Off the Record

by AVA News Service, May 6, 2010

AN INDIGNANT editorial by D. Glenn O'Hara in last week's ICO thundered on about the inept management of a recent Point Arena City Council meeting, denouncing the Council for dithering through five hours in a “free for all atmosphere in which the public and Council interact without order or rules....” The meeting did seem a bit out of hand, even by Mendo standards, highlighted (or lowlighted) by Billy Hay's martyr-ish remark, during a discussion of paying city employees triple time for holiday work, “In my businesses I do all the nigger work.” Hay's throwback comment prompted an audible gasp from Eloisa Oropeza, but the libs on the Council droned blithely on as if they hadn't heard it. Hay was said to be apologetic after the meeting, but mayor Lauren Sinnott, who earns her way handcrafting purses shaped like vaginas called the velvet vulvas, really should get a grip on her Fogeater's civic conduct.

THE VELVET VULVA purses are a couple of decades too late for the Penis Soaks once marketed out of Comptche by a woman who called herself Bloodroot, as I recall, my scrotum tightening as I write the recollection. The Penis Soaks might have sold better if they'd been packaged in Velvet Vulvas. (“For the man who has everything....”) Anyway, Penis Soaks were wraps, organic wraps of course, containing soothing herbs in which needy males could encase their exhausted joy sticks for rest, recuperation and perhaps even rejuvenation. Penis Soaks never quite seemed to catch on, even with the hippies, but whatever else you might say about Mendocino County you can't say we're not cutting edge.

LAST WEEK I DESCRIBED how the mommies and daddies in my San Francisco neighborhood had become literally hysterical when a man who'd appeared in the children's playground in Mountain Lake Park. This suspicious figure man was not accompanied by children. Worse, he appeared to be taking pictures of the gamboling tots. A platoon of young mommies and daddies were launched into full perv alert. The unsuspecting fellow was followed to his car, and the nearby Richmond District Police Station where his license plate was carefully noted, and very soon the nearby Richmond District Police Station was flooded with demands that the cops immediately undertake a full investigation. Our neighborhood hadn't seen anything like it since the coyote sighting of two years ago. That pernicious little beast had allegedly been spotted hungrily eyeballing a poodle, a leashed poodle! Fliers appeared demanding that the animal be destroyed before he carried off a child or a dog. The mommies and the daddies joined the dog battalions to demand the coyote's head. First the menace from a wild thing, now the menace from this unimaginably bold pedophile. What was happening to our neighborhood? The cops, besieged, had no choice but to assign a brace of investigators to track him down.

AND THIS IS WHAT THEY FOUND: “On April 21, 2010 Richmond Station was alerted though a widely circulated email about suspicious activity by a lone adult male at Mountain Lake Park. The email stated the individual had been using his cell phone to take photographs of other people’s children near the park’s play structures. He did not have any children with him and was doing pull ups while wearing slacks and a jacket. A parent used a cell phone to take a photograph of the subject, which she included with the email. The volume of Internet traffic related to this issue was significant and served to raise public awareness about the issue. From the on-line comments and those we heard at a community meeting, it was apparent that the incident generated a great deal of angst and questions about the level of safety in our community. People were frightened. Upon receipt of the email we started an investigation. Our intent was to identify the individual, determine if he had violated any laws and ascertain if he presented an actual risk to our community. On April 26, 2010, plain-clothes officers identified the subject and met with him at his home. While surprised at being the subject of a police investigation, he was cooperative and unguarded. Officers interviewed him and reviewed his background. He allowed officers to examine his cell phone and his laptop computer. He stated that he hadn’t taken any photographs. He explained that he was looking at his phone’s screen while using the telephone’s stop watch feature as part of his work out. Such an activity could be perceived as a person taking photographs. Our investigation did not disclose any facts that suggest that the individual had engaged in illegal activity or that he presents a risk to our community. We informed him about signage in the park that prohibits adults from entering the children’s play area except when they are accompanying children. I appreciate your many emails about this incident. I hope that the results of our investigation help to assuage any worries you have had about the safety of children in our community. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions. (Captain Richard Corriea)

GOOD FOR PHIL BALDWIN, Ukiah City councilman. Phil's leading the charge for trailer park rent control in Ukiah which, he said, would apply “city wide to some 325 spaces in all city parks.” Most trailer parks are heavily occupied by Seniors on fixed incomes, very low fixed incomes. As The Big Squeeze commences, just about the best thing that could be done for the old folks is to prevent them from being gouged by the owners of these properties, properties that return huge profits for those owners.

MATT FINNEGAN is running for Mendo DA Finnegan's flier appeared in last week's mail. Inscribed above a photo of Matt, Mrs. Matt, Little Miss Matt, and Four-Footed Matt the Finnegan family dog, were the words, “A prosecutor to keep our families safe.” The subliminal message seems to be “A normal family guy in a County teeming with weirdoes. A vote for me is a vote for steaks medium rare, dirt bikes, quiet women in lipstick and high heels. A vote for me is not a vote for pot smoking whiners arrayed in feeb circles waiting for All Things Considered to come on.”

HE’LL DRILL, BABY, DRILL. Sarah Palin is rarely right about anything. That fact has the effect of making her sporadic bouts of observational accuracy all the more unnerving. When speaking at February's National Tea Party Convention, she famously asked the audience, “How's that hopey, changey stuff working out?” For Palin and her adoring crowd, the question was rhetorical. Sadly, the answer's now clear to the rest of us, too. Being something of a political skeptic, my own hopes for the Obama presidency were meager to begin with. If he were to honor his few major commitments and not start any new wars, he'd be a better president than any in my lifetime. That's a mighty low bar. But on March 31, Obama limboed right on under it. The president announced that his administration would allow offshore oil production in areas — including expanses off the Atlantic, Alaskan and Gulf coasts — currently protected by a drilling moratorium. With that, Obama broke one of the central promises of his campaign: To promote a sane energy policy. Candidate Obama knew that oil is a finite resource — a resource for which production would only decline as demand continues to rise. He knew that focusing on fossil fuels was self-defeating and that “energy independence” meant looking beyond oil. In a July, 2008 speech in Dayton, Ohio, Obama said, “If there were real evidence that [expanding offshore oil drilling] would actually provide real, immediate relief at the pump and advance the long-term goal of energy independence, of course I'd be open to [it]. But so far there isn't.” Candidate Obama's website described his stance this way: “For too long,” it read, “politicians in Washington have been beholden to special interests, but no longer.” An Obama energy plan would embrace “alternative and renewable energy” and “efficient energy and conservation.” Buzzwords, to be sure, but they held real meaning. They marked a major potential shift in US policy. Obama promised to confront global warming. He promised large-scale investment in “green technology.” He promised high-speed rail lines to keep cars off the highways. And he promised to keep the offshore drilling moratorium in place. For many of us, it was these commitments — this sort of Big Picture future think — that made generic slogans like Hope and Change ring less hollow than similar slogans in campaigns past. By August, 2008, Obama had already began to waver, suggesting that he might vote for a bipartisan energy bill that would allow new drilling in some areas. He called it a compromise. Then, last month, he abandoned his commitment to the moratorium completely. But this time, expanded drilling wasn't part of a broader energy reform bill (such as the one now stalled in Congress); it was a top down policy decision by the president, to be carried out by the Department of the Interior. Some argue it was a preemptive compromise — a signal to Republicans that he was serious about working with them on energy and climate change legislation. But anyone who believes conservatives are willing to work with Obama on anything is either delusional or naïve. Wouldn't it have made sense, at the very least, to hold on to the moratorium as a Democratic bargaining chip? Instead, Obama gave the oil companies and the petroleum-happy Republicans something for nothing. And what do we get? Last week's news that an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico not only left 11 workers dead, but caused an oil spill of 42,000 gallons a day. (We woke up soon after that to learn that the leak may actually be five times that.) Now, with the 100-mile long by 45-mile wide slick within 20 miles of the mouth of the Mississippi, the Coast Guard has decided to set fire to the oil. No, Obama's plan is neither good policy nor good politics. It does little to satisfy the “Drill, baby, drill” crowd who complain the proposal doesn't go far enough, and it alienates those of us concerned about petty little things like healthy oceans, global warming and, you know, sun bathing on beaches not coated in toxic slime. With so little obvious upside, it's hard not to think there's something fishy about Obama's pro-drilling energy strategy — and it's not just the smell of oil-tainted Louisiana oysters. — Freda Moon

QUITE A HULLABALOO at one of our Ukiah outlets last week when I arrived to drop off the latest edition. A woman asked, “Why do you print such salacious stuff?” I said I assumed she was talking about the Kvasnicka case, adding, “It was a criminal case,” I replied. “But why did you pick that one?” she demanded. “We picked that one because it was there and because it had inherent public interest.” The skeptic asked, “Do people ever sue you for slander?” I said, “Did you think something in that story was slanderous?” She said, “Well, not exactly, but it was the interpretation…” “You mean, the opinion?” “Yes, basically.” “Opinion isn't slanderous,” I said. “Opinion is opinion. Your opinion of me is not slanderous.” She said, “Well, my opinion of you is you exercised bad judgment.”

AT THAT POINT the conversation became general. “It was a court case. They're public,” said one woman. “I loved it!” said another. A man offered, “When I was younger I grabbed my wife by the throat and shook her to get her to shut up. She got me so mad I snapped.” “That's a crime,” I said, “and indefensible.” “But it happens,” the man continued. “I'm not justifying it. She thought I was choking her, but I was actually shaking her, trying to get her stop accusing me of things that were just not true!” “Still a crime,” I said. “I know how provocative women can be sometimes, but you have to walk away. If she was bothering you that much, why were you still in the same room with her?” “I didn't think about it,” the man replied. “As I said, I just snapped.” Another woman said, “I know those people you were writing about. They deserve each other.” (—ms)

EVERYONE'S A MEDIA CRITIC, although lots of our fine, fat population don't know the diff between slander and libel and are unable to decode their native tongue. The hell you say. Yes, I do say. Name another country where George W. Bush would have been elected, and elected twice to the top leadership slot. But around here it's not the Wahoos wielding the censor's mace, inevitably it's the self-identified liberals, and especially the super-libs who call themselves “progressives” who are least tolerant of opinion that in the slightest deviates from their ragbag catechism of received opinion. Boiled down that opinion consists solely of their personal infallibility, as in, I am good, you are not. Which brings us to Inland Lib's unending campaign to persuade the Ukiah Daily Journal to drop Sunday's Tommy Wayne Kramer column, although that column is always funny and unfailingly bracing as only vigorous opinion vigorously expressed can be. The libs want to kill it. They'd like to kill TWK, too, but of course they're non-violent just like Gandhi. (They've seen the movie a whole bunch.) A couple of days ago a man named David Rounds wrote to the Daily Journal to say, in many more words than it should have taken a Harvard grad like himself to say that Tommy Wayne should be suppressed, permanently suppressed. Rounds, for many years, taught high school English in Boonville. His wife has a cush job with the County Office of Education, an agency run by a highly paid educator named Paul Tichinin who recently distinguished himself by revealing that he didn't know what 'niggardly' meant. Mendocino County's lead educator thought niggardly was an ethnic slur. That rather startling revelation didn't inspire protest from Rounds, not that you could expect Rounds' vigilance to take in everything menacing our community, especially if everything includes his wife's employment. Whatever, as the young people say, but in his letter of complaint about TWK — how hurtful Tommy Wayne's columns are to, ah, the people allegedly hurt by them — Rounds referred vaguely to his experience as editor of an unnamed Napa newspaper. That experience, he implied, specially qualified him to know what a newspaper column should and should not be. All-in-all, Rounds' communiqué was a classic of the Mendolib epistolary genre. It was pious, pompous and, in intent, and despite its purported for-the-good-of-all-of-us pretense, entirely menacing to the most basic freedom that real liberals have always gone to the wall for. What we have in this guy is what we have in a lot of local libs: Criticize me or my friends and you should die, but because we are very nice people, not killers, we'll just murder your right to publish opinions we don't like, which is a helluva stance for a Harvard person and a high school English teacher to take. Not that I'm surprised. I know Rounds. He's a standard-issue passive-aggressive, all smiles and reasonableness on the surface, bombs bursting in air on the inside — seething, crazy-violent. Like a lot of liberals, actually. I know his mom, too, in a strange kind of belated way. I used to attend meetings of the County School Board when the agency was dominated by criminals, real ones, two of whom eventually went to jail. To give you an idea of how the place was run, one of the administrators, Hal Titen, was using school video equipment to make pornographic movies featuring underage Ukiah girls. Titen made his movies in the back room of a bar he owned on North State Street. He really did love the kids, I guess. Another guy was signing over public property to himself, and the whole parasitic bunch was pulling off credit card hustles and falsifying reimbursement invoices. As one of only two persons in the audience for the phony baloney public input part of that era's County School Board meetings, I was nevertheless confined to three minutes to denounce this or that chicanery. As I rushed to pack as many denunciations and, I admit, insults, as would fit into 180 seconds of free speech, the school board shuffled papers and thought about the free lunch served to them next door in the old cafeteria at MCOE's lavish Talmage compound. A pair of elderly gaffers on the board dozed off no matter what was being said, only coming to attention when they were discussing some free trip for themselves to an educational conference somewhere nice. Occasionally one of the edu-drones would become indignant as hell at something I'd said and the reaction was like, “Sob, we are so dedicated to the kids and we only get mileage reimbursements and full medical coverage and life insurance and two hundred bucks for showing up for these things once a month, and here comes Mr. Meanie Face with his full load of Boonville negativity that he dumps all over us for no reason at all! Hasn't he ever cuddled a puppy? Doesn't he wuv the kids?” Anyway, at every meeting, the instant I'd roared my last, this old lady would immediately stand to deliver a suspiciously prolonged tribute to the school board, with special gratitude to the criminals running the agency, and she'd do it right in the face of the irrefutable, slam dunk facts that they were all a bunch of lowdown crooks! She used to make me laugh, but I wondered what the hell was going on. I figured she was the lead crook's mother or someone the superintendent had paid to have shipped in from the Senior Center to sing the County Office's praises. Years later, scanning the obituaries in the Ukiah daily, I learned that the old lady was David Rounds' mother. In other words, and stay with me here, a genetic predisposition to fascist-tinged unreality had passed from mother to son! Rounds literally can't help himself.

A MORE CONTEMPORARY real life adventure occurred last week at the Healdsburg Bakery where I handed the lady at the counter a fifty for a birthday cake. She held the bill up to the light then scanned it with what looked like a Magic Marker. “Do you get a lot of bad bills?” I asked. Like most Americans I've always admired counterfeiters but am too technically maladroit and too cowardly to try it myself. “Not too many, but last week a very nicely dressed woman gave me a fifty, but as soon as I ran this thing over it the lady asked for it back and gave me a good bill.” I asked the counter lady if she'd called the cops. “No. It was too busy in here at the time and I didn't think anything about it until she was gone.”

LAST WEEK the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported on the DA’s race in Sonoma County between recently resigned Mendocino Chief Deputy DA Jill Ravitch and SoCo incumbent DA Steve Passalacqua: “On other questions, like the issue of returning seized property after charges are dismissed, the candidates responded they had no jurisdiction. It is up to law enforcement to do that, they said. Ravitch, currently a prosecutor in pot-rich Mendocino County, said she would object to the release of contraband in cases involving illegal guns or other violence. But where possible, she said she favors the return.”

MS. RAVITCH and Mr. Passalacqua both should know better, especially since they’re both running for DA. Ms. Ravitch knows that Mendo has one senior attorney, Mr. Brian Newman, assigned to asset forfeiture where he generates enough dough to fund his position with well over $1 mil left over for the DA and the Sheriff. Asset forfeiture is a major part of the DA’s office. It's worth more than a cool mil a year, proportionately more than the same program generates in dope-saturated LA even. According to the Sonoma County DA’s website: “ASSET FORFEITURE: The Narcotics Unit also handles the forfeiture of assets (usually money) utilized in drug sales, manufacturing, and transportation cases. The purpose of California's asset forfeiture statutes (Health & Safety Code 11469 et seq.) is to enable the government to strip drug dealers of their operating tools and economic base, i.e., profits made from their illegal activities. The District Attorney's Office continually strives to ensure that all asset forfeiture proceedings are conducted in a lawful and ethical manner. Every effort is made to protect innocent owners from seizure and forfeiture.”

IF THESE prosecutors intend to make sure that seized assets are returned in cases where charges are dropped, reduced to non-drug deals, dismissed, tossed, or their owners are acquitted, Ravitch and Pasquale (or Passaquale, or Pass-a-de-quail, or whatever) should say so, not avoid the subject or pretend they have no role in a clearly arbitrary process. The only practical proposal we’ve heard of in these cases is DA candidate Matt Finnegan’s idea that asset forfeiture cases trail the criminal charges so that they are automatically dealt with depending on the outcome of the case. People shouldn’t have to spend upwards of $5,000 to get their money back if they are not convicted of a drug crime.

WE WERE INTERESTED to read about Sonoma County’s loan program. SoCo is financing large solar energy projects for individuals and businesses in Sonoma County, among other projects. Sonoma County has somehow found $24 million to bootstrap their solar economy, providing energy savings, jobs and tax revenues through higher property value assessments. We were so interested that we looked into Mendocino’s loan program.

MENDOCINO COUNTY gets less than a 1% return on its $175 million in total investments, most of which it gets from school district reserve funds, not the County's own money. You’d think that the cash strapped school districts would like to make more than a 1% on their money. $50 million of the $175 million is in something called the “Local Agency Investment Fund,” which we gather is the County's cash-flow pool from which it takes its spending money and to which revenues flow over the fiscal year. According to Treasurer Shari Schapmire, the $175 million is invested in accordance with the County's “investment policy.” We can't find that policy, but we assume it exists. We see that the majority of the $175 million is simply held in various bank notes owned by the usual suspects: Merrill Lynch, General Electric, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Allstate, Barclay's Bank, Credit Suisse, Union Bank, and some lesser known but ever more suspect entities.

WE'VE NEVER heard the Board of Supervisors even mention the “investment policy.” But you'd think that at least someone in the County's financial braintrust would at least try to figure out a way to use some of the $175 million for local investments. The County even has an investment advisory board and a full-time economic development staffer who should be in position to work this out.

IF THE CURRENT interest level in, say, a local meat processing facility is such a great idea, why don't the advocates roll up their sleeves and submit a business plan which would simultaneously serve as a loan application to the County's investment pool? This is a good idea which would also help force the issue of how badly run the loan program is. Surely, the County could charge more than 0.5% interest and make some money while generating some local economic activity with what would still be a low interest loan by commercial bank standards.

THE COUNTY might also develop a revolving loan fund for promising enterprises that would net the County a higher interest rate on the one hand and provide seed funding for local businesses on the other. There are other local agencies that could be involved (all of whom have a horrible track record, but that's all there is, apparently) such as West Company and the Workforce Investment Board, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Economic Development and Finance Corporation, the Redwood Empire Small Business Development Center, a full-time Economic Development Coordinator, not to mention the various Chambers of Commerce, Business classes and instructors at Mendocino College, and the local office of the Small Business Administration.

ACCORDING to the County's economic development web-page they do indeed offer a “Business Loan Program” which is supposed to “help local small businesses” by serving as a “source of financing for expanding local businesses.” Funny, we've never heard of any of this being reported on to the Board of Supervisors. The only visible economic development we can see is the people who are paid a nice salary to offer this “help.” Although there's plenty of information about who to contact for economic “assistance” on the County’s website, there's no information — none at all — about the “Business Loan Program” — no one to contact, no loan criteria, no forms to fill out, no description of the program.

ON FEBRUARY 8th of his year, Mendo’s Economic Coordinator, Steve Dunnicliff, put the following item on the Board’s consent calendar: “Approval of a Three Year Agreement with Community Development Services (CDS) in the Amount of $100,000, for the Administration of a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Business Loan Program and On-Call CDBG Functions — The County has a business loan program, funded through CDBG, which has not been actively managed for several years. The intent of the program is to enhance the local economy, create new jobs, and provide benefit to targeted income group individuals. This program requires an administrator with specific experience operating a CDBG program, as national objectives must be met while operating in a manner consistent with policies and procedures dictated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Approximately $200,000 is currently available in CDBG Program Income controlled by the County (loan principal and interest payments received from past loans), and it will be possible to directly augment the funds available through future CDBG grants. It is worth noting that if funded, the Agwood CDBG grant application recently authorized by the Board will provide the County with approximately $10,000 a month in repayments, which can be utilized by this program. In response to a request for proposals (RFP), Community Development Services (CDS) submitted the most qualified proposal. Under the terms of this Agreement, specific additional CDBG services may be provided on an on-call basis. No General Funds will be used to operate the program.”

TRANSLATION: “Not been actively managed” is bureaucratese for “totally ignored and abandoned.” Yet this went uncommented on by the Board and the public back in February when they voted to approve the consent calendar and the $100k to an out-of-county consultant to manage the program.

WE CAN’T find the “Community Development Services” outfit the County hired. It doesn't seem to be listed on the internet. We did, however, find Humboldt County's similarly named organization, staffed by in-house County employees who are directly responsible to their Board of Supervisors. It's now May of 2010 and the Board has not mentioned the subject since. They didn't even ask if the contract was signed, much less whether it is now being “actively managed” now that it's been farmed out to who-knows-who.

JEFF COSTELLO WRITES: Re Strunk & White-based admonitions on “proper” writing... I have never encountered a person with any talent or knack for the written word who referred to S & W for any reason. The irony of the title, “The Elements of Style,” is the best part of the equation. When I first started with the AVA, a well-meaning friend directed me to the book, which seemed aimed at junior high schoolers with an essay assignment. If one needs a recipe for boiling water, one should stay out of the kitchen.

CINCO DE MAYO is always one of the silliest celebrations of the year, right up there with the Easter Bunny. Mexicans ought to be thinking more along the lines of their 1910 Revolution when they went directly after their oppressors, the rich on their big rancheros and the Catholic Church that told the Mexicans that this life is the way God wanted it. Instead, what gets celebrated is an obscure 19th century military victory over the French, which is about as historically significant as Reagan's great victory over Grenada. So, what's next? Chinese celebrating the Asian Exclusion Act? Black people remembering the good old days on the plantation? Native Americans giving thanks to ol' Whitey Forked Tongue for Tonto and the rez? For Mexicans, a celebration of Pancho Villa would be much more to the point. Recommended reading: John Reed's wonderful Insurrgent Mexico and Graham Greene's truly great novel, The Power and the Glory, both memorably true depictions of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the uprising that Mexicans ought not only celebrate but repeat. Oh, well, pass the guac and let's get on with it.

A COUPLE of weeks ago I wrote that Mendocino County pays a lot of bogus claims because it's perhaps cheaper to pay than to litigate or maybe the County doles out tax money to phony claimants because it's easier than contesting them. I used the example of the late Judi Bari who picked up a quick five thousand from County taxpayers by claiming that her daughter had been traumatized and she herself falsely arrested at an Albion woods demonstration. Beth Bosk called last week to say that Bari had indeed been falsely arrested and Lisa Bari, then about 8, I think, had gone to pieces when her mother was taken into custody. I'd thought I'd made the point that a demonstration is no place for a child, and the other point that Mendocino County pays phony claims. Beth Bosk says Bari had been well behind the arrest line when “L-P made a citizen's arrest on Judi carried out by two very large deputies who grabbed her by her upper arms and pulled her across the line. They'd already arrested me. Judi had promised Lisa she wouldn't get arrested that day and was staying out of the way.”

BETH BOSK says I had also been arrested that day when “you wandered off by yourself into the woods.” She says the episode is documented in issue 68 of the 1992 New Settler Interview. Beth Bosk says she and two other people were also falsely arrested but didn't bring a false arrest claim against the County “because we hadn't been blown up and then dragged somewhere.”

I DOUBT that I “wandered off into the woods by myself” because I, too, was present to witness the event so I could write about it. Judi Bari was in full command of those demos; she was the leader. On site leaders get arrested at demonstrations. That day, she was, as usual, baiting the cops. I remember her sticking part of her foot over the line and daring them to arrest her. They finally got tired of her funsies and gamesies and did arrest her. She was escorted to the nearby booking trailer by the cops, printed, and released. She was never out of view of her daughter. The whole show was about as traumatizing as Capture the Flag. Bari subsequently laughed about how easy it had been to get the five thousand out of the County. Repeat: Demonstrations are no place for a child, and Mendocino County should have contested Bari's claim, which was the point of my item.

THE BARI CULT is still running scams, the most recent being “the 20th anniversary of the pipe bomb attack on Judi Bari, Darryl Cherney and attack on Earth First! on May 24, 1990.... co-sponsors include Earth First!, the Industrial Workers of the World and the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters.” A long paragraph asks for donations, of course, which are “tax deductible by going to HeadwatersPreserve.org and clicking the donate button.” You are then directed to send the money to Earth First! at a post office box in Canyon, Ca., which just happens to be the home of Karen Pickett, who is also the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Earth First! the Berkeley Ecology Center, and bagman for a multitude of other bogus non-profits these phonies hide behind purely for personal gain.

BASICALLY, we're talking about a very small group of eco-parasites, the kind of people who live off “the movement,” of which there is none. Headwaters was “preserved” years ago when these same people helped Charles Hurwitz rake in many more millions than the appraised value of the trees saved. (Dan Hamburg, to his eternal credit, opposed the Headwaters deal; Bari, Cherney and the rest of the “revolutionary resisters” signed on.) The IWW peaked with the onset of World War One. They never appealed to the government for anything, and they certainly would have recognized this gang of frauds for the bunco artists they are. In fact, the remnant IWW, a few romantics who get high off the memory of the much better men and women who comprised the real Wobblies, was gulled for $20,000 by Bari and Cherney during the Redwood Summer period, a little swindle that caused the remnant IWW huge internal turmoil.

THE BARI CULT continues to milk the bombing of Judi Bari, even after cashing in big time with their wholly bogus federal libel suit against the government. That one, carefully co-edited by the great radicals and the FBI they claim to resist, conveniently excluded Who Did It? The suit did pay these ghouls more than $4 million, $4.4 million to be exact. The Bari-ites said if they won the suit they'd put up a big reward to find out who bombed the old girl. They won the suit. No reward was posted. But Cherney bought himself a pot farm outside Garberville and Bari's two daughters, already quite well off as the descendants of two wealthy families, became even better off. Not a penny went to buy a single tree and, of course, the “mystery” grew into a whole herd of elephants in one very small room, all of them named Mike Sweeney. Sweeney, having easily completed his makeover from Maoist maniac to garbage bureaucrat here in Amnesia County where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every morning, is presently in charge of Mendoland's trash flow. The moral of the story? Crime pays, and keeps on paying if you play it right. Ask the Bari Cult.

7 Responses to Off the Record

  1. Charlie Reply

    May 6, 2010 at 12:31 am

    You are wrong on so many factual points about the Bari case that it would be too tedious to list them all. One of the biggies is that the suit against the FBI/OPD was for libel. Read the damned suit online and see. The allegations are plainly stated in the complaint, which, along with all of the other major legal documents in the case, can be read at http://www.judibari.org.

    The jury found the defendants liable for violation of Bari and Cherney’s First Amendment rights to free speech and to organize politically in defense of the forests. The cops did that by falsely and repeatedly stating to the media — and thereby to the public — that B and C were terrorist bombers, when in fact they were the targets and victims of a terrorist bombing.

    The cops made the false accusations as part of an effort to discredit all forest activists in general, to criminalize and neutralize Earth First! more specifically, and to eliminate Bari and Cherney, two of EF!’s best known leaders, most precisely.

    They did it to try to terrorize activists into staying away from Redwood Summer for fear of being violently attacked. That’s what the Lord’s Avenger letter threatens. Try reading it — all of it — for a change, and ask yourself what is the thrust of the message, and who benefits if activists heed the warning to which the last page is wholly dedicated.

    You’re a fine one to call the landmark Bari/Cherney lawsuit against the Fibbies and OPD a fraud. First of all a fraudulent case against the Feds would never win, and it would be instantly appealed if it somehow did. A fraudulent case would never reach trial. It would have been thrown out of court early on, rather than prevailing for year after year against the endless stalls, motions, appeals and obfuscations thrown up against it with the full backing and treasury of the U. S. Government.

    The $4.4 million awarded by the jury to Bari and Cherney, 80% of it for violation of their First Amendment rights, was an all-time record judgment in a rights case against the FBI. The Bari/Cherney legal team was given national recognition as joint recipients of the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award for their work on the case.

    You’re a fine one indeed to call that case a fraud, because you are the fraud, Mr. Anderson. You write whatever you wish without concern for the facts, truth, fairness or what harm may come to innocent people because of your false reporting and your groundless bloviation.

    You boasted in your own paper just before the Bari case went to trial that you had met with the FBI defense attorney to give him what you considered helpful information to help him defeat the case. You did this even while still claiming to be Judi Bari’s friend, and that, mister gasbag editor, is the biggest fraud of all.

    • Al Blue Reply

      May 6, 2010 at 11:14 am

      Thanks for correcting the record, Charlie. Bruce Anderson has never brought forth one iota of proof to substantiate his libelous allegations against Mike Sweeney and
      as Mike has often commented Bruce Anderson is judgment proof.
      I am so sick of the AVA and its mindless advocacy of state socialism-communism
      (same Marxian philosophy.) DOOM ! DOOM ! DOOM ! That’s the leitmotif of every letter in AVA (most are from convicted criminals in prison) and the incredibly stupid
      op-ed pieces, Comrade Cockburn’s bilge and Big Bruce’s stupid Off The Record wordsalads. The whole Left is one bad trip as is 90% of the statist Right. Both sides
      are full of sexually constipated robots who last had an original thought in 1960.
      Anderson is racially profiling Latinos as his crime page proves. All Bruce can do is bitch, whine, sulk and cry DOOM ! DOOM ! DOOM ! There ought to be a massive ethnic cleansing here in Mendoland and drive the libs into the sea. I’m also sick of
      Jim Houle and his anti-Obama ultra-leftism. Jimmy, Obama never ran as a socialist so how did he break any promises ? But Mendolibs, go back to your doobies………………………your brain ceased to function long ago.

      • Bruce Anderson Reply

        May 7, 2010 at 9:10 am

        Al Blue is another pseudonym for an Oakland man, a Randian fascist,
        who has lately bombarded us with racist and homophobic insults that we
        haven’t printed. For the record, I am not judgment proof and an
        honorable person who believes he’s been libeled can sue for a dollar.
        Sweeney doesn’t sue because if he does he’ll spend the rest of his
        days running a recycling program in federal prison. One more time, the
        Bari Bombing Case can be solved via DNA, but the Bari Cult literally
        can’t afford to solve it, hence their ongoing defense of the man who
        made the bomb and wrote the confession letter as The Lord’s Avenger.

    • Bruce Anderson Reply

      May 7, 2010 at 9:09 am

      The great Speakers-Of-Truth-To-Power are anonymous, as always,
      but the suit was a libel suit alleging that the FBI and the Oakland PD
      defamed Bari and Cherney as terrorists. It’s laughable that the Cult,
      all these years later, claims it was a great crusade for free speech
      when for years they’ve tried, and have been successful, in shutting
      down discussion of it. Also note that they avoid all mention of the
      crucial issues, the most crucial one being who did it.

  2. Charlie Reply

    May 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    You whine about anonymous comments even though anonymity is the default on public Internet forums. It’s clear you’re complaining because you can’t deal with the arguments themselves. You’re frustrated because you usually use the lazy tactic of attacking the commenter. An argument stands on its own; it doesn’t matter who makes it. Try dealing with the argument itself for a change. Bet you can’t, because your conclusion is set in stone, and contrary facts and arguments can’t be tolerated.

    You’re an obstinate denier of verifiable facts, very strange behavior for one who calls himself a journalist. The Bari suit was not a libel suit, and that’s a verifiable fact. There is no federal libel law, and there’s no such thing as a federal libel suit. It was a civil rights suit charging government agents with malicious and intentional violations of First and Fourth Amendment rights. The evidence proved the allegations to the unanimous satisfaction of a federal jury that was diverse in economic, racial, ethnic and political background. Of the $4.4 million verdict, 80% or $3.52 million was for violation of First Amendment rights to speak freely and to organize politically. This is verifiable fact which anyone can look up on the Internet.

    Who did it was not the issue. The suit was about the way the Fibbies and the OPD handled the frame-up after the bombing. They failed to do their sworn duty to conduct an impartial investigation of the crime and follow the evidence. Most likely that was because they were involved in a covert operation to bomb, kill and posthumously frame Judi Bari as a terrorist bomber.

    The plan was to squelch Redwood Summer, to demonize Earth First! as a terrorist group, and most important of all to defeat Prop. 130 on the November 1990 ballot by branding it “The Earth First Initiative.” The Big Timber corporations benefited from the plot to the tune of multiple billions in profits from 1990 to the end of their redwood liquidation games ten to twenty years later.

    Judi survived the explosion, and finally was exonerated from the frame-up after a 12-year legal battle which because of appeals and other delaying tactics by the feds didn’t even reach trial until five years after Judi’s death. It was Judi’s friends, supporters and legal team — the very people whom you belittle as “cultists” — who kept the case alive and pursued it to ultimate victory over the FBI and OPD. And this was the case which you tried in vain to undercut with your poison pen, and about which you even now continue to spread false information.

    Didn’t you boast in your own paper before the 2002 trial that you got the FBI defense attorney to come meet with you in Boonville where you offered him tips on how to beat the case? Very strange behavior for one who still claims he is a leftist and Judi Bari’s only true friend, all the while bashing Judi and her supporters as cultists, frauds, criminals and worse.

    If there’s any cult surrounding Judi Bari, it’s the anti-Bari cult, and you are that cult’s self-appointed high priest and chief justice. Give it up, Bruce, you joined up with the losing side, the side of repression, greed and fraud. You fought and lost.

    Lick your wounded ego and move on for chrissake!

    • Bruce Anderson Reply

      May 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

      No, Mr. Anonymous Hide Behind Internet Defaults, I didn’t invite the FBI to Boonville to discuss the case. Mr. Sher, the Justice Dept attorney came to Boonville and other NorCal venues to ask me and others what we think happened. I said I thought Sweeney blew up an inconvenient ex-wife. If you think it’s ok to blow people up, say so, and “move on for chrissake.” Even the most inattentive reader will note that the cult brains have one tactic — discredit the skeptic. This person invokes specifics without positing any!

  3. Charlie Reply

    May 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    If there’s any cult surrounding Judi Bari, it’s the anti-Bari cult, and you are that cult’s self-appointed high priest and chief justice. Give it up, Bruce, you joined up with the losing side, the side of repression, greed and fraud. You fought and lost.

    Admit it. You were rooting for the FBI and against Bari and Cheney. You never wrote a single positive word about the case or about the people who carried it forward on Judi’s behalf. You continually mocked, belittled and berated the case and its proponents week after week after boring week in the AVA. You don’t know or understand a thing about litigation. That’s why you write ridiculous things such as the case should have been about who bombed Judi. And why you cling to the false idea that the case was a libel case, as though if true that it would diminish.

    Remember all the times you insisted that the case would never get to trial because Bari’s side would seek to settle it? You were wrong, weren’t you? You think you know it all, but you know nothing, and you don’t seem to care about finding out.

    Journalism is about more than a glib writing style. Facts matter, and you got most of them wrong.

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