- (Not So) Great Redwood Trail
- Piecemeal Destruction Of The Albion Bridge
- PG&E Linemen Appreciation
- Safe For Pacemakers?
- Marco In The Snow
- Ticket Squint
- Uh, Water?
- Kids These Days
- Memo Of The Week
(NOT SO) GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL
To the Editor:
It was a fine day on Monday and my dog friend and I went for a walk down the Ukiah Rail Trail. We won’t be doing that again.
It is so dismaying that something that had the potential to be an asset for the local public has turned into… What exactly?
There is incredibly vulgar graffiti on the walls and fences that line the trail from Ford Street to Talmage Road and it is spray-painted on the ground. There is an abandoned car that has been vandalized, and garbage everywhere, along the trail itself and piled in the easement.
Ramshackle tents and shelters of the homeless are in the easement with more garbage.
Under the bridge over Dolan Creek there is the overwhelming stench of human waste, piles of abandoned and dirty clothing and more garbage; and garbage in the creek bed itself, plastic on its way to the Pacific Ocean to destroy Marine life there.
There are loose, aggressive dogs.
It is just appalling. I have difficulty understanding how something that was to benefit the local community has been allowed by the City to become such an utterly disgraceful mess.
PIECEMEAL DESTRUCTION OF THE ALBION BRIDGE
For everyone traveling to the coast via Highway 128, the gateway to the Mendocino Coast is the panoramic vista of grassland, ocean, and coastal terraces just south of Albion. It’s hard to not feel a sense of wonder when you arrive at this coastal cathedral. At least for now. Because on February 10, the California Coastal Commission did Caltrans’ dirty work when they voted to severely reshape this beautiful, environmentally sensitive region.
By a 7–1 vote, the commissioners allowed Caltrans to widen the Highway 1 road prism by grading the Navarro Ridge wildlife corridor and adjacent Navarro Point Preserve. Thanks to their vote, dramatic marine terraces and slopes will be replaced by highly engineered, slide-prone slopes up to 60 feet high.
Caltrans says it’s about safety. The truth is, Caltrans’ goal is to build, piece by piece, a straighter, faster Highway 1 from Navarro Grade to Dark Gulch — a mini freeway pointed straight at Caltrans’ proposed demolition of the historic Albion River Bridge. There are cheaper, less destructive ways to protect motorist safety and the coastal environment. There’s no good reason to speed up Highway 1 and deform the terrain surrounding the Navarro Point Preserve.
Why did the commissioners rubber-stamp Caltrans’ plans? Perhaps because Caltrans pays the Coastal Commission over $1 million a year to receive preferential design advice and permit processing. Something stinks about this arrangement. To learn more about Caltrans’ destructive plans for Albion, visit the
Albion Bridge Stewards
PG&E LINEMEN APPRECIATION
Thank you to the dedicated and highly trained men and women working those line crews for PG&E yesterday. You have my admiration and appreciation for a job well done under demanding conditions.
PG&E as a corporate entity is one of the very worst actors in the public utility sector. And that's saying a lot. Absolutely dreadful, at least in terms of their safety culture and ethical responsibility.
But like the men and women in the military and other service organizations, the dedication to service and skill of the people in the field extends above and beyond their sometimes incompetent, greedy, and not-very-nice bosses.
Thanks again all the people in PG&E boots on the ground and in the air yesterday.
SAFE FOR PACEMAKERS?
In our quest to switch gas appliances to electric, we planned to purchase an induction stovetop to replace our gas unit. Just as we were about to put down our credit card, my husband asked if it was safe for someone with a cardiac pacemaker. We were advised it was risky, particularly if the person with the pacemaker was left-handed and/or got within 2 feet of the induction stovetop. My husband (being both left-handed and visually impaired) decided it was probably not a good choice for us, and so we opted for an electric stovetop instead. (Maybe not as much fun as gas or induction, but perfectly fine.) Something to think about if you are planning to reduce your use of natural gas in your home.
MARCO IN THE SNOW
Last Thursday night, I went home from work to eat and forgot the music to clean up on my thumb drive, that I usually do while I’m eating, so I watched the first half or so of 2019’s /Apollo 11/, and was just weeping with the feelings of it all. It’s a documentary made of film clips and recorded sounds of the crowd and related events and mission control commands and chatter. I really recommend it. Every once in awhile people call something magnificent and this time they’re right.
Then I went back out to the car in the dark, and in the hour or so I was inside, the driveway was crunchy and the car was covered in snow. Windshield wipers pushed the snow off the window-- it’s very satisfying. Someone had already driven down Albion Ridge Road and made tracks, so I didn’t have any trouble finding where the center of the road was. I was reminded of all the times I used to drive in the snow to go skiing in high school, and how, when everybody else was going four miles an hour, or stopping to put on chains, little Volvo station-wagon-like sports cars were zipping past at regular speed like there was nothing wrong at all.
I remember all the smells: my gas-and-oil-smelling straight-six Nova that didn’t even have rugs on the floor, the snow air, the exhaust of all the other vehicles, the balaclava hat I breathed through and every once in awhile blew my runny nose into anyway.
And then, in the present, I got back to my work place, just a mile, where I can use the high-speed to work on my show all night, and called Juanita on the phone and talked about things, using the palm-size computer I carry in my pocket to talk to her as though she’s here, while I type, thanks to the military internet and space tech (and Nikola Tesla, and Hedy Lamarr).
An amazing world, full of adventure and gadgets and space-faring robots checking out the other planets, and soon real astronauts going there. I’ve got two bananas here, from what country? how far away? and a couple of cough drops left. I’m set for the night.
Why do event venues print tickets with such small seat and section numbers? The name of the venue and the ticket handler is in huge print. But reading the seat number in a six-point font is impossible with old eyes. Even ushers have a hard time, switching glasses, looking for flashlights and still having to squint and study, “Is that a three or an eight or a B?”
I asked the Green Music Center to fix that four years ago. The nice man in charge of such things said, “Good idea!” Nothing changed.
I enjoy live music and get out from time to time, but add the ticket reading challenge to traffic and parking challenges, weather and viruses, and it can be too much for this old codger.
Somebody once said, “Know the difference between what you can change, and what you can’t.” So fix the ticket font and tell us old people you like us. We’ll take the bus, if we can read the transfer.
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
KIDS THESE DAYS
On Front Street in Forestville, I drove past a boy of around 13 carrying a black oblong bag. When he saw me, he lifted it, swung it back and forth like it was a rifle, pointed it at me, swung it again and then aimed for me and looked like he was shooting. He then swung it again with a satisfied look on his face and kept walking. I kept driving, too shocked and scared to stop and tell him off. I called the local school and they’re notifying the local school districts. Video games? TV shows? All the school and other massacres? What exactly was he acting out, and where and how will this end?
MEMO OF THE WEEK
From: Marty Durlin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Jan 10, 2023 at 4:24 PM
Subject: your departure
To: Alicia Bales <email@example.com>
CC: Dina Polkinghorne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
KZYX has benefitted from your knowledge of the county; your efforts to include under-represented voices; your organizational skills, on-air talents and commitment to emergency response.
I have never doubted your brilliance and aptitude for these aspects of the program director position.
But your confrontational outbursts and abrupt withdrawals from station meetings and discussions can no longer be tolerated. At your performance evaluation in October, I asked you to cease this behavior, which is unprofessional and detrimental to all. But less than two weeks ago, you walked out of a meeting with Victor and Sarah, causing irreparable harm.
I am letting you go as of Friday, January 15, and your accrued vacation balance will be included along with your usual direct deposit. KZYX will provide an additional two weeks of pay which you will receive at the end of January. Please leave KZYX keys in my box along with any pertinent login/password information, and remove any personal items from the station.
Marty Durlin, General Manager/Executive Director
KZYX/Mendocino County Public Broadcasting
9300 Highway 128, PO Box 1
Philo CA 95466
707 895 2324
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