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SHOWERS and isolated thunderstorms are forecast today through tonight. Showers activity will diminish on Sunday as a colder and more stable airmass settles over the region. Dry weather is then forecast to prevail next week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A rainy Saturday morning on the coast with a windy 56F. Our forecast is calling for rain thru the day & into tonight but I think the system might move thru drying out sooner. We'll see. I have .27" of rainfall. Dry skies are forecast for the holiday week.
RAINFALL (past 24 hours): Yorkville 2.28" - Ukiah 1.08" - Boonville 1.06" - Hopland 1.01" - Willits 0.83" - Laytonville 0.25" - Leggett 0.12" - Covelo 0.07"
PG&E FORMALIZES PLAN TO ELIMINATE LAKE PILLSBURY
The utility said work deconstructing two more-than-century-old dams on the Eel River could begin as early as 2028.
by Mary Callahan
In a landmark moment, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. formalized its plans to tear down two more-than-century-old dams on the Eel River — removing the barrier that forms Lake Pillsbury, freeing the waters of the river and restoring the lake footprint to a more natural state.
The moves are part of a 94-page draft surrender application submitted to federal regulators and made public Friday as part of the utility’s plan to decommission its Potter Valley powerhouse and all the infrastructure that comes with it — including Scott and Cape Horn dams, sited slightly downstream.
PG&E has said work deconstructing the dams could begin as early 2028, depending on regulatory approval and environmental review of the plan.
Scott Dam, built in 1921, would come down first, either in phases or all in one season.
The plan fulfills long-held dreams of conservationists and fishery groups to see the cold, clear headwaters of the Eel River, part of the Mendocino National Forest, reopened to migrating fish and to restore natural river flows in hopes of reversing the decline of native fish stocks.
“Dam removal will make the Eel the longest free-flowing river in California and will open up hundreds of stream miles of prime habitat unavailable to native salmon and steelhead for over 100 years,” said Brian J. Johnson, California Director for Trout Unlimited. “This is the most important thing we can do for salmon and steelhead on the Eel River, and these fisheries cannot afford to wait.”
PG&E is still determining which of two approaches to take in removing Scott Dam, primarily related to how to handle sediment accumulated behind the dam and how best to release the stored water to limit its dispersal.
In a win for Sonoma Water and Russian River water users in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, PG&E also has agreed to evaluate a regional proposal to retain enough of smaller Cape Horn Dam, built in 1907, and a mile-long diversion tunnel to allow continued, wintertime diversions from the Eel to the East Fork Russian River.
The idea is to draw off limited water when Eel River flows are high in order to top off Lake Mendocino and prevent the Russian River from running dry in summer, while still allowing salmon and steelhead trout to migrate up the Eel River to its headwaters unimpeded.
Local officials said they were excited to see the proposal included in PG&E’s draft, the first of two that will be circulated for public review over the coming months before a final surrender application is filed in January 2025. Two different approaches are being considered for diversions — one called a roughened channel and the other, a pumpback system involving embedded pumps, requiring less infrastructure in the water to move diversions toward the tunnel.
Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore called it ”big deal,“ saying PG&E ”could have taken the easy way out … and moved ahead with a less complex solution — one that doesn’t deal with multiple jurisdictions, partners, opinions, end goals.“
Members of the regional group, which includes the Round Valley Indian Tribes, are in the process of creating a joint power authority to establish the framework for governance and funding of the proposed diversion system, dubbed the new Eel-Russian Facility.
A tremendous amount of work still lies ahead to design, engineer, finance, establish operating protocols and arrange water rights in order to bring the diversion proposal to fruition.
But Gore, many of whose north county constituents depend on Russian River flows for municipal and agricultural use, as do thousands more in Mendocino County, said they knew what was coming and know what’s at stake in ensuring diversions continue, even if it comes at a cost.
“Everybody knows, unless they’ve been hiding under a rock, that the days of free water are gone,” Gore said.
The regional proposal comes with a pledge to move forward without delaying dam removals and promoting restoration of the fishery.
Proponents signed onto the regional proposal include the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt County, Trout Unlimited and California Trout, whose focus is ensuring improved conditions in the Eel River. Many have long resented the abundance of water removed from the Eel, though diversions have lessened in recent years.
In many ways, the membership reflects the makeup and goals of the Two-Basin Solution Partnership, a stakeholder group brought together by North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman in 2019, after PG&E first announced it would not renew its federal license for the aging hydroelectric project.
The partnership made a bid to acquire the project in order to maintain diversions while restoring fish passage, though it was unable to meet a timetable set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to submit an application.
Huffman, D-San Rafael, has continued to maintain that the dams would come down and that room remained for a two-partnership, win-win resolution.
He said Friday that the new application “is a major step forward to achieving the Two-Basin Solution I’ve advocated for years.”
The impending loss of Lake Pillsbury, a 3 1/2-square-mile reservoir popular with boaters and other recreators, is a tremendous blow to those who have homes along its shore or traditions of visiting and camping there, though Lake County officials continue to fight the proposal.
Four communities totaling about 300 homes and cabin have been built since the dam went in, along with campgrounds, a marina and other amenities, all “built up around Lake Pillsbury being in existence,” Lake County Treasurer/Tax Collector Patrick Sullivan said in a video presentation last month to the Russian River Water Forum.
Dam removal would mean the immediate and ongoing loss of $750,000 in sales and occupancy taxes each year, as well as $40 million loss in property values, Sullivan said.
PG&E alone has five family campground and a group campground it plans to take out.
The entire proposal would eliminate a key visitor destination for the county that Supervisors Eddie “E.J.” Crandell and Bruno Sabatier said in the same video must be addressed through monetary considerations and creation of other economic opportunities.
They and members of the Lake Pillsbury Alliance also have cited concerns about wildlife populations that have grown up around the lake, the longtime use of the lake as a water source for firefighting aircraft, and other concerns.
“There are 300 property owners, ranchers, that have been misrepresented and underrepresented through the process, and they’re underrepresented this moment, in the initial draft,” said Carol Cinquini, a representative of the Lake Pillsbury Alliance, whose grandson is the fifth generation to grow up using the lake.
Cinquini said the review necessary before the full surrender is complete still leaves time “so a lot can happen.”
But PG&E says it has no other plan but removing the dam.
It also reduced the lake level earlier this year due to newly analyzed seismic concerns that will prevent it from allowing the lake to be restored to full capacity in the future.
In the meantime, the utility has put all of the lake basin and the shoreline, and “a wide area” along 11 miles of river downstream of the lake under permanent conservation easement held by the Mendocino Land Trust, protecting the wildlife and prohibiting future development on the land.
The easement allows public access to the area in perpetuity.
Huffman, in September, said “it is going to be a bumpy ride for the next few months, maybe the next year or so,” as stakeholders begin to embrace the reality of decommissioning and tend to the details.
Lake Pillsbury aficionados, in particular, he said, would realize the lake already isn’t what it’s been, with reduced capacity, “boat ramps that don’t go in the water,” and “a big bathtub ring (around the lake) that isn’t as pretty as they would like to see.”
But ultimately, the conversation will “change to the point where a lot of them will realize it’s going to be a beautiful place to be and to recreate and to live, if they choose to do that,” Huffman said.
“It’s just going to be different.”
The draft surrender application is in circulation to the public until Dec. 22, when all comments on referred alternatives are due to PG&E.
Comments can be sent electronically, which is preferred, to PVSurrender@pge.com, or via regular mail to Tony Gigliotti, Senior Licensing Project Manager, Power Generation, 12840 Bill Clark Way, Auburn, CA 95602
A final draft is to be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by June 3, with another round of public comments through July 18.
The final surrender application is due to the federal commission Jan. 29, 2025.
STUDENTS MAKING THINGS HAPPEN AND HIGH SCHOOL REMODEL IS ON!
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
This is a special update with a longer note coming this weekend. I just wanted to congratulate the Class of 2024 for cooking up a storm and sharing an AMAZING school-wide Friendsgiving today! It was just an amazing experience for everyone to have the time to visit and talk and eat their FEAST! Thank you to our tremendous cafeteria staff for supporting this special event. That doesn’t happen in other districts…
Today was a day that I have thought about since the visit I made to your district before I interviewed three years ago. It was a cold and blustery January day, and I walked around the high school looking at every building, peering into windows on my tip toes, walking the pitted track and dreaming of what could be…I could only imagine…
Today, we opened the bids for the high school remodel. I am delighted that we ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE FULL SCOPE OF WORK which is remodeling rooms 1, 2, the library and both science wings. I am very grateful to the half a dozen contracting firms that bid the job. There is a waiting period before we can officially sign the contract, but I believe it will be awarded to a local Ukiah firm. In a touching twist of fate, one of the owners of the low bid firm is an AVHS graduate and played in the 1967 Redwood Classic, who with his teammates earned the tournament trophy for AVHS. Pretty cool!
So what’s next you ask? A pot of paperwork to get through the contract process, but construction will start the day after graduation at the high school. Construction should be complete by December 2024. We also have the track and field in progress and work on our domes and gym replacement continue. I am grateful! I thank Don Alameida and the district office staff of Vero, Leigh, Angel, and Sara for all of their work to get us to this point.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. More news to follow!
Louise Simson, Superintendent
THE REDWOOD CLASSIC Boys' Basketball Tournament will run from November 29th through December 2nd, 2023:
PALACE OWNER ‘COMMUNICATING WELL’ - CITY COUNCIL HEARS UPDATE ON PROGRESS
by Justine Frederiksen
Despite already missing one deadline attached to a list of tasks required to be completed by the first week of December, the owner of the Palace Hotel is being “responsive and communicating well,” city officials told the Ukiah City Council Wednesday.
“I did receive an email from (the owner’s attorney, Steven Johnson) on Nov. 10 stating that they’re working to get contractors and trying to get bids,” Building Official Matt Keizer told the council during its Nov. 15 meeting. “Technically, their protection plan would have been due about Nov. 13, based on the letter we served to (owner Twin Investments, LLC, with attention to Jitu Ishwar, requiring ‘timely demolition or stabilization of the structure’) on Nov. 3.”
“As of right now, they had two contractors that came out and gave them bids to do some scaffolding work, but when they found out about some of the standards/requirements for that work, they then actually pulled their bids,” said Keizer, explaining that the city’s building code requires that the scaffolding be able to hold 150 pounds of load, which he described “as an issue with the contractors contacted thus far.”
In the meantime, Keizer said he had been contacting contractors as well “so we can continue to move forward with the process.”
Keizer then reported that the Palace Hotel ownership had also “met with a demolition contractor (Wednesday),” noting that he had received that information from them “within an hour” of the council meeting.
As a whole, Keizer described the ownership as “communicating well, (and) although we do not have the plan yet that we were supposed to have within one week, they are working on it, so we’re going to try and continue to hold their feet to the fire. And I’m also going to work on it on our side, as well, to see if we can get it done faster.”
“I’m confused as to what they didn’t present to us on time?” asked Mayor Mari Rodin. Keizer explained that “What we’re asking for is what the code calls a ‘pedestrian protection plan’,” describing it as scaffolding and a wood barrier designed to “protect the sidewalks and the public as they are passing” the building.
While the city gave ownership a week to present the protection plan, for the “actual demolition plan, they have 30 days. We’re hopeful; we gave them ambitious timelines, and we’re going to continue to hold them to that, but we are at the mercies of the free market and to what can and can’t be done.”
“Are we considering putting up some ‘danger’ signs and rope?” asked Rodin, and Keizer said that the city was “considering all options,” and that he had begun contacting contractors himself “so if we need to, (the city) can move forward on that, but more than likely, we will just be providing that information to the owners,” whom he described as “thus far, very good at communicating with us.”
“(We expect) that they will have a contract signed and they will be seeking permits (for the interim pedestrian safety measures),” said City Manager Sage Sangiacomo, describing that as “the next formal correspondence” he expected the city to be receiving from the building’s ownership.
Because Keizer reported that the Palace Hotel ownership had met with a demolition contractor, Council member Susan Sher asked if that meant they were “leaning more toward choosing demolition as opposed to trying to stabilize the building?”
“I don’t know,” Keizer said. “I say ‘demolition contractor,’ but it could also be ‘stabilizing,’ I’m not sure. I can’t speak to which side of the road they’re going down on that. But it could be stabilization just as easy as demolition.”
“Well, it would be good for us to know that,” said Sher, adding “that I think the public really wants to know that, too.”
“I agree, and currently, they’re supposed to provide that to us within 30 days. As soon as we receive updates, or we know what’s happening, we will bring that to the council, and those records will be made available (to the public), if they can be,” Keizer said.
“Any formal communications will be posted to the city’s website (https://cityofukiah.com/palace-hotel/), and (Keizer) will be back at each council meeting where it’s warranted to provide updates on any informal communications, and other things that are happening behind the scenes,” said Sangiacomo, explaining that there will be “two forms of updates that the public and the council will be receiving.”
PG&E BILLS TO SOAR NEARLY $400 A YEAR IN 2024 FOR MILLIONS OF CALIFORNIA HOUSEHOLDS
Millions of California households served by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will pay about $384 more in 2024 for utilities to help the company prevent wildfires and meet rising demands for electricity. That amounts to about $32.50 more per month for average residential customers, according to PG&E.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved the increase Thursday, ending a years-long debate over how much more PG&E customers must pay to help the embattled utility — which caused a catastrophic explosion in 2010 and major wildfires in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 — modernize its infrastructure, primarily to be more safe.
The 2024 increase will be followed by a much smaller rise of $4.50 per month in 2025. Average bills are expected to decrease by $8 per month in 2026, the company said.
The CPUC’s five commissioners voted unanimously to approve the plan, over the objections of PG&E customers who urged them to consider the financial hardship of families struggling to pay utility bills.
“They (PG&E) keep causing disasters and they keep getting rewarded by state officials,” said a man who identified himself as Jose Lopez, who called into the proceeding from his home in the Central Valley. “Inflation is high and people are struggling to pay their bills.”
“We can’t afford it anymore,” said a speaker identified as Sue Fox, who urged the commissioners to adopt the proposal with “the faster, cheaper” plan for preventing wildfires.
Commissioner John Reynolds, who drafted the plan they voted to approve Thursday, said commissioners “struggled mightily with the additional hardship these increases will create for families.”
“We know this — and yet we know that the grid and the pipelines that serve the same families need upgrades, repairs and reinvention to meet growing demand and to adapt to a changing climate,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds acknowledged the revenue increase was unprecedented.
“It’s a historic investment,” he said.
PG&E said in a statement that more than 85% of the increase will go toward projects “to reduce risk in PG&E’s gas and electric operations.”
“We are committed to being the safe operator that the people of California expect and deserve,” said Patti Poppe, PG&E’s chief executive officer. “ We appreciate the Commission for recognizing the important safety and reliability investments we are making on behalf of our customers, including undergrounding power lines to permanently reduce wildfire risk.”
PG&E bills have risen precipitously over the last decade. Average monthly residential bills for electricity and gas combined jumped by $86.51 — from $154.52 in January 2016 to $241.03 in January 2023, according to data from PG&E obtained by the Chronicle.
The plan establishes PG&E’s budget through 2026 and sets the company’s agenda for key projects like moving power lines underground in communities where the risk for wildfires is high.
PG&E executives lobbied heavily for the increase, blanketing television networks with commercials promoting the company’s request for vastly more in revenue dollars to put more power lines underground. But commissioners balked at the over $15 billion the company initially requested — a year-over-year increase of about 25% in revenue, Reynolds said. The CPUC voted to reduce that amount to $13.5 billion.
That includes significant funding to put about 1,230 miles of power lines underground in communities where the risk for wildfires is high.
“This is the biggest rate case TURN has ever seen,” said Katy Morsony, an assistant managing attorney for The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, an advocacy group for rate payers.
The CPUC was considering two internal proposals that both offered less revenue than PG&E had requested, but differed in how much to allow the company to spend installing power lines underground. Ratepayer advocacy groups like TURN pushed for the commission to promote a far less expensive and faster method by insulating bare wires instead of the laborious process of burying them. The CPUC opted to allow for more buried lines.
“We’re disappointed,” Morosony said. “We need to be choosing only the most affordable and fastest wildfire safety measures to protect customers and their pocketbooks.”
Reynolds acknowledged the commission is allowing PG&E to spend billions of dollars burying power lines, which the company has never done at the scale or pace approved Thursday. He said that PG&E still needs to regain trust lost from “past failures,” including deadly wildfires blamed on company equipment and mismanagement, and demonstrate it can deliver.
“My message to PG&E is your work is not done here,” Reynolds said.
PG&E bills to soar nearly $400 a year in 2024.
“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) promotes and serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at just and reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental protection and a healthy California economy.”
PROPORTIONALLY, individual home owners and renters pay at a much higher rate than large businesses as this power monopoly pays its way out of fire damage claims and funds its minimal undergrounding program.
GOVERNOR NEWSOM appointed five active Democrats to this alleged oversight commission. They are:
- Alice Reynolds, lawyer
- Genevieve Shirama, lawyer
- Darcie Houck, lawyer
- John Reynolds, lawyer
- Karen Douglas, lawyer
I APOLOGIZED for forwarding photos opened only via complicated procedures, which inspired the AVA's night editor to comment: “Not your fault. It's primarily Google trying to maintain their absolute stranglehold on all online activity. The sender is just a small potato aiding and abetting that process. (She is not alone). This was simply a small reminder of how it works. Facebook, Google, and all the rest of the internet behemoths, try to keep everyone logged into their systems all the time so they can track all online activity, and then turn around and sell it to whomever. It's a bunch of evil nonsense for money.”
HERE’S one for the local books. Thirty years ago, in February of 1994, a badly injured man was discovered in the wreckage of his car at the foot of the precipitous hillside two miles south of Boonville. Two weeks later, a young woman was pulled from the wreckage of another accident, which also began at the same downhill bend in 128. In both instances the victims’ Boonville-bound vehicles flew off the road and plummeted down the hill, finally coming to rest in the dry creek bed bisecting the Burger and Minor ranches.
IN THE ‘94 wreck a man identified as “elderly” in the pages of this newspaper was found alive pinned in his crushed Toyota at the foot of the lethal hill. He’d been pinned in what was left of his car for some 14 hours. Two men who just happened to be walking towards Boonville on 128 on that seldom walked stretch of road, looked over the side and spotted the Toyota resting upright in the streambed.
HELP was summoned and a badly injured Allan C. Mueller of Kensington, 52, was hauled back up the hill to live another day.
THE YOUNG WOMAN, also was found miraculously alive when the wreckage of the pick-up she was trapped in was spotted from above, this time by a passing log truck driver. Trapped for two days in the wreckage, the young woman had been the passenger in the truck driven by a young man killed when he was thrown through his windshield as his truck tumbled some 300 feet to the Rancheria's streambed. When rescuers reached his passenger she was conscious but barely alive. She survived.
DARNED if miracle man Allan C. Mueller didn’t stop by the AVA to introduce himself. At the time of his near death experience years prior, Mueller said he had been headed south towards his Kensington home after a visit with friends in Caspar. He said his Toyota was struck from behind by a truck containing two men wearing what he somehow recalled as black baseball hats. Mueller didn't think the black hats had deliberately hit him, “but they didn’t stop,”
MUELLER'S Toyota had been shoved over the side about 8pm. He wasn’t found until late the next afternoon. Then-AV fire chief Pat Colleary said Mueller’s Toyota “was just like a piece of aluminum foil” without “a straight piece of metal” on it.
MUELLER said his recuperation had occupied much of his life since. He had sustained severe injuries to his head, causing him loss of memory and mobility. He said he “still wasn't right.” Mueller did say the description of him as “elderly” in the AVA’s account of his terrible ordeal “still rankled.” But he laughed when he said it and assured us that all his marbles were back in their pouch. Mueller said he thought Caltrans should install a safety rail at that turn, which CalTrans has since done. People had been flying off that curve virtually since the first automobile made its way west from Cloverdale years ago.
WERNER HERZOG: “Dear America, you are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that one-third of your people would kill another one-third, while the other one-third watches.”
THE OVERWHELMING majority of Americans support a cease-fire according to the latest polls. 66 percent of Americans, including 80 percent of Democrats, believe the United States should put pressure on Israel for a cease-fire.
I ALWAYS ENJOY the creatively unhinged comments on the state of our nation. I don't know anything about Philadelphia, but the chaos referred to in SF and Portland is pretty confined to the downtown areas, not that tolerating it anywhere should be permitted: “It’s too late for cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco or Portland. The damage has been done, the squalor & dysfunction goes too deep. Look for those benighted wastelands to sink ever further, to slowly depopulate, to end up as smoking ruins inhabited solely by fentanyl addicted zombies, wild dogs, & federally sponsored free needle clinics. Rule by cat lady — ‘Cat Lady in Charge’ — 50 year old childless, unmarried, embittered crones with PhDs, alone in their dank, unkempt condos, smelling like cat piss and the cheap, boxed wine they drink, surrounded by fifty cats all over the place, Subaru Outback parked in the garage, TV flickering … thinking up ways to get even with men, the system and the world.”
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE MENDOCINO COMMUNITY NETWORK LIST SERVES?
Here is my take on last night's Mendocino Unified School Board (MUSD) meeting. The board voted last night at the Albion Elementary School 3:2 to direct the Superintendent to write a letter to the Mendocino community within 60 days which will be posted on the Mendocino Community Network (MCN) announce list to ask for people who would want to step forward and take over the list serve (the person who initially was willing to do that is no longer willing to do that). Then a subcommittee consisting of 2 to 3 board members would be willing to look at the proposals and report back at the March meeting.
Emily Griffen, Lisa James, and Mark Morton voted in favor of that motion. Windspirit Aum, and Michael Schaeffer did not vote in favor of it. The Superintendent Jason Morse was informed that legally speaking the District can not get in trouble over these lists, could moderate them, and could also warn certain individuals to change the way they participate, or remove them. To host a forum apparently costs $11.50. About 2,400 people are prescribed to the announce list and about 500 people get the discussion list. MCN has been in existence for 29 years. Twice (in 2013 and in 2022) the public had to persuade the MUSD board to continue this unique community resource.
The board (under direction of the chair) after having received 26 e-mails in favor of keeping the lists the way they are and having received 0 letters indicating otherwise felt that in order to expedite things (as several meetings already were taken up with this issue since June) that a motion should be passed by the board before they were going to listen to the public so that the public could address this motion. I do not know how many people attended and were wanting to speak about this agenda item and left before the item was discussed, or decided not to speak.
I could not be there in person, but connected via zoom and spoke against this proposal. John Gallo Jr. who attended the meeting in person spoke also against this proposal. Both of us warned of moderating/censuring, and the danger to not allow certain view points by labeling them conspiracy theories, or "fake news". David Gurney connected with the board via zoom and basically would like the lists to continue. He believes that a couple things could be added to the Terms of Service, to spell out the few forms of misuse on this public forum that wouldn't be tolerated like egregious cyber bullying, threats, libel, etc.
See last night's video by clicking on https://www.mendocinousd.org/District/3053-Untitled.html
Check from 00:48:40 to 1:29:44.
I oppose moderating for libel and such. Libel is very hard to determine and if two people use the Listserve to have a public display of a fight as we have seen here, both will say it’s libel and the moderator could have a full time job moderating. I would favor the solution of banning people who make threats, use neo-nazi language and such. Have a complaint process about individuals. When one person reaches a certain threshold of complaints they go. You could do this with AI and not have some poor soul assigned to moderate. Or you could leave it as it is and simply use the block feature, that works so well for me. I was put in Facebook jail once when Elenaor Cooney was teasing me about my shoe size post and we got into bigfoot. I said, Bigfoot that jerk is my little brother and if he doesn’t stop walking around in the woods barefoot I’ll kick his butt. I was in Facebook jail for a week. Is this better than simply practicing common sense and blocking those who are offensive? Does everything have to be censored in our lives? Can people be self regulated and if they don’t, just give them the boot?
FRED GARDNER WRITES:
I click the box "Remember me"
the website never does
And I myself cannot recall
what my password was
I go to where I wrote it down
but cannot find it there
Technology has passed me by
I thought I wouldn't care
If you don't speak the language
The kids will take your role
In dealing with society
(Survival's now's the goal)
I don't get the algorithm
the program or the plan
I should have heeded Albert
When he took Fortran.
Which is to say, the AVA site won't let me open the piece by Doug Holland about Fatty Arbuckle to note that the great Art Spiegelman illustrated a long poem by Joseph Moncure March called "The Wild Party." Pantheon published it in 1994. The jacket calls it "a lost classic" and it certainly is.
MEMO OF THE AIR: Live on KNYO from Franklin St. all night tonight!
Marco here. Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is like 5:30 or so. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week. There's always another chance. There's no pressure.
I'm in town for this show. I'll be in the cluttered but well-lighted back room of KNYO's 325 N. Franklin studio. If you want to come in and perform in person, that's fine if you're in shiny health, but not too shiny. To call and read your work in your own voice on the air, the number is 707-962-3022.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via KNYO.org. Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.
As always, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find something disturbingly educational to inoculate your occipital fundulum until showtime, or any time, such as:
Astounding. Look at what they can do now. They replaced an eye, connected the optic nerve, and it works. Compare real science to 100,000 years of prayer and rattling rattles and making magic soup out of frogs and mushrooms and reindeer urine, and nailing people up on sticks, and removing still-beating hearts not to fix them and put them back but to eat them to acquire the virtues of the sacrifice. Choose. https://newatlas.com/medical/world-first-whole-eye-and-partial-face-transplant
An orchestral thrill ride. The Tom and Jerry overture. https://laughingsquid.com/tom-and-jerry-theme-danish-orchestra/
And this suave weightlifter's cool home nuclear fusion project that almost but not quite works. He'll keep trying. I recommend subscribing to be notified of developments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTBZ0VwIgs8
Marco McClean, email@example.com https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Cattle Drive Through Caspar, c. 1916. Cattle drive down Caspar's Main Street, past the Caspar Athletic Club. The cows and their calves are being driven to pasture on the Caspar Headlands. The buildings shown on Main Street are, L - R: Dance Hall, Caspar Hotel, Nolan Grocery Store and the Caspar Athletic Club. Also in this view are square utility poles and a residential picket fence.
(Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mendocino Historical Research Inc., now known as the Kelley House Museum. www.kelleyhousemuseum.org)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, November 17, 2023
MARLEN CORBEN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
SUMALEE FOLGER, Ukiah. Arson of property.
MARLEN GALVILLO-CASTRO, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
CHARLES GIELOW III, Willits. Bringing alcohol/drugs into jail.
MICHAEL HENNESSY, Willits. Registration tampering, probation violation.
WHITNEY HUGHES, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
CLAUDIO LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
JEREMY LOPRESTI, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
THE EARTH is not a mechanism but an organism, a being with its own life and its own reasons, where the support and sustenance of the human animal is incidental. If man in his newfound power and vanity persists in the attempt to remake the planet in his own image, he will succeed only in destroying himself - not the planet. The earth will survive our most ingenious folly.
― Edward Abbey
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Let it be heard and known by those who love Truth and Justice – Israel will prevail no matter how many come against it. The God of Israel, Jesus Christ, is their Savior and is with them against the blasphemer and imposter prophet Muhammad. He will free the Muslims from their delusion and the Jews from their blindness to His identity, just as He did with Saul of Tarsus. This is Reality and our only hope.
I HAVE RESIGNED as poetry editor of The New York Times Magazine.
The Israeli state's U.S-backed war against the people of Gaza is not a war for anyone. There is no safety in it or from it, not for Israel, not for the United States or Europe, and especially not for the many Jewish people slandered by those who claim falsely to fight in their names. Its only profit is the deadly profit of oil interests and weapon manufacturers.
The world, the future, our hearts—everything grows smaller and harder from from this war. It is not only a war of missiles and land invasions. It is an ongoing war against the people of Palestine, people who have resisted through decades of occupation, forced dislocation, deprivation, surveillance, siege, imprisonment, and torture.
Because our status quo is self-expression, sometimes the most effective mode of protest for artists is to refuse.
I can’t write about poetry amidst the "reasonable" tones of those who aim to acclimatize us to this unreasonable suffering. No more ghoulish euphemisms. No more verbally sanitized hellscapes. No more warmongering lies.
If this resignation leaves a hole in the news the size of poetry, then that is the true shape of the present.
— Anne Boyer
WORRIES FROM A MAJOR AUTO DEALER ABOUT ALL ELECTRIC CARS
by Ralph Nader
John (Jack) Fitzgerald is no ordinary auto dealer. He communicates with consumer advocates. He started in the dealership business in 1956 and presently has 25 Fitzgerald Auto Mall dealerships in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida. He knows about automobiles.
Mr. Fitzgerald called me in August with worries about electric vehicles. For decades he has seen how auto dealers get blamed for vehicle deficiencies produced by the auto companies. He doesn’t want this to happen with electric cars and trucks. Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have been surging – bolstered by tax credits, some state laws mandating the end of the internal combustion engine in a couple of decades, and the EPA-proposed rules for reducing vehicle emissions by 2032.
He expressed skepticism about going all electric, as distinguished from hybrids and plug-in hybrids, too fast and overlooking emerging what he called multiple “challenges” to EVs.
He cited the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) six findings on the increasing number of high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires. Firefighters are finding that these batteries raise unprecedented fire suppression problems. Included in this category are e-bikes and e-scooters. Firefighters are urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission to come up with mandatory standards to help prevent these deadly fires.
Fitzgerald is concerned that motorists are not being told about tires wearing out faster, due to the heavier weight of electric vehicles with tire particles that also add to the toll of unregulated air pollution. The trade publication Rubber News reports that instead of getting 40,000 miles from their original equipment tires, they are “getting just 13,000 miles before needing to purchase a replacement set.” (Source: J.D. Power OE Tire Customer Satisfaction survey results.)
Tire companies are moving to make longer-lasting tires, but the process is slow.
Heavy heat waves have been linked to reducing the range of all electric vehicles. He is concerned about what needs to be done to offset the replacement cost of these vehicles and where to recycle their very, very heavy batteries.
Then there are facts beyond the need to establish EV chargers everywhere. In addition to the basic price for recharging, this rising industry sees opportunities for added fees and complexities. There is also the effect of disruption of electric power by storms, as occurred recently in the fire and hurricane disasters in California and Florida, and the rising price of electricity everywhere. And there are those increasing climate-caused emergency evacuations of whole communities. Recharging and range concerns are the uppermost factors impeding many financially-able buyers from switching to all electric models, which partly explains the sharp increase of electric cars being leased.
Like any new technology, (although the first electric vehicles came out in 1890), innovations in battery designs are underway. Meanwhile, glitches are inviting refinements and the economics vis-à-vis gasoline-fueled vehicles are fluctuating significantly.
There is a lot that interested motorists do not know, of course. That also holds true for phlegmatic General Motors (GM), which in the recent third quarter of 2023, sold only 20,000 all-electric vehicles compared with Tesla’s 435,000. Over the past decade, GM has had huge problems selling its troubled electric car models.
GM’s CEO Mary Barra, an engineer and the highest-paid auto industry CEO in history, who made $29 million last year plus benefits, can’t seem to prevent blunders and technical failures year after year. Elon Musk doesn’t lose any sleep over competition from this faltering industry giant.
Mr. Fitzgerald wants a more public discussion that includes Toyota’s approach. The giant, pace-setting company believes that “BEVs” (Battery Electric Vehicles) are a critical part of reducing carbon emissions, but not the entire solution.
Toyota believes “an extreme BEV mandate ignores the scarcity of minerals to make batteries, the high cost of BEVs, China’s dominance of the battery supply chain, the lack of charging infrastructure, and the reluctance of many consumers to buy a BEV.”
Instead, Toyota argues “for a portfolio approach that includes hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells and BEVs. … this gives consumers a range of more affordable options to reduce carbon emissions.”
Politically, the Democrats and Republicans have squared off with the former, reflecting the climate crises and pressing for a faster transition to all electric vehicles. The GOP takes the opposite position.
In 1995, Speaker Newt Gingrich defunded the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) within Congress. To this day both Parties have failed to restore funding for this trusted in-house advisor to the Congress (See, Bill S.2618). So, the lobbies’ commercial demands on Capitol Hill continue unchallenged by sound technological, non-partisan assessments.
As more EVs hit the highways, more real-life experience flows to the media, auto dealers, government regulators and potential customers. This is leading to a tempering of the flood of huzzas over recent years for EVs, fueled by Tesla’s success. Regulators and consumers are paying more attention as critiques are being reported in the media. A warning signal; inventories of EVs are piling up on dealer lots with more supply than demand, leading manufacturers like Ford to react to the softening market with price cuts.
As the life cycle of EVs on the road matures, motorists will discover how long their battery is going to last and other “reliability” factors that Consumer Reports is engaged in testing.
Consumers should also do their own research. The Union of Concerned Scientists, the Rocky Mountain Institute and National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREC), have all assembled useful information on Electric Vehicles. Greater support for mass transit is also key to reducing auto pollution.
Meanwhile, other auto dealers should level with their customers on the pros and cons, the knowns and yet unknowns, as did Jack Fitzgerald. Or as he says with a little swagger, in his ads, “Transparency You Can Trust, That’s the Fitz Way!”
by John Arteaga
Oh my God! What is one to make of the shocking orgy of mass murder committed by Hamas upon random Israeli citizens of all ages and descriptions?
Shocking as this attack was, it can hardly be described as completely unexpected; ever since Israel withdrew its occupying army from Gaza, it has maintained a crushing embargo on what is known as the world’s largest open air prison.
Not even cement is allowed to be imported, due to its possible utility for armed combatants. Food supplies are allowed only to the bare minimum for human survival. Indeed, it has always struck me as a minor miracle that the Palestinians of Gaza have been able to maintain and operate a city of millions of people under such circumstances. It is only through incredible resourcefulness that they are not all starving and dying of waterborne illnesses.
On top of this, the Israelis refer cynically to, every few years, “mowing the lawn”, by which they mean destroying whatever advances in civic infrastructure the besieged Palestinians may have been able to cobble together in the intervening years.
This is usually preceded by some intentional provocation by Israel to provide an excuse for what is still arbitrary wanton vandalism on a grand scale.
Our country, which, during World War II, turned away from its shores huge ships full of Jews attempting to escape Nazi Germany, for some reason, became devoted, along with the Brits and their Balfour declaration, to the idea of taking land from other people (the Palestinians) and giving it to Europe’s persecuted Jews.
The ‘Nakba’, or ’catastrophe’ is what the occupants of the area call the1948 murderous ethnic cleansing of much of what is now Israel and the West Bank, where almost the Palestinian population was driven, under fear of death, into crowded refugee camps.
The largest of these is the Gaza Strip, where 2.2 million people are somehow able to eke out an existence in an impossibly overcrowded city, despite the fact that all land, sea, and air access is completely controlled and basically closed by Israel, which regularly sinks fishing and other vessels which stray beyond the kilometer or so Israeli-imposed limits.
The Rafah crossing into Egypt is Gaza’s lifeline for the essentials of life, since Israel completely monopolizes the supply of water, fuel and energy, a supply that has been completely cut off since last month’s surprise attacks on Israel, which revealed that Israel’s much ballyhooed security services were not quite as sharp as they were made out to be, nor did the IDF troops, who took hours to show up in defense of their besieged citizens, live up to their hype.
The IDF seems to mainly specialize in terrorizing, maiming and killing Palestinians arbitrarily when there is no risk to themselves, often shooting peaceful protesters and clearly marked members of the press corps, sometimes using something called a ‘butterfly’ round, which does so much flesh damage that amputation is often the only option.
Much was made the other day about 20 or so trucks full of ‘humanitarian supplies’ being permitted to take the Rafah crossing into Gaza, when in fact a normal flow of traffic there to supply this enclave of 2.2 million souls is 200 or more trucks. Why does Egypt want to participate with Israel in starving these people? Could it be that they are the next largest recipient of US military aid?
Israel, of course, is the largest recipient of such aid; when you see these fields full of huge Abrams tanks or the 30 foot tall concrete ‘security fence’, it is the US taxpayer who is supplying the most brutal violator of international law, maintaining an apartheid system more oppressive than South Africa’s at its worst, garnering innumerable UN condemnations and demands for sanctions by the rest of the world, none of which can ever gain any traction due to the inevitable veto by the US in the Security Council.
To the people of the West Bank and Gaza, USreal is a single entity; one that steals their land, destroys their homes and cities, uproots the olive trees, with which many of them make their living, by the millions, and causes them to live their lives in miserable queues in the hot sun where their fate is decided by some surly young IDF officer who is well aware of the fact that, should he decide that he doesn’t like your attitude can simply shoot you dead without the slightest fear of repercussions.
Like it or not, international law permits occupied people to resist their occupation by force of arms. If the Hamas murderers are to be called terrorists, what then do we call the Israeli F-16 pilots who drops a 2000 pound bomb on a high-rise residential buildings in Gaza, in order to kill a single ‘bad guy’ in a tunnel deep underneath it?
Israel has just about officially stated that it is going about the business of ethnic cleansing (a war crime) of the entire Gaza Strip, basically telling all the people in Gaza to go south into the desert with no food water or fuel, and then bombs them there too! This is genocide!
I have always thought that without the US unconditional devotion to backing Israel, no matter how barbaric and in violation of international laws of war its actions are, financially, militarily and politically, at the UN, that the Israelis and their neighbors would have long ago figured out a way to peacefully coexist.
However, with big Uncle Sam and his $10 million a day checkbook always at your back, why should you ever make any concessions!?
At what point will the American people have had enough and finally talk about ending our destructive support of this quite prosperous country that can damn well pay for its own genocide?!
For this and other columns, go to my blog at https://inarationalworld2.blogspot.com/2023/11/gaza.html
John Arteaga is a Ukiah resident.
by James Kunstler
“The vibe shift being witnessed is nothing more then a managerial class losing the mandate of heaven as they squander the inheritance of empire.” —Jim Sharp
A nation can only take so much corruption, crime, and unreality. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” said Karl Rove, veteran blobster and advisor to George W. Bush, when he uttered those fateful words. Even political junkies forget the rest of what he said:
And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
Old Karl was being too polite, you understand. What he meant to say is: We’re gonna lay trip after trip on you, all of you smart-asses watching the political scene until your over-mis-educated Ivy League brains turn into something that resembles a patty-melt so that you’re lost in a fog of incoherent blabbery, parroting whatever nonsense we proffer as we asset-strip what’s left of Western Civ.
What they call “the cognitive infrastructure” of we-the-people has been twisted, crinkled, folded, looped, and twiddled until it’s nearer a state of criticality than the ten-thousand rusted-out bridges on our county roads. This week, the FCC board voted to adopt new rules to “prevent and eliminate digital discrimination.” Sounds great, huh? Reality check: I do not think that the words mean what you think they mean. They are, rather, an invitation to the rest of the US government — any malicious blob-driven agency — to meddle with the Internet, block content that they don’t like, and conduct mind-fuckery operations to their heart’s delight. Uh-oh, I think they just destroyed the Internet.
Empire is a cruel business, especially as it unwinds. But the sore-beset people of this land may be tiring of alternate realities as the absurdities mount and the immense friction of official bad faith heats up to the point of ignition. For instance, the “news” leaked late Thursday that Special Counsel Robert Hur expects to not charge anyone in connection with the “Joe Biden” documents case. How come? Reasons. Whew, that was swift justice, compared to the Chinese fire drill instigated by that same DOJ against Mr. Trump in the Mar-a-Lago document case.
The DC blob, once so sumptuously comfortable in the days of Karl Rove and Bush II, is actually fighting for its life now, hoping desperately to not be crushed under the rubble of the institutions it is so busy toppling, such as the Department of Justice. Note to blob: if you render the Internet useless, you will accelerate the trend to local autarky. Your diktats will be ignored as government-by-blob drowns in debt, chaos, and impotence. If necessary, we-the-people will return to the traditional printing press and report on what we can actually see and hear in the vicinity around us.
In the meantime, your ability to lay trips on us is losing its mojo. You couldn’t have conjured up a more preposterous front-man for your operation than “Joe Biden.” Imagine what it was like at that long table in San Francisco when the delegation led by President Xi of China sat across from this broken old grifter and his nervous minders. The look of anguish on Tony Blinken’s sagging puss told the whole story. The point of the “summit meeting” was (for our side) to pretend, for show, that we could negotiate anything with China; the point (for China) was to show the world that America is an old whipped dog.
From where they sat in Frisco, Xi’s point men could view California’s stupendously productive Central Valley and calculate how much better China could run the place. (Did Governor Newsom already sell it to Xi on his recent visit to Beijing?) Remember: North America’s civilization is about four thousand years younger than China’s — as if those conquistadors, pilgrims, and cavaliers got here virtually last night, threw the wildest party ever, trashed the joint, and then woke up after losing twenty percent of their brain cells on ketamine and vodka.
Surely you’ve noticed the two wars underway in the other hemisphere. Our special event in Ukraine is going so poorly that the very Director of the CIA, William Burns, paid a not-so-secret call on President Zelensky Wednesday. Usually, this sort of call from one polity to another is performed by diplomats. How many of you noticed that Mr. Burns is not a diplomat? Rather, he is the blob’s consigliere, the very guy you don’t want to show up at your door with a message. You might wake up tomorrow with a horse’s severed head under the sheets. Or maybe his message is, we’ve got a nice cozy villa for you down in sunny Tristan da Cunha….
That war is a lost cause, and the cause was extremely stupid in the first place. Do you even remember what it was? I’ll tell you: to prod Russia into destroying itself. Oh? But why? Because, you know . . . Russia (and Trump!). There is your blob logic. Cost us something like $150 billion, a large part of that distributed among Mr. Zelensky’s circle while he sacrificed a whole generation of his country’s young men to Russian artillery fire and leaves what’s left of his sad-ass land an economic basket-case.
America is also taking the heat for Israeli-Gaza war. The reality — for those of you interested in reality — is that Bibi is doing what Bibi needs to do whether America likes it or not: a large-scale root-canal on this troublesome region, going literally deep beneath the surface to clean the rot of Hamas out from that underground tunnel world they squandered their people’s capital building. Do you think Bibi and Company do not know that the whole world is watching how they go about this operation? And do you suppose they are trying as hard as possible to not harm Hamas’s human shields? Yes, Israel’s IDF is going about this methodically and carefully, and they are determined to get the job done, no matter how many undergraduate nose-rings scream their lungs out on the Champs Elysée.
So, at this juncture, various parties are gaming out World War Three and, let’s face it, that move just doesn’t really look good for anybody. All the clever moves — Hezbollah, Iran, Turkey — just end up in an ashtray, one way or another. This would have been true whether we sent those aircraft carrier groups or not.
Which brings us back to our land and our own troubles and our own despondent population watching everything in their lives go south. That’s the reality that can’t be switched out on command anymore. That’s the reality worth “studying.” Everybody sees something like force majeure coming at them. Bad money . . . lawlessness . . . breakdown . . . hunger . . . . You can thank the blob for all of that. It’s possible to manage our affairs plainly, justly, fairly, honestly, prudently. We’ll get there. But you have to give reality the respect it deserves, just as you would if God came before you and asked if you’d behaved decently in this life. Would you try to bullshit God?
My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessèd and could bless.