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AFTERNOON HIGH TEMPERATURES will begin trending down as high pressure shifts east. A trough will then advance into the NE Pacific to usher in widespread beneficial rainfall through the weekend. (NWS)
NOTE to everyone. Our Pacific Internet email feed has been down all day, meaning we haven’t received ANY incoming mail today, upon which we are dependent for word from the great world beyond.
PEOPLE say to me, “Get out of Pacific. They’re trouble.” I respond that I’ve been with them from their modest beginnings several owners ago, and all the way back to Pacific’s founder on whose behalf I entered losing combat with MCN, the wholly subsidized Mendo school district internet service that was undercutting the fledgling local private internet businesses. Unfair on the face of it, but business as usual for the Mendocino school admin of the time and, natch, fully supported by Paul Tichinin, capo di tutti at MCOE, a guy who thinks scruples are the crackers you get with Italian soup. So, yeah, I go back with Pacific and suffer their occasional lapses because I go back with them, not the most logical reason to remain a customer, but as a man of diminished virtues, loyal to a fault. Sort of. Depending.
GRIZZLIES MUFFLE WILDCATS
The dream season came to an end for Ukiah as the Wildcats hung tough at No. 4 Granite Bay but ultimately came up short in a 1-0 one-hit shutout.
Luke Schat, junior starting pitcher for the No. 5 seed Wildcats, held the Grizzlies (20-13), the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 champions, to just two hits in the contest and struck out two with three walks in six innings of work.
His only blemish came in the first when, after a one-out walk, JP Smith doubled to score the game’s only run.
Ukiah (20-10) drew five walks, three of them via Ethan Rinehart, and had a baserunner in every inning except for the fifth and seventh but recorded their only hit in the first inning, a single from Austin Ford, four batters into the game.
“We just couldn’t get anything rocking and rolling,” said Ukiah head coach Aaron Ford. “Schat kept us in it to try and win it, but we just didn’t really hit the ball in the air and didn’t really square up on the ball when we did. We had a few guys who put the barrel on the ball but it just went right at their guys. Tip my cap to Granite Bay.”
The loss brings to an end a postseason run that will go down in Ukiah history. The Wildcats stormed their way to the North Coast Section Division 2 title with four road upsets, capping the run with a 13-1 rout of Petaluma in the title game on Saturday.
“It’s a win-win, first NCS championship and we get to participate in the state playoffs,” said Aaron Ford. “What a compliment to the players and the coaches and the families and the community. I’m just excited to be a part of it. The boys did really well.”
REMEMBER the three guys who showed up at Chris Brown’s Albion home in the early morning in December of last year, one of whom shot at Brown as he slept, the bullet narrowly missing his head? Brown returned fired and the three intruders ran off into nearby woods, where deputies found two of them cowering just after daylight. The trio had run off without the truck they’d arrived in. It was registered to an active outlaw named Angel Guzman, but as it turned out Guzman was in jail on another of his many matters and had apparently let one of the perps, Jose Aguilar or Roberto Chavez, “borrow” his vehicle, unaware of their plans for Chris Brown. The real shooter has now been identified as Jose Rodriguez who is in custody in Tijuana and extradition proceedings have begun. He will be charged with attempted murder. The other two people arrested on the scene but later released for more investigation are expected to be charged with assault and attempted burglary “in concert” and associated charges.
I WONDERED if the recent gun tragedies and consequent national anxieties have percolated on down to Boonville, so I asked our school superintendent, Louise Simson, if she’s taken steps to stave off the unthinkable. She has. “We have ALICE Training in place (Active shooter response and prevention protocols), we have a threat assessment scheduled for a walk through with a former police officer to assess areas of security need that was previously scheduled for June 10. We are ordering emergency floor bolt devices for the doors that we will install over the summer that I had in my past district. In the short term, Sheriff’s officers are doing increased walk throughs.”
THE SUPERINTENDENT didn’t say, but I’ve heard from several sources, that hard drugs are circulating in the valley, which they have for years, but lately they been circulating among much younger people, including people of high school age. There’s also gang mopes around, four of whom, all from the Anderson Valley, were arrested two weeks ago for an armed robbery in Cloverdale during which one kid cranked off several rounds at a witness. To the shock and chagrin of high school parents, two of the armed robbers appeared two days after they were arrested. There’s also a number of underage local youngsters driving without licenses. The CHP has been in town lately early in the morning looking for the unlicensed driving to school.
SHERIFF KENDALL has told us that he’s got recruits in mind for a resident deputy, which we need in the Anderson Valley but haven’t enjoyed since the much missed Deputy Craig Walker and, before him, the legendary Deputy Keither Squires. Both of these lawmen knew exactly who was doing what at all times. The Sheriff has also mentioned that he’s had two offers of deputy housing from two local property owners, which should result in a resident deputy soon.
GAS PRICES in Ukiah today (Wednesday, June 1st) were $5.77 at CostCo; $5.99 at Speedway; $6.25 across the street at Chevron. CostCo, where I re-fuel, was 12 cents higher today than it was last Thursday.
LIB MEDIA has finally cracked. NBC is wondering out loud if Biden is on-task, which he clearly hasn't been since he was nominated and then sworn in to confront a series of rolling catastrophes that were rolling long before he took office. You might call them the structural insurmountables — big, complicated systems breaking down; a war in Europe; growing violence here at home that's keeping pace with growing fuel and food prices; global weather changes leading to drought and water shortages; major supply chain obstructions, millions of desperate people on the move on every continent. And Biden, clearly out of it, sitting dazed and confused at the ultimate power lever.
NBC: “Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say. Crises have piled up in ways that have at times made the Biden White House look flat-footed: record inflation, high gas prices, a rise in Covid case numbers — and now a Texas school massacre that is one more horrific reminder that he has been unable to get Congress to pass legislation to curb gun violence. Democratic leaders are at a loss about how he can revive his prospects by November, when midterm elections may cost his party control of Congress.
“They came in with the most daunting set of challenges arguably since Franklin D. Roosevelt, only to then be hit by a perfect storm of crises, from Ukraine to inflation to the supply chain to baby formula,” said Chris Whipple, the author of a book about White House chiefs of staff who is now writing a book about the Biden presidency. “What’s next? Locusts?”
“About three-quarters of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, a recent NBC News poll found — only the fifth time in the last 34 years that so many Americans have been dissatisfied with the nation’s direction.”
THE WONDERFULLY comprehensive Geiger's Market of Laytonville is hiring for its freshly purchased store in the old Hopland Superette where the Kong family successfully presided for many years. The Kongs had some kind of family disagreement and closed the market, and it has remained closed for several years. Geiger’s to the rescue. We used to sell an average of 25 papers a week under the auspices of the Kongs, a charming mom and pop operation quite popular in the area and still missed by many including the Boonville weekly.
A READER NOTES: “I have a copy of the new county Behavioral Health org chart that has gone underground. They have like 30 openings. They have absolutely nobody in adolescent health. It's been at least January since I've been able to look at it because they have buried it.”
HELP! This sad story goes back some, but if you have any information concerning it, please let us know. Around midnight Saturday, September 13, 2014, Boonville Fair Weekend, Mr. Ricardo Jimenez was in line at the Pic’N’Pay (since burned down) in downtown Boonville when a fight broke out between a patron and the night clerk at the store. Mr. Jimenez, acting as a peacemaker, attempted to intervene and was clobbered in the forehead by some kind of tool, perhaps a hammer or crowbar. Mr. Jimenez was taken to the Ukiah Hospital by AV Ambulance for treatment and observation for a major head laceration and concussion. A deputy arrived on scene but was stymied in his investigation of the incident because Pic’N’Pay refused to say who the clerk was and refused to provide security video.
FAST FORWARD to 2022. Mr. Jimenez continues to suffer lingering brain damage and associated pain from the assault. He and Mrs. J are considering a legal case, albeit belatedly, and need to identify those involved. If anyone out there remembers the incident or knows of possible witnesses, Ms. Jimenez would like to hear from them. Also, MCSD detective Luis Espinoza still has a case open, although the statute of limitations has probably lapsed on any criminal charges. The Sheriff’s tip line number is 234-2100. The AVA’s number is 895-3016. Callers can remain anonymous.
I just listened to the Hopland Municipal Advisory Council-HMAC candidates forum for the 5th District Supervisor's race. Typical for our MAC, the questions were from the large ranchers and grape farmers who have acres of land and wells for water. Few of the questions to the candidates really addressed the issues of the people who live here and work here. I was just talking to my neighbors, we all agree — the MAC does not do enough for us. The only question that I remember that addressed the needs of the local residents was the internet question. But there is not a big push for this from our MAC based on my conversations with some of the members. They seem to think that 25 or 50 mbps is plenty fast. We had faster internet in 2000 in LA. My experience living here leads me to believe that the best thing that we could do for business and the wellbeing of the local residents is to disband the Hopland MAC and put together a new MAC that will develop a plan to improve the lives of the folks who LIVE here, people who reside in town. For instance, there’s no place to hike offroad around Hopland unless you know a landowner who will let you hike on their land. Most of my walks are along the roadways with sometimes tiny shoulders. I think that all of the residents who live in Hopland on the 101 and Old Hopland would like to see the Great Redwood Trail and other similar developments. Developments that would provide space for walking or biking for miles. However, the current members of Hopland Municipal Advisory Council-HMAC are completely against the Great Redwood Trail because they want to protect their land. Then there is a matter of the boil water notice that was never sent to the residents at the end of October 2021 when the Russian River flooded. If MendoFever had not mentioned the issue in Hopland NextDoor, we would have never known why folks were experiencing gastrointestinal issues. Only the businesses were notified. The water district never provided the actual tests to prove what happened - the LOCAL RESIDENTS are still unhappy. When I talked to the manager of the Willow Water District, he did not even know that the Russian River breached its banks that night. We still have not received an appropriate answer to our questions on how the water district will do a better job of informing the residents when there are future sanitation problems with our water. However the out-of-town farmers who run our MAC do not seem to care that the Willow Water district received several complaints about gastrointestinal issues. Then there are the issues with crossing the 101 to get coffee which can be a death-defying experience. The list goes on. Based on the questions, it seems that the Hopland Municipal Advisory Council-HMAC sponsored the forum in an attempt to take down Ted Williams - except that Ted was more informed about the actual problems. I would like to hear Ted and John's ideas for restructuring the MACs so that they are elected and serve the needs of the local residents.
A NEW TRENT JAMES video posted by supporters on at a recent meet & greet on the coast talks about the homeless, the mentally ill, Measure B, and more: facebook.com/autumnjfaber/videos/402476335093610
In the latest Trent James interview posted by one of his biggest fans, the inimitable Autumn Faber, former Deputy James recalls his frustration with not having any kind of mental health backup on calls in Covelo where there was no crime involved and where he could only offer limited help, mostly to mentally ill homeless people. Fine so far, a common complaint from local cops. But then in an answer to a question about Measure B, he casually says “multiple people have told me they are not doing anything with it.” It’s true that Mendo has wasted or are wasting the bulk of Measure B money on grossly overpriced buildings a subject we have hammered on about to no avail. But the crisis van is finally, after years of having been funded, in operation, and three mental health workers are now responding with law enforcement on mental health calls. Most of the credit for that goes to incumbent Sheriff Matt Kendall who was the first Mendo official to get moving on the long-delayed crisis van (which still needs its own separate vehicles and a few more people on staff to cover more shifts, like an ambulance). James then added that he couldn’t say how much is being spent on the Crisis Van because “I don’t have access to the budget.” We all have access to the budget, such as it is, for both the Sheriff and Behavorial Health.
James continued, “The Board of Supervisors needs to figure out what to do about this because that needs to be dealt with like yesterday.”
There’s not much more for the Supervisors to do but stay on top of the Crisis Van status at this point, which they won’t do, of course. But again, this is not a campaign issue because Sheriff Kendall is already doing as much as possible on the subject given the current givens. And since the mental health technicians work for Dr. Miller at Behavioral Health, the process has taken and is taking way too long.
Maybe Mr. James should run for Supervisor.
ONE OF THE Supervisors’ major failures (of almost two dozen major failures and betrayals we’re tracking) is their failure to deal with the combined Treasurer-Auditor office that they created last year without a plan and over the objections of the incumbents, and every member of the public who commented on the subject. The Treasurer-Tax Collector at the time, the widely admired and respected Shari Schapmire, retired prematurely in the wake of the consolidation decision saying. “I don’t feel like I can work with the current Board of Supervisors.” Schapmire’s assistant, Assistant Treasurer Julie Forrester, has also now announced her intention to retire or quit (we’re not sure which) leaving the combined office in even more limbo and less experience. It’s been months since the Board rashly decided to consolidate the two offices which have very few common functions and the Board has yet to ask for a status report, a combined budget, or staffing status. Humboldt County got in some hot water with the state recently when they failed to submit a financial report on time costing several hundreds of thousands of dollars out of HumCo’s General Fund to backfill the fund that the state didn’t pay because of the late report. Fingers were pointed at the applicable department and the auditor herself when this problem came to light. This only highlights the importance of following up on the Board’s novel and risky consolidation and the Board’s urgent need to support their newly elected (she’s running unopposed) Treasurer-Auditor Chamise Cubbison, especially in light of Ms. Forrester’s pending departure. Also, as Ms. Schapmire noted at the time, the County’s stated intent to make sure they get as much legitimate tax revenue from county property owner’s depends heavily on a properly trained, supervised, qualified and fully staffed tax-collector’s office.
SINCE MOST MENDOLANDERS have forgotten, here’s Ms. Schapmire’s November 2021 letter announcing her objections to the consolidation:
“Over two decades ago, the Board of Supervisors approved the consolidation of the offices of the Clerk-Recorder and the Assessor. At that time, the Clerk-Recorder was an incumbent with name recognition and the current Assessor had planned to retire. The Assistant Assessor at the time challenged the sitting incumbent, after a contentious election, the incumbent Clerk-Recorder was the successful candidate. The deterioration of the Assessor’s Office started immediately with extremely knowledgeable, long-standing employees vacating the office for other departments or other Counties. I witnessed the Assessor responsibilities take a backseat to everything else that was going on in the office, particularly elections.
Beginning in about 2010 or so, the Assessor’s Office went an entire decade without the Assistant Assessor position being filled. This was a critical function and should have absolutely been filled. Again, in my opinion, this left appraisers to flail with very little instruction and oversight. I believe this substantially contributes to the Assessor’s Office having a lack of senior appraisers to this day.
My goal is not to degrade the Assessor’s Office, but to tell you I have had a front row seat to witness a mass deterioration of a County office over the past two decades. All the tools to generate additional revenue for the County, such as finding unassessed properties, were severely hindered due to a lack of critical focus on functions of the Assessor. I know finding unassessed properties is very important to the current Board and I completely agree, losing out on this increased revenue source is a significant lost opportunity.
To summarize, I am adamantly opposed to the creation of a Director of Finance position. The current structure has been successful for decades, it allows for critical functions to remain at the forefront and not minimalized by lack of time and focus. It also allows for the separation of duties that is absolutely vital for financial offices. Like with the consolidation of the Assessor-Clerk-Recorder, I fear if this consolidation takes place it will set the County on an extremely negative path going forward. We have learned a lot over the decades, one thing we know for sure, it is imperative that our financial offices remain stable.
I would be happy to address any questions that any Board members may have.”
That advice went unheeded. In a subsequent letter, Ms. Schapmire added, “I am leaving early. After being in this office for 40 years, I cannot watch what it [consolidation] is going to do to staff. Also, I feel like now that this is a done deal; I need to get out of the way,” adding, “Despite every intention to complete my term and go until December 2022, I am leaving now because I don’t feel like I can work with the current Board of Supervisors.”
On 5/30/2022 at approximately 1036 hours, the Ukiah Communication Center (UCC) received several 911 calls for a fire being started in the center divider on US-101 just south of N State St by a pedestrian wearing a black jacket. Officers from the Ukiah CHP office responded to the scene and located an adult female matching the description provided by the motoring public. Officers detained the subject and conducted an arson investigation. While conducting their investigation, Officers located a green butane lighter in the subject’s possession. After conducting their investigation and with assistance from the Mendocino County Sheriffs Department, the CHP Officers on scene were able to identify the subject as Melissa Beck, 43, of Ukiah.
Melissa Beck, was subsequently arrested and charged with arson. A CHP Officer transported Melissa Beck to the Mendocino County Jail where she was booked into custody without incident. Fire personnel from CAL Fire and Ukiah Valley Fire arrived on the scene and were able to quickly contain the fire to only a quarter acre. Chief Buckingham with the Ukiah Valley Fire department arrived on the scene to conduct his own arson case alongside CHP.
"Heroes and Patriots" returns to KMUD on Thursday, June 2, at 9-10 AM, Pacific Time, with Harvard astrophysicist, Dr. Avi Loeb, to discuss the recent Congressional hearing on UFOs.
It was the first Congressional UFO hearing in a generation.
On May 17, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, Ronald S. Moultrie, and Scott Bray, Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray testified and presented video evidence before the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation (known as C3) during the first open congressional hearing on UFOs in more than 50 years.
The public session lasted approximately 90 minutes, after which lawmakers and witnesses retreated behind closed doors for a classified briefing.
Here's the C-Span link to that Congressional hearing: https://www.c-span.org/video/?520133-1/hearing-government-investigation-ufos
The next day, May 18, C-Span featured Dr. Loeb to talk about the hearing: https://www.c-span.org/video/?520305-6/washington-journal-avi-loeb-discusses-us-government-ufos
Professor Loeb received a PhD in plasma physics at age 24 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1986) and was subsequently a long-term member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1988-1993), where he started to work in theoretical astrophysics. In 1993, he moved to Harvard University where he was tenured three years later. He is now the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science and former chair of the Department of Astronomy.
Loeb has authored nearly 700 research articles and 4 books. For full publications and biographies, visit his Professional Site: https://lweb.cfa.harvard.edu/~loeb/
KMUD simulcasts its programming on two full power FM stations: KMUE 88.1 in Eureka and KLAI 90.3 in Laytonville. It also maintains a translator at 99.5 FM in Shelter Cove, California.
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SHANÉL VALLEY ACADEMY will be celebrating a historic milestone in the Hopland community at the Grand Reopening Ceremony on Saturday, June 4th, 2022, beginning at 10am.
After the Ukiah Unified School District Board approved the charter school petition to operate at the former Hopland Elementary School site in January 2021, the founding team faced challenges and an accelerated timeline to renovate and prepare the campus to welcome students. The community came together and accomplished what it had set out to do, and on September 7, 2021, the doors re-opened at Hopland School for the first time in over a decade. “This school is proof that no dream is too big, that anything is possible with hard work and determination, and if you build the right team, you can exceed expectations”, says Amy Frost, founder, and Shanél Valley Academy Board President.
Shanél Valley Academy continues to set new goals for the upcoming year. Staff, students, and volunteers have planted vegetable gardens and fruit trees on the 10-acre parcel of land as they prepare to build a robust farm-to-school program beginning in the 22/23 school year and expand their outdoor educational opportunities for students.
Shanél Valley Academy was recently notified they will be part of the first cohort of grant recipients for the Community Schools Partnership Program. “This is a transformational moment for California’s schools, and our nation-leading investment in community school strategies will ensure that our campuses will become resource hubs for our neighborhoods, and that our families and educators lead the efforts to transform outcomes for students,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. SVA is excited to begin building the foundation for a community school model and improve learning through a “whole-child” approach.
They would like to invite the entire community to celebrate their year full of accomplishments. The ceremonies will include opening remarks from the founding school leaders, a reveal of the school community mural, a student-led song celebrating our first year of success, acknowledgment of donors who helped make the school possible, student awards, and an open opportunity for community members to tour the facility.
The event is free for all who wish to attend. Lunch tickets will be sold to raise funds for their farm-to-school program.
Lunch ticket includes: BBQ Chicken and Ribs, Beans, Coleslaw and a Fresh Roll!
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 1, 2022
JOSEPH BALLARD, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale.
MARTIN BRIGGS, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, county parole violation.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
CHRISTINE HIMEL, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
HAROLD MILLER, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
JOEL NEELY II, Willits. Domestic abuse.
MICHAEL NEWBOLDS, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale-transportation, conspiracy, probation revocation.
STEVEN RICH SR., Ukiah. Battery with serious injury.
ROBIN SMITH, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
MICHAEL WAKELAND, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance for sale-transportation, conspiracy.
JENNA WILSON, San Jose/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CALIFORNIA IS RATIONING WATER AMID ITS WORST DROUGHT IN 1,200 YEARS
by Irina Ivanova
Southern California is imposing mandatory water cutbacks as the state tries to cope with the driest conditions it has faced in recorded history. Starting Wednesday, about 6 million people in parts of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties are limited to watering outdoor plants once a week — an unprecedented move for the region.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to about 19 million people, declared a water shortage emergency in April and voted unanimously to curtail water use, either by restricting outdoor watering or by other means.
"Metropolitan has never before employed this type of restriction on outdoor water use. But we are facing unprecedented reductions in our Northern California supplies, and we have to respond with unprecedented measures," Adel Hagekhalil, the district's general manager, said in a statement. "We're adapting to climate change in real time."
Nearly all of California is experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought. Very little rain fell in January, February and March, when the state typically receives half its annual precipitation. As a result, the state is facing its driest ever start to the year, with one recent study calling the current drought the worst in 1,200 years.
Governor Gavin Newsom last week called on Californians to reduce their consumption, saying, "Every water agency across the state needs to take more aggressive actions" to save water.
The Metropolitan Water District has imposed its harshest restrictions on Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, which depend on the State Water Project, a distribution network that brings water from Northern California to the state's southern region. During the ongoing drought, the SWP delivered just 5% of the water local municipalities had requested.
Areas of California that depend on the Colorado River for water have so far been spared conservation measures, although water levels in the river are also unusually low.
The Metropolitan Water District is a wholesaler with 26 member agencies covering nearly 80 cities and communities in the state. Those smaller agencies are tasked with enforcing water conservation plans and charge stiff fines if localities go over their allocations.
Local agencies that fail to meet the state's reduction goals are fined up to $2,000 per acre-foot of water. An acre-foot is about 326,00 gallons. The district will monitor water usage, and if the restrictions don't work it could order a total ban on outdoor watering in the affected areas as soon as September.
Most utilities have focused cutbacks on outdoor watering, which is responsible for about half of a city's water use. In parts of Los Angeles, for instance, residents are limited to two 8-minute periods of outdoor watering per week, with specific days based on their address, the LA Times reported.
"Using our precious water resources to irrigate thirsty grass that serves no function is wasteful, particularly during this severe drought," Hagekhalil said in a statement. "Our priority must be to preserve and stretch our limited supplies to ensure we have enough water to meet human health and safety needs."
An exception to the rules allows for hand-watering trees to maintain "ecologically important tree canopies," the district noted.
The state is also encouraging residents to replace water-guzzling lawns with native California vegetation or rock gardens that are more resistant to drought.
Drier conditions across the U.S. West are also increasing the risk of blackouts in different regions this summer, the nation's electricity regulator said last month. Lower-than-normal water levels in reservoirs mean that California will produce just half the hydroelectric power of a typical year, the Energy Department warned on Wednesday.
This summer is also expected to be hotter than normal, which would create higher demand for air conditioning and strain the power grid further. Drought conditions also helped cause the "Coastal Fire," which broke out near Laguna Nigel on May 11 and destroyed 20 homes, the Drought Monitor said.
"IF THEY REALLY WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, they’d put a moratorium on pools, they’d put a moratorium on almonds, they’d put a moratorium on grapes and they’d put a moratorium on marijuana." (Alfred Gonzalez)
A jury found yesterday that the actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp had both been defamed in the fallout from their tumultuous, one-year marriage. But it ruled more strongly in his favor, awarding him more than $10 million in damages and her $2 million. Depp had sued Heard over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, which he said falsely implied that he had been abusive; Heard countersued over one of Depp’s lawyers calling her accusations a “hoax.” This is Heard's opinion piece from December 18, 2018:
I SPOKE UP AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE — AND FACED OUR CULTURE’S WRATH. That Has To Change.
by Amber Heard
I was exposed to abuse at a very young age. I knew certain things early on, without ever having to be told. I knew that men have the power — physically, socially and financially — and that a lot of institutions support that arrangement. I knew this long before I had the words to articulate it, and I bet you learned it young, too.
Like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.
Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.
Friends and advisers told me I would never again work as an actress — that I would be blacklisted. A movie I was attached to recast my role. I had just shot a two-year campaign as the face of a global fashion brand, and the company dropped me. Questions arose as to whether I would be able to keep my role of Mera in the movies “Justice League” and “Aquaman.”
I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.
Imagine a powerful man as a ship, like the Titanic. That ship is a huge enterprise. When it strikes an iceberg, there are a lot of people on board desperate to patch up holes — not because they believe in or even care about the ship, but because their own fates depend on the enterprise.
In recent years, the #MeToo movement has taught us about how power like this works, not just in Hollywood but in all kinds of institutions — workplaces, places of worship or simply in particular communities. In every walk of life, women are confronting these men who are buoyed by social, economic and cultural power. And these institutions are beginning to change.
We are in a transformative political moment. The president of our country has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct, including assault and harassment. Outrage over his statements and behavior has energized a female-led opposition. #MeToo started a conversation about just how profoundly sexual violence affects women in every area of our lives. And last month, more women were elected to Congress than ever in our history, with a mandate to take women’s issues seriously. Women’s rage and determination to end sexual violence are turning into a political force.
We have an opening now to bolster and build institutions protective of women. For starters, Congress can reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. First passed in 1994, the act is one of the most effective pieces of legislation enacted to fight domestic violence and sexual assault. It creates support systems for people who report abuse, and provides funding for rape crisis centers, legal assistance programs and other critical services. It improves responses by law enforcement, and it prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ survivors. Funding for the act expired in September and has only been temporarily extended.
We should continue to fight sexual assault on college campuses, while simultaneously insisting on fair processes for adjudicating complaints. Last month, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed changes to Title IX rules governing the treatment of sexual harassment and assault in schools. While some changes would make the process for handling complaints more fair, others would weaken protections for sexual assault survivors. For example, the new rules would require schools to investigate only the most extreme complaints, and then only when they are made to designated officials. Women on campuses already have trouble coming forward about sexual violence — why would we allow institutions to scale back supports?
I write this as a woman who had to change my phone number weekly because I was getting death threats. For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars. Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion — and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgments far beyond my control.
I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support. We are electing representatives who know how deeply we care about these issues. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms — and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.
WHERE ARE THE MEN OF COURAGE? THEY’RE GONE THANKS TO ‘TOXIC MASCULINITY’
by Miranda Devine
So. We vilify action men, brand chivalry and valor “toxic masculinity,” stamp on the manly virtues that made civilization possible.
Then we are shocked when armed cops stand around outside a classroom while children are slaughtered, or when straphangers watch passively as a woman is assaulted on the subway.
What’s the answer?
Democrats cynically demonize Republicans over guns as a motivator for their base. Republicans fall back on hardening security to prevent more school shootings.
But little Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 small children and two of their teachers last week, was already pretty hardened.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had its own six-strong police force, armed security guards, perimeter fencing and a locked classroom policy, according to a security plan posted on its website.
Still, the shooter found an unlocked door and the only thing that might have saved those children were men of courage and action rushing into the line of fire. Yes, men.
Instead, they had armed police officers milling about outside their classrooms, reportedly for over an hour, as blood flowed unchecked, and innocent souls rose to heaven.
If you were the desperate parents prevented by the cops from going inside the school to save your kids, your rage would be rightly insatiable.
Missing the point
But armchair Twitter warriors, armed with minimal real data, ranting about cowardice and drumming up death threats for Uvalde police, are missing the point.
You can’t bully people to be brave or nag them into valor.
They either are or they aren’t that way.
They either are the first responders of 9/11 running toward danger to save strangers, men who strapped on oxygen tanks to climb 110 flights of stairs to their deaths.
Or they are not.
We used to venerate men like the entire shift of 15 firefighters from Midtown’s Engine 54/Ladder 4/Battalion 9, whose fading photographs still face the heedless crowds on Eighth Avenue.
Men with families to live for, who rushed to their deaths on 9/11, because they believed in a system of honor and duty, in which they were destined to be guardians of the community; men like Battalion Chief Edward Geraghty, 45, firefighters Alan Feinberg, 48, Jose Guadalupe, 37, Leonard Ragaglia, 36, Michael Lynch, 30, Christopher Santora, 23, and fellow heroes.
Now their inheritors show up at emergencies and the public throws bottles of urine at them. Social-justice warriors and their eager media accomplices smear cops every day as racists and murderers. #ACAB (“all cops are bastards”) is their favorite hashtag.
“Traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful,” the American Psychological Association declared in 2019. These were the masculine attributes it listed as diseased: “stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, aggression, anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk and violence.”
The only acceptable man now is a man who wants to be a woman. We celebrate “pregnant men” and “chestfeeding” men.
You see, in the drive to destroy masculinity, we’ve had to erase women as well.
We ignore the crisis that sees men commit suicide at ever-increasing rates or succumb to drug abuse and porn addiction while savvy young women graduate from college in disproportionate numbers. Trained from childhood to be entitled and unrealistic about relationships, their fertility and the sacrifices and joys of motherhood, many become bitter and blame men for their confusion.
Along the way, we emasculate the institutions that were necessarily masculine for our protection, notably the military. As an example, on Wednesday, the US Marines celebrated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Pride Month by tweeting a picture of a combat helmet adorned with rainbow-colored bullets.
So, what do men do? They recoil and retreat. They leave the stage for hysterical epsilon men like Beto O’Rourke who whine and posture but can’t protect a thing.
Then when we need strong, quick-thinking Gary Cooper to save us from outlaws, he’s nowhere to be found.
He has been rendered extinct, leaving 19 kids to be slaughtered inside a classroom while men and women wearing the legacy costume of toxic masculinity stand around waiting for orders.
“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise,” C.S. Lewis foretold in his dystopian 1943 book The Abolition of Man.
“We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”
SAKOWICZ AS OF 2009
by Tim Stelloh (April 22, 2009)
John Sakowicz’s columns for the North Bay Bohemian usually concluded with a bio, a sliver of personal history to add authority to hisarguments about the country’s economic crisis: “John Sakowicz is a Sonoma County investor who was a co-founder of a multi-billion dollaroffshore hedge fund Battle Mountain Research Group.”
Since that bio surfaced last year, his columns have been distributed to other Bay Area alt-weeklies in the Boho chain; he’s appeared as apundit on Al-Jazeera; he’s been endorsed by the Institute for Public Accuracy—the San Francisco organization that connects so-called experts with journalists—and he has, of course, become a regular on KZYX, where his radio show, “The Truth About Money” airs every other Friday.
Yet there’s little evidence to suggest Battle Mountain is what Sakowicz says it is.
Sakowicz says he started Battle Mountain with some “buddies from Wall Street” in Grand Cayman, according to an article he published in May 2006 on the web site of his alumni university, Johns Hopkins. Neither the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority nor the Cayman Islands General Registry Department has any record of Battle Mountain. Nor does the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
Though offshore hedge funds are not required to register with the SEC, Kris Devasabai, an editor with Hedge Funds Review, said any number of business dealings would likely have put Battle Mountain on the department’s radar. “If they were involved in trades, or if they bought shares that pushed them over the disclosure threshold, or if they were involved with companies that went into bankruptcy, they would have to file with the SEC,” he said.
Devasabai said he had never heard of Battle Mountain. “For them not to have their own web site, that's normal,” he said. “But at least there would be filings with the SEC.” And if Battle Mountain is—or was—a multi-billion dollar operation, it would be a formidable fund, a serious player in the world of finance, Devasabai said. Yet a search of the archives of several business publications—including the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times—found no mention of Battle Mountain Research Group. An analyst at the Ermitage Group, an asset management organization, gave the same verdict: “No one here has heard of Battle Mountain,” he said.
Sakowicz declined to be interviewed for this story, or to provide any specifics on the fund’s finances. In response to a question about Battle Mountain’s financial statements, his assistant, Ellen Cruz, said in an e-mail she could not “confirm or deny” any aspect of Sakowicz’s personal or professional life. “However, I can tell you that, as a general matter, an unregulated offshore fund operated on behalf of foreign investors is generally of no great interest to U.S. based regulatory agencies,” she wrote. “Also, please be aware that many ‘tax havens’ or ‘corporate secrecy havens’ throughout the world have few, if any, registration requirements. This was true even for the Cayman Islands up until 2004, when the law was revised as a result of pressure by the U.S. Department of State.”
The timeline for Battle Mountain is unclear. But in April 2005, a Johns Hopkins “alumni notes” web posting refers to Battle Mountain as “a registered offshore hedge fund” and Sakowicz its chief financial officer. Sakowicz’s response to the AVA’s request for documentation was unusual, Devasabai said. “It’s not the standard way of dealing withthis stuff,” he said. “Even if it’s off the record, hedge funds want to show you they’re legit.”
Jay Johnson, who once co-hosted the Truth About Money with Sakowicz on Ukiah Valley TV, said that during the several months they worked together he never saw any proof of Sakowicz’s high-rolling credentials.“He knows his financial lingo,” he said. “But he’s never invested for me. I’ve never seen his books. I’ve never seen any hard evidence of anything. But he knows how to talk about it.”
At KZYX, John Coate, the station’s general manager, said he didn’t see any problems with Sakowicz’s résumé when he gave him the show. “I asked him about what he was up to, I found what I could on the net, I asked him about it some more, and I was satisfied,” he said. “It didn’t look like it would create problems for the program he was doing.” And the questions surrounding Sakowicz’s hedge fund? “Yes, the guy has had a complicated life leading up to this point,” he said. “But he’s got a radio show. He brings in guests, and I think the quality of those guests are evidence of his credentials. For the the purposes of the program, he’s fine.”
WHEN JAPANESE BALLOON BOMBS LANDED IN SONOMA COUNTY
by Phil Barber
Right around New Year's Day, 1945, the Japanese army released an unmanned balloon from the east coast of the main island of Honshu.
It was made of 600 pieces of paper glued together, in all likelihood, by schoolgirls. It measured 33 feet in diameter and when fully inflated held about 19,000 cubic feet of hydrogen. It carried several incendiary bombs.
The balloon rose into the currents of the jet stream and began its long path eastward. It was equipped with an ingenious equilibrium system that spit out hydrogen when it climbed too high and dropped sandbags when it dipped too low. The teardrop-shaped specter crossed 6,200 miles of the Pacific Ocean in two or three days, and finally fell apart on Jan. 4, 1945, landing in an orchard off Vine Hill Road, just east of Forestville.
"It was 5 or 6, and Dad and I were going out to bring in the goat for the evening," said Terence Alberigi, who was 14 at the time and still lives in the area. "We heard a whistling sound, and we saw this thing fall from the sky. It hit an apple tree and broke a branch."
Alberigi, now 91, estimates the contraption landed 150-200 feet from him and his father, Frank. "It fell behind a workman's cabin," Terence said. "We weren't that far from it."
Frank Alberigi's reaction? "What the hell is it?" his son recalled.
The Alberigis didn't know it, but the strange occurrence was part of a coordinated campaign by the Japanese military to bomb the U.S. mainland in a slow-motion, unguided onslaught. Between November 1944 and early April 1945, it is believed, the Axis power launched roughly 9,300 weaponized balloons.
Most probably fell into the ocean, but the U.S. government logged 285 incidents on its soil — balloons spotted, fragments found or explosions plausibly related. One killed six people in Oregon, the only enemy-inflicted casualties on the U.S. mainland in World War II.
The incident at the Alberigi farm, an attack by a foreign power on a private residence in Sonoma County, should have been banner news for The Press Democrat. Especially because, as the newspaper would later write, hundreds of people saw the balloon sweeping inland from the Jenner area, "highlighted by the rays of the setting sun."
But The Press Democrat didn't reveal the story for more than eight months. Just hours before the balloon hit the Alberigis' apple tree, the U.S. Office of Censorship issued a nationwide gag order on the press, seeking to tamp down the terror the Japanese were hoping to instill.
The success of the censorship order is nearly as unbelievable as the operation that inspired it.
A number of countries tried to use hot-air balloons in battle before World War II. The Japanese were the first to mount a sustained campaign. They called it Operation Fu-Go.
The first balloon bomb was set free on Nov. 3, 1944. The last few set sail around this time of year, 77 years ago. Fu-Go ended after that as American B-29 raids disrupted Japanese hydrogen production.
Axis military leaders knew the balloons were too unpredictable to inflict major damage. The goal was trigger dread in U.S. citizens — just as American planes had terrified the Japanese when they bombed Tokyo in the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942. A secondary goal, which surely resonates today, was to ignite forest fires in the Pacific Northwest.
The footprint of the bombardment was vast. Army Air Corps planes shot down balloons in the Aleutian archipelago, part of Alaska. Fragments were found as far east as Michigan, and as far south as Mexico.
The Japanese were more successful than they knew. One bomb caused a momentary loss of electrical power at the atomic energy plant in Hanford, Washington — a facility that would ultimately produce materials for the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
And on May 5, 1945, Rev. Archie Mitchell and his wife, Elsie, took five 11- to 14-year-olds from their Sunday school class for a picnic and fishing excursion on nearby Gearhart Mountain in Oregon. Elsie Mitchell was pregnant with their first child. As the reverend was moving the car, the rest of the group found a strange object on the forest floor. It was a Japanese bomb. It exploded, killing Elsie and all the children.
Almost none of it made the newspapers or radio bulletins at the time.
When the balloon fell on their property, Frank Alberigi called the Sonoma County Sheriff.
"The next day, three or four Army trucks full of soldiers came out, and they were looking all over the place for bits and pieces," said Terence, a retired librarian who worked at City College of San Francisco for 26 years. "They were probably there all day. We had two dogs, and they loved it. They got more attention."
The Army guys were ballistics experts from Hamilton Field near Novato, according to a story that ran in The Press Democrat on Aug. 16, 1945, the day after the censorship order was lifted. The FBI was there, too. Authorities stored the device for two days in the lobby of the sheriff's office in Santa Rosa, and at one point invited Press Democrat editors and reporters to examine it.
Terence Alberigi said he might have told a neighbor about the balloon, but mostly kept it quiet.
That incident is one of 285 listed in a G-2 Periodic Report — a series of World War II operational documents — from Aug. 4, 1945, and later published in an account by Robert C. Mikesh in a 1973 edition of Smithsonian Annals of Flight. (As many as 1,000 balloons may have reached North America, with many going unnoticed in remote terrain.) Assigned as "Sebastopol, California," it was the 11th documented incident; just the sixth to strike the U.S. mainland; and the first in this state.
The G-2 notations read, "Paper balloon, including envelope fragments, rigging, and apparatus, landed at 1815 PWT."
That's pretty close to Alberigi's recollection: "A tangle of ropes, and some wood."
In his 2014 book "Fu-Go: The Curious History of Japan's Balloon Bomb Attack on America," author Ross Coen devotes an entire chapter to the Vine Hill fragments, writing that, "From a military intelligence perspective" it was one of the most significant incidents becasue the undercarriage of the balloon offered more intact equipment than any recovered to that point.
"The carriage included a wooden box with a clear plastic top," Coen wrote. "Inside was a sealed wet battery and about a quart of slushy liquid with a peculiar chemical odor. Attached to the outside of the wooden box was a small metal container with what looked like a detonator. The fuse leading to this device had worn through a few inches from its connection point, perhaps explaining why the detonator failed to function."
The slushy liquid was later determined to be an antifreeze solution, necessary to keep the battery running in the subzero temperatures of the upper atmosphere.
The most significant discovery from Vine Hill: four damaged incendiary bombs, still attached to the aluminum wheel that suspended the sandbags. As The Press Democrat wrote in August 1945, "None who examined the infernal machine realized at the time that an avid bomb in the mechanism could have exploded at any time, causing death and destruction."
The day after Vine Hill, balloon scraps turned up in Napa; analysts deduced they were part of the same vessel. The G-2 report also noted balloon paper fragments found in West Cloverdale on March 12, 1945, and Guerneville on March 18.
The Press Democrat's August 1945 story mentioned additional examples. Remnants of a balloon were found near the Mount Jackson mine on March 23. (There was debate over whether this, too, was part of the Vine Hill balloon.) Scraps were uncovered near Geyserville on May 15. And a bomb started a fire near Cotati in June, though The Press Democrat wasn't sure if it had arrived via a Japanese balloon.
The most dramatic event came on Feb. 23, 1945, when a balloon was spotted over the Mayacamas range. The military dispatched a Lockheed P-38 Lightning from Santa Rosa Army Air Field — now the site of the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport — and shot it out of the sky near Calistoga.
That was the first of only two known instances of a U.S. plane bringing down a Japanese balloon. The other happened about a month later, near Reno, Nevada.
The last incidents related to Fu-Go in the G-2 report occurred July 20, 1945 — an undetonated bomb in Oregon, and a balloon envelope in Nevada. But nearly a decade after that, the Department of Defense confirmed that a Japanese bomb "still highly explosive and dangerous even after exposure" had been found in Alaska.
As Mikesh wrote for the Smithsonian Institution in 1973, "It would be safe to assume that … hundreds of balloons and their bombs have yet to be discovered."
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)