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Verily We Roll Along


I got a fact wrong in last week’s print edition. Kirk Anderson, Cannacraft’s Chief Operating Officer (2016-2018), did not then get involved with their supposedly independent lab. “Kirk’s key role at Cannacrtaft in 2018,” a former manager explained an hour past my deadline, “was bringing in Darius.” Meaning his brother, Darius Anderson, whose Sonoma Media Investments, LLC, owned the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. It was brother Darius who became CEO of Sonoma Lab Works (and soon hired a former Tesla executive named Witt to be chief operating officer). “Sonoma Lab Works CEO Darius Anderson said that Witt’s experience makes him an ideal candidate for the position,” according to the press release.

Also in 2018, when Jerry Brown named Darius to the state’s Community Colleges Board of Governors. the PD story described him as “a politically connected businessman... founder and CEO of Kenwood Investments and Platinum Advisors, which is among the top five lobbying and strategic consulting firms in the state.”

Platinum Advisors helped craft PG&E’s public-relations response to the wildfires their power lines caused. 

Fast forward to August 2022. The North Bay Business Journal (which is also owned by Sonoma Media Investments), reported that Darius Anderson was handing the lab off to Antonio Frazier. “‘Antonio brings a skill set that is almost unparalleled in today’s cannabis testing market,’ said Sonoma Lab Works CEO Darius Anderson. “With his extensive connections in the industry and his acumen for cannabis science and consumer safety, we believe that Antonio will help Sonoma Lab Works continue our position as the premier cannabis testing lab in California.”

Frazier, an African-American, did not see Darius as a rat deserting a sinking ship. “I believe in where Sonoma Lab Works is headed,” he told the Business Journal, “and I want to continue building upon its excellent reputation as an industry leader. I’m invigorated by the team’s passion for bridging science and cannabis and I am excited to join them.”

Shortly before Christmas the lab laid off its 25 employees with no notice and no severance pay.

The PD editorial bemoaning Caifornia’s “Cannabis Mess” was appallingly deceitful. Their owners had a hand in creating it (and so did Wood and McGuire, the two politicians they single out for praise).

* * *

Note to Bruce Anderson

So you’ve been given a subscription to the New York Times. There goes my conceit (Jesus died for your sins, and I read the Times every day so you don’t have to). But I can’t end my affair with the Gray Lady just yet, she provides such useful hooks to hang AVA pieces on. 

A few weeks after the Times ran “How the Draft Reshaped America” by Amy Ruttenberg, you carried an ad for “The Boys Who Said No,” a documentary honoring draft resisters. There was a photo of David Harris, a star linebacker int Fresno High, president of the student body at Stanford, founder of The Resistance, a man who walked the walk and went to prison, husband of Joan Baez (who ditched him not long after he got out). Harris became a journalist and the author of a dozen books, two of which I read with admiration: “Shooting the Moon,” about Manuel Noriega, and “Dreams Die Hard,” about his psychotic friend Dennis Sweeney who murdered his highly neurotic friend Allard Lowenstein. (Mike Sweeney hardly stood out in the meshugana Palo Alto left.) The photo in the AVA reminded me that Chris Hedges looks a lot like David Harris. They have the same saintly vibe. 

Then I heard from an old friend named Allen Young, an editor at Liberation News Service (the radical press syndicate that sent out mimeographed dispatches to the underground papers that proliferated in the late ‘60s). Allen had burned his draft card, and I couldn’t help thinking it was a silly tactic. When the Ramparts editors burned their draft cards for a dover photo, they thought they were building a movement. But they were all ineligible and there was some “virtue signaling” involved. Men intending to enter the work force had to have an honorable discharge. No boss wanted to go the expense of training somebody who was likely to soon disappear. 

The Imaginary Party line is Bring Back the Draft and expand it. Every 18 year old should owe society two years of useful service. Redefine “national security” so that it means something other than weaponry, and redefine the mission of the military accordingly. Let the Pentagon order desalination plants from Lockheed and peace at last. 

* * *

Slow away the old year stumbles

still the old man vents and grumbles

Boonville’s flagship stays afloat

this year wasn’t all she wrote

Salud, Major Scaramella,

Marilyn Davin, Mike Geniella

Here’s to unseen Kalantarian

for the heavy load he’s carryin’

Heilig, Wiley, all the crew, 

Adios to twenty-two

And for the privilege of being read

I remain the Grateful Fred.

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