- Clow Appreciation
- Branson Wins
- Estuary Rising
- Injury Crash
- Alexy Found
- Mystery Announcement
- Done Deals
- Santos Released
- Art Laundering
- Deranged Theocracy
- Ed Notes
- Roth Book
- Little Dog
- Water Bill
- Yesterday's Catch
- Student Affairs
- News Frenzy
- GOP Prayer
- Hapless State
- Bigger Oil
Our family would like to thank everyone who came out to support our family during our loss.
A special thanks to Dave Kooyers for a beautiful church service. To all the pallbearers with their compassion and kindness that they always had for Bernice. To Julia Bloyd for all her help and love; you are truly a special person. To Amy Bloyd for always being there for Jim and Bernice and lending a hand to our family. A thanks to Renee Lee for helping us with Grandma’s obituary. To Charles and Wayne for always being there for our family no matter what. And to Toni and Ernie Pardini for being so helpful to Jim and Bernice. And an extra special thanks to Mickey Marcum for his unconditional love and compassion for Bernice; you have always been there to help. To Jane Cupples, we will always love you, and so did Jim and Bernice.
Our family is thankful and proud to have friends and family in this community and we appreciate everything that everyone has ever done for Bernice during her struggle with Alzheimer’s.
The Clow family
(As expected) BRANSON WON ANOTHER REDWOOD CLASSIC Tourney Championship Saturday evening. Branson beat a talented Stuart Hall (San Francisco) team Saturday evening by a score of 63-49.
Cloverdale beat Clear Lake in an advanced consolation game, 72-54.
Anderson Valley did very well, almost upsetting Fort Bragg and beating Tule Lake.
HWY 128 OPEN — BUT NAVARRO RIVER HIGH AGAIN DUE TO SANDBAR AT MOUTH
A SINGLE-VEHICLE CRASH early Sunday in rainy weather on Highway 128 in Mendocino County injured one man seriously, the CHP said. According to CHP, a 1994 Dodge Ram driven by Eddy Joseph Jones II, 54, of Navarro, was eastbound at mile marker 38 at an unknown speed when it ran off the road and hit a tree about 2:20 a.m. Jones, who was wearing a seatbelt, suffered minor injuries. His passenger, Luis Armando Borja Jr., 56, of San Francisco, was not wearing a seatbelt, and was thrown from the truck, suffering major internal injuries. The cause remains under investigation. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to be a contributing factor.
ALEXY FOUND UNHARMED
The Lake County Sheriff Press Release update on the missing Alexy Rei Jenkins: "This missing person has been located."
A MYSTERY ANNOUNCEMENT, unexplained, and no record of it having been presented to the Board of Supervisors, appeared memorialized as a fait accompli in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Sunday, declaring that “Effective Jan. 1, Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) will be transitioning all medication management services to Redwood Quality Management Company.”
THE ANNOUNCEMENT went on to specify various details about the “transitioning,” and how it would be “easy” and “seamless” for “clients and their families” to their psychotropics. Local psychiatrists Garratt and Segal “who had been working with Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services will continue to provide medication management services through Redwood Quality Management Company.” And “Dr. Timme and Larry Aguirre-PAC, who have already been working with Redwood Quality Management Company, will provide uninterrupted medication management services through the transition period and into the future.”
TOWARD THE END of the announcement we also read that “Mendocino Coast Hospitality provides support services through their mental health clinic, including Case Management, Therapy, Mental Health Rehabilitation, Peer Support throughout the Mendocino County coast, as well as a drop in Wellness Center in Fort Bragg.”
IT’S NOT CLEAR if there’s a change in the Hospitality contract, but since it’s in this abrupt Redwood Quality Management Company declaration we assume it means that Redwood Quality Management Company will also take over some level of “management” of Hospitality’s mental health services.
SO WE HAVE an abrupt privatization of a significant Health and Human Services job that was previously handled directly by psychiatric contractors under the supervision of County employees, but we only hear about it after the fact? No justification, no explanation, no proposed contract change presented to the Board of Supervisors, no prior agenda item for the Board of Supervisors, no assessment of the costs and benefits. Just a done deal announced NOT by the County, but by the recipient of the additional funding.
NOTE that we are talking about “Medication Management Services” — i.e., the “management” of medications, not the delivery of the medications which apparently will continue to be done by licensed psychiatrists already performing that service under direct contract with the County. There may be reasons to make this change, but without the Supes' prior consideration, discussion and approval?
THIS IS A MAJOR CONTRACT change for privately-owned Redwood Quality Management Company, sole source, no competitive bids, yet we can find no record of a contract change for RQMC anywhere in the County’s on-line records.
IT’S POSSIBLE that Redwood Quality Management Company is picking up the “management” of medication services under some umbrella clause in their existing contract, and they might even be doing it for no additional cost (although we doubt that). But even if that were true, what about liability for medication management and other contractual considerations? What about other options for the service? Shouldn’t these and other contract implications be brought before the Board of Supervisors like any other contract change or add-on?
READERS WILL RECALL that former Assistant CEO Alan Flora was unceremoniously fired a couple months ago because he approved a couple of routine contract extensions without first bringing them to the Board for approval, extensions which nobody objected to and which were necessary for reasons that were clearly explained. During that same time period there were two other major contract add-ons that were wrongly approved by staff without Board approval and no one was censured or fired over either of them.
BUT MENDO can farm out another big chunk of Mental Health Services without any discussion or explanation or analysis and nobody cares.
IN MENDO if you work for Ann Molgaard, and you want a major change in Health and Human Services without Board approval, just go ahead — then announce it after the fact. No problem. But if you work in any other department — Law enforcement, facilities, roads, technology, CEO staff, etc. — you’re subject to immediate termination.
ANOTHER SOLE SOURCE TECHNO-BOONDOGGLE
Board of Supervisors Agenda Item 5c) “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Request for Proposal (RFP) Number 08-17 “Information Technology Master Plan.” Results, Including the Evaluation Review Committee’s Recommendations Regarding Proposals Received and Contract Award. Receive the update and recommendations of the Evaluation Review Committee related to RFP No. 08-17, "Information Technology Master Plan;" award contract to ClientFirst Technology Consulting to provide an IT Master Plan and Consulting Services in the amount of $99,902; and authorize Chair to sign same.
(Sponsor: Executive Office)
Also no evidence of any competitive bidding or alternatives considered. Just hand over a suspiciously specific “$99,902” (only $98 short of $100k) to a few IT suits from San Diego and, again, present it to the Board as a done deal.
These two techno guys — Jakobsen and Robichaud — would be expensive if their titles were just “computer consultant,’ but with titles like these their hourly rate skyrockets!:
1) Tom Jakobsen, Senior Partner IT Support and Infrastructure Practice Leader, And
2) Steve Robichaud, Partner Applications and Process Consulting Practice Leader
FROM THE PRESENTATION we find nothing but pure technobabble and nothing about what they’ll actually do for the $100k:
“THE RESULT How will this leave the County better off?
Assessment of Existing IT Environment (a Baseline) •Identification of Strengths and Weaknesses •Identification of IT Needs (Countywide) •Expression of IT Needs as Projects/Initiatives •Prioritization of All IT Projects/Initiatives •Improved Security •Increased Efficiency •Consensus on IT Spending and Investment •Improved Governance of IT Resources and IT Decision Making •Alignment of IT Strategies with Countywide Strategies. It’s an IT Roadmap for the County to Follow”
* * *
SO THAT MAKES at least five wasteful large done deals and several smaller ones in just the last few months, without a peep of objection from any of the Supervisors. And as long as no one objects it is certain to accelerate. In fact, we could save almost $2 million a year by simply eliminating the Board of Supervisors since they rubberstamp everything CEO Angelo and her staff present to them. (The last time we recall the Board rejecting anything was that odd incident last January when the Board refused to approve Sheriff Allman’s request for a non-General Fund purchase of a Snowcat for winter rescues.)
A PERSON well-known to law enforcement named Ricky Santos, Fort Bragg, was cited and released after hitting a rider and her horse after the parade in FB last night. Santos fled the scene before he was stopped by police. At least one witness said he appeared to be drunk. Cited and released?
* * *
BACKGROUND: Fort Bragg Police Press Release
June 5, 2013 / 5:45 p.m.
Benson Lane, Fort Bragg
496(a) PC Possession of Stolen Property,
1320(b) Violating Terms of Release on Felony Charge State of California
Ricky Santos, 29 years old, Fort Bragg
On May 21, 2013 at approximately 8:17 p.m. Officers from the Fort Bragg Police Department conducted a traffic stop in the 500 block of N. Main Street. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Ricky Santos, 29 years old, from Fort Bragg. Santos was on active probation out of Stanislaus County and was recently released from Mendocino County Jail for theft related charges. The condition of his release was to obey all laws.
Officers conducted a search of his vehicle, locating a stolen TV which was taken from the Best Western Motel in Fort Bragg. The serial number had been removed from the TV. Also found inside the vehicle was a “Billy club” and 12.1 grams of suspected methamphetamine packaged for sales. Santos was arrested, booked at the Fort Bragg Police Department, and then transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
On June 5, 2013 at approximately 5:45 p.m. Fort Bragg Police Officers obtained a Search Warrant for Ricky Santos’ residence to search for a second TV reported stolen by the Best Western Motel and property related to another theft at a local storage facility. Fort Bragg Police Officers, assisted by California State Park Officers, went to Santos’ residence. During the search, officers located the second stolen TV, and are investigating other items recovered from Santos’ residence. A supplemental report will be forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s office to file additional criminal charges against Santos.
(Fort Bragg Police Press Release)
SUPERMOON! Earth's satellite makes a spectacular appearance looking larger and brighter than normal.
The supermoon has made a spectacular appearance giving skygazers a treat as it moves closer to Earth.
December’s full moon - traditionally known as the Cold Moon - appeared 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than usual.
Tom Kerss, an astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, said the exact moment of full moon - when the moon sits opposite the sun in the sky, which was 3.47pm today.
He added: ‘This year’s Cold Moon is closer to us than the average full moon this year; close enough to qualify as a supermoon, according to the widely accepted definition.
‘The moon will reach its highest point above the horizon at midnight local time. This is when, weather permitting, it will appear at its clearest and brightest.’
The moon has a slightly elliptical orbit - it does not move round the Earth in a perfect circle.
At some points it is about 5 per cent closer to Earth than average, known as perigee, and at others it is 5 per cent further away, known as apogee.
The full moon will be 222,761 miles from Earth, closer than its average 238,900 miles.
As the moon orbits the Earth every month, there is a point in every cycle where the moon is closest (perigee) and a point where it's farthest away (apogee).
There is also a monthly lunar cycle where we can see varying amounts of the moon depending on it's position relative to Earth and the Sun.
For a supermoon to happen, these need to line up - something that will occur tonight.
The celestial body will become totally full at 3.47pm but will reach its peak brightness and size on Monday morning.
The moon will be visible from Earth with the naked eye, just as it always is. Although the moon is the biggest and closest it can be to us, don't expect too much.
Lyle Tavernier, an expert at Nasa, said: 'Keep in mind that a 14 per cent increase in the apparent size of something that can be covered with a fingernail on an outstretched arm won't seem significantly bigger.
'Comparing a supermoon with a typical full moon from memory is very difficult.'
With the moon being as close to Earth as it is, there is a significant impact on the tides.
When the moon is closest, the tide will be at its highest, and the same happens with a new or full moon.
This happens on a monthly basis, but occasionally the point of perigee aligns with a new or full moon and results in a 'perigean spring tide'.
These are particularly high tides that can influence the oceans and raise sea level by a number of inches.
Mr Kerss said: ‘During moonrise and moonset, you might think the moon looks unusually large, but this is an illusion created in the mind when it appears close to the horizon.
‘In fact, the change in the moon’s apparent size throughout its orbit is imperceptible to the unaided eye.
‘Nevertheless, the “moon illusion” can be a dramatic effect, and with the moon rising so early, there will be ample opportunities to see its apparently huge face juxtaposed with the eastern skyline.’
For those wanting to see the Earth’s natural satellite in greater detail, Mr Kerss advises using binoculars or a telescope and observing the dark maria - large, dark basaltic plains on the surface of the moon.
The first supermoon of the year was visible on January 12, and the second was on November 3.
* * *
SNOW MOON in Fort Bragg
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER on local art from the Sunday Ukiah Daily Journal ...
We know there are hordes of artists in the 95482 zip code, and that leads to the obvious question: Where are the patrons? Where are the collectors? Where are the savvy buyers from Carmel, Calistoga, Covelo or Calpella? Answer: There are none. The local market for artists is driven by taxpayer subsidies funneled through agencies with no knowledge or interest in art. Grants to artists are doled out the same way checks to welfare clients are doled out at the Social Service Department. Get in line, here’s your check, voucher, food stamp, whatever. And the greater the number of locals pursuing the delicate muse of self-expression, the greater the number of organizations that spring to life and turn a profit. A quick inventory of arts groups around here reveal dozens of them. Some sound familiar, like the Mendocino Art Center, Ukiah Valley Artists Co-op, the Fort Bragg Center for the Arts, Textile Arts, Mendocino Art Academy and CA Arts.
But there are more. Lots more. How about “Flockworks, An Artistic Community” and “Art Explorers, Inc”? Some critics might say these are parasitic grant fund sponges, and in some ways not much different than money laundering schemes. If that’s so where’s Dave Eyster, the DA who never sleeps, when we need him?
Steps to becoming an esteemed community arts administrator: (1) Get a big grant to pay a lot of money to you and a couple friends to run an organization that sounds good, like “Community Arts, Community Hearts” or “Student Arts Enrichment Foundation.” (2) Recruit a bunch of youngsters to earn classroom credit in a lame project that sounds good, like “Kids Care About Art!” or “Art: Making a Difference in Our Community!” Give them some chalk or spray paint or tiles to glue on mural thingies. (3) Write up a press release about your noble project, carefully avoiding any mention of its funding, while using words like “enrichment” and “diversity” and “community involvement.” Maybe you’ll even get your picture in the paper. How else could murals such as Ukiah’s come to exist? What self-respecting, genuine local artist(s) would remain silent at the rubbish that adorns our public spaces? Most of the art on Ukiah’s exterior walls is a disgrace; no other word will do. Who, and from what local art organizations, reviewed these projects and pronounced them worthy of public money and public display? Names, please. Our galleries also offer visual blight but these can be, and mostly are, shunned by the citizenry. The dreadful, amateurish junk we are forced to look at while walking around Ukiah is another matter, and I believe a serious one.
DECEMBER IS THE CRUELIST MONTH
by Louis S. Bedrock
December is a reminder that Americans live in a deranged Christian Theocracy.
Christianity is deranged. And in December, its deranged imagery is everywhere.
To accept Christian mythology, one must believe there once existed an idyllic garden where the first two specimens of humanity lived under the tyranny of a male god named Jehovah. The woman was fabricated from one of the man’s ribs.
The woman was convinced by a talking snake to challenge the will of this god by sharing a magic apple with the male. After eating the apple, which may be a metaphor for fornicating or acquiring forbidden knowledge, the two humans were kicked out of the garden.
All of humankind was stained by this “sin”—a crime whose victim is the male god, and had to bear this stigma until the male god decided to forgive them.
The male god, said to be omniscient and omnipotent, nevertheless could not figure out how to forgive humankind without artificially inseminating a virgin with a test-tube of god sperm carried down to earth by something called “The Holy spirit”; the virgin bore a male child; the male child grew up and practiced magic like walking on water and raising the dead until, at the age of 33, he was nailed to a cross, where he dangled until he died.
Three days after he died, his cadaver got up and walked out of the crypt like the zombies in a George Romero movie.
Christianity is polytheistic. Among the gods in the Christian Pantheon are Jehovah, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, The Virgin Mary, dozens of saints, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, nutcrackers, Santa Claus, and Frosty the Snowman.
Images of all these gods are displayed in front of Christian houses in December.
There is as much evidence for the Pagan gods as there is for the Christian gods. Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, Virgil’s Aeneid, Homer’s The Iliad, and The Odyssey, are among the many works that testify to the existence of Athena and company.
The Pagan gods were more interesting than Jesus and his gang. And Athena could beat up Jesus and his sissy apostles all by herself.
Happy Natalis solis invicti.
A READER ASKS: "I'm still curious why you think Trump will be ousted. I know there are many Democratic and female sort of people who would like to see him tossed, but as for the real entrenched power in this country, what would be their motivation? Trump seems kind of perfect for the time, a clown to entertain the masses while the serious looting takes place."
I AGREE that the cosmically unreal Trump suits these unreal times, and I also agree that the oligarchy has no prob with him since they're stealing more money faster than they ever have, with a major acceleration of theft just passed into law with Trump's so-called tax reform. But even they would prefer a quieter enabler, one that didn't stir up class tensions because, ultimately, his policies are making life much more difficult for more and more people as he exacerbates all kinds of tensions and destabilizes international relations. The national permanent government, aka the deep state, is going to get him.
* * *
FROM THE LA TIMES: "The major parties just aren't cutting it for California voters" … a political world run by Democrats and Republicans comes at the same time that so-called “minor parties” have withered on the vine in California. Only four still have official recognition in the state: the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, the Peace and Freedom Party and the American Independent Party.
I'M SURPRISED the AIP is still around. It was George Wallace's old political vehicle before George did a 180 and became a liberal on race. As a founding member of the Peace and Freedom Party (I still have my name tag from the Richmond Convention), I intend to go back to the future and re-register P&F, the political party that comes closest to my views. The libertarians are basically thinking Republicans, the Green Party is bogged down in hippie rituals and a kind of stoner lack of political focus, and I speak here as one of the two founding fathers of the Mendo Green Party, David Colfax being the other. I've been registered Democrat lately which, for years, is almost as embarrassing as being a registered sex offender. BTW, none of our elected Democrats, from Huffman down through Little Mikey the state senator and Jim Wood, Healdsburg's double whammy, send the AVA their press releases. Yes, we're proud to be non-personed by these ciphers and the party generally.
A BOOK REVIEW by Mike Kalantarian:
Looking for a good book to read? I recommend "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth. Written in 2004, I recently came across a used copy at the tidy little bookstore in Fort Bragg called . . . The Bookstore.
Incidentally, for a town of its size, Fort Bragg is rich in excellent used bookstores. In addition to the eponymous gem mentioned above, I also enjoy perusing the more labyrinthian aisles of Windsong. And both these shops are within easy walking distance of one another — which is another very cool thing about small towns.
Anyway, back to Roth's book, it is in the genre of historical fiction, where actual history provides framework for a work of otherwise fiction. The result is a story that lives somewhere between the actual and make believe. This one takes place during the early years of World War Two, and the big departure from reality is when Charles Lindbergh defeats FDR in 1940 to become president. A shocker, yes, but that twist merely serves as background and setting for this great novel, which is told from a child's point of view, one who is growing up in New Jersey and watching events unfold around him.
It's a beautiful work of art. The child's world is well rendered, with delightful reminders of what is was like to be a child, and to think and feel like one. The larger family dynamic, along with the experience of growing up in a real neighborhood, are also well drawn. And then there are the wider cultural influences that leak in, as media (radio and newspapers in this case) brings events from the wider world into focus — the way politics and social currents and the times all intermingle and press in on one's life. In doing all this Roth managed to write something that not only informs us, to a degree, about the past but also, more masterfully, alludes to how the present and future might play out, an artistic foreboding.
It was an uncanny experience to read this book in 2017 and have a number of aha moments where it seemed like the author was accurately predicting, fourteen long years ago, how things in this country have actually been turning out. Not exactly on the nose but he very much gets the rhyme of it. Current American realities like the rise of Trump, racism, nationalism, violence, and scapegoating are all prefigured in this novel, and the way these popular movements of fear and anger tend to play out. I found the book easy to read and, at the same time, dense with shade and meaning. A thoroughly enjoyable read, with plenty of meat on it.
SKRAG SAYS, “Gag me! Little Dog says he's always appropriate with the ladies? That bisexual maniac even tries to hop the pit bulls next door!”
FIRE VICTIM WATER-GOUGED
To the Editor:
Saturday, Nov. 18, I received a water bill from Redwood Valley County Water District for the period of 10/4 to 10/31/2017. It was for the usage of 3,475 gallons of water. The house burned to the ground in the early morning hours on 10/9, as did all my neighbors on Fisher Lake Drive in the Redwood Valley, from the Redwood/Potter complex fire.
I contacted the Water District office to inquire regarding the usage and let them know I found it unsettling. I couldn’t have used that amount of water in only 6 days. I asked why they were gouging an already devastated fire victim. She advised the firemen wouldn’t let them in to turn off the water. I asked, “and why was that my responsibility?” and the answer was, don’t you have insurance to cover loss? She then advised one gentlemen customer is having his insurance cover his bill and that I should check with my insurance company. I then stated, “Nice, now you are trying to gouge my insurance company.” I replied that their loss was not my responsibility and if your insurance won’t cover, then apply to FEMA.
Also on the billing statement was a notification, “On/After 12-20-17 add $15.00 penalty and pay $48.03”. The bill is $33.03, that’s almost a 50 percent late fee. There has never been a late fee listed on any of the water bills I’ve received in the past, why now? It feels threatening and I question the legality of it.
I spoke with a lady who lives on the beginning of Tomki, who also lost her home, she advised they were told they shut off everyone’s water, so the fire department could use the wells. That is a contradiction to what I was told, I asked which was the truth, no reply.
How can the water agency consciously do this to the fire victims of Redwood Valley and how legal it is??
Sandra J. Cooper
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 3, 2017
ADAM AZBILL, Covelo. Probation revocation.
ANTHONY BARBER, Ukiah. Controlled substance paraphernalia.
DOMANIK BLANCAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BRADLEY BOOKOUT, Laytonville. DUI.
PAUL COLEMAN, Leggett. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MARY FRANZ, Willits. Domestic abuse.
MICHAEL GUERRO, Fresno/Redwood Valley. Parole violation.
RYAN KEPLER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JEFFERY KOSTICK, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JOSE LOPEZ IV, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
MARQUES MACIEL, Ukiah. DUI, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JUSTIN MAXFIELD, Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.
TIMOTHY MCCOOL, Redwood Valley. Forge-alter vehicle registration, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.
EMMITT QUADRIO, Lakeport/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TONY RAMOS JR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CHERYL RIGGERT, Willits. Controlled substance.
PATRICK STANLEY, Nevada City/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JAMIE TRUDEAU, Fort Bragg. Community supervision violation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
This latest Witch Hunt of “sexual predators” whether real or imagined, is simply the next phase of the societal destruction set in motion by those that gave us the “everybody gets a trophy” and anyone that dares to have opinions other than the opinion de jour is a racist or a homophobe. You may enjoy blaming it all on Donald Trump, but the previous eight years of the Progressive vendetta against the people in this nation getting along with one another was where this movement took hold. Guilt or innocence matters not, It is the constant turning of one against the other and the taking down of those who people look up to that this agenda is all about. It is just as in Berlin in 1944, all it takes is an accusation and those who you do not like are carted away in the night. Those who are screwing America the hardest realize that if every citizen out there is attacking every other citizen they will be far too busy to realize or even care how bad we are all being hosed. I suppose it could be worse, if the Clintons were running the show we would all be drowning in our hot tubs or shooting ourselves twice in the back of our heads. Thank goodness for simple pleasures, eh?
SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT SONOMA STATE
by Jonah Raskin
By the time that I arrived in the English Department at Sonoma State University in 1981 the party was largely over. No more nude encounters between students and faculty in the swimming pool, and no more sex between undergrads and their professors, either. Both had been assumed to be beneficial for both groups. Then they were assumed to be bad for both groups. Male colleagues looked back at the 1960s and 1970s as an era when they had been able to gratify their sexual desires with young women who were tall or short, thin or plump, nineteen, twenty or twenty-one-years old. Hearing their stories, I was reminded of a phrase that I had heard when I taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook from 1967 to 1972. Jim Harrison, the poet and novelist, described the school as a “whore house.” At first, I assumed that he meant that it was an institution where professors “prostituted" themselves. I certainly saw colleagues who wrote and published the most pedantic articles about the most obscure subjects. They did so for job security, promotions and what passed for glory in the academic world. Then, after a short time on the job, I realized that Harrison meant the phrase “whore house” to apply to the sexual relations between students and professors. That was the era when women students sat in the front row with their legs spread so that male professors could feast their eyes. And an era when a male professor like Jack Thompson, who had served in the military in World War II, could sit at a bar with a glass and a bottle of whiskey in front of him and say, almost everyday, “Why doesn’t anyone want to fuck me?"
In hindsight, the relationships between students and teachers were probably inevitable. After all, if you take brainy older men and young attractive females and put them together in close proximity you are bound to have sex between the two. That is unless you educate them not to do so. No easy task. The faculty at Stony Brook, and elsewhere, which was overwhelming male, had learned early in their careers to use their power and influence. The student body, which was largely female, learned to use its power and influence, too. The students wanted recognition, recommendations and A’s. The professors wanted to fuck the students. The bedroom was the place to negotiate the terms of agreement. One professor even had a bed in his office – for naps he claimed. Sometimes, the relationships ended in marriage. Carl Jensen, the founder of Project Censored, married one of his students. So did the President of SSU from 1977-1973, Peter Diamandopoulos, a scoundrel who fired tenured professors and fattened his own salary.
I married an SSU graduate; she was a student when I met her in 1976, but I was not on the faculty. When I was hired in 1981, she complained that I would leave her for a younger student. She had seen it happen again and again in her undergraduate days. I did not leave her, nor did I run away with a student or have an affair with a student, but I had students running after me, adoring me (or pretending to adore me). It wasn’t that I was especially good looking. I wasn’t. And it wasn’t that I lectured brilliantly. It was just part of academia in those days; students had been trained to revere and adore their professors. When my wife and I separated in 2001, two students in a world lit class that I was teaching told me one day over coffee, “Don’t worry, we’ll fuck your brains out.” Gee, thanks! When they put it like that it didn’t sound enticing.
As the years went by, four-letter words like “fuck" became less frequent in academia, but students continued to proposition me and other faculty members. Some of it was no doubt my fault. In a course on media law I arrived in the classroom in a bathrobe one day to make a point: that if one did something in public usually reserved for the private sphere one could not argue “invasion of privacy.” The students got the lesson and more. One woman took my photo—in bathrobe—and placed it on the cover of her notebook. She stalked me on campus, came to my office hours everyday and decided without consulting me that we should go to Europe together where I would be her tutor. She had it all planned. The woman who ran the department took note of the student’s behavior and insisted that I file a complaint with “Student Affairs” before the student charged me with “sexual harassment.” I did just that. The student was required to take a workshop in sexual harassment, though she explained that she didn’t understand what she had done wrong. She thought she was a model student. She loved her professor. Nothing wrong with that, she claimed.
One female administrator thought I encouraged licentious behavior. After all, as she pointed out, I had a photo of Marilyn Monroe in my office. “Sadly, students think about sex all the time,” the administrator told me. “When they see the picture of Marilyn they will assume that it’s okay to think about sex all the time. You are enabling them in delinquent behavior.” The photo is definitely sexual, though there is no nudity. Monroe holds two roses in front of her breasts. Most everything is left to the imagination. I told Mario Savio, who was teaching math, philosophy and physics, what had happened with the administrator. “That photo is artistic,” he said. “Don’t take it down.” I did not follow his advice. I was a coward.
At the end of my academic career I told students my “Marilyn” story. As a going-away present, two women students (yes, they were bright and gorgeous) gave me a framed photo of Marilyn with her signature and the phrase, “I wanna be loved by you.” Now, both photos hang on the wall of my dining room. I also remember my last semester in media law when I was talking about obscenity and pornography, which famed lawyer Charles Rembar called “an intractable problem” in his ironically titled book The End of Obscenity. I had just learned about “sexting,” especially the practice whereby mostly females sent nude photos of themselves to their boyfriends who did not live near-by. Out of curiosity, I asked if any of the students had heard of it. Indeed, several of them had not only heard about sexting, they also practiced it. I was too stunned to say anything except, “Thanks for sharing.”
Sexual harassment strikes me as both an individual and a social issue. Institutions, including universities, have an obligation and responsibility to all students and all employees to create a safe environment where they aren’t treated or viewed as sexual prey. And teachers and administrators have an obligation and responsibility to respect students and employees and not handle them as sex objects. But the problem is bigger than any single person or any single institution.
It’s the problem of the entire society and the whole world in which sexual trafficking is big business and women are bought and sold and smuggled across borders. (Like the one between Nepal and India.) It’s also difficult to solve the problem when there’s a billion-dollar-a-year-pornography industry that appeals to people who are homosexuals, heterosexuals and bisexuals and more. Moreover it’s difficult to address the problem when there’s a sexual predator in the White House and another one from Alabama who’s running for a seat in the U.S. senate and who has the backing of women as well as men. I bet there’s a woman right now someplace in academia, the army and government who is being sexual harassed. I’m sorry there is. She won’t be the last, though I hope she is.
I remember men pronouncing the word “harassment” so it sounded like “her ass ment” which was another form of harassment.
I lived through and survived the feminist movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, though there were times when I, along with many of my pals in the anti-war movement, were called “sexist pigs.” It hurt but they were right. I think the women’s liberation movement liberated me from my sexist self. It made me a better person in the sense that I understood myself more completely and was able to express more different parts of my identity, including my emotions – and haven’t felt less male. I remember that sometime in the 1980s, the word “bitch” began to come back as big and as strong as ever before. I remember men used it to describe women and to put down men, too, and I remember women called themselves “bitches.” So, it’s also a language problem. The other day I heard a woman refer to her sister as a “cunt.” It was the worst thing that she could call her sister who probably deserved to be described as “amoral” or “immoral” or “sick.”
I’ve always echoed the statement, “the bigger the story the slower it travels,” meaning the really important stories take a very long time to reach the front page or the Internet. Recently, the stories about sexual harassment have only scratched the surface. The patriarchy is here to stay for a while longer, though I encourage everyone and anyone to chip away at it a stone at a time.
With the immediacy of the media frenzy, it won’t be long before we see on cable news: “We interrupt our news program for Breaking News … wait … we’re holding the Breaking News for Developing News. I’m sorry, we leave our Developing News for Apocalypse Now News.”
DECEMBER 4, 1942 — The supply of horsemeat for animals at Fleishhacker Zoo may not be so plentiful after all. William Hubner, city purchasing agent, yesterday advised the city’s park commission to prepare for rationing meat for the zoo inmates. Hubner explained Western California Products Company had executed a contract to deliver 200,000 pounds of horsemeat at $5.87 per hundredweight. But, Hubner said, the company inserted a clause that no deliveries would be made in the event that the supply of horses is unavailable. Hubner said he had been compelled to accept the condition since the company was the only one to submit a bid. Wild horses, he added, are slaughtered in Nevada and Utah to provide the meat supply.
I think that the California state government should openly refuse to pay federal taxes. California is economically the strongest and most populated state in the Union, yet is underepresented at the federal level. This tax bill disproportionately targets (punishes) Californians (who voted overwhelmingly against President Trump) — our federal tax dollars will go to propping up Republican states, and we will hardly see any of that money invested back in our state.
It is an overt attempt to force a “blue” state to force cutbacks on its social safety net services. As the federal cash cow state, it is time California throws its weight around and, if push comes to shove, openly defy this blatant act of hostility. It is time that California act like the juggernaut it is and cease playing the part of the hapless giant.
WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION EXPANDS IN-HOUSE LOBBYING TEAM WITH NEWEST STAFF ADDITION
By Dan Bacher
SACRAMENTO —The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the largest and most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, on November 30 announced the addition of Margo Parks to their in house lobbying team.
“Margo’s energy, enthusiasm and understanding of California policy and politics will be a great asset to WSPA,” Catherine Reheis-Boyd, WSPA President and former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create faux “marine protected areas” in Southern California, said in a statement.
“Parks accepted the newly formed position of Manager, California Policy Advocate, where she will work with WSPA’s members, navigating policy and politics to help achieve the organization’s goals in the legislature,” according to Reheis-Boyd.
“I’m excited to help tell the oil industry’s story during this pivotal time in California, while legislators are designing policies that both protect our environment and ensure that Californians have the energy they need to power this great state’s economy,” Parks said.
Prior to joining WSPA, Parks was an associate lobbyist at Political Solutions, working on issues ranging from tax policy to agriculture to natural resources. Prior to her time at Political Solutions, she served as the Director of Government Relations for the California Cattlemen’s Association, according to WSPA.
She is a former Capitol staffer and Senate Fellow, and a graduate of Scripps College, Claremont.
Parks joins a growing staff to promote Big Oil agenda
Parks joins a large and expanding staff that promotes the oil industry’s agenda in the West.
On October 23, WSPA announced the hiring of international public relations expert Argelia León to the position of Manager of Strategic Partnerships, where she now manages “growing and maintaining WSPA's affiliations in the five western states including California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada,” according to a WSPA news release. Information: www.dailykos.com/...
In March, WSPA hired former Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) as Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Affairs. Perea advises WSPA on public policy and legislative matters in California: www.dailykos.com/...
In addition to Perea, León, and Parks, the organization this year also hired three public relations specialists and an in-house general counsel as the oil industry gears up to further expand its already huge influence and power in California politics.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) bills itself as a “non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the five western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada.”
WSPA and Big Oil are top lobbying spenders in California
While state officials and the mainstream media tout California as the nation’s “green leader,” WSPA and Big dominate lobbying expenses in California every legislative session.
The oil industry spent more on lobbying in California, $16,360,618, just in the first six months of 2017 than was spent by the industry in all of 2016, $16.0 million.
That amounts to an average of $2.7 million per month – $90,000 per day – since Jan. 1, 2017, according to a report compiled and written by William Barrett of the Lung Association in California. Over the past ten years, oil lobbying in California has topped $150 million.
Oil industry money ranked #1-3 among all California lobbyist spending from January through June 2017, with Chevron spending $7,130,322, WSPA $3,916,353 and Tesoro $2,452,913.
As a result of this gusher of Big Oil lobbying money, every bill opposed by the oil industry with the exception of one has failed to pass out of the Legislature over the past three years.
The oil industry used this money to pass Governor Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade bill, AB 398, controversial legislation was based on a Big Oil wish list and was opposed by over 65 environmental justice, conservation and consumer organizations.
They also spent their millions to defeat Senate Bill 188, a bill authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to prohibit new pipelines or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development.
“Of the $16.4 million spent this session, Chevron, WSPA, Tesoro and Valero collectively disbursed $8.8 million to the ‘Californians for Affordable and Reliable Energy (CARE) Coalition,’” the report noted. “Of that $8.8 million, the CARE Coalition spent approximately $1.3 million as of June 30, 2017 on climate policy lobbying according to the most recent disclosure data.”
To read the full report, go to: www.lung.org/…
Background: Big Oil spent $36.1 million lobbying in 2015-16 session
The California Oil Lobby was the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million on lobbying over the two-year period. Based on the oil industry lobbying over the past two quarters, it looks like the industry may set a new spending record this session.
Big Oil spending last session amounted to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day. The $36.1 million surpassed the $34 million spent in the prior session, according to an American Lung Association report. To read the complete report, go to: www.lung.org/…
WSPA was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. As is normally the case, WSPA ranked #1 among all lobbying spenders last session. In the seventh quarter alone, WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials.
Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the 2015-16 session. It spent $3 million in 2016 alone, sixth among all lobbyists in the session.
The only bill opposed by the oil industry that made it out of the legislature to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown was Senate Bill 32, legislation that reduces greenhouse gas level to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The reason for the bill’s passage was because billionaire Tom Steyer’s Next Generation Climate Action spent $7.3 million lobbying for the bill in the seventh quarter of the session.
Since the 2007-08 Session, the oil industry has spent over $150 million in lobbying in California when you include the figures for the first two quarters of 2017.
For more information, go to www.dailykos.com/…