- Katy Retiring
- Dawn Center
- Hedge Papers
- Little Dog
- Grower Grievances
- Hensley Demise
- Hush Stormy
- Drought Watch
- Presidents' Day
- Ramiro's Story
- Controlled Burn
- Radio Dis
- Yesterday's Catch
- Shooting Cycle
- Political Courage
- Cohen Fashion
- Oil Money
- Historical Amnesia
- Unaffordable Housing
- Farmers Convergence
- Curling Stones
- Maybarduk Interview
- Anderson Interview
SAY IT AIN'T SO, KATY
Local historian Katy Tahja is retiring from Gallery Bookshop after 27 years behind the cash register helping readers find books. The staff is throwing an informal reception Saturday Feb. 24 from noon to 2 p.m. with a punch bowl of sangria and best wishes. Stop by at Main and Kasten streets in Mendocino and say goodbye to Katy. While she will be around and about the bookshop occasionally she will now focus on finishing the 150 year history of Mendocino County she is writing.
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Dave Smith's 2015 interview with Katy.
ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT FATALLY SHOT ON HIGHWAY 101 IN MENDOCINO COUNTY IDENTIFIED
Dawn Elika Center was denied financing when she attempted to buy a $45,000 sports car from a Ukiah auto dealer, so she decided to pull out a gun and take the car by force. Not long after, the 48-year-old Redwood Valley woman lay dead on the side of Highway 101, shot by three Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies.
LAYOFFS AND BUYOUTS CONTINUE UNABATED this month as stunned workers, elected officials and local leaders reacted to news that New York hedge fund Alden Global Capital plans to either shut down Digital First Media's newspapers in the next two to three years or sell the remnants.
DFMworkers.org reported last week that executives at DFM’s hedge fund owner, Alden Global Capital, estimate they can continue to leach profits from the chain’s papers for only 2-3 years before shutting them down or selling what little is left.
THE FATE of The Willits News; the Ukiah Daily Journal; and the Advocate/Beacon rest in the grasping hands of a hedge fund that is slowly bleeding them to death. In Mendocino County, the real property of the hedge papers has already been sold and all three of these papers continue to hemorrhage reporters and other staff.
A READER WRITES: “Hey, Little Dog: Do any of those gents at the mighty AVA want one of your long lost kin? I'm new at the shelter and man, I would like to get outta here. I'm about a year old. Jack Russell Terrier. Though my ears tell a ‘tail’ of a mischievous Mom.”
LITTLE DOG REPLIES: “Those ears kinda put me off, and the eyes look pretty shifty. But if she's a lady dog, I might think it over.”
SAME-SAME IN MENDO
‘You Are Sucking Us Dry’: Growers Descend on HumCo Supervisors Meeting to Protest Cannabis Fees, Taxes
by Ryan Burns
Local cannabis cultivators showed up in force to today’s Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting, and during the public comment period they took turns at the lectern telling their elected representatives that excessive fees and taxes are driving them out of business and upending a Humboldt County way of life.
Southern Humboldt resident Harold English said he and his wife are the definition of “mom and pop” growers. He moved to the county in 1974, set up his own marijuana farm and raised three kids here. Now he’s making no profit, unable to enter the state marketplace until his operation is fully permitted at the local and state level, and yet he’s being charged more than $10,000 in county taxes and fees, he said.
“I’ve never been closer to losing everything than right now,” English said. The county’s taxation system, he argued, is forcing people to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to wait in line when they’re not even sure if they’ll be let in the door. Speaking on behalf of fellow “mom and pop” growers English said, “You’re going to push us out [and] change the character of this county.”
Salmon Creek resident Chip Tittman identified himself as the spokesperson and organizer for the small-scale farmers who attended today’s meeting. He framed their request for tax relief as a matter of justice, opposing corporatization and the pharmaceutical industry. The growers in attendance complained of having to pay taxes and fees to a variety of local and state agencies on top of the money they’ve dished out to consultants, engineers, foresters and attorneys and the cost of remediation work required to bring their properties up to code.
“I’m on the verge of going broke,” said Nicole Keenan, who noted that she’s being charged $10,000 for not having having nine culverts on her property. “You guys are fricking killing me.” She said families are unable to make their house payments, and she brought up struggling institutions like the Mateel Community Center and its Reggae on the River festival as examples of a community under siege. Keenan said that with the stress she’s under she can’t eat or sleep, she can’t feed her kid and she’s worried about losing her house.
“You are ruining our community,” Keenan said. Later she went even further, telling the board, “You’re literally killing us.”
At a couple of points between speakers, Fifth District Supervisor and Board Chair Ryan Sundberg asked the public to refrain from clapping in order to maintain decorum and respect those who might have a dissenting view. At first the crowd complied, but things grew rowdier after regular commenter Kent Sawatksy had his turn at the lectern. He made a vague accusation that several supervisors have a conflict of interest on the matter of weed permits and then specifically called out Sundberg for having relatives in the county’s regulatory system. Sawatksy also told the crowd they’re allowed to clap, and when he called on the public to prevent Sundberg’s reelection they did just that, applauding and cheering.
In all, 30 people addressed the supervisors on this issue, though there was no related item on today’s agenda, which meant the board couldn’t discuss or take action on the various grievances aired. One of the concerns most frequently voiced regarded the county’s practice of taxing growers for 2017 even though many of them only received their permits with days or weeks remaining in the year, and the state marketplace for adult use marijuana didn’t open until 2018.
The county Planning and Building Department started issuing a letter last year to people with existing cultivation operations, asking them to sign a compliance agreement in order to receive zoning clearance for their interim permit. Several speakers complained that the language in the letter was misleading, causing them to submit the paperwork before the end of the year, which in turn triggered a tax bill for all of 2017. They argued that this was unfair when other cultivators had their taxes prorated for only a portion of the year.
“Who crafted this [letter]?” demanded Garberville grower Mark Switzer. “What are you doing? Really? Do you want to work with us or tax us out of existence?”
Cassidy Goodrich agreed, saying he’s being taxed on the full square footage of cultivation area in his license for 2017 even though he didn’t harvest a crop only used a portion of that area for his harvest last year. “I’m getting taxed for something I didn’t do,” he said.
Others expressed frustration that the county levies taxes based on the size of cultivation area, charging between $1 and $3 per square foot annually, depending on the type of grow. The state, in contrast, bases cultivation taxes on the amount of marijuana produced.
“Who ever thought of taxing something before it’s grown?” asked Charlotte Silverstein, owner of the Garberville business Garden of Beadin’. She said sales at most businesses in town, including her own, are down by 30-to-60 percent from previous years, and she blamed the county. “It’s dead in Garberville,” Silverstein said. “People don’t have money because you’re sucking them dry.”
Other growers protested that while they may be licensed for 10,000 square feet of cultivation area, in reality they only use a fraction of that area.
Salmon Creek farmer Reuben Childs said small growers are giving up on the process entirely, and he complained about the amount of red tape involved in going legit. “I’m now paying for the permission to ask permission to be approved, which I may still not be approved on,” he said, triggering cheers and applause.
Local attorney Laura Cutler led off the public comment session by arguing that the county violated the law last June when the Board of Supervisors made changes to Measure S, the county’s marijuana taxation initiative approved by voters in 2016. Rather than taxing folks actually engaged in marijuana cultivation, the county decided to tax property owners who hold cultivation permits, regardless of whether they’re actually growing, Cutler said, and she argued that this effectively expanded the measure, which can’t be altered without voter approval.
Cutler mentioned fellow local attorney Eugene “Ed” Denson, who also has challenged the legality of changes made to Measure S. County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck denied that the county violated the law, telling the Times-Standard's Will Houston that he and his fellow county attorneys “don’t think there is any legal violation or basis to set aside the ordinance or its interpretation.”
Denson himself got up and suggested to the board that the county repeal Measure S, drop its track and trace program and issue an interim permit to everyone who’s already in the permitting process.
Though the board couldn’t discuss the matter, Second District Supervisor Estelle Fennell thanked everyone who has entered that permitting process, and she said that she and Sundberg, who comprise an ad hoc advisory committee for cannabis matters, will look at the county’s taxation methods and come back to the full board with recommendations in a few weeks.
She also noted that at a meeting Thursday night the Humboldt County Planning Commission will consider amendments to the county’s Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance, and she encouraged people to attend. “Participating is important,” Fennell said.
MR. HENSLEY'S been arrested about twenty times over the last three months, and he's been arrested more than a hundred times over the past three years. He occasionally appears in court for a routine processing before he's back out on the streets drinking himself into a stupor. Typically, though, he's simply locked up in the County Jail for a day or so — not long enough for a guy like him to get all the way sober — and he's freed to repeat his sad cycle. Given the number of helping professionals employed in Mendocino County, a county many of its residents consider "progressive" (because they live here) why isn't this guy getting help?
First Row: 2011-2013
FOR YOUR AS ROME BURNS FILE: Congressman Jared Huffman and several other pro-forma Democrats called for the Department of Justice Wednesday to investigate the “hush money” paid to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, better known as “Stormy Daniels,” by Donald Trump’s personal attorney in October 2016
WARNING FLAGS ON SEVERAL FRONTS
by Jim Shields
Following up on last week’s column regarding the state Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) February dismal snowpack reading of a paltry 25 percent of the historical average, you can bet state officials are prepping Alternative Plan D — as in Drought regulations.
While water planners are for the moment keeping their powder as dry as California’s parched landscape, that will all change instantly if March doesn’t deliver a Noah’s ark monsoon.
The odds of that occurring are pretty slim.
In the past week, various experts in water and weather science have been weighing in with their opinions on the D word. It appears a majority believe we are in for a dry year that could progress to full-blown drought.
According to Jay Lund at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences said a dry-to-drought year would adversely impact already severely drought-stricken forests and “birds and fish could suffer the worst.
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, is a researcher who focuses on atmospheric processes that cause droughts and floods.
In a recent interview with Water World, he gave his thoughts on the so-called “new weather norm” for California. It’s one of the best explanations that I’ve run across on California’s unique weather and climate complex.
“What we’ve seen recently has been a series of extremes in weather and climate in California on both sides of the spectrum. A lot of people think, ‘We just went through this severe drought, is the future of California one where it never rains again?’ There is not a lot of evidence that is the future we are headed for – a state of perpetual drought.
“California climate is a climate intrinsically of extremes. We have floods, we have droughts and interestingly we don’t have that many years in the middle. … We have this Mediterranean climate with this well-defined dry season. And that may seem strange to somebody who hasn’t spent a lot of time in California, because even that seasonal cycle is actually kind of extreme.”
“The fact is we only get precipitation for often less than half of the calendar year, and the rest of the year is defined by, arguably, an annual drought. We always have a drought for … six months of the year – it’s called summer, early fall and late spring, and the sharpness of that season cycle defines a lot of things that are important in California. It’s part of the reason why, agriculturally, we are such a productive state. …
“It also means we are vulnerable to drought because if something happens and disrupts our storm pattern during the winter, then that’s it for the full year. What that means is there are a few key things we care about in terms of what might happen for the future. We really care about those core winter months for precipitation, but we care about all the other months for everything else.”
DWR officials still hold out some hope for rain in March or April.
According to DWR official Lauren Bisnett, “We're dealing with warmer temperatures and experiencing dry conditions, but there's still time for a couple big storms that would bring us closer to average conditions,” says Lauren Bisnett, of DWR.
So while warning flags are hoisted, DWR’s position is it’s just a bit too early to declare officially we’re back in drought mode.
The official mood is it’s watch and wait time, but time is running out.
It’s also watch and wait time for wildfires. Keep in mind, there’s approximately 130 million dead pine trees statewide along with bone-dry brush, which translates to prodigious amounts of fuel as we learned from last year’s Northcoast and SoCal deadly wildfires.
So there’s a lot riding on the next two months producing above-average rainfall.
However, that scenario most likely will not play out.
Since California first started recording weather data about 150 years ago, there’s only been two occasions when heavy March-April rains brought dry early winter precipitation levels to near-average or average historical totals.
* * *
Speaking of wildfires, liability continues to mount for the state’s Big Three electrical purveyors — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.
They’ve been preparing for battle on proposed legislation preventing electric utilities from passing costs that result from negligent practices onto customers by raising rates.
According to state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, nearly $12 billion in insurance claims have been filed due to California wildfires.
“If you treat these October and December fires as a combined incident, these insured losses represent one of the most damaging natural catastrophes in California history,” Jones said.
In a statement released by his office, he summarized the severity and unprecedented nature of these wildfires: “We no longer have a fire season in California, fires are year-round," Jones said. "The fires were unprecedented for their severity and disastrous consequences. Whole neighborhoods were wiped out.”
The fires on both ends of the state spanned 14 counties altogether, he said. In response, Jones issued a formal notice asking insurance companies to waive requirements for policyholders that they provide a detailed inventory of their losses to pay up to 100% of the claim.
Nearly all insurance providers have agreed to Jones' request, he said.
In Southern California, the fires in December were followed by a historic storm cell in January that triggered a deadly mudslide in Montecito on Jan. 9. It is too early to tally the claims from that disaster, Jones said.
But, he said, since it appears that the mudslide's “proximate cause” was the Thomas fire – which most homeowners were covered for – companies should pay out claims for mudslide damage even if they didn't have flood insurance. He issued a formal notice telling companies as much this past week.
”California law provides that when a covered peril is in effect the proximate cause of an uncovered peril, then insurers should pay claims with the uncovered peril,” he said. “If the fire is covered by the policy and is the proximate cause of the mudslide which is not, insurers should pay claims.”
It was not immediately clear when an official connection between the Thomas fire and the Montecito mudslide would be determined, but Jones said that insurers should “take appropriate steps to assess the claims” in the meantime.
It’ll be interesting watching the Big Three and the insurance industry attempt to figure out their respective game plans over wildfire/mudslide liability given the Insurance Commissioner’s pro-consumer stance. It’s a high-stakes battle with front growing wider.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
HONOR THY FOUNDING FATHERS
Letter To The Editor:
Whose idea was it to honor George Washington and Abe Lincoln by lumping all the presidents together on one day (February 19, 2018) implying a kind of affable equality while denying the true contributions of two men who sacrificed greatly to "save" our country's constitutional government. They were not just politicians.
George Washington could have been king. He was ready to walk away from leadership to his farm after the Revolutionary War, but he answered the urgings of his grateful countrymen to become our first president.
Who hasn't been moved by the terrible personal and divisive government challenges that befell Abraham Lincoln, the sacrifices he made culminating in his assassination?
Recently I heard on the radio that some children do not know GW (not Bush) was our country’s first president.
We need these early presidents to stand apart in order to measure the actions of contemporary presidents against standards set by these heroes of history, and their tremendous impact on the world. What country doesn't honor its founding fathers?
The "Presidents' Day," by including the past decades of "deplorable" political rule provides cover to those who have inherited the role but not the character of these first worthy leaders, thus diminishing their due influence on our country’s history.
Do we care about this propaganda ploy enough to make it an issue? I hope so.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE
On August 7, 1978, I was born in Ukiah but raised in Hopland, California. I have four other brothers. I'm the second to the oldest. No sisters that I know of. My father and mother were both born in Mexico in the state of Michoacan and ended up here in Ukiah. Both families are big. My parents are well known in the community. All my life my dad would have us work for what we have in the fields in a beautiful place off Highway 175 in Hopland, a winery known at the time as McDowell Valley Vineyards.
The owners and the family are the most loving people who personally I've ever met. They always said to me to "take care and respect your mom and dad because we love them."
I will never forget those words Richard and Karen Keehn would at times say to me.
It's funny, since I've been a child until now I've always felt something was different with me out of everyone of my other brothers. My brothers and I attended Hopland school. My mother always volunteered for their Cinco de Mayo celebration by making all the Mexican food to raise money for our school. As I moved on with my education into Pomolita school, I transitioned into things that I now think I would never have become.
My older brother was jumped into a local gang from Ukiah when he was a freshman in high school. Mind you, I was in the eighth grade at the time and still in Pomolita. During my attendance in school I picked up friends who were "wannabes" including myself and with that I was introduced to marijuana and going out after school. I was introduced to methamphetamine as well. Once I reached high school, for my freshman year my older brother Hector took me under his wing. Throughout that time at high school I got good at selling methamphetamine and most of my customers were women and athletes.
My junior year was very interesting. I was still hanging out with my brother and his gangster friends. I always looked up to my older brother and I never got to tell him this but one day I will when the time is right.
Getting back to where I'm dealing with my story.
I always admired Hector in many ways. So I followed his footsteps by joining a gang myself. But there is a twist in the story. I was partying with local friends from our small town of Hopland one night with a good friend who I will just name “Lupe.” We were at the party that night with HMW at the pear orchards. This is where we both were asked to join the clique. So they jumped Lupe first. I was next and I will say that there wasn't anything fun or glamorous about it. I ended up with a steak over the side of my face after that party in Ukiah. The beauty of that night was that that's the first time I had intercourse with girls. That's where I thought in my head I was the s___!
By this time I was a sophomore. I was the first of my brothers to get my driver’s license and own my first vehicle. Instead of taking the bus, now I was driving to school and taking my two other brothers Hector and Marcos.
At this time my best friend Lupe was a senior and about to graduate. I remember that he and I were both going into the Marines. When that year came, I was a senior and Lupe was already in the Marines. So my senior year my big brother Hector was gone and my best friend Lupe was in the Marines. Now I was looking after my little brother Marcos. During that senior year in school I had the green light in jumping a few recruits into HTL which I did at school.
(To be continued.)
Ramiro Gonzalez Jr., A#14929
Mendocino County Jail
951 Low Gap Road
Ukiah CA 95482
YORKVILLE AREA CONTROL BURN SCHEDULED
Mendocino County -- On Wednesday, February 14, at 8 AM the Calfire Mendocino Unit will conduct a vegetation management control burned in Yorkville near Highway 128 in the area of milepost 43. Aircraft and smoke will be visible in the Yorkville area and possibly visible west of Highway 101 North of Cloverdale. The prescribed burning being done under this vegetation management program (VMP) project will be conducted under specific climatic conditions to ensure control and minimize air-quality and other impacts. The primary goal of this prescribed burn is to reintroduce fire as a natural element of the ecosystem. A second goal is to improve wildlife habitat by introducing new shoots from sprouting species to increase forage production with islands of unburned fuel left in the burned area to provide shelter for small mammals. A third goal is to reduce overall vegetation in order to decrease the chance of catastrophic wildfires in the future. Burning is planned for Wednesday, February 14, 2018 through Friday, February 16, 2018, weather and air-quality conditions permitting. The burn will be conducted under very tight restrictions for the personal safety of firefighters and area residents. If there are any indications that the burn cannot be conducted in a safe manner such as high winds or local fire activity the burn will be canceled. Calfire reminds all residents that their safety is of the utmost concern. For information on how to create defensible space as well as tips to prevent wildfires visit www.readyforwildfire.org
(CalFire Press Release)
KZYX: CULTURE OF DISRESPECT
by Sheila Dawn Tracy
As some may have noticed, the phone lines at the KZYX studio in Philo are, as one broadcaster described them, "still funky." The problem has been ongoing since management switched the phone service to a local provider, MCN, who, according to General Manager Jeffrey Parker, as a favor to the station, agreed to provide service not only out of its service area but one that it has never before provided. Perhaps Parker was alluding to the multi-studio T-lines spread out around the County. The reason behind the switch was that the previous phone contractor out of Arizona decided to jack its rates up 450% without advance notice.
I spoke to MCN manager Sage Statham who said the business had 300 digital phone customers. After an initial internal wiring upgrade had been made to the Philo studio, the service went into effect in early December. He was not aware of any problem with the system, stating that remote monitoring of the station's internet connection showed no problems with either bandwidth or latency (the time it takes a call to reach its destination and return to its source.) Statham thought that while it was possible that some technical glitches were responsible for problems during the transition period, lack of familiarity of the numerous programmers with the phone system could also be a source of continued problems.
On the last Wednesday in December, host Jeff Blankfort opened the studio lines to the public for their input on all issues of concern, a rare occasion for the community to be heard. All seemed to be well until the last third of the program when he would take a call to find no one there. Bewildered that he had three open lines, he repeatedly gave out the studio number. Unknown to him, incoming calls were left ringing until they eventually disconnected or were rerouted to an automated system that also ended in a dead end. I called the business line and informed the Program Director of the problem of which she had become aware but for which she had no remedy.
To condense the situation a bit, I was referred to the website when I asked for station information on the location of the upcoming Board meeting. I informed her that the only recommendation of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) ever to be enacted in the long history of the station — that of having announcements of station business aired at regular intervals — was discontinued upon the departure of the former GM and I asked why that was. No response, in fact, she was no longer on the line. I had been hung up on.
I went to the January 8th Board meeting, believing that the station had finally made good on its five year pledge to create a newsletter as an alternative to the website to fulfill its obligation to inform members of station business. My reports of Board meetings over the past six years were intended to fill that void. My intent was to register my dissatisfaction regarding the lack of civility of a staff person.
During Public Comment I noted that after seventeen years of continuous support through donations and volunteering, I could not sanction rude behavior of a staff person by making a financial contribution, adding that such encounters were partly responsible for lack of membership growth. I also commented that I thought the station had become an elitist organization.
As one who has been on both sides of the door, I found that if you are inside, it felt like a cozy tight knit family, but if you attempt to exercise a member's right for transparency of information, that door can be physically locked against entry as it was (by the Campbell-Courtney-Bushansky triumvirate) when I tried to hold the station accountable to its promise of providing financial documents for inspection after a new GM had been selected. (That promise has yet to be fulfilled.)
In my previous training as a volunteer answering phone calls during pledge drives, I did not have to be told to be polite or pleasant. It occurred to me what I had experienced was more than just an individual shortcoming but a new social phenomenon caused by a culture inextricably tied to inanimate objects: computers, smart phones, cell phones, ipods, etc. In a world where information is constantly deleted, isn't it probable that instantaneous eradication bleeds over to our human interactions? It has been found in a recent study, that the average attention span now is only eight seconds but does that excuse an expectation of closure such as, "I'll get back to you on that — I have to go now." which takes only four seconds.
In response to my comments, Bill Barksdale of Willits fixed me with a baleful stare and opined that respect is earned. He then directed all of his three minutes on a blistering rant directed at myself, the only part that I managed to retain was the ending phrase "that I didn't deserve respect."
Besides being a mean spirited personal attack inappropriate in context of comments for the information of Board members, I find the concept of earning respect a throwback to Calvinist theology and an indication of the diverse philosophies that are dividing us as a community and a nation. If you have no skin in the game (in this case, money) your opinion is worthless?
We respect the blades of grass that return after the ravages of fire because they are alive. The trees, birds, fish, bees and earth have intrinsic value in the uniqueness of their existence and do not have to earn our respect. A more compassionate perspective is to have respect for all life, including humans because we share responsibility for the world we inhabit.
Earning respect implies judgment, and a hierarchy outside of ourselves to determine whether our behavior conforms to a flexing code of behavior. While religion and our legal system are based on this concept, it is an imperfect system often rife with inequities.
If I had hoped for an apology that evening, none was forthcoming. In fact, I was further offended by the acting Chairperson Azzaro's failure to rein in Barksdale to redirect his remarks toward issues rather than personal invective. What had usually been a safe place for public expression now had a distinct tone of a toxic environment.
In a chance encounter with Parker at the fine woodworking exhibition at Fort Bragg's Town Hall, I felt I struck a chord of empathy as Parker did apologize for both unfortunate incidents. With that accountability for the actions of his staff and the mishandling of the Board meeting by an untrained and ill prepared replacement for the Board President came resolution. Appropriate response plus accountability equals resolution — a simple equation for business success.
Programmer Tim Gregory also used the term “earned respect” in reference to the MCPB corporation, where, by contrast, it was appropriate.
By definition, a corporation is a legal fiction and not an individual person. He commented that the concept of community is necessary to a non profit organization in terms of deliverables which, in his opinion was defined by the quality of local programming. He was disappointed by the once more delayed Strategic Planning process.
In the public comment of Pam Brown, it was learned that News Director Sherri Quinn had returned to Utah temporarily to be with her ailing mother and also because of an inability to find adequate housing in the area. Parker responded that she was due to return in February but if her absence was prolonged, a replacement would have to be found.
Meg Courtney inquired of the Allegiance software performance given the time and expense of the upgrade. She, along with Campbell and Bushansky (her husband) chose the furthest seats in the last row, well apart from the rest of the public. A power sandwich of two ex Officers of the Board (President and Treasurer) with a present Board candidate, it appeared their choice of seats allowed them to have a meeting within the meeting.
Bushansky allied himself with Campbell as a member of the Finance Committee and undoubtedly will seek a nomination for Treasurer on the Executive Committee should his bid for a Board seat be successful. As a member of that committee, he was complicit in the melding of two disassociated categories that obscured pertinent information on the cost of the news staff in a rubber stamping by the Board of the revised 2016-17 budget.
GM Parker's report to the Board was given orally due to his feeling ill the evening of the meeting. He summarized the important role of the station in communicating the path of the October firestorm to the community and its continuing efforts of support through local programming to those affected.
The only written information available was the minutes of the September meeting. In the minutes it was noted that Programmer Representative and Treasurer Stuart Campbell had resigned. Campbell had also been the Chair of the Strategic Planning committee. As a result, there was no financial statement and the strategic planning process has been delayed indefinitely after a ten year lapse of intended review. Along with Bylaw Committee members Azarro and GM Parker, Middlebrook reported that the committee will make a proposal to the membership (no time frame was given) to make Board elections bi-annual rather than annual. The reasons given were that elections were expensive ($2K) and took a lot of staff and Board time. The committee also thought it would give more time to assess what skills were needed on the Board and to recruit accordingly. The new election schedule would maintain staggered terms to insure continuity.
The present form of committees contain an inner sanctum of Board members and staff with no involvement of community members as it was originally designed to do by former Board member Michael Grady. In a normal election cycle, three Board seats become available annually. This year, however, six positions are available — an unprecedented two thirds of Board seats due to an apparent implosion at the Board with premature resignations of both the former Board President Jenness Hartley and Board member, Larry Minson. With Minson's resignation also goes hope of a multi-year promise of a station newsletter to the community.
At the July meeting, Hartley had stated that the newsletter was good to go. At a previous meeting, staff person David Steffan had stated that he would provide the layout support for the newsletter if the content was given to him. When I questioned Parker about this, he simply stated that the newsletter took too much staff time. Evaporation of staff support and, poof! Five years of discussion about the importance of communication about the station to its members gone with it.
No specifics about the upcoming Election were available at the meeting due to the absence of outgoing member and Election Coordinator Ed Keller — another conspicuous lack of information given the importance of the position. It is actually not unusual for outgoing members to have a lame duck period of inactivity from January to May. This year's contested elections are in District 3 (Willits), District 5 (Boonville and inland Ukiah) and the two At Large seats with four candidates vying for those two positions. Specifics of candidate names were reported in the Feb 17th edition of this publication.
In other station news, the Mendocino satellite studio was closed on Jan. 28th and moved bodily by GM Parker to the Redwood Coast Senior Center in Fort Bragg. The first show in the new studio was Susan Juhl's Loose Cannon Classics on Tuesday morning. Parker said there were too many restrictions imposed by the State in working with educational institutions and the coinciding activities at the high school proved too distracting to programmers. Additionally, the high school has its own radio station so the hoped for interaction with students never materialized. The decision to collaborate with the Senior Center was the Executive Director decision both of Parker and Charles Bush with Bush adding "with the agreement of an informed Board." Bush stated that a part of the Mission statement of the Senior Center is to have seniors integrate more fully with all members of the community and saw the inclusion of the new studio as one more way to create meaningful relationships.
The next meeting of the KZYX Board will be on March 5th at 6pm at the Redwood Coast Senior Center in Fort Bragg.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 15, 2018
CRAIG BARNETT, Fort Bragg. Violation of community supervision and parole.
MARTIN BRIGGS, Willits. Probation revocation.
PATRICK BYRNE, Ukiah. Vandalism.
DANIELLE DAUGHERTY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, failure to appear.
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
CANDACE DUNOYER, Brentwood/Ukiah. Under influence.
JAMES HARNETT, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, Under influence, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
CASSIDY SCHMELTER, Tustin/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CHRISTOPHER TURNER, Lower Lake/Ukiah. Under influence, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ISAAC WALDREP, Ukiahg. Failure to appear.
JAMES WHEELER, Laytonville. Domestic battery, protective order violation.
‘NO WAY TO PREVENT THIS,’ SAYS ONLY NATION WHERE THIS REGULARLY HAPPENS
PARKLAND, FL—In the hours following a violent rampage in Florida in which a lone attacker killed 17 individuals and seriously injured over a dozen others, citizens living in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs reportedly concluded Wednesday that there was no way to prevent the massacre from taking place.
“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Indiana resident Harold Turner, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.
“It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what he really wanted.”
At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”
WARRIORS COACH STEVE KERR SPEAKS OUT AGAINST THE NRA
by Dave Zirin
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is a person without political fear. Maybe that comes from being the son of the brilliant Dr. Malcolm Kerr, “a pioneer in the field of Middle East studies,” who was killed in Lebanon in 1984 when president of an American University in Beirut. Maybe it comes from having nothing left to prove after leading the Warriors to two championships as well as a 73-win season over the last three years. Maybe it comes from coaching in the Bay Area, where the political winds tend to move toward wanting prominent athletic figures to engage on issues instead of “sticking to sports.”
Whatever the motivations, Kerr has again chosen to use his platform to try to reach people who may not otherwise be reached by speaking out after yesterday’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people. The greatest tool of the National Rifle Association and the politicians they own is our cynical belief that none of this can ever change. Meanwhile racist politicians push for “a wall” to keep out imaginary enemies. This is depressing, but it cannot be an excuse for inaction. Steve Kerr spoke to that dynamic before Wednesday’s game against the Portland Trailblazers, saying:
"Nothing has been done. It doesn’t seem to matter to our government that children are being shot to death day after day in schools. It doesn’t matter that people are being shot at a concert, in a movie theater. It’s not enough, apparently, to move our leadership, our government, people that are running this country, to actually do anything. That’s demoralizing. But we can do something about it. We can vote people in who actually have the courage to protect people’s lives and not just bow down to the NRA because they’ve financed their campaign for them. So, hopefully we’ll find enough people, first of all, to vote good people in, but hopefully we can find enough people with courage to help our citizens remain safe and focus on the real safety issues. Not building some stupid wall for billions of dollars that has nothing to do with our safety, but actually protecting us from what truly is dangerous, which is maniacs with semi-automatic weapons just slaughtering our children. It’s disgusting."
Kerr wasn’t the only person in the sports world to speak out. After Trump tweeted out that “No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school,” Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted back to him, “Yea, but the fact is that they AREN’T safe. Just more rhetoric and no action. WAKEUP!!!!”
These may seem like small gestures, but when you have a president and NRA-owned Congress gaslighting an entire country by telling us that these kinds of shootings are merely “mental health issues” while both making it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns and cutting funds for mental health programs, it’s easy to fear that we are collectively going mad ourselves. I don’t write these words lightly. Coming from a family where mental health is a serious issue, the NRA and GOP’s instinct to stigmatize people with mental illnesses is craven and contemptible. But when these shootings occur and all we get is a shrug, some prayers, and bombast about this being “the price of freedom,” it is easy to feel like we are losing our own grip on reality.
I am not saying gun control is the answer to what ails us, because the rot runs so much deeper. We live in a country where the killer in Parkland and the people he slaughtered have lived their entire lives in a post-Columbine, post-9/11 world. Now that we know the shooter was trained by white supremacists and wore MAGA hats, we also know the politics that we must defeat, politics that give rise to this kind of senseless slaughter. We live in a a country where school shootings and the everyday specter of violence has been baked into our lives. It will take as many voices as possible, from the sports world and beyond, to tells us that this is not the way it has to be. Another world is still possible if we have the will to fight for it. One thing is certain: it is glaringly obvious who stands in our way.
WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION & MEMBERS HAVE DUMPED $170 MILLION INTO CA CAMPAIGNS SINCE 2001
by Dan Bacher
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in California, and its members have contributed $170 million to California political campaigns since 2001, according to a new data analysis from MapLight released on February 14.
WSPA is the trade association for oil industry interests in the western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. WSPA members include multinational oil corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP, Valero and the Plains All American Pipeline Company, the corporation responsible for the Refugio Beach Oil Spill of 2017.
WSPA and its members have contributed more than $112 million to ballot measure campaigns, $8 million to state candidates, and $50 million to other California political action committees and party committees, according to the MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State compiled by Laura Curlin and Ashleigh McEvoy.
“Chevron tops the list of political donors from WSPA’s membership, contributing $89 million overall since 2001, the first year in which online data is available,” Maplight reported. “Aera Energy has contributed the second most at roughly $40 million, and Valero is third at $13 million.
The report documents all of the California legislators who have received campaign contributions from the oil industry since 2001.
Senator Jean Fuller, the Kern County Republican from Senate District 16 who has served as the Legislature’s most fervent advocate for Big Oil, received the most oil industry contributions of any legislator, $88,890.
Senator Cathleen Galgiani, a Democrat from Senate District 5, received the second largest amount of oil industry contributions, $83,350.
Assemlymember Rudy Salas Jr., a Democrat from Assembly District 32, received the third largest amount of Big Oil money, $79,850.
The top ten recipients of WSPA member money in the California Legislature are listed below:
(1) Jean Fuller, Republican, Senate District 16, $88,890
(2) Cathleen Galgiani, Senate District 5, Democrat $83,350
(3) Rudy Salas Jr., Assembly District 32, Democrat, $79,850
(4) Raul Bocanega, Assembly District 39, Democrat, $76,300
(5) Adam C. Gray, Assembly District 21, Democrat, $72,600
(6) Jim Cooper, Assembly District 9, Democrat, $71,650
(7) Sebastian M. Ridley-Thomas, Assembly District 54, Democrat, $70,800
(8) Chad Mays, Assembly District 42, Republican, $63,700
(9) Mike Gipson, Assembly District 64, Democrat, $62,650
(10) James L. Frazier Jr., Assembly District 11, Democrat, $58,176
You can explore data on the campaign contributions from WSPA members - including contributions from each organization, top recipients serving in the California State Legislature, and contribution patterns over time by going to: maplight.org/…
While the amount of money individual legislators have received from WSPA members is alarming, they pale in comparison to the $9.8 million from oil companies, gas companies and utilities that “climate leader” Governor Jerry Brown has received since he ran for his third term as governor, according to Consumer Watchdog. For more information on Governor Brown and his so-called "green" policies, see: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/how_green_is_brown.pdf
In addition to pouring millions into campaigns, WSPA “augments its political influence with a massive lobbying presence in Sacramento,” topping the list of lobbyist spending in California in the third quarter of 2017, according to Maplight.
Big Oil dominated three out of the four top spots of expenditures by all lobbying organizations in 2017, according to documents from the California Secretary of State’s Office that I analyzed.
Outspending all of their competition, Chevron placed first with $8.2 million and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the trade association for the oil industry in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, placed second $6.2 million. Tesoro Refining and Marketing Company finished fourth with $3.2 million. You can find the information on spending by employers of lobbyists here: cal-access.sos.ca.gov/…
That’s a total of $17.6 million dumped into lobbying by the three top oil industry lobbying organizations alone. That figure exceeds the $14,577,314 expended by all 16 oil lobby organizations in 2016.
Big Oil has become so powerful in California, in spite of the state’s largely undeserved “green” image, that every bill except one opposed by the oil industry has failed to make it out of the legislature over the past three years.
But WSPA and Big Oil wield their money and power not just through spending millions of dollars on lobbying and political campaigns. They also create Astroturf groups, work in collaboration with the media, and get appointed to positions on and influence key regulatory panels.
For example, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas in Southern California from 2009 to 2012. She also served on the task forces to create “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast from 2004 to 2012. Information: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mpa/brtf_bios_sc.aspAs Reheis-Boyd was overseeing the crafting of California’s “marine protected areas,” Reheis-Boyd’s husband, James D. Boyd, sat on on the California Energy Commission from 2002 to 2012, including serving as Vice-Chair of the Commission from 2/2007 to 1/2012.
The “marine protected areas” created under the privately funded MLPA Initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering. Yet state officials and corporate environmental NGO representatives praised the process overseen by Reheis-Boyd and other corporate interests as “open, transparent and inclusive,” though it was anything but.
There is no doubt that Big Oil has captured the regulatory apparatus from top to bottom in California — and we must curb and overcome the power and money of the oil and gas corporations in California in order to protect the public trust. For more information about the grassroots campaign to get oil money out of California politics, go to: https://www.oilmoneyout.com
THIS IS NOT TO PROPOSE that those who support Trump are all Nazis in suits. On the contrary, it is meant to suggest a more updated danger in which people with power have turned their backs on the cautionry histories of the fascist and Nazi regimes, and in doing so, have willingly embraced authoritarian messages and tropes. Rather than Nazis in suits, we have a growing culture of social and historical amnesia that enables those who are responsible for the misery, anger and pain that has accompanied the long reign of casino capitalism to remain silent for their role and complicity in the comeback of fascism in the United States.
— Henry Giroux
THE HOUSEHOLD INCOME needed to buy a median-priced home in San Francisco is now $303,000 according to the California Association of Realtors affordability index. The index approximates the percentage of households with the minimum income needed to buy an existing, median-priced single-family home with a 20 percent down payment at the current interest rate. The new salary number is what a buyer needs to make to afford the $7,580 payment on a $1.5 million home. In Mendo? halve these numbers.
The household income needed to buy a median-priced home in the city reached a new high and is now $303,000. That's according to the California Association of Realtors affordability index, which is based on sales in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The index approximates the percentage of households with the minimum income needed to buy an existing, median-priced single-family home with a 20 percent down payment at the current interest rate.
The new salary number is what a buyer needs to make to afford the $7,580 payment on a $1.5 million home, the fourth-quarter median.
A report from Paragon Real Estate that looks at the data points out, "The percentage of households who can afford to purchase a median priced house is 12 percent."
This number is certainly low, but it's not the low point. In the third quarter of 2007, an estimated 8 percent of people living in San Francisco could afford to buy a median priced home.
"SAW THIS, by Looking Down, Wind R., Boysen St. Park"
(Photo by Harvey Reading)
by Louis S. Bedrock
It all started when our hero—we shall call him “Simon”—got a phone call from his friends Henk and Gaitri. They were in nearby Bayonne, New Jersey visiting Gaitri’s parents and wanted to stop by and visit Simon and then have lunch somewhere. Simon immediately agreed because Henk and Gaitri live in Holland and he only gets to see them every two years or so.
Simon began straightening up and cleaning the first floor of his house. He threw dirty clothes in the laundry bin, washed and put away dishes. He ran the vacuum over the floors of the office, living room, small bedroom, and kitchen to the chagrin of Penelope the cat, who scooted upstairs to take refuge in a closet.
Then he remembered the revolver. Henk and Gaitri were accompanied by their eight-year-old daughter, Judy. Simon kept a loaded Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum/.38 Special behind one of the pillows of the couch. No reason to take chances. He grabbed the pistol and put it in his café bag, then locked up the café bag in the closet of his office.
Simon had bought the pistol many years ago after he had come home from the Bronx elementary school where he worked and found a burglar taking apart his stereo system when he entered the house through his front door. The burglar dropped his pricey turntable on the floor and fled down the stairs, where he and his companion escaped through the cellar door on Simon’s two bicycles. They managed to carry off his stereo receiver, his collection of silver dollars, some jewelry, a couple of hundred dollars in cash, and his single lens reflex camera along with two lenses. The house was turned upside down. Fierce watch-cat Penelope cowered in the closet.
Simon was too shaken to pursue them. He called the police. After the cops had examined the house, Simon made coffee for himself and the two officers as they filled out their report.
—You should invest in a security system —said the lieutenant.
—I shall —said Simon—, and also a handgun.
—I understand —said the lieutenant—; just make sure that if you shoot someone, he’s inside the house when I get here.
Henk, Gaitri, and Judy arrived. While Judy read the Chris Van Allsburg books Simon had collected for her, Gaitri, Henk, and Simon reminisced about their days in Salamanca over their cups of tea. Gaitri had been the best friend of Veronique, who had been Simon’s girlfriend. Henk and Simon had been friends.
The three of them had all been in Concha’s advanced Spanish class. Henk, Gaitri, and Veronique lived in the same apartment, which belonged to the owner of the language school they all attended. Gaitri was from Guyana and Henk was Dutch. They had fallen in love and gotten married. Henk was Jewish and Gaitri had converted to Judaism.
Gaitri and Henk followed a kosher diet, so they decided to eat at a nearby Jewish delicatessen. Judy asked if she could take along Jumanji and The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. Simon said of course she could.
After lunch, they all returned to the house. Simon told Judy she could keep the two books, which made Judy very happy. Henk and Gaitri once again invited Simon to come to Holland and stay with them in their guest bedroom as long as he wanted. They all hugged and said “¡Hasta pronto!”
The Film Forum is a revival movie theater on Houston Street in lower Manhattan. Simon often went there by himself or with people. He would leave his car in a parking lot near Newark’s Penn Station and go into the city by the PATH train.
A few weeks after the visit of his friends, he was preparing to go into Manhattan to meet his friend Stefan and see a matinee at the Film Forum.
Simon threw his cell phone and a book into his café bag and stuck his wallet into his front left pocket.
After parking his car in the parking lot across from Penn Station, Simon entered the building and headed to the stairway for the PATH trains. He passed several teams of heavily armored cops, some of whom held fierce German Shepherds on leashes. Were the dogs trained to detect drugs? Explosives? Both?
He ran up the stairs and found a Manhattan bound train waiting. He put his card in the slot of the turnstile, spun through the wooden wheel, sprinted to the train, which was half empty, and grabbed a seat.
As the train moved out of the station, Simon opened the café bag to take out his book and discovered that under the book was his loaded revolver. No wonder the damned bag was so heavy.
Simon thought about the cops and the dogs and marveled that the weapon hadn’t been detected. He didn’t want to imagine what might have happened.
The question was what should he do now. While his handgun had been purchased legally after he had filed the requisite application forms, he did not have a carry license. And he was not just carrying a loaded pistol, he was carrying a concealed loaded pistol.
The options, as Simon saw them, were: approach a police officer and explain the situation; call the police by phone and ask what to do; throw the $400 hand gun in a garbage can somewhere; or just keep going and hope nothing happened.
Simon, who, it must be conceded, is not always the brightest light in the room, decided to keep going.
After detraining, he had to walk through the World Trade Center to get to the subway and the E train. This was post 911. It would be a miracle if he were not detected. Nevertheless, he made it through the terminal and to the subway station. His café bag felt heavy, bulky, and conspicuous. He was sure it would attract attention. But it did not.
The train was not crowded but he stood up holding onto a metal post for his three stops. When he got off and reached the theater, Stefan was waiting for him.
He was putting Stefan at risk—should he tell him?
He elected not to.
Fortunately, there were no metal detectors at the Film Forum. The theater wasn’t full so they found three seats near the aisle, putting their coats on the seat between them. Simon sat in the aisle seat as he seldom was able to get through an entire film without a visit to the men’s room. Stefan wondered why he kept his café bag around his neck.
After the film, Simon declined Stefan’s invitation to a late lunch explaining he had to get home to take care of some pressing matters. The subway was crowded on the way back to the WTC and Simon fretted about his bag being jostled, the snap opening, and the gun falling onto the floor of the train.
Getting from the subway to the PATH train meant passing once again through the WTC which was patrolled not just by teams of cops but by the army—tough looking guys and gals in battle fatigues with side arms and the occasional automatic rifle. If he were detected, would they give him a chance to drop the bag and put his hands up? Or would he be immediately jumped and pummeled? Or summarily shot?
As he approached the broad row of turnstiles where he would have to insert his ticket to pass through to the train platform, Simon had trouble not panicking. There had to be metal detectors here.
But there were not.
By the time his train reached Penn Station in Newark, Simon’s kidneys were bursting. As he approached the men’s room, he saw a large cop with a large dog next to the entrance and almost soiled himself. Somehow, he managed to keep walking at a normal rhythm, get to a urinal, and empty his bladder without shaking like a spastic.
When he had retrieved his car, he opened the trunk and threw in the café bag. Then, after he had gotten into the car and driven out of the lot, he shivered with a spasm of relief. Six-gun Simon had made a clean getaway.
Although he had gotten away with his inadvertent caper, the implications still haunt Simon every time he takes the PATH train into New York City. What if a suicide bomber armed with an IED decides to blow up a train in the tunnel under the WTC. Will he be as lucky at avoiding detection as Simon had been?
(Mr. Bedrock may be contacted at email@example.com. The “S” in his name stands for Socrates.)
A NEW & EXPANDED FARMERS’ CONVERGENCE
February 20th and 21st
Rigewood Ranch, Willits, CA
This annual event brings together food producers from Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties, along with local agencies and organizations that serve the food and farming community of Northern California.
Local farmers, ranchers, food producers, retailers, advocates, and support organizations from across the region will come together at Ridgewood Ranch, just south of Willits, for two days of facilitated networking, sharing skills and ideas, to build a network of support while sharing best practices. The Convergence will also celebrate growing resilient local food systems and the vital profession of farming.
This year’s Farmers’ Convergence is an opportunity for our community to gain access to resources, people, and programs they may not have known existed. Ideally, attendees will leave the event prepared for the growing season ahead.
For more information, and to sign up, please go to:
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Re The Winter Olympics, Curling seems a strange pastime even to many in the country where it originated, although probably not much more than crown green bowling. In the interests of general knowledge, may I offer you a random fact of the day, which is that most curling stones in the world come from this tiny granite island off the Scottish coast, an island affectionately known as ‘Paddy’s Milestone’ because of its position between Scotland and Ireland.
PETER MAYBARDUK SPEAKS ON BIG PHARMA, HEROES AND PATRIOTS, ORIGINAL AIR DATE, FEBRUARY 5, 2018, KMEC RADIO
Heroes and Patriots is a program about national security, intelligence and foreign policy. The show is streamed live each Monday, 1 p.m., P.S.T. on Like us on Facebook and YouTube at Heroes and Patriots, KMEC Radio, Mendocino Environmental Center.
DEBRA KEIPP WANTS TO KNOW.
These are questions for your KZYX election interview. I hope you find the order, timing and content amusing, at least:
Mark Scaramella has voiced his dislike of anthropomorphizing in the AVA. So what's up with the little dog and tomcat given voice in the daily website?
Lots of anthromorphs among our readers. We try to provide a little something for everyone.
What old crime stories from the AVA stick with you?
"Killed Without Dying," about the Laytonville woman raped by the Lake County cop, then shunned by her community like it was her fault
Were you ever a Republican? Ever registered as a communist?
Way back, I registered as a Republican to vote against an even worse Republican in a primary. The Communist Party USA was not ballot qualified in California. I was never a communist but have known lots and lots beginning with my first political involvement with CORE in the Bay Area, circa 1962. I'm a socialist, not that many people make the effort to know the diff.
What do you think about the state of unions in the US; can they no longer serve their purpose in the Trump years and dumbing down of government?
Quick story: An old guy I knew was a warehouseman and represented by the ILWU. Harry Bridges himself saw my friend walking home one day and pulled over to ask him if he wanted a ride. Can anyone imagine that happening now?
When were you in a union, and which local?
I was a Teamster when I drove a cab in SF in '67.
Is it true you followed Peoples Temple to the Valley after reading that Esquire magazine article from the 1970's about best surviving nuclear fall-out was on the Northcoast?
No. I remember the article, though. I'd never heard of the Peoples Temple until I got to Mendocino County and got some idea of Jim Jones' influence in the County, which was then pervasive.
What drew you to Anderson Valley, the name?
Pure coincidence. My late brother and I were driving around looking for a rural place to rent under the delusion that urban delinquents would somehow be less delinquent under the redwoods than they were under streetlights.
How do you prefer consuming grapes?
What's your favorite rose?
What were you doing in Borneo when you met your wife?
How many continents have you traveled?
Touched down in Scotland for a week, lived in Southeast Asia for four years.
America as continent, Scotland as a country.
How many books do you read per week?
Two or three counting books on tape and magazine journalism.
Most memorable read of late?
The Sellout by Paul Beatty, the truest (sic), bravest fiction I've read in a while.
New writers you presently enjoy?
Beatty and.... I don't read fiction anymore unless an occasional New Yorker short story grabs me, which few do.
You prefer fiction or non-fiction?
I notice you reprint "Rabbit Hole" alot? Why?
The one we've all disappeared down? You lost me.
Remember when DA Vroman was curiously found dead, slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle? Were you satisfied with the diagnosis in Norm Vroman's death?
Nothing curious about it. He died of a heart attack.
What's your best memory of Norm Vroman?
The time he testified for a criminal against me. The guy was full of surprises.
I recently read Kym Kemp's evaluation of Tony Craver vs. our current Sheriff. What's your best memory of Tony Craver?
I much admired Craver's forbearance when he kept the shrieking hippies of Earth First! apart from shrieking loggers whose work site the shrieking hippies had disrupted. I admired Craver, I admire Allman.
As editor of the AVA, a writer and avid reader, where do you guest speak?
I appear nightly in my office. I used to get out more but I don't feel it's worth the effort anymore. Anybody who wants to hear from me can read my paper.
Your nephew whom you helped raise, has made you proud, eh? You hand out scholarships at AV high's graduation ceremonies gifted by the Miner-Andersons? How much in scholarship money has been gifted to students over the years thus far and what's the name of the fund?
Approaching two mil, I believe. Which pocket it comes out of I don't know or I'd pick it myself.
So Bruce, you usually look pretty dapper, even in 100+ degree Valley heat — Panama straw hat, starched linen long sleeve shirt w tie, nice casual pants... Hardly scuffling clothes, did you roll up your sleeves first before you punched that guy at the Point Arena school board meeting? Werent you arrested? What made you wanta punch that guy?
Gee, Debra.... For the record, I was convicted of multiple counts of misdemeanor disturbing the peace, not assault. I did 35 days in the Mendo County Jail.
Would you please print in the AVA, a progression of your mug shot photos taken over your lifetime, similar to "Catch of the Week"?
I would if I had them.
What's your opinion of Jonestown: Mass murder? Suicides? CIA or a child custody battle?
Murder. Anybody who thinks the CIA and the FBI are any more formidable than the Fort Bragg Police Department has never met any of their reps. Chiild custody was one of several pretexts The Monster invoked to kill his church. There was no greater conspiracy, in my opinion. A lot of powerful California Democrats helped make it possible.
Would you say it was ultimately attributed to a custody battle melt down by Jim Jones who ordered Leo Ryan and his Congressional entourage to be fired upon by assassins when they were sent to retrieve young Jon Stoen from Jonestown in Guyana on their mission to return the boy to California?
It's attributed to lots of things, but I think it was Jones, deep in an amphetamine psychosis, who bore sole responsibility.
Tim Stoen is just now retiring from his position as Asst D.A. at Ten Mile Court in Fort Bragg? How does that happen... A life in law enforcement after setting off Jonestown? Have you ever discussed Jonestown with Stoen or Jackie Spier?
Stoen stopped talking to me after I reprinted an excerpt from David Talbot's revelatory book on San Francisco's fraught 1970, "Season of the Witch," which makes it very clear that Stoen, as always acting for Jones, helped rig a city election for George Moscone. I like Stoen on a personal level. I regard him as a tragic figure who, after all, lost his son to that maniac. That said, I think lots of us admire Stoen's courage in carrying on after a tragedy that would cripple most of us.
Speaking of which: another layer of icing on the cake of life! I see you are running for the KZYX Board of D! What's your platform?
Agitation for a truly public public radio station, fiscal transparency, end to the station's legacy blacklist, emphasis on purely local news. Basic reform of what amounts to a publicly-funded private club. I fear only election.
You admit you have a tin ear for music... I'm at least liking the jazz shows I hear on KZYX. Hands off on those, okay, Bruce?! No cutting the jazz on KZYX, you hear me?
I admit no such think. I don't think my ear is any tinnier than anybody else's. Music isn't an important part of my life. I listen to that classical music show every Wednesday morning on KZYX while I'm peddling my papers. I enjoy it very much. The kid who presents it is a good host because, apparently, he studied music. I always learn something from him.