- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by David Gurney, August 31, 2016
If you want a really good look at the depressing situation we're in this election season, you need go no further than a political night out in good ol' Fort Bragg CA, as I did on Thursday evening. There were two meetings happening for left-leaning coastal libs. Naturally, they were occurring simultaneously.
The first was a film showing of "Meet the Donors: Does Money Talk?" - with the filmmaker present - at the scrappy Main Street headquarters for "Bernie” people. Not to be missed. The film is by Alexandra Pelosi, a former NBC producer and documentary filmmaker, who also just happens to be the daughter of House Speaker and California Senator Nancy Pelosi. It would seem she has the catbird seat for watching the chorus line of one-percent political donors, right at her mommy’s doorstep.
Pelosi gushed for ten minutes about the wonderful couple of days she'd spent on the beautiful Mendocino Coast, courtesy of her hosts from the “Burned” campaign. But, she reported to the crowd of around forty souls, she'd have to take off early while the film was showing, in order to catch her flight out of SFO the next day. Then she gave a manic, meandering speech about how the film revealed basically nothing, except the fact that billionaire donors get out of any responsibility for buying elections simply by claiming that according to them, giving huge amounts of cash to buy candidates is really a patriotic contribution to our democratic system.
The interviews were conducted with the few billionaires she could muster from a list of the top 100 donors to America's political campaigns. She got 30 plutocrats to consent to being interviewed, starting with number 53 down the list. The cheesy production value of her hand-held camera technique - with her holding the camera and asking the questions at the same time - seemed to do nothing but piss off her subjects, by the obvious lack of professionalism. No lighting, no sound, just grainy home movie footage. The film started, and within ten minutes Alexandra Pelosi was gone.
I left too, and asked a woman who was also leaving what she thought of the film. She said it wasn’t the film: she was leaving to attend a "Democratic Club" meeting happening in five minutes across town, at the Harbor Lite Lodge Conference Room. So I went.
The conference room was packed, with the tables in a huge circle, again with about forty people in attendance, including Fort Bragg's unpopular mayor Dave Turner, and two candidates who are running for vacancies on the Fort Bragg City Council. The meeting got underway with apparently no one in charge, but with the announced general topic "How Do We Get Our Candidates Elected?" It didn't seem to matter who. Prominent Coastal lib Steve Antler got things going with an announcement for his national campaign strategy to defeat Donald Trump, by simply never mentioning his name out loud. This went over with a thud.
I asked, that since two candidates were present, Will Lee and Scott Menzies, could they start the meeting by letting them briefly state why they were running, and what they hoped to accomplish if elected? This request was quickly scuttled by the non-moderator. Instead, Mayor Dave Turner piped up to say that according to his recent experience, hard-core, door-to-door, knock and talk campaigning is the most effective. Unfortunately, the campaign he was referring to was the popular recall effort to get this autocratic little jerk thrown out of office. If campaign advice from Mayor Dave is considered leadership for the Coastal Democratic Party, they are in deep trouble.
Meanwhile, one of the candidates present, a soft-spoken Will Lee, somehow managed to squeeze in a couple of words on why he was running: a good-hearted stint at community service, he claims. Candidate Scott Menzies, who cut his political teeth on stopping the Turner re-call effort, has apparently smelled blood in the murky waters of Fort Bragg politics. He piped up after Mayor Dave, and waved around a book he'd read at Humboldt State on “community election organizing.” He informed the group, as though possessed with a revelation, that the prime ingredient for a successful campaign is, you guessed it: Money. Apparently he missed the announcement for the Bernie get-together. When he later revealed that he was actually in the Green Party, and not a Democrat, he was politely told that he probably wouldn't get the endorsement of the Democratic Party. Flustered, Menzies announced he had to go teach a T’ai Chi class that he was already half-an-hour late for.
Realizing when enough is enough, yours truly went home.
Fortunately, despite this astounding display of incompetence by Coastal Libs, the good 'ol League of Women Voters will be hosting a “Candidate Forum” this October. People interested in local politics (a strong stomach is recommended) will be able to get a better take on the candidates for Fort Bragg City Council, as this insane political season lumbers on.