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SEASONABLE SUMMER WEATHER is expected during the next week across Northwest California. Interior valley highs are forecast to generally be in the 80s and 90s, while cool marine influenced weather accompanied by periods of low clouds occurs along the coast. In addition, rain chances will be near zero across the entire region for the foreseeable future. (NWS)
DAVID EYSTER: Was down at the fairgrounds during the noon hour Friday to get my second Moderna booster onboard. I'm guessing that I was the youngest patient in the room by a wide margin.
The injection (very small needle) was painless and the wait was relatively short (I didn't have an appointment). The people doing this work at the Fine Arts Building were all friendly and efficient.
Today I have a little soreness at the injection site but nothing to write home about. L says the temporary soreness is one indicator that the latest booster is doing its job.
ANITA SOOST: Roadside vegetation clearing is happening in my Philo neighborhood this week. This project is coordinated by the Elk CSD, and encompasses Greenwood Road and Signal Ridge Road. From what I can see it looks good.
SKUNKS OR OTHER WILDLIFE OUT DURING DAYLIGHT: This time of year all animals have young in a den or nest somewhere. It's hard to find enough food at night, so you may see them out foraging during the day. Just leave them alone, if you see one in your vicinity, keep your pets inside for a while. Don't try to chase them away, it will only confuse or startle them. Skunks are very nearsighted, and will only spray if you startle or scare them. When I see them on my deck or near my door, I speak in a normal speaking voice and they just turn and waddle away. (Ronnie James)
A SAMPLING OF ANDERSON VALLEY EVENTS THIS WEEK
AV Village Walking Group - all welcome
Tue 07 / 19 / 2022 at 9:30 AM
Where: Meet at the Community Park (near the AV Health Center)
Free Healthy Living Course
Tue 07 / 19 / 2022 at 10:00 AM
Anderson Valley Village Volunteer Training
Tue 07 / 19 / 2022 at 11:30 AM
Where: The Mosswood Market, 14111 CA-128, Boonville
Senior Center Lunch
Tue 07 / 19 / 2022 at 12:00 PM
Where: Anderson Valley Senior Center, 14470 Highway 128, Boonville
AV Village Book Conversation: "The Wizard and the Prophet"
Tue 07 / 19 / 2022 at 2:00 PM
Where: Sandra Nimmon's house - call for address
Complete list: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Jury Duty: It would be interesting to know if the failure to appear rate increases after actually appearing once or twice. After several summonses and a few selections over the years, I have to say that the judicial procedures come across as the worst of poorly performed and badly written drama. It is a show for lawyers to boast and preen for one another (and the judges) and make more money than they should. I think most folks show up the first time expecting the stately progress of justice and get far less. (Jim Armstrong)
ADVENTISTS V. ANTHEM
An Open Letter to the Community from Judson Howe, President for Adventist Health in Mendocino County
In our continued commitment to our community, we believe it is important to be transparent and walk together as a community, not only during the good times but also during the challenging times. Our ongoing negotiations with Anthem Blue Cross are one of those more challenging times for our local hospitals. Yet it is during those challenging times that we are reminded that we truly are stronger together. That’s why we remain committed to doing our part to reach a reasonable agreement that protects the sustainability of our hospitals and the quality of care we provide to our friends and neighbors every day.
As you know, just like many healthcare organizations and businesses nationwide, we have suffered financial losses during the pandemic while our labor and supply costs have gone up significantly. On the other hand, Anthem has enjoyed record profits ($32 billion in 2021 alone), while increasing premiums for members, and continuing to pay our hospitals significantly less than other hospitals. We know how much our community depends on us for care. Our priority is keeping health care local, by keeping our hospitals thriving, which in turn provides local jobs and keeps our community thriving. We rely on fair contracts with health insurance companies like Anthem, which allow us to make these vital investments in our people and facilities to help us ensure that we can serve our community now and for generations to come.
For now, the important thing to know is that nothing changes for you until after July 18. You can and should continue visiting our AH hospitals and clinics for your healthcare needs.
If we cannot reach an agreement by July 18, 2022, we will be considered out of network with Anthem. However, patients who are currently undergoing treatment may be covered for a limited time through Continuity of Care benefit (even after July 18), which ensures that care is not delayed or disrupted if an agreement between a health plan and provider is terminated. This benefit is a state law, and Anthem Blue Cross, like all health plans, must abide by the requirements. Reach out to your health plan to find out if you qualify for Continuity of Care services. For more information about Continuity of Care, please visit dmhc.ca.gov/healthcareincalifornia/yourhealthcarerights/continuityofcare.
We regret the stress that this process has caused our community. We have been in negotiations for months and our intent was to complete this process without having to alarm our community. We hope that Anthem Blue Cross will recognize the critical importance of keeping quality care locally, provided by the people you know and trust. We hope you will stand with us in asking for what is fair for our patients and our community, who have deep, long-standing relationships with our healthcare team.
We are committed to keeping you informed and helping you navigate these challenging times. Please reach out to our team at any time if you have questions or concerns. You can also reach out to your provider, call our hotline at 855-479-5196 or visit our website at adventisthealth.org/blog/2022/june/anthem-blue-cross-negotiations/ for updates.
Thank you for your continued trust and support.
— Judson Howe, President for Adventist Health in Mendocino County — Adventist Health Howard Memorial, Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley
DEBORAH WHITE: Another library story. Lately I've been wondering why I just can't read graphic novels and whether I should try again. I couldn't find them and, swallowing my embarrassment, I asked a librarian if they had any. Obviously sensing my incompetence, he started to walk me to the graphic novel section. I told him I don't like superheroes, fantasy or violence. He said, "In that case..." and walked me to the ADULT graphic novel section. This was my selection. Obviously the librarian had me pegged. Oh, and I can't read this one either.
WHY YOU ALWAYS raggin' on liberals? Get asked that a lot. The prob I have with the libs, defined here as the automaton Democrats of the type who belong to the Mendo Demo clubs and faithfully get out the vote for the Biden wing of the party, is, for starters, they have betrayed almost everything that would be help take the sting out of the lives of everyday Americans. With the advent of the Clintons, the whole apparatus was toppled on into a libertine, socially dissolute branch of the Republican Party. Any movement to the left of Schumer-Pelosi-Schiff is either crushed outright or absorbed, as Bernie was, by the “left” of the party, which has accomplished nada.
HERE IN Amnesia County, where every day history starts all over again and you are whatever you say you are, The Democrats claim the moral/ethical political high ground but in office, in control of public institutions, they don’t perform as self-advertised, evidence of which can be found in the supervisors, esp the supervisors lately, our alleged congressman and state reps, and so on all the way up to recent presidents like the disastrous Biden. The party is still marginally superior to the degenerates of the Trumpian sectors of the Republican Party, but is not in any way “progressive,” and don't say abortion because as many Democrats as Republicans are pro-abortion. We're going to get a straight-up fascist government in '24 thanks to the Democrats, as corrupt in their way as the Republicans, and both parties funded by the same malign forces.
With the election over, I want to thank the people of the 3rd District for re-electing me as your supervisor on the Mendocino County Board (of Supervisors). It is truly an honor to be a public servant in such a beautiful part of the world and to such great people.
As I said in the campaign, we need to work on the economy, safer communities, and a more transparent and better functioning county government. Together we can make progress on all fronts.
Before the board this week, there is discussion on a sales tax. The decision has probably already been made. Supervisor Gjerde and I proposed limiting the tax to a quarter cent which would not be an overall increase. This would be up to the voters to decide in November. Ninety percent of the revenues would go to local fire departments. The other 10 percent would go for fire prevention, resiliency, and readiness.
The tax would finance programs such as community chipping services, defensible-space assistance, and home-hardening assistance.
As our three-year drought continues on, a group has been working on the regulation of private wells extracting groundwater to sell. I have been working on this with Supervisor McGourty for about a year.
Together we are proposing to protect our valuable water resources. When someone drills a well and pumps water to fill up a water truck that then hauls and sells the water to oftentimes illegal cannabis grows way out in the hills, this can leave neighbors without water for health and safety. There need to be regulations in place in order to mitigate the immediate and long-term consequences. We have proposed an ordinance that will require oversight on these operations and compliance to ensure sustainability.
Thank you again for your confidence in me and please reach out to me at email@example.com or 707-972-4214.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Pretty Girl is a shy dog who will melt your heart. Ms. PG is a submissive girl who needs some TLC to help her gain confidence. She’s mellow indoors but seems to enjoy being outside more. Pretty Girl knows sit and shake, and has a gentle mouth when taking treats. An ideal guardian would be someone who has experience with the German Shepherd Dog breed. Pretty Girl is 2 years old and a beautiful 80 pounds.
If you can’t adopt, consider fostering. Visit http://www.mendoanimalshelter.com/ for information about our Foster Program, the on-going SUMMER DOG ADOPTION EVENT, and our other programs, services and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information aboutadoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
SUPERVISOR GJERDE: After three days of the California Coastal Commission meeting and deliberating here, I feel the Mendocino Coast is well represented by the commissioners. The third day was dominated by extensive community comment on the former mill site and concluded with an overview of the work of the Noyo Center for Marine Science during a site visit to their new Noyo River Slacktide Cafe.
HOMEOWNERS JOLTED WITH INSURANCE HIKES AS A RESULT OF WILDFIRE RISK
by Bill Swindell
Tips for hardening your home against wildfire: The National Fire Protection Association offers some suggestions to help mitigate the risk against wildfire. They include:
- Trim branches that are overhanging the structure.
- Prune branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Remove plants that contain resins, oils and waxes.
- Use crushed stone or gravel instead of flammable mulches from up to 5 feet around the home.
- Consider buying a “class A” fire-rated roof. Those that are made of composite shingles, metal, concrete and clay tiles provide the best protection.
- Place screens on roof and attic vents to prevent embers from going inside.
For more information: visit https://www.nfpa.org
* * *
Lesley Muller said her jaw dropped when she got her renewal notice from the carrier that insures her Cloverdale home. The bill increased by $700 annually to $2,200.
“When I got it, it shocked me,” said Muller, a retiree whose insurer also covers her family’s cars and a home in Arizona.
She called up her insurance broker who checked with five other carriers that all declined to make an offer and said the only other option would be the state FAIR plan, which is the state’s insurer of last resort. That option would be considerably more expensive for less coverage.
“So, what do you do? Pay the high premium!” added Muller, who declined to name the carrier to prevent any repercussions.
She’s not alone.
Greg Lucas of Santa Rosa said his bill originally went up about 50% to $2,150 annually from CSAA Insurance. He checked around but could find no better deal and ended up reducing the price to about 25% spike by upping his deductible and lowering the amount of personal property coverage.
Torben Moller of Windsor renewed his policy at a 50% increase and added he “can’t complain too loudly” because wildfires have driven risk for carriers and there has been an increase in rebuilding costs.
Those comments are just a small snapshot of what is occurring across the state of California as insurance carriers have raised rates and dropped coverage to adjust to wildfire risk. That came into stark terms locally with the 2017 North Coast wildfires that destroyed 5,334 homes in Sonoma County.
The threat has continued in years since across the Golden State.
“We are seeing how badly consumers get hurt when there is no competition,” said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group.
Her group has conducted a survey of 584 respondents that found almost 98% experienced a price increase in their homeowner policy this year, many of whom had a doubling in premiums.
State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is attempting to change the current status, which is on an unsustainable path if the rate hikes continue and more homeowners get dropped. His office in February announced a proposal that would bring more transparency over how insurance carriers set prices for wildfire risk, and it would require that they factor in steps consumers and businesses can take to mitigate such threats and save money.
That could include such actions as clearing trees and shrubs around the structure or installing home-hardening items, including roofs that have the highest fire protection with such materials as fiberglass-asphalt composite or steel.
Lara unveiled the guidelines that were assembled with the help of officials from the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Cal Fire and the California Public Utilities Commission. His second step is to craft final rules that require carriers to use that framework within their wildfire risk score on how they price their policies.
The guidelines would be similar in practice to what Gulf Coast states already use to mitigate threats from hurricanes. It also would include steps taken at a neighborhood level with so-called “Firewise” communities where local officials have taken such actions as identifying evacuation routes and clearing overgrowth to better curb the wildfire risk — which include some in Sonoma County.
“We can make homes and businesses safer because there is a one-to-one connection between safety and the cost of insurance,” said Michael Soller, a spokesman for Lara. “If we can close that gap, that is the future of California. The future of California doesn’t have to be more destructive wildfires.”
The rule-making is latest step in the aftermath of the 2017 fires to adjust to the increased prevalence of wildfires. The initial action was reactive as many local homeowners whose property were destroyed or damaged almost five years ago found they were severely underinsured for the cost of rebuilding.
Others battled over procedures to detail their personal property loss while some ran out of coverage with their alternate living expenses before their homes got rebuilt. Lawmakers responded by passing legislation that would provide greater consumer protections for those whose homes would be destroyed in future fires.
The focus now is to be proactive in the marketplace to help protect homeowners amid carriers pricing for the greater frequency of wildfire threat and better help them understand what goes into such formulas and how they can take steps to reduce their bill.
Muller, for example, noted that she lives nearby a Cal Fire station but didn’t get any break. “There wasn’t a ton of transparency when I called my insurance company,” Lucas added.
There already has been some progress as more than a dozen companies now offer a discount on their own for fire-hardened homes, according to Lara’s office.
The industry has adapted to the increased prevalence and destruction by updating its wildfire risk formula. Carriers typically would rate fire risk based on how much brush and trees surrounded the property; whether it was located on a slope; and the accessibility for fire trucks to reach a home and whether a fire hydrant was nearby, Bach said.
They now use software that models risk with more sophisticated metrics. One company, Zesty.ai, notes that it can compile “vital property details and actual loss data with machine learning to produce a predictive risk score.”
The insurance industry, which is politically powerful in Sacramento, is keeping a watchful eye on the crafting of the final rule. Last month, an industry-backed research group, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, launched what it said was the first wildfire mitigation designation program for homeowners.
It would be a voluntary program that included an educational component; a system of mitigation practices; and verification process that would bring a uniform standard to asses wildfire risk.
An industry spokeswoman said that framework was similar to what the Department of Insurance is proposing. The industry is more wary of the regulation of modeling issues in Lara’s proposal that it contends could reveal a company’s intellectual property that goes into a fire-rating risk. Carriers also argue that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” for them to dissect for a policyholder all the various factors that go into a wildfire rating risk score as proposed in the rule, according to an April 11 letter signed by four major trade groups.
Meanwhile, consumer groups —Consumer Watchdog, Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Federation of California — are asking the final rule be amended so that it doesn’t just require carriers to consider mitigation actions when setting a premium price, but also on their decision on whether to sell and renew coverage for a client.
The crux of the debate will come down to whether there can be a regulation that will incentivize homeowners to take steps knowing that they will be rewarded on their bill, Bach said.
“People need financial incentives in order to put the time and money into wildfire risk reduction,” she said. “They need to know it's going to benefit them because otherwise people are not going to do it.”
(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 16, 2022
SHIRA ADAMS, Willits. Parole violation.
JOHN BELOTTI JR., Cloverdale. Stolen vehicle.
CHARLES FOSTER, Willits. Controlled substance without prescription, protective order violation.
ERIK FRANK JR., Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CLAUDIO LOPEZ-GARCIA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KEVIN NORTON, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
BETHANY PACHECO, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ALEXANDER POULIDES, Willits. Failure to appear.
PATRICK RIDLEY, Covelo. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%, with priors.
SAMUEL ROMERO-GONZALEZ, Potter Valley. DUI, no license.
LEONARD WHIPPLE, Covelo. Controlled substance, county parole violation.
Channel 12 news anchor Yonit Levi told Biden that some in “Democratic Party circles” view Israel as an apartheid state and have called for ending unconditional military aid to the Jewish state. “There is an undeniable gap between you and those voices,” Levi said.
Biden replied: “There are a few of them. I think they’re wrong. I think they’re making a mistake. Israel is a democracy. Israel is our ally. Israel is a friend.” He proceeded to tout his administration’s efforts in providing $4 billion in aid to Israel plus an additional billion dollars in military aid and they’re working with Israel on developing a “laser project” to replace the Iron Dome. Biden said it was in the United States’ interests to ensure Israel’s stability."
A DEATH IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
by William Grimes
There was a death in my neighborhood this week. It happened on Sunday.
I knew it was coming. I heard her telling some one at the next table.
Gatip, the Lombard Street restaurant, was on its last legs. Closing in a week, the thirtieth or the twenty-ninth. She said she had a job lined up, three days a week waiting at a coffee shop on Chestnut.
I was not surprised but quite saddened. Retail establishments in the neighborhood come and go but Gatip had been here a long time. It couldn’t, shouldn’t happen to Gatip. The owners worked so hard, made such a good product, got me hooked on Thai food.
Gatip: Fine Thai Cuisine the sign said in green letters on graying background above the entrance on Divisadero.
I had become a once-a-week customer at Gatip because of the spicy cuisine with steaming fresh vegetables, long, thin rice noodles, and chewy fried chicken that came together in a large bowl of soup. There was the additional benefit I valued: the restaurant’s informal quietude, so different from the boisterousness found in the other neighborhood eateries at lunchtime. It was a place to eat alone, to pause as life roared by on the street outside the window.
Gatip featured plastic placemats with pictures of elephants.
Maximum seating, thirty four, I counted.
Family owned and operated every day in every way.
Mother occasionally venturing out of the kitchen, brow wrinkled, eyes scanning on the lookout for how people treated their meal; which dishes they finished, which they didn’t. Father chatting up the few customers, seemed everywhere, scurrying around like an expectant father in a maternity ward. Two daughters, in their thirties I guessed, cursed now with the American stigmata, obesity. Smiling through it though, at your table with a jug of ice water before you could unfold the set paper napkin.
I had been there enough that the sisters knew what I liked. Ordered the same soup every time. Seven dollars and ninety nine cents total with tax, including all the ice water I could drink.
I would have paid more if they asked.
Would that have saved Gatip?
* * *
The mother and father were Asian thin.
I thought about the girls becoming Americanized right out of their Orient garb.
I was troubled by a recent article about Asians taking more places in our best universities, deservedly so. My worry was the statement by a male Korean sophomore at Stanford saying his Caucasian classmates made fun of him because he “studied too much.” He now wanted to be a “regular guy.” Forget the four point plus.
What good would Asians be if they became us?
I liked the picture of the King and Queen dominating the wall opposite the entrance. The King born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pictured above in full parade military dress, shoulder-strapped white jacket heavily populated with medals, ribbons and laurels. The Queen, movie-star beautiful, adorned in padded shoulder jacket, orange and green, the happy colors of Thailand. She was wearing a gold necklace, allowing a practiced benevolent smile.
At my first lunch at Gatip, having recently returned from Bangkok, I asked a sister if her family liked the King and Queen. She smiled shyly and said, “They are very popular.” Gatip was not a political salon, didn’t claim to be. Political discussions of minor import were welcomed at the pizza place, not here.
The other sister, seemingly the more reticent one, had responded to my question, during my first visit, of Gatip’s history by saying the restaurant had been in business for thirty-two years. Same family ownership, grandfather and grandmother to mother and father. She hesitated for just a moment, just long enough for me to see the look of pride that had appeared upon her face.
Ironic that sometime this past year a small sign appeared in the window. It read, if you were on foot and looked hard and saw it, “Free WiFi.” The letters in forgotten colors straining to be six inches high, reticent, speaking to few if anyone.
I never saw a diner with a mobile device or PC at Gatip.
* * *
On New Year’s Eve around noon, walking to the pizza place, I saw Gatip ahead. I had forgotten it was closing.
I stopped at the window and looked in. There were maybe fifty people mulling around, drinking, talking. They looked serious. It was Gatip’s wake, a gathering of goodbye.
I felt sad.
I revved up my nerve and opened the front door.
Three Thai men, long-time customers, I assumed, were crunched up against other. One nearest, looked at me, apparently wondering what I was doing here. I mumbled, “last day?” More of a question. He nodded and turned back to his companions who belonged here. I didn’t.
Even had I wanted to go in, find the Mr. and Mrs. and speak my condolences, say goodbye to the girls and wish them well, I could not advance through the burgeoning Asian Americans paying their respects.
I belonged at Gatip’s but only as a customer and they were closed for business.
I walked back home. I wasn’t in the mood for lunch.
* * *
The next night after watching a movie on Chestnut I began walking home. Not a car on Lombard. Not a late night walker. Above, a quarter moon fixed high among fleeting clouds. There was Gatip, coming up.
I looked squintingly in the window. Beyond where the tables were, through the opening that led into last week’s kitchen there was a single twenty watt lit bulb with a shoelace string hanging down from the once counter.
The tables and chairs had been removed. On the floor were unplugged wires, a fading Yellow Pages directory, scattered menus, a number of plastic utensils, the take-out kind,
a bottle of industrial cleaning fluid and other once utilitarian items now spelling debris.
No surprise but a feeing of accentuated loss: the King and Queen were gone too. I hoped they’d find a happy home.
I turned away, took a few slow steps. My mind was busy. A police car sauntered by. The cop in the passenger seat gave me an inquiring look. I imagined I would have looked sad, and maybe a little guilty.
Gatip was dead.
MINING MOUNT SHASTA
by Mark Arax
I am standing at the base of Mount Shasta on a late summer day as rivulets of snowmelt bleed out of rock and fill up a small pool whose waters will join other pools and form the river that more than any other river created California. I am joined by Buddhists and mystics and seekers of Mount Shasta's lizard people, clock people, spaceship people and the myth of Lemuria, the lost continent buried beneath the Pacific Ocean.
As the legend goes, one of the earth's cataclysms struck and left only a single refuge, Mount Shasta. For centuries, the ancient Lemurians, a people 7 feet tall, lived in in a splendid golden city inside the mountain. Today's pilgrims are drawn by the mountain whose vortical pull and the strange flying saucer cloud that hovers over the top of the crater. It is known as a lenticular cloud and Mount Shasta is one of the few places in the world where it can be found in such dramatic form. What makes this cloud a phenomenon is a stream of air that condenses one edge and evaporates the other edge and travels at a speed of 50- 100 miles an hour. Yet the cloud itself doesn't move. Gravity and buoyancy fight to a draw. The cloud absorbs sunrise and sunset projecting such spectacular glows that it's no wonder people asscribe otherworldliness to Mount Shasta.
Those who abandoned their former lives and moved here for good come to the mountain's base each day and reverently dip their jugs into some of the last pure water left in the West. I climb to a ledge above the pond and sink my cupped hands into the ice cold snowmelt and take a sip and another delicious sip. The man in a brown gown standing next to me calls it “raw water” and explains that it takes a half-century for snow on the shoulders of Mount Shasta to filter down through the volcanic aquifer and bleed out the base. If that is true I'm drinking water nearly as old as I am or far older if you consider the Pacific whose moisture condensed into the storm that dropped the snow.
Where water is pure, the industrial water bottlers with global reach aren't far behind. Nestle, Coca-Cola and Danone have made friends in the three little towns that form a half circle around the mountain. They've made enemies too. Big-city exiles who have moved to the communities of Weed, McCloud and Mount Shasta — the imported environmentalists — are fighting to prevent the bottlers from mining the pristine water. The Wintu nation -- what's left of it anyway -- fights beside them. Two dozen natural springs flow where the pine, fir, aak and dogwood make a forest. Already one spring has been tapped by Crystal Geyser which is part owned by Otsuka, the Japanese pharmaceutical giant. A million gallons a day are put into plastic bottles at a plant in Weed and shipped out across the planet. Crystal Geyser is now eyeing a second spring and a Sacramento developer who has never bottled water before is scoping out a third.
Environmentalists who blocked Nestle's water grab are now headed to court again to stop Crystal Geyser. The cause polarizes mountain people. For more than a century their towns where company towns devoted to the wholesale harvesting of forest trees. The old lumber barons built the community's pitched roof houses and high school. They built the swimming pool and the theater. When you Abner Weed gave you a job it was considered a job for life. Then the sawmills shuttered and the economy withered. The County of Siskiyou and the city of Weed thought themselves improvident for not acting on the one exportable natural resource still ripe for the taking. Out-of-town businessmen blew in their ears. Water is a commodity. Water is a mutual fund. Water is jobs. But in the case of the one bottling plant up and running in Weed, Crystal Geyser pays not a dime to the city or the county for the water. The locals looking for the state government to intervene will be disappointed.
What is or is not a safe yield of the aquifer is not a question that California water engineers apply to Mount Shasta. By reckoning of the new groundwater law, Mount Shasta may be the most profuse water source in all the far West, but it does not qualify in the eyes of the state as a defined groundwater basin. Its springs come from nowhere and everywhere. In other California locales, the extraction and sale of bottled water would require a modicum of government oversight and even constraint. The constraint might entail measuring the water table every so often or placing a ceiling on exports or setting a minimum flow in the riverbed to sustain fish and wildlife. But here at the headwaters, bottlers need only declare themselves a “mutual water company” to occupy a jurisdictional no man's land where the sole watchdog — the state Public Utilities Commission — is no watchdog at all.
For the Wintu, the theft of their mountainous snowmelt began not with international water bottlers but with the raising of Shasta Dam in 1945. At a town park where the river's headwaters gush forth many miles above the damn, several Wintu Indians gather for a rally. “Water is life,” one sign reads. Their official statement mixes legend and legal brief: “The Winnemum Wintu were born from this pristine water of Mount Shasta and regard this water as a sacred relative, a living being that is being exploited, desecrated and polluted when it is caught in a plastic bottle and commoditized.” Chief Caleen Sisk, a regal woman whose long braid of black hair spills from her tribal skullcap, speaks of another theft: Governor Brown's Twin Tunnels and legislation in Congress — introduced on behalf of the Westlands Water District — to raise Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet. “We have lived on the banks of the McCloud River for thousands of years and our culture is centered on the protection and careful sustainable use of its salmon,” she says. “These projects would only push the remaining salmon runs toward extinction and inundate our ancestral and sacred homeland.”
UPDATE: CRYSTAL GEYSER SELLS SCRAPPED BOTTLING FACILITY IN SISKIYOU COUNTY
March, 2022 — Local activists are celebrating the sale of an old bottling facility in Siskiyou County, signaling the end of a decade-long fight over water rights in Northern California. Now the activists are lobbying for stricter environmental standards.…
THE NEW FOUNDERS AMERICA NEEDS
Before I begin, I must recognize that we are currently sitting on the ancestral home of the Apache and that my pronouns are she, her and hers. Also I am a cis–gendered woman, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, generally able-bodied though my eyesight is less than 20/20 and I can’t run more than half a mile. Also, my own family was displaced by Cossacks at some point in the mid-1800s in what is now called Poland and we’re still waiting for an apology.
I’m older than you guys, so I remember a time when the sentences I just uttered would have been incomprehensible outside of a critical theory class with a couple dozen people. That was back when the idea of “staying woke” was a lyric Lead Belly sang. That was before the phrase cancel culture was a thing.
I distinctly remember the first cancellation I heard about, though we didn’t call it that then. It was 2014. The school was Brandeis–a school founded on the notion of religious freedom, a school with the motto “truth, even unto its innermost parts”—and the school had extended an honorary degree to the magnificent Ayaan Hirsi Ali only to withdraw it. It was a scandal. I remember reading dozens of stories about it.
Those were the days. Now that story would last maybe half a day. Because now, the whole country is a campus.…
Could be senior patients, like yours truly, could get a break on our drug bills. Sen. J. Manchin ("Darth Vadar") said he would support President Biden’s Medicare drug negotiating bill, assuming Sen. M. McConnell (“Grim Reaper”) and his league of GOP Senatorial followers, doesn’t nix it.
Stay tuned. Call your congressfolks.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
Let’s talk about dealing with drought. Expensive new infrastructure benefits the wealthy. Water rationing benefits most of us. In a Zoom presentation by various Sonoma county agencies, I heard about new infrastructure, not about conservation.
My town of Sonoma asked for a 20% decrease last year and got about 4%. It is the wealthy neighborhoods that use the most. Do their gardeners dare let lawns go brown for the summer? At the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to build expensive desalination plants. Who ends up paying for it?
My husband and I have cut our use to about 60 gallons per day per person by transitioning to drought-tolerant landscaping, flushing with shower water, etc. We feel it’s our civic duty. Is this low enough? People in denser neighborhoods and apartments don’t even use that much, yet their rates are going up because of how the state is responding to the drought.
This letter isn’t even touching on agriculture, where there is even greater need for conservation.
We could get a lot more bang for our bucks by requiring and enforcing cutbacks. Let’s call it what it is; this is a class issue.
GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL
“As a result we now have this frightful engine of destruction which at the mere rumbling of a farm cart can destroy us all and the rest of Europe with it. And are we to go to war with the whole world because of it? Oh, I know what our impetuous young friend there would say: 'Guard our frontier.' I say let us give America the privilege of guarding its own frontier. At least they can afford it. Your Grace, we must give them their bomb back immediately!” “I'm not so sure about that, Bobo. The Americans are a wonderful people and perhaps we shouldn't have taken their bomb, but even if we give it back to them some other country will go and invent a Q-bomb of their own, and then we'll have an X, Y, and Z bomb, and someday one of them will go off, boom.” --Peter Sellers as both Senior Advisor Uncle Bobo and Grand Duchess Gloriana
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-07-15) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0497
Thanks to Hank Sims for all kinds of tech help over the years, as well as for his fine news site: https://LostCoastOutpost.com
Thanks go to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which provided almost an hour of the above 8-hour show's most locally relevant material, as usual, without asking for anything in return. Just $25 a year for full access to all articles and features (TheAVA.com). While you're feeling generous, go to KNYO.org, click on the big red heart and do what you feel.
You can always email me your work on any subject and I'll read it on the radio this next Friday night.
Furthermore, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
I wish it would rain. Just from looking at this. Also the song is nice and sad, with a sort of voice and recording quality that always gets me. She could be reading the telephone book and it would still work.
A friendly reminder of what always ends up happening where politics get taken over by religion. (via Everlasting Blort)
Speaking of which: the Christofascist pledge of allegiance and statement of continuing nightmarish intent. Ooof.
And a clever cat. There was a story I read a long time ago, or maybe I dreamed it, where an evil wizard's terrorist ransom threat was to give cats hands, and the villagers paid the full amount without quibbling, so he wouldn't do it, but he did it anyway. I think some brave children, with the help of the cats, for whom things had turned bad and they were resentful of their condition, cut off the wizard's hands in his sleep so he was impotent to do magical mischief at all anymore, and everyone was safe, but at the end there was a moment of doubt about that, like at the very end of the X-Men movie, where de-powered Magneto nonetheless telekinetically wiggles a chess piece and the corner of his mouth quirks upward ever so slightly.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, JULY 16TH
Russia’s defense minister calls on troops to step up military action.
The rash of fighting in Donetsk Province counters the notion of a military ‘pause.’
Heat wave in Europe threatens crops at a time when the grain from Ukraine remains blocked.
‘Autocracies are toasting and democracies are weaker’: Europe is being tested by Russia’s autocratic resolve.
More accounts of abuses in so-called Russian filtration camps in new report add to international concern.
G20 finance ministers fail to reach an agreement to cap the price of Russian oil.
“Sometimes I am crying in the room,” says a Ukrainian high jumper, a world championship contender.
IN UKRAINE, A PROXY WAR ON THE PLANET
As the Ukraine crisis causes global havoc, US officials won't negotiate with Russia to end the fighting -- and are even willing to "countenance" mounting hunger as a result.
by Aaron Maté
In 2015, one year after a US-backed coup ushered in a US-friendly, far-right-dominated government in Kiev, University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer issued a stark warning. "The West is leading Ukraine down the primrose path," he said. "And the end result is that Ukraine is going to get wrecked."
Mearsheimer's cause for concern was what he identified as a US-led campaign to convert Ukraine into a NATO proxy on Russia's border. The events since have proved him to be both tragically prescient, and understated.
In using Ukraine to "fight Russia over there", as Adam Schiff put it in January 2020, the US has not only sacrificed countless Ukrainian lives. Four months into Russia's invasion, the Biden administration is signaling its willingness to sacrifice the rest of the planet, particularly the most vulnerable areas.
In an article headlined "Ukraine War Pushes Millions of the World’s Poorest Toward Starvation," the Wall Street Journal summarizes the impact of the Ukraine war on global hunger:
The World Food Program says that increases in the cost of food and fuel since March have pushed an additional 47 million people into acute food insecurity, when a person is no longer able to consume enough calories to sustain her life and livelihood, taking the total to 345 million people world-wide. Of those, some 50 million are living on the edge of famine.
In the energy crisis that has followed Russia's invasion, the New York Times adds, "the poorest and most vulnerable" have felt "the harshest effects." In Asia and Africa, the International Energy Agency recently warned that "higher energy prices have meant an additional 90 million people in Asia and Africa do not have access to electricity."
By invading Ukraine rather than exhausting all diplomatic solutions, Russia bears obvious responsibility for the crisis. Ukraine’s grain exports, which feed multiple countries, have plummeted. Russia has denied blocking Ukrainian grain, instead faulting Kiev's extensive mining of its Black Sea ports. Ukraine has refused to de-mine those ports on self-defense grounds, claiming that doing so could invite further Russian incursions. Turkey, which has been brokering talks between the two sides, has just announced a pending deal to break the impasse.
But even if the Turkey-backed deal is implemented, a major cause of the food crisis will remain. The US-led sanctions regime against Russia has blocked international payments for Russian goods and necessary export licenses, including food shipments. As the New York Times notes, "[s]oaring fertilizer prices, driven by sanctions on Russia and Belarus, along with high global energy prices, are broadening the scope of food shortages by making it more expensive to produce and transport food around the world."
The head of the African Union, Macky Sall, has linked US sanctions to the continent's food shortages. "Anti-Russia sanctions have made this situation worse and now we do not have access to grain from Russia, primarily to wheat," Sall warned in June. "And, most importantly, we do not have access to fertilizer. The situation was bad and now it has become worse, creating a threat to food security in Africa."
Rather than seek a diplomatic solution in Ukraine that could end the war and its worldwide deprivations, the US has shunned talks with Russia and made clear that it is even willing to tolerate global starvation.
Citing interviews with the White House, the Washington Post reports that Biden "officials have described the stakes of ensuring Russia cannot swallow up Ukraine — an outcome officials believe could embolden Putin to invade other neighbors or even strike out at NATO members — as so high that the administration is willing to countenance even a global recession and mounting hunger." [emphasis added]
Left unquestioned is why a group of officials in Washington have arrogated themselves the right to "countenance" a global recession and mounting hunger – including pushing millions toward famine – on behalf of the rest of the planet...