Saturday, 24 September 2022

Opinion

It is rather ironic for the government to ask Americans to be united, when what it actually fears the most, as do all governments everywhere, is a united population ...


Of course this government has asked us to unite under, that is to say to submit to, its own agenda, not to unite among ourselves under a common sense, grassroots, well-informed approach to demand accountability and true representation, as would a free people.


In a climate of fear and institutionalized corruption and deception, when the public is defined in terms of consumerism and markets, and wars, political ideologies and propaganda are sold to the consumer via the corporate media and public relation firms as would any other product, it is surprising that the majority of Americans have not yet become angry from having their intelligence repeatedly insulted by this unethical, ruthless and terribly arrogant administration.

The neocons promised us a revolution, they promised that they would flush the government down the drain until there was hardly anything left, they were fiercely determined and had an agenda, and they rammed it down our throat while America slept (literally speaking, as they passed most of their
unwanted legislations in the wee hours of the night without debate, and in the case of the un-patriot act, without elected representatives being given an opportunity to even read 20 pages of a 500 pages document).

Theirs was not just a revolution but an actual coup, if we are to examine the presidential elections "controversy" (the truth is always controversial when lies predominate).

Whether the neocons merely exploited or actually facilitated 9/11 (could it really be a coincidence that NORAD was shut down on that very day, are we to appear to be this gullible in order not to offend those who desperately cling to believing in their government because the alternative would be too
devastating?), they swiftly and masterfully took advantage of this event.


First they essentially neutered the Democratic party by claiming that whoever was not with them was with the enemy, and some democrats even echoed the slogan ... Then they forced their agenda of total population control as far as they could with the un-patriot act, with the creation of vast new
bureaucracies of surveillance and with the development of new technologies of "total awareness" (12 new satellites coming soon in a sky near you).


They eviscerated the Constitution repeatedly, giving the president alone absolute powers over the life (torture and life imprisonment) of anyone whether in the US or on foreign soil, in blatant violation of the fourth amendment and of the Geneva Convention. They also gave the president the permanent power to implement martial law, to restore public order with the use of the military at any time and at his sole discretion.

They even had the unbelievable audacity to ask Americans to spy on each other, to do as was done in the former Soviet Union for decades, where even family members could not trust each other; this alone, I suspect, would have been enough to cause anyone suggesting it to be called un-American during the
cold war, except by McCarthy, another adversary of the Constitution.


Of course they also unleashed their terror on Iraq ("shock and awe"), a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, and that they were itching to attack as far back as when Clinton was president and rejected their extremist agenda.

Are we to believe, giving the shrewdness and determination of these radical and dangerous ideologues, that they simply miscalculated the war and made mistakes in Iraq? Or did they simply make sure a durable mess, a serpent's nest was created in the Middle East, did they set up the conditions of international danger and permanent threats ("endless war") required to more easily continue implementing their imperialistic Anglo-American "Project for a New American Century," which includes a total military domination of the world by the US via the future deployment of illegal offensive space weapons (illegal because against international treaties), and a "National Security State" at home to suppress not only all dissent but simple questions, dialogue and the dissemination of relevant information?

So what does all this boil down to? It is difficult to cut to the chase without appearing to enounce just another conspiracy theory.


But looking at the fact, many people, (some, surprisingly, from totally different sides of the cultural and ideological spectrums, such as traditional indigenouspeople, anarchists and members of the John Birch society!), are starting to understand that we are moving very rapidly toward global corporate rule, towards the international control of not only all resources but all governments by corporate banking and corporate monopolies through such instruments of globalization as free trade, the IMF and the WTO.


And that this agenda is more likely than not to lead to a form of corporate fascism, to a lowering of all social, environmental and labor standards (it has began), to the progressive eradication of individual rights and freedoms and an ever greater control of populations and resources (it has began as well), to a state of hyper militarization, the use of corporate mercenaries and a blurring of civilian and military law enforcement (it has also been initiated), in other words to global and abominable tyranny.


Wake up, look around, smell the sulfur ...This is not business as usual, this is business as war and war as business, and these psychopaths are not playing, they are deadly serious!

I wish I could believe the Democrats have a different agenda, but understanding that the main players are controlled (financed) by the same corporate powers, it is unlikely that they would not follow a similar path of global and absolute corporate hegemony, differencing their policies just slightly enough to confuse people into believing we are living under democratic rules, that we the insignificant, easily manipulated and defeated people are actually represented.

Raphael Montoliu lives in Lakeport.


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What is the purpose of the yearly ceremony and prayer at Bloody Island, why remember 100 to 150 innocent Pomo men, women, children and infants who died there on May 15, 1850 at the hand of dragoons under Captain Lyon and of a militia?


The world has known, and continues to perpetuate, countless atrocities.


The pages of history are soaked with blood. Why focus on what could, in the light of such global and massive barbarism, appear almost irrelevant in scope and in the perspective of time?


No human life is ever irrelevant.


All victims are first dehumanized. In the case of California Indians, they were widely described to stand, on the ladder of evolution, scarcely above animals, so they could be murdered, raped, enslaved, dispossessed, wiped out without disturbing the conscience of those who perpetuated these crimes, the nation that condoned it, the identity of the religion that was said to lead and inspire this nation, and the idea of civilization itself.


For the dominant culture to remember the Native people who were butchered on Bloody Island is to honor their humanity. This is a process that is absolutely necessary in spiritual as well as human terms, even though contemporary members of the dominant culture did not commit these crimes.


Lucy Moore was a survivor of the Bloody Island massacre, we know her Native name, Ni’ka, it is important. How many of those who were buried in a mass grave are remembered today? How many still have a name? How sad that the name of a child, of a mother would vanish from the earth for all times.


The dominant culture still benefits from the outcome of these crimes, which are stolen lands and resources; the very wealth and power of this nation originated from the gold extracted from Indian lands at a price that was no less than attempted genocide.


This nation claims to be a moral leader. It claims to have been divinely inspired to settle this continent and to ultimately lead the world as a beacon of human rights and freedom. It assumes these positions at the cost of the denial or distortion of its own history, still refusing to acknowledge that its basement is flooded with the blood and the tears of the Native victims whose only fault was to be living in their own country, and therefore stand in the way of invasion.


The rationalization of such historical crimes, the denial of the fact that invasion is morally indefensible in all circumstances and at all times, the still prevalent belief that the march of what is called progress somehow validates cultural and even physical genocides, which are then said to be regrettable but unavoidable, has allowed the world to stand in approval or to bow in cowardly submission in the face of the destruction of many indigenous cultures and people.


By refusing to acknowledge and learn from the past, the world is ensuring that it will keep repeating the same mistakes. The point of acknowledging a disease is not guilt but healing. When pathology is rationalized, when a flag, a nation, a government, a religion, a civilization or any cause, concept or ideology are presented as institutions, achievements or goals worthy of any means of implementation or preservation, human beings are tortured, enslaved, raped, humiliated, exploited, killed in the name of the highest aspirations and ideals, and the world itself sinks in ever deeper despair and hopelessness, for freedom becomes tyranny, war is said to be the greatest tool for peace, hate and prejudice replace love, compassion and forgiveness, inequity is confused with justice, and the only distinction between punishable crimes and those that are not is in the position and power of the person, institution or nation that commits these crimes.


Raphael Montoliu lives in Lakeport.

 

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We are all aware, from newspaper accounts and from firsthand information acquired in the courtroom, that Renato Hughes has been charged with the murder of childhood friends Christian Foster and Rashad Williams, although he was not the shooter.


However, we are equally aware that Shannon Edmonds admitted shooting to death both Foster and Williams. We are also aware that, to date, Shannon Edmonds has yet to be charged with any offense.


In that vein, we pose the below questions:


1) Is Shannon Edmonds to be charged with any offense?


2) When did it become lawful for any person to shoot in the back (multiple times) and kill, two fleeing, alleged robbers? [Record Bee, 1/29/2006]


3) Has it "yet been determined whether Edmonds shot the men [Foster and Williams] while they were inside the house, outside the house or both," since that was a factor that would help determine whether Edmonds would be prosecuted, according to an article which appeared in the Press Democrat, December 10, 2005?


4) Was the weapon (Browning automatic) used by Edmonds, legally obtained and registered?

5) What about the lighting conditions in the predawn hours of Dec. 8, 2005?


6) Is Edmonds an expert marksman?


7) What about the quantity of marijuana found and taken from the Edmonds residence?


8) What is the legal amount of medical marijuana in Lake County?


9) Did Edmonds have more than the legal limit of medical marijuana, and for what purpose? According to an investigative officer of the Clearlake Police Department, from testimony given and reported in the Record-Bee (1/19/2006), he (the officer) "call(ed) the five bags of marijuana found and a not quite-full zip bag of the substance 'an acceptable amount,' with an overall street value of less than $5,000."


He continued by stating, "It could have been for sale, but five bags of marijuana is secondary in my opinion. I was called out to a double homicide investigation. While I was investigating the double homicide, I confiscated the marijuana."


10) Why was there no investigation done with regard to the amount of marijuana found at the residence of Edmonds after the killing of these two young men?

 

And, (11) Why wasn't the person identified by Edmonds, to a Clearlake Police Department officer, at the scene of the shooting, detained until the investigators could sort out “who did what to whom” and definitively determine if the person Edmonds identified was complicit in this incident, as Edmonds stated in front of the officer?


Finally, Lake County's chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) expects the fair dispensation of justice, in the Hughes matter, by the judicial system.


We believe, based on the above unanswered questions, that Edmonds and the unidentified fourth person at the scene of the crime on Dec. 8, 2005, should have been arrested and have to await their day in court.


Aqeela El-Amin Bakheit is president of the Lake County branch of the NAACP.

Image
Erosion associated with a road improperly constructed in connection with vineyard development. Photo by Robert Riggs.

 

On Tuesday, May 22, at 1:30 p.m. in the supervisors’ chambers in Lakeport, the Board of Supervisors will consider the adoption of a completely revised Grading Ordinance for the County of Lake. The document is 85 pages long. To the uninitiated, it is dry and intimidating. What is new, and what is important, in this revised proposed ordinance?


The genesis of the new Grading Ordinance was the high profile debacle of Snows Lake Vineyard. This carnage captured the Lake County public’s attention in the spring and summer of 2001, when more than 700 acres atop Perini Hill were bulldozed by a Central Valley-style agribusiness invader named George Myers without any form of grading permit or environmental review.


The entire hillside landscape, a sacred Pomo site, was devastated. Local wildlife was slaughtered. The waters of Siegler Creek literally ran red with eroding soil, after hundreds of acres of native oaks were toppled. Blue line streams were obliterated to the point that they could not be located, even with the aid of prior aerial photos and maps. Wells dug to irrigate the new construction sucked up and exhausted spring water supplies that had been used by neighboring residents for 100 years.


In subsequent court proceedings and Board of Supervisor hearings, it was revealed that the entire project had passed completely under the radar screen because it has been labeled as “exempt.” The county failed to apply any permit requirement because Myers told the Lake County Community Development Department that he simply planned to replant an old walnut orchard.


Myers seems to have been advised by CDD personnel that if he characterized the project as a walnut orchard conversion it would avoid any public scrutiny or environmental review. Because of this quasi-official imprimatur of prior approval, the county proved reluctant to crack down hard on Myers.


In the aftermath of the Snows Lake scandal, and with new vineyard clearings erupting seemingly everywhere during the grape boom of 2001-02, the supervisors took action by constituting a citizens advisory committee to tackle the issue of whether or not to rewrite the county’s grading ordinance.


The committee was hand-selected to include representatives of many different interest groups – representatives of agriculture, heavy construction, real estate brokers, environmental groups, citizen groups, and Native American tribes were all included.


Additionally, the committee benefited from the participation of numerous county planners and staff having experience dealing with grading projects and related issues. The committee was well aware from the start that similar efforts in neighboring Mendocino County had broken down into squabbling, and failed to reach any tangible result.


The committee’s initial confusion cleared when Peter Windrem, a Lake County native, real estate attorney, Sierra Club member and vineyard owner, took over as the committee chair. Windrem ruled the committee with a diplomatic but firm hand. He refused to tolerate any filibustering or divisiveness. Instead, he made the extra effort needed to build consensus at every possible turn. The fact that in the end, the committee actually produced a consensus document that is pending a hearing before the Supervisors is, more than anything, a testament to Windrem’s founding father-like skills.


Over a four year period, the committee reviewed the entire planning process as it relates to grading projects. Before doing any drafting, the committee worked through a whole series of real world situations, carefully combing through the process to consider as fully as possible how the ordinance should take effect, how it should work, and where it should back off to allow people to proceed unhindered by red tape. Staff were helpfully involved as well, pointing out their real world issues, difficulties and enforcement concerns.


In the end, the new ordinance was hammered out, section by section, and was approved by consensus of the entire committee, with minimal dissent. Although the ordinance is indeed lengthy, most of the text is devoted to definitions and procedures. The substance is relatively simple.


The goals of the new ordinance are actually two-fold. First, the ordinance seeks to prevent a repetition of a fiasco such as Snows Lake, where a huge earth moving project, causing a great deal of harm to the neighbors and the environment, passed totally under the radar screen of any prior review. At the same time, however, the new ordinance is intended to streamline the permit process for people who are doing small projects having no consequential effects on anyone.


To carry out these goals, the new ordinance divides all grading into three basic categories: “simple,” “standard” and “complex.”


Simple grading is small-scale work on flat land that does not involve watercourses. Simple grading is exempt from any form of environmental review.


Standard grading is grading that is substantial enough to warrant some consideration of the possible need for scrutiny of collateral environmental effects. The company or person doing the grading is required to submit a complete description of the project to the county, so that a planners can determine whether the project requires closer review. Notice is provided to the owners of neighboring properties, in case there are undisclosed problems with the project.


Complex grading, in general, applies to projects that involve major earth moving, or earth moving within watercourse areas. Complex grading requires full review of the environmental implications of the project. In most cases, it also requires stamped drawings from a licensed engineer.


What are the strengths of the new ordinance?


In this author’s opinion, the new ordinance is most beneficial because it reduces the availability of ambiguities and loopholes that can be exploited to allow big agriculture and big land developers to rape and pillage with impunity.


Every project requires basic information to be submitted. The absolute magnitude thresholds triggering complex grading, coupled with improved information submission requirements, go far toward preventing a future Snows Lake type situation from ever being characterized as “exempt” from any review.


The new ordinance now also explicitly takes into consideration the erosion hazard rating – derived from a combination of slope and soils type – involved in any particular project.


What are the new ordinance’s weaknesses?


”Exemptions,” meaning activities totally outside the scope of any review, still exist in Section 30-16 of the new ordinance.


The most troublesome of these is probably the “ongoing agriculture” issue. Such potentially large and erosion causing projects as “Agricultural Roads, Ponds and Reservoirs” are deemed exempt. The new ordinance, as proposed, applies whenever walnut trees or other plants having established stable root systems are removed, but advocates of agriculture interests made a last-minute push in the committee to exempt the ripping out of old orchards from any form of review.


“Exempt” means no information at all is ever submitted, as happened with Snows Lake. The public can anticipate that these efforts to water down the ordinance will be renewed before the full Board of Supervisors.


Also, efforts are now in progress to eliminate the requirement of neighbor notification about “standard” grading projects. This is one of the most significant safeguards of the new ordinance. All too often, land developers provide incomplete or misleading information, which does not come to light until the damage has already been done.


Even though the new ordinance does beef up the county’s enforcement powers, history has demonstrated that county officials and employees can all too often be induced to look the other way and disregard real problems when big business interests are involved.


In the staff report recommending the deletion of the notice requirement, the bogeyman of “NIMBY” not in my backyard neighbors is overly stressed in an effort to do away with what is a very workable and modern notification provision, one that is accepted as standard operating procedure in most if not all of the more civilized California counties.


The ordinance represents the product of four years of hard work by the citizens advisory committee, in which each provision has been vetted very thoughtfully and carefully.


The public should read the ordinance carefully, comment thoroughly and speak out accordingly, but should beware of any last-minute changes that can throw the entire scheme out of balance.


Robert Riggs, a Lake County attorney and Board Chair of the Lake County Citizens Coalition, has served on the citizens’ advisory committee on the Lake County grading ordinance from its inception in December, 2002 to the present.

 

Image
Bank erosion from an improperly constructed road. Photo by Robert Riggs.

 

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Image
A pregnant doe that was killed by a car in Hughes' neighborhood with a sign warning people to slow down nearby. Photo by Georgia Hughes.
 

 

Last weekend, one of our neighbors who was out for a morning walk knocked on our door to inform us that our neighborhood's doe was lying dead in our next-door neighbor's driveway.


But, there was something else that she didn't see.

 

Not only was the doe dead, but the car that had "hit and run" the doe, caused her to abort her fawn judging from the size of the unborn fawn, it probably could have been saved if the driver could have stopped to check.


I'm thinking that the driver probably saw the deer go down and stop moving so didn't stop. It did knock out some of the plastic light casings off of the car.

 

People must be aware that it is springtime and animals are showing up in places they generally do not show up in.

 

The area where we live is very rural and supports many different animals; still, they haven't all been "crowded out" yet by development, but change is unfortunately coming with new planned developments out this way.


Next on our streets near my home will be baby skunks. I usually end up having to call local rescue each year for baby skunks that have been stranded when their mother is killed due to people driving without care down our nice straight road of one-quarter mile. Most people drive the straight road like the highway it used to be many moons ago.

 

This doe is from a very small herd that visits our region each year to raise their young (perhaps we will never see them again after this). So far, I have not seen another doe, only a buck. No one feeds them and this small herd (the most I have counted in my 10 years out here is about four) is always very healthy looking, unlike the large herd in Hidden Valley.


This doe's death touched many of us who live out this way. You see, many of us chose to live rurally and not side by side in our homes like in most subdivisions in our area. We enjoy listening and viewing our local coyote herd, nearby cows, our few remaining jackrabbits and one remaining red fox, as well as seeing our local group of wild turkeys, raccoons, opossums, one pair of nesting ring-necked pheasants, turtles, etc.


In order to help our local animals, I feel we must do as much as possible to help spread the word to those who are unaware and this is why I'm writing.


The sign my husband and I erected next to the doe reads: "Dead mother and unborn fawn please drive slowly."


We had to view the deer for two full days ... the police department told us to call Fish and Game, but they are closed on the weekends; after that, the police department had no idea what to do. Next we called our local rescue person; she said that Timberline Disposal has the contract to pick up dead animals, but they were also closed.


Finally, one of our neighbors who owns a pickup truck was able, with my husband's help, to load the two deer up and take them to local field. Hopefully the vultures and others were able to at least have a meal and their deaths were not a complete waste.

 

Georgia Hughes lives in Clearlake.


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The Clearlake City Council has enthusiastically and proudly appointed Mr. Dale Neiman as our permanent city administrator. Mr. Neiman possesses all of the attributes that our community has been looking for in our future leader. We believe that Clearlake has finally found the diamond it has been in search of for so many years.


All of us as citizens can do our part so that Mr. Neiman and our city can succeed. This all begins with a dream that our city has had for a long time. It is the dream of our city for our community to come together and work together. We can build this dream if we all have a willingness to want to try to succeed.


Our community is a profile of many people from different walks of life. Some are business owners and professionals in their prospective fields, some are hardworking citizens, some are retired and others are interested in the welfare of our city. We all share various cultures and customs.


The one thing that we all share and have in common is that we all live within the community. It is the affection of our city that we each possess in one degree or another and the respect for each other that will determine our city’s future. The opportunities within our city are at our doorstep, but we must open the door together.


The future of our city will always be surrounded by hopes and dreams which can become realities if we keep in the forefront all of us working together for the betterment of our community. By doing this, we can achieve anything. We all want a city that we can be proud of. No longer do we have to settle for less than we can do. Our successes are only limited if we allow them to be.


Our city now has a fresh beginning. It is a beginning that we can all be a part of. We have learned that there are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going. It is important that we come together, sharing in the thrill of our victories and the agony of our defeats. Defeats will not weaken us, but rather they will strengthen us if we join together and remain united. The strength we find in each other will help us meet the challenges that we face.


Our historical predecessors built our great nation with generations of people working together in order that our nation would have a legacy to bestow on future generations. They stood together regardless of successes or failures, setting the stage for our future. They gave us the tools to work with. It is now up to us to put these tools to use.


A community that works and builds together will always stand together. City officials cannot build this city alone. We can only build our city with the help of our citizens, as the heart of the city is the people within. There is no elevator to success. We must all climb the stairs together if we are to succeed. Embrace your city, as the city belongs to all of us. When you help your city, you help your fellow neighbor. We are all equal, so we should all share in the equality of our city.


America is the land of opportunity. Clearlake is the land of hope. It is time for all of us to exercise the will to make changes in order that we begin to work together. Let us all join together so that no artificial barriers of any kind will ever be able to cast a shadow over our city. Together, we can create the image that will become our city’s legacy.


Let us all honor the splendor of the characteristics of our community, the richness of our various cultures and the courage and fortitude to embark together on unchartered areas which will enrich the diversity of our wonderful community. We can all be confident and proud that whatever we do, protection and preservation of public health, safety and welfare will always surround our city.


Judy Thein is mayor of the City of Clearlake.

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09.24.2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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