A SCREAM IN THE NIGHT. A man doing a night time owl survey for the Mendocino Land Trust near the tracks on the Willits end of the Skunk line back on May 31st heard what he described as “incoherent screaming” when he shined a light in an outbuilding. Although the owl surveyor reported the screaming to the Land Trust, and the Land Trust relayed the report to the Skunk Line, and a Skunk crew searched the area, the Sheriff’s Department and the wife of Erik Lamberg, missing since May 28th, didn’t learn of the eerie screeching until late in July. Mrs. Lamberg has since said that in his “most paranoid state,” her mentally ill and missing husband screams out in fear at non-existent threats.
Lamberg in various family photos
LAMBERG, 51, of Hermosa Beach, was last seen in Laytonville where he spent the night at the Budget Inn. His wife has described him as being “bipolar, off his medication and having drug addiction issues.” She said he left home on May 23 and was driving to Oregon to enroll in a sober-living program. Lamberg, a fit-looking 6’5” 200 pound man, stayed in daily contact with Mrs. Lamberg until May 27. She reported him missing two days later when he didn’t respond to her calls, texts, e-mails or Facebook posts.
WEDNESDAY, Lt. Shannon Barney of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office assembled a search team of 40 ground personnel and five tracker dogs for a search of the rugged country along the Skunk track west of Willits. Barney told the Willits News and the Ukiah Daily Journal that his team had found “fir tree boughs laid on the floor and recent signs of a warming fire” at the Clare Mill Station, but could not determine how recently someone had camped there. The Crowley Station area also yielded signs that have encouraged a second search of the woods along the track next week, an area north of where Lamberg’s Honda was found on Sherwood Road.
LAMBERG’S 2004 silver Honda Odyssey was found mired in a ditch on Sherwood Road on June 1st amid signs that the disoriented man had tried unsuccessfully to extract his vehicle before walking west on Sherwood, then, reversing himself, walking east. The Skunk tracks lie north of Sherwood Road in hilly terrain covered with the thick brush that grew up after the L-P and G-P clearcuts of the 1990s.
BLAST FROM THE PAST:
“Perhaps I have seen worse television displays, but the tasteless pair served up by Milton Berle Tuesday night has made me forget them. Maybe Uncle Miltie should be complimented. After all, it takes a certain amount of ability to co-star the two least talented people in show business, Debra Paget and Elvis Presley. Their combined displays of flesh and fantasy were in such appalling taste that had I not been exposed to both of them in person, I would have thought NBC was kidding. First we got Elvis Presley, a sort of male burlesque queen. And we got him right in the face. It is the weakest face I have ever seen. There is as much character there as you’ll find in a bowl of tapioca pudding.
It pains me to say this, but beside him Liberace looks as rugged as Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Presley sings and moves to the steady beat of rock ‘n roll. I have seen burlesque girls move in such a manner on the ramp of the El Rey, but I have never seen a man go through the same motions. As if the first number with Elvis wasn’t enough, a midget came out right afterward and imitated him.”
— Terence O’Flaherty, SF Chron, June 7, 1956)
Devil Girl? You mean the Creole sex goddess with the big firm booty and the giant hard knockers and the foot long tongue? The Devil Girl that made hash out of Mr. Natural and Flakey Foont? As drawn by the demented lust-freak, R. Crumb, who sits atop a pile of battered women in HUP #3, dangling his dong into an unconscious mouth? Why–why–this is pornography, Mein Redaktor!! Your duty is clear! Wrap up this Evil Portrait and mail it to me immediately!!
Yrs, Jay Williamson
ED NOTE: Crumb is a great artist, and Devil Girl, in all Crumb’s renditions of her, is a work of art.
TRIPLE-MURDER SUSPECT SHANE MILLER could be in Mexico according to federal court documents, the Redding Record Searchlight reported Wednesday.
Investigators in the murder of a Shingletown woman and her two young daughters believe the Humboldt County native and lone suspect may have fled to property he bought in Oregon and could now be in Mexico, according to the documents.
Miller, 45, who was added to the US Marshals Service’s “15 Most Wanted” list on Tuesday, was the subject of a massive manhunt in the Mattole Valley last May.
Authorities say he gunned down his wife Sandy and daughters Shelby Miller, 8, and Shasta Miller, 4, in their Shingletown home in Shasta County on May 7 before fleeing 200 miles to Humboldt County, where he abandoned his truck and the family dog.
Miller has been indicted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in US District Court in Sacramento, according to electronic court records. A federal complaint filed in May was quickly sealed at the request of federal prosecutors but unsealed last month at the request of federal marshals.
Federal prosecutors in their request to unseal the complaint said Miller could be in Mexico.
In an affidavit filed to obtain the federal unlawful flight warrant, Supervisory US Marshal Marco Rodriguez said law enforcement officers believed Miller may have run to Oregon after the murders, possibly to somewhere near Roseburg or Eugene.
Roseburg is about 250 miles north of Redding on Interstate 5 while Eugene is about 72 miles north of Roseburg.
Authorities consider Miller armed and dangerous. He has been charged with three counts of murder in Shasta County and officials said he threatened the lives of several other family members.
A reward of up to $25,000 is offered for information leading directly to Miller’s arrest. The US Marshals Service asks anyone with information to connect one of its offices or the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102.
At a glance: Shane Miller
Height: 5 feet, 10 inches tall
Weight: 200 pounds
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the nearest US Marshals Office or 1-800-336-0102
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD’S MUST READS
Sister Carrie: Theodore Dreiser
The Life of Jesus: Ernest Renan
A Doll’s House: Henrik Ibsen
Winesburg, Ohio: Sherwood Anderson
The Old Wives’ Tale: Arnold Bennett
The Maltese Falcon: Dashiel Hammett
The Red and the Black: Stendahl
The Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant
An Outline of Abnormal Psychology: edited by Gardner Murphy
The Stories of Anton Chekhov
The Best American Humorous Short Stories
Victory: Joseph Conrad
The Revolt of the Angels: Anatole France
The Plays of Oscar Wilde
Sanctuary: William Faulkner
Within a Budding Grove: Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way: Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way: Marcel Proust
South Wind: Norman Douglas
The Garden Party: Katherine Mansfield
War and Peace: Leo Tolstoy
John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley: Complete Poetical Works
NORM FLUHRER on the Coast tells us that Scott Schneider, the “President and CEO” of Visit Mendocino County (which is subsidized by County taxpayers and a self-assessment on B&Bs, wineries and restaurants) makes about $95.5k per year for an average of 35 hours per week. (For more information about the “Promotional” ripoff that Schneider heads and what prompted Mr. Fluhrer to to comment, refer to the Mendocino County Today posting of July 28 at
A GATHERING OF GHASTLIES
Jared Huffman Invites You to a Harvest Celebration.
Please join Jared along with hosts Deborah Cahn and Ted Bennett for a tasting of Navarro wine with locally made appetizers in the garden at Navarro Vineyards Sunday, August 25, 3-5pm. Thank you to our generous sponsors: Rachel Binah, John Fetzer, Phyllis Curtis, Kit Elliot, Carre Brown and others. Tickets $25.00 per person.
IF YOU’RE THINKING of becoming a hippie, or you are a hippie but are too stoned to find compatible nests, according to Estately, a real estate website, these are the best places to do it:
17. Arcata, CA
16. Bloomington, IN
15. San Francisco, CA
14. Manitou Springs, CO
13. Berea, KY
12. Oakland, CA
11. Missoula, MT
10. Bisbee, AZ
9. Austin, TX
8. Berkeley, CA
7. Ithica, NY
6. Burlington, VT
5. Portland, OR
4. Boulder, CO
3. Asheville, NC
2. Olympia, WA
1. Eugene, OR
Estately’s criteria? “Availability and legality of marijuana, number of stores selling hemp, local counter-culture icons (human-type, presumably), tie-dye availability, hippie festivals, progressive government (har de har), intensity of Occupy protests…”
HAVING LIVED IN EUGENE, certainly a city home to thousands of the righteous, but also a city that has paved over thousands of acres of wetlands for endless sprawl, and a local government “progressive” only rhetorically, I’d say whatever the hippie quotient may be they’ve been paved over, too. As for Frisco, well, only a rich stoner can afford to live there. The icons? Eugene has produced two writers of note: Ken Kesey and Richard Brautigan; Frisco-Oakland can boast Jack London and the beatniks. Kesey’s the only hippie who ever produced anything worth reading. Brautigan was a juicer, and never was a hippie, although hippies claimed him.
“WHAT’S THERE TO LIVE FOR?
Who needs the peace corps?
Think I’ll just DROP OUT
I’ll go to Frisco
Buy a wig & sleep
On Owsley’s floor
Walked past the wig store
Danced at the Fillmore
I’m completely stoned
I’m hippy & I’m trippy
I’m a gypsy on my own
I’ll stay a week & get the crabs &
Take a bus back home
I’m really just a phony
But forgive me
’Cause I’m stoned
Every town must have a place
Where phony hippies meet
Popping up on every street
GO TO SAN FRANCISCO. . .”
Who Needs The Peace Corps?
THE PLIGHT OF THE FARMER CONTINUES
Still Reaping a Harvest of Shame
by Ralph Nader
The great reporter Edward R. Murrow titled his 1960 CBS documentary Harvest of Shame on the merciless exploitation of the migrant farmworkers by the large growers and their local government allies. Over fifty years later, it is still the harvest of shame for nearly two million migrant farmworkers who follow the seasons and the crops to harvest our fruits and vegetables.
As a student I went through migrant farmworker camps and fields and wrote about the abysmally low pay, toxic, unsafe working conditions, contaminated water, housing hovels and the complete absence of any legal rights.
It is a perversely inverted society when the people who do the backbreaking work to harvest one of the necessities of life are underpaid, underinsured, under-protected and under-respected while the Chicago commodity brokers – where the white collar gamblers sit in air-conditioned spaces and speculate on futures in foodstuffs’ prices – are quite well off, to put it modestly.
It probably won’t surprise you that the grapes, peaches, watermelons, strawberries, apricots and lettuce that you’re eating this week are brought to you from the fields by the descendants of the early migrant workers. Their plight is not that much better, except for the very few working under a real union contract.
Start with the exclusion of farmworkers from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Then go to the EPA’s Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which is aimed at protecting farmworkers and their families from pesticides but is outdated, weak and poorly enforced.
Continue on to the unyielding local power of growers and their campaign-cash indentured local, state and Congressional lawmakers. The recent shocking description of the tomato workers in central Florida in Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco’s book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, shows how close defenseless migrant workers can come to involuntary servitude.
In a recent television interview, featuring Baldemar Velasquez – a vigorous farm worker organizer – Bill Moyers summarized the period since Harvest of Shame: “Believe it or not, more than fifty years later, the life of a migrant laborer is still an ordeal. And not just for adults. Perhaps as many as half a million children, some as young as seven years old, are out in the fields and orchards working nine to ten hour days under brutal conditions.” (See http://billmoyers.com/episode/full-show-fighting-for-farmworkers/ for the full interview.)
Among the conditions Moyers was referring to are the daily exposures to pesticides, fertilizers and the resulting chemical-related injuries and sicknesses. Far more of these pesticides end up in the workers’ bodies than are found in our food. President of Farmworker Justice, Bruce Goldstein writes: “Short-term effects include stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, headache, coma and even death. Pesticides also cause infertility, neurological disorders and cancer.”
In a recent letter appeal by the United Farm Workers (UFW), the beleaguered small union representing farmworkers, these ailments were connected to real workers by name. Focusing on the large grape grower – Giumarra Vineyeards of California – the UFW describes one tragedy of many: “After ten hours laboring under a blazing July sun, 53-year-old Giumarra grape picker Asuncion Valdivia became weak, dizzy and nauseated. He couldn’t talk. He lay down in the field. The temperature was 102 degrees.
Asuncion’s 21-year-old son, Luis, and another worker rushed to his aid. Someone called 911. But a Giumarra foreman cancelled the paramedics. He told Luis to drive his father home. They reached the emergency room in Bakersfield too late. Asuncion died on the car seat next to his son.”
For backbreaking work, kneeling 48 hours a week on crippled joints, 29-year-old Alejandro Ruiz and other farmworkers are not making much to live on. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour does not apply to farmworkers. Workers without documents are often paid less than those with documents. In most cases, they are too frightened to consider objecting.
It is so deplorable how little the members of Congress from these farm Districts have done to improve the plight of migrant farm workers. Members of Congress could be raising the visibility of deplorable working conditions faced by farmworkers and allying themselves with urban district Representatives concerned about food safety. This partnership could raise awareness of the safety of the food supply, the careless use of agricultural chemicals, and press the EPA to issue a strong WPS that emphasizes training, disclosure of chemical usage, safety precautions prior to spraying and buffer zones.
Is there a more compelling case for union organizing than the farm workers who sweat for agri-business? Federal labor laws need to be amended to improve national standards for farmworkers and eliminate existing state fair wage and health barriers. California has the strongest law, passed under the first gubernatorial term of Jerry Brown in 1975. Even this law needs to be strengthened to overcome the ways it has been gamed by agri-business interests.
Next time you eat fruits or vegetables, pause a moment to imagine what the workers who harvested them had to endure and talk up their plight with your friends and co-workers. Remember, every reform starts with human conversations and awareness. (For more information see http://www.ufw.org/ and http://www.supportfloc.org/.)
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)
CALIFORNIANS OPPOSE EXPANDED FRACKING
by Dan Bacher
A poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on July 31 reveals that the majority of Californian residents oppose expanded fracking in the Golden State.
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) employs huge volumes of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, to blast open rock formations and extract oil and gas. The technique is environmentally destructive, resulting in pollution to groundwater supplies and streams, as documented in the documentary films Gasland 1 and 2, directed by Josh Fox.
“As state legislators debate stricter regulations on fracking—already under way in California—51 percent oppose increased use of the drilling method used to extract oil and natural gas (35% favor it, 14% don’t know),” according to PPIC, a nonpartisan research foundation. “Asked whether they favor or oppose stricter regulation of fracking, 50 percent say they are in favor. Among those who favor increased use of fracking, 62 percent also favor stricter regulation.” (http://www.ppic.org/main/pressrelease.asp?i=1378)
The controversial technique, currently unregulated and unmonitored by California officials, has been used in hundreds and perhaps thousands of oil and gas wells across the state, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
The survey asked about another hotly debated plan to increase the supply of oil: construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canada to Texas refineries. Half of Californians (51%) favor building the pipeline, 34 percent oppose it, and 15 percent don’t know, according to PPIC.
“Californians are conflicted when it comes to controversial efforts to expand the oil supply,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Slim majorities favor building the Keystone XL pipeline but also oppose fracking, with many wanting stricter regulation of the practice.”
The poll also revealed that the majority of Californians are opposed to expanded offshore oil drilling, with 54 percent opposing and 41 percent favoring more oil drilling off California’s coast. Among those living in coastal areas, 57 percent oppose more drilling, while those inland are divided (49% favor, 47% oppose).
Delta advocates fear that much of the water destined for the proposed peripheral tunnels under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) will be used to expand fracking in California. The tunnels will hasten the extinction of Central Valley Chinook salmon, steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species.
As oil companies gear up to frack massive petroleum deposits in the Monterey Shale and build the Keystone XL Pipeline, the poll also found that 65 percent of Californians say the state should act immediately to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The poll puts new pressure on state lawmakers and regulators and Gov. Jerry Brown to halt fracking expansion in the state. A USC/Los Angeles Times poll in June found that more than half of California voters — 58 percent — favor a moratorium on fracking.
It’s time for a fracking moratorium
“Californians are telling pollsters and policymakers they don’t want fracking pollution fouling up our state,” said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s strong public support for a moratorium on this dangerous practice. We need to stop the oil industry’s fracking expansion now, while there’s still time to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate we depend on.”
Oil companies, represented by the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), are increasingly interested in fracking the Monterey Shale, an oil-laden geological formation beneath some of the state’s most productive farmland, important fish and wildlife habitat and scores of towns and cities. Much of the shale is located off the California coast in and near controversial “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, pollution and other human impacts other than fishing.
“Fracking routinely uses numerous toxic chemicals, including methanol and benzene. A recent Colorado School of Public Health study found that fracking increases cancer risk and contributes to serious neurological and respiratory problems in people living near fracked wells,” according to Siegel.
Fish and wildlife are also at risk. Fish, including endangered Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead, can die when fracking fluid contaminates streams and rivers. “Birds can be poisoned by chemicals in wastewater ponds and the intense industrial development that accompanies fracking pushes threatened or endangered animals out of wild areas they need to survive,” Siegel stated.
“Drilling and fracking also release huge amounts of methane, an extremely powerful global warming gas,” said Siegel. “Methane is about 105 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas over a 20-year period. Burning the estimated 15.5 billion barrels of oil in the Monterey Shale will generate more than 6.6 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to calculations based on Environmental Protection Agency figures.”
Besides threatening groundwater supplies, endangered salmon and steelhead in the state’s rivers and bird populations through the state, fracking also poses an enormous rise to California’s marine waters.
Ocean fracking operations in Santa Barbara Channel approved
An investigative piece by Mike Ludwig at http://www.truthout.org on July 25 has confirmed that federal regulators approved at least two fracking operations on oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California since 2009 without an updated environmental review that critics say may be required by federal law.
These operations were approved as state officials and corporate “environmental” NGO representatives gushed about the alleged “Yosemites of the Sea” and “underwater parks” created in Southern California waters under the “leadership” of Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association.
“The offshore fracking operations are smaller than the unconventional onshore operations that have sparked nationwide controversy, but environmental advocates are still concerned that regulators and the industry have not properly reviewed the potential impacts of using modern fracking technology in the Pacific outer continental shelf,” said Ludwig. (http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17765-special-investigation-fracking-in-the-ocean-off-the-california-coast)
“Oil drilling remains controversial in Santa Barbara, where the memory of the nation’s third-largest oil spill lingers in the minds of the public. In 1969, the nation watched as thick layer of oil spread across the channel and its beaches following a blowout on an oil rig, killing thousands of marine birds other wildlife. The dramatic images helped spark the modern environmental movement and establish landmark federal environmental laws that eco-groups continue to challenge the government to enforce,” Ludwig noted.
The current push by the oil industry to expand fracking in California, build the Keystone XL Pipeline and eviscerate environmental laws was made possible because state officials and MLPA Initiative advocates greenwashed the key role Reheis-Boyd and the oil industry played in creating marine protected areas that don’t protect the ocean.
Reheis-Boyd chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to create alleged “marine protected areas” that fail to the protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling and spills, pollution, military testing, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts on the ocean other than fishing and gathering. She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
Reheis-Boyd apparently used her role as a state marine “protection” official to increase her network of influence in California politics to the point where the Western States Petroleum Association has become the most powerful corporate lobby in California. The association now has enormous influence over both state and federal regulators. (http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/lawsuit-filed-against-fracking-oil-lobbyist-says-its-safe)
Oil and gas companies spend more than $100 million a year to buy access to lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento, according to Stop Fooling California (http://www.stopfoolingca.org), an online and social media public education and awareness campaign that highlights oil companies’ efforts to mislead and confuse Californians. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) alone has spent more than $16 million lobbying in Sacramento since 2009.
As the oil industry expands its role in California politics and environmental processes, you can bet that they are going to use every avenue they can to get more water for fracking, including taking Delta water through the peripheral tunnels proposed under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).
The industry will also use its power to expand fracking in the ocean, as evidenced by the recent approval of ocean fracking operations off the Southern California coast, unless Californians rise up and resist these plans!