Saturday, 04 February 2023

Opinion

It occurred to me, that once we begin asking the right questions about where we're headed in the future, we should participate in a process of suggesting solutions: particularly as to policy and planning in the areas of development, expansion, and commitment to sustainable and self-sufficient infrastructure.


One of the common values I sense in Lake County residents is that of appreciation for all the open areas of land in the county. Obviously there is room for some growth left in most areas, but the decisions must come soon regarding what the limits are. Certainly the more pristine the county remains, the better, especially as long as the main industries are tourism and agriculture.


Lots of formerly rural counties have quickly grown into bedroom urban communities. They didn’t intend it that way. It just happened. No one wanted to be the ones to challenge the policy of progress – shop till you drop, develop until you run out of room, grow until you can't sustain the resources locally and then tie into a national economy – driven and controlled by outside forces.


Then, one day (it takes awhile), they looked around and discovered that they indeed had progress. It was all around them. It was so around them that the very qualities that had once given them peace of mind had disappeared, particularly the quality of open land and space. They no longer had public land, only fences and “no trespassing” signs.


In Lake County, we not only still have land we can share together, we have treasure in our soil. The treasures of arable land and water represent a fragile but potent and powerful resource for human beings living here. Fruit, nut, berry, herb, fish, acorn, vegetable, grass, hay, hemp, strawberries, organic beef, buffalo and wine. Even peaches and avocados grow in Lake County. The land and water is our primary treasure.


So, if we agree that limits on large-scale expansion of towns and commercial and residential development around the lake is the only way to insure that the qualities of environment we appreciate; the elements that give Lake County its special character and atmosphere are to be preserved – then we have to begin discussing those limits and their implementation.


This is, of course, a challenge to the traditional American commitment to “progress” as defined by a cycle of “endless, continual growth and commercial and residential development” (at least until every resource is strained and urbanization develops).


So, where can allowable growth occur? I have heard rumors of discussions that our communities should grow implosively – utilizing all available lands adjacent to already developed areas. More specifically it might demand the redevelopment and utilization of already developed properties, particularly empty or unused buildings and shopping centers. These prime properties are taking up space in areas that either need to be redeveloped and used as commercial property – or restored to their natural state.


County government needs to take seriously its role as steward of all the land in the county. If our land is indeed the treasure we have declared it to be, then commercially-held land that is developed and then abandoned should be forced into redevelopment or should revert to the public trust rather than simply providing a tax write-off.


This is a reasonable idea. If we assert that every inch of Lake County is valuable to us as individuals, and as communities; and if we take responsibility for determining that foremost among our policies will be the certainty that growth beyond certain boundaries is unacceptable until all property within existing developed areas be utilized or returned to a natural state – then a similar demand for projects of renovation, redevelopment and naturalization would likewise be reasonable.


These policies would continue to encourage continual demolition, construction and remodeling – with the added bonus that we could begin thinking ultimately of redesigning of our communities to function as self-sufficient infrastructures utilizing myriad forms of public transportation, alternate energy vehicles, and green technologies.


I know that I'm treading sacrosanct waters when I begin espousing the ideal of communal responsibility for the land and encourage dictating to owners what they can and can't do with private property, but this isn't the 19th century. The open land doesn't extend to the horizon. There aren't any more native peoples' lands to rip off. We're seeing the finite nature of resources and we need to begin planning for that finality.


Certain realities begin to thrust themselves into our consciousness.


Gasoline is no longer 19 cents a gallon. Roadways are expensive to build and maintain. Too many private vehicles on a road results in gridlock and tension headaches. A sizable number of our citizens cannot afford vehicles, insurance or gas. Many have substance abuse problems and shouldn't be driving anyway. Add all that together and we can see a demand for an innovative and comprehensive public transportation system. Solar electric ferries on the lake, maybe a high speed rail system, and certainly alternatively fueled buses and taxi schedules.


Right now, should the transportation system into Lake County be compromised for any reason, stocks on supermarket shelves would begin to significantly disappear within three days. Costs for food and necessities will only increase as transportation costs increase.


A sizable amount of our food supply is already genetically altered – a fact that is alarming to some portion of our citizenry. With major advances in genetic manipulation already accomplished, in only a few years a majority of the meat that is distributed nationally will come from cloned stock. There is no proof yet that this would be harmful, but wouldn't you rather have your grandchildren eating organically grown, pesticide and hormone free, genetically natural meats, fruits and vegetables? Isn't that a best case scenario for their health?


The recent announcement of long-term studies that prove organic farming can produce harvests that surpass commercial farms that depend on chemical and petroleum products supports our contention that organic agriculture is, as we thought it to be, a superior technology. The opportunity to utilize our local agricultural treasures to develop a significant independence with a 100-percent organic, locally controlled food supply seems not only prudent, but possible.


We should encourage the entrepreneurial family farm system, develop local packaging and sales through cooperatives and covet protectively all our agricultural lands and water.


Since green energy is no longer just a hippy dippy sideshow but a huge and burgeoning industry, Lake County needs to jump on the bandwagon early. Commit to solar and wind power, alternative electric generation and tourism based on those principles and marketed as our premier gift to the future.


Our hospitality and convention centers could appeal directly to the green global entrepreneurs and their product lines. Why couldn't they come here for their conventions, their new product shows and demonstrations? We have the hotels and entertainment to show them a good time. If we marketed our commitment to their industries with the same fervor we show the sport fishing community we could certainly be competitive.


We could attract the gamut of green industry representatives from wind, water, and solar electric energy and power systems, innovative vehicles and boats, biodiesel and bioagricultural fuels, sustainable organic agriculture, mitigating and cleaning pollutants in soils and water, etc. etc.


The sky is the limit – especially if we began to encourage the use of these technologies in the county and incorporate them into our planning and development strategies. Incredible discoveries are being made everyday in these fields – what if we were to become the primary hub, the central clearinghouse and information center to draw together all these new technologies and systems? Wouldn't that support our grandchildrens' future?


And the best thing about that type of industry is that when the meetings, demonstrations, seminars and conventions are over – the participants go home – leaving our county intact, not overpopulated and overdeveloped. And the technologies we learn about through those connections would undoubtedly provide us with a myriad of ideas and connections on what kind of new businesses could be developed locally around information and technology that would not require the urbanization of our county.


We could do it. It is a realizable goal. We just have to make commitments and brainstorm the strategies and solutions to implement them. Ideas are where it starts.


James BlueWolf lives in Nice.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

Newspapers do best when they report news and are not news, themselves. Some publishers don’t understand but their papers can make news headlines, themselves, when they hide news from their readers. Yes, there are papers that hide news. They think it’s OK to keep readers in the dark. Some call it “spiking.” More and more publishers are falling into this trap; publishers of big papers and little papers. Civics students say they’re “part-of-the-news” papers instead of “news” papers.


The New York Times, one of the biggest papers, is itself a stinky story, these days. They no longer publish, “the news, the whole news, and nothing but the news.” They print stories that are flattering to friends or a certain political party and spike reports that are hostile. Some observers say, big advertisers and government agencies apply pressure to kill stories at the Times. Other reports tell how editors slant stories and print opinions disguised as stories in the news section. Apparently, editors think their readers are too dumb to know. It’s embarrassing to watch. Some say it’s no longer a newspaper but a party line for the communist left. Times’ reports have become a tainted tale others are telling.


Most subscribers aren’t dumb and eventually find out when their daily goes off the track. They may be helped in their discovery by the publisher of a rival paper. Good journalists print all the news all the time, even when it’s about another paper. They never cave in to big promoters or government representatives who want stories killed. Trustworthy papers can in fact make money telling horrible stories like that of the Times fiasco.


One Internet newspaper, the Drudge Report, has become a huge success by posting stories other papers spiked. Readers’ ears perk up when they hear a paper is hiding news. Like the elephant, they never forget.


Second-rate publishers think they’re doing nothing wrong when they print part of the news. It’s my paper and I’ll print what I want, they suppose as they entrench themselves in tall ivory towers and lock the doors. Big companies will always send in big checks to pay for big adds, they assume. Little subscribers who made them successful are forgotten. They’re surprised when big advertisers stop sending big checks because little subscribers stop buying a party line rag.


When circulation numbers drop, foolish publishers do all the wrong things to reverse the decline. Sometimes, they think readers want to be entertained so they print entertainment instead of news. Other times, they imagine sex sells so they hire glamorous representatives who look like call girls. They “dumb down and tart up” in a vain effort to stop the slide. Nothing works, however, until they go back to printing all the news all the time and make a sincere effort to rebuild trust with readers.


Good journalists work their trade like a marriage with subscribers. They know the connection between reporting and civic duty. In first year journalism, they learned the Founding Fathers gave American reporters Free Press security with an obligation to use it. Yes, Free Press is a duty as well as a privilege. Free Press guarantees government can’t control reporters to hide part of the news from the people. First-rate publishers practice this freedom and never develop comfy relationships with government agents. Government has three branches; judicial, legislative, and executive. Judges, policemen, congressmen, governors, district attorneys, sheriffs, presidents, council members, school boards, and school superintendents, are all some of the government’s employees. Publishers who’re seduced into informal relationships with government representatives are two-timing their readers. They’re sleeping with the enemy. They betray constituents in the community. Voters can’t vote the rascals out if they don’t know who the rascals are. Disloyal dailies, themselves, make unpleasant news stories that need to be told.


Faithful editors also apply the “Free Press” principle to business promoters who try to control news by canceling adds. Wise editors know, advertising income is directly related to readership numbers so they stay loyal to readers and hang up on fat-cat marketers who want to get them in bed. Dedicated newspapers protect their reputations and are always, of the subscriber, by the subscriber, and for the subscriber.


Unfortunately, two local papers, (Lake County Record-Bee and Observer-American) are following in the footsteps of the New York Times. It’s a great tragedy for local voters and taxpayers. They can‘t get the information they need to make democracy work. Publisher Gregg McConnell has made himself a tall ivory tower and shut himself in. Apparently, he believes he has no civic duty. He’s rapidly losing the respect of his “little” subscribers. It’s a terrible mess and another interesting story worth reading.


McConnell started bad when he came to Lake County, by assigning a daft reporter to code enforcement who immediately developed a comfy relationship with government authorities. Front page stories began to appear showing government is good and taxpayers are bad. One unfortunate Clearlake Oaks resident found his picture on the front page of McConnell’s paper because he had an old car in the yard and a roof leak. Code enforcement red tagged his house. Everyone who took a high school civics class was alarmed. McConnell’s articles made government agents look like heroes and citizens look like criminals. It was clear from the beginning, McConnell understands Free Press backwards. He protects government from the people.


One concerned citizen called McConnell on his infidelity to subscribers. A letter writer from Kelseyville, Darrell Watkins, wrote a civics letter and submitted it for the opinion page. McConnell saw it as criticism and didn’t print it. Watkins also purchased four copies of “We the People” and sent them to McConnell and his top employees for remedial civics training. A credentialed teacher, he also volunteered to tutor McConnell and his editors. McConnell thought this was the height of haughtiness and didn’t accept the offer. Some good did come out of Watkins’ effort, however. McConnell stopped going out with county code enforcement officers and coming home late with government lipstick on his collar. Unfortunately, reports say he’s become an “item” with other government agents and fat-cat marketers around town. Subscribers have a right to know about these indiscretions. He just can’t keep his journalistic pants zipped up.


McConnell’s most recent and ongoing affair is with government representatives at Konocti Unified School District. President Bush’s no-child-left-behind law identified failing schools in that district. Minds are a terrible things to waste and children left behind should make very, very big headlines. A Free Press would ring alarm bells long and loud until everyone knows KUSD trustees are a bunch of rascals. They could quickly be voted out of office. Taxpayers are paying tens of millions of dollars every year to provide schools for their children and they‘re not getting their money‘s worth. Unfortunately, McConnell‘s papers aren’t a Free Press. He can’t keep his journalistic marriage vows with his readers because he and some of his reporters are sleeping with the enemy.


Some readers were utterly bowled over when McConnell splashed the front pages of two papers (March 20, 2007) with the glowing picture of Louise Nan, superintendent of KUSD. Louise was “woman of the year“ burbled McConnell’s reporters for spending “years working in the KUSD.” Her district has failed Lake County for years and she receives front page fame. What was McConnell thinking? Should Lake County taxpayers believe failure is success? Should a government representative of a failed school district receive great honor from the Free Press? Questions continue and the story gets worse.


Nan returned the award favor. Nan nominated and Observer-American editor Cynthia Parkhill received, the prestigious “award of appreciation” from the “Association of California Schools Administrators.” How cozy! Newspaper editor Parkhill puts government leader Nan on the front page of her paper and government leader Nan nominates Parkhill for a grand award from her school organization. One hand washes another. What a snug little relationship! Yes, Parkhill’s own paper did her write up.


From all this, it’s apparent Parkhill has been assigned to cover school news. When she writes a school story (like a recent report on Pomo Elementary) most readers think the schools are getting recognition when they’re failing. Parkhill’s stories lull taxpayers to sleep. She’s like the watchman that whispered when he saw the enemy and the watchdog that ran under the house when burglars came. Education thieves are stealing knowledge from her master’s kids in broad daylight and Parkhill doesn’t want to “alarm” anyone. She returns home late at night to her readers with rumpled hair and government cigar smoke all over her clothes and thinks nobody will notice. Civics students do notice, however. They understand how softball coverage of important news is directly related to cozy relationships between government and the Free Press. Unfortunately, Lake County taxpayers continue to spend tens of millions of dollars for schools that continue to fail.


Former Lower Lake High School (chemistry and physics) teacher, Russell Hunt, wrote about the sad state of Konocti schools in a “Speak Your Mind” letter: “The children are wild and running the school. There is absolutely no discipline and little or no learning going on. The average child is … graduating with an eighth-grade education. Bottom of the barrel state test scores are evidence of this.” This is the news that McConnell hides in a small letter on the opinion page.


McConnell recently added another paramour to his government harem. He met recently with the new Clearlake police chief, Allan McClain (Observer-American, July 18, 2007). McClain, like most highly paid government agents, is very smart. He understands McConnell’s weakness. He knows courting the “Free Press” means job security for him. Yes, McConnell responded. “Police Chief McCain should be applauded for his efforts to reintroduce a personal connection between the citizens of Clearlake and the peace officers who work to keep them safe,” ardently cooed the publisher in his report. How sweet. Unfortunately, McConnell didn’t take the opportunity to report on drug trafficking, burglaries, missing persons, and unsolved murders in Clearlake.


Democracy could work in Lake County. It can’t until the Free Press returns. McConnell needs to find another line of work. Civics students hope the new publisher will be loyal to his readers. They pray papers will print all the news all the time and stop consorting with government fanciers. Voters will get enough information to throw the rascals out when they don’t get what they pay for.


Darrell Watkins is a graduate of Ambassador College, Brickett Wood, UK and a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Education, Los Angeles. He lives in Kelseyville.


Lake County News welcomes commentary items from its readers. Submit them for consideration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Guest commentaries are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of Lake County News, its staff or contributors.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

The preponderant opinion among the people of Lakeport seems clear: they very sensibly want to preserve the Natural High site as public open space, and to take any steps necessary to keep the option of its becoming a city park at some later date open. This parcel is uniquely precious, since it's the only remaining location on Main Street that provides more than a transitory glimpse of Clear Lake and an opportunity for shoreline recreation. Selling it off for commercial exploitation in order to reap the transitory gains offered by private developers would be like burning heirloom antiques to take the chill off the living room.


Unfortunately the wisdom of the citizenry doesn't seem to have made much impression on some members of the city council, who apparently are letting dollar signs prevail over common sense. Equally unfortunately, some statements in the print media (not on Lake County News, which knows better) may have created a false impression that the councilors' determination to facilitate commercial development on the site is “unanimous” a misapprehension which could lead to the discouraging conclusion that attempts to persuade them to change their minds would be fruitless.


Here are the facts: on June 19 the Lakeport City Council did indeed approve changing the parcel’s General Plan designation from “Open Space” to “Residential/Resort” as one of the interim stages in the adoption of the city's newly revised Plan. If this recommended change is confirmed, it could make eventual acquisition of the site from the school district for park purposes much more expensive and perhaps impossible, by eliminating the thrifty possibility of tapping into Quimby Act funds for its purchase, but far from being unanimous, the decision hung by the flimsiest of threads: only three of the five councilors a bare quorum were in attendance and one of the three voted no.


The next stage of Lakeport's General Plan adoption process will come in a Planning Commission public hearing (at a date yet to be announced), and that meeting will provide an opportunity for a decisive expression of opinion in favor of retaining this splendid public asset for public benefit.


In the meantime, all Lakeport residents are urged to phone, write and email their councilors (contact information at http://redwood.sierraclub.org/lake/government.htm), to speak to them in person at every opportunity, and also drop into Watershed Books (305 N. Main St.) to sign a petition opposing the zoning change.


As for the rest of us the concerned citizens of Lake County who don't happen to reside in Lakeport we have every right to make their voices heard as well. As our county seat, Lakeport's destiny is our business too, whether we live in Middletown, Blue Lakes or points between.


Victoria Brandon is chair of the Sierra Club Lake Group. She lives in Lower Lake.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

There are many idealistic visions when it comes to public lake access, open shoreline, and city/county parks.


The recent commentary (“Lakeport’s destiny is everyone’s business,” Victoria Brandon) is certainly one of many that most would agree with, at least conceptually. And why not, especially when we look at the extremes: would you rather have a commercial property with a locked gate blocking all view of the lake and available to only the wealthy who can afford to rent a room, or would you prefer another Library Park with complete access to all? Simple decision.


However, it gets more complex when one investigates the reality of when Lakeport (with or without county assistance) would be able to fund the development of another park, let alone have the funds to maintain it. Even open space is costly to provide, maintain, insure, etc.


When it comes time to spend money on this idealistic vision, priorities such as paving roads and filling potholes will trump another waterfront park in Lakeport.


However, it does not have to be black or white as described above. Many waterfront commercial properties (e.g. Lake Tahoe, San Francisco Bay, Southern California) are now developed commercially in such a manner that the water frontage is maintained for public access, viewing, fishing, etc., at no expense to the community.


Visualize commercial development of the Willopoint property, the Natural High Property and the Dutch Harbor property in a manner that resulted in a lake promenade connecting all of them with Library Park, including benches, walkways, bike paths, beaches and wetlands. The public sector part of this property is, for the most part, already developed. The commercial part will be funded by developers adhering to an architected plan approved by all of us. Most of the property will be generating rather than using tax revenues.


Such a plan is a workable solution (not a never-to-be-funded vision) that is a compromise between the extremes described above.


Below is a summary of a “Lakeshore Redevelopment Plan” provided last year to the city of Lakeport by the Clear Lake Advisory Subcommittee (CLAS), towards the goal of providing long-term sustainable public lake access.


This collection of properties on the shoreline of Lakeport could easily be one of the premier waterfronts in the entire state of California. It is up to us because Lakeport’s destiny is everyone’s business.



CLAS LAKESHORE REDEVELOPMENT PLAN


Introduction


The goal of this plan is to manage the development of several key properties and to combine them with other strategic public properties into an architected lakeshore redevelopment zone. The consistency and predictability of this total area plan reduces the financial risk as compared to individual infill development projects thus promoting private investment while ensuring enhanced public access to Clear Lake for county residents and county visitors.


This plan is designed to enhance the commercial success of the private developments while meeting the responsibility of the public sector to provide cost effective access to the lake. All of these key properties will be required to provide and maintain public access as defined in the plan and in return will participate in a planned and controlled shoreline revitalization that will be mutually beneficial to the success of the commercial ventures and to the community.


Location


The area of this redevelopment plan extends along the Lakeport shoreline of Clear Lake. On the southern boundary is the Willopoint property (privately owned), on the northern boundary is the Dutch Harbor property (now owned by the city of Lakeport). Included within the redevelopment zone are many significant Lakeport public properties including Library Park, Lakefront Park, the Third and Fifth Street boat ramps, lakefront public parking areas, and Natural High School and grounds.


Historical Land Use


This stretch of shoreline has provided both formal and informal public access to the lake for many years. The Willopoint property has housed various commercial enterprises (e.g. Will-O-Point Resort) that has allowed various levels of lake access as part of their operations.


Library Park has long been a publicly provided premier lake access point for residents and visitors alike. Three boat ramps in this zone have provided no-cost boat launching to the public.


Natural High’s property has long provided both informal and arranged-event lake access. Commercial ventures (e.g. on Willopoint and Dutch Harbor properties) have been challenging and have had problems with sustained profitable operation. While the Natural High property currently provides a school facility, it is assumed the school will be relocated and improved as part of the redevelopment process.


Why a Redevelopment Plan


The Willopoint property, the Dutch Harbor property and the Natural High property are each being considered for private development. Collectively these properties, should they be developed in a manner that is inconsistent with proper public lake access, will result in a negative change to the lake-access dynamics that have been key to Lakeport (and Lake County) residents and visitors for many years. The proper plan will enhance the local economy, the probability of commercial development success, and ensure and enhance the lake access experience.

 

Why not make these strategic properties part of Lakeport’s park system?


In a perfect world where local governments have funds to provide all desired as well as mandatory programs, government purchase of all of this lakeshore zone as public park lands would be a viable option. However, in reality, public funding is not sufficient to procure, develop and maintain these properties. A much more feasible plan is to ensure that the development of these properties is done in a way that offers satisfactory public lake access while owned, developed and maintained with private sector funds. It is best for all if these properties generate tax revenues as opposed to using tax revenues.


Redevelopment Plan Overview


The essence of the plan is best described by a fictitious but potential description of this area following the proposed redevelopment: The result is a significant stretch of developed shoreline all of which is connected by a water front promenade. Within the area is a major hotel-conference center which provides Lakeport with its first complete destination resort. At the other end of the zone and the lake front walkway is a hotel/motel property with nicely landscaped RV/camp sites nestled within a natural shoreline setting. Restaurant and retail shopping as well as some premium commercial office space are integrated into these properties.


The water frontage walkway is similar to the existing path along Library Park but supports both bicycle and pedestrian traffic while providing access to many lake view benches. It is obvious the area was developed per an architected plan and not the result of random efforts. The architectural themes are consistent, parking is where needed, and visitors and residents intermingle in a vibrant successful environment.


The draw of the convention business and interest in the new visitor lodging options has resulted in additional foot traffic and business for the existing downtown Lakeport restaurants and shops. The seamless integration of the public access to the newly developed properties and the town access to visitors staying at these new properties is working to the benefit of all. The new businesses have provided defined visitor dockage at their marinas resulting in enhanced boat access to Lakeport.


This access and the new destinations to visit have again made Lakeport a premier Clear Lake boating destination, and these boat-in visitors frequent existing as well as new businesses.


In addition to the interest at new and existing businesses, those wishing to just enjoy the lake, do a little fishing, or paddle a kayak have also had their lake experience enhanced. The Willopoint property has maintained sufficient wetlands and riparian areas to provide nature-walk trails with fishing and lake-gazing space. All admire the joint development that was needed to make all of this happen. In reality almost all of the public development was completed prior to the redevelopment effort.


By carefully specifying the private fill-in development and by ensuring careful teamwork between the local agencies and the private developers, almost 100 percent of the redevelopment cost was privately funded and that private investment proved to be a wise investment.


What is the next step?


While it is easy (and necessary) to conceptually describe a redevelopment plan, a specific plan with details of proposed commercial ventures, architectural guidelines, and defined roles of the public and private sector must be carefully and completely defined. This plan must result from the latest marketing insight into the dynamics of the county and the state to insure that the proposed zone can succeed and that the expectations of the community as well as the return-on-investment goals of the developers are all met or exceeded.


Artist renderings of the area as well as detailed maps and drawings are required for the community to understand and appreciate the plan and for developers to participate and fund the effort. An architectural consulting firm must soon be commissioned to define and complete all aspects of this redevelopment plan.


Time is of the essence, as the key properties are now being considered for development and should any of these current proposals be executed in a manner inconsistent with this plan, the value of this proposal and the quality of the final result will be diminished if not eliminated.


Ed Calkins is chairman of the Clear Lake Advisory Subcommittee. He lives in Kelseyville.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

I participated, in a very minor way, in helping to change the name of the Kelseyville High School mascot so that it would no longer have the name "Indians" in it.


The reasons were very simple: it was the will of the majority of the local Pomo people, and their wishes and feelings regarding this matter appeared more important to me than a misplaced "pride" in the name of a team by local residents who could not even relate culturally to such name, not knowing much about Pomo culture and obviously not interested, believing it was alright to represent the Pomos with a mascot parodying the 1940s Hollywood version of an Indian from the plains.


Furthermore, the argument of those who did not want the change was essentially as follows: "We think we are honoring you, the Pomo people, with this 'Kelseyville Indians' mascot name, so we don't really care what you think or feel, get over it ... "


In other words we are the masters of the land and we make the rules ... This did not sound like respect to me, as a matter of fact I found it to be arrogant and insulting to the Pomos, and a thinly veiled expression of redneck racism.


Kelsey was not a nice person, and this has nothing to do with any of his living descendants, who are probably very nice people, so I do not mean to hurt or embarrass them and I apologize if I do. But even a plaque in Kelseyville somewhat acknowledges that he mistreated Native people. It does not say that he enslaved them, nearly starved them, murdered some of them, tortured some of them and molested young Pomo girls, including the daughter of a chief ... all abuses that lead to his and Charles Stone early demise at the hand of the Indians, which gave interested parties the excuse they were waiting for to commit yet another act of genocide in the state of California (Bloody Island), whose official and federally sanctioned policy was the extermination of native people in order to grab all (nearly all) the land and its resources. Am I going too fast?


Mistreatments of the Indians, abuses, provocations by criminals, no legal recourses or protection for the Indians whatsoever, exasperated Indians finally administering their own justice or implementing protective measures as any free people should, and then the official California policy of extermination came into effect, such as butchering up to 200 Indian men, women, elders, children, babies, as a payback for the killing of a couple of white people.


Of course the state policy of paying for Indian scalps (men, women, children, to the tune of $1 million) did not require any violent act on the part of the Indians to be implemented and taken advantage of by psychopaths. It was just another opportunity to make money without having to do any work, just murder, which the federal government approved, by reimbursing California.


Why is it that such ugly aspects of California history, such atrocities, are mostly suppressed, unknown to the nation, while almost everyone has heard of the Wounded Knee massacre? Is it because California represents the end of the American rainbow, the ultimate American dream land, and no one wants to

tarnish the immaculate fantasy of the golden state?


Some say why dig up such "cans of worms"... If the past is a "can of worms," why celebrate Columbus Day? The man was lost, he enslaved, killed, maimed and tortured hundreds of thousands of gentle, generous, welcoming Indians in order to get gold, he was a mass murderer of the likes of Cortez and without any conscience ... Is this something to be proud of?


How can America pretend to be the world moral leader when it not only will not clean up its past, but honors such murderers and thieves, lying about them in order to make them appear to be heroes, and teaching children that they are heroes? Logically, it would appear to only mean one thing, that Euro-Americans would do it all over again and in the same manner, if given the opportunity. This is what is usually known as not learning from the past.


If this is not the case, then why have a town, such as Kelseyville, named after what everyone could agree was a shady character at best, and someone who today would be charged and jailed for murder and child molestation? (He would not, today, be protected by the 1800's California Civil Practice Act, Section 394, which prohibited Indians from giving testimony for or against whites, assuring their abuse at the hands of the lowest and most brutal of the frontier population, and, because of the Pomos' inevitable retaliations and the subsequent outcries of the politicians and the press, the validation of the inhuman official policy of extermination).


Nothing has really changed in the way this civilization operates by the way: first create a problem (in this case the provocation and abuse of the Indian population by criminals who were legally protected), then offer the solution that facilitates the fulfillment of certain goals (here the attempted extermination of the Indians, so as to "clear the land" for "settlers" and for America to expend). How can we hope to have a clean and healthy future as a nation when we insist on keeping garbage in our basement and call it part of our history and heritage, and wave it in the air as a badge of honor?


If we are to remember that it is Kelsey and Stone who, by their abuses, were responsible for the Bloody Island massacre, we can also understand that honoring Kelsey with the name of Kelseyville is basically saying to the Pomo people that abuse and genocide were perfectly alright and justified, and it is keeping

the wounds they suffered open and unhealed, and festering among them, as it would be festering among Jewish people if Hitler was honored in Germany.


It is also saying to the world that America has two standards: one by which it treats its own Native people, and one by which it insists the world abides ... this is commonly known as hypocrisy. Of course America is not the only country to do so ... Canada, Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand do the same, but we are in America, and America does lead the world.


I do believe it is time to come to terms with the past, not out of guilt but out of a desire for a healthy future, and to change the name of Kelseyville. It is important because human beings, children among them, were butchered on Bloody Island without cause, and this past, rooted in greed, the most virulent form of racial hatred, and the immorality of this state and this nation's 19th century leadership, must be healed.


People who profess to follow any kind of religious law should be leading the charge on this, as I do not think the values they profess to uphold sanction criminality, and local religious leaders should be involved, to transcend politics and races and set an example of what it means to be human, to have a human heart, a living and functioning conscience, a spirit or soul.


It would seem to be a basic requirement of religious leadership, if organized religions are to be taken more seriously. It might also more properly define what it means to be American, if America is to be respected by the world for something other than its might, that is to say if it is to be truly respected rather than feared.


Raphael Montoliu lives in Lakeport.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}

In the blink of an eye, the life as you know it could change forever. A poor decision or an unwise action could affect you, your family, friends as well as those that you don’t even know.


Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States is killed or seriously injured in an alcohol-related collision.


I refuse to call these traffic accidents simply because the term “accidents” implies that these crashes resulting in injuries or deaths are unavoidable, when, in fact, they are predictable and preventable. This is particularly important when referring to alcohol-related traffic crashes since drinking and driving is the conscious (albeit impaired) choice of the driver.


Many of us have a sense of invincibility that it can’t happen to me. It can and it does. We all know someone who has either been the victim or the cause of such crashes because the statistics show that approximately one-third of all fatalities are caused by the impaired driver.


With this in mind, the decision is yours to make. Do I take the chance and gamble that I can drive safely to my destination after drinking or throw away life as I know it, possibly destroying my future and the futures of those around me?


The choice is yours.


Lance Mino is an officer with the Clear Lake office of the California Highway Patrol.


If you have any questions about this article or ideas about future ones, contact CHP Officer Adam Garcia, 279-0103.


{mos_sb_discuss:4}



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