Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 14, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page A:5



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 14, 2013 

“What’s Going On?” 

News and Views from Joan Schmidt


By Christoper Nyerges

[Nyerges is the author of “Self-Sufficient Home,” “How To Survive 
Anywhere,” and other books. He does a weekly podcast at Preparedness 
Radio Network. To learn about his books and classes, he can be contacted 
at, or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]


Margot Silvia Youmans

January 7, 1929-August 25, 2013

 The name “Youmans” should sound 
familiar to residents of Temple City and nearby 
communities. For several years, Ray and wife 
Margot owned the Chevron Station on Las 
Tunas, and it was a place to have excellent car 
service at reasonable prices. Recently Margot 
passed away in Sierra Vista, Arizona. 

 Margot’s story began in Fuerth, Germany where she was 
born to Johan and Maria Hertlein. She met her husband, Robert (Ray) 
Youmans when he was in the army stationed in Germany. Margot 
was working as a secretary for the 3rd Army Division in Fuerth. They 
married at the Post Chapel and then moved to Fond du Lac, WI, where their first two children were 
born. They relocated to Temple City where Ray started his business and two more children were born.

 Margot was an exceptional wife and mother. At her services, her niece Margot felt honored to 
be her namesake and recalled a happy excursion to Disneyland. Sue, the youngest child, was appreciative 
of all the time spent with her mom and mom’s involvement in so many activities from Blue Birds, Camp 
Fire Girls, the school band and much more-supporting and assisting in all fundraisers. 

 Margot was very active in various Masonics and civic organizations including Eastern Star; she 
supported the Shrine, Job’s Daughters, and Demolay. After her husband’s retirement, they relocated to 
Sierra Vista, AZ.

 Margot was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of fifty years and a toddler sister. 
She lives behind four children, 9 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren who will greatly miss her.

Back in the mid-
1970s, “survival 
food” and food 
storage systems were big, and there was the 
scare of a possible famine in America. Since 
then, there have been various hyped-up “ends 
of the world” including Y2K and the end of 
the Mayan calendar cycle. Most are fed by two 
of the horsemen of the Apocalypse: fear and 

 It has been a long time since I have heard 
advertisements for “survival foods” for those 
folks who are worried about a world in which 
we descend into chaos and anarchy.

 As I listened to an ad on the radio recently, 
it reminded me of my state of mind in the late 
1960s and 1970s when I first began to study 
ethnobotany and survival skills in general. 

 Back then, I was primarily motivated out 
of fear, and was concerned about my own 
personal physical survival. It has been a long 
road to today, and though I still encourage 
folks to store “survival foods,” I am no longer 
motivated by fear. Today, I have a completely 
different mindset about the very meaning of 

 I know that to some people the word 
“survival” connotes images of some burly 
guy in a camo outfit and a gun who is just 
out for himself. That’s survival, by the lowest 
definition. But what about your children, your 
family, your pets? What about the survival of 
your community, your environment, your city, 
your bank, your educational system? Real 
survival is vastly more than keeping your own 
body alive.

 Through the 1980s, I gave a series of lectures 
about the many cultures and civilizations that 
have entirely vanished. Gone. My focus was to 
look at what causes a culture to slip into decline, 
and even to vanish. Then, more importantly, 
I attempted to see if we today in the U.S. are 
experiencing any of these same causes that 
lead to decline and extinction. Of course, most 
members of my audiences listened politely, 
but felt that “this would never happen to us.” 
In other words, the predictable response was 

 According to Morris Berman in the classic 
“The Twilight of American Culture,” there are 
four factors that define a declining civilization.

 The first is an accelerating social and 
economic inequality. Then there are 
“declining marginal returns with regard to 
investment in organizational solutions to 
socioeconomic problems.” Another factor is 
the rapidly dropping levels of literacy, critical 
understanding, and general intellectual 
awareness. As an example, the author shares 
with his readers some of the responses to 
questions that Jay Leno received during his “Jay 
Walking” routine. Then, there is something 
called “Spiritual death” - probably a major 
factor in the decline of all civilization. 

 Interestingly, Berman adds that he doesn’t 
know if these four factors are causes, or effects. 


 According to Jane Jacobs in her “Dark 
Ages Ahead,” there are definable reasons 
why civilizations fall. Among her nine 
major factors, she lists resource depletion, 
catastrophes, insufficient response to 
circumstances, intruders, mismanagement, 
economic issues, and “cult thinking.”

 Cult thinking seems to permeate each and 
every one of us in every facet of our life. It is 
not just about religious things. Cult thinking 
occurs whenever we blindly believe anyone. 
This is why I have always strongly suggested 
you read Eric Hoffer’s “True Believer.”


 Jane Jacobs suggests that we are following 
the same cultural decline that occurred with 
the Roman Empire. She identifies many of 
the weak spots in our contemporary lifestyle, 
such as: taxes, family, community, education, 
science, technology, the lack of self-policing, 
and moral/ethical insanity. These weak areas 
are the foundation of all the other often-cited 
problems, such as the environment, crime, and 
the discrepancy between rich and poor. 

 Modern families are “rigged to fail” due 
to rising housing prices, the suburban sprawl 
(with a reduced sense of community), and the 
automobile. Automobile is the chief destroyer 
of communities, and the idea of community.


 The hopeful part of all of this is that dark 
ages are not inevitable. For one thing, we 
all need to get involved, and be a part of the 
solution. The millions of details of a complex, 
living culture are not transmitted via writing or 
pictorially, but by 1) living examples and 2) by 
word of mouth. We need to think! We need to 
model solutions (that is, given two options, we 
should choose what is “higher and better” in 
our daily life). And we need to teach, to lecture, 
and to write.

 According to Boy Scout leader Francisco 
Loaiza, “Don’t make entertainment such an 
important thing in your life. Spend time with 
others and do things with people. Get away 
from the TV and get off the internet. Get to 
know other people directly. We may have 
more knowledge today, but we’ve become a 
colder society.” He adds that our emotional 
intelligence has been lowered a few notches 
as well, and he cites as an example that 
when people sneeze today, they rarely say 
“excuse me.”

 These are just a few of the many ways in which 
we can become a part of the solution and not be 
part of the decline of civilization. This is why 
I wrote “Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading 
in the City,” and “How to Survive Anywhere.” 
I include reading lists in those books which 
I feel are good for your physical, mental, and 
spiritual health. 

 Let me know if you have questions, or more 

Is Chris Holden The Hardest Working 
Member in California’s Assembly?



Sacramento – As we near the end of my first legislative 
session representing Assembly District 41, I am very 
pleased that eight of my bills have been approved in the 
Assembly and Senate.

Two of them – Assembly Bill (AB) 72 and Assembly 
Bill (AB) 139 – have already been signed into law by 
Governor Brown and the others are on his desk awaiting signature. 

AB 72 – Water District Directors is a good-government bill that shortens the lame-duck period for 
outgoing municipal water district directors and permits water districts to proceed to new business in 
a timely manner. 

AB 139 – Domestic Violence Fees helps to make resources available to women and children fleeing 
violent situations by strengthening penalties that abusers are required to pay to ensure more funding 
for Domestic Violence Shelters.

AB 143 – Military Use Tax Exemption gives active duty military personnel a tax break when they are 
transferred into California by exempting them from paying "use tax" on items such as computers or 


AB 199 – Choose California Act boosts California's agricultural economy by requiring state agencies, 
such as prisons, public schools and hospitals to give California agriculture producers priority when 
purchasing food products if the costs are the same as or less than out-of-state businesses. 

AB 201 – Small Business Loan Guarantee Program helps small businesses by making the program 
more accessible and user-friendly. It requires the Office of Small Business Advocate to include on 
its website information on the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, including loan guarantees, 
direct lending, surety bond guarantees, and disaster loans. 

AB 250 – iHUB expands on the state's iHub innovation network by creating economic opportunities 
for pioneering start-up companies. AB 250 puts California in a position to cultivate and incubate 
young companies that are developing new technologies that will promote conservation and other 
public policy goals.

AB 359 – Airport Rental Agreement is a consumer protection bill that will increase public transparency 
of airport infrastructure financing while streamlining state regulations in order to save local 
taxpayers thousands of dollars.

AB 630 – Architects safeguards an architect's work, such as architectural drawings or plans, by clarifying 
that a person can only use the plans or drawings if they have written permission.

I am also principal co-author on the following legislation:

SB 416 (Liu) 710 Corridor Surplus Property Sales ensures the timely sale of surplus homes currently 
owned by Caltrans in the now-obsolete 710 Corridor. This bill is a critical first step to restoring peace 
and security to neighborhoods long threatened by Caltrans' poor property management and an ill-
advised surface extension of the 710.


Prior to ending the 2013 session, the Governor signed a bill which will allow undocumented immigrants 
to obtain drivers licenses. 

 Despite years of bickering about the pros and cons of such a move, the Assembly vote was 55-
19 and the Senate vote was 28-8 in favor of the bill. Governor Brown will sign the bill, unlike his 
predecessors who used the power of the veto to knock previous legislation down. Gov. Arnold 
Schwarzenegger vetoed similar legislation at least 3 times.

“This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Brown said in the statement. 
“Hopefully, it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”


The hope is that by licensing undocumented immigrants California would open a legal umbrella 
for everyone on the road to prevent situations in which immigrants face arrest, heavy fines and car 
impoundment when they are pulled over.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, said late amendments to the 
bill included a recognizable feature on the front and back of the license to satisfy federal requirements 
– as well as various provisions to guard against discrimination. Some supporters said it was unfortunate 
that the licenses would need special markings, but said the tradeoff was worth it.

A staff analysis of the bill suggested that undocumented immigrants could apply for a driver’s license 
as long as they could provide some form of identification approved by the Department of Motor 

“This measure will ensure that all drivers on California highways are properly trained, properly licensed 
and properly insured,” de León said, adding that 10 other states allow undocumented immigrants 
to apply for driver’s licenses. “We are actually quite behind.”

He said the measure would make California roads safer, improve national security and allow immigrants 
to fully contribute to the state economy.

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, also said it was important that drivers are trained and insured.

“Not only is it the right thing to do, but our economy will benefit,” he said.

Some critics of the bill have argued that issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants would not 
make them safer drivers and would not guarantee that they get insurance. Others continued to contend 
that distinguishing marks on driver’s licenses unfairly single out people and could help spur