Arctic Airmass | Whitecaps | Cleone Rental | E5 | Bridge Removed | Dog Adoptions | Supe Impression | AV Events | Log Raft | Huff Snub | Cross Road | Ed Notes | Klamath Railroad | PD Statement | CJ Greeting | Shocking Video | Sheep Show | Galindo Sentenced | Arcata Plaza | Dem Club | Guilty Plea | Eureka Road | License Procured | Yesterday's Catch | US Debt | Cliff House | Victor Navasky | Baseball Team | Marco Radio | Maltese Dragon | Immigrant Drivers | Boat Deck | Beast Starvation | Waiting | A.I. | Corinne Griffith | Viewing Decision | Big Tree | Ukraine | Wolves
GUSTY NORTHEASTERLY WINDS will occur over the highest elevation in the southern portion of the region this afternoon through Monday. An Arctic airmass will begin advecting in today, setting up a very cold night with potentially record low temperatures reached Monday morning. Active weather pattern returning possible late in the week as a series of upper level trough approach from the west. (NWS)
ROOMS FOR RENT IN CLEONE HOME
Beautiful property in Cleone on 2 bucolic acres surrounded by redwoods and a spectacular collection of rhodies. House has some furnishings. Rent includes kitchen privileges, and access to all common areas.
4 bedrooms available, 2 FULL bathrooms (clawfoot tubs and showers)
Sunroom, Hot tub, Spacious livingroom, Huge dining room, Open kitchen with lots of cabinet space, Propane heat, 2-car garage ($100/car), plus plenty of off-street parking. Fenced garden area, Outbuildings. Additional storage negotiable.
Rent range per room $600-$800, not including utilities.
Text Terri @ (707) 357-8265 to schedule viewing.
Terri Larsen" <email@example.com>
CREEKSIDE CABINS - Temporary bridge removed Friday - There are many people and vehicles remaining
by Justine Frederiksen
A bridge allowing residents to evacuate from the Creekside Cabins RV park and resort near Willits was removed Friday morning, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Capt. Greg Van Patten said that residents were given a bit more time Friday morning to leave the facility, which the county has declared a “public health menace,” but that the temporary bridge was removed at about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 27.
While many residents and their vehicles did leave the park, there are many people and vehicles remaining, according to Danilla Sands of United Disaster Relief of Northern California, an organization that not only helped many of the residents evacuate this week, but also helped provide basic necessities to the residents ever since the large sinkhole that blocked vehicular access to their homes opened on Dec. 30.
Sands said that “thanks to our hauler, a Good Samaritan, and the manager of the facility, we removed 15 trailers from the park.” However, she said that 25 trailers and 21 vehicles remained after the bridge was removed, numbers that the county’s Code Enforcement personnel confirmed Friday afternoon.
When asked if the MCSO would be citing any of the residents who remained on the property, Van Patten said that “we have no intention of entering the property and removing people or issuing citations. This is more of a humanitarian effort, and we do not intend to be heavy-handed in any way.”
In fact, Van Patten said that an MCSO lieutenant on-site Friday morning helped vehicles navigate the bridge while exiting the park.
As for the latest update from county Social Services regarding assistance that the evacuated residents have received, county officials reported that as of Thursday evening, “of the 27 households at the park: 13 households have been issued vouchers to an alternate RV Park, five households have checked in to their sites, two households were issued hotel vouchers and are checked in to their rooms. Three households stated they had a moving plan, one of these are confirmed, but the remaining two are unverified. Eight households have not provided any information to the county and have not requested services.”
County officials said they expected to give another update Friday evening.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
LONG-STAY DOG EVENT at both Mendocino Animal Shelters! Adoption fees waived for the dogs listed below.
BOB ABELES: For a long while I’ve been giving Supervisor Williams the benefit of the doubt. No more. Lately, especially since his reelection, he’s gone from playing at being the people’s supervisor to becoming his true self, just another sad cog in the play acting that passes for government in this benighted county. Like everyone else, I’m left to my own devices making sense out of the word salad communications he and our other fine county apparatchiks have been serving up. Smells like the worst kind of bullshit to me: indifference to the needs of the public tied up with a nice sadistic bow (tie).
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: List of Events
A READER WONDERS:
Why does Congressman Jared Huffman have time to meet with Mill Valley Middle School students, but not with the Anderson Valley Unified School District and the students at that site? The Anderson Valley Unified School District would benefit from Congressman Jared Huffman's support.
Huffman: “Engaging with Students: I make a point of offering student town halls throughout the district to hear from students directly. This month, I enjoyed a thoughtful discussion with Mill Valley Middle School students. We talked about how young people can make a difference in government, as well as their thoughts on a number of issues affecting Tribes. I always appreciate opportunities to meet with our young students, and I’m inspired by this future generation of leaders.”
THE MEDIA was one in expressing shock at Half Moon Bay farmworker housing in the wake of the mass shooting last week as if it were news. Any area of the state with large numbers of farmworkers, including bucolic Mendocino County, will find most farmworkers and their families living in substandard housing. Here in Anderson Valley there are several Creekside-like neighborhoods.
SITE PREP for Niners vs Philadelphia: lock front gate; turn off all computers; take telephones off the hook. Place “Do Not Disturb” signs on all doors; Prepare snacks — Ritz Crackers; Cheez Whiz; Planter's Nuts (with peanuts); six-pack Brown Derby. Unpack black crepe in case of Niner loss.
SUNDAY'S GAME has been described, prosaically, as “physical,” as if the NFL is a flag football league. More creatively, one writer described it as a likely “slobber-knocker.” Niner tight end George Kittle predicts a “body-bag game.” And Niners right tackle Mike McGlinchey smiled and said, “It’s going to be some good, clean family fun.”
TRYING to reality-check my opinion that Biden is obviously senile, I asked a visitor if she thought he was. “No, I don't think he's senile, I think he's elderly.” The AVA being a geriatric operation, I pointed out that the paper's principals were elderly but much more cognitively functioning than Biden, as are any number of elderly Mendo people I could name whose functioning belies their age. She said, “He's just old, Bruce. Live with it.”
HERE A SCHIFF, there a Schiff, everywhere a Schiff, Schiff, Schiff! As the DNC's primary Trump slayer, Schiff was unable to link Trump to Russia as a Russian tool; Schiff's impeachment of Trump went nowhere; and the Jan. 6 show trial aimed at Trump nailed a lotta little fascists but not the big red one, who obviously incited the attack on Congress. Anybody but Schiff in the Senate race for Feinstein's seat, assuming the old girl doesn't drag herself out for another term.
AS ANY COP scholar will tell you, the chief sets the tone. If there's a wink and a nod guy at the top, as there obviously has been at the Ukiah Police Department in recent times, the badged bad guys on the force will go rogue with impunity while the honest cops continue to do their job in a professional manner. If the top guy runs an honest shop, the worst cops on the force won't dare go rogue. The Memphis Police Department was weak at the top, and a presumably small segment of the force beat a kid to death, not because they were trying to kill him, but just for the savage joy of beating the crap out of someone, anyone, plus because they knew, or thought they knew, they could get away with it.
IT WON'T HAPPEN HERE
The video footage from Memphis, Tennessee released last night showed the brutal attack and suffering of Tyre Nichols. Our hearts go out to Mr. Nichols’ family, as they unnecessarily have endure the death of their father, son, brother, nephew and friend. We mourn with you.
The video was gut-wrenching and disgusting. It caused anger in the law enforcement community. The officers involved brought shame upon their badges and the law enforcement profession as a whole. They betrayed their oaths, their department, their community, and their country.
The now former officers were dealt with swiftly, in a manner we have been striving for. They were immediately fired and rightfully arrested on the charge of murder soon after. The investigation is ongoing and more will face justice for their actions – or inactions – during this incident.
Every day, law enforcement professionals across the nation work to prevent these types of attacks. It shakes us to our core people in uniform, sworn to protect, would horrifically beat a community member, causing their death. It cannot and will not be tolerated.
As we look to answer the question of how this could’ve happened, I will say the despicable acts inflicted on Mr. Nichols do not represent the values, principles, and training at Fort Bragg Police Department. Moreover, we publicly condemn their actions and commit ourselves to public service and safety.
Neil J. Cervenka, Chief of Police
Concern, Compassion, Courage
CHRIS ‘CJ’ JONES SENDS HIS BEST WISHES TO ALL HIS OLD MENDO FRIENDS
“MOM, MOM”: In my mind, it doesn't matter whether police officers are white, black, Latino, Asian, gay, straight, or whatever. The level of police brutality shown in these videos is unacceptable and seemingly criminal. I know a lot of people in law enforcement. Few would do this. They are our friends and neighbors. No doubt the cops on the streets are facing increasing demands dealing with too many armed, dangerous, and mentally unstable people.
Still, what happened here is wrong. The sheer number of officers responding to this call, and the 22-minute wait before medical help arrives are mind-numbing. Personally, the shocking series of videos reminds me of the group of Ukiah police officers standing around after knocking a naked mentally ill man to the ground on South State Street in April 2021 and beating him. Some of them were shown on police video proudly displaying abrasions on their fists. In the Ukiah case, the victim at least escaped the fate of this poor man crying out for his mother in the final minutes of his life.
DRUNK DRIVER WHO STRUCK MOTHER AND CHILD OUTSIDE UKIAH FAIR SENTENCED TO NEARLY EIGHT YEARS IN STATE PRISON
In August of 2022, a young mother and her one-year-old child in a stroller, followed by other family members, had left the fair and were crossing North State Street in Ukiah on their way home.
Unbeknownst to the group until it was too late, a drunk driver was speeding to get to a party and bearing down on them from the north.
Realizing she did not have time to get out of the way to avoid the speeding vehicle, the mother pushed the stroller with her daughter towards the west curb at the last moment before the mother was hit and thrown through the air by the force of the collision many yards to the south down State Street. The child luckily fell out of the stroller before the stroller was dragged down the street under the car.
The child miraculously received only minor physical injuries, while her mother unfortunately received life-threatening injuries that required immediate stabilizing emergency medical care locally before being transferred to U.C. Davis Medical Center for surgeries and highly intensive care. The mother has since been able to return to Ukiah but is facing long-term medical care and rehabilitation needs.
The drunk driver – defendant German Dominguez Galindo, age 32, of Ukiah – was sentenced Friday morning to 96 months in state prison for a crime – driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs — that all motor vehicle drivers should know is behavior inherently dangerous to human life.
For reasons required by the California Rules of Court, the state prison sentence as imposed ended up being just one year less than the maximum sentence allowed by law for this crime and combination of enhancements.
The charge and enhancements that formed the basis for the state prison sentence were that the defendant (1) drove a motor vehicle in August 2022 with a blood alcohol of .08 or greater causing bodily injury to another; (2) that great bodily injury was inflicted on the first victim causing her to become comatose due to brain injury; (3) that the driving under the influence caused bodily injury to a second victim; and (4) that the defendant’s blood alcohol was .15 or greater.
The law enforcement agencies that gathered the evidence and interviewed witnesses to the crime — evidence that would have been used at trial — were the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department.
The California Department of Justice crime laboratory also provided scientific support by determining that the defendant’s blood alcohol at the time of the collision was .22, and that the bindle found in the defendant’s pant pocket contained cocaine.
The attorney who handled the prosecution of the defendant was District Attorney David Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over Friday’s sentencing hearing during which the husband and father of the two victims gave a compelling and tearful victim impact statement, while the two victims and other family members listened and watched from the gallery.
THE EXCITEMENT BUILDS!
Coast Democratic Club Meeting - Save the Date!
Thursday, February 2, 5:30 to 7pm
via zoom, Assemblymember Jim Wood will join us! 5:30 to 6:00 pm.
Let’s share our concerns!
Future of healthcare on the coast
Broadband progress and more
6 - 7 pm, Discuss 2022 Midterms and 2024 Elections
FORT BRAGG MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SEXUAL MOLESTATION OF A CHILD 10 YEARS OF AGE OR YOUNGER
With his jury trial scheduled to begin next Monday morning in Ukiah, defendant Antonio David Borrero-Ginel, age 35, formerly of the Fort Bragg area, figuratively threw in the towel Thursday morning, withdrew his not guilty pleas, and admitted criminal liability for having committed sex acts on a minor.
The defendant personally entered a guilty plea to having orally copulated a child 10 years of age or younger, a felony violation of Penal Code section 288.7(b). This crime carries an indeterminate state prison sentence of 15 years to life.
The defendant also entered a guilty plea to a separate and distinct felony violation of Penal Code section 288(a), lewd and lascivious acts on a child. The defendant stipulated to a state prison sentence of three years for this crime, said time to run consecutive to the life sentence.
After the guilty pleas were accepted and entered into the court record, the defendant’s case was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a sentencing report.
The probation report will be relied on by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to make prison classification, risk assessment, and facility assignment decisions.
The defendant’s sentencing hearing is now calendared for March 23, 2023 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse, the date, time, and location when the 18 years to life sentence will be formally imposed.
The law enforcement agency that investigated and developed the evidence underlying today’s convictions was the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.
The attorney who originally filed formal charges against this defendant and would have been the People’s trial prosecutor is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted the defendant’s change of pleas and will be the sentencing judge on March 23rd.
I'm not sure whether or not to celebrate or cry. In the fall of 2015, our family began the process of getting our cannabis license.
Today, my son and I received word we were awarded our annual state license—the full ticket we had imagined taking one year to get.
We have barely over 4,000 square feet. The plot, the size of a family vegetable garden, is entirely organic and watered with a 40-year-old rainwater pond and managed entirely by our family. In the process, we had to change from our original beautiful garden on a flat to one on a hillside that is windblown and tougher to manage. And, in my opinion, not as environmentally sound though still with minimal impacts on the surroundings.
Over 7 years of frustration and worry…
Admittedly, some of that was weird problems with the land's title, some of it was our ignorance of the process, and some that I already have a busy life that made this not my highest priority. But a lot was just the brutal process that ground up small farmers.
So, congratulations to my son, Quinn, we made it. Love you and am proud of you and your wife, Kirsten.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, January 28, 2022
CHRISTOPHER ACKERMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting, probation revocation.
EVAN CASTER, Fort Bragg. Obtaining money on false premises, getting credit with someone else’s ID, grand theft, conspiracy, failure to appear.
CODY LADD, Ukiah. Under influence, paraphernalia, parole violation.
TONY MCELROY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, misdemeanor warrant.
OCTAVIO RIVERA, Potter Valley. Alteration of vehicle registration, resisting.
CARA ROSSI, Clearlake/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation violation.
TYLER SCOLES, San Rafael/Ukiah. DUI.
STEVEN SELLINGER, Willits. DUI, leaving scene of accident with property damage.
PATRICIA STONE, Philo. Failure to appear.
MICHELLE VOLLMER, Fort Bragg. Obtaining money on false premises, getting credit with someone else’s ID, grand theft, conspiracy.
THERE REALLY IS A LIMIT
U.S. debt is basically the foundation of the global financial system (that’s bigger than Kevin McCarthy’s congressional district). If the rest of the world comes to doubt its reliability, a major recession is likely, if not a shattering financial crisis. Is financial obstruction a course taught in business school? If so, the obstructionists all have MBAs (Meritless Business Advice).
VICTOR NAVASKY, R.I.P.
by Larry Bensky
One fine day in the Winter of 1958, two oddly dressed men appeared in the narrow doorway of my office in the Yale Daily News building. The office was small, despite my grandiose title of Managing Editor. But my responsibilities were large: I had to “manage” over a hundred writers, editors, proofreaders, and photographers. I had to open dozens of envelopes with press releases, essays, letters to the editor, and suggestions for columnists. I had to coordinate with the advertising department on the floor below about how many ads had been sold. These determined our “news hole.”
Then I had to communicate with reporters about when their stories needed to be submitted so as to avoid late night jams when there wouldn’t be enough time to typeset. We had only recently gone from “hot type” to “cold type,” and mechanical breakdowns were endemic.
The two guys in the doorway - one very tall, the other very short, were Larry Pearl and Victor Navasky. Pearl went on to a lifetime as a widely recognized judge in Washington. Navasky went on to become THE Victor Navasky, longtime editor and publisher of The Nation, author of “Kennedy Justice,” a historical biography of Robert Kennedy, and “Naming Names,” an in-depth narrative of the Hollywood blacklist, as well as memoirs and interviews that now fill volumes.
Pearl, as I recall, did the talking, his eyes darting around the room as other people frantically sought my attention. Navasky smiled and mumbled a few words. Pearl handed me a small pile of oddly shaped, stapled together papers, with a title on the first page in bold letters, “Monocle.” He asked if the “News” might do a story about it.
I don’t remember if we ever did. But a few days later Pearl called me. There was going to be a “hot” lecture in the Law School auditorium that afternoon, which he thought the News should cover. The speaker, Law Professor Vern Countryman, had been attacked by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s super-nationalists. They wanted him fired from his tenured Professorship. His crime was to have spoken and written in support of the activists, including Martin Luther King, who had begun what would become the 60’s Civil Rights movement. Yale would have risked a school-wide uproar had it tried to fire Countryman, a tenured Professor, for his politics, so the protests against him went nowhere.
I went to Countryman’s speech. Before leaving, the Law School where a packed audience had given Countryman a standing ovation, I spotted Pearl – easy to do, he was well over 6 feet tall, with a distinctive drawn, thin face, not unlike the haunting countenances of concentration camp survivors, whose images people of our generation had grown up with.
With Pearl was Navasky. They asked me to stay for dinner in the Law School Dining Hall. I pointed out that I had come from my residential college five blocks away, and would have to run back and get a coat and tie, which were required for admission to college dining halls. They laughed! This isn’t a kindergarten they said.
And it wasn’t. It was a mind-blowing room full of guys without coats and ties (women weren’t admitted to the Law School until much later) loudly arguing and laughing, waving their arms, jumping up and down. And the food was edible, with as many seconds and desserts as you wanted. Unlike the college dining hall where we in our coats and ties were offered a plate of “mystery meat,” gravy covered mashed potatoes with boiled carrots and peas. No seconds.
Victor and I turned out to have a lot in common. We came from immigrant families. We knew the Lower East Side. We knew about the Holocaust and its traumatized survivors. We had mothers and grandmothers and aunts who held families together. And we read enormously: newspapers, magazines, leaflets. We hung out in Jewish delis and bagel shops. We were New Yorkers.
And we both wound up in our native city – he with his law degree from Yale, after a couple of less than fulfilling years in the military; me with my prestigious B.A. from Yale, after a lonely year as a graduate student in English at the University of Minnesota. Although Victor had grown up in the middle class, largely Jewish, Upper West Side and I was a native of middle class, largely Jewish central Brooklyn, we both knew who ran this country and its media. And since we both wanted to work in media (not for the money, but for a “right livelihood”) New York was our place.
But it turned out that although we shared a common deep dislike for reactionary political views and politicians, we were very different kinds of people. Victor was a born, and then very well trained, as a detail hound. (See the recent documentary “Turn Every Page”’ for other exemplars, Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, of this practice.
Victor was quiet of voice. You had to pay attention to see how he was funnier and friendlier than I was. And he thought Big Name Places could be influenced from within. I already suspected, and had my suspicions confirmed by working at two of them, The New York Times and Random House that they weren’t going to change quickly enough and profoundly enough to a part of the solution, rather than a big part of the problem.
But we continued to be in touch, sometimes saw each other at parties or rallies. I never wrote for The Nation, the few times I tried brought me into conflict with their frustrating editorial process. The “underground” press, in New York and later San Francisco, was much more to my liking. You wrote, you submitted, they printed. I now wish Monocle had grown into what it never tried to be, a mass circulation publication like the New Yorker.
We needed, when Victor and I were starting out, a strong voice against injustice, bigotry, materialism, and selfishness. Victor led an exemplary life, with a wonderful family, countless friends and acquaintances. He won many well deserved awards. But the country and the planet we worked all our lives to improve remain mired in deadly and dangerous conflicts.
We needed, and need, many more Victors with much longer lives.
(Larry Bensky can be reached at LBensky@igc.org.)
MEMO OF THE AIR: HEART OF A DOG.
“Some trainers say in order to understand your breed you have to imagine what their voices would sound like and what they'd say to you when you give them a command. So, give a command to a German shepherd and he'd say, Right, boss. No problem. Consider it done. Give a command to a poodle and it's: Please love me. I'll do anything if you just love me. But give a command to a terrier and they say, Um, is it gonna be fun? Because if it's not gonna be fun I'm just not interested.”
Here's the recording of last night's (2023-01-27) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show* on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0525
As sometimes happens lately I had to start the show forty minutes late because of getting Juanita home from work when they move her schedule around, so that explains why just a few minutes into the recording I'm already telling you it's ten o'clock. To cover the time I was gone /this/ time I put on the sound from Laurie Anderson's film Heart of a Dog, a story about her life, key elements of her childhood, her relationship with her mother, a little about her husband Lou Reed's harrowing but philosophical months of dying of liver disease and, throughout, her tender love for her little dog Lolabelle ties the whole thing together. As with all Laurie Anderson's projects it works fine with just the sound, but you can find it on YouTube. Juanita's car is likely to be finished being fixed this week, so things will probably be back to normal next week. Nine to five is normal. Nine p.m. to five a.m., the best hours for anything creative or contemplative or that requires steady work and a steady hand and freedom from interruptions. My grandmother used to say, "Night air is bad air," but to me everything's always been better at night, including air. No-one you owe money to is bugging you for the money. They're all drunkenly asleep, dreaming of cakes and pies and sour-faced sausage-like women, breasts muffining out over the top of black rubber bathing suits, breathing like Darth Vader, rhythmically snapping a quirt across their fishnet pantyhose crisscrossed buttocks or merely against the arm of a chair, like Shirley Stoler in Lina Wertmuller's disturbing masterpiece Seven Beauties, which I was reminded of yesterday, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Here's a link to my dream journal project that I add to at random every week or so. I'd like to read your dreams on the radio and I always offer to. Just email me. Or include them in a reply to this post. Or send me a link to your dream journal and I'll make a note to go there and check for updates.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
I love videos of this sport, though people who do it eventually all get killed. They're going 200 miles an hour within just a few feet of rock and ice. The slightest miscalculation, or a sneeze, and POW... But it's so wonderful when they live.
Kitchen styles down the decades. The 1950s kitchens make me want a car in any of those colors. I think of one of them as retro-future-robot-green. You'll know it when you see it.
An astounding project. Watch this man take a few random wrecked motorcycle motors from the breaker yard, cut them all up, grind and fasten and weld everything in just the perfect way to make a single V-4 engine that actually runs and doesn't even leak oil. He does everything, including fabricate the new crankshaft required, the mounts, the manifolds, the this, the that. Play it at 2X speed. My friend Dan and I once rebuilt a VW bus engine, no cutting nor welding required, just simply took it apart and put it back together around and in a new uncracked block; it took fricking months, and it never even worked right after that. It worked, but not right.
And Lucy Ellis – Just The Two Of Us.
Email your written work on any subject and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air on KNYO.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
MORE THAN A MILLION UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS GAINED DRIVER’S LICENSES IN CALIFORNIA
by Wendy Fry
On a recent night, by the Miramar Reservoir in San Diego County, a man named Erwin sat at a picnic table scrolling through dozens of texts from his wife. He read aloud her warnings about police patrolling a road near their home.
“‘There’s a lot of cops out tonight,’” he read. “Cops everywhere.’ ‘Be careful; lots of cops.’ ‘Too many cops.’
“Every time I want to get a burger or juice or anything like that and I leave the house, she will text me ‘There’s a lot of cops. Be careful,’” Erwin explained. “It’s a reality that we live in. We adapt our life and our every day to it.”
Erwin, who asked not to use his last name for fear of deportation, is a 27-year old business manager, husband and father of a 6-month-old baby girl. He’s also a Congolese immigrant whose visa expired. His wife, a U.S. citizen, fears what would happen if police stop him.
Although California is a sanctuary state — with protections for immigrants who lack documentation authorizing them to be in the United States — there are loopholes and law enforcement sometimes works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Beyond that, Erwin worries a traffic stop might escalate. “Believe me, in my country, I would never have to worry about getting pulled over and being scared that they’re going to shoot me,” he said.
Erwin wants to swap his foreign driver’s license for a California one.
“Before I didn’t have a family, so I could risk it,” he said, “but now I have my family and I drive my kid everywhere we go. So I decided to get right and get the driver’s license, so it’s less of an issue if I get pulled over.”
A license to drive
Erwin has made multiple attempts to obtain an AB 60 driver’s license. It’s a special license that lets undocumented California residents legally drive, but with federal limitations.
Proponents say the special license was a boon to immigrants and the state’s economy. But critics, and even some immigrant advocates, say it has drawbacks and risks, since law enforcement and immigration officials can access it. Nevertheless the state is expanding its flexibility, giving IDs to more undocumented residents.
California lawmakers first passed AB 60, called the Safe and Responsible Drivers Act, in 2013, as part of a broad effort to adopt more inclusive policies toward immigrants, to decriminalize their daily lives and maximize their contributions to the economy, experts said.
Since the law took effect in 2015, more than a million undocumented immigrants, out of an estimated 2 million, have received licenses, and more than 700,000 have renewed them.
Besides California, 18 other states have followed suit.
“With AB 60, what we did was recognize the needs of many hard-working immigrants living here and contributing so much to our great state,” said Luis Alejo, the former Assembly member from Watsonville who authored the bill. Now he is a county supervisor for Monterey County.
Undocumented immigrants in California contribute $3.1 billion a year in state and local taxes; nationally they contribute $11.7 billion in taxes, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington D.C. research entity.
New legislation signed in September will make other California ID’s available in January to undocumented immigrants who don’t drive or who can’t take the driver’s test. Backers of that measure say residents most likely to benefit are the elderly and people with disabilities.
“IDs are needed for so many aspects of everyday life, from accessing critical health benefits, to renting an apartment,” said Shiu-Ming Cheer, deputy director of programs and campaigns at the California Immigrant Policy Center, a sponsor of the law.
Experts say more flexible ID laws may do more than help people on an individual level. Eric Figueroa, a senior manager at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said licenses enable undocumented immigrants to look for better jobs and gain better protections from employers trying to steal or withhold wages.
“It helps build the economy broadly — by unlocking people’s potential — and it helps the workers by giving them more options,” he said.
Erwin uses family connections to remotely renew his Congo license — a privilege he noted not everyone has. Being able to drive allowed his family to move to a better neighborhood and him to find better employment in a suburb about 25 miles away, he said.
No one has studied how many people have garnered better jobs as a result of the special licenses. Alejo said many of his constituents describe “profound economic impacts,” but he agrees more research is needed.
Some opponents of the licenses say their economic benefits are likely negligible. Instead it is encouraging illegal migration to California, they say, which further strains the state’s budget to provide education and other services.
More than that, it makes undocumented residents too comfortable, critics argued.
Before the special licenses, immigrants said they feared routine traffic stops and drunk-driving checkpoints, where their vehicles could be impounded for not having a driver’s license. Many also could face deportation proceedings after being contacted by police.
“Community members used to share that they always used to have to buy beat-up cars because they always knew it would get impounded,” said Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, policy director at Alliance San Diego, a community organization focused on equity issues.
“Folks were always losing their vehicles because they didn’t have a license. They didn’t have the ability to have a license,” she said.
Some opponents of the special license law claimed it would make roadways less safe, because some immigrant drivers wouldn’t be able to read traffic signs in English.
But a 2017 study by the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University showed those safety concerns were speculative. The rate of total accidents, including fatal accidents, did not rise and the rate of hit-and-run accidents declined, which likely improved traffic safety and reduced overall costs for California drivers, researchers said.
The study, which documented a 10% decline in hit-and-run accidents, ran in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in April 2017.
“Coming to this as scientists, we were immediately shocked by the absence of facts in this debate,” said Jens Hainmueller, a Stanford political science professor and co-director of the lab. “Nobody was drawing on any evidence; it was more characterized by ideology.”
Other research by Hans Lueders, a postdoctoral research associate for the Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice at Princeton University, found AB 60 did not improve insurance premiums nor increase the share of uninsured drivers.
Are license holders safe?
Questions persist about whether the special licenses make recipients easier targets for immigration enforcement.
Some immigrant advocates initially opposed the new licenses because they looked different from other driver’s licenses. On the front of the cards’ upper right side is “Federal Limits Apply” instead of the iconic gold bear of California. On the back the cards say: “This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes.”
Alejo said legislators had intended to protect people from immigration enforcement, so they wrote certain protective measures into the original AB 60 bill. They added language prohibiting state and local government agencies from using the special license to discriminate against license holders or for immigration enforcement.
Yet some advocates point to reports of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement accessing the databases of state and local law enforcement agencies and of state departments of motor vehicles.
In December 2018, the ACLU of Northern California and the National Immigration Law Center published a report detailing multiple ways federal immigration agencies get access to motor vehicle records. After that, the California Attorney General’s Office implemented new protocols to protect immigrants’ DMV information from ICE and other agencies.
A chilling effect
Dave Maass, director of investigations at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said there is always going to be a risk someone will misuse data on undocumented people.
“I wouldn’t say that people should feel 100% safe,” he said.” I would just say that the risk has been lessened quite a bit … but that does not mean the risk has totally gone away.”
In recent years there has been a large drop-off in the number of immigrants applying for AB 60 licenses. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, 396,859 immigrants applied for the licenses in fiscal 2014-15, but only 68,426 applied in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022.
Advocates said that may be because most people who wanted a license applied for it already, or because education and outreach about the law have lessened over the years.
Cheer said news of ICE accessing California databases could have a chilling effect on immigrants’ willingness to interact with government.
“It does create more of a trust deficit with government agencies whenever there is a story about ICE having access to California databases or information in California databases,” she said.
On the other hand, there’s an added benefit to the new licenses, Cheer said: immigrants now have a feeling of being included and acknowledged as residents of California.
“I feel like that’s a very important psychological piece, in the sense of ‘This is who I am. I have an ID to show you who I am,’” she said.
Erwin said he carefully weighed the possibility that he would be effectively giving ICE his home address against wanting to have the proper paperwork, so there would be no excuse for a police officer to escalate a traffic stop with him. He decided one risk was worth reducing the risk of the other.
For some immigrants, the passage of the license law didn’t come soon enough.
Dulce Garcia, an attorney and advocate for immigrants, recently described at a San Diego public forum on immigration enforcement what happened when police stopped her brother who was undocumented.
Police cited Edgar Saul Garcia Cardoso for driving without a license and when he appeared in a courthouse in January 2020 to face the consequences, ICE detained and deported him, within hours, to Tijuana, she said.
There he was kidnapped, held for ransom and tortured for eight months, Garcia said.
In May 2021, he returned to the United States and received asylum protections. But he never recovered from the trauma, Garcia said. He died of unknown causes in September 2022.
“I wish there was a way you could see through my eyes the harm you have caused by colluding with ICE,” Garcia told law enforcement officials at the forum. “Edgar was loved, and his life mattered.”
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
What is so disheartening about the last decade is that we the people have the power to stop all of this nonsense immediately but we do nothing but obey and comply. If everyone would stop paying taxes we would starve the beast. If everyone would stop paying property taxes we would starve the beast. If everyone said “no” to the vaccine we would starve the beast. It really is that simple. They can’t jail hundreds of millions of delinquent tax payers.
Unfortunately, too many people bow the head and bend the knee before their Government Gods and have lost the ability to think for themselves and do not understand freedom as it truly should be.
I hope I am around when the time comes that good and faithful Americans do decide “enough is enough” to rise up to finally starve the beast and bring justice upon the heads of the wrongdoers. Won’t happen in my lifetime. Maybe.
A.I.: ACTUALLY INSIPID UNTIL IT’S ACTIVELY INSIDIOUS
by Maureen Dowd
The alien invasion has begun.
Some experts say that when artificial intelligence takes off, it’s going to be like Martians landing on the National Mall.
So far, our mind children, as the roboticist Hans Moravec called our artificially intelligent offspring, are in the toddler phase, as we ooh and aah at the novelty of our creation. They’re headed for the rebellious teenage phase. When A.I. hurtles into adulthood and isn’t so artificial anymore, we’ll be relegated to being the family pets, as a resigned Steve Wozniak put it.
Silicon Valley is reeling at the prowess of an experimental chatbot called ChatGPT, released by OpenAI in late November and deemed “scary good” by Elon Musk. Musk, one of the founders with Sam Altman, left and now Microsoft is a partner.
There’s keening that ChatGPT — couldn’t they have come up with a better name, like HAL? — will eliminate millions of jobs. Why hire a college graduate if a bot can do the same work faster and cheaper? No more arguments about work-from-home rules, no more union fights. You don’t need to lure A.I. back into the office with pizza.
ChatGPT opens a Pandora’s box of existential fears. Silicon Valley brainiacs have talked about safeguards and kill switches for A.I., but you know they won’t pull the plug when their baby turns into M3gan.
Once A.I. can run disinformation campaigns at lightning speed, will democracy stand a chance? We seem headed toward a Matrix where “it will become cheaper to show fakes than to show reality,” Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, wrote in Tablet. Will bad actors use A.I. to promote bigotry or hijack nuclear weapons?
As Musk once told me about his A.I. angst: “It’s great when the emperor is Marcus Aurelius. It’s not so great when the emperor is Caligula.”
Several years ago, I interviewed the OpenAI founders in San Francisco, as well as other Valley digerati. And that is when I realized that we are doomed. For the Lords of the Cloud, as they form their sleek new world, we’re VCRs.
That is why I feel free to kick back and shoot the breeze with our incipient overlords. I read that you could use advanced A.I. to interview historical figures. So I conducted my dream interview with Shakespeare, bantering with the Bard.
“Greetings, fair sir or madam,” ChatGPT said, embodying Shakespeare.
What is your response to those who think “The Merchant of Venice” is antisemitic?
“While it is true that some of the language and imagery used in the play may be considered offensive by modern standards,” he replied, Shylock “is a complex and multifaceted figure who is both villain and victim.”
The Bard of Avon, as he called himself, cautioned that while the Oscar-winning movie “Shakespeare in Love” was “whimsical,” “it should not be taken as a factual representation of my life.”
Can you write me a love sonnet?
He could, even though, as he said, he was “a mere machine.” One stanza read: “With eyes that shine like stars upon the sea, And lips as sweet as summer’s ripest fruit, Thou art the one my heart doth long to see, And in thy beauty, all my dreams take root.”
Shakespeare, it ain’t. Still, I tell him, I would love to be the heroine in a Shakespearean comedy! It took ChatGPT only moments to write “The Clever Maid.”
“Act I, Scene 1: A grand ball is being held in a grand estate. You, the fair maiden, are in attendance, dressed in the finest gowns. However, you are not there to dance and make merry, for you have a secret mission.
“Act II, Scene 1: You sneak away from the ball and make your way to the estate’s library. There, you discover a hidden door, which leads to a secret chamber. Inside, you find a chest filled with precious jewels.
“Act III, Scene 1: As you are admiring the jewels, you hear a noise. It is the estate’s owner, a wealthy and arrogant nobleman. He catches you red-handed but instead of punishing you, he is taken by your wit and charm.
“Act IV, Scene 1: The nobleman reveals that the jewels were a test of character and he had been seeking a clever and resourceful woman to be his wife. You are overjoyed and accept his proposal.
“Act V, Scene 1: The play ends with a grand wedding ceremony and a celebration of your cleverness and wit.”
Sounds more like a Salma Hayek heist movie. I spent the rest of the afternoon soliciting love poems from John Donne, Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe, who called me a “telltale columnist.” I tried to channel Sylvia Plath, but ChatGPT told me that would be “inappropriate.”
The most entertaining mimicry was when A.I. Kendrick Lamar wrote me a rap: “Listen up, I got a story to tell, ’bout a journalist who’s sharp as a nail. She’s got the pen and the power, To make politicians cower.”
For now, ChatGPT is typing, not writing. The creative spark requires humanity. But soon, A.I. could be sentient. Then we’ll need our dog bowls.
WHY YOU ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT WATCH THE TYRE NICHOLS POLICE KILLING VIDEO
by Julie Scelfo
Right now, Americans face a difficult choice of whether to watch video footage of Memphis police officers brutally beating Tyre Nichols.
It may seem inescapable: the footage is everywhere on the news and online. But you do have a choice, and the decision is clear.
Unless your work requires otherwise, or you are in a classroom or other educational environment where an appropriate context has been set, look away. Do not post it to your social media. And in light of warnings from those who have already seen it, do everything you can to make sure your child or adolescent doesn’t see it either.
This isn’t 1955, when Mamie Till-Mobley, grieving the brutal murder of her only son, Emmett, insisted on an open-casket funeral. Her brave decision forced the world to see the barbaric brutality of white racism — photos revealed the 14-year-old boy mutilated beyond recognition — and the nation’s conscience was rightly shocked by what it saw, helping to galvanize the civil rights movement.
This also isn’t 2020, when video of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating George Floyd inspired the #BlackLivesMatter uprising across the U.S. and all over the world.
Documenting human rights abuses is indeed important, and Memphis officials are right to make the Nichols video public.
However, for the sake of our individual and collective mental health we need to recognize how today’s media environment is vastly different from the one that existed in 1955 — when there were no screens in cars, airports, or elevators, and no smartphone in nearly everyone’s briefcase or backpack.
Today, instead of getting our news in several discrete doses — say, once at breakfast from the morning paper and again at night while watching the evening news — many of us are exposed to information throughout our waking hours. There is no escaping the continual onslaught of news of natural disasters, terrorism, warfare, epidemics, street crime, subway crime, political corruption, melting glaciers, and mountain lions, coyotes and bears encroaching on the suburbs. (See also: doomscrolling).
And it's not just verbal information, it's images, which can have an even more powerful psychological impact. An estimated 95 million pictures and videos are uploaded just to Instagram per day, or more than one thousand each second. Even if most of them are of cats enjoying a brushing, that leaves many terabytes of potentially traumatizing images.
When it comes to police violence in particular, unfortunately, there has been no shortage of horrifying footage in recent years. That has helped expose the otherwise too-often-hidden scourge of systemic police brutality.
Still, we must weigh the importance of documentation against the trauma of civilians who repeatedly view such violence. Mutilated human beings are the stuff of nightmares, and whether we witness this in person or in the media, the impact on our hearts and minds is similar, in that our sympathetic nervous system is activated, with serious neurobiological consequences that scientists are only beginning to document.
Excessive exposure to violent images has a cumulative effect, and can result in an array of psychological problems. Professionals such as journalists, human rights workers, and law enforcement authorities, routinely exposed in the course of their duties, have experienced everything from changes in mood to debilitating trauma, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The era of social media has brought these problems to the masses, with a higher cost to some groups.
Alissa V. Richardson, a journalist and author of Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism said watching videos of police brutality creates additional trauma for Black folks who directly empathize with the victims. “Many black people see themselves lying on the ground, they see a relative, someone who looks like them — it could be them,” Richardson told Vox.
Our children are also deeply affected, and especially vulnerable.
Following the September 11 attack, researchers documented how young children had developed acute stress reactions and PTSD from cumulative exposure to media coverage of the event, even though they didn’t personally know any victims.
Media exposure to the terrorist attack at the 2013 Boston Marathon similarly precipitated PTSD symptoms in children and adolescents, with those who already suffered from various stressors most likely to be affected.
Meanwhile screen use seems only to be increasing: between 2015 and 2021, screen use by tweens and teens went up 20% and 28% respectively, according to Common Sense Media.
Between 2016 and 2019, anxiety and depression in children and adolescents increased 27% and 24%, respectively.
By 2020, 5.6 million kids had been diagnosed with anxiety and 2.4 million had been diagnosed with depression. Today, a 10 year old child in the U.S. is more likely to die by suicide than from cancer or other diseases.
In short, there is a cumulative, traumatic effect of our current media landscape, and protecting mental health requires that we make careful distinctions about what type of media is appropriate to consume in various settings, by specific audiences.
There is a time and a place for viewing videos of human rights violations: settings like a museum, or classroom where the content can be viewed with advance warning and in community with others, help separate the experience of the encounter from ordinary life, and help us process and make sense of it.
But posting videos of violence online — next to cat videos and party photos — makes it more likely that someone might encounter the video unexpectedly, at a time or age when they are unprepared or ill-equipped to process it. Even as it spreads an important message, it minimizes its significance, turning the death of a human being into a spectacle, something we watch on a screen. The artist Questlove, responding to the release of the Nichols video, posted a warning message to his Instagram followers: “Do NOT Watch It. Do NOT WATCH IT!!!!!” he wrote. “For The Love Of God. Torture P*rn Is Not Going To Serve Your Soul.”
Police misconduct should be a priority for every single American. If our law enforcement doesn’t make each and every one of our communities feel safe and, instead, is a source of threat, it undermines the social contract at the heart of democracy.
To honor Mr. Nichols’s life, we need to do the work of making change by insisting elected officials improve training protocols, hold wrongdoers accountable, and build communities with the resources to manage the wide spectrum of human problems without overreliance on police.
Those things don’t happen as a result of watching a video.
(Julie Scelfo is a longtime journalist, former New York Times staff writer, and executive director of Get Media Savvy, a nonprofit initiative devoted to helping humans navigate the 21st-century media environment — and retain our humanity.)
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, JANUARY 28, 2023
Russia-Ukraine news: Fierce battle in eastern Vuhledar
Ukrainian troops are locked in a fierce battle with Russian fighters for control of the town of Vuhledar southwest of Donetsk.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the situation at the front remains acute, particularly in the eastern Donetsk region where Russia is stepping up its offensive.
Zelenskyy: ‘Neutral neutral flag of Russian athletes is stained by blood’
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has once again called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headed by Thomas Bach not to allow Russian athletes to compete at Summer and Winter Games.
“It is obvious that any neutral flag of Russian athletes is stained by blood,” said the president on social media.
The statement came after the IOC leadership announced its intention to open up opportunities for athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate under a neutral flag.
Ukraine’s dairy factories struggle with ongoing power cuts
Nearly half of Ukraine’s power infrastructure has been damaged by Russian attacks.
It has led to widespread energy shortages and power cuts, affecting people and businesses, including food and drink companies.
Russian ‘megalomania’ in Ukraine war cited at death camp memorial
The director of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp memorial has compared the recent killing of people in Ukraine by Russian forces with similar suffering experienced during World War II.
Marking the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany where more than 1.1 million people — most of them Jews — perished in gas chambers and from starvation, cold and disease, the memorial site’s director compared Nazi crimes to those Russians have recently committed in Ukrainian towns such as Bucha and Mariupol.
RE; Memphis PD. We need to employ the rotten apple theory with Law Enforcement, there are rotten apples in the barrel and if we don’t get rid of them they rot the whole bushel.
Exactly, but as one MPD retired sergeant stated, most of the experienced veterans and good guys have taken early retirement and quit the MPD. Defunding, demonization combined with ineffective DAs and liberal judges made them leave, what’s left are rotten apple recruits. He says that a good veteran officer would have stopped them.
“Why does Congressman Jared Huffman have time to meet with Mill Valley Middle School students, but not with the Anderson Valley Unified School District and the students at that site?”
Because the urban Mill Valley students were having a thoughtful conversation about how young people can make a difference in government. The rural students of Anderson Valley would have been waiting to meet him with signs of support and their hat in hand. The students of Anderson Valley need money so they can use the toilets and not the stinky port-a-potties.
A government official would much rather have a conversation about the future than be asked for money. Luckily, my students get to use modern port-a-potties that are cleaned and not old wooden ones typical to rural areas in days past.
And….if there was a Boonville waste water treatment plant we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.
What struck me as most insulting about his cancellation of meeting the AVUSD students was his sheer rudeness.
“Why does Congressman Jared Huffman have time to meet with Mill Valley Middle School students, but not with the Anderson Valley Unified School District and the students at that site?”
Because he’ll get a hell of a lot more campaign contributions from the rich folks in Mill Valley and the rest of Marin than he will from the backwoods rubes of Mendocino County. Money talks.
And because kids can’t vote, it’s no big deal any way, right?
I would bet Huff canceled because Biden was in California to assess the storm damages. Huff would rather hanger on with the Prez than see the sewer situation at the AV school.
These guys are about power and money. Kids in a rural school district got neither. They just got makeshift toilets and little money to fix the problem.
Huff ain’t interested in that, it’s not cool…But neither is Joe Biden.
THERE REALLY IS A LIMIT
Something important Toby Cowan from Sebastopol failed to mention is the national debt needs to be serviced. The national debt limit will be defined when the government gets to a point where the interest cost for the debt, and inflation, conflicts with other government spending. That is when serious cuts in spending will have to happen, or confidence in the USD will be in jeopardy. What has prolonged the coming of this day of reckoning is economic growth.
Didn’t someone say, long ago, that the national debt is really no big deal, since it is money we owe ourselves? You conservafascists seem never to learn.
It is debt that still needs to be serviced, unless there is a never-never-land where faithful citizens, and the central bank buy all the T-Bills at zero interest, minus inflation.
You live in a dream world, George, a dream world of propaganda, plus you put too much faith in criminal outfits like the Heritage Foundation and other such aggregations of scum-suckers.
One way of “servicing” it is to cancel it. To hell with the wealthy rats and those who worship them. Another way is to raise taxes on wealthy people, say back to the level of the 1950s. They are the ones who run it up, in large part by paying crap wages with no benefits, so that guvamint has to come up with programs–that cost money–to allow workers to survive.
Funny how conservafascists, particularly the ones with gobs of money, are the ones who get the most excited over what amounts to nothing. I say, “Screw ’em and their ignorant supporters.”
By the way, George, have you ever taken a real, college-level economics course?
“IT WON’T HAPPEN HERE”
Notable and humane comments today on Tyre Nichol’s death by Fort Bragg PD Chief Cervenka and former DA staff Mike Geniella. The aggressive response by Memphis police made that poor young man frightened for his life, so, in a natural response, he fled seeking safety, costing him his life.
Thank you both for your shared thoughts and perspective.