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SHOWERS and isolated thunderstorms are forecast for the remainder of the weekend. Some snow will also accumulate as low as 2000 feet tonight and Sunday. Dry weather is expected Monday. (NWS)
ARMED ROBBERY IN DOWNTOWN BOONVILLE
Mi Esperanza, a market at the corner of Haehl Street and Highway 128, was robbed at gunpoint this afternoon (Friday) a little before three. Few details are yet known, but first reports say the robber was a youngish white man who fled on foot. Several Sheriff's deputies arrived at the site soon after the robbery, and quickly fanned out to search for the culprit. The store, typically staffed by older women, and is known to offer check-cashing, serves the Anderson Valley's Spanish-speaking community. The tidy little market is housed on the premises of Jeff and Carolyn Short's former service station. The last armed robbery in the Anderson Valley is believed to have been carried out by Oakland thugs who wielded handguns to rob three Valley men of many pounds of processed marijuana back in 2011. Ironically, the marijuana robbery was carried out at the same site as Friday's robbery, although in the site's former office and service bay, not the building which has since become Mi Esperanza. The Oakland crew, known to locals as the “Lights Out Gang,” was apprehended the same night as they sped southbound on 101, headlights off, toward Santa Rosa.
JOHNNY SCHMITT ADDS: Interesting, about 1:30 this afternoon there was a young thuggish looking guy on a kids bike in the driveway next to the ice cream store… He would not make eye contact, I have never seen him before. Baseball hat on backwards, twenties to 30s. Or maybe he’s just one of our locals I haven’t seen close up.
ALEXIS ANN DUCKETT LYON:
As you all know, it's a cold one tonight and it's gonna get colder. We are in our homes with our wood heat or propane, forced air, whatever warms your house. Your probably snuggling on the couch with a blanket and furbaby or significant other or maybe tucked under the covers on your bed watching a movie.
Well, imagine this... you have none of that, no house, no heat, no blanket, not even a jacket and you are sleeping outside. I work at the homeless shelter in Ukiah and we are in need of jackets, gloves, scarves, hats, sweatpants and sweatshirts, and most of all blankets. We are able to shelter up to 55 people, but there are 100s in Mendocino County that have nothing and sleep outside.
We also have furbaby guests that need collars, leashes, and furbaby sweaters.
Also hygiene products, bed sheets, and pillows are needed.
If you have any of these items that you have been thinking about discarding, please pm me and I will gladly pick up any donations in the Anderson Valley and Ukiah area.
(Again, we have an on-line message without contact information. This is becoming more and more common in the social media age. For further information, readers interested in following up might try contacting the people at the Homeless Resource Center in Ukiah (Building Bridges) at 234-3270.)
NAVARRO RIVER UPDATE 12/9/22 6 PM
Hwy. 128 remains closed between Hwy. 1 and Flynn Creek Road due to shallow flooding near the Navarro River bridge.
Navarro State Beach remains closed due to flooding of the access road and the beach parking area.
There are only a few incremental changes from the previous update. The river level continues to creep higher, currently 4.80 ft. as observed at 4:15 PM today.
In the updated NWS Navarro gage forecast, the surge coming tomorrow (Saturday) is predicted to start later and reach a lower peak than previously forecast.
It is now predicted to start about 7 PM Saturday and rise quickly to a predicted crest at 9.2 ft. at 10 AM Sunday.
That surge will open a channel through the sandbar by Saturday evening, if it hasn't already breached before then.
A visual check this evening at dusk showed the sandbar still holding on against the increasing pressure of the river. The bar is getting narrower on the north side of Pinnacle Rock.
The flooding will end within a few hours once the sandbar breaches and allows the accumulated river water to drain out to the sea.
Meanwhile, detours around the closed portion of 128 include going via Comptche by way of Flynn Creek Rd. and Comptche Ukiah Rd. to Mendocino, or using the Philo Greenwood Rd. from Elk to Hwy. 128 near Philo. For folks from Caspar northward, taking Hwy. 20 from Fort Bragg to Willits is the probably the best route to Ukiah and south.
Here's a link to the NWS Navarro gage forecast chart. It always shows the latest available forecast. It is updated several times a day. https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=eka&gage=nvrc1
People planning to use 128 should check the road conditions first 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/
I'm not an expert. Just sharing my observations of the Navarro sandbar over the past several years. Hope you find it helpful.
TEST-TO-TREAT LOCATIONS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY now offer flu tests in addition to COVID tests. Those that test positive for COVID may also be eligible for immediate treatment by an on-site doctor.
“The addition of flu testing at our Test-to-Treat sites is very positive news for the county,” explained Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. “We have seen very high rates of flu and other respiratory viruses this fall compared to the last 2 years. Having easy access to testing and treatments for flu or COVID will really help decrease the stress in our emergency rooms and medical offices.”
People are encouraged to access Test-to-Treat sites if they have flu or COVID symptoms. At the site you can:
- Get tested, if positive
- Be seen by a health-care provider
- Receive medication (COVID only)
Treatments are recommended for most adults and some teenagers who get flu or COVID. The two Test-to-Treat sites in Mendocino County are located in Ukiah and Fort Bragg:
Ukiah Fairgrounds - 1055 N State St., Ukiah
9 AM - 5 PM – Sunday through Thursday (closed from 1 – 2 PM)
Walk-ins are welcome but save time by pre-registering online or by calling 888-634-1123.
Fort Bragg Veteran’s Memorial Building – 360 N. Harrison St., Fort Bragg
9 AM - 5 PM – Tuesdays (closed from 1 – 2 PM)
Walk-ins are welcome but save time by pre-registering online or by calling 888-634-1123.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit:
- Schedule an appointment at: https://lhi.care/covidtesting
Public Health continues to encourage getting flu and COVID vaccines as the best way to fight the winter viruses and avoid overwhelming emergency room staff. Vaccines are available at local pharmacies, through your health provider, and at Public Health offices and clinics throughout the county. Please see the Vaccines webpage for more information. Questions? Contact the Call Center 707-472-2759.
EQUIP MANYATTA will be at the AV Brewing Company Winter Fair tomorrow Saturday, Dec 10, 1-4 inside, with a wide variety of unique last minute gifts. Your purchase from this US non-profit will help fund vibrant community youth programs in the low income neighborhoods of Kisumu, Kenya.
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR METTIKA HOFFMAN: This Sunday, December 11, there will be a Celebration of Life for Cynthia ‘Mettika’ Hoffman — at 1 pm at Three Jewels Hall, 31791 Johnson Lane, Fort Bragg.
ALMOST THREE YEARS after former Ag Commissioner Harinder Grewal sued Mendocino County and several Ag Department staffers for wrongful termination and discrimination, the case is now set for jury trial in July of 2023 in Judge Janine Nadel’s civil courtroom in Ukiah. Mendo has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on outside attorneys for a case that should have been settled long ago for much less. (— ms)
FORT BRAGG TO RECOGNIZE OUTGOING VICE MAYOR MORSELL-HAYE
The Fort Bragg City Council will hold a reception on Monday, December 12, 2022 at 5:30 PM at Town Hall, 363 N. Main Street, Fort Bragg, to honor and recognize the City’s Vice Mayor, Jessica Morsell-Haye. Councilmember Morsell-Haye has served on the Council from 2018 through 2022 and has held the role of Vice Mayor for the past two years. The Council invites members of the public to join them in acknowledging the outgoing Vice Mayor prior to the City Council meeting certifying the results of the November 8, 2022 election and swearing in of newly elected Councilmembers. Refreshments will be served.
MENDOCINO ART CENTER, FREE FAMILY ART NIGHT December 10, 3pm-4:30pm; Free Admission
& SECOND SATURDAY GALLERY RECEPTION December 10, 5pm-7pm; Free Admission
The Mendocino Art Center hosts a free family art night for children of all ages with Julie Karlonas! Stop by the Art Center and make holiday ornaments and enjoy refreshments. All materials will be provided.
The art night is a preview of Julie’s “Art with Julie” six-week art sessions packed with exciting art projects specifically designed for four different youth age groups, starting in early January.
More information on “Art with Julie”: https://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/youth-arts
Join us for a festive reception as part of Mendocino's Candlelit Shopping Night. Our current exhibitions, "Earth, Fire and Ash" and "The Wall of Cups," as well as our Gallery Store, offer great holiday gift items. Pianist Lynn Kiesewetter will provide a musical backdrop to the evening.
'MURDER, SHE WROTE' FOR SALE: Angela Lansbury + Mendocino = great gift set!
For sale: complete used first season of 'Murder, She Wrote' staring Angela Lansbury with many scenes shot in Mendocino; a boxed set of 3 DVD disks in individual plastic cases, all in good shape. Could make a wonderful holiday gift. Cost: $50 or best offer, proceeds go to the Mendocino Land Trust. Can be delivered in the Albion to Fort Bragg corridor or mailed to you with you paying the postage. Contact Tom at email@example.com
MAKERS & BAKERS IN CASPAR, Sunday, December 11, noon - 5 pm
The second annual Makers & Bakers Fair will occupy both rooms with eighteen vendors: wood carvings by Paul Reiber, wood work by Briana and Otis, jewelry by Jima Abbott, Lily Parsons, Lee and Cindy, Guatemalan imports, ceramics by Molly, handbags by Dalen, tropical inspired wreaths by Maria, lotions and potions by the Mendocino Herb Guild, and more. Baked goods as well as a lunch of bread and soup will be available. Bakers include Marty, Kris, and Sallie with yummy mince pies. Contact Paul Reiber <firstname.lastname@example.org> for more info.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Re Eyster's stonewalling: Keeping in step with the times, even here in way-out Mendocino County the public is treated to a banquet of ineptitude, corruption, and malfeasance in government operations. It’s one thing after another, with rarely any sort of accountability. Disappeared into the churning black hole that swallows so many of our collective embarrassments. As above, so below, apparently.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
(Addendum to 2022 Annual Crop Report)
SUMMARY: AG DEPARTMENT TO SUPERVISORS: Mendo has no idea how much pot is being grown, and that’s just on the permitted side. PS. More than five years after Mendo’s grossly failed pot permit program began, Mendo sent out 1300 surveys to “cannabis operators” in September (a little more than the number of permit applicants), and got back exactly two (2) of them. They don’t even mention the pot being grown without permits, an unknown amount of which is by permit applicants who gave up on getting cultivation permits.
* * *
DATE: December 1, 2022
TO: Board of Supervisors
FROM: Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures
SUBJECT: Cannabis Crop Report
The Department of Agriculture/Weights & Measures (AWM) has spent considerable time exploring ways to present the value of cannabis production for the county. In this effort we sent out crop report surveys, examined minimum tax as received by the County for permitted entities, and we worked collaboratively with the Mendocino Cannabis Department to understand how we might extrapolate a production value based on estimated yields based on permitted square footage for the different cultivation types. While we did prepare and distribute surveys to cultivators and nursery operators, participation in these surveys was extremely low (only 2 of over 1300 surveys were returned). Compounding this dilemma is the fact that we as a County do not have access to the State’s Track and Trace (METRC) data, which would allow us access to manifests indicating transfers of flower, trim, and nursery plants between licensees. This data is not available through public records act requests.
We have approached this quandary by attempting to arrive at a production value based on the following assumptions: that legal growers cultivated the maximum permitted square foot canopy based on their permits/licenses, that each grower harvested the same yield per square foot based on industry averages per cultivation type, and by comparison of minimum tax assessment received by the county between 2020 and 2021 we could identify an increase or decrease from the previous year while taking into account price changes per pound for the different cultivation types.
While this does allow us to prepare and present an estimated production value, inherent in this value are a number of assumptions. First, that the base amount of taxes collected is accurate and indicative of the number of permitted entities that actually cultivated. Second, entities that did grow, maximized their square footage, and had the maximum number of harvests based on their license type. And third, that the assumption of yield was equitable across all production types. Understanding that several licensees did not cultivate in 2021, and those that did may not yet have sold product into the supply chain for the 2021 crop year, this further compounds error in these assumptions of production.
Due to the error inherent in this methodology and the lack of certainty, as well as the lack of participation in surveys, we do not feel at this time that presenting an estimated value of production is appropriate to include in the County’s Agricultural Crop Report, for which other crop production values are known and more accurately reported. There are potentially significant variations in value dependent on those unknown variables.
Moving forward it will be imperative that we devise a method for collecting and presenting cannabis production values. The Agricultural Department has a growing and good relationship with the Cannabis Department, and we have worked closely with Director Kristin Nevedal to explore how to best present cannabis production values. Absent more active and transparent participation in the crop report surveys by permitted industry participants, we believe that an amendment to the county cannabis land use ordinance should include the requirement for all permitted cultivators, processors, and nursery operators to provide Track and Trace (METRC) data to the Cannabis Department or Agriculture Department for the purposes of more accurately reporting cannabis production value in the county’s crop report. If the county ultimately endeavors to holistically embrace cannabis as a viable industry in the county’s economy, then we must work towards accurately reporting its economic contributions to the County. This goes beyond Crop Report production values, but we feel that this recommendation will provide a foundation on which to build.
SUPERVISOR’S REPORT by Third District Supervisor John Haschak:
Ad Hoc and Assignments as of Dec. 7, 2022
CSAC Cannabis Task Force: We met on Dec. 9. I presented at CSAC Conference about current situation from a rural county with large numbers of legacy cannabis cultivators. Other topics of note discussed at the CSAC conference were Care Court, water and drought workshop, building affordable housing, emerging technologies in transportation, and broadband.
Economic Development: Met thrice to discuss the CERF (Community Economic Resiliency Fund). One meeting with the Regional Convener for the Redwood Coast region, one meeting with West Co., and one meeting with CEO.
Wildlife Exclusionary presentation will be on Jan. 24. Riparian Protections agenda item will also be on Jan. 24.
MCOG Board met on Dec. 5. One item was that bids for the SR 162 Multipurpose Trail in Covelo exceeded the budget by $830,000. Additional funding sources will be needed since the trail proposal cannot be modified. Authorization was given for Executive Director to move forward with contract if the additional funding becomes available.
COUNTY BUDGET HOLE ESTIMATED AT $6.1 MILLION
by Jim Shields
One by one the chickens are coming home to roost in the county seat’s henhouse.
Despite assurances from former County Executive Officer Carmel Angelo last March upon her retirement that county finances were in good, if not great shape, it’s undisputed that’s certainly not the case.
It appears from the Board’s Tuesday, Dec. 6th meeting, that there’s a $6.1 million shortfall in the budget. Even that is an estimate at this time because the past fiscal year has not been closed out because the independent, outside audit required by law has not been completed in large part because the Supes (with the exception of 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak) voted earlier this year to consolidate the formerly independent, elected offices of Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller into a single office, thus eliminating a vital internal fiscal control over finances. A big no-no in all matters fiscal.
The impetus for the consolidation was a 2021 petty bureaucratic squabble instigated by DA David Eyster over his office’s travel expenses being correctly rejected by then Acting Auditor-Controller Chemise Cubbison because he refused to follow county reimbursement guidelines. CEO Angelo backed the D.A.’s play and there was soon hatched the proposed combining of the Auditor-Controller office with the Treasurer-Tax Collector, which would eliminate one of the two elected positions.
Prior to the Board approving the consolidation, Cubbison warned everyone why it was a bad idea, explaining, “The Auditor-Controller’s office and the Treasurer Tax-Collector should not be combined into one elected office. No compelling reasons have been indicated and no in depth review of the offices has been conducted. There has been no communication with myself to discuss the consolidation beyond notifying me of the upcoming agenda items. There has been no discussion about Board concerns, nor desired goals or outcomes other than what may be taking place in other offices behind closed doors. In my opinion, there are no efficiencies to be realized and the risk of collapse of two functioning departments that are key to all County departments and functions is real … In addition, consolidation would require yet another annual audit for the County to pay for and participate in. This new audit would be specifically to insure that the internal controls and the separation of duties required by code are adhered to in the combined office.”
Following Board approval of the consolidation, Cubbison was elected as the very first Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector in the June Primary.
At Tuesday’s meeting, CEO Darcie Antle told the Board that the (long overdue) required outside, independent audit is nearly completed. In the meantime, no one can assure the BOS of the accuracy of the county’s fiscal standing. We know that’s a fact because at the Board’s previous meeting, Chairman Ted Williams asked that very question of County Counsel Christian Curtis: “Can you assure us that we have accurate financial information now that we can trust?”
Curtis replied in the negative, saying, “No, that’s something the Board will have to take up.”
Most of the budget discussion at Tuesday’s meeting centered around what expenses must be cut to comply with state law mandating a balanced budget.
Haschak summed up where things are presently by saying “everything is on the wall and we’ll see what sticks.”
Fourth District Supe Dan Gjerde provided an example of the financial bind they’re in asking, “How can we maintain neighborhood parks when we have 300 miles of unpaved roads?”
On thing is for certain, the only way to balance the budget is to cut expenses and/or find or increase revenues, a tough task in these recessionary times.
Over the next six months, the Board will be formally considering a whole raft of fee increases for permits, licenses, and services. In fact, that process began at last Tuesday’s meeting when the Board approved the first set of fee increases (ranging from 3% to 435%) for Behavioral Health Recovery Services, Cannabis Management, Public Health/Environmental Health, and Social Services.
In April a huge number of departments presumably will be requesting their fees be increased.
So once again, the citizens of this county, who are mostly workers, the ever-shrinking middle class, and small business owners, will be asked to bail out with fee increases a government that finds itself in trouble, mostly of its own making.
Many people ask the question, why after paying all the taxes they are compelled to pay, are they paying all these additional “fees” for basic services that government is supposed to provide.
And the answer is: Don’t ask that question.
Consumer Groups Support Windfall Profits Cap/Price Gouging Penalty
A phalanx of California consumer groups have written Governor Newsom expressing support for his plan to impose a windfall profits cap and price gouging penalty on oil companies.
Newsom’s recently amended proposed law now features a price gouging “penalty” on oil companies.
According to the Newsom administration, the bill would permit the state to fine oil refiners with excessive profit margins and rebate the fines’ proceeds back to citizens. Some of the bill’s devilish details are nailing down the size of the penalty and the definition of “excessive profits margins.”
The consumer groups put out a joint letter, that says in part, “We support a windfall profits cap that limits how much oil refiners can make in profits per gallon of gasoline they refine. Setting a windfall profits cap on refining gasoline at a reasonable upper limit, such as 50 cents per gallon, will save consumers billions of dollars in overcharges.”
The consumer groups join a coalition of more than 50 environmental groups who have already supported the proposed law, according to Consumer Watchdog.
“Reports to investors show oil refiners in California made an average of 32 cents per gallon refining gasoline over the last two decades,” a group statement noted. “This year they more than doubled that margin to make 69 cents per gallon in profit. The four refiners that report quarterly profits – Valero, PBF, Phillips 66, and Marathon – made an average of 86 cents per gallon in profit during the second quarter and 73 cents per gallon during the third quarter. Until this year, none of the four oil refiners have made profits that have exceeded 50 cents per gallon. The ‘gouge gap’ between the average price per gallon at the pump in California and what consumers pay in the rest of the United States approached $3 this fall. This is not all a function of pent-up demand from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, or OPEC decisions. It's a consequence of five big oil refiners in California who make 97% of the gasoline and have intentionally restricted supply to artificially drive-up prices. Thus, a windfall profit cap is sorely needed to bring California gas prices under control.”
A Consumer Watchdog poll shows more than six in ten California voters support a proposal to impose a windfall profits cap and price gouging rebate on the Big 5 oil companies for through-the-roof gas prices and record-setting profits in the state.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
It seems that folks with solar panels are not paying their fair share for use of the power grid and the maintenance of the power grid. Just forget about what these folks were promised when making the decision to spend quite a bit of money to go solar. I’m just waiting for the next round of broken promises that will hit electric vehicle owners. They are not purchasing gasoline, so they are not paying fuel taxes for road maintenance. Just guessing new fees on registration are in their future.
REMEMBERING GARY BALL
[A Festival of Delusion, but this is what this crew does best, celebrate each other for, objectively, zero political victories.]
by Carole Brodsky
Sunday memorial honors environmental activist.
Gary Ball passed away in Colorado in May of 2011. This Sunday, a memorial tribute is planned at the Frey Ranch in Redwood Valley. Betty Ball is returning from Colorado to attend the event.
“A mighty wind was blowing” when Gary and Betty Ball rolled into town,” says longtime activist and musician Ede Morris. “The time was right. The need to organize folks was great,” she continues.
Gary and Betty were the cofounders of the Mendocino Environmental Center, which became the nexus for environmental and political activism in Mendocino County.
The Balls had a long history of environmental activism before moving from Colorado to Ukiah. “We had fantasies about creating an environmental center,” recounts Betty Ball. “We realized how much factionalism and internal strife there was. We wanted a place where everyone could work together and share resources.” Gary worked for King Collins, owner of the Green Mac. “In March, 1987, John McCowen came to the Green Mac. He’d inherited a building from his family and wanted it to be an environmental center. He invited us to run it,” says Ball.
Betty and Gary opened the doors with a donated building and nothing else. “The first week, I was looking out those beautiful windows and Charles Peterson walked in. He said, Wow, do we ever need this. Coastal people need to come here to do research.” He handed me $20 and became our first member. We bought a phone. John got it turned on. I brought a card table, desk and chair,” she smiles. The MEC was in business.
In no time the MEC was bustling with materials and people. “Norm de Vall couldn”t select his own representatives to the Planning Commission, so we organized a courthouse demonstration. That was when we met Judi Bari. She used her drywall and carpentry skills and created the MEC offices with Mike Sweeney. Gary was working for David Raitt at California Yurts by day and the MEC by night,” remembers Ball.
Ball was an accomplished writer. “He was able to be very sardonic, as well as brilliantly lucid and educational. He and Dale Glaser carried the MEC newsletter, writing articles, doing layout – and not on a computer,” she laughs. “Gary and Judi collaborated writing an amazing leaflet called Ground Beef to Ground War,” which connected military intervention and destroying El Salvadoran forests to the fast food industry. Ada B. Fine created a papier-mache cow head which was marched through the streets of Ukiah. We demonstrated in front of Bank of America and Burger King. I believe it was the first demonstration of its kind in Ukiah,” she smiles.
As forest issues came to the forefront, the MEC focused on abuse of forests on private land. “We created a postcard campaign saying PG&E customers would withhold one dollar from their monthly bill, to leverage the cessation of logging along Trout Creek in Potter Valley. We won. Small, watershed groups sprouted. Then came the Ocean Sanctuary organizing,” says Ball.
Gary was known more for his hard work and kindness than being an “in your face” activist. “Gary quietly worked in his little office tucked away in the back while Betty greeted us with her wonderful smile,” says Morris. It was their peacemaking abilities and personal credibility that enabled the Balls to forge positive relationships with Art Harwood and many in the logging community – which Ball feels helped turned the tide following the attempts on the lives of Judi Bari and others in the environmental movement.
“I worked for the MEC for several years – as Camp Mother for Headwaters Base Camp, and as point person to get CalTrans” pesticides out of Mendocino County,” recounts noted rabble-rouser Els Cooperrider. “Gary was completely dedicated, enthusiastic, realistic, hopeful, optimistic and kind. Gary was very much in love with Betty and very protective of her. It just really felt good to be in his company,” she continues.
Ball was an accomplished musician. “On Friday nights we”d gather at the MEC and jam,” notes Morris. “Gary was a bit shy about performing at events. I tricked him into doing a set for the MEC”s 10-year anniversary, telling him I”d only play if he accompanied me. Lang Russell and Lisa Bregger joined in and we sounded great!” she recalls. “Now we have his song, Roll River Roll,” which runs like a river from long ago, leading us onward with our struggles,” Morris concludes. She will play Ball”s song on Sunday.
“Gary loved I am Willing”- Holly Near”s song,” notes Ball. Near was contacted and happily gave permission for her song to be played at the memorial. “Judi loved Hobo”s Lullaby,” recalls Ball. “She responded to music better than painkillers after the bombing. Gary”s shift with Judi was Sunday afternoons. He always, always sang her this song in the hopes she would have a good night”s sleep,” says Ball.
“There was not a phony bone in Gary Ball’s body,” recalls Dan Hamburg. “If Gary said it, you could take it to the bank. What I”ll remember best about Gary was that wry and knowing smile, the one he flashed when he was in the midst of some conversation about the chasm between what is and what might be if we would only wake up,” Hamburg recounts.
“I”ll never forget his appreciation of and love for Betty. Betty and Gary- what a team!” says Hamburg.
“Here we are, years later, seeing the seeds of ideas sprouting that were germinated a generation ago,” notes Ball. “We have a common enemy- the corporations ripping off our communities. Gary was saying that 20 years ago in 1991, and now it”s the main news item on CNN,” she smiles.
Cooperrider sums up the feeling of everyone who knew Gary Ball: “I had never really known anyone so unselfish and so giving until I met Gary Ball. Knowing him gave me hope- the hope one needs to want and work for a better world.”
The memorial for Gary Ball will be held at the Frey Ranch, 14000 Tomki Road in Redwood Valley, beginning at 2 p.m. Please bring a potluck dish to share. For more information, phone (707) 513-8805.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
I have lived in Cloverdale all of my 73 years. I found out a few months back that my family left upstate New York in 1811. After a few stops they arrived and settled in Anderson Valley, Yorkville and Cloverdale in 1855.
I have so much history here and in Anderson Valley. My great-great grandmother is Grandman Stubblefield as in the book that was written about in your paper recently, Grandma Stubblefield's Rose.
Your paper is old school because you tell it like it is.
It has brought back a lot of memories too. We had a paper in Cloverdale back in the 60s and 70s which Bill Sandlin ran. He was just like you and told it like it was.
So many memories you have brought up. I remember a story about Cloverdale's Blind Man. He was an umpire in our men's softball league. There is nothing soft about a softball. He would call a ball a strike, or a strike the ball.
Every town had a Blind Man. We also had Mario who would drink a little and not very well. So he spoke like he was from another world.
We also had Johnny Pumphandle. He was like our town marshal and he would sit for hours watching the traffic on Highway 101 through town.
Then we had Charlie Ricard, aka. Fastpitch. He was like double-jointed and when he pitched the ball that would take what seemed like hours to get to the plate.
All of our guys were Cloverdale’s answer to Pepper, a locally famous tart-tongued lady who was ubiquitous in Santa Rosa. If you ever ran into her you were toast.
It brought back a lot when things were so nice and in the slow lane. Not anymore now.
Going northwest on Highway 128 from Cloverdale there is a water trough built from 1910-1917 for the horses which traveled the road both with riders and horsecarts. There was another spring near the west camping club. We used to go out there and get gallons of drinking water. Both of them were wonderful, so cold and good. Now it's all for forgotten.
Back in the late 60s we played Boonville in football every year. It was right after the Apple Fair. You were probably told that we never lost to Boonville. But we managed to lose all four years of football when I played. The issue for us was that just after the Apple Fair and all the cows and horses, there was shit left on the Fairgrounds playing field. Our coach would make us all take our clothes off after the game, and I mean all of it. It was so bad that all our clothes ended up under the bus for the trip home. But it did no good. It still stunk. So we lost all four of those years in the “Shit Bowl."
Thank you for all you do. Have a good 2023.
AVA EDITOR GETS LIFETIME ACHIVEMENT AWARD
by Mike Geniella
Anderson Valley Advertiser Editor Bruce Anderson earned his reputation as a North Coast literary lion years ago, in part by snarling at critics of his Anderson Valley Advertiser and brawling with a few local personalities. Even at age 83, Anderson doesn’t back down if he feels the fight is just.
So, it should come as no surprise that Mendocino County’s most famous scribe joins a list of notable writers and activists recognized for helping protect open expression on behalf of literature and human rights in the United States and worldwide.
Anderson shares in the “Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award” handed out earlier this month by the Oakland chapter of PEN America to the Mendocino County editor and Nellie Wong, a Chinese American poet and union activist who was born and raised in the Oakland Chinatown of the 1940s. The Oakland chapter was formed in 1989 by activist and writer Ishmael Reed, and not long after the organization was described as the “blue collar” PEN by the New York Times. That label suits the Bay Area membership, who eschew highbrow literary pronouncements in favor of multi-cultural voices.
Anderson always provokes national attention, but the lifetime achievement award is one of the few public recognitions he has received for decades of publishing, writing and editing the Anderson Valley Advertiser, a rambunctious no-holds barred weekly newspaper that is among the best-known publications in America. Its daily online version – Mendocino County Today – is as popular as the print edition.
Not surprisingly, Anderson downplays the honor. Anderson recalled the advice of one of his closest friends, the late acerbic columnist Alexander Cockburn, a Scotland born writer who lived for a time on the Lost Coast at Petrolia.
“When they start giving you awards, it’s time to quit,” Cockburn told his friend.
Still, Anderson acknowledged he is flattered by the PEN recognition. “They don’t pass these things out like popcorn, but then again maybe they felt sorry for me because I’m old and still at it.”
Anderson’s rogue approach to journalism, and his disdain for the trappings of media conventions, are legendary. So is his advocacy on behalf of inmates, blue collar workers, and troubled people caught up in the “system,” and his willingness to wage a war of words in the AVA on their behalf.
In 2015, writer Alexander Nazaryan declared in a Newsweek article that the AVA “may well be one of the last genuinely American newspapers.” The New York Times, frequently mocked by Editor Anderson for its establishment brand of news gathering, in 2004 described the AVA “as one of the country’s most idiosyncratic and contentious weeklies.”
As far back as 1985, the AVA was garnering attention in the mainstream media. The Los Angeles Times that year published a piece quoting former Rep. Doug Bosco, D-Sonoma County.
“He isn’t particularly accurate, and he doesn’t stay within the bounds of responsible journalism but maybe that’s why people read him,” said Bosco then.
Anderson three years later sent the mainstream news media into a dither in 1988 when he published a purported interview with Bosco, a satiric piece quoting the lawmaker as saying among other things that the only real concern most of his North Coast constituents had was where their next marijuana joint came from. The piece rocked the political establishment, generated national coverage, and laid Anderson open to pronouncements by media gurus that he was not a “real journalist.”
Bosco’s later defeat at the polls stunned liberals but was celebrated by Anderson, and a cadre of progressives who thwarted his bid for re-election.
Bosco later acknowledged to a New York Times writer that Anderson’s “biting sarcasm always had enough of a kernel of truth that it stuck."
And, added Bosco, “He's a good writer. So even if you are being completely maligned, at least you have the honor of it being done in good style.”
Anderson and the AVA are deeply woven into the fabric of the region, especially in Mendocino County, a place that the editor describes as offering refuge for people who “reinvent themselves every day.”
Over the years Anderson has relied on Mark Scaramella, his longtime colleague at the AVA, and a loyal cadre of contributors to keep the newspaper going. Scaramella, a member of a politically influential Mendocino Coast family, in particular keeps tab on the county Board of Supervisors in an era when conventional newspapers have shrunk their news gathering operations, and only occasionally cover county offices, courts, and school board meetings.
“We are still at it when all the others have faded away,” said Anderson.
To the circle of people who know Anderson well, his high-profile role as a public curmudgeon is at odds with his quiet family lifestyle, a dedication to personal fitness (the regimen includes 150 pushups a day), and enjoyment of books, baseball, and the county fair.
Anderson, a former Marine, is a devoted family man, married for more than five decades to a Malaysian woman named Ling whom he met while doing a stint with the Peace Corps. “Without Ling, I would probably be sleeping in a doorway,” said Anderson.
He is the father of two sons, and a daughter: Zack Anderson, a Harvard graduate and a film producer and screenwriter; daughter Jessica Anderson, an executive with the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco; and son Ben Anderson, a social services specialist in Mendocino County. “He hopes that his co-workers don’t learn that I am his father,” quipped Anderson.
Writer and jazz aficionado Robert Mailer Anderson, a San Francisco philanthropist and author of the novel “Boonville,” is part of the Anderson family. He graduated from Anderson Valley High School while living with Bruce Anderson and his family as a teenager. Robert Mailer Anderson and his wife Nicola Miner own a large ranch in Mendocino County and use it as a family retreat. They have become major benefactors of scholarships for local Anderson Valley students, among other contributions. Robert Mailer Anderson is the Oakland PEN’s chapter representative to the national organization.
Bruce Anderson was born in 1939 in Hawaii “in the same hospital where Barack Obama was later born.” His grandfather was an executive with the venerable Honolulu Iron Works company, an iconic island firm that supplied heavy duty industrial equipment for sugar cane mills, refineries and distilleries throughout Hawaii and the Pacific.
Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, toddler Bruce and a baby brother, Ken, and their mother came on a troop ship to San Francisco because of family fears the Japanese were going to follow up with an armed invasion of Hawaii. “We bunked at the Fairmont Hotel,” said Anderson.
Later, his father rejoined the family in the City where he went to work loading submarines at Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard during the war. “We moved to Marin County, and I grew up in Corte Madera and went to Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.”
Life was good.
“My greatest achievement as a teenager was pitching a 13-inning shutout against San Rafael High School’s baseball team,” recalled Anderson.
Anderson joined the Marine Corps after high school, largely because of a “lack of imagination.” Basic training was “15 weeks of pure torture.”
“Because I was a high school jock, I could weather it physically, but it was mind numbing,” Anderson recalled.
When Anderson got out of the Marines, his brother Ken helped him get into Cal Poly as a baseball player. He later graduated from San Francisco State University with a double major in history and English.
Anderson started “hanging out with commies and civil rights activists” in the City. Like so many youth of the time, Anderson became an admirer of John F. Kennedy, and his Peace Corps.
“There was a notion that activists had a place in the Peace Corps, and I joined up. I was among the first wave of volunteers to go to Southeast Asia,” said Anderson.
He met his future wife Ling in the small village of Mukah on the island of Borneo. “She was a young teacher there, and the only one who could speak English. In fact, she spoke five languages.”
“We have been together ever since,” said Anderson.
Anderson currently divides his time between the family home in San Anselmo, and the AVA’s compound in Boonville.
Originally, he brought his family to live in Anderson Valley in the late 1970s after becoming engaged in providing a group home environment for troubled juveniles from the Bay Area.
It was by chance that he later bought the AVA, then a staid community weekly, and became editor and publisher in January 1984. “I had found myself in a lot of hassles with the county bureaucracy over group home regulations, and I thought the newspaper could be my bullhorn to make county officials uncomfortable.”
Indeed, it did.
The AVA under Anderson’s ownership roared to life, ripping local educational agencies, and damning liberal political figures along with rock-ribbed conservatives. He once, for example, labeled the county’s grand jury a “gutless posse of senile Rotarians.” He verbally pummeled people publicly he considered incompetent, some of whom still carry resentments after years of licking their wounds.
The reaction was almost immediate.
“We lost almost all of our advertising, and we were greeted with scorn by the county’s establishment,” recalled Anderson.
The AVA, however, struck a chord with readers with its biting commentary, aggressive news coverage, and wide-ranging literary selections. As many copies were sold in the Bay Area and elsewhere as in Mendocino County. It became a célèbre.
“I knew that between sales in the news racks, and from subscriptions, we could make it,” said Anderson.
County officials then retaliated by denying him legal advertising, an important source of income. The AVA fought the case in court and won a local jury verdict in favor, but lost to the county when it appealed to a higher state court.
Anderson singled out the county’s Office of Education for some of his most vitriolic attacks, which led to an infamous scuffle with the county schools superintendent at a Point Arena meeting.
Current District Attorney Dave Eyster was then a brash newcomer who prosecuted Anderson on disturbing the peace charges and got him a 30-day jail sentence.
“I slept on the floor for over a week because the jail then was so overcrowded, and the conditions so decrepit. They could not even shut the showers off,” recalled Anderson.
The editor’s reputation may have been sullied but his presence got jail administrators attention. “They acted immediately to get things cleaned up. I recall 40 or more inmates eventually being released because of the overcrowded conditions. I see it as one of my most important accomplishments.”
Anderson in the 1980s initially was supportive of the environmental movement that challenged the nation’s biggest timber companies over their rapacious logging practices on the North Coast. He stood with Earth First! activist Judi Bari at early rallies and railed at the “timber barons” for overcutting redwoods, shutting down mills, and disrupting the lives of thousands of millworkers and their families.
But a car bombing in Oakland shattered the alliance. Bari was seriously injured in the blast but the FBI and Oakland Police, who considered Bari and her followers environmental “terrorists,” labeled them suspects in their own bombing.
Anderson became convinced the real suspect was Bari’s former husband, Mike Sweeney. The fall out between Anderson and Bari and her followers was never healed. The bombing case remains unsolved.
Anderson has mellowed with time, and today’s AVA is regarded as one of the last sources of solid local news reporting in the county. Respectability knocks on the door. The DA and sheriff routinely pay calls on the AVA office when they cross the valley enroute to the Mendocino Coast. Today’s AVA is chock full of local news promoting community events, the state of valley schools, and robust letters to the editor.
Anderson said he’s getting some satisfaction of having outlasted his critics. “I have a whole drawer full of demand letters for retractions. I am very proud of them.”
The fate of the AVA in an era marked by the collapse of news media in general?
“When I die, I am pretty sure the AVA will go with me. Better buy it while you can,” said Anderson.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, December 9, 2022
ANTHONY ABODECRESPO, Leesport, Pennsylvania/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
ANDRU CAMPBELL, Ukiah. County parole violation, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ERIC CASON, Gualala. Domestic battery.
WILLIAM GOFORTH, Willits. Probation revocation.
RICKY GRIMMETTE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RUSSELL HARMON, Willits. Suspended license, probation revocation.
JONATHAN KREBS, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, evidence destruction, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO MENDOZA, Redwood Valley. Domestic abuse, false imprisonment.
AMBER NELSON, Lucerne/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
DAVID NUNES-DIAZ, Willits. DUI, no license, controlled substance.
ARTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
DEB KEIPP RECOMMENDS:
Just finished the Netflix show on Madalyn Murray O'Hair. My mum was a catholic who converted to presbyterian when she married. She was ever after with “Say your prayers!,” when we went off to bed. Worried for her mortal sins, she was very interested in Madalyn Murray O'Hair's story, but I never heard this ending before. Well-written article. Netflix movie, “Most Hated Woman in America,” also okay.
THIS'LL DO THE TRICK
Chant “Om Namah Shivaya” as an alternative to random discursive thinking. Stop identifying with the body and the mind and your problem is solved. Be free!
Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya Om Namah Shivaya
Craig Louis Stehr
MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 7pm. If you miss that, send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's always a next week.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via KNYO.org. Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other even more terrific shows.
Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night I'll put the recording of tonight's show there. And besides all that, there you'll find a groaning table of delicious information to eat until showtime, or any time, such as:
Antivax people I know from the MCN Announce listserve were antitvaxxing a long time ago — it isn't just the latest vaccines; they were against vaccinating children for measles, polio, tetanus, yadda yadda. And they're the same people who've been claiming all along that cell phones cause brain cancer. Here's a graph of the incidence of brain and nervous system cancer over the last thirty years. In 1992, hardly anyone had a cell phone and there were cell towers hardly anywhere. In 2022, nine out of ten people use a cell phone and cell towers are all over the place. If cell phones cause cancer, the line on the graph should be nearly vertical by now. But it's entirely horizontal, see? Not even a blip.
A better asteroid-impact info calculator. Choose an impact point, set asteroid diameter, speed and angle, launch. Reconsider your objections to our learning how to protect against this in real life, and against space science in general. (via BoingBoing)
Meanwhile at ground zero, which is everywhere, there are tests they used to give children on whether this thing will fit there, or how do you have to turn this shape to get it through that shape of hole, if it will even go. I was especially good at it. I was good at pretty much all the tests except the one, later, in high school, where you plod along copying a column of numbers from one list to another with a golf pencil for twenty minutes, to see if you're suited for a career in a financial scrivening firm in 1846. "Fuck this," I recall muttering two minutes in, and skipped the whole rest of that one, dragging my overall percentile down out of the clouds. Though it turned out there was a college in Iowa specifically interested in young people who similarly said /Fuck this/ about that. Anyway, the video. Space aliens who've figured out faster than light travel between star systems see things like this, and what do you suppose they conclude about our formidability to withstand their invasion plans?
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
YOUNG DEM CLUBS
Robert Reich, political economist, friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Labor, can't get permission from NPR corporate donors so that he can speak to the largest radio audience in the country. Climate change: forget any meaningful progress as long as the Republicans take their orders from the fossil fuel corporados. The answer is to build up a solid majority of Democrats in government starting with 18-year-olds. Establish Young Democrat clubs in most counties. Harrison is doing the opposite of what is needed. Just like the Democratic clubs in this county. Invite every member of Ukiah high school to a Democratic Club organizing meeting.
BROCK PURDY’S IMPROBABLE RISE TO 49ERS’ STARTING QB ONLY HIS LATEST EPIC FEAT
by Connor Letourneau
While waiting to board a flight last Sunday, Preston Jones listened to a radio broadcast on his iPhone of the San Francisco 49ers’ 33-17 win over Miami.
The surprise in the play-by-play announcer’s voice when he called rookie San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy’s highlight-worthy throws reminded Jones: Oh yeah, not everyone is used to this yet. Since Jones first coached Purdy at Perry High School outside Phoenix eight years ago, he has witnessed the short, slow-footed kid with questionable arm strength do the unimaginable again and again.
The time he lost 27 pounds with mononucleosis before returning three games into his junior year at Perry to break single-season state records for passing yards (4,405) and touchdown passes (57). The time he went from zero FBS offers to dozens spanning blueblood programs within a two-month stretch after his final high school game. The time he rose from third-stringer to four-year starter at Iowa State.
But this? This is even absurd by Purdy’s lofty standards. Little more than seven months ago, he earned the infamous moniker of “Mr. Irrelevant” as the NFL draft’s last pick. Now, after beating out the more-experienced Nate Sudfeld for a 53-man roster spot and replacing the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy enters Sunday’s home game against Tampa Bay as the caretaker of the 49ers’ Super Bowl hopes.
“This is just kind of what happens to Brock Purdy,” said Jones, who named a steer on his central Arizona property “Mr. Irrelevant” in his former player’s honor. “Brock puts himself in a position for things to happen, you know? Things that happen to him quit surprising me years ago.”
With Garoppolo not expected to return from a left foot injury until at least the divisional-playoff round in late January, Purdy is poised to start the final five regular-season games and perhaps even a playoff game or two. The notion of a 22-year-old who heard 261 names called before his in the draft shouldering such responsibility should terrify 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
But this is no typical “Mr. Irrelevant,” which is why Shanahan didn’t put in a waiver claim on quarterback Baker Mayfield when the Panthers released him Monday. The 49ers like their chances with Purdy behind center, a bevy of playmakers around him and a stout defense.
In handing the Dolphins their first loss in which Tua Tagovailoa played the full game, Purdy flashed the poise, accuracy and quick decision-making that made Shanahan enter the season with three quarterbacks while many other teams only kept two. Facing a blitz-heavy scheme, Purdy worked through his progressions, improvised when necessary and went 25-for-37 for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
There was even something to appreciate about his lone interception. Though Purdy should have thrown to Brandon Aiyuk’s back shoulder, he showed uncanny self-belief by targeting Aiyuk in single coverage rather than finding a wide-open Christian McCaffrey on a far shorter and easier pass.
Shanahan’s postgame assessment of Purdy could be distilled to six words: “He’s got some balls out there.” And for the 49ers (8-4) to maintain their lead over the Seahawks (7-5) in the NFC West, he must remain unfazed by the enormity of the moment.
By now, NFL fans are well-versed on the usual life cycle of a backup quarterback: an overachieving performance, a week of hype trumpeting the player as a “hidden gem” or “diamond in the rough,” then a series of games that spotlight just how premature all that buildup had been. For every Kurt Warner who ascends from obscurity to become a bona-fide starter, there are numerous hot names that flame out.
That’s why Sunday afternoon’s matchup against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers feels so important. As Purdy mentioned this week, Brady has “been playing football longer than I’ve been alive.”
In fact, Purdy was only 10 months old when Brady attempted his first NFL pass on Nov. 23, 2000. A win over arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time would reinforce many people’s belief that Purdy is more than just a feel-good story.
But even if that happens, skeptics figure to linger. There are reasons the six previous quarterbacks taken last in the NFL draft never completed a forward pass in a regular-season game.In addition to not having much opportunity, they might just not have been good enough for this level.
In the 46 years since Dayton wide receiver Kelvin Kirk became the NFL’s first “Mr. Irrelevant,” only five players with that title have appeared in more than 50 career games. None played skill positions, which is why Ryan Hoag, “Mr. Irrelevant” 2003, was borderline giddy when he saw Purdy jog onto the field last Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
Like many other players with that moniker, Hoag had overcome long odds just to get drafted. Known more at Minneapolis’ Washburn High School for soccer and tennis than football, he got cut from Wake Forest’s soccer team for sleeping through his first practice, transferred to Division III Gustavous Adolphus and blossomed into a record-setting wide receiver.
After more than a half-decade ping-ponging among NFL practice squads and various minor leagues, he retired in 2010 and became a tennis instructor at a country club in Boca Raton, Fla. Through a friend in the 49ers’ front office, Hoag scored tickets to Sunday’s game, where he was sitting in Section 213 when Purdy became the first “Mr. Irrelevant” to throw a touchdown pass in a regular-season game.
That three-yard toss to fullback Kyle Juszczyk on his first drive was just Purdy finding a rhythm. He sold a play fake that confused a pair of Dolphins defenders matched up with Deebo Samuel, freeing Juszczyk to race into the end zone behind a legal Aiyuk screen.
In the third quarter, with a blitz threatening to quash a third-and-three play, Purdy rolled left out of the pocket to hit McCaffrey for two yards. When Miami stonewalled him on a quarterback sneak during the ensuing fourth-and-one, Purdy spun around and secured the first down.
“What really impressed me was how Purdy handled Miami going man coverage and just saying, ‘You’re not going to beat us deep,’” said Hoag, whose post-playing career includes a stint on the “The Bachelorette.” “Purdy is definitely making all of us ‘Mr. Irrelevants’ proud right now.”
Before Purdy fell to the last pick in April’s draft, he wasn’t even aware of all that comes with being a “Mr. Irrelevant”: the weeklong celebration in Orange County, the trophy that depicts a player fumbling a football, the souvenirs from every NFL team. Such attention initially made him uncomfortable. But as time passed, Purdy came to embrace his new title.
For as long as he can remember, he has had doubters. Instead of being recruited to local powerhouse Chandler High School, Purdy followed his older sister to Perry, an afterthought football program where he didn’t become the sole varsity starter until his junior year.
Even after he led the Pumas to the state title game that season against Chandler, he struggled to land an FBS scholarship. College scouts pinpointed his skinny 6-foot-1 frame and passes that floated through the air on his highlight video as proof that he didn’t belong at their schools.
When those same coaches returned to Perry that spring and remarked on how much bigger and stronger Purdy had gotten, Jones rolled his eyes. “Remember?” he recalled saying on more occasions than he can count. “I told you he had mono.”
Twenty-four hours before the start of college football’s first early signing period in December 2017, Purdy had no offers. Then programs still desperate for a high school quarterback scoured the country and realized he was the best one available.
After choosing Iowa State over such heavyweights as Alabama and Texas A&M, he arrived in tiny Ames, Iowa expecting to redshirt. It wasn’t long before an injury to the Cyclones’ starter and ineffective play from their top backup thrust Purdy into the No. 1 job.
As he now settles in as the 49ers’ starter with Garoppolo and Trey Lance sidelined, some of his loved ones find themselves reflecting on that memorable period. Purdy’s promotion changed the course of Iowa State’s 2018 season. After watching his team stumble to a 1-3 start, he guided the Cyclones to wins over three nationally ranked opponents and an Alamo Bowl appearance.
This charmed run would become just one of many legendary snapshots from a college career in which he started 46 games, won a Big 12 championship and engineered so many stunning fall comebacks that Iowa State fans dubbed October “Brocktober.” But there Purdy was on the third and final day of the draft last spring, watching in his family’s living room as NFL teams selected less-accomplished quarterbacks over him.
When his name was finally called with the 262nd pick, family and friends shrieked in glee. It wasn’t just that Purdy had realized a longtime dream of making the NFL. In the 49ers, he had seemingly found another perfect situation: a winning franchise with a quarterback-friendly head coach known to rely on later-round picks.
“I really believe he should’ve been drafted in at least the fifth round, but Brock couldn’t be in a better spot than San Francisco,” said Dan Manucci, Purdy’s private quarterback coach in Phoenix. “They believe in him there. That’s all you can ask for as a quarterback.”
As Purdy prepares for his encore Sunday against Tampa Bay, he has dozens of former “Mr. Irrelevants” scattered across the country following his story.
David Vobora (2008), a gym owner in Dallas who started 16 games for the Rams at linebacker, has studied how Shanahan puts Purdy in positions to succeed alongside Samuel, McCaffrey, Aiyuk and George Kittle. Marty Moore (1994), a medical-device salesman in Lexington, Ky., and the first “Mr. Irrelevant” to make the Super Bowl, hopes to watch every Purdy game the rest of the season.
“When you see a guy who’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant,’ there’s a natural bond there,” Moore said. “We’ve all been through the heckling and the ‘you’re-not-good-enough-to-make-it’ stuff. We all had something to prove, and Purdy seems no different. You can tell he’s plenty motivated.”
Which is why Jones wasn’t surprised with the response he received from Purdy this week when he texted Purdy congratulations: “Thanks, Coach. Onto the next one.”
SAY THIS about the Democrats, they’re no longer the party of chaos. There’s an order to their madness. They march in lockstep to the neoliberal beat, top-to-bottom with very few defections, especially when it comes to crushing the aspirations of working people and the poor. And they send out their most “liberal” figures to deliver the fatal blows. This week it was Sherrod Brown, the champion for the working man from Ohio, who came forth to defend the betrayal of rail workers, claiming that “a strike would have devastated the U.S. economy.”
— Jeffrey St. Clair
I drank because I wanted to have fun and there was more fun when I was drunk. The glow one gets from a few drinks brings a wonderful feeling about life and people. Of course drinking to excess is downright stupidity. Liquor can make you happy but too much of it can make you sad. It's like a drug to some people. They can't stop. Those are the ones who shouldn't drink at all. That, it turned out, was my trouble. I had to go to extremes in everything I did.
— Mickey Walker
NEWLY RELEASED INTERNAL DOCUMENTS suggest that Twitter's former head of safety Yoel Roth was meeting weekly with the FBI, and show instances of the FBI flagging tweets related to the 2020 election for deletion. Journalist Matt Taibbi shared the claims in a new Twitter thread on Friday night, one week after sharing the first tranche of so-called “Twitter Files” turned over by the company's new owner Elon Musk. In an undated chat on the messaging app Slack that Taibbi says took place after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, Roth is seen joking about a mysterious meeting on his calendar, saying it is “DEFINITELY not a meeting with the FBI I SWEAR.” (Daily Mail)
[Taken from a circular letter, addressing many topics, written to three friends and co-workers in the conspiracy against Hitler, on the tenth anniversary of Hitler’s accession to the chancellorship of Germany… Bonhoeffer was executed by Hitler in 1945.]
"Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease.
Against stupidity we are defenseless. Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical — and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental.
In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.
“If we want to know how to get the better of stupidity, we must seek to understand its nature. This much is certain, that it is in essence not an intellectual defect but a human one. There are human beings who are of remarkably agile intellect yet stupid, and others who are intellectually quite dull yet anything but stupid. We discover this to our surprise in particular situations. The impression one gains is not so much that stupidity is a congenital defect, but that, under certain circumstances, people are made stupid or that they allow this to happen to them.
We note further that people who have isolated themselves from others or who live in solitude manifest this defect less frequently than individuals or groups of people inclined or condemned to sociability. And so it would seem that stupidity is perhaps less a psychological than a sociological problem. It is a particular form of the impact of historical circumstances on human beings, a psychological concomitant of certain external conditions. Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or of a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. It would even seem that this is virtually a sociological-psychological law.
The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence, and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent.
In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with a person, but with slogans, catchwords and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.
“Yet at this very point it becomes quite clear that only an act of liberation, not instruction, can overcome stupidity. Here we must come to terms with the fact that in most cases a genuine internal liberation becomes possible only when external liberation has preceded it. Until then we must abandon all attempts to convince the stupid person.
This state of affairs explains why in such circumstances our attempts to know what “the people’ really think are in vain and why, under these circumstances, this question is so irrelevant for the person who is thinking and acting responsibly. The word of the Bible that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom declares that the internal liberation of human beings to live the responsible life before God is the only genuine way to overcome stupidity.
“But these thoughts about stupidity also offer consolation in that they utterly forbid us to consider the majority of people to be stupid in every circumstance. It really will depend on whether those in power expect more from people’s stupidity than from their inner independence and wisdom.’
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from “After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works/English, vol. 8) Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2010.
“As the voice of the poet becomes stifled, history loses its meaning and the eschatological promise bursts like a new and frightening dawn upon the consciousness of man. Only now, at the edge of the precipice, is it possible to realize that “everything we are taught is false.” The proof of this devastating utterance is demonstratable every day in every realm: on the battlefield, in the laboratory, and the factory, in the press, in the school, in the church. We live entirely in the past, nourished by dead thoughts, dead creeds, dead sciences. And it is the past which is engulfing us, not the future. The future always has and always will belong to — the poet.”
— Henry Miller
NSA PICKUP LINES
• You come here often.
• You’re free Friday. Would you like to have dinner?
• I know exactly where you have been all my life.
• Give me all your drinks. I need to figure out which one to order.
— Luke Harding, The Snowden Files
THE TOOL OF TOOLS
by James Kunstler
At what point in his arduous take-over of Twitter did Elon Musk realize that the package came with a joker in the deck: James A. Baker, formerly general counsel of the FBI? Did he wonder: what is this guy doing here? Were there any conversations between the two? Or did Mr. Musk just quietly observe his presence at a remove in nervous wonder, as one might, say, upon discovering a scorpion in the corner of his hotel room?
Mr. Baker, you understand, was notoriously at the center of the FBI’s FISA court fuckery that got the ball rolling in the Crossfire Hurricane operation, Act One of RussiaGate, as well as the Alfa Bank caper concocted by Hillary Clinton (disclosed this year by special counsel John Durham), and probably every other sedition pie the FBI cooked in its oven in those years, considering Mr. Baker’s position as chief legal advisor to Director Chris Wray. When the alt-news media caught on to Mr. Baker’s nefarious activities, he became inconvenient to the agency, was re-assigned to some nebulous task (polishing Mr. Wray’s cuff links?), and quit in May, 2018. He landed temporarily — or was he, rather, parked out-of-sight? — at the shadowy R Street Institute, an Intel Community cut-out, one of its countless PR channels in the DC Swamp.
But then, mysteriously, Mr. Baker got hired by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in June of 2020 — the heat of a presidential election — to work under Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel (and chief of “legal, policy, and trust” [ha!]), where he remained until just the other day. Is it a stretch to imagine Mr. Baker’s former employer, the FBI — which, let’s face it, operates as a sort of blood-brotherhood — purposely installed Mr. Baker in that sensitive job at Twitter to help “moderate” the national conversation in the central forum that public debate had moved to in our time?
If so, he apparently did a crackerjack job, and just at the right time, too, after the FBI discovered, in emails they ripped off Rudolph Giuliani’s purloined cloud account, that Donald Trump’s attorney possessed of a copy of the laptop hard-drive of one Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden — said computer (the FBI knew full-well by then) being stuffed not just with pornographic photos of crack orgies and other personal infelicities, but also a trove of emails and deal memos laying out a bribery and money-laundering scheme that the younger Biden was running all over Eurasia as a family business.
Of course, the FBI had that selfsame computer in its possession for the better part of a year when The New York Post broke the news of its existence days before the election of 2020. In fact, the Bureau had had possession at the very time that Mr. Trump was busy getting impeached for daring to suggest to Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, that the Bidens were involved in some shady business worth investigating with the Kiev-based Burisma gas company. Evidence of that and much much more — including way-bigger shady deals with CCP cut-outs — lay moldering in the laptop the FBI just silently sat on. Isn’t it a little strange that during the dragged-out impeachment ordeal neither Attorney General William Barr nor FBI chief Chris Wray volunteered to Mr. Trump’s legal defense that they held exculpatory evidence on that laptop for the very thing he was impeached on?
That was January, 2020, many months before The New York Post took the laptop’s existence public. And whaddaya know… by June of that year, James A. Baker was in place at Twitter, ready to serve! As election day approached, he apparently succeeded in stifling transmission of the Post’s laptop story plus any-and-all conversation about it in the Twitterverse, and was careful not to leave a memo trail of his heroic interventions. Do you suppose he might have had some conversations about all that with his old colleagues at the FBI? At the same time, you understand, the FBI was leaning successfully on that other social network giant, Facebook, to likewise smother the laptop story. And Google, too, having become an Intel Community tool, was avid to tailor its search algorithms to steer the curious away from Hunter’s laptop. And so was fortune’s fool Joe Biden inserted into history….
Amazingly, after all that huggermugger, James A. Baker still remained in place last week at Twitter — even as his putative boss, censor-in-chief, Vijaya Gadde, got drop-kicked out the door — just as Elon Musk prepared to release a trove of information detailing Twitter’s censorship activities of recent years. Yes! And, evidently, Mr. Baker functioned as a sort of one-man clearinghouse for all the documents getting shoveled to independent reporter Matt Taibbi, whom Mr. Musk had designated to be the news conduit for these awaited revelations. And, yes, there is every reason to suspect that Mr. Baker censored, or perhaps even tried to destroy, the very documents that Mr. Musk ordered released.
Was that not like leaving a wolverine in Twitter’s henhouse? How could Mr. Musk not know how absurd it was for Mr. Baker to moderate that release? Well, the chatter is that Mr. Musk was seeking a way to encourage Mr. Baker to inculpate himself, so as to foreclose any lawsuits he might think to bring against Twitter for wrongful termination. I have to say, Mr. Musk would be an idiot if he did not have copies of the server that James Baker had access to and had the opportunity to delete stuff from. I guess we’ll find out.
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VICENTE BLASCO IBANEZ: Excess As A Unit Of Measure
by Manuel Vicente (translated by Louis Bedrock)
He wore his shirt collar turned out like Byron, but far from the romantic lameness and elegant bone structure of the English poet, our man was a bare-chested writer in every sense: He was a down to earth, sensual man, who moved between the convulsions of politics and the abyss of combat journalism, and enjoyed abundant literary success as well as the pleasures of a Moor from Valencia, sporting a pajama jacket topped with abundant leather.
Vicente Blasco Ibañez was born very close to the Central Market of Valencia, at #8 calle de la Jabonería Nueva (8 New Soap Factory Street), on January 29, 1867, the son of Gaper and Ramona, who were both from Aragon and were the owners of a grocery store. It was a poor establishment, in whose dingy back room were sacks of rice, sugar and other groceries. The street was inhabited by humble artisans—shoemakers, druggists, and cloth merchants. Those were his people. Amid the cries of peddlers and flutes of sharpeners, the Valencian mesocracy passed in front of his house with a basket on its arm, on its way to the market, muttering about the high cost of living.
These creatures would later populate the novel Rice and Tartan and in the future would become natural voters for the republican party which was founded by the writer, who by instinct, always followed this principle: "If you have the key to the marketplace, you have the soul of Valencia in your power."
One of his mother's aunts, Mrs. Vicenta of Calatayud, was a maid or housekeeper in the house of Mariano de Cabrerizo, a revolutionary politician, publisher and bookseller, also from Aragon. They customarily took little Vincent to spend summer afternoons in his villa in Alameda, which was surrounded by a sunny orchard with hens. Perhaps the child was inoculated with the germ of politics and literature by this eccentric character who became his protector.
Soon Blasco Ibañez began to pour out his soul. When he was 20 years old and studying law, he went to Madrid to see what was going on. At the cafe Zaragoza on calle de Atocha, he happened to meet the successful pamphleteer, Manuel Fernández y Gonzáles. Driven by an impulse, Blasco approached his table and, after paying him the customary obeisance, he immediately offered himself as a servant and amanuensis. The offer was accepted on the spot due to Blasco's natural charm and pretty soon he began to produce melodramatic novels full of marquises in love and treacherous crooks, written with two hands or four hands in a couple of hours—an exercise which helped him to learn not to stop at bars to speed up his writing so that it would take flight in the morning.
At this moment in his apprenticeship as a writer, he was already an agitator at republican meetings, an egregious troublemaker, and a rash duelist who once had his belt buckle stop a bullet that was going straight toward his abdomen. A fugitive from the law, he went into exile for the first time after an explosive diatribe against the army, the throne, and the church, three fronts of his perennial wars.
In 1895, at the age of 28, back in Valencia, his exhaustive soul began to pour out on the writing table, from late night until the wee hours of the morning, incendiary articles for the newspaper El Pueblo which he had just founded. Pursued once again for stirring up the masses against the war in Cuba, he hid in the mezzanine of a tavern in the port area, which was owned by a fellow party member, where he stayed locked in during four days without venturing out into the street. The tavern owner supplied him with a pen, a bottle of purple ink, some lined school notebooks, and the light of a candle to help him pass the time.
Blasco Ibañez wrote the story of a dispute that had occurred a short time before between workers and landowners on farmlands of Alboraia—which had ended in tragedy. The title of the book was Moorish Revenge.
One night, disguised as a sailor, he fled on a boat headed to Italy. The notebook was left behind, and some time later, was published with the title, The Cabin. Blasco Ibañez, who had become already a literary machine, wrote In the Country of Art during his exile in Italy with a passionate improvisation that was the order of his life.
He touched on all literary bases amid the hubbub of journalism: The passions of the countryside, the moral mire of L'Albufera de València, the drama of the fishermen of Grau, life among orange trees on the banks of the Júcar, the mythology of Sagunto, the Valencian bourgeoisie of the Central Market, Pope Luna, the Borgias, the Mare Nostrum, blood and sand, all kinds of lascivious loves, and a novelist's trip around the world...But international fame came when he was ambushed by The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Blasco Ibañez was the first world wide best selling novelist, the first to get paid by the word. While the writers of the generation of 98 were signing the charcoal heater of the mesa camilla and weaving bitter pessimism with a blanket on their knees, Blasco, with a crown of gold, had a mansion built on the Malvarrosa beach with an interior terrace supported by caryatids; and he wrote on a long Carrara marble desk with four Mesopotamian lions at its feet.
He seemed to greatly enjoy making himself hated. Other writers fought with their cats over a sardine. Blasco Ibañez arrived in Madrid enjoying tremendous success, with all his novels turned into Hollywood movies and starring Rudolph Valentino and Greta Garbo, among others; without considering their pride, he insisted on inviting to lunch some lesser writers he thought were starving.
At the age of forty-three, his international success led to a million people welcoming him at the port of Buenos Aires and carrying him rapidly to the Casa Rosada amidst cheers. The Argentine president provided him with large tracts of land in Rio Negro-in Patagonia-and in the province of Corrientes subject to his whim.
On the front page of the newspaper El Pueblo appeared this headline of four columns: "The Future of Spain is In Argentina." It was a lure to involve friends and supporters, Valencian farmers, in an agricultural colonization project—baptized as New Valencia and Cervantes—that ended up as an absolute disaster; but Blasco Ibañez was already in Paris living in his typically excessive style after leaving his associates bankrupt.
His novels were published by his own publishing house, Prometheus, in collaboration with his partner Sempere. His instinct of a literary blood hound and polemic journalist allowed him to continue to dominate all topics of interest while he played the cards of passion with renewed mistresses, all of them in full bloom like his own literature. One of them was the maternal Pardo Bazán, whom he shared with Pérez Galdós.
Exiled again thanks to Primo de Rivera, he settled on the Côte d'Azur; in Menton, he acquired the villa Fontana Rosa and once again his imagination was compensated with marble staircases, pergolas, nymphs, busts of famous writers, and dollars coming out of his ears.
He died in Menton on January 28, 1928 from bronchopneumonia. When the news reached Madrid, Valle-Inclán exclaimed at the tertulia at the Granja del Henar: "Has Blasco Ibáñez died? Absolutely not! Just a publicity stunt!".
On the 29th of 1933, during the Second Spanish Republic, his body was brought to Valencia and the burial took place among the demonstrative passions of his fervent supporters.
In one of his obituaries, it was reported that the coffin of the writer was covered with a "señora". The erratum had changed the name of the Senyera* for the Spanish word for "woman". It was the last tribute that the printing press dedicated to the most famous writer in Spain's history.
*flag of the autonomous region of Catalonia