HUMBOLDT COUNTY POLICE recently found a small cave filled with more than 100 firearms, 117 pounds of marijuana, stolen vehicles and $12,000 in cash. The diverse cache was unearthed on the 55-acre property of 30-year old Ryan Floyd, a second generation HumCo crook. Elsewhere on the property, cops found stolen jewelry, methamphetamine, body armor, heroin, thousands of rounds of ammunition, drug scales, a stolen tractor, and some 40 other vehicles. It's safe to say that Floyd was dealing drugs and guns. At the time of his arrest, following a high speed chase that saw Floyd pile his pick-up into a tree and dash off on foot before being caught, Floyd was wanted on an outstanding warrant for possession of illegal narcotics while armed.
OF COURSE one can only speculate as to the actual numbers, but many of us who live here — especially hill muffins — can tell stories of people we know who keep piles of guns and are engaged in the different, but often overlapping, branches of the drug trade. If Obama were to deliver a true state of the nation address he would have to say, “My fellow citizens, there's some heavy alienation in this paved-over, nervous land of ours. Citizen Floyd is merely the tip of a national iceberg.”
A STORY in Sunday's SF Chronicle described how a handgun, obtained by a person without a criminal history for a person with a criminal history, made its way to Laytonville where an 18-year-old boy, distraught over the death of his mother, used it to kill himself. That gun, originally sold in Colorado, had apparently gotten to Laytonville as part of a drug transaction.
FORMER MENDOCINO COUNTY SUPERVISOR JIM EDDIE has been appointed president of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District Board. Eddie, a Potter Valley rancher, represented Mendocino County's 3rd District for 20 years, followed by the past 18 years on the Bridge board. The Bridge is in the last stages of a $700 million earthquake retrofit and just last week began all-electronic toll collections.
THE FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL (FSC) was ostensibly founded to encourage sustainable timber production via certified “green” practices. With the recent certification of Green Diamond Resource Co., FSC has fully morphed into a green-washing tool for corporate interests. Green Diamond, as required by FSC, held a public meeting at the Bayside Grange, Humboldt County, last Wednesday (February 13) where company honchos explained their forestry practices to a full house. Some people seemed satisfied by the pro- forma assurances of environmental stewardship they heard, but others challenged the process and the crumbs that were being offered to the community.
DISCUSSION FOCUSED on the 7,600 acre McKay tract south of Eureka and Strawberry Rock near Trinidad. John Berstein of the Trust for Public Land said they were working with Green Diamond to preserve 1,200 acres of the McKay Tract and acquire a conservation easement on several hundred additional acres, although the rest would be open to logging. The company said they were also looking at creating conservation easements for the trail to Strawberry Rock, the rock itself, and the forest right next to the trail, a deal that would protect about 27 acres while leaving another 100 in the immediate area open to logging. So the company gives up its right to log a few hundred high profile acres that it might not be able to log anyway, and in return gets a green light (and green certification) to continue its destructive clear cutting and herbicide practices on the remainder of its extensive holdings. And FSC collects big piles of corporate cash for the initial certification and ongoing monitoring.
FSC HAD ALREADY COME UNDER INCREASING CRITICISM for its certification of Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Companies who still rely on clear cutting and heavy herbicide use. But Green Diamond, along with Red Emerson's Sierra Pacific Industries, has distinguished itself as being completely indifferent to the concerns of local communities or the health of the environment. But urban consumers want to feel good about the lumber they buy. FSC certification allows the urban consumer to feel righteous about their purchase of wood products without having to do the research to know what the impacts really are. Except the consumer can no longer rely on FSC certification.
SEIU AND SONOMA COUNTY have reached a tentative contract agreement following eleven months of increasingly bitter negotiations. SEIU represents about half of Sonoma County's 3,500 employees. The agreement was reached after a 17 hour negotiating session last week and came on the eve of a threatened strike by SEIU that was called for February 28. SEIU said the threatened strike was in response to “unfair labor practices” by Sonoma County which is what SEIU always says when they are not getting their way at the bargaining table. For its part, the county threatened to discipline workers who took part in what they said was an illegal strike.
SONOMA COUNTY OFFICIALS were tight-lipped on the details, but SEIU published what they said was a summary of the agreement on their website. Both Sonoma County and SEIU tried to spin the agreement as a victory for their respective sides, but a quick glance at the details makes it seem obvious that Sonoma County rolled over, probably because of the addition of SEIU-backed Susan Gorin who replaced Valerie Brown on the SoCo Board of Supervisors last month. Just a couple of months ago the SEIU membership overwhelmingly rejected a 3% wage cut that had been negotiated with the county. It seems likely that the SEIU leadership encouraged their members to vote that agreement down, knowing that Gorin would soon be taking over for Brown. Most people in the private sector would be thrilled if they only had to take a 3% cut from what they were making before the recession hit. But most public employees have continued to receive regular increases according to an established salary schedule. And now they will get even more increases, at least in Sonoma County.
AS RECENTLY AS LAST TUESDAY, assistant Sonoma County administrator Chris Thomas said there was no room for a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) because of continuing weak economic projections. But following the marathon negotiating session last Wednesday, the union emerged with a 2.5-year contract that provides for a 3% COLA, increased county contributions to healthcare, and one time payments that total between $1,910 and $2,772 to each employee. And although SEIU always makes it a point to say that they represent the lowest paid employees, SEIU insisted on higher payments for those who are higher paid. So much for the old idea of “all for one and one for all.” The agreement also converts 17 hours of “floating” holiday pay (previously targeted by the county for elimination) into an equal amount of additional vacation. In exchange for the COLA increase, the cash payments, and the increased contribution to healthcare, the union gave up pension related items that they were already required to give up as part of the statewide pension reform that took effect January 1. In short, Sonoma County caved on every front and now can look forward to similar demands from its other bargaining units.
CLOSER TO HOME, the Ukiah Unified School District and the Ukiah Teachers Association have reached agreement on a three year contract that will give teachers roughly a nine percent raise. Beginning pay will go from about $36,000 to $40,000 and will top out at $77,432, up from $71,000. The agreement also includes cash payments for retirement incentives. Anyone who agrees to retire by March 8 will be paid $20,000 on top of their retirement benefits. Anyone who announces their retirement by January 1, 2014 will be paid an extra $10,000. Somehow, these retirements are supposed to make the wage increases more affordable for the district. One actual reform included in the agreement was the elimination of a program — and why was this ever part of a collective bargaining agreement in the first place? — that set aside $300,000 a year for paid “consultancies” to retired teachers, which enabled them to work for the district as consultants while drawing full retirement benefits. The so-called consultancies were a thinly veiled gift of public funds. Ukiah Unified plans to pay for the increases by drawing down its reserves, an option identified by Anne Molgaard, Megan Van Sant and Gail Monpere when they first ran for the school board with the backing of the Ukiah teacher's association. Molgaard, Van Sant and Monpere have drawn public sector paychecks their entire working lives.
MENDOCINO COUNTY also appears to have begun contract negotiations with its bargaining units, based on closed session notations on the Board of Supes agendas. County employees all took a 10% cut in the last round of negotiations and are rumored to be interested in restoring some or all of the cuts. News of the agreement between SEIU and Sonoma County and Ukiah Unified and the teachers will likely stiffen the resolve of County employees to push the envelope. But there is just one problem. Mendocino County, as detailed recently in the mid-year budget report, is still waiting to see any kind of economic rebound. County revenue remains stagnant and is expected to stay that way for the next several years. Healthcare and retirement costs are expected to continue ratcheting up every year at double digit rates. But the geniuses who are running SEIU are already telling their members that they intend to restore the wage cuts.
DAVE EBERLY, president of the local chapter of SEIU, showed up at the mid-year budget review to read a letter into the record. Jackie Carvallo, or even her lame predecessor Lynda McClure, were at least able to come to the microphone and make a series of points without a letter or notes. And the point of the letter was to show how much money the County has, which is shaping up as a replay of the previous contract negotiations where SEIU kept acting like the County was rolling in dough. Which it is not — as a basic review of the balance sheet makes clear. But it looks like SEIU is poised to continue the same confrontational tactics that wound up getting them an initial 12% pay cut last year when the county only wanted 10%. No wonder Ebberly, a decent guy in a tough position, always looks a little nervous or uncomfortable while reading his letters to the board.
SANDY MADRIGAL, who was not present at the mid-year budget review, was previously announced as the new business agent for the local SEIU chapter. Only it turns out that corporate SEIU in Oakland, which calls the shots, has only installed Madrigal as an “interim.” Since the position is at will and can be let go at any time, it is not clear what the significance is. However, keeping Madrigal on a short string makes it clear that she is answerable to the union honchos in Oakland, not the local members.
SOURCES WITHIN SEIU say the union is suing the county over the Mental Health Request for Proposals (RFP). The County is seeking to contract out or “privatize” adult mental health services. SEIU says the county can't do that and to do so would be a waste of public funds. The Mental Health RFP has been in the works for two years or more so it is curious that SEIU is just now raising the issue. It is also not clear what SEIU bases these assertions on since public agencies contract out for numerous services. In fact, the County currently contracts with Redwood Children's Services (RCS) and other non-profits, both local and outtahere, to provide a wide range of mental health related services. RCS is widely believed to have submitted a proposal in response to the current RFP.
HOLD THE PRESSES! The Fort Bragg Advocate News has published an editorial saying it is never ok to steal. This noble sentiment was triggered by the circulation director catching a woman who was taking more newspapers from a newsstand than she had paid for, a not infrequent occurrence which the Advocate says costs it 5,000 newspapers a year. The editorial then details the petty pilfering of jellybeans, cashews and so forth from the bulk food bins at local markets. Deadbeats have grazed for years at local markets, with mom and pops taking a beating in losses. The editorial then goes into ritual handwringing about the poor example that these crooked individuals are setting for the children. If it is ok for daddy to steal a handful of nuts from the bulk food bin, how can dad object when his son steals a bicycle? The paper then prattles on about who will teach the children right from wrong, expressing a concern that the little tykes will grow up confused on the topic. All this from a paper which maintained a stoic silence while former Supervisor Kendall Smith outright lied on her claim forms for travel reimbursement and stonewalled three successive Grand Juries when they told her to pay the money back. Smith had to be threatened with jail by DA Eyster before she finally paid the money back to the county.
COLLEGE OF THE REDWOODS (CR) has been notified by the Accrediting Commission for State & Junior colleges that it has been upgraded from “show cause” status (as in show us why we should not revoke your accreditation right now) to probation. Probation indicates that CR still deviates significantly from accepted practice. The college was given until October to correct the remaining deficiencies, including creating a “professional development plan” and a hiring plan to increase “equity and diversity among employees.” Which might be a challenge since CR has gone through a round of layoffs to try and get expenses in line with revenue. To retain accreditation CR must also show improvement in three areas dealing with fiscal stability, a task that college president Kathryn Smith acknowledged will be challenging. If CR loses accreditation it will also lose access to state and federal funds. Smith was known as Kathy Lehner before she got married and took the job at CR.
SMITH RECENTLY VISITED the CR Mendocino Coast Campus where the bookstore has been shuttered and most of the college staff laid off. Smith met with a couple of dozen students and staff to fulfill a recent promise that CR administrators would make the drive from Eureka to Fort Bragg more often, a promise that isn't likely to be kept for long. The local dean is being laid off at the end of the current school year. Paid faculty may be next as Smith bluntly said that the Coast Campus is in jeopardy of closing and that more online classes might be a way forward. Smith said that when she was president of Mendocino College she had been approached about taking over the Coast Campus but didn't think it penciled out since she was told that it ran $500,000 in the red. A big part of that red ink is the charges that Eureka assesses for all the services that it supposedly provides. The coasties, who were determined not to be second fiddle to the Ukiah based Mendocino College, are finding out that it is not so great to be a colony of the even more distant CR edu-bureaucracy.
A READER SENDS ALONG THIS PICTURE with the note “I love the marketing here”:
POINT CABRILLO Light Station State Historic Park offers a variety of volunteer opportunities: in the 1909 Light House, with Whale Festival (March 2-3 and 16-17, 2013), lead tours of the 300 acre State Historic Park, interpret Marine Science, help in the office with data entry and volunteer record keeping, or show off and interpret the history of the First Assistant Light Keeper’s Home: Whale Docent, Training and Refresher — Saturday February 23rd, 10am to 2pm. The Whales are coming and volunteers are needed to point them out to visitors. If you want to be the person with all the answers or just learn more about whales, then come to the Whale Docent Training. It will highlight the biology, physiology and current conservation issues surrounding the California Gray Whale as well as interpretive techniques for outdoor naturalists. Docents and naturalists from other groups are welcome to attend. Meet at The First Assistant Light Keeper’s House Museum (East House). Bring a sack lunch. Contact: Tanya Smart, 964-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE FOSTER CARE INFORMATION Session — Redwood Children’s Services, Inc. invites the public to a short presentation on foster care and how you may be able to help children in our community. There are many children throughout Lake and Mendocino Counties in need of a caring home for short and long term care. With various parenting options we feel we can find a way to help our children and fit your lifestyle. Please join us Monday, February 25th 5:30PM-7:00PM at Redwood Children’s Services 780 South Dora Street, Ukiah and find out how you can become part of our team. For more information please call Willow Anderson at 467-2010 and visit us on the web at www.rcs4kids.org and facebook.
REDWOOD CHILDREN’S SERVICES is the privatized foster care adopted by Mendocino County by which a layer of “non-profits” are paid to find foster homes for the children of the poor, those children having provided lucrative livings for Mendocino County's Nice People all the way back to Jim Jones and his People's Temple.
IRISH SLAVE TRADE – The Forgotten “White” Slaves
The Slaves That Time Forgot. By John Martin.
(Courtesy Global Research, January 27, 2013.)
They came as slaves; vast human cargo transported on tall British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women, and even the youngest of children.
Whenever they rebelled or even disobeyed an order, they were punished in the harshest ways. Slave owners would hang their human property by their hands and set their hands or feet on fire as one form of punishment. They were burned alive and had their heads placed on pikes in the marketplace as a warning to other captives.
We don’t really need to go through all of the gory details, do we? We know all too well the atrocities of the African slave trade.
But, are we talking about African slavery? King James II and Charles I also led a continued effort to enslave the Irish. Britain’s famed Oliver Cromwell furthered this practice of dehumanizing one’s next door neighbor.
The Irish slave trade began when James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World. His Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.
Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white.
From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well.
During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers.
Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle.
As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts.
African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude.
In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company.
England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat.
There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on it’s own to end it’s participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery.
But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong.
Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
But, where are our public (and PRIVATE) schools???? Where are the history books? Why is it so seldom discussed?
Do the memories of hundreds of thousands of Irish victims merit more than a mention from an unknown writer?
Or is their story to be one that their English pirates intended: To (unlike the African book) have the Irish story utterly and completely disappear as if it never happened.
None of the Irish victims ever made it back to their homeland to describe their ordeal. These are the lost slaves; the ones that time and biased history books conveniently forgot.
NORTH COAST BASKETBALL PLAYOFFS. The first round is Tuesday and Wednesday, with the second round action Friday and Saturday.
BOYS - Division 2
Washington (13) at Montgomery (4), 6:30 p.m.
Ukiah (10) at Concord (7), 7 p.m.
Casa Grande (16) at Newark Memorial (1), 8 p.m.
- Division 3
Hercules (11) at Analy (6), 7 p.m. Tuesday
Piner (10) at San Marin (7), 7 p.m. Tuesday
- Division 4
Cloverdale (15) at Cardinal Newman (2), 7 p.m. Wednesday
Healdsburg (9) at Moreau Catholic (8), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Arcata (4) at Willits (13), 7 p.m. Wednesday
Middletown (14) at Marin Catholic (3), 8 p.m. Wednesday
Note: Willits hosts Arcata despite being the lower seed because the Wolverines were NCL I champions.
- Division 5
St. Vincent (14) vs. University (3) at Kezar Pavilion, 8 p.m. Wednesday
Roseland Prep (16) at St. Joseph Notre Dame (1), 8 p.m. Wednesday
- Division 6
El Sobrante Christian (13) at Laytonville (4), 7 p.m. Wednesday
SF Waldorf (12) at Mendocino (5), 7 p.m. Wednesday
Summerfield Waldorf (7) at Archbishop Hanna (10), 7 p.m.
St. Elizabeth (11) at Point Arena (6), 7 p.m.
Rio Lindo Adventist (9) at Calif. School for the Deaf (8), 7 p.m.
Anderson Valley (14) at St. Bernard Catholic (3), 7 p.m.
NOTES: No. 1 Rincon Valley Christian has a first-round bye and begins play Saturday against California School for the Deaf or Rio Lindo Adventist; Summerfield Waldorf has a higher seed than Archbishop Hanna, but the Mustangs’ regular gym at Brook Haven Middle School was unavailable for NCS playoffs. The Mustangs will wear home uniforms despite playing in Hanna’s gym.
INDIAN GAMING SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION FUND – RELEASE OF GRANT APPLICATIONS State law requires that large tribal gaming operations set aside portions of their income from gaming to assist surrounding communities. Mendocino County is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $140,772.33 from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund, which was funded by contributions made by the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians. Local government agencies (county, cities, and special districts) impacted by tribal casinos may apply, with tribal sponsorship from the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, to the Mendocino County Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee (CBC) for grant funding from Individual Tribal Casino Accounts. The first priorities for receipt of grant money include: law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, environmental impacts, water supplies, waste disposal, behavioral health, planning and adjacent land uses, public health, roads, recreation/youth programs, and child care programs. Grant application forms and procedures are available at: Mendocino County Executive Office, 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA, or online at:
Completed applications are to be submitted to the Mendocino County Executive Office no later than March 15, 2013, to be eligible to be considered for grant funding. The CBC will be meeting on April 16, 2013, to review applications and assess the eligibility of each jurisdiction applying for grant funds. A list of projects approved for funding will be forwarded to the State Controller’s Office who will disburse funds directly to the local government jurisdiction for which the CBC has approved a grant. Grants awarded last year totaled $137,956.88 from the Indian Gaming Special Distribution Fund. A portion of the funding was used to finance assistance for Crime Victims Mitigation and Health and Human Services/Alcohol and Other Drug programs, and specialized training for tribal police. Questions may be directed to David Grim, Administrative Analyst, (707) 463-4441.