- Where's Asha?
- BBC Story
- Wild Horses
- Shelter Closure
- Shelter Prediction
- Dem Debate
- Bongo Bill
- Pond Site
- Jet Set
- Admiring TWK
- Open Books
- Manboy Flavors
- Yesterday's Catch
- Duh File
- Investing Locally
- Bypass Recuse
- Caucus Report
- Field Survey
- Ecology Economy
- Clarinetist Coelho
MISSING ON THE NORTH COAST
by Kym Kemp
Jeannie Kreimer made a second trip to the United States from Australia this year. She came to find her daughter. Twenty-six-year-old Asha Kreimer has been missing since September 21 of 2015.
“I feel my daughter had a mental health crisis,” explained Jeanne Kreimer.
She said her daughter Asha, who had been living in Albion for three years was taken by her boyfriend and a childhood friend to the Fort Bragg Hospital on September 20th because she was acting oddly. “She had been up for four nights at that point,” Jeannie said.
Although Asha had not previously experienced any mental illness, her father had. “Her father was special forces,” explained Jeannie. “He was discharged in Germany because he had an event of a similar nature.”
Her behavior at the hospital was so odd, Jeannie said, that personnel “called for Fort Bragg Police.” Asha resisted being restrained. “Then she was put in a 5150,” Jeannie explained. This police code indicates law enforcement believed she was a danger to herself or others. However, eventually that night, she was released to her boyfriend. “They did no blood [workup],” said Jeannie. “They did no observations. No blood pressure. They said she wouldn’t let them do these observations.”
After a night where Asha didn’t sleep again, her boyfriend and the friend from Australia took her to the Rollerville Cafe near Point Arena.
Most of the surrounding area is very rural. When Asha’s friend from Australia said she was going to the restroom. Asha said she would go, too. However, when the friend got to the restroom, Asha was not there. After searching for awhile, Asha’s boyfriend and childhood friend reported her missing. She had left without her cell phone, credit card or shoes.
“There was a potential sighting of her in Gualala with a surfer about 3pm,” said Asha’s mother. There was a search of the area surrounding the restaurant but, still five months later, she has not been located.
“I hope she’s in with the growing community,” Jeannie said. “She probably doesn’t know who she is…[She’s] a vulnerable, attractive girl.”
Asha Kreimer is age 26. When last seen she had long, brown curly hair and weighed about 145 pounds. She has brown eyes, is 5’10” and has a strong Australian accent.
Her mother asks, if you see her, “Please don’t approach her or scare her.” Contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department at (707) 961-2661 or call (707) 513-9138. You can also stay up with the case by liking a Facebook page dedicated to finding her.
(Courtesy, Redheaded Blackbelt/KymKemp.com)
THE BBC (which was involved in the case in the past) on the Graham-Trimble teenager death/murder cold case recently updated by Sheriff Allman:
THAT SMALL HERD of wild horses running loose for many years in the vastness of Upper Robinson Creek Road between Boonville and South Ukiah, now resides in Hollister. The six of them were rounded up by Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue a couple of weeks ago when they wandered down out of the hills to graze in the pumpkin patch on the Ukiah side of the hills.
FUNNY THING is these now neutered horses are all males. So where's Mommy Horse? She, and several more of the wild ones still range free, and a resident of the area says there's no more startling sight in all of Mendocino County than to see the ghostly herd of mostly white ponies suddenly materialize out of the mist, galloping along the deepest stretch of Robinson Creek.
SEEMS KINDA TIGHTY WHITEY of the Ukiah Fire Marshall to demand closure of the winter homeless shelter on Mazzoni Street out of "safety concerns." Like the winter streets are safer?
PREDICTION: Nothing will change at the Animal Shelter in Ukiah. Sage Mountainfire, presently on paid leave from her boss job, will be back down from her hill, probably burning, you might say, for revenge on her many critics, most of whom worked at the Shelter as volunteers. Some of the critics have been purged. Unless there's a sea change in the prevalent bad malo at the Shelter, the turmoil will continue.
AT THURSDAY NIGHT’s Sanders-Clinton debate Sanders corrected Clinton’s smear attempt (which is happening more and more often now that the race seems competitive; Clinton misframes Sanders’ position on an issue, and gets huffy requiring Sanders to correct her, again and again) this time regarding moving from ObamaCare to Medicare For All. Clinton tried to claim that Sanders wanted to dismantle Obamacare like the Republicans and start all over with Single Payer. Bernie replied that he wanted no such thing, but instead a movement to the next phase: Single Payer/Medicare For All.
Clinton complained that Sanders has been claiming she is not “a genuine progressive.” “I have heard Sen. Sanders’ comments, and it’s really caused me to wonder who is left in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” Clinton said. “Under his definition, President Obama is not progressive because he took donations from Wall Street,” adding, correctly again, that Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t qualify either because he supported the Keystone XL pipeline, and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a revered liberal, also wouldn’t make the cut because he voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Then Clinton launched into parts of Sanders' record that she sees as betrayals to progressivism. “I don’t think it was particularly progressive to vote against the Brady bill five times,” she said. (This one’s getting old.) “I don’t think it was progressive to vote to give gun makers and sellers immunity. I don’t think it was progressive to vote against Ted Kennedy's immigration reform.”
“Instead of arguing about definitions, let’s talk about what we should do,” Sanders replied. “I am very proud to be the only candidate up here that does not have a super PAC, that is not raising enormous amounts of money from Wall Street or the special interests.”
Debate moderator Chuck Todd asked Sanders if he thought President Obama was a progressive.
“Yeah, I do,” Sanders said, but then backtracked. “I disagree with him on a number of issues … [but] I think he has done an excellent job.”
Clinton complained that she doesn’t like Sanders making a big deal about her ties to big money in politics and Wall Street.
"If you've got something to say, say it," Clinton grumbled, saying his "innuendo" and "insinuation" was not worthy of him. "It's time to end this very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out." Clinton insisted she has never shifted a vote or position because of campaign contributions. "Enough is enough."
Sanders simply pointed out a long list of large financial interests — from Wall Street to drug and oil companies — who lobby for their interests and Clinton takes their money. "There is a reason these people are putting huge amounts of money into our political system," Sanders said.
THE OUTHOUSE at Noyo/Headlands Community Park
TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY ON THE DAILY JOURNAL’S FRONT PAGE: Bongo Bill Wants New Trial: Eyster Says No Way
Ukiah Daily Journal, February 4, 1996: "Defense says doctors no help in coast arson case" by Pete Hodgdon (The Daily Journal).
"William "Bongo Bill" Newport wants a jury trial.
Newport admitted setting fires to businesses in the village of Mendocino in 1994 in retaliation for what he called their "war" against the homeless.
He said demons commanded him to start the fires, and [he] pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in November. But a judge rejected that contention, and faced with at least 84 years in state prison under the "three strikes law," Newport now wants to take his case to a jury.
"They didn't get the result they wanted" from the insanity trial, Deputy District Attorney David Eyster said.
Newport's attorney claims court-appointed psychiatrists deemed Newport not sane in written reports, and then waffled on the witness stand.
By changing their position during the trial, they threw the defense a curve ball and denied Newport due process, said Deputy Public Defender Barry Melton.
He said the defense would not have waived the right to a jury trial had they known the psychiatrists would change their findings.
"We rely upon those (reports) as having meaning, and in this case it appears they did not have any meaning," Melton said. "(Our) decisions were based on erroneous information."
Newport was known in Mendocino for playing the bongo drums on street corners. He reportedly lived on the streets and in the woods, and drifted from town to town.
The Sept. 7, 1994 fires he set damaged two businesses. The first fire began at about 10 p.m. at the Melting Pot gift shop and threatened tenants in the upstairs apartments. The second fire burned part of the basement at the MacCallum House as patrons ate in the inn's dining room.
Newport then lit fires in an abandoned building frequented by the homeless and a grassy vacant lot.
Newport told investigators he started the first two fires to keep warm, and tried to stop the flames as they spread.
During the hearing, Eyster said Newport was faking his illness to dodge a prison sentence. Newport told investigators he would claim insanity to escape punishment, Eyster said.
On the stand, psychiatrists first stood by their diagnosis of insanity. They said the "demons" Newport heard were "command hallucinations."
But under cross-examination by Eyster, the doctors changed their opinions and said Newport might actually have been sane.
Eyster said he warned Melton before the insanity trial the doctors' reports would fall apart under cross-examination.
"He wasn't listening to me," Eyster said. "He didn't get the job done. He's [now] blaming the doctors and he's blaming the court."
Before the judge can rule on a new trial, psychiatrists will again examine Newport, this time to determine if he is mentally competent and can understand the court proceedings. His next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 27."
Afterword: After strategically waiving his right to a jury, defendant Newport sought a court trial before then-Mendocino County Superior Court Judge James King, which is the trial referred to in the 1996 article. When all was said and done, Newport was found guilty of all counts of arson and larceny. He was also found to have been sane at the time of all the crimes. Newport's motion for a new trial was subsequently denied and he was eventually sentenced to 105 years to life in the state prison, as required under the Three Strikes Law. While it was believed at the time that Newport was responsible for setting more fires in and about Mendocino, DDA Eyster opined back in 1996 that further prosecutions would be redundant and a waste of judicial resources.
Now 50 years of age, Newport continues to serve his sentence at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran. Newport was prosecuted under the Three Strikes Law because he had suffered two prior Strike convictions -- both for residential burglary. Concluding, there have been no further life-threatening arson fires set in the village of Mendocino since Newport was taken into custody in 1994.
SUPERVISOR DAN GJERDE POSTS PIC & DESCRIPTION of Fort Bragg’s proposed new “raw water pond.”
Gjerde: “This morning, before meeting with folks at the Mendocino Coast Humane Society, I took this photo of land that will soon host the City of Fort Bragg's new raw water pond. The reservoir, when constructed later this year, will provide affordable drinking water during future droughts. I want to thank my colleagues on the North Coast Resource Partnership for helping to fund it, as part of an alternate slate of water projects proposed by Supervisor John McCowen and myself.”
by Emjay Wilson
I live in Mendocino, a world apart from Madison Avenue and sometimes I forget that the world can be so harsh. When I moved to Mendocino from San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to take a city-based job to my home for two days every week. It pays the health insurance and other incidentals while my husband and I develop our business.
So for the past ten years people have called me from large corporations in New York on an 800 number and I have booked travel for them to their corporate meetings. Our office specializes in large meetings and my division did the travel. Many of the people in the office are "meeting planners" and go onsite to troubleshoot every detail and make sure that the CEOs and CFOs are afforded a perfect trip and that there are no details left to chance.
Meeting Planners are well-paid, anal-retentive ‘yes men’ who do not miss a detail and fawn over the officers constantly assuring their every second is coordinated to perfection. I am the last person who should be in this league, as my brain functions artistically and not in a linear way. Although, I am a competent travel planner with years of experience there are some things one simply cannot control, i.e., weather, Mechanical malfunctions etc., I personally have found that there is a certain karma which comes with trying to over control the outcome of your trip. The more one attempts to be in control, the more things go wrong.
For the past five years, a major corporation from New York has planned their very high-end board meeting on Presidents Day in February. Every year there has been a weather event, or what the airlines call an "Act of God" disaster.
I recall one meeting in Bermuda that was cancelled due to a hurricane leveling the property. We quickly scrambled and re-booked everyone to Palm Springs to a high-end resort, only to have the clients arrive at a time when huge wild fires erupted.
Last year, the same clients were meeting at a very upscale Laguna Beach location. The weather was perfect in Laguna Beach, however, that was the same weekend that the Eastern Seaboard was closed down for days due to snowstorms. I spent hours every day speaking to clients who absolutely "had to get home! They refused to accept that no one was flying and continuously had me search routes to get them home and get them home NOW! I suggested that they relax and enjoy an extra day or two in the sun, however that was unacceptable. They would trudge back and forth to the airport and wait for over-booked flights that were eventually cancelled. They would check-in and leave without dealing with their cancelled flights and leave me hours of wrangling on the phone attempting to get refunds for them. They tried and tried, however, the ones who waited and enjoyed themselves by the pools were the lucky ones and they all ended up waiting until Monday to fly when flights were in the air again. Because the airlines will never cancel that far ahead my job is to constantly re-book and reschedule despite the futility of the situation.
Despite my apparent failure to work magic, they decided I should come on-site this year in case of emergencies. I was horrified. I didn't mind dealing with these people on the phone but the thought of these stressed out, controlling executives in front of me in a small hospitality suite made me cringe. My boss requested this of me and short of resigning, I had no option.
I looked up the website for the resort in Puerto Rico and saw it was what I call an "American Bubble Resort": 400 acres of lovely villas, golf courses and very expensive stores. This resort in no way resembled the real "Puerto Rico". It did resemble similar resorts in Hawaii, Bermuda, St. Thomas and Cancun. It doesn't seem to matter where you go these days, you can be safely shuttled to a well-manicured golf course and villa resort where the only natives you encounter are working in menial jobs.
My next fear was that I would be forced to wear a Lacoste shirt and khaki pants as some meeting planners were asked to wear during their duty. I was relieved to hear that ‘work casual’ was acceptable.
On the 10pm news I was alerted that flights to the east coast for the 14th were once again being canceled. I called United and was re-booked on an 11am flight through Chicago to San Juan. I was able to board this one, only to end up delayed in Chicago O'Hare for 8 hours. I arrived in Puerto Rico at 6 a.m. on the 15th, two days after leaving. That's when the real fun began. Fortunately, there was a driver to meet me and take me to the resort, which was two hours away. I collapsed in the back seat and saw nothing of Puerto Rico until we arrived in Fajardo where I sat up and attempted to regain consciousness, I saw some poor little colorful houses with lots of junk in the yards. It looked a bit like Tijuana before we entered the huge gated resort.
I found the hospitality suite and was introduced to about eight workers. Next to my small desk was a table filled with walkie-talkies. I was told disgustedly that they did not work but was given a cell phone pre-loaded with every worker’s number.
I sat down and tried to look like I knew what I was doing. Luckily, my laptop worked, as a crew of computer specialists had come down from New York and set up ethernet connections, fax machine and separate phone lines. They were presently setting up computers and fax machine in each of the board members’ and officers’ rooms for their five-day stay. It would be too inconvenient for them to use the computer room set up in the hospitality suite for the lowly personnel.
I silently tried to figure out just what I was supposed to be doing while observing the other employees. The head meeting planners were people I will call Dot and Petboy. Dot was a nice but very intense woman whose business it was to organize seamless meetings. She had been organizing meetings for this company for several years now, and was running around checking villas and barking at hotel staff — she had no time for hellos and was constantly on the phone, desperate to make certain that every detail was perfect. This included changing pillows to a different type that had been requested by the client, and checking each piece of lawn furniture because there was an unfortunate incident the year before when the CEO's lawn chair tilted precariously. These Board members looked at everything as if it was out to insult them personally and would think nothing of asking for their bed to be changed if it was too soft or hard.
Behind Dot sat Polly, a cheerful Scottish woman who arranged activities, tours and spa treatments. Polly was good at giving explanations such as how the CEO had a terrible temper and would scream and fire any one at the drop of a hat for incidentals such as the infamous lawn chair incident. Behind me sat Ethyl, a sharp and witty company travel planner who was constantly on the computer changing grids and reprinting the daily plans, so that everyone would constantly be up-to-date on the movement of the board and the officers.
They were all much too busy to fill me in, but I soon learned that I was to check each incoming flight and then email four people (Ethyl, and Petboy and the meeters and greeters at the airport) to advise them the ETA of each flight. It was imperative to relay changes, i.e., a flight being five minutes late or early. I fussed around doing this and managed to look busy.
Suddenly, there was a call and Ethyl announced loudly “the CEO is at Wal-Mart in Fajardo!” Everyone cringed and Dot ran out to re-check his room. I wondered what the heck the CEO was doing at Wal-Mart, a landmark I missed on my trip to the resort and then was told by Polly that it was simply a warning that he was arriving in ten minutes. Petboy had given us the update.
The little cell phones buzzed back and forth as the mini secret service agency I seemed to have joined prepared for the arrival of the King. When he arrived the minions stood out smiling and assisted Mr. and Mrs. King to their Villa that was larger and more expensive than any of the other officers. What a faux paux that would have been! All was quiet for a minute and Petboy entered to debrief the team.
Now Petboy was a piece of work — think obsequious and fawning Eddie Haskell from ‘Leave it to Beaver’ at his worst. Think the kid in your second grade class with no friends who was constantly helping the teacher and ratting on any suspicious activity in class. This was a man who took his job seriously and was paid well to take care of unlikable and demanding people. He was perfect.
"Ok team, the CEO checked in A-OK, but we need to stand at attention and be wary of every move. No eating from the hospitality lounge when people are inside, no chatter in the office, and I want everyone smiling and ready to assist at all times."
We all went about our work. Every once in awhile a delivery would come and I would volunteer to take it rather than wait for a butler. I enjoyed the chance to walk outside and slide important envelopes under the VIP's doors. Somehow, I made it through the day and was moved to a small room in the main hotel and returned to sleep. The cell phone would remain on all night in case of emergency. The wake up time was 6 a.m. so we could open the Hospitality Suite at 7 a.m.
I came in and hurriedly ate breakfast; we were supposed to eat our meals in the hospitality suite in lieu of charging them to the company to save money. At about 11 a.m., Petboy came in and was in a tizzy. The CEO was unhappy with the golf cart transfer situation. Since the resort was 400 acres and people were in different villa compounds the only way to get around was by the constantly traversing golf carts. An edict was issued to add golf carts and have the corporate logo attached to the front. The next solution was to have an employee stand in front of the hotel holding a corporate logo sign in order to assist any company people and flag down the golf carts. It was decided that since the flights had all arrived safely that I would be the lucky one on that duty.
At first I thought it was great, to be outside. However, as the day went by, I started melting in the humid weather. Every time I tried to sneak a sit down, a company employee would come in to view. (They were easily distinguishable by their pressed shirts and slacks and briefcases vs. the beach togs most people wore at the resort.) My superior was supposed to take over for me, but came out and told me it was such a pleasant day, I should just stay on duty. I ended up standing there like a dork with the sign for twelve hours and feeling like a fried egg. I smiled and opened doors for the ”big boys" as they were constantly going in and out of meetings in the main building. I went back to my room earlier that night, simply because I could not stand up any longer.
Good news! The CEO was pleased with the company visibility and I was on for another day! This time I relied on one of Ethyl's print outs to be alert when meetings began and ended. Otherwise, I hid in the air-conditioned lobby with my book. I was beginning to figure this out.
That evening back at the suite, Petboy enlisted me to accompany the butler to deliver elegant presents from the CEO to all the board members. Ignoring the butler, Petboy gave me detailed instructions on exactly how to place the bags with $500 crystal clocks on each pillow and the precise angle to place the gift card from the CEO. Surprisingly this turned out to be a delightful time because the butler, Mario, was talkative and told me all about Puerto Rico and his life. We entered each suite, ended up remaking most of the beds and placed the presents just so. He told me of his time in the army, eight years, and when I uttered, “Why?” he laughed and said he didn't quite know but he was glad to be out.
Puerto Rico is a place that has been raped by the US. During the 1950's they sent door-to-door envoys to talk women into sterilization and a third of the population was sterilized. If that was not ethnic cleansing I do not know what it was. Also, Agent Orange was developed on what was once a beautiful island off Puerto Rico, until finally the natives, many dying of cancer rebelled and stopped them although it was too late to save much of the habitation and health of the natives. The towns are checkered with U.S. Stores like Staples, Walgreens, Wal-Mart and every conceivable fast food chain, and they have taken over any ethnic food or mom and pop businesses.
On Sunday morning the Catholic staff members were taken into Fajardo at 7am. My faith was renewed with the opportunity to see Fajardo. The church built in 1774 was crumbling and decorated with plastic flowers. The priest in jeans resembled an L.A. gang member. However, the people were friendly and happy. With my limited understanding of Spanish I recognized Paul's letter to the Corinthians and was reminded of a recent guided meditation where the Buddhist monk spoke of loving everyone, even those who were most difficult to consider loving. Did that mean I should love the CEO? That would be difficult!
Back at the Hospitality Suite things were heating up for departures.
I was back on duty as a travel agent. Everyone wanted to depart earlier. This was a challenge due to the fact that I could only book two people on every flight (in case it crashed) and some officers were not allowed to travel with others. I consulted my complex grid and rearranged flights as Ethyl reprinted the departure manifest every ten minutes to update the staff on the current changes.
While in their meeting on departure day, butlers would carry their bags out to the limo. Petboy or I would stand smiling by the limo with a box lunch and gush fond goodbyes. Petboy’s were fonder than mine.
Meanwhile, Polly was getting cancellations on all the tours she had prepaid and arranged: a kayak trip for ten; a private bus tour to the rain forest cancelled but non-refundable at $5,000 each; 14 people had signed up and now an empty bus was sent back and paid for when nobody felt like going. Facials, pedicures and massages cancelled and non-refundable at $100 to $500 each.
Polly began issuing these as perks to the staff who were under strict instructions to keep a low profile and hide if they saw any corporate wives. Polly just could not stand the waste. I was treated to a massage, but had to use a different name and duck into the bathroom after a near encounter with an officer’s wife. At least they were not all wasted.
I was just breathing a sigh of relief alone in the hospitality suite when I answered the phone. Muffy, a bigwig was yelling at the top of her lungs.
She had returned to her room and her key would not work — again.
It seemed that all of the officers’ keys kept getting demagnetized, probably due to them placing them next to a wad of credit cards, but Dot was not about to tell them that. She just kept issuing new keys. I never had a problem with my keys but the bigwigs had them constantly. I sent the butlers out only to have Muffy call back screaming that three butlers were there attempting to take her luggage but she did not trust them. Dot got on and sent Petboy immediately. Petboy calmed Muffy down and brought her back to wait in the hospitality suite for her limo, and then enlisted staff members to sing her a little ditty, to cheer her up. (Luckily, I was too busy on my computer to join in.)
Other board members fumed as their limos were three to four minutes late and Petboy and I relied on our cell phones to call the companies and urge them to rush. Each minute in the realm of their angry vibes felt like an hour.
Finally, the CEO descended from his villa and the staff surrounded him and accompanied him to his limo, waiving a fond farewell and smiling about another successful meeting! Bus boys carried a freezer full of lox that he had requested accompany him back left over from the dinner. When his limo took off, my hands spontaneously went together in a clap. I then realized that the other officers in the limo behind him probably saw me clap to my embarrassment. However, then I realized that they most likely felt the same way.
So this is where our insurance premiums go!
THE BITTER BREW, FOOT IN TRAP, OUR LOCAL JONATHAN SWIFT
by Jonathan Middlebrook
Tom Hine — Our local Jonathan Swift has brought TWK (Tommy Wayne Kramer) back to vitriolic form (Jan. 31, UDJ):
County workers? “mostly overpaid. Not one in a hundred has the gumption to go look for work anywhere else…”
“The political process tilts toward ever-more goodies for government employees.” …
(Hard to demonstrate that one; the number of County employees has significantly dropped in the last several years, allowing us to reap the benefits of privatization in mental health services and now, I guess, in the Animal Shelter.)
Local citizenry? “The Mendo rabble, always heated up about corporate lobbyists getting million dollar payouts in Washington will of course say nothing about how they themselves are getting raped by a county system that feeds on ignorance and/or indifference.” (Jan. 31, UDJ).
Hope that stylish raging means TWK's creator is doing reasonably well.
TWK in his claymore slash at all County employees and local citizens, rages at his own creator. TWK gnaws at Tom Hine's foot, caught as it is in the trap of Hine's recent, damnably secure County employment which is, TWK writes, “lavishly compensated” with a “gaudy” pension. Hine's own total retirement pay (County pension + Social Security) is more than the 2014 median County employment salary, and he's no longer paying into the retirement plan. (TWK went up close and financially personal with Hine. I would not have done so, without TWK's lead.) Hine's last full year of public employment had him at well over County public employment's median figure ($69,544) for pay & benefits for work we assume to have been well done. (Numbers from Transparent California, 2013 stats.)
Oh well, Jonathan Swift himself was a disappointed government employee, feeding at the Anglican trough in Ireland while writing his modest proposal to eat (suckling, I think it is) Irish babies.
Swift famously wrote of himself: “I have ever hated all nations, professions, and communities, and all my love is toward individuals … But principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas, and so forth.”
When TWK's at his best, Tom Hine builds him on that rock, admiring the man who gives to a down-and-outer “because I have money and he doesn't” (approximate quotation). Tom Hine's love of his brother, of Bert Schlosser and of Ray Worster infuses the best of TWK's biting Assignment(s) Ukiah: “It's time for you common Ukiah people doing the private corporate thing with the windfall profits and the big write-offs and the vast portfolios to pony up.”… “All you slouchers at Big O Tires and Ellie's Mutt Hut should do extra shifts…”
That sense of outrage pinned to local names and places and on behalf of others who don't have time to write it, is the best of TWK. Sometimes, mid-Assignment Ukiah, TWK loses focus and trips the claymore, doing (as we say) collateral damage — as each we do, occasionally.
Tom Hine ends his Jan. 31 Assignment Ukiah with perfect writerly poise: “Tom Hine toiled on the county chain gang a quarter century and now reaps $37,000 a year, plus Social Security. TWK continues to seek gainful employment.”
…continues to seek… Back in the day, Samual Clemens ended The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that way, with Huck lighting out for an imaginary Territory where he embraces Peter Pan & watches for Catch-22's Yossarian to paddle over from Sweden. TWK, at our local level, is equally unreal, and, I suppose, fitting tonic for our bitter times. At least TWK does not peddle fear of terrorism.
(JM lives on a foggy, metaphorical frontier ridge between Redwood & Potter valleys, where he gets to read good writing in the AVA and elsewhere, and where he recently celebrated Transparent California's two-year anniversary. Handy tool. Google it. Contact Middlebrook at **email@example.com)
DECHTER OPENS THE BOOKS
To Lorraine Dechter
KZYX General Manager
February 4, 2015
I want to thank you very much for meeting (Monday) with Doug and Sheila and me. It was quite a contrast with some of our previous experiences at the station.
I will send my notes on the meeting soon.
Our discussion was helpful and you projected a real interest in our concerns. I feel hopeful that we can work out appropriate means for members to have access to the records we need.
King Collins, Ukiah
PS. Thanks for sending the audits.
NFL & STUFF
If the NFL were a corporation it would compare in the top 100 US companies for annual revenues and market capitalization. This being said, Is it feasible for a company as wealthy as the NFL to actually buy the weather. Super Bowl 50 has come to the SF Bay Area, or rather Santa Clara 50 miles south, with the festivities being mostly held in our fair City. On Tuesday it was 38 degrees, cold, overcast, windy, wet and rainy. This Sunday for the big dance it is supposed to be 70 something, warm, sunny, clear and beautiful. I'm just sayin the weather seems manufactured at times.
My favorite quote when it comes to pro-sports or the NFL especially is a little gem from the late Gore Vidal. He said, "A peculiarity of American sexual mores is that those men who think of themselves as exclusively and triumphantly heterosexual are convinced that the most masculine of all activities is not tending to the sexual needs of women but watching other men play games." Zikes is all I have to say to that, on we go.
The greatest disservice that computers do for people nowadays is that they convince people that they are actually productive, connected and important, when nine out of ten times this is pure self-delusion.
Have you heard the latest from the 1 percent and their lackeys? They decided to shut down the earth and its functioning for the reason that the earth is entirely way too socialistic.
What is worse than your yahoo jock manboys running around society these days? It's something more and more frequent these days in the bay, and that is your poofy manboy. All orientations are welcome, just prance around like a self-centered candy ass on your device or in your car or on your bike and proceed as if the entire world revolves around your whimsy.
What megalomaniac in this day and age could possibly run veep to Donald Trump? Probably the only one gassed up enough to fit that role is the living and self-proclaimed Jesus, Kanye West.
This adage has been popping up in my mind lately. I have no idea where it came from. It goes something like this, "having a right to do something and it being the right thing to do are two entirely different things."
I was listening to some good old Neocon sportstalk radio the other day and this little yahoo manboy 4th voice gets all indignant and says "they said old white man, old white man what the hell? is that supposed to be an insult?" No its only an insult to douchebags like you who get their feelings hurt whenever the "dominant culture" gets dissed. Read the room.
Damn the Golden State Warriors look good at the White House.
I don't give Barack a pass but it sure did strike a chord in my heart when he outlawed solitary confinement for juvenilles in the Fed. system with the aim of a more widespread elimination of solitary confinement in all facilities. His albeit lightweight confrontation of the US prison industrial complex is extremely refreshing. Sad to say that it's all downhill from here as far as commander in chiefs go.
And to James Kunstler, yes you are a genius, Michael Bloomberg will redeem America and restore our lost faith in authority. Better yet, I'll just consider living on the East Coast to be a virus and view your latest article as a symptom of your sickness. I still like your books. "Write drunk and edit sober", or something like that.
And I will close with some food for thought from the illustrious Muhammad, "The best of your youth are those who resemble your old people, and the worst of your old people are those who resemble your young people."
Salty Nate Collins, Oakland
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 4, 2016
JANET AZBILL JR., Covelo. DUI, under influence, suspended license.
WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, resisting, failure to appear. (Frequent flyer.)
MARTIN CAGNINA, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
ALEX CORTINAS, Ukiah. Unspecified misdemeanor.
FERNANDO FABIAN, Ukiah. Dirk-dagger, possession of ammo by prohibited person, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
FRANCISCO GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, criminal threats, controlled substance, paraphernalia, resisting, community supervision violation, parole violation.
JOHN HAYDON, Willits. DUI.
KAYLA KAHAULELIO, Kelseyville. Failure to appear.
DEBORAH MURGUIA, Ukiah. DUI.
KENNETH RICHARDS, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
PALOMO VALDEZ-CEJA, Ukiah. Under influence.
ROBERT VERVILLE II, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
LOUIE VIGIL, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.
KELLY WADE, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS JR., Willits. Battery, drunk in public, vandalism, resisting, probation revocation.
FOR YOUR DUH FILE:
MCOG Press Release - Polls: Streets & Roads Need Repair
A recently completed preliminary report by a public opinion research firm indicates that voters in unincorporated Mendocino County and voters in Ukiah share a common issue. Both groups consider the condition of local streets and roads a serious concern.
Telephone interview surveys conducted between January 6 and January 19 by William Berry Campaigns show strong support for fixing potholes, repaving and repairing county roads and city streets. In the countywide survey of 400 voters, nearly 80% of survey respondents considered the state of repair of the County road system as a serious problem. The 300 voters interviewed in Ukiah showed that over 88% of respondents believe the condition of Ukiah city streets is a serious problem.
Mendocino Council of Governments (MCOG) commissioned the survey work on behalf of County of Mendocino and the City of Ukiah through its annual Transportation Planning Work Program. Both governmental agencies have become increasingly concerned over declining pavement conditions in recent years.
Regarding funding for fixing potholes, repaving, and repairing streets and roads, survey respondents revealed strong support for a one-half cent local sales tax dedicated toward this purpose. In Ukiah, over 63% showed support for a measure to repave, repair and improve Ukiah_$B!G_(Bs street to fix potholes and improve bicycle, pedestrian, and vehicle safety. A similar question posed in this survey to unincorporated voters indicated a 66% favorable response to fixing County roads with a one-half cent sales tax.
The final report, to be released within the next few days, will be reviewed by the Ukiah City Council and Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. These elected bodies will determine whether they intend to pursue measures on the November 2016 ballot to implement sales taxes for street/road repair in their respective jurisdictions.
MCOG formed as a joint powers agreement in 1972, as mandated by state law, to disburse state and federal funds for transportation, to provide regional planning, and to serve as a regional forum. MCOG is overseen by a board consisting of two county supervisors, a countywide public appointee, and one council member from each of the four incorporated cities. For more information, call the MCOG office at 463-1859 or consult the agency's web site at
LOCAL INVESTMENT FIRST
To the Editor,
An article, "Skyrocketing Pension Costs Putting S.F. in the Red" recently appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. It was reprinted, in part, in the Anderson Valley Advertiser. The problems highlighted in the article are being experienced all across our nation, including right here in Mendocino County.
Please share this article -- including the comment and graph -- with your neighbors and friends. It underscores my belief that MCERA's 7.25% target rate of return can't be earned solely by investing in listed securities (stocks and bonds).
Instead, I'm proposing that MCERA diversify its portfolio by allocating 5-10 % of its assets to a community wealth fund. The State of Vermont is making some interesting investments from its public pension system in community wealth.
Investing in hard assets here in Mendocino County, like farmland, timber, water, and commercial real estate, can prove to be an attractive diversification to the Wall Street casino.
I further propose that MCERA make economically targeted investments in Mendocino County's entrepreneurs and their businesses. These investments might include a wool mill, a slaughterhouse, and a processing lab for the legal concentrates of whole plant cannabis (CBD, THCV, and CBG).
If Mendocino County ever becomes a charter county, a community wealth fund could capitalize a county bank. Many folks in our county are big believers in public banking.
A community wealth fund within MCERA's portfolio can immediately provide three things: diversification, a hedge against Wall Street's volatility, and the possibility of a superior return. But, over time, it can also stimulate new taxes and job growth -- something we desperately need.
The Retirement Board needs to explore the advisability of a community wealth fund with its investment advisor, Callan Associates.
John Sakowicz, Ukiah, member, MCERA Board of Directors
FAILURE TO RECUSE
Letter to the Editor.
Two weeks ago Will Parrish wrote that Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke is a recycled Pacific Lumber lawyer. In that case Judge Behnke carries a conflict of interest in overseeing the Caltrans Bypass to Nowhere issue. By allowing Caltrans to avoid any responsibility for the massive and unnecessary environmental and cultural destruction it caused, Judge Behnke can be considered a co-perpetrator. As a former lawyer for a timber corporation, Judge Behnke should have recused himself from deciding this important environmental issue. Caltrans’ bulldozing of the black oak and Oregon ash woodlands is surely a forestry issue. By occupying the wick drain crane, Will Parrish was trying to protect the Little Lake Valley wetlands and the entire Willits section of the Pacific Flyway.
Narrowing the issues is one of the methods the judiciary uses to fix the outcome of a case involving corporate or state wrongdoing where the only considerations are money and power. Judge Behnke’s obligation in this matter was to recuse himself. Failing to do so, his judgment against Will Parrish for restitution to federal law breaker Caltrans must be dismissed.
Dorotheya M Dorman, Redwood Valley
SIGNS OF A GATHERING STORM: IOWA CAUCUS REPORT
by Paul Street
This is a quick, morning after reflection from Iowa City. The Iowa Caucus results were exactly as I expected. Donald Trump got bested by Ted Cruz despite his somewhat higher poll ratings. Of course: The Donald did not have a ground game to match his opinion numbers (gee, imagine that). Cruz was obviously more popular with the Evangelical “Christians” who are prominent in the Iowa Republican Party.
Rubio creamed everyone else in the so-called “moderate” GOP camp. Naturally: Jeb Bush and Chris Christie are pathetic.
Bernie and Hillary fought to a virtual coin-toss tie, replete with literal coin-tosses in some Iowa precincts. This was just as the last Des Moines Register poll indicated.
I had written off any chance of being able to report on the Iowa Caucus from Iowa City, ground zero for Berniemania. I was working an evening shift (2 to 10 pm) at Iowa City’s local giant corporate monopoly-capitalist factory (and no, I am not referring to the University of Iowa, though I could be), filling hoppers with small plastic bottles destined to be filled with North America’s favorite shampoo.
And it was alright. The line was going down a lot and there was plenty of time to talk to some of my fellow workers. One of them was from Guinea and speaks four languages: French, English, Arabic, and his local African dialect. He plans to attend medical school.
Another was a woman from Haiti who also (imagine) speaks four languages: French, Spanish, English, and Creole. She was asking me for advice on how to publish a book on her life.
Another co-worker was a young white kid who is doing graphic artwork for an e-comic book. He showed me some of his (very impressive) sketch-work.
I enjoy these people. It struck me once again that a lot of very interesting and brilliant people are doing some very devalued and alienating wage-work in America.
Another co-worker is a young and somewhat awkward, endearing bi-lingual Latino college student who wants to teach high school someday. He was in the break-room at 6:15, hoping to caucus for Sanders. I informed that he had exactly 45 minutes to sign in. Did he know where his caucus site was? “Holy shit, dude,” I told him, “you better find out.” He ran out of there.
I had been joking around with folks, telling them that the company’s CEO was a close friend of Donald Trump and that at 6 pm we would all be bussed to an Iowa caucus site and told to caucus for The Donald or be fired. I think two workers actually believed me.
Then came my pleasant surprise. The word came down at 7 pm: we were all being sent home because of a product changeover. “Sorry. Hope you weren’t counting on eight paid hours.” There were no apologies necessary for me. (I’ve never been a big fan of wage labor).
Reflecting that a leading caucus site was right in the middle of my bike ride home, I figured “what the hell. This is political history.” By 7:25, steel-tipped work-boots and all, I was standing at the back of Iowa City High School’s cafeteria, watching the Democratic presidential Caucus spectacle unfold. There were 600 caucusers in the room, almost evenly split between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
I had an interesting discussion about the unmitigated evil that is Hillary Clinton (more on that below) with a middle-aged couple in from New York to observe the curious Midwestern proceedings. We traded notes on ugly Clinton history. We laughed about the comparative absence of any actual contestation around the presidential election by the time the spectacle reaches Chicago and New York. I didn’t tell them I was Left of Bernie.
The first thing that struck me was how completely white this crowd was compared to my co-workers. At least 80 percent of the temporary production workers at the aforementioned factory are Black, most from Africa. Among the 600-plus people in the cafeteria, there could not have more than five people of color. It seemed appropriate to me that the words “caucus” and “Caucasian” share the same first four letters!
I saw two Black men in the cafeteria. One stood with the Hillary folks. He wore a T-shirt depicting Barack Obama as Superman: “Super-O.” The other black guy sat with the Sanders people. I heard him tell the Clinton crowd that they were “a bunch of Republicans.”
The second thing that struck me was the differences in age and affluence between the 300 Hillary supporters standing to the right side of the cafeteria (wearing the little Hillary sticker with an arrow pointing, well, to the right) and the 300 Sanders supporters standing on the left. The Hillary people were considerably more white-haired. They wore more expensive clothes. They were older and richer. A bunch of them looked like, well, like Republicans.
The Bernie people on the whole were younger, less well-dressed, and more, shall we say, countercultural in appearance. Which is not to say that there weren’t plenty of white-haired folks on the Sanders side, including a number of 60-something gentleman with pony tails. One of these guys looked just liked David Crosby!
There were plenty of women on the Sanders side. As far as I could tell, it was a 50-50 gender split over there.
The third thing struck me was the sheer and despicable ignorance, stupidity, and/or disingenuousness of the people who spoke on behalf of Hillary Clinton right before the 20-minute period of time in which the Hillary and the Bernie supporters sought to “persuade” uncommitted caucusers over to their side. Hillary’s Precinct One captain was a bouncy, middle-aged brown-haired woman who wanted everyone to know that Hillary is a “true progressive” because Mrs. Clinton graduated from Yale Law School and could have walked into a top corporate position but “chose instead to work for poor and minority children at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)…All this talk about Hillary being ‘pro-business’ and ‘right wing’ is nonsense,” because, the precinct captain claimed, “more than 90 percent of Hillary’s campaign contributions have come from ordinary middle-class donors, not from big corporations.”
The New York couple and I shuddered. Like me, they know some Clinton history and have a capacity for detecting populism-manipulating bullshit. They know that in Arkansas during the 1970s and 1980s Bill and Hillary helped pioneer the pro-Big Business, right-wing, neoliberal wing of the contemporary Republican-lite Democratic Party. They know that Bill and Hillary made their early mark in Arkansas by attacking public education and teachers’ unions. They know that the Clintons passed the pro-Big Business, investor rights North American Free Trade Agreement and the disastrous deregulation of finance during the 1990s. They know that Hillary personally oversaw the killing of hopes for real (single-payer, Canadian-style) national health insurance in 1993 and 1994.
They know that Hillary heartily approved Bill and New Gingrich’s vicious and punitive neoliberal elimination of AFDC – of poor women and children’s prior entitlement of federal family cash assistance – in the Orwellian name of “personal responsibility” two decades ago. They know that that terrible action cost the Clintons the public loss of their prior friendship with the CDF’s founders Marian and Peter Wright Edelman. They know that the Clintons’ pernicious “welfare reform” has proven to be a disaster for poor families. They know that campaign finance’s malignant “free speech” influence is weighted in dollars and that Wall Street and other wealthy sectors have far outspent “ordinary” people when it comes filling “Hillary Inc.’s” war chest.
They know that corporate and financial America hasn’t provided Hillary with lucrative backing without capitalist strings attached and that the backing has come with full knowledge that her populist- and progressive-sounding campaign rhetoric is nothing more than cynical marketing necessity. And they know that Hillary’s is a bellicose and imperial militarist who voted for George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and promises to inflict considerable bloodshed on the global stage. (We had some time to talk during the “persuasion” period!)
Another Hillary speaker was a 30-something white man who told us that he has a daughter and that this was “our chance to make history by putting a woman in the White House.” He didn’t even attempt to suggest that there was anything more to it than pure-and-simple identity politics. He said nothing about policy, nothing about ideology or values or Hillary’s commitment (real or fake) to the common good. He related nothing, of course, about the Clinton’s numerous and many-sided assaults on poor and working class women at home and abroad. He just mentioned gender, in and of itself. So, Margaret Thatcher for president? Condoleezza Rice? How about Eva Braun?
After “persuasion” (the 20-minute period when the “viable” camps compete for un-decided caucusers), Hillary eked out a narrow delegate victory (6 to 5) in Precinct One. I left slightly dejected only to happen the younger and less affluent Precinct Seventeen in City High’s auditorium. An old acquaintance of mine showed me the numbers there: (a) the biggest precinct turnout in history (900, more than 200 above the prior record from the year of Obama) (b) a crushing 2 to 1 victory for Sanders.
Wow, I thought to myself, what a difference a little bit of college town geography makes. Precinct 17, it appears has more college students, young people who will be entering the miserable labor market in the stinking, “elite”-rigged New Gilded Age of savage inequality, rampant economic precarity, and environmental collapse brought to us by global neoliberal capitalism and its many political agents, including Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
“Bigger than Obama,” I said to my acquaintance. “Damn. And this time it’s for an actual progressive, not a fake one.” A young lady, a college student, gave me a big smile when she heard that.
I left the high school and found that the back tire on my bike was flat. I had a half-mile walk home in the cool and misty silence. There were rumors of an approaching winter storm. It gave me time for reflection. I’ve been quite critical from the anti-capitalist and anti-imperial Left of Sanders, of the Iowa Caucus (which I was able to observe only because of a fluke of a production-line shutdown), and the quadrennial candidate-centered presidential electoral extravaganza. I stand by my criticisms.
Still, I can’t lie. It felt good to see that vicious neoliberal sociopath Hillary take a black eye at City High. And it felt good to see hundreds of people ready to stand up for a politician who calls himself a “democratic socialist,” even if he’s really just a social-democratically included New Deal liberal at best – and a sadly imperial one at that.
There’s something to work with in all that, not to be taken lightly. I see a lot of the people who stood on the left side of the cafeteria refusing to line up dutifully behind the corporate-neoliberal Democratic Party in coming months and years.
Something left and radically democratic is up with young folks and others and it’s not going to disappear with the eventual fading of Bernie. Consider it an approaching left storm, bigger than the electoral major party Sanders sensation. We may well be moving into a good time to talk about revolution and socialism, the real things.
(Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy Paradigm, 2014. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Not so sure that the disintegration of the political party structure is so horrifying. I think it would be MORE horrifying if it WASN’T disintegrating because what would such a thing mean? Collective brain-death? Societal end-of-the-road?
That’s not to say that what we have now bodes well. It doesn’t. Hillary’s political viability, the mere fact that she’s talked about as presidential material, not to mention Trump, indicates to me an apathy so deep and pervasive that nobody worth a damn could be bothered.
Could it possibly be that, out of 330 million people, these are the best there are? Out of all these people in such a vast country? How can this happen?
And Cruz? Seriously? OK, they say that he’s a top notch legal talent. But, when I see him on TV, I think of Mr Haney on Green Acres. Yeah, I know, not exactly a penetrating analysis. But does this guy have the royal jelly? I would say an abundance of oiliness, a lawyerly insincerity and maybe flashes of a shark-ish, son-of-a-bitch-ness that I would expect in a personal injury attorney. Or maybe he’d be a great divorce or Hollywood celebrity lawyer. But POTUS? Fuck off.
And Rubio? WTF? They say he might come up the middle. Lord, can it be true? One trembles. Can you imagine, what if he wins in November? Unlikely, but what if he does? Can you see it, Rubio eyeball-to-eyeball with Putin?
What we have are the manifestly unfit thinking they have it in them. To state the obvious, not these bozos, not even close. All of them, every single one, baffoons and maroons not remotely worthy of the office.
But this disintegration of the political system follows on the heels of the disintegration of the economic system. In any non brain-dead polity, that is a people with a few spritzes of piss and vinegar still left in them, you would fully expect this. It’s matter of degree and a question of what takes shape.
Well, it could be worse. As the economy continues on its swirling descent into the insatiable maw of Wall Street, and people get sucked dry and shat out, I can envision far worse. Like men with a fondness for arm-bands as our friend the Archdruid put it. History is instructive but what history most tells us is that people don’t learn from history. Too bad.
FORENSIC HISTORIANS & ECONOMISTS WITHOUT BORDERS
I am very excited by how well Sen. Bernie Sanders is doing in the US Presidential Election 2016. Although he is the very first US presidential candidate I ever donated money to, I never expected him to get to first base (in baseball speak). And here he is on third base with the candidates from Wall Street. At age 79, my battery is running down, plus I'm living in France, so I keep trying to think of ways to help the Senator and the revolution he is calling for from the comfort of my living room.
Come brainstorm with me please !
All I can come up with is an old idea of starting an international organization we might call "Forensic Historians and Economists Without Borders" that would eventually morph into a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of non-government members looking into a number of high crimes & outrages such as the assassination of John Kennedy, 911, and the most recent Wall Street rip-off that all of which have affected the entire world. The objective would be to advance the global revolution for peace with justice even if Sen. Sanders' campaign is sabotaged in coming months. And we could do this on the Internet.
Our organization could at least link to "Oswald Innocence Campaign," "911 Architects & Engineers," "Veterans For Peace," and other such organizations with the same objective--peace with justice.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but capitalism run amuck seems to be the central issue in the 2016 US Presidential Campaign. Capitalism helped create communism, then devoured it. Now is the time to leash capitalism for good or better still create an entire new system of economics based on ecology. We humans have no option but to stop shitting in our own God-given nest.
We the people of planet Earth are not powerless ! Alone we may be, but never united.
As our first president, I would nominate Dr. Allen Roland, psychologist, former USN fighter pilot, a former Wall Street professional, and long-time advocate of the healing power of love, yes, L O V E which makes the world go round--not oil, or arms, or money. Google him !
What do you think ?
Peace & Love to all,
Tom Cahill Malay, France (Formerly of Fort Bragg)
CLARINETIST LUIZ COELHO
by Karen Rifkin
Born and raised in Tatuí, Brazil, known as "Music City" and home to the Conservatorio Dramatico e Musical, the largest music school in Latin America where his father was the dean, it’s no wonder that Luiz Coelho and his three older brothers grew up to become professional musicians in the United States.
“Obviously, we all studied from an early age, at first playing the recorder, then the xylophone and singing. When I was ten, I chose the clarinet; my brothers had already taken up the oboe, flute and bassoon,” says Coelho. “The clarinet is a beautiful instrument with a mellow sound and a huge range that allows me to play both jazz and classical music.”
At 17, he graduated from a technical high school, where he received a degree in mechanics and from the Conservatorio Dramatico e Musical, where he won several clarinet competitions, two as a soloist and two in the chamber division as part of a woodwind quintet, and received a degree in clarinet performance.
With little opportunity for higher education in Brazil, his father, as dean at the conservatory, would arrange international music festivals; it was at one of these events that Coelho was recognized for his musical gifts by professor William McCall and invited to study clarinet with him at the University of Washington in Seattle. His brothers previously trod a similar path, attending universities in the States.
In 1983 he moved north and, due to his inability to speak English, was immediately enrolled in classes to help him learn the new language. With his high level of musicianship, he says, “I was lucky and didn’t have to talk that much; it really worked out well for me. As we all know, music is a world language; everyone can communicate through the sounds and harmonies of music. In playing from your heart, people understand you.”
Initially he kept to himself but was soon befriended by a peer who not only helped him to become acculturated but also aided him in his finances when his parents were unable to do so.
“At the time, the Brazilian government had seized everyone’s accounts—they do that from time to time—so my parents could no longer send money. My friend helped support me for months and when my parents’ assets were released, we paid him back in full. To this day, I remain close with his family as he does with mine,” says Coelho.
With a private university being a financial strain, he moved to the State University of New York at Purchase to complete his undergraduate studies and received a B.F.A. in clarinet performance. While there, he had the opportunity to play with some extraordinary conductors including Michael Tilson Thomas.
Afterward, with the help of a Brazilian Fulbright Scholarship, he completed his graduate work in clarinet performance at Temple University in Philadelphia studying with Ronald Ruben, a member of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and won every competition to play first clarinet with the Temple University Orchestra.
Subsequently invited to study with Frank Cohen, principal clarinetist for the Cleveland Institute of Music, under the Artist Diploma Program, a special graduate non-degree certificate granted in recognition of outstanding musical achievement, he received a full scholarship and specialized in playing solo in concertos, chamber music performances and orchestral training, focusing on a solo career.
He was soon asked to teach saxophone and clarinet to young people and adults in the preparatory division of the institute; it was there that he fell in love with teaching.
“When I first came to America, the focus was always to try to be the best I could be in order to play in a major orchestra, any musician’s dream. Then I realized I could contribute more by being a teacher, connecting with students personally, than by being an orchestral player or a soloist. I shifted my direction and received my degree in K-12 musical education,” he says.
After teaching 10 years at the Institute and at public schools in the area, and prior to coming to Ukiah, he was band director for 17 years in Shaker Heights, Ohio, at the Woodbury Elementary School District, where he expanded the programs from 120 to 600 students.
With another opportunity to develop a band program in his sights, he was hired by Ukiah Unified School District in 2014 to redevelop an inactive program at the high school. He started the year with five students in one band and six in another and today there are over 80 students in three bands.
“Music is my passion and playing music is the most important thing in my life. When I am playing, when I am teaching, it makes my soul the happiest. To help others to experience the love I have for music, contributing to the future of my students, is my highest pursuit. We know that music affects all parts of our brain; that is why it is so important for children to learn music,” he says.
With many opportunities to perform in the area including the Mendocino College Band, the Symphony of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg and the Echo Chamber Orchestra in San Rafael, Coelho will next be performing solo in Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto with the Ukiah Symphony Orchestra on the weekend of February 20th and 21st.
Copland, who composed this piece for jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman, wrote most of the concerto—full of Latin flavor and offbeat rhythms—while traveling in Brazil. Coelho believes Copland incorporated the Brazilian style of music called Choro—translated as “cry”—with its fast and happy rhythm, that uses an instrument, the pandeiro, similar to a tambourine, employing improvisation, syncopation and counterpoint.
“The beginning of the piece is beautiful, lyrical and slow; it’s very high and soft, perfect for the beauty that the clarinet can produce. Then it moves into a cadenza, a very long one for which Copland wrote every note. Jazz style can be very liberal in its interpretation; no one plays a piece the same way. With this credenza there is some room for push and pull, playing it faster or slower, putting your own mark on it, but in this case you have to play every note that is written. After the cadenza the fun begins with a jazzy stylishness that eventually culminates in a great glissando,” he says.
Tickets for "Copland-America’s Composer" playing Saturday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. at SPACE Theater are available at www.brownpapertickets.com; Mendocino Book Company at 102 South School St. in Ukiah; and Mail Center, Etc. at 207A North Cloverdale Blvd. in Cloverdale. Prices are: $25 adults, $20 seniors, and $5 for those under 18 or ASB card holders. For more information call 462-0236.