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SOUTHERLY WINDS, RAIN, AND HIGH ELEVATION SNOW will increase across the area today. Unsettled weather is forecast to persist into next week. (NWS)
NICK'S MONSOON UPDATE
Garcia River level had fallen to 7.4 ft. as of 9 AM today. Navarro River was down to 15.7 ft. as of 9:15 AM today but starting to turn upward.
Rain is forecast every day for the next week or more, with 6.77 in. from today through Sunday for an average daily rain of 1.13 “ over those 6 days.
Web info sources were cited in the previous update copied below.
This has been your latest monsoon update.
Hwy. 128 is OPEN according to https://roads.dot.ca.gov
Hwy. 1 at Garcia River is also open.
However Hwy. 1 is subject to 1-way controlled traffic at various locations from 8.7 mi north of the jct of SR 128 (Mendocino) - due to downed trees
STORM RELATED MENDO DEATHS
During late December 2022 and into early January 2023, Mendocino County has been impacted by several winter weather storm events. To date, the following is a synopsis of storm related deaths being investigated as coroner's cases by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:
1. Edgar Castillo (37-year-old male from Elk Grove, California), died on 01-07-2023 at 7:47 AM during a traffic collision in the 41000 block of Mountain View Road in Manchester. Castillo was reportedly driving a tree service boom truck that left the roadway and rolled over several times resulting in his death. Castillo was employed with a company that was in Mendocino County assisting PG&E with storm related repair efforts. The circumstances and cause of the collision is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol. An autopsy including BA/Toxicology by the coroner's office is pending currently.
2. Susan Lee Stever (68-year-old female from Fort Bragg) died on 01-09-2023 at 1:40 AM when she was struck by a tree that fell into her home while she was asleep. Stever's residence was in the 27000 block of North Highway 1 located north of the city of Fort Bragg.
(Sheriff’s Office Presser)
FORT BRAGG RESIDENT, SUE STEVER, Identified As the Women Tragically Killed When A Tree Fell On Her House Early Monday Morning; Second Death Due To Storm; Family Set Up Gofundme
“Our community and our family experienced a tragic accident and lost our pillar of strength this morning. My momma taught us all to love unconditionally and look with no judgement. In her years here on the Mendocino coast she worked at Fort Bragg High school, Parents and Friends, Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center and Child Protective Services, striving to touch hearts, change lives and make a difference. As her family we are numb and know our lives will forever be an emptier space without her. We need some help please to give momma the services she deserves, repair the home damaged by the tree that took her from us and funds to stay afloat while we figure out what to do without the woman who was a mom, a grandma, a confidant, a friend and the heart of our family.”
OLIVIA ALLEN WRITES: I wanted to reach out and let you know that both things we have seen in the AVA so far about my parent's accident have had a lot of errors. My mom says she will reach out later to correct them all, but the main thing I wanted to share is that she and I have been in Santa Rosa with dad in the ICU since the day after the accident. We have not been staying at home, we've been by his side.
RAY AND JANE ZENI have a very old family ranch 16 miles out Fish Rock Road, Yorkville. They had a very large pine tree fall on their house on January 4th.
A Go Fund Me has been set up for them. Give a helping hand if you can. https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-with-zeni-family
STORM CLEAN UP
If you are in need of some storm clean up, culverts, fence fixing, or clean up from fallen trees please call or text me at (805) 816-4169 or email me. $30 per hour
LIVE UPDATES: Mendocino County woman killed after tree falls on home
On Jan. 4, more than 3,000 customers around Gualala, Sea Ranch and Stewarts Point suffered power failures as a result of the storms. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 1,000 customers were still without power.…
JEFF BURROUGHS reminds us of '64 when the Navarro rose to the top of this pole!
by Mark Scaramella
Tuesday’s first Supervisors meeting of 2023 was back to no-business as usual. Nobody questioned the outrageous new $750k consent calendar threshold proposed by staff in their new Board rules, so that was rubberstamped along with everything else on the consent calendar.
Supervisor Haschak thought they should do a better job of reporting on their ad hoc committee activity since their Board rules happen to require montly reporting. Supervisor Maureen Mulheren said she’d already been doing a great job of that herself with her monthly reports, even though her Supervisor’s facebook “update” page hasn’t had an update since last September. (Her updates hardly constitute “updates” anyway since their mostly just a list of meetings attended.)
Supervisor Williams whined again about having to “clean up messes” left by prior boards, as if all their problems are “legacies” left to them by prior Board negligence. Newly elected Board Chair Glenn McGourty agreed that they all have been doing a great job dealing with difficult situations facing them, never mind that they haven’t dealt with any besides occasionally whining about them. McGourty was honest enough to say that the board was actually just “trying” to address some issues.
The Board boldly voted to “accept” the report about the latest jail expansion overrun increase. (A bolder move would have been to simply reject it, because none of them seemed to be happy about the situation.) Supervisor Gjerde thought part of the problem was the “questionable ethics” of pricy Sacto consulant Nacht & Lewis who he said did a lousy job estimating the cost initially which gave the County the impression that they could build the new gold-plated facility for about $26 mil ($25 mil state grant, $1 mil local match). The current estimate has ballooned to over $37 mllion and everyone assumes that it will go up further. The Nacht & Lewis rep, of couse, denied any such thing, saying the $25 mil was the max that state would allow and that the cost overruns had to do with state agency delays and high inflation, not them and their champagne style design concepts. There was a general feeling, including from Sheriff Kendall, that the state should cover most of the overrun, but nobody volunteered to initiate any action in that regard other than maybe mentioning it with our moribund state reps, a non-strategy that has no chance of success. When McGourty asked CEO Darcie Antle where the County money would come from to cover the latest $1.4 million overrun increase — they had already borrowed $10 million which turned out to be insufficient — Antle replied she’s still waiting for the books to close. (Never mind that the previous estimate of any possible carry over from last fiscal year, maybe $500k, has already been committed to other deficits.) McGourty called the situation “a real horror show” since the County seems helpless to stop the barrage of cost increases and is on the hook for them anyway. Williams said that the jail expansion is just “deferred maintenance” dumped on this poor Board by previous boards, failing to note that the expansion project has nothing to do with the poor condition of the existing aging jail.
They adjourned at little after 11am after congratulating themseves for their “efficiency,” i.e., doing nothing in less time than usual.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES voted to honor two members of the community, Richard “Dick” Browning and the late William “Bill” Sterling, who have worked tirelessly for the students of the district for decades by renaming the soon to be remodeled high school science classrooms in their honor. A crowd of staff, community members, and family joined the proceedings in person and on-line during the Tuesday, January 10 meeting at the Anderson High School Library.
Following the Board’s unanimous action, Richard, “Dick” Browning and William “Bill” Sterling will each have a classroom dedicated in their honor. The board declarations noted the years of service provided by Richard “Dick” Browning and his tireless leadership of the district advocating for excellence in learning opportunities and facilities for all students in the District to achieve successful college and career paths, including spearheading bond measures to update aging infrastructure.
The late William “Bill” Sterling was recognized as a dedicated and committed volunteer and fundraiser for many years for the District’s science program. In recognition of these on-going acts of service, the Board directed the newly remodeled Science Lab Room 9 to be named after Richard Browning and the Science Lab Room 10 to be named after William Sterling.
Several members of the in-person and on-line audience stated heartfelt remarks about the legacy of these two gentlemen.
Mr. Browning was a former Los Angeles Unified retired administrator with a deep knowledge and passion for academics and equity. Mr. Sterling was a former community member passionate about education and creating opportunities for students.
Those in attendance and celebrated the moment with a slice of cake and a glass of apple cider after presentation of the resolution. A permanent naming placque will be installed in the completed classrooms after construction, which is anticipated to begin in Summer 2024.
Related Superintendent Louise Simson, there are people in this world that set a standard of giving time and energy to create opportunity and excellence for all kids. Mr. Browning and Mr. Sterling touched our community with their effort and care. I am delighted that we were able to recognize that amazing gift of these two gentlemen this evening and celebrate it. Their work created a beautiful legacy for decades of kids to come. I am delighted their home and school families could join together to celebrate these legacies.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District
LOTS OF US regard Hendy Woods as one of the many public areas that we take a proprietary interest in, so I wasn't surprised to learn that an ancient redwood called “Eileen” by her human family “lost her battle with gravity” and fell this week. Bob, Harry, Mabel, and Lisa remain standing.
AS A FACEBOOK enrollee, I can't help being distracted by the occasional video, especially those culled from pro wrestling. What a great show some of these guys put on, and how clever their writers are at the huge, and hugely varied insults and promises of mayhem they come up with. A little bit goes a long way, however, and it surprises me that so many people pay to watch it all live.
PRO WRESTLING reminds me of the weirdest apartment I rented as a reluctant student at SF State in 1963. I rented it with my youngest brother because it was cheap and within walking distance to the school. (It took me years to realize that rather than squandering all that seat time to get a diploma in subjects I was innately interested in is a reading list, and maybe an exam at some point if you think you need certification. Of course as a kid you'd somehow need to be pointed in the direction of a trustworthy reading list provider, and I didn't know any. Still don't, truth to tell, but the fave book lists submitted by ava readers recently certainly qualified most of them.)
SO I FOUND this odd place on Ramsell Street, a dreary, fogged-in neighborhood whose only virtue was proximity to Factory University. The apartment's only access was by a homemade elevator crafted by the old man who owned the house. If the place caught fire we would have had to jump off the roof because the elevator was it for in and out, and it took the rattletrap old cage whole minutes to grind up and down a distance less than twenty feet.
EVERY NIGHT, the old man watched television wrestling. We could hear him cheering on the heroes and booing the villains. He was totally into it, so far into it he'd run into his elevator and grind his way up to us to complain about some staged outrage he'd just witnessed, sputtering indignantly that “something should be done about it.” We'd calm him down and tell him not to worry because it was faked, and he'd grind back down to ringside pacified for the moment. I got so I dreaded the sound of that elevator because I knew the old guy had again been spooked by the antics of Gorgeous George or some other ring villain popular at the time. He was a widower, so he watched alone, and we were the only people he could share the experience with.
LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, I've followed the Idaho murder story, the stabbing slaughter of four young college students. Truly excellent police work by the widely vilified local cops for their seeming inability to zero in on a suspect, although they had zeroed in on him fairly quickly given the odd and very difficult circumstances of the case — random murder by a stranger — and had all along been proceeding with due caution as they slowly amassed the evidence against him.
I THINK the alleged perp will turn out to be a kind of two-bit Raskolnikov. Remember him from ‘Crime and Punishment,’ Dostoevsky fans? Rasky was also a student with a high opinion of himself who murders to confirm that high opinion, imagining himself in the same league as Napoleon.
SUSPECT in the Idaho murders, Bryan Kohlberger, and this from only his photos, similarly seems arrogantly full of himself, the kind of guy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else, certainly smarter than the massed forces of law enforcement, now reinforced with all manner of techno-devices from DNA to telephone tracking. Prisons are full of people who were confident they could outsmart the cops.
IF KOHLBERGER ever confesses, I bet he'll say he did it because he thought he could get away with it, thus solidifying his lofty opinion of himself as superior to the rest of us wretches.
SO, HOW DANGEROUS IF BAIL IS $30,000?
On Saturday, December 31, 2022, at about 0702 hours, Ukiah PD received an informational message from Yolo County Communications Center advising Northern California agencies to be on the lookout (BOLO) for subjects and a vehicle involved in a reported shooting that occurred in Woodland Ca. The bulletin included the vehicle description and three suspect names who were believed to be involved in the incident. One of the suspects was the registered owner of an involved vehicle, Quade Smith, a 20-year-old male who resided in Covelo. Quade Smith also had a local warrant involving violent charges that was issued on 12/29/2022.
Ukiah PD officers utilized the FLOCK camera system to alert them if and when the vehicle was in the Ukiah area. At about 1708 hours, the FLOCK system alerted officers that the vehicle was in city limits and they began attempting to locate the vehicle. The driver, Quade Smith was spotted inside of his vehicle in the drive-thru of McDonalds and was followed to the area of E. Perkins St. at the Highway 101 northbound onramp.
Ukiah PD initiated a high risk stop with the assistance of officers from the California Highway Patrol. The vehicle was occupied by the driver, Quade Smith, and two passengers; a female adult and a male juvenile. All occupants complied with officer commands and were detained without incident. Both passengers were released on scene to family who had arrived during the investigation. The vehicle was towed from the scene by Smith Towing and the YOLO communications center was notified of the apprehension. Quade Smith was booked into Mendocino County Jail for his local warrant with a bail of $30,000.
The Flock LPR system continues to aid officers in their service to the community. It is not uncommon for outside agency incidents to carry over into other jurisdictions including ours. Flock helps us to aid other agencies, protecting the community from potential continued incidents that affect our community.
As always, UPD’s mission is to make Ukiah as safe a place as possible. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cellphone, and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website; http://www.ukiahpolice.com.
by John Arteaga
I read with bemusement the recent article by Mike Geniella (Dec 28, AVA) about the latest vision for the dilapidated Palace Hotel by the young Wall Street wiz, Minal Shankar. It’s going on a half-century since I arrived here in Ukiah, around the time when Pat Kuleto was dispersing federal funds on the Palace, provided for makework programs to boost the economy.
I have been writing occasional letters to the editor or columns on this eyesore for most of my life at this point, most recently after hearing about Ms. Shankar's interest in the old ruins. As with every previous attempt to introduce a rational viewpoint on the subject, they all fell on deaf ears.
For those coming in late to this half-century of procrastination, buck-passing and the rare pointless action on the rotten remains of the old hotel/bar/restaurant; not long after the cosmetically 'refurbished' structure closed its doors so many years ago, it was purchased by a Marin County realtor named Eladia Laines and a group of her friends. I can see how they might think that there was no way to lose on buying almost a whole city block right next to the County courthouse with all this grand old brickwork, for the bargain-basement price of something like $160,000!
Little did they know at the time that they would lose all their money on the “historic” dump. A number of years went by during which time Ms. Laines bought out all her partners, all the while, the building falling ever deeper into ruin. I remember hearing, way back then, from an experienced downtown landowner, “Without a demolition permit in hand, The Palace is not an asset but a liability.” This has only become more so as the years of leaky roofs and rotting timbers have passed by.
After decades of neglect, the City Council finally noticed this cancer in the heart of downtown and began to make noises, demanding that the owner start doing something with it. This developed into a couple-of-yeard-long comedy routine where the Council would demand her presence in their chambers, where they would berate her about the lack of progress and issue a list of accomplishments that they want to see by a certain date. Not once were any of these demands even remotely accomplished, but she would have a bunch of excuses. It became comical, the way they would hear her excuses de jour and issue another list of demands to be completed by a specified date, over and over.
After too long, it dawned on them that Ms. Laines simply did not have the wherewithal to do anything more than the asbestos abatement and a futile installation of some boards to prop up the rotting floors so they wouldn’t collapse completely. Oh, and the Sisyphean task of stapling plastic up in all the windows, a waste of time and effort that has been repeated every time the old plastic blows out.
Next in this decades-long comedy of errors was the idea of putting it before a judge, who may or may not have the slightest idea about construction, business economics, etc., who decided somehow that the solution would be to 'take control of the restoration project', (thus discarding out of hand the only rational solution, razing the site and starting fresh), and handing control over to a 'public receiver'.
They found this gentleman from San Diego or somewhere, who of course had glowing reviews for other projects that he had spearheaded as a public receiver. Never mind that he has no idea about Mendocino County's economy and what might work here. I had to laugh when I read back then about his mandate to, “borrow against the equity in the property to pursue the restoration”. WHAT EQUITY?! The thing had long ago established itself as a fiscal black hole into which money could be poured in infinite quantities without ever seeing the slightest hope of any return on investment.
The foolish public receiver apparently found someone with a lot of money who was more of a fool than him to lend him the cash to pay his no doubt exorbitant fees and squander a quarter mil or so in the completely wasted effort of generating engineers drawings for a seismic retrofit that will never happen. Interestingly, that second gentleman was also of Indian descent and apparently a very wealthy hotel owner, who was probably shocked when he became, by default, the owner of the tar baby project, after the public receiver's useless expenditures zeroed out Eladia Laines’s equity in the disaster. I don't think that he ever had any intention of getting involved with actual work on the property.
So, more years pass by with no one lifting a finger to work on the place (except for emergency demolition work on the cornice at the top of the building which was starting to fall onto the sidewalk below, fortunately without any injuries), and then along comes the next naif to try on this millstone around her neck.
The absolute wrong-headedness of Ms. Shankar's approach to the project is laughably obvious in her quotes in the article, where she says, “I think people are going to be really impressed with the caliber of this team.” Of course these “experts” are going to tell her that the project is feasible; to do otherwise is to turn away highly profitable work!
I predict that the “team” of top flight “experts” will cost her so much that the project will be in more debt then it will ever be able to pay off before they even break ground!
This and previous articles can be read at: inarationalworld2.blogspot.com/2023/01/the-palace-again.html
LOCAL TRASH DUMPING, AN ON LINE EXCHANGE
(Original Item): Williams Zero-Sum Game
Robert Deutch: Here’s a question for Ted Williams and other board of supervisors. When can we expect to get hazmat collection visits to the coast? And why don’t we have a CRV buyback station on the coast anymore? I believe these two issues are contributing greatly to dumping of garbage and waste in our community. Board of supervisors should solve this problem!
Ted Williams replies: Having traveled to places in the world favoring universal trash service and seen the lack of roadside dumping, I think we're going about trash all wrong. We pay for abatement, monetarily and environmentally.
The new vendor is working on state permitting for operation. I understand it took about a year in another county. Hard to believe, the level of bureaucracy, but I see their diligence. The issue is government regulation and policy.
Recycling has fallen apart in California (and America) because countries in Asia have decided they don't want our waste. We were feeling good about recycling when in fact our recyclables were being shipped across the ocean using fossil fuels to places like China. This change has had a cascading impact.
The county could use your county tax dollars to subsidize CRV pickup, but it would leave something else in worse shape, for example, roads.
Most of the $356 Million county budget is earmarked for specific purposes. What remains covers mandated services like Sheriff, District Attorney, Public Defender, ...
The public could institute another tax, but given local economics, I don't think it would be supported.
The puzzle of state mandates and local revenue paints a startling future. While mandates, deferred maintenance and expectations have grown, revenue in real terms has been flat.
* * *
Regarding “Williams Zero Sum Game”. Like Robert Deutch, I have been giving a lot of thought to the litter and illegal dumping problem we have in Mendocino County and particularly in the Anderson Valley. The fact that the supervisors do not fund clean up is truly distressing. I think it would be a good idea for the AVA to open up a public discussion around this issue. I’d like to know how much money the County has allocated in the budget to litter removal and who does that work.
Between Hendy Woods and Signal Ridge Road, on Philo Greenwood Road, there are aluminum cans spaced about 5′ to 6′ apart. I am starting to focus on it obsessively and would like to find solutions to the litter problem on our local roads. Philo Greenwood Road is a particularly dangerous road to undertake litter clean up because of all the logging trucks that use it. Anyhow, here are a couple of ideas I would like to throw out there to start the dialogue:
As a local community, say, the Anderson Valley, we bypass the County government, fundraise and hire our own private litter removal contractor. I would think that the local wineries, resorts, hotels and other tourist dependent businesses would kick in, as well as local community organizations. This was a solution that Bolinas used for many years. The Bolinas Community Center teamed up with some of the wealthy property owners in town to fund a part time job for a local person. I am not sure how the insurance issue was handled, but I believe it was through the Community Center.
The County could create a restorative justice program that focuses on community service cleaning up litter and illegal dumping on roads and water ways. This would be a voluntary program that would offer community service hours and a reduction in fines / penalties to people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. Is there already a program like this in Mendocino County?
We as a community regularly organize litter clean up days where we gather as a community and get the work done on a regular basis. This would be combined with free dump fees for all garbage collected and cleaned up – maybe as a bonus, community members who help with clean up get a coupon for dump fees for their personal trash.
Lobby the County to fund more free dump days and Hazmat drop off. All dumps should be places to get the California Redemption Value for recycled beverage containers. What does the State do with all that money it collects but does not return to customers? I’d be interested to know.
It is interesting to me that most of the litter that I see on the Philo Greenwood Road & Signal Ridge is aluminum cans – which are already free to take to the dump. So we are dealing with serious character disorder.
I welcome people to continue this conversation.
* * *
Marmon: You would never find cans on the side of the road in Clearlake, the homeless (now called the unhoused) snatch those things up fast. Yes, the proper reference for the homeless is now unhoused. I shit you not.
* * *
Mark Scaramella: The County could start by issuing trash haul vouchers for one free dump load per month to any family on food stamps. If the Supervisors took a $10k pay cut each (they obviously aren’t earning their $84k plus perks) that would fund $50k worth of vouchers to start and solve Williams’s false zero sum game bs. There’s plenty more, as Ms. Patton describes, but since they won’t even consider a voucher program, why even bother suggesting the more complicated ideas? We’re dealing with heavy duty indolence at Low Gap these days.
* * *
Eli Maddock: Take a small fraction of the funds from the entirely superfluous “visit Mendocino” budget to pay a supervisory position to shuttle folks sentenced to mandatory community service. Win win. The roadside looks nice for the tourists and the locals don’t pay a new tax!
But here’s reality:
At least once a week probably more, I see the same person picking up trash alongside the road all around Fort Bragg. I don’t believe he is paid or convicted, just an upstanding citizen who cares enough to make a difference. What a guy! And there it is. If you want to see change prepare to get your hands dirty.
By the way, what happened to Mendo county tire amnesty? There were 4or5 events in 20-21 then zip-nada in 22. Events like that and mobile haz-mat disposal really do help keep the nastiest items out of the canyons and rivers.
* * *
Alethea Patton: As an aside, my husband (the curmudgeon of Vinegar Hill) suggested that all supervisors be paid in aluminum cans, that they collect themselves and redeem at the nearest CRV recycling center.
EXPLORING THE MENDOCINO COAST
by Katy Tahja
Maps are a time trap for historians—just ask the folks at any museum. A map inspection can turn from a quick glance to an hour or more, often with the assistance of a magnifying lens, of in-depth inspection. And what captures this author is the names on the land. For whom, and what, was a placed named, and what work took place there.
So here’s my suggestion—plan a Sunday drive with this column clipped out and in hand and go explore the Mendocino Coast. With just over 90 miles to cover there are more than 50 place names recorded, and those names don’t include creeks or mountains. Indigenous peoples, settlers, and physical features have all left names on the land.
To be REAL adventurous doing this drive modern day explorers have to take Highway 101 up to Garberville and head west towards Briceland and the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. When you reach the ocean you are at the very northwest corner of Mendocino Coast at a place called Needle Rock. It was named for pointy rocks in the vicinity and there, and at Bear Harbor just to the south, tan oak bark was loaded on ships to go to leather tanneries in the Bay Area. Bears were probably seen at Bear Harbor in the dim distant past.
The problem now is an area called the Lost Coast and Cape Vizcaino because there are NO roads along the coast. Travelers head south on Usal Road in and out of view of the ocean. Usal was a native Pomo word meaning “south”. There was one place name on the land at Jackass Creek and a small lumber mill and town called Wheeler in the midst of the last century.
Shipping points and landings abounded on the coast usually named for the land owner. There was one called Miller, now inaccessible on private land, before Usal Road joins Highway One along Cotteneva Creek. Cotteneva was a Cahto native word meaning “trail-goes-over-hill” and it was used along with the name Rockport. Rockport had a wharf, a mill, and was indeed a rocky port. Hardy, or Hardyville, was a property owners name and south of that was Union Landing, now part of a state park. De Haven was named for John DeHaven, an early settler, who became district attorney, state assemblyman, and senator in the 1870’s.
Westport used to be Beall’s Landing and was named Westport because a lumberman came from Eastport Maine and figured there should be a Westport too.. Chadburne Gulch was named for the owner and has a free access road to the beach. South down the road was the town of Kibesillah (a Pomo native word) and beyond that was Newport—the “new” port. A curve in the road had Abalobidah, another Pomo place name.
Cleone is Pomo also, though the point shipping took place from was Laguna Point, a Spanish word. Pudding Creek was either murky like mushy pudding, or a slang version of “Put In” creek where boats were launched. Fort Bragg’s name honors Braxton Bragg, a military officer, but Noyo is again Pomo. Caspar was named for Siegfrid Caspar who settled there before 1860.
Pine Grove probably had a pine tree grove and Russian Gulch was supposed to have been settled by a Russian man escaped from Fort Ross in Sonoma County. There were two viceroy of New Spain who sent exploring vessels up the coast in the mid 1500’s and navigators named places in honor of those who financed the expedition. Little River has a little river and Dark Gulch can. Be a dark spot on the road. Albion honored old England and Salmon Creek had salmon swimming in it.
Worn out yet? It’s a LONG drive—crossing the Navarro River in a few miles is Cuffy’s Cove. Two stories here—either sailors saw a cuffey, a baby bear, or settler Nathaniel Smith, a black skinned man referred to as a cuffey. South is this is Greenwood/Elk, the town with two names. The folks there wanted to be named after the settler Greenwood but the name was already assigned by the post office to a Sierra town, also they had to use Elk. Loggers ate a lot of elk meat. A sign for Bridgeport is still attached to a ranch that had a bridge, and a port, or landing.
Several spellings exist for Mal Paso, Mall Pass, Mallo Passo, an especially steep loop in the highway—the term means “bad passage” in Spanish. Drivers come to Manchester, one of 35 towns in the USA named by expat Brits. Today’s Point Arena used to be the Spanish Punta Arenas—a sandy place. A ship was probably wrecked (or built) at Schooner Gulch. South of here were a dozen places with landing as part of their title —Saunders, Iversen, Stevens, Steen’s, Collins, Bournes and Robinson—all invisible to tourists as they are on private property. Some names like Rough & Ready, Hardscratch, and Nip & Tuck, refer to small dangerous shipping locations. Arriving at the end of the journey is Gualala—a Pomo native word taken from ghawalaali “Water-going-down place.”
Want to know more about our place names on the land? David Durham wrote “Durham’s Place-Names of California’s North Coast” and Erwin Gudde’s “California Place Names’ available for review at local museums.
MEET MAC’S ARTISTS in Residence | Visual Presentations & Open Studios, January 13
Meet Mendocino Art Center’s Resident Artists!
Mendocino Art Center’s Artists In Residence Visual Presentations & Open Studios Friday, January 13, 5pm-7pm. Free Admission
Meet Mendocino Art Center’s talented group of Artists in Residence (AIR) as they talk about their art, show recent work and then open their art studios to the public. Refreshments will be available.
The 2022-23 Artists in Residence who will be presenting are Collyn Ahrens, ceramics; Katie Applebaum, ceramics; SULO BEE, interdisciplinary metalsmith; Nicolaus Chaffin, multidisciplinary; Winchi De Jesus, interdisciplinary; and Nick Kakavas, ceramics.
More information: https://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/events/air-presentations
BOONVILLE QUIZ RETURNS NEXT WEEK
The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz returns next week...
We are back on the usual Quiz schedule of 1st and 3rd Thursdays so I hope to see you on January 19th at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn, tipping off at 7pm.
You know it makes sense.
Steve - The Quizmaster
CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, January 10, 2023
SEAN AMBROSE, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
EMERSON CALDERON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, resisting.
VINCENT GALVAN, Fort Bragg. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
MATTHEW HILL, Ukiah. Petty theft.
FERNANDO JOAQUIN, Covelo. Concealed dirk-dagger, county parole violation.
STEPHANIE LANE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
LUIS MENDOZA, Daly City/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
FAILED CAPITALISM AT KZYZ
Chris Skyhawk wrote:
Please join host Chris Skyhawk for Universal Perspectives on KZYX on Thursday Jan.12 at 7pm, he will be continuing the series: Late Stage Capitalism: What’s next?” His guest will be Juan Red Hawk Dominguez; Juan has a podcast called: “Burn the wagon” which highlights numerous Indigenous voices, in an attempt too burn the wagon of patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism. KZYX signal is 90.7/91.5fm and on the web at KZYX.org.
* * *
Marco here. Okay, I'll do that. But, Chris, I'm reminded by your mention of the image of burning the wagon of capitalism: you should demand to be paid for your essential work and your valuable show. More than half a million dollars a year flush through KZYX. Much of it is skimmed off by management for their personal selves. They're like the guys at a worksite sitting on folding chairs with a clipboard on their lap while guys like you shovel and carry and weld and pour cement, except that the shovelers and welders and carriers and pourers are actually being paid. You're doing the work the radio station is there for in the first place. The manager and business flack and fundraising czar, and bells-and-whistles coordinators are not. If anyone should be paid it should be you. They get paid. So should you.
And KZYX has plenty of cash to pay you because of tax-derived grant money, and tax-write-off donations from corporations and rich families who got rich because of the capitalism that your fellow bird-theme-named colleague decries. And KZYX is able to constantly beg for yet more money from the entire county on real radio waves because of the free license to use high power on a broadcast band frequency, granted to Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corp. by the federal government. We're all paying for KZYX, mainly paying the managers of it, whether we want to or not. And those write-offs would have paid for needed services, and the radio station would still be on the air with your shows.
You mention colonization. National Public Radio is as unaccountable to the public as a giant corporation can be. Try to get a peek into its inner workings and see how far you get -- how much this or that costs, who's paid exactly what, who made this or that programming decision and who benefited from it. You can't even find out out how to get through to someone important on the phone there. KZYX is just one of over a thousand NPR-colonized stations. NPR, like the other media empires, is a huge and oppressive parasitic creature, and in many ways it's the most opaque of them.
All the airpeople who make the canned crap thousands of miles away that fills so much of KZYX's airtime are paid very well to do their shows. Years ago it was leaked that Ira Glass, for example, and the producers of his show are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for that, for a one-hour-per-week show. You might have read about the problems Mr. Glass had selling his multi-million-dollar Chelsea apartment. He's /wealthy/ from so-called nonprofit radio. This is America, fine, some people are lucky, but meanwhile all the local airpeople at KZYX preparing for and doing all your shows all year long all put together, for the same reasons and with the same dedication and in some cases, sometimes, the same quality, are paid /nothing/.
The only reason the manager of KZYX is not paying you is, she doesn't have to if she doesn't want to, and she doesn't want to, so she's not. If just you and the other ironclad unfireable ones there were to speak up, things might change. On commercial radio it's /against the law/ to not pay airpeople. KMFB's budget was less than half KZYX's, it got no annual $160,000 CPB grants, was cut none of the slack so-called noncommercial radio gets. It had greater expenses, bigger obligatory fees to pay. And everyone at KMFB was paid. The manager made sure we were paid before he paid himself; that's the manager's first and main job in any business, especially a creative business: pay the ones doing the work. Famous painters who have others paint their paintings and then sign their famous name on them- they pay the workers. People who sell weed pay the kids to produce and trim the product. School administrators pay teachers whether or not they love teaching so much that they'd come to work anyway. This is like that.
I would like to have /my/ show on KZYX and I'd require to be paid for it. I applied in February of 2012, contacted and contacted again, drove out there, met with one manager after another, one program director after another, as they turned over like rotisserie chickens in those years; I wrote email after email, ran for the board of directors, showed up at meeting after meeting, and I'm still waiting, and doing radio on other stations while I wait. It wouldn't be difficult to arrange it, just a phone call from the manager and two minutes' work for the IT person to set the automation to grab my stream, or anyone's, just like it does with Ralph Nader, and Amy Goodman, and the Snap Judgment guy, and All Things Considered, yadda yadda, and all the shows from Mendocino County studios too. Once it's set, the switching is automatic; it's not much more complicated than the alarm clock app in your phone. I have been doing my current style of show as regularly as clockwork all Friday night every Friday night on various stations since early 1997, from various studios and remote studios, after publishing years of countywide newspapers, after putting on weekly invitational variety teevee shows for years on public access teevee, after building whole small radio stations from parts pulled from discarded household electronics, and writing and producing radio drama with all ages, both recorded and live, and recording music and events, and all the while doing regular theater projects, doing every job in every medium, and that's not all. If anyone you know around here is more reliable than I am, and has accomplished as much in radio, teevee, publishing, broadcasting in general, tell me who that is; I'd like to interview them. On the radio.
In short, Chris, I wish you'd require to be paid and set the precedent at KZYX, so they'll have to scramble to come up with another reason than that for cowardly excluding me and people like me. At least California minimum wage, for your airtime and reasonable prep time. It's wrong when charity organizations pay workers poorly while the bosses are paid well. That's a national scandal across many industries. It's way worse than even that when management is paid well and workers are paid nothing. I know you like to do your show, but will that change when you're paid? Won't you still like to do it? And then if you don't need or want the money, give it back to the radio station or give it to someone else who needs it. Buy a homeless person a bag of doughnuts. A kaleidoscope of possibilities.
ATTACKING THE DEMONIC
Attacking the Demonic & Returning this World to Righteousness
Identifying with the Divine Absolute, or the Dao, or Brahman, is crucial to any successful spiritual direct action on the planet earth. The body-mind complex is only the instrument, which the source, or God, makes use of in accordance with its divine will.
Presently, I am at the Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California, resulting from being displaced from a residence in nearby Redwood Valley by the marijuana industry, which did not value my more community minded/environmentally activist/spiritual focus. Since March 1st of 2022, have been sleeping at the shelter, eating free meals at the Plowshares dining room served by the Catholic Worker/Pax Christie volunteers, and living on the approximately $800 monthly social security benefits. Applications for an apartment have been submitted and routinely updated, although for 50 years since college graduation, have been on the frontlines of radical peace and justice and environmental direct action, plus service work, which paid nothing, so now the social security amount is relatively small, and insufficient for obtaining a subsidized apartment. It is possible that a subsidized apartment free of charge will happen, assuming that divine intervention comes into play.
I would like to go to Washington, D.C. and beyond, to perform spiritually focused direct action, in response to the global situation of ecological implosion, economic collapse, the specter of nuclear war, and the deteriorating general mental condition of the postmodern individual.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Craig Louis Stehr
THE NUCLEAR QUESTION
A couple of weeks ago President Zelinsky came to Washington and had a meeting with Biden. Zelinsky thanked us for the help so far and said that whatever else we can do would be greatly appreciated.
Biden used the photo op to up his ratings and afterward there would be questions and answers with the press. There was one question I was really waiting for: the nuclear question. Putin was ratting about tactical nukes about six weeks ago.
The question is, What will you do, Biden, if Putin uses nukes?
This question was no addressed. A whole room full of reporters and no real questions, just pablum.
Were the journalists coached not to ask any questions about nuclear war? Maybe if we don’t mention it, it will just go away. Putin will see this strategy as weakness like everything else about this administration.
Pork barrel politics at every level
PS. When Putin saw what we elected, he became insane with fantasy power. The Ukraine war has brought him back to his cage.
WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE FILES?
Hawkins: On another note, you have been following the JFK assassination for a long time and November 22 of this year will mark the 60th anniversary of the Dallas kill. Some analysts have concluded that the Deep State was involved — a mélange of corporatists, the CIA, and military DIA operatives, such as the scenario depicted in the film Executive Action (1973) — and have helped cover up the event all these years. And it has never sat well with lots of the Left that Allen Dulles sat on the Warren Commission and was certainly in a position to influence the findings and cover up the CIA’s role, if any, in the kill. Joe Biden said he’d release all the rest of the JFK archives, but he hasn’t. Why not, Jefferson?
Morley: Biden, like Trump, has acquiesced to the CIA’s extreme and bizarre claims of secrecy. At the end of the day, both presidents found it in their interest not to challenge the CIA on the JFK files, which tells you something about the Agency’s entrenched power. The CIA has made clear it intends to retain the right to control what the public does and does not see about Kennedy’s assassination. Some people say the CIA is hiding nothing of significance. I disagree. To me, the most plausible explanation for failure to disclose fully, as required by the JFK Records Act, is that they have something significant to hide. What they are hiding is the undisclosed interest of certain senior CIA officers in Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin, while JFK was still alive. I first wrote about the undisclosed Oswald operation last November 22 at JFK Facts (jfkfacts.substack.com) and I will be reporting more on the story in 2023.
SHOULD YOU TAKE PAXLOVID IF MILDLY ILL?
It is becoming harder to avoid infection, and reinfection, from the coronavirus with each variant that emerges. Omicron offshoots like the latest one, the XBB.1.5 subvariant, are better at dodging antibodies. But Covid cases also seem to be growing milder, either because new variants are less likely to go deep into the lungs or because most people have been vaccinated, exposed or both.
Which raises the question: Do mild cases of Covid warrant treatment with an antiviral medication like Paxlovid?
In many cases, they do. Paxlovid is known to reduce the severity of illness and even lower the risk of developing long-term symptoms such as chronic fatigue, muscle pain, kidney disease, heart disease, blood clotting problems and neurocognitive impairments. Research has shown that it can offer these benefits for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, those who are experiencing their first infection and those who have had a reinfection.
Paxlovid’s ability to lower the odds of hospitalization and death is well documented. Studies conducted before the drug was authorized in December 2021 showed that Paxlovid reduced these severe outcomes by up to 89 percent in unvaccinated people. While data from last year was slightly less impressive in vaccinated people, Paxlovid still decreased the odds of hospitalization and death by about 57 percent.
Paxlovid stops the coronavirus from replicating in cells. Scientists hypothesize that by reducing the viral load in the body quickly, Paxlovid hinders many problems linked to severe outcomes and long-lasting symptoms, like damage to blood vessels, widespread inflammation and overactivation of the immune system.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Most processed foods – aren’t food. And they are filled with ag chemical residues, preservatives, bad veggie oils, sugar (really bad for you), dyes, etc. It’s all mostly garbage and is likely the real reason most of us hang out in doctor’s offices. We save money by eating crap quality food, and then spend ten times as much in the “health care” system trying to fix damage caused by our so called food.
LANDSLIDES ARE WREAKING HAVOC IN CALIFORNIA
by Jack Lee
Downpours from an atmospheric river storm triggered landslides in the Santa Cruz Mountains Monday, burying highways in heaps of mud and trapping residents in place.
The damage is the consequence of weeks of rain fueled by atmospheric rivers.
“We've gotten more than average rainfall in December, and we're looking at getting way more than average rainfall this month, as well,” said Santa Cruz County Geologist Jeff Nolan. “The ground is highly saturated, and each new storm just adds to that.”
Rain is one of the primary forces that trigger landslides. As water trickles into the tiny gaps between soil and rocks, it adds pressure, which makes soils more unstable.
“It starts to reduce, in effect, the weight of the soil pushing down on the ground,” said Brian Collins, a civil engineer with the U.S. Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program. “As a result, there's less friction holding it up, and that's when it might start to slide.”
The New Year’s Eve storm produced hundreds of landslides across the Bay Area, with a focus in the East Bay, Collins said.
This week in the Santa Cruz Mountains, waterlogged soil from weeks of frequent rain is breaking free from deeper layers of earth and slipping down slopes onto roads.
“All the storms have been back to back to back,” Collins said. “There's been really no time for it to dry out.”
Landslides come in a variety of flavors based on their depth, the material involved, how they move and where they occur. This breakdown helps scientists investigate the physics behind a landslide’s behavior.
A slide, for example, involves rock and other materials tumbling down a slope. Flows are like dirty floods or slurries and behave like liquids. Falls involve rocks and boulders dropping and bouncing.
“Your equations of motion are totally different,” Collins said.
Debris flows are particularly dangerous because they move quickly and can sweep up boulders and trees as they barrel down landscapes. Debris flows typically occur during heavy downpours and frequently occur in areas scorched by wildfires.
“All the soil on the ground starts to unravel, because there's no vegetation holding it in place,” Collins said.
In addition to different types of motion, landslides involve different kinds of materials. The distinction between a debris flow and an earthflow comes down to consistency — the latter has a higher ratio of fine-grained material, like clay and sand. And while the terms “mudflow” and “mudslide” are commonly heard, neither are part of the formal naming scheme that scientists use for landslides.
But they still let the term slide.
“We're not putting the brakes on that being used, because, you know, we would rather the public call it something rather than to ignore it altogether,” Collins said.
With additional rain in the forecast for Tuesday, there is continued risk for landslides in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Bay Area at large — especially if there is any high-intensity rainfall.
“That’s what we’re watching for,” Nolan said.
FERNDALE DRAG SHOW CANCELED After ‘Beware’ Sign At Local Church Prompts Concerns About Extremist Response
by Ryan Burns
A planned drag show fundraiser in Ferndale has been canceled over concerns about an extremist backlash after a conservative church in town posted a warning message about the event on its public-facing sign.
The all-ages “Roaring ‘20s Drag Event” was supposed to be a fundraiser for Lost Coast Pride, a nonprofit organization created two years ago in response to an anti-LGBTQ message posted on a sign outside St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Kaelan Rivera, a disabled Navy vet, queer trans man and founder/executive director of Lost Coast Pride, has helped to organize the first two Pride marches held in Ferndale, and in a phone conversation today he said the drag show would have raised funds for the third installation of the event, which serves as both celebration and protest in the face of discrimination.
The show was being arranged with help from Paul Beatie and Cheri March, who own and operate Ferndale Music Company and The Old Steeple, a live music venue housed inside the former Methodist church beside the Ferndale Cemetery.
“Paul and Cheri reached out and said, ‘Hey, you can use the Steeple as a venue,’” Rivera said. “Paul did the PA system for last Pride festival [in Ferndale], so they’re very supportive of the LGBTQ community.”
Together they decided to hold the event on the first weekend in February, and Rivera was in the process of planing the event — making fliers, gathering contributions from people in town, etc. — when things took a turn.
“Paul and Cheri got a hold of me and said, ‘Have you seen the sign?’” Rivera said.
St. Mark’s, led by controversial Pastor Tyrel Bramwell, had posted a new message on the illuminated sign standing at the corner of Fern Avenue and Berning Street. “BEWARE,” it read in all caps, “DRAG SHOW FOR KIDS COMING TO THE OLD STEEPLE.”
Photos of the sign were posted to social media, including the Ferndale Community Page on Facebook, and while the vast majority of responses condemned the sign’s message, calling it an example of hatred, bigotry and bullying, word about the event continued to spread. Some of the responses were worrisome.
In an emailed statement, Beatie and March told the Outpost that they made the painful decision to cancel the event “out of an abundance of caution” after being alerted to online blowback.
“Friends and customers reached out to us regarding threatening Facebook messages that pointed to the possibility of extremists attending the event to disrupt it,” the statement from Beatie and March reads. Asked for specifics or screenshots they said the post in question had been deleted.
In a follow up call, Beatie said he’d been alerted to a comment on Facebook asking for the names and addresses of organizers. “We flagged that post and it was removed,” he said, adding that Rivera and Lost Coast Pride still have his support.
Violence and disruptions at drag shows have become increasingly common across the country, especially after last year’s shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo., which left five people dead and at least 17 others injured. Right-wing media outlets and politicians stoke anti-LGBTQ hatred and violence with unfounded claims that drag shows serve as “grooming” events where sexual predators ensnare helpless children.
Rivera thinks that’s ridiculous.
“You know the show ‘To Catch a Predator’?” he asked. “You notice that you never saw a drag queen on there? There were men of the cloth, men of faith busted for going out and trying to have intercourse with minors [but] I’ve never seen a drag queen ever prosecuted.”
He said the Lost Coast Pride event was going to be an all-ages show, not a “drag show for kids.”
“Drag is performing,” Rivera said. “It is a performance; it is a show; it is an inspiration. … Those are the things that drag is about. It’s about freedom; it’s about being yourself [and] it’s about entertainment.”
He said there certainly are adult drag shows, where the content can be more overtly sexual, but that the event he was planning would have been appropriate for all ages.
Bramwell (whose contributions to local right-wing talk radio station KINS were canceled for being too incendiary) recently gave voice to some common fear-mongering messages in a video posted to YouTube. Speaking about the recent all-ages drag show held at the Jefferson Community Center, Bramwell claimed the event served to facilitate “grooming, indoctrination [and] desensitization to perversion and evil.”
“The devil was on the prowl at this event and he is devouring [children’s] souls,” Bramwell says in the video.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Bramwell stood by those comments and said the message posted on his church sign was a justified warning.
“That kids should be invited to such a thing definitely goes against scripture,” he said. “We’re really wanting to protect children from the indoctrination happening by exposure to performance art that historically was for gay men, behind closed doors.”
Bramwell said drag shows represent a “rejection of God’s order,” namely that there are only two genders, male and female.
“We’re definitely trying to push back against the lie that’s being promoted today … that there are more that two genders and that it’s okay to support the confusion a person may be going through by advocating falsehoods … .”
In their emailed message, Beatie and March said they reached out to Bramwell in hopes of finding a compromise, to no avail. Here’s their full statement:
We made the painful decision to cancel the show out of an abundance of caution.
We never thought it would come to this. Our driving mission as owners of The Old Steeple is to offer a creative space where everyone in our community feels safe and welcome. Members of Lost Coast Pride are our friends and neighbors, and the drag show was part of a fundraising event and vendor fair that was open to all ages. Contrary to St. Mark’s Church’s deliberately sensational sign, it was not a “drag show for kids.”
Our first step was to reach out to pastor Tyrel Bramwell, who agreed to meet with us in person. We asked that he either remove the sign, or at least alter it to eliminate the insinuation that the show was specifically for children. He refused to do so unless we required Lost Coast Pride to make their show adults only, at which point he would remove “kids” but still call us out by name for having a drag show. We agreed to disagree, and at this point, we decided to proceed with the event and “turn the other cheek” — basically, to ignore the bully. We also felt buoyed by support from the majority of the Ferndale community, most of whom are very reasonable, loving people.
But by the end of the day the rumblings of discontent started to trickle in. Friends and customers reached out to us regarding threatening Facebook messages that pointed to the possibility of extremists attending the event to disrupt it. As parents and community members, it’s our responsibility to keep our community safe. Children take music lessons at our building, and their safety is paramount. We don’t know that this is the “right” decision but it feels like the prudent decision, and personally that’s what is right for our family. We continue to support Lost Coast Pride and the LGBTQ+ community and would like to work together in the future. As disappointed as we are, we hope to turn this into a time of self reflection and regrouping, so that we can move forward more effectively with our mission of inclusivity.
“I’m so frustrated,” Rivera said, though he added that he understands the decision made by Beatie and March. “It’s amazing to me that there’s like 20 people in this town and everybody kowtows to them. … I don’t understand how we’ve let one man and one church spew so much hate — which is why we have a Pride march, because it’s crap.”
Rivera said he’s still hoping to hold the drag event and is working with other Ferndale residents to locate another venue.
“I would like to keep it here in town,” he said. “Maybe the fairgrounds.” He’s hopeful that another business might reach out “if somebody is wiling to take that risk — and I know it’s a risk,” he said.
(Courtesy, Lost Coast Outpost)
CHRONICLE OF A COUP FORETOLD
by Forrest Hylton
To the extent that history repeats itself, it does so in spiral fashion, rather than exactly, and more often as tragedy than farce. Yesterday in Brasília, when a bolsonarista mob briefly invaded the Praça dos Três Poderes and vandalized Congress, the Supreme Court and the Presidential Palace (already looted by Bolsonaro himself, who stole everything except the bathroom fixtures; vandals shat and pissed all over the place), elements of both were in evidence.
By causing chaos and destruction, and alleging electoral fraud, the mob hoped to force the army to intervene – as it had been demanding, to no effect, in the ‘civilian’ encampments (full of retired, reserve and active military personnel) that sprang up in front of army barracks throughout Brazil after Lula’s victory on 30 October. Before the elections, the Pentagon, CIA and State Department all made clear that the US government has no appetite for a fascist coup in Brazil at the moment. To say the 8 January plot was far-fetched is an understatement.
As in Washington DC on 6 January 2021, the looters and vandals in Brasília yesterday appeared to have received help from someone on the inside, perhaps from security, since they clearly knew their way around – it would not otherwise have been so easy to find the door to the office of the Supreme Court justice Alexandre de Moraes, and tear it from its hinges – and although no congresspeople were inside the legislative building, some were outside fraternizing with the fascists. They are unlikely to go unidentified or unpunished.
Nothing remotely comparable has happened before in recent Brazilian history. On 6 January 2021, Bolsonaro – now known as ‘Captain Fugitive’ by his disappointed supporters – tweeted that the invasion of the US Congress was small potatoes compared to what he would have in store for Brazil should he lose the elections in 2022. For once, he appears to have been telling the truth, since the mob in the Praça dos Três Poderes was much larger than the one in DC, and wreaked greater destruction on the physical infrastructure of the federal government.
Like the 6 January riot on which it was explicitly modelled, the invasion of Brasília had been in the works for weeks if not months, and minimally competent intelligence work could have nipped it in the bud (assuming, for the moment, that the intelligence services are not completely penetrated by bolsonaristas).
Far from being a tightly held secret of seasoned conspirators, the would-be coup was advertised in plain sight, all over social media, with maps and photos, using the pseudo-military codename ‘Festa da Selma’, and the hashtag #BrazilianSpring, which Steve Bannon, together with Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo and Carlos, helped launch in November, though it only started trending after 5 January.
The justice minister, Flávio Dino, had vowed to prevent small groups of far-right fanatics from seizing power; his promise became an object of ridicule on Twitter on 7 January. ‘Partygoers’ were advised not to bring children or the elderly, but some came along anyway. They were also told to bring bibles, though these weren’t much in evidence. They took selfies and couldn’t help posting them, incriminating themselves; several police officers also took selfies with looters.
The defense minister, José Múcio Monteiro, who held water for the dictatorship in the 1970s, referred to the encampments outside military bases – where he had friends and family members – as ‘peaceful, democratic’ protests. This was a major misstep: nothing could be further from the truth, as was obvious even without hindsight, since the same agribusiness interests that funded Bolsonaro’s campaign funded the encampments. They are illegal and should have been removed last week, after Lula’s inauguration ceremony on 1 January, where the peaceful crowd was orders of magnitude larger than the mob that attacked the Praça dos Três Poderes a week later. Lula received the presidential sash from an Afro-Brazilian woman who recycles tin cans, and his voice broke repeatedly as he described the difficulties faced by ordinary Brazilians.
As for the forces of law and order in Brasília, the chief of the Federal District police – Bolsonaro’s former justice minister, Anderson Torres – was in the US, and told his boss, Governor Ibaneis Rocha, that he had everything under control and was set to activate his agents to disperse the looters. He didn’t. The police pepper-sprayed protesters when they moved to break through the metal gates, but they had nothing like the numbers or the firepower to hold them back. The secret service (Batalhão de Guarda Presidencial), responsible for the security of the president, the vice-president and the seat of government, was MIA.
This seems to have been more deliberate than incompetent. On Sunday evening, Governor Rocha issued an apology, clearly hoping to avoid sanction, but Justice Moraes removed him from his post for ninety days. Rocha had already fired Torres and the federal government took direct control of Brasília’s police, who rallied in sufficient numbers – with reinforcements from neighboring states – to disperse the crowd, most of whom left peacefully and without a fight; 260 others fought briefly before being arrested and bused to the police station. An additional 1200 from their encampment, many of them elderly, have so far been detained. Some have testified that agri-business financed the invasion, while elements of the military helped plan it.
The armed forces are divided, and it is hard to know how much support Bolsonaro still has among them – among active division commanders, it would appear to be slim to none, but each wing of the armed forces is an elephantine bureaucracy, and Bolsonaro no doubt still has many sympathizers, hidden as well open. At least half a dozen of them are four-star generals who played prominent roles in his government. Had Lula ordered the army rather than police to clear the Praça dos Três Poderes, who knows if it would have obeyed. If not, then what? And had the army swung into action, how many people would it have killed?
At least seven journalists were threatened, restrained or injured by the rioters, including the award-winning Tereza Cruvinel, who narrowly escaped a lynch mob thanks to a bolsonarista neighbor of hers of some standing and repute, who was able to convince the mob that she was indeed an important journalist, while also promising to confiscate her phone, with which she had been filming. Various journalists had their equipment stolen.
Globo’s coverage of events, by contrast, was a study in evasion – unsurprising, given the network’s role in the overthrow of Dilma Rousseff in 2016, the imprisonment of Lula in 2018 and the election of Bolsonaro the same year. CNN Brazil did somewhat better, as one of its anchors confronted a politician who was running cover for the golpistas on air.
And what of Bolsonaro himself, currently in hospital in the US with (yet again) intestinal complications – or is he? The hospital in Orlando claims no one registered under that name has checked in. Photographed dining alone at KFC, then subject to verbal harassment by an anti-fascist Brazilian activist outside his new home in Orlando, the former president sought to distance himself from the looting and vandalism without renouncing his cause. It’s possible that one purpose of his one-way trip to the US was to give him plausible deniability when the coup inevitably failed.
I hesitate to look for silver linings, or take solace in the fact that the coup never had any real chance of success: nevertheless, no one was seriously injured or killed; and a broad consensus has rapidly formed among the executive, the legislature and the courts in Brasília that ‘live and let live’ is not the way to denazify Brazil – the urgent task of the moment, along with feeding 33 million hungry people.
This consensus enjoys international support. The governor of Goiás, Renan Calheiros, is a man of the right, but a democratic constitutionalist rather than a golpista; he has called for Bolsonaro’s extradition to Brazil. The White House has indicated that it has yet to receive an extradition request, which may hint at a willingness to act on one, given the threat that Trumpismo, including the tropical variety, poses to Biden’s re-election bid. The State Department has said that Bolsonaro’s visa might be revoked. And Alexandre de Moraes has made it clear that the Supreme Court plans to go after those who instigated the golpistas – which presumably includes Bolsonaro himself.
In a textbook case of the unintended consequences of perverse behavior, the failed coup has rallied and unified the disparate, even incompatible elements in Lula’s impossibly broad democratic coalition as perhaps nothing else could have, and opened the door to reforming the police and military sooner rather than later.
Today, millions of people took to the streets in cities across Brazil in defense of democracy. With any luck, this may prove a prelude to a more sustained mobilization from social movements. Should that happen, the US government and its citizens will have much to learn.
(London Review of Books)
THE POLITICAL HUBRIS OF LONG-TERM PLANS
by Patrick Cockburn
Few sights are more absurd or unreal than political leaders announcing their long-term plans for radical changes benefitting millions or their intention to reform giant institutions in a year or two. Grandiose pledges to create a better world trip off the tongue and they pretend to have a degree of control over events that they must know they do not possess.
I always liked the caustic remark of French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau when told in 1918 about President Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points for ending the First World War and for establishing a lasting peace. “Why does he need 14 points?” asked Clemenceau derisively. “Even the Good God only had 10.”
I remembered Clemenceau’s jibe when watching Prime Minister Rishi Sunak proudly unveil his five promises to the British people this week. These are to halve inflation; to grow the economy; to reduce debt; to cut hospital waiting lists; and to stop migrants crossing the Channel.
As exasperated journalists swiftly pointed out, the first three promises cover developments already underway and there is no date by which the last two tasks are to be accomplished. To be fair, Sir Keir Starmer struck back by producing similar guff about devolving government powers from the center and doing many other good things without spending any money.
Presumably there are voters who are impressed by this sort of grandstanding. The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi would whip out a list of his pledges, such as a bridge between Sicily and the Italian mainland, and read them out on television.
I reported on the midterm Congressional election in 1994 when Republican Congressional candidates solemnly signed a “Contract with America”. President Clinton called it “a Contract on America” but, corny though it was, it helped the Republicans to a massive victory at the polls.
The hubris of these performances is self-evident, but perhaps they are effective because people would like to think that their leaders are in greater control than they really are. Few dare admit this publicly whatever their real thoughts and it is unwise to mock what George Bush senior called “The Vision Thing.”
Long term visions are peculiarly ludicrous in Britain today as prime ministers and ministers sweep in and out of office so speedily that the public no longer know their names. In addition, most of them have shown demonstrably low caliber in any job they have ever held. Yet these same people claim to be able to take decisions affecting a vast and complex organization like the NHS with its 1.2 million employees.
A friend of mine who was a civil servant in the Ministry of Health in the 1990s, told me sadly this week of her despair when she tried to explain to Edwina Currie, then a junior health minister, in the back of a taxi on the way to a mental hospital how the treatment of mentally ill children might be improved. Currie listened distantly while giving her main energies to an interview with a morning radio show.
Beneath the Radar
I am fascinated by the impact of the third great revolution in archaeology over the last 10 years enabling scientists to study the migrations that produced modern Europeans. The study of human genomes from 5,000 years ago show that we have a much darker and bloodier ancestry than I had supposed.
China is presented as the great threat facing us all. Most of those who say so can barely find the country on the map. I found this lecture enlightening in a straightforward way about what the Chinese state thinks about Russia, America and the war in Ukraine. It is shocking to discover that the Chinese ambassador in Washington is treated as more of a pariah than the Soviet ambassador at the height of the Cold War. US officials and politicians compete to see who can be the most hawkish towards Beijing and escalation management is dismissed as appeasement.
(Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso). CounterPunch.org.)
UKRAINE, TUESDAY, 10TH JANUARY
Ukraine’s northeast, eastern and southern regions were hit by another wave of missile strikes at the start of the week, while Russian forces and their colleagues in the Wagner Group of mercenary forces have made “tactical advances” into the small Donbas town of Soledar near Bakhmut, according to the latest intelligence update from Britain’s Ministry of Defense.
Soledar is around 6 miles north of Bakhmut, the capture of which likely continues to be Russia’s immediate main operational objective.
On Monday night, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that while Russian forces “have now concentrated their greatest efforts on Soledar, the result of this difficult and long battle will be the liberation of our entire Donbas.”
He conceded, however, that the fighting was “extremely difficult” around Soledar, a place where he said there were barely any walls left standing.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock made a surprise visit to the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv near the Russian border, promising more weapons and “concrete offers” to help the country’s accession to the European Union.
In a statement ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Baerbock expressed Germany’s support and solidarity with Ukrainians living through Russia’s invasion and harsh winter conditions.
“This city is a symbol of the absolute insanity of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and of the endless suffering that people, especially here in the east of the country, are confronted with every day,” she said.
After Germany last week promised to send Marder fighting vehicles to Ukraine as part of stepped up military support, Baerbock promised more weapons, without specifying which ones.
She also said it was important not to lose sight of Ukraine’s place in Europe and its desire to join the EU.
“That is why I would also like to talk about the progress made in the accession process,” she said.
“We as the government want to make very concrete offers to Ukraine in order to make progress in strengthening the rule of law, independent institutions and the fight against corruption, as well as in aligning with EU standards.”
A computer outage at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has resulted in delays to more than 4,000 flights across the United States, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware. The FAA said in a tweet that it was working on restoring its Notice to Air Missions System. 'The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System,' the agency said in the message. 'We are performing final validation checks and repopulating the system now. Operations across the National Airspace System are affected. 'We will provide frequent updates as we make progress.'
In an advisory, the FAA said its NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system had 'failed'. There was no immediate estimate for when it would be back, the website showed, though NOTAMs issued before the outage were still viewable. A second updated on Twitter from the FAA said some systems were beginning to come back online. The NOTAM system alerts pilots and other flight personnel about hazards or any changes to airport facility services and relevant procedures. There is a potential for widespread disruption because of the outage. All aircraft are required to route through the system, including commercial and military flights. As a result, the impact will likely be broader than just commercial airlines.