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AN UPPER RIDGE positioned over the Western United States will favor hot afternoon temperatures across interior portions of Northwest California through Thursday. In addition, an upper disturbance entering Northern California during Wednesday will aid in a slight chance of thunderstorms. Otherwise, temperatures will gradually cool late in the week as the previously mentioned ridge shifts east away from the region. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 102°, Covelo 98°, Yorkville 97°, Boonville 90°, Fort Bragg 63°
HEALTH CARE DIST. MTG: WED. AUG. 17
Please join us
The Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board of Directors will meet in Open Session at 6 PM, Aug. 17 to discuss and/or update the provisions in our ByLaws.
The ByLaws are on our new website at: http://www.mchcd.org/
This undertaking will take a number of meetings to review the entire ByLaws, Policies and Procedurals Manual.
Please call with any questions,
Norman de Vall
Secretary - Board of Directors
EXTENSION TO FILE FOR CERTAIN ELECTIVE OFFICES FOR THE NOVEMBER 8, 2022 GENERAL ELECTION
The Mendocino County Registrar Of Voters Office would like to inform voters and interested persons that the nomination period to file for nomination (candidacy) for certain elective offices for the upcoming November 8, 2022 General Election has been extended for all qualified persons other than the incumbent officeholders until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. The candidate filing period has been extended due to the incumbent officeholders failing to file their declaration of candidacy papers in the following districts that are being extended:
- City of Fort Bragg
- City of Point Arena
COMMUNITY SERVICE DISTRICTS (CSD):
- Anderson Valley CSD
- Elk CSD
- Gualala CSD
- Mendocino City CSD
- Potter Valley CSD
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS (FPD):
- Covelo FPD
- Leggett Valley FPD
- Piercy FPD
- Redwood Coast FPD
- Redwood Valley Calpella FPD
- Ukiah Valley FPD
COUNTY WATER DISTRICTS (CWD):
- Millview CWD
- Round Valley CWD
- Westport CWD
- Coast Life Support
- Mendocino Coast Health Care District
- Mendocino Coast Rec & Park District
- Russian River Flood Control District
- Southern Humboldt Health Care District
- Ukiah Valley Sanitation District
- Mendo Lake Community College District (TA 5)
- Arena Union Elem/Pt Arena Jt Union HS District
- Mendocino Unified School District (TA 2 & TA4)
- Potter Valley Community Unified School District
- Southern Humboldt Jt Unified School District
- Ukiah Unified School District (TA 2, TA 4 & TA 6)
The Districts listed above represent the districts where the incumbents failed to file. Per Election Code Section 8024 in part reads – if nomination documents for an incumbent officer are not delivered by 5 pm on the 88th day (August 12, 2022), any person other than the incumbent shall have until 5 pm on the 83rd day (August 17, 2022) to file nomination documents for the elective office.
A complete candidate list as of August 12 at 5 pm can be found on our website at:
For additional information please contact the Election / County Clerk’s Office by calling 707 234-6819.
(County Clerk Presser)
We had a great first day. The Yonder pouches in middle school were super effective with having students interact, play volleyball, visit, play ping pong and VISIT.
I saw teachers and staff providing some creative first day engagement activities, which was wonderful!
Club sign ups are in the breezeway. Clubs are free! Have your student sign up for one of them. It is one day a week for six weeks:
Clubs are directly after school all five days. Students need to sign up, as space is limited. This six week cycle includes:
Clubs typically are no more than 10 students, without advisor permission.
Monday: GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) with Mrs. Donahue
Tuesday: Photography with Miss Angel Davies
Wednesday: Service Learning with Noor Dawood and David Para
Academic Support with Mrs. Malfavon
Super Mario Brothers with Ernie
Girls Weight Room with Leigh
Thursday: ASL Club with Mrs. Johnson
Friday: Hiking Club with Ms. Mayne (Limited to 8).
Parent Dinner on Thursday:
Please note we have had a HUGE SIGN UP which is WONDERFUL. The 5:00 p.m. dinner reservations are full, but anyone is welcome to attend at 5:30. The evening will be translated as the English is spoken, as I want EVERYONE on the same page.
So glad you can come!
Remember, students can only take one bus home. No town drop offs with a second late bus ride. Please remind your students.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Cell: 707-684-1017
AV SENIOR CENTER BENEFIT BBQ THIS SATURDAY!
POINT ARENA PIER CLOSURE
A long-anticipated repair project at the Point Arena Pier is slated to begin August 22.
In January 2017, large storm waves damaged the Point Arena Pier -- nine fender piles were torn off the pier and the boarding float guide pile was sheared off at the ocean floor. The damage was classified as a disaster by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The City obtained funding through CalOES & FEMA and the necessary permits from the Coastal Commission and other agencies to repair the pier by replacing the damaged fender piles and the floating dock guide pile.
The first phase of the project starts August 22 with the replacement of the floating dock guide pile.
This will require the closure of the pier to all vehicles for the week of August 22. The boat hoist will not be in operation during that time.
We anticipate the project could take most of the week; we will reopen the pier to boat traffic as soon as possible.
Please call the Harbor Office at 707-882-2122 in advance of any planned days for launch the week of August 22 so we can advise you of the current situation. Information on the status of the closure will be left on the answering machine daily.
The second phase will install nine fender pilings, which are most likely to be installed in October. That phase of the project shouldn't impact pier operations as significantly.
We understand the hardship this closure may cause. We ask for your patience as we conduct repairs which will benefit for the entire fishing community.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Point Arena Pier at 707-882-2583 or City Hall at 707-882-2122 (email@example.com).
(Point Arena City Presser)
STANDING FOR CANNABIS
The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Committee hereby joins the chorus of those in our community calling on you to form a standing committee to deal with the issues surrounding the cannabis department and the development of a local cannabis industry. This is an issue of great importance and concern to the people of Mendocino County, and we want to see that our supervisors prioritize the issues that matter to us.
As is obvious to everyone now, the roll out of the cannabis permit program has been fraught with hiccups and missteps since the inception. Many local growers who stepped from the shadows to become legal producers still have not received their permit which is necessary to attain state licensure. The county has been awarded a substantial amount of money to distribute to the people who have stepped forward into the legal market in order to assist in their transition out of the illegal market. This process too has been fraught with problems.
The development of a legal, robust and profitable cannabis industry is of vital importance to our economy and our communities. To safeguard our quality of life, we, the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council, request that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors form a standing committee that includes stakeholders from the cannabis industry,the Mendocino Cannabis Department, the community at large and defenders of the environment.
The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council
Jini Reynolds (Vice Chair), Katrina Frey (Treasurer), Chris Boyd, Marybeth Kelly, Sattie Clark, Patricia Ris-Yarbrough, Adam Gaska
THE FASCISTI are circulating this meme, but isn't it a facsimile of Trotsky's armored train he rode all over Russia as he consolidated the Red Army? Scholars to your libraries!
THE LOOMING CIVIL WAR seems right on schedule. Trump told Fox on Monday, “I will do whatever I can to help the country. The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?” He said his representatives had reached out to the DOJ to offer assistance to calm his supporters as their outrage grows over the FBI's raid on Mar A Lago. “People are so angry at what is taking place. Whatever we can do to help—because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn't, terrible things are going to happen. The people of this country are not going to stand for another scam.”
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR reported last week that the average price of California water on the “spot market” has risen by 58% in the last year, as reservoirs and aquifers drop and the drought persists. California water is now selling for as much as $2,000 an acre-foot, a record high.
HERE in the Anderson Valley, water hauling is off because a lot of the pot farmers who needed hauled water last year are out of the business as pot prices have plummeted. A few people who rely on springs and shallow wells are again paying between five and six hundred dollars for a two thousand gallon load.
DULY CHAGRINED, I read the news that Mickey Mantle's rookie baseball card from Topp's Bubblegum is expected to sell for $10 million. I may have owned that card! My late brother and I were religious collectors. Every time we had a nickel, which is what Topps went for in the early 1950s, we invested in their bubblegum. We also spent hours writing to individual ballplayers asking them for their autographs, and invariably back came a black and white, 8 by 10 glossy signed by the object of our reverence. No idea what became of these treasures, but we started our collecting in the late 1940s and many of those cards and miscellaneous early photos now go for lots and lots.
BASED ON HOME PRICE data from the first quarter of the year, the salary needed to afford the median American home stood at almost $76,000 — roughly $8,500 more than the typical household actually makes. The study found that San Jose leads the nation in unaffordable homes, with the median home priced at $1,875,000, requiring a salary of at least $330,758 to afford the expected monthly payments of $7,718. The top four markets for median home prices were all in California, with San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles following San Jose. New York City ranked seventh on the list for home prices, coming in slightly below Boston.
HUNDRED DEGREE days this week as I join all Mendo people in hoping we're spared the big fire we've so far been spared. Like most people, I'm still mildly shocked that the catastrophic SoCo fire of '19 jumped 101 to burn out K-Mart and other big box and little box businesses and homes west of the freeway. But every afternoon when the wind comes up out off the Pacific, drought-dry as we are…
MENDOCINO CANNABIS ALLIANCE Launches Pledge of Alliance Drive and the First Mendocino Cannabis Advocacy Awards
(Mendocino County, CA) August 15, 2022 - Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), the premier cannabis trade association in Mendocino County, is undertaking a Pledge Drive from August 15 to September 19 to support their essential policy advocacy, as well as their business development work helping Members bring their licensed products to market.
The Pledge of Alliance Drive will culminate at the First Annual Mendocino Cannabis Advocacy Awards which will celebrate leaders in the Mendocino community who have gone above and beyond to advocate for our local legacy cannabis cultivators and businesses. For this Inaugural event MCA will be honoring:
- Hannah Nelson - Attorney and MCA Senior Policy Advisor,
- Jude Thilman - Medical Cannabis Educator, Dragonfly Wellness Center Owner and MCA President, and
- Casey O’Neill - Co-owner of HappyDay Farms, Emeritus Member of the MCA Policy Committee and Founding Member of MCA.
As the voice of cannabis in Mendocino, MCA makes sure the best interests of the entire community are represented in their advocacy efforts. In 2020 the licensed cannabis operators of Mendocino generated over $110M of economic activity within the County in a cultivation footprint of less than 300 acres. Since then, the wholesale cannabis market has crashed while the cost of living and doing business has increased, and the ever-changing regulatory process has drained the resources from most of our small local businesses. Many licensed operators have fallowed parts or all of their gardens to conserve resources while still working to remain compliant in the licensed market. The direness of this situation requires immediate and sustained attention if Mendocino is to protect this vital component of our local economy. It is MCA’s commitment to continue moving sustainable local cannabis policies forward, and to do this MCA will need the support not only of its Members, but of the Mendocino County community at large.
Recent MCA advocacy successes have included:
• the adoption of a Fallowing program that will reduce the minimum tax for licensed operators who voluntarily reduce the amount of their canopy below certain levels,
• a commitment from the Cannabis Department not to deny any applicants engaging with them until an appeals process has been developed and implemented,
• a commitment from County Counsel and County Staff to develop and implement an appeals process for applicants,
• the ability for Local Equity Operators to use Equity Funds for County cannabis taxes
• direction from the Board of Supervisors and the Cannabis Ad Hoc to the Cannabis Department to revise the Equity Manual to allow any uses not explicitly prohibited by the State, and
• ongoing stakeholder meetings with Supervisor Haschak, the Cannabis Department, the CEO's office and other appropriate State agencies and local departments, to name just a few.
Throughout this drive MCA will be reaching out to businesses across the County who understand the important role that licensed cannabis activity plays in the stability of Mendocino’s future. MCA invites all locally licensed cannabis operators (and anyone who wants to see a sustainable approach to local cannabis regulations) to join as Members, or to support as Sponsors. The Pledge of Alliance Drive is a chance for the entire Mendocino community to come together and ensure that MCA’s important work continues in service to all of Mendocino County.
MCA has already received a commitment for a Matching Funds Donation of up to $20,000 for funds raised during this drive, making each Donation, Sponsorship, or new Member signup even more valuable to the future of the organization.
The Mendocino Cannabis Advocacy Awards & Dinner will take place from 4-7PM at Cafe Beaujolais on September 19, 2022.
Ticket prices include world-famous pizza from Cafe Beaujolais, farm fresh salad and raspberry lemonade from MCA Member Radicle Herbs, delectable local dessert, coffee, music, goodies from our members’ personal gardens, access to our very special Silent Auction, and more!
MCA has sponsorships available for this event and the ongoing work of the organization.
MCA is a not-for-profit California Mutual Benefit Corporation, but donations are NOT tax deductible.
* * *
About MCA: The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance serves and promotes Mendocino County’s world-renowned cannabis cultivators and businesses through sustainable economic development, education and public policy initiatives.
Michael Katz Executive Director Mendocino Cannabis Alliance MendoCannabis.com
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 15, 2022
NICOLAS ALFARO DE PAZ, Oakland/Ukiah. DUI.
DENNIS BAIRD, Laytonville. DUI, suspended license.
WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Burglary, county parole violation.
RICARDO GARCIA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI, false information to peace officer, suspended license, probation revocation.
STEVE GILBERT, Nice/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ANGEL GOMEZ-MONTOYA, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Loaded firearm in vehicle, conspiracy.
ANTHONY GOMEZ-MONTOYA, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Loaded firearm in vehicle, conspiracy, evasion.
BUCK LEGGETT, Willits. County parole violation, failure to appear.
AMY MATTIUZZO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SERGIO MILLAN, Ukiah. DUI.
SANJAY MOHAN, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation violation.
MCKENZIE WILSON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
In 1946 my family moved to the Mendocino coast after WW2. Someone told my dad about fishing Salmon out of Fort Bragg. He was raised in Nebraska. He went to San Francisco and bought a 25’ fishing boat. The boat only had hand lines. You used cotton lines, and maybe a 20# lead on the bow lines and 5 to 6 leaders on the bow lines. Then maybe a 10 or 15# lead on the main lines. Same amount of leaders.
He fished his way up the coast from San Francisco to Noyo. He caught some big brown fish with great big mouths and turned them loose (Ling Cod). He didn’t know what they were. They were worth more than Salmon at that time. His boat was the Sea Horse. The only navigation things they had was a compass, a clock, a Barometer. To find your depth you would stop and drop a lead over and count the stops as it comes up.
The first winter he got a line shaft that ran belt drive off the boats motor through a car transmissions to gurddies. The transmission ran the lines up or down by shifting forward or reverse.
In those days fisherman didn’t clean the salmon, they sold to pickup boats. Or they day fished out of ports. Meredith had the Rose Marie as a pickup boat that was in Shelter cove most of the time. There was the United #1 and United #2 were pickup boats also. Every Fish Company had pickup boats. They went where ever the fishing was best. Dropped anchor and boats came to them with their fish. They carried food and gas for the smaller boats. I think they cleaned the salmon. They would pick up anchor after they unloaded the last boat and head into port. And come back the next day. I heard of small boats that stayed at shelter cove 3 weeks. If it was really foggy some just stayed on the anchor to keep from getting lost.
In the late 40s and early 50s I think Salmon was only 6 to 10 cents a pound. In the early 1950s with the Fisherman’s Marketing Association they tried to get a better price for Salmon. They offered to start cleaning the Salmon to get more money. The fleet out of San Francisco didn’t want to clean their Salmon, as some had fished over 40 years and didn’t want to change. All the northern ports talked them into cleaning the fish. I think the price for large jumped from 8 cents to 16-18 cents a pound. Now boats could clean and pack fish in ice and stay out up to a week with out having to unload. It changed the Salmon fishery lots.
Now I was only 5 in 1950. This was how I heard it. Maybe someone can give a better side of this story.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BORDER
by Aviva Chomsky, The Nation, 8/11/22
UKRAINE, Monday, August 15, 2022
Western countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant amid continuing fears over its fate, with both sides accusing each other of shelling the facility.
The U.S., U.K., EU and other countries issued a statement on Sunday urging Russia to withdraw its troops from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, saying their presence there “poses a great danger” to international tenets regarding nuclear safety and security.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly sent a message of friendship to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in which he expressed his wish for Russia and North Korea to deepen relations.
North Korea’s state media outlet KCNA reported on Sunday that Putin had sent the North Korean leader a congratulatory telegram for North Korea’s Liberation Day, on Monday, in which he expressed a will to “continue to expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations” between the countries.
Five more agricultural vessels approved to leave Ukraine
The organization overseeing the export of agricultural products from Ukraine said it has approved five more vessels to leave the besieged country.
The vessel Propus is carrying 9,111 metric tons of wheat and is destined for Romania. The ship named Osprey is carrying 11,500 metric tons of corn and is headed to Turkey. The vessel Ramus is also headed to Turkey and is loaded with 6,161 metric tons of wheat.
The ship named Brave Commander is carrying 23,300 metric tons of wheat to Djibouti and will be later transferred to Ethiopia. The vessel Bonita is carrying 60,000 metric tons of corn and is destined for South Korea.
All five ships are expected to leave on Tuesday.
The Joint Coordination Center, an initiative of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey, also separately authorized the movement of three more ships pending inspections.
— Amanda Macias, CNBC
JONI MITCHELL ON MONOGAMY:
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line.
But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over.
You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
ALL OUR SYSTEMS ARE BUILT TO ELEVATE VICIOUSNESS
by Caitlin Johnstone
There's a scene in The Usual Suspects where Kevin Spacey tells the fable of the mysterious Keyser Soze and how he became a crime lord.
"One story the guys told me, the story I believe, was from his days in Turkey," he says. "There was a gang of Hungarians that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t."
Spacey's character describes the way the Hungarians came after Soze and his family to take over his drug dealing business, but the viciousness with which they did so was no match for the viciousness they are met with.
"Then he showed these men of will what will really was," Spacey says, describing the way Soze kills his own family and then wipes out the families and friends of the entire Hungarian gang.
And what's funny is if you carefully watch the way power moves in the world, you will see that this is pretty much how it works. The most vicious among us are elevated to the top, because all our systems are built in a way which elevates viciousness.
The US empire is able to dominate the world exactly because it has "the will to do what the other guy wouldn't." Whenever I lay out my evidence that the US is the most tyrannical regime on earth, I'll get someone conceding that this is true but arguing that the US only behaves that way because it is the most powerful. Any other government with the power of the United States would behave with the same amount of viciousness or worse, they argue.
And I always tell them that they've got it exactly backwards. The US isn't uniquely vicious because it is the world's most powerful government, the US is the world's most powerful government because it is uniquely vicious.
The United States put an exclamation point at the end of the second world war by dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan, not because it needed to (it didn't), but because it wanted to intimidate the Soviet Union. It then immediately launched into a succession of new wars and strategic operations of astonishing viciousness with the goal of eventually becoming the global dominator. It achieved this at the fall of the USSR, after which it immediately instituted a policy of working to ensure that no rival superpowers ever develop and began working toward "full spectrum dominance" of the land, sea, air, and space. All of the major international conflicts of our day are the direct result of these policies.
None of the people driving the imperial power structure which rules over us are in their positions because of their wisdom or kindness. Oligarchs get to the top of their corporate and financial ladders by being willing to step on whoever they need to step on to get ahead. Military strategists get to their positions by demonstrating an aptitude for military domination. Intelligence officials get to their positions because they understand how to facilitate the interests of the oligarchic empire. Politicians get to the top by displaying a willingness to serve imperial power.
And this principle tracks from the top down through the rest of our entire society. The only valuing system we have for human behavior is money, but what human behavior does money value? Competitiveness makes money. War and militarism make money. Ecocide makes money. Sickness makes money. Finite commodities make money. The entanglement of corporate and state power makes money. Propagandizing people into believing they need more than they have makes money.
What doesn't make money? Kindness. Collaboration. Peace. A thriving biosphere. Health. Psychological well being. Political transparency and integrity. Decisions made to benefit the whole. Sources of energy that can't be controlled by the powerful. Abundance. People being content with what they have.
Money has no wisdom. The "invisible hand" of the free market will never value the better angels of humanity.
Pharmaceutical companies have a vested interest in the valuing of treatments over preventions and cures. The arms industry has a vested interest in inflaming hostilities between nations. Ecocidal industries have a vested interest in ensuring that they remain able to rape and pillage our planet without legal intervention while offloading the cost of the consequences to the public. Monopolistic corporations have a vested interest in intertwining themselves with government power to protect themselves from antitrust cases.
Everything we ache for our world to be — the way we know it ought to be deep down in our heart of hearts — is subverted by the systems we have in place, which are all geared toward taking it in the exact opposite direction.
The world will never know peace as long as war is profitable. The world will never know health as long as sickness is profitable. The ecosystem will never thrive as long as ecocide is profitable. We will remain ruled by tyrants for as long as our systems elevate tyranny.
To have a healthy world, we're going to need systems in place which elevate health instead of viciousness. Until then the gravitational pull of those systems will continually steer us toward dysfunction. Hoping we can move toward peace and harmony without changing those systems is like stepping off a cliff and hoping you don't fall.
We need to move from competition-based models to collaboration-based models. Systems which value working in collaboration toward the greater good, both in collaboration with each other and with our ecosystem. Until we do, we'll fall every time.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Broken systems return broken results no matter the inputs.
-Personal donation limits
-Corporate donation bans
-Mandatory annual IRS auditing of elected politicians
-Exponentially increased capital-gains taxes on elected politicians windfall market transactions
FACTS OR FICTION?
Modern media makes us think we can forget about integrity, about why due process in the law is so very important. The media is screaming for Mr. Trump’s head. After all, according to the current talking heads, the former president must be guilty of all sorts of crimes, since, according to the media anchors, he took all sorts of classified documents with him away from the White House when he finally flew to Mar-A-Lago. And in Twitter and Facebook all sorts of pro-Trump misinformation reigns supreme. “Annie (or Joey) get your gun!” Now most likely an assault rifle.
But, hold on a minute! Did the former president really know what he was doing was wrong? If Mr. Trump did know it was wrong, did he do it because he had some nefarious, evil intent in mind!? Maybe so; maybe no.
These are questions only Attorney General Garland, and the Justice Department must quickly find out. And beyond a shadow of a doubt!
We, the people, who are in no position, at least not yet, in spite of our opinions, political beliefs, and feelings, must be patient and wait for the answers to emerge. They will in time.
THE FALL OF A GREAT AMERICAN NEWSPAPER, AND DEMOCRACY
by Steven Higgs
News that the Herald-Times newspaper building was going on the auction block didn’t exactly land here in Bloomington, Indiana, like a blinding left hook. The end of a 61-year stint in the iconic limestone building south of town has been 30-plus years in the making, far longer than most realize.
It’s a local story that mirrors the decline of daily newspapers nationwide and, along with it, American democracy. As I’ve long lectured to journalism students and anyone who would listen, it’s no coincidence that our democracy and journalism paralleled each other’s descent into the void, into these desperate times.
You simply can’t have the former without the latter.
* * *
My newspaper career began in 1985, in what turned out to be the twilight years of civic journalism.
My first H-T beat was county government. My job included writing meeting previews for our County Commissioners, County Council, Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, attending every meeting from gavel to gavel and writing comprehensive meeting covers on each.
We had reporters who did the same for city government, schools and the state legislature.
Home to Indiana University, Bloomington is a college town of 85,000 today, and, according to newspaper formulae used in my day there, the H-T essentially saturated the community. Local citizens were informed about the workings of their governmental entities.
And local democracy worked. Democrats have ruled since 1971, but we always had Republicans in office and frequently had ad hoc third parties challenging them both. During my tenure from 1985-96, story projects we reported:
Killed outright a preposterous, experimental PCB incinerator that was supported by Westinghouse Electric Corp., our Mayor and City Council, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and U.S. EPA;
Transformed a Hoosier National Forest Land Management Plan that would have clearcut 81% of the forest and constructed 100 miles of ORV trails into the most ecologically sensitive forest plan in the nation; and
Scuttled a plan by greedy local doctors to turn our hospital for profit.
An informed public would have it no other way.
* * *
The first hint this golden era was waning occurred around 1988, when I was teaching at the Indiana University School of Journalism, and we featured a presentation by the Orange County Register publisher to an auditorium full of intro reporting students. He said the paper no longer called its audience readers. They referred to them as customers.
Spurred by the Great Internet Panic of the Late 20th Century, newspaper publishers nationwide freaked. Craig’s List threatened their ad revenues — classified and display. The Net’s potential as a distribution format for news threatened the very format they depended upon. Etc.
It’s not that their concerns weren’t legitimate. But their initial responses were galling. For example, the H-T hired a consultant from the University of Missouri to deprogram the newsroom through a program called New Directions for News.
First, she sat a room full of professional journalists cross-legged on the floor, gave us pads and markers, and told us, “Forget everything you know about journalism.” Then she had us write down answers to questions like: “Ten things teenage girls would like to see on the front page of the newspaper.” “Ten things senior citizens would like to see on the front page.” Ad infinitum.
The first new direction was a half page of news replaced by a weather map. The space for hard news diminished. Features took precedence. A friend observed, “What’s New Directions for News? More front-page pictures of kids on waterslides?”
* * *
As happened in newsrooms across the country in the late 80s and early 90s, these new directions led to internal strife at the Herald-Times. No one resigned or was fired, as happened at other papers. But staff meetings and newsroom cubicles became scenes of contentious debate.
I got into newspapers to inform the public on issues of importance – dangerous incinerators, exploitative forest plans, profiteering health care – and challenge those who make decisions on such issues. Through New Directions, I knew the industry was leaving me behind and left in 1996.
The decline was inevitable and implacable, though it took far longer than I expected.
Reflective of the engaged Bloomington community, the Herald-Times’s Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame editor, staff and publisher pursued steady, yeoman efforts through a quarter century to retain a civic journalism focus, to emphasize the news media’s watchdog and education roles as much as possible. But subscribers, revenue and the staff needed for democratic journalism inexorably declined.
At its peak, the H-T had 38 newsroom full-time equivalents (FTEs). In 2019, when the paper sold to GateHouse Media, that number had dropped to 29.
In less than a year, GateHouse merged with Gannett. Three years later, FTEs dropped to about a third of its peak – to about a dozen.
* * *
Parallel with the newspaper’s fall and resulting lack of accountability for our political leaders, Bloomington – a city run by Democrats continuously since 1971 – transformed into a fertile feeding ground for corporate predation.
Indiana University Inc. and local real estate interests drive local politics. Out-of-state developers, construction and property management companies ravage our infrastructure and bleed our students and residents alike.
Before I left the H-T in 1996, a local developer bought a downtown building, evicted the artsy crowd that lived there, renovated the apartments and raised the rents. In response, affordable housing became a community obsession.
Shortly thereafter, a local developer told me: “Goddammit, Higgs, I can’t do anything in Bloomington. I have to go to Martinsville to make any money.”
As the H-T slipped, market-driven luxury student housing supplanted affordable housing as our city’s driving force. Studies now routinely show Bloomington is the most expensive city in Indiana to live in.
Luxury student housing means cheap-ass, eyesore apartments rented for obscene sums.
For examples, an apartment complex called Evolve Bloomington had to relocate students just weeks after opening because of mold. A recently renovated hotel called Vivo Living Bloomington rents Petite Suites with 258 square feet – roughly 16’ by 16’ – for $995.
In the process, they drive up the cost of housing and living for everyone else. A former manager at a New York-style deli told me the eatery closed after two unsuccessful years seeking employees.
“Restaurant workers can’t afford to live in Bloomington,” he told me.
* * *
On Aug. 12, three weeks after putting the building up for sale, Gannett laid off two more H-T reporters – one of my best and favorite former students among them – as part of the corporation’s latest cutbacks nationwide.
The Monday before the layoffs, Gannett CEO Michael Reed purchased $1.22 million of company stock for himself, according to an Aug. 13 article in the New Jersey Globe.
That prompted a 21st Century New Directions retort from Joseph Jaafari, a reporter at the Gannett-owned Arizona Republic.
“Why are we suffering for poor business ownership?” he tweeted. “This dude is reaping millions off the backs of our labor, threatening us with layoffs, then betting money on the expected gains from us gone. This is cold-hearted and an immoral business practice at the hands of a dirty CEO.”
(Steven Higgs is a retired journalist and author who lives in Bloomington, Ind., and teaches journalism at the Indiana University Media School. He can be reached at BloomingtonAlternative@gmail.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
A DIFFERENT SORT OF WARRANT
by James Kunstler
It should be pretty obvious that the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago was an attempt to seize evidence likely to be used in former President Donald Trump’s civil lawsuit in the Southern Florida Federal District Court against Hillary Clinton and associated defendants in and out of government for the defamation and racketeering operation known as RussiaGate — AND in any future criminal proceedings that might grow out of congressional investigations-to-come against officials past and present in the DOJ and FBI. The idea is to tie up all those documents in a legal dispute about declassification so they can’t be entered in any proceeding.
Over the weekend, independent journalist Paul Sperry reported that many of the same FBI officers involved in the Mar-a-Lago raid happen to be subjects of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of RussiaGate. Have some of them already been hauled into grand juries? We don’t know. But, with the Mar-a-Lago caper, it looks like the law enforcement apparatus of the federal government is seeking to suppress evidence of its own long-running criminal enterprise.
The parallel purpose of the raid was to find — or perhaps plant — documents that might be used in a scheme to disqualify Mr. Trump from running for office again. The January 6th show-trial in Congress has failed to galvanize the country’s attention, and may have foundered in its attempt to find grounds for a criminal referral against the former president that would take him off the playing field. So, now this.
Momentous legal quarrels that arise out of the Mar-a-Lago raid may evolve into a constitutional crisis that the captive news media can use as a smokescreen to divert the public’s attention from any balloting shenanigans going into the November election. At least it will shove any other issues off-stage in the run-up to the midterm. Is it a miscalculation?
The choice of going to federal magistrate Bruce Reinhart for the Mar-a-Lago warrant sure looks crude and desperate. Only weeks ago, he was presiding over the Trump v Clinton lawsuit. How did that even happen, given Mr. Reinhart’s role defending Jeffrey Epstein’s associates — many of them Clinton-connected — in the 2007 sex-trafficking case? And only after the spectacularly weird act of switching sides from the federal prosecution team to Epstein’s defense team. Not to mention Mr. Reinhart’s record of public statements denouncing Mr. Trump. There are twenty-five other magistrates who rotate their duties in the Southern District of Florida, why pick him?
It all shapes up as a systematic effort to obstruct justice by the US Department of Justice. They’ve been doing it consistently since 2016 in all matters pertaining to Mr. Trump, and it is a big reason that the country is now viciously coming apart. This is just a continuation of the same seditious treachery that went on with James Comey releasing his classified interview memo concerning Mr. Trump to The New York Times via his attorney friend from Columbia University, Daniel Richman; and the ensuing dishonest Mueller investigation the leak provoked; and the Crossfire Hurricane operation run by Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, and Rod Rosenstein; and the illegal entrapment and prosecution of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn; and the serial misrepresentations to the FISA court; and the illegal coordinated maneuvers in impeachment #1 between Rep. Adam Schiff, ICIG Michael Atkinson, the National Security Council, and CIA-agent Eric Ciaramella posing as a “whistleblower”; and more recently, the mischief around the FBI’s conjured-up Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping scheme; and the FBI’s role in turning the January 6, 2020, election protests into a riot at the US Capitol.
Former president Trump is not without resources and recourse in all this. Though the news media does not follow it, the Trump v Clinton lawsuit trial continues, and it might not go so well for Mrs. Clinton and her friends. Criticism and doubts about Special Counsel John Durham aside for a moment, realize that evidence introduced during the March trial of DNC lawyer Michael Sussman has firmly established that the Hillary Clinton campaign, the DNC, the Perkins Coie law firm, and various private contractors created the Russian collusion narrative that evolved into the FBI/DOJ crimes of RussiaGate. It won’t be difficult to prove these parties’ intentions in all that, namely to drive Mr. Trump from office or disable him in the process. Do you think Mr. Trump can’t make that case against his antagonists? This is not being tried in the pliant DC federal district court. A Florida jury may see exactly what happened.
Let’s also suppose that Mr. Trump and his aides were pretty scrupulous about collecting documentary evidence about these shenanigans over the years they took place. Mr. Trump did indeed order the declassification and de-redaction of reams of pertaining documents before leaving office. Do you suppose that the Supreme Court would not adjudicate any quarrels over them with dispatch? The effrontery (and gross stupidity) of Attorney General Merrick Garland stands in luridly full display. In signing off on the Mar-a-Lago raid warrant, Mr. Garland signed the death warrant on his own reputation and career.
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