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Mendocino County Today: Friday, April 14, 2023

Sunny | Flores Memorial | Wildflower Show | PR Panthers | Bridge Design | Dump Day | Author Event | Brut/Bakery | Rhody's Open | Bella Vista | Useless CPUC | Ocean Cliff | Wild Salmon | Ed Notes | Beaujolais Boy | Mendocino Street | Weed Tax | Variety Show | Bud Glut | Child Abuse | Economic Development | Avocados | Reading Signs | Yesterday's Catch | Voucher Alert | Stabbing Suspect | Front Porches | Homeless Camps | University Club | Wine Shorts | Gangster Suicide | Bar Joke | War Crimes | 2018 Zelenskiy | Sporadically Censorious | Book Burners | Sane Leadership | End War

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DRY WEATHER AND SEASONABLE TEMPERATURES will carry into the weekend. A wet and colder pattern will begin on Sunday, with rain, mountain snow and bouts of gusty southerly winds. Precipitaion chances will continue through mid to late next week. (NWS)

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by Miriam Martiez

The Anderson Valley Unity Club's Garden Section presents our Annual Wildflower Show Coming to June Hall in the Fairgrounds on April 22nd & 23rd from 10 to 4. Admission is FREE!

Starring the most beautiful Wildflowers on the Redwood Coast hills. There will be lovingly propagated plants for sale. Bring in your specimens from your yard to have them ID'd. See the student Art exhibit. Learn from the folks at the California Native Plants table. Have a cup of tea and a snack at the Tea Room (by the Teen Center). Other beverages are also available. See the wondrous gifts you might bring home from the Silent Auction table.

As a special treat the Lending Library will be open special hours on the 22nd, from 10 to 2. Check out our new books, or adopt a pre-owned: 50¢ for paperbacks or $1 for hardbound.

No matter what interests you, you'll find it at the Wildflower Show, Saturday & Sunday, April 22nd and 23rd, from 10 'til 4 in June Hall, Fairgrounds. Admission is FREE.

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AVA News Service

The Mendocino County Dept of Transportation (DOT) is now taking public comments regarding the Philo-Greenwood Road Navarro River Bridge rehabilitation project. The “Notice of Intent to Adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration” originally stated the comment period would end April 19, but the comment period was recently extended to Wednesday, April 26. A public hearing by the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for May 23, 2023. Comments on Project 10-C-0032 can be submitted to or to Mr. James Linderman, Sr, Environmental Compliance Specialist, Mendocino County DOT, 340 Lake Mendocino Drive, Ukiah, CA 95482.

Originally, the proposed bridge rehabilitation and widening project would have replaced the current one-lane concrete arch span with a standard highway-style two-lane span. After several public meetings, the County responded by creating what is now the “preferred alternative” (1-A), keeping the existing arch structure and creating a “sister arch” to accommodate the increased width to two lanes. The rotting timber frame approach will be replaced with concrete.

Along with design considerations, public concerns have centered on the informal river and beach access under the bridge, and the need to hold vehicles to a safe speed around the heavily-used beach access and the entrance to Hendy Woods State Park. The Philo-Greenwood Beach is Anderson Valley’s only public swimming area and local access to the Navarro River. Although not an officially designated public facility, the beach under the bridge has been used for generations.

The bridge rehabilitation project is expected to take two seasons to complete. The Mitigated Negative Declaration document has been created to identify potential negative effects of the project and provide measures meant to ensure there will be no effects of the project that have not been mitigated (alleviated, soothed, lessened). While the existence of the beach and park entrance have been briefly noted, the document does not appear to make provisions for beach parking either during or upon completion of the project. Measures to slow traffic at the beach access and entry to Hendy Woods State Park also have not been identified.

The notice and full environmental review document can be accessed at

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Mendocino Book Company will host local author Jody Gehrman on Saturday, April 29 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at 102 S. School St.

As part of the store’s Independent Bookstore Day celebration, Gehrman will introduce her newest novel, “The Protégé,” at 1:30 p.m.

A professor of English and Communications at Mendocino College, she is a native of Northern California and is well known in Mendocino County. Gehrman is the author of numerous award-winning plays and 14 novels, including “The Summer We Buried” (2022) and “The Protégé” (2023).

Independent Bookstore Day began in 2014 as California Bookstore Day, and has since become a nationwide celebration of books, readers and community.

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RE: AVA April 5 Edition - all my years of interest in wine has taught me that stellar California Sparklers don’t exist, and if they DID they’d be unaffordable/unavailable to you and me. If you MUST, get a bottle of Korbel Brut, as we did on Easter. Calling it “Champagne” involves convolutions but it’s clean enough and $12.99 plus tax.

As to Healdsburg being hemmed in by pricey housing, the legendary Downtown Bakery And Creamery - started by a Chez Panisse Alumnus some 30 years ago - has been sold and already gone to the dogs! Au Revoir! DSS in SF

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Rhody's Cafe at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens officially opened — stop by to meet new staff, a few from last year, and the new manager.

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Randee Koller: What would be the pricing range for the single family homes?

Supervisor Maureen Mulheren: 171 units were approved yesterday for the Bella Vista project. There is a plan to build out the project in 7 stages. Here are some of the designs from the Christopherson Homes Website. This project will not only mean housing but it will mean jobs and most importantly the ability to learn skills in trades that can be used for future careers. 

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It will depend on when they are built and the cost of materials, the market etc. I would/have been saying these shouldn’t be expected to be those that qualify for first time homebuyers; it would be for those in professional level careers like nurses, fire fighters, government employees etc. The good news for first time homebuyers though is that it can free up inventory so that they can get their foot in the door. … there was one member of the public that said that was exactly her attention. And it’s in order to meet inclusionary housing ordinances. There will also be 13 units that lower income folks will qualify for but I’m not sure yet what the price will be for them. … The City of Ukiah is working on bringing the Great Redwood Trail to Plant Road this will specifically help that neighborhood with active transportation as well as additional recreation. The CoU has dedicated the GRT as a linear park so that stretch would be included. Also a great opportunity for rec at the recycled water ponds are very good for bird watching.

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If a person was to examine the decisions of the California Public Utilities Commission over the past decade you would conclude that the CPUC was a wholly owned lobbying subsidiary of PG&E.

It was designed to protect the ratepayers from price gouging. So, why do you allow the president of PG&E to have a compensation of $52 million per year? That’s $1 million per week or $200,000 per day. The average ratepayer works all year for what this person makes in one morning.

Why should PG&E customers have to pay an extra $50 million just to pay one person?

The answer to any rate increase request should be “Take it out of executive compensation. When your pay scale is $1 million or less per year we'll talk.”

Unfortunately, the CPUC voting record gives me very little hope that change will ever happen. The rape payers (sic) will continue to pay and PG&E will celebrate every rate increase with bonuses for its execs.


Dr. Don Phillips


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Ocean Cliff, Elk (Jeff Goll)

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by Michael Koepf

I grew up in California in a salmon fishing port. My father was a commercial, salmon fisherman, and I remember as a child that on days when the salmon were running, salmon on the fish buyer’s dock were often piled as high as my head in make-shift, fish box corrals. Priced a little bit more than hamburger and a whole lot less than steak, king salmon were once the king of California’s seafood world. Over the course of decades, dwindling salmon stocks have raised the price of wild salmon beyond the price of filet mignon. And this year, there will be no wild salmon at all. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has shut the salmon season down, both for commercial and for sport. The reason? The DFW reports that only 60,000 salmon returned to their fish hatcheries last year after they predicted a return of 196,000 fish. Drought was cited as a cause, then came the ubiquitous climate change, followed by anybody’s guess. What happened to the rest of those fish?

Are wild salmon completely wild? No. It’s estimated that up to 90% of California’s ocean salmon begin their lives in hatcheries. California has 11 salmon hatcheries operated by the US Fish and Wildlife (2) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. (9) There’s also a small, private hatchery on the Smith River thanks to the Kiwanis Club. By comparison, the state of Washington has 100 hatcheries operated by federal, state and tribal entities. Oregon has 33. California hatcheries were constructed to provide mitigation from hydroelectric dams that block salmon from reaching their historical spawning grounds. Most hatcheries in California were constructed in the 1950s and 60s. With the exceptions of the Trinity and Klamath hatcheries, juvenile salmon (smolts) use the Sacramento River to gain the sea. That’s if they make it to the ocean at all. Pollution, urban development, agricultural chemicals, irrigation pumps and predation in the Sacramento River and delta make for a dangerous trip. Tough luck little fish, but do we care at all?

Want some salmon to eat? Off to the big box store I used to go. “Eat more salmon,” they said. Omega-3 fats are good. At my box store the price of farmed salmon was good. Far less than wild salmon from the sea. However, cost is a relative thing when it comes to your money or your health, because I forgot to ask where did my salmon come from? It came from salmon farms: 60% from Norway, 40% from Chile, Atlantic, hybrid salmon raised fin-to-fin in floating pens, essentially fishnet jails, combination kitchens and toilets, where farmed salmon spend their brief, congested lives. Norwegian environmentalists warn that farmed salmon are essentially what they eat. They eat dried pellets derived from a slurry of things: vegetable products including corn and soy, sand eels, ruminant protein (lamb and beef organs and blood) plus “marine raw materials,” not intended for human consumption, that is: the head, skin and bones of fish carcasses. Add to that a pesticide that prevents the pellets from turning rancid, plus astaxanthin to dye the salmon red. Then there’s slice—emanectin benzoate—an insecticide used to control outbreaks of sea lice in salmon farms. Slice is listed as safe for humans. Supposedly, it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. However, as revealed by Norwegian environmentalists again, employees at strictly guarded fish farms are often seen spraying something into salmon ponds while wearing chemical masks and protective gear. In an experiment that fed salmon pellets to rats, obese and diabetic was the result. Look at that farmed salmon on your sushi plate. See those wide, white lines? Omega-3 yes, but there’s also omega-6, the fat that increases weight. In wild salmon the lines are thin. Wild salmon, buffed athletes of the sea, eat pretty much what we would: shrimp, herring, squid; anything wild that swims. Farmed salmon are couch potato fish stuck with the fast food that they get. And…often, they get sick: ISA, infectious salmon anemia—pale gills, gulping air, sudden death, SAV—high mortality rates—and PRV, which turns a salmon’s heart to mush. It’s troubling to know that the viruses plaguing Norwegian fish farms are currently present in Canadian fish farms too. Some spawning salmon swimming through the effluence of these fish farms, are dying before they reach their breeding grounds. What happened to the missing California kings? Have infections from Canadian fish farms reached the sea off our California coast?

Can anything be done to put wild salmon back in our seas and healthy fish on our plates? Since most of our ocean salmon are hatched in hatcheries, a modest suggestion here. There are nine rivers north of the Golden Gate. Most are impacted by 150 years of logging that silted or blocked their historical, salmon spawning beds. Place hatcheries on these rivers where once salmon abundantly spawned. Yes, there are California environmentalists who oppose all hatchery fish. I hold sympathy with some of their points of view, especially with farm-raised fish. When every dam is gone, they dream of a time when salmon can return to their antediluvian spawning beds. It is a noble vision, but that would impact electricity and food production in this state. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife and have mastered scientific, hatchery management techniques. All we need is more. High school kids could help maintain them to prepare them for environmental pursuits. We owe it to the health of our fish. We owe it to the health of ourselves.

Meanwhile, here we are in Northern California where salmon once spawned prolifically in all our rivers and streams. Ted Galletti, a Mendocino County supervisor of years and years ago told me story about when he was boy. When salmon spawned in the Navarro River, his father would send him with a horse-drawn wagon to the mouth of the river to retrieve spent salmon carcasses. He’d fill the wagon up and drive it back to their ranch to feed the pigs. He said he could have done it several times. In years gone by, wild salmon produced income for local fishing families as well as those who bought and processed the fish. Sports fishermen flocked to our ports bringing money to spend.

Meanwhile and today, up in our neck of the woods, a Democrat cabal has successfully proposed and financed a hiking trail from Marin County to Eureka along an old rail bed that was formally partially owned by a former congressman. Wonderful news for people who live someplace else—hikers, backpackers, trail bike riders, who will bring scant economic gain to where we live. They import their food on their backs, and sleep on the ground, not in Inns or B&Bs. Additionally, the so-called Great Redwood Trail will not be so great for elderly folks who dislike hiking in sweltering heat or breathing smoke from our summer fires. Who came up with this crazy idea? Were we allowed to vote for this? Who will it benefit? The eco-virtue of politicians? Elite environmentalists, who inhabit commissions and boards by supporting the politicians who placed them there? What’s in it for you and me, and what’s in it for salmon that have disappeared from our rivers and streams? 500 hundred million bucks. That’s what’s proposed for the Great Rip-off Trail. Could that money be used for something else? Something for the re-creation jobs to sustain fishing families, and bring salmon fishing for sport back to our coastal ports? Can anyone venture a guess? How about wild salmon back in the sea?

(Michael Koepf, Author The Fisherman’s Son, Random House, 50-year resident of Elk. This article first appeared in

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ANYBODY OUT THERE who can confirm this? ”Hi AV community, there is an elderly woman who is up at Faulkner Park. She is trying to get to Stanford for medical treatment and was hitchhiking at base of mountain view. She's camping at the park tonight. We gave her food and blankets but if anyone can help her, it'd be greatly appreciated.” (We don't think this is Pebbles, but.....)

Pebbles Trippet

WHERE'S PEBS? One of the County's best known persons, Pebs Trippett, was said to be at the Gray Whale Inn in Fort Bragg. But that was a month ago when we heard that she had to leave there. Where did she go and who's looking after her? Pebs is a legend in the marijuana world as a pioneer in the long struggle to lift marijuana from criminal status. In that struggle, the modest, soft-spoken Pebbles, was arrested many times.

THE SUICIDE RATE in the US returned to a near-record high in 2021, reversing two years of decline. Suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the US, with over 48,000 people taking their own lives. (Three in Mendocino County just last week)

MORE SUCCULENTS AVAILABLE at the wine barrel at the bottom of Holmes Ranch in Philo. The ones that have leaves, you can put in dirt, just don't water for a few weeks. The stem pieces will need to sit out so they can callous and get some roots going (no water). And thank you to those that came by and left my pot alone If anyone is interested in what I call Stone Rose let me know and I can break a bunch down and put up there as well in a day or so.

TAKING ADVANTAGE: “I thought I was doing a good thing by sharing my bounty of succulents with all FOR FREE ... all I asked was that what was in the pot be left alone. Well, apparently there is a Jack Wagon that doesn't respect anything because 4 of my Forever Susans are gone. To you, I hope you forever step on Legos and know that I have spent 4 years getting those established and muliplying. For the rest, there are more Hens and Chicks around the pot and a box in front of the pot. May the Karma Goddess be forever in my favor.”

JACK TEIXEIRA, the leader of the Thug Shaker Central online private chat group, and a member of the Massachussetts Air National Guard, was named by the New York Times as the man behind one of the biggest national security breaches in the last decade. 

Jack Teixeira

The revelation comes after President Joe Biden said during his Ireland trip that investigators were getting close to finding out the source. Two members of the chat room described the suspect to The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “He's fit. He's strong. He's armed. He's trained. Just about everything you can expect out of some sort of crazy movie,” one of the members said. He described him as “a young, charismatic man who loves nature, God, shooting guns and racing cars.” Amid an intense search for the source of the leaks, The Washington Post reported they had seen video and photos of the man, as well as recordings of his interactions with members of the group. In a video seen by The Post, the man is seen at a shooting range with a large rifle, wearing safety glasses and ear coverings. The man looks into the camera and yells racial and antisemitic insults, then fires multiple rounds at a target. 

— Daily Mail

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by Eric Neil Pitsenbarger

Returning to Mendocino this May to share my newly published memoir—Beaujolais in My Blood: Growing up Gay and Well-Fed in a Family-Run Restaurant—will be a thrilling and sweet homecoming. I’m bringing the story of my adolescence living in the small Victorian village above Café Beaujolais, where my parents, Ellen and Gerald Pitsenbarger, created a small French restaurant. The cafe evolved into a famous local institution and their efforts gave me a great story to tell.

To a city kid, sleepy little Mendocino in the early 1970’s felt almost like a ghost town; at 14, I was faced with the existential challenge of finding myself in a place where time seemed to have stood still.

My parents would be proud of how their endeavor has evolved into a fine dining experience, with much of the original caché still remaining. Mendocino and Café Beaujolais are now joined in the minds of gourmets, with a farm-to-table rustic charm and commitment to a right livelihood. Ellen and Gerald Pitsenbarger helped to begin a movement. In writing this book, I wanted to give them credit and send them a love letter.

My early involvement in work at the restaurant lends elements of dark comedy to this memoir, but, as can be seen in the excerpt below, there was always serious work to do. I will present some of my experiences—with an interactive slideshow, short reading, and Q+A—at the Kelley House Museum Thursday, May 18th, from 4:00 PM–5:30 PM. Local author Eleanor Clooney will be on hand to ask me questions and facilitate the discussion. 

Chapter 15. Glazed Perfection

I was addicted to bread. I’d become a breadaholic, and my mother, Ellen, was unwittingly responsible. She enabled me in my craving by making the very best bread I’d ever tasted: light years beyond Wonder-bread, even better than the famed sourdough from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

For the café, she baked hundreds of perfect little loaves, at least thirty a day. You could build a house from all the bread that came out of that oven. Ellen was a one-woman factory, always tired and complaining of sore arms as she muscled big bowls of dough, kneading by hand, grappling with hunks, stretching, pulling, and pounding.

Each diner’s table would get its own individual fresh warm loaf of bread wrapped in a cloth napkin, presented on a little board along with a cute round of unsalted sweet butter molded with a thistle design. It was the first act once customers had ordered and were settling in, and when we brought it to the table, people would clap hands together or squeal with delight. It was like getting a birthday surprise.

Ellen was always working and slept fitfully. She started alone early every morning, when the first rays of the sun crisscrossed the kitchen to illuminate her makeshift baking pantry. She hovered like a shaman ensconced in her sanctum, surrounded by ceremonial tools, with bunches of dried herbs, every baking utensil, mixing spoon, ladle, found and repurposed stick or spatula hanging on hooks, sprouting from jars, or doing double duty as bookmarks. Her mixing bowl ready, the cutting board clean, the family of bread pans oiled, lined up and ready, she would gather herself together and begin the day-long bread baking, lasting until the Café closed at 10:00, four days a week. Even from Sunday to Tuesday, our three days off, there was always plenty for us to do, something that had been put off or an improvement project.


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Mendocino (photo by Randy Esson)

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Per revisions recently adopted to Mendocino County Cannabis Business Tax, Chapter 6.32, Section 6.32.100, effective April 28, 2023, qualified cultivators will be allowed to participate in a limited amnesty program whereas persons who failed or refused to pay any commercial cannabis business tax required to be paid pursuant to this Chapter for cannabis cultivation or for a nursery business for tax years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 may pay the full amount owed for that year and be waived of any penalties and interest for that year or those years effective April 28, 2023 through June 30, 2024. 

Alternatively, persons seeking a waiver of said penalties and interest who are unable to pay a full year or years shall have an option to enroll in a payment plan agreement through May 31, 2023 by meeting the below qualifications and agreeing to the following terms: 

Payment Plan Qualifications 

- All cannabis cultivation and/or nursery business taxes owed for the 2022 tax year must be paid including the 2022 cannabis tax minimum/true up. 

- Quarterly returns for qualifying tax years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 must be reported/submitted. 

Payment Plan Requirements/Terms 

- Payment Plan Agreement signed and submitted 

- Twenty-five percent (25%) of total redemption amount paid 

- Agree to pay the second forecasted installment on or before June 30, 2024 

- Agree to pay the third forecasted installment on or before June 30, 2025 

- Timely payment of new taxes owed for 2023, 2024 and 2025 (through the quarterly payment 

due for quarter ending June 30, 2025) must be made 

- Only delinquent True-Up tax for years 2018-2021 are eligible for a payment plan 

Once the person has satisfied all requirements of the payment plan, the Treasurer-Tax Collector is authorized to forgive payment of any of the persons’ outstanding penalties and interest for tax years 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. 

Should the agreeing party become delinquent in paying either amounts owed under the payment plan or tax years 2023, 2024 and 2025, the Treasurer-Tax Collector shall terminate the payment plan and all tax, penalties and interest owed shall immediately be due and payable. 

For more information or help determining eligibility for this program, please contact the Tax Collector at 707-234-6848. 

Cannabis Cultivation Tax Appeals & Amnesty and Payment Plan

Cannabis Cultivation Tax Appeals

Tax Appeal Form

Deadline To Submit: Friday, April 28, 2023 at 4 p.m. 

Late or incomplete applications will NOT be accepted.

Please Be Advised: This will be the ONLY opportunity to appeal the 2022 Cannabis Business Tax. All 2022 cultivation tax appeal applications MUST be submitted by the deadline listed above.

One may submit an Appeal Application in person to the County of Mendocino Cannabis Department (MCD), Tuesday - Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Appeal Applications can be submitted by mail but must be received by the MCD office no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 28, 2023.

Applications for Appeal will only be accepted for the 2022 Cannabis Business Tax. All prior year appeal periods have expired.

Your appeal packet must include the following:

A completed Notice of Appeal; Click Here For The Appeal Form

A copy of the attached invoice;

Any and all other documentation supporting your appeal; and

The initial appeal fee of $329.17.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without review.

For information regarding the Notice for Amnesty and Payment Plan please call the Treasurer-Tax Collector at (707)234-6848 or visit their website at!/

Best Regards,

Mendocino Cannabis Department

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by Paul Modic

I couldn’t sell my weed and I became that boring person who, whenever I saw someone I knew, didn’t even say hello first, just “Hey man, can you help me connect? You know anyone who wants any? Sour D, as much as you want.” Didn’t even say hello first! Obsessed. Who will buy my wonderful buds? It reminded me of when I used to stand in front of the Woodrose Cafe ten or fifteen years before with a bud in my front pocket looking for a connection..

I started driving around and desperately knocking on doors. I had met this friendly guy a few years earlier at the Woodrose who shared an interest in classic cars with my brother-in-law. He had told me his wife was recovering from heart surgery at their place in Redway though he probably did his growing up the Alderpoint road somewhere.

One day driving around I cold-knocked on his door in Redway. I didn’t have his number so I would have to annoy him in person with my quest: Help me sell this weed! He wasn’t home but I recognized his wife as a long-time Ettersburg resident and she recognized me too. “I don’t know if you or Sam are into moving stuff,” I said, “but I’m just trying anything, so I thought I’d ask.” She was nice, didn’t seem put out, and said she’d mention it.

“Okay, thanks. Tell Sam I said hi.” I gave her my number and never heard back from them. Soon after I got home there was a knock on my door. It was this guy who had legally changed his name to “Crooked Prairie.” He was a nice guy I’d seen around for years though pretty full of himself. He was a bit of a contradiction, always talking about this healthy living stuff while sporting a huge belly that was not a good sign for the future.

“Hey man, can you help me out?” he said. “I gotta move my shit and my last connection didn’t show up this year.”

“Man, I was just doing the same thing, knocking on doors! You’re my doppelganger,” I said. “Sorry, I can’t help you.”

“I got 98 pounds of OG,” he said.

“Well, I have no idea what to do with it. I can’t sell my pounds. You got some sample pounds out in the car? I guess I could take one just in case,” I said. “I’ve got seventeen OG myself so who knows?”

“I really gotta find someone to buy my weed,” he said. “I’m starting my garden for this year and I’ve still got all my stuff.”

“Yeah, right, I think it’s over. Well, it was a forty-year boom, longer than most.” I thought it over for a moment and then said, “Well if you’re really desperate I know this last resort shit show that you could try. He’s a total low-baller out in Briceland and he’s probably still moving tons of weed. Do you know Jerold Money? “

“Yeah I know who he is. I think I talked to him once or twice,” Crooked Prairie said. “Do you know where he lives.”

“Yeah, right there by the road.”

“Okay, just go out there, bring some elbow samples, and tell him I sent you. 98 pounds of OG. What do you want for that?”

“Twelve,” he said.

“Okay, then try to get eleven. Good luck. Tell me what happens.”

A couple days later I got a text: “All gone.”

I called him up. “Really? You got rid of it all? Amazing. And a good price?” He wouldn’t say but I figured eleven. “Shit, well, maybe I should try him too. Do you have his number?” He gave me the cell but it was almost impossible to get ahold of Jerold Money, or J as he is widely known, on the phone. The next day I threw ten pounds of Sour Diesel in my trunk and just drove out there. It was the usual chaotic J scene.

I was standing in the backyard with my big garbage bag of ten Sour D’s. Another farmer I knew was standing there with his big plastic bag of pounds. We exchanged glances as if to say, “Yup, it’s come to this, dealing with J as the last resort.”

Sitting around the picnic table was another middle-woman just hanging out. J’s teenage daughter was walking back and forth from the creek in her bikini. About thirty feet away was a brand new white truck, maybe a rental, with a couple people inside. Another guy was shuttling back and forth from the picnic table to the truck bringing samples to the guys from New Jersey. “We got a situation here,” J said. “He doesn’t want to come out of the truck—he had a bad experience or something last time. Lemme see what you have.” He looked over my pounds and sent one over with the runner. “What do you want?”

“I want a thousand,” I said. J looked doubtful if not incredulous. After some back and forth to the truck he said, “He’ll give you eight but I still need my fifty cents so I’ll try to get you eight if I can get my fifty.” (Translation: His fifty bucks cut per pound.)

“I don’t want eight,” I said. “I want nine.” Back and forth it went. Really? Settle for eight for Sour D in 2017? Had it really come to that? I said no thanks, packed up my shit and left.

Later I saw Crooked Prairie at a party and asked him how his deal had gone down. “I will never deal with J again!” he said. “First I hauled all 98 pounds to Briceland where he checked it out and then he told me to take it to Weott where he controls like a block of houses. Then this other guy comes over, checks it out, and wants to take it all down the street. I looked at J and said what the fuck, are you guaranteeing that? He shrugged and nodded. Sure enough the guy came back with all the money and I counted it and got out of there. It was the most stressful deal I’ve ever done.”

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Economic Development & Financing Corporation (EDFC)

Save the date and join the EDFC in person for The State of the Redwood Coast Region, their 3rd annual regional economic development summit. While this event has been virtual for the past two years, the EDFC says they're thrilled to announce that this year’s summit will be IN PERSON in Ukiah, CA on September 21-22, 2023!

Early Bird tickets cost $135! Registration opened on April 1st.

Visit to learn more!

The State of the Redwood Coast Region: Our Elemental Economy is a two-day economic summit designed to foster "innovative thinking throughout the region of Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino Counties, as well as adjacent tribal lands". 

The EDFC's stated goal is to" identify shared economic opportunities and strengthen collaboration amongst our businesses, economic development professionals, and leaders".

The summit promises to offer a "unique opportunity to gather, network and connect under one roof to help co-create a thriving, financial future for the region". 

Join the EDFC at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center in Ukiah this September to connect with fellow community leaders making an impact in the Redwood Coast Region.


2023 State of the Region Summit: Our Elemental Economy Tickets, Thu, Sep 21, 2023 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite

John Sakowicz


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Avocados as seen looking South of the border (Grapes)

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by Louise Mariana

No, this is not an article about Italian cooking, although some historians believe pasta originated in China in the BC Era, this is about me and my dog Pasta, my travelling companion for hundreds of miles throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Pasta was dropped off in my driveway when she was about six months old at an age ready to be spayed, my guess is her owners didn't want to take on that expense so I was “gifted” with this beautifully proportioned smallish black lab with soft, pendulous ears, a white blaze on her chest and the most soulful, emotional eyes I’ve ever seen, canine or human.

As I drove my trusty five-speed Toyota pick-up, she rode shotgun. She had the uncanny ability to tell me when I needed to change gears.

If I was in second gear too long, she would stare a hole in the right side of my head til I felt her and made the proper adjustment. She knew the sound of a struggling engine. As soon as I up- or down-shifted she resumed her attention watching for little things crossing the road, especially bunnies, at which point her lips would quiver and her shoulders would tremble slightly.

I had three dogs living with me for 16 years. It was the best family I’ve ever known. Each dog had his/her own personality. I must admit Pasta was my favorite. I suppose parents of several children also notice distinctive personalities in their offspring and probably develop favorites, although they may not want to admit that discrimination. But for me, I had no problem doing so. Pasta was my favorite.

I took many car trips during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I rotated dogs. Two had to spend time in a kennel while I chose one to accompany me to Idaho, Nevada and Montana. The rest of this article will focus on the unusual and pun-iferous road and business signs I saw during these excursions.

We'll start in Wolf Creek, Oregon, in 1992 where. My truck had a broken water pump. We hung out there while it was repaired. A local landscaper had a sign saying “We keep rolling a lawn,” and Burger King praised their third assistant team leaders with banners and posters. I wondered about the first and second team leaders. Did they feel that they were short-shrifted? 

Moving along to Kellogg, Idaho!, I stopped at a coffee shop called “Rise and Shine,” and then bought bread at the “Silveradough Bakery.” Eureka, Montana, had a charming, homey restaurant called “Time Out Cafe” where coffee was 25¢. This was 1992, remember. Montana had some great hair salon signs. One said “Expertease” and my favorite was “Curl Up and Dye.”

Hamilton, Montana had a most creative use of its retired ferris wheel. On the front of each seat hung a sign advertising a local business. In Lewiston I checked into the “Ho-Hum Motel” for $20 a night with tv and kitchen. It was more commodious than any Motel 6 could ever hope to be. Our 1992 travels came to an end and we headed home through Nevada with its many truck stops. The best billboard said “24 hour diesel showers.” What would that do to sensitive skin and lungs?

I loved Idaho and Montana so much that I returned again in 1993 taking the route through Nevada. Passing through Lovelock, I couldn’t help but think of liplocks and sex in general, another innuendo appeared at the A-1 Radiator Shop telling us it was the best place to take a leak.

As I crossed into Idaho and drove into a rest stop I was astonished by this warning sign, “Beware of rattlesnakes.” I was told by other travelers that Idahoans despised the influx of Californians into their fair state and they rallied against having another rest stop created half way up the state. Why encourage these slimy golden staters with their espresso machines and pinko attitudes? Idaho even had signs along the interstate that said “Californians must be dipped,” alluding to the practice of having livestock swim through decontamination pools of chemicals.

I was tired, so despite the threat of lethal reptiles, I decided to spend the night in my truck. At daybreak, I lowered the tailgate and set up my morning ritual items. Toothbrush, water, coffee, propane stove. A man who had pulled in next to me approached me as I was brushing my teeth, not the most opportune time to solicit female favors, but he was undeterred by my frothy mouth. With an Arabic accent, he said he'd give me the three packages of Rye-krisp crackers he held in his outstretched hand if I would spend time with him in a motel. I've been propositioned before, in my younger years, but this took the cake. Smiling, I declined and hoped he wasn’t a deranged axe killer who would exact his revenge!

Driving through Nampa, Idaho, I wondered about the mindset of its residents. The bike shop was called “Suicycle” and a billboard admonished us to “Do Not Use Your Freedom To Indulge the Sinful Nature.” 

Yellow pine was hosting the annual Harmonica Festival. I believe it still carries on. Musicians from far and wide came to display their skills on the mouth organ. Some able to play three at a time. The theme of this harmonica gathering was “harmonica players don’t die, they just blow away.” If you're a harmonica aficionado, check the web and see when the next gathering will be.

A local fundraising group sponsored the Elk Turd Bingo Toss. Fifty cents got you three dried elk turds which you would toss onto a numbered grid. Whoever had the highest total score won the pot, a whopping $5.00.

The Yellow Pine Café’s menu was hand-written in a loose leaf notebook; nothing fancy here, unlike Denny's many laminated menu pages.

We moved on To Kooskia, population 700, a town defined by its lumber industry and its hair and tobacco shop called “Patty’s puff and snuff.” A few thrift stores had catchy names like. “Now and Then,” “Round 2”, “Remains to Be Seen,” and “Then and Again.” An animal clinic was called “Noah’s Bark.”

Somewhere between the towns of Donnelly and Crouch. Were more amusing signs. The roadway pavement was stenciled “Don’t be a guberif.” (Read it backwards.) And on an outhouse door, “Please shut the door or a do-gooder Democrat might escape.” The town of Lowman had a plaque honoring Emma Edwards who designed the state seal in 1890. In Grimes Creek, I bowed my head in tribute and gratitude to the great folksinger Rosalie Sorrells who lived in that tiny hamlet.

And so ended my two summer adventures in Idaho and Montana. Pasta went with me the first time. The next summer I took my setter/retriever who leapt with joyful exuberance at seeing snow for the first time. All three of those dogs died in 1999; all at the age of 16. I loved them dearly and forever, who says only humans can make a family? Canines can too, and often it’s deeper and longer lasting.

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, April 13, 2023

Calderon, Duman, Hernandez

EMERSON CALDERON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

AMANDA DUMAN, Ukiah. False personation of another, failure to appear, probation revocation.

LUIS HERNANDEZ, Ukiah. Robbery, controlled substance, brandishing, criminal threats, stolen property, parole violation.

Huerta, Kisliuk, Molina

LUIS HUERTA-MERINO, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation.

DANIEL KISLIUK, Fort Bragg. Interference with public safety communication, witness intimidation.

DANIEL MOLINA, Vallejo/Piercy. Attempted burglary, controlled substance, paraphernalia. 

Nunez, Page, Palafox

SEFERINO NUNEZ-LEON, Redwood Valley. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation revocation.

KAMARA PAGE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

EDY PALAFOX-LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

Ray, Southard, Vega

JEREMIAH RAY, Covelo. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

RHETT SOUTHARD, Willits, Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

CYNTHIA VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. Under influence.

* * *


Sane Message to Postmodern America April 13th @ 3:18PM Pacific Time

Dear Postmodern America,

It is with great joy that I have been informed that at some point I will be receiving a voucher which will better enable me to obtain independent housing, and after over one year of patiently waiting for this, will be able to leave my humble living circumstances at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in Ukiah, California. Secondly, the medical appointments are continuing at Adventist Health, wherein I will soon be assigned a permanent personal physician. There is one more appointment at the cardiovascular department; all of the medication to ensure proper blood pressure is working well. A problem is that what I really need is for a small skin tag inside of the mouth (which gets in the way occasionally while chewing food) to be removed, and I also need to have my teeth cleaned. I do appreciate the tens of thousands of dollars which my United Health Care--Medicare Advantage Plan is paying for all of the extensive testing, and "deep consultations" at Adventist Health. And I understand that because for the past 50 years since graduating from the University of Arizona, that because I have voluntarily lived a life based on unpaid service work, environmental and related activism, and creatively writing down the bones, that now my social security benefits are only $829.07 monthly, plus food stamps. I understand that in the American experiment in freedom and democracy that I am not regarded as worth shit. But, I have cultivated a successful spiritual life. I know what I am! So, contact me when you are ready to do something crucial on the planet earth. Beyond my appointments on April 19th, I am ready to roll out of the homeless shelter and destroy the demonic, and if it won't piss off anybody too much, let's return this world to righteousness. 

Craig Louis Stehr

* * *


by Rachel Swan, Megan Cassidy, Michael Cabanatuan

Bob Lee

San Francisco police made an arrest Thursday morning in connection with the stabbing death of Cash App founder Bob Lee, a crime that stunned the city’s tech community and inflamed fears of surging violence downtown.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins charged 38-year-old Emeryville resident Nima Momeni with murder for allegedly stabbing Lee twice in the chest at 2:30 a.m. on April 4, leaving a trail of blood on the sidewalk in San Francisco’s wealthy Rincon Hill neighborhood. Lee, 43, was a colorful, outsize figure, known for his leadership role at Square and for working on the team that launched Google’s Android operating system, but more often remembered as the last guy to leave any party.

Officers booked Momeni into San Francisco County Jail at 9:19 a.m. He was scheduled to appear for his first court hearing on Friday.

The victim and the accused killer knew each other, Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters who gathered Thursday afternoon at the department’s headquarters in China Basin. Scott said officers had served two search warrants in San Francisco in addition to the arrest and search warrant in Emeryville, but he declined to offer more detail.

“We know that this has been a high-profile case, and there has been a lot of speculation, and a lot of things said about our city, and crime in the city,” Mayor London Breed said at the opening of the press conference, during which she commended law enforcement for handling the case appropriately.

Jenkins spoke in a more pointed tone, citing “reckless and irresponsible statements” on social media — including a post from Twitter owner Elon Musk — that “serve to mislead the world in their perceptions of San Francisco, and also negatively impact the pursuit of justice for victims of crime.”

Momeni was not immediately able to respond to a text message, and his voicemail box was full. He previously described himself in a LinkedIn profile as an information technology consultant and entrepreneur for a company called Expand IT.

Alameda County court records show that in 2011, Momeni was charged with allegedly selling a switchblade knife and driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors. He pleaded no contest to the suspended license charge the following year, and the knife charge was dismissed. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail as well as three years of probation, fined more than $900 and ordered to destroy the knife.

Additionally, Momeni was charged with a misdemeanor in 2004 for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

Police approached Momeni’s home at the sprawling Besler Building in Emeryville — a former steam-car manufacturing plant converted to live-work lofts — at 5:05 a.m. Thursday, neighbors said. Chris Donatiello, who lives a floor above the building’s entrance on Harlan Street, said he awoke to a bellow over loudspeakers, saying, “We have a warrant for your arrest, come out with your hands up.”

Peering outside, Donatiello glimpsed five or six officers in full SWAT gear standing in front of the building, with two near the front door and three or four in the parking lot, he said.

Donatiello knew Momeni from brief encounters at the Besler, and characterized him as “a super nice guy.”

“He left me in a better mood every time I talked to him,” Donatiello said. “I can’t believe it,” he added, referring to the arrest.

Another resident who withheld his name, citing privacy concerns, said Momeni had come to his door the night of the incident, asking for alcohol. It wasn’t clear if the neighbor met with Momeni before or after the slaying. The neighbor declined to answer further questions.

Public affairs consultant Sam Singer, who recently opened an office next door to Momeni’s second-floor loft, recalled a similarly pleasant interaction with a man who gamely handed out business cards and ingratiated himself to strangers.

“I was coming into our brand new East Bay office, and his door was open, so I knocked to introduce myself,” Singer said. Momeni answered and gave Singer a tour of his unit, which he had furnished with a pool table and scads of technology equipment. With its grid of windows and inlaid brick facade, the Besler has housed architects, lawyers, artists, techies and the occasional Emeryville politician.

Momeni seemed “warm and welcoming,” Singer said, remembering how Momeni popped into his office, admired the space and offered information technology services should Singer’s company ever need them.

Akash Sawhney met Momeni in 2015, while working for Outward, a startup that had hired Momeni to set up its information technology network. Like others, Sawhney had positive impressions of Momeni, who he said was “super helpful” and displayed no red flags or flashes of anger.

The two men connected over religion after Sawhney learned that Momeni was Zoroastrian — a member of the ancient monotheistic religion that originated in Iran. Many Zoroastrians fled persecution and wound up in India, where Sawhney grew up.

“I was completely taken aback when I read his name in the news this morning,” Sawhney said on Thursday. “It didn’t seem in character with what he’s accused of doing — at least in my interactions with him.”

Mission Local was first to report Momeni’s arrest.

The killing animated fears of a crime wave in San Francisco, though the anguish displayed on social media and amplified by high-profile tech figures was not borne out by police data, which shows a level of violence similar to cities of comparable size.

Thursday’s arrest marked a sobering I-told-you-so moment for city leaders such as Supervisor Dean Preston, who criticized people “who tried to exploit this tragedy to stoke hatred of the poor” by linking the crime to homelessness and drug use in downtown San Francisco.

“Some public apologies are in order,” Preston tweeted.

Lee’s brother, Tim Oliver Lee, thanked police for arresting the suspect “so quickly” and said his family looks forward to working with the District Attorney’s Office.

“Hopefully now our family can begin the healing process,” he wrote on Facebook.

Supervisor Matt Dorsey, whose district includes the site of the killing on the 300 block of Main Street in Rincon Hill, also expressed gratitude to police.


* * *

* * *


by Marisa Kendall

Neighborhood resource coordinators Jawid Sharifi (center) and Gustavo Tellez, right, meet with unhoused residents at a homeless encampment on W Street and Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento on April 11, 2023. Photo by Rahul Lal for CalMatters

Technically, the encampment of about a dozen tents at W Street and Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento is illegal.

The tents, tarps and associated debris — clothing, a discarded crib, boxes of rotting food — are blocking the sidewalk in violation of a new city ordinance. Located on a major thoroughfare and across the street from a neighborhood of houses, the camp is one of the most complained about in the city, said Hezekiah Allen with Sacramento’s Department of Community Response.

But on a recent Tuesday morning, his team wasn’t out there threatening to arrest people, or even telling them to move. Instead, city outreach worker Jawid Sharifi was greeting encampment residents, whom he knew by name, with fist bumps. Gently, he inquired whether they’d given any more thought to moving into a city-run trailer park for unhoused residents.

“Whenever you’re ready,” Sharifi told a man in a black hoodie who emerged from a tent. “We’ll come back here in the afternoon also to talk to you guys.”

As in many California cities, Sacramento’s shortage of affordable housing and shelter options makes it difficult to enforce anti-camping laws. But despite obvious challenges, local ordinances designed to crack down on encampments are becoming increasingly common.

Liberal leaders in cities and counties throughout California, pushed to their wits’ end by massive encampments and irate voters, are taking steps to ban camps. Cities including Los Angeles, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Oakland, Santa Cruz and Milpitas — all run by Democrats — passed ordinances in the past three years to target behavior such as setting up tents near schools and other buildings, blocking sidewalks or even camping at all when shelter is available. Officials in San Jose and San Diego are considering similar measures.

“It’s a reflection of where we’ve gotten to as a society on this issue,” said Democratic political strategist Daniel Conway, who led support for a 2022 Sacramento ballot measure that will make large encampments illegal if shelter is available. “Because I think there’s a recognition that the kind of status quo of having over 100,000 people in California living and dying on the streets, it’s terrible for those people…And at the same time there’s this increased sense that people don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods and their own communities anymore.”

So far, state lawmakers have been reluctant to follow with new anti-camping laws. Two bills backed by Republican legislators would take the unprecedented step of making it illegal for unhoused people to camp in certain areas — including near schools — throughout the entire state. To date, the state’s involvement in encampment management mostly has been restricted to agencies such as Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol clearing camps from state land.

Broader anti-camping measures can be politically and morally fraught, as well as logistically complicated. Activists argue displacing unhoused people from their camps is traumatizing and dangerous to their health.

And such laws run the risk, particularly for liberal lawmakers, of appearing to criminalize homelessness — so far, Democratic legislators by and large have been unwilling to sign on in support.

The new local ordinances, which come with penalties that can include fines or even arrest, have become a flashpoint in a heated debate. Advocates for the rights of unhoused people argue they’re cruel and unconstitutional, while some housed neighbors — sick of seeing human waste, trash and discarded needles in the street — say they don’t go far enough. Enforcement of the new ordinances, which largely is driven by complaints, has been uneven, and most cities don’t have the resources to respond to every encampment.

And then there’s the state’s legendary affordable housing shortage. Sky-high rental prices have forced multitudes of Californians onto the street, where they’re confronted with a dearth of shelter beds, addiction treatment and mental health help. Though anti-camping laws may score political points for officials under immense pressure to clean up their city’s streets, without places for unhoused people to go, they continue to move block by block around our cities.

For example, Sacramento County, which counted more than 9,000 unhoused residents in its 2022 homeless census, has about 2,400 shelter beds.

“The overarching issue is if you don’t have actually acceptable places for people to go, then people can be forced to leave but then they’ll just go somewhere else,” said Jennifer Wolch, a professor emerita at UC Berkeley who specializes in issues surrounding homelessness. “And it will become a problem for another neighborhood.”

Should the state decide where encampments can be?

Despite what’s going on at the local level — and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s repeated insistence that clearing California homeless camps is a top priority — Democrats in the Legislature have been reluctant to jump on board.

Senate Bill 31, which would make it illegal to sit, lie or sleep within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare, park or library, failed to make it out of the Senate Public Safety Committee and is awaiting reconsideration. The bill, introduced by Senate GOP leader Brian Jones of San Diego County and backed by seven other Republicans, has just one Democratic co-author — Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa. Representatives from 15 different organizations across the state spoke out against the bill during its committee hearing last month, calling it “misguided” and accusing supporters of prioritizing criminalization instead of health and safety.

 Assembly Bill 257, another GOP bill that would make it illegal to camp within 500 feet of a school or daycare center, also was voted down in committee. Author Josh Hoover, a Folsom Republican, tried to assuage critics by narrowing its focus — it no longer applies to parks or libraries and now prohibits “camping” instead of “sitting” or “lying” — but to no avail. Even so, it’s not dead yet. The bill was granted reconsideration and Hoover remains hopeful.

“I personally have found needles in the park where my kids play, and I think this is something that most of the public finds unacceptable,” he said in an interview. “It needs to be addressed immediately statewide.”

Debris from homeless encampments at a regional park lies scattered due to the recent flooding in Sacramento on April 11, 2023. Photo by Rahul Lal, CalMatters

At least two newly elected Democratic lawmakers voted for local anti-camping ordinances while serving on city councils last year, Sen. Angelique Ashby of Sacramento and Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen of Elk Grove. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re sold on a statewide ban.

“I believe that addressing these concerns at a local level rather than a statewide level is the best approach,” Nguyen said in an emailed statement.

Ashby refused an interview request and her office wouldn’t say whether the senator supported the statewide efforts.

City leaders also don’t necessarily want the state to step in.

“When it comes to where do you enforce a no-encampment zone, I feel like that should be a city decision,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan.

San Jose City Council voted in 2021 to target homeless encampments near schools for removal, and since then has cleared 42 school-zone camps. Mahan said the experiment has been successful, as people have agreed to move from the school zones without creating “a huge tax on city resources or a big controversy.”

But Shaunn Cartwright, a local advocate for the rights of unhoused people, said many of those displaced from school zones just move their camps to other locations in the city.

“All it does is stigmatize unhoused people as these are people we can’t trust around children,” she said of the city’s policy. “And it’s ridiculous because many unhoused people obviously are parents.”

Mahan is considering eventually implementing broader no-camping zones in places like key business districts, but only after his city increases its temporary housing capacity.

Brigitte Nicoletti with the East Bay Community Law Center said in addition to being a “really cruel and shortsighted way of addressing homelessness,” ordinances that ban camping when there’s not enough shelter may violate unhoused people’s constitutional rights. Another problem: When clearing encampments, many cities will offer shelter not everyone can accept — whether it’s because of mental or physical health conditions, or because it would force them to leave behind beloved pets or important possessions.

“It’s really just pandering to people who are freaked out by health and public safety issues,” she said of the uptick in no-camping ordinances, “but it does nothing to address people’s actual needs.”

Democratic leaders want more California homeless shelters

Several factors led to the growth of massive homeless encampments throughout the state and prompted the recent spate of anti-camping ordinances. In addition to an overall increase in the state’s homeless population — it’s estimated more than 170,000 unhoused people lived in the state last year, compared to just over 150,000 in 2019 — many cities stopped clearing homeless camps during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to grow and become more entrenched.

A 2018 ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also changed the game. In Martin vs. Boise, the court ruled cities cannot penalize someone for sleeping on public property if no other options exist — which many cities have interpreted to mean they can’t clear an encampment unless they have enough shelter beds for the displaced residents.

Cities’ new anti-camping ordinances take advantage of a loophole in that ruling — even if they have no space in their shelters, they still can make it illegal to sleep outside in certain places or at certain times.

But no liberal California leader wants to be accused of “criminalizing” homelessness. So most are pairing anti-camping ordinances with a push for resources. Mahan of San Jose wants to build 1,000 new temporary housing units this year before he expands no-camping zones. Santa Cruz’s no camping ordinance has yet to take effect, and won’t do so until the city can create 150 new shelter beds and establish a place for unhoused people to store their belongings.

Sacramento’s Measure O, passed by voters in November, includes a requirement to set up more shelter beds before cracking down further on camps — something city leaders plan to achieve via a new partnership with the county.

“It’s first up to the society through its government to provide safe dignified alternatives to people,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who has become one of the state’s most high-profile examples of a progressive politician caught between the pressures to clear camps and to respond to homelessness with compassion. “And if that test is met…to say people cannot choose to live out on the streets.”

Uneven enforcement

Enforcement of these ordinances presents a tricky question: How do cities get unhoused people to comply without punishing them for having no home? Approaches vary widely throughout the state — and even within cities.

In Elk Grove, the city can confiscate homeless people’s belongings if they violate the city’s new anti-camping ordinance, but can’t fine or arrest them. The Sacramento suburb has not yet seized anyone’s belongings. San Diego, on the other hand, after issuing warnings and offering people shelter and other help, wrote 925 citations and made 513 arrests last year for violations of laws aimed at homeless camps, according to Voice of San Diego. San Diego is trying to do even more. Last year, Mayor Todd Gloria directed police to target anyone who had a tent up during daytime hours. But follow-through was “somewhat uneven,” Gloria admitted in an interview, due to police understaffing and COVID-related issues. Now he’s backing a proposal that would prohibit all encampments on public property when shelter is available, and bar camps near schools and shelters even when it’s not.

“The city is providing more solutions than it ever has,” Gloria said. “And I think as a result the taxpayers helping to fund this should have a right to expect safe and hygienic public spaces.”

Oakland passed a controversial encampment management policy in 2020 that prioritizes clearing camps near schools, homes and businesses, but doesn’t give authorities the ability to cite or arrest people for camping. The city cleared encampments in 226 locations over the past year. Sacramento in 2020 passed an ordinance making it illegal to camp within 25 feet of “critical infrastructure” such as government buildings, bridges and electrical wires. In August, the City Council passed a measure banning homeless encampments that block sidewalks, and in October they expanded the critical infrastructure ordinance to ban camping within 500 feet of schools.

City homeless coordinators walk through a regional park in Sacramento where several homeless encampments are located on April 11, 2023. Photo by Rahul Lal for CalMatters

The Sacramento ordinances are enforced selectively, generally based on complaints made by residents calling 311. The city has about 20 outreach workers, like Sharifi, who try to connect people to shelters and warn occupants of problem camps that they need to move. If they refuse, police or code enforcement may take over.

The intention isn’t to be punitive, said Assistant City Manager Mario Lara.

“We’ve responded to thousands of calls,” he said. “We’ve not issued any citations or any arrests.”

Camps on route to Sacramento school

Though encampments still dot the city, some Sacramento residents say they’ve seen a little improvement. Last year, the route Amy Gardner’s 8th-grade daughter walked to Sutter Middle School got so bad that she and other parent and community volunteers formed a group to escort kids past an environment she characterized as rife with snarling dogs, human waste, broken glass, needles and people in the throes of mental health crises.

It took months, but the city finally cleared the main camp on the route, under an Interstate 80 overpass, Gardner said. The kids now feel safe walking to school.

But the problem didn’t go away.

“The camps have shifted and moved,” she said. “It’s not that everyone got shelter.”

A homeless encampment at W Street and Alhambra Boulevard in Sacramento on April 11, 2023. Photo by Rahul Lal for CalMatters

Some people from under the overpass relocated about eight blocks over, where more than a dozen tents recently lined 29th Street. Damian Newton, who has been homeless for a dozen years, was one of them. The city told him and his neighbors the bridge they slept under is off-limits because it’s “critical infrastructure,” Newton said.

“They just didn’t want us in sight,” 38-year-old Newton said. “What damage have we really done to schools? What damage have we really done to bridges?”

Soon, he’ll have to move again. As he talked to a reporter on a recent Thursday, while sitting on a bare mattress in the doorway of his tent, Newton said the California Highway Patrol had been by that morning to tell him and other camp residents they had to leave their new home within four days.

Newton said he’s been offered a shelter bed before, but after seeing friends accept and then end up back on the street, he doesn’t see the point. Activists and those who have lived in shelters throughout California say residents sometimes chafe under a shelter’s strict rules, feel uncomfortable or unsafe there or get frustrated by the lack of options to transition from there into permanent housing.

So where will Newton go next? He’s not sure. Maybe across the street, until someone complains and he has to pack up again.

“Not many places that’s left to go, really,” he said.


* * *

* * *


Uh-oh: We’re living through a Chartreuse shortage. The Carthusian monks of France’s Grand Chartreuse monastery, who have been making this coveted herbal liqueur since the 1700s, have decided to pull back production in order to preserve their monastic way of life. In the Wall Street Journal, Inti Pacheco explains why some collectors are now hoarding yellow and green bottles.

Caymus makes “America’s most loved and hated Cabernet,” writes Clay Dillow in VinePair. He explores the polarizing nature of this Napa Valley wine — which is such a controversial subject, apparently, that “dozens of sommeliers, beverage directors, retailers, and wine distributor reps” declined to speak about it on the record.

A “wine-centered metaverse” is here, reports Jonathan Cristaldi in Decanter. It’s called Bored Grapes, and it involves playing a video game in which you grow, make and sell wine, then redeem your virtual creations for IRL bottles.

* * *

BUT HOW do you explain the sheet that followed Reles out the window? Why did he take a hat? Why would a man want to make his suicide look like an escape attempt? And how did he get so far from the wall? Around twenty feet, as if he’d been shot from a cannon. Even if he got a running start, the Kid could not clear twenty feet. Besides, no one thought suicide was in the Kid’s nature. He was not morose, introspective, or self-pitying. He lived on the surface of life, waiting for the change that makes everything look different. Suicide is just not in the makeup of most gangsters. Anytime you hear a gangster killed himself, you can turn the channel, knowing somewhere a killer is being congratulated for a job well done.

— Rich Cohen, “Tough Jews”

* * *

* * *


by John Arteaga

Jeremy Scahill, the intrepid young reporter who made a name for himself bringing to light the work of the mercenary army, Blackwater, years ago, has since gone on to found the essential investigative political news source The Intercept. I once heard him recount a story from his youth when, accompanying his dedicated anti-Vietnam War parents, he was assigned the task of helping out the aging antiwar Catholic priest father Daniel Berrigan, during a protest at the Pentagon.

Father Berrigan told the young Skahill about the origins of the Pentagon, which was built for World War II. At the time I believe it was the largest single office structure in the country, perhaps the world. It was sold to the American public as only a temporary home for the massive war effort, and that after the war it would be converted into a hospital. Father Berrigan opined to the young Jeremy that in a way, it had made good on that promise, in that it was now the largest insane asylum the world.

It is an essential reality for people to grasp if they hope to understand anything about this country, its economy, its infrastructure, its social safety net, its politics, that we all live under an oppressive societal domination that is so ubiquitous that it is like the water that fish swim in but don't see. I'm talking about the built-in economic authority of our national mass hysteria of anti-communism.

The Pentagon building, to this day, teems with scores of thousands of devoted cold warriors, carrying on an incredibly bloody and destructive campaign that was never called for, and has never done any good for our citizens, aside from the few fatcats of the Daddy Warbucks set and those who invest in their cynical derangement.

Think, for a minute, about the pointlessness and futility of all the post-WWII death and destruction wrought in our name and with our tax dollars; Vietnam, for example, only the most prominent and possibly most lethal of these many campaigns. After 58,000 of our young men and women, surely over a million (but who's counting?) mostly peasant people of the area, lost their lives, millions of mines laid, still maiming people today, vast swaths of the country sterilized with Agent Orange, and finally we were delivered a well-deserved and humiliating defeat by the man who would have been overwhelmingly elected their leader so many years earlier, Ho Chi Minh. And what difference did it all make? Vietnam is now a major trading partner, tourism flourishes there, brilliant young Vietnamese come to study in our schools and help our domestic technological growth. Not much different than it would be had we not had a Vietnam War!

But rather than ever learning from our mistakes, the ubiquitous propaganda we are being bathed in currently is the great threat that China is supposedly posing and the horror and enmity that we are supposed to all feel for Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. Like the US, Russia is not a party to the UN’s International Criminal Court, and who remembers all the war crimes that we committed in Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua and dozens of other locations around the world in years past, let alone consider what we would do if there were a Russian/Chinese anti-US military alliance that undermined and overthrew the government of Mexico so that they could set up military bases in Tijuana?

I have been a defender of Joe Biden against the many who make fun of him. Yes, he lacks the eloquence of Obama, but his long career has, I think, served him well in passing a surprisingly large number of progressive, climate friendly pieces of legislation despite having only a razor thin majority and hobbled by the twin curses of Manchin and Sinema, but I’ve got to throw up my hands in dismay after he ordered the destruction of the Nordstream 2’s twin gigantic undersea gas pipelines and taking out one of the smaller Nordstream’s twin pipelines. 

This is a major criminal act of war not only against Russia, but against Germany and all of Europe; the single pipeline left intact is simply not enough fuel for the continent, and there are no readily available resources to fill the gap. Germany used to sell that Russian gas all over Europe, and as a result of this wanton destruction of a truly colossal piece of civic infrastructure, the whole continent is in deep trouble; already major energy-using industries like glassmaking have had to shutter in Germany, and people are paying 3 to 5 times as much to heat their homes and apartments all over Europe. There is simply not enough gas supply now to go around. Thanks to a mild winter and storage of gas, they are getting by this winter, but next winter might be a real problem for Europeans.

And the chutzpah of Biden, after having basically announced that we were going to blow it up ahead of time, “we can do it, I promise you”, and the post-destruction glee of the horrible Victoria Nuland (Undersecretary of State for political affairs, a Trump holdover and wife of the infamous neocon propagandist Robert Kagan), who bragged about this triumph of modern engineering now being, “scrap metal on the ocean floor”, suggesting that German industries move to the United States! It makes one wonder what the Russians could do to us if they choose to go tit for tat. Take out the Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge and the George Washington (probably about the same dollar value). Of course we are now hearing cover stories about some mysterious pro-Ukrainian group that may have done it being published in the New York Times and some German rags. BS. This is a huge state-sponsored project. How did they think they could ever keep it covert?!

As the great Seymour Hersh, who laid it all out for us, points out, Biden has yet to task any of the very capable intelligence agencies that he commands, to find out who did it. Because he knows! Just as any thinking person has got to suspect.

(Read this and previous articles at

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Still from Zelenskiy film (2018)

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by Matt Taibbi

Nearly five months ago I was presented with a rare opportunity, to look through internal correspondence at Twitter. A small group of other journalists and writers soon jumped down the rabbit hole to join the one-in-a-million search.

At the time the company was just completing a contentious sale, which featured multiple stops, starts and legal actions, along with competing furious public relations campaigns. New owner Elon Musk accused the old regime of lying about the percentage of Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAU) on the platform (i.e. how much on Twitter was real traffic and how much was spam), said he was “obviously overpaying,” and insisted he was an advocate of the right “to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”

I was amazed at this story’s coverage. From the Guardian last November: “Elon Musk’s Twitter is fast proving that free speech at all costs is a dangerous fantasy.” From the Washington Post: “Musk’s ‘free speech’ agenda dismantles safety work at Twitter, insiders say.” The Post story was about the “troubling” decision to re-instate the Babylon Bee, and numerous stories like it implied the world would end if this “‘free speech’ agenda” was imposed.

I didn’t have to know any of the particulars of the intramural Twitter dispute to think anyone who wanted to censor the Babylon Bee was crazy. To paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, going to war against a satire site was like dressing up in a suit of armor to attack a hot fudge sundae. This was an obvious moral panic and the very real consternation at papers like the Washington Post and sites like Slate over these issues seemed to offer the new owners of Twitter a huge opening. With critics this obnoxious, even a step in the direction of free speech values would likely win back audiences that saw the platform as a humorless garrison of authoritarian attitudes.

This was the context under which I met Musk and the circle of adjutants who would become the go-betweens delivering the material that came to be known as the Twitter Files. I would have accepted such an invitation from Hannibal Lecter, but I actually liked Musk. His distaste for the blue-check thought police who’d spent more than a half-year working themselves into hysterics at the thought of him buying Twitter — which had become the private playground of entitled mainstream journalists — appeared rooted in more than just personal animus. He talked about wanting to restore transparency, but also seemed to think his purchase was funny, which I also did (spending $44 billion with a laugh as even a partial motive was hard not to admire).

Moreover the decision to release the company’s dirty laundry for the world to see was a potentially historic act. To this day I think he did something incredibly important by opening up these communications for the public.

Normally when someone comes to you with a story you ask what it is they want or expect out of press coverage, both so you can understand their motives and to avoid misunderstandings later on. I asked the question, but I can’t say I ever fully understood the answer. It didn’t matter. Within a few days of seeing documents it was clear we were looking at something bigger than us, Musk, or Twitter, more or less completely obviating the motivation question as far as I was concerned.

I went into the project expecting to answer a few narrow questions, maybe about how internal content moderation worked, or if federal law enforcement made an inappropriate call or two to discourage high-profile stories. Remember, in the pre-Twitter Files world, Twitter was still denying that it shadow-banned people at all (“We do not,” they’d explained). Also, the notion that there’d been any contact at all between the FBI and a company like Facebook ahead of the Hunter Biden laptop story was a national scandal after Mark Zuckerberg blurted out something along those lines to Joe Rogan. Just one possible recommendation made headlines, let alone regimes of spreadsheet requests.

When we got into the Files, we were caught off guard. The content-policing system was more elaborate and organized than any of us imagined. A communications highway had been built linking the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence with Twitter, Facebook, Google, and a slew of other platforms. Among other things this looked more like a cartel than a competitive media landscape, and I had an uneasy feeling early on that publicizing this arrangement might create a host of unanticipated problems for everyone involved. Still, there was no question this was in the public interest. So we kept going.

About two weeks into the #TwitterFiles project, the company suspended the accounts of CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, Ryan Mac of the New York Times, VOA’s Steve Herman, and a few other social media personalities like Aaron Rupar, reportedly for sharing information about the movement of Elon Musk’s private jet.

My phone instantly blew up with wisecracks. “I must have missed John Stuart Mill’s ‘private jet exception’ passage in On Liberty,” texted one ball-busting friend. After about six ringtones I rolled my eyes, popped an Advil, and turned my phone off, knowing what was coming.

The suspensions, even if quickly reversed, were sure to ignite nuclear levels of pearl-clutching and self-pity among the same censorious power-worshipping media jerks who a few months before were howling about Musk because they thought he was for free speech. Bari Weiss decided the situation demanded a public statement. I absolutely respected the decision, but disagreed. I thought the outcry — coming from people who never said a word across years of suppression of the type of people I wrote about in the “Meet the Censored “ series, like J6 videographer Jon Farina, Canadian broadcaster Paul Jay at the World Socialist Web Site— was a bad-faith trap. These people didn’t care about the issue at all, except in a self-interested way, while they probably did care about shifting public attention from #TwitterFiles releases.

From that moment the project was a football between two committed antagonists: a sporadically censorious CEO I didn’t really understand on one hand, and on the other, a bloc of vicious uniparty authoritarians who were committed to throttling speech as an ideological goal, whose methods and tendencies felt all too familiar.

The latter group isn’t interested in engagement and prefers a strategy of obliteration. This played out in a very real way for new Twitter from the start, in the form of sweeping advertiser boycotts led by groups like David Brock-founded Media Matters, Free Press, Accountable Tech and Color of Change. Twitter Files reporters like me experienced a less personally damaging version of the same deal, through an impressive total mainstream coverage blackout of #TwitterFiles revelations, coupled with a near-constant string of smears and stories assuring the uniparty faithful that all those documents they were assiduously kept from reading about were nothingburgers.

We were never on the same side as Musk exactly, but there was a clear confluence of interests rooted in the fact that the same institutional villains who wanted to suppress the info in the Files also wanted to bankrupt Musk. That’s what makes the developments of the last week so disappointing. There was a natural opening to push back on the worst actors with significant public support if Musk could hold it together and at least look like he was delivering on the implied promise to return Twitter to its “free speech wing of the free speech party “ roots. Instead, he stepped into another optics Punji Trap, censoring the same Twitter Files reports that initially made him a transparency folk hero.

Even more bizarre, the triggering incident revolved around Substack, a relatively small company that’s nonetheless one of the few oases of independent media and free speech left in America. In my wildest imagination I couldn’t have scripted these developments, especially my own very involuntary role.

I first found out there was a problem between Twitter and Substack early last Friday, in the morning hours just after imploding under Mehdi Hasan’s Andrey Vyshinsky Jr. act on MSNBC. As that joyous experience included scenes of me refusing on camera to perform on-demand ritual criticism of Elon Musk, I first thought I was being pranked by news of Substack URLs being suppressed by him. “No way,” I thought, but other Substack writers insisted it was true: their articles were indeed being labeled, and likes and retweets of Substack pages were being prohibited. I asked Substack co-head Hamish McKenzie what was going on. He said he wasn’t sure, but offered that they’d just announced a new “Notes program” the day before. I had to ask, “What’s that?” I had no clue what ‘Substack Notes” was:

As many unfortunately know now, my next move was to ask Elon what was going on. He didn’t answer right away, which is fine, the man is busy, but the math on this was pretty simple. Whatever was going on between Twitter and Substack had nothing to do with me or with other Substack writers, and if Twitter was going to label our work unsafe and not allow us to share my articles, I couldn’t endorse all this by using the platform, and said so. This prompted a quick ping! and a furious Signal question: “So you want Substack to kill Twitter?” ...

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* * *


by Dennis Kucinich

Last week the UN’s Disarmament Commission’s 2023 session was roiled by deep concern about escalating nuclear rhetoric over the war in Ukraine. A bit of recent context is in order.  

On October 27, 2022, the Department of Defense published its ‘Nuclear Posture Review’ which adopts a “First Use” policy, meaning the US reserves the right to make a pre-emptive nuclear strike against its primary nuclear adversaries China and Russia.  In the case of Russia, it explicitly stated such policy is to deter a nuclear attack on NATO.  

That same day, Russian President Putin, speaking at the Valdai Conference, disclaimed any intention of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.  However, he has made it clear that if the “very existence” of Russia is threatened by either a nuclear strike or a conventional war he could exercise a nuclear option.  

On February 21, 2023, Russia suspended its participation in the 2010 New START Treaty, stopping inspections of its nuclear capabilities and announcing it would resume nuclear tests if the US resumed tests.  Russia’s treaty commitment to cap its long range nuclear warheads, numbering 1,550, would stay in place, said Putin.

On March 23, 2023, a parliamentary exchange in the United Kingdom revealed that the UK was planning to send depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine for use against Russian tanks.  These munitions are a byproduct of uranium processing in the creation of nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel. 

Russia’s Putin responded immediately to the news, with a warning about the collective West’s use, terming depleted uranium munitions  “weapons with a nuclear component.” The dialectic of nuclear conflict is cycling upwards.

Depleted uranium munitions have been called “tank killers” because they pass through armor like a hot knife through butter.  Such weapons are also known to be carcinogenic, radiologically toxic and can contaminate food and water supplies. 

The US has used depleted uranium in the bombing of Serbia in 1999 and in the First and Second Gulf Wars.  Lawsuits have been filed by Serbian and Italian soldiers against NATO for extreme health effects, including cancer, linked to the alliances’ use of depleted uranium munitions. Depleted uranium weapons were fired into largely civilian areas by the US in both Iraq wars, and in Afghanistan. Exposure to depleted uranium continues to cause multigenerational birth defects and cancer.

The war in Ukraine continues, propelled with depleted uranium.

The US will not permit Ukraine to negotiate either a ceasefire or the conflict’s end. Instead, it pushes an extended war, more casualties, and the increasing possibility of a nuclear conflict. 

Think the U.S. could not stumble into a nuclear war?  Then reflect, for a moment, upon the government’s leadership failures which led to the deaths by incineration of several dozens of members of the Branch Davidians during the siege at Waco, Texas in 1983.  Project those types of miscalculations to an international crisis fraught with multiple opportunities for misreading of cues, strategic mistakes, miscommunication, fake news, AI-inspired provacateurs and you get the idea.

It is fair to say that for the U.S. government, the development and use of nuclear weapons is, literally, a walk in the park. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park celebrates the creation of the atomic bomb through the collective efforts of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the Hanford Nuclear Reactor in Washington state and the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee.

As a member of Congress, I strongly opposed this new national park.  The atomic bomb should have never been developed, nor used.  In debate in Congress, I pointed out that top US generals including Douglas MacArthur, and Henry Arnold, and Admirals William Halsey, Ernest King, William Leahy, and Chester Nimitz all dissented as to the bomb’s military necessity.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima were destroyed in August of 1945 and nearly a quarter of a million Japanese perished, most of them civilians.  The naming of a U.S. national park to memorialize the development and dropping of the atomic bomb illustrates a mentality which ignores the human tragedy of immense proportions which occurs when such weapons are used.

Seventeen years later, in October of 1962, the U.S. and Russia were entangled in a deadly crisis over the emplacement of Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba.  US intelligence discovered the missiles, which were capable of striking US cities. 

President Kennedy, on October 22, 1962, informed the American people of the danger, while demanding that Russia remove the nuclear missiles.  Russia’s Nikita Khrushchev countered with a similar request  that the U.S. remove then-secret nuclear missile installations in Turkey, while also demanding there be no U.S. invasion of Cuba.

For fourteen days, beginning with the discovery of the Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba, the world moved toward a precipice, a direct confrontation between the nuclear weapon states of Russia and the United States.  The U.S. military prepared for war with the Soviet Union.  Then, few knew for sure, outside of the Japanese people, just how devastating a nuclear war would be for civilian populations.  

President Kennedy, and his administration’s skillful use of diplomacy, engaged Russia directly and caused Premier Khrushchev to back away from the brink, through identifying mutual concerns, achieving concessions and making concessions and allowing counterparts to save face.  Cognitive skills and a large quality of heart was used to negotiate a resolution of conflict.  

The difference between then and now is that there was a President Kennedy, a President who wanted to avert war, not advance into the breech, directly or by proxy.  Kennedy pushed back at his advisors and military officials, who encouraged escalation. 

One general, Thomas Power, head of the U.S. Strategic Air Command, had famously said: “At the end of the war, if there are two Americans and one Russian left alive, we win.” This is exactly the type of foreign policy perspective under which the we presently continue to suffer. 

President Kennedy held firm for a peaceful outcome in the Cuban Missile Crisis.  As a result, Russia removed its missiles from Cuba.  The U.S. removed its then-secret nuclear missile base from Turkey and made a commitment not to invade Cuba. 

Some believe that to fight is to show strength. America’s doctrine of ‘Peace through Strength’ is an invitation to war.  Transformed, ‘Strength through Peace’ emphasizes restraint and inner fortitude, which Kennedy demonstrated at a moment of peril.

We need another President Kennedy, with the grace, the inner strength and the intelligence to guide us from our contemporary dangerous encounter with potential nuclear catastrophe … to peace.  America and the world are more at risk than ever from the threat of nuclear annihilation brought about through mentalities of greed and hubris.  

The current US administration, lacks the diplomatic skills necessary to avoid nuclear escalation.  They have pointedly ignored and over ridden several opportunities to de-escalate and to end the war in Ukraine, preferring purblind brinkmanship more worthy of a rogue nation than the greatest military power in the world. 

Ignoring a diplomatic settlement with Russia, the Administration piles into Ukraine,  one weapons system after another.  We are destroying Ukraine to save Ukraine.  

Errors and miscalculations can and do occur between nations, leaving the world vulnerable to destruction.  We remember the legendary Soviet Air Defense Lt. Colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov who correctly assessed a false reading on the Soviet air defense system, which had errantly alerted Russia to five incoming missiles from the U.S.  

If Colonel Petrov informed his superiors of the incoming missiles, Russian defense protocols called for a retaliatory nuclear strike against the U.S. and its NATO allies.  He chose not to do so.  It was later discovered that sunlight reflecting against high altitude clouds caused a  radar misreading which had generated a false alarm. 

The poet Thomas Hardy forecast such confusion in ‘Hap.’  He wrote of “crass causality,” which embraces human error, miscalculation and the idea that the survival of our world hangs by a thread.

This week, Washington D.C. continues its celebration of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

In 1912, Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki gifted 3,000 cherry blossom trees to our nation’s Capitol as a symbol of U.S.-Japanese friendship. The delicate pink and white blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees encircle The Tidal Basin below the Jefferson Memorial.

I was privileged to join with Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki in 2012 to celebrate in the Capitol building the centennial of that gift, to renew our friendship and the hope of peace, for the entire world.

Cherry blossoms are a symbol of Spring, renewal, and, in their short blossoming and fading, they are a poignant reminder of the beauty and the brevity of life itself.  

Those who currently lead this nation have forgotten the primal bonds of humanity, which give us all, regardless of country,  a common origin and a common destiny.   

Rapture over technological power can diminish understanding of the science of human relations, the power of the human heart and the benefits of calm, stable, and mature statesmanship. 

May Spring reawaken in all of us the love of beauty and a love of life, lest our next winter be a nuclear one.  

“… let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people.  I believe that we can.  I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.” From President Kennedy’s Final Address to the United Nations General Assembly, September 20, 1963.


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  1. George Hollister April 14, 2023

    Dr. Don Phillips, on CPUC and PG&E. If you voted for the current governor, you are getting what you voted for.

  2. Bruce Anderson April 14, 2023

    The doctor is correct, George. The CPUC and our alleged public utility have been interchangeable for years under Republicans and Democrats alike.

    • Stephen Rosenthal April 14, 2023

      George is picking up and doubling down where the late Jerry Philbrick left off. His hatred of Newsom clouds almost every comment he posts.

      As for the CPUC and PG&E, how is it that they are allowed to implement the staggered rate system? The rates increase significantly during the period between
      4-9pm, exactly when most of us use electricity. Of course along with it we get the monthly PG&E PR bullshit on how to reduce energy costs and a breakdown of our energy use. Explain to me how a family can reduce energy use during the period when they are most likely to all be at home, cooking dinner, and engaging in some ever-increasingly limited precious family interactions? Like almost everything else about PG&E and the CPUC, it’s criminal.

    • George Hollister April 14, 2023

      Not true. The current state energy policy is what is driving high, and unaffordable energy costs in California. That is on the Governor, all done “to save the planet”. If the vote went to current governor, don’t complain. There was another real choice.

      • Stephen Rosenthal April 14, 2023

        Whatever. Believe what you want George, but don’t expect me to.

        • George Hollister April 14, 2023

          LOL, the opinion is mutual.

  3. Eric Sunswheat April 14, 2023

    RE: Additionally, the so-called Great Redwood Trail will not be so great for elderly folks who dislike hiking in sweltering heat… (Michael Koepf)

    —>. February 19, 2023
    Similar to how some students are night owls and others are early birds, we should listen to our bodies and embrace our sleep preferences…

    “The power of sleep is just underestimated by students a lot. Sometimes, with the culture around productivity and just this busyness culture we hear about from students, sleep tends to be the first thing to go, unfortunately,” Karditzas said.

    If students struggle to catch eight hours every night, they should reevaluate their sleep cycle and commit to a pattern that best suits their lifestyle. Karditzas finds napping common among UT students, but says it is typically not done in an ideal manner.

    “(Biphasic sleep) can be done not only successfully but really well because short naps can be very effective cognitively,” Fayle said. “You just don’t want to get too much of it too late in the day.”

    Biphasic sleep can be the key to a healthier lifestyle for sleep-deprived UT students. Students shouldn’t feel the need to conform to monophasic sleep just because it is society’s accepted standard.

    • Michael Koepf April 14, 2023


  4. Stephen Rosenthal April 14, 2023

    Re Arrest Made in Bob Lee Killing:

    Congratulations to Mission Local breaking the story before anyone else. Responsible journalism by a barebones non-profit beat all the major local networks and newspapers to the punch, including the SF Chronicle, which buried a one sentence credit to Mission Local in their report of the arrest. Funny how all the misinformed tweets assuming it to be just another random “out-of-control” San Francisco street crime have gone silent.

    During her press conference, SF DA Brooke Jenkins pointed out Elon Musk’s “reckless and irresponsible” tweets. Why the AVA continues to print his tool Matt Taibbi’s somnambulistic prattle is beyond the limits of my comprehension.

  5. Marmon April 14, 2023


    “Jake Teixeira is white, male, Christian, and antiwar. That makes him an enemy to the Biden regime. And he told the truth about troops being on the ground in Ukraine and a lot more. Ask yourself who is the real enemy? A young low level national guardsmen? Or the administration that is waging war in Ukraine, a non-NATO nation, against nuclear Russia without war powers?”

    -Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 @RepMTG

    • pca67 April 14, 2023

      Lock her up.

  6. Craig Stehr April 14, 2023

    Awoke peacefully and fully rested on a sunny April 14th at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center in Ukiah, California. The faint echo of Vedic chanting in the mind, is like waves in a gentle sea, enhancing a relaxed physical exit from the steel spring bed, thrusting the body-mind complex toward the shower area for morning ablutions. This was followed by briefly tidying up the outside trash-recycling area, then checking LOTTO tix at the Express Mart run by the wonderful Nepalis, and then it was off to Plowshares Peace & Justice Center for another sumptuous free 11:30AM meal. The MTA bus provided transport to the Ukiah Public Library, and am right this instance on computer #2 tap, tap tapping away. Nota Bene: I know what I am, and I am here now. I am available for revolutionary ecological direct action, destroying the demonic, and world peace. Contact me whenever you like. I’m available. Fuck the bastards. Let’s go!!!
    Craig Louis Stehr Email: Send Money for Revolutionary Ecology Frontline Direct Action here: Telephone Messages will be taken at (707) 234-3270

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