- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by AVA News Service, June 11, 2016
“IT WAS NOT GREAT BASKETBALL,” said Warriors MVP Steph Curry after Friday night’s championship playoff game, but it sure was good basketball. The Warriors played good defense, limited turnovers (as did the Cleveland Cavaliers) and took game four of the NBA championship series Friday night by a score of 108 to 97. The “Splash Brothers” returned to form getting more three-pointers than two-pointers as their teammates did a better job of creating open shots than they did in Wednesday’s lop-sided loss. It was a tense, hotly contested, hard-fought game. Mostly the referees let fouls go on both sides clearly irritating the coaches of both teams. But the players seemed to contain themselves most of the time. The Warriors now head home to Oakland with a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with hopes of closing it out at home for the first time in a long time and winning their second NBA championship in a row.
AT LEAST 58 PERCENT OF MENDOCINO COUNTY BALLOTS REMAIN TO BE COUNTED, according to a press release this afternoon from the county voter office. 15,567 mail-in ballots are left to count, plus there are 958 provisional ballots to review – and to count if found valid. 11,320 ballots were counted in the Final Election Night Report.
So, if all provisional ballots are found invalid, that’s still 57.89 percent remaining to count; and if all provisional ballots are found valid, that’s 59.34 percent remaining to count. As a point of reference, in last November’s very quiet election, there were 49 provisional ballots countywide, and all but 3 were found valid and counted. I expect we won’t see quite that high of a percentage of valid provisional ballots this election.
Here’s the breakdown by supervisorial district of votes yet to be counted, from today's press release:
"Of the outstanding ballots left to count, the approximate breakdowns for the Supervisorial District are as follows: 1st Supervisorial District – 2,800 ballots; 2nd Supervisorial District – 2,615; 3rd Supervisorial District – 2,494 ballots; 4th Supervisorial District – 4,456 ballots (of which 1,582 are for the City of Fort Bragg) & 5th Supervisorial District – 4,160 ballots."
We can hope that voter registrar Sue Ranochak will get the final, certified results out before the 30 days she is allowed by law, but it’s not likely – with so many ballots to sort, check signatures on, and count – that the final results will come out much sooner than that.
With only 498 votes separating the two candidates for Superior Court Judge – Keith Faulder with 5,287 votes so far and Patrick Pekin with 4,789 votes so far – and somewhere between 15,567 and 16,525 votes to add to the final tally – and the total number of uncounted ballots from the two coastal districts (where Patrick Pekin would be expected to run the strongest) being 8,616, or 707 ballots higher than the total number of uncounted ballots from the three inland districts, 7,908, I expect neither Faulder or Pekin are feeling much like “the election is over” at this point.
Back in November 2014, Willits Weekly published an editorial, “Waiting for the vote to be counted.” The conclusion of that editorial was: “And we’d like to see the board of supervisors and the voter office work together to figure out what county government needs to do so that voters – and candidates – don’t have to wait so long to know the final results of our local elections.”
And we’re still waiting for that, too.
— Jennifer Poole (Courtesy, Willits Weekly)
* * *
November 13, 2014, Willits Weekly
Waiting for the votes to be counted
More than half the ballots Mendocino County voters cast in the November 6 election have yet to be counted.
In the race for Third District supervisor, 2,639 ballots were counted Election Night; another 2,736 ballots remain to be counted.
In the Willits City Council election, 641 ballots were counted Election Night, and there are 715 ballots left to count.
The above figures don’t include an unknown percentage of the 452 provisional ballots cast countywide: most of the provisional ballots usually end up being designated as valid votes.
Given Tom Woodhouse’s 10.4 percent lead over Holly Madrigal in the county supervisor’s race, the final count is unlikely to change the result of that election, although Willits Weekly expects to see the same pattern we saw in the final results for the primary election: Madrigal closing the gap by a few points.
But in the Willits City Council election – with at least 715 ballots left to count and only 24 votes separating Ron Orenstein and Robin Leler, second- and third-place finishers in the preliminary results – a change seems at least possible.
Based on recent experience, we can hope to know final results before Thanksgiving. We expect the candidates would be pleased by that.
It’s bad enough voters have to wait so long to find out final results for our local elections (although Willits Weekly does appreciate voter registrar Sue Ranochak’s efforts to certify elections and release final results sooner than her predecessor. In 2008, Ranochak also reopened some polling places former voter registrar Marsha Wharff had shut down).
But again this year, as has also become the norm, there’s widespread confusion about what the initial results mean. “Why did they call the election if most of the votes haven’t been counted?” people ask us. None of the local newspapers have “called” the election, although apparently radio reports announced “winners” a bit prematurely.
But worst of all, every election year, these initial results provoke dire comments about the apathetic state of the electorate since, this year for example: “only 24 percent of the voters bothered to vote.”
But that 24 percent turnout this year, of course, is based only on the ballots counted in the “Final Election Night Report.” With 54.5 percent of the vote not included in that report, we’ll end up with a turnout somewhere over 50 percent in the Third District: not excellent, but pretty good for a midterm election, and a heck of a lot better than 24 percent.
One of the problems, we think, is the way the election results are reported on the county’s website. Another question we get from people who check the web for election results themselves is: “Why does it say ‘Precincts Reporting 100%’ if so many ballots haven’t been counted?”
What that phrase means is simply that 100 percent of the precincts have reported the total votes cast at the polling places on Tuesday, as well as the mail-in ballots received at the county voter office in time to be counted before Election Day.
Votes received in the mail too late to be counted before Election Day, provisional ballots and – most importantly – mail-in ballots dropped off at the polls on Election Day itself are not included in that count.
And now we’ve reached the point where those ballots not counted on Election Night constitute a majority.
One reason for the increase in Election Day drop-offs is the decision by previous voter registrar Wharff to change many Mendocino County precincts into mail-in-only precincts, whether voters like it or not. And this is not just due to Mendocino County’s scattered population: Willits residents who live in a precinct that starts only a block from the Willits polling place have been forced to cast their votes by mail.
Many voters like to vote by mail, and we’re happy they have that option. But others prefer to wait until Election Day to cast their votes – or at least wait to decide the weekend before, when it’s too late to assume a mailed ballot will get to the voter office on time.
Willits Weekly would like to see voters themselves be able to make the choice to vote by mail or vote at the polls, with no “mail-in-only” precincts in Mendocino County at all. We’d like to see a change in the way the votes are presented on the county’s election results web page. And we’d like to see the board of supervisors and the voter office work together to figure out what county government needs to do so that voters – and candidates – don’t have to wait so long to know the final results of our local elections.
* * *
The Supervisors have discussed this problem before, as recently as 2014, soon after the Willits Weekly raised the issue above (as did the AVA at the time).
Guess what happened.
AVA December 3, 2014
CEO Carmel Angelo told the Board in her CEO’s report on that same November 11, 2014, meeting (one week after the recent  elections) that County Clerk-Recorder Susan Ranochak “has put out a press release every year saying the vote will be determined within 28 days. I think this is something that has caught the attention of many people within our community and particularly some of the electeds [sic], is the fact that their list shows so many votes that are outstanding in the different districts. I received calls and I'm sure you received calls. This press release is out and as Ms. Ranochak says we will have to wait 28 days to see the final count.”
Supervisor Dan Gjerde: “Everybody wants the election count to be as accurate as possible. I think the question that keeps coming up to me and other people on the coast is they look at election night they see that Humboldt County which has 50% more people reporting on election night and I assume they still have a few provisional ballots. But if you look at the provisional ballot count in Mendocino County I think it's fewer than 500 that are outstanding. And it’s something like half of the ballots not yet been counted in Mendocino County whereas in Humboldt County I think it was 100% except for maybe the provisionals. So I guess the question for the Elections Office is, What are they doing in Humboldt that's different than what's happening here?”
Supervisor Pinches: “Good point.”
Supervisor McCowen: “It's important to have an accurate count but also a timely count. I think with the shift to the mail-in precincts we see every election that we have a situation very similar to this one except in this case we have considerably more ballots still to be counted than those that were actually counted on election night. It's probably time to revisit the issue of what would be the real cost to restore more physical polling places so that people have the option because I believe there is a lot of voters who have had their polling place taken away who still hold their ballot to the last minute and then of course they don't get counted. There would be some additional cost for additional poll workers but there would be, to me, and the board should appropriate sufficient funds if the election official and the board were to choose to go in that direction. I think there would be a real value to being able to have a more timely count. I invite Supervisor Gjerde to sponsor an agenda item to that effect with me.”
Gjerde did not respond. Newly praised and raised CEO Angelo did not respond. Nothing was done. Nothing was proposed. Nobody asked what could be done or even if Ms. Ranochak was available to discuss the problem.
* * *
(Back to 2016: And there was no further discussion in any subsequent meeting.)
ADVOCATE GETS 'PILED ON' FOR ELECTION HEADLINE
Said Voter Turnout Was 14.3% - Actually 62.9%
Our dear friends at the Fort Bragg Advocate-News are taking a lot of grief, once again, for a headline in their most recent issue that screamed: "Low turnout vote; Measure U trails."
It seems they based their headline on this (in their Measure U election coverage):"The 448 votes cast were out of 3225 voters in the City of Fort Bragg, for a voter turnout of 14.3 percent."
The lead to the story read: "Preliminary returns from the Mendocino County Registrar of voters office showed low voter turnout around the county, with some mail-in ballots still to be counted."
Some mail-in ballots to be counted? Try nearly 16,000 additional ballots - only 11,320 were counted by early Wednesday morning.
Actually, there were 15,567 mail-in ballots (and 958 Provisional ballots) remaining to be counted.
And although 448 votes had been counted on the Fort Bragg Measure U by Wednesday morning - there were still 1,582 remaining to be counted. So, in reality, the Fort Bragg turnout for the Tuesday election was 2,030 votes for an impressive 62.9% voter turnout.
Comment on social media included: "Dear Advocate, do the friggin math: 1,582 are for the City of Fort Bragg." … "Unfortunately we have the worst excuse of a newspaper in this town. Historically the County and City Residents have exercised their voting rights, generally voting at a rate of 55-70 %. I expect no difference in this case, given the strong support of Bernie Sander's and the controversial measures U,V and W. With only 24% of registered voters being counted to date and untold numbers still to be tallied, it is a disservice to the public to say that we experienced low voter turnout. Most of the voters in our City and County take note of the issues and vote in what they believe in. The Advocate just doesn't get it. If you can't get it right, then don't print it. Just print the statistics as they become available. Voter apathy is not a problem in Mendocino County."
One of the unlikely critics of the Advocate headline was Fort Bragg radio Station KOZT, 95.3 FM, the Mendo coast's "Easy Listening Music for the Senior Citizen Set."
In a post on the MCNlistserv they wrote: "In spite of some reports, this is over 59% turnout (countywide)...11,320 on the initial count, 16,525 in this count - 27,875 out of 46,795 registered (voters)."
Only Took Two Days
And it only took two days (today @ 9:59 am) for Fort Bragg's "Newspaper of Record" to report on their social media site the story MSP broke Wednesday - the resignation of FBUSD Superintendent Charles Bush. They're catching up...most expected to wait until their next issue to read the news.
A READER WRITES RE CLINTON:
I am queasy from the HORROR...THE HORROR, the pure nausea, trying to contemplate what lies ahead. Ok, shamltz time: I remember accompanying my Mom to her voting station when I was a child--in the Bronx of the 1950's. The entire outing was a mystery--the nearby school gym set up with curtained metal rooms; all the adults wearing their good clothing — and that meant women in gloves, men in suits and ties, and everyone in hats. Sometimes I was allowed to enter the polling booth, with all the mysterious-looking levers. I didn't understand what she was doing till the Kennedy/Nixon race, when I was ten years old. My first turn at voting took place in quite a different environment — Berkeley, Ca., 1972, and I remember leaving the polling place feeling like I had partaken in an important right of passage. That slightly excited feeling remained throughout years of elections, though the process now lacks community spirit, as I fill out my ballot at home. But this — Hillary v Trump. It's beyond my tiny comprehension. I will need to be cryogenically frozen for the duration of the campaign. After thawing, I can install a sandbox in my living room, so I will be able to have easy access to head sticking for the duration. WTF. Yea...End Days, I know.
ANOTHER READER CONSIDERS how it is that it takes Mendocino County sooooo long to count the vote:
Same explanation as always: mail-in ballots dropped off at the polls require more time to process than ballots cast at the polls themselves, and due to Marcia Wharff’s changes to voting countywide (most especially changing quite a few precincts to “mail-in-only” precincts so voters in those precincts can NOT vote at the polls) and because more people choose to vote by mail, but do NOT get their ballots in the mail in time, we have a flood of ballots dropped off at the polls these days. Plus so many provisional ballots this time will also make the count take longer. There really isn’t “tech” as far as I know – although I can’t say for sure they are NOT using computer technology to compare signatures on vote-by-mail envelopes/ballots to signatures on voter registration forms, I think it’s still done by hand, but that’s a good question.
Plus the voter registrar’s disinterest in providing rolling updates each day, every couple of days, as some county voter office’s do.
I understand why Ranochak doesn’t want to provide such rolling updates, voter registrars (the ones who aren’t crooked, and Sue Ranochak is not crooked) must be tidy types by nature, and I’m not sure Faulder/Pekin would like it much better to have the roller coaster of interim updates, either. And it would probably confuse the public even more than they are confused anyway. I just HATE that “100 percent reporting” field on the GEMS election night report.
Anyway, it does make a certain amount of sense to just get the whole count done, then research and count the provisionals (they have to get the whole count done first, in order to “research” that somebody who filled out a provisional ballot didn’t send in their mail-in ballot too, my guess is that’s the largest chunk of provisionals, people who show up at the polls without their mail-in ballots in hand), then get the “housekeeping” done – the mandated recounts, etc, — and then release it in one fell swoop.
The BOS already funds “extra help” at the voter office to help count the ballots, but if they funded more, maybe the count of the mail-in ballots that come in on Election Day and after, could be done earlier. The November 2015 results were released 10 days after the election. Wharff used to take the entire 30 days allowed each time, apparently just on principle! (my opinion only); also IMO and based on experience with her, Ranochak will get the count certified and released as fast as she can.
I think Mendocino County should end “mail-in-only” precincts, let those who want to vote at the polls vote at the polls – they never have trouble getting THAT vote counted by 2 am or so the morning after Election Day – and let those who want to vote by mail vote by mail. Not force voters who don’t WANT to vote early enough to get their ballots in the mail in time, into vote by mail.
AMERICA'S MOST EXPENSIVE GARDEN PROJECT
Giving Garden Summary
by Judy Valadao
After asking the Fort Bragg City Council for several months
And getting no answers from anyone, Jim Britt became interested in why no answers were given to me and looked into the "Secret Garden", the money and the lack of monitoring. This is what he came up with.
* * *
The Giving Garden: A Grant Funded Project By The City Of Fort Bragg And Mendocino County Hospitality Center (MCHC)
The agreement between the City and MCHC signed 2/2015 states that the Giving Garden Program (CDBG-Community Development Block Grant funded) aims to provide vocational and job training to 66 homeless and/or mental health clients. This is 30 month grant that was to be started in 2014, the grant totals $186,047 which includes money for 0.9 FTE staff (36 hours/week) from Noyo Food Forest and MCHC.
The proposal states MCHC will lease a vacant residential lot which was identified. The proposal also states that the Noyo Food Forest will design and develop a garden site for Food Production on this lot. Noyo Food Forest personnel will provide training at the garden site and will oversee food production. MCHC will provide referrals and program and client oversight. Training will occur mainly at the Giving Garden and also at the three locations below, owned by MCHC. Participants will learn about healthy eating and nutritional awareness. Training by Noyo Food Forest will encompass a broad area of garden work in phases. Topics for training phases will include: Propagation, harvesting, food safety law, landscaping, beautification, maintenance, marketing, sales and garden biology. Certificates will be awarded at the conclusion of each phase. Food will be provided to the Food Bank, and local feeding programs. Program Orientation and "soft skills" training (work habits, grooming, interpersonal skills) will be provided by MCHC staff. Excess food will be sold at the Farmer's Market…
MCHC Billing paid by the City of Fort Bragg from July 2015 to April 2016 -- $51,945.69 -- includes:
1572.3 staff hours for ten months (157.23 average hours per month amounts to 36-39 hours per week)
No bills have been received from the Noyo Food Forest to date.
This is what they have produced for $51.945.69 as of 5/20/2016: Garden at the Transitional House on Harrison Street, Fort Bragg- owned by MCHC
According to the Agreement with the city of Fort Bragg the expenses for the garden are to include: rental of vacant lot, deer fencing, construction of planter boxes and beds, hoop buildings, drip irrigation lines. (no lot was rented, no fence, hoop building or drip lines are visible)
It cost $36,008.64 in MCHC staff salaries to create the "gardens" at the three MCHC properties.
$3,613.43 spent on "garden construction"
$3.465.07 spent on "tools"
Yes all this was spent for the "Gardens" [a few planter boxes].
And there is more....
The “Giving Garden sites owned by Mendocino Coast Hospitality Center (MCHC)
Additional "Gardens" at the Transitional House on Harrison Street, Fort Bragg
The City Of Fort Bragg Also Paid:
$1557.62 -- Internet Services
$5,807.16 -- Utilities
$1403.00 -- Training Stipends
$82.92 -- Refreshments
$8.45 -- Travel
$51,945.68 was paid by the City of Fort Bragg so MCHC could create these gardens!
City staff promises to audit but is that really necessary?
The approved project is not being done. This is not how this grant of PUBLIC MONEY was to be spent.
* * *
JUST IN FROM JUDY VALADAO: Fort Bragg will do an audit of Hospitality House's golden garden, the invisible one.
A VERY BAD IDEA for a town that is trying to become a successful tourist destination. And obviously, all about the money, to our mayor... This facility needs to be located out of town, in a rural setting, with support staff and supervision. Not in a town already overwhelmed by the negative impact of too many transients coming for handouts, not help. Or put it in Ukiah, the county seat.
Monday night, city council meeting.
UKIAH, Fri., June 10. — A jury returned from its deliberations this afternoon with guilty verdicts against Thessalonian Catrell Love, age 25 of Apple Valley. Love was convicted of communicating with a minor for the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious acts, arranging to meet a minor for the purpose of lewd and lascivious acts, sex trafficking of a minor, and attempting to dissuade the victim by threat from cooperating with law enforcement and providing testimony, all felonies. To their surprise, the jury was then asked to decide the truth of two allegations -- whether Love had previously suffered a prior Strike conviction and/or a violent felony conviction for arson in 2010 in San Bernardino County. After the applicable evidence was presented, the jury returned to the jury room for additional deliberations and, in short order, returned with findings that the sentencing enhancements were true.
Normally, the defendant's matter would have been referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for a social study of the defendant and for a sentencing recommendation. However, Love was arraigned on a new charge of felony escape. A preliminary hearing for the escape case was set for June 23rd. The referral to Adult Probation on the guilty verdicts will trail the proceedings in the new case.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence to the jury was Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cox. The law enforcement agencies who conducted the investigation against the defendant were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigations. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman presided over the ten-day trial.
— District Attorney’s office press release
DEATH ROW INMATE SEEKS NEW TRIAL IN RAPE, KILLING OF FORMER MENDOCINO COUNTY WOMAN
by Scott Sonner
RENO, Nev. — A lawyer for a Nevada man sentenced to death for the 2008 kidnapping, rape and killing of a 19-year-old former Mendocino County woman goes before a Washoe County judge next week in the latest attempt to overturn his convictions in one of the area's highest profile murder cases in decades.
The Nevada Supreme Court rejected James Biela's appeal in 2012 in the murder of Brianna Denison and sexual assault of two others on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno.
Judge Scott Freeman set a status hearing for Thursday and an evidentiary hearing July 11 to consider what defense attorney Edward Reed says are more than 50 grounds for ordering a new trial.
Among other things, Reed says Biela's public defenders didn't adequately represent him, his Miranda rights were violated and the case should have been moved out of Reno because the extraordinary pre-trial publicity made it impossible to seat an impartial jury.
"Incredibly, no prospective juror had not heard about this case," Reed wrote in a 107-page supplemental filing seeking a new trial, or alternately a new sentencing hearing.
Washoe District Judge Robert Perry said when he sentenced Biela to death in June 2010 that the string of attacks had the entire city on edge.
Denison, a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College in California, was abducted in January 2008 while sleeping on a friend's couch at a residence near the Reno campus just north of the downtown casino district. About a month later, local TV stations broadcast the news conference live when Reno police announced they'd found her body in a field in south Reno.
Investigators said she was smothered with a pillow, then later raped and strangled with the strap of her best friend's thong underwear. They believed she was the victim of a serial rapist with a fetish for women's panties who had assaulted at least two other college students.
As a manhunt intensified, blue ribbons in honor of Denison appeared on fences, posters and lapels throughout the Reno area.
Biela, 34, a former Marine and pipefitter, was arrested that November following a tip from his former girlfriend. In addition to his death sentence, he received four life prison terms on charges related to the other assaults.
Reed filed initial motions to revisit the case in district court shortly after the Supreme Court rejected Biela's appeal in 2012. He submitted a supplemental motion in May 2015, and since then has been arguing with the district attorney about procedural matters, witnesses and the scope of testimony that will be allowed.
Biela's original lawyers made many of the same arguments in the Supreme Court appeal, but the justices said they had failed to raise timely objections during the trial.
Reed says a Reno police detective misled Biela around his right to remain silent when he read him his Miranda rights during an initial interrogation. Police videotape shows Det. David Jenkins told Biela: "Even if you elect initially to talk to us you can change your mind at any time you want and we will honor your request immediately and if there is a specific question that you don't want to answer you can say I want to talk to you but don't want to talk to you about that and we will honor your request."
"The detective's rendition of Miranda was patently flawed," Reed said.
(Courtesy, the Associated Press)
TERRELL MARSHALL ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON ENTERED A GUILTY PLEA TO THE MURDER OF KAYLA CHESSER OF WILLITS.
Fifty years to life sentence looms.
UKIAH, Fri., June 10. -- With jury selection scheduled to commence this coming Monday, defendant Terrell James Marshall, age 46, formerly of Vacaville, withdrew his not guilty plea and admitted criminal liability this afternoon for the unlawful death and murder on November 1, 2014 of Kayla Grace Chesser, age 27. Marshall, a registered sex offender from prior felony sex convictions, plead no contest to murder in the first degree under the legal theory of his having committed the murder during the course of a forcible rape. A no contest plea to a felony is the same as a guilty plea for all purposes. The first degree murder conviction carries an indeterminate sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. Marshall also admitted a prior Strike conviction, which doubles the prison time. He finally stipulated that his sentence shall be 50 years to life and he waived all pre-sentence time credits from November 2014 to the date of sentencing. As part of the plea, the defendant was required by the DA to waive his appellate rights in order to bring some degree of closure to the victim's family and friends. The stipulated sentence notwithstanding, Marshall’s matter was referred to the Adult Probation Department for a social study and rendition of the stipulated sentence, as required by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation where eventually he will be housed. Formal sentencing has been calendared for July 6, 2016 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department B before the Honorable David Nelson. Anybody interested in this sentencing hearing is welcome to attend. The prosecutor who has been preparing the case for trial and who accepted the change of plea is Deputy DA Scott McMenomey. The law enforcement agencies who assisted in the investigation and trial preparation are the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the California Department of Justice, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Investigations Unit, the San Benito County District Attorney’s Investigations Unit, the Stanislaus County District Attorney's Investigations Unit, and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations.
— District Attorney’s office press release
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 10, 2016
LEELA BETTEGA, Ukiah. DUI causing injury.
CLEVELAND CARR JR., Ukiah. Community Supervision violation.
MELODY FERGUSON, Ukiah. Under influence.
AARON KRYDER, Willits. Probation revocation.
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
JIN LEUNG, San Francisco. Illegal abalone detaching, conspiracy.
SEAN MACLAUGHLIN, Felton/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LISA MCKINNEY, Ukiah. Under influence, addict driving a vehicle.
JAIME NAVA-FRANCO, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JOHN PALACIOS, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent Flyer)
CHEN RUIFENG, San Francisco. Illegal abalone detaching, conspiracy.
MICHAEL SANTOS, Nice/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ALESHIA TUTTLE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
STEVEN VANCLEAVE, Manchester/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
SCOTTY WILLIS, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequentl flyer.)
MAY WU, Oakland/Fort Bragg. Destroying-concealing evidence, resisting, conspiracy.
BERN RATE: THE ONCE & FUTURE SANDERNISTAS
by Jeffrey St. Clair
It ended the way it began, with Bernie Sanders drawing huge energetic crowds and winning few votes from blacks and Hispanics. Sanders could never connect with the most vulnerable voters in the country. That fact alone doomed his campaign.
Those vast crowds seemed to have acted on Sanders like a kind of opiate, numbing him to the political reality of his campaign. As noted in a recent Politico article, the Sanders campaign staff had known for months that the senator had no path to victory. Instead of being honest with their supporters, the Sanders campaign fed them one illusory scenario after another. Even Sanders himself got seduced by the fairy tale.
There’s no loyalty anymore. In that same Politco article, Sanders’s top political hired-hacks took pleasure in plunging anonymous knives into their leader’s back, blaming him for every misstep in the campaign. These professional turncoats are simply trying to scrub any lingering stains of their own hands and polish up their resumés for a job with Team Clinton. On the other hand, Bernie hired these deplorable operatives. You get what you pay for.
The dream campaign came to an abrupt end with Sanders’s crushing defeat in California. Bernie camped out in the Golden State for two weeks, doing three or four large events a day. The senator seemed energized by the sunshine and the adoring crowds. He was transfixed by his own hype.
But Sanders never had any real chance to win California. The demographics and party establishment were aligned against him. California is a machine state and Sanders didn’t throw enough monkeywrenches into the gears. In the end, he lost by more than 400,000 votes, a humiliating margin that can’t be written off to voter suppression or hacked machines. Such conspiracy mongering only serves to deflect attention from the real defects that fatally crippled the Sanders campaign. The stakes are too high to surrender to magical thinking.
Running as an economic revolutionary, Sanders spent most of his time in the cozy milieu of college campuses instead of in desolate urban landscapes or working-class suburbs. It’s hard to earn the trust of poor people when you don’t spend much time in their company.
Many inconsolate Sandernistas continue to reflexively blame blacks and Hispanics for backing Clinton, whose odious policies offer only a few morsels to temper the grinding misery of poor people. But Sanders didn’t do much to endear himself to the American underclass.
Sanders chided Clinton for her vote on the Iraq War, saying it disqualified her from being president. Yet, he never satisfactorily explained his own vote for the Clinton Crime Bill, which launched a 20-year long war on America’s blacks and Hispanics. If blacks voting for Clinton seemed irrational, blacks could easily justify a vote against Sanders for his role in backing the racially-motivated incarceration of millions of black Americans and putting 100,000 new cops onto the streets of urban America, with the predicable results: ruined lives and dead youths. Payback is a bitch.
Of course, Sanders could have turned his anemic appeal to black Democratic voters to his advantage. It might have liberated him to frontally attack Obama’s dismal record (instead of huddling with him at the White House) as well as Hillary’s, without fear of losing support he never had.
His curious timidity against confronting Obama’s policies, from drone warfare to the president’s bailout of the insurance industry (AKA ObamaCare), hobbled Sanders from the starting gate. Obama and Hillary Clinton are both neoliberals, who have betrayed organized labor and pushed job-killing trade pacts across the world. Both are beholden to the energy cartels, backing widespread oil drilling, fracking and nuclear power. Both are military interventionists, pursuing wars on at least 12 different fronts, from Afghanistan to Yemen. Of course, Hillary and Obama are simply manifestations of the power structure of the Democratic Party itself, which is unapologetically hawkish. The same party Sanders belatedly joined.
But Sanders proved singularly incapable of targeting the imperialist ideology of the Obama/Clinton era. In fact, the senator is visibly uncomfortable when forced to talk about foreign policy. Even after the assassination of Goldman Prize winner Berta Cáceres by thugs associated with the Honduran regime, Sanders inexplicably refused to press Clinton on her backing of the Honduran coup that put Cácere’s killers into power. Similarly, Sanders awkwardly failed to land any punches against Hillary for her catastrophic Libyan debacle.
Sanders himself has blamed the Democratic Party for his loss, charging that the primary process was rigged by super-delegates, purged voter rolls, hackable voting machines and the pro-Clinton machinations of Debbie (Does DNC) Wasserman-Schultz. This is the silliest excuse of all. This may come as a shock, but Democratic Party is not a democratic institution. The function of the party is to promote politicians who adhere to the ideology of the party, which has been sternly neoliberal since the nomination of Jimmy Carter in 1976. To the extent that the party machine suppressed the Sanders insurgency, it wasn’t a matter of corruption but self-preservation.
But for most of the last 10 months, Sanders wasn’t treated too harshly by the party. He certainly wasn’t “McGoverned” by the party’s political black bag teams and dirty tricksters. In fact, the Democrats were surely gratified to see Sanders out there, drawing attention to a dull and lifeless party that would otherwise have been totally eclipsed by the Trump media blitzkrieg. Sanders served the valuable function of energizing and registering on the Democratic Party rolls tens of thousands of new voters, who otherwise would have been content to stay at home playing Warcraft and Snapchatting about the latest Kardashian outrage. And the party elites knew from the beginning that he never had even an outside chance at beating Hillary. The race was over after Super Tuesday, when Hillary swept the southland. The rest has been political theater.
The biggest threat that Sanders posed to the Democratic machine was his ability to raise independent money, and lots of it, outside of the party’s control. The most recent tally shows that Sanders raised more than $212 million, a staggering amount, mostly from small online donors. He didn’t incur large debts and doesn’t owe any financial obligations to the usual Democratic Party loan sharks. He broke the money-dispensing monopoly of the DNC and deserves credit for that.
But where did all of that money go? Most of it went to those duplicitous consultants. Bernie raised money quickly, but his campaign had a high “bern” rate and there’s precious little left to show for squandering all those millions. Imagine the havoc Black Lives Matter could unleash with only half of that warchest.
Sanders has built a “yuuge” following. It’s yet to be determined whether these youthful hordes can be mobilized into a real movement. The movement is certainly going nowhere as long as Sanders loyalists remain locked inside the entropic hothouse of the Democratic Party, where their hero has led and left them, awaiting a couple of planks in the platform drafted in disappearing ink.
The most energetic political movement in the country right now is the combative Chicano-led masses stalking Trump and his racist retinue from venue-to-venue. If only there existed a similar movement haunting Hillary’s every step.
Real political revolutions (as opposed to rhetorical ones) begin after the futility of the ballot box has been proven. Sustainable movements are driven by issues not personalities. And sometimes you have to bust your idols for kindling to get things ignited.
Your move, Sandernistas.
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: email@example.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
There is NO doubt that voting is not working. I am Committeeman in my Township and am trying desperately to oust incumbents and put in fresh faces. Last night we were soundly trounced on all candidates all across the state by a small turnout of dottering fools that simply press the line button and re-elect all of those who have gotten us into the mess we are in. I just don't get it why the simpletons that vote cannot understand that the job of governance was designed to be shared across the population NOT ruled over by career politicians who smile for photo ops and speak of happiness and their own aggrandizement. The people are idiots and therefore doomed to being ruled by sellouts.
RETIREMENT BOARD AGENDA.
PARTIAL MUSEUM REOPENING
The Mendocino County Museum and the Mendocino County Executive Office are pleased to announce that the County Museum in Willits will be reopened to the public on Saturday, June 11, 2016. The Museum lobby, store, Main Gallery and Engine House will be accessible to the public during the Museum’s normal business hours.
Extensive testing was conducted throughout the Museum and determined which areas are completely safe to the public. The areas mentioned above have been cleared for normal use by certified environmental scientists. Some areas of the Museum will remain off limits until additional remediation work and testing can occur. The Executive Office will continue to provide updates with any changes to public access.
For any questions regarding the status of a scheduled event or activity, please do not hesitate to contact Alison Glassey, Museum Director, at 707-459-2736.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact Alan Flora, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, at 707-463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer