- Zeke Grader
- Budget Hearing
- Saturday's Game
- Police Reports
- Yesterday's Catch
- Riveting Presentation
- Whistleblower Workshops
- Picking Poems
- Asphalt Creek
- Stop Privatizing
- Mad Sociopaths
- Minimum Wage
- Huff's Decision
- Colbert Review
- Corporate Masters
- Families & Addiction
ZEKE GRADER, LONG-TIME FISH & RIVERS ADVOCATE, PASSES AWAY
by Dan Bacher
The Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), Zeke was one of one of the most quotable and witty people I have ever met. I spent many, many hours in meetings, conferences, protests and rallies with him - and he would always come up with the best quote summarizing what happened.
In 2007 when the "marine protected areas" created under the controversial MLPA Initiative went into effect on the Central Coast, Glen Martin, then writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, published one of the most memorable quotes that Zeke ever made:
"For (the reserves) to work, they have to be integrated with a strong water-quality policy," Grader said. "By themselves, the reserves will afford about as much protection to fisheries as the Maginot Line did for the French in (World War II)."
Whenever I wanted to get a good quote for a story, I would call Zeke. One of his best quotes was in 2006 when the Bush administration was trying to close down the salmon season in a cynical move to allegedly “protect” the Klamath River.
Zeke famously pointed out that without efforts to address the root causes of the salmon fishery’s decline, “Putting fish back into a river that’s killing them makes as much sense as tossing virgins into a volcano.”
In Zeke’s appearance on the Sean Hannity Show in 2009, he slammed Hannity and the subsidized corporate mega-growers for blaming the Delta smelt for water cuts during a drought.
Zeke said, “Sean, I think what you have to realize is we’re not just talking about the Delta smelt – we’re also talking about salmon. These salmon are food – they provide jobs for people. You need to come up and provide some balance here. I want you come up to the North Coast, the place where I’m from, Fort Bragg, not one of your studios, Sean. You come up to Eureka and visit with the unemployed fishermen there and give this some balance. Because let me tell you – the Delta smelt did not cause the problem with those farmers.”
Upon hearing of the news of Zeke's death, Restore the Delta announced: "It is with a very heavy heart that we share with our followers the passing of Zeke Grader. Zeke, the Executive Director for Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, was a 40-year leader dedicated to protecting the Bay-Delta estuary, Northern California rivers, fisheries, coastal communities, and fishermen. He was brilliant, kind, brave, and always morally centered. Working with him was a complete honor. He will be missed."
“You would probably not be eating a wild California salmon today if it were not for Zeke,” Tim Sloane, the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations who replaced Zeke this spring, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was not afraid of speaking truth to power. He wasn’t afraid of anyone.”
I completely agree with Sloane and Restore the Delta. All of us who care about salmon, fish, the oceans, wild rivers, the Bay-Delta Estuary, the public trust and environmental justice will really miss Zeke.
Zeke was also a steadfast defender of Klamath and Trinity River restoration. Zeke's PCFFA and the Institute for Fisheries Resources recently joined the Hoopa Valley and Yurok Tribes as intervenors for the defendant, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and the U.S. Department of Interior, in the successful legal battle to stop the San Luis Delta Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District from blocking higher supplemental flows from Trinity Reservoir being currently released to stop a fish kill on the lower Klamath River.
Zeke died at the age of 68 from pancreatic cancer at a San Francisco hospice.
He is survived by his wife, Sausalito attorney Lois Prentice. At his request, there will be no funeral. Plans for a memorial service are pending.
Below is the link to Zeke's obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, followed by a link to my report on the event held to honor Zeke Grader in Sausalito in April as he was battling cancer. I'm glad that hundreds of people turned out to honor Zeke and his family at that gathering.
San Francisco Chronicle obituary:
Report on Sausalito gathering to honor Zeke:
AT TUESDAY'S BUDGET HEARING, the Supervisors decided to re-visit the language of the County's mental health contracts.
THE CURRENT multi-million deals with Ortner Management Group and Redwood Quality Management Company run until 2019, but are subject to annual renewal.
AT THE BEGINNING of the fiscal year in July, the supervisors agreed to contracts of $5.1 million, and $4.9 million for the two organizations respectively.
SPORTS NOTE: Because the Point Arena Pirates have had some difficulties fielding a team this year, there have been some on-again/off-again scheduling issues around this Saturday’s game at the Point Arena football field. Accordingly the game will now start at 1pm, not at 2pm as stated in the official schedule. Although the Pirates are said to be a pretty good team this year, we expect that if anyone arrives late at the 2pm official start, the AV Panthers will already have their reserves in.
ON THURSDAY, May 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was notified of some possible human remains that were located burned in a secluded area on Highway 162 north of Willits. The remains were located and later examined by a forensic anthropologist and were determined to be that of a human. DNA samples were recovered and a profile was uploaded into the California Department of Justice and National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.
Approximately two years later, in May 2015, family members of Rachel Audrey Sloan (25 year-old female from Laytonville, identified on arrest reports as an Alaskan Native American) reported her as a missing person. Familial DNA samples were obtained from Sloan's family members and compared to the DNA profile from the found remains.
On Tuesday, September 1, 2015, the Mendocino County Sheriff's received a DNA report from the California Department of Justice identifying the found remains as that of Rachel Audrey Sloan. Sloan was last seen by her family in Laytonville in August 2012. Anybody with information on Sloan's death is encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office tip line by calling 707-234-2100.
* * *
ON TUESDAY, September 1, 2015 at 10:00 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Deputies responded to a residence in the 23000 block of Hopper Lane in Covelo in an attempt to locate Franklin "IronBear" Oliver, 26, who was wanted on a No Bail armed robbery arrest warrant. Upon arrival Deputies located Oliver at the residence and arrested him without incident. Oliver was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a No Bail status.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 9, 2015
WILLIS ALCUTT III, Eureka/Ukiah. Residential Burglary.
DANIEL ANDERSON, Willits. Domestic battery.
DAVID JOHNSON SR. Ukiah. Parole violation.
SCOTT PAQUETTE, Willits. Possession of nitrous oxide.
PETER ROSE JR., Point Arena. Receipt of stolen property, probation revocation.
ANGELA SCARBERRY, Willits. Pot cultivation, processing, sale, transport, furnish.
BALAZS SCHREIL, Ukiah. Refusing to leave when asked.
ORION STRONG, Willits. Arson.
BRADLEY THOMAS, Willits. Court order violation, probation revocation.
DANNA VASQUEZ, Brentwood/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JEDIDIAH WOLFE-HUNNICUTT, Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
SYLVIA BARTLEY, local historian and author of Images of Fort Bragg, gave a riveting presentation Tuesday evening on the origins and significance of the name Fort Bragg at Fort Bragg's new Town Hall.
(— Susie de Castro)
DON'T TAKE IT!
Since Carre Brown criticized Woodhouse for talking to employees, and that we know that our supervisors are powerless, the only place employees have to go now is to the press. I encourage the Union (SEIU) to send up some legal people and conduct some First Amendment and Whistleblower workshops. I do not want anyone going through what I did when I reported the many wrongdoings of Family & Children’s Services. These workshops should be provided to all departments in the county so that people really know just what they can or cannot say and risk retribution. I am tired of watching my former colleagues being exploited, underpaid, and forced into silence. Everyone seems to be ignoring the vicious and brutal tactics that the County takes against employees who speak out. I have not. I don't believe these people in charge deserve a second chance. A leopard never changes its spots.
— James Marmon MSW, Lake County
SHERMAN ALEXI EXPLAINS HIMSELF
Sherman Alexie Speaks Out on The Best American Poetry 2015
Like most every poet, I have viewed the publication of each year's Best American Poetry with happiness (I love that poem), jealousy (That poet has been chosen for seventy-three years straight.), disdain (Oh, look, another middling poem from one of the greats.) and hope (Maybe they'll choose one of my poems next year.). I am also proud that I've been in Best American Poetry (BAP) five times and even more proud that one of my poems was included in Best of the Best of American Poetry. But let me tell you a secret: I am also conflicted about my appearances in BAP because I don't love four of my five poems that have been chosen. I don't think those four poems are among my best work. In fact, I am rather embarrassed by my first poem to appear in BAP. But there was no way I was ever going to turn down the chance to be in BAP, no matter how I felt about the poems, then or now. I'm quite willing to accept that I might be wrong about the quality of my poems. I understand that I might be immune to their relative strengths and weaknesses. So, yes, like many poets, I am a bubbling mix of arrogance and selfdoubt. And, yes, like many poets, I carefully studied each year's edition of BAP and was highly critical of the aesthetic range (Okay, there had to be more than two great poems published last year written in meter and/or rhyme.), cultural and racial representation (I can't believe there are only 8 poets of color in this edition.), gender equality (What is this? The Golf Club at Augusta?), and nepotism (Did those guest editors really choose, like, sixty-six of their former students?).
So, yeah, most basically stated, I take the publication of Best American Poetry very fucking seriously.
And because I take it so seriously and have been so critical in the past, my first instinct was to decline David Lehman's offer to guest edit Best American Poetry 2015. Then approximately one second after I pondered declining, I enthusiastically accepted the job. Of course, I had no idea that I would spend the next six or eight or ten months reading hundreds and hundreds of poems. Hell, it's quite probable that I read over 1,000 poems last year. I might have read over 2,000 poems. It could have been 3,000. Well, let me be honest: I carefully read hundreds of poems that immediately caught my eye while I skimmed hundreds of other poems that didn't quickly call out to me. It's possible that I read more poems last year than any other person on the planet. It was an intensive education in twenty-first century American poetry.
So what did I learn during this poetry siege? Well, none of us ever needs to write another poem about crocuses, or croci, or however you prefer to pluralize it. Trust me, we poets have exhausted the poetic potential of the crocus. If any of you can surprise me with a new kind of crocus poem then I will mail you one hundred dollars.
But, wait, I'm not ready to make sweeping pronouncements about the state of American poetry. I must first tell you that I established rules for myself before I even read one poem for potential inclusion in BAP 2015. And what were those rules?
Rule #1: I will not choose any poem written by a close friend.
Rule #2: I will be extremely wary of choosing any poem written by somebody I know, even if I have only met that person once twenty years ago and haven't talked to that person since.
Rule #3: I will also be hyper-judgmental of any poem written by a poet I already admire. I will not be a fan boy.
Rule #4: I will not choose any poem based on a poet's career. Each poem will stand or fall on its own merits. There will be no Honorary Oscars.
Rule #5: I will pay close attention to the poets and poems that have been underrepresented in the past. So that means I will carefully look for great poems by women and people of color. And for great poems by younger, less established poets. And for great poems by older poets who haven't been previously lauded. And for great poems that use rhyme, meter, and traditional forms.
Rule #6: As part of the mission to represent the totality of American poetry, I will read as many Internet poems as I can find, whether published at popular sites or in obscure emagazines that have nine followers.
Rule #7: I will not ask for the opinion of any other human being when choosing poems. Oh, I know that David Lehman will make many suggestions—and I welcome the help in winnowing the pile of magazines—but I will ignore David's counsel as much as possible.
Rule #8: Unless David leads me to a great poem that I am compelled to choose, which he will most certainly do a few times.
Rule #9: I don't want to fill the damn book with poetry professors. I really want to choose some poets who work outside of academia. But I also don't want to bias myself against any poems because they happen to be written by poetry professors, so I will not read any biographies or contributor notes about any poets.
Rule #10: I don't want to know anything about any of the poets beyond what I already know or what is apparent in the poem itself. So I will not do Internet searches on anybody. I will do my best to treat every poem like it is a blind submission, even if some famous poet has written the poem I'm currently reading.
Rule #11: I know that these rules will inevitable result in contradictions, conflicts, hypocrisy, and stress rashes.
So, okay, as a result of these rules, what did I do with Best American Poetry 2015?
Approximately 60% of the poets are female.
Approximately 40% of the poets are people of color.
Approximately 20% of the poems employ strong to moderate formal elements.
Approximately 15% of the poems were first published on the Internet.
Approximately 99% of the poets are professors.
I have never met or had any previous conversations or contact with 56 of the 75 poets.
There are 30 poets whom I'd never previously read. I didn't know anything about them when I chose their poems.
I am close friends with only one of the 75 poets.
Only three of the poets have ever invited me to speak at their colleges. And one of them was on sabbatical when I eventually visited her college.
In years past, before I was guest editor for BAP, I'd sent fan letters to nine of the poets and, as a result, have maintained semi-regular pen pal relationships with three of them. I have met in person only two of those pen pals and talked to them, separately, for a few minutes at AWP in Denver in 2010.
Only four of the poets have ever chosen any of my writing for publication. Two of the poets have rejected work of mine for publication.
I share a publisher, Hanging Loose Press, with three of the poets, though I haven't had contact with one of those guys in 20 years and share maybe one email a year with the other two.
I work in the Low Residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Art with two of the poets.
I have done public readings with only two of the poets.
Of the four poets with Seattle roots and connections, I know two of them. I had coffee with one of them eight years ago and briefly met the other last year at a book awards party in Seattle.
I have only provided publicity blurbs for two of the poets.
I could easily replace at least thirty of the great poems I chose with thirty other great poem I almost chose.
I suspect I will eventually regret choosing a few of the poems and omitting others. In fact, right now, I can think of one particular poem that haunts me. I am sick to know that it is absent from BAP 2015. And, no, I will never tell anybody which poems I almost chose.
So did I pick the best 75 poems published last year? Of course not. I picked 75 poems that survived a literary ordeal that happened only in my brain. I think BAP 2015 contains a handful of incredible poems and dozens of good to great poems.
I am very proud of what the Best American team and I have accomplished. And I wish I could end this statement with that sentence.
But, of course, I must now address the controversy that threatens to overshadow every other critical examination of Best American Poetry 2015.
I chose a strange and funny and rueful poem written by Yi-Fen Chou, which turns out to be a Chinese pseudonym used by a white male poet named Michael Derrick Hudson as a means of subverting what he believes to be a politically correct poetry business.
I only learned that Yi-Fen Chou was a pseudonym used by a white man after I'd already picked the poem and Hudson promptly wrote to reveal himself.
Of course, I was angry at the subterfuge and at myself for being fooled by this guy. I silently cursed him and wondered how I would deal with this colonial theft.
So I went back and reread the poem to figure out exactly how I had been fooled and to consider my potential actions and reactions. And I realized that I hadn't been fooled by anything obvious. I'd been drawn to the poem because of its long list title (check my bibliography and you'll see how much I love long titles) and, yes, because of the poet's Chinese name. Of course, I am no expert on Chinese names so I'd only assumed the name was Chinese. As part of my mission to pay more attention to underrepresented poets and to writers I'd never read, I gave this particular poem a close reading. And I found it to be a compelling work. In rereading the poem, I still found it to be compelling. And most important, it didn't contain any overt or covert Chinese influences or identity. I hadn't been fooled by its "Chinese-ness" because it contained nothing that I recognized as being inherently Chinese or Asian. There could very well be allusions to Chinese culture that I don't see. But there was nothing in Yi-Fen Chou's public biography about actually being Chinese. In fact, by referencing Adam and Eve, Poseidon, the Roman Coliseum, and Jesus, I'd argue that the poem is inherently obsessed with European culture. When I first read it, I'd briefly wondered about the life story of a Chinese American poet who would be compelled to write a poem with such overt and affectionate European classical and Christian imagery, and I marveled at how interesting many of us are in our cross-cultural lives, and then I tossed the poem on the "maybe" pile that eventually became a "yes" pile.
Do you see what happened?
I did exactly what that pseudonym-user feared other editors had done to him in the past: I paid more initial attention to his poem because of my perception and misperception of the poet's identity. Bluntly stated, I was more amenable to the poem because I thought the author was Chinese American.
Here, I could offer you many examples of white nepotism inside the literary community. I could detail entire writing careers that have been one long series of handshakes and hugs among white friends and colleagues. I could list the white poets who have been selected by their white friends for each of the previous editions of Best American Poetry. But that would be just grandstanding. It's also grandstanding for me to accuse white folks of nepotism without offering any real evidence. This whole damn essay is grandstanding.
So what's the real reason why I'm not naming names? It's because most white writers who benefit from white nepotism are good writers. That feels like a contradiction. But it's not.
And, hey, guess what? In paying more initial attention to Yi-Fen Chou's poem, I was also practicing a form of nepotism. I am a brown-skinned poet who gave a better chance to another supposed brown-skinned poet because of our brownness.
So, yes, of course, white poets have helped their white friends and colleagues because of nepotism. And, yes, of course, brown poets have helped their brown friends and colleagues because of nepotism. And, yes, because of nepotism, brown and white poets have crossed racial and cultural lines to help friends and colleagues.
Nepotism is as common as oxygen.
But, in putting Yi-Fen Chou in the "maybe" and "yes" piles, I did something amorphous. I helped a total stranger because of racial nepotism.
I was practicing a form of literary justice that can look like injustice from a different angle. And vice versa.
And, of course, I know many of you poets are pissed at me. I know many of you are screaming out a simple question: "Sherman, why did you keep that poetry colonist in the anthology even after you learned of his deception?"
Listen, I was so angry that I stormed and cursed around the room. I felt like punching the wall.
And, of course, there was no doubt that I would pull that fucking poem because of that deceitful pseudonym.
But I realized that I would primarily be jettisoning the poem because of my own sense of embarrassment. I would have pulled it because I didn't want to hear people say, "Oh, look at the big Indian writer conned by the white guy." I would have dumped the poem because of my vanity.
And I would have gotten away with it. I am a powerful literary figure and the pseudonymuser is an unknown guy who has published maybe a dozen poems in his life. If I'd kicked him out of BAP 2015 then he might have tried to go public with that news.
And he would have been vilified and ignored. And I would have been praised.
Trust me, I would much rather be getting praised by you poets than receiving the vilification I am getting now.
But I had to keep that pseudonymous poem in the anthology because it would have been dishonest to do otherwise.
If I'd pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I gave the poem special attention because of the poet's Chinese pseudonym.
If I'd pulled the poem then I would have been denying that I was consciously and deliberately seeking to address past racial, cultural, social, and aesthetic injustices in the poetry world.
And, yes, in keeping the poem, I am quite aware that I am also committing an injustice against poets of color, and against Chinese and Asian poets in particular.
But I believe I would have committed a larger injustice by dumping the poem. I think I would have cast doubt on every poem I have chosen for BAP. It would have implied that I chose poems based only on identity.
But that's not what happened. In the end, I chose each poem in the anthology because I love it. And to deny my love for any of them is to deny my love for all of them.
In choosing what I think is the most diverse set of poems in Best American Poetry's history, I also rejected hundreds of poems written by a vast and diverse world of poets. I rejected a bunch of old white guys. And, hey, I rejected a bunch of old brown people, too. I rejected hundreds of young white poets. And I rejected hundreds of young brown poets, including some of the superstars who are most loudly insulting me. I rejected formalists and free-versers. I rejected dear friends and old enemies. I rejected poems I love and poems I hate.
I rejected at least one thousand poets in pursuit of the 75 who are in the anthology. It was an exhilarating and exhausting task. And now I am being rewarded and punished. And I am pondering what all of this reveals about my identity—perceived, actual, and imaginary. And I hope that you, as readers and writers, continue to debate The Yi-Fen Chou Problem and my decision to keep the poem in the anthology. But in the midst of all this controversy and wild name-calling, I also hope that you take the time to be celebratory or jealous or disdainful or challenged by the other 74 poets in Best American Poetry 2015.
* * *
The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve
Huh! That bumblebee looks ridiculous staggering its way
across those blue flowers, the ones I can never remember the name of. Do you know the old engineer’s
joke: that, theoretically, bees can’t fly? But they look so
perfect together, like Absolute Purpose incarnate: one bee plus one blue flower equals about a billion
years of symbiosis. Which leads me to wonder what it is
I’m doing here, peering through a lens at the thigh-pouches stuffed with pollen and the baffling intricacies
of stamen and pistil. Am I supposed to say something, add a soundtrack and voiceover? My life’s spent
running an inept tour for my own sad swindle of a vacation
until every goddamned thing’s reduced to botched captions and dabs of misinformation in fractured,
not-quite-right English: Here sir, that’s the very place Jesus
wept. The Colosseum sprouts and blooms with leftover seeds pooped by ancient tigers. Poseidon diddled
Philomel in the warm slap of this ankle-deep surf to the dying stings of a thousand jellyfish. There, probably,
atop yonder scraggly hillock, Adam should’ve said no to Eve.
OUTLET CREEK OR ASPHALT CREEK?
As a neighboring property owner to the new Grist Creek Aggregate asphalt plant at Longvale on highway 162, a retired Air Quality Program Manager, and a public citizen concerned about endangered salmon habitat loss and water quality degradation in Outlet Creek, I am dismayed that the Mendocino County Air District issued an Authority to Construct permit for a 500,000 ton per year hot mix and rubberized asphalt plant on a permeable gravel bar in a creek prone to flooding. Common sense indicates that Outlet Creek, home to three threatened salmonid species, is the wrong place for an asphalt plant.
This Air District’s “permit to pollute” was issued under the guidance of the Air District’s leadership, namely the County Board of Supervisors, to whom the Air Pollution Control Officer reports. The same County Supervisors also appointed the Air District Hearing Board members who, on Aug. 28th, rejected the Friends of Outlet Creek appeal of the Air Board’s decision to allow the Grist Creek Aggregates to open an asphalt plant in Longvale without an environmental impact report, and with NO requirement for review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). There was no asphalt plant on this property until this permit was issued, nor has there been one under ANY prior use permit issued to the current property owner, Grist Creek Aggregates. This project, by definition, should have triggered environmental review, with comparison of its impacts to the current environmental baseline, which was; no existing plant; no existing air emissions; and no riparian or ground water impacts. The County’s other new proposed asphalt plant at the Harris Quarry is undergoing full environmental review, why is the same standard not being applied to the Grist Creek Aggregate asphalt plant, which is located in a much more environmentally sensitive area – a gravel bar in Outlet Creek – home to the longest coho salmon run in the state of CA?
By not following the normal environmental review process for new asphalt plants, County leadership prevented local, state and federal stakeholders such NOAA –National Marine Fisheries, the Water Quality Control Board, Fish and Wildlife and Little Lake and Laytonville Fire from identifying impacts of the new asphalt plant. Because there is no CEQA document, these agencies cannot provide comment or identify potential environmental or public health and safety impacts, they can only issue permits, and PERHAPS inspect after the next winter floods inundate the site and very likely wash pollutants into the watersheds of Outlet Creek and the Eel River. Neighbors adjacent to the new asphalt plant have already photographed test batches of asphalt dumped on the ground near Outlet Creek, and huge dust clouds blowing across highway 162 as the plant began its startup last week. Neighbors and are phoning in noise and nuisance dust complaints to County officials.
It’s unfortunate that anything dumped or leaking on the ground at this site will very likely end up in the river with the first winter rains, and County officials seem not only unconcerned, but are actually enabling the possibility of serious environmental damage to the watershed.
Ironically, over $2,000,000 in salmon restoration dollars have been spent in the Outlet Creek watershed by the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to improve habitat for three threatened salmonid species, including;
Northern California (NC) steelhead BPS (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Threatened (January 5, 2006; 71 FR 834)
Critical habitat (September 5, 2005; 70 FR 52488);
Southern Oregon/Northern California Coasts (SONCC) coho salmon ESU (0. kisutch)
Threatened (76 FR 50477; June 28, 2005)
Critical habitat (May 5, 1999; 64 FR 24049 ; and
California Coastal (CC) Chinook salmon ESU (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
Threatened (June 28, 2005; 70 FR 37160)
Critical habitat (September 5, 2005; 7OFR 52488).
Was the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife informed that 25,000 gallons of heated asphalt emulsion will be stored and used on the permeable gravel bar of creek prone to flooding? Apparently not, since no environmental review is being required by our County leaders.
Outlet Creek, its clean waters, and the biological diversity it supports belong to all of us as part of the “commons”.
Before, it belonged to the Pomo Nation. It does not belong only to business interests intent on cashing in on Caltrans’ insatiable appetite for more asphalt production.
How can politicians and government agencies urge citizens to protect our precious water resources, and then give the green light to projects that put those very resources at risk? Haven’t our elected officials promised to protect the environmental assets of our county? It is only by purposefully, willingly and blindly ignoring the obvious multitude of environmental impacts of an asphalt plant in a biologically diverse creek bed that our County Leaders can proceed along this destructive path.
County leadership was well aware of public opposition to this project because of negative comments in the public record received in 2011 opposing DR 1-2011, “for re-establishment of concrete and asphalt plants at Longvale”. The 2011 project was brought by the same applicant at the same site, and then withdrawn when environmental scrutiny mounted. At that time, an EIR was required by County Planning, resulting in many agencies, including the Mendocino County Air District under its previous leader, Mr. Chris Brown submitting comments calling for full environmental review. NOAA and the County Water Agency also identified serious impacts requiring mitigation. The history of this site and project can be reviewed in the public records of the County Planning Dept. under DR 1-2011.
Lastly, asphalt plants are notorious for accidental fires as can be seen with a simple Google search. In addition to endangering fish in the watershed, the Longvale site is surrounded by wooded hillsides and dry brush which, due to the ongoing drought, are extremely flammable. Permitting an asphalt plant on Outlet Creek places adjacent properties and public health at risk, from an accidental industrial fire potentially leading to wild fire.
As has been documented during asphalt plant fires across the U.S., as petroleum asphalt and rubber feed stocks ignite and burn, a difficult to quantify toxic plume containing HAPs such as benzene, toluene, and xylene, VOCs and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, aldehydes and other combustion compounds would pose serious health risks to persons downwind, and very likely require evacuations by emergency responders.
I personally asked the Air District Hearing Board members the following questions during the public comment period, and received NO ANSWERS;
Has a community evacuation plan been discussed as part of this project’s permitting process? Do you know which way the wind will carry a plume?
Has a meteorological study been conducted as part of this permit process?
Have local emergency responders been notified of this new industrial use at Longvale?
If an accidental industrial fire were to occur at this site (in the flood plain of Outlet Creek) and emergency responders were required to use fire retardant chemicals and large quantities of water to control the fire, all run-off would be uncontained and would enter the Outlet Creek watershed, eventually reaching the Eel River. Has any HAZMAT containment planning been considered as part of this permit?
The public wants these air quality, water quality and safety impacts to be considered and County leaders are not listening.
Marc Komer of Willits was the only Air Quality Control Board member who sided with Friends of Outlet Creek. Mr. Komer argued that the Air District did not determine effectively or convincingly that there would be no significant effects on the environment. He called for more due diligence on the part of the Air District and said important issues of water quality, fish habitat, and the cumulative effects of asphalt and aggregate crushing are all connected and relevant and have not been addressed. Unfortunately Mr. Komer’s motion to rescind the air permit until County Planning could perform environmental review on the project was not seconded by Board Members Thomas Johnson (chair), Eric Crane or Mark Johnson.
If the county wants more asphalt production, our planners and elected officials should work with the applicant to find a better home, and even consider using portable asphalt plants that would be temporarily operated where the asphalt was most urgently needed. The flood plain of one the Eel River’s most important tributaries is the wrong place for an asphalt plant.
PS. The Friends of Outlet Creek welcome help from the community to continue the struggle to protect the Outlet Creek watershed. One way to help is to send financial donations to the Willits Environmental Center/Friends of Outlet Creek, 650 So. Main St., Willits 95490. Folks can also email inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org, topic line: Outlet Creek.
DON’T PRIVATIZE ANIMAL CARE
To the Editor:
To the people of Mendocino County, the Board of Supervisors and Administration:
I am disturbed to hear that Mendocino County is even thinking of privatizing Animal Care & Control. For two main reasons. They are condemning their loyal workers to loss of pay, health care, retirement benefits and even their jobs. This is immoral. Yes, a few dollars might be saved but they have already cut wages by 10 percent and not brought them back. Yes, they have given some back. All of the residents if Mendocino County should care. When people lose pay, benefits or jobs it effects their community. Workers can no longer afford to shop in locally owned stores. Walmart may benefit but the community does not.
And the animals suffer too. Many of you only know me as a librarian but I have worked with dog rescue groups for 20 years and was on the Lake County Care & Control Advisory Board until recently. Mendocino County Animal Care & Control has a unique mandate. They must accept all animals brought to them. They must keep them at least a few days. Unlike rescue groups who get to say no or we have as many as we can handle, Animal Control has no legal choice. And so they take in all our no longer wanted pets. They clean out hoarders houses. They pick up strays. They take in litters of kittens and puppies. They rescue abused animals. They pick up dogs abandoned in back yards. Sage Mountainfire and her amazing crew play, socialize, exercise and try to find homes for as many as possible but, of course, the other side of their job is killing (yes, I could use a more euphemistic word) all those that are old, sick, traumatized or just plain perfect but not adopted within a set time limit.
Many years ago, I walked into Lake County Animal Care & Control to find an Animal Control officer sobbing that she could not kill another dog that day. I walked out with Inchworm, a cantankerous old Dachshund who lived another 6 years. We should be honoring these hard working employees, not threatening them.
Unless we create a community where everyone’s job is secure and honored, there will be discontent. I am disturbed that the Mendocino Supervisors and Administration are willing to let their workers slip into poverty. It is not necessary. It is not moral and it definitely is not the right track to take.
Eliza Wingate, Lake County
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Why is it that our leadership, and the leadership of Europe, can’t articulate a plan for the crises that seem to burst on the scene almost weekly now? We used to talk about these things but now all we do is argue our points without any hint of compromise.
We cannot, if we aspire to be a moral people, let human suffering occur without at least attempting to find a solution. Even if it is just to house, feed and clothe these people until the situation in their home settles down. And there are solutions to consider. None of them perfect by any means, but we can ease the hurt and suffering of others. The problem seems to be that to do so means we might have to do without. I thought that is what it means to be a part of the human family and to Christian. Other than Pope Francis I where are the voices of compassion?
We have become a mad, power hungry generation of sociopaths and we have forgotten what it is like to be homeless and in despair.
NOTES FROM A CAMPUS/COMPANY TOWN
by Paul Street
Embarrassed & Horrified
The following Op-Ed submission (in italics below) was rejected – well, ignored (with no response to my repeated polite queries about its fate) – by the Iowa City Press Citizen, (known to a local anarchist friend of mine as “The Oppressed Citizen”) the local Gannett-owned newspaper in the University of Iowa company town of Iowa City, located in Johnson County, and home to the University of Iowa and the standardized-testing behemoths ACT and Pearson:
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The Proposed New County Minimum Wage v. The Real Cost of Getting By
by Paul Street
Upon hearing that the Johnson County Board of Supervisors recently voted to begin a process of approving Iowa first’s countywide minimum wage ordinance and thereby raising the local minimum wage up from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2017, I didn’t know whether to respond with embarrassment or horror. Embarrassment: for the liberal board members who think they’re enacting some kind of grand progressive victory for working people. Horror: at right-wingers who think the proposed increase is too generous.
Serious debates over what the minimum wage should be in various U.S. locales and jurisdictions should start with serious information on what it actually costs to live in the different places where Americans live. What does it cost just to get by in the U.S. today? It depends on where you reside, to no small extent. Researchers at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) have done some remarkable work on this topic. They have calculated the varying minimum no-frills “income required to afford an adequate standard of living” for six family types living in 615 specific U.S. communities, taking into account the varying costs in each of community of seven basic expenditures: housing, food, transportation, child care, health care (premiums plus out of pocket expenses), “other necessities” (clothing, personal care, household supplies, reading materials, school supplies, telephone), and taxes.
According to the EPI Family Budget Calculator, the real cost of a minimally adequate no-frills standard of living for one parent with one kid in Iowa City, Iowa (where I currently reside) is $48,767. That’s more than three times the federal government’s incredibly inadequate and geographically undifferentiated official U.S, poverty level for a two-person household. It sounds high until you add up the monthly expenses: housing ($851), food ($399), child care ($673), transportation ($464), health care ($421), other necessities ($604), and taxes ($652), for a total monthly outlay of $4,064 Go to the San Francisco metropolitan area and the cost of a basic family budget for one parent with one kid is $79,489 (compared to $47,171 in Bakersfield, California), more than four times higher than the federal poverty measure. In the Chicago area, it’s $53,776. In rural Iowa its $42,248. Make it two parents and two kids in Iowa City, Iowa, and the cost is $67,710 – nearly three times the federal poverty level for a four-person household.
The EPI’s figures are worth keeping in mind the next time you hear a pro-business “conservative” express shock at the notion that the minimum wage should go as “astronomically high” as $15 an hour. Even such a dramatically increased minimum wage translates into just $30,000 a year for a worker fortunate enough to stay employed full time. Put two parents with two children successfully in the job market full time at even $15 an hour and you’d still come up $7,710 short in Iowa City.
Considering all this, I can be forgiven, perhaps, for not showering praise on the Johnson County Supervisors for agreeing (under pressure from local labor activists) to move forward on a proposal that would raise the county’s federally mandated minimum wage from $7.25 (an even bigger joke than the federal poverty level) to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
It’s good to see local city councils and now even a (our) county board experiment with going beyond the national minimum. But, please, just $10 an hour: $20,000 a year, assuming full-time year round work (which many workers cannot attain) – and this just by 2017? Forget for a moment that many employers in the area are already at or above that wage mark (I know this very well from direct experience). That aside, the EPI’s carefully calculated basic family budget even just for one parent and one kid in Iowa City (Johnson County’s biggest municipality) is more than 240% of what someone can make at $10 an hour.
The so-called People’s Republic of Johnson County is currently “feeling the Bern” (the passion for the nominally socialist Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders) more intensely perhaps than any county in America. Could its county board please join have the basic decency to at least join the Fight for Fifteen?
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Harreld’s Higher Ed Chicken(s)
I only half expected the above submission to appear in The [Op]Press[ed] Citizen. The likelihood of publication is even smaller now that local news and discussion has been rocked by a remarkable development: the Big Business-dominated University of Iowa (UI) Board of Regent’s “surprise” fast-track hire of J. Bruce Harreld as UI’s new president. Harreld is a former top “turnaround” executive at Kraft Foods, Boston Chicken, and IBM. Last Friday, the Press Citizen printed a giant picture of Harreld underneath huge-type block letters announcing his hire. “While Harreld does not have experience as a university administrator,” the Press Citizen exults, “he’s held leadership roles at Fortune 500 and other companies.” How perfect: an explicitly corporate manager with no serious academic background to head a leading corporate-neoliberal university.
The university/company town of Iowa City had better get ready for some belt-tightening and increased work-loads for those left standing. The heat is about to increase on the academic fryer. “Turnaround” means workforce, wage, and salary reduction. That’s what Harreld did at Kraft, Boston Chicken, and IBM and that’s certainly the role he can reasonably be expected in his new position atop a major outpost of the “higher”-educational-military-industrial complex.
At $590,000 per year, Harreld’s wage translates to $295 an hour, assuming a 40-hour work week and full-time work with a two week vacation. Harreld has pledged to work with a “coach” who will help him understand the academic culture he has been hired to bring yet more completely in line with dominant oppression structures and ideologies.
Speaking of coaches, Herreld’s “earnings” will still fall way behind those of his football coach Kirk Ferentz, who was payed $3 million plus per year the last time I checked. That’s impressive remuneration for a gridiron coordinator who regularly cooks up 7-5 and 6-6 seasons along with semi-annual trips to the odiferous Outback Steakhouse Bowl.
I’m not sure there’s a single openly radical professor left at the University of Iowa. There will be a brief bit of faculty grousing (think chickens clucking a bit more loudly than usual) about their new CEO but the university’s liberal professoriat will for the most part acquiesce to their new and more explicitly corporate master in the nation’s No.2 Party School (where undergraduate drinking is exceeded only by the University of Illinois). Maybe some of the academics the new president turns around and out of the professorial poultry pen at the new “Harreld’s Chicken” university would like to join me (a former long-term adjunct history instructor) in the local manufacturing sector, where (please note, Johnson County Board of Supervisors) starting wages are already above $10 an hour.
(Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy, Paradigm, 2014)
HUFF'S FOR IT
A vote for security, diplomacy, and a chance for peace
After careful deliberation, I have concluded that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated by the U.S., Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany, is our best option for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. I will vote to support the deal.
Central to this decision is my belief that a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten global security and ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It can’t be allowed to happen; the question is how best to prevent it.
A perfect deal would permanently ban all nuclear enrichment by Iran. Unfortunately, we got nowhere with that during the Bush years, even after offering more sweeteners and incentives than anything in the JCPOA. Iran flouted our demands, added thousands of centrifuges and became a nuclear threshold state capable of “breakout”—i.e., enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb—in just a few months.
Instead of banning enrichment, the JCPOA seeks to block Iran’s path to a bomb by restricting enrichment to non-threatening levels for 15 years and imposing comprehensive inspection, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. In the first few months, 98% of Iran’s uranium stockpile would be destroyed, two-thirds of its centrifuges mothballed, key facilities disabled, and monitoring systems installed. Iran’s “breakout” would be rolled back to one year—enough time for the U.S. and our allies to catch and confront them before they develop a bomb.
My evaluation of the JCPOA focused on two questions: 1) will it actually prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and triggering a regional nuclear arms race? And 2) is there is a better option?
Because of Iran’s history of cheating on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, “trust but verify” won’t suffice; we must “distrust and verify.” The JCPOA reflects that approach. I agree with the many nuclear experts and national security leaders who have concluded that the unprecedented monitoring and inspection provisions, with diligent enforcement, can keep Iran’s nuclear program “in a box” for 15 years.
Keeping Iran in that “box” is an existential concern for Israel, America’s friend and most important ally in the region. I have travelled to Israel, have family there, and am keenly aware of the unique security threats to Israel. I would not support the JCPOA if I thought it “paves the way” for an Iranian bomb as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has argued in opposition to the deal. American military and intelligence officials believe Mr. Netanyahu is wrong, as do a vast number of pro-Israel defense experts and even prominent military and intelligence leaders within Israel.
As for non-proliferation, those most likely to pursue nuclear weapons if Iran got them—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Oman—have all endorsed the JCPOA. That’s a key measure of confidence that we can prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
The JCPOA doesn’t change the Iranian regime’s brutal character or hostile agenda. This is a nuclear deal, not a political transformation. Just as we struck nuclear deals with the former Soviet Union while confronting their belligerence and aggression, we can and should do that with Iran. We should confront them on human rights and the outrageous imprisonment of my constituent Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post journalist who has been held for over 400 days on trumped-up charges. We should continue to confront their support for terrorist groups through sanctions, and confront their attempts to foment regional conflict by vigorously enforcing embargoes on advanced weaponry, interdicting arms shipments, renewing our commitment to Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge, and strengthening regional alliances.
But we should also use this 15-year period to build on diplomatic progress and negotiate a permanent nuclear deal. The U.S. and our allies must make clear that Iran will never be allowed to resume a nuclear weapons program. Our firm resolve, and the growing aspirations of younger, less radicalized Iranians who want to be part of the world economy rather than a nuclear pariah, are key factors for achieving a longer-term diplomatic solution.
If we reject the JCPOA, is a “better deal” possible? Probably not. Our allies have bluntly said they won’t participate in sanctions if the U.S. rejects the JCPOA. With no sanctions partners and an enormous loss of credibility for abandoning our own deal, we would be playing a much weaker hand going forward. It’s hard to imagine any deal in that scenario, much less the “better deal” JCPOA opponents wishfully describe.
If a “better deal” isn’t achievable, the remaining option would be another very costly war. According to military leaders, destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities would require sustained bombing and given Iran’s formidable air defenses, casualties would be expected. The conflict could escalate into a broader war with unforeseeable consequences. The best case outcome: a two year setback for Iran’s nuclear program, during which time they would simply rebuild with heavier fortifications.
The JCPOA is not perfect, but it offers the most intelligent, effective path forward.
While struggling with this decision, the plight of my constituent Jason Rezaian has weighed heavily on me. I agree with the Obama administration that securing his release, along with three other innocent American prisoners, must remain separate from the nuclear deal. We cannot trade nuclear concessions as ransom. But I have conveyed to the President, Secretary Kerry, and other officials that we must press harder to bring these Americans home and I’ve received their assurances that will happen.
The whole world is evaluating Iran’s intentions and watching its actions. If Iran complies with its nuclear commitments in the months ahead, it can earn relief from nuclear sanctions and many countries and firms will consider whether Iran is safe and stable enough to do business there. Iran can show the world it respects the rule of law and human rights by releasing Jason and the other innocent Americans. I expect Iran to do this, and I’ll continue working with Jason’s family, administration officials and others to secure that outcome.
Sincerely, Congressman Jared Huffman
A READER NOTES:
Disappointing inauguration of the new Colbert Late Night Show. Maybe he's doing a rope-a-dope and will start throwing left hooks in the later rounds.
PS. Add valley look alikes: Steve Heilig and Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys).
STUART CAMPBELL'S POWER GRAB.
Tim Gregory wrote, in response to a post by John Sakowicz: “You poked the tarbaby, Jane [Futcher]. This how he keeps his bullshit coming… promotes his 'show' … obtains revenge…knocks china off the shelf… who plays gets played.”
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Tim, you're going to need a bigger screen to fit all that projection onto.
In real life, John Sakowicz consistently produces a better, more informative and more interesting show than you do. So do I, and so do lots of people who've been banned from KZYX -- several of us have died of cancer and old age and so on -- that's how long this has been going on -- and you keep getting to fill hours of airtime there with your dronelike somnambulistic platitudinous mumbletry, and better airpeople are permanently marginalized and shut out not only from doing shows but also from any possibility of influencing the decisionmaking process there. Stuart Campbell used his last days of power on the board to stack the (powerless Potemkin) committees with his like-minded cronies, and then he got himself appointed general manager of the gravy train. John Sakowicz points this out, and you call bullshit on John Sakowicz?
I don't know if you ever saw the animated film Wizards by Ralph Bakshi (R.I.P.). It had a character who I think of whenever I read something by an insider at KZYX saying something like what you always say when you stick up for KZYX' classically paranoid, tyrannical, greedy, conniving, false-faced Nice People management.
The character is Larry, a toady, rather a talking lizard, but a toady in the sense of an obsequious underling, a slavish creature. His master bats him around and treats him poorly, and so far from thinking well of him thinks nothing of him at all, but lets him stay in the castle and nibble at the cast off food there, so he knows which side his bread is buttered on, as they say. As he says, sounding like a lizard version of Peter Lorre, "Masther loves Larry! Masther feeds Larry!"
Tim, I'm trying to get you paid with real-life money for your work, such as it is. John Sakowicz is trying to, among other things, get you paid for your work. But your corporate masters want to keep all the money for themselves. Pull your face out of the bong and focus on that for a moment.
There will come an opportunity, a turning point for you, as there does for Larry at the end of the film, to recognize your true situation and finally withhold a piece of crucial support from your masters. When that happens, I hope you make the same informed grownup human decision Larry makes.
— Marco McClean
FAMILIES & ADDICTION
There will be a free Educational Forum on Families and Addiction: How to Stop the Chaos and Restore Family Balance on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 from 6 to 8 pm at Mendocino Coast District Hospital Redwoods Room. The Forum is co-sponsored by MCDH Wellness Center and NAMI Mendocino County and will be conducted by Pat and Mardi Brown. They are two of the co-authors of a book by the same name, and there will be lots of time for your questions.
Their book, written with Robert H. Brown LCSW, MPH is full of practical information and advice, and is transformative. “Many books focus on how to ‘fix’ the addict and assume that getting the addict into a treatment program will be the final solution to the problem. The authors know from experience that there is no quick fix for addiction.” They focus on how the family can reclaim its integrity in the face of addiction whether or not the addict embraces a program of recovery. The authors will share their experiences and teach some of the skills they have found to be most effective.