Mendocino County Today: September 22, 2013
by AVA News Service, September 21, 2013
MENDO WORKERS PLAN ONE-DAY STRIKE
Mendocino County Declares Impasse; Workers Call a One-Day ULP STRIKE
One day after SEIU 1021 members overwhelmingly voted in favor of going on an Unfair Labor Practice strike, our bargaining team met with county administrators on Thursday, Sept. 19, hoping they would bargain in good faith and show some movement.
Instead, at the direction of County CEO Carmel Angelo, they flat-out refused to bargain and declared impasse.
While workers were willing to negotiate through the weekend to get a deal, the county ended that process by declaring impasse. Workers are preparing for the strike to begin at 6am on Tuesday, Sept 24.
“Bargaining is not showing up to the table and saying my way or the highway, but that’s what they did,” said Matt Gauger, SEIU 1021’s attorney. Gauger says we are not legally at impasse, since there is more room to bargain.
The County is in violation of several ULP’s, including surface bargaining and refusing to give workers vital information relating to bargaining as well as contracting out SEIU 1021 positions. The county on Thursday refused to bargain again over the proposed increases to our health care premiums before getting approval of the Board of Supervisors, which is a violation of state labor laws.
We cannot allow the county to continue to use the same illegal tactics and austerity measures that has left all of us in economic hardship.
Now it’s time to stand up for our jobs, our families and our community!
(SEIU Press Release)
* * *
SEIU has announced a one-day County employee walkout for this Tuesday (September 24th.) The union, which represents about 700 County employees, says 90% of the estimated 60% of workers participating in the strike vote voted for the one day action, which seems to us both entirely pointless and, at 60%, an expression of lukewarm employee enthusiasm for the action. Strikers will lose a day's pay and gain what in bargaining leverage? The County is equivalently bumbling. Their outside negotiator has said the County intends to increase employee healthcare costs somewhere between 3 and 5%. Why announce that provocation in the middle of presumed negotiations?
THE UNION hasn't said what it wants. It doesn't seem to understand that the County is still broke, thanks to previous boards papering over debt by borrowing against future tax revenues via the Teeter Plan, which tottered big time in 2008 when the economy tanked and stayed tanked. Additionally, the County, short of declaring bankruptcy, cannot possibly ever cover employee retirement benefits, but must cover them out of the present meager surplus of about $6 million the County has saved mostly by eliminating positions and knocking most salaries back 10%.
ALL WORKING PEOPLE are victims of a weak economy exacerbated by a series of poor financial decisions at all levels of government over the past 20 years. After the last budget hearing SEIU said it had a sustainable plan to restore wages. Let's see it.
AS COUNTY RESIDENTS look on puzzled at the wholly unnecessary and counter-productive adversarial stances adopted here by both sides, the County with an outside negotiator doing its negotiating and SEIU with a pointless one-day strike and a lot of 1930 rhetoric, the rest of us look on from outside and wonder that the County manages to function as well as it does.
THE FIRING OF CHARLES ‘CHUCK’ BUSH as director of the Fort Bragg Senior Center by a narrow board majority, has inspired more than 100 emails in support of Bush to the Center's board. Facebook is similarly abuzz with support for Bush.
BUSH'S REMOVAL seems arbitrary in the extreme. The four women who led the charge against Bush, two of whom are believed to be new to Fort Bragg, did not announce their reasons for dismissing the popular director. Critics of the move are saying that it appears Bush's firing came at an illegal meeting of the board, in that it was not properly noticed beforehand, and that the board has left itself open to a lawsuit.
THE FOUR WOMEN who engineered what amounts to a Senior Center coup aren't talking. We've learned, however, they are all in their 70s and led by Sandy Donato who persuaded Lizette Weiss, described as Donato's “partner,” and their neighbor, Lonne Mitchell, and one other woman, all of whom live in the Fort Bragg cul de sac called Lonne Way, that Bush had to go. (Lonne Way, incidentally, was developed by Fort Bragg mover and shaker, Tom Mitchell. The neighborhood is variously described as “Bush Way” and as a “Republican stronghold,” although rightwing politics don't seem in play in the coup against the personable and inoffensive Bush.) Donato, insiders say, simply seems to have taken a strong personal dislike for Bush and talked the other three board members into going after him.
IT ALL COMES to a head at 1pm this Friday at the Senior Center.
SHERIFF ALLMAN WRITES: “The Mendocino Sheriff's Booking Log continues to be one of the most popular websites in the County (over 9,000 hits per day). I know that we have not refreshed it last week, but we have been working very hard on a new system which is more compatible with our new computer system. It is up and running now, mendocinosheriff.com but it looks different and is different. It is new and improved and allows day searches as well as name searches. We are still working on some improvements, but to those 10 (yes TEN) people who called me to complain that it has not been updated, the new and improved site is available. Whew!”
THE NEW BOOKING LOG is certainly “new and different,” but not “improved.” The “old” Booking Log was simple, easy to use even for computer novices, and reasonably responsive. We knew of no complaints — the old Log did not need any “improvement.” The new system does allow for day and name searches, as Sheriff Allman says, but that wrongly assumes you already know who’s been arrested or who may have been arrested. The search results are slow and unwieldy, the searches only go back abut a year, the accompanying thumbnail pictures are too small to see what the arrestee looks like in the results list, it’s not obvious how to search for the latest or most recent bookings, the list of results provides no indication of where the arrestee is from or what they were charged with so you have to tediously click on each thumbnail to see if you’re interested in a given arrest/booking, then return to the list and repeat the process item by item, one at a time, whereas before you could simply scroll through the daily catch. Even the ads that supposedly pay for the site are badly positioned should you be interested in the services being offered.
AS EXPECTED, Holly Madrigal has announced that she will run for the 3rd District supervisor's seat presently held by John Pinches. Pinches is not running for re-election. Pinches defeated Madrigal in 2010 with 56% of the district's votes cast. Madrigal’s candidate's announcement said, “I look forward to addressing tough issues that the county still faces, like unsustainable pension debt and the Brooktrails second access. My current focus has been increasing manufacturing and business in Mendocino County. I plan to continue my work localizing our economy to strengthen our community. The active campaign will be launched in December and I remain extremely focused on navigating the city of Willits through this challenging and exciting moment in its history.”
MADRIGAL, 36, is married and was raised in Willits. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2000 with a degree in business management and economics. She presently serves as mayor of Willits and works at Sparetime Supply. There are rumors of at least one other candidate but no one has yet announced. Madrigal is a conservative liberal of the Democratic Party type dominant in Mendocino County.
BREAKING NEWS FROM THE WILLITS WEEKLY:
Pomo archaeological site known to Caltrans destroyed by bypass construction: Federal historic preservation agency calls out Caltrans for a “major breach” of its commitment to protect historic properties, as required by the project’s environmental impact statement
The Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians (SVR) got a notice from Caltrans on Friday, September 13 that an archaeological site with Pomo cultural resources known to Caltrans has “been destroyed by construction activities,” said SVR Tribal Chair Mike Fitzgerral in a statement given to Willits Weekly.
As per the September 13 notice from Caltrans: “Caltrans has discovered that one of the sites” — CA-MEN-3571 — “is actually located within the ADI [area of direct impact]” of the project. “As you know,” the notice continues, “wick drains have been installed in that area and 3 feet of fill has been placed.”
The exact location of CA-MEN-3571 and specific descriptions of cultural resources found there and at other known archaeological sites — discovered before and after construction started in the bypass area — is not public information. Federal and state law keeps this information confidential due to the potential for theft or vandalism.
According to the tribe’s statement, CA-MEN-3571 was identified by Caltrans in 2011, during archaeological investigations of the area, as part of the bypass footprint’s “area of potential effects,” or APE, but: “later, in 2012, Caltrans claimed that changes to the … APE for the project [i.e., changes to the bypass route] resulted in the site no longer being located in the project footprint.”
“However,” the statement from the tribe continues: “Caltrans has just confirmed that the site does indeed exist within the APE for the project and has, over the last four months, been severely impacted by the removal of topsoil and the installation of 1400-1500 wick drains. What little, if anything, remains of CA-MEN-3571 is now inundated with 3 feet of fill.”
A September 18 letter to Caltrans from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency in Washington DC, characterizes this destruction of CA-MEN-3571 as a “major breach of the protection of a historic property that Caltrans committed to protect as part of its determination of ‘No Adverse Effect’ [in the project’s environmental impact statement].”
The Advisory Council is charged with administering the National Historic Preservation Act's Section 106 review process for agency projects, which includes identification and analysis of historic properties, analysis of the proposed project’s effects, and exploration of ways to avoid or mitigate those effects.
In the environmental impact statement for the bypass project, on page 3 of Appendix A, Caltrans states: “If buried cultural materials are encountered during construction, it is Caltrans' policy that all work in that area must halt until a qualified archaeologist can evaluate the nature and significance of the find.”
Willits Weekly asked tribal chair Fitzgerral and consultant Lee Rains, who’s been working with the tribe since May on bypass issues, why the Caltrans notice about CA-MEN-3571 came so long after topsoil was removed, with wick drains already installed and the fill process well underway.
“That’s the $20 million question,” said Rains, who consults on historic preservation law and regulatory compliance. “What actions took place, or didn’t take place as far as what Caltrans is calling ‘an error,’ we don’t know,” chairman Fitzgerral said.
The tribe hopes to get “a thorough accounting” in an upcoming meeting scheduled with Caltrans staff. But, the tribal council has been “frustrated” by previous meetings with Caltrans, Fitzgerall said, “where a lot of words were said,” but nothing seemed to change as far as consultation with the tribe or actions on the ground.
The tribe has asked Caltrans repeatedly since May to “plot all known cultural resource locations onto existing project plans so as to avoid damaging the resources” and to ensure “responsible in-field monitoring of these locations.”
The tribe has also requested that Caltrans place protective barriers around seven known archeological sites, including CA-MEN-3571. These requests have been “summarily dismissed” by Caltrans, the statement says. Requests for explanation have gone “unanswered.”
The Caltrans draft environmental impact report for the Willits bypass project reads (page 3 of chapter 5 of the DEIR): “ARCH-1: Once a preferred alternative is selected, and if that alternative is one of the ‘build’ alternatives, Caltrans will conduct a detailed examination of archaeological properties. The Final EIR/EIS will report the findings of this examination and determine the level of impact and if further mitigation is required.”
But in the final environmental impact statement (page 3 of Appendix A of the EIS), that paragraph is struck out, with this sentence added under it: “Mitigation Measure ARCH-1 is no longer required. This has already been accomplished.”
The letter from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation also reports three and potentially four “post-review” discoveries of “NR eligible” historic properties that have occurred during construction of the bypass project. “NR eligible” means the sites are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The undertaking is being carried out in a way in which historic properties that were supposed to be avoided are now substantially affected,” the letter states, “and the undertaking activities are affecting NR eligible historic properties within the APE.”
The Advisory Council is recommending that Caltrans “re-open the consultation” and work with the Sherwood tribe, the California State Historic Preservation Officer and “other Section 106 consulting parties” on “appropriate steps to resolve the adverse effects of the undertaking on historic properties and to resolve concerns.”
Re-opening the Section 101 consultation process, the letter states, could result “in an outcome that would sufficiently address all of the historic property concerns with this project to avoid further delays.”
Tribal council members believe “the unnecessary destruction of CA-MEN-3571 serves as a powerful illustration of what non-compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act can reap,” the statement reports.
SVR can only hope that this stark realization will now compel Caltrans to heed the tribe’s long-voiced call for the agency to re-open consultation under Section 106, review their previous identification efforts, revise their Finding of Effect, and create a Memorandum of Agreement for this project that would, from this point forward, ensure that injuries like that experienced by CA-MEN-3571 are not repeated,” the statement continues, “and that the history and the homeland of the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Little Lake Valley are treated with all due respect and protection.”
— Jennifer Poole
, The Willits Weekly
(Cropped map image, courtesy Chris Hardaker. This image shows a detail (of Little Lake Valley) of a map of Pomo village sites and dialectic subdivisions, from the 1908 book by S.A. Barrett, “The Ethno-Geography of the Pomo Indians.” From UC Berkeley’s collection.)
CAN THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY USE ASSET FORFEITURE MONEY TO BUY PAPER CLIPS?
by Mark Scaramella
Board of Supervisors meeting; Approval of final budget for 2013-2014 Fiscal Year, September 9, 2013.
Assistant CEO Kyle Knopp: The District Attorney cited an overall decrease in the general revenue streams and an overall increase in the workload. One of their specific revenue streams, asset forfeiture, did not come through. But the office has indicated that this will not be a problem going forward.
CEO Carmel Angelo: What you're saying is that it will not be an ongoing problem.
District Attorney David Eyster: For at least ten years — I want to be conservative — asset forfeiture has been used at times to help in the the county through admissible legal means to carry certain costs that the District Attorney wants to spend money on. Back in 2010-2011 over $1.1 million in asset forfeiture was spent by the District Attorney's office. When we built the 12-13 budget it was built in to add an additional $315,000 in asset forfeiture which we were prepared to transfer. It's not a revenue stream. It's a funded account. There's a difference on that. On June 25th we were told by the Auditor's office that our starting transfer of those funds “are on hold for now while we wait for word from County Counsel whether these are allowable asset forfeiture expenditures and/or are we just planning the budget? I will let you know.” That was signed by Mr. Weir. Based on those concerns which were not concerns when the budget was built, they have not been a concern of the Auditor's office for at least ten years, we withheld that money going into the budget because according to Mr. Weir, “I will let you know.” So since June 25th we've been waiting for word from County Counsel and the Auditor's office as to what they believe the problem to be. This budget was built with the approval of the CEO, then-County Counsel, this board, this auditor, Kyle, who has never been one to be a pushover and certainly when it comes to the DAs office — all this was known ahead of time and it wasn't until June 25th, literally days before we were going to close this year's budget, that all of a sudden this became an issue. At this point we are still waiting for the word from County Counsel and the Auditor's office as to what they believe the issue is. The money is there in the asset forfeiture fund. There is $315,000 to be transferred that was originally blocked. But the bottom line is I am not going to transfer money on the threat that there could be a problem either in the minds of the public defender— Oh, there I go back in court — County Counsel or the Auditor. So as of June 25th, we are now heading toward the third month and we are waiting for this information that we were promised we would receive. It was our anticipation that we would have an $84,000 overrun which was basically 1.9% of our budget originally. That's what we anticipated and there were reasons for that, other revenue streams, some increases due to realignment and the like. But generally that's what we anticipated. So I apologize for this, but I don't believe this is of my doing. My staff and I believe that what we are doing is legal and proper and again as of June 25th we were told there was going to be an opinion, something would be coming on this, and it's still not here. I know that my fiscal analyst sent a note back saying, “I have transferred moneys from asset forfeiture into budget unit 2070 in past years with the Auditor's office authorization, so why now is there a question?” That was sent on June 26th and as of today we have never received a response even to that.
Auditor Meredith Ford: The issue with Mr. Eyster's use of asset forfeiture money is that the paperwork that he supplied to my office showed that he wanted to use asset forfeiture money to pay for basically all of his office expenses. My initial read of the federal guidelines for the use of asset forfeiture money does not say that they are to be used for everyday operations. There again, I would hope that County Counsel has done some research and can back me up or tell me otherwise. But that's what we've been waiting for.
County Counsel Tom Parker: I did receive a request to review the federal guidelines. It is also absolutely true that I have not yet issued an opinion on this subject. I have been on hindsight a little bit derelict in terms of getting an opinion issued. But I did spend time earlier this summer reviewing the guidelines. I will say that I am not, I suspect to some degree that if you apply the guidelines as vague as they are, some of the concerns of the Auditor-Controller are not unfounded. But I cannot tell the board or the Auditor-Controller as I sit here this minute exactly how far those concerns go. And I apologize.
Hamburg: Can we approve this budget with this issue in abeyance?
Parker: The budget has to one way or another have money available for District Attorney obviously to spend.
Parker: If — what I would propose to do is — in the interest of practicality, recommend that the board allow the asset forfeiture transfers as requested by the District Attorney to go forward, um, and I think it's — it's probably close enough to be all right but I think there are some questions that could be made and part of my — to the extent that I have any concerns, if the County is ever audited, and I don't know if it ever would be, but if it is ever audited by the federal government over the asset forfeiture funds, I would not want the county to find itself being dinged, to use a phrase, for the use of asset forfeiture moneys that the feds might find were not properly spent. But for purposes of the budget today I am not opposed from a legal perspective to allowing the necessary asset forfeiture funds — [crosstalk from Chair Hamburg].
Hamburg: Thank you Mr. Parker.
Supervisor John McCowen: As of today, the final budget we are looking at does not include those asset forfeiture funds, but so as a variance to including them in which would require some adjustments by staff could we take action today if the board so chooses to approve the budget either as recommended or with whatever amendments we think are appropriate and then have some reference that contingent on this issue being resolved that those assets forfeiture funds could be transferred and credited in place of County general funds that is now covering that, those expenses?
Parker: Yes, if the motion had those directions, yes, the board could approve such a budget.
McCowen: I've heard District Attorney Eyster say that the funds do exist in an account so presumably if this issue were resolved to your office's satisfaction those funds could be transferred.
Eyster: Correct, Supervisor. My concern has been that you raise a concern maybe a week before the close of the budget back in June, and you promise that you'll give us an answer and you don't give us an answer and then we are called to the lectern to be told that we are over budget. Well, we did not mean to be. We've been waiting! So I apologize to the Board of Supervisors, but I have to take certain people at their word and I did and we are waiting.
McCowen: The first option referenced by County Counsel for the board to approve the transfer today, would you also be willing to accept that if that's—?
Eyster: No, I wouldn't be willing to accept that.
McCowen: So you want it to be resolved, and then contingent on it being resolved those funds are available?
Eyster: For over 10 years this has been acceptable to the county, Supervisor. What I'm saying is that—
Eyster: If there's a problem I want to know it now. Because I'm not the person that developed this originally, I'm the person who has been trying to work with this and we have a different take on it. I'd be interested to see what you have to say.
McCowen: I didn't want you to go into the argument again but the funds are available if the issue is resolved?
Eyster: We have not spent them.
Hamburg: Thank you.
Supervisor Carre Brown: County Counsel, it would be very important to get that opinion mainly because the ding includes fines and penalties if indeed we are audited and it would not only be the actual amount but it would include fines and penalties for as far back as they go in addition. So I would really like to see that legal opinion come out and let us move forward from there.
Eyster: I would like an opportunity to see it myself and I will put my folks on it and if there is a problem with it we will let you know. If it's all up and up we will let you know that too.
Supervisor John Pinches: David, the way this budget is processed, the way your budget is set up though, there's $315,000. You're basically, you are not going to be deprived of buying pencils or whatever, you are covered with your budget, right? So if you look at this issue, the asset forfeiture issue, because the general fund backfills this money, this is really as I see it kind of a separate issue because if you make the determination for you to use that asset forfeiture money and use it for say supplies or something in your office that would actually come in at the end of this next fiscal year and that would mean in your budget in all likelihood would be over by that amount. So by us leaving things the way they are right now isn't going to hurt the operation in your office, right?
Eyster: No sir.
Pinches: Okay. So I think that's the first thing that we are interested here, is making sure — and certainly, my view, and I think I've been around here since pretty much they started asset forfeiture, it's kind of the discretion the way I've always read it, and I'm not an attorney or a judge, but it's basically for the use of you and the sheriff and the DA on his or her part and that's what I've seen accepted. For instance I remember one year an Interim Sheriff put asset forfeiture money towards the swimming pool in Covelo. I think that was getting a little bit off track but I felt at that time that it wasn't up to me, it was the total discretion of the sheriff and his asset forfeiture and the DA in his or her asset forfeiture. So that's the way I view it but I'm certainly not an attorney. This county, we've been audited before and we've been dinged before. That's nothing new to me. And that's another reason why we try to keep a fairly good-sized contingency and a good-sized general reserve because things happen like that and determinations change and whatnot and something like this probably, probably depends on how one federal auditor puts his shoes on and the way another federal officer puts his shoes on, how they determine it. But as far as our budget process today, it's not going to, we are not going to do anything that's hurting the operation, if we make no decision today it's not hurting the operation of your office this coming year, right?
Eyster: We will continue to prosecute and protect public safety. There will not be an impact on that.
Supervisor Dan Gjerde: I want to thank the District Attorney for looking for ways to use asset forfeiture funds in a way that is practical and not just spend the money on toys. I know there are some law enforcement agencies in other parts of the state of California that will just use asset forfeiture funds for toys that they will never actually use. So I think that before the County Counsel writes an opinion about this, I hope County Counsel and the CEOs office will meet with the DA's office to look into not only what they are proposing to spend the money on but are there any other practical options that they have to make sure that they can contribute the funds in a way that advances the County's goals and helps out the county budget. I don't want this to be a quest for a way to say no, but a way to say yes.
Eyster: The CEO's office has been very collaborative with us and talked with us a lot whether it's Kyle or Heidi or Carmel, that's not our problem.
Hamburg: I would really like to see this resolved one way or the other. It's always been my understanding that asset forfeiture funds are not supposed to be used for day to day operations, that they are supposed to be used — even if it's the swimming pool, that's a special one-time thing that the sheriff has deemed to be something that Covelo needs. I'm not judging whether he needs a swimming pool or not. But to use it for ongoing operations I've always thought it was not — and I was told this by Sheriff Allman, that's really where my information comes from —
Eyster: Generally speaking, Mr. Chair, it is a huge no-no in asset forfeiture to use it to pay regular salaries or regular full-time employees.
Hamburg: Aren't office supplies and expenses the same?
Hamburg: …kind of general expenditures like your ongoing operations? You have to have your paper clips, regardless. Right?
Eyster: Well, we use less paper clips. But the bottom line is —
Hamburg: I'm just —
Eyster: I get it. The bottom line is that there are exceptions in the law that allow for it.
Hamburg: Not being a lawyer and certainly not being County Counsel, I can't make that judgment. But I certainly hope our County Counsel will do so. Because I want to know.
Eyster: Again, we been waiting, so we'll continue waiting for a little bit more.
Hamburg: It's not — definitely not your fault.
CEO Carmel Angelo: To clarify, I understand that we are keeping the budget as it is and possibly before September 23rd or 24rth if Mr. Parker comes out with a legal opinion stating that the asset forfeiture dollars, that it is okay legally to use that money, then we could go ahead and put that money in the budget before its final adoption on the 24th. If that legal opinion doesn't come out until after September 24th then we could make the adjustment at first quarter fund balance. I'm asking the board to be certain that that's the direction, but Meredith, is that okay? Does that make sense?
Ford: It's feasible depending on whether we put it back in 2012-13 or whether we credit in 2013-14. In the interest of matching expenditures to revenues though, it should go back to 12-13. Either way if we credit it to 12-13 that makes that $6.8 million $7.1 million, which means you have to figure out how to spend the rest of it. And we if we put it in 13-14 then that obviously creates more money that has to be spent on something else. But I would advocate for putting it back in 12-13 if that were deemed appropriate and which I still don't think it is.
Angelo: Then we would need a legal opinion from Mr. Parker by the September 23rd or 24th board meeting. Is that clear?
Pinches: It's certainly okay with me, but maybe I have something wrong here, but the way I see it, if our general fund is backfilling this with $315,000, I think our DA is a lot smarter than that to offer up the $315,000. What I would do, and I'm not the DA, but if I was the DA, I would just hold that $315,000 back and spend it on something next time because we backfilled the $315,000 with general fund dollars. You just stated that.
Pinches: So it's kind of like —
McCowen: Don't give him any ideas.
Angelo: Yes. Exactly. I think what we want is—
Pinches: I understand you wanting to get a final answer on this because it certainly kind of protects himself. He doesn't want to get audited from the federal government and dinged. Nobody else does either.
Hamburg: No sir.
Pinches: I think we are making a mountain out of a molehill here.
Angelo: Mr. Chair, I think we have direction.
Hamburg: I think we do too.
* * *
At no point did Mr. Parker offer nor did anyone ask the obviously tardy Mr. Parker to commit to a date certain even though there was an apparent deadline of the September 24 board meeting.
LEGALIZATION CAMPAIGN BEGINS
Campaign Update: CCHI 2014 volunteers in every county reportedly stepping forward. Are you? Oct 1st is the start of the Signature drive. Get in and become part of California's Legalization of Cannabis
California Cannabis Hemp Initiative CCHI2014
Northern California (Mystical State of Jefferson)
P.O. Box 3494
Eureka, CA 95502
California Cannabis Hemp Initiative CCHI2014
Southern California (Land of the Angels)
2242 Ralston St
Simi Valley, CA 93063
NOW FOR GRANDMA'S PERSPECTIVE…
The Alden Observer, By Joanne-Grace Alden
There is growing recognition that arguing over political issues will never yield unity. What it has yielded is divide-and-conquer tactics based on majority rule: 3 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. Some matters cannot BE decided by compromise.
I don't take kindly to people with not-so-questionable-motives telling me how to live. I'm an American, a minority and a grandmother. I was taught to think for myself, an educational requirement at my house. My parents were in charge of the curriculum. That required me to get a grip on the principles of self-government and its outcome, self-determination.
Today, public school is a required by government edict; parental involvement is NOT encouraged, and now through Common Core, central government will run your children’s school lives from Washington DC. A self-proclaimed elite, easier to claim when you have tons of money, are actually intellectual light-weights whose abuses of power include deciding how and what your children will be taught to think. Short of a strong family base, which you will personally have to enforce and defend, they are being programed to be good little soldiers for The Man. Sound familiar?
As a farmer's child ankle deep in Vina Loam, I was a free-range kid, liberty at its finest. I and my friends rode through the orchards to the river to swim our horses in the dredger ponds, eating peaches and dust on the way. Boundaries and curfew were established by our parents, who we were persuaded to obey. When I joyously but mistakenly ran my horse through an orchard, the call from a neighbor got home before I did. Today some ignoramus would call CPS on my parents, and my family would be forced by the court system to defend their authority.
My father once had the cahoona to throw government inspectors off our land when they came to inspect his melons. Today he would be shot or locked up in a FEMA prison, lost to our care. Ask some small farmer or the Amish farm community if you don't believe me.
Our daily lives and money are run by “banksters” and people whose priority is staying in office while making more money to do so. They presume to know what is best for me and mine. Never mind the truth stated by Thomas Paine: “That government is best which governs least,” while young people leave the state for climes friendlier to their dreams.
As it turns out, the personal IS political, and directs my reasoning in support of the withdrawal of northstate counties through the Jefferson Declaration for Butte County, from Sacramento's power base. Diane Feinstein wants to re-define our lst Amendment right to free speech to exclude those of us whose writing is not “professional.” Presumably that means those who write for passion but not money.
Mark Baird of Siskiyou County and his friends, wrote the Jefferson Declaration for that county. Their Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of it. Baird will address the matter in his own words Monday, September 23 at the Thermalito Grange, 479 Plumas Ave. Oroville, 5:30 pm. Check out http://jeffersondeclaration.net for the YouTube of Baird speaking in Redding. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. If the NSA lets me, I will answer it.