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BENEFICIAL RAINFALL and mountain snow will continue to spread across Northwest California today. A more significant storm system is then forecast to impact the region Friday through Sunday. (NWS)
NAVARRO RIVER UPDATE 12/7/22 at 9 PM
Since my previous update last night, the Navarro River has risen another foot at the 0.18 mile marker on Hwy.128 just east of the Navarro 1 bridge.
As of 5 pm tonight (Wednesday) CalTrans has put up a "Flooded" warning sign and coned off the flooded shoulder adjoining the eastbound lane. The water was just touching the fog line there and slightly over the fog line onto the pavement in the westbound lane. There's some chance that the highway could be closed later tonight if the water comes any higher.
A low altitude aerial view of the sandbar at low tide today showed GREATLY increased water flow and gullying of the sand on the beach side both north and south of Pinnacle Rock. That is partly a result of the extra foot of water height since yesterday, and also continuing subsurface erosion of the sandbar that was seen for the first time yesterday.
That means the Navarro sandbar is getting ready to breach soon, in the next day or two even if the river doesn't rise any further. The sandbar breaching will eliminate any chance of near-term flooding when the accumulated water in the lower estuary drains out to the sea.
The current weather forecast from NWS Eureka calls for 0.73" of rain overnight at my location. Then, beginning with light rain during the day Friday, a strong winter storm should bring strong winds and heavy rains over Friday night and into Saturday, forecast to total more than 3.0" by Saturday night and causing the rivers to rise significantly.
The latest NWS Navarro Gage Forecast chart now shows a BIG surge in the river level starting at 4 PM Saturday at 4.1 ft. and peaking at 12.1 ft. about 4 AM Sunday morning. That's an 8 ft. rise in just 12 hours. Anything that brings the level up to 5 ft. is enough to cause a rapid breach of the sandbar. The forecast chart says it will hit 5 ft.at about 6 PM Saturday, and that will take out the sandbar if it hasn't already breached before then. As said, the sandbar breaching will eliminate any flooding of 128.
Here's a link to the NWS Navarro gage forecast chart. It always shows the latest available forecast. https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=nvrc1
People planning to use 128 from tonight onward should check the road conditions first. You can do that by dialing 1-800-GAS-ROADS or go to the following link and type in 128. Note that changes to that information may be delayed several hours. https://roads.dot.ca.gov/?roadnumber=128&submit=Search
I'm not an expert. Just sharing my observations of the Navarro sandbar over the past several years. Hope you find it helpful.
UPDATE (Thursday morning): HIGHWAY 128 CLOSED - Due to Flooding
Eastbound / Westbound 128 Full Closure, From Route 1 to North Fork Navarro River
Expected to end at 10:01am Dec 8, 2022
PER CALTRANS: TRAFFIC ALERT: Route 128 is fully closed in Mendocino County from Route 1 to Navarro (post miles 0-12) due to flooding. We will provide updates as they become available. Please check quickmap.dot.ca.gov for the latest road conditions.
THIEF-CAM: Paul Bunyan Thrift Shop
Reminder - the thrift shops in Fort Bragg are all non-profit. Most local shops are community owned small businesses. Stealing from us is stealing from your community. We need your help! If you recognize this individual, please contact us at 707-964-4471 or send us a message so that we can file a full report. Thank you
HIGHWAY 20 DEATH
The CHP has released the name of a Willits man who died Friday evening in a crash near Fort Bragg. Kenneth Wickstrom, 81, lost his life around 7:45 p.m. Friday on Highway 20, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
The Highway Patrol previously reported Wickstrom was heading east in a 2007 Cadillac when he drove off the road and went down a steep embankment about 12 miles east of Fort Bragg. The vehicle overturned and hit multiple trees before stopping, according to the CHP. Wickstrom, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.
It did not appear drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash, according to the CHP.
PHILO TO UKIAH: KZYX Reaches Major Milestones Toward Its Move To Ukiah
With the recent approval of a building permit by the City of Ukiah, KZYX can now start to build its future headquarters at 390 Clay Street in Ukiah. General Manager Marty Durlin said, “This is a first-ever effort to establish our public radio station in a facility whose quality will match its excellent programming and service to Mendocino County.”
Durlin explained that after 33 years of operating from its modest Philo studios, the station’s signal is threatened by tree growth between the studios and the Cold Springs Mountain transmitter. Mendocino County Public Broadcasting, the parent non-profit, purchased the Ukiah property in late 2021 to ensure a reliable KZYX signal for future generations and to provide an expanded headquarters and easier inland access.
The first stage of the project, interior demolition and grading, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. This will make way for construction of production, news, and on-air studios as well as offices, an ADA-compliant bathroom, and a breakroom for production staff. Construction of a new transmission tower will require extensive underground electrical work as well as grading for drainage and landscaping. The Board and staff aim for KZYX to be up and running in its new Ukiah headquarters by October, 2023.
Fundraising efforts for this ambitious project got a sizable boost, and the station a rousing vote of confidence, in late October when 100+ Women Strong Inland Mendocino participants chose the KZYX Building Project to receive their combined $12,100 in donations. In her appeal, General Manager Marty Durlin reminded the attendees of the public affairs, cultural, and emergency services they would be supporting: “KZYX reaches into every corner of our county from its four studios—Fort Bragg, Willits, Talmage and Philo—using three transmitters covering nearly 4,000 square miles. It also streams live on the internet at KZYX.org and offers podcasts and an on-demand archive. All these services are free, supported by more than 2,000 members and 100 local underwriters.” Donations to the Building Fund now total $404,000, toward a $2 million budget that includes retiring the $345,000 mortgage.
Community members can follow the progress of the KZYX Building Project and learn how to donate to it at https://www.kzyx.org/a-new-building-for-kzyx
A THOUSAND POUNDS OF FOOD TO THE FOOD BANK, Courtesy The Students Of Anderson Valley High School!
Seniors still in the lead, but 7th grade is close! We have another week to go. The response has been huge! Probably, close to a 1,000 pounds of food! We just took a VAN FILLED WITH FOOD to the foodbank plus $189 dollars. Students are unloading. We sent one van stuffed with food and one stuffed with kids! I will try and get you a photo.
Here are the counts:
7th grade: 188 cans
8th grade: 180 cans
9th grade: 55 cans
10th grade: 97 cans
11th grade: 117 cans
12th grade: 211 cans
Ice cream social and trophy winner announced next Wednesday. AVUSD---Yes! We Can!
Anderson Valley Unified School District
WAY TO GO, WOLFIE!
Congratulations to Mr. Wolf who was housed in September at a new housing complex in Ukiah.
Mr. Wolf was homeless for about a year living in his car with his dog Montana.
He worked closely with Veteran’s Services that assisted him in qualifying for an apartment in a newly developed complex in Ukiah. He was apprehensive about the move, but the Hospitality Center housing staff helped motivate him to take what’s available and reminded him that he can pursue something else if he doesn’t like it. Our Rapid Rehousing Program helped pay his move in deposit and first month’s rent.
He’s been housed for 3 months and says he is very happy!
COUNTY COUNSEL RAW & UNCUT
by Mark Scaramella
SUPERVISOR JOHN HASCHAK asked County Counsel Christian Curtis about a state pot grant program related to the previously discussed Legacy Equity Grant Program (acronym, “LEEP”) on Tuesday. Haschak wanted to know if there might be legal problems with the program along the lines that County Counsel had previously raised (with no legal merit at all; as if the state program's legality under federal law should be of any concern to tiny Mendocino County).
Haschak: “On October 4 there was a question about the lead grant being in compliance with federal law. So I don't want to get two years down the road and have this program being questioned. So has this program been evaluated, especially because there is a connection with the LEEP program? Have we heard back from the attorneys and outside consultants about the LEEP program? And what was the cost of that?”
Speaking in his usual stuttering stacatto run-on rush style, Curtis replied in full Professor Irwin Corey: “Uh, ulm, uh, so I have located an outside firm, uh, with respect to the LEEP program with an estimate of I think about $20,000-$25,000, uh, the cost for obtaining an opinion there, um, however, um, I have also heard back from, a, an, in discussions with the Attorney General's office as to whether they would be able to issue a formal opinion which would be at no cost to the county, um, so I need a little bit more to confirm from them that they will be able tah, tah, tah, to go that route, we would be looking at, um, a timeline of probably about 6-9 months to get that opinion back, um, that you go through sort of multiple rounds of vetting at the AG's office, but, but, but, I'm assured that it is a lot faster than, um, it had been historically, um, with respect to this particular program, I don't know that we separately um, uh, vetted, um, uh, for those sorts of issues, um, I don't, I don't believe we've been asked, uh, to undertake that review. My understanding is that this one wouldn't necessarily raise the same concerns to the extent that this is related to, um, uh, uh, helping to obtain the same CEQA compliance or, you know, other environmental ends, uh, the concerns that I had raised with respect to LEEP were not even for all categories in that, that it was really that, uh, that program. It was really just the ones that, um, didn't appear to have a governmental, um, purpose other than perhaps furthering an enterprise that is forbidden under, uh, federal law, so it would really only be a subset of categories. If the board would like we could undertake that review, um, however, um, uh, I think the board's direction at that time had been to proceed with the program, um, uh, pending feedback from, from Counsel, not necessarily, um, uh, to halt it, uh, to, uh, further, um, uh, analysis was performed. We intend to proceed with that understanding.”
Haschak: “Thank you for that. And I certainly would like to have the board reconsider $25,000 for getting an opinion from outside counsel on that equity grant.”
* * *
Not long after that, Supervisor Maureen Mulheren, decided she hadn't heard enough ums and uhs for the day. So she asked Curtis about a proposed $345 per hour contract with yet another new expensive outside attorney, a clever named one-person legal outfit called “It's Personnel,” to do some kind of secret personnel investigation about some kind of possible or pending misconduct scandal that the public will never know about because, as the lawyer’s company name insists: “It’s Personnel.”
Curtis launched into Professor Corey mode again: “Um, I suspect that some of the details that the public might be most interested in are the ones I can't talk about which would be the nature of the investigation, the particular, um, uh, employee that is involved, etc. You know, what I can say is the county routinely, uh, employs outside investigators for the purposes of conducting, um, uh, uh, personnel investigations. We also use some, uh, within the human resources department that is also authorized by statute, um, in this particular one, um, uh, it is a bit unusual and not in, uh, sort of the normal area that, that we're almost commonly dealing with. It is a matter that the board is already aware of, um, and, um, we worked with the, uh, the purchasing agent, a, uh, um, a firm that has appropriate expertise, uh, to be able to handle this particular investigation, uh, it was initially going to be performed through a subcontract with one of our existing contractors, um, then we had some initial conversations, tah, tah, to get the investigation started, at which point we realized that, uh, the investigator's preference and their contractual terms actually needed to incorporate the county directly, uh, at which point we determined that we needed to bring this to the board for board approval.”
Note: If, as Curtis claims, “the board is already aware” of the situation and the investigation, why did Mulheren even ask the question since she must have known that Curtis wouldn’t say anything beyond haltingly confirming that yet another new attorney has been given a blank check to spend however many hundreds of hours at $345 per hour to bury another staff problem, probably involving a senior official, because otherwise the person of interest would already be gone?
* * *
AMBER’S HERE TO HELP
Hello Boonville community! I'm new to the area & looking for work. I have a variety of skills to offer: General labourer (experience with power tools), Landscaping, Tree Planter, Veterinary Care, Winery (Taster, Grape picker)
I look forward to becoming part of the community & working with some of you! 🙂
(Unfortunately, Ms. Dunlop neglected to include any contact info in her note. We can’t find her facebook page either. But if you know her…)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, OLIE ERICKSON, Premier AV Volunteer Firefighter!
PLANNING OFFICIALLY CANCELLED
The Planning Commission meeting cancellation notice for December 15, 2022, is posted on the department website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Please contact staff with any questions.
PLANNING & BUILDING, an on-line comment: I worked for the county for over 30 years and met a few people who let their positions go to their heads but nothing like the people who work at the planning/building department. We have had to work with them to get building permits, which you are supposed to get for just about anything that you do on your property and they seem to have a God complex. The inspector who came out to our property was a pompous jerk. We had a pile of dirt in the field from the site where our contractor was putting in a cement slab and he wanted it covered immediately because it was supposed to rain and it might wash it into the river which is about a mile from our property. It didn’t rain enough to move it at all. You get a different answer from each person you deal with.
FOR SALE: Holiday Gift Bundle #1 Will ship! Includes Local John Hanes Raw Honey from Boonville, Caviar, Una’s Moon Honey Tea, High quality Salami and Chocolate, and a bundle of Sage! $59 plus shipping or $99 plus shipping for two!
(Again, no contact info provided for this wonderful holiday gift bundle. Perhaps somebody knows who’s selling this.)
MR. KIRSCH/KRCH, an on-line comment: A lot of those young men out of Willits in his same age range pretty sad situations. So many of them have been in the paper for DV, outrageous crimes. It truly is a lost generation. F******, thugging and drugging, there’s no future in it and their babies are the ones that suffer. 100%. It’s no secret that the CPS cases in Mendocino County are higher than the average for the population. Hopefully when this situation came down no children had to witness it. You can do much better than this Chris.
ACCORDING to an on-line comment, "Story is complete bullshit. There was no bat and the victim initiated the combat… all comes down to the dude's ego hurt too bad to tell the truth. He stole the dude's phone and got checked for it. That's the true story."
GRATIFYING to see that Barry Bonds and his fellow juicers were again denied a berth in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Bonds was a great ballplayer before he started on the juice, but on the juice, with pitches looking like basketballs floating up to the plate, all the Frisco cellphones jumped to their feet to watch the ball disappear over the rightfield wall and on into McCovey Cove, cheering and high fiving a corrupted game.
LADY CHATTERLY’S LOVER, the Netflicks version, a reel short review. More or less faithful to the book with, of course for the modern voyeur audiences, prolonged graphic sex scenes the book's author didn't have to supply pictures to explain. But the acting, all Brit, is good and Lawrence's point, the same point he made in most of his books, that the ruling classes are effete, comes across as vividly as the sex scenes. If he'd lived in today's world he'd see that all classes are now effete, virility vilified, and virility anyway pretty much confined to athletes.
SF CHRON: “By now, in the wake of a Super Bowl appearance and trips to two of the past three NFC Championship Games, Shanahan’s reputation as one of the sport’s foremost offensive minds is familiar to most football fans. They’re aware of his gift for crafting opponent-specific gameplans designed to predict behavior, expose weaknesses and set up foes for kill shots.”
I DISAGREE. Cannon fodder running backs multiple fruitless times up the middle doesn't look all that genius from here in the TV seats, but as another fan explained, “Bruce you don't understand. That's to set up the surprises.”
THE NFL, as we know, is operated by bad people. How else to explain, in no particular order, artificial turf, the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, denial of pensions to the game's old timers, luxury boxes, and player exploitation generally. Overall, pro football is a perfect fit for the berserk capitalism it functions in.
GIVE ME JIM HARBAUGH, the only coach I've ever seen who got so excited, was so intensely into the game, that he was foaming from the mouth. If there's a football wizard on the present Niner coaching staff, it's DeMeco Ryans, coach of the defense.
NICK BOSA on artificial turf: Yeah, a hundred percent agree it's bad, for sure. It’s usually the older guys who know more about it. Or guys who have dealt with injuries from it. Because when you’re young and in high school and college, you think it’s fast and fun and it looks good. And then you realize after a few years, it’s like, whew, I’ll do anything to get on some grass.”
GEEZER NOTE: For muscle pulls and other persistent aches associated with one's aged limbs, I go to either Tiger Balm or Voltaren, the corporate cure “for arthritis pain.” Last year some time, Pebbles Trippett, the famous groundfloor pot advocate, gave me a little jar of marijuana salve, with an assurance that “It'll get rid of your arthritic hand-pain.” Deeply skeptical of marijuana in all its manifestations, I put the stuff aside and went on using Tiger Balm, trusting ancient Chinese strategies more than… and not to put too fine a point on it, hippie bullshit. But darned if the old girl wasn't right! The other day I slapped some of Pebs' miracle goop on my thigh, where I've suffered a muscle pull, and by the next day the pain had greatly subsided, not gone but noticeably better, fer shure, fer shure.
SEE WHAT I MEAN about the NYT? And all this time I thought it was just a matter of showing up and keeping one's eyes open:
NYT HEADLINE: “How to Watch the Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center … The 90th annual celebration will take place on Wednesday and feature performances by Gwen Stefani, Alicia Keys, Blake Shelton and others.…”
AV VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS in Training
FULL MOON BOOGIE: Big Full Moon in Gemini coming in tonight at 8:08 PM PT here in Northern Cali on Wednesday, December 7th 2022 and the 8th for others. Also called the Cold Moon, Oak Moon, Moon before Yule & Long Night Moon. It is the last Full Moon of 2022 and so sharing “Temple for Healing II” an original pastel in a private collection and sending out some big Peace, Love, Healing & Gratitude to all always. Stay safe out there & Humankind, be both.
THAT'S BAROQUE! SUNDAY CONCERT
Opus Chamber Music Concerts presents The Paris Quartet on Sunday, 3 PM, Preston Hall, Mendocino.
Paris, in the 1730s, was the place to be. The music of Bach, Couperin, Telemann and Rameau was heard in all the best salons. These composers knew each other's music well but forged their own inimitable styles. The Paris Quartet, (harpsichord, viola da gamba, flute, and violin), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has played the chamber music of Bach, Rameau, Telemann, Couperin, and occasionally other great composers since 2008. They love this stuff.
Tickets; brownpapertickets.com/event/5592525, Out of this World in Mendocino and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg.
More information at symphonyoftheredwoods.org office: 707-964-0898.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, December 7, 2022
KENNETH DOUGLAS, Willits. DUI while on court probation, suspended license for DUI, pot possession for sale & transportation, probation revocation.
TATIANA FRANCO-CORTEZ, Garberville/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger.
MARTIN PULIDO-TORRES, Fort Bragg. Battery on peace officer, resisting.
MICHAEL ROBISON, Fort Bragg. DUI.
LISTEN UP, DAVE.
I enjoy the AVA. I have been an avid reader and fan for 40 years. I have never been critical of your publication until recently when I wondered why David Giusti continues to have a forum in which to spew his hate and anger and toxicity.
Mr. Giusti is a whack job who is obviously projecting in his rants about Mendocino County. How could David possibly find fault in Mr. McCowen who dedicates his free time to cleaning up garbage at the river? Regardless of McCowen's political beliefs or endeavors, it is in extremely poor taste to slam him in the AVA for cleaning up our community.
David Giusti, as we are all familiar by now, is a mentally ill free range homeless whack job whose brief visits from prison to Ukiah are spent pushing a shopping cart around town accosting people who he feels wronged him. His mental health decline is well documented as far back as 1984 when he was sent to prison for the brutal attack on his very own father in Fort Bragg. From then until now his life has been in and out of state prison, never once contributing anything to the world except two daughters who refuse to have contact with him.
You can tell a lot about a man based on his relationships with his children. Giusti's only family member is a distant aunt who he has attached himself to in a parasitic way for prison commissary.
In the November 9 edition of the AVA his mental health decline is obvious when he accuses an inmate in the county jail (me, Alan Crow) of striking a deal with District Attorney Eyster where the inmate is released from custody in exchange for the inmate writing against David Giusti in letters to the AVA.
Mr. Giusti, surely you must be on meds by now! You are not that important! David Giusti walked up on an elderly homeless man who was prone on the ground. He pulled out an ax handle and savagely attacked William Barry, a 79-year-old homeless, defenseless man striking Barry more than 40 times! Barry, whose upper torso bones, most of which were shattered by Giusti, was left to die behind a Ukiah store.
Doctors at the Ukiah Hospital would work miracles in saving Barry's life but could not save his mental faculties. Barry currently resides in a Bay Area convalescent home in a mostly vegetative state. But the vicious attack on Barry would not end there. Giusti, once in custody, was placed in an isolation cell where he refused to shower for months. He would appear at his own jury trial wearing dirty, soiled, jail issue clothes. After prolonging his demise for most of two long years, he finally was given 18 to life in prison. Once in prison the unprovoked attack by Giusti continued with an onslaught of letters where he called Barry everything from a woman beater, a paid snitch, and a petty thief in letters to the AVA.
Giusti, realizing he is a lifelong failure will never again return to the streets of Ukiah or a shopping cart. He continues to spread his hate at Mendo's community. Mr. McCowen and others are now the focus of his rage.
When is enough enough? You lose, Mr. Giusti! You will never return to Mendocino County. Your destiny is to die a lonely, dirty, angry old man in a prison cell. No one made your decisions. You did! You will never be a part of my community again! So I ask you to please go away! No one wants or needs your negative toxicity. Our community is all the better without you pushing your cart around town. Please direct your hate elsewhere! You don't matter, buddy!
In closing I want to thank District Attorney Eyster for flushing the toilet on this turd. I also want to thank Mr. McCowen for caring enough about my community to pick up trash along the river. My county may have its issues, but I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else on earth.
All my love and respect to the Barry family and people of Mendocino who make it the best place on earth.
Alan 'Sonny' Crow
PS. Several weeks ago in one of Giusti's letters to the AVA he wanted us all to think he knows so much about baseball. He wrote that Ty Cobb was the recordholder for having the most all-time hits. This is not correct. The all-time record holder for most hits is the best hitter of all time, Mr. Pete Rose! Get your facts right, Mr. Giusti. You don't even know your baseball. Nobody wants to sit and read 500 words of your incorrect baseball "facts."
POP-UPS (Coast Chatline)
Only on Chrome, since i allowed their required "up-grades", i have full page pop-ups that clog/confuse my computer. i need pop-ups on financial sites, what to do??
Hi, Peter, and for others who might benefit:
I use uBlock Origin for Firefox. They have a version for Chrome too. It's free and it works great to block popups and many other intrusions. When you're at a site where you want the popups, you click to disable it, and when you go back there later you see that it remembers to disable itself for that site. You can always toggle it back with one click.
My name is Warren G. Beck II. I am an inmate at Mendocino County Correctional facility. I am inmate #74145. I am writing to tell you all a little about what I'm going through. My story starts when I was 22. My daughter was born April 13, 2008. I briefly had a time when my child was in my care before her mother left me and took my child with her. Now after my daughter was taken away from me, I decided to do something better for myself. That's when I told myself that I was going to sober my life up. I went into drug and alcohol rehab classes. I started going to college for automotive mechanic. I even moved out to California to get my education for free. I finally got my chance to be part of my child's life when she turned nine years old. Again that was short-lived. It only lasted roughly a year before I again got arrested. My daughter then said she hated me and told me to leave and not come back.
Needless to say I left again. This time with the thought that I was destroying her life and that she would be better off without me. But that sadly was not the case. My ex-fiance has been keeping in contact with me, updating me on our little girl Seriona's progress. The last time I saw her was she was an A-B student. But ever since I left she has regressed and become more introverted. She even started failing class more often. She is now a C-D student. Her mother and I both agree that my being gone has made a significantly large impact on her than we first believed. I have been in contact with her mother a lot more this year and she has been informing me that my daughter has been becoming more withdrawn, reclusive, and even violent towards her little brother. She has been displaying symptoms of anxiety and depression. Seriona has been having nightmares of losing her father for good, waking up, screaming for me, crying in her sleep and anytime she is alone. I was also appalled that the only thing she has been asking for for her birthday was for daddy to come home. I couldn't be happier to hear that. I have missed so much of her life. I don't want to miss any more. So I'm writing to beg readers for help to make her wish come true. I want to go back to Columbus, Ohio, to live with my daughter. I hope to make enough money to purchase a plane ticket home so I can make it to her 15th birthday party. I am begging readers to please donate to the chance I have to go back home, somewhere I have longed to find for so many years now.
My daughter's mother has even been talking about possibly giving things between us another shot. I really want to see if maybe things will be different between us this time. I believe that we can do better together. I have been dreaming of the day I can go home to my baby.
I am now begging you all to pull together and help send this brokenhearted father back to his family and finally make things whole and finally be able to change things for the better and make a great impact on my daughter's life.
Please help me to make her wish and my dream come true.
Thank you for reading.
A brokenhearted father
Warren G. Beck
Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah
HOW 'BOUT ZHE?
I want to be respectful of nonbinary people who wish to be referred to with nonbinary pronouns. I have found it impossible, however, to use the pronouns that have for centuries been plural in the English language to sometimes be intended to refer to singular individuals. Rarely does the context provide immediate understanding.
It did not take a long time for Ms. to be adopted and come into common usage to refer to females who do not wish to be identified as married or unmarried.
Therefore, I propose the following as new words to solve the conundrum of nonbinary pronouns: In place of he/she, we could use “zhe.” Pronunciation of the zh would be like the “s” in Frasier. For her/him, it could be “zhrm.” When anyone sees or hears the “zh” in a word or sound they would immediately know a nonbinary, singular pronoun is intended.
I don’t know the process to make a change or addition to the lexicon, but I dearly hope the process can begin to establish unique words, these suggested or any others, that will be unique, singular, nonbinary pronouns.
THREE STRIKES AND IT’S OUT
Most district attorneys are crocked and dirty and no better than those they are putting in prison as I have written about in prior letters.
However, now I am condemning California's odious Three Strikes law because it is unjust.
I am in prison with a man named to William Milton who is in prison with only one strike doing a life sentence. He was prosecuted 23 years ago at which time the District Attorney used two prior convictions out of Illinois to strike him out. Melvin has been arguing these are not strikes. At trial the District Attorney asked that the court sentence Milton under California's Three Strikes law and the court agreed. Judges are district attorneys in black robes. The judge sentenced Milton to 25 years to life.
Over the last 10 years the United States Supreme Court has been clarifying how states can enhance someone's sentence above the statutory maximum like California's Three Strikes law. It is because of these court rulings, Milton filed in the California appellate court arguing that his out-of-state convictions are not strikes in California. The California appeals court agreed, that Milton only had one strike because the out-of-state convictions did not classify as strikes under California law. Notwithstanding, they refused to overturn his sentence because his sentence was too old. Milton appealed to the California Supreme Court and they granted review. A decision was rendered in August, 2022. In that decision it was determined that Milton's two out-of-state convictions didn't qualify as strikes under California law. They also ruled that the US Supreme Court cases Milton was relying on were not retroactive, and determined that even though he only had one strike, he still had to serve his life sentence.
I ask the voting public to please explain how this works? See in re Milton (2022) 13 Cal 5th 893.
What the California Supreme Court is doing is overriding the United States Supreme Court. There are several federal appellate courts which have said that Mathis and Descamps are retroactive. The fourth, sixth, seventh and ninth circuit courts said they are in fact retroactive because they "alter the range of conduct that the law punishes" and not "only the procedure used to obtain a conviction."
Prior to the US Supreme Court decision in Gallardo, a defendant could have his sentence increased due to prior conduct extraneous to a prior conviction. Now, however, in accordance with the Sixth amendment and the due process principles set forth in Taylor, Apprendi, Descamps, and Mathis, prior extraneous conduct cannot support an increased sentence in a subsequent case. If Milton wins in the United States Supreme Court there are a lot of people who will be able to be resentenced.
There are old men who have been in prison for the past 20-28 years for minor crimes that you, the people, are being forced to pay to keep them in prison.
Just think of the money this will save you. You will be able to start paying teachers more. Maybe then they will be able to pay their rent or maybe even pay for a house. Start paying teachers what they pay these corrections officers. That's $80,000-$100,000 a year. It's a better investment, that's for sure.
I asked you people, did you vote for Proposition 57 several years ago? It was intended to help relieve the overcrowding. It passed with about 63% of the vote. Notwithstanding the guards union, the district attorney's union, the California Department of Corrections, Sheriffs Association, and the California Supreme Court which all decided that you, the voting public, were nothing more than a bunch of idiots who didn't know what you were voting for. So they took it upon themselves to throw out your votes and canceled them.
The last thing the Department of Corrections wants to do is release people out of prison. They are getting $113,000 a year to keep us in small cages. And the older we get the less trouble we cause them so why would they want to turn us loose? That's free money for them. Besides, who cares if your kids don't get an education when they have a bed for them right here in one of these small cages.
It's time for you, the voting public, to take a stand against this mammoth called the California Department of Corrections and take back some of your tax dollars so you can start paying your teachers to educate your kids.
I thank you in advance for your time!
Charles V. Statler AT 7102
PS. Merry Christmas and Happy new year!
SONOMA COUNTY EDUCATION OFFICE BUYS SANTA ROSA PROPERTY FOR STAFF HOUSING
Initial plans envision 60-70 units that will prioritize educators in the Bellevue neighborhood of Santa Rosa that will be within a 30-minute commute of most of the county’s 40 school districts.
by Phil Barber
Five years ago, the Sonoma County Office of Education surveyed its public school employees. They found that new teachers tended to stay in the county anywhere from one to five years.
The primary reason respondents gave for leaving? A lack of quality affordable housing.
The education office is taking a hands-on approach to helping teachers and other school staff clear that hurdle.
On Nov. 30, SCOE completed the purchase of a residential property on Juniper Avenue in the Bellevue neighborhood in southwest Santa Rosa next to the Amarosa Academy campus.
It seeks to build high-density housing — the initial plan envisions at least 60-70 units — that will prioritize educators.
“Building housing that school staff can afford is essential to our mission of serving students,” incoming county Superintendent of Schools Amie Carter said in a statement announcing the purchase. “This housing will help us realize our goal of strengthening and diversifying our educational workforce.”
The sale price was $630,000. A single-family home and some outbuildings currently sit on the lot.
SCOE has dubbed the project Casitas de Amorosa. The Juniper Avenue parcel is “a home run,” according to Greg Medici, the deputy superintendent in charge of SCOE’s Business Support Services Department.
For one thing, the property, combined with Amarosa Academy — an alternative education campus that education office administers directly — and another adjacent SCOE-owned lot, is ideally shaped for a housing project. The overall footprint is an elongated rectangle with no doglegs.
Just as important, Medici noted, the site is centrally located in a county comprising 1,768 square miles and 40 school districts. “We estimate it’s within a half-hour’s drive of probably two-thirds to three-quarters of our campuses,” he said.
That would include all of Santa Rosa City Schools and large districts in Rohnert Park-Cotati and Petaluma.
Getting the connecting property rezoned from industrial to residential will be one of the crucial steps moving forward.
“I sense through general conversations … that there is support across agencies,” Medici said.
SCOE leaders feel confident the zoning change can be resolved, Medici said. There is residential zoning literally across the street from the SCOE-owned industrial site, as well at other nearby parcels.
The need for accommodation isn’t hard to understand — in Sonoma County, or throughout California.
While housing prices have climbed across the state, the majority of its nearly 1,000 local educational agencies offer entry-level teacher salaries below the area median income, according to an executive summary produced earlier this year by researchers at UC Berkeley and UCLA. There are also racial disparities embedded in the staffing challenges.
“Teachers of color are already underrepresented among California’s public educators, and they are more likely to experience housing cost burdens,” the report stated. “Staffing challenges are even more acute in (agencies) enrolling low-income and historically underserved students, where they have long suffered higher rates of both teacher turnover and teachers with substandard credentials.”
To narrow this gap, the state is encouraging educational agencies to take a more active role in allocating housing. Some have responded.
Two California school districts — Santa Clara Unified and Los Angeles Unified — have combined to complete four education workforce housing developments. One of them, Santa Clara Unified’s Casa del Maestro, helped reduce the attrition rate by two-thirds for teachers supported by the development, compared with others in the same cohort. And 80% of tenants were staying the full allowable rental term, the UC researchers wrote.
Between June 2018 and November 2020, the UC report noted, eight state educational agencies put propositions or measures before local voters to fund campus workforce housing. Six of the measures passed.
Still, Medici didn’t know of any similar projects involving a purchase by a county office of education. He and others at SCOE hope this could become a model.
Assembly Bill 2295, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October, could help. It permits districts to convert unused school property into housing.
That bill, and others with a similar aim, didn’t necessarily offer SCOE any mechanisms for developing the Juniper Avenue site, Medici said. But they might help on future projects.
This one won’t necessarily be an easy process.
In 2018, Sonoma State University bought a Petaluma apartment complex to house university employees and spent $40 million to redevelop it. Three years later, demand for units was so low that the university to open the space to the general public.
SCOE can learn from that experience, Medici said. But he doesn’t believe it’s an apt comparison, because the pool of candidates among Sonoma County’s public schools is so much larger than one college campus.
“We are well in excess of 5,000 employees, perhaps approaching 10,000 employees,” Medici said. “We’re confident the scale of units (on Juniper Ave.) will have significant demand. I just hope we can get to stage 2, 3 and 4, where we can meet future demand.”
Assuming the units get built, there will be other issues for SCOE to sort out, such as setting rental prices and determining who gets in if there’s an excess of demand.
“This is not intended, per se, as once someone gets in, then for the next 40 years they have exclusive access,” Medici said. “It’s intended to bridge the first few years of employment in the region. Or for someone who is a veteran in the region, as a bridge to housing ownership.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
STAMP OF APPROVAL
by William J. Hughes
My neighbor is a philatelist, dealing in a philately. I had never heard the term. Stamp collector, yes, of course, but a philatelist? Never. The word comes from Latin meaning to tax, like stamp tax? I guess you could say placing a stamp is sort of a tax on correspondence. What do I know? Not much, a Jack London, a James Dean and a Georgia O'Keefe flower, first issue stamps are all about as close as I've come to any collecting.
My neighbor has shared some of his collection with me. A bit overwhelming in their beauty and historical significance. He told me he just sold some for $4,000 at the stamp show in Sacramento while he was showing me his old Nazi Germany stamp collection. Stunning. He's kind of cleaning house for the Sacramento stamp show in the convention center. I'm encouraged to go. It's free. My kind of tax.
The Sacramento Convention Center is a cold block of cement, vast, filled, and I mean filled, with stamps. If you know the movie "Charade" with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, there is a scene among the booths of a Parisian stamp show when the characters whirl and twirl in a dizzying realization of what's around them — the clues to the fortune they seek — stamps. I'm a bit like that in the presence of all the stamps. I'm also a bit relieved of my advanced age by the more advanced ages all around me, most definitely a senior citizen endeavor.
My neighbor, who has been collecting all his life, tells me the younger generations have no interest in philately. It's most obvious here, the younger generations too Internet- and phone-obsessed. That's not a guess.
Now I'm looking for a specific of the Disney Nautilus submarine from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
There are 20,000 and more boxes and briefcases and packages and binders and stands, presentations and conditions of stamps and more from $1 to hundreds to thousands, an upside-down Jenny — an early aircraft — worth a fortune, nothing fancy about the presentations, almost all like well-kept basements.
My first encounter was with a collector of early Mickey Mouse, a childhood's album to delight your memories of. No Nemo's Nautilus. There was a collection of just submarine stands, the nuclear Nautilus and a World War II submarine. No Nemos.
Spain, the Spanish Civil War in my heart. Here are stamps of Franco the fascist and letters stamped from 1937 Barcelona before the fall, all around nooks and niches of historical to national to part of a standing display of Donald Duck at war with Hitler, to those famous, even I know, duck stamps, each collector-presenter eager to talk, eager to help out, decorating and selling and pitching all around quietly, no auctioneer's gavel, sitting at the bare snack bar with a fellow who's been here as a regular just looking to see if something catches his budget, sharing some of his knowledge with wide open me.
Sports. Endless. I want a Sandy Koufax something, having just come back from Cooperstown, New York, and the Baseball Hall of Fame where I at least saw my icon Sandy Koufax. But nothing here, the dealer showed off a signed Ted Williams postcard. I did mention there was more than just stamps. That's it for today.
I was back paying $3 to the American Topical Association to get some information on a Nautilus stamp. Barbados issued a $5 stamp of the submarine, but nowhere to be found around here.
It's all part of comic-con for adults alongside Ben Franklin, our nation's first postmaster, civil war stamps galore, posted on the actual envelopes from the war; envelopes posted from everywhere, artifacts someone touched, someone wrote — Amelia Airhart, lovely, the art of the stamp.
I took them for granted somewhat. But now they've shown their true worth. On and on I investigate. My stamp of approval.
FROM WIKIPEDIA: In 1947, some Dodgers players began circulating a petition when word spread that Brooklyn intended to bring Jackie Robinson up from their farm team in Montreal. The players assumed that Reese, who grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, would sign. According to sportswriter Roger Kahn, who later became close friends with Reese, the petition essentially said, "If you bring up the nigger, trade us. We won't play." However, the popular Reese refused to sign the petition and it died. When a sportswriter asked Reese if he was threatened by Robinson taking his position of shortstop, Reese simply responded, "If he can take my job, he's entitled to it."
Reese was one of the few welcoming to Robinson, who endured horrible abuse from the crowds and fellow players, including pitchers who threw directly at his head and players who berated him with racial slurs. After spending a day with the Dodgers in 1947, sportswriter Jimmy Cannon concluded that, "Robinson is the loneliest man I have ever seen in sports."
When Robinson joined the Dodgers in 1947 and traveled with them during their first road trip, he was heckled by fans in Cincinnati. During pre-game infield practice at Crosley Field (the then-home of the Cincinnati Reds), Reese, the captain of the team, went over to Robinson, engaged him in conversation, and put his arm around his shoulder in a gesture of support that silenced the crowd.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS: How legalized cannabis left would-be Northern California entrepreneurs bitter, broke and angry
by Andrew Graham
“Here's a tabula rasa industry,” Chris Coulombe told The Press Democrat over several interviews, using the Latin term for a blank slate.
“It (was) an opportunity to create generational wealth for small businesses, for families, small farmers and craft farmers.”
With considerable spending on marketing and infrastructure, Coulombe and his company stormed the scene.
“(Pacific Expeditors) came in so hard, and they were almost somewhat domineering of the distribution space,” said Nathaniel Pennington, whose Humboldt Seed Co. signed on with Coulombe’s company.
Within three years, Pacific Expeditors would close its doors after burning through close to $10 million in capital, and the Hagas would wonder if their business — and life savings — were next.
While Coulombe said he helped the Hagas and other farmers with marketing, consulting and other services, a lawyer for the Hagas sent demand letters to him for $122,204.76 they say they weren’t paid for product driven off in Pacific Expeditors’ vans.
Pennington, the Hagas and at least three other farmers The Press Democrat interviewed said they went unpaid for product they provided the company.
The problem of nonpayment is broader than one company and just one of many flaws in cannabis today. But for farmers, it’s a particularly devastating blow.
Distributors “over promised and under delivered and that cost a lot of people money,” said Natalynne DeLapp, executive director of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. “It broke trust and removed financial resources from our legacy operators.”
On repeated occasions and with multiple companies, the Hagas have gone unpaid for product they provided, according to demand letters and invoices reviewed by The Press Democrat. The losses, they said, make it impossible for their business to succeed amid the high taxes and costly regulations imposed on cannabis growers by the state.
But onerous regulations and nonpayment damaged distributors, too.
Pacific Expeditors couldn't pay farmers because dispensaries weren't paying their own bills, Coulombe said.
High operating costs, some of which he said he took on on behalf of the business’s farmer partners, combined with the lack of cash flow from retailers to sink the company.
Lobbyists and advocates for farmers and distributors alike say nonpayment is a common problem, one regulators have so far failed to act on.
Coulombe drained his savings and retirement accounts as he tried to keep his company running, he said. “None of them lost more money than I did,” he said.
Public records show he still faces considerable financial consequences, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal tax liens on both the business and Coulombe himself.
Despite those financial woes, Coulombe would reinvent himself in a bold way.
Within two years of the collapse of Pacific Expeditors, he would mount an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican in hopes of challenging longtime incumbent Jared Huffman.
His bid for office angered the farmers who said Pacific Expeditors never paid them. But Coulombe said he ran to change a system stacked against small businesses in favor of big moneyed interests, in whatever industry.
He cast the regulatory system as designed to wipe out small farmers and small distributors.
“I understand why the farmers are upset,” Coulombe said.
“I'm the first step,” he said. “This is as far as they can see.”
A reclusive valley
The unincorporated community of Honeydew centers on a general store alongside the Mattole River, on the west side of Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The river cuts a valley toward the Pacific Ocean. Dirt roads to clandestine farms wend through the coastal mountains.
Marijuana growing has shaped the culture and land here for decades. Locals remember large camps as young workers of varied nationalities flocked to the area to trim black market marijuana buds for substantial cash salaries.
LaDonna Haga’s ancestors came to the valley long before that, in the 1890s. She and Gary Haga moved to the family land permanently 35 years ago. Gary Haga, a contractor, did a good trade and built many of the houses still standing in the Mattole Valley.
But the easy extra money from growing a few marijuana plants “was hard to resist,” Gary Haga recalled, especially when smugglers would drop into isolated Humboldt County’s slow-moving economy with pockets full of cash.
“We had a saying, ‘Never let money leave the valley,’” he said.
The Mattole Valley is greeted by a summer sunrise planted at the foot of the north coast’s King Range. in August 2022. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat)
The Hagas are considered “old school” among growers with deep ties to the valley in the so-called “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties.
“They’re community minded,” said Dylan Mattole, whose father took the river’s name as a new, legal surname and whose own craft cannabis farm abuts the river west of the general store. “They’re your salt of the earth kind of people.”
To become legal operators, the Hagas estimate they spent around $500,000 to comply with environmental and business regulations and meet steep permit fees and taxes imposed by both local government and the state.
“They took this gamble, like, ‘I’m going to pay for the licenses and go legal because I believe it’s the right thing to do and I’ll ultimately get paid,’” said Lance Rogers, the Hagas’ Encinitas-based attorney.
They were among a wave of Humboldt County farmers, many with black market histories, rushing to get in early on the legal market. Emerald Triangle cannabis was already legendary. Cultivators who had secretly been perfecting the art of growing high-grade cannabis for decades saw themselves as the next version of breweries or small-scale vineyards.
Dylan Mattole leafs his cannabis crop in August 2022, just a few days before harvest in Humboldt County’s Mattole Valley near Honeydew. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat)
“We had this grandiose idea that it was going to go legal, and we would have these cool craft businesses,” Mattole said.
The window for that vision now narrows with each passing month.
After 16 years in the U.S. Army, Coulombe was working in Santa Rosa politics as a consultant in 2016. His first brush with legal cannabis was as a consultant for cannabis businesses operating in the area.
Coulombe described himself as a reluctant business executive who began a new distribution company at the behest of deep-pocketed investors. He declined to name Pacific Expeditors’ principal funders, but said he received less than $10 million in startup capital with access to further funds.
The company’s recipe for success would be sophistication in tracking and transporting marijuana and strict compliance with an ever-growing web of new state regulations.
Cannabis starts are close to being transplanted into greenhouses at Gary and LaDonna Hagas’ legal grow in the Mattole Valley of Humboldt County in August 2022. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat)
“Our intent was to show up and be the most professional organization in the game,” he said.
Pacific Expeditors set up an expansive physical footprint. The company purchased a warehouse on Santa Rosa’s Industrial Drive where Coulombe engineered an intensive security system. He leased a sprawling office space nearby on Airport Drive.
To move marijuana from the Emerald Triangle into the rest of the state, Pacific Expeditors purchased seven armored vans, complete with cameras and bulletproofing sufficient to stop a .44 Magnum round. The vehicles cost $100,000 each.
Keeping them on the road pushed the business’s insurance bills to as much as $25,000 a month, Coulombe said, as insurers pushed steep premiums on the nascent industry.
“There was no Better Business Bureau for this.”
Natalynne DeLapp, Humboldt County Growers Alliance
Several people who worked in his company said they understood the investment money to have come from his in-laws. Public records bear that out, though Coulombe declined to confirm it. His immediate family put money into the business, as well, he said.
Coulombe said his company was well-run and efficient. But he burned cash, he said, as he tried to keep up with steep taxes, ever-changing regulations and testing requirements, and insurance and financial services companies demanding steep rates from a burgeoning industry.
Those concerns are widely echoed and cannabis businesses of all scales are suffering. But farmers and some of Coulombe’s employees question whether Pacific Expeditors overspent as the company rushed to show flash and grab market share.
“There was like five people in this massive office,” recalled Brian Gillespie, a former operations manager.
While adamant the structure of the industry made success impossible, Coulombe also conceded, in retrospect, “I would have started smaller.”
On Nov. 3, 2017, Humboldt County cannabis farmers emerged from the shadows of redwood forests and mountain valleys and gathered in a Eureka auditorium. The event, called “Dating distro,” was put on by the trade association Humboldt County Growers Alliance.
DeLapp, the trade group’s executive director, recalled an optimistic gathering, but not without jitters. Growers wore nametags, and, though they’d been promised grace by the state, licensing was still in process.
At one point the Humboldt County sheriff dropped by, DeLapp said. Nerves in the room were “palpable,” she said.
Suddenly it was “’holy (expletive), what are we doing?’” she recalled. “We’ve all admitted that we are growing out of law.”
But overall, it was a bright moment, with an exciting new and legal world ahead.
Coulombe and Pacific Expeditors salespeople attended.
“It was awesome. I loved it,” he said.
They made inroads with farmers but also encountered skepticism. “Just out of habit a lot of people were very hesitant to deal with people that they had not already dealt with prior to licensing,” he said.
But the tall redhead’s demeanor impressed, DeLapp recalled.
“He’s wearing a suit, perfectly groomed hair, he had a team of well-groomed, business-forward people with him,” DeLapp said. “It looked very professional. It looked like what it was supposed to be.”
Farmers were desperate to get their product into dispensaries at the ground level. Distribution companies, meanwhile, were materializing out of thin air. It was an entirely new business field. Few, if any, operators had a history or reputation on which to be judged.
“There was no Better Business Bureau for this,” Delapp said.
Thirteen months later, in December 2018, Pacific Expeditors would make a bigger splash.
Like many of the industry’s players, the annual Emerald Cup has a long history that began in Emerald Triangle illegality. Today, it’s a showy annual party and cannabis product competition sponsored by large cannabis companies.
In late 2017, the festival seemed to be struggling to find a sponsor for its showpiece in Santa Rosa, Coulombe said. Organizers approached him with the opportunity to make his company the lead sponsor for $250,000, he said.
His investors backed the idea, and Pacific Expeditors cut the check.
The splashy sponsorship impressed farmers.
“We think they’re rocking,” LaDonna Haga said. “We think they’re solid.”
Pacific Expeditors was signing deals with farmers in the Mattole Valley and elsewhere around Humboldt and Mendocino counties. The company was targeting Northern California’s more remote farmers, Coulombe said, trying to bring people with a long legacy of cultivation into the market.
It was beyond a business partnership, he said.
“These guys have literally been on a mountain for a decade or whatever, not out in the market, on the hillside,” he said. “That's their love. That's their passion is to be cultivating, with the plant.
“Mine is operations. And it was basically us looking at each other and saying, ‘our values align, our interests align, let’s do something that's never been done before.’”
It wouldn’t take long for the “tabula rasa,” and the farmer-Pacific Expeditor partnerships, to lose their shine.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED IN CRIME. Because most crimes are so fucking stupid. Remember Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan? Here's Tanya Harding and her boy Gillooly and that whole group of mooks sitting around a room somewhere formulating this brilliant plan. "Okay like you're going to run out there with a big lead pipe and when there are like 40 or 50 camera crews filming, hit her in the leg." You know? Of course they were all in jail before the sun went down. I have personally known three people who have robbed banks. They were also all in jail before the sun went down. One of the things I love about crime is that people sit and formulate these idiotic plans that have no chance of success. I find that endlessly fascinating. Aberrant human behavior interests me. Because we pretend that we are rational beings that things are so different from the way they are. I think everybody has criminal urges, it's just those people with low impulse control who actually go out and do these insane things.
— John McNaughton
IN ABOUT 1959, Ray Hudnut's brother Bernie's four-year enlistment was up with the U.S. Marines, and he came to live with them for a couple of years. "On his own, he visited the drag races that were happening at the McMinnville Oregon Airport (1958-66) and showed us the 35mm slides he took. I had only seen drag race machines and some race coverage in hot rod magazines and was really excited."
"Immediately, we started dreaming of having our own drag racer, and our attention focused on my Dad's commuter, a 1952 Willys Aero 2dr sedan. He'd already let me paint "Kidney Kicker" on the sides (with fuzzy snowball monsters), spider webs on the quarter glass (with spiders in tuxedos, top hats, and spats), bloodshot eyeballs on all his round dash knobs, and gold scallops on the fenders. (He actually drove this to work! Sorry, Dad.)"
"Neither Bernie nor I had any automotive mechanical experience (nor did our folks or neighbors), but that didn't stop us. We knew that to be a real race car, it had to be loud, so to improve the performance of the stock 134 CID inline 4 flathead we punched holes in my Dad's mufflers! Then from the slide pictures, we knew that a true drag race sedan had to be "jacked up"... higher in the rear than in the front, so we jacked up the rear end and hammered in wooden 4x4s cut to fit tightly between the axle and frame. Then we took it for a test ride! Wow! did it seem fast! This was really cool! I was hoping that some of my school buddies could see me now!!"
"...Until we crossed Sandy Blvd while traveling along Prescott Street (in Portland, Oregon). Sandy has a really tall crown, so there are definite gutters on either side. On top of that, Prescott crosses it at an angle. So, we hit the first gutter at 35mph...the front compressed down, then sprang up just as the rigid rear hit the gutter! We were shot into the roof like cannon balls just as we hit the gutter on the other side of Sandy...which slammed us down into the sprung bench seat 'til we bottomed out on the floorboards! By this time, Bernie had hit the brakes just as we skidded the rigid rear into the second gutter, which again slammed us up into the roof!"
"The crossing angle caused the whole car to not only jump up and down but like it was twitching crazy all over the place. We skidded off to the shoulder of the road and realized we'd lost one of the 4x4 struts. Being super embarrassed, we decided to leave the 4x4 where ever it ended up and find a new way home in case anyone had seen the event. Bernie managed to get it back home, but the car looked like a dying duck, with one rear corner still standing tall and the other down low. (Today, no one would even notice, they'd just think we had airbags.) We removed the 4x4 and decided we weren't quite ready to go racing. I'm not sure how we patched up the mufflers. (Sorry, Dad!)"
Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Ray!
JUST IN: Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian penal colony after the Biden Administration was able to reach a deal with the Kremlin on a prisoner swap, according to an administration official.
PBS FRONTLINE: Now Streaming: "After Zero Tolerance" & "Crime Scene: Bucha"
Crime Scene: Bucha, an investigation with The Associated Press and SITU
Research, maps the atrocities committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha during Russia’s month-long occupation earlier this year.
Watch Crime Scene: Bucha
With production support from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and University of Connecticut, After Zero Tolerance tells the story of a Honduran family's years-long struggle to reunite after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's immigration policies.
Watch After Zero Tolerance
Both short documentaries are available to stream online at pbs.org/frontline
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The Uniparty will remain in control until after the dollar dies. By then, living conditions will become *very* primitive in the USA, and there will likely be waves of shocked hysteria erupting from people everywhere unable to cope with the sudden changes. A lot of the hysteria and “Karen” type behavior will be coming from suburban and liberal/academic type females experiencing their planet suddenly changed to something totally alien and *very* frightening.
No males will be available to assist them in any way because the current crop of males has also been neutered, just as the females have been neutered. When feminism took over long ago, part of the agenda was ignored or even hidden from the public. Along with masculinzing females, the young males were to be feminized. Today’s males have no coping skills for subsistence living either. Today’s affluent males might be able to play football, ride fast motorcycles, or go mountaineering, but those skills have no relation to what will be needed in a world made by hand. Services formerly done for us by large corporations, services like raising, slaughtering, and preserving hogs for example – those services in the next economy will be done locally in back yards and at small farms. Instead of playing ball, males will be required to learn and perform new blue collar skills. To have shoes on our feet in the US, men will be required to step forward and start building shoe and boot factories. To have necessities like clothing, cooking utensils, hardware store items etc. men will be required to get busy and build new factories here. At some point in history, Asians will stop making the basic goods we need for civilized living. If males in the US lack the capability to rebuild our industries, then we’ll be occupying our land here in a lifestyle of abject poverty. This land will be cursed and nobody will wish to live here anymore.
A MUST WATCH:
A Reader writes: We watched this 30 minute account last nite by journalist Dena Takruri and I wish all Americans could. It’s heartbreaking and unbelievable, well, would be to those who know nothing about Israel. This site, AJ+ has other videos we’ll check out.
I RETRIEVED MY ELBOW. I had always heard how fastidious Lev Davidovich was. One of his objections to join our party had been that he found it hard to believe we could have on our central committee someone who told such filthy jokes as Stalin did. What was the point of listening to this stuff? Did anyone doubt that peasants in uniform are still peasants? Anti-Semitic, reactionary, superstitious, violent, woman-hating, obscene?
Trotsky curled his lip. "As a Jew, I sometimes think that could be a description of most Christians. No, I just wanted to see how you reacted. If we don't get these creatures on our side, we will never win. Don't tell me they think up this stuff for themselves. How many would ever use the word 'menstruate'? Reaction is much better organized, perhaps, than you think, Ilyich."
"All the better. If they made it up themselves we might have a problem. Look! If people do not want a revolution, no party can force them into it. In three months, life, reality, history, the world, whatever you call it, will have taught them a different tune. Believe me."
We shook hands. I seemed to have cheered him up. The trouble is he always thinks that he is separate, different from the rest. He has never recovered from being chased home from school in Odessa by roughs shouting, "Who killed Christ?" Still, as I find so often in life, by encouraging him I had started a train of thought that discouraged me. As I waited for Gusev in the van to take Gregory and me to the Pravda office, I couldn't help tuning into the next verse from the ghastly little smerdi. Quite sophisticated in their way. Now they were reversing the account.
Four, three, two, one.
I fuck with my gun.
Six, five, four, three.
Hang a striker from a tree.
Eight, seven, six, five.
Not a Jew boy left alive.
Ten, nine, eight, seven.
Every Ivan goes to heaven.
— Lenin, as channeled by Allen Brien
I’M AN NEW YORK CITY PARAMEDIC. I’ve Never Witnessed a Mental Health Crisis Like This One.
by Anthony Almojera
Mr. Almojera is a lieutenant paramedic with the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the author of “Riding the Lightning: A Year in the Life of a New York City Paramedic.”
* * *
There are New Yorkers who rant on street corners and slump on sidewalks beside overloaded pushcarts. They can be friendly or angry or distrustful. To me and my colleagues, they’re patients.
I’m a lieutenant paramedic with the Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and it’s rare to go a day without a call to help a mentally ill New Yorker. Medical responders are often their first, or only, point of contact with the chain of health professionals who should be treating them. We know their names and their routines, their delusions, even their birthdays.
It is a sad, scattered community. And it has mushroomed. In nearly 20 years as a medical responder, I’ve never witnessed a mental health crisis like the one New York is currently experiencing. During the last week of November, 911 dispatchers received on average 425 calls a day for “emotionally disturbed persons,” or E.D.P.s. Even in the decade before the pandemic, those calls had almost doubled. E.D.P.s are people who have fallen through the cracks of a chronically underfunded mental health system, a house of cards built on sand that the Covid pandemic crushed.
Now Mayor Eric Adams wants medical responders and police officers to force more mentally ill people in distress into care. I get it — they desperately need professional help, and somewhere safe to sleep and to get a meal. Forceful action makes for splashy headlines.
People with mental health challenges can be victims of violence. I’m also painfully aware of the danger people with serious mental illness and without access to treatment can pose to the public. Assaults on E.M.S. workers in the New York City Fire Department have steadily increased year over year. Our medical responders have been bitten, beaten and chased by unstable patients. A man who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia has been charged with fatally stabbing my colleague, Capt. Alison Russo-Elling, in Queens on Sept. 29.
But dispatching medical responders to wrangle mentally disturbed people living on the street and ferry them to overcrowded psychiatric facilities is not the answer.
For one thing, the mayor is shifting more responsibility for a systemic crisis to an overworked medical corps burned out from years of low pay and the strain of the pandemic. Many E.M.S. workers are suffering depression and lack adequate professional mental health support, much like the patients we treat. Several members of the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services have died by suicide since the pandemic began, and hundreds have quit or retired. Many of us who are still working are stretched to the breaking point.
I’ve gone down the road of despair myself. The spring and fall of 2020 left me so empty, exhausted and sleepless that I thought about suicide, too. Our ambulances are simply the entrance to a broken pipeline. We have burned down the house of mental health in this city, and the people you see on the street are the survivors who staggered from the ashes.
Those who are supposed to respond and help them are not doing well either. Since March 2020, the unions that represent the Fire Department’s medical responders have been so inundated with calls from members seeking help that we set up partnerships with three mental health organizations, all paid for by the E.M.S. F.D.N.Y. Help Fund, an independent charity group founded and funded by medical responders and the public through donations to help us out in times of crisis. Editors’ Picks
We need to sift through the embers and see what we can salvage. Then we need to lay a new foundation, put in some beams to support the structure and start building.
What New York, like so many cities around the United States, needs is sustained investment to fund mental health facilities and professionals offering long-term care. This effort would no doubt cost tens of millions of dollars.
I’m not opposed to taking mentally ill people in distress to the hospital — our ambulances do this all the time. But I know it’s unlikely to solve their problems. Hospitals are overwhelmed, so they sometimes try to shuffle patients to other facilities. Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised 50 extra beds for New York City’s psychiatric patients. We need far more to manage those patients who would qualify for involuntary hospitalization under Mr. Adams’s vague criteria.
Often, a patient is examined by hospital staff, given a sandwich and a place to rest for a few hours, and then discharged. If the person is intoxicated, a nurse might offer a “banana bag” — an intravenous solution of vitamins and electrolytes — and time to sober up. Chances are the already overworked staff can’t do much, if anything, about the depression that led the patient to drink or take drugs in the first place.
Let’s say a patient does receive treatment in the hospital. Mr. Adams says that under the new directive, this patient won’t be discharged until a plan is in place to connect the person with ongoing care. But the systems responsible for this care — sheltered housing, access to outpatient psychiatric care, social workers, a path to reintegration into society — are horribly inadequate. There aren’t enough shelters, there aren’t enough social workers, there aren’t enough outpatient facilities. So people who no longer know how to care for themselves, who need their hands held through a complex process, are alone on the street once again.
A few days ago, I treated a manic-depressive person in his late 30s who was shouting at people on a subway platform in Downtown Brooklyn. The man said he’d gone two years without medication because he didn’t know where to get it. He said he didn’t want to go to a shelter, and I told him I knew where he was coming from: I was homeless for two years in my early 20s, and I slept in my car to avoid shelters — one night at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory was enough for me.
I persuaded the man to come with me to Brooklyn Hospital Center and made sure he got a prescription. Whether or not he’ll remember to take it, I don’t know.
While I don’t know how forcing people into care will help, I do see how it will hurt. Trust between a medical responder and the patient is crucial. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to get patients to talk to us, to let us touch them or stick needles filled with medications into their arms. But if we bundle people into our ambulances against their will, that trust will break.
Also, medical responders aren’t equipped to handle standoffs with psychiatric patients. In my experience, police officers are not keen to intervene with the mentally ill. They don’t have the medical knowledge to evaluate patients. So, who is going to decide whether to transport them? What if we disagree? Protocol has been that it is the E.M.S. personnel who make the decision. Will the police now order us to take them? I can only imagine the hours that medical responders and cops will spend debating what to do with a patient.
Rather than looking for a superficial fix, Mayor Adams should turn his attention to our neglected health care apparatus. We must heavily invest in social services, housing and mental health care if we want to avoid this ongoing tragedy. We need this kind of investment across the United States, where there’s a serious post-pandemic mental health crisis. My contact with New York City’s mentally ill population over the years and my own brushes with depression and homelessness have taught me we are all much closer to the abyss than we think.
(Anthony Almojera is a lieutenant paramedic with the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services; a vice president of the Uniformed E.M.S. Officers Union, Local 3621; and the author of “Riding the Lightning: A Year in the Life of a New York City Paramedic.”)
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 7TH DECEMBER
Russia Is Trying To Destroy Our Culture
by Oleksandr Tkachenko
In the Kremlin’s mind, the world is divided between “traditional values” and “pseudo values”. The latter are a liberal threat to the former, and an irreconcilable fight is taking place between the two. The Kremlin is putting itself forward as the global leader of traditional values, claiming that its nation is built upon them. After Putin signed this document, he made it very clear he saw Russian culture as an instrument of his nation’s imperialist politics.
Russian culture has been used by members of the Kremlin to justify their terrible war. Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, recently cited Alexander Pushkin’s poem To the Slanderers of Russia on television. The broadcast featured footage of the G7 meeting, an image of Joe Biden against the background of the US flag, and symbols of Russian glory. The minister ended his speech with the following words from the peom: “Leave us alone: you’re unacquainted. With suchlike bloody sacred tablets; This family, domestic feud. Is alien, obscure to you.”
Putin insists that Ukraine and Russia are “one nation”, while deliberately trying to destroy everything related to Ukraine. Despite his attempts, this war has opened a window of opportunity for Ukrainians to be seen and heard. Through pain and tragedy, we are rediscovering Ukrainian culture. The general public knows that the famous Christmas hymn Carol of the Bellsis of Ukrainian origin: it is the Ukrainian folk melody Shchedryk, from which the brilliant Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych created a world masterpiece. Big celebrations are planned this month to honour the anniversary of Shchedryk.
Today, Ukrainian melodies and voices sound powerfully on the world’s most prestigious stages – be it the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, or La Scala in Milan. Ukrainian opera singers are among the best in the world. Earlier this year, Liudmyla Monastyrska replaced the Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who withdrew from the Met Opera after refusing to denounce Putin, in the main part of Turandot.
Boycotting Russian culture is an important step. We’re not talking about cancelling Tchaikovsky, but rather about pausing performances of his works until Russia ceases its bloody invasion. Ukrainian cultural venues have already done this with him and other Russian composers. We’re calling on our allies to do the same. Already, many of the theatres and cultural venues that previously refused to perform Russian music or to cooperate with Russian artists who support the war have since renewed their ties. And Ukrainian culture has so much to offer. Our composers have produced masterpieces, and our writers should be no less esteemed than their Russian counterparts. Ukrainian literature has deep roots and is still actively developing. Our fine and decorative arts share their origins with Europe’s rich cultural history.
Representatives of Ukrainian culture today consider it their mission to overcome the violence and destruction caused by Russia. Rejecting representatives of Russian culture who support its totalitarian regime and preventing concerts of Russian performers who openly support its war of aggression are conscious steps for a mature democratic society to take. Along with political and economic sanctions, they will be necessary if we are to defeat Russia’s totalitarian project.
(Oleksandr Tkachenko is Ukraine’s minister of culture.)
RANDY BURKE RECOMMENDS…