Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016
by AVA News Service, August 24, 2016
MENDOCINO SPORTS PLUS REPORTS ON MONDAY NIGHT’S Fort Bragg City Council Meeting
City Council 'Live Feed' Cut When David Gurney Was Giving Them Hell
David Gurney addressed the Fort Bragg City Council twice Monday night — once earlier in the meeting when he railed against the council placing the "consent calendar" at the END of meetings instead of at the beginning "like the rest of the state does."
He asked that a couple items be pulled from that consent calendar (7B & 7D) to be discussed with the public.
As the meeting wound down, Gurney was also threatened by Mayor David Turner with having the Police Chief "escort him from the building" if he had further outbursts from the audience. Gurney even tried the patience of Vice Mayor Lindy Peters who asked that he "sit down and be quiet" until the matter was called.
When it came time for Gurney to speak on the matter of item 7D (9:17 pm), he got out a sentence or two about the consent calendar placement (they were supposed to be talking about the $25K to re-roof the Noyo Headlands Visitor Center — then the "live stream" of the meeting (provided by the city) went blank. It cut off Mr. Gurney mid-sentence.
We'd like to blame it on Hughesnet — but this appears to be censorship by the city. A public meeting was getting ugly so they stopped the feed. We wonder if there is a "secret signal" they give to the video camera operator to cut the feed? Curious coverage to say the least.
And only one city council candidate was at the meeting — Rex Gressett — we guess the other four candidates are not ready for the harsh realities of "Prime Time."
But, we're guessing, since they weren't regular attendees or contributors to City Council meetings in the past, why start now? Odd way to run campaigns if you ask us.
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ms notes: Actually, Paul, it’s not odd in Mendo. It’s standard practice. It’s very unusual for a candidate for elected local office to attend the meetings of the body they’re running for in advance of the election. And even in those few cases when it does happen, they usually contribute nothing, say nothing, offer nothing. (Once in a while they’ll comment on one thing or another, but that’s all.) Gressett is a notable exception. Then, when their term is up, they disappear from the public eye, having proposed nothing before they ran, rubberstamped almost everything management asked for while in office, and done nothing even marginally noteworthy while “in office.” But (as with former Fourth District Supervisor Kendall Smith’s $48k per year pension for a conspicuous example), sometimes they draw a hefty pension.
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DAVID GURNEY TELLS IT AS HE SAW IT
At their Aug. 22nd city council meeting, city mis-manager Linda Ruffing and Fort Bragg's petulant mayor Dave Turner, put on another bold “appearance of impropriety” as they tried to railroad through a questionable item on Monday night's improperly scheduled late-night “Consent Calendar.” Turner deliberately stacked the agenda against public participation, by completely skipping over item 4B. – “Public Comments on Non-Agenda, Consent Calendar & Closed Session Items,” on the official Agenda, distributed by the City of Fort Bragg. (http://tinyurl.com/j5jcvlw). When members of the public objected to this omission, including AVA reporter Malcolm MacDonald, the cops were called in, by Vice Mayor Lindy Peters and sitting Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga. Two uniformed police officers appeared at Town Hall, ready to enforce the impropriety and illegality of the mayor, the city manager and the city council.
In a corrupt hold-over from the Jere Melo era, the City of Fort Bragg has been getting away for decades with the shifty practice of putting controversial and questionable items on the Consent Calendar, then putting that “calendar” – a list of non-debatable items - at the very end of their often tedious three to four hour meetings, long after most members of the public have gone home. The public are invited to comment on the Consent Calendar, but only at the beginning of city council meetings. If they legitimately ask for an item to be removed, they are ignored. Then, three or more hours later, after the council has cleared all the items on their agenda, and the consent calendar is up for consideration - according to a tyrannical mayor - members from the public are illegally forbidden from speaking again. Thus our devious City Manager and Mayor can easily avoid public scrutiny and oversight to their shady and frequently ill-advised plans and expenditures.
The case in point on this week’s "Consent Calendar" was item 7D. – the allocation of $25,000 to re-roof a 427 sq. ft. "Chalet" visitor center that was improperly placed by the City at a location just 100 feet from the City's wastewater treatment plant. The area occupied by the small one-room building was designated in a May 2007 report as a necessary “buffer zone,” due to the obvious proximity to the sewage plant. The amount of $25k to re-roof the tiny structure finally caught the attention of the slow-witted council, even as the public had been shoved aside and marginalized.
The Noyo Center is an uncomfortable topic for both the Mayor and the City Manager, due to recent revelations of gross negligence in both the siting of the Noyo Center next to the wastewater plant, and the mishandling of the bones of a 72-foot blue whale. (More to come on this story later.)
In the end, a corrupt city council approved $15,000 for the re-roofing of the ill-fated “Visitor Center.”
IT PROBABLY ISN'T FAIR to the writers of historical novels — there are some very good ones, but the only one that comes immediately to mind is "Lenin" by Alan Brien — but reality is a lot more interesting. "The Giants' Last Tear, An Historical Novel Covering the Battle over California's Old Growth Forests" by Mitch Powers fictionalizes a romantic version of Charles Hurwitz's criminal takeover of Humboldt County's Pacific Lumber.
Hurwitz: Then, Now
HURWITZ, in a properly ordered country, would have already been in jail for looting savings and loan institutions when he descended on HumCo, but here he was, a blandly confident vulture capitalist who bore a distant resemblance to SuperMan. One of Hurwitz's first acts was to assemble PL's workers to tell them, basically, that he was not interested in them or their jobs, and then he repeated the old one about the Golden Rule, emphasizing that he had the gold and he was definitely going to help himself to HumCo's gold. Hurwitz proceeded to appropriate the worker's pension fund and strip log forests that had heretofore been sustainably managed.
THERE WAS A LOT of opposition to Hurwitz, ranging from the jive wing of the environmental movement (Earth First!) to mainstream enviro groups, Indian tribes, and ordinary citizens. When it all flabbed to a halt, Senator Feinstein, whose husband, Richard Blum, was a business pal of Hurwitz's, had arranged a gift of public funds (state and federal money) to Hurwitz in the amount of about $380 million to set aside 8,000 acres of old growth described as Headwaters.
A FICTIONALIZED VERSION of those events could hardly improve on the depressing facts, but good on Mitch Powers for trying.
FROM 1950-1952, while my father was stationed in Ames, Iowa, we went off to visit his relatives in Minnesota. That's the only time I saw much of them. They were nice people, especially with a good sense of humor. My grandfather was sort of a distant patriachal figure, smoking his pipe at the head of the table.
The Crumb Clan was so huge that at family reunions there would be 50 or 60 kids. They would line up the tables out in the yard heaped with food. All my cousins were rough and ready farm kids. They made fun of me because I would be walking around holding my teddy bear. Well, I was already kind of eccentric by the age of 10 and I just accepted this about myself. I was "odd." I might even say I liked being odd.
Visiting the farm was like visiting a foreign country. Once at my uncle's farm my brother Charles and I wandered into the chicken coop. (Charles was always instigating mischief, he was the inspiration for my character, a Eggs Ackley.) "Hey, look, there are eggs in here!" Charles started throwing eggs against the wall, laughing. I remember wondering, "Is this okay to do?" But eggs going splat against the wall seemed like fun and so we cleaned out several nests that way. Later, my father was so totally ashamed and embarrassed by our behavior that he reprimanded us. "You boys know better than to do that! Why did you do it?" We were town boys, it didn't occur to us that eggs for breakfast actually came from the chicken coops. I was only in the third grade.
I thought farm life had a certain easy-going appeal, but my mother viewed the Crumbs as a bunch of rubes. When she fought with my father, she would make insulting remarks about his being a big hick from the sticks. Then he would come back with how stupid and worthless her relatives were and so it went, the old "my family is just as good as your family" routine.
We moved to Oceanside, California, in August 1952, just when I was turning nine years old. The pastel stucco houses, the palm trees, the light of the West Coast, the whole thing began having a depressing effect on me. I remember watching my mother working in the kitchen while listening to a plastic radio and the music coming from the radio seemed so dreary to me — Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como… — even thinking about it now has a depressing effect!
I watched the tearing down of old pre-war downtown Oceanside and the putting up of modern, inferior architecture. Even as a kid I felt that this was all wrong. The old movie theaters, storefronts, nice streamlined art deco buildings from the 1920s and 1930s were replaced by squarish stucco boxes that had no character. My parents got a house in a brand-new suburb in one of hundreds of houses that went on and on.
They were ticky-tacky boxes with no trees, just twigs planted in the front yard. The development was called "Francine Villas." I went back there in 1990 to look at it and there had been some individualization done of houses, but the trees never made it.
There were no trees. The ground was just too barren in that place. God, it was bleak! There were no sidewalks because there was no place to walk to. To get to downtown Oceanside was a very long walk, might as well take the car.
We did a lot of TV watching when I was a kid. I'm sure TV had a profound effect on me from an early age. We watched all that cowboy crap — Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry. I remember the comedy relief sidekicks the best: Pat Buttram, Pat Brady with his jeep called "Nellie Belle." I have a recurring dream about Gabby Hayes. I see old Gabby sitting around drinking at somebody's house. "Incredible! Gabby, I watched you 50 years ago on TV and you look the same!" Gabby grins toothlessly. "Well," he tells me, "I just keep on puttin' this down" and he picks up a big bottle of whiskey and pours some in his glass.
— R. Crumb
ODD THAT FORT BRAGG resists fire sprinklers in its highly flammable downtown when the city manager and her three male captives on the city council fork over no questions asked to a dubious "homeless" operation and a privately-owned car dealership. Odder yet in a town where a couple of leading citizens burned out the city center in '87, destroying the old Ten Mile Court and the library as a diversion so they could burn down the competing Piedmont Hotel, pulling all that off in one big night of wholesale arson. Kenny Ricks, one of the arsonists, committed an acrobatic "suicide" the night before he was scheduled to talk to a federal grand jury in San Francisco by placing a shotgun between his legs and pulling the trigger with his toe.
MENDOCINO COUNTY DA Susan Massini, after devoting five years to an investigation of the '87 fires, declined to prosecute, and the thirty-nine boxes of evidence amassed have since disappeared.
I THINK MASSINI disappeared the boxes that would have traumatized about half of Fort Bragg if their contents ever became public.
IF EVER A TOWN a town needed fire protection, it's Fort Bragg, whose downtown is almost all wood buildings.
To the Editor:
Regarding Justine Frederiksen's August 19 article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about former KZYX General Manager, Lorraine Dechter, leaving not just the station, but also leaving Mendocino County, and leaving pronto — it would seem as if Ms. Dechter can't get far enough away fast enough.
Can you blame Ms. Dechter? KZYX is a toxic work environment. I've been saying so for years. It's a rat hole for toxic personalities. A rat hole!
One would have thought that the forced resignations of former General Manager, John Coate, and former Program Director, Mary Aigner, late last year would have helped reverse the station's long downward slide. One would have thought.
Nope. Think again.
There are so many entrenched, toxic personalities at KZYX, i.e. Stuart "Stewie" Campbell, who tried (unsuccessfully) to steal Ms. Dechter's job from her back in December when I was still on the KZYX Board of Directors. I strongly believe the station must fail, if it is ever to re-emerge as a healthy place. I wouldn't be surprised if someday the FCC reassigns KZYX's two licenses to another station in the area. KMUD would be a good choice. They're great.
When KZYX lost Lorraine Dechter and Raoul van Hall this year — two highly regarded public radio professionals, with great resumes and tons of credibility, who quit in disgust — the people of Mendocino County lost all hope of a functional, financially solvent, public radio station that is committed to full disclosure and community participation— a public radio station we could truly call our own.
The alternative? KMEC Radio 105.1 FM in Ukiah.
Support KMEC Radio 105.1 FM by becoming a member or underwriter. We are all-volunteer. Our $20,000 budget is only 4% of KZYX's bloated $550,000 budget. Moreover, KZYX's budget resists full disclosure on high staff salaries to a few lucky insiders and Korean War-era broadcast equipment that never gets replaced, resulting in lots of dead air, fuzz outs, and irritating signals.
KMEC does public affairs shows every Monday at 1 pm with national guests speaking on today's most important issues. And KMEC has lots of other great programming, including kids doing hip-hop live on the air.
KMEC Radio at the Mendocino Environmental Center. Your public radio station. Your community radio station.
KZYX Board of Directors (2013-2016),
Board Treasurer (2014)
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A FANCIFUL RENDERING
John Sakowicz’s most recent fanciful rendering of staffing changes at KZYX (Aug. 19, UDJ, Letter to the Editor) has, like so many of his attacks on the station, nothing to do with the facts.
Former General Manager John Coate and Program Manager Mary Aigner were not forced out of their jobs, as Mr. Sakowicz incorrectly states. The board accepted their resignations with profound regret as both chose, after many years of service to the station, to move on to other work and responsibilities.
As for KZYX General Manager Lorraine Dechter’s resignation this month, we remind Mr. Sakowicz and your readers that KZYX and Ms. Dechter parted company by mutual consent and on good terms, as reported in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Aug. 12.
We had hoped to offer Lorraine a job that would use her creative energy and enthusiasm in news and events production, but, sadly, we did not have the money to create a new position.
As with all personnel matters, we keep specifics confidential, respecting the privacy of the people involved.
Meg Courtney, President,
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting/KZYX
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ED NOTE: It's up to the person being fired, eased out, shuffled off to determine privacy. It that person says he or she wants the reason for their termination made public, it's public. However Coate and Aigner departed, it's been good for Mendocino County Public Radio. It's too bad Ms. Dechter has left but the pleasant and capable Diane Hering will keep things limping along.
KZYX Interim GM Diane Hering has offered the job of Interim Operations Director to KZYX to Rich Culbertson, and he has accepted. Culbertson’s first day on the job will be Friday, August 26th. Twice denied unemployment benefits because he left the job under Lorraine Dechter, Culbertson has struggled with addiction to pain killers.
JUST IN FROM PETIT TETON, Boonville's thriving little farm:
Petit Teton Monthly Farm Report — July 2016
The summer is coming to a quick close for us. The harvests have been early, the nights are cooling, leaves are dropping, and the chickens are going to bed earlier each evening. Hunting season is half over and three bucks have been shot so far. Our freezers will be full of venison and the latest cow that is coming back from the butcher this week.
There is a lot of confusion, misconception, and just plain lack of knowledge about the animal slaughtering and butchering business...for good reason. There are federal, state and local rules and obfuscation seems to be the name of the game. It has taken us several years to understand some of the ins and outs of the process but it still makes little sense. We are only allowed to sell meat at market or off the farm if it has been USDA slaughtered AND butchered. But not all meat. We are not allowed to sell venison or wild pigs, any "wild" harvested meats, ever, because they can't be sent to a USDA facility. On the other hand we can sell up to 2,500 chickens processed on the farm (not a USDA facility). And chickens, in our opinion, are one of the most dangerous meats. We believe that will be the same when we start selling squab. Yaks are labeled an "exotic" meat (we assume that the beef industry keeps it from the "domestic" animal category for financial reasons), and is able to be processed at a USDA facility as long as the butcher has a special permit to do exotics. We haven't finished researching this because we haven't a need yet, so we don't know if the slaughter house needs a special permit as well. Needless to say, not all slaughterhouses/butcher shops have this permit so lord knows how far we'll have to go to have our yaks processed for sale.
The closest slaughter house for us is in Petaluma — a long two-hour drive for an animal. We had to train our pigs to use the trailer then we drove very slowly in the wee morning hours to the facility otherwise they become sick and tense and the meat is damaged. For a charge, the slaughter house then transfers the carcass to a butcher shop of our choice as long as it's on their list. The final packages need to be picked up by us. In the case of the recent cow, that's 13 boxes of meat for which we have to find freezer space. All USDA slaughterhouses supposedly have a USDA agent living on the premises overseeing all the processing. Based on some of the stories we have heard, we wonder what those agents are really doing and what our tax dollars are paying for.
I'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH THE DOPE, SUCKA
On August 21, 2016 at about 12:45 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to investigated a reported false imprisonment in the 600 block of South State Street in Ukiah, California. Deputies contacted a 25 year-old female and learned she had been held against her will at a local motel by Theo Corcoran, 30, of Willits and Malia Linde, 22, of Willits. Deputies learned the female and a boyfriend had met with Corcoran and Linde on 08-20-2016 at around noon at a local motel located at the 1300 block of North State Street in Ukiah. Corcoran gave the female”s boyfriend some money to purchase some marijuana while the female waited at the motel room for the boyfriend to return. After several hours the boyfriend had not returned with any marijuana so the female attempted to leave the motel room and was told by Linde and Corcoran she could not leave. Corcoran eventually brandished a pistol from his waistband of his pants and told the female she was not leaving. The female stayed in the motel room fearing she would be shot if she attempted to leave. Later in the evening the female went with Linde and Corcoran in a vehicle in search of her boyfriend. The female escaped out of the vehicle when Linde and Corcoran were distracted and she ran into a local grocery store where she met up with her boyfriend and called 911 to report the incident. Deputies later located Corcoran in the parking lot of the motel (1300 block North State Street) where the incident had occurred. Linde was observed sitting in a vehicle near where Corcoran was found and a loaded .32 caliber pistol was located on the seat where Linde was sitting. Deputies learned Corcoran was a convicted felon and was on formal Mendocino County probation. Deputies searched the motel room where Linde and Corcoran were residing and found .32 caliber ammunition and illicit drugs. Corcoran and Linde were arrested for False Imprisonment, Ex felon with a firearm, possession of ammunition by prohibited person, Carrying a concealed firearm, Violation of probation and Possession of a controlled substance, and booked into the Mendocino County Jail. Linde was to be held in lieu of $35,000 bail and Corcoran is being held without bail due to a probation hold.
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MUZZLE THAT BEAST!
On 08-19-2016 at approximately 6:55 P.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported domestic violence incident that occurred at a residence in the 500 block of Garcia Court in Manchester. Deputies met with a 42 year-old female on Windy Hollow Road in Point Arena. Deputies discovered the female had been physically assaulted by her husband, John Steven Lawson, 50, of Manchester. During the incident, Lawson bit the female causing pain and a lasting injury. The female had a visible injury to her upper lip when she was contacted by the Deputies. Deputies responded to the residence on Garcia Court where this incident occurred and contacted Lawson. Based on the information they learned during this investigation, Deputies placed Lawson under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Lawson was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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THE PERFECT CRIME
On August 17, 2016 at approximately 9:25 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a reported carjacking that occurred at an unknown location on Henderson Road in Covelo, California. The Sheriff's Office dispatch center was notified of the incident by Round Valley Tribal Housing Security personnel, who were contacted by the victims after their vehicle was stolen by force or fear by two unknown suspects. Housing security informed dispatch that the stolen vehicle was a described as a silver Chevrolet Silverado 2 door single cab pickup. Sheriff's Deputies responded to the area of Henderson Road and when checking the area they observed a vehicle that matched the description of the stolen truck. Sheriff's Deputies observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed southbound on Crawford Road. The silver Chevrolet Silverado turned eastbound onto Henderson Road and lost traction due to the high speeds. Sheriff's Deputies attempted to catch the suspected stolen vehicle and followed it into a driveway at Lot 5 on Henderson Road.
John & Iran Hoaglen
Sheriff's Deputies observed two subjects exiting the pickup, who they were able to identify from prior contacts as being John Hoaglen, 31, and Iran Hoaglen, 34, both of Covelo. Sheriff's Deputies demanded the subjects stop and they did not comply. The subjects left the vehicle in the driveway and fled into a nearby house. Sheriff's Deputies cleared the residence and nearby fields in an attempt to locate the subjects with negative results. Officers from the California Highway Patrol and additional resources from the Sheriff's Office responded to assist. During the investigation, Sheriff's Deputies made contact with the victims who were able to identify the pickup that was being driven by John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen as stolen. The victims provided descriptions of the subjects who stole the pickup earlier by force or fear, which matched the description of John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen. Sheriff's Deputies were aware that John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen were both on CDC Parole from Mendocino County and searched the area for the subjects. After continued searching, John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen were located and arrested in the 23800 block of Howard Street in Covelo, California. The victims were able to respond to the scene and identified John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen as the subjects who stole the vehicle from them earlier in the night on Henderson Road. Based on the facts learned during this investigation, Sheriff's Deputies learned that John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen took the vehicle from the immediate possession of the two victims and accomplished the act by using force and fear (threatening statements). John Hoaglen and Iran Hoaglen were arrested for Carjacking, Parole Violations, and Conspiracy. They were both subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held on a no-bail status.
YET WE SO OFTEN CONFUSE what we wish for with what is. Just because someone can make a living selling bullshit astrological psychic advice to gullible old trust-fund hippies doesn't mean that the world would be better off with either the cleverest charlatans or the rubiest rubes running a water district or a school or a government or really anything that matters.
— Marco McClean
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 23, 2016
Bacon, Barry, Delagarza, Fitch
JOHN BACON III, Orinda/Redwood Valley. Large capacity magazine, probation revocation (plus two other unspecified charges).
SEAN BARRY, Willits. Domestic battery.
MICHELLE DELAGARZA, Ukiah. Large capacity magazine (plus two other unspecified charges)
FREDRICK FITCH, Ukiah. Grand theft, probation revocation.
Gilman, Oferrall, Pierce, Roberts
JASON GILMAN, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
JACOB OFERRALL, Dos Rios. Vandalism, probation revocation.
DANIEL PIERCE JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ERIC ROBERTS, Ukiah. Meth possession for sale, paraphernalia, community supervision violation.
THE $21.8 MILLION DUMPED INTO PROP. 1 CAMPAIGN REVEALED THE CORPORATE MONEY BEHIND JERRY BROWN
by Dan Bacher
This November will be the second anniversary of the passage of Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial water bond, a measure that fishing groups, California Indian Tribes, grassroots conservation groups and environmental justice advocates opposed because they considered it to be a water grab for corporate agribusiness and Big Money interests.
Proponents of Proposition 1 contributed a total of $21,820,691 and spent a total of $19,538,153 on the successful campaign. The contributors are a who’s who of Big Money interests in California, including corporate agribusiness groups, billionaires, timber barons, Big Oil. the tobacco industry and the California Chamber of Commerce. They provide a quick snapshot of the corporate interests behind the questionable environmental policies of Brown.
Many people voted for the proposition only because Brown said no bond funds would be used for the widely-unpopular Delta Tunnels. However, after the election, as Proposition 1 opponents expected, the Brown administration did indeed admit that it could use water bond funds for the massive tunnels project.
In April 2015, an administration official admitted that the state could use money from Proposition 1, the water bond, to pay for "habitat mitigation" linked to the construction and operation of the massive Delta Tunnels.
Richard Stapler, spokesman for the California Department of Natural Resources, "acknowledged that the money [for delta habitat restoration] could conceivably come from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond that California passed last year,” according to Peter Fimrite in the San Francisco Chronicle.(www.sfgate.com/...)
Restore the Delta and other public trust advocates at the time slammed Governor Brown for breaking his campaign promise that bond money wouldn't be used to mitigate the environmental damage caused by the tunnels, a $67 billion project designed to export Sacramento River water to agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and steam injection operations. (www.eastbayexpress.com/...)
More recently, on August 10, 2016, the state’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted to conduct an audit into funding for the tunnels, as requested by Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman and state Senator Lois Wolk. It will be interesting to see what this audit turns out, including possible use of Prop. 1 money to fund planning for the Delta Tunnels, now called the “California WaterFix.” (www.oaklandmagazine.com/...)
The vote for the audit was spurred by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Inspector General’s opening of an investigation into the possible illegal use of millions of dollars by the California Department of Water Resources in preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Delta tunnels Plan. The investigation resulted from a complaint that the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed on the behalf of a U. S. Bureau of Reclamation employee on February 19, 2016.
The complaint, made public in a statement from PEER on April 11, details how a funding agreement with DWR is “illegally siphoning off funds that are supposed to benefit fish and wildlife to a project that will principally benefit irrigators” under the California Water Fix, the newest name for the Delta Tunnels Plan.
While mainstream media covered both the audit and the federal investigation into the tunnels funding, the corporate media and most “alternative” media outlets have completely failed to cover the much bigger issue of the Big Money, $21,820,691, behind the passage of Proposition 1.
Guess who was one of the contributors to the Prop. 1 campaign? Yes, Stewart Resnick, the Beverly Hills agribusiness tycoon, owner of The Wonderful Company and largest orchard fruit grower in the world, contributed $150,000.
Resnick and his wife, Lynda, have been instrumental in promoting campaigns to eviscerate Endangered Species Act protections for Central Valley Chinook salmon and Delta smelt populations and to build the fish-killing peripheral tunnels — and have made millions off reselling environmental water to the public. (www.dailykos.com/...)
Corporate agribusiness interests, the largest users of federal and state water project water exported through the Delta pumping facilities, contributed $850,000 to the campaign, including the $150,000 donated by Resnick. The California Farm Bureau Federation contributed $250,000, the Western Growers Service Association donated $250,000 and California Cotton Alliance contributed $200,000.
The largest individual donor in the Yes on Prop. 1 campaign was Sean Parker, who contributed $1 million to the campaign. Parker is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who cofounded the file-sharing computer service Napster and served as the first president of the social networking website Facebook. He also cofounded Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime.
Four members of the Fisher family, who own the controversial Gap stores, collectively donated $1.5 million to the Yes. on Prop. 1 and Prop. 2 campaign. They also own the Mendocino Redwood Company and Humboldt Redwood Company, formerly the Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO), more than half a million acres of redwood forest lands in total.
Doris F. Fisher contributed $499,000, John J. Fisher $351,000, Robert J. Fisher $400,000 and William S. Fisher $250,000. The Gap become notorious among labor and human rights advocates for employing sweatshop labor in the Third World to produce its clothes.
In a major conflict of interest, Robert Fisher profits by logging North Coast forests while he serves as co-chair of a little-known cabinet-level body in Sacramento called the "California Strategic Growth Council (SGC)," according to reporter Will Parrish in the East Bay Express and the AVA.
"Enacted by the state legislature in 2008, the SGC is a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions," Parrish wrote. "The panel has the broad and unprecedented mandate of coordinating implementation of California's climate change prescriptions across all levels of state government, while also preparing the state to accommodate a projected population of 50 million by the year 2050."
"As such, Robert Fisher, whose close relationship with Brown is well-known within the corridors of the state Capitol, is not only in charge of helping set California climate change policy, but he also profits handsomely from harvesting living species that are increasingly being recognized as one of our last best hopes for forestalling the catastrophic impacts of global warming," said Parrish.
Aera Energy LLC, a company jointly owned by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil, contributed $250,000 to the Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 campaign, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). Aera Energy LLC is one of California's largest oil and gas producers, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the state's production, according to the company’s website. (www.aeraenergy.com/...)
Tobacco giant Philip Morris also contributed $100,000 to Governor Brown’s ballot measure committee established to support Propositions 1 and 2. On October 20, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) called on the governor to return that money.
In spite of Jerry Brown’s cynical rhetoric about “green energy” and “climate change” at climate conferences and carefully choreographed greenwashing events, the money spent by corporate, big money interests on the Proposition 1 and 2 campaign reveals who really is behind the Governor’s anti-environmental policies.
A groundbreaking report released by Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica-based consumer organization, on August 10 puts Governor Brown in an even less flattering light, exposing how oil, gas and utilities gave $9.8 million to Governor Jerry Brown and his causes, often within days of winning big favors.
“The timing of energy industry donations around important legislation and key pro-industry amendments, as well as key regulatory decisions in which Brown personally intervened, raises troubling questions about whether quid pro quos are routine for this administration,” said consumer advocate Liza Tucker, author of the report, in a press release. “While Brown paints himself as a foe of fossil fuels, his Administration promoted reckless oil drilling, burning dirty natural gas to make electricity, and used old hands from industry and government, placed in key regulatory positions, to protect the fossil fuel-reliant energy industry."
You can download the report here:
A total of eleven ballot measure campaign committees registered in support of Proposition 1 and 2, according to Ballotpedia (ballotpedia.org/..._(2014))The committees and money raised are below:
California Business Political Action Committee, Sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce: $1,169,500
Wetlands Conservation Committee, Sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, Audubon California and The Nature Conservancy, Yes on Prop. 1: $265,000
Conservation Action Fund — Yes on Proposition 1 and 2 — Sponsored by Conservation Organizations: $1,042,526
Sac. Valley Water & Rice for Prop 1: $72,356
Brown; Yes on Props 1 and 2 A Bipartisan Coalition of Business, Labor, Republicans, Democrats and Governor: $17,690,658
Think Long Committee, Inc., Sponsored by Nicolas Berggruen Institute Trust, Supporting Propositions 1 & 2 (Non-Profit 501(C)(4)):
Western Plant Health Association, Supporting Propositions 1 and 2 (Non-Profit 501 (C) (6)): $100,000
NRDC Action Fund California Ballot Measures Committee — Yes on Prop. 1: $12,653
Southern California District Council of Laborers Issues PAC
Laborers Pacific Southwest Regional Organizing Coaltion Issues PAC — Yes on Props 1 and 2: $842,896
The California Conservation Campaign: $171,440
These committees raised a total of $21,820,691 and spent a total of $19,538,153.
In contrast, Proposition 1 opponents raised only $101,149 and spent $86,347 during the campaign. To put that in perspective, note that just one big grower, Stewart Resnick, contributed $150,000 to the Prop. 1 campaign, more than all of the opponents combined. And Resnick wasn’t even one of the top 23 donors, with Sean Parker being the largest individual donor at $1,000,000!
Top 23 Contributors to Prop. 1 and 2 Campaign:
Brown for Governor 2014 $5,196,529
Sean Parker $1,000,000
L. John Doerr $875,000
California Alliance for Jobs — Rebuild California Committee $533,750
The Nature Conservancy $518,624
California Hospitals Committee $500,000
Doris F. Fisher $499,000
Health Net $445,600
Robert Fisher $400,000
, 351,000, $351,000
Area Energy LLC $250,000
California American Council of Engineering Companies $250,000
California Farm Bureau Federation $250,000
California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems $250,000
Dignity Health $250,000
Kaiser Permamente $250,000
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC $250,000
Reed Hastings $250,000
SW Regional Council Of Carpenters $250,000
Think Long Committee, Inc. $250,000
Western Growers Service Corporation $250,000
William Fisher $250,000
GUTLESS ABSTENTION FROM SENATOR McGUIRE, NO FROM WOOD (Local reps come through for the wine industry by screwing labor)
Will Parrish writes: Senator McGuire was one of four Senate Dems (out of 25) on this committee NOT to vote for overtime pay for ag workers. And I think Wood voted against this bill the first time around — don't recall for sure.
* * *
Bill to Eliminate the Ag Overtime Exemption Coming up for Final Vote
AB 1066 (Gonzalez) — Assembly Floor Vote — Less Than One Week Away
Take action now:
This is our last chance to defeat this bill! Please contact your state assemblymembers ASAP and urge them to VOTE NO on AB 1066.
AB 1066 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) passed out of the California State Senate yesterday with a vote of 21-14-4. Sen. Glazer and all Republicans voted no, and Sens. Galgiani, Leyva, McGuire and Roth abstained. The other 21 Senate democrats voted AYE.
The bill will now come back to the Assembly for a final vote in the Legislature. If the bill passes, the bill will then head to the governor, and if signed, will become law.
The bill was already defeated this year in the Assembly, and we need your help to ensure the same outcome this time. Again, please contact your state Assemblymembers and urge them to vote no on AB 1066.
Why ab 1066 is bad for california farmers and farmworkers: AB 1066 will eliminate the longstanding 10 hours per day/60 hours per week overtime requirement for agricultural workers and replace it with an 8 hours per day/40 hours per week overtime system. Such a system is bad for employers and employees, will hurt families by cutting farm wages and manufacturing jobs, and will force families to buy more food from foreign sources.
California is one of only four states that require premium pay for overtime worked by farm workers; the other 45 states have no overtime requirement. Additionally, California farmers face a number of other regulatory and legal burdens that do not encumber farmers in other states and countries. AB 1066 represents yet another obstacle that continues to tilt the economic playing field away from California farmers, putting them at a competitive disadvantage, while also adversely affecting farm workers.
If passed, AB 1066 will negatively impact workers, increase labor costs, and make California agricultural products less competitive on a global market.
Contact your assemblymember today:
Urge your assemblymember to oppose AB 1066, a bill that will hurt California farmers and hardworking agricultural employees.
UNDERSTANDING ENGINEERS 2
To the optimist, the glass is half-full. To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
CHENEY IN A PANTS SUIT?
by Jeff Costello
I don't suppose there'll ever be a time when female politicians aren't judged by their appearance. Now, Hillary is "Cheney in a pants suit." Wait a minute. Cheney is in a pants suit. In fact, every man in government is in a pants suit. Usually blue or grey. With a little flag pin on the lapel (when did that become required?). How is this different from "1984" where members of The Party all wear the same outfit? It isn't.
So we can't judge male congressmen, senators and all the other government drones by their appearance because they all look the same. Mostly. So we have to look at their faces. If people can say HRC does or does not look good depending on her hair or clothing choice, why can't we say, "Mitch McConnell — wow, that guy is ugly." The mirror cannot be his friend under any circumstances. I'm no prize but I'm not on TV telling everyone what's good for them. Politics, show business for ugly people. And to perform in public is to invite judgment, criticism, the occasional tomato.
If you can't tell, for instance, that Paul Ryan is a phony bullshitting creep by his face, well I guess that's why he's there. And if you can't tell Cheney is a mean-ass duplicitous son of a bitch, you're not really looking at him. I had a brief look at the Hillary-Bengazi hearing, and Trey Gowdy, the retarded southern cracker, was pathetic — no match for HRC, who, no matter how she chooses to apply it, has a brain.
I'm so sick of hearing about the rich and the middle class. What about the rest of us?
"Tin soldiers and Nixon comin', we're finally on our own" — Neil Young
The rest of us, well, prisons are overcrowded, and the military is booming. Two ways for the lower classes to become properly institutionalized. But we learn to live by our wits if we're fortunate enough to have them.
PERVS WILL BE LINING UP
Sex robot brothels are to become commonplace on the streets of Britain says professor
by James Dunn
Robot brothels could soon be commonplace as Britain's sex industry undergoes a technological revolution.
A leading law professor claims that technology can clean up the industry, wiping out issues such as sexually transmitted disease and sex slavery.
NUI Galway Law professor John Danaher believes that robots, which can be mass-produced, could even legalise the industry, which only regulates humans.
Pimps and brothel-owners would be free to set up businesses offering cyborg sex to anyone who demands it without legal sanction, he said.
Professor Danaher even thinks that the robots could be better in bed than humans, and may even be better at developing emotional bonds with their clients.
He told the Daily Star: 'The cyborgs can cater for desire for sexual variety, freedom from constraint and complication and fear of lack of sexual success.
'Technology may become better at developing emotional bonds with their clients.
'They won’t need to "fake it" the same way as human prostitutes.'
Experts believe that places with booming sex industries such as Amsterdam's red light district will be brimming with cyborgs by 2025.
They will not only fill brothels, but could even be living in our homes as technology develops, it is believed.
The cyborgs could dramatically reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections such as AIDS and HIV, Professor Danaher believes.
However, if they are used by multiple clients and not properly cleaned, they may still pose a risk, he said.
The news comes after a number of people have unashamedly admitted enjoying the company of life-like sex dolls.
Japanese man Senji Nakajima, claims he enjoys the 'perfect' relationship with 'Saori' — a rubber doll — who he shares his home with, along with his wife.
He says he is in love with the giant dummy, which he takes out on shopping trips so he can buy it expensive outfits.
Earlier this year, a three-time divorcee called Murray, from Queensland Australia, admitted he was in love with a sex doll called Noni.
However, it took him more than a year to learn how to have sex with her, he told ABC, which does not bode will for the dolls as a prospect for the sex industry.
And last week it was revealed that a Japanese company is making child-like sex dolls for paedophiles, and 18 shipments bound for abroad have been seized by officials.
(Daily Mail On-Line)
COURT PENSION DECISION WEAKENS ‘CALIFORNIA RULE’
by Ed Mendel
The one thing some pension reformers say is needed to cut the cost of unaffordable public pensions: give current workers a less costly retirement benefit for work done in the future, while protecting pension amounts already earned.
It’s allowed in the remaining private-sector pensions. But California is one of about a dozen states that have what has become known as the “California rule,” which is based on a series of state court decisions, a key one in 1955.
The pension offered at hire becomes a “vested right,” protected by contract law, that cannot be cut, unless offset by a new benefit of comparable value. The pension can be increased, however, even retroactively for past work as happened for state workers under landmark legislation, SB 400 in 1999.
Last week, an appeals court issued a ruling in a Marin County case that is a “game changer” if upheld by the state Supreme Court, said a news release from former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who wants to put a pension reform initiative on the 2018 ballot.
Justice James Richman of the First District Court of Appeal wrote that “while a public employee does have a ‘vested right’ to a pension, that right is only to a ‘reasonable’ pension — not an immutable entitlement to the most optimal formula of calculating the pension.
“And the Legislature may, prior to the employee’s retirement, alter the formula, thereby reducing the anticipated pension. So long as the Legislature’s modifications do not deprive the employee of a ‘reasonable’ pension, there is no constitutional violation.”
The ruling came in a suit by Marin County employee unions contending their vested rights were violated by a pension reform enacted in 2012 that prevents pension boosts from unused vacation and leave, bonuses, terminal pay and other things.
These “anti-spiking” provisions apply to current workers. The major part of the reform legislation, including lower pension formulas and a cap, only apply to new employees hired after Jan. 1, 2013, who have not yet attained vested rights.
The California Public Employees Retirement System expects the reform pushed through the Legislature by Gov. Brown to save $29 billion to $38 billion over 30 years, not a major impact on a current CalPERS shortfall or “unfunded liability” of $139 billion.
Similarly, legislation two years ago will increase the rate paid to school districts to the California State Teachers Retirement System from 8.25 percent of pay to 19.1 percent, while the rate paid by teachers increases from 8 percent of pay to 10.25 percent.
The limited teacher rate increase followed the California rule. The new benefit offsetting the 2.5 percent rate hike vests a routine annual 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment, which previously could have been suspended, though that rarely if ever happened.
While mayor of San Jose four years ago, Reed got approval from 69% of voters for a broad reform to cut retirement costs that were taking 20% of the city general fund. A superior court approved a number of the measure’s provisions.
But a plan to cut the cost of pensions current workers earn in the future by giving them an option (contribute up to an additional 16% of pay to continue the current pension or switch to a lower pension) was rejected by the court, citing the California rule.
In a settlement of union lawsuits, Reed’s successor locked in some retirement savings but dropped an appeal of the option. Reed, a lawyer, thinks the California rule is ill-founded and likely to be overturned if revisited by the state supreme court.
He has pointed to the work of a legal scholar, Amy Monahan, who argued that by imposing a restrictive rule without finding clear evidence of legislative intent to create a contract, California courts broke with traditional contract analysis and infringed on legislative power.
“California courts have held that even though the state can terminate a worker, lower her salary, or reduce her other benefits, the state cannot decrease the worker’s rate of pension accrual as long as she is employed,” Monahan wrote.
In the ruling last week, Justice Richman describes the setting for the reform legislation: soaring pension debt after the financial crisis in 2008-09 and a Little Hoover Commission report in 2011 urging cuts in pensions current workers earn in the future.
He cites several court rulings in the past that conclude cuts in pensions earned by current workers are allowed to give the pension system the flexibility needed to adjust to changing conditions and preserve “reasonable” pensions in the future.
Some of the court rulings cited allowed changes in retirement ages, reductions of maximum possible pensions, repeals of cost-of-living adjustments, changes in required service years, pensions reduced from two-thirds to one-half of salary, and a reasonable increase in pension contributions.
“Thus,” Richman wrote, “short of actual abolition, a radical reduction of benefits, or a fiscally unjustifiable increase in employee contributions, the guiding principle is still the one identified by Miller in 1977: ‘the governing body may make reasonable modifications and changes before the pension becomes payable and that until that time the employee does not have a right to any fixed or definite benefits but only to a substantial or reasonable pension.’”
Richman’s ruling makes several references to a unanimous state Supreme Court decision in 1977 in Miller v. State of California. He said the foundation of the unions’ constitutional appeal is a “onetime variation” in one word in another ruling.
“To be sustained as reasonable, alterations of employees’ pension rights must bear some material relation to the theory of a pension system and its successful operation, and changes in a pension plan which result in disadvantage to employees should be accompanied by comparable new advantages,” the state Supreme Court said in Allen v. City of Long Beach (1955).
Richman said a 1983 state Supreme Court decision (Allen v. Board of Administration) changed “should” have a comparable new advantage to “must,” citing two other State Supreme Court decisions that said “should” and an appeals court decision that said “must.”
In a decision a month later, he said, the Supreme Court used “should” while referring to a comparable new benefit and has continued to use “should” in all rulings since then.
“It thus appears unlikely that the Supreme Court’s use of ‘must’ in the 1983 Allen decision was intended to herald a fundamental doctrinal shift,” Richman said, citing two rulings that “should” is advisory or a recommendation not compulsory.
The 39-page decision written by Richman and concurred in by Justices J. Anthony Kline and Maria Miller makes other points in its rejection of a rigid view of the California rule and pension vested rights.
“The big question for pension reformers is whether or not the California Supreme Court will agree,” Reed said in a news release from the Retirement Security Initiative. “If it does, the legal door will be open for Californians to begin to take reasonable actions to save pension systems and local governments from fiscal disaster.”
There was no immediate word from the Marin Association of Public Employees and other county employee unions last week about whether the appeals court decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I was born in the middle of the great depression, watched WWII on the silver screen, Raised on a farm still functioning in the Victorian era, and working for a living when I was 14. Today, the world is a foreign planet, bankrupt of hope, living a lie, with a leadership not worthy of the name. My goal is to be local, do local, and write my blog for the benefit of all who still care.
REPEAT UNTIL TOTALLY INSANE
Re: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
ED REPLY: Thanks for sharing, Craig
MEANWHILE, THE COUNTRY BURNS (ONLY AN IDIOT CONGRESSMAN WOULD BRAG ABOUT THIS)
Press release from Rep. Jared Huffman:
The large-scale display of Confederate flags in national veterans cemeteries will no longer be allowed, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced in a letter to Congress. The policy change came at the urging of Reps. Jared Huffman (D-CA), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and 82 other members of Congress.
Under this new policy, Confederate flags will never be allowed to be displayed from any flagpole in a VA national cemetery. This new change to National Cemetery Administration policy will be implemented consistent with an amendment to the VA funding bill for fiscal year 2017 offered earlier this year by Reps. Huffman, Gallego, and Ellison.
“This month we have seen the Confederate battle flag sold and displayed at Donald Trump rallies and proudly unfurled at a so-called ‘White Lives Matter’ protest. While racist individuals and groups continue to embrace the Confederate battle flag, it has never been more clear that this anachronistic symbol of hatred, slavery, and insurrection should not be promoted or gratuitously displayed on federal property,” said Rep. Huffman. “That’s why I am so grateful that the Department of Veterans Affairs responded to our letter and to public concerns and decided to prohibit the large-scale display of Confederate flags on our national veterans cemeteries.”
“For decades, the Confederate battle flag has been the symbol of racist groups and individuals like the Ku Klux Klan and Dylann Roof, who murdered nine worshipers at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina,” said Rep. Ellison. “But the Confederate battle flag is more than a symbol of racism – it is also a symbol of treason. We must not forget or dishonor the brave men and women who died during the Civil War fighting for liberty and freedom. The flag of their enemies should not fly over their graves. The announcement by the Department of Veterans Affairs ending large-scale displays of the Confederate battle flag will ensure that their sacrifices continue to be honored.”
“The Confederate flag is a symbol of racism and hatred, and it is a painful reminder of a terrible time in our history,” said Rep. Gallego. “I’m pleased to hear that the VA is taking this first step to ban this symbol of intolerance in VA cemeteries where we honor American heroes. The Confederate flag does not represent the values our veterans fought to defend, and we shouldn’t permit it to be displayed at all in places where we pay tribute to their sacrifices.”
Despite the House’s overwhelming approval of the Huffman-Gallego-Ellison amendment during floor consideration of the VA appropriations bill, a final version of the legislation omitted the prohibition on Confederate flag displays and was approved by party-line vote.
The policy change does not apply to individual gravesites.