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ABUNDANT SUNSHINE will promote warm dry weather across much of Northwest California today. Mild conditions will persist across interior locations through much of next week, while coastal areas experience a return to cooler conditions due to periods of low clouds and fog. (NWS)
Hey! Anyone know WHO rebuilt the kids’ picnic table at our local AV Community Park?
A big shout out “THANK YOU” from all the littles of Anderson Valley!
PS. Do you visit our local park? In what ways could YOU help us bring improvements? Can you build a fence? Construct a gate? Lay down new walkways? Host a clean up or park improvement day? Help fundraise and improve community awareness?
We’d love your help! Please, contact me and let’s get started bringing even more.
FIRST RESPONDERS RECOVERING DEAD BODY FROM THE NAVARRO RIVER Along State Route 128
Scanner traffic around 9:45 this evening indicated Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies are along the bank near the mouth of the Navarro River attempting to recover a dead body drifting in the waters.…
PATRICK HICKEY (Local SEIU union rep):
Mendocino County employees picketed in downtown Ukiah to protest chronic short staffing which has a serious impact on vital public services. With an average vacancy rate of 27 percent, and much higher in some critical classifications, critical service workers have been stretched beyond thin. Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors fails to act.
MIKE GENIELLA: During my 10 years working in the Mendocino County Courthouse in downtown Ukiah, I found with few exceptions that county employees - our friends and neighbors - were diligent, hard-working, and community-minded. They are deserving of decent local living wages.
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN on the Ag Department’s recent pot survey mailer: Part of legalization means we still have much work to do to reduce stigma of the cannabis industry. Showing the economic benefits to our County and being included in annual agricultural reporting helps! Please participate. The letter is posted on my page as well.
Lia Patterson: The mom and pop cannabis industry is dying out fast. Realtors are seeing so many properties being abandoned and left trashed. The value of those properties worth next to nothing. Most will be sold for less than half of what they are worth. I would be concerned how much revenue the county will lose in property taxes.
Mulheren: it’s a lot of loss for sure, but there are some businesses that are still successful. Either way it’s important to have the data
Julia Carrera: that is happening because the cannabis program is led by a person that doesn’t want the mom and pops to survive. There is so much going on at the cannabis program that doesn’t support the participants it is beyond belief.
Mulheren: That is not true Julia. Everyone is frustrated but Kristin and her team are doing the best they can every day to get as many people as possible through the regulations.
Mark Scaramella: The relevant questions here are: How many mailers did they mail out and how many they get back — and whether the answers are statisically significant or not just complaints.
COASTAL CLEANUP - Thousands Of Pounds Of Garbage Removed From Beaches And Waterways
On Saturday, September 17, 2022, during the 38th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, hundreds of community members throughout Mendocino County picked up thousands of pounds of trash, in an event organized locally by the Mendocino Land Trust. Volunteers hauled in discarded plastic bags, food containers, a “breathtaking amount” of cigarette butts, and one submerged kayak. The kayak was found in Noyo Harbor during the annual boating cleanup hosted every year since 2009 by Liquid Fusion Kayaking. “Every day is Coastal Cleanup Day here at Liquid Fusion; we pick up trash whenever we’re out on the water,” said Liquid Fusion’s Cate Hawthorne. “But it feels good to get a group of like-minded people together to get something big done and to haul in bigger pieces of trash that we can’t do by ourselves.” That kayak, by the way, was then used in the cleanup itself, pulled alongside the boats as a trash barge, allowing boaters to bring more in than they could fit on their own personal crafts.
Countywide, there were 21 cleanup sites in celebration of Coastal Cleanup Day. As of Thursday morning, most sites had reported their collection data. A total of 458 participants removed 6,169 pounds of trash/recyclables from local beaches, the Noyo River, Hare Creek, and parks and forests inland. Of that total, nearly 3,500 pounds were from a Ukiah-based cleanup of several sites along the Russian River and another 1,200 pounds were collected from Mitchell Creek in Fort Bragg. Organized by Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Mendocino Trail Stewards, respectively, these inland cleanups helped double the number of volunteers from last year. Cleaning these inland sites is important because it helps keep our ocean clean by getting trash out of the watershed before it can even reach the beach via our local rivers and streams.
Also cleaning on Saturday were children from local schools and clubs. For more than a decade, the students of Pacific Community Charter School in Point Arena have made Coastal Cleanup Day a part of their calendar, and this year was no exception. 73 students, teachers, and chaperones from PCCS went to Schooner Gulch, Stonesboro, and City Park. There, they picked up 42 pounds of trash and recyclables, and as one teacher, Ms. Moonflower said, “We all laughed and sang and took time to get to know each other a little more as a class out in the world.” Students from the Interact Club at Fort Bragg High School helped with the cleanup at Hare Creek Beach, and a hardy group of 10 students and teachers from TLC (Transition Learning Center) and OARS (Outreach, Advocacy, Researches, and Services) in Fort Bragg hit the Westport beaches for a gorgeous afternoon of cleaning and team-building activities. Kids also joined parents and friends across the county; young people once again proved to be stalwarts of the day.
Staff and Board members of the Mendocino Land Trust (MLT) hosted cleanups at three sites: Hare Creek Beach, Seaside Beach, and Noyo Headlands Park. 38 volunteers, including students from Fort Bragg High School’s Interact Club, hauled 264 pounds of trash away from these three sites. In addition to hosting cleanup sites, MLT served as the County Coordinator for Coastal Cleanup Day for the 19th year in a row. According to Conrad Kramer, Executive Director of MLT, “Coastal Cleanup Day is a delightful community event where folks who are passionate about wild coastal areas get to enjoy those places, to give back to those places, and get to share their passion with others who are equally as enthusiastic about all that is wild, living, and beautiful.”
Coastal Cleanup Day happens the third Saturday of every September, rain or shine! If you are interested in being a site captain next year, please email email@example.com or call the Mendocino Land Trust office at (707) 962-0470.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
QUE PASA, DA DAVE?
TO: District Attorney David Eyster, Assistant DA Dale Trigg, Chief Investigator Andy Alvarado
RE: Blocking comments on DA Social Media site
The District Attorney's public information posts must be available to all, whether it be on the official county website or on Facebook, the site of choice. Your call. But you cannot block access to the site at your discretion.
In June, I raised this issue with you. The block has returned. Please read the attached information, and act accordingly. Otherwise, I will enlist legal support on behalf of local journalists.
"If a public official uses their account to carry out their role as an elected official, then their page or account is subject to the First Amendment. That means they cannot engage in most forms of censorship such as blocking someone or deleting someone’s comments just because of their subject or opinion. It is also generally unacceptable for the official to ask the platform to delete comments for them."
Mike Geniella, Media Consultant, 707-477-6733
AV HIGH SCHOOL UPDATE
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
We have had another busy week. We look forward to discussing your student’s progress and goals for the future at the PLP meeting scheduled for next week. The district will be on minimum days next week so that we have the opportunity to have these important conversations with each of our families. It is difficult to schedule so many appointments. You’re attending during your scheduled time is greatly appreciated.
I may have mentioned that we had an observer with 45 years administrative experience in high schools come into our classrooms over the past two days. This is an important feedback step for us, as we look at how to engage in educating students to be competitive with other schools throughout the country. The feedback I received was that our students are really kind children. We do need to look at how to include some more rigor and engagement into our programs, so our kids are in an evenly competitive field for college and career. Our staff works hard and we want to make sure we’re maximizing that effort. We will also be expanding report card comments so you can understand why a student may be excelling in or requiring support with a class.
On an exciting note, we are re-instituting an honor roll at both the Junior and Senior High.
Anderson Valley Junior and Senior High School is excited to honor students that show exemplary effort and citizenship in their daily school life. An Honor Roll designation will be awarded at a school rally on a quarterly basis for students that exhibit and embody excellent academics and citizenship.
A student must have:
Brown: An overall GPA of 3.0-3.49% for A Brown Honor Roll
Gold: 3.50-4.0+ For A Gold Honor Roll
No report card grade lower than a C- in any subject during the school year.
No more than 1 C in a main core subject for the quarter.
Students should not have any major school suspensions or sportsmanship red cards.
No more than one unexcused absence.
Students will receive a $20 Panther Merchandise Gift Certificate and will be recognized in a school assembly where parents/guardians are invited.
We are looking at dual enrollment opportunities for the Spring. If your student is currently enrolled in the auto mechanics class, it is very important that you check in with them to make sure their grades and assignments are completed. This is a challenging opportunity for them that we are supporting with Mr. Ballantine and Mr. Johnson attending the class, but it is the students responsibility to complete the work or ask for help during their academic tutorials. We want them to be successful and grow this program.
Course offerings for the Spring on Wednesday may include a costume construction class. This would allow us to have more students participate at the Mendo College site. The dual enrollment English class has been very popular on site here. We are grateful to the teacher. A second course offering will be offered in the Spring.
Club sign ups for the next rotation are going out on Monday. Clubs include photography, GSA, creative writing, and service morning. Mrs. Malvaon is always available on Wednesdays for academic support as well as every morning. The weight room is open every morning as well at 7:30.
We also had a college field trip to Mendo College today to look at some wonderful opportunities for kids.
We continue to need drivers and help at the gate for our games. We simply don’t have enough staff to field for sports and supervise appropriately. Please help us provide these opportunities for your students. Even helping once or twice in a season gives us what we need to get the job done. Reach out to Coach Toohey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017
AV VILLAGE ZOOM SEMINAR: Understanding Your Medicare
Monday, Oct 3rd, 10 to 11 AM
Learn more about your healthcare coverage: Rights to Purchase a Medigap Supplemental Plan, Cost Saving Considerations and Question & Answer period.
You must register in advance for this meeting: https://gmail.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=cea1e601922fa82e47579cc80&id=ab3957fd25&e=358077c1c9
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
FIRST FRIDAY AT GRACE HUDSON
The Grace Hudson Museum will be open, as always, for First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. on October 7. This evening inaugurates a pop-up exhibition of Pomo artist Kathleen Smith. The Pomo Weavers Society will be hand, and visitors will have a chance at making dolls from tule, a reed that grows in the Museum's Wild Gardens. This is all part of the Museum's current exhibit, "Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic," which features the artwork of 15 different contemporary Pomo artists.
The Grace Hudson Museum is at 431 Main St. in Ukiah. For more information visit: gracehudsonmuseum.org or call (707) 467-2836.
GIMMEE SHELTER! NOW!
A Report on short term rental petition & proposal to Board Of Supes
by Elizabeth Swenson
HAT’s The Short Term Rental Proposal Status report.
In an early June’22 Board of Supervisors meeting, The Housing Action Team submitted a petition with 600 Mendocino county resident signatures requesting that the Board develop and Implement a Short Term Ordinance for the county immediately, that the county needs to monitor the TOT payments BY STRs, AND That the Board OF Supes consider imposing a limit to the number STRS allowable along the coast to 2% of housing instead of the current roughly 4-5%, by imposing a moratorium until SHT below 2% on coast.
We at HAT had hopes of getting some response from the Supervisors, or at least from the Supes’ Ad Hoc STR committee. But in fact there has been no direct response. I have talked a couple of times with Supervisor Dan Gjerde who has been overall supportive of HAT’s proposals from the beginning. I’ve learned there is some planning for developing an ordinance and possibly some agreement on limiting STR growth in what is being considered a zone that includes from Ten Mile to Casper Creek.
The Coastal Commission is involved in anything and everything related to housing and land in the coastal zone and almost all housing and especially STRs, are in the coastal zone. So constraints on housing or expansion of new housing requires Coastal Commission approval. Apparently the County is applying for grant from the Coastal Commission to work on an STR Ordinance, as well as some other land use issues. The grants that are expected to be awarded over the next several months. The Coastal Commission takes time; it will be two to three years from the time of the grant beginning before a final decision would come from Coastal Commission.
HAT will continue to push for a having moratorium on new Short Term Rentals while the the Coastal Commission is reviewing the “County ordinance.”
The County is very very short staffed in most departments, and has been for some time. This means there is uncollected transiet occupancy tax (TOT) money that is not being collected which could even be close to $1 million. So HAT is also pushing for the County to use a service, there are several, to get payments from the many STR operators we know about and the many that exist who are not “listed” and do not pay TOT taxes to the County.
The County Treasurer’s report we have shows that over 100 short terms rental businesses did not pay any TOT tax and over 100 other short term rentals paid less than $1000 in taxes. While it could be that some of these later examples are STRs in a room in someone house and so maybe the $1000 is correct. The records don’t indicate what kind of STR the tax is for — which is another problem with County records. At the very least some person or service should be looking into those STRs with a lack of TOT payment as well as those with under payment.
The County does not have to wait to get its administration of Short Term Rentals in order, to collect unpaid taxes in order to begin to charge Short Term Rental Owners the Fees That Cover The Cost Of Administration.
It makes no sense for the County to essentially give up workforce house for nothing — no TOT income to the County. It looks like that is happening on a pretty big scale but unknown because there is not the staff to do the work needed.
There is help available through services whose business it is to assist city and county governments set up systems, run systems, collect past due money, verify correct payments, etc. The County is choosing not to use it and doesn’t have the staff to do the work needed.
Lastly for now, it is clear the TOT income to the county is in a very large part from the established inns on the coast. In a quick unofficial review, over two-thirds of the income comes from the inns. The houses portion of TOT payments is much lower while often these houses are regular housing people could live in.
Clearly some housing is best used as Short Term Rentals, but the proportion of those is, in reality, quite small in comparison to regular housing for workforce that has been turned over to STRs.
Turning houses that people could live into a business contributing couple thousand dollars a year in TOT Tax is a foolish bargain. Regulating and collecting the taxes due is needed now, but also an actual analysis of the return on “housing turned into STR’ should be studied, I am betting the dollars favor keeping the work force housing. The cities and counties are responsible to house the workforce. Fort Bragg limits Short Term Rentals to 10 units in city limits and it has for over 20 years. It is time for the county to step up to save some housing for the workforce, and get income through the productive workforce, and still have visitor income.
This “Report” comes from me (Elizabeth Swenson), not HAT as a group. I felt I need to get some information out ASAP, partly because people expected there would be information status of HAT’s proposal on the KZYX show Wednesday and the discussion didn’t really go there.
* * *
Thank you, Elizabeth for keeping us posted. The adoption of a Class K owner/builder permit category (1981) by the Board of Supes was the result of the formation of a blanket, county-wide, demonsrative citizens' “organization” — United Stand. One of the reasons United Stand was so effective was that the leadership came from both sides of the coastal range: Anon Forest inland, Diana Wiedemann on the coast. And the recognition of their spokesperson-ship was universally respected.
Until Class K was devised, the issue of an owner-built housing ordinance was always in front of the Board, with frequent appearances of large groups of engaged, and affected county residents at Board meetings insisting on resolution. I personally think the same consistent (and sometimes disorderly) pressure has to be put on the Coastal Commission, which now favors visitor serving facilities counter to the needs of long-term residents that have lost access to housing, including young adults who were raised here.
* * *
SHORT TERM RENTALS
The argument for removing STR is absolutely wrong. What’s necessary in the county is social housing that must be the responsibility of the city of Fort Bragg, Mendocino county and the state of California. It has nothing to do with the the small STR that brings in more revenue to area with tourism. Especially as tourism brings in 65% of the economy on the coast - the largest sector. Without good tourist industry, the economy would crumble. The town of Mendocino would struggle to survive, shops, restaurants, galleries and other small businesses couldn’t afford to keep staff. This is the bare reality, social housing could deal with this issue quite easily, build a few hundred affordable homes in the area of Fort Bragg and problem solved. So who pays and that’s a question others can answer. But nevertheless at least it would be a goal, just put a creative committee together to find funds and some ideal spaces. That’s all it takes. But don’t blame the STR owner, as like a doctor or a nurse the STR owners have absolutely every right to make a living. And if this area wants to close the likes of Airbnb the council might find those owners move away. Possibly not selling their property and not letting them - just keeping it empty. When they cut the AirBnBs from 20 to 10 those property owners just shut their homes - and now they are empty and dark. Why should the onus be on properly owners to provide social housing? That is the job of local government. So who benefits? Just a thought from
A grumpy old dude!
* * *
ON LINE COMMENT on STRs
There is basically a huge problem in Mendocino County, which is, elected, hired and appointed persons, with access to public funds, do not appear to be concerned with the proprieties of using public funds properly…
Some money is always being misdirected, into private hands.
Mendocino is not the only place this occurs, and, for example, I can think of another CEO of a Healthcare District, who took “a loan” against the “CARES Act” money that his District’s Hospital was given, of $30,000!
He recently died, and the question I had was “Did he pay back the money?”
Nobody has said a word, and six weeks after his death, no obituary has been published…
Crooked public officials are everywhere, and it seems to me that this might be the real pandemic…
* * *
How glib. Where do you propose to get the water for “a few hundred affordable homes”? We'd have to start by developing a much larger water catchment and storage infrastructure. And dramatically expand the waste water plant on the headlands. Only then can we build your few hundred new homes. How long is all that going to take? And how do you propose to pay for it?
We can't build our way out of this housing crisis. Yes, we need to start that effort in force, with a plan that includes major investment in our utilities infrastructure. But we can increase our housing inventory in the much nearer future by limiting corporate, for-profit short term rentals. There are currently over 500 vacation homes for rent here on the coast. Our urgent need for teachers, law enforcement officers, health care professionals, and employees of all kinds is having a discernible, daily negative effect on our health, safety, and quality of life. Qualified applicants for those jobs want to move here with their families but cannot find a place to live. We need to do all we can as soon as we can to make affordable homes available.
FORMER PG&E EXECUTIVES AGREE TO $117-MILLION SETTLEMENT Over 2017 North Bay Fires, 2018 Camp Fire
by Nathan Solis
Former executives with utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric have reached a $117-million settlement agreement in connection with the 2017 North Bay fires and the 2018 Camp Fire, officials said.
The former officers and directors were sued by a victim trust that claimed the deadly fires were the direct result of the former executives' actions and the trust announced on Thursday that the agreement was finalized in San Francisco Superior Court.
A dozen fires ripped through Northern California in October 2017 and were sparked by downed power lines owned by PG&E, according to Cal Fire. The fires raged across California's Wine Country, including Napa, Sonoma, Humboldt, Butte and Mendocino counties and killed 19 people.
A year later, the Camp Fire was sparked in Butte County by faulty electrical equipment operated by PG&E, authorities said. The fire decimated several communities, including the town of Paradise. In total, 85 people died in the fire, making it the deadliest fire in the state's history, according to authorities.
PG&E filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after it announced a $13.5-billion settlement with fire victims and their families. The PG&E Fire Victim Trust was created after the agreement under the utility company's Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
Last year, the trust sued 20 former PG&E officers and directors, claiming they were directly responsible for the fires because of their breach of fiduciary duties to act in the best interest of the utility company.
Investigators with the California Public Utilities Commission found that there were systematic problems with PG&E's oversight of the nearly 100-year-old power line that sparked the Camp Fire. PG&E took over the power line in 1930, according to a December 2019 report.
PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in federal court for the fire.
The lawsuit filed by the trust sought to hold the former executives accountable for not properly maintaining vegetation around electrical equipment and for not installing power shutoff equipment at the time of the 2017 fire. The suit also argued that the utility company did not properly update 100-year-old equipment in connection with the Camp Fire.
Under its bankruptcy plan, PG&E allowed the Fire Victims' Trust to pursue any claims held by the utility company, including against its former directors and officers, which the company says it suffered in connection to the wildfires, the trust said in a news release.
The settlement was finalized in July and the utility company is expected to submit its approval in court on Thursday, according to attorney Frank Pitre, who is lead counsel for the trust in this lawsuit. Pitre is also a member of the trust's oversight committee.
“These funds will be used to satisfy the vast majority of outstanding fire victim claims held by certain federal agencies that assisted in battling the fires and providing assistance to victims,” Pitre said in a statement.
That funding will go to agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state agencies and other groups that helped house fire victims, Pitre said, which the trust is required to pay as part of the bankruptcy plan.
“With the vast majority of this settlement with the federal agencies satisfied, the Trust is close to being able to use all future net recoveries from assigned claims to benefit other fire victims,” Pitre said.
In a written statement, PG&E called the agreement "another step forward in PG&E's ongoing effort to resolve issues outstanding from before its bankruptcy and to move forward focused on our commitments to deliver safe, clean and reliable energy to our customers, and to continue the important work of reducing risk across our energy system."
MARY PAT PALMER: The new Apothecary with local herbal products (including my hydrosols and salves) is coming to The Bewildered Pig .... SOON!!
I agree that feral hogs’ populations must be radically reduced. These feral hogs, “an introduced species with few natural predators that have wreaked havoc” on farmland, wildlife habitat and open space and “can be found in 56 of the 58 counties,” must be diminished. “The opportunistic swine now number between 200,000 and 400,000,” the article said.
There is another species crowding into all 58 of California’s counties. There are almost 40 million of us (a hundred times more numerous than feral hogs). We are doing billions upon billions of dollars’ damage to our climate, wildlife, forests, soil, water, air, etc. What is to be done about this grossly overpopulated situation?
Fred M. Martin
THE JAN 6 COMMITTEE'S endless, and endlessly ignored, hearings will quiz Clarence Thomas’ crackpot wife, Ginni Thomas, in a closed session. Why her testimony is closed to the public is not explained. Mrs. Thomas and her husband are on the record as believers in Trump's delusional stolen election claims.
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE! Enraged by what she believed was an attempted cat murder, a 20-year-old woman ran over a man with her Honda Civic in Cypress (CA), killing him, according to prosecutors. On Tuesday, Orange County prosecutors charged Hannah Star Esser with murder in the death of Victor Anthony Luis, 43.
IN THE DAWN MURK of Anderson Valley Way recently, I was driving back to Boonville after a morning's aerobic fast-walk when a cat ran out in front of my car. The animal had made its dash about twenty yards from my vehicle, which was moving about 25mph. Suddenly, from behind me came a death shriek so piercing that for a frantic instant I thought I may have just rolled by a murder scene. Nope, it was one of the early morning cat ladies at their feral cat-feeding station, and then I realized it was me who'd ignited the hysteria, me who brakes for all animals including the two-footed ones. The cat lady thought I might hit the animal I'd clearly seen dash across the road not even close to my death machine.
THE ALAMEDA COUNTY Sheriff’s Office has stripped 47 deputies — 10% of the force — of their guns and arrest powers because they failed psychological exams, although they'll continue to be paid while they rehab their mental health.
I'D LIKE to see that test, but according to what I can gather it tries to assess the candidate's overall sanity:
- Impulse control
- Reasonable courage
- Lack of bias
- Ability to tolerate stress
- Ability to deal with supervision
- Appropriate attitudes towards sexuality
REASONABLE COURAGE? What's unreasonable courage, and what's the diff between honesty and integrity? Most elastic of all, “appropriate attitudes towards sexuality,” which is a tough category to keep up with these days given the rapid changes in the new frontiers of previously unknown sexual practices. The suppression of a guy walking down the street with his arse hanging out of a leather get-up would depend on whether he's doing it in a Frisco parade of a thousand guys walking down the street with their arses hanging out or if he's a solo act in Boonville. Question: Mass arrest the thousand or the solo act? Correct, officer, the solo arse. You pass, but in Boonville roughly half the town would accuse you of sexual harrassment.
AN INTERESTING CASE of officer misconduct is raging in San Rafael. In brief, a male and female cop roll up on three Mexican guys drinking beer well away from a nearby apartment complex in the Canal neighborhood, where Marin's labor lives ten to two bedroom slum apartments like those in South Ukiah. The female cop tells the men in a non-hostile voice that they're in violation of the open container laws.
WATCHING the video of the ensuing violent physical take down of one of the Mexicans by the male cop you wonder, “What the hell?” The three open containers had not been defiant, just a little slow grasping what they're being told to do — empty their beers. Which was wacky in the first place because they were just sitting on a log far from the nearest habitation quietly having a beer after a day's labor that you know was tough and underpaid. They hadn't been bothering anyone.
ONE of the beer drinkers winds up with a broken nose and is placed under arrest on a bunch of bogus charges, including assault on the peace officer who had clearly assaulted him.
BUT ALL THREE happen to have influential connections among the wealthy Marin-ites whose landscaping the three beer drinkers do, and every limo lib in town is immediately on the phone with San Rafael's police chief demanding the cops' heads, both of whom had been caught on camera laughing about what amounts to an assault on a much smaller man who was obviously trying to do what he'd been told to do — empty his beer. That there episode is such bad judgement you have to wonder how the two badged louts got on the force in the first place.
I'm running for the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board. Here's my Candidate Statement for the Voter Guide:
"The Mendocino Coast Health Care District needs a Board that works well together, whose members are competent and committed to supporting quality health care on the Mendocino Coast.
I bring the organizational and communication skills of a veteran teacher. My years as a fire department EMT gave me an understanding of rural health care’s challenges. Attending and speaking at District Board meetings since 2017, I know the issues facing the District.
I see three priorities:
One, put the Health Care District’s house in order. Create Bylaws and Policies. Clean up the bookkeeping and complete the delayed Audit(s), so the Board and taxpayers know what resources the District has to work with.
Two, address the 2030 earthquake retrofit deadline. Resolving this will have lasting impacts on the quality of health care on the Coast. This will take a lot of work, and we are years behind on the planning.
Three, support Adventist Health, Work with them to draw on the Parcel Tax funds for new equipment while addressing the housing crisis that prevents hiring permanent health care providers .
I am committed to putting in the hours and work it will take to secure the District’s future. Thank you for your support."
1. This is a lot... "softer"... than my personal attitude about the dysfunction of the current Board, which has, in my opinion, put the continuing existence of our hospital on the Coast in serious jeopardy.
2. I am aware of Assembly Member Jim Wood's observation that the repairs to bring all of the hospitals in California up to earthquake standards would cost in the tens of billions of dollars. I also think, and several key players agree, that the financial capacity on the Coast exists to build a new state-of-the-art hospital here, similar to the new hospital in Willits. What is currently missing is the trusted leadership to guide such a transformational effort.
3. Adventist Health, for all its drawbacks, is the current operator of our Coast Hospital. Of note, after Adventist took over, staff morale jumped way up. In the caring professions, morale is essential to quality of care. Our Coast Hospital is also consistently losing money. In a year or two, Adventist Health will decide whether to continue operating our hospital or terminate the lease and return the operation to the Health Care District Board. This would create an existential crisis. Our hospital will not survive without affiliation with a larger health care system.
4. One primary reason our Coast Hospital is losing money is that it has been unable to attract and retain quality providers, due to the housing crisis on the Coast. Health care providers and their families will not come here, if they have to live in travel trailers and RV parks because there is no acceptable housing. Between vacation rentals taking 400 houses off the housing market, and real estate speculators buying up properties to make a killing on the climate crisis, housing for even doctors and nurses has become almost impossible to find. While the Health Care District does not have the resources to solve this problem on its own, it can and should take a leadership role in working with the Health Care Foundation, the City of Fort Bragg, Mendocino County and other interested parties to create ways of welcoming permanent providers to the Coast.
5. Preserving and improving our hospital will take a lot more work than five Board members can do. It will take an effort of our entire community. The 29,000 or so people our hospital serves need to come together and decide that we deserve quality medical care on the Coast and that we are willing to work together to make that happen. This may be a tall order for our sometimes shy and fractious communities, but in very real ways, our lives, our children's and grandchildren's lives depend on it.
Finally, this is becoming a real political campaign. Three 4-year seats on the Board are open, along with one 2-year seat. Incumbent John Redding has filed, along with three candidates from a progressive perspective, Lee Finney, Susan Savage and myself. Getting at least three progressives on the Board will be essential to break the dysfunctional stalemate that threatens our hospital.
Winning this election and turning the current situation around will, unfortunately, take money. Please contribute if you can afford to.
Here's the campaign Facebook page with more information and an ActBlue link for contributions:
Jade Tippett for Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board
SHARK ENCOUNTER (David Gurney)
These are my own, so I know they are true.
The first most incredible was when working, alone underwater with Cajun Ron as the boat owner/tender.
We made it down to South of Elk a couple miles, and I jumped into the water, depth 50 or so feet. December I think, very nice viz. As soon as I looked down through my my mask, it looked like something was wrong. It looked like a couple of boulders were moving underwater.
Sure enough, when I got down a few more feet, It was a giant great white shark, with an apparent baby at hr side.
Needless to say, I got out of there quickly, Cajun Ron knew immediately by my face what was going on. He hauled me up back on the boat by my hose.
I told him what I'd seen. So I lent him my mask to take a look underwater.
He poked his his head over the side of the urchin boat the "Reef Raider" but started to slide headfirst into the tide. I had to grab him by the heels and pull him back on the boat. He did see the shark though.
Learned later there had been several sightings of this shark in Point Arena- reported at 25 feet or so.
* * *
I was Urchin diving in the beginning in the 70's with Tommy Immamura. We dove Van Damme and various beaches. Using truck inner tubes, we would go out and dive, get urchins, and then flip them into the truck tube with a net hanging under it.
I did this for several years, and then working at Grader Fish Company we started the commercial diving. It was not lucrative, and dangerous.
I dove on the Rosed, and several other early urchin boats. We had Blackout Urchins in Caspar, VanDamme, Jack Peters, and various other inland coves.
Diving in Point Arena also.
I can tell you many stories....we were the beginnings of the Urchin Industry in Fort Bragg.
ANOTHER HOMELESS ARSONIST
ON SUNDAY, Septeember 25, 2022 at approximately 9:41pm, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority was dispatched to the area of 145 Porzio Lane in Ukiah for a report of a residence on fire that was fully engulfed in flames. UPD officers also responded and arrived in the area shortly before UVFA personnel. Officers observed a house whose façade was engulfed in flame.
UPD officers quickly evacuated residents in the immediate area and escorted them to safety as Ukiah Valley Fire arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the fire. The fire was contained to a single structure, with no other damage reported. The residence was found to be vacant.
UVFA Arson Investigator Chief Justin Buckingham arrived on scene and conducted an arson investigation. It was determined that the cause of the fire was suspicious in nature, and arson was suspected.
UPD officers and detectives conducted an investigation in this matter in an attempt to identify a suspect in the arson. After obtaining and reviewing surveillance from a nearby business, Sebastian Rabano, a Ukiah transient, was identified as the suspect in this incident.
Rabano was located on 9-28-2022 at 7:47 am by a UPD officer. Rabano was contacted and questioned regarding the incident and was subsequently placed under arrest for a felony violation of arson of a structure. Rabano was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he is being held on $25,000 bail.
ON WEDNESDAY, September 28, 2022 at 2:17 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol when they observed a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign in the 200 block of KUKI Lane in Ukiah.
The Deputies performed a traffic stop and contacted the driver of the vehicle, who was identified as Edward Blakeley, 43, of Ukiah. A records check revealed that Blakeley was on active Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) out of Solano County. Blakeley's PRCS terms included a condition that he submit to search upon request.
A search of Blakeley's person and vehicle reveled a personal use quantity of suspected methamphetamine and a methamphetamine smoking pipe.
Blakeley was arrested for Felony Violation of PRCS, Misdemeanor Possession Controlled Substance and Misdemeanor Possession Drug Paraphernalia. Blakeley was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status.
On Thursday, September 29, 2022 at 2:43 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol when they observed a subject sleeping on a set of steps to a local business in the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah.
The Deputies contacted the subject and identified him as Scott Faber, 43, of Ukiah. A records check revealed that Faber had two outstanding no-cite Mendocino County misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. The Deputies arrested Faber for the warrants. A search, incident to arrest, revealed a personal use quantity of suspected methamphetamine and a live firearm cartridge on his person.
The Deputies researched Faber's criminal history and learned he was lawfully prohibited from possessing ammunition.
Faber was arrested for Felony - Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Misdemeanor - Possession Controlled Substance and the Misdemeanor Arrest Warrants.
Faber was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held in lieu of 25,000 bail.
RD BEACON: While digging through some old papers I came up with this interesting story.
It was written in 1976 by LA Times reporter Charles Hillinger who met me over dinner up near Little River at the inn. He told the he came down to Elk among his many stops and brought a cameraman and took notes. The true blasts from the past. Over a period of time it was republished in every major newspaper in the free world. I had people coming out of the woodwork trying to borrow money, and wanting me to finance several projects that they had up their sleeves. At the time I was a little short of cash but I got a lot of free meals and interesting letters, which I still have a queue of.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 29, 2022
MAURILIO CASAREZ, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
MARCO DAVILA, Point Arena. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.
SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person, failure to appear.
JUSTIN GARNER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
GORDON HANOVER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
LUIS MAGANA-ALVAREZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
PAUL MCMANUS, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license, addict driving vehicle, paraphernalia, bringing controlled substance into jail.
ERIC OLECIK, Ukiah. Domestic abuse, domestic battery, protective order violation, resisting, probation revocation.
FACTORY FISH FOR HUMCO? Press release from Nordic Aquafarms:
In a special public hearing on September 28, 2022, the Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to uphold the Humboldt County Planning Commission’s decision.
The Board of Supervisors met to consider an appeal filed by three local organizations regarding certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the Coastal Development Permit, and Special Permit for the Nordic Aquafarms project.
The EIR, a culmination of over a thousand pages, required many months of collaborative work done by Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District and the County of Humboldt. The document is a deep, comprehensive analysis of impact studies done by experts in the relevant fields and a monumental step forward on the journey towards a sustainable, forward-looking agricultural project.
“Nordic’s project, as shown in the EIR and further reinforced by today’s overwhelming vote of support by the Board of Supervisors is meeting, if not exceeding, the CEQA guidelines,” states Brenda Chandler, Nordic Aquafarms’ Interim CEO. “For example, we are committed to 100% renewable and/or carbon free energy and will always strive to be progressive in meeting our goals as a sustainable and traceable source of fresh fish, in the US market.”
One proposal accepted by the Board was an annual Sustainability Summit that Nordic will sponsor, bringing together local NGOs, Humboldt County’s community leaders, academia, tribal government leadership and members of the public. In addition to reviewing Nordic’s Annual Sustainability Report, this forum will be a place where environmental issues and solutions can be proposed by all attendees.
“The universal goal would be to create a cycle of sustainability improvements; and agreed upon elements will be incorporated into our sustainability goals.” states Chandler. “These collaborative solutions are not exclusive to Nordic, leaving opportunity for development of community wide initiatives.”
“Nordic Aquafarms has been clear from the very beginning, that we will always look to balance what is possible and practical in all areas.” Chandler states. “We have listened to the voices of the community, both in support for this project, and those with concerns. One very clear consensus is that this project is needed here. We will continue to listen to the Humboldt community — it is that feedback that inspires evolution.”
MANY BAY AREA WINE DRINKERS might not be able to point out Redwood Valley on a map, but they’ve probably tasted Redwood Valley wine. This little-known slice of inland Mendocino County has become the go-to vineyard region for some of California’s most popular young wine producers, like Martha Stoumen Wines, Broc Cellars, Emme Wines, Les Lunes Wine and Vinca Minor Wine.
For these progressive, low-intervention winemakers, Redwood Valley seemed to represent “that holy grail,” said Hardy Wallace of Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah (and formerly of Dirty & Rowdy). Historic, century-old vineyards? Check. Farmers that follow organic and dry-farming practices? Check. Unusual grape varieties like Carignan and Mourvedre? Check. More affordable than Napa or Sonoma? Definitely check.
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg) passes along notes from a friend in Florida:
Took a direct hit. 3 mph short of Cat 5. Hurricane Ian is a beast. Terrifying. Winds howling, shutters still on but dang it, the caulking on some windows failed. Water pooling. Mopping then duct taping the leaks. Hope it holds. Downed trees, uprooted monsters, one big one took out our fence and others snapped in half like toothpicks. Its ungodly here. Florida will be a disaster for a long time. Flooding, storm surge, tornadoes pose threats now. More rain coming over several days. Our generator is running our fridge, stove, ac, lights. We have water, food. Not sure of anything else right now. We cannot see through the shutters because they are solid but when the eye passed, winds and rain took a pause. I ran outside with Tig who needed to pee desperately. He did his thing and I took a gander. Neighbors are missing shingles, some entire roofs, junk everywhere. Its not safe to go out yet. More news tomorrow! We are glad to be alive. Casualties are expected. Shocking to be in this mess!
We live in Punta Gorda. Fort Meyers is 40 minutes south, Sarasota 60 minutes north of us. We had a Cat 5 after all. This is bad. No power, cell phone towers, internet, cable tv, we do have water. Fort Myers is decimated. Bridges to barrier islands gone. People stranded. Coast Guard will be doing search and rescue. We were told that many people drowned inside their shuttered and locked down homes due to horrendous storm surge. We are shocked at the tragedies unfolding... We are alive, grateful beyond belief. We hope to get through this situation as does everyone. People are helping each other. God bless the good people here who care!
Our house has missing soffit, gutters, downspouts, a smashed chain link fence from a humongous tree that snapped in half and landed on it, uprooted trees, shrubs and bushes denuded of foliage, yard debris everywhere like a greenhouse exploded or something, neighbors are missing the roof AND TRUSSES so you can look up from inside their family room and see lots of sky. People are missing their pool cages, some pools are wrecked. I have lots of dirt that blew into mine. Our generator is performing well but if we run out of propane in a week or so, we will have to wait for a delivery. We were able to get through to Ferrellgas to place an order. It took over 7 hours of waiting on the phone to get a claim going on our insurance. We have, as many homeowners here do, large beds of pebbles with a palm tree or two in the beds or islands. Our palms are like sticks pretty much. I just learned that 90% of Fort Meyers is underwater and demolished. Bridges to barrier islands are gone. I may be repeating myself. The worst I am hearing is that the number of people drowned by storm surge is over 100 so far. It is sobering.
IMAGES FROM FORT MYERS/HURRICANE IAN
Floridians are finding themselves in a changed landscape after Hurricane Ian swept through the region on Wednesday. Images of the aftermath show a glimpse of the destruction caused by the powerful Category 4 storm: homes washed out, boats yanked from their moorings, and decimated, flooded neighborhoods. Rescue and recovery efforts got underway after some of the more dangerous conditions subsided, but the full scope of Ian's destruction is still unclear.
Here are some photos of what Hurricane Ian left behind:
Documentary about forest defenders in the Philippines
I want to recommend a new documentary film that is currently streaming on the PBS program POV. The film DELIKADO follows land defenders risking their lives to preserve their forests, mountains and mangroves on an island in the Philippines. It's an excellent film, and the bravery of the forest defenders is inspiring. It resonates with the local movement to stop logging in Jackson State Forest. You can watch it at this link until October 26th: https://www.pbs.org/pbs-video-app/
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When I was growing up folks used words like “durn,” “doggone,” and “dadblame” as adjectives. “Shoot!” and “Durnit!” were common ways to express frustration. When my granny got particularly upset, she would say “Fiddlesticks!”
Words such as these are called “minced oaths.” They are socially permissible substitutes for similar words that are considered vulgar or profane.
Until the late 19th century, most English language expletives (“cuss words,” as l learned to call them) were profanities—irreverent uses of words taken from religion or the Bible, words such as “God,” “hell,” or “damnation,” for example. Of course, it was coarse and socially unacceptable to use such words irreverently (profanely), so minced oaths such as “gosh,” “heck,” and “tarnation,” arose as substitutes. One of the most common early minced oaths was “Zounds!,” used to express surprise and a substitute for the profane “God’s wounds!”
By 1900, as blasphemy became less shocking, obscenities and vulgarity began to replace profanity as the expletives of choice, with the most commonly used expletives/swear words being derived from words for body parts, bodily wastes, and sex. Naturally as these expletives became more common, so did minced oath substitutes like “shoot,” “shucks,” “flip,” and “fudge.”
An observer of language in the 21st century might reasonably wonder whether we are witnessing the end of minced oaths. Nowadays, more than at any time in prior history, there seems to be little aversion or adverse consequence to the use of expletives that not long ago would have been considered outrageous and offensive vulgarities. With the normalizing of such words, the need for minced oath substitutes diminishes. So perhaps minced oaths are becoming a thing of the past. If so, I’m going to miss them, doggone-it.
WILL SAMPSON, a full blooded Muscogee (Creek), was born in Okmulgee County, Oklahoma and stood an imposing 6'7" tall. Sampson competed in rodeos (his specialty being bronco busting), for about twenty years.
Now, Wikipedia says that he was on the rodeo circuit when producers Saul Zaentz and Michael Douglas were looking for a large Native American to play the role of Chief Bromden in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975). Rodeo announcer Mel Lambert mentioned Sampson to them, and after lengthy efforts to find him, hired him on the strength of an interview. He had never acted before.
But IMDb says that Sampson was a park ranger in Oregon in a park near where the movie was filmed. He was selected for the part because he was the only Native American the Casting Department could find who matched the character's incredible size.
I researched New York Times and the Oklahoman websites for Sampson's obituaries, and neither says anything about either. The LA Times obituary for Sampson leans toward the rodeo story. But the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society website, writing about a documentary produced about Sampson, quotes his sister Norma Sampson Bible as follows: "What he told me, he was up there in Yakima, Washington, somewhere up there in the mountains painting and drawing and coming down once in a while. He said he had a friend in town. He came down to check his mail or something and his friend told him that they were in town casting for a movie and said they needed 'a tall, ugly Indian.' Those were his words... So my brother thought, 'Why not?' He was always one to take a gamble anyway. So he walked to this casting office ... they said the minute he walked in the door, they said, boy, they had found their Indian. So he was the mute Indian in 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'."
So I'm going to go with his sister, and you now have an idea of how challenging it is to do these posts when you encounter conflicting information, not that I'm complaining, mind you...
MEMORY HOLED: "THE ELECTION WAS HACKED"
Matt Orfalea's terrific new video should remind everyone that “election denial” is a sequel story
by Matt Taibbi & Matt Orfalea
Mercifully, the January 6th committee hearings in congress were canceled yesterday, presumably because Hurricane Ian’s landfall would have botched ratings. With midterms approaching, Democrats have a lot riding on January 6th and are growing impatient. New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, who runs the party’s campaign arm, even grumbled about a lack of indictments.
“I think it’s going to be very hard for people to understand if there aren’t actions by the Justice Department to hold people accountable,” he said.
As with Ukrainegate and impeachment, and Russiagate before that, polls show January 6th remains low on the list of voter concerns (the cratering economy is first). However, the reason it “may be hard for people to understand,” as Maloney says, is that congress has spent too much time blurring lines between election denial and conspiracy to overturn the result. If they just focused on the latter — and they have produced evidence, like Trump asking Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to seize voting machines — the hearings might be more effective, even with Republicans.
But they haven’t been, for a reason made obvious by Matt Orfalea’s damning video — which YouTube incredibly has already demonetized — above. Amid sweeping efforts to punish election denial in the Trump context, both criminally and with censorship, an almost exactly similar denial campaign that inspired four-plus years of blue politics has been dropped down a memory hole.
Led by the losing candidate in 2016, Democratic Party politicians along with law enforcement and intelligence officials and media spent years denying the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, based on an equally specious/dishonest formulation: “The election was hacked.” Moreover, they instigated removal efforts based on the same declare-guilt-now, prove-it-later mentality that gripped figures like Trump and Rudy Giuliani in 2020. How different really is “Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me” from “We just have to dig deeper, do the investigation and find it”?
The January 6th hearings ironically are an outgrowth of the Democrats’ own six-year-long election denial endeavor, involving the same people who pushed attempts to remove Trump based on manufactured theories of foreign collusion. There’s an automatic Boy Who Cried Wolf factor built in to hearings that include the likes of California’s Adam Schiff (“I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now”) or Maryland’s Jamie Raskin (“Donald Trump is the hoax perpetrated on the Americans by the Russians”).
Moreover, congressional Democrats’ successful push for censorship on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube — a campaign that began even before January 6th — reveal that the party considers the act of denial itself illegitimate and ban-worthy, if not criminal. But how can that be if, as the video shows, the party’s own leaders engage in the same behavior? How can declaring the 2020 election illegitimate be prohibited, if saying the same thing about 2016 was and is encouraged?
The two stories obviously aren’t the same. But they’re a lot closer than we’ve been led to believe:
On December 10, 2020, after Joe Biden’s election but before the January 6th riots, Vanity Fair’s Eric Lutz went on CBS to talk about the historic implications of the 2020 race.
“When Joe Biden is inaugurated,” he said, “a huge segment of the country is going view him has an illegitimate president.” He added: “This sets a precedent now.”
Except, as seen above, the precedent already had been set. The most serious form of denial was the narrative that Russian hacking constituted a “9/11-style” emergency rendering Trump’s election illegitimate. This contention, usually phrased in a way that could lead people to believe vote tallies had been changed by Russian operatives, began before Trump was sworn in.
The late congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, at the time the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, set the stage on December 16, 2016, when he described opposing Trump’s inauguration as patriotic duty. “This is a 9/11 for us,” Cummings said. “I’ve said it for weeks, this is a struggle for the soul of our democracy,” adding, “We have no time for partisanship.”
The Cummings CNN appearance is worth watching in full. He cites former acting CIA director Michael Morell — who was slated to be Clinton’s CIA head before she lost — in saying Trump’s election was “the political equivalent of 9/11.” This came on the heels of anonymous officials leaking to the Washington Posttheir belief that the “consensus view” was “Russia’s goal” was “to help Trump get elected.”
Trump was ridiculed for pointing out this came from the same people who told us WMDs were in Iraq. Yet it was later revealed that the notion that Putin was trying specifically to aid Trump was based significantly on one human source who reported only to former CIA chief John Brennan, who admitted in a book that he overrode two senior officials to reach his conclusion. That “exfiltrated spy” story ended in bizarre enough fashion to raise serious doubts about his information. Other “evidence” contributing to that assessment involved bogus paid opposition research supplied by the Clinton campaign, which of course remained silent about its role in spreading these rumors during all the “political 9/11” talk.
Nonetheless, politicians from the start declared foreign interference on Trump’s behalf a certainty. They talked not only about things like the Wikileaks release of real emails, but incessantly referred to “attacks” on the election itself. “Our election process has been attacked,” is how Cummings put it.
Cleverly vague formulations like this led to ubiquitous use of the phrase, “Russia hacked the election,” which led to media reports saying things like, “It increasingly looks like Russian hackers may have affected actual vote totals,” which in turn pushed an increasingly high percentage of Democrats into the Q-like la-la land of thinking Russians “tampered with vote tallies.” By 2018, a YouGov poll found 67% of Democrats agreed with that proposition. Hillary Clinton was one of the worst offenders on this score, telling audiences as late as 2019 that “actual interference” took place, that “we know it happened,” but the details just aren’t known because they’re “classified.”
It’s long been understood that responsible politicians at some point must stop trying to contest results and recognize the legitimacy of victorious opponents, to protect the orderly transfer of power. This is one of the reasons Trump is deservedly criticized for his behavior after the 2020 race, i.e. he not only raised doubts about whether he would leave office voluntarily, but inspired followers to reject his successor as illegitimate. This even became part of the rationale for his removal from social media. Here’s an excerpt of Twitter’s announcement on January 8th, 2021, focusing on a Trump tweet, “I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th”:
President Trump’s statement that he will not be attending the Inauguration is being received by a number of his supporters as further confirmation that the election was not legitimate and is seen as him disavowing his previous claim… that there would be an “orderly transition” on January 20th.
Obviously in the context of January 6th the act of refusing to attend Joe Biden’s inauguration has a different meaning, but it’s still true that dozens of elected Democrats refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, from Praymila Jayapal to Jerrold Nadler to Lloyd Doggett. They were led by the late Georgia congressman and civil rights legend John Lewis, who was hailed at the time for saying, “I don’t see this President-elect as a legitimate president” because “the Russians participated in helping this man get elected.”
Definitions of “illegitimacy” spanned a range, from Cornel West’s simple complaint about “moral character” to California’s Jerry McNerney condemning the “FBI’s biased involvement.” But the most common reason Trump was deemed “illegitimate” was summed up by David Remnick, who praised Lewis and decried “a one-sided, pro-Trump… information and cyber assault” by a foreign power. That’s New Yorker-ese for “The Russians hacked the election.”
Hillary Clinton went to Trump’s inauguration, but less than a year later gave an interview saying she “really tried to get out of” going. This mimicked her pattern of conceding to Trump on election night — the main reason Politifact rates as “false” the notion that democrats “spent 4 years refusing to acknowledge Trump’s 2016 victory” — only to go on for years after publicly declaring him “illegitimate,” that he “didn’t win,” that his presidency was “stolen” from her, etc.
A recent editorial in the Washington Post cited the Sheikh Abdul Rahman case in arguing that Trump’s “Stop the Steal” talk led inexorably to illegal action. “Sometimes speech turns into an actual plan,” law professors Claire O. Finkelstein and Richard W. Painter wrote, “and in such cases the First Amendment no longer applies.”
If that’s the case, how do we characterize CIA officials in 2017 telling counterparts in foreign intelligence services not to share information with them because Russia had “leverages of pressure” on Trump — a fake news story invented by the Clinton campaign that made its way into an intelligence assessment — which all took place in the context of a wider effort to progress toward impeachment based on supposed collusion? What about a U.S. congressman, Eric Swalwell, saying Trump is a Russian agent “working on behalf of the Russians,” or fellow House member Jackie Speier saying Trump’s presidency as a “crime in progress”?
More to the point, how about former CIA head John Brennan saying Trump’s behavior exceeded the impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” calling it “nothing short of treasonous”? Brennan’s riff ended with an unsubtle call to action: “Patriots: Where are you?” By what reasoning is this not actionable speech, while “Be there, will be wild!” is?
By the time Biden and future Vice President Kamala Harris went on the 2020 campaign trail, both co-signed the “universal assessment” that Trump was an “illegitimate president” who was in office because “Russia hacked the election.” The losing Democratic candidate in the previous election was a leader in the public relations campaign. Her camp was also responsible for creating a host of fake news stories advancing it, from the smearing of Carter Page as a Russian cutout to the ludicrous Alfa-server tale to the critical, repeatedly leaked narrative that Russia had blackmail material, which led to the “leverages of pressure” story.
This is exactly the kind of behavior we’re now being told is so dangerous that it requires both censorship and official investigation. The chief difference is Trump’s efforts ended in an Airheads-style temporary occupation of the Capitol by MAGA dolts, while Democratic efforts ended in multiple, sophisticated efforts to remove Trump from the White House, either by impeachment or indictment. It can’t be held against Trump that his brand of election denial was dumber and less likely to succeed than that of his opponents. Orfalea’s video shows the double-standard. We either censor and condemn election denial, or we don’t. You can’t have it both ways, but they sure are trying.
REMEMBERING THE GREAT MILES DAVIS (May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991)
"It's quality that makes music good. If you get the right guys to play the right thing at the right time, you got everything you need. I could take guys who've played with me -- like Ron Carter, Herbie and Tony -- and they could play anything. I could put together the greatest rock and roll band you ever heard. But the quality of music is in the musicians too. Guys get together and make music good. I've heard so many good songs fuc*ed up because they weren't directed right, not going in the right direction. I've had Herbie and them start off in the wrong direction, and I had to say, 'Hey! Wait a minute.'"
Direction, as well as approach, is a strong member of the Miles Davis music structure. Each of his last two albums, Kilimanjaro and In a Silent Way, has a small line of type on the cover that reads "Directions in music by Miles Davis." None of his earlier albums have it.
It means I tell everybody what to do,"he said lightheartedly. If I don't tell I'm, I ask I'm. It's my date, y'understand? And I've got to say yes and no. Been doing it for years, and I got tired of seeing 'Produced by this person or that person.' When I'm on a date, I'm usually supervising everything."
YOUTUBE DEMONETIZES TK CONTENT
by Matt Taibbi
Today we’re releasing a video Matt Orfalea has been working on, showing years of audio and video clips, tweets, and headlines in which Democratic Party politicians and media figures describe Donald Trump’s presidency as illegitimate. Before it was even published on this site, Matt received the above notice.
I’d like to thank YouTube for making our point. The material in this video does not promote the idea that any election was stolen or illegitimate. On the contrary, it shows a great mass of comments from Democratic partisans and pundits who themselves make that claim, about the 2016 election. Those comments were not censored or suppressed when made the first time around, by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Karine Jean-Pierre, Adam Schiff, Rob Reiner, Tom Arnold, and Chris Hayes, among many others.
Nor did any platform step in to issue warnings when my former boss, Keith Olbermann, promised with regard to Trump’s ascension to the White House, “It will not be a peaceful transfer of power.”
However, the decision to assemble these materials in one place, inviting audiences to consider their meaning, apparently crosses a line. Now we know: you can deny election results on a platform like YouTube as much as you want, you can even promise disruption, but drawing attention to such behavior angers the algorithm. It’s hard to imagine a better demonstration of the double-standard in content moderation.
BURNING BOOKS (OR RATHER BOOK COMPANIES)
by Tom Engelhardt
No one listened better than Studs. For those of you old enough to remember, that’s Studs Terkel, of course. The most notable thing about him in person, though, was this: the greatest interviewer of his moment, perhaps of any moment, never stopped talking, except, of course, when he was listening to produce one of his memorable bestselling oral histories — he essentially created the form — ranging from Working and Hard Times to The Good War.
I still remember him calling my house. He was old, his hearing was going, and he couldn’t tell that my teenage son had rushed to answer the phone, hoping it was one of his friends. Instead, finding himself on with Studs talking a mile a minute, my son would begin yelling desperately, “Dad! Dad!”
With that — and a recent publishing disaster — in mind this morning, I took my little stepladder to the back of my tiny study, put it in front of my bookcase and climbed up until I could reach the second to the top shelf, the one that still has Studs’s old volumes lined up on it. Among others, I pulled down one of his later oral histories, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: Reflections on Death, Rebirth, and Hunger for a Faith. In its acknowledgments, I found this: “Were it not for Tom Engelhardt, the nonpareil of editors, who was uncanny in cutting the fat from the lean (something I found impossible to do) and who gave this work much of its form, I’d still be in the woods.”
And that still makes me so proud. But let me rush to add that, in the years of his best-known work when I was at Pantheon Books (1976 to 1990), I was never his main editor. That honor was left to the remarkable André Schiffrin who started Studs, like so many other memorable authors, on his book career; ran that publishing house in his own unique way; found me in another life; and turned me into the editor he sensed I already naturally was.
For me, those were remarkable years. Even then, André was a genuinely rare figure in mainstream publishing — a man who wanted the world to change, a progressive who couldn’t have been a more adventurous publisher. In fact, I first met him in the midst of the Vietnam War, at a time when I was still an Asian-scholar-to-be and involved in organizing a group, the Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars, that had produced an antiwar book, The Indochina Story, that André had decided to publish.
In my years at Pantheon, he transformed me into a book editor and gave me the leeway to find works I thought might, in some modest fashion, help alter our world (or rather the way we thought about it) for the better. Those included, among others, the rediscovery of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s early-twentieth-century utopian masterpiece Herland; the publishing of Unforgettable Fire, Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors (not long before, in the early 1980s, an antinuclear movement in need of it would arise in this country); Nathan Huggins’s monumental Black Odyssey; Eduardo Galeano’s unique three-volume Memory of Fire history of the Americas; Eva Figes’s novel Light; John Berger’s Another Way of Telling; Orville Schell’s “Watch Out for the Foreign Guests!”: China Encounters the West; and even — my mother was a cartoonist — the Beginner’s comic book series, including Freud for Beginners, Marx for Beginners, Darwin for Beginners, and, of course, Art Spiegelman’s MAUS, to mention just a modest number of works I was responsible for ushering into existence here in America.
The Second Time Around
What a chance, in my own fashion and however modestly, to lend a hand in changing and improving our world. And then, in a flash, in 1990 it all came to an end. In those years, publishing was already in the process (still ongoing) of conglomerating into ever fewer monster operations. Si Newhouse, the owner of Condé Nast and no fan of progressive publishing, had by that time taken over Random House, the larger operation in which Pantheon was lodged and he would, in the end, get rid of André essentially because of his politics and the kind of books we published.
We editors and most of the rest of the staff quit in protest, claiming we had been “Newhoused.” (Writers like Barbara Ehrenreich and Kurt Vonnegut would join us in that protest.) The next thing I knew, I was out on the street, both literally and figuratively, and my life as a scrambling freelancer began. Yes, Pantheon still existed in name, but not the place I had known and loved. It was a bitter moment indeed, both personally and politically, watching as something so meaningful, not just to me but to so many readers, was obliterated in that fashion. It seemed like a publishing version of capitalism run amok.
And then, luck struck a second time. A few years later, one of my co-editors and friends at Pantheon, Sara Bershtel, launched a new publishing house, Metropolitan Books, at Henry Holt Publishers. It seemed like a miracle to me then. Suddenly, I found myself back in the heartland of mainstream publishing, a “consulting editor” left to do my damnedest, thanks to Sara (herself an inspired and inspiring editor). I was, so to speak, back in business.
And as at Pantheon, it would prove an unforgettable experience. I mean, honestly, where else in mainstream publishing would Steve Fraser and I have been able to spend years producing a line-up of books in a series we called, graphically enough, The American Empire Project? (Hey, it even has a Wikipedia entry!) In that same period, Sara would publish memorable book after memorable book like Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed and Thomas Frank’s What‘s the Matter with Kansas?, some of which made it onto bestseller lists, while I was putting out volumes by authors whose names will be familiar indeed to the readers of TomDispatch, including Andrew Bacevich, James Carroll, Noam Chomsky, Michael Klare, Chalmers Johnson, Alfred McCoy, Jonathan Schell, and Nick Turse. And it felt comforting somehow to be back in a situation where I could at least ensure that books I thought might make some modest (or even immodest) difference in an ever more disturbed and disturbing America would see the light of day.
I’ve written elsewhere about the strange moment when, for instance, I first decided that I had to publish what became Chalmers Johnson’s remarkable, deeply insightful, and influential book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire on the future nightmares my country was then seeding into the rest of the planet. Think, for instance, of Osama bin Laden who, Johnson assured his readers well before 9/11 happened, we had hardly heard the last of. (Not surprisingly, only after 9/11 did that book become a bestseller!) Or consider Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, which I published in 2003. So many years later, its very title still sums up remarkably well the dilemma we face on a planet where what’s on the mind of top foreign policy officials in Washington these days is — god save us! — a new cold war with China. We’re talking, in other words, about a place where the two major greenhouse gas emitters on Planet Earth can’t agree on a thing or work together in any way.
The Second Time Around (Part 2)
But let me not linger on ancient history when, just the other day, it happened again. And by it I mean a new version of what happened to me at Pantheon Books. It’s true that because, in my later years, TomDispatch has become my life’s work, I hadn’t done anything for Metropolitan for a while (other, of course, than read with deep fascination the books Sara published). Still, just two weeks ago I was shocked to hear that, like Pantheon, Metropolitan, a similarly progressive publishing house in the mainstream world, was consigned to the waves; its staff laid off; and the house itself left in the publishing version of hell.
Initially, that act of Holt’s, the consigning of Metropolitan to nowhere land, was reported by the trade publication Publisher’s Weekly, but count on one thing: more is sure to come as that house’s authors learn the news and respond.
After all, like Pantheon, at the moment of its demise, it was a lively, deeply progressive operation, churning out powerful new titles — until, that is, it was essentially shut down when Sara, a miraculous publisher like André, was shown the door along with her staff. Bam! What did it matter that, thanks to her, Metropolitan still occupied a space filled by no other house in mainstream publishing? Nothing obviously, not to Holt, or assumedly Macmillan, the giant American publishing conglomerate of which it was a part, or the German Holtzbrinck Publishing Group that owns Macmillan.
How strange that we’re in a world where two such publishing houses, among the best and most politically challenging around, could find that there simply was no place for them as progressive publishers in the mainstream. André, who died in 2013, responded by launching an independent publishing house, The New Press, an admirable undertaking. In terms of the Dispatch Books I still put out from time to time, I find myself in a similar world, dealing with another adventurous independent publishing outfit, Haymarket Books.
Still, what an eerie mainstream we now inhabit, don’t we?
I mean, when it comes to what capitalism is doing on this planet of ours, book publishing is distinctly small (even if increasingly mashed) potatoes. After all, we’re talking about a world where giant fossil-fuel companies with still-soaring profits are all too willing to gaslight the public while quite literally burning the place up — or perhaps I mean flooding the place out. (Don’t you wonder sometimes what the CEOs of such companies are going to tell their grandchildren?)
So the consignment of Metropolitan Books to the trash heap of history is, you might say, a small matter indeed. Still, it’s painful to see what is and isn’t valued in this society of ours (and by whom). It’s painful to see who has the ability to cancel out so much else that should truly matter.
And believe me, just speaking personally, twice is twice too much. Imagine two publishing houses that let me essentially find, edit, and publish what I most cared about, what I thought was most needed, books at least some of which might otherwise never have made it into our world. (The proposal for MAUS, for instance, had been rejected by more or less every house in town before it even made it into my hands.)
Yes, two progressive publishing houses are a small thing indeed on this increasingly unnerving planet of ours. Still, think of this as the modern capitalist version of burning books, though as with those fossil-fuel companies, it is, in reality, more like burning the future. Think of us as increasingly damaged goods on an increasingly damaged planet.
In another world, these might be considered truly terrible acts. In ours, they simply happen, it seems, without much comment or commentary even though silence is ultimately the opposite of what any decent book or book publisher stands for.
You know, it suddenly occurs to me. Somebody should write a book about all this, don’t you think?
(This column is distributed by TomDispatch.)
SACRAMENTO THIRD ACT — BANKING ON OUR FUTURE' CAMPAIGN TO HOLD PROTEST ON FRIDAY, SEPT.30
by Dan Bacher
The Sacramento Third Act “Banking On Our Future” campaign will hold a Bank protest on Friday, September 30th from noon to 1 pm opposing the fossil fuel lending practices of two banks: Wells Fargo and Bank of America. The activists will meet at 1590 West El Camino Ave., on the corner of Truxel Rd. and West El Camino Ave in Sacramento.
Third Act Sacramento members are concerned seniors over 60 joining together to protest these top Wall Street banks' disastrous funding of the fossil fuel industry, bringing our world closer to the point of irreversible climate chaos according to Dr. Glayol Sahba of Third Act Sacramento.
“Wells Fargo has been the world's largest funder of the Fracking industry four years in a row since 2016 and has spent $272 billion since the Paris agreement 6 years ago according to the Rainforest Action Network 2021 report. What's particularly unconscionable is that Wells Fargo, since the Paris Accords, has spent $70 billion in expanding new fossil fuel operations! Bank Of America has loaned in the last five years, $198 Billion to fossil fuel companies,” said Sahba. “Our group, as well as the National ThirdAct.org, is made up of concerned senior citizens who refuse to allow these banks to continue business as usual and are committed to fight to stabilize our Democracy and the Climate.
“With our efforts, tens of thousands of Americans have so far pledged to divest from these banks if they do not make plans to divest from fossil fuel companies by the end of this year! For the sake of a livable future for all of Earth's species we will take these nonviolent actions to stop these largest funders of climate destruction. We encourage all who care about the future of their grandchildren, and of this beautiful world to consider taking the pledge at Thirdact.org and to join our cause,” Sahba concluded.
Since the Paris climate accords were signed, Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have *loaned* <https://www.ran.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Banking-on-Climate-Chaos-2021.pdf> the fossil fuel industry a trillion dollars.
Each $1 million reinvested from fossil fuels to green energy results in a net increase of five jobs, often unionized jobs in solar and wind farms, according to Political Economy Research Institute at the U. of Massachusetts.
The International Energy Agency said last year that if we wanted to meet the Paris climate targets’ limit to 1.5 degrees “there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now on — from this year.”
YOUTUBE APOLOGIZES, REVERSES DEMONETIZATION DECISION
YouTube reverses a decision to demonetize a video produced by Matt Orfalea for TK. However, there's a new issue with a second video
by Matt Taibbi
Earlier today, YouTube demonetized an item Matt Orfalea produced for TK. The video, Democrats’ Stolen Election Claims, has been remonetized, as the company has corrected what it characterizes a mistake. We’ve thanked them for doing so.
As we learned this, however, Matt was informed of a problem with a second video we released today. “Rigged” Election Claims | Trump 2020 vs Clinton 2016 was also demonetized, and apparently remains demonetized.
Given that the company was prompt in its first review and came to a correct decision, I’m hopeful this issue will also be fixed, and thanks will shortly be in order again. I obviously don’t want to take up too much of anyone’s time with this, so unless a problem continues, we’ll close the book on the matter with this update. Best to all.
HAPPY 87TH to the rock n' roll's first great wild man - Jerry Lee Lewis !
He sold vacuum cleaners and sewing machines, he played drums and piano with a local band, he auditioned in Shreveport, and tried his luck in Nashville. But when the Lewis family heard Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, they knew that Memphis was his medium. To finance the trip to meet Sam Phillips, Jerry Lee’s father sold eggs—33 dozen—along the 350 miles north.
Through it all, Jerry Lee’s hands pound out a fury. Sometimes they barely seem to rise off the piano, and other times he’s all asses and elbows. The piano is an extension of his own being, and he commands it. He can strike the keys with the seeming randomness of a child—and he makes beautiful music. He’s been known to stomp the instrument with the heels of his boots, to hammer it with his fists, to place his butt squarely on the ivories—and always the piano sounds perfect.
“He’s a man of a great, contrite heart who’s just maybe messed himself up from time to time,” Sam Phillips once mused. “He is one of this century’s great, great talents. But he feels a lonesomeness in his talent, extreme lonesomeness, for somebody to be strong around him.” - The Memphis Music Hall
IF BOOKS ARE CONDUCIVE to conversation some people are distinctly uncomfortable with them. I have known people who stepped into my home and, after glancing at my books and remarking on their sheer volume, clearly felt oppressed by them. As for the shop, there is a breed of Homo sapiens that will walk inside, take a deep breath, and say, “Mmm, I just love the smell of old books.” They are to be got rid of as quickly as possible, and with whatever violence it takes. I have heard the line a thousand times and never, never have I sold a book to any one of those people. Also one must be ruthless with those who ask, “What is the most expensive book you’ve got here?” Often it is the male of the species trying to impress the female. There is an even more objectionable subspecies who with their mobile phones like to photograph each other holding an open book although very rarely are their eyes ever fixed on the page. The punishment for them cannot be too severe.
— Marius Kociejowski, 2022; from ‘A Factotum in the Book Trade’
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 29 SEPTEMBER
Putin concedes that some men were wrongly drafted.
With annexation plans, Putin escalates a battle of wills with the West.
U.S. decries Russian move to annex parts of Ukraine as a ‘land grab.’
What to know about Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces.
A sergeant who died fighting in eastern Donetsk is brought home for burial.
Russia beat and denied food to prisoners of war, Ukraine says.
Ukraine closes in on a rail hub that is helping Russia hold its line in the east.
END THE WAR
Nearly 60 percent of Americans would support the United States engaging in diplomatic efforts "as soon as possible" to end the war in Ukraine, even if that means Ukraine having to make concessions to Russia, according to a new poll. The survey, conducted by Data for Progress on behalf of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, also found that a plurality (49 percent) said the Biden administration and Congress have not done enough diplomatically to help end the war.