Rain | Storm Cloud | Arena Homicide | View 253 | Timber Project | Sad Bear | Burroughs Memorial | Connolly Sought | Sea Rise | Carbon Capture | Military Complicity | Bloody Run | Big Band | Independence Revelers | Seivertson Sentenced | Just Nuts | Toxic Chemicals | Estrangement | Coast View | Fishing Pole | Yesterday's Catch | Diminuendo | Chop Suey | Friendly Advice | Mildly Bananas | Whale Tale | Dumbarton Bridge | Samoan Security | Roadworks Printing | Reconsider Cars | Lobotomy | Latino Museum | Math Atheist | Ukraine | Future Z | Sits & Stares
AN EARLY SEASON atmospheric river storm is bringing strong and gusty southerly winds to the area peaking this morning. Moderate to heavy rain will spread south and east through the day in association with a frontal boundary. This will weaken through the day as it crosses the area. Additional showers and cooler air will follow through mid week. Drier weather conditions are expected toward the end of the week and the weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A surprisingly warm 61F (this is not a tropical system approaching) under cloudy skies this Monday morning on the coast. You can see on the radar shot the rain is still a bit NW of us with arrival expected later this morning. Rain today becoming showers by tomorrow morning. Clear skies & windy later this week.
MURDER ON TEN-MILE CUTOFF
On Sunday, September 24, 2023 at 2:08 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies were dispatched to a reported physical assault in Point Arena.
The Sheriff's Office received a telephone call from a family member reporting that they had learned that their family member (adult male) had been physically assaulted while at a bar in the City of Point Arena. This physical assault had apparently occurred hour(s) prior to the call to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies arrived in Point Arena and began searching for the adult male, subsequently locating him on Ten Mile Cut Off Road, a significant distance away from the bar.
The adult male was obviously deceased and the condition of his body led Deputies to believe that he was the victim of a homicide.
Sheriff's Detectives were summoned to the scene and are in the midst of an active investigation. They are being assisted by investigators with the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office and criminalist with the California Department of Justice.
No further information is available for public release at this time due to the active investigation.
There is currently a significant law enforcement presence in Point Arena in connection with this investigation.
Due to active crime scene investigation/processing the following areas will be inaccessible due to road closure(s) in Point Arena:
Ten Mile Cut Off Road from Schooner Gulch Road to Iversen Road.
These road closure(s) are expected to remain in place for the remainder of the day (Sunday, September 24, 2023).
Anyone with information that may assist investigators are urged to call the Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center at 707-463-4086.
JACKSON STATE FOREST, AGAIN
To the Editor:
Jackson State Forest is at it again. After withdrawing several defective timber plans last year, they had a public meeting last week in Fort Bragg to announce their new “Camp 1” timber project that will include cutting down 32”- 42” diameter trees right next to the South Fork of Noyo River. The proposed timber harvesting and loading yards will drain sediments into the river, which is already classified as an “impaired waterway” from sediments still streaming off from past activities on the Jackson since they acquired the land in 1947. Coho salmon that used to be plentiful in our area are now classified as an endangered species.
This new 509-acre project, including commercial timber sales, came as a surprise to the audience because our State Senator Mike Mcguire arranged a 10-million-dollar grant to support Jackson operations, which temporarily removed any pressure for commercial sales to pay their bills until a Revised Management Plan could be put into place. Unfortunately, Jackson recently decided not to wait, and with millions of our tax money in their pockets, they now also plan additional profits from this new project without the protections of a new Management Plan.
So, the struggle to protect our water and forest continues. Please call Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood, and please ask them to contact Jackson to stop new timber projects until the Revised Management Plan is completed.
A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR JOHN BURROUGHS of Boonville will be held on Sunday, October 22, 2023 from noon to 3pm at the AV Vets Hall/Senior Center. Mr. Burroughs died September 6, 2023 in Boonville at the age of 87. Potluck.
POLICE LOOKING FOR REDWOOD VALLEY MAN Charged with Attempted Murder for Shooting a Hopland Resident
In late July we reported on a Hopland man who had been shot in the chest requiring a medevac to an out-of-town hospital. We recently learned that Mendocino County law enforcement is actively searching for 37-year-old Redwood Valley man Jesse James Connolly who has been charged with attempted murder for his suspected role in the Hopland shooting.…
POINT ARENA COMPLETES CLIMATE CHANGE/SEA LEVEL STUDY
by Michelle Blackwell
Point Arena received a Coastal Commission grant to study the impacts sea level rise will have on their pier and cove area in August of 2022. They recently released the initial study with findings that will be used to open up the conversation with Point Arena residents and develop mitigation and adaptation plans. The study was previewed at a Grass Roots Institute meeting on September 18th with eye-opening findings. Point Arena hired a consulting firm to complete the study. Louis White was the presenting engineer.
According to White, there are three risk assessment levels established for sea level rise. The study was based on the medium risk aversion, which is 1.88 feet by 2050, 3.3 feet by 2070, and 6.7 feet by 2100, and looked at historic flooding in the cove, FEMA documentation on 100-year flood events and both the impacts of sea level rise as its own issue and when combined with flooding in Arena Creek. The study includes a list of assets in the cove, including utilities, development, ecological, and recreational.
Point Arena has suffered damage in the past. White displayed a photograph taken by Nicholas King of the pier overrun by waves in 1983, an El Nino year. The pier was destroyed but was rebuilt at a higher level. He also witnessed the flooding of the parking lot during the January 5, 2023 storm, where waves pushed logs, rocks, and mud into the parking area. According to White, the parking lot is built on a floodplain.
The 100-year coastal flood extents show the entire parking area as well as Pier Place, the building housing the restaurant, suffering from flooding without adding in the impacts of sea level rise. When White added in the sea level rise component, the flooding expanded to include the historic Coast Guard boat rescue station and flowed up the road, blocking the entrance to lodging and other amenities. When he added in the additional complication of Arena Creek flooding, the impacts continued up Port Road toward town. He then scored the vulnerability of the various elements in the cove, and the majority had an overall rating of medium-high to high. The presentation can be viewed at www.grassroots-institute.org, or you can contact the City of Point Arena for a copy.
Julia Krog, director of the Mendocino County planning and building services, provided an update on their Local Coastal Plan (LCP) and sea level rise studies. The county received over 2 million in grants in April of 2023 to add sea level rise to the LCP. Krog says they are still in the planning process but have issued three requests for proposals. One each for visual and archeological impacts, Highway 1 traffic impacts, and groundwater impacts. The deadline for the proposals is late October.
The City of Fort Bragg and the Noyo Harbor District were not at the September 13th meeting, but they did provide an update at the September 12th BOS meeting. They have released a communication engagement plan, which can be accessed at www.NoyoOceanCollective.org.
The Coastal Commission has awarded over 3 million in grants so far to assist Mendocino County and the cities of Point Arena and Fort Bragg to update planning documents and account for changes in sea level rise. The Grass Roots Institute hosted a community meeting on September 18 that included representatives from the Coastal Commission, the county, and both cities. There were approximately 40 participants in the meeting from communities up and down the coast.
The planning documents are known as Local Coastal Programs (LCPs). Each of these entities has an existing LCP. The County’s was first established in 1985 and they updated the portion that is included in the Mendocino Town Plan in 2017. Point Arena’s was established in 1981 and last updated in 2006. Fort Bragg’s was established in 1983 and last updated in 2008. The LCP sets down policies that identify and protect coastal resources, prioritizes land and water uses, and determines when and where development can occur. Coastal resources typically include wetlands, agriculture, cultural assets, sensitive habitats, scenic vistas, public access, fisheries and so on.
The coastal zone is a fixed area with a zone line that runs from Oregon to the Mexican border. It is not consistent up and down the coast. It can be up to three miles out to sea and up to five miles inland. In Mendocino County, it typically runs east of Highway 1 and expands inland at the major rivers. Planning entities along the coast work with the coastal commission to establish policies for each community.
While each grant is tailored toward the needs of the community its intended to serve, all of them include a comprehensive public information campaign, and the need to incorporate sea level rise into the LCPs. The County has received $2.2 million to date, but is still in the running for an additional $200K. Fort Bragg received $900K, and Point Arena received $100K. The funding is part of $31 million that will be allocated state-wide from the California legislature. The timeframe for updating the local coastal programs varied per grant 2026 for Fort Bragg and the County and 2024 for Point Arena, although all of the grants can be extended.
Sarah McCormick from the City of Fort Bragg expects the City to have a draft of its communication plan available for comment in August. The Fort Bragg grant will focus heavily on the needs of Noyo Harbor and the blue economy plans in that city. Julia Krog from the County is in the process of engaging a consultant to develop their plan. Peter McNamee of the Grass Route Institute explained they are working to increase public engagement and will be holding additional meetings during this process. You can sign up for their mailing list at grassroots-institute.org. You can also sign up for informational updates on the LCP at the County website or contact the City of Fort Bragg or Point Arena.
Fort Bragg Name change
I’ve enjoyed reading your paper for many years. A friend passes them along to me after reading. There are times when I certainly have taken issue with some of your stances, but it’s difference of opinion that makes horse races, eh?
However, I do take issue, not so much with your opposition to the name change for Fort Bragg, rather with your portrayal of the small garrison of soldiers there as keepers of the peace, or some such. The sheer weight of evidence, collected from first hand accounts, of the complicity of the U.S. military in the genocide of the native peoples is incontrovertible. From General Grant, on down the line. What has to be differentiated, is the propaganda of the time, from the reality.
I suggest you read the second of a trilogy, published in 1973, “The Destruction of the People”, by Coyote Man, brother william press, and in particular, Chapter 4, “The Drive to Round Valley,” to give you an idea of how “protective” those troops really were. Their “mission” came with a wink and a nod.
From a Fan of the AVA,
ED REPLY: I agree that the Army was implicitly involved in terrible atrocities, but their mission throughout was to protect Indians, not murder them, hence the Army's role in driving Indians from the Coast to the rez at Round Valley where, in theory, the Indians could be better protected. But throughout this awful period — 1850-1880 — it was white criminals and the State of California that did the killing. PS. Thank you for the book ref. I'll find a copy.
The sign on Bloody Run Creek, mile marker 7.13 on Hwy 162, has been missing for years. I worked with CalTrans to get the signage up again. This is a historical site that must not be forgotten.
BOB AYRES BIG BAND BACK IN TOWN! Saturday, 30 September, 7 ~ 9 pm, at the new Brewpub in the old Sears building in the warm, squishy heart of Fort Bragg: Tall Guy Brewing & Taproom — a nice big space, room to dance! Also: dog friendly! No cover!
THAT SIDESHOW IN COVELO: DUIs, Reckless Driving, And Pursuits Coincide With Mexican Independence Day Celebrations In Covelo
Police presence was heavy in Round Valley this last weekend after Mexican Independence Day Celebrations started off with a bang the night of Friday, September 16, 2023 when revelers took to downtown Covelo where an estimated thirty vehicles participated in a sideshow burning rubber and doing donuts in the town center.…
INJURY-CAUSING ATTACK ON POLICE OFFICER RESULTS IN STATE PRISON
Defendant Rachael Diane Seivertson, age 34, generally of the Ukiah area, was sentenced Wednesday, September 20th, in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 96 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
This is defendant Seivertson’s second commitment to state prison, both state prison commitments following her original “county prison” commitment in 2019.
In her latest 2023 case, while under state parole supervision, Seivertson committed and was convicted by felony plea of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and resisting an executive officer by means of violence.
She also admitted as true two sentencing allegations that (1) she used a hefty rock to inflict injury to the face of a Ukiah Police officer; and (2) that she had suffered in 2021 a prior Strike conviction in the Mendocino County Superior Court.
In her 2021 case, Seivertson was convicted by felony plea of attempted robbery in the second degree (of Walmart) and resisting an executive officer by means of violence.
The defendant’s 2021 attempted robbery conviction is the Strike conviction that enhances sentencing choices whenever alleged and proven in subsequent felony prosecutions, as is the case in the recent 2023 prosecution.
In her 2019, Seivertson was convicted of felony vandalism and resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. The defendant maliciously caused approximately $20,000 damage to fire trucks and other equipment at the Hopland fire station.
District Attorney David Eyster made the following comments following the defendant’s sentencing:
“While all will likely agree that Seivertson is a disturbed individual to one degree or another, the courts and her attorney determined in her latest case that she was not insane at the time of the crimes and that she is not currently incompetent, as those psychological terms are defined by California law.
“She also has been recalcitrant and refused to cooperate with psychological help before, during, and after she has been prosecuted for her various crimes.
“In the dangerous context of her refusing to accept help, Seivertson's behavior has become increasingly unpredictable and violent, mandating the increasing lengths of incarceration needed to prevent her from inflicting harm on additional victims within the local community.”
Defendant Seivertson now stands convicted of two separate Strike offenses, within the meaning of California’s voter-modified Three Strikes law.
Should Seivertson commit in the future — and be convicted of — another “serious” or “violent” crime, Seivertson more than likely will be facing an alternative state prison sentence of 25 years to life.
FROM MONICA HUETTL’S September Redwood Valley Muncipal Advisory Committee report:
“…there have been quite a few cases of cannabis enforcement officers who have developed cancer. Sheriff Kendall questions whether working to abate these toxic grow sites have caused these cancers in law enforcement personnel. He is working with the Department of Health and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to combat those who bring in chemicals…”
Thank you, Mazie Malone, for your letter in last week’s AVA entitled “Estrangement.”
This has happened to us by one of our kids. First for a year, then we reconciled, and now again, for who knows how long.
Your letter was very informative and educational for us.
John & Debbie Rensen
THE FISHING POLE
by Louise Simson
When I was a little girl more than 40 years ago, I thought fish were slimy, yucky, disgusting things. An opinion that I held for a long time, punctuated only with a tolerance for poached salmon and the occasional batter fried cod with tartar sauce. The summer months of my youth were spent camping at the Sierra lakes stuffed with planted trout. The canister trucks would roll to the edge of the shore, and the driver would open the hatches. The plump, stunned, sedated fish would flop from their torrent of water and fall limply in the lake trying to avoid being caught by the swarm of gleeful kids that paid no mind to the ranger’s call to, “Move away”. Each week of summer camping, my mother scraped together the much too dear coins from her food budget to buy a box of worms for my brother to keep him happily occupied during the day; hopefully, successfully harassing with his fishing pole, the now fully acclimated fish of the watershed--a past-time which had absolutely no appeal for me. Fishing was a big part of our family life, although I was obstinate in not participating in the sport, a divide that had repercussions in my relationship with my dad. Never to have the closeness he shared with my other siblings, because I didn’t partake in the all-consuming fishing passion. An emptiness that would never be filled…I thought…
I was born in a simpler time in the 60s, the fourth of four kids. My folks didn’t have much money, but they loved to have fun, and we always had summer camping vacations at Pinecrest with my aunt and uncle and their three kids. That meant two moms, seven kids, two campsites, a gallon of Hexol, one bottle of Vodka, and two dads that reappeared each weekend. Now remember, this was child-rearing before Pampers. Usually, one or the other family had a kid in diapers. Mom and my Aunt would sit around the campfire, stirring a pot of poopy diapers with a pine bough happily drinking martinis. My mom said she never took much equipment, unless she had a toddler that was still eating cigarette butts out of the sand, and then she’d pack the play pen. We went swimming for hours each day, me sporting my Styrofoam floatation bubble on the outside of a zebra striped swim suit with the older siblings and cousins making sure I occasionally came right side up for air; we log rolled on the anchored pine log 20 feet off of the shore of Beach 4, we hiked around the lake, and we heard the endless echoes of “Elmer” shouted through the campsites at dusk.
The days were spent in the water, with quick runs up to the snack bar for soft serve and to check for coins left in the slots at the bank of pay phones on the side of the general store building. Hallelujah--a complete feeling of top of the world euphoria would overtake you if you found a nickel or dime, or the mother lode of gold, a quarter, in one of the pay phone coin return slots. A thrill which now eludes the smartphone obsessed culture that peers incessantly at two-inch screens as if they were hoping to find the meaning of life, when it is in fact, passing them by…
Fishing in our household was year round. Dad would fish any moment he got. He would take my brother out early in the morning to fish, and then he’d go to work and my brother would go to school. They’d get home from work and school and go out to fish again. The big bass or lake trout they would catch would immediately be whacked on the head and then threaded through a pole. From an early age, all us children were schooled that if you had your photo taken with the fish, you always held the fish WAY out in front of you to make it look bigger. This was a photo-taking skill so engrained in my brain, when I had my son, the first pictures after the birth I held him at arms’ length to enhance his girth. Pictures of bass and trout filled our family room. Fishing poles were hung from the garage rafters, and my Dad would always take any child in the neighborhood fishing that was willing to go for a minimum of four hours because that meant you could catch another limit of fish.
The memories of summer weeks at Pinecrest would endure for a lifetime. So many years passed, and my lack of interest in fishing did not change. But one warm summer day in the mountains of the Sierra, my son said he wanted to fish and the purchase of a $15 fuchsia and turquoise Scooby Doo pole would lead to a gift that was like no other. That dang pole was a pain in the butt. The reel kept getting jammed, it was impossible to cast most of the time, and my boy had to master this strange part of “getting play” in the line before he could cast it into the water. But master it he did, and master I did the smelly disgusting Power Bait that I would gamely thread onto the hook. I was dying to cast his little pole, but I didn’t have a fishing license and I was afraid to get caught. Dad would say, “Those rangers are going to check. That’s a big ticket.” He once got my mother cited by Fish and Game for having her fish his second pole without a license, and they had to drive all the way to Sonora to pay a gigantic fine on a ticket that they could ill afford. And while Mom was mortified that she had been cited, Dad wasn’t too upset because after all, it was related to fishing.
That summer in the mountains, my boy and I fished. We fished in the early morning at Lake Alpine. We fished in the evening at the river and the private lakes that dotted the mountain towns. Now mind you, this cast and wait stuff was really was really hard. Dad skeptically watched our endeavors with the Scooby-Doo pole and finally agreed to go fishing with us. The bond of fisherman was forged when my boy got a hook caught in his finger. He didn’t fuss, the hook was removed, the blood cleaned up, and Dad knew he had a new fishing partner with definite potential. Ben’s fishing button was definitely ON.
Soon after, Dad gave Ben his first “Big Man Fishing Pole” with a real reel. One fishing lesson later and Ben had it down. One week later, late in the evening at a little man-made, fish-stocked lake near Arnold, Ben caught his first trout.
Now my rule is, if you kill it, you eat it, or as I once read in a detective novel uttered by the bayou-borne hit man who had a partiality for deep fried alligator, “If it dies, it fries.” Ben looked at this silvery, slimy black dotted thing and didn’t appear too interested in eating it. So, after several of my frenzied attempts, the hook was removed from the caught trout and it was released back into the pond only to float dejectedly belly up. I gamely grabbed the fish, and righted it into the water with a maniacal flushing back and forth of the gills. I don’t think the possibility of CPR and mouth to mouth was too far off as far as Ben was concerned. The stunned fish, not believing his good luck, finally twitched his tail and quickly swam away to be caught again another day.
The summer weeks passed, and further fishing attempts were fun but unsuccessful. On our last day of fishing on a cold October day, Ben, my Dad and Mom, and I went to the little lake for one last fish. I baited the line with the neon yellow silver glitter Power Bait, and Ben did a beautiful cast into the middle of the pond. He waited for a few minutes and then turned the fishing pole over to his Grandpa so he could go play on the swing set. Ben and I were in the middle of this serious swinging contest, pumping furiously away, when Grandpa Bob started hollering “You got a fish! You got a fish!” We ran back to the dock and Ben and Grandpa reeled the fish in. And a big fish it was too! As a result of that “so big” fish, much admiration and feeling pleased with themselves ensued, and it was a perfect ending to the first summer of fishing. To some it would just be a fish, but to me, it was a bigger catch. On that day, on that dock, I saw my son developing the relationship I had always wanted with my father. Unable to do it myself, he had done it for me.
But it was to be, not the end of a summer, but the beginning of something new that I had wanted since I was a little girl. For three months after that last big fish of summer, on an early Christmas morning, I got a gift I would have never expected. A gift that meant more to me than what it appeared to be. For under my tree, tied with a green ribbon just for me, was a beautiful new fishing pole and fishing license. A gift from an old man to his grown up daughter that said, “I want you to fish with me.”
(Louise Simson is Anderson Valley’s Superintendent of Schools and loves to fish and eat cinnamon rolls.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, September 24, 2023
NICOLE ALVAREZ, Mendocino. Protective order violation-domestic violence with priors, probation violation.
ARNAUD CHECCONI, Courthezon (France)/Ukiah. Controlled substance.
ESTEBAN GAETA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, conspiracy.
IVAN GAETA, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance for sale, marijuana for sale, more than an ounce of pot, conspiracy.
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JUAN GAXIOLA-MENDOZA, Covelo. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, attempt to keep stolen property, more than an ounce of pot, evasion, resisting.
CHAD HEKEL, Yuba City/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, cruelty to child-infliction of injury.
AHMAD HOJJATI, San Francisco/Ukiah. DUI, false personation of another, parole violation.
NAYELLI JACOBO-SIERRAS, Willits. Battery with serious injury, false imprisonment, willful cruelty to child with possible injury or death, contributing, annoying or molesting child under 18.
STEVEN LAWSON, Ukiah. Tear gas, false personation of another, failure to appear.
CHELLSEA NIETERS, Ukiah. Petty theft, conspiracy.
BAILEY SCROGGINS, Willits. Controlled substance.
SHAWNA VANARNAM, Clearlake/Ukiah. DUI while on court probation.
JOSE VILLAGRANNA, Ukiah. Suspended license for DUI.
RODRICK WYNN, Clearlake/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, resisting.
Losing my hearing, losing my eyesight, losing my physical strength and losing my mind are all inconvenient but the loss I experience most of all is losing my Power.
Where has that life adventurer, that reckless, flamboyant fearless man gone? He flickers into being on a racetrack for moments or here in a memoir.
But now it all feels like scenes from another's life watched by a timid old man. Pick the year and location, add mood and characters. Watch an action-packed adventure, all vivid color and romance. Starring Me.
And then you find the tea getting cold.
One anxiety replaces another: running late to catch a 747 departing for Hong Kong or waiting for the X-ray to get read. The building inspector and red tags or the dermatologist and skin tags. No money vs. no time. Having to recall and chronicle the months of depression, the years of wandering aimlessly, the opportunities wasted, so many failures and the endless regrets never to be remedied.
As far as I can determine this ride is only about experience and it sure has been a bunch of that. Which does worry me some — experience not being choosy about pleasure and pain.
There is much sweetness and beauty in this last part. The splendid/tragic/amusing engaging stories of us children, brothers and sisters wending through our many lives these decades until here we all are knowing each other so well now and still in love.
FRIENDLY ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN
Go to Tibet
Ride a camel.
Read the bible.
Dye your shoes blue.
Grow a beard.
Circle the world in a paper canoe.
Subscribe to The Saturday Evening Post.
Chew on the left side of your mouth only.
Marry a woman with one leg and shave with a straight razor.
And carve your name in her arm.
Brush your teeth with gasoline.
Sleep all day and climb trees at night.
Be a monk and drink buckshot and beer.
Hold your head under water and play the violin.
Do a belly dance before pink candles.
Kill your dog.
Run for mayor.
Live in a barrel.
Break your head with a hatchet.
Plant tulips in the rain.
But don’t write poetry.
BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO CONSERVATORSHIPS
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
Like most of us you probably spend a fair amount of time each month compiling lists of your spouse’s mental and physical deteriorations.
Is everyone familiar with the term “conservatorship”? Some guy at the Forest Club explained it to me as finding an expert called a “Conservator” (also called a Guardian) to check to see if your wife is losing her marbles. If she’s getting forgetful or confused (burned the toast, can’t spell or pronounce Nasturtium) then a Conservator intervenes and gives you all her money and car keys.
That’s a simplification of the procedure, but pretty close. It’s only prudent. There may come a point you need to convince someone from some agency, in this case the busybodies at one of those adult protection rackets, that your wife has gone mildly bananas. If you’ve got the specifics, including times and dates, a judge gives you her stuff.
(The beauty of Conservatorships is there’s no need to allow a pack of hungry lawyers into the proceedings, denying them from gorging on your meager nest egg. It always ends when no more bones remain to litigate, and they announce your portion is 25 percent of the leftovers.)
Financial planners agree retirees with shaky incomes should consider proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of an impoverished future. No one, least of all you or I, should wind up eating dog food and sleeping in a beat-to-death ’83 Yugo. Especially if you can just as easily sleep in your wife’s Cadillac. Examples: If she doesn’t know where her great grandmother was born or is unable to locate Constantinople on a map, thinks Janis Joplin once played at Ukiah High School or has ever written the wrong date in her checkbook, take note. List those deficiencies for future ammunition.
Does she exhibit mood swings, like if the internet goes out for a few days, or you forget your anniversary? Has she ever misplaced her cellphone or not remembered the name of Herbert Hoover’s vice president? If you list and date (preferably with witnesses) all these cognitive failures, it makes it easy for the Conservator to deem your wife incompetent to handle her affairs.
For Instance: While in North Carolina Trophy began watching reruns of a Turkish TV show called Resurrection and never stopped, pausing only for bathroom breaks. The program had several hundred (!) 40 minute episodes and she watched several hundred.
Clearly she’s no longer capable of handling her own affairs. Resurrection is the stupidest TV series since Love Boat but with a subtracted disadvantage of being a daily soap opera, narrated and spoken in a language she cannot comprehend. And no subtitles.
She wouldn’t know if episodes were randomly shuffled and dialogue lifted from a Portuguese cooking show.
(My Notes: Lays on couch. Catatonic. Unresponsive to inquiries re: mental health; indifferent to growing collection of bedsores.)
Example Two and Strike Three: a video game she plays on her cellphone in Ukiah is kinda like Bingo with Legos. She plays (she will verify) 12 hours a day. All the game does is make her swear and forget to feed the dog.
Has she gone ‘round the bend? Is she unable to care for herself? Is it time to consult a Conservator?
Of course I don’t know what’s important in demonstrating cognitive decline, so I keep records of everything. She didn’t rinse out her coffee cup before refilling it? Seems insignificant to me but perhaps a trained, professional Conservator would find it highly suggestive of critical mental impairment. Inability to remember her age? I ask three times a week and she always says “39.” So she thinks we married when she was 13 years old? (For the record, we’ve never even been to Arkansas.)
You may think my covert machinations are unseemly and wicked. Perhaps so. But what do you say when I tell you I’ve discovered Trophy’s compilation of fabricated allegations to serve as cause to put me under Conservatorship?
She’s cooked up a scheme to steal my money using unethical legal maneuvers so she can run off to Venice to take up with a 20-year old unemployed gondolier. His name is Polo-Boy, has two cats, wears tight pants and lives in a cottage behind his parents’ house.
At least until he and Trophy can go buy a big villa on Lake Como, and I’m forced to live in my stinkin’ Yugo.
TWK reports a talented local writer, Dan Hibshman, has a new book called “Of a Lifetime Stories 1963-2023.” It opens with Dan’s dad, Bennie Hibshman, putting the brace on mob boss Meyer Lansky in downtown Cleveland, goes through much of Dan’s Mendo years, and includes a harrowing account of a blighted 1997 journey to the Czech Republic. Tom Hine knows the tale, has not yet read the story. Get ‘Of a Lifetime” at Mendo Book Co.
IT WAS THE FIRST BRIDGE to cross the S.F. Bay. Then they blew it up.
by Peter Hartlaub
The Dumbarton Bridge isn’t a landmark that gets the blood pressure racing.
Its architecture is aggressively functional, and the drive is nearly devoid of memorable views, spanning marshland while connecting the lowest-key of Bay Area communities: Newark and Menlo Park. Even the name, Dumbarton, sounds like the sidekick to the villain in a Disney movie.
But there was a time when Dumbarton was nothing short of a sensation. Upon its Jan. 27, 1927, debut, it was the first vehicle bridge to span the San Francisco Bay, and at 1.63 miles, the longest highway bridge in the world. Conceived when San Franciscans still traveled to San Jose on dirt roads, the Dumbarton Bridge was a symbol of the future.
On the day the Dumbarton opened, The Chronicle published a 10-page special section, declaring it an engineering marvel that would change the region.
“A ribbon of steel and concrete, stretching for more than one mile to link the shores of the San Francisco Peninsula and Alameda Counties, today brings a reality which for decades has been but a dream — a highway bridge across San Francisco Bay,” the lead article stated.
The bridge began as a victory over bureaucracy.
The Dumbarton, originally supposed to be a public infrastructure project, was mired in delays caused by state leaders fighting over competing plans and a shortage of steel and construction workers during World War I. And its usefulness required some imagination. The span was finished before the Bayshore Freeway along the western edge of the bay existed as a bridge connector; that part of Highway 101 wasn’t completed until 1937.
Ultimately it went private. Local Realtor F.H. Drake and banker Frank K. Towne formed the Dumbarton Bridge Co., selling stock in $100 chunks to cover the $2.5 million construction budget, hoping to make it back with nickel tolls. (It took 16 years to cover the original investment.) The bridge got its name from Dumbarton Point on its eastern shore, itself named because the marshland reminded someone of Dumbarton, Scotland.
The first Dumbarton Bridge was more “Bridges of Madison County” than Golden Gate Bridge. It was 6,500 feet long with a drawbridge, yet just 23 feet wide, with enough room for one car in each direction, and no breakdown lane.
But for the South Bay, it was revolutionary. The bridge cut 15.5 miles from the Berkeley-to-Palo Alto commute.
“Span Boon to Football Fans,” one 1927 Chronicle headline read. “16 Miles Saved by Spanning the Bay.”
Cal and Stanford boosters weren’t the only ones celebrating. Realtors were thrilled, announcing new developments in Redwood City and Atherton with hundreds of new housing units. San Carlos seemed designed in response to the bridge. (“San Carlos, Lusty Peninsula Infant, to Profit Largely By Bridge Over Bay,” one hyperbolic Chronicle headline read.)
Hearty congratulations were sent from around the bay. San Francisco Mayor Jim Rolph joined industry and union leaders in public praise, clearly inspired by the potential that was being unlocked.
“More bridges will come,” a full-page ad from the Port of San Francisco read. “The day can now be foreseen when San Francisco’s transportation shackles can be completely broken and thrown off.”
As a symbol of progress, the Dumbarton was a winner. But as a bridge, it had flaws that quickly emerged, especially after the construction of Highway 101 and Interstate 280, and after towns like San Carlos grew from lusty infants with houses scattered amid orchards to packed suburbs.
The drawbridge was only 9 feet above sea level during high tide, so even the smallest sailboat passing through forced a four-minute halt. When Silicon Valley emerged in the 1970s, the bridge was still just two lanes. One Ford Pinto breakdown could leave thousands of potential Hewlett-Packard and Atari employees stuck in gridlock.
State and local leaders campaigned for a new bridge, but this time the locals were the obstruction, not the driving force for progress. In one of the most Atherton moves in the city’s slow-growth-obsessed history, residents in 1975 formed Citizens Against the Dumbarton Bridge to sue the state, claiming “the new bridge would dump so much traffic in town that it would ruin Atherton’s semi-rural quality.”
A judge quickly tossed the lawsuit for “nebulous legal reasoning.”
Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto managed to delay large numbers of Newark residents from the feared invasion, but they couldn’t stop them. A new bridge was finished in 1982 with six lanes total and an 85-foot clearance that eliminated the need for a drawbridge. The second Dumbarton cost $100 million, more than 4 times its original budget.
There was no special section in The Chronicle. But the newspaper did send one reporter for the first Dumbarton’s final spectacle. The original bridge remained beside the new one for a couple of years. Then, on Sept. 23, 1984, the bridge was rigged with precision explosives and blasted away.
There was no sense of swelling pride; more like morbid curiosity. More than 1,000 locals gathered to watch the demolition. Men drank six-packs of beer, and one viewer put the 49ers game on a battery-powered television. After a long delay, they cheered as the Dumbarton disappeared into a plume of fire and smoke, collapsing into the bay.
The Dumbarton Bridge is no longer a symbol of the future. It’s now the shortest and arguably least celebrated bay crossing. (The San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, just a few miles to the north, is 7 miles long.) From what we can tell, it has never appeared on a postcard.
But it deserves more credit as a symbol of the past and the present. Parts of the old bridge were recycled as fishing piers. The modern Dumbarton in 1982 preceded the Richmond Bridge as the first bay crossing to get a full bicycle lane.
And it has two great movie moments: providing a location for the 1971 film “Harold and Maude” and a key plot point in the 1992 Robert Redford movie “Sneakers.”
(“Sneakers” is the next Total SF movie night, playing at the Balboa Theatre on Aug. 25. Watch everyone cheer when the Dumbarton gets its name-drop.)
So consider this an unironic and heartfelt salute to the Dumbarton Bridge — a pretty boring bay span that has quietly gotten the job done for nearly a century.
THE SAMOAN SOLUTION: Having sold everything from souvenirs to dogs or beer at Kezar, Candlestick, Oakland Coliseum, Stanford Stadium and the Cow Palace I believe the best Peace Keepers bar none were a security group of Samoans who worked special concerts, wrestling, and roller derby at the Cow Palace.
These guys dealt with any fighting in a very ugly way and it worked.
Prior to a Giants game, I worked a Rolling Stone concert at the Cow Palace the night before where the Samoan security group was not present. The same security group that worked the Stones worked the Giants game the next day. These guys were covered with bite marks all over their arms in having to deal with tons of Stones fans rushing the stage.
Trust me, the Samoans would not tolerate bites of any kind.
(An on-line comment re unruly Niner fans.)
TOWARD BUSES & BIKES
If there’s a star in the climate-driven energy transition, it’s certainly the electric vehicle (EV). The heat pump—the efficient replacement for both furnace and air conditioner—is generally squat and beige; the electric cooktop—the efficient replacement for the gas cooktop that emits greenhouse gases and may be giving your kids asthma—is less glamorous than the glowing Vikings and Wolfs made famous by a hundred sweating chefs engaged in TV battles. But the electric car and the electric truck are at least as sleek and glamorous as their internal combustion forebears. Last year’s Super Bowl was the coming-out party, with commercials for no fewer than eight different EV models from traditional automakers like Ford and BMW as well as lesser-known companies like Polestar.
Joe Biden did much to boost the industry’s future earlier this spring when his Environmental Protection Agency announced new emissions requirements that will more or less force Detroit to build mostly electric vehicles within a decade. But Biden also helped mightily with the best ad from his 2020 presidential campaign, featuring him at the wheel of his 1967 Corvette Stingray. “I like to drive; I used to think I was a pretty good driver,” he says before peeling out. When he stops, he gives viewers a tour of the car, under the hood and behind the wheel. “This is iconic industry,” he says. “How can American-made vehicles no longer be out there? I believe that we can own the twenty-first-century market again by moving to electric vehicles.” His plan seems to be working: the latest estimate from Bloomberg is that more than half of cars sold in this country in 2030 will be electric.
But the rush to electric vehicles has met with some powerful criticisms. The batteries that keep those machines speeding along need, for example, lithium, and researchers like Thea Riofrancos, a political scientist at Providence College in Rhode Island, have made persuasive arguments against the mining that will be required; as she points out, if we drove smaller cars we’d need less lithium, and many others have begun to work on reducing the human and environmental costs of all that extraction.
A transition this big can’t help but raise deeper questions about the automobile’s place in the world. Might not this moment, when climate science makes it clear that we need to give up on gasoline, also be the right time for a reappraisal of our love affair wiht the car? A few places — Paris perhaps most notably, but also Brussels and even Tucson — have used the pandemic as an opportunity to move aggressively toward a metropolis based on buses and bikes.
It’s not just the car that’s caused havoc, but also the two things that it absolutely requires: roads and parking spaces. The car has reconfigured the planet, with its carbon emissions melting the poles and raising sea levels. But it has also reconfigured about every place on the planet as we have remade our landscape to accommodate its needs.
SMITHSONIAN’S LATINO MUSEUM FACES POLITICAL WINDS BEFORE A BRICK IS LAID
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Latino, slated to rise on the National Mall in Washington, is meant to give a prominent presence to the story of America’s largest minority group. But the institution has already been caught up in the broader partisan battles over American history, before a single brick has been laid.
In July, a group of Latino Republican congressmen led a vote to eliminate the museum’s funding in next year’s budget, calling its view of Latinos insulting and inaccurate. Some conservative commentators have harshly criticized the museum’s preview exhibition, blasting it as a Marxist portrayal that paints Latinos as victims of an oppressive United States.
Then earlier this month, questions about the museum’s direction surged anew when Time magazine reported that the museum’s director had quietly halted work on a planned second exhibition, about the Latino civil rights movement of the 1960s. It is being replaced with a show about salsa music, a swap some involved with the museum say smacks of politics.
The director, Jorge Zamanillo, said that decision was not driven by politics.
“I realized I wanted to go in a different direction,” he said, noting that work on the civil rights show began before he arrived at the museum in May 2022. He prefers shows, he said, with “a bigger reach.”
The dispute over the still-unbuilt museum echoes the broader debate about the political identity of Latinos, a group growing in size and power that still mostly votes Democratic but has shifted toward Republican candidates in recent elections. And the community is anything but monolithic, raising the question of whether it’s possible to talk about “the” American Latino at all.
“There are strong historic divisions, political and otherwise, that divide Latinos,” said Albert Camarillo, a retired historian at Stanford University who is not involved with the museum.
Controversy over the museum, Mr. Camarillo said, was inevitable. “But I think the political environment and the ‘anti-woke’ sentiment of late has provoked it beyond what any of us could have predicted,” he said.
The presentation of history at the Smithsonian, which operates 21 museums, has always been intensely scrutinized. In 1995, it canceled a planned exhibition on the dropping of the atomic bomb after fierce criticism from veterans groups and others who felt the show, set for the National Air and Space Museum, was too sympathetic to the Japanese.
Museums are especially vulnerable during the founding period, when they are trying to build support among donors, the public and, crucially, Congress, which provides significant funding and also controls the Mall.…
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER
Russian shelling has killed three people and wounded at least seven others Sunday in the southern Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, Ukrainian officials said.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the US is "directly at war" with Russia in remarks at the UN General Assembly in New York on Saturday, where he slammed the countries aiding Ukraine's defense.
Kyiv launched one of its most ambitious attacks yet on the Crimean peninsula Friday, targeting Russia's Black Sea Fleet headquarters. Here's what we know about the attack.
Russia-backed leaders are imposing a new curfew and censorship measures in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic of eastern Ukraine, saying they will help combat enemy saboteurs and reconnaissance.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I can clearly see Zelensky suddenly evacuating Kiev in a Boeing C-47 Globemaster with his family and a few close associates, dufflebags stuffed with cash loaded into the cargo bay, landing at Miami airport to a heroes welcome, greeted by VP Harris, US Senators, Hollywood celebrities, and military brass, then driven by motorcade to his well appointed mansion on Miami Beach, where he gets down to the serious business of hobnobbing with international arms dealers, Cartel chiefs, mafioso kingpins, hedge fund billionaires, movie producers, and secretive Bit Coin operators.
By that time Ukraine will be a smoking ruin and an immense graveyard, and the USA will be wondering WTF happened to the $250 billion it sent over since Feb, 2022.