Paul Kantner, a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, died Thursday of multiple organ failure.
His publicist Cynthia Bowman, who has a son with Kantner, confirmed his death to the Associated Press. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Kantner, 74, had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week.
The counterculture psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane was formed in 1965 in the Bay Area, and is said to have first defined what became known as the “San Francisco sound.”
Early hits include Somebody to Love and White Rabbit from Jefferson Airplane’s 1967 sophomore album, Surrealistic Pillow. Five of the band’s first seven albums achieved gold status.
The band gave an early-morning performance at Woodstock on Aug. 17, 1969. “Nobody went to Woodstock to make a statement,” Kantner told USA TODAY in 2009, when the group’s spinoff band, Jefferson Starship, played the 40th anniversary concert. “We just all accidentally showed up.”
When Jefferson Airplane reunited in 1989 for a self-titled album and tour, he joked to USA TODAY, “It’s like comparing the Wright Brothers to a 747. Both fly, both are charming, both have their time.”
Kantner was a singer, songwriter, guitarist and performer. He was also a political anarchist who openly used psychedelic drugs, including LSD, during Jefferson Airplane’s rise, but he swore them off in the ’70s.
After suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in 1980, Kantner told People he kept to just the occasional swig of cognac and marijuana. “Grass doesn’t seem to affect you terribly. Everybody’s got a vice. Everybody takes something,” he said.
In 1996, Kantner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is the first of Jefferson Airplane’s founding members to have died.
“Paul Kantner was a folk/rock giant and integral part of the 1960s rock scene,” said Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, in a statement. “The music community has lost a true icon, and we share our deepest condolences with Paul’s family and friends, and with those who had the privilege of collaborating with him.”
“Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing,” read a message on The Doors’ Facebook page. “Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the ’60s and ’70s. They often shared the same bill.”
Kantner is survived by his two sons, Gareth and Alexander, and daughter China, whose mother is Jefferson Airplane/Starship singer Grace Slick.
Steve and Susan Gordo have known the struggles of raising an autistic child, the progress and setbacks, and the haggling with local schools over education plans.
Now, their 18-year-old son Paul is awaiting trial on a felony assault charge that the parents say criminalizes the disorder that affects about 80,000 people in California.
“You can’t prosecute someone for behavior that is a direct result of their disability,” Steve Gordo said.
Gordo, whose father founded Gordo Pool City in Modesto, was a teacher in Ceres and his son attended schools in Sylvan Union School District. Five years ago, the family moved to Marina, near Monterey, where Paul Gordo is charged with felony assault stemming from an incident at a library last July.
Autism groups and other supporters have urged the Monterey district attorney to drop the criminal prosecution of Paul Gordo, who’s among the wave of young people with autism who are entering adulthood.
“There’s a gigantic bubble of young adults who are coming into a system that’s utterly unprepared to meet their needs,” said Jill Escher, president of the Autism Society of the San Francisco Bay Area. “We can’t as a just society let incarceration take its place.”
July 14, Gordo and his son were at the busy library in Marina for language study with a home teacher from the Monterey school district. Gordo said he was apprehensive because it is the type of setting known to trigger Paul.
People with autism have difficulty with social interaction, repetitive behaviors and communication, but some are also prone to outbursts, meltdowns and aggressive behavior due to sensory dysfunction. Gordo said a loud noise or admonishment can cause his son to lose control.
After a break, Paul was loud and disruptive, prompting the teacher to tell him to quiet down. Paul, a large 18-year-old, yelled at the teacher and then ran toward the front doors of the library, bumping a person at the counter and pushing another man.
Paul ran outside the building toward where his father’s car was parked and pushed a 58-year-old woman who was in his path. The woman, who suffers from Huntington’s disease and uses a cane, fell and suffered a concussion.
“It was horrible thing to watch,” Steve Gordo said. “The way she fell, she had no way to break her fall. There’s no question she was an innocent victim.”
Marina police responded and questioned witnesses. According to accounts, Paul was crying over what he had done, but also made threats to the woman’s husband, who was making insulting statements in his anger.
The Gordo family waited for two months before Paul was charged with felony assault with an enhancement for causing great bodily harm.
They had hoped that Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler would reduce the charges at the preliminary hearing this month, but the felony remained in place and a misdemeanor was added for a person pushed inside the library. At the close of the hearing last week, Paul was ordered to stand trial.
Steve Gordo said it’s clear the woman should be made whole and his insurer has tried to contact her family.
He said his son panicked in the library and was running to take refuge in their car. Because of his inability to make decisions and care for himself, a court appointed the parents as conservators for Paul last April.
“When Paul has a meltdown, its fight or flight. He’s not thinking clearly,” Steve Gordo said. “There is documentation in his school file that says this behavior is related to his disability.”
More than 10,000 people have signed an online petition in support of the defendant. Escher of the Bay Area autism society urged the district attorney in a December letter to drop the criminal prosecution.
According to her letter, autistic people like Paul are unable to “accurately process the world around them or maintain functioning we take for granted.” Such outbursts of panic, flight or aggression may result from anxieties and sensory dysfunction hitting a brain that becomes overwhelmed, she wrote.
“It doesn’t happen because they intend to harm people or they’re bad people, but they are miswired from the start,” said Escher, who has raised two autistic children. “As a society, we are having a very difficult time coming to terms with this. I don’t want to diminish what happened to that woman, but I don’t think the criminal courts are any place for somebody with a disorder like autism.”
Escher said California had about 5,000 residents with autism 25 years ago. There are 83,000 today, and nothing has been done to boost community supports to meet their needs, she said.
Jeanine Pacioni, assistant district attorney in Monterey County, said Gordo is facing criminal prosecution because it was a criminal act against an innocent bystander.
“We normally would charge a felony when there’s a traumatic injury to a victim,” Pacioni said. “In this case, the victim was hospitalized as a result of the attack and received a concussion. You have a fragile victim and an unprovoked aggressive attack and injury.”
She said the district attorney’s office is responsible for protecting the public. The prosecution presented the case at the preliminary hearing and the judge ruled that Gordo’s disorder was not sufficient to mitigate the charge, Pacioni said.
She said the prosecution does not want to put Gordo in prison. A guilty plea on the felony charge would place Paul on supervised probation, so that he is monitored and has access to services for which he might not otherwise qualify, Pacioni said.
The prosecution also is seeking restitution for the victim, she noted.
Gordo said the family does not want to accept felony probation. That would allow officers to enter their home at any time. “Would they? I don’t know,” he said.
Defense attorney Tom Worthington, who represents Paul, contends there’s no indication his client had intended to hurt the woman. “Because of his disability, he did not form an intent to commit the act,” Worthington said. “He was escaping from what appeared to him to be the world closing in on him.”
Steve Gordo said his son faces trial in a region where some of John Steinbeck’s novels were set, and he sees parallels with his son’s situation in the tale “Of Mice and Men.” Paul goes home with his parents after court appearances. To prepare him for hearings, he’s given calming medication and urged to stay on his best behavior inside the courtroom.
The parents want to place their son in a residential treatment program in Kansas for therapy to help him control his behavior. A court hearing Wednesday was continued for two weeks over questions of available space at the facility.
Depending on what the prosecution offers, Paul could spend time in the Kansas program and then return for the trial.
“We hope we are getting to the end of this,” Steve Gordo said.
Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said he was not aware of any instances in which an autistic person was arrested for a crime locally, but advocates have asked how deputies would deal with an autistic person who’s aggressive.
He said that autism is one of the topics discussed in a crisis intervention class that teaches peace officers to recognize behavioral disorders and de-escalate encounters. The Sheriff’s Department has to maintain a balance between protecting the public and trying to help those with emotional disorders find the help they need, he said.
“Each case is unique, but I imagine if we were faced with a situation similar to the one (in Monterey), we would protect the victim and make an arrest,” he said. “Keep in mind that our role is to gather evidence and present it to the district attorney.”
Felony assault has to prove intent to injure and how the FUCK can that be done in this case?
WTF are they thinking charging this? Strange world we live in…….
Michigan Officials Were Shipping Clean Water to Their Own Workers
City and state officials toast Flint’s switch to Flint River water in April 2014
In January of 2015, when state officials were telling worried Flint residents their water was safe to drink, they also were arranging for coolers of purified water in Flint’s State Office Building so employees wouldn’t have to drink from the taps, according to state government e-mails released Thursday by the liberal group Progress Michigan.
A Jan. 7, 2015, notice from the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which oversees state office buildings, references a notice about a violation of drinking water standards that had recently been sent out by the City of Flint.
“While the City of Flint states that corrective actions are not necessary, DTMB is in the process of providing a water cooler on each occupied floor, positioned near the water fountain, so you can choose which water to drink,” said the notice.
“The coolers will arrive today and will be provided as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”
Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for DTMB, said the water coolers were provided in response to the city health notice in late December or early January, which he acknowledged was about a contamination issue the city said had already subsided. The state continued to provide the coolers of purified water, right up to today, because “there were more findings as we went along,” Buhs said.
Buhs said his department never told state workers the tap water was unsafe to drink, but only provided an alternative, as a landlord would do for tenants.
Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said it appears the state was not as slow as initially thought in responding to the Flint drinking water crisis.
“Sadly, the only response was to protect the Snyder administration from future liability and not to protect the children of Flint,” Scott said. “While residents were being told to relax and not worry about the water, the Snyder administration was taking steps to limit exposure in its own building.”
After months of downplaying concerns, including warnings from researchers about high lead levels in both the drinking water and in the blood of Flint children, the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder acknowledged around Oct. 1 a problem that is now a full-blown public health crisis garnering international headlines. Michigan DEQ Director Dan Wyant resigned in December after acknowledging officials failed to require the city to use needed corrosion-control chemicals when they switched the source of their supply to Lake Huron water treated by Detroit to Flint River water treated at the Flint water treatment plant.
The lack of corrosion controls caused lead to leach from pipes, joints and fixtures into an unknown number of Flint households beginning in April of 2014, when the city began using the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting move while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. Flint customers were switched back to Detroit in October, but the potential danger persists because of damage to the water distribution infrastructure.
Snyder declared a state of emergency on Jan. 5 and a week later called out the Michigan National Guard to help distribute bottled water and water filters in Flint. The state of emergency, which was set to expire next week, was extended Thursday through April 14.
Included in the e-mail string obtained by Progress Michigan is an e-mail from Mike Prysby, a district engineer in the DEQ’s drinking water division, whose name had surfaced earlier in connection with the Flint drinking water public health crisis.
Prysby, who had been forwarded an e-mail from other state officials asking whether he would know more about the safety of Flint’s drinking water by March 1, forwarded the e-mail to Stephen Busch, the district supervisor, who on Jan. 22 of this year was suspended without pay for his role in the drinking water catastrophe.
“Appears certain state departments are concerned with Flint’s WQ (water quality),” Prysby said in the e-mail to Busch. “I will return the call …”
On Jan. 23, 2015, the Free Press ran a story, accompanied by a photo of Flint residents holding up jugs of brown water, that said concerns of city residents ranged from the taste, appearance and odor of the water to unexplained rashes and illnesses, even sick pets. Concerns about lead had not been raised then, though experts now say the color of the water — and the fact GM had announced it stopped using it because it was too corrosive to metal parts — should have been a tip-off that metals, including lead, were leaching into the water.
The January 2015 Free Press story noted that in August and September, the city issued three advisories to boil Flint water after detecting coliform bacteria.
Just before Christmas, residents received notices that state tests indicated higher-than-acceptable levels of trihalomethane (TTHM), a by-product of the chlorine disinfectants added to the water to kill the bacteria.
The article said that despite a recent alert about TTHM levels having exceeded federal guidelines in 2014, city officials maintained the water was safe. The article said that Michigan DEQ officials gave the same assurances at a meeting at Flint City Hall on Jan. 21.
Prysby represented the DEQ at that Flint City Hall meeting and told residents the chlorine did its job and cleaned the water of microbial pathogens that can cause disease within days, the article said. That meant the water was safe for healthy people to drink for a short time, Prysby was quoted as saying.
The trade-off, Prysby said, was TTHM, possibly a danger for the very young, the very old, or the very sick if they ingest it long-term, he added.
“But we’re talking decades,” he said, adding that those who are worried should talk to their doctors.