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A WARMING TREND will begin today as high pressure shifts toward the West Coast. Rain will be possible again as we head into the weekend. (NWS)
William Guy Rowe was born September 26th, 1937 in Toronto, Canada. After finishing high school he worked for the Canadian telephone company installing phone lines in remote arctic locations for several years to save money to move to California.
He arrived in the U.S. in 1960 and attended Whittier College in southern CA. He was active in the student peace movement during the Vietnam War, and wrote anti-war political articles for the student newspaper (which made him unpopular with the Whittier college administration). In 1963 he moved to Nevada to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied physics and mathematics, and became a naturalized US citizen.
As the 1960’s moved along, Guy made his way to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he worked as a programmer in the growing field of computers during the birth of “Silicon Valley”. He started his own computer software company and helped his father Frank emigrate from Canada to work with him.
Guy married his first wife Briana Burns and in 1973 moved to upper Peachland Road, Boonville. Guy shares two children with Briana. An engineer by nature, Guy started building his own off-the-grid experimental house design with a radiant Heating and Cooling system powered by sunlight. Guy, Frank, and Briana worked for many years on the alternative energy house project which garnered some local notoriety.
In 1978 Guy received his Professional Engineer’s License as a Control Systems Engineer. In the early 1980’s Guy traveled to Saudi Arabia, designing computer controlled systems for the Aramco oil fields, and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital. A small aircraft pilot himself, and a lifelong aviation and spaceflight enthusiast, he was proud to have had the experience of flying on the Concorde supersonic jet, a business expense paid by the Saudi Arabian royal family.
Following Guy and Briana’s divorce in the 1980’s, he again lived and worked in Silicon Valley and found that he enjoyed teaching. For 10 years he taught Electronics and Computer Technology in a degree program at Heald College Institute of Technology.
In 1996 Guy “mostly” retired and moved back to Boonville. For a number of years he enjoyed acting with a theatre group in Ukiah, and hosting a classical radio program on KZYX. He continued to teach part-time for 15 years in his retirement, teaching Advanced Placement physics and calculus at both Anderson Valley High School in Boonville and Developing Virtue Secondary School at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas monastery in Ukiah. He was also an active volunteer with local school and county science fairs and science lab projects, helping to mentor students and encouraging them to pursue higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Since 2003, Guy lived in Yorkville with Kay Jablonski. They married in 2012, with a honeymoon trip to Paris and Vienna, visiting Guy’s daughter in Europe. Guy and Kay enjoyed many happy years together, including world travels, building a library, and many shared interests.
Guy passed away on May 20, 2022. He is survived by his wife Kay Jablonski, his children Wendy Rowe and C.T. Rowe, and cousins in Canada.
For a short 8 minute video of Guy describing some of his career and interests in his own words, go to https://bit.ly/GuyRowe
DAVE GOWAN REMEMBERS MIKE BROCK
Breaks my heart. Mike was my best friend for many years. We were punkin’-growing soulmates and Farmers Market buddies. Vicki: you were a wonderful wife, a perfect match with Mike. My sincere best to you, Hannah and Julia. Rest in peace, Mike. I know god will appoint you as Head Gardener and Punkin’ Grower in heaven.
A READER WRITES: Paul Tichinin (former County Schools Superintendent) has written a letter endorsing Nicole Glentzer over incumbent Superintendent Michelle Hutchins. This is no surprise since Tichinin helped orchestrate Glentzer’s campaign from the start. The insufferably smug Tichinin sleep-walked through 20 years at the top of MCOE mouthing platitudes of the “I’m doing it for the kids” variety while shoveling money to Ukiah based Educrats for junkets, consulting and useless admin positions. Michelle Hutchins, an honest, fair-minded and innovative administrator, deserves re-election in her own right. But Tichinin‘s support should be the kiss of death for Glentzer who has based her campaign on false allegations and insider connections. Glentzer claimed Hutchins had not held a single meeting with local districts about covid. In fact, Hutchins held hundreds of meetings. How could Glentzer be so ill informed? Because she never had a thought of running until Tichinin and his cronies decided they needed a woman candidate if they wanted to have any chance of beating Hutchins. The Ukiah Edu-mob isn’t happy because Hutchins defeated Tichinin’s hand picked male candidate four years ago. And they especially aren’t happy because Hutchins is using State money the way it’s intended and per the Education Code, to make sure all students (not just those in Ukiah and Fort Bragg Unified) have equal access to educational materials. Tichinin favors Glentzer? That’s a really strong reason to vote for Michelle Hutchins.
THE RETIREMENT OF A SKILLED AND RESPECTED INVESTIGATOR
Described in one publication as a man the criminals definitely don’t want working on their case, Mendocino County District Attorney Chief Investigator and DA advisor, Kevin Bailey, is officially retiring. His last day in the office is tomorrow, Thursday, May 26th. He’s leaving the public workforce after many years of service to fade into a private lifestyle with his family and family dog, Kona.
Chief Bailey is retiring after a long and honorable law enforcement career promoting public safety, leading investigations that solved serious and violent crimes that brought hardened criminals to justice, absolving the innocent of wrongdoing, and empathizing with and protecting victims of crime.
Criminal investigators play an integral 24/7 role in all aspects of law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Investigators work hard to solve open cases, a task that often takes days, weeks, months, or even years to complete. These law enforcement professionals collect evidence, interview witnesses, and arrest suspects. Succeeding as the DA’s chief investigator requires smarts, leadership skills, strong communication skills, sound judgment, patience, physical fitness, empathy, and high ethical standards -- traits and qualities in which Chief Bailey has always excelled.
An Air Force veteran, Chief Bailey completed the NCO Leadership School at March Air Force Base in Riverside County. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving our country around the world, while also supervising and training others as a Squad Leader and Law Enforcement Flight Chief from 1985 to 1995.
Receiving an honorable discharge from the Air Force in February 1995, Chief Bailey was hired in March 1996 by Sheriff Jim Tuso to serve as a Mendocino County Corrections Deputy working in the Low Gap Jail Facility.
Having demonstrated good judgment and a strong work ethic in the jail environment, Chief Bailey left his corrections assignment in 1998 to become a Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy performing patrol duties on the Mendocino Coast and other areas of the county.
In 2001 Chief Bailey was hand-picked by Sheriff Tony Craver to join the Sheriff’s Detective Unit, where Chief Bailey often took the lead on complex investigations that included sex crimes and murders. He continued to hone his innate skills as an effective interrogator during this time.
Chief Bailey was hired by District Attorney Norm Vroman in April 2005 to join the DA’s Bureau of Investigations. His duties in this new assignment allowed Chief Bailey to continue to take the lead on complex investigations, strengthen trial evidence, work with victims and witnesses of crime, as well as strategize with prosecutors on how best to present a case to local juries. When the DA was still responsible for investigating officer-involved shootings, Chief Bailey almost always lead those investigations and briefed the DA on his team's findings.
After District Attorney Eyster was elected, Chief Bailey was promoted in June 2014 as the DA’s Chief Investigator, responsible for supervising an elite in-house investigations unit of six other peace officers and one evidence technician. As the head of the DA’s Bureau of Investigations, Chief Bailey was often the office intermediary with law enforcement agencies locally and across the state. He led by example and expected a high quality investigation and outcome on cases he and his officers handled. He has served DA Eyster well as the DA’s “sounding board” and as a reliable legal advisor.
When asked to comment on Chief Bailey’s retirement, former Sheriff Tom Allman said: “As painful as it was at the time for the Sheriff’s Office to lose Kevin Bailey and his investigatory skillset to the DA’s Office, he continued to help us immensely as an allied investigator while working under three different District Attorneys. The Sheriff’s Office and the public owe you a debt of gratitude for your hard work and assistance, Kevin. You will not be forgotten.”
District Attorney David Eyster also reflected that Chief Bailey is leaving behind big shoes that will need to be filled by the incoming “new” Chief Investigator, Andy Alvarado. “While it may be hard to believe, Kevin has always done more than was expected of him and a lot has always been expected of him. His highly-professional contributions to public safety in Mendocino County are unparalleled in the modern day annals of local law enforcement. Let there be no doubt that Mendocino County is a safer and better place to live because of Kevin’s many years of dedicated service of helping victims and making sure those he caused to be arrested and prosecuted were the right crook. I’m losing a trusted advisor; he’s getting a new, easy-going life. Congratulations!”
For additional background, see: the Anderson Valley Advertiser’s 2004 article about Chief Bailey solving a “cold case” murder: “`The Victim Didn’t Smoke’ - How attention to detail solved a 30-year old murder in Navarro,” by Mark Scaramella, found at https://theava.com/archives/105169.
See, also, the Anderson Valley Advertiser’s 2018 article about Chief Bailey and Tai Abreu: “One Murder, Four Deaths,” by Bruce Anderson; found at https://theava.com/archives/80600.
KEVIN BAILEY’S FINEST HOUR
In July of 2010 when the Board of Supervisors discussed CEO Angelo’s proposed pay cut for Deputies and other County line workers, DA Investigator Kevin Bailey got right to the heart of the matter:
“I will not waste my time appealing to a group of individuals who have proven themselves unworthy of performing the jobs they were elected to do. When you ask those who have given so much of themselves to this community to give more than you yourselves are willing to give, you should be ashamed. Any member of this board who votes to impose a 13% reduction should look at their shoes when they pass a law enforcement officer. You're not worthy to look them in the eye. We're not saying we should not be part of the solution; we're only saying we should not have to give any more than any other group. Supervisors Colfax and Smith have sat idly by and given NOTHING of their own salary while they raise their hands in support of a 13% pay reduction. You [first] gave marching orders to your negotiator to present the DSA [Deputy Sheriff’s Association] with a 24% pay cut. And then you declared an impasse when it was voted down by the membership. You did this and you called it “negotiations”? Your conduct throughout this entire negotiation has made it clear that you do not support or appreciate the sacrifices and dedication made by those who put it all on the line for this county. I spent 14 years doing this job for this County. I started in the jail, moved to patrol, moved to detectives, and now I'm a DA investigator. I've been in the emergency room twice; I've been in the back of an ambulance once seeking emergency medical treatment. I've bled for this county. I suffered for this county. But I did not ask my family to go hungry for this county. Remember, you were elected to represent us, not rule us. Enjoy your full paychecks while you can and we'll meet on election day. When I pass you on the street, I'll be the one with the stiff back with my head held high and you'll be the one looking at your shoes. You should all be ashamed.”
Bailey got a loud round of applause from the large crowd of deputies and other county employees in the room.
AV UNIFIED NEWS
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
What a fun week of events for families and students. The Peachland Preschool students, under the direction of Anita and Jennie, proudly graduated on the district office lawn on Friday evening! Elementary students and families enjoyed a beautiful and joyful assembly, FFA kids cooked up a storm and fed the masses at the drive through dinner, and the high school students attended an elegant program coordinated by Marcella Mendoza. All wonderful events that had beautiful meaning as we continue to emerge from the restrictions of Covid. Field trips are reappearing, and the fun things associated with school are beginning to feel “expected” again as part of the rhythm of school.
More events to follow in the coming weeks:
Six grade graduation June 6 – High School
High school awards night: June 7 – High School
Eighth grade graduation June 8 – High School
High school graduation June 9 – High School – tickets required
If you have not already done so, please take a moment to return your ballot for MEASURE M. The ballots must be mailed or returned to the FairGrounds box by June 7.
I also want to take a moment to thank our amazing retirees: Shirley Hiatt-Tompkins, Troy Kreienhop, Terri Rhoades, Nadia Barragan, and Ann Panttaja were celebrated at a potluck evening and there was not a dry eye in the house. Special stuff!
I also want to thank the many community members that offered time and expertise to mentor our Seniors with their required Senior projects and who also showed up to judge the presentations. We are so grateful to this community for your on-going support of time and care.
I hope you have an amazing week ahead.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017
YORKVILLE’S VALERIE HANELT REPORTS FROM GREECE
Covid In Greece! We (Val Hanelt & Hans Hickenlooper) are in a small seaside village north of Athens recovering from Hans getting Covid. We are on a combined genealogy and cruise trip. The first half of the trip was Val's search to find relatives which was successful. After the genealogy portion of the trip in Sparta and surrounding villages, we met dear friends for dinner in Athens. The next morning the husband of the couple came down with Covid! Our cruise was to depart in four days — the timing was good — if we were negative in four days we could embark. Our friends sent us to their lovely beach house to wait it out. But when the Clinic tested us Hans came up positive. So our cruise left without us and our visit in their cottage was extended. That evening Hans had a fever of 100.1 degrees and a scratchy throat. After two days his mild fever broke and now, the third day, he feels back to normal with a slight cough left. Seems like a mild case so his two shots/two boosters paid off. I am still negative. The Greek Ministry is tracking us (self reports) so we must stay put and quarantine for five days. Once you have a negative test you can then fly within 24 hours. So, if I don't test positive, we can come home mid-week. Trip insurance (Aon) covers everything. They say, “of course, of course” to every expense. They must be used to this. We highly recommend trip insurance! The cruise company, Road Scholar, checks in on us as well and will arrange our flights once we both are negative. So we are sitting looking across the Aegean at the island of Eubuoa (pronounced “Evvia”) and we will take the car ferry over when we are cleared and before we fly out. I am so grateful we accomplished all my ancestor quests before this happened! We are SO lucky and grateful that our friends put us up and we weren't stuck in a hotel room! We will reschedule the cruise portion, but not until the Covid era is over.
PS. Random Greek observation: No litter! People do not have garbage cans at their homes — they drop off, for free, any garbage/recyclables in ANY municipal dumpster. So why throw something out the window or the side of the road when you can drop it off in a minute or so? Also, the scrap truck comes by with a loudspeaker and buys old appliances or large metal scrap. Brilliant! Clean everywhere (except for graffiti). And no ugly trash cans everywhere. I wish we did this!
ANOTHER FALSEHOOD BEING CIRCULATED by write-in Sheriff candidate Trent James’s fans on the coast listserve etc. is that Matt Kendall got himself appointed by some vague (as usual) underhanded process to avoid a special election.
In fact, Kendall was appointed by the Supervisors after County Counsel Christian Curtis told the Supervisors that they were legally prohibited from calling a special election. We found Curtis’s reasoning kinda weak — we would have preferred an opinion from Elections Officer Bartolomie — but the Superivsors didn’t, so they appointed Kendall. They had no choice, nobody else was interested, Allman recommended Kendall, and it was done. Nobody did anything to avoid an election other than following their attorney’s advice.
If anyone is interested in the particulars — not that the James-ites care — look up the Board meeting on the County’s youtube channel for December 17, 2019. Agenda Item 5b. (The minutes do not record Mr. Curtis’s pre-amble about the Board having no choice but to appoint.)
All this stuff is a matter of record, albeit buried in the bowels of the County’s not-so “transparent” postings and videos.
To review, also from the available record:
Sheriff Kendall has not refused an audit.
Sheriff Kendall has provided a better documented budget than most other departments, updated quarterly, unlike other budgets which are updated sporadically and at the discetion of the CEO.
Sheriff Kendall went to court (to say that he “sued” is a stretch) because he wanted his own attorney to advise him and the Board after he was threatened with personal liability for expending overtime on undisputed and necessary law enforcement and because CEO Angelo tried to illegally bring his computer operations under her control where unauthorized persons would have access to confidential law enforcement data.
And he was appointed in December of 2019 by a process that legally prohibited consideration of a special (and costly) special election.
A READER WRITES: Welcome to politics, Mr. James! After months of dishing out hearsay, rumor and innuendo, newcomer-candidate and former Covelo cop Trent James finally gets to experience what it’s like to have a few incoming rounds lobbed his way. I find it pretty devastating that this self proclaimed honest cop demanded a $20,000 “bonus” or he’d quit (per Shannon Barney’s recent letter). In legal terms isn’t that known as extortion? And when he tried to come back to the Sheriff’s Office refused to complete the background check and pulled his application. It’s also very telling that he knew all these allegedly bad things were going on but never said anything until after he failed to pass probation in Willits and after he pulled his application to return to the Sheriff’s Office. His recycled rumors are mostly ancient history, some of it stuff that happened 20 or more years ago and before the people involved were with the Sheriffs Office. Ironically, he took a couple of them to task for “inappropriate relationships,” but now it’s come out that after arresting a pot grower/dispensary owner for domestic violence, he had an affair with the arrestee’s girlfriend! How professional is that? And there was no coverup of the child porn allegations, an investigation that was correctly handed off to State authorities and they took a long time processing it. It was very revealing that even after the Sheriffs Lieutenant/father of the alleged perp was completely cleared, James repeatedly said in his video that he thought the Lieutenant might still be guilty. So much for James’s repeated assertions (like five times every video!) that “everything I’m telling you guys is the truth, it’s all documented.” The Sheriff and Jail budget is about $30 million and the Sheriff’s Office has about 200 employees. Trent James has no experience managing a budget or supervising even one employee but he wants to learn at our expense. What he has is a festering grudge because Willits let him go on probation and Mendo wouldn’t take him back without passing a background check. His on line videos should be titled “Sour Grapes of an Ex Cop.”
TRENT JAMES ON THE RADIO
Tuesday May 31, Special Election Coverage: Write-In Candidate for Sheriff Trent James, Live 9am
Sheriff Matt Kendall was running un-opposed in the June 7th election, until Trent James qualified as a write-in candidate last week. James has made waves with his YouTube video series, “Confessions of an Ex-Cop,” and now he’s running to lead the Department where he once worked as a Patrol Deputy. Trent James will be live in the studio this Tuesday morning at 9am, with time for your calls, on KZYX and Z.
90.7 FM Coast / 91.5 Inland / livestreamed at KZYX.org/archived at jukebox.kzyx
STEPHEN DUNLAP: I own 6 tiny homes on the coast with FULL plumbing and tankless water heaters. They are very easy to set with the proper hook ups on place. I am working with the city of Fort Bragg on a tiny home park currently.
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE:
LA Sheriff-run Inmate Welfare Fund: A Black Hole of Taxpayer Dollars
The most expensive Cheetos in the world are sold in LA County jails. The sheriff’s office eats the profit.
THERE ARE GOFUNDME pleas and then there's Mommy and her blind love. The mother of one of the minors arrested for that armed robbery in Cloverdale two weeks ago, and a suspect in at least three burglaries in the Anderson Valley, has established a GoFundMe plea for her little dear. Mom thinks he needs a lawyer.
MANY OF YOU will know WT Johnson as the friendly and, ahem, non-judgemental guy who showed up at 3am to pull you and your ride out of a ditch. WT did that for years all the while holding down a full time job with the County road crew. These days, as he nears County retirement, WT drives all over our vast county to haul your junked car outta here, no charge. And he'll do the paperwork. WT's performing a major public service here. Sure, he makes a little on the recycle end after he's pulled your ancient Volvo down to the crusher yard in the East Bay, but given fuel prices he's basically a charity at this point. He can be reached at 272-8101 or email@example.com.
TRASH PICK-UP in the Anderson Valley is kinda hit or miss these days. Detritus headquarters up at Willits Solid Waste says their schedules are off because of a shortage of drivers and mechanical problems with their trucks. What they don't say is hauling our garbage back and forth to Willits at the thin-margin-profit they've operated at for years is barely a paying proposition anymore.
HEARTENING to see some big time sports figures speaking out on the social implosion engulfing all of us. You've got Steve Kerr of the Warriors delivering the most passionate denunciation of gun violence we saw during the recent rounds of mass murder, and San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler declaring that he won't come out onto the field for the national anthem “until I feel better about the direction of our country.” Kapler said he'd stood for the anthem the same day 19 kids and two teachers were gunned down in Texas and had observed a brief moment of silence, but then “felt like a coward” for not taking a knee. While “proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave” during the national anthem, he said “we didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.” Kapler said his father taught him to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance “when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t,” he wrote. “I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.”
A LADY called to say that she needed more information about our ballot recommendations, that what we’d published was too sparse. “I need to know more about these people,” she said. Myself, I don’t think I could stand the shock of knowing more than I do, but here goes for you late mail voters and you in-person balloteers:
JUNE is a primary election so the ballot is overstuffed with people literally out of the money it takes to win state office. Our two-party monopoly has plenty of money which, as we know, they get from mostly destructive forces. The AVA tries to avoid endorsing anybody affiliated with either of the two death-bringing parties, instead going for unknown Greens and Peace and Freedom nostalgics. We know absolutely nothing about the following candidates we’ve so blithely voted for:
CONTROLLER: Laura Wells
TREASURER: Meghann Adams
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Dan Kapelovitz
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER: Nathalie Hrizi
BOARD OF EQUALIZATION: No Preference
GOVERNOR: Luis Javier Rodriguez
LT. GOVERNOR: Mohammed Arif
SECRETARY OF STATE: Gary Blenner
U.S. SENATOR: John Thompson Parker
U.S. SENATOR, PARTIAL TERM: Daphne Bradford
UNITED STATES CONGRESS, 2ND DISTRICT: Anybody but Huffman, a Democrat. A bland party cog out of Marin — Marin! that famous set aside for the politically deluded who think Democrats like Pelosi, Biden, Swalwell, Schiff etc. are the way forward. Huffman’s a blandly inoffensive hack who’ll occupy the seat until the last trumpet melts from global warming.
STATE SENATOR: Not McGuire. McGuire reminds me of my high school second baseman. Iron glove, automatic k — but the coach thought he was a great because he was always yelling and in frenetic motion. McGuire’s the point man for the Great Redwood Trail scam whereby NorCal Democrats have appropriated and partially privatized the old Northwest Pacific Railroad running from Marin to Eureka, which McGuire says will be a hiking, biking path from Mill Valley to Humboldt Bay. Not in a hundred more life times but it keeps the little guy’s press releases front and center in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, whose reporters seem to think the guy’s legit.
ASSEMBLY: Not Wood. A dentist out of Healdsburg, and we’ll pause here for a gratuitous insult, noting that dentists and harpists have the highest incidence of mental illness of all occupations. Not that he’s nuts, but simply one more cipher foisted off on us by the Party. BTW, Wood was on record as opposed to single-payer, to give you an idea of where he’s at.
JUDGE OF THE MENDO SUPERIOR COURT: Shanahan (Unopposed Because It's All One Big Lawyer Club In Mendo)
STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Tony Thurmond. Doesn’t matter who occupies that office, really, because… Well, the educational mission needs to be completely re-thought and never will be but Thurmond seems like an amiable fellow who does what he can in a context of irremediable edu-entropy.
COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: Michelle Hutchins. Vilified and straight-up slandered and libeled throughout the nastiest campaign we’ve seen in this county. The secret slander offensive mounted against Hutchins has been carried out by people “educating” your children.
SUPERVISOR, 5TH DISTRICT: No Recommendation. Based on his performance in office, which nobody in Mendo except the ava pays the slightest attention to, we don’t think Williams has earned another four years in the non-job.
ASSESSOR-CLERK-RECORDER: Katrina Bartolomie. Quietly goes about her duties with an impressive competence, one of several county bureaucrats we’re fortunate to have in place in our otherwise rudderless civic context. (cf the supervisors and county counsel’s office)
AUDITOR-CONTROLLER/TREASURER-TAX COLLECTOR: Chamise Cubbison. Nothing but superlatives for this young woman who stood up to the flak she got from the CEO, the Supervisors and even the DA for demanding public officials account for every penny of their much abused “travel and conference” budgets. Ms. Cubbison is exactly the bean counter we want counting Mendocino County’s beans.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Eyster. Despite an unreasoning commitment to lawns, his especially, Eyster is a truly excellent DA. He makes sensible charging decisions and he tries a lot of cases himself rather than contenting himself with bureaucratic matters. He’s not one of these lunatic Trumpian prosecutors we usually find in the California outback and has aroused no opposition from his legal peers because they recognize he does a good job. Mendo’s Defendant Community doesn’t like him, but they’re not supposed to. And they don’t vote.
SHERIFF-CORONER: Kendall. The chimerical candidacy of former deputy Trent James has managed to rally the Coast’s Green Hairs and Nose Rings to falsely malign Kendall via misunderstood gossip passed along by the charismatic James, but Kendall has the unanimous support of his deputies, runs a clean, humane county jail, and makes himself available to all citizens regardless of hair color and facial deformations. He finds himself fending off false charges from chat line snipers too lazy, stupid and dishonest to find out the true facts for themselves.
MEASURE M (ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOL BOND): Yes. The Boonville schools are falling down.
KMUD NEWS HOSTED LIVE FORUMS WITH THE MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISORIAL CANDIDATES
Mendocino County 5th District Candidates: incumbent Ted Williams and challenger John Redding
Mendocino County 3rd District Candidates: incumbent John Hashack and challenger Clay Romero
LEE EDMUNDSON: Thought you all might be interested. Certainly shows a lot of people are not returning ballots early.
Subject: Voter Turnout Update
Here is an update on who has voted so far:
12,560 total voters
847 voters have returned ballots
11,713 have not returned ballots
4,401 of those are Dems, 2230 are Reps & 2913 are NPP
3694 of those are in John's mail target
2018 are in the MCDP mail target
12,836 total voters
1202 voters have returned ballots
11,634 have not returned ballots
5690 of those are Dems, 1123 are Reps & 2592 are NPP
2433 of those are in the Coast Dem Club mail target
3180 are in the MCDP mail target
So past history repeats. In case you're wondering still why we held our mail until a little later.
— Susan Savage
FENTYNAL, an on-line comment: “This isn’t just the Tenderloin its all over the Bay Area and San Francisco went to North Beach and everyone dealing kept saying I got yellow yellow here. So I asked what was yellow? I was told it was the street term for fetty i.e., fentanyl — it’s literally everywhere.”
THE UKIAH DAILY-JOURNAL’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE JUNE 7 BALLOT
There will be an election on June 7 in which local voters will pick winners among four local races where incumbents are being challenged.
Today we endorse the incumbents in all of them.
Sheriff Matt Kendall, Superintendent of County Superintendent Michelle Hutchins, 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak and 5th District Supervisor Ted Williams are all worthy of keeping their jobs.
County government is a complex and challenging system of programs and requirements. These past couple of years of COVID19 made it especially difficult to keep the public safe while also moving forward with programs important to people.
The impact of COVID19 was also felt in the county’s schools where we believe Ms. Hutchins did a good job of coordinating important efforts to keep the pandemic from devastating local school communities and students. She has also created an office where teamwork and dedication are blooming.
Mr. Haschak has been a transparent and involved member of his 3rd District community, sending out a regular information letter and keeping active in cannabis and other agricultural arenas while making economic development a priority and recognizing that our drought conditions need to be addressed not only for farmers but for the sake of all areas of our economic future.
Mr. Williams has also been a transparent supervisor, constantly providing lots of useful information to county residents and working hard on such issues as improving fire services, keeping mental health programs on track and expanding broadband services for our rural county.
Sheriff Kendall has one of the most complex jobs in the county. As a lifelong local and long time member of the Sheriff’s department he has brought his experience and dedication to the job of helping keep our county a safe place to live. He was appointed to his job when former Sheriff Tom Allman retired. This rural county is one of the most difficult for law enforcement to cover given its expanse and the difficulty in hiring deputies. We think Sheriff Kendall has had a good beginning in his job and we think he deserves to be elected to a full term.
(Note: There are more candidates in this election for county positions but they are uncontested.)
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION begins SUNDAY JUNE 5.
Fifty poets have contributed to the 47th Anniversary and 17th consecutive Revival of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration. Their poems, recorded and emailed by smartphone, will be broadcast beginning at 3pm Sunday June 5, on KZYX&Z, Mendocino Public Broadcasting. Host Dan Roberts will apply his masterful touch and will segue the poetry with the rhythms of world music on his show Rhythm Running River, in broadcasts over several weeks.
The 2022 Celebration is grateful for contributions from these 50 poets: Blake More, Jeanine Pfeiffer, Armand Brint, Hal Zina Bennett, Devreaux Baker, Michael Adair, Jabez Churchill, Karin Uphoff, Martin Hickel, Sean Casey, Clare Bercot Zwerling, Tia Ballantine, Patrick Flynn, Michael Riedell, Evan Finn, Thomas Roberdeau, Elizabeth Vrenios, Virginia Sharkey, Larry Felson, Janice Marcell, Kirk Lumpkin, Mary Rose Kaczarowski, Melissa Carr, Riantee Rand, Zida Borcich, Roberta Werdinger, Joe Smith, Donald Brees, Marilyn Motherbear Scott, John Perrill, Janferie Stone, Jay Frankston, Lynn Kiesewetter, Gerry York, Rich Alcott, Sharon Doubiago, WJ Ray, Sam Edwards, Gordon Black, Dan Roberts, Tara Sufiana, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios, Evan Feen, Thomas Roberdeau, Mike Edwards, Susan Maeder, Scott Croghan, Dan Barth, Dan Hess, and Theresa Whitehill.
This is an impressive assembly of poetic voices. We will be hearing their best, beginning Sunday June 5, and in succeeding weeks. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gordon Black)
FIRST, ANGELI GOMEZ WAS PUT IN HANDCUFFS after she begged the police to actually DO something. Gomez recognized a couple of Uvalde police officers and persuaded them to inform the marshals that the cuffs should be removed. She moved away from the mob after being liberated, vaulted the school gate, raced inside the school building, and retrieved her two children and did what the police are paid to to do, but they refused- she put her life on the line and went into the school to save her kids lives or die trying. Without a body armor or a weapon; only weapon she used was herself, her love. She ran into danger while shots were fired and miraculously found her kids and got them out with some other kids.
”The mother said she wasn't the only parent who had been singled out by authorities at the scene, which she characterized as chaotic. She claims she witnessed officers tackling a parent to the ground and pepper-spraying another. When a third father approached a school bus with children on board to pick up his child, officers tasered him, she added. “They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us,” Gomez informed the Journal, referring to herself and other parents. “That’s how it felt.” Happy memorial day.
One of the unique characteristics of my book, ‘Mendocino History Exposed,’ is that the NOTES section contains stories within the original stories presented in the twenty-two chapters. One of the best is the inside scoop on two Yuki warriors known as Indian Charley and Billy Malmaquist in the Anglo-American world of the 1800s. To find out their true names and how their fates were intertwined buy your copy of Mendocino History Exposed, read Chapter VII, then take a gander at the notes for that chapter.
Mendocino History Exposed is available at two bookstores in Fort Bragg: The Bookstore at 137 E. Laurel St. 707-964-6559 and Windsong at 324 N. Main St. 707-964-2050.
Of course, you can always try Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. 707-937-2665. Try out their easy to maneuver website: gallerybookshop.com.
DUI DEFENDANT (PLUS) THROWS IN THE TOWEL
A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Wednesday in Ukiah to announce that it would be unable to reach unanimous verdicts on the two misdemeanor DUI charges pending against the trial defendant.
Defendant Joshua Dickerson, age 26, of Hemet, had been charged by the Mendocino County DA back in 2017 with driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater, both as misdemeanors.
Following judicial inquiry of the foreperson confirming that further deliberations were unlikely to be fruitful, the Court declared a mistrial ("hung jury"). When then asked, the foreperson disclosed that the jury was split 11 for guilty to 1.
After the jury was excused, the defendant was ordered to return to court the next day (Thursday) for possible resolution of the DUI case, as well as resolution of a resisting arrest situation that occurred after the first and before the second day of the DUI trial.
Following review of the applicable police reports, the DA had filed a new criminal complaint against the now in-custody defendant.
On Thursday, May 26th, the mistrial notwithstanding, the defendant admitted criminal responsibility for misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol in the old case, and also admitted criminal responsibility for misdemeanor resisting arrest in the new case.
The law enforcement agencies that investigated and developed the evidence supporting the defendant's DUI conviction were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice forensic laboratory in Eureka. The DA's own investigators provided assistance in locating witnesses five years after the fact and providing trial support for the DUI trial.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was the law enforcement agency that investigated and arrested the defendant for the events underlying the new case.
The attorneys who presented the People's DUI evidence at trial were Deputy District Attorneys Heidi Larson and Chandra Cafferty.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the three-day trial and the ultimate resolution of the two cases.
FENTANYL DEALERS CONVICTED IN MENDOCINO COUNTY SHOULD PACK FOR PRISON
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are now the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States.
Fentanyl is sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into black market pills that are intended to look like other prescription opioids.
Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster continues to speak out publicly that those who get caught trafficking fentanyl for sale in and through Mendocino County should not expect leniency when – not if -- convicted.
For two examples of this public safety focus, one only need look to the recent prosecutions of Robin Stuart Bradshaw, age 70, of Eureka, and Tyler Nathan Trujillo, age 30, also of Eureka.
On February 11, 2022, a black Ford Mustang was traveling north on Highway 101 between Hopland and Ukiah. A Sheriff’s deputy, also driving north, observed the Mustang make an abrupt and unsafe turn onto McNab Ranch Road.
Believing the Mustang turned abruptly in an effort to elude observation by law enforcement, the Deputy instead pulled over in a turnout across from the road to the Nelson Ranch to wait and see if the Mustang would shortly return to traveling north.
The Deputy’s suspicion that the Mustang was trying to elude him seemed confirmed when the Mustang -- in less than three minutes – resumed traveling north, passing the waiting Deputy.
While following the Mustang over Burke Hill, the Deputy noticed the vehicle was weaving in its lane and crossing over the center and fog lines. As both vehicles came down Burke Hill, the Mustang made a sudden exit at the Burke Hill exit.
Having observed traffic violations and feeling it was now appropriate to initiate a traffic stop, the Deputy activate his lights and waited for the vehicle to come to a stop. Once the Mustang stopped, the driver and passenger were seen moving things around in the car, with the passenger (Trujillo) eventually throwing a black plastic bag out the window and over the embankment.
As the traffic stop and investigation continued, it was eventually discovered that the two men were transporting for sale a half pound of fentanyl from the Tenderloin district of San Francisco through Mendocino County back to Humboldt County.
Here’s where it gets scary: a single 2 milligram dose of fentanyl (there are 226,796 milligrams in a half pound of this synethic opioid) is lethal for most people, meaning that these two crooks were carrying enough fentanyl back to Eureka to overdose and kill up to 113,398 people.
Charged with and convicted of trafficking fentanyl for sale, both defendants were ultimately sentenced to eight years in state prison on May 3, 2022 in the Mendocino County Superior Court.
Because both men had prior Strike convictions that were alleged by the DA and admitted, the credits each may earn in state prison towards early release on Post Release Community Supervision, a form of local parole, was originally intended to be limited to no more than 20% of their eight-year sentences.
But that is not currently the situation. Because the voters also approved Proposition 57 (the so-called “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act”) in 2016, drug dealers like Bradshaw and Trujillo who are convicted of trafficking fentanyl with an accompanying Strike are now entitled to 50% credits towards early release from prison, and the prison authorities have been attempting to increase the rate early release credits may be awarded to 66%.
The law enforcement agencies that assisted in developing the evidence underlying both convictions are the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force.
The attorney who prosecuted these defendants on behalf of the People of the State of California is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted each defendant’s guilty plea and Strike admission and was the sentencing judge on May 3rd.
THE SF-MENDO-HUMBOLDT FENTANYL PIPELINE IS SURGING—OVERDOSES ARE RISING—Mendo DA Warns of Reductions in Prison Sentences
Two Humboldt County men have pled guilty in Mendocino County to transporting fentanyl purchased in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 29, 2022
MARTIN BEAUCHAMP, Rocklin/Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.
COREY BOSTEDER, Coos Bay, Oregon/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOHANN DALTON, Willits. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, loaded firearm.
FELIPE DOSSANTOS-MAGULAS, Alameda/Ukiah. More than an ounce of pot.
ROCKY DUMAN, Ukiah. Disobeying court order.
VANESSA DUNCAN, Ukiah. Entering a non-commercial dwelling during an incident, failure to appear.
MONICA SAVIDAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MICHAEL SUTTON, Marysville/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
PRECIOUS WILSON, Arcata/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JESUS ZAMORA-MARTINEZ, Ukiah. DUI, resisting.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 29 MAY
Intense Russian shelling is pounding the key city of Severodonetsk in embattled Luhansk as Moscow attempts to consolidate its grip on eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials say the city is "not cut off," but its forces are in a "tough defensive position" as fighting rages on the outskirts of the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed that Ukraine will "take everything back" from Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law scrapping the upper age limit for Russians and foreigners to join the military.
AND DEATH SHALL HAVE NO DOMINION.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.
— Dylan Thomas
Imagine you are teaching your class and wearing your sidearm when a person wearing body armor and carrying a laser-guided AR-15 rifle enters your classroom. You have perhaps two seconds to draw your sidearm and get a head shot (body armor, remember?) before you are gunned down. A professional combat shooter might have a chance. A teacher, next to none. So those who tell you the answer to school shootings is to arm teachers are lying.
Personal freedoms? I guess that includes the freedom to continue watching our children getting gunned down in their classrooms.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I recall how, sometime way back in early adolescence, an awareness dawned that I and my cohorts and classmates had been sold a bill of goods. All through childhood, the encompassing myth of American Exceptionalism had been pounded into us, declaring that everything was right, good, and holy about simply being part of the Great Nation, founded on truth, liberty & justice, etc. But as lived experience began to demonstrate the gaping holes in that big promise, a certain cynicism took its place. Ike’s farewell speech confirmed the suspicion that all was not right in the land, and not too long afterwards, JFK got his head blown off on television. It’s been going steadily downhill since. Now we inhabit an open-air mad house.
COMIC OPERA: THE SPLENDID ANACHRONISM
by Herb Caen
"If you don't like opera, why do you go?" People have been asking me this over the years because of this tendency I have to make fun of it. It so happens that I like opera and I like to make fun of it. That's one of the things I like about it.
Unless you're sobersided beyond belief, you have to admit there's something inescapably comic, even ludicrous, about this particular art form. All those fat sopranos falling into the arms of skinny tenors who try not to stagger under the load. And fail. Conversely, all those fat-bellied tenors trying to get close enough to a skinny soprano, if any, to embrace her. Heroes and heroines stretched out on the stage, fatally wounded, singing at the top of their lungs for 20 minutes as they die.
Contradictions by the score: opera houses jammed to the rafters and still losing money. In a recession, people lining up to buy high-priced tickets for a show presented in a language they can't understand and, if it's in English, it's worse. Standees stacked three deep, half a block from the stage, straining eyes and ears — and feet. In an age of supersonic speeds, an entertainment as slow and cumbersome as a dinosaur which it sometimes resembles in everything but longevity.
Grand Opera has been pronounced dead more often than the dodo, but it not only survives, it flourishes. Why? Because in an age of schlock, it's the real thing. In a "cool" world growing cold, it is blood-hot. Compared to the tawdriness of TV and the plastic corridors of high-rises, it is still grand and romantic. And finally, there is the genius of the music and the integrity that goes into its presentation.
Even when they are bored by it — and much of opera is boring — and the maligned "people," whose brains and judgments supposedly have beaten to pulp by Modern Life, respond in growing numbers because they know they are being treated to something rare, special, unusual, even bizarre. As W.C. Fields said about sex, "I don't know whether it's good and I don't know whether it's bad, but I do know there isn't anything quite like it."
As I started to say at the beginning of whatever I'm trying to say here, the funny thing about opera is that you can make fun of it while still respecting (and even enjoying) it.
If there is a six foot woman in the audience she will be wearing her hair piled another 12 inches on top of her head — and you'll be seated behind her. If you don't get her, you'll get the crazy guy whose hair runs north and south, three inches on each side. A woman you've never seen before will fall asleep on your shoulder and here you have to go to the bathroom even though your favorite aria is coming up and if you leave you can't get back in until intermission anyway.
People snore, stomachs rumble, the barking coughs sound like mating season at Seal Rocks. The opera drones on through a dry spell. You stare at the ceiling to stay awake, thinking about the chandelier hurtling down, as it did in the Phantom of the Opera. You are directly beneath it. You straighten up: the music grows glorious again, the singing brilliant, the harmonies rich enough to make you cry, even though the libretto at this point reads, "Here King Flouristan orders the death of Prince Dristan, unaware that he is actually his own wife, Queen Bufferin, in disguise, who as she dies sings the unforgettable aria, 'Ou est la route a Brisbane'."
We sat through five hours of 'Parsifal.' "What's it about?" someone asked Robert Cromey, beforehand. And he replied, "About two hours too long." But he is wrong. It's not too long at all and besides it's another example of how to have fun while being deeply moved.
Parsifal is Wagner at his druidical, mystical best or worst. So there is this opening scene in the forest. The longer you look the more the scene begins to resemble the Bohemian Grove. There ensues a lot of mumbo-jumbo in guttural German, a long ritual involving what purports to be the Holy Grail. Okay, so it’s initiation night at the Grove, except that everybody seems reasonably sober.
The acolytes open the mysterious receptacle to reveal the Grail itself. All your life you've wondered what the Holy Grail looks like and there it is. It looks like the sign on a tenderloin "cocktail lounge" — an oversized Manhattan glass glowing with a huge cherry. You can see the electrical cord running across the stage. Our hero raises the glass with a visible effort and cries his heart out because he was expecting a martini. (It sounds better in German.)
But five hours! A tremendous achievement. Five hours in which to make mistakes, like dropping the Grail or dumping the wounded knight out of the stretcher, or falling off the tilted stage. And yet there were no mistakes and the music was unfailingly sublime. Thank you, Richard Wagner, singers, musicians, listeners, guarantors, ushers, impresario Kurt Herbert Adler. Thank you all for these riches. And for the laughs too.
A GRANDER OLD PARTY WITH BRUCE
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Bruce Anderson, forever the Editor of Boonville’s (and the world’s) Anderson Valley Advertiser, has a reputation near, far and in between as a rousing, relentless leftist.
His political image is so well established no one bothers question it. He’s Peace & Freedom this, longshoreman union that, I.F. Stone back then, Bernie right now, arrested occasionally and guilty of every damnable socialist notion that’s surfaced since I’ve been keeping count.
Which is nigh on 50 years. But over the past 10 or so I’ve had creeping doubts about his dedication to leftism. I see him in public, I scrutinize his writings and I say “By golly, he’s really just a slightly whacky conservative. Nooo,
“H-h-he’s … a … REPUBLICAN!!”
Bear with me and count the ways:
1) Dresses neat and spiff like Robert Taft, always in a sport coat, often a vest, sometimes a tie. Nice shoes. Trousers pressed. Doesn’t own a Hawaiian shirt, Birkenstocks or blue jeans, which is parade dress uniform for Democrats.
2) Well-spoken and polite, willing to hear those with opposing viewpoints, never interrupts. (The very model of old-fashioned GOP-like politeness.)
3) Thinks movies from France are crap.
4) Never been a vegetarian or vegan; eats whatever he wants and whatever’s on the menu.
5) Never had his astrological chart drawn up, might not know he’s a Leo. No reported history of aura or chakra malfunctions. (Foundational material for progressives.)
6) Married (never divorced) from a female woman (I know, I know! The evidence just keeps piling up!!)
7) Believes Joe Biden is the victim of elder abuse, routinely exposed to public ridicule, forced to take unwitting blame for idiocies generated by Democrats who duck responsibility for acts they’d otherwise have to explain in a re-election campaign. (NOTE: Yes, Mr. Anderson has a warm spot for AOC but who doesn’t? Cute as a bug, right?)
8) U.S. Marine and a strong proponent of 2nd Amendment rights, gun owner for many years. (No interest in hunting; self protection only).
9) Big fan of the National Pastime, our great all-American game of baseball. Democrats love women’s basketball, frisbee golf and soccer (very multicultural). Lifelong jock, probably regrets abandoning promising career as a hard-throwing righthander in favor of advanced poetry studies.
10) Drinks Coors beer, Maker’s Mark whiskey. Has not indulged in marijuana, cocaine or fentanyl over the decades; no Democrat can boast such a history.
11) Bruce is convinced Redwood Community Services is a batch of sharpies gouging the public with expensive, redundant, useless social programs that serve to enrich high-ranking employees while keeping the mentally ill and impoverished right where they belong. Further, thinks most / all nonprofit organizations are in reality jobs programs for connected Democrats. This view leaves him alone among lefties from here to San Diego.
12) Will go to his grave never having driven a Prius.
13) Vigorously opposed to rise in pornography and other permissive sexual behavior in society, including gays parading around naked in SF.
14) Told the world he’d take a blowtorch to his testicles before voting for Hillary Clinton.
15) Thinks Donald Trump is akin to a cartoon character (many Republicans think and say the same) but his calm assessment of Trump supporters is utterly out of synch with every other spittle-spitting lefty. Bruce: “The MAGAs aren’t deceived or deluded so much as they’re totally rejecting the repellent crew of National Lib’s and Big Lib’s seeming endorsement of everything wrong in America … Sound like a Progressive Dem to you?
16) Allergic to rock n roll in all its permutations. Has been to one (1) music act in his life (Miss Peggy Lee) but it left no marks.
Yes, Mr. Anderson retains a fierce commitment to leftist causes, but shrinks assure me this is a remnant of a youthful commitment to helping underdogs and those marginalized by society at large. When Bruce realizes how oppressed and downtrodden California Republicans have become he’ll commit apostasy, get his shoes shined and attend annual Conservative Days BBQ & Convention in Turlock, July 17-20.
Then he’ll run for Congress against Jared Huffman, but not in the primaries.
FACT CHECKING TWK
I’d like to comment about not-quite-departed TWK’s 5/22/22 column about deploring stereotypes (yes!) while spewing a few of his own (progressives, Nor Cal, and “those sensitive hearts” in Redwood Valley). Some fact-checking:
1. The site of the proposed Dollar General in 2016 was the East side of East Road, south of the Redwood Valley Market, NOT the NW corner of School and East Rd. That latter site did, indeed, become the future site of the said storage facility. The County General Plan had suggested that the latter site could best become something like mixed commercial/residential development. When it came down to it, the residents of Redwood Valley had no “say” whatsoever with what the landowner decided to build, as the storage facility conformed to the zoning. End of story. The community of Redwood Valley, as represented by the RV Municipal Advisory Council (RVMAC) formed in 2016, opposed the storage facility, hoping to see useful commercial and/or residential construction instead. Alas, by the time the RVMAC actually was notified by the County of the storage facility plans, ground was about to be broken.
2. If Mr. Kramer were at all familiar with the Dollar General business model, he would see that it is one designed to put all competitors out of business by offering loss leaders like beer, cigarettes, and cheap stuff from China. One means the model uses to keep prices down is to under-staff and underpay employees, leading to difficulties maintaining staffing, Fire code and OSHA violations, and labor problems, exacerbated by the pandemic. In Lake County, new Dollar Generals in recent years led to numerous closures of local and family-run businesses. Look around those neighborhoods now and you’ll notice patterns of closures that resemble the detritus left by Dollar Generals nation-wide. All the revenue, except the low pay for the few employees, goes out of our state and back to the the corporate offices in Tennessee.
Low prices are good, but the real costs to local communities incurred by stores using a model like Dollar General serve to cheapen our entire way of life. That’s one reason why some of us “sensitive hearts” prefer to look at the big picture, rather than some knee-jerk stereotype, when we assess the problems and challenges in American society, from racism to income inequality to Americans arming themselves to protect against other Americans. As one man said some years ago, can’t we all just get along?
Christine Boyd and Tom Schoeneman
LEDE OF THE DAY
A researcher entered the metaverse wanting to study users' behavior on Meta's social-networking platform Horizon World. But within an hour after she donned her Oculus virtual-reality headset, she says, her avatar was raped in the virtual space.
LARRY FINE, CURLY JOE DERITA AND MOE HOWARD were touring famous places that year for what was meant to be a syndicated 39-episode TV series titled Kook's Tour. Unfortunately, on Jan. 9, 1970, during production of the pilot, Fine suffered a paralyzing stroke, ending the opportunity to complete the series. (The Park Rangers pictured are L-R: S. Connelly, Stewart Orgill and R. Schultz)
by Pooja Bhatia
Last weekend, the New York Times published an extraordinary investigation into one of history’s most odious debts: the payments Haiti made to French slaveholders in return for recognizing its independence. The idea of compensating slaveholders for the loss of ‘their property’ – i.e. the people they could no longer enslave – was offensive and mind-boggling from the moment it was floated. In rejecting such a proposal in 1809, the Haitian revolutionary leader Henri Christophe asked:
Is it conceivable that Haitians who have escaped torture and massacre at the hands of these men, Haitians who have conquered their own country by the force of their arms and at the cost of their blood, that these same free Haitians should now purchase their property and persons once again with money paid to their former oppressors?
France mustered an answer in 1825. It sent fourteen ships to the coast of Haiti, threatening war, while a royal envoy went ashore to make the demand. Christophe was five years dead. With guns almost literally to his head, President Jean Claude Boyer chose to pay.
Haiti could not afford the price France set, even after it was reduced from 150 million to 90 million francs. France obligingly lent the money – at high rates of interest and with exorbitant fees. Haitian officials found ways to ensure that smallholder farmers bore the brunt of the debt, which entrenched the divide between rich and poor and consolidated a pattern of state predation that continues to this day. By the time Haiti finished paying the descendants of French slaveholders, in 1888, it had missed out on the public investment boom of the second half of the 19th century: sewer systems, transit networks, schools, hospitals.
The Times investigation (headlined ‘The Ransom’) documented every payment Haiti made on what it calls its ‘double debt’ (the reparation demand plus the loans to pay it), calculating that Haiti remitted 112 million francs, the equivalent of $560 million. The economic loss was far greater: between $21 billion (if the economy had grown at Haiti’s historical pace) and $115 billion (if, as is more likely, it grew at the same rate as its Latin American neighbors). The latter amount is many times bigger than Haiti’s GDP.
‘The Ransom’ goes on to show how Haiti, stripped of its capital, got stuck in cycles of crippling debt over the next half century. The new lenders, Crédit Industriel et Commercial and the National City Bank, were private, predatory and racist. The Times lays out the links between Haiti’s ‘underdevelopment’ and the enrichment of French and American elites, who made wild profits at the expense of systematically impoverished and often brutalized Haitian citizens.
The series also examines President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s campaign to recover the debt from France in 2003 – in particular, the way it galvanized Haiti’s ‘international friends’ to remove Aristide from office. Amazingly, a former French ambassador admits on record that France and the US drove Aristide out in ‘a coup’, when both countries have long insisted he resigned voluntarily. (The US ambassador at the time, James Foley, stuck to the party line in a response in the Miami Herald – the US, he insisted, was not involved in a coup against Aristide.) The French ambassador also said that Aristide’s campaign for restitution probably had something to do with it.
‘The Ransom’ is the paper’s second foray into blockbuster history: not as rigorous as the academic version, but clearer on takeaways, more accessible and with greater popular appeal. Like the 1619 Project, which ‘aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative’, it makes a powerful claim, not usually seen in newspapers, that history shapes the present. The 1619 Project won a Pulitzer Prize, was turned into a hefty book and became a must-read for conscientious liberals. The packaging of ‘The Ransom’, which ran as a 16-page supplement in the Sunday edition, signals similar ambition.
It was vividly illustrated with reproductions of 19th-century ledgers and bank statements, period photographs (one showing a 20th-century US marine standing over half a dozen dead Haitian bodies) and portraits of figures from Toussaint Louverture to William Jennings Bryan. The digital version includes stunning drone footage of the Citadel, the giant fortress Christophe built to defend his kingdom from French reinvasion. The Times hired a translation company in North Miami to translate the series into Kreyòl, a process it described in a self-congratulatory follow-up article.
‘The Ransom’ was lauded elsewhere too. ‘I feel that I and so many others, especially Haitian writers & historians, have been working for decades in a small dark closet & now the NY Times has walked in, shining a powerful beam of light on a subject too long obscured,’ Amy Wilentz tweeted. Her book The Rainy Season is a magnificent account of the movement against the Duvalier dictatorship and the rise of Aristide. Laurent Dubois, whose books on Haitian history describe the debt in detail, called it ‘journalism & history combined, at its finest’.
But for many others, ‘The Ransom’ is a bitter reminder of the singular power of the New York Times – a power it has not often deployed in the interest of Haitians, let alone their history. ‘When they say something, it is accepted – even though others have been saying it for decades,’ in the words of Cécile Accilien, the vice-president of the Haitian Studies Association. She told me ‘The Ransom’ had made her so angry she hadn’t been able read it all. By swooping in and claiming to uncover the roots of Haiti’s misery, Accilien argued, the Times ‘is still falling into the stereotype ... of the white savior’. Another critic posted a list of fourteen works on the debt by Haitian historians ‘as an archival reference for the New York Times’ for ‘the next time they write a piece on Haitian political history’.
Writing about Haiti (or making films, or translating Haitian novels, or filing legal briefs for human rights claims) is often thankless work, unpaid or sorely underpaid, and rarely recognized by non-specialists. Those who persevere must make peace with doubts that their efforts will ever help remedy the injustices and indignities suffered by generations. Some worry that talking about the debt – or soft coups, military intervention, diplomatic interference, punishing tariffs etc. – could harm the cause of justice by casting Haiti as a powerless victim. For Haitian writers, the stakes are far higher and the pay even worse.
Along comes the New York Times, claiming to have discovered something many people, especially Haitians, have known for decades, and proclaiming the discovery with the awesome, quasi-monopolistic force of the newspaper of record in the most powerful country in the world. (I’m reminded of an article that ran in the Onion in January 2010 under the headline: ‘Massive Earthquake Reveals Entire Island Civilization Called “Haiti”.’)
Some of the academics who gave their time and expertise to reporters were dismayed not to get an acknowledgment. Haitian history is an extremely collaborative field, with a strong ethos of credit-sharing and an aversion to the newspaper m.o. of ‘owning’ a story. But norms of citation vary across disciplines, and in journalism, it’s probably necessary that the norm is more minimalist.
A more serious problem is the way ‘The Ransom’ is framed. There’s a lot of Columbus-ing language at the top of the lead story, which, in contrast to the precision of the reporting that follows, tries to signal that the investigation reveals something new and scandalous, aka a scoop.
‘For generations, Haitians had to pay France for their freedom. How much was a mystery – until now.’
The ‘story’ of the debt is ‘rarely taught or acknowledged’.
‘The double debt has largely faded into history ... Only a few scholars have examined it deeply. No detailed accounting of how much the Haitians actually paid has ever been done, historians say.’
These claims both diminish the efforts of others – another norm in journalism, but one that is not necessary – and are shot through with inaccuracy. ‘The Ransom’ itself undermines them, especially in what it says about Aristide. Haiti’s restitution claims were widely taught and acknowledged in the not too distant past. They have not faded into history; the scholarly energy given to issues of odious sovereign debt, including the losses Haiti suffered from its payments to France, have, if anything, intensified in recent years.
From 2003 until the February 2004 coup (we can now call it a coup because the Times has a European official using the word on record), Aristide led a popular campaign for the return of Haiti’s independence payments. Researchers hired by the government argued that the payments violated the international law of the time. They assessed its drain on Haiti’s treasury, and calculated the present value of the payments as $21.7 billion (very close to the Times’s lower estimate). Nothing was hush-hush about any of this work – quite the opposite. The government mounted a spectacular campaign to build awareness of the restitution demand, reasoning that public pressure and shaming were more likely to force France’s hand than a lawsuit. Jurisdiction would have been tricky in a court of law. So the government appealed to the court of public opinion.
In publicizing their claim, Aristide’s administration mostly succeeded – if not with the results they hoped for. France assembled a committee to reflect on French-Haitian relations, led by the supposedly anti-imperialist philosopher Régis Debray. The ensuing report is a pile of condescension that makes clear nothing so much as France’s wish for Aristide’s resignation; but it stands in the record and can be judged on its merits, or lack of them.
In Haiti, the restitution claim took a ‘potent hold ... over much of the population’, the Washington Post reported on 21 November 2003. ‘A song recorded by the racine band Koudjay calling for restitution is a staple on the radio, and the claim is the chief source of news and entertainment in a country where more than half the population is illiterate.’ Other US papers described restitution banners festooning the streets, and restitution bumper stickers plastered to every available surface. Some of the coverage was dismissive (‘Quixotic Haiti Seeks French Restitution’ was the headline in the Los Angeles Times on 14 June 2003), but some was serious. The Wall Street Journal gave a surprisingly comprehensive explanation of the government’s accounting and legal argument, and put it on its front page. One paper was conspicuously silent: the New York Times. It devoted a single sentence to the campaign, buried in the second half of the seventh paragraph of an article headlined ‘200 Years after Napoleon, Haiti Finds Little to Celebrate’.
Why did the world’s pre-eminent paper, arbiter of ‘all the news that’s fit to print’ and arguably the highest court of public opinion, take almost two decades to cover Aristide’s campaign for restitution? The real hell of it is that everyone has his reasons, and it’s possible to imagine a whole variety of them. Maybe the reporters simply ran out of time – the pace of events in Haiti in 2003-4 was breakneck. It was suffering under an aid embargo because of allegedly tainted legislative elections, which undermined Aristide’s ability to govern and made the security situation worse. Civil society elites were calling for Aristide’s resignation. Diplomats were everywhere, vacillating between trying to negotiate a compromise and urging Aristide to resign.
Maybe the Times reporters didn’t take Aristide seriously. Among the poor majority, most of whom do not speak English, Aristide was very popular, but foreign reporters in Haiti tend to spend more time with State Department officials than with the poor majority. Or maybe Times journalists did take Aristide seriously, but found the restitution claim silly and feared reporting on it would further sully his standing abroad. Repairing colonial atrocities was ‘unthinkable’ for most Americans in 2003, the year their president stood under a banner proclaiming the mission in Iraq against WMDs and terrorism accomplished. What was thinkable, what most Times readers were thinking about, was muscular humanitarian intervention – which was soon to come in Haiti. Hours after Aristide was shown out, the US sent in the Marines. Three months later, on 2 June 2004, the paper reported that ‘United States commanders began turning over this anarchic, flood-ravaged, starving nation 500 miles from Florida to a handful of United Nations troops.’
Understanding why the Times chose 2022 to cover the story of Haiti’s debt is easier. It’s a different era in the United States: a period of imperial decline; of outrage at the police murdering Black people; of Confederate statues coming down; of studious non-intervention abroad; of anti-colonialism and anti-racism. Across the former imperial powers, it is a time of reckoning with history. Despite the reactionary backlash, it remains easier to identify and expose the wrongs of the past – all those dead white racist men – than it is to examine the ones we commit and perpetuate in our lifetimes.
But that’s exactly what the Times should be using its singular platform to do. In Haiti, it should be investigating the United States’ continued support of an unelected head of government, Ariel Henry, who is implicated in his predecessor’s murder. It should run a long interview with Daniel Foote, the whistleblower envoy who quit last year, disgusted with US interference in Haiti. I could go on. There is no dearth of mysteries and perversities in today’s Haiti, many of which can be traced to the workings of US power. An obvious place to start would be in its own newsroom: Why didn’t the Times cover Aristide’s debt campaign in 2003?
(London Review of Books)
HOW TO DEFEAT THE BILLIONAIRE CLASS
There are ways to defeat the billionaire class and many of these tactics have been pioneered by Socialist City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative (SA) party in Seattle.
by Chris Hedges
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Socialist Alternative (SA) party have, for nearly a decade, waged one of the most effective battles against the city’s moneyed elites. She and the SA have adopted a series of unorthodox methods to fight the ruling oligarchs and, in that confrontation, exposed the Democratic Party leadership as craven tools of the billionaire class. Her success is one that should be closely studied and replicated in city after city if we are to dismantle corporate tyranny.
Sawant, who lives on $40,000 of her $140,000 salary and places the rest into a political fund that she uses for social justice campaigns, helped lead the fight in 2014 that made Seattle the first major American city to mandate a $15 an hour minimum wage. Following a three-year struggle against Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s richest men, she and her allies pushed through a tax on big business that increased city revenues by an estimated $231 million a year. She was part of the movement that led to Seattle’s successful ban on school year evictions of school children, their families and school employees. She was one of the sponsors of a bill that protects tenants from being evicted at the end of their term leases, requiring landlords to provide tenants with the right to renew their leases and a bill that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants for nonpayment of rent if the rent was due during the COVID emergency and the renter could not pay due to financial hardship.
The billionaire class has targeted her since she assumed office in January 2014. It has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into a corporate PAC called “A Better Seattle” and saturated television and digital platforms with negative advertising. She and the SA have been denied ads by Google, YouTube, and Hulu. Amazon alone spent over $3 million to defeat her when she ran for re-election in 2019. In December, Sawant defeated a well-funded campaign by the city’s business community to remove her in a recall vote. The Democratic Party in Seattle is currently trying to gerrymander her district to separate her from working-class supporters.
You can watch my full interview with Sawant, who has a PhD in economics from North Carolina State University, here. Below I have summarized some of her guiding principles.
Always Be on the Offensive
The billionaire class orchestrated a recall vote last year which they expected would put Sawant on the defensive and remove her from office. Rather than let the oligarchs define the themes of the recall, she and her party used it to collect 15,000 signatures to establish rent control. She rejects the attempt to placate the centers of power by resorting to “moral persuasion and prioritizing peaceful” opposition. This, she says, is a recipe for failure. She is not interested in “cordial relationships” with big business, establishment politicians, the Democratic Party and business lobbyists. They are the enemy. We will not succeed, she says, by “talking nicely” to “convince rich people to hand a little bit of crumbs to those of us who don’t have any.”
The capitalists, she says, along with the media outlets they control, promote the idea of cooperation so that the public is “lulled into this idea that we’re all on the same side, this is a shared situation, that COVID was a shared sacrifice.” This belief disempowers working men and women.
“The very essence of capitalism is that the very wealthy at the top make this enormous profit at the expense of ordinary people,” she says. “The only way to address the class war is through class struggle.”
The Democratic Party Cannot Be Reformed from the Inside
Sawant is one of nine city council members. The other eight are Democrats. The Democrats often rhetorically support progressive reforms, but as is true nationally, they have little intention of implementing them. Sawant’s radicalism has exposed the Democratic Party’s duplicity. The Democratic Party has repeatedly joined forces with the oligarchs, many of whom are their donors, to destroy Sawant. The self-identified progressives in the Democratic Party, she says, play “a role which is contrary to the interests of working people. Every step of the way they have placed obstacles in the path of winning these victories.” She notes that every victory she and her allies achieved, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and the renter’s rights laws, “has come about despite the overt or backroom opposition and tactics by the Democrats.” These victories were won not by appealing to the Democratic Party leadership, but by mobilizing unions members and workers to fight for them.
“One of the first things that happened when I took office was these two prominent Democrats, Democratic council members who came into my office, sat me down, and said, ‘well it’s all well and good’ – I mean, I’m paraphrasing, obviously, I don’t remember the exact words – but paraphrasing, that ‘it’s all well and good, you roused the rabble and got elected as a socialist, but we’re here to tell you that City Hall runs on our terms,’” she says. “‘You are not winning any wage increase, let alone $15 an hour.’ And less than six months later, we had won the $15 an hour minimum wage. So that about sums it up for the Democrats.”
“The Biden administration has completely failed,” she says. “And you don’t have to take the word of a socialist. You can see the approval ratings for Biden are as low as they’ve ever been throughout his presidency. It’s not just him. The Democratic establishment, including his regime, has completely failed in passing any kind of progressive program, whether it is $15 an hour or Medicare for All. He promised to cancel student debt and not even a fraction of that measure has been carried out. This is exactly the reason why now we are staring into potential clobbering of the Democrats by the Republicans and by the right-wing in the midterm elections.”
If Radical New Deal Type Reforms are not Implemented, Right-wing populism and Christian Fascism Will Flourish
Sawant and the SA have not only been targeted by the billionaire class and the Democratic Party but by the extreme right. Campaign volunteers have been harassed and threatened. The former police union president Ron Smith, who like many in law enforcement is sympathetic to the extreme right, called for Sawant to be handcuffed as Seattle police actively worked to have her removed via the recall vote. The best way to battle the extreme right, she argues, is to implement reforms that ameliorate widespread suffering. If this is not done, the extreme right will grow.
“The extent to which right populism succeeds is a testament to the failures of the Democratic Party and the infancy of the left, the U.S. left,” she says. “How much the right succeeds, and how much of a clash there will be, is dependent on how the balance of forces adjusts itself. If the agenda for a living wage adjusted for inflation, for Medicare for All, for canceling student debt, for a real Green New Deal policy agenda, if all of this were put forward by the Democrats, they would be able to win over a big section of the voting population that ends up either staying out of the elections or voting for Republicans and the right wing. There is a genuinely dangerous and reactionary current on every continent, but to the degree to which they get traction, that entirely depends on what else is on offer.”
“Working people in America right now are searching for answers,” she says. “It is because of the disappointments on the electoral arena, the disappointments from many of the BLM leaders being unable to deliver on the promise of this enormous Black Lives Matter movement that happened in 2020. It is because of all these reasons that young people are testing the avenue of labor organizing. It’s amid this complete failure and disarray that the Democrats are in, that the workers at the Amazon warehouse on Staten Island were able to win the first ever union in Amazon. And the reason they were able to win is precisely, again, they used class struggle methods to convince their coworkers.”
Identity Politics Will Not Win Over the Working Class
The Democratic Party and the liberal class have replaced a genuine political agenda with what she calls “woke soundbites.”
Sawant calls this tactic “dangerous.” She argues that most of the American working people “are already won over to the ideas of a society that genuinely respects everybody around us.” Two-thirds of Americans, for example, support Roe v. Wade. The barrier for progressive change, she argues, is not racism, but the leadership of the Democratic Party, including the squad, the labor movement, and the leadership of social movements such BLM. Identity politics “is not the way to win over working-class people. That is handing a weapon to the right wing on a golden platter.”
Be Wary of Labor Union Leaders Allied with the Democratic Party
Sawant warns that most labor leaders, along with social activists such as Al Sharpton, who are allied with the Democratic Party exist for photo-ops and to “co-opt our movements.” “We should be wary of them,” she says. Our best hope lies in the mobilization of rank-and-file workers. She points out that the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) succeeded at the JFK warehouse “because they did not use what I would call the business unionism, basically the conventional ideas that have existed in the labor movement, in the Democratic Party, and even among social movement and NGO leaders, that the way to organize for change and even to win a union election or to win a good contract is to think about the margins, this sort of mythical idea of a few labor leaders at the bargaining table, and then not mobilizing the rank and file.” The ALU “led with concrete demands and “didn’t talk about the union as an abstract entity.” The ALU focused on winning a $30 an hour starting wage, job security, a say in scheduling and the ability to work full-time if desired. “The other thing that they did right was that they made it very clear that the bosses are not on your side. They didn’t cultivate illusions that somehow, they could convince management and Jeff Bezos to be nice just by making morally persuasive arguments.”
Political Campaigns Must be Organized Around Demands, not Personalities
Politicians, even self-identified progressive politicians, she says, have “made peace with the capitalist system.” They falsely believe that they can negotiate with the billionaire class and barter for a few progressive reforms. This tactic, she says, has failed. “The Biden administration is in shambles precisely because that approach does not work. And it also calls into question how far are we going to aim to change society?”
“If you look at the data on the climate crisis, it is very clear,” she says. “We have a very small window in which we need to make a fundamental shift away from capitalism. And for that, we will need mass movements of workers. We will need mass revolutionary struggle led by working people, ordinary people, to bring about that kind of change. That kind of change, flowing from the needs of the planet itself, cannot happen through elections.”
“Campaigns need to be organized around demands, not around personality politics,” she says. “The way to run a strong electoral campaign is to, as I said, completely reject personality politics, completely reject careerism, and build political organizations like Socialist Alternative. Except we need far bigger organizations where we can hold our elected representatives and other leaders in the organization accountable in the program of demands that we are fighting around. This becomes the central focus, not those individuals who could then use those positions to build their own careers by making themselves useful to the ruling class. That’s what we need to reject.”
Focus Campaigns on the 80 million People Who Do Not Vote
Sawant and the SA reject the Democratic Party’s tactic of focusing on centrist or likely voters. They mobilize those who are often part of the 80 million eligible voters who don’t cast ballots, including immigrants, those living in public housing, and marginalized communities. She and her party distribute campaign material in eight languages. This tactic has built a new political base. In one heavily East African building in Seattle, for example, turnout was nearly 10 times what it was in the general election.
The Democratic Party, she claims, lacks a commitment to disillusioned and disenfranchised voters. Its “primary task is to be useful for the ruling class under capitalism, but the way they do it is by speaking from both sides of their mouth. For example, they will talk about $15 an hour. Every so often you will see Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus tweet out saying it’s time for Medicare for All. But then when it comes time to fight for it, they will use their progressive status to give cover for the Biden regime.” They do not, for this reason, have any interest in mobilizing workers. “We would not have won our elections had we not mobilized a whole section of the population that is typically disenfranchised. Not because they don’t have the legal right to vote, but because there’s nothing for them to vote for.”
The Engine for Change will be a Militant Labor Movement Independent of the Democratic Party
Sawant expects the Democrats to take “an absolute shellacking” in the midterms.
“The prospect of a Trump resurgence is also a very real one, unfortunately, at this point,” she says. “That’s how dangerous the whole debacle of the Biden regime has been. The only way to cut across that and create a genuine alternative to right populism that could unite most working-class people in America is through working-class politics.”
New labor leaders, she says, will need to rally workers around a common working-class based program in defiance of traditional unions and the Democratic Party. She points to the labor uprisings by teachers in West Virginia in 2018 “who won an enormous victory by standing up not only to the Republican led legislature in the state, but also to the leaders of their own unions who were not willing to take a fighting approach to winning a strong contract, and to maintaining solidarity across the board among public school employees.” She is also encouraged by the example of Starbucks workers now in nationwide unionization drives in hundreds of stores. “All of this is telling us the way to push back against corporate politics, push back against the failures of the Democrats, and to defeat the rise of the right wing is to build struggles of the working class where we’re able to unite a majority of working people on a common working class-based program.”
None of this, she cautions, is going to be automatic. “We need a courageous rank and file leadership to make that happen. And the political clarity that a labor leadership that is tied at the hip to the Democrats is not going to be the force of change. The force of change will be a revival of the militant labor movement.”