Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
by AVA News Service, July 13, 2016
SHERIFF’S MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE QUALIFIES FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT
July 12, 2016
Revive Mental Health Services
360 Lake Mendocino Drive
Ukiah, CA 95482
* * *
After several months of gathering 4,328 signatures, Revive Mental Health Services is very proud to announce that the Mental Health initiative for Mendocino County has been qualified for the November Ballot by County Recorder Sue Ranochak, On July 12, 2016 Ms. Ranochak confirmed that at least 2,502 signatures were valid signatures from registered voters in Mendocino County.
Former County Public Health Officer, Doctor Marvin Trotter stated “Improving the basic services of our Mental Health patients will improve the overall health of Mendocino County. The passage of this initiative will allow Emergency Room Doctors and nurses the ability to quickly get care to some of our most fragile citizens.” Currently, patients who have been determined to be in need of emergency mental health services are transported to other counties for 72 hour observation and treatment.
Dr. Ace Barash, who has attended every meeting and gathered several hundred signatures for the initiative stated that he “looks forward to the day that local mental health patients can be treated locally. Having a treatment facility in Mendocino County will allow families to get involved with the treatment of their family member and will reduce the need to transport our patients several hundred miles to get basic mental health services”.
Sheriff Tom Allman was very appreciative to Sue Ranochak for the quick turn around on confirming that the signature gathering was successful. “Thanks must go out to Sue Ranochak and her team for qualifying the initiative at the same time that the Primary ballots were being counted. This initiative will give the voters an opportunity to tell the Board of Supervisors that Mental Health Services should be a priority”.
The Countywide initiative will be on the November General Election Ballot and will require a 2/3 yes vote to pass. The initiative increases sales tax by ½ cent for 5 years. An estimated $23,000,000 will be raised for developing the infrastructure of a Mental Health Service Center. 100% of all revenue raised can only be used for “brick and mortar”. The initiative calls for the development of a Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF), which has not existed in Mendocino County since 1999, as well as a Crisis Residential Unit, a Drop In Clinic and improved services for drug and alcohol addiction. The initiative specifically excludes any revenue from being spent on personnel. The initiative also requires that an 11 person committee review all expenditures prior to being presented to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. The initiative also provides 10% of the funds to be used to develop a training center for Public Safety personnel and Mental Health Professionals.
A BLACK COUPLE caused a brief stir in Boonville Tuesday. They said they were "walking to Jerusalem" to "return to the place our people were taken from." They were large people who didn't look like they walked all that much, but last night they were in Ukiah and now they were in Boonville. "A good man gave us a ride this morning out of the mountains," she said, gesturing to the east hills behind us. They were both friendly and forthcoming. I was unable to make out their names clearly but they sounded Old Testament. The man pulled a cart with their belongings piled neatly and high on it, and she carried an infant in a sling stretched across her breast and pushed a stroller with another infant in it. They said they'd begun their journey to the Middle East two years ago in Cleveland. "Our people belong to the lost tribes of Yaweh. We trust in our creator to carry us safely." She did most of the talking while he nodded agreement. "We gave everything up, tore up our social security cards." They said they accept rides and donations, and that "good people" often give them a place to stay, but most nights they pitch a tent and stay wherever they find themselves. Have you had much trouble? I asked. "The police in Texas were very unkind," the woman said, "but they are helpful in California." I asked if I could take a picture. "No," she said, citing what sounded like the Biblical injunction against graven images. He said, "The people in Boonville are kinda mean. All the nice people we've met here are from Philo." I said I agreed totally. She cited Biblical verses much faster than I could write them in support of their journey, which is clearly going to be a long if not endless one.
SURPRISE! Local pot growers think the County’s proposed tax rates for semi-legalized marijuana are too high and will discourage participation in the semi-voluntary program. At Tuesday’s Board meeting Supervisor Dan Hamburg opened the topic by recusing himself because “a close family member” intends to participate in the pot regulation and tax program, probably his daughter Laura Hamburg, conveniently avoiding having to deal with the thorny question. The other four Supervisors were unable to find a way to avoid the issue and had to sit through a couple hours of public input from pot growers saying that the modest rates the County tax consultant came up with — 5% of gross receipts for non-medical pot, 2.5% for medical pot — are too high. That was before the special tax consultant took the microphone for another unnecessary hour to describe his draft tax ordinance.
THE BOARD has to put any proposed tax on the ballot these days, and to make the (lower cost) November ballot (as opposed to a much more expensive special election in 2017) they have to have the finalized tax proposal to the County Clerk by early August. So after a lengthy scheduling discussion the Board decided to re-consider the tax structure and rates at their upcoming July 19 meeting with hope that they can get something to the County Clerk for the November ballot. Predictably, only pot growers offered public input on the subject. No one else took the podium to comment on it pro or con.
THE ENTIRE regulate and tax structure under consideration is voluntary. Pot growers are supposed to subject themselves to large amounts of paperwork, permit fees, inspections, costly consultants, costly attorneys, County bureaucrats, law enforcement, etc. — all for the privilege of growing pot legally (while it remains illegal at the federal level). Meanwhile a statewide legalization measure will be on the November ballot probably adding further confusion to the question as Mendo crawls into 2017 in a marijuana regulatory haze. Was post booze prohibition in the early 30s this bad?
PS. CNBC says that only 60% of Colorado’s semi-legalized pot is sold legally. There’s still 40% sold on the black market — tax free. What ever the percentage may be, there will still be lots of pot grown outside whatever process Mendo ends up with.
CAL FIRE has approved a timber harvest plan for 330 acres near Gualala. The 330-acre “Dogwood” timber harvest plan is opposed by Forest Unlimited and Friends of the Gualala River who are likely to mount a court challenge to stop the project.
OPPONENTS of the logging plan say it violates many of the rules meant to protect sensitive habitat and the river's floodplain. Gualala Redwood Timber Inc. acquired the land along the lower Gualala River last year. Spokesman Henry Alden says the company plans to begin logging this summer unless there is outside interference.
* * *
CENTURY-OLD REDWOOD TREES OK’D FOR LUMBER HARVEST, DESPITE OBJECTIONS
NOT SO SIMPLE LIVING FAIR - CELEBRATING RURAL LIVING SKILLS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
Date: July 29, 30 & 31 at the Boonville Fairgrounds GATES Open: 3PM Friday; 9AM Saturday and Sunday
Cost: Early Bird- $30/day, $40/weekend until July 28th From July 29th - $35/day, $50/weekend. Cash or personal check only at the gate. Youth Under 16 Free
Advance Tickets: JD Redhouse in Willits, Ukiah Coop, Boontberry Farm in Boonville, Out of this World in Mendocino, Harvest Market in Fort Bragg & http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2544823
Friday Night: Campfire Cabaret Open Mic: To sign up call Captain Rainbow 707-895-3807
Saturday Night Dance: $15/Person, concert only PURA Vida & Self Fulfilling Prophecies
Sunday Keynote Speakers: Donna D'terra, John Jeavons, Mac Magruder
Camping: $10 per car per night for fair attendees
Sorry No Dogs
BYO Bring your own place settings. Minimize waste. Save resources. Some place settings for sale.
Volunteer: Call Jade 707-895-3354, firstname.lastname@example.org
More Info: 707-901-7080, http://notsosimple.info/
Check out our website frequently at http://notsosimple.info/.
The schedule is posted. The website is full of information about the fair and it is always being updated. Let your friends know if they buy tickets before the event there is a $10 discount. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2544823. Tickets are also available at Boontberry Farm in Boonville, JD Redhouse in Willits, Out of This World in Mendocino and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Not So Simple Living Fair!
FOSTER HOMES NEEDED
Interested in helping our shelter's dogs and cats, but can't make it to the shelter to walk dogs or pet cats? Fostering is a great way to help the animals in our care. On Wednesday, July 13, at 5:30, the shelter is holding a Foster Program Volunteer Orientation. This is your opportunity to learn what's involved in fostering dogs and cats. The shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. We hope you can join us!
57TH ANNUAL SUMMER ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR
Saturday, July 16 & Sunday, July 17, 10 am - 5 pm
50 Art Booths * Festive Food * Free Admission * Outdoors
Browse a wide variety of quality, one-of-a-kind artwork at 50 artist booths situated outdoors among the Mendocino Art Center gardens. Wearable art lovers are in for a treat, with an array of handmade jewelry, as well clothing, scarves, bags and hats. Those looking for something for the home will find sculptural and functional ceramics, paintings, photography, wood accessories, glass works, baskets, gourds, furniture items, and more. You can even have your portrait sketched and enjoy festive food and drinks. more information: http://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/level2/Summer_Fair.html
View a list of participating artists: http://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/level2/Summer_Fair.html#artists
Mendocino Art Center
45200 Little Lake Street at Kasten Street, Mendocino
NAPA COUNTY PREPARES TO CONSTRAIN THE WINE INDUSTRY
A critical superior court hearing is set for Friday, July 15, 9:00, Napa Superior Court, 1111 Third St., Napa which could shape the future of the wine industry.
Below is a link to a press release issued today from the citizens group called the Napa County Water, Forest and Oak Woodland Protection Committee.
Spokespeople from the group are available to discuss the upcoming Court hearing and how the expanding wine industry is threatening the Napa Valley -- and beyond.
Spokespeople from the group are available to discuss the upcoming Court hearing and how the expanding wine industry is threatening the Napa Valley -- and beyond.
Napa County citizens have drawn up and collected over 6,300 signatures on a voter initiative for the Nov. 8 ballot
Ballot measure will restore balance between the wine tourism industry and local residents and communities
Will provide long-term protections for oak woodlands and water future
Peter Brooks Napa County Water, Forest and Oak Woodland Protection Committee 415-425-4225
TINY HOUSE VILLAGE PUT OFF A YEAR
Redwood Community Services, Inc. has been steadily working on the development of the Housing First Village (AKA Tiny House Village) for adults and transitional age youth who have been without housing for a long period of time. Community Development Block Grant funding requires environmental studies and other detailed inspections to be completed before there can be a release of funds to purchase the property. Some of these reports take several months to complete and this has caused a delay in the original timeline for the project.
“Although we are very saddened by this delay, without any further complications, the Housing First Village is expected to be completed by early September of 2017,” said Willow Anderson, with RCS.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 12, 2016
Allen, Bernal, Blanton, Davis
JAMES ALLEN, Mariposa/Ukiah. Fighting, failure to appear.
OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
JESSE BLANTON, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
TIMOTHY DAVIS JR., Covelo. Burglary from motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, county parole violation.
Dean, Guzman-Perez, Hamilton, Joshua
THOMAS DEAN, Chico/Ukiah. Under influence, false ID, parole violation.
EDGAR GUZMAN-PEREZ, Clearlake/Ukiah. DUI, no license, failure to appear.
BRANDON HAMILTON, Yreka/Willits. Gun theft.
ALPHONSO JOSHUA, Stockton/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
Marty, McNeil, Morris
DAVID MARTY, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
KEISHA MCNEIL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SHEA MORRIS, San Francisco/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Ray, Rogers, Schuleter
DANNY RAY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
HARVEY ROGERS, Ukiah. Brandishing.
DERRICK SCHULETER, Ukiah. Burglary, vandalism, resisting.
Rep. Huffman Slams Paul Ryan, House Republicans for Killing His Confederate Flag-Banning Bill
Press release from Rep. Jared Huffman’s office:
[Last night], the House Committee on Rules shut down public debate and votes on two amendments offered by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) to stop sales of Confederate flag merchandise in National Park Service (NPS) stores and to disallow any grave in any Federal cemetery operated by the Park Service to be decorated with a Confederate flag.
“In a week when most Americans are reflecting on our country’s need for racial reconciliation and trying to move forward, House Republicans are doubling down on our country’s racist past. Shamefully, and despite their own contrary procedural rulings a year ago, they used the House Rules Committee tonight to interpose a bogus rationale to derail amendments that would ban the racist, hateful public displays of Confederate flags on federal property, including our national cemeteries. Knowing that these amendments had bipartisan support and would have passed the House, they chose to kill them on trumped-up procedural grounds in the dark of night. It has become clear that a vocal and powerful bloc of the GOP conference will stop at nothing to allow this anachronistic symbol of treason and hate to prevail. Last year, immediately following the tragedy in Charleston, House Republicans even derailed the entire spending bill for the Interior Department in order to prevent my amendments from receiving a public debate and vote,” said Rep. Huffman.
‘If House Republicans cannot support the movement to take down the Confederate battle flag on federal property, they should at least have the guts to cast their votes in public and let it be known to voters where they stand. Instead, knowing that a majority of the House and the American people oppose continued displays of this hateful symbol of treason on public lands, they are choosing to slink away and hide behind the Rules Committee amendment process. Well, the American people are watching. They know House Republicans just contradicted their own procedural rulings of a year ago when these same amendments were ruled in order. They know the amendments would have passed, and some House members would have been forced to go on record in a vote that speaks directly to the state of race relations in this country. Instead of facing tough issues, as he promised to do when he was sworn-in, Speaker Ryan has buckled to the so-called “Freedom Caucus” and used his Rules Committee to sweep one of those tough issues under the rug, hoping the American people wouldn’t notice. This is deeply disappointing, and it will be noticed by far more Americans than what House Republicans have cynically calculated.”
Just last week, Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and 82 members of Congress urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to take administrative action to ban Confederate Flags from veteran cemeteries
And just last month, despite its earlier House approval, the Republican House majority rushed through a partisan conference report in the dead of night during the recent congressional “sit-in” which omitted an amendment, introduced by Reps. Huffman, Gallego, and Ellison, to the 2017 VA funding bill to prohibit the large-scale display of the Confederate battle flag at cemeteries administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Ukiah, Tues., July 12. -- Jury Trial Resolution.
The ongoing selection of jurors that began yesterday in the case of the People vs. Eugene Matthew Peterson, Jr., came to an unexpected conclusion late Tuesday morning. While the potential jurors waited downstairs to reassemble for the ongoing voir dire in the courtroom, a deal was struck between the prosecution and the defendant.
Peterson, age 34, formerly of Redwood Valley, entered no contest pleas this morning to the attempted murder of Wes Fairbairn with an admission the defendant personally used a firearm, criminal threats against both Mr. Fairbairn and his wife, Jan Fairbairn, residential burglary with an admission of an allegation characterizing the crime as a violent felony, as specifically defined in the Penal Code, and assault with a firearm on Jan Fairbairn with an admission the defendant personally used a firearm in the attack. It was stipulated that the sentence that will be imposed when the defendant returns for formal sentencing will be 25 years in the state prison, a sentence against which the defendant will be limited to no more than 15% custody credits. Formal sentencing is now scheduled for September 7, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. in Department B. Any person interested in this matter is welcome to attend.
The trial and sentencing judge handling this case is the Hon. David Nelson. The trial prosecutor handling the case is District Attorney David Eyster. The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.
* * *
(Original Press Release from the Sheriff’s Office at the time of Peterson’s arrest:)
ATTEMPTED MURDER IN POTTER VALLEY
On February 10, 2015 at 5:55 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 17000 block of Van Arsdale Road in Potter Valley, in regards to a dangerous situation. The Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center received a call from a 56 year old male resident of Potter Valley who advised when he came home he found a suspect holding his 55 year old wife at gunpoint inside the couple’s residence. The husband advised the dispatcher he was going back to the residence and disconnected the phone. Approximately 15 minutes later the Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center received a call from the wife advising the suspect was being detained at the residence by the husband. Deputies arrived minutes later and took the suspect, Eugene Peterson Jr., 32, into custody without further incident. Deputies learned the wife came home just after 5:00 PM and observed Peterson inside her residence. When the wife arrived at the residence’s door she didn't recognize Peterson and thought he was someone needing help since the residence was located in a rural area. The wife contacted Peterson as she entered the residence and he became somewhat confrontational. The wife thought she might be able to talk with Peterson and get him to leave but the longer she talked to him the more aggressive he became. The wife advised she had to feed her animals in an attempt to remove herself from the situation. Peterson advised she could feed the animals but he was going to accompany her and showed her a handgun tucked inside his pants. After the feeding was completed, Peterson became demanding telling the victim to fix him food. About this time, the wife’s husband came home resulting in Peterson confronted the husband in the driveway of the residence telling him he had to leave while brandishing the handgun. The husband told his wife to run but she did not as she was afraid what may happen if she ran away. The husband left the residence to get cellular service to call 911 and then returned to the residence. When Peterson saw the husband return to the residence he again confronted him telling him that he had to leave. During this time Peterson from several hundred feet away discharged several rounds from the handgun in the husband’s direction. While Peterson was shooting at the husband, the wife attempted to flee the residence but Peterson chased her and caught her inside the residence’s carport. Peterson began dragging the wife back into the residence which resulted in her struggling for control of the handgun. During the struggle, the husband tackled Peterson ultimately leading to him being disarmed. Peterson was then physically restrained until Deputies arrived shortly thereafter and took him into custody. Peterson was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the listed charges where he was to be held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
JAZZ SHOWS THIS WEEK IN FORT BRAGG AND WILLITS
Dear Jazz fans,
In addition of our regular gigs at the Headlands and the Willits Farmer Market, we have a special show with Dorian May's Little Big Band at the Willits Community Theatre this week. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday July 12th "The Tuesday Night Rhythm Section" & Friends at the Headlands Coffeehouse _*Dorian May (piano), Dorothea May (bass) Gabe Yanez (drums) & special guest Loren Hertz O'Brien (flute) 120 E Laurel St, Fort Bragg, (707) 964-1987, 7-10pm
Thursday July 14th Acoustic Jazz Trio - at the Willits Outdoor Farmers Market_* Aaron Bellomo (guitar), Dorothea May (bass) Dorian May (percussion and winds) Recreation Groove Park,3-5:30pm, Willits, CA. 95490.
Friday July 15 The Dorian May Trio at Headlands Coffeehouse (Third Friday)_* Dorian May Piano Trio, 7-10pm Dorian May (piano) Dorothea May (bass) Gabe Yanez (drums) 120 E Laurel St, Fort Bragg, (707) 964-1987
Sunday July. 17 Dorian May's Little Big Band - Willits Community Theatre _* Dorian May (piano), Dorothea May (bass) Gabe Yanez (drums) Sunny Cordell (tenor sax) Walter Kimmelman (trumpet) Sarah Ryan (vocals) Earl Oliver (vocals) 37 W Van Ln, Willits, (707) 459-0895, 7pm, Tickets available in advance and at the door.
BUSH, THE CHRISTIAN
By many accounts, even George W. Bush believes he has been reborn in Jesus. Whether or not, he has had seven and a half years to consider how, as President, he strove to enrich the rich and impoverish the poor, how he ruined a sovereign nation and, with his father, killed millions of its people through the mass-strangulation called "sanctions" before he dealt the hands-on violence of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This would explain his apparent intoxication at the memorial for slain members of the Dallas Police Department, Tuesday. It was his first grand exposure to the world since he left office. The target of heavy criticism since then, it had to be stressful for him, facing the nation he betrayed. I'm sure the family doctor helped.
W, holding hands with the distinguished guests, swung his arms, and theirs, in tempo with the music, marched in place to "Onward Christian Soldiers," raised hands in jubilation--did everything but speak in tongues, which is a pity because he's so good at it. If he could do his fellow Amurrikins on more thing before he vanishes, it would be to name the chemical formulation or combination of formulations he took to produce such sacred joy.
NICE PICTURE OF 'ELK IN EARLY 1900'S
The Elk Store has a nice acquisition this morning - an ink sketch of Elk in the "early 1900's." The donor wishes to remain anonymous but has also been known to donate funds to provide needy families with groceries.
The drawing is from the "Walter Matson Collection."
YOUR WEEK IN OCEAN:
A Tour of the Mendocino Coast’s Marine Protected Areas
If you’re looking for a vacation this summer on a limited timeline and budget, my recommendation is to tour the Marine Protected Areas of the Mendocino coast. Only a few hours away, the Mendocino coast offers completely different sights from Humboldt and will have you feeling like you have been transported to some kind of fairytale land.
by Delia Bense-Kang
On Bernie Sanders’s Endorsement of Hillary Clinton
by Jill Stein
I join millions of Americans who see Hillary Clinton’s campaign as the opposite of what they and Bernie Sanders have fought for. Despite her penchant for flip flopping rhetoric, Hillary Clinton has spent decades consistently serving the causes of Wall Street, war and the Walmart economy.
The policies she fought for – along with her husband and political partner, Bill Clinton – have been foundations of the economic disaster most Americans are still struggling with: the abuses of deregulated Wall Street, rigged corporate trade agreements, racist mass incarceration, and the destruction of the social safety net for poor women and children. The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wake up call that we can’t have a revolutionary campaign inside a counter-revolutionary party.
Sadly, Sanders is one of a long line of true reformers that have been undermined by the Democratic Party. The eventual suppression of the Sanders campaign was virtually guaranteed from the beginning with super-delegates and super Tuesdays, that were created after George McGovern’s nomination to prevent grassroots campaigns from winning the nomination again.
Sanders, a life-long independent who has advocated for building an independent democratic socialist party similar to Canada’s New Democratic Party, has said that his decision to run as a Democrat was based on pragmatism, but there is nothing pragmatic about supporting a party that for decades has consistently sold out the progressive majority to the billionaire class. This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.
Each time a progressive challenger like Sanders, Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Jackson has inspired hope for real change, the Democratic Party has sabotaged them while marching to the right, becoming more corporatist and militarist with each election cycle.
Millions are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged health care system, toxic fossil fuel energy and all the other systems failing us, we must fix the rigged political system, and that will not happen through the rigged Democratic Party.
Right now we have a real chance to change our rigged political system, and we must not squander this opportunity by pledging allegiance to a corrupt political insider who the majority of Americans do not like, trust or believe in.
What is most disappointing is that Sanders has refused invitations to speak to the Green Party, a truly democratic national party that has long championed the progressive stands that lifted the Sanders campaign to the top of national polls.
Fortunately, this November voters across America will still have the choice to cast a revolutionary vote to cancel student debt, achieve full employment and stop the climate meltdown through a Green New Deal, provide universal healthcare with Medicare for All, provide a welcoming path to citizenship, end mass incarceration and create a foreign policy based on international law and human rights. We need to commit to improving the lives of all Americans, not just the wealthy and special interests.
As the Sanders campaign’s dominance of national polls has shown, our positions are shared by a majority of voters, and with the Green Party on the ballot in November the majority can vote for what they want and get it. Together we can beat both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the two most unpopular and least trusted presidential candidates in American history.
I call on the tens of millions inspired by Bernie Sanders’ call for political revolution, the 60% of Americans who want a new major party, and the independents who outnumber both Democrats and Republicans to reject the self-defeating strategy of voting for the lesser evil and join our fight for the greater good.
I ask the rising independent majority to demand our inclusion in the Presidential debates, for as Sanders proved, in fair debates we can rally the majority of Americans behind a plan for an America and a world that works for all of us.
I congratulate Bernie Sanders on running an impressive campaign within an undemocratic primary, and I thank Bernie for showing clearly how a grassroots campaign, armed only with a progressive vision and small contributions from real people, can win over the majority of Americans. Let’s keep the revolution going and build it into the powerful force for transformative change that it is becoming. Together we are unstoppable.
(Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for US President)
GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN IN TALKS WITH BIG OIL OVER CARBON TRADING PROGRAM
by Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown, who frequently grandstands as an alleged “climate leader” and “green governor” at climate conferences and other photo opportunities in the U.S. and throughout the world, is, ironically, a big supporter of the expansion of fracking for crude oil in California.
That is not surprising when you consider that Brown’s “climate leadership” facade, continually promoted in press releases from the Governor’s Office and in puff pieces in the mainstream media, is based on the unjust, environmentally destructive neo-liberal policies of carbon trading and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs.
As protests against oil trains took place in Sacramento and across the nation took place last week, oil industry leaders, led by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), were talking with Brown administration officials In “hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California landmark climate change programs,” according to LA Times reporters Chris Megerian and Melanie Mason. (touch.latimes.com/...)
Reheis-Boyd told the Times that the industry is engaged in “ongoing talks with the administration to improve the state’s current climate change programs.”
“The behind-the-scenes conversations come at a time when Brown is searching for the best way to safeguard the cap-and-trade program, which requires companies to purchase permits in order to pollute and serves as the centerpiece of California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the Times said.
Indigenous and grassroots environmental and anti-corporate organizations throughout the world strongly oppose these “permits to pollute” and REDD programs that drive Governor Brown’s “climate change” and “green energy” policies. In fact, they believe that the talks to “improve the state’s current climate change programs,” as Reheis-Boyd claims, are likely to only make them worse.
At the end of his keynote address at the World Climate Summit in Paris on Tuesday, December 8, 2015, Indigenous leaders heckled Governor Jerry Brown, challenging him on his support of controversial carbon trading polices that represent “a new form of colonialism” that could potentially cause genocide. (www.eastcountymagazine.org/...)
Brown had just finished his remarks when Penny Opal Plant of Idle No More stood up and shouted, “Richmond, California says no to REDD and no to evacuating indigenous people from their forests. NO REDD!” Indigenous leaders and environmental activists in the room around her joined her in yelling, "NO REDD!"
"REDD is a carbon offset mechanism which privatizes the air that we breathe and uses forests, agriculture and water ecosystems in the Global South as sponges for industrialized countries pollution, instead of cutting emissions at source," summed up Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. "REDD brings trees, soil, and nature into a commodity trading system that may result in the largest land grab in history. It steals your future, lets polluters off the hook and is a new form of colonialism. NO to Privatization of Nature!”
More recently, a visiting Nigerian environmental and human rights advocate rallied alongside California residents on April 26 outside an Air Resources Control Board hearing in Sacramento to protest expanding the state’s cap-and-trade plan to include offset credits generated under the United Nations’ REDD program.
After the rally, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface attended the hearing to share the findings of Seeing REDD: Communities, Forests and Carbon Trading in Nigeria, a report he co-authored for the Nigerian NGO Social Action. This report documents the various human rights, land tenancy and economic justice concerns associated with REDD.
“The pay-to-pollute scheme enables partner states and provinces in tropical regions to generate credits from their remaining tropical forests and to sell those credits to polluters in California to ostensibly 'offset' carbon emissions from the industrial burning of fossil fuels,” according to a joint news release from Friends of the Earth, the California Environmental Justice Alliance, PODER, Food and Water Watch and other groups. (www.dailykos.com/...)
But fracking, carbon, trading and REDD are just a few of the many unjust environmental policies that the Brown administration supports, ranging from the salmon-killing Delta Tunnels Plan to the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, funded by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation.
Catherine Reheis-Boyd — the same Big Oil lobbyist now in talks with the Brown administration — chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called “marine protected areas" in Southern California. She also served on the task forces to craft “marine protected areas” on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast.
Celebrated by corporate “environmental” NGOs and state officials as the “most open, transparent and inclusive" process in California history, the process overseen by Reheis-Boyd and other corporate operatives in fact created faux “marine protected areas” that fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil drilling, oil spills, pollution, corporate aquaculture, energy projects, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Big Oil is the biggest and most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento — and the Western States Petroleum Association that Reheis-Boyd heads is the biggest and most powerful lobbying organization. Environmentalists contend that Big Oil, along with corporate agribusiness, developers, big water agencies, timber companies, and other Big Money interests, has captured the regulatory apparatus in California.
The oil industry, including WSPA, Chevron, Phillips 66, AERA Energy, Exxon and Shell, have spent more than $25 million so far in the 2015-16 legislative session. WSPA has spent $12.8 million so far in the session, making them, as usual, the top California lobbying spenders of the session.
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: www.dailykos.com…
10 WAYS TO PARTICIPATE IN AMERICA'S PREPAREATHON!
First step in FEMA’s illustrated guide to Participation in Preparedness:
Access Alerts & Warnings:
If you live in a high-risk environment, especially for wildfire, keep a “grab-and-go” kit somewhere at hand and take it with you whenever you go (no sense leaving it at home if you’re not there). If you’re at home and may not be able to leave (or have to wait for help), have both a “grab-and-go” kit and a “shelter-in-place” stash as well. The American Red Cross recommends having enough water and food (blankets and flashlight batteries) for at least 72 hours — we think it’s more like two weeks if a really bad earthquake hits. ARC also has a website where you can sign up, so that family and friends can find you if you had to flee:
At the very least, make a plan to contact a friend or relative in another area, in case people need to reach you and vice versa.
(Courtesy, Betsy Cawn)
VANISHING THE PEOPLE’S WEALTH TO MAKE THE BOSSES RICHER
by Ralph Nader
Imagine you are a shareholder in a big company and the top executives are sitting on huge amounts of cash and are not interested in putting it to work through productive capital investments, research and development, reducing company debt or paying employees a higher wage. What would you want done about it? Since you and other shareholders are the owners of the company, you’d likely say “give us back our money in cash dividends.”
“No way,” say your hired hands, the company managers, who have spent a staggering $2.1 trillion of your money in the last five years on stock buybacks allegedly to increase the company’s earnings per share ratio, instead of increasing shareholder dividends. Overall this tactic has not been working over time except to make the corporate bosses richer, which is the real reason for many buybacks.
What is the incentive for this cash burning frenzy? According to University of Massachusetts scholar, William Lazonick, in 2012 the 500 highest-paid executives received 52% of their remuneration from stock options and another 26% from stock awards.
Call it self-interest, or conflict of interest with their shareholder-owners, they continue to get away with this massive heist, this clever transfer of wealth. They do not need to get the approval of their owners – the stockholders – under what is called the “business judgement rule” (BJR). Developed by corporate attorneys and adopted with few boundaries by the Delaware courts – the state where corporate bosses go for pioneering leniency – the BJR strips the owners of corporations of meaningful control over the company executives and boards of directors other than to sell their stock, thereby leaving the rascals in charge.
Here is the definition of the BJR by the Delaware courts: “The business judgement rule…is a presumption that in making a business decision the directors of a corporation acted on an informed basis, in good faith and in the honest belief that the action taken was in the best interests of the corporation.”
How’s that for a legally entrenched entitlement during a growing decades-long corporate crime wave that largely goes unprosecuted by politically and budgetarily strapped enforcement agencies? A crime wave that in 2008 brought a criminally-speculative, self-enriching Wall Street down, draining trillions of dollars in pension fund and mutual fund assets – the very institutions that owned the most shares on the major stock exchanges!
Making matters worse, as Business Insider concludes, “all the evidence shows that – in recent years – they’ve [stock buybacks] not actually helped boost the stock values at all.” The bosses are eating the company’s seed corn. Indeed, before 1982 when the obeisant Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) opened the floodgates for this executive rampage, buybacks were illegal. They were considered insider trading by the top company executives.
How do these trillions of dollars of inert money accumulate? From conniving management that doesn’t know how or want to deploy it to increase the value of the company and its stakeholders. The money flows from consumers, taxpayers (corporate welfare) and from the sacrifices of workers whose needs and increased productivity could be rewarded with better pay and pensions.
Walmart’s buyback binge brings the impact closer to Hometown, USA. The company, whose controlling stock is held by the super-rich Walton family, has spent $70 billion in stock buybacks since 2004. Its poorly paid laborers, often without full-time hours, have a high turnover rate and cannot make ends meet for their families, not to mention a harsh paucity of benefits.
Looking at Costco and other big competitors, that pay better and experience lower turnover and higher worker morale, Walmart has inched its workers toward a minimum of $10 an hour in the past two years. How much family anguish and deprivation would have been avoided over the years if Walmart’s bosses did not waste tens of billions of dollars and instead followed founder Sam Walton’s practice of “retain and reinvest,” that built the company’s model?
Warren Buffett, in his letter to shareholders back in 1999, declared that “all too often,” repurchases of stock are made for an “ignoble reason: to pump or support the stock price.” Only now it’s mostly not even working for that narcissistic objective.
Massive stock buybacks have bizarrely resulted, since the mid-1980s, declares Mr. Lazonick, in corporations “funding the stock market rather than vice versa. Over the past decade net equity issues of non-financial corporations averaged minus $376 billion per year.” So much for stock markets raising investment capital.
In 2009, President Barack Obama pushed through Congress a modest $831 billion stimulus bill spread over a decade. The money was allocated to federal tax incentives, infrastructure, education and expansion of social welfare benefits such as unemployment compensation.
Republicans in the Congress hit the ceiling, attacking the bill as wasteful government spending. In a private enterprise, free market economy, they say it is not the government’s business to create jobs. Apparently, their big corporate paymasters believe that it’s not the business of business to use trillions of dollars of profits to create jobs either.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!