DRY WEATHER WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected through the week. The warm up will moderate this weekend followed by a return to cooler and wet weather early to mid next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 53F under clear skies this Midweekday morning on the coast. Clear skies & warm temps are the forecast for the next few days before temps come down some this weekend. We have rain forecast for later on Monday into Tuesday morning, we'll see.
FEMA IPAWS NATIONAL ALERT AND WARNING TEST 2023
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Oct. 4, 2023, at 11:20 a.m. PST (2:20 ET).
The purpose of the test is to help ensure that Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) continue to be effective ways to warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is Oct. 11.
All major U.S. wireless providers participate in Wireless Emergency Alerts and will transmit the national test to their subscribers. If your mobile phone is on and within range of an active cell tower from a participating wireless provider, you should receive the national test. Wireless providers will transmit the national test for 30 minutes, but your phone should only receive it once. The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset. The WEA message will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Or “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.
The EAS test message will state: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET (11:20 – 11:50 PST). This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”
DA DAVE EYSTER’s still unannounced plan to run for Superior Court judge in hopes of knocking out incumbent Clay Brennan is meeting fierce resistance from the bench, and Brennan himself.
Courthouse scuttlebutt is that Brennan, caught flat footed by Eyster decision to target him, has decided to fight for re-election.
Nobody is talking on the record, but Brennan already has hired campaign consultant Leo Buc to help him gear up for the expected tough campaign if Eyster follows through with his behind-the-scenes declaration.
Buc was campaign manager for current County Supervisor John Haschak, who won election in 2018 by a 16-point margin. Buc, a board director of the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-Op, was also campaign manager for Brennan’s ex-wife Mari Rodin when she made a bid for the Board of Supervisors was forced to withdraw from her race with current Supervisor Mo Mulheren after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Rodin recovered, serves on the Ukiah City Council, and is currently the mayor.
The current Superior Court bench is unlikely to welcome Eyster’s candidacy. Some off the record said it is wrong from Eyster to specifically target Brennan because of the judge’s past decisions that enraged Eyster.
Brennan ran afoul of Eyster early because of critical comments about a marijuana restitution program that was implemented when the district attorney took office in 2011 in a bid to ease a court backlog of dope-related cases. Eyster’s program, allowed under an existing state law, garnered more than $7 million in extra revenue over several years for county coffers before statewide legalization made it moot. But when it was in place, the Eyster program raised concerns in some legal quarters about its constitutionality.
Brennan earned Eyster’s ire when he from the bench fretted that it might constitute ‘extortion,’ a declaration that enraged the district attorney. As a result, Eyster refused to allow Brennan to hear criminal cases in Ukiah, threatening to challenge the judge’s impartiality. Then Eyster and the judge squared off again in a high profile animal cruelty case when Brennan refused to go along with the DA’s sentencing demands.
Some judges privately suggest that if Eyster waited until there were other expected vacancies on the bench that could be filled by appointment from the Governor’s Office, he might win their endorsement. “He is an experienced, hardworking prosecutor,” said one.
But Eyster’s decision to specifically target Brennan in next March’s election has made members of the local bench recoil.
“This is not the Trump world. Judges should be elected based on their experience.”
Eyster is not commenting publicly on his plans, a stance he has taken in recent years surrounding controversial moves he has made in the courtroom, and now in the political arena.
A new state law means DA Eyster, who is now in his 4th term, won’t have to run again until 2028. The extra two years was given to sheriffs and district attorneys after the state Legislature decided it wanted those to top local elected offices to be held in conjunction with presidential elections rather than off-year voting.
— Mike Geniella
PIZZA ETC, Little Baker's market, Mendo munitions are at risk of closing if caltrans keeps the on-off ramp at Highway 20 closed until June 2024. Many of us use this way to get home and to get to work. Just think of how many miles it will add to your commute if you have to go around. Gas is expensive! If closing it will affect you please write a letter to Manny. They said they will leave it open if they get enough community push. Please write a letter to Manny Machado email@example.com
CREEPED OUT IN GUALALA: Be Aware Last night my niece was driving home from work in Gualala to sea ranch and was chased down by a car with their headlights turned off and followed her almost all the way home. It was parked in the pullout before the bridge and when she passed they pulled out behind her and and turned off there lights and followed her home ...she did not she what kind of car it was because it was dark. Now she can't even drive home alone. Has this happened to anyone else in the last few days ... If anyone has any info please let me know.
COMMANDER BLOWS UP
On Sunday, September 17, 2023 at about 4:40 AM, Sheriff's Office Deputies responded to a reported assault in the 1600 block of South Dora Street, in Ukiah.
Upon arrival, Deputies contacted a 33-year-old female who was being treated by Emergency Medical Services personnel for multiple severe injuries sustained during the reported assault.
Through investigation, it was determined the female was assaulted by her boyfriend, identified as Larry Pee Wee Commander, 48, of Ukiah.
Commander had already fled the area and Deputies were unable to locate him at that time. Based on statements and evidence, it was learned that Commander had violently attacked the female, telling her he was going to kill her the entire time he assaulted her.
The assault included the use of a handgun, which Commander pointed at the female and later pistol whipped her in the head. The assault caused such a commotion that neighbors called 911 to report the incident. Upon learning of the response, Commander ceased his assault and went into hiding.
Further investigation into the whereabouts of Commander continued until the Ukiah Police Department received a call for service regarding Commander.
It was reported Commander was at a clinic within the city limits of Ukiah and was acting unusual. Ukiah Police Officers and Detectives and MCSO Deputies converged on the area and began searching for Commander.
A Sheriff's Deputy located Commander walking in the area of the Pear Tree Shopping Center. The Deputy contacted Commander and took him into custody without incident.
Commander was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the charges of Attempted Murder, Infliction of Corporal Injury on a Spouse/Cohabitant, Criminal Threats, and Possession of a Controlled Substance, and was to be held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Ukiah Police Department for their swift response and cooperative efforts in apprehending Commander.
* * *
Previous booking records show that Commander has been arrested off and on for years going back to 2014:
On July 21, 2023, arrested for for Ammo possession by prohibited person, registration tampering, paraphernalia.
On May 10, 2019 for Under the influence, paraphernalia, parole violation.
June 8, 2019 for parole violation.
And several previous times before 2019 possibly using the name Nicholas Commander going back to 2014 when he was arrested in Mendocino County for assault with a deadly weapon. Then in 2015 for another assault with a deadly weapon not a gun.
WESTERN CIV, Boonville branch, seems to be winding down. There are somewhere between 8-10 feral cats roaming my property, about half of them kittens. So I called Animal Control, Ukiah. The lady who answered explained that if I trap them, I can get on a list that's two months long to bring them in two at a time, two months from now. Then I get back on the list, at the end of the list, and I can bring in two more cats. Meanwhile, the fecund little beasts are reproducing themselves at Darwinian speed. Do the math! At this rate I could be on Mendocino County's feral cat waiting list for years, and every morning when I open my door, I will continue to be bullrushed by starving cats. Without mentioning names, but several friends of mine simply shoot the pesky little critters with their scoped 22's. I could name any number of people I'd prefer to shoot before cats, but the former is, unfortunately, against the law, the latter cruel.
BREAKDOWN NOTES CONTINUED. In Tuesday's mail, a bill for $680 from PG&E. I screamed. Five alarmed cats outside my window scattered. Last year about this time PG&E suddenly cut us off. A frantic call to Bombay or wherever the hell gave me over to a pleasant-sounding woman with the unpleasant task dealing with irate customers all day. She patiently explained that we were so far in arrears in our monthly payments that unless we paid up immediately we would remain in the dark. BofA credit card at 16 extortionate percent monthly interest . (Usury was an original sin, but our country runs on it.) The prob, as it turned out, PG&E had been mailing our bill to the wrong address. Their error but we had to pay. PG&E hadn't informed us that from then on we'd be paying some mystery fee a year in advance, hence today's sudden bill for $680. And we're solarized. And we belong to Sonoma Clean Power. Neither of which have saved us a bleeping dime. (Sonoma Clean Power was endorsed by former Supervisor Hamburg and present Supervisor Gjerde. Those endorsements alone should have alerted me that I was making irreversible blunders.)
PG&E, in theory, is a public utility. But long ago it was parceled out as a for-profit, meaning shareholders and wildly overpaid executives are the company's first and only priority, and remains their first priority as they commenced murdering many of their customers in NorCal via un-maintained equipment. PG&E is probably the most unpopular corporate monopoly operating in the state, with AT&T running a close second. If I weren't presiding over a dying newspaper business, I'd cancel both of them. Back to candles and handwritten communications! But, but, but....Wouldn't you be cold in the winter without electric heat? Lonely without the Global Village? Thermal underwear, children, and wood heat. But, but, but… What would you do without the internet and your telephone? If the internet disappeared this afternoon I'd rejoice, and I'd borrow a phone from a passerby in case of an emergency. Back to the 19th century, I say, which is where we're headed anyway.
RFK JR. has announced he will run a third party campaign after the Democrats, natch have pulled out all the stops to sab him as a Democratic candidate. “Bobby feels that the DNC is changing the rules to exclude his candidacy so an independent run is the only way to go,” a Kennedy campaign staffer said. “How are we going to win against the established Washington interests?” RFK Jr. added. “It’s not through playing the game.”
KENNEDY has major crackpot tendencies, but as I've said before in a nation of crackpots crackpot-ism shouldn't count against him. The last straw for the Democrat shot callers seemed to be Kennedy's comment that Covid did not kill Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews, which does not seem to be backed up by the statistical reality. He's said all over the place he's for even more aid to the apartheid state of Israel.
HEADLINE from the NYT: “Far-Right G.O.P. Faction Throws House Into Chaos. The move by the House to strip Speaker Kevin McCarthy of his gavel leaves the chamber without a leader. It was the culmination of a bitter power struggle between Mr. McCarthy and far-right Republicans who have sought to undermine him.”
A MOST ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENT. Good to see the Grand Old Party self-destruct. Now if the Democrats can similarly dismember themselves this country might have a long shot chance at slowing its seemingly inexorable slide into chaos.
TED WILLIAMS: “Mark [Scaramella]’s job here is to critique the board, and I understand wanting a game-changing plan rolled out at a board meeting. It’s not possible. Changes are happening. Look at the cumulative impact of agenda items, a number sponsored by me, and you have an approved restructuring. … We’ve already dipped into reserves. I’m not against using reserves again, but it must be treated as one-time funds because this is a structural deficit, not an off-year. Revenue is increasing slower than market wages due to the fed printing too much money. Assessment and tax collection are important, but even if it were operating at 100%, we still have diverging trends between revenue and cost of operations.”
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES:
We have never “wanted a game-changing plan” from Williams and his colleagues — we are not fantasists. We have simply pointed out that the Board is not paying attention to basic tax collection in the wake of their having blown up that office with their ill-advised and unplanned consolidation despite Williams now saying it’s “important.” In recent meetings, Williams goes on and on about what he insists is a “structural deficit” and possibly bankruptcy. But he hasn’t proposed a single specific thing to close the deficit, preferring to speculate about bankruptcy as a alternative and then putting on his hairshirt when his colleagues don’t think bankruptcy is imminent. If “the cumulative impact of agenda items, a number sponsored by me [Williams]” amounts to any significant savings it’s invisible to us. Williams does not list them, or tell us what the savings or restructuring was.
Canceling a few committees and trying to abandon a few local parks has not and will not save much, if anything.
The CEO claims to have found over $5 million in savings but has not listed them or assessed their impact.
The only significant “restructuring” this Board has done is the aforementioned consolidation of the Auditor and Tax Collector offices which no one else in the County supported and which has done nothing but make the deficit worse.
If Williams puts serious tax collection and assessment status reporting requirements on an agenda, we will reconsider. But so far, there’s no evidence that Williams or his colleagues even appreciate the size or significance of the tax collection problem.
MENDOCINO COUNTY JAIL UTILIZES GARDEN AS A SPRINGBOARD FOR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS WHILE FEEDING INMATES
Mendocino County Jail has a captivating garden that is protected by a barbed wire fence. This garden serves as a valuable lesson for the inmates, teaching them the importance of reaping the results of their efforts. The jail administration provides work opportunities for the inmates, which they can pursue by meeting specific requirements, such as exhibiting good behavior. The Garden Manager has implemented educational programs for the inmates, which encompass a range of subjects including college-level courses on agriculture, work skills, and safety training. These programs also cover topics such as landscaping maintenance, fruit tree pruning, weed management, interpersonal and communication skills, livestock care, coop maintenance (chickens and bees), and overall farming and gardening techniques for personal and professional production.
This space has fostered a sense of community, garnering interest and involvement from kitchen staff, Correction’s Deputy’s, and nurses. The prisoners have taken full responsibility for maintaining the garden. They typically work 6-hour days, with intermittent breaks throughout the day. Every morning, the inmates proudly display their abundant harvest. These programs, such as the garden initiative, adopt a comprehensive approach to law enforcement. Their objective is to decrease recidivism, which refers to the probability of individuals committing future offenses, by providing incarcerated individuals with valuable skills and knowledge.
The garden has received more than $6,000 worth of supplies, both through donations and funding from Mendocino College Rising Scholars grant. This has greatly contributed to the garden’s current condition.
In early 2023, the Garden Manager collaborated with college administrators to offer a college course on vegetable production during the spring semester of 2023. The course was a success, with a 100% pass rate. Between August 2022 and June 2023, the garden yielded a total of 2,593 pounds of various vegetables, including zucchini, garlic, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, green beans, salad, winter squash, cucumbers, summer squash, honeydew, watermelon, onions, mixed herbs, and tomatillos. Additionally, there were 46 heads of butterhead lettuce and 37 bushels of kale. The presence of chickens in the garden also had a special significance, as they produced over 384 eggs. All the harvested produce and eggs are utilized in the kitchen to prepare meals for individuals in incarceration.
We would like to express our gratitude to Cold Creek Compost, Gardens Project, Rising Scholars, New Agrarian Collective, Golden Rule Gardens, and Emerissa Gardens for their generous donations of compost, seeds, plant starts, miscellaneous supplies, and farm tools.
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OCTOBER MEETING
The League of Women Voters of Mendocino County will hold its October meeting on Tuesday, 10/17, at 6:00pm. The program will focus on local water issues.
The meeting will be held via Zoom; find the link on the League's website: https://my.lwv.org/california/mendocino-county.
Look under the calendar tab.
For more information, call 707-937-4952.
THE DISAPPEARANCE of Cannabis Activist and Pioneer Chris Giauque: A Father’s Search for His Son
Part one of a two-part article on the life, disappearance, and search for justice for Chris Giauque – a skinny kid from the Bay Area who built a cannabis empire while fighting for legalization–and on the tenacity of his parent unwilling to let the legacy of his child fade into the night.…
THE MAN HIMSELF SPEAKS:
Today's chat about business, and in talking to younger people who would like to start a business, they fail to realize all the things that are involved, I know of some folks that are young not really young, late 30s or early 40s, their world is wrapped around their vacations they hold real jobs, but they do not own a business, and never been a part of the business community, always working for somebody else for a paycheck, one individual want to start a bakery and do a few other things, to start a bakery in California there are so many things you have to do, to satisfy the government, the health regulations are almost overwhelming and even a real business, in the middle of the town with a lot of people going by, has a hard time supporting such a business, and looking at the town of Fort Bragg California as well as Ukiah, watching the bakeries come and go, based on either problems with the health department, or the lack of insurance you have to have, even let somebody in the door, the things you need to do before you start out, if you're going to run a bakery you need a commercial kitchen, you're not allowed to do it at all and all it to the business, you need to meet all of the hills requirements by the county you live in and/or city, pictures and operate your business then you need, mountains of insurance so somebody slips and falls and I go to take everything you won't, if some of your baked goods requirement or duration that's an added bill, you're going to need of business location, that means maintenance and upkeep, then you're going to need employees or bookkeeping for when you have employees you have to have a bookkeeper and his secretary or somebody keep all the records, as a prior business owner in a city, my employees made more money than I did when I ran a radio store in Fort Bragg, that when I got through the end of the day there were small crumbs to take to the bank, the tail wag the dog to the point I took everything a home and let everybody go, for there was not enough business to run a facility that depended on the local fishermen, and just people walking by the door, as if for instance I remember when friend of mine had a bakery in Boonville, of all places not enough business to keep the door unlocked, and then what happened you like to go to baseball games and football games so he would shut the business down and go, when you come back people would be buying things from them anymore because he wasn't there to sell, being in business is a tough racket I've done it for years, I find to my business to two days a week, and I depend on any help that live on the property to help me out, and in lieu of them paying me rent for a place to live kind of like a family shared business, I know a lot of young people are wrapped around their vacations and their special events in their life but let me tell you, that all has to go away if you're going to run a business you have to give up the trips to concert events and or the car races, it all goes away when you have a business for. Not there, people will come back it's the doors locked, and on many individuals that have failed in their small businesses because they were not willing to give up, all of the things they had before, we've noticed lately since the great pandemic, even businesses in the city have folded their intent and disappeared into the dust, never to be heard from ever again, although the bright side is for some if you have a business it's unique something nobody else has in the neighborhood and you have a lot of traffic going by your door like a major highway, and you meet all the expectations and regulations, and your open seven days a week matter what, it's a product to serve is better than anybody else's because you put your heart and soul into it, you may succeed, but you have to give up your former life for what you want to do mean in business is not a part-time operation, if you have to pay employees you're destined to fail for they use all the money and leave you with crumbs on the table, locally people come play my drink prices are too high, I only charge $9-$10 for Margarita you go to Santa Rosa it's $15-$20 anywhere with high-end tequila, if you're ordering high-end whiskey on the rocks and hush up $15 at my place at only nine, dollars and a people in the countryside don't deal with the real world and they don't have real world experiences, with pricing let's face it friends, consent don't it does not exist anymore and $.20 for a cup of coffee is gone away forever, just like the five dollar a night motel room that was available in the early 60s does not exist today that same rumors about $100, the good old days are gone when you're used to buy a car a very nice one for $3000, the same card today will start out close to $20,000 with a few extras, so were we going with this, I don't recommend anybody to go into business for themselves your destined for heartache and if you're married, you may be headed for divorce, if you've got a good job today hang onto it and give up the idea of trying to make a lot of money, working for yourself it doesn't happen anymore.
ON THE ROAD WITH GREG CRAWFORD
The old Remco hydraulic site.
I came to the Willits Safeway parking lot to tend to an injured crow with a dislocated leg, you know just give it a little food to get more time alive. To my surprise these two men opened the forever closed gate to the old Remco hydraulic machine shop where it leaked chromic acid some 25 years ago. I suspect they even today have to (as I watch) pull up these long (two tubes) say 12 feet long with a tiny metal device at the end to take readings. Anyway it’s an interesting Tuesday already.
READER'S COMMENT: Diminuendo” from Michael Nolan of Comptche in the letters section is awfully sweet and soul-felt! He could more or less be talking about me and mine as I face the 40th HS Reunion in a couple of weeks.
ON DECEMBER 10, 1997 JULIA HILL climbed a 1500-year-old redwood tree named Luna and she didn’t come down for another 738 days.
MENDOCINO FILM FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER - Raise the Tent
The Mendocino Film Festival is proud to announce “Raise the Tent,” a benefit show for the festival on Friday, November 10 from 7-11pm at Crown Hall. This event will help “raise” our Festival Tent, the crown jewel of MFF, and our largest expense.
Join us for an evening that starts with improv comedy from long-time Mendocino favorite Hit & Run Theater, followed by a live auction led by former Sheriff Tom Allman, featuring vacations, “staycations,” and some unexpected treats.
9pm kicks off our rock n roll dance party with local artists SurfSquatch, opening for the Dirt Roosters. There will be a cash bar with mixologist Tony de la Torre and pizza from Cafe Beaujolais available for purchase.
Tickets are only $35 ($10 for kids) with all proceeds benefiting the 2024 Festival. Crown Hall (45285 Ukiah St, Mendocino) will open at 6:30pm and the show will start at 7:00pm. All ages are welcome to attend! Tickets will be available at the door (cash or check), or online at Eventive.com.
We hope to see you there for this spectacular evening of fun, food, and fundraising for the Mendocino Film Festival!
For more information visit mendofilm.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the date for the 2024 Mendocino Film Festival, May 30 - June 2 and checkout our website for year-round programming.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, October 3, 2023
RAEKWON BLOCKER, High Point, North Carolina/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.
WESLEY HUDSON, Red Bluff/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
GABRIELE JASYTE, Fort Bragg. Resisting.
REXFORD KEMP II, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SHAYLYNN LOCKHART, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale, tear gas, conspiracy, probation revocation.
ANTONIO LOPEZ, Hopland. Under influence, probation revocation.
DYLAN OUGH, Ukiah. Narcotics for sale, conspiracy-indictment of another.
FATHER PARHAM, Greensboro, North Carolina. Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, conspiracy.
ANGEL STANEK, Willits. Burglary.
RONALD VALENTINE JR., Ukiah. Trespassing. (Frequent flyer.)
TRISTIN WILEY, Willits. Probation revocation.
The passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the end of an era. While she was a dedicated Democrat, she was not highly partisan, unlike so many politicians today, both on the left and right.
As for non-partisanship, why does Gov. Gavin Newsom believe being a Black woman implies the most qualified person for completing Feinstein’s term? It feels like affirmative action, which has been disallowed in California university admissions by California voters and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States.
So why does Newsom feel privileged to use race as the No. 1 qualification for appointing a new senator to finish Feinstein’s term? He could have done that when Kamala Harris became vice president. Instead, he chose his friend and ally Alex Padilla. Under political pressure?
Newsom preordained that only a Black woman would be eligible for consideration for Feinstein’s seat. Can you imagine if he had said only a white woman would be considered?
THIS IS A PICTURE OF STANDING HOLY, who is listed as Sitting Bull's daughter. It brings to mind the traditional Oceti Ŝakowiŋ style of parenting. The first time that Sitting Bull traveled and observed non-Native people spanking their children, he was shocked.
There was never a need to continually scold a child, belittle them, or strike them. They cuddled their children from birth to about seven because they believed crying wasn't good for children.
Often, if a child did not stop crying, some grandmothers would cry along with them to help them get over whatever had made them sad.
At an early age, they begin to take on the responsibility of their clothing and bedding. Our people traveled with the buffalo and had to be mobile. By the age of 10, most of our children knew how to take care of the materials needed for travel.
Love, teaching, structure, and community raised our children.
Colonization tells us that physical discipline helps shape our children and turn our boys into men. Yet, without ever being spanked, we produced the greatest warriors that ever walked this land.
Our lifeways and ceremonies through the different stages of life were more valuable than anything colonization offered.
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA: A final voyage from S.F. to Micronesia
by Carl Nolte
Here’s a story about the South Seas, an adventure, an extraordinary young man and an extraordinary old man who hopes to take one long last voyage under sail.
It was told to me over dinner last week by Warwick Tompkins Jr., a legendary sailor whose nickname is “Commodore.” He got the name to distinguish himself from his father, also named Warwick, a master mariner who was the skipper of the famous old former German pilot schooner Wander Bird.
The younger Tompkins first went aboard the Wander Bird when he was 2 weeks old. That was early in 1932, when his parents were sailing the schooner on the East Coast. The schooner became his home — “My first crib,” he said.
Tompkins grew up at sea and was 4 years old when the Wander Bird made the dangerous passage around Cape Horn at the tip of South America on a voyage from New England to San Francisco. There’s a film about that voyage with the little boy climbing in the rigging at sea.
The boy grew up and the love of the sea never left him.
“I am a waterman,” Tompkins said. “All I wanted to do in life was to command my own vessel and go to sea and do it well.” He developed a reputation as a skipper, designer, rigger, racer, all-around sailor. Commodore Tompkins stopped counting when he passed 500,000 miles at sea.
We were talking about the Wander Bird, which was based in the Bay Area for years but had returned to Germany only to be sunk in a collision near Hamburg two years ago. The vessel is being repaired, and although it’s near to Tompkins’ heart, he paused and leaned forward. “Let me tell you another story,” he said.
His story began with a long voyage in 2005 from the Golden Gate with his late wife Nancy aboard his boat Flash Girl, a 39-foot-long sloop with cutter elements. He designed the boat himself.
After many days at sea, he made the kind of landfall a sailor is working toward, hopes for and never forgets, the ultimate climax of a long voyage. “Out of the sea rose Orohena, the volcano that marks Tahiti.” He said. “It is 7,000 feet tall.”
They sailed to New Zealand and Australia, and then north to Micronesia, a group of islands just north of the equator. They anchored at Pohnpei, a volcanic island that is the administrative capital of one of the Federated States of Micronesia, a country of more than 600 islands with a population of just over 104,000 — one of the smallest and most remote countries in the world.
Tompkins anchored the Flash Girl in the harbor and stayed for some weeks. The South Pacific, he thought, was idyllic with its warm weather, warm water, good people and an anchorage lined with palm trees. If he or Nancy needed anything, they would row the tender, a 9-foot-long boat called Taxi Dancer, into a little kind of dock, or spit, on the shore. There was a lot of shallow water and sharp coral.
It was a bit of a tricky maneuver, he remembers, as the Taxi Dancer was a bit tender and had to be anchored just off the dock. One day, one of the local kids playing and roughhousing came over to help. The boy was about 10 or 11 years old and Tompkins, who has a keen eye for seamanship, was surprised at the boy’s skill and how he handled himself.
“We didn’t share a language,” Tompkins said. “But we could understand each other. He introduced himself. He said ‘I’m Nikki.’ Later I found out his name is Nikki Gideon. Gideon like the Bible. He is from the island of Kapingamarangi. He lives with foster parents on Pohnpei. I think his birth parents emigrated, maybe to the United States.”
He said Nikki went to local schools. “But you know Micronesia is a country that has been neglected and the school system is shocking,” Tompkins said.
“That kid was exceptional,” Tompkins said. “So I helped him get into the Adventist school.” The Seventh Day Adventist church has a high school on Pohnpei.
But time passed, and the Tompkins had to sail home, “Nikki had a paddleboard and sailed with us to the entrance. Once again it was clear he knew how to handle vessels. It was also clear to me that he didn’t want us to go. I called to him: ‘Nikki, I will see you again.’ “
The years passed. Tompkins’ wife died not long ago. Tompkins, who lives ashore in Mill Valley, with some souvenirs and South Seas pottery, likes to think of that idyllic time in Micronesia and the people he met there. “It was a self-sufficient world and when the Europeans came, that was all shattered. They were told numerous lies. Our god was stronger than their god. If they exported things like copra it would be a good thing. All kinds of things like that. Lies.
“I’ve kept in touch about Nikki. I think he moved back to Kapingamarangi, his home island. By now he’s married. Maybe he has some children. I made a promise to come back, and I will.
“I am sure that when I sail in that lagoon he will remember my boat. I’m 90% sure he will remember me.”
The bond of the sea is strong.
Tompkins needs to get the boat ready and get a crew.
“I’m hoping and planning this voyage,” he said. “I’m thinking of next year. It will take a thousand hours of sailing. Being at sea is not the problem; handling the heavy gear is the problem. I’ll have help, one or two others.”
“It will be my last voyage. I know that. I’ll be 92. It’s a risk, but everything in life is a risk.”
NANCY PELOSI IS EVICTED from her private Capitol Hill office by interim House Speaker Patrick McHenry
by Keith Griffith
One of interim US House Speaker Patrick McHenry's first official acts in the temporary role was to oust Nancy Pelosi from her honorary office at the Capitol, while she was away in California to pay tribute to late Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Pelosi, who was dubbed 'Speaker Emerita' by the Democratic Caucus after the party lost its House majority in the 2022 midterms, had retained a coveted hideaway office in the complex.
McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, was appointed acting speaker by his GOP ally Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from the speaker's chair by a rebel faction of the party on Tuesday.
Although McHenry will only lead the House until a replacement is voted in, he acted swiftly to exercise his new powers by giving Pelosi less than 24 hours to vacate her honorary office.
'Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed,' a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee wrote in an email to Pelosi's office, according to Politico.
The email added that the private office had been re-assigned for 'for speaker office use' and ordered her to vacate the space by Wednesday.
Pelosi blasted the move as 'a sharp departure from tradition' in a statement to Politico, adding that she had given former Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, 'a significantly larger suite of offices for as long as he wished' during her tenure.
'Sadly, because I am in California to mourn the loss of and pay tribute to my dear friend Dianne Feinstein, I am unable to retrieve my belongings at this time,' she said.
Although private offices in the Capitol are fairly common among senators, they are rare and coveted among House lawmakers.
Pelosi, 83, served as the 52nd House speaker from 2007 to 2011, and again from 2019 to 2023.
A photo from the Capitol showed items from Pelosi's office being packed up on Tuesday night, while the Democrat was in California to attend Feinstein's funeral.…
UKRAINE, TUESDAY, 3RD OCTOBER
Ukraine said Tuesday it destroyed 29 drones and a cruise missile launched by Russia in overnight attacks on the southern Mykolaiv region and central Dnipropetrovsk region.
Ukrainian forces fired cluster munitions at a southwestern Russian border village, a local Russian official claimed Tuesday. The controversial weapons scatter "bomblets" across large areas and are banned by more than 100 countries.
The European Union's support for Ukraine is "permanent," the bloc's foreign policy chief said after top EU officials met in Kyiv to discuss the war. Ukraine's foreign minister said negotiations on Kyiv's EU membership should begin this year.
US President Joe Biden said he "fully expects" Congress to approve funding for Ukraine after new aid for Kyiv was not included in a last-minute deal to avoid a government shutdown. Biden spoke about Ukraine support Tuesday with European leaders and allies.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It will be the workers, with their courage, resolution, and self-sacrifice, who will be chiefly responsible for achieving victory. The petty bourgeoisie will hesitate as long as possible and remain fearful, irresolute and inactive; but when victory is certain it will claim it for itself and will call upon the workers to behave in an orderly fashion, and it will exclude the proletariat from the fruits of victory.
I WILL CUT ADRIFT—I will sit on pavements and drink coffee—I will dream; I will take my mind out of its iron cage and let it swim—this fine October.
— Virginia Woolf
SCOTT RITTER: I met Senator Diane Feinstein once, in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She had just recently been assigned to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (in 2001), and it was in that capacity that she had a senior staffer from the committee ask me to come to Washington DC to brief her on Iraqi WMD and the allegations being made by the Bush administration that Iraq continued to possess them. We met in a secure conference room in the Capitol building—me, the Senator, and a half dozen staffers and aides. It was a polite, professional affair, with the Senator asking questions and taking notes. Eventually she confronted me—“Your position is causing us some difficulty. You are making the US look bad in the eyes of the world.” I replied that my analysis and the underlying facts were rock solid, something she agreed with. I said that while I knew she couldn’t reveal sensitive intelligence, if she could look me in the eye and say she has seen unequivocal proof that Iraq retained WMD, I’d shut up and go away. She looked at her retinue, and then me. “I have seen no such intelligence,” she replied. She thanked me for the briefing, and said it provided her with “food for thought.” On October 11, 2002, Senator Feinstein voted in favor of the resolution authorizing war with Iraq. Later, she said she had been misled by the Bush administration and bad intelligence. I will forever know Senator Feinstein as someone who had been empowered by the truth, and lacked the moral courage to act on it. The blood of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis stains her soul. I hope when she stands in judgment before her maker, she is punished accordingly.
BILL GRIMES NOTES:
Encouraging news for millions—so much good news in life, so little do we hear about.
From Semafor Flagship: a terric news/info site semafor.com
A new desalination system could produce fresh water from seawater cheaper than from a tap. In a new study, U.S. and Chinese engineers demonstrated a solar-powered machine that allows water to circulate and then evaporate: The resulting water vapor is condensed and captured, leaving the salt behind. A suitcase-sized device could provide four to six liters an hour, enough to provide for a small family, and would work for years without needing repair, the researchers said. Millions of people, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, live near vast bodies of water which because of salt levels isn’t potable: Cheap desalination could save lives.
GOOD NEWS” BIG OPPORTUNITIES ON THE HORIZON
by Ralph Nader
In the midst of so much bad news in the media, it is always good to be alert to rays of sunlight that civic action can build upon.
First, let’s start with the sun, which is receiving increased respect these days by Earthlings. Various forms of solar energy – thermal, photovoltaic, wind, and passive (architecture) are winning the price competition against new fossil and nuclear fuels by large and growing margins around the world. The oil, gas, coal and nuclear lobbies, unable to compete on economics, resort to government subsidies, bailouts, tax breaks and propaganda to entrench themselves and their omnicidal products. People, however, including Texans, are warming to solar, and its decentralized, local nature and the need to invest in expanding, facilitative grid systems. Large majorities in opinion polls now want a solarized country.
Second, smart, focused labor strikes are underway with polls showing majorities in our country supporting labor unions. Between seventy and eighty percent of non-unionized workers want to join one.
The Writers Guild of America strike has been settled in the entertainment business to the approval of most of the rank and file. The massively overpaid CEOs in this industry were forced to pay attention to labor negotiators’ priorities, including some protections from the use of robots (AI), adequate staffing, and better pay and working conditions. Now it’s the turn of the much more numerous striking actors to make sure their long-overdue grievances are addressed by the opposing CEOs.
Under Shawn Fain, the United Automobile Workers Union has commenced selective strikes against the major unionized auto companies. Fain is framing very well the class exploitation issues and the necessity to end the concessions imposed on the workers both before and after the huge $30-plus billion-dollar federal bailout, under President Barack Obama, of the grossly mismanaged General Motors in 2009.
Fain points to the huge, unprecedented gap between the over $14,000 an hour in pay that GM CEO Mary Barra receives, plus benefits and perks, and that $18 to $22 per hour paid to the lower-tier UAW members – a discriminatory system against young workers, dividing them from the older auto workers (making about $33 per hour) that Fain wants to eliminate. Equal pay for equal work on the factory floor. The revived union is also driving a fairer policy to head off an AI displacement threat which could disempower workers by requiring them to train the robots that will take their jobs.
Third, retiring Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark A. Milley told an audience in New York that Russia and Ukraine must realize that victory may not be “achievable through military means,” drawing a comparison with World War I that dragged on and set the stage for World War II. Milley, a Princeton graduate with advanced degrees in international and military history studies, advised: “Things can get worse, so when there’s an opportunity to negotiate when peace can be achieved, seize it . . . Seize the moment!”
Those who are waging peace to overcome this and other armed conflicts hope that retired General Milley will speak out vigorously, with other retired high-ranking officers, about the need for peace negotiations and immediate unconditional ceasefires. They have credibility when they advocate for peace.
It may surprise many people that the civilians in the Pentagon and in Congress have been far more belligerent than the “military” regarding wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. They have to answer the question: “What’s our plan right after we invade and occupy?” Their civilian counterparts, with no military experience, have no such perceived responsibilities. We hope Mark Milley does not get enveloped in a lucrative consulting or executive position in one of the giant manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction. Extra discretionary income is trivial compared to being a strong public voice for peace and avoiding escalating wars.
Fourth. The tagline of the many full-page Bank of America ads that have been running in the Washington Post presents an opportunity to awaken bank customers. The Bank tantalizingly asks potential customers: “What Would You Like the Power to Do?”
Well, for starters, bank employees could simply return telephone calls from depositors and borrowers and not make customers call again and again their bank branch, where the only option is to leave voicemail messages that go unanswered for days or weeks at a time. Also, how about customers wanting the power to stop the Bank of America from cheating or faking accounts? A few weeks ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) fined the Bank of America $250 million charging that the bank “systematically double-charged customers fees, withheld promised credit card perks, and opened accounts without customer authorization.” (https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/us-regulators-fine-bank-america-over-junk-fees-cfpb-2023-07-11/).
Or how about giving your bank company savers the highest current interest rate for their kind of account? Many people, including the elderly, unknowingly have their savings stuck in savings accounts with a fraction of 1 percent interest, despite the Federal Reserve raising rates to the 5 percent range. Don’t banks have fiduciary relationships with their clients? There are tens of billions of dollars at stake in these “dormant” savings accounts (not CDs) in financial institutions throughout the U.S.
One harbors hope that Consumer Reports and the Consumer Federation of America will move to alert millions of Americans to ask for their bank’s highest available interest rates on their savings.
Finally, at long last, the Federal Trade Commission and seventeen states filed a comprehensive antitrust suit against giant Amazon, charging unlawful, anti-competitive practices against the online merchant. Big stakes here for consumers, as well.
Make your voices heard on these and other important matters.
BORN 100 YEARS AGO, CORDELL JACKSON was an American guitarist thought to be the first woman to produce, engineer, arrange and promote music on her own rock and roll music label.
Jackson founded the Moon Records label in Memphis in 1956. Unable to break into the Sun label's stable of male artists, she received the advice and assistance of RCA Records' Chet Atkins in forming this new label to release her music. She began releasing and promoting on the label singles she recorded in her home studio, serving as engineer, producer and arranger. The artists recorded included her and a small family of early rock and roll, rockabilly, and country music performers she recruited from several Southern states.
Her Moon Records label was the oldest continuously operating label in Memphis at the time of her death in 2004. The 50s Rock on the Moon of Memphis, Tennessee + an Oddity, a compilation album of the label's 1950s singles, was released on vinyl in the early 1980s and was later sold on compact disc until her death in 2004.
She died in Memphis in 2004, aged 81.
THE WORST OP-ED IN HISTORY?
Politico gives National Socialism its finest makeover since "Springtime for Hitler"
by Matt Taibbi
Start with the title: “Fighting against the USSR didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi.” The Politico Europe editor approving it was either high on glue, or finally decided yesterday to come to work in his secret Schutzstaffel uniform. No other explanation fits.
Writer Keir Giles argued there’s “disinformation” and a “lie” in the outrage over Canada’s parliament cheering former Waffen SS soldier Yaroslav Hunka:
This history is complicated because fighting against the USSR at the time didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi, just someone who had an excruciating choice over which of these two terror regimes to resist. However, the idea that foreign volunteers and conscripts were being allocated to the Waffen-SS rather than the Wehrmacht on administrative rather than ideological grounds is a hard sell for audiences conditioned to believe the SS’s primary task was genocide. And simple narratives like “everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes” are more pervasive because they’re much simpler to grasp.
On “fighting against the USSR at the time didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi”: didn’t it if you were Yaroslav Hunka, who was actually a Nazi? Giles protests Hunka’s Waffen-SS service is just a “hard sell” to current audiences because they’ve been “conditioned to believe the SS’s primary task was genocide,” due to “simple narratives like ‘everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes.’” Hunka’s 14th Waffen Grenadier unit, aka the Galicia Division, was in 2003 found by the Polish government to have murdered about 1000 inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka, now in the Lviv Oblast of Ukraine. The report singled out the “14th sub-unit” of the Galizien, which may be why Poland’s education Minister just said he’s “taken steps toward the possible extradition of this man.”
It doesn’t matter, because this story was never about the moral choices of Yaroslav Hunka, but the decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland to applaud as a “Canadian hero” a former member of the SS. Hunka also happened also to have fought on the other side in a war that killed 42,000 Canadians. But who’s counting? As Giles writes, it’s “complicated.”
GOERING AT NUREMBERG: IT’S COMPLICATED would have fit National Lampoon’s famed “Hitler’s Tropical Escape” issue, or its later “Spring Fascism Preview.” A New York Times spoof would write itself: “For Augusto Pinochet, Good Governance, Complex Choices.” But Giles one-ups them all with this piece arguing, with no laugh track, the “nuanced truth” of SS service. It’s the literary equivalent of trying to scale the El Capitan Wall without a harness, an incredible thing to try, much less publish.
Politico ran a photo of Hunka in his Galizien uniform, but the article still made repeated references to things like “shouting about ‘Nazis,’ real or imaginary” (you just established this one isn’t imaginary!) or the “chorus of evidence-free condemnation” (you just printed the evidence!).
The stunner passage is near the end:
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center registered its outrage, noting that Hunka’s unit’s “crimes against humanity during the Holocaust are well-documented” — a statement that doesn’t seem to have any more substance than the accusation by Russia.
If you had “Simon Wiesenthal Center accused of echoing Russian propaganda” on your historical bingo card, congratulations. Giles wants to split hairs, because while the Poles and organizations like the one founded by Lviv native Wiesenthal obviously think one thing about the Galizien, investigations by “British, Canadian and even Soviet authorities” have cleared the unit.
He appears not to get that the spectacle of Canada’s parliament and Prime Minister cheering like beered-up Leafs fans for any member of the Waffen-SS is exactly the nightmare Holocaust survivors always warned about. The uniform and the symbolism behind it are what matter in a political stunt like this, which if not a mistake, is bad enough. It’s worse if Rota, Trudeau, and former Ukrainian News and Ukrainian Weekly writer Freeland were somehow ignorant of Hunka’s SS past, and the likes of Giles are now asking a Holocaust remembrance group to chill out because it’s not true that “everybody in the SS was guilty of war crimes.” Never forget, except in some cases?
Similar apologies popped up across media after Canada’s debacle. The CBC, fast earning a reputation for its rare mix of transparent propaganda and unreadable social justice jargon, previewed the Politico mess with “Speaker’s honouring of former Nazi soldier reveals a complicated past, say historians,” quoting an analyst saying “the minutiae” of history gets “very delicate,” so “you have to tread softly on these issues.” CBC also published “Ukrainians reckoning with ‘complexity of history’ after Hunka affair,” Others conceded a mistake but spent more time complaining the episode was being used for a Russian “disinformation campaign,” as the Toronto Star put it. The fact-checking arm of RFE/RL, Polygraph, wrote, “Contrary to rewriting World War II history, Canada’s leadership expressed embarrassment and apologized,” while Russian disinformation had gone into “overdrive.” They said they were sorry!
We’ve reached the chapter in God’s novel where the dull, received-wisdom format of the Western op-ed is being deployed to argue National Socialism wasn’t all bad. Mel Brooks struck gold imagining the Broadway musical similarly repurposed, but this is no joke. What a time to be alive. Every day a new milestone!
Here is a WPA poster that I saw on Antiques Roadshow today and thought it might be fitting for posting somewhere in Mendocino County Today.
Is is from the Library of Congress holdings of WPA Posters.
Redfield, South Dakota
I HATE SURPRISE PARTIES and now the scientific evidence is in. Surprise parties can kill. To put the matter in scientific terms: Emotional stress can precipitate severe, reversible left ventricular dysfunction in patients without coronary disease. Exaggerated sympathetic stimulation is probably central to the cause of this syndrome. Or, in the words of the press release from Johns Hopkins:
“Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that sudden emotional stress can also result in severe but reversible heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack. Patients with this condition, called ‘stress cardiomyopathy,’ but known colloquially as ‘broken heart’ syndrome, are often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when, indeed, they have suffered from a days long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart. The research team found that some people may respond to sudden overwhelming emotional stress by releasing large amounts of catecholamines (notably adrenalin and noradrenalin, also called epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the blood stream, along with their breakdown products and small proteins produced by an excited nervous system. These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, effectively stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a typical heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and heart failure.”
Of course, many rituals in our society have a furtive homicidal intent, most notably those fraught sessions known as family reunions. Grandpa and grandma drive to the event, get mildly looped, head for home and are wiped out on the Interstate by a semi truck when grandpa pulls out of the rest stop. Father keels over when he opens the front door to see a plump faced man vaguely resembling his daughter who left home all those years ago saying in a throaty voice, “Hi, dad.”
So please, no surprises.
— Alexander Cockburn
WHY HE WAS THERE
Much as he left it when he went from us
Here was the room again where he had been
So long that something of him should be seen,
Or felt–and so it was. Incredulous,
I turned about, loath to be greeted thus,
And there he was in his old chair, serene
As ever, and as laconic and as lean
As when he lived, and as cadaverous.
Calm as he was of old when we were young,
He sat there gazing at the pallid flame
Before him. "And how far will this go on?"
I thought. He felt the failure of my tongue,
And smiled: "I was not here until you came;
And I shall not be here when you are gone."
— Edwin Arlington Robinson
My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn't look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn't want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches. And the gardens, too. Not many gardens any more to sit around in. And look at the furniture. No rocking chairs any more. They're too comfortable. Get people up and running around.
— Ray Bradbury