Mendocino County Today: Monday, Sept. 26, 2016
by AVA News Service, September 25, 2016
102 IN BOONVILLE by 1pm Sunday. The Weather Underground, the least inflammatory weather site, never exaggerates, so it really was over a hundred today most places five or so miles inland from the Pacific. Tomorrow in the 90s, Wednesday low 80s and that balmy mid-week weather begins a big cool down into the 60's by next weekend, with a chance of rain by Monday. Today seems to have been Summer's last gasp.
JOHN FREMONT has led a valiant but so far failed campaign to stop construction of a five-million-dollar trash transfer station in the Pygmy Forest near Fort Bragg. Of course Fort Bragg already has a perfectly serviceable transfer station on Pudding Creek that neatly and efficiently processes much of the Mendocino Coast's detritus. But the new station has been long in the doing by Mike Sweeney, the County's trash czar, and Sweeney's allies on the Board of Supervisors, reinforced by Fort Bragg's Sweeney-connected city manager Linda Ruffing, and wired at MSWMA (Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority), a quasi-official organization made up of Sweeney gofers Dave Turner, mayor of Fort Bragg; Supervisor Dan Hamburg; Ron Orenstein, Willits; Supervisor Tom Woodhouse and Ukiah Councilman Jim Brown.
FRUITION of Sweeney's long-term transfer station project occurred last week at the meeting of the Fort Bragg City Council. As Fremont puts it, "I'm still in shock. I had proposed the City Council delay certification until after the election, since two councilmembers are stepping down. Those councilmembers (Deitz and Hammerstrom), along with Mayor Turner, rejected the appeal, while two returning councilmembers, Cimolino and Peters, voted to delay considering the EIR, which was presented to the Joint Powers by Sweeney and Ruffing. I also pointed out that Sweendle is retiring and was told he's set to run the Transfer Station when he does. There's conflict and corruption wherever you look, but I guess that's the American way of doing business."
I DON'T KNOW about the American way of doing business, but it's definitely the way Mendocino County does business, especially where Sweeney, Ruffing, Ruffing's boyfriend Richard Shoemaker, Supervisor McCowen converge, wiring projects that will profit them and their friends.
MAYOR TURNER and his two ineffable auto-Yes votes, Deitz and Hammerstrom, ought to be ashamed of the transfer station deal. Ordinarily, a vote on a major project like this would of course wait for the new FB City Council coming right up in November. But even more outrageous is the rumor that Sweeney himself, who's about to retire from his County sinecure, will run the new transfer station. No wonder it'll cost $5 million! You think Sweeney's going to watch the trucks come and go from a plywood shack?
FIRE SPREADING THROUGH THE GEYSERS
by Mary Callahan & Meg McConahey
Firefighters are battling a growing wildfire moving through The Geysers in northeastern Sonoma County last reported to have reached 1,500 acres, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department said.
By mid-afternoon the blaze, officially named the Sawmill fire, was reportedly 10 percent contained but still had the capacity to be a significant event, officials said.
The fire was reported about 11 a.m. at 13025 Big Geysers Road, an area controlled by Calpine, a geothermal energy corporation which maintains 14 power plants in the Mayacamas Mountains east of Geyserville.
Firefighters were attacking the fire with aircraft and ground crews in temperatures that by early afternoon topped 90 degrees.
Approximately 25 homes in the Pocket Ranch area in the rural hills above Geyserville had been advised, but not ordered, to evacuate. Another 15 to 20 homes on The Geysers Road were notified to evacuate, said Capt. Tiffany Mercado of Cal Fire in St. Helena.
Firefighters on Sunday were on high alert because of the difficult weather conditions.
“It’s very hot, very dry and the winds are kicking up,” Mercado said.
About 240 fire personnel had been deployed to the blaze, which, at last report, was moving northward within the confines of Sonoma County.
But the same high fire conditions — high temperatures, gusting winds and low humidity — that had fire agencies staffed up going into the weekend suggested the Sawmill Fire could easily get out of hand.
Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshal Paul Lowenthal, a spokesman for the North Bay Incident Management Team, said the remote area has a history of serious vegetation fires.
“We’re preparing for it to become a significant incident, which is why there were a tremendous number of resources that were thrown at this immediately,” he said.
Officials said some of the homes in the rural area are hunting cabins or vacation homes, but Lowenthall said officials estimated about 89 individuals were affected by early evacuations of 36 homes.
The Red Cross was preparing to set up an evacuation center at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1402 University Ave., in Healdsburg.
Geysers Road was closed to all traffic at River Road and at Red Winery Road, officials said.
State Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said heavy spotting was reported, and public officials were closely monitoring and coordinating on the firefighting effort.
He said resources were being drawn from around the region, especially Marin County, and that at least one “super scooper” aircraft, capable of scooping up as much as 1,800 gallons of water within 20 seconds for delivery to a fire site, was part of the effort.
The fire, which at one point was burning toward the Lake County line, prompted understandable alarm among residents there, many of whom endured the 76,000-acre Valley Fire a year ago and remain surrounded by the scars of that disaster.
A huge plume of smoke was visible above the ridge line in the Cobb Mountain Area, where much of the Valley Fire burned, and hundreds of worried callers bombarded the Kelseyville Fire Protection District in Lake County to inquire about the fire’s whereabouts, fire engineer Scott Crawford said.
“We’re all very much on edge up here, for obvious reasons,” said Andy Alexander, whose neighborhood near Gifford Springs in the Cobb Area was nearly destroyed in the Valley Fire. “We just don’t know, but it (the fire) is on your side of the hill right now, and we kind of hope it stays there. We’ll see. We’re just praying for the best.”
Local local strike teams comprising dozens of people from different Sonoma County fire agencies were among those deployed to the fire.
“We have quite a bit of ground and air resources,” Mercado said. “But we’re still trying to figure out if this is going to be a big one or if we’re going to be able to catch it shortly.”
Tim Ward, who manages Sky Pine Vineyards 2,000 feet up Pine Mountain above Cloverdale, said he is warily watching the gray and white plume grow to the southeast over Geyserville as jet tankers fly overhead. He said he is scheduled to start harvesting 15 acres of cabernet grapes Monday.
Meanwhile, he said he making sure he’s stocked with cold beer.
“In case our power goes off we might as well have cold beer. I don’t mean to make light of this,” he said. “But what can you do? You have to take it as it comes. That’s farming in Sonoma County this time of year.”
(The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
DOUG BOSCO: THE CURSE THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
We live in a country where a petroleum engineer was appointed to head the EPA by President Obama without embarrassment. It would seem less controversial that a lawyer was appointed to the California Coastal Conservancy and now serves as chairman. A biographical excerpt of Doug Bosco who has served at this government agency since 2003 reads: "A lifelong advocate of fishery and natural resource conservation, Mr. Bosco authored the California Wilderness Act, the Smith River National Recreation Area Act, the Klamath Trinity River Restoration Act, the Hupa Yurok Settlement Act and the Laguna de Santa Rosa National Wildlife Preserve Act. As a member of the California Legislature (1978-82), Mr. Bosco authored a number of environmental measures, including the California Renewable Resources Investment Act. He is a past member of the California Industrial Welfare Commission and sits on a number of charitable boards."
I have never read any of those pieces of legislation or measures, but I expect that they are all compromises with the immediate stakeholders in which a lawyer's skill might be useful. Whether these compromises serve the welfare of the greater public and their expressed interest in preserving the natural environment is probably arguable. But it is clear that Mr. Bosco has had his hands in many controversies, settlements and agreements.
Now he is appearing before the court representing Gualala River Timber Company in the ensuing controversy over the Dogwood Timber Harvest Plan. In case anyone has not noticed, this should be viewed as a significant conflict of interest and perhaps another indicator of how industry manages to insinuate itself in government and promote its interests.
REDWOOD DRIVE-IN, Boonville, CA: Home of the Best home-made donuts in the World.
THE NAVARRO, an on-line exchange
Bill Pilgrim. re: Navarro River. And just where does the water that fills all the ponds come from? Pumping groundwater exclusively? No chance. No mention here of creek diversions.
George Hollister. Interesting history of the Navarro. Interesting evolution. But transpiration from grapes being the primary factor effecting change in the Navarro is a stretch. The largest consumer of water in the Navarro Watershed is native vegetation. Grapes might be a distant second. Native vegetation is at a high point in at least the last 100 years. We don’t burn anymore, don’t maintain grass for livestock, and don’t clearcut. Transpiration and pumping water in themselves, are not as simple as adding and subtracting acre feet, either. Not all water is available for transpiration, not all irrigated water goes out the leaves of a crop, not all ground water is on its way to the river, and a lot of pond water leaks back into ground.
Something else that has recently happened to our local estuaries is the introduction of seals and sea lions. The result is estuaries are no longer safe havens for salmon and steelhead waiting to move upstream and spawn. So these fish waiting to spawn stay outside the mouth, where it is now safer. This is independent from why the Navarro River closes now, when it did not in the past. We too often have found someone to scapegoat when it comes to fish. It used to be logging. Of course logging had nothing to do with the recent fish decline. Then there are the dams, and the farmers, and the fishermen, or human introduced striped bass, etc., etc. There are bigger forces at work here, and it is not human caused global warming either. Ocean conditions are what effect fish the most, and not freshwater habitat. There are too many things going on in the ocean we don’t understand, but we do know when there is food in the ocean for salmon there tend to be more, when there is not so much food in the ocean for salmon there tend to be fewer. To understand salmon and steelhead populations, look to the sea.
Marshall Newman. Re: Navarro River. The reason for reduced flow on the Navarro River is as plain as the vineyards that now carpet Anderson Valley. If the California Water Resources Board got tough on those pumping water from the Navarro River and its tributaries either unpermitted or in excess of their permits, the problem would be less. On another front, if the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association got serious – right now it isn’t even interested – about preserving the Navarro River and its tributaries, it would push growers to either dry farm or eliminate water use after the threat of spring frost has passed. If locals let both organizations know their concerns regarding the Navarro River, they will take action.
George Hollister. There is nothing pious about loggers and logging, the same as anybody else. But uncaring actions sometimes have good outcomes. And as you point out above, caring actions sometimes have disastrous outcomes. Science is supposed to sort this out, but it doesn’t, because scientists too often bring their preconceived prejudices into their scientific work. Locally, it was Fish and Game that cleared out our streams of heavy woody debris because this material was creating “fish blockages”, which to a small extent was true. But to a large part this debris was essential to freshwater salmon and steelhead habitat. So statistically, heavy woody debris is the single most important changeable component of freshwater habitat that effects salmon populations, not shade, not sediment, as is popularly stated. Why was the heavy woody debris considered to be so bad? Because uncaring and unpopular people, mostly loggers put the debris in the streams. Science was not behind the decision to clear our local streams, preconceived notions were. That nonscientific mindset in Fish and Wildlife continues today. PS. Why did the big changes in the Navarro happen before vineyards were common? PPS. Salmon and steelhead fishing has declined in every watershed in California, regardless of grapes, logging, dams, etc, or not. The decline is in parks. Wouldn’t that suggest that there is something bigger going on? And that we could put a moratorium on any water use, of any kind, in the Navarro watershed and the situation with fish would remain the same? PPPS. Here is something to reflect on, from a reliable source (urbanforestryassociates.com): “There is a figure floating around the internet and many publications on redwoods that a mature tree can use up to 500 gallons of water on a hot summer day (picture those small swimming pools you can buy at Costco). So far, I have been unable to find a source but it is not as unrealistic a number as it might seem. There are studies showing large rainforest trees using upwards of 300 gallons, so 500 certainly seems possible. Regardless, this is not to say they need 500 gallons or even that they would want it, just that a huge, old tree could use that much if it were available.” OK, so how much has the redwood forest canopy increased in the Navarro watershed in the last 50 years? How about tanoak and other oaks, and douglas fir? And even if the right number were not 500 gallons per large tree, there is a lot more tree canopy out there, compared to 50 years ago. Canopy is what transpires water.
* * *
ED NOTE: I agree with Marshall Newman. I think it's pretty clear that there are now so many diversions upstream of the Navarro that every year the river silts up and closes at the mouth earlier. And there's drought, of course. But prior to grapes, the river was battered but flowing. Also, I wouldn't be too quick to write off vine aspiration as a major draw on the Anderson Valley's overall water depletion. My late friend Joe Neilands, a renowned bio-physicist at U.C. Berkeley, said he thought vine aspiration was sucking up many tons of annual water. He was trying to calculate more or less exactly how much, a project he was never able to complete. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that grape ops have had a major impact on the water depletion we now suffer in the Anderson Valley. Many of these new ventures have bought properties with legal riparian rights to our streams, but those rights were granted to old-guard property owners who used very small amounts of water for apples. No one could have anticipated the enormous draw by the wine industry we see today. And everywhere we look, there's another new vineyard. We have, basically, an industrial grape industry, heavy on herb and pesticides, plunked down in a small place by monied people (most of them) heedless of the collective impact they're having.
FIRE CHIEFS URGE ‘NO’ ON AF
To the Editor:
The members of the Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association represent the 22 separate fire agencies within our county, and meet on a regular basis in an effort to network, share resources and stay current on local affairs.
Our association appreciates the well-meaning attempt to self-regulate the ballooning marijuana industry in our County, but finds that Measure AF is plagued with inconsistencies to current law, and does not directly address the effect of widespread cultivation and processing to our environment or the impact to local fire agencies. Additionally the actions of the writers of this initiative seemed to have purposely circumvented and bypassed environmental and/or public review showing no regard or empathy to those that choose not to participate in the cultivation or processing of marijuana, but may be subjected or exposed to the unwanted effects caused by a neighbor’s actions.
Our county fire agencies, many of which are fully staffed by volunteers, have been directly affected by the cultivation and processing of marijuana, much of it identified as medicinal. These fire agencies have responded to assist county and state agencies with environmental cleanups at numerous grow sites, and have had to respond to various calls for service including medical assistance, structure and vegetative fires related to the cultivation and processing of marijuana.
Our Association questions Measure AF’s recognition and allowance of the use of volatile solvents such as liquefied petroleum gas, alcohol, and other flammable agents and asphyxiates. These products used in the process for concentrating THC to manufacture hash oil have the potential to produce many unwanted results. Our county fire agencies have well documented accounts of the accidental explosions with fire, burn injuries, fatalities and fires into our wildland urban interface caused by these processes.
Our county fire agencies recognize that almost any human interface with our environment has the potential to trigger uncontrolled and unwanted results including accidental fires, impacting public and private lands, and put our firefighters at risk.
Please allow our elected officials and legislature to create and enforce the law so that all of our county residents are represented fairly and equally.
Please join with our local fire agencies and support “No on Measure AF.”
Carl Magann, President Mendocino County Fire Chiefs Association
MENDOCINO COUNTY enjoys a mostly undeserved reputation for being some sort of hot bed of progressive political action. But despite the occasional "progressive" citizen initiative, there are few local indications of any organized political activity, and even fewer indications of any real political influence from the "left.". With the passing of Richard "The One True Green" Johnson some years ago, there is no longer a single identifiable active member of the Green Party extant in Mendocino County. The Republicans are represented by the venerable Stan Anderson of Fort Bragg and one or two nameless volunteers. Ukiah industrialist Ross Liberty and real estate mogul Richard Selzer are the only known operatives of the Libertarian Party. The Greens, Repubs, and Libs could hold their party meetings in a phone booth. Simultaneously.
COAST AND INLAND LIB, institutionalized as the Democratic Party Central Committee, are the closest thing in Mendoland to a political presence, but they operate in relative anonymity. The Dem Party franchise is about twenty robotic Yes votes for whatever flabby stance the DNC presents on the issues. They occasionally get together over wine and cheese to gush about how wonderful they are and dream dreams of shaking hands with Congressman Huffman maybe some glowrious day. Unlike the Repubs, who regularly publicize their meetings in hopes that someone besides Stan Anderson will show up, the Dem Central Committee operates in virtual secrecy. And as the following episode confirms, the decision making process of the local Dems is unclear at best and dictatorial at worst. The AVA, busy with our mondo-boffo open house during fair weekend, has reconstructed the following sequence of events after a reader alerted us to a statement issued by the Dems.
THE RECENT BOONVILLE FAIR, specifically the Democratic Party booth, became the setting of a mini-tempest in a teapot. It started innocently enough when Sarah Bodnar, the campaign manager for the so-called Heritage Act, which would place the stoner community in charge of local pot policy, signed up to volunteer at the Democratic Party booth. (The Heritage Act, which will be on the November ballot as Measure AF, was written by marijuana growers to bypass the usual public review process and put in place the rules the growers want to see.)
MS. BODNAR STAGED A PHOTO OP of herself sitting in the booth, smiling broadly and holding up a "Yes on AF" sign. A large banner emblazoned "Democratic Party" served as the backdrop. During her time in the booth Ms. Bodnar actively lobbied for AF, and during and after, pro-AF literature was prominently displayed on the front table of the booth. Ms. Bodnar wasted no time posting the photo on social media, making it the homepage of the "Yes on AF" campaign. To all intents and purposes it looked like the Dems were actively backing AF.
THE "NO ON AF" COMMITTEE, which spans the political spectrum, (from environmental activists like Ellen Drell, to the aforementioned Ross Liberty on the Libertarian fringe, with mainline Dems like former Supervisor Hal Wagenet in the middle) immediately called foul, which set off a back and forth between Kenny Jowers, the south coast Dem and newly elected president of the Dem Central Committee, and various members of the "NO on AF" Committee. The NO on AF crowd pointed out the obvious: the photo would be interpreted as a de facto endorsement. They called on Jowers and the Dems to issue a statement clarifying that the Dems had not endorsed AF and demanding that the photo be taken down.
DEM CEN COMM PRESIDENT JOWERS, obviously a captive of the doctrine of "nice-peopleism", told everyone to back off, that he was aware of the issue but could not act until he completed an investigation to learn the motives of Ms. Bodnar in posting the photo. No less a luminary than Dem Party herd bull Joe Louis Wildman (whose tenure with the local Dems is only exceeded by the eternal Val Muchowski of Philo) weighed in saying the motive didn't matter, the photo would obviously be taken as an endorsement and the Dems should tell Ms. Bodnar to take it down. After several days of indecision and conflicting comments, Jowers finally issued the following statement, which is a masterful blend of political doublethink and the passive aggressive mind-set.
Statement from the Democratic Party of Mendocino County:
"As many of you know, the Democratic Party allowed Ms. Sarah Bodnar, a proponent of "Yes on AF" to sit in our booth at the Boonville Fair over this past weekend, as a Democratic Party volunteer. Ms. Bodnar took photos of herself and her materials inside the booth and posted them to social media. This action caused some controversy because the Democratic Party has maintained a neutral position on Measure AF. This, somewhat understandably, allowed the mistaken impression that the Democratic Party had endorsed "Yes on AF".
By providing a forum for political ideas to be shared, we are furthering a free flow of ideas and civil discourse, something that is essential to a democratic society and which is far too frequently missing in today's political arena. The Democratic Party has taken a neutral position on Measure AF. The fact that we are not endorsing a particular idea does not mean that we should actively suppress discussion of it. In fact, fostering civil and congenial exchanges is something we should actively encourage, both as members of the Democratic Party and as private citizens.
It is the opinion of the Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee that Ms. Bodnar's posting of photos of herself and her materials in our booth at the fair indicates that while she supports Measure AF she also supports the Democratic Party."
WE DON'T KNOW WHO JOWERS IS or where he came from, but the above statement takes an obvious attempt by Ms. Bodnar to falsely imply endorsement of AF by the Dems, and converts it to an endorsement of the Dems by Ms. Bodnar! The ghost of George Orwell is impressed. Jowers also conflates himself and his personal feelings interchangeably with the Dem Party and the Dem Central Committee. He says "the Dem Party allowed Ms. Bodnar" and "the Dem Party has maintained a neutral position". Jowers frequently uses the imperial "we" and concludes with the ludicrous opinion "of the Dem Central Comm" that Ms. Bodnar was innocently showing her support for the Dem Party.
JOWERS DOESN'T SAY when the Dem Central Comm met to take a position of neutrality on AF or when they met to opine that Ms. Bodnar was merely attempting to show support for the Dems. In fact, no such meetings took place. Or at least members of the Central Comm were not notified of the meetings. What did take place was that Jowers invited Ms. Bodnar to make a presentation to the Dems on the merits of AF. He did not invite anyone from the "NO on AF" Committee.
SEVERAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS requested the issue be placed on the next agenda for a possible endorsement with representatives from both sides present. But the issue was mysteriously absent from the next agenda. Emblematic of the passive aggressive nature of local libs, Jowers has unilaterally issued a statement designed to appease everyone and simultaneously decreed there will be no Dem Party endorsement either for or against AF.
WHAT COULD JOWERS have done differently? How about simply saying: "During the Boonville Fair, Ms. Sarah Bodnar, a Democratic Party volunteer and proponent of Measure AF took a photo of herself with "Yes on AF" literature in the Democratic Party booth. Ms. Bodnar subsequently posted the photo to social media, which has incorrectly been interpreted as an endorsement by the Democratic Party. As President of the Democratic Party Central Committee I have requested that Ms. Bodnar take down the photo in question. I also wish to clarify that as of this writing the Democratic Party Central Committee has not taken a position on Measure AF."
JOWERS' STATEMENT has been skewered by one commenter who changed one word and reissued the statement so it now reads "The Democratic Party has taken a NEUTERED position on Measure AF." Jowers seems to miss the fundamental point that there is a big difference between "actively suppressing discussion" and providing a forum for it. One would think the purpose of an organized political party is to take positions - not make their booth space available to others to promote their own agenda. But the local Dems have a reputation for going out of their way not to offend anyone. If Trump body slammed Jowers to the ground would Jowers apologize for causing the great man to get dirty? Would Jowers offer to pay Trump's dry cleaning bill for his suit? Probably.
THRILLA IN HEMPSTEAD
Ways to view: http://gizmodo.com/how-to-stream-tonights-presidential-debate-for-free-no-1786948623
THERE'S SNOWDEN the documentary (CitizenFour) and there's Snowden the Oliver Stone movie. Then, of course, there's Snowden-Snowden in apparent permanent exile in Russia. If you saw the excellent Snowden documentary but need a love story grafted on to the facts, you'll enjoy Snowden the Oliver Stone movie. The basic story is of a conservative young man who becomes shocked at his government's waiving of all the rules, all constitutional guarantees that Americans are theoretically alleged to enjoy. Snowden then does a very brave thing — he blows the whistle on the mass surveillance he helped set up until he figured out that our own government was looking in on, among others, his girlfriend, that electronic surveillance had become globally pervasive and now included surveillance of all Americans. For his courage in revealing that all people on the planet now live under an unsleeping Orwellian eyeball, Snowden is denounced as a traitor by the traitors, as the terrorists evade the global electronic spy apparatuses by going low tech and off the grid. But the spy apparatus remains in place and is ever more refined and pervasive and, as Snowden points out, it will soon be used by the inevitable dictators of the world, including the one we'll get in America, to snuff all resistance to them.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 25, 2016
Allard, Breitlow, Coleman, Couthren
SOLOMON ALLARD, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
JAMES BREITLOW, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.
PHILIP COLEMAN, Elk Grove/Ukiah. Misdemeanor hit&run.
ZEBULON COUTHREN, Ukiah. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
Galindo, Kahill, Sanders, Solis
THOMAS GALINDO, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JESTTIN KAHILL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
TATIANA SANDERS, Hallandale Beach, Florida/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ARALDO SOLIS, Sacramento/Willits. DUI.
Regarding “Jail time — not fines — needed for Wells Fargo CEO S. Stumpf," Lawrence McQuillan explains that millions of accounts were opened for Wells Fargo customers without their knowledge. Wells Fargo CEO and Board Chairman John Stumpf testified before the US Senate Banking Committee on Sept. 20 and provided a prime example of why the American public is so angry with the Wall Street elite. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out, in several reports, Stumpf told Wall Street investors that cross-selling (the action or practice of selling an additional product or service to an existing customer) was a major reason for investing in Wells Fargo. One goal which had been set by upper management was for every Wells Fargo customer to carry eight different products.
This of course, put pressure on thousands of low-level employees to open new accounts. During the time this fraud took place, the stock rose by approximately 30 points. Since Stumpf possessed several thousand shares, his personal portfolio gained over $200 million!
The $19 million he received in compensation was simply the tip of the iceberg. While Stumpf testifies that he disagrees that this was a major fraud, 53,000 low-level employees who were fired for their participation in the scam sit at home realizing that it is business as usual.
Terry Mullen, Danville
AND I'LL RAISE YOU… In response to Mark Cuban's threat to sit front row at Monday night's presidential debate, Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday that he might bring Gennifer Flowers, a woman Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with decades ago. "If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Jennifer Flowers right alongside of him!" Trump tweeted. The Trump team has since said that Jen will not attend the debate.
THE SEA FORAGER - UKIAH CO-OP 40TH BIRTHDAY
Tune In to Wildoak Living on KZYX Mon Sep 26 at 9am:
Join Johanna "Wildoak" for Wildoak Living, the radio program about living sustainably in Mendocino County and beyond.
The next program will air live on Monday, September 26, from 9 to 10am PT on Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (KZYX) and on the web at kzyx.org <http://www.kzyx.org/>
Kirk the Sea Forager comes to Mendocino
Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op turns 40!
In the first part of the program, Johanna “Wildoak” talks with Kirk Lombard about his book The Sea Forager's Guide. The book combines depth of knowledge with wry humor and colorful storytelling to guide readers’ quests to hook fish, dig clams and pick seaweed for themselves, with practical instructions for gathering a variety of fish and seafood and recipes for what to do with each catch. You can view Kirk's TEDx Talk here <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYz6mO5vAWA>. Kirk Lombard lives in Moss Beach, California, with his fishwife Camilla Lombard and their two kids, Django and Penelope. He writes, fishes, sings a skull-cracking baritone, dabbles in papier-mâché sculpture, plays tuba for the SF-based band Rube Waddell, and, with Camilla, runs Sea Forager Seafood <http://www.seaforager.com/>, a sustainable, subscription-based seafood delivery service based in San Francisco. His work has been covered in many media outlets, including NPR's The Salt
Then Johanna talks with Lori Rosenberg, General Manager of the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op. The co-op, as most people call it, is celebrating its 40th birthday this year with a big birthday bash on October 9 events in the store leading up to it. During those years, the Co-op has grown from a small food exchange to a 6800 square feet store that serves more than 1000 customers a day. Lori Rosenberg has been with the Ukiah Co-op for 30 of those 40 years. We talk about how the co-op got started, get a behind the scenes look at the workings of the store today and a glimpse into its future.
More info about these program topics:
DEAD, BUT NOT A HAZARD
FPPC LAUNCHES PROBE INTO CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN RESPONSE TO CONSUMER WATCHDOG REPORT
by Dan Bacher
The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) announced on September 23 that it has opened an investigation into the California Democratic Party in response to a report by a prominent consumer group claiming that the party acted as a “laundry machine” to funnel donations from oil, energy and utility companies to Brown’s 2014 election campaign.
In her letter to the Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog, Galena West, Chief of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, said the division “will investigate the California Democratic Party for alleged violations of the Political Reform Act’s campaign reporting provisions resulting from information contained in your sworn complaint (Brown’s Dirty Hands Report.)”
She said the FPPC will not not be opening an investigation into “the other persons,” including Governor Brown, identified in the complaint at this time.
West said Consumer Watchdog will next receive notification upon final disposition of the case, but didn't provide any time frame for the case’s disposition.
“However, please be advised that at this time we have not made any determination about the validity of the allegations you have made or about the culpability, if any of the persons you identify in your complaint,” she said.
After receiving the FPPC letter, Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, said, “We are pleased that the FPPC has launched an investigation into the troubling pattern of contributions to the California Democratic Party by oil, utility and energy companies uncovered in ‘Brown’s Dirty Hands.’”
“The Party and members of the Administration who worked for it have a lot of questions to answer. Political parties shouldn’t be used as laundry machines for money from unpopular companies or for campaign contributions in excess of candidate-permitted limits,” he stated.
Consumer Watchdog released Brown’s Dirty Hands on August 10, 2016, at a time when Brown faces increasing criticism from environmental, consumer and public interest groups regarding administration policies they say favor oil companies, energy companies and utilities over fish, water, people and the environment.
The report tabulated donations totaling $9.8 million dollars to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor from 26 energy companies with business before the state, according to Court. The companies included the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, as well as Occidental, Chevron, and NRG.
“An exhaustive review of campaign records, publicly-released emails and other documents at PUCPapers.org, court filings, and media reports, showed that Brown personally intervened in regulatory decisions favoring the energy industry, and points to Brown and his operatives having used the Democratic Party as a political slush fund to receive contributions from unpopular energy companies in amounts greater than permitted to his candidate committee,” Court said.
The report alleges that energy companies donated $4.4 million to the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party gave $4.7 million to Brown’s re-election between 2011 and 2014. Consumer Watchdog submitted its report to the FPPC as a sworn complaint.
“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. “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.”
In response to my request for a comment on the FPPC probe, Deborah Hoffman, Governor Brown’s Deputy Press Secretary replied, “Thanks for reaching out. Questions are best directed to the party being investigated. As noted in the response letter, the FPPC ‘will not be opening an investigation regarding the other persons identified’ in the complaint. I don't expect we’ll be commenting.’”
Brown spokesman Evan Westrup told the San Diego Union Tribune on August 10, in response to the report, “The governor’s leadership on climate is unmatched. These claims are downright cuckoo.”
“Westrup cited a host of Brown policies and decisions since he was elected in 2010 that were aimed at protecting the environment," the publication said. (www.sandiegouniontribune.com)
In the Sacramento Bee on September 24, Michael Soller, a spokeperson for the Democratic Party, said, “We received the letter, we’re aware of it and we’ve been fully cooperating with the FPPC.”
State law limits the amount that individuals, businesses and committees can contribute to political candidates. In the 2014 election cycle, a single donor was limited to $54,400 for a candidate for governor, according to Tucker.
However, donors can give unlimited amounts of money to political parties. During the 2014 cycle, parties were allowed to give up to $34,000 from each donor to a candidate per year.
In one of many examples of the alleged use of the party as a “laundry machine” for political contributions to Brown cited in the report, Chevron donated a total of $350,000 to the Democratic Party on December 23, 2013. Seven days later, the Democratic Party donated $300,000 to Brown for Governor 2014. On the same day Chevron donated the maximum to Brown’s campaign, $54,400.
“Less than two months later after Brown came out publicly to oppose a proposed oil severance tax,” according to Tucker. “The weakened fracking bill also helped Brown aide Nancy McFadden, who held up to $100,000 in Linn Energy that would acquire Berry Petroleum and its 3,000 California fracking wells.”
Following an ethics complaint filed by Consumer Watchdog against McFadden, the FPPC on March 24 opened an investigation into her failure to report the dates and times of stock sales in PG&E, her former employer.
The FPPC said there was “insufficient evidence” to pursue an investigation into whether McFadden violated other conflict of interest laws. However, the agency said it would look into the “apparent failure of Ms. McFadden to disclose the status of her stock ownership in Pacific Gas and Electric.”
Tucker said she was pleased that the FPPC was continuing their investigation into McFadden. “It’s a very good sign that the investigation is still open,” she said.
In the report, Tucker said the timing of certain donations “coincided with legislative or regulatory action on behalf of these companies.” Among the examples detailed in the report are the following:
- “Southern California Edison donated $130,000 to the California Democratic Party, its largest contribution up until that time, on the same day PUC President Michael Peevey cut a secret deal with an SCE executive in Warsaw, Poland to make ratepayers cover 70 percent of the $4.7 billion cost to close the fatally flawed San Onofre nuclear plant. Brown backed the dirty deal, telling Edison’s CEO personally, according to an email from the CEO uncovered by the Public Records Act, that he was willing to tell the media on the day of the plant’s shuttering that the company was acting responsibly and focused on the right things. Three days prior to SCE’s announcement that it would close San Onofre permanently, the company donated $25,000 to the California Democratic Party.
- Emails from PG&E’s top lobbyist Brian Cherry to his boss claim that Brown personally intervened with a PUC Commissioner to persuade him to approve a natural gas-fired power plant called Oakley for the utility. In a January 1, 2013 email, Cherry described a New Year’s Eve dinner with Peevey where Peevey reminded him “how he and Governor Brown used every ounce of persuasion to get [Commissioner Mark] Ferron to change his mind and vote for Oakley…Jerry’s direct plea was decisive.” PG&E donated $20,000 to the California Democratic Party the day after the PUC voted for the project. An appeals court would later strike down the decision because PG&E had not proved its necessity.
- While PG&E’s lobbyist and then-PUC President Michael Peevey fed names to Brown’s executive secretary, former PG&E vice president Nancy McFadden, to appoint the critical swing-vote PUC commissioner who would cast pro-utility votes, PG&E donated $75,000 to the California Democratic Party. The same day that Brown appointed ex-banker Mark Ferron to the commission, PG&E donated another $41,500. The appointment lifted the value of PG&E’s stock and the PG&E stock held by McFadden and valued as high as $1 million.
- Chevron donated $135,000 to the California Democratic Party the same day lawmakers exempted a common method of well stimulation from legislation meant to regulate fracking. After the bill passed with an amendment dropping a moratorium on fracking permits, Occidental gave $100,000 to one of Brown’s favorite causes, the Oakland Military Institute. Brown signed the weakened bill.”
For the FPPC letter announcing the investigation, go here: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...
To read Brown’s Dirty Hands, go here: www.consumerwatchdog.org/...
For a video on the report, go here: www.youtube.com/…
As this FPPC investigation proceeds, the big corporate money behind Governor Jerry Brown's controversial environmental policies is facing increasing scrutiny from public trust advocates. November 4 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. For more information, go to: www.counterpunch.org/...)
Background: Brown’s real environmental legacy exposed
While Jerry Brown often receives fawning coverage from the mainstream media when he appears at climate conferences in California and across the globe, his policies on fish, wildlife, water and the environment are among the most destructive of any governor in recent California history.
The Governor’s “legacy project,” the Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix, poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity river systems. The project is based on the untenable premise that taking more water out of a river before it reaches the estuary will somehow “restore” the San Francisco Bay Delta and its precious fish and wildlife species.
Unfortunately, the California WaterFix is not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t bad enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the “completion” of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
Brown spouts “green” rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment should be challenged by all of those who care about the future of California and the West Coast.
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: www.dailykos.com/...;
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I enlisted with full knowledge of what I was about to do. All the recruiter had to do was set up the schools I asked for (Sonar Tech Submarine) and duty assignment (on an SSBN). I aced my ASVAB and had no problems going through the medical and psychological screening for that position.
The first 72 hours following my screening and swearing in at the Jacksonville MEPS was ROUGH! I hated boot camp but then, who doesn’t? The Navy taught me a lot of things, much of it off-the-books and unofficial.
Because I was on a “boomer” (Franklin-class ballistic missile submarine), I only saw Groton, Norfolk, Cape Canaveral, Port Everglades, and a brief stay at Portsmouth to get something fixed. The rest of the time, I was underwater.
I had the misfortune of picking up a boat that had just come out of a drydock overhaul. Had I been assigned to an established boat, with a seasoned crew and crew culture, I might have stayed on. The detailers in Washington (assholes) were holding up my promotion to get me to reenlist. I wanted MSC (Military Sealift Command) duty but, buried deep in all the paper you sign in the Recruiter’s office, submarine duty is voluntary which means I was permanently stuck in it.
Eight (8) years was enough. I took my Honorable Discharge, went back to school, and got my college degree. I graduated nearly broke but, with NO DEBT AT ALL!!! In hindsight, I wish I had my money and time back. My Honorable Discharge reflects a far superior education to that economically worthless degree.
BANNED BOOKS WEEK & MORE AT UKIAH LIBRARY
The Bible, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird and Charlotte's Web have all been challenged or banned in the United States or elsewhere in the world.
Join us in celebrating our freedom to read during Banned Book Week.
Wednesday: Banned Anime & Manga Club for Teens, 2-5 pm
12-3 pm Banned Book Readings
3-5 pm Banned Books Speed Dating
This month? BANNED manga! We're celebrating Banned Books Week with a showing of the movie Persepolis, an animated film based on the banned book by Marjane Satrapi.
Wednesday, 2-5 pm in the meeting area.
This month we are discussing Justice Sonia Sotomayor's memoir, My Beloved World. Adults 21+ are invited to meet at Enoteca Wine Bar, 106 W Church St (between School and State streets) on Wednesday, 9/28, at 6:30 pm.
For a full list of events, check out our website www.mendolibrary.org
This mountain belongs to the sky.
Its substance is light,
It is in the air.
The sun colors it,
and it is blue one day,
gray among gray clouds,
or pink in the rose-colored dawn.
subsumes it among its shadow and its brightness:
At that moment, a moon rock;
The Milky Way, if snow crowns it.
— Ángel González
SEX AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING on KMEC Radio
In the secretive marijuana industry, for decades there have been reports of sex abuse and exploitation, and human trafficking. In a recent article that garnered national media attention, Shoshana Walter reported on these crimes. Ms. Walter is a public safety investigative reporter for Reveal - from The Center for Investigative Reporting
The California Growers Association is now calling for labor regulation after her abuse disclosures
Ms. Walter won a 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for non-deadline reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Gold Medal for Public Service from the Florida Society of News Editors. Her investigation on America's armed security guard industry won the 2015 Livingston Award for Young Journalists for national reporting, and it was also featured in a two-part installment on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."
John Sakowicz and Sid Cooperrider interview Shoshana Walter on Monday, September 26, at 1 pm, Pacific Time, on KMEC Radio. Our broadcast is heard at 105.1 FM in Ukiah, CA. We also stream live fom the web at www.kmecradio.org. Our shows are archived and available as podcasts.
TINY BUBBLES HERE I COME!
Leaving El Dorado
Just left Sunday Catholic Mass after receiving Holy Communion at historic St. Patrick's Cathedral in San Francisco. Am about to go to Ocean Beach for one final mindful beach walk, before packing up my belongings tonight, in lieu of leaving California tomorrow for Honolulu. It is with no sorrow whatsoever that I am leaving El Dorado. A legal resident since August of 1972, having done it all, I do not feel satisfied, generally speaking, following decades of living here. The significant employment situations were insane. The social life was enjoyable when intoxicated on premium beer and shots of whiskey....otherwise, fair to middlin'. The spiritual life was eclectically interesting, but the people were often ignorant in spite of constantly pronouncing themselves to be "enlightened". Some were downright psychotic, and fortunate it is that I did not haul off and punch one of them in the face as hard as possible, (and emotion which I identify as common in postmodern secular consumerist America). I am going to The Plumeria travel hostel on O'ahu to begin new creative writing, am actively seeking others to form a spiritual writers group, the only restriction being how successful on the earth plane that we wish to be. Yours for centering internally and writing down the bones, Craig Louis Stehr Nota bene: Please don't ever advise me to "chill out". I am tired of hearing the stupid suggestion. It's the intensity which gets the results. Obviously!
Craig Louis Stehr