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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, June 11, 2022

Cooling | Covid Risk | Boonville Graduates | Engine Repair | Headland Ticket | Wrestling Program | PG&E Rampage | Caltrans Cleanup | Gjerde Dissents | Eel Tracks | Sales Tax | Laguna Ranch | Palace Remodeling | Symphony Concert | Waidelich Story | Ocampo Arrested | Giusti Sentenced | Wrong Bar | SAR | Yesterday's Catch | Schooldays | Apaches | Stocks Fell | Warriors Win | Ukraine | Hattie McDaniel | Coded Message | 1903 Kids | Treasure Island | Jeezovan | Putin Markup | Drive-in | Revolting | Euro-English | American Progress | Children Need | Bostrom/Borgna | Marco Radio | Visigoths | Steinbeck Mums | Dehaven School | Trans Blowback | Satan First | Stood Up

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LIGHT RAIN is expected this morning along the coast as temperatures gradually cool back into the 80s inland and the 60s for the coast. Skies may briefly scatter this afternoon before more steady light rain moves in early Sunday. Rain will be heaviest in northern Humboldt and Del Norte. Interior highs in the low 70s are expected Sunday before gradually warming early this week. (NWS)

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FROM DR. COREN, Covid-19 Update (June 10, 2022):

Cases and hospitalizations from the highly contagious Covid BA2.12.1 variant are increasing. We are now in the CDC’s highest Transmission and Community risk levels.

To protect ourselves (and avoid the need for more mandates), I strongly recommend everyone wear a high quality mask in public indoor settings. Test often and if you are positive or symptomatic stay home and call your provider for treatment, if you are high risk.

Enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors, which is the safest place to have a party.

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Boonville graduates

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AV SMALL ENGINE REPAIR SERVICE

Hello everyone. I am starting the small engine repair to its full capacity. I am ready to take all the machines you guys need fixed. I took a little time off because I had to apply for scholarships and colleges and do my senior project and I am finally done with it. If you need a machine fixed, call me or shoot me a text. My phone number is (707) 684-6449. I have put business cards in most stores in the valley and I have a ton if anyone is interested. Thank you for your time and I hope seeing you soon!

Daniel Garibay

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HEADLANDS TICKETS?

Editor,

I wanted to alert people to the fact that the state parks are ticketing on the headlands. On our way back from visiting friends in Fort Bragg last night we parked to admire the beautiful rings around the moon around 9.39 pm. Whilst we were strolling along a state park officer drove by and then drove back and when we got back to our car there was a citation for $96.

After 35 years of enjoying the headlands in the evening I was crushed. We try not to park outside the homes of residents so as not to disturb them. There seems to be overzealousness about this enforcement so try not to park on the headlands if you go down there after dark.

Has anyone else experienced this? I plan to go to the headquarters this morning and discuss it. Previous experience with bureaucracy leaves me very little hope. If anyone else has had this happen to them please feel free to contact me directly. 

Deborah Trillia <deborahtrillia@hotmail.com>

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PG&E'S LINE-CLEARING RAMPAGE

Editor,

I feel there is more to know about the rampant tree cutting on the Northcoast by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and its contractors. They have been buzzing through like a hive of hornets.

Few people know that a tree marked with a yellow “x” means that it is designated for a total removal. Few know they have a legal right (under the Public Resources Code, Section 4295.5) to not only receive notice about a removal, but PG&E must provide “an opportunity to be heard.” When I exercised that right, I felt pressured and bullied.

Most of my trees lean away from wires, more than 50 feet away. I am custodian of the longest stretch of privately owned creek in Woodacre. There was a good coho salmon comeback this season and endangered fingerlings are thriving in a pool shaded and cooled by my streamside trees. Fifteen of those trees are now marked with an “x,” without regard for riparian zones. I believe removing these trees will likely cause stream bank failure and massive erosion.

Rather than cutting too many trees, PG&E officials could instead replace outdated equipment, modernize circuit breakers, use triple insulated “tree” wiring or move power lines. In my experience, PG&E tries to manipulate our mindset, instilling fear, using buzzwords like “fire,” without any respect for ecological nuances in these unique situations.

Sandy White

Woodacre

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KUDOS TO CALTRANS FOR TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

The District Attorney extends special thanks to the investigators in his Bureau of Investigations for being concerned with this environmental hazard and trash heap on the side of North State Street just past The Forks.

Seeking a solution, the investigators eventually worked with Caltrans to have this problem removed ... even though it really wasn't Caltrans responsibility. 

Others contacted claimed not to have available staffing, funding, and/or the time (“we won't be able to get to it until the end of July”) to address this obvious community problem. Thank you again, Caltrans, for stepping up!

(Mendocino District Attorney presser)

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SUPERVISOR GJERDE’S FINEST HOUR

by Mark Scaramella

The Supervisors voted 4-1 (Supervisor Dan Gjerde dissenting) on Wednesday to ask County Counsel to draft a general sales tax measure for next November’s ballot which would essentially replace the bulk of the expiring Measure B (mental health) sales tax and would supposedly help fund emergency services and water, although those nice sounding objectives remain suspiciously vague. The Board can’t include specific targets for the money in the measure because doing so would increase the 50%+1 vote needed for the general tax to special tax status needing a 2/3 vote.

But before we get into the proposed tax discussion, let’s back up to the day before the tax measure was considered.

For your “Let’s not and say we did” file.

Out of the blue, Supervisor John Haschak suggested the county should “follow” the 2016 Pot Tax “advisory” measure which the voters overwhelmingly approved saying that “the majority” of the pot taxes raised (well over $16 million now in 2022) should go to emergency services, roads, mental health and marijuana code enforcement.

Supervisor John Haschak: “The Cannabis tax is supposed to go to designated specific areas. It seems like now would be the time to direct the Auditor Controller to set up that account so that people can see what's happening. Now that the cannabis income is way down it seems appropriate to do.”

Supervisor Ted Williams: “I would support that as well. It will create some problems for the budget because if we follow that advisory, which we should have all along, we will have some budget units short funds. Right now it's going into the general fund.”

Interim CEO Darcie Antle: “To clarify: are you directing the auditor controller to track the departments to where the funding from the cannabis business tax is allocated?”

Haschak: “Yes.”

Williams: “Do you want us also to follow the advisory?”

Haschak: “Yes. We should be. It seems like since it's a limited amount of money at this point it wouldn't be that hard to say that some of it is going to law enforcement, some is going to social services- mental health — the different advisory areas.”

Williams: “So you are suggesting not a change in allocation, just annotating the dollars that are already flowing?”

Haschak: “Right.”

Supervisor Dan Gjerde: “I think we are going to be fulfilling the advisory because the advisory said that the majority of the funds should be spent on enforcement. I think that one category alone probably we are spending the majority of the revenue on law enforcement. Mental health, county roads, and fire emergency services. If you look at our general fund allocations to fire and emergency services which are outside of Proposition 172 and which are outside the Campground Transient Occupancy Tax, between fire and emergency and enforcement we are probably spending all of our cannabis tax in the coming year could be shown as going to those services.”

Translation: We’re keeping it. We have no intention of honoring the will of the voters. We handed it over to the CEO to decide what to spend the money on. Since she must have spent some of it — who knows how much? who even cares? — on some of those things we told taxpayers we would, we guess, then we’ve magically followed the will of the voters! We’ve never expressed the slightest interest in how the pot tax money was spent. But we now want to put another tax measure on the ballot and, having ignored the will of the voters the last time, we still expect the public to believe that we’ll spend that money on the things we say we will. 

(This is apart from the Board’s near total waste of the Measure B sales tax money itself, paying over $5 million for a $1 million house, and over $20 million for a Psychiatric Health Facility that shouldn’t cost more than $10 million. But that’s another subject that will go unmentioned.)

In discussing the proposed sales tax, the Supervisors are aware that library supporters will propose a dedicated library tax in November at the same time the Board wants them to approve a fire/water sales tax on top of that. They also seem vaguely aware that inflation is high and sales taxes will probably be a hard sell — even if it’s for popular-sounding purposes like firefighting and water. (Never mind the particulars, the voters don’t seem to care what they say anyway.)

The highlight of the discussion was Supervisor Dan Gjerde’s bold position in opposition to the proposed tax and his letter to his colleagues bluntly declaring that the Potter Valley Cheap Water Mafia does not deserve another subsidy from the voting public. 

From: Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Gjerde 

To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors 

RE: Discussion of sales taxes for November 2022 and future elections and Agenda Item 4D of the June 8, 2022 Board of Supervisors Meeting. 

At our meetings on May 17 and on June 8, with just weeks remaining to finalize any ballot measures to be included in the November 2022 election in Mendocino County, the full Board of Supervisors has recently embarked on a public discussion of new ideas for voter-approved sales taxes. The discussions were initiated at the full board level after staff learned three supervisors were contemplating ways to spend money if voters were to approve new sales taxes. 

During the May 17 meeting, Supervisor Haschak and I expressed concerns with the idea of the Board adding new sales tax measures onto the November ballot. Among our reasons: supporters of our County libraries, who understand they are acting with support from County Supervisors, were already placing a separate sales tax through the initiative process onto the same ballot. 

Since the May 17 meeting, I have not seen any evidence that it would be wise for the Board to move ahead and place a competing sales tax on the same ballot. In fact, my research shows it would be a grave mistake. 

Please consider: 

[1] It is too late. Board members have not consulted with essential stakeholders, and now there is not enough time to back-track with these key stakeholders to reach consensus on the amount of a sales tax and the distribution of sales tax proceeds. Here is one example: my recent conversations with city council members in the Cities of Fort Bragg and Willits revealed that none of these ten elected representatives had been included in sales tax discussions, even though roughly one-third of county-wide sales taxes are collected within those two cities. A successful ballot measure would include key stakeholders such as these from the beginning of any discussions. 

[2] It is the wrong moment. Consumers are experiencing the highest inflation they have seen in four decades, and their economic future is uncertain. The nation’s federal reserve banking system has pledged to raise interest rates and tighten money supply to the point that it brings inflation under control. But we will simply need to wait and see if the Fed will succeed at slowing inflation without causing a recession. Meanwhile, the public is understandably anxious. This is not a time to place multiple taxes on an election ballot. 

[3] It is the wrong pathway to the ballot. A tax should not be casually placed onto a ballot by three or more supervisors if the intent is to optimize the likelihood of voter approval. Supporters of our County libraries are taking the best pathway to the ballot. They are going to the ballot with demonstrated support from the public. They have written a citizen’s ballot measure, and local voters are signing petitions to place the measure on the ballot. In doing so they have explained the purpose and value of the tax to a sizeable share of the local electorate, likely assuring the measure will win voter approval in the election. 

[4] It is going to hurt the causes the taxes are intended to help. A countywide water sales tax, for example, is going to bring intense scrutiny to the intended beneficiaries of the water tax. Voters throughout Mendocino County will question why they are being asked to pay a water tax, when the agricultural interests served by the Potter Valley Irrigation District pay virtually nothing for their irrigation water. For starters: The typical residents of the Cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits pay between $270 and $321 for every $1 paid by agricultural interests served by the Potter Valley Irrigation District for the same amount of water. (See details below.) Voters will rightfully question why Potter Valley’s agricultural interests, and others, are failing to step up and pay to resolve their own water rights, when they have significant untapped capacity to help themselves. 

[5] It is going to divide our communities. To be clear, the Board of Supervisors politically and financially supports the efforts by the Potter Valley Irrigation District, the Inland Water and Power Commission and others who are attempting to retain reasonable water diversion rights from the Eel River to Potter Valley and Lake Mendocino. But support has its limits. Ultimately, the debate over a flawed and unwelcome water tax will trigger devastating political division within Mendocino County, while setting back the very cause the water tax was intended to help. 

In conclusion, I hope the full board will see the wisdom of taking the time to work with stakeholders throughout Mendocino County when discussing ideas for a future sales tax, for a ballot sometime after November 2022. Engaging with residents in every corner of the County will result in a sound proposal, and the option for community members to directly place the matter onto the ballot. Not only will this inclusive process ensure the best proposal is placed onto a ballot, but the citizen-to-citizen engagement inherent in the petition process will also ensure the highest likelihood of success in a future election. 

Water costs:

$21.50 – Potter Valley Irrigation District – A Potter Valley Irrigation District customer pays $21.50 for each one- acre feet of water. (PVIRD website) 

$6,599 – Ukiah – A typical Ukiah residential customer would pay $6,599 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $45.66 + $14.88 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 307 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (PVIRD & Ukiah websites) 

$5,800 – Fort Bragg – A typical Fort Bragg residential customer would pay $5,800 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $38.61 + $14.6 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 270 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (Fort Bragg & PVIRD websites) 

$6,894 – Willits – A typical Willits customer would pay $6,894 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $38.13 + $25.12 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 321 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (Willits & PVIRD websites) 

As if to prove Gjerde’s point, the only members of the public who thought the water tax was a good idea were the top dogs of the Cheap Water Mafia — the County Farm Bureau, Janet Pauli, Guiness McFadden, et al — who paraded to the podium to say the water tax was a great idea. No one else from the public said a word about it. (Williams took fear-mongering to a new height by crazily suggesting that if the public doesn’t vote for the completely unquantified and undefined water tax whole cities and towns in his district will “go dry.”)

Supervisor McGourty listens to Gjerde’s opposition

Supervisor Glenn McGourty, another prominent member of the Cheap Water Mafia, was not pleased with Supervisor Gjerde’s presentation. 

McGourty correctly noted that Gjerde was comparing treated water costs to untreated “irrigation” water costs. But even so, $0.000066 per gallon is pretty darn low. (The average cost for bulk ag water in California is around $70 per acre foot, but even that low rate is much more than what the Cheap Water Mafia pays. If the Cheap Water Mafia had charged themselves anything like that over the years, they wouldn’t need a subsidy from county sales taxpayers. 

As the discussion lurched forward and public comment was received, a couple of commenters reminded the board that they had never tried to follow the pot tax advisory measure (mentioned above). 

Responding, now one day later, Supervisor Haschak, who had originally brought up the subject and kinda thought maybe the Board should “follow” the advisory measure, had done an about face replying that “it could be argued” that the County spent some money on that stuff so by golly maybe we did spend it where the voters said it should go. Haschak had obviously realized that bringing up that particular voter betrayal wouldn’t help sell the sales tax that he now supports. 

The only remaining question at the end of the day was how much of a tax they’d propose. Supervisor Gjerde said he would actively campaign against any proposal of more than 1/4 cent (presumably for emergency services, not water, but it’s not going to be designated, so…). Supervisor Maureen Mulheren moved that the proposed tax be 3/8 of a cent. (Each 1/8th of a cent is estimated to bring in about $1 million per year.) But that motion failed for lack of a second. Finally, Haschak proposed that staff draft the general sales tax (50%+1) proposal for reconsideration at their next meeting on June 21 but without a specific tax rate and see if they can agree on how much then.

If this proposal makes it to the November ballot as a proposed general tax, the voters will have to approve it knowing that the proceeds will be undesignated and will go directly into the Board’s General Fund where this same Board/CEO that ignored the last advisory measure will decide what it’s spent on — the same board that thinks they’ve followed the pot tax advisory measure by doing whatever they were doing anyway.

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Eel River Canyon

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QUITE A STORY: WHAT’S UP WITH PROPOSED SALES TAX?

by Jim Shields

By now most of you have probably heard something about the plan by three Supervisors, Ted Willims, Maureen Mulheren, and Gleen McGourty to place a sales tax measure on the November ballot. The stated purpose of their proposed sales tax is to provide funding for local fire departments and a resurrected county water agency.

There is absolutely no question that local fire departments, especially in the area of providing life-saving ambulance services, must receive additional funding, as it is a past, present and ongoing top priority. No argument there.

I’m going to attempt to explain the dilemma that’s arisen through several memorandums and a couple of letters addressing the proposed sales tax. 

Also, as I’ve informed you previously, I’ve been serving on a steering committee that’s been dealing with the re-establishment of a county water agency, but I do not support funding an agency that has no defined organizational structure and purpose. It is currently an unfinished work-in-progress.

Here’s the story.

Recently, Linda Bailey, a long-time supporter of county-wide Friends of the Library organizations, wrote the following letter outlining her thoughts on the proposed fire department-water agency sales tax.

“The BOS is threatening to poison the well for permanently increasing the sales tax support of our libraries. This next Tuesday they will again be discussing what sales tax ordinance they would put on the November ballot. What is the story here?

“For many months a group of library supporters have been working on a proposal for a permanent sales tax that would fund the operations and building maintenance for the County Free Libraries. They are now circulating a petition to put it on the ballot in the November election; they need 6,000 signatures of registered voters by the end of this month. A major selling point has been that even though the sales tax support for the library would increase by 1/8¢, the total sales tax would actually decrease because Measure B sales tax would decrease by 3/8¢.

“Apparently some Supes looked at that 3/8¢ and said “Well, why don’t we grab that opportunity to get $7 million a year?” and put it on the May 17 agenda as “a possible sales tax ordinance.” Despite the innocuous wording, it seems that there was advance notice to some residents of finer detail; all public comments were supportive of water or volunteer firemen. The BOS directed the staff to draw up a plan to divvy up the money between Fire and Water. (Sounds like a reprise of the Auditor/Treasurer merger rushed/no plan to take advantage of an “opportunity”?) Adoption of the ordinance requires a 2/3 vote so they went for two items of popular interest.

“There is no debate that the volunteer fire departments need help, but, if Supervisor Ted Williams wants tourists to contribute to services they use, surely the $600,000 Williams, McGourty and Mulheren gave to Visit Mendocino could have been used to pay down some of what the County owes the fire departments. Or the $400,000 they spent on remodeling their chambers. Community members throughout the county could band together and put an initiative on the ballot for 1/4¢ sales tax dedicated to volunteer fire districts. It would only need 50%+1 to pass.

“But, Water? Potter Valley/Eel River Diversion came up a lot. This is not a new problem; it has been many years in the making. The Mendocino County Water Conservation Flood Control Russian River Improvement District (popularly known as Russian River Flood Control) holds and administers Mendocino County’s water right to Coyote Dam waters. For at least the first 30 years after the dam was completed it GAVE AWAY that water to anyone who wanted to pump it. Their rationale was that the property owners paid for the bond so they should get to use it for free. Sonoma County Water Agency charged their users; look at the different results.

“Perhaps it’s time the property owners within the Improvement District put up some more money for their benefit. The Improvement District has the power; for example, it could levy a parcel tax. It has the water right to protect. The County has been putting money into the Joint Powers Agreement. Why should county shoppers subsidize the wine industry? The County has no water right to protect. Could this be a gift of public money?

“How does all this impact our libraries? Petition signature gatherers are encountering push-back, as in “I’m saving my vote for Potter Valley.” As Dan Gjerde and John Haschak noted, a County measure has little chance of passage because the voters have little confidence in the competence of the BOS. They remember cannabis, Measure B, the Auditor/Treasurer merger fiasco, etc. Furthermore, as Gjerde astutely commented, if confronted by two sales tax measures the reaction of many voters is to vote No on both.

“At the moment, Williams, Mulheren, and McGourty are poised to approve putting this sales tax on the November ballot. I suspect they will like any “plan” the staff brings forward. 

“What a mean-spirited proposal. Raise your voices! Thank Haschak and Gjerde for their support of the libraries. Demand no County-sponsored ordinance on the November ballot.

“If they persist, I, for one, would support a recall. County residents love their libraries. The BOS? Not so much.”


On June 3, the Citizen’s Committee for the Library Initiative 2022, sent this letter to the Board of Supervisors:

 “It has come to our attention that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is considering proposing a sales tax that would compete with the Citizens for the Library Initiative 2022. We would like to remind the Board of Supervisors that the Citizens for the Library Initiative is the direct result of their approval in 2019. 

“We have been working on the campaign to Renew Measure A since January 2022. Essentially, doing the work, as volunteer citizens, to fund the public libraries. Since then, in our appeal to the public to gain the required signatures necessary to put the measure on the November ballot, we have stated that taxes will not increase, because 3/8 of a cent sales tax from Measure B will sunset at the same time. 

“We request that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors not put forth a “competing sales tax” at this time. A little history just to remind the newer members of the Board that Mendocino County public libraries receive zero funding from the General Fund. When funding from the property tax that supports the public libraries declined in 2008, the Board of Supervisors, who also serve as the Mendocino County Library Board, responded by drastically reducing library services in all branch libraries. 

“In 2011, 75% of voters in Mendocino County passed Measure A, a 1/8 of one cent sales tax, which currently generates more than half of all library funding. Measure A was passed for 16 years and will sunset five years from now in 2027. 

“In 2019 the Library Advisory Board developed the Mendocino County Library Strategic Plan. The first of its three goals is ‘Develop a capital improvement fund dedicated to long term improvement of all the library facilities in Mendocino County.’ The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the plan. 

“Again, let me remind you, the Citizens’ Committee for the Library Initiative is the direct result of the Supervisors’ approval. The purposes of the measure for the November 2022 ballot are: 

“1. To impose a permanent one-quarter cent (0.25%) sales tax for the purpose of maintaining and improving library services in Mendocino County; and 

“2. To create a special fund for these tax proceeds to be used exclusively for maintaining and improving library serves. At least forty percent (40%) are reserved for capital improvement such as building improvements (e.g. roof repairs). 

“As exemplified by the over 4,200 citizens who have already signed the petition, Mendocino voters want their libraries funded. 

“It is important to the credibility of both the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and the Citizen’s Committee for the Library Initiative that a “competing sales tax” not be on the November ballot.”

Next on June 5, Supe Dan Gjerde sent this memo to his colleagues. Keep in mind, that Supe John Haschak, like Gjerde opposes the fire-water agency sales tax.

 “At our meetings on May 17 and on June 8, with just weeks remaining to finalize any ballot measures to be included in the November 2022 election in Mendocino County, the full Board of Supervisors has recently embarked on a public discussion of new ideas for voter-approved sales taxes. The discussions were initiated at the full board level after staff learned three supervisors were contemplating ways to spend money if voters were to approve new sales taxes. During the May 17 meeting, Supervisor Haschak and I expressed concerns with the idea of the Board adding new sales tax measures onto the November ballot. Among our reasons: supporters of our County libraries, who understand they are acting with support from County Supervisors, were already placing a separate sales tax through the initiative process onto the same ballot. (For more on this, please refer to the June 3 memo sent by the Citizen’s Committee for the Library Initiative.) 

“Since the May 17 meeting, I have not seen any evidence that it would be wise for the Board to move ahead and place a competing sales tax on the same ballot. In fact, my research shows it would be a grave mistake. Please consider: 

“1. It is too late. Board members have not consulted with essential stakeholders, and now there is not enough time to back-track with these key stakeholders to reach consensus on the amount of a sales tax and the distribution of sales tax proceeds. Here is one example: my recent conversations with city council members in the Cities of Fort Bragg and Willits revealed that none of these ten elected representatives had been included in sales tax discussions, even though roughly one-third of county-wide sales taxes are collected within those two cities. A successful ballot measure would include key stakeholders such as these from the beginning of any discussions. 

“2. It is the wrong moment. Consumers are experiencing the highest inflation they have seen in four decades, and their economic future is uncertain. The nation’s federal reserve banking system has pledged to raise interest rates and tighten money supply to the point that it brings inflation under control. But we will simply need to wait and see if the Fed will succeed at slowing inflation without causing a recession. Meanwhile, the public is understandably anxious. This is not a time to place multiple taxes on an election ballot. 

“It is the wrong pathway to the ballot. A tax should not be casually placed onto a ballot by three or more supervisors if the intent is to optimize the likelihood of voter approval. Supporters of our County libraries are taking the best pathway to the ballot. They are going to the ballot with demonstrated support from the public. They have written a citizen’s ballot measure, and local voters are signing petitions to place the measure on the ballot. In doing so they have explained the purpose and value of the tax to a sizeable share of the local electorate, likely assuring the measure will win voter approval in the election. 

“It is going to hurt the causes the taxes are intended to help. A countywide water sales tax, for example, is going to bring intense scrutiny to the intended beneficiaries of the water tax. Voters throughout Mendocino County will question why they are being asked to pay a water tax, when the agricultural interests served by the Potter Valley Irrigation District pay virtually nothing for their irrigation water. For starters: The typical residents of the Cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg and Willits pay between $270 and $321 for every $1 paid by agricultural interests served by the Potter Valley Irrigation District for the same amount of water. (See details below.) Voters will rightfully question why Potter Valley’s agricultural interests, and others, are failing to step up and pay to resolve their own water rights, when they have significant untapped capacity to help themselves. 

“It is going to divide our communities. To be clear, the Board of Supervisors politically and financially supports the efforts by the Potter Valley Irrigation District, the Inland Water and Power Commission and others who are attempting to retain reasonable water diversion rights from the Eel River to Potter Valley and Lake Mendocino. But support has its limits. Ultimately, the debate over a flawed and unwelcome water tax will trigger devastating political division within Mendocino County, while setting back the very cause the water tax was intended to help. 

“In conclusion, I hope the full board will see the wisdom of taking the time to work with stakeholders throughout Mendocino County when discussing ideas for a future sales tax, for a ballot sometime after November 2022. Engaging with residents in every corner of the County will result in a sound proposal, and the option for community members to directly place the matter onto the ballot. Not only will this inclusive process ensure the best proposal is placed onto a ballot, but the citizen-to-citizen engagement inherent in the petition process will also ensure the highest likelihood of success in a future election. 

“$21.50 – Potter Valley Irrigation District – A Potter Valley Irrigation District customer pays $21.50 for each one- acre feet of water. (PVIRD website)

“$6,599 – Ukiah – A typical Ukiah residential customer would pay $6,599 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $45.66 + $14.88 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 307 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (PVIRD & Ukiah websites) 

“$5,800 – Fort Bragg – A typical Fort Bragg residential customer would pay $5,800 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $38.61 + $14.6 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 270 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (Fort Bragg & PVIRD websites) 

“$6,894 – Willits – A typical Willits customer would pay $6,894 in today’s dollars for one-acre feet of water. (3/4” water meter monthly fee of $38.13 + $25.12 for 400 cubic feet of water purchased per month, taking nine years and one month to consume one-acre feet of water.) That’s a customer price 321 times higher than the customer price at Potter Valley Irrigation District. (Willits & PVIRD websites).”


Then on June 7, I sent the following memo to the Board of Supervisors:

“From: Jim Shields, Member, Mendocino County Water Agency Steering Committee

“To: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors

“RE: Discussion of sales taxes for November 2022 and future elections and 

“Agenda Item 4D of the June 8, 2022 Board of Supervisors Meeting

“I fully concur with the recent letter by Linda Bailey, the June 3, 2022 memorandum sent by the Citizens for the Library Initiative 2022, and with the June 5, 2022 memorandum sent by 4th District Supervisor Dan Gjerde regarding the disposition of Agenda Item 4D of the June 8, 2022 Board of Supervisors Meeting.

“Specifically, I want to briefly address the issue of the proposed sales tax as a funding mechanism for the as yet-to-be determined final action of re-establishing the Mendocino County Water Agency as a stand-alone agency.

“Unless and until a final decision is made regarding refining the mission, goals, objectives, staffing, and jurisdiction of the Water Agency, it is premature to be taking any action concerning agency funding. To do so, literally equates to positioning the cart before the horse.

“In fact, based on my three decades of experience as a local government, public water utility official, most county residents are not even aware of the existence of a Water Agency.

“Succinctly stated, the proposed sales tax measure is both premature and bereft of any broad-based public support at this time.”

What do you think?

Quite a story, isn’t it?

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Laguna Ranch on Comptche Road, Melburne, 1900

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UKIAH! Hire this man to rehab the Palace…

Charles Kevin Hamilton:

I’m 68, active builder, have 40 years in construction, design, look at freedom tower Miami, the only reason it’s still standing is I ran the crew and profect7 Million in 88.

I want to help you remodel the palace. My approach is to carefully strip the entire interior, deframe it, save everything build back with red iron and concrete observing all codes. Use some wood as finish to recreate ambience without fire risks. Add a fourth floor. With Spanish tile pitched roof.

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SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA IS BACK!

Symphony of the Redwoods is back after almost 2 and a half years! The Orchestra will present a Celebration Concert on Saturday, June 25th at 7:30 PM and on Sunday, June 26th at 2 PM at Cotton Auditorium, Fort Bragg. Our own Abigail Rowland Strock will be the symphony soprano soloist and Phillip Lenberg will lead the orchestra with works by Wolfgang A. Mozart, Antonin Dvorak, Nancy Bloomer Deussen, and others.

A 30-minute pre-concert lecture will be presented one hour before each concert. For more information visit symphonyoftheredwoods.org. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com, Out of this World in Mendocino, and at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg.

Social distancing, masks, and a Covid card will be required. Let's celebrate community, music, and each other!

For more information visit symphonyoftheredwoods.org or call the office at 707-964-0898 

* * *

A CALIFORNIA POLICE OFFICER WAS ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. HE STILL ROSE TO BE CHIEF

by Hyeyoon Alyssa Choi

When Judge Jeanine B. Nadel calls her courtroom to order Friday morning (June 10), the benches will be filled with prominent local women.

They say they plan to show up at the Mendocino County Superior Court to support one of their own, a former county worker who sued the police chief — her onetime fiancé — alleging that he abused her.

The case stretches back more than a decade, a time during which Noble Waidelich rose through the ranks of the Ukiah Police Department, from patrol officer to detective to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and eventually chief.

Amanda Carley was there for one promotion and two of his officer-of-the-year commendations, a time when, she alleges, he smashed dishes on the floor in anger, slammed her against bookshelves and a refrigerator, swerved their car into oncoming traffic.

She packed her things and moved her children out of the house they owned together in 2015. She walked away from her job and sued her alleged abuser and the county in 2017. All the while, Waidelich continued to rise in the department.

On Friday, Nadel will decide whether Carley’s case can go to trial.

Waidelich did not respond to multiple requests for comment. His attorney, James King, declined to speak to The Times. In court documents, Waidelich denied all charges. Christian Curtis, Mendocino County Counsel, said he could comment only on procedural matters regarding the case and declined to make further comments.

The case against Waidelich isn’t the first incident to plague the department. Just this year, the city paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle two lawsuits filed against its officers — one for use of force, another for sexual battery.

Carley and Waidelich met at the Mendocino County courthouse in 2009 when they were assigned to the same case — she was a victim’s witness advocate and he was a detective. Engaged within two months and joint homeowners within a year, Carley said she felt safe and secure.

But soon, she said, she found herself trying to leave him, one failed attempt after another.”It started out as a shove and him standing in the doorway when I wanted to take a break. Then he was throwing me down on the table and swerving into oncoming traffic, threatening to drop me off in the middle of nowhere,” Carley said.

She did not hesitate to disclose the abuse to her friends and co-workers.

“I saw her at Schat’s Bakery right across from the courthouse, and she had a black eye, so I asked about it,” Megan Perez, Carley’s former close friend, recalled. After Carley said it was Waidelich’s doing, Perez said she told her friend, “At least you’re not protecting him and hiding it.”

Megan DiFranco, who shared an office with Carley when she worked at the district attorney’s office, said Carley once showed her the bruises.

“I remember being conflicted because we were mandated reporters, but according to them they were in therapy so I wasn’t sure if I should say something,” DiFranco said. She didn’t.

A concerned Ukiah police officer, Freddy Kepplinger, reported the abuse to the Police Department in 2013, prompting an internal investigation. At the time, Carley said she denied the allegations for fear he would hurt her two teenage children, Travis Sousa and Madisyn Carley, who were not his.

Two years later, Madisyn unwittingly blurted out to her middle school’s guidance counselor about the abuse she had witnessed. Another investigation was set in motion by county Child Protective Services.

“I was having such severe depression, and it was so draining to keep it bottled up inside me,” Madisyn said. “Our whole life was a facade, because in public we had to act like the perfect happy family.”

Amanda Carley, left, and daughter Madisyn Carley, 20, near their home in Fontana. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

The disclosure triggered Child Protective Services to interview Madisyn and her mother, after which they determined a safety plan was necessary to keep Waidelich away from Madisyn. The agency notified the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, which launched a criminal investigation into the domestic violence allegations.

In a 47-page case report, sheriff’s Sgt. Andrew Porter wrote that he believed Amanda Carley was holding back and minimizing the incidents because of professional and financial concerns.

Carley took her children and moved out of the house within two weeks of the Child Protective Services intervention. Then, she reported Waidelich’s abuse to Porter in full detail.

The sheriff’s investigation continued, but Waidelich was not questioned. Findings were sent to Mendocino County Dist. Atty. C. David Eyster, along with evidence of the injuries Carley had endured throughout the years.

But Eyster declined to file criminal charges against Waidelich because, he wrote in his motion to strike Carley‘s cause of action, “the alleged victim is less than cooperative and presents as less than credible” and that some incidents were “too vague to prosecute.”

The county then opened another investigation — this one into Carley — for allegedly lying about whether she was abused.

At that point, Carley was working at the Probation Department as a deputy probation officer. Her supervisor immediately took her firearm away and reassigned her caseload.

She was interrogated and threatened with criminal charges by the county for withholding the truth. Waidelich was promoted to sergeant.

Taking away her gun seems partisan and premature, said George Kirkham, a criminologist at Florida State University and consultant to more than 50 law enforcement agencies. The investigation leading up to the disciplinary action appeared cherry-picked, he said.

“This was not an objective and thorough investigation in terms of basic elements of interviewing all parties, looking at all evidence physical or otherwise, then rendering an objective report,” Kirkham said.”The county had an obligation to take action, and it certainly would not involve promoting him.”

After the investigation concluded that Carley “did not fully disclose information about the domestic violence — that occurred — in her relationship with Waidelich on three occasions,” she was served with a written reprimand for “providing false or misleading information to a law enforcement officer.”

Judy Albert, program director at a Ukiah domestic violence crisis intervention organization called Project Sanctuary, said it is difficult for anyone to report domestic violence but especially difficult in Ukiah because it “feels very small” and “a lot of people know a lot of people.”

Ukiah is the county seat of Mendocino County with a population of about 16,000.

Noble Waidelich

Waidelich, who was promoted to chief in October, is well-liked and seems more accessible than previous chiefs, Albert said. He is currently married with two daughters and a board member of the county’s youth project and homelessness committee.

Albert, who has worked at Ukiah’s Project Sanctuary for nearly 40 years, said she knows of approximately five officer-involved domestic violence reports made through the organization.

Victims of officer-involved domestic violence face unique challenges in reporting the abuse, studies show, given that police have knowledge of domestic violence shelter locations, possess lethal weapons and can leverage their position to protect themselves from legal consequences.

Carley filed a grievance challenging the reprimand and demanded a public hearing to refute the allegations. The county then withdrew the reprimand.

But she was never reissued her firearm, and she left her job in 2016. She later moved to San Bernardino County, where she filed the complaint.

Troyle Tognoli, a Black Lives Matter activist in Mendocino County who also created a public safety advisory board, said she will be in the courtroom Friday.

“This case is shaking our policing and legal community,” Tognoli said. “I want to make sure situations like this are not repeated.”

“Our law enforcement community is a small one,” she said. “When situations like this happen, it’s not that no one in the inside knows. Plenty of people know. It’s just that some couldn’t say anything out of fear or people turned a blind eye.”

In early June, the county offered to settle its part of the case for more than $100,000 in attorneys fees.

Carley declined.

“We’ve come this far,” she said, “and I’m not going to sacrifice my story and justice for money.”

(Los Angeles Times)

* * *

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY

On Monday, June 6, 2022 at 10:40 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to the 800 block of Sanel Drive in Ukiah, CA., to conduct a welfare check of a 49 year-old female. Deputies were unable to locate the female at the location. The Deputies contacted a family member who was able to track the female utilizing a cell phone application they both shared. The family member informed Deputies the female was possibly with her boyfriend, subsequently identified as Anthony Ocampo, 33, of Ukiah, at a business on Airport Park Boulevard in Ukiah, CA.

Anthony Ocampo

The Deputies responded to the location where they contacted Ocampo and the female parked in their vehicle. The Deputies initiated a domestic violence investigation and learned that Ocampo allegedly assaulted the female during separate incidents between Saturday, June 4, 2022 and Monday, June 6, 2022. Through their investigation, Deputies developed probable cause to believe that on Saturday, June 4, 2022, Ocampo locked the female in their house and would not let her leave. As the argument continued, Ocampo punched the female in the face.

On Monday, June 6, 2022, Ocampo and the female began arguing again. The two of them drove to Airport Park Boulevard to purchase items. The argument continued and at one point Ocampo threatened the female, causing her to fear for her safety. Ocampo threw items from the interior of the vehicle at the female, hitting her with some of the items.

The Deputies learned that there was a peaceful contact domestic violence restraining order between the two subjects, with Ocampo being the restrained party. Ocampo was determined to have been on felony probation related to a prior incident involving the female. The Deputies concluded their investigation and arrested Ocampo for Felony False Imprisonment, Felony Criminal Threats, Felony Violation of Probation, Misdemeanor Domestic Battery and Misdemeanor Violation of Restraining Order.

Ocampo was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was held on a no-bail status due to violating his terms of probation.

* * *

GIUSTI SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS TO LIFE

Defendant David Charles Giusti, age 67, formerly of the streets of Ukiah, received a state prison sentence of 18 years to life Thursday afternoon in the Mendocino County Superior Court, the maximum sentence allowed by law for his case.

David Giusti

Convicted by jury in early April, the defendant was sentenced [yesterday] for attempted murder in the first degree, the personal use of a deadly and dangerous weapon in the commission of the attempted murder, inflicting great bodily injury on the victim, and having suffered a prior Strike conviction.

As background, defendant Giusti attempted to murder another homeless man in March 2020 because the victim had the audacity to attempt to sleep on a loading dock behind a Ukiah business that the defendant claimed as his “camp.”

Testimony heard by the jury during the trial from the emergency room physician revealed it took the doctor and his staff over four hours to close and suture the approximately forty head wounds inflicted by Guisti on the victim with a metal bracket attached to a long handle. The extremely bloody crime scene reflected the brutality of the senseless attack.

The prior Strike conviction – from March 1985 – was when Giusti hit the very same victim over the head with a glass bottle and repeatedly kicked the victim in the head. Giusti was convicted back then with assault with force likely to inflict great bodily injury and actually inflicting great bodily injury on the victim.

State prison will not be a new experience for defendant Giusti as he has been there four separate times over the years, with this latest commitment likely to be his last.

The law enforcement agencies that investigated the crime and developed the evidence used at trial were the Ukiah Police Department, the California Department of Justice crime laboratory in Eureka, and the California Department of Justice DNA laboratory in Redding.

The attorney who prosecuted the defendant at trial and argued in support of the sentence imposed at Thursday afternoon’s sentencing hearing was District Attorney David Eyster.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the April trial and was the judge who handed down today’s sentence.

* * *

* * *

SEARCH & RESCUE

Editor,

I wanted to take a moment to reach out to the residents of Mendocino County as we prepare for good times and bad times. For the season in which we have gatherings, fairs and festivals as well as fire season.

Many people within our communities have seen the orange shirts of our Search and Rescue (SAR) team. I am often asked about our team and have to quantify their role, which at times is almost impossible to put into words.

The California Government code directs each county to establish a method or team for search and rescue. Mendocino County, like every other county in the state, has assigned this as the responsibility of the Sheriff. In Mendocino County, we have a volunteer team that dates back over 50 years as a formal Search and Rescue team (SAR); which was preceded by the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse.

The SAR team is an organization that assists the Sheriff’s Office with a primary function of rural and urban search and rescue of missing persons in and within the vicinity of the physical boundaries of Mendocino County. Our unit is comprised solely of volunteers, and they are supported by a select few deputy sheriff’s. The SAR unit has its own Board of Directors and bylaws as they are a 501(C)(3) – nonprofit organization as well. 

The volunteers are trained in rural search tactics, woodcraft, rappelling, rope rescue, first aid, canine teams, man tracking, operating specialized equipment, as well as under-water diving and many other skills. The volunteers put their own time and money into their training with their own purchased equipment and or dogs. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would not have sufficient resources to handle searches without the dedication and efforts of these volunteers. 

The County of Mendocino, due to its rural nature, has had numerous searches that last multiple days and the SAR volunteers come out rain or shine to diligently work on locating missing persons. In addition to these duties, SAR helps out with special functions including parades, public interaction events, carnivals, and during our devastating fires and the aftermath of fires. SAR has been invaluable to the County of Mendocino in this regard.

The hours put in by SAR can at times number in the tens of thousands of hours per calendar year. Mendocino County SAR has handled on average 25 callouts a year which can fluctuate. With the recent wildfires and natural disasters, our SAR callouts have more than doubled to over 50 during the past 2 years. 

Our SAR volunteers have also been requested and responded to emergencies throughout the state to assist other county Search and Rescue missions. Our volunteers are very well trained and dedicated professionals who are experts in their field, so they always respond to help other counties when available. These folks never ask for a lighter load however simply pray for stronger shoulders to carry what will come next.

Throughout our nation we can see folks concerned about what we don’t have, while forgetting to be thankful for what we do have. When you see our team members in the bright orange uniforms, please take the time to thank them for their service to our communities. They have been, and will be, truly here for all of us.

Thank you,

Sheriff Matt Kendall

Ukiah

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, June 10, 2022

Bell, Ernst, Feagin, Fuentes

BRIANNA BELL, Covelo. Assault on peace officer, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, DUI-alcohol&drugs, failure to appear.

JAIME ERNST, Garland, Texas/Ukiah. DUI.

RONALD FEAGIN SR, Ukiah. Attempted murder.

AUSTREBERTO FUENTES-CRUZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment.

Hoaglin, Ocampo, Pike, Sanchez

KAYLA HOAGLIN, Ukiah. Vandalism.

ANTHONY OCAMPO, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, criminal threats, protective order violation, probation revocation.

DEMETRIA PIKE, Ukiah. Trespassing-entering structure without consent, refusing to leave, polluting state waters, resisting, failure to appear.

ESPERANZA SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Trespassing.

Schindel, Simmons, Woolsey

AUGUST SCHINDEL, Willits. Trespassing, resisting. 

JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. Parole violation.

AMY WOOLSEY, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

* * *

SCHOOLDAYS

by Charmian Blattner (May 18, 1992)

Spring continues to decorate the fields and hills of our valley while the fruit growers apprehensively watch and wait, hoping there is no early frost. As usual in no time at all the grass is ankle deep and the whirr of the mowers is a pleasant sound.

Spring always makes me recall my early days in elementary school — then called grammar school — when the school was located to the right of the Clearwater Road in Philo near the PG&E station. Unfortunately, it bears little resemblance to that schoolyard of long ago! At that time there was the school yard in front, dominated by a huge pine tree, cut down a few years ago. The stump is still there. The building which was built to house 40 or 50 pupils had double porches in front, two small ante-rooms and a large schoolroom. There was a row of windows looking out toward the road on the left and in those days there was a view! Where the Catholic Church now stands and the PG&E station, and the houses that encompass that huge field there was a large grassy area with here and there a majestic oak tree and a few silvery logs basking in the sun. Far away (or so it seemed to my childish eyes) there was the outline of the hill with Johnson's Store standing where it still stands, now owned by the Lemons.

A rail fence cozily defined the field and no one objected when children made a teeter-totter by putting a lone plank through a rail in the fence and “teetered.” No one objected when small girl crept over or through the fence, and with their dolls closely clutched in her arms, played house among the silvery logs with acorns and oak leaves as plates and food.

Beside the schoolhouse on the right close to the building was a huge oak tree. Here it was that you could swing to your heart's content. The “boys” and the “girls” privies were outside and many a child then made this an excuse to leave the schoolroom; and then sat and swung, getting a few minutes of relaxation. An excellent place for solitude as there were no windows on that side of the building to allow anyone to spy on the recalcitrant student! Some yards away from the left-hand steps and porch was the Well House! It was really a triumph of architecture to me with its cement floor and cemented sides of the well and the roof that peaked on top and sloped on all four sides. It made me think of a pagoda!

Everyone took their lunch (no cafeteria available) and these lunches sat on shelves in the left side of the school in the small girls anteroom. A similar anteroom on the right (the boys side) was where the boys kept their bags and buckets. The small porches at the top of the steps had seats running around the sides and either porch was likely to be the lunch place for the entire school unless it was raining in which case we ate indoors. On really fine days the big pine tree was a favorite spot as well as several other trees dotted here and there.

It is sad when such places are gone. This school was attended by my father, by his children, and by my older children. It was closed in the early 1950s and later when PG&E bought this land they had torn down. A substantial building with no one left to plead its case to remain to be used as a cultural center, a meeting hall or whatever! Perhaps even then it was too late!

* * *

Portrait of two Apache infants in cradle boards, 1888

* * *

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell sharply Friday following Wall Street's cold realization that inflation got worse last month, not better, as investors had been hoping. The S&P 500 was 2.5% lower in afternoon trading and heading for its ninth losing week in the last 10, as Treasury yields soared to their highest levels in years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 734 points, or 2.3%, at 31,538 as of 2:45 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 3.2% lower.

* * *

IN STEPH CURRY’S WARRIORS CAREER OF STUNNING FEATS, GAME 4 MIGHT TOP THEM ALL

by Ann Killion

BOSTON — How heavy is the weight of a team trying to even an NBA Finals on the road? In one of the most hostile locations in NBA history?

Pretty damn heavy. But Stephen Curry lifted the whole Golden State Warriors organization onto his shoulders, ignored his strained left foot, and carried the team to a 107-97 victory. And a 2-2 series tie heading back to San Francisco.

Curry has given us so many remarkable performances in his career, that sometimes they all begin to blur together in a montage of 3-point shots, joyful shimmies and “night night” celebrations.

But Friday night at TD Garden may have been his very best. Given his age, his injury, the venue, the venom and the stakes.

“The heart on that man is incredible,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “I think this was probably No. 1. This was nearly a must-win game.”

At age 34, in his sixth NBA Finals, Curry scored 43 points, including 24 second-half points. It was his second-highest point total in a Finals game, behind 47 points against Toronto. He had 10 rebounds. He became the second oldest player in Finals history to have a 40-point, 10-rebound game, behind LeBron James in the bubble year. Curry shot 50% from beyond the 3-point line (7-for-14). And he did it all in an NBA Finals game against the league’s best defense.

Even though at one point there were “F— you, Steph,” chants from the Celtics crowd, Curry quieted the Garden. In the final moments, all you could hear were the stealth Curry cheers and at one point, late in the game, an “MVP” chant when he was shooting free throws.

“There’s a lot of pride in our group,” Curry said. “A lot of talk over the last 48 hours about how we can get back into the series and win in this building. We finally figured it out in the fourth quarter to get some steps and execute on the other end.

“To win on the road and get home-court advantage back, that’s big for this group.”

Extremely big. Extraordinarily big. Teams that fall behind 3-1 in an NBA Finals have lost the series 35 out of 36 times. The one team that won? The Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, who did it at the expense of the Warriors.

So, yes, Game 4 was virtually a must-win.

For 46 hours between Games 3 and 4, the Warriors and their fans held their collective breath, hoping that Curry’s left foot would be good to go.

He had hurt it toward the end of Game 3, when 240-pound Al Horford fell on it, inflicting a similar injury to the one that had shelved Curry at the end of the regular season. He had it wrapped later that night and was walking gingerly but was optimistic that he would play. He looked good in shootaround and was not on a minutes restriction.

“Yeah, he was laboring out there,” head coach Steve Kerr cracked after the game. “No, it never even looked like a factor.

“He was stunning. The physicality out there is pretty dramatic. … I think this is the strongest physically he’s ever been.”

Friday’s game was the closest of the series, and it was a battle every moment. It was the kind of game where the Warriors had to rely on their experience and stay calm in the moment.

“We’ve been here six times,” Curry said. “You’ve got a lot of experience in terms of staying composed and confident in what you can do.

“You can see by just the daps and the celebration that we knew how big this game was. So, I personally just thank God that I avoided significant injury so I could play, do what we did and go home. That 5 1/2-hour flight just got a little better tonight.”

The intensity and the fire were high with everyone in Game 4.

At one point, after hitting back-to-back 3-point shots, Curry ran down the sideline talking some smack to Celtics fans. It was an uncharacteristically early point in the game for Curry to show that kind of fire.

“I felt like we had to just let everybody know we were here tonight,” Curry said. “I just wanted to try to leverage that in a positive direction for us.”

Draymond Green said it best.

“He wasn’t letting us lose,” Green said. “That’s what it boils down to. I could tell in his demeanor that he was going to come out with that kind of fire.”

Curry was livid he didn’t get calls when he appeared to be fouled. The officiating was weird, with ticky-tack fouls being called on both sides. Kerr got a technical campaigning for a traveling call against the Celtics.

“There was a team-wide sense of aggression and emotion,” Kerr said. “Steph doesn’t normally show a lot, but tonight warranted it.”

It was another breathtaking Curry performance. Perhaps the best of his career.

“The things he does, we take him for granted from time to time,” Thompson said. “He went out and put us on his back.”

And put the Warriors two wins away from another title.

(sfchronicle.com)

* * *

UKRAINE FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022

As Friday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day, Friday, 10th June

Between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every day, Ukraine's senior presidential aide told the BBC. That's double the combat toll previously estimated by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as battles for the country's eastern regions grind into another week. Despite billions of dollars in military aid from the U.S. and European allies, Ukraine still says it's outgunned by Russia, and Kyiv continues to plead for more weapons.

Concerns are growing about a possible cholera outbreak in the Russian-occupied city of Mariupol. The city's mayor, now based outside Mariupol, said 20,000 civilians may have died in Russia's siege of the southern port city, and corpses have been contaminating the wells. The British Defense Ministry said medical servicesin Mariupol are near collapse, as Russia struggles to provide public services in occupied areas.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv, and pledged to continue supporting Ukraine with military and other aid. The United Kingdom is also pushing for the release of two British nationals convicted of “mercenary activities” and sentenced to death by a court in the pro-Russian separatist Donetsk region. British officials said they were working with Kyiv to secure the soldiers' release.

Russia's central bank cut its interest rates to their prewar level,citing slowing inflation. The bank chopped its key rate to 9.5%, more than Western economists had expected, as Russia eases back from the 20% emergency rate hike when the war began and Western sanctions followed. Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said the effect of sanctions so far has been “less acute” than feared, though she acknowledged they haven't reached their full effect.

—NPR

* * *

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HATTIE MCDANIEL!

"Why should I complain about making $700 a week playing a maid? If I didn't, I'd be making $7 a week being one."

Hattie McDaniel was attacked by the NAACP during her career for appearing in negative, stereotyped servile roles, Hattie strongly and proudly stated that she did the best she could. She went on to state that she worked not only for herself but thought she was working for future generations of African-Americans as well. She always hoped people would come around and understand what she had to go through in Hollywood and was extremely hurt at the way she was treated, for the roles she couldn't get, and how the NAACP kept pushing the image of Lena Horne on her.

When black actors and actresses couldn't find a decent place to stay in Los Angeles, Hattie opened her doors to them at her home.

The competition to win the part of Mammy in "Gone with the Wind" (1939) was almost as fierce as that for Scarlett O'Hara. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote to film producer David O. Selznick to ask that her own maid, Elizabeth McDuffie, be given the part. McDaniel did not think she would be chosen because she had earned her reputation as a comic actress. One source claimed that Clark Gable recommended that the role be given to McDaniel; in any case, she went to her audition dressed in an authentic maid's uniform and won the part. Despite the fact Gable played a joke on her during filming (putting real brandy in the decanter instead of iced tea during the Bonnie Blue birth celebration scene), they were actually good friends. Gable later threatened to boycott the premiere in Atlanta because McDaniel was not invited, but later relented when she convinced him to go.

For her performance, McDaniel won the 1939 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first black actor to have been nominated and win an Oscar. "I loved Mammy," McDaniel said when speaking to the white press about the character. "I think I understood her because my own grandmother worked on a plantation not unlike Tara." Her role in Gone with the Wind had alarmed some whites in the South; there were complaints that in the film she had been too "familiar" with her white owners. At least one writer pointed out that McDaniel's character did not significantly depart from Mammy's persona in Margaret Mitchell's novel, and that in both the film and the book, the much younger Scarlett speaks to Mammy in ways that would be deemed inappropriate for a Southern teenager of that era to speak to a much older white person, and that neither the book nor the film hints of the existence of Mammy's own children (dead or alive), her own family (dead or alive), a real name, or her desires to have anything other than a life at Tara, serving on a slave plantation. Moreover, while Mammy scolds the younger Scarlett, she never crosses Mrs. O'Hara, the more senior white woman in the household. Some critics felt that McDaniel not only accepted the roles but also in her statements to the press acquiesced in Hollywood's stereotypes, providing fuel for critics of those who were fighting for black civil rights. Later, when McDaniel tried to take her "Mammy" character on a road show, black audiences did not prove receptive.

(IMDb/Wikipedia)

* * *

CODED MESSAGE

After numerous intelligence reports of Putin's demise implied that Putin might actually be dead, Putin himself decided to send Biden a letter in his own handwriting to let him know he was still in the game. Biden opened the letter which appeared to contain a single line of a coded message, "370HSSV-0773H".  Biden was baffled, so he emailed it to John Kerry, and his aides had no idea either, so they sent it to the FBI. No one could solve it at the FBI, so it went to the CIA, then to NSA.  Still no clue as to the meaning.  
 
The FBI finally asked Marine Corps Intelligence for help.  Within a few seconds the Marine Corps called back with this message. “Tell Biden he’s holding the message upside down."

* * *

Mendocino Grammar School, 1903

* * *

AN ISLAND OF LOST BEAUTY IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY

by Jonah Raskin

Call it human perversity, or an innate preoccupation with the lost and the destroyed. In any case wastelands, those spaces where nothing seems to grow, have inspired poets, writers and artists as much if not more than gardens and lush landscapes. Think of T. S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s vivid description in The Great Gatsby of a “desolate area” where ”ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens…take the forms of houses and chimneys… and men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.” Then, too, there’s the group of paintings titled “The Waste Land” by the famed Brazilian artist, Vik Muniz, that depict the world’s largest garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro where an army of catadores sort through the trash and find buried treasures.

Peter Whitehead, the English-born artist, photographer and musician, settled in San Francisco in 1975 and began a long and distinguished career that has included the building of odd musical instruments and the making of unusual sounds. Years after he first arrived in the city, he began, on foot, to explore Treasure Island, the man-made 400-acre parcel of land and an invaluable piece of property in San Francisco Bay. Between 2017-2020, Whitehead took more than 3,000 color photos as he wandered across the island. Now, 170 of them grace the pages of his new book, Treasure Land, (Blurb and Amazon; $75) which depict the “awkward beauty” he found in the midst of “collapse and decay” and that portray what he calls a “particular time in San Francisco history.”

Indeed, Treasure Island is a testament to the transitory nature of the city and its environs and where the past thrives in the midst of the present, and the old exists side by side with the new. Something is always coming down, something else going up.

“Sites such as Treasure Island provide an opportunity to observe the long term effects of time and weathering on the man-made world,” Whitehead told me. “My camera frames small areas and attempts to make some kind of visual sense of it all.” No small feat though Whitehead is an accomplished photographer who sees what others neglect or refuse to see. Treasure Island provided an ideal place for him to work his magic.

Built in 1936 and 1937 from rock and sand dredged from the Bay and deposited adjacent to Yerba Buena Island, Treasure Island was originally intended to provide the city with its second airport. In 1939 and 1940, it served as the home for the Golden Gate International Exhibition. The Navy took it over at the start of World War II, used it throughout the wars in Korea and Vietnam and abandoned it in 1997, leaving vast quantities of contaminated dirt and radiation levels dangerous to humans and all living things.

Whitehead’s first walking tour of the island took place not long after Navy contractors removed tons of polluted soil, though nearly everywhere he turned he saw signs that read “danger” and “keep out.” He paid no attention, but rather continued to explore, to look and see without blinders.

Like millions of commuters who cross the Bay Bridge every year, Whitehead first viewed Treasure Island fleetingly and from a distance. Next, he took the bus there from the City, wandered around for a day and, as he explained, “In every direction I looked there was something worth a picture.” Though he felt a “sense of doom,” he went back dozens of times until the island felt like home. His photos depict battered buildings, broken skateboards, abandoned and mysterious structures, isolated picnic tables and benches, rocks along the shore, large white clouds in the sky and spectacular views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and the Bay itself.

In the essay that introduces his photos, Whitehead explains, “I’m mostly drawn to urban situations and derelict post-industrial sites.” He adds that most of the sites he photographed on Treasure Island from 2007 to 2020 no longer exist. So his book offers a document of a lost time and a lost place, though from his perspective, “Nothing is Lost, Nothing is Created, Everything is Transformed.”

Those nine words provide the title for Whitehead’s first book which contains the journals he kept from 1982 to 2015, and that are made up of bits and pieces, words and images—a collage of sorts—that record his life and times as an artist who has salvaged trash and transformed the ugly into something elegant. “Where I see colors and shapes and get excited about a collapsing fence, many, if not most, would find it depressing and want to replace it with a new one,” Whitehead told me. “To them I say ‘open your eyes. There’s beauty and richness everywhere, even in the most derelict situations.’”

* * *

* * *

THEY PLAN ON REPEATING “PUTIN’S PRICE HIKE” Until People Believe It

by Caitlin Johnstone

President Biden used the phrase "Putin's price hike" again in a reaction to Friday's Consumer Price Index report revealing continued high inflation, showing once again that the US government believes Americans are idiots.

“Make no mistake about it: I understand inflation is a real challenge to American families. Today’s inflation report confirms what Americans already know: Putin’s Price Hike is hitting America hard,” Biden said in a statement. “My administration is going to continue to do everything it can to lower prices for the American people.”

Which is of course absurd. Prices were already soaring and inflation was already at a 40-year high before Russia invaded Ukraine on the 24th of February, and there was never anything inscribed upon the fabric of reality which said the US needed to respond to that invasion with an economic war that has made everything worse. The US initiated these unprecedented acts of economic warfare in response to an invasion it could easily have prevented with a little diplomacy, and has managed to do so without even hurting the strength of the ruble at all.

There are many people Americans could blame for their shrinking bank accounts, but Putin isn't one of them.

And people know this. Nobody who doesn't work for the US government ever unironically uses the term "Putin's price hike" except to comment on the Biden administration's repeated use of that term. I've never once seen even the dumbest liberals in my social media notifications use that phrase.

Right now it looks ridiculous to hear even Biden use that term. It sticks out like dog's balls because of how obviously contrived and out of place it is, like if he'd spontaneously yelled "Cowabunga, dudes!" or something.

But just you wait. If they keep repeating it often enough and frequently enough, sooner or later you'll start to notice rank-and-file members of the public repeating it themselves.

This is because the empire managers understand something which John Q Public does not, and it's this: if you repeat something often enough in a confident-sounding tone of voice, a glitch in human cognition known as the illusory truth effect causes them to mistake what you're saying for the truth.

The illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true.

We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing: believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again.

This would appear to be the strategy behind the continual repetition of the phrase "Putin's price hike" in particular and the narrative that rising prices are Russia's fault in general. Just keep saying it and saying it until the illusory truth effect kicks in and overrides people's cognitive faculties.

We are being trained. Westerners are paying more because of western policies chosen by western policy makers, and we're being trained to look at our shrinking bank accounts and yell, "Damn you, Putin!"

No part of this new cold war would be possible without copious amounts of such training. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to being made poorer in order to facilitate the dopey grand chessboard maneuverings of a few sociopaths on the east coast of the United States. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to having the gun of nuclear war held to their heads every day as US unipolarist escalations continually ramp up brinkmanship between the world's two nuclear superpowers. Without massive amounts of propaganda, people would never consent to agendas which directly hurt them and threaten everyone they know while providing no material benefit to them whatsoever.

But this is also true of our entire society in general. Our entire civilization is marinating in propaganda produced and promulgated by the powerful in order to manipulate our collective psychology into consenting to a status quo which serves them and not us.

Over centuries of dynasties, upheavals and revolutions, powerful people have learned that the best way to dominate a population is to manipulate them into serving your interests while giving them the illusion of freedom and control. The invention of mass media has facilitated this new form of tyranny, as has the emergence of psychology as a field of study. These two factors have combined together to give rise to the steadily advancing science of modern propaganda.

This is why the world is as it is: because the people have been psychologically manipulated at mass scale away from using the power of their numbers to create systems that benefit them instead of a few powerful sociopaths.

This is the source of all our major problems. Understanding it, and finding ways to overcome it, is the solution. The only reason they've been able to control us in this way is because they understand all the many ways our minds can be manipulated better than we do.

(caitlinjohnstone.com)

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

History tells us it takes only 3% of a pissed off population motivated to the point of action to overthrow a government. Are we there yet? By the way the January march was an unarmed protest, not a revolt. The next one will be the real deal and those lamp posts will be used.

If the January 6th Committee show is short-and-sweet, say a few weeks, it will be quickly forgotten in the welling summertime heat as the great masses of America groan under $5… $7… maybe $10-a-gallon gasoline prices (or maybe no gas at all) while diesel prices at $6.50 today are already destroying the trucking industry — and thus the entire system for delivering all goods around the country. The zeitgeist is quivering with intimations of food shortages and the philosopher reminds us that any given body politic is just nine missed meals away from bloody rebellion. Have another look at that motley January 6th committee group photo and consider the lampposts along Pennsylvania Avenue. 

— James Kunstler

* * *

NICK WILSON: 

If you had to remove one letter from the English language, which one would it be and why?

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five year phase-in plan that would be known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c”. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of the “k”. This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f”. This will make words like “fotograf” 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be ekspekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent “e”s in the language is disgrasful, and they should go away.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v”. During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem vil finali kum tru! And zen world!

* * *

American Progress, by John Gast, 1872: This painting shows "Manifest Destiny" (the belief that the United States should expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean). This popular scene of people moving west captured the view of Americans at the time. Called "Spirit of the Frontier" and widely distributed as an engraving portrayed settlers moving west, guided and protected by Columbia (who represents America and is dressed in a Roman toga to represent classical republicanism) and aided by technology (Railroads), driving Native Americans and bison into obscurity. The technology shown in the picture is used to represent the outburst of innovation and invention of modern technology. It is also important to note that Columbia is bringing the "light" as witnessed on the eastern side of the paintings she travels towards the "darkened" west.

* * *

WHAT DO CHILDREN NEED?

I just watched a news person interview a school principal and ask, “What are we missing? What do children need?” He went on and on about mental illness, the Juvenile Justice System, gun control, education reform, blah, blah, blah.

Folks, none of that mumbo jumbo makes a lick of sense. Here is what children need: 

1. Children need a mother and a father who love each other and work together as a team. 

2. Children need a bicycle, neighbors, and cousins. 

3. Children need a grandma to bake with and a grandpa to take em fishing.

4. Children need a church, a Sunday School Class, and a truth telling Preacher.

5. Children need a dinner time with home cooked food, prayer, and conversation.

6. Children need Sunday afternoon football and fried chicken.

7. Children need books on tape and coloring pages.

8. Children need summers at the beach and bazooka bubble gum.

9. Children need a trip to Arlington and Fourth of July Fireworks.

10. Children need fire pits, smores, ghost stories, the drive in, and real popcorn. 

11. Children need discipline from their parents.

12. Children need chores, a job, a way to earn what they want. 

13. Children need education that recognizes mama and daddy as the authority, God as the creator, and the Bible as the roadmap. 

This is not about some agenda, this is about children. Get back to basics: faith, family, & good ole fashioned fun.

— Lisa Geraci Giesler

* * *

Captain Bostrom and Ms. Borgna above the Noyo, 1931

* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio all night Friday night!

Hi! Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is around 6 or 7pm. After that, send it whenever it's ready and I'll read it on the radio /next/ week.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time: http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128

Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there. Also there you'll find a steaming heap of edutaining stew to squelch about in until showtime, or any time, such as:

Funky clavinet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud3ue3rB8EY

Prolific meat-eating-Buddhist writer Craig Louis Stehr sent me the link to this fascinating Indian song and dance routine. I liked it until the camera went in close on the dancer's nose ring, which I don't need to tell you again is repulsive to me, but that's /my/ problem, I know, not hers. I don't know why I don't like them; maybe I choked to death on a nose ring (or eyebrow ring, or neck-stretching ring, or tongue-piercing-clothespin, or elbow-plug, or some other self-mutilation accoutrement) in a past life. The dancer here has big pendulous earrings, too, that could catch on a twig she walks past and rip the rest of her ear open. I don't like to think about it, but it catches my possibly neurotic eye and there it is. Lacy artistic tattoos are okay with me if they heal up without keloid scars. Big ugly blotchy tattoos, or Disney-character tattoos, are not, /especially/ if they're to disguise a birthmark or accident damage. There's nothing inherently unattractive about what's not a person's fault. One of the most delightful women I ever knew has burn scars on her cheek and down her neck from a fire when she was a child. She's smart, graceful, pretty, sweet, competent, and has a lovely voice, and she was never at all shy or defensive of the burns. Now imagine how you'd feel about her if she had the scars covered up by a big black-and-blue tattooed map of Italy, or the Philippines, say, or how you'd feel if you saw a person who /deliberately branded or burned a big shape/ on his or her flesh, or had devil horns implanted in his forehead and expanded his jowls down to his shoulders with springs. You see what I mean? It almost wouldn't matter what a good teacher or nurse or lawyer he might be... Oh, wait, I like it again when the dancer pretends to be a demon goddess and sticks her tongue out and claws at the air; that's so creepy it's cool. And the music is alternately funny/dramatic and startling/goofy; also cool. Thanks, Craig. That was fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUpxj7CyxEM

I've been collecting all different covers of Kate Bush's /Running Up That Hill/, and so far I like this one the best.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FW3Zu9IYfM

And the Wiener Cello Ensemble: /Bolero/. By the middle-end of it that's a lot of hands in there. It's like a scene in an old soft-focus French movie where an ensorcelled damsel has to traverse a hallway full of grasping arms and hands sticking out of the walls, but here the damsel is a cello and screams music. (via b3ta)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUeysGoPFTk

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

* * *

VISIGOTH UPDATE

* * *

A CROCK OF CHRYSANTHEMUMS

by Herb Caen (1976)

In the words of Shakespeare, we “shall not look upon his like again.” John Steinbeck who could only have died too young was uniquely American and peculiarly Californian — a strong, shaggy wolf of a man who came ranging out of the Salinas hills to make an indelible mark on his time and place.

Along with his honesty, which spilled over so often into memorable outrage, he had a strong sense of privacy. I met him first in 1939 at the old Bal Tabarin nightclub here and he was not particularly pleased to see me. “All I ask,” he said gruffly, “is that you don't turn me in.” (Translation: “Don't mention that you saw me.”) Some writers court publicity, but Steinbeck was not among them, and so I was doubly pleased that we became friends and that he would write on the 25th anniversary of my column:

“He has made a many faceted character of the city of San Francisco. It is very probable that Herb's city is the one that will be remembered. It is interesting to me that he has been able to do this without anger and without venom and without being soft. Then suddenly I see the anniversary — 25 years! Now where in hell did those years ago? Well — they went into his column for one thing.”

Where did those years ago? I remember John Steinbeck in 1961 lying ill in a suite at the Clift Hotel after returning from a trip to the Orient. He was propped up in bed, a pad of yellow foolscap on his knees, pencil in hand, “I'm so sore at myself for being sick,” he growled, “that I'm making myself epigrams. Confucianisms. Or maybe confusionisms.”

He had already scribbled 64 of them in his laborious longhand and I take the liberty of reproducing a view of them here. So far as I know they have never been published before — these feverish thoughts (102 of them) of an angrily ailing John Steinbeck:

“I didn't know I had political ambitions, but I must have — I am ill.

“For cultural interchange the first book translated should be the Sears Roebuck catalog -- as Marco Polo demonstrated.

“Courtesy thrives on a potential kick in the pants. H-Bombs may well be jet propelled doves of peace.

“Hospitality is the most charming torture we have devised.

“I wonder who appointed the Americans to world leadership? Could it have been the Americans?

“Some men so love the world that they wish to own it.

“Since Thoreau's time, desperation has grown noisier.

“The final test of gentility is solvency.

“There are two roads to privacy -- smallpox and poverty.

“Confusion is the child of speech. Silence gives no misinformation.

“Dignity is elusive. If a man wants it, he can't have it. If he has it, he has never heard of it.

“An author is an entertainer with tailfeathers.

“Honor is the hell of the unhonored and the hell of the dishonored.

“Sympathy is what you feel for a man you wish were somewhere else.

“Love of women keeps pool rooms open.

“To be loved, get rich and hide your will.

“All people have this in common. They are good and those others are bad.

“Ambition is the lust for something to avoid when you have it.

“Hell must be a pleasant place. Nobody wants to steal it.

“A bird can fly but can't thread a needle.

“Government is the evidence that as individuals we have failed.

“A man who loves cops is studying to be one.

“Swans are free swimming public buildings.

“Without the devil and the weather we would lack work and conversation.

“A gift is a bribe with bells.

“A good woman is the best of women. A good man wants watching.

“Mankind has at least reached the eminence of a child with a stolen dynamite cap.

“Loyalty is conditioned friendship.

“Ignorance is the solidified wisdom of the ages.

“Thought is for Monday after the game.

“An evil man is never evil to himself nor a good man good.

“Time is the only critic without ambition.

“Force is the reasoning of failure.

“A man too well insured may find it economically unsound to be alive.

“A man will break his ass to avoid trouble, forgetting that a broken ass is troublesome.

“Art is a scream of loneliness.

“We can have peace if we can make it dangerous and expensive.”

Four sheets of yellow foolscap, covered with these and other thoughts of John Steinbeck. “I would love to have those,” I said and although he carefully guarded everything he wrote, he said, shrugging, “They are yours, on the altar of friendship.” Then he scrawled across the top, “For Herb Caen — 'A Crock of Chrysanthemums,' by John Steinbeck.” I reproduce them also on the altar of friendship and in sorrow at his passing.

Canine footnote: While he was gathering material for his book 'Travels with Charley,' Steinbeck arrived in San Francisco to relate a tale of one shining moment in the life of his beloved Airedale. “When Charlie and I were driving through the redwood country,” he told a group of us at Enrico's Coffee House, “I looked around until I found the largest redwood in the area — an absolute beauty, probably 2,000 years old, a considerable tree before Christ was born. And then I let Charlie out of the camper so he could go and pee on that tree. Now I ask you, what is left in life for that dog?” The silence which followed the question was broken at last by Howard Gossage: “Well,” he figured, “he could always teach.”

* * *

Dehaven School, 1920s

* * *

ON THE BLOWBACK TO ‘WHAT IS A WOMAN?’ & THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEBATE AND BIGOTRY

As short a response as I could manage, to a lot of criticism

by Matt Taibbi

After publishing a review of Matt Walsh’s What is a Woman? this week, the expected avalanche of blowback from activists and even a few friends did arrive. Most went straight to the word “bigot,” while others decried “platforming a fascist.”

Let me explain my thoughts on this subject, since some seem to feel that laughing when a professor is caught calling “truth” transphobic is equivalent to supporting genocide.

Over the years I’ve probably interviewed twenty people in this field, usually over speech issues. These ranged from a trans activist who screamed at me before the first question (as part of a “censorship” story I ultimately decided not to do, because the complaining trans-skeptic wasn’t really being censored), to others like Dr. Kenneth Zucker, who for 35 years headed Canada’s Gender Identity Clinic. I’m obviously no expert in the field, but I do know about media, and the Zucker case was a clear example of press malpractice. It also showed how a dynamic one colleague tabbed the “either TERF or saint” formula has become a mandatory coverage template.

Zucker’s name is radioactive in the trans community. In fact, one of the supposed sins of writer Jesse Singal, as listed on his Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) “Accountability Project” page — his blacklist entry — is that he “wrote a defense in 2016 of Dr. Kenneth Zucker,” who supposedly believed in “conversion therapy.” It should be noted that soon after that “defense,” Zucker won a $586,000 settlement in a civil suit in which it was admitted that Canada’s largest mental health center “published a report that erroneously described [Zucker’s] interactions with patients.”

GLAAD, supposedly an opponent of “defamation,” still cites that defamatory report, saying Zucker has faced “accusations of practices to change gender-nonconforming mannerisms or identification to achieve a ‘cisgender goal,’ and ‘curing’ children of their transgender identity.”

When I spoke to Zucker, I had been led by articles to expect a pushy reactionary. I instead heard the story of a person who a) had been the first clinician to use puberty blockers in North America, and b) had a record of advocating for what one today might call “gender affirmation” therapy for adolescents. A sample quote:

We certainly felt that there were some adolescents where the best way to help them reduce their gender dysphoria, was to support them in making a gender social transition and for some of the kids to recommend hormonal blockers. And then later, what nowadays are called gender affirming hormone therapies.

As for his supposed embrace of “conversion therapy,” this turned out to be someone else’s interpretation of what Zucker called “developmentally informed therapy,” which basically translated to a more cautious clinical approach with children:

Our approach with children was to see to what extent it was possible for little kids to grow up and feel more comfortable in a gender identity that matched their birth sex…

You’re trying to understand why has the child started to develop a dislike of their gender in relation to their birth sex. And if one can identify potential factors, maybe one can help a child feel more comfortable with a gender that matches their birth sex, so as they grow older and move into puberty, they are not experiencing an intense dislike of their body. Because obviously, having extreme distress about your primary or secondary sex characteristics, is tough…

So, I would say that over the years my first line approach to therapy has been either a watchful waiting approach or more of an exploratory psychotherapy approach. I wouldn’t myself as a first line of treatment recommend social transition.

Zucker got in trouble with activists for a variety of reasons, including an appearance in a 2017 BBC documentary, “Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?” where he was quoted saying, “A four-year-old might say that he’s a dog. Do you go out and buy dog food?” In response, the Guardian quoted Susie Green, CEO of the Mermaids Foundation, which “represents transgender issues.” Green said:

That quote in itself is incredibly inflammatory for parents of trans children… We’ve had real concern that this is going to cause them to be targeted, because it supports this idea of trans children being mentally disturbed or that they can be cured.

The Guardian then appropriated this language, writing, “Zucker’s approach was likened to reparative therapy, which had the intended goal of ‘curing’ children of transgender status.” The word “curing” in the GLAAD page was linked to this Guardian piece, which means it was coming from Green’s mouth, not Zucker’s. The term “cisgender goal” meanwhile was linked to a story about the (now admittedly erroneous) report that led to the $586,000 settlement for Zucker.

I have not been able to find evidence of Zucker ever suggesting he believes transgenderism needs to be “cured” — he clearly believes otherwise, as he’s said and as his long career demonstrated — or that his vision of therapy is to achieve a “cisgender goal.” Yet a person reading that Guardian piece, or the GLAAD page, or a PinkNews piece with a headline reading, “BBC documentary features doctor who tried to ‘cure’ trans kids,” will come away thinking those are his words. I can see legitimate disagreement with Zucker, but there is no reason I can think of why a legitimate movement would need to resort to such sleazy reputation-bashing tactics.

Last year, on Useful Idiots with Katie Halper, I interviewed Dr. Erica Anderson, a trans clinician who has vociferously opposed Republican legislative bans on trans care and “worked hard to advance acceptance of trans identities.” Anderson is also now in the soup for writing editorials advocating more “gender-exploratory therapy“ and raising concerns about what she calls “worrisome things about this massive, unplanned social experiment.”

Even before that, however, prior to our interview of her last April, Anderson expressed opinions that shouldn’t be controversial but somehow were, like “We don’t affirm all choices of all minors without exception.”

I asked her about the responses to her public pronouncements. We had the following exchange:

Q: Have you had a hard time for saying things like, “everyone knows peer influence in teenagers is high”? I just took that to mean, it’s a factor that has to be considered. It doesn’t mean that someone who is presenting as trans is doing so because of peer pressure. But, it’s also irrational to discount it entirely.

Anderson: Thank you. You’re catching my nuance here, which is, to turn a blind eye to things we know are true, namely your point just made about peer influence, is ridiculous. What, we’re going to pretend that gender, or sexual identity and gender, is the only area in which there’s no peer influence? Well, that’s preposterous. It’s like, kids talk about everything… In the last year of Covid, they’re online talking with everyone in the world about everything. To presume this doesn’t have any effect whatsoever, flies in the face of what we know.

Peer or media or parental pressure obviously has influence on any life decision. The question is, how much? I’m open to the idea that in this area, the default assumption should be that outside influence is small, but if you start insisting it’s not a factor at all, or that it’s bigoted to suggest it even couldbe a factor, now I know the issue has been overtaken by a media panic.

Before this issue became a hot-button, front-page fixation of popular media, activists, clinicians and trans patients worked for decades to secure rights and come up with reasonable standards for care. In place of those sensible debates, the public is now being asked to swallow a series of bold new assertions, like that peer pressure is a “myth,” biological sex is a fiction, Lia Thomas doesn’t have an unfair advantage at swim meets, and the clinical decision to wait and observe is not doing nothing, but a form of active intervention called “withholding treatment” or “conversion therapy.” Stipulating for the sake of argument that all of these things somehow turn out to be true, these ideas to most ordinary people will still seem extraordinary and counter to their experience, yet audiences are expected to steam straight past their natural shock to acceptance.

This is one of the reasons What is a Woman? was effective. Walsh in the video above asks Dr. Michelle Forcier if he’s safe assuming a chicken is biologically female if he sees it laying eggs. To which Forcier responds, “Does a chicken cry? Does a chicken commit suicide?” Walsh bites his lip in the middle of a sentence everyone is thinking, which is, “What does that have to do with anything?” Forcier’s is not a scientific answer, but we’re expected to show unflinching acceptance in moments like this.

One trans person I’ve known for years wrote me yesterday complaining that Twitter activists and theorists are “destroying the progress we’ve made,” recalling days when the chief issues were things like, “Access to employment. Health care. Transition costs covered by health insurance. That makes sense… Acting indignant when people don’t live up to Tumblr gender theory is not.”

Worse, the package of current social media fixations adds up to a political project that is almost guaranteed to lose in the end.

“Getting rid of the role of the WHO standards for access to surgery and HRT and doing it over the counter? It’s just fucking crazy,” the person wrote, adding: “Everyone who has challenged this version of the community has been excommunicated… It’s morphed into something that’s just an unsellable message to a mass public.”

I live in a small town where most of the parents know each other, and talk on the sidelines of the endless birthday parties and endless Little League games. Basically all of these people are wired the same. In conversation, they’re half-listening and half watching with one eye to make sure their kid doesn’t run under a truck or jam a sharp stick in an eye. When I first had kids I was shocked by the depth and power of parental love, how totally it clears away your “ideas” about things and reduces life to a single goal — keep them alive! — and you really don’t care how you get there.

Of course there are bigots out there, people who would probably lay down on railroad tracks to keep their kids from coming out as trans. I’d guess the overwhelming majority of the rest of us, however, would drop to our knees in joy if our kids made it to adulthood within striking distance of any sustainable formula for happiness, whether that involved a change in gender identity or a permanent move to the other side of the earth. Most parents I know would just want to be sure that their child is taking a really big step on his or her own initiative, and not for the sake of a reaction from friends or a teacher or a YouTube influencer or, especially, a parent.

No parent is going to respond any way but in the extreme negative to a suggestion that they might need to be cut out of discussions about their child’s development. When I did a series about education controversies at Loudoun County, proposals by schools to keep student gender identity changes secret from parents were near the top of the list of complaints among both blue and red voters I interviewed. This is an enormous political and strategic mistake, one I believe is responsible in large part for Democrats losing so much ground on the education issue.

Lastly, there’s a reason I focus so much on the media omertà over this issue on the left-liberal side of the aisle. Republicans right now are doing most of the pushing back politically on these matters, and I’d expect them to fight hard for parental, family, and religious rights.

The flip side of this phenomenon, however, is more subtle. In my interview with Kara Dansky, when I asked what her definitions of sex and gender were, she said:

Sex is grounded in material biology. It’s what we all learned in school. All human beings are sexually dimorphic mammals…

Gender, on the other hand, although the terms are very frequently used interchangeably, is more about sex stereotypes. Women stereotypically like pink. Men stereotypically like blue. Women stereotypically are nurturing. Men stereotypically are aggressive. These are stereotypes that we all have in our minds about what boys and girls are supposed to like, what men and women are supposed to like, and how we’re all supposed to act.

I hadn’t considered the possibility previously, because it would be so incredibly stupid if it were the truth, but what if the cascade of gender-fluid rhetoric coming out of academia and pop culture these days isn’t about smashing stereotypes at all, but about reinforcing them on a grand scale? If you like to climb trees instead of wearing dresses, you can’t just be a tomboy, you must actually be male. If you don’t like baseball and belching, run and grow those boobs you so obviously want.

That’s a joke, but only sort of. If you think about it, there’s an element to these ideas you might hear as easily from construction workers hooting at you across a city street as you could from a corridor full of profs at the women’s studies department at Harvard. I wonder if we’re institutionalizing stereotypes about gender in the same way academics have tried to institutionalize utterly racist and backward ideas about how “hard work,” “the written word,” and “being polite” are “white culture,” while black people shouldn’t be expected to understand “punctuality,” “linear thinking,” or the “nuclear family.”

I increasingly wonder if we’re telling young people, especially girls and I’d guess especially young lesbians, that if they don’t like dresses and boys and sugar and spice and everything nice, they’re trapped in the wrong body, when their real problem might be growing up in a dumb, regressing, morally manic society. If this were a D’Angeloid stereotyping craze gone haywire, the only people who’d be likely to sound the alarm are now mostly too afraid to say anything. It’s been repeatedly demonstrated that expressing reservations about almost any aspect of modern gender theory can be a career-ending move for people in media or academia.

Not that it matters, since none of those calling me out for reviewing Walsh’s movie have ever asked my views on the issue, but I believe dysphoria is real and absolutely support legal transition and the other rights outlined by my anonymous friend. Also like some of the people interviewed for the Walsh piece I’m convinced that there’s at least some evidence that hormone treatments and surgeries help some adults.

Kids are more complicated. Look, I think minors should take more than a few weeks before signing student loans, much less embarking on hormone therapy. Moreover, I remember being petitioned regularly by leftist activist groups to write stories about Republican politicians who took money from drug companies before approving student mandates for meningitis vaccines or ADHD medication. Activists were desperate for more discussion about issues like that. No activist hesitated then to pull out what Jezebel, in its absurd denunciation of Singal’s trans reporting,sneeringly called the “‘think of the children’ strawman.” About this, it’s the opposite. The less debate, the better. What changed?

* * *

* * *

STOOD UP IN UKIAH

Good evening postmodern America,

It has been a warm day here in the Mendocino county seat.  Bottom-lined the trash & recycling at Building Bridges homeless shelter as usual, which necessitated two cold shower rinses afterwards, plus Yerba Mate to rehydrate.  Only a very few who have bed here refuse to face the fact, that with over 60 generating trash and recycling 24/7, that this is an "industrial situation".  In the midst of it all today, a friend from Redwood Valley telephoned to say that she and her friend would pick me up here for an outing at 3:30PM.  After waiting for 45 minutes in the parking lot, they didn't show up, so I gave up.  Enjoyed the Friday night dinner brought in by this wonderful group, and took a nap afterwards.  Nota Bene:  I am no longer making social appointments.  If you want to get together with me, then be where I am!

The Hillside Dental Clinic called in to say that the dentist would not be coming in the day of my deep cleaning appointment.  So, they gave me a new date and time.

Continuing to identify with that which is prior to consciousness, not the body nor the mind.  Here is the latest from Krishna das: Live! Hanging Out In the Heart Space Online Satsang - June 9, 2022 - YouTube

Craig Louis Stehr

26 Comments

  1. Marmon June 11, 2022

    RE: MURDER AT THE CAPITOL

    “I truly believe in my heart that they know it is murder. They can’t admit to it, so they have to just blow by it & act like it never happened.”

    -Aaron Babbitt (Ashli Babbitt’s Husband)

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading June 11, 2022

      LOL. Fascists support other fascists. The bunch of them should have been mowed down as soon as they crossed the barricades. They were, and are, nothing but treasonous scum, in service of a con-artist moron.

    • Mike J June 11, 2022

      In 1992 and again in 1993 I obtained permits for events next to the White House:. Zero point on the ellipse, Lafayette Park and the White House sidewalk.
      You appear to have no good models for how such events should be conducted. Fortunately, a documentary was recently finished profiling the group I co founded:
      https://youtu.be/ZWTuw96W_YQ
      In 1992 a National Park Police harassed Ed and I. The next morning, as we set up at the ellipse, officials from the Secret Service drove up and told us they observed what happened and apologized for the cops behavior. On another day, an agent came over and told me about his experience of sighting the famous Hudson Valley craft in the 1980s….he said it was clearly alien. I have good memories overall, only one disruptive event and no crazy participants causing problems.
      Study the film done about the group Komarek and I founded and which many responsible people joined as area organizers (including England and Argentina). It’s a good model for such events in DC.

      • Marmon June 11, 2022

        RE: THE 2020 BLM RIOTS

        Was your model used at Lafayette Park during the 2020 BLM riots? Police had to clear the Square and construct extra fencing around the White House. The Secret Service was forced place our Great President in a secure location beneath the building in order to assure his safety.

        Marmon

        • Mike J June 11, 2022

          The answer to your question is “yes”. BLM organizers and participants operating within the time and behavior parameters defined on their permit were one “cast” of characters. As in cities across the nation, players with a criminal bent exploited the opportunity to act out, making themselves at home on the scene especially after darkness had fallen and demonstrators had dispersed at the end of scheduled and permitted activities.
          Your great leader needs to be arrested. There’s a chance now that may happen. Garland and others are weighing, undoubtly, the prospect of widespread violence if that happens. It may be more likely now that they prosecute Trump as he seems to be losing followers, given how he’s a close second to Desantis in polls.

          • Marmon June 11, 2022

            After the mid-terms when Republicans take both the House and Senate Garland is going to have a lot to answer for. He should really think long and hard about going after Trump and not the BLM/Antifa thugs.

            Oh, while I’m at it, “Where’s Hunter”.

            Marmon

        • Rye N Flint June 12, 2022

          Do you just read right-wing rhetoric Marmon?

          https://blacklivesmatter.com

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Lives_Matter

          Blaming the actions of protesters on an entire movement? Sounds like the same B.S. as it was just a few bad cops, not the entire white supremacist system. Or, it was just a few guys with mental problems, it’s not all guys with guns that are the problem…

  2. Marmon June 11, 2022

    RE: THE SCHIFF SHOW (JAN 6 PRESENTATION)

    Trump said at the end of the speech he wanted people to show their voices patriotically and peacefully.

    “They edited those words out. If a prosecutor ever did that, they’d be disbarred. You can’t present part of the tape and deliberately omit the rest of the tape in order to mislead the audience.”

    -Alan Dershowitz

    Marmon

    • Harvey Reading June 11, 2022

      Dershowitz? That is truly funny. You are even beyond scraping the bottom of the barrel.

      • Marmon June 11, 2022

        Typical Reading, attack the messenger not the message.

        Marmon

    • Chuck Dunbar June 11, 2022

      Chaucer, so long ago, knew there’d be people like you, James, coming along, and he has a fitting retort and some wise advice for you:

      “One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not.”
      Chaucer

  3. Harvey Reading June 11, 2022

    “…showing once again that the US government believes Americans are idiots.”

    And, considering how USans are responding to the mess created by their wealthy, greedy masters, they are TOTAL idiots, who barely know how to use toilet paper following a bowel movement. Government conditioning over the decades has been incredibly effective in this conglomeration of dumb apes.

  4. Lazarus June 11, 2022

    Sales Tax:

    After the Measure B fiasco and watching the failed marijuana program, I’ll vote NO on any money measure the county presents.
    I will also encourage family and friends to do the same.
    Be well,
    Laz

    • George Dorner June 11, 2022

      Indeed, the Board of Stupes will just piss it away on the consent calendar.

  5. Eric Sunswheat June 11, 2022

    RE: The Hillside Dental Clinic called in to say that the dentist would not be coming in the day of my deep cleaning appointment. So, they gave me a new date and time. (Craig Louis Stehr)

    ->. Try the large size portable Water Pik, which you already have recommendation to use, and add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide to the water, giving you an almost deep cleaning every day to save your teeth roots, without malarky over benefits of fluoridation absent remineralization monitoring. by pH testing of early morning saliva and first urination.

    • Craig Stehr June 11, 2022

      Have already begun to swish around inside of the mouth with hydrogen peroxide. That, and baking soda plus ayurvedic toothpaste are working well. Using those GUM brand ‘tween the teeth plastic-bristle-picks also. I will make it to the end of this last lifetime with both teeth and gums intact! Hopefully the mind will last too, but that’s another conversation. ;-))

  6. Stephen Rosenthal June 11, 2022

    Re Coded Message: You really do have to turn it upside down to get it. Sidesplittingly funny.

  7. Bruce McEwen June 11, 2022

    the term “four-flusher” used to refer to the low mean card shark who would try to palm off a four card flush as the real McCoy, but now we have to beware of a similar shyster, the Putin Proof, by which I mean, if 4/5 of the prob can be assigned to repercussions from Putin’s adventures then the fault is all his, as in “Putin’s Inflation,” $c.

    Who among you are Putin proof?

    • Bruce McEwen June 11, 2022

      The proof is in the Putin
      — Libtard Proverb

    • Bruce McEwen June 12, 2022

      In cribbage there’s similar shill-like behavior in the colloquial style: “Haulin’ wood,” which refers to firewood merchants of the fly-by-night species, crowing full chord about how full the cord is they sell,!

      That’s the cliche in cribbage.

      Ask yourself if Putin would; this will be the test for every act of malfeasance and treachery, replacing the boogie man, Beowulf, and Reynard the Fox w/ a secular Auld Nick to scare the bejeasus out of even an sworn atheist.

      • Bruce McEwen June 12, 2022

        OK: My talents don’t lie in that direction do they?

  8. Marmon June 11, 2022

    RE: AMERICA’S FUTURE

    If you’re worried about the indoctrination young people go through in college and concerned that the campuses are breeding a nation of socialists, relax, young swing voters are leaning right.

    Marmon

  9. Nathan Duffy June 11, 2022

    RE: Catch of the Day. That’s not the Brianna Bell we want. The one on Youtube models lingerie for all of her viewers and she is everything that is right about this country and western society in general. Go figure.

  10. Rye N Flint June 12, 2022

    Visigoths:

    That scene actually reminds me more of the US military tearing down the Statue of Saddam Hussein. Remember “Operation Iraqi Liberation”? O.I.L.? The US liberating Iraq and Afghanistan from terrasisists. Because Saudi terrorists did the 911? Always remember.

  11. Rye N Flint June 12, 2022

    RE: PG&Evil’S LINE-CLEARING RAMPAGE

    Well… There was a fire and power shutdown here in Hopland because of a fire at the top of the ridge on McNab Ranch. So it begins!!!

    We still have those 2 tree attachments running from the transformer at the street that PGEvil was supposed to fix 8 Months ago… Priorities, priorities…

  12. Rye N Flint June 12, 2022

    RE: ON THE BLOWBACK TO ‘WHAT IS A WOMAN?’ & THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEBATE AND BIGOTRY

    Great Article! Recently, anytime I try to have a debate about the difference between biology and mental-body dysphoria, I am instantly attacked by “trans rights supporters” as being misogynistic, transphobic, or unsupportive. It has got to the point of ridiculousness, that a small group of people are demanding everyone go along with their game of pretend, un-questioned and un-debatable. No questions asked, doesn’t work for me. There are a lot of us in the LGB community that don’t appreciate the Trans community jumping on the now overloaded rainbow bandwagon, for a free ride to civil-rights-ville. Their group identity is not about their sexual preferences and love life is not matching the White, Monogamous, Christian Status-quo. Their group identity is about what Gender, or spectrum of, they want society to see them as. The Trans community is not ready to assign a spokesperson role, or create organizations that can debate topics like, “Mental perceptions can change, but inheirant biological differences between the sexes, can not.”, or “Why can’t Trans people call themselves “Trans Men, or Trans Women”, so as to eliminate confusion around existing names of human sexes.”, or “Why were sports separated by sex in the first place, why can’t we talk about human sexual dymorphism and biological differences between the sexes?”

    You will notice that the Trans debate is always steered into the word “Gender” instead of “sex”. I think the trans movement is still where Feminism was at 1.0 Don’t worry, things will evolve.

    I do find it strange that in American English, the word Sex and Gender are so confused apart from their root words of Genitals and Gender Roles.

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