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LOCALLY BREEZY CONDITIONS will continue through Thursday. Dry weather will persist through the end of the work week, along with cool nighttime lows and near normal daytime highs. A wetter pattern will develop late in the weekend and into next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A much cooler 48F with hazy skies this Humpday morning on the coast. It is forecast to get windy later today & tonight, then calm down starting tomorrow. A quiet forecast after that until Monday when it looks like we have a good chance of rain.
PRELIMINARY NUMBERS from the big Boonville Skatepark Fall Fundraiser last Saturday have it that the project brought in an amazing $19k in just that one event. Not much was spent on the event which featured local music, donated food and drinks, an auction of skate decks painted by student artists, and a raffle of donated goods and gear.
BOONVILLE QUIZ THIS THURSDAY: Just in time for The Fair. The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz returns to Lauren’s at The Buckhorn at 7pm on September 21st - the Third Thursday. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master
SUSAN JOHANSEN: I would like to thank Mazie Malone for writing an article on the perspective of the family. I am Aaron Bassler’s aunt. Had we realized the extent of his illness we would have tried harder as a family to help him. His sister and father pleaded with the courts to facilitate him. People don’t realize that when a family member starts showing signs of schizophrenia you can disregard them for drug use or an inability to dysfunction in society. It wasn’t a game of Hide and Seek, it was a form of survival. I am 5th generation in Fort Bragg and people don’t realize how devastating it was for our family to have to deal with the fact that Aaron murdered Matthew Coleman and Jere Melo. Twelve years later and nothing has changed for the better. The system is broken as are the mentally ill folks who struggle everyday just to survive. The book Allman published didn’t even begin to address most issues that were going on at the time. Let’s hope for change.
A COUPLE OF READERS have asked why we didn’t cover the main points of the Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, specifically their decision to postpone enforcement of the outdoor eatery tent ban for a year; their review of Fort Bragg Police Chief Neil Cervenka’s Care Response Unit (CRU) program, and their decision to waive permit requirements for solar roof installations.
What’s to cover?
The first one was decided before the meeting even began because nobody wants to squeeze the Coast’s eateries any more as they struggle to recover from the covid restrictions. There were a few water usage questions, but since nobody mentioned the $5 million water project which they trumpeted about a couple of years ago that’s supposed to be underway — or hurrying it up, which is what should be done — for the town of Mendocino, and nobody’s outta water at the moment, the discussion wasn’t worth much attention.
Like everyone else in the meeting we have been impressed with Fort Bragg’s homeless management program and wish them the best. But since all the Board offered was the usual “we’ll look into” long-term funding… Again, there’s not much to say since they didn’t even give the Chief or his program a deadline for when they’d do anything, if at all.
As far as the rooftop solar permit waivers, that should have been done long ago. Sonoma and Humboldt counties did it years ago, but Mendo kept the costly and discouraging permit requirements in place despite the obvious energy and political benefits, likely for the fee revenue was generating.
None of these discussions or decisions will change anything. They were raised primarily as an afterthought to the Board’s decision to meet on the Coast to shore up their image out there. The presence of the large turnout of coasties made no difference either.
In fact, all the these decisions and presentations could have been done in Ukiah on the consent calendar. The meeting on the Coast was local political theater and, as usual, the interested coast residents ate it up.
We chose to cover the more important subjects that weren’t covered by other local outlets: The Board’s pathetic response to the sorry state of the County’s broken human resources system and the related “workplace culture” problems, and Supervisor Haschak’s weak attempt to put a small plug in the County’s looming budget gap with a short term rental tax proposal that went nowhere.
The Supervisors whine constantly about their “structural deficit” and the “painful choices” they expect to have to make for the next fiscal year. Yet they can’t even ask their Assessor about the report on status of the assessment catch-up program they directed be provided monthly back in July, but have yet to receive or inquire about. If they can’t even get something important and simple like that from their staff, what makes anyone think they’ll deliver any money for Chief Cervenka’s model homeless management program?
PS. We recall that the Measure B committee allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars for three crisis vans for three years four years ago, one of which was supposed to be on the Coast. Two such units were much later put in place, for much less than the allocated cost. So Fort Bragg should just get that unspent Measure B money for their program right off the bat if anyone in Official Mendo really was interested in helping to keep it going.
JACOB PATTERSON seems to have caused the exit of another capable Fort Bragg City manager. Peggy Ducey has resigned, as had Tabatha Miller before her. Patterson, a non-practicing attorney who lives with his mom, seems to get odd kicks out of burdening the City with frivolous legal requests which, of course, he doesn't act on. He's obviously harassing the City without caring that he has cost the City thousands of dollars in staff time. And there also seems to be a sexist motive at work in Patterson's harassment, in that only women bear the brunt of his constant attentions, and the departures of successive female city managers are assumed to be to a large degree due to Patterson's constant recreational demands on their time. (Please excuse my resort to the blunderbuss term “sexist.” I try to stay away from the caw, caw, cawing of the professionally aggrieved.)
I CORRESPONDED with an Oregon kid who got thirty years for setting fire to a row of new cars. They had him on video with a gas can jogging down the line, splashing the fuel on shiny new climate changers. I guess you could say he was the tip of the save the planet spear. I told him I admired his spirit, but unless thousands of climate activists are willing to risk serious time the planet is goners.
ABOUT THE SAME TIME, more than a decade ago, a band of serious eco-warriors burned down a particularly destructive ski resort being built in Colorado, only to be denounced by the much more numerous foundation-supported, bureaucratic, Democrat-approved, cash and carry enviros, including Betty Ball, formerly a Mendo enviro then operating a tame, Mendo-style environment center out of Golden. There must be thousands of serious young people aware of the ultimate stakes involved who are mulling over direct action to stop the rolling ecocide…
BUT if you're a young, agile eco-warrior aware that your heirs and assignees will inherit eco and social chaos if you don't risk serious felonies, be careful with whom you commence your direct action. Best to stick with people you can absolutely trust not to rat you out.
A BUFFOON-ISH character named Barry Clausen earned a handsome living for nearly ten years by claiming he'd “infiltrated” the menacing terrorist group known as Earth First! Clausen ignited a mini-scare in the wine industry when he alerted the jive juice moguls that Earth First! had vineyards in its line of fire.
THE WINE INDUSTRY'S blustery Jess Jackson of the Kendall-Jackson booze empire, went on red alert, demanding that Earth First! be stopped before they got into the vines.
BUT IT WAS ALL a false alarm — doubly, triply false, because (a) Clausen had misread a line in the Earth First! Journal which merely pointed out that Kendall-Jackson had denuded several ridges near Santa Barbara of its old oak and every other living thing to plant grapevines and wasn’t it a shame, and (b) to “infiltrate” Earth First! one simply walks up to a campfire anywhere in Mendo or HumCo and presents oneself, although acceptance is hastened if you're togged out as a 16th century pirate, and (c) Earth First! was not a violent organization. Even in its salad days ten years ago, EF! presented no threat whatsoever to anything except, perhaps, linear thought processes.
HOW can I get a Fort Bragg Forever placard? The mighty ava enjoys highway frontage in Boonville, and we're all the way on board for retaining Fort Bragg as Fort Bragg. It's all a false alarm anyway. The Name Change people are few in number and lazy, too lazy to collect the signatures to put the issue on the ballot. They're a sad little group of virtue signalers at their pathetic neediest. This time next year they'll be only a trivia question.
I CALLED Felines of Philo for assistance with a feral cat infestation of the ava's work site in central Boonville. No call back, but thinking over the message I left the Philo Felines I'm afraid I may have sounded a little too frantic, a little too threatening when I said I might have to resort to shooting the little beasts if no help is offered, or even sensible advice. I tried trapping them but they're too smart for the trip.
HEADLINE from this morning's Press Democrat: “Alert tells Mendocino County to brace for 4.7 earthquake, but it was only 3.5. “ Excuse me, but what's the point of scaring the shit out of people in the middle of the night to give them a laughable second for an earthquake they won't feel and won't even rouse the cat? Myself, I'd much prefer being hurled from bed by the Big One than having the equivalent of no warning.
JENNY'S GIANT BURGERS, THE BEST BURGER ON THE NORTHCOAST
MAZIE MALONE on the Great Redwood Trail section in Ukiah:
The Great Redwood Trail…
No its really not scenic or enticing just convenient…
What strikes me in this article is the judgement on the family walking along the path, in their “obesity” and nerve to buy snacks. Lol.
I mean at least ya didn’t see some things I have seen along the trail. Bloody trash from the hospital; People shooting up in the bushes; The guy on a nice spring evening in the field with his privates in his hand pleasuring himself as families were walking by. Homeless people hiding out, some very lost and scared. And a bunch of nice people going for a walk. People screaming at voices in their head. Police do patrol it now and then, but I think that’s mostly when they are looking for someone.
GRACE HUDSON GALA: SEPTEMBER 23: Museum fundraiser honors community's ideals
On Saturday, Sept. 23, from 5 to 8:15 p.m., the Grace Hudson Museum will hold its annual Gala. This is the biggest and most festive fundraiser of the year for the Museum, and a chance for folks to gather with old and new friends, enjoy splendid food and plentiful libations, and support this important local institution.
The Gala's theme this year, Back to the Garden, is tied to the Museum's hugely popular exhibition, Something's Happening Here: Artistic Reflections on the Back to the Land Movement. The phrase “back to the garden” originates from the song “Woodstock,” written by Joni Mitchell in honor of the legendary 1969 music festival. Museum Director David Burton comments, “The song became an anthem of sorts, articulating a need for us all to find a way back to a metaphoric Garden of Eden... Unrealizable idealism? Maybe. But it shouldn’t stop one from trying.”
There was a lot of trying going on in Mendocino County from the late 60s onward, a cultural shift that Burton and curator Alyssa Boge documented in Something's Happening Here, focusing on the back-to-landers' artistic activities and creations. “The movement brought new blood and ways of thinking to the area,” Burton states, “and kick-started what today has become a vibrant and robust artistic ecosystem in Mendocino County.” He also notes that the Gala itself will take place “outdoors on the Museum campus, amidst two gardens: one originated by Grace Hudson surrounding her beloved Sun House; and the Wild Gardens, honoring Pomo peoples and culture, which Grace painted throughout her career.”
The Gala will also feature live and silent auctions, and will welcome back retired Mendocino County sheriff Tom Allman as auctioneer. The event's caterer, Ellery Clark, was brought up by back-to-lander parents. Clark’s culinary philosophy is rooted firmly in sustainable farming practices and locally-sourced ingredients.
All proceeds will support the Museum’s exhibitions, public programs, education outreach, collections care, and upkeep of the Sun House, Grace Hudson's historic home and studio.
The Museum is grateful to its sponsors: Savings Bank of Mendocino County, the Eversole Family, Mary Louise and Leroy Chase, NC Financial Group, Dave's Bike Shop, Tamar Distillery, and two who wish to remain anonymous.
To purchase tickets for the Gala, click GALA TICKETS or call the Museum at (707) 467-2836. More information is on the Museum's website, https://www.gracehudsonmuseum.org/new-events.
I Am Democracy; Our Diversity Is Our Superpower!
An event to celebrate and support democracy and each other in our south coast community and the beautiful people who are America.
by The Freedomocracy Coalition
43700 Mountain View Road Manchester, CA 95459
Saturday, September 23, 2023, 12 pm - 3:30 pm
This is a rough schedule - subject to change.
- Blue Souls performing music while people arrive and look at booths and get food
- Prayers and Blessings
- Reading of Preamble to the Constitution - books available to read along
- Welcome from hosts Kenny & Robert
- Sidney Michele Regelbrugge, Mendocino County Youth Poet Laureate (check out her new book on Amazon!)
- Importance of public radio & independent Media with Peggy Berryhill of KGUA and Chris McManus of the ICO
- Housing issues Lani Bouwer of South Coast Organizing for Radical Equality
- Micheline White Kirby - Executive Director of Mendonoma Health Alliance
- Why Democracy is important Brian Flinn - Straight White Male Veteran
- Democracy for Millennials
- LGBTQ+ issues - Chad Swimmer
- ACLU - Lauren Mendelsohn
- De Colores Folkloric Dancing
- Voting - Peter McNamee and our headline speaker journalist Alexis Madrigal
- Finishing out the day will be a fantastic drag show with Terrecotta Clay!
Admission is free but donations gratefully accepted to help pay for costs of the event. Also bring cash for food vendors - there will be burgers, veggie burgers, hot dogs, tomales, elote, desserts and more!
Vendors with booths also appreciate purchases or donations
- Redwood Coast Democrats - https://dems4progress.org/
- Four Eyed Frog - https://www.foureyedfrog.com/
- Action Network - https://www.actionnetwork.net/
- KGUA - https://kgua.org/
- National Veterans Monument -http://www.norcalvetsmonument.com/about.html
- Friends of Gualala River – https://gualalariver.org/
- Grass Roots Institute – https://www.grassroots-institute.org/about
- Coast Community Branch Mendocino Library -https://www.mendolibrary.org/visit/coast-community
- Independent Coast Observer – https://www.mendonoma.com/
- Redwood Coast Land Conservancy –https://www.rclc.org/
(This is an outdoor event, hay bales provided for seating or bring your own comfy camping chair and a refillable water bottle, carpooling encouraged!)
Please register at EventBrite for more updates and details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/i-am-democracy-an-event-to-celebrate-and-support-democracy-tickets-68660435109
RESEARCHING TREVOR MOCKEL
To the Editor:
I have to admit I'm very much intrigued by this Zelig-like character we know as "Trevor Mockel".
After some investigation (see links below; also see attachments), I've come to the conclusion Mockel is less Zelig-like and more George Santos-like.
Mockel has wildly inflated his credentials.
Here are the facts.
At Senator Jerry Hill's office, Mockel worked only a few months. He made a total of $2,552.
At Senator Mike Mockel's office, Mockel also worked a few months. He made a total of $4,108.
In both positions, Mockel worked for very short periods of time, and he worked in the lowest possible positions -- probably as an intern or receptionist. I doubt he was even a field representative.
Therefore, it looks like for some part of 2022, Mockel worked in a low-level position for McGuire. In 2019, he made coffee and answered phones for Jerry Hill from April to December.
What did Mockel do between 2019-2022?
I think he worked for First 5 in 2020 or 2021. I used to be able to find one of Mockel's PSAs while working for First 5, but now it's gone.
Here is mention of Mockel working for Mendocino County (April 2021) where he is clearly misrepresented as "the spokesman" for the County.
Moving to the present time, Mockel purportedly "quit working for the County to focus on his campaign" -- or so he says -- but here he is now, reappearing again, Zelig-like, making coffee and answering phones in another low-level position -- this time at Mendocino College.
Like Zelig and George Santos, Mockel is a "mystery man". A "shape shifter". Inserting himself in one political job after another, constantly changing his appearance, behavior, or attitudes, so as to be comfortable wherever and whenever he finds his unemployable self.
I had looked Mockel up when I first heard of him, and he was on LinkedIn. But immediately after Mockel announced, his LinkedIn account disappeared.
Finally, where does Mockel live (see attachments)?
Mockel told me he lives on Road M. Someone else told me he lives at Kurt Johnson's sister's house, where Kurt Johnson has a home on Road M. Darcie Antle lives across the street which is probably not a coincidence. Mockel's mother -- he's a mamma's boy -- also lives on Road M, I think.
So, what address did Mockel use to file his 501?
Ask Zelig. Or George Santos.
Final question: Will Ted Williams, or another courageous member of the Board of Supervisors lately questioning all they believed was true but wasn't -- ah, the legacy of Carmel Angelo -- now be the first to admit their mistake and withdraw their endorsement of Mockel?
These were endorsements made in haste and without the facts.
MOCKEL, TREVOR DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE Senator Mike McGuire $4,108.00 $0.00 $4,108.00
MOCKEL, TREVOR OFFICE ASSISTANT/TE Senator Jerry Hill $0.00 $2,552.00 $2,552.00
Previously held position
State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-CA) (2022-Nov. 2022), Current title available for PRO users
PEBBLES TRIPPET: I've returned from stem cell treatments in Mexico and was told to give it a few weeks to allow everything to kick in. We found more health problems beyond COPD/emphysema in my individual case, such as spinal column misalignment, which they are also treating. I believe stem cell therapy is on the cutting edge of bona fide holistic care and knowledge. If it remains affordable and up to date in terms of current findings, it could become a leading wave of the future. In keeping with the philosophy of “do no harm,” stem cell therapy will not hurt you, since it is taking cells from your own body to treat you holistically or umbilical stem cells from C-section after birth that would otherwise be thrown away. I feel I'm in good hands. My breathing ability has improved, energy and clarity are returning. I'm satisfied with the personal treatment I received under a conscientious staff of nurses and doctors in charge of the multi-faceted process, includng hyperbaric oxygen treatment, light therapy, deep vigorous massage and continuous IVs with massive supplements which stem cells are added to. My doctor is a lung specialist with a regenerative medicine degree. I met two co-owners/investors, the medical director and his son, on board for 8 years. They interviewed me as an elder patient and offered any future elders a further discount below normal costs. Their generosity shows we developed good relations. Laura Costa was key to the team effort and will help create future shuttles to make it happen.
MARIJUANA, BOOM & BUST
by Alexander Cockburn (2010)
Marijuana was by no means the first boom crop to delight my home county of Humboldt, here in Northern California, five hours drive from San Francisco up Route 101. Leaving aside the boom of appropriating land from the Indians, there was the timber boom which crested in the 1950s when Douglas fir in the Mattole Valley went south to frame the housing tracts of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In the early 1970s new settlers — fugitives from the 1960s and city life — would tell visiting friends, “Bring marijuana,” and then disconsolately try to get high from the male leaves. Growers here would spend nine months coaxing their plants, only to watch, amid the mists and rains of fall, hated mold destroy the flowers.
By the end of the decade, the cultivators were learning how to grow. There was an enormous variety of seeds — Afghan, Thai, Burmese. The price crept up to $400 a pound, and the grateful settlers, mostly dirt poor, rushed out to buy a washing machine, a propane fridge, a used VW, a solar panel, a 12-volt battery. Even a three-pound sale was a relatively big deal.
There was a side benefit in the form of decent organic vegetables. The back-to-the-land folk of 1974-79 were learning to grow pot at same time as all other vegetables. Just as the early pot was puny and weak, so were the vegetables. The organic/natural food store in Eureka typically stocked baskets with five withered carrots, some sad looking turnips… A potato farmer once told me that in that era he took the ugliest, most knobbly and pitted potatoes and threw them in the “organic” bin. But, just as the pot boomed in quality, so did the vegetables. The local coop in Arcata became a vast enterprise — and the present “Whole Earth” emporia, with their piles of vegetables more lush than anything in Renoir, parallel the astounding transformation of the pot flower.
The 1980s brought further advances in productivity through the old Hispanic/Mexican technique of ensuring that female buds are not pollinated, hence the name sin semilla — without seeds. By 1981, the price for the grower was up to around $1,600 a pound. The $100 bill was becoming a familiar local unit of cash transactions. In 1982, a celebrated grow here in the Mattole Valley yielded its organizer, an Ivy League grad, a harvest of a thousand pounds of processed marijuana, an amazing logistical triumph. Fifteen miles up the valley from where I write, tiny Honeydew became fabled as the marijuana capital of California, if not America.
That same year, the “war on drugs” rolled into action, executed in Humboldt County by platoons of sheriff’s deputies, DEA agents, roadblocks by the California Highway Patrol. The National Guard combed the King Range. Schoolchildren gazed up at helicopters hovering over the valley scanning for marijuana gardens. War, in this case, brought relatively few casualties and many beneficiaries into the local economy: federal and state assistance for local law enforcement; more prosecutors in the DA’s office; a commensurately expanding phalanx of defense lawyers; a buoyant housing market for growers washing their money into legality; $200 a day and more for women trimming the dried plants.
A bust meant at least a year of angst for the defendant and at least $25,000 in legal fees, though rarely any significant jail time. All the same, it did usually produce a felony conviction, several years of probation, and all the restrictions of being an ex-felon. Checking that little box, “have you ever been charged or convicted of a felony,” eliminates many government jobs, like teaching school or government loans. There are 32 people serving life sentences in California on a third-strike marijuana convictions. In 2008, 1,499 were in prison on marijuana convictions; in 2007, 4,925 in county jails. (Nationally, between 1990 to 2005, there were 7,200,000 marijuana related arrests — one out of every 18 felony convictions.)
By now, the cattle ranchers were growing too. Along the little county roads in front of my house where once you’d see battered old pickups rattling along, now late model stretch-cab Fords, Chevys and Dodges thundered by. Ranch yards sported new dump trucks and backhoes. Dealerships were selling big trucks and Toyota 4-Runners, purchased with cash. By the mid-1990s, the price of bud was up around $2,400 a pound.
Best of all, the war on drugs was a sturdy price support in our thinly populated, remote Emerald Triangle of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Marijuana remained an outlaw crop.
Then, in 1996, came California’s Compassionate Use Act, the brainchild of Dennis Peron, who returned from Vietnam in 1969 with two pounds of marijuana in his duffel bag and became a dealer in San Francisco. In 1990, when his companion was dying of AIDS, Peron began his drive for legal medical use of marijuana.
It was the launch point for greenhouses, big enough to spot on Google Earth, plus diesel generators in the hills cycling 24/7 and lists of customers in the clubs down south in San Francisco and LA. By 2005, with increasingly skilled production, the price was cresting between $2,500 and even $3,500 a pound for the grower. These days, in San Francisco and LA (the latter still fractious legal terrain), perfectly grown and nicely packaged indoor pot — four grams for $60, i.e., $6,700 a pound at the retail level — can be inspected with magnifying glasses in tastefully appointed salesrooms.
The age of Obama saw Attorney General Eric Holder tell the federal DEA to give low priority to harassment of valid medical marijuana clubs in states — 14 so far, plus Washington DC — that give marijuana some form of legality. Remember, in the USA there is federal law and there are state laws. Federal law trumps state law, but it’s still up to the US Attorney General to decide on priorities in enforcement.
On March 25, 2010, California officials announced that 523,531 signatures — almost 100,000 more than required — had been validated in support of a state initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed, no small fiscal allurement in budget-stricken California. (Many growers, zealous not to get on the wrong side of the IRS and the state tax board, declare “agricultural” revenues in some form dependent on the creativity of their accountant or lawyer. After all, to get a bank loan, a college loan, you need a healthy looking return. The feds and the state are happy to take the money and, as a rule, not to ask questions. The state utility, PG&E, is similarly happy to rake in large sums from growers using huge amounts of power to run their indoor grow lights and electric fans.
The California initiative will be on the November ballot. Various polls last year indicated such a measure enjoyed a 55% approval rating. It will certainly be a close run thing, though old people, unable to afford prescription painkillers, are turning with increasing enthusiasm to marijuana. Call the California ballot the second shoe dropping in the “health reform” drama.
People here in Humboldt County reckon legalization is not far off and that it spells the end of the 30-year marijuana boom, which was under stress anyway because of one of the oldest problems in agriculture — oversupply. The local weekly, the North Coast Journal, has made a somewhat comic effort to construct a silver lining for the county. It talks hopefully of branding the Humboldt “terroir,” of tours of “marijuanaries.”
Down south there’s more sun, more water, and very capable Mexicans ready to tend and trim for $15 an hour. The smarter growers reckon they have two years at most. Here on the North Coast, the price of marijuana will drop, the price of land will drop, the trucks will stop being late model. There’ll be less money floating around.
The New Deal began with an end to prohibition of the sale of alcohol across the United States. The individual small producers of bourbon — some good, a lot awful or downright poison — shut down, and the big liquor producers took over, successfully pushing for illegalization of marijuana in 1937. How long will the small producers of gourmet marijuana last before the big companies run them off, pushing through the sort of regulatory “standards” that are now punishing small organic farmers?
CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, September 19, 2023
WARREN BECK II, Ukiah. Petty theft, vandalism, failure to appear.
AUDREY CARD, Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
CHEYENNE CHRISMAN, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
CHRISTOPHER COWAN, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JOSE GONZALEZ-RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury, no license.
PATRICK LEE, Fort Bragg. False ID, failure to appear, battery on peace officer.
MICHAEL LOCKETT SR., Ukiah. County parole violation.
JAMES LOWE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance, evidence tampering, county parole violation.
JULIE MARRS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
PABLO MARTINEZ II, Covelo. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property.
ANGELA MILLER, Redwood Valley. Disobeying court order, probation revocation.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Drinking public, disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
NOVATO LEADS THE WAY
While organic agriculture has grown widely popular over the past decades, organic landscaping has lagged behind, negatively impacting waterways, biodiversity and health. Fortunately, the tide may be turning. The Novato Union School District has launched an innovative two-year project led by a national organic field expert, Chip Osborne, to transition three school playing fields to organic.
The project aims to demonstrate how utilizing a systems-based approach will yield durable, drought-tolerant fields that capture carbon, cool the environment and be safer and healthier for children. Plus, it’s less expensive than chemical management of grass or toxic, heat-trapping plastic turf.
On Sept. 27, Osborne will give a presentation on the elements of organic field care in Novato. On Sept. 28 in Petaluma, there will be an expert-led all-day technical training on organic field care, including a presentation by a UC specialist on gopher management. More information about both events is available at nontoxicschools.org.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESS CONVENTION RETURNING TO FAIRFIELD
Fairfield Assembly Hall to Host First Large Conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses Since 2019
After a three-year pandemic pause, one of the largest convention organizations in the world has once again chosen Fairfield to host its global three-day event, the 2023 “Exercise Patience”! Convention.
Prior to 2020, summers in Fairfield were marked by Jehovah’s Witnesses filling hotels and restaurants as they attended their annual conventions at their Fairfield Assembly Hall, which they built in 2004. In 2020, the pandemic interrupted that tradition in Fairfield when the Witnesses canceled their in-person events throughout the world and held their convention programs as virtual events in more than 500 languages. In May, the Witnesses brought the tradition back to Fairfield. They will once again host the three-day program on the weekend of August 25-27, 2023.
“The return to in-person conventions is so exciting. We will be able to rekindle old friendships and make new ones with fellow attendees from various parts of the Bay Area,” said Ty Petersen, local spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “My family and I look forward to experiencing the excitement, joy, and love that characterize our conventions, especially after a three-year pandemic pause.”
Some 6,000 conventions will be held worldwide as part of the 2023 “Exercise Patience”! Convention series. In the United States alone, more than 700 conventions will be held in 144 host cities. From Friday through Sunday, six convention sessions will explore the quality of patience, highlighting its modern-day relevance through Scriptural examples. A live baptism will be performed following the Saturday morning session and a prerecorded drama will be featured in two parts during the Saturday and Sunday afternoon sessions.
“The convention theme is very timely. While impatience can lead to stress, strained relationships, and even tragedy, patience can help us endure life’s challenges successfully,” said Petersen. “We are excited to learn from the Bible, as well as from creation, how to be more patient in our everyday lives.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been holding public conventions in stadiums, arenas, convention centers, and theaters around the world for more than 100 years. After resuming smaller in-person meetings and their public ministry during 2022, the summer of 2023 marks the first time they will gather at much larger regional events around the world since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.
The convention is open to the public and no collection is taken. For more information on the program or to find other convention locations and dates, please go to jw.org and navigate to the “About Us” tab.
THE BEST RUNNING BACK SINCE OJ
I SERVED AS A JUROR IN AN S.F. FENTANYL CASE. I VOTED TO ACQUIT
Serving as a juror opened my eyes to the complex reality of San Francisco’s drug crisis
by Anna Frammolino
Last year, I served as a juror in a San Francisco case of a man charged with dealing fentanyl. Before the trial, I didn’t realize that people selling drugs on our streets are sometimes victims of human trafficking or how our state anti-human trafficking laws can impact drug cases. But after learning about the specific requirements of the law, reviewing the judge’s detailed instructions and weighing all of the evidence, I voted to acquit.
So did 10 out of my 12 fellow jurors.
I believe the evidence showed that the accused, who I’ll call “Esteban” to protect his identity, was coerced into selling drugs against his will. And I believe his family was threatened with serious violence.
I’m a native Californian and have lived near the Tenderloin for several years. Like everyone I know in San Francisco, I’m frustrated by the situation with drugs and homelessness in our city. And like many others here, my family and I have been thinking of moving out of town because of how challenging things have gotten. So I can see why people might be surprised about the decision most of us jurors reached.
As the trial got underway, I was struck by how technical, almost surgical, the process was. We were not allowed to consider broader social issues or our personal feelings about the case. Our job was only to apply the law per the judge’s specific instructions. In this case, that meant we had to determine whether a “preponderance of the evidence” showed that Esteban’s personal liberties were violated, and he was “coerced to commit the offense as a direct result of being a human trafficking victim at the time of the offense and had a reasonable fear of harm.” And if we did make that determination, we were required — by law — to acquit him.
If you’re wondering what a preponderance of evidence means, I had the same question. It’s defined as “more likely than not,” or above 50% likelihood, based on the evidence presented.
During the trial, we heard testimony from experts, a police officer and Esteban himself. I learned that Esteban first migrated to the U.S. several years ago from Honduras and initially lived outside of California, where he struggled to earn a living. He testified he was tricked into coming to the Bay Area by someone he owed money to and trusted under the false promise of working in construction. The person who tricked Esteban — his trafficker — isolated him from the only family he had in the U.S., so he was alone and vulnerable in the Bay Area. The trafficker said that Esteban “owned him now” and that Esteban must sell drugs or there would be consequences for him and his family.
During the trial, a police officer testified that when Esteban was first arrested, they found he was living in squalid conditions. We also heard from a human rights and law enforcement expert who has extensively studied gangs in Central America. He testified to conditions in Honduras and the extreme level of violence that certain criminal organizations have used to threaten Honduran residents and families, including people being put in vats of oil and burned.
While living in the Bay Area, Esteban was arrested several times and always complied with officers’ orders. We also learned that each time Esteban was arrested and the police took the drugs, his debt to his traffickers grew. This was a crucial legal component of the trafficking defense, something known as “coercion through debt bondage.”
At the end of the trial and deliberations, I found it more likely than not that Esteban’s personal liberties were violated, he was coerced into selling drugs and had a reasonable fear of substantial harm to his family.
Do I believe all drug dealers are victims of human trafficking? No.
Do I think people who sell drugs should face consequences? Yes.
Do I think that San Francisco needs to improve the state of our city and specifically address drug use, including fentanyl, and homelessness? Yes.
However, as a juror, it was my duty to exclude my opinions and take into consideration only the trial and evidence presented in the courtroom and then apply the law as directed by the judge to reach a verdict.
I am not an advocate or an activist. My life working in corporate America couldn’t be more different than Esteban’s. And I don’t pretend to know what the solutions are to the complex problems we are facing as a society.
But I have no doubt that the 10 of us who found Esteban was a victim of human trafficking delivered the right verdict based on the evidence presented. After the trial, Esteban was referred to an organization that screens for and works exclusively with trafficking survivors. They have agreed to provide him with support and are working to protect him. I hope that he will now have the opportunity to rebuild his life and separate himself from the coercion and violence that have gotten him here.
Serving on a jury helped me see that the problems on our streets are even more nuanced and complex than I realized. Recognizing the complexity of the problems our city is facing might be the first step toward solving them.
BILLIONS: CORRUPT RICH PEOPLE MAKE ME ILL. ESPECIALLY IN SILICON VALLEY.
The one I dislike the most, by a lot, although he isn't corrupt, he certainly was on the wrong side of Karma and possibly the law, is venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, reportedly worth about $6 billion, who locked the dirt road gate on his $32 million 89 acres coastal property and cut off public access to Martin’s Beach and its protective cove located south of Half Moon Bay, which for decades was enjoyed by locals for surfing, smelt fishing, and fun California beach activities.
I think I would have made any needed road improvements and looked for any endangered native plants that would have needed protecting.
In these days and times I probably also would have built a fence because not all of the public are stellar human beings either. Not sure what I would have done about the inevitable jerks who leave garbage.
The legal fight still wages. The last I heard is the California State Lands Commission and California Coastal Commission asked the court to consider new evidence in trying to uphold and win the much larger battle of California’s Public Access mandate.
Too bad he can't be shamed into selling the property at a discount to the Coastal Commission and finding a different beach property. Instead he has refused to back down despite personal and business image backlash against his venture capital investment firm.
The most recent sickening news is of Kishore Kethineni, who pleaded guilty in February to one count of failure to pay over employment tax and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He fraudulently obtained $3.1 million under the federal COVID-19 pandemic relief Paycheck Protection Program that provided forgivable loans to struggling small businesses to allow them to continue paying their employees.
Kethineni and his brothers conspired and submitted falsified payroll records and “fraudulent representations” to obtain the loans through twelve almost identical applications. He then redirected “significant amounts” of this loan money to himself and his family members.
He was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of “supervised release” after the prison term. Additionally, he will be have to pay more than $3.29 million in restitution and a $15,000 fine.
We will see how much time he actually serves.
OUGHTA BE IN THE HALL OF FAME
My most unforgettable helicopter ride was on an ex-Soviet Mi-17 flying from Jomsom (8900 ft.) to Pokhara, Nepal in December of 1997. Returning from Muktinath on the Annapurna circuit we got snowed in at Jomsom. Every day the weather started fine, with the airport office confidently reporting that our flight would arrive. But, by about noon each day, the storm clouds blew in and dashed our hopes. This went on for 4 or 5 days until one day there was a longer break and our flight out rumbled in between the mountains and landed in a cloud of exhaust.
The Mi-17 is best described as a beast. This one had been fitted out to carry paratroopers, and the operator had an eye to preserving all its military glory. Nothing had been changed or upgraded right down to the crusty Russian pilot. Immediately upon arrival, he opened his window, thrust out a large hand, and took the glass of tea proffered by a young Nepali.
There was a problem. Several days of cargo had piled up in Pokhara and it had all been loaded onto this flight. The crew that should have been there to offload hadn’t arrived and more bad weather was fast approaching. There were about a dozen of us anxious to get out and we decided on the spot to unload ourselves. Sheet metal, cases of beer, machinery parts, a new Honda generator, and many boxes were soon stacked on the tarmac.
The Mi-17 interior was fitted with two metal bench seats that ran the length of the fuselage. On the bulkhead was a metal box with a decal depicting a cartoon bear in uniform with a parachute pack on his back. The huge engine over our heads spooled up, the blades spun finding purchase in the thin air. I’d flown on many types of aircraft in all sorts of conditions, but this was my first and only flight where I could feel the engine fight for every inch of altitude. The feeling of desperate clawing against imminent demise sharpened my senses and impressed the sharp and rocky terrain on my memory. I can see it clearly now when I close my eyes.
FRIDA KAHLO, the Documentary
‘Becoming Frida Kahlo,’ the three-part documentary made for BBC last year is finally being broadcast on PBS.
Episode 1 - September 19, 6:00 pm Pacific Time.
Episode 2 - September 26, 6:00 pm Pacific Time.
Episode 3 - October 3, 6:00 pm Pacific Time.
These are the first showing times. They will be repeated several times.
THE US AIR FORCE ran a well-promoted “suggestion program” in the 60s and 70s. A few decent suggestions came in at first and were (predictably) ignored. So most people, of course, quit going through the required tedious suggestion process — they required the applicant to estimate the cost savings and document them — and idea submissions fell. In response to the lack of interest in the suggestion box, the Air Force set up a suggestion bureaucracy and went so far as to imposed quotas on suggestions from each organizational unit. In effect, we were required to submit suggestions which we knew would be ignored except for the simplest and most obvious, most of which were already adopted. Of course, cynicism about the suggestion program ran very high. The impression we had of the Air Force’s attitude was, “We require the benefit of your input before we proceed to do exactly what we planned to do in the first place so that we look like we care about you and your input.” It was transparently bogus. (Mark Scaramella)
UKRAINE, TUESDAY, 19TH SEPTEMBER
The annual UN General Assembly is underway in New York for the second year under the shadow of the war in Ukraine. US President Joe Biden made a forceful call for the world to stand up to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, urging leaders Tuesday to remain firm in their support of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to to address the assembly this afternoon to appeal for more support for Kyiv ahead of a meeting with Biden in Washington on Thursday.
Russian drones struck warehouses in Lviv on Tuesday, killing a worker and destroying tons of humanitarian supplies, the western Ukrainian city's mayor said.
The situation in eastern Ukraine “remains difficult” even after Ukrainian troops recaptured two villages near Bakhmut, the military said. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday Ukraine's counteroffensive is making “steady forward progress.”
In Moscow, a court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich against his pre-trial detention, according to Russian state media. The US journalist has been detained in Russia since March.
THE PEDAGOGY OF POWER
The ruling classes always work to keep the powerless from understanding how power functions. This assault has been aided by a cultural left determined to banish "dead white male" philosophers.
by Chris Hedges
I am standing in a classroom in a maximum security prison. It is the first class of the semester. I am facing 20 students. They have spent years, sometimes decades, incarcerated. They come from some of the poorest cities and communities in the country. Most of them are people of color.
During the next four months they will study political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Niccolò Machiavelli, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx and John Locke, those often dismissed as anachronistic by the cultural left.
It is not that the criticisms leveled against these philosophers are incorrect. They were blinded by their prejudices, as we are blinded by our prejudices. They had a habit of elevating their own cultures above others. They often defended patriarchy, could be racist and in the case of Plato and Aristotle, endorsed a slave society.
What can these philosophers say to the issues we face — global corporate domination, the climate crisis, nuclear war and a digital universe where information, often manipulated and sometimes false, travels around the globe instantly? Are these thinkers antiquated relics? No one in medical school is reading 19th century medical texts. Psychoanalysis has moved beyond Sigmund Freud. Physicists have advanced from Isaac Newton’s law of motion to general relativity and quantum mechanics. Economists are no longer rooted in John Stuart Mill.
But the study of political philosophy, as well as ethics, is different. Not for the answers, but for the questions. The questions have not changed since Plato wrote “The Republic.” What is justice? Do all societies inevitably decay? Are we the authors of our lives? Or is our fate determined by forces beyond our control, a series of fortuitous or unfortunate accidents? How should power be distributed? Is the good statesman, as Plato argued, a philosopher king — a thinly disguised version of Plato — who puts truth and learning above greed and lust and who understands reality? Or, as Aristotle believed, is the good statesman skilled in the exercise of power and endowed with thoughtful deliberation? What qualities are needed to wield power? Machiavelli says these include immorality, deception and violence. Hobbes writes that in war, violence and fraud become virtues. What forces can be organized to pit the power of the demos, the populace, against the rulers, to ensure justice? What are our roles and duties as citizens? How should we educate the young? When is it permissible to break the law? How is tyranny prevented or overthrown? Can human nature, as the Jacobins and communists believed, be transformed? How do we protect our dignity and freedom? What is friendship? What constitutes virtue? What is evil? What is love? How do we define a good life? Is there a God? If God does not exist, should we abide by a moral code?
These questions thunder down through the ages, asked during different times and under different circumstances. The most radical contemporary philosophers, including Frantz Fanon author of The Wretched of the Earth, built their edifices on the foundations of the political philosophers that came before them. In Fanon’s case it was Friedrich Hegel. As Vladimir Lenin correctly said of Marx, most of his ideas could be traced to previous philosophers. Paulo Freire, the author of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” studied philosophy. Hannah Arendt, who wrote“The Origins of Totalitarianism,” was steeped in the ancient Greeks and Augustine.
“It is indeed difficult and even misleading to talk about politics and its innermost principles without drawing to some extent upon the experiences of Greek and Roman antiquity, and this for no other reason than that men have never, either before or after, thought so highly of political activity and bestowed so much dignity upon its realm” Arendt writes in “Between Past and Future.”
Cornel West, one of our most important contemporary moral philosophers, who once admonished me for not having read the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, is as conversant on Søren Kierkegaard, who he taught at Harvard, and Immanuel Kant as he is on W.E.B. DuBois, Fanon, Malcolm X and bell hooks.
The ancient philosophers were not oracles. Not many of us would want to inhabit Plato’s authoritarian republic, especially women, nor Hobbes’ “Leviathan,” a precursor to the totalitarian states that arose in the 20th century. Marx presciently anticipated the monolithic power of global capitalism but failed to see that, contrary to his utopian vision, it would crush socialism. But to ignore these political philosophers, to dismiss them because of their failings rather than study them for their insights is to cut ourselves off from our intellectual roots. If we do not know where we came from, we cannot know where we are going.
If we cannot ask these fundamental questions, if we have not reflected on these concepts, if we do not understand human nature, we disempower ourselves. We become political illiterates blinded by historical amnesia. This is why the study of humanities is important. And it is why the closure of university classics and philosophy departments is an ominous sign of our encroaching cultural and intellectual death.
Political theory is not about political practice. It is about its meaning. It is about the essence of power, how it works and how it maintains itself. The most important activity in life, as Socrates and Plato remind us, is not action, but contemplation, echoing the wisdom enshrined in eastern philosophy. We cannot change the world if we cannot understand it. By digesting and critiquing the philosophers of the past, we become independent thinkers in the present. We are able to articulate our own values and beliefs, often in opposition to what these ancient philosophers advocated.
In my first class, I spoke about Aristotle’s distinction between the good citizen and the good person. The good person’s loyalty is not to the state. The good person “acts and lives virtuously and derives happiness from that virtue.” The good citizen, on the other hand, is defined by patriotism and obedience to the state. The good person, like Socrates or Martin Luther King, Jr. inevitably comes into conflict with the state when he or she sees the state turning away from the good. The good person is often condemned as subversive. The good person is rarely rewarded by or fêted by the state. These accolades are reserved for the good citizen, whose moral compass is circumscribed by the powerful.
The concept of the good citizen and the good person fascinated the class, for the state has been, since their childhood, a hostile force. The outside world does not view the incarcerated, and often the poor, as good citizens. They have been excluded from that club. As outcasts, they know the immorality and hypocrisy baked into the system. This makes vital the articulation of the questions these political philosophers pose.
Sheldon Wolin, our most important contemporary and radical political philosopher, who mentored a young Cornel West when he was Princeton University’s first Black candidate for a doctorate in philosophy, gave us the vocabulary and concepts to understand the tyranny of global corporate power, a system he called “inverted totalitarianism.” As a professor at Berkeley, Wolin backed the Free Speech Movement. Wolin, while teaching at Princeton, was one of few professors who supported students occupying buildings to protest against South African apartheid. At one point, Wolin told me, the other professors in Princeton’s political science department refused to speak with him.
Wolin’s radical critique was grounded in these political philosophers, as he writes in his magisterial work, “Politics and Vision,” which my students are reading.
“The history of political thought”, Wolin writes, “is essentially a series of commentaries, sometimes favorable, often hostile, upon its beginnings.”
You can see a three hour interview I did with Wolin shortly before his death here.
Wolin argues that “an historical perspective is more effective than any other in exposing the nature of our present predicaments; if not the source of political wisdom, it is at least the precondition.”
Neoliberalism as economic theory, he writes, is an absurdity. None of its vaunted promises are even remotely possible. Concentrating wealth in the hands of a global oligarchic elite — 1.2 percent of the world’s population holds 47.8 percent of global household wealth — while demolishing government controls and regulations, creates massive income inequality and monopoly power. It fuels political extremism and destroys democracy. But economic rationality is not the point. The point of neoliberalism is to provide ideological cover to increase the wealth and political control of the ruling oligarchs.
This is a point Marx famously makes when he writes in his Theses on Feuerbach:
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.
As a ruling ideology, neoliberalism was a brilliant success. Starting in the 1970s, its Keynesian mainstream critics were pushed out of academia, state institutions and financial organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, and shut out of the media. Wolin, once a regular contributor to publications such as The New York Review of Books, found that because of his animus towards neoliberalism, he had difficulty publishing. Intellectual poseurs such as Milton Friedman were given prominent platforms and lavish corporate funding. They disseminated the official mantra of fringe, discredited economic theories popularized by Friedrich Hayek and the third-rate writer, Ayn Rand. Once we knelt before the dictates of the marketplace and lifted government regulations, slashed taxes for the rich, permitted the flow of money across borders, destroyed unions and signed trade deals that sent jobs to sweatshops in Mexico and China, the world would be a happier, freer and wealthier place. It was a con. But it worked.
Ideas, however esoteric they may appear to the public, matter. These ideas shape a society, even if most in the society are unfamiliar with the nuances and details of these theories.
“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood,” writes the economist John Maynard Keynes. “Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
Most of the great works of political philosophy have been written during a period of crisis. The breakdown of society, war, revolution and institutional and economic collapse, obliterate established belief systems and render hollow the clichés and slogans used to justify them. These instabilities and vicissitudes bring forth new ideas, new concepts, new answers to the old questions. Political thought, as Wolin writes, “is not so much a tradition of discovery as one of meaning extended over time.”
The answers to the core questions asked by political philosophers differ depending on the circumstances. The answers in my prison classroom will not be the same as those in a classroom of an elite university where students come from, and seek to become part of, the ruling class. My students are responding to very different phenomena. Their responses come out of the injustices and suffering they and their families endure. They are acutely aware of the perfidy of the ruling class. White supremacy, deindustrialization, the collapse of the justice system, the internal armies of occupation that terrorize their communities and poverty are not abstractions. The solutions they embrace will inevitably be subversive.
The ruling class, like ruling classes throughout history, seek to keep the poor and oppressed uneducated for a reason. They do not want those cast aside by society to be given the language, concepts and intellectual tools to fight back.
Thank you for posting the picture of Huey Newton and the children. I am the girl in the picture. My little brother, John, with his hand on his face, is sitting between Huey’s legs. My two little cousins are in the photo too, Al and Ken Jones. This was a wonderful day for us. He played with us all the time.
The photo is at the house where we had breakfast, lunch, and arts and crafts activities. It is on 99th and International in Oakland. I have a piece of paper in my hand because I had been typing.
I was 11-years-old and volunteering as a typist for the Black Panther Party because in school I got in trouble cutting class. I needed to learn to type fast, so the Panthers helped me. I learned to type listening to the music of Santana and African musicians. I also learned how to develop film and pictures in the darkroom at the Panther headquarters on 85th Ave. in Oakland.
We also had a school on 62nd where entertainers like Lenny Williams and speakers like Angela Davis would come and see us. I’ve met Bobby Seale, Erica Huggins, Eldridge Cleaver, and Emory Douglas.
By the time I was 14, I was a clerk typist for the Black Panther newspaper. Today I work on computers, so I am still typing!
— Annissa Nadirah Karim