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A COLD FRONT will move across the area today bringing rain and mountain snow, with the highest amounts in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Snow levels will plummet behind the cold front by this evening with some snow accumulation down to about 2000 feet. Unseasonably cold temperatures and a chance for light rain and snow showers will persist Friday through Sunday. A stronger storm is expected to impact the area with more rain and mountain snow early to mid next week. (NWS)
EARLY YESTERDAY AFTERNOON Yorkville surpassed 60 inches rainfall (since October 1, 2022).
REMEMBERING DEBRA KEIPP
Thanks for your memorial to Debra Keipp. Without you, I wonder if I would have known that this singular person had left us. Deb and I met in 1993 when she moved from Berkeley to Point Arena with her daughter Ruby and lived in a guesthouse on our property for a year. Deb told great stories about growing up on a farm in the Midwest amid the buckeye trees, where the corn grew high as an elephant’s eye and she spent her days strafed by pesticides raining from crop-dusters. Ruby was born prematurely, with health problems Deb pegged to the poison.
Deb was a fighter. She spent a year at our place fighting a custody battle with her ex-husband, who protested when she moved their daughter out of the Bay Area. Once, when Ruby was stung by a scorpion at our house, Deb spent the next hour on the phone fighting with a doctor about insurance. Deb was also funny, resourceful, original, and wild.
Once while driving somewhere with our kids she spotted a downed deer on the side of the road. She recovered the hooves — using garden loppers — and made ceremonial rattles. She gave terrific massages. Once she promised to cure my husband of a cold with massage — and she did. Another time I took my 95-year-old Nana in for Deb to work on. When I came back an hour later, Deb was removing numerous needles from all over Nana’s body. “I decided to do acupuncture on her,” she said. “I’m not licensed, but I’m pretty darned good!” She put the used needles into an envelope marked “Nana” for next time.
Once in San Francisco Deb was about to drive away with our kids and Ruby in her battered Volvo when I noticed that all four of her tires were flat. All four. Deb was completely unfazed. What was the big deal? She’d stop at a gas station…
Eventually, our bond frayed. After she moved out of our place she bought her house on Mill Street in Point Arena, and Ruby became ill with the brain cancer that would kill her a few years later. I wrote a story about an evening with Deb and Ruby during this time called “Opal Is Evidence” that’s in my collection Amor & Psycho.
When Ruby died at thirteen, Deb brought her home. I remember seeing Deb holding Ruby’s body in her arms and opening her front door. I couldn’t see her face, but her back expressed grief, strength, and fierce possession. I think she stayed in there with Ruby for a day, or two, or three.
I never knew the interior of Deb at all; she wore a shell. But she was fun, for example, to drink with. In later years she sometimes rode a horse through the City of Point Arena; she did some damage, I believe, on the City Council. It made me happy to see her byline on stories in the AVA — not because I agreed with everything she wrote, but because she’d found a way to externalize her rage against injustice, Monsanto, and The Man by telling tales filled with bad guys.
After reading your wonderful evocation of your relationship with Debra Keipp, horsewoman and journalist, I turned to a few of her pieces for the AVA and re-upped my subscription. How could a lapse like this happen? Like you, I got shpilkes and spent some years in San Francisco away from local news, but we’re happily back now in the madhouse, probably for the duration.
IPHONE TECH SUPPORT presentation today, Anderson Valley Senior Center, Thursday, March 23rd, 12:30 to 1:30 PM. After the wonderful senior lunch, join AV Village volunteer Jesse Espinoza for a presentation on using your iPhone and tips to make it easier to use for seniors. Bring your iPhones and questions: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/3145
MARIE MEYER: Hi. I would like to say that I am very disappointed with Dan Gjerde for ignoring my inquiries about the misappropriation of TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) collection in our county campgrounds. The long term campground residents are being heavily taxed (10% increase of rent = approximately $800-$1,000 per year) right along with the tourists and it's not fair because that is not how the law was written to apply that tax. It was not meant to charge permanent residents, but that ends up happening anyway by no fault of the low income people who are forced to live in transient housing situation. Last year Gjerde got our money back when I complained about it, but now he has ignored me. Is this because he is not up for election this year so does not have to look extra good at his job?
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN: This update has been part of the MCD report to GGC and the BOS the last few months but I thought I'd break it down in an easy to share info graphic. This is the current review timeline for Cannabis Permits. On the left is when your State License renews, on the right is when the MCD will be working through your permit and contacting you for more information if necessary. With this current timeline this means that if you don't renew until next year you may not hear from the department until fall or in the case of June 2024 renewals spring of 2024. I hope this clarifies the timelines (and yes we are still actively working with the department and the State to try and figure out how to streamline and make it even quicker but for now this is what we are working with).
NICK WILSON: I was immediately irked when the "SCP Mendocino Inn and Farm" sign went up in Little River. First of all, there's no "farm" there, so it's fraudulently misleading. Then there's "SCP." Compare that as a name to all the other inns and hotels around here. Sounds like a soulless corporate name to me. Maybe it stands for Scammers Conquer Peons. The new corporate operation rolls together three adjacent historic inns: Glendeven, Rachel's and Stevenswood, all of which were started from scratch by local people. Rachel's became Inn at Cobbler's Walk after Rachel retired and sold her inn a while back. Glendeven absorbed Stevenswood when that inn changed hands a few years ago. Now they're preparing to take over Albion River Inn? What's next? Will SCP corporation also swallow up and homogenize the Mendocino Hotel, Stanford Inn, Little River Inn and what's left of Heritage House?
THE NAME CHANGE PROB
It seems to me that the Fort Bragg name changers are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. If words are important to them, how about these words from Shakespeare. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” These politically correct language monitors still don't realize why blue collar folks reject them as elitists.
RYAN OSWALD: We started hiking into the Redwoods a little after sunrise and caught some foggy conditions for a bit, but nothing exciting before the fog cleared out. We decided to head out but while hiking back to the car, another thick fog rolled in, creating light rays everywhere! I assumed the fog would roll out just as fast as it rolled in, so I frantically ran around trying to capture the magical conditions. 6 hours later...the fog finally cleared.
THE GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL, two on-line comments:
(1) If you’ve been observing here for awhile, local contractors rarely get the money. Contractors low bid from areas where business has already been established in a big way. Union workers are mostly from outside. Federal contracting rules favor big businesses with a history of working for them, lots of experience meeting peculiar and petty social regulation favored by government and an established union presence. In other words not us. So if you have a job, move on. Have kids who need a job? They move to where the jobs already exist. Again not here. Besides casual labor is often done by CCC with people pulled from outside too, along with volunteers. Locals may occasionally get work as a subcontractor for surveying or highway contracting for a season, but the real money goes to Redding or Santa Rosa or Oakland. This isn’t our first rodeo. At least for some of us. Here there will be continuous environmental lawsuits from lobbyists and tribes, land that is notoriously unstable and political representation that counts votes elsewhere. Much land is already held by Federal and State parks. They will see advantage of expansion so will piggyback expensive claims on it. And we’re only into a small part of the project with many difficulties. Yes, it likely will get done in some fashion but having starry-eyed fantasies are a waste of time.
(2) For all that, every time the sparkling tourism carrot is waved in this area, the place has become poorer, more drug addicted and dangerous. Tourism brings in money but how it brings it in is a problem… And certainly how that accounting carrot is created makes it worse. It brings in seasonal, low paying jobs in grocery stores, hotels and a few tour group companies. What it costs on the other hand is restrictions on enterprise, lest it damage the tourists being impressed with uninterrupted nature. But it is enterprise that is unconnected to seasonal tourism that allows families to earn a year-round income that is more than getting by. Unless something like the commercial Williamsburg or the Plymouth Plantation exists for family visits, “visitors” usually day trip on their way elsewhere. It is not the trails that attract them, they don’t spend days hiking in any numbers or staying in well known resorts (which really become fewer each year); they pass through. They want to visit Lady Bird Johnson for an hour or so and nothing else. A person may want a continuous trail to suit an environmental agenda for a few to enjoy but it’s nonsense to think of it as a cash cow for the rest of the population unless some planning for places that act as attractions happens. The real tourist dollars come from the highway. If a place becomes popular, the Park Service limits its use. They separated the Newton B Drury Parkway from 101 when it got too crowded. There is no urgency to fix local roads. And the Federal fire response is more concerned about their trees than their neighbors. They work to suppress economic benefit for the local population more than create it. That’s just reality.
PG&E ADMITS SCOTT DAM FACES SERIOUS SEISMIC RISKS
(Friends of the Eel)
Have you heard the latest news from PG&E? The company appears to be finally taking dam safety seriously! In a press statement published last week, PG&E announced that due to new information and updated seismic analysis, they will never again close the gates on top of Scott Dam. This will permanently reduce the Lake Pillsbury reservoir capacity by about 20,000 acre feet. The company says they made this decision "out of an abundance of caution in the interest of community safety". I love this part - we told you so, PG&E!
PG&E announced last week that they will never again close the gates on top of Scott Dam. This will permanently reduce the Lake Pillsbury reservoir capacity by about 20,000 acre feet. The company says they made this decision "out of an abundance of caution in the interest of community safety".
In a filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a few days later, PG&E explained that a March 14 memo from their engineering consultants Gannett Fleming, Inc is what prompted this sudden action to reduce the volume of water in the reservoir. The referenced memo is, of course, classified as Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) and not available to the public, but it's clear that the contents of that memo startled the company enough to prompt immediate action.
Friends of the Eel River has been focused on the questionable dam safety analysis at the Potter Valley Project for years. We’ve even gone so far as to publicly question whether PG&E is concealing dam safety liabilities) of the San Andreas Fault system by the USGS reveals that the Bartlett Springs Fault, one of three major structures in the system, is capable of producing up to a magnitude 7 earthquake. We also know, from a study we commissioned by Miller Pacific Engineering in 2018, that the active landslide adjacent to the south abutment of Scott Dam presents significant geologic hazard to the dam.
And of course, we can’t forget about the unusual construction of Scott Dam. As we outlined in one of our dam safety blogs two years ago, Scott Dam had to be redesigned mid-construction to accommodate a large unstable boulder that was originally thought to be bedrock. This boulder, named "the knocker”, now sits just behind the dam near the sharp angle that resulted from the seat-of-the-pants redesign back in 1920. Without more transparency from PG&E, we are left wondering whether that design change resulted in a weaker structure.
This reduction in reservoir capacity may make it more challenging for PG&E to maintain temperatures appropriate for salmon and steelhead. However, thanks to our pending Endangered Species Act litigation against PG&E and FERC, both entities are on notice that continued harms to Eel River fish will not be tolerated. We have reason to believe that the National Marine Fisheries Service will once again be firm that PG&E must maintain at least a 30,000 acre foot pool of cold water in the reservoir to ensure that downstream releases are cold enough for native fish to survive.
Further reading: https://eelriver.us7.list-manage.com/track/click
SLACK TIDE CAFE: Poetry and Music This Weekend: March 24 & 25
On the River Music Series, Poetry Open Mic
Join us this weekend for our first ever Poetry Open Mic on Friday, March 24, 5-7 PM, and the music of singer-songwriter Jimmy Boy Thompson on Saturday, March 25, 4-7 PM.
Local wines, beer, food and entertainment on the Noyo River. 32430 N. Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg
Visit out website for more information and a full schedule of events: noyocenter.org
THE ORGANIC LUNCH LADY OF LITTLE LAKE ROAD
by Andrew Scully
On her first day as the new cafeteria assistant with the Mendocino Unified School District, Diane Price attended a staff meeting where she heard a welcome address by Ken Matheson, the superintendent, now long since retired and after whom a building on the campus has been named. On that fall day in 1987, this legendary man boomed out the following commandment to the staff assembled in front of him: "We are here for the children!" That is a mission statement and a message that Diane Price evidently took to heart. More than that, over a 32 year career she has put those words into practice, preparing and growing wholesome food for the entire Mendocino School District.
Instead of endlessly opening cans of peas and corn and tuna fish, more than 20 years ago Diane began growing organic vegetables in a small garden she staked out next to a classroom on the K-8 campus on Little Lake Road in Mendocino. She used those vegetables to supplement and add nourishment to the meals she prepared each day for kids throughout the District.
Now, two decades after she began her little garden, Diane oversees a considerable organic farming operation at the Mendocino K-8 School, with more than 15 sturdy raised garden beds where she produces literally thousands of pounds of fresh food each year - all of it organic. All of this food goes directly into the Mendocino School District breakfast and lunch program. All of the food is grown by Diane and the kids that take her gardening classes as electives. She does all of this garden work on her own time. For the children.
Diane’s gardening activities at the school were relatively small-time for the first few years, but literally got off the ground when a local woman (Alysoun Huntley Ford) died in 2000 and left a modest bequest to the school district to improve the children's nutrition program. Instead of burning through that gift on high-end frozen pizza for a couple of months, Diane used the money to improve and fence the garden area, and built the first two raised garden beds at the site. She also purchased tools and seeds.
At first, the new garden and her work was a bit of a curiosity, but by the second year with the raised beds, Diane had attracted the attention of the teachers (the kids were already interested) and she began working with the certificated staff to establish an elective garden education program for the school children. So in addition to establishing the garden, she also is the primary Garden Educator at the K-8 School, currently working with Grade Four and Five students. And of course then there is her full time job, managing and cooking food for the entire Mendocino School District and its four different locations:
The K-8 School on Little Lake Road
The High School on Ford Street
The Albion School
The Comptche School
Diane Price and one co-worker, Tricia Evans (with 26 years of service to Mendocino Schools) prepare all three meals (breakfast, lunch and snack) for the four different school sites every day. That's 500 meals a day. Diane calls Tricia Evans “My right arm and friend since high school. She makes our famous low-fat ranch dressing. It's famous all around! Just ask anybody.”
With the 15 raised beds, and the 4th and 5th graders, her stalwart Garden Volunteer Joyce Roudio and her grandson Kayden, Diane Price produces a very significant proportion of the food consumed by students and staff in the District. All of it organic. And all of it fresh.
200 lbs Carrots
60 heads Cabbage
Four months production Fresh Lettuce
50 Gallons Strawberries
30 Gallons Blackberries
30 Gallons Raspberries
15 gallons each Boysenberries and Blackberries
The benefit derived to the kids of this fresh organic addition to their meals over all this time is incalculable. But if somehow there was a way to measure devotion, quantify it and look at it l, it might very well look like the raised garden beds at the K-8 School in Mendocino.
Diane Price does all of her gardening work at the school “on the side”. You see, she receives no wage for the garden work. Her only salary is as the Cafeteria Supervisor for the Mendocino School District. All the food in the garden has been grown on remarkably little money, really just the initial Healthy Kids bequest, a shoestring budget and a ton of volunteer time and materials. All of her work in the garden and with the kids is out of love. For the Children.
Diane holds a fund raiser once a year - it’s a Plant Sale, and this year's sale- the 8th Annual Mendocino K-8 School Plant Sale - will be held on Friday April 7 from 3 to 6 pm. That's one day only, three hours to get a smashing hot deal on organic plants for your spring garden . Diane said this year's offerings will include:
• Berries ( strawberries, golden raspberries, and boysenberries),
• Vegetables (lettuce, cucumbers, squash, watermelons, pumpkins, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and more)
• Herbs, Flowers and Shrubs, including many rose cultivars.
Financial goal for the plant sale is to raise enough to build permanent wooden planters and plant boxes in the Upper Greenhouse.
The 8th Annual Mendocino K-8 School
Organic Plant Sale and Faire
Friday April 7th
Three o'clock to six o’clock
The pleasure of your company is cordially requested
INTERESTING COMMENT by the formidable Kym Kemp responding to a critic about her website-derived income and his second criticism of one of Kym's contributors, Lisa Music.
KYM KEMP: “When I had my first two children, I lived in a shack with plastic windows and kerosene lamps. I don’t live there now. I worked hard — so did my husband — we both went to school. I graduated with honors, and eventually got a teaching degree in one year, not the usual two. Then, while teaching, I started running this website, which I ran for four years without making a penny. Then I began to make about $500 per month. Now by working longer hours than most folks (though admittedly at a job I love) I make a decent living.
“And yes, I have multiple places on this website encouraging folks to donate to the Freelancer Fund. Every cent from donations (plus money I make from advertising) goes to pay freelancers to provide more stories. Not too long ago I figured out I make substantially less than minimum wage (if I remember correctly, it was just under $10 per hour) on this website.
“Now maybe you have a problem with folks making money on what they do. But you said in your previous comments that you have a cannabis business and your wife has a cleaning business, I suspect you want to be paid for what you do. If not, I’d love to have your wife come clean my house for nothing — with the amount of work I do, it looks pretty crappy right now.
“But if you think it is unfair of me to ask your wife to work for no pay… Why do you want people to read something they get value from and not pay for it? Why shouldn’t my freelancers make a decent wage rather than the low wages that reporters settle for because they love what they do.
“Look, you don’t like Linda [Music]. I get that. You don’t have to. But posting mean statements anonymously over and over on her writing — not really criticizing her work but just saying mean things is really no different than walking into a restaurant with a mask on and complaining loudly to the other customers about a waitress you don’t like for something that you are sore about that apparently occurred in real life even though there is nothing wrong with her work in the restaurant.
“Again, you are entitled not to personally like Linda. But don’t come into her workplace talking crap about how you perceive her behavior outside her job. From now on unless your complaint is at least mildly relevant to her actual writing, I’ll be deleting it. I don’t allow personal insults here.”
I THINK both Kym and Ms. Music deserve every penny, and I think Kym is correct in not allowing personal insults on her invaluable website. (The MCN chatline here in Mendo consists largely of lunatics insulting each other, which is tiresome in the extreme given the writers' witlessness.) I also think Kym takes a lot of undeserved criticism simply because she's a woman. But she fires right back, as she has here.
THE NORTHCOAST is media-rich compared to most areas. Marvy Marin, where I live weekends, is a media desert. There's the fading San Rafael Independent Journal, an ok newspaper for local news and good local sports coverage back when I first began reading it in the middle 1950s. Now? A three-minute read. And there's nothing else that I know of, no websites, no Marin-specific blogs, no reporting except the occasional story in the IJ and, like all hedge fund papers these days, the IJ is down to, I think, two reporters, one of whom does sports, for a county of more than a half million people.
MARK SCARAMELLA NOTES: Back in the late 90s KZYX radio was “managed” by a portly, easily-offended little fellow named Phil Tymon who claimed to be a “communications attorney.” Tymon had previously taught “communications” part-time at Santa Rosa JC and had some kind of loose association with KPFA and/or Pacifica in Berkeley. He didn’t like the AVA (like a number of his Philo colleagues at the time) and he obviously didn’t like our nearly weekly criticism and commentary of him and the mostly tedious station and its programming. But Tymon went to some lengths to cadge a copy of the AVA wherever he could in town, mainly to see what was said about KZYX, mostly at Boont Berry Store where people occasionally took a paper from the rack, didn’t pay for it, read it during their lunch, and then left it, heavily pawed over, on the Boont Berry table. Tymon made a habit of reading the AVA that way. One week, he somehow missed the Boont Berry cadge (presumably a sell-out that week) and wondered over to our Bookstore (Anderson Valley Books, now closed) down the street where Bookstore manager Carl Hammersjold sold the AVA. Not only did Tymon not want to pay $1 for the hated AVA, Tymon didn’t even want to be seen coming in to an AVA-operated establishment. So he cracked the bookstore door open and quietly asked Hammarskjold, “Can I borrow an AVA?” Hammarskjold replied, “Tell you what: Go next door to the AV Market and ask them if you can ‘borrow’ a Chronicle. If they let you, come back and I’ll let you ‘borrow’ an AVA.”
ON THE OFF CHANCE the Fort Bragg name changers are taking in information that doesn't fit the Changer's catechism, America's second greatest president, Ulysses S. Grant, assessed Braxton Bragg, whom Grant’s soldiers had defeated several times in battle, this way: “Braxton Bragg was a remarkably intelligent and well-informed man, professionally and otherwise. He was also thoroughly upright. But he was possessed of an irascible temper, and was naturally disputatious.”
IMO, as the cyber-people say, Lincoln was the greatest president we've had, then Grant, then Franklin Roosevelt, but from FDR on to the preposterous Trump and Biden it's been all downhill.
TOLSTOY ON LINCOLN: “Of all the great national heroes and statesmen of history Lincoln is the only real giant. Alexander, Frederick the Great, Cesar, Napoleon, Gladstone and even Washington stand in greatness of character, in depth of feeling and in a certain moral power far behind Lincoln. Lincoln was a man of whom a nation has a right to be proud; he was a Christ in miniature, a saint of humanity, whose name will live thousands of years in the legends of future generations. We are still too near to his greatness, and so can hardly appreciate his divine power; but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us. If one would know the greatness of Lincoln one should listen to the stories which are told about him in other parts of the world. I have been in wild places, where one hears the name of America uttered with such mystery as if it were some heaven or hell. I have heard various tribes of barbarians discussing the New World, but I heard this only in connection with the name of Lincoln. Lincoln as the wonderful hero of America is known by the most primitive nations of Asia.”
BOOK CHAT Randy Burke is reading, “Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks...amazing read on John Brown and slavery abolition. The Story of the World in 100 Moments, by Neil Oliver...thought provoking renditions of how we arrive here today over the years. Boontling, An American Lingo, by Charles C. Adams. All at once or one at a time I am amazed what these volumes provide in spelling out our journeys on this historical mortal coil.”
I'M IN THE EARLY SECTIONS of “Empire of Mud,” an interesting and detailed recent historical account of the construction of Washington DC. Among the many little known factoids author J.D. Dickey assembles is the answer to the question: Where did the slaves who built much of Washington DC live while they were doing the backbreaking yet highly skilled quarry work, masonry, and construction in the area (which was basically a glorified swamp)? Answer: they lived in the smelly, dank, ill-supplied cellars and basements of the buildings they built as the first phase of construction. Apparently, there’s no proper accounting of the dozens if not hundreds of buildings built by slaves because either the records weren’t kept or were “lost.” Slavery wasn’t abolished in Washington DC until 1862. As Malcolm X once said, “We don’t want reparations, we want back wages!” So far, all they’ve got is a pitiful looking commemorative DC marker and that wasn’t even installed until 2012.
CALTRANS (March 11, 2016): Slides can be unpredictable, and our Fort Bragg crew was caught in a slide early this morning. At about 3AM they were responding to a slide about five miles north of Westport, setting up traffic control and lights to be able to monitor the slide in the dark. While an employee sat in a ten-yard dump truck near the first slide a second slide came down. Thankfully the truck was not pushed over the edge of the highway, it was stopped by a guardrail, and the employee was not injured, only shaken up.
We would urge the public to be very careful if they come across a slide before Caltrans. Move your vehicle FAR BACK from the slide; do not get close for photos! Stay safe.
MENDO TEACHER SPENDS 13 DAYS HIKING THROUGH SNOW TO GET TO SCHOOL
The classic “old grumpy grandpa” saying goes something like this: “Back in my day, we walked 15 miles to school in the snow! Barefoot! Uphill! Both ways! And we liked it that way!”
For Eagle Peak Middle School eighth grade science teacher Paula Abajian, there is some truth in that saying for her, as she spent 13 days hiking through snow and ice to get access to a vehicle, to then drive or be driven to school. Monday evening, March 13, was the first day she could finally drive the road to her home since the snowy weather started on Feb. 22.
For Abajian, the logistics were as follows. She and her husband and two young children live at 2,500 feet above sea level in the mountains above Willits. The road to their home is on a north-facing slope, with several feet of snow accumulating on it from all the storms and not melting much due to the lack of sun on the north face. Midway through the series of storms, the snow melted somewhat but then froze and turned to ice. The road was simply impassable near her home for close to three weeks.
From Abajian’s home, it was a 1.76-mile hike, according to her Apple Watch, downhill to access transportation, hence a 3.52 round trip daily, for a total of over 40 miles through the snow for the duration of the adventure.
“The snow early on was lovely,” says Abajian. “but as it got icier and more compacted, it was difficult to walk on.”
There were also additional logistical challenges for Abajian and her family. With her home being off the electrical grid and solar powered, eventually, the cloud cover prevented sufficient charging of the home’s batteries. At one point, she was hauling up gas cans for the generator to run power for On most days, she was hiking in the morning before sunrise and getting home in dim light or darkness. Her backpack would regularly be filled with food and provisions for home. Many days her children would stay with grandparents in town, but there were a few times they would hike in and out. “My daughter would take two steps forward in the snow, and one step falling back,” says Abajian.
Abajian’s colleague at Eagle Peak, fifth-grade teacher Mackenzie Erickson, lives down the hill from Paula, and would often give her rides to school. One day the duo simply could not make it, even from Erickson’s house at a lower elevation. For Paula, this was a 3.52-mile round trip hike to not get to school. On another exceptionally stormy day, Paula could simply not leave her house.
“Paula has a deep sense of dedication to the profession,” says Erickson. “It was an adventure. We were glad to help, and it wasn’t entirely safe at times, but we are a community that supports each other. It was super amazing with all of the snow, even though it was also hard.”
Abajian summed up the experience by saying, “Overall, it was beautiful to be outside with nature and see the animal tracks, and I did close my exercise ring on my watch every day, but I am glad it’s over.”
Abajian shared stories of her adventures with her students, and they begged her to have a field trip up to her house to go sledding.
We had to cut my interview with Paula a little short as she had to go pick up her kids from school due to a flood warning.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
DE-STRESS WITH A PROFESSIONAL THERAPY DOG (FOR ADULTS)
Every other Tuesday from 1-2 pm
The Ukiah Branch Library welcomes adults to read to or simply de-stress with Emma, a certified and trained therapy dog who enjoys visiting with adult humans. Studies show that petting and interacting with a therapy dog can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and boost your mood. Drop into the Ukiah branch to say hi to Emma! This event will take place every other Tuesday from 1-2 pm beginning on February 14th.
Please contact the Ukiah Branch Library at 707-463-4490 for more information.
2023 BORN TO BREATHE YOUTH MEDIA FESTIVAL
Applications for the 2023 Born to Breathe Youth Media Festival are being accepted now and the deadline to enter is April 12, 2023. Young people aged 13-24 in Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties are eligible to enter and have multiple opportunities to earn prizes and CA$H money. The festival is focused on the impacts that tobacco and nicotine products have on our communities. This year's prize fund is a whopping $5,000 thanks to a generous donation from Adventist Health Clearlake.
Details to enter can be found at: www.NorCal4Health.org/born-to-breathe
MENDOCINO COAST 50K
The Mendocino Coast 50K is one of the most beautiful ultrathons imaginable. The 30.6 mile (50 kilometer) course includes stretches of ocean, river, redwood forest and waterfalls.
The race starts and ends at Big River State Park, just outside of town. The elevation gain of 5000 feet (1524 meters) is spread over 4 major climbing sections — some involving stairs — with a flat start and a gradual downhill finish.
There are five aid stations spread out along the course and plenty of volunteers to make sure everyone stays safe.
Typically held in April, this is a great race for distance runners who appreciate nature and leisure travel.
More information, including registration can be found on the event website.
When getting advice on where to stay, eat, drink and relax during an upcoming trip, it’s important to know the tastes and preferences of the people offering their opinions. That’s why we would like to share what we look for in choosing hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and spas for our endurance event getaways.
As the name The Pampered Athlete suggests, we’re willing to spend a little extra to make sure that our trip is enjoyable, comfortable and convenient. We don’t need five star resorts or Michelin rated dining experiences, but we do look for the following:
Walking distance to the start/transition area, preferably within a mile (1.6 kilometers), so we’re in no rush on race day
A quiet room with a king-sized bed, to ensure we both sleep comfortably
An in-room refrigerator and coffee maker, at minimum, with a preference for a microwave, kitchenette or full kitchen, to ensure we can eat and drink what we want, when we want
Whenever possible, we also look for extras, such as an in-room jetted tub, a balcony or patio with a view, and convenient access to spas, restaurants and barista coffee.
For dining and drinks:
We like all types of food, so we try to go with what’s good in the local area.
Whether we’re searching for a nice dinner, a hearty brunch, a post-race “pig out” or happy hour drinks and snacks, the key things we look for are:
It may also be helpful to know that Dave is a salty-carb-loving vegetarian who regularly eats “second (and third) breakfast” and that Lara leans paleo, with an insatiable sushi and seafood appetite.
Most of our restaurant picks offer dishes to satisfy a range of dietary profiles. Though, on occasion, we may recommend a place just for its french fries or barbecue ribs.
For wellness activities, we generally look for spas with well qualified staff, relaxing settings and a good reputation among locals and visitors alike.
INTRODUCING COASTAL ALE
Introducing a new AVBC beer in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation
Good beer doing good work. Besides being outrageously delicious this beer is a powerful force for good.
Made in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation, we are donating 5% of our gross revenue (FIVE! Not the typical 1%) from all Coastal Ale packaged product directly to Surfrider to support their efforts to protect the world's ocean, waves and beaches for all.
We invite you to join us and enjoy Coastal Ale for exactly what it is: an expertly crafted light-bodied ale, brewed with pronounced aromas of tropical fruit and a clean, crisp finish, all with a sincere commitment to safeguarding our water for future generations.
Find Out More: https://avbc.com/beer/coastal-ale
JES VEE: Hey Valley! I want to introduce myself in a way y'all may not know. I've been working in catering for a long time now and am opening up and looking to expand my business. I cater mainly for community gatherings and retreats. Take a look at my website to see more about what I offer. And feel free to share with anyone who may be looking for this type of offering. I work primarily in Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma counties but am willing to travel for the right event. Oh! And I also design, edit, and update websites if you're looking for that sort of thing. Thanks so much! yespleasecatering.com
SARAH ‘SONGBIRD’ LARKIN MUSIC
I did something that I am excited about last week! I entered the @kerrfolkfest New Folk Competition! I was so blessed to have the help of @jahjedtieson to pull this off with a minimum of stress.
I am not attached to getting selected as a finalist (although I would be so stoked to be invited to share my songs there) but it felt like a major step forward in my recovery and reclaiming the life I want to live. A major seed planted on the path forward in continuing to devote my heart and life to sharing music.
It has been a long, hard road this winter recovering from the most recent surgery in November, but I feel like I’m starting to make some real progress in getting my independence back and finding my joy again. I just wanted to share with y’all about my happy moment and I look forward to many more to come.
ENRICHING MENDOCINO COUNTY
The Community Foundation Awards $130,600 through local grants The Community Foundation Awards $130,600 in Local Grants We are pleased to share that the Community Foundation awarded $130,600 in local grants through the annual Community Enrichment Grant Program. The program is made possible by the Community Endowment Fund, a collection of gifts from individuals dedicated to the enhancement and sustainability of local nonprofits.
These contributions foster healthy communities, vibrant arts programs, economic and leadership opportunities, and projects that honor our unique sense of place and the natural environment. In addition to the Community Endowment, the Jim Levine Youth Endowment Fund and the Anderson Valley Fund supported this year’s Community Enrichment Grant Program.
The Community Enrichment grant review process is a collaborative effort. Each year, the Community Foundation engages a diverse group of volunteer advisors and Community Foundation board and committee members to consider each proposal's impact and alignment with regional needs. In its 28-year history, the Community Foundation has distributed $28.4 million, and the Community Enrichment program is a cornerstone of our strategic grantmaking. We appreciate the continued generosity of our donors and volunteers, who help us work towards a vibrant, inclusive, and healthy Mendocino County.
For more information or to make a gift to the Community Endowment Fund, visit www.communityfound.org.
Community Endowment Fund 2022-2023 Community Enrichment Awardees Anderson Valley Anderson Valley Skate Park (Anderson Valley Community Services District) - $7,400 To support the Anderson Valley Skate Park Project, a project of the Anderson Valley Service Learning Team, with the hiring of a temporary project manager/volunteer coordinator.
Laytonville/Leggett The Harwood Memorial Park, Inc. - $7,500 To improve access to healthy play with the purchase and installation of an all-in-one playground equipment module and an exercise station.
Multiregional Good Farm Fund (fiscally sponsored by NCO) - $7,400 To support the sustainability of the Farm Grant Program by developing and publishing a turn-key guide to program administration. ï»¿ Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority - $7,500 To promote culture, wellness, tradition, and self-sufficiency for Native American individuals and families via events such as Big Time gatherings and regalia-making workshops; and to provide immediate support to individuals and families.
KMUD Redwood Community Radio - $7,000 To expand news coverage and emergency communication in remote areas by hiring reporters to cover county meetings, emergencies, and general news.
Mendocino County Soccer Academy - $5,000 To improve youth access to healthy activities by purchasing software to manage the current soccer programs (e.g., registrations, scheduling, etc.)
North Coast Opportunities - $6,700 To enhance youth gardening skills through the Summer Teen Program, which harvests produce for the Caring Kitchen weekly meal bags for local cancer patients.
North Coast Flockworks - $7,500 To establish a shared Creative Space for outreach to children, youth, and the community; To strengthen organizational capacity through consultants with HR and management expertise.
Mendocino Coast Cyclists - $7,500 To enhance the ability to work on remote trails and deploy volunteers for search and rescue by purchasing an e-bike.
Mendocino Performing Arts Company DBA Mendocino Theatre Company - $7,500 To improve the theatrical experience by purchasing software and computer updates to coordinate sound, lighting, and video elements.
Noyo Center for Marine Science - $7,500 To raise awareness of the impact of plastic use on the ocean by purchasing a plastics recycling machine and filament maker for a 3D printing machine that will recycle locally collected plastics and turn them into saleable goods. Round Valley Covelo Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary - $7,100 To safely store items for fire survivors and other community members in need by building shelves, installing solar lights inside a storage container, and purchasing storage totes.
South Coast Pacific Community Charter School - $7,500 To support local, regional, and statewide field trips by purchasing an additional van to help transport students.
Ukiah Area Save the Redwoods League - $7,500 To enhance the visitor experience while protecting the ecosystem in Montgomery Woods by purchasing materials and construction costs for new trails, gathering areas, and interpretive exhibits.
Ukiah Senior Center - $7,500 To enhance the safety of community members and property by purchasing and installing a new security system.
Ukiah Valley Trail Group - $7,500 To increase the fundraising capacity for the Ukiah Valley Trail Group by engaging a fund development consultant to identify and implement fundraising opportunities, including a business sponsor program.
Willits Friends of the Mendocino County Museum - $7,500 To develop a vibrant grassroots community organization capable of supporting the Mendocino County Museum by increasing the fundraising capacity, including a membership drive.
Seabiscuit’s Legacy LLC (Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation) - $7,500 To highlight the importance of Ridgewood Ranch and the impact of Seabiscuit’s legacy on the local community by hiring a production and film crew for a two-week shoot at Ridgewood Ranch in Willits.
Megan Barber Allende, President/CEO
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, March 22, 2023
JESUS DIAZ-CARMONA, Covelo. Stolen vehicle.
JAVIER GARCIA, Willits. Failure to appear.
NICHOLAS HALVORSEN, Fort Bragg. Robbery. (Frequent flyer.)
ALDREN LARVIE, Ukiah. Vandalism.
DEEANN MARTIN, Point Arena. Protective order violation.
TIMOTHY O’CONNELL, Clearlake/Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance.
NICOLE RUIZ, Ukiah, DUI.
SHELBY SLOAN, Lakeport/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MATTHEW SUSMILCH, Eureka/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
I can't understand, for the life of me, why this everyday problem in this country continues to be an obvious non issue. A non issue to those in the position to make a change. An immediate change.
I simply am left wondering, who's running the show.
Why is it such a problem to install metal detectors at the school entrances. No one would gain access to the school without passing through one. No one, no matter what "title" they may hold. All school doors would remain locked from the outside, except for the main entrance(s), which would have a metal detector(s). Specified doors would be accessible from the inside out, for safety purposes, in case of fire or other needs.
School resource officers, security, or others in law enforcement capacity would be located at the entrances. Cameras would be placed in proper locations that would continually monitor anyone entering school property. However, those responsible for watching the cameras would have to be properly trained and constantly present to monitor those cameras, and a plan in place when any one person or more were on the school property without the proper clearance . Surveillance is properly manned at the casinos in Las Vegas, Reno, or anywhere there is gaming. Are our children not worth this precise surveillance each and every day they are at school? Obviously they are not, according to the action taken by those in the positions to make a change.
I simply don't understand why this has not been addressed yet. What is so difficult about this? Yes, I understand the cost would be exorbitant , but really, are we placing the priceless value of our children below this cost? Obviously so. Must change not happen until one or more of the children shot and killed are the children of those in "authority" ? Unfortunately, that seems to be the case, again . Cost should not be an issue in the investment of our children and their safety each and every day. I just don't get it. It leads one to believe that there are either bozos driving this bus or that they simply don't care.
Everyone must know, it's no longer a matter of if, it's an absolute matter of when. Educate me.
Joan M Craig
Northern California, Mendocino County
ED REPLY: If police and metal detectors are required in schools, it's past time to re-think giant education factories.
STATE MAY SCALE DOWN ITS NEW HOME LOAN PROGRAM Designed to Assist First-Time Homebuyers
by Alejandro Lazo
In this economy, who has enough money for a down payment on a house?
Despite a projected $25 billion budget deficit, the state of California does. At least for now.
The California Housing Finance Agency is poised to launch a scaled-down version of its new shared equity home loan program on March 27. With the Dream for All program, the state plans to provide $300 million worth of down payments for an estimated 2,300 first-time homebuyers.
The complicated program involves the state paying some or all of the upfront costs for buying a home — the down payment, for instance — in exchange for a share in the home’s value when it is sold, refinanced or transferred.
If the home appreciates in value, those gains to the state would then be used to fund the next borrowers — a little for the seller; a little for the next aspiring buyer.
Everybody wins — as long as prices go up.
The trouble is that home prices have been declining in the state for months, even as higher mortgage interest rates have made monthly mortgage payments more expensive.
A potential economic downturn looms as well, as the Federal Reserve weighs raising borrowing costs even further as soon as today.
And California’s tech industry is taking a beating and laying off workers, contributing to a decline in personal incomes. Income taxes are the state’s biggest revenue source.
Given the uncertainty, Gov. Gavin Newsom in January proposed a significantly smaller version of the 10-year, $10 billion program originally envisioned by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego. In his January budget, Newsom proposed spending an initial $300 million on the program, a cut from the $500 million compromise signed last year.
Optimism and expectations
The size and scope of the Dream for All program will likely be a subject of negotiations between Newsom and the overwhelmingly Democratic Legislature this year. The governor is expected to offer a revised state spending plan and a new financial forecast in May. Lawmakers must pass a balanced budget by June 15 in order to get paid.
The proposed cut “will not impact the Administration’s commitment or timeline for implementing the program,” Newsom’s Department of Finance said in January.
In a Feb. 13 email to CalMatters, Christopher Woods, budget director for Atkins, said her office will seek more funding for the program.
“The Governor ‘proposing’ to pull back some funds has very little to do with what will actually happen,” Woods wrote to CalMatters, in response to earlier coverage of the program. “No one should expect the program to be cut, and we should all fully expect additional funds – perhaps as much as $1 billion – to be allocated in the 2023-24 Budget Act.”
“With interest rates rising, the program is needed more than ever … and there are several innovative ways to fund the program,” Woods wrote.
Woods declined to answer follow-up questions for this story.
Atkins, who championed the equity sharing program last year, has said the Dream for All program is a priority. She said in a recent statement she isn’t giving up on getting more money for it.
“Our state is about to launch a program that will help change people’s lives for the better, and make the dream of homeownership a reality,” she said. “While existing funding for the California Dream for All is a great first step, we are working to allocate additional funding in the upcoming state budget — with the ultimate goal of providing $1 billion per year — to help even more families set the foundation for building generational wealth.”
The uncertainty in the economy and housing market has been a subject of discussion at CalHFA for months, as officials and political appointees seek to launch a program meant to take advantage of rising home prices at the very moment home equity is falling.
State officials said buyers positioned to hold onto a property for the long-term are those best suited for the program when home prices are falling.
In a presentation to its board of directors in January, CalHFA officials also said the agency is planning for a program with a potentially “very short life cycle.”
“Having lived the dream of buying a house in Los Angeles in 1989, when the market peaked, and then selling it at a loss almost a decade later, I can appreciate that the market doesn’t always go up,” Jim Cervantes, CalHFA’s chair, said during that Jan. 19 meeting.
“Disclosures, whatever we can do to mitigate — or rather, have prospective buyers understand what they’re getting into — would be extremely valuable, because no one’s a good market timer.”
California home prices, already rising for years, saw big gains during the pandemic, as mortgage interest rates hit historic lows and families sought more space for their remote work set-ups to practice social distancing.
The median price of a previously-owned, single-family home in California, as tracked by the California Association of Realtors, increased 47% from March 2020 to May 2022, when it peaked at $900,170.
That same month the Federal Reserve, in order to tackle inflation, began its most aggressive interest rate hikes in years driving up mortgage costs for consumers.
Since May 2022, the state’s median home price has fallen 16.5% to hit $751,330 in January.
Despite the decline in home prices, monthly mortgage costs continue to make the state’s housing market more unaffordable than at nearly any point in the last 15 years, particularly for lower- and middle-class families. Only 17% of families in California could afford a median-priced single family home at the end of last year, according to the Realtors group.
Given the rapid market changes, Tiena Johnson Hall, CalHFA’s executive director, called the governor’s reductions in Dream for All funding prudent at CalHFA’s January meeting. “There’s still a lot of room for (home) values to continue to decrease, and that is what we expect to see,” she said.
In February, the state’s nonpartisan legislative analyst projected a revised $25 billion deficit in next year’s state budget. Since then, job growth nationally and in California has remained strong, except for layoffs in the tech sector.
The full details of the Dream for All program — for instance, which lenders will offer the shared equity loans to borrowers — are not yet available from CalHFA.
And loans will not be immediately available to consumers when the program launches this month. Lenders will need a month to six weeks to roll out the loans and begin marketing them to consumers, said Ellen Martin, a CalHFA official tasked with designing the program.
“We do know that there’s a lot of excitement out there,” Martin told CalMatters in a recent interview.
How it will work
Some details have been revealed in CalHFA board meetings, public hearings and a report to the state Legislature. Here are some of the program’s key components.
The loans will not be available for all Californians. Only those who earn 150% or less of the median income of others in their county qualify. Those income limits vary by county, with $300,000 being the cut-off in pricey Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, but $159,000 for many inland counties such as Fresno and Merced. The loans will cover as much as 20% of a home purchase. Whenever a home is sold, transferred or refinanced, a borrower will owe the state the original amount the state invested, plus a percentage of the home’s increase in value. If the original loan was 20 percent of a home’s value, the seller would owe the state the original loan plus 20 percent of its increased value, though that amount would be capped at 250% of the original loan amount. A social equity feature of the program will be included for those who earn as much as 80% of the area median income. They will get to keep more of their equity when they sell, refinance or transfer their properties than others with higher incomes. Also about 10% of the initial state funds, or $30 million, will be reserved for those lower-income borrowers. The loans can be used to fund down payments and closing costs, including interest rate buydowns. Given the complexity of the program, borrowers will be required to complete a homebuyer education course. Advocates’ concerns
The complexity of the program has some consumer advocates worried.
Lisa Sitkin, a senior staff attorney with the National Housing Law Project, said it would be wise for the agency to ensure borrowers receive periodic notices about the loan’s atypical details.
“As time goes by, people tend to forget and treat it as a normal loan, and I think it is useful for people planning to be reminded,” said Sitkin, a member of a working group advising CalHFA on the program.
A proposal to sell the loans as mortgage-backed securities also has her worried. California officials are exploring the idea of pooling the shared equity loans into securities and selling them to investors, to help provide additional money for other borrowers.
Many Wall Street financial institutions bundled often poor-quality mortgage loans into securities during real estate’s boom years and sold them to major investors. But during the years of downturn, getting help to homeowners was complicated by the difficulties identifying who exactly owned these loans.
“If they are sold into private, securitized trusts there is a lack of transparency about who owns your debt, and a lack of information about options if there are problems,” Sitkins said. “I really want to be sure that there are guardrails and protections for the borrowers.”
Consumers are cautious
As CalHFA officials were designing the program last year, they held several listening sessions online, taking comments from the public. Jake Lawrence, a 41-year-old cannabis entrepreneur in Willits who also runs a nonprofit, said he liked what he heard.
“I’m very interested. The problem we face is that there’s such a flux in what’s going on,” Lawrence said. “We’re in the middle of a housing market bust, so we’re gonna watch prices tumble for a minute.”
What’s more, one of the county’s biggest industries, the marijuana trade, has been hit hard by declines in cannabis prices. “It’s beyond suffering,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence also wondered how the state will calculate equity if he makes improvements to a home.
Despite his questions, he is considering the idea.
“It doesn’t hurt my feelings to share equity with someone who invests in me,” he said of the state. “And anybody that understands any kind of financial literacy should understand an investor should be able to have their expected ROI (return on investment). For me, I have zero issue with the idea.”
A HISTORY OF BALLPARK BEER & THE SF GIANTS
It was 1987 and the city of St. Francis was in turmoil.
The San Francisco Giants, emboldened by their first winning season in half a decade, decided to raise the price of a single beer to two whole dollars, while shrinking the cup size from 16 to 14 ounces. Fans threatened a revolt.
“Don’t they realize statistics can’t lie?” Kevin Blackwell of San Francisco wrote to The Chronicle’s letters page. “I can stay at home and watch the games on cable and drink my own beer at a reasonable price!”
The outrage eventually subsided, maybe later that same day. The franchise made the postseason for the first time since 1971, set an attendance record and presumably sold many, many beers. In fact, they raised prices again the next year.
After decades of near-constant beer price raises — and resulting outrage — Giants president Larry Baer two weeks ago announced a price cut — that the Giants’ least expensive beer would be slashed from $14 to $9 for the 2023 season. (A sentence that deserves an asterisk, more on that later.)
That sent us to The Chronicle archive to find the biggest price hikes, landmark brew moments and most expensive beer (adjusted for inflation) during the team’s 66 years at Seals Stadium, Candlestick and Oracle Park.
There are missing pieces — multiyear stretches where The Chronicle didn’t report on Giants beer prices. But we were still able to gather anecdotes, quotes and data from more than two dozen beer-focused stories from 1960 to 2023.
1960 — The first price hike
From the moment the Giants arrived in San Francisco, they were inexorably tied to beer. Seals Stadium in the Mission District was at different times adjacent to Rainier, Hamm’s and Lucky Lager breweries, with Anchor Brewing Co. less than a mile away. The Hamm’s Brewery sign with its neon chalice was visible from first base and the outfield.
Beer was a constant 35 cents during the team’s two years at the ballpark, in 1958-59, but with the move to Candlestick it jumped to 40 cents — the equivalent of $4.06 in 2023 dollars.
Fans apparently took the price hike in stride. They were considerably more outraged by the new 75-cent parking fee at the ‘Stick.
1971 — “Premium” beer arrives
Nineteen seventy-one was a landmark year for concessions journalism at The San Francisco Chronicle. At least three articles were written about ballpark food and drink prices, after beer prices jumped a nickel to 55 cents, and a “premium” beer was introduced at 60 cents. ($4.54 in 2023 dollars.)
(The brand was not specified, but in the 1970s and ’80s “premium” at a ballpark often meant Michelob or Löwenbräu, and later Heineken.)
Chronicle columnist Prescott Sullivan mustered outrage, but was more upset about the 5-cent raise in peanut prices to a quarter, which included this investigative nugget:
“We counted the peanuts and found there were 45 in the bag,” Sullivan wrote. “Last year we counted 50. What would those five missing peanuts represent if not creeping inflation?”
1978 — The best beer deal ever
When you get your time machine working, and want to travel back for San Francisco’s best ballpark beer deal, set the dial to 1978. Our inflation calculator says that at 85 cents — $3.98 in 2023 dollars — this was the best deal in Giants beer history.
(The team wasn’t bad either. Vida Blue, Jack Clark and Darrell Evans led the squad to 89 wins.)
Harry M. Stevens cries poor: Because the city owned Candlestick Park, any raise in Giants and 49ers concession prices was required to go before the Recreation and Park Commission. There was occasional debate, but the commissioners approved every change in our research.
That includes 1985, when after 25 years of nickel price hikes, the cheapest beer leaped a quarter from $1.25 to $1.50 at the concession stand and from $1.75 to $2 when sold by vendors due to claims that inflation was killing concession profits.
“The stadium concessionaire, Harry M. Stevens Inc., said the increase is needed to cover the higher costs for food, beverages and wages that have occurred since beer prices were increased in 1981,” The Chronicle reported.
1987 — A beer sales apocalypse
The year 1986 was an exciting time for Giants fans. The economy was improving, Will Clark had a promising rookie season and crowds that waned throughout the 1970s returned.
Those crowds liked to drink, and team officials blamed increasing complaints about ballpark fights on beer sales. So the next year, in 1987, the Giants banned roving vendors from selling beer, limiting sales to concession stands.
“The Giants took beer sales out of the stands to try to halt consumption by unruly fans,” The Chronicle reported. “Stevens will sell beer — but only two to a customer — at new booths behind the stands.”
The Harry M. Stevens concessionaires said the move would sink them, and asked the Rec and Park Commission to boost prices on every item except their hot dog, which remained at $1.25. A 24-ounce “premium” beer was raised from $2.25 to $3 — a stunning $8.12 in 2023 dollars, and at that point the largest price hike in team history by far.
“Another bum deal for us fans,” John S. Howard wrote to The Chronicle letters page. “Anyone who has patronized ballparks will tell you that the food at Candlestick is very poor, the worst there is anywhere in sports at any level.”
1991 — A’s and Giants: Let them fight!
The Giants and A’s mostly engaged in a marketing Cold War in previous decades, but in 1991 the rivalry burst into the open.
A’s officials started bragging about their new deals with Round Table and Subway (the now-laughable quote “We prefer to create destination-style eating” appeared in one Chronicle article), while the Giants bragged that their portions were bigger.
The Chronicle noted accurately that both sides were radically increasing prices. The Giants’ cheapest beer went from $2.50 to $3, which is $6.64 in 2023 dollars.
“A family of four,” Chronicle reporter Gary Swan wrote ominously, “could easily spend $75 during an afternoon or breezy evening at Candlestick.”
A Chronicle graphic lists ballpark concessions prices for the A's and the Giants
2004 — Giants admit their beers aren’t cheap
The team kept concessions prices somewhat reasonable after their move in 2000 from windy Candlestick to lovely Pac Bell Park, and even dropped beer prices (for the first time ever by Chronicle reporting).
But prices steadily rose again in the years that followed. In 2004, the team set its lowest beer price at $5.75 — and introduced a $7.75 “super premium beer” ($12.59 in 2023 dollars), which was, at the time, reportedly the most expensive in baseball.
This was also the year officials started admitting their product was expensive, and what are you going to do about it?
“There has become an acceptance of the public that they will pay more for things at events,” Bill Greathouse of Centerplate concessions told The Chronicle. “It’s like popcorn at the movies. You know it’s going to cost more. If price is your only concern, you can pay a certain amount for beer and drink it at home. But Barry Bonds is here.”
2019 — Setting a dubious record
When the Giants moved to China Basin and the team funded the ballpark, they shed the Rec & Park Commission relationship and were able to set prices without commission review.
It also made reporting on the cost of beer more difficult. The team claimed an $8.25 beer as its lowest-priced brew in 2019, The Chronicle reported — and indeed there may have been a beer that price somewhere in the ballpark.
But the team also debuted a $19.25 “premium” 22-ounce beer — $23.01 in 2023 dollars — which SFGate reported as the most expensive beer in Major League Baseball history.
(I went to at least a half-dozen games in 2019, and recall drinking beers in the $11 to $14 range.)
2023 — The big beer price cut
Nudged by KNBR radio host Brian Murphy and no doubt considering a less-than-incredible offseason free-agency period, Giants president Larry Baer on Feb. 24 announced the cheapest beer at Oracle Park — domestic brews such as Coors and Bud Light — would plummet from $14 to $9.
Sort of. There had been $9 beers available in the “415 Club” section of the bleachers. That members-only price had allowed the Giants in 2022 to claim middle-of-the-pack status when MLB beer prices were broken down by team. And since the Giants can now raise and lower their prices without filing papers with a San Francisco city commission, we’re taking the $14 claim at their word.
But a $5 drop is a $5 drop, and a landmark moment in Giants beer history.
We will celebrate on Opening Day … by drinking a much more expensive Anchor Steam.
Price of a beer in 2023 dollars: $9
THE DANDELION is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.
Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
Dandelion seeds are often transported away by a gust of wind and they travel like tiny parachutes. Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!
Animals such as birds, insects and butterflies consume nectar or seed of dandelion.
Dandelion flowers do not need to be pollinated to form seed.
Dandelion can be used in the production of wine and root beer. Root of dandelion can be used as a substitute for coffee.
Dandelions have sunk their roots deep into history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years.
Dandelion is used in folk medicine to treat infections and liver disorders. Tea made of dandelion act as diuretic.
If you mow dandelions, they’ll grow shorter stalks to spite you.
Dandelions are, quite possibly, the most successful plants that exist, masters of survival worldwide.
A not so fun fact: Every year countries spend millions on lawn pesticides to have uniform lawns of non-native grasses, and we use 30% of the country’s water supply to keep them green.
While on an expedition in Africa in 1904, an American explorer purchased a young Pygmy man named Ota Benga from slave traders and brought him to the U.S., where he became part of the “African village” at the St. Louis World’s Fair. After the Fair ended, Ota was hired by the Bronx Zoo to work as a caretaker, but as public fascination with him grew the Zoo began to “exhibit” him, leading to controversy and protests. In response to the criticism the Zoo turned Ota over to Reverend James Gordon, who placed him in an orphanage in Brooklyn.
In 1910 Gordon sent Ota to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he lived with Gregory Hayes, president of Lynchburg’s Virginia Seminary. While a boy in Africa, Ota’s teeth had been chiseled into sharp points, as part of a traditional Pygmy ritual. Rev. Gordon had Ota’s teeth capped and had him dress in conventional American clothing. While attending school he was tutored in English by the poet Anne Spencer. Eventually Ota got a job working in a tobacco factory.
Ota’s dream was to return to his home in Africa and he believed he was nearing his goal. But when World War I broke out, travel to Africa became impossible and Ota became deeply depressed.
On March 20, 1916, Ota Benga built a ceremonial fire in the woods, broke the caps off his teeth, and killed himself. He died one hundred and seven years ago today.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
My dad never whupped my brother or I. Never spanked us either. His punishment was far more effective: the penalty box. When I misbehaved, he’d point to a chair and I’d sit there, quietly, and ponder my transgressions.
I didn’t fear my dad, I respected him.
(In my opinion) rule by fear is for dogs, and other animals. Unfortunately, most humans have not evolved beyond the level of our best friend.
The cruel sea stole him from us before I really got to know him. They don’t make ’em like that anymore…
U.S. OFFICIALS SAY TIKTOK IS A NATIONAL SECURITY RISK
They’re trying to turn it into their advantage
by Lauren Jackson
The platforms are so powerful, their names are verbs: Google, Uber, Instagram, Netflix.
For years, the dominance of American tech companies has brought economic benefits to the United States. It has also offered an advantage in a less obvious area — national security.
Tech companies gather incredible amounts of data about their users. They know where we travel, who our friends are and what we watch. Governments want to use this data for surveillance, law enforcement and espionage. So they hack, hoard, steal and buy it. For years, the U.S. has had an edge over other countries. With court approval, the government can demand that social media giants, based in the U.S. and subject to U.S. law, hand over data about users.
“We had this advantage that we thought would just go on forever,” Bruce Schneier, a security expert and Harvard fellow, said.
Then TikTok came along. The social media app, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has more than a billion users. TikTok says that includes about 150 million Americans. Under China’s authoritarian state, the government has sweeping control over tech companies and their data. U.S. officials are worried that China will use TikTok to promote its interests and gather Americans’ personal information. One Republican called it a “spy balloon in your phone.”
TikTok is the latest flashpoint in the two countries’ struggle for supremacy. Last week, TikTok said U.S. officials had given its Chinese ownership two options: Sell the app or risk a nationwide ban. This morning, lawmakers will question TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Chew, about the app’s ties to China.
This fight is ostensibly about data: who controls it and determines how it appears on TikTok. The U.S. has two main reasons for concern.
First is the threat of Chinese espionage. BuzzFeed found that ByteDance engineers in China had accessed American users’ private data. ByteDance also admitted that employees, including two based in China, spied on journalists and obtained their IP addresses, but said that company leaders had not signed off and that the employees were fired. Despite ByteDance’s close ties to China, TikTok has denied that it has given data to the government.
Second, ByteDance could use TikTok’s algorithms to influence Americans. TikTok has been accused of censoring videos about politically sensitive subjects for China, like Tibetan independence and the Tiananmen Square massacre.
“A Chinese company owns what has become America’s number one culture maker right now,” Sapna Maheshwari, a Times reporter who covers TikTok, said. In the future, lawmakers say, it’s easy to imagine how China could use TikTok to shape American attitudes about Taiwan — or an American presidential campaign.
The U.S. is escalating efforts to limit TikTok’s power. The federal government and more than half of the states have banned TikTok from government devices and networks. Britain, Canada and Belgium have done the same. India banned the app entirely. Now the U.S. is threatening a nationwide ban, too.
Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok in 2020, but judges rejected his attempt. The government is trying again, though it’s unclear exactly how a ban would be implemented. There is no precedent for U.S. restrictions on an app this big.
One approach that some lawmakers prefer would remove TikTok from Apple’s and Google’s app stores and make the app nonfunctional on U.S. cellphone networks. But the government couldn’t reach into users’ phones to delete the app. TikTok would still be accessible to those who already have it, though users couldn’t download updates to the app, which would probably render it unusable eventually.
Any ban faces legal and political hurdles, including questions about First Amendment protections and the possibility of angering millions of TikTok users heading into a presidential election year.
The U.S. may be threatening a ban to force another outcome in its favor — the sale of TikTok to an American company. TikTok and the U.S. have previously negotiated about one. Still, the path is murky. China is unlikely to approve a sale. And if it did, it’s unclear who would buy the app, which could cost $50 billion, according to some analysts. A sale could also trigger antitrust concerns for probable suitors like Microsoft.
Even if a ban never happens, the threat of one still matters. The Biden administration is using the specter of further restrictions to communicate a hard line on China. Lawmakers in both parties will likely make that point clear in the hearing today.
The episode is the latest in the larger fight between two world powers competing for dominance. In this contest, data is a valuable source of economic and political clout.
“If you can control data, you can have influence,” Joseph Nye, a political scientist, said.
China has known this for years. The country has banned apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and operated a tightly controlled internet, isolating its citizens from the rest of the world. The U.S. is now threatening to use China’s playbook against it, effectively using private companies as a national asset and limiting information access as a form of sanctioning.
Chew, TikTok’s chief executive, is expected to tell Congress today that the app is a vehicle for promoting soft power — a “lens through which the rest of the world can experience American culture.” But the U.S. has made clear it cares more about the hard power of data.
“TikTok is the first platform to truly compete with these huge American tech companies,” Sapna said. “The signal the government is sending is: Don’t bother.”
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 22 MARCH
Russia launched another round of strikes across Ukraine, killing at least eight people in the Kyiv region and one in Zaporizhzhia after, officials said.
Meanwhile in the east, the town of Avdiivka in Donetsk is being heavily bombarded by Russia, a local Ukrainian leader told CNN, as concerns mount that it could become the next Bakhmut. The fighting comes as President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to troops Wednesday in the region.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has departed Russia after pledging to deepen ties with President Vladimir Putin. The talks failed to achieve a breakthrough on Ukraine.
Moscow warned the US against continuing drone flights over a zone in the Black Sea, saying they could provoke Russian countermeasures, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
A LONG WEEKEND IN PARIS
by Brian Ng
The French prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, declared to the National Assembly last Thursday that the government would bypass voting in the lower house of parliament, instead using article 49.3 of the constitution to push its pension reform bill through. Since President Macron announced the bill in January, protests across France have brought millions of people into the streets. The bill includes a range of measures, but the most controversial is a raise of the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The government argues that France has the lowest retirement age in the European Union and the state finances can’t keep up. The opposition replies that the finances aren’t as dire as all that, and would be a lot healthier had Macron not slashed taxes for big business and the very rich.
When Borne stood up in the National Assembly before voting was meant to begin, left-wing MPs started singing the ‘Marseillaise’ – members of La France Insoumise also held up pieces of paper saying ‘no to 49.3’. In the days running up to the vote, during a week of continuous protests, Macron had insisted to the media that the numbers to pass the bill would be mustered. But in the end the government decided it couldn’t rely on the necessary votes from Les Républicains, and chose to invoke article 49.3.
Left-wing MPs walked out. Thousands of protesters made their way towards the National Assembly but were stopped by police and corralled into place de la Concorde, across the river from the Palais Bourbon. MPs walked over the pont de la Concorde and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of La France Insoumise, tried to lead the protesters back over the bridge but was prevented by the police; he left soon afterwards. More demonstrators arrived.
The police seemed unprepared for the spontaneous protest. At sunset, protesters moved barriers from elsewhere in the square and built a barricade around the assembled police, who had brought a van equipped with water cannon. Bonfires were lit between the barricade and the obelisk, on the site where the guillotine once stood. ‘We decapitated Louis XVI,’ the crowd chanted, ‘we can do it again, Macron!’ After night had fallen, the police pushed the protesters deeper into the square. The crowd spilled out into the only unblocked street, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which was full of rubbish because of the sanitation workers’ strike: plenty of fuel for the protesters.
Scenes from other cities of police clearing protesters – who fought back with fireworks and Molotov cocktails – circulated on social media. Plans to reconvene the next day were quickly disseminated.
On Friday evening I approached place de la Concorde from the Champs-Élysées, part of which had been cordoned off and emptied of cars. At the entrance to the square the police vans were nine deep; the other sides of the square were sealed off by tessellated vans. Unlike the previous day, the weather was dismal: rain came and went, the cold was more acute. Yet as many people, if not more, had shown up. There was only one bonfire this time, lit next to a barricade in front of the riot police who were blocking the bridge. The police intermittently banged their shields, and the protesters booed and hurled insults in response. I left around 8 p.m. Around a hundred meters away, people quietly had dinner at the bistros on rue de Rivoli.
Ten minutes later, the police started firing tear gas and water cannon into the crowd as they had the night before. They had hemmed in the protesters. Some fought back but there was nowhere to retreat except into the Concorde Metro station. I watched Brut’s livestream on TikTok as the police slowly forced protesters into the station and harassed the journalists who filmed their actions. It was over by midnight.
On Saturday morning, another invitation to protest went out: ‘6 p.m., place de la Concorde, every night until the government falls’. By 3 p.m. the Préfecture de Police had announced that all assemblies in or near place de la Concorde were now banned. The protesters gathered instead in place d’Italie. Large numbers of police from the Brigades de Répression des Actions Violentes Motorisées (BRAV-M), motorcycle units formed in 2019 to respond to the gilets jaunes, were sent in. They charged the crowd on foot, slowed down only when glass bottles – gathered by upending giant recycling bins – were flung at them. They hurtled down streets, jumping over obstacles, hurling tear-gas canisters and lashing out with their truncheons. Protesters had taken temporary metal railings and lined them up down the streets like hurdles. The BRAV-M furiously picked the fences up and chucked them aside. The night ended with more than a hundred arrests.
On Sunday, protesters gathered in Châtelet. There was a lower turnout – hundreds rather than thousands – and they were peaceful. But the police were taking no chances and swooped in to divide the demonstrators and kettle them in the side streets. The police – illegally – didn’t allow the protestors out, so some bars and restaurants provided free food while they stood and waited for hours to be escorted to the Metro stations.
On Monday, all the Metro stations near the presidential palace were closed ahead of two no-confidence motions in the National Assembly, legislators’ only recourse against the invoking of article 49.3. The debate began at 4 p.m. Three hours later the results were in: 278 votes of no confidence, nine too few to dissolve the government: as with the pension reform bill, though this time in Macron’s favor, there weren’t enough center-right Républicains willing to vote for it. The second motion, put forward by the far-right Rassemblement National, failed soon afterwards, with only 94 votes in support.
Angry crowds gathered in squares across France on a fifth consecutive day of spontaneous, unsanctioned protest. The hundreds of protesters in place Vauban were joined by MPs, wearing their tricolor sashes. ‘This is not democracy,’ a France Insoumise MP, Clémentine Autain, told reporters.
Across the river, another march set out from Gare Saint-Lazare, the protesters mainly dressed in black. The police tear-gassed them as they made their way south to the Louvre and up to Châtelet, setting fire to rubbish in the streets as they marched. As the evening wore on, the demonstrators split up into smaller groups across Paris, leaving blockades and fires in the side streets.
By midnight, many of those still out had converged in the Bastille area. Near the western entrance to place de la Bastille I counted 14 vans and a dozen BRAV-M motorcycles. Around a hundred protesters stood in front of the Colonne de Juillet, which commemorates the 1830 revolution. There were more vans on boulevard Richard Lenoir, on the north side, with more police lined up. Two hundred demonstrators were marching up past the opera house. I passed through them onto rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, where fires had been lit earlier and put out by firefighters. There, I counted another 17 police vans, including one with water cannon. Police hurried down the street, some still putting on their riot gear.
I reached home around 12.30 a.m. and logged onto the Brut livestream, which showed police charging at protesters, and forcing them into the Metro. (I must have got out with minutes to spare.) When the trains stopped running, arrests began.
I’ve heard it suggested that it would bode well for Macron’s faction if protesters got violent, as it would turn the public opinion against the unions. That has not happened. Instead, Macron’s approval rating has dropped by eight points since December, according to a Le Figaro poll. The next officially organized demonstration is tomorrow, arranged by the unions before the pension reform bill was due to be voted on. The fight won’t stop before then, and is likely to continue past it: the French can rest when they’re 62.
(London Review of Books)
didn’t this happen a few years ago ?
CALTRANS: Slides can be unpredictable, and our Fort Bragg crew was caught in a slide early this morning.
At about 3AM they were responding to a slide about five miles north of Westport, setting up traffic control and lights to be able to monitor the slide in the dark. While an employee sat in a ten-yard dump truck near the first slide a second slide came down.
You’re right, and thanks for bringing it to our attention.
those are my 2 favorite words “you’re right” …………
IPHONE TECH SUPPORT
Forget it. Ditch your radiotelephonecameracomputerflashlight quickly, before you become a slave to it.
U.S. OFFICIALS SAY TIKTOK IS A NATIONAL SECURITY RISK.
LOL. Pure propaganda. Anyone dumb enough to still believe the US “national security” crap deserves what it gets. I didn’t hear the jerks whining about China as the robber barons packed up their factories and shipped them to China back in the 80s and 90s, so they could take advantage of the cheap labor. Face it, folks, your guvamint is just a pack of robber-baron-loving liars who love sending your kids to fight in wars based on lies.
The reference to the Marin Independent Journal brought back a key childhood memory. My father was good friends with Chip Day of the IJ. I think he was editor but I was only 7 or 8 years old, so who knows? Anyone present when I visited the IJ is long dead and beyond my questioning. Anyway, we went to the IJ one evening after dinner – probably would have been ’58 or ’59, to watch the papers roll off the press. I remember it like it was yesterday – the mighty din as the folded papers rolled by me, the power of the whole operation. News production used to be a very communal, very noisy business. Pre-Internet, when I was a writer at KPIX-TV in SF, everyone sat in one huge room and shouted out questions. One of my faves was “Does anybody remember Bambii’s mother’s name?”
RE: BREAKING NEWS
The Donald Trump Grand Jury will not meet about the case for the remainder of the week. It’s looking more and more likely that Trump will not be indicted on any charges.
That’s too bad, even Boris Johnson seems imdictable. What an amazing system of Justice.
In other news, the US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, ordered Trump lawyer M. Evan Corcoran to turn over to prosecutors documents pertaining to the investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents at his Florida estate. It was Corcoran who – as Trump’s lawyer – issued a statement asserting a “diligent search” search for classified documents had been conducted at Mar-a-Lago in response to a subpoena, a claim later proven untrue.
Really enjoyed your portrait of Diane Price and her loyal assistants/co-volunteers. That’s what community activism is all about, not some narcissistic name changer.
Today’s edition of Ed Notes was tremendous as well.
TikTok’s US user data is on Oracle servers, so a ban would hurt its fast-growing cloud business.
Robert Mailer Anderson, son-in-law of late Bob Miner, co-founder of Oracle Software. … in the infamous newsweekly The Anderson Valley Advertiser by his uncle Bruce Anderson.
“TOLSTOY ON LINCOLN: ‘Of all the great national heroes and statesmen of history Lincoln is the only real giant…’ ” He continues with an elegant argument for this proposition.
And the editor chimes in: “…Lincoln was the greatest president we’ve had, then Grant, then Franklin Roosevelt, but from FDR on to the preposterous Trump and Biden it’s been all downhill.”
These thoughts about great American leaders ring true. Sadly, they leave us pondering those many who didn’t pass muster, who were hapless, inadequate, not fit—on and on. Review the presidents past the service of FDR, and you get a vast array of politicians who were less—often much less–than we deserved and needed, maybe excepting Eisenhower, Kennedy, Obama. Even these three are arguable. Who will come forth as an American leader who truly has the strength, intelligence, historical sense and wisdom, and just plain caring for all the people of America?
No one will. A candidate must have money, lots of it, to make it in our system. Rich people can supply it. Kucinich would have been great, but the wealthy hated him. He seems to be coming back, or trying to do so, but, to get elected, he would need the wealthy to support him with money. So, expect more sold-out asses like Biden (brain-dead, too), Obama, the Clintons, Carter, etc. By the way, we never have had a really “great” leader, no matter what the propagandists may spew.
Our money driven system is typified by having sold-out rats for leaders. Caring for us commoners, beyond empty rhetoric, is not allowed. We’re useful only as slaves and cannon fodder in the quest to rule the world and make more money than the others. It will be a great day when humans have finally extincted themselves. Maybe something worthwhile will evolve before the sun burns out.
John Brown’s legacy “lies a molding the grave,” and if you think the Civil War was not about slavery, then read Cloudsplittee.
Wasn’t Russell Means one of the co- defendants, along with Dennis Banks and Leonard Peltier in the 1972 “murder” of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge?
Hanging Out In the Heart Space Online Satsang – March 23, 2023