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HIGH PRESSURE will ensure mainly dry weather through the week ahead. Inland temperatures will cool slightly today and Monday, with a deepening marine layer, morning coastal clouds and patchy drizzle continuing. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 106°, Covelo 103°, Yorkville 103°, Boonville 97°, Mendocino 72°, Fort Bragg 62°
ANYONE HAVE ANY DETAILS about the recent shark sighting at Big River Beach?
— Kirk Vodopals
COACH TOOHEY: AV Football is looking for more volunteer assistant coaches. Practices are 4-6:30 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, games on Fridays or Saturdays. Requirements: Good humans with the ability to blow air through a whistle. Hit my inbox if you’re interested or know anyone who might be!
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE
List of Events: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
BRUSH FIRE IN LOWER LAKE LEADS TO 200 HOME EVACUATIONS
by Kathleen Coates
A fire that erupted Saturday afternoon near homes between Lower Lake and Mount Konocti near Highway 29 in Lake County has burned about 25 acres, authorities say.
At least 200 homes have been evacuated by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office as of 7:30 p.m.
Fire engines have been staged in the area of Black Oak Drive and along Panoramic Drive, waiting to battle the blaze once it gets there, according to CalFire Public Information Officer Tyree Zander.
He said the fire started about 5:45 p.m. The location has now been fixed by CalFire at Anderson Road and Panorama Road, west of Lower Lake in Lake County, according to their agency’s website.
Multiple air tankers and two helicopters and 17 engines have been sent to stop the flames that are burning in an area dominated by dry brush that hasn’t burned for decades. Additional resources are on the way, Zander said.
“We are trying to work on getting patrols and containment,” he told The Press Democrat around 7:30 p.m. “We have zero percent containment.
Authorities are calling the blaze the Point Fire because it is north of Point Lakeview Road, south of Kaweah Road, east of Arapaho Road and Soda Bay Road, west of Sunrise Drive, Island Drive and Wheeler Drive.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
UPDATE: The fire's forward progress has been stopped. As of 08/20/22 9:45 PM: 14 acres and 20% containment. Evacuees have begun returning to their homes.
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
It's raining puppies at the Ukiah Shelter!
Visit our webpage at mendoanimalshelter.com to see all of our ADORABLE pups, adult dogs, cats and kittens. If you can't adopt, consider fostering. Our webpage has 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 about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
MENDO V. MONKEYPOX
Monkeypox (MPX) update: Public Health is ready to begin contact tracing if monkeypox arrives in Mendocino County. Currently, there are zero cases in Mendocino County.
Here is what to do if you are exposed to someone with monkeypox:
1) Monitor your health: People who develop monkeypox often get flu like symptoms 1-3 weeks after exposure followed by a rash. Isolate yourself from others and see your health care provider.
2) Get vaccinated. Right now, while the vaccine supply is scarce, it is being prioritized for people after a high-or intermediate-risk exposure or who are at higher risk of exposure. If you believe you are eligible for a vaccine, contact your provider and get the monkeypox vaccine as soon as possible (within 4 days of exposure) to help prevent an infection or (within 14 days) to make an infection less severe.
If you have monkeypox, isolate at home away from others for the entire contagious period. Monkeypox spreads through direct contact with the rash and objects soiled from open lesions, like clothes and linens, and large droplets in face to face conversation. People with monkeypox are contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed over completely. This whole process can take up to four weeks. The monkeypox rash can…
• Look like bumps, pimples, blisters, or scabs and goes through several stages before healing. Generally, the rash starts as red, flat spots that become bumps. Those bumps can then become filled with fluid which turns to pus. The bumps then crust into a scab.
• Be on or near the genitals, anus, mouth, hands, feet, chest, and/or face.
• Spread over the body or be limited to one area with just a few blisters or bumps.
• Be painful and/or itchy.
• In addition to the rash, people may develop flu-like symptoms. These can appear 1-4 days before the rash starts or after the rash starts. They include fever/chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, and headache.
If you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or develop a rash as described above, contact your health provider immediately. Treatment is available for severe cases. If you have questions about monkeypox, you can also get in touch with Public Health at 707-472-2759 or visit our monkeypox webpage.
We're doing another Dine Out for Dogs! On August 24th our dine out will be at Casa Del Sol in Fort Bragg. Lunch and dinner will be open from 11:00am -7:00pm. A portion of the proceeds goes to MCHS and our animals. We hope to see you there!
MENDO’S NEW PUBLIC RECORDS ACT RESPONSE POLICY WORRIES LOCAL NEWS OUTLETS
by Mark Scaramella
Two local on-line news outlets, as well as KZYZ Reporter Sarah Reith are very worried about Mendo’s new Public Records Act policy which will charge requesters for public records which require staff time to dig up.
1) John Q. Public Will Now Have to Pay to Request Public Records in Mendocino County
2) Mendocino County to Charge Fees for Public Records
Supervisor Ted Williams responded to these complaints to some extent on the Mendocino County Fifth District facebook group: “On Tuesday, in open session, [County] counsel [Christian Curtis] reminded the board and public that document retrieval will remain free. What will cost is requests for engaging county attorneys in research endeavors over a threshold. Historically, we have had out of area corporations impact our general fund for the purpose of generating sales mailing lists. The goal isn’t to impact public or media access and the board has expressed eagerness to tune policy based on success.”
We have had pretty good experience with the County’s records request process. All of our inquiries have been responded to properly and promptly. (Although the content of some of the responses has been grounds for concern such as when we asked for the Orchard Street Crisis Residential Treatment facility property transaction file.) When we ask for public records, we are as specific as possible because broad-scale requests are time consuming for the County and for us, and we don’t want a county lawyer or bureaucrat going through a trove of documents or on-line content deciding which documents to provide or how much or what should be redacted. It’s always better to be specific when making public records act requests. Where possible, we also try to ask the department in question for a document first before even going to the trouble of a formal public records act request. Fishing expeditions or harassment requests are an abuse of public records act requests.
As close as we try to follow County affairs and local reporting, we have yet to see a local media outlet or organization publish a noteworthy document from the County that wasn’t already public, or produce an exposé based on a public records act request other than us. The local on-line media do make pretty good use of court document requests and common posted on-line materials, as do we.
There are pot growers and others who have applied for permits which are still pending or who have private case problems who legitimately want to see public documents relating to their permit application via a public records act request, but those usually involve the applicant him or herself, not the public at large.
It takes a good bit of work to make a story out of a public records act request response. They always require some analysis, background, follow-up and context and the ability to understand what the document(s) may or may not say, sometimes in fairly technical language.
For the time being, we are withholding comment on the new policy until we start seeing some local Public Records Act requests and the County’s responses and or proposed fees. Anything that the County Counsel Christian Curtis proposes is certainly grounds for scrutiny and concern. But time consuming public records requests are a problem that lots of public agencies face.
If the county starts imposing ridiculous fees for ordinary or reasonable document requests, we’ll be quick to complain.
THERON MILLER MEMORIAL:
We have been making arrangements for my dad's memorial gathering. It will be at Crown Hall in Mendocino on October 9th, 2022 at 5pm. It will be a potluck style buffet, we will be serving beer, wine, and a vessel of premixed margaritas with a donation jar. People are welcome to bring their drink of choice. It will be a wonderful time to share memories and catch up with old family and friends in Theron's honor. Please share with anyone that isn't on social media so everyone is aware. We want all who loved my dad to gather with us and celebrate his life
REMEMBERING DAVE SMITH
Mike Geniella: A community loss. Best thoughts for family and friends.
Bruce McEwen: I thought Dave’s passing was significant because he was a book dealer and in the past ten years, beginning with the demise of Mulligan’s, books have become obsolete.. . not to mention all the kind things Dave did for me when I was a homeless vagabond involving the censure of the conservative Ukians and their ersatz travesty of Christian charity.
LF Mammina: “To be of Use.” Thanks for that. R.I.P. ole pal
Marci Todd Marlton: RIP Uncle Dave. You left us with so many wonderful memories of summer boating excursions and countless hours of cooking with you.
Katy Tahja: Sorry to lose such an interesting man, I loved Mulligan’s too. Do I remember correctly he was one half of Smith & Hawken, an old back to the land mail order company?
Mark Scaramella notes: Yes, it started in 1979 as a garden tool supplier with outlets in 22 states plus mail order and on-line, but after it was sold to corporate chains and then went bankrupt, it ended up in the hands of Scotts Miracle Gro in 2004 which then closed it again in 2009. Dave Smith recommended boycotting it while it was in the hands of Scotts, saying, “Scotts couldn’t have been a worse corporate owner.” Prior to Smith & Hawken, Dave Smith was active in Cesar Chavez’s United Farmworkers Union. He wrote about that experience in the AVA in 2014.
I AM TIRED OF HEARING that electric cars and solar panels are a perk for the rich. That is because I have both and I am not rich. My background is solidly working class. My dad had a 9th grade education and my mom, one of 12 children, worked as a live-in maid in order to finish high school. The Junior college and state university systems allowed me to get through college.I retired from teaching in 2007 and the most I made in my 26 years of teaching was $52,000/year. My current income is about the same thanks to a working wife, a couple of rentals, and a pension. Most of my life I have lived in a house that was one of those Mendo County specials; half house and half old mobile home. When I retired I tore out the mobile home and rebuilt that half of the house. I hired Mendocino Solar to install a solar system on the roof. That cost me about $23,000. I have always been good with money and had jobs in construction and as a merchant seaman where I could save and get a head start in life. I came to the coast in 1977 when housing was cheap. Several years back we bought a Chevy Bolt. It was the only new car I have bought. Thanks to the tax write off, a $3,000 discount at Platinum Chevrolet, and a free charger from Sonoma Clean Power, we could afford it at $23,000. So we are into panels and an electric car for under $$50,000. Most important is the fact that our savings will pay it all off in a relatively short time since we put in more power than we use. We save about $150/mon on the electric bill since my rented guest cottage is on our meter. The panels cover charging the car so we are saving somewhere around $300/mon by driving on by those gas stations. At a savings of more than $5,000 a year the panels and car will be paid off in 10 years. Obviously, this is a financial plan that is available to lower income families in our country. The solar panels cover the increased demand for electricity and the cars are affordable. If I was to calculate the “average” cost of gasoline powered cars and included the top level Mercedes, CadilLacs, and Rolls Roices (I don’t even know how to spell these cars), it would also look like only the rich could afford a car. Get your math right and provide people with correct information.
— Don Cruser
GENE GROSJEAN: Driving south into Cleone/Ft bragg this morning, came up behind this. Gotta really love your Harley. Was tied down really good, didn't sway or move, maybe cause that rear tire is pushed through rear window! Cheers!
THE CLIFFS OF THE LOST COAST [including those in Mendocino County] Are Collapsing Faster Than Any Other in the Golden State
Researchers at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography conducted a first-of-its-kind scientific survey measuring the rate California’s coastal cliffs are collapsing into the Pacific. Their findings indicate that the cliffs of the iconic Lost Coast, the coastline straddling the Mendocino and Humboldt County border, are crumbling into the sea faster than any in the Golden State.…
PROGRAM ON SEA LEVEL RISE
Donne Brownsey, Chair of the California Coastal Commission, will give a presentation on sea level rise on Tuesday, August 23, at 6pm. Brownsey will discuss the Commission's efforts to prepare for sea level rise and the multi-faceted way the rising ocean waters will impact the state's coast. Special emphasis will be given to Mendocino County. Rising sea levels affect transportation systems, Public Trust boundaries, water sources and much more.
This important program is sponsored by The League of Women Voters of Mendocino County and the GrassRoots Institute. It will be held via Zoom; find the link at the League's website under the calendar tab. Other sponsoring organizations are Mendocino County Youth for Climate, Jughandle Creek Nature Center, Climate Action Mendocino, Noyo Center for Marine Science, Mendocino County Climate Action Advisory Committee, and Mendocino Land Trust.
For more information, call 707-937-4952.
Pat Dunbar, Publicity, firstname.lastname@example.org
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 20, 2022
ROBIN BUXTON, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
ALEXANDER COAN, Caspar. DUI-alcohol&drugs, misdemeanor hit&run, no license, resisting.
JESSE CONNOLLY, Redwood Valley. Stolen vehicle.
LUIS GONSALEZ, Covelo. Controlled substance, resisting, failure to appear.
EVERARDO GRANILLO, Ukiah. Criminal threats.
STEVEN KING, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, county parole violation.
BRADLEY MALLETT, Laytonville. County parole violation.
JORGE MARTINEZ, Willits. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment, felon-addict with firearm, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, suspended license.
ERIC PETTERSON, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, addict driving vehicle, paraphernalia, suspended license, prior convictions within ten years.
TYLER PORRITT, Willits. Probation revocation.
LENOX REYES II, Covelo. Ammo possession by prohibited person, county parole violation.
ANGELA RIVERA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, metal knuckles, conspiracy.
GREGORY SCHRANGER, Ukiah. Vehicle registration forgery.
DARIN SCOTT, Willits. Controlled substance, mandatory supervision violation, resisting.
DAMIAN VILLEGAS, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.
WHO OWNS THE SEA RANCH LODGE?
Nobody knows who bought The Sea Ranch Lodge and its affiliated properties from Fillmore Capital Partners in 2018. According to the Lodge’s general manager, Kristina Jetton, the current owners wish to remain anonymous because it’s “just what they have asked for… not just because of privacy, but because of safety.”
We’ve labored over this, trying to pry the truth from Jetton through a combination of KGB tactics and too many Mai Tais at the Lodge bar. But nothing is working. She’s a vault.
So we’ve taken a more traditional approach: pure speculation.
Our sizable team of investigative reporters worked tirelessly to solve the mystery over the past 12 months. Spy cams, flight trackers, Google searches, Mai Tais, inappropriate questions directed towards lodge staff, hiding out in yurts during lodge events, eves dropping on the links course, more Mai Tais, and dumpster driving–we’ve done it all. Believe us when we tell you that no stone has been left unturned.
At long last, our investigative reporters have something to say about it. They whittled the current lodge ownership down to 6 potential owners. We are confident it’s at least one of them. Possibly all 6.
Let’s dig in.…
GOOD MORNING TO EVERYBODY ON PLANET EMERGENCY
It is 4 o'clock in the morning at Building Bridges homeless shelter in the Mendocino county seat. Cool outdoor temperature right now in anticipation of the 100 degree heat to come, and not a sound anywhere, as the whole region is still sleeping. Read the New York Times online, which guarantees that just about every facet of life on the planet earth is now an emergency. Forget about what our collective future is. Take care of your individual spiritual situation. No time better than this moment!
Whereas nobody is interested in any spiritually focused direct action, at least not serious enough to offer basic housing and a realistic social situation, my days are spent in 1. hanging out at the Ukiah Public Library and 2. walking around the city watching the mind thinking, and not identifying with that. In other words, identifying with "that which is prior to consciousness".
I may leave the homeless shelter freely at any time. I could be doing more than just watching the mental factory. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in doing anything. Thank you very much, and have a good day.
Craig Louis Stehr, email@example.com
CALIFORNIA GRIZZLY BEARS HAVE BEEN GONE FOR A CENTURY. SHOULD WE BRING THEM BACK?
by Kurtis Alexander
Californians have long been fascinated with the grizzly bear.
The large, powerful bruin is the state animal. It adorns the state flag and state seal. Its name - whether “grizzly,” “bear” or “oso,” the Spanish equivalent - graces more than 800 of California’s roads, towns and geographic landmarks.
With so much fanfare, visitors to the state might very well think that the grizzly is alive and well here today. Some residents think so, too. (A study published three years ago found that three out of four Californians either believe the bear lives in the state or aren’t sure.)
In fact, the California grizzly, historically one of the most feared populations of bears in the Lower 48, was driven to extinction by humans a while ago. The last grizzly to be hunted down in California was killed exactly 100 years ago this month.
“It’s a sad story, for sure,” said Kayley Bateman, an animal keeper at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens who looks after two grizzly bears, which are from Montana. “It is unfortunate that we lost the California grizzly but hopefully it’s something we can learn from.”
A large enclosure holds grizzly bear sisters Kachina and Kiona at the San Francisco Zoo. The grizzly bear was hunted to extinction in California a century ago.
While the demise of the California grizzly hasn’t seemed to diminish the bear’s popularity, it has left a gaping hole in the natural order of things as well as in how some humans look at California’s wilderness - it somehow makes the mountains and valleys a little less wild, less sacred and less inspiring.
Efforts have been made to reintroduce the bear, but they haven’t won much support. That could change.
“If you can’t fathom living in a world (like California) where there are 40 million people and grizzly bears, a lot of things are going to seem impossible,” said Peter Alagona, a professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara who has written extensively about grizzlies and believes their return could be an ecological and spiritual boon. “For me, it’s about bears, but it’s also about coexistence with wildlife and imagination.”
California grizzlies once roamed the state’s coastal hills, Central Valley and inland mountains, pretty much everywhere except the desert. Before the arrival of Europeans, the grizzly population is believed to have numbered around 10,000.
Not to be confused with black bears, which are widely found in California today, the grizzly is a brown bear. The colors are a misnomer since both species of bears can generally range from cinnamon to black. But the brown bear is different, generally much larger and distinguished by a muscular hump on its shoulders. It also arrived in California later.
Brown bears, which include the massive Kodiaks in Alaska, are believed to have descended from a common Asian ancestor and migrated across the Bering Strait to the West Coast of North America at about the same time as the first humans coming to the continent.
The bears that found their way to California grew to 8 feet tall and 800 pounds, sometimes more. They found their niche at the top of the food chain as prehistoric dire wolves, saber-toothed cats and giant short-faced bears died out.
“The state was really settled not just by people 15,000 years ago but by people traveling with bears,” Alagona said. “The same pathways for migration opened up (for bears and humans). Indigenous people throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including California, have a long tradition of thinking about bears as kin.”
European settlers had a different take on the animals, however. With the Spanish arrival in the 1700s and later the Gold Rush, the massive grizzly was seen as a threat to livestock or as a commodity, or both.
The bears were chased off lands newly occupied by sheep and cattle, often killed for a bounty, their pelts or meat and sometimes forced into captivity for show. Staged bear versus bull fights became a popular blood sport. The likes of John “Grizzly” Adams paraded the large mammals like circus fare across the West.
By the 20th Century, grizzlies in the wilds of California were sparse. In August of 1922, records show the last bear to be killed was taken out by a rancher at Horse Corral Meadow in the mountains along the boundary of Fresno and Tulare counties. While at least one credible grizzly sighting was reported a few years later in nearby Sequoia National Park, for all practical purposes, this was the end.
Over the past decade, the idea of bringing back grizzlies to California has begun to be taken seriously.
In 2014, the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which manages federally threatened animals, to reintroduce the grizzly to the state and parts of the Southwest.
The move followed successes in reestablishing grizzly populations in the Northern Rockies. While the bear experienced similar problems there as on the West Coast, it wasn’t completely eradicated. Today, between 1,500 and 2,000 grizzlies are estimated to live in that region, in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington. That’s up from as few as 600 to 800 before legal protections and recovery efforts were initiated.
Given the higher numbers, the Fish and Wildlife Service has even looked at loosening protections in the Rockies, at the urging of agricultural interests, hunters and residents who say in some areas bear concentrations are too great. But conservation groups have effectively fought off the rollbacks, arguing that the grizzly still occupies only about 6% of its historical range in the lower 48 states.
“We’ve long been working on keeping the bears protected in the Northern Rockies,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It naturally follows that if you want the bears to thrive, they need to be in more places.”
The California grizzly, or Ursus arctos californicus, was originally believed to be a distinct subspecies of grizzly bear. Recent research, however, suggests, that the differences between the bear and its Rocky Mountain counterpart are few.
Some say the California bear grew bigger because of the state’s abundant food sources and moderate climate, which allowed more time to hunt and graze. Others claim the larger size reflected Californians’ proclivity for tall tales.
Either way, scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity maintain that the Sierra Nevada has 7,747 square miles of wilderness that’s ideal for reintroduction of the animal, around where the last ones were seen and killed. The rugged area, in mostly the southern Sierra, is optimal habitat for eating and ambling, and it’s relatively far from roads and people.
Putting bears back on the landscape, the scientists say, would help revive the healthier, native ecology of California. As a keystone predator, the grizzly would keep in check the populations of black bear, deer and other animals, and it would boost plant diversity by dispersing seeds through its feces and digging and aerating soils.
“Restoring bears would help with the (natural) balance and undo a historic wrong,” Greenwald said.
Of course, there could be problems, too. Many communities and ranchers have opposed the idea, citing personal safety or the safety of livestock. Grizzlies are not only bigger than black bears, up to twice the size, but less timid. The recent arrival of gray wolves in California, which were also killed off but returned on their own accord from other states, has raised similar concerns.
State wildlife officials have opposed efforts to reestablish the bear.
Supporters of the grizzly say, despite its reputation as a fierce carnivore, the animal is not aggressive toward humans, unless provoked, and that the danger is overblown.
Still, the petition to bring back the grizzly in California was rejected by the federal government. The Center for Biological Diversity has appealed, and the fight continues, but faces long odds.
Alagona, at UC Santa Barbara, is one of the facilitators of the California Grizzly Research Network, a group of scientists and historians taking up the issue of reintroduction. The network has worked to better understand grizzlies of the past in order to better know what a future with grizzlies might look like.
“There was nothing inevitable about their extinction, and there’s nothing inevitable about these animals being gone forever,” Alagona said. “In a way, now 100 years later, I think there’s more opportunity to have a conversation about the future.”
For Californians who want to see a grizzly but don’t want to wait for their return, which is uncertain if not unlikely, there’s still the zoo.
The two grizzlies in San Francisco, Kiona and Kachina, are 19-year-old sisters that were orphaned as cubs. They were picked up by the zoo after they became a nuisance in Montana. They often approached humans in search of food and risked being euthanized by wildlife officials.
“Here at the San Francisco Zoo, we love to share our bears,” said Bateman, the animal keeper, who has worked with Kiona and Kachina for eight years. “We encourage people to come out and visit and hopefully capture a sense of the wild again.”
* * *
BRING BACK THE GRIZ? An on-line comment: "Any veteran camper who has camped recently in bear territory will tell you how bad of an idea this is. If we can’t educate people on how to live with black bears, their utter failure of co-existing with grizzly bears is frightening. As a Tahoe-native, the inability for people to understand how to secure trash and/or food from the docile black bear does not bode well with grizzlies. We spent a week camping last month at Twin Lakes Bridgeport and the nightly cacophony of car alarms being used by campers as a “solution” to get rid of bears breaking in to their coolers speaks to the level of education. And even when educated, they shrug and do the same thing. On the other hand, maybe the fear of grizzlies will keep them out of the mountains and bring the camping experience back to the pre-COVID days."
WHO ARE THE JAN. 6 DEFENDANTS?
It’s a wide range. People from all 50 states have been prosecuted. Most are white men from middle- or working-class backgrounds, but there are also women, Hispanic people, Black people. A lot have military backgrounds. There are also professional people, which is unusual for an event involving far-right extremism: doctors, a State Department aide, business owners, people who flew there on a private jet.
Most have been charged with misdemeanors and have gotten little to no prison time. Others have been charged with assaulting police officers or damaging government property. And a few hundred people have been charged with obstructing Congress’ certification that day of the Electoral College vote. About 350 defendants have pleaded guilty, and more than 200 have been sentenced. About half a dozen have gotten four years or more, and two have gotten more than seven years.
The government is still arresting people, and prosecutors estimate around 2,000 could ultimately face charges.
— Alan Feuer, The New York Times
MAUREEN DOWD wrote a silly column in last Sunday’s NYT claiming the rightwing is now acting like “unhinged Leftists” of the 60s when it comes to the FBI. Did it really escape her attention that members of a rightwing militia blew up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, killing 165 people? As for those “unhinged Leftists,” the FBI really was coming after them. (See: COINTELPRO.)
— Jeffrey St. Clair
WHICH WAY IS LEFT?
The empire's information war against the left has been so successful that people don't even know where "the left" is anymore. Most have it confused with things that are tangential like having pink hair and saying your pronouns, or outright right-wing like the Democratic Party.
Convincing everyone that communism is bad and unions work against your interests was just the first step. The next step was to confuse and muddy the waters of the political landscape so much that nobody even remembers where it was the left had been trying to get to — namely fighting and winning the class war that's being waged upon the working class by the capitalist class, dismantling capitalism and imperialism, and creating a just and equitable society for everyone.
Now if you tell your average westerner to point to "the left", they'll point at "woke" hashtags and at political parties that are designed to support and protect the capitalist class. They didn't just sabotage and destroy the left, they burnt the blueprints for how to rebuild it.
The true left emphasizes the interests of marginalized communities with the goal of class solidarity. The fake left emphasizes the interests of marginalized communities with the goal of class division. You can sort out which is which by simple naked eye observation over time.
— Caitlin Johnstone
WE WANTED TO START A REVOLUTION
by Vivian Gornick
I was one of those second wave feminists who adored the 19th-century suffragists. I envied them their political intelligence, their organizing skills, their staying power. Researching their letters and journals, their convention notes, their testimonials, their annual petitions to the government, I felt viscerally what it meant to identify with The Cause. And then again I was impressed by the friendships they sustained throughout their often 30, 40 or 50 years of on-the-road activism, forged through a penetrating sense of the human condition as exemplified by the struggle for women's rights. But it was only after I read 'Hotbed' that I realized the tide of feminist friendship from which I am more directly descended was that of the Heterodites. I speak here of the relationships that flourished in the 1970s and 1980s under the feminist practice of "Consciousness Raising," which, like the Heterodoxy, made use of intellectual exchange influenced by an amalgam of Marx and Freud threaded through a liberationist rhetoric appropriate to the time.
"Consciousness Raising" was what second wave feminists called examining one's personal experience in the light of sexism, the theoretical explanation used to account for women's centuries-long social and political subordination. Following a set of rules laid down by the New York radical feminists, CR groups in the main consisted of 10 or 12 women who gathered once a week, sat in a circle, and spoke, each in turn, on a predetermined topic that seemed relevant to the idea that the personal is political. The result was something like shaking the kaleidoscope of history: the pieces remain the same, but the design that emerged was shockingly new. The average life of a consciousness-raising group, I noted then, was a year to 18 months. In 1971, 100,000 women in the United States were enrolled in these groups. For women's liberationists CR had become a powerful technique for feminist conversation.
The most striking part of this practice was the eventual recognition among the women whose stations in life varied significantly that some fundamental sameness of being determined the way their lives had taken shape. For instance, at a CR meeting in suburban New York the question "Why did you marry the man you married?" was posed, and a middle-aged office manager was stunned when "We went around the room, and the word 'love' was never mentioned once." Then an actress said, "I've been married three times and I am amazed, if not ashamed, to say all three marriages sort of morphed into one another." Whereupon a working-class divorcee confided to me, "I had walked into the room thinking, 'none of these broads had been through what I've been through,' but at the end of the session I thought, 'they've all been through what I've been through'."
Each woman spoke with a sense of wonder in her voice as though she were seeing something of immense value that she'd never seen before. That something was herself thinking about her life as though it were a construct worthy of intellectual examination. Not only worthy, but needful. I had recently met a 50 year old woman who had just received a Ph.D. in biology. When I asked her why she had gone back to school in middle age and why biology, she said, "All my life when asked my opinion on something I said 'I feel…' I went back to school because I wanted to say, 'I think…' " I recall this woman often, especially in CR sessions where all the women when asked about their lives had initially responded with a surge of emotion rather than analysis, reinforcing the conventional wisdom that women by nature are passive participants, not acting authorities in charge of their own development.
The excitement that characterized these sessions never lost its edge. Essentially, it was the atmosphere created by the sound of women catching fire from one another, all of them determined that the conversation would arrive: give them something useful to take home. Here is an example of how a CR evening might have gone:
A woman described walking down the street on a bright spring day when a man standing in the doorway of a shop said to her, "Smile honey. Things can't be that bad." Puzzled, she told her CR compatriots, she looked quickly at her reflection in the shop window to see what he had seen the her face to make him say what he had said to her. She shrugged: "it was just a face at rest." Another woman in the circle then said, "Maybe he thought you were depressed," and a third quickly responded, "It's not that he imagined she was depressed, it's that he suspected she was thinking." A fourth woman then said, "It makes them anxious when you stop smiling. To be masculine is to take action, to be feminine is to smile. Men often remember their mothers as always smiling."
Woman five: "My mother is always telling me she's lived only for the family [smiling when she says this] and I always feel like saying to her, 'Why don't you live for yourself?' "
Woman six: "That used to be considered a moral virtue, living for the family. I'm sure lots of men feel the same way."
Woman seven: "When a man says he lives for his family it sounds positively unnatural to me. When a woman says it, it sounds so right. So expected."
Woman eight: "God, this business of identity! Of wanting it from my work, and not looking for it in what my husband does."
Woman nine: "Knowing where you stand in relation to other people… not because of what other people want of you but because of what you want for yourself." She stopped to absorb what she had just said. "Knowing what you want for yourself" — again that wonder in the voice — "that's everything, isn't it?"
Many of these exchanges may sound dated now, but at that time in that place they felt earthshaking. Only a decade earlier they were unthinkable. No one would have had a useful thing to say after "Smile, honey." But in the 70s and 80s as Crystal Eastman and the Heterodites might have put it, those words make you want to start a revolution.
It's hard to explain the exact nature of the friendships formed during these sessions. Circumstantial they certainly were. (I don't know how many CR participants remained in touch after they left the group.) But haunting nonetheless. We were groping our way out of Plato's cave, struggling to arrive at a clarified sense of self — and we were doing it in one another's presence. This last, I think, was crucial. Whatever shape our efforts took, they were sure to be received with a sympathy that was not only informed but unstinting. This resulted in an atmosphere that made our connection to ourselves feel vital. Something oddly tender in this alchemy then made our connections to one another seem binding. I would bet that the Heterodites who rarely if ever had the language with which to express such emotional complexity, nonetheless felt the same toward one another.
(New York Review of Books)
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-08-19) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0502
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 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). And consider helping out KNYO, though, because it's radio, you get all the features whether you help or not, so I understand completely if you buy shoes, or medicine, or a crucial part for your car instead. Go here, find the big red heart, think about it, no pressure to act precipitously: https://KNYO.org
You can always email me your work on any subject and I'll read it on the radio the upcoming Friday night. And 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:
History of our planet, generated by A.I.
Dogs (and fleas) of space. A short film.
Silent birds, excellent birds.
Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer, Big Top. (via b3ta)
And Pal Yat Chee. It’s only in the left channel; there’s nothing wrong with your headphones. I imagine Kristin Chenoweth singing this. Or Nellie McKay. The singer here looks uncannily like Nellie McKay, anyway, doesn’t she, from this far away.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
GOVERNOR NEWSOM ASKS LEGISLATURE TO DELIVER 3,200 FT. SETBACKS ON NEW AND EXISTING OIL WELLS
by Dan Bacher
On August 12, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked the State Legislature to end neighborhood oil drilling as part of a climate package he’s trying to pass before the end of the year’s legislative session on August 31.
In language sent to the legislature, one proposal would mandate a 3,200 foot health and safety buffer separating communities from both new and existing oil and gas extraction sites, according to a press statement from VISION (Voices in Solidarity Against Oil in Neighborhoods), a coalition of climate and environmental justice groups.
After sharing his proposals addressing climate change with the Legislature, the Governor said in a statement, “Cleaning the air we breathe. Protecting our communities from the harmful impacts of the oil industry. Accelerating California’s clean energy future. Each of these actions on their own are monumental steps to tackling the climate crisis – but California isn’t waiting a minute longer to get them done. We’re taking all of these major actions now in the most aggressive push on climate this state has ever seen because later is too late.”
If approved by the legislature, the setbacks proposal would: (1) mark the end of all new extraction within the health and safety setback zone; (2) prohibit operators from obtaining rework permits on existing extraction sites in the zone: and (3) apply engineering and pollution controls to current operations that endanger frontline communities.
In addition to the setbacks proposal, the climate package sent to the legislature features the following proposals, including carbon capture:
- Codifying statewide carbon neutrality goal to dramatically reduce climate pollution
Establishes a clear, legally binding, and achievable goal for California to achieve statewide carbon neutrality as soon as possible, and no later than 2045.
- Ramping up our 2030 climate ambition
Adopts a more aggressive 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target – going from 40% to 55% below the 1990 level.
- Establishing pathway toward state’s clean energy future
Creates clean electricity targets of 90% by 2035 and 95% by 2040 with the intent of advancing the state’s trajectory to the existing 100% clean electricity retail sales by 2045 goal.
- Advancing natural and engineered technologies to remove carbon pollution
Establishes a clear regulatory framework for carbon removal and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration.
Requires the state to develop an achievable carbon removal target for natural and working lands.
Environmental justice groups praised Newsom for taking action on creating health and safety buffer zones around oil and gas wells while at the same time warning that the Governor's “overreliance on carbon capture ” will “lock in” fossil fuel infrastructure.
Environmental justice advocates are hoping that the Big Oil-friendly California Legislature will finally support the 3,200 foot health and safety buffer after rejecting two bills supporting setbacks over the past two years.
At this time, California is still one of two oil and gas producing states — the other is Alaska — that doesn’t mandate health and safety setbacks around homes, schools, child care centers, hospitals and other facilities. Colorado, North Dakota, Texas, Pennsylvania and other oil and gas producing states have set minimum setbacks around oil and gas wells.
The groups said the end-of-session intervention by the Governor “follows years of advocacy led by frontline communities most impacted by oil and gas drilling. Because oil wells are generally only productive for a few years without reworking them, this policy will phase out neighborhood drilling in the near-term.”
“Finally, after years and years of environmental justice communities asking for comprehensive public health setbacks, we’re seeing some real action on this acute public health issue. We’re ready to see the legislature follow the Governor’s lead and end the chronic crisis of neighborhood drilling in California.” said Dan Ress, Staff Attorney, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment.
“Banning these harmful oil extraction methods is a critical environmental justice issue, especially as the most impacted frontline communities living near these oil and gas wells in California are often lower-income communities and non-white communities without access to quality healthcare. Nearly 7.5 million Californians live within one mile of an oil or gas well, while nearly 3 million live within the proposed 3,200 ft setback zone,” the coalition said.
“Last Fall, California’s own scientists confirmed what we’ve long known - there is no safe distance from oil and gas extraction. California’s frontline communities suffer particularly due to increased air pollution from chemicals used during extraction methods and fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, which is often found in increased concentration surrounding oil and gas wells. These toxic byproducts of extraction are associated with chronic bronchitis, a higher risk for a serious case of COVID-19, epidemic levels of pediatric asthma, cancers, headaches, nosebleeds, high-risk pregnancies, and higher risks for pre-term birth babies,” the coalition continued.
However, the coalition noted that the Governor’s office has also proposed language on carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS). The Governor’s proposal includes a massive expansion of CCUS, with a target of removing 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2045, and a ban on the use of carbon capture for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
“The Governor’s targets rely on engineered carbon removal to address more than 20% of the state’s projected 2045 emissions: more than double what scientists deem appropriate. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report: Mitigation of Climate Change warns that carbon capture and removal is a costly technology, unproven at scale, that prolongs fossil fuel use,” they said.
“While there’s near-universal scientific and public health support for health and safety buffer zones, the same cannot be said for carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS),” said Catherine Garoupa White, Executive Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. “The biggest champions of CCUS are oil and gas operators – even as refinery communities and San Joaquin Valley residents raise real concerns that politicians are colluding with industry to unleash a new toxic legacy in the footsteps of oil and gas extraction.”
Representatives of frontline, environmental justice, and public health organizations with VISIÓN, who have been advocating for an end to what they call the state’s “dangerous and dirty practice” of neighborhood fossil fuel extraction for years responded to the Governor’s action with the following statements.
“We’ve known for years that neighborhood drilling is toxic, and now we’re seeing Governor Newsom take real steps toward ending that reality for millions of Californians,” said Kobi Naseck, VISIÓN Coalition Coordinator. “Right now, environmental justice communities are looking to the legislature to carry the Governor’s vision forward and tell Big Oil once and for all that our communities are not sacrifice zones. It will be clear now more than ever which members are willing to sell our neighborhoods to Big Oil greed, and which are taking a stand for climate and environmental justice.”
“After years of asking for an end to the racist and unjust practice of neighborhood drilling, this is a clear signal from the Newsom Administration that neighborhood drilling must come to an end in California,” stated Cesar Aguirre, Senior Community Organizer, Central California Environmental Justice Network. “The millions of Californians who live within the proposed 3,200ft setback zone, some with oil and gas derricks on their own fencelines, will be watching the legislature closely and calling on them to support the Governor’s proposal.”
“At the same time that the Governor is proposing what would be the strongest setbacks policy of any state and banning the use of carbon capture and sequestration for enhanced oil recovery, he’s also leading California to hand over billions to the oil and gas industry with mythic, oversized carbon capture and removal targets,” said Isa Flores-Jones, Communications Manager, California Environmental Justice Alliance. “These carbon removal targets are a poison pill riding alongside common sense public health and climate policy.”
Will the Legislature support a setbacks bill — after rejecting legislation for setbacks twice?
Now that Newsom has asked the state legislature to end neighborhood oil drilling as part of a climate package, the question is whether the Legislature, which has failed to pass health and safety setback bills a couple of times over the past two years because of the enormous influence of the Big Oil lobby, will support the legislation.
A May 2022 update to its Tracking the Dirty Dollars Project by Sierra Club California provides some clarity why California’s environmental policies don't live up to the “green” words of the state’s politicians. This update reveals that only 15 legislators have not received campaign contributions from polluters and their allies since January 1, 2021.
This election season, polluting industries have already spent more than $1.8 million in contributions to candidates’ campaigns, the Sierra Club reported.
You can read the full overview for this report here and the report spreadsheets here.
The Club said the number of legislators that report more than $10,000 in dirty donations has grown from 17 in their last edition to a whopping 58 in this edition. Thirty-one legislators have received more than $20,000, 10 have received more than $30,000, and 3 have received more than $40,000 in contributions from oil and gas interests.
“As Californians fill out their ballots in the coming weeks, it’s more important than ever that transparent resources like the Dirty Dollars project exist to help inform their voting decisions,” said Brandon Dawson, director of Sierra Club California. “This election will be crucial in determining if Sacramento has the leadership necessary to confront the climate crisis, and voters should take into account the contributions that candidates accept from polluting interests as they cast their votes.”
Democratic Senator Steve Glazer leads all legislators, reporting $66,000 in contributions from dirty donors, according to the Club. The vast majority of these contributions were directed to his campaign for State Controller. A large portion of these contributions came directly from the likes of Phillips 66, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and Valero.
“Republican Assemblymember Heath Flora placed second in total dirty donations with $53,000 dirty dollars. Asm. Flora is one of many Republicans who’ve accepted dirty donations this campaign cycle. So far, the California Republican Party Political Action Committee has accepted $1,245,175 in donations from polluting industries,” the Club stated.
“Unfortunately, many Democrats in the Assembly reported high dirty donation totals. Among the Assembly Democrats, Asm. Tom Daly leads with $44,100 dirty dollars. Asm. Jim Cooper, a Democratic favorite of the oil and gas industry, reported $36,350 in contributions from polluters and their friends,” the Club revealed.
“Other unsurprising names on the high-roller list include Asm. Tim Grayson ($32,900), Asm. Freddie Rodriguez ($31,000), Asm. Blanca Rubio ($31,000), Asm. Sharon Quirk Silva ($29,695), Asm. James Ramos ($28,000), Asm. Adam Gray ($27,200), Asm. Jose Medina ($26,700), Asm. Carlos Villapudua ($24,400), and Asm. Rudy Salas Jr. ($23,300). The California Democratic Party PAC accepted $60,000 in dirty dollars,” the group concluded.
Sierra Club California launched the Tracking the Dirty Dollars Project in November 2020 to shed light on oil and gas contributions to legislators and other state-level elected officials. The project sorts through existing public databases to identify who receives contributions from oil and gas companies and their allies through direct campaign contributions, independent expenditure campaigns, and gifts.
A cover report discussing the November installment and the data sheets comprising the three installments is available on Sierra Club California’s website. More information about the project is included in a November 2020 blog e-mailed to Sierra Club members and supporters around the state.
CalGEM has approved 11,669 oil drilling permits since 2019
Newsom released his climate package as oil and gas regulators in California continue to issue thousands of oil and gas drilling permits every year. Second quarter permit approvals pushed the overall number of oil drilling permits approved since Newsom came to office in January 2019 to 11,669, according to an analysis by Consumer Watchdog and Fractracker Alliance. The permits are posted on a map at www.newsomwellwatch.com
In the first two quarters of 2022, the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) issued 1,326 total permits, including 216 new well permits and 1,110 oil well rework permits.
The groups revealed that State approvals for permits to fix or deepen existing oil wells skyrocketed in the second quarter by 124% over the same time last year. “Some of the permit approvals by CalGEM are for idle wells and wells that barely produce, and both types can leak deadly methane and other harmful pollutants,” they said.
“These are permit approvals to rework old wells that the oil industry wants to squeeze dry,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker. “The state makes it far cheaper for oil companies to continue beating a dead horse than cement those wells shut, including wells that will never come back online or only produce 10 or 15 barrels of crude a day. State policy is misguided. Newsom should mandate that any wells near or in neighborhoods and any that are idle for more than a few years or barely producing oil should be shuttered to stop and prevent leaks.”
She noted that Bakersfield residents over the past month have discovered more than 40 idle wells leaking methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) belonging to five different oil companies in suburban subdivisions of Bakersfield. Residents experienced fatigue, headaches and stomachaches. VOCs can negatively affect breathing, the nervous system and cause cancer.
“This can be attributed to CalGEM's policy of conducting many of their inspections remotely from regulators’ desks, rather than conducting in-person inspections at the well sites in the field,” said Kyle Ferrar, a coordinator for FracTracker Alliance. "Oil and gas companies can use these reworks to continue to kick the bucket down the road instead of paying the necessary costs to plug these idle wells. That's because there is very little oversight from CalGEM and no repercussions for leaking wells, as we have seen in Bakersfield."
During the second quarter, permit approvals to drill both new oil and gas production wells and wells using harsh and dangerous methods of extraction known as “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR), fell by half over the second quarter last year though permits to specifically drill new EOR wells rose by 10%, the groups stated.
“Of all 2022 permit approvals to rework wells, 31% were issued for idle wells,” according to Ferrar. “Available data makes it hard to determine how long the wells have been idle. Legislation passed several years ago requires to provide an annual list of idle wells, their age, and their status. CalGEM published the last report in 2019 and has not published another since.”
“According to oil industry information gathered by the California Council on Science and Technology, there are at least 70,000 idle wells in the state, and many are 20-40 years old. Some have been idle for 80 years. That's 40,000 more idle wells than officially reported by CalGEM,” Ferrar reported.
“It is critically important that the public has access to the list of ide wells as many could be leaking in urban and suburban settings and residents don’t even know that they are there,” added Tucker. “There are tens of thousands of these wells and they can be like ticking time-bombs for nearby communities.”
Hazardous spill reports filed by CalGEM showed some of the Bakersfield wells were releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, at concentrations of above 50,000 parts per million. These are public health hazards, since at these outdoor concentrations, just the click of a lighter can cause an explosion and the same indoor levels can be deadly to residents, according to PSE Healthy Energy, a research institute, stated Tucker.
California oil and gas regulators have also approved 150 offshore drilling permits in state waters since January 1, 2019. Of those permits, five were for new wells and the rest were for reworking existing wells, according to Consumer Watchdog and FracTracker Alliance.
Big Oil spends Big Money on lobbying to get what it wants
As the oil and gas industry pumped barrel-fulls of cash into the campaign coffers of California legislators, the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent over $17.5 million lobbying the California Legislature and other state officials over the past three years.
In the first quarter of 2022, WSPA continued its lobbying spending spree, dumping $952,366.91 into lobbying California officials, according to the latest data from the California Secretary of State’s website. Chevron spent even more money than WSPA in lobbying, $1,016,168.17, during the quarter.
However, it wasn’t either WSPA or Chevron that topped the fossil fuel lobbying expenses in the first quarter. Sempra Energy and Affiliates, including SoCalGas and the San Diego Gas and Electric Company, moved into first place with $1,961,178.39 in expenses in just the three month period.
Altogether, WSPA, Chevron, Sempra and other oil and gas corporations and trade associations pumped a total of $6 million into advancing the fossil fuel industry agenda in 2022’s first quarter.
The Big Oil spending spree continued in 2022’s second quarter. While Californians suffer from soaring gas prices, extreme drought and wildfires, Big Oil and WSPA spent $10 million in the first half of 2022 to lobby CA lawmakers “against life-saving clean air regulations and push fossil fuel industry lies,” said Alexandra Nagy, California Director of Sunstone Strategies: cal-access.sos.ca.gov/...
Over the past four years, fossil fuel companies paid almost $77.5 million to lobby lawmakers in Sacramento, reported Josh Slowiczek in Capital and Main on May 14.
“Oil and gas interests spent four times as much as environmental advocacy groups and almost six times as much as clean energy firms on lobbying efforts in California between 2018 and 2021, according to a Capital & Main analysis — reflecting the intensity of the industry’s efforts to influence policy in a state whose leaders have vowed to build an energy future free of fossil fuels,” Slowiczek wrote.
California remains a major oil and gas producing state, although it has declined from its place as the nation’s third largest oil producer over the past several years. The state was 7th (2021) and 14th (2020) for oil and marketed natural gas production, respectively, among the 50 states, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Production of oil was about 131M barrels in 2021 and continues to decline from the 1985 peak
WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 8 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups; (5) working in collaboration with media; (6) creating alliances with labor unions; (7) contributing to non profit organizations; and (8) sponsoring awards ceremonies, including those for legislators and journalists.
IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE