Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016
by AVA News Service, September 5, 2016
BAD NEWS for downtown Boonville. Claudia Jiminez writes:
“This is Claudia from All That Good Stuff. I'm going out of business and having a big sale from tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6, until September 30. Everything must go, from Halloween to Christmas items to everyday gifts and all our greeting cards. All 30% off!”
THE YORKVILLE ICE CREAM SOCIAL was already roaringly busy when I arrived at 11 Labor Day morning, with cars lining the highway in both directions and Yorkville’s efficient matrons, with their annual drill team-like precision, were manning an array of tables loaded with High Roller bounty, from wine to art to home-baked goods. I joined my fellow Boonville emissaries, Dawn and David Ballantine, at the book tables where I found an old paperback gem of “Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio,” in which Joltin’ Joe relays candid opinions on everything from Little League (against) to San Francisco (for). DiMaggio was a celebrity when we had real celebrities. Now, one dies a little at the mere mention of a “famous” person.
THE LOCAL ANGLE: The DiMaggio Brothers, perhaps all three, played a game or two in Fort Bragg in what was called “the lumber leagues.” All the mill towns fielded baseball teams, with “ringers” (really, really good ballplayers) funded by the local mill. Fort Bragg was a semi-pro powerhouse up through the 1950s. The late Vern Piver, probably the best all-round athlete to come out of Fort Bragg, and a pro ballplayer himself, told me that for sure Vince DiMaggio played for Fort Bragg for a full summer. Baseball was the weekend entertainment for lots of mill towns.
DISPUTE WITH EX'S FAMILY LED TO ARREST FOR PAIR
by J. Stephen McLaughlin
A dispute over real estate that was co-owned by Sheryl Lyn Smith and her former partner of nine years led to the arrest of Smith and her friend Doug Burkey, both of Point Arena, Smith told the ICO on Tuesday. Smith said they were completely surprised when they were arrested in Point Arena August 20 on a Sonoma County warrant. They were still in custody when the ICO went to press last week and were released on Friday. Smith said the charges stem from an agreement she made four years ago over the Timber Cove property jointly owned with her former partner when the two parted ways. He died two months after that and his family is disputing the agreement, she said. Burkey's involvement was as her "new friend and neighbor," Smith said, who "offered himself as a buffer in our negotiations." She added, "As they say, 'no good deed goes unpunished'."
Brian Staebell of the Sonoma District Attorney's Office said Smith and Burkey will be in court on Friday, September 9 to enter pleas and set a trial date. As to the legal case, Smith said, "We expect to be vindicated by the court — but that doesn't make up for the humiliation of being arrested."
Even so, Smith had one positive take on the experience. "We had the opportunity to meet new resident Deputy Robert Julian Jr. and see him in action. He handled the situation very professionally and was considerate. I'm glad he is part of our community." She added that the arrest was in stark contrast to the conditions they found in jail in Ukiah. Smith, who had just filed her candidacy in a five-person race for three seats on the Point Arena City Council said she would withdraw from the race although it is too late to remove her name from the ballot. "I'll vote for Jonathan Torrez, Richie Wasserman and Scott Igancio," she said.
(Courtesy, Independent Coast Observer.)
I WAS GIFTED (sic) with a bottle of beer called Pliny the Elder. (Groan, and steeee-rike one through three! Pliny my arse.) I know there were two Plinys, elder and younger, and they were philosophers, but I refused to investigate further. We all know that the wine industry moved past pretentious many years ago, but beer seems to be trying to catch up.
THIS STUFF goes for four or five bucks a bottle and, my gifter told me, "You can only buy three bottles at a time at the local liquor store, first come, first served."
SO, HOW IS IT? To my jaded palate, it tastes like every other "craft" beer I've tried. They all seem unlike beer, like a new kind of drink. Given the choice between an ice cold Bud and this stuff, I'd go for the Bud, although lately I've enjoyed Stella and Red Stripe, especially the latter because this snooty kid — nose rings, tats, mohawk — at a city market loftily informed me when I asked her, “Where’s the Red Stripe?” said, "We don't carry Red Stripe because they're homophobic." Huh? What? Who’s homophobic? "Jamaicans,” she said. “It's made in Jamaica. They're homophobes." I’ve been heavy on Red Stripe ever since. If it’s good enough for the fastest man in the world, it sure as hell is good enough for me.
DR. WILLIAM COURTNEY, now a resident of Elk, has filed a $1 million claim against Mendocino County saying that he was wrongly arrested for not appearing in court last January as a witness in a marijuana case that was being defended by Ukiah attorney (and judge-elect) Keith Faulder.
ACCORDING to the claim filed by attorney E.D. Lerman of Santa Rosa and Ukiah, "On January 27, 2016, the people (the District Attorney) filed a misdemeanor complaint against William Courtney alleging contempt of court in that said defendant then and there willfully disobeyed a lawful subpoena that had been properly and timely served on him, said subpoena commanding the defendant to appear in person in court on December 7, 2015 at 9am as a witness in Mendocino County Superior Court Case Number 14-78508, a felony criminal matter.
“THE CIRCUMSTANCES giving rise to this claim are as follows: On January 27, 2016, Kevin Bailey [the District Attorney's Chief Investigator] filed a false affidavit in support of the misdemeanor complaint against William Courtney and in support of William Courtney's arrest. The affidavit was false because it omitted the fact that the defense counsel, Keith Faulder, for the defendant in People v. Wood … stated in the record of that case while addressing the subpoena commanding William Courtney to appear in person in court on December 7, 2015 at 9 AM that: "What I've done in this case, as I do in all my cases, is I issued a subpoena for the first day of trial but then tell them that they will be on phone standby until either two or three days afterwards because the first day or two is jury selection and the prosecution's case. So he was told when I issued in the subpoena that I would have expected him to testify on either the 9th or 10th of December."
“HAD KEVIN BAILEY declared that Keith Faulder relieved William Courtney from the December 7, 2015 hearing date stated on the face of the subpoena there would be no cause for William Courtney's arrest. It is believed that Kevin Bailey filed a false affidavit under the supervision of District Attorney David Eyster acting in the capacity of a peace officer. "William Courtney's claim … is for at least $1 million according to proof … an amount that would place it within the jurisdiction of the Superior Court. The claim is in an amount to be proved later." Ms. Lerman adds: "Please take note that the amount of this claim will increase in the case that William Courtney is arrested or seized pursuant to any arrest warrant issued in Mendocino County Superior Court Case Number 16-84547-002 and upon his seizure he will also be filing against all parties under [federal law] within the Federal District Court."
LAST TUESDAY, the Supervisors routinely denied Courtney’s claim via the consent calendar.
PEOPLE SUBPOENED to appear in court have been known to be arrested for not showing up, but it doesn’t happen very often in Mendocino County, if ever. Someone has it out for Courtney.
BOONVILLE’S BELOVED WEEKLY is by default Stein for President headquarters in lieu of any other we know of. We can’t offer a cool-o cutout of the candidate, but we’ve got carrot sticks. As it happens, we share Trump’s view of a rigged system but draw different conclusions as to what should be done about it. Voting against Killery is a good first step, voting for Jill is a logical second step.
Stein Over Bernie
Re: Important meeting
On 9/19/16 the City Council will hear proposals relating to the Hare Creek Shopping Mall and the Hwy 20 Transfer Station. In preparation, local activists will meet at 1 PM on Sunday 9/11/16 at the Progressive Alliance Center (next door to Egghead's) to prepare for the 9/19 hearings. I hope you can attend the 9/11 meeting, a week before the city and county decide what to do with Hare Creek and Hwy 20.
Contact me if you need more info.
John Fremont (961-0543)
MARCO ON WHAT TO DO WITH HARE CREEK
My choices: horse field (just two or three horses), radio music amphitheater with motorized dome (fire-engine red and fluorescent green), rollerskating rink with 45rpm record changer and vacuum-tube amplifier (with real cooking dust smell), and then steampunk-rocket-theme monorail terminal, in that order (horse field first, and about fifteen years each). And then it'll be 2060 or 2070 and the singularity will have occurred, and whatever now-unimaginable superconsciousness results will be making its superintelligent decisions for its fifth-dimensional-kaleidoscopic godlike self, and everything from the Jurassic era through all of human history will be but a blink of the cosmic eye anyway.
And the motorized dome phase of this progression should be /called/ the Cosmic Eye. Because it opens and closes and, from the air, looks like a big eye winking.
Or-- yez could just put up another dented-can store and a parking lot. Maybe a pier with a mechanical arcade and a few old men and their grandchildren fishing off the end.
FORT BRAGG: THE AGENDA (THIS WEEK)
John Sakowicz wrote: “…I'm thinking about taking Ed Keller's advice and finally filing my grievance over my suspension, so I can nail down this heretofore unwritten policy of a "loyalty oath", and sue the station to undo this policy.
* * *
Marco McClean: John, it's not unwritten. The reason Sean Donovan banned me from KZYX in the first place, in 1989, was that I refused to sign a written oath to never talk about station business on the air, and then brought Mitch Clogg, who Sean had banned from KZYX probably for the same reason, to my show. I never got a grievance hearing --and who would have been the hearer? Sean Donovan? It was the same with you, John. Who would have conducted your hearing? John Coate? Stuart Campbell? Mary Aigner? Who would conduct it now?
"Talking about station business on the air is grounds for losing your show." I think the airpeople still have to sign something like that. Certainly if an airperson were to so much as /squeak/ about wanting to be paid for his work he'd be canned in a Philo minute.
By the way, here is exactly what Alice Woelfle-Erskine wrote, after I complained of having been treated like a bug and then ignored by the management of KZYX for a quarter of a century, and after I'd asked her who exactly makes the programming decisions now, if not the the program director, as I'd been told there was a "fresh new process for determining programming," and what exactly is that process? The proposal she mentions in the following paragraph was one I brought to the station in person in February of 2012 and emailed like clockwork every four months thereafter. In July of 2016, after Raul van Hall resigned after two months in disgust of the place, fresh program director Alice wrote to me (really, read this aloud to get the full benefit of the treatment):
"The way that programming decisions are currently happening is this: Potential programmers submit a proposal for a show. It is reviewed by a programming committee and that committee decides which shows are approved and when those shows will be aired. You submitted a proposal for a show, which I think sounds very interesting. The programming team has decided not to air it. We currently don't have an opening for a show of your format or length. One thing we consider when discussing programming is the programmer. It is important that the programmers on kzyx are reliable, accommodating, respectful, and committed to serving the station. The aggressive and demanding tone of your correspondence, and the mistrust you have of the operating procedures here at the station are not positive recommendations to you as a potential programmer. We are not motivated to give air time to people who display mistrust and aggression towards the station or its staff."
PS. John, the chairman of the "new and improved" programming committee she describes is Stuart Campbell who, in one of his last acts as president of the board, appointed the chair of the manager search committee, who threw out my detailed offer to manage the station out of the hole it's in and then lied to a boardmember that I hadn't ever applied.
Why would I mistrust Stuart Campbell? Well, in Lord of the Rings terms, why would anyone mistrust Grimer Wormtongue? In A Series of Unfortunate Events terms, what's there to mistrust about Count Olaf?
I repeat: It's not possible for KZYX to cost anywhere near as much as it burns through every year ($600,000). Either the board and management are phenomenally bad with money, or there's a clever thief among them or with his hooks in them, or both. Lorraine Dechter couldn't change the system there. Nothing has changed there since day one. Terrible, terrible people are in charge and they use bureaucratic chicanery and a cheerleading squad of naive sycophants and old junkyard dogs to keep change from happening.
A radio station is a microphone and a transmitter and federal permission to switch the transmitter on. All of that was taken care of at KZYX before the Berlin Wall fell. If electricity is 15 cents per kilowatt-hour and your transmitter continuously uses 4,000 watts, that's 60 cents per hour. Sure, there are a few fees and rents and phone bills and a few old computers involved, but $600,000 a year? almost a third of which comes in a grant from CPB that they just have to play a few NPR shows to collect? And they can't pay the local workers?
— Marco McClean
* * *
KZYX is simply an all-round mess, a slob operation from its rigged beginnings and impossible to reform. When the Philo station finally does its last glub-glub-glub, the minority of sensible people still involved with the fiasco should disband it and reassemble Public Radio Mendocino in Ukiah, where it should have been located in the first place. This time, rather than organization by a single individual who can poison the station in its crib, set up a KMUD-like structure with the membership in control. The next shoe to drop? Bankruptcy.
AMBULANCE FUNDRAISER SUCCESS!
The Anderson Valley Ambulance Service Fund Raiser was held on August 28, 2016. The Board would like to take this opportunity to thank the following individuals, businesses, clubs, etc. for making this event a huge success:
Anderson Valley Lions Club, Joe Blow Band, Thanksgiving Coffee, Navarro Store, Jack's Valley Store, Rossi's, Judy Nelson, Susan Bodine, Philip Thomas, Judy Basehore, Terry Ryder and her Mom Muriel, San Francisco Giants, The Pot Shop, Bramble Olive Oil, Anderson Valley Inn, Blue Meadow Farm, Boont Berry, Gowan's Oak Tree, Boonville Hotel, The Apple Farm, Anderson Valley Nursery, The Other Place/Sheep Dung, Anderson Valley Brewery, Larry Mailliard and Jeanie Eliades, Pepperwood Pottery, Lauren's, Little River Inn, MacCallum House, The Skunk Train, Chez Marie @ Elk Cove Inn and Spa, and the following wineries: Meyer Family Cellars, Yorkville Cellars, Maple Creek, Four Sight, Seebass, Philo Ridge, Lichen, Elke, Balo, Knez, Bink, Signal Ridge, Baxter, Brutocao, Scharffenberger, Roederrer, Toulouse, Navarro, Handley, and Husch.
The Ambulance Service operates as a non-profit business and relies greatly on the generosity of our community. Once again, thank you so much for your continued support.
President, AV Ambulance Board
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 5, 2016
Armstrong, Bernal, Calderon-Rosas, Drasny
ASHLEY ARMSTRONG, Sacramento/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, conspiracy, probation revocation.
OSCAR BERNAL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ANTONIO CALDERON-ROSAS, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
PHILIP DRASNY, San Jose/Willits. DUI.
Garcia, Gray, Halas
AMANDA GARCIA, Covelo. Failure to appear.
BRETT GRAY, Ukiah. Assault on peace officer, resisting.
CHRISTINE HALAS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Harper, Herbstritt, Maldonado-Mata
KENNETH HARPER, San Mateo/Ukiah. Domestic battery, false imprisonment, vandalism.
TABITHA HERBSTRITT, Laytonville. Drunk in public, resisting.
RAFAEL MALDONADO-MATA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
Nukkanen, Rios, Shamborguer, VonBargen
ANGELA NUKKANEN, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, battery, resisting.
SESARIO RIOS, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
EDDETTE SHAMBORGUER, Santa Rosa/Hopland. DUI.
ERIN VONBARGEN, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
A PLEASANT LULL
by James Kunstler
A pleasant lull lies over the land where today fewer people labor honestly — and some labor gruelingly for too little — while a matrix of rackets sustains the illusion that our living arrangements have a future. Is Quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the minds of the millions moiling around their backyard barbeques? I applaud his refusal to stand for the national anthem, though not for the reasons he stated. Rather, because I’m sick of vulgar symbolism in a dark moment of a fraying culture that demands more than cheap talk and lame gestures.
In case you’re wondering, the reason we’re subject to all these repetitions of The Star Spangled Banner is not for love-of-country but something quite the opposite: the fear that its promises are empty. Ever wonder why every public official in the land has to wear a flag lapel pin? Should it be necessary for the president of the US to signal his devotion to duty? Wouldn’t we normally just assume this to be the case? No, it signals the widespread and generalized anxiety that the national condition is dire and that we don’t have the confidence or the clarity to face the challenges of the time. President Obama might as well wear a crucifix or a bulb of garlic in his lapel.
In this presidential election year especially, Labor Day serves as a sort of collective deep breath before the plunge into a season of political anguish. The number of potential voters disgusted with the choice between two clueless monsters of egotism must be epic. If WalMart held a sale on bullshit filters, they might stand a chance of turning a Q3 profit. Otherwise, expect economic performance to be increasingly frightening even if The New York Times and CNN continue to spin out tales of unicorns jumping rainbows.
Events, not personalities, are going to demonstrate where things are at in the late-stage techno-industrial crack-up at hand. The shamans at the Federal Reserve have exhausted their repertoire of incantations for levitating the financial markets and, more ominously, the value of the US dollar. The prankish god they serve has arranged things so that the very faith needed to sustain their illusory influence will run down the drain as November 8 creeps closer. They must be getting awfully nervous down at the Eccles Building.
The sudden bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Company ought to send shivers down the scaly spines of globalism’s cheerleaders. Fragility is everywhere in this unraveling network of gigantic, far-flung promises and obligations. The former middle class of America has lost its ability to absorb anymore smart phones or Kardashian brand Pure Glitz hairspray©. They’re pacing grooves in the faux hardwood floors of their McHomes through reams of unpayable bills trying to stave off the re-po squad while Grandma slips into a diabetic coma. These are the good folks who supposedly comprise 70% of the so-called economy, aka “consumers.” You can stick a fork in them — and maybe we’ll hear a few reports of that on Tuesday when the holiday barbeques smolder their last.
More concerning, though, are the conditions of the banks. When their true insolvency is revealed — which may coincide with the height of the election season — look out below. The bankruptcy of one measly shipping company will look like a zit on the ass of a diving blue whale as countless trade operations seize up for lack of confidence that they will ever be paid. Then what?
Then we are forced to pay attention to the actual dynamics now at work in the world. Or be driven crazy by our refusal to get with the program. I tend to think we’ll opt for the latter. We’re too unused to reality. We’d rather crash and burn than change anything about our behavior, or even our perception. Both Trump and Hillary are perfect avatars for this date with a hard landing. The disorder both of them are capable of inducing will be a spectacle for the ages.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler?ty=h)
LOCALS TO JOIN PROTEST AGAINST DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
This major story has been completely blacked-out by the corporate mainstream media.
There is a huge demonstration going on in North Dakota against the 1,200-mile Dakota Access Pipeline, that if built, would carry half a million barrels of crude oil per day through four states, cross the Missouri River in twice, desecrate many Native American sacred grounds and burial sites, and threaten the water supply for all living things.
Right now, thousands of people are gathering from across the continent to stop this pipeline. On Friday and Saturday, the confrontation with construction crews and police turned violent when a private security company turned attack dogs against protesters. Some people were viciously bitten.
People from Mendocino County are going to join this protest, and are having a send-off ceremony tomorrow from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Ukiah Courthouse on Main Street in Ukiah. They are requesting donations of supplies to take up to North Dakota, including the following:
- Camp stoves
- Propane tanks (lg & sml)
- Sleeping Bags
- Rain Coats/Rain Gear
- Wool Socks
- Winter Gear
- Cell Phone Boosters
- Solar powered chargers/lights
- Walkie Talkies
- Parachute Cord
- Jumper Cables
- Storage Bins
- CB Radios
- Police Scanners
- Cooking Supplies
- Battery powered drill
- Basic Medical Supplies
For more information see:
Dakota Access Pipeline Route:
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE DAKOTA PIPELINE PROTEST
Unarmed Dakota Pipeline Protesters Withstand Dogs and Mace, Drive Back Enbridge Security Forces
by Marc Ash
The bulldozers returned to the site of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline project Saturday. The protesters, anchored by Standing Rock Sioux tribal activists, rallied quickly to defend "the land." The result was a chaotic confrontation between white private security forces armed with mace and attack dogs and an unarmed multi-ethnic coalition of Americans determined to stop them in their tracks.
The all-white security personnel did not hesitate to use their mace, and unleash the dogs. Multiple protesters were treated at the scene for pepper spray exposure and dog bites. The snouts and mouths of the dogs could be seen smeared with human blood. Security forces claim four security personnel and two dogs were injured.
The protesters did not back down. Withstanding the attacks and risking personal injury, they advanced toward security, dogs, and bulldozers alike, demanding the work cease and the Enbridge personnel depart.
The construction site quickly took on the feel of a battlefield. Skirmishes erupted around the newly plowed mounds and trenches, with cameras and reports from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! rolling.
As it became clear that the protesters would not be intimidated, Enbridge security reigned in their dogs and began to withdraw, finally departing in their pickup trucks and SUVs.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, also known as the Bakken Pipeline System, is backed by a murky affiliation of energy industry players including Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P., Energy Transfer Partners, L.P, Marathon Petroleum Corp., and Sunoco Logistics Partners, L.P., with Enbridge playing a central role.
Late last week, Enbridge announced it was rolling up the separate but related Sandpiper Pipeline project in the face of heavy protests and mounting losses.
Also last week, the City of Minneapolis passed a City Council resolution in support of the indigenous resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline on the Standing Rock Reservation. It was the third such municipal resolution to be passed. St. Paul and Seattle have passed similar resolutions recently.
This most recent confrontation and the violence surrounding it are likely to strengthen the resolve of those standing in defiance of the Dakota Access Pipeline. If the fate of the Keystone XL and Sandpiper pipelines is any indicator, local resistance may yet again prevail.
(Courtesy, Reader Supported News)
‘SONSY’ CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO PRESERVE ENDANGERED AMERICAN WORDS
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It feels like they’re getting us ready for the inevitable in not-so-subtle ways. On NPR today, they highlighted a story about Food Waste without addressing the root of the issue. We can’t have growth and no Food Waste, but the folks at NPR, and FOX, and CNN and so many News Outlets under The Lamestream Media umbrella believe that growth somehow doesn’t involve unrenewable resource depletion if we just think Happy Thoughts. They’re getting us ready mentally for less, much less, with Lip Service, but not much else. I was told by NPR, by wasting less food there will be more available as Aid to 3rd World countries. For anyone who has watched the excellent documentary Poverty, Inc., you know the score. Poverty has become the goal, not a solution to it. Soon enough, North America will be Venezuela, or worse, Syria. If you think we’re fucked now — just wait until then. We ain’t seen nothing yet.
Who would you like to have to lunch?
- Jack Ketch
- St. Patrick
- Dr. Swift
- Bruce McEwen
* * *
What would you serve?
- Roast Mutton
- Skittles & small beer
- W.C. Fields in a frikassee or a ragout w/ ratatoullie on the side…?
* * *
Who will you invite (supposing Jeasus, Mohomment, and Joseph Smith are otherwise tied up with a conference at the Vatican)?
- Oscar Wilde
- Bruce McEwen
- James Joyce
- Sick Little Eddy Poe from The Munsters… Ho-ho!
* * *
How best to regulate the bash?
- Ask a tartan skirt
- Hire a Welsh caterer
- Ask Bruce to cook
- Ask Trader Vic
* * *
Who’s the Guy w/ the Camera?
- Ansel Adams
- Mark O’Hern
- John Dickinson
* * *
Why all the Fuss?
- Bruce McEwen
- A tartan skirt
- Free lunch
- All of the above
(— Bruce McEwen)
DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA:
WILL YOU SPEAK TO THE CIVIC COMMUNITY?
by Ralph Nader
Dear President Obama,
There is much commentary these days about your legacy and your continued strivings to further extend your administration’s reach in the remaining months of your second term of office. Your recent expansion of public land reserves and the large expansion of our country’s ocean sanctuaries in the regions surrounding Hawaii and Guam are described as part of your environmental legacy.
I write once again to invite you to meet with the Washington-based, full-time nonprofit civic action and service community. On several occasions during your presidency, I have recommended that you speak to a thousand or more leaders of the national civic community in a downtown D.C. hotel ballroom or auditorium such as historic Constitution Hall.
Nonprofit organizations have millions of dues-paying members throughout the country supporting the fundamental bulwarks and seed corns of our beleaguered democracy.
They cover the important advocacy areas of peace, civil liberties and civil rights, antipoverty and health, consumer protection, environment, labor safety, access to justice, worker rights and many traditional secular and religious charities that minister to the needy.
Yet there has been no response to these invitations except a reply by the office of Michelle Obama on July 17, 2011 saying the President was too busy.
Of course, Presidents are very busy, but they find time, as you did to attend nearly 500 fundraisers around the country and to visit numerous factories and other corporate destinations. Even during a visit to India, you found time to extol Boeing Airplanes and Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.
No President has explicitly reached out to the broad civic community since President-elect Jimmy Carter attended such a special mass convocation in Washington, D.C., late in 1976. He came to listen and to meet the constituency that he knew was crucial to enacting many of the substantive programs he was planning at the time. It was a grand, motivating success.
Late in your second term, you could come to serve several other purposes. First, you can give necessary visibility to those committed people whose groups are left in the shadows during presidential election years despite their ability to enrich the content of such electoral activities with their exceptional hands-on knowledge and experience.
Second, you can make recommendations regarding various facilities, checkoffs and new directions which can enlarge nonprofit membership and programs.
Third, you can educate the public about the critical role this “voluntary sector” has played in American history.
Fourth, you can herald the significant number of jobs and economic activity—millions of staff and tens of billions of dollars coursing through the economy—which can only expand with larger philanthropy by billionaires, mega-millionaires, and regular citizens you might inspire to contribute to nonprofit organizations.
Your address can become a presidential marker for your successors and for future generations of Americans inspired by your concrete words and proposals.
It is difficult to understand why you have not yet embraced this opportunity. Certainly you have mentioned civic duty, civic engagement and civic visions for posterity on a number of occasions. Especially now when all elections are behind you, isn’t it time to highlight the civic values and the civic heroes who reflect them in ways both dutiful and dramatic?
Lastly, such a presentation will set a finer, higher stage for your successor to inherit.
What say you, President Obama?
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)