old stuff goes fast.
What’s a museum doing selling their old books? Mostly these books are donated items extraneous to the collection, but some are just plain surplus. Having one physics book used by high school students at the turn of the last century is nice, but the museum has five of them. Math geeks are invited to buy the other four. With fewer books on the shelves in the Library of the Kelley House we can better display what we’re keeping.
“General Laws of California 1909” is a worn leather bound volume of 1,775 pages donated by the Malpas family of Little River, along with a box of century old books. Know a lawyer that needs an interesting gift? A 1929 Boy Scout “Handbook for Patrol Leaders” has beautiful illustrations.
How about "Mechanical Movements” by Gardner Hiscox from 1899, or one of the oldest book being offered, an 1876 soft leather copy of “Roop’s Easy Calculator for Mechanics, Farmers and Business Men” that solves math problems. There’s a 1911 “Elements of Woodworking” by Charles King, with photos, and from 1925 a lovely volume called “Whale Ships & Whaling” centered in New England with photos, drawings and paintings on most every page.
“Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine” April 1894 can be yours, or “Scribners Magazine” from February 1888. There’s also a Scribners hardcover bound volume for the year 1876 with 915 pages of history. Retired librarian and Kelley House volunteer Katy Tahja, who curates the yearly sale, wants $40 for that volume but welcomes people trying to talk her down on that price. One hardcover copy of Jacques Helfer’s 1970 “Natural History of Mendocino” is available and this author loved drawing bugs.
Want to see clever old time tourism promotion? A 1968 “Mendocino County California” paperback has a clear plastic 33&1/3 rpm single record included to punch out and play so you can hear “Story & Sounds of Mendocino County” and read about 65 business establishments.
A last treat is 25 donated copies of “Conversations with Grandmother Redwood” by Bonnie Sanger on the Mendocino Coast. Bonnie was a one-woman wonder, a WWII vet, costume designer, acupressure therapist, peace circle leader, mom and benevolent crone. She kept a diary from 1978 to 2005 about her musings on the world with her favorite tree. The book came out just as she passed away in 2006 and she never got to see it in print. It’s only 42 pages and beautifully produced.
For all these wonders, and more books of history, travel, cooking and gardening (but NO fiction) plan on coming to the Kelley House on May 29. Call curator Katy Tahja at 937-5854 if you have any questions about the titles listed above.
NAVARRO POINT STEWARDING THIS THURSDAY
Hello Navarro Point Preserve volunteers. The Mendocino Land Trust and I invite you to join us as we remove the ever-dwindling population of bull thistles at Navarro Point this Thursday, May 12th, from 10am til noon.
The Preserve is located about 2 miles south of Albion on the ocean side of Hwy 1. Partly sunny weather is predicted and the ocean views are jaw-dropping. We hope to see you there!
Navarro Point Preserve is owned and managed by Mendocino Land Trust, which relies on volunteer stewardship workdays to maintain our network of public access trails. Volunteers spend two hours a month pulling invasive plant species, picking up garbage, maintaining the trails and taking in the beautiful scenery. Stewardship workdays are scheduled for the 2nd Thursday of each month, 10am to 12 noon, and are open to all ages and experience levels.
SAVE ALBION BRIDGE
The discussion for removing our iconic Albion River Bridge is coming to an end. CalTrans has begun a public comment period, ending May 20th at 5pm. If the decision to replace moves forward it will take, per the CalTrans web page:
4 years to complete. This project is one of 3 projects, (Albion River Bridge, Salmon Creek Bridge and straightening/widening Highway One along the coast up to and between these 2 bridges) which Caltrans refuses to acknowledge as one big project, thereby avoiding an environmental impact report, as would be required by the California Environmental Quality Act.
When completed, Albion residents will lose their winding road and picturesque Bridge. Instead they’ll have a wider straighter highway that will send speeding cars across the standard and wider cement bridges into the small 2 lane highway that continues north of the Albion Bridge.
I never understood why CalTrans doesn’t embrace caring for our historic Albion Bridge? What a feather in their cap it could be! Instead, they choose to take a one size fits all approach with their cement bridge options. At the estimated cost of 100 million dollars, with left over toxic debris from the dismantled wooden underpinnings, this replacement bridge will gut the soul of our little town and leave our “claim to fame” to be remembered only in pictures. Safety concerns? Check out the study done by 2 independent bridge engineers, who specialize in wooden trestle bridges, on this remarkable and safe Bridge: https://albioncab.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/albion_bridge_engineering_report.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3ZedyeCXUXaJ23SrQ1fBjHT3avHi3gbOVDMdrU0OBrLWPBd5kbrJht4IY
Please send an email to Caltrans contact person Lisa Walker firstname.lastname@example.org or or by US Mail to Liza Walker, Caltrans District 1, 1656 Union Street, Eureka 95501, and say why this is not a good way for them to spend our transportation funds. For more info go to: https://www.facebook.com/savethealbionbridge
PS If you haven’t already done so, an investigation into the relationship between CalTrans, who pays money to the Coastal Commission, and the Coastal Commission, who green lights Caltrans’s projects, despite irregularities and protest by local residents could be fruitful and deserves outing. The CC is supposed to protect our Coast but they appear to be under the thumb of CalTrans, as evidenced by CC’s response to the Albion Bridge Stewards’ numerous communications pointing out how CalTrans is not following the correct procedures to ensure safety and protection of the environment while they pursue replacement of the Albion River Bridge.
REDWOOD EMPIRE SPRING FAIR RETURNS June 3-5, 2022
The Redwood Empire Spring Fair will return to the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds June 3rd - 5th, 2022.
“We can’t wait to welcome guests back for the Spring Fair,” said Jennifer Seward, Fair CEO. “Families can expect to enjoy classic fair food, carnival rides and entertainment, including live music and the popular Monster Trucks and Mudd Boggs. It will be a great event for the community and we hope to see many past and new visitors.”
Guests are encouraged to indulge in their favorite fair foods, including classics like kettle corn, caramel apples and corn dogs. The Spring fair will also feature live music nightly from 6 to 10 p.m. Featured musicians include Fake News, Scott Forbes and Banda Pacifica.
While admission to the fair is free, the grandstands will require a ticket. Pre-sale Monster Truck tickets are available at all Mendo Mill stores in Lake and Mendocino Counties and Ukiah Grocery Outlet. Pre-sale Monster Truck tickets are $22 for adults (12 and up) and $15 for children (3-11 years of age). Prices at the gate are $25 per adult and $18 per child.
Pre-sale carnival wristband tickets are available at all Mendo Mill Stores in Lake and Mendocino Counties, Ukiah Grocery Outlet, Ukiah Taco Bell, Raley’s, Chavez Market, and the Creative Workshop. Pre-sale wristbands are $30 each (price at the carnival is $35) and are good for any one day. Parking is $10.
Gates will open for the Spring Fair at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 3rd and at Noon on Saturday and Sunday.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 10, 2022
RICHARD BARTH, Willits. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run, resisting.
SEANA BOYLAN, Petaluma/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.
CHRISTOPHER FOSTER, Covelo. Domestic abuse.
JENNIFER FRANKLIN, Fall River Mills/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JUAN MARQUEZ-DIEGO, Clearlake/Ukiah. Pot sales-transportation, conspiracy.
MICHAEL MCCLELLAN, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
DEMETRIA PIKE, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
UKRAINE, TUESDAY, MAY 10
Russian missiles struck the outskirts of the southern port city of Odesa overnight. Ukrainian authorities said seven missiles were firedeah and hit a shopping center and warehouse, killing at least one person. They suggested Russian troops were relying on old missiles with faulty targeting systems. The Russian military has said its key targets included storage and transport lines for Western weapons. The Pentagon said it was unclear how well Russian targeting was working, or the objectives of the strikes.
Lithuania became the first country to declare Russia a perpetrator of terrorism, according to Ukraine's Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security. Lithuania's parliament also voted unanimously to designate Russia's actions in Ukraine as genocide, joining Canadian lawmakers in making this formal accusation.
The U.S may soon have an ambassador to Ukraine — for the first time since 2019. Congressional confirmation hearings began for President Biden's nominee, Bridget Brink, a veteran diplomat currently serving as ambassador to Slovakia. If confirmed, she will become the first Senate-approved envoy to Ukraine since former President Donald Trump fired Marie Yovanovitch, who later testified in Trump's first impeachment inquiry.
Leonid Kravchuk — Ukraine's first president, who led the country to independence as the Soviet Union collapsed — died at 88. He was a driving force in Ukraine's declaration of independence from the USSR in 1991 and served as president until 1994. In 2020, he returned to politics to try to negotiate a settlement for the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists had fought Ukrainian forces since 2014.
The ripple effects of Russia's war in Ukraine are changing the world: stores running out of cooking oil, farmers scrambling for fertilizer, nations rethinking alliances. See the seismic and tangible repercussions in all corners of the globe.
Orthodox Christian churches are drawing in far-right American converts.
Congress is looking to pass nearly $40 billion in aid for Ukraine.
Ukrainian journalists win a Pulitzer citation for their courage and persistence.
U2's Bono and the Edge held a concert in a Kyiv subway station.
SCHUBERT FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL ...
I normally don't let my personal Facebook page stray into politics so please forgive me as I make this exception:
Yesterday, Monday, May 9th, the ballots for this year's June 7th primary should have gone out in the mail. Voting begins when you receive your ballot.
The election for California Attorney General is critical for the future of California. IMHO the clear choice for Attorney General is Anne Marie Schubert.
Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert is a career prosecutor with 31 years of experience. Anne Marie has spent her career prosecuting violent crimes, including child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and murder cases. She is well known for her expertise in the use of DNA to identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent.
Anne Marie is an internationally recognized law enforcement leader, famous for her successful prosecutions in cases such as the Golden State Killer and the Second Story Rapist, as well as exposing California’s massive EDD fraud and fighting the early release of violent criminals.
Anne Marie's experience and leadership has earned her my support, the support of most of the other elected District Attorneys, deputy prosecutors, law enforcement officers and crime victims across California.
Anne Marie is running as an independent because public safety is not a partisan issue. Let me say that again -- public safety is a non-partisan issue that cuts across all political party lines.
California needs a REAL prosecutor to tackle the issues we are facing: Rising violent crime, rampant theft, a crisis of homelessness, drug addiction and mental health and the early release of violent criminals from prison. Anne Marie is the one to lead this state out of the chaos.
I would appreciate it if you would please exercise your vote for Anne Marie Schubert to be California's next Attorney General.
If you have the means, please also consider contributing to her campaign at: https://annemarieforag.com/
Finally, I encourage you to share this post with your friends, family and colleagues. The more the merrier.
VIA BETSY CAWN
Comments from Veterans for Peace on Sonoma Sheriff's militarization move…
Copied from Facebook post from Veterans for Peace Sonoma County, 1 hour ago:
So, the Board of Supervisors decided that it wasn't interested in what the community thinks about its Sheriff's Office having military weapons. They just voted to bypass any consideration over the next two weeks and just gave the sheriff a rubber stamp. These are people - not a single one of them - who can consider themselves public servants. They are servants to the County staff and County staff members are servants of the Sheriff. (We found that out when IOLERO [SoCo’s law enforcement oversight board] was being formulated by the staff.). It's beyond disgusting.
This kind of instantaneous decision (which was obviously arranged behind the scenes) makes a mockery of the Brown Act, though local government has always used the Brown Act against us, rather than for us, as the California Constitution requires. There was no emergency - what's the rush? Except that they don't want to hear from you. So let them hear from you now in a really big way! It would be great if every one of you would write the Supervisors and let them know you are angered by this abuse of power - no matter how the County Counsel has told them they can get away with this. (“No biggie, guys! Who's going to sue you?”) The County Counsel - the County's lawyer - is one of those staff members who is in the Sheriff's Office pocket. So, here you go - write to all of them:
Susan Gorin - email@example.com
David Rabbitt - David.firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Coursey - email@example.com
James Gore - firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynda Hopkins - email@example.com
The Lake County Board of Supervisors will hear public comments on the local Sheriff's proposal, which is published on the Sheriff's website, on June 7: lakesheriff.com/Assets/Sheriff+Site/Public+Resources/Use+of+Force/LCSO+Policies/militaryequipment.pdf
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Every teenage girl should have to publicly burn her diary as part of an initiation into adulthood. There could be beautiful rituals in High School Auditoriums. Though first they would have to go thru the initiation of becoming “a girl of grace.”
Boys? Wilderness training. Vision quest. Monitored fighting with each other. Military training. “Volunteer” labor for the State. Maybe young women too if they aren’t on early marriage track. Don’t want to? Fine. You never become a citizen.
INAUGURAL MENDOCINO CRAFT FARMERS AUCTION Presented by Cannabis Community to Support Local Non-Profit Scheduled for July 16, 2022
(Mendocino County, CA) - The inaugural Mendocino Craft Farmers Auction (MCFA) presented by the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) and the Mendocino Producers Guild (MPG) will be held on July 16th in beautiful Mendocino County. This first-of-its-kind event will be hosted courtesy of Jim Roberts and Brian Adkinson of The Bohemian Chemist cannabis brand, who also own The Brambles, a lovely event venue in the heart of the redwoods in the picturesque Anderson Valley of southern Mendocino County.
MCFA is a charity auction, with proceeds going to support the invaluable resources made available within Mendocino County by Redwood Community Services Crisis Response. This is an opportunity for the cannabis community of Mendocino to give back to the broader community and the County, while at the same time raising consciousness about the high quality of the cannabis produced here and the incredible people who produce it.
Auction items will include rare opportunities such as visits and overnight stays at some of the top local cannabis producers farms, health and wellness experiences, fine dining and adventures in our world-famous wilderness. Other items offered will include locally made crafts, gift certificates from local businesses, farm products and more. Generous donors should not be surprised if their generosity is matched by growers who want to share from their Private Reserve for a truly unique and coveted experience!
The affair will start in the late afternoon when guests can explore items featured both on the silent and live auctions, sip local wines from Maple Creek Winery and sample some of the finest cannabis in the world, shared by Mendocino farmers. An elegant supper will follow catered by Chef Dan Hagopian of Sonoma Market. The Live Auction will kick off during dessert, to be followed by lively dancing under the stars and the redwoods with music provided by DJ Mo Magic, herself a small farmer from Covelo in northeastern Mendocino.
This is a great way for visitors to discover the eclectic wonders of Mendocino County. Accommodations will be available on site at the Brambles and their sister location, The Madrones, as well as in nearby hotels. Upon purchase of your ticket you will receive details about special discounts for those attending the event.
The Mendocino Craft Farmers Auction is a private event by invitation only, with attendance limited to 150. Tickets are $200 each and will be tax deductible. Interested guests and sponsors should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details. There are limited tickets available for this special event to meet the farmers, contribute to a worthy cause, and to be part of a memorable gathering in Mendocino County.
For ticketing, sponsorship, donations and event information contact email@example.com.
ON THIS DAY in U.S. History: The first transcontinental railroad is completed on May 10, 1869 when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroad companies meet each other in Promontory, Utah, and connect their respective rail lines with a ceremonious final spike.
The completion of the transcontinental railroad connected the eastern railroad lines, which ended at Council Bluffs, Iowa, with the Pacific Coast, thus creating a rail line that traveled from the east coast to the west coast.
The need for a transcontinental railroad was first realized in 1832. But it was not until 1853 that Congress began to appropriate funds to begin exploring possible routes for a completed east to west coast line.
Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act in 1862, which granted land and loans to two railroad companies, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific, to build a transcontinental railroad.
Since the United States was in the middle of a civil war, construction did not begin until 1866.
The U.S. government paid the railroad companies a certain amount of money for each mile of track laid, which depended on it being level or uneven ground, and provided a certain amount of land on either side of the track.
The government’s offering provided competition between the two companies who raced each other to lay down more track before they met, which resulted in the meeting point having to be renegotiated.
Crews worked 12-hour days in harsh conditions, either in snowy mountains during the winter or through the desert in the summer, but persevered to complete the line.
When the Union and Central met in 1866, the railroad was completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
(For a detailed account of the Transcontinental Railroad construction read historian Stephen Ambrose’s book ‘Nothing Like It In The World.’)
by James Meek
The strangest thing about the Victory Day parade in Moscow this year was the absence of victory. Normally it’s there, the victory over Nazi Germany, a safely won triumph, unchangeably in the past, veterans and the glorious dead honored, the country rebuilt, and in his speech today Vladimir Putin went through the motions of commemorating it. But this year, for the first time since the original Victory, Russian troops are openly fighting a war against the descendants of their Ukrainian former comrades-in-arms, on land whose evocative toponymy casts doubt on Russia’s traditional representation of May 1945.
After the speech, after the military parade, Putin, as usual, went to lay a flower on each of a row of granite blocks outside the Kremlin walls commemorating the ‘hero cities’ judged to have shown special valor in the struggle against the Nazis. He laid the first flower on the monument to heroic Leningrad, his home town. He laid the second flower, without any noticeable hesitation, on the monument to heroic Kiev.
For the three decades after 1991, it didn’t make much difference to the original Victory that Russia accepted, however grudgingly, Kyiv’s being the capital of another country. But now that Putin has invaded the other country, now Putin seeks to beat Kyiv, to capture Kyiv – in Russian nationalists’ fantastical construction, to liberate Kyiv – Putin isn’t just setting himself the task of achieving victory. He makes the original Victory contingent on victory over Kyiv, and if he doesn’t achieve it, that foundational moment, in the top-heavy ideological framework of Putin’s Russia, is no longer Victory with a capital V. It’s just one victory in a mundane cycle of historical wins and losses.
Putin only mentioned Kyiv itself once in his speech, in the context of a false allegation that Ukraine, which voluntarily gave up its ex-Soviet nuclear weapons in the 1990s, was looking to acquire new ones. That, in turn, was part of a brief, tired version of his familiar and thinly evidenced justification for attacking Ukraine, that Ukraine had been about to attack Russia.
There was a lot of speculation before Victory Day that Putin would take the moment to bind 1945 and 2022 together in a great knot of weapon-sacralizing martyrology by injecting victory directly into the present war. Either he would simply declare it, stating that the limited and vague aims of Russia’s ‘special military operation’ had been achieved – including Crimea, Russia now controls about a fifth of Ukraine, and, as well as killing tens of thousands of people, it has destroyed or damaged much of the country’s infrastructure – or he would try to promise victory in the near future, rallying the nation by allowing the ‘operation’ to be officially called a war, mobilizing the country’s military reserves and putting the economy on a war footing.
Putin did neither. He offered neither victory in the present, nor the firm prospect of victory in the near future, apart from a limp ‘To victory!’ at the end. He described a world of Nazis stretching from Kharkiv to Alaska – a world in which the Ukrainian republic is run by Nazis, who are supported by American vassals such as France, Britain and Canada, who are also, by implication, Nazis, all controlled by America, likewise tainted with the Nazi stain. Not only is there no victory now or promised to come, Russia’s ur-Victory over the Nazis turns out not to have been a victory after all.
At the same time, without calling it a war, Putin made it brutally clear that it was one, and that Russian troops were dying in it in large numbers. ‘I wish the quickest recovery to [our] wounded soldiers and officers,’ he said. ‘And I thank the doctors, paramedics, nurses and staff of military hospitals for their selfless work ... You’re fighting for every life, often under fire, in the field, not sparing yourselves.’ The parade ended with a bizarre disconnect, as the TV announcer and the live reporter from Red Square wore the cheery smiles suitable for a holiday celebrating something glorious that happened long ago, while the commander-in-chief’s still fresh words left a residue of doubt that it had ever happened, or ever would.
For its 9 May message, Ukraine released a video of Volodymyr Zelensky speaking to camera as he walked alone down Kreshchatyk, the main thoroughfare of central Kyiv, deserted and strewn with tank-traps, piano music in the background. Kreshchatyk is where in peacetime Ukraine holds its parades; the street, badly damaged during the Second World War, was rebuilt with the help of forced labor by German prisoners. Zelensky’s motif was the distillation of a continuing attempt to identify Putinism, rather than elements in Ukraine, as the inheritor of the spirit of Hitler. In contrast to Putin, Zelensky insisted over and over again on the certainty of Ukrainian victory in this war, even as he insisted on Ukraine’s right to celebrate its role in the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazism as proudly as Russia. Eight million Ukrainians died during the Second World War. ‘On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory,’ he said. ‘The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt we will win.’
It would be wise not to overplay the contrast between the two speeches – the uncertainty of Putin’s, the bravado of Zelensky’s. And yet the absence of victory on Putin’s Victory Day and the abundance of it in Zelensky’s language reflect the fact that the initiative in the war, with all the excruciating implications for both sides, has for the time being passed from Moscow to Kyiv. Each side is within sight of a disappointing outcome that both could, nonetheless, claim as victory of a sort; neither side has yet won all that it thinks it is still capable of winning. Initiative, in this case, may simply mean defining what kind of a partial victory is victory enough.
Now that Putin’s original plan has failed – to replace the government in Kyiv with a puppet regime and create a string of autonomous, Russia-controlled regions in a weak federal state – he seems to be out to conquer as much of Ukraine as he can, either to annex directly into an expanded Russia, along the lines of Crimea, or to sponsor as loyal but nominally independent mini-states.
The maximalist project would have involved taking over all of southern and eastern Ukraine, including Kharkiv, Odesa and the great cities of the Dnipro river: Kyiv, Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia. This project has, at least for now, been thwarted by the effectiveness and bravery of Ukrainian resistance, by NATO – mainly American – military intelligence, and by a flow of weapons, fuel, ammunition and money from the West. Russia has been pushed back from or abandoned the ground it took and held with such brutality around Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy and Mykolaiv. It is trying to make good its intention to take over the whole of Donbas – Luhansk and Donetsk regions – but its offensive there has stalled. It still hasn’t ended resistance in Mariupol. Its troops have not yet even approached the best-fortified Ukrainian-held cities in the Donbas, Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.
After two and a half months, it hasn’t pushed Ukrainian troops back from within artillery range of Donetsk itself. Village by village, Russian forces are being pushed back from around Kharkiv. The cities of Zaporhizhzhia, Mykolaiv and Odesa seem out of reach for the Russian military, a half-broken behemoth hobbled not so much by the vast number of tanks and armored troop carriers it has lost as the fact that it started the war with so few soldiers. According to the military analyst Michael Kofman, some Russian armored troop carriers were going into battle (before a shot had been fired) with only three infantrymen, instead of the usual eight, in each vehicle.
Russian and Ukrainian forces now face each other along a front line some five hundred miles long, from the hills, rivers and forests of the Ukrainian north-east to the steppe lands of the south-west. It would be very difficult, both politically and from the point of view of another war in the future, for Ukraine to accept a truce until they have pushed the Russians back to the border north of Kharkiv and at least as far as the Siverskyi Donets river east of it. Similarly, it is hard to imagine Ukraine tolerating a pause in the fighting until the Russians withdraw from, or are driven out of, the city of Kherson and the other towns it holds on the west bank of the Dnipro.
For Putin – under pressure at home from public figures more nationalist even than him – to declare victory for Russia would be hard without taking control of all Donbas, a very distant goal as matters stand.
Still, supposing all these things were to happen – Kyiv recapturing the city of Kherson, securing Kharkiv and beating a fighting retreat from Donbas – what then? Russia would still have taken over a huge area of Ukraine, including not only Donbas and Crimea but the southern parts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. Millions of Ukrainians loyal to Kyiv would be abandoned to Moscow. Tens of thousands of hectares of prime farming land, thousands of factories, Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant, most of its coast and the mouth of the Dnipro would be under Russian control. It would be far from Zelensky’s stated terms for the beginning of the end – to put off for fifteen years the question of Crimea’s status, and for Russia to withdraw to those parts of Donbas it controlled before the invasion. That’s without considering Russia’s naval blockade of Ukrainian ports, or reparations.
Ukraine, then, is doomed not just to go on the offensive against Russian occupation, but to make a series of agonizing decisions about how much destruction and bloodshed it is prepared to bear, and inflict, to win back its land; decisions that its Western sponsors will have a say in. In his Victory Day speech Putin made clear that he already considered Donbas to be a part of Russia. In their actions in southern Ukraine since day one of the invasion (the early loss of Kherson was the biggest Ukrainian military disaster of the war so far) Russia has made clear it intends to stay as master of cities like Kherson, Melitopol and Berdyansk. Schools have been ordered to abandon Ukrainian textbooks and curricula. The Ukrainian hryvna is being replaced with the Russian ruble. Harvests have been diverted to Russia. Russian internet service providers, mobile phone companies and dialing prefixes are replacing Ukrainian ones. Objectors are being imprisoned.
The war will not end, and though there is a hope of it stopping, that stop seems far away. Zelensky’s talk of victory on Victory Day stems from confidence in an army that has achieved remarkable acts of defense against a staggeringly incompetent offensive. How will it fare when the roles are reversed? Putin’s entire case for war was based on the idea of defending Russia against attack from Ukraine. And although there was little victorious in his Victory Day speech, he did talk about defense. Ukraine didn’t attack Russia, but now Putin is stealing Ukraine (and Ukrainians) and declaring it Russia; by this logic, if Ukraine fights to get the lost land back, it is invading Russia after all. In the medium term, Putin’s hope of victory may lie not so much in the original act of theft as in the successful defense of stolen land declared, with righteous fury, to have belonged to him all along.
MISTAKES I MADE IN RESPONSE TO MY SON’S MENTAL ILLNESS
by Patrick Cockburn
My son Henry was admitted to a Priory mental health hospital in February 2002 after he tried to swim across Newhaven harbour and was rescued from the freezing water by fishermen. Doctors made the diagnosis that he was in an early phase of schizophrenia, a condition described by one medical authority as being to mental illness what cancer is to physical sickness.
I thought again about the experiences of my wife and myself at that time on seeing trenchant criticisms in a recent inquest and in a newspaper investigation into the inadequate care given by the Priory Group, Britain’s largest private provider of psychiatric care, which receives £400m from the NHS for its services.
My own memory of the facility where Henry had a room is not particularly negative or positive – though I did make friends with a man whose deeply troubled son had been able to get out of the building and suffered crippling injuries when he jumped from the top of a multi-story car park.
A cover for individual and governmental inaction
But I am not going to repeat the endless horror stories about the mistreatment and neglect of the mentally ill in Britain, copious though the evidence is of culpable failures. I fear, however, that one effect of this dismal picture is to numb people into feeling that nothing much can be done given the intractable nature of the illness and the more general meltdown of the institutions supposedly dealing with it.
Talk of a “broken mental health system”, a “culture” that accepts blunders and “institutionalized” shortcomings has a fine denunciatory ring to it. But in practice these jeremiads provide a cover for individual and governmental inaction, since problems seem too big to be resolved except by vastly expensive root-and-branch reforms, which are not going to happen, while blame for avoidable misery and deaths is spread too thin for anybody to be held responsible for them.
Not nearly enough is done for the mentally ill, but this does not mean that nothing can be done by individuals or communally. Horrendous problems face any family affected by psychosis and these are exacerbated by ignorance.
A state of shock
This was certainly true of my wife and I when Henry had his original breakdown, leading us to make a number of mistakes – details of which are worth recounting because many others will face similar dilemmas.
We wanted Henry to stay in the Priory because it appeared to be user-friendly and we dreaded NHS facilities which we feared might be like 19th century lunatic asylums. Henry was in the Priory because the NHS had no bed for him when he was rescued from drowning. But when one did become available, we turned it down because we were in a state of shock and willing to spend any money we had to do what we could to protect Henry and make him better.
I only took on board that this was a mistake when I rang up Marjorie Wallace, the founder and chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, to ask for advice. She said that there were no silver bullets when it comes to dealing with psychosis, though she knew of desperate families bankrupting themselves by paying for expensive treatments for loved ones in private clinics in pursuit of imaginary cure-all treatments. “Unfortunately, they don’t exist,” Marjorie told me. “Whatever you do, stick to the National Health Service.”
Strains on the family
We took her advice, but in those early months I made the mistake of resigning as a correspondent on The Independent to devote all efforts to helping Henry recover. The flaw was that I could not do much more than I was already doing and being jobless simply added to the strains on the family. An element of sympathetic magic probably crept in here, reflecting a subconscious feeling on my part that if I sacrificed my professional career this would somehow help my son.
Another explanation for this decision was that I did not fully understand that coping with mental illness is a long-haul business with no place for self-destructive gestures. I was still confusing full-blown psychosis, from which recovery is likely to be slow and arduous, with neuroses and mental ill health, for which therapies exist with varying levels of effectiveness.
In practice, few therapies help until a person is stable on medication. Such drugs have a bad reputation because they control but do not cure mental illness and have side effects, though these are generally less toxic than they were 50 or more years ago.
Looking back, our mistake we made during Henry’s illness which had the worst impact on him was not to realize over five or six years that he was mostly not taking his medication and that doctors and nurses were not insisting that he did so. His covertly spitting out the pills could have been avoided by giving them to him in dilute form and making sure he did not sick them up.
Why did the doctors and nurses not do something so much in Henry’s interests and in theirs – since his recovery would have freed up hospital beds? At that time there was a reaction against compulsion in mental hospitals and an over-reliance on free compliance, though those suffering from severe mental illness are scarcely in a position to make rational decisions in their own interests. Monitoring compliance is hard and time-consuming work and it was only when the chief doctor at a hospital made sure that staff did this that Henry began to recover.
More of a slogan than a policy
The run-down and under-resourced nature of the mental health service explains many of these failings. Though there are many good doctors and nurses working in it, there are also poor ones and, above all else, an overall shortage of qualified medical staff. The old mental asylum system was run down, but not enough was put in its place aside from “care in the community”, which was more of a slogan than a policy.
Fragmentation of the system is extreme and staff turnover is high. One of our more useful activities as parents was liaising between different groups of doctors, nurses and hospitals to tell them what others were doing or had done. We had decided early on not to quarrel with any of the medical staff, regardless of what we felt about some of them, so we could remain in friendly contact with all of them.
“Care in the community” means, in practice, care by the family and a lot can be done to make this more effective. Relatives and friends usually want to help, but they are often ignorant about mental illness and what they can do – which is frequently a lot more than they think. They need to be kept informed, possibly through a WhatsApp group, and loosely organized, to visit the person and sustain them while they get better.
I have written this rather personal account of some of the experiences of my wife Jan and myself in coping with the mental illness of our son Henry. The occasion for this is a well-publicized coroner’s inquest into the death of a patient at a Priory Group facility and a more wide-ranging newspaper investigation into the failings of the company.
I have been intending to write a piece like this for some time because I see a lot of ill-informed or out of date commentary about mental illness everywhere in the media and in speeches by well-meaning royals that show very limited understanding of its causes, course, treatment and outcome.
Condemnation of the British and American mental health systems is well deserved but often shows scant understanding of their workings. Occasionally individuals, usually with sick children, ask me for advice but in the course of talking to them it becomes clear that they are looking for “a silver bullet” or a cure-all treatment that does not exist. This has made many people vulnerable to harmful fads, fashions and pseudo-science that can have devastating consequences such as lobotomies, electric shocks and other tortures.
I am conscious that panaceas do not work and of the shocking number of the people whom Henry knew when passing through the mental health system who have since died – often by suicide – and how few have fully recovered. Henry has done far better than most, but the shadow of what happened to him never vanishes entirely.
Beneath the Radar
For all the wall-to-wall reportage about the war in Ukraine in the Western media, it remains very difficult to know what is happening at the top of the Russian state. What do the decision-makers really think about President Putin’s decision to go to war on 24 February? And what do they think now of the way he has conducted that war?
Difficult to get such information in a semi-monarchical system, but this article, claiming good sources in the Russian security services, argues that there is anger and consequent divisions about the way in which Putin is fighting his “special military operation” without fully mobilizing Russian military resources to fight a total war.
Certainly, Russian tactics and strategy have been shambolic so far, and this article, while generally citing anonymous sources, may be correct in its insights. The next month should give us a clearer idea of what is really going on.
For further insight into mental illness and the pitfalls into which those studying and treating it have fallen, it is worth reading this mea culpa by the eminent psychiatrist Sir Robin Murray about the critical mistakes he has made during a career focused on studying schizophrenia.
WORLD DROUGHT GETS WORSE; CITIES RATION
by Robert Hunziker
The planet is wheezing, coughing and sputtering because of vicious attacks by worldwide droughts aided and abetted by global warming at only 1.2C above baseline. Some major metropolises are rationing water.
What’ll happen at 1.5C?
It’s not as if droughts are not a normal feature of the climate system. They are, but the problem nowadays is highlighted by reports from NASA and NOAA stating that earth is trapping nearly twice as much heat is it did in 2005 described as an “unprecedented increase amid the climate crisis.” This trend is described as “quite alarming.”
The planet trapping heat at double the rate of only 17 years ago is off-the-charts bad news and reason enough for the world’s leaders to go all-in on global warming preventive measures, and then hope and pray that it’s not too late.
Throughout Earth’s history drought has been a normal feature of climate change, but that’s the past. Droughts are no longer normal features. They are much, much more severe and longer lasting, for example, America’s drought in the West is ongoing for 20 years, the worst in 1,200 years, and it’s taken Lake Mead water levels down to 1937 when it first started filling up.
On a worldwide basis, drought’s impact on water reservoirs on every continent is chilling. Agricultural yields are suffering.
Undoubtedly, the utter failure by the world’s political leaders to respect 30-50 years of public warnings by scientists to “get off fossil fuels ASAP” is coming home to roost. When will the general public fight back and throw out climate change denial politicians along with their motley shrilly charlatans?
Along those lines, in an historic judgment, a Belgian court ruled that Belgium’s climate failures violate human rights, stating that public authorities broke promises to tackle the climate issue. 58,000 citizens served as co-plaintiffs in the case. To wit: “By not taking all ‘necessary measures’ to prevent the ‘detrimental’ effects of climate change, the court said, Belgian authorities had breached the right to life (Article 2) and the right to respect for private and family life (Article 8).” (Source: Drought: The New Global Calamity? The Kashmir Monitor, June 30, 2021)
A major study of soil moisture drought in Europe during the period from 1766 to 2020 led to the conclusion that recent drought events brought the “most intense drought conditions for Europe in 250 years: “We conclude that Europe should prepare adaptation and mitigation plans for future events whose intensity may be comparable to the previous event, but whose duration (and partly their spatial extent) will be much greater than any event observed in the last 250 years.” (Source: The 2018-2020 Multi-Year Drought Sets a New Benchmark in Europe, American Geophysical Union, 15 March 2022)
An international team, led by the University of Cambridge… found that after a long-term drying trend, European drought conditions since 2015 suddenly intensified, beyond anything in the past two thousand (2,000) years.
Eastern Europe is feeling the impact of serious drought. A report from the Atlantic Council in 2021 “emphasized the impacts of drought on Ukraine’s grain exports, noting that they had ‘fallen sharply year-on-year during the current season due to smaller harvests caused by severe drought conditions.’ When an agricultural power as important as Ukraine suddenly starts producing and exporting much less food, it is a recipe for social dislocation, human suffering, and political unrest, both inside the country and beyond.” (Source: Extreme Drought Is Crashing Food Production Whether Russia Invades or Not, The Nation, Feb. 17, 2022)
According to the European Commission: “A severe drought has been affecting northern Italy and the Po River basin in particular.” (Source: Drought in Northern Italy – March 2022: GDO Analytical Report, European Commission) In Northern Italy, “Most of the reservoirs are below the minimum historical values… stored energy as of March 2022 is 27.5% less than the 8-year minimum. Both agricultural yield and costs for power are negatively impacted. That -27.5% is 27.5% below the 8-yr minimum!
In the US, according to the Palmer Drought index, severe-to-extreme drought is affecting 38% of the contiguous US as of March 2022. That’s almost as bad as it ever gets. More than 50% of the country registers as moderate-to-extreme. As a result, the US Bureau of Reclamation is scrambling to retain/add/cheat/steal enough water for America’s two largest reservoirs Lake Powell and Lake Mead to keep hydropower supplying electrical power to 5M and water to 40M. Rationing to some of seven SW states has already started. Is that the eye-opener of all eye-openers? Answer: Yes.
Historic drought has literally changed the landscape in parts of South America: “Until 2020, there was plenty of water, swamps, stagnant lakes and lagoons in Argentina’s Ibera Wetlands, one of the largest such ecosystems in the world. But an historic drought of the Parana River dried much of it out; its waters are in the lowest level since 1944. Since January it has been the stage of raging fires.” (Source: Climate Change Brings Extreme, Early Impact to South America, phys.org, March 1, 2022)
Chile is experiencing such a horrendous record-breaking drought (13 years) that the capital city Santiago, population 6M, is rationing water. The city will experience rotating water cut-offs of up to 24 hours at a time in a four-tier alert system with public service announcements so residents can prepare for no water. “This is the first time in history that Santiago has a water rationing plan due to the severity of climate change, It’s important for citizens to understand that climate change is here to stay. It’s not just global, it’s local,” according to Claudio Orrego, governor of the Santiago metropolitan region. (Source: Chile Announces Unprecedented Plan to Ration Water As Drought Enters 13th Year, The Guardian, April 11, 2022)
In SE Asia the Mekong River serves as the waterway for the livelihood of 65M people. This is the fourth year of drought. According to the Ministry of Water Resources river conditions are the worst in 60 years. For example, in Cambodia water capacity for crop irrigation is at only 20%. Upstream dams in China and Laos also negatively add to the impact of severe drought conditions.
In China the port city of Guangzhou (pop 15M) and Shenzhen (pop 12.5M), which links HK to mainland China, have put residents on notice to cut (reduce) water consumption between January and October of 2022, as the main water source, the East River (down 50%) experiences the most severe drought in decades. (Source: China’s Southern Megacities Warn of Water Shortages During East River Drought, Reuters, December 8, 2021)
In Africa, a brutal drought in Ethiopia and Kenya has caused three million livestock dead and 30% of household herds have died in Somalia. According to the UN, the worsening drought in the Horn of Africa puts 20M people at risk. Rampant migration follows in the footsteps of severe drought, e.g., Central America’s Dry Corridor.
As nation/states fail to adequately address the global warming issue with Plan A, which is attacking the source, or cutting fossil fuel emissions, it becomes increasingly urgent to go to Plan B, which is adapting to the unforgiving climate system exhaust (cough-cough) of a failed Plan A.
In 2021, the Netherlands hosted the first-ever Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS 2021), highlighting adaptation measures as crucial for minimizing extreme weather events and improving water security.
The facts surrounding the current status of CO2 emissions (at all-time highs over the past millennium) and plans for expansion by the fossil fuel industry over the course of this decade, i.e., China & India building new coal plants like crazy and oil companies planning to spend billions for new oil and gas expansion, dictate that adaptation to an unpredictably challenging destructive climate system is an absolute necessity because global warming ain’t gonna get fixed.
It is noteworthy that Dr. James Hansen’s (Columbia University) most recent monthly temperature update states:
“Note monthly temperature anomalies on land now commonly exceed +2°C (+3.6°F), with the Arctic anomaly often exceeding +5°C (+9°F).”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change forewarned that +2°C is the upper limit where the climate system starts to get real crazy; however, at today’s overall planet temperate of +1.2°C above baseline trouble is already evident, e.g., the worst droughts in centuries found on every continent with some major cities either rationing water or suggesting voluntary cutbacks. And, oh yeah, food prices are just starting to skyrocket.
Frankly, human ingenuity must take over on local and regional bases to work towards “adaptation to a rambunctiously changing climate,” and, of course, lots of luck. Interestingly, some of America’s biggest western cities have learned to adapt to severe drought, as discussed in some detail in the article: “Adapting to Drought” (May 3, 2022).
(Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)