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TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN ABOVE NORMAL today with high pressure in place. This afternoon and evening isolated to scattered thunderstorms are expected in portions of the interior and Del Norte county. This trough will persist over the area bringing mainly dry weather and near or slightly below normal temperatures through the weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 55F with clear skies this Thursday morning on the coast. The forecast is calling for increasing clouds today, then clear rest of the week. You know the routine by now.
THE 47TH ANNUAL GREAT DAY IN ELK will be held THIS Saturday, Aug. 26, from noon until dusk, a benefit for the Greenwood Community Center.
The noontime parade will travel through downtown Elk to the community center for the day’s festivities. All afternoon there will be games and contests with prizes, do-it-yourself crafts projects for children, plus a greased pole with a $100 bill at the top.
This year’s live entertainment features music by BoonFire, beats by DJ Nutrishious, and belly dancing. There will also be a silent auction, a cake auction and a raffle. Food and drinks will be served all afternoon, with dinner from 4 to 7 p.m.
The little coastal town of Elk is located five miles south of Highway 128 on Highway 1. For more information, email Mea Bloyd at email@example.com or visit the Elk community website — www.elkweb.org. Please leave dogs at home.
WHY DID the Beast of Boonville drive to Fort Bragg Tuesday night? Why doesn't he stay home and torment his own community like he has for the past half-century? Because Beast saw that the Name Changers needed some resistant focus that an outsider with deep affection for the place might bring. If ever a Mendo issue needed some blowback, it's this one, and Beast is absolutely thrilled to be on the majority side of an argument for once. And media being what it is these days, Boonville's beloved weekly, always a big seller in Fort Bragg, is the sole Mendo media best suited to take this one on.
AND I LOVE FORT BRAGG. Always have. It's my fave town in all the world, Anderson Valley a close second. Way back I tried to talk the little woman into moving there, but she said FB was too far from the main stem Anderson family, headquartered in the Bay Area. And we had no money, although the marginally impoverished could still, at the time, afford a modest house in Fort Bragg. I argued that although we were broke it was doable with some fast talk and credit card manipulations. The little woman looked at my fanciful figures and said, NO. As a little joke amusing only to me, I listed Charlie Mannon of the Savings Bank as a credit reference, which, I learned, Mannon personally nixed when he saw it.
I'LL ALWAYS remember meeting the late, great Vern Piver whose memorial service filled the Fort Bragg gym. If there's a name change, Fort Bragg should consider a re-brand to Piverville. Anyway, and continue to indulge the old coot as he reminisces, I was playing basketball in the in-county men's league with Boonville, a very strong squad that mostly relegated me to a support role. So we're in Fort Bragg warming up to take on the Coasties with Vern Piver refereeing. Piver says to me, “Anderson, you're going to have to take off that ring.” My wedding ring? Er, why? Piver said, “I don't want you getting it stuck on the rim. You could lose your finger.” Very flattering, Mr. Piver, given that I hadn't been anywhere near the rim since I was about sixteen. And then he laughed. And I'm still laughing. Fort Bragg's a great place. It should be our county seat… Where were we? Oh, yes. Name Change.
NAME CHANGE FORT BRAGG is the kind of issue that most people would prefer to discuss privately to avoid unpleasantness with friends and neighbors, which works to the advantage of Professor Zwerling because he has had the argument all to himself so far, thus making it appear he's representing a groundswell of public opinion for Name Change when he doesn't represent much of anybody beyond a few queasy liberals deathly afraid of being called racists.
LAST NIGHT, a man asked how would we like it if an American town was called Hitlerville? Braxton Bragg is hardly in the same league as Hitler. Americans wouldn't like it, I daresay, but give Germany another 150 years and I'm confident that fond Hitler memorials will have popped up all over that country.
ANOTHER MAN cited the ancient saw that if we don't know our history, history will repeat itself. He may have a point considering current events. American history is replete with popular anti-democratic movements of the Trumpian type, but they've always been beaten back. History will surely be back, this time probably as farce, as another sage said.
GIVEN that there are large numbers of our fellow citizens who either want to write 400 years of slavery and the serial mass murders of Native Americans out of our history, there are also masses of fey liberals of the Zwerling type who suggest that the unhappy events of our founding years poisoned America in its womb, that the country is hopelessly racist, the millions of today's loyal, affectionate interracial relationships notwithstanding. We should pretend the bad stuff never happened, hence a name change and poof! the bad stuff is gone.
TAKE AWAY IMPRESSIONS from Tuesday night's dialogue of the deaf in Fort Bragg, beginning with my impressions of the invincibly self-righteous atrocity monger, Professor Zwerling. He's obviously deeply in love with his lead role in Name Change Fort Bragg, herd bull to a half-dozen similarly virtue signaling heifers of the bipoc sub-species. Rather than do the actual work of signature-gathering to put Name Change to a vote, the professor will milk his manufactured issue for all the attention he can get before he does his inevitable slow fade.
THE PROFESSOR THUNDERED, “Fort Bragg High School and Fort Bragg Jr. High School are the only schools in this country named after a Confederate.” Something like that. The prof was consistently in high dudgeon over 150-year-old events, constantly reminding his trapped audience that slavery was bad, Indians got a very bad deal, which I'm sure was fresh news to everyone present.
THE TWO CITED SCHOOLS? A major marketing opportunity for Fort Bragg! I can see it now, “Fort Bragg — The Little Town That Said No To Cancel Culture.”
AND IN ALL the condemnation of that consensus villain, Braxton Bragg, we note Professor Zwerling's grossly sexist failure to mention Braxton's wife, Beulah Mae Bragg, whose letters reveal that her husband, “Braxie” as she called him, “could be difficult but he was a good provider right up until the day the cursed Yankees dispossessed us.” Mrs. Braxton Bragg continued. “Yes, Braxie had his faults. I confess that a suspicious number of our black family — our slaves were family, not slaves — bore a strong resemblance to him. But he was a man, and us girls know that our men, all men, are dawgs. They cain't help themselves.”
THE PROFESSOR has blown this whole farce into life out of carelessly cherry-picked history, annoying the overwhelming majority of Fort Bragg residents, and implying a huge insult to Fort Braggers that if they don't agree that Fort Bragg should change its name they are bad people, racist dog-pigs indifferent to long-ago crimes. The basic fact remains: The one area of American life where we've made enormous progress is in race relations, and the recent electoral showing of Fort Bragg where the town (and the country's) majority voted twice for Barack Obama, is proof of that progress. Viva Fort Bragg!
To the Editor,
Haven’t you already heard people refer to that place as Bragg? I think you know what place I’m talking about without me saying “Fort”. Why can’t they just drop a “g” and show that Braxton character he is disqualified? The name Brag would be doing an its own P. R.. That little city has a lot to brag about! They can brag about their botanical gardens, their Skunk Train, their Glass Beach, their art studios, their charming little harbor, the list goes on and on.
Changing the name of a city can be difficult and costly. Removing some letters from a sign and a little White-Out on the stationery would be a cheap way to move on.
JOE GOMES: I was raised in the land of the Timberwolves, Fort Bragg cal. I consider myself part of the Wolfpack having lived a majority of my life there. Now there are some Johnny come latelys wanting to change the name. They are creating bad energy and vibes over past history. My family has a lot of history from Mendocino to Fort Bragg as well as a lot of your families. These morons need to move elsewhere, just saying.
I attended the ‘Change Our Name’ debate last night. It was a standing room only crowd. Everyone was attentive and polite. Professor Zwerling dominated the evening if you count how many words were spoken. He fired volley after volley, quoting books and newspapers at every opportunity. Bruce Anderson mainly rolled his eyes and sighed.
Bottom line is, there was no ‘ah ha’ moment. No new ground was covered. No new facts unearthed. I don’t think anyone came away with anything they were not aware of before. No minds were changed.
One thing that dismayed me was that the ‘change’ people don’t want to let me vote. See I have Fort Bragg on my mailing address, but don’t live in the city limits. To my mind, if they want to change the name of the post office, then anyone with a Fort Bragg mailing address should get to vote. Democracy has never been furthered by limiting the size of the electorate.
Now I have a few friends on the ‘change’ side, and I will say now what I will say to them.
Stop telling people what needs to happen. Instead, like any good community organizer, go out on the street and talk to the people. Go door to door, set up a table in front of the post office or a grocery store. Ask everyone you talk to, “what do you think is important to improve life here in this little quirky town that we all love”. I think you will hear a list of issues, but not one of them will be that we need to change the name.
by Mark Scaramella
AS WE APPROACH THE END of the Supervisors’ month-long “recess” which they all insisted was not a recess, just no meetings, during which they were all getting paid for all the meetingless “work” they claimed to be doing, we wonder if they really did anything. Frequent on-line poster Supervisor Ted Williams hasn’t posted anything about doing any county business; Supervisor Maureen Mulheren has posted more of her usual cheery local activities notices, Supervisors Haschak, Gjerde and McGourty have been silent. On Thursday, the next Board meeting agenda is expected to be posted. A CEO report is also due which is supposed to contain a written report of Assessor (Clerk-Recorder) Katrina Bartolomie’s tax assessment update progress. It will be interesting to see if any of the Supervisors are listed as “sponsor” for any of the agenda items, or if the agenda is just the usual accumulation of departmental rubberstamp requests (including the retroactive ones).
PS. Despite the County claiming to have no money for employee cost of living increases, according to her latest Supervisor’s Report Supervisor Mulheren reports that she went to a County-paid Conference in Texas where she “attended the NACO Annual Conference in Austin, Texas. There was a lot of discussion re Mental Health, Homelessness and Economic Development. [She has to go to Austin for that?] I also got a chance to hear Dr. Drew Pinsky and his thoughts on our Behavioral Health System. [She has to go to Austin for that?] He thinks we are not supporting those that need services but can’t ask for it themselves well enough whether that be because of mental health or active substance abuse issues. [Doesn’t the County pay the Schraeders almost $30 million a year to do those assessments?] And I had a chance to do some line dancing with the Women of NACO.”
* * *
IN A NOT-SO RELATED NOTE, the County’s “Disaster Recovery” person (if there are more than one we’re not aware of them) will be holding one of their “outreach” and “listening sessions” at the Boonville Senior Center/Veterans Hall on Wednesday evening, September 13, from 5:30 to 7:30pm when they will discuss “resilience” with an eye toward grant applications on such topics as Emergency Preparedness, Community Planning and Capacity Building, Infrastructure Systems, Economic Resiliency and Sustainability, Health and Social Services, Housing, and Natural Systems and Cultural Resources.” And if you know what that means as a practical matter you’re much more up on “resiliency” than we are. (Anderson Valley’s Fire Department has an extensive and impressive Disaster Plan but we doubt it’ll even come up in the County’s attempt to “listen.”)
IRONICALLY, the local meeting place for this “listening session” — the AV Senior Center — was itself the subject of a modest local proposal a couple of years ago to upgrade it into an emergency community center. The idea was to simply install a back-up generator and hook up an external emergency water system backup. The County (in the person of General Services Agency Director Janelle Rau) rudely spiked that proposal saying it couldn’t be done without a much bigger building upgrade (the County owns the building) and with prevailing wage contractors instead of volunteers, despite the obvious fact that all the work would have been separate from the building itself. Something tells us that although the County’s Disaster Preparedness person is probably well-meaning, the County isn’t interested in listening to much of what these sessions may produce, much less acting on it. If they were, we’d have seen a much more receptive County response to the local proposal.
* * *
AMONG THE DOZEN OR SO items the County is auctioning off at a deep discount this month is a good-condition 2014 Dodge Durango with minor scuffs and scrapes and minor interior wear and tear for $520. (Also needs new tires and brake work.) The cheapest used 2014 Durango we could find on line was listed for over $10,000. Looks like the County is seriously undervaluing their surplus auction stuff. They’re also selling a van for few hundred bucks and Ford Focus for about $400, and three nice truck toolboxes — $50 for all three.
Our favorite item is this “activity cube.”
Which is being sold for a mere $25. Apparently it’s some kind of kid’s toy. This seems like the only item not being sold for a tiny fraction of its value. We found a similar one on-line for about $30. We oppose this item being sold. But it looks like something the Sheriff could use as a fake lie detector during interrogations. “See this, Negie? We’re hooking you up to this fancy machine and it will not only tell us if you’re lying to us about Khadijah, but we will be able to read your thoughts and download your memory.”
WHAT’S NEXT, auctioning off the County Courthouse for $2,000? The County could throw in the Judges and the DA for just $1500 more (food not included)?
THIS SOUNDS like the beginnings of a “going out of business” sale. “Everything must go!”
Case management here in Mendocino County bites. The person has the right to say no to any sort of service including case management, which is a total disservice to the person and their family. I always felt they should be knocking on our door once a week building that rapport and connection. A nice safety measure for all involved. As a recap my son at beginning of Covid became ill, very ill. I knew nothing of the shitty system and amazingly enough Right before that I was hired by manzanita as a case manager for homeless and mentally ill, I was fired but that’s another story, lol. So I got a crash course in the workings of the system with my sons decline into psychosis due to cannabis addiction and bipolar! What a fucking nightmare! Every single step of the way to advocate and help him the door was slammed in my face! But worse was the fact that not one entity stepped up to intervene. Well begrudgingly law enforcement but my experiences were not all bad with them, it was the only help offered on occasion. In 18 months he almost died 3 x, was hospitalized to psych 8 times and arrested 3 x! I would call crisis line for help they would tell me to call police who would then tell me to call crisis line and back and forth it went. No help or intervention. One time on mother’s day I called the Crisis line during his 3rd episode they did not pick up the phone at 12:30 am. I had already called LE multiple x. One time in May when it was very hot he walked all the way to Cloverdale, 35 miles on the 101, I had a BOLO put out for him with UPD that morning when he left. I had went all over town looking for him, could not find him later that evening got a call he was seen at exit in Cloverdale. Mind you I had been in contact with crisis to intervene prior to this, but they were at the time not contracted to come assess in the community. And to my knowledge still are not, but now we have the mobile crisis unit. Anyways I had to call Cloverdale PD to help him, what ended up happening was I told dispatch he was not well had a BOLO and needed to be taken to the hospital not jail, the highway patrol dropped him off and left him at the Chevron at the South end of Cloverdale. There were multiple calls about him from motorists obviously concerned, he was seen riding his skateboard down the middle of bridge in Hopland. It is amazing he was not destroyed by a semi! Even after all that it took an entire week of deterioration and police and crisis calls to get him help, no one had the balls to 5150 him when he desperately needed it, until an entire week later a savvy CHP officer saw him in the street no shoes doing karate kicks, that officer is a hero to me, he saw the problem didn’t hesitate and helped my son. And my son is doing amazingly well after all that, takes meds and relinquished his cannabis addiction. Truly its incredible the difference, but he has safety and support from me, not everyone does, because these illnesses are so hard and destructive families give up! They cannot aid or support someone in throes of these problems and kick them out to the street, that is a big reason for homelessness.
I am grateful
But the system is the destructive force…
FRUSTRATION MOUNTS as California Assesses the Environmental Impact of Mendocino’s Cannabis Ordinance
by Sarah Reith
The frustration of cannabis cultivators was palpable as the state Department of Cannabis Control geared up to compile an Environmental Impact Report, or EIR, that is expected to replace the need for site-specific environmental scrutiny of cannabis cultivation in Mendocino County. The county’s ministerial ordinance does not require every grow site to undergo environmental review. But the state’s discretionary process does, which means the two sets of regulations do not match. Growers have spent tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars on ever more complex environmental documents and remediations in an effort to come into compliance with the laws, which continue to be amended. The county’s cultivation ordinance is now in the process of being streamlined.…
MIKE GENIELLA: Law enforcement faces scrutiny like never before, and perhaps for some valid reasons. Yet we should never forget the danger good cops face even in our beautiful region where we like to think the violence described in this post is not possible.
On August 23, 1975 at approximately 11:45 p.m., Deputy Merrit Deeds stopped to assist what he believed was a stranded motorist parked at the edge of Highway 116 approximately ¼ mile east of Highway 1 near Jenner. Actually, John Robert Shirey a wanted parolee, who had served time in state prison for child molestation had pulled to the side of the road to molest two 15-year-old hitchhikers that he and two male companions had picked up earlier. After making contact with Shirey and obtaining his drivers license, Deputy Deeds started to walk back to his patrol car to check him for warrants, still unaware of what had been transpiring. Shirey had vowed never to return to prison. Knowing he was a wanted felon and fearing that he would be returned to prison, Shirey told one of his companions to hand him the Walther PPK semi-automatic pistol that was in the glove compartment. He announced that he was going to “off this pig.” At that time, the two 15-year old boys escaped from Shirey’s car and ran into a field yelling to Deputy Deeds that the suspects had a gun. Shirey got the drop on Deputy Deeds and forced him to the back of the suspect vehicle. At that time, Rex Nance, an off-duty reserve deputy sheriff, drove by and saw what was happening. He stopped to aid Deputy Deeds. As he approached Deputy Deeds’ location, Shirey shot Deputy Deeds in the face. Shirey then turned the weapon on Reserve Deputy Nance and shot him numerous times. Shirey then delivered a final shot to Deputy Deeds’ neck. Shirey took Deputy Deeds’ revolver and the suspects fled the area in their vehicle. Even though grievously wounded from several gunshot wounds from which he would later recover, Reserve Deputy Nance made his way to the patrol car and radioed what had happened and the last known direction of travel for the suspect vehicle. The three suspects were taken into custody without incident later that same night on Barnett Valley Road just south of Bodega Highway between Freestone and Sebastopol. Shirey was convicted of first-degree murder of a peace officer and his accomplices were convicted of being accessories to murder. Shirey was sentenced to life in prison. His accomplices received lesser sentences. Deputy Deeds had been hired just three months before he was killed. Prior to that, he had served as a State Trooper for the State of Alaska for three years. While a student at SRJC, Deputy Deeds served as Captain of the campus police. To honor Deputy Deeds, a scholarship was started in his name at Santa Rosa Junior College for deserving criminal justice students. Deputy Deeds is buried at Shiloh Cemetery in Windsor.
GET THAT BEAST UNDER CONTROL!
Basic Dog Training Group Class in Fort Bragg, Saturdays at 11am, with Lea Smith, Certified Trick Dog Instructor.
New groups start each month, through September. The next group starts on Saturday, September 9, and will meet four Saturdays in a row. The cost is $120 for all four classes.
This class is suitable for dogs aged 6 months and older. The class will meet in public at a central Fort Bragg location.
The goal of this class is to help your dog, and you, to be calm and good mannered on leash, in public.
To sign up for this class, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 707/813-0216.
Lea Smith, C.T.D.I., email@example.com
Private instruction available: Basic Obedience, Tricks, Behavioral Consultation
CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, August 23, 2023
ROBERT MORENO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia.
BILLY RICKMAN, Ukiah. Controlled substance, county parole violation.
BROCK ROGERS, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, robbery, burglary, false imprisonment.
ASHLEE WILSON, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation violation.
DEBORAH WHITE: I have now officially heard everything. My students are always asking if they can use the restroom. I explain that they are free to leave the room whenever they think it's necessary. I thought to ask one of them how it works at their school. Well, they have digital hall passes that are activated (by the teacher? not sure) when you leave class, and if the pass isn't deactivated by a certain time, by the student's return, the teacher gets a notification.
JONAH RASKIN: Barbie is everywhere. I saw this young woman on the N-Judah Street Car August 22, 2023. Note the pink laces on footwear.
Lake County Supervisors Hire New Public Health Officer
by Elizabeth Larson
LAKE COUNTY — After more than a year of Lake County being without a permanent Public Health officer, the Board of Supervisors has hired a doctor who previously led Mendocino County’s health department during the pandemic and now works for Santa Barbara County.
Following a closed session discussion on Aug. 15, the Board of Supervisors emerged to announce that it had appointed Noemi C. Doohan, MD, Ph.D., MPH as Public Health officer, and then voted unanimously in open session to approve a one-year renewable employment agreement contract with her.
The appointment is effective Sept. 1.
Doohan served as Mendocino County’s Public Health officer on a part-time basis from July 2019 to May 2023.
That job overlapped with her position as the chief medical officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, where she was hired in October.
She also previously was a public health medical officer for the California Department of Public Health.
Medical Board of California records show that she graduated from the Stanford University School of Medicine in 2003.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Mills College, a Master of Public Health from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Doohan will provide “Public Health officer services” for a one-year period, with an option to renew.
She will be paid the annually renewable not-to-exceed amount of $290,000, as well as a $20,000 hiring incentive, according to county documents. In addition, Doohan will receive employee benefits through the county.
Deputy County Administrative Officer Matthew Rothstein told Lake County News that the contract amount was negotiated and is annually renewable on completion of a performance evaluation. He said it’s not associated with a particular step for the Public Health officer position.
The county’s job description for the Public Health officer says that the position’s annual salary is $265,000.
Doohan will report directly to the Board of Supervisors, the appointing authority, as the job description says.
Rothstein confirmed that previous Public Health officers also have reported directly to the board, not the Health Services director, noting, “The PHO does work closely and collaboratively with the Health Services/Public Health team.”
California counties are bound by state law to have health officers in place to enforce local health orders and ordinances, and state regulations and statutes relating to public health.
Doohan will be the first Public Health officer not serving on a temporary basis since Dr. Erik McLaughlin resigned in June of 2022, as Lake County News has reported.
McLaughlin’s three-and-a-half-month tenure was the shortest of any permanently appointed Public Health officer in Lake County in 20 years. At the time of his hire, he wasn’t licensed to practice medicine in the state of California.
After McLaughlin’s departure, the county hired Dr. Gary Pace, who had held the Lake County Public Health officer position during the pandemic, to take on the role again for a short period of time.
On Sept. 13, the supervisors appointed Dr. Karl A. Sporer as interim Public Health officer for a six-month term, in an amount not to exceed $6,000 a month. Sporer lives in Sonoma County and works in Alameda County.
The board amended that contract to extend it an additional six months at its Feb. 7 meeting.
This isn’t the first time the county of Lake has contracted with Doohan for health-related services.
At its Nov. 8 meeting, the board unanimously approved a contract with Doohan for a Lake County Public Health officer mentor program in response to having had few, if any, candidates for the position, out of 110 potential candidates identified across the state by a county-hired recruiter.
Some of that reluctance was attributed to the political nature of the job, which also had come under more fire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, County Administrative Officer Susan Parker said Doohan wasn’t interested in the Public Health Officer job.
That mentor program contract called for Doohan to be paid a consulting rate of $250 per hour for three to six months, with a not-to-exceed amount of $25,000.
In her report to the board for the Aug. 15 meeting, Parker said that the county has not been able to find a permanent full-time Public Health officer since Pace left the position in April of 2021, “despite an aggressive nationwide search,” and outreach to professional associations, the California Department of Public Health and California Conference of Local Health Officers.
“None of these efforts attracted an enduring and permanent Public Health Officer. Describing this position as, ‘Difficult to Fill,’ is an understatement; the reasons are numerous,” Parker wrote in her memo to the board.
“Strains of the COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented turnover in the Public Health professions. What had been crucial and largely behind-the-scenes roles were suddenly thrust into the spotlight. With the overwhelming workload that came in initial pandemic response, long hours in the face of ever-changing information, many long-time practitioners understandably burned out; late career professionals also retired in significant numbers,” Parker wrote.
Following the departure of Dr. Karen Tait, who served from April 2008 to December 2017, no Lake County Public Health officer has served for longer than 20 months. The longest tenure has been that of Pace, who filled the role from Aug. 2019 to April 2021, Parker said.
Parker said there have been more than 10 changes in staffing of the Public Health officer role over a period of five and a half years.
Sporer advised the county that he couldn’t continue in the job past Sept. 30 and hoped to end the job sooner than that if possible, according to Parker’s report.
Referring to the contract with Doohan, Parker said, “Providing stability in the Public Health Officer role for a period of one year, with the option to renew, will provide critical support to the Health Services Department and broader community.”
There had been concerns over McLaughlin — who lived in Nevada — not being in Lake County for some key inspections and work that requires an on-site presence.
Doohan, who lives in Solvang, will be required to be in-person full-time for four of her first six weeks on the job. For the following month, she must be in-person for two weeks and can be remote for two weeks.
That will be followed by one week full-time in person and three weeks remote per month for the remainder of the contract.
Doohan will be responsible for developing a two-year Public Health officer workplan for the board’s approval and can perform other “current contractual obligations” if they don’t conflict with Lake County employment policies.
(Lake County News)
LOVE IS BLIND THEY SAY
I question the validity of such an absurdity
Love sees with certainty
The beauty of humanity
As we are
Flawed & courageous
There is no limit to the love we exhibit
Unless fear lies in-between our ears
& we hide what is true
Casting a shadow on love’s hue
— Mazie Malone
LAKE COUNTY SAYS NO TO NEEDLE EXCHANGES
by Betsy Cawn
On Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the Lake County Board of Supervisors considered a proposed letter to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) objecting to the state agency’s decision to formally authorize a local syringe exchange program — one that has been provided for more than 20 years with CDPH support — offered by the non-profit organization “Any Positive Change in Lake County” (APC).
HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C prevention measures inaugurated in the early 2000s (codified in state legislation in 2005, with the enactment of AB 547) were modified by CDPH in response to the 2020 “COVID-19” pandemic health crisis to include distribution of “glassware” (a.k.a., “meth pipes”) as an alternative method of ingesting harmful substances, which has also been found to assist in users’ voluntary reduction of consumption via injection devices.
In 2021, the City of Clearlake’s Police Chief objected to APC’s services delivered within the city boundaries (in addition to other locations in the county) — especially distribution of state-provided “glassware” — and District 2 Supervisor Bruno Sabatier brought the matter to the Board of Supervisors on November 2, 2021, seeking a moratorium halting APC's harm reduction services provided in compliance with a 2008 memorandum of understanding between the program provider and the local Public Health department.
Like many secondary functions of the Public Health department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic health emergency, tracking of APC’s data (properly submitted to the CDPH for requisition of harm reduction materials but not reported locally) fell by the wayside as every county agency was focused on rapidly evolving pandemic impacts.
Attention to the presence of the program services delivered in the town of Lucerne was raised by some members of the public who demanded that the location of their weekly service event be moved away from the hitherto untroubled parking area in front of the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, and in December 2021 APC’s weekly services relocated to the County's Behavioral Health department public parking area a few blocks away.
Members of the public continued to object to the program itself, claiming that the town’s busy commercial outlets and several community parks were being contaminated by improperly disposed syringes and related materials deriving from the weekly needle exchange program.
The CDPH Office of AIDS’ announcement of APC’s program application approval first came to the attention of the public at the August 14 regular meeting of Lucerne’s municipal advisory council, also known as the “Central Region Town Hall,” presaging the August 22 Board of Supervisors hearing.
District 2 and District 3 Supervisors proposed sending a letter “requesting” CDPH to reconsider its “approval of APC’s application to provide syringe services in Lake County,” which the Board ultimately decided not to send following lengthy discussion including extensive input from the public and the City of Lakeport’s Chief of Police, Brad Rasmussen. Chief Rasmussen cited the August 14, 2023, Third Appellate District Court decision (C095659) finding that the level of “consultation” with law enforcement agencies by the CDPH, in addition to solicitation of public comment, was not properly conducted.
In addition to rejecting the August 22 proposed letter to CDPH, the Supervisors further decided to provide “direction to staff” to review all previous actions taken prior to the state’s authorization of APC’s program services, paving the way for a county-wide plan to address documented levels of “substance use disorders” and attendant public health impacts, and openly acknowledging the county’s horrific levels of HIV/AIDS and HCV, homelessness, mental illness, and associated socio-economic conditions which municipal services are inadequate to overcome.
My August 21 email to the Board of Supervisors regarding the proposed letter is appended below, highlighting long-established national disease prevention efforts and ongoing social conflicts in the town of Lucerne.
THE LAST TIME
by Byron Spooner
I remember we were holding hands, just the two of us. His hand resting on top of mine, mine on his, then his on mine. I had seated myself on the chair next to him because he was alone there in his regular place at the big table, his back to the wall, at Specs’, a rare occasion indeed; he was generally surrounded on all sides by friends—and others—requiring his attention. Not that we never had time together, far from it, but usually not in public like this. Never at Specs’.
We’d been working together, Jack Hirschman and I, for fifteen years at that point and had become great friends. Like most men, especially old men like us, we didn’t put much stock in intimate conversation, too old to waste time bellyaching about our feelings, our regrets, our mistakes; we tended toward books and politics and friends and culture. Oh, and baseball. And talking-dog jokes. And staring off into the middle distance. Sometimes it seemed we were more comfortable with drifting off into silence than anything else.
“So, Byron,” he said, in that deep baritone he always used to say my name, “you’re publishing a book! A lifelong ambition. Fulfilled!” There was joy in his voice. And some pride.
“Yeah,” I said. “This fall, looks like.”
“You should be proud.”
“Ten years,” I said, though it had been longer than that.
I could tell he was about to move on to something else. Maybe his baseball-played-with-dice game; each roll of the dice representing a particular play which I suspected changed with his whims.
“Jack. Wait a minute,” I said, “I gotta tell ya something.”
He raised an eyebrow.
“Listen, I want you to know how important you’ve been to that.” Of course he did: he’d just a few days before given me a wonderful blurb for my forthcoming collection of stories.
“You, more than anybody else, with the exception of Judy, inspired me to do it. That it could be done, even, you encouraged me to keep going. Your example…the example you set for others including me, was just invaluable. You made this possible, you made me think I could do it.”
“Ach,” he said, “It was all you, all the way,” he waved off my sentiments with a flip of his hand.
“No, no, no-no-no-no,” I said, “I’m not going to let you get away with that, I want you to get how important you were. You helped me believe I could do it.” I wanted him to see how hard it was for me to say what I was saying. He nodded and our eyes caught, his deep and patient and wise and old. He smiled and said “Well…” and looked down at our hands stacked there together on the table and patted my hand with his top hand. He looked back at me and said, “Thank you for that, Byron, but always remember that in the end this was something you did, not me, not anyone else.”
That’s as close as I can remember it anyway, words to that effect. I have no idea what made either of us say any of this. It was not the way we normally spoke. Together we’d pulled off three very complex International Poetry Festivals without exchanging so much as a high five, six city-wide poetry competitions, countless poetry readings marked by nothing more than, “That was good,” and, “Yeah.”
“Now,” he said, unstacking our hands and sitting back, relieved to finally be off the subject, “How’s Ulysses going?”
With his encouragement, I was taking yet another stab at Ulysses. He’d convinced me it was as readable as any other book, but I was making no more progress than I had on previous attempts—even Jack’s immense powers couldn’t make it decipherable to me. I was not intellectual icebreaker enough to plow through.
“Fine,” I said, “Slow.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that, my friend, just read with the flow, follow the rhythms, the sounds. There’s certainly no rush. It’s best read aloud, by the way.”
I was also grappling with my own book. Reading it for what seemed like the hundredth time, proofing, editing, burnishing. It was no Ulysses, but I was still having trouble wrestling it to the ground.
Ten days later I sat at his bedside with Aggie and Judy, his lifeless body still with the covers tucked under his chin. In the kitchen Rebecca and Francisco tried to restore order where there had been no disorder. We waited for the funeral guys to show up. I’d missed my father’s death by a few hours, the fucking plane just took too long, and never had a final moment with him, the moment the rest of the family had and had held onto. I remembered my last moments with Jack, together there in Specs’, our hands together, and how rare and precious that was and always will remain.
I never did get all the way through Ulysses, but I will someday. It will complete another thing Jack and I started together.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I like churches as buildings go, and so sometimes wander into them on a whim and mosey around.
Sometimes, some musicians/choirs are practicing and I get to enjoy them and the wonderful church acoustics almost all to myself.
I wanted to learn stain-glass-making as a hobby at one point and who knows, maybe I’ll try that one day yet.
Perhaps the above approach to church is a kind of spirituality: A love of space, beauty, art, a sense of belonging, community (-gathering-space), and peace.
This seems very different than a claim of an interest in God or the cosmos-as-God, yet betrayed by a fundamental interest in religious rules and laws leveraged in and rationalized for the dominion over people and nature.
Sounds too much like the State and its own scriptures (“the law”) and popes (“the president”) and is perhaps what the State replaced, almost to the letter.
THOSE WHO DISOBEYED the barricaded road closures during the Maui fires survived the disaster, while many of those who heeded orders to turn around perished in their cars and homes with no way out, The Associated Press reported. At least 114 people were killed in the fires earlier this month, and the FBI is estimating that up to 1,100 more are unaccounted for. Officials are facing increased scrutiny for the emergency response, including why the emergency sirens were not set off and whether closing the roads prevented people from getting to safety.
BARBARA LEE FOR SENATE
For voters beginning to consider who you want to represent you next in the Senate, I recommend Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. She is an experienced negotiator and courageous progressive member of Congress. Lee has my full support.
After 9/11 she was the only member of Congress to vote no against giving the president unlimited war powers. She stood by her convictions then, and she will continue to do so. As a state legislator, Lee wrote California’s first Violence Against Women Act to ensure protections for victims of domestic violence and authored the California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act to protect all students — regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation — from hate crimes. She has consistently worked to protect the rights of the vulnerable among us.
Representation does matter. For all our talk of Black Lives Matter, we now have an opportunity to act accordingly and send a qualified Black woman with a high level of integrity to the Senate. If elected she will be the only Black woman in the U.S. Senate. We need her courage, her voice and her perspective in the Senate.
WHEN MRS. MEYER WAS RAIDED
by David K. Li
The co-owner of a Kansas newspaper, who died shortly after law enforcement raided her home, swore at Marion Police Department officers and questioned whether their mothers loved them, according to security footage reviewed by NBC News.
The Aug. 11 raid, which targeted the Marion County Record newsroom as well as the home of its co-owner Joan Meyer, has drawn withering criticism from free speech watchdogs, and Meyer did not hold back in telling officers she didn’t believe they had a right to be there.
“Get out of my house!” Meyer, 98, repeatedly told officers while using her walker to navigate around the home she shared with son Eric Meyer, publisher of the newspaper.
At one point during the search, she challenged an officer and questioned whether his mother loves him.
“Did your mother love you? Do you love your mother? You’re an asshole,” the late newspaper co-owner said. “Police chief? You’re the chief? Oh, god. Get out of my house!”
Joan Meyer believed she was addressing Marion Police Chief Gideon Cody, but he was actually a few feet away, within earshot in the kitchen, the newspaper's lawyer Bernie Rhodes said Tuesday.
Joan Meyer, a respected, longtime journalist who spent 60 years at the paper, died the day after the raid from stress, Eric Meyer said.
Five days later, Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey found that police had “insufficient evidence” to justify the raids and the prosecutor asked a court to return all seized items.
THE RISKS AND REWARDS OF TAKING DOWN THE ‘BIG GUY’ JOE BIDEN
by Michael Goodwin
When the presidency is reduced to a game of high-stakes poker, every move is important.
So it is with the Biden family scandal, where House Republicans face both opportunity and peril as they prepare to make their next bet.
The GOP comes to this pivotal moment because Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Delaware US Attorney David Weiss as special counsel in the probe of Hunter Biden.
To call Garland cynical is an understatement.
His move aims to stop the clock on House probers and take the Biden case out of the headlines.
His ultimate goal is to protect President Biden from any more taint about his role before the election.
One element of protecting the president is the special counsel rule that requires Weiss to write a public report when he is finished.
He and Garland will almost certainly use that feature to justify why they offered the president’s son the world’s sweetest sweetheart deal, which, thankfully, collapsed under routine judicial scrutiny.
It was a farce in light of House GOP-led investigations already revealing paper trails showing millions of foreign-sourced dollars moving through a web of shell company accounts created by Hunter Biden, with eight other family members getting a cut.
In addition, blockbuster hearings featured testimony by IRS whistleblowers who accused Garland’s Justice Department of protecting the president and giving Hunter preferential treatment.
We now know that Weiss and probably Garland, too, are guilty as charged.
A weekend report proved that Weiss was prepared to let Hunter walk free without pleading guilty to a single crime — until the whistleblowers came forward.
In a heartbeat, the prosecutor shifted gears and demanded that the president’s son plead guilty to two misdemeanors.
Investigations have already revealed paper trails showing millions of foreign-sourced dollars moving through a web of shell company accounts created by Hunter Biden, with eight other family members getting a cut.
The discovery of Weiss’ secret maneuvering was all the more shocking because of its source — the New York Times.
Up to now, the Gray Lady has largely ignored the scandal except to acknowledge it has become a potential political problem for the president’s re-election hopes.
But with its explosive finding that Weiss was prepared to decide the case on political considerations, the Times did its first significant original reporting.
In addition to sources, most of them anonymous, the paper based its finding on hundreds of pages of correspondence between prosecutors and defense lawyers.
The shocking conclusion is summarized in a single paragraph.
“IRS whistleblowers have accused Garland’s Justice Department of protecting President Biden and giving Hunter Biden preferential treatment.”
Reporters wrote that earlier this year, Weiss was ready “to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges.”
The Times adds: “But the correspondence reveals that his position, relayed through his staff, changed in the spring, around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses.”
The disclosure, coming soon after Garland made the special counsel move, proves that Weiss is unfit for any role in any case, much less one this important.
With Americans’ trust in the FBI and federal law enforcement at historic lows, the proven favoritism for the Bidens and the repeated prosecutions of Republican Donald Trump reveal a loathsome double standard.
But the situation also puts Republicans in a box.
While developments provide plenty of ammunition to impeach Weiss in a party-line House vote, that could prove to be a noisy dead end.
Senate conviction and removal require 67 votes, so Weiss would be damaged but would survive.
More important, impeaching Weiss probably wouldn’t lead to any action on Garland’s part, so the huge expenditure of time and energy would produce no measurable result and might turn off more voters who are sick of Washington.
As an alternative to immediate impeachment, one insider urges House leaders “to apply every tool they have to force Weiss to testify” about the case.
Perhaps he can persuade them, without saying so directly and publicly, that he’s found religion on the Biden case and, instead of giving Hunter a pass, intends to bring felony charges on the illegal gun issue, tax fraud and unregistered lobbying for foreign nationals.
And Weiss, now that he has national jurisdiction as a special counsel, could also argue he’s pursuing leads in Washington, DC, and California, as well as Delaware, and that he’s prepared to follow them to the Oval Office if necessary.
On the other hand, if Weiss ducks and dodges and won’t show his cards, the insider recommends the GOP “go on a war footing” and use its majority to block spending measures and saturate the White House and Justice Department with subpoenas.
The House could also vote to cite Weiss for contempt, a reputational stain that would not require Senate action.
Another avenue for probers to explore is that the Times piece on Weiss’ flip-flop has a curious hole in it.
To wit, Garland is absent from all of Weiss’ decision-making.
It’s as if the Delaware US attorney is free to make calls on a historic case about the president’s family without input from the attorney general.
This is nonsense and Garland almost certainly signed off on Weiss’ lenient decisions on Hunter Biden.
That makes Garland extra vulnerable now that Weiss has been exposed as playing politics with the case.
Unless the AG separates himself from Weiss, he too is automatically tainted by the plea deal, which further damages Justice’s credibility and fuels more doubts about the legitimacy of the Trump prosecutions.
EMPTY AMERICAN WORDS
Americans have found all kinds of ways to feel powerful without ever actually becoming powerful in the way democracy envisions.
We use urban vocabularies, outrageous fashion statements, body inking, jewelry, and weight training to set us off from the mainstream.
We hearken to advertising jingles like “There are many versions of you,” and “It’s your world.”
We set off fireworks on patriotic holidays to mimic our powerful men of war. We attend church to learn we are chosen above all others.
We attend TV game shows, buy lottery tickets, and borrow money hoping to become economically strong.
We transform morbid obesity into a “big and beautiful” statement, turning a poverty of health into a bonanza of pretended personal power.
We engage in pop psychologies like resiliency to explain the fact we survive one disaster while ending up at the doorstep of another. We convince ourselves we are “community strong” after horrible events that are often the result of individual and collective weakness.
We riot in the streets, deface buildings, loot property, buy guns and shoot up crowds, all to establish our power to disobey laws and control society.
We commit suicide when we finally realize our personal power is empty and is just an advertising-inspired mirage.
Is it possible we can do better as a nation?
Woods Cross, Utah
Mr. Jared Kushner defended Prince Mohammed after Saudi operatives murdered Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist for The Post and United States resident. The C.I.A. concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the 2018 killing. In 2021, Prince Mohammed’s sovereign wealth fund approved the $2 billion investment in Mr. Kushner’s new firm despite objections from the fund’s own advisers, and his having no experience running a large investment fund. (NYTimes)
“Jared Kushner, six months after he leaves the White House, gets $2 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.” “What was Jared Kushner doing in the Middle East? We had Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo as secretaries of state. We didn’t need Jared Kushner. He was put there to make those relationships, and then he cashed in on those relationships when he left the office.” — Chris Christie
HAVING YOUR BOOK turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.
— John LeCarre
UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the chief of the mercenary group Wagner, was on board a plane that crashed northwest of Moscow on Wednesday, the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency said.
The crash comes months after Prigozhin launched a mutiny against Russia’s military leadership. The revolt was called off in a deal that required Prigozhin and his fighters to relocate to Belarus.
US President Joe Biden suggested that President Vladimir Putin may have been behind the plane crash. " I don’t know for a fact what happened, but I’m not surprised," he said.
Meanwhile, Russia said three people were killed in a Ukrainian drone attack in the border region of Belgorod.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED INTO LAKE TAHOE
…and who was known to show visitors his severed, frostbitten toes
by Suzie Dundas
It would be a rare occasion that a first-time visitor to Lake Tahoe didn’t comment on the basin’s beauty, and even after decades of visiting or living nearby, the lake’s cerulean water, rocky shorelines and sandy coves are still striking.
But the other striking detail about Tahoe is that despite having a surface area of 191 square miles, the lake has only one island. And it’s small: While Tahoe’s shoreline is measured in miles, Fannette Island’s is measured in feet — 1,718 feet, to be exact. While the single rocky island may not seem like an ideal place to live alone for more than a decade, one man did: Captain Richard “Dick” Barter.
Richard Barter, also known as Dick “Them’s My Toes” Barter and “the Hermit of Emerald Bay,” was one of Tahoe’s first permanent residents, as the indigenous Washoe people moved to lower elevations each winter. By the mid-1870s, his devil-may-care attitude, combined with his solitary lifestyle and tendency to converse with the mountains, had led to Fannette Island’s other nicknames: “Hermit Isle” and, following his mysterious end in 1873, “Dead Man’s Isle.”
Fannette Island sits in the middle of Emerald Bay State Park, Tahoe’s most popular tourist draw on its southwestern shore. Emerald Bay is also home to Vikingsholm, the park’s sole historic building, notable for its stone construction and architectural style that looks straight from a centuries-old Viking village.
Vikingholm’s original owner, Lora Josephine Knight, was one of the wealthiest women in America. She bought 250 acres around the bay for $250,000 (roughly $4.3 million in 2023) — a steal by today’s standards but no paltry sum in 1928. While the story of her life and home is well-known, an even richer San Francisco titan of industry first claimed the shoreline of Emerald Bay for his summer home.
The story of how a retired English captain met his fate on a stormy night in the depths of Lake Tahoe begins with that man: Ben Holladay, better known as the “Stagecoach King.” Holladay built the first stagecoach route to California and, in a coincidence to no one, also happened to own all the carriages and coaches that serviced the route. He became unimaginably wealthy. And just like today, there’s no more fitting place for an unimaginably wealthy San Francisco resident to build a summer home than Lake Tahoe.
Also like today, Holladay never intended for the cottage he built in 1862, potentially the first residence on the lake, to be a year-round home. He gifted it to his son, Ben Holladay Jr., who set about hiring a caretaker to look after the home when it was unoccupied.
Holladay Jr. was put in touch with Barter either by a mutual connection or a newspaper ad, and the retired sea captain landed in Emerald Bay a year later. Barter split his time between the main home and a small cabin he built on Fannette Island, likely where Knight’s former teahouse stands today.
Details about Barter’s life become more sensational and, relatedly, unprovable after his move to Lake Tahoe. With no roads, no electricity, no family and no neighbors for the vast majority of the year, he soon earned the nickname “The Hermit of Emerald Bay.”
“There is not a residence within miles of him, and often for weeks or months at a time, he does not see a human being,” wrote a reporter recounting a visit with Barter in an 1870 issue of the Daily Alta California. After noting that Barter opened the door to greet them with a gun in each hand, the reporter went on to describe Barter as “a Robinson Crusoe in actual life” and “most extraordinary.”
Barter next went on to recall one of his many near-death experiences en route to the sole exception to his hermitage: the saloons in Tahoe City,16 miles north. He told the reporter that he was tossed from his boat while rowing back to Emerald Bay in January 1870 after he had “imbibed so freely” that he thought he should leave. “The night was an inky blackness,” he said, “and the weather intensely cold, the mercury being many degrees below zero.” To avoid freezing to death in his small boat, he poured his remaining whiskey on water seeping into the boat, and he eventually made it back to his cabin, where he stayed for several weeks while battling frostbite.
Following his recounting of this tale, the reporter from the Daily Alta California noted that Barter then “hobbled across the room and opening a drawer took out a small box, which he handed to me, saying — ‘Them’s my toes!’”
“Sure enough, there they were,” the reporter added.
Earlier that year, Barter had met with another group of reporters visiting and reporting on the terrain around what would become Desolation Wilderness. While the reporter described him as eccentric, they also offered a more personal perspective, describing him as having “a heart full of bounding hospitality, humanity and joy” and noting that he teared up when they announced their departure.
Aside from the occasional journalist visit and Barter's trips to the Tahoe City saloons, he spent most of his final 12 years alone.
“I can’t get lonesome when I have a thing like that to talk to,” “Uncle Dick” told the Daily Alta California, referring to 200-foot-tall Eagle Falls (then called “Robbers Roost”).
Barter had told reporters of occasions when he’d narrowly escaped avalanches, contended with a dozen feet of snow around his cottage, and heard grizzlies prowling nearby (though he noted that “this here place is big enough for both of us to live without bothering each other”). But supposedly, it was the 1870 frostbite incident that spurred Barter to seriously consider how he’d meet his end, and he came up with a straightforward solution: He’d crawl into his homemade crypt when he was ready to die.
“I feel like my time to die is drawing near,” the paper quoted him as saying while displaying a coffin he’d made and stored in a small cave on the island. “When I feel that I am called, I’ll just come out here, get in this coffin, shut the lid, and then, goodbye, Old Dick. All they’ll have to do, when they come, is just to pile up the stones at the end of the cave.”
That part of Barter’s life is verifiably true, as historic photos show the crypt and chapel atop it Barter had built for himself in the mid-1870s. However, they stood forever empty, as Barter was swallowed by a massive Tahoe gale while rowing home one night in 1873. Days after, pieces of his boat were found on the shore near Rubicon Point, but no sign of his body was ever recovered.
Today, stories about Barter’s life in Tahoe often allude to his continued haunting of Emerald Bay, though it’s difficult to find an actual first-person account of someone who encountered his ghost in the flesh, so to speak. “On October nights, when a cold fog settles into Emerald Bay, the spirit of Captain Dick can be seen clawing his way up the weathered granite boulders, forever trying to climb into his grave,” wrote one retelling.
“Now, even to this day, on cold nights, amongst the mist of Emerald Bay, it is said that you can see his ghost, wandering Fannette Island looking for his long gone crypt, finally having made it back to the island,” wrote another.
“His body is over a thousand feet below the surface of Lake Tahoe, but his spirit now haunts the island that was to be his resting place.”
It’s not known exactly when his chapel came down, but newspaper articles reported it still standing as of 1902. In the past 100 years, nearly all traces of Barter’s time on the island have been lost to history or removed by early tourists. But just like with Barter himself, one item may never be found: the tiny box that supposedly contained Barter’s cut-off, frostbitten toes.
JACK DEMPSEY VS GEORGES CARPENTIER, 1921
• First $1 million gate
• Full 91,000 seat stadium
• First fight on mass radio broadcast
• Custom-built venue