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Mendocino County Today: December 8, 2012

REMEMBERING THE DAY OF INFAMY

By Bruce Anderson

I was two, my brother one, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941. You could say they also attacked me. If Hirohito had tried to kill me 20 years later he doubtless would have had probable cause, but I can say, along with that dwindling number of surviving soldiers and sailors who were the targets of that attack, I'm a Pearl Harbor Survivor.

My brother and I were born in Honolulu where our paternal grandfather, a Scots immigrant, was a principal in a successful business called the Honolulu Iron Works. My father, a graduate of the Punahou School, same as our President, spent his days surfing and his evenings in white dinner jackets.

By the end of the war he was loading submarines at Hunter’s Point in San Francisco.

He’d cashed in because, he, like most Islanders, assumed the Japanese would follow-up their successful blitz of America’s Pacific defenses with a ground invasion, and Pop preferred to be among the missing when that inevitability occurred.

The morning of the infamous day, we’d been up before dawn demanding, as family lore has it, an ice cream cone. We were in the car as the sun rose, and suddenly wave after wave of low-flying planes swooped in over us and Honolulu. We drove obliviously on as the planes devastated the American fleet where it was conveniently assembled in Pearl Harbor, their crews slumbering, many eternally.

“The planes were flying so low I could see the pilot,” my father remembered. “I thought it was some kind of maneuvers. There was smoke coming from Pearl Harbor, but most people assumed there had been an explosion and a fire. There were lots of people out in the streets watching the planes coming in. Quite a few spectators were strafed just for the heck of it as the Japs flew back out to sea. But I didn’t know what was happening until I got home.”

It hadn’t occurred to Pop that the planes were hostile. That thought hadn’t occurred to much of anyone in Honolulu until they were either shot at or a stray bomb fell on their neighborhood. The Japanese, as always on-task, mostly confined themselves to military targets and, of course, forty years later, were our mortgage holders.

Some 20 minutes after the attack had begun, my father stopped to buy us ice cream cones, which were served up by an unperturbed clerk, and we drove on home. “Nobody had any idea that the Japanese would do such a thing,” my father said whenever he talked about December 7th. “They were too far away and America had no quarrel with them.”

Arriving home, my brother’s and my passion for locomotion and ice cream temporarily slaked, my father indignantly complained to my mother that “these military maneuvers are getting a little too goddam realistic.”

My mother, who’d always regarded her husband as a Mr. Magoo-like figure, informed her mate that the Japanese were in the process of attacking both Pearl Harbor and, it seemed, Honolulu, where errant bombs aimed at Hickham Field had already destroyed the homes and businesses of non-combatants.

She’d turned on the radio when she’d heard explosions where she learned that a bomb had obliterated the area where we’d made our ice cream purchase. In 1968, a hippie told me that I’d eluded the Japanese because I had “good karma.” I think it was more a case of God’s high regard for idiots and children.

My father was exempt from military service because he had a wife and children, but he was pressed into service as a member of a sort of impromptu Honolulu home guard — (Honolulu in 1941 was about the size of today’s Santa Rosa) — called the Business Man’s Training Corps or BMTC. My mother had much ribald enjoyment at the abbreviation, and was even more delighted at the sight of my father togged out as a World War One Doughboy, the only uniforms available.

The BMTC wouldn’t have been much of a match for the Japanese Imperial Army which, fortunately, never appeared on Waikiki. The Japanese had surprised themselves by the unopposed success of their attack on Pearl Harbor and had not prepared an occupying ground force.

December 7th was a major trauma for America. For our family, too. Pop made plans to head for the Mainland as soon as he could wrap up his affairs and get on a boat, but he wanted to accomplish both without being derided as a slacker for fleeing. It took him another year to make it stateside.

As pop cashed in his chips and continued to spend his days surfing and sitting around in the dark at night behind blackout curtains, he put my mother and his two toddlers on a troop ship for San Francisco. My mother, a registered nurse who'd worked at Queen's Hospital in Honolulu, also the birthplace of our President contrary to what the fat boys at the Tea Party say, remembers daily submarine alerts all the way across the Pacific during which everyone trundled over the side by rope nets into lifeboats. Mom recalls that the two of us infants loved being handed off like a couple of footballs up and down the side of the ship, but the daily alarms and exertions terrified her and everyone else on board.

But we made it through the Golden Gate unscathed, and were soon ensconced at the Fairmont Hotel, the evacuation center for people fleeing Hawaii.

POT, THE EARLY YEARS —

A scene in Bridewell Prison, where the harlot Moll Hackabout is sentenced to beat hemp, on Plate 4 of “The Harlot's Progress” by William Hogarth, 1732. An engraving by S. Davenport after Hogarth. (Photo: Hulton Archive, Getty Images/2005 Getty Images)

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY’S Public Health Department is almost gloating about how they apparently chose to handle medical marijuana Prop 215 cards in the wake of the problems Mendo has encountered stemming from the recent federal Subpoena. According to an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel — “Santa Cruz County handling of medical pot records praised” — by Jason Hoppin, Santa Cruz’s public health staffers “anticipated just such a scenario. For years, Santa Cruz County has purposely kept similar patient information in the dark. In fact, if federal prosecutors ever came knocking at the door of the Santa Cruz Health Department, they're not going to find anything but empty file cabinets. ‘We don't have anything on file to subpoena,’ said Laurie Lang, a county health spokeswoman. Since the county began issuing official medical marijuana identification cards in 2005, more than 1,100 have been issued. That number includes 207 during the past fiscal year, a number that dropped sharply from 358 the prior year. But the process here is very different from other counties, including Santa Clara County. While health officials here verify patient prescriptions and review applications, all the paperwork is handed back to the patient once the card is issued. Lang said the county has never been hit with a federal subpoena, and any legal inquiries end quickly after the county lays out its absence of records. Ben Rice, a local attorney who works closely with the county's medical marijuana industry, praised that approach. ‘That's not what Santa Clara and other counties are doing,’ Rice said. ‘That's why our county was brilliant.’ The Mendocino County subpoena apparently was issued in October and only recently revealed. The US Attorney's Office in San Francisco on Friday would neither confirm nor deny one had been issued, but Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman recently revealed an ongoing investigation into a now-canceled county permitting scheme.” … “While medical marijuana identifications are not needed to obtain pot, Rice said he advises clients to take their prescriptions to the county to make it official. He said those ID cards offer an added layer of legal protection, saying he's noticed police are being trained to ask detainees whether they have one. Santa Cruz County Counsel Dana McRae said she is waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide a Riverside case involving a total ban on dispensaries before the county's long-delayed regulations move forward. ‘The goal of the Board (of Supervisors) is to make sure that medical marijuana patients have access to their medicine,’ McRae said, saying there were no reports of patients being denied while the moratorium is in place. ‘Therefore, we're willing to wait until the California Supreme Court gives us the green light’.”

UPDATING EDWARD HOPPER

ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4, around 7pm the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a report of a missing hiker, 58 year old John Kraus, in the area of 23711 Fish Rock Road, in Boonville. The reporting party, Kraus' brother, advised that on Monday, Dec. 3, around 11am, his brother and a longtime family friend left a remote cabin to go hiking during the early afternoon. At one point in the hike the two friends parted, planning to later meet at a predesignated location. The friend arrived at the rally point but Kraus never arrived. The friend looked for Kraus but was unable to locate him. The following day the friend again looked for Kraus but was unable to find him. The friend contacted Kraus' brother, who then reported him missing to the Anderson Valley Fire Department. Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue coordinated efforts with the Anderson Valley Fire Department, meeting with searchers at a nearby ranch on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 5. An extensive search effort was conducted, including ground searchers from Comptche Fire Department, Anderson Valley Fire Department, Mendocino County Search and Rescue, and local ranching families. Around 3:30pm Kraus was located, alive and well, approximately two miles west of where he was last seen. Kraus walked out to a road and flagged down help from a local property owner who then transported him to the incident command post that had been set up to conduct the search. Kraus was found to be suffering from exhaustion, lack of sleep, was mildly dehydrated and was cold but otherwise in good physical condition. He was examined by EMTs on the scene and released to family members. Kraus reported he'd gotten confused in the brushy steep terrain and gotten lost. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Anderson Valley Fire Department, the Comptche Fire Department, the Pronsolino Family, and Larry Mailliard for their assistance with the Search efforts.

FOOD TIP for city people and travelers from the north — Cafe Europa on California between 5th and 6th Avenue. Unpretentious, inexpensive, very good. They advertise themselves as “European comfort food.” I had no idea what that meant, but it turned out to be a lot of things I recognized from Russian novels, although the young guy who owns the place said he was Lithuanian, not Russian, a distinction he was careful to make in the way people with strong national feelings make those distinctions. Soon as he'd set me straight I vaguely remembered that the Liths, as they are not called, were very happy to see the end of the Russians, as are many Russians themselves. Back to the food. I had a large and very good steak and fries for 17 bucks, a meal I'd never before associated with Eastern Europe. But on another night I had beef stroganoff, which was also very good in a large serving that seemed twice as gratifying because one of the persons with me went out of her way to announce herself as a vegetarian, and announced it in a way that seemed to hang in the air hoping someone would say, “Please, let's hear the catechism about how bad cows are and how bad red meat is for you.” While she was harrumphing herself into fine fettle, I lifted my plate to drain the blood from my steak straight into my mouth. Sorry. It had to be done. The veg head had potato dumplings and a beet salad. And did not share. But she did pronounce both dishes, “Delicious.” There's also goulash and red borscht. Communist soup? Nope. The beets and or tomatoes they make it with. All this and a whole range of very good beers. Great little place, and highly recommended by the AVA's gourmands. Closed Mondays. Tuesday through Friday 5:30-10pm, Saturdays and Sundays noon to 10pm.”

UKIAH’S OWN Tommy Wayne Kramer will sign copies of his new book on Tuesday from 5 until 6:30pm at Saucy Restaurant in downtown Ukiah. The book is “Teach Your Dog to Shoplift: A Tommy Wayne Kramer Collection” and is available at both Mulligan Books and the Mendocino Book Company for $17. Most of the stories in the book were originally published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, where the TWK column “Assignment: Ukiah” has appeared since 2007. The author, Tom Hine, has written under the TWK byline for many years. The book jacket describes him as a “Bitter critic marooned in a Stepford land of feeble-minded New Agers, all slaves to yoga this, hybrid that and organic everything.” The columns illustrate TWK's “venomous response to the comfortable local class of elitist professionals, except when he's writing sentimental slush about his dead dog or describing his adventures driving drunk, avoiding hugs and advising teens of the benefits of smoking cigarettes.” Saucy is located at 108 West Standley Street.

(UP TO) $125K TO A NAPA COMPANY FOR THIS? (From a consent calendar item on Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting): “Contractor shall provide, 24-hour a day, seven-days a week, on-call drivers to transport Behavioral Health and Recovery Services clients from Mendocino County to out-of-county mental health facilities, and scheduled transportation from out-of-county to Mendocino County. Contractor shall develop a system that accepts referrals from Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) staff, provides coordination, supervision and scheduling for this service, and dispatches drivers to locations within Mendocino County and throughout Northern California.”

THE AGENDA ITEM SUMMARY EXPLAINS: “The HHSA Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) is mandated to provide transportation services for BHRS clients to and from out-of-county facilities and to other essential appointments. This contract will provide on-call drivers and administrative operations. Services will be provided 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. Contractor will provide vehicles, fuel, and maintenance responsibility. The alternative transportation method is to use ambulance service, at a greater expense. This contract will run from October 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

BY THE LOOKS of their website, Black Talon doesn't exactly look like they'd be particularly comforting to your average Mendo mental health patient.

YOU MEAN no one in Mendo can provide this simple taxi service?

SGT. BARNEY'S STRANGE PURCHASE (from another consent calendar item): “The Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) funds for FY 2011 were programmed to purchase numerous equipment items to enhance the Emergency Services capabilities within the County. Some of the equipment originally budgeted for are no longer needed or projects did not reach anticipated costs. These funds were reprogrammed. The FY 11 EMPG grant was extended with funds reprogrammed to purchase a Side Scanning Sonar system for the Sheriff's Patrol Boat and a VHF Radio System to replace an existing radio system that will not meet narrow banding requirements as outlined by the FCC. This request is to add the VHF radio system ($2500) and the Side Scanning Sonar System ($3000) to the list of fixed assets. According to Wikipedia: Side Scanning Sonar is used to create an image of large areas of the sea floor And to detect debris items and other obstructions on the seafloor. What are they going to do? Look for dead bodies at the bottom of Lake Mendocino? Or Noyo Harbor? This grant spending is getting pretty ridiculous.

ACCORDING TO AN AGREEMENT between the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival producers and the County Fairgrounds in Boonville, which is expected to be routinely approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the Festival producers will pay $25,000 rent plus 5% of ticket sales over $500k. Plus a refundable $15,000 security deposit (minus any applicable costs). Plus $19,000 for law enforcement services to the County. Plus $187 per booking after the first six bookings (Mendo will cover the first six arrests as part of the $19k, apparently, although it's hard to see how the Festival is responsible for them). According to the agreement, ticket sales are capped at 5,000. Since the event — currently set for June 21-23 of 2013 — is usually sold out, and pre-sale tickets are going for $135 for the three-day event (not counting camping, food, shuttle rides, pot, etc.), assuming that the average three day ticket (or equivalent) will be around $150 by the time things are rounded out. We arrive at 5,000 times $150 or $750k in ticket sales for the event which would mean the fairgrounds would get an additional $13k, for a total of $40,000 for the fairgrounds.

NO DOUBT the World Music Festival will have to shell out at least a couple hundred thou for musical performers, security, and other staff and expenses. But if they gross anything like $600k-$700k, it looks like the SNWMF turns a very nice profit.

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