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A SERIES OF TWO STORM SYSTEMS will bring widespread precipitation to the region Sunday through Tuesday night. Heavy snow is expected in the mountains along with some interior valley locations. Heaviest snow is expected Monday through Tuesday night. Additionally, isolated thunderstorms with small hail are likely. Drier conditions will return on Wednesday with cold overnight low temperatures. (NWS)
LOCAL ROAD AND EMERGENCY CREWS tell us that Highway 128 and Mountain View Road probably won’t be open until Wednesday, but with two storm systems barrelling our way out of Alaska, the first to begin tonight (Sunday), predictions about road conditions must of necessity remain vague.
DISEASED AND DROUGHT weakened trees, weighted down by up to a foot of wet snow in some places, fell onto long stretches of Highway 128 and Mountain View Road. Getting to them and then clearing them has been a slow, painstaking process. Some emergency crews said they were surprised that more power wasn’t out for longer periods for more locals.
ADDED to the downed trees and tree-sized limbs littering long stretches of road, vehicles of all sizes are stranded in the affected areas, including large commercial trucks. These vehicles will have to be removed as well as tree debris, a process which will be further delayed by the area’s long-standing shortage of tow trucks, themselves stretched thin by the size of the snow-blasted area. Oh, and did we mention the downed utility lines?
TO ADD INSULT TO INJURY (literally) some frustrated drivers have been insulting the road crews and flaggers, blaming them for the road closures and delays. Angry posts have appeared on the Caltrans’s facebook page and elsewhere saying the freak storm problems are all the fault of Caltrans.
(Photos courtesy, Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila who lives in Yorkville.)
ANDERSON VALLEY FIRE CHIEF ANDRES AVILA:
“As of this morning, 128 is closed but accessible to emergency vehicles up to Heahl’s Grade, MM 46. After that is is only 4x4, no duallys or trailers. Multiple vehicles are still abandoned and stuck along the road, abundant treefall, and still a lot of snow once you get off the Highway. It'll be a couple days to get this back to normal. We have limited access via ATV and chained vehicles to get into the rural areas for now. This is definitely a unprecedented storm for the Yorkville Highlands.”
“The EMS Branch [Ambulance] over spent the FY budget due to back-staffing our vacant ambulance shifts. The county funded ALS grant of $66,000 was first established in 2014 to increase advanced life support (ALS) opportunities and/or to sustain existing services in Anderson Valley. AVFD currently relies on this funding to provide regular training, pay our ambulance manager, stipend our dedicated volunteers 30 per 12-hour shift, and the remaining amount goes to pay MedStar ambulance to staff open shifts when needed. As our staffing crisis continues to grow, more shifts have been requested from MedStar Ambulance than the budget allows. The current excess in expenditures will be covered by donations, assistance from our Mendocino County DA, reducing on other expenditures, and a slight (possibly temporary) increase in revenues for this year.” … “AVFD was able to assist our neighboring South Coast Fire Department early Monday morning when they had a structure fire consume their local community center. We were able to send a 3/0 staffed structure engine and one chief officer for overhead support. This type of mutual aid is not reimbursable but absolutely necessary and appropriate in order for fire services to combat large incidents challenging normal response capacities. We have many times requested neighboring agencies assistance for various incidents and appreciated the help. This was our time to give back.”
AS WE GO to press Saturday night, Highway 128 remains closed. 253 is open but local Caltrans crew advises, "Go slow." Hwy 101 is now open between the Oregon border and the Bay Area and beyond.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Clifford enjoyed spending time in the Meet & Greet room during his evaluation. As new people walked in and out, he was friendly and engaging. Clifford is a very sweet dog with a silly and playful personality.
He enjoys going for walks and already knows SIT. With some further training, we know Clifford will love expanding his repertoire of tricks! We think Clifford would be happy in a family with kids. This swooningly handsome guy is 1 year old and 83 pounds. For more about Clifford, head to mendoanimalshelter.com
The Shelters are packed with dogs, so if you can’t adopt, consider fostering. Our website has information about our Foster Program, on-going DOG ADOPTION EVENTS, and other programs, services and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453 in Ukiah, and 707-467-6453 in Fort Bragg.
AV UNIFIED NEWS
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
I hope you stayed warm and cozy in the snow. I was proud of our staff for doing their best to be at work to serve our kids. Taxpayers pay us to run school. We always do our very best to make that happen. Thank you to our amazing bus drivers Marcia, Manuel, and Soledad, for transporting students! We had a tree come down on our elementary site solar panels. Always something, but we are working on it.
This Tuesday is our College and Career Fair at 5:00 p.m. at the high school. I am so happy that 232 families have signed up! Here are the presenters:
General session during dinner: AVHS minimum graduation requirements and A-G college requirements discussion presented by Nat Corey-Moran.
Break Out Sessions: Visit Four Sessions For Extra Credit
Academic Talent Search 1st Generation Support
Adventist Health Scholar Program
UC and CSU requirements English
UC and CSU requirements Spanish
IBEW Electrical Union
IUPAT (painters and drywaller union)
How to Win Admission and Scholarships
Pending: AV Fire
Fish and Game Confirmed
This is important information for kids and families to understand college and career paths and next steps!
On a positive note, we have had a great deal of contact relating our school facilities with our Federal and local officials, and I hope we have a plan moving forward. I met in Sacramento with retired superintendents, Don Alameida, our architect, and some facility hardship consultants about how to file for the funding to replace eligible buildings. The plans for the elementary site septic are in county review and our science and library wing plans go to DSA in three weeks. This is good stuff. We are going to seek maximum federal and state funding support. We also filed a FEMA claim for the cost of the high school septic.
Our parent/guardian committee addressing bullying and drug use meets on March 7 at 5:00 in the high school library. Please join us. The high school has previously this year staged drug education with Mark Fiero grades 7th-12th, and Bullying/Empathy sessions with Keystone Therapy in 7th and 8th grade. The elementary site will be staging similar sessions over the next few weeks. We are open to other discussions and partnerships to address these issues.
I hope you have a safe and happy weekend.
Anderson Valley Unified School District
Every Student • Every Possibility • No Matter What
Dot Brovarney has committed her life to telling stories. She researched and published The Sweet Life: Cherry Stories from Butler Ranch, and she was guest curator and developed an exhibit of Carl Purdy for the Grace Hudson Museum.
Brovarney says, “I am fascinated by the ever-changing relationship between people and the land. I live in a rural region of Northern California that still retains open spaces and wildlife habitats, aided by conservation efforts, both private and public. Intimacy with the land continues to inspire my creative work.” (DB will speak at the Women's History Gala Celebration on March 5th in Ukiah.)
LONG BUDGET REPORTING DELAYS? SUPES YAWN.
by Mark Scaramella
Item 4h on next Tuesday’s Supervisors agenda has the seemingly routine and innocuous title: “Discussion and Possible Action Including Review of Board of Supervisor's Directives Requiring Follow Through from County Staff and/or Other Agencies; and Deletion of Outdated Directives as Determined by the Board of Supervisors (Sponsor: Executive Office).”
We’ve seen this before, of course. Just another routine roundup of the ever-growing list of board “directives” that are not followed up on, abandoned, or never see the light of day again since the day they were listed.
But a closer look at the “directives” gives a glimpse at what Auditor-Controller-Treasurer Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison has to deal with as she attempts to close the County’s books.
Take this Board Directive from September 20, of 2022: “…direct County Counsel to develop and include a notice that there will be a decrease in payment for invoices submitted late via boilerplate language on contracts going forward.” Translation: some suppliers are slow to bill the County, causing delays in payments and creating ripple effects for the County’s accounting staff, generally categorized as IBNR, or Incurred But Not Reported.
Supervisor Maureen Mulheren has annotated the list of ignored directives as of this week asking, for example in this case, “Is this possible? When will it be complete? What about when its on the County side that there are delays?” Will she get an answer? It’s been over five months since the directive was given and nothing has happened.
Another September 20, 2022 directive says, “…direct CEO to work with the Department Heads and their fiscal units to work with outside vendors on timely, accurate invoicing.” (Which could include overbilling.)
Another says “…direct the Budget Ad Hoc to do trial run to determine if a consultant can generate a report and return to full board with information regarding where the data is located and what results are possible, as well as what the burden on the Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector may be.” Mulheren annotates: “Executive Office? Is this complete? Can the Directive be removed?”
And, “… direct the Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector to develop and provide report on the revenue and expense actuals vs budget.” Nothing was done, not by the Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector or anyone else.
And, “…direct Budget Ad Hoc to work with Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector to obtain information regarding any data, formulas, documentation utilized in preparing annual reports, including adjustments, beyond what is in Tyler Munis.” Tyler Munis is not some poor, beleaguered Junior Clerk of the Board. Tyler Munis is the County’s giant, ungainly, jargon-riddled computerized financial and accounting system, that few county employees know how to use properly, and fewer still understand.
And, “…direct Budget Ad Hoc to work with the Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector and CEO regarding a host-compliance software request for proposal (RFP) and return to the full Board with a plan at a future meeting.” No such plan has been forthcoming in the five months since this directive was given.
And, “…direct the Budget Ad Hoc to work with Auditor-Controller Treasurer- Tax Collector to compile a list of mandated functions of the Auditor-Controller/TreasurerTax Collector and determine what functions are/are not being met.” No list has been complied.
In other words, there’s a vague awareness that certain budget tasks are way behind schedule or not being done at all. But the Board’s attitude is to yawn, sit back, and wait for someone to do something. At least Supervisor Mulheren has taken the trouble, albeit belatedly, to ask a few questions about these “directives.” But in all probability all we’ll hear on Tuesday is that they’re still working on them and no one knows if or when they’ll ever be finished. Then, after that, they’ll probably either postpone them again or just give up and delete them from their list of directives and forget about them entirely.
Meanwhile, understaffed and overworked Auditor-Controller Treasurer-Tax Collector Chamise Cubbison will continue to be blamed for not closing the books on time.
* * *
A SOCIAL SERVICES VACANCY RATE chart has reappeared in this month’s CEO report after a months-long absence.
Notice that the rates in the departments continue to be around 25%, as they were for the last few years when they were reported, despite periodic hand-wringing by some Supervisors. But now we see that Social Services Administraiton has only a 14% vacancy rate. As CEO Darcy Antle told the local Unity club last month, the County is top heavy in administration.
Just a reminder that I am having a Town Hall this Sunday to discuss the current state of cannabis across the State and in Mendocino County. I disagree with some of the comments that are floating around but I don’t think its a productive use of my time do a point and counter point memo. Last week I had the opportunity to talk to a Cannabis consultant for almost two hours, I was able to hear some of the barriers that cultivators are currently facing, that was an incredibly helpful conversation and I am actively trying to look for solutions to the issues that were brought forward from that meeting. Your individual stories and business strategies for longevity will help me (hopefully) get some support from the full board to quickly change some policies (if we can) that will help individual businesses remain in the market. (Yes, I am trying to be realistic about what we can do.)
When the General Government Committee Agenda comes out I will be posting it because that will have updates on the processing within the County which has been updated since the last meeting so that we can communicate about our goals as a County and as I said come up with strategies that will work with your business model to move forward, and hopefully be able to get Board support if there are any immediate changes that could be made. If you can’t make it in to the meeting on Sunday and want to share with me what would help you, please text me at 707-391-3664 to set up a time.
1pm 2/26/23 on Zoom
Meeting ID 7079548230
Password LOCAL 707
MENDOCINO LAND TRUST
Whale Watching at Pelican Bluffs: Join the MLT Outdoor Social Club as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pelican Bluffs Preserve! MLT Board Member Lorrie Lagasse will lead a hike along the 2.2-mile trail and offer information about whales and their trip along the coast as we go.
A MILITARY PLANE KNOWN AS THE ‘SUPER HERCULES’ SPOTTED PATROLLING THE MENDOCINO COUNTY COAST
This afternoon a sophisticated United States military aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin called the C-130J-30 Super Hercules was spotted in the skies along the Mendocino County coast.…
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: Events Calendar
HEADLINE FROM SATURDAY'S CHRON:
"Do San Francisco supervisors support arresting fentanyl dealers? We asked them."
MYSELF, I'm inclined to shoot drug dealers, but the SF supervisors, all but one who didn't reply, replied as one would expect them to reply to a loaded question. They said versions of, “Of course we expect drug dealers to be arrested.” Ms. Jenkins, the new Frisco DA has filed charges on almost all arrested drug dealers. The prob of course at this point in The Great Deterioration is for every drug dealer arrested another appears.
SO, WHAT WOULD YOU DO, Mr. Arm Chair dispenser of wild opinions? I would detain every person on the streets, bus them out to a fenced sorting center — the former Candlestick Park is handy — where they would be assessed and assigned to tent camps according to affliction: Drug addicts over here; drunks over there; drunks and dopers and crazy people all in separate areas but all of them on their way to impromptu asylums in the rural areas of the state. (For the economic boost, which is the way the old state hospital system was organized before America lost its way. Street criminals would be sent back to prison where they have all been many times before, only this time they'd have to learn their way out rather than lie around watching tv for a few months. Miscellaneous incompetents would be housed in requisitioned, strictly supervised, hotels, larger versions of Ukiah's homeless shelter where our mutual friend, Craig Stehr, resides as he awaits a permanent senior placement.
IN SF, the masses of people making the central city areas unliveable and impossible to do business in, are dopers, drunks, the insane, and the criminal. The macro-situation there and in LA can't be tolerated. The clean-up should be carried out humanely because once the magas get rolling they'll do it with maximum force and violence.
YESTERDAY'S ARTICLE by Mr. Scully on the budget is several degrees off. I can't remember the last time the Supervisors tried to operate within one. CEO Antle, Supervisor Williams et al denouncing Ms. Cubbison ignores the fact that, against all sensible advice not to do it, the Supervisors combined two large functions into one, leaving Ms. Cubbison scrambling for staff while she tried to sort out new responsibilities.
AND THE SUPERVISORS spend public money like the proverbial drunken sailors. For handy instance, the Supes have $1.7 mil on their consent agenda this week, given that it’s grant money, but still, $1.7 mil on the consent calendar? And they recently signed off on a quarter-mil for a two-day emergency bridge. Every time they meet, public money flies to indefensible outside legal sharks and so-called consultants.
AND WE WON'T even bother mentioning travel and conference spending. If they’re so concerned about the county budget maybe they should cut back their own profligacy.
MY COLLEAGUE, The Major, points up on a weekly basis, that the prob isn’t with Ms. Cubbison, it’s with the Supervisors, not mentioning that Antle’s predecessor left a helluva fiscal mess behind that adds to the current money probs, likely to grow much more severe as the overall economy deteriorates. It annoys me no end to see Ms. Cubbison constantly sniped at and undermined by the people above her. When's the last time we had a budget person who dared challenge the DA's inflated travel expenditures? I think she's doing the best possible job she can in very, very difficult circumstances. Another county would certainly welcome her, and I wouldn't blame her if she got outtahere, as many capable public servants before her have gotten outtahere. (In fairness, I think Weer went head to head with the DA a couple of times.)
WE DON'T HAVE A SINGLE SUPERVISOR at this time who demands that public money be spent like he or she spends his/her (their?) own money. Former Supervisor Pinches won me when his colleagues — Shoemaker, Colfax and that self-serving gang of two-bit chiselers — wanted to buy a multi-million dollar computer system “So we can talk to each other and department heads more efficiently.” Pinches said, NO. “You want to talk to a department head, walk down the hall and talk to him.”
“SCOTT ADAMS, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, went on a racist rant this week on his Coffee with Scott Adams online video show, and we will no longer carry his comic strip in The Plain Dealer.
“This is not a difficult decision.
“Adams said Black people are a hate group, citing a recent Rasmussen survey which, he said, shows nearly half of all Black people do not agree with the phrase ‘It’s okay to be white.’
“I would say, based on the current way things are going, the best advice I would give to white people is to get the hell away from Black people,” he says in the video.
He says a lot more in the video, mostly hateful and racist, all viewable on Youtube. It’s a staggering string of statements, all but certain to result in the loss of his livelihood. I hate to quote him at all, but I do so to dissuade responses that this is a “cancel culture” decision.
“No, this is a decision based on the principles of this news organization and the community we serve. We are not a home for those who espouse racism. We certainly do not want to provide them with financial support…”
— Cleveland Plain Dealer
ED NOTE: This guy said some stupid and untrue things in an interview with himself that he has not said via his cartoon characters. Why not simply tell him that his opinions are unacceptable to most newspapers and their frantically virtue-signalling owners and editors, and if he publicly expresses stupid and unsupported opinions again, then we will destroy his means of making a living. Predictably, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat has cancelled the strip.
There actually are no good reasons for what we are doing in Ukraine, only bad reasons. Mainly, stoking the war there diverts Americans attention from our own problems, which is to say the titanic failures of America’s political establishment. The USA is falling apart from a combination of mismanagement, malice, and negligence. Our economy is a tottering scaffold of Ponzi schemes. Our institutions are wrecked. The government lies about everything it does. The news industry ratifies all the lying. Our schoolchildren can’t read or add up a column of numbers. Our food is slow-acting poison. Our medical-pharma matrix has just completed the systematic murder and maiming of millions. Our culture has been reduced to a drag queen twerk-fest. Our once-beautiful New World landscape is a demolition derby. Name something that hasn’t been debauched, perverted, degenerated, or flat-out destroyed.— James Kunstler
ED REPLY: Let the record show I don't agree with Kunstler on Ukraine or Covid, but his basic perceptions as to the true state of the union seem to me irrefutable as perfectly expressed in the Super Bowl half-time show. Ukrainians obviously prefer to be Europeans as their own country rather than vassals of a nationalist, megalomaniacal dictator. It's also true that the stumbling Biden administration has no exit strategy, but how can they when Putin's obvious goal is the total absorption of Ukraine into his czarist dream state? Covid. I think Fauci and Co did the honest best they could in a fluid medical situation where they were always trying to catch up with a constantly mutating virus. There wasn't any scheme to deliberately kill people, although Big Pharma would certainly kill a lot of us in pursuit of windfall profits as the Sackler family did with their wholesale distribution of painkillers.
HED THIS MORNING from a lib-lab site: “Left-leaning Democrats more receptive to Biden in '24.”
No we're not. We think Biden is the bad joke that keeps on giving, and if the plutocrats who call the tune for the utterly corrupt DNC try to prop Biden up for another four years, the fascists are a shoo-in. A Biden-Trump race would be the absolute final political indignity.
by Cat Spydell
There is a learning curve with snow. I discovered this fact recently when I awakened in my Philo cabin up on the ridge to a sparkling white winter wonderland dusted with snow. I got up as excited as a kid on Christmas morning and spent the next few hours documenting the wonders of the snowpack enveloping my yard. I took photographs and video, let my cat tentatively experience it on the back deck, saw our snow dogs relishing in this new and unusual substance. I felt like I was in love when I posted a montage reel with a piano lullaby soundtrack on my Instagram and Facebook of my place surrounded by beautiful, wonderful snow.
I even learned a couple of things as I walked around my property, such as the importance of wearing hiking boots instead of Vans tennis shoes in the snow because of cold wet seepage, and that you definitely need gloves if you are going to open metal gates in the snow, and I learned that snow is crunchy but also has mud attached to it if it’s not too thick.
It’s not surprising I’m ignorant about snow. Having grown up in LA and also having lived there much of my adult life, I am admittedly a sun worshipper. No one was happier than me this past month when the sun hit my back deck every morning and I enjoyed my coffee al fresco under those warm golden rays with my cat basking next to me after an exceptionally cold and difficult winter. But snow is very rare here, a unique experience, so I embraced it until it sadly melted after a few hours, returning my surrounding forest to it usual green hues. I realized that first day, I love it when it snows!
Until yesterday. I woke up yesterday morning and was surprised to look out the window and discovered the snow had returned. It came back! And instead of being white and fresh and glowy with a sunny sheen and blue sky backdrop like the day before, everything looked cold, stark, white, and flattened against gray drizzly clouds. It wasn’t the same vibe at all as the day before.
I was taken aback. I had to drive to Fort Bragg, and had been putting it off but now it was an emergency (BOTH cats were out of their respective canned food). None of the valley stores carry it, and I have glamkids (my grandkids call me Glamma) to visit, and my daughter and her husband to see too, so a trip to Fort Bragg is a productive endeavor regardless of my shopping list needs. I was concerned because I had over a mile of snowy unchartered dirt road to navigate to reach the paved road on Signal Ridge. I first checked with the Facebook group AV Watch to see if the 128 to the coast was even open, because I had been hearing of road closures, including the 128 by Yorkville and the 253 to Ukiah. I was told the coast route was open! I had to go. Feeling a tad put out, I readied myself for the drive, thinking a couple of times of the Fellowship of the Ring on their ill-fated snow-laden trek across Mount Caradhas on their way to Mount Doom (I’m a Tolkien geek, sorry, had to. And no offense to Fort Bragg).
I have never driven in snow, though I have driven cleared roads alongside it. My snow-covered truck was a bit apprehensive and made some sliding-around protests at first, but we became acclimated and off I went. There was a small tree down I couldn’t cut easily with my handsaw so I repositioned the branches and drove over it, then worked my way around three more tree limbs that were weighed with snow and resting in the driving path. It really was a Hobbit-type adventure to get to the gate. I was enthralled seeing big puma paw prints, deer hoofprints, and a smaller animal, likely a fox, that had left evidence of their existence in raw white patches on the road. No one can hide after snowfall.
Once to the gate, I was careful on the slippery roads until I got halfway down Philo-Greenwood, and then the snow on the sides of the road vanished and it was just another drive in the neighborhood. But as I continued on the 128, I noticed that bits of snow were melting and flying in chunks off my truck hood, roof, and from the truck bed. It made me wonder, is there snow etiquette? Is it rude to drive with snow on your roof? All the other cars coming up the 128 were “normal” damp Mendocino County cars, no snow. I felt like a country bumpkin as I drove along, chunky clots hurtling off my vehicle toward traffic. I consoled myself by thinking “It’s just water,” but then, truly, I’d be offended if someone threw a cup of water at my truck while I was driving by. I really didn’t know if I was in the wrong and thought of my friend Christina who lives in snowy Arrowhead, deciding I would call her and ask her if there is such a thing as Snow Etiquette, and what that might look like. I suspected I should have knocked the snow off not just my windshield but all the snowy parts of my truck. But I don’t know for sure. Once the snow melted soon after I passed the Comptche turn off, I continued my extraordinarily lovely drive through the Navarro redwoods with sunlight filtering through the trees, unbothered on my way to Fort Bragg.
I must admit that have a special connection with snow here. The very first time I ever visited the area to see what the family called “The Hippie Shack” in Comptche in the early 1990s, it snowed on New Year’s Eve. Just six months prior my then-husband Mike had told me that his folks owned a cabin in the redwoods. I pressured him to visit it, but was told it was very rugged, with an outhouse and just a big Franklin stove for heat, and no amenities. I was smitten with the idea. We drove up to see the place because his stepdad D’Arcy wanted to hire Mike to turn the one-room abode into a retirement home for himself and Mike’s mom, Joyce. Snow began to fall when we arrived in Comptche and found the hidden place. We had no firewood and couldn’t find any available for sale in local stores. I was afraid we would be that stupid LA couple on the news who was found dead after freezing to death (anything below 45 degrees is “freezing” to a Los Angelean). Not knowing anyone and not having internet or cell phones back then, we searched all around to purchase wood for the Franklin stove, which led us eventually to making some phone calls at the Comptche Store’s payphone to follow up on leads. Finally we found some firewood: all the way up in Yorkville. Mike drove there in our Toyota Tercel and filled the hatchback with as much wood as it would hold, so our chance of ending up on the news was lessened. At the still-chilly hippie shack, Mike lit a fire and we rang in the new year at 7 p.m. because it was already as dark as midnight. When we awakened, we were charmed to see a blanket of snow covering everything around us, capturing my imagination of this beautiful country lifestyle. We didn’t know at the time how rare that kind of snowstorm was in this part of Mendocino County. Six months later, we moved into that cabin and began our off-grid homesteading adventure, an adventure that started in winter with the precious gift of snow.
But now I realize my relationship with snow is fleeting (or should I say “sleeting”?!). I learned that fact about myself when I was not excited yesterday to see that white expanse out my window, and I was even offended at its brightness. I belong to a Facebook Messenger chat room that started with five friends discussing an upcoming potluck gumbo dinner in 2013. The dinner is long behind us but that chatroom still goes on to this day. We start our mornings staying hello and it’s a safe place where we can share diabolical memes that we would never post in public, or even admit to finding amusing. When I awoke that second morning, my wifi had gone out because my satellite dish was covered in snow, so I couldn’t see my friends’ memes, just their comments. What a ridiculous situation to be in, I remember thinking, that snow could block me from Facebook! I wrote to my friends Ben and Rich, the last two daily survivors of that Gumbo Group:
“I gotta get dressed and go knock snow off the satellite dish so I can see your memes.
Yesterday snow was romantic and beautiful.
Today it’s like an overnight guest who shows up on a Friday and ends up hanging out all weekend in their underwear while raiding your refrigerator.”
Of course I wouldn’t tell many people that, how uncouth?, but I realized, that is my truest impression of snow. Fun for a day. My heartfelt snow experience went, in art terms, from Mucha to Munch overnight, from romantic “Daydream” to “The Scream.” I guess you can take the girl out of LA, but you can’t take LA out of the girl. I’m patiently awaiting the next slew of sunny days to come bless my back deck so I can sit out there with my cat having coffee in those warming sunrays. Just call me the Lizard Queen. You know where to find me.
by Paul Modic
This is a pause from real life which includes the following things I’m cut off from on Day Three Snow Event: Music, internet, and TV.
It’s quiet without the music which usually plays most of the day, a lot of Spanish, African, and Classical, from the endless iPod playlist. TV is mostly sports talk shows, the hosts constantly repeating speculation about players and teams, their movements and abilities. Once a week Bill Maher, Seinfeld every day, and parts of random shows and movies in the background to prepare food and eat meals in front of.
The internet is constantly checking for emails, which rarely come, checking out local and national news sites, buying stuff on Amazon, wasting time scrolling endlessly through Facebook, often posting rants and diatribes like this, and sharing images and experiences and getting a “like” or two.
The practical solution to no PG&E is running a little 2000 watt generator for a few hours a day to keep the refrigerator relatively cold, the lantern and flip phone charged, and grinding coffee daily.
The rechargeable lantern produces enough light to read by, I try to get dinner served before dark, and the head lamp comes in handy for wandering around the house after dark.
When this first happened a few years ago I had no backup generator or lantern and was anxious and miserable. (Before that in former years I’d head out to the hills to my off-grid hideaway but having sold that I no longer have the option.) Now that I’m prepared it’s a dance of boredom without all my distractions, save one, there’s always a good book to read.
I’m adjusting to the refrigerator routine: today when I took out the cream for my coffee I also poured out a little for the second cup and put it outside on the 31 degree porch for half an hour or so. Yesterday morning I opened the fridge to take out my daily orange, after the jenny was off, and today I’ll try to remember to take it out when preparing breakfast, to consume later. (At lunch I did remember to take out some yogurt and put it on the cold porch for an afternoon snack with muesli and the exotic nut butter called “Nutzo.”
That’s the drill: turn on the jenny for an hour when making breakfast, as I open the fridge multiple times, and then again with lunch and dinner.
Fortunately I have gas heat and the water is working and there’s most likely many suffering more through this snow emergency, which has closed Highway 101 south. The CHP have blocked off the ramp, there’s a long line of cars parked on the exit ramp up to town, and many semi-trucks and other vehicles are parked all over our suddenly bustling town. (Maybe this will be the beginning of the economic breakthrough Garberville needs, but with the power out in town the shopping is minimal.)
I do have a wood stove in case the gas runs out, or the lines are ruptured by an earthquake, but no firewood, having given away my twenty-year-old stash of very seasoned tan oak last year when the insurance company didn’t like it stored in a shed next to the house. (As I agonized about what to do with it, whether to move it forty feet away from the house or give it away, I got a promise from my neighbor that I could take a few handfuls, or more, from his huge stash of multiple cords if I paid him back later.)
A neighbor has just turned on his jenny and it is slightly disturbing my moment of contemplation here. (It was actually mine, I sold it to his neighbor during a summer blackout a few years ago, and now she’s selling it to him for some reason.) In theory I could be listening to music on my iPod earphones but I have never done that before. Or I could find or buy batteries, load them into a boom box, and listen that way.
If the TV and internet have come back on I could run the last extension cord from the one already running through the back door for the fridge, all the way across the kitchen and living room to the home office setup, plug in the computer and internet, and go on line for awhile, or even just run that jenny all morning, all day, and get back to the way it’s spozed to be: me wasting my time, energy, and life staring at a screen.
I suppose I could also plug the TV into the generator power line and suck on that a while but I welcome the break from normal life, this isn’t just a whine or a rant, more like a look inside me, but I better drink down that second cuppa coffee if I really want to see what’s there.
Almost everyone else I know isn’t in this situation, living from meal to meal (omelet breakfast today!) as they have smartphones and so nothing has changed, they still have everything, the whole damn internet! You might say this is a good reason to finally get one, yet I resist.
My friend wants to help me become a Youtube sensation, he thinks he’s discovered me, with my dancing and stories, and getting that act together could mean increasing my technology to include broadcasting my sensational self live somehow. (Alas I only believe that that could/should happen at night when high and dancing, in the morning I feel embarrassed that I was such an egomaniac to imagine such a thing.)
The first two nights I took the little jenny into the house to sit overnight by the heater and it started right up on the first pull. Last night I just dragged it into a nearby unheated outbuilding as I was tired of lugging the heavy thing down snowy steps, and up another set, then across the house to a bench by the heater. It will probably take a few more pulls to start today, soon, when it’s time for breakfast.
Yesterday we heard that this outage is predicted to go on for three more days, which hopefully actually means two or less as many trees came down weighted with all that wet snow and knocked power lines down I presume. I groaned, I moaned, I thought, “Really? Three more days?” I had been expecting the power to roar back on at any moment and that three-day-advisory, coming from the PG&E robocall actually shocked me, but what ya gonna do? I have enough gas to see me through Tuesday and beyond, and Monday I’ll fill up the empty 2 and ½ gallon container with more “pure gas” just to be safe. (When you have a generator which mostly sits around unused, waiting for an emergency, it is highly advisable to pay extra and get the “pure gas,” which won’t gunk up the works.)
Fortunately I did my laundry the day before the storm so have plenty of clean clothes with which to ride this out. My latest novel isn’t completely enthralling but is still a good distraction. Most of the snow has melted but there’s still some on the shady parts of the deck and in little pockets in the field on down the hill. With this good strong coffee I’m flying high but when it wears off in an hour or so I’ll be twiddling my thumbs for the rest of the day, waiting for normalcy to return.
Oh shit, the power just came back on!!! 12:48pm Saturday!
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, February 25, 2023
MIGUEL ARAUJO-HERNANDEZ, Redwood Valley. DUI, no license.
OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, mandatory supervision violation.
MARKAS CAPSKIS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, elder/dependent abuse with death or great bodily injury, robbery, vandalism, probation revocation.
ELIZABETH DOCKINS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, disobeying court order.
BRITTNEY EVANS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, child cruelty-infliction of injury.
ISAIAH GARCIA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CODY LADD, Ukiah. Under influence, parole violation.
JASON LEVERENZ, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
JESSICA NORTON, Ukiah. Impersonation of another, probation revocation.
FREDY REYES-RUBIO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JUAN RUIZ, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Controlled substance, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. False ID, parole violation.
A Feb. 13 article cited many reasons for Sonoma County’s diminished population, which apparently has been occurring over the previous five years. One of the major reasons cited for leaving our area was inadequate affordable housing. Supervisor Chris Coursey has called for more affordable housing to hold on to our working age population, so important to small businesses.
A Feb. 14 article reported that Santa Rosa has had a housing boom lately, and the long-term plan calls for adding 24,000 new homes by 2050. (“City unveils housing plan.”) The city had authorized 1,404 new housing permits in 2021, the most since 2005, and not including those for replacing burned homes. Almost none of these permits were for affordable housing for low-income people, the supposed reason for the building boom.
The state has demanded plans for 4,685 units (not required to be built, but just planned). Yet the housing element now under review anticipates 7,029 units over the next eight years. Plans included requirements for streamlining permits. It appears that the city will build first and implement plans to address extreme drought after all the units are built. Water supplies should come first. And will this housing be earthquake proof and fireproof?
Russian River Watershed Protection Committee
On a trip to New York with my brother some time ago, we took a side trip into Connecticut and visited the author's homes. Teddy Roosevelt (Long Island), Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Eugene O’Neal, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau.
We saw Walden Pond and a reconstruction of the cabin Thoreau famously built. The pond was used for sawing blocks of ice in winter and shipping them down river at a time before refrigeration was invented.
But the most surprising thing was learning about the Thoreau Pencil Company. Their pencils were the most popular American made pencils at the time and they dominated the market in the U.S. Profits from the pencil factory that was started by his father, bought the family a home in Concord, Massachusetts and paid for Thoreau’s books, Walden and Civil Disobedience.
Selling pencils also paid for Henry’s Harvard education. In those days the school issued cannon balls to their students, to be heated and used as bed warmers.
Most pencils at the time were very low in quality. Henry’s father had discovered a type of graphite mine and cornered the market in pencils with a superior product. Henry was now all-in and perfected cutting short pieces of wood and trenching them to fill with the graphite and sealing the halves together.
When the family learned that their graphite mine could simply sell their product to the new electrotyping process of printing, they slowed the pencil sales and made more money just selling the graphite to the printing industry.
Walden was self published by Henry in 1859 after his father had died. It didn’t sell well and Henry died in 1862 of tuberculosis, possibly hastened by some of the inhaling sawdust and graphite.
MEMO OF THE AIR, A cheap room in a sad town.
“The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future. From an incandescent mass we have originated, and into a frozen mass we shall turn. Merciless is the law of nature, and rapidly and irresistibly we are drawn to our doom.”
— Nikola Tesla
Here's the recording of last night's (2023-02-24) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0529
Email your written work and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air on KNYO. I don't care what it's about nor even if you can't control yourself from using adult words; most of the show is during Safe Harbor hours when that's okay. It's still a free country, or so they say. Rights you don't use, you don't have, whatever your age.
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:
One of many spirographs in the sky. The solar system is a clock. Planets and moons aren't magical gods decreeing your fate, they're places made of gases and/or liquids and/or metal and/or dust and rocks. Constellations are three-dimensional, not two, the Rorschach connect-the-dots of their shape is entirely arbitrary, and they're made of stars, which are also not gods. When someone asks you what's your sign, say, Which one do you think it is? And when they say which one they think it is, happily shout, WRONG! And when they say, Ah, Scorpio, look at them with pity, like you're watching someone go back and forth with the vacuum cleaner across a paper clip rather than just bend down and pick it up, and you bend down and pick it up and hand it to them, and they throw it down in front of the vacuum again to go back and forth some more, because that's what's happening here. (via Clifford Pickover)
"Let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard. Increase production. Prevent accidents. And be happy." Also you'll want to follow the link to the Robot Spirit Guide.
And Nina Simone – Go To Hell. (via Everlasting Blort)
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
DID LEGENDARY ‘GONZO’ JOURNALIST HUNTER THOMPSON FRIGHTEN THOSE IN THE DEEP STATE SO MUCH, HE HAD TO BE TAKEN OUT?
by Jeremy Kuzmarov
Hunter S. Thompson’s death 18 years ago remains suspicious. He left no suicide note and, according to the official story, supposedly shot himself while on the phone with his wife in mid-conversation—though she never heard any gunshots.
The night before his death, Hunter told a friend: ‘They’re gonna make it look like suicide. I know how those bastards think.’
The question is, who were ‘those bastards,’ and why did they want him dead?
Eighteen years ago today, on February 20, 2005, the great American writer Hunter S. Thompson died of a gunshot wound to the head. Nicknamed ‘Gonzo,’ Thompson had pioneered a style of journalism where the writer inserted himself as a central character in the story.
He first became famous after publishing a book in 1967 that provided an intimate and uncompromising portrait of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.
Thompson went on to write a classic account of the 1972 election, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72, and 1971 novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, a rumination on the underbelly of the American Dream and 1960s counter-culture, which was made into a movie in 1998 starring Johnny Depp.
In 1970, Thompson ran unsuccessfully for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, on a platform of reforming the police, legalizing marijuana and ending the War on Drugs, and cleaning up the environment.
In Peace and Solidarity,
Chris Agee, Executive Editor
THE TRUMP-RUSSIA SAGA AND THE DEATH SPIRAL OF AMERICAN JOURNALISM
The media caters to a particular demographic, telling that demographic what it already believes — even when it is unverified or false. This pandering defines the coverage of the Trump-Russia saga.
by Chris Hedges
Reporters make mistakes. It is the nature of the trade. There are always a few stories we wish were reported more carefully. Writing on deadline with often only a few hours before publication is an imperfect art. But when mistakes occur, they must be acknowledged and publicized. To cover them up, to pretend they did not happen, destroys our credibility. Once this credibility is gone, the press becomes nothing more than an echo chamber for a selected demographic. This, unfortunately, is the model that now defines the commerical media.
The failure to report accurately on the Trump-Russia saga for the four years of the Trump presidency is bad enough. What is worse, major media organizations, which produced thousands of stories and reports that were false, refuse to engage in a serious postmortem. The systematic failure was so egregious and widespread that it casts a very troubling shadow over the press. How do CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Mother Jones admit that for four years they reported salacious, unverified gossip as fact? How do they level with viewers and readers that the most basic rules of journalism were ignored to participate in a witch hunt, a virulent New McCarthyism? How do they explain to the public that their hatred for Trump led them to accuse him, for years, of activities and crimes he did not commit? How do they justify their current lack of transparency and dishonesty? It is not a pretty confession, which is why it won’t happen. The U.S. media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — among 46 nations, according to a 2022 report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And with good reason.
The commercial model of journalism has changed from when I began working as a reporter, covering conflicts in Central America in the early 1980s. In those days, there were a few large media outlets that sought to reach a broad public. I do not want to romanticize the old press. Those who reported stories that challenged the dominant narrative were targets, not only of the U.S. government but also of the hierarchies within news organizations such as The New York Times. Ray Bonner, for example, was reprimanded by the editors at The New York Times when he exposed egregious human rights violations committed by the El Salvadoran government, which the Reagan administration funded and armed. He quit shortly after being transferred to a dead-end job at the financial desk. Sydney Schanberg won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in Cambodia on the Khmer Rouge, which was the basis for the film “The Killing Fields.” He was subsequently appointed metropolitan editor at The New York Times where he assigned reporters to cover the homeless, the poor and those being driven from their homes and apartments by Manhattan real estate developers. The paper’s Executive Editor, Abe Rosenthal, Schanberg told me, derisively referred to him as his “resident commie.” He terminated Schanberg’s twice-weekly column and forced him out. I saw my career at the paper end when I publicly criticized the invasion of Iraq. The career-killing campaigns against those who reported controversial stories or expressed controversial opinions was not lost on other reporters and editors who, to protect themselves, practiced self-censorship.
But the old media, because it sought to reach a broad public, reported on events and issues that did not please all of its readers. It left a lot out, to be sure. It gave too much credibility to officialdom, but, as Schanberg told me, the old model of news arguably kept “the swamp from getting any deeper, from rising higher.”
The advent of digital media and the compartmentalizing of the public into antagonistic demographics has destroyed the traditional model of commercial journalism. Devastated by a loss of advertising revenue and a steep decline in viewers and readers, the commercial media has a vested interest in catering to those who remain. The approximately three and a half million digital news subscribers The New York Times gained during the Trump presidency were, internal surveys found, overwhelmingly anti-Trump. A feedback loop began where the paper fed its digital subscribers what they wanted to hear. Digital subscribers, it turns out, are also very thin-skinned.
“If the paper reported something that could be interpreted as supportive of Trump or not sufficiently critical of Trump,” Jeff Gerth, an investigative journalist who spent many years at The New York Times recently told me, they would sometimes “drop their subscription or go on social media and complain about it.”
Giving subscribers what they want makes commercial sense. However, it is not journalism.
News organizations, whose future is digital, have at the same time filled newsrooms with those who are tech-savvy and able to attract followers on social media, even if they lack reportorial skills. Margaret Coker, the bureau chief for The New York Times in Baghdad, was fired by the newspaper’s editors in 2018, after management claimed she was responsible for its star terrorism reporter, Rukmini Callimachi, being barred from re-entering Iraq, a charge Coker consistently denied. It was well known, however, by many at the paper, that Coker filed a number of complaints about Callimachi’s work and considered Callimachi to be untrustworthy. The paper would later have to retract a highly acclaimed 12-part podcast, “Caliphate,” hosted by Callimachi in 2018, because it was based on the testimony of an imposter. “‘Caliphate’ represents the modern New York Times,” Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor, said in announcing the launch of the podcast. The statement proved true, although in a way Dolnick probably did not anticipate.
Gerth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked at The New York Times from 1976 until 2005, spent the last two years writing an exhaustive look at the systemic failure of the press during the Trump-Russia story, authoring a four-part series of 24,000 words that has been published by The Columbia Journalism Review. It is an important, if depressing, read. News organizations repeatedly seized on any story, he documents, no matter how unverified, to discredit Trump and routinely ignored reports that cast doubt on the rumors they presented as fact. You can see my interview with Gerth here.
The New York Times, for example, in January 2018, ignored a publicly available document showing that the FBI’s lead investigator, after a ten month inquiry, did not find evidence of collusion between Trump and Moscow. The lie of omission was combined with reliance on sources that peddled fictions designed to cater to Trump-haters, as well as a failure to interview those being accused of collaborating with Russia.
The Washington Post and NPR reported, incorrectly, that Trump had weakened the GOP’s stance on Ukraine in the party platform because he opposed language calling for arming Ukraine with so-called “lethal defensive weapons” — a position identical to that of his predecessor President Barack Obama. These outlets ignored the platform’s support for sanctions against Russia as well its call for “appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.” News organizations amplified this charge. In a New York Times column that called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” Paul Krugman wrote that the platform was “watered down to blandness” by the Republican president. Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic, described Trump as a “de facto agent” of Vladimir Putin. Those who tried to call out this shoddy reporting, including Russian-American journalist and Putin critic Masha Gessen were ignored.
After Trump’s first meeting as president with Putin, he was attacked as if the meeting itself proved he was a Russian stooge. Then New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote of the “disgusting spectacle of the American president kowtowing in Helsinki to Vladimir Putin.” Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular host, said that the meeting between Trump and Putin validated her covering the Trump-Russia allegations “more than anyone else in the national press” and strongly implied — and her show’s Twitter account and YouTube page explicitly stated — that Americans were now “coming to grips with a worst-case scenario that the U.S. president is compromised by a hostile foreign power.”
The anti-Trump reporting, Gerth notes, hid behind the wall of anonymous sources, frequently identified as “people (or person) familiar with” — The New York Times used it over a thousand times in stories involving Trump and Russia, between October 2016 and the end of his presidency, Gerth found. Any rumor or smear was picked up in the news cycle with the sources often unidentified and the information unverified.
A routine soon took shape in the Trump-Russia saga. “First, a federal agency like the CIA or FBI secretly briefs Congress,” Gerth writes. “Then Democrats or Republicans selectively leak snippets. Finally, the story comes out, using vague attribution.” These cherry-picked pieces of information largely distorted the conclusions of the briefings.
The reports that Trump was a Russian asset began with the so-called Steele dossier, financed at first by Republican opponents of Trump and later by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The charges in the dossier — which included reports of Trump receiving a “golden shower” from prostituted women in a Moscow hotel room and claims that Trump and the Kremlin had ties going back five years — were discredited by the FBI.
“Bob Woodward, appearing on Fox News, called the dossier a ‘garbage document’ that ‘never should have’ been part of an intelligence briefing,” Gerth writes in his report. “He later told me that the Post wasn’t interested in his harsh criticism of the dossier. After his remarks on Fox, Woodward said he ‘reached out to people who covered this’ at the paper, identifying them only generically as ‘reporters,’ to explain why he was so critical. Asked how they reacted, Woodward said: ‘To be honest, there was a lack of curiosity on the part of the people at the Post about what I had said, why I said this, and I accepted that and I didn’t force it on anyone.’”
Other reporters who exposed the fabrications — Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone and Aaron Mate at The Nation — ran afoul of their news organizations and now work as independent journalists.
The New York Times and The Washington Post shared Pulitzer Prizes in 2019 for their reporting on “Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connection to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.”
The silence by news organizations that for years perpetuated this fraud is ominous. It cements into place a new media model, one without credibility or accountability. The handful of reporters who have responded to Gerth’s investigative piece, such as David Corn at Mother Jones, have doubled down on the old lies, as if the mountain of evidence discrediting their reporting, most of it coming from the FBI and the Mueller Report, does not exist.
Once fact becomes interchangeable with opinion, once truth is irrelevant, once people are told only what they wish to hear, journalism ceases to be journalism and becomes propaganda.
YOU'RE NOT THE FIRST person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.
— J.D. Salinger, ‘The Catcher in the Rye’
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, 25TH FEBRUARY
As Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine enters its second year, Ukraine has reported fierce fighting around the eastern city of Bakhmut, shelling in the Kharkiv region and Russian strikes in the southern Kherson region.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized China's calls for peace talks, accusing Beijing of "betting on an aggressor."
US intelligence suggests the Chinese government is considering providing Russia with drones and ammunition for use in Ukraine, sources tell CNN.
President Joe Biden said he has ruled out "for now" sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, adding that the US is providing what is most critical: tanks, air defense and artillery systems.