ELECTION NOTES, first impressions. As usual, everyone lost, and, as usual, almost half the people eligible to vote didn't bother. Mendocino County has a new congressman exactly like the old one, while the old one moved next door where he was even more enthusiastically embraced than he was in the Emerald Triangle. Congressman-elect Huffman even visited Boonville a couple of times pre-election, the last being to meet with Anderson Valley's senior hippies in Boonville. Now that he's elected, if he ever appears in Anderson Valley again he'll meet with the wine people and a few superior court judges in the subdued setting of a high brothel tasting room. The eternal electoral curse, Wes Chesbro, was returned to office for the umpteenth time in his blandly corrupt life; lucky man; he's never had any other job, meaning he's never had to work. Mendo and the rest of the Northcoast voted to put GMO warnings on food labels. Everyone else outside the SF Bay Area believed corporate food producers that the warnings were a bad idea. A Northcoast plurality voted to end corporate personhood where it was on the ballot, not that it matters much because money in whatever form will find its way to get its way. Jerry Brown pimped the kids to beef up the teacher's retirement system, but the only interesting thing that happened last night was Diane Sawyer — “And the winner is — chardonnay!” as one blogger put it. I wondered how much drunker she'd get before they cut to a commercial and replaced her with Tom Brokaw, the latter looking more lizard-like than the last time I saw him, which was I don't know when because every time I do see him I feeling like shotgunning my high def television set. It wasn't by accident that neither of the candidates talked much about the economy beyond soothing platitudes about how swell the “recovery” numbers are looking (Obama) and how more min-wage better it would be if free enterprise were all the way unchained (Romney). The economy will now move into full-catastrophe mode, because even $30 billion a week — the figure from the consortium of the biggest private banks known as The Fed — printed up specially to keep the ol' ponzo chugging along a little longer, won't do it. There's too much bad paper out there, and printing bad money to shore up bad paper leads to very bad places. Single payer? Forget it. Less war? No way. Restoration of habeas corpus? Gone forever. Search and seizure? Come on in. Obama might loosen up on DEA's war on marijuana, but that would be bad economic news for Mendocino County where the underground economy is at least half of the more or less legit one, which consists of pot, booze, public employment, a few big box stores, a few little box stores, fast food, food stamps, SSI and Social Security for gramps and grams, which both candidates said has to be “reformed” (cut and/or privatized.) That's us. In fact, that's most of US.
WHEN THE PRESS DEMOCRAT asked Jared Huffman why he ran he replied: “I am looking forward to representing this incredible coastal district in Congress. I couldn't be happier.” As if his happiness is the whole point of politics. Huffman attributed his success to a “100 percent positive” campaign and support from people he has represented in the Assembly. “They knew me; I knew them,” he said.
WRONG. Even George The Gerbil would have beaten affable Republican Dan Roberts in California’s uber-blue second district if George had a “D” after his name.
LOCALLY, beyond the “news” that Obama, Chesbro, and Huffman were elected, we find that the AVA was approved by 79% of the electorate! (AVA-Abandoned Vehicle Abatement program), and a $1 vehicle license fee will pay for continuing it. In Mendo, ending corporate personhood went over pretty big at 73%. Apparently, 27% (probably most of the 28% who voted for Romney) of Mendo thought Pepsico was the last name of that Alzheimer’s patient who wondered away from the nursing home on Dora Street in Ukiah.
SOUTH COAST SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION CRITIC Susan Rush got an impressive 47% of the vote in her Manchester Elementary School Board race against Mary Beth Boyd who claimed on her application for candidacy that she was a “retired school teacher” which was “shy of the truth” as Ms Rush pointed out. “Ms. Boyd was rehired immediately following her retirement with the Point Arena School District,” explained Ms. Rush. “She has been telling community members she actually makes more now that she is semi-retired than what she did while working full-time. Boyd was making over $54K a year without benefits. Ms. Boyd was paid $5,000 as an incentive for early retirement; she is receiving retirement funds and being paid a part-time salary by the Point Arena School District. She was/is a math teacher — I guess she did the math and went for the bigger bucks. However, the elementary school continues to be below proficiency State levels in math.”
IN FORT BRAGG, incumbents Doug Hammerstrom (41%) and Scott Deitz (43%) beat Rex Gressett, the guy who previously slugged a rude signature gather and who lost badly in a write-in candidacy against former Fort Bragg City Council Dan Gjerde who will replace the awful Kendall Smith as Fourth District Supervisor in January.
THREE SEATS were up for election in the turbulent fog-bound hamlet known as the Point Arena City Council. Incumbents Jim Koogle (who got a whopping 56 votes) and Trevor Sanders (who got 49) will be joined by Phil Burfoot (who got 36) who beat five other candidates for the third open seat on the Council. The remaining five candidates received vote counts in the 6-29 range each. In the race for Point Arena Treasurer, former councilperson Lauren Sinnott got 33 votes, which was actually fewer than her unnamed write-in opponent(s) who got 39 votes. If 34 or more of those write-in votes were for one person, Ms. Sinnott might be the first person in Modern Mendo History to lose to a write-in candidate.
THREE SEATS were up for election on the Willits City Council also. In preliminary results, challenger Madge Strong’s surprisingly “strong” second place showing with 450 votes leads long-time councilman/mayor Bruce Burton by 26 votes. And, if confirmed, Strong's success will mean that incumbent Victor Z. Hanson will be bumped off the Willits City Council.
JERRY BROWN’S controversial (not to say cynical) Proposition 30 tax measure surprised long-time political observers by passing statewide with 54%. It passed in Mendocino County with over 61%.
ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about the end of the election 2012 is that we won’t have to look at that syrupy-sweet plastic condescending Romney smile anymore. Whatever else you want to say about Obama, he’s got a much better smug smile than Romney.
GILLIAN FLYNN (“Gone Girl”): “They exchanged oh, you! married smiles. I could tell already: They were one of those couples who always seemed to be starring in their own morning talk show.
COMMENT OF THE DAY from Tariq Ali: Nothing could disguise the fact that it was a painfully dull election, a tribal conflict at which little was really at stake. Obama, with his Wall Street chums giggling hysterically, pretended to defend the poor by denouncing Mitt as a rich ‘un. Romney , desperate to win, denouncing Barry as a radical, when, as Wall Street honchos acknowledge, he has done nothing that might make them apprehensive.
WAY TO GO, NATALIE! On November 6, 2012, at about 3:40pm Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to Walnut Lane, in Redwood Valley, regarding an elderly missing adult. On arrival Deputies learned that an 86 year old male with Alzheimers had gone for a walk with his dog and was possibly missing or lost. Approximatley one hour later the dog returned without the elderly person. Family members conducted a search of the immediate area and when they were unable to locate the missing person they called the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies then called Redwood Valley Fire Department and Ukiah Ambulance to assist. While Deputies were searching the area they were advised the missing person may have been located on Road “A”. Sheriff’s Deputies, Redwood Valley Fire and Ukiah Ambulance responded to the Road “A” location and found the subject stuck in some brush. While at the Road “A” location Deputies learned Six year old Natalie Wildberger was outside playing when she heard noises coming from the brush. Natalie said she continued to listen and thought she heard someone calling for help. Natalie went and got her father and they both found the 86 year old missing person on the other side of a fence, stuck in some brush. Redwood Valley Fire and Ukiah Ambulance removed the man from the brush and transported him to Ukiah Valley Medical Center for further observation. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank Natalie for a job well done!
TKO BY THE TECHNOCRATS — Who Will Stand Up to Obama Now? By Jeffrey St. Clair. (Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
Barack Obama is a technocrat and he just won a technocratic victory. His reelection campaign, lacking any kind of arching philosophy or defense of his own disturbing tenure as president, became a bland exercise in political calculus, targeting individual precincts, swing counties and fractionated demographic sectors. Obama’s victory, at the cost of $2 billion, is about as thrilling as completing a game of Sudoku. Obama was propelled to his slender popular vote victory by those that the Republicans almost ritually abused: women, blacks, gays and Hispanics. Ironically, these are people that the Obama administration has also ruthlessly strafed for four years. But Obama smiled as he cut the lower-classes adrift in the midsts of a cratering economy, while Romney expressed only contempt for them. Mitt Romney ran an inept campaign. As a candidate, he was even more aloof, arrogant and emotionally distant than Obama. If Obama’s campaign lacked any unifying message, Romney’s resembled a kind of political Brownian Motion of constantly drifting themes in a tank of rancid and racially-charged sludge. He doomed his chances with his peculiar choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate, who personified the budgetary cruelties of the Republican right and alienated aging white voters who otherwise might have wandered into his camp. Where does Obama go now? The House remains firmly in the hands of militant right-wingers. The Senate will continue to be paralyzed by the filibuster-happy minority and a spineless Democratic majority. Stalemate? Probably not. Second terms are almost always about polishing a presidential legacy, already being harped upon by the withered likes of Tom Brokaw. Obama will be desperate for some signature legislative victories. So what to expect from Obama? An aggressive new plan to combat climate change? A real federal jobs program aimed at full-employment? Liberalization of immigration policies? Decriminalization of marijuana? Deep cuts in the defense budget? Rollback of the Patriot Act? A ban on assassinations by drones? Movement toward single-payer health care? Sure. No. Clinton will be his template: the Clinton who pushed for the elimination of the Glass-Steagall Act, the gutting of welfare and the war on Serbia. Obama will pursue bi-partisanship with a vengeance. Obama has always been a committed neoliberal, a closeted agent of austerity. Now he no longer needs to even play-act for his political base. He can openly betray their interests. In a few months, the president will reach out to his old pal Paul Ryan to take a stroll across that tragic terrain known as the common ground in pursuit of those twin obsessions of the elites: deficit reduction and entitlement reform. In the name of political conciliation, Obama will piously move to slash away at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the last frail fabrics of the federal social welfare programs. These savage cuts will be enthusiastically cheered by the mainstream press, Wall Street and the Washington establishment. Who will stand up to challenge him? That is the real question posed by this enervating election. (Jeffrey St. Clair’s latest books are Born Under a Bad Sky and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format. He can be reached at: email@example.com)