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Mendocino County Today: Friday, June 17, 2022

Cooler | Body Found | Stubborn Niña | Kid Bags | Thomas Jondahl | Basketball Camp | Boontling Book | Ford Fizzles | New Officers | Jolly Ranchers | Kosta & Son | Ed Notes | Native Geographic | Sales Tax | Bourns House | Proposed Bond | Velma's Farmstand | Purple Urchins | Gull Menu | Edgy Romance | Warriors Win | Fake Klay | Yesterday's Catch | Ukraine | Gay Bomb | Lobotomy Shadow | Mendocino Stroll | Why SF | Herb Caen | Abacus Sunrise | Bombed School | In Kharkiv | Your Country | Yank Crawley | Retired Duran | Doctored Egalitarianism | Trumper Flush | Caltrans Pace | Pitahaya | Budget Surplus | Sweet Cesspool | So Weird | Sir Arson | Teacher Strike | Watergate 50 | Johnny Walrus

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AN UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM will support cooler weather this weekend. In addition, showers and a few thunderstorms are expected to occur across the interior mountains of Northwest California. Otherwise, warmer and drier weather is probable during early to middle portions of next week as high pressure aloft returns. Furthermore, breezy north-northwest winds are forecast to occur Sunday through Tuesday. (NWS)

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MISSING JESUS

My brother Jesus aka (Junior, Shotgun, Shotty) has been missing for 3 days now and we are very worried about him. He was last seen at Hendy Woods on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 around 5 pm. 

He was last seen with a group of friends (unknown to witness), 3 guys and 5 girls. He left his phone and wallet behind, which is very unusual of him. He’s never been gone for more than a night. He has not come home since. If you see him or hear about him please call me (707) 684-9294. We are going to contact authorities next. Thank you.


UPDATE: BODY FOUND WHERE BOONVILLE MAN WENT MISSING—Law Enforcement Investigating

by Matt LaFever

This early afternoon brings a troubling update regarding the search for missing Boonville man Jesus Mendoza. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten told us that Mendoza’s family had located a deceased subject “submerged in water” near Hendy Woods State Park, the location the missing man was last seen on the late afternoon of Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

As officials work to confirm the identity of the deceased subject, Jennifer Mendoza, Jesus’s sister, told us the deceased person was tragically her brother.

Captain Van Patten said MCSO deputies are en route to the location along with State Parks to confirm the identity of the deceased and to determine jurisdiction. He added that identification of the body will take time today because a water recovery team is being deployed to the location.

Jesus Mendoza (aka “Junior”, “Shotgun”, and “Shotty”) [Photograph provided by Jennifer Mendoza]

In an earlier interview with Jennifer, Jesus’s sister, she told us the last time Jesus was seen on June 14 was in the Hendy Woods area in the company of three men and five women not known to the family. 

The family’s concern was heightened due to the fact Jesus had never spent more than one night away from home, he suffers medical conditions that require monitoring, and he had left behind both his phone and wallet. 

Hoping to track him down, Jennifer said the family had checked all his known friends’ homes and called all the recent contacts on Jesus’s phone and came up with no information about his location.

As more information comes in on the circumstances surrounding Jesus Mendoza’s disappearance, we will update.

(mendofever.com)

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STUBBORN LA NIÑA LOOKS LIKE IT MAY STICK AROUND FOR A RARE THIRD YEAR

A stubborn La Niña climate pattern in the tropical Pacific is likely to persist through the summer and may hang on into 2023, forecasters say. La Niña has been implicated not only in the unrelenting drought in the U.S. Southwest, but also in drought and flooding in various parts of the world. If La Niña persists into the fall and winter, it would be only the third time since 1950 that the climate pattern has continued for three consecutive winters in the Northern Hemisphere, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said last week. In addition to the historic U.S. drought and the deadly drought in the Horn of Africa, drought in southern South America and above-average rainfall in Southeast Asia and Australia, New Zealand and surrounding islands have been blamed on La Niña.…

latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-15/stubborn-la-nina-may-stick-around-for-a-rare-third-year

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THOMAS EDWARD JONDAHL
1964-2022

Thomas Edward Jondahl, 57, passed away on Thursday May 12, 2022 at his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, following complex liver disease progression.

Born on November 11, 1964 in Ukiah, California to retired Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas W. Jondahl and Rebecca Jondahl, Thomas is predeceased by both parents. He is survived by his wife Sandra Pierce Jondahl of Colorado Springs, son Thomas Blake Jondahl of San Antonio, Texas and his sisters, Terri Jondahl (Richard Drye) of Buford, Georgia and Tammi Jondahl Weselsky (Bruce Weselsky), along with niece Alisa Weselsky-Arrington (Bryan Arrington and their two children) of Ukiah, California.

Tom graduated from Ukiah High School and then spent much of his adult life in Texas where he spent many years helping to develop unique pizza based restaurant concepts and then in later years worked in sales of food products to restaurants. 

He was taught to hunt and fish by his father and one of his favorite recent memories was teaching his wife to fly fish in crisp rocky mountain creeks in Colorado. 

He told stories many times of his trip to Alaska with his father, and brother in laws, where many fish were caught and laughter was nonstop.

He adored his family and was exceptionally proud of his son's straight A performance at the University of Texas. He was a loyal friend to many over the years.

Tom is survived by his cherished cat Trin and predeceased by many beloved dogs, including his best pal, Buddy. 

The family will hold a graveside service on Tuesday June 21, at 3pm at Russian River Cemetery, Ukiah, followed by a celebration of life for family and friends at the home of Tammi Weselsky. 

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MARSHALL NEWMAN writes: Should you be looking for a copy of "Boontling or the Strange Boonville Language", 1967 by Rawles, Mendocino County CA | eBay. Looks like the first edition (I think there were two). At the moment, cheaper than I paid.

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CITY MANAGER CHANGE & UPDATE (Hey! You Just Got Here!)

John Ford

John H. Ford of Humboldt County has requested release from his contract recently approved by the Fort Bragg City Council. Mr. Ford cited reasons of conflict in making the transition from his son’s middle school to Fort Bragg and his wife’s desire to remain where they are. Mr. Ford said, “This would place significant stress on my family and would not allow me to be as socially involved in the Fort Bragg community as the job mandates.” He goes on to further say, “This is a difficult realization for me. I love the community and was attracted by how cohesively the City Council works and by you as individuals. I am impressed with the staff I met and the impressive list of successful projects they have taken on. From my perspective, Fort Bragg is well run and has a bright future. Fort Bragg deserves a leader not torn between serving the community and needing to make every effort to be supportive of distant immediate family.” 

“While we are all disappointed at the loss of Mr. Ford as our next City Manager, we understand the priority of family first and the need to follow priorities in this situation,” said Mayor Bernie Norvell. The City will move onward and forward in a positive direction. 

In other news, the City has selected a new Police Chief and we hope to make that announcement very shortly. 

(Fort Bragg City presser)

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NEW OFFICERS

The Fort Bragg Police Department has reached full staffing levels with the recent promotion of three new officers. 

Last year Fort Bragg Police Department began the hiring process to hire three local police recruits to attend the College of the Redwoods Police Academy in Eureka California. The three newly hired recruits received intense six months of police training. On Friday, June 10, 2022, all three recruits graduated from the police academy in a small ceremony attend by several Fort Bragg Police personnel, family and a host of other agencies. 

On Monday night June 13, 2022 at the City Council meeting all three recruits were sworn in as police officers for the City of Fort Bragg. The recruits; former CSO Antoinette Moore, David Franco and Tyler Baker were joined by family and friends to witness the short ceremony. These three officers are from the local community and will provide service to the community for years to come, it is the goal of the city to provide opportunity for local persons to live and work within the community. 

There is no rest for the three new officers they will receiving intense Field Training from certified Field Training Officers for the next ten to sixteen weeks at which time based on their performance they will become solo police officers. 

The Fort Bragg Police Department is now fully staffed; we are one of the few agencies to have reached this status. It was the investment of the City Council, City Administration and Police Management allowing the hiring of these three local individuals, investing in their initial careers with an expected long-term commitment. 

Fort Bragg Police Presser (by Chief John Naulty)

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HUMOR AT SEA RANCH? Who would have thought, but see for yourself at thesearancher.com/2022/06/08/the-evolving-demography-of-the-sea-ranch-ca/

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KOSTA & SON MOWING and Soil Delivery

Retired firefighter and son, looking to mow acres for fire reduction.

My son and I will make sure your property is mowed throughout the fire season. Acreage should be somewhat flat. My tractor is old but not a 4x4. Have tractor with mower deck. Lots of weedeaters, mowers, chainsaws and even a power pole saw to raise tree limbs that act as a ladder fuel during fires.

Can also deliver lots of soil with 4x4 trucks and a large trailer. My tractor can be upgraded to use forks to unload many pallets of soil and soil amendments very quickly. Just need lots of customers first. Not licensed or a contractor yet. Some business owners 1099 me as an independent.   

Call now to become a regular customer before the fire season and avoid costly tickets from Calfire. I'll bring water during mowing for dry fields to ensure fire safety during mowing. 707 380 9129

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ED NOTES

FRAGMENTS from a fragged mind. Esther Mobley, the Chron's always interesting wine writer even to not particularly interested people like me, reports that self-driving tractors “could be widespread on California farms by next year.” There is resistance from labor, most of which is unorganized, which is the way Wine World prefers it as it fights any and all attempts of farmworkers to unionize, as Roederer famously did thirty years ago here in the Anderson Valley when the UFW briefly got a foothold. Mendo's wine industry immediately convened union-busting seminars, and Roederer, one of the wealthiest wine companies in the world, hired the legal vampires from Littler-Mendelsohn to drive the UFW out of the Anderson Valley via snitches, blacklists, denial of single worker housing to pro-union workers, firings, and other foul means the San Francisco-based L&M specializes in. 

THE DEMOCRATS' pathetic Trump Is Bad infomercials playing on national government radio and national lib television are occurring in the context of real issues, not that Trump isn't one of the rolling catastrophes out there, but what's the point of these milk monitor proceedings if they aren't aimed at locking him up? The point is Trump is all the Democrats have in lieu of a program. Not hard to predict what's up for 2024: the orange monster will be back as the fascist party's nominee. Win or lose he'll kick off Big Trouble, all of which will usher in a chaos we've never seen in our plump, oblivious country, in the even more threatening context of global eco-cide, millions of displaced persons, social implosion here at home accelerated by inflation with nobody of the intelligent, adult type in the leadership positions. And none in sight.

UNSOLICITED PLUG: Hey Valley People, I run my company J Orozco & Sons here in Mendocino County! If you are in need of any excavation work, fencing, tree work such as limbing and fire prevention, brush clearing, dead wood removal, tree falling, mowing, etc, give me a call at 707/621-2066 or text, for a free quote! I am fully insured!

I CAN’T REMEMBER the last time I read a Press Democrat editorial, those thundering statements of the obvious, but this one I couldn't resist. A minor masterpiece of misdirection, it demonstrates the Rose City's first obligation to straight-up Democratic Party fraud.

First off, the paper is owned by former congressman Doug Bosco, who has also magically become the private owner of lucrative segments of the old Northwestern Pacific Railroad, and the shot caller for the rest of the abandoned line, all of it shuffled off to Bosco by the Democrat state legislature and, now comes a chimerical scheme by the Democrats to create the Great Redwood Trail along the old train tracks. Which will never happen — can't happen given its fiscal-geological-logistical impossibilities.

To ensure that millions of tax dollars are thrown at this happy trails fantasy, the Democrats, with the pd faithfully printing their press releases as news, have conjured scare stories about a mysterious, unnamed Indian tribe desiring to ship coal from the Bay Area to Eureka via the impassable Eel River Canyon. To make sure the coal fantasy doesn't eclipse the trail fantasy, the northcoast's congressional drone, Jared Huffman, supplemented by other professional Democratic officeholders, enacts legislation to make sure the abandoned rail line stays in Bosco’s and the northcoast's insider Democrat's grasping hands, all of it falsely reported by their stenographers at the Press Democrat. Gawd! 

“Coal bound for China won’t pass through Northern California on rail cars after all. That’s good news for the health and safety of the region, but until the state transforms the abandoned line into a recreational trail, the threat remains.

“When news broke late last summer that a secretive corporation wanted to restore the railroad line between Willits and Eureka for freight, opposition grew quickly. It soon came out that the freight likely would be coal mined in Wyoming and Montana. It would pass through small California towns and verdant natural areas on the way to cargo ships headed for Asia.

“In an editorial at the time, The Press Democrat opposed the plan and had grave concerns about both the potential environmental impacts and the secrecy surrounding it.

“The rail line went out of service two decades ago in part because the land on which it is built is unstable. It also runs along the Eel and Russian rivers — critical waterways that provide drinking water for nearly a million Californians and habitat for endangered species. Dust blowing off coal-laden train cars or — in the worst case — a spill that dumped coal laced with toxic chemicals could prove catastrophic.”

BERKELEY is considering placing a vacant-home tax on the ballot, while in Mendo vacant homes, especially of the B&B type, remain vacant as the county's working people get shelter at extortionate rates or sleep in their vehicles. 

DEPT. OF UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR, this headline: “Dems increasingly question whether unpopular Biden should be party’s nominee in 2024.”

DON'T TELL MENDO DA EYSTER, a dedicated lawn guy, but Jim Gale, founder of Food Forest Abundance, pointed out in a recent interview that in the United States there are 40 million acres of lawn, lawns being the most destructive monoculture on the planet, absorbing more resources and pesticides than any other crop without providing anything edible except the occasional dandelion. Gale says if we were to turn 30% of that lawn into permaculture-based food gardens, we could be food self-sufficient without relying on imports or chemicals.

CONSERVATORSHIP for the Ukiah Police Department? With Ukiah's Finest in what seems to be organizational freefall, much to the glee of the Defendant Community and cop bashers generally, the ava suggests that either Sheriff Matt Kendall assume department reins, or Ukiah brings in Fort Bragg Police chief, John Naulty, to retrain our county seat's much maligned police. “Boys, you don't have to beat the shit out of naked, rampaging 5150s. Most of them can be talked down, the rest forcefully but proportionately restrained. Repeated ‘compliance’ blows to the head, understandable and tempting as they may be, tend to be ineffective and likely to be misunderstood by the more effete sectors of the county’s population. Women. Yes, boys, the fair sex can be quite distracting these days, wrapped up like sausages, soaked in seductive scents, but it's generally not a good idea to marry in a state of blind lust, and if you do legally encumber yourselves in holy matrimony, don't do real estate deals with them. You can meet the stable, sane, marriageable ladies at church, and Ukiah, a most pious community, has a church on every corner. 

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GRAB A JULY ISSUE OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. This month’s cover story, “We Are Here,” explores how Native nations are reclaiming their sovereignty and rebuilding their cultures. “Protecting Sacred Land” features the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council in Northern California (a.k.a. Sinkyone Council). Pictured are two of Round Valley Indian Tribes’ very own, RVIT Councilwoman Michelle Downey and RVIT citizen Mona Oandasan. Don’t miss July’s issue on stands now.

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WHAT? OPPOSITION TO A SALES TAX? HOW COULD YOU?

by Mark Scaramella

Supervisor Maureen Mulheren tried to explain her (advisory only) and oh-so earnest “plan” for spending the money that would be taken in by the sales tax measure she and Supervisors McGourty and Williams want to put on November’s ballot to her former Supervisorial opponent Mari Rodin on KZYX Wednesday morning. At one point she compared the Advisory Group process she proposes for water “resiliency,” to Measure B which she said was “to help people with mental health and substance abuse disorders.” She also said that three fourths of Measure B’s half-cent sales tax receipts were for capital facilities. “The use of those funds has been incredibly important to our community,” said Mulheren. “There was a contract that was entered into for the design project manager for the PHF unit to move forward so we have crisis outreach workers, we have crisis residential treatment. We’re really moving full steam ahead with those Measure B projects and I think that funding was well-utilized and met the voters expectations.”

Ms. Rodin noted that “there isn’t unanimous opinion that those funds were spent in a way that was recommended,” adding that she wanted to do a separate show on Measure B.

Let’s ignore the fact that the Measure B advisory committee never recommended much of anything despite year after year of pointless jabbering, leading to CEO Angelo and her assistant Dr. Jenine Miller simply taking it over. 

For the record: The text of Measure B did not say what fraction of revenues was for capital facilities. If, as Supervisor Mulheren alleges, Measure B was “to help people with mental health and substance abuse disorders,” then the County wasting the bulk of the money on facilities for “severely mentally ill” people who are already getting services is an utter failure. None of the Measure B money has gone or will go to anyone suffering from “substance abuse disorders.” None. And no Measure B money is going for any mentally ill people who weren’t already getting mental health services, such as they are. There’s never been the slightest attempt to properly measure Mental Health services, despite Mulheren and Supervisor Ted Williams promises to develop a method to properly measure them.

So if you think that wasting $5 million on a $1 million house and calling it a “crisis residential treatment center,” and spending $20 million on an oversized PHF that needn’t cost more than $10 million is a good use of tax funds, then you’ll love the way Mulheren et al will waste money on water bureaucracy and grant applications. (They have yet to propose a single new water storage project to even apply for grant funding for.)

Supervisor Mulheren also said that the water portion of her proposed tax revenue plan would “help fund the Potter Valley relicensing effort now underway.” There’s an extremely expensive project that would, ahem, suck up most of the tax revenues, confirming to critics of her plan that the water portion of her proposed county wide tax for water would indeed be yet another a subsidy for one small sector of Mendocino County: The Cheap Water Mafia centered in Potter Valley plus some grape growing affiliates in neighboring areas. 

But our favorite tone deaf remark from Supervisor Mulheren was this: “Unfortunately, there was some immediate opposition to the idea of a sales tax.” 

No! Opposition? To a sales tax? How could anyone be against a sales tax that they promise, really really promise, will go to such important things as emergency services and water? Especially when they’ve done such a great job spending the sales taxes they already receive? What’s wrong with Mendolanders? How could anyone even think about opposing a sales tax? I mean emergency services are so popular and everything! 

The County has been intentionally starving emergency services for years by nickel and diming them, refusing modest requests, refusing to honor the pot tax advisory measure and on and on — despite a long-known legal obligation to adequately fund them. And now Mulheren and some of her colleagues want the public to bail them out by voting more taxes on themselves with no guarantee that it’ll even go to ambulance services? 

What is unfortunate, is Supervisor Mulheren’s refusal to acknowledge her Board’s own failures.

(Mark Scaramella)

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The Bourns House, Point Arena, built in 1877

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LEE EDMUNDSON:

Not to be too nit-picky, but his name is Norman de Vall, not De Vall. And kudos to him and the Major for uncovering (yet) another misguided exercise of the BoS, spending money like drunken sailors (meaning no aspersion to real drunken sailors).

Supervisor Williams’ reported remark that borrowing money (the proposed bond) now will be less expensive than borrowing money later — given the current and projected future rate of inflation — is specious. The point is to avoid going into more debt at all, no matter what the rate of inflation/interest rates might be. I cannot agree with former Supervisor McCowen more on this.

On another point, the entire jail project ought to be brought back to square one. Re-thought, redesigned, and brought in at a cost much, much closer to the original estimate. Cost overruns are anathema to good governance.

As for any possible bond issue, it ought to go on the ballot for a vote of the people. After all, it’s their (our) money that’s at stake.

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VELMA'S FARM STAND AT FILIGREEN FARM

The farm stand will be stocked with spring veggies, dried fruit, and fresh flowers this weekend! We will be open Friday 2-5pm and Saturday 11-4pm. 

Offerings include: lettuce, beets, carrots, fennel, scallions, kohlrabi, chard, kale, spigarello and broccolini, bok choy, turnips, spaghetti squash, herbs, frozen blueberries, dried fruit (prunes, apples, raisins, peaches), olive oil, quince apple butter, and fresh flower bouquets! We will also have a few flavors of Wilder Kombucha available as well. All produce is certified biodynamic and organic. Follow us on Instagram for updates @filigreenfarm or email Annie at farmstand@filigreenfarm.com with any questions. We accept cash, credit card, check, and EBT/SNAP! 

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INAUGURAL MENDOCINO COAST PURPLE URCHIN FESTIVAL seeks to help rebalance troubled marine ecosystem

by Mary Callahan

The Nature Conservancy and a host of partners earlier this year launched an interactive webpage that allows the public to observe transitions in California’s coastal kelp forest on a local scale from 1984 forward.

The site, kelpwatch.org, at kelp.codefornature.org, also has data on kelp coverage for each quarter since 1985.

They’ll be serving purple urchin this weekend on the Mendocino Coast, offering creamy seafood morsels cooked up in a variety of preparations, savory and sweet.

It’s part of an effort to spread the word that the abundant urchins — the edible parts of them — are delicious, and that consuming more of them can help restore balance to a troubled North Coast marine ecosystem.

Known in the food world as uni, the yellow-orange meat will be featured on menus of at least eight restaurants participating in the first-ever, three-day Mendocino Coast Purple Urchin Festival.

The event, which begins Friday, is part feast, part fundraiser, part educational seminar and part recruitment fair.

The giant sea stars that once kept purple urchin populations in check have mostly died away over the past decade, contributing to an urchin population boom that shows no signs of abating. It has had decimating consequences for the coast’s kelp forests, and some of the other creatures that call them home, including red abalone.

In the local absence of natural urchin predators, such as sea otters and large sea stars, festival organizers hope hungry humans might pick up the slack, and they’re using the weekend to promote that cause.

“Until there’s a predator, we’re it,” said Sheila Semans, executive director of the Fort Bragg-based Noyo Center for Marine Science, a participant and beneficiary of the event.

Semans is among the major advocates promoting an urchin fishery in the region and working with stakeholders to develop the infrastructure to do so.

But building consumer demand for the salty-sweet substance scooped from inside spiky urchin shells is just one way scientists and others are working to rebalance the coastal ecosystem in hopes of facilitating recovery of its dominant plant species: bull kelp.

Urchin removal by commercial and recreational divers at select sites on the Mendocino Coast has continued for several years, though the coronavirus pandemic and funding limitations have slowed the pace.

A $2 million boost in federal funding obtained through Rep. Jared Huffman for kelp restoration in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will help cover some additional urchin removal efforts there later this year, among other projects.

Recent attempts also have been made to plant kelp spores and juvenile plants on the floor of Albion Cove on the Mendocino Coast using techniques developed at San Jose State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

And work continues at Friday Harbor Labs at the University of Washington to breed pycnopodia helianthoides, or sunflower sea stars, the huge, multi-armed predators that once consumed urchins en masse.

“There’s a lot in the works right now, and there’s lots of good ideas,” said Tristin McHugh, Kelp Project director for The Nature Conservancy in Fort Bragg.

But the “big picture right now is just evaluating tools of restoration — really understanding what can we possibly to do maybe turn the tables,” she said.

Though work in many areas is advancing, the urchins still have the upper hand, moving back into some coves that have been cleared and quickly consuming baby kelp seeded on “green gravel” and planted in Albion Cove. A second attempt at embedding young kelp is planned for August under different conditions, said Scott Hamilton, associate professor of ichthyology — the branch of zoology that deals with fishes — at the Moss Landing labs.

A group at Sonoma State University also is working on kelp planting strategies and expects to place some in Drake’s Bay later this year, said Rietta Hohman, Kelp Restoration Program coordinator at the Greater Farallones Association. But it remains experimental, part of “a very new field,” she said.

Kelp forest rebound

There is some good news.

A strong, nutrient-rich, cold water upwelling last year along the North Coast produced highly favorable conditions that allowed for a resurgence of bull kelp in certain areas, pointing to potential strongholds that could factor in future restoration efforts.

Filling in gaps from decades of satellite imagery and aircraft surveys once conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy used 16 drone pilots to survey 90 miles of coast, from Point Arena to Timber Gulch, located south of Fort Ross.

At some points, there was three times the bull kelp as there had been a year earlier, Vienna Saccomanno, Ocean Science associate, said late last year.

“It is important to note that tripling or doubling something when there wasn’t much there to begin with doesn’t mean we’re back to normal or the system has recovered,” Saccomanno said. “In 2021 we estimate that we’re still about 75% below the historical annual average extent. So in other words, we still need about four times more kelp than we saw in 2021 to just be in line with the historical average.”

It’s also true that a general, global trend toward warming oceans makes defending bull kelp strongholds that much more important, she said.

The large, canopy-forming algae once defined the waters off the North Coast, until its abrupt collapse during a marine heat wave that started in 2014, in the wake of pervasive sea star wasting syndrome and an explosion of voracious purple urchins that emerged from the rocks and began mowing down all plant life.

 More than 95% of the bull kelp canopy disappeared by 2019, with the greatest impact along the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. The loss of habitat and competition from purple urchins — their density more than 60 times what it had been — laid waste to the region’s iconic red abalone fishery. The state closed the popular fishery indefinitely in 2018.

It also devastated the commercial red urchin fishery centered around Fort Bragg, where a relatively small but hearty band of divers had harvested the larger urchins for their uni — until many of those species started to starve.

The smaller purple urchins that took over the ocean floor created what are known as “urchin barrens.” Though plentiful, the purple urchins were not considered large enough to be harvested or processed efficiently as food. In addition, their ability to persist in starvation mode — as what some call “zombie” urchins — meant even those collected were likely to have too little uni to be worthwhile.

Now serving purple urchins

That’s where a company like Urchinomics comes into play.

Founded after the 2011 tsunami in Japan upended the marine ecosystem there, the company’s stated mission is to remove overgrazing urchins from the ocean floor, fatten them up for six to 10 weeks in captivity with special feed, and supply urchins to restaurants globally — in the process helping to restore ecological balance, boost local economies and promote sustainable food systems.

The company, with North American headquarters in Canada, has operations in Norway and Japan and established a pilot aquaculture site near Oxnard about six months ago, said Denise MacDonald, global brand marketing lead. Some of the uni to be served this weekend was farmed at the Port Hueneme facility.

But the goal is to get a foothold on the North Coast, with both Bodega Bay and Fort Bragg as prospective locations, though infrastructure needs like seawater intake mean the new facility can’t go just anywhere.

Semans has been looking for research and demonstration sites in the Fort Bragg area, possibly affiliated with the marine center on its land at the former Georgia-Pacific Mill site.

City officials also have rallied around the notion of growing a “blue economy” to offset losses in traditional fishing and logging industries.

Urchinomics has been behind a series of demonstrations and tasting events in recent years designed to expose chefs and the dining public to the unique taste and versatility of purple urchin uni.

Some of the chefs behind the festival also have worked to integrate purple urchin uni regularly into their menus.

But MacDonald says harvesting has to be done at a large scale — about 100 tons a year — to make a significant impact, which would require ramping up as fast as possible. The company is still determining if they can make that work on the North Coast.

Meanwhile, the firm is trying to help raise awareness “around kelp and the kelp crisis and the urchin barrens,” all of which will be part of the weekend festival, MacDonald said.

“There’s different issues. It’s just like a little piece of the puzzle: eating our way through the problem.”

That solution alone won’t be enough, Semans said, but it’s one way to help.

“Will we restore balance is still a big question,” she said. “I think it will take all of these things. We absolutely need the pycnopodia (sea stars) back. Until that predator’s back, we’re the predator.

“We’re also working on trying to develop a captive breeding program for red abalone. If we’re going to have balance, I think it takes efforts on all fronts.”

(pressdemocrat.com)

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OVER THE EDGE

On Sunday, June 12, 2022 at approximately 7:00 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a verbal domestic argument at a residence in the 31000 block of Highway 20 in Fort Bragg.

Deputies quickly arrived and contacted an adult female in the driveway, who had fresh appearing bloody injuries. Deputies learned she had been involved in an argument with her romantic partner, Legen Dean Edge, 58, of Fort Bragg, that resulted in a physical altercation.

The adult female was reportedly thrown to the floor and held down by Edge, which caused her injuries.

Deputies contacted Edge, who was free from any obvious injury.

Based upon interviews and physical evidence observed, Edge was arrested for Domestic Violence Battery. Edge was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Legen Edge

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DYNASTY RESTORED, Warriors down Celtics to claim fourth title in eight seasons

by Connor Letourneau June 16, 2022

Over the past three years, as they navigated career-threatening injuries to core players, roster turnover, a league-worst record, back-to-back draft lotteries and a cloud of uncertainty as murky as the San Francisco fog, the Golden State Warriors insisted that their story was not yet over.

Even though five straight Finals runs earned them the benefit of the doubt, few could have foreseen the scene that unfolded at TD Garden Thursday night. In an era of the NBA marked by parity and fleeting allegiances, the Warriors had cemented themselves as the great exception — title-winners in four of the past eight seasons.

By beating the Celtics 103-90 in Game 6 of the Finals, Golden State authored a fitting ending to the most unexpected chapter of this dynasty. Just 36 months ago, after being undone by torn ligaments, physical and emotional exhaustion, and the Raptors’ raw power in the 2019 Finals, scribes hastily eulogized one of the NBA’s most memorable runs. Now, those obituaries look silly as the Warriors prepare for another championship parade.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry holds up the Bill Russell Trophy after being named Most Valuable Player after beating the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Perhaps everyone should have just listened when Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and others vowed that Golden State would reclaim its place at the top of the league hierarchy. Such proclamations seemed fanciful when the Warriors went 15-50 two years ago, but nothing can quantify the franchise’s championship culture — an institutional belief that it belongs among the best.

As Golden State endured the departure of Kevin Durant, a broken hand for Curry, and a torn ACL and Achilles tendon for Thompson, it clung to the notion that all would be right once its dynastic core was fully healthy again. This required immense patience. After missing more than 2½ years to rehab both of his injuries, Thompson returned in early January, only for Green to suffer a lower-back injury that sidelined him two-plus months.

In Green’s second game back, Curry suffered a foot injury that kept him out of the final 12 regular-season games. The Warriors knew that, to hush their doubters and return to the sport’s summit, they would need to do the seemingly impossible: improve on the fly as they tinkered with lineup combinations.

At times, it looked as if that might be too tall a task. Though the Warriors made quick work of Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets in the first round and Luka Doncic’s Mavericks in the Western Conference finals, they struggled to get by a tenacious young Grizzlies team that was without go-to option Ja Morant for the final three games of the second round. In the Finals, Golden State dug a 2-1 series hole as it labored against the Celtics’ size and physicality.

Through it all, the Warriors showcased a stubborn spirit that almost defied logic. On numerous occasions, they were given reasons to acquiesce and set their sights on a title in 2023, only to take their play to new heights.

“I just think the perseverance of the organization has stood out to allow us to be in this position to get back to the Finals and to have a chance to win a championship,” said head coach Steve Kerr, whose Warriors have now won the third-most titles (seven) of any franchise in NBA history. “The main thing is the talent of the players and the health of the players. That’s what got us back here.”

It’s difficult to overstate how rare this all is. When the Warriors became the first team since the 1985 Lakers to claim a title on Boston’s famed parquet Thursday, they completed a journey never seen before in the NBA.

No one else has needed just two years to vault from the league’s ugliest record to a championship. The closest modern example might be the 2007-08 Celtics, who hoisted a Larry O’Brien trophy one year after they posted the league’s second-worst record.

But to chart such a precipitous rise, Boston needed to acquire two Hall of Famers in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen during the offseason. What makes the Warriors’ story so extraordinary is that, at a time when NBA powers often change year-to-year, they have used homegrown talent to build sustained greatness.

Curry (No. 7 pick in 2009 draft), Thompson (No. 11 in 2011) and Green (No. 35 in 2012) have now won 21 Finals games. That’s the most by an All-NBA trio in the past 50 years, eclipsing the 19 Finals wins the Spurs’ Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili totaled together.

Just 0.8% of all NBA players have won four championships; the Warriors now boast four players — Curry, Thompson, Green and Andre Iguodala — with that distinction. To claim its latest title, Golden State had to lean heavily on Curry, who averaged 31.2 points on 48.5% shooting (43.7% from 3-point range), 6.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.8 steals for his first Finals MVP award.

His dazzling dribbling displays, mastery of the pick-and-roll and deep 3-pointers helped the Warriors overcome erratic play from Thompson, Green and others. But even if Curry might deserve the most credit for this championship, Golden State wouldn’t be here without contributions throughout the organization.

Kerr kept the Warriors’ family-oriented ethos intact, even when mounting losses threatened to erode it. General manager Bob Myers used a couple of shrewd moves to parlay Durant’s defection into two franchise building blocks: one for the present (Andrew Wiggins) and another for the future (Jonathan Kuminga).

To get here, the Warriors delivered enough feel-good stories to pack a Hallmark miniseries. Forward Juan Toscano-Anderson, the East Oakland native who was introduced to basketball by Al Attles’ wife, went from G Leaguer to rotation player for the NBA club. Guard Gary Payton II not only found his niche after being waived four times; he blossomed into a defensive force.

After 5½ years as a scapegoat for the Timberwolves’ dysfunction, Wiggins emerged as a two-way standout for a champion — the type of complementary piece who made life hard on opponents’ top scorers, took offensive pressure off Curry and brought necessary toughness. Center Kevon Looney moved past serious health issues to become a playoff X-factor.

Two years after being arguably the NBA’s worst rotation player, guard Jordan Poole began to draw Curry comparisons with a mix of ballhandling, shooting range and swagger. Then there is Thompson. In coming back from two devastating injuries, he offered the Warriors the ultimate motivation.

It wasn’t just about making another deep playoff run. In chasing another title, the Warriors wanted to provide their beloved teammate a worthy reward for his perseverance.

Late Thursday, as the final buzzer sounded on their most shocking title win yet, Golden State players embraced each other as they fought back tears. They had said again and again that their story was not over yet.

But this? This might have been better than even they expected.

(SF Chronicle)

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FAKE KLAY

A man who looked a lot like Klay Thompson made his way onto the Chase Center court Monday ahead of NBA Finals Game 5 and drilled a couple of 3-pointers.

The Warriors promptly banned him from Chase Center — because he was not Thompson. He was Dawson Gurley, a YouTuber from Arizona who has been seen before at Warriors games dressed like Thompson.

If you arrived at Chase Center early enough before Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors on Monday night, you might’ve noticed that Klay Thompson was on the court getting up shots ahead of schedule, rocking a blue team hoodie over his white uniform.

“Fake” Klay Thompson, Dawson Gurley, was in attendance at Monday’s game and has been banned for life. (YouTube)

Except it wasn’t Thompson.

It was actually YouTube personality and famous Klay Thompson look-alike Dawson Gurley, better known as “Big Daws,” who claimed on Twitter that he walked past “five layers” of Chase Center security guards and shot around on the court for about 10 minutes before he was removed from the arena. The Warriors banned him for life, The Chronicle confirmed.

“An individual falsely impersonated a Warriors player in a deliberate attempt to access unauthorized areas within Chase Center,” the team said in a statement. “These actions have resulted in a lifetime ban from both Chase Center and Kaiser Permanente Arena.”

Gurley, 29, shared his banishment letter on social media, which appeared to be signed by Chase Center’s vice president of security, Brian J. Herbert. It read that Gurley “deliberately deceived” Chase Center building personnel by impersonating a Warriors employee, and his presence in the arena without proper credentials or authorization was a direct violation of the Fan Code of Conduct.

The letter also said that Gurley’s actions could be deemed as an act of criminal trespassing, and that Chase Center reserves the right to pursue any criminal charges. Gurley says he bought $10,000 worth of tickets for Game 5 that were not refunded.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, June 16, 2022

Britton, Harbour, Heaney, Lopez

LETICIA ARMENDARIZ, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Photo not available.)

SHAWNA BRITTON, Covelo. Probation revocation.

STANLEY GOLAB, Garberville/Ukiah. Disobeying a pedestrian signal, resisting. (Photo not available.)

CLINT HARBOUR, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

CHRISTOPHER HEANEY, Ukiah. Burglary, conspiracy.

JORGE LOPEZ, Willits. DUI.

Palacios, Pazroque, Phipps, Settles

JOSE PALACIOS-VELASCO, Vacaville/Ukiah. Vandalism, false ID, resisting, suspended license.

EUSEBID PAZROQUE, Tahoe/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

CRAIG PHIPPS, Willits. Shoplifting, dispensing dangerous drugs/devices, paraphernalia. 

JUSTIN SETTLES, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

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UKRAINE, June 16, 2022

The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romaniamet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, showing support for Ukraine in fending off the Russian invasion and for its path toward European Union membership. Zelenskyy had accused France, Germany and Italy of not doing enough to help defend his country. Among new promised aid packages, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to send more truck-mounted artillery guns to the country. The EU leaders arrived by train in Kyiv to air raid sirens. They also visited Irpin, northeast of the capital, where Macron said there were signs of massacres.

Russia's central bank head warned that the country's economy is unlikely to bounce back anytime soon to prewar conditions. Russia's economic development minister said the gross domestic product will fall by 7.8% this year, as international sanctions and business pullouts take a toll.

NATO allies want to beef up deterrence along its eastern flankso Russia doesn't plan further aggression in the region. Meeting with member countries' defense chiefs in Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called for more air, sea and cyber defenses, plus prepositioned equipment and weapons. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. and its allies would place more equipment in Eastern Europe and put troops on higher alert. Baltic countries urged for more troops to be stationed there, too.

The U.S. State Department said it's in touch with families of three U.S. citizens reported missing in Ukraine. This could be the first time Americans have been captured by Russian forces during the war. Earlier, a court in a Russian-controlled region of Ukraine charged two captured British fighters and one Moroccan man as mercenaries and sentenced them to death. They were among the thousands of foreigners who have joined the fight in Ukraine. The State Department has encouraged Americans not to travel to the country.

In a new round of sanctions, the United Kingdom targeted the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, for supporting the war in Ukraine. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Kirill "repeatedly abused his position to justify the war." The new sanctions also include Russia's children's rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova "for her alleged involvement in the forced transfer and adoption of Ukrainian children." She is accused of facilitating the forced adoption of 2,000 Ukrainian children sent to Russia.

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DISHEVELLED

One event dominated Tennessee Williams' life: his Sister Rose's bilateral prefrontal lobotomy performed on January 13, 1943, two years before 'The Glass Menagerie,' the play he forged from her condition, was first produced. He rarely mentions the lobotomy in his private notebooks, the fragmented daybooks which he kept for much of his life. By keeping virtually silent about the lobotomy, he maintains its status as incommunicable trauma, an episode outside words or knowledge. A lobotomy is a crime committed against language, emotion and mental agility: that Tennessee's response to Rose Williams' evicted brain couldn't be caught in the net of his notebooks (though the operation, the brutalization, received explicit acknowledgment in such works as 'Suddenly Last Summer') suggests that her silencing gave him pause and turned writing, for him, into a trial. He identified with her wound; and indirectly reinflicted it, in his writing, drinking and pill popping. Williams sought anesthesia but he also wanted something more complicated and enveloping than mere unconsciousness: he wanted recapitulation. And recapitulation — the sensation of going back through the proxy of words to the crime — brought with it a measure of thrill, a pleasure he expressed through overstatement, overwriting, each play foraging in the same moraine.

— Wayne Koestenbaum

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SMALL THOUGHTS AT LARGE

by Herb Caen

A distinguished national magazine asked me to write a few thousand words about San Francisco's irresistable attraction for hippies and beatniks (if not vice versa), and while I was, of course, flattered at being taken for an expert in this arcane field, I declined the offer for two middling good reasons. First, in the manner of most distinguished magazines, the fee offered would not exactly put me on the sunny side of Easy Street, and second, I'm damned if I know why San Francisco had been Mecca through several generations for so many round pegs in a largely square world. It's a puzzlement as I believe square old Alice said in her Wonderland daze, little wotting that the Mary Janes she wore would someday become a euphemism for pot. Or indeed that Brillig and the Slithy Toves would be memorialized as the name of a rock 'n roll group.

However, in the interests of basic research, I put on my eight button double-breasted Breoni jacket, a pair of bellbottoms and my boots and went out to the Drogstore on Haight Street, looking more odd than Mod. The pants were so tight I could inhale only, a situation not devoutly to be desired in the Drogstore. To the sound of splitting seams I settled down next to an adenoidal young man.

"You new on the scene?" I asked. Examining my attire, he inquired, "You from the fuzz?" "No, man," I replied. "I am a journalist from the overground press seeking truth." He grunted. "I want to know," I continued, "why you happened to come to San Francisco." "Because this is where it's all happening." "What is?" I asked. "Everything," he said, shrugging, "you know, the whole scene."

"Well," I ventured, "would you say you came to San Francisco as a gesture of protest against the sterility of middle-class morality and the Puritan ethic that has been so inimical to the mental well-being of America? And if so do you feel that total alienation is a viable stance vis-a-vis the military-industrial continuum? To put it another way—"

He looked at me for the first time. "You crazy?" he said. "I came out here like everybody else — to get laid and get high." I threw down a few coins and left, feeling that perhaps there was less to this story than we had been led to believe.

However, still searching, I consented to participate in a panel discussion at a school of higher learning. The subject was, naturally, the hippies (has any group been discussed with greater earnestness and less enlightenment?), and I threw in a question: "But why San Francisco?" The answers from the erudite panelists were murkily articulate. "Because this is where the winds of freedom blow." And, "Because there has been an atmosphere of abandon here since the Gold Rush days." And, because "the city has always taken the oddball and the alienated to its heart — the care and feeding of characters is part of the San Francisco tradition."

And so on, round and round, where it ended was nowhere as usual. Several obvious untruths were spoken, such as, "the hippies are anti-establishment and so is San Francisco." Actually, San Francisco is very much an establishment city; it makes just as much sense to say that that's why the hippies are flocking here — the "enemy" is so visible. I also think it's a mistake to look upon the hippies as characters in the sense that Emperor Norton, Oofty-Goofty and even the beatniks where characters. Norton and his ilk were establishment characters more than willing to play the role of court jester to the condescending kords (this goes for the Barney Fergusons and Tiny Armstrongs of a latter age as well). Even the beatniks, especially the talented writers and artists among them, were not averse to the rewards that only the establishment can bestow. The hippies are an entirely different pot of tea. Except in their music and closely allied activities, they couldn't care less about the approval and acceptance of the straight world. And as for the fond, self gratifying notion that there is something especially alluring about the San Francisco tradition, forget it. Take it from me, these kids never heard of Lotta Crabtree or Belle Cora's parlour house. Our police are more sensitive and understanding? "Fuzz is fuzz," said one of the more talkative hippies.

The hostess at a polite dinner party the other night wailed, "How did this hippie thing ever happen to our lovely city?" All I could think of was the reply of the Vassar girl (Smith? Bryn Mawr?) found working in a house of prostitution: "Just lucky, I guess."

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Herb Caen in the Crown Room atop the Fairmont Hotel in 1996. (photo by Russell Yip)

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ABACUS SUNRISE

by Roger Schoenahl

Waterfall most of all
God made your thunder sublime
Nature’s joy born to enthral
Water flows along with time

Fast, dropping, never stopping
Except in the pools below
Ribbons dance! Keep on hopping
When snow and rain stop you slow

Down from springs your musi rings
It echos the ocean tide
Salamanders free as kings
Struggle slowly by your side

Rain as mirth pelting the earth
Forms the landscape’s masterpiece
When the heavens give you birth
Walls of wonder you release

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Graduation at Chernihiv High School, Ukraine.

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IN KHARKIV

by Jen Stout

In the second week of May, a man climbed up a ladder and unscrewed a street sign on Moskovsky Prospekt, the longest street in Kharkiv. To cheers and whoops, his co-conspirator dumped the faded blue sign in a bin, and they pasted a replacement onto the chipboard covering a shattered window. The new sign read ‘G. Skovoroda Prospekt’ – the museum dedicated to the Ukrainian poet and philosopher had just been destroyed by a Russian rocket. This was seen as yet another deliberate attempt to eradicate Ukrainian culture. A few days later, the city council changed several street names: Moskovsky Prospekt became Geroiv Kharkiva Prospekt (Heroes of Kharkiv Avenue); Belgorodskoe Shosse became Kharkivskoye Shosse; the district of Moskovsky became Saltivsky – confusingly named after another district, Saltivka.

Street names, statues and language are heaped with meaning in this city. The biggest statue of Lenin in Ukraine was toppled here in 2014, when many feared Kharkiv would fall to Russian separatists, and there were violent clashes involving far-right gangs. Kharkiv is known for these groups, but it is also known as a place that values poets and artists. This mostly Russian-speaking city, the capital of Soviet Ukraine between 1919 and 1934, is a deeply contested place with a strong, if messy, identity. Much value is placed on Kharkiv’s eclectic architecture, but when the bombs began to fall on 24 February it quickly became clear that the Russians had no interest in its preservation. The activists pasting up their Skovoroda sign were surrounded by devastation. In the expectation that these attacks can’t last forever – Russian troops have been pushed back towards the border – thoughts are turning to rebuilding the city. This, too, is contested. Activists who for years have been trying to preserve and protect its architecture fear that reconstruction will be a cover for comprehensive redevelopment. A combination of corruption, disregard for planning laws and poor standards of development have affected Kharkiv since independence. The redbrick 19th-century industrial neighbourhoods, reminiscent of Manchester, and Constructivist experiments like the soaring Derzhprom building and the Slovo block of flats, have been undervalued for a long time.* A flood of foreign money and a lack of local involvement could result in the city losing its identity. In late April, Norman Foster met Kharkiv’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, in Geneva and announced that he would ‘assemble the best minds’ to work on the ‘rebirth of the city of Kharkiv’. ‘Haven’t we suffered enough?’ one man asked me. ‘Intellectual colonialism’ was what the staff at the Kharkiv School of Architecture called it in an online debate.

On the way back from the burned-out neighbourhoods of north Kharkiv one day, my driver screeched to a halt and shouted at the workers who were using a digger to lift a whole section of tram track into the air, shaking it to dislodge the soil and grass. It turned out that Oleksiy had been campaigning for years to save the city’s neglected tram network. Now, under cover of war and martial law, the council was ripping up the track. In recent years people in Kharkiv had started using the phrase ‘tramvayniy drift’. You can see videos on YouTube of old tram carriages coming off the broken tracks and careering across busy junctions. ‘It’s incompetence,’ Oleksiy shrugged, saying that the council thinks cars are king. The acute fuel shortages in Ukraine only make this position more misguided. ‘Diesel is a strategic resource,’ he said. ‘They should be giving it to the military, or those delivering humanitarian aid.’

It’s easy to ignore such matters in a city under attack, where everyone is concentrating on how best to support the civil defence battalions fighting on the outskirts, and how to get food and supplies to those still sheltering in basements. But what kind of country will emerge from the war? In 2018 I spoke to activists who were trying to organise the city’s first Pride march. They told me that they had been threatened, that they couldn’t be sure the police would protect a march from far-right violence. They were right to worry: a year later their first ever parade was attacked. Far-right gangs chased participants, in what they called ‘safari’ hunts, according to an Amnesty International report which heavily criticised the local authorities.

But these things are muddy in Ukraine. Four years ago, the activists told me they had raised money for the Azov Battalion – now a regularised part of the army and celebrated for holding out in Mariupol, but with its origins in Kharkiv’s far right. ‘We knew they’d come for us,’ one woman told me then, ‘but what choice did we have?’ The Ukrainian army was so weak when Russia invaded in 2014 that these militia groups were the only thing holding the line, and the young activists knew it. Ukrainian society is now united by a hatred of Russia and by the collective efforts to win the war, but these divisions remain.

When I was in Kharkiv last month, I caught up with a friend who spends every waking minute sourcing supplies and aid for her city and those defending it. She told me that she had hoped the crisis might bring together opposing groups – even far-right militia organisations like Freikorps, which was involved in beating up and chasing the Pride marchers. The group’s ideology is the usual mash-up of a hatred of gays and ‘liberals’, and some stuff about Christianity and the right to bear arms. For years my friend had tried to persuade its leader, Georgii Tarasenko, that Russia was his real enemy, not Kharkiv’s leftists and queers. ‘I told him, when the tanks roll in we’ll be on the same side.’

When the tanks did roll in, Tarasenko was on the front line, and my friend was among those buying supplies for him and his comrades. He was killed near Mala Rohan, a village just east of Kharkiv, at the end of March. ‘He was the first guy I cried for,’ she said. ‘He was my political opponent, but he did a great job, a young general.’ She said the same on social media, prompting a hail of abuse from his comrades; now there’s no dialogue. Despite this, when I asked her how things might look after the war, she insisted there would still have to be co-operation. ‘It’ll be challenging,’ she admitted. ‘We made the mistake in 2014 that we didn’t provide dialogue.’

This example is, of course, an extreme one. At impromptu gigs to raise money for the battalions, in aid distribution centres and in soup kitchens, ideological differences have largely melted away. People with wildly different political views find themselves working side by side. In an underground bunker kitted out as a music studio, Serhiy Zhadan, in a black leather jacket, read poetry and bands played folk songs, all livestreamed to a party in Berlin. The event raised about £1000. The warren of rooms was stuffed with recording equipment – Alexander, the tattooed studio owner, said they had rescued much of it from other studios that were flooded after being bombed. ‘We’ve got everything we need down here,’ he said, and it felt like you could live in this cosy space, with a little kitchen now installed next to the recording studio. He even had a cat. Most of the people milling around the low-ceilinged rooms were wearing fatigues – for volunteers, even those not fighting, it’s become the dress code, as it is for Zelensky. For these volunteers, and this generation, Ukrainian is the lingua franca, even in this Russian-speaking city. Putin has managed to unite Kharkiv – and all questions of ideological difference are met with the same answer: ‘After the victory.’

(London Review of Books)

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* * *

CAUTIONARY TALE FROM AN IRISH REPUBLICAN

by Jonah Raskin

I’ve known terrorists—college educated, middle class kids who planted bombs, phoned warnings and dispatched communiqués denouncing imperialism, capitalism and racism. Of course they didn’t think of themselves as terrorists. Like many others who planted bombs, they thought of themselves as revolutionaries. After a while, most of them returned to the middle class into which they were born, found good jobs as professionals, helped those less fortunate than they, raised families and supported leftwing causes with checks and with letters and pleas to governors and senators calling for justice.

Yes, I’ve known bomb-makers and rebels with guns and dynamite, but I’ve never known anyone like John Crawley, an American citizen who joined the Marines, learned about weapons and how to use them, and then crossed the Atlantic and gave all he could give to the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the organization that sought the liberation of Ireland from British rule and the British empire.

Crawley tells much of his story in The Yank, (Melville House; $28.99), though surely not all of his history. To do so would jeopardize the freedom of former comrades. The Irish called Crawley “The Yank” because he was an American citizen, though he didn’t like the label. So why did he borrow their word for the title of his book? He doesn’t say. Yank is a cautionary tale. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine anyone reading this memoir and deciding to take up arms and deliver blows to any empire, or authoritarian regime. Crawley failed at the missions that he undertook, including gun smuggling and a crazy plot to blow up an electrical grid in England and bring the London economy to a halt. Call him delusional. He was arrested twice and served long prison terms, which he describes in a cursory way.

It was in prison where he first read Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin. Crawley was not an ideological soldier of fortune or “republican,” as he calls himself over and over again, and, while he praises some members of the IRA, he damns most of the IRA leadership. In his telling, the organization is more mythic than actual. “There wasn’t one IRA but a dozen different IRAs depending on the area and the caliber of the local commander,” he writes. One group he joins strikes him as “an unorganized group of armed civilians.” The kinds of armed actions that he endorses are largely spontaneous and improvised with no endorsement or approval from IRA leaders at the top of the organization.

By the end of his story, he’s married to an Irish woman and raising a family, with help from a relative who leaves him a hefty sum of money in her will. To the bitter end, Crawley holds on to his dreams and his core beliefs. He wants “democracy, equality and fraternity,” but he also sounds like a cynic. His experiences lead him to a “truism” of George Orwell’s who apparently observed—Crawley offers the quotation on the next-to-the-last-page—that, “nine times out of ten, a revolutionary is just a social climber with a bomb in his pocket.” Crawley wasn’t a social climber. Joining the IRA didn’t bring him wealth or power, though publication of The Yank might bring him some notoriety.

A blurb on the front cover of the book describes Crawley as “the Jason Bourne of the IRA.” Those words might boost sales, but in no way can one put Crawley in the same league as Bourne, the seemingly indestructible secret agent who evades every trap that’s set for him and who triumphs over all his foes. Crawley falls into one trap after another. The police are always one step ahead of him. Prison is his destiny.

Only because of the “Good Friday Agreement” which brought an end to hostilities between the occupying British forces and Irish rebels, was Crawley released from prison on 22 May 2000. He had served four years of a thirty-five-year sentence. Is he grateful? He doesn’t seem to be. In prison he acted like a tough guy, especially when dealing with the authorities. He told himself that he had been handed a ticket “to the Playboy mansion,” not time in a prison cell. Ha ha ha! In one penal institution he was moved from a section that housed republican prisoners to another filled with the general population. “It was my first time mixing with common criminals and I didn’t like it,” he writes. Comments like the above make it challenging for a reader to be empathetic with Crawley who can sound like a snob. One doesn’t wish him ill or want to see him punished any more than he has already been punished, but to regard him as a hero would be a stretch of the imagination, indeed.

* * *

'I DON'T MISS FIGHTING. When I got older, it was a chore. When I got old, everybody wanted to beat Roberto Duran. Now my life is good. I play dominoes. I play ball with children in the street. If someone tries to pick a fight with me in a bar, I call security. I love cooking. I'm a pretty good cook. And I go to the movies a lot. When I was a boy, I used to shine shoes to get enough money to go to the movies.'

- Roberto Duran

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ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

When society changes from a meritocracy to some form of municipally doctored egalitarianism then all is lost. It begins in education. In the quasi-government institution where I work this means incompetent people occupying critical positions. The waste, nepotism and inefficiency is appalling. The 'social justice' leaders just paper over this disaster with money... that will be until the money is eventually gone. Anyone saying the emperor has no clothes is labeled a fascist.

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DAVID SEVERN ASKS: If all progressives, dissatisfied dems, independents, whatever registered as Republicans couldn’t they then through the primaries at least rid the nation of Trumper Repugs?

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A KNOT OF TRAFFIC files past a group of CalTrans workers filling in a pot-hole. One of them turns around, and seeing a large snail on the ground behind him, stomps on it vehemently. Noticing the shocked expressions on his onlookers’ faces, he says, “Hey, that little shit has been following me around all day!”

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The organ pipe cactus or pitahaya (Stenocereus thurberi) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Pitahaya, native to Mexico and the United States, is usually pollinated by bats. The plant produces fruit about the size of a tennis ball. Beneath the fruit's spiny exterior is red flesh that has been described as tasting better than watermelon. This fruit has traditionally been harvested by the Seris, who use it as a medicine. (photo: Proteon)

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WHAT TO DO WITH STATE SURPLUS

Editor: 

I find it fascinating that California is staring at a huge budget surplus. It’s not the amount of money that astounds me, it’s that the money is considered “left over.” To consider it surplus is mind-bending.

The state’s successful taxation of obscene high income needs to be devoted to infrastructure — roads, bridges, water, sewer, children and mental health. The low bar set for the state budget needs to include a pipeline to distribute funds above and beyond what the government deems minimally adequate.

This pipeline should be untouchable by politicians. It should be structural, set up in a way similar to pension systems. Rather than “defined contributions” driven by political agendas and big money, this infrastructure fund would focus on actualizing “defined benefits.”

There would be huge impediments, of course — mostly from established financial interests. So what? I would suggest that only persons under 30 years old be allowed to set up the system. I grew up in an era when it was suggested, only somewhat tongue in cheek, that no one over 30 could be trusted. Having just turned 70, my tongue is no longer in my cheek.

Let the generation that will live the future craft it.

Jeffrey J. Olson

Santa Rosa

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When GEORGE SANDERS committed suicide in 1972, the note he left read:

"Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck."

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY #2

Those trying desperately to steer and contain the culture into a timeline of their making will find the premier and run of their “Jan 6” show a big failure. 

Along with this not mattering to many the fact is very few people watch tv these days. Also summer is nearly here and the opportunity to block out the political static will be too enticing.

The controllers know they’re in a different climate and atmosphere yet they don’t know how to do anything different then they’ve always done. It’s why things are so obvious to us. It’s why things seem so weird.

It feels like we have to wait for them to crash and burn before we can move on.

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Sir George Cockburn, who ordered the Burning of the White House.

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EVEN REPUBLICANS…

Editor: 

As our country mourns the white supremist slaughter in Buffalo and the death of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, we say this must stop. I believe the only solution is to vote out every Republican, so change can occur. This is unlikely since voter suppression has been their main sell for years.

The next possible solution is for teachers nationwide to not reopen schools in September until weapons of war are banned and removed from our streets. The teachers would be protecting children and themselves from slaughter.

Teachers have much more power than they realize. Even Republicans want their children educated. Maybe some billionaires would put up some significant money for salaries for teachers until Congress acts. It would not take long. General strikes have had impact in our country and worldwide throughout history. We need action now more than ever.

Tom Varney 

Willits

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THE WATERGATE BREAK-IN occurred 50 years ago today.

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18 Comments

  1. Kirk Vodopals June 17, 2022

    Dear Mr Severn: we all agree that the politicians are corrupt villains, just not the ones that we support.

  2. George Hollister June 17, 2022

    “Not hard to predict what’s up for 2024: the orange monster will be back as the fascist party’s nominee.”

    The editor has a tendency to be right, but I predict differently. The Republican Party has many good potential candidates that can beat Trump in the primaries, and win in a general election. Meanwhile, hopefully, in the next Congress we will get a much needed bipartisan energy policy, and immigration policy that this country desperately needs. We should not be depending on executive orders to provide direction for policing our borders, or for where our energy comes from. It seems to me that the current fix we have gotten ourselves into makes this clear.

    • Marmon June 17, 2022

      You’re so full of crap George, which one of your RINO’s could beat Trump in the primaries? Your brand of Republicans are a dying breed. The working class has taken that party over and we don’t even subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

      Marmon

      • Chuck Wilcher June 17, 2022

        “…which one of your RINO’s could beat Trump in the primaries?”

        Let’s hope it’s one without an axe to grind or narcissistic personality disorder.

        • Chuck Dunbar June 17, 2022

          I would be interested to know of ANY working class-related policy issues currently pursued by Republicans in office. The Democrats certainly pushed a number of policy issues that would have greatly benefited working class folks in their Build Back Better proposal, defeated, of course, by the Republicans. If the working class has really come to power under the Trumpists, it is not evident to me. Am I missing something?

          • Harvey Reading June 17, 2022

            The neoliberal scum did it primarily to make working people think they were right behind them, all the way, knowing full well that the bills had no chance of being enacted, partly from votes against them by their own turncoat members. It’s sort of like brain-dead Biden’s promise of a $15/hour minimum wage or Obama’s blathering about bringing our resident war criminals to justice: pure lies. Anyone dumb enough to think the fasciocrats will save them needs its head examined.

      • Harvey Reading June 17, 2022

        You’re almost as dumb as George and easily as full of crap. The only fasciocrats to leave the party are those of the bearded, big-bellied variety. a very small number. Your big-bellied, orange-headed, liar of a hero lost the popular vote by millions of votes both times he ran. Thanks to the wealthy scum founders, the electoral process for the presidency is a SOS, which gives low-population states an unfair advantage resulting in scum like Bush2 and trump being elected despite the will of the people against it.

        Why not just admit that you are a fascist? It’s so obvious.

  3. Marilyn Davin June 17, 2022

    If the presidential election were held today Mike Pence would win in a landslide after the January 6 committee’s nonstop deification of him yesterday. Disturbing thought, but indicative of the strangle hold that the boob tube has on the country.

    • Chuck Dunbar June 17, 2022

      I would not vote for Mike Pence, and I would not want him to be elected to the presidency. But, per the extensive reporting in responsible media sites (not via TV), I do think we all owe him, as well as those who advised him, a debt of gratitude for refusing to grant Trump’s demands that he interfere illegally in the final election process.

      • Marmon June 17, 2022

        Mike Pence for President, a scary thought, huh Chucky? You better pray that that old silver haired Bible thumper isn’t your next President. LOL. You won’t see any Pride flags at the White House during his administration.

        Marmon

        • Chuck Dunbar June 17, 2022

          Nor biker flags, religious folks like him may not openly admit it, but they really hate bikers– think they’re not straight-laced and well-groomed enough to be decent, loyal Americans. So, let’s pray together, James.

  4. Marmon June 17, 2022

    Top Republicans Work To Rebrand GOP As Party Of Working Class

    A growing number of working-class voters were drawn to Donald Trump’s Republican Party, and now top Republicans are searching for ways to keep those voters in the fold without Trump on the ballot.

    “All of the statistics and polling coming out of the 2020 election show that Donald Trump did better with those voters across the board than any Republican has in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan,” Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., told NPR. “And if Republicans want to be successful as a party, win the majority in 2022, win back the White House in 2024, I think we have to learn lessons that Donald Trump taught us and how to appeal to these voters.”

    https://www.npr.org/2021/04/13/986549868/top-republicans-work-to-rebrand-gop-as-party-of-working-class

    Marmon

    • Chuck Dunbar June 17, 2022

      Maybe instead of helping the rich out with big-time tax cuts, like Trump, actually have a platform, unlike Trump, who had none. A platform that really and truly benefits the working class. It would be a novel thing for the Republicans, but let’s see….The above comment is just words, no real issues proposed at all.

    • joanburroughs June 17, 2022

      Joan Burroughs

      Marshall, the Boontling booklet written by Myrtle Rawles is a reprint from the original dated July 1967. Original booklet is a single-page edition with a bright pink cover; second printing (the one you described) is dated June 1993 reprint. The second printing contains double-sided pages although covering same history and photographic material. The price has gone up a bit: I purchased the first edition for $1.50 shortly after it was available; the reprint edition brought a whopping $3.00 about 30 years later. Appreciate your plenty bahl AV history contributions.

      • Marshall Newman June 17, 2022

        Joan, thank you for the information. My parents had one of these – maybe even the first edition – in their house for many years. Sadly, I have no idea where it went and had to find one of my own.

  5. Marmon June 17, 2022

    “How many news articles do you read that are positive & how many are negative? It’s overwhelmingly negative. How many times has media gotten a news right? Almost never. Twitter provides a way to communicate with people & not through a negative lens. Really important”

    — Elon Musk

    • Marshall Newman June 17, 2022

      The crazy leading the crazy. Sad.

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