- Dirty Politics
- AVA Recommends
- Little Dog
- Lucille's Garden
- Farmers' Market
- Plant Sale
- Roderick Statement
- Open Studio
- Ochoa Guilty
- Succulent Poaching
- Urchin Explosion
- Molgaard Deception
- Police Reports
- Master Shipbuilder
- Yesterday's Catch
- Brick Throwers
- Forensic Fandom
- Baby Warmers
- Spantsa Story
- Ancestral Land
- Rhody's Cafe
- Coast Hospital
- Play Nice
- Losing Ground
- Belt Looking
- Finkelstein Interview
Superintendent of Schools Race Is Dirty Politics
The race for County Superintendent of Schools has gotten dirty with candidate Bryan Barrett’s campaign throwing the mud, using lies and distorted truths. Unable to stand on his merits, Barrett supporters are relying on character assassination of opposing candidate Michelle Hutchins. Hutchins has vowed to not resort to these tactics. She has not said nor done anything to discredit Barrett, while he has included negative material about her with his campaign literature at public forums and placed that literature on cars in the parking lot. Now Barrett’s campaign has turned to pressuring Hutchins endorsers to withdraw their public support. One email from a Hutchins endorser said she was “bullied” because of her public support and requested her name be removed from the endorsement list. Another AV public official who sited a good professional relationship with Hutchins endorsed her, then was forced to withdraw that endorsement due to the pressure he received, which caused him concern about the impact on his agency. Other teachers and school staff are keeping their support for Hutchins underground to avoid negative consequences of public support.
I have friends working in the Ukiah School District who have called Barrett a bully, driving one to tears. Other teachers and school staff, retired and current, report the same thing, and his campaign seems to be supporting the use of this tactic. Is this the person we want running the Mendocino County School system?
Michelle Hutchins continues to put forth her qualifications, which are much more extensive than her opponent, and her vision for improving student education and services throughout the county. It’s a shame her opponent's campaign can’t do the same.
THE AVA RECOMMENDS: THE LOCAL MEASURES
Measure C – Mendocino Coast Health Care District
“To continue essential healthcare at our local hospital by attracting and retaining high quality doctors/nurses, maintaining local emergency room, obstetric, surgical, ambulance and related 911 services, and making critical repairs and upgrades to medical equipment/facilities, shall Mendocino Coast Health Care District levy an annual special tax of $144 per parcel for 12 years, raising approximately $1,700,000 annually, with independent taxpayer oversight, no funds for administrators’ salaries/pensions, and all funds dedicated to local healthcare facilities and services?” Shall the Measure Be Adopted: YES or NO
YES on Measure C. Which is easy for us to say because we don't pay taxes in the hospital district. But. But it would be a shame to lose one of the last community-owned, not-for-profit hospitals in the state. I agree that the Hospital Board has been derelict in its oversight responsibility in over-paying admin, an admin that has managed to nearly destroy Coast by its feckless fiscal decisions, not to mention its indefensible treatment of staff. Going personal here, my disabled sister was in and out of Coast Hospital for years and, without fail, she received a quality of care only a billionaire gets most places these days, with constant attention from two truly great doctors, Graham and Glusker. The in-County alternative to Coast is, and not to put too fine a point on it, two for-profit hospitals run by a vegetarian Christian cult. Somehow, someway, Coast people are going to have to regain control of an institution successfully created and maintained for many years by the people of the Mendocino Coast.
* * *
Measure D – Fort Bragg Rural Fire Protection District
“Shall the Fort Bragg Rural Fire Protection District, by Ordinance, (1) Repeal the existing special tax of $18.75 per unit, (2) Replacing it with a special tax not to exceed $25.00 per unit, this special tax shall be used to maintain and improve fire protection, suppression activities, prevention and to acquire and maintain equipment or apparatus and to increase our medical and rescue services?” YES or NO
YES ON D. Of course.
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Measure E – Coast Life Support District
“Shall the measure renewing for four years the Coast Life Support District’s previously adopted appropriations limit to allow the use of all proceeds of taxes for ambulance and urgent care services be adopted?” YES or NO
YES ON E. Double of course.
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Measure F – Southern Humboldt Health Care District
“Shall the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District renew its current $125/year parcel tax for ten years without any rate increase or added cost to residents, providing approximately $1.5 million annually to benefit the local community by maintaining access to emergency medical care, support hospital and medical services, and attract and retain qualified doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals, with annual independent audits to assure proper use of funds?” YES or NO
YES. Essential public amenities get automatic approval from us.
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Measure G – County of Mendocino transient occupancy tax
“Shall Mendocino County Code Chapter 5.20 be amended to authorize collection of a Transient Occupancy Tax on short-term visitor accommodations of 30 days or less in private campgrounds and recreational vehicle parks, estimated to raise $1,000,000 annually?”
NO on G. The Mendo County Supervisors have pissed away more public money this fiscal year, including a totally undeserved big fat raise for themselves that never would have been approved if it had been put to a vote, that they now want to tax campgrounds used almost exclusively by working people and their kids who can't afford the scented soap, $200-a-night spas people like the Supervisors stay at, which they then charge to the taxpayers on their lush "travel and conference" accounts. We spotted a comment from former Supervisor Richard Shoemaker, a guy who has milked the public teat all his opportunistic days, that "$2.50 a day isn't even the price of a cup of coffee." There it is, the perfect expression of today's "public servant."
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Gopher holes all over this place while Skrag strolls right on past them, even when the gophs are working. Laziest cat I've ever seen. Eats, yawns, grooms, rolls around, sleeps, eats, yawns… Every day, all day.”
There are many beautiful gardens in Mendocino County, with one of the most exquisitely diverse right here in Boonville cultivated over many years by Lucille Estes.
BOONVILLE FARMERS' MARKET
The Boonville Farmers' Market will take place Saturday from 9:30-12:00 in the Boonville Hotel parking lot.
From our Vendors...
Andres and Fernando will be bringing their selection of empanadas.
Natural Products of Boonville is bringing mushrooms and tomato, potato and other starts.
Petit Teton will be at market with meats, veggies, eggs and the canned goods array.
The Yorkville Olive Ranch will be at the Farmers Market on Saturday with both the 2016 and 2017 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tuscan Field Blend. Both the 375 ml and 750 ml bottles will be available. The Meyer lemon infused olive oil will also be available, but only in the 375 ml bottles.
You can make really big savings by buying in bulk, a gallon or more. You would need to provide your own glass or stainless steel container. Please telephone the ranch house to make an appointment or to be sure someone is there..The number is 894-0530.
PLANT SALE AT ANDERSON VALLEY NURSERY
AV Nursery Invites you to the one and only Ken Montgomery Memorial Sale
Friday May 18th, Saturday May 19th, and Sunday May 20th
10 am to 4 pm (one weekend only)
18151 Mountain View Road, Boonville
All Plants And Trees Drastically Reduced For Sale!
--2 for 1 sale--
Natives, Mediterraneans, Trees, Shrubs, Olives, Rock Roses, Sages, Pipevines, and many more.
EATING OUR OWN?
Somehow, the un-hinged have labeled me a “Conservative Republican”, “anti-choice” and “anti-women”. Being that I am the father of three progressive young women and married for 28 years, I’m not sure how this has been determined: is there some type of test that I am unaware of taking? Yes, apparently it seems I am currently registered as Republican, in that prior to that, as a decline to state voter, I was not getting a full slate in the presidential elections. I never bothered to change it and don’t really care. Generally, I feel that both of the major parties are toxic, and only bring out the worst in people. The coast Democrats eat their own, as demonstrated in the current endorsement controversy involving Chris Skyhawk and Jared Huffman, for which I feel bad for Chris.
Regards earlier editorial observations in this paper about a lack of real ideas being championed in the Fifth District race, I can say that any idea, slogan, proclamation or promise is both premature and ill-advised until one of us takes the seat in January 2019. There is a universe of difference between cheap, one-off remarks about fixing roads, pensions, homelessness, mental health, etc.. etc… etc… and reality. The real difference is what life and professional experience the individual candidate will bring to the job with them once they are successful with the voters. The candidate’s quality of decision-making is the key. This is what needs to be asked.
Campaigning is demeaning to both the voters and the candidates. It is intrusive, artificial and operates within a vacuum. Opinion is not actuality or proof of consciousness. The shrillest voices hurling denouncements tend towards pathology. Is there no better way? Electing a prom King or Queen feels more sophisticated and reasoned. This grinding atmosphere is what keeps most people from participating in our democratic process. “Progressives” and “Conservatives” are both guilty of poisoning the well of our collective society with neither side interested in resolution. The general public has tolerance for none of this.
REBECCA JOHNSON, OPEN STUDIO
Open May 26, 27 and 28
New stone carvings and paintings inspired by the beauty of place and my interest in natural resources. Rebecca Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org www.rebeccajohnsonart.com
DRIVE-BY SHOOTER CONVICTED; TICKET PUNCHED FOR STATE PRISON.
UKIAH, Wed., May 16. — A defendant who committed a drive-by shooting in Gualala in January 2013 was convicted by plea today in the Mendocino County Superior Court. The defendant's jury trial had been scheduled to begin this coming Monday.
Christopher John Ochoa, age 26, of Rohnert Park, plead guilty to assault with a shotgun, a felony, and admitted he was the person who personally handled and fired the shotgun. A victim was hit by the shotgun blast fired by the defendant resulting in the partial loss of her vision.
By agreement, the defendant will be sentenced to state prison but the term of that commitment -- from a low of five (5) years up to the maximum of fourteen (14) years -- will be decided by the sentencing judge on June 13th at 9 o'clock in the morning in Department H of the Ukiah courthouse. Any person interested in this case and/or this defendant is welcome to attend that sentencing hearing.
The lengthy delay in bringing this case to resolution was caused by the defendant's flight from justice. Fleeing just days before his case was to be presented to a jury in 2013, the defendant was a fugitive from justice from May 2013 until November 2017.
The prosecutor who is handling this matter is Deputy District Attorney Luke Oakley. The investigating law enforcement agencies were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the California Department of Justice crime laboratory. The sentencing judge on June 13th will be Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke.
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Background, AVA, Feb 2013:
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday that a woman smoking a cigarette outside her home in Gualala suffered a severe eye injury when she was struck by shotgun pellets fired in her direction. A description of the car from which the shotgun was fired led Sonoma County deputies to the Kashia reservation at Stewarts Point where they arrested Lamont Salgado, 18, and Christopher Ochoa, 21, and took a .20-gauge shotgun from them. The 39-year-old victim was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital; she has not been identified. She had been standing outside the home a little after 10pm when a white car passed by and someone fired four to five shotgun rounds in her direction. Salgado and Ochoa were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.
ON THE ABOVE REPORT, the Press Democrat's comment line lit up:
Sean Gee, Waterboarding & Interrogation Instructor at Norcal Crime Labs INC: It wasn't attempted murder. The investigation (so far) has shown that the suspects fired at the parked car, of which they thought there were no occupants (there weren't). The victim was hit as a result of the scattering nature of the shotgun shells used. I do agree though, throw (any possible) book at these kids.
Jackie Barthew: What a couple of idiots. Someone whistled at them and now they must take out their revenge by doing a drive-by on someone's car. They need a good long time in jail and some community service.
Gustavo Barragan: Point Arena High School. They need to go to prison for a long time and these stupid kids were drunk, worthless.
Kenneth Aaron: The Mendonoma Coast and its denizens certainly have their share of Drama.
Eric David Lotter, Special Education Teacher at Anova: I worked with Lamont at Point Arena High School for a while. Nice kid but getting involved in gangs and not showing up to school. Yes, he is from the reservation. The gangs, I believe are an outside influence, not centered in the reservation.
(MENDO DA HAS A SIMILAR CASE PENDING)
How An Irked Northern California Postal Patron Helped Crack A Global Plant Smuggling Scheme
Undercover Agents Infiltrate The Global Black Market For Succulents
by Lisa Krieger
California’s wildlife detectives have cracked an international plant heist, sleuthing from the most curious clues — spilled dirt from mailed packages, stuffed backpacks left on ocean bluffs, a suspicious van filled with big boxes, and holes in the sand.
It’s the Golden State’s first-ever undercover plant investigation — and a tale of amazing obsession, where vigilant authorities, passionate plant lovers and an irked postal customer discovered that foreign thieves are slipping into California’s wild landscapes, fueling a budding black market in the lucrative exotic plant industry.
The suspects, Korean and Chinese nationals, face criminal charges.
And the kidnapped plants — small, squat and cherished succulents called Dudleya farinosa –– once again are back in American soil. This week, volunteers returned more than 2,000 plants to their wild and windswept Northern California coastal cliffs. Hundreds more will stay in pots, tended by other volunteers, until autumn replanting.
“These plants belong to California. They’re ours,” said an undercover agent with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the lead agency in a team that also includes the U.S. Postal Service, federal, state and East Bay parks services, California Native Plant Society, UC Santa Cruz, and local citizens.
“But it’s overwhelming,” worried the agent, who asked to remain anonymous. “How many more are we missing?”
The state’s wardens have nabbed suspects in three separate thefts along the Humboldt and Mendocino coast. There’s been one conviction; the other two cases are still pending.
But they fear that many more plants have vanished, still unnoticed. A thriving black market in Asia means the California native plant is vulnerable wherever it grows, they say, from Oregon to the Mexican border. One variety, found in Santa Clara County, is endangered; local naturalists won’t disclose its locations, to protect it.
Investigators suspect that organized smuggling rings, based in Asia, where the stolen plants fetch up to $50 a pop, are behind the crimes. An ascending Chinese middle class, whose millions can now afford decorative plant arrangements, is fueling demand.
At first glance, the plants — also called “bluff lettuce” or “powdery liveforever” — seem hardly worth the effort.
These blue-green blobs, with rosettes of fleshy leaves tipped in vermilion, have an oddly alien appearance. They lack the easy glamour of California’s other commonly poached species, such as abalone, sturgeon, salmon, crab, bear, antelope and elk.
But they burst into beauty when they bloom, erecting a tall stem and a candelabra-like cluster of yellow flowers.
With legions of devotees and even their own Facebook page, Dudleya have long been admired for their tenacity. Named after William Russell Dudley — the first head of Stanford’s botany department — the plant is adapted for California’s most foggy, windy and forsaken spots. It is slow growing and long-lived.
“People call them ‘charismatic,’ ” said Dudleya expert Stephen McCabe, emeritus director of research at UC Santa Cruz Arboretum who helped identify the purloined plants for state wildlife law enforcement officials.
“Sometimes you’ll see one hanging on by a little piece of root in a crack in the rock, and you think: ‘The next wind will take it,’ ” he said. “Then they’re still there the next year.”
The Dudleya community first became alarmed in 2017 when news broke of a 55-feet-long tractor-trailer rig in Baja California stuffed with 4,746 specimens of a particularly rare species, stripped from the only island where they’re found.
Then clandestine poachers came to California.
The big break
The investigation was launched after an anonymous phone call in December to Patrick Freeling, a CDFW game warden known for his diligence.
The caller, frustrated at being stuck in a long line while trying to mail a package last December in Mendocino’s tiny post office, was suspicious.
A man in line ahead of her was shipping 60 packages to China. “What are you shipping?” she asked, as the line grew, snaking out the door. “The man put his finger up to his lip and said, ‘Shhhh, something very valuable,’ ” said Freeling. “Where did you get them?” she asked. The man pointed toward the ocean.
Alerted by Freeling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection X-rayed the packages — and discovered Dudleya.
The second tip also came in by phone. Rushing to the cliffs near Point Arena, Freeling recognized the suspect from the post office’s video surveillance. The man carried 50 Dudleya in his backpack.
Uh oh, thought Freeling. “This is going to be the new thing,” he warned other coastal wardens.
The next tip was a suspicious minivan parked on Highway 1 along the Mendocino coast, loaded with boxes. Suspecting its driver was an abalone poacher, Freeling crawled through the dense underbrush toward two large backpacks, left on the bluffs. Poking them, he felt something else: Dudleya.
The suspected crooks
The suspects spoke no English and carried Korean passports. Back at their van — rented at San Francisco International Airport and headed to Los Angeles — Freeling found 850 more plants and 1,450 smaller “rosettes.”
“It is my belief that they were picking plants, filling boxes, filling the van and shipping them as they moved south down the coast,” said Freeling. “They had numerous contacts for succulent dealers in California and abroad.”
Savvy U.S. Customs and U.S. Postal Service workers were behind the most recent bust on April 4. One opened a box from Humboldt County — labeled “spokes” — and reported the plants to CDFW. Another noticed dirt falling out of boxes. Yet another, passionate about succulents since childhood, found and shared the sender’s address. Surveillance began.
Wildlife officers pulled over the suspects’ van, rented at the Las Vegas airport, then made arrests and seized 1,334 plants — all on their way to being shipped overseas.
Then, armed with a search warrant, they raided the suspects’ cabin among the redwoods at the cheap and threadbare Ocean Grove Lodge in Trinidad. Authorities found another 1,000 Dudleya there.
“I walked into the room and saw a tarp on the ground, with tons of plants on it,” said the CDFW undercover investigator. “There’s this anxious feeling. You’re thinking, ‘How bad is this?’ ”
Three men — Taehun Kim, 52, and Taeyun Kim, 46, both of Korea, and Liu Fengxia, 37, of China — were booked into Humboldt County Jail. They’ll be arraigned on May 16.
The tragedy of poaching is not just the pock marks left across the cliffs, said McCabe. Or the damage done when thieves scramble across a delicate landscape, like children on an Easter egg hunt. Or the broken link in the food chain for insects and birds, and the loss of nature’s complexity.
It’s the pointless death of the plants — in capture, transit or after sale — that most distresses him. If boxed in damp darkness or overwatered, a Dudleya’s roots rot. It turns into brown mush.
“They are tough as nails in exactly the right spot,” McCabe said. “But many times the collected plants just die.”
Nancy Morin, president of the Point Arena-based chapter of the California Native Plant Society, which is offering foster care to hundreds of plants until autumn, called it “a punch in the gut. It’s astonishing. Horrifying.”
The theft and illegal trade of individual plants is a longstanding problem: Bay Area homeowners sometimes wake to find divots where there once were succulents, and the federal government electronically tags thousands of cacti in Saguaro National Park. But the audacity of the recent thefts is unprecedented.
The investigations will continue, as new tips arrive, said Patrick Foy of CDFW.
“Once it hit our radar screen, and we looked more for it, we discovered that it’s bigger than we thought,” he said.
Eventually, the thieves will be sent back to Asia. But — this time — the Dudleya are staying in California.
Have a tip about poaching?
Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.
(San Jose Mercury News)
NOW THEY'RE POACHING PURPLE SEA URCHINS!
At its April 2018 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) adopted emergency regulations to increase the daily bag limit for purple sea urchins taken while skin or SCUBA diving off Mendocino and Sonoma counties only. Purple sea urchins fall under the general invertebrate bag limit of 35 per day, but the emergency regulations now in effect will allow a daily bag limit of 20 gallons with no limit on possession. The emergency regulation will remain in effect for 180 days (until Nov. 6, 2018) unless extended by the Commission. Upon expiration, the bag limit will return to 35. A recent explosion in purple sea urchin populations off northern California has prompted requests for increased daily bag limits as an option to reduce purple urchin numbers. The increase in purple urchin populations is one of several extreme environmental conditions contributing to a widespread collapse of northern California kelp forests.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is collaborating with commercial divers, academic researchers and stakeholders to clear purple sea urchins in select test plots in order to study the effectiveness of clearing on restoring the bull kelp ecosystem. CDFW and its partners are working on permits and procedures to conduct controlled experiments to evaluate smashing compared to collecting purple sea urchins in these test plots.
CDFW reminds recreational participants that the new recreational limit allows urchin collection while skin or SCUBA diving by hand, and that there are regulations against waste of fish. Recreational harvesters of urchin must put harvested urchins to use. Smashing and disposing of sea urchins in the trash is still illegal.
Besides collecting purple urchins to extract gonads for eating, the urchins can make a good addition to compost material.
(Press Release From The California Department Of Fish And Wildlife)
JAMES MARMON WRITES:
Mendocino County presents update on mental health services:
“Resident James Marmon, following the annual presentation to the board by the county’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and its main contractor, Ukiah-based Redwood Quality Management Company, said the public has been provided very little information about what RQMC actually does and referenced the 2016 Lee Kemper report, commissioned by the county executive office to review the progress and effectiveness to deliver mental health services to adults and children.
“In a recent email to the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission and the California Department of Health Care Services, Marmon stated the county has serious problems and is currently spending $28 million a year of taxpayers’ mental health dollars ‘with absolutely no accountability as to where or how our MHSA dollars and other mental health funds are being distributed’.”
“Chief Operations Officer Anne Molgaard said the Administrative Services Organization is required to provide monthly, quarterly and annual reporting to participate in administrative and utilization review services. According to Molgaard, state agencies perform an audit every three years with the next one scheduled for fall. She stated these external quality reviews include both the ASO and the county.”
Anne Molgaard is being deceptive.
The State external quality review (audit) every three years, and the administrative and utilization reviews (monthly, quarterly and annually) pertain to Medi-Cal billing only, They are not financial summary reports providing updates on financing, budgeting, expenditure and service delivery information on all aspects of the Mental Health Delivery System, as Kemper recommended to the board of supes.
Where’s the money Camille?
James Marmon MSW
PS. The reviews Molgaard refers to are far from the independent audit that Kemper recommended.
ONE TRAILER TOO SMALL
On 05-08-2018 at approximately 10:20 P.M., Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported domestic violence incident in the area of Highway 20 and Cropley Lane in Willits. Deputies and officers with the Willits Police Department responded to the area where they contacted a 31 year-old female. Deputies learned the female was in a dating relationship with Javier Garcia, 30, of Willits, and they were staying in a trailer in the 500 block of Cropley Lane.
Earlier in the evening on 5-08-2018, Garcia and the female were in the trailer when Garcia threatened the female's safety. A short time later, the female and Garcia were traveling in a vehicle on Cropley Lane when Garcia began to choke the female. The female was driving the vehicle and stopped the car in the roadway. Garcia released his grip on the female's neck and they began traveling again in the vehicle on Cropley Lane. Garcia began choking the female again and she was struck in the face by Garcia's elbow so the female stopped the car. Garcia demanded that the female exit the vehicle and she complied. Garcia drove the vehicle away from the scene and the female walked towards Highway 20 and called law enforcement to report the incident. The female had injuries to her neck and mouth after being assaulted by Garcia. Sheriff's Office dispatch determined the female had a served domestic violence restraining order issued in Lake County Superior Court against Garcia. The Deputies and Willits Police Officers responded to the trailer where Garcia was staying in an attempt to question him about this incident, but were unable to locate Garcia. An order to arrest Garcia was issued by the Deputies for Felony Domestic Violence Battery and Violation of a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. On 05-08-2018 at approximately 6:05 P.M., Deputies received information that Garcia was currently inside a trailer located in the 500 block of Cropley Lane. Deputies responded to the trailer and took Garcia into custody for the above charges without incident. Garcia was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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ANOTHER WILLITS MACHO MAN
On 05-07-2018 at approximately 12:10 P.M., Deputies with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the area of the Hearst-Willits Road near the Willits Bypass for a distraught female who called 911. Deputies responded to the area and located a female on East Commercial Street. The female was visibly upset and advised she was just involved in a physical altercation with her boyfriend, identified as Tate Madson, 22, of Willits.
Deputies learned on 05-07-2018 at approximately 11:30 P.M., she and Mason were at an encampment in the area when she was physically assaulted. The female was pushed to the ground multiple times and punched in the face by Madson during the incident. The female had a visible injury to her neck and was experiencing pain in her face, head, and jaw from being assaulted by Madson. When speaking with the female, Madson approached the Deputies and was interviewed regarding this incident. The Deputies investigated this incident and ultimately advised and placed Madson under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Madson was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
* * *
HANOVER HANDED OVER
On 05-07-2018 at approximately 12:55 P.M., a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a subject causing a disturbance on Crawford Road in Covelo. The Deputy contacted the reporting party and determined that no crimes were being committed by the subject, who was identified as Patrick Hanover, 47, of Covelo.
MCSO dispatch determined Hanover had a felony warrant issued for his arrest from Napa County Superior Court for Criminal Threats with a $50,000 bail. The Deputy was contacted by Round Valley Tribal Police officers, who advised they had detained Hanover for his arrest warrant. The Deputy responded to the Round Valley Tribal Police Office where he took Hanover into custody without incident. Hanover was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail pursuant to the arrest warrant.
* * *
JUST SITTING DOWN TO THE WARRIORS GAME, WHEN…
On 05-14-2018 at approximately 1:30 P.M., a Deputy with the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was on uniformed patrol in the Laytonville. The Deputy was contacted by a Mendocino County Probation Officer, who advised that Levi Lamoureux, 29, of Covelo, was currently at his home on North Road.
The Probation Officer informed the Deputy that Lamoureux had an active order for his arrest that was issued for him violating the terms of his probation. The Deputy responded to Lamoureux's residence in the 1200 block of North Road where he advised and placed Lamoureux under arrest without incident. Lamoureux was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held on a no-bail status pursuant to the probation arrest order.
* * *
THE POTTER VALLEY DIVERTED
05-17-2018 at approximately 9:00 AM, members of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office County of Mendocino Marijuana Enforcement Team (COMMET), assisted by Wardens from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Officers from the Ukiah Police Department served a Mendocino County Superior Court search warrant on Shane Timothy Earl Sawdon, 34, of Potter Valley.
Sawdon had been identified as being a convicted sex offender, who was running a marijuana cultivation operation in the 8000 block of Gibson Lane in Potter Valley. Prior investigation revealed Sawdon had obtained a Mendocino County permit and a State of California permit to operate a cannabis cultivation site previous to being convicted as a sex offender. The California Health and Safety Code prohibits persons convicted of serious violent offenses and those offenses for which one must register as a sex offender from cultivating marijuana or processing marijuana. Thus, when Sawdon was convicted for the crime which required him to register as a sex offender, he was prohibited from cultivating marijuana. Upon contacting Sawdon during the search warrant, Sawdon indicated he was residing in a mobile home located at the marijuana cultivation site during the week and at an address in Willits where his sex offender registration states he lives on the weekends. During the investigation, evidence indicated Sawdon was not living in Willits as he had registered pursuant to his sex offender registration requirement and it was believed he was living full time at the marijuana cultivation site in Potter Valley. This was a violation of the terms of his registration requirements as a sex offender. During the service of the search warrant, approximately 1,500 marijuana plants were located along with some processed marijuana. Additionally, a handgun was found in Sawdon's residence and he was determined to be a person prohibited by law from possessing a firearm due to prior criminal convictions. Sawdon was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for cultivation of marijuana as a person prohibited by law due to a conviction requiring registration as a sex offender; Possession of marijuana for sale; being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm; and failure to register a new address. Sawdon was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
* * *
CHINESE TWEEKER? (ONLY IN COVELO)
On 05-15-2018 at approximately 3:15 P.M., a Deputy was on uniformed patrol in a marked patrol vehicle responding to a call for service in the Covelo. The Deputy was driving in the 24000 block of Foothill Boulevard searching for the dispatched call for service. When searching for the address, the Deputy observed a male adult subject walking on the south side of the roadway. Upon seeing the Deputy, the male subject quickly turned away and placed his hand in front of his face in a possible attempt to conceal his identity. The male subject then began running south away from the roadway and the Deputy stopped to attempt to speak with the individual. When speaking with the male, he identified himself and was checked for warrants and probation with MCSO dispatch. The subject informed the Deputy he had a knife in his pocket so the Deputy conducted a search for possible weapons. When obtaining the knife from the subject's pocket, a bag of suspected methamphetamine fell out of the pocket. The Deputy detained the subject in handcuffs at that time and conducted a further search of the suspect. The Deputy located another bag of suspected methamphetamine in the subject's pocket. The Deputy advised and placed the subject under arrest for Possession of Controlled Substance. The Deputy learned that the subject had no form of legitimate identification on his person. The Deputy was later able to confirm the subject's true identity to be Robert Huang, 36, of Covelo from prior booking photographs in Mendocino County.
This was not the same name the subject provided when initially speaking with the Deputy. The other name provided by Huang was confirmed to be a real person who is believed to be a relative of Huang. The Deputy advised Huang he was also being placed under arrest for giving False Identification to a Peace Officer. Huang was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
ON THIS DAY in 1865 Thomas H. Petersen married Sophia Von. Over the years, they had five healthy children.
Thomas Petersen built about three dozen wooden vessels: sailing schooners, a barkentine, steam schooners, steam tugs and lighters. Most of ships were built on the Mendocino Coast, including Russian Gulch, Noyo Harbor, and Little River.
Louis A. Hough is the author of a Mendocino Review book about Petersen’s life and works, from his arrival in San Francisco from Denmark in 1857 to his final years in Seattle. In 1914, Petersen dictated his memoirs which provided much of the information in the book.
The book is available at The Kelley House Museum and online at kelleyhousemuseum.org/store.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 17, 2018
CHRISTINE BLACKSHEAR, Fort Bragg. Maintenance of place for selling, giving or using drugs, resisting.
OSCAR DIAZ-RAYA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-loitering-private property, under influce, controlled substance, construction/sales of leaded cane or similar.
MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer)
JOSEPH GRANT, Fremont/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TY GUTIEREZ, Moreno Valley/Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.
WILLIAM PARKER, Westport. DUI, misdemeanor hit&run with property damage.
SHANE SAWDON, Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, convicted person with firearm.
BRANDY YOKUM, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I have been, several times, on police lines with a mob of agitated citizens throwing “rocks”…actually halves of red brick common. Some of those bastards had good arms…we were dodging them from 70-80 yards away…never shot any of them, however. It should be noted that when we did occasionally catch one of the “throwers”, he was arrested with…enthusiasm.
by Clay Geerdes (1996)
Come up to the lab
And see what’s on the slab!
— Dr. Frank N. Furter, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
A little romp through the graveyard, skeletons dancing in the moonlight, some tales from the crypt, or the vault of horror revisited? Perhaps a stopover in the twilight zone… Sounds like fun for forensic fans, but Bill Maples’ anecdotes and stories are all documented in police and court files and most of them prove the cliché that truth is a hell of a lot stranger than fiction.
William R. Maples is the forensic anthropologist who personally investigated the deaths of people as diverse as Francisco Pizarro, President Zachary Taylor, and Tsar Nicholas II. Maples has had more to do with identifying the remains of soldiers missing in action in Korea, Viet Nam, Cambodia, and other scenes of US battle than any other medical examiner. Maples called his autobiography “Dead Men Do Tell Tales” [with Michael Browning, New York: Doubleday, 1994] and it’s one of a kind, grosser and more detailed than the two tomes of LA’s Thomas Noguchi. This is one my fellow armchair detectives will not want to miss, particularly after the frustrating ordeal of the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, where good solid scientific analysis was tossed out the window in favor of blatant racism.
For you lay folks out there, a forensic anthropologist is a bone specialist, one who analyzes remains or cremains and determines the cause of death. It’s not an old revered profession, rather a line of work which evolved out of murder. As the number of murders has increased in our time, more and more medical examiners are needed, but this does not mean they are hired or that those who are hired are adequately trained.
Maples’ specialty developed out of necessity. In the early thirties, the FBI took their problems to the Smithsonian Institute, because there were cultural anthropologists there who could identify bones and deduce what had happened to them in life. I know, I know, you thought these folks just dug up old dinosaur bones and wired them together for museum exhibits. Well, that is certainly one of their interests but not the one that is going to pay for the rent and groceries.
Maples’ cases, the more famous of them, have been covered on television, but his versions are fascinating to read. For many years, it was rumored that President Zachary Taylor might have been poisoned with arsenic, but no one exhumed the body and did the analytic work to prove the idea one way or another. Easy to check out, because arsenic remains in the bones for years after death, so it was only necessary to get permission and hire the experts to do the work.
So how do you start? Surprise. All you need is permission from the senior surviving family member. The remains of all relatives belong to the family forever. Taylor’s descendants were traced and gave permission and the project moved ahead under Bill Maples’ supervision. Yes, the US government tried to intrude, and no, they didn’t get anywhere. Ex-Presidents still belong to their families, not to the government. Taylor was exhumed, samples taken and analyzed, and, no, he didn’t die of arsenic poisoning. Case closed, though the rumor, I am sure, will linger on.
In most detective stories, the cops find the bodies and call the medical examiner and the bodies are taken to the lab for autopsy and analysis and those of us who enjoy procedural mysteries relish the science used to determine what actually happened. For us, Maples is a goldmine of inside information. A cop hands him a small piece of something and is surprised when he touches it with his tongue, then explains that it’s a piece of rock, not bone because bone would adhere to the tongue. Rock doesn’t. Maples glances at a corpse and finds dead maggots and explains that maggots cannot live underground. I didn’t know that. What this tells him is that the body was exposed for a day or so before someone buried it, just long enough for the flies to lay their eggs in the exposed wounds. The larvae hatch in about 24 hours and begin to eat the flesh. Nor does decay take as long as you might think. “The minimum time of total skeletonization is not nine years, nor yet nine months, nor even nine weeks; it may occur in nine days or thereabouts.” Temperature and exposure are major factors. “A buried corpse may last nearly forever in icy ground.”
Think suicide is easy? Just eat the old gun and check into the pearly gates? Maples tells the story of a hapless lawyer who decided to end it all. “When the police came to the room and took the gun from his hand, the wounded man was still very much alive, still able to look at them, follow them with his eyes. The shooting occurred late in the afternoon and it was my duty at the hospital to remain with him, during a painfully slow death watch, until he died at last, sometime after midnight. The investigation revealed that the unfortunate attorney had put the barrel of the gun in his mouth and fired five times. Two bullets had exited from the side of his face, two more exited his cranial vault near the top of the skull, and the fifth bullet remained lodged in his brain. It is not unusual for autopsies to disclose multiple gunshot wounds in suicide victims, although these occur most commonly in wounds of the torso. For a man to shoot himself five times in the head and live as long as this lawyer did, was rare indeed.”
Some of the cases that came to Maples appeared to be suicides, but were later determined to be accidents. I thought this one was cute: “A poor soul, for whom pain and pleasure were obviously closely akin, attached an electric train transformer to his penis with alligator clips and was in the habit of administering mild shocks to his genitals. Regrettably, on one occasion — the last! — the transformer shorted out, and he received the full 110-volt household charge. He was instantaneously and ignominiously electrocuted. This case, when presented at one of our meetings, was interesting because the parents of the deceased had removed all evidence of the transformer before the police investigators showed up. They were understandably horrified and chagrined to discover their son dead under such sordid circumstances and did their best to conceal the manner of his death. But alligator clips leave very characteristic marks and these were plainly visible at the autopsy. After a few shrewd, discreet questions on the part of the investigators, the unhappy parents broke down and revealed the full, shabby truth of the matter. The death was ruled accidental .”
Great plot for “Murder She Wrote,” huh? I can see Jessica standing there explaining it all to an inept cop. “Ah, yes, inspector, but those strange dark marks on the boy’s testicles were made by alligator clips!” We should live so long.
Those who followed the DNA evidence in the Simpson trial will be interested to know that “the shafts of human hair are largely composed of dead material, devoid of significant amounts of DNA. Only hair plucked by the roots from the scalp can be tested for DNA with any real hope of success.” I recommend Maples’ extended discussion of DNA.
The first novel to deal with DNA in a criminal case was Joseph Wambaugh’s “The Blooding” and since that time a lot of progress has been made in the technique.
William Maples is based at the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, and there is a lot of great dark humor in his auto-bio. I’m sure he intended some of it, because he shows himself to be a man with a good sense of humor about his gruesome occupation, but he comes up with lore you have to laugh about in spite of yourself.
Like this: “Silicone breast implants are a funeral director’s nightmare, as they tend to pop open and melt messily all over the inside of the retort [the area where a corpse is cremated]. Hence, no effort is spared to detect and remove them before the rest of the body is burned. If they are not subjected to fire, these bags of silicon are wonderfully indestructible and will long outlast their owners. I have found breast implants around scattered skeletons that have decomposed in the open. We had a case in central Florida in which we were examining a female skeleton and its personal effects. One of my female graduate students, who had led a sheltered life, was watching while I found and poked a breast augmentation implant. It jiggled like a jelly-filled bag. ‘I don’t understand,’ the student said innocently. ‘What’s a jellyfish doing this far inland?’ It took her a long time to live that error down.”
My cartoon-y mind goes mad with stuff like that. I see a family out on one of those Neptune cruises on the Bay. They move under the Golden Gate Bridge and open the container to spread the beloved’s ashes on the waters, someone prepares to recite one of the loved one’s favorite lines of poetry, and off into the drink plop two shining bags of silicon.
* * *
(ED NOTE: The late Clay Geerdes wrote frequently for the AVA in the mid-1990s. He died in San Francisco in July of 1997 of advanced liver cancer. After teaching English at several California colleges he embarked on a photo-journalism career during which he contributed art, photography, news and commentary to numerous Bay Area alternative publications.)
COAST HOSPITAL’S NEW BABY WARMERS
"The Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation is pleased to announce that three infant warmers have been donated to Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) for use in the OB Department.
'The Foundation knows how important maintaining quality OB services on the Coast is to our community and this donation is a reflection of our commitment to our donors and community,' Foundation Executive Director, Michelle Roberts noted.
The Resuscitaire® warmer, made by Dräger, is used to maintain the body temperature of newborn infants. The warmer’s primary function is to reduce cold stress on newborns, which can lead to hypoglycemia, respiratory distress, hypoxia, acidosis and other problems.
'These warmers will make a big difference for our newborns and for our staff. They have fewer hoses and moving parts, added functions for respiratory care, and are easier to use,' commented Diana Dilley, RN from MCDH’s OB Department. 'We are very excited to have these in our department.'
The warmer keeps the baby warm; it supplies oxygenated air to the newborn, and allows the care team easy access to the newborn patient. Unlike an incubator, a warmer is not enclosed and consists of a small bed, a heating element that delivers radiant heat, sensors, controls, timers, and alarms. A simple temperature sensor is placed on the baby’s abdomen that communicates with the warmer and keeps temperatures at a constant level.
'The purchase of these warmers by our Foundation will significantly improve our level of care for newborn infants and will enable caregivers to concentrate on patients rather than equipment. Thank you to our wonderful Foundation for this and many other donations they have made to support our commitment of providing high-quality care to our community,' said Bob Edwards, CEO.
SPANTSA’S SECRETS II
On stage this weekend: Zuzka Sabata's The Secret Life of Spantsa.
An original one-woman play created and performed by Zuzka Sabata, The Secret Life of Spantsa is based on the life of Olive Oatman, a European-American woman who, in 1852, found herself adopted by the Mojave Tribe. This highly physical performance delves into the seamy side of American expansionary history by moving beyond the standard narrative of so-called captivity stories into the inner world of a woman caught between cultures and permanently marked by murder.
The Secret Life of Spantsa will be performed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday -- May 17, 18, & 19 -- on the Mendocino Theatre Company stage. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth 22 and under. Reserved seating. Tickets available online at mendocinotheatre.org or by phoning the box office at 707-937-4477.
"Sabata conveys Spantsa’s story with grace and grit, and the performer’s openness and vulnerability onstage echo and enhance that of her subject."
— Lauraine Leblanc, Mad River Union
LUNCH WITH AL AT RHODY'S
Getting hungry? Try Rhody’s Cafe for an al fresco lunch with a view! Rhody’s is located on the entry plaza at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. There is never an admission fee to dine at the Cafe or shop at the Nursery or Garden Store. Today’s Specials: Falafels, Reubens, Teriyaki Bowl (Chicken or Tempeh). Follow Rhody’s Cafe at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens on Facebook for lunch specials and drool-worthy updates: facebook.com/RhodysGardenCafe/
IN DEFENSE OF COAST HOSPITAL (Coast Listserve)
Reality check re MCDH—
I find this unbelievable. Seriously, I can't believe he had to sit there for 72 hours without a break. How about more details when there are complaints. I have used our emergency room a number of times and although I didn't like waiting for 2 or 3 hours (a normal waiting time), I also was treated immediately when my issue was critical. And I was immediately placed in intensive care because my situation was critical.
I have found the people in the emergency room to be generally as good or better than the many other ERs I've experienced.
There is lots more to this story and you do everyone a disservice by presenting it the way you do. Would you rather have no emergency room?
Yes, there are some real issues there. But, sad to say, I've been treated better at our hospital than I was treated at Stanford, or at Kaiser in Oakland or Kaiser in Tuscon, Arizona. The only hospitals where I received better treatment were two community hospitals, one in Ely, NV and another one in North Dakota. Much worse treatment in Bilbao, Spain, for example.
Let's stop ragging on our hospital and start by replacing the board with better, more experienced, more skilled people. And if I hear another person claim that they would be a good board member because they owned a small business, I will puke.
Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want'."
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."
SLAFKES VS. McCLEAN
On the Coast Listserve Mark Slafkes (who sits on the Fort Bragg Senior Center Board of Directors) wrote:
To Marco McClean:
I think your ageism is… well … I don't want to get into a pissing match with you. But I find it offensive.
Clearly you have a different philosophy about how to run a non-profit, one which I leaned towards many ages ago. But my experience is that it is the volunteers that give non-profits important energy and fill spaces that there is just not enough money to fill. As for how much directors of these agencies get paid, I was just talking with a friend today about another non-profit which had a membership of 1200 and which paid the director $200,000 a year. I was on the board when that was decided and I was the only one who protested. I had been introduced by other members of the board as "our Socialist." Nice?
But your rage and nasty behavior towards others at KZYX is certainly a reason why if I were on the board or part of management, I would refuse to "give" you a slot as a volunteer. I just don't think you play nice and when working in a large volunteer-based organization, playing nice needs to be part of the social ecology of the organization.
So, I'm done trying to communicate with you. I've tried to communicate without behaving like an ___hole. And, believe me, I'm more than capable of that.
So, if you want to keep demonstrating why the decisions to not give you a slot were good ones, so be it. I get it. I'm 72 and my participation in volunteer organizations started when I was 17 and included important ones like the Civil Rights Movement (marching with some well-known people and spending time in prison in Alabama) and the Poverty Program (being threatened with death in Eastern Kentucky because of the work I was doing) and membership in a Socialist Collective in Orange County, CA (oh the memory of meeting at the VVAW in Oceanside, CA in a house riddled with bullet holes and sitting on the floor behind a mound of sand bags) and many, many other organizations including the Mendocino County Grand Jury and the board of the, according to you, awful Senior Center.
Do you want to be effective or do you want to continue to attack people? An interesting choice, don't you think?
* * *
Hi, Mark. Marco here.
To start out, listen: I love the Senior Center; it's creepy that you think I don't, from what I wrote. I like the people who run it and patronize it and help there and are helped. I like everything about it; what's not to like? I was writing about the KZYX board meeting that was set there.
And I get along great with the people who run KNYO and KMEC, volunteering my time and work. I got along great at and with KMFB, when there was a KMFB, and everyone was freer there to create and experiment and enjoy doing radio than anyone has ever been at KZYX; nobody was breathing down our necks, the Safe Harbor rule was observed, and KMFB reached the same county that KZYX reaches, but KMFB properly paid all the airpeople and did it all on half the budget of KZYX.
I repeat: on half the budget of KZYX, and no $160,000 CPB grant, either. Manager Bob Woelfel made sure to pay all the airpeople at KMFB before he paid himself. A real manager does that. That's the main part of a manager's job: pay the workers. Bob paid us by the hour and by a cut of the underwriting we brought in. The bookkeeper kept everything straight with a computer program; it's not hard. KZYX and its sycophants and cheerleaders repeat and repeat that there's no money to pay airpeople. But that's a lie. KZYX bosses simply mismanage the $600,000 (!) they burn through every year, and a large part of that mismanagement is paying the management bloc, the people in the office, $300,000 a year to do everything the manager of KNYO, say, does by himself and takes no money at all for.
On my own I may not be effective at changing the hearts and minds of the closed club that the management and board of KZYX are, but I am pretty effective in the real world. I edited and/or edit/published countywide truly public-access newspapers for years. That takes way harder work and longer hours than managing a radio station does, and I paid myself nothing. Whenever there was money left over after paying for the print run it went to whoever needed it most. Sometimes to a typist. Sometimes to the volunteer women who did part of the delivery run. I have always maintained several part-time jobs to support myself. Helping maintain KMFB and doing my show there was one of those jobs. Doing a radio show is work that deserves compensation. And the poobahs at KZYX know that, otherwise they wouldn't spend tax-derived grant money from the CPB on contributing to paying for canned shows like, say, the one Ira Glass does. Which is a fine show, but did you know that just Ira Glass and the two producers of his one-hour-per-week nonprofit public radio show get $500,000 a year for that? The bosses of KZYX know it, and yet to them it's absurd to even consider paying a local airperson $1,000 a year. That's just $20 a show. Do you see the cognitive disconnect there? And it's not as though there's no money to pay local radio workers. KZYX's high-power broadcast license is a license to coin money. There's always been a firehose of money pouring into KZYX; it's just very badly mismanaged so they have to keep begging for more, and most of the ones doing the begging and manning the phones during the begging drive, like the one starting this week, are not being paid. Or, I dunno, maybe they give them a doughnut, or a kiss on the cheek or a nice card. Perhaps all three.
Effective, though, here: On my own I put up posters and made public-access teevee shows for years with whoever showed up to do their act, and fed them dinner, too. I've built whole radio stations where I made every part of the radio station from circuit diagrams and junk and parts pulled from broken household electronics. In the middle 1980s I put a complete, working quarter-watt radio station in the Albion Whale School for the kids to play with, and I put a fully automatic radio station -- the transmitter fit in a coffee can with a car antenna on top -- in the bell tower of Corners of the Mouth with a phone line and an answering machine hooked to it, that anyone could play with, and lots of people did.
Now I do my eight-hour weekly show and read everything on the air that anyone sends me to read, and anything else interesting that I find in reading during the week. I start the show with half an hour of community announcements. I put callers directly on the air without a swear delay and let them talk until they're finished, just like it used to be at KMFB. And KMEC, when the connection works (which maybe is fixed this time; let's cross our fingers) also runs my show. People wander in off the street — both KMEC and KNYO are smack in the middle of a real town; not out in the middle of fricking nowhere — and I stop what I'm doing and put visitors on the air no matter what they smell like and we deal with whatever they need to deal with. Nobody is doing anything like Memo of the Air on KZYX.
The people who run KZYX have no place for a show like mine. It's too out of their control and too community for them, even though they claim to be a community station. They are not, and they are becoming less so all the time.
Right, and also, Mark, you mentioned Bob Bushansky. I was told after my last letter that I was right about his being behind the noisy destructive ATV park, you know, the 600 acres of forest up Highway 20 that the Rec District needs to turn some money up on quickly to make up for their lousy decisions; they bought it to flatten it and poison it into a golf course, and that didn't work out, so they're putting up a chainsaw-motor Autopia ride instead. Bob Bushansky is president of the board of the Rec District. Is that a vicious attack, to point that out, Mark? because it looks like just news to me, as does the news that, in a unanimous blink-of-an-eye vote the new board of KZYX, without any visible deliberation, handed Bushansky the keys to their treasure room, just like that, because he's a well-off old white guy who wants to stay that way, and how do you do that without a tentacle in every available cashbox? Well-off old white guys have an understanding between them. They like the cut of each other's jib, and they recognize the threat represented by letting the peasants get a little too free and disrespectful. You see it all the way from the national stage down to every benighted little burg. And you also get people like Stuart Campbell, the Grima Wormtongue of KZYX.
And Bob Bushansky's wife Meg Courtney? Before Bob smiled in to replace her on the board of KZYX, for a little while there, when some people on the board would actually respond to the public, I wrote that there should be a link on the station's website to an open forum where deejays and management and boardmembers and listeners could write their ideas and concerns and share them amongst one another where everyone could see, something way better than the yearly community advisory committee whitewash, and Meg wrote back, "Absolutely not! It would turn into a free for all!" Oh, well. Can't have that, can we. Free? For all? Humph.
Current manager Jeffrey Parker and the board clearly are aiming to make KZYX the KQED of Mendocino County. I don't know if you've ever listened to KQED; I turn it on in the car sometimes on the way to or from Juanita's place; you can get it on 128 when you're almost to Cloverdale, and then all the way down 101. It's all syndicated canned shows from thousands of miles away. Some of them are cute and funny, like the word-game show and the still-somewhat-appealing pale shadow of Prairie Home Companion, and there are even a few shows with black-sounding people in them, and that's nice, but there are no local people of any color or stripe just doing radio on KQED. There's even less community and less freedom about KQED than about KZYX. Of course that's what Jeffrey and the KZYX board want, because that's where the money is. The old, well-off boomers are hot for safe, comfortable NPR, and they fall for it and pay for it and the hell with everything and everybody else. They have theirs, and they didn't get it by fairly paying the people whose work put them there.
YOU WOULD THINK It Would Be Impossible to Lose Ground to Trump and the GOP — But You'd Be Wrong
"You’d think it would be just about impossible to lose ground—let alone lose elections—to a collection of plutocratic puppies like this, who have screwed their supporters, served the interests of the oligarchy at the people’s expense, blown up the deficit, and handed the government over to a collection of high-spending, industry shills.
But of course, you’d be wrong."
BELT DOES IT AGAIN
I've blogged about Brandon Belt's vanity about his knowledge of the strike zone before.
He's done it again—taking a called third strike Wednesday to end the game. From Thursday morning's Chronicle:
“We had a really good hitter coming up after that who could have tied the game for us and he never got that chance because (Eddings) calls a ball so far off the plate I don’t think I could have touched it.”
Bullshit. I missed most of the game and tuned in only for the last inning. I had a sense of dread when Belt came up with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Damned if he didn't do it again—taking a called third strike with the bat on his shoulder!
If not an obvious strike, the pitch was close enough to require a defensive, emergency swing to at least foul it off and live to see another pitch.
Anyone who plays baseball at any level learns as a kid that with two strikes you have to protect the plate by swinging at any pitch that's close. Otherwise you can get called out by the umpire like Belt has a habit of doing.
Belt apparently thinks he can ignore that basic baseball lesson now that he's a highly-paid major leaguer — and a major prima donna.
It's just bad baseball, and Belt's vanity — he knows the strike zone better than the umpires! — is hurting his team. Giants' announcer Duane Kuiper enabled Belt's egotism by commenting yesterday that “Belt has a better idea of the strike zone than the umpire.”
Even if that's true — and that pitch was close, not obviously a ball or a strike — Belt's job isn't calling balls and strikes; it's to help his team by not striking out with the bat on his shoulder in critical situations.
Again, batters who take called third strikes should be fined, especially if the strikeout is the last out in the game.
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
AN INTERVIEW WITH NORMAN FINKELSTEIN
‘I’m not betraying the legacy of my parents to make myself palatable.’
by Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein is among the leading scholars on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the United States. His work primarily focuses on the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Nazi Holocaust. For decades, he has advocated for a two state solution on the June 1967 borders, a “just solution to the refugee question,” an end to the Israeli settlements in Palestine, the deconstruction of the border wall, the right to clean water, and an end to the occupation, the Gaza blockade, and the use of force against the Palestinians.
About eleven years ago, after a debate with Alan Dershowitz on Democracy Now!, in which Finkelstein discredited Dershowitz’s book, The Case for Israel, Dershowitz launched a smear campaign against Finkelstein, complete with wholesale lies. Many believe this resulted in the denial of Finkelstein’s tenure around that time at DePaul University, a move that Dershowitz petitioned the university to make.
Despite his widely acknowledged expertise and accomplishments, and praise from his students and readers, Finkelstein remains without a job today. His books are rarely reviewed.
Finkelstein spoke at an event organized by Brattleboro Common Sense in Brattleboro, Vermont, on the history of the Israel-Palestine conflict, current possibilities for social movement groups, and the current tragedies playing out, particularly at the border wall, in Gaza. Following the event, we sat down and discussed his life, his work, public support for Israel in the US, the rise of Bernie Sanders, teaching, and more.
The interview has been shortened here, with bracketed ellipses indicating parts that have been omitted. Some of the language in the questions has been changed for context and clarity. It will appear in two parts in CounterPunch, this being the first. The full interview will be published on matthewvernonwhalan.com.
Part I Personal Background, Obama’s Legacy, Trump and Netanyahu, the United Nations
Matthew Vernon Whalan: Let’s start with your early background – how you got interested in politics, academics, even just reading in general.
Norman Finkelstein: My parents passed through the Nazi Holocaust. Their entire families on both sides were exterminated during the war. Both my parents were in the Warsaw Ghetto until the uprising was suppressed in April 1943. They were then deported to Majdanek Concentration Camp. My father ended up in Auschwitz and in the Auschwitz Death March. My mother was in two slave labor camps. After the war they were in a displaced peoples camp in Austria, and they came over to the US in 1948 or 49’. Both of them were staunch supporters of the Soviet Union, but not because they were communists or even because they were politically engaged – they were not. They supported the Soviet Union because the Soviet Union defeated the Nazis, and they looked at the whole world through the prism of the Nazi Holocaust, and so they felt a real sense of debt to the Soviet Union and the Red Army, to Stalin – in particular to Stalin – and I guess you would call them the last Stalinists until their deaths in 1995. You were not allowed, in their presence, to say even a single word critical of Stalin.
My home was very intensely political, and the salient event was the war in Vietnam, and my mother in particular was – I wouldn’t even say passionate – I would say hysterical, in her hatred toward what the US was doing to the people of Vietnam. And my mother’s moral indignation certainly colored the way I perceive politics […]
And so I attended the [anti-Vietnam War] demonstrations, and then I got into college. The war was still an active issue in my college years – a very active issue – because I went to school 71’-74’. The Paris Peace Treatise was 73’.
But I have to say I wasn’t as active as others because I felt I wanted to study, to prepare myself for what I thought would be the revolution. When I graduated college, I went to work for a radical newspaper – a Maoist newspaper – called The Guardian. And I always knew I would stay the course. So I never felt this need, at that age, to give my all to it, because I knew I was going to give my life to it. That’s how it turned out. Virtually everybody I know from that era went on to fairly conventional lives, and I’m the only one who stuck it out […]
MVW: Let’s get into the political side. We sort of talked about this this morning, when we were talking about the debate on Democracy Now! with Alan Dershowitz. One thing that was so revealing about that was that, for a lot of people, I think, it’s eye-opening to see that what’s being debated is not the solution but the problem. It’s the facts themselves that are being debated. The same tactic is used, say, in climate change denial. The debate on the issue is not over what to do, but rather over what is real […]
NF: What’s interesting about people like Dershowitz is that it tells you something about our intellectual culture – so I have this debate with him; I completely discredit him; I completely expose him; he himself knows he was discredited and exposed, so he goes on this Jihad against me to get me denied tenure. But the fact that he was publicly exposed, publicly discredited – it did not affect his reputation one jot. When Israel comes up in the news, they still go to him.
MVW: But would you say that since then – and not in a correlative way – but since that debate, would you say that the left, in particular, has taken a more critical stance on Israel? […]
NF: It’s impossible, any longer, for any self-respecting leftist to defend the way that Israel carries on. The most they’re willing to defend is Israel’s right to continue to be a Jewish State and opposing the right of return to the Palestinians. On those two issues, elements of the left will draw a line. But apart from that, Israel is completely indefensible.
MVW: That leads well into the next question. You’ve talked a lot about how support for Israel has been bi-partisan for a long time.
NF: In the Congress. Not among the people anymore. If you look at the polls, there’s a huge chasm between Republican Party support for Israel and Democratic Party support for Israel. In the Republican Party it’s like 70 percent, in the Democratic Party it’s about 40 percent, so it’s no longer bi-partisan on the base, but only at the leadership levels and in congressional representation –
MVW: In 2015, the UN releases a report –
NF: The UNCTAD Report.
MVW: In that 2015 report they use the phrase “uninhabitable” to describe what the state of Gaza would be by 2020 if the situation remains the same.
NF: But then in 2017, the UN spokesman said even that was optimistic […] They crossed that threshold. They say when you only have two hours of electricity every day, you’ve crossed the threshold of livability […]
MVW: But soon after that, in 2016, after that 2015 UN prediction about 2020, Obama signed off on what the White House called the largest arms deal ever, a $38 billion arms deal over ten years, going way past the 2020 prediction.
NF: Well, Obama – because he knows who’s got the money, who’s got the power, which is the only thing Obama is concerned with – he gives Israel that deal because that’s going to get him entrées among the people he wants to be among. But Obama’s also – aside from being a groveler and flunky for power – he’s also a narcissist. So, he waits till the end of his second term and then he doesn’t veto the UN resolution on the settlements. Why? One, because it was payback time to Netanyahu – who is really a pretty disgusting racist, the way he treated Obama – I mean, Netanyahu makes it clear: he hates black people.
MVW: Right, even though Obama was more favorable to Israel than even Bush.
NF: He was the best. He’s actually the best Israel has ever had. There wasn’t one UN security council resolution passed against Israel – even Bush passed several – Bush Senior and Junior. So, one reason was it was payback time. The other reason – because you have to understand Obama: he doesn’t have a political bone in his body. He has no interest at all in politics. But he is concerned about his “legacy,” so he wanted to make sure that he could say in his memoir that he gave them the best arms deal in history – so that secures his backers – but he also wants to show that he’s a liberal, a progressive, so he’s going to say I had to abstain in that resolution because the settlements are wrong and we want peace. So it was just for his memoir. He knew the resolution was meaningless. It was November. Trump had already been elected. The Resolution was totally meaningless. But he did that only for his memoirs. He wants to show that he has this enlightened legacy […]
Look, the UN reports are ONLY valuable if and when – until and unless – a mass movement makes use of them. So, right now, the people of Gaza have an opportunity to use those UN reports to publicize why the blockade needs to be lifted. In the absence of any action, any mass resistance, the UN reports just collect dust. And that’s not peculiar to the Israel-Palestine conflict. That’s true of law in general. So take the United States. Brown V. Board of Ed is DECIDED IN 1954 and the US Supreme court SAYS unanimously, as the last sentence reads, ‘separate cannot be equal,’ and so calls for desegregation of the schools. In what’s called ‘Brown II,’ when they have to give a timetable for the desegregation process to unfold, they use the famous expression – what became the famous expression – that the schools had to be desegregated with ‘all deliberate speed.’ So what does that mean? Well, it meant nothing. Ten years later, in 1964, on the eve of the passage of the first Civil Rights Bill, you know what percentage of schools had been desegregated? It’s very enlightening.
MVW: Less than five?
NF: One percent. One percent of African Americans were attending desegregated schools ten years later. So what desegregated the schools? Well, it’s obvious. The Civil Rights Movement is what desegregated the schools. However, when the Civil Rights Movement came along, they were able to use Brown as an ideological weapon in the public to say, Look, the law says that the schools have to be desegregated. So they had the law on their side, but the law by itself – in the absence of the mass movement, the schools would probably still be segregated today.
And it’s the same thing with these UN reports and UN resolutions. They’re valuable insofar as and only until and unless a mass movement makes use of them. So now [mass movements] have a good weapon […] To that extent they’re valuable. Otherwise they just collect dust. It’s useful material for the historian but they have no value politically.
(Matthew Vernon Whalan is a writer currently living in Vermont. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)